Okay, before you read any further, I have little story for you, the reader.

When I originally came up with the notion for this story, I meant it to be only Ali's POV and not so very long. It kinda sorta took on a life of its own and totally schooled me. As if that epic fail wasn't bad enough, I had several people who requested other points of view, and since I knew that the length was already majorly effed, I decided to humor these people and challenge myself. And make no mistake, it is a challenge to write four very different personalities in one story- those of you who do this all the time and make this look easy, I bow to you.

So, here are the first two chapters, revised and considerably lengthened. The other four chapters that were originally up are still in revision mode, but should be up shortly.

The only other thing I have left to say is thank you very much for wasting your time with me and Stephenie Meyer's wonderful characters, that I have completely bastardized (in a good way, of course) I heart you all, and hope you enjoy the changes!!

Edward, before school, 7:35 AM

J and I were waiting in silence in Principle Swan's office for him to return with our class schedules, myself already bored to death with this tiny excuse for a school. Tiny excuse for a town, really-there wasn't even a fast-food restaurant. Not good, considering we were definitely stuck here for at least the next two school years. I mean, moving was never fun, but at least when I had moved from Alaska to Texas, I'd gotten to know people pretty quickly, since J had lived there all his life and already had friends that came with him. I didn't remember Alaska too well; I'd been in 3rd grade when I had left and moved in with my Dad. Carlisle was a lot older than me anyway and had stayed with Mom, so a built-in peer in the form of my same-age cousin was a godsend. We'd grown into very different people over the years, but still managed to remain best friends, more or less.

I looked over at J and envied him his… complacence, I guess, for lack of a better word. He didn't look at all bothered by the fact that we had left Texas for good and ended up in Washington, which I couldn't understand. If I didn't know him well enough to know that his demeanor never really changed, I would guess that his somber countenance had to do with his parents. Well, our parents really, since I had stayed with my Aunt Melanie and Uncle Scott from the time my Dad decided to follow some model he'd just met around the world when I was in 6th grade. The car crash that had killed them six months ago had taken its toll on both of us; I became angrier, he became even more withdrawn. And we took it with us to Carlisle's house in Forks and sulked all summer long in our own ways, mourning our loss. So here we were, on the first day of school, and we knew no one even though we had been here for almost three months. Well, it was time to move on with life anyway, I thought, in both sadness and relief.

Principle Swan returned with our paperwork and gathered us up to walk us to homeroom. I hoped, rather than believed this would actually be the case, that there would be something worthwhile to distract both of us during our time here.

Ali, Homeroom, 7:52 AM

Well, here we were, in oh-so-happening Forks, Washington on the first day of school. Again. It should have been exciting, reconvening for a brand new year of friends and drama and beer and good times, but I mean, really. In this dreary, dismal, rain-soaked town, excitement had disappeared a long time ago. Probably about the same time privacy flew out the window.

Forks was like, middle of nowhere, Podunk USA. I'm not even sure the most obscure Midwest cornfield could feel more isolated from civilization some days. I was pondering this with a single-minded intensity when Esme noisily put in her usual fashionably-late-with-flair entrance. Next to me, Bella looked up from examining her cuticle and rolled her eyes.

Bella's snotty reaction was nothing compared to Banner's though. He crossed his arms and gave her a stern look, one that would be aimed at her many times throughout the term, I was sure.

"Tell me you expected something new and exciting," I murmured dryly to Bella, with a smirk.

With a little scowl on her face, she replied, "Oh yeah- that'll be the day. Nothing new ever happens here…I just wish Esme would think about the rest of the world at least once. Not everyone has her…ample charm," she said with a small jerk of her head towards our sometime-friend. A snort of laughter escaped me as I watched Esme flirt with Banner in such a way as to highlight the exact amount of ampleness we were discussing. I looked back over at Bella who was now working a serious scowl as she considered her own less than ample charms. I grinned but kept my mouth shut; I sure wasn't in any position to comment. It wasn't like I'd been at the front of the line either.

