I wake up just as the plane begins its final descent. I was dreaming about sunshine and my best friend, Gretta. Gretta is-well, was-my only friend, and that was only because I paid her. I wouldn't miss Gretta, but I would miss the sunshine. My sister, Bella, is on her phone as always with one of her many friends. She's talking to one of them about her recent boyfriend, a guy named Steve whose only talent was burping the alphabet. They broke up three weeks ago, right after Mom decided we should go here.
Here is the tiny town of Forks, Washington, where our dad, Charlie, lives. Our entire lives, we've only gone to see him for a few weeks every summer, trading off each summer so we both wouldn't have to go. My only memories are of fishing, which I hate, and rain, which I hate even more. Bella despised coming here so much that after six summers with him she quit going. I still went, but only because I felt bad for our father.
Our parents got divorced when we were babies, and our mother took both of us. I'd say it's very strange to have a twin sister that no one knows is your twin. Bella has always been the pretty and popular one, with her long waves of chocolate brown hair and her eyes, which are the same color. I'm her opposite in every way, so much it's almost comical. I have sandy blonde hair and light blue eyes, and big thick glasses consistently perched on my nose. I fell into the role of the bookworm and the forgotten child, that would do everything for our parents without getting any praise in return. Bella and I used to be close, but at some point she stopped talking to me and wouldn't even tell people she had a twin sister.
The plane lands, and Bella gets off the phone, taking a look out of the window and sighing. "I want to go home," she says. She studies her perfectly tanned skin. "I'm going to completely lose my tan."
I roll my eyes. My skin refuses to tan, it's either pale or burnt to a crisp, so I try to stay out of the sun as much as possible. We get off of the plane and make our way to the doors of the airport, not talking. Charlie's waiting outside, looking nervous. I almost feel bad for him; he probably doesn't know what to do with two teenage girls living in his home, but then again, he never made an effort to try to.
"Hi, Bells, hi, Willow," he says, and awkwardly hugs us and takes our luggage. "It's nice to see you."
"It's nice to see you too, Dad," I say, and elbow Bella, whose eyes are back on her phone. She glances up and smiles briefly.
"Oh, yeah, nice to see you, Dad," she says, and then drops her eyes back to her phone.
"Sorry about her," I say, dropping into step next to him while Bella walks behind us to his cruiser, which is parked in the parking lot.
"It's okay," he says, and I can tell it's honestly better for him if we don't speak. We pile into his car, Bella up front with him and me in the back. The drive is just as I'd always remembered it, with green everywhere and rain lashing the car windows. I remember sitting in this backseat as a child, drawing in the fog on the windows. I'd write my name or draw little hearts and little people. I've actually always loved to draw, but I've never done anything with it.
We pass the sign welcoming us into Forks, faded but still the same as I remember it. We drive down the faded main street and turn into the neighborhood, pulling up in front of Charlie's house. We're lucky his house has three bedrooms, because I don't think I could bear to share with Bella. She has enough clothes for six people. We get out, and I immediately am grateful I brought a jacket, because it's much colder here than it was in Arizona, even for March.
It being March means we have to finish out our junior year here. I'm terrible at having gone to the same school my whole life, imagine how I'm going to be being new. I take my bag up to the room I always stayed in when I came here. The small twin bed looks exactly the same with its blue and white sheets and the bright yellow quilt that's always been there, even though it's horribly ugly. The window that never opens right with its soft beige curtains is there, and the tiny spindly desk where I would draw when it was raining and there was nothing else to do, which was all the time. The dresser stands pushed into the corner to make room for my two bookshelves filled with books. When I wasn't drawing, I loved to read.
I set my bag down on the bed and begin to unpack the clothes I brought into the dresser, which still has some clothes from previous visits that might even still fit. I'm three inches shorter than Bella, too, which makes people think she's older when in fact I was born two minutes before her. I can hear Bella mumbling complaints in the next room, mostly about the dust. In notice my room has been kept relatively dust-free, meaning that maybe I'd had more of an impact on Charlie then Bella did. He's more willing to take care of me.
That evening, we have frozen lasagna for dinner, forcing me to make a mental note to buy groceries for this house. The tiny kitchen has nothing in the fridge except for fish that Charlie caught and frozen meals like this one. None of us is really much of a chef, but I figured it can't be that hard. If anything, I can least do something with the fish. We-well I'm-cleaning up when I hear a knock at the door. Charlie goes to open it, and his friend Billy comes in, with-surprise-more fish, and his son, Jacob. I haven't seen much of Jacob since we were really little and Charlie and Billy forced me to play with his sisters out on the reservation. I just remember they bullied me a lot.
I walk into the front hall, drying my hands off from the dishes. I say hello to Billy and then walk up to Jake. "Hi, Jake," I say timidly, not sure if he'd remember me.
He smiles, however. I forget he's younger, mostly because he's taller than me. "Hi, Willow," he says. "It's been a while."
"Yeah, I guess," I say. "How are you?"
"Good," he says. He turns back to look outside. "I'm building a car," he mutters.
"Really?" I say. "That's cool." I know nothing about cars. "Do you want to say hi to Bella?"
He looks up, his eyes obviously eager. Of course he has a crush on her, she's the pretty one.
"You're both here?" he asks.
"Yeah," I say. I turn back and call for Bella up the stairs, letting her know that Jake and Billy are here. She comes down a minute later, her eyes glued to her phone, of course.
"Hi, Bella," Jake says, and she looks up.
"Oh, hi, Jake, how are you?" she says, forcing a smile.
"I'm good," he says. "You look great. The last time I saw you I was eight and you were-what-eleven?" he says, grinning. It's a pitiful attempt at flirting, and I almost feel bad for him.
"Thanks, I guess," she says, her face contorting, as if she's trying not to laugh in his face. "I..have to go unpack, but it was nice to see you, Jake," she says, and turns to go back upstairs.
"Sorry about her," I say, feeling as though I have to say that a lot lately.
"No it's fine," he says, as his father wheels himself back into the front hall.
"Ready to go, Jake?" he says. Jake nods, and then they leave, leaving me feeling horrible about something I didn't even do.
That night, I lay in my bed with my earbuds in, trying to drown out the sound of rain. Across the hall, I can hear Bella muttering in her sleep as she always does. When we were younger, our mother would make us stay at our grandmother's house in Florida over Christmas, and it was always hot and humid there. We'd always go out to her back deck, which looked out over the ocean, and sleep there when the air conditioner broke or shut off. Bella would mumble all night about random things until eventually I just went inside, opting to bear the heat rather than Bella's eight-hour speech. With those memories in my head, I finally drift off, the music still playing in my ears.