This tale is dedicated to Purelyamuse who inspired me to write this very personal story. Without her encouragement, it would never have crossed my mind to even attempt it. In this case, she was literally, and purely—a muse.
Chapter 1: Taking Flight
A/N: The first time I heard Back to December by Taylor Swift, I started to cry, because I realized that it summed up my story, the story of my Jacob and I.
River Gardens, New Jersey was my home until I was nine years old. My mom, Renee, had a bad case of bursitis, and the winters were causing her excruciating pain in her joints. So we pulled up stakes and moved, sight unseen to Tempe, Arizona. Mom had a few relatives there, so it didn't seem too scary. What was scary, turned out to be the scorpions, rattle snakes and the constant oppressive heat.
When it was time to start school, I was branded an egghead pretty quickly. Being shy and a good student obviously didn't sit well with the other kids at school. They all thought I was a stuck up kid, and as a result, I didn't have many friends. My dad was a strict disciplinarian, probably went with the territory of being a cop.
On top of being stuck up, I was also deemed anti social since Charlie insisted I come straight home from school and dig into my homework. Grades were important to my parents and anything less than a B in my studies was not acceptable. I was an obedient daughter, so I did what I was told. My report cards were monotonous, mostly A's right on down the line.
A lot of the other students got a monetary reward for good grades—not at my house. It was the expectation that I would show my parents an exemplary report card . . . or else!
I loved to read, and as I got older, in my spare time, sparse though it was, I gobbled up the classics, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Tom Jones. Charlie pooh-poohed my choice of literature. He took me aside one day essentially to dispel any notions of romance I might have flirted with.
He locked eyes with me and in all seriousness stated, "There's no such thing as love, Bells; so get it out of your head. You get married to have companionship and children, that's all. This romantic nonsense is just that—nonsense. It's a fairy tale, and the sooner you embrace that fact, the better. Prince Charming is not out there on his white steed, ready to carry you off breathlessly to his castle."
I watched his mustache twitch as he spoke each word of his harangue. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but I did. What's more, I believed every word of it, like it was gospel.
If grade school wasn't bad enough, high school was a horror. I hated it. I was an outsider; never really fitting in with the popular kids. At least I had Garry, my cousin, to hang around with sometimes.
My senior year, Garry had joined up with the Civil Air Patrol. One of his friends was a cadet and recruited Garry. I wasn't all that hot to join, but my parents thought it might broaden my horizons. Being the dutiful daughter, I went with Garry to my first meeting.