Full Summary: Meet Edward Cullen, hottie, jerk, Mr. Popular, jackass, all-around playboy with a deep, dark secret that he wants no one to know about. Ever. Enter Bella Swan, a beauty, brainiac, bookworm, hoodie obsessed, head-hang-low, with a dreadful secret of her own. When their fates crosses paths, will they answer each other's call and save one another from a past they both fear?
Author's Note: I've been thinking of doing this for quite a long time, actually. I'm not really sure if this would work or not, it all depends on the feedback. So, I'm just testing this out, see if anyone likes it, and if I get one or two reviews on the first chapter, I'll continue with the story. I hope you guys will enjoy the very first chapter of Can You Keep A Secret!
Disclaimer: The Twilight Saga does not belong to me, though I wish it does. Seriously, who wouldn't want sleeping next to a hot guy? All credits go to Stephenie Meyer, for making a fabulous job of bringing Edward, and Bella, to life. And she's the one who basically made it, so . . . yeah. (Dang it.)
I shuddered as I heard the familiar banging of boots outside the door and did my best to stay quiet, not even allowing myself to breathe in deeply. The monster was outside, ready to wreck mayhem, and here I was, stranded in the house, nowhere to run and hide. The door slammed open and a chill ran down my spine, like it always does. "Oi, Eddie!" Daddy yelled, and I could already smell the alcohol and tobacco in the air, as if there couldn't possibly be more putrid smells like that in the house.
I didn't dare move, knowing that it would probably be a bad move.
As Daddy dragged himself into the living room, my fears all collided into one, and suddenly, I was staring into my worst possible nightmare. His long face, with deep, black eyes, stared into my soul with hatred, like he hated my very presence. He probably did, anyway. I wanted to glare back at him with defiance, yet I felt myself curl back from his angry gaze, willing for him to make a move, so that it could be over and done with.
He didn't, and we continued to stare at one another.
My heart was pounding fast, my hands were getting rather twitchy. It was funny, how a seventeen-and-a-half year old could feel this way. Then I looked down and realized that I was not a seventeen-and-a-half year old, but a seven year old boy, with too-skinny arms and legs, bones protruding out in the oddest way. Then, my nightmare became even worst when Daddy looked past me.
Oh no. Oh God, no.
He was staring into Momma's picture. The one that was taken before her cancer had revealed itself. The one that had her smiling face and beautiful, bouncy bronze curls splaying all around her healthy face. Her green eyes shown with remarkable happiness, her straight nose pointing out, her full lips pulling up into a big and absolutely wonderful smile.
My heart yearned for her, my dead, cancer-ridden, pretty mother. Once again, I found myself questioning all the higher beings why she had to die, why not someone else who was probably more horrid than my mother could ever be? Why not someone like him?
He sauntered over to me, the tobacco and beer almost choking me in it's swirl. I wanted to hurl, but couldn't. Helpless. Yes, that was what I was. A helpless, nonessential little boy.
Then Daddy looked at me, his bloodshot eyes filtrating craze and rage. His fingers twitched and I flinched along with every twitch. He began to cackle. "Eddie, oh Eddie, do you know how much you look like Elizabeth?"
Oh I do, I thought.
But I didn't answer, not daring to. He laughed angrily, "It's a pity, really. How she had to die. Why not you? You're a worthless bastard, a retard. She could have had so much more in her life, we could have had a better son than you, a little piece of shit." He grabbed my tiny little arms, and shook me, hard.
I bit my lip in an effort to bite back the hot rush of blood that tore down my arms.
"How the hell did we make such a bloody mistake? We were perfect, your mom and I. We had everything, the whole world even, in our hands. And then she had to have you," He slapped me and I could feel blood trickle down the insides of my right cheek, "And everything went wrong!" he started to punch me, and I kept real quiet, blocking out the pain, imagining that my mother was here with me in spirit.
Except, she wasn't.
"You," he hit me once again, this time using a thick encyclopedia and I could feel the bruises making themselves known. It was easy, I've spent everyday of one whole year to practice ignoring the pain. Daddy would always come back from work, stare at Momma's pictures, and then take out his anger and frustration at me. I couldn't help but feel some contorted compassion for my father.
