Reading Twilight

So, I'm working on my Reading the Hunger Games Fan fiction, but I also want to do a reading twilight fan fiction. So this is the Cullens reading Twilght during New Moon.


3. First Sight



My mother drove me to the airport with thewindows rolled down. It was seventy-five degrees inPhoenix, the sky a perfect, cloudless blue. I was wearing my favorite shirt - sleeveless, white eyelet lace; I was wearingit as a farewell gesture. My carry-on item was a parka.

"We need to get her some new clothes" Alice said. Then she frowned. She couldn't since they moved. Edward looked down too thinking the same thing. "Lets all try to stay positive right now. We might go back to Bella, since there are 4 books" Carlisle said. Esme nodded. "That's right, now lets continue reading." She said. 

In the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington State, a small townnamed Forks exists under a near-constant cover of clouds. It rains on this inconsequential town more than any other place in the United Statesof 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.

"If she stayed I would've met her sooner." said Edward with a smile. "Yeah, and be jealous of others sooner too" Emmet said roaring with laughter. Jasper was having a hard time talking because he too was laughing. Edward glared at them for making fun of him. 

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. 

Emmet snickered.

It was to Forks that I now exiled myself- an action that I took with great horror. I detested Forks. I loved Phoenix. I loved the sun and the blistering heat. I loved thevigorous, sprawling city.

"Then why did she come? Forks is the complete opposite." asked Rosalie. She wasn't best friends with Bella like the rest of the family, but she still cared a little. 

"Bella," my mom said to me - the last of athousand times - before I goton the plane. "You don't have to do this."

"She wants Bella to stay with her" Jasper said quietly. Edward frowned at the thought. "That would've been horrible" Edward said. They all agreed. Bella was like family to them all. 

My mom looks like me, except with short hair and laugh lines. I felt aspasm of panic as I stared at her wide, childlike eyes. How could I leave my loving, erratic, harebrained mother to fend for herself?

They all snickered. "Of course Bella's thinking of someone besides herself." Edward said fondly. Emmet smirked and was about to say something, but Jasper cut him off with reading because he sensed what he would say would be bad. 

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...

"Her mom sounds like the child while Bella sounds like the adult." Carlisle said shocked. 

"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.

"Almost" Emmet pointed out which caused some snickering and a hit to the back of the head from Rosalie. 

"Tell Charlie I said hi." 

"I will."

"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.

"Bella's good at that" said Jasper. 

"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.

"She's going to meet Edward soon!" Alice squeled. They all blocked hteir ears with their hands during that. 

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 wasa little worried about. "She shouldn't be" Esme said "He's her father."

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.

They all snorted. 

He'd already gotten me registered for highschool and was going to help me get a car.

"A horrible car" Edward mumbled, but then deflated when he realized there was no Bella there to defend the 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.

"Well, she doesn't hate it now, does she Eddie?" Emmet said trying to rile up Edward. But all Edward did was look down and mumble "She probably does right now." Everyone glared at Emmet. They work so hard to cheer Edward up and Emmet blew it in one sentence. 

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.

"That's a relief" Jasper said sarcastically. "I was worried there for a second" he continued. Everyone snorted except for Edward, who just smirked a little. 

Charlie was waiting for me with the cruiser. This I was expecting, too. Charlie is Police Chief Swan to the good people of Forks.

"Hear that? We're good people" Emmet yelled cheering. 

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 lightson top. Nothing slows down traffic like a cop.

"True" Carlisle muttered with a smile. It was good to read these books. Everyone missed Bella and now they have a little piece of her. 

Charlie gave me an awkward, one-armed hug when I stumbled my way off the plane.

"Cough clumsy cough" Emmet said. Edward rolled his eyes while beaming. He looked happy. Alice was laughing with Jasper, happy to have Edward back. Rosalie was smiling about that too. Carlisle and Esme were happy to have their son back, because now they were only missing their daughter, Bella. 

"It's good to see you, Bells," he said, smiling as he automatically caught and steadied me.

"He knew that would happen" Edward said with a smirk. 

 "You haven't changed much. How's Renée?" 

"Mom's fine. It's good to see you, too, Dad." I wasn't allowed to call him Charlie to his face.

"It would be funny to see his face if that happened though" Emmet said. Jasper burst out laughing at the mental image. Edward looked into his mind to see the image and started snickering. He was getting better, but they knew once Bella was in danger, he would go back to sulking. 

I had only a few bags.

"THAT'S A CRIME!" Alice shouted. Jasper sent her calming waves knowing that if he didn't, she would go on for a few hours. 

Most of my Arizona clothes were too permeable for Washington. My mom and I had pooled our resources to supplement my winter wardrobe, but it was still scanty. It all fit easily into the trunk ofthe cruiser.

Alice looked like he was going to scream again so Jasper sent her calming waves. 

"I found a good car for you, really cheap," he announced when we were strapped in.

"It's not that good" Edward muttered. Everyone rolled their eyes. He and Bella always argued about that. 

"What kind of car?" I was suspicious of the way he said "good car for you" as opposed to just "good car." 

"She catches on quickly" Carlisle said. 

"Well, it's a truck actually, a Chevy."

"Where did you find it?"

"Do you remember Billy Black down at La Push?" La Push is the tiny Indian reservation on the coast.

The Cullens all growled thinking of the "dogs" as they like to  call them. 


"He used to go fishing with us during the summer," Charlie prompted.

That would explain why I didn't remember him. I do a good job of blocking painful, unnecessary things from my memory. 

