In These Arms

Bella is your typical teenage girl, sure she has her ups and downs but that's besides the point. She is happily living in the UK with her loving parents and her big sister Amy who is more like her best friend. With good grades, plenty of friends and a boyfriend, Bella's life couldn't be more complete. She soon discovers that life is never that easy. Upon learning the death of her sister Amy who was tragically killed in a car accident, Bella's life starts spiralling out of control. Between moving countries and adjusting to a new school, Bella struggles to move forward with the loss of her sister. Her cousin Scott who has always been more of a brother is thrilled to have her living in America which is where her parents decided to relocate. He soon discovers that she is not the same bubbly and happy girl she used to be. Can he get her to open up and attempt to put her broken heart back together? Or can Scott's best friend Liam who takes a shine to Bella help her through her grievance? I

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5. Chapter 5

Bella woke up to the doorbell annoyingly ringing the next morning. It took her ages to finally fall asleep last night as she tried to avoid any nightmares she might have. With a big sigh she rolled onto her back to glance at her alarm clock. It was 6:51 am! 

"Are you kidding me!" Bella groaned as she rolled back over and ignored the door. Her mum would answer it sooner or later.

"Crap!" she cursed out loud, remembering that her mum had an early meeting this morning and had already left!

With another sigh, Bella tossed the covers off of her, silently cursing again as she felt the chill hit her body. Grabbing her dressing gown from the bottom of her bed, she wrapped it around her and groggily made her way downstairs almost tripping in the process.

"Seriously! Why do you hate me?" Taking note that it was the fourth time she had tripped down the stairs since she had moved in. The doorbell rang again making her jump. Rolling her eyes, she opened the front door to find Scott leaning against one of the pillars outside her house with a big smirk on his face, looking annoyingly awake.

"Morning sunshine!"

"Are you always up this early?" she asked, slightly irritated.
"Pretty much, I like to go for a run before six every morning."
"You go out running at 6am in the morning?" 
"Yeah."

Bella shook her head and looked at him like he was crazy, she was so not a morning person! "Here, bought you some hot chocolate on the way," he chuckled, handing it to her.

"Thank you!" she gasped, instantly cheering her up. "Come in."

Scott followed her into the living room as she plopped herself on the sofa and began flicking through the channels, they were showing a marathon off Gossip Girls on MTV, perfect she thought. Bella rested her head on Scott's shoulder as she finished her hot chocolate, loving the fact that he didn't complain about what they were watching. Scott was more of an action and horror guy, although he did cry when they watched the notebook together. He was a big sop really, which of course he will never admit to. After a while she could feel herself starting to fall asleep, her eyes beginning to grow tired. Just for a minute, she told herself as she shut her eyes completely.

Bella startled awake from her slumber to the sound of a phone going off as she felt Scott shift slightly to reach for his phone. Turning her head towards the television, she realized that the credits were already rolling by, she didn't even remember falling asleep!

"Hey, sorry about that," Scott said, noticing that she was now awake.
"How long was I sleeping?" she yawned.
"Just a few minutes, you feeling alright?" 
"Yeah why?"

He placed the back of his hand on her forehead. "You're really burning up."
"I feel fine," she shrugged. 
"I'll go make you some tea ok," he told her as he got up and made his way towards the kitchen. "Ok thanks," she smiled at him.

He soon came back in with tea as promised  while hiding his other hand behind his back, what was he up to she wondered?

"What's that?" she asked suspiciously, trying to peep around his back. 

"Put it in your mouth," he ordered her, revealing a thermometer.

"Scott I feel fine!" she whined "No stick,no tea!" he frowned sternly.

Bella rolled her eyes before sighing in defeat. "Fine!" She took the thermometer from him and placed it in her mouth. It did kind of amuse her at how concerned he was being, even if it did annoy her she knew he meant well. As soon as the thermometer beeped she gave it back to him.

"Hmm, average," his eyebrows burrowed together. 
"See, told you I was fine," she smirked.

"Still, keep your eye on it," he told her, looking unconvinced. "Yes dad," she teased him as she took her tea from him. Honestly, such a mother hen!

As the day went on, she slowly started feeling more and more groggy by the hour. She was constantly sneezing and her whole body ached! She hated the fact that Scott was right, she knew all too well he would tease her and be all 'I told you so'. She also knew that he would be here 24/7 looking after her. As much as she loved him she didn't want that. She already felt guilty enough as is it with him worrying about her all the time.

