I do not own or claim to own any rights to Twilight. Thank you Ms. Meyer for your creation. You've made so many people happy. I do own the rest of this story, so thank you all for respecting my rights.
It was meant to be a rough draft and well, it still is. I will edit and refine chapters as I can, but the story itself will remain the same. Thank you for bearing with me and my work-in progress.
Bella Swan: The Unwanted Bride
Chapter 1: The Big City 1918
It was beyond good fortune—absolutely beyond my wildest imagination that I was walking the streets of the City of Chicago. As far as big cities go, I had only been to Seattle once in my life, and that was only because the Forks Medical Center was unable to treat one of my more serious maladies.
We had seen the Chicago Water Tower, walked through The Rookery, which was beautiful but reminded me entirely too much of Forks; it was too green. We had visited the Field Museum, which took my breath away. To actually see the historic items that I had only read about in history books was incredible. I was the kid in the candy store which was life and culture. This is where I wanted to be.
Tyler Crawley and I won the Washington state science fair. It was a big surprise after all the difficulty we had with our project. We recreated a telephone using parts of broken phones. We managed to piece together an almost working telephone, but a couple of parts would not stay put. We used some old copper wiring and glue, but we had trouble with the glue. Any glue we used prevented the sound from going through. After many failures, we finally created glue which held the pieces together and allowed the sound to pass. Actually, the connection was better than most. Not that I had much experience using the telephone, but the couple of calls I made had terrible connections.
The good people of Forks held bake sales and church socials to raise enough money to send us to the national competition in Chicago. No one from Forks has ever achieved anything quite so notable and people gave freely. Not only did we have enough money for our trip, but we also became recipients of tickets to museums, a cinema, and a symphony. My father even gave me twenty dollars! I simply refused it and put it back in his top dresser drawer. After we said our goodbyes, and I naturally cried on the train, I pulled my handkerchief from my purse and found the twenty dollar bill and a note in my handbag. He wrote:
Bella, you take care of me every day, now I want to return the favor.
It was simple, but that was my dad. I still plan on bringing at least ten dollars back home. Our meals were furnished but I simply had to taste everything that the street vendors were peddling. There were foods I had never heard of. My favorite was a nut (seed?) called pepitas. They were warm and delicious, and I knew I'd never have them again when I went home to Forks. Then there were the Chicago Red Hot dogs. Oh my goodness they are good. They consisted of a spicy wiener on a steamed poppy seed bun, mustard, relish, tomatoes, onions and a pickle. Sounds awful but mmmmmm good.
Some of the people in the city were so fashionable. I don't normally even notice fashion because, well in Forks there's really no such thing-everything we wear is functional and takes the weather (meaning rain) into account. Most women wore dresses just below their knees, but I admit I did see some knees. There were a lot of foreigners, or people from 'the old country' who still wore ankle length dresses. There were quite a few poor people I saw who wore clothes in tatters. My heart went out to them but there were so many that at least they didn't feel singled out like they would in a small town. Most of the men wore three piece suits with hats, but a lot of them wore uniforms while they were working.
Tyler was loaned a very nice suit which belonged to Mr. Banner's son who was serving in the Army and was in Europe. Mrs. Cope sewed a beautiful 'Sunday' dress for me to wear to the symphony, and Angela's mother made an 'everyday' dress, which was even nicer than my own 'Sunday' dress. I planned on giving it to Angela when I returned home. It would be the right thing to do.
Tyler and I were teamed up with some students from all over the country. I had been very nervous about meeting them and feeling like a backwoods type of person, but as I got to know them, I discovered none of them have ever been to a big city before either, so I think we were all relieved and got on quite well. One of my favorites of the group was a girl named Gwen who was from Montana. She was a bit feisty, but her thirst for learning endeared her to me. She would stop people on the street and ask questions I would never have the nerve to ask. Once, there was an organ grinder with his monkey at the beach and she bombarded him with questions. I don't think the man spoke a word of English, but he sure tried. It wasn't until the monkey ducked under Gwen's dress that she finally became quiet. I don't know what transpired under there, but the look on her face was hilarious. I put a penny in the monkey's cup.
I sat in the hotel room that Gwen and I shared, writing in my journal instead of getting ready for the symphony. The door to the hotel room clicked shut and I saw that Gwen had returned from the common bathroom. A couple of the girls complained about sharing the bathroom, but in Forks I still had to go outside to use the privy, not to mention that I still had to draw water from a hand pump. At least my father had installed a pump inside at the kitchen sink so we wouldn't have to go outside for that, too. I was grateful.
"It's your turn now. You better hurry because if Theresa gets in before you, you know you'll have to wait forever."
I jumped up and grabbed my toiletry bag and made a run for the bathroom. I really only needed a few minutes as there was a large mirror in our room and I could finish up there. When I returned, I quickly changed into my best dress and instead of pinning my long brown hair up in a bun, I simply brushed it down. Who would have guessed that without constant rain that my hair was capable of being smooth and shiny? I had only one pair of shoes, but they are rather new, and chosen to go with either of my dresses. When I was done getting ready, Gwen and I grabbed each other's hand and we met with the others in the lobby.
