I'm writing this as close to Stephenie Meyer's version of The Twilight Saga that I can - while fleshing out Bella's character and fixing the Vampire Lore aspects of the Cullen family. Jacob's storyline is also ReWOLFED to be told more responsibly through the Quileute Tribe's REAL Creation Oral History.
1) A continued movie-rated-reading appropriate of PG-13 - YES, you young monsters can read this, and PLEASE DO - I would love YOUR opinions, especially.
2) Bella & her family to be alot more fleshed out.
3) A new/old girlfriend from Phoenix for Bella (see above).
4) The harrowing part of the story to start now instead of later.
5) Mostly Bella's POV, but also others will be included, as necessary.
6) The VAMPIRE LORE aspects surrounding The Cullen's to be fixed! This is really the main reason why this story will read so differently - because many things will be corrected (and those that are not will be explained); some things in Stephenie's version will not even be present (because they make no sense); and other things will be expounded upon.
7) Also because of this reason, it may seem that I am skipping over some of your favorite scenes. They are simply coming at a more appropriate time within the story, later. I'm keeping this as parallel to Stephenie Meyer's story as possible - that is turning out to NOT necessarily mean in chronological order.
8) One of the MAIN REASONS why so many of us women (of all ages!) LOVE this story WILL remain intact - NO MAGIC or Demonic influences! "The Twilight Saga ReVAMPED & ReWOLFED" WILL REMAIN the sweet, simple, beautiful little fairytale that it was all the way through to the end of Breaking Dawn. It will just have alot more make-believe reality to give it the bite it should have had from the beginning.
Maybe you should brace yourself. ;)
A Fanfiction Rewrite of Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Chapter 1 - First Sight Rewrite
I stared absentmindedly out the window of the small plane, wondering again what my life in Forks would be like.
I had a mental image in my head that made me dread the thought of living there.
I wouldn't be another anonymous face among many, hidden behind dark sunglasses in a hot, sunny city. I would be the publicly-scrutinized, small-town daughter of the Chief of Police in one of the wettest, bone-chilling places on Earth - or at least, in the United States.
Forks, Washington - Population 1153 people - this is where I was moving.
I sighed and leaned forward to pick my backpack up off the floor; smacking my forehead into the back of the seat in front of me as the lady decided to recline at the same time.
The jolt of my head against the firm cushion startled her, and she turned around to look back at me. "Oh, I'm so sorry." She reacted, embarrassed.
"It's Okay, I'm fine." I assured her with as much of a fake smile as I could manage - getting a grip on the black nylon backpack, and making my way to the back of the plane.
This bag felt like my security blanket. It was well-worn and contained every little thing that mattered to me. I always knew I could just grab it and go, and all my stuff was with me - minus the small folding knife I usually carried in the front zipper pocket. That was tucked innocently away in my luggage in the belly of the plane at the moment.
Not that I would ever use such a thing on anyone as a weapon; but if it ever became necessary - I was prepared, brave enough or not. It also came in handy when I needed it to rig the chain back on my second-hand bike, occasionally.
There wasn't much inside worth anything to anyone but me - with the exception of a small stash of cash and my mother's wedding ring set from her short marriage to my father, Charlie.
She had given it to me a long time ago because she "didn't know what else to do with it". I had that wrapped up in a tissue inside of a little carved wooden box, and stuffed into the very bottom of a deep inside pocket where I kept an extra pair of socks and panties. It seemed an unassuming enough hiding place.
I set the hefty bag directly into the tiny sink bowl of the claustrophobic bathroom with a thud, pulled open the top rounded zipper, and slid my hand down along the back; reaching for the newest book I had just paid way too much for at the Seattle airport during the layover to Forks.
It was a simple, blank-paged journal made of a supple, brown "vegan leather". It had a matching strap that was stitched into place along the side so that it could be snapped into place across the front to keep the book closed when you weren't using it. It was a stark contrast to the last one I had bought. That one was a thick cardboard covered in a wild, metallic purple design.
I had been in a completely different mood that day, out shopping with my mother for her upcoming wedding. I always picked a new journal based on whatever mood I was in at the time.
If my moods were any indication, this was going to be my comfort journal... Browns had a way of making me feel warm, and I had a feeling I was going to need as much help as I could get with that, with where I was going.
I had visited my dad in Forks during previous summers, of course; but according to my mom, the season of summer lasts the blink of an eye, and rain has a monopoly on the weather the entire rest of the year. Not that I had anything against rain. But, it really did seem like I was already missing the blazing hot sun of Phoenix.
I had packed all my old journals up in a box before I left, wrapping ridiculous amounts of tape around it and marking it with a big, black, permanent marker, "BELLA" in several places all over it - clearly. The last thing I wanted was anyone, especially my mom, to get all-nostalgic and curious about my old journals while I was gone.
This one was new... for my new, completely unknown and up-and-coming life. Things would have to start on this plane.
I pulled out my pen from an inside pocket of the backpack. It was one of those pens NASA invented that would supposedly write anywhere - even underwater. So far, so good... it had been a birthday present from Charlie when I was 13. I was 17 now, and the pen still worked and was hardly scuffed after all this time thanks to the durable, brushed steel casing.
I loved this pen. It was my voice most of the time.
I sat down on the little toilet, and positioned the pen in my hand. I began to write down my echoing thoughts, letting them fall onto the page like water from an overflowing basin that someone forgot to shut off.
