Chapter 1: The woods are calling me.
Instructions for a walk in the woods
- Never turn around to check behind you. You’ll see nothing, but once you start doing it you won’t be able to stop, and an ominous feeling will follow you until you don’t lock your house’s door behind you.
- If you stand very still and listen you will hear the woods calling for you. Don’t answer. Never answer.
- You’ll hear things quietly following you, hidden in the trees by your sides. It’s okay, they’re just checking on you.
- Don’t be scared, but be really, really wary.
- If you have a bad feeling about taking a certain path, don’t. You’ll avoid whatever is waiting for you at the end of it.
- You never know what may be buried under the soil you’re walking on. Remember that every time you take a step. Pray that whatever it is, it won’t wake up.
- Make sure you remember the way back home. As soon as you get lost, you’re just another piece of fresh meat.
“I can’t believe she didn’t tell me.” I saw April looking at the cup of coffee I was holding, the liquid threatened to spill over the edge as I paced through the room. Maybe I shouldn’t be drinking coffee this late, I had an early class tomorrow.
“It was a Vegas wedding. I think it was kind of… a last-minute decision.” April stood up as she said this and reached for the cup in my hand. April had been my roommate for almost a year and a half now. I had known nobody when I moved into my college dorm. Most of my old classmates wanted to move as far away from home as possible. I couldn’t do that. I had to stay close to home, in case Renee needed me.
“With husband number 3 she forced me to wear that ugly pink dress but at least she told me, and I was there. I can’t believe she didn’t tell me. I can’t believe she didn’t invite me.”
Renee had e-mailed me this afternoon, while I was still in class, that she had gotten married on her trip to Vegas. She had thought it was hilarious and even included a picture of her and husband number 4. She was wearing a short white dress and had written under the picture ‘I look a bit like Marilyn Monroe, don’t you think?’
I had congratulated her on her marriage, said she looked great and had told her I was doing fine in school. I was glad she hadn’t called. I don’t think I would’ve been able to sound sincere while congratulating her.
“I understand that your angry but maybe you should talk to her.” I turned around to face April who was still standing next to the bed. I had turned too quickly, and the coffee spilt over my cup and landed on the linoleum floor. Coffee forgotten and I just stared at her in anger. I should call Renee. No! I wasn’t in the wrong here. Renee should call me.
April kept quiet. She knew her friend just needed to get this off her chest. She had only once met Bella’s mother and didn’t really like the women. Sure, she was nice enough, but she acted as if the whole world revolved around her.
“I should talk to her? She should be the one to make the first move. She is in the wrong here April. Not me!” I looked down at the spilt coffee and sighed. Can’t anything go right? I should probably clean up the coffee spill.
“She should’ve told me,” I whisper once more before sitting down on the bed next to April.
April didn’t say anything, she just put her arm around me. Holding me together. “I know I’m probably making a big deal out of nothing and I certainly can’t change anything about what has happened. I just wish she would think, just once, before she acts.”
“It will be alright. Tomorrow is the last school day before the holidays start and if you don’t want to go home for Christmas you are free to come home with me and celebrate Christmas with me and my granny.”
I smile at her with the tears that have gathered in my eyes threatening to spill over. What would I do without April?
April, who had grown up with her gran, having lost her parents in a car crash when she was only 3 years old. She had told me once that she remembered them only vaguely, but the pictures her gran had hanging everywhere help her never to forget the faces of her parents. There was a picture of her parents when they went to their prom. April had shown her that picture and they had both laughed. And a picture of her parents holding April when she was just a baby. April had told her that there was at least one picture of her parents in every room at her gran’s.
Hearing this had almost made me cry. Because the only picture I had from my dad was the one picture of him in his police uniform. I suspected that that was also the picture they had used at his funeral. There were no pictures of me and my dad. Or even of my dad and my mum together. Only that one picture, which I had found in the attic when I was hiding from mum because of some argument we had had. I remembered asking Renee who the man in the picture was. Renee had told me that that was my dad and that she didn’t want to talk about it.
“So, tell me more about husband number 4,” April said after she had poured me and herself a new cup of coffee.
“His name is Phil; he is a Minor league baseball player and almost 10 years younger than my mother. So, god knows how long that relationship will last. I give it 5 years, max.” I laugh and take a sip of my coffee. It’s still too hot to drink and I feel the liquid burn the tip of my tongue.
“I’m overreacting, I know but it just hurts. It’s always been just the two of us. She married husband number 2 when I was 5 years old. And I was so happy because I was finally normal. I had a mom and a dad just like every other kid in my class. He was nice and even if he wasn’t my real dad, it was okay. Because he did dad-things like picking me up form school. He left 2 years later. Then there were a whole bunch of boyfriends. And then it was husband number 3, I was 13. He wasn’t like husband number 2 at all. He shouted a lot and got angry quickly. And now she’s got a new husband. Is it bad that I don’t really care anymore? After college, I plan on moving far, far away and never looking back.”
April just shrugged.
“Your granny won’t mind if I stay over for Christmas?” I try to take another sip of the coffee. It’s better this time. Still a little too hot for my liking but drinkable.
“You’re really considering that?” April asked surprised. “Because that would be great! We could go to the Christmas fair. My gran never goes because it’s too much walking and she refuses to sit in a wheelchair.”
“That sound’s great,” I’m already envisioning the hot cups of chocolate milk. April lived in South Dakota and it was a lot colder there than in Arizona. I’m going to have to go out and buy some thick jumpers if I’m going to spend a whole holiday there. “I will phone Renee after I get back from my Freelance and Feature Writing class in the morning, just to let her know that I won’t be coming home for the holiday.”
My class had ended earlier than usual, the teacher had wished us all a happy holiday and of course had to reminded us that we had an important assignment due right after the holiday and that we shouldn’t forget about it or do it last minute, because she will know when an assignment is done last minute and she hates it even more than when it isn’t done at all. With that, she had sent us all home early.
“A vanilla latte to go please,” I smile at the barista as I search for my wallet. I know I threw it in here somewhere. “And a chocolate chip cookie” I add to buy me some extra time for finding my wallet. Finally, I find it under my notebook. I’m playing with my fishnet-panty while I wait for my drink. Pushing my finger through the little hole, seeing how far I can stretch it but careful not to rip it.
“I like your shirt,” the barista told her when handing over the cup. I had to look down to see which shirt I was wearing. I had been in such a rush this morning that I had just thrown something on and ran to class. It was a black shirt with bubbles from the Powerpuff girls. I had combined the shirt with a hot pink skater skirt and a studded belt around my waist
“Thanks,” I said with a smile and swung my backpack over my shoulder and walked out. I remembered that I had worn this outfit to a party two days ago, but I couldn’t remember if had put it in the wash and had already washed it or if I had grabbed it from the dirty laundry pile. it didn't smell like beer or sweat, so I guess that I had washed it and forgot about it.… but maybe I should change into something fresh when I get back to the dorm.
I thought about what I could wear while walking up the stairs toward the dorm room. There was this little black skater dress with a white-collar that I could wear. It was one of my favourites, and I’m pretty sure I brought it with me to college. I’m sure it is laying around somewhere in my closet. And I could combinate it with a pair of white thighs and black Mary-jane-shoes. The one which I had bought on a whim after watching Clueless with April.
I had to search for my keys in my backpack, careful not to spill the coffee and wishing I had taken them out when I had been searching for my wallet. I had the cookie, which was still in its brown paper bag, clutched between my teeth.
“Come on, I know you’re in here” I muttered as I shoved my books aside.
After finally finding the keys to my room and letting myself in, I dropped her bag on the bed and put the coffee and my cookie on the desk. I changed quickly into a fresh set of clothes and looked in the mirror. ‘I look like Wednesday Addams’ I thoughted to myself with a smile.
I bit off a piece of the cookie as I searched through the contacts on my phone.
“Renée Dwyer speaking,” mum said as she answered the phone. ‘So, it’s Dwyer now?’
“Hello mum,” I said and took another bite of the cookie. “I’m just calling to…”
“I’m so glad you called. I was planning on calling you, but I kept forgetting it. Doesn’t matter, I have to ask you something. well better said; to tell you something. You can’t come home for Christmas. I’m sorry. Phil and I are going on a holiday together and we are getting the house repainted while we’re gone. So, you can’t come home. You can stay on campus, right? Summer break is the only break when you have to go home right? So, it’s okay to stay? I’m so sorry to drop this on you last-minute, I was planning on telling you this sooner, but I forgot.”
“Just like you forgot to tell me you were getting married, right?” I couldn’t keep the anger out of my voice. It was the same old story. She did something and I would just have to learn to live with it. I had enough of it. If she didn’t want to think about me anymore and live happily with husband number 4 then so be it.
“Bella… don’t be like that.”
“Never mind. I hope you have fun on your holiday. Please, don’t spend too much money or else you won’t be able to pay the electric bill, again. And I’m not paying it for you again.” And with that, I hung up and threw the phone onto the bed.
Sure, I could stay at the campus. And I had already made other plans for the holiday but once again she hadn’t taken me into account while making plans and it pissed me off. I found myself wishing once again that I had known my dad. What was he like, would he care for me? Would I’ve been welcomed to come home for the holidays?
April came in when I was taking my last sip of coffee and as nice as she was, I just wanted to be alone right now.
