Summary: After being forced out her home by her stepfather's dirty little secret, Bella Swan moves to Forks, Washington for a new life. She is quickly captivated by the Cullen family or at least one Cullen in particular.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or any of the characters.
My mother stared out the window refusing to meet my gaze. I looked at her through the mirror and let a sigh escape my lips. She didn't turn her head only moved her eyes slightly to the side but said nothing. Why did she insist on being in my room, if she didn't want to even look at me? I ignored her as I stood and walked to my closet to search for today's outfit. I heard my mother's stifle a quiet whimper as I searched through the racks of clothes. Grabbing a tank top and denim skirt, I trudged back out into the main room. This made her glance my way; her eyes lacking any emotion other than confusion. I sighed again slightly annoyed as she moved her eyes away from mine once again.
"Mom…" She jumped as if she forgot I could speak. A sheepish look came across her face as she pushed the dark hair that had fallen onto her face when she jumped out her eyes. Her eyes became curious since it was the first time I had spoken in hours. I sat across from her intertwining my fingers together and dropped my eyes to the floor. "I have to do this." I stressed every word to make sure that this time I showed no doubt in my voice. She suppressed another sad sound that bubbled behind her lips. It hurt me to see her in pain, but it would only get worse if I stayed. I turned in my chair pretending to thumb through a clothing magazine once again. I don't know if I fooled her or not, but it was better than so obviously staring at the floor to avoid her gaze. She was silent again staring dreamingly out the window.
After nearly ten minutes, I stood and walked back to my closet with the clothes I'd already chosen in hand. I walked to the back of my long closet and grabbed my undergarments out of the dresser that was pushed up against the back wall. I quickly pulled the door closed and changed into my new clothes. Shrugging on a light zip-up hoodie, I looked down at myself. I looked presentable enough. Today was a day of sadness, not a day to truly give a damn about what I wore. When I returned to my room, my mother was now standing in front of the back wall staring at the pictures that lined a shelf just above her eye level.
"Are you sure, Bella?" She asked in an uncharacteristically low tone. My mother had a distinctive personality that had both made her my best friend and pushed me into adulthood at a young age at the same time. She was always enthusiastic and outgoing, hardly ever solemn. She glanced over her shoulder at me. Her eyes now gleamed with unmistakable sadness over my unexpected decision to leave home.
I slowly nodded playing with my fingers. Of course, I wasn't sure but it was for the best. Three years ago, as I started my frightening years of high school, my mother fell blindingly in love with a major league baseball player. He loved her. She loved him. It was unquestionable. The pure love between them sparkled in their eyes every time they were in the same room. That is why I must go. I neither had the strength to stay nor the heart to tell my mother about my darkest secret.
I believe Phil is a good man underneath everything. He treats my mother as if she was royalty and would never force her to lift a finger if she didn't want to. Of course my mother had never been one for sitting around while being weighed on hand and foot. He cared about her, but he just didn't enjoy the baggage that came along with her… me. I had seen it blatantly on his face the first time I met him a few weeks after they began dating. We gave it a good go for my mom's sake, but in the end, there was no incentive for us to be close or even like each other. The littlest of things about me set him off just as the littlest things about him annoyed me. My klutziness. His temper. My blush. His controlling behavior. The little things that drove me insane and drove him to violence. I kept my mouth shut every time his hand came in contact with my skin and whimpered in silence trying to mend myself before my mother noticed. She was happy, and that was what mattered to me, regardless if the man who put that smile on her face was killing me from the inside out. The secret was burning within me. The nightmares made it hard to sleep. But just like everything, I hide the bruises and circles under my eyes and tried to suppress every memory more and more every passing day.
Two weeks ago, as I tapped my chest up to avoid discovery of a broken rib as a fresh set of tears rolled off my cheeks, I knew it was time I left. He would never, ever hurt my mother. So the next day at dinner, I announced I wanted to move in with my father, Charlie, in Forks, Washington. My mother was naturally shocked, hurt, and upset. But I didn't let my strong front break. If I stayed, I might not live to my eighteenth birthday. If I left, my mother would miss me, but she had Phil. In the beginning, I almost caved as she begged for me to stay longer. I would be graduating in two years anyway, but two years was too long. It had already begun escalating for slaps across the face to broken ribs. I sternly shook my head and told her I'd be out of the house by the end of September.
And I followed through with the promise. I had my plane ticket and my bags packed. There was no turning back now. I would fly to Seattle then to a small airport in Port Angeles. Charlie would pick me up there and drive me back to his house… our house. I was nervous about it all. One, it was a new town. A new town meant a new school. A new school meant being the new girl outcast. And that would lead to my ultimate embarrassment I'm sure.
