Author's Note: I had this posted before but took it down because many people seemed to misunderstand what I was doing with this piece. This is a re-write of part of chapter one of Midnight Sun. If the content looks familiar, it's because it is: I kept the same events that occurred in Midnight Sun and expanded upon them. Nothing was "copied and pasted"; the writing is my own. Most of the sequence of events belong to Stephenie Meyer, and I merely used them to reconstruct the scene. I wanted to expand upon what I read, so I did – in my own words, adding my own twist. In before "lol you just stole from Midnight Sun!!!"
There was nothing I could be taught in a high school biology classroom that I hadn't learned a thousand times before. The text books strewn around me were mere props; I brought them faithfully to class each day, allowing them to spill haphazardly over my desk, but in reality their spines were still smooth and their pages untouched. During exams the fretful, anxious minds around me laboured over the definitions of terms like anaphase and mitosis and metaphase, and I would breeze through them easily, drawing my answers from memories formulated in earlier decades with the help of professors who have long since died.
Spending an eternity in high school, forever in the midst of tedium and monotony and petty rivalries, is my idea of hell.
I leaned back in my chair, gazing expectantly toward the doorway to the classroom; I was the first student in the room, as I always was, but I wouldn't be for long. A whispered cacophony of voices was flooding my brain -- do you think Bella Swan noticed me? Ugh, what's so special about the new girl, and why is every guy drooling over her? I hope I don't have a lot of homework tonight; I'm so tired -- and they drew nearer as a warning bell sounded. I could hear students stampeding outside of the classroom, lockers slamming, the soles of soggy sneakers squeaking against the floor; and Mike Newton burst suddenly into the classroom, his expression darkening momentarily when he saw me. He brushed quickly past my desk and settled into his own, the sound of his clattering books and scraping chair competing loudly against his muttered thoughts. A multitude of humans filed into the room after him, their chattering and mundane gossip igniting the previous silence, and I sighed with quiet exasperation.
This was the time in which I wished I could sleep the most.
Bella seems just as shy as me. I'll bet today is really hard for her. I wish I could say something... but it would probably just sound stupid...
Angela Weber's internal voice was soft and contemplative, and I directed my eyes toward the doorway when I heard it; from behind me, Mike Newton crowed with silent satisfaction as he watched her enter with Bella Swan, whose slender shoulders were stooped with uncertainty. Her facial expression was marked with apprehension, and where there should have been nervous, racing thoughts that reflected it, there was a deafening silence that unnerved and irritated me.
I leaned forward in my chair as I observed her, and I narrowed my eyes contemplatively as she walked slowly toward the teacher's desk. Her eyes were wide, doe-like in her obvious fear, and I felt as though I was observing a television show that had been muted. Her face, unremarkable as it was, was quite expressive; her eyebrows were knit in a fashion that seemed habitual, given the faint lines creasing her forehead, and her full lips were bowed with obvious displeasure. She moved like an ingénue in a silent film, her eyes and mouth and uncertain gait expressing what her mind should have been screaming, and I sat back again, my own thoughts charged with the white noise of confusion.
The seat next to mine was the only available one in the room, and I set about clearing the side of the desk that would belong to her; for an entire semester, I'd been the only student without a lab partner -- and undoubtedly the only one who didn't need one. The uneven number of students in the classroom wasn't the only thing preventing anyone from sitting next to me, however; while they were not necessarily intelligent enough to understand that they feared me, the humans my family and I attempted to blend in with subconsciously shied away from us, their survival instincts undoubtedly sounding warning bells that they couldn't even begin to understand. Even the girls that cast lascivious thoughts my way on a daily basis, biting their lips with repressed, uneasy desire, rarely got close enough for me to politely reject them.
Suffice to say, it was unlikely that this girl would be very comfortable sitting next to me. To my advantage, however, I might be able to discover her secrets by being in such close proximity to her -- not that I would discover anything worthwhile; not that I'd ever needed to rely upon that sort of closeness before...
Bella Swan walked down the aisle toward me, her school bag slung over her shoulder and her long hair streaming behind her, and stepped directly in front of a vent that circulated heated air around the room.
