Disclaimer: I don't own the characters.
Note: [Beta'ed and re-written by: b. krumova]
Chapter 1 - Name
"Swan!" I heard someone call. I shut my eyes tightly.
Don't let this happen to me again.
I had been having a bad feeling all day, and it was time to go home now. Daddy would come and pick me up after fifteen minutes. A quarter to three is what he told me.
I wanted my daddy to be here now. He was a police officer. He did good things. He caught all the bad people. That's what police men did.
Each day when I would be in my daddy's car and he would ask me how school was, I would smile. That smile was always forced. It was really hard to pretend I was happy, when I wasn't. But I would always tell him all about my friends, and that we had played different games, laughed hard, ran after each other, made the easy homework we got in class and played more while we waited until our parents picked us up.
Of course, that wasn't true. That was just stuff I made up so daddy would think I was happy.
Reality was that I would be scared to go to school. I would never know what those kids would come up with and I never knew why they hated me. I was too scared to tell daddy or even mommy when I talked to her on the phone. I didn't know if it was my fault. What I always told daddy, was my imagination. My dreams and the stuff I hoped for.
I had really hoped so badly none if it would happen today. That they would ignore me, or better, forget me, for just this day.
I had hoped.
"Chicken," Rosalie called, making the word sound very long, "don't run away so fast. I have a surprise for you."
It had been Edward who called my name. Slowly, I turned around. My brown eyes looked into his green ones. Every time he neared me — like he was going now — he always looked down. Edward liked the fact he was taller than me. The red sweater he had on today was almost a matching shade of the rusty color of his hair. For anyone who didn't know him they probably wouldn't see it, since he recently cut it short, but I knew.
I've known him for longer than I wanted to.
Walking next to him was Rosalie, his sister. Her blouse matched the color on Edward's, but hers weren't as baggy as his was. Rosalie saw me staring at her and her blue eyes looked angrily at me. She pushed her long, pretty blonde hair behind her shoulder and walked faster toward me. Rosalie was the reason I sometimes didn't like my brown hair. If she had been my friend, I would have admitted this to her honestly. Though if she had been my friend, she maybe would have said that she liked my hair just the way it is.
Two girls were walking behind Rosalie with grins on their lips. Tanya and Lauren were Rosalie's best friends. They were always playing together. Usually their games included doing tricks on me, but they still enjoyed it nonetheless.
I almost sighed when I saw the way they had dressed themselves. Tanya and Lauren always liked to wear matching clothes. Today, they were wearing similar black boots, with white pants tucked into them and a pink shirt with a grey vest covered their upper body. There was one difference though. Tanya had strawberry blonde hair, almost just as pretty as Rosalie's, whereas Lauren's hair was a light blonde, kind of yellowish even. I have always disliked that hair color, because it reminded me of Barbie dolls. This was something I disliked too. I had once searched with my mommy for a Barbie with brown hair, but there weren't any. My mommy thought it was funny when I told her I didn't like the hair color on all those Barbie heads.
I knew Tanya and Lauren had planned it the day before, telling each other which color clothes they were going to wear and which kind of shoes they were going to put on. I had to hear it for almost every day, because in class they were sitting behind me. Each time I had the urge to tell them to maybe pay a little more attention to the teacher. I also knew Tanya got good grades, almost as good as mine, but Lauren didn't do as well as Tanya.
Emmett was taller than me. He always has been the tallest boy from our class. His dark eyes seemed almost black, but if you looked closely when he was standing in the sun, you could see it was brown like mine.
Where Edward liked to wear jeans all the time, I hardly ever saw Emmett in anything other than sweats. He was the sporty type of child, who always liked playing ball, or run around the school.
I guess this is why he didn't have enough energy to torment me.
Despite the fact Emmett always hanged out with his friends, he was the only one who never did anything physically harmful to me. He'd call me names and try to scare me, but he never went as far as Rosalie and even Edward did at times. As they neared me, I saw Rosalie holding up a box of cigarettes all too familiar to me. Even though daddy never smoked I could recognize them. She hid it in her pocket and walked in front of me, while the others were behind me, pushing me in the direction she was walking. Their hands were rough, so strong for nine year olds. The way they kept pushing me, hurt my shoulders. I don't know if it were Emmett, Edward or one of the girls, because my mind was spinning so fast about what they would do to me. Though this had happened to me before – the pushing, and the pulling, and the bullying – it did not change how anxious I would become each time they would lead me to a place where other teachers hardly ever came.
