Hello and welcome to Extraordinary, my first Twlight related fan fiction story! Extraordinary is the story of fifteen year old Elisa Jensen, an ordinary teenage girl in every way-until the night the lines between reality and fiction blur and through a disastrous coincidence, she changes the entire storyline of her favorite book series. Can she rectify her mistake in time to bring Edward and Bella back together?
This story is a teen rated dramedy. I would so appreciate any feedback and comments that you have for me. And of course, Twilight and all of its characters are the property of author Stephenie Meyer.
He released me, lifting his other hand to brush his fingertips along my cheek, trailing them down to my jaw. I could feel his fingers tremble-not with anger this time. He pressed his palm against my cheek, so that my face was trapped between his burning hands.
"Bella." he whispered.
"Don't do it, Bella. Don't give up on Edward." My voice too was a whisper as I read the words. I knew what would happen next, of course. I'd read this book so many times I could probably recite it in my sleep. But still, I was engrossed, completely caught up in the story, tense with anticipation.
"ELISA!" The voice was thunderously angry as it bellowed my name and I jumped in my seat, the book slipping from my fingers and thudding on to the dining room floor.
"Dad!" I gasped, my hand flying to my chest. "You scared-" I stopped as I saw the fury in his eyes. Too late I heard the low buzzing noise in the room, saw the cloud in the air. Even as I registered what was happening, the smoke alarm began to beep so loudly that I cringed.
"Dinner!" I jumped up and ran into the kitchen, throwing open the oven while my father stomped over to the corner where the smoke alarm was and began to wave a dishtowel in front of it, trying to dissipate the smoke. After a moment he gave up, the keening beeps just making him more angry, and tore the cover off and the batteries out. The silence was a relief, for a moment. I busied myself finding the oven mitt and then cautiously removing the smoldering pan of lasagna, but I could still feel the heat of his glare on my back.
"Um..." I turned on the light so I could see better and surveyed the damage. "It's just the edges that are burned. I could cut them off." I looked at him hopefully but Dad gave me a look that could have scorched our wallpaper.
"Two nights a week, Elisa. That's all. Just two nights a week your mother asks you to take care of dinner. You don't even have to make the damn food, all you have to do is take it out of the freezer and put it in the oven. Why is it that even that small chore is too much for you to manage?" A muscle twitched in his cheek. "Your mother and I don't work fifty plus hours a week to come home to burned lasagna!"
I shrank back, feeling the tears start to well in my eyes. "I'm sorry." I mumbled. Desperately I tried to blink the moisture back, but the more I took in Dad's angry expression the more teary I got. He saw it too, and for a moment he looked like he was going to explode, but then his expression changed to frustration.
"Dammit, Elisa, not the waterworks again. You're fifteen years old now...you've got to learn some responsibility, and you've got to learn to take your knocks when you screw up. You can't cry your way out of everything." He shook his head, his expression now one I was intimately familiar with-disappointment. The same expression he had on his face most of the time when it came to me.
Dad looked away from me and his eyes fell on my book. Striding over to the table, he leaned down and scooped it off the floor, giving an exasperated sigh as he looked at the cover. "This again. I should have known. These damn Twilight books are rotting your brain-as if you weren't ditzy enough to begin with." He shook his head, and his voice was quieter now, but no less annoyed. "In three years, you're going to be out in the real world, Elisa. Time to get your head out of the clouds. As for this-" he looked at the book he was holding with disgust- "no more. I'm putting it away. When I've decided your behavior has improved, you'll get it back."
He walked into the living room and I could see through the archway that separated it from the kitchen that he was putting the book on top of the very tall bookshelf next to his computer desk. It may not have seemed liked the most original hiding spot, but at barely five feet tall, I couldn't just reach up and take it back without dragging a chair over to stand on, and even then I'd have to stand on my tiptoes to reach it.
My chin was trembling as I turned and opened the drawer that contained our silverware, looking for a butter knife to cut the edges off the lasagna with.
"Don't bother." Dad snapped, and I turned to see him standing in the doorway watching me, his expression angry again. "I'm not making your mother and brother eat that. I'm going to order Chinese and you can damn well bet it's coming out of your allowance." Turning, he walked back into the living room and reached for the telephone.