“So, what did your mum say?” she asked as she took her schoolbooks out of her bag and started to put them away on the bookshelf next to the desk.
“She's oké with it. I’m going for a walk. I got this headache and I think some fresh air might make it feel better. “April looked up at me and raised an eyebrow, silently asking ‘are you Oké?’
“I’ll be back before dark”
“You better. We’ll be leaving first thing tomorrow morning and you still need to pack” she shouted as I walked into the hall.
There was a little breeze as I walked towards the woods that lay behind the campus. There was one path that leads towards the woods and teachers recommended not to go into the woods. People tend to disappear. As a first-year I, as did many, thought it was just a scary ghost story. Like don’t take the elevator to the 5th floor or you may never return. But it turned out that this was a real warning. As much as a dozen students had disappeared without a trace. April and I had looked into it but couldn’t find any connection between the students or the dates on which they had disappeared. All we could find out was that they had all taken a walk into the woods and never got out. And I was a bit ashamed to admit that that was exactly what drew me to these woods. April and I had taken several walks in them and always gotten out. We hadn’t even seen anything suspicious. No rocks that were standing upright, or stairwells that ended into nothing. No doors or bright lights. Just plain boring woods.
The first time I walked alone in these woods was after a fight with April. I can’t even remember what we were fighting about.
A twig snapped behind me and I turned around to quickly, the heel of my shoe got stuck in the mushy ground and I landed on my ass.
“Hello, April is that you?” I asked but there was nobody on the path behind me. Then the snapping twig sound came from beside me.
“This isn’t funny” I shouted and looked around. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t scared.
There was a loud snap on my left side, and I jumped up, ready to run but I came eye to eye with a deer. Its eyes seemed to almost glow then it bared its teeth at me, and I stayed very still. In my mind I tried to think about how far back it was to the campus and if I could run it and stay ahead of the deer. My chances were slim to none.
The deer turned sideways as if it had heard something I hadn’t, and I could see something shiny by its neck. Was it bleeding? With one hand reaching forward I took a step towards the deer. The glowing eyes must have been a trick of the light and of course, it would bare its teeth, it was hurt.
“it’s okay, I’m only trying to help.” It looked at me, directly in the eyes. It seemed too intelligent for a deer. And then it took off.
“Wait” I shouted as if that would make him stop. I started to run after him, cursing my heels as they got stuck in the dirt. “Wait.”
I was struggling to make my way through the woods, I had gone off the pad and it was starting to get darker.
“Bella.” It sounded like a whisper, carried by the wind but still very clear.
“Hello?” I looked around. It seemed that I had lost the deer. I hoped it was okay. It hadn’t seemed in pain. Maybe it wasn’t bleeding at all.
“Bella.” This time it sounded closer. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t scared.
There was a loud snap right next to me and I could feel my heart beating in chest. I just had to get back to the campus. Everything would be alright then. I looked around but had no idea where I was. Surely, I hadn’t run that far after the deer.
“Bella.” I took off, running as fast as I could. I just needed to get away from this spot. It felt as if someone was following. The snapping of the twigs never seemed to get closer, but it also never faded. Something was following… I was sure of it.
“BELLA.” This time it was no longer a whisper, it was a shout and it came from right next to me. I screamed, hoping someone would hear me. April would come looking if I didn’t come back.
I duck under a low hanging tree branch and then I saw the deer again. Animals ran away from danger, so if I followed it, I should be safe. But the deer was fast, faster than I and the tree-branches brushed against my face like fingers trying to grab me. it reminded me of that scene from Snow White. Tears sprung in my eyes, making it even more difficult to run. I wasn’t ready to become number 13. I’m not going to disappear like all the others did. I was going to get out of here.
I couldn’t see the deer anymore. My lungs were screaming for oxygen, but I couldn’t stop running. The feeling like someone was following was still there. I became too scared to look over my shoulder, scared of what I might see there.
I could feel something dripping in my neck and then again against my face.
Drip. Drip. Drip. Boom.
The woods were lit up by lightning. I had to get out.
There. There was that deer again. I ran, ducking under another tree-branch. I could feel something brushing against my back.
It’s just the trees. There is nothing there.
I jumped over a root that had grown above the ground, but my shoe got caught and I saw the ground coming towards me. My hands reached forward, trying to break my fall but the pushed right through the leaves that lay on the ground. My face connected with the dirt, hard. I grinded my teeth. I was sure my lip was bleeding. I tried to turn around, but I could feel the ground starting to sag. I grabbed the root as I sank deeper into the earth and then I looked up.
There was the deer. Right above me, looking at me with a sinister look and then it smiled.
And I could feel the ground giving away.
There was an annoying beeping noise right next to me. I wished it would stop, it was giving me a headache. There was something important that I needed to remember. Something to do with a deer.
“Bella?” it was a voice I didn’t know. Where was April or my mom? And why was I asleep? I had to get ready for Christmas break. April is probably waiting for me.
“Doctor Cullen,” the same voice shouted.
“Charlie.” It was a different voice than the first one. This one sounded calmer.
“I think she is waking up.” I was, and I would like to know what was going on. Who was Charlie? And why was he here? I wanted to say all these things but couldn’t seem to find my voice.
“Charlie,” was that my voice?
“I’m here. Don’t worry, everything is going to be alright.” Whoever he was, he obviously cared for me.
“Bella, could you open your eyes for me,” the second voice asked. and as he asked, I noticed that I could open my eyes. The light was too bright, and I had to blink a few times before I could fully open my eyes.
“Welcome back miss Swan. How are you feeling?” the doctor asked. The man sitting next to the bed grabbed my hand and there were tears in his eyes.
“I’m… I’m fine. Where am I?” And who are you people? It looked like a hospital…I should probably call my mum after I find out what happened.
“The hospital” No shit sherlock, hadn’t figured that one out. Which hospital?
“How did I get here?” My voice hurt. Like I hadn’t used it in a while. I wetted my lips with my tongue. The man sitting next to my bed handed me a white plastic cup. The water had a room temperature and I Grimaced. I preferred my water cold. That is why April and I had gotten a mini-fridge for our room.
“After the paramedics got you from under the van, they brought you here.” Why hadn’t I been paying attention to what he was saying… my mind seemed to wander so much. Every thought would follow its own path and my mind won’t stay focused.
“I was hit by a van?”
“How much do you remember?” The doctor couldn’t keep the concern off his face when he asked this.
“None of it. I was walking in the woods. How does a van come into that story? I can’t stay here. April and I are going to spend winter break at her gran’s place, and I don’t have for time this. I feel fine and I want to go back to my dorm right now. I still have packing to do.”
“Bella?” the man sitting next to me reached for my hand, but I pulled it away.
“And who are you?” I shouted. Both stared at me in surprise.
“Bella what do you mean? I’m your…” but the doctor interrupted him before he could finish his sentence.
“Charlie, why don’t you go and get yourself a cup of coffee while Bella and I talk about what she remembers.” The man, Charlie, looked at me and then at the doctor before getting up and walked out of the room.
“Bella can you tell me your full name,” the doctor asked when we were alone.
“If you can tell me yours.”
“I’m Carlisle Cullen. I’ve been your doctor for the last two weeks.”
“Is that how long I’ve been here? Two weeks.”
“Yes. Now can you tell me your full name.” the doctor asked again. I noticed now that he had a clipboard in his hands.
“Isabella Marie Higginbotham.” I saw him write something down before looking back at me. “Should I just tell you everything I know, or would you like to play twenty-questions.” I know that I was being rude but that was my natural defence system.
“You can just tell me about yourself if you like” the doctor seemed unaffected by my rudeness. I took a deep breath before starting.
“I was born on September 13, 1987. My dad died a couple of months after I was born. I lived with my gran in California until I was 6 years old. After that, I moved to Phoenix, Arizona with my mum. I graduated from Paradise Valley High School on June 2006 and I’m currently in my second year of college. I study journalism at Arizona State University. My best friend is April Collins who lives with her gran in South Dakota. We were roommates during the first year and decided to share a room again for the second year. The last thing I can remember is that I went out for a walk in the woods behind the campus. April had just come back from her classes and was packing her bags. I still needed to pack my bags but…” but mum had pissed me off and I wanted to be alone.
“But?” the doctor asked when I didn’t continue. I looked up at him and met his eyes. They were a weird brown/golden colour. He had light blond hair and a very pale skin colour. There was something weird about him. He didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the room even though he was wearing a doctor’s coat. It was like someone had parked a fancy Mercedes between a bunch of second-hand student cars. “Bella?”
“Sorry, what?” one again my mind had wandered off. God, it was like I had studied all day and after a while, your mind just doesn’t want to focus on notes anymore. Then, even the colour of the lines of your notepad are a distraction. Why are they blue, why not black? Why are they a light blue than your pen?
“Why did you go for a walk?” The doctor was writing something down again.
“Does it matter?” Why should I tell this stranger about all the problems with my mother?
“It’s alright if you don’t want to tell me” the doctor answered. He put down the pen and focussed his full attention on me instead of the clipboard he was holding. “Do you have a headache or problem focussing?” I just shook my head.
“Then I’m going to let you rest for now.” I looked after him as he walked out of the room and contemplated sneaking out of here but decided against it because I had no idea where ‘here’ was. All knew was that it was raining outside and that my room was probably on the first or second floor of the hospital because all I could see was the sky and a few treetops.
