Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or any of the characters, I just like playing with them.
My father and I left Mississippi two days after Christmas. Every couple of years we would move. My father would decide the town was too corrupt for me, and he would search out someplace new. Since I had become a teenager, we moved more frequently. This time we were headed to the west coast, a small town in Washington called Forks. Most of my life had been spent in the South. I enjoyed the warmth and the sun, and was not looking forward to this cloudy, rainy town.
I sat quietly in the cab of the moving van beside him, my hands folded in my lap. The radio was tuned to some AM station where a preacher was giving testimony about the glory of God. I had watched the landscape change as it flew by and glared at the clouds hovering over this place. Charlie slowed as we passed the sign that welcomed us to Forks.
"Praise God." He sighed.
I nodded and whispered a quiet. "Amen." To appease him.
As we wound through the town, I studied the buildings and people of Forks. It was similar, yet completely different from the small southern towns I was used to. I wondered if he would find a church here worthy of attending, or if we would simply worship at home again. In the back of my mind, I worried about the other students and how they would react if they found out about my father's fanaticism. In the South it hadn't been too bad, and I had even made a few friends that he approved of. I would find out on Monday. Of course, my father would prefer it if I were home schooled, but he had to work, so he begrudgingly sent me off to public school.
We pulled up outside of a modest white house. The lawn was green and well-maintained, and the forest closed in around the small back yard. The tops of the trees blocked out most of the sky, and my heart sank a little further. We sat for a moment in the truck before he looked over at me.
"Well Bella, this is our new home. Let's get moved in, tomorrow is Sunday." He exited the cab of the truck and I followed a moment later. Sunday was a day of rest, and there was too much work to do in order to get everything set up today. I wondered if any neighbors would come to help us move in this time.
I followed him into the house and we toured through it together. The kitchen was modest, and there was a small laundry area and pantry on the other side. The living room was dark, but a decent size. Up the stairs there was the bathroom, and two bedrooms. I would take the smaller bedroom on the right, and was relieved to find there were two windows in my room, so I had hope that maybe I would get some amount of light through them. As I came back down the stairs, I found him checking out the front closet, and he looked at me and nodded silently. I looked down at the toes of my boots sticking out from under my skirt, and involuntary shudder rippled down my back.
We worked most of the day moving in our belongings. There wasn't much, simplicity was important to God. I only fell twice, once as I was walking backwards with the couch, and tripping once on the stairs with my mattress. Much better than last time, I congratulated myself silently, knowing that I would be confessing that small bit of pride tomorrow.
I was setting up the kitchen, when my father came to find me. "Let's go into town and get something to eat Bella. Go clean yourself up first, you can finish when we get back."
"Yes sir." I replied and headed up the stairs to the bathroom where my bag was already waiting. My hair was a mess, so I redid my braid, and washed the sweat and smudges from my face. I would have to shower before bed tonight.
As we walked into the small diner, I felt the stares, but kept my head down. There were some other teenagers sitting at the counter and I heard their whispers and snickering. My modest dress was out of place even in the South, but they at least accepted it and understood what it meant. I had no idea how they would react here. One of the guys in the group was staring more intently than the others, and I felt myself blushing and fervently praying that my father did not see him looking at me. My prayers usually went unanswered though and I'd long ago given up hope of any sort of rescue from God, but it was habit. The boy turned away quickly and I felt my father's eyes boring into the top of my head. Fear ran through my veins as I knew what he was thinking.
The waitress came to take our order and when he ordered a salad and water for me, she paused. "Are you sure you don't want anything else sweetie? You're awfully thin."
"Gluttony is a sin of the devil." He answered for me. She cast a look of sympathy my way and hurried off to bring our waters. I knew everyone in the diner heard him. He always made sure he spoke loud enough to be heard. It was his way of spreading the word. When our food came we bowed our heads and gave thanks, and ate in silence. Not too eagerly, I had to remind myself, though I was starving from all the exertion of the day. Tomorrow we would fast, and this was the last food I would have until Monday morning. I tried to savor every bite without showing any enjoyment.
When we got home I made sure everything in the kitchen was put away and made up my bed. I laid my father's sheets outside of his door, I was not allowed in his bedroom. A loud noise made me jump, and I realized it was my father installing the lock on the front closet. He would set up our altar tonight as well. Taking a deep breath, I fetched my nightgown and went to the bathroom to shower. Careful not to spend too long under the relaxing water, I washed thoroughly and got ready for bed. When I came downstairs, I saw the wooden table had been set up with the white linen cloth, two candlesticks, and our family Bible sitting in the middle. I tried to ignore what was hidden under the table behind the cloth, what I would face tomorrow, and every Sunday after that until he let me leave.
I joined my father on my knees in front of the table and we prayed in unison:
O God, I thank you for all the gifts and graces of this day.
My God, I am truly sorry for any sin in my life today:
for anything I have done against your will;
for anything you have willed and I have left undone.
My God, I trustingly ask your blessing tonight
upon my loved ones;
upon anyone I have ever offended or who has ever offended me;
upon those who have fallen into temptation.
May I awaken tomorrow to know, love
and serve you still another day.
Yet if it be your will to call me from this life tonight,
may I awake to the dawn of eternal happiness with you forever.
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
We rose and my father dismissed me to bed. He would stay up to read the Bible and plan his sermon tomorrow. It would be a long day and I needed my sleep. I sent up my own prayer for protection before sleep claimed me.