The 8 survivors watched as their home planet was blown to bits. The Captain could hear the cries of the few he had managed to save and although he wanted to comfort his wife he had bigger problems to worry about. The debris from the blast was threatening to tear the already damaged ship apart. Even if they made it away from the blast radius the Volturi and its guard would hunt them to the end of their days. All life from Kreon was ordered to be wiped out.
Just as the thought crossed his mind an enemy ship opened fire on the refugees.
The captain knowing that the ship could take no more damage could only hope for the best as he put in the forbidden solar system and made the hyper jump.
I'd never thought much about my future or where my life would take me. I suppose that's not an ideal statement coming from a high school senior, but it's true.
My life had always been about making it through the moment. I don't need a psychiatrist to tell me that's a direct result of my mother dying when I was 8 and me being handed over to my 19 year old Aunt Renee.
Renee was well….a free spirit, so to speak. She was beautiful, carefree, and spontaneous. Renee fought against me going into foster care after my mom was hit by a drunk driver and killed. My dad wasn't listed on my birth certificate so my Aunt Renee was the only next of kin alive. She did what many 19 year olds couldn't and she raised me as best she could. I will always be indebted to her for that.
I love her to death but Renee is not a traditional parent. She became my guardian at the point in her life when partying and dating was her main focus. She adjusted and learned along the way.
So when she asked me about college over breakfast it took me by surprise. I was shocked that she even thought about me continuing my education past high school. I hadn't even thought about it so I really didn't have an answer. I was at a standstill in my short life.
I must've taken to long to answer because she continued with "Bella have you even thought about college or whatever you want to do after you graduate? Honey it's only a semester away." She ran her hand through her thick brown hair, her doe eyes searching mine for something. People often though I was Renee's sister as we had the same hair and eye color and Renee still looked extremely young.
I eyed her suspiciously as she pulled my toast from the toaster and buttered it before placing it in front of me. It was burned exactly the way I liked it.
"Uh no…why the sudden interest in college Renee?" I had to ask, until today she hadn't mentioned anything about future plans. My Aunt has never been known for her planning or thinking ahead. I chewed on my burnt toast and watched her curiously.
"Well I know your mom wanted that…..she did leave you a college trust fund. That's a pretty clear indication of what she wanted… besides," she continued, "you're an adult now and you should really be thinking about what's next." She looked at me with a blank expression. I could tell something was up. She was keeping her voice light but she was fidgeting. She only fidgeted when she was nervous or uncomfortable.
My mom had not only left me a college fund but several life insurance policies in which I will receive on my 18 birthday in two weeks. I was far from rich but money wasn't the problem as far as school was concerned. If I was responsible and got, at the very least a part time job, I could live very comfortably.
"I guess I need to start looking or maybe I'll just sit out a year or two, enjoy being free for a while" I shrugged "no rush is there?" I left the question on the end so she could just tell me what she needed to. Renee wasn't exactly a straightforward person and getting information from her was like pulling teeth.
She sighed and looked at me "Phil asked me to marry him."
My head snapped back up "huh" and then I saw the large diamond on her finger. Phil was a rich computer nerd who had made a fortune designing software. He was also my Aunt's longtime boyfriend.
"He asked last night at dinner. I told him yes but not until you had graduated high school and was off on your own. I need to know that you will be fine." She looked away and continued on "He wants to sail the carribean and tour Europe next year. He also wants me to go with him." If I didn't know any better I would swear she looked guilty, worried even.
Europe? I knew she wanted to go or we wouldn't be having this conversation. Which also meant she wanted to marry him.
I was stunned I didn't know they were this serious. I got over my shock and hugged her. Renee had given up her youth and whatever dreams she had to care for me. I would not let her give up another.
"That's wonderful!" I was really happy for her and she deserved Phil, he was a nice guy.
"Thanks sweetie I just don't want you to feel as though I'm rushing you out. Phil's been trying to persuade me for months to tie the knot, I just wanted to wait until you were stable."