This time, we were walking to the girls' bathroom. Rosalie held the door open while the others gave me a final push inside. I stumbled, but luckily didn't fall. Rosalie was walking all the way to the end and someone was still pushing me, forcing me to follow her.
She pulled out the cigarette from her pocket, along with a lighter. It was the first time I saw anyone so young lit a cigarette, so much like a professional.
Like she had done this before.
A small voice inside my head told me she probably had. But I didn't want to believe it. I didn't want to believe somebody so young could even think of smoking a cigarette.
She put it on her lips and lit it on. I noticed how her lips pressed on the cigarette end, while she almost immediately blew out the smoke.
"Let me," Lauren said.
"You can't even smoke!" Rosalie said. "Last time you coughed like somebody who's been sick for months."
"I can!" Tanya said. She took the cigarette from Rosalie, put the cigarette on her mouth and drew in the smoke. But then she coughed so hard, it even made me worry a little about her. Maybe she wasn't okay.
The worry didn't grow, when all the others laughed.
"You're such a girl, Tanya," Edward said. "I bet even Izzie could do better."
Edward walked over to me and stood still beside me. Suddenly, his arm was around my shoulder and I was almost pulled at his side.
This never happened before.
"What are you doing?" I asked nervously, a little ready to push him away, no matter if he would be angry with me or not if I would do that.
But then I understood what he had previously meant. I was Izzie. He called me Izzie.
It's not a mean nickname. It's not a strange nickname. I'm offended by it.
It was strange to hear Edward call me some name nobody he never called me before and then to even have him stand right next to me and touching me voluntarily.
Apparently, this hadn't gone unnoticed by the four others.
"Ew!" Tanya screeched. "Gross! Why are you touching Fatty Belly?"
They call me fatty belly all the time, but I'm not even fat!
"We all know she like me," Edward said from beside me.
"No, I don't!" I protested.
Edward turned his head to mine. Standing so close to him wasn't something I was really used to. Other times when he would actually touch me, he would push me away, or do something so he wouldn't be so close to me for longer then just a few seconds. Now that he was so close to me, I saw his eyes more clearly from this angle. I had to look up, and his arm laid easily around my shoulders. I dared myself to look a little longer at his eyes. I wasn't sure where this little confidence came from. I soon realized this confidence wasn't good. Edward wasted no time before using it against me.
"Yes, you do," Edward said. "You are always looking at me."
I knew he wasn't implying on just now, even though that smile on his lips right now told me he had noticed my staring. I also knew I hadn't been very careful at times when I looked at Edward, because I always caught his eyes. And when I looked quickly away and then look back, he wasn't looking at me anymore.
"Old news," Emmett suddenly said. "We have to hurry, Edward!"
"Yeah, yeah," Edward said, slightly annoyed now. His smile instantly left, as if it had never been there at all. "I just wanted to tell Bella that I like her too."
"You do?" I asked in surprise.
Rosalie's laugh echoed in the toilets, sounding very high and sharp in my ears. I had the urge to close my ears with my fingers, but I didn't think that Rosalie would like that. She'd probably be offended if I did it. Tanya and Lauren had joined Rosalie almost as soon as she had begun, creating more laughter.
"No, you goof, of course I don't!"
Edward's arm left my shoulder in an instant and with the weight of it being gone from my shoulder, I felt lighter, but also heavier, because of what Edward had just said to me.
He said he didn't like me, but he never told me why. If I knew why, maybe I could change. Maybe then he would like me, instead of calling me a goof and laughing at me. That was what he was doing right now. He was laughing at me. His laughter hurt me the most. It hurt somewhere under my chest, squeezing everything there tightly. I wasn't sure if that was even possible.
Edward signed with his head to Rosalie, who was holding the cigarette again. Rosalie gave it to him, and he smoked once too. He did it differently. He kept breathing in and blew the smoke out a little later.
"Alright," Edward said, "Bella, you can go."
Before I had even taken two steps toward the door, Edward called me back.
"Smoke with us first, though."
I turned around to face him again and saw him reach his hand toward me, offering me the cigarette.
"No," I said, shaking my head. "No, I won't do it!"
Edward's behavior changed. I saw it by just looking in his eyes.
"Then we won't let you go," he said.
I bit in my lip, as I wondered how long they could actually keep me locked in here. They had to go home too, right?
"Take the cigarette!" Edward suddenly barked. I turned my head away from him, trying to block his view. I knew it was pointless, because the space was small and he was standing in front of me. I just didn't like it when people put on their loud voice.
"It's not really a big deal, Bella," Emmett said.
"You're so boring, Bella," Lauren said. "We have all smoked before."
