"There's no turning back now." I thought as I walked off the plane, and I could feel the sudden shift in who I was, or who I was about to become.
I'd been determined to start fresh, to leave behind the struggle that had haunted me for almost a year now. It was going to be difficult, but the first step was moving across the country - transferring schools to be exact. I'd needed a change of scenery, anything that didn't hold the memories. You could say I was transferring from UDub to UConn out of desperation. Call it what you will, I'd needed to get out of there.
My dad, Charlie Swan, wasn't too keen on the whole idea. He liked me being near him, just as much as I liked being near him. My mom, Renee, had walked out on him when I was two, and I'd always lived with her. Then she'd become ill with breast cancer when I was ten and fought for a good five years. But, she hadn't made it. I'd been devastated and scared out of my mind when I'd realized that I only had one parent left.
I'd clung to my dad ever since, and over the years, we'd become really close. As much as Charlie hated talking about his feelings and didn't want me to go, he knew that I wasn't doing well and that I needed something to change.
Like Charlie, I didn't talk about my feelings either, and believe me, this had everything to do with feelings. Stupid, immature feelings, I've grown to call them...
And here I was still...talking about wanting change but still thinking about the past. This was going to be harder than I thought. I texted my dad once I turned my phone back on, to let him know that I was safe. He immediately texted back, which made me roll my eyes,
Good. Now please try and keep it that way. I put pepper spray in your toiletry bag before you left. Use it if you need it. Love you kid. Dad
Being the police chief's daughter had its ups and downs, but I loved my dad for the things he would come up with to keep me safe...even if I was a few thousand miles away now.
As I grabbed my luggage from baggage claim, I was on the lookout for my ride. I'd met her online, because I was looking for a place to stay off campus. I had my fair share of experiences in the dorm life, and I was over it. My old roommate, Tanya, had been something else. Always having parties in our room, coming home late from partying, or bringing her pick of the week back for some hanky-panky; so naturally, half the time I wasn't even in my room.
Once again, a part of the past...
I'd decided I wanted a place at a house, so that I could have my own space, but still have the company when I felt like it. The house that I'd eventually found online was gorgeous - a three story brick town house, with a spacious backyard, and big floor to ceiling windows dispersed throughout the place. And most importantly, it was in my price range! I'd almost fallen over backwards, I'd been so excited!
My first interaction with Alice Brandon was through a couple of emails, in which I introduced myself and told her I was seriously interested in the living arrangement. When I'd talked to Alice on the phone, she seemed lovely. There would be six of us, 3 guys and 3 girls. Alice and the other girl roommate were dating two of the guys, and the loner as she affectionately called him, was her cousin, who was very serious about his soccer. I knew immediately how close of a group they were, and I felt a little nervous being the newcomer.
But when I'd told Alice this, before even considering, she'd said, "Bella! It will be so much fun! Don't you worry!"
"Alright Alice," I'd agreed. I liked her enthusiasm, but I was still a little hesitant. Then a sudden thought ran through my head. "I would like to take you up on your offer, just please don't try to set me up with your cousin." For some reason, since I was the single girl, and he apparently was the single guy, I didn't want her getting any ideas. I also didn't want it to be the only reason she would want me living there. I didn't want it to be awkward. To top it all off, if I was going to be honest with myself, I didn't think I would ever be capable of dating, because of him.
"The only thing that I want to do Bella is to make you comfortable. I can already tell; we are going to be great friends! My cousin only transferred here a year ago, so he is more accustomed to the ‘newcomer' feeling. He can always help you get into the swing of things, if you feel it necessary. Soccer season is starting soon though, so he won't be around too much. And of course, you will have me and Rosalie, the other girl, to hang around with!"
"So he plays for the school then?"
I loved soccer. I blamed Charlie; he got me hooked once I started living with him when I was fifteen. I was surprisingly good for someone who couldn't walk two feet without tripping on thin air. I played all-throughout high school, becoming captain the first year I played, and then I played my first year of college. I injured myself half way through the season that year, tearing my left ACL. Once it healed, I was left with a nasty scar and a reminder that I could never play soccer again. I had been devastated, as it had been my outlet ever since my mom died, and I'd gotten pretty good.
That's when I met...
Stop. Oh the memories I long to forget...
"Yes! He is so good; he transferred here on a soccer scholarship and scouts are starting to notice him. We all go to his games; they are fantastic to watch. We all have a blast anyway! If you are interested you can always come!" I had talked to Alice for a little while longer, telling her I would love to come and talking about my soccer history. "I am so sorry, Bella, to hear about you getting hurt, I can only imagine. Your love for the game hasn't disappeared though?"
"Oh, of course not! I was bitter at first, but once I healed, I still went to games. I've worked hard at my recovery, enough so that I can run again, so that has somewhat filled the void." I would never lose the love of the game, even if I could only watch it.
I wonder what he is doing, if he still plays...
"That really is truly inspiring, Bella. Well, I can't wait to meet you!! This is going to be such a great year!"
I had to admit, Alice was starting to grow on me. She was always so excited, which made me excited. A few days later, I gave her my flight itinerary, and we made all the details of getting me all the way across the country.
