*All things Twilight belong to the fabulous and talented Stephenie Meyer, however this storyline belongs to me.*
As a child, when you're growing up dreams come so easily. Then a curveball comes at you and you've got two choices: You can let it make a strike against you or you can knock it out of the ballpark. Don't get Bella wrong, she's not a baseball enthusiast. She can't reel off the number of hits or RBI's a player has made, but she can tell you what type of pitch it's going to be by how the pitcher holds the ball. Bella's not psychic, but she knows a pitch when she sees one, AND she's spent a LOT of time in the bleachers.
"Baby Bell! Let's Roll!"
"Alright, Em! I'm coming I just have to grab my books!"
"Aww, Bell, honestly do ya have to bring all that crap to the field?"
"Yes Em, when you're not on the mound there isn't much to entertain me".
Emmett was a junior at Forks High School and he was the starting pitcher on their baseball team. It was like that ball was an extension of him. Bella was in 8th grade at Forks Middle School. The exact opposite of her big brother, she wasn't athletic at all, and while she was perfectly happy to spend her free time on the bleachers, she always brought her books and journal with her. She wanted to teach one day about the books she loved so much and maybe write.
Emmett and Bella's Dad, Charlie, loved baseball also and was only too happy to have a Son to share that love with. Their Mom, Renee on the other hand was happy to have a daughter to share her love of books with and for that Bella was grateful.
Charlie and Renee had lived in Forks their entire lives with the exception of Charlie attending the police academy and Renee attending UDub for her degree in Literature. Sounds like polar opposite's right? You would think. When Charlie wasn't sitting front of the flat screen or working, he spent his time on a boat with a fishing rod in his hand. No one can bait a hook like Renee can. She'll give any fisherman a run for his money with how many she can catch. She's ornery that way. Charlie loves her all the more for it. Bella thinks he secretly likes that she can quote Shakespeare on demand. Bella smiled thinking about it.
"What's that goofy look for?" Emmett asked.
"Jealous I'm stealing your look?"
"You better be thankful that I love you 'lil sis. You just looked lost there for a minute. Thinking about one of your fairy tales again?" Emmett grinned.
"Mom and Dad's fairytale actually. Is that weird?"
"Nah, it's a good thing Baby Bell," Emmett said, as he threw his gear and Bella's backpack in the back of his old rusty truck and they headed towards the field.
Baseball. America's Favorite Pastime. The air that the Swan Family breathes seven months of the year. For Bella, one of the two bookworms of the family, she was happy to sit out in the fresh air and
read or write. Every week her senses were given the lovely gift of the smell of freshly cut grass. That alone made those hard bleachers worth it.
"Em! What the hell Dude? You're late!" Jasper shouted.
Jasper was the same age as Emmett and the two boys had played ball together since t-ball. He is like an older brother to Bella, and the two get along fabulously. Jasper gets Bella's love for books and she gets his love for old mansions in the south.
"Jazz! Dude, I got Baby Bell with me!" Emmett snipped.
Bella couldn't help but roll her eyes. Emmett could be a little much sometimes.
"Em, I hate to tell you, but I think Bells heard worse." Edward said, laughing and nudged Bella with his shoulder.
Edward was also a friend of theirs. Edward's Dad, Carlisle and Charlie grew up together and even played ball on the very same team that Emmett, Jasper and Edward now all play on. So when they say that they've grown up together, they really have. Emmett and Edward were friends long before Edward's sister Alice and Bella came along within months of each other. It worked out that they all ended up getting along so perfectly.
"Don't tell me, I don't want to know. I'd rather live in ignorant bliss that my baby sister is innocent of the profanity that is the two of you!" Emmett chided.
Edward and Jasper chuckled. Emmett carried Bella's backpack over to the bleachers and grabbed his gear and headed toward the dugout. Bella climbed to her favorite spot at the top of the bleachers and pulled out her books and began to get lost in them. Luckily, she wasn't too far involved when she heard a familiar voice.
"Belllla!" Rosalie sang.
Rosalie was Emmett's girlfriend. It took Bella a while to accept the fact that there was another woman in her big brother's life, but the more she got to know her, the more she liked her. And the more she liked her, the more she realized that she liked her being with her brother. Bella didn't feel threatened by Rosalie and Rosalie didn't feel threatened by Bella. She was becoming one of Bella's best friends. And how cool is it for someone in middle school to say that one of their best friends is a junior in High school? Bella giggled at the thought.
"Hey Rose! No work today?"
Rose worked a couple days a week at a local daycare helping out little kids with arts and crafts. She loved kids and was always eager to see how things were made. One day she'd make a great engineer and an even better Mom.
