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The Ripple Effect

Summary:
What if Bella’s parents never divorced & she was a normal girl. Best friends with Jacob Black for all her life & suddenly the Cullen’s moved to Forks. Everything is Alternate Universe, Romance, drama and friendships galore.


Notes:


1. Chapter One, The Beginning

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 5851   Review this Chapter

Prologue:

If I had told you a year ago that, I would be sitting in some forest waiting for death to take me; you would have had to wait for me to write an outline to a new story first. My life has taken on a completely new depth; new levels that have made me look outside my world of fiction. Now I was alone, willing death to come, almost begging for it instead of running with every fiber of my being…Well one thing is for sure, I’m not the same Bella Swan I was a year ago, nothing is the same. And for that I owe it all to the Cullens.

Chapter One, The Beginning

It was a normal first day of high school, well normal for me. I woke up as usual, with my headphones half off my ears. The sound of bacon frying downstairs overtook my senses, coupled with my Mother’s low groans; as the grease splattered onto her skin. My Father, the local sheriff here in Forks Washington, was already gone. It was obvious Charlie had gone, because my parents weren’t bickering. My nightly rest relied on earphones and my cd player blasting every night; anything that helped me get to sleep without having to hear another one of their arguments. It had been like this all my life. An argument in the morning, an argument right after dinner and right before bed. Then, sometimes interlaced with them making up or the silent treatment; my preference was to the latter as of late. Since my expectations had been squashed after begging for my parents to divorce years ago, I settled for when they pretended the other one didn’t exist.

If it wasn’t for the frequent times when they’d make up and you could see the shimmer of what brought them together in the first place, I’d think they were both crazy. If anything, my Mother has taught me selflessness for the ones you love, and to have a wide array of cds to occupy your nights. Shaking my head I pulled on a clean pair of jeans and layered a t-shirt over a turtleneck. With my sneakers in hand, I propelled myself down the stairs taking care on the last step, which always tripped me.

My Mother overheard my descent as she smiled that wide-eyed smile, which made me aware that all the fights and makeup’s were worth it for my sake.

“Good morning Bells, bacon?”

I shook my head.

“I told you, I’m a pescatarian Mom.”

My mother nodded. To live with Renee took some getting used to, especially her forgetfulness; it was a dance between the two of us. She’d forget whatever she didn’t like. My eating habits had always been precarious, but choosing to only eat fish and vegetables made my Mother even more forgetful.

“Oh right.”

I rolled my eyes, taking the toast that she laid out for herself no doubt.

“Well, eggs?”

Biting my lip, I gazed out the window, wondering if it would be the bus today or if Angela’s Dad caved and she was allowed to pick me up.

“You need a ride?”

I shrugged as the old blue rusty sedan stopped in front of our gravel drive.

“No need Mom, Angela’s here.”

She sighed, relieved.

My mother was somewhat of an eccentric. We had lived in Forks all my life, but she still had trouble with the weather. Everything made her nervous to drive. Sometimes, when she forgot which way was right and left; I’d have to tell her my door or hers. No, it was better this way.

“Love you Mom.”

While kissing her cheek, my Mother moved the frying pan to the dead burner; turning off the hot one. Another speck of grease jumped, but missed both of us. Yes, my Mother was the loveable, easily rattled post Hippie type. She was a good-natured soul, who sometimes behaved more like a teen than me.

“Love you too Bells… make good choices.”

I scoffed, another one of Renee’s insane first day of school rituals. She had heard it on Oprah one afternoon, before my first day in sixth grade. Afraid her daughter would fall into the trap of drug use or teen sex, she had gone over and over this episode.

“Thanks.”

Finally closing the door with a sigh, and relieved to be out of the house and into the dreary morning; my junior year of high school began. Angela waved, obviously excited that her Father had agreed to let her drive the car her Grandparents had given her for making all honors last year. Our grades were exactly the same, but for me Charlie promised that Jake was working on his Dad’s old rusty Chevy. Despite my reservations, the rusty truck did suit me to a point. Yet there was still a tinge of jealousy, Angela’s car had at least thirty years on what was to be mine.

