disclaimer: I'm not Stephenie Meyer, just using her characters.

And please be nice to me, this is my first attempt at writing something like this. Review are welcome to help improve the story!

"I can do this…I can do this…I can do this…" My absurd mutterings were starting to sound like the little engine that could more and more these days.

"I can do this…I can do.." oh who was I kidding? I cannot do this. What compelled me to apply to Northwestern University anyway? And what were they thinking when they had let me in? I mean, sure I had decent grades, but nothing spectacular. I never even did any extracurricular activities while in high school. Maybe it was the essay. Was it that good?

I really need to stop this. No more second guessing myself. I promised myself. A new year, a new school, a new beginning. Which brings me back to why I applied to Northwestern in the first place. I needed this. As I stared at my reflection in the mirror, I mentally ticked off the pros on my list of reasons for attending Northwestern.

1. It was a well recognized university with an emerging masters program in creative writing.

2. I had family in the area in case I got homesick

3. It was far away from Phoenix. Leaving behind this place would hopefully mean leaving behind my "acquaintances" as well. I wouldn't really miss anyone here besides my mom.

4. Northwestern has a campus in Chicago and Evanston. And though I chose the latter, Chicago wouldn't be that far away. I was excited at the prospect of being so close to such a large city.

5. I know this is ridiculous, but maybe I'd fit in better in Chicago. I was nowhere near the epitome of a Phoenix girl. I was pale, ghostly white in my opinion. Though I was accustomed to the sun, I couldn't tan. Strictly sunburn fading to white. How does that even happen? Plus my unruly mud brown hair was so boring. Not quite straight but not quite curly, I would more often than not throw it up in a messy bun for sheer ease. I even had dull, plain brown eyes to match the hair. Then there was the fashion. I just could never justify spending so much money and clothes, nor could I afford it. It was just me and Renee after all.

Renee, my mom, was a different story. We definitely shared some features in common, but she was so much more vibrant and eager to experience life that she was always so much more attractive than me. Ever since she started dating Phil, her enthusiasm has increased, tenfold. I guess dating a younger man does that to you.

"Bella! Are you almost finished? Charlie will be here any minute. We don't want to keep him waiting, now do we?!" Renee was yelling at me from across the house, something I couldn't stand.

Renee's sense of responsibility wasn't fooling me. I knew her anxiety was caused by her feelings of loss over me. Ever since she left Charlie when I was just a baby, it's been just the two of us. We were more sisters than mother and daughter, and interestingly enough I was the older sister in this relationship.

"Bella, did you hear me?!"

Oops. I forget how my inner monologue can disrupt any sense of normal conversation.

"Yeah Mom, I'm done. I'll start bringing my stuff out front." I really don't like yelling across the house.

If it weren't for Phil I'd probably make due at a local community college, suffer inwardly and whatnot. Because my mom needed me, or at least someone, to help take care of those less important tasks in life. You know the ones, those trivial things like paying bills, going grocery shopping, cleaning the house…But Phil has been great for her. His love and care for Renee really helped me feel at ease about moving half way across the country. Besides, they were moving in together and I really didn't feel the need to be around for the pseudo honeymoon stage of their romance.

"Well, I think this is the last of it." Just in time as Charlie was pulling into the driveway as I spoke. "Mom! I thought you made him promise not to bring the cruiser!" My face was tinted a not so subtle red as I envisioned the drive from here to Evanston in a police cruiser.

Charlie, the police chief in Forks, WA, had insisted on taking me to Evanston himself, stating the need for father/daughter bonding time before his "little girl became a woman." When I protested by stating I hardly had enough luggage to deem a care necessary (I easily could've flown), my mother had surprised me with all the new furniture and accessories I would need for college living. I hated when anyone spent money on me, even my parents. Thus, Charlie felt even more of a need to take me to school.

"Well honey," she sounded pretty flustered now, "he probably couldn't find another car to take…and…well…weboththinkthiswillbesaferandquickerforyou." She inhaled quickly after rushing that last bit out.

I just couldn't bring myself to fight with her knowing I wouldn't see her again until Christmas.

"Ok Mom. I understand. But maybe next time a little warning?"

"Sure thing sweetie."

I heard a "knock, knock" and saw Charlie slowly open the front door. He poked his head in and yelled, "I'm here!" so as to alert us of his presence.

"We're in here Charlie!" Renee shouted from our small living room.

The smallest of smiles began to form on my lips. Though I didn't see Charlie as often as I'd like, I loved him. We were kindred spirits. I definitely inherited his quiet reserve, his eyes, and that stupid mess of hair. We didn't need to speak much to convey our feelings. So when he gave me that look, I knew what he was planning on saying.

"It's ok Dad. I know you and Mom decided to use the cruiser for my benefit. How about we don't drag this out anymore than needed and hit the road."

"Sure Bells, sounds good."

"Oh Bella, sweetie, I'll miss you so much. I'll call you every day and email every night and…" with that she launched at me, squeezing me into a vice like hug. I knew better than to expect a call and email from her every day. She was so enthralled with Phil, she hardly had time for anything else. Plus I didn't need her to do that. I was trying to start over. It's kind of hard to do that with an overbearing mother.

Fifteen minutes later and we were on the road. Just me, Charlie, and enough silence to get lost in the possibilities this year would bring.