Disclaimer: I don't own any Twilight related characters or content. This disclaimer applies to all future chapters of this fan work.
Once upon a time, in a land not so far from your own there lived a little girl named Isabella Marie Swan. She was an unremarkable child with common place features; brown eyes and pale skin were nothing special in the Township of Forks. She had no particular talents or abilities and was not from a very wealthy or affluent family. Her mother, Renèe Swan, and her father, Charles Swan, owned a half acre plot of land on which they had built a small house. Renèe worked as a private tutor while Charles farmed.
They had a very modest income, as did nearly everyone else in Forks, and worked hard for what they had. Isabella, now nearly eight, did just as much as her parents. She fed the chickens, cleaned the horse and cow stalls and sewed patches on all her old pants and skirts; she did the same for some of the other local children, for which she was paid. Her mother had even given her a little bit of land upon which she grew herbs and vegetables.
Her parents loved her dearly and did the best they could to raise her right. Her mother taught her reading, writing and arithmetic whenever she had a spare moment between planning lessons, cooking and doing laundry. Her father took her out to the potato fields to pick the ugly, little potato bugs off of the leaves. It wasn't exactly her favorite chore of the week, but it taught her to be persistent and to pay attention to detail. If any one of those 'icky' bugs was left to the potatoes they'd be out of luck when harvesting time came around.
Isabella, known as Bella to friends and family, loved her simple existence. She didn't want bigger things like the girls around town seemed to. They dreamed of a fairytale life; a chance meeting with Prince Edward, love at first sight and a title. Princess Jessica! Princess Lauren! Even Angela had the tendency to drift off into dreamland whenever the boy's name was mentioned.
Privately Bella didn't see what was so wonderful about him. He was cute, it was true, but there needed to be more to it than that. They didn't really know anything about him. As far as she was concerned he was a prince and that was all. Until she saw otherwise that was all he would be to her. And she never would know otherwise because she was just a common little girl, living in a common little town, with her common little family and that was exactly the way she liked it.
Currently Miss Swan was lallygagging on her walk home from the market; rather than taking the direct path down the main dirt road she'd veered east onto a lesser known scenic tail through the forest. The path was just barely visible through the thick ferns and other foliage from the dusty route. None of the adults in town knew of it's existence and very few of the children were brave enough to walk the supposedly cursed pathway.
The high, green leaves obscured the sunlight, filling the woodland with a murky, dark-green hue. Branches snapped behind one as little animals scampered by and birds twittered and cawed at exactly the least expected moments. If she hadn't been on this path so many times before she would have been just as frightened as the others seemed to be.
It wasn't that she couldn't see the reasoning behind the fear that so many of the children harbored. If your older brothers, sisters, parents, aunts and uncles had told and retold the infamous stories of the frightening creatures that preyed upon small children who were foolhardy enough to go traipsing through the forest unaccompanied, well, you would be more than a little cautious too. Bella, along with the few others who were too young to take pleasure in alarming the smaller ones yet old enough to have figured out the truth, knew the real reason behind the tales; they were told to keep them in line. It was like the little boy who called wolf, it had a moral. In this case it was that wandering alone in a dark, unfamiliar place was a stupid thing to do.
There was more to it than that though; as previously stated none of the adults were aware of the existence of this particular pathway. No, the narratives surrounding this place came from those who had walked it.
Lauren had quite a lot to say on the subject. According to her she'd had two encounters with a strange beast who roamed the woods, seen one unicorn, and had been contacted, telepathically, by a hag who apparently lived deep inside the wood. Bella had never experienced anything supernatural on her walks, and wasn't sure that she believed that what her friends told her was the truth. It would be just like Lauren to fib about something like that, and Jessica would go along with her. They both had the tendency to make a lot of fuss about nothing. It wouldn't have surprised Bella if Lauren had made everything up for attention; she was just that type of person.
"Oh!" Bella exclaimed quietly to herself. She'd just remembered that she'd bought a little sweet bun with a bit of money she'd come across on her walk near the main market. If she wanted to eat it before dinner she had better do it soon, her mother would only question her about it if she caught her with it.
After a little bit of searching she was able to find a nice fallen tree to climb up and perch upon. It was only a few steps from the path, not far at all; in fact she could see the pathway from where she was sitting.
She shook her head, there was no point in trying to justify her wandering to herself. It wasn't a good idea to leave the path, but it was too late now, she'd already done it. She might as well enjoy her bun while it was still warm.
As she did so her thoughts wandered back to her friends, or those who called themselves her friends. Jessica and Lauren she'd already thought over, but Angela she rarely thought about. It wasn't that she didn't care for her, quite the contrary, it was just that Angela never did much worth thinking about. She wasn't one for adventure. Then again she was very nice, almost too nice as she never seemed to see, or maybe she ignored, the faults of others.
Then there were the boys. They weren't really friends, more like acquaintances. Michael, Tyler, and Eric seemed to follow her around. It was very annoying, especially the way they would tease her. She'd once hit Michael when he pulled her hair and had then been soundly punished by her mother. The Newton's, Michael's family, owned a fairly profitable store in town and he was one of Renèe's charges. Bella was sure that she'd never forget how good it had felt to smack him one. It had been worth the punishment and none of the boys had bothered her for a good two weeks afterward. They'd gotten over their fear since then, but those fourteen days had been bliss.
Bella chewed on her lip as she thought, having finished her bun. Did she have any real, true friends? After this longish think she wasn't sure; it certainly didn't seem that way.
