I've brought in two new characters. One seems to bring a good element. The other, well just wait and see!
The trip back from Florida seemed a lot longer than the trip down. Vacationing with your best friends sounds like a fun time, but after 7 days you kind of get sick of each other. So, to minimize the time we spent in the car we tried to drive as far as we could before a break was absolutely necessary. We ended up making the 2 day drive into a day and a half drive by taking the shortest route. Once we made it back to Forks, the atmosphere in the car seemed to relax. We all knew that it meant we'd all be out of each other's space soon enough. Don't get me wrong, we all love each other dearly, but a few days of personal space were really needed.
When Emmett pulled up to his house at around seven in the evening, not many words were exchanged. We all helped unload his SUV, we said our good byes and hoped in our own cars and drove home. It felt so good to be back in a familiar place. I had forgotten how green and moist it was here. The place looked like it just hit by a summer storm. There were twigs scattered on the road and the pavement was newly wet. It felt like home, but the warmth and cloudless skies of Florida would be missed dearly.
When Edward dropped me off at my house, I noticed an unfamiliar vehicle parked behind my truck. It was a faded green Honda.
"Do you know who drives that?" Edward asked, handing me my duffel from the trunk.
"No idea," I slung the strap over my shoulder. "Better go find out."
"See you later." Edward quickly kissed me goodbye and got back in his Volvo. I walked up the path to the front door. Beyond the old brown door, I could hear the sound of a woman laughing. A woman? In this house? I opened the unlocked door and stepped inside. "Dad?" I shut the door.
"In the kitchen, Bells." I heard Charlie call out. He sounded overly cheery. I slid off my Converse before marching off to the kitchen. And sitting there, in the kitchen with a plate full of food, was a dark haired woman. A look of confusion crossed my face.
"Hey dad." I dropped my bag on the floor and strode over to Charlie. What was this woman doing in my kitchen? With my dad? Eating REAL food?
"Hey Bella! It's good to see you," He got up and wrapped me in a hug. This was still weird. "How was the drive back?"
"It was good," I said pulling away, noticing the woman was staring at me with a smile. "I'm sorry. But, who is this?"
"Oh," He said getting flustered. Charlie didn't get flustered. "Bella, I'd like you to meet Sue Clearwater. Sue, this is my daughter Isabella."
"It's so nice to finally meet you." The woman, Sue, said. She stuck out her hand.
"Nice to meet you too." I said shaking her outstretched hand. I was still trying to go over what was happening in my head. Charlie had a woman over and they were eating food that looked edible. When did this happen? I was only gone seven days!
"Charlie has told me so much about you." Sue added, picking up her fork and cutting off a piece of lasagna.
"Oh he has?" I said, raising a brow at my father. He blushed and sat back down. "I hope it was all good. How did you two meet?" I grabbed the chair next to Charlie and sat down, intrigued.
"You tell her, Charlie." Sue said with a smirk.
"Well," Charlie took a swing of his Vitamin R before he began. "I was on duty at the police station, and I got a call about some kid who was stuck on the cliffs out near the La Push border. So, I drove out there. And there was Sue. Her son happened to be the one stuck up there. So, I helped calm her down while the firefighters worked to get her son, his name is Seth, off the cliff ledge. And we kind of bonded."
"What did you bond over, exactly?"
"Oh, the fact that we were both single parents. Only she was raising two kids, a 12 year old and a 19 year old."
"And he tried to flirt with me a little." Sue added pointing her fork at him. Charlie blushed for the second time tonight.
"Flirting?" Disbelief coloring my tone. "Wow dad. I didn't know you had it in you."
"Well it worked. I gave her my phone number. This is the third night we've had dinner together." Charlie said, scraping up the last bit of sauce on his plate. "She is a fantastic cook. Almost as good as you, Bells."
I chuckled. "Well I wouldn't believe you made this, sorry dad. It looks amazing. Can I have a plate?"
"Absolutely," Sue said getting up. She'd obviously been here enough to know where the plates were. "Your dad told me you were off at Disney World. How was that?"
"Awesome! It was just as how I remembered it from 11 years ago. I didn't want to leave. But, I'm so glad to be back," Sue set a plate in front of me and served me up a nice square of lasagna. "I love my friends, but being with them for seven days can get tiring. Oh and two of my friends got engaged there."
"Who?" Charlie's voice spiked.
