Prologue: The Beginning

My bags were packed and my mind was made up. The adrenaline was pumping, but I had to admit - I was nervous and starting to second guess my decision.

It had seemed like a good idea at the time I had decided to go through with it, and it still seemed like a pretty good idea. But the truth was starting to sink in, and I wasn't just excited - I was also a bit terrified.

I was going abroad.

This was probably the most impulsive thing I'd ever done. But desperate times call for desperate measures. And the truth was, I couldn't stand being in Forks anymore. And there was absolutely no way I was going to Jacksonville.

He left so many months ago and at first, I was a complete wreck. But in the past month, something changed. I couldn't stand the pity in everyone's eyes anymore; I couldn't stand feeling helpless all the time. I couldn't stand the heartache I felt every time I walked past the biology classroom, or saw a silver car or hell, even saw a tree. Everything reminded me of him. Everything. But I was proud of what I had accomplished so far. I'd picked myself up off of the ground, and I'd succeeded in becoming just a teensy bit more like my normal self. I gave up hope a long time ago ever hoping that I'd be completely back to the old Bella Swan.

I was already excelling in school, so the only thing I really needed was an attitude adjustment. I opened up to my friends again. I tried my best to stop moping (easier said that done) and hung out with them more. I acknowledged that they existed, I become thankful they they were there. Even on my worst days (and there's been plenty), I woke up and forced myself to do it all over again: breathe, smile, and communicate with others.

One day I was leafing through a vacation pamphlet at work and seeing all of the exotic places made me wonder. If only I could get away and go to places like that. Would it help me? Could it even cure me? I had been into doing different and strange things lately; motorcycles, cliff diving, etc. This would just be another thing to add to my variety.

It was worth a shot. I definitely didn't have anything to lose anymore. The only thing standing between me and paradise was Charlie and Renee. And it was easier getting past them than I would have ever thought.

For one thing, I think they were both just relieved that I was returning to normal. I think another determining factor for both of them was guilt. Charlie was guilty because I was spending my life in the tiny, rainy town of Forks where nothing ever happened. Renee was also guilty that I was living out my existence in Forks, but also because I'd spent most of my life in Arizona, and truth be told, there wasn't much there either. I think they both thought that this would be good for me. I told them it was an exclusive trip through the school. Whether they believed that one or not, I'll never know. But they let me go. They had given me some money for airfare and such, but I'd also raided my bank account. Like I said, desperate times called for desperate measures.

But there was a little hitch. There was no way I was going alone. My parents insisted that I have companions because, well, I did fall down a lot, and what would ever happen if I died? How would they find out? Very reassuring, but I suppose I was lucky that it was the summer after graduation and I wouldn't be missing any school; therefore, Jessica and Angela were accompanying me.

And that's how I ended up on this plane to England, my first destination (there would be a few - thank God for vacation packages). I leaned my head against the headrest and tried to relax, convincing myself that I was leaving all of my thoughts of him and all of my sorrow behind me. I had no idea that at that very moment, there was a plan formulating, and danger close at hand.

This was only the beginning.