Disclaimer: Twilight is the property of Stephenie Meyer.
I only own the plot of this story.
Chapter 1 My personal hell
"It's just you and me now kid. You're going to have to pull your weight around here. I don't have a job anymore and since I wasn't married to your mom, I don't get to claim a dime from her insurance money. It all goes to you when I was the one who took care of you and her for the last few years. When the money comes in, I expect you to hand it over to me." That was what Phil said right after the funeral. I didn't realize until later that my personal hell started at that very moment.
Phil was my Mom's boyfriend. He was a minor league baseball player until a year ago. They replaced him with a much younger player. He was already depressed, but now that Mom was gone, on top of being depressed, he now had no source of income until he came across my game document. I became his golden goose; his ticket out of his misery.
"Bella, you've got work to do so get up. We're on a schedule and have to leave for the airport in an hour. Don't forget your laptop. I need you to make any changes Volturi Games want for the press conference." Phil yelled from outside my bedroom.
A month passed since Renee, my mom, was suddenly taken away from us. She died from subarachnoid hemorrhage. I found her on the floor of the kitchen that morning. She had been complaining of severe headaches for a few days and planned to go to the hospital on the day I found her on the floor. She never made it to the hospital, and died in the ambulance while I held her hand. At least I was there and she didn't die alone. That fact brought some comfort to me.
When I was in first grade, Renee introduced me to her computer. I was enthralled with what it could do. In the beginning all I did was draw and color. Renee was an artist and she drew pictures for children's storybook. By the time I was in sixth grade I was bored of drawing 2D pictures, so I quickly moved on to 3D by the time I hit Junior High. The world of drawing opened up a lot of possibilities as soon as I learned how to draw using 3D Studio Max, Maya, and Lightwave 3D.
My only friend now was Lone Star since I no longer got to contact my friends at school. Lone Star was a computer geek I met on an online gaming community. He introduced me to the world of coding. He was mesmerized with my drawings and taught me how to program, so that I could breathe life into my creations. He taught me the importance of scripting, memory management, code/resource management, and production.
The reason why I no longer got to have any interaction with my friends from school was because Phil pulled me from school making an excuse that I was going to be homeschooled which was a blatant lie. He just wanted to make sure I didn't have anything that got in the way of developing the game. After Phil found my game concept he submitted it to one of the largest game publishers in the West Coast, Volturi Games.
Volturi Games was fascinated with my game concept document, so Phil made me develop a playable demo version which he submitted to them. They loved it and quickly signed a contract with Phil. Volturi Games wasted no time and announced the game for release this Christmas. I no longer got to step out of the house. Phil barely fed me, he said eating was a waste of time. He didn't let me sleep very much either. He was excited to attend their press conference today. He was thrilled he now had means to be back in the spotlight since his career ended. If you ask me, he was never in the spotlight. He was just a minor league baseball player. He warned me to keep my mouth shut since I was a minor, to avoid any trouble if word got out that I was the one responsible for creating this game.
I have a biological father that I had no memories of. My mom divorced my dad when I was barely a year old. According to my mom, she left him because she didn't want to be stuck in a small, rainy town in Washington, called Forks. She told me that my father was a policeman there, and that he was always knee deep in work, and never had time for us.
I actually met Lone Star online because of my biological father. I wanted to know more about Forks, Washington so I joined the Forks Online Gaming Community. That was where I met him. He was a senior at Forks High school when I met him online for the first time. At first we just played some games together but gradually we got to know each other. He was a few years older than me, but treated me like I was his sister, and never looked down on me because I was a kid. He was starting his last year at the University of Washington in September.
Through Lone Star I found out that my biological Dad was now the Chief of Police there. At least he was still alive; I wondered if he remembered me. Lone Star was surprised when I told him that I was the Chief's daughter last week. He did some digging and found out that I was indeed his daughter that his ex-wife took away from him when I was barely a year old.
I thought of contacting my father, I didn't want to be here alone with Phil anymore. Lone Star didn't know how bad my situation was now. He was worried that I wasn't spending much time online anymore and kept asking me what was wrong. I didn't want him involved in this mess so I never discussed my situation at home. Lone Star was very sensitive and even if I didn't say a word, he knew something was wrong. I just blamed everything on losing my mom, so that he'd back off. I feared for his wellbeing if he tried to help me and Phil found out. Phil didn't seem so dangerous on his own, but many of his friends who hung around him were definitely low lives. Many looked like career criminals.
There were many times over the last few weeks I wanted to run away, but I couldn't. Phil always locked me inside my room when he went out. When he was out of the house, his friends came over and kept an eye on me. I felt trapped in my own home that Phil conveniently took over as if it were his own even though my mom made sure the home belonged to me.
Phil had grown very impatient over the last few days. He needed me to finish enough of the demo for the presentation. He hadn't physically hit me yet, but when he'd grab me, I usually ended up with bruises. His constant yelling didn't help either so I was now on the brink of a major breakdown.
