Chapter 1: Like Honey

"Isabella Swan."

His voice was like honey. She tried to glare, but it was hard to glare at something so beautiful. "It's Bella."

He smirked. "Yes, ma'am."

That smirk was the beginning of the end.

The troublemaker. The loner. The freak. Jasper Hale was all those things, or that's what people said. He was the outcast of the Cullen clan. He mostly kept to himself, but she would catch him staring at her. Watching her.

She slammed her locker shut. Enough was enough. "What?"

He shook his head, his blonde curls brushing his strong jaw. "Nothin'," he shrugged before doing an abrupt about face and disappearing down the hall into the crowd of students.

They were paired together for a history project. Just perfect. Working in silence for a few minutes, both with their noses buried in the textbook- at least, she assumed he was, she hadn't looked up- when she felt a building sense of curiosity. But not about the subject matter. About him.

She looked over at him, only to find him already looking at her. "Uh," she stammered, taken aback by his golden eyes, "so, what do you think?"

He cocked an eyebrow. "I think you'd rather be working with my younger brother." He pointed his pen directly at Edward's back.

Bella could feel herself blushing. "I uh, I don't know what you're talking about."

That smirk was back. "Maybe if I'd been the one who stopped the van, it'd be me coloring your cheeks that pretty shade of pink."

Her mouth opened and closed, searching for something to say.

He chuckled, giving her a wink. A rush of relief washed over her and she began to laugh too. The teacher hushed them, and they got back to work. The last remnants of a smile lingered on her lips. She hadn't laughed in a long time.

It felt nice.