A/N: So, this is my first Twilight fanfic. I've seen the movie twice already (soon to be three times) and I'm basically obsessed more than I ever was before. So, being the fanfiction lover that I am, I figured it was about time I tried my hand at a Twilight fic. I guess what I'm trying to say is: please be kind, be encouraging, and don't be afraid to give me some ideas. I'm not going to do anything too out of character, I hope, and it will be slightly AU. Just as a heads-up, the rating on this will probably change later (for reasons that will be apparent in later chapters ;) Anyways, please be nice and leave me a little present after you're finished reading!

THE OUTSIDE

So how can I ever try to be better?

Nobody ever lets me in

I can still see you, this ain't the best view

On the outside looking in

I've been a lot of lonely places

I've never been on the outside

The Outside—Taylor Swift

Chapter One

It wasn't just the busy, practically chaotic parking lot that almost made me reach my breaking point. It wasn't just the loud, thumping rhythm of what seemed like thousands of screeching annoying voices. It wasn't just the fact that it was snowing, that the snow was turning into brown mush at my feet. It was all of it. It was high school. Could there be anything worse?

A few people brushed past me as I got out of the rusty old beater Charlie had presented to me the day before. It wasn't difficult to read the faint expression of disapproval on their faces and I winced slightly. I felt a pang of regret at my previous excitement over my truck…I had wanted to be inconspicuous, to just go unnoticed and slide right in but in this thing? No way. Charlie had been so proud, so eager to do something, anything to make this transition easier for me. I knew he had had the best of intentions and that he had gotten a 'deal' on the truck, but now I wished he hadn't even bothered. He might as well have just taken me to school in his patrol car.

Taking one quick last look at my reflection, I sighed. I had spent a little too much effort this morning deciding how to do my hair, what outfit I should wear; it was a strange feeling. In Phoenix, I hadn't really cared much about what people might think of me. I had lived there my whole life; I had a close, core group of friends that I already missed desperately, especially in this moment; it wasn't hard to get along with the other kids at school since we had all known each other our entire lives. But I had never been the new girl before. I had no idea what I was supposed to do, what I was supposed to say, how I was supposed to act in this new school. Everything was completely foreign to me now and I felt horribly, unavoidably out of place.

With a deep breath, I pulled myself together and began the long slosh through the mush in the parking lot. It was now or never and my pride wouldn't allow me to skid back to my truck.

I was inside the doors now. So far so good. No slipping in the parking lot. No making a fool of myself before I even got inside. I looked around, suddenly nervous, for the office and I groaned inwardly. There was line. How could there possibly be a line? It wasn't the first day of school…it was November. Still, I needed my schedule so I dutifully got into line, finally noticing the sign taped inside the office door: "Winter Dance…December 3! Get your tickets here." Well, that explained it. The dance was this weekend and people must be trying to buy tickets at the last minute. Oh well.

The line seemed to move at a snail's pace and I felt my nervousness multiply. I should have gotten to school earlier.

When I finally got up to the front desk, I exhaled loudly. The secretary looked at me expectantly and was already reaching for a pair of tickets when I stopped her quickly.

"Oh no, I don't need tickets. This is my first day and I just need my schedule."

The secretary hesitated, a look of surprise and slight relief flashed across her face. I couldn't help but smile at that. She must be glad to have someone ask for something other than tickets for that dance.

A brief look of recognition crossed over her face before she replied warmly: "Oh, you must be Charlie's girl. Bella, right?"

This startled me. I hadn't realized Charlie had talked to the school before I got here.

"Um, yeah. That's me…I don't want to be late so…"

"Oh sure. Just give me a second here to pull up your schedule."

I forced a smile on my face and couldn't stop myself from glancing at the clock. If she moved a little faster, I had a chance of not being late for my first class. Unfortunately, as I quickly realized, the reason the line had been moving at a snail's pace was because she moved at a snail's pace.

I snatched the paper out of her hand anxiously as I grumbled my thanks and made a beeline for the door. I was going to be late. Crap, crap, crap!

It didn't help that the school was much larger than I had given it credit for. The hallways were almost impossible to navigate, especially since I had no idea where anything was and no familiar face to help me figure it out.

I walked briskly through the hallway, glancing down at my schedule every few seconds trying to make sense of it. There was no homeroom; that was different from my old high school. Wait…did B13 mean a particular floor? Oh no, this was bad. This was very bad. I sighed and without really realizing it, stopped right in the middle of the hallway. Of course, this caused a minor traffic collision and someone recklessly bumped into me.

