A/N- Massive thanks to everyone who added this story to their favourites or alerts and to the people that reviewed.
Chapter One- One month before
"And police have revealed today that two more people have been reported missing. Christopher Burnett and Madeline Shaw were both reported missing yesterday by their parents after-"
Bella walked over to the kitchen table to pick up Charlie's plate, frowning when she saw the stress lines on his face as he watched the morning news. "Still no leads?" She asked, already knowing the answer. Her dad was now working overtime all week, trying to find whoever was taking these people. He was certain it was more than people just simply going missing. There were too many of them for one, and all the circumstances in which each individual disappeared suggesting some sort of fight or a struggle. But there were no obvious links between the all the people being taken. They were a range of ages, ethnicities, religions and classes. He shook his head.
"I know I promised you that I would take you to Angela's tonight but I really need to be at the station. Shanice Yellow's parents are down the station asking questions that I need to find the answers to." He let out a heavy sigh. "How do you tell parents that you can't get their little girl back?" He asked, more to himself then to Bella. She touched his shoulder. "It'll be ok," she whispered, dropping her hand just as quickly.
It had never been easy for her and her father to show affection, but after her mother left them two years ago after declaring that she couldn't remain in Forks any longer and giving Bella the opportunity to move to Phoenix with her to start afresh, they had become slightly closer. Bella had declined her offer, as much as she wished there was sun in Forks she couldn't leave, her dad was there and he would never leave Forks, he was practically married to his job. Perhaps that's where it all went wrong; instead of being a husband to Renee he was a husband to Forks. They had drifted apart naturally, they didn't fight, they just seemed to separate and distance themselves, which Bella greatly appreciated as she wouldn't have been able to stand her parents fighting.
He stood up, kissing Bella on the forehead as he went to the door. "I'll get Angela to take me to hers after school," Bella called, the idea of having to cancel her plans and be stuck alone in the house made her feel physically sick with dread. Charlie nodded. "Be safe."
She smiled weakly pursing her lips shut so she wouldn't shout her fears. That someone was watching her, waiting for her to be alone.
As soon as Charlie left, she quickly dropped both their plates in the sink, picked up her bag and rushed to the door. She looked through the peephole of the front door, spying to the end of the drive. It was something she had taken to a few days ago after having seen a shadow figure by her truck that had disappeared as soon as she saw it. Her heart beat quickly in her chest as she took a deep breath and opened the door. A swirl of wind and rain greeted her as she glanced down the street. All clear. She ran to her truck, trying to shove the key into the keyhole, scratching the paint in her haste. She jumped in her truck, turning the key. It started with a rumble that made her jump. She laughed uneasily, heart pounding, as she pulled out the driveway. She looked in the rear mirror and started when she saw a blur cross the road behind her. She vowed to keep her eyes focused on the road for the rest of the journey, as a familiar pang hit her gut. Fear.
She pulled into the school car park and parked as close to the building as she could. She rushed inside, her head down. She bumped into a solid wall of muscle. He caught her elbows before she could fall. She glanced up, paling when she realised it was no one she recognised. A slither of fear danced in her stomach."I- uh- sorry," she muttered breaking his hold and rushing through the door. She didn't stop to lower her hood or relax her grip on her books. Hearing loud footsteps behind her she ran into the girl's toilets, freezing when she saw Jessica and Lauren standing in front of the mirrors, fixing their hair and reapplying lipgloss to their already glossy lips.
They both stared as she looked at them. Lauren let out a bark of cruel laughter. Bella walked urgently to a cubicle and locked the door behind her. She could hear Jessica and Lauren sniggering. "Freak," Lauren muttered. "Can you believe we used to be friends with her?" Bella ignored them, pulling down her hood, closing her eyes trying to calm her heavy breathing. She dropped her books to the floor and pulled the toilet lid down and sat on it. She felt tears in her eyes as her anger spiked. Why was she like this? She couldn't even react to something simple like bumping into someone normally anymore! She wiped a fallen tear and sniffed. She waited until Lauren and Jessica left before unlocking the toilet door and stepping out. She hesitated in front of the mirror, distantly observing herself as if she was appraising a stranger. She eyed the wet frizzy brown hair, the brown fearful eyes, the dark bags underneath her eyes, the narrowing face with distaste. Sighing, she looked wistfully at her reflection before escaping from the bathroom. She had never been beautiful but she had been pretty, but now all she saw was massive cracks in her face. She flinched when she felt a hand wrap around her arm.