She was on her way to being throughly unhappy when a sudden howl pierced through the silence that had descended upon the forest. Bella, having been wrapped up in her thoughts, had failed to notice the eerie quiet that had fallen around her. The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. Abruptly she was more anxious about returning home in time for supper. She hopped down from her dead tree branch and fought her way through the high grass and ferns back to the path. Had it been so far before?
After what seemed like ages, and fueled by fear, she was on the footpath again. Breaking into a trot she continued on her way home.
Sooner than she would have thought possible there was a thinning in the trees. She supposed that while she was consciously focused on her worries of being eaten alive by some kind of large wild dog she'd stopped noticing the passage of time. As she crossed the lawn of her home however she noted that the suns position hadn't altered nearly as much as it should have. It normally took her a good hour and a half to get through all the brush. Stopping to check the sundial she saw that it was only a quarter past four; she'd left the market at just about three thirty.
She shook her head in amazement. Maybe Lauren hadn't been lying after all. Then again her fright might have helped her move more quickly.
The first option sounded more exciting.
"Isabella Marie! What are you doing standing there in such a sate?!" Renèe called, striding across the short distance from the house to Bella. "You know that Mrs Fields is going to call at dinner!" She grabbed her child by the upper arm and proceeded to drag her through the back door into the kitchen.
"Go and scrub yourself clean," she pushed a bar of lye soap into Bella's hand. "And please fix your hair! What were you doing? Running a race again? I've told you that those sorts of things are very unladylike...."
Bella left the room before her mother had a chance to really get into a lecture; they could go on for hours.
"And change into your dinner dress!"
"Yes, yes Mommy dearest," she muttered, turning on the stairs to stick out her tongue in her mother's general direction.
Once in her room she stripped down to her underwear and started cleaning the dirt and grime from her arms, legs and face. She'd fallen a few times on her speedy trip through wood and the mud had hardened. Her mother was right, she really did look a fright.
The water in her washing basin was stone cold and the soap burned as she rubbed it roughly against her skin. Soon she was clean enough to be called presentable and she pulled her best dinner dress from her wardrobe. She set it on the bed, standing back to look at it.
It was the only truly expensive piece of clothing she owned and she hated it. The dress was a horrid, ruffled and laced thing in the most disgusting color imaginable; pink. She couldn't believe that this was what high society children wore. Bella didn't think that it was worth the money her parents had spent on it.
She hid her intense dislike from everyone though, because it had cost an awful lot and her mother and father had done without more than a few things to save up for it. So even though it was ugly and uncomfortable she wore it without complaint. Besides, it seemed that she was the only one who felt that the dress was unattractive, if she had said anything it would have been dismissed and put up to 'poor breeding'; she was not poorly bred.
As can be expected Little Miss Swan did not take well to insults against her family. She'd heard them before and had always made a point to speak up about it. Perhaps it wasn't the best thing to do, little girls were meant to be seen, not heard, but she found the idea of allowing her parents to be spoken of when they were not around intolerable; especially if they were being talked about in an unflattering manner. They were the best mother and father that anybody could ever have and she couldn't understand why they were gossiped about, though everyone was a topic at one point or another.
That was why Bella was particularly not looking forward to the dinner that was about to begin.
"Mrs Fields is just a big ole' wind bag," she said to herself as she pulled the dress on over her head. "Gossip, gossip, gossip, that's all she ever does." She yanked her comb through her wavy, chestnut colored hair. "Ouch!" she sighed angrily as she came to a particularly tangled bit and tossed the comb onto her bed as soon as she was finished. "If she hadn't invited herself last week she wouldn't be coming now."
Leaving her bedroom she stomped her way down the stairs and into the sitting room where she flumped into an armchair. "Isabella really, be polite, if for nothing other than my sanity," Renèe implored as she passed through the room, stopping momentarily to tie a ribbon in her daughter's hair. "And don't wrinkle your dress! Really, anyone would think that you'd been raised by savages."
Her mother was an authority on savages and according to her Isabella often behaved like one. Slouching, getting dirty, and arguing were all things that savages did. Her mother was forever going on and on about those savages and how if her child wished to act like one then could just leave on a ship for an island.
Bella scoffed at her mother's request. Of course she was going to be polite; she wouldn't enjoy it, but she would do it.
She surveyed the sitting room; her mother had replaced the older flower-patterned pillows with new red and gold ones with tassels. The good china tea set had been placed on the small, rectangular coffee table and everything had been washed down and dusted. Bella rolled her eyes, Mrs Fields was such an inconvenience. She consistently imposed her company upon those who did not want it.
There were other women in the town like that, but Mrs Fields seemed to feel like she was owed respect. It was true that she had lived a good few years longer than most and had valuable wisdom to impart, however she only did so when she felt like it and those times seemed to correlate with the moments when she was being complemented.
Contrary to her mother's beliefs Bella was actually a very observant child. She was also quite mature for her age, she'd seemingly skipped over the stage of silliness that continued to plagued the other girls her age around town. Occasionally Renèe would tell her daughter that she'd been born middle aged that she became more so with each passing year. Soon after those comments the little savage would make an appearance and that would be the end of that for a couple of weeks.
Bella was getting tired of waiting. She had been lounging in the chair for a good twenty minutes and Mrs Fields had yet to arrive. She was about ready to stand and leave the room when a knock sounded at the door; Mrs Fields was fashionably late as always. Bella adjusted her position in her seat, sitting straighter she held her head high, mentally preparing herself for the dull conversation that would soon begin.
A/N: First chapter, what do you think?! Leave a review to let me know! Also the next chapter is written, but I won't post until I've received sufficient response. Let me know if I made any serious mistakes.