DISCLAIMER: STEPHENIE MEYER OWNS ALL THINGS TWILIGHT!
Hey, it's me again ^^
Welcome to my new story :) and all human, of course. Thank you to my beta, xx-twilight7-xx (Anita) for beta'ing the chapter.
This is the first chapter of 'You Can Lean On Me'.
I didn't know why I had to agree with Alice about this plan. My best friend had had an idea for me to volunteer at the Social Service for my sociology project. I am a college girl, majoring in Psychology, while my best friend, Alice Brandon, majored in design. She was an energetic girl with spiky black hair and blue eyes. She might be small, but never underestimate her. She had a persuasive power over you...well, like she did over me. We both attended UMD in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts.
"Being a volunteer at Social Service? Are you serious?" I asked her on our lunch break. We sat on the campus garden with our takeouts. I was free after lunch while Alice still had one more lecture.
"Well...you've been moping around about finding the topic for your project while all your classmates already have their topic. Why don't you try to be a volunteer and you can find someone who could be your research subject?" Alice asked me in return.
I took a deep breath. Sometimes I hated that I had to consider other people as subjects, but that was the truth. I took this major because I liked to learn about people and why they acted the way they do. What things that influenced them? What was the story behind all of that? And for the matters, I must learn to think of other people as subjects.
I looked over to the yellow paper in my hand. It was an advertisement asking people to volunteer at the place called 'Our Hearts' (AN: I made up the name). It was a place for drug addicts or others who had social problems and they were having therapy. I knew it was a challenge for me because I've never dealt with this social type of behavior before, but it was also a good subject. Not many Psychology students ever deal with this subject before and I could be the one who got lucky...well, if I ever survive in that place.
"So, what do you think?" My best friend questioned, her eyes dancing in excitement.
I sighed. "I don't know, Alice. Don't you think it's dangerous? A place full with people who have social problems and I just pop there and try to help them emotionally? Right!"
Alice sighed. "Bella, that place still has professionals. Besides if it was a dangerous place like you said, they won't ask for volunteers, would they?"
She has a point, though.
"Just give the place a visit, will you? And then you can decide," Alice continued.
I made a face. "You are so pushy, just like in high school."
Alice and I have been best friends since high school. We both attended the Forks High School before we took off to college together. My high school years were a quiet one, but Alice's were the opposite. She was busy involving herself in community activities while I was just a bookworm. I never liked a crowded place, but I interested in Psychology. Weird, huh?
My parents divorced when I was only one year. My mom took me to Phoenix and re-married when I had just finished my junior year. I knew she wanted privacy for her newlywed period, so I decided to live with my dad in Forks, a small town in Washington State. My dad worked as Chief of Police there; therefore no boys dared to mess with me. It was a bonus, I think.
I met Alice on my first day in high school and we instantly became good friends. She always made me attend school events even though I had to attend them all by myself. Once Alice tried to pair me with Michael Newton, the famous quarterback but I didn't have to be a psychic to know that Mike was interested in me since my first day at Forks High. But I guess my psychology side knew his intention just to get me into his bed. I've never dated nor do I hold any interest to men anymore. I guess I just haven't found the right one yet.
A 'beep' sound halted my daydreaming and I looked over to Alice. She opened her BlackBerry and rolled her eyes.
"Sorry, Bella, but my design partner asked me to come to the class immediately. See you at the dorm," she said as rose from the bench.
I grimaced. "Good luck."
She scoffed and waved her hands. I watched her walk to the building while I was still sitting on the bench. I took a deep breath and looked over to the yellow paper again. I pursed my lips and grabbed my bag.
I parked my ancient truck in front of the building. A giant red banner with white letters of 'Volunteers Needed' welcomed me. I took a deep breath and ran my fingers through my hair. My hair was deep brown, more like mahogany color, and it sometimes has its own will. I looked over into the rearview mirror and attempted to tame my hair. I glanced briefly at my reflection. Heart shaped face with brown eyes and pale skin. Nothing special.
I got out from the truck, the car my dad gave me when I just moved to Forks. It was 1953 red Chevy. My dad bought that car from his friend, Billy Black, a native American in reservation. His son, Jacob Black, was my friend, although I knew he liked me more than friend. He confessed his feeling to me once, but I said it will be better if we were just friends. Jacob was hurt at the beginning, but then he gradually understood and we still remain best friends to this day.
I walked to the front desk where a woman sat there with a pile of paper in the desk. The woman had dark hair and blue eyes; and she wore shirt and jeans. She looked busy sorting all the papers.
I cleared my throat. "Excuse me, Ma'am."
The woman raised her head and smiled when she saw me. "Yes, may I help you?"
I smiled timidly. "Uh...I just want to ask you about the volunteer programme and perhaps you still have empty spot for me in it."