‘Better than nothing Bells.’

I heard in my Father’s voice. The voice that was my conscience, it must be a sheriff for a father thing.

“No Jessica?”

Angela shrugged just as my seatbelt clicked locked. We lurched forward before the car stalled.

Jessica, Angela and I had been close when we were younger. The past year Lauren had become a more prominent figure in her life. She was the oldest in our class, so she was the first to get a license and a car. Lauren had made it a point to drive it the last day of our sophomore year.

“Oops sorry.”

A laugh broke through my first day annoyance, as Angela re-started the car.

“I can’t get used to driving standard.”

Shaking my head laughing, Angela turned up one of our favorite Shakira songs as we continued to school.

“Have you checked any of your emails?”

Shrugging, Angela giggled. While, I had checked my emails everyday, no-one got a response it was my forte to avoided most online communication.

“I know Tyler was waiting for you to sign onto Aim all summer.”

I bit the corner of my lip. Tyler, was a friend from school but it was obvious that his friendliness differed from mine. We had worked on a final project together at the end of last year, I insisted on meeting at the library. He was sweet, but it was hard to not give guys the wrong impression.

“He knows where I work.”

Angela nods as she switched the dial to a different pop station, a second song eased the remaining tension.

Angela and I had been best school friends since forever. We were the type of friends that would hang out all the time during the school year. But, when summer came, there was always something to keep us apart. This summer, she went to Christian Camp where she was a counselor. My summer consisted of hanging out with my Mother, while she worked on her yogalates.

It was the same every summer, nothing new. Jessica and Mike would hook up only to break up when the New Year started. Tyler would avoid Lauren while trying to get a hold of me online. It wasn’t as if I didn’t like boys or anything. To me the whole idea of a high school romance was completely cliché. And before that, the idea of a junior high romance was laughable. With my past behavior, I was sure the word ‘void’ was written on my forehead. Anytime the words flirting and Bella Swan were used in the same sentence, I’d shut down completely. Tyler fortunately, was still my friend despite my behavior.

“There’s Ben and Eric.”

My gaze fell upon the two boys who waved at Angela as we got out of her car. The parking lot was beginning to fill up and cliques were forming as they did every year. My year was off on the wrong foot, the realization hit me; that despite myself, I was a part of the drones.

“Where were you this summer Bella?”

“Avoiding the Jessmika drama at work, while not pulling a muscle with my Mother’s new obsession Yogalates,” I answered Eric.

The boys laughed as they eyed Angela. It was cute both Ben and Eric had crushes on her, but Ben was the one that had Angela’s attention. She would have to finally choose between them this year, making me thankful that my life paled in comparison.

“Well, have you heard? A new family moved to town.”

I looked up in excitement. There hadn’t been a new family in Forks for years, at least not one worth mentioning. Young families did not count, but families with teens that was news.

“Yeah,” Eric continued, “three boys, two girls all going to Forks High.”

My reserve broke as I laughed shaking my head. Leave it to Eric to know what was going on in Forks; he was always the first to know everyone’s business.

“Well, I’m going inside, Ang. I’ll see you in homeroom?”

Angela nodded, as Mike Newton was parking, with Jessica and Lauren not far behind him. A scowl was on Jessica’s face as she noticed Mike. Her hands were locked around her chest angrily; a smile crept up on my face happy to avoid any and all drama.

The day had gone by with the predicted amount of excitement. We had a new class of freshmen to torture, to the delight of the senior class. The Cullens were also up there on the gossip scale, whenever they were mentioned; I made a habit of tuning the conversation out. My mission this year was to be rid of all and any drama and that included being invested in gossip.

By the time the lunch bell rang; a new story was already ready running through my mind as I sat eager to dig into my tuna sandwich.

“Have you seen them yet?”

Looking up from my lunch, we moved another foot in the line.

“Who?” I asked, as Jessica rolled her eyes.

