This is a Twilight take on Veronica Mars. The starting off point is very similar to Veronica Mars, but the mystery itself is different. In other words, just because you saw VM does not mean that you will know what is going to happen in this story. There will be quotes and direct references to both stories, and also original plot twists.

This is my first attempt at fan fiction, and I want to thank everyone that has helped me. A big "Thank You" goes out to everyone that read my drafts and helped out: Kim, Bec, Rei, Gabi, Sheeri, and Alice. I wouldn't be posting this without the help and encouragement from all of you. I also want to give a special shout out to all of my favorite bitches that keep me up laughing all hours of the night.

Chapter 1: Strangers in Forks

Sooner or later, the people you love let you down.

If there is one thing I know with certainty that is it. I sat in my truck parked across the street from the unsightly Camelot Motel on the bad side of town. I wondered who or what Esme Cullen was doing that would bring her here. People only came to the Camelot for seedy affairs and secret trysts. So what was the wife of the most famous man in town doing here tonight?

I didn't have to wonder for long. Just a few moments after I watched her leave, a man walked out of the same room. The man that had been holed up in a motel room with Esme Cullen for at least an hour was someone I thought I knew well.

It was my dad, Charlie Swan.

I sat there, stunned, as I watched him leave. Why would Charlie be meeting Esme at the Camelot? Esme wore a satisfied smile as she left the motel, her dark hair bouncing at her shoulders. Given my family's history with the Cullens, there was no way this was just a cordial social call. Were Charlie and Esme having an affair?

Before I could ponder that possibility too carefully, my thoughts were interrupted by the rumbling roar of motorcycles. Jacob Black, the head of the closest thing our town had to a gang, pulled up next to my truck. He was followed by the rest of his crew, the La Push Pack as they called themselves. They were all from the Quileute reservation and rode around on their motorcycles trying their best to act badass.

Jacob motioned for me to roll down my window.

"Car trouble, miss?" he asked sarcastically.

Great. I turned the key and started the engine. Quil and Embry, two of Jake's buddies, closed in to block me from pulling away.

So how does a girl wind up surrounded by a motorcycle gang in the middle of the night on the wrong side of town? For that answer, we have to rewind to this morning.

I dreaded the morning arrival at school. I once read a book that likened high school to purgatory. I think whoever made that comparison was onto something.

The knowledge that a year and a half from now I could leave this sad little town behind, offered me little comfort. A year and a half in high school years might as well have been eternity. But knowing that I would someday leave this hellhole behind and never look back was the only solace I had. I arrived at school earlier than I intended, which meant I got a great parking spot, but it also meant that I had extra time.

At my school, your parents are either millionaires, or they work for millionaires. Forks, Washington is a town without a middle class. As I crossed the quad, I realized I still had some time before class. I sat down at my usual table, alone, and tried to finish my Geometry homework. But I couldn't concentrate.

I looked across the courtyard at the table where I used to sit. I never really belonged there. My family never had enough money to make me one of them. My dad didn't own a bank, like Mike Newton's, or serve as Ambassador to Belgium like Jessica Stanley's. And let's not forget Emmett McCarty, his dad runs an airline. Every school has an obligatory psychotic jackass – he's ours.

But my dad used to be the Sherriff and that had a certain cachet.

Let's be honest though. The only reason I was allowed past the velvet ropes was Jasper Hale, son of software billionaire Blake Hale. He used to be my boyfriend. Then one day, he ended things.

"Mind if I join you?" Seth Clearwater interrupted my thoughts to ask, even though he'd already sat down.

"Uh, actually…" I started to tell him to go away, but he seemed so earnest that I just didn't have the heart. Seth was a nice kid. Even though our families had a spotty history with each other, he was never anything but kind and helpful.

"I figured you could use some company," he said, as he began unpacking food from his bag and making himself comfortable. "Here, have some, I brought enough to share." He offered me one of his mini-muffins.

"Thanks, Seth. But really, you don't have to do that. Listen, you're a freshman, you're still new here. In case you haven't noticed, hanging with me isn't exactly going to win you any popularity points," I explained, but then as if to illustrate my point, we were interrupted.