After teasing a grudging smile from Banner, Esme sauntered over to our block of seats in homeroom, her excitement practically making the air around her crackle.

"Oh my God, you guys are never going to believe this!" she fairly screamed in what I think was meant to be a whisper. I'm pretty sure they heard her over in Norman's room anyway.

Banner glared at us all, and as Bella gave me a pointed look, I conceded she may have just had a point earlier.

Yanking on Esme's bag, I said in a much quieter whisper, "Esme- sit down! Banner's giving us the evil eye. I swear, if you get me detention before the first bell of the term even rings…"

She completely ignored everything I said. "Alice, trust me, the detention would be sooooo worth what I have to tell you!" she spat in a rush, almost as if she was trying to beat something. Unfortunately, her excitability factor had gotten the better of her. Before she could get any more out, the door to the classroom swung open once more and hung there for a minute, as if someone was holding it open from the outside.

My attention diverted, I focused on the mystery party at the door. Who was that? Everyone was here, I thought as I surveyed the room out of the corner of my eye. Esme was always the last one in the door. During my surreptitious sweep of the room, I noticed that Bella had perked to attention too, and a couple of girls who were seated across the room, and therefore had a much better view of what was going on outside the door, practically shot up straight in their seats.

Mr. Banner started toward the door and Esme sulked back into her seat a little, annoyed that her presumably unbelievable news had pre-empted her. Just then, the principal (and Bella's dad, Mr. Swan) entered the room as the mysterious hand on the open door. Bella automatically shrank back a little in her seat- I always felt a little sorry for the poor girl honestly. She really just wanted to be left alone, more or less, which no one would do because her dad ran the school. And besides, it just had to be pure suck to be a teenager and have your dad at school with you everyday. Not that she ever really complained about it, but it was clearly giving her a complex.

Mr. Swan and Mr. Banner met near the door and had a brief discussion. Mr. Swan passed a paper to Banner and appeared to gesture out in to the hall at something or someone. Banner acknowledged it. Ok, so obviously a someone. We all watched in curiosity- it almost looked like…wait for it… we had a new person at school, and that hadn't happened since Esme had moved here in 6th grade. Mr. Swan waved to Mr. Banner and backed out the door now, holding it open for someone to walk through.

A tall, skinny boy with a backpack slung over his shoulder entered the room. Not bad. Cute, but broody looking as hell. His hair was longish and a really bizarre yet beautiful metallic color but it was all slicked back, which looked odd to me. I may have scrunched my nose.

Beside me though, Bella stiffened. Glancing over, I noticed her mouth had dropped open a bit and she was downright staring at the new guy like he was some kind of god. Impressive,I mused as I looked at him again. I never knew Bella to be into a guy before the whole time I'd known her, and I'd seriously wondered if she was in the closet more than once, but apparently James Dean did the trick.

I didn't have time to ruminate on my friend's confirmation of heterosexuality for long. In the next moment, the bottom literally dropped out of my world. Directly on Dean's heels walked in another new boy (score for the female ranks of Forks-two new people, and both with Y chromosomes!) This one was less lanky and had a little more substance to him, and he was sporting an unruly mane of wavy blond hair and a solemn expression, along with quite possibly the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen in my 16 years on this earth.


Where had this guy been all my life? My heart started knocking uncomfortably against my ribs and I was completely transfixed. So far gone that even though I knew I probably competed with Bella for stupid expressions, I couldn't stop myself. I had the suspicion that my mouth had dropped open a teeny bit too.

Behind me, a nudge to the shoulder and Esme's smug voice in my ear. "Real classy, guys. Could you be a little more obvious?"

I ignored her and saw Bella shrink back a little more out of the corner of my eye. A flicker of irritation reached through the haze of mind-numbing physical attraction. Why did Esme have to be so thoughtless sometimes? Bella was shy enough- she didn't need help feeling insecure. And as far as that went, I sure didn't need my own stupidity being pointed out to me.

