The cute girl shook my hand rigorously, smiling. My arm was getting jerked around by someone even more petite then myself. It reminded me of when I had first met Alice. It didn't seem natural.

I pulled my hand away from her grasp. "Louis?" I repeated. A boy's name?

Suddenly, the girl got knocked out of the way. Angela had pulled her off of me. She sighed, holding onto the girl's shoulders. "Hey, Bella. Sorry about this," she shook the girl roughly, "happening to you. That's Louis, my 'brother.' He's an exchange student here for a little while." She glared at the girl. "He's got a lot to learn about America, as you can tell. Like personal space."

I did a double take. "You're a guy?" I demanded. I found myself pointing at him and his unnatural beauty incriminatingly.

He pushed his long, silky red hair over his shoulder. "Oui. Pourquoi? Zit is évident, no (1)? » He pouted.

«Uh . . . not really. » I grimaced. That was more insulting then I had intended. I had said it without even considering the consequences. "You're just really beautiful, is all. That's why I thought you were a woman," I told him.

Louis shrugged nonchalantly, the material of his purple tunic not even marred by the movement. "I can not say I am surprised. Most Américain people zink zat."

"Er . . . can I ask why you said you were Edward's brother, if you're really an exchange student?"

He glanced over at Edward, who still looked shaken up by this chance meeting. "Oh, him? He just came over here and mistook me for his own frère. So after a while of listening to him talking about toi, Bella, I just decided to mess around un peu. Pardon! (2)" He laughed, placing his dainty hands on his hips.

I looked at Edward. He was blushing a little, embarrassed to have been strung along and to have mistaken someone for his actual brother. Of course, the coincidences were fairly scary: a guy who looks like Edward's dead brother and has the same name as him? And can speak French? No wonder Edward thought it was him.

"You probably shouldn't do that anymore, Louis," I suggested. "You might prank the wrong American and end up a little . . . well . . . less pretty then you are now."

His eyelashes fluttered in disbelief. "Impossible! Who would dare to do such a zing?"

"Lot's of people."

"Well!" he huffed.

"Okay, Louis?" Angela cut in. "Try to get some American punch from the magical American punch bowl. A new experience for you."

He glanced at the table and smiled widely at her. "A good idea, indeed." Louis turned towards us again. "Excuse moi," he said lightly, moving out of the group with a flip of his long auburn lochs. A floral scent from his shampoo was left behind, lingering in the air.

"Thank god we ditched the Frenchie," Angela sighed in relief, rolling her eyes.

I frowned. "That was rude of you to say. He didn't seem all that bad."

She shot me a dark look. "You don't have to share a house with him. I've had to live with that guy for almost a month now. This is his first time in the school building, and he needs to decide if he's really interested in attending the same school as me. Please say no," she pleaded to the ceiling.

"What does he do to seem annoying?"

She paused for a half-second. "He has this annoyingly chipper atmosphere; he's ridiculously beautiful; my brother swears that it seems as if Louis is hitting on him; it's hard to understand him speaking sometimes; and there was this one time I caught him wearing one of my shirts."

I shrugged. "Well that isn't so bad."

Angela grimaced. "It was a purple belly shirt, Bella. A PURPLE BELLY SHIRT. Tell me that's natural for a normal teenaged guy to wear."

Marla, who had been off to the side and quiet for a while, decided to join in the conversation. "Alright. So your boyfriend's gay; so what?"

"He isn't my friggin' boyfriend, Marla. I keep on telling you that."

Marla laughed. "But it's so cute to see your reaction. For a gay guy, he has a great body. I'd love to cuddle him at the very least."

Edward looked distinctly uncomfortable with the conversation. "Er . . . listen, I'm sorry for coming over and mistaking him for my . . . brother . . . ."

Angela waved the apology aside. "Are you kidding me? No offense taken; I'm just surprised that you're brother looks like him." She jerked her thumb over to the punch bowl area, where Louis was chatting rather amiably with a very well-built guy. Apparently the guy wasn't aware that he was flirting with another man.

Something red caught my eye. I glanced at the corner, where Jake gave me a warning look. He glanced over to someplace a little to the side of me and back again. He was warning me about something.

I followed his gaze to see what he was trying to tell me, suddenly feeling as if I should have just dragged Edward out when I had the chance. I saw Mike and Jessica, both of whom were staring at me with an undisguised mixture of loathing and longing, swinging themselves ever so close to where I was.

