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I could see light ahead, I could see the dorm ahead and I knew that I was safe, just a few feet further. I tried to scream again and the faintest noise came out. The sound of my voice gave me even more strength to try again. I kept screaming until I was sure someone else would hear me, they would all hear me. And then they were there, safe arms, safe arms around me, holding me as I collapsed. Safe arms that pulled me inside and out of danger.
"Bella? Oh God Bella what happened?" His voice was like silk and then everything went black.
"Dad, you can let go now… I can barely breathe." I squirmed to free myself from my dad's vise grip of a bear hug.
"I know" he paused "I'm just not ready yet." He said quietly.
"Honey we have talked about this, she is a grown up now." My mother said to him while trying to pry me out of his grip.
"Just because she is starting college does not mean she is a grown up." He retorted. "I'm just not ready to let her go yet." He actually looked like his was going to cry as he loosened his grip and let me go finally.
"I love you daddy. I will always be your little girl no matter what." I smiled up at him and kissed his cheek.
"I love you too, Bells." He kissed my forehead and walked away not looking back. He didn't want me to see him cry. "Remember to keep your cell phone and pepper spray with you at all times." I could barely hear him now. Always the cop I thought to myself.
"He'll be ok, just give him some time." My mother walked over to hug me goodbye. "I love you sweetie. Have fun, be good and be safe."
"I will mom, I love you too." I smiled and kissed her goodbye as well.
And with that my parents were gone, leaving me to start my first year at the University of Washington. It had taken my parents and me a little over an hour to unload my stuff and move into my new dorm room. My dad was not happy about the fact my new dorm was a co-ed dorm, but he did calm down a bit when he learned that boys and girls were separated by floors. Truth be told, he was not happy about letting me leave our small town of Forks, about letting me leave his protective eyes and watch over me. As the Chief of Police he felt he knew everything that happened in my life and for the most part he did. I really never could hide anything from him, not that there was really anything to ever hide.
I know it was hard for both mom and dad to let me go. Being an only child has its advantages but also its drawbacks. I did everything with my parents and I know it's going to be hard for them to adjust to me not being at home. I was lucky to be so close to my mom and in a way she was one of my best friends. We would just talk for hours about nothing and everything. I had promised her that we would still be able to do this, through calls and e-mail. However, I could see the war going on in her mind, the war between losing me and needing to let me go.
I knew I was going to miss them but at the same time I was so excited about being on my own, well as on my own as I can be in a college dorm, and taking my first steps toward being an adult. I knew my parents were very protective, more my dad then my mom, but I never felt under their thumb. I knew I had the freedom to make my own decisions, but the thought of my dad's disappointment was always there and it kept me from doing anything crazy or rebellious. But now I started to feel like I could be a little crazy. That I could do things that might be a mistake, that might make my dad feel disappointment towards me and I kind of liked that idea. It made me feel like a grown up, even though I was not yet legally one.
That was another point of contention with my father. The fact I was starting college at the age of 17. It wasn't my fault I was born in September. I was always younger then my classmates. I started school when I was four and had heard my mother recount the story many, many times about being so little I could barely reach the door handle to open it and about how much it made her cry. But I was going to be 18 in a few weeks and then it wouldn't really matter. My father still didn't like the idea of it though.
As I looked around my new room I sighed. I was here, I was really here. For the past three months all I could think about was going away to school. My best friend Alice was going to be my roommate. Alice and I had been best friends since we were little girls. We did everything together and we never thought twice about going to different schools.
Our friends, Mike, Tyler, Eric and Angela were also going to school here. We had all been pleased to learn we were going to be in the same dorm. Angela's room was two doors down from us and the guys were three floors below ours. Alice's older brother Emmett who was a junior here was also on the same floor as the guys. Emmett was a huge bear of a guy but had the heart of a saint. He was the big brother I had always wanted. He saw Alice and me the same way; we were both his little sisters. I had really missed him the past two years while he was away at school and I was looking forward to being able to see him more often.
"Bella" squealed my tiny best friend as she bounced into the room hugging me and spinning me around! "I am so glad you are finally here! What took you so long? I was here four hours ago. You know I don't like to be left alone for too long!" Alice stomped her foot and pouted out her lower lip.
