Summary: After a lifetime of feeling out of place, Edward is told his entire past was a fabrication. On his journey to uncover the truth he meets Bella, a young woman who is neglecting all responsibility for the first time in her life. Will these two strangers help each other discover who they really are? ExBxVolvo, BPOV/EPOV, AH, AU, OCC, M for language & future lemons.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, situations, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. Please do not repost my stories elsewhere. A lot of time and effort went into writing stories that revolve around characters I didn't create in the first place. I don't take credit for them, so don't take credit for what's mine. Let's play nice, okay?
This is my first multi-chapter story. It is a Bella & Edward story! Don't let the first half of this chapter fool you! Chapters are beta'd by IngenueFic and preread by BadlyBitten and Twink423. However, at times I am stubborn, and any errors are mine and mine alone. :)
Reviews are always appreciated! I'm on Twitter and Facebook as well. Come say hello!
Running for Home
Chapter 1: "Foreign Road"
I dig through my purse trying desperately to find my cell phone. My hands are shaking so badly that I manage to fumble the stupid thing. It shoots out of my hands, hits the ground hard, and skids across the pavement. The battery and battery cover fly in different directions and I scramble to pick them up before someone can run over them with their car.
"Shoot," I mumble as I reassemble the stupid thing and wait for it to turn back on. I quickly dial my mother, Renee. Expecting my call, she picks up on the first ring.
"Hey baby! How did the last of your finals go?"
"Everything went great, Mom. I think I did really well!" I tell her.
"I knew you would do great. I wish Phil and I could be there to celebrate with you guys tonight," she whines.
"It's fine. Don't worry about it. I won't have the official grades until you get back from… there anyway." Lately she and my step-father, Phil, have been traveling a lot because of his Minor League Baseball career. I can't even keep track of where they are anymore.
"I know, but I still want to be there for you. Say hi to Jake for us, will you? Is he in town yet?"
"His plane landed about twenty minutes ago. Hopefully I'll beat him to the house."
We exchange a few more pleasantries before hanging up. I drive home quickly hoping Jake isn't waiting for me. Our timing is perfect because he pulls into the driveway behind me in his rental car. It's Friday night and Jake is staying with me at Renee and Phil's for the weekend. He wants to stay longer but he is still finishing up his senior year of high school back in Washington and has to fly back on Sunday morning.
"Jake!" I call to him as I jump out of the car. I run to him and he scoops me up into his arms.
"Bella, I missed you so much," he says, placing a big wet kiss on my forehead.
"Gross, put me down," I tease as I wiggle out of his grip and slap him playfully on the shoulder. "How was the flight?"
"It totally sucked." He laughs. "Do you know they don't give free food anymore? Not even peanuts. I'm starving."
I laugh with him. Jake's appetite is insatiable. "Come on." I motion toward the house. "I'll make you lunch."
We eat lunch and spend the rest of the afternoon chatting and watching movies. There isn't too much to catch up on since we talk on the phone all the time. I haven't seen Jake in person since December when I flew out to Washington to spend Christmas with my father Charlie.
Jake and I have been dating for almost two years. We were friends growing up even though we didn't see each often because he lived in Washington and I lived in Arizona with Renee. I moved to Forks to live with Charlie when I was 17. It only took a few months of living there before Jake and I were hanging out together all the time.
I love Jake; I really do. The problem is that I don't share the same passion for him as he does for me. After becoming close friends, our relationship had a natural progression; dating and sex were the next logical steps. I would have been fine if we stayed friends, but he wanted more, and I wanted him to be happy.
Sometimes I feel like a pushover because I agreed to be in a relationship with him even though it wasn't what I wanted. Most of the time I just feel selfish because I did it to ensure I wouldn't lose his friendship.
"I really do miss you, Bells," Jake says solemnly as we sit on the couch.
"I miss you too, Jake."
"I think you should really consider going to U-Dub this fall instead of next year," he says cautiously.
"We've been over this a billion times," I sigh. "I want to get my generals done before I go to an expensive university. Besides, I'm not ready to go back to cloudy, crappy Washington. I like the sun here and it's nice to be able to spend time with Renee."
"You don't even see Renee. She's gone with Phil all the time. That was the reason you moved in with Charlie to begin with, remember?"