"What the hell are you doing there, Seth?" Jacob Black sneered, as he crept up out of nowhere. At over six and a half feet tall, he towered over us.

"Just having some breakfast, Jake. Want some?" Seth offered, trying to act nonchalant.

"Leave him alone, Jacob" I said. "I was just leaving anyway."

Jacob didn't scare me like he did most people around here. I still remembered him as the scrawny, prepubescent boy that had a crush on me. It didn't matter to me that in the years since then he'd hit a growth spurt and bulked up to the size of the Hulk. Jacob ignored me and instead just scowled at Seth, waiting expectantly for him to get up.

"Mind your own business, Jake," Seth said, trying to sound tough.

"When people from my res go mixing with the very thing that is wrong with this town," he said as he looked at me, "then it is very much my business. Careful Seth, you don't know where she's been. We wouldn't want you catching anything from her."

Jacob held so many grudges against me that I couldn't even be sure what his current reason was for despising me. It didn't matter. He wasn't the only one that had a problem with me.

"Well, listen Jake," I said, standing up, "it's been really great catching up. You're a regular one man welcoming committee, you know? See ya later." I punched him in the arm and started to walk towards my class. He cringed at my touch and glared at me.

Jacob used to be a lot like Seth, sweet and friendly. I looked back at him, wondering where that kid had gone, but all I saw was a teenaged wannabe thug in a wife-beater and black leather jacket.

When I was about ten paces away, he spoke again.

"Hey Swan, the way trouble seems to follow you around, I'd appreciate it if you'd steer clear of the people from my res," he shouted.

I didn't bother responding to him.

Another great start to another great day at Forks' High.

The gossip du jour was about the newest additions to our student body. Word had it that the son and daughter of Carlisle Cullen were transferring in after being expelled from their prestigious New York boarding school.

Carlisle Cullen, the golden boy of Forks, Washington, was a child actor from LA who moved to Forks as a teenager when his career hit a standstill. Our affluent little town has a reputation for being elite. It's long been the get-away spot of choice for the rich and famous.

For years, Carlisle had been a washed up has-been with an embarrassing amount of soap opera work on his resume. But three years ago, when he landed the role as the hot new doctor on some primetime soap drama, his career was resuscitated. Now he's 'America's favorite TV Doctor' – a title he enjoys so much that he actually asks people to call him "Dr. Cullen". I have a feeling that if you wiki'd "narcissistic douche", there'd actually be an entry about him.

Though I'd never met his children, I was more than familiar with Carlisle and his wife Esme. My best friend, Tanya Grayle used to spend holidays with the Cullens and she'd told me plenty about Carlisle's son, Edward.

A year ago, I got a call from Tanya and she was frantically excited.

"What is with you?" I asked, laughing.

"I've got a secret, Bella – a good one," she said. "I'm coming over later to tell you all about it."

Those were the last words Tanya and I ever shared.

Later that night, Charlie was driving us back from dinner when he got a call from the dispatcher about a disturbance at the Cullen estate. The moment I saw the look on Esme's face, I knew it was more than a disturbance.

But everyone knows this story – the murder of Tanya Grayle. It made headlines around the country, splashed across magazine covers and television news. The town flooded with journalists. And the bumbling local sheriff that went after the wrong man? That bumbling sheriff was my dad, Charlie Swan.

He quickly became the most hated man in town. No one wanted to believe that Carlisle had anything to do with such a horrible crime. He was the obvious suspect. Tanya was beaten and left for dead at the Cullen mansion. Carlisle didn't call the police right away, and was uncooperative with the investigation. The only story he would give was that he arrived home to find her body there.

I can't blame Charlie for going after Carlisle for the murder, he was definitely hiding something. But when the Mayor personally told him to back off, he refused. He became that much more convinced that Carlisle was dirty. He became even more dogged in his pursuit of the truth. Even my mom, Renee, told him to leave it alone. She told him he was obsessed, and that he was tearing our family apart.

Six weeks after Tanya Grayle's death, someone from the sheriff's department leaked the crime scene video. Within 24 hours, it was all over the internet. Someone made a fortune while Charlie took the blame. His belief that Carlisle Cullen was a murderer became a moot point. An emergency recall election removed him from office.

