CHAPTER 1 In which Bella meets the residents of Apple HillsThe Legacy of Bella Goth
Bella Goth sat amonga mess of items shehadn‟t yet sorted intoboxes. She had toomany books and toomuch makeup, butcouldn‟t decide whichto get rid of.
After Don had helpedher escapePleasantview andMortimer Goth, Bellahad moved toStrangetown.Unfortunately, herethey had heardrumours of her mixedup life, and didn‟t likethe sound of herreputation. Now shewas going to movewhere the grass wasgreener. Where noone knew who shewas.
Thinking of Don, Bellasmiled. People oftensaid that she wascheating on Mortimer,but it wasn‟t true.They were simplygood friends. Don,after all, had his eyeset on Nina Caliente,but Bella was surethat by now that hadprobably changed.
There was the beep ofa horn, and Bellalooked out of thewindow to see themoving man.“Shoot,” she said,looking around at themess on her floor. Shescrambled to her feetand quickly stuffedeverything into a box.She looked aroundthe old living room,and took a deepbreath as she left tostart her new life.
When Bella arrived ather small new home,she decided to phoneDon. Slowly, shepunched in thenumber she stillremembered andnervously waited forhim to pick up.
“Hello?”“Don? It’s Bella.”“Wow! Haven‟t spokento you since... Well,since... you know.Since you left.”“Yeah, I know. So...so how are youdoing?”
“I‟m doing great!You‟ll never guess...I... I‟m married toNina! And we have ason named Nicolo.”“You? Married? Butyou’re a romancesim!”“Yes. I know. I don‟tneed you to remindme – the whole ofPleasantview‟s beingdoing it since I gotmarried.”
“But enough aboutme! How are you?”“I’m fine...”“Where are you now?”“I shouldn’t say.”“Oh c‟mon, Bells! It‟snot like I‟m going totell Mortimer that!”“I guess... But...Phone conversationscan be tracked andstuff...”
“You phoned me. Thatcould be tracked!”“Oh, fine! I’m in AppleHills.”“Never heard of it.Oh, I have to go Bells.Nicolo‟s starting tocry... Nice talking toya. Bye!”“Bye, Don.”
“Who was that, Don?”Nina asked.“Bella,” Don repliedshortly.“Bella Goth?”“The one and only!”he laughed.“Where... where isshe?”“Apple Hills. I helpedher escape fromMortimer.”Nina gulped.“Escape?”
“But... My sister...Dina‟s married tohim... Is he evil orsomething?”“Nina, you silly! Bellajust didn‟t like him,that‟ all!”“Oh. You‟re sure?”“Certain!”“Ok.”
Bella sighed as shealmost tripped overthe ladder layingacross the mainroom. What wouldhappen if Mortimerfound out where shewas? Would he comeand find her, and if hedid, what would he doto her?
Since Bella hadarrived, a newspaperhad been delivered.
She looked at thejobs section, butthere was nothing shereally wanted to do.
Three people walkedonto her lawn, andbeing a sociableperson, Bella went togreet one of them.
“Hi, I‟m Bella!” shesaid to a pale, blondegirl.“Uh... I‟m Claire...”she said in a off-handway. “That‟s er... Eliseand... Corey...”
“Maybe you shouldtalk to them instead...I‟m er... I... I‟ve gotto go...”So Claire left, leavingBella feelingconfused.
Bella decided toapproach the man.“You must be Corey,right?”“Sure am! You‟reBella?”“Yeah...”
“Sorry about Claire,she‟s just jealous ofmy amazing goodlooks!” Coreylaughed.“Right,” Bella replied,not wanting to tellCorey that actually hewasn‟t her idea of„good-looking‟.
“Bella do you want togo out with me?”Corey said seriously.“What?” Bellalaughed. “Corey, Ionly just met you!”
“Oh. Ok,” Corey saidin a sad voice. “It‟sjust that I... I‟venever had a girlfriendbefore.”“Oh, Corey! I‟m surethere‟s someone outthere for you,” Bellasaid awkwardly. “I‟d...I‟d better go and seeElise now...”
Bella found that thewoman named Elisehad invited herselfinto her house.“Hi... Bella?”“That‟s me! You‟reElise?”“Yep!”“So... Do you knowany cute guys?”
“Haha, there‟s sort ofa shortage ofunmarried men herein Apple Hills, Bella.Unless of course youwant Corey slobberingall over you...” Eliselaughed.Bella pursed her lips.Not many men, eh?Sensing herdisappointment, Elisesaid,“But if you want wecould take a trip toPleasantviewsometime?”
Bella‟s inside‟ssquirmed at the nameof the place.“No thanks, I... uh... Idon‟t like longjourneys,” she lied.“Ah, never mind,”Elise said.
“Hey, are you free thisweekend?” Elise said.“Yeah...” Bella saidcautiously, hopingElise wouldn‟t suggesta trip to Strangetown.“Cool! How about youcome over to myplace on Saturday?I‟m having abarbeque... you neverknow, you mightsomeone!”
“That‟s great! I‟ll seeyou there, then!Saturday, eleveno‟clock, ok?”“Yes!” Bella laughed.Elise checked herwatch, and said,“It was lovely meetingyou, Bella! I have togo now though, or I‟llend up being late forwork... not that it‟ll bethe first time!”She grinned and left,leaving Bella aloneonce more.
Before Bella knew it,it was Saturday. For asingle woman, Elise‟shouse was massive,but beautiful.
Bella found Eliseround the back,cooking hotdogs.“Hi, Elise!”“Bella!” said Elise,turning around.
“You know I said I‟dinvite some guys?”whispered Elise.“Yeah?”“Try Amin.”
“D‟you mind if I sithere?” Bella asked.“What?” Amin said.“Oh, no. It‟s fine.”“Cool. I justinterrupted a deepthought, didn‟t I?”Amin only sighed.“I‟m Bella. So, tell meabout yourself,” Bellasuggested.
Amin mutteredsomething to himself,then said,“How about we justsay that I was bornand bred here inApple Hills?”
“Nothing else? Justthe basics?”“Just the basics. I‟mnot someone wholikes to go into detailsabout my life.”
“Hey, what aboutyou? You‟re new here,you must have had amore interesting lifethan me!”
“I don‟t really-”“Oh, come on! Whatare you? A criminal orsomething?”“No, but-”“Then whatever youdon‟t want to tell mecan‟t be that bad!”
“I... got divorced anddecided to moveaway,” Bella said. Itwas close enough tothe truth.“Right,” Amin said. Hedidn‟t believe her.Trying to change thesubject, Bella said,“It‟s hotter here thanStrangetown!”“Oh, so you‟re fromStrangetown, areyou?” Amin said.Bella cursed silentlyunder her breath.How had she let thatslip out?
She got up andmoved towards thepool.“Wait! Where are yougoing?”“Calm down! I‟m onlygoing for a swim!”
Bella jumped in,relaxing as the coolwater soothed herburning skin.
“I saw you talking toAmin just now...” saida woman who swamtowards Bella.“Yeah, so what?”“If you‟re trying to getclose to him, don‟tbother. He hasn‟tbeen in love foryears.”
“Thanks for theadvice, but I don‟twant to get close tohim. We were onlytalking,” Bella said.The only problemwas, she didn‟t evenconvince herself. Sheswam away from thegirl.
Bella laughed as Aminbelly flopped into thepool.