Hello! This is my first attempt at fanfiction. Constructive criticism is welcomed and appreciated. Enjoy!
Rated M for language and future lemons.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight
Loneliness is the most terrible poverty.
- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
"You know, Swan, if you actually watch where you're stepping, you would be eating your lunch instead of wearing it." Edward Cullen, the bane of my existence. Of course he would trip me and blame it on my clumsiness. I'm so glad that I have an extra change of clothes in my locker; it happens at least twice a week, so I anticipated this.
"I think she's a little thirsty," said Jasper Whitlock, Edward's best friend and public enemy number two, second to Edward. He proceeded to pour his full bottle of soda on my head, before trailing down my neck, down my back, then finally stopping at my ass. He looked a little guilty, so he held out a hand indicating that he wanted to help me up. I tentatively reached for it. When his grip was stronger, I let him help me. However, I didn't anticipate Jasper letting go of me halfway up. I slipped on the caramel-colored soda and landed on my shoulder, my head hitting the ground with a sickening crack. The entire cafeteria erupted in laughter at my fall, no doubt thinking one word: clumsy. Their jeering and laughter added emotional pain to my physical one. I have lived with this ridicule for a little over three years and I've never been hurt or cried until now. It was one thing to soil my clothes with their lunches, and an entirely different thing to hurt me on purpose.
The cafeteria was in an uproar when I ran out of there, my face wet with tears as insults and more laughter flew my way. Turning the corner, I stopped dead in my tracks. My locker was wide open, and on the floor were the pieces of my back-up clothes.
"I did you a favor; those pieces of fabric you call clothing were ugly." I spun around at the voice. There, standing in all her wicked glory, was Rosalie Hale, the ice queen. She was holding a pair of black scissors, smirking at me. My silent tears gave way to broken sobs. This was getting to be too much to handle; my clothes were still drenched, my skin was sticky, shoulder was aching, and I was fighting dizziness from hitting my head. After an about face, I ran at lightening speed towards the library. I grabbed my belongings and ran out of there like a bat out of hell. Before I reached the school's front doors, I bumped into Alice Cullen. She's the only one of the popular kids that was (past tense) actually nice to me. She used to sit and talk with me at lunch when I started sixth grade, but after three months she stopped speaking to me and barely acknowledged my existence (just small smiles when she thought nobody was looking). I guess she realized that she didn't want loser friends, especially one with a nickname like "Ugly Duckling." Like I said, "she was nice." But, after the day I've had, I couldn't find it in myself to be polite. She clutched my upper arms, keeping me from doing a face plant; she may be five foot nothing, but she's strong as hell.
"Let me go!" I yelled at her, tears still streaming down my face.
"Bella, what happened? Are you okay?" The look on her face was one of concern, but again, it's been a horrible day.
"Please," I whispered, my vision blurred, "I just want to go home." Desperation was seeping into my voice. She nodded and let go. I ran all the way home, it was miraculous that I didn't trip.
The events that took place later that day turned a bad day into my worst nightmare.
As soon as I got home, I threw myself in the shower. After I scrubbed myself clean for twenty minutes, I got dressed, took an Excedrin for the headache, and fell into bed. I must have been more tired than I thought because the red numbers on my alarm clock read 6:45, I've been asleep for five hours!
I made my way to the kitchen to cook dinner. Charlie would be home in fifteen minutes; he was a creature of habit, always in the door by seven o'clock. I decided on steaks and mashed potatoes. By the time I was done, it was already 7:05. I figured he must have gotten caught up with paperwork because frankly, it's not like there were weekly hostage negotiations and high speed chases in Forks. I put his plate in the oven to keep it warm and mine in the fridge; I didn't have much of an appetite. I haven't had much of a desire for food for a while; my weight was slowly declining and Dad's ever watchful eye was noticing. I usually ate a small breakfast that consisted of a cereal bar or fruit and some juice because I stayed in bed until the last possible minute before I had to get ready for school. I skipped lunch on most days because I did not want to walk past the assholes at their self-proclaimed popular table. By the time dinnertime rolled around, I only ate enough so I wouldn't alert Dad's suspicions. I just wasn't hungry.
