Disclaimer: I take no credit in the characters within this story; those are the sole work of Mrs. Stephenie Meyer. I do, however, take credit for the specific, new traits I gave them and am quite proud of them.
Note:Now that this story is complete I have begun to return to the early chapters and re-edit so please excuse any mistakes in formatting, links, or grammar for now. I am looking for a couple more beta's to help me look over the story. Feel free to send me a PM if you are interested! I really hope you enjoy my story and LOVE reviews, so please let me know what you think!
I sighed, leaning my head against the wall beside my desk while I tried to push all of my thoughts away. They didn't want to leave, of course. If parting had been their intention I would have been free at some point within the last six or so years. "Get over it, Bella," I whispered to myself. "Get over him."
I stood and headed toward the bathroom, hoping a hot shower would clear my head. I walked across the tiled floor, being sure to lay a towel down onto the ground so that I didn't slip when I got out… again. I stripped down quickly, just wanting my head to switch focus, find new thoughts. The entire situation was ridiculous, of course—like a shower would really help me block out the same sad feelings that had been plaguing me for over half a decade now. I turned on the hot water in the shower at the same time that I climbed in, allowing myself a small, halfhearted chuckle to ease some of the tension. The sound echoed a little, twisting into a hysterical groan.
The water scalded my back, making me jump while I cranked up the cold and continued to adjust the two knobs until a careful balance was reached. As I let the water run across my skin and the steam begin to fill my lungs I couldn't help but let my mind wander back to him again. I knew exactly what was bringing this on, even if I didn't want to admit it. Alice would be here in just a few days and was staying for the month. I wasn't as nervous about her staying at my house as about what staying with her for so long would do to my life. She always managed to flip it completely upside down, whether I saw her for a day or lived with her. She was just that kind of person—but I loved her for it. She was like the sister that I never had and the best friend that I would never want to live without. The same went for her entire family, really. Especially her brother…
BRING! The phone screamed from the living room. BRING! I jumped out of the shower, leaving it on so that I could climb back in after I was finished with this unpleasant interruption. I slipped into a robe and hurried into the living room. My fingers curled around the phone, bringing it to my ear as I pressed talk. "Hello?"
"Bella!" Alice's excited voice sang through the receiver, making me smile despite myself.
"Hi, Alice. How are you?"
"Excited about coming to see you! I've been trying to keep myself from packing all of my stuff. How are you?"
"Excited about seeing you!" I said, being mostly honest. I should probably talk to her about what had been running through my mind again, but I figured I could wait until we could actually sit down and discuss it.
"So, I called because I have a question…"
"What would that be?" I asked, smiling still. Something about Alice always helped my mood, even when I was mad at her. She just had an infectious air of bubbly excitement all the time. It made it incredibly difficult to hold onto anger, frustration, or even disappointment.
"Well, I was wondering if I might be able to bring somebody with me." She sounded almost cautious, like I might say no.
"Of course!" I said, shaking my head. "Why would I have a problem with that?"
"Well, I know that this is supposed to be our time, and it is your house."
"You know as well as I do just how much extra empty space I have here, Alice," I said, looking at one bare wall, "And like I could say 'no' to you, anyway. We both know that any friend of yours is always welcome in my home."
I heard her tittering in my ear. "Oh, you are going to be so surprised, Bella. I can't wait to see your face."
My eyebrows came down. "Why?"
"You'll see." Alice sang.
"Is he different from your others?" I asked, thinking over her past boyfriends that I had met. They included almost every one of her boyfriends since high school, and none had surprised me yet. They were all sweet and cute and funny. She always got great guys, but it just never worked out for her. She needed someone that could keep up with her, and that was simply not possible for a normal human male. I wanted nothing more than for her to find a guy that was everything she wanted and more, a relationship that actually lasted for more than a few months.
She giggled. "You'll see. Just wait." She paused and then started talking again. "Oh, I think I just heard his car. I'll let you go for now! He'll be so happy to know that he's coming! Neither of us can wait!"
"Okay, Alice. Well, I'll talk to you on Thursday, okay? I can't wait for you to finally get out here and keep me company!"
We laughed as we both said goodbye, and I hung up, still smiling. I really couldn't wait to have my best friend back. And for an entire month no less, not just a measly day! And I was happy that I would get to meet her new boyfriend as well—check him out for her. I hadn't really had a chance to approve any of them for the past year or so.
Once I was back in the shower I found that my thoughts had skidded onto a new path, one that was warm instead of cold, optimistic rather than dark. I was a bit nervous about what my eccentric friend would have planned for us, but that seemed like a small price to pay to get Alice back for a while.