My dear sweet Alice was a bundle of energy and it did not do well for her to be left alone. The more time she was, the more the energy grew and then God help the first person she encountered. Alice and I were exact opposites. Alice never met a stranger and was friendly with everyone. She drew so much attention to herself when she walked into a room, not by her actions but just by the energy that rolled off of her. I on the other hand was quiet, shy and reserved. I let my heart take over too quickly sometimes and always felt the urge to take care of others. I was content to stand back on the sidelines and watch her get all of the attention, but she refused to let me. She wanted me front and center where she was.
She always said we were our own version of soul mates. Not in a romantic way, but in the way we completed each other as a person. The two of us together made the best possible person, her energy and joy, my heart and soul. She seemed a little touched when she talked like that, but I knew she was right. I missed her when we weren't together, like I had lost a part of myself and she said the same about me. We knew each other so well we didn't even need to speak, we just knew.
"You know Charlie; he was in no hurry to bring me here, still trying to figure out a way to keep me at home. First he couldn't find his keys, than he said he forgot to check the tires, than he said something about checking in a work before he left. Finally Renee told him she would cut him off if he did not get in the car." I was still trying to get that mental image out of my head.
"Eww that's gross, as gross as thinking about my mom and dad!" Alice laughed while shaking her head.
"I went down and found Mike, Eric and Tyler's room, and get this they are across the hall from the Head Resident Advisor's room. The same room Emmett is in."
"Em is rooming with the head RA? How on earth did that happen?"
"He is a frat brother of Em's and they were roommates last year as well, but he was a floor RA then. And you know he spends all of his time at Rosie's anyway so it really doesn't matter." Emmett had met Rosalie his freshman year here and they have been dating every since. I had met her a few times and she seemed nice, although a bit stand offish. She was by far the prettiest girl I have ever seen and she seems to know it. She had a place right off campus and we all knew her and Em were living together even though it never was made official.
"Did you get to meet him?"
"Who?" Alice asked, not really paying attention because she was going through some of my boxes.
"Em's roommate, the head RA? The guys could be in for a rough year if he is a real hard ass."
"Edward, yeah I got to meet him, he seemed pretty cool."
"That's it?" I knew there had to be more.
"Well" here we go "His last name is Cullen and he is from Chicago. He is pre-med and the same year as Em. His dad is a doctor and his mom designs houses. He is an only child and very smart. He also likes all types of music and movies and enjoys reading. He is very soulful!" All of that in one breathe "Plus he reminds me of someone else I know, but I cannot quite but my finger on it yet."
"Wow Alice, how long were you down there that you got all of that information?" I asked, knowing full well Alice could get all the information she needed on someone in just a matter of minutes. She should be an interrogator or something with the talent that she possessed. I looked over at her and she grinned from ear to ear. There was a glint of mischief in her eyes. She was holding something back.
"Alice McCarty what are you up to; I can tell from that look on your face, you are holding something back."
She was like a bomb, ready to explode. "Edward. Is. Beautiful. I mean really beautiful, you have to see this guy!" There was my boy crazy Alice. "Of course Em did tell him he would kill him if he even thought about asking me out though! Total buzz kill! So then I thought you would be the one to go out with him and I can live vicariously through you!" She grinned even bigger this time.
"Yeah right whatever" I just rolled my eyes. "Like a beautiful junior would waste time thinking about going out with a freshman, let alone me."
"Bella, oh my beautiful Bella." She rolled her eyes this time. She hated it when I didn't see myself the same way she did. "What am I going to do with you?" I never thought of myself as something special. I wasn't ugly, but I never thought of myself as more than just normal or even average. Alice for some reason thought I was more. Crazy Alice, she was the second prettiest girl I had ever seen. She was great though; she never did anything to make me feel out of place and always told me how beautiful I was.
"Come on, let's go find the guys." She grabbed my arm and pulled me out of the room and towards the elevator.
"Bella!" Mike jumped up from his chair and ran over to greet me, pulling me into a big hug. "About time you got here, Alice has been driving us crazy for the past hour." The guy's had been here for just a few hours and already they had turned the room into a typical guy's dorm room. They had moved the beds up on wooden stilts so they were lofts, giving them more room to put in a couch, fridge, computer, TV and stereo underneath. Posters of half naked girls were lying on one of the desks and Tyler and Eric were fighting over where the posters were going to go. They both stopped for a moment and looked up to smile and wave hello.
