Life is Beautiful
After a tragic accident that lands a free-spirited Bella Swan into the local foster care system, what will happen when the Cullens decide to adopt her and their lives as they knew them begin to shatter? AU. AH.
Genre: Angst/Romance/Hurt&Comfort (With the possibility of some humor)
Category: Alternate Universe-All Human
Rating: T / PG-13
Shippings: EdxB, JxA, EmxR, CxEs
Summary: After a tragic accident that lands a free-spirited Bella Swan into the local foster care system, what will happen when the Cullens decide to adopt her and their lives as they knew them begin to shatter? AU. AH.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
1. When You Were Young
Rating 5/5 Word Count 1731 Review this Chapter
When You Were Young
The sun’s rays illuminated the top of the black pick-up truck as it crunched its way down our gravel driveway. Through the tinted windows I could barely make out the faces of the people inside of it, but I knew exactly who would greet me when I opened the door.
I swooped up my bag and ran out the door, my half-yelled goodbye drowned out by the other early Saturday morning noises I was accustomed to. My old clay covered riding boots left imprints in the rocks as I ran to the truck, flung the door opened, and all but jumped into it; it was our routine.
“Dang girl! I wish I could look like that running in skin-tight pants” Andrea said once I was fully seated in the spot behind her, I just rolled my brown eyes.
Andrea has been my friend since before we were even born. Our parents had gone to college together, gotten married at the same time, and had us within a couple of months of each other. It was practically mandatory that we were friends, not as if it had mattered though. We were like two peas in a pod.
“You’re at least a size smaller than I am, maybe more” I contradicted. This was part of the routine as well. She would make some comment about how I looked, obviously thinking of herself when she said it, I would compliment her, and it would usually end in us bickering back and forth on who was right until someone else said something to break us up.
“Yea, except in bra si--“ Rachel, who had been sitting quietly next to me the entire time, started.
“Guy in the car!” I hadn’t even noticed that Nick was sitting in the passenger seat until he raised his hand in the air. “You can have your stupid girl talk later” he added before turning on the crackly radio.
“You talk about guy stuff all the time, though!” Andrea protested, taking her hand off of the steering wheel to turn the music off.
“With who?” He asked his sarcasm only slightly masked by his frustration.
“Bella! She’s as much of a guy as anyone.” she said.
“I am not” I mumbled too soft for anyone but myself to hear. I could feel my face heating up as I sunk down in my seat, hoping to make myself as invisible as possible. It wasn’t an unknown fact that I wasn’t the most girlie girl out there, but I wasn’t a complete tomboy either. I looked over at Rachel wondering why she was keeping quiet. She wasn’t the most talkative person, but around us she usually talked more than this. She was facing the window though, her long auburn hair catching the sunlight.
“Hey,” I said softly. It was loud enough to get her attention though. “You ok?”
She nodded and offered a small smile. “Yeah, I’m just tired” She yawned, giving unneeded proof to her words. I probably should’ve asked for more details, knowing well that something was bothering her, but with Rachel you couldn’t force things out of her. She would talk when she wanted to, and that was it.
“Are you even listening?” Nick asked, turning around in his seat to look at me with his large brown eyes.
“Huh?” I hadn’t even realized they were talking to me.
He groaned and threw his head back against the seat. “This is why I need caffeine in the mornings, so I can tolerate things like this.” He complained before muttering something along the lines of “So I can tolerate girls”. “ She wasn’t even listening to us!” He whined, louder now.
Andrea reached over with one hand and patted his shoulder gently. It didn’t surprise me that their argument was already finished, they never did last for long. “It’s ok my little Grumpy. We’ll get some after Bella’s lesson”
“After? I’ll be dead by then!”
“Oh shut it! You can get it while I’m riding, if it makes you happy” I said, taking the elastic off of my wrist to pull my wavy chestnut colored hair up.
He smiled back at me. “You’re my new favorite person” Andrea made a show of rolling her eyes in the mirror, and I had to bite on my lip to prevent myself from laughing. Rachel on the other hand was not even attempting to stop the boisterous laughter from coming out of her mouth.
“What’s funny?” Nick asked, looking back and forth from the three of us, completely oblivious of Andrea’s mocking.
“Nothing” I managed to say with only allowing a giggle or two out.
No one said anything as the truck turned off the main road and onto a smaller dirt road. It was easy to miss, and I could not even count how many times we had passed it up on one hand.
