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Trust ~ Chapter 1

I had been coming to the park for a few weeks now.

It had become a safe place for me when all around was so unsettled.

Home life had never been that great before, but it was now falling apart so badly, I no longer felt it was somewhere I wanted to be. I spent as little time there as possible.

There was no where else for me to go. I had found the park one day while driving around avoiding going home.

It became a familiar routine for me. I could sit here thinking about the years before.

As a child my Mother would return home drunk, telling me how I had ruined her life.

She never wanted me, if she had got her own way I would have been taken care of.

Her whispers of hate became louder until I couldn't ignore it any more.

Finding the note telling me she had left us to "find herself" had been heart breaking. I missed her; maybe I missed the idea of what I wanted a mother to be more than actually missing her.

I always knew I was not enough to please her, but still hoped I could have somehow made her proud of me, made her see how much I had tried, made her like me…even a little bit.

My Dad was simply devastated, withdrawing further into himself. Making himself more distant from me than ever before, if that was possible.

He spent more and more time at work or fishing with Billy. He didn't even notice if I was there or not any more. To be honest I no longer think he cared.

He wanted nothing more than for me to be with Billy's son, Jacob, and out of his way.

I reminded him of my mother too much.

I was never going to be with Jake. That was never going to happen.

My life had to get better. Please let it get better.

Jake started off as a friend, but now was getting more and more frustrated with my hesitation to be anything more. He kept saying we belonged together. He wanted more.

A few more weeks, then I could leave there forever.

I would be turning 18 and would belong to no one but myself. Not that anyone apart from Jake wanted me to belong to them as it was. I still wanted the choice.

I have to try to hang on to the hope that I could be someone worth loving.

Maybe someday…

Today was beautiful, a rare sunny day. I had my lunch packed beside me. I would take a walk round the pond and feed the ducks the stale bread as usual.

Nodding at the people I had come to recognised as regulars at the park like me here.

They saw me. They smiled at me.

It was funny how I felt more of a connection with strangers than I did with anyone else around me. They were the closest thing to friends I had.

I know that should make me feel sad, but it gave me so much joy, even if it was short lived.

Two of the most important people I had met were Em & Rose.

I had seen them when I first walking round here. For a long time they were just the couple with the black Labrador, both looking so in love with each other.

They started off nodding at me, then a passing hello.

I don't think I would have ever been brave enough to look at them if Poppy hadn't had bounded over that rainy day, knocking me right off my feet and onto the muddy path.

I had been struggling to get the dog off me; she was licking my face and enjoying the game.

The couple had been so embarrassed, I had squealed when the man stooped down to pick me up.

His wife had tried to get me to accept payment for the clothes to be cleaned or replaced, but I would not hear about it. The cleaning would cost more then the clothes were worth.

I waited for them to notice the worn clothes and be disgusted with me, but they didn't.

It was nice just to be spoken to, let alone with such kindness.

The woman was absolutely beautiful. Just like a supermodel. She had long golden blonde hair that fell down past her shoulders. Her eyes were ice blue but there was nothing cold about them. They twinkled when she smiled.

Her husband was huge, he intimidated me, but he was so tender with his beloved wife.

He wrapped her with love and protection it almost hurt to see them together. He had dark curly hair and his eyes were blue like I imagined the ocean to be.

Each week I watched her belly growing, their baby growing stronger inside her. They obviously loved that child already. She rubbed her belly and then he leaned in to gently caress it. I watched him speaking away all the time to his "Bubba belly." I laughed when he asked Bubba belly if it needed feeding, that usually meant Em was hungry, and he was always hungry!

I would love any child I had that way.

This child was already loved & wanted. This was just it should be.

They started to stop to speak to me while I patted Poppy she always gave me a lick on the hand and then bounded off after the ball. She was so bouncy!

I found myself looking out for them now each time I was at the park.

Not that long ago I decided would tell them my name. It felt ok to do so.

They started walking towards me, Poppy bounding beside them. I stood still hands out, bracing myself for impact.