Jessica and Angela’s gaze jumped to the corner of the café, at the table full of perfectly pale, gorgeously dressed teens. I scrutinized them all, looking for some flaw as they ignored everyone but each other. After a few seconds, I shrugged. Both Angela and Jessica looked at me incredulous.

“Are you kidding?” Jessica asked.

“Did you see the tall brown haired one? His name is Edward he’s in my Biology class.”

Returning my gaze to the newcomers, I looked for the one she could mean.

“Who the big one?”

She scoffed, rolling her eyes with disappointment.

“No, that’s Emmett.”

“I heard he’s dating Rosalie,” Angela said matter of factly.

As the day rolled on, my detest for high school grew; we couldn’t even have new students without it being on the 5 o’clock news. After three hours, everyone knew everything about these strangers. When I spotted the other brown haired boy Jessica was now fixated on my friend's gushing made sense. His hair was tussled perfectly, a more bronze hue than brown. He seemed to flinch, as Jessica giggled to herself most likely letting her imagination run wild. I couldn't help but look away, embarrassed to fall into the trap of mindless adolescence.

“Already over Mike are we Jess?”

Wincing at my awkward question, Jessica snickered proving there was some truth to my statement.

“I’m sorry but Mike Newton compared to that Greek God?”

We laughed while paying for our lunches, before heading over to the full lunch table.

“Awww not again Bella!”

I shrugged pulling my notebook from under my tray, before taking the pen out from behind my ear.

“What? I just need to finish this outline.”

Angela laughed at Tyler’s annoyance. Mike scanned the lunchroom, his eyes falling nonchalantly on the Cullen’s table.

“You know some day Bella might let us read one of these stories of hers, and then all this lunchtime work would be worth it.”

I smiled, Angela was such an optimist.

“Rosalie is hot.”

Snorting to myself and lost in thought I blurted a response without thinking.

“Yeah and so out of your league.”

Jessica laughed at my comment as Mike shrugged.

“Sorry Mike.”

He smiled at my apology as my gaze meandered around the lunch room. I was trying to look everywhere but at the table of the new family, who had become somewhat of a zoo exhibit.

“Why are we like this anyway?”

Angela looked up from her salad, shrugging.

“Because this is Forks and we haven’t had a new student since…forever.”

I chuckled shaking my head while the rest of my classmates continued to discuss the new additions. Sighing, and trying to tune them out with my cd player in hand; ‘Evanescence’ began to play. The music took me out of the cafeteria as my gaze drifted again up to the table of discussion, meeting eyes with a furrowed brow and confused face. My eyes fell down at once, recognizing the bronze hair that went along with the scowl.

When lunch was finally over, my feet dragged me to fifth period; it was my least favorite subject, science. Mike was still talking my ear off about switching schedules for this week. I shrugged in agreement, before realizing that the teacher had set all our names and books down on the lab tables. Sighing, and scanning the room for my name, I spotted my note card on the inside seat of the third row. Rolling my eyes, I dropped my book bag and took a peek at who my lab partner would be. The last name Cullen first name Alice made my heart race. Just great, now I’d have to answer all the stupid questions from my friends ‘What was she like, is she stuck up, is she really with that blonde kid Jasper?’

“Hi, I’m Alice.”

Startled with a plastered smile on my face, my eyes met the girl with the black spikes.

With a quick nod, she returned the gesture before tilting her head. It seemed as if she was sniffing the air around me. My mind raced but I had taken a shower last night and had plenty of deodorant on, there was nothing to worry about. However, it wasn’t a scowl on her face, just a look of contented confusion.

“Bella,” I finally replied giving my name.

She smirked settling into her seat before turning to the front of the class.

“So is there anything I should know about this Mr. Grodner?”

Shrugging I answered; “I’ve never had him and he’s new.”

She laughed as if we had exchanged a private joke. Her eyes were the same golden brown as her brother’s.

'But that couldn't be,' I thought shaking my head.

