I lay in bed and listened to the alarm go off. I'll just hit the snooze button one more time. Who was I kidding? I'd hit it a half a dozen more times and then be desperately late for the first day of class so I convinced myself to get my butt in gear as things never go well for me when I have to rush. I slowly straightened my body out into the longest stretch possible. One of those stretches that actually causes your body to shudder and it felt so good.
It had been another long night of restless sleep. A long hot shower would do the body good. I made my way over to the washroom, which didn't take long as I was currently renting a bachelor apartment just off campus. I was very excited with my new digs. All 500 square feet of it and it was mine, all mine. No roomies, no sharing bathrooms, no picking up after anyone else, no worrying about roommates bringing home their nightly conquests.
Today had been a long time in the making and I couldn't believe it had actually arrived. It was my first day at Dartmouth College. So much time had passed since Edward left me in the woods, devastated. Edward was the love of my life. My soul mate...can you have a soul mate with the undead?...so I had thought. He told me he didn't love me anymore and was tired of pretending to be something he wasn't. After Edward left, I was in no shape for school. I was catatonic. Existing in a world where there were no emotions, no colours, just absolute emptiness and darkness. I would respond only if asked a direct question, nod when a conversation needed it, acknowledge someone when the situation required it. Nothing mattered anymore. Charlie decided to have me home schooled so I would be able to avoid places and people that would remind me of him.
I have heard nothing from Edward since that fateful day in the woods. Nothing. Not that I expected to see him strolling down main street or casually bump into him in the grocery store... okay, so he would never be in a grocery store since vampires don't eat...but still, I did think that sooner or later one of them would check up on me. Especially Alice. Where the hell was Alice? How had she not seen everything else that happened to me once they left? Was she pretending to be my friend as well?
I really think, after all this time, I am finally over it. It doesn't hurt to think about the past anymore, at least not as much as it used to. I can't help but wonder though. Wonder about Alice.
Alice with her visions of the future.
Did she not see Charlie get shot while on duty? In Newton's store, of all places. Charlie responded to a late night security alarm problem and apparently interrupted a burglary. He was shot in the chest and bled out while waiting for help to arrive. Did she not see Renee and Phil get hit by that drunk driver? Why had she not warned me? Well, why would she? It wasn't like someone made the decision to kill them, it was all spur of the moment. Perhaps Edward had warned her not to look for me. Plus, were her visions really reliable? She always said she saw me in the future as a vampire. Obviously, that wasn't going to happen now that Edward and I were over.
So, in the span of 8 months, I lost the love of my life and his family, my father was killed at work and my mother and stepfather were killed in a car accident. Needless to say, I was one step away from comatose.
My best friend, Jacob Black saved me. My father had been best friends with Jacob's father, Billy. We knew each other in passing as children and became reacquainted when I moved back to Forks, but it wasn't until after Edward had left me that Jacob and I became really close. We became best of friends, although at the time, Jacob definitely wanted more. After Edward left, Jacob made it his mission to make me smile; he spent every waking moment trying to make me happy and to help me move on.
One day, while I was trying to find the meadow, the special place Edward had shared with me, I happened to come across Laurent. Laurent was a friend of James, the vampire that tried, and almost succeeded, in killing me. He was on a mission on behalf of Victoria to find me and, in keeping with my danger magnet status, he had no problem in doing so. Just as he was about to attack me, a pack of gigantic wolves came out of the forest and chased him off. I found out later they had caught him and killed him. It was that day that I learned that Jacob was a werewolf. Jacob had saved me yet again.
After the death of my parents, Jacob moved me into his house and took care of me. He fed me, made sure I was coherent and clean. He became my lifeline, my only hold on reality. After a while, he coaxed me into dealing with life. He convinced me to attend the high school on the reservation to finish my senior year. So much stuff had to be done with respect to life insurances, selling houses, estates, law suits, etc. It was Jacob who convinced me to use the money that I received from the insurance and estate proceeds from both of my parents to go to a better university than the one that I had originally chosen. Unbeknownst to me, Edward had applied on my behalf to several Ivy League schools to which, surprisingly, I was accepted. It took me a long time to finally make a decision to attend Dartmouth, which I could now afford. I was bitter that Edward had done this for me. It just raised all the dormant feelings that I had buried deep inside and rekindled a tiny spark of hope. Why would he do something like this for me if he didn't care for me? What was it to him where I went to school? It was Jacob who convinced me that any ivy league school would be lucky to have me and that I would be a fool to pass up this opportunity. Therefore, I spent two years taking courses via correspondence and online. Finally, with Jacob's constant encouraging and pep talks...I swear he just wanted to get rid of me at times!..., I made the move to actually attend Dartmouth in person. I easily could have obtained my degree without physically being at Dartmouth since almost every course was available online, but Jake insisted that this was a life experience and I was missing out on it.
My love for Jacob is unrivalled by any connection that I have with any other living person. Jacob has been my saviour, my lifeline, my best friend and confidant, my brother and now, my only family. Jacob is the only person that I can talk to about this crazy world where vampires and werewolves exist. Jacob knows me like no one else and loves me no matter what. He is my unconditional friend and someone that I know will be there for me for the rest of my life.
