Story Bashing: This is a reposting of my first story—Fall & Rise. I will post 1-2 chapters a week, beta'd by HollettLA and pre-read by Kitty :)

For me to really like this story, I'd probably have to rewrite all of it, which I have no desire to do haha. But since sooo many have asked me to post it again, I caved and stuck to minor changes. Actually, I wouldn't call them minor. With Lisa's help, I've corrected the grammar fuck-ups, and I've also changed timelines, some events, and a massive amount of details. But with that said, the plot it basically the same.

As obsessed as I with accuracy and credibility, it kinda pains me to have to tell you that this story is loaded with "creative liberties" *cringes.* Okay, not loaded, but there are a few.

Fuck, I'm really sitting here talking shit about my own story. *crosses off 'motivational speaker' from list of possible jobs*

Positive things… I have a soft spot for this Edward, and I remember many thinking the same :) There. Good enough?

As long as your expectations aren't super high, by all means…read.


Fall & Rise


Chapter 1

BPOV

"Okay, that's everything."

"Thanks, Em. You're the best."

"Ha! Tell me something I don't know."

"All right, funny guy. I'm going to bed."

"Night, sis."

"Goodnight."

I closed the door behind me and turned around to take a deep breath in my new bedroom. My life was finally starting. New town, new life.

And to think I'm only sixteen.

Well, for another few weeks.

My bedroom was big and completely white. A four-poster bed in the middle of the room, white sheers hanging down, a massive amount of pillows. All white. White-painted nightstand, walls, bed frame, linen, drapes by the window…and a white crib in the corner, next to my nightstand. The only thing that wasn't white was the oak hardwood floor. I loved it. It felt luxurious, my room. I even had an ensuite bathroom.

The wall next to the door was filled with black and white photos of Haley. There were some with just her feet, her hands, her little baby butt, her big eyes that were already turning brown…

After checking on my sleeping baby girl, I walked into the bathroom to brush my teeth and get ready for bed.

*o*o*o*

When I woke up the next morning I was oddly well-rested. Too rested.

Haley!

I jumped out of the bed and made my way to the crib. No Haley…but a note.

The best person in the world took me downstairs

Oh, Emmett.

I put on a pair of army green khaki shorts and a black t-shirt, and then I headed down. I had to say, I loved our new condo. The upstairs belonged to me, and Emmett occupied the downstairs—aside from living room and kitchen, obviously. Oh, and the laundry room. We shared that. But upstairs, I had my bedroom and my…hobby room, of sorts. It would be Haley's room when she got a little older. For now, though, it was my little studio where I kept my photo equipment. I was crazy in love with photography.

Thanks to what our parents left us, we knew we'd live comfortably for several years.

Following the sound of Emmett's laughter, I ended up in the living room.

"Hey there, baby snatcher." I grinned at my brother.

They were both on the floor, and Emmett was dangling a toy over Haley's head, which made her giggle adorably.

It was hard to believe she was already five months old.

"Good morning to you, too." Emmett sat up, bringing Haley with him. "Before you get worked up, I've already fed her, and she doesn't smell like shit anymore."

I laughed and sat down on the couch. I knew he had his own baby monitor in his room—just in case I didn't wake up. But I had a feeling Emmett snatched her way earlier than that and then took care of her nighttime feeding and breakfast.

"What did you give her?" I asked, making funny faces at Haley. She squealed and held out her arms. "Aww. You're so cute, aren't ya? Yeah, you are."

"Around three, I heated up some boob milk ice cubes for her," Emmett responded.

I chuckled. "It's called breast milk, Em."

"Uh-huh, whatever. And then for breakfast, I gave her that disgusting oatmeal."

"She loves it," I said with a shrug. It was actually the only solid food she did love—that, and mashed potatoes. I was slowly but surely introducing her to solid foods since my breasts hurt too much. Hell, I could barely touch them at some points without breaking down in tears. "I should probably feed her again before Marie gets here." I checked the clock above the flat screen and saw that our aunt would be here in half an hour.

