Disclaimer - I'm don't own anything familiar.
A/N - So at first I brushed off Twilight as another stupid fad. I didn't watch the movie and I most certainly did not read the books. One of my close friends fell victim to the beast and I mocked her for it. But then one night a friend and I were trying to pick out a DVD to rent as the store was trying to close. My friend suggested to me that we rent Twilight, so that we could actually see for ourselves just how awful it was. So we did. The result was quite alarming. I thought it was terrible, but I liked it. I went on to read the books. They were even more awful than the movie. But still... I liked them! What was wrong with me? I realized that Stephanie Meyer had indeed come up with a magnificent premise, but then did very little to create an equally magnificent story. None of her characters were very well developed or likable. The plot was weak and often secondary to the melodramatic romance. Then my friend asked me if I would try to rewrite Twilight for her. Leave the magic, but take away the crap. I wasn't sure about my writing skills, but I said I'd give it a shot. I've written several chapters so far, and never intended to post any online, but recently decided that it would be interesting to see what other people thought. So please review! Also realize that all of these chapters are rough drafts.
Self-sacrificing. That's how my mom described me. When I'd told Renee that I wanted to go live with my dad for a bit, my mom had just said, "Oh Bella, you're too self-sacrificing." But I had convinced her that my decision to move all the way to Washington was based on the fact that I was almost an adult and I wanted to spend some time with my dad while I was still a "kid". And that wasn't a complete stretch of the imagination- I did miss my dad. I used to visit him for a few weeks every summer, but it had been years since I'd made the trip. He was probably still all alone in that big house we used to share before Renee had left him. I wasn't broken up about the divorce. They split up when I was still little and even then I could see it was a good thing. My mom was now happily remarried to a young baseball star. Actually, he was barely making it in the minor league and spent a lot of his time traveling around, as was normal for the profession. Renee always stayed with me while he was gone, but it was fairly obvious that she missed him a great deal. They were really in love- the gross, mushy kind. The phone calls I was forced to listen to were almost enough to send me packing all on their own. Full of "I love you!" then "No, I love you!" and of course "I love you more!" So that was the real reason I was relocating to the tiny, coastal town of Forks. I wanted my mom to be where she wanted to be- at her husband's side. So apparently I was self-sacrificing. Big deal.
My dad pulled up to the house, clearing his throat awkwardly. He always did this when he was about to speak after some amount of silence. And there had been silence nearly the whole drive from Seattle. "I'll get your things," he said, opening his door. I grabbed my backpack out of the back seat and followed him inside. "You sure pack light, Bells," he commented as he started up the stairs, carrying my two suitcases.
"Yeah..." I mumbled. It was true. I didn't have many clothes to begin with and I had left all my desert attire in Phoenix. I knew I was going to have to get new, more weather appropriate garments when I got here. That meant I had to go shopping- my favourite activity.
"Here we go," Charlie announced, moving into my room and setting down my things. "I had some help..."
I just stood there. The room was painted a bluish-greenish sea color, brightly lit with several modern lamps. The bed was covered in a black and white zebra print comforter. This was definitely not my dad's handiwork. "Help?" I asked, still surveying the room with awe. I had expected to come back to see my room exactly as how I had left it.
"Oh well Sue Clearwater has a knack for design," he explained. "And Jacob picked out the blanket."
"Jacob?" I wondered aloud. "The name sounds familiar..."
"It should," Charlie chuckled. "You two were attached at the hip when you were little. Best friends."
I squinted my eyes, concentrating harder. "Right... We used to play at the beach..." I recalled vaguely.
"And everywhere else," Charlie nodded. He folded his arms across his chest and watched me, weighing my reaction. "So what do you think?"
I beamed at him. "It's great, dad. More than I expected," I told him. "You did too much."
Charlie waved off my words. "Oh it was nothing. Just wanted to make sure you felt comfortable here. I know you probably wish you were still back in Phoenix," he said. "I can't imagine it's fun moving so far halfway through high school."
