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First Day of School - Bella

I can't believe I'm doing this again.

Looking back nearly ten years ago to my first day of high school in Phoenix, it never would have occurred to me that I would willingly repeat even a single day of that torture.

That was then. I'd say I've come a long way.

I was waiting in the main office with members of my family while someone organized our schedules and paperwork. A woman named Bev Jeffries was attempting to sort her way through piles of disorganization so that she could direct us to our destinations. Our presence had not helped to expedite her search. She was unbelievably flustered and had been since the moment we breezed through the door. Not that I blamed her.

Edward had walked slowly up to the desk and said, "Excuse me, Miss Jeffries? I believe you spoke to my father, Carlisle Cullen. We're here to begin classes. Are we in the right place?" She had gawked at him for a solid twenty seconds before responding.

One of the more disconcerting things about my transformation into a vampire almost six years ago has been the staring. Complete strangers would stop in shock to watch me as I pumped gas. As if our pale visages and shocking, amber-colored eyes weren't enough reason, the transformation made each of us a heightened version of our human selves. The luster of my dark, reddish-brown hair had deepened, and my pale skin had a pearly luminescence. My features had been plain as a human; not unattractive, merely plain. I was now considered quite beautiful by their standards. It was embarrassing and difficult for me to adjust to even the most earnest admiration.

My sister Alice was petite and elfin-looking. Her black hair was artfully arranged in gothic spikes all around her head, and her features were flawless and serene, albeit unsettling for humans to look at – Alice always had an ethereal, distracted look about her that had to do with her ability to see into the future.

My other sister Rosalie was not happy to be here. Rosalie hated starting school again. Edward had assured me that her hatred would be mollified as soon as she could see firsthand the glances of admiration and envy that followed Rosalie the most out of any of us. Rosalie had been gorgeous as a human. As a result, she was breathtakingly beautiful as an immortal. Her long blond hair fell in soft curves down her back, and her features were an artist's dream of perfection.

Emmett, Rosalie's significant other, never seemed to mind the lustful glances Rosalie inspired in others. It was probably because he knew that it would never be more than a look . . . Emmett's brawn quickly quashed any guy's half-hearted notion that he could successfully compete with Emmett for Rosalie's affection, not to mention the fact that Rosalie sneered at any unwanted attention with unconcealed disdain. Emmett was heavily muscled, with dark curly hair and an impish grin set off by dimples. He was undoubtedly the brother who gave me the most hell, in a loving way. Emmett constantly tried to find ways to incite my ire. He leaned over towards me as we waited for Ms. Jeffries to find our schedules and whispered, "You planning on killing anyone today, little sister?" He had spent the better part of the last week trying to make me even more nervous about going to high school again.

Even though I had unparalleled self-control as a young vampire around humans, I was still nervous about drawing unnecessary attention to myself at school. Of course, grabbing some unsuspecting human and gnawing on their neck would be a sure way to garner negative attention. Heck, I would probably be expelled, I mused to myself with a nervous chuckle.

In a movement so quick that only we could discern it, Edward punched Emmett in the stomach. "There's more where that came from if you don't cut it out," he snarled under his breath. I sighed as Rosalie demanded that both of them behave. I knew that Emmett wanted nothing more than to hit Edward back, but he learned decades ago the futility of that attempt. Edward was another vampire with gifts beyond the norm. He could read the mind of anyone around him, human or vampire – with only one known exception. If Emmett even considered hitting Edward, Edward would know when and where. It drove Emmett crazy, and he constantly called Edward a cheater as a result.

Jasper, the love of Alice's existence, sensed my consternation, and I immediately felt a wave of calm surround me. Jasper's ability to manipulate the feelings of those around him definitely had its advantages.

"Thanks, Jazz," I murmured.

"Anytime," he said as he absentmindedly ran his hand through his wavy blond hair.

At that moment, Bev Jeffries came forward with a small handful of papers and a triumphant smile.

"Okay! So I think I have everything, now. Which one of you is Jasper Hale?" she queried with her southern drawl. She began passing out our schedules and maps of the school.

"Well, I'm guessing you must be Edward," she said as she handed him the last schedule in her hand. She stumbled over his name as she looked at him, and I immediately felt sympathetic. Edward's tousled, bronze-colored hair framed a face that looked as though it were carved from marble. His jaw appeared chiseled, and the soft curve of his perfect half-smile directed at Bev Jeffries sent her pulse running.

"Thanks. I think we're missing one though. Do you have a schedule for Isabella Swan?"

After much consideration, I had decided that it made more sense for me to use my maiden name in our new home of Brevard, North Carolina. My family had lived in the area around Appalachia sometime in the 1930s, and this was our first return to it since then. We settled in Brevard because of its seclusion and proximity to the forest – which contained our chosen source of nourishment. The guys had howled with laughter at the fact that Brevard lies in Transylvania County in North Carolina. Even I had a good laugh about it. Since it was weird enough that the six new kids at Brevard High were all perfectly matched with one another AND lived in the same home, I decided that a presumably unmarried couple with the same last name might look a little weird. I didn't think it was legal for supposed 16-year-olds to be married anyway. Edward had been disappointed, but he made up for it by calling me Mrs. Cullen any chance he had at home.

"Oh dear. I was so sure I had them all. Why don't the rest of you go ahead to your homerooms, and Isabella can wait here while I try to find her paperwork in this mess," Ms. Jeffries said to us all.

"Perhaps I can help, Ms. Jeffries," Edward said smoothly. "Bella is supposed to be in all of the same classes as me, so maybe she could just copy my schedule?"

"Well, either way I have to get her a printed schedule to show her teachers. Let me make a copy of yours just in case, Edward. The rest of you run along to class," Ms. Jeffries said, as she distractedly grabbed his schedule and turned to the photocopier.

She had totally missed Edward's blatant manipulation. He triumphantly looked at me and winked. I smiled back at him, remembering how he had deftly tricked poor Mrs. Cope at Forks High into arranging identical schedules for both of us. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all.

"Here's your schedule, Edward. Go ahead. Bella will join you shortly once I've sorted through this mess," Ms. Jeffries said.

Edward gave her another grin that sent her pulse quickening and said, "Thanks so much for all your help. See you soon, Bella." He left with a wink and a smoldering smile.

Thanks so much for reading this! Your support means a lot to me.

Renee (gothicfictionfan)

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