I groaned and stretched as the alarm clock sounded somewhere close to my right ear. Not yet, I silently begged. I wasn't ready to face my first day in a new school yet. Ugh. I rolled over on my stomach and buried my face in the pillow.
"Sweetie, it's time to get up." My mother Esme's voice permeated my consciousness.
"I don't want to," I groaned, rolling over onto my back.
"Edward. Come on," she said, adding a little more force. "You don't want to be late for your first day."
Knowing it was inevitable, I rolled out of bed, shivering as my feet hit the cold floor.
I showered and dressed quickly, standing briefly in front of the long mirror on my closet door to study my face. I looked tired and pale in the grey morning light. There was a light stubble on my face but I didn't bother shaving. My copper colored hair was its usual chaotic mess. I sighed while running my hands through it. Forget it, I thought darkly. It never did anything that I wanted it to do, so I had stopped trying a long time ago. I stumbled down the stairs, stubbing my toe as I went, cursing under my breath.
"Good morning, Son," my father Carlisle's booming voice echoed through our new kitchen. He was sitting at the table, reading the paper. Could he be any more of a cliché?
My mom was bustling around the kitchen and I could hear the popping and frying of bacon on the stove. My stomach rolled as the smell of hot grease hit my nose. I was definitely too anxious to handle bacon this morning.
"Sit down, Edward. Eat," Esme ordered, motioning to the table.
"I'm not really hungry, mom. I think I'm going to head off to school. I don't want to be late," I answered, grabbing my bag and heading for the door.
"Okay, honey. I hope you have a good day," she said pressing a warm kiss to my forehead as she intercepted my exit. I shivered and pulled my coat tighter as the cold air hit me. I looked up at the dark grey sky and groaned. The cold was familiar; it was cold in Chicago. The wet was going to take some getting used to though. As I looked up at the rolling black clouds, I could feel a fine mist coating my face.
I sighed as I lugged the door of my old beat up truck open. Carlisle had given me a hard time about bringing this truck with us all the way across the country to Forks, but I insisted. I loved this truck; it had a lot of personality. It was the kind of giant hunk of steel that they just didn't make anymore. The engine roared to life and the sound was somehow comforting in the early morning. It was familiar in the new wet green landscape that I now called home.
We had moved to Forks, Washington last week when Carlisle took a job as the new Chief of Medicine at the hospital in Forks. When he had come home months ago and told Esme and me that he was thinking of accepting the position, we both thought he was crazy. But ultimately, Esme and I gave in to his desire to return to his home state. We understood that he was sick of the drama and politics of the large hospital in Chicago, and longed for the small town atmosphere and simplicity of a place like Forks. Unfortunately for me, this meant changing high schools during my senior year. Relocating to a small town in the Olympic Peninsula was less than ideal as far as I was concerned, but Esme and I were willing to sacrifice for Carlisle.
I sighed again and tried to rub the sleep out of my eyes as I navigated my way through the streets of the drowsy little town. The roads were wet, of course, and all I could see passing by as I drove was a blur of green. I knew the way to the high school because I had already driven by it several times since we arrived last week.
I pulled into the parking lot of the small school. I easily found a parking spot, even though I was running later than I wanted due to the argument with my alarm clock. I zipped up my old ragged jacket and slung my backpack over my shoulder as I slammed the door of my ancient truck. I headed for the small cottage style building which appeared to be the office so I could check in.
The secretary looked up as I entered the small, warm room. As she took in my appearance, she smiled as if she were expecting me. Great, I thought sarcastically. Stupid small town.
"You must be Edward Cullen. We've been expecting you to show up. I have everything you need right here, dear," she said as she handed me a stack of papers. I smiled politely at her. In the back of my mind I had known that someone with Carlisle's credentials coming to this small town would be a big deal. I just didn't want to have to deal with it. I took the papers from her and found the small map. I didn't anticipate having any problems finding my way around this small school since the high school I had attended in Chicago was much bigger than this one. If I could handle that, this one should be a piece of cake.
My first class was English. I found the classroom and ducked into a seat near the back of the room after handing my paperwork to the teacher. I took a deep breath and looked around the classroom. It was small and the desks were old and worn. The floor was faded linoleum and the chairs sounded loud as students shifted around in their seats before class started.
I turned my attention from my surroundings to my new classmates and was slightly annoyed to be met by so many curious stares. I sighed and ran my hand through my hair.