"It will be really cool," Edward said. He stepped closer, and my eyes landed on the cigarette between his first and middle finger.
I felt trapped into this small space. I really wanted to tell them to leave me alone.
"It's just a ciggy, Izzy," he said, grinning.
"How cute are you two?" Rosalie snarled.
"I'm guessing Eddie wants more with her than just having her smoke…"
We all turned to watch Emmett. He had both his eyebrows up, looking at Edward in almost a challenging way. What was that all about?
"Take it!" Edward hissed, pushing the cigarette near my hand.
Against my will, my own fingers locked around the cigarette. I was too scared to say "no" to Edward anymore, especially when he hissed like that. I was really holding it now. The hot end was orange and the gray smoke was billowing. Why was I so stupid? I shouldn't have accepted the cigarette.
"But... I have to go," I replied, the tears were making my eyes burn. I had to go back, or else daddy would be worried. I didn't want him to worry about me. I just wanted them to leave me alone. I couldn't do what they wanted from me. How come they suddenly wanted me to do this? It was so stupid! They probably had to steal the cigarette, but they couldn't really do that much trouble to find a cigarette just to force me to smoke it. That just didn't make sense to me. Their behavior actually never did make sense to me, anyway.
I glanced back at the door. Emmett was leaning against it now. I was surprised to see him drop his eyes when mine landed on his, instead of giving me a nasty glare.
"Bella? Are you here? Where are you?" I heard my daddy call for me.
"Daddy!" I said excited.
He found me! This was something I have never imagined happening. I had always hoped my daddy would be like a knight, saving me right in time. And now that was really happening!
The door behind us opened. I couldn't hide my joy when it happened. It didn't matter what the others would say anymore, he was here!
"Daddy!" I cried.
I scowled a little and got a little nervous at daddy's loud voice. He only called me by my full name when he was angry. Maybe he was angry at me for being so late. His eyes went around the space, looking behind me and then back at me.
"Isabella, what is this?" he asked. He was angry. His face was red and his heart must have been beating as fast as mine was.
I thought he was angry because I never told him I was being bullied. Maybe he was angry that I have been lying to him and I never admitted the truth. But I have never been able to tell daddy about the bullies at school. I was too scared. But I wasn't anymore.
Daddy never closed the door, after he walked into the bathroom, but I never noticed a teacher from the lower grade standing beside him.
"Dear God!" she shrieked, walking to me. The only sound were her high heels clicking on the ground as she stopped in front of my and grabbed the cigarette — I forgot I was holding it — out of my fingers.
"We found her, Miss! She's here smoking and she's just a kid!" Rosalie said from behind me in her most innocent voice. My eyes widened as I finally caught up with their evil plan.
Through my fear I looked at her and saw her smiling evilly at me, behind my daddy's back.
"We knew she's smoking, because she asked us to join her," Lauren said, nodding her head.
"Yeah, but we said no!" Tanya finished. "Because smoking is bad."
"We're your friends, Bella," Lauren continued. "Why would we smoke with you, when we could just stop you?"
"How can you smoke a cigarette?" Edward asked. "Who even gave it to you?"
For a second, everything had turned one hundred and eighty degrees.
They were saying those stuff, lying to the teacher. They hated me, and I didn't even know why. They wanted me to take the blame of their weird actions. But actually I did know why they hated me. Right now, I sort of hated myself, too.
"Kids, please leave now so I could have a word with Isabella."
"Okay," they all replied. They left and the teacher took my hand and led me to a classroom I had never been before.
"Sit here, Isabella." She pointed a chair and table and I did as she told me. "Mr. Swan, I realize this must be quite the shock for you."
My daddy wasn't looking at me. He was ignoring me. He had never done that before. The sad thing was that I knew why he was acting like this.
I put my arms on the table in front of me and really cried for the first time that day. My sobs sounded loud in my ears and I didn't hear much of what they were saying.
It hurt to realize then and there that your daddy believed the words of the ones that hated me, instead of mine. He believed Rosalie and her friends over me!
When we walked out of the classroom, I was shocked to see the bullies walking in front of me, with a teacher guiding them outside. Most kids had already gone home, but I noticed four waiting cars.
Lauren and Tanya said bye to the rest, as they both went to their parents. They never saw me behind them.
Rosalie, Emmett and Edward walked to their mother, a beautiful lady I had seen often. Jasper and Alice weren't in the car. They must have already left with their daddy.
Silently, daddy and I walked to the car, and today I was too scared to even sit next to him. Before I had opened the door to the backseat, the lady had suddenly called me.
I looked up at her, her face pointy, but motherly. I didn't even know she knew my name. Her wavy, brown hair was blowing around her face.
