Well, I guess this is the beginning of a new story… I have several chapters written down, and I expect they'll all be about this length, so an update every week or so seems reasonable to me… I am very excited about this plot. I did a lot of research for it, and I was shocked to see that the facts ended up fitting my planned storyline exactly. Well, enjoy and review!
Chapter One - New Beginnings.
You could say that the day started out like any other. It was overcast, and Alice had predicted a bit of light rain for late in the afternoon. Learning started bright and early for the Cullen household. Jasper and Emmett and been studying arterial blockage with Carlisle since 3 A.M and Rosalie, Alice and Esmé had since concerned themselves with the finer intricacies of cooking. (Apparently the girls were being forced to recreate an ethnic dish in Foods 101 later that day, and wanted to get a head start. Alice had predicted an assignment of Mexican tamales.) Which is why, when Bella woke up at 6:30 in the morning, instead of Edward's luxurious smile, she found herself face-to-face with a platter of steaming hot chicken and jalapeño tamales. Alice was holding the platter and looking very smug indeed.
"Alice, why-" croaked Bella, but she was quickly cut off by musical voice of someone who had long since forgotten the ill effects of cheeriness upon awakening humans.
"Bella, I know it's early in the morning, but…will you please try them? Rosalie, Esmé and I were working on them all night! We just need to know what they taste like. That's all." Her voice was cajoling, and dripped with sweet sincerity.
" PLEASE Bella? Esmé will make you her blueberry pancakes if you just try one, insy, weensy little bite. You remember her pancakes, don't you? The explosion of hot blueberry mess, topped with our homegrown fresh strawberries, succulent raspberries, and the smallest drizzle of-"
"Okay! Stop! I will try your god-awful tamales! Just give me a moment, okay? Mexican is not usually my style in the wee hours of the morning. " Alice nodded and bounded down the stairs, plate in hand.
" Wait Alice, where is Edward?"
Alice's melodic voice drifted up from the stairway from the kitchen.
"He had a surprise for you, you know, for your first day at a new school. He went to go work on it."
"Oh," said Bella. " How long will he be gone for?"
" He'll be back by eight," said Alice from the kitchen.
"Alright then. I'll be down soon."
Bella threw herself off of Edward's enormous bed. She had to take a running start, in fact, because in promising Bella he would get the biggest, tallest, most comfortable bed in the whole world, he'd actually done it. Edward had gone all out and bought the tallest bed Prada Home Décor had in stock. It was an exquisite bed, hand carved out of ebony wood, but getting in and out of it was a trial. She jumped, and as usual, her feet missed the entire point in landing, and she found herself reacquainted with the plush carpet once again. She sighed and picked herself up. Bypassing the enormous walk in closet, Bella opened a door on her left and entered into an extravagant bathroom. The family had decided to renovate an old guest bedroom for her use (she had protested, but the Cullen family had finished the project before she'd even had time to draw breath to object.) They had installed a beautiful picture window that stretched across the upper part of the eastern wall, and allowed the golden morning sunlight to stream in and flood the sparkling white bathroom in glorious light. The sun was just rising as Bella slipped in to the shower, tinting her skin a dusty rose color.
The warm water revived her, and to her surprise she found herself enjoying the anticipation of the spicy Mexican food. Maybe it was the surprise that Edward had planned for her first day at a new school that was fueling this odd anticipation. She could hope that he hadn't spent any money on her, but she knew that the argument was fruitless and annoyingly repetitive. Edward loved to spoil her, no matter the cost, and while she hated the money being wasted, she loved to see the child-like adoration and eagerness in his eyes. So Bella had grown to accept the gifts, not for what they were, but for Edward because of what they meant to him. Gifts like this luxuriant bathroom had been made through hard labor, and she admitted grudgingly, she did like waking up to the sunlight streaming through the windows… But her favorite gift hadn't really cost Edward any money, not really, but it had been the best and most sincere gift he ever could have possibly thought of. It had been the night of graduation and she had slipped into her truck cab with Charlie, Renee and Phil (come up from Florida for the graduation ceremony), and attached to her key chain, dangling in the ignition, he'd left her a key and a short note in his elegant script.
Thank you for making my life worth living. Nothing would please me more than to see your sweet face when I wake each morn. Will you come live with me?
Bella had started to cry tears of joy, and her parent (whom she'd been driving to dinner) had exchanged worried glances. She'd quickly explained to them what the gist of the note was.
