Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, quotes, settings, etc., are the property of their respective owners and are simply used under 'fair use'. The original characters are the property of Stephenie Meyer. I am in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement intended. This story is written for legally recognized adults. Rated MA

A/N: This is my first time writing, so I hope it doesn't disappoint! POV will always be from Bella.

Thank you to my amazing Betas: L and HollettLA, as well as Twidictedteach and AnnaKatherineC who helped beta and pre-read for me at the very beginning.

Love you ladies! I listened to every word you said and couldn't have done this without you. Thank you!

Story inspired by - "Into the Night" by Benny Mardones - watch?v=4aWhn0Hc8ps


"Separated by Fools"

Chapter 1

It's the beginning of summer. I'm stepping off the plane at Sea-Tac, about to head to a town that hasn't felt like home in years: Forks, Washington. Population... Who really fucking cares? I don't. And if anyone couldn't tell, I don't want to be here. I keep thinking to myself, "You get to spend time with your dad. Suck it up. It will be okay. Deep breaths."

I scan the airport looking for my dad, Charlie, one of Forks' finest. He is the chief of police. I see families hugging, couples kissing, and as I grab my luggage from the baggage claim area, Charlie is suddenly standing next to me. "Let me get that for you, kiddo," he says.

"Hi, Dad. Good see you." It really is good to see him. I just wish I didn't have to live in bum-fuck-nowhere to enjoy his company.

"Wow, Bells. You're so grown up now. You look great," he tells me, giving me a once-over.

"Thanks," I say, as we gather my bags and head toward the place that will be my home. We are in his police cruiser and don't say a whole lot to each other. Charlie is not much for words, and I guess I take after him in that sense.

I came to live with my dad in Forks because my mom, Renee, is off with her new husband, Phil. He is in Minor League Baseball and is trying to get signed to a new team. My mom doesn't want me home alone, because I've gotten into some trouble in the past, so here I am, back in Forks, the most boring town in the Pacific Northwest. It is what it is. Oh, and did I mention it's the summer before my senior year in high school? I'm about to turn seventeen, and I have to start a new school year with people I don't know. Nice.

My mom and dad got married right out of high school and had me soon after. She wanted to go to college, to start her own catering business, but never got the chance since she became a stay-at-home mom. I think my mom resented my dad for that. After their divorce, I came out to visit my dad every summer until I was eleven, and by then I just couldn't stand spending all summer in this dreary little town. My dad and I email often and talk on the phone every other week, so it's not like we're distant. And my parents are still cordial to each other, so at least it isn't awkward between them.

We pull into the driveway and the house is exactly as I remember. White with a grey roof, lots of windows, two huge trees in the front, and a couple of steps that lead to the front door. I'm very clumsy and I remember the few times I fell, tripping down these exact same steps. As I walk into the house, I look around. The house is tidy and dust-free. I imagine my dad hired someone to help him with the upkeep since he's not exactly the cozy homemaker type, and I'm nearly 100% certain he doesn't have a "lady friend" to clean for him. The furniture looks fairly new and there is a flat screen TV.

I follow Charlie upstairs as he carries my luggage to my room. There is a full-sized bed, a small desk, and a dresser. I'm a fairly simple girl, so this will do just fine. As long as I have a lamp and a bed, I'm cool.

"I have a friend who comes by and straightens out the house once a week. She also cooks meals for me for the week, puts them in containers, and throws them into the freezer. I just defrost and heat up. I can have her make extra for you," Charlie mentions as he stands in the doorway of my room.

"Don't be silly, Dad. I can cook and clean. There's no need to pay someone to do it now that I'm here. I love cooking and don't mind the cleaning. It will occupy some of my time."

"Well, if you're sure... I can call Esme and tell her she doesn't have to worry so much about me anymore," Dad mumbles as he toes the corner of the carpet.

"Who's Esme? Is she your girlfriend?" I question, a bit surprised that he has a girlfriend. Good for him.

"No. Esme lives across the street. She is married to Dr. Carlisle Cullen. You met their daughter, Alice, right before you moved away." He has kind of a glum look on his face.

