Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyer owns all the characters; the only thing mine is the story
Summary: When Bella moves back to Forks after three years away in Europe, she's got to adjust to being the new kid, fitting in, and falling in love...with her best friend's dad? Next time you meet a dude in bar, do a background check before you call him
1. The Beginning
Heavy drops of rain poured down on my small hometown of Forks-something to be expected of in the Olympic Peninsula. I paused at the doorway and stared up at the dismal, gray sky for a moment while on the way to my pick-up truck; not the prettiest thing in town, but still a heartwarming gift from my father after receiving my license. I took my time on my way to the monstrous vehicle, enjoying the refreshing feel of raindrops against my skin, but picked up my pace when I realized it would mean getting my hair wet.
I opened the car door quickly, practically flinging by body into the truck. Despite my best efforts, my mahogany locks were dampened, already starting to revert back to their natural, frizzy waves. I squinted at the tiny, cracked rear view mirror, trying to comb through my hair with my fingers, though I was unable to see much more than my muddy brown eyes. After a few more futile seconds of trying to save my hair, I gave up, turning my attention towards the ignition, jumping at the growling sound it made. My hand twitched as it reached for the tattered leather grip of the gear shift, my years in Europe spoiling me with stick shifts: automatics just seemed too easy-it was almost difficult to use them. By some grace of God I still managed to pass the driving test.
I pulled up into the only vacant parking space I could find. It was on the opposite side of the administration office, which was where I needed to be. Sprinting through the rain, holding my binder above my head in an unsuccessful effort to stay dry, I made my way to the office to get my schedule. The digital clock embedded in the office's wall flashed 7:20 in bright, red letters. I had five minutes to get to the Science building. I could have taken my time and walked in a little late, but that would have run the risk of the teacher introducing me in front of the class. So, instead, I fast walked through the crowded halls of Forks High, still able to find my way around even after three years abroad.
As if on cue, the bell rang the moment I entered the room. The teacher was a crabby middle aged man, too preoccupied to introduce me. I scanned the room for people I knew, not that there were many of them. I locked eyes with Alice as she threw me a quick smile, and took a seat beside her. If it hadn't been for her familiar piercing green eyes, I would have deemed her unrecognizable. She had changed a lot in the three years since I left. Her once long, dark, hair was now shorter, reaching just below her chin and flipping out at the sides. Her style had changed. There was a bit more color in her outfit than her usual black t-shirt and matching jeans. Her shirt had caught my eyes. It was a white scoop neck baby doll t-shirt-Alice never wore white, much less baby dolls-with a tan, braided leather belt just below her breasts, and distressed skinny jeans. The only thing that seemed to not have changed was her short stature- I still had to look down at her.
"Thank God you're back. I missed you." She said, grinning.
"I know. I missed you, too." I replied excitedly, happy that our friendship was also something that hadn't changed.
AP Science went by quickly, as did the rest of my classes, the majority of which I shared with Alice. Sixth period lunch came around in no time, and I suddenly found myself with a tray of food in my hands, following Alice to an energetic lunch table. Although it was surprising to see Alice mingled with such a lively crowd, I should have expected it after seeing her new look.
Alice grinned as she took a seat next a tan, long legged fake-blonde girl. Barbie. I thought automatically. I surveyed the rest of the table as I put down my lunch try next to Alice's. They weren't our usual crowd. The circular lunch table was surrounded by jocks and cheerleaders, many of whom were dressed similarly to Alice. A few of their faces were vaguely familiar- Lauren Mallory in particular; whom I distinctly remember being tortured by in middle school. Strangely enough, Alice seemed to be best friends with her former tormentors. But, if this was the cause of her high spirits, I couldn't deny her happiness, though it was a lot to process.
Before I left, Alice and I would never have been caught dead talking to this group- she and I were what one might call the social pariahs of the school. We had bonded over the fact that both of our parents were divorced. Her mom and dad had split when she was little, just like mine had. She was really close to her dad, so she was devastated when her mom took full custody and her dad moved to Florida. She only visited him twice a year. Somehow, Alice's juvenile mind had equated her parents' divorce to something she had done wrong, and had learned to punish herself through cutting. Though, now, it appeared that Alice had found a new way to muddle through, or rather rid herself of the need to cope.
I stared at Alice, trying to convey my confusion.
"I'll explain later." She mouthed, and motioned for me to take a seat next to her.
They'd all seemed to be nicer than I anticipated, as well as forgotten any bad blood between us from years past, unless they just didn't recognize me. They included me in their conversations- something else I hadn't expected. It seemed, though, that just by Alice stating I was a friend of hers, I was in. The remaining classes passed quickly, and the next thing I knew, Alice and I were walking to a nearby coffee shop.
"So, now are you going to explain what the hell happened since I left?" I demanded.