Renee wanted to move out of Forks. The loss of status and the loss of income were too much for her. We moved alright, because we couldn't afford our house. But Charlie wasn't going to be run out of town. Neither was I. We got by on what money he could make working as a Private Investigator. After school, I did what I could to help out at his office.

So even though I'd never met the new Cullen kids, I already knew enough. Tanya told me plenty about Edward Cullen in particular. The two of them used to hook up over their summers together. It was never too serious, with Tanya living in Forks and Edward in New York for school. I could tell she cared about him, but it sounded like he didn't care about anyone. I hadn't heard much about his little sister, Alice, but it didn't really matter. My impression of Edward was that he was even more vile than his father.

Just what this town needed. Another fucking Cullen.

"Damn it, Bella! Watch where you're going!" Emmett McCarty grumbled as he slammed into me. "Ahh, great…just…great…" he said, as he motioned to the front of his shirt. It was splattered with the chocolate milk he spilled over himself when he bumped into me.

He was the one so busy leaning around to check out Lauren Mallory's ass that he ran into me, but that didn't matter. People in this town seemed to find a way to blame the Swan family for anything and everything that went wrong.

"Get over it Em. It's not my fault your mommy forgot to pack your bib this morning," I mumbled as I pushed my way past him.

"Hardy har har, Swan. Real funny," he said, stalling while he came up with a retort.

I started walking away from him.

"Hey, speaking of moms…" he called after me. "Where is yours these days?" he asked rhetorically.

Yep. He found his retort, alright.

Damn. I set myself up for that one. Everyone in town knew that my mom skipped out on us eight months ago. Within a month of Charlie losing his job, Renee split. All she left was a note saying she'd be back for me some day.

I ignored Emmett's comment, and kept walking.

The last thing Charlie needed was to get a call from the school saying that I'd been in a fight again.

I was nearly to my English class, and I could still hear Emmett behind me, grumbling over the mess on his shirt. The buffoon was a total klutz. He made me look suave. But unlike me, he was accustomed to always having someone else take the fall for his mistakes.

I slid into my seat and started taking my books out of my bag. As Emmett walked into the classroom, my eyes looked over the chocolate mess down the front of his rugby polo, and I realized that he was not the one that would be most upset over this. Emmett was basically a brute. He was a fool with a bad temper, but too dimwitted to be much harm.

His rabid girlfriend on the other hand, was a different story.

I raised my eyes from my desk just in time to catch Rosalie Hale's reaction to her chocolate stained boyfriend. Her ice-cold eyes widened and her mouth dropped open.

"Baby! What the hell happened to you? You can't wear that!" She rushed over to him and shoved his jacket up over his chest as if to hide the stain from public view.

Like a scolded child, Emmett dropped his head and just pointed in my direction.

He didn't have to say anything. The blonde witch really needed no reason to attack me. She just waited for opportunities like this.

Rosalie was the single most bitchy, conniving person I'd ever met. She was descended from a long line of bitches. On both sides. She was born and raised in it. She was a thoroughbred bitch.

"I should have known that skank had something to do with it." She turned her attention to me. "God, Swan, why do you have to ruin everything for us?" she hissed.

"Ruin everything? Look, first of all, he ran into—"

"Ugh, so typical of the Swan family. Blame someone else," Rosalie interrupted, laughing like she had just made some brilliant joke.

"It's just a stain, Rose. Breathe. Get over it. Life will go on," I said, rolling my eyes. I was not in the mood to deal with her drama.

A look of cold anger washed over her face. She turned from Emmett and slowly walked towards my desk. She flipped her long, bleached out hair over her shoulder as she leaned into my face.

It was infuriating that even up this close, when I could see all of her pores and everything, she was still gorgeous. And she knew it.

"Come on Rosalie, you aren't really going to cry over spilled milk, now are you?" I knew I shouldn't taunt her, but I just couldn't resist. She was going to give me hell either way. I might as well have a little fun.

She smacked her hands down on my desk, shutting my notebook, as she spoke.

"Listen, maybe in your trailer park it is acceptable to run around looking like your clothes are covered in shit, but not all of us –"

"Ms. Hale, please take your seat," Mr. Berty interrupted Rosalie, mid-insult. I loved that about Berty. He always seemed to have good timing.