“What does that mean” I heard a voice ask loudly. It was the voice of the man who had been sitting beside my bed.
I strained my eyes to hear the rest of the conversation.
“It means that she is probably suffering from memory loss and I think that maybe she is filling up those gaps in mind with bits of the dream she had while she was the coma. But we can’t be sure until further tests have been done.”
A dream? They were thinking that my whole life was just a dream… I didn’t want to hear the rest of the conversation so laid back down and closed my eyes. Maybe this was the dream.
When I woke up again, I was still in the same hospital room but this time there were more voices in the hallway. My door was shut but I could hear them. It must be visiting hour. I looked around, and even though I was still in the same room, something had changed. There was a purple teddy-bear sitting on the nightstand with a string tied around its neck which was connected to a little card.
I hope you feel better soon!
April! April was here. That moment the door opened, and a nurse walked in. I guessed she was around 40 maybe older and her short curly blonde hair was tied back in a ponytail.
“Hello dear, how are you feeling,” her eyes were kind and she had little laugh lines around them.
“The person who gave this…”
“Oh, she left. You were still asleep.” I didn’t think, I just jumped out of the bed, ripping the IV-line out of my hand, and I ran. I ran through the crowded hallway and didn’t care that I bumped into several people. People who now probably got my blood on them because my hand was bleeding quite a bit. Who knew that a little needle could cause such a blood loss?
I took the stairs; I didn’t have the patience to wait for the elevator. As I reached the ground floor, I could already see April’s black spiky hair. It would always stand out in a crowd. I ran as fast as I could, shoving several people out of the way.
“April,” but she didn’t turn. Instead, she seemed to be walking faster. I reached for her shoulder to turn her around.
I was met with pitch-black eyes. This wasn’t April. Now that she was turned around, I noticed how small she was. She must be around 4’11 and April was 5’1, it was a small but noticeable difference.
“I’m sorry,” I noticed that I had gotten blood on her white blouse when I had grabbed her shoulder. I took a step back and almost tripped over my own feet. Her hand shot out and grabbed my upper arm.
“I thought….” her eyes looked down at my hand, blood was still dripping down it and was slowly forming a small puddle on the floor.
“Did you like the teddy-bear?” she asked when she released my arm.
“You gave me the teddy-bear?” She smiled and nodded.
“Ehm... it’s cute.” This is awkward. I took a deep breath before asking, “but do I know you?”
“We haven’t really met officially, but you’ve met my brother. Edward talked about you and then I saw the accident happen. I’m so sorry it happened.” She looked guilty.
“But you didn’t drive the van, right?”
“No, but I’m so sorry I couldn’t warn you,” She looked like she was about to cry.
“it’s okay. I’m sure it isn’t your fault. Don’t cry, please don’t cry,” I stepped forward and hugged her. “Please don’t cry,” I whispered again.
“But you're better now, right?” she asked when I let her go.
“Sort off. I heard the doctor talk about memory loss and dreams and there is this man, Charlie, and I have no idea who he is. But he was there when I woke up and it looked like he knows me, but I don’t know him and…” Tears were welling up in my eyes. “I don’t know what to do. I know who I am, but that doctor… the whole time I was talking, he was writing things down and I’m not suffering from memory loss. How can you suffer from memory loss if you know who you are and what happened before you woke up? I just don’t know how I got here.” Tears were now streaming down my cheek and I was gulping in air. “I just… I…”
“Alice,” the girl looked up and I turned around. Standing behind me was the doctor. What was his name again? Carl Cullen, Charles Cullen?
“Hello Carlisle,” she hooked her arm around mine and smiled at him.
“Shouldn’t you be at school?” the doctor asked. They talked like they knew each other. A.C. Alice…
“Wait, is that your dad?” I asked, interrupting Alice who was about to answer him. She nodded. Oh, fuck. I had just… oh great. But maybe she doesn’t know her dad is that doctor I was talking about. Wait, how long was he standing behind me? How much had he heard? FUCK.
“I just wanted to see if Bella was alright, but she was asleep, so I left but then she came after me. I think you should take a look at her hand, she is bleeding.” The doctor then focussed his attention on me.
“Bella,” he held out his hand.
“I’m sorry, I thought…” No, I couldn’t say anything. If I just played along, then I can get out of here and I then I can figure all of this out. I just need to make them believe that I’m alright.
“The nurse said that Alice had just left, and I wanted to say thank you. I didn’t know how else I could say thank you, I don’t know where you live or a phone number.” I gave the doctor my hand while I smiled at Alice. Maybe she could tell me more about this version of me. That sounds so weird.
I shook my head and focussed on the doctor again.
“Well, you could come over. When you’re better of course.” I could see that the doctor was going to say something but before he could, I accepted her invitation.
“But maybe you could visit me here sometimes?” Maybe if the doctor was busy, I could get Alice to tell me more about me. You don’t just drop off a teddy-bear if you don’t know someone.
“I could come over tomorrow if you would like? I could bring some magazines for you to read.”
“Alice, do you think that is wise? You have homework.” The doctor hadn’t let go of my hand yet. His skin was freezing. How could he stand having such cold hands? I hated it when my hands were cold. Or maybe it was just an excuse to always walk around with a cup of coffee in my hands.
“No, I’m fine” Alice answered, “I’m going home now but I’ll see you tomorrow Bella. See you later dad.” And with a little wave and smile, she walked out of the building.
“Your daughter is nice,” I said as sat down on the bed. The bleeding had stopped, and doctor Cullen was put a Band-Aid on the wound.
“Yes, she is,” the answered without looking up at me.
“Doctor Cullen?” He finally looked up at me. “What does it mean when someone has memory loss?” I was playing it dumb. Of course, I knew what memory loss meant. Well, maybe not the finer details but the name was pretty self-explanatory.
“I heard you and my dad talk about it. Charlie, he sounded so worried.”
“You remember that he is your dad?” Now I had his full attention. And so, the game had begun.
“I remember bits and pieces. He is my dad and he is a cop, right? Do I remember that right?” I was gambling, but what did I have to lose. Maybe some details had stayed the same. I tried to remember the man in the photo. My dad in uniform. The guy was younger, and the hat he had been wearing had hidden some of his face. But maybe it was the same man? I couldn’t remember. The man that had sat next to my bed. I had been so panicked.
“Yes, he is a cop. And he is your dad.” Doctor Cullen was now looking at me with a suspicious look.
“I came here… because…” Come on Bella, think! Why would you come here? If it was me, and I had the option, I would move here because mum got re-married and I couldn’t handle another man.
“Mum got re-married. His name is….” Husband number 4. What was his name again? “Phil. He is a baseball player. He is younger than her.” I waited to get caught in the lie, my heart was pounding.
“I can see things are coming back. That is good Bella. Maybe in time, everything will come back. Of course, I can’t guaranty that, but things are looking promising.” He gave me a pad on the knee as he stood up and left the room. I smiled and laid back down.
When he was gone, I took the teddy-bear off the nightstand and read the card again.
I hope you feel better soon!
Xx? Maybe she was just girly, or maybe she liked me.
Whichever it was… Alice, you are going to be my ticket out of here.
Please let me know if you see any spelling mistakes so I can correct them. And leave a comment if you enjoyed this chapter.
Chapter 3: Play a game with me.
I've just started a new school (I'm going to study for my second bachelor-degree) but so far it's not going so well. Nobody really talks to me and its a different way of teaching then I'm used to from my first bachelor.
So I'll try to post a new chapter every week, but I can't promise that I'll be able to. I hope you guys will understand.
Also, there will be some time-jump in this chapter.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Alice came by around 3 o’clock. And when she entered the room, I was so happy I could hug her. Hospitals were fricking boring when you were just there by yourself. The nurse had informed me that my dad, Charlie, who was chief of police, couldn’t come by because of some accident with a bear and a hiker and he had to be there. So, I was stuck in this room, well… better said this bed, because I wasn’t allowed to get out of the bed. So, I couldn’t wander around the hallways and see if they had any sexy doctors walking around. Sure, Cullen was sexy, but he was also the dad of the girl who I was going to befriend, so he was off-limits.
The nurse, who had told me about Alice yesterday, came by and she looked kind of scared. Like she thought I was going to run out of the room again if she left the door open. The idea was appealing but if I wanted to get out of here, I needed to behave like a model patient. So, I smiled and ate my food and drank my drinks without complaining, even though it tasted gross. I missed the coffee from my local coffee-shop. The nurse wouldn’t even give me hospital coffee. No matter how hard I begged and pleaded, the answer stayed no.
“You have no idea how bored I was,” I said as she sat down my bed.
“Well, I’m here to save you.” She pulled out several magazines from her bag.
“How was school? What did I miss?” I took the first magazine from the pile and casually started browsing them. I couldn’t let her know how interested I was in the answer. I had no idea how I was going to pull this off. Fake having my memory back or at least getting it back slowly.
“Edward is coming back next week and then he would like to re-introduce himself. He wasn’t feeling well when you guys met last time. Do you know when you are getting discharged?” I shook my head. Edward? Who the heck was Edward? The only Edward I knew was Edward Scissorhands and I imagined introducing myself to him. Alice looked strangely at me as I laughed out loud.
