A/N: Chapter 1 of the new story. Review please and let me know what you like, what you hate etc… Chapter 2 will follow closely behind. Bear in mind that I am not putting a hold on my other story, follow through. I just needed to get these first few chappies out there to my loving audience.
"You should pack a winter jacket," said my mom as she helped me sort through my closet for the last time before leaving for the airport. I rolled my eyes and pulled out a few more t-shirts and pairs of underwear from my dresser.
"It will be summer in Europe too mom. I won't need a winter jacket. I've got my trusty hoodie packed, and a light jacket. I'm sure that will be more than sufficient. If it gets too cold, I'll stay indoors… how's that?" I asked in frustration, as I shoved my cosmetics case into my big red backpack. I had driven into Seattle with my best friend Angela to visit REI and pick out the largest, yet sturdiest backpack I could find. She recommended a bright red one so that I was able to find it easily when I had to check it, which would be on every flight I had to take because it was too big for carry on luggage. Instead, I had a smaller bag for carry on. My mother insisted on sewing a Canadian flag patch on it though because she thought Europeans would be nicer to me if they thought I was Canadian, rather than American. I just let her do it because I was tired of listening to her bitch about it for two weeks. The last thing I wanted to do during my last week in Forks was argue with my mother.
"Do you have your passport?" asked my dad, Charlie as he popped his head into my bedroom.
"Yes, I have my passport. I have my money, my Eurorail pass and my calling cards," I sighed for a moment before I continued. "I also have my plane tickets to New York and London, my book about traveling through Europe by rail, my camera with extra memory cards and the phone number for Great Aunt Charlotte in Ireland." I watched as my parents both nodded at the same time. They weren't overly excited that I had decided to take this trip before I moved to New York in September for college, but I couldn't bear another summer in Forks. So when I ended up getting my full ride to Columbia for Art History, I decided to spend some of the money I had managed to save on a two month long trip to Europe. I would travel by train across as many countries as I could, seeing as many different sights and cities as was possible. I was planning to stay at various hostels, which of course was irritating for Charlie, but I couldn't afford the five star hotels he wished I could stay at.
"Here, you should take this with you," said Charlie has he tried to hand me a small can of mace.
"Dad, I won't even get through airport security with this," I stammered in frustration. He took it back reluctantly and watched remorsefully as I closed the zipper on my bag and tossed into onto my back and headed down the stairs to put it in the waiting car.
Angela and her boyfriend Ben showed up a few moments after we got back downstairs. We were supposed to do the trip together, we had talked about it for years, but when the time came for us to book our tickets, she backed out. Her father had been diagnosed with cancer half way through our junior year, and things were getting progressively worse for him, so she decided to stay to be with him. I couldn't blame her; I would have done the exact same thing if it had been Charlie. Her father, Mr. Weber tried to convince her to come with me, even if it was just for two weeks, but Angela knew her place was with her dad, so I'm flying solo on the trip now.
"Send us lots of postcards," smiled Angela as she pulled me into another big hug. I had known Angela since the first grade when we both showed up wearing the exact same outfit. It appeared that both of our parents loved to shop at Target. We had a going away party a few days earlier, where we managed to get extremely wasted and spent most of the night crying about how this was supposed to be 'our' trip. Well, she cried and I offered support.
"You'll take care of her right?" I asked of Ben. They had been dating for the past two years and were one of the cutest couples at Forks High. They were even heading off to college together in Seattle in the fall. I watched as Ben quietly nodded his head in response to my question.
"Don't forget to visit the Louvre in Paris and the National Gallery in London. I hear they have an excellent impressionist exhibit." Angela wasn't into art, but during our time planning the trip, she had gone a little overboard and already knew everything that was happening in each city we were supposed to visit. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I had thrown out the itinerary we had set and I was going to decide on the spur of the moment where to go and what to do.