"Oh Renee stop putting your life on the backburner for me you've given me so much. I want you to be happy." I needed her to know I was excited so she wouldn't be worried about me. I made a mental note to make some plans to show her by January so she could think about herself and not me. "Hey how are we gonna celebrate!"
Renee laughed and said "Let's talk about that after school you're gonna be late." I could tell a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders by me taking the news well. What had she expected me to do throw a fit? True she was my only living family but I owed her so much I would never deny her happiness.
I ran upstairs to get my things from my room. While I'm giving myself a once over in the mirror I realize that in 15 days I would be 18, a legal adult. Until today I had really only thought of it as just another birthday but now I had to make my first grownup decision. The unknown has always scared me and this time was no different. I grabbed my things and hurried out.
"Don't worry about college it's only October I've got plenty of time I'll see you later, congrats" I yelled as I ran out of our apartment.
Angela was already outside waiting for me when I exited our building. She was leaning against the new Camaro she'd gotten for her 18th birthday a little over a month ago. Her mom had wanted to get her something more classic like a BMW or something of that nature. Angie however wanted pure American muscle. Much to her moms dismay her doting father obliged. Just as he had when she wanted to take up kickboxing, karate, and riding dirt bikes.
Angela has been my best friend since 7th grade. We've been inseparable every since she stopped the schools meanest girl from cutting off my ponytail. Angela was African American, her skin was cocoa colored and smooth, she had hazel eyes, long thick black hair, and a body to die for. She was undeniably beautiful. Our family life was opposite in every way she was from a two parent, upper class family. Her mom was a heart surgeon and her father was an aeronautical engineer. She had an older brother who was currently at an Ivy league college. People expected her to be stuck up, but Angela was the funniest most down to earth person I'd ever met.
And right now she had a weird expression on her pretty face.
"What's wrong Angie?" I asked
"Have you not seen the news?" she squealed. "The school has been destroyed. I'm talking burned to the ground."
"What! Wait are you joking?" I couldn't believe Easthaven High was burned down. Maybe Ange was exaggerating she had a tendency to be overly dramatic.
"No schools cancelled for the day lets go to Bree's house and watch it on the news." She headed to the driver side door and climbed in. Katy Perry blarred from the speakers when she turned the ignition.
Kiss me K kiss me…..
Bree was our other bestfriend. She was the newest to our group moving here the middle of our Freshman year, the product of a divorce. But it was like we'd known her all our lives.
I was stunned, the school was burned down? Why, how? "Angie do you know what happened? Was it an accident or intentional?"
"I have no idea. Another parent called my mom and told her this morning."
She began to bob her head to the music as we rode down the California street. Forks Haven was a beautiful town, it wasn't a big city but far from a small town. The beach drew in thousands during the summer months as the sand here was gorgeous and the water was clear blue. The temperature never really dropped below 70 degrees so beach activities where year round. Unlike some of the other California towns that ran up and down the coast Forks Haven was bigger with a bigger work force so it wasn't restricted to just the wealthy.
I loved it here and never really considered leaving. My mom was buried here and I'd never even left the state before. Could I leave here and start a life somewhere else. I admitted to myself long ago that I was terrified of leaving home. At a young age my life was uprooted and changed overnight. I clung to familiarity as if my life depended on it. The first few years after my mom died I was terrified of being away from Renee, always afraid she wouldn't come home.
It only took us about ten minutes to get to Bree's house. She lived here with her dad a writer for the local newspaper. She opened the door seconds after we rung the doorbell as if she was on the other side waiting for us. "It's all over the news." she said calmly. Bree was originally from New York and was always so cool and collected. Her mom still lived there and she spent all of her summers and Christmas since freshman year on the East coast. I always missed her when she was gone.
"Has the news released any information?" I asked as we walked to the living room .
"No…just that its under investigation" she replied "In other words they have no clue." - wasn't exactly crime infested so something like this would have to be an accident. "My dad is there now trying to get some info for the paper."