“Sorry, funny thought.” She raised an eyebrow.
“I don’t really remember who Edward is. I remember…” crap… think of a random name. A very common name. “Jessica.” Good. Jessica was a good name. So far, I’ve had met three Jessica’s when I was in kindergarten, four when I was in high school and there were two Jessica’s in my college classes. All though one was written as Yessica.
“Oh right. Sorry, maybe I should’ve told you about someone you were friends with when you asked about school. Truth is, I don’t really know much about your friend group. Mike is very worried about you. He is still mad at Tyler. Keeps going on about how Tyler came away with just a few cuts and how he shouldn’t be driving a car anymore until he learns how to drive properly. I think it’s driving Jessica crazy. Want to know why? I think she fancies him.” Alice smiled at me with a look that only a teenager could give you. Like she had just told me the biggest secret in the world. Jessica fancies Mike. High school drama. But she had given me some names I could work with next time when Charlie came to visit. Tyler, who had been driving the van. The van that had hit me and put me here. Jessica, my ‘friend’. She didn’t sound like a real friend. And Mike, who sounded like he fancied me instead of Jessica, with the way he was going on about the accident.
“Right, how is Tyler. Are the cuts healing alright?” This was the normal thing to do. Inquirer after a… friend? I don’t know if I would call Tyler a friend. Was it his fault that the van had hit me? Mike seemed to think so.
“There is this one cut, that is right above his eyebrow, I think it might turn into a scar. But otherwise, he’s fine.”She had apparently already finished her magazine and was now taking the next one of the pile.
“And Edward will be back next week?” I needed to keep her talking. She was giving me enough names and information without knowing that she was doing it.
“Yes, I think he will be happy that you don’t remember him. He was kind of rude last time. But he got very sick and had to stay with our cousins for a while. Get some fresh air, that kind of thing.” Her laugh sounded like little bells in the wind, so light and careless.
“So, are you sure we weren’t friend before? Because you feel like a very good friend to me” Gosh that sounded so cheesy. She laughed again.
“Yes, I’m sure. I wish I had talked to you sooner but my family, we don’t really mingle that well with the rest of the students. And you had your friends. Oh, should I let Angela know that you are feeling better? That she can come over and visit you. I don’t know if you are allowed to have visitors?”
“Don’t you count as a visitor?” I turned the page of the magazine. The model was wearing a pretty nice dress, blue with a black belt around her waist. Her blond hair was falling in waves of her shoulders.
“I don’t know. Anyway, would you like me to tell Angela…”
“No,” I interrupted her. This game was hard enough without too many people involved. “I think that would be too much. But if you could keep coming over, I would like that.”
“Bella where are you going?” John, aka husband number 2 or daddy as I called him, was standing in the doorframe of my childhood bedroom.
“I’m running away. I’m going back to gran,” I said and shoved my purple stuffed bunny into my backpack. John frowned.
“And how are you going to do that,” he wasn’t stressed about me leaving. There was no way a six-year-old, or as I constantly reminded him 6 AND A HALF-year-old, would be able to make her way to California.
But I had smiled as I stood up and walked towards him, holding up a coin I had found lying around the house somewhere. “I’m going to call gran and tell her to come and get me. I don’t want to be here. Mum is being mean,” tears welled up in my eyes.
“Hey, don’t cry babygirl” John opened his arms for me, and I wrapped my arms around his neck. “Would you like to tell me what happened?”
I shook my head. It didn’t make any sense. Why had mom gotten angry at me? All I had asked was who the man in the photo was. I hadn’t meant to upset her.
“You know you can tell me, right?” instead of answering him, I walked back to my bed and lifted up my pillow. I hadn’t put the picture in my backpack yet. I didn’t want it to wrinkle.
“Who is this? Is he my daddy? Mom got angry when I asked. I don’t understand why. I was going to ask gran.” John looked like he would rather be anywhere else at this moment.
“Bella, sometimes when a grown-up is hurt instead of crying, they get angry. I think, no I know, that your mom didn’t mean to get angry at you when you showed her the picture. But some things just hurt so much that you can’t even talk about it. One day when you are grown up, you will understand.” I had no idea what he had meant by that, but I just nodded and pretended that I understood.
“Now how about you and I go and order some pizza. You can pick the topping.”
“I’m picking paprika” I yelled as I ran toward the kitchen to grab the phone and the picture of Charlie…? It lay forgotten on the floor and I had already forgotten what he looked like.
“Your dad isn’t here right now.” Alice was sitting in the chair next to the bed. She had a book in her hand. How long had she been sitting there? Didn’t she have school? Carlisle had said something about homework.
“Jane Eyre?” I asked when I saw the cover of the book.
“We have to read it. I prefer the great Gatsby”
“I prefer Alice in wonderland,” I said without thinking. “Or the wizard of OZ.” Alice laughed. And once again it was the most beautiful laugh I had ever heard. Now I knew what it reminded me of. It sounded like the wind chimes my gran used to have hanging on her front porch.
“I can bring you those movies next time I come over. You must be bored here,” Alice said. So that’s why she was here. She was feeling sorry for me.
“There is not much to do here other than sleep.” And I was getting tired of all the sleep I was getting. I had more things to do than just lay around. I needed to get out of here. I needed to figure out what had happened that day in the woods.
“Did you know…” Alice leaned forward towards me as she spoke, “that you talk in your sleep.” She whispered it like it was some big secret. Talk in my sleep? No, I didn’t know I did that. I’m pretty sure I had never done that before, or else April would’ve thrown a pillow at my head. April… god, I missed April. Alice reminded me so much of her.
“What was I saying?” Alice had refocused her attention on her book and as she turned over the page as she answered. “It sounded pretty cute. You said you were going to run away, and you wanted paprika. But you also said something strange. You asked, ‘Is he my daddy’, why would you ask that? “
“I don’t know. I was dreaming about when I had moved in with my mum in Phoenix after I lived with my gran in California. Mum had gotten angry at me and…” Sometimes when a grown-up is hurt instead of crying, they get angry. I shook my head.
“I can’t remember the rest. But tell me about school or something. Is your brother back already? Is he feeling better?” This was the thing I had been doing for the last few days. Alice would come over and I would ask her questions about school and the people of Forks. I didn’t think she suspected anything. Because of my conversations with Alice, I was able to talk to Charlie. He came to visit me in his lunch break or in the evening. Charlie was helping to. He had once said that he cancelled his fishing trip with Billy and Harry because he wanted to be here for me. Ever since I had asked him how they were doing and that he shouldn’t just cancel that trip. He needed time with his friends. I had guessed the friend’s part and I had been right. It seemed that, whoever Billy and Harry were, they were good friends of Charlie.
“Yes, our cousins just dropped him off yesterday. They will be staying in town for some time. Esmé really likes that because Carlisle has a busy week planned at the hospital.”
“Alice? Has your dad mentioned anything about me leaving here? I know it's stupid to ask but I really just want to go home. I don’t care if I don’t get to go back to school yet and all I am allowed to do is lay in bed. I just want it to be my bed.”
“Well then I have good news for you my dear” The nurse, I had figured out her name was Claudia, said from the doorway. “You have a couple of more test planned for tomorrow and after that, you are free to leave.” She must have seen my smile because quickly she added, “and lay in your own bed.”
“I’m going home” I threw my arms around Alice’s neck and buried my face in her neck. Gosh, I could cry so happy was I. I was so not going to miss this room. I wondered what ‘home’ looked like. It couldn’t be worse than the dorm when I first moved in. Home is what you make of it. The way you decorate it. That is what April had said when I had complained that it looked like a prison cell.
Alice’s body wasn’t as soft as I was expecting and after a second, I felt the pain in my collarbone.
“Au. Are you made of stone or something?” I rubbed my collarbone. I was going to have a bruise.
“Or something,” Alice said laughing. “So, no movie then?” Alice was now busy putting her book safely away in her backpack.
Wait, what? No! even though I had intended to only use Alice for information, I had gotten attached to her. It was nice to have her around. To have someone to talk to besides the nurses and Charlie.
“We can have a movie night at your place if you want. Or mine if you want to. Just because I’m going home, doesn’t mean we have to stop seeing each other.” Please, don’t leave me alone. I don’t know how to cope in this world. Everything is different and the same, at the same time. Things that have happened, things that never happened, things that I don’t know happened. It all so confusing and I need a friend. But I didn’t say any of this. I think she could see it in my eyes, the panic that was going on inside.
“Of course, we can have a movie night. I would prefer if we watch it at your place. You don’t have any annoying siblings hanging around” She winked at me before getting up.
“I have to go home now. And I won’t be coming back tomorrow.” Was I being too clingy? Did it show that much? And now she was pulling away. No, I needed a friend here. I couldn’t do this alone. I needed April, and since I couldn't get her, Alice was the next best thing.
“I’m going on a camping trip with my sister and my mum for the weekend. Sorry, I can’t cancel that. Otherwise, I would’ve been here for you.”
“No, it’s fine. I’ll probably be busy with the tests and stuff anyway. Should I text you when I get out? Let you know if everything was fine?” Alice wrote her phone number down on a piece of paper she pulled from her bag.
“Text me when you get out. I’ll probably have my phone on silence, but I would still like to know if you’re okay.”
