Bella never really noticed just how brown Phoenix, Arizona was. Or the hot, warm, comforting, ever-present dry heat which made getting out of bed in the mornings easier. Perhaps it was because she had always taken them for granted or hadn't thought to pay attention. After all, she thought she would stay in Phoenix for several more years. But alas it was not to be. No, instead she had given herself a self-imposed prison sentence in Forks, Washington, the greenest, wettest place in the world. Staring out the window on the way to the airport she tried to give herself a pep-talk, convince herself this could be good. Of course, this only succeeded in making her more miserable when she couldn't come up with any pros.
"You know you really don't have to do this," said the wonderful, loving, scatterbrained mother of her's from the driver seat as she glanced over at Bella. Renee was frowning, no doubt from the cloud of gloom surrounding her only and most favorite daughter. Bella straightened up and smiled at her as convincingly as possible.
"I know but I want to, and besides Phil needs your encouragement on the road. Don't worry Mom, I'll be fine." She smiled back at Bella, looking back at the road as she pulled off at the exit for the airport. Bella wasn't quite sure what she would do without her mother. They had always been there for each other, even if Bella was usually the one having to take care of her, but now she had a new boyfriend who she really seemed to love. His name was Phil and he played minor league baseball for a living. He was a nice man and made her mother happy but he traveled so much they weren't able to spend time together. Bella wished she could say she had decided to go to Forks purely so her mother could go and travel with Phil but she had other unspoken reasons for leaving, ones which were far more selfish in nature.
Can be good. The familiar rumbling voice of Red vibrated through her head, reminding Bella of why she was leaving, but not yet running away. They pressed against Bella's consciousness, a great wolf within Bella's mind's eye. See for all Bella might wish, she was not, well, normal by most people's standards. For nearly a year Red had been in her head and when the moon was right, out in the world, turning them into a bloodthirsty werewolf. At least, that's what Bella had first thought after she was bitten, a full moon attack she had only survived by the grace of two older werewolves coming to her rescue. No, Red was just hungry, and so long as she kept them fed, nothing bad should happen. Should being the keyword. There was always some level of danger for humans when they were around her. And it was hard to hunt for food that would not turn her into a monster when all that surrounded the great city she called home was suburbs and people. So she had decided to move to Forks and endanger her father and everyone who lived in the small town. How lovely.
The car slowed to a stop outside the airport. Two familiar figures were leaning against a wall. Bella couldn't help the small smile the sight gave her. Their presence made Red give a happy bark, Bella rolling her eyes at their antics. Renee noticed the two as well, waving out the wind to them before turning to look at Bella once more.
"Promise me that you'll take it easy. I know," her lip trembled as she bit her lip, Bella watching as her mother fought back tears. "I know you have more reasons than just Phil for leaving, and know that your Dad cares a lot and well, just don't forget you have people, a lot of people, all here for you."
Bella looked at her mom, whose eye shown, with her own tears bubbling up. But she wouldn't cry. She wouldn't make this harder on them both. Leaning forward, Bella wrapped her mother in a tight hug. Bella had never wanted a hug to last forever quite so badly. As all things do end though, eventually they had to pull apart. Tears had fallen down her mother's cheeks but she smiled despite it as the pair said their goodbyes. Bella hopped out of the car and grabbed her two duffle bags from the back seat.
Walking toward the two near the door, Bella felt her heart skip a beat. Joseph and Martha. The pair had done more for Bella then she even knew how to put into words. It had been them who found her, broken and bleeding beneath the claws and teeth of the werewolf who had attacked her. It had been them who saved her and when she inevitably turned, taught her about what she now was. They fell into step on either side of her as they walked into the airport.
"We sure are gonna miss you around here Bella," Martha said throwing an arm around Bella's shoulders, a soft smile lighting up her perpetually young face.
"You've got my number, I'm sure I'll come back down south after high school is over."
"You better, until then though I'm going to have to listen to her fret about this or worry about that. You'll owe me." Joseph laughed at the offended look Martha shot him.
