A/N: (Its long af. I'm sorry but please read. Thanks!)
First off, thank you so much for choosing to read my story! This is my first full-length, fanfiction story. The concept for this story came from the idea of having a very strong, very damaged, very feminist Bella. I had no outline and no plot ideas when I wrote this story. I wrote it entirely in word documents. I didn't want to start something I couldn't finish. So I wrote the entire story without the input of readers so I apologize lol. But, I really wanted this story to be what I hoped it would. I love this story. And I poured my soul into it. I literally put work off for a week to write this story. I wrote nonstop and I finally have a version that I love. So I hope you love the story too. This is my first go at a plot story so I hope it's not horrible. I've read a ton of fan fiction and I have a mental inventory of things I like and don't like. So I wrote with that list in mind. I've read through it several times to fix any errors/plot holes so it should be easy on the eyes. I didn't have a beta for this story.
These characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. All recognizable elements belong to the respectful creators. I do not make any money from this.
This is a story for MATURE READERS only (MA)
This story features very damaged characters.
This story makes references to drugs, alcohol, and sexual intercourse. Strong Lemons are included in this story. I couldn't help myself lol.
Strong language in used in this story. All of the characters have very colorful language. So if that bothers you, don't read this story.
This story has a very dark underlying theme. This story makes references and allusions to sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual predators, alcoholism, r*pe, ab*rtion, miscarriage, and pregnancy. If any of these elements make you uncomfortable, please do not read this story. I refrained from making it too graphic or descriptive. But, proceed with caution if you are sensitive to these subject matters.
ABOUT THIS STORY:
As stated above, I wrote with a feminist Bella in mind. Fun fact, I am a university graduate with a degree in Women's Studies. I have done a lot of reading, writing, research, etc. on this very subject. I have very strong beliefs about feminism and Women's Rights. I tried not to make Bella a stereotypical/negative feminist. I believe I wrote her in a way that is admirable and respectable. She's very strong. She isn't afraid to stick up for herself. And remember, she is very damaged. I didn't write this story to start debates. So please, if you have strong opinions against feminism or Women's Rights, please do not waste your time. This isn't the story for you. I included issues that many women deal with every day. These issues exist and I believe it is important to raise awareness and speak about them.
However, these scenarios are strictly fictional. I did not write from anyone else's experiences or stories.
I love this story so much. I wrote the story I would want to read. I made sure it was its best possible version before publishing. Although this story is dark in some ways, it has a lot of heartwarming moments. I actually cried while writing one of the chapters and you will see which one it is as you read ahead. It's a story about strong women, pain, heartache, healing, friendship, and family. It deals with a lot of adult themes, but has a very sweet nature at the same time. I've stayed up through all hours of the night to get it written because I love it so much. I hope you love it too.
Story is set 5 years after the Breaking Dawn timeline. All original story is valid until Edward and Bella return from their honeymoon.
Chapter 1: Grocery Store
I stared at the red light, my fingers gripping the steering wheel. Despite the unseasonal chill leaking in through the closed windows, my hands were sweating. I tapped quickly on the smooth leather and bounced my left leg, dreading to meet the end of my two day road trip. The only sounds were the quiet purr of the engine and the light smattering of rain hitting my windshield.
The light turned green.
I continued on, not really seeing. I guess no matter how long I had stayed away, I will always have these roads memorized. The richness of the greens flew past my windows. I shuddered. Too familiar. Too much.
I cleared my throat and readjusted my stiff body in my seat. I kept my eyes steadily on the gray road stretching ahead. Just a little more.
My knees ached just begging to be stretched. My bladder was in desperate need of relief after that huge ass coffee I consumed hours before. However, I continued to crawl through this all too familiar, all too small town. Every bone in my body was telling me to turn around. Make the trip back. Maybe I could just have my shit shipped down and I'll deal with that hefty bill later.
