*These characters all belong to Stephenie Meyer!*
Chapter 1 - Second Time Around
If I could still dream, it would be about our cottage. It would be about Angela and Ben... even Mike Newton. It would be about First Beach and the rest of La Push. Lastly, it would be about Charlie. He had barely been in my life for the first seventeen years, but became so much a part of my world in such a short time that my heart, though it no longer beat blood, broke at the thought. He didn't ask why we had to leave because he could see it in Renesmee. She was not even four but looked closer to ten years old. It was getting too dangerous for us to stay hidden and continue to have contact with Charlie or even our Quileutes friends. The day Charlie had to lie to a neighbor who saw a not-so-four year old granddaughter his visit him with Jacob, we knew we could no longer put Charlie in that position. So we left. Forks had been my home for only five years but felt like it was the only place I had truly lived.
Elkins, West Virginia was our home now. Being one of the cloudiest places in the country and surrounded by multiple national forests full of bear, deer and bobcats made it perfect for a coven of vegetarian vampires. We were starting over but begged to be juniors and seniors and not start at the beginning... Carlisle relented. Jacob, well, Jacob was a tough thing to explain. He looked older than even Carlisle and too... different, to be grouped in with our pale family. We all had known he and Nessie would never be able to be separated so it was a given he was coming. To say "thank you" for everything he's done for our family, Carlisle and Esme gifted him with money to open up his own garage where he could restore cars. Nessie was "homeschooled" and would have to stay so until she looked older. Hopefully in a year or two she could fit in at a middle school and grow up, albeit more quickly, with them. She'll just be one of those "matured" high school students. I wince at the realization that at our next home we'll be in school together.
My human graduation seemed so far away as the six of us walked through the doors of Elkins High School. Back to the drawing board.
There were two things that would help me get through the next two years. First, Edward. He was not my life anymore, he was my eternity. Without the human need to sleep, I got to spend every waking moment with him-- which meant every moment (minus the shopping trips Alice forced on me or the "guys nights" forced on Edward). Second, we wouldn't need to move for a while. The University of West Virginia was only an hour and a half north of us (if we were a human... driving a car) and Edward really wanted me to have at least one college degree. That's six years here if we wanted to leave as soon as we were done with "college." Carlisle promised enough time would have gone by that we could go back to the Northwest to be closer to Charlie and the Quileutes.
"Ready for your second time around Bella?" Edward wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me close, grinning his crooked smile.
I could only laugh and whisper I love you so quietly that only the five vampires surrounding me would be able to hear, which they all did because Emmett teased, Alice and Jasper stifled a laugh, Rosalie rolled her eyes and Edward pulled me in so close I felt as though we could almost melt together.
The main office was the first door and I pushed it open with a little too much force, still forgetting my strength, so much so that everyone turned and looked at us. The room was stark white and the intense smell of fresh paint stung my nose. I was not yet completely used to my vampire senses and many things I had taken for granted overwhelmed me now. My attention was pulled back by the hefty woman behind the counter with her eyes three times bigger than they probably should have been. I'm sure we were a sight; six drop dead gorgeous teenagers that were supposedly not blood related but looked alike? My new face was still a shock to me and Rosalie of all people would tease me when she would catch me looking at myself in a reflection.
"Hi, we're new here. Cullen and Hale." Edward used his charismatic tone and she was buckling under it.
You need to tell me what she's thinking! Lowering my shield now was easy. Unfortunately, being a one way gift, Edward could only squeeze my hand acknowledging that he heard me.
"Well, sure. Uh..." The poor woman, Mrs. Fields the name plaque read, was beyond flustered moving paperwork around on her desk in an outright frenzy.
Stop dazzling her! I stomped my foot, everyone looking at me.
"Hi, Mrs. Fields?" The sing-song voice was my own. "My name is Bella." I hoped acting as human as possible could help her compose herself.
Mrs. Fields finally seemed to relax, thanks mainly to Jasper, and smiled. "Hello Bella, I'll get your schedules and paperwork."
Disappearing for a moment she came back with manila folders for each of us. Scrambling to compare schedules I noticed Edward and I had every class together except for biology. We both laughed at the irony.
We split away from Rosalie and Jasper for homeroom since it was done alphabetically. For the first time in my (vampire) life I felt like a freak as we entered the classroom and were watched like animals in the zoo. It was worse than when we all got out of Emmett's new Range Rover in a parking lot of Ford trucks and Toyota sedans. The six of us made up almost half of the class, Elkins High School was not much bigger than Forks. I leaned up against Edward as the teacher ushered us to the back. Regardless of how awkward I felt at first, it helped being near Edward, that is, until biology came around and I had to say goodbye.
"This is so stupid!" I scolded myself and then looked up at him lowering my voice. "I'm an all powerful vampire and I'm scared of a bunch of teenagers!"
"Well," he placed his hands on my shoulders trying to look serious. "Let them know if they mess with you then your coven will come after them and their children, and children's children, and children's children's--"
"Edward, stop." I pouted.
