“Feeling Good” Muse
“Like We Never Loved At All” Faith Hill and Tim McGraw
“Better In Time” Leona Lewis
Once I sat down in front of my laptop and began to research both Arizona State University and the University of Oklahoma, it was easier than I expected to make my choice. While ASU would put me close to Mom and Phil, it only offered a major in Journalism and Mass Communication. I wanted more than that, which OU offered. Not only could I double major in Visual Communications and Public Relations, but I could work for the Sooner Yearbook or The Oklahoma Daily. Both publications were top ranked nationally and would give me the opportunity to continue my photography and graphic design.
Even though I had taught myself a lot about graphic design, I really didn’t have any formal training. I was so excited about the prospect of not only learning how to do logo design and lettering but also web page and multimedia design. The public relations aspect would allow me to hone my writing skills.
Once I made up my mind that OU was the school for me I sent all the paperwork to make things official and spoke with the dean of the school of journalism. I was so excited that I was finally doing something for myself. Not only did the dean promise me that I would receive a full scholarship, including books and fees, but both the newspaper and the yearbook wanted me on their staffs. I sat down with Jake and Emily at the student union to share my good news.
“I’ve decided for sure where I’m going to college.” I knew that my eyes were full of excitement for what lay ahead of me. I only hoped that my best friends would feel the same way.
“So Bella, where are you headed?” Emily asked. “Did you decide to stay close to home?”
“Bella, I’ve made up my mind too,” Jake said. He was being recruited by a number of colleges for their basketball teams. He wouldn’t tell anyone which coaches and schools had come to see him.
“I’ve also got accepted to the school that I really wanted to go to,” Emily added.
“Well, on the count of three why don’t we say where we are going.” They nodded yes. “One. Two. Three.”
“The University of Oklahoma!” We all looked at each other shocked that all three of us had said the same school.
“Oh, my God, really? We get to stay together!” Emily said as she threw her arms around both of us and hugged Jake and I tightly.
“I can’t believe it. Really, Bella?” Jake asked. “What are you going to study there?”
“Public Relations and Visual Communication,” I told him. “What about you, Jake? What are you going to major in?”
“We always have rain, rain and more rain here. I’m interested in the weather in all parts of the country. I want to be a meteorologist!” His grin filled his entire face. “So, Emily, what will you do there?”
“It’s so funny that you want to be on tv as a meteorologist, Jake. I am going to study Broadcasting and Electronic Media.”
“I can’t believe we all decided on the same school and we didn’t even know the others were thinking about it,” I said. I was so excited that I was going to have my very best friends with me as I began the next stage of my life. It was going to fantastic sharing everything with them. “You are going to be playing basketball too, right, Jake?”
“Of course I am. The coach even got me a full scholarship. I also got a little help from the tribe for other expenses like room and board.”
“I got a scholarship from the tribe, too,” Emily said. “I was so excited that I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to pay for school. You still have the full ride you were promised, Bella?”
“Yes, I do. Now I just have to decide whether or not I am going to work on the daily newspaper or the yearbook. Both staffs have been trying to sway me,” I laughed. “There is only one thing that I’m worried about at this point. I haven’t told Reneé and Charlie yet.”
“Oh, Bella, that sucks balls,” Jake said.
“How very eloquent, Jake,” Emily laughed at him. “When are you planning on breaking it to them?”
“It definitely has to be soon. I don’t know how either is going to take it.” I knew that both of my parents would want me to be near them. But this wasn’t about what they wanted, I had to do what was best for me.
“Good luck,” Jake said. “I have a feeling you are going to need it.”
I was surprised by how well both of my parents took my decision. It didn’t hurt that I decided not to tell Reneé that Arizona State University had ever been in the running. They were both so proud that I was able to get a full scholarship for school.
As soon as Reneé found out that Jake and Emily were going to be attending OU as well, she decided to look for a house near campus for all of us to share. I told her that we could handle living in the dorms, but she just wouldn’t take no for an answer. A week before school was out, Mom and Phil flew down to close on the house that Jake, Emily and I would be sharing for at least the next four years. It was a cottage style house just six blocks from campus. It had 4 bedrooms and three bathrooms. That meant that neither Emily or I would have to share with Jake, who admittedly said that he was a total slob. We all decided that in the fourth bedroom that we could set up as our office with all of our computers.
Graduation was finally here. Emily was the valedictorian. She was so nervous about giving her speech. I assured her after I read it that it was the perfect mix nostalgia and even some comedy. She got all the laughs in the right places and all the applause when it was called for. It really made me face the fact that each of us is in charge of our own destiny. It took me a long time to realize it, but I feel I have really grown as a person since I’ve starting putting myself first. When she finished her speech, Emily blushed as she got a standing ovation.