And for all of my intelligence, my education and my eloquence, I will never be able to find the words to adequately describe what happened to me in that moment.
Her scent -- so inconsequential, so meaningless, to the humans around me -- slammed into me with a force I hadn't known was possible, and in that moment, Edward Cullen ceased to exist.
I was nothing close to the human I was pretending was, and even farther from the human I'd once been; Edward Cullen was an idea, an abstraction, and whatever I'd managed to retain -- or synthesize -- of my humanity was instantly destroyed. I was a predator, driven by the insatiable burning at the base of my throat, and she was my prey; and absolutely nothing in the world mattered but the intoxicating scent of her blood and the parched, cracked feeling in my veins that it inspired.
In that moment, I wanted to make Bella Swan scream.
I wanted her to hit a high E over C in a gasping, air-deprived soprano of desperation. I wanted her to see herself reflected in the coal black of my eyes the way I saw her: quivering, insignificant, sacrificial. I wanted to unzip her veins and prolong the sensation of drawing from them, partially because I hated her and partially because I needed her.
She wouldn't be able to scream, however. She wouldn't have the opportunity to.
There was no one in the room of importance but her and I; the humans around us were collateral damage, not people -- potential witnesses to my impending crime that needed to be eliminated. The thoughts around me; the sound of idle chatter; the droning baritone of the teacher's voice faded beyond recognition, replaced by an infuriating static that pulsed against my brain. The mystery of Bella Swan's thoughts and my inability to hear them was forgotten; they meant nothing to me now, for she'd passed from the realm of curiousity into the territory of prey.
I was a vampire -- something soulless, depraved, driven to the brink of insanity by blood lust -- and the scent of her blood was the most maddeningly succulent I'd ever encountered. It wafted toward me in wave after torturous wave, jolting and shocking the heightened senses I couldn't remember ever not having; the louder the static in my brain grew, the more my throat burned, the more my muscles coiled in anticipation of striking, the more I realized that this girl and her scent were a sensory experience unlike anything I'd ever encountered.
For the first time in eighty years, I could feel my arduous self control beginning to crumble at the hands of a weak, insignificant human girl who had no idea what she was doing to me. If I'd known a scent like hers could exist, I would have scoured every inch of the planet in search of it long ago; I would have abandoned every ethical and moral ideal I'd adopted to taste her, own her, destroy her.
In an instant, the world around me became grainy, porous, and my eyesight seemed to dissolve into a mystifying haze; and in my mind's eye, all I could see was Isabella Swan -- call me Bella, I'd heard her instruct all day in the minds of others, but I'd call her Isabella because she was mine now -- advancing toward me, and I rose from my chair without thinking as if to greet her.
Suddenly we were the only ones in the room, separated by row upon row of vacant desks and chairs, and as I stood she cast her eyes toward me. Whatever she saw in my expression -- I could only imagine the feral quality of my blackened eyes, the way my lips were pulled taut over my teeth in a silent snarl -- caused her to immediately halt, a clumsy movement that made her stumble. Her mouth trembled at the corners, her lips collapsing upon themselves in her fear, and her delicate eyelashes fluttered in rapidly-blinking confusion as she stared at me.
From across the room, I could see the blood pulsing strongly in her jugular through her paper-thin skin; I could hear the persistent thud of her heart as it thumped a wild staccato against her chest. She brought a trembling hand to her lips, marked with a thin, spidery network of pale blue veins, and I could see the blood coursing through them as she pressed her palm against her quivering mouth. And as I stared at her, my eyes narrowed with dangerous contemplation and my mouth teeming with sickeningly sweet venom, she tore her eyes away from mine, directing them uneasily toward the floor. A slow, burning blush bloomed on the apples of her cheeks, the scent of it emanating from her in roiling waves, and before I could comprehend what I was doing, I released a low, guttural growl from the base of my throat.
