Author's note: Characters are all human and OOC.
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Twilight.
Any future author's notes will be updated on my profile with each chapter.
First Love Lost
Chapter 1 - Sheep
As I entered my new school, I couldn't help but feel anxious. Everyone I walked by in the hall stared at me and would then whisper to the person next to them. I was well known in this town though I had lived here only two months. Considering the recent events in my life, I expected to be a subject of even more gossip. What I didn't expect was for people to be so rude about it.
My father and brother moved to Forks, Washington, five years ago. Word quickly spread that the new police chief was recently divorced from my flighty mother. I went to live with her while my twin brother, Emmett, stayed with my father, Charlie. The divorce created a war in our family that left my brother and I as divided as our parents. The war continued unabated until my mother and stepfather died just eight weeks ago.
Charlie took a certain amount of pleasure in my mother's death. He would deny it, but I knew better. My mother, Renee, was killed in a car accident along with my stepfather, Phil. They had just left my ex-boyfriend's house where they had been embroiled in a huge fight. I knew that Charlie felt that her death was justice for the pain she brought him. He didn't care that it brought me pain as well. I stopped being a concern for him when I left with her after they separated.
After our mother died, Emmett went on with his life as if nothing happened. He made no secret of the fact that he simply didn't care. Renee dying meant no more to him than a stranger passing on. At first, I questioned this lack of emotion from him but grew to realize that it was the truth. Five years of Charlie bad mouthing our mother had left Emmett feeling that she was no great loss. Somehow his lack of feeling hurt me more than anything. It felt like a betrayal. Our mother may have been scatterbrained and unreliable in the extreme, but she loved Emmett and me very much. His not loving her felt like another death to me.
Emmett showed only slightly more interest in me than he did in our mother's death. For example, it would have been nice of my brother to offer to show me around my new school, but he refused to even come near me in public. He had spent the last couple of months missing in action. I knew as much about his life today as I did before I moved here.
Emmett left in his truck this morning without so much as a wave. The only sign that he was aware of my existence came when he glanced over at my car which was a sore subject with him. He hated that he was stuck with a truck from the 80's while I drove a brand new mustang that Renee had bought me just a few weeks before her death. It was obvious that she picked it out. I would have much preferred a car that would keep attention away from me. At least, she went with a pewter color instead of red.
The bell for first period shook me out of my thoughts. I looked at the schedule in my hand and saw that I had English as my first class. I opened the school handbook the receptionist had given me along with my schedule and turned to the map on the second page. As luck would have it, my class was just around the corner. It gave me hope that maybe the day wouldn't be as bad as I thought.
When I entered the class, I was relieved to see that it was still mostly empty. I smiled at the teacher, a balding gentleman with coke bottle glasses, who introduced himself as Mr. Mason. I chose a seat in the back of the class relieved that I wouldn't have to be worried about taking someone's desk since it was the first day of school for everyone.
The hour went by slowly. Mr. Mason went over his expectations for the semester and then gave the students leave to spend the rest of class catching up after a summer spent apart. It was an absurd idea considering most of them probably saw each other at least a few times a week throughout the previous three months.
I sat in the back and watched as one by one everyone would glance back at me and then whisper to their neighbor. Knowing I was a subject of gossip and having to watch it are two very different things. It was irritating to realize that I was their entertainment. I felt like an animal in the zoo. The only thing that made it acceptable was the thought that I, at least, wasn't behind bars watching the spectators trail by my cage. I grinned at the thought and pictured myself as a predator watching and waiting for someone to get too close. Nothing would protect them from my claws. I particularly liked the idea of using those claws on the blond in the seat in front of me. For the last five minutes, she had talked about me as if I wasn't sitting just a few feet behind her.
"Oh my god. Can you imagine her being related to Emmett Swan? She's not even cute," she said in a whisper designed to be just loud enough for me to hear.
A girl with pigtails and a bad complexion nodded in agreement. I ignored them. What they thought of me held no importance. Besides, them finding me attractive wouldn't exactly be the highlight of my day.