"Am I doing the right thing by going to Forks? Does my mother really need me to go? I'll be gone in a year, or so... WHAT is there possibly going to be for me there? It's a wet hole with nothing but Lumberjacks, rain on the roof, and howling wolves at night! I'll never fit in there - I'll never fit in anywhere..."
My thoughts were too wound up. I couldn't think of anything else to write, so I started scribbling my emotions onto the paper. It was a trick I had learned that usually worked pretty well to help me vent my emotions - which always seemed to be way too strong and over-the-top to me. My eyes welled up with tears at the simplest things, sometimes.
I hated that about myself as they welled up with tears again, now. I brushed them away in frustration.
I looked up and gazed at my stone face in the mirror - a stone, pale face punctured with now slightly outlined-in-pink, puffy, dark brown eyes; and framed in the deep contrast of plain, long, dark hair.
"How do you find your place in this wide world?" I wondered...
I reached back into the backpack and switched out the pen for a pencil.
Looking back down at my new journal, I flipped the page and started a plain, sad, self-absorbed little doodle of a beating heart dripping blood.
Then I wrote beneath it, "When I die, it'll be drained dry..."
Charlie met me at the small airport in Port Angeles. He was exactly as I remembered him. He hardly ever changed.
He was a handsome man as far as men go, I suppose. Tall, gleaming dark eyes, dark brown almost black hair - both the same color as mine. He was dressed in his black police uniform, with a pair of aviator sunglasses tucked by the arm into the chest pocket of his matching black jacket - dangling mirrors and silver bling.
It was the middle of March, cloudy and drizzling outside.
"Good to see you, Bells." He said, giving me an uncomfortable squeeze as I entered the terminal.
"Good to see you too, Dad." I replied, managing a slight but real smile.
He smelled like Old Spice and fresh rain. It was always good to see him, but my relationship with Charlie was a little strange.
My mother had escaped from this place with me when I was a baby, and although we spoke fairly often and saw each other at least once a year for a few weeks; there was always an adjustment period at first, when we got together.
I had no memory of having ever lived with him, and yet he felt safe and familiar to me. He was definitely my Dad, but I often thought of him as just "Charlie". It was strange to talk about him with people - especially my mom's sporadic parade of boyfriends - while referring to him as "Dad".
So, I thought of him as "Charlie", but I never called him that to his face. I was pretty sure he would not appreciate it.
"How was the flight?" He asked.
"Good." I replied.
"Good." He responded with a satisfied nod as if he had just officially wrapped up an interrogation.
One good thing about Charlie - he wasn't much of a talker. Our conversations were short and easy most of the time.
I only had a couple of smaller bags of luggage, so loading up Charlie's police cruiser was easy enough.
Most of my year-round summer wardrobe from Phoenix just wasn't appropriate for Forks. Even in the summertime during previous visits, I often needed to add warmer clothes into the mix. Sun in Forks just didn't seem to blaze nearly as hot as in Phoenix - summer or not.
My mom and I had found a few things in Phoenix before I left - including the hooded Tan parka that I was wearing. But, I was going to need to develop an all-weather style.
While Charlie finished arranging things in the trunk; I got into the cruiser and thought about my mom like I often did when I first got in here.
One of her favorite stories she liked to tell me about while she was dating Charlie; was the one about the first time he had taken her for a ride in one of the police cruisers before he was Chief of Police. Apparently, he had impressed her by turning on the siren after they had driven out of town and were less likely to get in trouble over it.
It had obviously thrilled her, although the thought of him doing that while I was in here was horrifying to me - I'd probably crawl under the dashboard and die of embarrassment. But, my mom was far more playful than I was. The delight in her eyes as she would tell that story always made me feel good - as if I wasn't "just an accident" that had happened between them.
"Bella," She had said while she was helping me pack for the journey to Forks. "You know, you really do not have to do this..."
There was worry in my Mom's face beyond that for just my safety. We had always been close - more like sisters who took care of each other, than just mother and daughter. She felt as if she was pushing me out of her life with her new marriage.
"I'll be Okay, mom." I reassured her for the hundredth time. "I'll be gone to college soon, anyway. Go travel with Phil and cheer him on into the championships. I'll be fine hanging out with Charlie."
She and Phil had only been married for a few months, but his traveling and her staying at home with me had obviously been making her unhappy. She just had not been herself, at times.
But, the truth was, I wasn't sure just how fine I would be without her. She may have been a little flaky and erratic, but she always seemed to love and appreciated every little thing about me no matter how strange I seemed to anyone else.
I wasn't as sure of myself when she was not around, and a pang of homesickness for her struck me deep inside somewhere.
"Okay, but we'll just leave most of your clothes in the drawers for now, in case you change your mind after you get there. You can always change your mind, Bella. I will come back if you need me to. PROMISE me you will call me if you need ANYTHING, I don't care how small." She insisted.
"I will." I told her, adding the most convincing smile I could.
Her eyes narrowed suspiciously at me, "I do not believe you." She said. "I MEAN it, Bella - the simplest little thing anytime, day or night - call me!"
"Okay!" I said, trying unsuccessfully to keep the irritation from her pressurizing insistence out of my voice.
Charlie opened the door of the cruiser and slid into the driver's seat next to me with a heavy sigh filled with a sense of accomplishment. "Are you hungry?" He asked. "Is there anything you need to get before we head out?"
