A New Dawn
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Forks, Washington was buzzing with the news of Isabella Swan's return. No matter where I went I couldn't escape the mention of her name. That type of thing tended to happen in a small town like the one we lived in. Secrets were few and far between in a place like this.
Anyway, Isabella Swan was back. Bella, the girl I'd tortured until she fled the state just to get away from me and the 'Cullen Coven' as we'd been dubbed by our classmates. We'd become notorious since that day in the cafeteria when things had gotten more out of hand than usual.
When I'd first heard the news I was reasonably skeptical. I was sure someone was playing a cruel, sick joke on me, but I'd found out quick it was nothing but true and so much more. Apparently, her mother and stepfather had been killed in a car accident, and she was coming back to stay with Charles Swan, her father and chief of police here in Forks.
And he'd made it no secret that he didn't want me, or any of us, anywhere near his daughter, not that I blamed him.
"Chief Swan," Esme had greeted him politely when he'd showed up on our doorstep yesterday afternoon. "Please, come in."
"Thank you, Esme," he'd replied in the same polite tone. Even though I knew he'd really like to ring my neck, I think he truly liked Esme and Carlisle. They were genuinely good people, and I think he saw that. It wasn't their fault I was so screwed up.
I watched quietly from the safety of the kitchen like a coward as he entered the house, my stomach suddenly churning, and I became extremely uneasy. My stomach turned at the possibilities. This wasn't a social visit. Something was up, and it wasn't good.
"Please, make yourself at home, Charlie," I heard Esme say sweetly.
"Thank you, but I won't be long. Is Carlisle here?" Charlie asked, getting straight to the point. He seemed to be in a no-nonsense mood. Two things about Chief Swan: he didn't hover and he didn't make it a habit to conduct social visits like these.
"Of course. He's in his study. I'll go get him," she answered and I heard the dull thudding of her footsteps as she climbed the stairs.
Charlie looked as uncomfortable to be here as I felt about him being here. The last time he was here hadn't been as civil as now. When Isabella had fled Forks, Mr. Swan had showed up here in a rage, yelling and shouting, demanding to know what I'd done to his daughter. I didn't blame him; what we'd done to her was awful.
Though there were plenty of days we made her life a living hell, I often thought particularly of the day she left. It'd been at lunch time. She was sitting by herself as she did every day, and I'd been pissed because I'd gotten into trouble by Mr. Banner for skipping first and second block. I'd been angry and wanted someone to take it out on and who better than my personal punching bag?
Of course, things were fuzzy from the pot, but I could remember most of what I'd done.
My eyes scanned the crowded cafeteria for her. I was still high from the joint I'd just smoked with Rosalie and Jasper on Meadow Street, the nearly deserted road that lined the very back of the school.
Where are you, Swan?
She wasn't in the lunch line... My eyes reached her regular table and I was met with a pair of big, dark brown eyes staring back at me with a look of that of a frightened doe.
I stared at her for a moment, my eyes narrowing slightly before smiling to myself.
Gotcha, I thought smugly.
I made my way over to her table, my friends following my lead as if they could sense what was happening. We were like a pack of wolves closing in on a helpless sheep.
She tried to make an escape, but Emmett kept her in place. She glanced up at him, more trepidation in her eyes as they widened. Emmett looked huge compared to her small frame, almost like how small Alice looked standing next to him. She looked so…fragile, but I couldn't think about that right now. I had to stay in character.
"Tsk, tsk, tsk," Emmett smirked, shaking his head. "No running, Smella. You know that, don't ya? Or do we have to remind you again?"
I walked over to Bella confidently. "Hello, Smella. Trying to avoid me today?" I asked mockingly.
She bit her lip as if trying to keep words in. She did finally speak, but her voice shook and cracked.
"P-please just leave me a-alone," she stuttered pleadingly.
"Is poor Smella gonna cry?" Alice asked from behind me, glaring at Bella.
I vaguely registered the whole cafeteria had quieted down and was now listening. My vision was slightly blurred.
