Hello all! Thank you for choosing Right Vs. Good. This is my first fanfic. It takes place ten years after the Cullens leave, and assumes that Edward has not come back for Bella. It's mostly in Bella's point of view, but there are a couple of small chapters where it takes Edward's.
I have slightly different thoughts when it comes to who might act out my own story. If any of you would like to see for yourselves, there's links on my profile. At the bottom of this chapter is a list of ages (for the time being, anyway) of the characters. There's quite a bit of jumping ahead in the last few chapters of RvG, so I'll update the age changes at the end of each chapter.
Also, I loved putting together the character's outfits, so if any of you would like to see the ensembles, please go to my profile and there will be a link to a site there you can copy and paste.
Ok, enough with the yakkity yak! I hope you enjoy my story! Unfortunately, I do not own anything Twilight *sigh* I do, however, own a delicious piece of cake. Yummy
Right Vs. Good
Chapter One: Reunions
Sunday. A day of rest. Ha. I should be so freaking lucky. I wiped down another grimy table as I looked out the window of the diner. The sunshine had a dim veil over it, as if it was saying good-bye until spring. Oh sure, it'd pop in and say hi every few weeks in the winter, but was pretty much done for until the trees started budding again.
"Bella, could you help me with these boxes?" Josh called.
"Sure. Gimme a sec." I pushed the tacky vase of fake flowers back toward the window and turned to go behind the counter. I dropped the rag into the hamper on my way to the back to help break down boxes.
"Looks like it's going to get nasty soon, huh?" Josh asked.
"Yep. We're in for a pretty snowy winter." I shuddered, already cold with the thought of it.
"You going to need a ride to work once it starts snowing?" Josh was a sweet boss; he hired me with no waitressing experience, obviously sensing my urgency to get another job. He doted on and spoiled Nicky silly; and he honestly worried about me using my ancient truck—although it was still running, it was touch-and-go in the winter. I mostly rode my bike to spread out the life of my truck and to save on gas.
"I should be able to get a cheap car before then," I lied. "But thanks Josh." He just nodded, not really expecting anything else from me, I'm sure.
When the diner was locked and Josh had driven off in his mostrous truck, I called Nicky real quick from under the eave.
"Mama!" he called through the phone. I smiled.
"Hey, baby. How are you?"
"Good. You excited for school tomorrow?" I tapped a cigarette out of my pack.
"Yeah! I got my backpack all ready. An' Daddy bought me Spider-Man shoes for tomorrow!"
I struggled to keep the venom out of my voice. "Really? What about the ones I bought you last week?"
"Oh. Daddy said he didn't want me having the Velcro. He said I needed laces instead."
"I thought you liked the Velcro though?" Where the hell was that lighter?
"I did. I liked them better than the Spider-Man, 'cause they had Batman. But Daddy said no." He sounded disappointed.
"I see. Do they at least fit ok?" A-Ha, there it was.
I stuck the cigarette in between my lips and lit it. "Good," I said around it, then exhaled.
"Mama are you smoking?"
"Yeah, honey." I couldn't lie to him.
"I thought you said you were stopping."
"I am, Nicky, but it takes a while, ok? I'm trying." Shame crept into me.
"I love you, Mama."
"I love you too, sweets. Why don't you give the phone to your dad please?"
"Ok. 'Night, Mama."
"Good night, baby." I puffed on the cigarette as Nicky got his dad. I was just itching to ream somebody out. He just presented me with the perfect opportunity.
"Yeah?" Mike answered.
"What was wrong with the ones I got him, Mike?"
"Come on Isabella. The kids are going to think he can't tie his own damn shoes."
Irritation bit me. Where did he get off? "He picked them out because he liked them, not because he thought about how cool they were going to make him. He's six. You seriously think that kids are going to make fun of him for that?"
"Kids can be pretty mean. I thought you of all people would know that, miss teacher lady. But, I can't blame you for wanting to choose the cheaper shoes for Nicky." Oh, here we go again. Attack me because I didn't make enough. No matter that I raised our kids and paid the bills and cleaned under your royal ass.
"Cost had nothing to do with it, Mike. God, you just can't handle me having any say in what Nicky does or has, can you?" I stomped out the cigarette.
"Not when I can't trust you to take into consideration what's really good for Nicky."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Excuse me? 'Mama, I want to stay in the truck!' 'Ok, Nicky, I'll just run into the store for an hour or so and come back with my cigarettes so I can poison you with second-hand smoke.' Sound familiar, Isabella?"