Since Emmett and I were so young, Aunt Marie wasn't too fond of the idea of us living alone with Haley, but we managed to talk her into it when we found a condo literally a three-minute drive from her house here in Port Angeles. She could come and go as she pleased, and we'd see her every day. Thankfully, though, she understood that Emmett and I needed this privacy to hold our now-tiny family together.

Blowing out a breath, I checked the time again, anxiousness seeping in.

So far, I'd barely left Haley alone with Marie or Emmett for more than an hour or two. To some, it might sound ridiculous, but after the past Emmett and I shared, Haley was basically the air I breathed. She kept me sane. Around her, I was happy.

But today…

Aunt Marie was going to watch Haley at her house for a terrifying seven hours or so, and we wouldn't see them again until dinner. Thankfully, Marie's place was as baby-proofed as our condo.

It was a big day; we had a meeting with Principal Banner at Forks High—our new school come September.

It was due to our "special arrangement" that we needed to meet with the principal before we started in two weeks.

We had a story to tell.

From the outside, we were two regular teenagers, two siblings, new in town, Emmett as a senior and me as a junior, but there was so much more than that. And there were many things we wanted to keep private, hence the helluva commute we'd face every day, living in Port Angeles but going to school in Forks. But it was the price we'd pay for wanting so much distance between us and our school.

Emmett was starting his senior year, going to school like all the other seniors, but I was going to take a few classes from home until Haley was a little older. Granted, I could put her in day care right now, but I wasn't emotionally ready to be apart from her for several hours every day. I needed to ease into this, starting with a couple hours at Forks High every other day or so—it was dependant on my schedule, really—and then I'd have the rest of my time to spend here in Port Angeles with Haley. I also had two sessions a week with my new therapist.

Tonight was also big. We would meet Esme Cullen for the first time—Aunt Marie's friend from college. The two, both art majors, were opening a gallery together in Seattle. Whereas my aunt was a free-spirited artist, Mrs. Cullen loved other aspects involving art, such as running a gallery, booking artists, organizing exhibits, and so on.

Mrs. Cullen was the reason we picked Washington when Arizona became too much. Aunt Marie told us about her college friend, with whom she'd recently gotten back in touch, and that the two wanted to pursue their old dream of running a gallery together. And since Emmett and I hardly had any preference about where we ended up, we came here.

Aunt Marie had only told Mrs. Cullen that her niece and nephew had lost their parents, and that she was now our guardian. But tonight we were going to tell Mrs. Cullen the story we wanted to be ours. There was no way Emmett and I wanted anyone to know the truth. However, since Mrs. Cullen evidently had two children who went to Forks High, too, we needed to tell her something. Because it was more than likely that we'd meet her kids in school. Had she not had children there, maybe we would've gone with the truth—or at least a watered-down version of it, but we refused to have any version of the truth spill out at our new school, so…

*o*o*o*

When the doorbell rang, I was just finishing burping Haley.

"Is it really time?" I asked, chewing on my lip.

My brother knew I was nervous. "Relax, sis. We'll be back before you know it." He opened the door for Aunt Marie.

"Hey, guys! How are you? You all settling in?" She gave us all hugs, lingering a little with Haley just because my baby girl was that frickin' cute.

Emmett grinned. "Yep, everything's good."

"And you, honey? Everything's okay?" She looked so concerned for me, a spitting image of her sister, otherwise known as my mom. "You know you're more than welcome to stay with me, right?"

I smiled a small one. "I'm fine. Just anxious to be away for so long." I nuzzled in the crook of Haley's neck where she smelled like baby and fabric softener. "Mama's gonna miss you," I whispered.

A few moments later, Emmett had to drag me out to our cars. Since we wouldn't have the same hours at school, we needed two. Em had bought a monster of a Jeep, and I had my Mini Cooper, which I adored. But today we were going in one car—the Jeep, 'cause my brother was too big for my cutie.

"Do you have all the papers?" Aunt Marie hollered from the steps. Emmett confirmed that we did. "Good. Tell Principal Banner he can call if there's anything he'd like to know, though I doubt that will happen. He was very understanding when I met with him last week."

