“Senior year tomorrow, are you excited?”
Bella looked over to her best friend and sighed. “No,” she replied before looking back at the sky. The clouds were beautiful today. Big, puffy clouds and she and Jake were trying to find shapes in them. “I mean… I guess? One more year here in Forks.”
“And then you can escape,” Jake laughed. “Leave me.”
“But I don’t want to! If only Forks had a college, that would have been amazing! Instead, I need to look for somewhere else!”
Jake huffed. “Who needs college anyway?”
Bella looked back at him and raised an eyebrow. “So you want to be a dumb mechanic?”
“Well, no, but I can do an apprenticeship for a few years to get additional certifications,” he replied. “No college involved,” Jake added proudly. “Do you even want to know what you want to do?”
Bella shrugged. “We’ll see. Maybe travel the world a bit, take a gap year or something. See history up close, and maybe I’ll go and study history after. You want to come with?”
He let out a snort and shook his head. “Nah, Loca, I’m fine where I am. And I thought you had donated all the money they paid you off with to charity?”
“I did,” Bella nodded as she sucked in a breath. “I kept a small portion of it for myself, though. To pay for college so Charlie doesn’t have to. Figured I earned it after what that asshole did. It’s been gathering interest in my savings account, so…” she shrugged. “But I’d really like you to join me.”
“Again, I’m staying here,” Jake laughed. “There is no way I’m going to fly.”
“Well, we could road trip through America instead?”
“Jake!” Bella let out a whine. “We do everything together! Why not this?”
He sighed then as he sat up to look at her. “I’ve helped you to get over that asshole as the good friend that I am, but I’m starting to think that you’re clinging onto me now.”
“You’re a jerk.”
“I’ll always be here, Bells, but it’s time for you to do things on your own. You’re a strong and beautiful woman, and I’ll only be holding you back. So, this year, I’m going to focus on weaning you off of me.”
“What?” he laughed. “You’ll be fine, and we’re still friends.”
Bella pouted as she punched him in the arm. “You’re not being fair, we’re always together.”
“And that’s why that needs to change.”
Jake started to blush then. “I may have my eye on a girl… and I doubt she’ll like it that my best friend acts like we’re Siamese twins.”
Bella sat up and pushed her hair out of her face before punching him again. “You could have lead with that titbit, Jake. You want space? Of course, I’ll give you your space so you can do whatever you want,” she smiled at him before hugging him and getting to her feet. “I’d better get home. Charlie wants to do his annual back to school dinner, which means I have to cook it,” she said before running off to her truck and drove straight home, barely keeping it together.
Why was this hurting so much? She saw Jake almost every day, and during breaks she saw him all the time, they always had fun and there hadn’t been anything wrong until she’d mentioned she wanted to travel the world. With him. And then he rejected her. Wanting to stay at the Rez, wanting her to be on her own. Fuck him. Seriously.
If he wanted to be left alone, she was going to leave him alone. Fuck him.
She parked her truck in front of the house and walked inside, slamming the door shut before running upstairs to her room.
Tomorrow, everything was going to change.
Bella sat down at their usual table for lunch the next day after a dreadful start of the day. They had a substitute Spanish teacher and she was more… advanced than they were. The teacher didn’t like to stick to the curriculum either, and it was hard to keep up. And just because the day couldn’t get any worse, the woman was also their history teacher, but that was a permanent role for her.
Bella was impressed by the lesson though, the woman managed to teach them in a way that it sounded as if she’d been present in the particular event that they were learning about and were supposed to write an essay about.
“Hi Bella!” Jessica greeted her as she sat down next to her and Mike sat down next to Jessica. “We missed you over the summer.”
“Uh, yeah, I spent some time with Jake on the rez,” Bella smiled as she looked at her two friends and didn’t miss the look between them. “When did you two happen?”
“Over the summer,” Jessica blushed. “Mike found me on the side of the road when my tire blew and it was raining and… well, things happened.”
Bella smiled as she took a sip of her drink. “I’m happy for you guys.”
“Really?” Mike blinked at her. “I thought we had something special Bella!”
