Disclaimer: I, by no means, claim to own anything remotely related to the Twilight Universe. No copyright infringement intended.


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Prologue

There was a time, when I was younger, that I believed in fairytales. I know it sounds stupid, even childish, but I believed in the kind of stuff that my sister used to prattle on about during tea parties with her stuffed friends, and I'm not even ashamed to admit it.

Well, now I'm not.

Because, at the time, I didn't dare tell anyone. It wasn't something that little boys like myself talked about with their friends, siblings or even parents. These were thoughts I kept to myself, marvelling in the dreams of 'Happily Ever After' that I so believed in. I was hopeless. My mom used to call me a hopeless dreamer. Sometimes she still does, but things have changed since... just since.

She used to tell me that the world was a beautifully ugly place, which was something I didn't truly understand until I was right there in the middle of a place that was both beautiful and ugly at the same time. It was then that I decided that it was easier to live in the world of dreams. Life was simpler in my head; less stressful, and less painful.

Because, in the fairytales, things usually worked out in the end. And, if they didn't; well, then it wasn't yet the end.

So, I always thought that I would one day find the girl for me, and that would be it. One day, I would just see her, and the great big world would instantly fall into place. It would be simple; it would be easy, and we would overcome whatever obstacle we had to, because we would be together. We would fall in love, and everything would magically be perfect, because that was how fairytales worked. It was a belief I held onto for a long time.

Until I just didn't anymore.

I grew up, and my outlook on life and love changed drastically. Life did that to me. By the time I got to university, I'd almost given up on all of it. School was hard, life was harder, and I was busy trying to just get through it all without completely falling to pieces.

So when she stumbled into my life - quite literally, might I add - I wasn't prepared.

Because, you see, the thing is that I did meet the girl… I looked at her, and I just knew - and then, from that moment on, nothing about my life was ever remotely simple or easy.

Fucking fairytales.


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Chapter One

"Masen, go long!"

I can barely take a step before the football is hurtling straight at my head, courtesy of the lump that is Emmett McCarty. Naturally, my first instinct is to duck, which is what I do, and the ball sails harmlessly over my head, making its thrower groan. He should have known better.

The ball bounces a few times, before it's retrieved by the lanky blond standing a way's behind me, Jasper Whitlock.

"If you aren't even going to play," Emmett shouts my way, jogging towards me; "what the fuck are you doing here?"

I sigh. "I came to pick up my keys," I tell him. Again. "I'm going to the library. My shift starts in twenty minutes."

"But it's our first week back," Jasper protests, sidling up to me with the ball in his hands. He looks genuinely confused. "Tell me you're kidding. We're expecting about a hundred people at the house tonight, and you've already picked up a shift."

I glare at him. "Don't you think I already know all of this?" I ask, and he knows it's a rhetorical question from the bite in my tone. He knows the kind of pressure I'm under. "And plus, it's only for a couple of hours. I'm sure the two of you can get started on the preparations without me."

They exchange a worried look, which makes me crack up. Sometimes they're such children. Our friends sometimes refer to them as my special children, because they would surely die if I wasn't around.

I take the ball from Jasper, and spin it in my palm. It's been so long since I actually came out to play with my friends, and it brings a nostalgic sigh out of me. I shake my head, ridding my mind of the thought. I have other things to think about. "I promise I'll be back by five, five thirty the latest," I assure them. Then, to Emmett: "Now, give me my fucking keys."

Emmett digs in his back pocket of his jeans. "How are we supposed to get home?"

"Uh, the same way I got here," I say, tossing him the football. "Ever heard of public transport?"

Jasper shudders. "Too many germs."

Emmett nods. "Especially on this campus, man. It's crawling with excitable freshmen. Who knows what kind of diseases we could pick up?"

I roll my eyes. "Says the man who went six weeks without washing his hair last year."

"It was an experiment," he defends.

"If your aim was to have Carmen dump you, then you succeeded."

He doesn't appreciate my teasing, and I know I'm about five seconds away from a bruised arm, so I high tale out of there, breaking into a jog as I head to the parking lot nearest the empty left football field. I check my watch. Fifteen minutes. It would definitely take me longer to get to the library without my car, but then I've still got to find parking.

But it is our first week back. Surely the main campus won't be that busy.

I'm half right. I'm lucky to find a parking spot near the library but, once again, I have to jog to make it in time to meet Mrs Cope on her way out of her office, handbag and notebook diary in tow.

"Oh, Edward," she says, clearly startled. "I thought you weren't starting until Monday."

