I used to always love summers in Forks with my family. Life was so perfect and simple back then, it was everything I ever needed. Then everything was different.
When I was ten and Bella was twelve we found out that I wasn't Charlie's real daughter. Our mother, Renee, had cheated on Charlie while they were married and had me. Charlie never assumed different and my mom hoped that I was really his kid.
As I got older and my parents fought more Charlie started to suspect that my mom had an affair. When that suspicion started he also started to worry that maybe I wasn't his biological kid after all. It was always a joke that I didn't look like anyone in my family, but when that suspicion arose it became serious.
When I was ten I broke my arm in our backyard after falling off a tree branch I was sitting on. At the hospital Charlie also requested a paternal test and turns out he was right. I wasn't his daughter, only Bella was.
Renee and Charlie broke up just two months later and my mom hauled Bella and I away with her. We moved from place to place, mom never really wanted a stable life. She loved the idea of seeing the world, and that was fun at first. After a while I started to miss Charlie, my friends, and La Push. I wanted to go back, but Bella didn't.
Since Bella is Charlie's real daughter her no was final. I found it unfair for a long time, it felt like he was more my dad than hers since she didn't want to see him. But it didn't matter, we kept with my mom. Charlie at first called us a lot still and he still talked to me like he was my dad. We never spoke about the situation and I was happy that it wasn't a topic of conversation with him. After years went by he called less and spent more time on the phone with Bella. I was heart broken.
To make up for it my mom told me stories about my "real" dad. His name was Tommy and he was in the Rez. Tommy looks just like me apparently. We both have a medium brown shade of hair, hazel eyes, and tan skin. He was tall, like 6'5 so I must get some of my height from him. Tommy was a bartender in town and my mom thought he was handsome. They never dated and Tommy never claimed me as his child, he tried to say it wasn't true. My mom doesn't know what ever happened to him or where he went off to, but I'll probably never meet the guy. I've come to terms with that.
I haven't come to terms with Charlie disowning me.
After growing up with just Renee as my sole parent I started to envy my older sister. Charlie was still her dad and he still wanted her around. He always offered to have her come down for the summer or for a holiday break, but she always blew him off. At first I felt bad for him, he's all alone down there and misses his daughter. Then I started feeling more sorry for me, he could've had me to come see him, but he didn't want that apparently.
Bella and I started to grow less close and even though she's only two years older than me it feels like we live separate lives.
Our mom started to see a new guy and they planned to move us all out to California for my senior year. Bella has been taking online classes for her University degree and was willing to move anywhere. I was giving my mom a hard time about Cali for months. I thought Cali would be a miserable place to live. Everyone is so cold and judgmental there, I wanted to be in a better place. So behind both of our backs Renee reached out to Charlie and now we're going to be living with him for a year in Forks.
I'm tied between being excited and being upset. I used to have a great deal of friends in La Push, all Charlie's friends kids. I used to love going to the beach, visiting the Rez, and going to La Push elementary school. I also used to love Charlie as my dad. Now I have no idea if it'll be enjoyable or horribly awkward.
Bella on the other hand just doesn't seem to care what we do.
I've been so frustrated with her that I'm thankful that I sat next to a stranger on the plane instead of her.
We're both standing in the airport with our suitcases and backpacks, waiting for Charlie to find us. Bella texted him that we landed and where we're waiting. My heart is pounding in my chest and I keep fiddling with my rings. "Do you see him?" Bella asks, looking all around.
"No." I frown, staring at the old tiles.
She jabs my arm. "You're not even looking." Her voice is a hiss.
"He'll find us." I exclaim, throwing my hands up. Just then I look up to see Charlie smiling, walking our way.
He looks different from what I remember. He's grown a bushy mustache and his hair is not so cleanly cut. He's wearing the same old jeans and flannel as he always used to. His smile looks so sincere I want to cry and jump in his arms. I just want to be his kid again.
"Girls, look at the two of you. So grown up." He smiles bigger, pulling Bella in for a squeezing hug. "You've changed so much Bells." He swings her left and right and she laughs, patting him so he lets go.
