Bella and The Bear
I had always been a weird child, growing up in a home with the equivalent of two absent parents, I'd found a strange attachment with my stuffed animals. In matter of fact, my toys and I had grand adventures together.
Don't get me wrong, my mother tried her best to raise me right. But, between her own childish behavior, her ability to never settle down, and the fact that she was almost always working... she was just never there.
As for my father, he lived in a dreary town called Forks, a town that I despised and was now being forced to move to. I was being forced to move there, because my mother had gotten remarried, and her twenty-something husband by the name of Phil, had no desire for a teenage daughter in his life – and especially not a teenage daughter who still talked to her toys.
So it was with great trepidation I had packed my bags, carefully stuffing all my toys away into my luggage. Those toys included: pink little Piglet, Tigger with his crazy orange body and black stripes, oh so blue Eeyore with the tail that always fell off, sensible Rabbit, wise old Owl, the joey named Roo and it's mother named Kanga, Kessie the miniature bluebird, the naughty Gopher, the playful Lumpy, the three stuffed Pack Rats, and Dexter with the red glasses.
In fact, only three of my toys remained unpacked. Two of which, would not be able to go with me. Those two were Mama and Papa Heffalump. They were two giant stuffed elephants, both of them were over six-foot tall and almost as long. Mom swore she'd get them shipped to me soon, but I was still worried that her husband would talk her into throwing them out the instant I was gone.
I hugged both of them hard before I toted my luggage out of my room, three suitcases in all, one for clothes, two for my stuffed toys. Finally I had my carry-on which included a duffel bag with more clothes, my toiletries, and all my cash – and my lap item. My stuffed bear, Winnie-the-Pooh, which I cradled to my chest.
As everything was put in the trunk and I sat in the backseat with my bear, he asked me a question, "Will I ever be accepted?" My poor bear's voice was muffled as he didn't have an actual mouth, just a thick black stitch where his mouth should be.
My mother glared at me in the rear-view mirror as she pulled out of the drive and headed towards the airport. "I've told you to stop talking like you're one of your stuffed animals a thousand times, Isabella. And you would be accepted just fine if you'd choose to grow out of your childhood. You are eighteen years old, it's time to grow up. It's not even the stuffed toys we have a problem with. It's the way you act like they're alive or something."
She used to believe that they talked to me. She'd seen their heads move side to side, seen them get up and walk over to me, seen them as their mouths that could not open moved while they'd talk. Then she'd married Phil and she'd stopped believing what her own eyes had seen.
If she wouldn't believe her own eyes, why would she ever believe me? So, I just shook my head and looked down at Pooh Bear, murmuring softly, "Someday, somewhere, we will be."
As we arrived at the airport and I got ready to leave, she tried to get me to see the error of my ways one last time.
"Come on, Bella. All you have to do is throw those toys away and you can come home. I know you don't really want to go live with Charlie in the waterlogged town of Forks."
She was right, of course. I didn't want to move there at all, but I wanted to give up my toys even less, so I stiffened my shoulders and marched past her, getting ready to board the plane.
Once I was onboard, my carry-on carefully in the luggage compartment over my head, and Pooh Bear situated safely on my lap, I fell asleep. As I slept, I dreamt.
Tigger carefully unzipped the suitcase he'd been stuffed into, bouncing out on the tip of his tail. He spun around on his tail, bouncing in place as he waited on the others to come out and explore.
The second bag was unzipped and the three Pack Rats quickly darted out of the bag, dashing through the luggage compartment as they sought out trouble.
Rabbit quickly got out of the same bag that Tigger had been in, sweet little Kessie perched precariously on his shoulder.
"We shouldn't be doing this. It isn't right," Rabbit said in annoyance, glowering at Tigger.
"Hoo-hoo-hoo-hoooo," Tigger laughed uproariously as Owl flew out of the second bag, landing on one of the shelves.
"If you guys make too much noise we'll get in trouble," Owl said sensibly just as his cousin, Dexter, landed beside him.
Piglet pulled himself out of the first bag only to land in a heap on the floor even as Golpher got out of the second bag and slipped off after the Pack Rats.
Kanga hopped out of the first bag, landing beside Tigger, Roo safely tucked in her pouch – much to his annoyance. Lumpy got out of the second bag, stomping on the ground, making it almost appear as if the floor vibrated under his heavy footfalls.
"I think. I'll just. Stay in the bag. And try to find. My tail," said Eeyore's slow drawl from the first bag.
