Offerings Chapter 1

Author's note: this is largely copied from the first chapter of twilight but changed to third person pov from first, so if it sounds familiar, that is why. You have probably read it in more than a few fanfics.

My theory is that if Bella is Edward's singer then, as an instinctive reaction, she should be more frightened of him than his usual human prey. At p15 when she runs into him at the office, he genuinely terrifies her and later at p23 when all the Cullens are back at the lunch table, she feels nauseous. What if it was his scent? What if she retained that fear? How would Edward react?

Also this Jake is older than Bella rather than younger. He looked older in the banner. She moves to Forks in her final year of school as well. And it is cop Jake. I know… right? Blame goldengirl. It was her banner and I just had to have it.

Voting is open in the non-canon awards as well. You have until the 9th April 2014

thenon-canonawards. blogspot. com. au/

Offerings - chapter 1

Her mother drove to the airport with the windows rolled down. It was seventy-five degrees in Phoenix, the sky a perfect, cloudless blue. And she was wearing her favorite shirt — sleeveless, white eyelet lace; she was wearing it as a farewell gesture. Her carry-on item was a parka.

She was on her way to Forks, Washington. A small town covered in an almost constant layer of cloud. She hadn't been there since she was fourteen and refused to spend any more summers watching her father fish.

They went to California and Disneyland instead.

"Bella," her mom said for the thousandth time, although it was probably the last, "You don't have to do this."

Her mother looked tired and wan; her tan was fading. She had less time to sunbake and even if she'd had the time, sunbaking no longer had any attraction for her.

"I want to go," Bella lied. She'd always been a bad liar, but she'd been saying this lie so frequently lately that it sounded almost convincing now.

She was going to Forks to get away from her home. Her stepfather Phil was ill. Skin cancer. He was a minor league baseball player who had never put on enough sunscreen and then he had noticed an odd mole on the back of his neck. It was cancer and it was too close to his spinal cord. Her mother, Renee, who had always been scatterbrained and impractical, had morphed into a capable person. Maybe when the stakes were high enough she could pull it together?

She had left Charlie when Bella was a baby and managed to raise her pretty much on her own, so she can't have been a total airhead.

Bella was in her final year of High School and the atmosphere at home was too tense and too emotional for her to concentrate on her subjects. She couldn't study and her grades were dropping. Studying in the ugly vinyl chair-filled waiting rooms in the hospital was just not possible. Phil was fighting it; he was always a fighter, but Bella felt useless around the house.

And powerless to help.

If she went and lived with her father, her mother could put all her energy into helping Phil get better.

It was the right thing to do. One year of her life was a small price to pay for Phil.

"Don't worry about me," Bella urged. "I'll be fine. You look after Phil. I love you, Mom."

Renee hugged her tightly for a minute, and then Bella got on the plane, and her mother was gone.


She spent the four hour flight to Seattle worrying about how she and Charlie would get on. Two weeks a year she had spent with him. They barely knew each other. She had been trying to call him more often but neither of them were big on chat.

She switched planes to board a much smaller aircraft for the one hour flight to Port Angeles. She knew Charlie would pick her up in the police cruiser and then they had another one hour drive to Forks.

Charlie gave her an awkward, one-armed hug when she stumbled off the plane.

She filled him in on the latest about Phil as they walked to the car and put her stuff in the trunk.

"I enrolled you at Forks High and you start on Monday."

She was already worrying about how she would get to school. She couldn't walk and it would be social suicide to arrive in the police cruiser.

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

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

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

"Where did you find it?"

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

"No."

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

That would explain why she didn't remember him. She did a good job of blocking painful, unnecessary things from her memory, like fishing.

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

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

"It's old... but good quality. They don't build trucks like that anymore and it runs well. Little noisy, but reliable. Around here that matters."

"Okay," she agreed. "How cheap is cheap?"

"I already bought it as a gift actually. Call it a welcome gift."

"Oh." She had intended to spend her hoarded savings on some kind of vehicle. Free. She had no complaints about that. "That's really nice, Dad. Thanks. I really appreciate it."

"Well, now, you're welcome," he mumbled, embarrassed by her thanks.

She stared out of the window in silence and Charlie drove.

The scenery was beautiful, of course; she couldn't deny that. 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.

But the contrast with Phoenix was stark; it looked alien to her and almost too green.

She was used to emptier skies and open landscapes.

They pulled up in front of the house. Charlie had never moved out of the little two-bedroom house that he'd bought with her mother in the early days of their marriage.

And there, parked on the street in front of the house that never changed, was her new truck. It was a faded red color, with big, rounded fenders and a bulbous cab. She loved it immediately. It was so substantial. Solid and tough. She could see herself driving it.