Looking up at the clock, I realized that class would end in a few minutes. I glanced at my schedule and found my next class on the map. Government with Mrs. Jefferson was located just down the hall. At least, I didn't have to fear getting lost.
The bell rang, and I left quickly having already prepared to make my escape. The hall filled up fast with students loitering in the too cramped space. I am jostled from behind and stumbled into the person in front of me. Unfortunately, it was the blond from English. She turned to look at me, and a predatory grin formed on her face. I could tell that she expected to enjoy the next few minutes of confrontation.
"Watch where you're going, loser," she spat.
I decided then and there that I was tired of her crap. If I let her think she could walk all over me, I would turn into her favorite rug. I regained my footing and dusted my jeans off with my free hand. The hall had gone quiet after her words, and people were watching us with anticipation.
I looked up at her and grinned. "Sorry, but in the event of a fall my body has been trained to search out the nearest soft landing. Judging from the size of your ass, you qualify.
"What did you say to me?"
"Oh, I think you heard what I said."
A speck of uncertainty flashed in her eyes. She was unaccustomed to people standing up to her. Her face turned red with embarrassment. "Apologize," she demanded.
"I didn't eat those twinkies," I said with a challenging look on my face.
Nervous laughter went through our audience. The blond took a quick glance around before turning back towards me. She dropped her books to the side and took a step forward. The crowd came in closer. I heard someone in the distance yell, "Fight."
Backing down wasn't an option for me. I knew that I was already at a disadvantage here because I was the new girl. The fact that my brother would offer me no protection from bullies only made things worse. If word got around that I was a pushover, I would find myself in similar situations for the rest of the year. I dropped my books to the side and took my own step forward.
"Keep coming at me, Blondie, and you'll be grateful for the size of your ass when it breaks your fall," I promised.
Before Lauren could respond, a short, thin girl with black, spiky hair skipped into the space between us. She gave me a beaming smile and looped our arms together like we were the best of friends. "I've been looking for you, Bella," the girl sang out in a trilling voice.
Lauren looked like a predator who had just run into an even scarier beast, which was an odd reaction considering the girl was a such a tiny thing. Lauren went white as a sheet and backed up a few feet. She seemed genuinely frightened of this tiny girl with the sweet smile and musical voice. "Alice, I didn't know you and Bella were friends," Lauren stammered.
I looked down at Alice and saw a flash of satisfaction cross her face. She was not surprised by Lauren's reaction to her. For that matter, everyone around us seemed to look upon this girl with respect. Whoever she was, she was important in this school. That much was clear.
"Bella and I go way back. She is Emmett's sister. Or, did you forget that?" Alice asked with a hard look in her eyes.
Lauren nodded slightly. "I'm sorry, Bella. I'll just head to class now." Seconds later, she reached down for her books and then left abruptly.
The confrontation was over, and the crowd thinned quickly. Alice let go of my arm and skipped on down the hall. The whole thing was over as quickly as it had begun, and I wasn't even sure of what just happened. With questions running through my head, I bent over and collected my books before finally making my way to Government.
I walked into class as the bell rang. The door slammed loudly behind me, and everyone turned around to look at me. Great. I should have just stapled a sign to my forehead asking for attention. I took a seat in one of only three desks left available. Luckily, they were at the back of the class.
In a repeat of English, Mrs. Jefferson talked for a few minutes and then let everyone chat for the rest of class. I was disappointed. What ever happened to good, old fashioned teaching? The thought of watching everyone talk about me for another hour didn't exactly hold any appeal for me.
I put my head down on the desk and groaned in frustration. The door to the room banged closed again and got my attention. Little Alice walked in late for class and took the seat directly in front of me. Mrs. Jefferson didn't say one word about the girl's tardiness.
Alice turned in her desk and tilted her head sideways looking at me. "You know if you keep making friends like Lauren Mallory you won't last the day."
I stared at her blankly. With her delicate features and short, black haircut, she made me think of an impish pixie. It was odd, but I felt like I had known her for years.
"Thank you for helping me, but you really shouldn't have bothered. My name is Mud in this town."
"Don't be silly. Your name is Bella, but I could start calling you Sam. It would make a nice nickname," she answered with her trilling voice.