He never used to be like this. We used to be the perfect family, one very close one in fact. When Momma found out she had cancer, after all those months of vomiting blood and hair lost, Daddy went hysterical. He freaked out, and took it out on me, a five year old. I had no idea that it was wrong to be abused by my father, and I began to spend more time with my mother's piano, playing her compositions, discovering my own passion in the process.
My thoughts soon drifted off to my mother, the pain of the dreadful punches and kicks eventually losing the battle against Momma's face in my mind.
It was worth it, if the pain was all I had to get through just to see Momma's face again, I'd do it. She was important. No one could compare. I could almost hear her voice now . . .
"Bastard. Retard. Dumb-ass." With every word, his anger rose until it came to the extent that it was no longer avoidable. I could feel the bookends cutting deep into my skin at various places. Finally, he threw the encyclopedia away and reached for an empty beer bottle.
"You little fucktard." he snapped, and smashed the beer bottle against my skull.
I could vividly hear the loud crack of glass shattering against my skull. Blood trickled down the sides of my head, dripping off my chin. I yelped in agony, finally letting out the pain I was trying uselessly to hold back. He grew encouraged by my yelp and with a hard thrust, he stabbed me, laughing as the broken bit of glass stuck in my skin, hanging off.
I, on the other hand, was already screaming in agony and futilely shoved my father's arms off me. He was never this serious. Just kicks and punches, but never to this range. He kept on stabbing, and I could hear the neighbors moving around in their houses restlessly, trying to figure out the muffled noises that came from the Masen's house.
I hated the fact that they never asked.
The blood was now pouring out of me like a tidal wave. I was broken. No amount of stitches could stop the blood. I knew for one that I was drained, there couldn't possibly be anymore blood left in me.
Daddy finally stop. He was breathing real hard, as though he just came back from a long run. Sweat poured down him in a streams, and we stared at each other, him appraising my broken state, me staring into his clean, healthy, and absolutely scary physique.
Then he picked me up, and I whimpered in agony. He chuckled, the laugh vibrating throughout his body, my blood sticking onto his clothes, staining it. He opened up the back door, and suddenly, he flung me out. "Get lost, little bastard. Let's see you run like the coward you are." I landed in a pile of broken heap, my arms bracing itself on the cool grass of our garden, which spread out to an endless forest.
I'd forgotten, really, that Illinois had some patches of nature like this.
I couldn't walk, my legs felt like lead. But my arms, yes my arms, they weren't as bruised as my legs was. I could move, maybe, but it was a question of whether or not I would. Daddy laughed crazily, his head thrown back, and I was repulsed by the sight.
How could a father be so reckless?
In that moment, I made my decision to escape from the hell I was forced upon. He was giving me the chance, the rare opportunity, an open window, and I was taking it. I would never look back, ever. I touched my pocket, where my wallet filled with just five bucks and a picture of my Momma and I took up residency. That was all I needed.
Painfully, I crawled, yes, literally crawled, away from purgatory.
My plan was to keep heading north, hoping to find someone who might help me, a bleeding, dying boy. I didn't know, but something in my gut made me keep going. Something had me going forward, like it knew I would find help of some sort of help there. I couldn't trust it, but I had to follow it; there was no choice.
The forest stretched out endlessly, cascading me in its green ferns and deep brown soil. Nightlife came alive around me, the owl hoots were serenading me to a slumber which I knew I'd never come out of. I was afraid to even blink. The swishing of a nearby creek reminded me of how thirsty I was. The ferns and trees thinned, and I could see the distant light of a house.
By this time I was already slipping away, my breathing was coming real slow.
Yet I persevered, continuing my slow crawl towards the small, homey house. I was reaching the backyard, and a dog tied to a leash barked at me frantically, probably thinking of me as a thief. How wrong it was, how wrong it was.
"Chill out, boy. I'm not bad." I croaked softly, reaching the backyard. Tentatively, I raised my arm in a form of greeting, and he bumped his nose against my palm, licking the dried blood there. My arms were sore from all those dragging, it flopped uselessly to my sides. After that, I could no longer feel them. I was too numb.
Inside the house, a man and a woman were making their way towards the backdoor. "Carlisle . . . don't. It might be a murderer," a soft, motherly voice warned someone. My vision was fading, and my instincts screamed at me to ask for help. I opened my mouth, but my throat was too dry to even utter a single moan or whimper.
"Esme, I've got this." the man named Carlisle whispered back in an assuring, deep and warm voice. I could hear the tightening of his hands on an object.