"Fuck you, Mike. It was a gas station, for five damn minutes, and I could see him the entire time. And I've never smoked around him." He was asleep in the freaking car! What did he expect me to do?
"Sure, I believe that."
"Ok, ass-tard. How about this? Since I'm such a horrible mother, and I can't obviously take care of Nicky myself, why don't you drop him off Friday after school, and you can pick him up Sunday afternoon. That way you can have total control. Sound good to you?"
"Great. See you then."
I hung up the phone, still fuming angry. Let him do the 45 minute drive back and forth. He should do it anyway, since he was the one who moved them out to the boonies. I got on my bike and pedaled my way home. Locking the bike up to the the rack, I saw Mrs. Garner's light on in the apartment next to mine. The curtain flicked and I knew she was going to be bombarding me as I came up the stairs.
Sure enough, her door opened and her face appeared in the crack, covered in some kind of avocado mask. Euugh. Creepy.
"Hi, Mrs. Garner. How are you tonight?"
"Oh, just fine, honey, just fine. I just wanted to make sure that it was still ok to bring Kimmy to school tomorrow…"
Ah. I should have guessed. Her grand-daughter, Kimber, was starting her freshman year at the school I taught at. Through the gossiping tendencies of the old lady, I had learned that Kimber's mother was a drug addict who had gotten Kimber taken away from her about two months ago. She had been sent to live with her grandmother since then. The few times I had seen her passing by the doorway or window in the apartment, she didn't even look out, just kept her head down and continued on quickly. I hadn't even seen her face, I just knew that she was sickly thin and had long, dirty-blonde hair.
"Yeah, that's fine. I'll have to leave pretty early. School starts at 8:30, but I'll have to leave around a quarter till. Is that ok?" I was already in my apartment, left hand on the door, right hand pulling the key out of the knob.
Please just answer. I need to be alone.
"Yep, that's fine, Bella. We'll see you tomorrow. Have a good night, dear."
"You too. 'Night." I closed the door and breathed in relief. What a long day. And tomorrow was going to be stressful too, although I was excited for it. I always loved the first day of school—from meeting the students, to seeing old friends, down to the coffee machine in the cafeteria—the coffee was too sweet most of the time, but at least the hot cocoa was delicious.
My apartment was tiny, a far cry from the spacious two-story Victorian Mike and I shared when we were married, but it was all mine, and that's why I loved it. At least I got the 42-inch flat screen. That was about all I got, though. Since Mike got primary custody of Nicky, I left to get a place of my own, meaning that I got minimal things. Mike only let me have the flat screen because he bought a 3D TV with my child support check, wasn't that sweet of him.
I sighed and dropped my keys on the table by the door along with my purse. I changed out of my work clothes into my most comfortable pajamas, washed my face, and shuffled into the kitchen to heat up some of last night's roast. As it rotated in the microwave, I turned on my computer. Nicky and Grace smiled at me from the background in their Christmas outfits, Charlie as Santa. I smiled and checked my in-box. One e-mail from Renee, one from my lawyer, and one from Angela. I smiled lightly again and opened up the one from Renee before getting my food. I wrote, read, ate, and yawned for the next hour or so and then shut down my computer and rinsed off the plate.
I settled into my bed and turned to face the picture on my nightstand. Charlie and 4-year-old Nicholas on a chestnut horse, myself and 6-year-old Grace on a paint mare, getting ready to go on a trail through Glacier Park on one of Dad's few visits. Mike hadn't come—he was busy I think. We had more fun without him than we would have if he'd gone along anyway.
I sighed and snuggled into the pillow underneath my head. My hand automatically reached under the mattress to the piece of cloth poking out; I stroked it absent-mindedly. Memories came into my mind as always, putting me to sleep.
"Mama, what if I fall off?"
"You won't fall, Gracie, I have you."
"Promise. I won't let go until you tell me to. Ok?"
I push her pink frilly bike up the block.
"Mama, let go! I got it, Mama!"
A squeal of excitement leaves her as I let go of her seat. She goes farther than expected and then topples over and crashes to the ground. Her knee is bleeding when I come up to her.
"I'm ok, Mama. I wanna do it 'gain."
My brave girl…
"Mama, look I did!"
She's covered head to toe in Nicky's baby powder. She looks like a ghost. It trails behind her all over the floor.