Just as I was about to drop my gaze and give Esme a withering look, surfer boy turned his head my way and looked me straight in the eye. I know I still hadn't gotten my mouth to the 'closed' position, and he'd caught me staring. Great. And now I could feel the heat creeping up my neck. Awesome.

Breaking my gaze (not exactly easy to do because I harbored the suspicion that I'd stare at him forever if he wouldn't have me arrested), I did give Esme that dirty look even though it really wasn't her fault I'd been caught. She grinned back at me like the cat with the cream. Cheeky bitch.

"Everybody," Mr. Banner said almost proudly as he beamed (testament to how little, if anything ever changes here), "we've got not one, but two new students this year." I got the feeling he would have given them awards for something if he'd had some on hand.

He gestured to Emo boy and read from a paper. "Edward…Cullen?" It came out kind of like a question-I guess he wanted to make sure he wasn't going to look stupid by confusing the only two new people Forks had seen in five years. Edward looked up from his intense perusal of the floor tiles and gave the room a guarded glance. He might have nodded in our general direction…but then it could have just been a trick of the eye too. Not very encouraging, but Banner pressed onward. He gestured to Edward's demigod sidekick and read, "Jasper Whitlock," in a much more confident tone. Jasper just stood there, looking like a back-to-school A&F ad, surveying the room.

Edward? Hmm. He must go by Ed. Or maybe Eddie. And Jasper? What a ridiculously old-fashioned name. For some reason, the Beverly Hillbillies theme popped into my head. Oh wait, that was Jethro. Still…Not like I have any room to talk. I only go by Alice because it's slightly less boring and 19th century sounding than Mary, which is actually my first name. Don't judge, I was named after my grandmother; it's not like I had a say in the matter. Plus, most people call me Ali anyway.

"Ok, boys, have a seat. And welcome to Forks!" Banner tried for enthusiasm, but it came out sounding a whole lot like desperation to me. Edward shuffled to an empty seat across the room and slouched into it. He kind of reminded me of when I have to take my cat to the vet…stuck in a cage and testy, Loki crouches real low and gives me the most baleful glare he can muster. Jasper gamely followed suit, his gaze bouncing around as he did so. I purposely kept my eyes lowered even when I felt his gaze on the back of my neck and I desperately tried to ignore the prickles that boy was giving me. I'd already had one too many awkward moments with him, and I hadn't even met the guy yet.

"Bella!" Mr. Banner practically yelled in the near dead silence of the room. Roughly forty pairs of eyes turned in our direction, including new guys's, and I didn't even have to look to know that Bella was attempting to make herself as small as possible behind me; end result being the whole classroom ends up staring at me. Including new guys. Typical. Inwardly, I sighed. Poor kid.

"See me after announcements, please?" he asked in a more relaxed tone.

Just then, Mr. Swan's voice came over the loudspeaker to welcome us all back blahblahblah and trot out the normal rules and regulations. Out of the corner of my eye (like everyone else, some more successful than others), I snuck looks to see what our resident objects of forgone adulation and adoration were doing.

Edward was more or less not paying attention to Mr. Swan, or the 35 curious teenagers around him attempting to subtly stare at him. He was keeping his gaze lowered, although I noticed that his eyes strayed to Bella, or rather me, since she was still hiding behind me, more than once. Oh this was gonna be great, I could already tell.

Jasper on the other hand, seemed to be taking everything in all at once- Mr. Swan's voice, all of us attempting to ogle in a surreptitious fashion, Banner scratching his ass behind the desk. And his demeanor was unchanged. He seemed utterly unaffected at being first ring in his own circus, and was just taking his time going around the room and giving us all a good perusal of his own. I fervently hoped he wouldn't make it to me before the bell rang. Just thinking about it made me want to fidget. I gave a good inward scoff at my insta-crush and a mental facepalm to the resulting ridiculous reactions.

Bella stared resolutely ahead at the blackboard, and over my shoulder I could see Esme blatantly staring at both of the new boys, tossing her hair, tits and smile around unrestrained. Not necessarily in that order. Man, I wanted to kick her.