"I wonder what the school board will do about classes. This is our Senior year!" Angela was in dramatic mode as we plopped on the sofa to watch the news broadcast.
"Easthaven High is still in flames. Fire departments from surrounding counties are assisting the local department with containing the blaze. No word yet from authorities on what started the raging fire. Word in from the school board that students may be split up to finish the remainder of the school year at other area high schools as the school has already been burned beyond repair…"
We sat there for a few minutes and let the realization set in that we didn't have a school. The possibility that the three of us could possibly be separated for our senior year was incomprehensible.
Bree was the first to speak. "We can't be split up" she said it softly as if it was more to herself than us. Bree didn't always like Forks Haven so much. With her midnight hair, pale skin, and vivid blue eyes set in her angelic features she was gorgeous. But she didn't always fit in with her sophisticated East coast style and her cool attitude. Our town was filled with deeply tanned California girls with sun streaked hair, Bree stuck out like a sore thumb. It also didn't help that she was turning the eye of every guy in school without trying. She ate alone her first three days at Easthaven until Angela asked her to join us. I think secretly Angela had felt a kinship to her for being sort of an outsider being only one of a handful of black students to attend Easthaven.
Since then we had become the three most popular girls in school. We didn't really care about that it just was. Angela's personality drew people to her like moths to flames and once people got to know Bree she was just as fun to be around. It also didn't hurt that all of us were considered hot by the schools male population. All the boys wanted to date us and all the girls wanted to hang out with us. The popularity I could live without my friends I could not. In a way they were my family. My sisters.
Angela was in the process of getting hysterical when my cell phone rang. It was Renee…"Hey I just saw the news where are you?"
"Don't worry about me I'm at Bree's, school was canceled."
"Ok I was just checking, get as many details as possible and I will see you tonight Phil's coming to take us to dinner at 7 so don't be late."
I'm sure she had told him about our conversation this morning and this was sort of a celebration dinner. After she hung up I just kind of looked at the cell phone quietly for a minute. Angela knew me better than just about anyone in the world and she instantly asked "What's wrong Bella?"
"My aunt wants me to make a decision about school, she asked me about my plans at breakfast." I saw the two of them exchange a look and then Phil spoke up.
"Well Bella you haven't exactly made any plans. You can go to any college you want, but you don't seem to be interested in anything after graduation. We've even asked you about college, it would be great if all of us could go together. She paused for a minute "So what are you gonna do? I'm sure she's just worried about your future"
"That and she's getting married." I slumped back in the couch and let out a huge sigh. "Phil asked her last night."
Angela frowned " I thought you liked him? I mean he is a little nerdy but cute and rich too. Renee could do a lot worse."
"I do Ange, Phil's is great. I just ….." I cut my sentence short I didn't like discussing the fact that in times like this I wish my mother was here. And now more than ever I felt like an orphan. Renee had been great and did all she could to make up for the absence but I missed my mom. Renee had done her job and was anxious to have a life of her own and I couldn't blame her, but where did that leave me? I knew she wasn't trying to callously get rid of me yet that didn't change the outcome.
Bree, who immediately understood, said "You're worried about being alone aren't you." It was more of a statement than a question. She had this uncanny ability to read people like books.
"Selfish isn't it?" I muttered.
"No it's normal Bella. Renee is the only family you have." Angela had crushed me in a hug. "I am always here, always remember that."
"That goes for me too Bella. The three amigos forever." Bree joined the hug
I knew that were trying to make me feel better but the absence of family is something they would never understand. Each of them had both parents, Aunts, Uncles, and dozens of cousins. Both sets of Angelas grandparents were still alive and well. They would always have someone to turn to, someone that was connected to them by DNA. If anything ever happened to Renee I would be utterly alone .
"Okay stop before the tears start to flow"..I was laughing as I said it.."let's get back to the original topic. Do you guys think someone set the school on fire?" I was anxious to change the topic and I was curious about the school.
"Why would anyone want to burn down Easthaven?"