I shrug. I'm not about to tell her that I begged Ben Cheney for this three-hour slot, because I need to pick up shifts wherever and whenever I can get them. "I missed you this summer," I say instead, even sparing her a wink, and she flushes almost instantly. Okay, so I may sometimes take advantage of the fact that she has a not-so-secret thing for me. It's written all over her face.

Because, hey, she approves my pay check.

"Were you headed out?" I ask.

She takes a moment to gather herself. "I was," she manages to say. "I have an appointment."

The way she says the word makes me think that I definitely don't want to know. They've been times when we've got a little too close for comfort. She's a woman who isn't shy about saying whatever is on her mind, and she's just lucky that I'm not likely to report her for sexual harassment.

I normally work in the East Wing of the library. It houses majority of the fiction books, as well as the section reserved for the acquisition of second-hand novels and textbooks. The library offers a small fee for any old books from students, and sells them for next to no profit. Mrs Cope made sure to tell me it was next to no profit, and I'm still not sure that I believe her.

As soon as Mrs Cope has left, I take a quick look around as I settle in behind the main counter on one of the high stools. I spy several other upperclassmen on shift, but the library is quiet, so they're all lost in their own little worlds. For a moment, I don't know what to do. I'm thinking that maybe I should find a book to read before I start people watching. It's easy to fall into the trap.

Sighing heavily, I do just the thing that I told myself I wouldn't. My eyes drift towards my right side, where the library is rather empty of people. The East Wing isn't nearly as busy as the North, South or West, even in the first week back, but it is rather ridiculous how bare the tabes are. There's a group of four girls sitting at a corner table, quietly discussing something among themselves, but they're too far away for me to recognise. And then there's a pair of men - who don't look remotely like students - sitting at a table near the girls. On my left, there are more tables occupied, though there's a lot of chatter going on.

It's not loud enough to warrant a talking-to but it's really starting to get on my nerves. This is a library.

To distract myself, I take a look at the small notice board on the wall behind me. Mrs Cope usually puts up her to-do list in the bottom right hand corner, and I'm always happy to cut it down for her. Because I'm lazy and don't want to move, I grab a pile of new books from beneath the counter, and start preparing them to cover them in protective plastic. It's a mind-numbing process, and I've never been more grateful for the distraction from my life.

It isn't until three thirty, that I actually have to do something. I'm still cutting down the edge of a textbook's back cover when I notice a figure move into my light. Well, stumble, really, and I automatically look up, my eyes immediately locking on a deep set of chocolate brown eyes that belong to a beautiful girl with a heart-shaped face and chestnut hair hanging low on her back.

But it's her eyes. They are open wide, and the smile on her face is just as open, practically drawing me in; making it so difficult to look away.

I like to think I'm a relatively suave guy, who can handle himself when faced with a pretty girl; but all I do is stare. Blatantly. I can't help myself.

I think my mouth is open.

Close your mouth, Masen.

My jaw snaps shut and I swallow. "Are you all right?" I ask, collecting myself.

She smiles through her own embarrassment, the pears of her cheeks turning an inviting shade of pink. "I was wondering if you could help me," she says, clearly choosing not to comment on her almost-fall.

I stand up quickly. Too quickly, because she flinches. "Uh," I stutter. "What can I do for you?"

"I'm looking for a book."

I can't help my smile. "Does this book have a name?"

"Not exactly," she admits, unknowingly trapping her bottom lip between her teeth and making my gaze flicker downwards for a moment. "I need a book that explains the Constitution."

"Explains it?"

"Well, there are books that lay out the Constitution, stating all the Amendments, and there are books that explain the history of the Constitution, but not many that actually..."

"Explain it," I finish, and she nods. Then: "You're a freshman, aren't you?"

She blinks, as if she's surprised that I know - or don't know.

I'm quick to explain, before she thinks I'm some kind of stalker. "Uh, well, I mean, it's obvious you haven't visited our self-service feature on the library website, which I believe is something that you're shown during orientation, am I correct?"

She seems to relax slightly.

I can't stop looking at her, but I know I have to. "Uh, so, well, I think I'll just do the search for you, and then you can learn it properly with the rest of your classmates." I don't wait for a reply as I log into the administrator computer in front of me. I'm aware of the fact that she's watching me, my fingers dancing over the keyboard. I feel hot under her scrutiny, and I can feel the tips of my traitorous ears giving me away.

