Dimensional: a level of existence or consciousness
Happenstance: a circumstance especially that is due to chance
Crimson eyes leered at me. The predator snarled, moving silently with catlike grace. The mist swirled through the moss covered trees; snakelike and caressing as a lover's tender hands would. There is dampness and the smell of decaying vegetation. The forest that surrounds me is unnaturally still and silent; the only sound I can hear is the frantic rhythm of my heart pounding in my ears. Somehow, I am not surprised that I ended up here.
With a terrifying growl the predator leaps towards me with violent fury. I close my eyes hoping it will be over quickly. As the distance closes between us time speeds up and slows down in the same moment bringing with it exceptional clarity.
I had heard stories about how a person's life is supposed to flash before their eyes moments before death, but not me. My eyes lock with the one who would end my existence and I could not move; would not move. Figures; I couldn't even die normally. In the briefest of moments before he struck I managed to whisper "I forgive you".
But I was certain of one thing. I could not exist without him.
My soul mate.
The mid-morning sun crept across my body and I reveled in the sensations on my skin; warmth, safety, and home.
I loved Phoenix in all of its dry glory. I loved living with my mom. Renee was extremely impulsive and energetic; flitting around from one hobby to the next, never completing what she started. But she was also my best friend. Somewhere along the way our roles had switched and I had become the parent for all intents and purposes. I was the one who made sure the bills were paid and appointments kept.
Then she met Phil. It's true that he was several years her junior and that I honestly thought their relationship was a mistake; but he proved to be one of the best things that happened to her. He was patient and kind. I had to admit he was good for her. When they announced that they were getting married I felt like I was losing a child. He would be the one to take care of her now.
Phil was a minor league baseball player with hopes of being signed to the majors. This would require him to be away from home a great deal of the time. Renee was dedicated to staying home to be with me, but her heart longed to be with her new husband. I felt guilty because she had been alone for so long and she deserved happiness even if that meant it was without me.
Of course being seventeen, I could not live alone, and decided that the only reasonable option was to move in with my dad Charlie. It would be worth a year of suffering to ensure my mom's happiness. The drawback was that he lived in the capital of 'Wet and Damp'. Forks is a small town on the coast of Washington State that remained in a perpetual cycle of rain, fog, and overcast skies. The sun made a brief appearance occasionally, but it was always sporadic and fleeting.
School wasn't really an issue as I had never really fit in anywhere. I had no real friends and had never dated. My obvious clumsiness was enough to keep people at a distance. I allowed myself a chuckle wondering if they thought it was contagious.
The student population at my school in Phoenix was over 5000, and I was good at being invisible. I figured I would just continue my invisibility routine until I graduated, granted that being invisible in a population of only 350 students would take a bit more finesse.
The fact that I could leave when I was 18 was the only way I would be able to stand it.
Renee knocked softly on my bedroom door and opened it slightly seeing if I was awake. She crossed the room and sat at the edge of my bed. Her eyes glanced over to my one suitcase as she asked me again, "Are you sure about this, Bella?"
I had worked hard to convince her that I really wanted to spend time with my dad and get to know him. "Of course, Mom; I am really excited about this." I was afraid she would figure it out. Normally I couldn't lie to save my life, but I was determined to do this with none the wiser. I had to.
Phil put my suitcase in the car and we headed out of our quiet neighborhood, driving toward the airport. With the windows down I took several deep breaths and closed my eyes, committing each scent to memory.
I only carried a light windbreaker as I planned to buy the right clothing when I got there. Not that I had a lot to work with. I wasn't totally sure what I would need. During the flight I thought over the previous summers I'd spent in Forks.
My mom had married Charlie right out of high school and feeling smothered, had left when I was just a few months old; the divorce had been brutal. As part of the custody arrangement between my parents, I had been obligated to spend two weeks a year with Charlie. He was the police chief and had been born and raised there.
Looking out the window the view had changed from clear endless skies to a solid carpet of cloud cover below us. The overcast skies brought back long-buried memories of the fishing trips. Charlie's passion was fishing and he would take me several times during my visits. Often these adventures included one or more of his friends.
Billy Black was a vague memory. I barely remember that he had a son Jacob that I played with –usually in the mud. I remember the mud. How I loved mud. It always reminded me of home because it was brown. I love brown.
I never did tell Charlie how much I absolutely hated fishing. I endured the tenuous visits until I was old enough to demand we spend our time elsewhere in a much warmer and drier place.
As the plane started its descent into Seattle my thoughts drifted to Jacob Black. I wondered how he had turned out. I had fuzzy memories of a dark skinned boy with hair twisted into a single braid down to the middle of his back. He was a year younger than me and would probably be the typical hormonal and shallow teenage boy. I suspected that Charlie might try to throw us together in attempt to make me feel more comfortable.
In truth, I wanted to remain as disconnected to Forks as possible.
The jet landed at Sea Tac with little fanfare. A shaft of sunlight broke through the dismal sky only to be closed over as quickly as it had come.
