Author: AngryBadgerGirl PM
Bella's a freshman at Dartmouth who lives with 5 upperclassmen, including broody Edward, a vegetarian with a fixation on vampires. Plot line similar to the original Twi novel w/o the cockblocking and with more laughs. LEMONS, AH, canon pairings, BPOV.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Humor - Bella & Edward - Chapters: 21 - Words: 94,772 - Reviews: 839 - Favs: 1,861 - Follows: 371 - Published: 06-07-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5118963
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I've been getting a lot of requests to have this fic available again. I have no plans for doing anything with it so I'm disseminating it publicly. Thanks to everyone who keep asking to read it again. I didn't realize anyone gave a turd. ;o)
I do not own Twilight, I just hate the cockblocking.
Chapter One: How to Lose Friends and Disinterest People
"I'm a new soul
I came to this strange world
hoping I could learn a bit 'bout how to give and take
But since I came here, felt the joy and the fear
finding myself making every possible mistake…"
—Yael Naim, "New Soul"
So here I am, Bella Swan—officially a college freshman at Dartmouth. It's my first day in New Hampshire and I feel…good. The feeling I have isn't insanely awesome, but it isn't horrible either. It's a mixture of excitement and fear of the unknown. I like being challenged like that, to be honest. I'm up for whatever comes my way.
On the other hand, I never thought I'd move so far from my adopted hometown of Forks, Washington. I'm originally from Phoenix but moved to Forks to live with my dad when I was seventeen. My mom remarried after being divorced from my dad for many years. I liked my step dad and was happy for my mom. But honestly, their marriage was the start of a new life for them that I didn't especially want to intrude upon. What I mean is there was a vibe around them that frankly made me kinda weirded out. There was the constant kissing and snuggling, the sweet nothings and "honey" and "sweetie." It was like Valentine's Day everyday with those two and I felt like a voyeur or creepy peeping tom around them.
My mom deserved all the romance and happiness, but I thought I deserved to feel comfortable in my own house. So the perfect opportunity came in the form of my dad, Charlie. I used to spend summers with him as a kid. It was fun until I realized there was nothing interesting to do for people over the age of ten, unless you were the outdoorsy fisherman type. On top of that, the weather just plain sucked. But in spite of that stuff, my dad was a decent guy who didn't talk much, but when he did, he was always honest and straightforward. My dad was no-nonsense—very "meat and potatoes." He was easy for me to get along with and made the ideal person for me to live with. So at the beginning of my junior year, I moved in with him.
My high school AP English teacher was a Dartmouth graduate. She came up to me on my birthday senior year (in September) and handed me a thick yellow envelope. She just said "fill this out and mail it. Don't think about it. Just do it. I'll write you a letter of recommendation. Have a happy birthday." I didn't have to look at the packet closely to know it was an application to Dartmouth.
When I got home that afternoon I did end up thinking about it, but just a little. I honestly didn't know what my chances were of getting into an Ivy League school. But I did know that I didn't want to go to UW in Seattle. It seemed like everyone in the graduating class of Forks High who planned on going to college was enrolling at UW. I was never a "follow the crowd" kind of person. I needed to do something different and this was my chance to do that.
The truth is I had good grades. Literature was always my passion and I submitted papers to all kinds of student journals around the country. I got published in some very respectable ones, all nationally recognized and pretty selective. I volunteered at the nearby Native American reservation in nearby La Push tutoring elementary school kids in reading. I worked as a clerk at the Forks police department since my dad was the sheriff. These were the "well rounded" qualities I knew the more competitive colleges were looking for. I figured "fuck it, the worst that can happen is I get rejected." To my sheer and utter delight, I did not get rejected. Translation: I ran around my house screaming and jumping for an hour. Even my very even-keeled dad got caught up in my craziness. "You did good Bells. I knew they'd be crazy to turn you down," he said with a huge grin on his face. He gave me a tight hug and a pat on the back.
My dad is with me today to help me settle in but is flying back home to Forks later this afternoon. I just got my housing assignment today after not knowing all summer where I'd end up. It turns out the school has a really bad housing shortage this year and the housing office is scrambling to place freshmen wherever there's space.
I look at the piece of paper with my assignment on it. It says
Name: Swan, Isabella M.
