Bella didn’t wear rose-tinted glasses; rather, her eyes were covered in the shades of depression. Her world was a wash of blues and greens; sickly, cold and lonely. We wear the same glasses, but mine take a different hue. Mine are colored with deep reds; darkening the shadows and saturating the light.
“Are you sure you guys are alright with leaving?” Renee prodded, “I can always stay behind if that is what you really want.” Her voice had a sense of false sincerity to it as she drew out her words. She was standing on the back porch of her small condo, looking out at her two daughters in the garden. One was crouched, repotting a small cactus to take with her, the other stood behind her, having been conversing with her twin before their mother interrupted.
Neither had wanted to leave their life in Phoenix, Arizona to move to a middle of nowhere town in Washington, where their mother ran away from when the twins were less than a year old. But as much as it looked like their mother was giving them a choice, she wasn’t. She decided to marry and move cross country with her boyfriend of less than a year for his baseball career. She was the one to suggest moving in with their father to finish up their last half of high school rather than with her to Florida. She laid it on saying how nice it would be to have some space with her new husband and how she didn’t want to gross the girls out with the romance.
Nevertheless, she acted like they had the option. “We’ll be fine. It’ll be nice to get a change of pace, and you’ll be much happier with Phil,” Rissa, the standing twin, replied. She knew her mother was looking for that answer, so she gave that easy lie. She knew the hoops she had to jump through to get an easy interaction with Renee. She shifted away from her sister as she spoke, making her way back towards the house.
“Okay, if you both are absolutely sure,” their mother drew out. “Well, we should be heading out as soon as you two are ready then, the airport will be packed by the time we get there, and check-in will take forever. I don’t want you two to miss your flight,” she said cheerfully, almost as if she couldn’t wait for them to leave.
Stepping off the plane into the chaos of the airport in Seattle was different from the chaos of stepping on the plane in Phoenix. For one, there wasn’t a resemblance to hell in the air; it wasn’t as suffocatingly thick and hot as in Arizona was. Instead, it was considerably more chilly and a light breeze blew through despite it being August. Another difference was the melancholy around the two sisters centered in the mayhem. While in Phoenix they had a sense of loss, losing the comforts of what they came to know in Phoenix; now there was a sense of foreboding, the unknown of what is going to come.
The twins stood side by side, looking out into the crowd. They were not identical twins, a fact made obvious by their demeanor. Even their posture differed immensely. Bella, the taller of the two, was hunched over, holding onto a little cactus like a lifeline, clutching onto memories of home. Rissa, on the other hand, stood tall, eyes scanning the crowd in front of them, actively searching for their father.
They found him awkwardly shuffling outside the gate, hands stuffed in his jean pockets, scanning the crowd. He looked the same as the girls had seen him the previous summer; tall, dark hair greying at the sides with facial hair somewhere in between stubble and a beard. His posture was stiff, not exactly used to this big of a crowd. Considering the town he resides in is only around 3,000 people, it made sense. Rissa was the first to spot him and dragged her twin, cactus and all, towards him.
Their father’s eyes widened once he caught sight of the girls heading towards him. His expression was quickly schooled back into his usual mask of calm. “You girls have changed since the last time I saw you,” he remarked with an attempt at a sense of cheer.
“It's been a year dad,” Bella shoots back harshly, eyes not moving from the floor. Charlie deflated at the comment.
Rissa frowned at her sister’s behavior before joking, “It's the hair isn't it?” trying to lighten the mood and gesturing to her bright, peachy-pink bob.
He relaxed ever so slightly. “It is a change…” He paused, gaze lingering, letting the silence linger perhaps a moment too long. “Let's grab your bags and head to the car, it's a bit of a drive back to town.”
The next couple of hours were filled with just that, and minimal discussion, despite Rissa’s various attempts at it. You can see where Bella gets her quietness from, Rissa thought as she settled back against her seat. It was dusk by the time the group arrived at Charlie's small two-story house. It was exactly the same as the girls remembered it to be, except for one thing. Sitting in the driveway was an old beat-up Chevy. The rust-colored exterior was worn, possibly hiding some actual rust.
