The Volturi Academy stood as a testament to the millions of dollars poured into it by parents, donations, and the Alumni association; it looked more like a sprawling mansion rather than a school, with beautiful turn-of-the century architecture, manicured gardens and the wrought iron gate that circumnavigated the establishment. These gates were open, letting in the long trail of Rolls Royce limousines and outlandish Lamborghinis, a lavish parade of the wealth of its students. Besides the pleasing aesthetics, the academy boasted the finest education, its treasured students matriculating to the most prestigious universities in the world. It was a very well-renowned academy.
And Bella loathed it.
The actual schooling part of the academy was fine-with the standards the school had, it was an amazing education. No, what really irked her were the spoiled, ungrateful brats that surrounded her.
Although though they were required to wear uniforms-Maroon blazer, white shirt, green tie, green plaid skirt or trousers-the student body was littered with designer labels. DeBeers jewelry, Balenciaga shoes, Chanel sunglasses, Prada handbags; some girls even had diamonds manicured on their nails.
For someone like Bella, a scholarship student, she might as well have been invisible. She didn't have any friends at Volturi. Status meant everything to the students, and Bella wasn't even a blip on the radar as far as they were concerned. Her lack of friends at the academy hardly bothered her; she didn't need friends like them. All she needed was the great credentials that the school offered.
Bella sank into her desk as the class was getting settled. Most everyone was talking to each other, showing off their accessories, or getting last minute answers on the homework. Bella pulled out her completed assignment, crossed her feet (thrift store maryjanes), and waited for the class to start. The teacher was preparing, moving about the front of the room, answering a few questions, when someone was heard running in the hall through the open door of the classroom.
The student, a male upperclassmen, was out of breath. After gulping a few times, he delivered his message. "Red Notice! Mike Newton in class 2-B has a Red Notice!"
A feeling of extreme, familiar annoyance settled over Bella as the class rushed out of their desks, excitedly chatting. Bella waited as the class filtered out into the hall, shared a long-suffering look with her professor, and walked out the door.
People were rushing past her, all headed in the same direction. Bella, however, was in no hurry to get to her destination. Of all the things Bella hated about the Volturi Academy, this had to be the top of the list.
Bella reached the throng of students who were surrounding Mike, who was standing by his open locker. In the boy's locker was a piece of blood-red paper, the Red Notice. The students jeered at him, and some started throwing paper balls at him. The boy was crouched down, trying to shield himself from the onslaught.
"Um, what's going on?"
Bella turned to see an unfamiliar face in the Volturi uniform-a new student. The girl was pretty, and didn't seem to have any identifiable marks of the obnoxiously wealthy. Bella could only hope she was another scholarship student.
"You must be new. I'm Bella Swan."
The student beamed, and held out her hand. "Nice to meet you, I'm Jessica Stanley." Jessica looked at the target student. "Is this a game?"
Bella sighed, and turned back to the spectacle. "To some people it might be."
Jessica looked confused. "Is it hazing?"
"No", Bella huffed, "not at all. There is this group of four guys-people call them the V4, and they belong to the most wealthy and influential families of this place. And I think all their parents are in the Alumni Association. Anyway, because of their connections, they get away with doing whatever they want. They control this school, basically. If someone makes them mad, they give them a Red Notice, like a declaration of war, and the school then dutifully freaks out and maims the poor guy."
Jessica's eyes widened. "And they don't get in trouble?"
Bella tried to raise her voice over the students' cries. "Of course not. Because that would be fair."
"What are their name-" The new girl's inquiry was interrupted by a sudden shriek.
The mob of students turned their attention to four young men walking down the corridor towards the crowd. They were all very attractive, and out of uniform.
"They never have to wear their uniform, either" Bella mumbled, grumpily.
The boys of the crowd started shouting, the girls were shrieking. As the V4 walked by where Bella and Jessica stood, Bella gave a running commentary on each individual. She might not have friends here, but that didn't stop her from hearing the gossip.
Or spreading it.
"That blond one is Jasper Hale; his family owns the Hale hotel chain. He has multiple girlfriends and thinks he can play the guitar. The muscular one is Emmett Cullen; his family owns a lot of sport franchises and teams. He is a huge playboy, and he's said to go after older, married women. The dark one is Jacob Black; his family is involved with oil companies, and his father runs some casinos. He's pretty quiet. And that one, " Bella could barely keep the contempt out of her voice. "is Edward Cullen. He is distantly related to Emmett from what I've heard, but Edward's family owns the Cullen Financial Group. His mother is this big socialite, I think . And, he is a complete asshole."