"Oh…I'm sorry…I didn't mean to, I just have no idea where I'm going." I stammered as I turned around to face the person I had rudely interrupted.

The short, blonde, and painstakingly put together girl glared up at him with annoyance.

"Well, you still need to watch where you're going." She stated as if I had just committed a federal offence.

I wasn't really sure how to respond to that. "Yeah…like I said, sorry about that. Could you tell me where room B13 is?"

The girl looked at me like I had two heads. "B is the second floor."

I felt my face redden under her reproachful stare. It was like she couldn't believe that I didn't know where B13 was and suddenly I felt incredibly stupid.

"Um…thanks. See you around."

The girl exhaled rudely and as she walked past me, I caught her roll her eyes. Nice girl.

This was going to be a long day.

A quick glance at the clock told me what I already knew. I was late for first period.

I broke into a run, practically flying up the stairs but it was no use. I brace myself and tried to enter the room quietly but I think I just ended up calling more attention to myself.

The moment I opened the door, every head in the room popped up to look at me. The looks on their faces ranged from disinterest to disapproval to downright disgust. I even heard a few snickers in the back of the room. Great.

"You must be Isabella Swan." The teacher stated with a slightly annoyed expression.

"Yeah, that's me...um, it's Bella, actually."

He turned abruptly to the rest of the class. "Class, this is Isabella Swan. She's new here from…"

As he turned to me expectantly for a prompt, I winced and groaned inwardly. I was really hoping to avoid the embarrassment of having to introduce myself.

"Phoenix." I replied quickly and immediately went for an empty seat, tripping over a textbook on my way. Again, more snickers. This was going well.

The rest of the class period passed by rather uneventfully, which was fine by me. I raced to my next class, gym, even though I was dreading it. I was not going to be late for two classed in a row, especially on my first day. Still, gym was going to be unpleasant. I didn't have a coordinated bone in my body. If they were laughing at me now…I couldn't even imagine the snickers I would get when they saw me in gym.

Despite my best efforts, I still managed to just barely make it in time. I quickly sat on the floor with the rest of the class and tried not to notice the looks my fellow classmates were giving me. Unfortunately, in my haste I hadn't really noticed who I had sat next to. The girl I had run into just a few hours before scoffed as I settled in next to her. I smiled briefly, making a poor attempt at being friendly but she just rolled her eyes.

After roll was called, Jessica, as I had found out, turned to the girl on her right.

"I'm going to do it at lunch." She said determinedly.

The girl shook her head and grimaced. "Alright, Jess…good luck I guess. The Cullens…they're just so weird."

"You just think they're weird because they're all adopted."

"Yeah, but they're together…as in together. How is that not weird? They never really talk to anyone, we never see them at any games, they never come to your parties even though you keep asking them…"

"Just because they're a little…anti-social…doesn't automatically mean they're weird."

"Whatever, Jess. How do you know he's even going to say yes?"

Jessica smirked confidently. "He will. I just know it."

Lauren shook her head again. "He doesn't seem to be interested in any of the girls here, Jess…that kind of includes you."

Jessica shot her friend a nasty look. "Are you telling me you think he doesn't like me?"

Lauren immediately went on the defensive. "All I'm saying is that he hasn't asked anybody to the dance…if he wanted to go, don't you think he would have a date by now? We all know every girl in this school would say yes in a heartbeat."

"Whatever. Edward Cullen is going to the dance with me and there's…"

The rest of the conversation was lost on me as they walked away and closer to the volleyball nets that I had pretended not to notice. I rubbed my temples, feeling a headache coming on. I hated volleyball with a burning passion. This wasn't going to be pretty.

Somehow, I managed to hit myself in the head with the ball, get slightly tangled in the net, and hit several people with the ball during my poor attempt at a serve…Jessica being one of the them. She didn't fail to throw me several dirty looks after that. Great. Just one more reason for her to hate me.

The end of class couldn't have come soon enough and I was relieved to have lunch next until I realized something. I had nowhere to go and no one to sit with. I had forgotten how important it was to have someone to sit with at lunch, especially on the first day. I'd never had that problem until now. Still, I took a deep breath and dutifully walked through the lunch line, grabbing the first few things I saw. Quickly scanning the room for an empty table, I hurried over to one towards the back of the room. I knew I should have tried to find a different table, one with actual people there for me to talk to but I just couldn't make myself do it.