"Admit it dear,"
"I will be no such thing, besides I'm going to be listening to all your fretting as well."
"Aw come on guys, you can get a room after I'm on the plane." They laughed, the sound off in Bella's ears, a tension not usually there blanketing the trio. Joseph had actually been the one to suggest Bella move to Forks. With the sparse animal hunting in Phoenix, it was hard to keep Red fed and reigned in. Both of them were older, over a hundred years older and even for them the city was sometimes hard. Even though the suggestion had come from them, it didn't make the goodbyes any easier. The pair seemed to have similar thoughts, Martha pulling Bella in for a bone-crushing hug at the security gate.
"Call us, anytime at all. We can make a trip up there if you need us for anything," Joseph said as he grabbed Bella too.
"Thank you," Bella said for what else could she say? They smiled and said their goodbyes, waiting by the gate until Bella finally lost them from her sight.
The trip to Washington was as uneventful as a plane ride could be with a wolf who hates flying occupying half her thoughts. Bella left the flight with a massive headache and nausea. Charlie was waiting for her at the gate, a large grin on his face as he gave her an awkward one-armed hug. Red moved more to the forefront of her mind, sensing this new person even though they were still sulking from the berating Bella had given them halfway through the flight.
Nice? Smell bad metal, good person? Red asked, tilting their head.
He's a cop, the gun is for protecting people, not hurting. Bella clarified relieved that Red's change in mood was lessening the sick feeling in her stomach.
"Hey Bells, how was the flight?" He asked.
"Alright, really long though," he nodded his head and grabbed her bags off the conveyor belt. They walked out to his cruiser, Red shaking off their sulking to pepper Bella with questions on what they were sensing. Bella hopped into the passenger seat, patiently answering Red as her Dad began the drive to their new home. See while to her, Charlie was Dad, to the fair people of Forks, Washington he was Police Chief Swan. Bella could already hear the gossip and rumors people would spread when she went to school. Ah school, that was going to be fun. Bella Swan daughter of the Police Chief and first new person any of the student body had probably seen in years. Not to mention, she had the sinking feeling people knew about the incident. Granted it was her cover story, that she had been attacked by gang dogs who had gotten loose. Still, it wasn't going to make the task of making friends any easier.
Red had quieted when her worries for the future days took over her thoughts, leaving her in silence as Charlie was not much of a talker. Especially when he didn't know what to talk about. He briefly mentioned getting her a truck as a welcome home present. Bella didn't know if he was entirely serious, the idea being so amazing and outlandish she didn't really know how to respond. Sure enough though, when they pulled into the driveway of the little two-story building she would be calling home, there was a truck waiting for her. It was large, with a bulbous cab and durable look. The entire thing seemed like it had once been a bright red about three decades ago but was now just a dull faded color. Oddly enough she found herself liking the hideous contraption. Bella was glad she wouldn't have to ride to school in the police cruiser or walk the two miles there.
The inside of the house was exactly how she remembered from the summers she had been forced to stay here. Even her room still had remnants from when she had been a baby and young child. Thankfully the bed was upgraded and a desk with an old computer placed in the corner. At least some things had changed, however minor. Bella opened the window to let in some fresh air while it wasn't raining. The smell of the forest filled her nose and her stomach rumbled.
Food? Red's question was valid. With the full moon only four days away they were even hungrier for fresh food than usual.
If I can convince Charlie. Red yipped at the thought and Bella had to remind them that they couldn't go far or be gone for long. She closed the window and started unpacking, glad Charlie wasn't a hoverer. She sent a quick text to Marth and her mom telling them she had made it to Charlie's house safely and about him getting her a truck. The bed was surprisingly comfortable, cushioning her fall as she flopped down onto her new bed. Bella winced as the action pulled at the scars on her side. Red whined.
"Yeah I think we are, I mean it not like they're gonna be anything more dangerous than us in this little town." Red was pleased by this. Heaving a great sigh, Bella stood once more and heading downstairs to ask if she could go on a drive. Charlie was hesitant about the idea, but at Bella's insistence that it helped relax her he relented. At least that excuse worked because she would be needing lots of reasons to get out of the house unsupervised.