“I got you guys a welcome gift of sorts. So you don’t feel so trapped here,” Charlie said, noticing the girls’ confused looks. Bella perked up a bit, more so than she had in a very long time.
“Where did you get this?” she exclaimed, nearly tripping out of the car in her rush to check out the new, to her, vehicle.
“You remember Billy Black? He was selling it around the same time we learned you all would be coming to stay. He gave it to me for a good price and his son was kind enough to take a look at it and give it a tune-up. It's ready to go and everything,” Charlie explained proudly before turning to the slower of the two sisters. “You're not excited?” he murmured, looking let down.
“No, no, no, I’m excited, but I guess cars are more Bella’s thing,” Rissa reassured quickly, not wanting to start off on the wrong foot with their father. In all honesty, Rissa was a bit scared of the old truck, it kinda looked like it was ready to break down at the slightest bump, but she would never tell Charlie that, given how proud he looked to have done something right.
“They’ll be over sometime this weekend to greet you both. You can talk to them then about its history and all of that.” Another lingering pause held tension between the three of them. “Why don’t we get you settled inside and look about getting some dinner?” he stated, walking towards the front door.
The house was small, barely fitting all three of them in the entryway. Charlie gave a quick tour, a very quick tour, before letting the girls be to deal with their shared room. The room consisted of two twin beds, a shared desk and a dresser. A bench seat overlooking the back garden sat in front of the window, giving a good view of the forest edge outside. The room was small and tight, but it was to be expected in a house this small. Charlie had gotten new bedding for the girls, both in slightly different floral patterns. Rissa chose the darker of the two, a burgundy color, while Bella grabbed the purple one. The girls set out to pack away their things in silence.
Charlie returned sometime later to ask if pizza was alright for dinner and, after confirmation from the two of them, left once more. The silence stretched on once more.
“So… A truck, huh?” Rissa stated awkwardly, breaking the quiet atmosphere.
“I was wondering when you were going to crack,” Bella replied teasingly.
“Well!” Rissa huffed, throwing herself onto her bed for the sake of drama. Bella gave a brief, small smile. “It's nice he thought of something to ease us into living here. He’s trying.”
“Yeah, I know. It's just so hard.” There was a small sniffle from Bella. “We uprooted everything to live in this middle of nowhere town, and I don’t make friends as easily and it's hard!” Bella ranted with a thick voice.
Rissa sat up on her elbows to look at her sister. She was sitting on her own bed now, arms wrapped around her knees, her eyes red and glassy, like she was on the verge of tears. Rissa got up and took a seat next to her sister, putting her arm around her. “Trust me, I’m feeling the same. But hey, we have to try at least for a little while, we haven’t even started school yet!” Rissa bumped into her twin’s shoulder, smiling softly. “You’ll probably end up having an easier time making friends than I will! It's a small town, not very much room for ‘troublemakers’ like me. Let’s at least stick around until then, okay? See what school’s going to be like. At least we’re starting out at the beginning of the year, so we won't be the only ones getting lost on the way to class,” she consoled, trying to look on the brighter side. They sat together in silence, soaking up the comfort of at least having each other.
The girls heard a car pull up out front and the doorbell ring. “I’m guessing that's dinner, let's eat and see what tomorrow will bring us, okay? Okay.” They both came down just as Charlie called them and sat around the small dining table in the corner of the kitchen. Opening the boxes, Rissa grabbed a few slices and then immediately shoved one of them into her mouth. Bella was far more dainty about her meal, grabbing only one slice and picking at it slowly. Charlie smiled for a split second at the juxtaposition of his two daughters before digging into his own meal. Conversation was as nonexistent as it was in the car ride home. It wasn't long before all of them had their fill and their father was shooing them upstairs to finish unpacking as he cleaned up the kitchen.
For as good as she was reassuring Bella, Rissa’s own thoughts circled in her head as she tried to sleep. The twins both agreed to move out to Forks so their mother could go adventuring with her new husband. He was on a minor league baseball team, and she wanted to go with him as he traveled for games, never mind that she had two daughters to look after. Phil had originally tried to talk her out of it, knowing that they could do long-distance because they had before. But Renee was known to get what she wanted, even from her daughters. Knowing she would get her way, she let the girls ‘decide’. The twins both agreed to leave, knowing if they stayed their mother would have held it against them because, for as much as she loved them, the woman was known to hold a grudge when things didn’t go how she wanted them to. After years of living with her, they learned that it was just best to do what she wanted.