Forks was only another hour long drive, but Port Angeles was the biggest town around, so it had a little more to offer consumers.
"No Thanks," I replied. "I ate on the plane, and I think I'm pretty much set."
He put the cruiser into reverse and looked back, draping his arm over the back of the seat. "Well, Okay then..." He said, backing it out of the parking spot.
It was a fairly short drive through town and then out onto the forest-lined highway. Country music was playing on the radio, and Charlie and I sat through the drive in mostly semi-familiar, semi-awkward silence. We did manage to catch up a bit.
At one point, the police radio came to life, squawking over the twangy music. The message was something about a body that had just been found at a mill south of town.
I raised an eyebrow and watched Charlie respond to the dispatch lady. That was fairly unusual news for Forks, even though it would not have been quite so out-of-place in Phoenix.
"This is Chief Swan, I'm a ways out". He said, picking the mic up and pressing in the talk-button with his thumb. "A couple of hours, maybe... Give Anthony a call - tell him I'll meet him there ASAP."
"Oh, that's right..." The lady's voice on the other end suddenly became inappropriately excited. "You're picking up Bella at the airport, aren't you?"
Charlie and I exchanged an apprehensive, knowing glance as he responded with an official, "That's affirmative."
"Oh, welcome back home, Bella... We're all just so excited you're back for awhile..." She gushed. "Make sure to stop by the office sometime this week..."
"Laura..." Charlie interrupted, as soon as she paused. "I know this guy's already dead, but..."
"Oh, yes, sorry... I'm on it, boss."
Then she ignored protocol one last time and added, "Welcome Home, Bella!"
I smiled at her enthusiasm. Laura's excitement was uncomfortably genuine. But, it only reminded me that even though I was almost home; I still had a long way to go before it would really feel like it.
I watched from above as the police cruiser sped away down the highway, below.
I was tickled, and a grin spread across my face... I loved playing with these dimwitted law-enforcement idiots.
I was hidden well from Humans - by the distance; the drizzling rain that both impaired their vision and covered up the fact that I was a monster; and by the thick grove of trees on the jagged hill that surrounded us.
Victoria stepped up beside me, wrapped her arms around my waist, and started nibbling at my earlobe.
I leaned down for her, and my grin widened, but I still watched the car... We were satiated from our recent kill. And, neither me nor Victoria were in the game just for the fine cuisine.
Sometimes, we were.
I lifted my head and inhaled deeply, tasting the wet air and everything that was in it.
Victoria's hand slid up under my shirt and grazed the long, hard nails of her blood-red fingertips along the pale, marbled-leathery skin of my stomach. She whispered seductively in my ear. "There's a decadent young thing in there..."
My grin curled. "I can smell her, too." I said, inhaling again. Definitely an innocent young female, and a particularly mouth-watering one - our favorite kind.
The child's scent was potent - swirling along with the wind through the air and mixing with the rain - despite the distance and the vehicle that enclosed her.
Her concentrated scent inside the cruiser must be intoxicating. I became incensed with the thought.
Victoria nuzzled her face into my neck. "I love all this rain." She purred. "It makes so many more things possible..."
My Beloved's hint wasn't necessary, but I thought about it for a moment...
"A virgin in a cop car, way out here in Mayberry on Saturday..." I mused. "You don't suppose that cop has a daughter - and that might be who he has with him, do you?"
I looked at Victoria for her opinion.
Her face lit up with an evil delight, catching on.
Our plan was silently and mutually agreed upon.
If things were as they seemed, we would play with them, first.
If not, the cop would be a fun kill anyway.
I was really hoping things were as they seemed... The girl would be the sweetest thing devoured.
In a case like this, we would definitely be having dessert first. Family members sobbing and pleading for mercy in the background made for good Dinner music.
That and, there were few eternal-life experiences more fulfilling than making a tough, Human manly-man cry. And, traumatizing him would tenderize him and make him a lot more decadent, too.
We would eat well this month.
"So, have you sighted anything tall, hunky and tongue-kiss worthy, yet?"
I rolled my eyes... I was sitting on my old, semi-familiar bed at Charlie's house in Forks, talking to Meredith on my cell phone. I had already checked in with my mother earlier, and she had asked me the same question - except differently.
"I just got here, Meredith." I explained, accentuating the obvious in my voice. "I haven't met anyone yet, and I'm not looking!" I insisted for the trillionth time over the past three years I had known her.
Meredith, simply put, was boy crazy and one of the most outrageous people I had ever met. She was also a brilliant Cellist, and frankly, someone who could not be ignored if she did not want to be ignored. My mom called her a savant.
She had been thinking about what a nice touch it would be to add some live music to her ballet class aside from just the piano. When we came across Meredith with her band, Bad Bach, playing for tips on the street in downtown Phoenix, she hired them on the spot. Their style was right up her alley.
The band members had the look of urban street urchins but were playing classical music. My mom loved opposite things like that smushed together. As far as she was concerned, combining opposites was the spice of life.
It didn't take much convincing for them to agree to accept my Mom's offer of next-to-nothing pay. After she exclaimed, "Oh, just think of the anecdotes you'll be able to tell David Letterman on his show after you're famous - about how you spent your early days playing in a ballet studio!"
They were hooked.
There were three of them - a boy playing a violin, another girl on a portable keyboard, and Meredith with her Cello that she called "Romeo". They were dressed in mostly-black Gothic outfits and covered with various piercings and tattoos - except for Meredith. She didn't have any tattoos yet, only because she had never been able to decide on one - not because she had not wanted one up to this point.
