A/N: The following one-shot is a complete work of fiction; all character names and non-canon personality traits have been modified from those created by, and copy to, Stephenie Meyer.
This was written from a prompt given via the LiveJournal community forkshighschool: 'Missing Moment: a fishing trip between Bella x Charlie; Billy and Jake can be there too, either as kids or adults' by BecauseSheCan.
It's not hot like this in Phoenix. More of a humid, wet heat, something that sticks and slides down my skin even though the temperature is barely reaching seventy degrees. I can handle the dryness of the desert – warm sun that will burn me even when I wear SPF fifty and a hat – but I'm wilting up here. Wilting, itchy, and uncomfortable.
A mosquito buzzes around my head and I simply wait until it lands on my neck before slapping it dead, not even bothering to look at the blood and pus before I quickly wipe my hand against the bottom of my shoe. I can't remember how many times I've done this already (killed something and then tried not to think too hard lest I feel like throwing up), and I can't help but sigh that it's just one of those things I've been forced to get used to.
"Bella!" I hear Jacob scream behind me. (Hear him dragging out the syllables in my name, hear him thwacking branches out of his way as he sprints towards me.) I know I should play nice, maybe even try and make intelligent conversation with the twelve-year-old boy I am a best friend to, once removed, for thirty-one days every summer. But I can't help the grimace that settles on my face when I think about where I am instead of where I could be. How I missed Bethany's fourteenth birthday party last week, her inevitable spin-the-bottle game, and her first time playing hostess to seven-minutes-in-heaven. Dylan was still single when I left Phoenix July first and now, twenty-five days later, he's holding hands with Stephanie and Heather's kissed Tommy and everyone has boobs and Renée's sending me these awful teen romances and I just want to go back to my air-conditioned room and crack open the Complete Works of William Shakespeare that I bought with the money I saved up from babysitting but didn't have enough time to read before I left… but I can't for six more days and the thought makes me want to kick the sand or dirt or whatever the hell I'm currently staring at because I don't want to be here.
"What?" I finally yell over my shoulder, sticking my left index finger in the middle of The Bell Jar while I use the back of my right hand to wipe the sweat off my forehead. I realize the effort is utterly useless two seconds later when all I feel are tiny grains of dirtsand that stick to my face and a sweatier wrist that I have to wipe on my shorts in order to dry. I don't understand how anyone can like this type of weather, can stand to be surrounded by so much moisture.
As if on cue, Charlie laughs – guffaws, really – and I see Billy shake his head in amusement at whatever joke they've just shared. I don't understand how their friendship works, how they can stay best friends for more than two decades, have the same boring agenda every Saturday for fifteen years, not get sick of doing the same boring thing day after day after day. Seeing them together gets me momentarily distracted remembering the sheer effort it took to get Billy and his wheelchair (or maybe it's Billy in his wheelchair?) into the motorboat currently floating in the stagnant lake. When I refocus my eyes to try and finish some reading, I see a daddy longlegs spider about two inches in front of my face. And I suddenly realize what the heck Jacob was yelling about.
"Argh!" I scream, flailing my arms in front of my face and ducking my head into my armpit right as I hear Jacob snicker behind me. I see my library book ten feet away, its pages probably already wet and dirty, and then grasp that I have sand on my lips at the same time I figure out I'm face-first on the ground. You think God would have granted me breasts or a period instead of gangly arms and legs I constantly trip over. (And I'm not even that tall.)
"Aw, come on, Bells," Jacob pleads. I push myself off the ground and wipe the sand off my bare legs but, when I look over to say something, he's peering into his cupped hands and just keeps talking. "It's just a daddy longlegs. Don't be such a girl." He suddenly turns around and starts walking towards the woods again, leaving me with a wet butt, a ruined book, and four more hours to amuse myself. At this point, I don't even know if Sylvia Plath is going to cut it.
It's finally five o'clock. To my right, Jacob practices his karate moves so that he can get a brown belt during his competition in less than three weeks. His grunts and 'hi-yas!' would have made me laugh before but now all I feel like doing is wiggling my toes and sighing into the crook of my knees (which I do, very effectively I might add). To my left, Billy's packing up the three fish he and Charlie managed to catch in the ten hours we've all been stranded on this twenty-foot stretch of sand. And Charlie's the farthest one away from me, grunting with the effort it takes to haul the boat up shore and attach it to the back of Billy's truck. All so that we can go to Billy's and he can watch TV while Billy guts the fish and then the two of us will sit around someone else's living room until I politely yawn five times in thirty minutes and Charlie gets that I want to go home.
I know that he would rather stay out on the water until the sun sets – would have even left the house at four o'clock in the morning instead of a 'late' six-thirty – but Renée made him swear I wouldn't get left alone all summer even though I'm almost fifteen and can take care of myself. And, like always, he listened to her. Had Billy bring Jake over to the house when the Mariners were playing so I would have to come downstairs and 'entertain my guest'. Drove me into town when he worked a half-shift so that I could 'socialize' with the illustrious patrons of Forks Public Library.
What he doesn't understand is that I'm not seven-years-old anymore, catching bugs with Jacob and pleading to sit next to him on the boat just because he was my dad and that made him special. I'm fourteen. I'm trying to will my body into puberty. I'm entering high school in twenty-one days. I'll turn fifteen in forty-nine. I want my first kiss, my first dance, my first boyfriend. I want to be swept off my feet, not scared by seventh-grade boys and spiders. And maybe we've just grown too far apart for him to realize that there's nothing up here for me anymore, not even him.
When we're all finally belted in, Charlie opens the two windows instead of turning up the AC. And then I close my eyes and lean my head against the cool glass of the tiny back-seat window to try and cool down the dried sweat I feel all over my body. I don't say goodbye to the lake as we drive away from it, just like I know I won't say goodbye to Forks once I leave Friday morning. Because what's the point in saying goodbye to something you know you'll never miss?