Hi everyone! Here's the first chapter of my new story, hope you like it. And as always any feedback is greatly appreciated :) I try to update once in a week, at least in the beginning.
In this one, all the chapter names are from songs. Can you guess where this one's from? (And no googling, guys! ;))
Thanks to Project Team Beta for betaing and MidnightTrain for making this awesome banner for me: http:/i(dot)imgur(dot)com/DYf4m(dot)png
Disclaimer: Stephenie Mayer still owns the characters, I'm just babysitting them for a while and taking them on an awesome road trip.
We Could Be Anywhere
1 – Who knows where we'll be tomorrow
"I can't fucking take this anymore!" I yelled at the empty living room. "Aaargh!"
There was no response. Well, I hadn't expected it, that was kind of the point why I had yelled in the first place.
I sat down on the couch with a sigh. There was a reason for my crappy mood, and that was called the future. It was called university, or more specifically it was called no university, because during my senior year in high school I had been such a crappy student that I barely passed high school.
I fought back tears for a while and tried to decide what to do. Even though I was alone in the house I could have just as well cried but I was too proud for that. I picked up my cell from the floor where I had thrown it and dialed a number.
"What's up, baby?" Laurent answered almost immediately, bringing a smile to my face with his flirtatious greeting. He called just about everyone he knew 'baby' or 'darling'.
"I have a question for you," I said, the smile fading from my face when I remembered the reason why I was calling him.
"Bring it on," Laurent said, and I heard him put me on speakerphone and type something on his keyboard as he spoke.
"What would you do if you were an eighteen-year-old girl with no money and no job, who just found out that she wasn't accepted into any of the universities she applied to?" I asked dryly.
"Oh darling, I'm so sorry," Laurent answered, and I could hear that he had stopped typing.
"Yeah, me too," I said. Not that I had particularly looked forward to college; I didn't even know what I wanted to be when I grew up; I was just looking forward to getting out of here.
"I have an answer to your question," Laurent said, and I could tell from the tone of his voice that he was smiling on the other end of the phone. "I would go visit my awesome godfather in California."
I chuckled. "And then what? Spend the rest of my life lying on a beach, drinking mojitos, and hooking up with hot rock stars you'd introduce me to?"
"Sounds like a plan." Laurent laughed.
"I'm serious!" I exclaimed, but was grateful that Laurent had already managed to cheer me up a bit.
"I was serious, too. Honestly, it looks like you need a timeout. You know you're always welcome here. And you can bring that friend of yours, Alice, with you."
"You're right; I need a timeout. But I don't think I'm coming to California. And besides, Mom would want to come with me – her summer vacation is just starting – and that wouldn't exactly be a timeout."
"Is my dear sister getting on your nerves?" Laurent chuckled.
I sighed. Mom and Laurent were so different that it was hard to believe that they were brought up by the same parents. Somehow they still got along well and Mom had been talking about visiting Laurent soon.
"She's already mad because of my bad grades. I can't even imagine what she will say when she hears about this university thing," I said.
"You haven't told her yet?"
I shook my head and then remembered that Laurent couldn't see it. "No, I just found out. After spending the whole day opening rejection letters."
"Oh, poor thing," Lauren said, sounding like he really was sorry. "I'm giving you a mental hug. You'll be alright."
"So, do you have any other suggestions?" I asked. "I'm going to need a plan before Mom gets back from work or she's going to eat me alive."
"Run away?" Laurent suggested.
I couldn't help laughing, even though the day had been pretty crappy. "You would be fired from your godfather duties if my dear mother could hear your advice."
"Well, it's good that I'm not going to agree to be fired then.."
"Gross, you're being soppy today," I said, but secretly felt a strong affection for my godfather who had been there for me for as long as I remembered. "Any other suggestions?"
"Well, I don't know. Take a vacation. Get a job. Go on a road trip. Get yourself a rich man," Laurent said.
"Nice," I said.
"Come on, don't be picky. How many options do you want me to come up with?"
"I'll have to think about it. I'll let you know what I decide," I said.
"Honestly, I wish you would come see your old godfather," Laurent said.
"Hah, like anyone would ever use the word 'old' to describe you."
Laurent chuckled at the other end of the phone. "Okay, honey, I'd love to chat but I've got a meeting. If I don't run, I'm going to be late. Got some big rock stars to please."
"Fine. Go then, since you're such a big, important manager," I said, pretending to be offended, but I couldn't hide the smile from my voice.