The crowd of students parted to make a path for V4 to get through. Edward led his group confidently, stopping to sneer down at the gawky blond kneeled on the ground.
"What do you have to say now?"
The young Cullen heir sank down into a crouch and and smirked. Mike crawled back into the lockers, trying desperately to get away. Edward stood back up, his light green eyes narrowed, and he lifted Mike up off the ground by his school shirt. The surrounding crowd twittered excitedly, and seemed almost disappointed when Edward simply set him down. The bronze-haired boy turned around to walk away, and Mike let out an audible sigh of relief. Edward turned back, facing the Newton heir, and punched him in the face. The crowd immediately started to cheer, but Bella couldn't help but notice Jacob Black, who had a disgusted frown on his tan face, and she watched as he walked quietly away from the spectacle.
Edward was smirking around at the crowd, until he noticed Jacob's back down the hall. A bored look settled on his face. "Next time, if you are going to talk shit about my hair, I would advise you to look at your own rat nest." Edward looked towards the other students. "Have at him." He turned on his heel, and headed down the hall after Jacob. Emmett and Jasper followed, both looking amused.
The crowd took their leader's words to heart, and continued with their abuse of Mike. Bella left the havoc after saying bye to Jessica, and quickly made her way down the hall, heading toward the fire escape. She couldn't handle being around the mob any longer.
She reached the fire escape door, and stomped down the stairs, which lead to a small outdoor balcony. It overlooked the expansive grounds of the school, and was generally deserted. Bella paced angrily around in tight circles, huffing and pulling at her long brown hair. "They get away with everything! Disrupting class, humiliating people when they please. Money doesn't mean they shouldn't follow rules!"
Bella froze, and looked down the opposite staircase that lead up to the balcony from the lower floor. Jacob Black was lounging on the stairs, a book in his hand. He raised an inky brow up at Bella, before frowning slightly.
"Can you complain somewhere else? I'm trying to read. I came here for solitude."
Bella was so startled to have one of the culprits hear her accusations, that she wasn't even angry at being told what to do. Also, Jacob look very good; white button-up shirt, form fitting black pants, stylish white boots, and his blue-black hair in a faux-hawk. He looked like a model, and Bella was a girl after all.
She blushed, mumbled an apology, and practically ran up the staircase. Jacob's black eyes followed her, a curious look in them. Who was that?
Lunch was held, like in most schools, in a cafeteria. However, Volturi Academy was not like most schools, and they liked to make that fact as obvious as possible.
Each table had a gold brocade table cloth, and a vase of roses on it. There were silver salt and pepper shakers, and the students ordered from an elaborate menu. Bella couldn't afford any extra expenses as meals weren't included on her scholarship. She couldn't pay for them out of pocket either, seeing as they were way too expensive. However, Bella was content with her homemade lunch, carefully prepared each morning by her mother, Renee.
She was set to eat her sandwich, when she saw Jessica, looking lost near her table.
"Come sit with us." A guy had walked up to Jessica, and had started forcibly pulling on her arm. She looked a little frightened, and Bella quickly called out, "Jessica, I saved a spot for you!"
Jessica turned her head in Bella's direction, a grateful look on her face. She lightly pulled away from the guy and made her way to her savior's table. "Thank you! You totally saved me just now."
Bella nodded sympathetically, took out two packages from her lunch box, and set it next to her sandwich. "No problem. Hey, do you want one of my Lunchables? My mom accidentally packed two."
A confused look passed over Jessica's face. "What's a lunch-a-ble?"
Any hope that Jessica was a commoner like herself completely; she had to be one of them. However, Jessica was nice so far, and wealthy or average, Bella would like a real friend at school.
Bella smiled. "It's a lunch you make with the stuff it gives you. You just put it together like this-" Bella put together the crackers, meat, and cheese, and put some of the mustard on it. "Here, try it."
Jessica took the small cracker sandwich lightly, and took a bite of the food. Her eyes lit up and she finished it in two more bites. "This is...really good! I never would imagine a cracker sandwich would taste like this!"
"I think it's the Dijon mustard that comes with it," Bella explained, as if divulging a great secret, spreading some mustard on her own cracker.