Edward frowned. "She shouldn't be used to it" He whispered. 

"He's in a wheelchair now," Charlie continued when I didn't respond, "so he can't drive anymore, and he offered to sell me his truck cheap."

"What year is it?" I could see from his change of expression that this was the question he was hoping I wouldn't ask.

Emmet smirked. "She's able to do that a lot." Edward smiled at the thought. 

"Well, Billy's done a lot of work on the engine - it's only a few yearsold, really."

"He's avoiding the question" Rosalie said with a small smile. 

I hoped he didn't think so little of me as to believe I would give up that easily. "When did he buy it?"

"I don't think he did" Edward said. 

"He bought it in 1984, I think."

"Did he buy it new?"

"Well, no. I think it was new in the early sixties - or late fifties at the earliest," he admitted sheepishly.

All of their eyes widened. "I didn't know it was that old" Edward said. Does it even have air bags? thought Emmet. He was going to say it loud but he didn't think Edward would appreciate hearing that. But Edward was listening to all their minds.

When he heard Emmet think that his eyes widened and his breathing quicken. What would happen if she got into an accident? What would happen if Bella hit a tree? Could Alice see if someone chose to ram into the back of Bella's truck? Could he- 

"EDDIE!" Emmet roared in his ears. Edward shook he head and turned toward them. Emmet burst out laughing. "He answered to Eddie but not Edward" he laughed. Edward growled at him. He just wanted to continue reading. 

"Ch - Dad, I don't really know anything about cars. I wouldn't be able to fix it if anything went wrong, and I couldn't afford a mechanic..."

"Really, Bella, the thing runs great. They don't build them like that anymore." 

"For safety" said Rosalie. Edward glared at her. They were making it worse. 

The thing, I thought to myself... it had possibilities - as a nickname, at the very least.

Emmet and Jasper snorted. "Of course that's what she's thinking" Emmet managed to get through his laughter. 

"How cheap is cheap?" After all, that was the part I couldn't compromise on.

"Well, honey, I kind of already bought it for you. As a homecoming gift." Charlie peeked sideways at me with a hopeful expression. 

"That was nice of him" Esme said. 

Wow. Free. "You didn't need to do that, Dad. I was going to buy myself a car."

"It was a present. Just take it." Emmet said. 

"I don't mind. I want you to be happy here." He was looking ahead at the road when he said this. Charlie wasn't comfortable with expressing his emotions out loud. I inherited that from him. So I was looking straight ahead as I responded.

"Bella needs to show her emotion more." Alice said. Everyone agreed. 

"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.

They all snorted. "Who know Bella was this funny?" Emmet asked. He was mad that he overlooked her humor. 

"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 for Conversation. We stared out the windows in silence. 

"Riveting conversation" Edward remarked sarcastically. 

It was beautiful, of course; I couldn't deny that.

"I miss it" Alice said sadly. Edward looked down sadly too. He missed everything about it. Especially Bella. 

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.

Emmet and Jasper snorted. Edward smirked a little. Rosalie and Alice were snickering. Esme and Carlisle smiled. They all were enjoying reading about Bella. 

Eventually we made it to Charlie's. He still lived in the small,two-bedroom house that he'd bought with my mother in the early days oftheir marriage. Those were the only kind of days their marriage had - the early ones.

"Too bad" Esme said. She loved being married. 

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.

Edward was muttering something that sounded suspiciously about getting Bella a new car. 

I didn't know if 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.

Emmet snorted. "I love the way she thinks" he said. 

"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 either walking two miles in the rain to school or accepting a ride in the Chief's cruiser.

"She's really stubborn" Alice said. "I wish she wasn't that stubborn about clothes" she pouted. 

"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 westbedroom 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, the yellowed lace curtains around the window -these were all a part of my childhood.

Edward smiled remembering her room. He always went over and just sat and looked around the room. 

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.

They all snorted. Of course they wanted to stay in touch. 

The rocking chair from my baby days was still in the corner.

Edward smiled. He sometimes sat in that chair while he was over. 

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.

The boys burst out laughing while the girls looked sorry for her. 

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.

Everyone snorted looking at Esme. Bella's mother reminded them of her. 

It was nice to be 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.

Edward frowned. He didn't like it when his beautiful Bella cried. 

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 coming morning.

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.

"Ha" Emmet and Jasper laughed. "She must like it, there aren't as many people and lets face it, she's not much of a people person." Jasper said. 

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.

"Bella's not a freak" Edward growled. 

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 the sun.

Alice was smiling. Her best friend looks nothing like that. "I think we should go back" she said all of a sudden. Edward glared at her. "We can't. We left for her safety" he said. "But have you thought that she's more safe with us around?" Alice asked hoping to change his mind. Edward didn't answer but looked as though he was lost in his thoughts. 

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;

"Can you imagine if she played a sport?" Emmet asked. Edward was glaring at him trying to defend his girlfriend. 

I didn't have the necessary hand-eye coordination to play sports without humiliating myself - and harming both myself and anyone else who stood too close.

"That's true" Emmet said. He remembered watching her gym class once. Everyone said she falls at least once every class and him and Jasper were curious. When Edward heard his thoughts he was furious. "BELLA ISN'T HERE FOR YOUR AMUSEMENT" he shouted. Emmet nodded with wide eyes. He didn't know Edward could get that loud. He smirked and said "You seem overprotective, Eddie". Edward glared at him and growled out "Don't call me Eddie." Jasper rolled his eyes and said "Emmet, stop pissing off Edward." He then continued to read before Emmet could say anything else. 