"Oh. I don't remember them. That seems like forever ago," I say not wanting to remember.

~*~*~*~*~SBF~*~*~*~*~

Dad went to work this morning, and I thought I'd go into town to do some sightseeing. He gave me money and told me he'd check on me a little later. I pass various stores, mostly just window-shopping. I come to an antique store and walk in. I see little trinkets that remind me of my mom. God, I miss her. I'll have to call her soon. I come across some cute stationery sets that I have to have. One is a Victorian set, one is a Parisian set, and another one is a badass skull set. I pick up all three. They are too cute to pass up.

Next, I walk into J & P Produce to pick up some fresh fruit. I grab apples, bananas, oranges, and peaches. They're ripe and look and smell delicious. There is nothing like snacking on fresh fruit in the middle of the night. I have insomnia, and I don't like to eat anything too heavy late at night.

As I head toward the checkout, I hear a giggle and turn my head.
I see a beautiful girl with long brown hair and a big smile, practically skipping her way toward me. "Hi! I'm Alice. You're Bella, right?"

"Uh... yeah, hey. I mean, hello." It's weird that she knows my name. Being the new girl back in town, I knew all eyes would be on me. I was kind of hoping I would be able blend in, that no one would pay attention to me. But in a town as small as Forks, everyone knows everything about everybody else. If there's any gossip, it spreads through town like wildfire.

"You probably don't remember me, but we were friends when we were younger," the bubbly girl tells me. "My family moved to Forks just before you moved away with your mom," she reminds me, like I can remember that far back.

"Oh. I'm sorry; I don't remember that," I tell her. I tried to block out as much as I could from back then. The arguments between my mom and Charlie had been pretty bad before the divorce. Once I moved, I tried not to think too much about my childhood in Forks.

"That's all right. I already know we're going to be great friends," she declares. "If you aren't busy, you can hang out with me. I was just about to head to the diner for some lunch." The invitation is plain in her voice, coupled with the pleading look on her face. Something tells me that no one has ever told Alice Cullen "No, thanks."

I end up sitting across from Alice in the town's small diner while she gives me a rundown of every high-school-aged person around us. The information is endless: who boffed whom, who fought over whom, and who I should steer clear of. The drinkers, the party animals, the nerds, the jocks, the underachievers, the nice people, the smart ones. The list goes on and on and on. I have a feeling that by the end of our meal I will know more about the kids I will be going to school with than their parents.

After I polish off my veggie burger and Alice finishes her chef salad, she offers me a ride home. I have spent most of my afternoon with her and managed to totally forget that this is the Alice who lives across the street from me. Once I'm in the driveway, I gather my bags and we make plans to go shopping tomorrow in Port Angeles.

After dinner later that evening, I grab some clothes and head to the single bathroom to take a hot shower. As I stand in the steaming stream of water, I think about how I can find something to occupy my time while I'm here in Forks. Maybe do some volunteer work? Find a job? I can't just sit here in the house and do nothing all summer.

Without reaching any conclusion, I leave the pleasant heat of the shower, pull on my pajamas, and climb into bed. It's only 8:30 p.m., but I've had a long day. I need to call my mom. I am nearly in tears just from the sound of her voice, but I lie and tell her that I am adjusting just fine. I even tell her I made a new friend, briefly mentioning Alice in an effort to assuage her conscience for sending me away. I promise to tell her more over the weekend and end my call. I fall asleep a few minutes later.

~*~*~*~*~SBF~*~*~*~*~

I wake up to squealing laughter, which I can only assume is Alice because her voice is recognizable. I suppose it could be Charlie, but he doesn't have a soprano voice... and he doesn't squeal either. Ever. I make my way downstairs and find Alice and my dad at the kitchen table drinking coffee.

"Morning, Bells. Alice stopped by to see if you were ready to go to Port Angeles." Dad reaches for his wallet and pulls out some cash. "Here's some money for you to buy some new things for yourself."

"It's okay, Dad. I don't need anything," I say as I push his hand back.