My Rosalie interaction was not complete until she shot me a signature scowl before slithering off to her seat.

It wasn't always like this. Everyone in this town didn't always hate me. Rosalie and Emmett weren't always my enemies. In fact, we used to be friends. But all that changed a long time ago.

As Mr. Berty lectured through class, my mind wandered back over times when things weren't so hostile. The Swan name wasn't always the butt of every joke within earshot.

"You alright?" The familiar voice snapped my attention back to the present. Lost in thought, I hadn't heard the bell ring. I'd totally lost track of time. The classroom emptied out and I looked up.

Jasper Hale smiled down at me. Rosalie's twin brother was unlike her in every way except that he was blonde and gorgeous.

"Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine," I answered, embarrassed. I gathered my books and stood up. He seemed to be waiting, as though to walk with me.

I walked out of the room with him, wordlessly. Once in the hall, I saw that Rosalie was waiting for me, Emmett standing behind her.

I understood then why Jasper had waited for me. He was running interference for me with his sister. Tanya used to joke that Jasper and I balanced out each other. She said that his calming presence was the perfect counterpart to my neurotic, stubborn temper. She was actually right. He was so mellow; I think it was impossible for anyone not to feel calm around him.

Anyone except Rosalie, that is. She must have some type of twin-immunity to his good nature.

Her glare shifted from me onto Jasper as we entered the hall. I braced for insult.

She opened her mouth to speak, but Jasper cut her off and held up his hand.

"Rose, did you get the contact sheet back from the photographer yet?" he asked.

Genius. Rosalie's vanity was her weakness.

"Oh, yes! They are fantastic…here, let me just…" She started digging in her bag.

Jasper smiled at me and raised his hand as if to tip an imaginary hat. I smiled and mouthed the words "thank you".

Then I walked away, leaving him to deal with Rosalie.

Jasper was just like that. He was always doing some nice thing for me when I least expected it. Even after he broke up with me, he was always there…being his supportive, clever, and unbearably perfect self.

Although I appreciated his help, I couldn't get down the hall and away from him fast enough. He wasn't my boyfriend anymore, and it made me uncomfortable when he was too nice to me.

Even after Renee split, when it was just me and Charlie, when the rest of Forks treated us like the town lepers, Jasper stood by my side. He never judged me.

The week after Renee walked out on us, things seemed like they couldn't get any worse. Then Harry Clearwater, father of Seth and Leah Clearwater, and one of Charlie's old friends from La Push, walked into the police station and confessed to murdering Tanya. Charlie didn't believe him, but it didn't matter. The new sheriff pushed for a speedy trial and Harry was convicted.

None of it made any sense. So eager to put the story to bed, no one asked the obvious questions.

What was Tanya doing at the Cullen house?

Why would Harry Clearwater want to kill Tanya?

Why did Harry confess?

People wanted someone to blame. They wanted someone to hold responsible for tearing the town apart and bringing in so much scandal. It wasn't enough to have Harry Clearwater on death row, Charlie became a target too and we were quickly ostracized.

In a town divided, we didn't fit on either side.

I sided with Charlie. When everyone at school started making jokes, I could have laughed along with them. I could have gone along, and maybe then this would be a very different story.

And the thing is, I didn't even know if Charlie was right about the case.

In the end, it didn't matter to me.

Tanya was dead, and Renee was gone. I wasn't going to lose Charlie, too. So I stood up for him.

Then I became a target too.

That afternoon at lunch, Seth Clearwater found me again.

"Hey Bella, I really think we should talk," he said as he sat down with me, again.

"What's up Seth? You talking to me is going to bring a lot of shit down on you. Are you sure it's worth it?" I asked.

"Yeah, I think we can help each other. If we work together, we can clear both of our dads' names," he said.

I couldn't help but laugh.

"Okay, Sherlock, and how exactly do you propose we go about that?" I questioned.

"I know you've picked up a lot from helping your dad with investigations, and I'll help however I can. I know my dad didn't do it, and I'm pretty sure you know that, too," he said.

"Seth, I'm really sorry about your dad. I really am. But my family has been through enough because of the Cullens. I'm not going to add to that," I explained.

