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A huge THANK YOU to the Project Team Beta!!
A/N: This story is AU-Human; Everything in Twilight concerning Bella's background before she moves to Forks is the same.
"I'll meet you at security checkpoint," Charlie said gruffly.
"Char - Dad, there's no need for that. I'll rent a car and meet you at the house. It's really not a big deal." I sighed. We had been having this argument since I told him my arrival time.
"Bella, I'll meet you at the checkpoint." His voice was stern and I gave up the fight. Charlie and I had stubbornness in common, so I knew that once he set his mind to something there was no changing it. I also knew that he just wanted to do whatever he could for me after everything I had been through in the last few months. I didn't want to be coddled or fussed over, but I didn't have the energy to try and change his mind and convince him I was capable of driving from Seattle to Forks.
"Ok, I'll call you if I'm delayed."
"Sounds good," he said quietly. "I...I've missed you Bells. I'm glad you're coming home."
"Me too. See you tomorrow." I gently pressed END on my cell and put it down on the box in front of me. The movers would be here in an hour to pick up the furniture and boxes I hadn't sold or thrown away. I felt a lump in my throat and my eyes pricked with tears; being here was painful, but I only had to last another night. Tomorrow morning I'd be back on a plane headed to Forks.
I took one last sweeping glance through the small house in Jacksonville, making sure I had everything packed and ready to go. My hip gave a small twinge as I moved to the rear of the house and I rubbed it absentmindedly. The doctor said I would experience some pain and discomfort while my body continued to heal. Standing or sitting for long periods of time and moving quickly was nearly impossible. I had just finished my last out-patient physical therapy session the afternoon before; the doctor had convinced me to continue with them upon my return to Forks. I agreed only because I was hoping that it would continue to help me heal at an accelerated pace.
My suitcase was packed and sitting on top of the bare mattress and box-spring in the bedroom. I looked around at the emptiness of the room, trying not to remember the first time I came back here after the accident. The Accident. I hated thinking of my life as before the accident and after it, but unfortunately, that was what it boiled down to these days. Before everything was sunny and bright and my life seemed charmed. Now, I was suffering from numbing grief and sometimes unbearable physical pain. My body would continue to heal, but I wondered if my heart ever would.
I went to pick up my suitcase from the bed, not realizing I hadn't zippered it properly. The contents spilled to the floor like shattered glass. I didn't have the energy or inclination to curse as I watched my clothes, toiletries and the other odds and ends I had packed clatter to the wooden planks below my feet. I slowly lowered myself to the floor, holding on to the bed for support until I felt the cold wood beneath my jean clad knees. I began to methodically place and fold my belongings back into the suitcase, trying not to think of the pain in my hips and back. It wasn't until I turned and looked down at the picture lying beside me that I heard the sob escape my throat. It was a picture of Mom, Phil and I standing outside of Yankee Stadium. The sun had been shining and our grins reflected how much fun we had been having. I could feel the tears making tracks down my cheeks as memories came back full force.
"Bella, you have to come with us! You've been at loose ends since school ended. Please honey, you'll love it!"
I laughed at Renee's enthusiasm and the strength of her conviction that I would love traveling to baseball stadiums along the east coast with her and Phil. With my clumsy nature, sports were not my forte, for playing or for watching. If anyone was going to get hit in the head with a foul ball, it was going to be me, so I usually avoided anything having to do with the wide world of sports.
I stood up from the table in the kitchen and walked to the fridge to get a bottle of water. I began to protest, "Mom, I really don't think..."
"Bella, come on. You have another month before you have to be back in Sacramento for school. You said yourself that you didn't know what you were going to do with yourself after your vacation here was over. Come with us!"
I took a swig of water and felt the cool liquid slide down my throat. "I'm pretty sure Phil doesn't want to spend his summer vacation traveling with his step-daughter."
"You know no such thing! Phil adores you and he would love to show you all the places that his heroes have played in. I would love to spend the time with you. We haven't gone on a vacation together since, well, since you moved to Washington eight years ago." I could feel the guilt I had in leaving Renee crushing any arguments I had. Other than her sometimes weekend visits to Forks, or when she came to visit me at college in California, or my trips on school breaks to Jacksonville, she and I hadn't had a real vacation together since I was a kid.
She was opening her mouth to continue her persuasion when I threw up my hands in defeat. "Okay, Mom, you win. I'll come with you and Phil," I laughed. Phil had been planning his "East Coast Stadium Tour" for the last six weeks and was looking forward to showing Mom, and now me, all the places he dreamed of playing when he had been in the minors. Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, Nationals Park, Camden Field, and Turner Field were all on the agenda for the month trip he had planned driving along the east coast to see his favorite teams. He and my mom had planned to fly into Boston the following week and rent a car to make the drive south to all the parks. It was an easy thing to join them.
It was some of the happiest moments of my life, that trip. I would never forget cheering for the Red Sox in Boston, booing the Yanks in New York, and watching Phil try to catch foul balls in Atlanta. I usually had no idea who was winning or what was happening on the field, but I had an amazing time just being with Mom and Phil. It was the perfect vacation, right up until the end.
A knock on the door drew me out of my reverie and I quickly swiped away at the tears on my cheeks. I tucked the picture of Phil, Mom and I into my suitcase before getting to my feet with a groan. The pain in my back and hips took my breath away and I had to lean on the bed for a minute before I could stand up straight. The knocking sound returned and I called out, "Just a minute," while I tried to stand straight. The doctor wanted me to continue to use a walker, but I had stubbornly refused. The six weeks in rehab had been more than enough, and no amount of pain was going to make me start using that thing again.
I finally made it to the front door and found the movers waiting impatiently for me. "Everything goes to Public Storage on Roosevelt Blvd. I'll meet you there." They nodded at me and got to work. I went back to the bedroom to retrieve my suitcase. I glanced sadly around the house once more before taking my suitcase and rolling it out of the room. "Bye Mom," I thought silently as the movers took the memories and put them away.
My first fan fic, so please review! I'd really appreciate the feedback.