I forced myself out of bed before Phil got upset with me. My arms were still sore from where he shook me yesterday. I went to the bathroom for a much needed shower. I needed to relax and clear my head before I started another dreadful day. I wasn't sure how much longer I could keep this up. Some days I wished I never woke up; Heaven sounded really good right now. I used to have future plans and dreams. I wanted to go to college and become a game designer.
I ate a piece of the pizza from the box Phil threw into my room while I showered. It looked like leftovers of his dinner from last night but I wasn't going to complain. My meals usually consisted of a piece of bread from Wonderbread loaf he'd throw into my room that he expected to last a few days and as a result I was sickly thin, hungry and tired. I dreamt of eating lasagna and sleeping without disturbance. In short, I lost all hope. I would probably be stuck here for the rest of my life or Phil would rid himself of me when I stopped laying golden eggs for him.
While I showered it dawned on me that this trip was the perfect opportunity for me to jump ship. This was my only chance to get out of this hell. I remembered that Forks was only a few hours away from Seattle. Maybe Lone Star could help me contact my father if I called from Seattle. I wasn't sure how Charlie Swan was going to react, but I was willing to take the risk. Anything was better than being stuck here with Phil. If worse comes to worst I could always run from Phil in Seattle. Seattle was a large city, hopefully he wouldn't be able to find me. In three months I'd turn eighteen anyway and then I could legally be on my own. I was sure I could hide from Phil for three months. I had some money hidden underneath the floorboard of my bedroom that I saved over the last few years for my college fund. It wasn't much, but at least it could tide me over until Mom's insurance money came in.
I quickly packed a suitcase and hid my valuables under the lining so that he wouldn't suspect that I didn't plan on returning here. I didn't have much anyway, but I didn't want to lose pictures of me and Mom together, and her jewelry.
Before we left for the airport, I sent a text to Lone Star
Hi, Lonestar. It's Ugly Duckling. I'm leaving for the airport now to fly to Seattle today. I'm staying at The Fairmont Olympic Hotel. I'm going to need your help. I'll explain the details when I call you once I'm there.
The flight would've been awesome if I weren't flying with Phil since Volturi Games got us two first class tickets to Seattle. Volturi Games had a car sent to pick us up so Phil warned me to keep my mouth shut and to just smile if anyone asked me anything; he'd do the answering for me. Once we were downtown, I tried to acclimate myself with the surrounding area, so that when I escaped I wouldn't run around in circles.
The Fairmont Olympic Hotel that Volturi Games booked for us was beautiful. I had never seen a hotel this grand. Just three blocks from the hotel was a department store and Chinatown was only five minutes away. I felt confident I could blend in with the crowd in Chinatown when I made my escape.
After we checked in, I was shocked to see one of Phil's friends waiting for him in the hotel lobby. He was the scariest of the guys who visited Phil even though he was much younger. He had long blonde hair and icy cold blue eyes. He used to stare at me like I was his prey. All my hopes of escaping Phil went down the drain as soon as I realized that he wasn't leaving me alone at the hotel.
A few minutes later I realized that luck was actually on my side for once. After we were shown our room, Phil left me in the room to meet with Volturi Games with the guy from the lobby. They needed him at their office to go over the details for the press conference in the evening. It dawned on me that the guy from the lobby was not his friend but someone from Volturi Games. Phil warned me to stay in the room and that he'd find out if I used the phone. Phil was too caught up with the evening's press conference that he left his defenses down. He underestimated my courage when he assumed I was too chicken to escape in an unfamiliar town. As soon as they left I called Lone Star. I didn't care if Phil found out because by the time he did, I would be long gone.
"Hello? Lone Star? It's Bella. Oh umm Ugly Duckling."
"Duckling? Are you in Seattle now? Are you at the hotel?"
"Yes. I'm at the hotel. I need you to help me escape."
"Duckling, there's a Starbucks on 4th Avenue, just a minute or two from the hotel. Can you meet me there?"
"Okay, I know where that is. I saw it on my way into the hotel. Will you be there soon?"
"Duckling, I'm already here. I've been sitting here for a while waiting for your call."
"I'll be there in five minutes. I need to gather my things. Thanks, Lone Star."
Shocked was an understatement. I never anticipated Lone Star to be here already. I meant to just ask him for help over the phone. I grabbed my suitcase and took a deep breath before I ran out the door. I wasn't sure if Phil had anyone watching me so I slipped out of the hotel from a different entrance we came in from when we checked into the hotel.
I made a mad dash towards Starbucks and fell on my knees right in front of it. Strong arms lifted me up from the ground. When I looked up I saw a tall blonde haired guy with blue eyes wearing a T-shirt that said Lone Star State, Texas printed on the front.