"I told you guys you were not putting those up" Alice screamed "I refuse to come in here and be subjected to that kind of objectification on a daily basis." She stormed into their room past Mike and I who were still standing in the doorway.
"So here we are, big college students now, can you believe it?" Mike asked. "I bet now you're away from your dad's protective eyes you are going to get a little wild!" he laughed at the idea but I swear it also looked like he had a little hope in his eyes.
"Just because she is no longer under her dad's eye, doesn't mean she isn't being watched and let me tell you now, anyone who tries to make her wild will have to deal with me." The big voice could only belong to my wonderful Emmett. Before I could turn around his big arms grabbed me from the doorway and pulled he away.
"Bella, my beautiful little sis." Emmett said "How the hell are you little one? I have missed you!" Emmett had spent most of the summer here in Seattle working and I had not seen him for months. He pulled me across the hall and into his room, spinning me around, giving me a huge bear hug and slopping my cheek with kisses. I was going to be black and blue by the end of this day.
"About time her other half got here. Someone has to rein her in, she is going crazy!" He grinned and nodded his head across the hall. Alice's voice could be heard everywhere, she was still fussing with the guys over their choice of room décor.
Emmett put me down and I took a look around his room. It was huge compared to the other dorm rooms. There was a small kitchenette, room for a proper living room set up and there were only two beds. There was even a bathroom with an actual shower, no common shower room for these guys. Guess being the head RA has its benefits.
"Em this room is so big. How on earth did you manage this?"
"It's all about who you know." He grinned from ear to ear, typical Em.
"Emmett man your sister is going to drive those poor boys crazy, you are going to have to go and rescue them." Said the most amazing voice I have heard in my life. I had goose bumps and didn't know why, that was until I turned around towards the voice. In the room walked the best looking guy I have ever seen. He was tall and lean, but with well defined muscles. His hair was bronze and his eyes were the most amazing shade of green. He looked like he had just stepped out of a magazine or out of the pages of one of the books I loved to read. He wasn't real, he couldn't be real. Men did not look like him.
"I know, I know." Emmett shook his head in mock shame. "Edward I would like you to meet Alice's best friend, Bella. She is the other little sister I was telling you about." Em said as he was walking out of the room. What was that? He had talked to him about me? Was Emmett warning him about me as well?
"Edward Cullen, It is nice to meet you." He extended his hand to shake. Alice was right, he was beautiful.
"Bella Swan" my voice cracked "It's…nice… to meet you too." I put my hand into his to shake. He had a firm hand shake but his skin was very warm and felt like silk. I felt a spark and for a moment I thought he felt it too because he just held on to my hand, but then he looked up at me and quickly let it go.
"If you need anything let me or your floor RA know." He flashed a smile that almost brought me to my knees. I was a goner! Major crush setting in!
"Thanks" my voice cracked again. I had to get out of there before I did or said something stupid.
"Bella!" Alice's voice screamed from across the hall. "I need you now!"
"I better go see what she needs." I stammered half mortified and half relieved that she was getting me out of there.
"Good luck with that." He smiled at me again "I think you are going to need it."
I hurried back across the hall into the guy's room and found Emmett helping them hang their posters while Alice stood there stomping her feet. Big brother wins again. I knew there was nothing I could do or say to make it better.
After the last poster went up, Alice had all that she could stand and she stomped out of the room. Not paying attention to where she was going, when she turned the corner, she ran into a boy in the hall, knocking him down. On his way down he grabbed Alice's arm trying to get his balance, instead pulling her down with him. When they landed on the ground, she was sprawled out on top of him.
"Shit" he said
"I… am… so sorry!" Alice stammered trying to pick herself up, but as she looked into his eyes, she froze.
"What the hell" Emmett's voice boomed from the room. He bolted out into the hallway to check on his sister and busted out laughing when he saw Alice lying on top of the boy.
"Jasper, I would like you to meet my little sister Alice." Emmett said
"Nice to meet you" They both said at the same time, never taking their eyes off of each other. Typical, Alice, falling in love right before school starts. But it looks like she may not be the only one.
Edward came out into the hallway to check on the noise as well. "Jasper, what on earth?" He said as he went over to pull Alice off of him. "What have I told you about falling all over women?" He was laughing as well as he next helped Jasper up.
"Bite me Edward!" Jasper smirked, never taking his eyes off of Alice. Yeah, he was a goner!