Bella’s mother, Renee, who has become almost like a mother to me, drove us to the airport. It’s eighty-five degrees in Phoenix, Arizona, the sky cloudless blue and the blistering heat penetrating through the car, even though we have the AC on high. Bella and I were wearing our favorite shirts, matching sleeveless eyelet lace. In the six months that I had lived with Renee and Phil, my aunt and uncle, Bella and I have become best friends and inseparable. Renee often called us her twins. Though, with Bella’s pale skin, brown hair and eyes, and my olive toned skin and dark, almost black colored hair and bright green eyes, we looked nothing alike. Our carry on items were warm, cotton sweatshirts, that we dug out of my winter clothes stash.
In the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington State, a small town of Forks exists under a near-constant cover of clouds. It is in Forks that my sister now exiles herself -- an action she finds with great horror. She detests Forks and the rain. She loves the Phoenix and the sun and the blistering heat that never ends. She loves the sprawling city of thousands running about. I, on the other hand, hate it. I find the idea of moving to Forks as a sort of vacation. Which is why I volunteered to go to Forks with Bella, instead of moving to Jacksonville, Florida, which is even hotter and muggier than Phoenix, with Renee and Phil. My newly adopted guardians only let me go because my therapist said it would be a good idea for me to have a change in scenery. After my parents' death, I had a tough time, though it wasn’t only because of my parents’ death, it was also because I started phasing into an over-sized wolf. Not knowing what I am, except for vague stories and legend of werewolves that Bella and I looked up on the internet, is only one of my many fears. I also fear losing control and hurting someone I love. This is also a reason I decided to move to Forks, Washington, where there is miles of space and woods that I can hide in when I lose control.
“Bella….Reign,” Renee said to us, the last of a thousand times, “You don’t have to do this.”
She looks like Bella, except with laugh lines and short hair. I look at her wide, childlike eyes, in just the short amount that I’ve lived with her, the thought of leaving her alone terrifies me. Of course, she has Phil, so she will be taken care of, but still…..How could I leave my impulsive, hairbrained, loving Aunt, who has a habit of doing impulsive and sometimes stupid things, that usually ended with Bella traipsing after her to make sure she wouldn’t get hurt.
“I want to go,” Bella lied, she’s always been a bad liar, but she’s been saying it so much lately that you’d almost believe her, but I could still see the sacrifice in her eyes.
“I can’t wait to get there,” I said enthusiastically, I didn’t have to lie, everyone knew of my dislike of Phoenix and anywheres hot.
“Tell Charlie I said hi.”
“I will,” Bella said. I’ve never met Charlie, but from what Renee and Bella tell me, he sounds a lot like Bella, so I’m hoping he’ll like me.
“I’ll see you both soon,” Renee insisted. “You come home whenever you want, I’ll come right back as soon as you need me.”
“Don’t worry about us,” I said, “It’ll be great.”
“I love you, mom.” Bella said.
She hugged us both tightly for a minute, before we got on the plane, and she was gone.
It’s a long, four-hour flight to Seattle, and then another hour in a small plane to Port Angeles, and then an hour drive to Forks, in the car with Charlie.
Charlie had been fairly nice about the whole thing. He seemed genuinely happy that Bella was coming to live with him for the first time, and he seemed to look forward to meeting me. He had already got us registered for High School, and was going to help Bella get a car. I was only fifteen, so I wasn’t old enough to get a driver's licence yet. But it was still going to be awkward to live with somebody I had never met, much less spend an hour in a car with him. Bella and Renee said he wasn’t very verbose, like Bella, but I was hoping to start a conversation with him to get to know him and Forks better. Both Bella and I knew he was a little confused by Bella’s decision -- unlike Renee, Bella never made a secret of her distaste for Forks.
When we landed in Port Angeles, it was raining, a smile spread across my face at the sight of the rain and the greenery, here I was felt happier than I’ve felt in a long time. Bella, on the other hand, was wearing a scowl of hatred towards the rain, with her shoulders hunched.
Charlie was waiting for us with the cruiser. This I was already expecting, from the talks with Charlie on the phone and from Bella and Renee. Charlie is Police Chief Swan to the good people of Forks. Mine and Bella’s primary motivation behind buying a car was that we refused to be driven around town in a car with red and blue lights on top. Nothing slowed down traffic like a cop.
Charlie gave Bella an awkward, one-armed hug when she stumbled her way off the plane, me following close behind.
“It’s good to see you, Bells,” he said, smiling as he caught and steadied Bella. “You must be Reign?” he asked turning towards me.
“Um, yeah, hi” I said as we started walking towards his car, suitcases in hand. We only had a few bags, most of our clothes were too thin for Forks, but because I never seem to get cold, I brought most of my clothes anyways. Renee, Bella, and I had pooled our resources to supplement our lack of warm clothing, but it still wasn’t much, we would have to go clothes shopping sometime. It all fit easily into the trunk of the car.
“You haven’t changed much Bells, how’s Renee?” he asked.
“Mom’s fine, it’s good to see you too, Dad,” Bella answered.
“It’s good to meet you Reign,” He said not looking at me.
“I found a good car for you, really cheap,” he announced when we were strapped in. I sat back to let them talk.
“What kind of car,” Bella asked suspicious.
“Well, it’s a truck actually, a Chevy.” He answered staring out towards the road.
“Where did you find it?” she asked.
“Do you remember Billy Black, Bella, down at La Push?” La Push is the Indian reservation on the coast.
“No” Bella answered.
“He used to go fishing with us during the summer,” Charlie prompted.
“He’s in a wheelchair now,” Charlie continued when neither of us responded, “so he can’t drive anymore, and he offered to sell me his truck cheap.”
“What year is it?” Bella asked.