"Lone Star?" I asked.
"You must be Duckling," he smiled and then hugged me.
"We can't stay here. I need you to help me out of here." I said in distress.
"Ummm. Okay. I parked over there," Lone Star said and pointed to his truck. He grabbed my suitcase and we ran towards his truck.
"No offense, but I really don't feel comfortable having a minor in my truck that I've never met before, so I'm just going take you to the market. If anyone asks, you're my cousin. Okay? We can talk there." I nodded.
He drove to a place called Pike Place Market. The place was like a really unique waterfront farmers market. Lone Star said he was hungry and took us to a diner there. He told me that the Seattle cheese steak was good there so he ordered two of them and 2 diet cokes.
"Let's cut to the chase. Am I going to get arrested for kidnapping you?" Lone Star chuckled although I could sense there was nervousness in his voice.
"I need to your help to get away from Phil. I need you to contact Charlie Swan."
"Whoah. Hold on Duckling. "
"I want to talk to him. I need his help. Long story short, Phil is here in Seattle to present Ugly Duckling to the press through Volturi Games. He's claiming it as his own. I don't care about that though. I just want to get away from him, but I'm a minor. I need to ask my Dad if I can stay with him until I turn 18."
When I received the text from Duckling, my mind went into overdrive. I knew something was clearly wrong with Duckling over the past few weeks. Her mom just passed away, but I knew there was more to it, but she wouldn't confide in me.
I went online and looked up the time for arrivals into Seattle from Phoenix. There were three flights around seven a.m. that were landing in Seattle between 10:00 and 10:30 a.m. I had no idea what I was getting into, but over the years I got to know Duckling well, and unless she really needed me, she wouldn't have asked for help, so my mind was made up to help her out any way I could.
I quickly showered and decided to call my buddy to let him know that I couldn't make it to the press conference the company he worked for held today. It was his first big assignment so it was a big deal for him that I was going to be there to witness it, but for some reason I knew that Duckling needed me more than he did.
"Whitlock? What the fuck are you calling me so early? I thought you didn't have class today."
"Errr. Something's come up. I can't make it to the press conference."
"What the fuck? What could be so important?"
"Remember Duckling? You know the kid I know from online?"
"Jail bait? Dude, you've got to be kidding. She's coming to Seattle today or something?"
"Something like that, but you know I don't have feelings like that for her. I'm not a pedophile."
"Whatever dude, but it can't be good. Don't do anything I wouldn't do." Cullen chuckled.
"Is there anything you wouldn't do?"
"That's why I'm saying all this. I know you. You'd do anything for that little kid. You've had her under your wings keeping the predators away from her every time she was online for the past god knows how many years."
"Things have been off with her lately. I just know there's something really wrong. I felt it from her every time I chatted with her over the last few weeks. She texted me right as she was leaving for the airport, so I think she's landing around ten o'clock. I'm gonna go and hang out near her hotel. I just wanted to give you a warning that it's likely I can't go to the press conference."
"Just don't do anything stupid. If anything goes wrong, make sure to call Em or me. Shame you can't come today, but I don't blame you for choosing a chick over me," Edward said and laughed.
"Like I said, it's not like that. She's like a little sister to me. I just need to make sure she's all right, and if she's trying to do anything stupid, I need to stop her."
"All right. Stay out in public. Call and update me later."
I got dressed and got into my truck. I knew there were several Starbucks near The Fairmont Olympic so I parked by W hotel and sat under the umbrellas outside Starbucks on 4th avenue.
After I told her to meet me here at Starbucks, my mind started to run different scenarios as to why she was here. I knew it was futile since anything was possible with the limited information I had to work with. Right as I got out of the chair to get another Chai Latte, I spotted a girl dragging her suitcase looking over her shoulders approach the café.
Brunette, check, 5 ft 4, check, brown eyes, check, Ugly Duckling T- shirt ha ha double check. It had to be Duckling. Right as I had almost reached her, she tripped over a manhole. I quickly grabbed her arm before her face met the ground.
From that point everything happened quickly. There was fear in her eyes as she said she needed to get out of here. Without asking why she needed my help, I took her to my truck, and drove to Pike Place Market.
So here I was, not knowing whether I was going to regret my actions or not, having a meal with her. She took me by surprise when she told me she wanted me to contact Chief Swan. Against my better judgment I picked up the phone and called Tyler. He worked under the Chief.
"Hey, Tyler. It's Jasper. Ummm. Is the Chief in?"
"Whitlock? What the fuck? Dawg, what you up to and why do you need the Chief?"
"Just patch me through to him. I'll fill in the details later."
"All right, just a sec. You owe me next time I'm in Seattle or when you're back in Forks."
"Jasper Whitlock? Charlotte's nephew? What can I do for you?"
"Chief, gosh, I don't even know how to explain this without you hanging up on me or you going into shock."