Now I couldn't stop the tears as they trickled down my face. I tried not to sob as I took the pan over to the sink and carefully scooped out the lasagna, putting it in the garbage disposal bit by bit. I hated it when my dad yelled at me, although since it was a daily occurrence it seemed unfair that I hadn't built up some kind of tolerance to it. Crying was a near daily activity for me too. My parents seemed to think this was intentional on my part, which was just insane. Did they think I liked being this sensitive, getting my feelings hurt by a look or a careless word, having tear ducts that overflowed at the drop of a hat, usually in public in the most embarrassing situation possible? Not even. I'd give just about anything to 'toughen up' as Dad often barked at me, to have a thicker skin, to be able to shrug it all off, but I couldn't. It was just the way I was.
As I wiped my teary eyes, my little brother sidled into the room, looking at me warily. I looked back at him, no energy left to tell him to get lost.
Colby was eleven and about as different from me as he could be. People who met us for the first time often couldn't believe we were related. I was small for my age, a fact that I loathed, with light blond hair inherited from our mother, a pale complexion that got burned after mere seconds in the sun but stubbornly refused to tan, and my grandmother's blue eyes. Colby was almost as tall as me already, and was sure to outgrow me in a year or two, a situation that was bound to be humiliating. He had messy dark red hair, green eyes, and freckles, something that he hadn't inherited from either of our parents. My mom was pale like me, and my dad had brown hair and brown eyes. They theorized that he'd gotten his coloring from a distant relative. I often and loudly speculated that he had been left on our doorstep by leprechauns and our parents were just too soft-hearted to tell him.
"Geez, Elisa are you crying again?" His tone was reminiscent of our father's, and I glared at him. "I can't believe you haven't died of dehydration by now."
"Shut up." I snapped, rinsing out the empty lasagna pan.
Colby's voice softened slightly. "He wouldn't yell at you if you just stopped being such a space cadet all the time, you know."
"I'm not a space cadet!" I hissed, but the words were hollow and we both knew it. For as long as I could remember, I seemed to spend as much time inside my fantasy life as I did the real world. It was just second nature to me to get lost in a book, a favorite song, and especially in the daydreams that were constantly swirling around in my head. I could spend hours just staring out windows, lost in my own universe. Unfortunately, I'd never learned how to disguise my idealogical wanderings very well, or the resulitng blank stares and vacant expressions. 'Space cadet' was one of the kinder names people called me. My report cards were filled with words like 'unfocused' or 'inattentive'. My parents called me a dreamer when they were in a good mood. More often, especially lately, they called me ditzy and irresponsible. Even my friends teased me about my complete inability to concentrate on anything in the real world for more than a few minutes at a time.
I had to admit, it had gotten worse lately. A lot worse. Unconsciously, my gaze traveled back to the living room and the book that sat on top of the bookshelf. Ever since my best friend Michelle had talked me into reading the Twilight series, it was like my mind had been taken over. Normally, I didn't count on books for daydreaming material. Other people's stories rarely lived up to the ones I invented myself, but this was different-totally different. It was like a door had been opened to a place I'd never been before, a place filled with magic and romance written specifically for me. Of course that was stupid...just about the entire female population of our school were in love with Edward Cullen. I guess that was the pull of the books-the way they made almost every single one of us feel like the author had climbed into our head and written our fantasies into life.
"Hey, Elisa!" Colby snapped his fingers in front of my face, making me jump. "Wake up, would ya?" He sounded exasperated. "Food's here."
Hurriedly, I put the pan in the dishwasher and grabbed a stack of plates and forks to take into the dining room. Quickly, I set the table and then began to spoon food onto everyone's plates, more than aware of my father's stern gaze as I worked. I didn't dare fall into one of my trances now...I could tell by his frequent heavy sighs that he was still on the edge of an explosion.
Just as I opened my mouth to ask Dad if he wanted orange chicken the front door opened and my mother walked in, her forehead crinkled and her expression tight before she smoothed it all out and smiled at us. She started to greet us in a cheery voice but broke off as she saw the boxes of Chinese food on the table. "What happened to the lasagna?" she asked curiously as she hung up her coat in the hall closet.