"Nah…they didn't need me this afternoon. I guess there aren't a lot of kids there today. What's got you out here this afternoon? The weather is too pretty to be sitting here watching them practice." Rose explained.
"Mom took the book mobile down to Hoquiam today for the book fair and Dad's working nights tonight, so I thought I'd watch practice. Em would rather me be here than in an empty house by myself anyway."
The truth be told, Bella was thankful that it was a sunny day for the first time in over a week and was happy to be out in the fresh air. She didn't mind watching the guys practice either.
The Swan's in general were a close-knit family and firmly believed in supporting each other. Unconditional love was ingrained in them. To Bella, the ballpark brought happy memories of when Emmett, Edward and Jasper played Little League and Renee and Esme helped out in the snack bar. Bella could almost smell the taquitos and taste the imitation guacamole that somehow tasted fantastic at the time. She remembered how she and Alice would run around the ball field picking up trash just so they could have an extra treat at the end of the day. She smiled at the fond memories.
"Earth to Bella, where did you get lost at now?" Edward said, grinning.
Rose had long since vacated the bleachers and left Bella on her own.
"Practice is over, you've been zoned out for quite a while, and you've had quite the grin on your face for about the last ten minutes."
"Oh! Gah! I'm sorry… I was just thinking."
"Well that much was obvious, but what has you so lost in thought? I mean I know you tend to get carried away with your literary fantasies, but this seems like a little more than that." Bella almost wondered out loud why Edward had to be so observant.
"Literary fantasies?" Bella scoffed. She immediately felt bad when Edward's face fell.
"I didn't mean it like that Bella," he murmured.
"It's okay, I know you didn't. I was just thinking about when you guys used to play Little League, and Alice and I would run around picking up trash so we could get free candy at the snack bar, and how I miss the taste of those taquitos with the runny guacamole. Remember that? Bella giggled at the thought.
Edward himself had to chuckle at the memories.
"Yeah, you guys and your obsession with all things chocolate. Remember how mad my mom was when Alice convinced you to go down the street and meet that Tyler kid? Emmett and I wanted to hunt him down after that. I still can't believe you let Alice talk you into going with her. I have to admit Bella, I was a little disappointed in you that you went along with that." Edwards's eyes held the smallest bit of sadness in them.
"Wow, I had almost forgotten about that. I'm sorry Edward, I didn't mean to disappoint you. It's just that Charlie had told us to stay together, so I kind of felt stuck, ya know? And anyway, Emmett gave me a serious talking to after that. I figured he was covering for you and Jasper too." Bella frowned.
"Hey, it's over and done with. You know better now right? And you won't let my knucklehead sister talk you into doing something that you're not comfortable with even if you were told to stay together. Speaking of Alice, my Mom needs me to pick her up from Ballet this afternoon, so I better get going or I'll never hear the end of it."
Edward reached over and ruffled Bella's hair gently.
"See ya later kiddo." He smiled an adorable crooked smile and walked toward the parking lot.
Emmett wandered over to where Bella was sitting on the bleachers with Rosalie and Jasper in tow.
"Hey Baby Bell, ready to head home? I just have to drop Jasper off on our way, or you can ride with Rosalie and I'll meet you there. It's your choice."
Rosalie often spent a few hours a week at the Swan's house after practice. Especially on days that she didn't have to work over at the daycare center. Bella loved those days because it meant that she could get help with her math homework. Math wasn't Renee's strong suit, and Charlie's patience waned after so long. Rose was the perfect helper, calm and patient and extremely good at dumbing down complex problems. It was in those hours spent doing homework, that Bella saw just how perfect Rose was for Emmett. He needed someone to ground him, much like how her parents grounded each other. Where Emmett was hasty in making decisions and was often impatient, Rosalie was exactly the opposite she thought out everything and her patience was unending. And where Rosalie wasn't always outwardly the friendliest person, sometimes she could be downright cold, Emmett was one of the friendliest people around.
There wasn't a moment that each member of the Swan family wasn't grateful for each other.
"Edward, you're late!" Alice shrieked.
If there was one thing that Alice hated it was waiting. She was a very impatient person.
"By two minutes Ali! Geez, you would think that I was an hour late or something. Besides I was talking to Bella. That ought to at least count for something." Edward loved his little sister, but was not a fan of her impatience.
Alice was Edward's little sister in more ways than one. At 4"10" she was the shortest person known for her age and could be one of the most annoying to Edward. Her lack of height had its advantages though. She was an aspiring ballerina, and had been taking lesions since the age of four. Over the years, she had improved greatly, and if she put her mind to it she could have a chance at Juilliard or a professional ballet if that's what she chose to do.