"Oh," She looked surprise and rummaged through some papers until she gave me a form.
I took the paper and saw it was an application form for the volunteer programme.
"You can fill it now. Just take your time," She said.
I nodded and sat on a chair across from her. I took my pen from my stationery case and began to write down some basic information about myself, like names, birth date, birthplace, address, education background and phone number. I gave the form back to the woman once I finished writing down the information.
"Bella," I interjected.
She smiled. "Bella...I see you are a Psychology student. I guess that's why you want to volunteer in this place."
I grimaced. "Yes and no, Ma'am. Well, yes because it helped me in my study and no because I just want to do something in my college break." I was hoping she would believe me. I was never a good liar.
She chuckled. "Oh...I'm sure of that." She extended her hand, "I am Katherine Collins, by the way. You can call me Kate."
I shook her hand, "Nice to meet you, Kate."
She nodded. "So, you want to see around as an introduction?"
I smiled. "I would love to."
Kate rose from her chair and called for a man with sandy colored hair and hazel eyes. The man approached us and smiled at me. "Bella, I would like you to meet my husband, Garrett Collins. Garrett, this is Bella. She just applied for volunteering in this place."
The man, Garrett, extended his hand and I returned it, "Nice to meet you, Bella. Thank you for volunteering. Kate really needs some help."
I chuckled. "Nice to meet you too, Garrett. I will be happy to help you and Kate."
Garrett was replacing Kate on the front desk while she took me on short tour of the building. Kate told me that the building was an old one, but the owner wanted to do something for the building so he decided to make this building as a social service. Kate and Garrett have already volunteered in this place for three years. This was their fourth years.
"What makes this place so special that you want to volunteer for four years?" I asked her curiously. I mean this place was full with troubled people for God's sake.
Kate smiled. "You'll see."
She took me to a large room and she opened the large glass door. Inside the room, there were lots of teenagers and adults. They were separated in groups and seemed busy in their own world. My heart clenched when I saw them. All these people...they were supposed to be happy and enjoying their lives, but I guessed not all people get that privilege.
"Some of them are drug addicts because they were depressed. Family problems, school problems, you name it. And some of them just depressed from their situation," Kate explained. She pointed to a young girl with red hair. She was sitting in a chair with a thick book in her hands. "That girl...her name is Margaret. She has IQ of 160. She feels depressed because she never able to be in the same grade as the normal young girls of her age. She is 16, but she already finished her high school."
My eyes widened. "Really?"
Kate nodded glumly. "She became isolated and it was worse when her parents didn't know what to do either. Margaret tried to kill herself once and now she is having her therapy here three times a week."
I looked over to Margaret and the compassion feeling surged into me. I wanted to help these people even if I wasn't able to help that much. I've never communicated or had experience with these kinds of people before, but I would like to try. Perhaps I could learn something from them. I just hope my ability to understand people was helping me.
"So, when do I start?" I asked Kate again when we began to walk around the building.
"The opening will be held next week and we will call you for the details," Kate answered me.
I looked around the building once more when I caught a glimpse of a man with bronze hair in a window on the second floor. He was staring at me and I shivered slightly under his stare.
"That's Edward," Kate said to me.
I looked over to her. Kate was also looked over the window and I looked back to where the man stood. He was still there, wearing a dark shirt and jeans. Even though from the distance, I could tell that Edward was a good looking man.
"What happened to him?" I asked Kate in low voice.
"Family problems. His dad was so busy while his mom was depressed. He became hostile and had a serious anger management issue. We put him separately with the others because he tried to hurt one of the kids here. They are all afraid of him," Kate explained.
Wow, this place was interesting indeed.
And then I saw Edward turn around and disappear from the window. I turned to Kate again. "Nobody ever gets close to him?"
Kate sighed. "Only a few. Mostly it's the professionals. Don't worry...the volunteers will not handle cases like that."
"How long has he been here?" I asked again.
Kate shrugged. "From what I heard, he has been here for two months. He was such a wonderful, charming boy before everything was happened. He just study medical, but dropped out." And then she looked at me. "You see, Bella...not all of these kids are bad. They are smart and brilliant. They just don't know how to deal with hard times and their parents couldn't help them either. You can experience that for yourself when the programme starts."
I nodded. I knew that, but the bad reputation sometimes influenced what other people think about them. They still had the chance for a brighter future and I felt bad momentarily for misjudging them earlier.
Kate smiled and extended her hand. "It's very nice to meet you, Bella. I'm so glad you're willing to volunteer here. Not many Psychology student do things like this."
I laughed lightly and shook her hand. "It's nice to meet you too, Kate. I'm so happy I could help."
She nodded. "I'll give you a call about the details."
I smiled. "Alright."
I looked over to the window where Edward was stood before I walked again with Kate. This volunteer programme would be interesting indeed.
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