I knew that, and it had relieved me. The last thing we needed now were rough waters to cross. Some smooth sailing was welcomed.

Once we were both buckled in, Emmett peeled out of the driveway, a smile on his face. He needed this. We both did, but I wasn't as eager to "be a kid" like my brother was.

After that horrible night in Phoenix, more than a year ago, Emmett and I had grown up. We weren't as carefree anymore, and our priorities had changed drastically.

But seeing Emmett now, as he drove us toward our new school, it was easy to see that he was desperate for a sense of normalcy again. Obviously, I understood that.

"Stop bouncing your knee and check the glove box," he told me as we drove out of Port Angeles.

Confused, I did as told and opened the glove box, only to see that my thoughtful brother had brought my beloved Nikon.

"I love you." I just had to say it. "Thank you."

Taking pictures relaxed me, and right now I needed to calm down.

"Any time, baby sis."

I had started a photo book with just Emmett in it, so I picked up my camera and looked forward to snapping some shots where Emmett didn't make funny faces. He only looked serious when he was driving or when bad stuff happened. And hopefully, we had suffered through all the shit we were going to in our lives.

"So, we're going with the sister story, then?"

"Yep," I answered.

I laughed as I saw the display on the camera. The photo of Emmett was perfect. Serious and firm…but he had his tongue out like he was concentrating hard.

"Are you done with the pictures so I can relax? A model's gotta rest, you know," he chuckled.

I shook my head in amusement and put my camera back in the bag.

When we passed the "Welcome to Forks" sign a while later, I became even more nervous. This was really happening. We were going back to school.

After everything went down in Phoenix, Emmett and I were homeschooled, so even if Forks High only had a few hundred students—a far cry from our old school in Scottsdale—this was still intimidating to me. Luckily, it was only the end of July, meaning I had a couple weeks to get used to the idea of going to school again.

"This is it," Em muttered as we drove in to the school parking lot.

"Yeah," I sighed.

The parking lot was empty except for two cars. A yellow Porsche and a silver Volvo.

Emmett parked a few spaces over and killed the engine. We both took a few deep breaths. This was huge for both of us.

Deep breaths. You can do this, Bella.

"This car is a monster," I mumbled and jumped out.

The car two spots over beeped and blinked twice; someone had unlocked it. My head snapped up, and I saw two guys and one girl walking our way. Emmett locked his Jeep, and like the protector he had become over the past year, he put his arm around me and started walking in their direction—well, the school's entrance's direction. I punched him playfully and giggled, though I was internally thankful for his protectiveness.

One of the guys, now about thirty feet from me, looked up as I did, and I had to look down immediately. He was gorgeous. Seriously, the man looked like a god.

Emmett looked down at me, a curious expression on his face that I saw in my periphery. "You okay?"

I nodded and pretended to look though my bag as the three strangers passed us.

We made our way to the small administration building, and before we knew it, we were sitting in the principal's office.

After greetings and small talk, we got down to business.

"So, Ms. McCarty. Tell me why you've chosen to take several classes from home. I see your guardian have signed all the papers."

This was it. Emmett squeezed my hand, and I began.

"Um, we lost our parents about six months ago." Okay, that was a lie, but I couldn't exactly say it was more than a year ago, 'cause then it wouldn't match with Haley's age. "It left Emmett and me to take care of our…baby sister." That felt foul. I wanted to shout out that she was my daughter—not my fucking sister—but that would've raised a helluva lot more questions. Questions we didn't want to answer. "Our guardian, our aunt Marie, let me decide if I felt ready to return to school now or stay home another semester with Haley—our sister. And, um, I'm not ready to be away from her yet."

Principal Banner gave us a smile in concern. "I'm so sorry for your loss, and of course we will try to make this as easy as possible for you two."

Both Emmett and I breathed out in relief, and the rest of the meeting was easy to push through.

Emmett wanted to try out for the football team; he'd been a fierce linebacker in Phoenix, so he was excited to hear that he could try out even though training season had already begun.