"You know you can come back whenever you want right? You don't have to stay two months in Europe," said my mother Renee as I tossed my backpack in the back of Charlie's police cruiser after Angela and Ben left. They had insisted on driving me to the airport together, but a few days earlier my mother's old Ford officially died on the side of the highway, so here we stood, offering up awkward farewells in front of Charlie's beloved Crown Victoria. We had all agreed over dinner the night before to say our tear-filled goodbyes at the house, so we wouldn't make a big scene at the Sea-Tac airport. It wasn't going well.
"Don't take any weird drugs and don't wander down dark streets late at night," recommended Renee as we drove in near silence to the airport. "And don't talk to strangers."
"Everyone in Europe is a stranger to me mom. What do you expect me to do? Bring a chalkboard and write notes in foreign languages? I didn't study basic French and Italian for nothing," I remarked in frustration as I tried to ignore her advice. I shoved my ear buds back into my ears and turned up my music, in an effort to calm my nerves. I had never been away from either one of my parents for more than three nights, so two months will be a huge stretch for me. Renee bought me a hundred dollars worth of calling cards so that I could check in with her on a frequent basis. With my luck, they probably won't even work in Europe.
We pulled up in front of the 'departures' section of the airport and Charlie helped me unload my bag from the car as my mom pulled me in for yet another hug. I don't think she had hugged me as much in the past eighteen years of my life as she had in the past seven days.
"Be safe kiddo," said Charlie as he squeezed me tightly and I disappeared through the automatic doors to find my check in stand. I took a quick look back towards my parents and saw my dad hugging my mom who was crying inconsolably. I felt a small pang of remorse for leaving them, but this was something I had been dying to do and would regret even more if I didn't do it. After checking in and going through all the security checkpoints, I eased myself into a chair outside my gate and waited impatiently. I looked through the crowd of people that were catching the same flight as me to JFK in New York City. A lot of business men and women primarily. There was one family with kids and I just prayed that their youngest, who looked about five wasn't sitting anywhere near me. When we finally boarded and were all sitting in our seats, I turned up my iPod to the traveling playlist I had made and closed my eyes, eager to sleep before my layover and I finally headed to London. Stop one on the Bella Swan Trip of a Lifetime.
I hated JFK Airport. I had travelled a lot in my nineteen years, thanks to my practically nomadic parents who actually preferred that I call them by their first names, Carlisle and Esme. I think my hatred of JFK probably stemmed from the sheer number of people who travelled through here everyday. My best friend, Jasper, used to always joke that I hated people and this was his theory as to why I was spending the next two months traipsing through Europe by myself.
As I sat at my gate, listening to my iPod and waiting for my flight to board, I thought about how lucky I was to not have to spend the summer in the Hamptons with the rest of my pretentious family. Even though my parents were a little flighty, they had come from rich influential families and this had always worked to my benefit. When Jasper and I were caught 'borrowing' a boat from the local yacht club last summer, all was forgiven because my grandfather was such a long standing member. When it was time to decide on a college, I went against tradition and picked the music program at NYU. My grandfather kept insisting he'd disown me because I wasn't going to Yale, where the last nine Cullen's had graduated and my older brother Emmett was currently a student. I was the black sheep of the family and I basked in it.
So, here I sit, patiently awaiting my flight to London so I can embarrass my family further by trekking across Europe and staying in hostels or on park benches instead of the five star hotels my father, I mean Carlisle, tried to book for me. I started scanning through the waiting area to see who else was getting on our Trans-Atlantic flight. A few of the standard businessmen, a group of older ladies on a tour and a young couple who couldn't keep their hands off of each other, so I deduced that they were probably newlyweds. A few seats down from their grope fest sat a very pretty girl, who was probably around my age. Her long dark hair was pulled into a ponytail and her eyes were closed as she bobbed her head gently to her music. I watched her with morbid curiosity. She strummed her fingers along her knee to the beat of her music and often reached up and twirled the hair hanging down from her ponytail. She was definitely cute.
