Hey guys, I'm back! Sorry for the wait, I kinda went through a dry spell with writing and then ended up getting my laptop taken away by my douche of a dad. -grumble- Anyway, I'd like to say thank you to everyone who reviewed, put this story on alert, and who just read it. It makes me happy when people read my story.

Now I have to warn you guys, I won't be updating much until the summer. Finals are coming up, I need to finish homework and such, plus I noticed a pretty big flaw in the plot for the next couple of chapters that I need to fix. So just stay put; I haven't abandoned the story I'm just working on multiple things.

A big thank you to the ladies from Team Project Beta for not killing me, and AmberStar63 for going over this chapter. MUCH LOVE!

I sadly do not own any of the characters from Twilight, just the plot.


Chapter 3: Confrontations and Paranoia

Bella P.O.V.

The next day, during lunch Alice and I went to the dry cleaner's to pick up Rosalie's clothes.

Alice was not too happy that we used my truck, especially considering that Edward's shiny, quiet Volvo was available. She put up a bit of a fight, but when I threatened to leave without her she stopped complaining about it and hopped right in.

"How can you drive this thing?" Alice said, finally breaking the silence when we were on our way back to school. "It's so loud."

"Anything's loud compared to Edward's Volvo," I said, glancing over at her.

"Well yes, that's true," she said. "But this thing is so old. It probably has less than a year to live."

"Why do you keep knocking my truck?" I asked, rubbing the steering wheel affectionately. I loved my truck. Sure it was loud and it did get a little bit embarrassing when it backfired, but it had character.

"Because it's a death trap," Alice retorted, "I can picture you in a nice little red Sunfire more than I can in this huge ass thing."

I rolled my eyes and focused on finding a new parking spot, someone had scooped up the space I had parked in before we left to collect Rosalie's clothes. I saw an empty space and pulled in, "I don't exactly have the money for a Sunfire, Alice, not that I even want one."

She grabbed Rosalie's clothes and hopped out of my truck. I winced as it backfired when I put it in park and turned the ignition off. Alice was grinning at me when I got out, I could tell she really wanted to say something more about my truck.

"Not a word," I warned her.

She just laughed and began walking towards the school.

We still had about 15 minutes before lunch period ended so we took our time getting to the cafeteria. Alice skipped ahead, swinging the bag back and forth. "Hey Bella," she turned around and grinned at me, "Are you busy tomorrow after school?"

"What for?" I asked. Tomorrow was the day I was going to the movies with Jacob, but if whatever Alice wanted to do was quick, maybe I could do both.

"I was wondering if you wanted to come over to my house and stay for dinner," she said, "My Aunt Esme just got back from Seattle and is making this big meal." Alice added, bobbing her eyebrows up and down.

"Sorry Alice," I said, shaking my head. "I actually have plans."

"That sucks," Alice sighed, "I guess next time then."

"I'm sorry." I said again.

We entered the cafeteria and made our way to our usual table. Jasper and Emmett were deep in conversation, but when Jasper caught sight of us approaching over Emmett's massive shoulders he cut off whatever he was saying. The cafeteria was too loud and I wasn't able to catch any of it, but it must have been something that he didn't want us to hear.

"We're back, guys," Alice said. She placed the dry cleaner's bag in front of Rosalie then sat down beside Jasper, giving him a quick kiss. She didn't seem to have noticed the intense conversation we had walked in on, or maybe she just chose to ignore it. I sat down next to Edward who gave me a small smile. I was usually the last one to get to the table and the seat beside Edward was the only one open; so, it just became 'my spot'.

Rosalie peeked into the bag then looked at me with a smile, "Thanks," she said and put the bag on the floor by her feet.

I looked at Alice who winked at me.

"So what were you guys talking about?" I asked, wanting to know Jasper had been talking about before we arrived.

I caught Jasper and Emmett sharing a look. "Nothing much," Emmett replied. "We're talking about football."

"Football?" I glanced at Jasper who was looking at Emmett with an amused expression. They were hiding something. I turned towards Jasper and leaned forward on the table, "I didn't really picture you as the football type, Jasper."

"Yeah, I've been following the Seattle Mariners for a while now," he replied. "They have a game on this evening that I want to watch."

I bit my lip to keep from laughing as Emmett muttered a 'dude' under his breath. I wasn't into sports, but since Phil, my mom's new husband, was a minor league baseball player, I knew that the Seattle Mariners were, in fact, a baseball team; not a football team.