I bit my lip, hoping Dad might find it in his heart to cover for me but no such luck. "Elisa burned it." he said sourly, shooting me a dirty look.
"Thanks, Dad." I grumbled under my breath as my mother sighed and her tight expression returned.
"Elisa..." she started, and then simply exhaled, seeming to give up. Shaking her head, she sat down at the table. "Pass me the teriyaki sauce."
Dinner time remained tense and awkward for the next several minutes until Colby managed to engross Dad in a spirited discussion about football. I watched them talk heatedly, occasionally yelling over each other about disputed plays and favorite players. Despite the raised voices, it was easy to see how much they both were enjoying themselves. Dad and Colby were like two peas in a pod. Dad was a sports fanatic. Football was his favorite but just about anything that involved a ball and a team of sweaty, overly aggressive players ranked high in his book. Colby was like his mini-me in that respect. There didn't seem to be a sport he didn't obsess over. Last year it had been soccer, but this year he'd joined the junior football league. Dad was so thrilled he'd volunteered to be the assistant coach.
Dad was laughing now at something Colby had said, his eyes crinkled around the corners, all signs of his bad mood gone. He never laughed with me like that. I swallowed hard against the lump that had suddenly appeared in my throat. I was being stupid again. Dad and I had a big nothing in common. I hated sports. Being forced to sit through Colby's games or Superbowl Sunday was like torture. Of course Dad preferred Colby...what did I expect him to do, take a sudden interest in shopping or makeup? Maybe cry through Titanic with me or watch Gossip Girl? I shook my head, annoyed at myself for getting upset again.
"So Elisa." My mother's voice broke through my thoughts. "How was school today?" I looked up to see her leaning towards me, looking mildly concerned. Maybe she'd seen the expression on my face.
"Um..." I thought back. "It was good. I got a B on my history exam, and I signed up for cheerleading tryouts. Oh, and Michelle-"
Mom's cell phone rang, cutting me off. She jumped up and pulled it out of her purse, looked at the caller ID screen and sighed. "I have to take this. I'll be right back." she walked into the kitchen, putting the phone to her ear as she went.
I finished my dinner while she was gone, feeling more relaxed about retreating into my own thoughts since Dad was no longer paying any attention to me. Just as I was sinking into a detailed remembrance of Bella and Edward's day in the meadow, Mom returned to the table.
"Sorry about that, honey. Nothing but problems at work lately." Her forehead was still creased. "What were we talking about?"
"Nothing important, Mom." I stood up. "I'm done eating anyway."
Mom nodded absently, stirring her food around on her plate, her own eyes far away. Thinking about work again, probably.
I stood up to clear the table, looking forward to escaping to my room. Dad may have taken my copy of New Moon, but Twilight and Eclipse were still on my bedside table. I'd just re-read one of them instead. The more I thought about it though, the more it irritated me. I knew it was irrational, but suddenly I wanted to read New Moon more than just about anything. Dad said he'd give it back to me when my behavior improved but since he never liked anything I did, there didn't seem much hope there. I thought about pleading my case with him but quickly banished that thought. He might decide to take the other two books as well, once he realized that he'd found a pretty good way to punish me.
As my thoughts become more resentful I clanked the dishes together angrily, and took the stack to the kitchen. Thankfully, Dad didn't notice the glower on my face...he and Colby were standing up now, putting on their jackets, apparently going outside to play a little football before the sunlight completely disappeared. Mom was on the phone again, pacing the living room, and I felt sorry for her...her food was going to be cold before she had a chance to finish it. I went back to the dining room and picked up her plate, then took it to the kitchen to reheat in the microwave.
Mom was snapping her phone shut when I returned her plate to the dining room. She looked over at me and smiled. "Thank you, Elisa. That was thoughtful."
I looked at the bookshelf she was standing next to and was struck by sudden inspiration. "No problem, Mom. Hey, um, could you hand me my book please?"
"What book?" she asked, rubbing her forehead and looking tired.
"Behind you on the top of the bookshelf." I pointed.
"Oh." Mom reached up and got it down, then walked into the dining room and handed it to me. "Do your homework before you start reading again." she warned me as she sat back down at the table and picked up her fork.
