I leaned back against the wall, exhausted. I was never joining a basketball team again in my life. Who cares if it was required? I was too clumsy for it, and besides, it was too much stress, with all the pressure my teammates put on me to not screw things up for them, and the coach was constantly--oh, no. Here he came again. I grabbed my water bottle from the floor and busied myself drinking it.
"Bella. I need you to try to get inside the key, arms up, move out towards the ball; don't get scared of it, seriously, it won't hurt you..." That's what he thought. Of course the ball would hurt me. That was its sole purpose in life. The only inanimate object that had it in worse than that ball was the floor.
I continued to pretend to listen to the Coach while still staring longingly at my mother, who was sitting in the bleachers on the other side of the gym. Why couldn't she hang up her stupid cell phone and come drag me out of this mess? I wanted nothing more than to leave this place, get far away from here somehow. I was just waiting for the day Renee would make the announcement that we were moving. With my new step-dad Phil Dwyer trying to get a new job with a baseball team, it was inevitable that it would happen. I just wasn't sure it would happen soon enough for my taste.
"Are you listening to me, Bella?" Coach asked. I nodded, rolling my eyes at him. "I'm just trying to help you get better..." he went off on a ramble again, and I tuned him out, favouring instead my plans for a new school.
A new school would mean a whole new Bella; one who wasn't typical, boring, in-the-background, and not worth thinking of. The new school Bella would be silent, secluded, an enigma, a mystery to all, and should they manage to break through her shell... well, I'd deal with that if it happened. I took another sip of my water and glanced at the score clock. 2:04 to go in the fourth period. I wasn't going to be put back on, so why the coach had bothered to give me a lecture and why I even had to keep sitting on the bench were both mysteries to me.
"Bella? Your mom's waving at you," my friend nudged me and I looked across the gym to see that Renee was indeed standing by the door, waving at me to come talk to her. Not pausing to ask the coach if it was okay, I jogged across the court, thankful they were trying to sink a basket down the other end. I made it across unharmed, though I did trip slightly and land on the door-handle a bit loudly, crashing through the door harder than I had meant to.
"Hey, Mom, what's wrong?" I asked, worried.
"Phil just called," she began. I rolled my eyes; what else was new? "He's flying to Florida tonight so he can audition for a baseball team tomorrow, and he wants me to go with him." She bit her lip and looked at me hesitantly. I nodded encouragingly.
"That's great! What's the problem?"
"I don't want to leave you here all by yourself, Bella! If he gets the job, which is likely, we'll be flying back and forth frequently before we eventually move there… and I can't do that to you. But..." Even though she didn't finish her sentence I knew what she meant. She didn't want to leave Phil either, considering they had just gotten married 3 months ago. She would do it, but she didn't want to. I, however, saw a great opening in this latest development.
"It's fine, Mom. How about I go stay with Charlie for awhile? He'll like that, won't he? Chance to get to know his daughter..." I trailed off, not sure what else to say about my father. Renee had left him when I was only a few months old and I had spent summers with him in rainy Forks, Washington, the complete opposite of my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, but those summers had ended when I rebelled at the age of 12 and forced Charlie to vacation with me in California instead.
I watched her eyes widen at my suggestion, though I was sure she had already thought of it.
"Really, Bella? You want to go live in Forks?" She said it like a dirty word, which, to her, it most definitely was. I nodded.
"If it will make you and Phil happy, why not? And plus, I haven't had Charlie-bonding time for awhile now."
She smiled, and her eyes absolutely lit up with the happiness that I wasn't going to get mad that I was moving to Forks. "Perfect!" she squealed, flipping out her phone, no doubt to call Phil.
I smiled and turned back to the gym, where cheers from our team filled the air. The sounds voiced the feelings inside me perfectly. Here it was, set out on a silver platter for me, the chance of a lifetime. The chance to remake myself. I was choosing to make myself a dark person, but my life was so boring, it needed some interest added to it. And I was taking those matters into my own hands.
I stared in despair at my closet. It was entirely inappropriate, Forks weather-wise and new Bella-wise. I flipped through the numerous tank tops and baby T-shirts in bright colours and sighed. This wasn't going to be easy. I set to work eliminating everything colourful that I owned, folding them neatly into boxes for my mother to take to Florida when she and Phil moved.
Completely horrible colours for new Bella were red, orange, yellow, light green, light blue, light purple, and especially not pink. Acceptable colours were black, brown, dark grey, and in total just everything I could find that could be defined as dark. These dark clothes I folded in typical neat Bella fashion and placed in my gigantic duffel bag.
Staring at the small amount of clothes, so meticulously placed in the bag, I suddenly started to fume. Wasn't this what I was avoiding? The perfection that was all around me, choking me every day? Wasn't I trying to break free? I grabbed all the clothes and messed up the folding, tossing them in the duffel carelessly. I stood back and admired my handiwork. Now that said new Bella.