Eric had already told the whole table they were all adopted by the Cullen’s. My imagination was already getting the better of me. I tried to sit still, hoping that time would speed by. Alice was nice, quiet and didn’t squirm as much as me. She took meticulous notes on our syllabus making me feel guilty trying to keep up. By the time class was over, my legs were locked under the stool and I was pretty sure they were asleep. Shaking my feet back to life, I turned to see Alice was staring at me, waiting.

“So what’s there to do around here?”

The bell had rung but my pace didn't quicken one bit, not at all excited to go to gym class, despite it being the last class before an open study hall.

“Uh, nothing really, you pretty much moved to the most boring town in the Continental US. Unless you like camping, fishing or hunting?”

I added the last part with an eye roll, instantly regretting it. She may love camping, fishing, or hunting for all anyone knew.

“But there’s always Seattle right?”

She said it with such excitement that I couldn’t help but return her smile. Her boyfriend, a tall beautiful blonde named Jasper made his way towards us, as I shrugged.

“If you’re about shopping sure, they do have a great Best Buy in the mall.”

I half waved to her as Jasper Hale finally made his destination, turning to me with the same confused look that Edward had at lunch. He seemed at peace when their hands touched, making me laugh while shaking my head, as they began to whisper intently to one another. It wasn’t the cliché high school romance with them, this was something more. Biting my lower lip, I turned from them as my story took on another two characters.

Gym class was always fun, for everyone but me. While my skills at any sport was abysmal, others also had to pay the price when my ball managed to hit someone or make them fall. Today was volleyball, a sport I actually didn’t loathe. My teammates smiled in anticipation when it was my turn to serve. To their surprise my serve wasn't half bad, I tried out for the freshman volleyball team two years ago, only to be cut.

“Watch out!”

The other team laughed as they all covered their heads while I spiked the ball to their side. None of them went after it, as one of my teammates; a volleyball player for our school team called the point. The girl who had called 'watch out' grinned and stood up straight as her team followed, ready for my second serve. As if on cue, the ball went flying over and she returned it across the net and into play.

Until we were all heading towards the last period of the day, my mind was focused on getting home and spending some quality time with my Imac. Suddenly, a blur of bronze hair passed by me quickly, followed by giggles from a group of freshman girls.

’Only forty-five more minutes,’ I told myself. ‘And then you’ll be home in your own room and tomorrow will be better.’

When I reached the cafeteria, the room was already filling up fast. Scanning the room my eyes fell upon Ben and Mike sitting together separated by two arms lengths; the regimented study hall/detention protocol. In the corner of the room was the bronze haired, perfectly dressed Cullen that had whizzed by me after gym. Jealousy instantly overcame me, his hair was still in perfect order and mine was in a half ponytail; since I refused to change for study hall from gym. It was somewhat of a habit, since last period gym, sophomore year. At first, the girls made faces as I walked around the school in sweats and a t-shirt. Nevertheless, Jessica and Angela followed suit and others after them. Two girls walked by me towards another table, they were still in their gym clothes from last class, as I sat at an empty table rolling my eyes.

With a quick scan of the room again, I took out my cd player and notebook. A green shiny object in Edward’s hands caught my attention, spurring with envy my gaze narrowed on the boy, as he played with his Ipod mini. I bit my lip, wondering how many more weeks I’d have to save up for the device. My parents had told me ‘come up with half the $300 for it, we will put in the rest and buy it for Christmas.’ The idea of the 4gig memory and having all my cds neatly organized inside the little device made my palms sweat. Looking away from the perfect boy, my focus turned to my stories while taking out a pencil.

I found myself writing about the Cullen’s, first Rosalie and Emmett; describing their every detail, taking everything in. Then there was Jasper and Alice, the way her voice sounded the odd way he looked as if in constant pain. Their pale faces and smiles weaved into my already odd story. looked up once, wondering about the last Cullen I was purposely avoiding. He met my eyes wincing as if in deep concentration. My gaze was drawn to his IPod. I sighed green with envy, pealing my eyes away, reaching into my bag for another CD. This time a copy of Lifehouse popped out of my Coldplay album. I switched cds, thinking how much easier this would be with the device that was so close to me just a few feet away in this very room.