When I finished putting my clothes in the old pine dresser, I took my bag of bathroom necessities and went to the communal bathroom to clean myself up after the day of travel. I looked at my face in the mirror as I brushed through my tangled, damp hair.

Alice looked horrified. 

Maybe it was the light, but already I looked sallower, unhealthy.

"She never looks that way" Edward said. 

My skin could be pretty - it was very clear, almost translucent-looking- but it all depended on color. I had no color here.

"Just like us" Emmet said hinting toward Edward. Edward growled saying "No one will turn her."

Facing my pallid reflection in the mirror, I was forced to admit that I was lying to myself. It wasn't just physically that I'd never fit in. And if I couldn't find a niche in a school with three thousand people, what were my chances here?

"Pretty good" Esme said with a smile. Bella was popular after all. 

I didn't relate well to people my age. Maybe the truth was that I didn't relate well to people, period. Even my mother, who I was closer to than anyone else on the planet, was never in harmony with me, never on exactly the same page.

Esme looked sad. She should have someone who understands her. 

Sometimes I wondered if I was seeing the same things through my eyes that the rest of the world was seeing through theirs. Maybe there was a glitch in my brain. But the cause didn't matter. All that mattered was the effect. And tomorrow would be just the beginning.

Edward was thinking about it. He wanted go back. But he shouldn't. He needed to stay away to protect her. 

I didn't sleep well that night, even after I was done crying.

Edward was frowning. He didn't like it when his mate cries. It makes him feel horrible. 

The constant whooshing of the rain and wind across the roof wouldn't fade into the background. I pulled the faded old quilt over my head, and later added the pillow, too. But I couldn't fall asleep until after midnight, when the rain finally settled into a quieter drizzle.

"She's not going to get much sleep if that's how she falls asleep." Carlisle said. Edward was worried about that too. 

Thick fog was all I could see out my window in the morning, and I could feel the claustrophobia creeping up on me. You could never see the skyhere; it was like a cage.

"She doesn't like being caged" Esme said. 

Breakfast with Charlie was a quiet event. He wished me good luck at school. I thanked him, knowing his hope was wasted. Good luck tended to avoid me. Charlie left first, off to the police station that was his wife and family.

"Yeah, quite an event" Jasper said sarcastically. Emmet snorted thinking the same thing. 

After he left, I sat at the old square oak table in one of the three unmatching chairs and examined his small kitchen, with its dark paneled walls, bright yellow cabinets, and white linoleum floor. Nothing was changed. My mother had painted the cabinets eighteen years ago in an attempt to bring some sunshine into the house. Over the small fireplace in the adjoining handkerchief-sized family room was a row of pictures. First a wedding picture of Charlie and my mom in Las Vegas, then one of the three of us in the hospital after I was born, taken by a helpful nurse, followed by the procession of my school pictures up to last year's.

"I like those pictures" Edward mumbled lowly thinking no one heard him. Everyone did though. Emmet and Jasper were snickering. "She looks cute in those pictures doesn't she Jasper" Emmet asked Jasper. "Yeah, she does" he agreed. Edward growled at them, not liking that they were teasing him. 

Those were embarrassing to look at - I would have to see what I could do to get Charlie to put them somewhere else, at least while I was living here.

"She shouldn't." Edward said. "They're memories."

It was impossible, being in this house, not to realize that Charlie had never gotten over my mom. It made me uncomfortable.

"It would make anyone uncomfortable" Alice said understandingly. 

I didn't want to be too early to school, but I couldn't stay in the house anymore. I donned my jacket - which had the feel of a biohazard suit -and headed out into the rain.

"Which she probably didn't like" Edward said sadly. 

It was just drizzling still, not enough to soak me through immediately as I reached for the house key that was always hidden under the eaves by the door, and locked up. The sloshing of my new waterproof boots was unnerving. I missed the normal crunch of gravel as I walked. I couldn't pause and admire my truck again as I wanted;

Edward was grumbling again. It sounded as though he wanted Bella to get a new car. "Does that mean we're going back?" Alice asked hopefully. "Huh?" Everyone asked looking at Edward with hope in their eyes. Edward was shaking his head sadly. "I just want her to have a better car" he said softly. "We can't go back, it's for her safety." They all sighed disappointed at that. 

I was in a hurry to get out of the misty wet that swirled around my head and clung to my hair under my hood.

Inside the truck, it was nice and dry.

"Which she loves" Edward said. 

Either Billy or Charlie had obviously cleaned it up, but the tan upholstered seats still smelled faintly of tobacco, gasoline, and peppermint. The engine started quickly,to my relief, but loudly, roaring to life and then idling at top volume. Well, a truck this old was bound to have a flaw. The antique radio worked, a plus that I hadn't expected.

"That's going to break soon" Rosalie said. "She needs a new one" she agreed with Edward. 

Finding the school wasn't difficult, though I'd never been there before. The school was, like most other things, just off the highway. It was not obvious that it was a school; only the sign, which declared it to be the Forks High School, made me stop.

Everyone snorted. 

It looked like a collection of matching houses, built with maroon-colored bricks. There were so many trees and shrubs I couldn't see its size at first. Where was the feel of the institution? I wondered nostalgically. Where were the chain-link fences,the metal detectors?

This caused everyone to burst out laughing. 

I parked in front of the first building, which had a small sign over the door reading front office. No one else was parked there, so I was sure it was off limits, but I decided I would get directions inside instead of circling around in the rain like an idiot.