I grabbed my bag and moved seats so that I was sitting in the same row of chairs as her. I thought about how to approach her. I could just say hello or ask her about her music, but that seemed really lame. I never had a problem talking to girls before, but there seemed to be something different about her. So I turned sideways on my chair and faced her, waiting to see if she would notice me, but she didn't. Her eyes stayed shut and she started to mouth the words to the song she was listening to. I had no idea what it was. Almost twenty minutes later, they started to board our plane, but the lovely brunette never moved. I tapped her lightly on the shoulder and her eyes opened and got very wide when she saw me standing in front of her.
"They're boarding now," I said nervously as I stared into her dark brown eyes as though they held all the answers to life's little mysteries.
"Oh, thanks," she said happily as she blushed a beautiful shade of pink. She then began to gather up her things and lined up to get on our flight. My mind was working a mile a minute and I was trying to figure out how I could talk to her some more. Her voice sounded like that of an angel, and we had a long flight to Heathrow. Certainly talking to her for a while would make everything more bearable.
When I took my seat in first class, I glanced back and noticed that Bella was sitting beside a large sweaty looking older man in a bright red golf shirt. I grabbed the arm of the first stewardess I could find and asked if they would be willing to see if the man would change seats with me. She nodded at me happily and went to speak to him. I watched blissfully as he gathered up his belongings and wandered up to my seat. "Thanks," I said to the gentleman as he waited for me to finish moving. I was finally glad that Carlisle had forced me to buy the first class seat, instead of coach like I had insisted. I headed down the aisle of the plane and shoved my bag under the chair and sat down beside the lovely looking creature, whose facial expression was that of curiosity.
"I'm Edward. Edward Cullen," I said as I extended my hand to her politely.
"Bella," she replied curtly as she reached for her iPod.
"You have to wait for the flight to take off before you can listen to your iPod," I said confidently, even though I realized I sounded like a parent. "Or that's what I've heard." I said, trying to correct myself and not seem like too much of a douche. "Where are you headed?"
"I'm going to India. Where do you think I'm going?" she replied as her words dripped with sarcasm. She was a bit of a spitfire, and I was thoroughly enjoying the banter I was creating between us.
"I hear it's nice there. Monkeys and cows line the streets. Very clean," I laughed contentedly, hoping that I could hold her attention for more than a few playful minutes. Instead, she rolled her eyes and smiled lightly.
"Why did you leave first class to come sit beside me?" she asked, sounding slightly annoyed.
"Why not? I was sitting alone and you were sitting with the kool-aid mascot and you looked uncomfortable, so I switched. Are you mad at me?" I couldn't tell by her current expression if she was upset or not. She certainly was an interesting girl, I'd give her that. I've never had a problem reading people, but Bella was an entirely different story. I had no idea what was going on in that pretty little head of hers.
"It's fine. I'm just gonna let you know that if you start stalking me when we get off the plane, I will be calling Scotland Yard." I just laughed at her funny threat.
"Scotland Yard? Really Bella? Just say the Police. I think Scotland Yard probably has more important things to do then hunt down a nineteen year old from Massachusetts who was talking to a girl on a plane. How about we call Interpol too? Or the U.N. this must be some sort of war crime right?" I laughed thickly as I watched her scowl turn into a smile. She had finally found me funny.
"Ok, well, not Scotland Yard then, but I would definitely call the police if you showed up at my hostel or anywhere else I was going," she replied honestly. My head started reeling at her words. She was staying at a hostel, just like I was. Maybe even the same hostel if I was lucky.
"So what brings you to London anyways?"
"It's just a quick stop for me actually. I'm there for two days before I travel over to Paris and start to use my Eurorail pass. I'm travelling through Europe for the next two months before I head off to college in September." This just became my lucky day. This attractive girl was doing the exact same thing as me for the next nine weeks. I would have to find an excuse to meet up with her again while in London. I felt this resolute need to see her again after this flight.
It looks like she may need to call Scotland Yard after all.