"What do you think, Rose? Should we give Smella a pass today?" Alice asked Rosalie who was standing behind Emmett now.
"Of course not," Rosalie said as if the question had offended her before her face broke into an evil smile.
"No," we all heard Bella whisper.
I hesitated for a moment. Her voice sounded so small. I could feel myself starting to waver, feeling kind of guilty again as I normally began to. As if she could sense exactly what I was thinking, Rosalie gave me a pointed look, reminding me not to go soft.
"Did anyone say you could speak?" Alice demanded, glaring at Bella again.
Bella immediately looked down, closing her eyes briefly. Tears silently rolled down her cheeks.
"Aww, she's crying," said Jasper who was now standing beside Alice. He had a lazy smile on his face, and I could tell the pot was still effecting him, too.
Rosalie glared at me, telling me not to chicken out. The others ridiculed Bella as Rosalie put me back in the right mindset.
"Do something, Edward. Grow a pair already," she ordered. "Do something or you'll look like a fool in front of the whole school. Is that what you want?"
Her words made a lot of sense. In that moment, her twisted logic sounded reasonable.
Then it was almost as if I'd drifted out of my own body to watch the scene unfold as I saw myself reach for two milk cartons off of two students' trays at a nearby table and dumped them on Bella Swan's head.
Rosalie smirked. She'd gotten exactly what she wanted.
She nodded at me in approval and encouragement. 'Do it,' she mouthed.
I looked back at a very mortified Bella. "Hmm, I think I rather like this milk covering up your bad skin and ugly face. You should wear it more often," I laughed. My voice didn't sound like my own and I didn't like it, but I pushed those insecurities and that little annoying voice down until I couldn't hear it anymore.
The cafeteria went dead silent for a moment before erupting in all different types of reactions. Some people like Tanya Denali and Jessica Stanley looked smug, laughing. Some people like Angela Webber gasped in horror, their hands clamped over their mouths in shock.
Bella Swan bolted from the cafeteria in tears and I did not see her again.
I was snapped out of my memory as Esme returned to the living room with Carlisle following closely behind her.
"Charlie," Carlisle greeted pleasantly, nodding at him.
They shook hands awkwardly.
"Would you like something to eat or drink?" Esme offered kindly.
Charlie shook his head. "No, thank you. I'd just like to cut to the chase. As you've probably heard, Bella's moved back to Forks," he began.
Esme and Carlisle exchanged a glance that said it all. They'd been expecting this visit.
"Yes," Carlisle said. "We've heard."
"Yes, well, I'm sure you've guessed she'll be back at Forks High," Charlie began slowly. "Bella's just lost her mother and stepfather. She's been dealing with a lot of things no kid her age should have to deal with. She's got a lot on her plate, and the last thing I need is for…anything to happen to her at school." I could tell by his strained voice that he struggled to put the last part so nicely.
Carlisle and Esme's expressions turned to guilty ones. They'd felt terrible about what had happened, and they still did. They were ashamed of what the others and I had done. I couldn't blame them. I was a terrible person.
"Charlie, we can assure you nothing will happen to Bella. There won't be any problems. We can guarantee that," Carlisle promised.
"They were all punished, Charlie," Esme said softly. "Both at school and home. We and the other parents even put them all in therapy. They still go."
"Humph," Charlie grumbled. I knew what he was thinking. We weren't the ones that deserved or needed therapy, he thought. "Well, I just want to be sure there won't be any trouble. Bella's been through enough," he said instead of what he really wanted to.
"Of course," Esme agreed eagerly. "We understand that, and if Bella needs anything at all we're here," she said sincerely.
I could see on Charlie's face that he wanted to tell her how unlikely it would be for Bella to talk to them if she had a problem or really needed something. We would be the last people Bella would turn to for help.
"Thank you. We appreciate that. Bella will appreciate it," he lied. "Anyway, I should get going, but I'll be keeping an eye out. Especially on Edward."
"You won't need to Charlie," Carlisle promised, his expression serious.
