Disclaimer: I own nothing Twilight or Stephenie Meyer related.


Chapter 1:

Being at a funeral entirely alone with what felt like hundreds of people was something new for me. I had never felt this alone in all my life. There was always somebody there to take care of me; to look out for me. I grew up the happy child of parents that loved each other. We had a home, we had money, we had each other. I always thought that someday, my future would look similar. I'd finish university, get a job that I liked, meet a nice man, buy a nice house, have some nice kids; but life never goes according to plan.

I stood there, my hands in the pockets of my brown cardigan, feeling alone and betrayed. My best friend, Jessica, was beside me but apart from her, there was no one at this funeral that meant anything to me. No relatives. No one.

I watched as they lowered the caskets, one after the other. The people that raised me, the people that loved me. This was the last time I would allow myself to mourn them, because as my dad had always said, life goes on. He had said that a lot.

All of them went up to me and expressed their sorrow over my parents' death. Yet how many had really meant it? Not one of them had known them the way I had. Maybe they had known the businessman, or the society lady. Maybe they thought my parents had been snobs. Maybe they thought they'd been nice people. They didn't know the dad that took me on camping trips and showed me how to shoot a gun, or the Mom that bought me my first lipstick and terrified me with her openness on certain subjects.

It had taken me a week to come to that conclusion, but in the end it was clear that even through everything that had come out of their deaths, even through all the sorrow and betrayal I felt, I had known the real Charlie and Renee. The parents that loved me and would have given anything for me.

I wouldn't allow myself to cry. I had cried too much already. Every single day leading up to this day I had cried, alone, in a house that wasn't mine. In the house that I grew up in and always considered to be home. I had always thought that someday, that house would belong to me; it doesn't.


One week before:

I was in my room, hiding out, while Jessica was outside trying to convince our third room-mate, Tanya, of how good of an idea it was to have a party in our apartment. Tanya could be a bit of a prude. She was a beauty with her long, wavy blonde hair and perfect face but she never did anything to enhance that beauty. Neither Jessica nor I could wrap our heads around why she was the way she was. It's not like she made a conscious decision not to date. She just wasn't interested. At least not in boys. Jessica was convinced Tanya was a secret lesbian. I just thought she was shy.

We met her parents once and they were cool people. Her dad was a doctor that, after a short lecture on safe sex and drugs, gave us condoms and told us about his college days and how he'd met Tanya's mom at a strip club. He then proceeded to talk about the awesome sex they have up to this day and that's when we decided to shut him up with a beer. In retrospect, maybe it wasn't all that weird Tanya was such a reserved girl, considering her parents could be quite the exhibitionists.

I could hear Jessica's chatter throught the paper-thin walls of the aparment we shared.

"But listen, Tanya, there'll be lots of cute boys coming."

"But I thought you had a boyfriend, Jessica."

"Well I can still look can't I? And anyway, it's nothing THAT serious between Chris and I. We're just friends. With benefits." Jessica was a flirt. And everyone knew that. She hadn't had a boyfriend that stayed for longer than 3 weeks in her life but she was the best friend I could've asked for. She was pretty and she did a lot for that prettiness. I knew that most people thought she was a shallow bitch but if you made the effort to get to know her you didn't regret it. I'd known her for as long as I could think and we'd been best friends for just as long. She was the person I could depend on, no matter what. The one constant in my life, apart from my parents.

It was during Jessica's and Tanya's discussion, a discussion I'd normally drown out with my ipod and music but since my ipod broke the day prior that was impossible. A discussion that would turn into an argument soon enough like it always did, on alcohol and it's effects on people, especially men, and their sexuality, that the doorbell rang. Since I couldn't hear the two of them moving their asses towards the front door I left my room and effectively the book I'd been reading with a sigh and opened the front door.

Dread settled in my stomach when I recognized the man that stood outside our apartment as our family lawyer. My dad was an investor, and a successful one as well. At least that's what I'd thought. He took the money people gave him and invested it. It was a win-win situation, he'd always said. He earned his money by helping people win money. Of course, by doing that he'd made himself some enemies. So, he had a lawyer at hand for those rare occasions that someone filed a lawsuit. That lawyer, Jason Jenks, stood outside our apartment now with a solemn expression on his face.