I was acutely aware of the moment Jasper was about to fasten his stare on me and I tried to appear as unconcerned as possible, while the voice in my head was screaming "bellbellbellbellbell!"

Heat. On the side of my face. Damn.

Throwing good sense to the wind, my fight instinct kicked in and I defiantly decided screw this. I inclined my head to the left slightly and met his unwavering gaze. His eyes stopped on mine and regarded me dispassionately. Some inner devil caused me to arch an eyebrow, like a challenge. There. The gauntlet had been thrown. Ah lovely, I'd done it again. Act first, think later. And there's the bell. Perfect.

Heaving out a sigh and breaking eye contact, I looked over at Bella who was almost shaking with dread about her mysterious after-announcements summons. I have to admit, even I was wondering about it- this girl was so inoffensive it was practically not funny. What could Banner possibly want with her before school even started?

I noticed the newest eye candy lingering by Banner's desk and had a sneaking suspicion that it had to do with them. The thought kind of made my heart race and my gut curdle simultaneously. I couldn't begin to imagine how Bella, who tried her best to be unobtrusive, felt. One look at her grim face and I knew that she had the same inkling. She trudged, and I mean like the way a resigned death row inmate trudges to his inevitable fate, to the front of the room. She warily approached Banner, giving the boys a wide berth. Taking Edward's approach, she stared at the tiles as much as possible. I hung back a little, and I'm not gonna lie, I thought about ditching her to her fate. But, as much as I wasn't sure I wanted to, I had the thought that I had maybe better hang around, for like, moral support. It didn't have anything to do with staring at Jasper up close and personal. Seriously.

As I tried to look as inconspicuous as possible and observe the group, I had the fleeting impression that if behavior was any indicator, Bella and Edward might just have been made for each other. Their movements practically mirrored one another.

Banner greeted Bella with a smile, apparently oblivious to the awkward waves rolling off all of us, except maybe Jasper, who seemed maddeningly at ease. Most of the rest of the classroom had filed out by now, the girls drawing the process out as long as humanly possible without Banner noticing. I don't think Jasper missed all the rubbernecking though; I got the impression there wasn't much that he did miss.

I hung back a bit, just kind of being…there, since Banner hadn't requested the pleasure of my company; I don't even think he noticed I was still there at first.

"Ah, Bella. Welcome back- how was summer vacation?" Banner opened. Yeah, he was sooooo cool. I think he was trying to make Forks seem like a great place to live, or maybe even a desirable location to have ended up in, but Bella wasn't about to help him out.

"Uh, fine, Mr. Banner," she replied quickly, giving Edward and Jasper a fleeting glance, then turning an impatient one on Banner. I could almost hear the desperation of her voice in my head. Get me out of here.

"Edward, Jasper- this is Bella Swan, our principal's daughter and one of Forks' best students."

Bella blanched. I squeezed my eyes shut and groaned silently. I'm sure he thought he was doing her a favor, but I had the distinct feeling this might turn out even worse than originally anticipated. I honestly wasn't sure Bella would even look in another boy's direction after Banner finished making her out to be the prodigal daughter. In that moment, I fervently hoped Bella would be applying to college in Florida. Or maybe Australia.

Apparently seeing that Edward nor Bella were in any rush to get to know one another, Jasper smoothly held his hand out to her and said in a mellifluous voice positively oozing with Southern charm, "Hello, Miss Swan. Very pleased to meet you." I noticed that he pasted a non-threatening smile on his face for her benefit and gently prompted her to shake his outstretched hand.

Ok, really? I mean, really?? Kudos for knowing how to put on the sensitive guy act around the obviously uncomfortably shy girl in the room, but did he have to lay it on so thick? He was clearly accustomed to dealing with the 'Deer in the Headlights' disease Bella suffered from; I wondered how many other unsuspecting females he'd practiced those moves on. I mused over how amusing the whole situation was- Edward had obviously missed the bus to charm school, yet Blondie here thought he was the consummate Ladies' Man. I actually had to stifle laughter, I found the whole dichotomy so preposterous.