On Thursday I woke up extra early and began to run through my house again. I checked the guest room I had made up for Alice and her 'guest'; the bed was perfectly folded down, everything clean and ready. I moved on into the bathrooms and spare bedrooms, straightening some things that had been moved or changed the day before. If anyone had been there to watch me they would have immediately suspected that I had OCD, but in all reality I was just anxious, needing to keep my hands busy in anticipation of her arrival.
I wandered my house for the next hour or so, simply too happy to sit down and too stubborn to stop thinking. My mind changed from topic to topic, starting with what we could to do and ranging up into how I should start to fill the extra rooms in the house. Then it began to move back to high school.
It was my first day at Forks High School—lunchtime, to be more exact. I was still being stared at like some new kind of specimen, studied like there was actually something interesting about me. I had been invited to sit with a girl who shared two of my classes and had trailed after her to a table that was already full of her friends. She introduced me to everyone quickly, hardly giving me time to nod at one before starting on another. I didn't remember one name in the end, not even hers. I sat down and began to look around the room, searching tables and faces. My eyes had made almost a full circle when they found theirtable. It was nestled in a corner, seating only three.
The three teens sitting there were unbelievably beautiful, absolutely amazing. None of them were looking at me, just speaking quietly amongst themselves. I stared rather openly, scanning them the same way I had been looked at since my arrival that morning in the parking lot. There were two guys, the first considerably larger than the other, well-muscled and almost intimidating; his head was covered in dark, curly hair. My eyes continued to the guy sitting beside him and my breath almost stopped. He was gorgeous. His body was lean, not large like the other boy's; he had unnatural bronze-colored hair and a face that was kind of boyish compared to his companion's. I could see the green of his eyes from here, a bright, beautiful color that reminded me of spring. I managed to pry my eyes away and met those of the girl sitting beside him. She was looking at me curiously, easily just as beautiful as the others with her tiny, pixie-like body that was thin to an extreme and black hair that was short and pointing out of her head.
I looked away quickly, ashamed to have been caught staring, and felt a blush begin to creep up on me.
"Bella?" I turned to the girl who was sitting next to me. "Are you okay?"
"Fine," I said, my eyes stealing a quick, nonchalant glance back at the table that had interested me so much a moment before. The girl was still looking at me, a little smile playing on her lips as she said something to the others before standing up. I quickly looked back to the girl beside me. "Why?"
"Your face is just kind of red," she said in an oddly stiff tone, like she disapproved of a blush. "Just wanted to be sure nothing was wrong."
"No," I said, shaking my head quickly. "Thank you…" I blushed a little deeper as I realized I couldn't remember the girl's name.
"Jessica," she filled in with a small frown
"I'm sorry. I'm just not the best with names." I said lamely as I tried not to look back at the table across the room.
"It's fine. Some people have trouble with names," she said, nodding..
"Yeah." My nod was kind of short as I saw the dark haired girl out of the corner of my eye as she passed by the table, her eyes still on me. I didn't meet her look but did notice it was kind enough - just rather bold. She must have caught my glance though because she turned and walked toward me.
"Hi. You're the Bella I've been hearing everyone whispering about, right?" she said in a musical voice that seemed just as beautiful as her exterior.
"Sure," I said turning to her and trying to smile even though I could feel myself blush again. I let my hair fall a little in front of my face a little, blocking my cheeks. I didn't know why she was talking to me unless it was to call me out for looking at the bronze haired boy, and yet she seemed to be friendly enough.
"I'm Alice." She extended her hand, and I took it and shook it gently.
"It's nice to meet you," I said kindly though I couldn't seem to meet her eyes I was still embarrassed about having been caught staring.
"How would you like to go for a walk, Bella? I would love to get to know you." Her voice sounded rather excited, as if she were telling me some great secret. The statement sounded rather odd, as if she wasn't used to saying anything like that.
I met her gaze then, trying to figure her out. Why would someone like her want to get to know me? "Umm…. sure, why not?"
She smiled sweetly as I stood up, excusing myself from the table and saying a quick goodbye. They all nodded and stared at Alice a little. I grabbed my tray and went to empty it before following the tiny girl out of the cafeteria. She started asking me questions about where I was from and how I liked Forks, the things you would expect to be asked on your first day, as she led me around the school. She was incredibly nice, but seemed extremely hyper, like she had so much energy bundled inside her little body she could hardly contain it.
When the bell rang, dismissing the lunch crowd, she turned to me. "It was very nice talking to you Bella. I hope you don't mind me saying that I hope we can be friends."
I laughed, rather flattered. "Not at all."