There was no distance between us anymore; I closed it in a disconcertingly fast movement, my muscles coiling and releasing as I sprang toward her, driven purely by the instinct and need that governed me through the murderous haze clouding my brain. She parted her lips to scream, her dark eyes widening with horror as I neared her, and a thin, wavering sound of desperation was ripped involuntarily from her chest instead as I slammed into her, forcing her against the blackboard. I clasped the palm of my hand against her mouth to silence her, and she was sobbing now, tears slipping from beneath eyelids that had been tightly squeezed shut.
As I'd predicted, she'd never had time to scream.
She quaked violently beneath me, her thin, lithe body pulsating with heat, and I roughly grasped at her wrists with my free hand, pinning them behind her back. I pressed my chest against hers, revelling in the sensation of her heart beat -- flighty and uneven though it was -- and pressed my face into her hair, deeply inhaling the aroma that permeated every strand. She fought me weakly, arching her back in an attempt to twist away from me, and her breasts crushed against my chest as she squirmed, her heart pounding harder in her effort. I held her easily in place and used the hand over her mouth to clasp her jaw, forcing her to tilt her head back.
My actions exposed the smooth, creamy lines of her neck, left the hollow of her throat mine for the taking. Her jugular throbbed against the confines of her skin, and my breathing quickened in tandem with her shallow, raspy gasps for air. I swallowed a mouthful of venom, unwilling to let it detract from the taste of her blood, and sank my teeth into her jugular, tearing easily into the pulsing vein. She whimpered in obvious pain, every muscle in her body seeming to tense beneath me as an arterial spray of blood flooded my mouth and overwhelmed my taste buds. I moaned quietly with appreciation as I drank from her, her blood burning the back of my throat as I greedily lapped at the punctured vein. She was Isabella then as she grew weak in my arms, and for the first time in almost a century, I felt --
I shook my head slightly, my vision returning to normal. Not even a second had passed; Bella Swan as still taking the same step that had exposed her scent to me, still directly in front of the heating vent. She directed her gaze toward mine as she pressed her foot to the floor, likely in an attempt to stealthily glance at me, and for the first time since this ordeal had begun, I saw myself reflected in the dark expanse of her eyes.
The face I saw in those eyes -- animalistic, murderous, nearly snarling -- was not the one I was used to seeing when I examined my reflection. It was the face of the monster I was -- repulsive, soulless, damned -- the monster I'd struggled to conceal for decades seemingly in vain. It ripped easily enough from me despite my careful attempts to keep it hidden; and in that moment, I knew I'd been inadvertently dissected by Bella Swan, who'd sliced easily through the exterior of my humanity and exposed me as the predator I truly was.
The shock of what I saw saved her life; I internally recoiled from her, rather than attack her as my instincts screamed at me to, and she blushed deeply as she processed the expression marring my face. My throat tensed and ached as the blood coloured her cheeks, and she quickened her pace, all nerves and vulnerability beneath my withering glare. She was clumsy in her haste; she tripped over what was quite possibly nothing, pitching forward and nearly landing in the lap of the girl in front of me. She was awkward, frail, weak -- more so than most humans I'd encountered.
Her scent blanketed me as she grew closer, enveloping me in its mindless haze again and nearly driving me out of my seat. I was mere seconds away from meeting her in the aisle, bearing my teeth without regard for the consequences and --
I gripped hard beneath the edge of my desk in an effort to keep myself in my chair, my fingers pulverizing the wood that comprised it. I could feel the imprint of my fingers that I'd left behind as I groped it in an attempt to examine the damage. If I was going to act upon my needs, I'd have to destroy the evidence afterward -- and I came to this conclusion as I crushed the distinctive shape of my fingers out of the wood to conceal what I'd done. An act like this had to be carefully planned, thoroughly considered. There was a small pile of pulp at my feet now, and I kicked at it in an effort to disperse it, my lips pursed contemplatively.
Destroying evidence was fundamental; no crime was perfect without such a process. And in my mind, the eighteen other children and one man in the room -- innocent bystanders, every single one of them -- were once again collateral damage.
Even at my very worst -- and I had been very, very bad at one point in my life -- I'd never stooped to this sort of atrocity. I'd killed rapists, murderers, the scourge of society -- never innocents. Inwardly, I flinched at the thought of what I was about to do in the name of my own self satisfaction, and the monster within me crowed with glee. He mocked the guilt that bloomed within me, although it did nothing to drive it away; I hadn't taken an innocent life in over eighty years, and now I was on the verge of stealing twenty.
