A/N: Hey guys, This book is completed and although my summary does not do it justice, I believe this is better than my first Rosella work. I will post chapters regularly since they are all complete, however I will still give myself time to complete the second book in the meantime. Please give me your feedback as this progresses! I sincerely hope you enjoy this story that has been on my mind for months. -AP
Chapter 1- The Curve Ball
Sloppy unidentifiable mush swished around slowly as Bella idly stared at the mess called lunch. She detested the taste of any human food; each type of human food had its own unique awful flavor. Meat tasted like decay; vegetables were dirt. Fruit was either too sweet, like biting into a stick of cane sugar or it was sharp and bitter. The depression had really brought school lunches down a peg. No amount of bribery could get her to stomach a mouthful of this mystery slop.
She looked around the lunchroom of her new school, not a single person was familiar to her. The Rochester Aquinas Institute was the newest home to Bella Cullen, "Niece" of the wealthy and talented Dr. Carlisle Cullen. No matter how many times she went through high school, which had been three times to be exact, nothing changed. Same story, different decade.
Each time there was a group of girls that seemed to take charge, others looked up to them and tried to win their affections. The one's craning their necks and striving for their affection were the less socially fortunate. These were the Brainiac's, the blue-collar girls, the jocks and the loners. Bella kept to herself, deflecting the offers to establish relationships with each group.
She was pretty enough to fit in with the preps, the girls at the top of the totem pole.
Her first day she had been approached by a sandy haired girl named Lauren. She seemed nice enough, but Bella had been around long enough to see through masks. She shot the girl down quickly and harshly. She thought of the conversation as she pushed around the mysterious mash on her plate.
"Hello, My Name is Lauren!" The girl flipped her ponytail to the side as she reached out her hand for Bella to shake.
"Hi, I'm Bella." She ignored the hand outstretched. After an awkward moment the cheerful girl retracted her hand.
"You are new here; I could show you around? We have a table; you can sit with my group." The girl leaned across the table slightly too close for Bella to feel comfortable. "Trust me, you are going to want to take me up on this offer. All of these other people are deplorable." She said pronouncing each word carefully as she twirled her finger in the air.
Bella clear her throat. She could hear the perky girl's pulse and found it amusing that she believed she had so much power. How easy would it be for her to take her out, right there in that cafeteria? She thought to herself as the girl spoke.
"I am good. I'll let you know if I change my mind, but I am not much of a group person." Bella answered her finally. Without entertaining her more she turned her attention back to her bowl of mash. The girl huffed quietly and returned to her table.
She had been with Carlisle since he turned her at the end of the nineteenth century in London. She was coming up on her fortieth immortal birthday, but it had felt like no time had passed at all. The world seemed to change and mold around her, but she felt stuck, frozen in time. Day in and day out, she felt no purpose, no reason to do or be more.
Today was no different, a new school, a new chance to make an impression on the world around her, but she didn't see it that way. She simply just existed. Her family all felt a sense of purpose, each one of them filling their time with a multitude of hobbies. Carlisle had his profession; he was inspired by those he helped. He was never satisfied with his education or ability to impact his patients. His latest degree was in that of dentistry, making him a DDS, MD and PHD.
Carlisle's wife, of whom he met and changed just over fifteen years prior, was involved in philanthropic work. Always working the soup kitchens wherever they lived, working in local programs for hunger relief and sometimes abroad. She was also the local primary school's newest teacher.
The last and brightest shining Cullen was her brother Edward. Initially, he was turned as a potential mate for Bella, he had become a part of the family with ease and celebration. She had never really connected with him on a deeper level. They just didn't have that many interests in common. He was brooding, pained and artistic. She was practical, sarcastic and guarded. They were not a good match, but made very convincing siblings. He was the reason for the family's relocation to the cold and gray city that was Rochester.
He had a recent bout of rebellion when the family was living in a more remote area of mountains just an hour or so away from Los Angeles. A number of slayings had been gathering some news attention in and around the southern California area, most predominately in LA. The Cullen's had been following the papers, and after an intervention for their beloved son, they had decided to start over in a new place. Thus, landing Bella sitting in a crowded cafeteria, with a bowl full of food and looks from curious boys and girls around the room.
She had been in school for a mere three days and she had already been approached by Aquinas's finest selection of boys. Each tried harder than the last, but none could capture her attention. She heard a couple of the most popular group of guys betting on her. They were betting on who would be first to break her resistance. Maybe she would give some poor dorky boy the time of day just to confuse them, she wasn't sure yet.
By her third day she heard the rumors circulating about her. The small town offered little entertainment, naturally that meant gossip was a must. They rumored on why she came to town, why she was so stand offish, who her family was, why her skin was so pale and whether or not she was dating some college guy.
"Damn, she looks like a ghost, where is she from?" One blonde boy said to another.
"I think I heard she was from LA. I still wouldn't mind getting to know if she is that pale everywhere." A freckled boy responded.
"She wouldn't give you the time of day, she needs a real man. I'll show her what a real man is."
Bella had grown callous to these sorts of advances, and her once cordial attitude had been changed over time. She didn't care to be liked, and she definitely didn't care to win the affections of any teenage human boy. Though she had not found the love of her life yet, she was certain that if he did exist, he wasn't at the Aquinas prep school in Rochester of all places.
