Hello all. It's been a long time hasn't it? *sigh* I encountered horrible horrible writer's block and then had another unexpected event occur (nothing bad) which threw me off course for a bit. I'm slowly emerging from the block. This chapter is much shorter than the others but it's as long as it needs to be.
Many thanks to those who've reviewed/favourited/alerted this story! I love you all even if I royally suck at replying.
Huge hugs to katmom for beta'ing and to both her and u2shay for talking me through my block. You ladies helped so much!
And here's chapter three....
My Never - Chapter 3
Edward stood in front of the school watching the car take Isabella away from him and towards whatever lovely home she lived in.
It made him realize that, at some point, he would have to return to his own home as well. If it could be called that. He only hoped that it was a good day, as opposed to the more frequent bad ones.
Running his hand through his hair in a restless gesture, he contemplated seeking out Emmett or one of their crew to hang out with. He was about to set off in the direction of Emmett's home when he saw a small notebook lying near his feet. It was light green in colour and bound by an attached elastic band.
He took the elastic off and opened the front cover. The name 'Isabella Swan' was written in neat, girlish script accompanied by a phone number.
Thoughts of his friends promptly flew out of his head. Edward rebound and pocketed the small notebook and started the walk home, keeping his hand on the notebook the entire time.
As he came closer to his front door his pace slowed until he came to a stop completely. Taking a breath and squaring his shoulders he crossed the short distance to the door. Cautiously, he opened it and entered the apartment.
The living room wasn't the usual mess it was often found to be in, indicating that at some point, his mother had found the time and inclination to pick up the place. Releasing a breath he hadn't realized he was holding, Edward stepped further into his home.
"Mom?" he called tentatively. When no answer met him he began to feel tense. He called out again, this time a little louder. Nothing.
Edward made his way through the tiny apartment towards the one bedroom it had, and saw that the door was sitting a jar. He pushed it open further, revealing an empty bedroom.
Recognizing that he was alone, Edward heaved a sigh of relief. There would be peace, and more importantly, silence in the apartment at least for now. He wondered if there was anything in the place he could eat. Going into the kitchen, he investigated the cupboards finding boxes of crackers and expired milk in the fridge. Not much to make a meal with.
He went to the drawer where he knew his mother kept an 'emergency' cache of money. Sure enough, at the far back, was the familiar envelope. Edward withdrew a few tens and pocketed the bills.
Down at the corner store Edward picked up a few necessities and a pack of cigarettes. Fortunately, the clerk never questioned him on his age. Whether this was because he looked mature or because the clerk simply didn't care, Edward didn't know.
With a few groceries and cigarettes in hand, he returned to the apartment. After putting the food away, Edward sat for a moment before getting up again. The apartment was generally the last place he wanted to be and today was no exception. Even on quiet days Edward felt like he was waiting for a time bomb to go off.
When he was outside he instantly felt a little lighter. For as long as he could remember things had been this way. As a child he'd been too young to fully realize what had been going on around him, and his aunt had been there to take care of him when his mother wasn't available. Then his mother had decided to move, taking them away from the one person Edward felt safe with.
Now he was more than old enough to know what was happening and countless times he'd wished for the innocence of his youth to continue veiling the truth. Often when his mother was home in the evenings he found refuge elsewhere. His mother was rarely unaccompanied.
Edward found he had wandered over to a local playground that was currently empty. He sat down on a bench, staring morosely for a long moment at the play equipment.
The sound of something solid hitting the ground roused him out of his trance. Leaning down, he saw Isabella's notebook lying on the gravel. Quickly he picked it up, cleaning off the slight dust marks carefully with his sleeve. Once he was satisfied that the small diary was in its former condition he simply held it in his hands, staring at the cover.
His mind played over the day's events, ending with the surprising fact that the brown-haired beauty had stayed to talk with him.
Isabella Swan had waited for him. The knowledge caused warmth to spread through him, bringing another rare smile to his face. The one girl he viewed as being close to perfect wanted to get to know him better.
His expression fell when he thought about what getting to know him would entail. Right now all she knew was the side he showed at school. The defensive side, where he did his best to keep others from getting close to him. Somehow, Isabella seemed to see through it. It made him feel both hopeful and unsettled. He wasn't sure if Isabella would want to really be around him when she found out about his dismal home life.
His grip tightened on the notebook as he pictured Isabella's face looking horrified when she discovered the kind of life he was leading, thanks to his mother.
The situation was less than ideal. If he was smart he'd do his best to shut her out, as much to protect himself as to shield her.
Unfortunately, he was pretty damn sure he'd found the one person that he wasn't strong enough to resist.
Edward stayed on the bench until it began to grow dark, then keeping Isabella's notebook in hand, he started on his way home, hoping the apartment would still be empty when he returned.
He didn't want to interrupted or overheard for what he planned to do next.
The car turned up the well-known driveway, coming to a stop inside the garage.
"Home sweet home," her father said, turning the engine off. Bella hopped out of the SUV, following her father into the house.