She barked out a laugh and shook her head. “You wish!”
“Sooo,” Jessica lowered her voice as she scooted closer to Bella. “Did you have the new student in your class yet?”
“What new student?”
“He and his younger sister have started school today. He’s a senior and he’s super hot. And, God, Bella, an accent to die for!” Jessica then looked at Mike. “For her, not for me, you’re mine.” She then looked back at Bella. “I think he’s in chemistry and physics with you.”
“And how would you know?”
“I asked,” Jessica grinned as she nodded at the boy just entering the cafeteria. “There he is.”
Bella took a bite of her apple and tried counting to ten before answering. “Jessica, I appreciate the thought but I’m done with guys.”
Mike’s eyes widened in shock as he nearly choked on his sandwich. “You’re a lesbian?!” He could already see the possibilities with that. Oh man.
“Down boy,” Bella replied as she stared him down. “No, I’m done. Men are assholes. They’re lousy boyfriends and lousy friends.”
“Oh, someone sounds bitter,” Angela’s voice sounded as she sat down opposite of Bella and was followed suit by Ben. “Who’s hurt you this time?”
“Nobody,” Bella replied as she finished eating her apple. “I’m just better off without them.”
“Okay, so, any plans for this weekend? Shall we go to Port Angeles with the five of us?” Mike asked, desperately wanting to change the conversation before Bella would pull them back into the vortex of depression she’d been experiencing ever since Edward Cullen and his family had messed with her. It was a good thing they left, but she’d never been the same after. Not even with help from her friend Jake. “You can’t say ‘no’, Bella. The others can, but you can’t.”
Bella let out a snort. “Mike, I’m fine.”
“I said you can’t say ‘no’.”
“Well, I have to,” Bella replied. “Charlie has a thing over at the station and I promised I’d help out with serving coffee and snacks. Do you want me to cancel on Charlie?”
Mike swallowed and shook his head. “No, the last time I told you to cancel on him he tried to arrest me. I still don’t like it that you’re the chief’s daughter.”
She barked out a laugh and shook her head. “I love my dad.”
“Daddy’s little girl.”
“Damn straight,” Bella replied. “Maybe next week. Let’s get through the first week first, shall we?”
She wasn’t entirely sure why she had kept physics as a subject for her senior year. Chemistry was a lot of fun, sure, and quite easy because she loved to cook, but physics? What was she going to do with physics when she wanted to do something with history? Well, likely. She wasn’t sure what she was going to do after high school and the gap year had been an excuse, was still an excuse, but she had absolutely no clue.
She settled in the back of the class and decided that it was going to be her spot for the rest of the year. Sure, Bella was going to pay attention, but at least nobody would see how hard she had to work for a grade for this. She had just put her book down when someone bumped against her table to get to the empty table next to her.
“Sorry,” the boy replied. English accent. New kid.
Bella looked at him as she shrugged. “I’m fine, did you hurt yourself?”
“Nah,” he smiled at her as he sat down and looked to the front of the classroom where the teacher was still absent before extending his hand to her. “Kol.”
“Welcome to Forks, Kol,” she said as she kept her hands to herself.
He tilted his head as he looked at her. “Normally one would take the hand offered, shake it and introduce themselves in return. You’re being rude, miss.”
“No, I’m not interested in chit-chat,” she replied. Why did this guy remind her of Edward? “Leave me alone.”
Kol sat down next to her in chemistry too, and tried to talk to her but Bella ignored him and once school was done, she hopped in her truck and after buying some groceries headed back home to do her homework.
It was almost as if the new guy was in all of her classes now. As if he had switched some out, and it was annoying. Edward had swapped out classes at first because of her before later swapping back.. Everyone was annoying and she hated to admit it, but even Jessica and Angela were getting on her nerves. She wasn’t closing herself off, she just didn’t want anything to do with guys anymore.
On Wednesday she found herself alone at the lunch table and Kol joined her. Without asking. “What do you want?”
