"That's really nice, Dad. Thanks. I really appreciate it." No need to add that my being
happy in Forks is an impossibility. He didn't need to suffer along with me. And I never
looked a free truck in the mouth — or engine.
"Well, now, you're welcome," he mumbled, embarrassed by my thanks.
We exchanged a few more comments on the weather, which was wet, and that was
pretty much it forConversation. We stared out the windows in silence.
It was beautiful, of course; I couldn't deny that. Everything was green: the trees, their
trunks covered with moss, their branches hanging with a canopy of it, the ground covered
with ferns. Even the air filtered down greenly through the leaves.
It was too green — an alien planet.
Eventually we made it to Charlie's. He still lived inthe small, two-bedroom house that
he'd bought with my mother in the early days of their marriage. Those were the only kind
of days their marriage had — the early ones. There, parked on the street in front of the
house that never changed, was my new — well, new to me — truck. It was a faded red
color, with big, rounded fenders and a bulbous cab. To my intense surprise, I loved it. I
didn't knowif it would run, but I could see myself in it. Plus, it was one of those solid
iron affairs that never gets damaged — the kind you see at the scene of an accident, paint
unscratched, surrounded by the pieces of the foreign car it had destroyed.
"Wow, Dad, I love it! Thanks!" Now my horrific day tomorrow would be just that much
less dreadful. I wouldn't be faced with the choice of eitherwalking two miles in the rain
to school or accepting a ride in the Chief's cruiser.
"I'm glad you like it," Charlie said gruffly, embarrassed again.
It took only one trip to get all my stuff upstairs. I got the west bedroom that faced out
over the front yard. The room was familiar; it had been belonged to me since I was born.
The wooden floor, the light blue walls, the peaked ceiling, theyellowed lace curtains
around the window — these were all a part of my childhood. The only changes Charlie
had ever made were switching the crib for a bed and adding a desk as I grew. The desk
now held a secondhand computer, with the phone line for the modem stapled along the
floor to the nearest phone jack. This was a stipulation from my mother, so that we could
stay in touch easily. Therocking chair from my baby days was still in the corner.
There was only one small bathroom at the top of the stairs, which I would have to share
with Charlie. I was trying not to dwell too much on that fact.
One of the best things about Charlie is he doesn't hover. He left me alone to unpack and
get settled, a feat that would have been altogether impossible for my mother. It was nice
tobe alone, not to have to smile and look pleased; a relief to stare dejectedly out the
window at the sheeting rain and let just a few tears escape. I wasn't in the mood to go on a real crying jag. I would save that for bedtime, when I would have to think about the
Forks High School had a frightening total of only three hundred and fifty-seven — now
fifty-eight — students;there were more than seven hundred people in my junior class
alone back home. All of the kids here had grown up together — their grandparents had
been toddlers together.
I would be the new girl from the big city, a curiosity, a freak.
Maybe, if I looked like a girl from Phoenix should, I could work this to my advantage.
But physically, I'd never fit in anywhere. I should be tan, sporty,blond — a volleyball
player, or a cheerleader, perhaps — all the things that go with living in the valley of thesun.
Instead, I was ivory-skinned, without even the excuse of blue eyes or red hair, despite
the constant sunshine. I had always been slender, but soft somehow, obviously not an
athlete; I didn't have the necessary hand-eye coordination to play sports without
humiliating myself —...
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