I laughed at her unexpected reference to Dr. Samuel Mudd. "Poor Sam. I wonder if he spins in his grave every time someone falsely credits him as being the origin of that saying," I said with false solemnity.
I was rewarded with a tinkle of laughter from my new acquaintance. "If you're not careful, useless knowledge about the Civil War era will earn you unwanted attention from a certain undesirable. Don't let your brother hear you tempting the devil," she said with a wink.
Okay, the pixie was obviously a nice girl, but she appeared to be a few clowns short of a circus. It figured that the only nice person in this school was crazy.
She turned her head sideways and gave me a gentle smile. "You don't know what I am talking about do you," she said with a hint of laughter in her voice. "Didn't Emmett tell you anything about his friends?" she asked.
"No. Emmett doesn't talk to me." I answered not bothering to hide the hurt in my voice.
She furrowed her brow in frustration. I watched as she appeared to fight some internal battle. She seemed to want to say something but didn't quite know if she should.
Finally after a minute of hesitation, she appeared to have made up her mind. "Your brother has talked to me several times about you. I just assumed that he spoke of us as well."
The bell signaling the end of class rang and interrupted Alice before she could say anything else. After a quick, "See ya," she was out the door. I was frustrated at finding myself so close to information and then being denied. I was eager to find out anything about my brother. With a groan of frustration, I collected my books and made my way to my next class.
Fortunately, I managed to get to Calculus without a picking a fight. My relief was short lived, however, when Mr. Varner asked me to stand in front of the class and introduce myself. You would think someone smart enough to teach Calculus would have realized that everyone knew who I was by now. Alas, it appeared he was socially dumb. Fortunately, the class was mostly empty. I was one of only a dozen or so students. I introduced myself and took the closest available desk in an attempt to get out of the spotlight as quick as possible.
Mr. Varner saw no point in letting a day pass without giving a lesson. I listened with glee as the rest of the class groaned when he immediately asked us to open our new books to the first page. Calculus just replaced English as my favorite subject. He allowed no idle chitchat and was all business. At the end of the class, we all left with homework. It was like Christmas to me.
For fourth period, I was scheduled to work in the library as an aide. I had been looking forward to this since I first got my schedule. The library was easy to find as it was in its own building next to the cafeteria. I looked around when I entered and smiled with satisfaction. This library and I would get along famously. For being a relatively small school, Forks High had a large library that was open and airy in its layout. It didn't make me feel like I needed to whisper and tiptoe through the rows of books. There was a relaxed atmosphere that seemed designed to counteract the intimidation factor some libraries have. Private sections with cushy chairs and low tables were spaced throughout the large open room providing excellent study spots.
As I looked around, I realized for the first time since coming to Forks that I felt at home. I knew that this space would become my sanctuary at school. I turned towards the desk located on the south wall and found a beautiful woman with caramel colored hair watching me. I knew her at once.
Mrs. Cullen had been my elementary school librarian several years ago. I could tell that she recognized me immediately. When she stood up and opened her arms, I dropped my books on the nearest table and ran towards her. As she hugged me, I felt all the stress and pain of the last few months melt away. She was the reason I felt at home. I had somehow sensed her presence in this wonderful space. Years ago she had taken a special interest in my brother and me showing us just how valuable reading was as an escape from the real world. We spent every afternoon with her while we waited for Renee to come pick us up from school. Seeing her here was like a dream come true. I was now certain I would survive this school and anything it threw at me.
"Bella, dear I have been waiting anxiously for you to enter that door," she exclaimed.
I pulled away from her embrace and smiled brightly. "Had I of known you were waiting, I would have skipped class," I told her honestly.
"Young lady, I better not hear of you skipping class. I will tan your hide," promised Mrs. Cullen.
I laughed loudly at her empty threat and went back to the table to collect my books. When I returned to her, she beckoned me to follow her. She gave me a tour of the back rooms of the library while we caught up on the years we were apart.
