Adley finished unpacking her kitchen in her small single level home. The thousand square foot home was a good size. Open concept kitchen, dining room that lead to the living room in the front. The two bedrooms in the home were more than enough for her office and bedroom. The single bathroom had a normal wall unit for a shower and tub.
She sighed looking out the front window before her, her bright yellow four door Jeep was hard to miss. A two-year-old vehicle she'd gotten as a gift from her parents. She took a deep breath. She was three and a half hours from her home city. She shook her head, what had she signed up for?
A middle of the year contract immediately posted by the school board she'd applied to a few months back. She was to take over in the new school year for the retiring physics teacher. She was going to get settled discover the neighborhood finish up her time in Seattle. Then principal Mr. Greene called and said they had an immediate opening for her position for her position.
So here she was eight months early and a week notice to move from Seattle to Forks Washington. Not many freshly graduated teachers got lucky. She wished to stay in the city, but she knew a fresh teaching degree meant nothing. The pay was good. They were willing to splurge.
A knock on her door brought her from her thoughts. She hurried across the room and glanced out. There a man in uniform stood. She scrunched her face up. The man was in his forty's early fifties at most. The short dark brown hair, his heavy moustache and deep brown eyes.
"Hello?" She opened the door a crack.
"Apologies for the intrusion, name's Chief Swan." He tilted his head. "I hope you don't mind I came to say hello ...and welcome."
"I'm not used to the Chief of Police being the welcoming committee." She smiled, opening the door fully. "Being from Seattle the police are usually busy with crime and order."
"Well not usually, I live three houses down that way. Saw your Jeep, thought I'd say hello. Old man Jones used to like here, it's been empty for a few months now since his passing. Good to see it full again." He explained red touching his cheeks.
"Well, hello Chief Swan, I'm Adley Choi. Newest teacher to Forks High." She held her hand out.
He shook it but quickly dropped it. "Forks High? My daughter goes there. Senior."
"Is she taking Physics?" She raised a brow.
"I believe so... Bella's a smart girl..."
"I should get going, welcome again Ms. Choi." He tipped his head and left answering his radio.
Adley closed the door and locked it. She shook her head pulling out her Nokia phone texting her mother. About the incident. She looked at the clock seeing it was about seven in the evening and should probably get dinner on.
Her first Monday came after a week of settling into Forks. The new year was done, and she was ready to begin. She wore a simple royal purple blouse under her knitted black cardigan. Her black dress pants slim enough to tuck into Her boots. It'd snowed during the weekend leaving ice patches and wetness everywhere. Typical coastal weather she was learning bitterly. She enjoyed the winter snow that usually coated Seattle.
She slipped into her puffer coat and headed out to her Jeep. The crack of dawn was just happening when she pulled into staff parking. Her Jeep one of many various vehicles and brands. She made her way to her classroom. Up on the second floor she was settled in the farthest corner it looked to be.
The many lab tables and stools she was happy to see again. She'd already prepped herself on the lesson plans from the last physics teacher. He had left a full plan of what he'd planned out for the rest of the semester for each class. It was meticulous. The last few days however were a quick jot of notes that were ruined by ink splatters. He was still MIA. Well, that or they weren't going to tell her what happened to the older man. She could manage the outline though he had left. He was thankfully an organized man even if he recycled lesson plans and had them going back twenty years in the cupboards behind the desk. That's what was great with physics, it barely changed.
She logged into her computer and got her binder flipped open to her schedule. Day one. She had ninth grade physics a class of roughly fourteen. In the second block of a six-block day. In third block she had grade ten physics advance, and in the fourth block was regular. Then Day Two she had first period grade eleven advance then, second regular, lunch followed by third period grade twelve regular then advance end of the day. A small school such as this, she was surprised to see such diversity for the class advancements.
She finished setting up checking her watch she decided to go to the staff room. She took her empty travel mug with her. The Harry Potter logo on display. The staff room she realized was on the first floor thankfully near the front office. She unlocked the door with her scan card and made her way in. She headed straight for the coffee pot pouring it in to her mug. She took a sip, barely containing her moan. It was heavenly light roast with a nutty taste. She added a bit of creamer from the little creamer cups available.
She put the lid back on and smiled taking a large gulp. It was perfect to warm her from the cool air currently drafting through the school. She turned to see a woman enter the lunch room. She was a bright redhead, and glasses pushed up on her face. A portly woman that barely stood a few inches taller than Adley.
"Hello, you must be Miss. Choi." The woman greeted. "Shelly Cope, secretary."
"Oh, Mrs. Cope! A pleasure to meet you. I am Ms. Choi yes. Newest Physics teacher." She replied shaking the woman's well-manicured hand.
