Without further ado, the long-awaited next chapter.


Chapter 2: A New Track

"Bye, Mrs. Newton," I called as I stepped up onto the front porch of Charlie's house.

"Bye, Bella," she returned and waved, smilingly sweetly.

"See ya, later, Bella!" Mike yelled from his passenger window.

I turned my back to them and groaned, before looking back at them and waved as they headed back up the driveway and down the street.

Just great! Now I have to deal with Mike for the rest of the year, I thought and grimaced. Mike Newton was, as I discovered very quickly, one of those overly friendly, annoying guys that I tried to avoid. Yet, I had a sickening feeling I wouldn't be able to get rid of him easily. Not with the arrangement of Mrs. Newton taking me to and from school everyday. Just lovely, I thought sarcastically and headed up to my upstairs bedroom.

But, by the time I had gotten there, I was suddenly smiling. I had just remembered what I was in a rush for. I really hoped that Charlie wouldn't say I couldn't go. I really wanted to see them again.

Once again, I got to thinking about how I couldn't believe my sudden stroke of luck—Alice, Emmett, and Edward. Alice was very friendly (not the annoying type, though) and outrageously enthusiastic. Emmett—well, he still had me a little wary. But, overall, I believed him to be funny and easy-going.

And Edward. It seemed like he and I could be really good friends. And great lab partners, I had deducted by the middle of class that day. It turns out not only was Edward friendly and good-looking, he was quite smart. Especially when it came to the trickeries of the world of science. This realization made me quite happy. Because, to put it nicely, I suck at science. Not exactly my forte. I'd stick with English. But, with him as a partner, I might not struggle as much this year.

He was also a great talker. After Physical Science, he walked me to my next class—Gym. Wow, I thought, two despised classes back-to-back. How did I ever get so lucky? So, I wasn't exactly excited about that. Why? Well, let's just say calling me movementally-challenged is an understatement. I would actually classify myself as a catastrophe-on-two-legs. My classmates learned very quickly that I was not to be trusted with anything that could be lethal in my hands—namely, everything. The only perk to that class was that Edward was not in it.

But, my fellow students' avoidance of me with anything sports-related had not bothered me too badly. Not only was I used to it, but Edward had also placated any underlying fears with his encouraging words and a final, "Don't kill anyone". That had made me giggle and kept me smiling all the way to the locker room and throughout class. Afterwards, he had walked me out to Mrs. Newton's car. Something, I had noticed, hadn't exactly thrill Mike. Though, by the looks of it, he had gotten over it based on that hopeful smile I saw before he and his mom left.

I shrugged and turned to my room. It looked the same as it had for the past fourteen years. The only thing being of difference was that Charlie had swapped the crib for a bed. I had spent a lot of summers in this room. Now, it looked like I would be spending the next four years here. A prospect that would have had me groaning just a month ago, now didn't look so bleak now.

Now, I just had to proceed with Operation: New Friends by calling Charlie. I had a feeling that he wouldn't mind me spending the afternoon with the Cullens. That didn't phase me. It was the fact that I had to call him. My dad and I weren't exactly close. I blame it on the fact that I never gave him much of chance. And my preteen years didn't exactly help the bonding process. But, this was something I couldn't put off—not if I wanted to spend time outside of the house.

So with that, I set down my book bag and headed back downstairs. I really hoped he didn't say I couldn't go. I punched in the number and waited as the phone rang. The dispatcher answered on the second ring.

"Forks Police Station," said a female-voice.

"Hello. Can I please speak to Chief Swan?" I asked.

"May I ask who's calling?"

"It's his daughter, Bella."

"Oh, hi, Bella. Hold on. He's right here," she said before handing over the phone, causing the typical telephone clamor that came with the passing of hands.

"Bella. Is everything okay?" Charlie answered, sounding frantic. I rolled my eyes. That was unnecessary. Honestly, what could happen to me in Forks? Never mind, a lot could happen.

"I'm fine, Ch-Dad. I was just wondering if I could go over to my friends' house."

"Who's your friend?"

"Well, actually friends. They're all siblings."

"Ahh… So what are your friends' names?" he asked.

"Alice, Emmett, and Edward Cullen," I answered, looking at the clock. They would be here in a little over fifteen minutes. I began to feel a little antsy.

"The Cullens…" he said, and it sounded as if he was shuffling through his mental files of all the comings-and-goings of Forks. "Oh, Dr. Cullen and his family. Now I recall. They just moved here from Alaska, right?" Of course Charlie would know that. He had the tendency to know the inner- and outer-workings of this little town. That was something that was not always helpful when you were his daughter.

"Yep. That would be them. So, can I go?" I asked, anxiousness now obvious in my voice. I was almost bouncing up and down, waiting for his answer.

"Hold on. Just a few more questions," he said, trying to calm down. This only caused me to bounce faster. I groaned.

"Go ahead, Dad."

"Where do the live?" he started with the last half of his interrogation.

"I honestly don't know. Emmett and Alice are picking me up." Any minute now, I finished in my head.

"And how old are Emmett and Alice?"

"Emmett's sixteen. Alice is my age. And Edward—in case you were also wondering—is fifteen," I said.