But it never came. Poppy sat in front of me and dropped her ball at my feet.

"Good girl Poppy!"

The man chuckled "The dog classes are paying off at last! Thank goodness"

"It was about time Em, really it was!"

I put my hand down and picked up the ball, asking if I could throw it for Poppy.

They nodded and smiled at me. I was so happy they seemed pleased to see me.

I took a huge leap of faith. It had to start somewhere.

I turned round and said to them, "by the way, I am Bella."

Then I waited for them to walk away, not interested in me. But instead they stayed and they talked back to me.

"Well Bella, it's good to finally be introduced to you, I'm Rose and this is my husband Emmett. You know Poppy."

He let out such a loud booming laugh it made me jump back. Rose gave him a gentle smack on the arm, scolding him.

"Em, you are scaring Bella, be careful or she won't stop to speak to us again!" He continued to laugh as he apologised, but this time I laughed with him.

We spent the next wee while chatting about Poppy, the baby, general chit chat until Poppy decided she was bored and started looking at the ducks in the pond with too much interest. We said good bye and wished each other a good afternoon.

For me that was easier going to be said then done. I wished they had stayed a while longer.

It had been so good to talk to them. I now had some friends. That felt good.

I was running behind time today causing to me to feel slightly anxious. They might have been early and I would have missed them, it would be a whole week before they would be due back to the park. I didn't want to wait a week to see them again. I could hear a dog barking with excitement, I looked to see if it was them.

It was!

They were walking along the path. I started to walk faster, smiling my heart full of excitement.

I needed to control myself; I wanted to run towards them. They would have been for their baby scan yesterday and were hoping to find out what sex of Bubba belly. For a short while I could play at being families with them.

Poppy was leaping about, and then I stopped.

They were not alone; there was a tall bronzed hair man with them.

I froze on the spot, not able to move.

Do I have time to run back to the truck?

Rose stepped forward, placing her hand on my arm she whispered to me, "It's ok, he is safe, he won't hurt you."

"How do you know?"

She put her arm round me telling me he was Em's younger brother Edward.

I gulped and asked her, "No, how did you know I was scared of him?" Rose looked me in the eye, and spoke to my heart when she said, "Because I have seen your fear. I have felt your fear, I have been scared like you were, like you are now, and we won't hurt you. He won't hurt you; he is your friend like we are."

Only then did I notice Em & Edward had stayed back a bit, playing with Poppy, giving me and Rose space to talk. They were watching me, waiting for my reaction.

Rose was still standing between us, my protection from this new person.

From my new friend…could we be friends?

Could I let him into my life?

I stepped back, leaned round, and looked at Edward.

He looked back round at me and smiled.

That was it, I melted.

I could not have run away if I wanted to.

I trusted Rose. For some reason I knew it was ok to trust Edward too.

"Hello…I'm Bella."

"Hello, Bella. It's lovely to meet you. I'm Edward."

He never moved. I never moved.

This was awkward.

Emmett stepped forward and leaned into Rose, placing his hand on her belly.

"What's that Bubba? You're hungry?"

"No!"

I didn't realise I had shouted until I heard it.

"Please don't go yet. You only just got here!"

My heart sank. I had made a fool of myself and they were leaving me.

They had finally seen who I really was and didn't want to know me. I could feel tears in my eyes. Rose still had her arm round me and gave me a squeeze.

Speaking gently to me she whispered, "Bella, we were going to ask you to join us before Em got carried away with his hunger. Would you like to come with us?"

"Oh, I have my lunch with me, I err, I didn't bring my purse, maybe next time?"

I had no money to eat out. Had I blown it, would ever they ask me again?

"That's OK Bella; we were going to get it, would you like to join us? We are just going to the café over by the pond? It is just over there."

"Seriously?"

Em nodded "Please Bella, bubba is hungry…"

He looked like a puppy dog and I knew I would give into his request.

I laughed at him, and took another look at Edward as he spoke softly. "It would be lovely if you could join us, Bella."

All I could do was nod at him.