"Alice and Jasper," I shoved piece of the pasta cake into my mouth. Oh my god, this was amazing. Better than mine I have to admit. I swallowed before I continued. "He proposed at Magic Kingdom during the fireworks display at night. It was romantic. We got it on video."
"But they are fresh out of high school. What about their parents?" Charlie's face was laced with concern.
"I guess they were okay with it. I mean, Jasper is leaving for military camp the week before Alice goes back to school. I guess there was no better time than the present." I shoveled more of the lasagna into my mouth, cleaning my plate.
"Huh," Charlie said. He looked like he was about to say something, then thought better of it.
"If you think Edward and I are going to follow suit, dad, don't worry. We aren't ready for that kind of commitment yet." I saw him let out an easy breath. I was good at reading his mind. "Thanks for the food, Ms. Clearwater."
"Oh please, call me Sue. And you're welcome," She smiled. "I brought dessert if you want any."
"Oh, I think I'm going to go upstairs and get ready for bed. I'm tired. Thanks anyway." My chair scraped across the wooden floor as I got up. I took my plate to the sink before walking back over to hug Charlie. "See you in the morning, dad. It was nice meeting you, Sue."
As Charlie said, "Good night, Bella." Sue said, "Nice meeting you, too." I grabbed my duffel and walked to the stairs. As I climbed them I heard Charlie ask about dessert. I just shook my head and walked to my room.
My room was as exactly as I left it. There were clothes scattered on the floor and my bed was still unmade. I tossed my bag onto the ground; it slid and got stopped by my closet door. I flopped down backwards onto my bed and stared up at the ceiling. Charlie has a girlfriend. He managed to get a girlfriend in the seven days that I was gone, I thought. I smiled at the thought of someone else making my dad happy. It hasn't been like this in a long time. It was good for him. I was happy for him.
I heard the familiar ding of my phone from across the room. I groaned as I got up to get it. It was a text from Edward.
Edward: So who does the mysterious car belong to?
Me: A woman.
Edward: A woman?!
Edward: Way to go Charlie!
Me: lol I'll fill you in tomorrow. I'm going to shower and sleep.
Edward: Okay. Sweet dreams. Love you!
Me: Love you too!
I plugged my almost dead phone into the outlet before gathering my showering supplies and crossing the hall to the bathroom. On the way, I heard Charlie and Sue in the living room.
"She seems like a really sweet girl." They must be talking about me. Those gossipers! I crept toward the stairs and eavesdropped.
"Yeah. Bella is a good kid. I hope she can handle herself in New York." Charlie said. I could see the tops of their heads by the stairs.
"She seems like she'd fair well. Don't sweat it. You've got all summer." Sue's tan hand reached up and swept at his hair.
"It'll go by like that." Charlie snapped his fingers.
"Just live in the moment," Sue added. It looked like they hugged. "I gotta get going; can't leave Seth and Leah together without a referee too long."
"I'll walk you to your car." Charlie led her out the front door. I backed away from the banister and went to take my shower.
The past two weeks have pretty much been the same as they were before, with the addition of Sue stopping by every once and a while. I still cook and clean and do normal teenager things, but there was a different vibe in the house and around me. Everything seemed to be happier. Charlie seemed a lot happier with Sue in his life. And the outside happy vibe was coming from Alice. She called four days after we got back with wedding plans already.
"I want you to be my Maid of Honor Bella!" Alice chirped into the phone.
"What about Rose?" I asked, trying to keep the surprise out of my tone.
"She's going to be my other Maid of Honor. I have two best friends so they both get to be Maids of Honor. A few of my cousins are going to be the other bridesmaids plus some of Jaspers. So that makes sixteen bridesmaids."
"Sixteen Alice? Are you sure that's not too much?" I questioned.
"No! It's just enough. I want to keep the anticipation up for my walk down the aisle." Alice added and then abruptly hung up. I pulled the phone away from my face in confusion. Alright then.
Besides obscure calls from Alice about wedding plans, I've had planning to do of my own. I was prepping for my NYU orientation that was in a few weeks. I had all this paperwork to fill out and it was very boring. I still didn't have a roommate or a dorm assignment. I was starting to get stressed out but I knew I couldn't do anything about it. College was a stressful experience and I wasn't even in school yet.
