Chapter One – Picture Perfect


The sun was up, but hidden behind layers of clouds full of rain just waiting to fall. It was just another day in Forks, Washington, home to the never-ending cycles of rain with little to no sunshine. Isabella Swan moaned groggily as the alarm clock in her room began to beep loudly. She knew she needed to get up and get ready for school, but she couldn't find the nerve to make the first move.

After about two seemingly endless minutes of relentless beeping, she moved her heavy arm to press snooze and sat up. Brown eyes blinked several times before coming into focus. She had only been here a few weeks, and still wasn't used to the lack of sun. Oh well, this was her choice. She stretched and crawled out of bed, heading for her small closet and grabbing a pair of jeans and a random shirt. She pulled on socks and tennis shoes, then a hoody. After a seconds glance in the mirror to make sure she didn't look too silly, she headed to the bathroom and brushed her tangled brown hair.

Her thoughts drifted to her mother, Renee and her boyfriend Phil. She wondered how they were. She hadn't heard from them in a few days. Heading back to her room she sat on the edge of her bed and flipped through a few pictures of her mom and herself with Phil. They were such a picture perfect couple. Not like her mom and her real father. Her real father, Charlie, was probably downstairs somewhere getting ready for work while her mom was working with Phil in Phoenix, Arizona.

Suddenly she smelled breakfast and smiled a little. Charlie wasn't the world's best cook, but he was trying for her. She rubbed her tired eyes and headed down the small staircase for the kitchen. "Mmm, what smells good?" she asked, then almost instantly regretted it. Charlie stood a little taller than her, with dark hair and an annoyed look in his brown eyes. They stared down at the skillet with pitch-black bacon still sizzling. Smoke filled the air, and she couldn't help but giggle lightly.

Charlie looked up quickly, a bit surprised to see her. A sheepish look crossed his face and he tossed the skillet, bacon and all, into the sink and sighed. "Sorry, Bells, I tried." She just laughed harder and crossed the room to hug him.

"It's ok Dad, I'll get something at school. Gotta go." She said, kissing his cheek. He just nodded and watched her walk out the door. Being chief of police and a father did nothing for his cooking skills. He should just listen to her and stop trying. Maybe, maybe not.

Bella jumped in her retro red old-time truck she received as a gift from her father and started the engine. The rain had begun to fall, which wasn't surprising. Flipping on the wipers and backing out carefully, she started her way to school. Her first week had gone by rather uneventfully. Nearly everyone there wanted to meet her and be her friend, but all she wanted to do was lay low. She wasn't the popular type, and she hated being the center of attention. But being new in a school as small as Forks' High made it next to impossible.

So far, she was doing fine in her classes. She had made a few friends, and most of the excitement of her arrival had died down, and for that she was thankful. She pulled into the parking lot and parked in a secluded spot away from the masses. She stepped out and slammed the door to make sure it stayed. Pulling her backpack on, she tucked her hair behind her ear and headed for first period.

Just before getting into the building, she felt a chill creep up her spine. Someone was watching her. She turned, scanning the nearly empty parking lot. There were a few people, none paying any attention to her at all. She spotted the Cullen's standing by a red convertible. They were an odd bunch. They were nice enough, but mostly stayed away from the others. She resembled them in that way.

Her mind was drawn away from them back to the eyes she felt on her. It was unnerving, to feel it and not know where it was coming from. Just when she was about to give up, she spotted something moving in the greenery just on the other side of the parking lot. She squinted, trying to get a better look, but whatever it was was gone. She blinked, and rubbed her eyes. She had to be seeing things. She thought it was someone with a camera. Who would be snapping pictures of her?

"Hey, whatcha doin'?" a voice came from behind her, causing her to jump and nearly scream. Her brown eyes quickly met the green eyes of Mike Newton, an overly fond newfound friend. She let out a sigh and smacked his arm roughly. He laughed and rubbed his arm. "Did I scare you?" he asked, still laughing.

"Little bit, you twit. You shouldn't sneak up on people like that." She said, allowing herself to laugh a little too. She tried to shake the uneasy feeling she had from spotting...whatever it was she saw. But she couldn't get rid of it. Mike seemed to catch on to it too.

"Hey, Bella, you okay?" he asked, putting an unwelcome hand on her shoulder. This didn't help the uneasiness.

"Yeah, I'm fine. You just startled me is all." Bella said, breathing deeply and letting it out. She glanced back to where she saw the thing, but there was still nothing. Mike followed her gaze and snickered lightly.

"Ohh, I get were spying on the Cullen's." he said, and that thought threw Bella out of her reverie. She laughed and smacked him again, walking around him for the building.

"Yeah, that's it, you big goof." She laughed. Mike came up quickly behind her, laughing too. They walked to first period together, still giggling a bit as they entered the classroom. This earned Bella an instant glare from Jessica, Mike's not-so-secret admirer. Bella just averted her eyes to the floor and headed for her seat next to the quiet Edward Cullen.

She got herself settled, arranging her books on her side of the table. She pulled out a pen and paper meant for notes, but quickly drowned out the teacher thinking about the thing she saw earlier today. She couldn't shake the uneasiness and the feelings it gave her. She tried convincing herself that it was nothing; she was only thinking she felt eyes on her. She was crazy, she had to be. But no amount of convincing did her any good. She found herself doodling the greenery and the person she saw.

By the time she realized what she was doing, she was done, and the result surprised her. She was a better artist than she gave herself credit for. It was almost like she snapped a picture of it herself, without color. And it was a person with a camera. Bella blinked several times as she stared at her scary masterpiece. Who was that? Who was taking pictures of her? Why was this person following her? Questions flooded her mind, but it only took a single whisper to scatter her thoughts.

"Wow, that's pretty good." It took Bella a moment to realize it was Edward that whispered to her. He was normally so quiet, even around his family, so much so that she almost thought him mute. His voice completely threw her, and she met his gaze, startled. His topaz eyes looked startled themselves at seeing her expression.

"Y-Yeah, I guess." She answered belatedly after staring into his eyes for a moment. She quickly flipped the page over and hid it in her folder. Edward didn't miss the movement.

"I'm sorry, I didn't realize you didn't want me to see it. I won't look again." He spoke so softly she almost didn't hear him. She even wondered if he even spoke at all.

"No no, it's ok...I'm just..." she broke off, nervous. Her heart was racing, and she couldn't decide if it was the revelation that someone was following her or the pair of beautiful eyes now trained on her that was making her blood race. Thankfully, the bell rang at that instant, saving her from anymore questions about the little artwork of hers. She just flashed him a polite smile and was gone as soon as she could.

But unfortunately, fate wouldn't let her off so easily. Edward's light voice was right by her ear again. "Are you okay?" he asked. She was so startled that she dropped everything she was holding. Her face lit up bright red in embarrassment as she stared at her papers and books on the floor. Edward was just as startled at her reaction that he didn't move. She groaned and dropped to her knees to gather her things.

He followed suit and helped, and the task was done in just under a minute, with the help of a few friendly classmates. Bella stood, Edward handing her the last paper, which was coincidentally the artwork from this morning. He stared at it for a moment before Bella pulled it from his grasp, tucking it safely in her folder. "Thanks." She mumbled, stepping around him to head for her locker. Just as she opened it, he reappeared next to her.

"You never answered my question." He stated softly. Bella looked at him quickly, confused. He just shrugged and watched her with his topaz eyes, which looked worried.

"Bella, are you okay? You seem....scared." he said, watching her carefully as if gauging her reaction. She realized this and had to fool him. So she flashed the most genuine smile she could and shut her locker.

"I'm just peachy." She said, then scooted around him and headed for second period.