"Just spit it out Jasper."
"Chief, I don't know if you were aware that your ex-wife, Renee, passed away…" Chief cut my sentence short before I could explain further.
"Renee is dead? What about Bella? Why do you know about Renee?" There was shock, fear, and panic in the Chief's voice.
"I learned this from your daughter, Bella. She found me online on Forks Gaming community. She's with me right now and wants to talk to you."
"Bella is with you? Why? Who's looking after her if Renee is gone?"
"Ummm. Just a second, Chief. I'm going to give the phone over to your daughter," I said and handed the phone over to Duckling.
"Hi Charlie…I'm not okay," Duckling said as endless drops of tears began running down her chin.
"She died and I'm living with her boyfriend. He locks me in the house. He doesn't always feed me or let me sleep much and I'm hungry and tired, Charlie," Duckling bawled. Oh god. That's why she was so fucking skinny. "He brought me here to Seattle. I made a game and he's presenting it at a press conference today at the Volturi Game's office."
What? Did she just say Volturi Games? Oh my God. Duckling made the game Edward was presenting at the press conference. I'd better get a hold of him before they fuck up.
"Yeah. It's Phil. Okay, I'll hand over the phone to Lone umm Jasper."
"Son, could you take Bella to your place and keep her there until I come and get her?"
"Of course, Chief. I'll do whatever you need."
"Could you feed her for me? I'll be there as soon as I can. Give your details to Tyler. I need to call the precinct there and get Phil Dwyer arrested."
"All right, Chief. See you soon," I hung up the phone after giving my address and my home number to Tyler.
I felt my heart break when I saw Bella wolf down the cheese steak sobbing. She was so hungry that crying didn't even deter her from losing her appetite. I pulled my chair closer to her and wrapped my arm around her shoulder. I pushed my cheese steak towards her and told her to finish mine. She sobbed even louder and nodded.
How could anyone deprive food and sleep from such an innocent, helpless girl? I don't think I've ever felt so much hate towards anyone before. If Phil showed up at my door step, I was sure I would shoot him point blank. I've never used my gun on anyone before, but I had one at home legally registered in my name.
After Duckling finished eating, I helped her out of the chair. She was still sobbing and her whole body trembled. She couldn't even stand on her own anymore. I wrapped my arm around her waist and walked back to the car. I knew I needed to contact Edward to warn him, but Duckling's well being was my first priority.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry I got you involved," Duckling sobbed.
"Duckling, I'm glad you called me. I would have been angry at you, if you didn't call," I said as I squeezed her hand to assure her.
The ride to my apartment was silent. I showed her my bedroom and asked if she wanted to shower and change. Her hair was matted from sweat and tears. She couldn't have been comfortable. She smiled a little and nodded.
Once I was out of the bedroom I picked up my phone to call Edward. He didn't pick up so I called Emmett. When Emmett didn't pick up, I called Emmett's girlfriend, Rosalie. Thankfully, she picked up.
"Hey, Jasper. Why aren't you here? The game is awesome! I have no doubt it's going to be the No.1 hit this Christmas," Rosalie sounded super excited. Damn, I was too late.
"Rose, I need to speak to Edward or Emmett immediately. I don't have time to explain to you, but I will later. Just get Edward or Emmett to call me back. It's regarding the game, and they need to act on it a.s.a.p."
"You sound serious."
"I'm not kidding, Rose. Get them. Every minute you delay the worse it's going to be for Em and Edward. Not just them, the whole Volturi Games could go down."
"What the fuck? Okay, I'm not going to be responsible if they get really pissy," Rose huffed before hanging up.
Ten minutes later Emmett called me back. "What's going on Jasper? We're really busy right now."
"Emmett, there's a problem with the game, The Ugly Duckling. Phil Dwyer didn't create the game; Chief Swan's daughter did. He has absolutely no rights to the game that Volturi just announced to the press. The police will be arresting Phil Dwyer any minute now."
"Whoah. Slow down, Jasper. What the fuck are you talking about? The Chief's daughter? You mean like in Chief Charlie Swan?"
"Listen to me carefully. The Chief's daughter, Bella Swan, owns all the rights to the game. Phil Dwyer stole it from her and claimed it as his own. Phil Dwyer is going to be in all sorts of other related trouble as well. Chief Swan is on his way here to Seattle now and he was making sure Seattle police are on their way to arrest Phil Dwyer. Get your legal team together and make sure Phil Dwyer doesn't escape or Volturi Games is going to be in the worst possible situation."
"Fuck! I think that's the police. I gotta go." I heard a loud commotion in the back ground as Emmett hung up.
Did you like it? Does the story appeal to you? I'll be introducing Charlie, Edward, Carlisle, Esme, and Aro Volturi next chapter.
Please leave me a review and let me know your thoughts on this story.
Very special thanks to JCook169 for going back and editing this chapter!