Stephenie Meyer will always own Twilight.
Chapter 1 - Sign In
"Welcome back," Mr. Banner says in the hall when Alice and I walk past the door to his classroom.
"Right," she says. "How can he be so cheery?"
"Maybe he got laid over break." I open my locker and give my bangs one last inspection in the small mirror glued to the door before switching out my books to lighten my backpack.
"Grody. But I guess it could happen. Here," she says, shoving a spiral notebook with holographic tie-dyed print on the cover into my hands. "Something for you to do today."
"What is it?" I ask.
"Just do it." Silver bangle bracelets clink and shift when she lifts her hand to wave goodbye. "I'll see you after third."
A glance inside the cover makes me laugh out loud in the middle of the busy hall.
Another fucking slam book.
She's done one every year since eighth. This is senior year. You'd think she would've outgrown this by now. At least the title page isn't in bubble letters this time and the ink is black instead of rainbow.
I carry it with me into Banner's room, because if ever there was a class dull enough to warrant a slam book, it's his.
The room is stale from our extended holiday vacation. Dust particles float into the air and hover when I pull out my stool and toss my stuff onto the counter in front of me. Before I have a chance to settle in and get comfortable, someone calls Edward Masen's name from the hall.
Like a lovesick magnet, I glance at the door.
Edward—number 18, in the flesh—is standing there, blocking the exit to the room, with his hand on the door frame. His long fingers are pale and strong against the puke-green paint of the wall.
"I'll see you later, man," he says with a nod.
I glance down at my books to keep from staring as he walks across the room.
He's the president of the French Club. I'm top dog in Spanish. He's English. I'm math. We cross paths here, in chemistry, unfortunately saddled together as lab partners since the first day of school. Neither of us was thrilled about it, and we've spent most of the year ignoring each other.
Well, I ignore him.
We intersect again during the last class of the day, PE, but it's easy to avoid him in a gym full of spazzes.
It's not like I have a choice. He usually smells like hot shower and Drakkar dusted with smoke from hanging out in the parking lot with Jasper Whitlock between classes. He stares. A lot. Not good stares, either. I know my bangs aren't as high as our cheerleader friends' and I'm not slathered in L'Oréal, but I'm not exactly fugly. I don't get why I make him look constipated.
So, yeah. He stares. He also double checks all of my answers when we have to work as partners. Why? I don't know. We're both graduating in the top ten of our class this year.
And it's not just the staring. Every Monday, it's the same old story. He likes to ask what I did over the weekend.
We go to the same parties, live in the same small town, and see each other all the time. And what the hell is there to do in Forks, anyway?
After the third week of school, I started making stuff up.
"I robbed a bank."
"Blew coke with Robert Downey Jr."
"Had a threesome with Axl Rose and Duff McKagen."
I can't remember the others, but he keeps asking.
And for a basketball player, he's surprisingly uncoordinated. I've lost count of the number of times he's bumped into me, stepped on my foot, and tangled pens in my hair this year. I haven't played him one-on-one since junior high, but I have a feeling I could take him now.
There's a reason I'm the best point guard on the girls' team.
"Hey," he says, easing his books onto the lab table without a sound. He sits on his stool, props an elbow on the table, and glances over at me. "How was your Thanksgiving?"
"Killed some pilgrims, stole their turkey, and drove it to Oregon to share with my grandparents. Yours?"
"I had dinner with my mom and her editor. Nothing nearly as exciting as slaughtering pilgrims."
"It's a hard life."
"I hear you guys are playing Port Angeles this week."
The bell rings, and Mr. Banner closes the door in Mike Newton's face, telling him to get a tardy slip from the office.
Edward turns to pay attention, and I reach for the notebook. I've read the chapter twice already, and the lectures in this class are always straight from the book—no discussion, no class participation, just memorization.
A smiley face sticker on the cover of the slam book stares back at me, mocking… daring…
Oh, what the hell? Why not?
Famous last words.
Choose a number and sign in.
Like I'm going to sign my name to this. Other girls have. These are the ones I don't have to worry will see my answers. They've already done it. Tanya, Alice (of course), Maria, Angela, Lauren… The list goes on.
A few guys have signed in, too. Ben, Emmett, Newton, and Tyler. This should be good.
"18" isn't taken, so I choose it.
If only it would choose me.
And because I'm a loser coward, I don't use my name. I use my jersey number. I'm supposed to answer these questions honestly, and I can't do that as Bella Swan.
A/N – I've missed y'all. This story is complete. The chapters are short, so I'll post 3 a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.
Thanks to Iris for fixing all the things. Thanks to M and Nic for reading the first chapter of this 3 or 4 years ago and never forgetting it. Prodding does wonders sometimes. Thanks to Lizzie Paige for a perfect banner. Thanks to all the ladies at TLS for the sneak peek.
Thank you for reading. See you Wednesday.