"Got that right" Emmet said snickering. Jasper was agreeing with him too. 

I stepped unwillingly out of the toasty truck cab and walked down a little stone path lined with dark hedges. I took a deep breath before opening the door. Inside, it was brightly lit, and warmer than I'd hoped. The office was small; a little waiting area with padded folding chairs, orange-flecked commercial carpet, notices and awards cluttering the walls, a big clock ticking loudly. Plants grew everywhere in large plastic pots, as if there wasn't enough greenery outside. The room was cut in half by a long counter, cluttered with wire baskets full of papers and brightly colored flyers taped to its front. There were three desks behind the counter, one of which was manned by a large, red-haired woman wearing glasses. She was wearing a purple t-shirt, which immediately made me feel overdressed.

"She's always overdressed." Rosalie said. Edward growled at her. "She's new and is just getting used to it" he defended. Rosalie rolled her eyes and nodded. 

The red-haired woman looked up. "Can I help you?"

"No, she walked in there just to say hi and then walk away" Emmet said sarcastically. "It's a common thing to say when they meet someone though, Emmet" Esme said. Carlisle was behind her nodding his head. Emmet agreed after thinking it over. 

"I'm Isabella Swan," I informed her, and saw the immediate awarenesslight her eyes. I was expected, a topic of gossip no doubt. Daughter of the Chief's flighty ex-wife, come home at last. 

"Yep, gossip" Alice said. 

"Of course," she said. She dug through a precariously stacked pile of documents on her desk till she found the ones she was looking for. "I have your schedule right here, and a map of the school."

"Who needs a map?" Emmet asked. "Didn't you get lost your first day?" Edward asked with a smirk. Emmet growled and tried to ignore everyone laughing. 

She brought several sheets to the counter to show roe.

She went through my classes for me, highlighting the best route to each on the map, and gave me a slip to have each teacher sign, which I was to bring back at the end of the day. She smiled at me and hoped, like Charlie, that I would like it here in Forks. I smiled back as convincingly as I could.

"She does like it though" Emmet said. Everyone rolled their eyes.

When I went back out to my truck, other students were starting to arrive. I drove around the school, following the line of traffic. I was glad to see that most of the cars were older like mine, nothing flashy.

They all looked at each other thinking about what she would think when she saw their car. 

At home I'd lived in one of the few lower-income neighborhoods that were included in the Paradise Valley District. It was a common thing to see a new Mercedes or Porsche in the student lot. The nicest car here was a shiny Volvo, and it stood out.

Edward smiled. He loved his car. 

Still, I cut the engine as soon as I was in a spot, so that the thunderous volume wouldn't draw attention to me.

"It always does though" Rosalie said. 

I looked at the map in the truck, trying to memorize it now; hopefully I wouldn't have to walk around with it stuck in front of my nose all day.

"I would love to see her like that" Emmet and Jasper snickered. Alice snickered a little as did Rosalie, Esme, and Carlisle. Edward smiled a little thinking about how that would look. 

I stuffed everything in my bag, slung the strap over my shoulder, and sucked in a huge breath. I can do this, I lied to myself feebly. No one was going to bite me.

"She was so wrong" Emmet said laughing hard. Jasper nodded agreeing even though he couldn't say anything through his laughter. 

I finally exhaled and stepped out of the truck.

I kept my face pulled back into my hood as I walked to the sidewalk, crowded with teenagers. My plain black jacket didn't stand out, I noticed with relief.

Once I got around the cafeteria, building three was easy to spot. A largeblack "3" was painted on a white square on the east corner. I felt my breathing gradually creeping toward hyperventilation as I approached the door.

"Why is she so worried?" Rosalie asked. 

I tried holding my breath as I followed two unisex raincoats through the door.

The classroom was small. The people in front of me stopped just inside the door to hang up their coats on a long row of hooks. I copied them. They were two girls, one a porcelain-colored blonde, the other also pale, with light brown hair. At least my skin wouldn't be a standout here.

"True" said Emmet. "The only ones that standout are us because we are too pale" he continued. 

I took the slip up to the teacher, a tall, balding man whose desk had a nameplate identifying him as Mr. Mason. He gawked at me when he saw my name - not an encouraging response - and of course I flushed tomato red.

Everyone snorted. 

But at least he sent me to an empty desk at the back without introducing me to the class. It was harder for my new classmates to stare at me in the back, but somehow, they managed.

"How?" Emmet asked generally confused. Edward rolled his eyes and just motioned for Jasper to continue to read. If they tried to explain it would take too long for Edward. He wanted to finish this book and learn the future. 

I kept my eyes down on the reading list the teacher had given me. It was fairly basic: Bronte, Shakespeare,  Chaucer, Faulkner. I'd already read everything. That was comforting... and boring.

"You don't know the half of it Bella" Alice said. 

I wondered if my mom would send me my folder of old essays, or if she would think that was cheating. I went through different arguments with her in my head while the teacher droned on.

Emmet and Jasper snorted. They did that time to time. 

When the bell rang, a nasal buzzing sound, a gangly boy with skin problems and hair black as an oil slick leaned across the aisle to talk to me.

Edward growled. Emmet snickered knowingly. 

"You're Isabella Swan, aren't you?" He looked like the overly helpful, chess club type.

"Bella," I corrected. Everyone within a three-seat radius turned to look at me.

"Where's your next class?" he asked.

I had to check in my bag. "Um, Government, with Jefferson, in building six."

There was nowhere to look without meeting curious eyes.

