Chapter One: New Friends

I moved to Forks from Phoenix, Arizona my freshman year of high school. My mom had "escaped" from there when I was a mere few months old, to evade the small town life. She always said the quiet drove her crazy. After spending a few months of the summer every year, I had begun to understand what she meant. But, now I was being exiled to Forks because my mom, Renée, said I needed to spend more than just summers with Charlie-ahem-my dad. I told her on that point that she was being hypocritical. But she just ignored my interjection. The arguments lasted for almost a week after she told me about my banishment.

"But why now? I'm fourteen! Three more summers isn't that much," I had protested.

"Bella. Just a few weeks ago, you wanted Charlie to come here instead of going there. And now you're saying you want to spend more summers with him—in Forks?" she asked, with some skepticism.

"Three months is a whole lot better than four years!" I retorted.

"You'll grow to love it. I did."

"And we see how that turned out," I mumbled, earning me a stern look. It was a look that didn't suit well with her normally placid and jovial face.

"Fine!" I said, throwing up my arms in final defeat "I'll go."

So, within the next few days, I was on a plane to Forks, Washington. I had moved into green, alien planet.

I didn't make friends right away. A few people talked to me; and I talked to them. But they just became acquaintances. Not the people I would call up and ask to hang with on the weekend. It wasn't until three weeks later that I felt I would finally fit in here. That was when the Cullen's moved in.

Alice was the first one I met. She was always smiling; and she didn't notice all the people staring and whispering behind their hands as she walked by. She just seemed to fall in the swing of things with such ease. She never acted nervous about being the new girl. Not like I was. Her first day here, she waltzed into my third-period English class with her graceful, dance-like walk and sat in the desk next to mine. She arranged her notebook and textbook on her desk. Then she pulled out her pen and set it on top of her books. Then she turned to me. All this seemed to be in one continuous, fluid movement. I was watching this so intently, that she startled me when she stuck out her hand and said cheerfully…

"Hi, I'm Alice Cullen."

"Oh! Hi," I stumbled. Then I recovered my composure. "I'm Bella Swan."

"Nice to meet you. I just moved here, into a house on the edge of town."

"Well, that's one thing that we have in common. I just moved here myself, three weeks ago."

"Cool!" she said, her face holding it's natural glow. "We should hang out sometime. I have an idea."

But I didn't get to hear what her idea was. Just then Mr. Masen came in and started class. We were reading Number the Stars by Louis Lowry. I had already read that in my class last year. That led me to thinking about my friends back home. Gods, I missed them.

But then my thoughts turned to Alice. She could be what I needed. I was a new face in a school where friendships had been formed in preschool. It wasn't easy moving in and making friends with people whose grandparents had played in the dirt together. Small towns were not places where bonds could be formed instantaneously. But Alice and her family were in the same boat. So, maybe I would have friends after all. With the sudden relief coursing throughout my body, I started listening to the person at the front of the class, who was reading a selection from the book.

After class, all my thoughts slowly began coming true. At the bell, Alice turned to me as we were packing up our things.

"So, as I was going to say before, I was wondering if you wanted to come over to my house this afternoon. Mom's got us unpacking. And if you're not doing anything, I was wondering if you wanted to help?" I zipped up my book bag and hoisted it on my back.

"Sure, I'd love to. I'll have to ask my dad. But I don't think it'll be a problem." She smiled.

"Okay. My brother, Emmett, and I will pick you up at your house after school around four" she said as we headed out of the classroom and towards the cafeteria.

"Sounds great."

As we walked, we told each other about our old school, our friends, and things we liked to do. Alice and her family, I found out, were from Denali, Alaska. Her dad was a doctor at the local hospital, and her mom stayed at home. When we got to the cafeteria door, she turned to me.

"Do you want to eat lunch with me and my brothers today?" she asked.

"That would be awesome. I usually eat by myself. I haven't met any real friends. Well, until now." She smiled.

We walked through the door and joined the lunch line. After we got our food, I followed her to a table where two boys sat. One of them looked older. He had curly, brown hair and brown eyes. He was a bit broad. The younger-looking one had piercing green eyes and wavy, bronze-colored hair. He was the one that really caught my attention. He was by far the most beautiful boy I had ever seen.

"Hey Alice. We were wondering if you were going to grace us with your presence," the big boy said. "Thought we'd have to send a search party. After all, this school is so big," he added sarcastically.

"Oh shut up. I was talking to Bella and…"

"Oh, Bella, eh?" he interrupted. He turned to me and said coyly, "Excuse my sister's lack of manners. I'm Emmett." This earned him a slap on the arm. The argument was cut off by a musical voice.

"Please ignore the rambunctious nature of my brother and sister. They're normally like this. (Alice "humpfed" and Emmett cried, "Hey!) I'm Edward," the beautiful boy said, ignoring his siblings.

"Bella," I said, smiling.

"Nice to meet you, Bella, " he responded, the corners of his mouth pulling up into a beautiful grin. Alice then found her voice again.

"Bella's coming over today—to help me unpack. Think Mom'll mind?"

"I don't see why she would. You know Mom loves meeting new people," Edward replied.

"Yes. We really should get to know Bella," Emmett said, smiling mischievously. I started to feel a bit nervous.

"Oh stop, Emmett! Don't scare my new friend off," cried Alice.

"Calm down, Alice. I was only joking. It'll be fun. We haven't really met anyone else nice. Everyone around here acts like they want to just stick with their friends. Won't give the new kids a chance," he said.

"Try being here three weeks without something as simple as a lunch table invitation," I said.

"You just move here, too?" Edward asked.

"Bella's from Arizona," Alice answered for me.

"Wow, what made you move here?" Emmett inquired.

"My dad lives here. He and my mom separated when I was just a baby. She thought I should spend more time with my dad now that I'm getting older. Before, I just spent the summers with him. I didn't want to come. And at first, I wasn't getting good vibes from the kids here. I agree. They tend to keep to themselves. You have no idea how happy I am that you all are here now. So, Alice tells me you're from Alaska. That's different."

"Yeah, tell me about it," said Emmett. "We went from no sunshine to no sunshine. What a change! At least you had sun in Arizona."

"And I miss it. I feel like I'm going to lose what little color I have in this dark hole. I have always been pale. My friends back home swore that I had an albino gene in my genetic make-up. This place is not helping."

"Well, I don't think you're pale. Just fair is all," Edward replied.

"Thanks," I said, grateful that I could count on him not to make any wisecracks.

The bell rang, signaling the end of lunch. We all stood up and dumped our lunches in the trashcan.

"Well, I'll see you all after school," I said and started to head to my next class. I heard someone jogging to catch up with me. I turned to see that it was Edward.

"What class do you have next?" he asked.

"Physical Science."

"So do I. Can I walk to class with you?"

"Sure."

In class, I sat down at my desk. Edward joined me at my table in the chair next to mine. It had always been empty. New Girl Germ, I had figured. He turned and opened his mouth to say something, but then Mr. Cason came in and called the class to order. It seemed that there was a sort of trend to the Cullen's being interrupted by teachers. That thought made me giggle. Edward looked at me with a confused look on his face. But then he just smiled and turned his attention back to the teacher.

As the teacher droned on about cells, I thought back on my change of luck. I had come into this school day with another sense of dread. I had begun to wonder if I would ever have anyone to talk to and spend time with. But, now, I had gained not just one friend, but three. All in one day. At that point, I thought that things were finally looking up. And now I have Alice, Emmett, and especially, Edward as my friend. Yep, things were definitely changing—and for the better.