"Grace Renee Newton!" I try so hard to act disappointed, but I can barely contain laughing.
That's all it takes for her to start crying. Tears streak her cheeks clean.
I can't help the laughter, and she starts laughing too…
"Mama, Nicky just came into my room and showed me his pee-pee!"
Our dinner guests snicker as Nicky yells down the stairs, "Tattle-tale!"
Mike gets so mad and embarrassed…
"Mama, who's that man?" Grace points to a picture in the shoebox where I keep her hospital bracelets from when she was born; she wanted to see them and I forgot the picture was in there.
"His name was Edward. We were together in school."
"What's that picture from?"
"You were very pretty, Mama." I smile.
"Why didn't you marry him? You look like you loved him."
"I did, very much." My voice betrays me and a tear falls. "He…didn't want me." I put the picture in the box and the box back in my nightstand.
"I don't really know, Baby."
She flings her arms around me. "I want you, Mama. I never don't ever want you!"
"I want you too, Baby."
I dry my tears on her hair…
The nasal beeping woke me up from my sleep. Damn. I felt like I had barely laid down. 6:45 again. I would never learn to acclimate myself to waking up early once the school year hit. Sure, the diner only did lunch and dinner, so I never had to wake up before 8:30 in the Summer. But it made the beginning of the school year that much more of a kick in the pants.
I rousted myself from bed and took a shower. I dressed in a simple beige blouse and light skirt with this old sixties print. Strappy wedge sandals and wood jewelry went with it. I threw my hair in a loose, trailing messy bun and touched up my eyes with some make-up. Alice would be proud, I thought wistfully, before shutting down that train of thought. I didn't need to have a breakdown before my first day.
I made sure I had everything I needed, tossed down a granola bar, and headed out to get Kimber at exactly twenty minutes to eight.
"Hello, Bella," Mrs. Garner greeted me, unGodly cheerful for this hour.
"Hi, Mrs. Garner. Is Kimber ready to go?"
"Just about. Would you like to come in?"
"Oh, I—" Thankfully I was spared the decision of being gracious or politely offensive as a tiny form came up behind her large grandmother.
"I'm ready to go, Gran," she said in a whisper-quiet voice.
"Great! You have a great day, Kimmy. Love you." She patted her grand-daughter's hair as she squeezed through the doorway.
She nodded and came to stand next to me.
"Hi." She kept her head lowered. I led the way to the truck and hopped in as she did. As we bounced through the crappy parking lot, Kimber started chewing her nails.
Yep. Definitely an awkward silence. I wasn't really one for useless chit-chat, but the poor girl looked downright terrified at the prospect of a teacher giving her a ride to school. I cringed, sympathizing with her. On the few days Charlie had to take me to school, I prayed for the end to come quickly.
"So, you excited for school?"
Shrug. "Not really."
"Don't know no one."
I gave an internal cringe at her grammar. Or lack thereof, I guess. "You haven't met anyone while you've been here?"
She shook her head.
Passing near a coffee hut, I had a spark of inspiration. I pulled in and was lucky enough to only have one person in front of me. "Do you want anything, Kimber?"
She looked up at me and I was hit by shock. Her cheek had a long, acid-like scar on it, leading from the side of her eyebrow, making her left eye droop. It went across her face and stopped at the hollow of her cheekbone. Another slightly smaller one forced the same corner of her mouth in a permanent frown. I couldn't help but look, but I quickly shot my eyes to hers and smiled. "Really, it's my pleasure. If you want something, I'd be more than happy to get it for you."
And then she smiled. Her whole face lit up when she smiled, and she really was quite pretty, if too thin. "Thanks," she said, in a louder, less shy voice than before.
"You're welcome." I pulled up to the window and ordered a latte for me. Kimber asked for a hot chocolate. On the road again, the silence was much more comfortable. I found myself thinking of Emily, a friend back home. She was married to one of Jake's friends. She was beautiful, with her copper skin and crow-black hair, but the claw scars on her face tended to cause heads to turn where we went. She was bubblier than Kimber, though, feisty and teasing and loving.
And, God, her cooking…I would have to get her to send me some of those muffins over soon…
We arrived at school just as the clock turned to 8:15. Just in time.
"Well…thanks for the ride, Ms. Newton." Kimber grabbed her backpack and slung it over her shoulder as she was getting out of the truck.