Abruptly, the backdoor opened, and they squinted into the black oblivion, trying to see anything that seemed out of proportion. The dog, which seemed to dislike me at first, began to bark madly, bounding around its leash, trying to tell its owners that I was here, needing absolute help.
"Oh! Carlisle!" The woman named Esme stared at me, stricken. "What . . ." The man breathed, speechless. The hyperactive dog began to desperately lick my mangled face, trying to keep me awake, but it was no longer enough to keep me aware.
Finally, I let the one last bit of me whisper out hoarsely, "Help . . . please."
Then I let myself disappear into the black, hovering over the horizon.
I gasped, jolting out from my nightmare. My eyes took awhile to focus, and when they did, I was staring up into an unfamiliar ceiling. My mind tried to comprehend why the ceiling was so unfamiliar. I was suddenly aware of a pounding headache; immediately, I knew that I was having a hungover. I shifted slightly, feeling someone's arms wound tight around me.
God, it was too compressing.
I rolled my head towards the choking smell of perfume, and groaned inwardly. It was Amber that I'd unintentionally slept with last night.
As gently as any shoving could be, I slid from under her arms. She didn't stir. I groped in the dark for my clothes, patting edges and other corners. It should have been difficult, but having years of experience, I could practically see in the dark.
Anyway, it mostly comes from experience. That's the point. When I was fully clothed, I turned towards Amber's desk, where she kept post-its and marker pens and useless books. I glanced back, and Amber was still wrapped in her duvet, fast asleep. I sighed inwardly and began to write.
Last night was a mistake. We were drunk, I had no idea what I was doing. I was lonely, and you were there. So, don't blame me for being too horny. Bye, Amber. It was nice knowing you.
I looked back on it, deciding to scratch out the 'Bye Amber' part. So I crushed that post-it and created a new one, this time without that particular part. I stuffed the crushed bit of paper in my pocket and proceeded over to her open window. Draping my leg across the window pane, I reached out with one arm to grabbed the rather stable branch that hung right over me.
I moved my other leg over the ledge, letting myself be suspended in mid-air for a moment, my only support was the branch, then I began to swing myself across like I was playing on a monkey-bar. When I reached the bark of the tree, I wrapped my legs around it real tight before starting a slow descend towards the ground, gravity acting on me.
I reached the ground, dusted my hands, and started walking. Amber's house wasn't that far away from home, that means I'll be probably walking for about fifteen to twenty minutes, tops. The night was silent, it embraced me. Yet I could hear the crickets chirping noisily.
I took a deep breath, trying to capture the nighttime scent.
As I took that breath, my mind drifted off to my nightmare.
My recurring nightmare.
Even as a near adult, no one would be able to just shake off something like that. Those early years of mine left me scarred, no denying it. I could still remember Carlisle and Esme, sending me straight to the hospital where Carlisle worked as a nurse back then. I got diagnose with several injuries. All of them severe. Of course, since Carlisle and Esme were just strangers, they called up the police, and went on a wild search for my parents.
That was when Esme found my wallet. She took one look at my mother, then back at my battered state, and realized that I no longer had parents. It must be some sort of mother instinct, but she convinced Carlisle to stop the investigation, unwillingly sharing her theory.
Throughout the mess, I laid on the hospital bed, unable to speak or to even make a noise.
When I recovered, months later, they arranged to adopt me, finding out that my dad got convicted for drug possession and use. I refused to confirm their suspicion, still foolishly protecting him, even though he had nearly killed me. The phrase, family is still family always stuck with me in that time.
In actuality, I was hoping he'd apologize and take me back.
It turned out that he didn't, and got sent to a mental hospital.
By this time, my instincts were yanking me away from the flashbacks, realizing I had stopped walking. I shook my head several times, trying to find anything that might distract me. I tried thinking about a party the next day, one that I was probably attending. I would be in my semi-formal attire, since it was after the spring dance, which I was supposed to be attending with Amber.
Damn, I should have kept my hormones in check till after that.
Oh well, never mind. I could hook up with another girl after just a phone call and a few, "I've been secretly holding back this feeling, 'cause I'm so afraid of what my ex-girlfriend might have thought." Trust me, that trick works all the time.
But for now, I had a head exploding headache to deal with.