"Bella?" she asked now, a bit more carefully. "Mr. Swan, could I please talk with her for a moment?"
She didn't sound angry, but actually sad.
My daddy told something to the nice lady, which I didn't catch, and she nodded.
"Okay, well, Bella… Just take care." She smiled once again very broadly, and it didn't seem fake. Why was this lady so nice to me?
I was finally able to open the door and I cowered in a corner, trying to block everything away. I didn't want to see the last cars that drove around us, containing them in it.
That night, the most amazing thing and the most horrible thing happened at the same time.
Amazing, because I would never see them bully me again and horrible, because my daddy gave up on me. The one that was supposed to love me, suddenly turned his back on me. I told him sorry over and over that night. But it hadn't been enough to convince my daddy.
He called mommy and had her flying to Forks to come and pick me up. Even though he was angry, he'd never let me fly alone. I knew daddy loved me, even though he was sending me away.
She didn't speak to me on our flight to Phoenix. She grounded me for a month as soon as we landed. I had to be in bed every day at seven. No television. I only got to read books. I read eighteen books that month - I counted them, and realized I loved books. After I wasn't grounded anymore, I didn't watch television. I read books. I loved them all.
The incident was forgotten, thankfully, after two months. Never brought up again when I talked with daddy on the phone.
The new school was okay. I made a few friends for the first time in my life, but never got close enough to anyone to call them a real friend, a friend for life, as people said.
The year went by fast, I read books and pretended to be one of the girls from all the beautiful novels I spend my time reading.
When I didn't read, I would be reminded of green evil eyes, or strawberry blond hair, or a particular big boy that looked like a bear or something, or I would be reminded of a beautiful monster girl.
I had nightmares. They never went away. My mom bought me a dream catcher when I was twelve, but I still had them, every night. Sometimes they weren't as bad as others and I almost didn't remember them, but when those other nights came it was horrible.
Up until the day I turned seventeen, I still read books and still feared the nightmares. Sometimes the things they had done to me for years would be repeated and sometimes my own imagination would randomly make up things. Once, I dreamed that Edward shaved my head and when I woke up and felt my head, it was a sweet relief to feel my long hair still on my head.
The one nightmare I would never forget was the one where Lauren was saying that I was wasting oxygen, but I giggled and couldn't stop those giggles when I woke, because in real life, Lauren wouldn't even know what oxygen is.
Sometimes, I forgot. The dreams my mind had made up would look so real, that I didn't know if it had really happened or not. And I would just forget. I tried to tell myself it was a dream made up by myself but I hated for not knowing or remembering.
Yeah, I was still haunted by each and one of them.
When I couldn't sleep, I would read Fallen. I liked that book. I had probably read it too many times. It was a more original book, a new one, not a classical one.
Phil was a really nice guy my mom had met when I was twelve. He had always treated me like a daughter, but this morning he told me something that kept me awake tonight.
"So Bella, I have this great game coming in February," he said.
"Really?" I asked. "Well, you are going to win it, I'm sure."
Phil nodded his head, but seemed thoughtful. "My team is going to train in Jacksonville. That's in Florida. I'm going to train with them."
"That's really cool? When are you going?"
"Saturday," he replied. "With Renée." He was very hesitant as he said this.
"What?" I asked with a scowl. That was two days from now. "What are you talking about?"
"Bella," Renée said, appearing behind me. She put her hands on my shoulders and continued, "I can't stay here, with Phil being away for five months! I just… I am going to miss you so much."
She suddenly hugged me, clearly saying goodbye, but I was still confused about what was going to happen to me. Where was this going to leave me? Renée apparently had thought about this, because she answered my thoughts.
"I called your father, and he said he'd love it if you lived with him for a while. It doesn't even have to be for the entire year! Besides, you're so smart, it wouldn't matter if you made the school switch in February. It might actually be a nice experience?" She was hoping that she could convince me that this was true.
"What?" I asked, scowling. "You're saying I should live with Charlie?"
Over the years, I had been used to calling my father Charlie instead of dad, even though he didn't like that.
"Yes," she said. "I think that would be really great." She bit her lip. "Of course, you could always come with Phil and me, if you'd like."
"No, no, of course not!" I instantly replied. I knew that wasn't what she wanted and besides, I would feel ashamed of just being in the way of their relationship. "I'll go and live with Charlie."
I didn't show them that that was really that last place I wanted to be.
Instantly after I had said those words, Renée had jumped in excitement, telling me to call Charlie to give him the news. The conversation was brief. We didn't have a heart-to-heart conversation filled with excitement. He simply informed me he would pick me up at two on Saturday on the airport.