"That's beside the point, Jake. I only have one more year until I'm done anyway."
"There are community colleges in Washington, you know. You can finish your generals there."
"I'm already registered for the fall. Besides, I have no idea what I want to do for a career. I'm not even sure if I'll end up at U-Dub."
He scoffs at the possibility. I'm pretty sure he feels my decision to move across the country to attend a community college is ridiculous. The truth is that I didn't want to stay in Washington for college. Two years of overcast skies and constant rain was quite enough for me the first time around. I wanted to go to school somewhere warm and sunny. I chose Florida Community College because I could live with Renee and Phil for free. Renee was more than happy to have me around again and with Phil to take care of her… well, let's just say I didn't have to anymore.
"You know," he pauses, wrapping his arm around my shoulder, "I have an apartment lined up for after I graduate next month. You could live with me while you go to school. It won't cost you anything and you won't have to be alone all the time."
"Jake—" I don't know how to finish.
"How 'bout this," he starts, and I can almost see the light bulb going on over his head. "I won't bug you about where you go to college this fall if you come stay with me for the summer."
Now I really don't know what to say. Spending the summer here, mostly by myself, is something I have been looking forward to since I moved here last August. I want time to read, sit in the sun, and figure out what I want to do with my future. I don't want to spend the summer living with Jake.
"Are you sure you miss me? Because it sure doesn't seem like it," he snaps when I don't reply. "What about Charlie? You'd rather sit here alone all summer than see him? He misses you too, you know. And Alice? What about Alice? Isn't she coming home for the summer?"
"Alice's family moved after she graduated and Charlie is—"
"What about your other friends?" Jake interrupts. "Do you even talk to any of them anymore?"
Now he's pissing me off.
"First of all, Jacob, I talk to Alice all the time. At least once a week. Second, as far as my other friends go, I never got close to any of them in the year and a half I went to school in Forks because I was too busy spending all my time with you! Third, I am not alone here, Jake. I have friends from college that I talk to all the time.
"Yes, I miss you, but I've spent my entire life making sure other people were taken care of, and for once I just want to spend some time by myself!" By the time I finish my rant I am yelling. I am also shocked at what came out of my mouth because I've never consciously given any of it much thought.
"How are we supposed to keep our relationship strong if we never see each other?" he asks angrily. "If you don't come home we're going to fall apart."
I'm not sure how to answer him. We already are falling apart.
"Do you love me, Bella?" he asks.
"Of course I do," I assure him.
"Prove it," he says, his voice filled with determination.
"If you love me, then prove it. I'm not going to lose you, Bella. If you won't come live with me then let's get married. Tomorrow," he demands.
The blood drains from my face and I feel sick to my stomach. Marriage? Jakeand I have never even discussed marriage before. I stare at him in shock for a few seconds, but it feels like days. I also might need a doctor because I'm pretty sure I hyperextended my jaw when it hit the floor.
"Please, will you marry me?" he asks kinder this time.
"I can't marry you, Jacob," I whisper in disbelief. "I don't even know if marriage is something I even want to do. Ever. We've never even talked about it before and you propose to me like this?"
"Please, Bella. I need you."
It's funny, the power three little words can hold. I. Need. You. Those words set my resolve. I'm tired of people needing me. I don't want to be responsible for anyone other than myself. I close my eyes and take a couple of deep breaths. I feel him slide closer to me on the couch. He wraps his arms around me and his lips meet mine.
"Jake, stop. I'm sorry but I can't handle this right now."
My heart is pounding like crazy, and the steady beat of the pulse in my head drowns out all the sounds in the room. I push his arms away from me and stand up. Without me telling them to, my legs start walking to the door. I can barely make out Jake calling for me to wait as my feet hit the driveway and I break out into a run.
The sun has set, and I easily blend into the shadows of the neighborhood. I can hear him following me, but I'm not ready to be found. How did this day turn into such a disaster? I felt great about my finals. I was happy to see Jake even if I've been having doubts about our relationship lately. How did everything turn out so wrong?
I run a few more blocks until I am sure I lost him. I search my purse for my phone so I can call one of my friends to pick me up, but after a quick content check, I recall my phone is on the kitchen counter. Crap. I remember there is a gas station a few miles down the road and start heading in that direction. I wonder how much pay phones are now. I wonder if pay phones even exist anymore.