Too late I realized that my amused outburst only worked against me, as it drew attention to my otherwise seemingly invisible self. Shit. So much for going unnoticed. Jasper looked sharply in my direction, and although the smile stayed fixed in place, his eyes seemed to change. To my mind's eye, in them was a myriad of messages… a little bit of anticipation, as if he'd only been waiting for me to give him to opportunity to acknowledge me, and a larger amount of…disappointment? No that wasn't quite right. A subtle chiding though, as if he didn't approve of the casual way I'd dismissed his attempt to put Bella at ease.

Well, I'll be damned. Maybe he was just being a genuinely nice guy. That wasn't all though. While his expression wasn't exactly cold, neither did it seem friendly. The look in his eyes was piercing really, and not unlike a challenge. Obviously raised with manners to spare, he wasted no time in taking the three steps necessary to reach me and extended his hand again.

"Very pleased to meet you as well, Miss…"

Direct gaze. Green. With flecks of gold. Mesmerizing. A dare?

Simultaneously attracted beyond my wildest dreams and yet irritated to madness by some nameless facet of this odd new boy, I curtly replied, "Brandon. Alice."

I made no offer of extending my hand to meet his; even though I hadn't been raised in a barn either, I was suddenly aware of an acute hesitation on my part to taking his proffered hand. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but at that moment it seemed like if I touched him, there would be some…I don't know. Monumental change.

Someone with real manners would have backed down. The air was filled with a palpable kind of tension as he held his ground. His facial muscles didn't even twitch, yet his eyes seemed to speak volumes again. The challenge hadn't been retracted; instead it was joined by a kind of…private amusement. It was a dare. And damn him anyway; I'd never been able to back away from a dare yet. It was like he somehow knew it.

Frustrated that he seemed to be commanding the situation and trapped to the point where I was beginning to look completely rude, I reluctantly held out my hand and attempted to deliver a confident, assertive handshake. I felt the electricity, quickly followed by the heat, seconds before our hands actually met. The feeling quadrupled when our skin made contact and I had to resist the urge to flinch.

Arrested where I stood, my eyes flew to his again. He was regarding me with a pensive look, but the left corner of his mouth had tilted up into a crooked half-smile, revealing a killer dimple. Not good. Not good. Instantaneously, I had the panicked thought that I could fall absolutely, head over heels, all the way, no holds barred in love with this guy. I wasn't entirely sure I hadn't already actually. And I didn't think I was the only one to feel it. Whatever it was. In some corner of my mind I frantically wondered how I could be in love with someone when I didn't even know yet if I liked them.

Mr. Banner cleared his throat, forcing my impending hysteria to the back burner. Bella was giving me a pained look, and Edward had actually interrupted his contemplation of the floor and was peering at us speculatively. Our hands were still clasped together.

Prompted into action, I hastily dropped my hand and broke the contact. Jasper stepped back and smoothly re-engaged Banner in conversation, assuming control yet again. My inner traitor was fangirling with absolute joy over the dominant…maleness of him. My rational self was quickly turning petulant, goaded by a feeling I couldn't, or maybe refused, to name.

Banner turned back to Bella with a nervous chuckle and said a little uncertainly, "Principle Swan thought maybe you could show our new friends here around, Bella."

The focus turned back to her, I could see her gearing up for a full out panic attack. Edward was watching her closely. Before Jasper could intervene and work his magic, Edward stepped toward her and said, "But only if you've got the time."

Well hot damn. He does speak. Got a pretty sexy voice too. Even though I could tell he was just trying to put Bella at ease -GTFO, two sensitive men in one room? What is this world coming to?- it had the opposite effect. True, it had prevented the full-blown Bella spaz. But the only other reaction she had was to freeze up. Bella's flight or flight response is like, waaaaaaaay more exaggerated than a normal person's.

Feeling sorry for her, and wanting to get the hell out of there myself, I interjected from behind her, "Uh, no it's fine. We can show you around. If you want."

Feeling a bit awkward because I hadn't actually 'met' Edward yet, I stepped into the group, held out my hand, and said, "Hi Edward. Alice," by way of an introduction.

