Chapter 1: Phoenix, Arizona

"Bella, are you sure you packed enough clothes?"

"Yes, Mom."

"You have enough money?"

"Yes, Mom."

"Underwear?"

"Mom."

"Necessities, honey!" My mother reminded as Phil loaded my bags into the passenger seat of my red 1953 Chevrolet pickup truck.

I glanced impatiently towards my truck. I had been trying to say goodbye to my mother, Renee, for at least fifteen minutes now. It was early, almost seven-thirty in the morning, and I was eager to get a head start on my adventure.

That was what I was calling it: My Adventure. It was early in the summer and I was going to visit my father, Charlie, in Forks, Washington. I could have taken a plane and cut my travel time in half, but due to certain, recent, unexplainable plane disasters, Renee had refused to let me (and quite frankly, I didn't mind – I wasn't about to step foot in a plane with my luck). Charlie couldn't take a whole week off of work to come and get me, and that would be ridiculous, because I was of age and could drive myself. My mother and her boyfriend, Phil, were leaving for Florida so that Phil could pursue a career in baseball. So this all pointed to one option: I, Bella Swan, making the 25 hour and 31 minute trip to Washington myself.

I was terrified, but excited at the same time. Finally, I could be independent and I was certain that if I could survive this, I could survive anything.

I was pulled out of my musings by my mother again.

"Do you remember that self-defense technique I taught you?"

"Stab them in the eye and knee them in the groin."

"Thatta girl!" Renee put a supportive hand on my back and led me down the walkway to my truck, where Phil was just about done setting up the GPS system that would keep me from getting lost…hopefully.

Although I had spent the last fifteen minutes anxiously waiting for my mother to stop giving me last minute instructions, when it came time to finally say goodbye (for real this time), I felt the little girl in me come out. Tears were running down Renee's face as she hugged me tightly and I felt a tear of my own fall, my throat constricted with silly, homesick emotion.

Phil patted Renee's back. "There, there," he said good-naturedly. "It's only for a few weeks."

Renee pulled out an obnoxious, tie-dyed handkerchief and dabbed at her eyes. "I know but she is my baby and she is going out into the cruel, merciless world by herself."

That dramatic interpretation put an end to the moment; I now couldn't wait to get out of there again. I gave Phil a quick hug and gave my mother a kiss on the cheek. "I'll call," I promised, as I opened the door and slid into the driver's seat.

"I love you!" Renee said tearfully, as Phil waved.

"Love you too!" I slammed the door, revved the engine, and pulled away. I couldn't bring myself to look in the rearview mirror for one last glance at my home, because I was sure I would get emotional all over again and it was extremely difficult to drive while crying.

I didn't understand why I was so hormonal lately.

To distract myself, I turned on the radio. I knew this part of Phoenix well and I wouldn't need to concentrate on the GPS system until I got into unfamiliar territory. I felt familiar annoyance at the fact that no stations played music this early in the morning; there were only talk radio shows. I left it on a station that I hoped would be entertaining and listened as two men and a woman started an animated conversation about the recent plane disasters, and speculated over what had caused them. One man suggested terrorists, the other suggested technical difficulties, and the woman suggested supernatural forces.

I rolled my eyes, but couldn't fight away the thought of predators. I took my left hand off of the steering wheel quickly to lock my doors.

Better to be safe than sorry.


A/N: I probably shouldn't be starting another fanfic when I already have two going. But when I get an idea, I gotta get it down. I'm just trying this story out, I'm pretty sure I'll continue, but feedback is greatly appreciated.

Peace. =)