My house greeted me as I rounded off the corner. I smiled a little, because that meant I was lucky this time. When the lights were off, everyone was asleep, so that would save my argument and lectures for the next day, when my hangover would be less painful.
Opening the door, stepping inside quietly, it felt routine, familiar. Almost as easy as sneaking out. Deja vu washed over me, and I let it flow through me. I was just about to reach the stairs, when the lights turned on, and I blinked rapidly at the sudden change.
"You're late." A deep, unforgiving voice stated. Naturally, I turned to look at the direction of the voice, and grimaced inside when I saw my whole family waiting for me in the living room. They wore disapproval on their faces, and I felt my stomach lurch downwards. "Yeah, I guess I am." You know, I should be in the acting industry, because I felt like I was winning an Oscar just by managing to keep my voice calm and steady.
"Edward, honestly, how long are you going to keep this up?" It was Esme, her voice layered with tiredness and sadness. I could choose to either ignore her, head upstairs, and crash. Or I could just tell her that I didn't intend to keep it up at all. I chose none, so I simply shrugged. She gave out a breath of impatience, and Alice, one of my adopted siblings, growled, "Who is it this time, Edward?"
That's when she saw the crumpled piece of paper in my pocket, jutting out like a neon sign.
"You don't need to know. You'd just be sick." I'd just finished saying this when Alice lunged at me, her hand shoving itself inside my pocket and ripping out that little paper. Her eyes scanned through the paper, and she froze.
"Oh, God." she cried, eyes brimming with unshed tears. "Amber? You had to sleep with Amber?" Her dark brown eyes met my green ones, and I immediately regretted hooking up with her best friend. Again.
"DAMMIT, EDWARD!" she yelled and shoved against me. My headache escalated to a higher extent, my eyes started darting around the room, trying very hard not to focus on Alice's agonized face. "OF ALL PEOPLE, WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE AMBER? SHE WAS A SWEET GIRL, EDWARD! SHE WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO DIDN'T EVEN TRY TO USE ME TO GET TO YOU! HOW COULD YOU, EDWARD?" her yelling cut deep in me.
If only she knew . . . if only she knew of what past I'd gone through. Then she'll understand exactly how it was to be in real agony. Right now, I didn't care for her, or any of them. They knew nothing, nothing. I would never tell them, because it would not resolve anything. Besides, I was going to be eighteen soon, I'll be out of this house by then.
And the sickest thing was, I couldn't wait for it.
Alice's tears were streaming down her upset face. I reached out to wipe the tears away, but she pulled back. "No, Edward. I won't forgive you anymore. I've given you chances over and over again, and all you do is throw them away like rubbish. Guess what, Edward? I'm tired. I'm sick and I'm tired. So no more, Edward. You're no longer my brother. You never was in the first place." She said the last part softly, before bursting out in sobs once more. "You are such a little bastard," She spat that word and I froze.
Memories of the last night I saw my father flooded my drunk mind, and I could almost feel the pain of the stabs once again. I found it difficult to breathe, like my ribs were broken, and I clutched my stomach before ducking my head down.
Alice ran upstairs to her room, where she had her sanctuary, slamming the door. Jasper, Alice's boyfriend and my other 'brother', glared at me hatefully before chasing after Alice. She had apparently locked the door after slamming it, so Jasper had to bang hard against it, yelling out that it wasn't Edward-the-Bastard, but Jasper-her-lover.
After a few moments of silence, I heard the door clicked open briefly before locking again.
I looked up to stare at the rest of my family.
Huge mistake there, buddy.
Emmett, my other 'brother' for all intents and purposes, Rosalie, his girlfriend and my 'sister', followed Jasper and Alice's example, yelling out that they hate me and stuff. I took it like a man, not allowing myself to cry in front of them.
Finally, it was just Carlisle, Esme and me. I couldn't bring myself to look at them, too humiliated to do so. And I guess that served me right.
Carlisle took a deep breath and all was eerie.
"Edward, take a seat. We have to discuss something." he looked straight at me, and I tried my very best trying not to curl back from the gaze, just like I did all those years ago with my real father. "What, am I grounded again?" I asked, seating down and trying to make a joke.
"No. It's something more than that. It's something more important than that."
There, in his voice, I recognize that emotion.
It was ice.
I couldn't fight back the shudder that rippled through me then.
"Wh-what is it?" I stuttered, heart pounding.