"You know how they are; we had to make the conference room bigger so their egos fit through the door."
I chuckled. "If you want, call me later, though. If I'm not here, you can use my secretary as your therapist."
"Thanks," I said, rolling my eyes. "Now go, before some big egos get tired of waiting for you."
I hung up the phone and shook my head. My godfather always had a way of cheering me up. He and my best friend Alice were basically the only people in the world who always knew how to do that. I wandered into the kitchen and picked up an apple from the basket. It was a beautiful June afternoon; the sun was shining into the kitchen and warming me up a bit.
"My life is a mess," I muttered to myself, thinking about the options Laurent had suggested. Getting a rich man was not an option in Forks. There weren't any, and besides, I didn't have the looks for that nor the patience to learn how to use makeup. I chuckled at myself, looking down at my white tank top, worn out jean shorts, and dirty fingernails, trying to imagine myself as a fine lady, hanging from some Suit's arm.
I shook my head and bit the apple.
A few hours later I pushed the front door shut with a sigh of relief and began to walk towards Alice's house. Alice lived about a fifteen minute walk away from my house. That was good, since I didn't have a car.
I had come up with a plan to save my life. My parents were due to come home from work within an hour, so I had just left my rejection letters on the kitchen table, pretended to forget my cell at home, and evacuated to Alice's place. By the time I got back they were hopefully recovered from the first shock.
"Hi, Bella," Alice's mom greeted me as she opened the door. She was the perfect image of the stereotypical mother: a bit round and bright, wearing an apron, and had some flour on her cheek. "Alice is upstairs."
I walked upstairs to Alice's room and collapsed on her bed. "I'm screwed."
"Hello to you, too," Alice said, rolling her eyes and shutting down her laptop.
"I didn't get into university. Not a single one of them. How worthless can a person be?" I asked.
"Oh no," Alice said, and came to sit on her bed too. "I'm so sorry, but it's not the end of the world. I don't even want to go to university."
"Yes, because you want to be an artist," I said, stretching the last word.
Alice grinned. "Hey, it's not my fault if the bohemian lifestyle is too demanding for some people," she said. "No need to be bitter."
I shook my head, smiling. We were only joking, but I knew that it was her dream to someday make a living from her art. And I couldn't see why she wouldn't; she was an amazing painter.
"So, have you already decided where you're going to go?" I asked, trying to hide the sadness in my voice. I should be happy for my best friend, and I was. I was just thinking how much more fun it would have been if we were going to university together.
"Honestly, I don't think I am," Alice said, looking thoughtful.
"You don't know if you've decided?"
"No. I don't think I'm going. At least not yet. I'm thinking about taking a gap year," Alice said. "And what would I even do there now if you're not going?"
I raised my eyes to look at her. "Are you serious? What would your mom say?"
Alice shrugged. "She'll get over it."
"I know," Alice laughed. "But seriously, I'm not the bookworm type. I learn from living, just like you. These grades and universities and degrees don't mean anything, if you think about it. Life's too short for that."
I didn't answer anything to that. In a way, Alice was absolutely right about learning from living. It was just that only a few people would actually live by that ideology, and I wasn't sure if I could be one of them. Unlike Alice, I wouldn't mind having a job and a salary some day
"So, what are we doing, then?" Alice asked, waking me from my thoughts.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Well, we have a year to spend, what are we going to do?" Alice said. "Something crazy: like moving to Australia or taking up a charity job from Africa?"
I laughed. "What would we do in Australia?"
"Ride kangaroos?" Alice suggested.
"Good plan," I said. "You're right though; I wouldn't mind taking off for a while. Maybe like a week or two."
Alice rolled her eyes. "Are you crazy? A week? That's not nearly enough time to discover yourself, find a direction for your life, and have an amazing, hot, summer romance."
"You're a hopeless romantic," I pointed out.
"And proud of it," Alice added. "So it's settled then. We're going on a trip."
"It's not settled! We haven't even decided where we're going," I said.
"Do we have to?" Alice asked.
"Um, yeah. That would be kind of practical."
Alice jumped up off the bed and started walking around the room. I could see she was excited. "Who cares about 'practical'?" Alice said. "I say we just take the car and drive."
"A road trip," I muttered.
"What did you say?"
"Like a road trip. That was one of Laurent's suggestions," I said.
"Yeah, see, even your honorable godfather approves," Alice said.
I shook my head. "Even a blind monkey wouldn't mistake Laurent as honorable," I said.
