Summary: A possible history for the Swans with specific implications for Bella. When Bella's older cousin, Andrea Swan, shows up on her doorstep, Bella will learn some amazing things about her long lost cousin and herself. Maybe she'll even discover why all the bizarre things that have happened in her life in the past few years have happened.
A/N: This story would fall between New Moon and Eclipse, going AU at that point.
A million thanks to all my wonderful betas! I love you all so much!
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts." ~Richard Bach
Disclaimer: All things Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. The following story is simply a fun "what-if" take on her masterpiece. I do not profit from the following piece in any way.Chapter 1 Andrea's Arrival
Upstairs in her room, Bella was organizing her notes from class when she heard a knock on the front door. She hadn't been expecting anyone, but hopeful that it might be Edward, she tore down the stairs to jerk open the door.
"Andrea!" Bella squealed. "What are you doing here?"
"Hey, little cousin! Miss me?" Andrea asked as she pulled her younger cousin into a tight, bear-hug. Releasing Bella, Andrea laughed as she explained her sudden appearance. "I am here on leave from the university to do some local research and I was hoping that maybe you and Uncle Charlie might put me up for a couple weeks. What do you think?"
"Of course! This is great! It's been so long since I've seen you. What have you been up to?" Bella was so excited to see her cousin she was practically hoping on the spot.
"Well, I'll tell you all about it, but do mind if I come in out of this wet?"
Blushing head to toe in embarrassment, Bella stepped aside to let Andrea into the house. "Sorry, Drea. I'm just so happy to see you!"
"Ha, likewise, Bells, but I've been traveling for hours and I'm pretty tired. Any chance of a cup of coffee?"
"Sure. No problem. Come sit in the kitchen and I'll brew some."
"Thanks, kiddo. So, what have you been up to? Aren't you about to graduate?"
"Yeah, not long now."
"What else? Boyfriend?"
"Now, Bells, how do you 'kind of' have a boyfriend?"
"Well, it is just that boyfriend seems like a silly word when applied to Edward."
"Edward, huh? What does Charlie think of him?"
"Long story...but he's coming around. Oh, Drea, I can't wait for you to meet him!"
"Just the look in your eyes when you talk about him makes me like him already!"
Bella laughed, remembering immediately why she loved Drea so much. She'd always been so perceptive and she always put others first. "I'll tell you all about him, but first tell me what you have been doing. I haven't seen you in years."
"Okay, well, you know I went to college to study anthropology. I'm sure you heard I failed out. That's how Daddy took it anyway. I imagine that's what he told Uncle Charlie."
The blush returned to Bella's cheeks as she nodded yes. That was exactly what she had heard from her dad. Andrea supposedly had failed out of college and gone backpacking across Europe. Something that made her father, Bella's Uncle Greg, very upset.
"Believe what you will little cousin; I won't argue semantics with you. I did drop out, although not for any reason Daddy might have known about. I wanted to study our ancestry. Where we come from, who we are. The quest led me initially to parts of England and then Ireland. I discovered some pretty amazing things that I think you'll be interested in, but we'll get to that later. After I found the answers I was looking for, I wrote a grant to get funding to study some unique populations, ones that have protection myths in their histories. I've been to a lot of really incredible places, dear Bella. I know my education has not been traditional, but it has been of my own choosing."
"Wow! That's amazing. I'm really jealous of how brave you are. Knowing what you want and going after it like that with no support is pretty amazing." Bella stared at her cousin with a look of awe on her face.
"Now, Bells. Don't be dramatic. I just live my life everyday. Just like you. Are you going to tell me that you don't take every risk to do what you want, no matter what? How about that long story about Uncle Charlie not being crazy about your boy?"
"I guess you're kind of right. I did take a pretty big risk to keep Edward in my life, but it wasn't a choice for me. I can't live without him. Total survival instincts, nothing else."
"Well, whatever it is, dearest, love certainly looks good on you." The heartfelt comment brought the color again to Bella's cheeks. "You certainly embarrass easily, don't you?" Drea asked, her gentle laugh echoing on the kitchen walls as the coffee maker sputtered out the last few drops of fresh coffee.
"Cream and sugar?" Bella asked, ever the polite hostess.
"Yes, please. Anyway, I do ramble sometimes, but basically, I am officially back in school now. I'm in a program that allows me to continue studying protection myths. Hence, I'm here, hoping to meet and speak with some of the local Quileute tribe."
"You know, I know some of the Quileutes. They are old family friends. I'm sure between me and Charlie, we can introduce you to some people who will be happy to help."
"That'd be great! Thanks. Speaking of my studies... let me tell you a little more about what I've learned about our ancestry. Has your dad ever told you any of the old stories that Great-grandpa Swan used to tell him and my daddy when they were little?"
"Not that I recall, but I'd love to hear some," Bella answered as she set the coffee in front of Drea on the table. She settled back into the chair across from her for what would no doubt be an entertaining tale. Drea had always had a flair for storytelling.
