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Summary:
"Caius, surely you see the potential. I haven't seen a prospective talent so promising since we found Jane and Alec. Can you imagine the possibilities when she is one of us?" - Aro Edward is gone. Jacob never came to Bella's room. She is alone. What happens when she goes to Italy for her senior class trip?


Notes:
This is my second fic and my first attempt at a multichaptered fic.


1. Graduation Present

Rating 0/5   Word Count 1327   Review this Chapter

I sat in one of the mismatched chairs at the kitchen table doing my calculus homework. I actually have an A in the class. Since I need to keep my mind constantly busy, I put in more hours of studying this year than the first three years of my high school career combined.

I heard a familiar crunch of gravel as the cruiser pulled up. I looked at the clock on the microwave; the green light read four forty-two. Charlie was home early. I didn't start dinner yet.

"Hi, Bells," he called as he opened the front door. I suspiciously eyed the bag of takeout in his hand. He noticed. "Umm. I thought you could use a break."

He placed the paper bag on the table and started emptying its contents. Italian. My favorite. I worried what he was up to as I got some glasses from the yellow cabinet and poured our drinks.

We ate in silence for a few minutes as Charlie obviously worked up his courage. Then he sprang the news on me. "Bella," he said, looking down at his dinner. "I have an early graduation present for you." He slowly looked up and gave me a tentative smile. I knew this was hard for him. We are alike in so many ways.

"You didn't have to get me anything." I have always hated presents. But after my last birthday - I winced at my own thought - I hated them even more.

"I know, Bells. But I am your father and graduation is a big deal. I am proud of you." I knew how difficult it was for him to admit that out loud. I felt a sudden and unexpected wave of emotion come over me and hugged him.

"Thank you, Dad." I said, looking around for the present. "Where is it?" I asked, trying to hide the dread in my voice.

"You will receive the tickets and all the information from school on Monday," he replied, then shoveled more pasta into his mouth. Wait. School. Oh, no. Tell me he does not mean the senior class trip.

"The trip to Italy..." I paused waiting for him to contradict me. He didn't. "Dad, that's too expensive. You can't afford that." I argued. However, cost was the least of my objections. This wasn't the first time Charlie had tried to get me to leave Forks. He already threatened to send me to live with Renee in Jacksonville. That time I used school as my excuse to stay. But the truth is I am terrified to leave Forks. I am afraid that if I leave this dreary, cloud covered town I will forget Him.

"It will be as if I'd never existed."

"Don't worry about the money, Bella. I have been putting money away for your college education. And now that you have decided to stay here and go to Peninsula Community College, I have the extra money in the bank."

"It's still too much. I couldn't accept a gift like that. You should save the money for your retirement, Dad."

"No, I want to do this for you. You seemed to be getting better, Bells." I winced. Charlie didn't seem to notice and continued. "But now with this whole Jacob thing, I worry about you." Why did he have to bring up Jacob again?

"You don't need to worry about me. I'm fine." I interrupted, but Charlie's no fool. For months, I've been trying to act normal for Charlie's sake, going through the motions of school, work, homework and housework. Charlie saw right through my pathetic attempt.

"I don't think I can live through seeing you try harder. I've never seen anyone trying so hard. It hurts to watch."

"I want you to be happy - no, not even that much. I just want you not to be miserable."

"Listen to me, Bells. I think it would be good for you to get away, go someplace where you're not surrounded by memories of the Cul..."

A searing pain rippled across my hollow chest. I had to cut him off. This conversation was starting to break my unspoken rules. He knows that speaking that name is not allowed. "Fine. I'll think about." I said, ending the conversation at least for now. I started clearing the table, placing the leftovers in the fridge and throwing the empty containers in the trash.

After doing the dishes and wiping down the kitchen table, I told Charlie I was going to my room to study. I grabbed my books and hurried upstairs, somehow managing not to trip in my rush. I really didn't want to be in the same room with him, in case he brought up the subject of the Italy trip again.

After an acceptable amount of time passed, I went halfway down the stairs and told Charlie I was going to bed.

"Good night, Bells." He said, out of habit. I wasn't going to have a good night. I never have a good night and neither does poor Charlie. I wake up screaming almost every night from the same recurring nightmare. I know the sound of my screams wakes Charlie up too, but he doesn't get up to check on me anymore.

"Night, Dad."

*******

School, the next day, went by much the same as it had the rest of the week. The whole senior class was a buzz with talk of the upcoming trip during spring break.

I sat quietly at my lunch table, where my presence was merely tolerated except by Mike and Angela, who have forgiven me for my recent antisocial behavior. I picked at my food, glad to be left out of the conversations around me, all centering on the trip. Some of the girls were planning a shopping trip to Seattle. Apparently, their clothes were not fashionable enough for Europe. Everyone else seemed to be discussing what they wanted to see and do in Italy.

Jessica came running over to the table with unmistakable excitement in her eyes. "My parents have finally agreed to pay for the trip!" She exclaimed with a wide grin. She quickly sat down at the other end of the table next to Lauren and started babbling about the trip. I tuned her out.

Then,to my horror, Mike turned to me with a hopeful look on his face and asked, "So Bella, you haven't said anything. Are you going on the trip?"

Everyone at the table turned to look at me, curious, except for Lauren and Jessica who glared. I didn't want to tell them that I had absolutely no desire to go. Someone might ask why and I am a horrible liar. Then, I remembered my discussion with Charlie. We had kind of left things up in the air. I quickly composed a little half-truth. "I don't know. Charlie said he wanted it to be a graduation present, but there was some mention of money." I strategically left out the fact that I was the one who mentioned the money.

I was glad when lunch was over and rushed off to sixth period World Cultures class with Ms. Lang. Even the teachers were excited about the trip, some of them going along as chaperones, including Ms. Lang.

Just before the end of class, she gave us an assignment. She said she went online and made a list of different places to visit and events that would be going on in Italy the week of the trip. As we exited the classroom, we were to take an index card from her desk. Each card contained one of the places or events, which would be the topic for a report due on Monday.

When the bell rang, I gathered my books and headed for seventh period, grabbing a card on my way out the door. It read Saint Marcus Day Festival.