"Sure." I beamed at her. Hopefully, Dad wouldn't notice the book was gone, but even if he did, it wasn't like I had been the one to take it. Pleased with myself, I walked upstairs to my bedroom, tossing New Moon onto my bed as I entered. It lay there, glossy and black, tempting me to hurry and change into my pajamas and curl up with it, but I had to at least make a stab at being responsible. Reluctantly, I picked up my bookbag and got out my binder, deciding to start with math, by far my worst subject, and get it out of the way.
My math assignment turned out to be as tedious and incomprehensible as I had feared. I struggled through it as fast as I could, then rushed through the rest of my homework. Finally done, I picked out my pajamas and walked into my bathroom to change and scrub off the small amount of makeup I was allowed to wear. I brushed my hair out and returned to my room, picking up New Moon and climbing beneath my covers.
"Where did I leave off?" I murmured to myself and then remembered. Alice had come back to Forks and Jacob was putting the moves on Bella. Flipping through the book, I found the right page, settled back on my pillow, and began to read, losing myself in the web of words until tiredness seeped through me and my eyes slowly closed.
It came slowly out of the blackness, my sense of self-awareness returning. At first everything was dark, and I was so tired...I didn't want to wake up. I didn't hear my alarm...surely it couldn't be time to get ready for school.
But as I struggled to stay in that comforting darkness, to stay asleep and blissfully unaware, I couldn't help but feel the floating sensation that spread through me, lifting me up, higher and higher...
My eyes snapped open and I let out such a loud gasp that the man standing in front of me turned and looked down at me. I barely noticed. My eyes were wide with shock. I wasn't in my bedroom. I wasn't even lying down. I was standing upright and people I'd never seen in my life were behind me, in front of me, all around me, looking as though this were all perfectly normal, not even paying attention to me. I had no idea where I was. My fearful eyes didn't see anything that looked in the least bit familiar. And worst of all, I was moving. Wildly I looked around and a muffled, near hysterical cry came from my lips. I was on an escalator going who knew where. I swayed, terror exploding inside of me as I looked over the side and saw how high up I was.
"Oh no, no no!" I was barely aware I was speaking as I turned and struggled past the people behind me. "Please move, please let me off!"
"What do you think you're doing?" A woman clutching a large black shoulderbag glared at me as I elbowed past her.
"I'm sorry but I have to get off!" I gasped, panic threatening to overwhelm me. Relief washed over me as I moved past the angry woman. I was more than halfway down now and past most of the people. The only ones left in my way were two brunette girls, one with short, spiky hair and the other with long. The long haired girl had a small overnight bag over her shoulder and the most miserable expression I'd ever seen on her face. The spiky haired girl merely looked very tense, an expression that changed to extreme annoyance as I moved towards them.
"Excuse me, please I have to get down!" I gasped as I tried to get past them.
"Well, that's just great but you're on the escalator going UP!" The spiky haired girl snapped at me, giving me a murderous glare. Immediately, I realized she was right. The ground floor, my safe haven from this metal deathtrap, was moving away from me again and I was going up...backwards. Dizziness and fear spiraled within me and I tried to turn around, reaching for the railing, but I lost my footing and slipped. My hands clawed wildly for something to grab onto, trying to keep me from falling but it was no use. I slammed right into the two girls and the three of us crashed down the escalator, moving much faster downwards then it could take us up. We landed at the bottom in a crumpled heap.
"Bella, are you OK?" The short-haired girl jumped up, pulling her companion to her feet, looking her over anxiously.
"I'm...fine." The girl...Bella??...shook her head, looking a little dazed.
"Thank God." Her friend said. "We so don't have time for a trip to the E.R."
I slowly got to my feet too, shaking so hard I nearly fell down again, and the smaller girl turned to me. I had a second to notice that she was even shorter than I was before her violent expression drove all other thought from my mind.
"What the hell is your problem?!" she fumed, looking as though she'd like nothing better then to throttle me until I turned purple.
I had just opened my mouth-to say what I don't know-when more voices demanded my attention.
"What's going on here?" The sound was male and annoyed. The three of us looked up to see two men, one black and one white, dressed in uniform and staring at us. Security guards, by the look of it. "Are any of you hurt?"