When Jacob went across his stage for his diploma, he was his usual boisterous self while doing mock basketball shots as he was going down the stage. I blushed when I saw my parents together standing for me as I received my diploma. It was so nice to see my parents finally getting along, when all my life they had been at a stalemate.
Mom, Dad, Phil and I all went out to dinner at the lodge in Forks to celebrate my graduation. Since Charlie didn’t have a lot of money, I was beyond touched when he gave me an 8x10 photo of the two of us together. We both had our arms wrapped around each other and we were smiling. It was taken at my 18th birthday.
“Dad, this picture is perfect.” I could hear my voice cracking as I reached over to hug him. Charlie wasn’t big on showing emotions. I knew that the last year had been difficult on all of us, especially my dad. “I love it so much. I love you.” I kissed him on his cheek. He harrumphed, typically Charlie. I laughed to myself.
“Well, now, Bells you are very welcome,” Charlie told me.
“I’m going to keep this right by my bed, Dad. It was the perfect present.”
“Here you go, honey. This is from Phil and me.” I opened the card from my mom and rolled my eyes at her. Reneé was going to end up spending all her lottery winnings in no time if she kept up the way she was. She had already had our house furnished for us in Norman, OK. The card was filled with a check card and check book for an account to pay for all household expenses, utilities, internet and taxes.
“Mom, this is just too much.”
“My little girl only goes off to college once and it’s not like I can’t afford it, honey. Please, I want to do this for you.”
“I know even if I tell you know that you will find a way to do it anyway.” I got up and hugged her and kissed her. “Thank so much for everything.”
“Oh, Baby, you are more than welcome. I am so proud of all of the things you have accomplished. I have no doubt that you will do absolutely amazing at OU, if only it was closer to us like Arizona State.” I choked on my drink at that comment. It was probably good to always keep it to myself that Arizona State was my second choice. Mom would have definitely found a way to make it be number one.
“Are you OK, Bells?” Charlie asked me.
“Just my typical lack of coordination, Dad. You know me. You are all lucky that it didn’t come shooting out of my mouth and on all of you.” That got everyone laughing.
“Bella, I didn’t put this in the card, but I’m also going to continue to pay for the car insurance on the Aston Martin. I know that there is absolutely no way that as a college student you could afford to do that.” She laughed and reached into her purse to pull out a small card. It was a black American Express Card. Holy shit! “This is also for car-related expenses and any clothes or things you might need. Just don’t go spending $100,000 a month and you will be good.”
“Mom, I don’t think that I could spend that much money unless you were with me. I can’t wait to really drive the Volante. I wonder how well it’s going to handle on the highways.”
“It is really smooth, Bells.” Charlie said then hid his face.
“Dad, have you been taking my car out.” I tried to sound harsh but I knew that I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. Charlie never got caught doing anything he wasn’t supposed to do. Since he’s the sheriff, he had a squeaky clean image.
“Um, Bella. I couldn’t just let it set in the garage and not be driven. A car like that, well, it’s just meant to be driven as much as possible. Now, I haven’t taken it out that much, but if you don’t pay attention you are going to get pulled over for speeding by the highway patrol.”
“How fast were you driving my baby, Dad.”
“Bells, I didn’t mean to drive it that fast. I was just trying to get from point a to point b and before I knew it the car was up to …” He mumbled at the end so I couldn’t make out the speed.
“I’m sorry. Could you repeat that, Daddy Dearest?” I was smirking at him now.
“Dad, I can’t believe you did that.” I noticed that he was blushing. “What aren’t you telling me, Charlie?” I only used Charlie if he was in trouble and he knew it.
“I kind of got pulled over while I was driving it.” Mom, Phil and I burst out laughing.
“You got a ticket didn’t you, Dad?” I could barely get the words out between my giggles.
“No, um, once they saw me in my uniform, I just got a warning. I haven’t driven it without using the cruise control since then.”
“Oh, Charlie, only you or Bella could get caught doing something like that.” Reneé said still laughing. “I had that car up to over 150 on the straight aways in Arizona.”
“Bella, I had to make sure that it was as good as they said.” You had to love my
Mom. She never took anyone’s word for anything she always had to find out the truth herself.
While dinner progressed we talked about the up-coming drive from Forks to OU. With Jake needing to get to Norman so he could start his pre-season training with the basketball team and for Emily and I to become acquainted with the publication staff members, we were leaving Washington in a week. I was driving us down while most of our belongings were going to be shipped to our new house and would be waiting for us when we got there.
