Author's Note: Okay, so this has been bouncing around in my head for a while now and I had to get it down before I forgot it. I believe this will be, at the most, four chapters long. Basically this is set after Edward leaves Bella in New Moon. It's definitely alternate universe. I'm sorry for any spelling and/or grammar mistakes. Also, anyone out there that reads my multi-chap fic, Life is Never that Simple, don't worry I'll have the next chapter out as soon as possible.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and all affiliated characters. I do however own Aria Swan. The text from the beginning (in italics) is from New Moon.
The Guardian Swan
Chapter One: Waking Up
October… November… December… January…
Time passes. Even when it seems impossible. Even when each tick of the second-hand aches like the pulse of blood behind a bruise. It passes unevenly, in strange lurches and dragging lulls, but pass it does. Even for me.
Charlie's fist came down on the table. "That's it, Bella! I'm sending you home."
I looked up from my cereal, which I was pondering rather than eating, and stared at Charlie in shock. I hadn't been following the conversation – actually, I hadn't been aware that we were having a conversation – and I wasn't sure what he meant.
"I am home," I mumbled, confused.
"I'm sending you to Renée, to Jacksonville," he clarified.
Charlie watched with exasperation as I slowly grasped the meaning of his words…
"Listen, honey. I think that – that maybe you need some help." …
"Maybe, well, maybe if you talked to someone about it. A professional."
"You want me to see a shrink?" My voice was a shade sharper as I realized what he was getting at.
"Maybe it would help."
"And maybe it wouldn't help one little bit." …
He examined my obstinate expression, and switched to another line of attack.
"It's beyond me, Bella. Maybe your mother—
"No." I flat-out refused.
"Bella," Charlie sighed.
"No, just no."
"Fine, then your sister." he answered back.
This threw me off. I was about to answer back when I thought he was going to tell me that I had to see a shrink. But my sister? That was the last thing I was expecting. I had not seen my sister… well half-sister in years. Not since the last time I had visited Charlie in the summer, before my permanent move to Forks.
My half-sister was about nine months younger than I was. She was also the result of the reason my parents had split up when I was only three months old. Charlie had cheated on Renée with some woman and it had ended up with her pregnant. Admittedly my parents had been having their problems since before I was even conceived. Renée had always wanted to travel and live in big bustling cities. She hated Forks and its small town life. So, when my mother found out about the infidelity and the pregnancy she packed up and left taking me with her. Renée was too proud to be caught up in such a scandal and she did not want the pitying looks that would surely come her way from the fellow townsfolk.
I shook my head to clear it and looked up at my dad with raised eyebrows, "Arianna? She's coming here?" Surely my ears weren't working correctly.
Charlie looked me square in the eye. "Yes, admittedly she was supposed to come and stay here a couple of months ago but—
He cut himself off but not before I flinched slightly. I took a deep breath before asking, "What do you mean by staying?"
"Now, Bella," Charlie started sternly, "I know you and Arianna weren't the best of friends when you were younger but you two did play nicely with each other. Granted that you two were the only kids around and both too shy to go and make friends with the kids from the Reservation."
It was true. While I had had every intention, as a child, to never get along with the girl whose mother split up my parents I ended up doing just that. We were both forced to come here during the summers by our mothers. It was the only time we saw each other and we decided we might as well make the best of it. Besides Charlie was right; we were both too shy to make friends with any of the kids around here. So instead we played with each other. And we had even kept in contact, somewhat, over the years. A letter here and there, then random emails to one another telling how we were doing and what crazy thing our mothers had done and had tried to get us to do. In fact, now that I thought about it I had gotten an email from Aria—
My head snapped up to Charlie as I gave him a questioning look.
"What is it Bells?" He asked me.
"Have you been calling her 'Arianna' to all the townsfolk?" I asked back with my eyebrow arched.
Charlie looked startled by my question, "Well, yeah, that is her name."
I sighed, "Dad, Aria isn't going to like that."
It only took a second for my dad to get it. My half-sister and I had been given very beautiful names – Isabella and Arianna – but we both preferred to be called by our nicknames; Bella and Aria. Out of the two of us, Aria was the more forceful about getting that correct.
"Well, um… she… hmmm…" Charlie trailed off. My lips twitched briefly. That single movement made me freeze. Was I about to smile? How strange. I couldn't be too sure. I didn't want to think about the last time I had done that.
"So when is she coming here?" I questioned.
"Actually, Bella, she's—
But he was cut off by the doorbell ringing.
"Dad? That's her isn't it?"
For an answer, Charlie got up and went out into the hall to open the front door. I stayed seated in the kitchen and listened as Charlie slid back the deadbolt and the familiar creak of the screen door was made. My throat felt dry and I belatedly realized that was the most talking I had done in months.
"Dad!" I exclaimed in happiness as Charlie Swan opened the front door of the house he had lived in for the past twenty years.
"Aria, how are you doing?" He asked giving me a one-armed hug.