"No." The short haired girl shook her head. "No thanks to her." She shot me a bitter look and the guards turned their attention to me.
"What happened here?" The black guard asked again, looking at me, his face stern.
I was still at a complete loss for words, gasping for breath, and trying to get my shaking under control. Before he could question me again, there was a sudden crackle of noise and a booming voice spoke, making me jump.
"This is the final boarding call for Flight 1431, New York to Florence, Italy. Repeat, final boarding call for Flight 1431." The voice kept speaking, adding instructions, but my attention was distracted by Bella's gasp.
"Alice, that's us!" she cried.
I was brought up short by the name. Alice? Bella? I stared at them, my mouth open. It was too much of a coincidence. It couldn't be...could it? Bella returned my stare but I could tell she wasn't really seeing me. Her eyes were distraught, staring far away as if at any moment the world was going to end and she was the only one who knew it. I suddenly felt horribly guilty for the trouble I'd caused her.
"We have to go!" Alice seized her hand and they turned, tearing back up the escalator. This time, they were the ones pushing people out of their way, ignoring the indignant comments and angry stares. I watched them until they reached the top of the escalator and disappeared.
"Hey, you!" The guards were still waiting for my answer and I turned back to them. "Pay attention! Did you knock those girls down?"
I turned back to him, struggling to get myself under control. "I didn't mean to." My voice was shaky. "It was...I panicked. I'm sorry."
The guards exchanged looks and then the same one looked back at me. "What scared you, Miss?" he said, his voice gentler.
"I..." I looked around. "Escalator." I mumbled, still trying to absorb what I was seeing, the crowds of people rushing past me, the carts of luggage being wheeled by people in various uniforms, the signs, the frequent overhead announcements. "I'm at an airport, aren't I?"
The guards exchanged another, longer look. "You're at La Guardia airport, New York City." The white guard said slowly. His voice was cautious. "You didn't know that?"
"New York?" I gasped. "That's not possible. I can't be in New York! I've never even been past Chicago!"
"OK, Miss." The guards seemed to have made a decision. "You're going to need to come with us."
I backed up. "But I didn't do anything!" I gasped, my voice rising in fear.
"Of course not." The first guard was speaking now and his voice was careful, almost patronizing. "But...you seem very confused. We just want to help you. All we're going to do is take you to our office and figure this out, OK?"
"But-" I looked at their sympathetic, yet stern expressions. It didn't look I had much of a choice. "Alright." I whispered.
"So let me get this straight." The second guard asked me as we walked through the terminal, me between them in a move that I was sure was deliberate. "The escalator scared you?"
"Oh." I realized how ridiculous that sounded and hurried to explain myself. "I have escalator fear." I giggled, a little hysterically. "I mean...I guess it's like a fear of heights...I just hate them. They're like...moving staircases of death. Sometimes I even have dreams that I'm stuck on-hey!"
"Hey what?" The guards exchanged yet another look. I think I was seriously beginning to rattle them but I was so relieved by my sudden internal revelation that I continued to babble.
"It all makes sense now!" Relief was flooding my body and I laughed. "I fell asleep reading, and now I'm dreaming! That's why I was on the escalator, and why I'm in New York, and why Alice and Bella were here...of course!"
The guards were silent now. I looked up to see one of them leaning towards the other, keeping a wary eye on me as though I was a rabid animal that could attack at any moment. "I think we need to call for a bus." He muttered out of the corner of his mouth.
"An bus?" I was confused for a moment, and then thousands of hours of nighttime television viewing came to my aid. "You mean an ambulance?" I pulled away and turned to look at them, bewildered. "I'm not hurt-why would you need to call an ambulance?"
They continued to give me wary looks and suddenly I realized that more guards were coming, appearing out of the crowd in response to some signal I had missed and walking slowly forward to make a cautious circle around me. "Oh." I said again, realizing what was happening. "You think I'm pulling a Britney. I swear I'm not crazy. I mean it's kind of understandable that you would think that. I mean, it's only a dream to me. It's probably pretty real to you, being dream people and all."
It was clear I wasn't helping myself any. The guard nearest to me reached for his cuffs, and they continued to advance towards me slowly. This dream was really starting to suck. Why wasn't I waking up yet? I reached out and pinched myself hard in the arm but it didn't hurt in the least, dang it, and it certainly didn't wake me up. I decided to change strategies.
