A reimagining of the Twilight story updated for a more adult audience.
1. Chapter 1
Rating 4/5 Word Count 2471 Review this Chapter
I watched as the rain ran across the window of the limo as it moved slowly through the cemetery. The dreary day was appropriate for a funeral but then again it was Forks, Washington where it was dreary and rainy practically every day. The limo slowed down and finally stopped at the gravesite. It was covered with a tent and there was already a small crowd gathering. I looked over at my dad and grabbed his hand. His eyes were red and teary but he managed to eek out a small smile.
“You ready?” I asked him.
He answered by nodding his head.
The service was short because of the rain but the speech the priest gave was eloquent. It was a lovely blessing for my stepmother as she went on into the next life or whatever happened to us after we die. I didn’t believe the priest’s words of solace in the knowledge that my stepmother was in the arms of God. But, it seemed to help my father as he quietly let his tears run down his cheeks.
My mother died in a car crash when I was 16 and that was pretty much the end of my relationship with God. My father remarried two years later right before I went to Arizona State University for college. Ellen was a sweet woman who made my father happy and that was all I really cared about. I missed my mother dearly but understood why my father wanted to remarry fairly quickly. As a professor at a small college in western Washington state, he craved companionship to complement his academic lifestyle. As a professor of Eastern European history, he and my stepmother traveled frequently during the summer months and were quite in love. It was a hard shock to my father when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The doctors had given her a year and she lived at last year to the fullest. The end, though, was very sad. When I visited from ASU towards the end of my sophomore year, I realized she did not have very long to live and saw that my father was a wreck. I decided last minute to transfer to his college, Eastern Washington State University, so that I could be closer to Ellen and my dad, Charlie, as they dealt with the impending sadness. Unfortunately, Ellen didn’t make it through the summer and so, although I was certainly going to miss my friends and life in Phoenix, I was very happy with the decision to stay with my dad and be there while he went through all of this again.
The reception at my dad’s house after the funeral was somber and quiet. My dad had introduced me to several of his colleagues and some of his graduate students. I barely paid attention because I was just trying to make sure that he got through the reception ok. I tried to act as hostess, making sure people had enough to drink and keeping the buffet full so it was quiet a while before I realized I was being stared at.
I was carry a plate of small sandwiches to place on the dining room table which had become a makeshift buffet table when I happened to glance up feeling a pair of eyes staring at me. Not just any eyes, but golden, amber, tiger eyes with such intensity that I dropped the plate at once, letting the sandwiches and the silver platter fall all over the floor. For a glimmer of a second I thought I saw the face that went with the eyes. But the face was so perfect I figured I had imagined it.
I bent down to clean up the mess I made and saw another pair of hands picking up lettuce and mini buns.
“Oh,” I said still flustered from the intense eyes I had just locked my own with. “Thank you,” I said while cleaning up the mess.
“You’re welcome,” a male voice said as we stood up together. He handed me the pieces of the sandwiches. As I tried to keep the spoiled sandwiches on the plate he said, “I’m so sorry for your loss, Bella.”
“Oh,” I said taken aback. How did he know me? “Thank you. And you are?”
“Oh I’m sorry. How rude of me,” he said holding out his hand. “I’m Mike. I’m one of your dad’s students. He talks a lot about you in office hours,” he said smiling.
I smiled and tried to balance the tray in my left hand while shaking his. “Well, I’ll have to talk to him about that.” I placed the ruined sandwich tray on the table and I realized I was going to have to make small talk.
“So, you go to school in Phoenix?”
“Yes,” I said then correcting myself, “well, I did. I transferred here when my stepmom got sick.”
“Oh,” he said. But I couldn’t help but notice a glimmer of happy surprise in his eyes when I mentioned my transfer. I couldn’t deal with this right now. Although he was my dad’s student, my major was ancient history and he looked like a frat boy/business school kind of guy. The chances of me running into him again were slim.
“It was nice meeting you Mike, but I should really throw out these sandwiches.”
“Oh, sure, Bella,” he said excusing himself. “It was nice meeting you. Hope to see you around campus.” Then after a pause, “I am really sorry about your stepmom,” he said sincerely.
I was a tad taken aback by his sincerity. My dad must be a popular professor. “Thank you,” I said smiling sweetly.
As he walked away and I went to pick up the tray of sandwiches, I remembered why I had dropped them in the first place. I looked up quickly and scanned the dining room for those amber eyes. They weren’t in the corner where I saw them. I looked around and out into the foyer. Nowhere to be seen. I sighed and walked towards the kitchen.
I threw out the sandwiches in the trash and went to open a bottle of wine. Those eyes were practically burning into my skull. So vivid, like the tiger’s eye stone that I used to play with when I was a child with my mom. She was a geologist and taught at EWSU with my dad. When I was little she would bring home her stones for me to play with. I always wanted to play with the Tiger’s Eye. It was always a changing stone, when I held it up to the light the yellows, golds and browns would dance in the sunlight reflecting off each other creating their own choreography in the light. I always used to wish my eyes were the color of Tiger’s Eye instead of the boring brown color I was born with. My mother would say my brown eyes were like a special facet of the Tiger’s Eye: the best part.
Suddenly I felt guilty for reminiscing about my mother at my stepmother’s funeral. I practically chugged the glass of wine.
As I heard that voice I paused just briefly and then quickly chugged the rest of my wine. Not exactly what I was intending to do but I knew that voice. That was the voice of Jacob Black.