She notices the moment I hit 'Enter,' and then leans over the counter to peek at the screen of the monitor. "Found anything?"

I lean forward as well, scanning the list of books that have come up. I can smell her hair - something fruity - and I resist the urge to close my eyes and blatantly breathe her in. "Uh, well, there are a few," I say, opening the description of a particular one in a separate tab in the Internet browser. "This looks like it could be promising." I turn the monitor so that she can read it herself.

When she crinkles her nose adorably, I open up a different description. In the end, she decides on two books, both of which can be found only in the Law Library. When I tell her this, I anticipate her next question.

"The Law Library is not on the main campus," I tell her.

"It's on the Law campus?"

I smile. "Technically, yes," I say. "Do you know where the New Administration Building is?"

She nods.

"That's where you'll find the library. Well, it's in the building to the right. Can't miss it." I pick up a pack of bright pink Post-Its and a pen, and note down the names of the books for her. I write slowly, wracking my brain for something else to say, just to keep her here. Once I give her the Post-It, she'll be gone, and I still don't know her name.

I glance at her when I've written the last word, and her eyes are on my mouth, where I'm suddenly aware of the tip of my tongue sticking out from between my lips. I immediately reel it in, and she flushes.

"Do you mind my asking why you're looking for these books?" I ask, expecting her to say something about reading ahead for one of her Pre-Law courses.

She surprises me. "Just some research for my father."

I nod thoughtfully. "You're a better child than I," I say, still trying to figure out how to get her name. Though, I don't know what would happen even if I did manage to get it. It's doubtful I'll see her again.

She shrugs, her eyes dropping to the Post-It.

I sigh internally, before I do the mature thing and peel off the top Post-It. I want to say something else. I have to say something else, but I just can't, as I hand her the pink square.

"Thank you," she says kindly, bouncing slightly. She glances down at my chest, as if she's looking for a name tag. "Uh, I didn't catch your name."

I breathe a sigh of relief. "It's Edward," I say, smiling widely at her.

She returns my smile, and then starts to walk away.

I snap to attention. "Wait," I say, making her look back at me; "I didn't catch yours."

She laughs at me, her eyebrows raised. I can tell her laughter is directed at me and I don't know why. "I prefer it this way," she says.

I blink, dumbfounded.

And then she's really walking away this time, and I don't have the wherewithal to call her back. Eventually, I drop back down to my stool and let out a breath. What the hell just happened?

Who was that?

As I think back, there was nothing remotely exciting about our conversation, and yet I'm severely rattled. It's the girl. I look to my right where she's returned to the table from where she came, and I can't help my hopeless romantic brain thinking that she's the girl; the one I've been waiting for.

I shake my head. This is insane. I don't have time for this. There's already too much on my plate, without adding in the allure of this mystery girl.

But what if she really is the one?

I drop my gaze to the books I'm covering. I return to the mundane task of sticking plastic, before I check that the books are, in fact, in the system. My foot is tapping restlessly, and I know I have to do something. I gather the finished books in my arms, and head towards the shelves behind the tables on the right, forcing myself not to look at them. I'm aware of the fact that conversation halts when I move past the table occupied by the girl and her friends, but I try not to think about it too much.

The books are shelved quickly, even though I try to take my time.

On my way back to the counter, a voice stops me. A voice coming from the table, saying my name.

I turn to look at the girls, immediately recognising at least half of them. "Rosie," I say, and the returned scowl just makes me smile. She hates that nickname.

Rosalie Hale practically growls at me. If I'm being perfectly honest, the blonde bombshell has always frightened me, though I'll never admit it. Willingly, at least. "Eddie."

I roll my eyes at her returned hated nickname. "What are you doing in the library?" I ask, the amusement clear in my tone of voice. I'm forcing myself not to look at the brown-eyed girl, but I can feel her gaze on me. "It's not that time of year yet, is it?"

She fakes a laugh. "We were taking a tour, and just got stuck here," she says, indicating the other girls. "Bella and Angela here are freshmen in our corridor, you see. I'm responsible for getting them integrated into student life."

I glance to Rose's right where two girls are sitting. Bella and Angela. Which one is which? "I'm so sorry," I say conspiratorially; "of all the people to get stuck with."

Rose chucks a pen at me. "Idiot," she mutters, as I trap the pen against my abdomen with my forearm. "What are you doing here? I thought you'd be getting ready for tonight's party."

"I left the boys in charge," I say.

"Oh God no."

I laugh. "It'll definitely be interesting, that's for sure." Then: "So you're coming?"

