All Characters belong to Stephanie Meyer, I'm just borrowing them for my own amusement.
A/N I have noted in this summary that this will be non-canon pairings although i'm at this time hesitant to say what those pairings will be. I know what direction I want things to go but i'm fickle and tend to change my mind. It will however become apparent in a few chapters.
Loud music startled me out of what was probably the best sleep I'd had in years. I fumbled to turn off the noisy contraption on my bedside table that was my alarm clock.
Today was the day…….
Today I would finally put my past where it belonged, behind me and start towards my future.
It had been almost two years since he'd left me, since they'd left me and I'd descended into such unimaginable grief and depression that it had been nearly impossible for me to claw my way out from under the load of it. A part of me had vanished along with Edward and the rest of the Cullens. It wasn't so much figuring out how to get that part back that allowed me to work my way out of the depression that had plagued me during the disaster that was my Senior year of high school, rather it was the acceptance of that part of me being gone and overcoming the anger that finally allowed me to start to heal. I still had issues and many days when I missed "them" with a vengeance but I had made definite progress in letting go of what was, and what could have been.
Today was going to be the biggest step in that process………..I was leaving Forks, and with it many of the reminders of another time. Leaving was bittersweet though, as it also meant leaving Charlie and Jacob, my anchor and my sun. They were proud of me though and could not begrudge me this. I Bella Swan, was going to college. I had taken a year off after graduation, I hadn't quite been ready to embrace the future. I had however applied to many colleges to appease Charlie and shockingly had been accepted to all of them. I'd had my pick of where I wanted to go and had finally decided on Tulane University in New Orleans. Charlie was disappointed that I'd chosen a school so far from Forks but I think he understood my need to start over somewhere that wasn't Forks. I was determined to look to the future and have all those experiences Edward had wanted me to have, to lead a "normal" life.
I almost laughed out loud at that thought……."normal", well as normal a life one can have when you know the monsters of myth and legend are not only real, but have helped to form the basis of who I am today. I was almost certain that I was the only human who's first love was a vampire and best friend a werewolf.
"Bells? You up?" Charlie's voice outside my bedroom door broke through my musing.
Poor Charlie, trying so hard to act like he was ok with this move. Of course he was proud I was going to college and definitely relieved that I'd rejoined "the land of the living." If only he knew how true that statement was in the most literal sense. But… he was a typical father and worried about his daughter being on her own while at the same time thinking we hadn't had enough time together yet. If I'd learned anything since moving to Forks though, there was no such thing as enough time with those you loved.
" I'm awake Dad, you can come in……" my voice trailed off as my door opened and Charlie's head peaked around the door.
"So you ready for today? Any chance you've changed your mind and decided to go to UW?" Charlie looked almost hopeful
"Dad……" my voice trailed off
"I know, I know. You're an adult." Charlie made the universal quote signs when saying adult. "You'll always be my little girl Bella and it's harder than I thought to let go."
Charlie was not prone to showing emotion so I was more than a little surprised at his confession.
"So any plans for your last day in Forks?" As quick as that Charlie went back to being, well, Charlie.
" I have a few more goodbyes I need to take care of today……you know how it goes" I wanted to end this conversation before it got started as there was one goodbye I didn't want Charlie to know about.
" K', well make sure you have it all tied up by 3 so we have plenty of time to get you to Seattle to catch your flight, unless you want me to run the sirens and lights on the cruiser all the way there?" Charlie winked knowing how I detested being the center of attention and how the very thought of that scenario would mortify me.
"Very funny" I rolled my eyes "I'll be back in plenty of time"
I could hear Charlie chuckling as he closed my door and left me again to my thoughts.
I'd been partially truthful with Charlie…..I really only had one more goodbye I needed to take care of today and it was one he'd most definitely not approve of. I needed to say goodbye to Edward, and his family. Obviously this wasn't something I could do face to face as I had no clue where they were, and had no contact to even hint at where they might be. No……I'd have to go to the one place where my memories of them were the most vivid, the old Victorian mansion than had been the Cullen's home in Forks. I knew this wasn't going to be a picnic and would probably dredge up a lot of pain that I'd succeeded in putting behind me for the most part. I needed this though, I needed to let them go so that I could fully embrace the future and close the door on that chapter of my life.
"Now or never Bella" I sighed aloud, giving myself a silent pep talk as I got ready to face the day. Before long I was ready and jogging down the stairs, grabbing my sweater and keys and was out the door, on my way to face my past one more time.
It was easier to find the almost hidden driveway that lead to the Cullen house than I thought it would be after so long. As I drove up the winding driveway the butterflies in my stomach kicked it up a notch, or ten. It's only a house, it's only a house, it's only a house. It became a mantra as I slowed my old red chevy to a crawl before parking in front of the abandoned house. All the warmth this house used to exude was gone, something else that left with them.