"Don't worry, man. They're like lemmings. Once the next shiny new object comes their way you won't get so much attention."
I turned to see a boy with dirty blond hair falling in his eyes smirking at me. I smiled at him and shook my head.
"Well, I hope for my sake they get something shiny and new soon. I don't do well in the spotlight," I said, scrubbing my hand over my face and through my hair again.
"The bad thing about living in a small town is everyone knows your business. The good thing is, since it's a small town it's boring as hell, so you usually don't have any business," he grinned, and I couldn't help but grin back at him. "I'm Jasper," he said nodding at me. "My family moved here a few years ago from Texas, so I know what you're going through."
"Yeah, it's a little different from Chicago. I'm Edward."
We turned our attention to Mr. Wagner as he began his lecture. The rest of the morning passed in much the same way. There were curious stares and ill-concealed whispers as I walked into each new class.
Later, when I was heading towards the cafeteria for lunch I spotted the boy from English, Jasper, ahead of me. I hurried and caught up with him. He turned his head to the side as I reached him.
"Lunch?" he asked simply.
"Sure," I said and followed him.
We reached the small cafeteria. I looked around briefly as we entered. The Formica tables were multicolored and faded and didn't seem to be arranged in any particular order; that in combination with the random squares of colored tiles placed in the linoleum floor in no discernable pattern made my OCD flair up.
Jasper sauntered over to a table and tossed his stuff on the floor. Already occupying a chair at the table was an icy looking blond girl who eyed me suspiciously for a moment before looking around the cafeteria as though searching for something. After furrowing my brow at her briefly trying to figure out why she looked so annoyed, I turned my attention to the table's other occupant: a tiny girl with short black hair who looked like she was vibrating as she sat there looking at Jasper. He smiled lazily at her and leaned down to kiss her. As soon as his lips touched hers, she stopped moving and I could almost hear her sigh in relief.
"Sorry," he said, breaking their rather intimate posture, "this is Edward. Edward, this is my sister Rosalie and my girlfriend Alice." He gestured first to the blond, and then to the tiny raven haired girl.
The blond raised one eyebrow at me before looking over my shoulder, resuming her search for something. The dark haired girl bounced in her seat.
"Don't mind Rosalie. She's not able to rest until she sees Emmett. It's nice to meet you. I'm Alice," she grinned at me. I couldn't help but smile at both her and her enthusiasm, even though her intensity was slightly annoying.
I set my bag down and went to get in line. I grabbed a slice of pizza and a soda and returned to the table. In my absence, Rosalie had apparently found what she was looking for in the form of a huge boy with brown curly hair. As I sat down at the table, she was draped over him and he was grinning as she whispered in his ear. As I set my tray down she looked up at me and I could have sworn I saw her roll her eyes at me.
"Emmett, this is Edward, Jasper's new friend," she said, her icy tone matching the cold stare she gave me.
"Nice to meet you, man," Emmett boomed, reaching out a hand. I took it and had to make an effort not to wince as he tried to crush my palm.
Jasper and Alice returned with their food shortly and we all ate and laughed. I was surprised at how much of a good time I was having with these people. Aside from Rosalie's rude behavior, everyone was friendly.
We were all laughing at Jasper as he juggled apples while Emmett tried to throw an orange in to disrupt his concentration, when my attention was diverted. Across the cafeteria, the door had just opened, letting in an icy gust of air. In walked a blond boy with his arm around a shorter, just as blond girl. They were smiling at each other. I couldn't help but notice that they were both very attractive. I noted, with some amusement the marked difference between them and the rest of the population of Forks High; their clothes were obviously expensive, and they carried themselves...differently. They didn't look like they belonged in a high school cafeteria where people were juggling fruit and displaying too much public affection. I shrugged to myself, and was about to turn my attention back to the more ordinary members of the Forks High population at my table when I saw her.
She walked in behind the beautiful couple. If I had described them as beautiful, then I had no words to describe her. She had long brown hair that hung in loose shimmering waves down her back. She was small, no more than five foot four or five, and very petite while still being curvy. Her skin was incredibly pale, and the contrast between it and her dark hair was amazing. Even from across the cafeteria I could see that she had full lips and thick long lashes. She was also clad in expensive looking clothing, and, like her companions, looked like she did not belong here. She scanned the cafeteria quickly with a disinterested look, quickly taking a seat with the boy and girl. She moved so gracefully and with such poise I couldn't seem to tear my eyes away.