This sudden change was happening so fast, that it didn't give me enough time to even worry about all the consequences. Of course I knew exactly where I was headed to. This was the place where my tormentors lived. But surely, they must have forgotten about me. Why would they remember me, the one they always picked on, the one they nearly hated? They probably hadn't once thought about me.
Perhaps, they hadn't. And perhaps, they remembered exactly who I was.
I told a few girls at my school with whom I regularly hung out that I was leaving for a while.
They had been shocked, to say the least. I smiled sadly at them and told them that it was better if I went to Forks, instead of staying in that big house here in Phoenix by myself. It was hard to convince them this poor lie, but eventually, they bought it.
"Bella, you know you can always come back, right?" my mom told me at the airport.
I nodded and gave her a hug. "Yes, mom," I assured. "I love you."
"Oh, Bella! I love you too." She hugged me again, but held onto me more tightly now. Her actions really touched me. This hug spoke louder than any words she had said. She didn't want to let me go.
"Mom, the plane is going to leave without me," I said in her hair.
"Yeah, yeah." She quickly pulling back. "Don't forget to call me, sweetie, okay?"
"I will," I said, my parting words.
I had never flied alone in a plane before, but it was actually quite fun. There was just this one baby that was crying loudly up to the point it got annoying. Standing on this airplane as I was right now, suddenly made me realize it was really happening. I was actually back in Forks, and I was going to live with Charlie for several months.
Our meeting was awkward. He hadn't really changed, and he asked me how I had been and what I thought of Phil. He didn't sound like a jealous ex-husband, but merely curious and friendly. Then when the formalities were over, we both grew quiet and drove back to the house.
The only sound I heard now was the rain falling on the car, and the radio. This didn't help me calm down at all. Somewhere, a few miles away from me, Edward, Emmett, Rosalie, Lauren and Tanya lived. I hoped that they had maybe moved away to a whole other continent, but even I knew that chance was pretty slim.
For a second I had the urge to ask Charlie about them. But I didn't. The last time those kids and I were together, was that day…The day I wished to erase out of my memory, but mostly, out of Charlie's memory. I was a little nervous, but Charlie didn't once bring up what happened nine years ago. For this, I was grateful.
My mind wandered to the past, and I still tried to find reasons why they bullied me. Each time I tried to think of something else, my mind went back to that single question; Why me? It was such a short question, but I didn't know the answer. Sometimes I wondered if it really mattered to know. Maybe the answer was an insult. Maybe it was better to live in ignorance.
The closer we got to home, the more I wondered. I couldn't stop to feel a little anxious. I wasn't even sure what I'd do if I would see them again. What would they even do?
Charlie left me in peace when we got home. He didn't bother me while I went upstairs to my same old room. To be honest, I wasn't in the mood for anything at all. I even couldn't put my mind to reading a book. All that I needed right now was music. Loud, rock music. For Charlie's sake, I used ear-buds.
I tossed and turned all night, with still the same music playing over and over. Before I came here, I told Charlie not to tell anyone I'd be coming back. I told him I wanted to surprise my "old" friends.
He gave me his word and I wondered how tomorrow would be like. Would they recognize me? Hate me still? Question me? Chase me away again? Play tricks with me?
After all, I was an easy target, because I never really had been able to speak up for myself. However, with that knowledge, I promised myself not to let that fact ruin me again...or ruin me more should I say.
Lying in this same bed, I've been sleeping in as a child caused me to have the memories I tried so hard to suppress back.
I was six when the Cullens moved to Forks. The first time I met Edward was in class. He was seated in front of me with a sad look on his face. Even though it was our first meeting, I instantly noticed his pretty colored eyes.
He turned around and looked at me. His eyes narrowed and his lips tightened around the corners as he caught my gaze.
"Who are you?" I asked.
He smiled. It was really charming. "Edward."
"I'm Bella," I replied. "Why are you looking so sad?"
"I'm not!" he replied, standing up and angrily leaving my side.
"I didn't mean to offend you!" I called after him, but Edward never gave me further chances to realize I really hadn't meant that in any bad way.
I sighed deeply and rolled onto my back, clutching the blanket to my chest. Those memories came crashing down on me like an ocean on a stormy day. No matter how hard I fought to keep them at bay, they never seemed to leave my mind.
I closed my eyes tightly and willed the sleep to come.