Reactions had been mixed. Phil had nodded uncertainly, Renee had commenced a babble that truthfully wasn't very coherent and wouldn't be for the following hours, and Charlie had narrowed his eyes and pressed his lips together with a grim determination. They'd driven to the restaurant where Edward and his family were waiting to celebrate Edward, Alice, and Bella's graduation with Bella's family. She'd driven at 50 mph the whole time, pressing the rickety truck into full speed mode, eager to arrive. She'd swung left into the parking lot, screeched to a halt and thrown herself out of the cab of the truck into Edward's waiting arms.
" Yes, yes, I'll move in with you!"
Edward had grinned, a light in his topaz eyes that made him look angelic even in the glow of night. Renee finally managed to communicate a fragment of her jumbled thoughts.
" How can- Bella, you're only- He's not…You're 18!'
Edward had tensed, and the whole situation was about to go downhill, when Alice had spoken up.
"Charlie," she said softly. "Charlie, you know Bella, and you know that she loves him."
Alice was smart. She had ignored Renee entirely, realizing that Charlie was the key to success in this entire operation. He was the father after all, and had the most sway out of all the adults on Bella's future, as he knew her best.
"Charlie, have you ever seen her as happy as she is with him?"
Charlie had clenched his hands, leaning against the cab of the truck. " No, Alice, I haven't, but I've also never seen her-or anyone else for that matter- so broken." Bella had winced, and Edward had clutched her tighter. He had opened his mouth to say something, but Alice had shot him a look. He went quiet and hugged Bella tighter.
" But are you willing to let her make that decsion? Edward will be good to her, and he loves her very much. He left her because he thought he wasn't good enough for her."
Bella had started to protest this, but again Alice had shot her a look. " Quiet Bella. This may be awkward, me telling your parents things, but they have to understand." She turned back to the shocked adults, and said, " Edward… ceased to exist after he broke up with Bella. He thought…that she was going to end up hurt around him, and so he left for her sake. He loves her so much that he was willing to make himself miserable so that she could move on and live a life without hurt."
Charlie was still livid. " Alice, I saw her. She didn't speak- she didn't live for four months! How on earth was that helpful! And what do you mean 'get hurt?' What could a seventeen year old boy possibly have done besides make Bella trust him, and then rip it all away?!"
Bella had sucked in a breath, but the rest of the Cullens had remained calm. Alice didn't miss a beat.
"Charlie, Edward has Polymorphous Light Eruption. He can't go into the direct sunlight without breaking out into lesions and it limits him and our family in many ways. He wanted Bella to live a normal life without always having to worry about him."
"Oh." Charlie's face relaxed, perhaps with shame, and the tension had simply melted. " I'm truly sorry about that, son."
" That's alright sir. You had no way of knowing, and I will never forgive myself for harming Bella. I hope you know that I really only meant well."
"Yes, I guess I see that now. Would you and Bella be living with your family?"
" Oh yes. Alice has already set up Bella's bed in her room, and she's really quite excited."
Charlie and Renee's faces had brightened considerably at learning that Bella would not be rooming in Edward's room, and with that order of business finished, they had all entered the restaurant, where the Cullen's had sweetly choked down Fork's finest Italian cuisine for Bella's sake. As usual, the family had been charming, and by the end of the dinner, Edward, Charlie, and Phil had been trading baseball facts, testing each other's knowledge. Bella suspected that Edward was letting the men win, seeing as he was the only one who had been alive at the time of the ball game currently in question. Carlisle was wooing Renee with great success, and by the time Bella's parents had walked out of the restaurant, Bella was quite sure they would have picked up cannibalism as a hobby if suggested to do so by Carlisle. She had quietly teased Edward that night. " How are those lesions doing Edward? Not too painful, I hope?"
So here she was, on a "gap year" with the Cullens, having moved to Westmont in Northern Canada. Charlie and Renee thought she was on an extended camping trip with the family, but she was actually attending Westmont High School as a junior. Edward hadn't changed her yet, but had finally yielded, saying that they were going to go back one last time to Forks to visit her parents before he changed her, and was never allowed to see them again. Bella had quietly agreed to this proposition, and so here she was in Westmont. The Cullens had bought another beautiful stately home, left out in the wilderness, and had fixed it up in less than 4 days. Carlisle was enjoying his work at the hospital, and had even been presented with new sorts of infections in the Canadian wilderness that had him raving about "improvements in the medical community." Bella and Edward were going back to high school. Bella wasn't technically certain how this was going to work with the administration, seeing as Bella Swan wasn't dead (yet, she had to remind herself,). She suspected there had been a name change involved somewhere in this process. Although the other kids had been in school for a week already, Bella and Edward (reluctant to leave the bliss of summer behind,) had waited until today to join the rest of the clan.