Alice snorted and sat down on her desk. "Whatever. So, we're going on a road trip?"
"I don't know. I have to think about it. I can't just suddenly decide to go on some road trip."
"Why not? I just did." Alice shrugged.
"You are you so that doesn't count," I said.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Alice muttered.
After that we didn't talk much more about the road trip. Alice insisted that there wasn't anything to think about, but I disagreed. First, I would have to fight with my parents, and then try to make them let me go for a week or two. I had no idea how that was going to happen.
I hung out at Alice's place for a couple more hours, ate the delicious lasagna her mother had made, and only then did I gather the courage to go back home.
"I'm home," I yelled from the front door, trying to keep my voice casual.
"Where were you?" Mom appeared in the kitchen doorway, her face emotionless and unreadable. Oh no – that was never a good sign.
"I was at Alice's place. I forgot my phone at home."
"Yes, I noticed that," she said, and her voice was toxic.
Dad appeared behind Mom and put a calming hand on her shoulder. "So, your mom and I need to talk with you."
"About what?" I asked, deciding to play innocent as long as I could.
"I think you well know what about," Mom hissed.
"Let's go to the kitchen and sit down," Dad said. I knew he sensed a storm coming and was trying to keep everything in control. That's the way it always was, Dad balancing between me and Mom whenever we had a row.
We all sat down at the table – me on the one side, the two of them on the other. I felt like I was being interrogated.
"We saw the letters," Mom said and nodded towards the rejection letters that lay on the table like they were some aggravating evidence of my guilty – which I guess they were. "So, did you actually get into a university at all?"
I shook my head.
Mom was silent for a moment and then it started. "What is wrong with you, Bella? Haven't I told you, time after time, how important education is? How is it possible that you didn't get into a single one? I told you! I warned you that you can't just keep going out with your friends during your senior year."
"I know, Mom," I snapped back at her as a response. "Do you think I'm not disappointed? I know I should have studied harder, but well, there's nothing I can do about that now."
"Well, you don't look disappointed!" Mom yelled, smacking her palm on the table so hard that it made me jump. "Actually, you don't look like you care. If you did, maybe you would have done something about it when you had the chance."
"It's none of your business, anyway," I shouted, using the I-am-an-adult-now –card. "It's my life, and it's my own fucking choice what I do with it. It's none of your business if I spend every damn evening drinking with my friends and never get a job in my life."
"Oh, really? So, that's your plan, then," Mom said sarcastically. "To keep living in our house on the money your father and I earn, thinking that you don't have to do absolutely anything. How can you be so irresponsible and immature?"
"So, that's what this is about, then?" I said. I knew that I wasn't exactly playing fair, but I didn't care. "You want me to move out – fine then. So, do I get any time to find my own place or are you just going to - "
"Of course, we don't want you to move out," Dad interrupted. Up until now, Dad had stared at the table, looking uneasy. He didn't like fighting. "It's not about that. As your parents, we are just worried about your future. Of course, we want you to get a good education and have a career."
"That's exactly the problem," I said. "It's all about careers and education and jobs and money. There's more to me than my fucking future career. You're just too invested in grades and careers and jobs to see that."
I knew that I hurt them, speaking like that, but they had hurt me too. It's like they never even cared about me. It was all about my future and my grades. That's all they every cared about, at least Mom, All she wanted was to make me some kind of example child that she could brag about to all the relatives. Well, that wasn't working.
"That's not true, and you know it!" Mom yelled. "Now stop being so arrogant, so we can think this through."
"First, I am not being arrogant. Second, we are not going to think anything through. It's my life, and I'll make my own decisions," I said, standing up so fast that the chair fell over.
"You are not going anywhere," Mom snapped.
"Oh, yeah? How are you going to stop me?" I asked. I had just about had enough.
Mom shouted something after me, but I didn't listen anymore. I was already on my way to my room.
I lay on the bed and closed my eyes for a moment. Somehow, I felt trapped like it was just a bit hard to breathe. Before school had ended, the future had just been something pretty scary but still distant. Now, it was real, and I didn't have any idea what I would do.
Maybe, Alice was right. Maybe having a clever plan – college, job, career, family and so on – wasn't always the best option. Maybe for a moment I should just concentrate on living.
I picked up my phone and texted Alice. I wasn't entirely sure if I had done it because I was mad at my mom or that I wanted to get away and do something different for a change.
The road trip is so on. When are we leaving?