SUMMARY: Bella's mother killed herself three years ago, after her father Charlie abandoned them. Bella was then forced to care for her five siblings, and her daughter as a single parent at age eighteen. How will she deal with it alone, when her world comes crashing down as her life takes an unexpected turn, and will the mysterious new residents of forks be able to help her before this monster that she fears finally takes her over...will love ever be enough?
Nikki: second oldest after Bella, seventeen years old, now twenty years old and six months pregnant,
Kristopher (Kris): age fifteen third oldest, now eighteen years old,
Alexandra (Kris' twin): fifteen years old, now eighteen years old,
Brittany: thirteen years old, now sixteen years old,
Alex: twelve years old, now fifteen years old,
Alice: six weeks old, now three years old,
Evan (Nikki's boyfriend): eighteen years old, now twenty-one years old,
Bella is now twenty-one years old
This tight hand wrapped around my neck, strangling me. The air seemed poisoned and thin. It burned my lungs and I felt like I was drowning. It cleared, but my lungs still felt like they were burning. I was running but where, and from what? I stopped, and saw her face, pale and barren. Her eyes had a familiar anger burning in them. Her hand struck my face, but I couldn't cry, I couldn't do anything. I was weak just like all those there times before.
I felt something warm lightly press against my cheek, and sweet voice called out in panic.
"Mommy," her sweet voice rang through my ears. What was wrong, why did she sound upset. I could hear my heart pounding faster in my chest, and my eyes shot open. I sat up quickly to find Alice, griping my sheets. Her face looked scared. It hurt to see her like that, and it made it worse to know that it was because of me.
"Sweetheart, I'm so sorry, did mommy scare you again?" I pulled her onto my lap stroking her hair hoping I didn't scare her too badly. She shook her head clutching my shirt in her small hands. She buried her face in my chest and shook her head again. I kissed the top of her head, inhaling her light strawberry scent. Her black hair covered her eyes, as she looked up at me, worried. I really wish these nightmares would stop, I knew they were scaring her especially since I talked in my sleep. They haunted me, making sleep my enemy. My mother was in every one, and Mike crept in there sometimes to. Not only that but all this stress that constantly weighed my shoulders down.
I glanced over at the clock, six thirty-two was flashing on the screen. I groaned as I set Alice back on her feet, and pushed the sheets of. It was Wednesday morning, and it still shocked me to see I had made it halfway through the week without ending up on the streets, or starved. Now it was time to wake everyone up, and start through another day of torture. I stepped out of my room with Alice following behind. There was four black wooden doors in this hallway. One white one at the head of all of them. That door sent shivers up my spine, as I glanced at it. I shook it off quickly, knowing that Alice had been scared enough for one day. I pounded on the first one next to mine. "Brittany, Alexandra, Kris, Alex, Evan get your butts out of bed," I yelled out toward the four doors, only to be answered by five annoyed groans. I smiled and headed down the stairs, being trailed by Alice and ten extra feet.
Mornings were typical, warm, away from the knife of the afternoon that stabs at you, well at least at me. In the morning I could say I had survived one more day, but now I had to face what I couldn't avoid.
"Bye sis, were headed to school," I heard Alex say, as he shut the door behind him and the rest. Leaving me alone in the house that now seemed huge. I sighed as Alice came trudging down the stairs with ashes following behind her. I heard him bark as I filled his food bowl, making Alice giggle slightly. I smiled at her, picking her up and planting a light kiss on her cheek. She wrapped her hand around my neck burying her face in my shoulder.
"I love you mommy."
"I love you to sweetheart, but now its time to drop you of at your babysitter."
Alice sighed and went to play with ashes. I knew she didn't like it when I left her but with three jobs and eight mouths to feed, and clothe i really couldn'tspend my whole day with her. I tried to smile but it felt unfamiliar and almost painful. I sighed andwent to get dressed before I was late...again.
I left Alice at the door with Kirstenas I waved goodbye and headed to my first job at Denny's. I could hear Alicestart to whimper as I slammed the door. It tore yet another small hole in my heart to see her like that. I tried to shake it of and leave but part of me was aching to just pull her into the car anddrive off. However I couldn't,running away meant starving my family, and taking her to work meant losing my job. I took a deep breath and drove of trying to not to look at the whimpering little girl clutching Kirsten'sdress so tight her knuckles turned white.
I hadn'tnoticed I wasn'tbreathing until the rode started to shift slightly and a sharp breath escaped my mouth as I regained control of the car. I arrived at Denny's and was greeted by the sweet smell of pancakes with syrup. I could hear Joe and Martha cracking up in the kitchen as I entered. It was nice to know someone was happy.
"Hey bells your early," Joe greeted me laughing, Martha, his girlfriend just hit him on the back of the head. I smiled as I put on my apron. Sebastian the other waitercame in looking like he was about to wet himself from excitement. This was the only job I actually enjoyed becauseof all the friendsI actually have. I had friends at my otherjobs but we weren't as close.
"Sebastian, you look like you're aboutto wet yourself. Are you ok," I asked trying to hold in laughter.
"Oh. My. God. You guys, there are three super freaking tasty looking guys out there, there are two girls with them to but one of the guys looks single…" We all covered our ears as Sebastian let out a high pitched scream.
"Ok, Sebastian, how many times have we told you?" Joe started.
"No eating the customers," Martha and I finished in unison. Sebastian just rolled his eyes, pulling me to the kitchen door. There we had a perfect view of the table number six, and holy shit, Sebastian was right, the people were gorgeous.
"I told you bells now go take their order," Sebastian said, giving me a light push, but the why did I have to go.
"Why do I have to go?" I asked, trying to hide the fact that I was dying to go. Unfortunately, I have good friends and they can read me to too damn well.
"Please Bells you so want to go, and plus Martha's taken and I'm gay, so go." Sebastian gave me one more push that made me hit the floor. I picked myself up happy nothing broke and walked off to table six. I prayed I wouldn't make a fool of myself but knowing me I probably would.
"Please God I'm begging for this one thing, please keep me on my feet." I silently hoped no one actually heard me. I think I might of have been because as I walked up to the table I locked eyes with one of them and he had a huge smirk on his face. Almost as though he had heard me. Wait that's impossible I could barely hear myself. Whatever I just want to stay on my feet. I finally came to the table glad I hadn't fallen. I looked at them and they all stared back, they were gorgeous
"Hi, my name is Bella. Can I take your order?"