"I'm headed toward building four, I could show you the way..." Definitely over-helpful. "I'm Eric," he added.

"Eric should just leave her alone" Edward growled. Emmet and Jasper were snickering at him. 

I smiled tentatively. "Thanks."

We got our jackets and headed out into the rain, which had picked up. I could have sworn several people behind us were walking close enough to eavesdrop. I hoped I wasn't getting paranoid.

"She wasn't" Edward said. "So, you were watching her before" Rosalie said with a smirk. "Nice one, babe" Emmet said. 

"So, this is a lot different than Phoenix, huh?" he asked.


"It doesn't rain much there, does it?"

"Three or four times a year."

"Wow, what must that be like?" he wondered.

"Sunny," I told him.

"You don't look very tan."

"My mother is part albino."

Everyone smirked a little. 

He studied my face apprehensively, and I sighed. It looked like clouds and a sense of humor didn't mix. A few months of this and I'd forget how to use sarcasm.

They all burst out laughing. Everyone was happy that Edward was getting in a better mood. 

We walked back around the cafeteria, to the south buildings by the gym. Eric walked me right to the door, though it was clearly marked.

Edward growled again. He left and now all of them can do that with Bella except him. 

"Well, good luck," he said as I touched the handle. "Maybe we'll have some other classes together." He sounded hopeful.

I smiled at him vaguely and went inside.

The rest of the morning passed in about the same fashion. My Trigonometry teacher, Mr. Varner, who I would have hated anyway just because of the subject he taught, was the only one who made me stand in front of the class and introduce myself. I stammered, blushed, and tripped over my own boots on the way to my seat.

Emmet and Jasper snorted. Alice smiled sadly missing her clumsy friend. Jasper felt the sadness waves come off of Alice and looked toward her. When he saw how sad she was he pulled her into his lap to comfort her. 

After two classes, I started to recognize several of the faces in each class. There was always someone braver than the others who would introduce themselves and ask me questions about how I was liking Forks. I tried to be diplomatic, but mostly I just lied a lot. At least I never needed the map.

Everyone smirked at Emmet while Emmet ignored them. 

One girl sat next to me in both Trig and Spanish, and she walked with me to the cafeteria for lunch. She was tiny, several inches shorter than my five feet four inches, but her wildly curly dark hair made up a lot of the difference between our heights. I couldn't remember her name, so I smiled and nodded as she prattled about teachers and classes. I didn't try to keep up.

"No one tries to" Edward commented. "Edward, don't be mean" Esme warned. "Fine" Edward sighed. "But she is really mean, you don't want to know what she thinks about Bella" he continued. Then he motioned for Jasper to continue. 

We sat at the end of a full table with several of her friends, who she introduced to me. I forgot all their names as soon as she spoke them. They seemed impressed by her bravery in speaking to me. The boy from English, Eric, waved at me from across the room. 

Edward growled, getting mad. 

It was there, sitting in the lunchroom, trying to make conversation with seven curious strangers, that I first saw them.

They were sitting in the corner of the cafeteria, as far away from where I sat as possible in the long room. There were five of them. They weren't talking, and they weren't eating, though they each had a tray of untouched food in front of them.
"She was really observant" Carlisle said. 

They weren't gawking at me, unlike most of the other students, so it was safe to stare at them without fear of meeting an excessively interested pair of eyes. But it was none of these things that caught, and held, my attention.

"It was our extremely good looks, and Edward's weird face, right?" Emmet asked. Edward growled at him not liking how he described him. 

They didn't look anything alike. Of the three boys, one was big - muscled like a serious weight lifter, with dark, curly hair.

"The amazing Emmet" Emmet shouted. Everyone shushed him. 

Another was taller, leaner, but still muscular, and honey blond.

Jasper smiled knowing it was him. "The spectacular Jasper" Emmet said loudly, though not quite as loudly as before. 

The last was lanky, less bulky, with untidy, bronze-colored hair. He was more boyish than the others, who looked like they could be in college, or even teachers here rather than students.

"That's you Eddie" Emmet said. "That's it" Edward growled and tackled Emmet. Esme was getting fed up with this, as was Carlisle, Alice, and Rosalie. Jasper enjoyed watching them wrestle. "That's enough!" Carlisle shouted. They stopped and looked toward Carlisle. "Now apologize" Carlisle said firmly. "Sorry" they both mumbled. 

The girls were opposites. The tall one was statuesque. She had a beautiful figure, the kind you saw on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, the kind that made every girl around her take a hit on her self-esteem just by being in the same room. Her hair was golden, gently waving to the middle of her back.

"Hey babe, that's you" Emmet said cheerfully. Rosalie just smiled at him happily. 

The short girl was pixielike, thin in the extreme, with small features. Her hair was a deep black,cropped short and pointing in every direction.

"Alice!" said Emmet. 

And yet, they were all exactly alike. Every one of them was chalky pale, the palest of all the students living in this sunless town. Paler than me, the albino.

They all snorted. 

They all had very dark eyes despite the range in hair tones. They also had dark shadows under those eyes - purplish, bruiselike shadows. As if they were all suffering from a sleepless night, or almost done recovering from a broken nose.

"How did she notice all this on her first day?" asked Rosalie shocked. It wasn't that she hated Bella, it was that she didn't like that a human knew their secret. 

Though their noses, all their features, were straight, perfect, angular.

But all this is not why I couldn't look away.

I stared because their faces, so different, so similar, were all devastatingly, inhumanly beautiful.