I continued to watch the small group with their trays of food none of them seemed to touch. It didn't appear that any of them were talking to each other, but at the same time they were clearly not interested in the rest of the student body in the room either. I couldn't help staring. I was fascinated by these people. Who were they? What were they doing somewhere they so obviously did not belong?
"Dude, Edward. Are you coming? What's your next class?" I finally registered the voice that was speaking to me; Jasper.
"Umm..." I quickly consulted my schedule, "Spanish with Mrs. Goff."
"Oh! Jasper, that's on your way to Chemistry! You could walk Edward!" Alice chirped.
Jasper and I exchanged an uncomfortable look, both trying to assess if that is what the other wanted. Clearly, it was not.
"Uh, that's okay, Alice. I got it," I said quickly, as the look of relief washed over Jasper's face. Alice looked puzzled for a moment. I chuckled as I walked away and heard Jasper murmuring to Alice about why guys don't "walk each other to class."
Despite Alice's concerns, I found the Spanish classroom, and the rest of my classes, quite easily. The last class of the day was Biology. I found the small classroom, walked in, and handed my paperwork to the teacher.
"Welcome to class, son. I'm Mr. Banner. I assume that you took biology in Chicago," he said.
I answered that I had, keeping to myself the opinion that I had probably taken a much more advanced biology class in Chicago than what this little high school offered.
"Please take a seat. It looks like there are several available in the back of the room," Mr. Banner said.
I nodded and turned to walk towards the back of the room. That's when I saw her. My breath caught as I saw her hair fanned out over her shoulder. Her head was down and she was looking at a book as I walked towards the back. There was an empty chair next to the one she was occupying. I glanced briefly around and saw there were several other empty chairs, but I knew which one I would be sitting in. It might as well have been the only table in the room.
I approached and let my backpack thump onto the table. She continued to stare at her book for a moment before finally lifting her head to level her gaze at me. What I saw there staggered me. Her eyes were the most amazing color I'd ever seen. They were a rich topaz gold. Her face was impossibly pale and again I was struck by the contrast between it and her dark rich hair. She was gorgeous; her features were perfect. Besides her amazing eyes, she had a small heart shaped face with high cheek bones, and her nose and chin were perfectly proportioned.
She stared at me for a moment, and I was confused by the intensity of her gaze. Finally, her look turned to one of frustration and what seemed to be surprise. She furrowed her eyebrows briefly before breaking eye contact and returning to her book.
I pulled the chair out, letting it scrape across the linoleum floor loudly. I was confused and a little irritated by her look. Why did she look so frustrated? I decided to properly introduce myself.
"Hey, I'm Edward. Mind if I sit here?" I ventured, even though I was already in the process of sitting down, and really had no intention of moving.
Without looking up she nodded. I looked at her, puzzled. What is with the girls in this hick town? First Rosalie, now this girl. I wanted to push her further, to know why she was so obviously frustrated by me. Before I could say anything, Mr. Banner cleared his throat to signal he was starting class. As I sat there pretending to listen to the lecture, it occurred to me that maybe it was a mistake to choose to sit next to her when there were so many other choices. But as her beautiful face popped into my head again I felt like I had to be near her.
She continued to sit in the same position looking at her book, occasionally taking notes throughout class. Her hair fanned over her shoulder, creating a curtain so I couldn't see her face.
About ten minutes before the period was up she finally moved. I froze as she took her hand and swept her long brown hair back over her shoulder. The scent that hit my nose was intoxicating. It smelled like strawberries, and vanilla, and...heaven. Was that her? How could she smell like that? I'd never smelled anything like it.
Dazed, I looked up at her. For the briefest moment her eyes met mine again. The intensity of her gaze had me captivated. I couldn't stop staring into her golden eyes.
Finally, after what felt like forever, but not long enough, she broke away from my gaze. She sighed quietly, swung her hair back over her shoulder, and resumed perusing her book. I cleared my throat, suddenly embarrassed by my reaction to a simple look.
The period ended and she was out of her seat and out the door before I could even react, leaving me in a confused strawberry vanilla haze. I couldn't stop thinking about her as I gathered my things and prepared to leave. I didn't even know her name; I'd never even heard her speak. I tried to shake her from my head.
As I wandered outside, I spotted Jasper in the parking lot. I began walking towards my car. Jasper waved as he spotted me and trotted over.
"So, how was your first day?" he smirked. I sighed. I wasn't sure how to describe it, so I settled for a shrug.