"We'll see about that," Charlie grumbled under his breath, heading for the door.
To my relief, he was gone only a few moments later.
They came into the kitchen, looking at me warily. They had known I was here all along, apparently.
"We're assuming you heard all that," Carlisle said, looking at me sternly.
I nodded, averting my eyes. They knew how ashamed I was of what I'd done.
"It's going to be okay, Edward," Esme said as she soothingly rubbed her hand on my back.
She'd told me that several times over the last year or so, but it had never been okay.
"You heard what Charlie said. No trouble. Make sure history doesn't repeat itself, Edward," Carlisle said harshly, looking me in the eye.
I didn't think I'd ever be back here, not in a million years. Forks, Washington.
There were too many bad memories to stand the thought of ever living in this shitty little town again, but there were worse memories back home now. Well, I suppose home wasn't really home anymore. Home classified as a place where you had somewhere you belonged and people you cared about and who cared about you as well. And there was nothing left in Phoenix for me.
So, this place would have to do, and I'd have to make do with Charlie, not that the idea of living with him was horrifying or anything. It was simply that Charlie and I were somewhat…awkward together. Our relationship was always somehow awkward, but I'd been estranged from him for the past year or so since I'd left this place.
Yeah, I'd considered Forks my home once. A long time ago...
Now I had to bite down and force myself to accept it as my home again.
I drove my huge, orange monster of a truck through the small town, garnering more than a few double-takes and odd looks. Not that I blamed them; not only did my old truck look like a monster but it sounded like one, too.
I sighed as I passed all of the gawking faces. I hated Forks, detested it beyond words. I'd promised I would never come back here. Well, not by choice, anyway. And it wasn't by choice. That was the worst part. I was being forced to endure this god-awful, gossipy small town. I was going to stay with my father, Charlie Swan, chief of police to the good townsfolk of Forks, Washington.
Being back in Forks meant being back at Forks High though, and I had no intention of pretending to be happy about it. Forks, home of the assholes. Basically, my shit list: Edward Cullen, Alice Brandon, Jasper Whitlock, Emmett McCarthy, and Rosalie Hale. They could all rot in hell.
I mentally winced with the memory of my last day here. I shook my head free of the horrid memory as I pulled up to Charlie's house.
Here goes nothing.
The house hadn't changed that much from what I could remember. Still the same old yellow walls in the kitchen and, in the living room, the old green sofa I'd fallen asleep on from time to time when I was younger. Even my room was the same as I'd left it except you could tell it definitely hadn't been lived in for a while; the walls were bare and the room was utterly plain. I'd taken all the personality out of it when I'd left such as stripping the walls of pictures and clearing the room of any dearly personal effects.
I passed the time by unpacking clothes and trying to make the room look a little more like a senior graduating rather than the shy, sixteen-year-old wallflower who I'd left here in tears almost two years ago right before her seventeenth birthday. I'd been a different person back then when I'd left.
"Bells, please, would you just tell me what happened?" Charlie demanded, his face agonized with fear and pain.
"I don't want to talk about it, okay? I just want to go home," I got out between sobs, hastily throwing my clothes and anything else I could grab into my suitcase. The milk had dried on my clothes and I'd pulled my hair back into a sloppy ponytail so I wouldn't have to deal with the disgusting mess right now.
Charlie stood there beside me, watching helplessly as I packed everything with a rush. "Bella, what happened? Talk to me, please," he begged.
I closed my suitcase and turned as I tried to make my way down the stairs with the very heavy luggage. I grabbed onto the rail for support as I half-carried the hefty load on my leg.
Charlie appeared in front of me, blocking my path and prying the luggage from my grasp. "Bella, calm down! You almost fell. Now, where are you going?" he demanded, grabbing my arm firmly to keep me from bolting from the house like he knew I wanted to.
"I'm going to Phoenix to stay with Mom and Phil. I can't stay here anymore! I can't live like this!" I shouted, my vision blurring all over again as fresh tears began to form. Then I broke down and told him everything.
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