Chapter 1: Going Home


My life was not supposed to end up like this. I'm supposed to have the same last name as my son, a ring on my finger, and arguments about which family to visit at Christmas. I'm not supposed to be a 20 year old single mom, with nothing to her name but unpaid bills.

I don't understand how my life got so off course. I could always blame my parents. If they hadn't gotten a divorce I would have never met him. If my mom had given me rules and a curfew I would have never gone to that party. But my mom wanted to be my friend, not my mother. But I suppose it could be seen as my fault for choosing to live with her.

Regardless, here I am, 20 years old and moving in with my father and his girlfriend Sue. I hate doing this to them, but it was either here, or the homeless shelter. Renee's was out of the question. She made it perfectly clear that Clint and I would definitely cramp her and Phil's space, which was fine by me considering she just had a stripper pole installed in the middle of their living room. Not an easy thing to eventually explain to a toddler. "Oh, that, it's nothing. Grammy moonlights as a firefighter…" I may not be mom of the year, but I don't want to lie to my kid either.

I tried not to let the tears overtake me as I unpacked the last of my clothes in my old bedroom, now mine and Clint's bedroom. I closed the drawer quietly and walked over to Clint's crib and watched him sleep. He was so peaceful. I wanted him to stay that way, which is why I promised myself not to cry over his father. Ha, shed tears… how pathetic of me to have to convince myself not to cry over someone who beat me… repeatedly. He screwed me up royally. My mind flashed back to our last fight…

"Jacob, I really don't like the idea of Paul staying here. It breaks the rules of our lease, we don't get along, and I really want it to be just the three of us, a family."

"Yeah right Bella, you're just clingy and needy. I'm not putting him on the streets, so get the fuck over it and deal with it!"

"But what about our lease hun…"

Suddenly, mid-sentence, he picked me up by my throat and head-butted me in the forehead. I could feel where a bruise would come in. But he's never left a bruise before, oh no, it's getting worse. I fell to the ground when he finally let me go and then he grabbed me by the hair. He picked me up to his eye level.

"When will you finally learn not to argue with me? Huh?" he spat in my face.

With that he threw me down and chucked his keys at me. They scraped across my cheek; I felt it break the skin, and the warm liquid run down my face.

Why Bella, why couldn't you just shut up? I closed my eyes and breathed through my mouth so I wouldn't smell the blood. Everything that happened next was a blur. I knew if I could just make it to the door, and get outside I could call 911. I had never called the police on Jake before; did I really have it in me to turn him in? Debating with myself came to an abrupt end when two things happened, Jake came up and kicked me in the stomach, and I heard Clint start crying in his crib. Thank God he was in another room.

"Jake" I was barely able to choke out. "Let me go check on Clint. I think his bottle is empty."

"Whatever you stupid bitch."

I didn't care what he said to me as long as I got Clint and me outside. I walked into Clint's room, while Jacob went to get a Dr. Pepper, and ran outside where there would be witnesses. This was always something that went on behind closed doors; he wouldn't dare touch me in front of other people. I was dialing as soon as I reached the porch steps…

How could I get myself in the position? And stay in it for two years no less. I was raised better than this. I was taught if a man touched you, you got out of the situation as fast as you can. Instead I lied for him, and denied it even to myself. Worst of all, I don't know that if I went back in time, I wouldn't change what I did. I loved Jacob. We made a beautiful son together. I spent two years of my life with him. I have gotten so used to being with him; I don't know how to be without him.

And a single mom? I wasn't ready to be a mom period, let alone a single mom. How would I be enough for him? I'm living with Charlie, I can't even support myself, and how do I support him? Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade him for anything, or take him back, but I'm so scared of messing him up. My parent's divorce messed me up so bad; I want Clint to have both of his parents. However, because I had to call the cops on Jake, he would only have me. What if I wasn't enough? I could forget finding someone else; getting a boyfriend was hard enough minus the munchkin permanently attached to my hip.

There was a quiet knock on my door, shaking me from my inner turmoil.

"Bella, can I come in?"

I opened the door the rest of the way. I had never been so happy to see Alice in all my life. I gave her a huge hug, and was met with a just as warm reception. If anyone could turn my frown upside it was her. With very little effort or at least that's the way she made it seem.

"Oh Alice, I can't believe you came!"

"And leave you alone right now, Bella, please give me more credit."

I was very close to losing it right there. I couldn't believe this. Alice had given up her cushy job in Seattle at a designer store, to stay here in Forks with me until I returned to normal. She was stuck working at the local Wal-Mart in the junior's Department. How did I get so lucky to have her as a friend?

"I brought reinforcements; I figured this was a big enough job for two."

Behind Alice, Rosalie revealed herself. That did it for me, the tears started to come. I tried to stop them, but it was no use. The three Musketeers were back together again.

"All for one," I sobbed out.

"And one for all." We all said in unison.

"Is he asleep? I want to hold him so bad!" Alice said peeking behind me.

"Yes, but he's been out for awhile, it won't hurt to wake him up." I walked over to Clint's crib and picked him up. He opened his eyes slowly and took in his surroundings and his new audience. While I hated waking him up, I loved the way he looked when I did. He stared around the room like he was seeing it for the first time. It always made me smile, without fail.

"Clint, you're Aunt Alice and Aunt Rose are here to see you. They've missed you very much." He stared at me wide eyed while I gently spoke to him.

Alice looked like she was about to explode if I didn't hand him over right away. So without further hesitation I passed him along to his most doting aunt.

"Wait until you see what all I've bought for you. You're mother will never have to do laundry again. You'll have an outfit for everyday. And matching shoes and hats for every outfit too." Alice cooed at him.

As Alice played with and admired Clint, I walked over to Rosalie and we embraced in a deep hug. Words never needed to be said with Rose. I loved that about her. I could always gush or pout to Alice, but Rose just knew. I loved her for it.

I looked up at her with wonder in my eyes. "I'm so afraid to ask what you sacrificed to be here."

She just smiled at me and shook her head. "Don't worry Bella. I was able to transfer to this Maaco, no harm done. Alice and I got an apartment together in town with an extra bedroom if you and Clint need some space from Charlie every now and then."

While it felt like my life was tumbling down at my feet I looked around. I saw my two best friends and the most precious little boy God ever made and knew that sometime soon, I would be ok.

Alice tore herself from Clint's gaze long enough to look at me and ask "When do you start at the grocery store Bella?"