It was terrifying, uprooting everything they’ve built for themselves in Phoenix. Friends, routines, safe spaces. Rissa remembers sneaking out after a bad day to go driving with her friends in the middle of the night. The comfort of anonymity of the city, no one cares who you are because they might not see you ever again. This new town is already so different from what she took comfort in. It was so quiet and cold. Even now, in August, there was a chill in the air. In Phoenix, there was the bustle that came with being a city, and now in Forks…
It's almost silent.
That's not right.
There's sound, it's just different.
As she focused, Rissa could hear her sister breathing next to her, and the sounds of the old house settling. She could hear the sounds of the trees moving and the bugs in the woods just behind the house. It's not quiet, but that doesn’t ease her apprehension. These new sounds don’t soothe her racing thoughts like the sounds of the desert did.
Charlie is so different compared to Renee, too. Where she is loud and nosy, he’s quiet and awkward. It's honestly amazing how different they are. Neither of them talk about it, not about how they met or why they broke up. The girls never really thought to ask. Rissa didn’t know how to act around him, or what he expected of her. At least with her mom she could gauge her reactions and work around them, she was predictable like that. Charlie was so stone-faced, he’s been nice so far, but what will happen if one of them does something he doesn’t like? It was only a matter of time before that happened, Rissa could only hope that it would be her who does something wrong, so Bella doesn’t have to deal with those unknown consequences.
And for as much as the twins were different, they had the same fears of not meeting new friends, too. Rissa feared that this place was closed-minded, that people wouldn’t look past her appearance and would make assumptions based on that rather than who she was as a person. All of these unknowns stacked up against her, compounding her anxieties, cycling, and feeding off of each other. These thoughts played in her head as she drifted into a restless dose, and between one blink and the next, it was dawn.
Getting reintroduced to the Black’s was a light-hearted affair. Billy was kind and quiet, more of the type to only say something when needed, rather than fill the air. His demeanor gave him the air of someone who commanded your attention when speaking. Jacob, on the other hand, chattered away, talking to Bella about her new truck and showing her whatever tips and tricks he had for it. It was kind of obvious how besotted he was with her, looking rather bright-eyed as she reciprocated his conversation. Rissa hung back with the adults, Billy sharing a knowing look with her as he bantered with Charlie in the driveway.
Conversations changed over dinner, to old stories from the adults, and then to experiences the girls have had living in places other than Forks. Jacob seemed particularly interested, having never really left Washington. It was a change to see Bella participate in conversation more than Rissa, whose lack of sleep was catching up with her. They stayed well into the evening, only leaving when Rissa’s yawns permeated every other sentence.
Overall, it was a decent night and Rissa felt a loss as they left, already missing the casual air they brought with them. It was easy to be around them, Charlie was at ease having a friend to talk to and Jacob bulldozed over any awkward conversations with his enthusiasm and cheerful nature. Tension seeped back into the room as soon as they were out the door. Wrapping itself around the inhabitants, the stiff shuffling dance around each other and stilted conversations were back, as they tried to continue hanging out downstairs. The tension, mixed with her exhaustion, forced Rissa to turn in early for the night, leaving the other two to follow not long after.
It only took a few days for school to start back up. No one in the house was a morning person and it showed in their slow, quiet morning routines.
“Sorry I can’t take you two to school today, duty calls and all that,” Charlie apologized as he shrugged on his work jacket.
“It's fine, probably wouldn’t be the best introduction to be driving up in the cruiser anyway,” Rissa pointed out as she handed him a thermos of coffee, holding her own mug.
“Fair enough. Thanks,” he said as he grabbed the offered cup. “I should be back in time for dinner so we can head to the diner as a celebration for you girl’s first day if that's alright with you two?” he asked.
“Sounds great, we’ll see you then, stay safe,” Rissa replied as he stepped out the door.