In the end, it was decided that the only two classes I'd take at school would be home economics and biology, both courses too practical to take from home.

Aside from those classes, I'd obviously be in school for tests.

*o*o*o*

"That was easier than I thought."

"Yeah, it really was," I agreed.

Emmett started the car, and I placed all the papers for Aunt Marie to sign in my bag. I thought all the paperwork was done, but I was wrong.

"How about lunch, sis? I'm starving. There has to be a diner or something around here."

"Um…"

Haley, Haley, Haley!

He gave me a sideways glance. "Bella, seriously, we'll be home soon enough. You need to relax."

"Fine." I rolled my eyes.

Ten minutes later, we ended up at a diner called The Lodge. We sure had left Phoenix.

Emmett opened the door for me, and we were both hit by the smell of fried stuff.

"It must be your lucky day." I grinned.

"Hell, yeah. There's a booth there in the corner." He pointed.

The goof put his arm around me again only to ruffle my hair.

"Em!" I whined. "You're in a good mood today. It's annoying."

"Yeah well, life is good. We're good. I have a good feeling about this place."

As we slid into the booth, I thought about Emmett's words and had to admit he was right.

I nodded. "Things are picking up."

I smiled genuinely, something that felt nice.

As soon as we'd placed our orders with the waitress, the drinks quickly followed, and then Emmett announced that he had to go to the bathroom. In the meantime, I sipped my Cherry Coke and looked around a little.

That was when I noticed the short-haired girl from the school parking lot. She and the blond boy were playing pool. Did that mean that my wet dream was here, too?

Taking another sip from my soda, I craned my neck to see if he was here as well, because fuck, I wanted him to be.

Oh, shit!

Yep, he was here…at the bar…staring at me. Hot damn. His gaze didn't drop as I caught him, and this time I held mine. He was beautiful and had these sexy eyes—they looked green, but I couldn't be too sure. He was pretty far away, after all. And then he nodded toward me and gave me a hot-as-hell grin.

Unfortunately, my view was suddenly blocked. By my brother.

"You're back," I muttered, my mood deflating.

Sitting down again, Emmett noticed the other guy—who was still staring, by the way.

"That dude needs to find something else to rest his eyes on before my foot meets his face."

"You wouldn't dare!" I said, cracking up a little. It was just so Emmett to always be in my business. "His face is too hot to be kicked."

That earned me nothin' good. Throwing his arm around me, he used his free hand to tickle my sides.

*o*o*o*

When we came back home, we showered and got ready for dinner at Aunt Marie's. Skipping the summer clothes for the evening, I decided on a pair of black jeans and one of Emmett's old football t-shirts that I tied at the hip due to its massive size. I couldn't wait to see him play football again. To see him run out on the field with "McCarty" on the back…

Dad and I had never missed a game.

For once, I was ready before Emmett, so I ended up at the kitchen table and pretty quickly got lost in my thoughts.

"Daddy, we're gonna be late!"

Ugh, how damn slow can a guy be?

If the game starts at seven, it starts at seven!

"Take it easy, princess," Dad chuckles.

There are people everywhere, and it's freaking awesome that so many come to cheer on my goof of a brother. But hey, he is the best player on the team.

"Do you have the camera?" I ask him.

"Yes, Bella, I have the camera. Just like when you asked me ten minutes ago."

I huff and give him the stink-eye. "Well, excuse me for caring."

After a million years, we're finally seated on the bleachers, and we hear the roar. Whistling, howling, yelling, and cheering.

Our team runs out on the field, and it's a rush. The spotlights, the crowd, the Friday night feeling, Dad cheering next to me with the camera ready…

"Dad, the lens cover!" I groan loudly and reach to remove it.

He's such a spaz!

Smiling sheepishly, he drops a kiss on the top of my head. "What would I do without you, huh?"

I smile so wide.

God, I missed him.

He was the police chief who scared the boys to death. One time, he actually chased my boyfriend down the street with his gun in hand. Dad had caught him trying to sneak into my room through my window. After that night, I was forced to trade rooms with Emmett, who lived upstairs.