The Lunch bell rang, pulling her from her thoughts, she was finally rescued from the gossip she hated hearing, but couldn't avoid. She groaned when she saw the blonde boy sitting in the classroom that was her next period. She purposely went to the opposite side of the room, hoping the distance would settle his teenage hormones. It didn't. He just couldn't help himself; god bless the brave ones.
He was up and on his way to her before Bella could sit down. She could hear his heart racing as he put on a casual appearance. She pretended not to notice him as he made the distance between them. She drew the seconds out, absorbing the increasing awkwardness like it was candy. Humans get so clammy and awkward so quickly, it was free entertainment for her, why not? She could hear his heart beat racing as he casually stood there waiting for her attention. He stood over the side of her desk. Her eyes were set on the book she had opened in front of her. He cleared his throat very lowly.
"Ahem. Hi, I am Mike. I heard you were new here." He said as Bella looked up. He stuck out his hand confidently, though she noticed a slight shaking.
"I'm Bella. Yes, I'm new." She said ignoring his outstretched hand. She turned her attention to the front of the room, blatantly ignoring his existence after that. He seemed nervous, his confident exterior was fading, but he didn't give up.
"So, is it true that you are from LA?"
She slowly turned her head back around, a little surprised that he persisted. She gave him a chilling stare before resolving to answer.
"Most recently, yes. Yes, I am very white. No, I do not have a skin condition. And no, I do not want to get dinner, a shake, the movies, or do anything that allows you to get to know me better. It's not you, I just don't want to. Are we good?" She said quickly. She stared at his blank face waiting for his understanding and answer. He looked at her with what could only be shock, cleared his throat and walked back to his seat scratching his head. She silently thanked the gods he gave up.
"Ouch." A low soft voice said from over her right shoulder.
Bella turned in her chair sharply to speak her mind. She opened her mouth to tell the voice how she felt about her comment, but stopped just as the breath escaped her mouth. She scaled the human with her perfect vision. She saw a beautiful blonde girl writing in a notebook on her desk. The girl didn't seem to notice her; she still stared at her work. Had she not had enhanced hearing; she would have thought she was mistaken about the voice. Her irritated demeanor carried on as she decided to confront the girl who should have minded her own business.
"Excuse me?" Bella said with a slight quirk to her brow. Just then she met violet blue eyes. Her mind was suddenly struggling to remember what it was she was agitated about. Her jaw relaxed slightly as she let out a gasp so small that only a creature with superior senses could have heard.
The girl that looked into her eyes was possible the most beautiful creature on earth. Her golden blonde hair was curled up into what had been the latest fashion of 1933. Her high cheekbones and defined jaw only enhanced her perfectly full lips. She was innocent; her features were not worn by time. She wore no wrinkles or stress lines upon her face, angelic in a way. She wore the kind of dark red lipstick that would capture anyone's attention. She was an enigma with her soft cheeks, firm jaw and red lips. She was complex in her conflicting look of innocence and rebellion. The blonde chewed her lip and tapped her pencil on the desk.
"It's just that, he is harmless, like a puppy. It's sort of like you just kicked a puppy. An annoying and overconfident puppy, but still."
Bella had grown more and more witty in her time as a vampire. Years of self-ostracism from the humans around her had left her cold and sharp tongued. Had the comment about her treatment of poor Mike come from any other human, she would have retorted quickly. This curious human left her blank. She couldn't remember the last time someone had left her unable to respond.
Her jaw parted in a dumbfounded look. She had not thought of her composure before her confusion was noticed. The blonde smiled to herself in the satisfaction of her small victory over the brunette as she went back to her writing. Helpless and confused, Bella turned back to face the front of the room. She spent the rest of the class in an uncomfortable silence, mulling over the fact that for the first time since she was turned, she felt vulnerable. The immortal was outwitted by a teenage girl.
It took two more periods for Bella to feel back to her normal self. She chewed on her words over and over, thinking of what she should have said to best the blonde girl. She worked herself up, playing back the conversation in her mind. She thought of the perfect response and what the frustrating girl would have said back.
As luck would have it, she saw the blonde again on her path to her final period. The girl was at her locker gathering books with a boring looking brunette girl. She locked in on her target; this was her chance. She knew she could outdo the girl with her comeback. She approached the couple abruptly, making her seem unnatural.
"Maybe I'm not a dog person." She interrupted the conversation between the two girls. The brunette was in the middle of a story, but stopped mid-sentence at Bella's interruption. She stared at the vampire with her mouth agape. The blonde turned to look at Bella; utter shock filled her face. The blonde regained her composure quickly. A smirk formed on her perfect lips just before she spoke.
"What are you even talking about?"
"Who is this girl?" The snobby brunette asked with a small curl of her lip.
"The comment earlier, about the guy. You said he was a puppy. I was just saying…" Bella continued ignoring the friend of the blonde.
"She is just this girl that sits near me in Lit." The blonde answered her friend. She turned her attention back to a very serious Bella. "Okay, so we have to go to class." With that they turned to walk away.
"Is she slow?" The friend asked the blonde as they were walking away. The blonde just shrugged but looked back at a dumbfounded Bella.
Feelings of embarrassment crashed in on Bella as she stood in the same spot until the bell rang. She decided to leave early, not feeling like being at the school anymore. She mentally kicked herself for even giving this human a second thought, let alone wasting the better half of her afternoon contemplating a response. She was more frustrated than she had been in years. She never let humans get to her, and she most certainly never let them outwit her. She was obviously flustered and could not be more irritated that a human did this to her.