The Swans lived in an upper-middle class home. Most of the people Bella knew growing up had lived in something similar. The split-level house was a comfortable size for three people, with four bedrooms and two and a half baths. Modest but attractive furnishings punctuated the kitchen, living and recreational rooms. Family photographs adorned several walls and the bureau. Many of which depicted Bella in her various stages of childhood.
Bella's own room was on the upper floor. It was a good size and contained a bed, desk and a chest in addition to a small closet. Her walls were tastefully adorned for a teenager. She liked to keep things simple, finding the clutter of her friends' walls too cloying.
Once in the house, Bella's nose was greeted with the scent of spaghetti cooking. Renee Swan's forte was not in the culinary arts but she could be counted on to make a decent pasta dish.
"Hi, honey, how was your day?" her mother said in welcome.
"Fine. I was just telling Dad about the mix-up over a little spat and why I ended up going to detention. It all got sorted."
"Sorted?" her mother said, looking back from stirring the sauce.
"Yeah, Mr. Greene came in and apologized for making a mistake. No big deal."
"What was the mix-up over?"
Bella opened a cupboard to grab a glass, walking to the sink to fill it with water. "Oh, they thought I should've been somewhere I wasn't supposed to be. I was mistaken for playing hooky when I had study hall."
"Well, teachers are human too," Charlie commented, coming in from checking the mail.
"I'm going to go up to my room and change." Bella headed towards the stairs.
"Dinner will be ready in five," Renee called up after her.
In her room, Bella lay down her bag and exchanged her jeans and shirt for the more comfortable combination of hoodie and trackpants. She unzipped her bag, intending to take her journal out. She wasn't in the habit of bringing it to school and had done so on a whim, thinking she might have time to write during study hall...which didn't end up happening due to her distraction at the hands of a crazily-locked boy and the detention doled out to her.
To her dismay, it wasn't in the main compartment of her bag. Alarmed, Bella took a closer look, eventually upending the contents of the bag, frantically searching through her notebooks, and binders.
The search came up fruitless, leaving Bella distressed over the idea she might have left her journal open to the student body of King David High. She only hoped that a teacher had found it rather than a classmate.
Her mother called to her, prompting Bella to abandon her hunt for her journal and join her family at the dinner table.
Midway through dinner, Charlie brought up the one topic guaranteed to make her heart stand still.
"Say, Bells, have you ever run into an Edward Cullen?" Bella froze involuntarily.
"Uh, yeah, I've heard of him. Why do you ask?" She struggled to keep her voice normal.
"Does he get into a fair bit of trouble?"
"I – don't know much about him, honestly," she lied, knowing perfectly well how much trouble Edward got himself into.
"I was just talking to one of the boys who deals with the juvies. Seems he was busted the other week for underage drinking, not to mention some other charges for the possession of marijuana."
"How old is this boy?" Her mother asked.
"About Bells' age, I would guess."
Renee shook her head. "Makes you wonder what's going on at home," she said, taking a sip from her wine glass.
"Thank goodness your crowd isn't like that." Charlie smiled at his daughter who returned it weakly. "I couldn't imagine what I would do with a kid like that."
"That wouldn't happen with you for a father," Renee said firmly. Bella nodded her head in assent, a sinking feeling in her stomach. She realized it would be next to impossible to carry on any kind of relationship with Edward Cullen, much less a romantic one. Neither Renee nor Charlie would ever approve of him.
Abruptly wanting to be out of her parents company Bella interjected, "Would you mind if I excused myself? I have a lot of homework to do. Can I do the dishes when I'm finished, Mom?"
"It's all right, honey. Leave the dishes tonight, concentrate on your studies," Renee said by way of granting permission.
Bella took her plate into the kitchen, rinsed it off and set it to the side of the sink. She poured herself a glass of water, taking it up to her room and closed the door.
At her desk, Bella opened her chemistry book intending to tackle the problems her teacher had assigned for that day. Instead, she found her thoughts vacillating between the ever-present Edward and her missing journal.
She bit her lip, a habit she had formed whenever she was agitated. Her last few entries had centered embarrassingly around Edward. First thing tomorrow morning she would scour the halls for that book before anyone else could spot it. Thoughts of what would happen if it fell into unfriendly hands, namely Lauren Mallory's, made her physically cringe.
Trying to push the negative thoughts from her mind, Bella doggedly worked on her homework and soon succeeded in immersing herself in stoichiometry.
She was so absorbed in her task that, at first, she was startled to hear her cell phone go off. Grabbing it from its perch on the edge of her desk, she looked at the screen and frowned. It wasn't a number she recognized.
Though she didn't usually answer unknown calls, something possessed her to flip the phone open and put it to her ear.
"Hello?" she answered.
"Isabella Swan?" A smooth masculine voice inquired.
"Who's calling please?" she asked, cautiously.
"Forgotten me already, Isabella?"
It dawned on Bella just who was on the other line. She gasped slightly as her heart suddenly lodged itself in her throat.
With her free hand she automatically closed the textbook on her desk, her homework abandoned as she focused on the caller.