She stuck out anyway because of her brown frizzie hair, the splattering of frickles aross her nose and cheeks, and her skin was as pale as mine.
We had that in common, and I noticed that the strange looks doubled whenever we were hanging out together. One too-white girl was strange, two was almost impossible for sunny Phoenix.
Meridith never seemed to notice the stares, and when she did, she would stick her tongue out at people or cuss them out on my behalf.
I eventually learned to ignore the stares when I was with her.
Meredith quickly became my best-friend and confidant. But she was not exactly the kind of confidant you would tell absolutely everything to - she had a big mouth.
"Oh, COME ON, Bella!" She pressed in her know-it-all voice. "Still waters run deep, and your sea floor is bottomless - LOOK, already!"
"Why should I, when I have you to look for me, Meredith?" I replied in my calm, simply-obvious voice - which, I knew to be as equally irritating to her as her know-it-all voice was to me.
"Well, for one... I'm not there!"
She had a point, not that I felt I needed her.
I sighed, partly because I was a little exasperated with her and partly because it had been a long day.
Between all of Meredith's revolving trysts - she had lost her virginity a few months before I met her at age 14, and had been sexually active ever since; and my mom's various failed relationships before she finally found Phil - boys were not something I was remotely interested in complicating my life with.
"I promise, Meredith..." I assured her, throwing her a bone. "If I spot any tongue-kiss worthy guys - I'll send for you, and you can have 'em."
There was an odd hesitation for a bit before she informed me, "Ummm... No offense, Bella. Your version of kiss-worthy is probably not my version of kiss-worthy."
After I got off the phone with Meredith; I sighed heavily, tired, and let myself fall back into the pillows of the bed. It really had been a long day.
I listened to the rustling of the trees and the rain pattering on the roof. I had been here several hours now, and it was still raining. I wondered why the plants outside didn't drown in so much rain. I usually visited Charlie around July. If I had to wait until then for the rain to let up, I had a long way to go.
Tomorrow was Sunday, and then Monday was the day of dread - my first day of school in Forks.
When I woke up the next morning, I laid in bed for the longest time; letting the heavy dream images that almost always plagued my sleep, slowly dissolve into wisps of nothing - until the smell of coffee and bacon drifted up to my room.
I could hear Charlie clunking around downstairs, and I looked at the clock on the nightstand next to my bed. It was 8:33 am - a little early for me to get up on a weekend, but I felt as if I had slept hard the night before, even with the dreams. I had obviously been exhausted.
The radio downstairs suddenly came on, and the muffled tune of a Country Music song began to drift up the stairs.
I sat up and yawned, stretching my arms up over my head and letting them fall back down to my sides in a slump. I gazed out the window - still raining, and more of a downpour than the day before. No wonder it seemed too dark for this time of day to me.
I rubbed the sleep from my eyes as I yawned again.
This room was one of the few things in my life that had rarely changed. Even though I had not lived with Charlie since I was a baby, it had always been my room even if I only used it a few weeks out of the year. My mom and I had moved around, some; but this place was stationary.
My mother had been into Winnie-the-Pooh when she was making this room into a nursery for my arrival. The walls were painted a now-fading soft yellow, and there was an also-fading 4" wallpaper border all around the top that had started to curl around the edges with age a long time ago. Along the strip, the scene portrayed Winnie, Piglet, Kanga, Rue, Eeyore, Rabbit and Tigger skipping happily down some imaginary lane singing a silly song, together.
My favorite Pooh character was Eeyore, Meredith's was Tigger, and my Mom's was Winnie-the-Pooh, the silly 'ol bear, himself. I was pretty sure that Charlie didn't really have a favorite Winnie-the-Pooh character, although he reminded me an awful lot of Eeyore himself, at times. I had sent him a dark blue tie for Father's Day once a long time ago with the character of Eeyore embroidered into the bottom of it. I was sure he had never worn it, but it still made me grin to know that he had it.
It had crossed my mind many times during previous visits, to redecorate this room... But the paper faces of Winnie and his friends always seemed to be welcoming me back every time I returned. Maybe now that I was going to be here for awhile, I would get to that.
The room was small, but Charlie's house was cozy to begin with - just a simple little 2-bedroom, 1-bath, 2-story colonial that he had purchased with my mother shortly after they were married. It had a little yard that actually looked a lot bigger because the forest started at the edge of the property; and beyond that, the thick, green tree-canopy went on for miles.
My upstairs bedroom faced the street, below.
There were only a few changes that had been made over the years...
Charlie had brought his old desk up here awhile back, along with a couple of mismatched lamps. The crib had been replaced with a full-size bed when I was seven - which was how old I was when I started coming up here for summer visits.
A couple of nightstands had come along with the dark wood, four-poster frame that Charlie and I had found at a consignment shop in Port Angeles. Beyond that, the rocking chair from when I was born was still here as well as an old dresser. There was also a small closet tucked behind the door.
It was definitely cozy, but it had always been enough for me. I traveled pretty light.
I adjusted the blue, longsleeved thermal shirt that had twisted around me in my sleep and pulled the blankets back; swinging my bare legs over the side of the bed.
I inhaled, shocked, as my feet touched the cold wood floor. I was going to have to invest in a pair of slippers and possibly a rug for this spot.