“Did he just leave?” Bella asked from the top of the stairs, still not dressed after her shower.
“Yep, and we are gonna need to get going soon too if we want to get all that paperwork done at school.”
“Okay okay, I heard you loud and clear.”
It wasn't long before Bella and Rissa were out the door and on their way to school. Despite getting there early, it was hard to find a parking spot at the small high school parking lot, with all of the parents accompanying their children on their first days. Nevertheless, they found one and headed to the office, bypassing the tables out front handing out schedules. They handed the secretary their paperwork to confirm their transfer and got their schedules from her. Comparing the two, they only had a couple of classes together, one being English Lit and the other was Trigonometry. They headed off to find our classrooms for the morning and split off when they found Bella’s Spanish class. Rissa moved on to find the Chemistry class in the science building.
She found it with only seconds to spare. She quickly claimed a seat in the middle of the classroom, behind some blond guy, as the teacher started his introduction and role call. The class passed by quickly as the syllabus was explained and textbooks were passed out. In the end, there was time to spare before the bell rang.
Rissa was packing up her things as the guy sitting in front of her turned around with a grin on his face.
“Hey, Marissa right?” He asked, trying to sound smooth.
“Uh, yeah, but I go by Rissa,” she said, startled, sitting back up.
“Cool. Um. I’m Aaron. Not to be rude or anything, but you’re new right?”
“Yeah, I just moved here with my sister from Phoenix.”
“Big change, big change. What made you move here?” Rissa was saved from answering by the bell. She quickly said her goodbyes and rushed off to her next classroom.
The day continued in the usual monotony of classes until Rissa ran into a girl wearing the same band tee as her in between periods. “Hey, nice shirt!” Rissa smiled broadly as she pointed to her own top. The other girl’s eyes widened.
“Oh my God, you listen to them too? What’s your favorite song? Who else do you listen to?” She barely took a breath before she stopped herself. “Wait, wait, wait. Slow down.” There was another brief pause, as she collected herself. “Hi, I’m Maddie! It's nice to meet you!” She stood up straight and held out her hand. Maddie was short and round with dark skin and curly hair with bangs. Her bubbly personality was expressed in her mannerisms, which was a sharp contrast to how darkly she was dressed. They were nearly late for their next period as they spent their time chatting instead of finding their classes.
During lunch, Rissa was at a bit of a loss about what to do before she spotted her sister with a group of people she didn’t recognize. Taking a chance, she walked over and asked to join. A taller girl was immediately accepting and scooted over to make room for her and a guy, seemingly the leader of this clique, named Mike went around the table giving introductions.
“The girl next to you is Angela. That's Jessica,” he said pointing to the short, curly-haired girl across the table next to Bella. “This is my guy Eric,” gesturing to the Asian guy with glasses next to him. “And Lauren hasn’t graced us with her presence yet,” he finished as he sat down.
“So what have I missed?” Rissa inquired after settling in.
“Jessica was just going on her spiel about the Cullens again,” Eric, groaned, leaning back in his chair for dramatic effect.
“Hey! It's perfectly reasonable to want to date them, look at them! You even crushed on Rosalie at one point!” She shrilled furiously, a flush rising to her cheeks.
“Who are they?” Rissa asked, interest piqued at how everyone was acting.
“Oh my God! Are both of you blind, your sister asked the same question! How have you not seen them! Look! Right over there at that table, see? Those are the Cullens. They were all adopted by Dr. Cullen who works at the hospital. They moved here from Alaska a couple of years ago,” she gestured over to a table in the corner of five individuals, only one of which seemed to be enjoying life at all.