Deciding to play along, I grinned at him. "Who are they playing?"

I saw Jasper falter for a moment and his adam's apple bob up and down. "Some team from Jacksonville," he finally replied, "Jaguars, I think."

Rosalie snorted into her drink. I looked up to see everyone at the table looking anywhere, but at Jasper and me trying to hold back their laughter. I decided to let it go for now, it was getting a little painful to watch Jasper squirm. "Alright then."

We ended the conversation just as the bell rang to signal the end of lunch. "See you in English, Alice," I told her as I got up.

As I made my way out of the cafeteria I heard Emmett cry out, "Dude! The Seattle Mariners are a baseball team, idiot!"

Frowning, I continued on to class. It was obvious that Jasper was trying to hide something from me, and the fact that he went out of his way to try and cover up what the conversation was about with sports made me especially curious.

The rest of the day dragged by far too slow for my liking. In gym we were beginning volleyball. I was by no means an athlete, but volleyball was like my all-time nemesis. Trying to hit a ball that's speeding towards your face was not my idea of fun. Even when I was able to hit the volleyball, it would always go in the wrong direction.

My classmates learned from day one that I wasn't meant for gym; they knew not to pass to me unless they absolutely had to. I did get hurt this period though. Lauren spiked the ball and managed to hit me right in the nose. I was sent to the nurse's office with a bloody nose, but it got me out of participating for the rest of class.

"Oh my god!" Alice screeched when she saw me in English, "What happened to your nose?"

"We were playing volleyball in gym," I said, trying not to move my mouth too much. My nose hurt like hell and I knew there was going to be a nasty bruise tomorrow morning. "Lauren spiked a ball into my nose."

"That bitch," Alice hissed.

"It was an accident, Alice." I said, sitting down on our couch. I opened my binder and grabbed the assignment that was due today, reaching over Alice to place it in the hand-in bin.

Alice and I didn't have much time to talk during our English class. We were starting a new novel today, the Shawshank Redemption. Our teacher took over half the class explaining the importance of the book and why it was a part of the grade twelve curriculum. We spent the rest of the class reading the first chapter and answering questions in our study guide.

The bell rang and I began to pack up, happy to go home. I looked over at Alice who was deep in thought. "So," I nudged her, making her jump, "your boyfriend's a football fan, huh?"

Alice burst out laughing, making the stragglers look over at us. "Don't ask, Bella. Just, don't ask."

***

I was in the bathroom examining the damage Lauren had done with the volleyball when Dad came home from work; my nose was swollen and had turned a deep purple. I touched it gingerly, wincing as a sharp pain shot up through my nose.

"Hey Bells, I'm home," he called. "Bells?"

"Yeah Dad, I'll be right down," I called back, looking at my nose once more.

I breezed down the stairs and into the kitchen, hoping that if I just got busy starting dinner he might not notice. He was sitting at the kitchen table reading the paper.

My mom was used to seeing the 'aftermath' of my accident riddled days, so she was used to me coming home all bruised up. Dad, on the other hand, didn't really get just how accident prone I was. He was going to freak out over it, but he would just have to get used to the fact that I hurt myself. A lot.

"Hey Dad, stir fry for dinner okay?"

"Sure Bells, sounds good."

This is going better than I thought; he didn't even look up from his paper.

"So dinner will be ready in about twenty minutes then. Why don't you take the paper to the living room and relax? I'll call you when it's ready."

His eyes grew large as he took in my bruised nose. I groaned and hung my head down, making my hair fall into my face. "It's okay Dad, it looks worse than it really is."

"You look like you were hit!" he said, trying to look at my nose.

"Only by a volleyball. It's no big deal, I'm fine." I could see he was ready to say more, I held up my hand. "Dad, stuff like this happens to me all the time, get used to it. You can't go all Police Chief on me every time I come home with cuts, bruises or broken bones. I'll let you know when it's something serious, okay?"

He just looked at me, opening and closing his mouth a few times. I bit my lip; maybe what I said was a bit too harsh.

"Okay, Bells. I get it. Just be careful, alright?" He relented. He took his paper and went to the living room.

I smiled at him, happy that he was leaving it alone, and started getting dinner ready

I had just called him for dinner and was filling his plate when I remembered I didn't tell him I was going out with Jacob tomorrow night. "Dad… it's alright if I go to Port Angeles tomorrow with Jake, right?"