Location: Meyer Cluster, #913. Co-Ed
I cannot believe my luck. When I say luck, I'm purposely not saying whether it's good or bad. First of all, judging by my campus map, Meyer Cluster is a group of houses for upperclassmen. Cool, right? Um, yeah, it's cool if you consider yourself a cool person. Second of all—did that say Co-ed?!? These houses have male and female residents. They don't share bedrooms but they probably share common areas…like bathrooms. Crap! Charlie is gonna go nuts. Not to mention, I'm no prude but I don't know how I feel about sharing space with the opposite sex. I just hope they aren't slobs or pervs. Looks like I'll be spending a lot of time in the library. Eh, some things don't change.
I tinker with the new keys in my hand and show my dad where we're headed.
"Bells, this says 'co-ed,'" he says as he looks up at me with a raised eyebrow.
"I know Dad. Trust me; I requested an all female freshman dorm. I wanted to live on the literature floor for English majors. This is where they had space, I guess."
"And you're OK with this, Bells?" he asks, looking a little apprehensive. Uh oh, here comes Papa Bear. "I don't really like the idea of college boys living in the same house as my daughter. I know you can handle yourself; it's them I don't trust. I was a young guy once, I know how they think, and I know what they're thinking!" he huffs as his left eyelid starts to do that crazy twitching thing it did when he's agitated. It's the only way to tell when he's getting worked up.
A comment like that deserves a flippant response. "I'll try my very best to defend my honor and virtue, Charlie," doing my best Scarlett O'Hara drawl while tilting my head back and pressing the back of my hand to my forehead. I always called my dad by his first name. It's been my way of showing affection for him in my own weird way. "Besides, if I live in a house with a kitchen, I'll get to cook my own meals. That alone makes it worth it," I add, seriously. My dad knows how much I loved to cook. It never felt like a chore for me, in fact it's like a favorite hobby that makes me happy. And not to be snobby or anything, but campus cafeteria food sounds totally unappealing to me.
It looks like that snapped him out of his overprotective mood and with resignation in his voice, he says "alright, well. Whatever makes it feel like home for you is fine by me, sweetie. Just know I'm only a phone call away." He's calmer now and his eyelid is back to normal. "Bells, I'm gonna miss your cooking," he says with a sigh. I know what he really means he'll miss. But that's what great about me and Charlie. He didn't have to say the exact words he was thinking for me to understand.
We navigate our rental truck through the massive traffic jams around campus and find our way to my new home for the next nine months. Meyer Cluster was a group of small two storey houses, surrounded by trees, their leaves now starting to change color for fall. It all looks so quaint. Beautiful reds, golds, and browns adorn the landscape. The small street has old black wrought iron lamps to softly light the night sky. The houses themselves look turn-of-the-century, made with red brick with beautiful arched picture windows. Of course, there's ivy growing along the sides of every house and a charming little chimney on each roof. There's a bay window in the center of every first floor with a large cushioned bench instead of a window sill—perfect for cuddling up on with a book on a cold snowy day. These homes are old but lovingly maintained. I feel like I'm looking at a postcard.
We find my house and there's chaos everywhere outside around the cluster. There are people moving their stuff in every which way. Cars are parked on the lawns and people are lugging their belongings in boxes, bags, and trunks. There's a frenetic energy in the air that I can't help but get caught up in. It's all about possibilities. It's all about taking a giant bite out of life and savoring every last morsel. It's time to start a new chapter in the book of Bella and I am so up for it.
I get to the front lawn of my new house—913 Meyer Lane. The front door is wide open. Great, that good buzz I was feeling is now rapidly turning into anxiety. Someone is already here. I can literally feel insecurity wash over me in a wave. It's not that I'm shy per se. I just always seem to have trouble making a good first impression. It's pretty much a forgone conclusion for me by now that people always need a little extra time to get to know the real me. Not to mention, these new housemates were all older than me. It's likely they've known each other for a long time and have lived together before. Talk about a socially uneven playing field. I am doomed to be the odd one out here. I just know it.
I grab a box out of the back of the truck and head towards the door. I see someone walk out. Suddenly my foot gets caught on a stone in the grass and I stumble forward, launching my box full of toiletries into the air and they land scattershot all over the lawn. Shit, isn't this just perfect?