All of them were unnaturally alluring, each in their own way. The happy dude was dark-skinned and ruggedly handsome with a stocky, muscular build that filled out his track jacket. His messy, loose curls gave him a more approachable air than the rest of them. The blond woman he was talking to was classically gorgeous, with wavy blond hair and an hourglass figure. She looked like she stepped out of an old Hollywood film, even with her more modern dress of jeans and turtleneck. She sat next to another blond, a guy. His hair was more curly than wavy and was tall, legs reaching the opposite side of the table easily. His skin was tanned despite the lack of sunlight this town seemed to get. A petite girl looking to be of Asian descent with short hair sat next to him, looking like she would be at home at a cottage in the woods. Rounding out the table was another boy. He was pretty, with a babyface and slim figure. His perfectly coiffed wavy brown hair shined a reddish copper under the fluorescents. He honestly looked the most like a teenager besides maybe the dark-haired girl, though he dressed the most formally in a collared shirt and blazer. Rissa only recognized one of them, the blond guy, from AP English Lit. His face was drawn tightly, head hung in his hands. The pixie-like girl next to him was looking at him with concern.
Jessica ran through introductions for each of them. “Emmett is the beefy guy in the end, probably one of the only nice people in that family, he’s dating the blond chick next to him, Rosalie. She’s a bitch, I don’t understand what he sees in her. Her last name is Hale, I think she kept it because they’re dating, ‘cause wouldn't that be even more creepy.” She bulldozed right past that comment. “She’s sitting next to her twin, Jasper. He gets migraines or something and tends to leave school early a lot. All three of them are seniors.” She barely took a breath before continuing. “The girl with the pixie cut is Alice, she's also nice, but she’s really weird. Like really, really weird. And she tends to, like, freeze or something sometimes. I think she and Jasper are dating because they’re so close, but I’m not sure.” Finally pausing, she sighed dreamily, “and then there's Edward…” who happened to be staring directly at their table, or more specifically at Bella. His eyes bore into her skull, and Rissa was surprised her sister hadn't burst into flames yet with the intensity of his dark stare. “He’s so hot, obviously. But no one seems good enough for him. Like I care though…” she said, clearly caring.
“Well, that’s enough of that. Why don’t you guys tell us some stuff about you?” Rissa suggested, wanting to switch topics. Before anyone could say anything, a blond girl sat herself next to Mike with a huff.
Before anyone could get a word in she sneered, “Who are you two? And who let you sit here? Especially you,” she nodded to Rissa.
Rissa was immediately put off by her attitude, having her fears realized. But not one to take things passively, responded, “apparently people who don't have a stick up their ass like you. Maybe you like it though, because that's the only stimulation you’ll be getting with that attitude.” Not wanting to have anyone witness her anxieties get the best of her, Rissa got up as the others tried to tame the blond, presumably the Lauren they were talking about earlier.
Escaping to the hall, Rissa let her tears flow as she made her way to the closest bathroom. Her breath hitched as tried to get a hold of her thoughts. Her frustrations at herself came out through the tears and short breaths. She shook out her hands and paced as the anxiety crept up her limbs, numbing them. Her thoughts cycled, berating herself for her intense reactions to the words and her current anxieties.
Finally, after a number of minutes, she was able to get a handle on her breathing enough to take a few deep breaths. Slowly she was able to calm herself enough to hold everything in once again. She looked at herself in the mirror, at the smeared eyeliner and tracks down her cheeks. Sluggishly, she reached for a paper towel to clean her face and her makeup from her bag to fix what was ruined by the anxiety attack. She was able to finish just as the bell rang, and thanking whatever was out there in the universe, escaped to her next class.
The rest of the day flew by and it wasn’t long before school came to a close. Rissa was sitting on the bed of the truck waiting for Bella.
“What’s up?” Rissa asked as Bella approached, sensing something off.
“I don't think Edward Cullen likes me very much,” she mumbled sullenly, eyes welling up with tears.
“Well, what happened?” Bella recounted her run-in with him in Biology and how he was so put off by her and then ran out of the room as soon as the bell rang. As soon as she finished her story as if summoned, Edward stormed out of the school and beelined for the convertible Porsche his siblings were sitting in.
“Man, you have money, we get it,” Rissa commented as they sped off, brightening her twin’s mood enough to have her crack a smile. She beamed back before continuing. “Well that goes to show you his opinions don't matter, they're probably all shallow and shitty people, so why would we associate with them?”
“You're right, let's go home, I can't believe some teachers have already assigned homework, it's the first day for crying out loud!” Bella groaned as she threw the truck into gear.
“I know right!”