"I don't see a problem with it," he replied, walking into the kitchen as I placed his dinner on the table. "What are you two doing down there?"

"We're going to see a movie," I replied. "He wanted to go on Saturday but I'm already busy with Alice that day, she's asked me to spend the day shopping with her in Port Angeles."

"Do you need any money?" he asked.

"I think I'm good," I said hesitantly. My cash supply was beginning to run a little low, I didn't actually come to Forks with much money in the first place but I still had a bit left. Maybe I should get a job, I thought as I filled my own plate and sat down at the table.

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah," I nodded. "I might start looking for a job."

Dad set down his fork and leaned back in the chair. "I think Newton's Olympic Outfitters is hiring."

"Newton's Olympic Outfitters?"

"Yeah, Mike Newton's family owns it. It's like the sporting goods store in town," Dad shrugged. "It's not really you, but you can't be picky when it comes to jobs in Forks."

"No, any job would be fine," I told him.

"I'll stop by the store tomorrow and ask Karen if they're hiring," he said, picking up his fork again.

"I'll talk to Mike tomorrow too," I said. "Thanks Dad."

I finished eating as Dad got up to get seconds. I still had some homework to finish up so I excused myself and headed to my room.

***

The next day I saw Mike in the hall during break. I told Jasper that I'd meet up with him and everyone else in the cafeteria at lunch and went over to Mike. Jessica and Lauren were with him and they both glared at me when I joined them. I felt Lauren staring at my nose, the bruise had gotten darker overnight, and from the smug smile she had on her face I got the feeling that she was happy she managed to hit me with the volleyball.

"Hey, Mike," I said, trying to ignore Jessica and Lauren. "Your family owns Newton's Olympic Outfitters, right?"

"Yeah," he said, a smile spreading across his face. Jessica made a disgusted sound and rolled her eyes, "We do. Why?"

"I heard you were hiring," I smiled at him.

"Yes, we are," his smile widening as he straightened up.

"Do you think you could put in a good word for me?" I asked. The looks I was getting from Jessica and Lauren were making me feel uncomfortable. What was their problem anyway? "I'm getting a little tight on cash."

"Yeah, I can do that!"

"Thank you," I said. Not having anything else to say, I felt a little awkward just standing there so I decided to escape. "I'm going to head to biology, see you in class."

"See you in a bit, Bella!" he called after me as I walked away.

I was surprised to see Edward already sitting in the classroom when I got there. His binder was open and he was copying something from a book.

"Hey," I said as I walked up to our table, placing my binder on the countertop, "What are you doing?"

Edward looked up briefly then made to return to his copying, but did a quick double take. "What the hell happened to your nose?" he asked.

"Volleyball incident," I said, rolling my eyes.

He shook his head at me and then continued to write.

"So what are you writing?"

"Writing down some stuff about cancer," he tapped the book with his pen. "I got this from my dad. It has lots of useful information."

"Really?" I dropped my backpack to the floor and sat down. As I leaned in to get a closer look I was suddenly engulfed by a delicious scent. All coherent thought disappeared as I closed my eyes and let the musky smell invade my senses. It took me only a moment to realise it was coming from Edward. I never noticed how good Edward smelled before.

I opened my eyes to see Edward looking at me expectantly. Oops, he must have said something to me. "What?" I blinked a couple times and moved away from him. "Sorry I kind of zoned out."

"I noticed," he gave me a quick grin. "I just asked if you wanted to borrow this book."

"Oh, um…yeah, I'd like that. Thanks," I said as he pushed the book towards me. I left it open on the table, we still had today and tomorrow to work on our projects and this book would probably be really useful. "So your mom's cooking a big meal tonight, huh?"

"How'd you know that?" Edward asked, raising his eyebrows.

"Alice," I said, "She invited me over for dinner."

"Oh, so you'll be coming tonight then?"

I shook my head. "I can't. I actually have plans tonight," I told him.

The bell rang and students began to trickle into the classroom. Mike grinned at me as he walked by. I actually found it quite amusing that Mike could get so happy by me asking him to put in a good word for me. I grinned back at him.

"What's the smile for?" Edward asked, looking between me and Mike.

"Nothing," I said as I turned back around.

Edward and I spent our class time gathering information on the different cancers, the book he lent me proved very useful. Each chapter was dedicated to a different type of cancer and listed everything from symptoms to treatments.