"Miss Swan, do you mind if I come in?" His voice made me antsy. Like as if he had something bad to tell me. For a second I considered just closing the door in his face. Maybe I didn't want to hear what he had to tell me.

"Uh, okay, go ahead. Do you want something to drink or...", I asked leading him into the kitchen.

"No I'm fine, maybe you should sit down." The dread from before returned in full forcem sending my head spinning with worst case scenarios.

"Why are you here? What do you want from me?" I asked in a shaky voice.

"Miss Swan you should really sit..."

"No." I could still hear Jessica and Tanya arguing from the other room. They hadn't even heard anyone come in. I felt like I was miles away from them, in another universe. My heart beating a hundred miles a minute. My hands sweating. The uneasy feeling in my stomach getting worse each passing second. He looked me in the eyes and his expression told me everything I needed to know. They had been friends. He and my parents.

"Your..." His voice broke. My tears started to fall. "There was an accident. Your parents. They... They were run off the road. Into a tree. They..." A shaky breath. "They didn't make it. Isabella, I'm so incredibly sorry. They were my friends. I..."

"So... they've been murdered?" The tears continued to fall but I refused to show any emotion in my voice. I didn't want anyone to see me break down. I needed answers.

"Yes." I took a shaky breath feeling my throat constrict. Feeling myself slipping away. Into unconsciousness.

"Who..." I whispered, the pain evident in my voice. I could feel myself fading away, into the dark, where I could escape the pain. I didn't hear the answer to my question till 5 hours later.

When I woke up I was in a hospital room. I lay there with closed eyes telling myself it had all been a dream. That my parents hadn't been killed. That I wasn't completely alone. That my world hadn't been turned upside down.

The man in my room that I once again recognized as Jenks shattered all those hopes. My eyes welled with tears and I couldn't keep the sob from breaking through.

"I haven't been dreaming have I?" I whispered.

"I'm afraid not." he whispered back in a sad voice. His eyes looked tired. I felt bad for him. I'm sure he never signed up for the job of telling his friends' daughter that her parents had been killed.


"What now?"

As I sat in the cab I thought about what it would mean for me if I didn't get this job. I needed this job.

After my loaded question in the hospital, Jason Jenks had sighed and told me 'with a heavy heart' that my parents had left nothing but debts behind. Apparently my father had done a lousy job at 'helping other people win money' lately, had lost his clients and the economy crisis hadn't helped his case either.

They didn't know who had murdered them. The police suspected it was a client. Someone that had lost their money, but they had no lead at all as to who could've done it. Apparently there was a long list of names.

I thought about the words that had shattered my whole world more than it already was. The words that had constricted my throat with panic and that made all the machines in the room go off and beep in a nervous frenzy.

"What does that mean exactly? I mean... What do I have? Where do I go from here?"

"You have nothing, Isabella. They lost everything. The house, the cars, everything belongs to the bank." So I gave it all up. University. The house. The apartment. My car. Life as I had known it.

Jessica had offered to let me stay in the apartment. But she had done so much already. Taking me in for 2 months. Providing for me. I had to come up with an idea, something that would help me get on my own two feet again. Something that didn't end in me being homeless.

Tanya was the one that came up to me with the idea of starting to be a housekeeper.

"You know, Isabella, we once had a housekeeper and she was amazing. She was my best friend and I think she had a good life with us. She took care of the household and cooked but was payed for it and she lived with us. I just thought you might want to consider it. It's not a bad job, if you live with the right people."

So that's how I had ended up in a cab on my way to the 'Cullen Estate'. After I had put a notice in the paper, Jessica's idea which I thought was ridiculous, a certain Mrs. Cullen had called at the apartment asking for a meeting.


A/N: Big thanks to Lucy and Linh, always. Gonna update every sunday (hopefully). Tell me what you think.