"Um..." I could tell the guard was about to spring as I backed away slowly. "Look, this has all been a big, big misunderstanding. I was just kind of...joking around with you. I'm sorry-I know it was stupid. I knew all along where I was. Um...my parents are here. We're uh...catching a flight soon back home to San Diego. I really better go find them. "
I could tell by their stony expressions that they weren't buying it. "Turn around, Miss." The guard with the cuffs was speaking. "This is just for your own protection."
"No!" The panic was back. "Please don't cuff me. I swear I'm not dangerous." My eyes were prickling with tears as I took another step back and then I gasped as I bumped into something solid. Another guard was behind me and quickly he grabbed my arms, forcing them backwards. I could hear his own set of cuffs rattling as he took them off his belt. This wasn't a dream-this was a neverending nightmare.
I waited to feel the slap of cold steel around my wrist and that's when I heard it...faint, far away, and almost impossible to hear at first, then becoming louder. I strained to figure it out, looking at the guards to see if they heard it too, but suddenly it was like I was seeing them through a cloudy mist. For some reason their faces all wore identical shocked expressions as they stared at me. I struggled to speak, to ask them what was happening, when everything disappeared.
Gasping, I sat up in bed and my copy of New Moon slid off my lap and sideways off the bed, hitting the carpet with a muffled thump. I blinked, my eyes still feeling heavy, and struggled to focus on the figure standing at the foot of my bed.
"Mom?" I asked but my voice came out a drowsy mumble.
Mom sighed as she walked around to my bedside table and hit the button to shut my alarm off. "Your alarm has been going off for almost fifteen minutes." She leaned down and picked up my book, putting it on the table. "Did you stay up all night reading? You know better than that. Get up or you'll be late." She turned and left the room.
My head still felt clouded with exhaustion as I forced myself to climb out from under my warm covers. I looked down at my wrists, almost expected to see a handcuff swinging from one of them. What a weird dream. I mean, I'd had much more bizarre dreams before, and this certainly wasn't my first Twilight related dream either, but it just...it had felt so real. Every detail had been so vivid, so realistic, not jumping out of sequence or from one place to another, not veering off into wild, romantic fantasy or screaming horror the way my dreams so often did. I shook my head, and then walked to my window, pulling back the curtains. The sight of the clear blue sky, the sun touching the green grass of our lawn below and glinting off our mailbox, and the palm trees in the distance were all greatly reassuring. I was home in San Diego. I was fine. I opened the window and the cool morning breeze blew in, ruffling my hair, touching my face, and raising light goosebumps on my arms. I could feel myself waking up, shaking off the dream more completely. Feeling much more relaxed, I stretched and then shut the window. Turning around, I caught sight of the numbers on my alarm clock and gasped. I had to get moving or I really would be late.
Twenty minutes later I had showered, dressed, blown dry my hair and used a large amount of hair products to force it into submission. I didn't have time for makeup today, so a small amount of lipgloss had to do. Rushing back into my room, my heart sank as I saw from the clock that I had less than fifteen minutes to make my bus. I shoved my homework and school books into my backpack and looked around quickly to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything. My gaze fell on my copy of New Moon and after a moment's hesitation, I picked it up and put it in my backpack as well. Maybe I could get away with reading it during my study period. Then I shrugged my arms into the straps of the backpack and ran down the stairs and out the door into the sunshine, leaving the last remnants of my odd dream behind me.
I made it to the bus stop less than a minute before the bus came, and soon I was walking through the front doors of Patrick Henry High. I headed quickly through the hallways, already crowded even though we still had twenty minutes before the first bell rang. I wanted to hurry and stash the books I wouldn't need for a while in my locker and then hopefully I'd have time to catch up with Michelle and Rae.
As it turned out, I didn't have to spend any time looking for them. Michelle and Rae showed up at my locker almost as soon as I opened it.
"You didn't call last night." Rae said by way of greeting, startling me so much I dropped the binder I was holding on the ground.