This house had always been such a symbol of their family and togetherness to me, now it just looked sad and empty. I could relate. It was now just a house, nothing special or extraordinary.
The creaking of my truck door opening echoed in tree enclosed space as I climbed out of my truck. I looked towards the large front door, memories assaulting me. Alice flying down the stairs to all but drag me out of Edward's Volvo in her excitement to play Bella Barbie. Edward opening my door for me the first time he brought me here to meet his strange family that I fell in love with almost immediately. I was starting to doubt the sanity of my plan, wondering if this was going to hinder more than help me.
"You can do this Bella, you need to do this!" again with the pep talk. Those motivational speakers on TV had nothing on me today.
I finally decided to make my way closer to the house when I heard the crunch of gravel, my fear spiking. Who would be driving up the driveway to the Cullen house. Well other than me?
I stood frozen as the sound of the unknown vehicle got closer. My brown eyes wide, my muscles tense.
I didn't realize I'd been holding my breath until I let out a large sigh when I saw it was fed ex truck. Relief quickly turned to confusion.
"Fed ex?" I wondered aloud. Must be lost I'd determined.
The truck parked and the drive got out holding a white envelope. "Bella Swan?" he inquired as he read the package in his hand.
" Ummm yeah?" I answered "I'm Bella?"
"I have a delivery for you?" the driver stated the obvious
"Delivery for me?" my voice laced in confusion.
"If you're Bella, then yes" the driver was starting to look impatient. "Sign here please" he held out a clipboard for me to sign.
I scribbled my name and exchanged the little wooden board for the envelope in the drivers hand.
"Uh t-thanks." I stuttered.
The driver nodded, muttering have a good day as he climbed back in his truck and turned around to go back the way he'd come.
I held the envelope in my hands, seeing my name in small elegant writing but not quite believing what I was seeing….it was Alice's handwriting.
"But how….." I couldn't wrap my head around it.
"Of course." I whispered to the empty space. I knew she'd had to have seen me come here in a vision. Did that mean she'd seen more? That she'd known the hell I'd lived through? I didn't know whether to feel angry at the possibility that Alice had seen what I'd become and did nothing to stop or excited that I was finally going to have some sort of contact with my much longed for best friend. The anger was there but the excitement won out as I sat on the front steps and turned the envelope in my hands. If the butterflies had been bad during my drive up the long driveway they were nothing compared to the party going on inside my stomach right now.
I slowly opened the envelope and took out the sheet of paper inside…….
You are probably wondering how I arranged this. Then again you were always so perceptive and have most likely already figured out that I had a vision of your visiting our Forks house.
Before I continue I need to tell you that not a day has gone by since leaving you and Forks that I haven't thought of you and missed you. Other than my family you were my first friend. I know there are no words that can make our leaving right so I will not even attempt to justify our actions.
I know you have come here today for some closure, and to put my family in your past. Please Bella do not yet write us off. I can't tell you more than that but eventually it will become obvious to you that there was a reason for everything that has happened and it's all been to lead you to something. Oh my dear sister I can just picture the exasperation on your face as you read this. You never did like the cryptic nature of my visions. Not to say I blame you as it tends to wear on me at times and they're my visions. I understand your need to say goodbye before you embark on this new chapter in your life and I will not begrudge you that even though I know deep down that your path is forever merged with ours.
So much has changed since we left you. Our kind does not often change but your presence in our lives altered our family in ways you cannot know. Someday you will understand it. For now though Bella I hope this brings you some semblance of comfort to know that although we left, we did not abandon you and you are as loved now as you were then. No matter what our futures hold, that will never change.
I have enclosed a gift of sorts. You do not have to accept it but please know it is yours to use if you choose.
With all my love - your Sister,
The tears were rolling down my face as I finished reading Alice's letter. The crack in my heart that had begun to heal ached with how much I missed my uber hyper vampire friend……my best friend…..my sister.
"Oh Alice" I sobbed aloud. "How much I have needed you."
My emotions were all over the place. Joy that she had not forgotten me, sorrow at how much I missed my dear friend, anger at the cryptic bullshit she had felt compelled to include in her letter.
"Dammit Alice I was here to let you all go and you go and tell me that we are still meant to have our lives intertwined, so much for closure!" I shouted. Ok so anger won that round.
I felt a weight inside the envelope I'd removed the letter from…..Alice's gift. I emptied the contents of the envelope into my hand and was a little more than shocked to see a key.
"No she wouldn't have." I voiced my doubt aloud
Only one way to find out I decided standing up and with great hesitation walking to the front door of this house that held so many memories. I slid the key into the lock on the front door, wondering why I was surprised when I heard the lock click. My hand shaking I turned the door knob and opened the door. With a deep breath I took a step into my past.