"I'm doing well. Very excited to be living with you and Bella." I smiled, "Speaking of which, where is she?" I asked looking over his shoulder before turning my chocolate-brown eyes to meet his.
"She's in the kitchen," Charlie said aloud, and then in a whisper, "I just barely told her about you coming to stay… it's been a difficult past four months."
"Right," I responded in kind, "Because of that boy."
Charlie only grimaced in response before telling me I should head inside while he grabbed my suitcases out of the car. I simply handed him the keys to my 2004 Toyota Prius in dark blue, a gift from Veronica Marshall; my mother. I shook my head fondly at the thought of my mom. She was a trust fund baby who had learned the value of hard work early on in life – before she could get her hands on her trust fund money. My mom, unlike her three sisters, had not blown through said money like water. The only time she touched the money was if she absolutely needed too (which was a total of three times) and to buy me this car when I turned sixteen.
I quickly hurried inside and left the front door opened so Charlie could easily get inside. I walked past the living room knowing that the pictures from my dad's wedding to Renée along with all of Bella's school pictures would be displayed on the mantel. My own school pictures I knew were on display in my dad's small office/den on the first floor. I hurried into the kitchen and looked around. Not a thing had changed. The paint on the kitchen cabinets were in need of a paint job, the three kitchen chairs were as mismatched as ever, and the curtains that were once bright yellow were faded.
I turned my head over to the only other occupant in the room. And admittedly, I had wanted to do a double take. Thankfully, I stopped myself just in time and only cocked my head to the side and smiled (hopefully it didn't look forced). For the girl sitting at the small kitchen table didn't look…well. I knew her to be my half-sister only because of her eye color. Both Bella and I inherited the same shade of milk chocolate-brown eyes that Charlie had.
Bella had always been thin but now she looked unhealthy. Her blouse fit loosely on her and her hair hung limp around her face. Bella's cheek bones looked more prominent and her eyes were clouded over, as she gazed at me. No other expression on her face.
It was right then that I decided I was going to help her. This was not my smart, book obsessed, creative big sister. This was the shell of a broken girl. I was forcibly reminded of when we were seven and I had asked Bella to play princesses with me.
"Come on, Bella! Play princesses with me!" I begged using my best puppy dog eyes. I knew my big sister wasn't a fan of playing dress-up so I kept bugging her hoping she would give in.
"No, thank-you, Aria." Bella replied barely looking up from the book in her lap.
"But why not? Playing princesses is fun!"
"Because I'm not pretty like a princess." She stated as if this was a fact that everybody should know.
I looked at her in surprise before I laughed, "Don't be dumb Bella. You're smart, beautiful, and you love books. You're just like Princess Belle. You even look just like her!"
"So, I'm a princess who falls in love with a monster?" She asked. I sighed.
"He's not a monster; he's a prince who is very misunderstood." I assured her.
"Fine, I'll be Princess Belle. But then, who will you be?"
"Hmm…" I murmured twirling a long piece of my raven colored hair around my finger. "Well, I may have longer hair than her but I think I'll be Snow White." I proclaimed.
Bella laughed, "Well you certainly do look like her," and in a fake, somewhat mystical voice she continued, "With skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony, you are the fairest of them all!" We both giggled.
"Come on; let's go put on our dresses and make-up!"
"Bella, all princesses wear dresses!"
Bella spluttered before acquiescing, "Fine, but I'll have you know this will be torture."
I didn't realize it then, but Bella had always had confidence issues. I was willing to bet that this boy who broke up with her was the reason for the way she looked right now. Bella looked so broken and down trodden, it was just sad. For that, I wanted to track this boy down and force him to see what he'd done. Maybe even use the pepper spray, which Charlie always insisted that we carry, on him…
"Hello Bella, long time no see." I said. I didn't dare to ask her how she was feeling.
"Aria. It's good to see you." She said, getting up and coming over to me.
She was the same height as me but when I hugged her I could tell she was thinner than I was. At that moment Charlie came in carrying my bags.
"Ari, I'm going to put these in your old bedroom. The one right across from Bells. If you really want to start school today then I think you'd better start heading out. The both of you."
"You're starting school today?" Bella questioned.
"Yeah, its senior year and the last semester plus Dad already registered me so why not?"
"Right. I'm going to go get my bag." With that she hurried up the stairs and out of sight. I smiled briefly at Charlie before he too went upstairs. A few seconds later Bella appeared back downstairs.
"So, how exactly are we getting to school?" I asked, before she could answer I went on, "We could take my car if you wanted. Or we can take yours." I offered.
By this time we had made it outside.
"That's your car?" Bella asked she was staring at my Prius with a faraway look in her eyes and there was something in her voice that I couldn't quite identify.
"Yup." I replied turning away from her wondering what was wrong with my car.
"I think we should take my truck." She said.
"Okay." I replied, following her as she took off towards the driveway. I stopped short once I saw the mammoth of metal that she was in the process of unlocking. "Bella, are you sure that truck doesn't belong in a museum or something?"