Charlie had taken the whole day off so he could be there for me. Personally, I didn’t see the point of it. Now we both had to wait around and be bored. Charlie wasn’t much for idle chatter like Alice. Alice. Alice who probably was already on her camping trip right now. That reminded me…
“Cha... Dad. I was wondering if you know where my phone is. Did I leave it at home or did break when the accident happened? Charlie looked at me surprised.
“I didn’t know you had a phone. It wasn’t among your thing that the hospital gave me to take home.” Who didn’t have a phone? Seriously who was this girl? I wondered if she had been the type to write up a diary. That would make things a lot easier. But I probably wasn’t going to be that lucky. Still. I would have to check underneath her pillow or behind her bed or something.
“Guess I’m going to have to buy a new one then. So, I can call you if something goes wrong. If I feel… well, I think you get the point.” I couldn’t look him in the eyes. It was so strange to have him look at me like I was the most precious thing in the world. To have someone care so much for you.
“I think that would be a smart idea. We could drive by the store on our way home.” I nodded.
“Thanks, dad.” The ‘dad’ wasn’t even forced this time. Because if I was now to be Bella Swan, I was lucky to have Charlie as a dad.
“Miss Swan,” I heard the voice of doctor Cullen say. “You are free to go home with your dad.” He smiled at me. It wasn’t a smile I completely trusted. Like he knew that I was faking it. Like he knew and was just playing along. Since he is Alice’s dad this is probably not the last time that you’re going to see him. I would have to be careful around him.
“Let’s go home, dad.” I was ready to get out of here.
Charlie drove me to the phone-store and instead of dropping me off and letting me deal with the problem, he walked inside with me. He looked a bit out of his depth, but he was here with me. Something Renee had never done. When I needed something, I was the one who would have to figure it out. It had taught me independence. It had also taught me that the only person you could rely on was yourself.
“Can I help you?” the young salesman asked as he came walking towards us.
“My daughter needs a new phone.” My daughter… I had never been anyone’s daughter. For Renee, I had always been just Bella. Maybe when I was young and adorable, I had been her daughter. No, not even then or she wouldn’t have dumped me at grans.
“Just something simple.” I didn’t want it to cost too much. I just needed a phone to text Alice. And maybe call Charlie. But most importantly, to call my mum or April and see what the heck was going on.
I ended up with an LG flip phone. It even had a camera. Charlie paid for everything. I had protested that I could pay for it myself, the truth was I couldn’t pay for it because I didn’t have any money. I had no wallet with me and even if I had, I had no idea what the pin was for her debit card.
“Kiddo I need to make sure you can always call me. I’m not going to buy you a crappy phone that will break the moment you need me. You can always call me. When you feel sick or … confused.” Confused was the term we were using when I didn’t remember something that I suppose to know. Like the date or the fact that Renee never got remarried until Phil. Which made him husband number two instead of number four. I wondered what had happened with John. Had he ever met my mother? Had he ever known me?
“Promise me you'll call,” Charlie pressed. I just nodded; I couldn’t speak. There was a lump in my throat. I had never been an overly emotional person but these words…Promise me you'll call. I had someone to call when things got rough. I have someone now. No, not just someone. I have Charlie, my dad.
Please let me know if you see any spelling mistakes so I can correct them. And leave a comment if you enjoyed this chapter.
Chapter 4: The piece of the puzzle won’t fit.
I am so sorry that I haven't posted anything for almost a month? The school-thing that I talked about in my previous A/N kind-off blew up. I switched school and am now taking slightly different classes which are taught at a slower pace. It's better than my previous school but I'm three weeks behind on everyone. I'm still catching up but hopefully, I will be able to post more frequently. And I hope that, once I'm caught up, I'll be able to post once a week but I can't make any promises.
Once again I'm so sorry it took me forever! But I hope you enjoy this chapter!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was 3:00 am and I was still awake. There were so many things bugging me. After I had arrived ‘home’, I had walked into, what I assumed was my bedroom. It was… messy sort of. Okay, if I was being honest, I didn’t like it at all. It just wasn’t my style at all. The purple bedding was the best thing in the whole room. There were books lying around everywhere. I didn’t mind the books, it gave me something to do, but why didn’t she just put them on a shelf. Didn’t this girl organise anything? There were also a lot of stuffed toys in random places. The posters and photos made the room feel very crowded. If I was going to stay here for a while, I might as well re-decorate.
Charlie woke up around 7 o’clock and when I heard him go downstairs, I decided that it was time to get up. We had agreed that, if I took it easy, I wouldn’t have to be in bed all day. I wondered if re-decorating a room fell in the ‘taking it easy’ category. Better not to tell Charlie what I’m planning on doing today.
“Good morning dad.” The “dad-thing” was surprisingly easy. I expected it to be awkward, but it wasn’t. maybe because Charlie had been a great dad so far. Charlie was now eating his breakfast at the kitchen table. And here, in the kitchen, I ran into another memory problem. Where were the coffee mugs? I needed coffee in the morning to function properly. I was so addicted to coffee that April had given me a shirt that said; “not now Satan, I didn’t drink my coffee yet”.
“So, are you going to be home for dinner? Should I cook? I don’t know if we even have any food in the house. Maybe I should go to the store.” I started to open the kitchen cabinets. Hoping that I would find a mug and could pass my searching of as ‘looking for food’.
“We could order take out if you’d like.” I found a mug then and since I didn’t feel like cooking, I agreed on ordering take out later tonight. I had lived most of my collage live eating take out. April, who was a lot healthier when it came to food, would always give me a disapproving look whenever I was eating on the bed while doing my homework. “We have a dining hall, you know. It’s that place where they give you salads and stuff.” Of course, I knew that we had a dining hall but eating alone in a big hall like that wasn’t really my thing and April had a class when I had time for dinner so… take out it was. I remembered that one time when she commented on the dining hall and I had stuffed my mouth with a veggie nugget before answering, crumbs were flying everywhere. April had given me such a dirty look that I had almost choked because I was laughing so hard.
“I’m off to work. Call if you need anything.” Charlie’s voice pulled me out of my daydream before I became too sad. Was there ever a chance of going and seeing April again? Could I ever thank her for such an amazing friendship? Charlie gave me an awkward shoulder pad as he passed by. His awkward way of caring for me was touching and something I was unused to. I heard the front door open and then close and finally, I was alone. Charlie was a nice person to be around, but it was tiring to keep up this façade. Pretending to know what I was doing and where everything was. So, first thing first I started to explore the kitchen. From figuring out where Charlie put the plates till knowing where the cleaning supplies were. I can do this. I can do this. This little house I can get to know as if I have always lived here. If Charlie askes for paper towels I will know where they are. I can do this.
The pep-talk didn’t help. I’ve never been a pep-talk person. After getting to know the kitchen and living room, I moved upstairs. If I was going to re-decorate this room, my room, I would need a lot of time to sort through everything. I started with collecting all the books and putting them on the bed. After that, I took all the stuffed toys off the shelf and put them in a trash bag that I had found downstairs. I wouldn’t throw anything away, because what if this Bella came back. While sorting through everything I practised the things I needed to know. “I’m Isabella Marie Swan, I’m 17 years old and it is currently February 2005” That was one of the things that messed me up the most. I hadn’t just gone to a different universe, or whatever you wanted to call this, I had also managed to travel back in time. I was no longer an “almost adult 20-year-old”, but a 17 years old girl. I remembered being 17 and it wasn’t a good year for me. Mum was single at the time and enjoying it. She was bringing a lot of different guys home every weekend and I was slowly growing into a more feminine body. Meaning that while mum was passed out from drinking too much, they would look at me. From that moment on, I locked my bedroom door whenever I could. Mum often got angry because of it. She was used to just barging in and couldn’t do that anymore. But she had never woke up to a stranger standing in the doorway watching you sleep. I don’t even remember the guy’s name, but I remember his face and the look he had on it. No, whenever I was home, I locked my bedroom door.
It was around three when I heard the doorbell ring. I was kind of scared to open the door. Not because I was scared to get kidnapped or anything. I was pretty good at defending myself, but more because the only two people, I didn’t mind seeing were away. Charlie was at work and Alice was on that camping trip thing with her mom and sisters. The bell rang again, and I walked down the stairs slowly. When I opened the front door, I saw Alice standing there. Behind her, a black car was driving off.
“Alice, I wasn’t expecting you… I thought…” I shook my head. Did I want to see Alice? I wasn’t sure… being on my own was easy and hard at the same time. my toughs kept drifting off to April, or Renee. Being around Alice meant I had to pretend to have my memory back, but I kept me busy.
I decided that I didn’t mind that Alice was here.
“We came back early. I wanted to see you. Are you home alone? What were you doing?” She stepped inside and took off her coat. She was wearing a black legging with a loose white blouse. Not something I would wear when I would go camping. But I had never gone camping before.
“Oh, you know, just cleaning my room. Nothing interesting.” While cleaning out the room, I hadn’t found a diary. That was a bit of a bummer.
“Can I help. Wait no, are you even supposed to do anything? I thought that you should rest!” she crossed her arms and looked at me with a look that I couldn’t decipher. Was she being serious? Would she tell her dad that I wasn’t following his doctor’s advice? Or worse, tell Charlie. And then he would stay home all day to keep an eye on me and that would drive me mental.