Mrs. Cullen and her husband had moved to Forks four years ago after growing tired of life in Seattle. The change to small town living agreed with them from the start. Her husband was a surgeon at the local hospital while she put her degree in library science to good use by working at Forks High. In this school, she felt she could actually make a difference in the lives of the students. In typical Mrs. Cullen fashion, she had a group of students who met once a week to study and discuss literature. When she invited me to join them, I accepted gladly after making her promise to provide me with her special double chocolate chip cookies. It had been five long years since I had enjoyed them, and I wasn't about to miss them now. She had given me the recipe, but I quickly discovered that her good company was the special ingredient that set them apart.
I filled her in on my life and found that she was actually pretty up to date on it. Taking a chance, I asked her if her knowledge on Emmett was as thorough. She frowned at my question. I thought for a second that I had overstepped my bounds but was relieved when she decided to answer me.
"When I first came to this school four years ago, Emmett found me immediately. He was so different from the boy I once knew. It was so sad to see this boy who had been filled with laughter and mischief approach me with such trepidation. At first, I didn't understand it, but then I realized that he expected me to not remember him or reject him out of hand if I did remember him," Mrs. Cullen explained with sadness in her eyes.
I started to interrupt, but she put her hand up to stop me.
"Something made him feel unworthy. I spent the better part of my first year in this town trying to gain his trust. It was painful to watch at first, but then he began to show signs of returning to the boy I used to know. He came to talk to me a few times a week and slowly began to relax his defenses. As much as I would like to, I can't take credit for his change. That belongs to his friends. They are a blessing and a curse to him. A more wild bunch I have never seen. Not a week goes by without one of them getting into some kind of trouble. Emmett joins in their schemes with a flourish that worries me. I swear that group will be the death of me. The only thing working in their favor is the loyalty they show one another. With these people, Emmett never need fear that he will be turned away. They are all thick as thieves, but most importantly they provided him with the family he needed."
Following her explanation, I didn't say anything for several minutes. My mind focused on the struggle my brother had lived through, and I wondered at its source. Though our parents were divorced, Emmett was never been given a reason to fill unwanted. After the first year when my brother kept his distance from us, my mother was able to wear him down and get him to talk to her. She made it a point to speak with him weekly and would have done so more often had he allowed it. Not a single holiday or birthday went unrecognized. Unfortunately, Emmett was less than interested in maintaining a relationship with us. He refused to visit us, and my mother reluctantly agreed hoping he would change his mind. Over time, the distance between all of us widened to the point where my mother and I were strangers to him. I had my suspicions that Charlie contributed to this estrangement. He had never once shown me the interest that Renee showed my brother. It stands to reason that he would encourage Emmett to have nothing to do with us. I felt certain that somehow Charlie had convinced Emmett that our mother didn't love him.
The bell rang announcing the end of fourth period and the beginning of lunch. I said my goodbyes to Mrs. Cullen and made my way to my locker. After depositing my books inside, I left for the cafeteria. Of all the things I dreaded, lunch was at the top of the list. Being in a class with twenty or so people staring at me would not compare to a cafeteria with a couple hundred. I said a silent prayer in my head hoping that people's interest in me had waned.
When I walked inside, I was relieved to find that no one paid me any attention. I grabbed a few things to eat and claimed one of only two empty tables. All around me laughter rang out as the rest of the student population enjoyed being out of class. I kept my head down and ate my lunch quickly.
Moments later, the atmosphere in the room shifted suddenly. I looked up to see why everything suddenly felt different. Everyone was still joking and talking, but it was obvious that the mood had changed. People were looking at the front doors with barely concealed interest. I glanced over in curiosity and then I understood immediately.
These were the people who ran this school. Forget teachers and administrators, this group controlled the student population. They set the trends that the others would follow. It was pretty disgusting to think that teenagers were so susceptible to the opinions of a group clearly in the minority. Very few people could compare favorably to these four people who were obviously a step above the rest of us mere mortals.
I looked them over and recognized Alice immediately. I hadn't realized earlier, but she really stood out from other girls our age. She possessed a vibrancy that made me think of her as a barely contained ball of energy. Her good looks appeared to be lit from within and enhanced by her positive energy.