"Wouldn't miss it, would we, Alice?"

Alice.

I'd been able to ignore her presence until Rose forces her into my mind. Now, I don't have anything against Alice Brandon. If anything, I think she's rather nice, if a little too much sometimes. My avoidance of her is to do with my guilt; heavy, sometimes paralysing guilt over the fact that I knew Jasper was messing around with other girls when he and Alice were supposedly together.

"We'll definitely be there," Alice says, meeting my gaze. She's relentless sometimes. Her tiny frame means nothing when one has eyes as commanding as those. I'm convinced that she's really a pixie.

I look away first. "And you two?" I ask the two freshmen. "Are you going to brave it?"

"Uh," they both start in unison, before they laugh together.

Rose shakes her head. "And have you and your boys corrupt them? No way."

"Oh, Rosie, we're not that bad," I say, rolling my eyes again. Back to the two girls, I say: "You should definitely come. This is a personal invitation, courtesy of Edward Masen, President of only the best fraternity on campus."

Rose nods. "Okay, I can't fault you there, Eddie," she says. "You boys are the best."

"Save for one," Alice comments, and I shift awkwardly.

"Really," I say to Bella and Angela, still not sure which is which, but I think I know without truly knowing. "You should come." I meet the gaze of Brown-Eyes, and use my lower voice. "Please."

Her blush is instant, and I resist the urge to smile smugly.

"Edward," Rose says quietly, but there's an edge in her voice. Something new, like some kind of warning.

"What?"

"I think you should get back to work, don't you?"

I frown, but I eventually nod. "It's was nice seeing you again, Rose. Alice." I take a breath. "Nice meeting you both, Bella and Angela. I'm looking forward to seeing all four of you tonight." And then I turn and head back to the counter. I can't quite figure out what happened at the end there, and I'm even more rattled than I was before. The whole thing was so weird.

I want her to come to the house tonight. I need her to be there.

I return to covering books, trying to take my mind off the girl, and her expressive eyes. They've captivated me, and I feel like I can't remember what life was like before I laid eyes on her. It's stupid and cliche, I know, but I can't help thinking that there's now colour in the world.

I chuckle to myself. God, I'm pathetic sometimes.

There's movement to my right, and I look up straight away. The girls are leaving. I feel slightly panicked at the thought that she could be walking out of here, and that would be it. I want to say something; do something, but my body won't move. It's just as well, though, as I'm sure that I'll just end up embarrassing myself.

I've done it before. With Makenna, but we don't talk about that.

All four girls wave at me as they leave, and I wave back. I'm a little worried that Alice waved, because I can only imagine that she must have something planned. A woman scorned and all that. Jasper better watch out.

I watch them leave, followed closely by the two men that were sitting at the table near them. There's a burst of chatter when they've disappeared, and I notice that several people look in my direction, which is just confusing. Without giving it much thought, I get back to covering books. When five o'clock rolls around, I gather my things and wait for the next person on the roster to arrive.

The moment I spot Jessica Stanley, I bolt.

The boys have done nothing but situate the keg in the backyard by the time I get back to the house. I'm in too much of a confused mood to do anything but sigh in disappointment. And Emmett wonders why they voted me the President and not him. He jokes about it, but I think he's secretly glad that he doesn't have the added responsibility. With football and his degree; he already has a lot on his plate.

Add that to the fact that he's been pursuing Rosalie Hale for close to two years without success; the bloke is busy.

I get to work setting the house up for the party. It's important to put things away that we don't want to lose or break. We pick a name out of a hat, and that person's room is chosen as the 'goods' room,' where all our valuable items are stored behind the locked door. I wear the key around my neck.

I like this part though. Jasper always teases that I'm a slave driver because, really, I live for telling people what to do. My mom claims that my sister was always the bossy one when we were little, and I was ever compliant. Now I'm just making up for it. I relish in all this power.

We're not allowed to recruit any freshmen for the first quarter of the school year, so the brunt of the work falls on the sophomores. I'm pretty certain that they can't wait for this year's intake, just so they aren't at the bottom of the food chain anymore, because all I do is stand in the centre of the room and point.

I send Jasper on a snack run, also to get cups and ping pong balls, absently throwing my car keys at the blond. I don't trust just anyone with my orange beauty. It's a 1967 Ford Mustang that I desperately saved up for, working every summer and some weekends until I was seventeen-years-old. My dad helped me with the repairs once I'd bought the thing, and it's served me well ever since.

Well, it's outlived my dad.

