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Ranger

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Chapter 1

A special thank you to Izzy for the awesome banner.

"It's time to go Bella."

"Okay." I'd fought Charlie against it all the way. Until this morning, then I decided it didn't matter anymore. If I left Forks and never returned again. As much as I wanted to believe Charlie would miss me, his life would be easier in the end.

"Make sure you call me. To let me know you made it alright."

With a nod to Charlie's request, my attention was out the window of the car. The tops of the tall trees whizzed by as we drove on. Just as they had when I arrived a couple of years ago in this damn forsaken town.

The only difference, today was a beautiful sunny spring day. You didn't see many of those here. Maybe it was a sign I was moving in the right direction finally. It was leading the path of light to a new destination for me. All the while the storm still brewed with rage in my heart. I seen that everyday since they had gone.

"Well...I guess..You know, Bella..."

"I love you too." It was easier to put a stop to the awkward moment between us. Let Charlie off the hook and just go on my way. He helped me take my bags to the door. By the straps I threw them over my shoulder. Gave him a quick peck on the cheek.

"Don't you want me to wait with you?"

"I'm good." I said it with a smile too even though my heart ached to leave him. It became my normal response to everything. Perhaps one day, I could even convenience myself I actually was good again.

With a sigh, I went to stand in the long line in front of the ticket counter. A little boy clung to his mother's leg as we progressed forward. When he peeked around her at me, I'd smile at him. We done this until it was our turn.

"Bye lady."

"Bye."

It was the only reason I had to be happy lately. This little stranger brought a few minutes of cheerfulness and relief in my life. The security check to get to the boarding gate, however, didn't. After I threw all my crap on the convert belt and my shoes, it was down to just waiting. Lately, I would just wait to see what came around on a lot of things.

Once I made my way to the boarding gate, I plopped down for another hour wait. Jessica gave me a book for the trip. After I read the back of it, I tossed it in the bag. It was about a boy and girl who had a forbidden love. A love they could never have because they were so different. Really, I didn't need to read it to know how it turned out, I had lived it with Edward already.

There were times I wondered if he ever thought of me at all. Or if he moved on to the next place they called home and found someone else. My heart just needed more time to process what my mind already knew. Of course he had moved on. I wasn't the one who walked away from him. He let me go because he didn't want the fragile little human to play with anymore. He toyed with my heart for his amusement then tossed me aside like garbage when he was done with me.

People began to line up to get on the plane. They were excited to get to their destination but I wasn't. This was the choice I was given. It was either this or go home with Mom. She was happy and content with her life. I wasn't going to change it for her. She deserved some happiness, we all should have it. Although I seen none coming in sight for me.

As I walked down the aisle to my seat. I watched the passengers get settled in. I found myself being more inverted than ever before. I spoke only when spoken to and had to work hard to socialize with anyone. I was relieved when no one else was assigned to the seats beside me. Useless chatter was not something I wanted. Neither would another steal my heart away to tromp it later.

We were born alone and died the same way as well. They flirted the romantic idea we would fall in love and be with the special person forever. But I knew it was a lie. It was the human certainty you couldn't choose who you fell in love with. But they sure as hell could choose to fall out of love with you.

"Would you like something to drink? Miss?"

"Yes, please."

The puffy clouds we flew through offered a reminder like nothing on the ground had. It was where my head had been since I met Edward. The beams of the sun which peeked out of them made me miss my sparkly vampire even more.

The longer I watched them out the window, they sort of floated in and out of my life at warp speed of the plane. Just like the Cullen. Only they brought the storm with them until they magically disappeared from my life without a trace they were ever there.

Half the trip was over before I knew it. The other half I popped my ear buds in and tried to relax. Let the world pass me by as I flew threw the sky to a new place without any reminders of the Cullens. There was nothing there which tied me to them. This was a fresh start and a do over for me.

RANGER~RANGER~RANGER~RANGER~RANGER~RANGER~RANGER~RANGER~RANGER~RANGER~RANGER~RANGER~RANGER~RANGER~RANGER~RANGER~RANGER~RANGER~RANGER~RANGER

"Bella. Are you Bella?" The lady held out her phone so I could see the picture. I was asleep on the bed and my hair a mess. My face must have been so many sheds of red as it was used as a poster for a lost teenager. "Charlie sent this to Walker so we would know it's you. Walker wanted to be here but he got held up with a case. So he sent me. I'm Alex."

This tiny woman was attractive and friendly. Not a hair out of place in the neat little bun she had it swept up in. We got into an expensive car to match the designer clothes she wore. I felt out of place immediately. This is too was how I got thrown in with the Cullens. Although this was nothing like Charlie described it.

She talked all the way to the ranch about nothing I really understood. I would occasionally smile, nod and throw in a that's great. Again, my attention went out the window. The surroundings were similar to Forks. A lot of open land, swaying trees and nothing around for miles for the simple eye to see. But those trees held secrets back home no man could ever unlock.

"Well, we're here."

Now this was more like what Charlie had told me about. Horses and more horses. "Is it okay if I pet one?"

"Sure honey. Make yourself at home here. I have to take this call."