It was six months after the Cullens moved to Forks. I had memorized well who was acquainted to whom. Edward, Alice, Jasper, Emmett and Rosalie were all living together. They were all adopted. Alice and Jasper were very close. They always sat next to each other and played by themselves, but they were never mean to me. Rosalie and Emmett liked each other too. Edward seemed to like Tanya. He was often with her.
One day, when we were outside playing, I stared just a second too long at Edward. I had the courage, only because he hadn't been looked at me at the time.
"Stupid Bella," Tanya whispered. "What are you staring at?"
"I know," Lauren whispered. "Eddie!"
Tanya gasped. It sounded as if she had just found out the world was round instead of flat. Lauren mimicked her, and it looked ridiculous. They were trying to match clothes each day, and that wasn't enough. They wanted to match each other.
"Bellie likes Eddie!" Lauren said.
Edward was just sitting a few yards away from me. His head snapped to mine when he heard Lauren say this and he flipped me the bird. I quickly looked around with my mouth open, but two teachers were talking to each other on a distance, missing it all. I dropped my head and let my hair fall in front of my face, as I watched how all the other kids were playing.
I noticed how Tanya instantly went to Edward and sat next to him. She looked at what he was doing. I didn't bother watching them any longer. Lauren had joined a few other girls I didn't know well, probably trying to get them to turn their back against me. Luckily, she never managed to actually get that far.
The memories never stopped. I remembered once Edward stole the painting I had drawn for Art class. He never gave it back to me and I received an F. My mind wandered back to the days they'd bump into me, or take my books away from me. It took me so long to find my stuff back, at places like the pond.
This bed. It held so many memories.
My night had been the worst in nine years. I never managed to fall asleep deeply, and I knew for a fact that if you slept very lightly, you would dream very much in just one night. All those nightmares had kept me half-awake.
The temperature in my room was an annoying mix of hot and cold, also adding to my insomnia. One moment I'd throw my blanket on the ground and spread my arms and legs around the bed to find a cool breeze, and next I'd grab the blanket, throw it over my body and curled up to find back some warmth.
Hearing my alarm clock ring gave me this huge urge to call in sick. Usually, calling in sick was the biggest no for me, it was just not done. Right now, I was more then ready to break my own rule, grab the phone and say I was going to be sick for the entire school year. However, that was just stuff I made up in my mind and would never dream of actually doing. Besides, Charlie might become suspicious and ask me questions I probably wouldn't want to answer.
When I realized I had been lying for ten minutes in bed, I jumped out for a quick shower. Now I felt the actual cold in my room and I grabbed the clothes I thought suited me the most out of my suitcase, which was still lying on the ground unpacked.
I knew that before I went anywhere near that high school, I needed to have at least one cup of coffee. If there was something that kept me awake and pushed away the stress, then that was coffee. Not even those bullies could take my coffee away from me.
"Damn it!" I said out loud in the kitchen. Didn't Charlie drink coffee? Where did he keep it, if he did have any?
I tried for another tactic and tried to find coffee milk. There wasn't any! I couldn't even find sugar.
I am so going to buy coffee after school.
Well, if I made it to school in the first place, because it was almost eight o'clock now and I realized I had been searching for coffee way too long.
I grabbed the keys to the truck that Charlie had put on the dining table – dropped them – picked them up and noticed the disgusting floors.
And after buying coffee, I am going to clean this house.
Okay, let's do this!
As I opened the door and felt the cold raindrops fall on my face, my mind showed me the images of all those kids that I had last seen nine years ago. Suddenly, buying coffee wasn't such a big priority anymore.
If I ever wanted to make it on time, now was the time to leave and at least try and not get noticed by anyone. I could do that. I could try and be invisible.
This truck… this damn, lousy, loud, old truck was going to ruin it all for me. Charlie said he bought it, and I heard the name Jacob somewhere in those sentences, but I wasn't paying attention. Now that I was really sitting in this truck, I saw all the stupid flaws it had. Again, I wondered, why me? Why wasn't I a little stronger?
No! Bella, don't think like that! You are strong!
"I am strong," I whispered in the car. "Strong, strong, strong."
Charlie's directions were the easiest and I noticed the school from a distance. My hands started shaking as I neared the school. I gripped the wheel tighter.
You are an adult and will handle this situation. But...
I felt years and years of pain, turning into tears that made my eyes go watery. I quickly brushed my eyes, feeling my fingers go a little moist, and I told myself that this was not the time to cry. They may have walked over me in the past, and they may walk over me today, but I was not going to show them tears. That weakness was too much to show to such cruel people.
For the first time, I looked around and indeed, a few people were looking in my direction. My truck was loud, big and clearly noticeable. I could only come up with the reason that this Jacob person —Charlie had been talking about him last night — had owed this car, but had gotten rid of it because of the noises it made.