Do it, Edward, he instructed me coldly, his voice unnervingly similar to my own despite our marked differences. Do it. She means nothing. They mean nothing.
And yet as much as he repulsed me and as desperately as I wanted to shrink away from him, I found myself planning according to the monster's whims. Killing the girl first seemed ideal, initially; the thought of denying myself her blood any longer was physically unbearable. The more I thought about it, however, the more I came to the conclusion that I would have, at best, only fifteen or twenty seconds alone with her before the humans around us realized what I'd done, and that simply wasn't enough time to drain her while she was still warm. She wouldn't have time to scream, nor would she feel any pain; while I longed to prolong the sensation of drinking her blood, a quick, painless death was the least I could offer her in exchange for what she was about to give me.
The complication in this plan, however, was the fact that I would have to keep an entire room of humans from escaping upon their realization. The windows were too high and too narrow for them to escape from, so the door was their only real option; realistically, if I blocked that, they'd be trapped. Keeping them locked inside wasn't the complicated part, of course -- it was the fact that I'd have to kill them after they'd had time to panic, scream and plead loudly for mercy. The task of killing them wouldn't be difficult -- outnumbered as I was, I was still far stronger, faster, and more lethal -- but their chaos would create noise that would alert other humans to their plight. I'd be forced to kill whoever came to their rescue, and despite what I was planning, the thought of killing more people than was absolutely necessary was sickening.
Worst of all, Bella Swan's blood would cool while I disposed of the others. The witnesses, I decided with finality, would have to die first.
An aerial map of the classroom came easily to my mind as I contemplated my first move. I was seated in the furthest row in the back of the room, the middle of three rows. If I took the right side of the classroom first, I could perhaps snap four or five necks per second. It was a rough estimation, of course, but not implausible; it would be relatively noiseless, and the children there would not see me coming, thus offering little in the way of resistance. If I moved quickly enough to the front of the classroom -- breaking the teacher's neck in my travels -- and to the left of the room, it would take me five seconds, at most, to take the lives of every person in the room.
Essentially, I was on the verge of teaching them all a short-lived lesson in mindless brutality.
In those five seconds, Bella Swan would have enough time to see me coming for her. As brief as the experience would be for her, it would be long enough for her to feel a momentary stab of fear; perhaps long enough for her to formulate a scream in the back of her throat. She would, depending how quickly I advanced upon her, have enough time to audibly express her panic, but it wouldn't be loud enough to bring anyone running.
Not that anyone who came could save her.
I took a deep, anticipatory breath, and quickly realized what a mistake it was. Her intoxicating, infuriating aroma had grown ever stronger; I'd managed to swallow all of the venom that had turned my mouth into a veritable river, but it flooded again involuntarily. My stomach twisted with painful longing, mirroring my insatiable thirst, and my dried veins seemed on the verge of splitting with their need to have her blood coursing through them.
The girl was turning toward her seat now, her motions as clumsy as they had been moments ago. She was seconds away from being in closer proximity to me than I could handle, and the monster within me was jovial in his anticipation. He was unexpectedly driven back, however; to my left, someone slammed a binder shut. The action was likely trivial to everyone else in the room, but it sent a gust of fresh, unscented air toward me, and it cleansed my lungs of the perfume that was Bella Swan's blood.
For the first time since this girl had descended upon me like some sort of hateful creature sent solely to inspire my undoing, I was able to think clearly -- and in my mind, her face was replaced my two others sitting side by side.
The face on the left was my own -- or, rather, the face of the monster I sought to conceal, the one I recoiled from in disgust even now. His eyes were crimson, discoloured by the human blood he'd consumed on an almost nightly basis for no other reason than to feed. His features were cold, hardened by the deaths he'd brought upon hundreds of people. I'd once attempted to rationalize those murders by killing only those who had taken the lives of, or hurt, other people; but it was a misguided attempt at playing God for me to decide who lived and who died, and I quickly realized that. I'd attempted to justify the drinking of human blood by feeding on only those I thought deserved to die, but at their worst -- and they were always at their worst when I found them -- my victims were no more human than I was.