Kol sighed as he took a sip from his drink. “My siblings want me to make friends, interact with people and you seem to be a nice person. I thought that perhaps you and I could become friends but all you’ve been doing is shutting me down.”
“I’m not interested,” she replied as she looked at him. “There are plenty of other people in school.”
He smiled then. “Perhaps, but you’re the one who’s actively avoiding me. I cannot help but be slightly intrigued,” he replied. “What’s your damage?”
Kol shrugged. “Are you merely anti-social or have you been hurt by a boy in the past? A boyfriend maybe? A friend? Both?”
Bella narrowed her eyes on him. “Seems like you’ve been asking around about me. Is that why my friends aren’t here right now?”
“Maybe,” Kol smiled. “But that’s alright, darling, I’m damaged goods myself. Perhaps we could aid each other?”
“I’m fine,” she said evenly as she took a bite out of her sandwich.
“But perhaps I’m not.”
“We’ve got a school counselor.”
“Try the new teacher. She’s pretty. You can flirt with her.”
Kol’s face scrunched up as if he had eaten a lemon. “No, thanks. That’s my brother’s wife.”
Bella let out a snort. “A family member that’s a teacher. You’re screwed.”
“Could be worse.”
Bella let out a breath and nodded. “Yep, like your dad being the police chief.”
Kol blinked. “You’re the chief’s daughter?!”
“Yep. Regret wanting me to be your friend now?”
“Nope. Definitely need to make you my bestie now. Especially if you can get him to cancel out that ticket he gave me last week,” he admitted with a little smile.
She cocked her head with a slight smile as she took out her phone. “Why were you speeding?”
“Who said I was speeding, and not double parked?”
She shrugged. “I figured that guys like you like their fast cars. The more expensive the better. What kind of car do you have? That Porsche in the lot outside? Would be a shame to double park that, seeing as it could get scratches, so I think he caught you speeding.”
He slightly paled then. “Yes, it’s mine and yes, I was speeding… a little…”
Bella hummed. “Not sure if he’ll cancel it, but sure, let’s try,” she said as she started to type. “Hi Dad, this new student at school is curious if you could forget that you gave him a speeding ticket. He was driving a Porsche.”
“Yeah… sorry,” Bella said as she looked at Kol. “Not gonna happen.”
“It was worth a shot, thank you. I guess I’ll have to go over to pay after school then.”
“That would be wise, yes,” she said as she took another bite off her sandwich. “And it would be wise if you stayed away from me, too.”
“Because, to me, you appear to be an entitled brat and I’ve had enough of those,” she said before getting up, throwing her sandwich on her tray and headed to throw it all away. She had lost her appetite.
Bella headed to her next class already, passing the new teacher who was snickering as the teacher was texting on her phone. But Bella knew better, the teacher was likely snickering because of what had just happened. Turning around, Bella walked to the teacher and sighed. “Excuse me, miss?”
“I’m not feeling too well, is it alright if I go home?”
She raised an eyebrow. “It’s the first week of school. Certainly, Kol isn’t that annoying? I mean, I know he is, I live with him, but I think he could be tolerable. Even if he could use a good dose of humility. Thanks for that by the way.”
“He needs to stay away from me.”
Myriam sighed as she put an arm around the girl and lead her away from the students and pulled her into a classroom. Sitting her down, she sat down herself. “What’s bothering you?”
“Nothing, I just need him to stay away from me.”
“Bella, please. I hear the other teachers talk about you. Your friends. They say you’re not doing well. You can tell me,” Myriam said as she compelled the girl.
“Yeah, not going to happen,” Bella said as she got to her feet. “If you won’t excuse me for the rest of the day, I’ll find someone who will.”
The teacher sat back, blinking in confusion as she stared at the girl. “Um, yeah, sure…”
“Thank you,” Bella let out a breath and walked out of the classroom, pushed through the students returning to their classes and headed outside to take a few breaths as she walked to her truck. Fucking Jake. This was all Jake’s fault. She kicked against the tire of her truck and she could feel something break in her foot and she hit her cab out of frustration.