"Hey," a soft voice said. She looked around in alarm. Her eyes landed on the huge form of the guy she bumped into. He let her arm go when he saw the fear on her face. "I never got to ask if you were alright," he said smoothly. She forced a small polite smile, nodding. She went to turn around again. "Wait!" She froze, slowly turning around, eyeing the small crowds that were walking to class longingly.
"I'm Emmett," he said, holding out a hand for her to shake. She eyed it before murmuring, "Bella." He smiled unsurely. "It's a pleasure to meet you Bella."
She smiled weakly back before backing away a step. "Would you, er, help me find room 24?" He asked, glancing down at a piece of paper he held loosely in his hand. She considered the man before her, not aware of all the eyes on them both, including Lauren and Jessica's murderous glares. She nodded and turned on her heel. "Follow me," she said quietly, ignoring all the stares she received as she walked through the crowded corridors. She stopped in front of room 24.
Emmett paused behind her. She looked at him confused.
He shifted uneasily before smiling softly at her. "Thanks," he said, waving at her before he walked into his class.
She practically ran to her own class to avoid being late. Unfortunately most of the class was already in there as she walked through the tables and chairs filled with sneering faces and hostile bodies to get to the back where Angela was waiting for her. She smiled softly at her and Bella's anxiety was almost put at ease. It was hard being anxious in Angela's company because she was such a relaxed and laid back person.
She waited until Bella had retrieved a pen, paper and her textbook until she said anything. "You might want to look out for Lauren and Jessica, they're on the warpath."
Bella looked at her quizzically. Angela rolled her eyes. "They saw you talking with a hot guy."
Bella swallowed. What did they think? That she was trying to sink her claws into Emmett? The very idea was laughable, very laughable indeed.
"I was just helping him find his class," she said quietly. Angela patted her hand sympathetically. "It'll be fine," she said reassuringly. "As soon as they get their hands on him at lunch, they'll forget about you."
Bella nodded. Isn't that what happened before? Last year when they got their first boyfriends, they suddenly dropped Bella for them, in the end their friendship started to unravel and then when they were dumped they came back, wanting to hang out more. Well that was until they realised how much Bella had changed they wanted nothing to do with her, and then neither did anyone else, apart from Angela and her boyfriend Ben. Even Mike Newton who had been sniffing around her for the past 10 months wanted nothing to do with her and ran to Jessica, becoming her puppy instead when he discovered just how paranoid Bella had gotten.
"Is it ok if you take me to your house after school? Charlie has to work overtime," Bella asked her desperate to change the subject.
Angela nodded. "Of course." She shot her a grateful glance, and started to write down the notes the teacher had started to write down on the board.
Bella sank into her seat next to Angela. She had managed to avoid Lauren and Jessica's wrath all morning, but she figured that her luck was about to come to an end. She pulled out her sandwich, flinching slightly when a shadow was cast over the table.
"Do you mind if I sit here?" Emmett asked, rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly. Bella stared at him, puzzled. Was he following her?
Ben nodded to the seat next to him. "Thanks," Emmett said, relieved.
He looked up quickly, then spotting Lauren and Jessica quickly looked back down, focusing on his pizza.
Ben bit back a laugh. "So you've pissed off Lauren and Jessica?"
Emmett grimaced. "I don't know how."
He shook his head. Ben laughed and clapped his shoulder and started to talk about the football game that was taking place in gym.
Angela shot Bella a look and rolled her eyes, Bella laughed softly, and tensed when she felt eyes on her. She looked up, blinking. Emmett was looking at her. NoEmmett was staring at her. He blushed gently as he looked back at Ben who was smirking slightly. She flushed the colour of a tomato as she ducked her head letting her hair shelter her face, as she slowly started picking her sandwich apart having no appetite to eat.
Angela leant down to whisper in Bella's ear, "I've think you've attracted the attention of a certain someone." Bella shot her a look but didn't comment as she tore up her sandwich. Emmett couldn't like her could he? Even if he did as soon as he heard about her paranoia he would be off like a shot, never to be seen again.
Angela pulled up outside Bella's house after school. She squeezed her arm.
"What are you so afraid of?" Angela asked, watching Bella's unease. Bella shook her head, taking a deep breath and went in the house. It was cold and she shivered against the icy chill that touched her bare skin. She ran up to her room pulling out pyjamas and a change of clothes. She shoved them in a bag and ran back down locking the door behind her. She got into Angela's car, trying her best not to look outside the windows at the shadow, as they drove back to Angela's.