The face on the right was Carlisle's, and he bore no resemblance to the monster next to him. There was no reason for there to be a resemblance, of course; while he is my father in all of the ways that are important, he isn't in the biological sense. We don't share a single common feature between us that couldn't also be found in other vampires that had decided not to drink human blood. The eerie pallor of our skin, the golden colour of our eyes, was a reflection of a choice we'd made not to take the lives of humans to satiate our thirst. But while our physical likeness began and ended there, in my mind, I'd begun to bear a likeness to Carlisle in more profound ways -- that in the decades since I'd decided to embrace his choice of lifestyle, I'd managed to acquire some of his wisdom, compassion and patience as my own.
Carlisle was the closest thing to humanity in my life -- and whatever I'd managed to gain from his mere presence would be lost in the act of what I was about to do. When I was finished, my darkened eyes would be ignited with a crimson fire, and any likeness I'd once borne to my creator, mentor and hero would be gone forever. Most painfully of all, the image of Carlisle I'd formed in my mind did not judge me; his eyes were kind, unassuming, as I knew they would be in person when I saw him. He would forgive me, I knew, for what I was about to do -- because to him, I was better than I was. I was something worth loving, and when it was over, he would still love me, however undeserving I was of his acceptance.
Bella Swan's inexplicable appearance in my life was about to prove my father wrong about me, and the knowledge of this fact was as painful as my need for her blood was. She eased herself into the chair next to me in one stiff, uncomfortable motion, and despite my longing, I turned my head away from her in loathing. As monotonous as my existence was, I'd had a semblance of peace before she'd arrived to ruin me with her mere presence. I'd been able to co-exist with humans with very few limitations placed upon me, and she seemed intent upon testing those limitations now.
My mind was awash with an unreasonable hatred that, for a moment, overtook the scent of her blood; who was Bella Swan, this creature, this insignificant little girl who'd so unexpectedly burst into my life? Why did everything about my existence have to change because, from what I'd gathered in the thoughts of others, she'd decided to come to Forks on a whim? Why were my limits, my sanity, being tested now, after eighty years of attempting to redeem myself for what I'd done? Was she the punishment for my sins?
No, I whispered firmly, fiercely, in my mind. No. I didn't want to be the monster I had been for too long; I didn't want to lose everything I'd learned from Carlisle, nor did I want to forgo everything I'd gained in my unnaturally long lifetime of denial. I didn't want to sacrifice a roomful of innocent children at the altar of Bella Swan -- and I wouldn't. I couldn't. And most importantly, she couldn't make me.
Her scent was the real problem, I concluded -- the scarily alluring scent of her blood. If I could resist or escape it, I had a chance to --
And quite unexpectedly, as if solely to prompt my undoing, she fanned her long, mahogany-coloured hair over one shoulder. The scent was overwhelming, and in my mind's eye, I was no longer in my chair. I had her pressed against the blackboard again, my hands roaming through that thick, dark hair as I brought my lips to her neck. She wasn't resisting this time; she had her hands at the zipper of my pants, slowly easing it down, and my lips played softly over the delicate flesh of her throat. She moaned my name so softly I almost didn't hear it, and I was Edward to her as she'd been Isabella to me, and --
I shook my head to clear it again, my pants feeling uncomfortably tight now, and abruptly stopped breathing. I didn't have to breathe, and I wouldn't, I decided -- not if that was what indulging in her scent got me. My lungs no longer burned with her aroma, and although the relief I felt was instantaneous, the infuriating memory of the way she smelled was fresh in my mind, thus making it incomplete. I could taste her on my tongue, lingering in the back of my throat, and I knew I wouldn't be able to resist her for long -- but, perhaps, I could resist long enough to spare a roomful of victims their lives. Not a single one of them had to die in her name -- and because I was entirely capable of holding my breath for one hour, not a single one of them would.
One hour. That was all I needed.