I pulled on a pair of grey sweatpants and grabbed my beige terrycloth robe; sliding my arms into the sleeves and draping it around myself, tying the belt as I headed out the door. I turned back before I got completely out and grabbed a pair of black knee-high socks from the top dresser drawer. I was glad I had pretty much put everything away last night, already.
I sat back down on the edge of the bed to pull my socks on, stopped by the bathroom, and then went downstairs to join Charlie.
"Smells good." I said as I rounded the corner into the kitchen.
Charlie looked up, a little startled. He had not heard me over the little-too-loud music playing on the radio. He set down the butter knife that he was using, and reached up to the top of the refrigerator where the radio was perched, to turn it down low.
"Oh, hey... mornin, Bells." He said, picking the knife back up to continue buttering toast. "Are you hungry?"
I smiled sleepily. "For a couple of slices of your bacon and some toast, yes." I replied, getting a glass from the cupboard and filling it with milk from the refrigerator.
Charlie was only good at cooking two things - breakfast and barbeque. I was usually the dinner cook. It was an arrangement that we had agreed upon during my visits when I was around 10 years old, and we had decided before I moved out here that we would continue with it.
I had started out with things like boxes of Mac N Cheese, but my cooking talents had grown from there over the years. As a result, I also became the full-time, designated cook at home since it wasn't really my Mom's thing.
Not that either one of us was slaves to the kitchen. As I got older, Charlie was often gone over either breakfast or dinner, and I often ate a simple bowl of cereal or toast during the week. Weekends were usually the big breakfast mornings, and for the evenings he wasn't around, I could always find something. I didn't mind leftovers.
We also often ate out at the local diner.
"How did you sleep?" He asked, glancing up at me.
"Fine." I replied, sitting down at the kitchen table and taking a drink from my glass. I swallowed a cold, creamy gulp and set it back down on the table.
"How did that call with the body go last night?" I asked, suddenly remembering that I heard him come in pretty late. I was naturally curious.
He looked up at me, stopping again and waving the knife in his hand as he responded vaguely, "Oh, well... you know... it wasn't very... pretty." He finally got out.
"Things like that don't usually happen around here very often, do they?" I asked, innocently.
You had to be equally-as-vague if you wanted to get any detailed information out of Charlie.
"We've had a couple of incidents recently... a bear or something."
His head shot up as if he suddenly remembered something, pointing the knife at me. "I want you to stay out of the forest until we get this thing taken care of."
I nodded, easily. "Okay, Dad." The forest was not my usual hangout, anyway.
We settled into a semi-comfortable silence as Charlie finished frying the bacon and buttering toast.
He was obviously not working today. He was already dressed in rugged jeans and a white t-shirt with a plaid-green flannel shirt thrown over the top.
I watched him, alternating my gaze from him to the window; bringing my elbow up to the table and balancing my head on my hand as I waited.
A shiver ran up my spine.
Charlie set down a heavy white plate in front of me, scattered with a few thick, hot slices of his favorite smoked bacon along with a couple pieces of toast balanced on the edge.
"Thanks." I said, my mouth watering. I picked up one of the dripping, seasoned pieces with my fingertips and took a bite. It exploded in my mouth with flavor.
I was not a big meat-eater, but Charlie's bacon was an exception.
"Got any plans today?" He asked, sitting down across from me and taking a bite of his own breakfast - which included three fried, over-easy, greasy-looking eggs.
I shrugged. "Not really." I replied, wondering what he had on his mind.
I had planned my arrival in Forks to land a couple of days before I had to be in school - so I could have some time to adjust at home before I took on that ordeal. But, I was really hoping he wasn't going to say fishing. It was one thing to go fishing with him in the summer when I could sit in the semi-sun with a book. But, fishing in the rain didn't sound nearly as tolerable.
"I was thinking of taking a ride out to Billy Black's," He started, pausing to take a sip of black coffee. "He's got a truck for sale. I thought we could drive out and take a look at it. It seems like it would be a good vehicle for you."
There was something about the way he said "for you"...
We had talked about him helping me find a mode of transportation after I got here - the last thing I wanted was to be hauled all over town by my dad in his police cruiser.
"Yeah, a good solid one." He replied, matter-of-factly, scooping up another forkful of food from his plate.
I raised a slight eyebrow. I had my doubts.
The drive out to the reservation was also semi-familiar - so many things about being in Forks were semi-familiar to me.
During my summer visits when Charlie was not working, we often spent time with his best friend, Billy Black - Chief of the Quileute American-Indian Tribe - and his family. He had a couple of daughters, Rachel and Rebecca, who were a little older than me; and a son, Jacob, who was about a year younger.
When you cross the border into the reservation, the scenery doesn't change, much - it's the same forest of trees, the same ground, the same sky. But something changes in the atmosphere as if you're driving slowly back into another time, but you're still in the same place.
There's a sort of feeling to this place as if this place is a person - a very old and maybe even ancient person.
Charlie turned down the narrow gravel road that led to Billy's house, parked the cruiser in front, and turned off the ignition.
I was just about to get out when he stopped me.
"Bella." He began with a somewhat exasperated sigh, pulling out a white envelope from the inside pocket of his jacket.
He handed it to me.
"What's this?" I asked, automatically taking it.
Without the sound of the cruiser's engine, the rain reverberated in a tinny-sounding dance on top of the roof of the car.