"Gah! Don't sneak up on me like that!" I put the rest of my books in the locker and turned to my friends. "Sorry, but my dad was in one of his moods. I spent the night doing chores and homework and trying to stay out of his way."
Rae was looking as perfect as ever, her creamy skin glowing and her shiny black hair perfectly in place under a dark purple headband as she nodded at my explanation. She was wearing a simple but gorgeous lacy white dress that I'd never seen before. This I was sure of, because I definitely would have tried to borrow it by now if I had known about it. Then again, that's probably why she'd never let me see it. I had this embarrassing tendency to lose things I had borrowed, or return them in less than stellar condition. I never meant to be so careless, of course, but I couldn't seem to help it. Michelle, on the other hand, was looking a little less girlie than usual in a pair of jeans and a tight, cropped black t-shirt with a scrawled slogan: 'Death To The Unnamed Blonde.' I gave her a quizzical look.
"What do you have against blondes? Should I be worried?" I clutched my hair and gave her a mock frightened look.
Michelle gave me a half curious, half irritated look, as if I'd asked something completely obvious . "You skipped your morning Starbucks today, didn't you?"
I shrugged, not sure what she was talking about but not really caring either. If she didn't want to tell me what her t-shirt meant it was nothing to me. I bent down to pick up my binder and straightened up to see Rae frowning at me. "What? Why are you staring at me?"
"It's just...your outfit. It's so cheerful." She shrugged as I looked down at my wrap around buttercream colored shirt and slightly darker skirt I was wearing.
"Is that a bad thing?" I asked, bewildered. Normally Rae loved my taste in clothes, which was quite the compliment coming from a fashionista like her.
"No, it's just not like you." Rae shrugged. "You did say you were going to wear black for the rest of your life. Nice to see you're out of mourning."
This made as much sense to me as it would have if she'd spoken it in her native language, Japanese. "OK, what are you talking about? Why would I want to wear black every day? I'm not some goth freak. And why am I supposed to be mourning?" Irritated, I slammed my locker shut, forgetting that I had meant to put my binder in first.
Michelle and Rae both gaped at me.
"Are you OK, Elisa? You seem a little out of it today." Michelle said, her expression changing from irritated to concerned.
"I'm fine." I said. "I just wish you two would stop talking in riddles, is all." We started walking down the hallway.
"I'm not talking in riddles." Rae protested, looking exasperated. "I just didn't know you were over Edward Cullen, is all. I thought you were going to be depressed forever over that stupid book."
I was even more confused now but before I could speak Michelle gave Rae a dirty look. "It's not stupid, Rae. You cried over it too, you know."
"Yeah, yeah." Rae shook her head impatiently. "But I moved on. I don't obsess every day over the death of a imaginary character, unlike you two."
"Wait, wait. Hang on a minute." I stopped walking and turned to face them. "What are you two babbling about? The death of what imaginary character?" A sudden chill crept up my spine.
Once again they stared at me, and then exchanged worried looks not unlike the ones on the faces of the airport security guards in my dream the night before.
"Edward Cullen!" Rae's voice rose and she stared at me in amazement. "How can you not know what I'm talking about? You rant about it every single day!"
"What?" I suddenly felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. "Are you joking? Edward never died!"
"Oh my God." Rae closed her eyes in exasperation. "You're in denial now. Isn't that stage of grief supposed to come a lot earlier than this?"
"What?" I turned to Michelle. "This isn't funny. What the hell is she talking about? You know Edward never died!"
Michelle was actually started to look scared. "Elisa, you're freaking me out. Edward died in New Moon. The Volturi killed him after he tried to walk out into the sun. Don't you remember? We cried for weeks!"
My temper started to rise. "What is this, an early April Fool's prank? C'mon, you guys. Bella saved him! She got to Italy just in time, and she ran to the alley and stopped him from walking out!"
Rae threw up her hands. "Forget denial. The girl's delusional." She grabbed my arm as I sputtered angrily and dragged me into a nearby bathroom, Michelle following close behind.
"Sorry, but you need to get out." Rae snapped at a girl who was applying mascara in front of the mirror. "My friend is having a serious mental breakdown and she needs to have it in private."
The girl started to protest, looking equal parts annoyed and intimidated, but Rae gave her a blistering look and intimidation won. She grabbed up her bag and hurried out, the door banging shut behind her.