“Well, Billy’s done a lot of work on the engine -- it’s only a few years old, really.”
“When did he buy it?” She asked suspiciously.
“He bought in 1984, I think.”
“Did he buy it knew?”
“Well, no. I think it was new in the early sixties -- or late fifties at the earliest,” he admitted sheepishly.
“Ch--Dad, I don’t really know anything about cars. I wouldn’t be able to fix it if anything went wrong, and I couldn’t afford a mechanic……”
“Well, I know a lot about cars, I could easily fix it if it ever broke down,” I said, recieving a death glare from Bella, “And I can always call that Billy guy too, if I have any questions” I continued, ignoring Bella, we didn’t really have the funds to be too picky.
“Well, see that, and it runs great, really, Bella,” Charlie said shooting me a grateful look, “They don’t build them like that anymore.”
“How cheap is cheap,” Bella asked hesitantly.
“Well, honey, I kind of already bought it for you two, as a homecoming gift.” Charlie said peeking at us, looking hopeful.
Wow. Free truck, I like him already.
“Wow really, I said enthusiastically, “that’s great Mr. Swan, thank you.”
“Well, now I want you two to be happy here, and you can just call me Charlie.” he said looking at me through the rearview mirror.
“That’s really nice, Dad, Thanks, I really appreciate it.” Bella said looking out the window with a small smile on her lips.
“You’re welcome.” He mumbled back looking embarrassed.
I tried to start a conversation with Charlie, but I quickly realized that he was like Bella, and preferred the quiet. We continued the rest of the drive in silence, with only a few comments about the weather, which was wet, and that was it for conversation. I’m thinking that it’s not going to be too bad living with Charlie, at least I won’t have to try to think of things to say to this stranger.
Eventually we made it to Charlie's. He still lived in a small, two-bedroom house that he'd bought with Renee in the early days of their marriage. Those were the only kind of days their marriage had -- the early ones. There, parked on the street in front of the white, house was our new -- well, new to us -- truck. It was a faded red color, with big, rounded fenders and a bulbous cab. I loved it instantly. I looked over at a handsome, middle-aged man, with laugh lines around his mouth, sitting in wheelchair and a tall, handsome, boy. He looked fifteen maybe sixteen, and had long, glossy black hair pulled back with a rubber band at the nape of his neck. His skin was beautiful, silky and russet-colored; his eyes were dark, set deep above the high planes of his cheekbones. He still had just a hint of childish roundness left around his chin. Altogether, a very pretty face. They were smiling, waiting for us, I’m assuming.
“Hey, Charlie,” The man in the wheelchair said, waving.
“Hey, Billy,” Charlie said grinning back, “I’m sure you remember Bella, and this is Reign, the girl I was telling you about.”
“You remember Billy, right Bella?” Charlie asked.
“Um..kinda,” Bella said gloomily.
“Reign, this is Billy and his son, Jacob.” Charlie said looking towards me.
“Um..Hi,” I replied awkwardly.
“I’m glad you’re here, Charlie hasn’t shut up about it, since you told him you two were coming.” Billy chuckled.
“Alright, keep exaggerating, I’ll roll you in the mud.” Charlie said.
“Yeah, after I ram you in the ankles,” Billy launghed chasing after Charlie.
“Bring it.” Charlie said play punching at Billy.
“Hi, I’m Jacob,” the tall boy said coming to stand by my side.
“Yeah, kinda guessed that,” I said laughing.
“So, what do you think?” Charlie asked after he got done roughhousing with Billy.
“I love it!” I exclaimed looking at the truck, it was perfect. I didn’t know if it would run, but it was perfect, and now Bella and I wouldn’t be faced with the choice of either walking to school, or accepting a ride from Charlie in his cruiser. Honestly, I would prefer walking the two miles to school, the rain and didn’t bother me anymore.
“I love it, too, it’s great Dad, thank you.” Bella exclaimed with a smile on her face, to my complete surprise.
“I’m glad you like,” Charlie said gruffly, embarrassed.
“Well, Charlie we better let the girls get settled,” Billy said.
“It’s good to finally meet you, Reign, come see us anytime, you too Bella,” Billy said heading towards a dirty, black truck parked on the side of the road.
It only took one trip to get all our stuff upstairs. We get the west bedroom that faces out over the front yard. The room had belonged to Bella since she was a kid. Charlie had found a second bed for me. One of the beds was shoved against the wall where the window was. The second bed was spaced a foot away from the other one, with a tall pine dresser hugging the side of the bed closest to the door. The wooden floors, the light blue walls, the peaked ceiling, the yellowed lace curtains around the window, the small desk shoved against the north wall, -- these all made the room look homey and beautiful. The light blue walls reminded me of my old room, in my parents’ house. Me and my mom had redecorated it for my thirteenth birthday. The desk held a second-hand computer, with the phone line for the modem stapled along the floor to the nearest phone jack. This of course, was a demand from Renee, so that we could stay in touch.
There was only one small bathroom at the top of the stairs, which we would have to share with Charlie. I was trying not to dwell on that fact, and from the look on Bella’s face as we looked at the communal bathroom, she was trying not to think about it either.
“Home sweet, home,” I said trying to cheer Bella up as she looked dejectedly out the window. Charlie had left us alone to unpack. I’m starting to gather that if I don’t find friends soon, it's going to be a lonely year.
“Yeah,” Bella sighed opening up her suitcase. After I finished putting away my clothes, I went to the bathroom to freshen up after a long day of travel. I had just finished brushing the snarls out of my long hair, when Bella came in looking at her pale reflection in the mirror.
“It’s going to be fine,” I said excitedly, “People are going to love you,”
“Maybe if I looked like a girl from Phoenix should,” Bella said sowerly.