Adding to the college stress, Charlie wanted to spend quality time together. Whenever he wasn't working he wanted to hang out and do things with me. We've gone fishing together and I've taken him to the movies. We've even watched a few pre-season games together. I know what he was trying to do; he wanted to get as much time with me in as possible. And it was great and all, but no one likes to be smothered by a parent. One night at dinner I had to tell him that he needed to ease up.
I don't know if it was to suck up some of my free time so Charlie wouldn't be all clingy or because I needed money for college, but I went out and got a job. I got a job at one of the chain bookstores in Seattle. I worked at the customer service counter in the center of the store. I helped people find books and stocked the shelves with the latest books. I was actually the first of my friends to get an actual job. So naturally, they all came by to gawk at me and just be general pain in the asses. Or maybe that was just Emmett.
"Excuse me?" Emmett had said the first day he came in. "Do you know where I can find the erotica section?"
"Excuse me?" He said the second time he came in. "Do you know where I can find the self-help books? I'm having trouble pooping."
Yeah, Emmett was a pain in the ass.
It was my sixth day on the job when he came in. I was on my break and sitting in the little café area reading the book I have to read for my college English class.
"I'm sorry to bother you," said a deep, unfamiliar voice. "But do you mind if I sit here. Everywhere else is full."
I looked up from the book and was met with these dark, almost black eyes. He had defined muscles under his tan skin. His cropped short black hair glistened from the rain outside.
"No, go ahead." I gestured to the seat. I took my feet down off of it and sat up. I didn't realize there were this many people in here. I looked out the window and saw that the rain was coming down, harder than normal.
"Thank you." The stranger said pulling out the green metal chair and popped a squat. I nodded and went back to my story.
"Ernest Hemingway? Interesting choice for light reading." He commented looking at my book.
"I wish it was light reading," I didn't look up from the page I was on. "It's for my college class."
"What college exactly?"
"Who wants to know?" I looked up from my page meeting his gaze. He had very boyish features, but he didn't sound like a teenager.
"I'm Jacob. Jacob Black." He said very bond like. "And you're Isabella."
"How'd you-" I stopped and remembered I had a nametag on. Duh. "Nevermind. And it's just Bella."
"Just Bella. Good to know." Jacob said. "How old are you, Bella?"
"You're not some creepy predator praying on innocent girls in bookstores are you?" I asked.
"Afraid not. That is not in my job description." A smile creeped up on his lips.
"I'm eighteen." I said. "How old are you?"
"I'm twenty-one." I knew it! No teenager has that deep of a voice.
"So, if you aren't a predator then what are you?"
"I'm a junior at Washington University, studying veterinary science. I want to be a vet." He leaned back in his seat, crossing his arms.
"I thought people studied that to become astronauts. I've been lied to," I added sarcastically. Jacob laughed.
"You're funny. And you still didn't answer my question."
"New York University."
"Ooo. Prestigious. If you go to school there, why are you here on the far opposite coast?"
"I don't go there, yet. I'm going to be a freshman. And I live here." I closed my book because obviously I wasn't going to read with him being all Nancy Drew. Who did this to a total stranger? Maybe if I gave him what he wanted, he'd leave.
"Ahh. Now it makes sense," He stared at me with a look of peaking interest. It was kind of uncomfortable. And just plain weird. "So, Bella. Are you single?"
And there it was. Too bad for him! Maybe now he'll move on to someone else and be creepy with her. "No, unfortunately for you, I have a boyfriend."
His look didn't waver. If anything, I saw something spark in his dark eyes. "That's always how it is. I can never catch a break."
"Sorry," I looked down at my watch and saw that I had four minutes to get back to work. "I hate to leave you hanging, but I gotta get back to work." I'd say it was nice meeting you, but that'd be lying.
"Of course. I'll see you around, maybe?" He followed me with his eyes as I got up.
"Maybe." I turned on my heel and stalked out of the café without looking back. I gave a little shudder as I walked to my station.
"I mean, it was like a scene straight out of a movie. Creepy stranger walks up to girl, has some weird obsession with her and then kills her because it doesn't work out."
I had my phone shoved between my ear and shoulder. I was retelling what happened early this afternoon to Rose and Alice through a three way call. I was also trying to pick out something to wear on my date with Edward in half an hour.
"I don't think you have to worry about the killing part," Rose said.
"Just don't wonder around Seattle by yourself at night." Alice chimed in.
"Why would I do that?" I pulled a ruffled blue top off the hanger and threw it on the bed.