"My pleasure, Kimber. Just drop by room 210 at the end of the day, and I'll be more than happy to give you a ride back home, ok?" Kimber nodded and went to the front of the school, toward the office. I went in through the cafeteria entrance and headed up the stairs toward the gym. The new foyer looked nice, I noticed. Much more open, modern. Sure it was pretty, but I felt a twinge of nostalgia for the original foyer—the one that had been there I think since the school opened.
Turning my back on the foyer, I clicked up the stairs to the second floor and went to my room next to the library. I smiled as I entered it and looked around the familiar walls. I'd spent the week prior putting up posters, art, arranging the furniture, and making it homey in my spare time. In lieu of desks, I had two Salvation Army couches in the back of the class, three squishy armchairs that I'd got in the divorce but couldn't fit into my apartment, and the rest were regular chairs gathered at round tables.
Leaving the door open, I sat down at my desk and relaxed for a couple of moments before taking my laptop case and pulling my computer and papers out of it. I took my computer with me almost wherever I went—my whole life was on it. Just as I was getting ready for my first class (a freshman course, which basically meant I was babysitting for the first hour of the day) a knock came on my doorframe. I turned around with a smile on my face and saw Kimber.
"Hey," I said.
"Hey, Ms. Newton."
She stepped into my classroom and stood in front of me. "I guess we're gonna see more 'each other. I just got my schedule and I'm in your class."
I smiled. "Great. Pick any seat."
Kimber picked the squishy wing-back chair next to my desk and settled in. "It ok if I drink this in here?" She held up her hot chocolate. I nodded and looked back to my computer.
As students started to trickle in, I kept my eye on them. The two boys in the back on the couch seemed to be the kind that thought they were God's gift. I'd probably have to separate them. One of the girls was texting as she was coming in; I gave her a "teacher" look and made a mental note to keep an eye on her. The boy who looked two years younger than he really was smiled at me as he walked in. He looked familiar and I checked the roster. Nelson Hayes—I'd had his older brother, Robert, in my Sophomore's class last year. He was one of my favorites. There was no mistaking them as brothers.
As everyone got settled, I went to the board and wrote my name. I don't know why I didn't change my name after Mike and I divorced. I guess I just didn't care. It was annoying me more and more lately, though. Maybe I'd go to the courthouse next Friday, the teacher in-service.
Under my name I wrote COURSE OBJECTIVES: Semester one—to read and comprehensively discuss classic, modern, and short story literature. Semester two—to gain and practice skills in writing different genres of literature.
On a different piece of board I wrote SUPPLIES: 1in. 3 ring binder, pencils, blue pen, black pen, red pen, 2 college ruled spiral notebooks.
Some kids were on the ball—mostly the ones in the middle tables or in the chairs in the back, I noticed. They either got out binders and started labeling them for my class, or the same for spiral notebooks. I noticed Kimber even wrote down the course objectives. She constantly looked up to the board, and I wondered whether she had trouble seeing.
My freshman class was spent with introductions and class expectations. After that I had a Senior elective class; half of that class I'd already had before now. After my first Sophomore class was lunch. I ate in my room alone, reading. Then was my free period and I spent that time to get ready for my only mixed class, Juniors and Seniors. This one was going to be a tough one. I had noticed in my previous two years that where two graduating classes were mixed, the boys got on fine, but the girls often acted catty toward each other. Being as this was a class where working together was important, it either ended in love or hate. I hoped it would be the former this year.
There was no way they would know I was there, looking back on it. I'd kept my name up on the board throughout the day, changing the course objectives and supplies only. The bell rang signaling the end of my prep time and I got up to write on the board before the students could come storming in. I'd set up the room so that my back was to the door as I was writing, and the back rows were by the door, and the comfy chairs and couches by the windows opposite the door. So I didn't see anyone as I was writing on the blackboard. I didn't have any way to prepare for what happened as the first two students came in just seconds after the first bell rang.
Loud, booming, eerily familiar laughter echoed in my head from the back of the classroom. I stiffened, and my heart started pounding. My suddenly shaking hand dropped the dry-erase marker I had been writing with.
No…it was not him…I was imagining it. My pulse was racing, adrenaline was spicing and strengthening the smell of my blood, I was sure of it. He'd smell me soon. I closed my eyes.
And I heard an all-too-memorable gasp come from the same direction of the laugh. I slowly turned.
There he was. Or there they were.
Emmett and Edward.
I think I got everyone...let me know if not.