It was amazing that even with Charlie's absence during the majority of my life, he still seemed to know me better than my mom. He must have assumed I was moving for Renee's sake, not my own. "I'm just glad to be here," I said, not sure what to say to ease his concern.
"Well I'm glad you're here, too," he mumbled. There was an awkward moment of silence, interrupted by the roar of an engine outside. Charlie exhaled, looking greatly relieved, and crossed the room to her window. "Billy and Jacob are here." I went over to stand next to him.
"What do you think of that truck?" he asked, nodding his head towards the truck that was pulling into the driveway.
I peered out the window at the classic truck. And by classic I meant old. Very old. It was a faded orange color, which made me think that it probably started out as red. Forty or fifty years ago, though. Pock marks of rust speckled the body, congregating at the hinges and around the headlights. "Looks nice... Vintage..." I was wracking my brain for nice things to say.
"Well I just bought it from the Blacks," he declared.
"Are you finally sick of driving around in a police cruiser?" I inquired. He'd been police chief in Forks since I was very little. I had no memories of him driving any other car.
Charlie laughed briefly. "No," he answered. "But I'll bet you are."
I just looked at him blankly.
Charlie's eyes darted around nervously, as if uncomfortable. "Uh... It's for you Bells," he said quietly. "A welcome home gift."
"Dad!" I cried, lighting up. I launched myself at him and hugged him, ecstatic. "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"
Charlie patted my back. "Glad you like it," he murmured.
I bolted out of the room and down the stairs. Charlie followed on my heels. I got out of the house so quickly that the truck was still parking. I bounced around on the porch in anticipation. It had barely stopped when a boy jumped out of the driver's seat and hurried to the rear of the truck. I heard a loud scraping noise as the boy dragged a wheelchair out of the truck bed and let it fall with a bang to the pavement. The boy, Jacob, helped his dad out of the passenger seat and into the chair. Charlie walked over to greet them.
"Billy!" he welcomed, patting his friend on the shoulder.
"How's it going, Charlie?" Billy asked, then focused his attention on me. "Is that Bella?"
I realized I had just been dancing around on the porch, focused entirely on my new truck. Rude. I walked quickly forward to meet them. A small dip in the dirt caused me to stumble on my way over. "Hi!" I blurted, trying to cover up my embarrassment.
"You've grown so much!" Billy cried. "Though it's not like I shouldn't have expected that after as many years as it's been. You remember Jacob?" He pointed over his shoulder at the boy who was holding the handles to the wheelchair.
Jacob lifted a hand in greeting and smiled widely. I couldn't help smiling back. "Of course," I replied.
"You like your truck?" Jacob asked, still smiling his contagious smile.
"Yeah! Yeah!" I gushed. "It was yours?" I glanced at Billy, unsure if that was a sensitive question considering his inability to drive.
Billy just nodded, not bothered. "It's been around for quite a while. Jacob's old lab rat."
I looked back up at Jacob, a question on my face. "Oh, I basically practiced on it," Jacob explained. "You know... Car stuff..."
"Oh," I said.
"But don't worry, it's in good shape," Jacob grinned. "Relatively."
Charlie laughed and took over the wheelchair's handles. "Jacob you want to take Bella on a test drive? It would be nice if you could show her around town," he basically ordered.
"Sure, sure," Jacob agreed readily.
Charlie tossed me the keys, but of course I fumbled them and dropped them into a convenient puddle. Cursing inwardly, I snatched them up, then wiped them off on my jeans. That's one thing I was going to have to get used to- water. It was going to be everywhere, all the time. Falling on me, flowing under my feet, constantly in my clothes and in my hair. Ugh. I took a second to imagine the bright, warm sunlight of Phoenix.
I followed Jacob towards the truck. He started opening the driver's door and then laughed. "That's right," he said. "You're driving." He stepped aside so I could get in instead. I opened the door wider and accidently slammed him with it. He nearly toppled to the ground.
"Sorry!" I yelped, reaching towards him.
