1. First Sight
My mother drove me to the airport with the windows rolled down. It was seventy-five
Degrees in Phoenix, the sky a perfect, cloudless blue. I was wearing my favorite shirt –
Sleeveless, white eyelet lace; I was wearing it as a farewell gesture. My carry-on item was
In the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington State, a small town named Forks
Exists under a near-constant cover of clouds. It rains on this inconsequential town more
Than any other place in the United States of America. It was from this town and its
Gloomy, omnipresent shade that my mother escaped with me when I was only a few
Months old. It was in this town that I’d been compelled to spend a month every summer
Until I was fourteen. That was the year I finally put my foot down; these past three
Summers, my dad, Charlie, vacationed with me in California for two weeks instead.
It was to Forks that I now exiled myself
– an action that I took with great horror. I
I loved Phoenix. I loved the sun and the blistering heat. I loved the vigorous, sprawling
“Bella,” my mom said to me – the last of a thousand times – before I got on the
Plane. “You don’t have to do this.”
My mom looks like me, except with short hair and laugh lines. I felt a spasm of panic
As I stared at her wide, childlike eyes. How could I leave my loving, erratic, harebrained
Mother to fend for herself? Of course she had Phil now, so the bills would probably get
Paid, there would be food in the refrigerator, gas in her car, and someone to call when she
Got lost, but still…
“I want to go,” I lied. I’d always been a bad liar, but I’d been saying this lie so
Frequently lately that it sounded almost convincing now.
“Tell Charlie I said hi.”
“I’ll see you soon,” she insisted. “You can come home whenever you want – I’ll come
Right back as soon as you need me.”
But I could see the sacrifice in her eyes behind the promise.
“Don’t worry about me,” I urged. “It’ll be great. I love you, Mom.”
She hugged me tightly for a minute, and then I got on the plane, and she was gone.
It’s a four-hour flight from Phoenix to Seattle, another hour in a small plane up to Port
Angeles, and then an hour drive back down to Forks. Flying doesn’t bother me; the hour
In the car with Charlie, though, I was a little worried about.
Charlie had really been fairly nice about the whole thing. He seemed genuinely pleased
That I was coming to live with him for the first time with any degree of permanence. He’d
Already gotten me registered for high school and was going to help me get a car.
But it was sure to be awkward with Charlie. Neither of us was what anyone would call
Verbose, and I didn’t know what there was to say regardless. I knew he was more than a
Little confused by my decision – like my mother before me, I hadn’t made a secret of my
Distaste for Forks.
When I landed in Port Angeles, it was raining. I didn’t see it as an omen – just
Unavoidable. I’d already said my goodbyes to the sun.
Charlie was waiting for me with the cruiser. This I was expecting, too. Charlie is Police
Chief Swan to the good people of Forks. My primary motivation behind buying a car,
Despite the scarcity of my funds, was that I refused to be driven around town in a car with
Red and blue lights on top. Nothing slows down traffic like a cop.
Charlie gave me an awkward, one-armed hug when I stumbled my way off the plane.
“It’s good to see you, Bells,” he said, smiling as he automatically caught and steadied