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Escape Into You

Summary:
Two teens with dark secrets and hidden pasts find each other in the small town of Forks, Washington and try to unravel the mysteries in each other, each one searching for peace and a reason to be whole again.


Notes:
All human. AU. Edward/Bella. Difficult subject matter to come.


1. Chapter 1

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3844   Review this Chapter

The oppressively green trees passed by as Charlie’s cruiser drove slowly towards the small town of Forks, Washington. Bella Swan sat in the passenger’s seat, her frown growing deeper as she realized that there would be no quick exit this time. The dreary gray clouds and constant drizzle always seemed a little less depressing with the knowledge that it would all be over in a few weeks time. There would be no reprieve this time. A furrow appeared between the girls eyebrows as the finality of her situation sunk in. Stuck in Forks until she graduated – the future was bleak.

They drove in silence but it was moderately comfortable, aside from Charlie’s obvious nerves at becoming Bella’s caretaker. She smiled at the thought. Charlie would never be her caretaker – no one had ever really taken care of her. Ever since she was a young child she had taken care of her childlike mother. When Renée left Charlie, Bella the toddler in tow, she hadn’t been ready to take on the full responsibilities of being a mother. They had managed but there had been rough spots.

Some of the spots had been worse than others, especially when the many men in Renée’s life became involved in Bella’s. Most of them tried to take Charlie’s place, attempting to take his place as her ‘father-figure’, insisting she play sports with them instead of reading her books. She’d had to resort to finding hiding places to hole-up in - a stack of books, juice boxes, and snacks by her side so she could get some peace.

The wannabe dads had not been the worst. There were the men who saw her as a burden, standing between them and the carefree happiness they could have with her mother. They wanted to whisk her mother away from her responsibilities and live free and wild. Renée had had the sense to refuse their proposals but sometimes it was frighteningly close. Bella knew her mother would never hurt her intentionally but the damage in their relationship was done.

All it took was a man named John to ruin what little she had left with Renée. Who would think that someone with such a standard, unremarkable name would turn her family life upside down, would tear her apart and break the bond she shared with her mother. That one person could send her running from her sunny home of Phoenix to seek refuge in this rain-bogged misery. Renée had left him when she found out, but it was too late. The damage was done. There had been so many chances for her to see the signs, to save Bella, but she had been blind to them. Bella still wondered if she had been blind from naivety, unable to image something so terrible, or if she had honestly not known.

Bella pushed the thoughts of him from her mind. She was free now.

As they pulled up to the house, Bella smiled as she took it in. It was exactly the same. It would always be the same. Charlie was the type that feared change – especially the type that was forced upon him. Even after Renée had left him, forced his life to change, he had kept the house the same. The old family portraits framed the wall and the photos of Bella’s childhood hung where Renée had put them all those years ago. Bella’s heart ached for her father as she realized he’d never really moved on – wouldn’t move on.

It didn’t take long to unpack. Her mother’s flighty nature had shown itself in her work. She was a substitute teacher, too indecisive and free spirited to settle down as a full-time teacher, and she worked rarely as she started up several careers on a whim. As a result money had always been tight and Bella had never acquired many things, with the exception of her book collection. The clothes she did have had been donated to the local shelter for the most part. Her sunny weather clothes would never stand up to the incessant damp cold of Washington. A few sweaters, some t-shirts and her jeans survived, but she had a small pocketful of money to augment her wardrobe upon arrival.

Dark fell quickly on the town, aided by the cover of the massive cedars that filled and surrounded it and dark clouds hung low over the houses. Bella looked around her room pleased that it was not as bare as she had expected as the memories of her childhood furnished it. Charlie had gone to bed, early to sleep in preparation for an early rise, leaving Bella to her thoughts.

She wandered over to the window, looking out to the street beyond. It was much darker out than she had expected. There weren’t many streetlamps and the light they did shed was obscured by the encroaching wilderness. It was as if nature was trying to take back the town inch by inch. Even in the dark she could make out the monstrous outline of the red truck her father had bought her – a pleasant and unexpected surprise. It was old and loud, but surprisingly appealing. Bella had fallen in love with it at once.

Padding back over to her bed, Bella sat down and pulled out a well-worn paperback. Pride & Prejudice always set her at ease and made her feel at home. Home and comfort were where her books were – familiar companions that were always there for her.

Bella awoke groggily the next morning. Usually the light of day filtered in through her thin curtains allowing her to wake up slowly and naturally. The light of Forks wasn’t strong enough to permit the same luxury.

