It had been about seven years since I had entered Forks, though I had been once in that time for my father's wedding to Sue Clearwater who lived on the La Push Reservation and was the widow of Charlie's good friend Harry. I had been a bridesmaid at the wedding along with Sue's daughter and my now step-sister, Leah Clearwater, who wasn't very happy about her mother remarrying. However, the wedding had been in La Push so I didn't really enter the village that much. That was three years ago, when I was twenty-one and at that point he had been my only family left since Renee and Phil had been killed in a car accident the year before. Only, that is, apart from my daughter, who, at that time, had been only three years of age.
When Edward left me not long after my 18th birthday, Charlie had insisted that I go to Phoenix to get away from it all and I had gone without an argument even though, over time, Forks had grown on me, there were too many bad memories there to continue living in the location. So I left to live with my mother. Within in a year, I had made the biggest mistake of my life: falling for a bad guy who pretended to be good. Seemed to be the story of my life: falling in love with the wrong people. It was actually just before my nineteenth birthday that he had forced me to sleep with him. It was against my will and when I told my mother, she had him arrested for rape. Although, the biggest mistake I could have done so soon after my heartbreak by Edward Cullen, it gave me the greatest gift: my daughter. Elsee Belle Swan, a name that I spelt with two 'e's rather than the typical 'ie' for my mothers 'Renee.' The name had also remind me of Esme Cullen's name who I still thought of as a mother since Renee was much more of a friend than a parent and whom I felt the need to honour.
Now, I was returning to the place I had avoided so much since I was eighteen for the loss of my last parent. I felt so sorry for Sue, who had now been widowed by both her husbands and for having such a short time with one of them, who was actually quite young. Charlie had only been forty-seven but his diet, one both Sue and I had tried to mend, had finally caught up with him, causing a heart attack. From what Sue told me, he had been home alone and he was dead by the time anyone found him. Seth, my nineteen-year-old step-brother, being the one that eventually did. I couldn't bear to leave poor Sue to arrange a second funeral so I promised her I'd come up from Phoenix where I still lived and arrange it, hence why I was now entering the boundaries of Forks with my little six-year-old at my side, bouncing around in her seat at the new surroundings.
I pulled up at the old house, which had been extended over the years, in a matter of minutes, it seemed quiet though it always had. I smiled as I noticed no one was already at the door because, since my truck had died years ago, they now had no warning as to when I was arriving. It was a different thing to have to knock on the door to places where I used to be met outside of: Jake's house was definitely strange.
'Bells!' Seth yelled as he opened the door to me and Elsee, sweeping me literally up in a hug because that boy was far to buff for his own good and sometimes made me wonder if he was on steroids, though I wondered that about all the Quileute boys I had met, before spinning Elsee around causing her to yelp, 'uncle Seth!': he was a fantastic uncle. 'How are you? It's been so long!'
'Yeah,' I laughed. 'Three years and have you gotten taller?'
Seth, my five year younger step-brother, was towering above me since he be at least 6 foot now, just as Jacob was beginning to do before I left. It was crazy the way these boys grew and, from what I remember, the amount they ate. Quil and Embry, friends of Jacobs who I had met, where exactly the same. Or maybe it was Quileute because the last time I had seen Leah, she was unnaturally tall and seemed to have more defined muscles and they all - Seth, Leah, Jake, Embry and Quil - seemed to run a high temperature, almost like a fever though I'd never bothered to ask why.
'Oh joy,' I heard Leah's voice inside as Seth chuckled and nodded at my question. 'Bella's here.'
Seth and I both rolled our eyes as I heard Sue scold her - Leah hadn't changed her opinion of me, though I hadn't given her much of a chance to having only come around on the wedding and now.
'Bella, it's so good to see you, you look well' Sue said as she appeared in the door, hugging me tightly, 'and Elsee, you've grown up so beautifully.'
'Thank you, Sue,' Elsee smiled up at her step-grandmother and, though I was biased, I agreed that Elsee was beautiful: she had prominent cheek bones, large eyes (the same colour as mine) and long, thick blonde hair that seemed messy no matter how many times I brushed it or what I did to it - most the time, we ended up tying it in a ponytail. Elsee was a lot like me with hair and makeup even though she was only six.
'What are we doing?' Sue suddenly gasped. 'Come in! Come in!'
I smiled at her and ushered Elsee through the door. Sue seemed to be doing fine and that made me feel a lot better. She seemed sad but still her normal, upbeat self that I knew was so strong and could face anything: she had raised Seth and Leah after all.
Although Seth was the age to be at College, neither of the Clearwater's had gone for a reason I was never told and didn't really understand why since I had gone with a young child but it was their decision and I wasn't about to dispute it especially if Sue wasn't.
'Thank you so much for coming up, Bella,' Sue was saying to me as we entered the kitchen which I noticed had finally been repainted from when my mother had lived here, in fact a few things and I was glad, it proved my dad had gotten over my mum, although his marriage proved it as well. 'I know this place doesn't have the greatest memories.'
'It's fine,' I beamed. 'I'm glad to help in anyway I can; I can deal with a few bad memories.'
There was a silence where all three seemed to want to say something to me but felt they shouldn't causing the tension to rise slightly, another reason I had kept my distance from my dad's new family: I always felt like they were keeping a big secret from me.
'I think I'm going to go down to La Push, if you don't mind,' I told them, wondering if Sue wanted to start planning as soon as possible to get it all out the way. 'See Jake and just … just find my bearings here again and then we can start whenever you like.'
'Good,' Sue sighed and I noticed she looked relieved. 'I thought you might want to start straight away so you could get out the village again.'
'I'm not that desperate,' I grinned and kissed her cheek. 'I'll see you later, okay?'
'Of course,' Sue smiled, patting my hand.
I pushed myself from where I'd perched at the table. I said goodbye, hugging Leah awkwardly in a hello and a goodbye before leading Elsee back out of the house.