"Lookin' sharp, McCarty." Emmett voice brought me back to the present. When he saw my face, he frowned. "What's up?"

I smiled, eyes welling up a little. "Just thinking about Dad and how we always went to your games."

He didn't say anything in return, but the grief in his eyes spoke volumes.

*o*o*o*

When we pulled up at Aunt Marie's house, I was bouncing with excitement to see my girl again. Not that Emmett would admit it, but he was anxious to see her, too.

I pulled my hair into a ponytail since Haley loved to tug on it.

That hurt like nothing else. My daughter was strong, lemme tell ya.

After ringing the doorbell once, Emmett opened the door.

Marie came running with a smile and my little one in her arms.

"Haley baby!" I reached out for her, and my aunt knew better than to deny me. As soon as I had her in my arms, everything was good in the world. "Mama missed you so much today. Yes, I did. My little cutie pie."

She giggled and grabbed my face.

"She just woke up so she might be hungry," Marie chuckled.

"Okay." I grinned and kissed her cheek. "Thank you for watching her—everything go okay today?"

"You know it did, honey. Come on—go into the living room and relax a little. Esme should be here any minute. I'm gonna check on dinner."

We left the hallway and I walked into the massive and very open living room while Emmett prepared a bottle for Haley.

"Look at you, baby." Sitting down on the couch, Haley babbled in her own little language, but what I focused on was the fact that she could sit on her own. My hand was behind her back, but it didn't touch her. "You're so amazing, you know that?"

Emmett was right; this place was good for us. Getting out of Phoenix, period, was good for us.

I was rubbing my nose with Haley's when a flash went off, causing my head to snap up. I found a smiling Emmett standing a few feet away with my camera.

"You're not the only one with skills, you know." He winked.

I smiled at him and reached for the bottle he was holding. He sat down next to me, put his arm around my shoulder, and just watched us as I fed Haley.

"My two princesses."

"Would that make you the king?" I teased.

"Of course."

"I can't argue with you on that, Em."

Moments like these meant the world to us.

The doorbell rang a minute later, though, which burst our bubble. It was game time. Emmett took Haley to get her burped, and I joined Marie in the hallway.

"Marie! It's so good to see you!"

"You too, Esme!"

I stood a few feet away while they hugged like they hadn't seen each other in years instead of weeks. Mrs. Cullen was a beautiful woman. Around my height, with a heart-shaped face, beautiful green eyes, and light brown hair that went to her chest. Her smile was warm.

"Esme, this is my niece—Bella. Bella, this is Esme."

Before I could offer her my hand, she rushed over and gave me a big hug.

"So nice to finally meet you, Bella."

I chuckled, a little surprised. "You too, Mrs. Cullen." I patted her back.

"Oh, none of that. Esme's just fine."

I smiled and nodded in return.

"Okay, time to meet the other two!" Marie clapped her hands together.

Back in the living room, Emmett had a game on in the background, Haley on his lap and happily playing with a teething ring. And it was thanks to her being on Em's lap that Esme couldn't hug him, but she greeted him just as warmly anyway. I kinda liked her already.

Next up was Haley.

"And who is this little darling?" Esme cooed.

My daughter, I wanted to scream.

Instead, I folded my arms over my chest and let Aunt Marie run the show.

It was best this way.

One day, Mrs. Culle—Esme…might learn the truth, but it wasn't today. No one was ready for that, least of all me.

"That is our little Haley. Bella and Emmett's baby sister."

There was a look of concern in Esme's eyes. The warm smile was still there, but her eyes were welling up. This was our cue to leave.

"Em, can you help me in the kitchen?" I asked.

He nodded, got up, and left Haley with Marie. On the way to the kitchen, he also threw the towel he'd had over his shoulder in the laundry.

We didn't really have any business in the kitchen, but Aunt Marie was telling our story to Esme, and we felt it would be easier if we weren't there.

It was basically the same lie we'd told Principal Banner, only with a few more details, both true and false.