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell. But I want to help.” She grabbed my hand and walked towards the stairs. “Which room is yours?” she asked as she walked up the stairs.
“The one with the open door.” As we walked into my room Alice started to talk about re-decorating and buying all this new stuff that I couldn’t afford because I didn’t have any money.
“So, where do you want me to start?” Alice sat down on my bed. I had done a lot already. I had sorted through the books and toys and knickknacks. And when Alice had shown up, I had just started on taking down the fairy lights that were hanging around everywhere.
“If you can start with taking down all the posters and photos and those things? Just put them on the bed and then I can decide what stays and goes and the stuff that stays where it should hang. Is that okay? We can also watch a movie if you want, I have to stay home for at least a week or maybe two.” Two weeks in which I had nothing to do… honestly, I kind of liked it. I didn’t have to worry about school or homework or my mum. Well, I kind of did have to worry about getting back to my reality? Even saying in my mind made me sound like a crazy person. I hadn’t tried to call April jet. Would she be mad at me for disappearing, or relieved to hear that I was okay? But there was one thing I didn’t want to think about, even if by some chance or miracle I was able to contact April… how would I get back? She couldn’t pull me through the phone back into our reality. Even if I contact April, I had no idea how to get home. Maybe I could find a wonderful wizard who could send me back home.
“Bella, earth to Bella,” Alice was waving her hand in front of my face. “I think you’ve done enough for today, let me do the rest.” She led me to the bed and sat me down. There was this overwhelming sadness that filled me. My thoughts, which I had been able to control all day by keeping myself busy, had wandered off towards the thoughts I was scared of thinking. Because what if I couldn’t get back? But that was a problem for later. Alice was looking at me with such a worried face.
“Alice I’m fine, really. Don’t worry okay.”
“You’ve been standing there, staring into nothing for 15 minutes. I was starting to wonder if I should call Carlisle.” 15 minutes? It couldn’t be that long, could it? There was no way that I had been staring at nothing for 15 minutes. Alice was still looking worried and I had to come up with an excuse.
“No, really Alice. I’m fine! I just haven’t slept very well last night.” She didn’t look convinced but before she could ask more or call her father, her phone beeped.
“What is it? Do you need to go home?” She shook her head.
“No, that was just Edward telling me he is back and that two of our cousins are at our place now. I’ll see them later. Back to your room, tell me what do you want to do next?”
I gave the directions on what I wanted while Alice worked. She didn’t seem to mind that I was doing nothing while she did all the work. I must have fallen asleep while she was working because when I woke up, she was gone. But before I could panic, I heard her voice come from downstairs followed by Charlie's voice. I looked around the room and was amazed. Not only had she done what I asked, but she had also managed to re-organise the room without waking me up. The only thing that was still in its place was the bed. The desk now stood in front of the window, next to it was the rocking chair. The dresser had been pushed to the side. Before I could further admire Alice’s work, I heard her coming up the stairs.
“Oh, you are awake. I was just coming to collect my bag.” She pointed towards Louis Vuitton handbag that was laying in the rocking chair.
“Are you leaving?” I asked, still sleepy. I felt a bit guilty. She had come over to see me and instead, she had cleaned up my room and I had fallen asleep while she was doing it.
“Esmé called and I have to get home for dinner with our cousins. I can come by tomorrow after school, then we can continue with your room.” She didn’t sound like she was mad. I nodded and got up. While doing that I tripped over the blanked that Alice had covered me with. Her hand shot out to catch me and I half fell into her. I was surprised that she didn’t fall over.
“Thanks,” I muttered a bit embarrassed by my clumsiness. She hugged me and then stepped away. “I’ll come back tomorrow after school. Try to rest and do nothing till I’m here” she laughed, and we walked downstairs. “I’ll bring by some movies tomorrow so we can watch that after we’re done. Bye Charlie” She waved at Charlie, who was sitting in the living room and watching a baseball game.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to fall asleep. You should’ve woken me up.” She laughed and hugged me again. “I think you needed your sleep. And I’ll see you again tomorrow so you can make it up to me.”
“Good luck at school.” She waved as she walked towards a red convertible and got in. I stood outside for a minute, letting the cool air wake me up.
“Bella, are you alright?” Charlie said, standing right behind me. I jumped; I had not heard him get up. “I'm fine dad,” I said once again. Maybe if I said it enough, eventually I would be fine. I just wished everybody would stop worrying about me.
“I’m going back to bed if you don’t mind. I’m still kind of tired.” I wasn’t but he didn’t need to know that. I just wanted to be alone right now.
“Of course, kiddo. Goodnight” I just smiled at him and walked up the stairs. When I was in my room, I started up the computer. This afternoon before Alice came over, I had found a sock filled with cash and I hoped that this Bella wouldn’t mind me borrowing some of it because I needed some new clothes. The only thing she had where jeans and basic shirts. And basic was not something I wore so I was hoping there was a thrift store around that I could go to tomorrow. I google and found two stores. One of them I could walk to in 15 minutes so I would check that one out first.
I loved this thrift store. Not only had I found 5 new outfits, a new sleepshirt (with an alien on it) and a couple of books that I liked, they also had a 20% discount today. So, when I was walking home, I was feeling pretty good. Better than I had the last couple of days. Nothing cheers a girl up like a successful shopping trip.
After I got home and put everything away, I decided to make hot chocolate milk. What I had noticed about Forks was that it was always raining and cold. Being from Arizona mend that I wasn’t used to the cold. So, I had also stocked up on hoodies. Hoodies were one of my favourite clothing items. Over-sized hoodies with fishnet tights and a pair of doc Martens. I hadn’t found any nice boots at the thrift store so I suppose these Converse shall have to make do for now. With a cup of hot chocolate milk in my hand and a blanket wrapped around me, I sat down in the living room. While I was shopping for clothes, I had also found a couple DVD’s that I liked. One of them was a nightmare on elm street and that brought back a lot of memories. I must have fallen asleep shortly after the opening scene of the movie.
“I can’t believe you would pick Jason over Freddy.” It was the first night off we had in days. Starting a new school was always crazy, but starting College was insane. You had to organize your room and decorate it, you had your homework and classes. Every night I felt exhausted. In the roommate department, I had been very lucky. Her name was April and she moved in one day after I had arrived. She let me pick which side of the room I wanted.
Now we were sitting on my bed with a laptop between us.
“I don’t know, I this Jason is just better. The camp, the killer. It’s better than a dream monster.” I gave her a shove and that caused the popcorn to fly all over the bed. “I’m really glad I don’t have to sleep here tonight,” she said laughing.
“Fine, I’ll just sleep with you in your bed,” I said without thinking, trying to get the popcorn off my bed. It was sticky and I didn’t want to wash my bedding again. I had just done that yesterday. It was a pain in the ass and took forever because all the machines were always occupied when I came downstairs to do my laundry.
“You’ll sleep with me?” This caused her to laugh even more. She has had to much wine and it was starting to show.
“That is not what I meant,” I said as I took the bottle of wine out of her hand. I had said that I didn’t want to drink anything, I hated alcohol. I had seen what it had done with mum. April must have seen me eye the bottle for a little bit too long.
“Take a sip. It can’t hurt. I’ll keep an eye on you. We won’t leave the room. nobody has to know,” she leaned back against the wall and closed her eyes. “But I want you to start the movie. And we shall see who is the best. Freddy or Jason?” she laughed again and pointed at my laptop. I started the movie but wasn't paying any attention to it. I was still looking at the bottle of white wine. April had already drunk half of it. I know that I had always said that I wouldn’t drink. Alcohol was bad. It made you do stupid things and killed your brain cells. But just a sip wouldn’t hurt, right? This was the thing people did in college, right? Drinking wine with their friends while watching a movie.
I took a small sip. I didn’t like the flavour, but I also didn’t hate it like I was expecting. April was watching me now instead of the movie.
“Try some more. It took me a while to get used to the flavour.” April laid her head on my shoulder as she turned her attention back to the laptop. I took another sip, and another after that one. The movie all the sudden seemed a lot more interesting. April was giving live commentary which turned the movie more into a comedy than a horror movie.
“I’m really glad we did this,” April’s head was still laying on my shoulder and I looked down at her.
“Me too. We should do this more often,” she continued. I just nodded. I had drunk a little bit too much and everything was a bit fuzzy. “Would you sleep with me,” she asked out of the blue.
“APRIL,” I shot up. I knew she had a boyfriend back home and that they were trying the whole long-distance relationship thing. I knew she only asked because I had said it earlier and she, after already haven drunk half a bottle of wine, had misinterpreted it. I wondered if she really meant it. I also wondered if i would? Sleep with April? I wasn’t as opposed to the idea as I thought I would be. To be honest, I had never really thought about being with a girl. Maybe if she didn’t have a boyfriend, and we weren’t drunk, maybe…
“Bella?” April? No not April. She wasn’t here. I didn’t want to wake up but there was something that wasn’t right, and I couldn’t figure out what, I was still too sleepy.
“Bella,” The voice came from behind me. High and female. Alice was here. It took my brain a minute to catch up. How was she here? Inside my house?
“How did you get in?” I asked and sat up. She stood right behind the couch. Her bag was lying in the chair across from me.