Angela met me outside of study hall, she had already gone over my schedule, it was very typical for Mrs. Kellar to let her last period out of English early.

“Women’s Lit? Can you believe it? What is she trying to prove?”

With a shrug, Angela handed me the first novel of the year it was Bronte, easy stuff. Handing it back to her my friend made a face stuffing the book into her satchel bag before following me to my locker. Angela preferred science and math; she was more left brained than me.

“So, Eric said you have Alice Cullen as a lab partner.”

I gave a quick nod as Angela giggled excited.

“That’s awesome; if it was Rosalie Hale I think Mike would have given his right arm to switch seats. As it is, he’s trying to figure out how serious she is with Emmett.”

My shoulders slumped in defeat, as we leaned on her car waiting in the parking lot.

“Are we really waiting for everyone?”

Angela frowned. I knew she was waiting for Ben, but everyone was the package deal and that meant another twenty minutes of mind numbing torture.

My eyes fell upon the Cullen’s walking in perfect symmetry towards their cars parked side by side. Alice was twirling around Jasper who had a look of relief, the same as mine to be rid of the school. Rosalie and Emmett were practically attached by the hip, as they stopped next to a silver Volvo kissing quickly before Emmett hopped into the adjacent Jeep.

I watched for Edward, whose back stiffened at the sound of Jessica and Lauren laughing behind him as they made their way to us. I scoffed, it seemed like I wasn’t the only one who was past the High School drama. We locked eyes and I felt a twinge of guilt for watching. Averting my gaze, I turned completely to my bag hooking my earphones on. When I got enough courage to look back towards the newcomers, Alice turned my way waving. I waved back, glad to escape the group that was forming around me for a moment, before she disappeared into the silver Volvo.

After what seemed like a long and torturous twenty minutes, I was safely on my way home. I had lived through a first day with no incident. Angela sighed, and I tried to ignore her, but she was persistent.

"I'm going to ask Ben out, he's never going to do it himself."

I laughed, she was right. Ben was very shy, and if Angela waited, he would never get up the nerve.

"Well, good. At least then Eric will get the point."

She looked clueless as a frown formed.

"Eric?"

I laughed. Angela was so oblivious at times.

"Eric likes you too."

She choked out a laugh shaking her head, trying to deny my words.

I stepped carefully out of the car waving Angela away, as she half smiled. I was sure she was trying to think of some proof that Eric had a crush on her. No doubt, the thought would pass as she worked up the courage to ask Ben out. I sighed, carefully stepping towards my house. I didn't want to jinx the day by falling, or tripping over the hose my Mother had left out this morning.

“So how was your day?”

It was hard to take Renee seriously; she was in the downward facing dog and then moved into the salutations of the sun.

“Fine, new kids the whole school is buzzing.”

She smiled, switching positions before asking a follow up question as she avoided my Dad’s recliner.

“Uh-huh the Cullens right? Dad called me from the station; he unfortunately met the father, Carlisle the Doctor.”

I shrugged pressing pause on my cd player; it was obvious she wanted to have a conversation.

“Hey, can I just run upstairs and take a shower and change? I’ll be right back down.”

It was not really a question, my Mother wasn’t the type to play inquisitor.

“Sure, see you in a minute.”

I smiled heading upstairs and turning the shower on, before peeling off my gym clothes.

I couldn't shake the thoughts of the Cullens, as the hot water washed over me. The bronze hair, the golden eyes. I kept thinking of situations, scenarios; the more I thought of the new additions, the more my story took on life. I was inspired, but my heart raced when Edward came to mind. I hoped this feeling was just due to his newness and tomorrow it would dissipate. I spent the rest of the night writing and trying to keep myself from obsessing. I was Bella Swan and one boy wasn’t going to make me change, how wrong I was.