I ate quickly while taking a mental inventory of all the places in the school I could go to hide out before the lunch period ended with a swift movement to my left caught my eye. A group of people had just sat down in the table across from me and I found myself watching them with strange fascination. There were five of them; the first one I noticed was a tiny girl with short, dark spiky hair. She caught my eyes and smiled warmly. It was easy to smile back at her. Her attention went back to whatever conversation the group had been engrossed in and my eyes wandered over the rest of the group. The girl with spiky hair had her hand entangled with the arm of boy with messy blonde hair. He looked at her lovingly and I felt my heart tug at the gesture. My eyes moved to the pair sitting next to them; I noticed immediately that the girl might as well have been a model and the boy looked like a professional football player; the girl had her hand on the boy's thigh and he wrapped a thick arm around her, placing a kiss on her forehead. The boy sitting next to him, whose face I couldn't see because his back was turned to me, tossed a french fry playfully at the pair. I quickly forgot my lunch, totally absorbed in the group sitting across from me. They seemed so comfortable with each other, so oblivious to everyone else around them. It would be nice to not care, the way they seemed to. I wondered what the secret was.

The much larger boy quickly nudged the boy whose back was turned and pointed. I looked in that direction and my eyes widened when I saw Jessica walking cautiously over to their table. This was going to be good.

"Hey, Edward." I heard her say, her voice dripping with over-the-top sweetness. So this was the famous Edward Cullen. He shifted slightly and I leaned forward in anticipation as his face turned slightly my way.

"Hello, Jessica." Came the curt reply from the smooth voice.

Jessica looked at her feet briefly before looking back at him with some newfound strength. "I was wondering…if you wanted to go to the Winter Dance with me."

I could hear his loud sigh from where I sat. "I'm sorry…I'm actually going to be out of town this weekend. My brothers and I, we're going…hunting."

The much larger boy next to him chuckled a little too loudly but he quickly cleared his thought when the girl with her hand locked to his thigh gave him a stern look.

Jessica nodded but still wasn't going to give up. "Well, couldn't you just go hunting some other time? "

"I already made plans, Jessica." He said more firmly this time.

"Oh." She seemed to finally get the hint and as she turned to leave, I couldn't stop my shoulders from shaking with laughter. The whole thing had just been so pathetic. Her eyes flickered over to my shaking figure and she froze in place, staring openly at me with a lethal mixture of shock and hatred. He seemed to notice her hesitation and turned to see what she was staring at. As his eyes met mine, my mouth opened slightly at the sight. He was the most gorgeous boy I had ever seen. Perfect features, bronze hair wildly in place, but it was his eyes that seemed to pierce right through me. Intensely striking, perceptive, and the strangest color of honey butterscotch. I had never seen anything like it or anyone so perfect. No wonder Jessica was so obsessed with him.

His eyes flicked with surprise as he looked at me, obviously not expecting to see someone laughing at the situation, especially someone he had never seen before. His surprise quickly turned to amusement and then it changed to something else entirely. He looked slightly confused, almost frustrated.

Unfortunately for me, Jessica turned on her heel and stalked over to where I sat.

"Isabella? That's your name right? Is something funny?" She spat out venomously.

She didn't wait for my answer. "Well, whoever you are, you'd better watch your back."

With that, she flipped her hair over her shoulder and stalked off. I swallowed nervously and for some reason, my gaze flipped back to the table across from me. All five pairs of eyes seemed to rest on me.

The moment our eyes met, Edward's gaze immediately shifted to Jessica's retreating form, a dark expression flashing across his face. His eyes narrowed as he continued to watch her walk away and then his eyes were back on mine; his expression was slightly softer now, almost filled with pity and regret. I didn't know what to make of it.

In a split second, he turned back around.

Suddenly, I was very aware of the situation around me. Jessica was back in her seat across the room and she was practically shaking as she glowered at me. I glanced around and noticed that more people were staring at me. Jessica leaned over to her friend, Lauren, and whispered something to her. Then both girls shot me evil glares.

That was all I needed. I grabbed my tray with shaky hands, almost knocking over several chairs in the process and practically sprinted into the bathroom, my haven for from all the watching eyes for the rest of the lunch period.