I tossed the strap of my black bag over my shoulder and straightened the light brown skirt I had put on this morning. It reached just above my knees and my high boots left almost no skin uncovered. The shirt I had on was tucked into the high waist line of my skirt. I tried to make myself presentable this morning, but still I didn't want the new classmates to think I was trying too hard.
I shook my hair and let my hair free of the pony tail I had previously wrapped it in. My hair fell over my shoulders — loose and wavy — reaching to my waist. It was still moist from the shower, yet I wasn't sure it would ever dry with weathers like these. It seemed like the sky was falling down.
I had only put a thin layer of mascara on in a desperate attempt to make my eyes more open. It was useless, the little sleep I had last night was obvious with it, anyway. It was the perfect mascara against water though, because no flood could fight against waterproof.
Because that's what you want to worry about on a day like this?
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. It was really going to happen. I forced my foot away from the gas pedal. We were all adults now. I could face them. I wasn't eight anymore, I was seventeen, practically a grown-up. Perhaps, I would even be able to interact with them.
A knock from beside me had me screaming from the top of my lungs, and I pressed my hand on my mouth to turn my breathing back to normal. I had been so deep in thought, even that light knock had sounded like an exploding bomb. I turned to the window and I saw a guy I didn't recognize looking at me very strangely.
Yeah, what kind of a reaction is that? Any person would wonder if they perhaps should run away and not bother with the weird girl in the stupid truck. Reluctantly, I opened the door and noticed how the boy quickly stepped aside.
"Hi, I'm Mike," he said. "I've never seen you here before."
"Hi," I said, staring at him. His blonde hair complimented perfectly on his light blue eyes. His face was a little chubby and it resembled that of a baby. That wasn't much of a compliment for him though, so I kept it to myself. Was this the Mike that had always tried to befriend Edward, but never managed? That was the only Mike I knew from the past. It seemed like he hadn't recognized me, if he indeed knew me.
When I woke up this morning, I had the urge to call in sick, but I didn't. When I arrived at school, I had to urge to drive back home, but again, I didn't. Now, I had to urge to give him any name except my own. Thinking real fast, I told him the first name I could have come up with, without thinking of further consequences.
"I'm R-Rebecca Dwyer." Feeling my face grow hot by the lie I just told to Mike What-s-His-Name, I stepped out of the truck and threw the door close.
"So what year are you in?"
"Senior," I replied after a moment. I first chose to ignore him, but didn't want to come off as rude.
"That's awesome, me too! What does you schedule look like?"
"I still have to go and get it from the administration, but you can run ahead."
This was the mega hint of all times. Mike was smart, because he caught the hint. "Oh."
"See you later," I murmured.
I quickly pushed open the door to get inside the building and immediately at the right side of the entrance, I noticed the administration's room. I went to it, knocked, and stepped inside.
The lady behind the computer was African-American. She didn't look up at me, but she must have heard the door open.
"Hello?" I asked. "I'm the new student."
"New student?" she asked, raising her eyes from the screen to watch me up and down.
"Yeah, I-eh, I live at Charlie's place," I said with a small stutter.
If I'm going to hell anyway, why not do it properly? What were a few more extra lies?
"I'm a friend of his daughter. I not here to finish high school, I'm here for a few months."
That didn't mean that I didn't regret them any less.
"Name, please?" she asked.
"It's eh... Rebecca Dwyer."
Damn it! I was supposed to be strong from day one, not try and hide behind a fake name. It was as if my head was filled with voices, all telling me different thing to do. They did this to me. They had made me this weaker person.
"Well, I'll need some ID the next time, just to put you in the system and I'll call Charlie as well. Just rules, sweetheart."
"Yes, okay," I mumbled, "but Charlie will be gone for a few days. You better try next week."
How much more lies could I even come up with? First I changed my name, then I changed my home situation into the one where I am Bella's "friend" and then I even pretended Charlie, one of the few police men here in Forks, was gone for a few days. And what even made it worse, was that the nice lady simply thanked me for the tip and now I could die from mortification.
She gave me a schedule after I told her which subjects I had, and I noticed that my first class was English.
I tried to find my classroom but at the same time tried to keep both eyes open for possible old enemies. All the while I noticed dozens of people walking all around me, barely noticing me. Just a few did look, but they only watched my briefly, due to my fast pace.
I really was hoping that I wouldn't hear somebody suddenly call my name, or watch me in recognition. Each time my eyes locked with another persons eyes, I felt my heart leap for a second. Then, they would look away and I would feel safe again for a few seconds.