Bella decided to lie down for a while as she listened to her iPod, the lyrics to One Republic's song 'All Fall Down' playing in her ears when she suddenly woke up to the feeling of someone stroking her hair, unaware that she had fallen asleep for the second time that day. Bella opened her eyes and glanced up to find her mum sitting beside her.

"Hey sweetie," she smiled softly. "Are you ok?"
"I think i'm sick," she sneezed annoyingly on time, her nose completely blocked making her sound funny. 

"Aw come here," her mum leaned back against her pillows and pulled Bella into a hug as she continued to stroke her hair.

"You're gonna get sick mum."

"If I can take 10 hours of being in labour, I think a little cold will be a little less agonizing," making Bella laugh. "How about we eat in the living room tonight? I'll even light the fire up, what do you say?"

Bella smiled up at her mum and wished they could share more moments like this, she missed the days they used to spend as a family. Bella nodded her head and felt another sneeze coming on.

"Why don't you go take some medicine while I get dinner ready ok," she went to move off the bed but Bella tightened her hold on her. "Wait, can we just stay here for a little bit longer?"

"Sure," her mother smiled, sitting back down and allowing Bella to rest her head on her chest. It had been a while since Bella had her mum all to herself, lately she had been working non-stop and she barely got to see her. It was the same with her dad, he was barely ever around. It felt selfish to confront them about it and tell them she secretly missed them. They had done way too much for her already and with what happened to Amy it was like an escape for them. If they were always busy working they would have less time to think about it, at least that's what she figured anyway, she wasn't going to complain.

********************************

The sun seeped through Bella´s blinds the next morning as she opened her eyes. She reached for her phone that she always left under her pillow to see what time it was, relieved to see that she still had an hour before school. Bella scrolled through her contact list until she came across Liam´s number. A small smile creeping up on her face. Her mind going back to the bonfire and their walk in the snow, she loved how the whole time she spoke he really listened to her, he could really see inside her.

Bella had wanted to call him so many times since they last spoke, but she could never gain up enough courage to do it, what would she even say? Did he really expect her to call or was he just being nice knowing she probably wouldn´t use it? She sighed to herself, locking her phone and placing it back under her pillow. She pulled the covers over her head, deciding to snooze for a couple more minutes.

 Her few minutes were sadly interrupted by a knock on her door.

"Bella, you awake?"

She removed the covers from over her head and looked towards the door to find Scott with his head peeping half way through.

"Hey Scott," she mumbled, still half asleep.

He made his way towards her, flopping onto her bed making her head bounce away from her pillow. Chuckling away he asked her, "Was just wondering if you were coming to school today?" 

"Yeah, I´m coming," she yawned. 

"You sure you don´t wanna stay home and rest?" he asked, placing his hand on her forehead. She slapped it away lightly before answering him, "No, i´ll be fine." She sat up, crossing her legs and pulling the covers up to her chest. "Besides, I feel a bit better anyway."

Convinced with her answer he stood up off of her bed. "Alright, if you say so, I´ll meet you downstairs." 

"Ok." He smiled at her before closing her door behind him as he left.

Bella made her way out of bed and headed towards her bathroom to take a quick shower. Feeling more awake now, she changed into a pair of jeans and a white tank top. She grabbed her black cardigan that was hanging in the closet before slipping on her pair of black ballet flats. Lastly, she put on some light makeup before applying some mousse into her curls and then headed on downstairs.

 *************************************

History class that morning seemed exceedingly longer then usual. What is it about being sick or being in a bad mood that just makes the day go by that much longer? She felt a light tap on her shoulder making her turn her head around. Sam was leaning forwards on her desk waving her hand for her to come closer. Bella turned halfway in her chair checking quickly to make sure the teacher didn´t notice and then moved her head closer towards Sam.

"Hey, a bunch of us are going out tonight, you should come along," she whispered, loud enough for her to hear. 

"Where are you going?" she whispered back. 

"There´s a bar right next to the movies, it´s a really cool place, there´s pool and everything. Come on it will be fun!" she pleaded, making Bella laugh.

Bella thought for a moment, she really did want to fit it around here, it´s the one thing she was worried about when moving countries, that people wouldn´t like her. She looked at Sam with a smile. "Ok, sure."

"Yay, awesome!" she cheered a little too loud, causing the teacher to turn around and stare at them. Bella quickly turned around trying to keep a straight face as he gave them both stern looks.

