A/N: This is an AU. Set during the period of New Moon when Jacob is ignoring Bella. Hope you like it!
Chapter 1- New unfortunate beginnings
I groaned out in frustration as I glared at the man sitting in front of me, munching on his popcorn as he completely ignored my presence, giving his full attention instead to the game that was playing on the TV in the background.
Don't ask me what game it was, I could not be bothered enough to distract myself from glaring and huffing at him at regular intervals to be able to tell you.
"Did you even hear a word of what I just said?" I repeated incredulously, unable to believe his audacity. There was innocent meddling and then there was this!
Meddling being too tame a word to describe…. whatever this was.
Charlie sighed audibly, as if moving his eyes away from the TV for a mere second was an unattainable task, before looking at me with eyes that perfectly resembled mine, his moustache twitching lightly in air, "Yes Bella, what can I do for you?"
"Don't… just don't give me that, okay" I glared at him, annoyance being the most prominent expression on my face, "I told you, several times in fact, that I can live alone in this house. I can look after myself. I don't need to be babysat. I don't want to move into some stranger's house for an unknown duration of time. I just…. I will be fine on my own."
I did not need to be looked after.
I had successfully been managing to do so since I was five.
"Bella," Charlie let out a breath. "I know you are eighteen, but I will be gone for six whole months. I cannot, in good conscience, leave you to fend for yourself."
"But what if I want to fend for myself?" I protested, waving my hands in air. "Dad, I don't even know the woman. It is going to be so fucking awkward!"
"Bella," Charlie chided sternly, making me roll my eyes at him.
It was not like he never spoke a bad word; the man was notorious for cussing like a sailor, especially when his favorable team was losing in whatever sport he was busy watching.
"Fine then," Charlie declared. "I will decline the offer. For I refuse to let you stay alone in this house for six whole months of your adolescent life. It is either this or you go back to your mother's…."
"No." I folded my arms over my chest in defiance, refusing to even let him complete that horrifying sentence. "I am not leaving Forks."
I was not going back to Renee's.
That was simply non-negotiable.
I was almost done with my senior year and that torturous experience of High School; I refused to start again, making new friends and being the weird new girl in some nameless school once again.
Just a few more months and it would all be over.
Yes, a girl could dream all she wanted!
"Bells," he sighed, "This opportunity….it is a big one for me. I will get to work with people I could only dream of being in the presence of. Imagine how much this would benefit my career. It is…. big."
I shut my eyes tight, not needing to hear the rest of his sentence, the guilt already thickly settled. I could clearly hear the desperation and need in his tone. Charlie wanted this. Charlie wanted to relocate to Seattle for the next six months, working with the SPD on their difficult cases, learning from them and giving them his valuable inputs. It was a mighty big chance, one that only one in a million were granted, if lucky. Charlie had worked his entire life towards achieving such an opportunity, giving it everything he had in him, with just the thought of being given something in return enough to keep him motivated.
How could I take this away from him then?
I could not be that very selfish and self-centered.
This was his dream.
And honestly, the man had done more than enough for me over these past few months, holding me tight while I screamed in terror and pain night after night….
Maybe….it was now time for me to return the favor…. to do something for him….
"I hadn't even known that you had a living cousin." I muttered in displeasure, truly surprised by this turn of events.
Who would have imagined?
"Neither had I…"
"Excuse me!" I spat out, frowning as I turned so fast- almost giving myself a whiplash in the process. Had he just mumbled, 'neither had I'?
What the hell?
"I mean," he let out a cough, running a hand through his hair. "Of course, I had known that I have a cousin; that would be ridiculous had I not known in all these decades of my existence…."
Why was I facing difficulty in believing him?
Why did it seem like he was simply taking out stuff out of his ass and presenting it to me on a heavily decorated platter?
"Quil was my Aunt Molly's son," he clarified, running a finger over his moustache in thought, "My father and my aunt had had a massive fight a few years before they both passed away, resulting in our families never being close again as our parents refused to even talk to one another. Quil, he would have been your uncle, too passed away in a boating accident around five years ago- before he could do anything to mend the bridges, survived by his wife and son. I was content to not mingle with his family much, accepting the situation for how it was, but recently his wife, Joy, reached out to me. She wanted this planned radio silence to end, calling it completely unnecessary and a sheer waste of time. We did not even know why our parents had originally fought; it was so very long ago."