"Don't spend too much," I say, handing over the fraternity's debit card to Jasper.

He rolls his eyes. "I'm the Treasurer; I think I know the budget better than you do." Even as he says it, he knows it's not true. There isn't anything to do with this fraternity that I don't know. I built my own computer program to keep track of everything. The entire house is installed with my personal software, making everything run smoothly, even when I have to go home to Seattle some weekends.

"Hurry," I say unnecessarily, and then he's gone, taking a few boys with him.

I leave Emmett in charge of overseeing the final touches, and then go upstairs to get ready. I don't like to think it but I know that majority of the people who come to our parties come for us. Despite the fact that we aren't even yet Seniors; we carry weight. Emmett is football royalty. Jasper is a baseball God. And I'm, well, that doesn't matter.

I have a quick shower, towel-dry my hair and then throw on dark dry-washed jeans and a green button-down shirt, rolling up my sleeves to my elbows. If she's coming, I have to look semi-presentable, without looking like I'm trying too hard.

Fuck, the fact that I'm even thinking any of this means that I am trying too hard.

I run a rough hand through my hair. It's fine. I'm fine. I put on socks and my All Stars. Closed shoes are a must during parties like these. Cleaning the house the day after has taught me well.

Before I leave my room, I grab my phone and keys. My room is staying locked. It holds too many secrets.

When I get back downstairs, Emmett is just turning on the music. We have our own stereo system, but Tyler Crowley always manages to 'borrow' equipment from the Dramatic Arts department to boost the sound. At this point, I've chosen not to ask questions.

It's just past nine o'clock when the first people start arriving. Shortly after, the party is in full swing, but I can't fully enjoy it. Every time the door opens, I tense, my eyes constantly snapping towards whichever newcomers have arrived.

"Waiting for someone?" Emmett asks as he approaches me, eventually swapping out my empty beer bottle for a fresh one.

"Huh?"

He laughs. "Hello, earth to Edward Masen."

I look at him, and then at the beer in my hand. "Thanks," I say. I knock my bottle against his before I take a swig. It's Corona; the only kind I drink.

"What's up with you?" he asks. "You've been sitting in here all night, when you know every Delta is just dying to take you to bed. Are you ignoring them all for a specific reason?"

I sigh. "Do you know if Rose is coming?"

He frowns, his body straightening to his full height. "Edward, you better not be asking me that because she's the one you're waiting for."

"No," I assure him. "It's who might be with her."

"What?"

"I met this girl today," I explain. "At the library. Rose was there."

"So this mystery girl is the reason you're shucking on your President duties?"

I take another swig of my beer. "Am I being that bad of a host?"

"Jess seems to think so."

"Fuck."

Emmett lets out a loud, belly laugh, and it jerks me to attention.

"Okay," I declare. "I'll do the rounds and, if she comes; she comes. If she doesn't, well, I'll just die alone."

His face softens. He knows something of what I believe about the future I want, based on the fact that I'm not like some of the other alcoholic womanisers living in our house. He isn't either. Well, not since Carmen. No. Not since Rosalie Hale.

Jasper's another story.

I stand up from where I'm leaning against the back of the couch in the living room. I answer his unasked question. "I barely know a thing about her, but I feel it inside." I know he gets it, because we once had a drunken conversation about it. It was the only time he admitted to me that he was desperately in love with Rosalie Hale, who was the only girl who wouldn't give him the time of day based on his own previously womanising ways.

I sometimes think that Jasper might have ruined it all for Emmett by crossing Rose's best friend.

Emmett and I do the rounds together, chatting girls up and drinking shots. Jasper tries to get us to join a game of Truth or Dare, but that usually ends up with some girl's tongue down my throat, so I politely decline.

It's when I'm out by the pool, listening to Mike Newton tell some bullshit story about a random sexcapade that the night changes. I feel it in the air, and I just know that she's here. I can't explain it, but I don't care. I barely excuse myself before I'm flying into the house. The moment I spot Rose near the front door, I make my way towards her.

"Where is she?" I ask in a hurry. Then, remembering myself, I try again: "Hey, Rosie, glad you could make it." I smile widely. "Is she here?"

She regards me for a moment, searching my face for something. She must find it, because she eventually tells me what I want - or don't - want to hear. "There's something you don't know, Ed - " she starts, but I interrupt.

"Is she here?" I question.

She looks conflicted. "She wanted to come," she says gently. "It was just - " she stops, unable to find the words. Her eyes dart to her left, out the door, and I just know.