"OK." Rae took me by the shoulders and forced me to face her. "Elisa, you know very well that Bella and Alice didn't get to Italy in time. Edward died Face it. Deal with it. Please, for my sake, move on. We have cheerleading tryouts this afternoon and I'm pretty sure that being sane is a prerequisite for making the squad."
By this point, I was miles beyond confused and bearing down on pissed off at full speed. "OK, you guys. This is hysterically funny-' my voice dripped with sarcasm-'but the joke's over. I know what happened in New Moon probably better than anyone in this school. I've read the book at least fifty times! Bella saved Edward!" My voice began to break.
"No, she didn't!" Michelle's voice was also dangerously close to tears by now. "Elisa, I think you're the one trying to play a joke on us and you seriously sound deranged. Alice and Bella missed their connection in New York, remember? That stupid blonde twit knocked them down the escalator and they didn't make it to the plane on time!"
I froze. For a minute I forgot how to breathe. No. No way. She did not just say what I thought she said. The memory of my dream slammed into me full force, the way I had stumbled, nearly hysterical, down the escalator, the moment I lost my balance, the two brunettes I took down with me...Bella...Alice...no! It couldn't be...there was no way it could be true.
"Elisa!" Rae's voice had lost her edge as she stared at me. "What is wrong with you? Are you sick? Do you want us to take us to the nurse?"
"No...I..." I couldn't even remember how to form comprehensible words as the tears welled in my eyes and spilled down my cheeks. Everything around me was turning different colors and I felt my breath coming in heaving gasps. Beneath me, my legs quivered, turning to jelly. I leaned against the tile wall for support, but it wasn't enough. Slowly, I slid to the ground.
"Elisa, get up! Get up right now or I'm going to get someone to help you!"
I barely registered Rae's voice. "No." I shook my head again. "No, I'll prove it to you. You guys can't trick me. I'll prove that Edward lived." I reached for my bookbag with numb fingers, clumsily undoing the clasp. Reaching inside, I was desperately relieved to see my copy of New Moon still there. I pulled it out and hurriedly flipped through the pages.
"You'll see." I was still mumbling as I finally made it to the right section. "You'll see. They ran for their connection, they made it just fine..." My fingers ran down the page, trying to find the right paragraph, then stopped, along with my heart.
It was right there in black and white. There was only a couple of lines about it, but it was enough. I read the horrible words once, twice, then again, and again and again, still unable to process what I was reading. It was just like they said. A blonde girl on the escalator-the book described her as 'stringy haired'-had knocked Alice and Bella off the escalator, costing them the precious few minutes they needed to save Edward's life.
"Elisa?" Michelle's voice was just a whisper, and I realized belatedly that she and Rae were kneeling on either side of me, both looking pale and scared. "Elisa, come on. Calm down, please."
I couldn't speak. Those weren't the words I wanted to hear from her. I wanted her to burst out laughing, slap Rae a high five, and boast about how they had tricked me. I wouldn't even be mad. I wanted them to say that they had doctored the book, that they had messed with my mind and made me have weird dreams, I wanted them to say none of this was real. I opened my mouth to beg them to tell me the truth, but the words got lost as my blurry, tear filled gaze fell on my binder, lying next to my feet. I'd been doodling on it since the beginning of the school year, sometimes adding stickers or taping little lolcat pictures or other things I printed off the internet onto it, and I saw all these things as I looked at it. Mrs. Elisa Cullen was written at the top, just the same way I had written it. All my happy and sad faces were there, all my pictures...with one major difference. The small black square in the corner, the one that until yesterday had read 'Edward Cullen-Sexier Than You Since 1901' now said 'Edward Cullen-Sexier Than You Until 2006.' And underneath that, in my own handwriting, was scrawled R.I.P. Edward...my heart is yours forever. Suddenly everything clicked. It all made sense in a horrendous way that I really didn't want it to. I even understood the slogan on Michelle's shirt now and that realization made more tears, tears of guilt and shame this time, stream down my face.
It was all my fault. I was the stringy haired blonde. And I had totally killed Edward Cullen.
In chapter two, Elisa is desperate to fix what she's done, but how?