Roo pulled himself out of his mother's pouch and hopped off to find Gopher.
Kanga started talking seriously to Rabbit as Tigger tried to get Piglet to hop with him. Gopher and Roo were talking in the background and Kessie had landed on Lumpy's back making Lumpy trumpet in annoyance.
It was starting to get very loud in the luggage compartment.
Suddenly Owl let out a shrill whistle. "QUIET!"
Tigger ducked his head ever so slightly, but kept bouncing in place. Everyone else shut up immediately, and the only noise that was left was the roar of the jet.
Just then, the three Pack Rats scurried up, a small stuffed dog running along behind them. The stuffed dog was mostly white but had a brown patch over one eye, as well as floppy brown ears, one brown paw, and a long brown tail.
"Who's this?" asked Dexter.
"Buster," claimed one of the Pack Rats.
Just then the sound of the loud speakers came on, claiming we would soon be descending and all the stuffed animals quickly piled back into the two luggage bags, including the dog. As the bags were zipped shut everything faded to black.
I came to as Pooh said in his fuzzy voice, "We're landing, Bella."
I blinked rapidly, I'd slept the whole way to Seattle. And yet I knew, I hadn't really been dreaming. What I'd seen in the luggage compartment actually happened and I was just allowed to watch. So I knew, if I checked my bags before boarding the second flight that would take me to Port Angeles, I'd have a stuffed animal in my bags that I hadn't packed and didn't belong to me.
I switched from one plane to the other without issues, and the flight to my final stop was uneventful. I didn't fall asleep again.
Charlie, my dad, was waiting for me when I landed. He helped me take my bags to his police cruiser, dumping them in the backseat. I sat in the passenger seat as he got in the driver's side, Pooh carefully situated on my lap.
"What was the name of that toy again?" Charlie asked me, trying to make casual small talk with me.
"Winnie the Pooh."
"Ah, yes, I remember. You always were joined at the hip with him. Think you'll be able to put him down while you drive yourself to school in your new truck tomorrow?"
"I'll manage," I half muttered before my mind caught up with what he'd said. "Wait, what?" I turned to stare at him in shock.
"I bought you a truck. It's not really new, belonged to Billy Black, I'm not sure you remember him. He can't use it anymore because he's lost the usage of his legs. He wanted to sell it and I figured it would be a good truck, for you."
I was instantly suspicious of the way he ended that sentence. "What makes it a good truck for me?"
"Err... you know, it's one of those old solid iron affairs."
"Just how old is it?"
"He bought it in 1984, I think."
"Did he buy it new?"
"Well, no. I think it was new in the early sixties – or late fifties at the earliest," he admitted sheepishly.
"Ch – Dad, I don't really know anything about cars. I wouldn't be able to fix it if anything went wrong, and I couldn't afford a mechanic..."
"Really, Bella, the thing runs great. They don't build them like that anymore."
The thing. Well... it had possibility as a name if nothing else.
The rest of the ride was done in silence, and when we arrived, I stared at the vehicle that had been red in it's better days. It had a big bulbous cab with a box that had concaved side. It was... rustic, and as Pooh turned his head to look at it too, I knew he liked it as much as me.
I dragged my bags up to the old bedroom that had been mine as a baby. The same bedroom I'd spent most of my days in the few times that I had come up to visit. I'd stopped visiting Charlie when I was twelve and my mom discovered Charlie was usually gone for the majority of my visits.
But, you see, Charlie was married to his job, and so he didn't have time to raise a child. In some ways, Renee was much the same. She hadn't been married to work, she'd been married to life, excitement... freedom. None of which had been cohesive with having a daughter. It was little wonder why my toys had become my caretakers.
Upon reaching my room, I discovered the bed had been changed out from the twin it used to be, to what appeared to be a queen, and the little old vanity now had a computer set up on it. On top of the old dresser that had been in this room as long as I could remember sat the two stuffed animals I'd left behind the last time I'd visited. Those two were Beaver and Holly the reindeer. They both had preferred the cooler and wetter weather of Forks, so I'd let them stay the last time I had visited.
The only other thing in the sparsely furnished bedroom was a rocking chair... it had also been here for as long as I could remember.
That night at supper it became bluntly obvious that Charlie had no clue how to cook and I made a promise to myself to correct that issue by cooking the meals in the future.
When I went upstairs for the night, I carefully placed all my stuffed animals in different places, knowing that when I woke the next morning, they'd be in a much different order.