"Nice to meet you, Alice," he replied. Ok, so apparently he can be personable. Feeling heat on the side of my neck again, I glanced to my left and found Jasper looking at me pretty intensely. So I was pretty relieved when Banner, who I think was completely confused as to how exactly he had lost the upper hand in the conversation, took the opportunity to seize control of it again and said, "Excellent, Alice!" with a clap of his hands.

"Now, I believe you boys have first period with me, but if I'm not mistaken you've all got Study Hall with Ms. Witmer next period?" Banner asked, picking up the sheet of paper he had been handed when Bella's dad had been in the classroom earlier. We all nodded or murmured an affirmative answer. "Alright then, if you girls would just meet us all here after first period…" he trailed off.

We all had 2nd period together? Oh gods, that was going to be great. How many other classes would I be tortured with this way throughout the school year, I worried. Forks High was not exactly teeming with population; chances of Jasper & I ending up with similar class schedules was more likely than not, statistically. I would make myself sick if I carried this thought process for too long. Time to leave.

"That's great Mr. Banner," I said hurriedly, not wanting to draw this out any longer. "Now, if there's nothing else…? Bella and I need to get to class. So we're not late," I prompted.

"Oh, yes, yes, of course!" he shouted. Bella started a little. Damn, he needed to switch to decaf. Or maybe even chocolate milk.

"Ok," I said. "I guess we'll, ah…meet you guys after class out front then." I kind of directed this at Edward since he seemed the less threatening of the two in my estimation, and I was already facing his direction anyway. He nodded, still eyeing Bella, who was now playing with a tab on her backpack. I touched her shoulder and with a jerk of my head towards the open door, I said, "We'd better go, yeah?"

She didn't even need the hint; I could tell by the sheer gratitude in her eyes that she was more than ready to book. Taking the cue, Jasper looked from me to Bella and then back to me again, and said softly, "Until we meet again, ladies."

I fought the urge to roll my eyes even as my body sang for that smooth delivery. I really, really wanted to. What was it about this guy that set me off? Instead, I just steered Bella around and herded her out the door. The back of my neck was on fire and on a hunch, just before we exited the room, I turned back.

Jasper was still staring at me; he hadn't even moved from his spot. His eyes met mine briefly and I swear, they positively smoldered at me. Suddenly unable to breath, I concentrated on putting as much distance between us as humanly possible. I knew it was pointless, but that didn't make it any less necessary.

Jasper, homeroom, 8:13 AM

If someone had told me even two hours ago that my life was going to change so much, again, in such a short space of time, I might have laughed at them. If they had told me it would be at the hands of one tiny girl in a town so goddamned small it might not even be on the map, I most likely would have scoffed.

Don't get me wrong though. If I had known this was waiting for me at the end, I never would have wasted even a minute privately wishing Forks to Hell and back, which I'd done daily since I'd arrived. If not for my parents…well, better not to go that route. Some things just are the way they are and that's how they're meant to be; it's nothing personal.

I knew she was there the minute I'd walked in the room this morning. I could feel her. It took me a minute to pick her out of the group she was sitting with, but I knew it was her nonetheless. What I felt when our eyes met that first time was like nothing I'd ever experienced before, and it wasn't exactly comfortable. I felt a little short of breath and my entire body was…fuzzy, or maybe numb, I guess, for lack of a better word. The clothing that I purposely picked out for comfort, more than to impress, was scratching against my body mercilessly, especially since looking at her face for the first time caused me to involuntarily go hard.

I had moved my bag slightly, an attempt to get more comfortable and hide any possible reaction, but I didn't betray my emotions. I'm sometimes spontaneous, but never impulsive. There is a difference. As we were walking to our seats, I forcibly looked away from her and made myself survey the rest of the room; a lot of faces were looking back at me. And yet the only one I could clearly see was hers. I'd willed myself to try and commit to memory the faces of my peers; after all, these were the people I was going to be spending the rest of my High School career with. I went one by one, forcing myself to give each person a thorough scrutinizing before looking again at the small girl with the dark hair and eyes. Objectively, I could see that her friends, the petite brunette hiding behind her (Bella, I think the teacher had called her), and the red-haired girl who was practically assaulting me from across the room with her eyelashes and her chest, were both extremely attractive as well. But they just didn't speak to me the way this girl did.

