All characters belong to Stephenie Meyer
I stared out the passenger side window of the car. My mother was taking me to the airport. I was leaving to live with my dad for a while. She didn't want me to go, but this was something I needed to do.
"Bella. You don't have to do this. Please, we'll work something out."
"Mom, I told you already. I want to go." It wasn't a complete lie. My mother was my best friend, and I didn't want to leave her, but I had to protect her from seeing me at the end. I wanted her to remember me how I was now, not a shell of the person I had once been.
It's strange how one word can change your life forever. Leukemia. I still remember the first day I went in for testing. I hadn't been feeling well. I was just so tired all the time. When I started getting terrible headaches, and pains in my joints my mother insisted I go to the doctors to make sure I was all right. I can still remember the smell of the doctor's office as we entered. It smelt of peppermint somehow. I looked for any signs of the candy, but couldn't find a candy jar anywhere. The doctor entered and smiled warmly at my mother and me. He started talking…that's when my life changed. I was 15 at the time. I remember being bored as he droned on about the results of my blood work, but I instantly perked up when I heard him mention the word Leukemia. I wasn't sure what it was. I recalled learning something about it in school, but I couldn't remember what. I glanced at my mother and saw that she had started to cry. The doctor continued to explain what Leukemia was. I had cancer of my blood cells. I don't remember much after that. I think I was in shock. I began to once again search for the candy jar as the doctor explained my options to my mother.
I faintly remember my mother trying to talk to me on the drive home, but I couldn't seem to focus on what she was saying. As soon as we got home I went to my room and curled up onto my bed. I stayed in my room all that night and the next day, unmoving. I felt as though I was in a dream. I was too young to get sick. My mother tried to talk to me several times, but I ignored her. When I finally did wake up it was not a pretty sight. I started screaming and crying. I tore my room apart. Anything my hands touched got destroyed. It took my mother several tries to restrain me. I fell into her arms and together we sobbed for what felt like hours. Finally, when there were no more tears, we talked. I started treatment that week. At first, it really seemed to be working, and things seemed to get better. My mother had remarried, and life seemed happy again.
I was 17 now. Not three months ago we found out I had stopped responding to treatment. The doctor did not know why, and without a bone marrow donor, there was nothing else they could do for me. I went through all the stages of grief--anger, depression; I was finally at peace with my fate. That is when I made the difficult decision to leave. I wanted to get to know my father before it was too late. It was selfish of me to burden him in this way, but he seemed all right with it. I wanted my mother to have good memories only of our time together. It was the one thing I could leave her with. I knew it hurt her to have me leave. Though we never talked about it, we both knew we would most likely not see each other again. I had about a year left to live, and I did not plan on going back.
I wanted to start over. Go to a place where no one knew me--a place where I wouldn't be known as that sick girl. I hated the pity I saw in everyone's eyes. I didn't want their pity. I just wanted to be treated normal again. I wanted life to be as it was before I got sick, and this seemed like the best way to achieve that. My mother would be able to travel with her new husband. She would be happy in time. This was best for everyone.
I did my best not to cry as I said my finally goodbye to my mother. I could tell she was trying to be strong for me, but when I turned to leave for my gate I could hear her crying. I refused to look back. I don't know if I would have had the strength to get on the plane if I looked back.
When I landed in Port Angeles it was raining. I had forgotten how much it rained where my father lived. I shouldn't have been surprised; he lived on the Olympic Peninsula after all. I saw him waiting for me right our side my gate. I smiled at him, not paying any attention to where I was going, and tripped right into his arms. He grinned.
"Hey Bells. You haven't changed a bit."
"Thanks dad." I muttered.
We didn't talk much as we got my luggage and headed back to his home. I didn't have much luggage with me and it all fit in the trunk of his cruiser. Charlie was the chief of police in Forks. I had tried to pack for cold weather. It was hard. Phoenix was not a cold place. Before I left, my mother had bought me some sweaters to help. I needed a few more items, but they could wait.
"How are you?" He asked conversationally. Questions like this always seemed loaded somehow. Do I say fine to make him happy, or tell the truth—that I am beyond exhausted?
"I'm ok." I answered, deciding not to go into details.
"I found a car for you…well truck."
"You didn't have to do that. I was going to look once I got in town."
"It's no big deal. I just wanted you to have a way to get around once you got here."
"You didn't but it already did you?" I asked. I had brought my own money to buy a car. It wasn't a lot, but enough for something dependable. I didn't really need anything that would last too long. It was enough of a burden just having me live with him; I didn't want to inconvenience him anymore than I already was.
"It wasn't that much. I got it from a friend. It's not the youngest thing in the world. It's dependable, and will get you where you need to go." He shrugged.
"Thanks dad, but you really didn't have to. I had money."
"I wanted to." He insisted.
He grunted once in reply, uncomfortable with being thanked. We remained quiet the rest of the trip home. As we pulled into the driveway I got my first glimpse of the truck Charlie had bought for me. It was older than dirt, but it had character. It was a red Chevy, and looked indestructible. It was simply perfect.
"Thanks dad." I said again. "It's great." I reached over and gave him a quick hug.
"Well…I'm glad you like it." He mumbled as he got out of the cruiser and retrieved my bags from the trunk.
Charlie brought my bags up to my room and left me alone to unpack. I was thankful for the time alone. I was truly beyond tired and needed a nap. As I walked to my bed I took in the space that had once been mine as a very small child. Not much had changed. The same rocking chair stood by my window. The walls were light blue, and the same-yellowed lace curtains hung from the window. I shuffled along the wooden floor to my bed and collapsed.
I could un-pack later.
I could smell something cooking as I slowly started to wake. I looked around to find that it was now dark outside. I must have been asleep for a few hours. I still felt tired, but I knew I needed to get up and eat. School was tomorrow and I needed to keep up my strength.
"Hi." I answered as I joined Charlie in the kitchen. He had made eggs and bacon for dinner. I sat down at the small table rubbing the sleep from my eyes. I felt bad sitting back and allowing Charlie to serve me, but I was still very tired.
We ate in silence. Charlie, nor I, was much for talking. We were good companions in that way. We didn't mind being quiet. Charlie finished his dinner quickly and cleaned his plate. There was a game on that he wanted to catch. I finished alone in the kitchen; cleaning up once I was done.
I said a quiet good night to Charlie and made my way upstairs. I grabbed my toiletries from my room and entered the one small bathroom Charlie and I had to share. I wasn't too keen on sharing, but there wasn't much I could do about it. I let the hot water run over my body as it relaxed me.
I was nervous about tomorrow. I was starting right in the middle of the school year. I wanted the kids to accept me, but I didn't want to get too close. That wouldn't be fair. As I finished toweling off I made my way back to my room, and changed into my pajamas. I once again collapsed onto my bed; feeling exhausted once more. This was one of the many things I hated about being sick—I seemed to always be tired.