I tried to convince Jacob to come with me to Dartmouth and get a job in one of the auto shops around here, but he imprinted on a beautiful girl while he was in Seattle scouting for a shop of his own and there was no way I was ever going to get him to move with me. He is so blissfully happy with Raven and I can't help but be completely thrilled for him. She is his perfect match. Tall, waist long black hair, dark brown eyes, buttery soft skin, thick full lips...wait, did I imprint on her as well, holy hell. She's absolutely beautiful, inside and out.
I stepped into the shower and let the hot water massage the knots in my neck and back. Since the departure of Edward and the death of my parents, I have never been able to sleep well. Although I rarely have nightmares, I seem to be unable to fall into a blissful REM state which leaves me feeling rested and refreshed in the morning. I grabbed my favourite strawberry shampoo...yes, I have used it for over a decade, I'm not changing so get over it...and washed my hair. I quickly shaved, why, I'm not sure since these legs won't be rubbing up against anyone anytime soon and hopped out. I dried my long brown hair and contemplated a trip to the stylist. I'd had the same hairdo forever although, it was much longer now, to the middle of my back, but it was so easy that every time I thought about cutting it, I chickened out. I'm not a fussy girl and I like the versatility of hair down, throw it up, let it down, ball cap, etc., etc. I quickly threw some make up on. I threw on my skinny jeans and a snug dark blue t shirt. I now spent a significant amount of time at the gym, so I was more comfortable with the snugger clothing. I had even managed to work through my clumsiness...well, some of it...and am now able to wear boots with a low heel. I grabbed my books, threw them in my bag and headed out the door.
A benefit of my wonderful little apartment is that it's across the street from a Starbucks. Yes, that's right, a Starbucks. My own little heaven right there within my reach. I really wasn't a coffee drinker until I discovered the glory that is Starbucks, (which I now call Crack-bucks as I am hopelessly addicted). I used to laugh at those pansy ass people that would go up to the counter for their low fat non-caffeinated whatever's. Didn't people just drink coffee anymore? Well, that all changed when I discovered the heaven that is the grande decaf iced caramel macchiato with 1 percent milk. I am converted and have joined the ranks of all those people who think they are drinking coffee, but it is nothing more than flavoured milk with a shot of caffeine thrown into it. However, to balance it all out, I am also having half a grapefruit and a bran muffin.
I walked across campus to my first class, entered the auditorium and made my way to the middle of a row, but near the back so I could make a quick exit. I put my drink down on the floor, but made sure it was out of harm's way in case someone decided to walk in front of me. Why don't school auditoriums have drink holders? We've got the little tables, just throw a hole in there, specifically designed for a Starbucks grande cup no less, and be done with it.
I watched with a slight twinge of envy as the other students piled in. Everyone seemed to know someone else. There was comfortable laughter and lots of talking while we waited for class to start. Other than Jake, I had no close friends. Sure, I knew lots of people on the reservation and, of course, there was Angela and Ben but they were in their own little world, clear across the country at another university. I am still so wary to let anyone in. Hazards of loosing everyone you ever loved, I guess. Pushing me out of the house and getting me to come to Dartmouth in person was Jake's attempt to get me to start living and meet other people. I promised him I would do my best. However, as I sat by myself waiting for class to start, I purposely avoided all eye contact with the other students, slumped down in my chair, pulled out my laptop and began to prepare for the lecture ahead.
The professor sauntered to the front of the stage and took his place at the podium. He pulled out his materials and got right to the matter at hand. He didn't even introduce himself.
What is that all about? I see a name on the chalkboard, Dr. Verkhnyatsky. Is that him? Maybe he can't pronounce it either because I sure know that until he says it, I haven't got a chance in hell of getting that one right.
Perhaps he has a TA around that will be able to sort through this mystery. I started to look around to see if I could find anyone that remotely looked like a TA, not that TA's look so different from other students, but it was probably good to know whether he had one or not. That's when I heard the door to the auditorium open and then slam with a tremendous bang. The professor looked up and made a scathing remark to the late student along the lines of "so nice of you to join us, young man". I rolled my eyes, I mean, really, do teachers get money every time they say that? It is so unoriginal. The entire class turned around to look at the poor soul. Having been on the receiving end of so many stares in the past, I kept my head forward and acted like nothing had happened.
I heard a bit of rustling of books and papers as the late student finally settled somewhere behind me. I guess he was too embarrassed to try to make his way any further into the class, which would just draw more attention.
As the class continued, I felt the hair on the back of my neck begin to stand at attention. I had the distinct feeling that I was being watched.
Why would anyone be staring at me, in the dark? It's not like you can see much way up here in the back.
Suddenly, I felt this overwhelming sense of curiosity. I was completely confused, why was I so curious? I had nothing to be curious about. Was it interest in the lecture? It was so strong that I started to shift in my seat and feel a little apprehensive. I almost felt like I was on the verge of some sort of panic attack. I quickly took a look around and started making plans for a hasty exit out of the class. When I shifted slightly to my right, I felt a strong burst of shock and surprise.
What the hell was going on with me?
I needed to get out of class and get out now. I quickly gathered up my laptop, my books and, of course, my Starbucks, and made my way down the row. I turned toward the door at the back of the room and then noticed the late student staring directly at me. In the dark, I could make out a pair of piercing gold eyes.
Eyes that I knew no human would have.