"I don't know," Alice said. "Just be careful with this guy. Whether he said it or not, he sounds like a predator."
"Maybe he won't show up. Like you said, it was pouring outside and there were lots of people inside." Rose added.
"True. One can only hope." I plopped down on my bed.
"So, what are you and Edward doing tonight?" Alice said changing the subject.
"We're going to see that new horror movie. And then get dessert afterwards."
"Sounds like fun. We'll let you get ready. Talk to you later, Bella!" Alice said.
"Bye guys." I hung up the phone and then got up to get changed.
"That was interesting." Edward said as we walked out of the theater in Port Angeles. It was almost completely dark outside.
"By interesting, I hope you mean disturbing." I half-laughed. We were walking hand and hand to the ice cream parlor down the street. "If you were faced with that decision, would you do it?"
I looked up at him. "I don't have any personal vendettas against anyone, so I'd probably just hide out in my house. What about you?" He looked down at me with his deep green eyes.
"Oh, I'd so go out and start on my hit list." I joked.
"You, Isabella Swan, have a hit list?" Edward looked at me with a raised brow. He looked so sexy like that.
"Of course I do. You never know when you're gonna need it." We had stopped at a crosswalk.
"Who is on this hit list?" He hit the button to make the lights change.
"No one in particular. Just a few people." I let that hang there as we crossed the street and walked into the small store. It was a cute little ice cream place with about six tables inside and four outside. There were pink and blue accents all around the room. We got in line behind an old lady and two little kids.
"What do you want?" Edward asked looking at the array of ice cream flavors in front of us.
"Mint chocolate chip cone dipped in chocolate." I wrapped my arm around his waist to collect his body heat. Even though it was warm outside, it was freezing in here. He wrapped his arm around me and chaffed his hand against my goose bump ridden arm.
"How can I help you guys?" One of the workers dressed in a blue polo asked us.
"She'll have a mint chocolate chip cone dipped in chocoloate," Edward paused contemplating his order. "I'll have a cookie dough cone with caramel."
The nice lady nodded and got to work on our order. When we got it paid for we took our cones outside and sat at one of the tables. The moon was finally up in the sky and it was shining really bright. There weren't many cars. The night was very peaceful.
"You excited for next week?" Edward asked after a while.
"Yeah, I guess." I took a bite out of the hardened chocolate coating.
"Oh come on," He said. "You're going to be in New York City. There's got to be more enthusiasm than that."
"I'm excited because I'll be in NYC. Not excited because it means one step closer to college. I mean, I am excited for college, "I took a deep breath. "I'm afraid."
"Bella," He looked at me, like really looked at me. You know, one of those I'm going to be serious looks. "What are you afraid of?"
I looked down at my half eaten melting cone. The ice cream was dripping onto my hand and down onto the table. I whispered, "Everything."
"Hey," Edward reached his hand across the table and lifted my chin up. "There is nothing to be afraid of."
"How do you know?" I reached for one of the paper napkins to wipe my sticky hand off.
"Because everything will work out just fine. I promise you." He said taking the last bite of his cone and putting it in his mouth.
"That's a hefty promise to keep, Cullen." I said, smiling a little. I decided the rest of my cone was a lost cause so I got up to pitch it.
"When have I ever broken my promises?" He smirked that perfect crocked smile. He tossed his napkin in the trashcan and we headed back to his Volvo.
It was a quiet ride back into Forks. The radio was turned down low and our hands were intertwined over the center console. I had my head turned and was looking at the passing trees out the window. My mind began to wonder to uncharted territory I'd visited since before vacation.
If Edward wasn't considering Julliard as a school, then what was going to happen to us? If he intended to go to one of these schools in Washington, then it'd mean we'd be one of those couples. We'd have to make the long distance thing work. And everyone knows that it never works. Everyone says that you aren't meant to keep your high school relationship outside of high school. But, I don't see myself with anyone but Edward. And I didn't want to lose him over something like distance.
"Bella, everything okay?" Edward asked. I didn't realize that we'd stopped in front of my house. Instead of saying that I was fine, something else decided to make its way out.
"Why haven't you told me about Julliard?" I blurted out. I felt the hand holding mine tense up. I slowly looked over at him. Oh shit.
I thought about many different Jacob's for this story and this is the one I'm rolling with. Cliffhanger fun! Thanks for reading xoxo