As I walk, I keep my eyes peeled for Jake. I feel like an idiot for being an irresponsible coward and running out of the house like that. At the same time, I enjoy the adrenaline rush it gives me and I'm overcome with the sudden urge to do something irresponsible.
I finally make it to the gas station and sigh in relief when I spot the block of pay phones out front. I dig out some change and look for the current rate when I realize I don't actually have anyone's phone number memorized. Crap. I slam the phone back on the hook and lean against the side of the building as I try to come up with Plan B.
A shiny black car in the parking lot catches my attention. It catches my attention because, apparently, the driver of said car is a jackass who doesn't know how to park as it's sitting diagonally across two spots. Upon closer inspection, I see it's a Volvo; a four door sedan no less.
"Yuppie," I mumble under my breath as I turn and enter the gas station. That walk was longer than I expected and I'm parched. I purchase two bottles of water and a giant bag of M&M's. Nothing cures a bad day like an abundance of chocolate covered peanuts coated in a candy shell.
The Yuppiemobile is still in the lot when I leave the store. I give it the stink eye as I walk past, pouring all my emotion into the gesture as if the car itself was responsible for my crappy evening. I pause as something else about the car catches my eye.
It has Illinois license plates.
I stand there lost in thought while staring at the plates until a voice pulls me out of my reverie.
"Can I help you with something?" His voice is deep and smooth and sexy as all get out. I turn to look at the man the voice belongs to and am shocked to see that the voice suits him perfectly.
He is at least six feet tall. His dark brown hair is a sexy mess on the top of his head, and he has a beard that looks about a week old. My eyes follow the natural line down the center of his body. The t-shirt he is wearing is tight enough to reveal the outline of his pecs. His frame is thin, but from his bare arms, I can tell he is well toned. His waist and hips are narrow, and just as my eyes are about to pass the juncture of his legs, he clears his throat loudly.
My eyes snap up to meet his. They are an intense shade of green and I'm surprised I didn't notice them the first time I gave him the once-over.
"Is this your car?" I ask him.
"Yes." He cocks an eyebrow at me as he answers.
"You're from Illinois?" Again with the stating-of-the-obvious.
He frowns and looks pointedly at his license plate before meeting my eyes again. "Uh-huh."
"Can I go with you?" I blurt out without a second thought.
The man starts to laugh at me but abruptly stops when he realizes I'm serious. "I'm not going back there," he says.
"Where are you going?"
He pauses before saying, "I don't know yet."
"Well neither do I. Please, take me with you."
He contemplates me for a moment before one side of his lips turns up into a smile. "How old are you?" he asks.
"Uh-huh, sure you are," he says. I can't tell if he's teasing or not.
"Look, if you're not going to give me a ride let me know so I can find someone who will." I'm not sure where this crazy hitchhiking idea came from, but at the moment, I desperately want to get away from everything.
"This is a dangerous game you're playing here," he says seriously as he leans in closer to me.
His warning rings loud and clear. I immediately take a step back and assess him again. He still looks like sex on legs, but upon further inspection he also looks… menacing? His dark hair is greasy, and his beard has obviously not been managed. His shirt is wrinkled, and his jeans have dirty smudges on the thighs. He doesn't smell bad, but he doesn't smell clean either. He reeks of cigarette smoke, and I notice he is older than me by a few years. My head is screaming that this is a bad idea in every way, but it only makes me want to go with him more.
"I trust you," I tell him. It feels like I'm trying to convince myself.
He laughs out of his nose as his half-smile fades. "Of course you do. You're just a stupid, fucking kid."
I take a step toward him and square my shoulder, all the while holding his gaze. For some unexplainable reason I want to go with him. I need to go with him. I am not going to let him scare me off.
"You won't hurt me," I tell him confidently. I can pinpoint the exact moment in time when his resolve waivers. His expression softens, and this time, he steps back from me.
"No, I won't," he says softly, "but the next guy might."
"Please. I can't stay here." The thought of having to deal with Jake for another two days makes me want to cringe.
He sighs and looks at the ground, breaking eye contact for the first time. His brow furrows, and he is lost in thought for a few moments before fixing his gaze over my head.
"Get in the car, Kiddo."