So now, here I stood with my two suitcases of belongings, scanning the terminal for my new friend Alice. She had told me what she looked like - short, with spiky black hair. Even if I had no idea as to what she looked like, I would have spotted her from a mile away. As soon as I was on my second round of scanning the airport, I saw a huge sign that read ‘BELLA SWAN' and a tiny woman jumping up and down and flailing her arms. Next to her was a big guy, about two feet taller than her and a whole lot of muscle. As I approached the two of them, Alice closed the gap and practically tackled me. She gave me an enormous hug, and I was already thinking I could call this place home.
"Hi, I'm Emmett McCarty!" The muscly man came in for a great big bear hug as he spoke.
"Hi, Emmett....can't... breathe!" Emmett quickly released me. "It's nice to meet you, I'm Bella," I said with a smile.
"You are going to reeeaalllyyy like it here. I heard you used to play soccer. We've got a nice set up in the backyard. If you are any good, maybe I'll let you play," Emmett said with a wink. Was this Alice's cousin? I wasn't sure. If Alice planned this, I could very well have punched her. I looked at Alice for any type of clarification.
"Emmett, you know Bella doesn't play anymore, ya big lug!"
"You told me that she runs. That also means we could take it easy on her, right Bella?"
"I don't know who you mean by we, but yes, it wouldn't hurt," I said with a wink. Emmett could be easy to get along with, he seemed light hearted and energetic.
"Oh, he means the rest of the boys! Anyway Bella, Emmett is Rosalie's boyfriend. They met their freshman year here. Emmett likes to be the goalie when Edward practices at the house." Ok so that solved that cousin issue, but who is Edward?
I used to know an Edward...
"Who is Edward?" I asked, almost reluctantly as we walked to a big red jeep. Emmett hauled my two bags into the trunk, and we all climbed in.
"Oh! Edward is my cousin, and Jasper is my boyfriend, who you will meet when we get to the house."
Edward. My Edward had played soccer, too. Wait...MY Edward? He was never mine. He showed you how much he really cared about your friendship anyway, not telling you where he was going, not saying goodbye...
I felt a tear stream down my face, as I tried to stop my train of thought, and quickly brushed it away.
"Actually Alice, Jasper went with Edward to practice and then they were stopping to pick some stuff up for the party..."
Did I just hear party? Maybe I should be paying attention before they noticed that I'm drowning in my own thoughts...
"...it starts at 7 so as long as they get there around then it should be fine." Alice was saying.
"Wait, there's a party tonight? Where?" I wasn't sure I was up for any parties, I just got here. I wanted to get myself settled in, maybe read or something.
"Oh it's at our house! It's to celebrate the new school year, and for you, of course! You are going to get to meet a lot of people! It's going to be fun, fun, FUN!" I was beginning to think Alice was a little too over excited about things. "I hope you don't mind that it's the day that you arrive, but I'm just so happy that you are going to be living with us, and I LOVE planning parties."
"Yeah Bella, you don't want to even argue, she gets her way more often than not," Emmett piped up from the driver's seat, and Alice smacked him in the arm. Emmett laughed, a big booming laugh, in response. As we were cruising down the highway, I needed to think of something to get out of this.
"Alice, I really just wanted to unpack and get settled in today. I'm not really up for a party."
"Oh come on, Bella! It's only Saturday, you will have all day Sunday to get settled. Plus, school doesn't even start for another two weeks. You will have plenty of time!"
I needed to hurry and come up with something quick. "But I don't have anything to wear." There, chew on that one Alice!
"Tsk, tsk. Bella, if there is one thing you need to know about me it's that I am a self-proclaimed fashionista! I already have your outfit hanging in my closet!"
Oh great... this was going to be such a long day. Being the center of attention is a whole other thing entirely. I tend to become flustered when surrounded by people.
Alice could sense my nervousness. "Don't worry, Bella. I'm going to be by your side all evening. As soon as we get home, Emmett and I will help you get situated, and you can relax for a couple of hours before that party starts anyway!"
I wasn't sure there was any use arguing with her. I made eye contact with Emmett in the rear view mirror, and he smiled and just shook his head.
I sighed, "Alright Alice, I'll go..."
Alice started shrieking unintelligibly as we pulled into the driveway at the house that I recognized from online...at the place that I would call home.
Emmett lugged my suitcases into the house as I jumped out of the Jeep. "Ok Bella, are you ready for the tour?" Alice appeared at my side.
Even though I was fairly tired, I was excited to see the place where I would be living. "Yes! I want to thank you again for allowing me to be the other roommate. This has made things so much easier with the move and all!" I gave her a quick tight hug.
"You don't need to thank me," Alice said as she smiled and took my hand. "I should be thanking you! This house is going to be complete now!"
The house was absolutely amazing, the living room was to the right when you first walked in, and it opened up to the kitchen, which was towards the back side of the house. Down the hall from the entry way and stairs was a door leading to the backyard. From what I could see, there was a patio and then an open field of green grass. Off to the left - I couldn't even believe it - was a library and study. I wanted to melt right to the floor when I saw several floor to ceiling bookshelves lining the walls. Alice walked towards one of the big windows.