"Yes, so sad what happened to Mr. Gardner. He was a kind and caring man, lord bless his soul. We're so lucky to have you. You're from Seattle, right?" Mrs. Cope asked getting a mug and pouring coffee.
"Born and raised."
"When did you graduate? You seem, young." Mrs. Cope looked her over.
"Back in June actually. I'm twenty-three." Adley responded shrugging. "Mr. Gardner was he the old physics teacher?"
"Didn't you hear?"
"Mr. Greene did not go into details of my urgent hire." She murmured cheeks warming. "I thought it rude to ask so abruptly. A first-time teacher fresh out of school, it's hard to come by a full-time position so quickly."
Mrs. Cope smiled wider and pulled her closer. "Mr. Gardner was found dead down at the docks a few weeks ago. His wife up and left town. Medics said it was his heart. He didn't have a history of heart problems though."
Adley's eyes widened but she schooled her face. Mrs. Cope brought her into more of the lounge and introduced her to the multiple staff of the school. She realized she was the youngest at least by fifteen years. The first bell rang, and she returned to her classroom.
Many of the students stared as she passed. Adley remembered her own school used to have at least fifteen hundred kids. This school was maybe three hundred and fifty kids. Give or take. She was thankful that it was a small school, but it meant they knew a new person when they saw one. No one was invisible. Adley was almost to her class room when someone knocked right into her.
"Ugh!" She grunted catching her coffee to make sure it didn't lose it. She felt her chest constrict when she caught herself.
The down side was the girl who was sprawled on the floor. There, a thin girl who looked impossibly pale was. Her brown locks fell around her and her chocolate gaze wide like a deer caught in headlights. She was radiating pain and dark depression. Adley barely had time to bite her tongue to stop the sinking feeling. Her head sharply stung as she steadied herself and her gut dragging her to knees. She batted back tears whelming in her eyes. She took two deep breaths to clear the emotions swarming her like a deep cloud. Adley hurried to offer hand to the girl. She blinked a few times, realizing the girl's books were all over the place. She ducked down to help.
"Are you alright?" Adley asked once the girl was up.
Even at almost the same height she realized the girl was tiny in size. Her jeans we're baggy and her shirt loose. The dark chocolate gaze, while wide was surrounded by dark bags bruising her pale porcelain skin. Adley wondered had this girl recently lost weight... too much weight... She was a walking skeleton from the looks of it.
"W —what?" The girl asked her face scrunching up.
"I asked if you were alright. Did you hit your head? Do you need to see the nurse?" Adley asked not letting go of her elbow.
The girl shook her head her dark eyes going flat. "I'm okay..."
Adley studied the dark circles under her eyes. The girl was frail emotionally and physically. She wanted to know why. There was an aura to this girl, that was so light and airy she could see around her. It also pulsed dark near her heart. It was like a physical hole in her chest.
"You don't look it. You aren't by chance Chief Swan's kid, are you?"
She almost hoped not. The officer seemed so nice. He wouldn't let his daughter get into this shape, would he?
"Yeah, I am... how'd you know?" The girl tried to focus in.
"Your father introduced himself to me about a week ago. I'm a neighbor of sorts."
"Oh..." the final bell rang. "I need to get to biology..."
She ran with that. Adley sighed watching the flighty girl leave. She shook her head and got back to her classroom. Well, she tried to settle into her first introductions back with the students.
"Oma!" Adley greeted as she answered her phone following her first week of work.
She'd already given her students comprehension test. She wanted to know where they were in the material their last teacher had gone over. A good majority seemed to understand what was going on so far. A few she had stayed with after class to get a schedule put together so she could work with them to catch them up. She didn't want these students falling behind after all. Considering she taught one of the toughest subjects for a lot of students.
"How is your first semester going?" Oma asked, she heard her Appa in the background.
"Good, classes are small. I teach grade nine to twelve advance and regular. It's nice. I get to focus on the kids more." Adley replied. "How is everything there?"
"My book club has begun the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. The church is holding a gala of sorts. In February for the many couples. You should come by for it that weekend you may meet someone." Oma suggested.
Adley had to restrain her eye rolling. She loved her parents dearly, she truly did. However, they were traditional in every sense of the word. Get an education, married, then have children. That was the chosen path a Korean woman must follow. Even if she was American born and influenced.
"Oma, I don't need to find someone." She huffed. "I only just settled here in Forks."
"Bah! You are twenty three, you should be dating." Oma grumbled.
"Oma..." she warned.
"Alright, Adley we just worry for you. Appa and I won't be here forever... I want grandchildren." Oma reminded.