At 8:00, the doorbell rang. I prayed to any god out there that it wouldn't be Alice. I wasn't in the mood for apologies, especially since it wasn't her fault, or a pity party. But, as soon as I opened the door, I wished it was Alice come to torture me with her arsenal of beauty products, just like when I was in fifth grade.
"I'm sorry, Bella."
Once again, tears distorted my eyesight as it came down in streams. I shook my head, mumbling "no" over and over. My legs gave out, causing Officer James Fitzgerald to lunge forward to catch me before I fell. I turned my head to bury my face into his chest. Charlie was hit by a drunk driver and is currently en route to the hospital in critical condition.
I don't remember the hospital, but I do remember trying to fight my way into the operating room. Apparently, my behavior warranted sedation because I woke up in a hospital bed, high as a fucking kite with a piece of cotton stuck to my arm. There was a needle attached to my hand that connected to an IV bag on my left side, Renee was on my right. She informed me that they kept me sedated because I would throw a tantrum and hurt myself every time I woke up. She told me that I will be living with her in Phoenix after the funeral next week, which she was taking care of. All I could do was stare, I didn't even have enough energy to nod, let alone speak. Even through my drug induced euphoria, I could feel the sadness and despair leaking into my consciousness.
I went through the following week like an extra from Night Of The Living Dead. I spent most of my time in bed staring off into space. Renee once found me curled up in Dad's bed clutching his favorite flannel shirt. If it wasn't for Renee force feeding me, I would have died from starvation and thirst, not that I cared. Arrangements were being made, the house was being packed up and put on the market, fourteen years of my life was packed up in ten boxes. All of Dad's things: furniture, clothing, and personal belongings, were going to be kept in a storage facility in Phoenix until I decided what I wanted to do with them.
The day of the funeral, the whole town was there, even the jerks who made me feel like I was pathetic and unworthy of anyone's attention. Before the casket was to be closed for the last time, I placed the brown bear I got him for Father's Day this year, it was wearing a blue shirt that read "World's Best Father" in black script. I didn't hear anything from the service; the pastor's words, the eulogy, and condolences were just a low hum in my ears. I didn't even feel the hugs that were supposed to be comforting because I felt numb. I stood there, in the church cemetery, watching the white rose-topped black casket being lowered into the ground; the final resting place of the man I thought was invincible - my protector, my Daddy. I stood motionless as the cemetery groundskeeper filled the hole with dirt.
Renee reluctantly left me when I wouldn't budge, so she could play hostess to the guests at the reception. I walked forward, clutching a bunch of pink peonies, just like the ones he gave me on my birthdays. I lied down on the grass beside his grave, still holding onto the bouquet for dear life.
I don't know how long I stayed there, but it started getting dark. I didn't care; there was no way I was leaving my father here.
"Bella?" It was him, the voice that taunted me in my dreams and in real life, Edward Cullen. "Bella, it's almost seven o'clock and it's freezing out here." Is it? I didn't notice.
When I didn't answer, he moved closer to me, wrapping his jacket across my body. I shrugged it off. "Bella, come on, you're freezing. Your lips are starting to turn blue." I still didn't make any motions to rise from my place. He scooped me up, bridal style, as if I weighed nothing - I probably didn't weigh much.
"Put me down! Don't touch me! Just let me stay here!" I screeched. I fought against him with everything I had, which wasn't much. I eventually gave up and started sobbing into his chest. He held me and kissed my forehead; trying to soothe this ache I felt throughout my body, physical and mental.
"It's gonna be okay," he whispered, lowering us to the ground. My temper flared to dangerous heights.
"How is it supposed to be okay?! The only person who ever truly cared about me is gone!" I yelled, fresh tears prickling my eyes. "WHY?! WHY HIM?! He was the best person anyone knew and the best dad anyone could ever hope to ask for! God must really hate me; he makes my life a living hell, then takes away the one person who could make it all better!" By the end of this tirade I was blubbering mess.