"She even got inhumanly right" said Emmet surprised. 

They were faces you never expected to see except perhaps on the airbrushed pages of a fashion magazine. Or painted by an old master as the face of an angel. It was hard to decide who was the most beautiful - maybe the perfect blond girl, or the bronze-haired boy.

Rosalie was smiling. She never knew that was how Bella thought of her. "Me" both Edward and Rosalie said at the same time. They glared at each other. The rest of the Cullens were laughing at them. 

They were all looking away - away from each other, away from the other students, away from anything in particular as far as I could tell. As I watched, the small girl rose with her tray -unopened soda, unbitten apple - and walked away with a quick, graceful lope that belonged on a runway. I watched, amazed at her lithe dancer's step, till she dumped her tray and glided through the back door, faster than I would have thought possible.

"Alice" Rosalie groaned. Carlisle was thinking about this. "I think she was meant to be a vampire. I mean, she was able to see Alice running too fast for a human, all the details about your faces, and able to see that you were inhuman. All in one look" he said. Edward was growling at the thought. He didn't want his mate going through that kind of pain. 

My eyes darted back to the others, who sat unchanging.

"Who are they?" I asked the girl from my Spanish class, whose name I'd forgotten.

As she looked up to see who I meant - though already knowing, probably, from my tone - suddenly he looked at her, the thinner one, the boyish one, the youngest, perhaps. He looked at my neighbor for just a fraction of a second, and then his dark eyes flickered to mine.

Edward smiled. He was shocked the first time he saw her eyes. 

He looked away quickly, more quickly than I could, though in a flush of embarrassment I dropped my eyes at once. In that brief flash of a glance, his face held nothing of interest - it was as if she had called his name, and he'd looked up in involuntary response, already having decided not to answer.

Edward's eyes widened. "That's exactly what happened." he stated. The rest of the Cullens were surprised. 

My neighbor giggled in embarrassment, looking at the table like I did.

"That's Edward and Emmett Cullen, and Rosalie and Jasper Hale. The one who left was Alice Cullen; they all live together with Dr. Cullen and his wife." She said this under her breath.

I glanced sideways at the beautiful boy, who was looking at his tray now,picking a bagel to pieces with long, pale fingers. His mouth was moving very quickly, his perfect lips barely opening. The other three still looked away, and yet I felt he was speaking quietly to them.

Wow. Edward heard them all think that one word. He was thinking the same thing. How did his Bella see all that in one or two glances. 

Strange, unpopular names, I thought. The kinds of names grandparents had.

"Excuse me" Rosalie said angrily. "I think she meant that not  many people have those names, and she's right" Carlisle said. 

But maybe that was in vogue here - small town names? I finally remembered that my neighbor was called Jessica, a perfectly common name. There were two girls named Jessica in my History class back home.

They all rolled their eyes. 

"They are... very nice-looking." I struggled with the conspicuous understatement.

"Yes!" Jessica agreed with another giggle. "They're all together though - Emmett and Rosalie, and Jasper and Alice, I mean. And they live together." Her voice held all the shock and condemnation of the small town, I thought critically. But, if I was being honest, I had to admit that even in Phoenix, it would cause gossip.

They all rolled their eyes. It didn't matter to them, and that's all that matters. 

"Which ones are the Cullens?" I asked. "They don't look related..."

"Oh, they're not. Dr. Cullen is really young, in his twenties or early thirties. They're all adopted. The Hales are brother and sister, twins - the blondes - and they're foster children."

"They look a little old for foster children."

"They are now, Jasper and Rosalie are both eighteen, but they've been with Mrs. Cullen since they were eight. She's their aunt or something like that."

"That's really kind of nice - for them to take care of all those kids like that, when they're so young and everything."

Esme and Carlisle smiled. "I'm glad she thinks so." Esme said. 

"I guess so," Jessica admitted reluctantly, and I got the impression that she didn't like the doctor and his wife for some reason. With the glances she was throwing at their adopted children, I would presume the reason was jealousy. "I think that Mrs. Cullen can't have any kids, though," she added, as if that lessened their kindness.

"Thanks Bella" Esme said through her sad smile. Bella was so considerate and she missed her. She knew everyone else missed Bella too. If only they could get Edward to change his mind. 

Throughout all this conversation, my eyes flickered again and again to the table where the strange family sat. They continued to look at the walls and not eat.

"She's really observant" Rosalie said. It was her first real compliment about Bella. 

"Have they always lived in Forks?" I asked. Surely I would have noticed them on one of my summers here.

"No," she said in a voice that implied it should be obvious, even to a new arrival like me. "They just moved down two years ago from somewhere in Alaska."

I felt a surge of pity, and relief.

"Strange combination" Jasper said. 

Pity because, as beautiful as they were, they were outsiders, clearly not accepted. Relief that I wasn't the only newcomer here, and certainly not the most interesting by any standard.

"But we had been there for about 2 years. They probably lost most of their interest any way." Emmet said confused. "Yeah, but she was thinking about how she just got there, we would seem new to her too" Alice tried to explain. 

As I examined them, the youngest, one of the Cullens, looked up and met my gaze, this time with evident curiosity in his expression. As I looked swiftly away, it seemed to me that his glance held some kind of unmet expectation.

"Eddie, why did you look at her that way?" Emmet asked. "First off, don't call me Eddie" Edward growled. "Secondly, I was surprised because I couldn't read her mind" he continued in a less angry voice. 