"I missed you too, dad." She smiles up at him, stepping a foot back.
I'm nervously smiling at the two of them. He turns to me, "Avery you look so different too, kiddo." He pats my shoulder.
A lump forms in my throat but I swallow it away, keeping up my smile. It's not want I wanted, but I don't want to admit to being disappointed. What I wanted was a big bear hug and for Charlie to accept me as his own again. I suppose I'm just a guest in his house instead. Like Bella's friend.
I trail behind both of them as we make our way to Charlie's old beaten up truck. He helps us to load the car and we're off headed towards Forks. I silently watch all the tress pass out the window as Charlie chatters about the house and how he set up our rooms. Bella's yammering on about college and what her classes are like.
I still have a year of high school left before I can go to college. It's good cause I have no idea what I want to study. Bella doesn't either but she's just pretending like she does. She's come up with three different majors in the past year.
Before I know it we're at his house, my old house. It's bittersweet seeing it again, it looks the same. I can spot a few different things like the updated shudders and the new gravel in the driveway. I follow Charlie's lead into the house and to the second floor.
He shows Bella her room first as it's right at the top of the stairs. It's a medium green color with old dark wood furniture. There's a full size bed in the middle of a nightstand and a desk. "I figured you'd need a desk for your school work." He chimes proud of himself. "I didn't know how you girls wanted to decorate so I figured I would leave the walls blank. We can always paint too if you want."
Bella just smiles as she walks around the room. "No this is good, thanks." She smiles, sitting on the creaky bed.
"Avery your room is right next to hers." He motions and we walks down the wall to the next room. My walls are a warm tan and the furniture is all a light wood shade. It's a comfortable size and there's a closet which is an upgrade from most of the houses we lived in with mom. "I didn't know what color to paint the walls and thought the tan was a good neutral choice if you wanted to change it." He leans in the door frame as I walk around.
I turn and smile at him. "I actually love it, thank you." He nods proudly at my excitement.
"I figure you girls can spend some time settling in and then we can do pizza later when you're hungry." He offers and I nod. "Great, I'll leave you to it then. Holler if you need help." He turns on his heel and heads back down the stairs.
This room used to be mine as a kid. The walls were pink and the closet was purple. I used to have a twin size princess themed bed and rainbow posters all over the place. Charlie used to let me drawl on the walls even with crayon or marker, whatever I wanted. He said I was his little artist. Now I feel a pinch of sadness when I look around.
It's not that I don't love the room now, I would've chosen everything he chose for me. It just makes me sad that I didn't experience the last eight years of my life in this room.
Renee took us in such a rush that I didn't get to pack my own bag or see my room for a final time that day. We just took off for what I thought was a short trip away from Charlie.
I spend the next several hours putting away my clothes, moving around the furniture, and hanging a few things on the walls. I brought some pictures of me and my old friends that I don't even know anymore, two picture frames of us all as a family when I was a kid, and a few nic nacs I've acquired over our years of traveling. My room is still pretty plain, but I could always find more things to add in the future I guess.
"Pizza is here!" Charlie shouts from the bottom of the steps.
My stomach gurgles in response and I follow Bella downstairs to the kitchen table. I notice Charlie has a football game on in the living room. "Still like the Redskins?" I quip, grabbing a paper plate and loading it with two slices of pepperoni pizza.
"Ah you remembered. Yes unfortunately they're still my team." He chuckles. "Water or soda?"
"Water." Bella and I both answer.
He nods and grabs us each a glass. "Avery did you bring any paintings with you to hang in your room?"
I frown at my plate. "No, I actually don't really paint anymore."
"Oh. I figured it would be something you kept up with. You used to paint this whole house. Renee used to have to keep cans of paint laying around to cover it all up when company came over." He chuckles, clutching his stomach.
I smile at the memories. I haven't really painted since we left Forks. I tried for some time but never felt in the mood to do it. "Bella are you still dancing?"
I snort at that and Bella shoots me a look. "No, definitely not for me. I'm too clumsy."