We decided not to try to rush the trip to Oklahoma since it was a 35 hour drive. I was going to try to drive about nine hours a day until we got to our new home. We would stop a few times a day to stretch our legs and Reneé said to use the platinum card for hotel rooms for the nights we were on the road as well as for all of our meals. I don’t think she realized how much Jake could eat at one time. That boy ate enough for the entire NBA in one sitting. I couldn’t wait to start my new life. I’m sure that my life would be full of surprises.
My grades didn’t end up as high as I would have like them to, but I was able to pull my head out of my ass and actually pass all of my classes and I was going to be able to graduate. My parents were very proud of everything that I had accomplished. It was now the beginning of June and I was three months sober. Some days were more of a struggle than others but I was making it through.
My entire family has been through a lot the last few months, as well. Alice and Jasper are still going strong. I have never seen them as happy as they are now. There relationship makes me hope that one day I would be that happy with the one person I was destined to be with. My heart always longed for Bella, but chances were that I would never even see her again. I always felt a pain in my chest at those thought.
The most surprising news was that Emmett was staying and going to school in Seattle. It seems that my injuries had brought him the love of his life as well as a little something extra. I had been home for the hospital for about a week, when Emmett came into my room to talk to me. I could tell by the emotions pouring off of him that something was wrong.
“E, man, I really need my brother right now.” Emmett sat down beside me on the couch downstairs.
“Emmett, what’s wrong. Fuck, it looks like someone killed your puppy, if you had a puppy that is.” Obviously my attempt at humor failed.
“I fucked up. Jesus, man, I love the hell out of her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her but, holy shit. I don’t know if I am ready for everything right now.”
“Slow down, Em. What’s going on? Is this about you and Rosalie?” He looked totally shocked by my words.
“How did you know?”
“Well, I kind of saw you two together at the hospital late on night and you looked like you were very into each other.”
“We are. We are definitely soul mates. I can’t imagine my life without her at all. Mom and Dad are going to kick my ass. This was so not supposed to happen.” He put his head in his hands and I could feel him begin to shake.
“Emmett, you are really starting to scare me. What’s going on? Are you OK?”
“Yes and no. Edward, I’m gonna be a dad. Rosalie is pregnant.” I was speechless. I looked at him and I could see the fear in his eyes.
“You said that you love her, right?”
“Of course I do. I have no doubt that she was made for me.”
“Do you plan on being with her forever?”
“Yes. She’s my everything.”
“Do you hope to marry her and be with her as long as you live?” I had no idea where the hell these words were coming from, but obviously these are things that my brother needed to think about and have the answers to.
“I’d have fucking married her on the first day we met if she would have.”
“When you were thinking about your future with her, did you plan on it just being you two or were you planning on having kids?” This question seemed to surprise him a little bit.
“I can picture a beautiful little girl with my wickedly awesome sense of humor and her mother’s violet eyes.”
“Sounds to me like you know exactly what you want.”
“I do. I want her and I want the kid. But, what if I’m not meant to be a good dad?
“Em, you are one of the most incredible men I know. You always care about what happens to your friends and family. Hell, you almost beat up Jasper the first time you saw him with Alice, because you were afraid he was taking advantage of her. I have no doubt in my mind that you will be an absolutely amazing father. It may have not been in your plans now, but it is coming. You are just going to have to man up and deal with it.”
“Who are you and what have you done to my brother Edward?”
“I have been to hell and back in just a few months, Emmett. Almost dying, seeing all of your eyes after I woke up in the hospital. I won’t be that Edward again. I refuse to ever put myself or you guys in the position we were in before. I have been a fucking spoiled rotten brat who didn’t give a fuck about anyone or anything. Well, I’ve opened my damn eyes and I do give a fuck now. I give a fuck about what you guys think about me. I give a fuck about how my actions affect other people. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point and I may not like what it took for me to get here, but this is how I’m supposed to be.”
“I never thought I would hear a wise Edward, only a wise ass Edward.” Emmett cackled.
“I am sure that the wise ass Edward will show up every once in a while.” I laughed with him. “I can’t believe I am going to be an uncle. Between Rose’s kick ass body and your looks, you better watch out if it is a little girl. You will have to fight the boys off with a stick.”
“Haha. I’m going to be a dad.” He finally smiled a truly genuine smile. “That doesn’t stop the fact that Mom and Dad are going to kill me. Rosie will be a widow before she gets to even be a wife.”
“Nah, man. Mom and Dad might not be totally thrilled about the timing, but the baby is a part of you and they adore you. They will love the baby as much as the rest of us will.”