A loud bang in the kitchen interrupted her reverie, and she turned off the shower. Walking into the room, she could see that Alice had been and gone, as the outfit laid out on the bed suggested. Bella dried off and slipped the clothes on, noting their soft feel. The Cullens took such good care of her. They had bought her nice clothes for the climate change, made her favorite dishes, and generally pampered her in a way only seven intuitive super beings could. She exited the bathroom, and stumbled down the stairs. She made it to the kitchen without stubbing any toes, which was, quite frankly, a miracle. The Cullen women were arguing over a frying pan. Jasper and Emmett had busied themselves with cutting up strawberries, human speed. Carlisle was strangely enough in the kitchen as well. He usually didn't have Thursday morning shifts free, and it was a surprise to see him. Alice, without turning around, said " Bella, which would you prefer first, tamales or pancakes?" Bella chose the pancakes, jokingly saying she would like to enjoy her breakfast before being forced to upchuck it. Alice flicked some water at her, and Bella laughingly jumped back. She stumbled a little because her heel had gotten stuck behind her foot, but Emmett caught and righted her. " Thanks Emmett."
She sat down at the honey colored table, some wildflowers in a vase completing the homey look. A platter of artisan prepared and magazine perfect blueberry pancakes was set before her. They smelled absolutely divine. " Thank you Esmé!" She eagerly cut into them, and a look of contentment crossed her face. " These are…amazing." She opened her eyes to see the whole family staring at her with such care in their eyes, that it made her eyes tear a little, and she flushed a beet red. Nothing could make her happier in this moment. She was with family, and she was safe, and everything was perfect. Well, almost perfect.
"Alice, where did you say Edward was again?" she asked.
" I didn't say." Alice grinned wickedly. " Besides, you'll see him soon enough."
By this point, the pancakes had disappeared, and Alice danced over to the warming oven, withdrawing a fresh batch of tamales. The smell was delicious; but- She looked up at the clock. It read "7:42" in big, block letters, and Bella decided to take a chance, no matter how insane the idea of eating Mexican food at 7:42 was. Besides, the pancakes had been delicious, why not the tamales as well? She picked one up, and peeled off the cornhusk delicately. Everyone leaned a little closer as the tamale reach greater proximity… She took a deep breath, and bit. Flavor flooded every taste bud she had, and Bella knew that if taste buds could explode, it would be because of Alice's tamales. She was pretty sure her eyes crossed, because everything went a little blurry for a while.
" Alice, these are DIVINE! The flavor…the texture... it's almost like you managed to put the essence of Mexico in a corn husk and called it heaven!"
Everyone burst out laughing. Emmett dropped to the floor and did not regain control of his sense for a good while. Jasper and Alice leaned weakly on each other and giggled. Emmett finally reappeared from under the table, still giggling. He did a perfect imitation of Bella, " put Mexico in a corn husk and called it heaven…" and then had to collapse again. Jasper gasped out, " Bella, the look on your face!" Bella was getting redder and redder, but she snapped back with the first thing she could thing of, (it wasn't very well thought out. but times called for desperate measures….) " Well it really isn't my fault if Alice makes them so well! I couldn't help it!'
Everyone calmed down a bit, but Alice wrapped some of the tamales up for Bella's lunch and with a wink, slipped them into her backpack. Esmé took out the camera and snapped a few pictures to commemorate Bella's first time re-doing high school. She was sure she looked frustrated in all of them. Bella glanced back up at the clock again. Edward wasn't back yet, and it was 7:53. She sighed, and started to trudge dejectedly out the door, but Alice ran past her and grabbed her hand, rushing her to Rosalie's beautiful red convertible.
" Come on Bella! He's waiting for us at school, and you'll see him then. Come on, cheer up!"
Bella was unceremoniously shoved into the back seat in between Emmett and Alice. Rosalie revved the engine and reversed the car, using deft spins of the steering wheel to maneuver herself out of the garage. The car thundered down the extensive driveway of the new house, and within minutes they were on the highway, air rushing around the speeding car, to Westmont Community High School. Bella stared morosely out the window of Rosalie's convertible as fields and pastures became townhouses and white picket fences. Rosalie took a sharp right and screeched into a parking spot at Westmont High.
Edward's Volvo shone dully in the parking lot with the cloudy weather, but somehow he was more appealing. Bella hopped eagerly out of the convertible, and charged head first through the parking lot to meet him. What happened next was so instantaneous that no one could have predicted it, not even Alice.
Well, Well, WELL. Review! And all shall be revealed. Also, I am looking for a beta reader.