"Esme knows something," he blurted out.

"How do you know that?" I asked.

"I just do, okay? I've tried following her, but I can't get away with being off the res late at night. I want you to follow her…see what she's up to," he explained.

"What are you doing following around Esme Cullen, Seth?! Do you know how much shit you could get in if you got caught?" I demanded.

"I don't care. Please Bella. I know you want to figure this out just as bad as I do. Maybe even more," he said.

He was right. Even though I knew it was a bad idea, I couldn't resist an opportunity to find the truth.

"Tell me what you know about Esme," I pressed.

"You know how Emily works weekends over at the Camelot?" he asked. "Well, she says Esme's been showing up every week or so."

He had my attention. No one went to the Camelot for anything except shady dealings, and certainly not people like Esme Cullen.

"Will you see what you can find out? I've tried going there, but she stays real late. Can you get away with staying out late enough to follow her?" he asked.

"Yeah, I'll just tell Charlie I'm spending the night at Angela's." Angela Weber was the closest thing I had to a friend anymore, but we really weren't close. I exaggerated our friendship to Charlie so that he wouldn't worry about me being antisocial.

Charlie had given me specific instructions to stay away from Carlisle Cullen and the investigation, but technically, he never said anything about Esme.

"Thanks, Bella." Seth looked at me for a moment, and we had a silent understanding.

"I'll call you later and let you know what I find out," I said.

The rest of the day, I was preoccupied, thinking about the case. It was probably nothing, but I had to check it out. Maybe Esme held the key to finding out what happened to Tanya. It was definitely worth looking into.

Later that afternoon, on my way to Biology, I heard more of the Cullen gossip I'd been trying to tune out.

Apparently 'asshole' ran in the Cullen family.

The story was that Edward had seduced the Head Mistress's daughter and recorded his conquest. He then posted it on YouTube and sent the link to the entire school.

What a prince.

From what I heard, this wasn't his first time in this sort of trouble. Only this time Daddy's money couldn't buy him out of it. The Head Mistress was so furious that she immediately expelled Edward and his sister, Alice, saying that the Cullens were no longer welcome there.

If only we could get her to come here to Forks…

The administration at Forks' High was delighted to have Carlisle's little darlings.

That story, combined with his family name, already cemented him as Forks' royalty.

Biology was my last class of the day, and it wasn't half bad either. Mr. Banner was an alright teacher, but most importantly, he gave me my space.

When the rest of the class partnered up, he left me alone, just like I wanted. Some teachers would tell me to join an existing group, and I'd have to watch as they all squirmed in their seats and avoided eye contacted, praying I wouldn't pick them.

Not Banner though, he respected my solitude.

When I got to the Biology lab, I made my way to my seat in the back. I sat in the back of every class that I could so that people couldn't throw things at me. I slid my books over to the empty spot on the far side of my lab table.

I looked up as the bell rang and Mr. Banner stood to begin class.

He had just started his lecture when the door opened.

And there he was.

Edward Cullen.

I knew it was Edward Cullen immediately, because he was exactly as Tanya described him, only more so.

He had the same movie star good looks as Carlisle, only instead of Carlisle's blonde hair, his was brown, no – bronze. He didn't have Carlisle's signature "fake and bake" tanned complexion, instead he was pale, but it suited him.

He flashed this cocky, crooked grin as he entered.

"Ah, Mr. Cullen, I presume?" Mr. Banner asked.

What? Oh no. Banner was expecting him. That means he is in this class, and the only empty seat is –

"Please take your seat in the back." He pointed at the empty spot next to me. "Bella, I trust you'll share your notes with Mr. Cullen?"

I don't know if I answered Banner or not.

I stared at the new Cullen. He was gorgeous, and he obviously knew it. He seemed as smug and arrogant as his father. The Cullens represented the worst of this town, and now I was stuck with one as a lab partner.

He headed towards his new seat, next to me. As he walked past the fan in the front of the classroom, I swear I could smell him. Intoxicatingly sweet, delicious. That was a horrible reaction for me to have to a Cullen.

This was unbelievable. Carlisle freaking Cullen's asshole son is my lab partner.


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