Worry for her new truck had Bella starting it with low expectations. The ancient beast roared to life, nearly deafening them until Red ratcheted down their hearing abilities to a more normal human level. Even then the truck could probably be heard by anyone within a three block radius. So no hunting near where she parked. Bella didn't feel like driving far, turning off on the first dirt side road that wasn't a driveway she came across. Pulling far enough in so no one would see the truck from the road.
Safe? Bella asked. Red pushed out their senses, scanning the area for dangers. Not smelling anything Bella hopped out and began to undress. Her clothes were thrown on the floor of the truck, her whole body nearly vibrating with the excited energy Red was giving off.
Short hunt, back at the house by sunset. Bella ordered as she gave into Red, letting them take over. Her bones creaked and shifted beneath her skin, tendons and muscles rearranging their position. Bella bit her lip against crying out. The pain was less then it had been. Every shift she just had to remind herself of that fact. Faster too. Bella let go of the truck bed and fell onto four paws. Whitish-grey fur covered her body, shielding her from the nippy wind. Red shook themselves, working out the remaining pain. They lifted their face to the wind, scenting the air for anything worthwhile. A smell similar to that of the antelope they used to hunt came from the north. Red wasted no time in tracking.
Bella breathed easily as Red guided them through the forest, relaxing now that she was not fully in charge of controlling their body. Running with Red, the sheer speed and power they possessed was intoxicating. For all the pain and suffering Red had brought, Bella couldn't discount all the perks she had gained.
The scent was that of a buck. His antlers were sharp and his hooves strong but not nearly a match for a werewolf so close to the full moon. Red ended it's life before it even knew there was a danger. They tore into the creature, Bella silently giving thanks for such an easy and good meal. Red went for the best organ first, the heart, warming their stomach and taking the edge off the ever-present hunger. In Bella's opinion, all the other parts in the body barely equaled that of the heart. It wasn't just her either, all werewolves she had heard of craved the heart more than the rest of the body, though meat was meat in any sort of case.
A twig snap set Red on high alert, their attention having been focused solely on their meal. Red snarled, eyes focusing on the figure standing nearly twenty feet away, half hidden in the trees.
Smells wrong. Our food! Red growled, ready to fight if the figure came any closer. Except they didn't. They stayed right where they were and the hunger overrode Red's sense of danger. They remained wary, looking up frequently as they polished off the remainder of the deer, breaking bones and tearing tendons to get every last bite they could. And the figure never moved.
Not threat? Red was confused and Bella didn't have any answers.
Should have attacked if they were, right?
Yes! Making up their mind, Red brought them closer to the person, licking the blood off their muzzle. No bird chirped nor bugs buzzed as they approach the man, standing still as stone. Bella thought he smelled of honey and pleasant flowers, along with an icy scent she couldn't place.
Smells strong, threat? Not scared, not threat? Red was buzzing with questions, tilting their head and sniffing the air as they got closer and closer. The man stayed perfectly still, not even his bronze hair moving in the wind. One of his hands was partially outstretched. Red nervously getting close enough to feel the coldness of the hand against their snout. They liked the hand. It tasted like honey and ice. Shocked by the new discovery, Red didn't even notice the too fast movement until fingers were placed upon their head. Red growled and leaped back, hackles raised trying to look as threatening as they could. The man's hands were at his sides, raised in a supposedly calming manner. He slowly sat on the ground, extending one arm toward them, clicking his tongue as if to beckon a common dog. Red huffed at the injustice. Backing up but never turning their back on him. It was a skill Martha had drilled into them, right next to don't go up to strange creatures but that wasn't important at the moment. The man didn't move, though he looked disappointed. Even so, Red turned and fled when they got back to the remnants of their meal.
They ran till they were sure the man couldn't see them anymore, circling around to ensure he wasn't trying to follow them. He wasn't even there when they returned, his scent already fading. Assured they wouldn't reveal their secret, they ran back to Bella's truck as the sun hit the horizon.