"Oh? She was watching you guys practice? She didn't mention it earlier. Humph."
Alice had no appreciation at all for baseball. Unless it involved picking up trash for free chocolate (which she used gloves for) or chasing after cute boys, she just wasn't interested. As much as she loved her brother, she just couldn't bring herself to spend time on the bleachers after school. Not even for Bella.
Edward and Alice walked out of the Ballet Studio to Edward's silver Volvo and headed for home.
Carlisle and Esme Cullen were two of the most loving parents around. Carlisle was a talented doctor. The Head of Cardiology at Port Angeles Memorial Hospital. He could have taken a position at a larger hospital in Seattle, but he would rather spend more time at home with his wife and children than in the car commuting. Esme was a talented Cellist. She occasionally lends her talents to the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, but spends most of her time working on fundraisers for music programs in schools and continues to be an advocate to keep music in schools. Carlisle himself had spent most of his life in Forks. He had in fact grown up with Charlie, and remains close friends with him and now his family. Carlisle counted himself lucky that his and Charlie's children got along so well and had good friends to grow up with just like he did.
"Mom, please remind Edward again that if he has to be the one to pick me up to at least be on time!" Alice whined.
"Edward, were you late picking up Alice?"
"Only by two minutes Mom, I swear. Bella was at the field today with Emmett and I stopped to say Hi to her before I left and we got to talking about when Alice convinced her to go down the street from the field to meet that Tyler kid." Edward chuckled.
A wide grin spread across Esme's face. "Yes, I remember that well. How is Bella? I feel like I haven't seen her in ages. I think it's so sweet that she goes over to the field to watch you boys practice. Emmett is so lucky to have a sister like her."
"Are you telling me that I'm a bad older brother because I don't go to the studio and watch Alice practice Pointe?"
"Not at all sweetheart. You're a good brother because you pick her up when I ask you to, and besides you have yet to miss a recital. I'm just saying that it's lovely that Bella doesn't mind spending time at the ball field. She could find something else to do afterschool and then you boys would find yourselves missing her sitting up there in the bleachers." Esme patted her son's cheek.
"Try not to be two minutes late again Edward, I dislike her whining as much as you. Dinner will be ready in twenty five minutes. In the mean time Edward, you have yet to practice your piece for this week. What will your piano teacher think?"
Baseball was just one of Edward's talents. Esme encouraged him to learn an instrument, and he took to the piano like bees take to honey. He was a dedicated musician and was very serious in his practicing. Music flowed from his fingers as if it was a part of him, and it was. A very big part of him. Edward by nature was a thinker. He thought out everything, and tended to over think things on occasion. He was rational and level headed. On more than one occasion that year he had spoken to his parents about the pros and cons of baseball vs. music. While he loved baseball, a career in the sport wasn't something that Edward felt was right for him. Athletes only have so much of a shelf life. And then what do you do? Edward felt that pursuing a career in music would be better suited for him. He felt as passionate about music as his mother. He felt that because of music he had more opportunities in life. And so it was decided that he would apply to Juilliard in the fall and keep his fingers crossed that they would ask him to fly to New York for an audition.
Edward found himself thinking about how empty the bleachers would be day after day had Bella not been sitting in them with her books and her journal. It made his chest ache just a little bit. He would remember to be a bit more thankful that she was there as often as she was.
The three boys soon found themselves in the middle of baseball season. Rosalie and Bella found themselves sitting with Charlie, Renee, Carlisle and Esme on the bleachers for every home game that season, as well as a few of the away games that were close enough to home. Rosalie faithfully attended every game that she could when she wasn't asked to work for the afternoon at the day care center. Her Dad, Bill Hale was the coach for the Forks High School Varsity Baseball team, and she went to the games in support of him as well as her boyfriend and friends.
Bill Hale had been a lawyer in Seattle up until his wife died almost 4 years prior. He had moved his small family to Forks to allow his beloved wife Evie some rest from the bustle of the city. Evie had grown up in Seattle, but loved a slower, simpler life. And until her young life was cut short by a bout with cervical cancer, her life was simply perfect or as close to it as you can get. Just twelve years old when her mother died, Bill tried to instill in their daughter Rosalie that life is so precious and to cherish and live each day to the fullest. Bill Hale was thankful that his daughter had friends like Emmett and Bella Swan, Jasper Whitlock and Edward and Alice Cullen. He had gotten to know the families and was glad that he and his daughter were surrounded by such good people.
A/N: This is my first fic and it's kind of my baby. Please note that it is rated M - this is for FUTURE lemons...my Bella and Edward aren't quite ripe enough yet = D
Thanks for reading!