Authors Note: Welcome to Survival mode. This story has sensitive themes and is a Hurt/Comfort Romance. Please read with the knowledge that this is just a story. If you are needing any emotion/physical help. Reach out to the organizations in your community to help.
If you did not already know I am not the author of Twilight and therefore own absolutely none of the characters or ideas.
That being said I do hope you enjoy this story. Please Review. As Always Happy Reading.
Chapter 1: Half Truths and Drug Abuse.
"Bella! You have mail!" Renee screamed down the hall.
"Be there in a moment, Mom"
I finished the last of my extra math homework. I did not need this for my final grade; it was just the easiest way to remain high honors. If I fucked up an answer on a test it did not affect my overall grade, as long as I did these extra problems each week. I packed it away with the rest of my completed homework for the week.
"Mom, did the teachers send you my homework for next week?" I asked, making my way down the hall. The teachers understood that I was in a lot of extracurriculars, and as such needed the homework a week early.
"I can check for you"
She powered up our ancient laptop. Mom refused to get a new one. Claiming that it would not connect to our ancient printer. She was probably right about that. That machine did not connect to my school laptop let alone anything created before 2003.
Looking through the mail I noticed the normal things in my mail pile. Electric, water, and internet bills. I moved those to a folder that I kept on top of the fridge. These bills should be auto paid. Opening each one to make sure they went through. I transferred funds for them when Mom got some back pay two months ago. We shouldn't have to be without one of these services for a while. I tried to always pay the water bill. We can do without electricity and the internet if we need to. If only Mom would agree to her boyfriend Phil moving in with us. I shook my head, ending that fight before I started it.
My fingers found a fancy envelope. It was made of expensive paper, both soft and heavy to the touch.
"Mom, who has money to use fancy paper on an envelope?" I asked, marveling at the feel of the paper.
"Your Father," She responded without looking up.
Fuck. I should have looked. Renee hated knowing that we barely scraped by when Charlie lived with plenty of money. To be fair I had been using my child support money to pay our mortgage. It was a mix of child support and my scholarships that kept a roof over our heads.
I opened the envelope carefully. Never know when I need another envelope to write the president. I assume this is the only paper someone as important as them would ever touch. Pulling out the coloured invitation, I did not read it for a moment, in awe of the vibrancy of the ink. Maybe this is what better printers can do now.
Dear; Isabella Swan
You are personally invited to attend the Wedding of;
Charlie Swan and Sue Clearwater
Special request: To attend as a part of the wedding party.
The couple do hope that you will choose to celebrate with them on the date of:
July 23 2022
Please RSVP online.
I dropped the letter. Sure, I knew Charlie had a girlfriend. I had not met her yet. When it was time to visit with him I made excuses about school and needing to stay here. Really I knew we would lose the house if I left for the summer. Especially because if I was with Charlie he wouldn't be paying the child support to Renee.
Looking at the calendar I had nine months to work my ass off to be able to attend this wedding. Maybe I could convince Phil to push Renee into living together. He had a great job. I already had the secret conversations of him taking over the bills so Renee can just pay the mortgage.
"What is the letter about?" Renee asked.
I must have looked crazy standing frozen with nothing in my hand. Looking at Renee's innocent doe-like eyes, I wanted to lie. I wanted to say that he just really wants to see me this summer. I knew I couldn't lie to her about this.
"Charlie's getting married to Sue." I watched for her reaction. Really did not need mom going on a bender.
"Yeah. They invited me to be a part of the wedding party. So that is nice" I smiled. "If the dress is nice, I could wear it to your wedding" I tried to tease her.
"Yeah" She looked distant. I knew that look. She was going to find a fix today.
Pulling out my school provided cell I logged into the bank app. Setting a $25 limit a day on all the cards. When Charlie started dating Sue six years ago, she spent money like mad. It took me four years with extra shifts each week to pay off the dept.
Trying to distract myself I looked through our cupboards. Fuck. No food. I found an old Twinkie, the wrapper was covered in dust. I cleaned it off, ignoring the hunger pang I tossed it at Renee.
"Who needs a marriage when we have Twinkies?" I winked at her before walking back to my room. Renee smiled at me as I walked past.
I worked my ass off for the next nine months. I saw Renee only a handful of times. Each time she looked worse than the last. Phil promised that she was going to get help. I think they are both in denial about her addictions. I needed a distraction so I built a routine for my weekdays.
3:30am-8am: Work at the Bakery.
3:30pm-5:30pm: Volleyball (Scholarship money)
6pm-10pm: Work at Convenience store
10pm-1pm: AP Homework.
My Weekend routine was:
3:30am-11:30am: Work at the Bakery
12pm-8pm: Convenience store
9pm-1am: AP Homework
My body physically hurt, but this is what I needed to do. I needed a house to come home to. It wasn't always this hard. When Grandma was alive she would force Renee to keep jobs. Also, she had a steady amount of old age payments coming in. We never worried about losing the house. I could do as many after school sports as I wanted. Now I can only afford Volleyball. Mainly because the school held those games during school or practice hours. I can't afford to miss a shift.
I was standing behind the counter at the convenience store when my phone rang. I was acting shift supervisor right now so I could answer it. Signaling to my coworker to cover for me I walked into the back room.
"Hi Baby Girl, how are you?" Charlie asked
"Hi Dad. I am good. How are you?"
"Good, good. What are you up to right now?' The chime of the convenience store sounded. Fuck. I was almost done with my shift, it was nearing 10pm. "Are you out?"
"Yeah Dad. I needed coffee to finish a project tonight. So I ran over to my local corner store."
"Renee doesn't have any coffee in the house?"
I wanted to tell him. I wanted to tell Charlie that no. Renee doesn't have anything in the cupboards right now. I trusted her to pick up food this week. Handed her the $100 and she spent it on something else. All I know is the money's gone and I am starving. I pushed that thought aside knowing that I can grab some expired food from the convenience store. Also, the owner of the bakery always gave me something for breakfast. The hunger will still be there, but I wouldn't be starving for long.
"We ran out this morning." I lied.
"Okay" I could hear that he picked up on the lie. "I was just calling to tell you, the plane ticket should be coming to you soon. We are really excited to have you come up here."
"I am really looking forward to going." I told him truthfully. The visit would be worth the amount of damage that Renee will cause financially. "How is the ticket coming?"
Panic struck my chest. If it came in the mail I would have to call Amy, our mail delivery person, to hold onto it until she can give it to me in person. Plane tickets have street value. I would not put it past Renee to try to sell the ticket for something else.
"I mailed it. Is that okay?" Charlie asked. I often forgot that he knew how Renee was. I could tell him that she is bad again. I promised myself the last time she got this bad that next time I would tell Charlie.
Now he has a new family. A family I have never met. I don't want to be a child of the foster system. I would rather have the situation I know than the one I don't.
"Yeah of course. I will keep an eye on it."
"I already put a note on the ticket that it can not be resold" Charlie breathed.
I sighed. "That will work perfectly then. Thanks Dad. Oh sorry Dad I got to go."
"Bella, are you safe?" Charlie asked.
"As safe as one can be in Phoenix, Dad" I tried to sound as light as I could. "Love you Dad" I forced my voice to not choke up.
"Love you too Baby Girl. Let me know when you get the ticket"
"Will do. Bye"
"I'm here if you need anything"
I hung up the phone and the tears fell. Slumping against the moldy walls I took a deep breath. Shaking my head I got back to work.