Getting ready for school took less time than Bella had anticipated – the absence of Renée’s morning chatter made simple tasks pass by much more efficiently. She found herself sitting in her truck about 20 minutes earlier than she had planned. With a shrug of acceptance Bella turned the key and ignited the truck. She could use the extra time to find her way around and orient herself.

The school was easy enough to find and Bella pulled into the parking lot slowly, wondering where to park. She wondered if there was a special area where students were supposed to park but there were no indications anywhere. There wasn’t even anyone in the parking lot yet with the exception of a silver Volvo parked near one of the larger buildings at the far corner of the parking lot.

Bella parked about ten spaces away and got out slowly, debating which of these buildings contained the office. She glanced quickly towards the silver car and decided that the larger building with a vehicle by it would be the most likely choice.

As she walked closer she realized that there was someone sitting in the car and she glanced in through the window out of curiosity. A handsome boy sat in the car, head relaxed against the headrest and eyes closed. His features were striking and Bella couldn’t help but note the strong line of his jaw or the sharp, straight edge of his nose. His skin was pale but offset by a slight flush in the apples of his cheeks and the darkened pink of his lips. His pale skin was complimented by the odd, bronze colour of his nearly unruly tresses, hair looking artfully windswept. One side of his mouth curled up slightly in a crooked smile that made Bella’s thoughts shift to him. What made this beautiful boy smile and why was he sleeping in his car?

Bella stepped a bit closer to the car, trying to get a better look at the boy but jumped back startled as his eyes flashed open, staring straight at her. She immediately averted her gaze and started towards the large building but couldn’t help stealing a glance backwards. Her cheeks flushed scarlet with embarrassment as she realized he was still looking at her, his brilliantly green eyes gazing back at her with a mixture of curiosity and amusement.

She didn’t know why but the amusement in his eyes annoyed her. Why was he allowed to be amused while she was just embarrassed? And how was it possible for his eyes to be so startlingly green? She decided that he must wear contacts.

Opening the door of the large building, Bella took a look around and frowned in dismay at what she saw. This was definitely not the office. She turned away from the polished wood floors and painted lines of the gymnasium only to see the copper haired boy standing nonchalantly a few feet away, watching her. She narrowed her eyes and looked past him at the other buildings. She knew she should ask him where the office was but some sort of pride kept her from doing so. Any other person she could ask, just not him – just not this strange, striking boy.

“Are you looking for the office, miss?” he asked politely, his voice deep and smooth – the kind of voice you could listen to for hours. Of course he had a pleasant voice. Why would physical perfection be marred by something as trivial as a voice?

“Um, yeah. That.” Bella forced out her words and felt her stomach drop at the awkward tone in her voice. Why did she have to be a dork around him, with his perfect ease and quiet confidence.

“It’s just over there,” the boy replied, nodding his head towards the smallest of the buildings. Bella realized there was a large sign on the outside of the small building written in clear, black, bold lettering: OFFICE.

“Thanks,” Bella muttered, blushing furiously and looking down at her feet.

“No problem,” the boy replied, “Would you like me to walk you there?”

“No.” Bella winced at the blunt answer and stumbled over her tongue as she tried to correct herself. “I… I c-can get there myself, thanks.”

She walked by him quickly, not looking at him and refusing to meet his eyes for fear of embarrassing herself further and turned in the direction of the office. She didn’t look back this time.

The ladies in the office were quick to give her a schedule and a map of the school and it was easy to see that they had been waiting for her arrival. She guessed that new students were probably pretty rare in Forks. That would not bode well in her upcoming classes.

Bella’s prediction seemed fairly accurate as the students of Forks gawked at her. The teacher’s beamed their large smiles as they attempted to welcome her and make her at ease, doing the exact opposite by forcing her to speak to the class, tell them what her name was, where she was from.

She glanced around each room but was pleased to see that the beautiful boy was not in any of her classes so far. Then again, it was only lunch time.

Making her way to the cafeteria was fairly easy – all she had to do was follow along with the herd of hungry teenagers as they led the way to the food. She tagged along with a few people who had been kind enough to offer her a place to eat but she hadn’t memorized their names yet. She frowned as a friendly blonde boy chatted to her about wanting to know what it was like to be the ‘new kid’. He’d been born and raised in Forks, as had most of the others at the table, and so had never had to suffer the pains of being the new kid in a school. Bella wracked her brain as she tried to remember what his name was but couldn’t come up with it.

Bella sat down at the end of the table, eating her sandwich slowly as the others chattered around her. They turned their bodies towards her, so as to include her in the conversation, but hadn’t really spoken directly to her since they had stood in the lineup. Tuning them out she began to look around the lunch room at all the strange faces, wondering how many of them she’d have to know and how many would be in her classes.