I fell asleep with Pooh bear tucked in beside me.
I awoke to the dull gray of the next morning to find Pooh sitting on the rocking chair. Piglet was now snuggled up next to me and Lumpy, who I'd carefully set in front of the closet last night to guard it, was now lying on my feet.
Both Owl and Dexter were both resting on the windowsill, instead of on the two sides of the computer the way they had been last night. If I wasn't so used to it, it would truly disturb me to find all my toys in new places.
"Charlie's already left for the morning," Rabbit said as he stepped into my doorway.
My eyes widened to huge saucers. "Tell me that my dad didn't see any of you up and about!"
"Of course not," said Owl. "We just got here, we don't want to be moved again."
I let out a breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding, closing my eyes and letting my head fall back.
"And if you don't get going right now you're going to be late to school." It was Rabbit again.
"Ugh," I groaned, but forced myself out of bed and quickly got dressed, before grabbing my backpack and heading downstairs.
I found the keys to my truck hanging by the front door and took them as I headed outside to the vehicle.
The drive to school was almost too easy and as I parked and headed to the offices to pick up my papers to start school, I barely noticed any of the other students. I quickly headed to my first class which happened to be English Lit.
It was only when I opened my backpack to pull out my journal so I could take notes that I realized I had brought along a hitchhiker. Piglet was hiding in the bottom. Blushing furiously, I quickly pulled out what I needed and zipped it shut.
The day went on in a blur of classes until lunch where of the girls that was a senior like me decided that I made good arm candy and insisted on towing me along to her table. I wasn't certain, but I thought her name might have been Jessica. She introduced me to the kids at the table with us, but the only two names I retained were Mike and Angela.
When she noticed I wasn't paying enough attention to her blathering she pointed out a table of five god-like students, telling me in a scandalized voice that they all lived in the same house and were couples too. It was all very dramatic, and mostly uninteresting, though I admitted to myself that they did all look good, especially the copper haired boy she claimed to be called Edward.
When the bell for the next period rang signaling that it was time to head to class I slipped away only to get lost for my troubles.
It made me five minutes late to my chemistry class and as I almost tripped into one of the desks I happened to look up and notice Edward who was glaring at me with the most hate-filled eyes I'd ever seen.
Naturally, it was just my luck that the seat next to his was the only one that was available. I went to sit beside him, hunkering down as low as I could go, wishing I hadn't cut my hair and bleached it the summer before in an effort to fit in with the current rage. It didn't even fall to my neck so there wasn't enough to let me hide my face.
I couldn't focus on the teacher's ramblings and the instant that class was over, I got out as quickly as I could, barely noting that he was even quicker.
My final class of the day, gym, was pure torture and by the time it was done I almost decided against taking the sheets back to the office, but at the last moment my sensibilities kicked in and I went there anyway. I wished I hadn't because he was there, arguing with the lady at the desk.
At least he was until I stepped inside and he straightened suddenly. He turned to glare at me in hatred before leaving the office quickly.
I handed my papers to her before quickly returning to my truck and driving to Charlie's house.
Pooh was waiting for me in the kitchen when I got home. I quickly hugged him tight before I went to the fridge and looked through it to determine what to make for supper.
Suddenly Pooh spoke, "There's someone else in this house with us."
I spun around just as a shadow separated itself from the entryway. It took me half of a precious second to recognize the copper head as the boy that had looked so angrily at me.
I didn't even have a chance to blink before he was on me and I felt him bite into my throat. I was sure I screamed, though I didn't hear myself do it. The pain was unimaginable.
Then I heard Pooh, his voice angry, louder than I'd ever heard him talk before. "You will let Bella go. Now."
Suddenly I fell to the floor, my eyes slid closed.
I couldn't focus on anything but the all consuming pain emanating from my neck. It felt like I was on fire.
After what felt like hours, but likely was only a few minutes, a voice penetrated my brain that I knew had to be Edward's, it wasn't fuzzy and muffled the way my stuffed animals were. "You have to let me help her. I might be able to stop what will happen without me interceding – if I can get to her." His voice, in spite of what he'd just done to me, reminded me of what I thought an angel would.
"I... I... I... don't think so," Gopher's voice stuttered out.
I opened my eyes, everything was out of focus and bleary, but Edward was backed against the wall and all of my toys were between us. Pooh was standing directly in front of him, his little hands on his hips.
Everything started to fade to black as I closed my eyes and the pain started to fully consume me.