"Look, we know that you've never really seen us as parents, and that you're unhappy here. Just now, when Alice was talking to you, I could read it in you that you couldn't wait to get out of this hellhole. Edward, it's come to our attention that you're no longer . . . um, tameable? Is that the right word to put it? No, it isn't. It's got to be something more." he took a deep breath.
What was he talking about?
"So . . . we've arranged with our lawyer and we've decided that we will no longer . . . take care of you. In short, we're disowning you."
I pinched myself, trying to wake up from this nightmare, but the thing was, I wasn't. "Wh-where will I . . . go?" I whispered, forcing the tears in my eyes down my throat, stuffing it there. "You'll be sent to an orphanage, of course. But . . . Edward, look at me." he sighed, and I had to look at him. This was my last chance. My last chance to prove them wrong. Could I tell them of why I was acting this way? They'd probably forgotten what happened to me, anyway. And it was pity that made them adopt me.
It was over now. They'll be chucking me out in a few days.
"When?" I asked Carlisle. He sighed and ran his hand through his blonde hair. "Edward, the process would take longer than travelling around the world would be, so you'll only have to live in the orphanage for about a few months before your birthday. And the minute we've signed the papers, it also means we're no longer required to pay for all your costs."
Translation: You'll have to balance a job, studying, and school fees all by yourself.
"I . . . I see. I'll try to manage, though I probably wouldn't be able to attend college." I mumbled, and rushed up my bedroom, which was located on the last level.
I crashed down on my bed, rubbing my face on my pillow, for what would feel like the last time. Then I let it rip, my cries muffled by the feather pillow, I cried for everything. For my sister Alice, who was also sobbing two floors beneath me, for Rosalie, who I could hear criticizing me. For Emmett and Jasper, my two best mates, or rather, ex-best mates.
My heart ached.
Suddenly, the pull from my drawer was too much. I pushed myself off the bed and went over to my bottom drawer, dug around till I found that picture.
The picture of my mom, dad, and me.
The picture of a perfect family.
I stroked my mother's face absently, wishing that I was stroking her face for real. "Momma . . . Momma. I want you back. I want my life back." I croaked softly and the tears fell down harder. Waterfall.
Moving slowly on my bed, I let my pathetic self curl up into a useless ball, and began to cry, releasing all of my sadness. I hugged that passport-sized picture to my chest. I knew I was like a sissy, but I couldn't help myself. The least I could afford now was to be manly.
That was the beginning, and the ending was so close. Close enough to touch.
Control, Bella, control.
I stared at the stunning, deep blue, V-neck t-shirt that I loved. Everything else was packed, all I needed now was to either chuck this shirt out, or to keep it. It was a raging battle, neither side was winning nor losing. The blue shirt reminded me of the past, but I loved it too much to let it go, like all my other shirts.
Jeez, I hated packing.
You brought this on yourself, Bella, a small voice reprimanded me. I winced back and my mind recoiled from the strings of memories that flooded through it.
Me, hanging out with Leah and the others, in our cheerleading costumes, giggling at the boys who were ogling at me.
Me, yelling out the orders to the other cheerleaders, criticizing them for being such lazy bums.
Getting invited to the spring dance by the hottest guy at school, then rejecting him.
Standing on the table, shouting at the top of my lungs that I would be holding a 'contest', where boys were supposed to fight for me. Fight, as in the real fight, complete with baseball bats and metal rods.
The whole school attending the 'epic battle', one by one the boys got hurt, some escaping with bruises and scratches, others, who were not so lucky, had nearly dislocated an arm and sprained their ankles severely, all the while having broken fingers, bloody gashes and other horrendous stuff.
A jock and nerd, facing off for my affections. They were the last ones.
The nerd falling, the jock raising his arm before plunging it straight down into the nerd's heart.
I shook myself awake, trying not to relive the last few moments. But I couldn't, the memories were rushing themselves at me, losing me. We'd call the ambulance, of course, but by then, it was too late. Everyone in Phoenix must have heard of Jacob, who was the person who died. The whole school paid tribute to him, and I regretted my actions. It was supposed to be fun.
And it had gotten horribly awry.
My stomach plummeted and I rushed to my bathroom, crouching down beside the toilet bowl, and began to puke my guts out. I closed my eyes, remembering the first few days after Jacob's death, when I'd grown so upset and guilty. I didn't eat, retreating into my own shell, and refused to go to school. I wanted to do everything that would at least help me to escape from the guilt.