When I finally did turn to her, fully intending to look my fill, she had turned her head in my direction and looked me straight in the eye. Then she gave me this completely fucking haughty (read: hot, capital H) arch of her eyebrow, and I knew I was hooked. It was a good thing I was sitting too. I could never remember another homeroom where I seriously had to worry about being turned on. As much as it excited me, I had the notion these might be the longest school days I ever experienced. I think I was ok with that though.

Before I knew it, the bell had rung and Edward and I were being summoned by Mr. Banner. We left our stuff at our desks since we had Chem with him first and went up to his desk. He looked behind us and I noticed that the brown-haired girl, Bella, was taking her sweet time getting up front, followed by her black-haired friend, who I noticed was giving a disgusted look to all those people who were staring at us on their way out the door; for some reason that amused me.

Bella was maybe the most timid person I had ever met in my life. I actually felt bad that Mr. Banner was subjecting her to this when I realized how uncomfortable she was. I had idly been wondering why her friend had stuck around, not that I was complaining or anything. Obviously, she was extremely loyal, a point in her favor. I was itching to introduce myself to her, but one of those rules my mama had drilled into me was that you speak when you're spoken to. She'd also taught me that you help a lady in distress and right now, it looked very much like Bella could use a little rescuing. I put on my best 'I'm from Texas' accent and tried to come off as non-threatening as I possibly could. Girls love the Southern appeal for some reason.

A snicker from her friend had all of us turning her way. I was getting the feeling she had been laughing at me, which I didn't completely understand. Okay, well maybe not all girls, I amended…On the other hand, it was the perfect in. I had to acknowledge her anyway, now that she'd drawn the attention to herself, so I wasted no time stepping up and holding out my hand, the anticipation of touching her almost unbearable. I hate to admit it, but Bella was almost completely forgotten; I had to find out this creature's name.

"Pleased to meet you as well, Miss…?" Another one of Mama's rules. You always address a lady as a lady.

I stared into her clear amber eyes, so vibrant that they were mesmerizing. They didn't look as dark up close. Her short and sweet answer was less than encouraging, she seemed downright annoyed with me for some reason in point of fact, but at least now I knew her name. Alice. She seemed hesitant to take my hand, but there was no way I was getting this close and not touching her somehow. I think she knew it too. She gave me a frustrated glance; I responded with my best compulsory gaze, which I knew was pretty good; it had always worked on our housekeeper anyway. And I hoped I wasn't wrong, but she seemed the type who needed to prove herself, so I didn't think she'd back out. At least, I hoped she wouldn't.

She paused for a few seconds before placing her tiny hand in mine. It was cool, and seemed to be humming with electricity; I could feel her heartbeat through our palms, and our eyes were fixed on each other's. It was the most perfect feeling I have ever encountered to date, one of total mind-numbing clarity. I couldn't help but smile.

Mr. Banner clearing his throat interrupted my cocoon of perfection and reality came crashing back. When she let go of my hand like she'd been burned, I turned and noticed all of them looking at us strangely. I let my accent slip a little more and addressed Mr. Banner, not missing Edward's silent smirk; the accent works pretty well on everyone, truth be told.

After that, it seemed like Alice, and Bella honestly, were looking for reasons to escape the room. I wasn't averse to a little break either. Whatever that was, it had been pretty potent. And there was always next period anyway, after I'd had a little time to sit and reflect.

And reflect I would, I thought, as I said my good-byes and watched Alice out the door. She turned back to look at me just before she disappeared out of sight, and I had the thought that I should maybe work on not staring quite so much. Then again, she was really worth the looking, and any woman who is surely ought to know that.

Reviews make bad school days better, if you would be so kind.