"That is a nice story." I partly sarcastically quipped, "But it still does not explain how and why I am moving into her house for the next six months of my life. I mean, come on!"
Seriously, so they reconnected and mended the bridges?
But why was I the one to be punished for that?
"Bella," Charlie rolled his eyes in mastered annoyance. "She is a good person. She offered to help…"
"She could be faking it." I whisper-shouted. "Just think about it; who goes around offering their house for random strangers to stay in? She could be a serial killer!"
She could be.
He huffed in denial- don't believe me, Charlie! You will be forced to do so when you return home to my dead body drained out of blood….
Yeah, let's not go there.
It hits too close to comfort for my liking.
"She is no serial killer, Bella." He chuckled in disbelief, "She is just a good person. She understood my plight and hence, offered to let you stay in her house. It is just a nice gesture on her part."
"I somehow don't believe you." I rolled my eyes at him. "Dad, I am eighteen and am perfectly capable of…"
"Nope. My house my rules." He waved a hand in air, clearly dismissing me as he turned to look back at the idiot box in this room.
I let out an audible sigh, knowing that there was not much for me to do in the matter, stomping my feet harshly as I ran back to my room, apparently aware of my coming fate, but unable to stop it from approaching.
Joy Ateara- I hadn't even known the woman or heard her name before today, though I did know her son, briefly.
He was one of 'his'- who shall not be named- friends', I think.
I am not too sure.
I was pretty out of it when we hung out together.
He was a boy; I remember that much.
Like I said, I was too busy elsewhere to look up and take notice.
Either way, I would be living in their house for the next six months of my life, as a permanent house guest, yay me!
I am eighteen.
I would certainly not burn down the house to the ground in his absence.
Heck. I was much more capable at this-taking care- stuff than Renee, and she had been the adult for more than my entire life!
It was par ridiculous.
Oh, before I forget, let me tell you about the cherry on this nothing great cake, I would have to wake up an extra half hour early each morning, needing to make the commute from La Push to Forks in order to attend school- and I was not permitted to drop out.
Not that I was planning to, but it would have been nice to have options!
Anyhow, yup, I would totally be surviving on coffee for these next six months, needing it to keep my eyes open.
Stupid, stupid Charlie.
Okay, so I was glad that I was not staying with the Blacks'. That would have been….torturous.
Imagine, being glared like you were the scum of the planet when you entered a room first thing in the morning!
Yeah, I had no plans to see the inside of prison, my crime being to murder Jacob Black, of course.
I mean, sure, I had no self-respect to speak of, but I was not that far-gone to beg someone to talk to me. Pleading, yes. But never begging.
If he did not want to talk to me, screw him.
I was not without friends.
Okay, so I was perfectly alright with not having friends. I wasn't all that desperate for someone's friendship.
Anyhow, like I was saying, I was certainly thankful to Charlie for not exiling me to the Black's- he too was pissed at stupid Jake at the moment- which suited me just fine, but I would have thought that Harry Clearwater would be a close second in this race. But apparently, Harry and Charlie had exchanged cruel words just last week on some unimportant matter, and you know the male ego!
Charlie would leave me unattended at home, but he wouldn't ask a favor from Harry Clearwater…
Stupid. Stupid Joy Ateara.
Who asked her to be all this helpful and good?
I so don't want to stay at her house.
In La Push.
With her and her- I will flirt with a table- son.
No, seriously, her son could and would flirt with anything and everything under the sun that came in his notice.
I so did not want to share space with him!
Even if it was of the breathing variety.
Why couldn't I just stay in this very house alone?
I was certainly mature enough to handle myself.
Of course, Charlie was so not convinced on that fact, hence the drama and inconvenience.
Sucks to be me for the next six months, I am telling you.
"Bella," Charlie called out from down the stairs, the TV volume muted for these few long seconds, "I hope you have started to pack. I leave for Seattle tonight. And no need to make dinner. I will just grab something on the way, and you can simply eat at the Ateara's. What's one more meal to a hundred, eh?"
I would not even get the relief of eating something of my preference for one last time, before I had to smile and blush when all I wanted to do was murder the owners of my new permanent address, as they slept completely unaware of the dangerous thoughts on my mind.
I don't want to go behind bars.
Please, Charlie, please change your damn mind!
On second thoughts though, I better start packing. Charlie can be a pretty stubborn man, a decision once made to be followed with his entire heart.
Have I mentioned already that it sucks to be me?
It does, believe me.