Bella froze before turning around towards me and glaring at me. She actually glared at me!
"I'll have you know my truck has character! They don't make them like this anymore."
"I'm sure there's a reason for that." I muttered. Bella raised her eyebrow. Apparently I hadn't said that as quietly as I thought.
"Fine. Let's just get to school. I still have to get my class schedule."
Aria passed by me to the other side of the truck and waited for me to open the door for her. I did so with my mind whirling. The last time I had defended my truck was to him. I dared not to even think his name for fear of coming apart at the seams. It was honestly the last thing that I needed right now.
I easily drove to school. I had noticed Aria glance at the gaping hole in my dashboard a couple of times. It was where the radio that his siblings had given me for my eighteenth birthday had been. Before I tore it out with my bare hands. It wasn't my fault it didn't want to come out. I was glad that Aria hadn't asked about it. She probably didn't want to start something, after the comment she made about my truck in general.
When we made it to school it was still pretty early and I got out showing Aria to the office. Mrs. Cope was there sitting behind the desk, flipping through a magazine. When we came in she looked up at us and immediately zeroed in on Aria. My sister took the initiative and stepped forward to introduce herself while I stepped back.
But before she could say anything, Mrs. Cope interrupted. "You're Arianna Swan. The Chief's youngest daughter. It's a pleasure to have you come home."
"Yeah, it's nice to be back. I prefer actually to be called Aria." She said.
"Oh, of course. Well, here's your class schedule and a map. But I don't think you'll need it what with the help of your sister here. Also, have all of your teachers sign this slip and just bring it back to me at the end of the day." Mrs. Cope smiled.
"Thank-you, Mrs. Cope." Aria smiled before we left the office. Once we were safely outside the smile slipped off her face. "Dad's been calling me Arianna behind my back, hasn't he?"
"Afraid so." I replied, my lips twitching briefly as she groaned.
"Can you show me to my first class?" Aria asked as she thrust her schedule out to me.
I took the schedule from her and ran my eyes down the list of classes and their teachers. "Well, you don't have to worry about asking anybody where to go today."
"And why's that?"
"They gave you the exact same schedule as me. You're in all my classes."
"Huh. Well, all right then. Lead the way sis." Aria said. I nodded and handed her back the schedule.
We made it to our first period English class with two minutes to the bell. None of our fellow classmates looked up as we entered. They only started to pay attention as Aria walked up to the front to speak with the teacher. She handed him the slip which he signed and they spoke briefly. When the bell rang, Aria followed Mr. Berty to the podium.
"Class we have a new student joining us and she's agreed to introduce herself. I trust that you will all make her feel welcome."
With that he took a step back and Aria took a step forward.
"Hello. My name is Arianna Swan. Though I prefer to be called Aria. My father is the Chief of Police Charlie Swan. I used to live with my mother in Spokane until she was offered a job out of the state. And what can I say besides I love Washington too much to leave." She smiled.
"Thank-you Aria, why don't you take a seat?" Mr. Berty said.
There were a couple of open spots but my sister headed to the one right beside me… the open seat that had gone unoccupied for four long months… I was so consumed by my thoughts that I had missed the fact that Aria was whispering something to me until she nudged me in the shoulder.
"What?" I whispered my brown eyes large as I fought down the memories.
She looked at me with concern for a moment, more specifically at the arm I had wrapped around myself, before saying, "How is it that they can stare at me even though I'm sitting behind all of them?"
"I wondered that myself on my first day here as well. I still haven't figured it out." I muttered back truthfully.
It was lunch time and the table that I usually sat at was packed with only three seats open between Mike and Angela. My sister and I sat down and the table immediately converged on my sister. Jessica and Lauren were rapidly firing questions at her; Mike, Eric, and Tyler were openly staring at her. The people in surrounding tables were doing so as well. I looked around and noticed that not one single person had even glanced my way. Like I was invisible, faded into the background where nobody even noticed. I glanced at my sister again and even though she was politely talking to people and answering their questions, I could tell she wished they would leave her alone.
And then it hit me suddenly. I turned to my sister who had finally gotten to take a bite out of her lunch.
"What's today's date?" I wondered.
"It's January sixteenth." She replied after quickly gulping down the bite of pizza she had taken.
"What is it?" Aria asked.
"It was a year ago today that I had my first day here," I mused. Aria arched her eyebrow before unwillingly being pulled into a conversation with Jessica.
So, I finally got my wish. One year too late.
Author's Note: Okay, there you have it. I know some of you might be like, "Charlie wouldn't cheat on Renée! He loves her!" I know he wouldn't do that. But for the purposes of this story he did. Also the end of this chapter was taken from New Moon and is actually a conversation that Bella has with Angela and I know said conversation happened on the nineteenth of January (Monday) making Bella's first day of school at Forks the eighteenth of January. But I'm taking creative liberties and making Bella's first day of school on the sixteenth of January.
Anyways, please tell me what you think about this chapter. No flames, please. Constructive criticism is, as always, welcome.
~Acacia Rose Masen