I was glad that the school week was a short one and that no-one had remembered my birthday on Tuesday. Renee of course asked me if I wanted to do anything special next week, when I mentioned skipping school on my birthday she actually considered it for a moment.

“But wouldn’t you miss out on all the fun?”

I couldn’t think of anything worse than having people you barely knew wishing you a happy birthday. The attention from being one of the early birthdays in my class wasn’t something I was grateful for. If it wasn’t for Lauren’s summer birthday bash every year that I skipped, the town would have expected something grandiose from the Swans. As it was, my pony and Popsicle debacle back in 94’ was still a sore spot for some parents. That was the year when I realized while birthdays are great, birthday parties could cause havoc. My parents were accused of showing off, the two ponies and enough popsicles to feed the entire elementary school didn’t go over well. I loved every moment of it and of course, Renee captured it on video. But that year stuck with me, and since then it has been a quiet little birthday celebration, cupcakes just for me and a card or two.

“Mom, your definition of fun and my definition of fun couldn’t be further apart.”

She smiled as I tried to avoid the subject.

Charlie was fortunately on my side with the whole birthday thing. My Mother called us hopeless, as he winked at me Monday morning.

“So I can skip on Tuesday?” I asked my father, hoping I had buttered him up enough to say yes.

“Absolutely not,” Charlie said with absolute finality.

Renee laughed dryly, as she pulled out the cake mix and frosting.

“You only turn seventeen once Bells, try to enjoy it.” I groaned as Angela beeped the horn outside.

Grabbing my jacket and bag, my Father followed me out the door, giving a quick private peck on my Mother’s cheek. He waved to Angela before he nodded to me.

“Be good Bells.” I winced as I slid into Angela’s blue sedan annoyed.

“Morning Bella.”

“Not really.” I groaned as Angela pulled the car into first gear jerking us forward. I didn’t laugh this time, nothing was going to get me out of the birthday funk.

“Birthday blues?” I gave her a look that could kill as she laughed shrugging.

“You think I could ruin my six year record and just so happen to break a bone today?”

I knew it was a stretch but Angela laughed, shaking her head.

“Bella, come on it could be worse.” I lifted an eyebrow seriously considering a trip to the hospital that would keep me out of school tomorrow.

“Besides, your Mother will freak out and everyone will be all over you at the hospital then.”

She was right. I hadn’t broken a bone since fifth grade when I was sledding on the ice and fell wrong. My wrist was in a hot pink cast for a month; Angela had to write for me since I lucked out and broke my right wrist bone. It was a clear break, and I only remember an intense heat and pressure.

“Just don’t mention it okay? Maybe everyone else will forget about it too.”

The day had gone by perfectly, I had almost lost the birthday anxiety until fifth period and Alice said the dreaded words.

“So, it’s your birthday tomorrow.” I groaned scanning the lab to see if anyone had over heard. Of course, some eyes were trying to be coy watching us.

“Yeah no big deal.” Alice sighed resting her chin on her hands as she watched Mr. Grodner struggle through his first lesson.

“Turning seventeen is a big deal Bella.” I laughed shaking my head, willing the conversation to end.

I liked Alice, but this was too much.

“Maybe for others, but I would very much enjoy a day off from school and to snuggle with a good novel in my bed.”

Alice sighed again; it was the most delicate sigh I had ever heard.

“No presents?” she inquired, as I made a face showing my disgust.

“No, I had a bad experience when I was little and I just wish for the day to be over. There’s a reason why thirteen is an unlucky number.”

I regretted my last comment as soon as I said it, because I knew Alice’s retort.

“You know, actually thirteen was always a lucky number.”

I laughed shrugging.

“Not for me.”

Alice was quiet for the rest of the period and I felt bad for being so grumpy. She smiled at me when the period was over, so I knew all wasn’t lost.

“Well, it’ll be a beautiful day tomorrow.” She mused smirking as she waited for me to get my things together.

“Great.” I sighed trying to smile.

“Let me know how it turns out.” She winked as we walked into the hallway.