Suddenly, out of a side corner, two girls walked right before me and I had to slow down drastically in order not to bump into them. The left girl had light brown hair, she was slim and tall. The girl beside her was just a tall, but she was a more beautiful girl, because her body was fuller like a real woman's body. It was the color of her hair that made me freeze at the spot.
Somebody behind me bumped into me and I stumbled forward. I didn't dare to look behind me, as I knew now that one of them had definitely found me. It all happened so fast, as I felt a hand on my shoulder and a boy's voice from behind me say, "Sorry!"
He walked past me, had a brief moment of eye contact with me, and he ran past those two girls I had noticed previously. I hadn't recognized the boy. His eyes were blue, he had a slender figure with a big backpack. He even seemed young, so it seemed like he wasn't in my year.
The girls suddenly laughed as they saw the boy ran past them and pointed.
"What a loser," the girl on the left said. The boy heard the girls, because he stumbled the way I had when he had bumped into me, but he quickly ran off until I lost sight of him. Slowly, I walked on as I tried to find my classroom, but I also kept a firm eye on the girls before me.
"Who needs so many books anyway?" the brunette said.
"Who cares?" the other girl replied.
Her personality had not changed at all. Tanya was just as much as a bitch as she had always been. But now was the first time I actually thought of her as a bitch. She really thought of herself highly, while being a girl with a personality like that, just made her uglier.
She had a follower, the brunette. I noticed how she was trying too hard to be on Tanya's good side. I could understand why any girl would want a friend as beautiful looking as Tanya. She still had that same strawberry blond hair. It was rapped in a high, messy bun hiding its length. I wondered how long it really was.
This girl could not possibly have turned any more good-looking then she was now. Just by seeing her from behind, I knew she had all the guys crawling in her direction. The worst part was, she probably knew this too. Somehow, I knew she was conceited. She had called a boy she probably didn't even know a loser. In a way, it was also really childish of her.
I tried to stand strong in my shoes, because maybe I could handle them one at a time, and also one a day.
However, that strength crumbled horribly as I heard a girl's voice.
"Tanya, Jessica, wait up!"
Both of the girls in front of me turned their heads, and I quickly dropped my head to my bag and pretended I was searching for something.
The girl that had called them walked past me in her tall heels and with quick strides she reached them. I heard them talking, but I wasn't sure who this tall, gorgeous girl was that had joined them. Her hair was blonde, but it seemed dyed.
"Rosalie, I have practice after class," Tanya said, tossing her hair over her shoulder with her left hand.
Was this girl that used to have platinum blond hair the Rosalie? I hate to even think it, but she had become even more gorgeous than Tanya, and I already thought of Tanya as beautiful. Her clothes were grayish, with a white scarf. You could hear the heels of her shoes echo clearly in the hall. For a second my breathing hitched, because Rosalie turned her head, so that I caught the side of her face. She seemed almost angry, and now that I saw her face with that emotion, I knew there was no denying to it. This was the Rosalie, because I could never forget that look on her face Rosalie would get when she didn't get it her way.
From being in a rather calm state, my whole body tensed as a late reaction to finally realize that two of my bullies were actually walking in front of me. It had been nine years, but nine wasn't even that much of a large number, I knew that now.
It felt as if the problems I had left behind here in Forks nine years ago were my new problems now, and I would have to try and fix those in order to even live a normal, happy life. It was like in those novels where a ghost remained on earth, because he still had to do his unfinished business. He had to fix something, or else he would wander on earth until the end of time.
I also had unfinished business. Yes, I was able to wake up every morning, and yes, I was able to go back to sleep at night, but what really was I doing? Back in Phoenix, I had won prizes for my intelligence, and met a few famous professors. But I had always been one of those more quiet people, who didn't have many friends, had never had a boyfriend before or even just a date.
If I compared myself to other girls, I felt like in mind, I was younger, small, just a child. I was inexperienced. These three girls in front of me seemed self-aware. They knew they had it all and yet they chose to degrade people they didn't know.
They girls stepped inside a classroom which was the classroom I had been searching for. It had been predictable that I would have same class with them. It was a small school and I was bound to have same class with my former bullies. I just wondered why the rest of them didn't have English class as well. Of course for me it was fortunate, because I didn't want to see them all at once. I just didn't want to be scared of something that didn't deserve my fear. It was not my intention to be cruel in mind and stoop as low as they have, but it was inevitable to have thoughts like those when they had stolen three years of my childhood and nine years of my teenage life.
Whatever may happen, it will by okay.
Another lie, I was sure.