He stabilized himself and waved my hand away. "It's fine," he assured me, making his way to the other side of the truck.
I shook my head, cursing myself under my breath, while I climbed into my seat. I adjusted my mirrors and made sure my feet could reach the pedals well enough. "Anything special I should know?" I asked.
"Seat belt," Jacob said, putting his own in place.
"Oh," I said dumbly, putting mine on as well.
"I'm hoping you're good with a stick," he said.
"I can usually manage," I replied, unsure what he considered 'good'.
"Well let's see what you can do," he challenged, tensing slightly in his seat.
I felt the need to drive perfectly, to prove myself. "Right," I said, pushing in the clutch and starting the car. Carefully I backed out of the drive way. Charlie and Billy watched from the porch. I shifted into first and accelerated forward. I waited until we had gone a few blocks before I exhaled.
"I'm impressed," Jacob said.
"Yeah... Well..." I grasped for something to say. "Sorry to take away your test subject."
"No worries," Jacob responded. "I got a new one."
"Yeah?" I glanced over at him. I liked his long black hair that hung straight down past his shoulders.
He met my gaze and I looked back at the road. "Yeah an old Volkswagen rabbit," he told me.
"Cute," I said.
He laughed. "I'm not sure how manly it is to have a 'cute' car. I should have kept my truck," he joked.
"Too late now," I smirked.
"At least can I come visit?" he asked.
"I'm not sure how I feel about that," I replied.
"You're bumming me out, Bella," he frowned.
"That's what I do," I said lamely. In my head I imagined myself hitting my head against a wall over and over again. Then I realized I had no idea where I was driving. "Where are we going?"
Jacob quickly looked out the window. "Oh, right," he said. "I forgot I was supposed to be showing you your magnificent new home. Turn left at the next street."
I did. "Oh nice," I said, seeing where he was no doubt intending to lead me. A set of small one-floor buildings set on several acres of intensely green lawn. A sign next to the parking lot read "Forks High School". I couldn't imagine there were too many students attending a school of this size.
Jacob swept his arm towards the school, as if presenting a prize. "Where the magic happens!" he announced.
I laughed. It felt good. "So do you like it?" I asked, slowing as we drove by.
"Oh it's great," he answered. "Especially since I don't have to go here. I go to school on the reservation."
My spirits sunk a little. "Can I go to school there too?" I asked.
"I'm afraid not," he replied. "You have to know how to paint with all the colors of the wind."
"Awful!" I cringed at his joke.
"Right!" he ordered as I was in the middle of an intersection. I jerked the wheel to the right and we swerved down the new street.
"Good directions," I said.
He looked smug. "Left," he directed me. "This is the main haul. Where almost everything of any remote interest is."
"The library!" I gasped, reading a sign as we passed. "It's tiny!"
"You're weird, Bella," Jacob observed. "Right. And now you're back on your street."
"Well that took forever," I mused. I parked the truck in its space and hopped out. "Thanks for the grand tour, Jacob."
"Oh that's just me, the gentleman," he replied with a little bow.
We went inside. Billy and Charlie were watching television and muttering back and forth to each other. "I ordered pizza, you guys," Charlie notified us.
"Still not much for cooking, eh?" I teased.
Charlie ignored my comment and went back to talking to Billy. "Need help unpacking?" Jacob asked.
"You can watch me unpack," I replied. "That's the best I can offer."
We went upstairs and Jacob plopped himself onto my bed. "So you like your comforter?" he asked as I started to open my first suitcase.
I picked up a small stack of books, then grinned at Jacob. "Yeah, it really spices up the room," I said. "It's so me."
"I picked it out," he informed me.
"My dad told me," I said.
"He thought I would know exactly what you'd like, since we were such close friends ten years ago," he said. "I wasn't sure, but I remembered you had a good sense of humour."
"Very funny," I said, starting to put the books onto the short bookshelf under the window.
"You hauled books all the way from Phoenix?" he looked at me skeptically.
"Not as many as I would have preferred," I admitting, sighing slightly. "Just a few I can't live without."