As I began to open the envelope to see what was inside, he started to explain.
"I... I want you to have that." He began, in a somewhat unsure, but determined fatherly tone that I had rarely heard.
Money, several twenties and a few one-hundred dollar bills. I looked up at him, puzzled.
"And I'm buying the truck for you, too." He stated, a little more determined by my reaction.
"Unless you don't like it." He added quickly. "We can look around."
I was speechless. I didn't know what to say and I just sat there dumbfounded for a moment. What could have possibly brought this on? Both my mom and Charlie had always provided for me, but I had never really asked for much. This was definitely a surprise.
"Dad, you don't have to do this." I protested, trying to hand the envelope back to him. "I brought money with me and I'm planning on finding a part-time job."
I reached a little more forward for him to take it back, and added. "I don't need this."
He sighed and turned a little more toward me on the seat and brought his deep voice down soft and low - locking his dark, fatherly eyes on mine. "I know how much money you have, Bella. Your mom and I talked about it, and we agreed that I would give you part of the monthly child-support payments while you're here. This is a couple month's up front to get you started. You're going to need warmer clothes, and you're going to need gas money, and I don't know what all..."
I just stared at him in silence, feeling very uncomfortable. I didn't know what to say.
Charlie paused and sat up, gripping the steering wheel with both hands. He gazed nonchalantly out at the rain as if he were searching for something else in the drizzle to say to me.
"I just... want you to be... as happy as you can be while you're here, Bells." He said, carefully.
Then, he shrugged with another heavy sigh and turned back towards me; waving a hand out at the rain and shaking his head as if in defeat. "I know this isn't your thing."
I was truly touched. My eyes started doing that irritating, watering-up thing.
Because, I knew where he was coming from... My mother had left him for only one reason, really. She couldn't stand the long months of rain. And honestly, I couldn't imagine Charlie living anywhere else.
It must have really hurt to be washed away because of rain. And while I wasn't altogether certain which one I would choose if I had to choose between them, either - Charlie or The Sun. There was one thing I was pretty sure of.
"You're a really cool Dad." I told him.
Then I quickly turned and reached for the door handle, opening it; purposefully escaping before he could respond. I stumbled out into the pouring rain and dragged my backpack along with me; taking in a deep gulp of fresh, evergreen air.
I needed it.
I heard Charlie behind me opening the cruiser door to get out, too; and the door of The Black Residence began to creek open at the same time.
It was then that I realized that Charlie had no-doubt purposefully-planned the timing of this conversation. He knew we would both want to end it fast if someone else walked into earshot.
In fact, my parents had talked about this discussion, and my mom had probably helped him plan the timing of it! She knew me better than anyone - Charlie would not have thought this up on his own.
Maybe he would... He was a Chief of Police, after all.
Still, it was more than a little uncomfortable to think that the two of them had probably talked about me and planned like this.
I sighed and tucked the money-filled envelope into the security of my trusty backpack with a chaotic sensation of mixed feelings - touched, embarrassed, helpless, grateful, guilty...
Helpless was the one I had the most problem with.
I was glad it was over - the uncomfortable conversation with Charlie, that is. It wasn't as if things had turned out badly for me.
"Hey Charlie, Hi Bella - Welcome Home!"
FINALLY, someone who was a little more than semi-familiar to me - Jacob Black!
Jake waved as he held the screen door open for his father's wheelchair to get through onto the recently-poured sidewalk. It slammed behind him as he ran wide around Billy into the sopping mud then swerved back onto the cement to meet me.
"Good to see you, Jake."
I smiled and started toward him; meeting him between the house and the cruiser, embracing as old friends. He lifted me up off the ground and swung me around - obviously showing off his increased height over me since last year.
"Jake!" I complained, as the centrifugal force of the swinging backpack hanging off my fingertips threatened to pull off my arm.
I laughed out loud as the bulky orange tank jerked up the road a few feet and died on me, again. Jacob laughed even harder.
We had taken my new-old '57 Chevy out onto a paved road so he could teach me how to drive the stick shift. Charlie had suggested that it might help for me to get off the muddy gravel. So far, it hadn't - but, I was determined - even if my arms were getting tired from the no-power-steering wheel.
I was going to be Bella the Truck Driver!
I had fallen in love with this truck on the spot - completely casting aside my earlier doubts. If I could have walked up to it and given it a huge hug when I saw it, I might have - but, there were too many witnesses.
It reminded me of a metro bus and felt solid like a tank. I now knew why Charlie thought this would be a good truck "for me". I hadn't really been driving long enough to have a driving record, yet - and so far so good. But, I sort of had a history of bad luck, generally speaking.
"It's just a matter of getting used to finding the balance between the gas and the clutch with your feet." Jake offered, trying to be helpful.
I turned the key in the ignition to start it again, and the loud engine roared back to life like a lion.
"Then again... maybe your legs are too short and you're a little too puny to handle this fine machine." He added with a big innocent smile, giving the faded dashboard of the truck a pat as if it were a good dog.
Jacob hadn't changed much since last year - except for being taller again and maybe filling out a little more. Otherwise, he had the same permanent tan (despite the lack of sunshine); the same twinkling, chocolate brown eyes; the same high cheekbones that were typical of his American-Indian bloodline - just like his long, straight, extra-shiny black hair that looked and felt more like silk than hair.
He also had a full mouth of perfectly-straight white teeth. Those were hard to miss - he always had a big smile on his face.