“Oh thank you. We’re here” Andrea sighed, pressing the numbers into the security box that would open the gates. With the window rolled down I could already smell the country. The newly cut grass, the morning air, the horses, everything about it drew me in.
“How can you even stand that?” Andrea asked, getting a full whiff.
“Hey, it smells good” I retorted defensively.
“Whatever” she mumbled, driving forward for a few minutes before coming to a halt on the side of the road. From where I was seated, I could make out the side of the barn and part of the training arena. The rest of the buildings and pastures were being blocked by Andrea’s brown curls.
I quickly unbuckled my seatbelt, eager to be with Pepper. I grabbed my bag and opened the truck door; stumbling slightly when I missed the running board and landed on my feet.
“All good!” I panted to the chuckling people in the car before shutting the door.
I slung the bag onto my shoulder, took a step forward, and leaned against Andrea’s door. Resting my arms on her window frame, I leaned forward and sighed.
“No one wants to watch me ride?” I asked with a pout, putting a hand over my heart and feigning hurt.
“Nah. Sorry, we have more important things to do.” Andrea said before noticing the expression on my face. “Geez. I’m kidding! Can’t you take a joke?” she added quickly. I was sure I heard her mumble something about ridiculous.
I glared at her. “We’re just going to get some coffee in Grumpy over there,”—she pointed to Nick over her shoulder—“and then we’ll be back” she snickered, ignoring my failed attempts at looking menacing.
“Bring me back one?” I asked, giving up entirely on the anger approach. I wanted my latte!
“Sure, Sure. See you in…thirty minutes-ish?” She looked down at her watch and tilted her head to the side slightly, something she did when she was thinking.
“Bye Nick and Rachel” I said waving to the passengers in the car. I took a step away and started to walk to the barn, a smile planted on my face.
“Hey!” Andrea protested. “What about me?”
I turned my body halfway around. “What about you?” I asked making my face look as innocent as possible.
“Don’t I get a goodbye?” she said, her face falling into a pout. Her bottom lip quivered slightly, and I had to give in.
“Bye Andrea” I teased, my sarcasm seeping out despite my pity for her. Her pout turned into a full cheek-to-cheek smile.
“Toodles!” she yelled back at me before pressing down on the gas and driving back down the rock road. I watched the black truck fade into the distance until my instructor shouted my name, forcing me to turn around and walk to the barn.
“Check you’re diagonal. I don’t care if you’re warming up or performing; you need to be on the right diagonal at all times.” Leah’s strong voice rang through the arena as I looked down at the movement of Pepper’s legs while trotting.
I flopped down in the saddle twice before picking up the posting trot I needed to be at to finish my lesson. For some reason unbeknown to be, Leah insisted on trotting to cool down at the end of every lesson. I always thought that walking would do the job much better, but she disagreed.
“Good. Now finish your lap around, go into the walk, then dismount. You’re done for the day for the day, girl.” Leah teased, gathering the thick black hair at her neck into her hands and holding it on top of her head. “Man is it hot.” She complained.
I rolled my eyes, noticing that I had just passed the fence that marked both the beginning and end of each lap and flopped down into a walk. “It’s summer in Arizona. What do you expect?” I asked, turning my head to look at her.
She glared, dropping her hair before making her way to unlock the gate. “Fine, I won’t wash “Pepper off for you.” She stated. I backtracked.
“I was only kidding.”
“Sure, and I’m still going to be a size four in three months when I’m five months pregnant.”
I grinned, approaching the fence and pulling back on the reins with a ‘whoa’. I gathered them in one hand, loosened my feet from the stir-ups and swung my right leg over before sliding off. I gave Pepper’s shoulder a pat.
“You’re going to love when Leah gives you a nice long bath.” I cooed to her, attempting to straighten her mane out. I bit my lip to prevent a smile when I heard Leah’s snort and focused on the hair.
“Fine, but you owe me.” Leah said after a moment of silence, taking the reins from my hands. “And for the record, I’m only doing this because you’re friends are waiting, and when they get bored, they end up breaking something.”
“You know you love them.” I defended, making my way closer to the fence until my back almost touched it.
“Actually, I don’t. You do, not me. “She teased.
I laughed, turning around to unlock the gate and slip out of it. Still laughing I started jogging towards the truck, only stumbling slightly. “See you next week!” I shouted back before slamming the truck door shout.
“Finally.” Nick mumbled.