"Wow, Dad, I love it! Thanks!"

"I'm glad you like it," Charlie said gruffly, embarrassed again.

She had the west bedroom that faced out over the front yard. It had always been her room. The only changes were the addition of a desk and a second hand computer. She needed to keep in touch with Renee. The rocking chair from her baby days was still in the corner. It would be a nice place to sit and read.

Charlie left her alone to unpack and shower after her long day of travel. She stared out the window at the sheeting rain and allowed herself a small cry.

She sent her mom an email to say she had arrived safely. If she phoned her she'd cry at the sound of her mother's voice and then her mother would cry. And they would both be upset and regretting her decision to leave. She wasn't going to do that.

After dinner she went to bed but couldn't fall asleep until after midnight and a slightly longer cry. The noise of the rain kept her awake and she was anxious about starting at a new High School. Especially one that was so small compared to what she was used to. She hadn't had a lot of friends in an enormous school; she'd have real trouble making any in a much smaller one.


First day at school

Breakfast was pretty quiet. Charlie went off to work and she sat at the old square oak table in one of the three non-matching chairs and examined the small kitchen, with its dark paneled walls, bright yellow cabinets, and white linoleum floor.

Nothing had changed. Her mother had painted the cabinets eighteen years ago in an attempt to bring some sunshine into the house.

She got the impression that even after that long, her father had still not got over Renee leaving. And taking his child with her. The wall in the living room was a montage of her school photos. It made her feel awkward.

The truck started easily but she had a bit of trouble with the stick shift. She made it to school and tried to find the office. The school didn't have fences or metal detectors as she was used to. She was pleased to see that most of the vehicles in the parking lot were older; she didn't want to stand out. The newest car was a shiny new model Volvo.

Armed with a map and a schedule of classes, she desperately tried to memorise it all.

Thank God her first teacher didn't make her stand and introduce herself to the class; she would have died of embarrassment. But the trig teacher insisted. She hated him on principle.

In each class there were the same faces. One or two tried to say hello and ask her how she was settling in. She lied a lot. By the time it got to lunch time, a girl with wildly curly dark hair attached herself to Bella's side and insisted she sit with her table of friends. What was her name? Jessica?

Eric had introduced himself in English and now she met the rest of the group. Mike, Lauren, Tyler, Angela, and Ben. She only learned all their names later.

She picked at her lunch and glanced around the cafeteria. Most people were staring at her or talking about her. Fabulous.

Then she saw them.

At a table right in the corner and as far away from everyone else as they could seem to get, sat three teens. One boy was tall, lean and muscular, with honey blond hair. Next to him sat a girl so tiny she was pixie-like, thin in the extreme, with small features. Her hair was a deep black, cropped short and it pointed in every direction.

The other boy was lanky, less bulky, with untidy, bronze-colored hair. He was more boyish than the others, who looked like they could be in college, rather than students in high school.

And yet, they were all exactly alike. Each of them was chalky pale, the palest of all the students living in this sunless town. They all had very dark eyes despite the range in hair tones. They also had dark shadows under those eyes — purplish, bruise-like shadows, as if they were all suffering from a sleepless night, or almost done recovering from a broken nose. Though their noses, like all their features, were straight, perfect, angular. Their clothes looked very expensive; all the name brands Bella recognised from her old school. Money and beauty? That wasn't fair.

"Who are they?" she asked her newest friend Jessica.

Jessica glanced where she was looking and then giggled in embarrassment. She hissed quickly under her breath, "That's Edward and Alice Cullen, and Jasper Hale. They all live together with Dr. Cullen and his wife."

"They're a family?"

"Adopted."

The bronze haired boy glanced up at them as if he had heard them say his name.

Bella couldn't stop staring at them. She stared because their faces, so different, so similar, were all devastatingly, inhumanly beautiful. 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 tall blond boy, or the bronze-haired one. Even the pixie was gorgeous.

They were all looking away from each other. Not talking and no other students approached them.

"Adopted," she repeated.

"Yeah," Jessica said. And she continued, as if she couldn't help herself. "Dr. Cullen is really young; only in his late twenties, I think. Mrs Cullen might be able to have children of her own one day, but she is some kind of aunt to Rosalie and Jasper Hale. She finished last year. And there was Emmett, too."

"Five kids?"

"Yes. They seem to have a lot of money. I guess doctors get paid well."

Bella thought they probably didn't if they lived in Forks. "Have they always lived here?"

"No, they moved down from Alaska about three years ago."

Three years in the small town effectively made them newcomers as well. Maybe she would have someone with something in common? Someone who hadn't known their friends almost since before they were born.

"So if they are adopted, how come they all have the same eyes?" she asked.