When the bell rang, Edward hung around to wait for me. It took all the restraint I had to not squeal when I saw this. Usually after the bell rang Edward would get up and head to the cafeteria by himself. I hoped that him waiting for me was a small sign that we were becoming friends. I smiled at him as we walked out of the classroom together.

"I'll meet up with you in the cafeteria," I told him. "I have to go to my locker."

"Okay," he said. "See you in a few."

I began to walk off towards my locker, looking back over my shoulder to see Edward enter the cafeteria. I smiled to myself, the progress Edward and I had made (both project and friendship) had put me in such a good mood that I practically bounced down the hall.

I had made my own lunch today, wanting to save some money for the movie tonight. As I turned down the hallway where my locker was, I saw a girl with short, almost silvery blonde hair leaning against my locker. She had an apple in her hand and was casually tossing it in the air while she stared at the wall across from her. It looked like she was waiting for someone.

"Excuse me," I said to her, she was standing in front of my locker.

She looked at me and I was surprised to see an angry glint in her brown eyes. "Isabella Swan?" she asked.

"Um…yes," I said hesitantly.

The girl stopped tossing the apple and pushed off from my locker but stayed in front of it, still blocking my way. Who is she and how did she know where my locker was? I thought, Or for that matter, how did she even know I was going to be here at lunch?

"I'm Irina," she said coolly.

"Okay…" I said, eyeing her.

"Irina Denali," she said as if I should know who she was. The last name did sound familiar to me. Denali… Denali… oh! "Tanya's sister."

"Oh! Call me 'Bella'," I told her, trying to give her a smile. I had a feeling it failed horribly. "I'm sorry about what happened to –"

"Cut the shit, bitch." She took a step towards me, clenching the apple tighter.

I stepped back at the tone of her voice, surprised at the malice in it. "I'm – I'm sorry?"

"You heard me," she said, taking another step towards me. I took another step back. "You need to stay the fuck away from Edward. You got that?"

"What?" This girl was unbelievable. Her brown eyes were wild as she stared at me and I felt almost afraid.

"Tanya is Edward's girlfriend, so back off."

"What are you –?"

"Don't play dumb with me, bitch," she hissed. "Tanya will wake up and she doesn't need to deal with sluts like you throwing themselves all over Edward."

"What are you talking about?" I asked, trying not to let her see how much she intimidated me. "Edward and I are just friends."

Irina laughed bitterly. "Do you fucking think I believe that?" she pointed a finger at me. "I saw you in Mr. Banner's class trying to get close to him. Get it through your ugly ass head that he isn't interested, so don't even try."

With that, Irina threw the apple at my feet, turned on her heel and stalked off down the hall. I stared after her, my mouth hanging open. I was speechless. I went to my locker, trying to work my combination lock. My hands were shaking; I had never had anyone talk like that to me before. After a couple of tries, I got my locker open and grabbed my bagged lunch.

I walked to the cafeteria slowly, my mind reeling with what Irina had said. She seemed wild and dangerous, and I was sure I never wanted to see her again.

Did I really look like I was trying to pick Edward up? I thought to myself, biting my lip. I hadn't been consciously leaning into Edward today in Mr. Banner's class. He just smelled so good and I got caught up in his scent. I felt my cheeks burn with embarrassment.

Like yesterday, everyone was deep in a discussion when I reached the table. It took Alice a moment to realize I was there. "Bella!" she jumped up from her seat and everyone abruptly stopped talking. This made me feel paranoid. What if Edward had told everyone about my actions in biology and they were making fun of me?

I put my stuff by my seat beside Edward as Alice linked arms with me. "Hey Bella, do you think we could go to your locker? I think I left my copy of Shawshank Redemption there."

I stared at Alice, confused. She never once went to my locker with her copy of the book. Alice gave me a look that said 'follow along' and I nodded. "Sure," I said.

"We'll be back," Alice called over her shoulder as we walked out of the cafeteria and back towards my locker.

"What's going on?" I asked, looking back over my shoulder.

"Em and Rose are having some…issues," she said as we made our way into the hallway where I had been not even five minutes ago. "I just thought it'd be better for you to not to hear it."

"But Edward and Jasper are still at the table," I stated. We stopped at my locker and I turned to look at her.

"Yeah, but they're used to it," she shrugged as she picked up the apple that Irina had thrown at me and tossed it into a nearby trash can. "Em and Rose have a fight at least once a week. I figured it'd be best if we gave you a week or two before you actually had to witness one. Those fights aren't pretty."