“You won’t be here?” She shook her head thoughtfully.

“No, Carlisle likes to take us hiking on nice days.” She waved meeting Jasper in the hall as they leaned towards each other. I sighed watching them go. They didn’t kiss or do any of the obnoxious things most couples did. The slight nuances got me, the way they looked at one another. How a light stroke of her cheek seemed to be so intimate.

I groaned thinking of gym class as I turned away from the couple heading towards the gym.

When the bell rang signaling the beginning of study hall, my heart raced. I stole quick glances at the corner and there as usual, was Edward Cullen. This time, I could have sworn he was staring back at me. It was so sudden, so quick but I blinked and he was reading. A tattered book in his hands and I wished I knew what had captured his attention. I looked away sighing. The Cullens wouldn’t be here tomorrow, it would be a beautiful day. I never paid attention to the weatherman, so I had no idea if Alice would be right. But my heart still sank at not seeing Edward or talking with Alice. She made Microbiology bearable and Edward... I couldn’t think about him without blushing, as I opened my notebook. Maybe it was time for Edward Cullen to make an appearance in my story. I laughed to myself as I began writing.

When I awoke the next morning, I gasped. The sun was shining through my window. Despite whatever reservations I had about my seventeenth birthday, the weather was celebrating for me. I shook my head, walking to the sun and throwing the window open. It didn’t squeak like it did last year and I wondered if Charlie had fixed it for me. The air smelled of a mixture between summer and fall, I sighed sitting down in my love seat.

There was a dull pain in my lower back as I jumped up. Throwing one of my stuffed animals aside a small pink box with a bow was tucked perfectly between the cushions. I groaned, my parents were pretty bad when it came to following my wishes. I peeled back the wrapping paper and gasped. There was a pink IPod mini. I shook my head completely stunned while looking for a card. Shocked and excited, I ran down the stairs throwing my arms around my Mother, as she looked at me confused.

“Well happy birthday baby.” She smirked as I shook my head. Charlie was reading the newspaper, dressed in his blues already frowning at me.

“You guys are awesome, how did you...?”

Rene stared at me elated but also clueless.

“How did we what?”

I showed her the IPod grinning from ear to ear.

“You guys truly rock.” I hugged Charlie kissing him on the forehead, before heading back up to my room to get dressed.

“Did you get her that Charlie?” I heard my Mom ask as I laughed.

They didn’t have to pretend, this was one present I wasn’t going to regret.

I got dressed with a bounce in my step, charging my IPod in my Mac. When I descended downstairs, Charlie was gone and Renee smiled handing me a pink cupcake.

“Pink’s the theme huh Mom?" I asked she shrugged as I scrolled through the music.

I shook my head, all my cds were on the device already. I didn’t know how my parent’s managed it.

“This is really great Mom,” I chimed as Angela beeped the horn from outside.

“Well I’m happy you’re happy,” Renee responded; a slight frown broke through her smile. I shrugged it off, thinking my parent’s were too complicated before waving goodbye.

“Have a happy birthday Bells!” she called as I closed the door.

The day was warm enough for no jacket, but I swept one over my arm just in case. I was enamored with my birthday present. I practically shoved it in Angela’s face, when I got into her car.

“So you’re happy to be seventeen then?” she asked amused.

I sighed.

“If I just keep this baby charged, and the earphones in my ears.” I wiggled the white ear buds as Angela rolled her eyes.

“Then I’m good to go.”

She couldn’t help but laugh, as we took off towards school.

“Well then you won’t mind me saying happy birthday then?” I shrugged.

“Today, I’ll let it pass. Nothing is going to ruin my mood.” She smirked as we pulled into the student parking lot.

Instinctively my eyes searched the parking lot, looking for the shiny grey Volvo, but it wasn’t any where in sight. The Cullen’s really weren’t here. I skipped to one of my Beethoven Albums and pressed play, as we made our way through the parking lot. I could make it through the day I thought, as Ben and Eric greeted us with a Happy Birthday Bella. I didn’t care, I could do this.