I turned around and said, “Hello Jacob.”
He hugged me fiercely and I smiled despite myself. It was good to see him.
“I’m so sorry to hear about Ellen,” he said seriously. “Charlie told my dad it was bad but I had no idea.”
“I don’t think any of us really did.”
There was an awkward pause. I toyed with my wine glass. “Do you want a glass of wine? Beer?”
Jacob smiled his big smile and said, “Oh no, still underage, you know. 20 and all.” He said winking. “I don’t think it’d be appropriate here.”
I smiled slightly. “Sure, sure. Plus your dad is here right?”
“Yep that’s right,” he replied. And then his face lit up. “Have you said hi to Billy yet?”
“Uh, no, I haven’t—“
“You have to say hi Bella!!” he said taking my hand and dragging me through the kitchen. I felt like I was going to need another drink. “He loves you!”
Of course, he loves me, Jacob. He thinks you and I are meant for each other, I thought to myself. While growing up in Forks, Jacob and I were friends from the beginning. Our dads were practically best friends, despite their difference in occupation and background, and it was only naturally that we would be friends. During high school, our friendship grew into something more and we fell in love as 16 and 17 year olds. And then I left Forks to go to ASU and everything changed. He was content continuing on his dad’s mechanic’s shop and not going to college. I wanted more. We broke up and I moved on. Jacob didn’t… as far as I knew.
“Dad! Look who it is!” Jacob said as he brought me to his dad. Billy Black was a big imposing man. He was much taller than was typical for his ethnicity. Most American Indians were of short stature, Billy Black was above 6’ 3” and was visibily strong. Their heritage reached back prior to the landing of the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. Their blood ran deep in this area.
“Bella!” Billy said giving me a great, big bear huge. “How are you? I’m so sorry to hear about your stepmom.”
“Thanks Billy,” I said relaxing with the comfort he seemed to emanate.
I smiled as he stepped away from me. “You look wonderful Bella.”
“Oh thanks,” I said smiling shyly. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Jacob looked at me closely as his dad complemented me.
“Again, I’m so sorry to hear about Ellen. If there’s anything we can do as you get settled here please do not hesitate to contact us,” Billy said as softly as his booming, imposing voice could allow.
I smiled meekly. “Thanks Billy. Both my dad and I appreciate it.”
“Of course,” he said looking at me. And I could have sworn he looked at Jacob.
“Dad, please I’ll take care of this!” I said as I washed the silver platters in the sink.
My dad carried in more platters and empty plastic cups. “Bella, I am not an invalid. I can help you clean up.”
I didn’t reply to him. I knew my dad was trying to keep busy but I also knew, from when my mom died, that he needed to be alone. I finished cleaning the platters and watched him pick up empty paper plates and plastic cups. At least he’s staying busy, I thought to myself.
“I met one of your students Dad,” I practically yelled as I continued drying. “His name is Mike. I think he’s a business student or something.”
My dad came in from another room. “Ah, yes. Mike. He’s having some problems with my folklore class.”
I laughed slightly. “Really? He seemed like the totally history buff to me,” I said sarcastically.
My dad looked at me and actually smiled. “He’s actually a nice boy Bella. It would behoove you to make his acquaintance.”
I rolled my eyes. At least this was the dad I knew. “I already have dad.” I said finishing up my drying.
I heard him from the other room, “Did you meet anyone else?” he asked.
I rolled my eyes. Really dad? Now? “Not really,” I said putting away the platters. “I did see Billy and Jacob Black.”
“You did?” my dad asked with much too enthusiasm. I rolled my eyes again.
“How are they?” he asked me from the other room.
“Same as always.”
There was a pause as we cleaned up. My dad and I were similar that way. We didn’t feel the need to fill the pauses in our conversation. Then I realized that was usually Ellen’s job. I quickly thought of the first thing I could, “I thought I saw another one of your students here besides Mike.”
He didn’t respond. I thought maybe I had waited too long to fill the void. Damn. “Oh really?” he responded. A wave of relief washed over me. “Who did you meet?”
“I’m not sure,” I said as I finished putting away the platters. “I just caught a glimpse of him I think. It seemed like he wasn’t here long.”
“Oh,’ he said coming into the kitchen. He had an armful of plastic plates and cups. “That was probably Edward Cullen. He was here with his sister. They are two of my best students. They aren’t very social but truly brilliant in the classroom.” He threw out his cups and plates and then looked at me. “I suppose you noticed his looks?” he said with a smile in his eyes.
Was that the person that went with the golden mystery eyes? I quickly snapped out of it and said “Dad!” I grabbed his arm and looked him in the eyes. I was going to rebuke him but then I realized the pain in his eyes. After a pause I quietly said, “I’ll take care of this, ok?” We looked at each other for a second and then hugged fiercely. I knew he needed to be alone.
“I love you Bella. I’m so happy you are staying.”
“I love you too dad.”
I watched him go up the stairs to mourn privately and then I poured myself a glass of wine from one of the many open bottles. The cleaning up could wait until tomorrow. As I stood there sipping my wine, I realized that so many buried feelings had come up since I moved back here. Feelings that I wasn’t going to be able to ignore. Jacob. My first true love. Still in love with me. Was I still in love with him? I didn’t know. I had experienced guys besides Jacob and I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I was sure I didn’t want to be living in some college town married to a local mechanic. And now we were back in the same town. And who was that with the mesmerizing amber eyes? Was that my dad’s student? I drank the rest of my wine and poured another glass. Only time will tell.