A tall blond girl with stunning good looks stood next to Alice. She had a haughtiness about her that could easily intimidate lesser beings. It was obvious that she knew she was beautiful and relished in the effect she had on others. If possible, her beauty was amplified when she began to laugh at something Alice whispered to her. With a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eyes, the blond girl was transformed from supermodel to girl next door. It was a welcome change that hinted at hidden depths lying just behind her beauty.
Behind Alice stood a tall boy with wild, bronze hair and a crooked smile on his face. He was easily as handsome as the blond girl was beautiful. His clothes were more refined than those around him and gave off a slightly preppy vibe. It made me wonder about the contradictions between his conservative clothes and his disheveled hair. When I looked closer, I realized that his clothes may be conservative, but they were wrinkled and ill matched. In spite his poor grooming, he had a certain charm about him. I could just picture him using his crooked grin as a secret weapon in a privately held battle against the ladies of the world.
I let my eyes wonder to the person next to him and was momentarily struck dumb. Here was a person who could hold my interest. Where the bronze boy was classically beautiful, this man was ruggedly handsome. Whoever he was, he was certainly no ordinary boy. He looked at least a couple of years older than your typical high school student. His honey blond hair hung too long and framed a tanned face with eyes I somehow knew would be blue. With his relaxed stance and cool demeanor, he practically oozed sex appeal. He wore an unbuttoned, black western shirt over a tightly fitted white tee that showed off his chiseled chest. His jeans were faded and paired with worn converse shoes. This last observation surprised me. I expected boots and was slightly disappointed.
I watched as the girls made their way to the empty table while the guys went to grab trays full of food. The bronze haired boy sat next to Alice who gave him a quick peck on the cheek before diving into the food he brought her. I was surprised when the blond cowboy didn't sit next to the blond girl. He sat on Alice's other side in the seat that gave him the best view of the cafeteria. He set one of his trays in front of the blond and kept the other for himself.
It was fascinating to watch the interactions of these four people and the response of everyone around them. They joked and laughed with an ease that made the behavior of other people look forced. I could understand the awe with which everyone watched them. Their table paid no attention to the rest of the world. It was this lack of interest that set them apart. Strangely, there seemed to be some unnatural pull to this group of people that made the room seem to revolve around them. When they laughed, other people laughed as well. When they talked, the room quieted slightly as if people were hoping to hear what they said.
When I turned my eyes back to the blond cowboy, I noticed he was staring at me. Our eyes locked for several seconds. I wanted to look away, but my eyes weren't cooperating. They liked what they were seeing and refused to budge. I knew I should have been embarrassed, but I wasn't. Looking at him felt like the most normal thing in the world to me. I wasn't about to fight against that feeling. After a minute or so, he turned to talk to Alice. I watched her glance up at me and guessed that he was asking her about me. When he turned back to look at me, he had a scowl on his face.
Seconds later, the door to the cafeteria slammed loudly against the wall making the whole room jerk in response. I looked over as my brother, Emmett, walked in with a look of fury on his face. He scanned the room slowly, nodding slightly to the four people I had been watching, before he continued with his scan. When his eyes found mine, he stopped. I wondered briefly what I had done this time to make him mad. The harsh look on his face softened slightly, and he appeared to relax. Without so much as a nod in my direction, he turned away from me. Emmett then made his way over to Alice's table and sat next to the blond girl. I should have known that they would be the crowd he hung out with.
Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to watch my brother as he interacted with his friends. The attention of the whole table was on him. Alice looked up at me again and frowned before looking back at Emmett. I got the distinct impression that he was talking about me. When he was done, the bronze haired boy leaned forward and put in his two cents. Emmett apparently didn't like what his friend had to say because he slammed his fist into the table. Alice narrowed her eyes at my brother's outburst. The blond cowboy then started talking, and Emmett lowered his head in response. Whatever was said ended my brother's argument.
With the show over, the rest of the cafeteria went back to the laughter and talking from earlier. It was surreal to watch the effect five people could have on a whole room. I rolled my eyes at the ridiculousness of the situation. Forks High School was populated by mindless sheep. I had seen similar cliques in other schools, but nothing I had ever witnessed compared to the interest everyone showed in these people. Who knew the world actually revolved around five snotty teens?