I remained steady in the far right lane, letting the impatient ones blow past me. The rain whooshing through their tires as they went. They were in a hurry. Not me. These next five minutes couldn't creep by slow enough. The numbers on the dash kept flicking. Each flick bringing me closer and closer to my destination.
I continued at my snail's pace, giving the elderly town folk a run for their money. Until I met my turn off which I often missed many times before. Of course, today I was all too aware of the impending street sign to miss it. Of course.
I made a swift turn onto the street I knew all too well.
I crept along, slowing to well below residential speed until I was met with the house. House.
I pulled into the driveway and parked in the space that was designated to be mine years ago. However, the truck and that girl were long gone. I sniffed a bitter laugh.
I cut the engine and unfolded out of the car, my legs much happier to be here than my brain was at the moment.
I stretched the stiff muscles in my legs and arched my back resulting in a rather satisfying array of pops.
The chilly, damp air enveloped in me in an unwelcome embrace. I shuddered and tucked my sweater tighter around me. I haven't had the need for a sweater like this since January and it was now June. Only this place would require such attire at this time of year. I breathed in the crisp smell of pine. Definitely too crisp for my city ridden lungs.
I popped the trunk and began to unload my shit for my stay. One month. Just one. At least that was the plan. I would be working remotely for the month with the intention to move my stuff I left behind from this place down to San Francisco. The plan was to do this last year, but of course I had been putting it off for some time. I wanted to officially take what was left of my things and tie up loose ends up here. For Charlie's sake. Once I left, I wasn't coming back. Charlie agreed to visit me down south. I bribed him with the idea of finally getting some sun.
"Bells!" Charlie yelled enthusiastically as he leaped down the porch. "Well aren't you just a sight for sore eyes," he grinned as he approached me hunched over in the trunk.
"Hey, Dad," I mustered a smile and hauled out my suitcase and shit.
"Well don't be too excited, now," he snorted and pulled me into a Charlie special. An awkward, loose hug.
I laughed once and breathed in his familiar Old Spice scent. "Sorry, long drive."
"Yeah, that'll do it," he grunted as he began to carry my things into the house.
"So," he breathed as we ventured up to my old room. "I'm guessing you're really not here for the long haul?"
I shook my head. "No, I told you it's just for the month. Figured you could use a few more Bella meals before I officially move out," I smirked as he rolled his eyes back at me playfully. He never did that. He must be fucking ecstatic.
Which I guess made sense. I up and left a little abruptly. My life five years ago. Now that was a can of worms I was sure to crack open at some point during my stay but not right now. I left most of my shit, both material and emotional, up here in my eagerness to escape. I couldn't help but feel guilty that I left Charlie similarly to the way my mother did. However, that was unintentional. I wasn't running away from him, per se. I was more running away from myself. My old self. I left that Bella Swan/Cullen bitch the day I drove off. And I never looked back. And I was a better person for it. A stronger person. But, I digress.
I emptied my closet and bookshelf before I left, but besides that, everything was as I left it. Charlie wasn't much of a renovator. At least he washed the bedding.
I visited Charlie within those five years about twice. Once for a Christmas three years ago, for which I stuck around for a week. And one Spring break two years ago. The rest of my time was spent either in California or Florida. Of course I couldn't help but feel horrible about that. Charlie was about to bust his face in half with how big he was smiling. But, at the time I couldn't handle being here. The weather, the forest, the memories. I just couldn't be here. I had to work through my own shit and even five years didn't feel like enough time to do that.
I flopped down on my old bed. I was fucking exhausted. But it was only 3 pm.
"Alright, well I'll let you settle," Charlie muttered and shuffled out of my room.
After a long ass pee, a thorough shower, and a cat nap, I was fucking starving.
I peered into the fridge. Boy was I hungry for some beer, mustard, and the butt of a bread loaf. Not.
"Dad, what the fuck have you been eating this whole time?" I yelled in the direction of the living room.
"Language! And I keep the diner afloat," he called back to me.
I stomped over to his slouched form in his recliner. He was watching some sports junk with a beer in hand. "You're actually going to die if you keep eating like that," I scolded.
