Edward Mason Cullen was a vampire.

This meant that he didn't need to eat, sleep, or bathe, though he did own a lavish shower for reasons Bella couldn't place. Instead of food for sustenance, he drank blood. Not from a glass, or through a straw—but directly from living and breathing beings. Except, Edward would stay away from the kind of living and breathing beings that were human. He had decided that animals and wildlife were a more appropriate choice given his morals.

In summary, he didn't kill humans. At least, not intentionally.

Edward's entire family were vampires, and they all followed the same moral code. Their eyes were an unnatural golden color, which was apparently entirely due to their diet. Had they embraced their natural, human diets, Edward had explained, their eyes would be a striking red.

The whole thing was absurd, and Bella knew that she would reminisce on this absurdity for the rest of her life.

She sat in the lecture hall with Edward Mason Cullen, the vampire. Around thirty others sat near them, their attention loosely focused on the professor at the front.

It was a nice day in Forks, and a Friday at that. None of them really wanted to be there either, Bella reasoned, so she took this opportunity to focus on the vampire. She liked to do this a lot, she realized, because Edward was just very easy to look at.

"She never said that, you know," Edward said to her lowly, his deep golden eyes sliding over to her. "Marie Antoinette."

Bella didn't know. She was staring at his lips. Her brain caught up soon after he looked back over at her. "What? Let them eat cake?"

Edward's eyes focused back over to the professor as he proceeded with his lecture on the French Revolution.

"There's also no evidence to support she ever said it," Edward murmured. "You would think a professor would do more… research."

"You would think," Bella agreed quickly, glancing back down to her worksheet.

"Qu'ils mangent de la brioche was the actual sentence," Edward whispered when he leaned down to her. "It's possible that she had said let them eat brioche. But still, no evidence."

He was so close to her ear that she could visibly see the goosebumps on the tops of her forearms. "Maybe you should be up there teaching us all."

The corner of his lip twitched.

"You could probably teach this whole chapter entirely in French," she added. And that was true, she knew, because Edward spoke over 15 languages.

The other corner of his mouth twitched, and his smile finally broadened. And Bella stared. That was all she did in this class, because it was the only one she shared with Edward.

HIST 202 at Fork's Peninsula College ended at 4:00 PM, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Today, as the professor wrapped up, Edward put his worksheet on top of Bella's and grabbed them both. He discarded them on the professor's stool on their way out.

"I don't know why you do this to yourself," Bella said, after waving goodbye to other familiar faces in the class.

"This?" Edward asked.

"Community college."

"Ah." Edward smiled teasingly. "Education is important, Bella."

Bella fully agreed with that regard. She would finish her Associates while saving money, and then transfer to a four-year university where she would complete her Bachelor's degree. It was the same plan she had discussed with all of her guidance counselors in high school, and it made a lot of sense to her. But now, she wasn't all that sure.

Edward Mason Cullen had changed everything.

"You're quiet," he noted, as they left the building and stepped into a calm, cloudy day. "What are you thinking?"

That was another thing. Edward Mason Cullen was perfect as a vampire. But he earned a separate degree of perfection from his gifted ability of mind reading. Bella would stare at his impossibly shaped lips and think: Nature shouldn't allow for this much perfection in one person. It's wrong.

Edward could read minds, and along with his naturally freakish sense of hearing, no human could ever escape him.

Except Bella. Bella was immune. Not to everything, unfortunately. Edward would still be able to predict her hunger patterns from the glorious calls of her stomach, and easily read the basic state of her feelings just given her heartbeat. But her mind was off limits.

And how liberating that felt.

The closer Bella had gotten to Edward, the more exposed she felt. She was pretty sure Edward knew her menstruation cycles to the hour, and that was a disturbing thought. But her mind? Edward couldn't be let in.

And it wasn't like Bella hadn't tried. In an odd display of desperation, Edward had asked her to try to bring down the blockade. Bella had never been sure what that really meant, but she'd done her best. She had tried.

And failed. Bella remained a mystery to Edward, and she held that one part of herself close. A part he could never access.

As a human, she had one quirk over the vampire after all.

"Bella?" He pressed. He didn't like the quiet. She had figured that one out pretty quickly. Edward was used to the constant noise of people's desires, mindless ramblings, and daily anxieties. When they were alone, Edward would grow restless in the silence.

"I was just thinking when you'd stop with this endless loop of transcripts, credits, and inaccurate lectures. You don't need any of it."

Edward opened the passenger door of his car for her. "At least it's not high school."

Bella slid into the seat and gave him a look. "Now that we can agree on."


A/N: Jasper/Bella has always been on my mind.

Jasper's story will be a little different, and exploring this through Bella's naive, human mind is the best way for us to understand it.

Shout-out to glowingivy for being an amazing BETA and sticking with me through problematic blonde men.