After class ended, Bella and Sam exchanged numbers, she told Bella she would call her later with the details. Happily making her way out of class she almost collided straight into somebody, another habit of hers lately. She looked up to find Dean staring down at her with a smile on his face.

"Hey." 

"Hi," she smiled back. She moved around him to carry on walking only to have him follow her.

"I´m Dean, remember?" 

"I remember," she replied shyly. 

"So how was history?"  

"Pretty boring," she shrugged. 

"Yeah, I had him last year," he said, pulling a face and making her laugh.

He grinned at her. "So, I take it you don´t have a boyfriend then?" She looked at him wondering why he would ask her that out of the blue. "No, I don´t." 

"So then it would be ok to ask you out?"

Bella stopped in her tracks, did he seriously just ask her out? It´s too soon she thought. "Look, you seem really nice, but I´m not really looking for anything right now, with anyone," she explained.

"I´m sure I could change your mind." he grinned, making her look away shyly. "Just think about it." Turning to walk away with a quick wink in her direction, leaving her feeling slightly honoured yet terribly confused.

At lunch Bella found herself completely distracted as she sat with Sam and Santi again, they were talking about english class and discussing all the cute things Mr Collins apparently did today. As much as she wanted to listen, all she could do was replay what Dean had said to her over and over again in her head. Dean was cute, no doubt about it! But a part of her couldn´t help thinking about Liam. Bella mentally rolled her eyes at herself, there´s no way that would happen! He was Scott´s friend! Even if he did maybe flirt with her a little, she knew he was just being nice.

After lunch, Bella made her way to her locker before her next lesson and spotted Liam on the way, she hadn´t spoken to him since the night of the bonfire. A small blush creeped upon her cheeks as she stared at him, he looked really good in that leather jacket she noted to herself. Snap out of it Bella, she scorned herself! Taking a deep breath, she slowly started walking towards him.

"Hi," Bella announced, as she approached him. Liam turned his head in her direction and smiled at her, "Hey, I heard you were sick, you ok?" He patted her arm lightly. 

"Oh yeah I´m fine, just a little cold," she smiled reassuringly. "So, I just wanted to thank you again for the other night, I think it´s something I needed to get off my chest you know..."

"You´re welcome." He smiled softly at her. "And like I said, if you ever wanna talk..." 

"I know." She smiled back, wishing she had the courage to take him up on that. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed Dean walking down the hall, he winked at her as he passed them both, making her blush. Liam glared after Dean as he noticed him staring at her. As soon as he disappeared Liam slowly glanced down at Bella curiously. She smiled at him quickly before looking away.

"What´s going on between you two?" His eyes still watching her.  

"Nothing," she shook her head noticing the frown appearing on his face. "He sort of asked me out earlier."

"Oh," he muttered quietly, shutting his locker before leaning his back against it. "So, what did you say?" 

"I told him I´m not looking for anything at the moment." 

"You´re not huh?"

Bella looked at him shyly, leaning her back against the locker next to him. "I don´t think I could deal with it right now, but he seems to think I´ll change my mind." 

Liam suddenly stood to face her when she told him that. "Has he been bothering you?" he asked, frowning slightly. 

"No, nothing like that!" she quickly explained, finding it sweet how concerned he was. Just then the bell rang for class to begin.

"I´ll see you later," she smiled sweetly before walking away. As she did, he quickly held onto her arm.

"Hey um...," he started, rubbing the back of his neck while his other hand was buried in his jean pocket. Bella waited as she faced him, finding his shiftiness a little odd but kind of cute.

"Look, I know it´s not my place but, just be careful," he said. Bella wanted to laugh but, his gaze that he had on her told her he was being serious.

"I will. Don´t worry, I´m a big girl," she whacked his arm playfully making him smile at her.

********************************

That night, Bella met up with Sam and Santi as they introduced her to a couple of people at the bar before they sat down with their drinks. Bella got to know a lot more about the two girls and found that she really liked them. They reminded her of her old friends back home, just laid back, wanting to have a good time. Sadly her old friends lost touch with her, well part of it was her fault really. A lot of them had tried to be there for her after Amy, but Bella shut them all out. When they caught wind of her moving away they just let her go. It was hard, it felt like everybody in her life was slowly disappearing. As much as it was her fault, she wished they could have understood; she was hurting and all she asked for was a little space and instead it cost her loneliness.

Meeting Sam and Santi gave her hope though, she liked them a lot and hoped they would become good friends. It kind of surprised her that they wanted to even talk to her in the first place, she was usually a really happy person and loved making friends, but these days she felt less confident in that area and didn´t know why they had bothered. For starters, they were nothing like her at all.