She wanted to call Jake, yell at him, but no, she wasn’t going to do that. She would not give him the satisfaction. And perhaps he’d been right, she’d grown too attached to him, but once again, a great guy had turned into a giant fucking asshole.
“Excuse me,” a girl asked as she walked towards Bella. “Is this your truck?”
“Yeah, I’m going home.”
“So do I, but my brother and I usually travel together and I’m not feeling so well today… could I get a lift?”
“You’re Kol’s sister?”
“Your brother is a jerk.”
“He can be,” Rebekah smiled at her. “So is that a yes? Otherwise I’d have to call my other brother and he can be a beast. Literally. I suppose it’s better than the other one, who can be a monster, but yeah.”
Bella sighed. “Yeah, fine, get in, I’ll drive you home.”
“Great, thank you!” Rebekah said as she got into the truck. “He’s currently in a council meeting today with all the town officials. He would not like it if I’d call him for something as trivial as feeling sick.”
“I understand, don’t worry,” Bella said as she closed her door and winced as she tried to start her truck. She was going to have to go to the doctor to see if it was broken or something after dropping off Rebekah. “So, where to?” Bella asked as she turned out of the parking lot.
“Ah, we bought a house just outside of town, in the woods.”
Bella stepped on her brake and looked at her. “There’s only one house in the woods that I know of.”
“My brothers like some space, this was the biggest one in town that was for sale and available on short notice. Do you know where it is?”
“Unfortunately I do,” Bella sighed. “That place has some bad energy.”
“Oh yeah, Myriam got rid of it,” Rebekah smiled at her. “Apart from a teacher, she’s great with cleansing areas. She’s all floaty and stuff.”
“So she’s a witch?”
“Say what now?” Rebekah laughed. “A witch? From those stories? Don’t be daft!”
Bella shrugged as she started to drive again. “Forks is a strange place, Rebekah. Perhaps witches aren’t real, but I’ve seen some weird things.”
“Well, I can promise you that Myriam is not a witch. But a bundle of dried sage and some words of intent can do a lot for a house. Are you?”
“Am I what?”
“No. Like I said, I’ve seen some weird shit since I moved to Forks. If I were you I’d be careful. Those woods around that house you’re living in have seen a lot of shit.”
“Oh don’t worry, my older brothers won’t allow me to go into the woods at night by myself.”
“Where are your parents?”
Bella frowned, feeling slightly remorseful over how she treated Kol now. “Oh. Sorry,” she mumbled, glancing at the girl. “I didn’t know.”
“That’s alright,” Rebekah smiled at her. “They died a long time ago. Only the teachers know, too. We don’t want any special treatment.”
“Still, I was a jerk to Kol.”
“It’s fine, he can deal with a few dents in his ego, don’t you fret,” Rebekah replied kindly. “If anything, your behavior towards him is refreshing.”
“My behavior towards him isn’t right. I know that. And I thought I could deal with this,” Bella said a bit remorseful. “But he reminds me of my ex-boyfriend. And boys are just terrible.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it. Kol is the least of your worries. If you’d have done that to my older brother, he might be offended and could retaliate. Then Myriam had to step in to defend his honor and things could get messy,” Rebekah smiled at her. “Kol’s a sweetheart. Just… unrefined. My brothers like to bully him.”
“Oh great, now I feel even worse!”
“Don’t worry. He’ll eventually do something to piss you off again.”
Bella scowled as she turned into the familiar road towards the house that she knew so well. She tightly gripped the wheel of her truck as she drove and tried not to think about him. Arriving at the house, she turned the car around and barely moved. “Get well soon, Rebekah.” From what Bella could see from staring out in front of her, they had remodeled the house somewhat. Gone were the big glass windows, and it looked a lot cosier than it had been. Less sterile. Which was good. But merely sitting in the driveway made her feel nauseous.
“Do you want to come in?”
“No, I think I need to go to the doctor… I might have broken something while I kicked against my truck.”
“Is it this house? Do you have some bad memories attached to it?”
Rebekah sighed and nodded. “Thank you for this enlightening drive home, Bella. I’ll see you tomorrow in school.”