The symphony was bustling with people of all different backgrounds. Some people wore outfits that I would never be able to afford if I lived several lifetimes. A few people wore clothing with patches, albeit their clothes were clean. Half the people were speaking in foreign languages. I recognized most of the languages that were spoken, but a few threw me for a loop.
The symphony was better than I would have ever imagined. There was a special tribute to a Mr. Debussy who had passed away just month's earlier. While listening to his compositions, it made me sad to think that such genius would no longer be here and that future generations would never hear these beautiful songs. One score in particular was simply haunting me. It was like I knew exactly what note on the piano was coming next, when I obviously had never heard it before. It felt as though it was written for me and was telling me secrets. Holy crow, what an imagination.
During the intermission, Gwen, Tyler and I decided to splurge and walked out in front of the theater to buy Italian lemonade from a vendor. I was admiring the beautiful automobiles lined up along the street. We didn't have cars like that in Forks. I noticed a woman wearing a beautiful gown being escorted from a shiny new auto. The boy escorting her appeared to be her son as their hair color was the matching shade of…what do you call that color? It was neither red nor brown but seemed as there were chunks of each color throughout. As they walked, I finally got a good look at the young man. He seemed upset about something. They drew nearer, and when they walked by us, I heard the woman say "We both know how much this means to you and your father insists that you attend and that's final…"
As he walked by he looked up at me and my obvious eavesdropping, to which I pointedly turned what I'm sure was an embarrassing shade of pink. His lips turned up into a shy, but crooked smile. A soft wind from the lake caused his hair to float about in disarray. The lights from the marquee danced over his hair and each strand was a distinct and different hue than the strand next to it. I was mesmerized. It was like time was standing still and I was frozen in place.
When he opened the theater door for his mother, he turned and looked at me again. His eyes slowly ran from my feet up to the top of my head. I have had a boy, or man, or two roam their eyes over my body before, but it was always uncomfortable and unwelcomed. This wasn't a boy leering at me or sizing me up. It was more like he was looking at me like I was one of the statues at the art museum. It was almost like the kind of look you give a painting you've read about but have never seen, or someone that you think you know, but can't remember where from. I pulled my bottom lip between my teeth, completely lost as to how to respond. His eyes returned to my face and he broke into a wide grin. He turned to walk in to the theater and just before he was out of sight, I saw him place his hand over his heart.
I was grateful that Tyler and Gwen were too busy gawking at the city lights to have noticed my bold behavior. We finished our Italian lemonade and returned to our seats. I found it difficult to pay attention to the symphony since I was discreetly scanning the auditorium searching for the reddish brown haired boy to no avail. While looking around, I couldn't help but notice that several people were getting up to leave. Then I realized that there were quite a few empty seats when at the beginning of the symphony only a few were vacant.
I was interrupted by Gwen, who began coughing-loudly. She was so embarrassed but she could not seem to stop. Taking a good look at her, I saw that she was sweating profusely. I put my hand to her forehead and she was burning up. She was fine an hour ago when we were outside. I looked around apologetically to our neighbors and saw that several others were coughing as well. It always seems like when one person coughs it causes a chain reaction. I put my hand at Gwen's elbow indicating that perhaps we should visit the powder room until her spell passed. Tyler followed along acting as our escort. Out of the confines of the auditorium, Gwen no longer held back her cough. Tyler and I eyed each other.
"Sounds like croup." He said, although it seemed more like a question.
"Perhaps. I'll bet some tea will fix it right up. Tyler, would you please let the others know that we will be going back to the hotel? We'll wait out front for you."
He simply nodded and walked back into the auditorium. Gwen shook her head, unable to vocalize that she didn't want for us to have to leave. I patted her hand and told her that it was almost over anyway and we would simply avoid the crowds leaving the theater. We walked out front to wait for Tyler. I was praying that the fresh air would help. It didn't.
The walk back to the hotel was only two blocks, but each step was more difficult for Gwen than the last one. Tyler and I each wrapped an arm around her waist to help her along. Tyler was a true gentleman for helping me carry Gwen to her bed. He rushed to the hallway as soon as we laid her down, in a hurry to remove himself from a room belonging to ladies.
"What do you think Bella?"
"I don't know. She looks awful. Would you mind too much waiting in the lobby for our chaperones? I think we need to have an adult check on her, don't you think that's wise?"
He nodded his agreement.
"Oh, and would you please ask the front desk to send up a nice pot of tea?"
"Yes, of course."
"Thanks, Tyler. You're so kind."
He gave me a small smile and walked toward the stairway. When I returned to the room, Gwen looked even worse than she did five minutes ago. I grabbed her bath linen and told her I'd be right back. I soaked the linen in cold water and returned to place it on her forehead which was unreasonably hot.
About forty five minutes later, our two female chaperones; Miss Carson and Miss Vitale came to our room. They stood several feet from Gwen's bed, which I thought was odd, and gave Gwen a once over. Miss Carson put her hand to her mouth and turned away quickly. Miss Vitale put her hand to her heart and closed her eyes and shook her head.
"She's burning up with fever. It hit her so quickly. I think she needs a doctor."