“I used the key hidden under the eaves by the door,” she said it like it was no big deal. Like breaking into people’s houses was normal. “I was worried,” she said right before I could comment on the breaking in thing. “I rang the doorbell a couple of times and you didn’t answer. I thought something bad might have happened. Maybe you passed out or something. I’m sorry. It was an obvious place to hide the key. If I hadn’t found it there, I probably would’ve called your dad or mine.” She sat down on the edge of the couch.
“It’s fine. It is an obvious place and I should probably talk with Charlie about it. You want to go upstairs and continue with my room?” Alice face lit up when I said that.
“Yes, and I got some decorative pillows with me which we don’t use anymore.” Alice stood up and walked into the hallway where she picked up three plastic bags before walking up the stairs.
“Are you coming?” she said over her shoulder. I hurried up the stairs after her, and I almost bumped into her when I walked into my room. She was standing very still in the middle of my room.
“Alice, what are you looking at,” I asked as I walked around her. Then I was that she didn’t seem to be looking at anything, she was just staring off into the distance.
“Alice,” I snapped my fingers right Infront of her face and she didn’t even flinch. “Alice,” I tried again but still I didn’t get a response. What the heck was she doing? This wasn’t funny. Then I realised that she probably wasn’t trying to be funny. “Alice,” the panic was now slowly leaking into my voice. I had no idea what I should do. I tried to shake her but still nothing. Come on Bella, think!
I ran down the stairs and looked for her purse, which she had left lying in the chair. I searched for her phone and speed dialled number 1. I expected that number one was her dad or maybe her mom, but I wasn’t expecting a rich southern voice to pick up the phone.
Please let me know if you see any spelling mistakes so I can correct them. And leave a comment if you enjoyed this chapter. Also, I think I'll introduce Tanya or Kate in the next chapter. Which one should she meet first? Let me know!
I wasn’t expecting a rich southern voice to pick up the phone.
“Alice?” the voice asked after I failed to say anything.
“No, it’s Bella. Alice… She...” is freaking me out.
“She what?” the voice demanded. Then I heard a weird sound… like the wind. Had he stepped outside? “She what?” he asked again.
“She is… ehm... having some kind thing…” Great way of describing things. I was expecting him to demand more answers, what I wasn’t expecting was for the doorbell to ring. It made me jump. The ring was followed by rapid knocking.
“I’m coming,” I shouted as I rushed to open the door. When I opened the door, I saw a pretty handsome stranger, for about 3 seconds. Because after that he shoved me aside and rushed inside. I could hear the stairs creak and a door slam.
“Hé, you can’t just come in here like that. Hé. This is breaking and entering. I’m going to call my dad.” No-one answered and since I didn’t hear anything break or Alice scream, I assumed that everything was alright.
“Alice, who is this?” I said as I walked up the stairs. I hoped that she had snapped out of whatever trans she was in earlier. “Alice?”
Alice appeared at the top of the stairs, a smile on her face like nothing had happened.
“Thank you for calling Jasper. Everything is alright now.” Jasper was standing in the door opening of my bedroom.
“Nice to meet you too Jasper. Next time I would appreciate it if you asked me to step aside instead of shoving me out of the way.” He just looked at me and then gave me a small nod. If I had blinked, I would’ve missed it. Alice, all the while, was looking surprised at me. Like she couldn’t believe what I was saying.
“Jasper!” Alice turned around so quickly she became a blur. Jasper muttered something that sounded like “I was worried”. Their eyes met and they seemed to have a silent conversation.
“Well, great. Would anyone like some coffee?” because I need a cup. Alice shook her head. “If your boyfriend is going to stay, you may need to explain that to Charlie when he gets home. I can’t imagine that he is okay with me having boys in my bedroom while he isn’t home." I hadn’t figured out yet if my dad was the ‘leave the door open and the lights on’ kind of dad or if he cool with it.
“Jasper, do want something?” He kind of looked surprised that I had asked him the question. But then he shook his head. Alice pulled Jasper into my bedroom as I walked downstairs to grab a cup of coffee. I could hear her talk about all the decoration ideas she had for my bedroom. Great. Hadn’t I promised myself that I wouldn’t alter her/my room too much? Because what if this Bella came back. Well, it looked like Alice had different plans. I hoped that this Bella would stay friends with Alice is she came back.
As I walked back up the stairs, I realised something. How was Jasper here? I called him and the next minute he was at my front door. And I was pretty sure that he didn’t live in my street, or Alice would’ve said something about that. So how was it possible that he was here. I could kind of explain how he would know where I lived. My dad is the chief of police and Forks, for as far as I know, is a small town. But there is no way that he would be able to be here in a minute. Less than a minute even. A weird feeling settled over me. I couldn’t explain why but I didn’t trust it. Something…
“Bella, are you alright?” Alice was standing at the top of the stairs.
“Yes, I’m fine. Why?”
“Normal people don’t just stop walking halfway up the stairs. You’ve kind of been standing there for a while now. Maybe you should let Carlisle have another look at you? Something could be wrong.” No, nothing was wrong. Nothing felt wrong. Yesterday I had also gotten lost in my thoughts. It happened quite often since I had come here.
“No, it’s fine” I looked at Jasper who had appeared behind Alice. “I should be getting home before your father comes back. Alice, call me if…” he stopped talking and looked at me then.
“Did you walk here?” I asked, try to be subtle. I don’t think I succeeded. His eyes narrowed a tiny bit, but he didn’t answer me.
“I’ll have Kate pick me up.” He walked past me, down the stairs and before I had time to open the door for him or even say goodbye, he was gone. “Kate?” I asked Alice while raising an eyebrow. Alice laughed.
“Kate is our cousin,” she said as she held out a hand. “Coming? We still have work to do and I think you promised me that we could watch another movie together.”
“Our cousin? As in both your cousin and Jasper’s cousin?”
Over the last week, I had asked Alice multiple time if her boyfriend, who was also her adoptive brother apparently, had some kind of superpower. The first time I had asked her, she had laughed. The second time she had given me a mysterious maybe. The third time she had told me to cut it out and that Jasper was a normal boring human being. And then she had gone on for about an hour about how he isn’t boring and that he is the most romantic guy she knows. Blah blah blah… I had stopped listening after 15 minutes. All the boyfriend-talk was making me feel very… single.
“Alice, I have to talk to you.” We were laying on my bed and she was painting my nails. My room had turned out better than I had hoped. And I was starting to like it here with Alice and Charlie. That was, until this morning when Charlie had said that we needed to talk.
“What’s bothering you?” Alice closed the nail polish bottle and sat up.
“Charlie... kind of wants me to go back to school. Like this week. He thinks I’m falling too far behind. So, I was wondering if maybe we could tell him that you’re teaching me. And that I’m not falling behind.” I didn’t dare to look at Alice while I was saying this. We're friends, great friends even. But were we friends enough that she would lie for me? April would. Stop it brain!
My thoughts kept bringing up April and I couldn’t control it. I had tried to call her three days ago. I remembered her number, in case of an emergency. The first time I tried I got the out of service message. Then I tried again, and again, and again. After listening to; “We are sorry. You have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service. If you feel you have reached this recording in error, please check the number and try your call again” for over an hour I had started to cry, and a feeling of desperation swallowed me whole. There was no way to get back. There was no way to contact April. There was no way to get home. I was stuck here, in a world where I didn’t belong. I had played the game. Pretended that I was okay. That I remembered. But I didn’t and I couldn’t keep playing forever. At one point or other, I was going to get caught. And god knows what they would do with me. No-one would believe me if I would tell them the truth. They would call me crazy.
After calling April and crying, there was one other number I could call. I didn’t like calling it but…
“Bella, sweety. How are you? Are you feeling better? I had expected you to call sooner. But Charlie says that you’re tired a lot and that you made a new friend. Alice? How is the weather? I remember that February can be cold in Forks. Make sure to wear an extra cardigan, I don’t want you catching a cold.” Hearing the voice of my mother had been a shock. She still talked a mile a minute but this time it was focused on me. Which also made me realise that, even though I had reached Renee, this wasn’t my Renee. This was Bella’s mom, this Bella. Did she realise how lucky she was to have a mother who cared so much for her? Even if she was… not here right now. Did this Renee also live in Phoenix?
“I’m fine mom, everything is fine. I bought some new clothes to keep me warm. Alice is great, she…” and before I knew it, I talked for an hour and a half on the phone with this woman, who at the same time was my mother but also not. She listened and laughed and cared. She kept asking questions about how my room looked now. I had told her that Alice and I had redecorated. And about the clothes I bought. And after I told her that I wanted to buy more but the stores here weren’t my style, she suggested that Alice and I could go shopping in Port Angeles.
“Isn’t that a lie? We haven’t done any homework.” Alice asked, pulling me back from my thoughts. No, no homework but we have watched enough films. Alice loved the tv series ‘Are You Being Served?’. A British sitcom, which takes place in a major department store. I had to admit that after being forced to watch it, I was starting to like it. It had funny jokes and good characters. In return I made Alice watch Poison Ivy and the Crush. Of course, she recognised Alicia Silverstone from Clueless and she decided that that was the next movie we were going to watch together.
“Sort off. It’s not really a lie, right?”
“But it is,” she contradicted me. Alice, work with me. Please.