"Which one is the boy with the reddish brown hair?" I asked. I peeked at him from the corner of my eye, and he was still staring at me, but not gawking like the other students had today - he had a slightly frustrated expression. I looked down again.

"You're making her feel bad Edward" Esme said angrily. "You better have better manners when you meet her" Esme continued. Edward looked down sadly. "I'm afraid I don't. I was too surprised by the smell of her blood" he explained. Esme's look softened when she saw that he was getting into a bad mood again and said "Ok, but just try to be better." Edward nodded. 

"That's Edward. He's gorgeous, of course, but don't waste your time. He doesn't date. Apparently none of the girls here are good-looking enough for him." She sniffed, a clear case of sour grapes. I wondered when he'd turned her down.

"More like how many" Emmet joked. Edward glared at him. 

I bit my lip to hide my smile. Then I glanced at him again. His face was turned away, but I thought his cheek appeared lifted, as if he were smiling, too.

After a few more minutes, the four of them left the table together. They all were noticeably graceful - even the big, brawny one.

"As surprising as that may be, I'm not clumsy and I never was." he said offended. 

It was unsettling to watch. The one named Edward didn't look at me again.

Emmet wiggled his eyebrows at Edward. 

I sat at the table with Jessica and her friends longer than I would have if I'd been sitting alone. I was anxious not to be late for class on my first day. One of my new acquaintances, who considerately reminded me that her name was Angela, had Biology II with me the next hour. We walked to class together in silence. She was shy, too.

"Bella's not overly shy like her though" Alice said. 

When we entered the classroom, Angela went to sit at a black-topped lab table exactly like the ones I was used to. She already had a neighbor. In fact, all the tables were filled but one. Next to the center aisle, I recognized Edward Cullen by his unusual hair, sitting next to that single open seat.

"Now that's just unlucky" Emmet felt the need to say. Edward growled since he was tense remembering what he had thought about during that class. 

As I walked down the aisle to introduce myself to the teacher and get my slip signed, I was watching him surreptitiously. Just as I passed, he suddenly went rigid in his seat. He stared at me again, meeting my eyes with the strangest expression on his face - it was hostile, furious.

Edward was tensing even more. He hated that day. That was the day he thought about killing his Bella. He hated that he even thought about it. 

I looked away quickly, shocked, going red again. I stumbled over a book in the walkway and had to catch myself on the edge of a table. The girl sitting there giggled.

Edward growled. He was getting worse and they all knew that. He needed to be with Bella soon. 

I'd noticed that his eyes were black - coal black.

Everyone gasped. They hadn't realized it was that bad. 

Mr. Banner signed my slip and handed me a book with no nonsense about introductions. I could tell we were going to get along. Of course, he had no choice but to send me to the one open seat in the middle of the room. I kept my eyes down as I went to sit by him, bewildered by the antagonistic stare he'd given me.

Edward was shaking. 

I didn't look up as I set my book on the table and took my seat, but I saw his posture change from the corner of my eye. He was leaning away from me, sitting on the extreme edge of his chair and averting his face like he smelled something bad.

Edward bit his lip. He knew that made her feel bad. 

Inconspicuously, I sniffed my hair.

Everyone snorted with the exception of Edward. He still was feeling really bad that he made her think that. 

It smelled like strawberries, the scent of my favorite shampoo. It seemed an innocent enough odor. I let my hair fall over my right shoulder, making a dark curtain between us, and tried to pay attention to the teacher.

Unfortunately the lecture was on cellular anatomy, something I'd already studied. I took notes carefully anyway, always looking down.

Edward looked down. 

I couldn't stop myself from peeking occasionally through the screen of my hair at the strange boy next to me.

Emmet and Jasper snorted. "Strange indeed" Jasper said with a smirk playing at his lips. 

During the whole class, he never relaxed his stiff position on the edge of his chair, sitting as far from me as possible. I could see his hand on his left leg was clenched into a fist, tendons standing out under his pale skin. This, too, he never relaxed.

"I thought I wasn't going to make it" Edward said softly. They all looked at him sadly. 

He had the long sleeves of his white shirt pushed up to his elbows, and his forearm was surprisingly hard and muscular beneath his light skin. He wasn't nearly as slight as he'd looked next to his burly brother.

"So, don't worry Edward, you still have muscles. It just doesn't look like it next to me." Emmet said trying to cheer him up. It didn't work very will but it stopped Edward from shaking. 

The class seemed to drag on longer than the others. Was it because the day was finally coming to a close, or because I was waiting for his tight fist to loosen? It never did; he continued to sit so still it looked like he wasn't breathing.

"I wasn't" Edward mumbled. "Edward, just be glad that nothing happened." Alice said finally fed up with the way he was acting. 

What was wrong with him? Was this his normal behavior? I questioned my judgment on Jessica's bitterness at lunch today. Maybe she was not as resentful as I'd thought.

It couldn't have anything to do with me. He didn't know me from Eve.

I peeked up at him one more time, and regretted it. He was glaring down at me again, his black eyes full of revulsion.

Edward closed his eyes clenching his fist. "Nothing happened" he kept repeating. 

As I flinched away from him, shrinking against my chair, the phrase if looks could kill suddenly ran through my mind.

At that moment, the bell rang loudly, making me jump, and Edward Cullen was out of his seat. Fluidly he rose - he was much taller than I'd thought - his back to me, and he was out the door before anyone else was out of their seat.

"Nice" Emmet said rolling his eyes. "Well, sorry if I didn't want to kill anyone." Edward retorted. 