"No, they don't," Jessica argued.

As Bella was looking at them to check, the lanky boy lifted his head and stared at her. She looked away quickly.

"Which one is the boy with the reddish brown hair?" Bella asked Jessica. She peeked a glance at him from the corner of her eye, and he was still staring at her, but not gawking like the other students had today — he had a slightly frustrated expression.

"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. He had obviously turned her down.

His frustrated look changed to annoyance and he glared at Bella.

She shivered in response and all the hairs on her arms stood up. She rubbed her palms down her forearms.

"Someone step on your grave?" asked Eric.

"Maybe."

She tried not to look at the beautiful family anymore and she thought again about whether they would be friends with her. Or if she could envision being their friend? She had never been the popular girl, and she couldn't imagine wanting to be.

She did think about them later, and try to identify what it was about them that weirded her out. Not only did they not speak to each other, but they weren't eating anything either. The full trays in front of them were completely untouched when the tiny girl danced over and poured the contents into the trash. She was sure of it. They had just moved it around or broken things up, but she could not recall seeing any of them actually eating any of the food. How wasteful.

And how weird. Even dieting teens had to eat something and teen boys ate a lot.

The Cullens looked incredibly out of place in Forks. She'd bet money that the new model shiny Volvo belonged to them, too.

She almost groaned when she saw who her Biology lab partner was going to be; Edward Cullen. She glanced around the room while the teacher signed her slip but there were no other empty places. Angela made a sympathetic face at her. At least the teacher didn't force her to do the intro thing. She headed to the only empty seat, but just as she passed Edward, he suddenly went rigid in his seat. He stared at her again, meeting her eyes with the strangest expression on his face — it was hostile, furious.

She almost tripped at the malevolence of that gaze.

"Sorry, she muttered. "There's nowhere else to sit."

He didn't respond; in fact, he didn't seem to be breathing. His eyes were coal black now, darker than they had been half an hour earlier. He sat rigidly on the edge of the stool, as far away from her as he could get. His face turned away from her as well.

It was epically weird. She felt as if she had the plague. No wonder Jessica had been miffed. She couldn't imagine what he had done if Jessica had actually tried to flirt with him. There was turning people down politely and there was just plain rudeness.

The class seemed to drag on forever. She took occasional peeks at him but he never relaxed; his fist was clenched and rested on his left thigh. His sleeve was pushed up above his elbow and his arms were more muscular than she had first thought but still too pale. They looked like they were carved from translucent marble.

When the bell rang, he rose and was out the door of the classroom before anyone else had even moved.

"What a dick!" she muttered to herself, unwilling or unable to move to follow him out of the classroom.

Edward's lack of manners made her feel like crying. Luckily, before any tears of embarrassment escaped, she was approached by a baby faced blond boy with his hair gelled into orderly spikes. "Aren't you Isabella Swan?"

"It's Bella," she corrected.

"Mike," he replied. "You met me at lunch but you probably forgot."

"I did. Thanks. Too many names on the first day," she apologised.

He walked her to the gym; it was the next class for them both and luckily the last of the day. Mike chattered away to her the whole way there. "What did you do to Edward Cullen? Stab him with a pencil?"

"I wish I had. What a jerk."

"I've never seen him act like that before."

"Really? He didn't say a single word to me."

"He's a weird guy." Mike smiled at her encouragingly. "If I was seated next to you, I would have talked to you."

She chuckled and felt better for Mike's poor attempts at flirting. "Thanks, Mike. It was like I stank or something."

"Nah. You smell like strawberries."

Gym was her least favorite class and her face must have given that away. The teacher let her watch as all the others played volleyball.

Afterwards, she made her way back to the office to return the paperwork. She only got lost once and as she opened the door to the office she saw that distinctive hair.

The cold air moved past her with the door open and Edward Cullen's back stiffened, and he turned slowly to glare at her with piercing, hate-filled eyes. For an instant, she felt a thrill of genuine fear, raising the hair on her arms again. The look only lasted a second, but it chilled her 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." He sounded witheringly sarcastic. And then he turned on his heel, without another look at her, and disappeared out the door.

"What did he want?" she asked the receptionist.

"Just an issue with changing classes. Nothing for you to worry about. How was your first day, dear?"

"Fine," she lied.

By the time she got to her truck, it was the last vehicle left in the parking lot. She drove home fighting back tears the whole way.

That night at dinner, Charlie said he had a training course that he had to go to next week. He had put it off before and now he needed to do the hours before a certain final date.

"I'll be sending myself a failure notice," he joked.

When she didn't respond, he asked, "You okay, Bells?"

"Just tired. First day and everything."

"Sure."