Adley had to mentally count down, to calm herself from going on a rant. "Oma you're fifty-eight years old. Plus, Anna and Cole are both older than me, and don't have kids."
"Anna is just starting her residency at the university hospital. She is also engaged and about to be married in a year. Cole, he is finishing his graduate degree in pharmaceuticals. You are done degree and still no partner. The last person you dated was that Terrance kid..."
"Tyler, Oma, and he joined the Marines." Adley pinched her nose.
"A strong, brave man." She huffed.
"Appa, what's that about the horse races again?" Adley perked up.
"Appa! Gambling again?!" Oma screeched immediately hanging up.
She shut her phone off before she could hear any more of it. Adley flopped down on her couch and closed her eyes. 138 miles and she still couldn't escape her Oma. Bless the tiny woman who loved all three of them dearly, she was a force to be reckoned with. She got up starting dinner up.
Monday mid-January came, and she was in her fourth period physics on Day Two. Her advance seniors. She had a good mixture of boys and girls. Her top students being Angela Weber and Ben Cheney. Today she was handing out their assignments to be completed by the end of the week.
She stopped at the back table where Isabella Swan was sat staring at the white board. She pursed her lips and took a calming breath. Adley stopped in front of the table, she'd given them the half class to work on the assignment even. Yet here was her student, in advance classes mind you, staring off. She could not help the small irritation radiating from her. She had been given word on each student and how each one did. She'd used it to get them all a head of the group.
Isabella Swan had been proving to be a more difficult student than promised. Each teacher had vouched she was an honor roll student maintaining an average of eight six. Yet her tests and assignments the last two weeks had been proving otherwise. Her latest was a fifty-one. Adley had gone back to her previous year's mark of a ninety-two.
"Earth to Ms. Swan." Adley waved her hand in front of the vacant expression.
She dared to allow her mental block to lower a bit. She sent her feelers around Ms. Swan, and her pale aura. The same dark hole that was the child in front of her caused her heartache. She quickly tossed her emotional block up to numb herself to Ms. Swan. What had happened to this girl? A question no one seemed to dare touch. No one really spoke of Ms. Swan's head dive into zombie state.
Adley had observed the teen for the past two weeks and only concluded she was lonely. She sat alone in the cafeteria and didn't study with other students. She drove a hideous old truck. That turned heads not just because of the noise the old ford made. It really did make her wonder if this girl had ever had friends. Each teacher sung praises of the student before her. Adley wanted to smack the girl back into herself, and simultaneously hug her tightly.
"I realize I'm the newest teacher here Ms. Swan, but don't think for a moment I'm not here for you all." Adley stated leaning across and squeezed her free hand.
The girl barely reacted. She sighed seeing the class had plugged into iPods and music devices as she'd allowed. Sufficiently distracted. So, she focused in on the brown gaze before her and sent sparks of shock and terror.
It got her alright. "What?!"
Isabella jumped practically off the chair. She took her hand back holding it as if she'd been hit. She zeroed in on Adley's small grin and blown wide pupils.
"Hello Ms. Swan. Are you doing okay?"
"Of course, never better." The girl forced a smile.
"Look, Isabella I'm not stupid. I know a depressed teen when I see one. Do you want to talk about it?"
"I'm not depressed." The girl snapped sitting up right as the final bell rang.
Adley sighed while Isabella took off. She turned rubbing her temples. She walked to the front of the room. She wanted to fling herself down and scream. It was like talking to a brick wall. A stubborn one to boot.
"Don't take it personally." A soft voice stated.
Adley looked up to see Angela Weber stood with her books in hand. She was a tall girl who was probably six foot something. A modest girl and great friend to all those she came across. If someone lived up to the meaning of their name. It was her.
"What do you mean?"
"Bella, she's been like that since the end of September. I don't like to gossip. Bella is a friend of mine though. We were close for a while in Junior yeah. She's gotten depressed and begun zoning out badly. She does it with everyone I meant don't hold it against her." Angela explained.
"I won't. I know what it's like to be depressed myself..." Adley sighed. "What caused this?"
"She was dating this guy, Edward. His family moved and Bella hasn't been the same since." Angela responded, shifting her weight to her other leg. She was uncomfortable.
"A boyfriend left her like this?" Adley scrunched her nose up.
"That was my reaction, but it seemed deeper than just a sort of relationship." Angela shrugged and exited the class.
Adley blinked a few times before she Got ready to leave for the day. Was there something she could do to help the girl? Someone she could discuss this with? Many questions flew through her mind as she made her way out to her Jeep and decided to head home for the evening thinking on ways to help her class. Especially a certain student. It would take sometime but she had a gut feeling she needed to.