"Daddy always said they were nonsensical, ridiculous wastes of time, but I used to love to hear Grampy Swan talk about the old country and the magics. Of course, they were just silly stories to me back then, but he would swear they were all completely true. He said the stories had been told from generation to generation for as long as anyone could remember. They were beautiful stories Bella; I wish you could have known Grampy. He was an amazing man. I wish I had recorded some of them or at least written them down. Anyway, the stories were what sparked my curiosity. According to Grampy, we are descended from the fey. I know you probably think these are just stories told to children, but Bella, you have no idea! I've learned so many incredible things in the past few years. You'll never believe me, but I'll tell you anyway."
"You'd be surprised what I might believe. Let's just say that I'm not as opposed to the possibility of myths being reality as I might have been a few years ago."
"Wow, Bells, cryptic much?" Drea asked gently with a smile before taking a sip of her coffee.
"You have a lot of room to talk, Drea," Bella answered with a shrug. Before Drea had a chance to continue her story the front door swung open and Charlie stepped into the kitchen.
"Uncle Charlie!" Drea jumped up to give him a hug.
"Well, hello there, Andrea," Charlie greeted her, trying to be friendly and slip out of her arms at the same time. "It's been too long. How's your dad?"
"It has been way too long, Uncle Charlie. Daddy's okay. He said to send you his best. Listen, Uncle Charlie, I have a favor to ask. I'm up here studying the local Quileute tribe for the next few weeks. Do you think I could stay here with you and Bella?"
"Why, sure. We'd be glad to have you. I know I'd worry about Bella less with another adult around to keep an eye out," Charlie chuckled, teasing Bella.
"Very funny, Dad," Bella slapped his arm playfully before turning her attention back to Andrea. "What he means is, he'll feel better if you would play chaperone for Edward and me."
"Um, by my count...wait, how old are you Bella? Aren't you eighteen?" Drea asked with a grin, knowing she was just stirring up trouble.
"Try telling him that," Bella sighed, exasperated. "I guess I should get some dinner cooking. I got so caught up with Drea's story, I lost track of time."
"Drea's story?" Charlie asked as he removed his coat and gun.
"Yeah, Dad. She was telling me about Grampy Swan."
Charlie smiled and shook his head before replying. "Oh yeah, Grandpa could tell some crazy stories, that's for sure. You going to tell us one over dinner?"
"Oh, well, to be honest, I'm pretty tired and I'm not hungry. I'm not really on Pacific Time yet. I could use a nap though. Do you mind?" Drea asked, stifling a yawn.
"Not at all. Drea, why don't you go on up to my room and take a nap. Dad, go watch TV and I'll get some dinner going." Bella sent them on their respective ways and began puttering around the kitchen.
"Hey Dad," Bella called into the living room.
"Do you think you could call Billy and see if he would talk to Drea? I don't think she has made contact with anyone in La Push yet and it would probably help her out."
"Ah, Bells. Just call Jacob, already."
"I told you, Dad, he's not taking my calls."
"Nu-uh, Bells, stop trying to avoid the issue. You need to talk to that boy. You owe him something."
"I know, but believe me, I've tried!"
"Who're you trying to convince? Try again. Call him. See if he'll meet Andrea and help her out."
"Okay, but don't make her suffer for me. If Jake won't take my call, will you talk to Billy?"
"Sure, but give it an honest effort, Bells."
Bella got dinner going and made her way to the phone. This was not a call she was looking forward to. She'd been trying to smooth things over with Jacob ever since she got back from Italy. She couldn't really blame him for being pissed, but she hoped he'd forgive her one day. Her hopes were low as she listened to the phone ring.
"Hello?" A sleepy voice asked.
"Jacob? It's me, Bella. Please don't hang up." She rushed the words out hoping his sleepy state would allow her to say what she wanted before it was too late.
"What do you want, Bella? I'm trying to sleep. Some of us have responsibilities to protect people that keep us up all night." The sharp tone of his voice was like a knife stabbing her heart. She knew then that she hadn't really wanted him to answer. She didn't want to feel the guilt.
"I'm sorry, Jake. I'm calling because... well, it's stupid, I guess. My cousin, Andrea, is in town. I don't know if you remember her not, but she wants to come to La Push while she's here and study the tribe. I know the last thing you want is me asking you for a favor, but it's not really for me exactly..."
"Sure, Bella. Whatever. Call me tomorrow. I'm going back to sleep." With that, Jacob hung up and Bella released the breath she hadn't realized she was holding. Being around Jacob was going to be torture.
She and Charlie finished dinner quietly, as usual, and Bella headed upstairs to check on Drea. The bedroom door squeaked as she entered and Andrea woke, slowly stretching and climbing out Bella's bed.
"This is going to be a tight fit. I guess I forgot how small your dad's house is. Maybe I should just head into town and see about a room somewhere."
"Absolutely not," Bella protested. "We'll make room. I'll make a pallet in the floor by the bed. We have too much catching up to do."
"Okay, okay! Don't twist my arm!" Drea replied with a sarcastic laugh, "Seriously, I'm relieved. It's nicer to be around family. I've had too little of that in the past several years."
Bella pulled Drea into another hug and held her tight for a moment. Then the girls gathered bedding and starting turning the room into sleeping quarters for two.
"There are leftovers in the fridge if you get hungry later."
"Thanks, Bells. You're a doll. Sweet dreams!" Drea called to Bella as she snuggled down into the sleeping bag on the floor.
"You too, Drea. And Drea?"
"I'm really glad you're here."
"Me too, sweetheart. Me too."