While Mom and Dad definitely weren’t thrilled with the idea, they were very proud of Emmett for stepping up and taking responsibility. Things could have been worse. He could have died of a drug overdose. The week after graduation, Emmett and Rosalie got married in a civil ceremony at the courthouse. It was just my family and Angela Webber who attended. Rose had lost her parents in a car accident her sophomore year of college. He moved into her spacious apartment and got a part time job working at a garage. Emmett had always loved tinkering with cars. By January, I was going to be an uncle. My twin was going to be a dad. It was so weird everything that had gone down in the past few months.
For graduation, Mom and Dad helped me out more than they ever should. They bought me a small condo on the lower floor of a complex just two blocks from campus. It had three bedrooms and two baths. Felix was coming to visit me once I got moved in to help me set up my own therapy area in one of the extra bedrooms.
While I was able to drive finally, there was no way that I was going to be able to drive the car all the way to school. Dad took the week off from work and he, Mom and Alice drove me to my new home. Mom loved to decorate and had been through catalogue after catalogue to pick out all of the furniture for the apartment. I was being granted minimal access to my trust fund from Grandma Platt. She had left Alice, Emmett and me $5 million each that we would not be able to have until our 21st birthday or with a written OK from the attorney. We already had college funds set up to pay tuition. The attorney had approved a monthly allowance for me to help me pay for food and utilities. I was glad that I wasn’t going to be forced to get a job. I could only stand up for so long right now without a great deal of pain. Finding a part time job in a college town where I would be sitting down the entire time would be next to impossible to find.
I was attending a state university with an enrollment of almost 30,000. The city was just south of the state’s capital with a population of almost 100,000. That was definitely going to be a change of pace from Forks. I was planning on getting my undergrad degree in Health and Exercise Sciences. I was going to work my ass off and make sure that I was able to get into the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. My eyes were wide open. It was a new day and I was feeling so good, finally. I knew things were not going to be easy, but I was ready for anything and everything that God had in store for me.
The University of Oklahoma was not what I imagined it would be. It was so much better. I ended up working for both the newspaper and the yearbook. I was primarily a photographer for the Sooner Yearbook and I did advertising and page design for the Oklahoma Daily. It was a lot of work but I was enjoying every minute of it.
My classes were going just as well. I loved each and every professor and I was learning everything I wanted to know and more. I was so glad that I made the decision to come here.
On a personal level, I had never been as happy as I was. Jake, Emily and I did as much together as we could. The only problem was that Jake lived like a damn dog. We had to threaten to kick him out to get him to pick up after himself. His bedroom reeked like an animal had died in there. At first, he didn’t believe the threat. Then I had Reneé call him and I hadn’t even seen Jake move as fast on the basketball court as I did after he got off the phone with my mom. His room was clean in a matter of minutes.
While Jake and Emily were going to watch the first home game football game of the season against the University of Tulsa, I had to work. I was going to be taking photos of the game. My adviser told me that it was unheard of for a freshman to be allowed to take such photos, but the quality of work they had seen me produce put me at the top of their list. I was taking pictures of the top ranked college football team in front of a crowd of over 80,000. I had never had my clumsiness take over while my camera was in my hands and I hope it didn’t start tomorrow. What made me more nervous was when I noticed on Twitter that some members of my favorite band, Kings of Leon, would be at the game. The bass player, Jared Followill, was one of the hottest guys I had ever seen. He was sex on legs and rumor was he had front row seats. If I saw him, I would definitely sneak a few shots of him for my own personal collection.
I had a break between classes and work in the publications office so I decided to head to the Oklahoma Memorial Union to snag a chocolate Frosty and some fries from Wendy’s. Some people looked at me like I was a freak when I dipped the crisp fries in the fluffy chocolate ice cream, but I didn’t care. It was the perfect combination of sweet and salty.
The line was huge like always, so I snapped a few candid shots of the students as they wandered through the food court. I always had my camera with me. As a photographer you always have to be prepared since you never know when the perfect photo could present itself. I couldn’t wait to dig into my mouthwatering treat. I was cramming a chocolate covered french fry in my mouth as I headed out the door that lead to the North Oval, a grass covered area where I loved to relax and people watch and snap photos. I wasn’t paying attention as I headed out the door and I ran straight into someone and would have fallen if their strong hands hadn’t held me in place. I was surprised that I hadn’t dropped my Frosty in the collision.
“I’m so sorry,” I said as I looked up into the deep green eyes that I hadn’t seen in seven months. Eyes that in a million years I would ever expect to see again. Eyes that belonged to Edward.