"This is useful when we need to study; my favorite area is the nooks in the windows, they are so comfy! Most of us to come in here quite often, but Edward practically lives here when he isn't playing soccer."
"Alice this is amazing! I love reading and books. Gosh, I may have just died and gone to heaven!" I stood there just beaming from ear to ear. This place was so open and had an airy feel with all of the windows that occupied the walls of each room; the house was really beginning to shape up well.
"Ok, come on! I'll show you the two other floors. Essentially, they are just bathrooms and bedrooms." We reached the landing of the second floor. "To the right is mine and Jasper's room, and to the left is Rosalie and Emmett's. Bella, I know you said for me to not set you up with Edward, which of course I won't, but I just don't want you to think that is what I'm trying to do."
She was talking a hundred miles a minute now as we reached the third floor landing, and I looked out the hall window casually.
"But there are three bedrooms in this house, and since Rosalie and I were dating Emmett and Jasper, we thought it would be easier for Edward to have his own room..."
I walked into the only bedroom on this floor. It was fairly spacious; there were two twin sized beds on either side of the room. One was pretty messy and unmade in dark colors. Like a typical guy's room. On the other side, next to a gorgeous window, was the other bed. It was made with a purple and green bed spread.
"... and I hope you like the bed set, I wasn't sure what you liked, and we can always get you something else."
I stood there almost an emotional wreck at the wonderful thought she'd had of buying me a bed set, when what she said and what I was seeing actually clicked.
"Wait a second, Alice! I have to share a room with your cousin?! I don't even know the guy! And you told me that this wasn't a set up or anything..."
"I know, I know! And believe me that isn't what I'm doing! This is just the only other available bedroom in the house. I wanted you to feel comfortable in coming here. Honestly, it won't be bad. My cousin was raised a gentleman, and he won't be here a lot of the time right now anyway because of soccer season. I promise if you get to know him it won't be bad. I was afraid if I had told you this on the phone, that you wouldn't have come."
I sighed. There wasn't any use getting upset, or uncomfortable, even though that was inevitable. But Alice did have a point. I probably wouldn't have accepted this offer if I had known I would be sharing a room with a perfect stranger. Well, it wasn't that he was a stranger. It was that he was a HE. She was also trying not to make it awkward for her cousin either. Living with two couples could probably get old real fast when it was just him. Maybe, we could become friends and keep each other company. We at least had one thing in common already, I thought of the wonderful study downstairs.
"You know what, Alice, I'm okay with this. I'll be fine. I understand this was the only bedroom left; I can make it work." I looked at her and smiled.
She jumped up off my new bed and hugged me fiercely.
"Bella, you won't regret this. I know you won't. You just have to be patient and settle in! It will be amazing once you do!"
I couldn't help but wonder if she was referring to anything other than me moving in. She couldn't know about my past; a past that haunted me daily. I wasn't close enough with her to have even told her anything about it, so I just brushed it off.
As she let go of me, she said, "Now, you have about..." as she looked at her watch "...3 hours before I come in here and dress you all up, so get settled in, and I'll be back in here later!"
Alice turned on her heels and walked out leaving me to my devices. I decided to look around the other side of the room a little bit. It was as good a time as any to get a little familiar with this new roommate that I had just acquired. He was definitely into soccer. He had posters up on the walls of David Beckham, Landon Donavon and Wayne Rooney.
I could get use to looking at those.
The walls of the bedroom were painted a deep blue, and his bed spread seemed to coordinate with that. His bed looked like someone rolled around in it.
Hopefully, he was nothing like my old roommate Tanya, always bringing back nightly companions.
He had books scattered around his night stand and floor and a laptop on a tiny desk right near the doorway. He seemed neat for the most part, except for his bed. He was a reader too, which made me smile. Maybe we could talk about books and swap our favorites.
You used to talk to him about books...
Ugh... If I was going to keep having these thoughts, I needed to lay down or something. I started to unpack my side of the room and organize it accordingly. Even though I wouldn't have minded a nap, I wasn't going to be able to sleep until this was all done. About an hour and a half later, I had finished organizing my side, putting the finishing touch of a picture on my nightstand of my dad and mom when I was just born. They had looked so happy then. Of course, I knew that they ended up not being meant to be, but I always loved the captured moment of happiness between them. I wanted to believe that there truly was a happy ending for everyone.
Charlie had always told me, "Kid, even though it didn't work out with me and your mother, I will never regret it, because of that whole mess, it gave me you." I sighed as I wiped away a tear, I miss you dad. And you mom.
I walked over to the stereo that Edward had next to his laptop, I hope he wouldn't mind.
We will have to set some room rules or something. Rule #1, coming up with a nickname. Like Doug or something. Anything but the name Edward.
I turned on the stereo and let it just play whatever it was that he was listening to on low and walked over to my bed. I recognized the notes of Debussy playing.
He liked Debussy. What were the chances that Alice's Edward...or Doug... was your...STOP!
I needed to stop thinking about this. I didn't KNOW where the Edward that I knew was.
Remember how he didn't say a thing and just left? Do you remember when TANYA told you that he was gone?...
I sighed and shut my eyes as I lay on my bed.