"Please? Consider it a welcome home gift. Go buy yourself something nice," he says pleading with me. I feel a little bad about taking his money. But if it makes him happy, who am I to say no?

As we head into Port Angeles, I listen absentmindedly as Alice talks my ear off. I tune her out, but I manage to catch something about a party. I'm not really paying much attention to her, so I'm not really sure what she's said about it. In any event, I don't really do parties. Alice pulls into the Alley Cat Boutique, and we look around for a while. Port Angeles is bigger than Forks, but I'm surprised it has a shop this good. I love vintage shopping and feel fortunate to find a cool vintage hot dog tee and a black leather jacket. Alice buys a kick-ass pink dress, something I would never wear, and a clutch. We do a little bit more shopping before heading back to Forks and home.

~*~*~*~*~SBF~*~*~*~*~

After Charlie leaves for work the next morning, I decide to head to the library. This town is so small, there isn't much else to do.

As I'm about to leave, I hear someone calling after me.

"Hey, Bella! Wait up," Alice says, as I roar my truck to life. The truck is another welcome back gift from Charlie. It's a red, 1963 Chevy C-10. It's exactly the vehicle for me.

"What's up, Alice?" I ask her as I go through my cassettes. Yes, I know cassettes are old school, but then again, so is the truck.

"A few of us are getting together at my house. We're having a welcome home party for my brother. He just came back from school last week," Alice tells me with a bright smile on her face.

"Uh, I don't know Alice. I just barely got into town and still need to get settled in. Rain check?" I ask hoping she doesn't press the issue.

"Sure, no pressure. If you change your mind, come over," Alice says, with this annoying smirk on her face.

"Thanks, Alice. See ya around." I nod as I pull out of the driveway. I think to myself, "Why don't you want to go? You're new in town and need to be more sociable. How are you going to meet new people if you keep yourself locked up in an empty house?"

~*~*~*~*~SBF~*~*~*~*~

That night after I finish putting away the dishes from dinner, I make my way upstairs. It is still fairly early, but I want to spend some time alone in my room for a while. I crawl onto the bed and begin looking at photos from back home. Pictures of my mom, Phil, my friends, and how happy I was. I'm glad to be here with Charlie, don't get me wrong... but I just wish I hadn't needed to move just before my senior year.

Dad has been alone for so long, and with Phil trying to get signed to a team, I don't mind being here with Charlie, to take care of him. He doesn't really have anyone else except me.

Some time later, I open my eyes, sit up, and stretch. I don't remember falling asleep, but I guess I dozed off. I look at my wall clock and it's nearly one in the morning.

Dad is working the graveyard shift, so I'm home alone. Since I'm now wide awake, I decide to write to Mom. I pull out my new stationery - the Paris-themed set - and sit by the window. I know I can email her, but there is something so personal about writing a letter. No one does it anymore, and I love getting letters in the mail. Not just some random piece of junk mail, but a real letter that someone's taken the time to sit down and write out.

I write about how my first week in Forks has gone, about shopping with Alice, and how much I really miss her and Phil. I put my letter to my mom into the matching envelope, and as I dig around my desk for a stamp, I happen to glance up and see a figure across the street.

I drop to the floor, crawl to turn off the light, and sit on my knees. As I peek out the window from the bottom of the windowsill, I can only see darkness and the eerie yellow glow from the streetlight. As I squint my eyes in effort to see better, I catch a little puff of smoke. Someone is there, just outside the halo of light from the street lamp, smoking a cigarette.

At first, I think I'm being paranoid. Dad is only a phone call away if I need him. I get up and turn my light back on to find my book of stamps. I put the stamp in place and set it on the desk to mail out in the morning.

I see something out of my peripheral vision and look up to see an older guy with wild, disheveled hair leaning against the light post. I don't think I'm staring, but I guess I am, because he gives me a big "I-see-you-lookin'-at-me" smirk, followed by a gigantic, goofy-ass wave!

I giggle-snort and wave back just as wildly, before turning off the light and heading back to bed.

Something tells me I'm really going to like it here in Forks.