As I boarded the small commuter plane that would take me to Port Angeles I realized that I needed to check my attitude and quick. I grimaced as I realized that I would be making the last leg of my trip in Charlie's police cruiser. Nothing said "invisible" like red and blue lights.
Ugh. Attitude. Check.
The airport in Port Angeles was not much. I could see a couple of private hangars and two runways with their guiding lights fighting the oppressive darkness. There was a private jet waiting to be cleared for takeoff. The plane taxied to its resting place about 20 yards from the main building that housed one ticket counter and several vending machines. As I exited the plane I could see a figure pacing back and forth in the small windowed lobby.
It was Charlie. I could tell he was nervous and I wanted to make this as painless as possible. "Hi Bells, was your flight ok?" He greeted me with a brief open hug. He was not one for showing his emotions; that was one thing we had that in common. "Yeah, but I'm tired" I gave a small smile. I was tired, but more than that I wanted to be left to my thoughts.
We picked up my suitcase and Charlie put it in the trunk. It had rained earlier and the light was reflecting off the pavement with a harsh glare. It was cold and rush of wind blew my hair across my eyes. I shivered and huddled further into my poor excuse for weather protection. Charlie saw me shiver and gave a sympathetic glance at my windbreaker and turned the heater on high as soon as we got into the cruiser.
Slowly the warmth reached me and I tried to relax. We made small talk about the police station and my life in Phoenix. As we left Port Angeles I watched the dark line of trees speed by. The rain swept off the windshield with the rhythmic movement of the wiper blades. I started to drift off again. Blurred visions of familiar shadows played across my closed eyelids.
I came out of my self induced haze to see that we were nearly there. The rain had slowed to a drizzle as we pulled in to the driveway. It was dark but from what I could see the house seemed to be the same as I remembered; maybe a little worse for wear.
Charlie got my suitcase from the trunk and led the way up the small walk. It was uneven with several cracks. Of course I tripped once or twice but was able to catch my balance. Charlie chuckled and shook his head. We continued up the steps and through the front door. It was like a frozen moment in time. Everything was the same; the drapes, the furniture, the small wooden table in the kitchen.
I followed Charlie up the creaky narrow stairs to my old bedroom. My new room. Several childhood art projects still covered the walls. The bed had a new comforter and pillows-I was touched because it was his way of making me feel welcome. Across the hall from my room was the very small bathroom that we would have to share. I would not have much space to deal with, but then again, I wasn't the type of person who used an arsenal of beauty products anyway.
My dad wasn't what you would call tech savvy. This was obvious when he proudly showed off the older computer desk and even older computer he had purchased for me from a yard sale. His one technological pride was the huge flat screen TV in the living room. Sports, Baseball in particular; Charlie's other passion.
He left me alone to unpack and I was grateful. I liked alone. Actually, that was another thing we had in common. This might not be so bad.
After unpacking and getting my bed situated, I stopped to look out my bedroom window. A large tree took up half the view. What I could see beyond that looked over a part of the small front yard. The trees branches tree were almost close enough to touch the side of the house.
The day's adventure had caught up to me and I gave a loud yawn. I changed into a comfortable pair of sweats and an oversized t-shirt and made my way downstairs and into the kitchen.
The cupboards were still the same pale yellow Renee had painted them so many years ago. The fridge was older too, and after looking inside I don't believe it ever had much use after mom left.
After a quick inventory of the kitchen I realized that Charlie ate out for almost all of his meals. I did find some peanut butter, half a loaf of bread, and something that I think used to be jelly. The bread wasn't crawling and the date was current on the peanut butter so I made a p & b with no j.
Charlie got up from the news he had been watching and sighed when he realized he'd not bought any groceries. He mumbled an apology and handed me some money to get whatever I needed food wise. I got a glass from the cabinet and filled it with water, taking small sips as I tried to get my bearings. I suddenly felt very tired and said goodnight and headed up the stairs and into my room.
I had ignored my carry-on bag for the entire trip and had set it beside the bed when I'd first arrived. As I climbed into bed I caught a faint glow from inside and realized that my phone was on silent the entire time. I imagined Renee's state of mind when I saw 14 missed calls.
Technology was not kind to my mother either; it was much worse for her than Charlie. The fact that she was able to keep track of her cell long enough to call me that many times was a feat unto itself. I debated calling so late, but knew she would start calling the house in a panic if I didn't get back to her tonight. I tried to think of what I could say to assure her that all was well as I heard it click over to voice mail. I left a message promising to call her the next day.
I flopped down onto my bed, pulling the covers up as high as they would go and buried my head under them. I wanted to sleep-I needed to sleep, but was too keyed up. I thought about getting up to look out my window again but instead I stayed in bed. I tossed and turned for several hours-a victim to my rambling brain.
Then it hit me. This was real. There was no going back. Taking a deep breath (I forgot to breathe a lot) I knew that I would have to face my new life. In the morning.