I sat frozen in my seat, staring blankly after him. He was so mean. It wasn't fair. I began gathering up my things slowly, trying to block the anger that filled me, for fear my eyes would tear up. For some reason, my temper was hardwired to my tear ducts.

"That's horrible" said Alice. "I would hate that."

I usually cried when I was angry, a humiliating tendency.

"Aren't you Isabella Swan?" a male voice asked.

I looked up to see a cute, baby-faced boy,

Edward growled. "Mike should understand that Bella isn't interested in him" Edward growled out. Emmet and Jasper were sending each other knowing looks at that. Alice was smiling and then got an idea. She looked into the future to see if it would work and it did. She just had to tell everyone her plan about it, well everyone except Edward. 

his pale blond hair carefully gelled into orderly spikes, smiling at me in a friendly way. He obviously didn't think I smelled bad.

They all rolled their eyes. 

"Bella," I corrected him, with a smile.

"I'm Mike."

"Hi, Mike."

"Do you need any help finding your next class?"

"I'm headed to the gym, actually. I think I can find it."

"That's my next class, too." He seemed thrilled, though it wasn't that big of a coincidence in a school this small.

"True" Jasper mumbled. 

We walked to class together; he was a chatterer - he supplied most of the conversation, which made it easy for me. He'd lived in California till he was ten, so he knew how I felt about the sun. It turned out he was in my English class also. He was the nicest person I'd met today.

They all looked at Edwad at that. He was looking down at the ground with a scowl on his face. 

But as we were entering the gym, he asked, "So, did you stab Edward Cullen with a pencil or what? I've never seen him act like that."

I cringed. So I wasn't the only one who had noticed. And, apparently, that wasn't Edward Cullen's usual behavior.

"Sorry Bella" Edward whispered. 

I decided to play dumb.

"Was that the boy I sat next to in Biology?" I asked artlessly.

"Yes," he said. "He looked like he was in pain or something."

"I don't know," I responded. "I never spoke to him."

"He's a weird guy." Mike lingered by me instead of heading to the dressing room. "If I were lucky enough to sit by you, I would have talked to you."

Edward growled at this. 

I smiled at him before walking through the girls' locker room door. He was friendly and clearly admiring. But it wasn't enough to ease my irritation.

The Gym teacher, Coach Clapp, found me a uniform but didn't make me dress down for today's class. At home, only two years of P. E. were required. Here, P.E. was mandatory all four years. Forks was literally my personal hell on Earth.

Emmet snorted. 

I watched four volleyball games running simultaneously. Remembering how many injuries I had sustained - and inflicted - playing volleyball, I felt faintly nauseated.

Emmet and Jasper waed to change gym classes to have one with Bella. Everyone could tell by the way they smirked at each other. 

The final bell rang at last. I walked slowly to the office to return my paperwork. The rain had drifted away, but the wind was strong, and colder. I wrapped my arms around myself.

When I walked into the warm office, I almost turned around and walked back out.

Edward Cullen stood at the desk in front of me.

Edward bit his lip. He kew what she heard and it wasn't very nice fore her. 

I recognized again that tousled bronze hair. He didn't appear to notice the sound of my entrance. I stood pressed against the back wall, waiting for the receptionist to be free.

He was arguing with her in a low, attractive voice. I quickly picked up the gist of the argument. He was trying to trade from sixth-hour Biology to another time - any other time.

"That must have made her feel horrible." said Rosalie. "I know" Edward snapped. 

I just couldn't believe that this was about me. It had to be something else, something that happened before I entered the Biology room. The look on his face must have been about another aggravation entirely. It was impossible that this stranger could take such a sudden, intense dislike to me.

They all smirked at Edward. It wasn't what she thought as they knew. 

The door opened again, and the cold wind suddenly gusted through the room, rustling the papers on the desk, swirling my hair around my face. The girl who came in merely stepped to the desk, placed a note in the wire basket, and walked out again. But Edward Cullen's back stiffened, and he turned slowly to glare at me - his face was absurdly handsome - with piercing, hate-filled eyes.

"Wow, that was just extremely bad luck"said Emmet, not even meaning for it to sound humorous. 

For an instant, I felt a thrill of genuine fear, raising the hair on my arms. The look only lasted a second, but it chilled me more than the freezing wind. He turned back to the receptionist.

"Never mind, then," he said hastily in a voice like velvet. "I can see that it's impossible. Thank you so much for your help." And he turned on his heel without another look at me, and disappeared out the door.

They all raised an eyebrow at that. Why didn't he try to fight harder, even though she was there, i was only for a second. 

I went meekly to the desk, my face white for once instead of red, and handed her the signed slip.

"How did your first day go, dear?" the receptionist asked maternally.

"Fine," I lied, my voice weak. She didn't look convinced.

"She's a terrible liar" Alice said. She wanted to go back to her best friend. Edward glared at her hearing where her thoughts were leading him. 

When I got to the truck, it was almost the last car in the lot. It seemed like a haven, already the closest thing to home I had in this damp green hole. I sat inside for a while, just staring out the windshield blankly. But soon I was cold enough to need the heater, so I turned the key and the engine roared to life. I headed back to Charlie's house, fighting tears the whole way there. 

"I made her cry." Edward said horrified. "It's ok, she forgave you" Alice tried to comfort while Jasper sent him calming waves. Edward nodded but not looking fully convinced. "Why don't you go hunting, you haven't hunted in awhile." Alice said trying to hint that she need to talk to everyone else. He nodded and got up to leave. "I'll be back soon" he said and left. 

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