"Maybe you'll find a new soul mate in this biology class." He was beyond being serious now and was teasing me.
"I'm good with the one I have thank you."
"Hang tight." He winked and leaned down and kissed me. A really long, drawn out, I-cannot-live-without-you-by-my-side kiss. It took a millisecond for me to recover, just in time to turn and see my entire biology class, including my teacher, staring at us. Edward broke out in a barrel laugh. "Oh, hmm, that's going to be uncomfortable."
"Edward!" I hissed but he was blowing me kisses and continuing down the hall.
This room wasn't set up like the room in Forks. There were no long counters with stools, but the regular desks with the chairs obnoxiously attached. Everyone else knew each other, so much like Forks. I felt every pair of eyes on me, thankful for once I didn't have Edward's ability and didn't know what was going through their minds. As a human I would have been extremely self conscious and thought the worse, but it was much easier now. Every boy in that room was picturing me naked and every girl was hating me for it.
I wasn't being vain, those are just the facts.
Biology was a flashback of five years ago, minus the tall, pale and incredibly gorgeous man that use to sit beside me. While the teacher went over the syllabus I began day dreaming which made me turn to my right and find myself looking straight into the strange lavender eyes of girl beside me.
"Hi." It was said so softly that if I wasn't a vampire, I wouldn't have heard her at all.
"Hi." I smiled gently, remembering Edward's warning. Don't overdo anything. They don't know it, but there is some latent instinct that tells them to stay away from us. Well, most humans feel that way. He was poking fun of the fact that I lacked any sense of self preservation while I was human.
"You and your family just moved here?" It was during the word family that her voice raised in question. Yes, we obviously just moved here, but family? That was the big question and I'm sure everyone in town already knew the "circumstances".
"Yes." I hadn't been prepped for this. I expected to have at least someone in each of my classes. She looked at me as though my one word answer wasn't enough. "We're from Washington, my... father..." My throat started burning, but not from thirst. Carlisle was like a father to me, but he wasn't my father. I hadn't realized I stopped talked. "My father got a job at the hospital."
"I'm Rebecca. Do you live--" I lost the girl's voice when I heard my name from across the room.
"--Bella Cullen. There is like a gang of them. Their dad works at the hospital. My mom met theirs in town the other day, she said the woman was gorgeous and I mean, look at her kids. There has to be something wrong with them."
I focused back on the girl in time to get the tail end of her question. "I'm Bella." Watch the smile, I told myself. "We're about twenty minutes outside of town, closer to the national forest."
"Oooo! You should be careful; there are a ton of bears there!"
I had to hold back a laugh. I so badly wanted to tell her that the black bears that inhabited West Virginia were nothing like the grizzlies back in Washington. They may taste the same, but black bears weren't nearly as fun.
"...c'mon did you see that kiss? They are definitely not related! The school wouldn't allow incest... would they?" It was the voice across the room again, but I didn't want to make it look like I heard them. Incest. Hmph. I played with my engagement and wedding rings that hung on the delicate chain around my neck. They were my mother's. She's dead. That's the story. I couldn't tell anyone that Edward wasn't just my boyfriend, but my husband and my soul mate. He was my everything. No, I couldn't say that.
I was thankful for lunch. Strength in numbers. We agreed to meet in the parking lot so the student body could get settled and we could find which ever table remained empty and claim it as our own.
"So, how scary are we?!" Emmett gave a horrible impression of the Incredible Hulk and growled.
"I like my teachers!" Alice effortlessly jumped up on the hood of the Range Rover and Emmett really growled.
"Chill out Emmett," Rosalie shoved him. "What were you thinking anyway? We're in the south now. We need to be even less... what's that word you use Edward?"
"Ostentatious. And if that's so I guess we need to get rid of your new Mercedes, Rosalie, and Alice's Porsche" he said coldly. I didn't even realize he was behind me.
I spun around and without stopping or thinking I pulled him into me for a kiss. His mouth was flat and unresponsive. What's wrong? I know he heard me, but he only took my hand and led us back towards the cafeteria.
"Bella!" I turned to face the unfamiliar voice.
"A girl from my biology class." I said quietly now that the girl was only a few feet away.
I got a good look at her now. Typically pretty, typically small. She was just typical... except for her lavender eyes that had me just as fascinated as my ember eyes probably were to her.
"We're going to get some real pizza down the street. Do you guys want to come?" Rebecca walked up to me with another girl and three guys behind her who did not look as outwardly friendly as Rebecca was. They didn't look friendly at all, actually.
"Oh, can you leave for lunch?" I was trying to avoid introducing my "family" to her and her friends.
"Nah, but they won't notice!"
"I think we should try and stay out of trouble for the first week." I winked and smiled at her. The humans laughed and suddenly Edward's hand clamped over mine tightly. Had I still been human, I'm sure it would have been crushed. "Well, see you later."
Once they were out of earshot I turned around and smacked Edward. Hard. Had I been a newborn still, it would have hurt him. "What's your problem?" I demanded. He only furrowed his brow and walked off.
"What's eating him?" Rosalie huffed.
"Wish I knew."