4 years ago. . .
"Vampire." The word had tripped off her tongue clumsily. Her breathing suggested she knew it was the truth and it both scared her and intrigued heart the same time. Her pulse had quickened exponentially and I had swallowed a couple of pools of venom to prevent myself from drooling all over the place like some sort of dog. Bella stood in front of me; the light breeze that blew through the cool air wafted the slightest amount of her scent toward me. I could hear her breathing, see her eyes blinking as she tried to look at me, and I could detect the smallest hint of relaxation as her shoulders dropped a fraction of an inch. Her tongue snaked out of her perfect mouth and swept across her lower lip nervously. Her teeth rested there, on the edge of her lip, for a moment and then receded back into her mouth.
"I don't care." She said. I tilted my head toward her, curious as to the meaning behind her words. She should have been gone as soon as she had discovered that the definition of "vampire" that she had pinned to my family was, in fact, correct. But here she stood, stubborn and persistent, and beautiful.
"You aren't terrified? Disbelieving? You don't want to run screaming far away from me? You don't want to go get your father's gun to see if it'll do any damage?" I asked. I stepped closer to her, she probably didn't notice my movement but I was still relieved that she didn't flinch away from me. Then, she turned to stare at me and I froze.
"No." She whispered. I stared into the brown pools of her eyes and they reflected nothing but the truth. Bella Swan did not fear me, she did not hate me, she believed me, and she was not afraid. To say I found her attractive would have been an extreme understatement. To say I found her interesting would not even begin to cover the amount of attraction I felt for her. I had been waiting ninety years for someone like Bella to come into my life. She was gorgeous, funny, clumsy, adorable, smart, interesting…and human. Her humanity proved to be the only thing I feared about her, and I didn't particularly fear her humanity as much as I feared what I would do because she was human. I feared I would hurt her somehow, that I would put her in danger beyond her wildest imagination, but I knew right then and there that I would try my hardest to make sure that no harm ever came to Isabella Swan.
"May I?" I asked as I stepped ever closer to her. I felt her breath hitch just a bit as I came practically nose to nose with the girl. She nodded, obviously aware of what I was about to do. She wasn't stupid, she knew to stay perfectly still, "Good girl." I said. I inclined my head and touched my lips softly to hers. Just her lip gloss alone tasted magnificent and I instantly craved more. Our kiss deepened until I knew if I didn't pull away I would take her right there on the forest floor. I pulled away and stared at Bella, her cheeks were flushed pink and she self-consciously tucked a piece of her hair behind her ear. I grinned at her.
"Sorry." I whispered. She laughed a bit and stared at the ground,
"That was...nice." She told me. I grinned more and, feeling giddy, grabbed her and hoisted her onto my back.
"Ready to go back?" I asked. She clasped her hands around my neck,
"Only if you'll stay with me." She whispered as if she didn't want me to hear. I took off at top speed back to the Swan residence.
Bella and I had watched three movies together, I had watched her while she made herself dinner, and then we had laid together in her bed and I held her until she fell asleep. I felt whole in that moment, I would remember it for all of eternity. I checked the locks several times before slipping silently from her window into the chilly night air.
I took my time going back home, I didn't feel the need to rush, I felt giddy even like I was some silly human with a school crush. In a way, I was and I supposed I should have felt a bit embarrassed but I didn't, all I thought of was Bella. I had been so preoccupied with my thoughts of Bella that I hadn't even heard Alice's thoughts as I ran lightly up the front porch steps. I opened the door to my family's home to see everyone standing in the living room looking worried. My good mood deflated instantly,
"What's wrong?" I questioned. Alice, the one who understood me, the one I could confide in the most, stepped forward. Her small hand rested against my shoulder as she stared at me, her expression already filled with apology,
"Edward, we have to leave. Now." She told me. Then, my world fell away…
"Edward, Edward, EDWARD!" Alice's voice brought me out of my reverie. I shook my head a bit to clear the memories, as if swatting away cobwebs from a door frame. I stared outside the window of Emmett's Jeep and sighed, the first day at a new high school was almost always the worst day of the year. Almost. The worst day was still, always, the anniversary of the day we left Forks, Washington forever.