"And Emmett's driving, I presume?" he said slowly, emphasizing that he better be correct.

"You presume correctly," I said matter-of-factly.

"Okay, I don't see why not," he said the words I was hoping to hear. I sighed happily.

"Thanks, Dad."

"You're very welcome, Bella. So, when are they going to pick you up?" he asked. I looked up at the clock and realized the time with a start.

"Oh! In five minutes!" I exclaimed.

"Five minutes?" he asked, perplexed.

"Yeah…well…Alice said they'd pick me up at four. That's in five minutes. I really need to finish getting ready. I'll call you when I'm on my way home," I said in a rush.

"Okay, okay. Calm down, Bella. I'll see when you get home. Have a good time," he said in calming voice.

"Thanks again, Dad. Bye," I said already prepared to hang up.

"Bye Bells," he said, and hung up.

I practically dropped the phone back onto its cradle before running back upstairs. I rushed into the bathroom and pulled my long, brown hair into a neat ponytail. Then I took a look at my reflection. I'd never been one to obsess over my looks, but I had the sudden urge to glance at the mirror. I really had no idea what had come over me to start portraying this odd behavior. Nothing was different.

But as I looked at the mirror, I realized that something was different: my face. My face was normally pulled into a placid expression or inexpressive these days, sometimes morose. And I was usually a shade or two paler than the average person.

But the face that was now staring back at me caused a slight shock. It was cheerful and displaying an effortless smile. And by the looks of it, that facial posture held a natural stance. As if that it had always present. And not as if it had just been reborn that morning.

Then I noticed something else—a blush of color spreading throughout my skin and up to my eyes, alighting them. It made my face look as if it were glowing.

I looked…well…happy.

My smile got wider as I realized what had brought this sudden change of behavior: the Cullens. Then I remembered that the source of my happiness would be here any moment. So, with a final tightening of my ponytail holder and a swish of my hair, I headed out of the bathroom and back downstairs.

I went into the kitchen and wrote a quick note to Charlie, once again telling him that I would call before coming home.

I was writing Love, Bells when I heard a little knock at the front door. I walked into the front hall and opened the door. There stood Alice, her lips pulled back in a smile that mirrored my own.

"Hi, Bella!" she said excitedly, almost bouncing as she waved.

"Hey, Alice," I returned, sounding just as thrilled.

"You ready to go? You can come, right?" she asked, her face full of anticipation.

"Yep. Charlie said I could. But that wasn't a problem. Not after he realized that your dad was the good doctor that had just moved in," I said gleefully.

"Awesome! Okay, let's go. Mom and Dad can't wait to meet you," she said.

"Hold on," I said and grabbed the key from the eave and locked the dead bolt. That was something that always puzzled me. Why did we, in Forks, with Charlie the Police Chief, have a deadbolt? I returned the key to its place and turned back to Alice.

"Alrighty. Time to meet your folks," I said playfully, yet not able to mask the excitement in my voice.

She held out her arm and I linked my arm through it. I looked at the driveway. That was when I finally noticed the car they were in. My jaw fell with an audible plop. Sitting in front of me was the most beautiful car. The midnight-hued vision looked completely misplaced in my mid-line suburban neighborhood. I hadn't a clue what it was. But, something told me that it could move…fast. The very thought made me queasy.

"What is that?" I asked, a mix of awe and anxiety lacing my voice. Emmett, who had been leaning against the car, chuckled.

"This is a Lexus IS F. Brand new. Voice-actived Navigational System. Premium surround sound system. Parking assist. V-8 engine. Goes zero to sixty in four point two seconds. Dad's present to me for my sixteenth birthday," he said proudly, as his fingers grazed over the exterior next to him.

"That is your sixteenth birthday present? I'd be lucky if I got a rusty, old truck," I said with a snort. Emmett smiled. Though, it hadn't any smugness. It was genuine.

"Are we ready to go?" he asked, looking between his sister and me.

"Yep," Alice exclaimed and lead me the rest of the way to the car. A thought then flashed through my head.

"Shot-" I yelled, but was bested by Alice as she shouted…

"Gun!"

"Dang," I said, snapping my fingers in disappointment. "How did you do that?" Emmett chuckled again. Alice joined him before she answered, shrugging.

"I've always had this sense. I really don't know what to make of it. But, I seem to know when things are going to happen."

I mimicked her shrug as I opened the door. I grumpily muttered, Bench, as I climbed in the backseat; causing another wave of laughter from the siblings.

As I took in the interior of the car, I listened to the bantering of the other two over what music to play. I smiled. And as the car drove out of my neighborhood and onto the main highway, I thought that this was like a metaphor. My life was on a new track. A new road full of exciting things. Or, so I thought.


Hey guys. Two things. First of all, I'm extremely sorry for waiting almost a year to update this story. I can't believe I let it go that long without a new chapter. The only meager excuse I'll give you is Life happened. Sad explanation, I know. Second of all, thank you for those of you who started reading this back in January of last year and then read this chapter. My apologizes to you. Also, thanks to all those who have come across this and said in your reviews that you wish that I update soon. Thank you for the motivation.

Once again, thanks for hanging on. I'll be more consistent from now on. See you next chapter.