A false tidbit was that Emmett, Haley, and I had been visiting with Aunt Marie the night our parents were murdered. Another one was the timing of when it happened. Once again, we couldn't say that they died over a year ago since Haley was supposed to be our sister.

Sitting silently by the kitchen counter, Emmett and I listened in on the conversation in the living room.

"Oh, that is awful! Poor souls."

"Yeah…" Aunt Marie sighed heavily. "It's been a hard time for them. The change of scenery has been welcoming for us all, though. I think it will get better here."

"I can't even imagine the suffering they must be going through. And this adorable child…she's so beautiful. She looks just like Bella and Emmett."

Emmett and I both looked up at each other and smiled.

If it weren't for Haley, we would still have nothing.

*o*o*o*

When we all sat down for dinner, I was first afraid the tension would be too thick, but I was immediately relieved when Esme and Aunt Marie dove into another talk about their gallery opening next month.

We left Phoenix a couple weeks ago and lived with our aunt before our condo was ready, but before we left Arizona, she traveled up here a few times to see Esme. First, there was finding a space for the gallery, then signing all paperwork, hiring a small staff…ugh, the list went on and on.

"Bella, Marie told me that you love photography?"

I set down my glass of Sprite, not having expected to be in the spotlight. It made me wish I had Haley here; she always made me feel more at ease. But she'd fallen asleep. "Um, yes, I do." I nodded. "It's been a hobby since I was little. It's relaxing."

It was actually Aunt Marie who'd given me my first camera—I was twelve.

"Too bad Forks High doesn't have any good art classes." Esme looked like she'd tasted something foul—perhaps my new school's curriculum. "Such a shame, really, but these days most favor science and math." She scrunched her nose, and I cracked a grin. "Are you starting your junior year this fall?"

I chewed and swallowed a piece of chicken before answering. "I am, but I'll only attend a couple classes in Forks. Um, I'm not really ready for more at the moment…" I trailed off, not really knowing what else to say. I wasn't really comfortable talking about it. "Maybe after Christmas. Emmett's starting his senior year now."

The stage is yours, bro!

"Oh, senior year!" Esme faced Aunt Marie. "They grow up so fast, don't they?" My aunt chuckled. "My son and daughter still have a year left until their senior year—" She grinned at me then. "They'll be juniors like you, Bella. But I can just feel them disappearing already. Hopefully they won't move across the country for college." Esme shook her head like she didn't want to think about that. "So, Emmett. I noticed your sister's oversized t-shirt. You don't happen to be a football player?"

Emmett grinned in return and gladly jumped in since the conversation turned to the topic of sports.

"Yeah, she likes to steal my shirts," he laughed. "And yes, I play football. I'll be there to try out before Hell Week."

Esme beamed. "Then I'm sure you will meet my son there. Edward—Jesus, he's obsessed with football. He's a running back, but I'm guessing you're not."

No, it was pretty obvious by my brother's form that he was a linebacker.

He was also a fucking great one. Back in Phoenix, he was the youngest player on the varsity team. The rest of the guys in his year were on the junior varsity. Not that we'd have that issue up here; Forks was so small that there was only one team.

"Nah, I'm there to fend off the enemies," he laughed.

The night continued with us getting to know each other. Esme and Marie emptied almost two bottles of wine, we ate dessert, and we talked more about art and their gallery in Seattle. It was a really nice evening, and I adored Esme. She was like fresh air that we desperately needed. We learned about her children, Edward and Ali—twins in my age. Ali was, according to Esme, a clown. She loved theater and was the president of the drama club, and she also loved makeup and costumes. Edward…well, he sounded like a regular jock. Emmett would no doubt love him.

It was close to midnight when we wrapped up. Esme called for someone to pick her up, and Emmett and I packed our stuff and loaded a sleeping Haley into the monster Jeep.

We left before Esme so that Aunt Marie, at my request, could ask Esme not to tell her children our story. We needed our privacy, and if we were going to the same school as Edward and Ali, we couldn't risk any rumors being spread.


If you have any questions, check the A/N at the top first ;)

I reckon there will be another chapter this weekend or sumfin'.

/Cara.