"Well jeez what do you girls do these days?" He sits at the table, chewing a mouthful of pizza.
Bella shrugs her shoulders. "I read a lot."
He nods, "Okay well that's nice, did you bring some books with you?" She nods. "Good that's good, Avery?"
"I try to spend a lot of time outside, I'm excited to go to the beach. It's been years since I've been to one. I used to do cheer, but I gave it up."
I watch him wipe the sauce from his face. "Outside is good. Why did you quit cheer?"
I frown, shrugging my shoulders. "I didn't have any friends on the team so it got to be a chore." I used to love cheer. I did competitive for a while and was pretty decent. All the moving around threw me off and it got hard to find a team that wasn't full of mean girls. No one liked the new girl.
"That's a shame. Do you girls remember the Barry Black? He had two girls and a boy. You girls used to be friends with them." We both nod. "Billy and Jake are coming over later to watch the game if you feel up for some company."
I feel my cheeks warm a bit. When I was younger I had a big crush on Jake. I thought he was so cute and we were friends. We were too little to keep in touch after we left though. I wonder if he's still cute now. It would at least be nice to have a friend here.
"Sounds like fun." I offer him a small smile.
Billy and Jake arrive just as we finish our dinner. Billy gives us both a hug and Jake just looks nervous. He's so cute still. He has short brown hair and beautiful brown eyes. He looks pretty muscular too. I can't help but stare at him a little while longer than normal. I even notice a tribal tattoo on the outside of his arm. It's pretty sexy.
Billy smiles at me. "Avery, Jake goes to La Push so he can keep you company there. At least until you make better friends." He offers me a wink.
I smile back at him, "That would be great."
Jakes nods from next to his dad. "Yeah for sure, I can drive you on Monday and show you where your classes are." He shoves his hands into his pockets, smiling boyishly at me.
"Thank you." I had asked my mom to tell Charlie I wanted to go to La Push instead of Forks. I figured I might remember some people and get some old friends back. Forks would have been a fine school but it's just different with kids from the Rez. Everyone is nicer and more easy to talk to. There's a lot of stuck up people in Forks.
Billy and Charlie start arguing about the football game already and move into the living room. Bella excuses herself right away to go to her room and Jake and I are standing around the kitchen. "Wanna sit outside?" I offer nervously.
He smiles and motions for me to lead the way. I take him out back to the porch and we each take a seat on the steps. "Is it weird being back here?" He asks.
It's a calm night here. No rain and no clouds. The sun is setting brightly over the mountain range and there's crickets chirping in the distance. It's so nice here, I almost forgot.
"Yeah it's weird but it's also nice. I missed it all this time." I stare off into the woods. "I never wanted to leave in the first place." I shrug.
I see him nod out of the corner of my eye. "Yeah I heard what happened, I'm sorry you went through that."
I turn my head and offer a small smile. "Thanks." I whisper. "It's fine really, it's something I had to get used to."
It's silent for a passing moment. "Do you remember when we used to have bonfires at the beach and Charlie used to yell about how big Billy would let the fire get." He chuckles, shaking his head. "I remember it feeling like we had bonfires every single day."
I smile at the memory I nearly forgot about. "Oh my god I do. I remember your dad always telling stories about the Quileute tribe being wolves. I used to love those stories."
He nods, "You did?"
"Oh yeah, I think I even went as a wolf for Halloween one year. My mom hated it." I laughed and Jake laughed with me. "Are you still friends with Quil and Embry?" I'm shocked I can even remember their names after all this time.
He smiles. "Yeah I am. They go to La Push too, you'll see them tomorrow. I don't know if you remember Sue and Henry but they have a daughter Leah who's Bella's age and then a son Seth who's a year younger than us. We hang around him too sometimes."
"I don't think I really remember them, maybe Bella would." He nods, agreeing.
"Well they're all pretty cool, but I'll warn you about Quil now. He's an ass, but he means well. He's really flirty with girls, try to ignore him."
"Will do." I smile at him. "Tell me more about La Push High."