"I see," I said. It seemed like a valid excuse to leave the table, but it still didn't explain why everyone had stopped talking when I walked up. I sighed and rubbed my forehead; maybe I was just being paranoid and imagined it. No, something is going on around here, I'm sure of it.

We sat down on the floor, leaning against the wall. I stared at my feet, fidgeting as Irina's words ran through my head once more.

"Bella, are you okay?" Alice asked, placing her small hand on my arm.

"I don't know," I replied after a moment.

"What's wrong?" she asked, scooting across the floor so she was sitting in front of me, a concerned look on her face.

"After biology I told Edward I'd meet him in the cafeteria because I had to get my lunch from my locker," I began, wetting my lips with my tongue, "when I turned the corner into this hallway I saw a girl waiting by my locker. She said her name was Irina."

Alice groaned loudly and fell back on the floor, "What did she say?" she asked reluctantly.

"She told me to stay away from Edward and that Tanya was going to wake up and didn't need sluts like me going after him," I looked at Alice, biting my lip.

"Bella," Alice complained, making a face, "please don't listen to Irina. She isn't exactly all there, if you know what I mean."

"You mean she's mentally ill?"

"Honestly, I'm not sure. I wouldn't be surprised if she was though," Alice admitted, sitting up and looking at me. "Even before Tanya's accident, Irina was always over-protective of her sister. She got pissed off at any girl who would go near Edward. She always accused the girls of being sluts and whore and all kinds of things, it was almost like an obsession. Anyway, after the accident, she got worse. Tanya's whole family went a little loopy after it happened, actually."

"Oh," I bit my lip and looked down the empty hall. "That's really sad."

"I know," Alice agreed. She stood up, wiped off her butt, and then helped me up from the floor. "Unfortunately there isn't anything we can do. Come on, I think Em and Rose should be done with their argument by now."

"What should I do if Irina approaches me again?" I asked as we began to walk back to the cafeteria.

"Just ignore what she says," she replied, shrugging her shoulders. "She's all talk anyway."

Emmett and Rosalie were snuggled up together when we entered the cafeteria. Alice grinned and nudged me with her elbow."See? What did I tell you?"

I grinned and sat down finally starting my lunch. I was trying to ignore everything Irina said to me and my paranoia that something was going on behind my back and just enjoy spending time with my friends. It wasn't until the end of gym that I realized we had been gone about ten minutes and no one seemed to care that Alice came back without her book.

***

As soon as I got home I collapsed on the couch, throwing my backpack on the floor beside the coffee table. Today had been a mentally exhausting day. Irina's verbal lashing had taken a lot out of me and to top it off, when I was heading to my truck after school I caught a glimpse of her from across the parking lot. When our eyes met, she gave me a hard look and flipped me the finger before getting into her car.

Dad knew I was going to eat at the movie theater so he told me not to worry about making him dinner. That meant I had some free time. I grinned and stretched out on the couch, I had never really noticed how comfy it was. The soft tick, tick from the clock that hung on the wall above the television and the buzz from the refrigerator lulled me into semi-consciousness state, and before I knew it my eyes began to droop.

"Bells… Bella,"

I groaned as Dad shook me awake. Blinking my eyes open, I saw him leaning over me. "What time is it?" I asked, sitting up and rubbing my eyes. Ick, I had that awful post-nap taste in my mouth. I definitely needed to brush my teeth.

"It's quarter-to-five," Dad said. "Jake just called and said he'd be here in ten minutes."

"Oh," I stretched and ran a hand through my hair. Dad went off to the kitchen and I got up, grabbing my backpack as I hurried upstairs. I put my backpack on my bed and grabbed my brush from my dresser, quickly running it through my hair. When I was satisfied, I hurried to the bathroom and brushed my teeth. I made sure to scrub my tongue extra hard to get that horrible taste out of my mouth. I loved having naps, but the aftertaste was something that I could live without.

Before I knew it, I heard a car horn honking outside and Dad hollered up the stairs to me that Jacob was here. I grabbed my jacket and my purse and headed downstairs. I was genuinely excited for the movie. Today had been a crappy day and I needed to have a little fun with a friend.


There you go! What's going to happen with Bella and Jake? Will he be putting the moves on her?

Don't forget to review, they make me happy. :D