Jacob was one of the most content, happy people I had come across so far in this world.
That was one of the things I liked about him. Every year when we first saw each other, he always treated me as if I had not been gone. Apparently, he didn't need to go through any kind of refamiliarizing adjustment period. I had always been a little envious of that about him. It was nice, and it made things easy between us.
I did not keep a long list of friends - so far, Meredith and Jacob were really the only two on my list. I was pretty much a loner at school with a few acquaintances. Meredith didn't go to my school, and Jacob's sisters were a little older than me. Growing up, we never really connected as "friends" - they seemed more like babysitters.
I grinned and threw a sideways glare at him.
"I am going to learn how to drive this thing!" I insisted.
He laughed again.
After several more tries, I was starting to get the hang of the truck's subtle, tricky footing. We decided to drive into town for a Hot Chocolate so I could get a feel for driving it.
I had offered to buy - I was feeling generous with my now much larger stash of cash.
Billy had sent Jacob for the shotgun before we left and instructed him to load it, in case we came across any trouble with all the large animal attacks that had been happening recently. That was tucked in handy safety behind the seat. We were also instructed not to go out onto the side roads; but, we were not far out, and the drive to town between the reservation and Forks was fairly heavily traveled.
I felt pretty safe in my new tank, especially with Jake and the shotgun - I knew he knew how to use it.
As I raced toward the scene in my silver Volvo, I could see Chief Swan's daughter had already pulled over to the side of the road and was opening the door of the truck she had been driving. The slender, dark-haired girl was obviously getting out to help the strawberry-blond lady whose car appeared to be in distress just outside of town.
But, I already knew that lady to be a Vampire named Victoria. She and her mate had stolen a car and situated it on the side of the road in an attempt to lure the object of their intentions back to their lair - wherever that was.
My family and I had been trying to track them for the past couple of weeks - since they had started using our territory for hunting grounds. The last thing we needed was a spotlight on Vampires up here.
But, their hiding place was obviously out of my range; and so far, their thoughts had remained focused on their somewhat spontaneous kills.
And now, these two nomadic Vampires had discovered a way to bring some spice into their dining adventures. They had their sights set on forcing these two Humans - father and daughter - into a classic horror Vampire kill in order to add some evil romance into their mundane existence.
I had seen their intentions - they were typical, predictable and lame - but now their target was one of the people in this town who unknowingly assisted us in maintaining our cover. Chief Swan's high-standing in the community and his working relationship with Carlisle did wonders toward validating our recently-renewed identities. If they killed him and/or his daughter, floodlights would be surrounding Forks.
I pulled the Volvo over, dovetailing it to a halt on the side of the road opposite from Victoria's and the girl's truck that sat parked a little over a cars-length behind it.
I opened the door to get out - THAT was when the full force of the girl's searing scent hit me. I staggered a bit, gripping the door before slamming it shut.
This was not going to be easy. It was a good thing I had backup coming.
As I made my way across the road toward the female Vampire, she turned toward me - good. But, every step I took was heavier than the last one. By the time I was standing in front of Victoria, I could not speak. Breathing in air was a virtual impossibility, and I just stood there glaring down at her, unmoving and in extreme torment.
The girl's scent swirled wildly around me, and even though I had stopped breathing - it still tortured me as if it were seeping into my skin like acid burning into it.
My siblings were not far behind me. I struggled while my mind watched Alice's visions fluctuate between the girl being dead in my arms as I finished draining her blood, and her getting back into her truck and leaving.
I could see her begin to walk toward us out of my peripheral vision, but I didn't dare look up at her and I couldn't speak.
As her steps came closer; Victoria stood in front of me - her face was plastered with an annoying, knowing look at my reaction.
She folded her arms and smirked. I could see her mate, James, inside my head - watching the scene from a short distance away, amused himself.
"Bella!" The boy in the truck called for her. He was doubled-over on the seat of the truck in pain.
I'd seen the boy around Forks... Jacob Black was his name. He was a son of the Chief on the reservation.
The girl, Bella, turned back toward the truck and opened the door to check on him. I listened to the exchange of their conversation and realized - I could not HEAR her! I couldn't see her thoughts!
I was stunned... I could hear Jacob telling Bella that he was in pain and needed to get back to the reservation. I could see her responding to him in his mind and I could hear her response out loud - but I could not see any of her internal thoughts.
She was BLANK to me!
"Don't look up, don't look up, don't look up..." I thought.
I watched her through Jacob's eyes. She was looking back at us, taking in the situation - obviously trying to decide on her next course of action - take the boy home now, or check in and see if her assistance still might be needed here, first.
I looked up.
Her gaze caught mine, and I held it until I was ready to let her go... instantly losing myself in the clear, gleaming dark pool of her eyes. It was like looking into a black magic crystal. I was mesmerized, and I could swear there was a hum of energy in the air crackling around me.
Emmett arrived with his jeep. He crossed the road, veering it to park diagonally in front of Victoria's stolen car. I could see both the actions of my siblings and their reasoning behind them as they began to pile out of the vehicle.
But I continued to hold the girl's gaze.
Jasper stayed behind in the Jeep for reasons that were obvious to us all, but he was poised in case he was needed. Rosalie moved into the driver's seat of the Jeep at the ready, intending to use it as a weapon if necessary.