"Yes." Alice sighed as we slid into a booth at the back of the small café. There was live music playing at the front of the shop- a man in tattered jeans and a t-shirt strumming a guitar, singing a rendition of "Trouble" into a tiny black microphone. "Well, you know how bad I was back then." She started. "And after you left….I kinda…I kinda hit rock bottom. You were all I had at that point in my life, and when you moved away I felt like I had no one left to talk to, no one left who understood what I was going through. I went through a long phase of feeling like crap, and then- and then I got really depressed. My cutting was at its worst." She took a deep breath. "One day, I was just done. With everything. With everyone. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I was about to lose it." She paused to roll up the left sleeve of her hoodie, revealing a thin, pink line around her elbow. "I cut too deep. And the bleeding wouldn't stop." She said, rolling down her sleeve. I had to pry my eyes away from her scar to look at her. "I was driven to the hospital unconscious, and woke up in the middle of my own intervention." Her voice was now a faint whisper. I placed my hand on top of hers- I couldn't have imagined how hard this had been for her; she seemed so well adjusted.
"But after that, everything started to get better." Her voice grew. "I went into therapy, my dad was around more, and I started talking in class again. I'm even a cheerleader now." My eyes grew bigger with every word she said. "I know what you're thinking," she said, seeing my reaction, "but we had it all wrong. They're really nice when you get to know them." I raised an eyebrow at her. She laughed a chimey, bell-like laugh that I hadn't heard in ages. "It's true. They even apologized for making fun of us. They were all just trying to fit in with that bitch, Amanda. But then she moved away and they all regained control of their brains." She added the last part nonchalantly as she took a sip of her cappuccino.
"Well, enough about me." She said, smirking. "Let's talk about you. I'm dying to hear about Europe. How was it?"
"Well…It was amazing!" I gushed. I was happy for the subject change, feeling bad-and a little guilty- but also glad that she was feeling better. "I completely loved it there. The architecture, the food, the people- it was all so beautiful. The people over there-especially the guys- they're so different from the ones over here. I mean, they don't care if you're popular or not, or how much money you have. They wanna get to know who you are as a person. Like, they're more interested in what kinda books you like, and music, and movies, and stuff like that. They aren't as superficial…And they're cuter." I smirked. Alice giggled.
"I felt like I actually fit in when I was there. For the first time in…ever." I finished. Alice was quiet for a minute, apparently trying to process everything.
"Look, B. Don't take this the wrong way or anything, but if you were so happy over in Europe, then why the hell did you decide to come back this sorry excuse for town?" Alice finally asked, confused.
"Erm…It's kinda complicated." I said, tracing the rim of my coffee cup with my finger, trying not to make eye contact.
"I think I can keep up." She pressed.
"Well, you already know I was living there with Renée. And her boyfriend Phil." I said bitterly.
"So you don't like him." Alice cut in. It wasn't a question. I stared at her confused. "It's the way you said his name." She explained. I nodded. I wasn't very good at masking my feelings.
"It's not just that. I mean he was fine at first, and he made my mom happy, and he was friendly and all, but then…" I shook my head, disgusted. "Let's just say he got a little too friendly."
"What'd he do?" Alice asked, shocked. "Did he…you know?" I could tell what she was thinking by her tone and the way she was looking at me.
"NO! Of course not. I- he….he just kissed me." I reassured her. "But, I decided it was better to prevent than pursue…so I left."
"You didn't have to do that. He kissed you. Not the other way around. Why didn't you just tell Renée?" Alice asked, now annoyed.
"I couldn't. I tried to confront him and all, but he said if I told my mom he'd twist it around so it'd look like I came on to him." I explained. "Besides, things with Renée are already strained. I wouldn't want to make it any worse, ya know?" When my parents divorced six years ago- my dad cheated- my mom was devastated. She wouldn't look at me for months; it seemed I had too much Charlie in me. It took forever for her to invite me back. I was lucky when she asked me to move in with her.
"I still think you should tell her." Alice said, stubbornly.
"Why? She'll probably have a new boyfriend by next month, and this would just devastate her. She been cheated on before; she wouldn't be able to handle it again."
"I guess so." Alice said, defeated. She understood, familiar enough with my mom to know how quickly her mind changes.
"So…how are things with your dad?" I asked, trying to change the topic. We'd been talking about such heavy subjects for so long.
"Awesomazing!" she said, gleefully.
"Awesomazing enough to make up a new word?" I smirked, raising an eyebrow.
"Yes! I see him a lot more ever since he moved to Seattle. There's only one bad thing now…" Her eyes went dark as she glared into her coffee cup.
"Which is?" I prompted her.
"That now I have to put up with his stupid-ass, annoying-as-hell, long-legged assistant," she paused for dramatic effect, "Tanya." She hissed her name, still glaring, making me laugh. "Hey!" she said, insulted by my response. "You think this is funny?" she said, launching her purse across the booth. It came up short, tipping over my coffee mug.
"Agh!" I screeched, as hot coffee dripped over the side of the table and onto my pants. Apparently she found this funny, laughing uncontrollably as she passed me a handful of napkins. I couldn't help myself, and ended up laughing with her. I'd missed this; being like this with Alice, having fun, just laughing. It made me feel a lot better, know that distance and time away hadn't damaged our friendship. If anything, it had made it stronger.
OK, so I decided to repost this story, and I swear I WILL finish it
As you can see, if you read the story before I deleted it, it has changed A LOT, but that is because I decided to have it beta'd, so I hope you like it jus as much or more this time now that, in my opinion, it has improved
Please Review :)
Beta: IKNOWIMWEIRD117 (Thanks!)