She smiled. "I'll see you later then. Maybe we'll have a class together." Then she hurried away, probably off toward her locker. I turned the other way and went toward my own, following the crowd that was pushing that way until I the number and stepped out of the flow. I grabbed my schedule and notebook, searching from my next class. Biology II. Oh, what fun. I laughed darkly to myself as I found the building and went in just as the bell rang. I walked straight up to the teacher, my eyes not shifting from him to meet the curious stares of the class. I was truly rather sick of being watched.
After handing me a book, he sent me away to sit at an empty table toward the center of the room. I sat quickly, relieved that I wouldn't have to put up with the nonsense a partner can cause. Mr. Banner, the teacher, looked over the room, making marks in a book as he took role. After a second the door opened behind me, causing a rather chilly gust of air to sweep out from behind me and up my neck, sending a shiver through my body.
"Sorry, Mr. Banner. My sister couldn't open her locker," said a beautifully melodic voice. I turned in my seat to see the bronze-haired boy from lunch closing the classroom door.
"It's fine Edward. Just take your seat," Mr. Banner said with a sigh as he erased something in the book.
I watched him as he came and pulled out the chair beside me, his eyes locking with mine. "Hello."
"Hi," I practically squeaked as I felt myself blush. Up close his green eyes were even more spectacular, fathomless. His face was perfect, flawless, every angle seeming to have been sculpted by a true artist.
He sat down and turned to me, extending his hand. "I'm Edward Cullen."
"Bella Swan," I said, nervously, taking his extended fingers with my own numb limb.
He shook it gently, a smile on his lips. "Ah, Bella. You must be Alice's new friend. The one that she talked to at lunch? It's very nice to meet you."
"Yeah. You, too," I said quietly as I pulled my hand away, still feeling his skin on mine. He was really flustering me with his eyes locked like they were. I tilted my head down a little, letting my hair fall forward to cover my face as I began to blush yet again.
"You seem to have impressed her. She was very excited after lunch."
I shrugged a little. "She was really nice."
I saw a corner of his mouth lift. "That she is. I've never seen her quite like that before, though. She can get along with anyone, but girls don't tend to impress her much."
I smiled a little. I was glad to know that she really did like me. "I'll take that as a compliment then."
He nodded and was about to say something when Mr. Banner called our attention to the front of the class. I was barely able to maintain any focus on the lecture as I watched Edward out of the corner of my eyes. He was incredible to look at, so at ease yet out of place in the room. I saw now that he was not nearly as small as he had originally looked in comparison to his brother, nor did he look as boyish. He was very much a man. It made me wonder how much bigger the other guy actually was, as a matter of fact. Edward glanced at me at one point, but I don't think he saw my eyes flash forward. I felt my heart race at the thought that he looked at me. I don't think it slowed down from that moment on
I sat down then, needing to put an end to my thoughts, but not sure what to do with myself. Get over it. I had to get over it! If I didn't stop thinking about that boy I was going to do more than just drive myself crazy. My eyes flicked up to a clock on the wall—9:30. I knew I had to do something to keep my mind off of him for the half hour I had left, so I stood and went to my desk and pulled out my red pen and highlighter, beginning to edit the pages I had printed the night before.
While my eyes scanned the words my head began to phase in and out, slipping into the past and then springing back again.
I arrived to school the next day a little early and just sat down at a table in the courtyard. It was chilly, but that didn't really matter because I was bundled up in a coat over a sweater over a long sleeved shirt. My eyes traveled up to the gray sky that was threatening to open up on my head, and I cursed at it quietly, willing it never rain again..
I looked over to see Alice running off the sidewalk that led into courtyard from the parking lot. "Hi, Alice."
She sat down across from me, a sweet smile on her face as she studied me. "You don't look like you slept too well. Are you okay?"
I thought back to the long night of rain and thunder. How anyone could sleep through that was a question not yet answered. "I'm just not quite used to the echo of the rain yet, but I got enough. How are you?"
"Fine," she said flippantly, as if it didn't matter. "So, I heard that you met Edward. Why didn't you tell me in English?" Her lips rose into a perfect pout.
"It didn't seem like a big deal," I said, smiling a little. "Besides, I don't think I could have gotten it in with all of your questions."
She laughed a little, a light and whimsical sound. It made me a little jealous thinking of my own rather loud and awkward laugh. "I'm sorry. I was kind of bombarding you with questions, wasn't I?"
I smiled as kindly as I could. "I don't mind. So, how did you find out?"
"Edward told me on the way home. He said that you seemed like a 'very sweet girl'." She shook her head. "But that's just the way he is. Either he's too nice, or he doesn't give justice. What did you think of him?"