I knew Alice had been right when she had told me we had to leave. I knew it, but I didn't want to accept it. We had left that night, I hadn't been allowed to tell Bella what was wrong, I wasn't allowed to even call her. I had been packed and crammed into the car and we had set off once more, the Cullen caravan on our way to a new life. It had been to protect Bella, it had been because there were dangers coming that were out of our control, we did it because my family cared. It still stung, more than they would ever know.
"Come on, the bell is about to ring and I really don't want to be late for French." Alice pulled back her front seat so I could climb out of the rather large vehicle. Of course, people were already staring and I cursed under my breath that Emmett had won the coin toss for who got to drive to school that day.
"You know my Volvo can fit all of us just fine." I growled. Emmett let out a loud laugh and it startled Jasper who had just been extracting himself from his awkward seat in the middle of the back.
"Yeah, if we wanted to drive a girly car to school I assume we would have taken yours Eddie." Emmett said draping his arm around my shoulder. I rolled my eyes and removed myself from his brotherly embraced. I normally would joke around and participate in horseplay with my brothers but, since my daydream about Bella had been particularly hurtful that morning, I wasn't in any sort of mood.
"I should have stayed home today." I groaned. Alice skipped beside me holding Jasper's hand,
"You can't play hooky on the first day of school Edward! Come on, you have English first don't you? That shouldn't be too hard at all, you can relax and space out, or whatever you want to do." My youngest sister had a point, I could have taught English if I wanted to. But I hated spacing out because I often thought of Bella, I didn't want to know the pain I had caused her but it didn't stop me from constantly thinking about it.
"But they are already half way through the semester here. We're coming in as "transfer students" so it's technically not the FIRST day of school." I pointed out. Alice sighed, frustrated, and led the way inside.
My siblings and I parted ways as soon as we entered the brick building. It was like countless other high school we had found ourselves in over the years. Brick on the outside, ugly painted walls on the inside, tile floors, the odd smell of cleaning chemicals, and over cartoon like drawings of high school mascots on the gym floors and cafeteria walls. Thank God we didn't eat cafeteria food. Alice skipped off the French, Emmett to Biology, Jasper to History which he always hated when they got to the Civil War part, and Rosalie to Algebra. Which left me to make my way through the groups of giggling girls and whispering boys to the English room where, hopefully, I could find some peace.
I found a seat toward the back of the poster covered classroom. It was a small school, it reminded me of Forks, so there didn't leave much room for being able to blend in. I sighed, it would have been so much easier if we would have chosen to be in college this time around. I pulled a notebook from my book bag, along with a pen, and proceeded to doodle while the classroom filled with the white noise of other students. The teacher hadn't made themselves known yet and the warning bell had already sounded, signaling that students had five minutes to get to their respective classrooms.
Finally, the murmur died down as the familiar sound of heels against floor sounded. I didn't even raise my head, I really didn't care about first impressions at the moment.
"I'm so sorry class I seem to be running late this morning. It is the first day I have you to myself as a class so forgive me if I'm not all in order." I froze at the sound of the voice, if it was possible for vampires to feel ill I certainly did.
I couldn't believe I was running late on my first day. Well, technically it technically wasn't my first day, I had been observing the class all semester but I was finally taking over without the teacher being in the room…and I was late. I hadn't even read the class roster to learn the name of the new student I was to be getting. Oh well, I'd find out soon enough.
I wrenched open the door to the classroom and didn't even bother looking up as I rushed to my desk,
"I'm so sorry class I seem to be running late this morning. It is the first day I have you to myself as a class so forgive me if I'm not all in order." I said scrambling through my mess for my attendance list,
"Brian Austin?" I started off,
"Here." he said,
"Morning Caleb, Cara Bussler?"
"Here." I nodded,
"Edward…" I froze mid-name and swallowed, it had to be a typo, a cruel, cruel, typo. I raised my eyes for the first time that morning, "Cullen." I said. And there he was, staring right back at me, looking just as he had four years prior. He was staring back at me, just as shocked looking as I'm sure I appeared,
"…I'm here." He whispered.