I grabbed Edward by his tunic and yanked him roughly. He yelped, taken completely by surprise at my sudden spurt of impatience. "What's going on?" he demanded.

"We have to get out of here," I said urgently. I nodded my head to the dancing couple of evildoers behind us so Edward would get the point.

"Oh," he said. It seemed he had pretty much forgotten about it all. He pulled himself together and grasped my hand, pivoting on his heel towards the doors. Marla and Angela looked at us, taken aback by our abrupt departure. I was going to have to apologize later.

This time, when we squeezed past people, we weren't pushed apart. Edward had a firm grip on me, apparently set against letting go again. My only complaint was that it was hurting my hand.

The hallway was as deserted as we had last seen it. Nothing of notable status inhabiting it at all. It seemed to be a rather let down after the anticipation that something bad would happen, but then again anything could happen later on tonight.

It was still raining like mad, and we had to run across the parking lot again to make it to the truck without getting our costumes too wet. I fumbled with the car keys and slipped into the driver's seat as quickly as I could, making sure that the hem of my dress wasn't caught in the door as I slammed it. Edward, of course, was already in the car and waiting.

He looked out the back windshield as I drove back to the house. Probably to look out for those humans who were possessed. His mouth was a tight line.


He gave me a look and returned to his job as look out. "Yeah?"

"I'm sorry I'm such trouble for you." I kept my face perfectly composed and blank as I pulled out of one rode and into the next. Only my hands seemed to convey any emotion—they were pressing against the wheel so tightly that my knuckles were white. I think I was holding it that way because I was afraid to lose control if we were swooped down upon.

Edward turned back to sit more comfortably in his seat and suddenly looked tired beyond his years. "Bella," he said levelly, "You aren't any trouble. I've never thought of you as trouble. All I think is that a lot is happening to a seventeen year old girl when it really shouldn't be. I don't think it's fair to you as a human, who should be living her life out as peacefully and happily as she can before finally dying. Demons are not what the average human has to face."

"I'm not the average human," I said, a smirk playing on my lips.

"Yeah," he agreed blandly, "You certainly aren't."

My smirk melted into a scowl. "It's a real talent to be such a downer, isn't it? Must have taken you years to prefect."

Edward shrugged, either because he was indifferent to the jab I threw at him, or because he didn't catch on too fast to the fact that I had just insulted him. He sighed a little more into his seat and rubbed his temples. "But geez . . . Bella . . . I can't believe this is actually happening so quickly. It's near to impossible to protect you anymore. We keep getting separated, and something always goes awry when that happens. And my powers are steadily going away with more time I spend on Earth." He looked out at the rain pelting the window. A thoughtful silence had befallen him.

"I think you need to get out of here, Bella. Forks is no longer a place where you can be safe."

(A/N No doubt I'll probably be flogged for handing over a half-assed chapter, but I have my reasons: one of which is that my creative muse is on hiatus and I haven't been able to fully create something with as much passion as I used to. So I did a sentence or so each day, trying to keep up with demands and force my creativity to come. Didn't quite work, so I decided handing in a short chapter was better then not handing in anything at all. XD Apparently a lot of people have been worried I would no longer continue writing. Not the case in the slightest. Again, my muse is on vacation.

Somehow I knew Jacob's Bible Bashing Spree would come back to bite my arse. I've been getting a shitload of borderline harassment personal messages, saying I would burn in hell for my slander campaign against the one and only God. One of them went a bit too far and I ended up having them dispatched with a rather nasty virus sent as a lovely card via my beautiful hacker friend. I feel a touch guilty for that, but when you threaten to come after my family with a bunch of your 'friends' and kill them all, that's when I get pissed.

For those who are not as apt to French as French students, the translations to Louis' speech are right here:

1) "Yes. Why? It's obvious, no?"

2) "Oh, him? He just came over here and mistook me for his own brother. So after a while of listening to him talking aboutyou, Bella, I just decided to mess around a little. Sorry!"

And the rest are rather obvious. :) I'm sure you can decipher 'excuse me', right?

Side note: YES, I changed my user name at last! I've loathed Raven for a while now, so why go around saying I'm a fan of her? After writing through Alexander's perspective, I find her to be the epitome of what a bitch is. I have much proof, so care to argue your point, I'll argue mine.

I'll update as soon as I can find my creative muse again.)