I shove my beer into her hand, and then I'm out the front door, ignoring the sound of Rose shouting my name. I feel almost primal, and it scares me. I just know that she's out here, somewhere. She wanted to come, which means something. I don't know what, and I can't even stop to think. I have to see her.

I'm frantic as I search the cars in front of the house, trying to find her. It's when I hear a car door slam that I turn towards my right. My entire body relaxes when I spot her standing beside a large, black SUV. She looks so beautiful, standing there in the dim streetlight, illuminating everything about her. I just stare at her face.

It's when she cracks a smile that I take a step forward.

"What are you doing out here, Edward?" she asks, her voice filling the space between us.

"You didn't come inside. I had no choice."

Her blush is strong enough that I can still see it in the light. She glances past me towards the house. "I did come inside," she admits; "but then I had to leave. I thought I could, you know, but... I can't."

"I don't understand," I say.

"And I hope you never do."

"I don't know what that means."

She shakes her head, but then she looks at me as if she's never seen anyone like me before. Almost like she doesn't think I exist.

"Bella," I say.

At the sound of her name, she closes her eyes for a moment. "I shouldn't have come," she says. "I should go."

I step forward. "Wait." My voice cracks. "I just - will you just wait a minute?"

She puts a hand out to stop my approach. "I just started here," she says. "I didn't come for this. I want to work hard, get a degree and make my family proud. My life is already hard enough without adding in everything else." It's like she isn't even talking to me. "And then there you are with your stupid smile and your stupid eyes and your stupid hair."

I frown, absently reaching up to my hair.

She laughs lightly, before her face turns serious once more. "We can't be friends."

I want to say something clever, like we could be more than friends, but there is something truly severe about her facial expression that makes me keep my mouth shut. Instead, I just stare at her, my mind already coming up with ways that I can convince her that she's wrong.

She steps back, her hand dropping back to her side.

"Did you manage to get those books?" I ask out of nowhere.

She seems surprised by my question, or maybe it's just the fact that I've spoken at all. "What?"

"The books on the Constitution. Did you go to the Law Library? Did you find what you were looking for?"

Her head tilts to the side, as she regards me carefully. "I did, thank you," she says, sounding oddly timid. Then: "I should go."

"Wait."

She lets out an amused breath. "Edward, I really should go."

I sigh. "Will I see you again?"

"I don't think that'll be a good idea," she says solemnly. "I should go."

I want to put up more of a fight, but she's clearly made up her mind. "All right."

She smiles once, before she turns, opens the door and climbs into the backseat of the SUV behind her. She waves once before the door closes, and I stay on the sidewalk and watch until the tail lights disappear. I still don't know what just happened, but I'll have to deal with it later.

Maybe Rose can explain what's going on with Brown-Eyes.

When I get back to the house and step through the door, there are people staring at me as if I've just sprouted a third head. I move through the crowd that has stilled, heading towards the back of the living room where Emmett is standing with a somewhat shell-shocked look on his face. Rose is standing on his right, looking thoughtful, and I don't give a flying fuck where Alice is.

"What is up with you?" I ask Emmett, taking my beer bottle back from Rose and having a swig, before I hand it back to her.

"Edward," he says, his voice slightly strangled. "Why the fuck are you so calm?"

"Calm about what?"

"Bro, you were just outside having a conversation with her, and you aren't even freaking out! Are you high or something?"

I frown. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"That girl outside."

"Oh," I say, smiling widely. "She's the one I was telling you about," I explain, glancing between the two of them; "the one I met at the library. I think I'm in love, seriously."

Emmett looks like I've just told him that I love him. Or worse: that I love Rose.

"What is wrong?" I ask, suddenly aware that people haven't stopped staring at me. "Fuck, McCarty, what is wrong?"

It's Jasper who eventually tells me what I'm missing. He comes up behind me and puts a hand on my shoulder. "It's the girl, Masen," he says, his Southern drawl more prominent now that he's had a few drinks.

"Oh," I say. "Do you know her?"

"Everybody knows her," Emmett says.

I don't know what that means. "But how? Bella's only a freshman."

"Bella?" Emmett asks under his breath, clear disbelief on his face. His jaw is practically touching the floor.

Jasper chuckles. "Do you seriously not know who she is, Masen?"

I shake my head.

Jasper looks sympathetic, as if to say 'you poor, poor stupid boy.' "That's Isabella Swan, Lamb Chop," he says, using his preferred nickname for me; "the President's daughter."