Rachel, Jacob's sister, blamed me. She blamed my popularity, my beauty, everything.
To the people of Phoenix State High School, I was the perfect girl. The girl who had everything: looks, personality, popularity, talent, brains, you get the picture. No one could be jealous of me, I was too sweet to be envied.
It was my beauty that happened to be the core of my guilt.
People said that I looked like a goddess, and I knew I did, but I just didn't admit it, trying to remain humble. Tears sprang up in my eyes as I flushed the toilet and proceeded to clean my mouth. I clutched my hands to my torso, which was technically the main part of my crumbling system.
When I was done, I stared back into my duffel bag, which consisted of hoodies and jeans. I recalled why I wanted to move in the first place; the chance to escape from all of this. To start anew, afresh. To breathe in a different Bella, someone who wasn't plastic and an utter bitch. All my years of acting like someone who didn't care, of being a fake, I wanted to be someone new. Someone like the real me.
I had no idea how to do it, though. Charlie, my father, tentatively asked me if I would like to come over to Forks after Jake's funeral, where he resided, for a visit. I told him yes, and for the three days of being there, I felt that I was home.
The green of the trees, moss, ferns, the brown of the deep, rich soil. The absolutely heavily scented air. It all appealed to me, it relaxed me, and I was given hope. I asked Renee, my mom, if I could possibly move there.
Renee didn't go down without a battle. A hard fought one.
But my mind was made-up, there was no stopping me. I tried to explain my situation to my mother, and she tried to understand. Finally, the last straw came when Phil, Renee's new husband, had been given an offer to teach baseball to third graders in Jacksonville, Florida. Mom didn't deliberate, saying yes immediately, and I was free to move to Forks. Free to have my freedom and release.
Except, the teeny, tiny thing was, I didn't exactly found my release when she said yes. But I figured I'll get over it . . . soon enough.
I glanced back at my blue shirt, and by impulse, snatched it and stuffed it in my overflowing bag. No point in not bringing it, I'll just come back or beg my mom to send it back to me. I loved the shirt that much.
"Bella! You ready? We have to get to the airport now!" Renee called out, breaking my reverie. "Coming, Mom!" I called back, struggling with the zip, and pulled up my hood. It had become my only life buoy, the hoodies. It protected my face from being exposed to people who would want to die just to see it. It kind of hid me away from the outside world, creating my own world in the cover and shade.
Let's just say it's nice to wear hoodies, and I never realized it till after Jake's death.
Jake, Jake, Jake. The name kept on repeating itself in my head. Everything I did was affected by him. Unless a miracle happened, I would definitely have his memory imprinted on my mind and brain forever. I was becoming obsessed with making it up to his family. I comforted the Black's, well, to anyone who would listen, in their family. The Black's were the most enthusiastic family you would ever see out there. Everything was a joke for them.
That is, until Jake's death.
Ahh . . . shoot. I should try and avoid thinking about Jacob and his family too much.
"Bella?" a small, quiet, broken voice whispered out my name. I turned around.
And regretted it.
"Leah." I greeted, making no move to approach her. "So you're still dead set on going?" she asked me, as if she was expecting me to say no. "Yes, Lee-Lee. I will still be going. I have to . . . I have to . . ." I trailed off, staring into my best friend's broken expression. "Oh, Bella!" she cried out, and flung herself at me, crushing me in her slender arms. "I don't want you to leave," she continued, "I want you to stay. Why can't you stay? Were you really forced? I don't wanna lose the only friend I've ever had . . ." She sobbed into my shoulder and I patted her back awkwardly.
"Lee-Lee, I can't. You know the reason why. I'll try and call you and send you e-mails and stuff. If you find it too much to handle without me, I'll just be twenty-four hours away from Phoenix. How about that?" I told her gently, rubbing her back in circular movements. "But . . . but it won't be the same without you. Everyone has already forgotten about Jacob. Why can't you forget him?"
I winced and pulled back. "That was below the belt, Leah."
She sobbed and wrapped her arms around herself, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."
I sighed, "C'mere." She rushed over to me and I hugged her fiercely. "Leah, I just need some time. Besides, I don't think we'll ever forget each other. We've done so much together. From our first school dance, to junior prom, to first crushes and boyfriends, to bad break-ups. When was the last time we argued, Lee-Lee?" I asked her, awaiting her answer.