I look up and see the cover of Vogue staring down at me with a raised eyebrow. It's a perfectly shaped, highly arched eyebrow on a face that would make Heidi Klum look like a puddle of oatmeal. She has gorgeous blonde hair that cascades in perfect waves on her delicate shoulders. She looks like a combination of the beautiful Veronica Lake and the saucy Mae West. She's wearing a gorgeous silk red peasant blouse with a plunging neckline and snug khaki capris. I look at her feet—black patent leather peep-toe stilettos with that trademark red sole. I read the celebrity gossip blogs occasionally. Even someone as fashion-challenged as me can recognize Christian Louboutin heels when I see them. She's standing in the grass, on move-in day, wearing thousand dollar heels. This just keeps getting better.
I look up again at her face and she's glaring at me. She's still a vision, even when pissed off.
"Sweetie," she pushed out sharply between perfect, wintry white teeth. "Can you please not fertilize my lawn with your tampons?" Several people within earshot turn and giggle quietly.
I feel the sudden rush of heat to my face. Fuck! I hate the way I blush. It's so freaking stupid to react this way when I'm flustered. It makes me look like a socially retarded shut-in.
"Um, yeah, I'm sorry. I tripped and dropped my stuff," I stammer as I try to right myself back up. Another perfect first impression made by Bella. I swear, Murphy's Law was written just for me. Only I would encounter a complete goddess and trip like a spastic ostrich in the first minute I meet her.
"Yes, I saw that. Let me help you before you water the Ivy with your mouthwash," she replies dryly. She walks up closer to me and extends a perfectly manicured hand. "I'm Rosalie Hale. And you are?"
"Isabella Swan. Everyone calls me Bella," I reply as I shake her graceful, soft hand.
"Ah, Bella! Parlate italiano? Come siete? Amo Milano nella molla," she says, rolling the words easily from her tongue. Is she really speaking to me in perfect Italian? God I am so out-gunned, it's not even funny.
"Sorry, I don't understand Italian," I reply sheepishly. "I just happen to have an Italian first name because my mom liked it." I couldn't feel any less awkward and completely ordinary. Suddenly I'm like a teeny tiny goldfish in a huge ocean and a beautiful, cunning shark was trying to make idle chit chat with me.
"Oh," she says tilting her head and pursing her fire engine red lips. Geez, Dita Von Teese had nothing on this chick. "I asked how you were and said that I love Milan in the spring. I've spent time there both for pleasure and to work for Versace at their headquarters. I'm double majoring in Econ and French. I plan on working at one of the major fashion houses in Paris when I graduate, handling financials, mergers and acquisitions, and the like. I have an internship at Chanel lined up for next summer."
Of course you love Milan in the spring and work in fashion and financials and speak a bunch of languages all the while managing a double major course load, you perfect creature with stunning features and cultured manners. Now let me embarrass myself further by admitting that I've never even been to Canada even though I lived in the Pacific Northwest for two years, I think to myself. Oh and did I mention I only speak English and still count on my fingers?
"Wow, Milan and Paris…" I mumble. Nice response Bella. You simply ooze glamour.
"So, you must be our new housemate," she says. "I heard we're inundated with freshmen this year and campus housing has placed you here. Well, sorry you're stuck with us," she says, smiling warmly now. I think she understands the awkwardness of all this, and decorum demands that she be gracious. It's clear she's just following social protocol and not really trying to assuage my feelings. Sharks don't exactly cuddle, after all.
"Come, let me show you around. My movers will get your things, don't bother with it yourself. We've got more important things to do," she insists as she clears her throat loudly. Instantly, a man in a work uniform materializes by her side. With a flick of her hand and a few quick words, she sends him in the direction of my truck, its bed full of my things.
OK this chick has her own movers? What the fuck? She's got a staff of lackeys for move in day. I'm both terrified and blown away by all this. I feel like I'm on a different planet.
After polite introductions between Rosalie and my dad, I give him a list of things I need from the grocery store and some other sundries I neglected to bring with me from Forks. The movers have already gotten everything out of the back of the truck and onto the lawn. With a nod and a wave he drives off to run my errands.
Rosalie motions her head toward the front door. "I'll introduce you to the other housemates," she says, somewhat impatiently. She turns sharply on her beautiful but dangerous heel and starts walking, not looking back at whether I follow her or not.