I laughed to myself, my eye catching him as he walked down the same sidewalk that she had. I spoke loud enough for him to hear as he looked over at his sister and I. "He's a very kind boy, I suppose."
Alice began to laugh again and glanced over at her brother who was smiling as well. "Well, I don't know about that."
"Are you insulting me, Alice?" Edward asked, walking toward our bench.
"Of course not," she said as if it was absurd to even think that. She turned back to me, laughter still in her eyes. "So, do you think that you will be able to survive staying here, Bella? I mean, even with all the cold?"
"I think so," I said, thinking about the way I had cried myself to sleep the first night. I glanced back at Edward, who was standing at the end of the table, looking at me as if he expected more. "It could be worse."
"How?" Alice asked with a moan. I had found out yesterday in English—which, as it turns out, we had together— that Alice wanted nothing more than to get out of Forks and disappear to some college, never to return again.
I smiled a little, meeting her eyes. "I could have met no one that I liked and just become a complete outcast with no one talking to me."
"I doubt that," she said, shaking her head. "They don't allow that here."
People were starting to fill the yard, and I saw quite a few look over curiously. I met the eyes of the girl I had spoken to at lunch yesterday - Jessica? She smiled at me and gave a little wave, which I returned quickly. I let my eyes flick back to Edward, who was staring up at the sky with a little smile on his face that I absolutely did not understand. "What are you looking at?"
"The clouds. It looks like rain," he said, his smile staying in place.
"And you smile about it?" I asked with an incredulous look. "That should be illegal."
"Edward enjoys the rain," Alice informed me with a sigh of contempt.
"Why would you do that?" I asked, looking back at him, absolutely shocked.
He smiled. "It makes it so that one second is different from the rest. If it were always sunny you would always know what to expect. Here you're never quite sure when It's going to rain, snow, hail, or a combination of all three."
"I don't find that to be as attractive as he seems to," Alice said, peering at the sky with dismay.
I thought about it. I knew what he was saying, but I didn't fully agree. The ice that I knew would be falling from the sky in future months would be hazardous not only to me, but to anyone near me at the time. I shivered, imagining myself falling into a snow bank. There had to be a way to find a more enjoyable natural discontinuity than rain and snow. When I voiced my opinion, Edward looked at me with raised eyebrows before smiling and nodding.
"I'm sure there is one. I just haven't managed to find it yet. I'll keep my eyes peeled, though. You just gave me something to think about."
"Oh, god," Alice said, shaking her head as she tried to keep from smiling. "Just what you need, something else to muddle over."
I laughed with her when Edward shot her a look. I couldn't help it; her laughter was extremely contagious. "That's not always a bad thing, Alice," he snapped, but I could see a little twitch up in the corners of his mouth. I chuckled to myself again, and he turned to me. "Well, I'll see you in Biology, Bella."
"Yeah," I said, nodding at him before he walked away. I was barely able to pry my eyes off of him before Alice noticed my stare.
I heard the crunch of gravel and pulled myself out of my reverie so that I could jump up and run to my door, slipping on a pair of sandals. I flew outside, almost tripping over the door jam. Alice hopped out of the car before it shut off and ran over to me, her arms pulling me into a tight hug. "Bella!"
"Hi, Alice," I said, meeting her hug before pulling back and peering at her face. As beautiful as ever, if not more so. "How was your drive?"
"Way too slow. I know it was only like four hours but I swear we've been driving for at least six," she said, smiling as she looked down me at my tee shirt and jeans. "You haven't changed at all since the last time I saw you, have you?"
"Of course not." I said, taking in her tiny frame clad in tight jeans and an adorable top that probably cost nearly ten times the price of anything in my wardrobe. Alice had always been a fashionista, to say the least.
She looked back up at my face. "You look tired."
I shrugged. "It was hard to sleep last night. I was excited."
She laughed. "I know exactly what you mean! I don't think I got an hour straight. I couldn't wait to get out of there this morning. I think I ran more in a shorter amount of time than I ever have."
"That's quite a feat," I said, laughing before remembering that she wasn't alone. I glanced at the car and saw the trunk was open and a guy was leaning in. I couldn't see his face with the lid of the trunk open, just a pair of black jeans. "So, who is he?"
"Oh, you'll see," she said before turning. She had the biggest smile on her face. What was she up to? "Hurry up with those bags!"
I felt myself laugh a little as the guy straightened. Then I froze as he started walking toward us, his eyes glued on me. His hair was its normal mess, his face naturally kind. My breath hitched, and I could barely squeeze the name out of my throat. "Edward?"