She shook her head and her tears were finally getting through my thick hoodie. "Never."
I nodded. "Exactly. I'll be home for the summer and holidays, and we still have that plan to go to university together, remember? So, everything's not lost. I'll just move away, but our friendship won't. You hear me, BFF?"
She crushed me again.
"Bella! We have to go now!" Mom called out, impatience coloring her voice.
"I'm right on it," I called out before turning back to my best friend, "Will you accompany me to the airport?"
Leah looked torn. After a brief silence, she shook her head. "I've still got to go over to Sam's house. He's still trying to get over Jake, like you." I nodded and gave her a brief smile. "I guess I'll see you, Lee-Lee." She hugged me tightly then let me go. "Yeah. Promise you'll call and all those other shit?" she asked and I nodded.
Hoisting my bag over my shoulder, I gave my best friend one last hug, immediately feeling the rift between us widen. "Bye." I whispered and threw the door open, letting us out. She followed me to the car, where Mom and Phil were waiting, watching us curiously. "Bye, Bella. Call me." she yelled as Phil revved up the car.
The way to the airport was quiet, Renee and Phil discussed about the weather.
I couldn't concentrate on what they were saying, because I could feel all those years of faking me being left behind as we reached Sky Harbor airport. I could sense another goodbye awaiting, and I was anticipating it. My hoodie was closed in around me, shielding me from the glare of the sunlight. Finally, it came to the point where we had to get out of the car.
"Tell Charlie I said hi, will you?" Renee reminded me and hugged me once, before checking her flight. "Oh! We're due in thirty minutes! Quick, Phil, we have to go!" Phil mumbled a goodbye over his shoulder and I waved at the both of them, laughing silently as they rushed to the check-in counter.
Then it was time for my flight and I got on the plane without a backwards glance.
Getting off the final plane at Port Angeles, everything seemed a little woozy. I was probably suffering from major jet-lag, and my phone had been going off annoyingly ever since I touched down in Seattle. The shrill ringing didn't help my current situation, and I became more clumsy than I had always been. It was a miracle why I was even head cheerleader in the first place.
"Hey, Bella!" I whirled around and spotted my dad.
Charlie was a man who, when smiling, looked so friendly and heart breakingly handsome that you'll see where I got my looks from. Actually, I got it from both my parents, Dad being the most, and Mom being the second-most. God, I was using contorted sentences now.
"Dad . . ." I mumbled and tried not to groan as he wrapped me in his strong grip. He pulled away after realizing how uncool it was to see a police hugging a teenager in the middle of a makeshift airport. "You seemed a little too pale. You need an aspirin?" he took a a small pill and I couldn't help but let out a small grin. "Thanks, Dad. I needed it." I took it, unscrewed the top of the bottle that I'd bought in the plane back in Seattle.
I downed the remaining water along with the pill.
Instantly, the aspirin kicked in, and I rubbed my temples. "You ready to go, darling?" Charlie asked, eyeing the pill-case in my hand doubtfully. "Yep. Let's roll." I sighed and once again prepared to hoist my bag over my shoulder. Charlie's big hands stopped me, grabbing one of the straps and shouldered my bag on top oh his own shoulders.
"Thanks. I needed that." I thanked him and we headed off towards the cruiser, which, fortunately, the red-and-blue lights were off.
The trip to Forks was a quiet one, much like my first car ride there. Charlie wasn't much of a talker, and I thanked God that he was like that. Otherwise, I'd have a more than pounding headache right now. I must have dozed off, because the next minute, Charlie was shaking my arm gently. "Honey, we're here." he said softly, and I grunted.
Charlie laughed, and I rolled my head towards his direction. "Yeah, you'll regret waking me up." I scoffed, though I was too drained to keep it up, and stumbled out the car.
We went up to my room, dumped my bag on the floor, and Charlie literally forced me to take a long nap. "I'll have to go to the station, anyway. Some kid vandalized your new high school to be. There's now a large expletive on top of the school logo." I laughed a little and rubbed my temples once again, the ache in my head getting worst.
"Mmf." I managed through my pillow, and felt something touch my hair. Was it Charlie's hands?
I didn't bother to check. For now, I needed sleep.