Santi was the quiet one, possibly more quiet then herself. She was kind, funny and so smart. Santi told her that she wanted to become a professional photographer one day, which Bella could totally see happening, Santi had this creativity about her that just stood out like a billboard. She was driven and Bella couldn´t help but admire that, it reminded her of herself before everything. There was a time that Bella saw the world as an obstacle that she could one day tackle. At the moment it seemed like one big blur that was too complicated to figure out.

Sam was a little more outgoing then Santi, they both agreed that she was crazy which made Sam gasp in shock. She pretended not to talk to them, which didn´t last long as the subject of Mr Collins came up making all three girls giggle. Sam had Bella in stitches half the time and was probably the most confident person she had ever met. The girl was also the biggest flirt she had ever met, whenever a cute guy would pass by, her eyes would be stalking them. But deep down, Sam was a really sweet girl and Bella couldn´t help but like her.

After a while she decided to call it a night and told the girls she was going to head home. They offered to drive her but they still hadn´t finished their drinks so she told them she would take the bus. After saying her goodbyes Bella made her way outside, the bus stop was only a five minute walk. As she crossed the road there was another bar with a group of older guys standing outside, Bella noticed one in particular that had his eyes on her as she passed by. Keeping her eyes in front of her, Bella hoped that he would just ignore her, but she wasn´t that lucky. Bella could feel the guy closing in behind her and tried her best to stay calm as she started walking a little faster.

"Hi, can I have your number?" he slurred, now beside her. She could literally smell the alcohol on his breath and decided to ignore him as she carried on walking away. He suddenly caught her off guard as he grabbed hold of her arm just like Liam had done earlier that day. The only difference was, he wasn´t as gentle as Liam, this guy had grabbed her roughly without a care in the world.

"Hey, don´t be so rude, I just asked you a question!" he shouted, rather loudly.

Bella yanked her arm away from him.  "I have a boyfriend!" She walked away hoping to avoid him, but he now stood in front of her blocking her way.

"I´m alright with sharing," he told her with a seductive look in his eye. Fear took over her body as she started to feel slightly uncomfortable. 

"I don´t even know you, just leave me alone!" Bella tried walking away again, but this time he wrapped his hands around her waist and pulled her into him. She felt her heart stop as he pulled her closer towards him, her body shaking with fear.

"Get off of me!" she yelled, trying to hold her tears in as she struggled against him. She pushed him away once more, succeeding this time as he slipped on the curb. Heading towards the bus stop, Bella ran down the street as fast as she could, praying the bus was still there. Once she had arrived she started panicking, the bus wasn´t there! She looked at the times table and realized the next one dosen´t come for another hour! Bella kept a close eye down the street, worried that the guy had followed her.

Not sure what else she should do, Bella quickly reached into her coat pocket for her phone. She dialed Scott´s number and waited nervously, still watching the street for any sign of the guy. Bella started to cry when Scott didn´t answer, her whole body started to shake and she wondered if she should make her way back to the bar? Bella started to walk back down the street but hesitated, she really didn´t want to bump into him again. She cursed herself for not running there instead! What should I do, what should I do she thought! She suddenly remembered that Liam had given her his number. Bella looked through her phone and called his number, waiting for what felt like forever until she heard his soothing deep voice.

"Hello?" She felt a sense of relief as he spoke. "Liam," she whispered quietly, her voice cracking slightly. 

"Bella? Are you alright?" he asked worriedly. 

"I´m sorry to call I...I just... I didn´t..," she stuttered.

"Bella, calm down it´s alright, what happened?"

She wiped her tears away, trying to calm herself down. "I was in town with some friends," she told him, her voice slightly shaky. "I decided to get the early bus home but this guy, he was drunk and he wouldn´t leave me alone, I got away, but I missed my bus and I -" 

"Where are you?"  

"I´m still at the bus stop, the one by the movies." 

"I´ll be there in five minutes ok. Just stay there!" he told her, hearing him rummaging around in the background.

"Ok." She hung up and let her tears fall free again, hoping he wouldn´t take too long.

Bella took a seat at the bus stop while she waited for Liam to arrive, constantly keeping her eyes along the street she came from just in case the guy decided to show up, but thankfully he never did. She finally saw a car being parked to the side of her. When she saw that it was Liam getting out and making his way towards her, she quickly ran straight into his arms.  