She paced around the yard on her phone while I enjoyed the company of the four legged animals. Other than the occasional swish of their tails, they remanded perfectly still as they took turns getting my attention. It was amazing, they were huge yet acted more like little puppies.

"Bella, I'm so sorry I have to go to the office. But Walker should be here soon. Lets get you settled in before I go."

She gave me the quickest run down of the house before she bolted out the door. "There is food in the frig, help yourself. My phone number is on the counter. Call me if you need anything."

The guest room was decorated to the hilt to make you feel at home. When I opened the double french doors, they led me out to a patio.

"Hi." Out of the four guys setting at the table, the one was very friendly.

"Hey."

While the rest went back to work, he stayed behind with me. "Walker told me to show you around. I'm Caden by the way."

"Bella."

Well, he was a talker. I hardly added to the conversation at all. But I had enjoyed being taken around the ranch which was enriched in history. We walked a lot for hours. Until we reached the fenced in parts end. Then he stopped to take me back.

"What is past this area?"

"Just woods and meadows. But you shouldn't wander off. It's easy to get turned around out there and get lost."

One would have thought I would have listened and took his advise. But, nope I hadn't. There was a feeling gnawing at the me I just couldn't shake. There was something out there for me to see. The small backpack got dumped on the bed. I filled it with a couple bottled waters, a long sleeve shirt and a cap just in case I needed it. With a good pair of walking shoes on, I was ready.

A good walk was what I needed to clear my head. There were a thousand reasons I shouldn't have gone. But the main one was I advanced on my own this time around. I made my own choices. I answered to no one except myself for those choices I made.

When I reached the center of meadow. I rested on my knees on the cool ground. I could remember it as though it only happened yesterday. It was a place just like this where my world came together with Edward Cullen. Then fell apart just as quickly.

"And so the lion fell in love with the lamb…" Edward murmured it in my ear. I looked away, hiding my eyes as I was thrilled to the words he spoke to me on that day.

"What a stupid lamb." I sighed afterwards. But I still wasn't afraid of the vampire.

"What a sick, masochistic lion."

That was when I fell hard for Edward. Past the point of my own well being. His voice spoke directly to my heart. Then he drove a stake through it when he tossed me aside.

"Don't do this to yourself." The road to recovery started when once you identified what broke you to begin with. I reprimanded myself for thinking back to the time we shared in the meadow together and for thinking of him fondly.

Even more, I had never meant to love him. One thing I truly knew, I knew it in the pit of my stomach, in the center of my bones, I knew it from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet,I knew it deep in my empty chest. It was how love gave someone the power to break you. When life offered you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it was reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end. It was time to move on. Past time to move on from Edward. As I got in taller grass, I decided to cut through the wooded area on the edge.

Caden had warned me I could get turned around out here and he was right. Everything started to resemble the place I was just at, where I had turned around and went in a different direction. I tied my long sleeve shirt to a bush. To only find it again within fifteen minutes. But this time, it laid on the ground in a different spot. Someone or something was out here with me. That much I was sure of.

When I took my cell out to call Alex, I had no signal bars. "Shit."

This wasn't anything new to me either. I had been hunted by blood thirsty vampires, then loved one of their kind. I had been saved by my best friend who turned out to be a wolf in a teenage boy's body, then had even a closer bond with him. Not because of it but in spite of it.

As the sun beat down in the afternoon. Its rays were scorching. But as the soft wind blew I felt the ice of it hit my sweaty skin. When the air made your body ache there was no doubt about it. Something lurked out there, very near me.

You could run from someone you feared, you could try to fight someone you hated. All my reactions were geared toward those kinds of killers; the monsters, the enemies. When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give your beloved, how could you not give it? If it was someone you truly loved.

If this was where I died I wanted to make it on my own terms. I fled threw the woods to find the meadow again. It was the one place I felt whole. The last time I wandered off by myself in Forks hadn't went well either. I ran into one of the killer vampires who wanted to avenge the death of another. Laurent knew the Cullens weren't around any longer. They left me unprotected.

"Do the Cullens visit often?" Laurent waited for my answer while he licked his lips.

"Yeah, absolutely." Edwards voice came through loud and clear to me; lie. It was all I heard. Then it came as a scream in my head; lie better. "I'll tell them you stopped by. I probably shouldn't tell...Edward. He is pretty possessive."

"I'm surprised they left you behind. Weren't you sort of a pet of theirs."

By the time I reached the edge of the meadow, my body collapsed on it. When you were punched in the gut hard enough, all could only gasp in was disparage. But the feeling in my stomach was nothing compared to hole punched threw my heart by him. The last long gasp from me was another story within itself.

From high above me, I never heard the predator coming. They were a silent stalker. The dark shadow cast on the ground was the indication, this was it for me. They had found me once again, as my blood sang to them, I could not hide. As I bowed my head in submission. I murmured the words as my last. "I love you."

The loud screech got my attention as I looked up. Its wing span looked ominous in the shadow it cast on the ground but beautiful in flight. While I just watched it, I didn't see him coming my way. "I am White Eagle. You should not be out here alone."