"Why now?" She asked me as she lifted a picture of me and her off the shelf using her finger to trace our happy expressions.
"I just need a change, and you should travel more with Phil." I told her the lie with a twinge of guilt. I didn't want change. I didn't like change! Especially not a change like this. Forks is notorious for its rain and the mushy green crap that very unnaturally covered every surface. I love sun, which is not a usual visitor of Forks. Beyond that, the fact that it was a tiny town nobody has ever heard about still haunts me. I can only imagine the gossip now. You can't do one thing in Forks without it becoming breaking news the next day. My mother said that it was because everyone in the small town was suffering from isolation which slowly caused them to go insane. Since not many people were lucky enough to get out, many generations of sons and daughters were born, grew up, and had children without ever seeing anything past Seattle.
"I can stay here with you more often. If this about you being alone…"
"Mom, I'm going." I said sternly yet calmly cutting her off. "I want you to be happy. Besides it's been awhile since I've spent some quality time with Charlie… I mean Dad."
She sighed heavily and returned the picture to the shelf knowing that having this argument once again was fruitless. "You'll visit?"
"During summer, Christmastime, and spring break." I rattled off the same three times I promised her three nights before.
"Okay…" She said just above a whisper. I nodded and looked around my room. It was painted a light blue color as it always had been. I never really had the urge to change much other than a few things here and there, like changing the bed I grew or adding the sound system as I become more enthusiastic about music in my years. I was leaving it behind for now. My mom would ship things like that out to me after I got settled and decided what of my possessions I wanted. Beyond the few cold-weather clothes I had, I was only bringing my IPod, my laptop, and cell phone. All "gifts" from Phil. My mother thought it was an act of kindness, but I knew better. He wanted me to keep my mouth shut, and I would. Not for the pricy car he brought me for my seventeenth birthday after he broke my wrist and I told my mother I had fallen going down the stairs. I kept his dirty little secret so my mother wouldn't be in pain.
My car was already on its way to Forks probably arriving there Tuesday, so it'd be ready when I began school on Wednesday morning. For that I was grateful, in a town where it's news if someone kisses someone goodnight on their third date, it would not be in my interest to be driven to school in a police cruiser. I was pulled out of my thoughts by my mother's voice. "We better go."
My eyes flicked over to the clock that sat on the nightstand. It was almost nine. My plane was leaving in two hours. Keeping in mind that it was Phoenix and security wasn't light and my mother's long goodbye hug, I knew it was best if we left early. Nodding, I walked to the door right behind her. Taking a deep breath, I bent down, wincing in a little pain as the bruises on my back burned, and grabbed my duffle bag. It only contained my IPod, computer, and a few outfits to tide me over until my car got there and I could go shopping.
The car ride to the airport was wordless. I had never seen my mother so quiet and for that I felt a stab of guilt in the pit of my stomach. The airport wasn't far from my house, unfortunately. We got out in silence. I carried the bag with me trying to think of a way to strike up conversation but my mother did instead.
"Phil really wanted to be here. But he had practice." She told me quietly.
I nodded indifferently. I really didn't want him there so he could get the sweet satisfaction that he had won. I was leaving. Tears stung my eyes for the first time that day. Usually I had a better hold on my emotions. Between my mother's sadness, the guilt for causing it, and my anger towards Phil, I felt them pooling along the brims. If only I was stronger, then I wouldn't be forced from my home by a man who didn't belong there, who didn't deserve my mother's love. We walked the rest of the way to where she could walk no further in silence. I set my bag down and looked at her. Before I could blink, she threw her arms around me and cried into my shoulder. I wrapped my arms around her rubbing circles on her back. She pulled herself together best she could after a few minutes and pulled away from me. Her eyes were red and filled with sadness she didn't want me to see. I felt the guilt burning in my chest again and choked back tears that threatened to fall.
"Call me when you get there. And… call or text or email every day, so I know you're doing all right." She wrapped her arms around me again and stroked my back comfortingly. I cringed as her hand pressed against a bruise but nodded anyway. I had kept a calm façade this long. I wasn't going to crack only minutes before I could make a clean break. She inhaled sharply and pulled away. "Alright. You don't want to miss your flight."
I flashed a quickly fleeting smile and nodded. "I'll talk to you later, Mom."
"I'll miss you."
"I'll miss you too, but Christmas isn't that far away." I told her kissing her cheek before grabbing my bag. "Bye."
She waved as I turned and walked toward security. The feeling of defeat and weakness entered me. If only I had been stronger…