Scanning the back end of the classroom she was surprised to see the bronze haired boy sitting at a table alone, picking disinterestedly at a bagel that appeared to be stale. As she watched, a petite black haired girl seemed to dance her way over to the table and dropped gracefully into the seat beside him. Her small hand darted out quickly, grabbing the apple from his tray but she was taking a large bite out of it before he had turned around to stop her. He scowled at the tiny spiky-haired girl and went back to picking at his bagel. The pretty dark haired girl rolled her eyes in mock exasperation and then placed her orange on his tray, then patted his head and kissed his cheek.

Bella looked away again. Of course the beautiful boy had a girlfriend. She frowned at the absurdity and frivolousness of her thoughts. What did it matter if the boy had a girlfriend – she didn’t even know who he was.

“Earth to Bella, come in,” a short girl with large, curly brown hair asked. Bella turned towards her, startled, and was pleased to realize she remembered this girl’s name. This was Jessica.

“Sorry, what were you saying?” She asked, trying to feign a more genuine interest in the talk at the table but it was difficult to keep from looking at the beautiful boy.

“Oh nothing,” Jessica muttered, waving her hand dismissively, “What were you looking at?”

Jessica turned in the direction Bella had been staring and then nodded in understanding.

“Ah, I see,” she said with a mocking smile, a knowing look in her eyes that made Bella blush for being caught.

The nice blonde boy who had been listening to the conversation also turned to look. “Cullen? You were looking at Cullen?”

“Who’s Cullen?” Bella asked, trying to play it cool as she pretended she didn’t know what they were talking about. “What are we looking at?”

“Oh, don’t pretend you weren’t looking at him,” Jessica giggled, “He’s totally gorgeous. Everyone looks at him.”

Bella blushed and wished for the 567th time that day that she wasn’t so transparent.

“Don’t bother with him though,” Jessica continued, her smile fading and a darker look present on her face. “He doesn’t date. Not around here anyways. Guess we’re not pretty enough for him.”

“You mean he isn’t dating that black haired girl?” Bella asked, ignoring the bitter tone in Jessica's voice and looking again as the two people joked around at their table oblivious that they were being talked about. “They look really close and, um, intimate.”

“It’s not like that,” a quiet, tall, brunette answered joining in the conversation but not looking over to the two in question. Bella thought her name was Angela but wasn’t certain. “They’re brother and sister – Edward and Alice Cullen.”

“Oh,” Bella answered, trying to ignore the fact that she felt relief at these words and then scolding herself for caring. What did it matter to her that the girl the beautiful boy was close to was his sister and not his girlfriend.

“Not really though,” Jessica interjected, leaning across the table and closer to Bella, as if she were going to tell some top-priority secret. “Something happened to Edward’s parents, they were murdered or something. Dr. Cullen, Alice’s dad, adopted Edward after he volunteered to be the doctor at an orphanage in Chicago. He got sick or something and Dr. Cullen cured him and then adopted him.”

Bella nodded, wondering why she was so curious. What did this boy matter to her?

“Chicago?” she asked and mentally kicked herself for keeping the conversation trained on this Edward Cullen. It was bad enough that he’d been on her mind all day – she didn’t need everyone else knowing it too.

“Yeah,” Jessica confirmed, nodding excitedly, “Their family is pretty nomadic. Dr. Cullen is really brilliant so he gets called to work at new hospitals all the time or something. Don’t know why he decided to stay in Forks though. They only moved here about three years ago. I wonder where Emmett is.”

“Emmett?” Bella asked, giving into her curiosity.

“Their brother, well, Alice’s brother,” Jessica continued, “You should see him. He’s pretty massive. I can’t believe he’s related to someone so tiny.”

A tall, lanky boy with blonde tousled hair sauntered up to the table Edward and Alice sat at and pulled Alice’s chair towards him, kissing her lightly on top of the head before hungrily devouring his fries.

“That’s Jasper Hale,” the girl who might be ‘Angela’ said softly.

“He’s dating Alice,” Jessica chattered on, “He’s totally gorgeous too but him and Alice have been inseparable since, like, the day after he and his sister moved here.”

“Is he new too?” Bella asked. These people may be worthy of getting to know if they were new like she was. It felt so strange to be an outsider here. Everyone else had known each other since infancy it seemed.

“Yeah, him and his sister Rosalie moved here last year,” Jessica rambled. “They’re kind of weird. His sister looks like Barbie, I warn you now. You will not want to look in a mirror after you’ve seen her. She’s dating Emmett and I think it’s just completely bizarre to date someone in the same family as your brother.”