Emmett stepped between me and Victoria, pushing her back with the palm of his hand. I hadn't even realized that she had moved up into my face. Her thoughts and everyone else around me had started to diminish until all I was paying attention to was the howling wind & rain that surrounded us - and the humming energy that was beginning to course between me and the girl...
Alice was suddenly beside me, her visions surrounding Bella were still fluctuating.
"Bella!" The boy called for her again as his pain mysteriously increased.
I continued to hold Bella's gaze. I couldn't let her go.
Alice yelled at me, clapping her hands in front of my face. "Edward!"
I didn't mean to inhale when she did that, but her actions startled me from my haze and all my instincts instantly switched on - scent was always the first.
Bella's excruciating scent burned through my nostrils; coursing throughout my body as the extra-sensory preceptors in my hardened lungs carried the pungent flavor of her intoxicating essence to the receptors in my dark, empty, soulless brain.
A low growl that I had been holding in escaped from deep within my throat.
Alice's visions stopped fluctuating, and she grabbed my arm, practically ripping it off as she whirled me around; dragging me back across the road toward the Volvo.
"Let's go see if you have any extra water in your car for the nice lady's transmission, Edward." She said in her lilting voice - covering for me for the girl's benefit. No one else here needed it.
I did not fight her, but I didn't exactly go with her willingly, either.
I glared at her as she opened the Volvo door and shoved me inside, slamming the door behind me. I saw her glance at Jasper through his eyes as she shot him a "help me watch him" look filled with her meaning.
Jasper caught on easily, not that he needed it. He, more so than any of my other siblings, could sense that I was on the edge of my sanity. His attention immediately moved to the passenger door of my Volvo, guarding it.
"Ummm... It looks like you've got help." Bella finally said to Victoria, throwing a curious look our way. "I need to get my friend back home."
"Thank you so much for stopping." Victoria's broad-smile response was fake, exaggerated and sickeningly-sweet. "A lot of other people might not have..."
The girl smiled slightly and nodded, getting back into her truck. "You're welcome." She said with a somewhat furrowed brow.
It drove me crazy that I couldn't read her mind! The look on her face seemed to suspect all of us of something, not that I could blame her for that.
But, WHAT was she thinking?
The truck roared back to life as she started it.
Then, we all watched as the little Human girl wrestled with the stubborn steering wheel in a valiant effort to turn it sharp enough for the bulky thing to be going in the opposite direction. It died on her a couple of times, then jerked a bit every time she tried to get it going again.
Bella was obviously new at driving the truck.
Emmett busted out laughing.
I could not help but smirk as I watched Jacob's worried mind. He was replaying his earlier memories of himself trying to teach her how to drive the manual stick shift. He was not entirely confident in her capabilities, but he had decided to hold off adding further instructions based on the furious look on his friend's face.
Bella eventually got the truck turned back around and sped off in a somewhat angry peel down the road back toward the reservation.
Crisis averted for the moment... Now all we had were a couple of spurned Vampires to reason with. I wasn't sure how much help I was going to be with that.
I sat at my desk later that night, talking again to Meredith. She would no doubt call me every night until she found something more exciting to divert her attention. I was hoping it wouldn't take her very long. A couple of catch-ups a week was good with her - she had a way of sucking the energy out of you.
I had set up my small laptop on the desk the night before, when I was putting the rest of my stuff away; and had made sure it worked with Charlie's Internet connection. A few pages from my school registration that he had given me were next to it. I had tried to look at them last night, but my mind had been mush.
Now was the time. I wanted to be familiar enough with everything not to look like too much of a new-kid dork, tomorrow. If only I could concentrate... I was having the hardest time getting the face of the boy in the Volvo out of my head. His eyes were the most haunting thing.
Meredith managed to insert her usual question to me. "So, have you come across any good-looking guys, yet?"
For the life of me, I could not figure out why she was so preoccupied with my love-life. She had already had her fun poking at me when I told her about spending the day with Jacob and my new truck. It was as if she couldn't settle down and move on with her own life if I didn't have something going on, too.
"Meredith!" I began my usual protest. "NO, and I'm NOT LOOKING! How many times do I have to tell you that?" I inquired, frustrated again.
Meredith laughed, clearly amused. "Until you have another reply!"
Her joy at poking fun at my self-consciousness had always been the most irritating thing about her to me.
I ended our phone conversation as quickly as I could.
I sighed and picked up the registration papers beside me, trying to read through them again. But my thoughts were impossible to focus. I kept seeing those eyes... Boring into mine like a drill.
Tossing the papers aside, I picked up my journal that was still sitting on the desk. I had tried to write in it, earlier.
I thought about those eyes... I could not stop thinking about them... dark, intense, I couldn't look away - even now, it seemed.
The girl with the dark hair had called him "Edward". Jacob had identified him and his family as "The Cullen's" when we arrived back at his place. He had been feeling better by that time, and he had recounted the unusual situation on the road earlier for my father and Billy. They had asked us a lot of questions. The lady in the broken-down vehicle was apparently a stranger in the area.
But, those eyes... and I couldn't shake the feeling of static electricity on my skin as if I had connected with a live wire, and my reaction was lingering.
I gazed into the empty space in the center of my room, letting the mental images in my head mix with my swirling emotions surrounding them. Then, I picked up my pen and wrote down what my heart saw...
Even the worst of us has a heart of gold;
And even the best of us sells our soul.
That was the first night I saw Edward Cullen in my dreams.