What else would be a defining point of new Bella? I glanced around my bedroom, begging it to tell me the answers. And, surprisingly enough, it did tell me. I saw my red iPod glinting in the Phoenix sunlight on the desk. It was something I rarely listened to, only sometimes pulling it out to relax before bed. I decided it would be inseparable from new Bella. If the earphones weren't in her ears, they were going to be hanging around her neck. This would definitely pile on the mystery. The other people would always want to know what I was listening to, why I was hiding behind the hoods of my sweaters, and why I never talked. Because new Bella wasn't going to talk. Oh no, new Bella had been through too much trauma for talking.
I hadn't decided what the trauma the new me had suffered was, but I figured it wasn't exactly important. I wasn't going to let anyone close enough to me to feel comfortable enough to ask me what had happened. That was another part of it. By distancing myself from other people, I could avoid boring high school drama, and instead experience the fun kind of drama, the kind you read about in books.
This was a game, all about outer appearances and acting skills. If I looked depressed and traumatized, I was sure the drama of a depressed and traumatized person would come after me. I was counting on it.
Now that I had the clothes and 'accessories' planned, minus the shopping trip I was taking with my mother later, how was I going to make my actual face look the part? Make-up seemed like a good choice, but I didn't have much experience there. I could put normal make-up on, but otherwise, I had no idea. I wanted to look tired, like I hadn't gotten any sleep the night before. I was already albino pale and slim. New Bella was going to be much worse than this. I didn't see any other way to do it. I was going to have to actually not sleep sometimes, and if I did sleep, maybe I could put some sort of purple powdered stuff on to make it look like I hadn't.
It was one big game, and I was the main player.
"Are you sure you'll be fine? You don't have to do this you know," Renee looked at me. I was wearing a dark green tank top and jeans, a happy medium between new and old Bella. I didn't want to scare Renee, but there was no avoiding scaring Charlie in Forks. Hopefully he'd think this was how I'd always looked. My carry-on bag contained my sweater, a parka, the iPod that had just been updated with what I deemed to be new Bella songs, and make-up to make myself look tired. I had been practicing, and I was actually pretty good at it.
"I want to do this, Mom," I reminded her. It was a good thing it wasn't a lie, considering I was a horrible liar. "Remember, father-daughter bonding time?" I smiled at her and leaned in for a hug just as the first boarding call for my flight was announced.
"There's your flight, Bella," she said, pulling away from the hug. I grinned and picked up my bag, waving at her. I felt a pang of regret at leaving her here alone, but really, she wasn't alone. She had Phil now. I kept that in mind as I found my seat and settled in for the flight. All there was to worry about now was making my connection in Seattle and then the hour long ride in Charlie's police cruiser.
Luck was on my side today. Not only had I made the connection in Seattle, but the flight had been late, giving me time to put on my sweater and make-up at the airport.
An hour later, I landed in Port Angeles to find Charlie waiting for me with the biggest smile on his face. I had my iPod earphones crossed loosely behind my neck so that they hung in front, and my hood was up to avoid getting my hair or face wet, but I didn't see any reason to act particularly new Bella-like when it was just me and Charlie. So I grinned back at him and threw my arms around him enthusiastically.
"Hey, Dad! How's life?" I watched for my duffel, which, dovetailing perfectly with the good luck I'd already had today, was one of the very first bags out. I snatched it off the carousel.
"Great, Bella. You look different," he commented, taking my bag from me and leading me to the police cruiser. I cringed a bit at the thought of riding in it, but got in without a word.
"It's been a while," I waved his comment off. We rode in silence for a while, which suited us both fine. I had gotten my speech habits from my father.
"Do you remember Billy Black from the reservation?" he asked me, glancing out of the corner of his eyes. I shook my head.
"We used to go fishing with him, and you'd play with his daughters..." Ah, fishing. That was why I didn't remember. I had a tendency to block painful, unnecessary memories from my brain. "Well, anyways, he just recently got a wheelchair, so he can't drive his truck anymore, and he was wondering if you wanted it."
"How old is it?" I asked skeptically. Charlie knew I had been saving for a car and was planning to buy one so I didn't have to be transported in the police cruiser or walk in the pouring rain.
"I think it was new in the early 60's or something..." he said sheepishly, glancing at me again. He was obviously surprised by my looks.
"Really, Dad? That's ancient! What if I need repairs? How much does it cost?" I couldn't debate about that at least.
"Well, honey, I kind of already bought it for you," he looked at me again, his hands gripping the steering wheel tightly.
Nice. It was free of charge.
"You didn't have to do that. I was going to buy myself a car." He didn't have to, but I was happy he had. More money for me!
"It's nothing. I want you to be comfortable here; and besides, Billy's son was pretty desperate to get rid of the thing. He'll do repairs for you, by the way,"
The thing? He had to refer to it as a thing? 'It better not be a broken down piece of garbage.' Charlie obviously saw the look on my face because he laughed.