Charlie sighed at me and took another drink of his beer.
I returned his glare. "Grocery store. I'm driving. Haul ass," I said sternly and turned to put on my jacket and shoes.
That actually got a laugh out of him. "Okay, Bells. Just order a pizza. Number's on the fridge," he chuckled.
I shot him a glare. "Um, no. I want actual food. I've been eating junk for two days. A person can only eat so much McDonalds and gas station beef jerky."
Charlie shrugged. "McDonalds has salads," he said and took another drink.
I narrowed my eyes. "Father, get up. We are going grocery shopping. None of this 'I'm a guy, I don't grocery shop' bull crap," I shot back.
"I'll have you know I stock up on the essentials every week, Daughter. Not my fault you came on a Friday," he pointed his bottle at me.
I huffed out a loud sigh. "Fine, I'm going alone. But, I'll make sure to buy extra tofu and asparagus because I know how much you love it," I said and turned swiftly to head out into the dusk.
"Hey now hold on I was just kidding," he quickly scrambled from his spot and grabbed his jacket and shoes.
"That's what I thought," I smirked and bounded outside. Victory.
Charlie has never gone grocery shopping with me before. Not even when I did live with him. I often stocked the house with mostly healthy, but hearty options to keep his carnivorous cravings at bay. But, I threw in a few guilty pleasures here and there. If I had my way, we would only eat at the diner once in a blue moon. However, Charlie still likes to think he's a 24 year old who can eat all the steak and pie he wanted without the looming threat of high cholesterol, diabetes, and the gout. He really was a bachelor. However, I firmly believed if I had to cook, the least he can do is help me pick it out and heave it into my car.
We shuffled down the aisles, the rackety wheels clicking as we went. This was a change and a nice one. He wasn't at home watching some shit on the tv. He was spending time with me. I was here for a short time after all.
"Oh no no no," I said quickly as he started to load hot dogs and bacon into the cart.
He glared at me. "Bells, a man needs his meat," he grumbled.
I rolled my eyes. Hard. "Dad, I'm sure you'll live without it. And a lot longer at that," I said and stuck it back in the refrigerated shelves. "A compromise," I smiled and picked out a pack of turkey bacon.
He grumbled and stalked off to go pick out lunch meat.
"What do you think of vegan butter?" I asked absently examining a vegan and dairy option. A tub in each hand.
"Sounds gross. Does it have tofu in it?" Charlie asked warily.
I laughed and turned to toss in the vegan butter "Just because its vegan doesn't mean it has tofu," I grinned and continued to push the cart along.
I nearly crashed into a display of pickle jars when I looked up. My heart just about launched out of my chest and I rammed the cart in the nearest aisle. "Oh god," I squeaked and buried my face in a shelf full of hamburger buns.
"What the hell's wrong with you?" Charlie hissed as he quickly skirted out of the way of an irritated looking granny.
"I saw-" I took a deep breath, my heart hammering a mile a minute. I knew I shouldn't have fucking come back. I figured coming to the store at night would have been a safe bet. Guess I was wrong. Everything came rushing back all at once.
Rain. Howling. Blurry eyes. Yellow eyes. Howling.
"We have to go now," I breathed, crushing a package of bread.
"Bells, we haven't got half the stuff we need. We haven't even gotten to the cookie aisle," he gestured wildly to the other side of the store.
"I'm sorry," I choked out, trying to catch my breath. "Just give me minute," I clenched my eyes, ridding my brain of the memories I locked away all those years ago.
I was stronger than this, dammit. I worked too damn hard for too damn long to let anyone give me this kind of reaction.
I took another steadying breath.
I turned to face my concerned looking father. "Was…Was it a Cul-"
"No," I said quickly my hand over my heart that was returning to normal. "It was-"
The sound of wheels turning into our aisle stopped me up short. Of course the universe thought it would be hilarious to just fuck with me the day I returned to town.