Once again I felt as though I could trust no one in reality. Maybe if I pretended I knew where I was going, he would leave me alone. "I should get back. Walker will probably be looking for me."

He tiled his head side to side side as though he was studying me. "Walker is like a son to me. I will go back with you."

Although I wasn't certain about the man. He locked his arms behind his back and his hands joined together. To let me know he wasn't a threat to me. It was comforting, sort of. But what I had learned from the wolves and vampires. Many creatures of the night walked this earth in human form. They moved among us undetected.

He seemed to know where he was going and didn't fear the unknown up ahead. The silence, however, was uncomfortable among us. So, I tried to break it. "There is a tribe back home. The Quileute , they are good people."

Only it brought on more stress between us. He stopped in his tracks. To stare at me as his eyes narrowed and his jaw tightened. He spoke nothing but continued on with our walk. I felt it was best to be quite and just follow him.

When our trip had come to an end with the house in sight. He only pointed to it. Again, never spoke. I let a sigh of aggravation. Then deemed to just say what I had to. "Thank you for coming with me. I really appreciate..." I turned around and he was gone.

It was best to keep this experience to myself. Alex was unloading groceries from the car when I arrived back and I helped her. She never asked where I had been and I never volunteered any information about it as well. On the last trip out I caught a slight side profile of his face. I could focus on nothing else now.

"He's cute, huh?"

"Um...yeah...I guess. Who is he?"

"Another Junior Ranger. Walker has taken to him."

After our exchange Alex went in the house. I went to see him up close. By the time I went through the barn doors, he had disappeared in thin air. The moments of déjà vu were coming more frequently, now. I had no existing proof it was him but I was damn certain of it.

"Bella." The voice startled me from behind. "It's so nice to meet you."

Walker seemed like a kind and gentle man. We talked while Alex fixed dinner. Then it became picture time. The old stories of him and Charlie came with them. "Wait. This is Charlie?"

"Yes. Your dad would have made a hell of a Ranger. But when Charlie found out your mom was pregnant with you. He knew where he belonged, with his family."

Charlie never talked about this part of his life. He gave up a great opportunity for me. It was amazing how you didn't even notice your parents were people too and had a life before you. Until someone else brought it to your attention. "I think I'm going to call Charlie before we have dinner."

"Good. Tell him I said hello."

This was actually a conversation with Charlie I enjoyed. I had million questions for him. Most of them, he answered. While others, he didn't. Or maybe he really didn't know how to. "Alex is calling me for dinner. I love you, Dad."

He paused for the longest time. "I love you too." We agreed to call each other everyday just to keep in touch.

I was smiles all the way to the dinning room table. It was set beautifully and more food than I had seen on one in a while. There was four plates set though. It caught me off guard for a minute until there came a knock on the door.

When Walker came back to the table, I knew exactly who was suppose to come for dinner. "He has a lot of work to do. He will eat later. But wanted me to thank you for the invitation." It made Alex smile. But I was on a mission.

"You know what, I think I'll help him out. I'll eat later too."

"Bella..." Walker went to protest me leaving.

Alex came to the rescue." Relax, Walker. Bella need to be around people her own age. Besides they would make such a cute couple."

Her words rang hollow about him. I knew exactly what the hell he was. I practically ran to the barn too. "I know what you're doing."

"Brushing a horse." He immediately snapped back at me.

"I know it's you. So you can stop pretending."

"I think you must have me confused with someone else."

If he wanted to play this game, we would play. I walked around the barn to find something to get his attention. On the wooden barn wall was horse shoes hanging along with a tool which had a very sharp knife on the end of it. It work just fine.

When the sharp object pierced the skin on my finger, I had felt worse pain before. Like when he left and they left. I was left behind because I didn't matter. The throb of my finger as the blood seeped from me, matched the throb of my bleeding heart.

"I am bleeding Jasper. You would be doing me a favor to just get it over with."

The brush slipped from his grip as it tumbled to the ground. While the red color continued to trickle from my hand I waited for his razor sharp teeth to penetrate my skin and take as much life from me as he wanted. To drain my body of the pain it felt. From experience in the past, I knew he couldn't resist the sweet smell of my blood, it was their cocaine. Jasper was a junkie vampire in need of a fix.

The last face I saw when I closed my eyes tightly was of Charlie when they told him I was gone from this earth. How I just disappeared into the night. Or maybe they would make up a good story of how I came to pass from whatever they made up.

My head shook involuntary when I saw my father weep when he heard the news. I tried to shake it off and repeated to myself how he would be better when I was gone. When the images flooded my mind of us and the time we spent together when I first came to live with a father I never knew. My lips turned to a smile. With a nod to myself, I was ready for death to take me.

When Jasper firmly gripped my hand in his. My eyes popped wide open. "You should put a Band Aid on that." It was all he had to say on the subject. As quickly as he had me in grasps, he dropped my hand and just walked away.


Thank you for reading me!

I have numerous stories wrote and never posted. Along with updates on the others. I'm working on finishing all of them. I hope by the weekend to post updates to; Circling the Crow (which will be complete), Snow White and Seven Naughty Wolves and Roaming Love of Endless Time.

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