"Don't worry. The slack-jawed-gawkers will be less interested tomorrow," he laughed.
"That will be a relief. By the way, Wagner's English assignment seems like it's going to really suck. Have you started on it yet?" I asked, suddenly remembering the heinous project assigned earlier in the day.
"Yeah, I've worked on it a little bit. Do you want to come over later and take a look at my notes?" Jasper suggested, scratching his chin.
"Sure," I shrugged. I liked Jasper so far. He seemed pretty laid back. Plus it would be nice to get a look at his notes for the assignment since I was getting a late start on it.
After receiving directions from Jasper, I got in my truck and headed home. I decided I should probably shower and check in with my mom. I was fully anticipating the third degree from her about my first day.
"Hi dear! How was your first day?" she asked predictably as she rounded the corner to the entry way. I ran my fingers through my unruly hair and dropped my backpack on the floor. I pecked my mother's soft cheek and sniffed loudly.
"What is that smell? Did you make me cookies, Mom?" I smiled as we headed into the kitchen. Sure enough, there was a plate of cookies and a glass of milk waiting for me at the table. She was so Suzy Homemaker. It was slightly ridiculous, but also a little endearing. I snatched a cookie from the plate and popped it in my mouth, its warm chocolate melting immediately. Suzy Homemaker or not, her cookies were the best.
"It was a good day. I met some people. One of them asked me to come over and do homework tonight," I said as I headed up the stairs.
Esme beamed. "Oh! I knew you'd make friends. Tell me all about them, dear!" she called from the bottom of the stairs.
"Later, Ma. I'm going to shower," I shouted down the stairs.
I showered and changed before heading out the door to Jasper's house. I'm pretty sure Esme wanted to protest about my leaving without dinner, but her desire for me to make friends overrode her concern for my nutritional needs.
It wasn't difficult to find Jasper's house. It turns out it was just down the road from mine. But then, Forks was a small town. Everything was just down the road from my house. He answered the door and showed me in to his room. He grabbed his Ipod and tossed it to me, telling me to pick some music I liked. He had a lot of music, I liked that.
After about an hour of hanging out in his room and surfing the internet watching YouTube videos, I decided to ask Jasper for some information.
"So, I sat next to this girl in biology today. I was wondering what you know about her."
"Oh yeah? Making a move already, huh Cullen? Nice," Jasper smirked. I rolled my eyes and threw a pillow at him where he lay on his bedroom floor.
"I don't know. Probably not. She just acted really weird, and I want to know what her deal is."
"Who is it?" he asked, propping his head against the wall with the pillow I had just thrown at him.
"I don't know her name. I introduced myself to her, and she just stared at me. It was really awkward."
I sighed. That wasn't going to be hard. Her beautiful face had been running through my head all day. "She's got long brown hair, great body, and these weird gold--" I stopped when I heard Jasper laughing loudly.
"What?" I asked, annoyed.
"That's Bella Swan, man. Yeah. She's weird, but that's an understatement. I mean, yeah, I guess she's hot and all; I've never really thought about it. But don't even bother."
Bella Swan. I thought about how her name fit her. Then I remembered the second part of what Jasper had said. How could he never have thought about her as being pretty? I mean, I get that he's devoted to Alice, but to not even notice someone as phenomenal looking as Bella Swan? That was just bizarre.
"Wait, what? What do you mean don't bother?" I asked, trying to sound casual.
"Listen. She doesn't date. Ever. She doesn't even hang out with anyone except her sister and her cousin or whatever he is. Jessica and Mike, who, by the way, are dating. Yeah, it's just...weird. I don't know. Just, don't waste your time," he finished, shaking his head.
"Yeah, no. I wasn't going to," I said, shaking my head distractedly.
After that we worked on the English assignment for a while and Jasper asked me if I wanted to stay for dinner. I declined, saying I needed to get home before it got too late. That was partly true. However, I really felt like I needed to get home and clear my head. All I kept thinking about was Bella.
Bella Swan. Jasper said don't bother. Why was she so reclusive? She was gorgeous. I was sure that she could have dated any boy in school. But yet, according to Jasper, she ignored them, and they all ignored her. It was odd. I just couldn't figure it out. And what was the deal with her sister and cousin's situation?
Later, as I lay in my bed listening to the rain pound against my window in my new bedroom, I thought about the mysterious girl who had invaded my thoughts all day.
The more I thought about it, the more determined I was to crack the mystery that was Bella Swan.