"I bet. And I think I'll take you up on your offer to have the extra Lunch-a-ble. I'm going to go get a drink, I'll be right back." Jessica stood up, and as she was about to turn, she walked into a hard body. The person had a drink in his hand, and Jessica's collision with him caused the drink to splash over his bright green shirt.
Which, was out of uniform.
Bella mentally groaned. Out of all the Academy, even of the V4, did it have to be Edward Cullen that Jessica pissed off?
Jessica looked terrified, and Edward's green glare gave her a just reason. "I-I'll pay to h-have it cleaned..."
Edward started to unbutton his shirt, revealing a white undershirt that almost matched his pale skin. It also revealed his perfectly toned body. It was completely unfair that someone so horrible could look that good.
He threw his green shirt on the ground near Bella, and a glance at the tag registered that carelessly thrown article was by Dior Homme. That shirt is so expensive! He would just toss it around like that.
"I don't need it cleaned, you twit, you ruined it! Now, I have to waste time getting another one!" Edward stepped forward menacingly, and the new student cowered into Bella's table. "Don't you even know where to look where you are walking? Are you ugly and blind-"
Bella's voice echoed around the silent cafeteria. "Um, please," she added, awkwardly. Edward looked up, surprised. The silence was deafening, and Bella's hope of going unnoticed for the year was effectively thrown out the window as every faced turned towards her.
He straightened up, slowly, and sauntered his was over to where Bella was standing. The hair on the back of her neck stood up at the young heir's long look, and she was sure he was going to yell at her, hit her...something. Cullen had a legendary temper, and if any little thing would incite his anger, her defiance definitely would. Instead, he walked around her, looking at her the entire time, and headed toward the door, the rest of the V4 behind him. When they had gone, the hum of low voices started up, and everyone in the room was glancing at the scholarship student. Bella was just relieved that she had gotten out in one piece. Maybe it was her lucky day, or Cullen had filled his asshole quota. Whatever instance, it was a good thing.
"So he got mad just because she spilled a drink on his shirt. Water, nonetheless?", an incredulous voice asked.
Bella nodded emphatically at her shorter friend, and continued to eat from the ice cream she was currently devouring. If there was anything good about working at a gelato shop, it was the free ice cream. She watched her best friend Alice sweep pointlessly on the spotless floor. The gelato shop never saw much business, so the fact that she worked there with her best friend meant that they could have these heart-to-hearts; mainly, Alice would listen to Bella complain about her elite school. Alice didn't mind, however; she loved hearing about Volturi, especially the famous V4. Not only were they trend-setters, which was important to fashion conscious Alice, but they were heartthrobs. And her best friend went to school with them!
"How ridic. But the V4 is still fine, nonetheless." Alice looked at her reflection in the mirror that hung on the wall, and she fluffed out the ends of her short hair.
"You wouldn't think they were so hot if you were assaulted by their stupidity everyday." Bella threw away her empty plastic bowl, and adjusted her black uniform shirt. "And besides, after what I did, I wonder if they will get back at me."
Alice shook out her carefully styled black hair, and twirled around to face Bella. "You are a girl, they won't do anything to you. I hope. Besides," Alice sighed, "even if they do, you stood up for someone, and that's honorable. That's how you are. If more people at that school saw how good of a person you are, instead of focusing on whether or not you have the new Marc Jacobs bag, you would have a lot of friends. You always stood up for me when we were younger, remember?
The two friends grinned at the shared memory of countless people who fell prey to Bella's fist after making Alice cry. Bella couldn't stand people picking on her friends, and she wasn't shy about that displeasure. "Yeah, I guess you're right. Even if they do try to start something, it was for a good cause. But, I'm a girl, and they can't be that barbaric right?"
Alice laughed. "I'm sure those heartless hotties won't try anything."
As Bella walked out of her family's apartment the next morning, she smiled. The day was so bright, and the breeze felt good against her face. The walk to school was pleasant, and it was looking like a good day so far; she had gotten a good 8 hours of sleep, the bathroom had been free this morning, so she got ready in time. Not to mention, her hair wasn't sticking up or curling weirdly, and fell in pleasant waves around her face.
The school was just starting to get busy as the numerous chauffeurs crowded the school's drive. Bella breezed pass them all, reaching the front stairs of the school. She walked the flights of stairs inside the building until she reached her locker, planning to get out her Pre-calculus book. She deftly twisted the combination of her lock, and the metal locker door swung easily open.
There, hanging in her locker like a herald of death, was a Red Notice.
A/N: Plot is based off the anime/manga 'Hana Yori Dango'.