“Alice, please.” I knew begging wasn’t going to help. I had tried it multiple times on different occasions. Alice wasn’t the kind of person that would change her mind with a ‘pretty please’.
“I think it’s a great idea. If you come back to school, we could hang out more.”
“I remember you saying that you and your family don’t really talk to any of the students.” I got up from the bed to put on a hoodie. I had found this cool black Nirvana hoodie at the thrift store. It was old and the yellow wasn’t as bright as I would like it to be, but it was warm.
“Well… it’s different now. We’re friends and you’ve already met Jasper. I’m sure the rest of the family will also like you. Don’t worry Bella, everything is going to be fine. I promise.” Alice stood up just as the doorbell rang.
“That will be my ride. I’ll be down in a minute.” Alice said as she walked into the bathroom. I walked down the stairs slowly. What I found out these past few weeks was that somehow, someway I got cursed with clumsiness in this reality.
I opened the door, not looking at who was there. I was expecting Jasper but instead, I was met with a different pair of golden eyes.
“Hello, I’m Tanya. I’m here to pick up Alice.” I had to say something, say hi, anything. All I could do was stare like an idiot. Tanya was beautiful. Her blonde hair curled around her face in a way that made me jealous and her lips…
“I.. ehm.. Alice she..” God Bella, talk. Say hello, please come in. ANYTHING.
It took a few seconds for my mouth to catch up. “Alice will be down in a minute. I’m Bella,” I held out my hand. When she shook my hand, the weirdest feeling went through me. I felt so happy, careless. And then I heard Alice coming down the stairs.
“Hello, Tanya. Thank you for picking me up.” Alice took her coat off the coat hanger and walked outside. Tanya looked at me for a few more seconds before she turned around and followed Alice to the car.
“Think about school Bella,” Alice said as she opened the passenger side door of a black Mercedes.
“Think about school Bella,” I mocked under my breath as I stood in the door opening and watched Tanya also get in the car. Before they drove off, they seemed to have a short conversation. But then Alice looked straight at me as if to remind Tanya that I was still here and then the car sped off.
It was the day I had been dreading. The day I never wanted to come. The day that I had to go back to school. I had begged Charlie not to send me back but since I couldn’t come up with a good argument why I couldn’t go back... I couldn’t tell him that the thought of going back to school was keeping me awake during the night. I would have to navigate through the school as if I knew the place, with people who knew me, but I didn’t know them. And I couldn’t glue myself to Alice side. And if the rest of her family was as scary, weird, whatever as Jasper was... Sure, he had been nice-ish after shoving aside to get to his girlfriend. But also, intense. Something about him said ‘I could break you in a minute, without breaking a sweat’.
But maybe they were like Tanya. Alice refused to tell more about her, other than that Tanya was one of the cousins from Alaska. Not telling things seemed to be Alice’s thing. She still hadn’t told me how it was possible for Jasper to be here that quickly; she also hadn’t told me what had happened that day in my room. Other than; “I just get that way sometimes. Don’t worry about it”. So, I had to accept that my best friend would sometimes be weird and just stare and sit completely still. She had done it again yesterday after I told her that I had to go back and there was nothing I could do to stop it. This time I didn’t freak out and call her boyfriend (by accident). I just waited it out. After she came back a few minutes later, she just smiled. I had raised an eyebrow, hoping that she would tell me why she was smiling, but she ignored me and went back to looking at a magazine.
“Good luck at school today,” Charlie said as he walked into the hallway to get his coat on and get off to work.
“Thank,” I muttered while pouring myself another cup of coffee. Charlie had commented on my coffee habits the day before yesterday. Saying that I shouldn’t drink it so much because it would give me sleep problems. I had almost answered back that it wasn’t the coffee that was keeping up at night but the thought of going back to school.
This morning I had picked out my favourite outfit; a black and white plaid skirt with a black knitted over-sized jumper. I still only owned a pair of Converse. I hoped that Alice and I could go shopping soon. I had found a promising looking thrift store in Port Angeles and I was hoping that they would have a pair of doc martens in my size.
I checked one last time if I had everything. Alice had just texted me that she would be picking me up in 5 minutes. Because Charlie didn’t want me to drive alone… even though the doctor had said that I was fine. I had been on my own at the house for the last two weeks and nothing had happened. Sure, Alice was here like… all the time, after she got out of school, of course. But Charlie had put his foot down and told me he didn’t want me to drive yet. So, I had two options; letting Charlie bring and pick me up every day or ask Alice.
I zipped up my bright orange backpack, god that was a choice I would’ve never made, even if it had been on sale or something. That meant that a new simple black backpack was also on the list of things I needed to buy. By now over a month had passed here in this reality, and I was sure that I wasn’t getting back any time soon. I tried not to think about it.
Outside a car honked its horn and I assumed that that was Alice. As I walked outside, I saw a silver Volvo parked in front of my house. Alice opened the window of the back seat and told me to hop in the passenger side seat. I sat down and sitting next to me was a bronzed hair boy.
“Hello, my name is Edward Cullen,” his voice sounded strained. And he only looked at me for a second before he focused his eyes on the road. Great another weird family member… I was off to a great start of the day.
“Alice, would you know where I could pick up my schedule? I seemed to have lost mine when we were cleaning up my room.” I hoped that that wasn’t a weird question to ask. But Alice didn’t seem to think it was weird as she answered, “At the front office. I’ll walk you there.”
As we got closer and closer to the school, I could feel myself getting more and more nervous. I can do this, I can do this. I kept repeating it over and over again my head. But I could feel the palms of my hand getting sweaty. An annoying thing that always happened to me when I got nervous. I had it when I had to do a presentation, or before a big test. There is nothing scary about going back to school. How different can it be from Phoenix? I already finished high school once, doing it again is no big deal. I could feel my nerves slowly calm down. I was still scared of the idea, but I couldn’t feel it anymore.
“Are you coming.” Alice was standing outside the car, holding my door open. Apparently, we were already here. The building didn’t look that big. Maybe I could do this. And I would have Alice to help me navigate through the first day. We had parked next to a red convertible. Why would anyone own a convertible in a rainy town like this?
Alice helped me pick up my schedule and walked me to my first class. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the same classes as me. What was even worse was that the moment I walked into the classroom everybody, and then I mean everybody, stared at me. Not a simple lookup and look down like we did in college when someone entered the lecture hall after class had already started. No this was a full-on goldfish stare. The teacher was the first one to recover.
“Welcome back miss Swan.”
“Thank you. Where can I sit?” I asked while trying not to look at anybody.
“At your old seat. Eric will tell you where we are and just follow along until you catch up.” The teacher went back to reading whatever paper he was reading before I walked in. My old seat. Fuck. A quarter of the seats were still empty but then I saw someone wave at me. I hoped that that was Eric.
As I sat down next to him, he started talking immediately.
My head hurt. And that was the understatement of the century. Eric had asked all kind of questions; some I could answer without lying but mostly I lied. I lied a lot. And I had to pretend to like him but to be honest, he was annoying the heck out of me. Couldn’t he pock nose in someone else’s business? After Eric there was Jessica. Who didn’t just have one, but two classes with me. And she talked even more than Eric. At least Eric had stopped talking after the teacher had started his class. Jessica did not. She just whispered and the teacher either didn’t hear it or ignored it. I was ready to cry or scream.
Jessica walked with me to the canteen. While she kept talking, I was looking for Alice. She had to save me. As we entered the canteen, I saw her sitting with Jasper and Edward and two other kids. Thank god.
“Jessica, I promised Alice I would eat lunch with her.” She just looked at me like I had said something weird.
“I promised Alice I would eat lunch with her?” I repeated it but this time it sounded more like a question. I looked at Alice and she was staring at me. Should I go sit with her? Jessica made a big deal out of it but… “I’m gonna go now.” I walked off towards Alice. It felt like the whole canteen when quiet as I got closer to their table and I could feel eyes burning in my back. I wasn’t going to turn around and confirm it.
“Alice. I can eat lunch with you right?” I asked, suddenly unsure. Why was this weird? She was my friend. She hung out at my place all the time. This shouldn’t feel so wrong.
“Of course, you can eat lunch with us,” Alice answered cheerfully. She pulled out the chair next to her, but the blonde girl spoke up.
“Alice, she can’t be here,” she said through her teeth.
“Alice?” I asked again. Unsure if I should sit down.
“No,” Edward said, and the blonde girl now looked angry at him. And I was still standing. I could feel the eyes on my back. There were quite whispers. This was a mistake. Alice hadn’t told them about me? Didn’t she want people to know we were friends?
“I… I should go,” I said as I rushed away towards the exit. I could hear Alice call out for me, but I did turn around. As I got out of the building I started to run. I wanted to go home. It was rain again, but I didn’t care. All I cared about was getting away from this place. I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t keep pretending. I was losing. But this wasn’t a game anymore. This was real life. My life.
I wasn’t looking where I was going as I ran, and I ran into something hard. As the ground connected with the palms of my hands, I feel the skin scraping open and blood starting to flow. Auw.
“Are you alright?” a familiar voice asked. It wasn’t something I had run into, it was someone. And not just someone, it was Tanya. Could my day get any worse?
Please let me know if you see any spelling mistakes so I can correct them. And leave a comment if you enjoyed this chapter.