"It's not that bad, Bella. I'm sure you'll like it," he chuckled again, and I picked my iPod earphones up off my neck and shoved them in my ears, signaling the conversation was over. I turned it to a calming song and relaxed.
All too soon, we passed an ancient sign that read 'Welcome to Forks.' I sat up straighter and pulled my hood to cover my face some. I couldn't risk people seeing old Bella at all in this town, except Charlie.
We pulled up to the curb and I got out of the car, shoving my hands in my pockets and staring at the truck in the driveway. It was dull red, with a bulbous cab; and I immediately fell in love with it. I walked up to it and ran my hand along the side.
"It's great, Charlie," I said quietly, not wanting anybody on the street to hear me talk. I went up to the door and waited for him to come with my bags. When he arrived I took my carry-on bag from him and smiled. He unlocked the door and we stepped inside the house that hadn't changed since the day Renee had left.
The cupboards in the kitchen were still bright yellow, painted by Renee in an attempt to bring sunshine into the house. Grade school pictures of me were lined up in the living room. We headed up the stairs to my room.
It was exactly the same as it had always been: bed in the corner, rocking chair in the other corner, dressers against the wall by the door. The same yellowing lace curtains hung on the window and the walls were still painted light blue. There was a computer on top of the desk in the left corner of the room, with the cords stapled along the floor.
"Here's your room, then. Bathroom's across the hall, though I'm sure you knew that," he chuckled, backing out of the room. I nodded. At least he wasn't hovering; that was a good thing about Charlie.
I crossed to the bathroom with my bag of toiletries and inspected myself in the mirror. Even though it had been more than 2 hours since I had put the make-up on, it was still intact, no smudges at all. I rinsed my face off and looked up again. My eyes were already showing actual light purple circles. If I didn't sleep at all, or well, tonight, then I wouldn't need to put on make-up in the morning. The thought cheered me as I got in the shower. I really detested make-up.
The water on my back felt nice and smoothed out my travel-exhausted muscles. I lathered up my hair with strawberry scented shampoo, the one thing I had allowed new Bella to keep. Who was going to smell my hair anyways? And this stuff only cost 2 dollars. 'Even new Bella likes cheap things.'
I stepped out of the shower and wrapped myself in a fluffy towel before changing into my PJs. For pajamas, I had a black t-shirt and black sweats. In Phoenix, I had considered getting my hair dyed black, but decided the chocolate brown it was would do. Besides, that would have made Renee and Charlie ask questions.
I tossed myself onto my bed with the door closed, considering what to do to stay awake for awhile. I'd probably just read. Or... I spotted my heap of clothes with my iPod lying on top. I'd listen to music until Charlie went to bed. I hopped up again and picked it up. I spun the click wheel until it landed on a Linkin Park album Phil had recently bought me that I would normally consider too loud, but had decided was perfect for new Bella, and so downloaded onto my iPod. I then hit play and lost myself in the beat of the music, surprised to find that I actually liked it. I'd have to thank Phil again.
Leon McFrenchington: From here on out, I'll just be 'LM.' Alright, peoples, this story is epic. Trust me, it will make you fall over in laughter, causing those around you to wonder if you are high. I'm beta for TRDancer's chapters, and co-writer for EPOV when TRD is beta. This will be worth a read and we have steady updates for the schedule as we already finished 30+ chapters and are currently working on even more. Chapters will be short, but constant. They are just funnier that way. Hope you all enjoy!
TRDancer: So, yeah, Leon said it all. I write BPOV, he writes EPOV, and then you all read what we wrote. Then, all of you review. Because the button loves to be clicked. I insist upon saying this a lot, you will discover. Because it's true. Really.
Leon McFrenchington: See, like I said, consistent and constant updates! And geeze, can't you already imagine this Bella falling all over her lies later on? *cackle* Seriously, around Edward when she's 'dazzled'… I can't wait. Review, peeps, and we'll be nice and give you virtual cookies and replies.
TRDancer: Yeah, I'm all over replying to reviews. It could seriously be one of my favourite things to do. Sadly, I can't do it unless you actually DO review. Clicks the button, people. I will love you for all my life. (And there are cookies. How can you resist??)
Leon McFrenchington: If one person says "OOC," I will smack them. Obviously it's OOC… that's the basis of the story. We're going to be going through a lot of set-up for a while until we get to the true humor (though humor will make it's way in, no worries). Also, short chapters = constant updates. Not many people update a story 3 times a week. With that said, review and check out my other stories. They need some TLC. And review TRD's other stories, too. She's such an awesome writer.
Also, use the word "epic" in your reviews. That's TRD's favorite word.
TRDancer: If you guys say "epic" in your review, I will kill you. It is NOT my favourite word.
Yeah. She's OOC purposefully. Feel the love, not the hate. And you may be asking, where's Edward's POV? Well, it's not the next chapter, though Edward is IN that chapter... heh heh. So, now you can REVIEW!! :D