Bella nodded absent-mindedly but sympathized with the other new people. Of course they would drift towards each other in this small town. Everyone here was so exclusive that anyone else was automatically an outsider. Even now as she was being included in the conversations of this table she had the feeling she was only there for bragging rights. A sort of ‘we’re cool because the new girl picked us’ sort of thing.

“We should get going,” Angela hinted softly, “Lunch is almost over.”

Bella glanced at her watch and then pulled the folded schedule out from her pocket. She had biology next and then gym afterwards she noted with a cringe. Physical education was her most despised class. It would only be a matter of time before her natural penchant for clumsiness would make her the laughing stock of the class. Especially in a small town like Forks. People in small towns always seemed to be better at sports. Maybe it was just because there was nothing else to do here.

They exited the cafeteria slowly, making their way to the main ‘math and science’ building. Neither Angela nor Jessica had biology with her, but the blonde guy that had sat with them, Mike something-or-other, had the same class. Just before they got to the room they noticed a small crowd of people stopping to look at something happening in the janitor’s closet, a plump, stern-looking woman with a short curly red bob and a dark pink skirt suit was dragging someone out of the closet.

A tall, muscular boy with dark, curly hair was pulled out into the hallway, face slightly flushed with a large grin on his face. His size was intimidating but his face seemed kind, especially when he was laughing sheepishly as he was now. It was a rich, warm sound, like chocolate. Right behind him a stunning girl with perfectly curled, thick, long blonde hair followed. Her eyes fixed the pink-suited woman with an icy glare as she shrugged off the large woman’s grip and strode with her chin held high into the hallway.

“To the office, the both of you, and I’ll deal with you there,” the older woman commanded, pointing towards the exit while shooing away the onlookers.

The students in the hallway giggled as they realized what was happening before turning quickly to their classes to avoid the wrath of the pink-suited woman.

“You’d think that Emmett would learn to keep it in his pants already,” Jessica remarked with a sneer, “That’s the third time he and Rosalie have been caught in a closet this month.”

“Second time,” Mike added, “The first time was in the gym locker room, not the closet.”

They laughed loudly, but Bella only allowed herself a slight snicker. She felt envious of the passion they had for each other. She had only had a tiny glimpse of them, but she could tell they loved each other. She doubted that she’d ever be able to be happy like that, that she could ever allow her defenses to drop enough to allow that to happen. Too much had happened for that to be a possibility.

Pushing the thoughts out of her mind, she entered the biology room, waiting by the door as she watched the other students file to their seats. Her eyes focused in on the one empty seat left at the end of the rush and blushed as she realized who occupied the seat next to it.

Edward Cullen.

She made her way slowly towards the seat watching his back out of the corner of her eye but he remained oblivious to her, looking out the window instead. She had nearly reached the stool when the teacher at the front of the room called out her name suddenly.

“Isabella Swan? Are you Isabella?”

Bella dropped her book as his loud question startled her, the thick text crashing heavily to the ground, slamming on impact.

“Y-y-yes,” she answered, “But it’s just Bella.”

She turned away from the teacher to pick up her textbook but felt her mouth gape open as she realized Edward Cullen was crouched on the ground, holding it up for her.

“Welcome to the class, Bella,” the teacher said, turning back to the blackboard. “Class, open your texts to page 375.”

“Hi, I’m Edward,” the boy introduced himself as he handed Bella back her book.

“I know,” Bella replied, blushing instantly. “Um. I mean, hi. I’m Bella.”

“I know,” Edward replied, flashing Bella a crooked smile. Bella noted that his teeth were perfect too. Was this boy really so flawless?

Bella laughed awkwardly but sunk onto her seat mortified.

“How’s your first day at school?” He asked politely, his rich voice hushed to a whisper.

“Embarrassing,” Bella blurted out the first word that came to mind.

Edward chuckled softly and Bella felt her heart flip a bit at the sound causing her blush to deepen. She wished for the millionth time that she would stop acting so strange around this boy.

“Understandable,” he replied and she looked up to meet his piercing green eyes. Bella had to bite her tongue to keep from remarking on them out loud.

“Edward and Bella, page 375, stop talking and open that textbook,” the teacher called from the front.

Bella tore her eyes away from the emerald eyes with difficulty and reached for the book, only to find her hand resting upon a strong, slender pale hand with long, elegant fingers.

Edward snatched his hand back from under hers and instantly it was by his side, clenched in a fist. Bella just stared at him in surprise, not even registering her own reaction to the touch. He looked up at her apologetically but his eyes were guarded and dark now.

“Sorry,” he mumbled, and opened the book hastily as Bella’s hand hung motionless in the air.

He did not look up from the text again the entire class.