We sat on the ground and held onto each other for a while. I broke the silence when I whispered, "It should have been me. I'd give up my life for his any day. It's not like many people would miss me; the only one who would be suffering is Dad, but even then he has friends to help him through it."
"Bella… I'm so sorry," he whispered right back. He looked as though he was struggling with something. He opened his mouth to speak again but was cut off by another voice.
"Isabella? We have to get to the airport, honey," Renee called from the distance.
I disentangled myself from Edward's arms and went to sit to the side of my father's headstone. I kissed it after I made a silent prayer for him to rest in peace. I stood up and laid the peonies on top of his grave marker. I whispered, "Goodbye, Daddy. I love you forever and I'll miss you so, so much." More tears escaped me. I wiped them away and turned to see Edward still standing there with tears running down his beautiful face. With one last look at Edward and Dad's grave, I turned and walked towards Renee. I dreaded leaving Charlie behind because I had a feeling I wouldn't be stepping in Forks, let alone Washington, for a very a long time. The only thing left for me were bittersweet memories; the happy ones were marred by miserable school recollections of the past three years.
It's been almost four years since his death, and I haven't stepped foot in Washington since I left the Sea-Tac Airport, until now. I've been accepted to the University of Washington on a full ride scholarship. Renee and Phil were hesitant to let me go back to Washington, especially because it's so close to home. However, when they relented, thanks to the pride that came with earning an opportunity like that, Renee insisted I get my own apartment. She said something about wild dorm parties being distracting and communal bathrooms being "icky."
"Flight attendants, please prepare for landing."
As soon as the carts were locked into place and they were certain all the passengers had their seatbelts on, the flight attendants took their seats and we began our descent.
As soon as we were below the clouds, I looked out of my first class window at the wet city below us. My ears began to pop, indicating that our altitude was dropping. We touched down at the Sea-Tac Airport and fear began to trickle into my awareness. What was I thinking coming here all alone? I took deep breaths, just like my therapist taught me, and calmed myself down. I needed to be strong for my father; he would have been so proud that I earned this scholarship.
My apartment turned out to be a huge condo and it was already set up, courtesy of Renee and Sophia, my fourteen-year-old half-sister. My black Audi S5 was supposed to be sitting in my parking spot already. I have a little less than a month to familiarize myself with my new home without any preoccupations; classes start in the third week of September. Renee and Phil forbade me from working, claiming it was an unnecessary diversion and thrust a Visa bank car into my hands - spending money; it was another requirement for their agreement. My monthly allowance is three-thousand dollars, which they have no problems affording; Phil just renewed his contract with the Arizona Cardinals and Renee got her promotion at the PR firm she was working for. This allowance is extravagant and ridiculous when you think about it. School related expenses are covered by my scholarship, my car is paid off and insurance taken care of, and the condo is bought and paid for. Utilities and food alone wouldn't put a dent into my excessive bank account.
I called Renee to let her know I made it to Seattle in one piece and thanked her for everything she and Phil have done for me. After she promised they would fly out for Thanksgiving weekend, we said our goodbyes and hung up.
I decided to forgo dinner in favor of knocking out in my plush, dark purple Egyptian cotton sheets on my four-post king-sized bed. Renee really went all out. Over the years, she's been constantly buying things for me. I think she feels guilty for abandoning Dad and I, only to have me come back into her life because I had nowhere else to go. The only contact we've had with her after she left were Christmas and birthday cards, which usually came with a generous amount of money. Dad started a savings account for me with Renee's checks; it was to be used for college. Since I don't need it, the money is sitting in my savings account collecting interest.
I released the clasp on my gold locket and put it safely into the frosted glass jewelry box. It was my fourteenth birthday, Dad gave me a jewelry box and a bouquet of pink peonies. Inside the box was a beautiful antique locket that belonged to my great-grandmother. I opened it up and found a picture of my dad on one side and a picture of Renee on the other, I knew he stilled loved her and didn't want me to forget her.
Explorations will have to wait until tomorrow. Right now, I'm dead tired from thinking too much. I was asleep by the time my head hit the feather-soft pillow.
There you have it, my first chapter. Let me know how I'm doing =)