"Anything I'd be interested in?" he wondered. I wondered if his curiosity was contrived. "I don't read much. Maybe because I just haven't discovered the right books."
"Somehow I don't think Jane Austen would really do it for you," I chuckled.
"I don't even know who that is," Jacob shrugged. I didn't want to tell him it was late 18th, early 19th century romance literature. I hated revealing my more feminine sentiments. Silence reigned for a good minute while I went for a pile of shirts. I was surprised that I didn't feel too uncomfortable. I was used to feeling pressure to talk around people, but Jacob's presence wasn't intrusive at all. "So you have to start school tomorrow?"
Small talk wasn't even that irritating with him. Normally, though, I considered it the downside of life. Slight exaggeration. "My dad wanted to give me a few days to settle in, but I don't really see the point," I answered. "I'd just get more and more anxious while that first day loomed in my future. So might as well get it over with."
"How rational," Jacob smirked. "You know you might actually like it."
I snorted. "Right," I said, hoping I pulled off a noticeable eye roll.
"You know I remember this time when we were little and Billy wanted to take us to the beach," Jacob said. "It was summertime, I think, and sunny for once. Like a perfect day. I was so excited, but somehow you managed to convince me that it was only going to be a disappointment. I don't remember how you did it, but I remember telling my dad I didn't want to go anymore. We stayed home and played Trouble instead."
I laughed. It sounded like me. "I don't remember that," I said. "So did you tell me that little anecdote to illustrate that perhaps I'm a bit too cynical for my own good?"
"I'm not sure, but that sounds nice," Jacob compromised. "The kids here aren't so bad."
"Anyone you can recommend?" I asked.
"Most of my friends live on the reservation, but I know some cool kids in Forks," Jacob tried. "I mean we've all grown up together, pretty much."
"Feel like naming names?" I pressed, picking up more clothes and bringing them over to the dresser.
"My friend Lewis, for one," Jacob divulged. "I met him at the repair shop. He works on cars, too. Then there's Stacy. My friend Quil dated her a few months ago. That was weird, but I still think she's cool. She's kind of the punk type, though. Maybe too crazy for you." I scowled at him. "My other friend Travis might be tolerable. I could be wrong, though. You've always been hard to please."
"Or maybe you're thinking about this backwards," I retorted. "Maybe they're hard to please." I shut the empty suitcase and threw it into my closet.
"So it's you, not them?" Jacob sought clarification.
"Who knows," I replied. "I've got to do more research."
We heard the doorbell ring. "Pizza," Jacob nearly drooled the word, leaping to his feet. He ran down the stairs. I walked, smiling at my old friend's eager disposition.
The rest of the evening passed in a fairly pleasant fashion. Jacob ate an entire pizza. Charlie and Billy just laughed at my reaction. I was glad to see my dad had a good friend around. It's not like I was expecting him to be friendless, but it was still reassuring to see that he wasn't as alone as I had imagined. Perhaps I did think the worst too often. Or maybe I was just erring on the side of caution. That minimized disappointment, so it seemed logical to me.
After a couple more hours of chatting, I was exhausted. Thankfully, I wasn't alone.
"You've got school tomorrow, Jacob," Billy cut in. "And I'm dead on my feet, so to say. We'd better take off."
"Sure, sure," Jacob nodded. He got to his feet. "Well it was nice to eat all your food, Charlie. And Bella, I think we've had a pretty happy reunion."
"I won't disagree," I told him.
"I'm going to drive them back," Charlie told me, standing up as well. "You mind if I borrow your truck, Bella?" I just shook my head. "Okay then I'll be back in about a half hour. You can go on to bed if you're pooped."
After they left, I entertained the thought of unpacking some more for about two seconds. Instead, I changed into my tattered sweat pants and oversized shirt that said "D.A.R.E. To Keep Kids Off Drugs". Thoroughly 'pooped', I curled up underneath my zebra print comforter without even bothering to brush my teeth. I closed my eyes and pretended I was still in Phoenix.