My body neither craves nor requires oxygen, but breathing was something instinctive and habitual regardless. It was uncomfortable not to do it, and I had to consciously remind myself to avoid doing so. It was exponentially better than being able to smell her, however, and have to avoid imagining the way her soft skin would tear easily between my teeth, her hot, thick blood spilling into my --
Just. One. Hour.
Bella Swan kept her hair between us, and it infuriated me. It was truly as though she was hiding something from me, although what it was I couldn't even begin to understand -- her fear? Her obvious shyness? The expressive mirror of her eyes, which revealed what her mind wouldn't? The irritation I'd once felt at being unable to hear her thoughts was distant, replaced almost entirely by my irrational hatred of her. I struggled to think of the love of my family, my aspiration of becoming something better than I was -- anything but her. I latched onto any thought, any emotion, any feeling at all that would prevent me from wondering what she'd feel like as I drained her blood; what she'd taste like.
And yet more often than not, my mind drifted toward what I would do when the hour ended, despite my better judgment. What would I say? What would I do? She would walk out of the classroom in exactly one hour, and I would be left with absolutely nothing. Introducing myself seemed like a good place to start, unsurprisingly; I'd say "hello, my name is Edward Cullen," I decided, turning the words over and over again in my mind, as simple as they were. "May I walk you to your next class?"
It was unlikely that she would refuse; it would be impolite to do so. Although I suspected that she feared me -- the curtain of hair between us certainly suggested so -- she would likely walk beside me with little protest. Leading her in the wrong direction would not be difficult; as a new student, how much knowledge could she possibly have of the school's layout? I could easily tell her I'd forgotten a book in my car and ask her to come with me as I retrieved it -- and when she least suspected it, I would drag her into the forest that bordered the parking lot.
The most obvious complication in this plan, however, was the likelihood of someone noticing that she'd disappeared after being seen last with me. While it was unlikely that anyone would be suspicious of two people in darkly-coloured raincoats walking through the parking lot, every student in the school was extremely aware of her presence today. The number of eyes on us as we walked there would be overwhelming -- and Mike Newton, specifically, would take note. I was sure of it. His thoughts, as soft as they were against my uncomfortably loud schemes, provided a backdrop in my mind that I was painfully aware of. He was watching her every move; he was as aware of every time she shifted in her chair, every time she fidgeted with her hair, as I was. He would certainly notice, I concluded resolutely, if we left the classroom together -- especially with how obviously uncomfortable she was to be seated next to me.
The burning at the back of my throat was intensifying, and I was beginning to realize the futility of attempting to resist this girl. But taking her at school seemed like more and more of an impossibility -- so if I could survive one hour without slaughtering her and every human around us, could I survive two? Her house, I knew, would be empty when she went home -- Police Chief Swan was a prominent fixture in Forks, and everyone knew that he worked a full day. His house was not unfamiliar to me, nor was any house in town; it had no close neighbours and was fringed by thick woods. Provided that she had any time to scream at all once she realized her fate, there would be absolutely no one around to hear it.
Alone in her bedroom, Bella Swan -- unsuspecting, fragile, and perhaps innocent as she was -- would be mine. There would be no need to hurry through the experience there; no need to hastily drain her in an attempt to silence an entire room before or afterward. I could gather her hair in one hand, pull it to tilt her head in order to reveal the slender lines of her neck. I could revel in the sensation of her jugular pulsating beneath my lips, and I could pierce it with deceptively sharp teeth, prompting the delectable, fulfilling taste of her blood to consume me in its entirety.
The thought of what was to come was what got me through the hour. And as the bell rang, signalling the end of the class, I streaked quickly out of the classroom, my movements carelessly fast. No one noticed; no one had come to the realization that there was something odd about the way I moved, or that there was something not quite right with the way I'd reacted toward that loathsome girl in the classroom. And for the first time in decades, I realized, I'd learned something new in biology class: I'd been exposed to the anatomy of Edward Cullen.
As I broke out of the school and into the rain in a vain attempt to clear my head, I couldn't help but think that some vital part of my humanity was still lying in that classroom -- and whatever was left of me after Bella Swan had unknowingly dissected me was not very human at all.