He wrapped his arms around her safely as she cried into his chest. "Shh it´s ok, you´re ok," he soothed her, one hand now gently caressing her hair as he tried to comfort her. "Where is he?" 

She pulled away a little so she could look up at him. "I don´t know."  

"Ok it´s alright, you´re safe now, ok."

She nodded slightly, tears still coming down her face. He smiled at her weakly, wiping her tears away with his thumb before hugging her again. He slowly slipped his jacket off of him and wrapped it around her small body.

"Come on, I´ll take you home." Leading her towards the passenger side of his car with his arm still around her.

As he drove her home she could feel his gaze upon her several times, probably making sure she was ok. His kindness overwhelmed her and the memory of his embrace made her feel so safe.

"Are you ok?" he asked softly. She glanced over at him, "Yes, thank you for coming to get me Liam." 

"Of course," he said sweetly. "Why did you call me? I mean, why not Scott?" 

"I tried, but he wasn´t picking up. I´m sorry for putting you out Liam, god I´m such a girl!" Feeling slightly annoyed with herself. "I just didn´t know who else to call and -"

"Hey, I´m glad you called! I would have been mad if you didn´t," he said. "By the way, I hope it´s ok to say  this but, you look really greatl tonight," he smiled sweetly before turning back to the road. 

"Thanks," she blushed, noticing the lights being splashed on his face from the street lamps. He looked amazing in the day, but she had to admit the night was definitely made for him. She didn´t want to look away but she knew she had to before she got caught staring at him...again.

As they pulled up outside her house, she noticed all the lights were out which meant her mum was still not home yet. Liam turned his key cutting the engine before he turned to face her.

"You going to be ok?" he asked, following her gaze. 

"Yeah." She turned to look at him. "I´ll be fine." 

He smiled at her. "Can I ask you a question?" 

"Sure." 

He stayed silent for a little while before continuing. "That night at the bonfire, you told me that you´ve never talked about it before, you know with your sister and everything. Well, what made you tell me?" 

He stayed silent as he waited patiently for her to answer. Bella stared down at her hands, not entirely sure she knew the answer herself.

"Honestly, I don´t know?" she muttered, smiling up at him slightly. "I guess, because you never pushed me into telling you anything, not that you knew anything anyway but; like at the park, when you asked me why me and my family moved here. You knew I was lying, didn´t you."

He ran his hand through his hair as a smile crept up on his face. "Yeah, I did." 

"But you never said anything," she said. He opened his mouth about to say something but she beat him to it. "I´m glad you didn´t," she assured him quickly with a smile. 

"I guess that´s one of the reasons why I told you, well that and I like talking to you." He watched her intently. "Usually when I talk to a guy, he either isn´t listening to a word I´m saying or just doesn´t care. But with you, you really listen, even if i´m just babbling half the time," she chuckled quietly. 

"I tend to find your babbling rather cute," he winked at her, making her stomach flutter.

"You say that now," she chuckled nervously, trying to avoid his gaze.

"We´ll see," he half smiled, his gaze so intense.

She shifted a little in her seat wanting to ask him about what he had said earlier at his locker but wasn´t sure if she should. He could obviously sense something was up as he bent his head to the side with a questioning look on his face.

"Can I ask you a question?" she finally asked.

He smiled over at her. "Sure."

"What did you mean earlier, when you told me to be careful?"

He tensed up at this and watched her thoughtfully. He shifted his eyes away from her. "I just...Dean he´s..." he paused suddenly before continuing, "He´s not the nicest guy, he´s got sort of a reputation when it comes to him and girls," he said now looking at her. "Bella, I´d hate for you to have another night like tonight happen to you."

"What did he do?" she asked curiously, waiting for his response. She could tell that he was hesitant to tell her as she watched his hands trail through his hair. "Just, don´t trust him."

"But he seems so nice."

"Trust me Bella, just be -"

"Careful, I know," she finished for him.

She looked into his eyes knowing there was a lot he wasn´t telling her, but she decided to let it drop. 

"Well, I should probably let you go," she smiled at him. "Thank you again." 

"Don´t mention it," he said smiling back. 

She shrugged his jacket off her. "No really, I owe you." As she handed his jacket to him, Bella quickly leaned towards him and gave him a soft kiss on his cheek. Liam stared at her, a little taken back but pleased nonetheless. She smiled sweetly, looking away shyly before exiting his car. He watched her walk to her front door and waited for her to go inside, sitting there for a minute more before driving away and smiling to himself.

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