They went straight to Angela's room with arms full of soda and junk food. Bella settled down on the bed as Angela went back downstairs for glasses.
She smiled as she came back in, closing the door behind her. She sat up on her bed, opposite Bella.
She studied her silently and Bella squirmed slightly under the weight of her gaze. "I know there's something going on," she said quietly.
Bella nodded, gathering as much. Angela was intuitive, but usually left people alone unless they approached her first.
"You can tell me you know, I won't laugh."
Bella nodded. "I know," she said quietly. She meant it, she knew that Angela wouldn't laugh; in fact she would do the complete opposite. She would believe anything that Bella said. She was trustworthy and loyal.
"Ever since the disappearances first started, I've felt like I'm being followed," she whispered. Angela frowned, her brown eyes shining in concern.
"I-" Bella swallowed. "I've been seeing things. Shadows, flashes of white." She laughed bitterly. "But there's nothing there. I feel like I'm going crazy."
"Hey," Angela said, placing her hand on Bella's. "You are not crazy," she said firmly. "Have you told Charlie?"
Bella shook her head. "He has enough to worry about with the disappearances."
She forced a smile on her face. "So what DVD did you pick?" She asked, changing the subject. Angela gave her a look but played along, picking up her control. "Dirty Dancing," she replied with a smile. The dvd started but neither girl was focused on the movie. Bella was worrying about the white shadow that seemed to stalk her wherever she went and Angela was casting concerned side glances at her best friend. But neither said anything more on the matter and they soon settled into a deep slumber.
"Hi dad," Bella called, as she closed the front door behind her. She walked into the living room, her gaze falling on the two plates and a few beer cans stacked on the coffee table. She had meant to come back this morning but her and Angela decided to drive to Port Angeles to go shopping since it was a Saturday and they had nothing better to do. "Hey Bells, good night?" He asked. She gave him a small smile. "It was nice." And it was. It was the most relaxed Bella had felt in a while. She felt safe at Angela's though she knew that she shouldn't have felt like that, and shopping had relaxed her in a way she'd never experienced before. Normally she loathed shopping but it felt good doing something so normal. "I've ordered pizza," he said as he sat down in his recliner; a bottle of beer in hand. She nodded, taking the plates back to the kitchen sink. She moved her overnight bag to the bottom of the stairs to take up when she went to bed, and jumped, managing to bang her head against the wall, when a knock sounded from the front door.
"Money's on the table," Charlie called as she went to the door. She opened it, momentarily stunned. A gorgeous man stood on her doorstep. His blonde hair glistened with rain, his shiny red eyes alerting her that something wasn't quite right. Even so, she felt robbed of breath as he smiled. "Large Pepperoni pizza, extra cheese."
She took the pizza, placing it on the table as she picked up the money. He smiled widely. "Thanks," he said, winking at her before turning and walking down the path. She watched him go before catching herself. It isn't safe, she chastised herself. She closed the door, barely giving a thought to the fact that the boy had no vehicle of sort to travel around in. She handed Charlie the pizza box, grabbing a slice for herself, and settled down to watch the sports with Charlie. He gave her a weird look but didn't say anything. It was 10 o'clock when she finally excused herself.
She showered and then wrapped a towel around her body as she padded down the hall to her bedroom.
She froze as she saw the open window. The net curtain was blowing up, exposing the night sky. She looked around anxiously, suddenly feeling as if there was something in the room with her. She flicked on the light switch, and leaving the door open behind her, she cautiously stepped forward. Her breathing and the bellowing wind the only noises to be heard. She closed the window slowly, looking outside to see if anyone was there. The window slid into the latch as her bedroom door slammed shut. She screamed and whirled around, her towel dropping as she breathed heavily, glancing around. "Bells?" She heard her father's heavy footsteps running up the stairs. She had just gathered the towel back around her when he burst in.
He looked around, blushing slightly when he realised her state of undress.
"Are you ok?"
She nodded. "I- The door just slammed, it made me jump. Sorry," she muttered.
He nodded, noticing her distress. "Is there... anything else you want to talk about?" He asked awkwardly.
She hesitated, taking in the deep circles underneath his eyes and how exhausted he looked. She shook her head.
He nodded. "Ok then, sleep tight."
She never once closed her eyes that night.
Okay, end of chapter 1. I hope it wasn't too bad.
I would be grateful for any feedback.