Bella Cullen

Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of it's characters.

Chapter 1

The first day of school is never easy, but starting in the second semester of senior year was going to be much harder than usual. Moving in with my dad was my only choice after my mother and stepfather were in a car crash on Thanksgiving's eve. Being the new girl always caused a stir, but in the small town of Forks, who knew how big that stir may be?

As I drove my, brand new, old truck into the lot, I saw every student's eyes turn toward the loud, obnoxious sound that my truck's engine created. I tried to keep my eyes on the road, not acknowledging any of the nosy students, but a small, beautiful creature caught my eye.

I had to shake myself out of the daze she caused and I quickly parked my truck and went to the office of Forks High to get my schedule. My first class was English with Mr Mason so I quickly looked for building 3.

Not looking to draw attention to myself any more that I could help, I arrived to class early and spoke to the teacher quietly, he directed me to an apparently empty seat in the center back of the class. I kept my head down and began reading a novel, my constant escape from reality.

I always read like a fiend, trading a fantasy for a sci-fi novel as soon as I had finished; a medical drama next, then a horror. I always had to have a new book to read when I finished the last, and so Forks was a disappointment in that the only library was the school's and there were no decent bookshops within a 20 mile radius.

I used to love period romances, but romance became the only genre I avoided after the accident. My mother's relationship with her husband always seemed akin to those classics and reading them made me think way too much about them.

Soon enough the class was full, and beginning. The teacher saw fit to introduce me to the class, despite my obvious mortification.

"Class, this is Isabella Swan. She just moved here to live with her father, Chief Swan. I trust you will all make her feel welcome."

Out of the corner of my eye I could see a small mass of black shaking vigorously, and soon determined that it was the small girl I had seen from my car this morning, nodding her head in affirmation. She saw me looking at her and turned to me, speaking in a low, but fast and excited voice.

"Hi, I'm Alice Cullen! I'm so glad we're sitting next to each other, now we can be the best of friends" She beamed at me, making my breath catch in my throat. "So, do you like to be called Isabella or something else? I've only ever known an Isabel but she liked her name, maybe you don't, I don't know."

Although I did not want to make ties in this town, her excitement was infectious. "Bella" I said.

"So why are you starting here this late into your senior year? I mean that is a bit strange. But I guess you have a good reason. You don't have to tell me if you don't want, I'm so nosy sometimes. Sorry about that. Look, the point is that if you need, I can lend you my notes from the rest of the year."

As I struggled to process all that she had just murmured, I mumbled answers to each of her questions in turn.

"Um, my mom died at Thanksgiving. I had to come live with my dad. Yeah, thanks, notes would be great."

She seemed pleased at the thought that she could be helpful and sat back. We had already gotten a 'look' from the teacher and I did not want to upset him on my first day.

I soon discovered that Alice was in a few of my classes and by chance, I sat next to her; apparently hers was the only desk free. We fast became friends, and I met the rest of the family. At first I had a hard time keeping up with who was related to whom and who was dating whom, but in the end, it didn't matter. They were my friends, the only ones that I'd had my whole life that really cared about who I was and what I wanted.

Rosalie was the most beautiful creature, probably in existence, and she knew it. But despite that, she had a deep passion for those she cared about; this was a side of her most people never got to see. She taught me about cars. Sometimes me, her and Alice would have girly sleepovers and whether it was at Charlie's house or theirs, I always felt included, no matter the fact that Alice and Rosalie had known each other for much longer than they had known me. She would come along as moral support when I couldn't think of an excuse not to go shopping with Alice.

Emmett, Rosalie's boyfriend, was like the big brother I never had. He watched sports, talked cars with Rose and played computer and console games like they were about to disappear. He was brilliant at knowing when I was thinking about things I wanted to avoid, always ready to distract me with a dumb joke or stupid stunt. He believed it was his mission to play practical jokes, him against the world. Us girls were often the brunt of it, but between the three of us and even Esme sometimes, we always got him back.

Esme was the kind and caring mother that I'd never had. Although I loved who my mother had been, I was the parental figure in that relationship and so having Esme care for me was like a breath of fresh air. I never resented her role as a mother figure because she was so different from my own mother, it never felt like an intrusion.

Carlisle always seemed to me like the perfect family man. He loved and doted on his children, even though they were adopted; he took time to spend time with his wife, making sure that someone was taking care of her after all the care she spent on others; he even was an extremely successful doctor. I used to wonder how he managed to fit everything in, but of course, the joke was on me.

Jasper; wonderful, calming, thoughtful Jasper. He always knew when I was beginning to panic. When my thoughts became too much for me, he would distract me from my own mind. Really, when it comes to Jasper, words cannot describe the value of his friendship. He introduced me to a whole new world of fiction, and music. Spending time with him was never awkward, no matter how silent we were; spending time with him meant peace.

Of course, Alice was my very best friend. She showed up unannounced as if she knew that I had a night of wallowing in self pity and Ben and Jerry's planned; she gave me advice when I was trying to fend off Mike Newton; she saved Charlie the humiliation of helping me shower when I broke my leg in three places, when I humiliatingly tumbled down the bleachers in the gym after fetching a shuttlecock which had flown awry in gym. Never had I had a friend better than Alice, and I thought that even before I found out what she was; what they all were.

Of course I had read Dracula, but nothing prepared me for one night, when I arrived for what I thought was a sleepover, to see them all sitting quite formally in the lounge room. The most suspicious thing, though, was that Emmett was not glued to the TV; it was not even on.

"Bella", said Alice. "We need you to come sit down." Although extremely suspicious, I did. I looked at the others; Rosalie looked anxious, Emmett amused as always, Jasper suspicious, Esme worried and Carlisle pensive.

"Bella" she said again. My head snapped back to her, still suspicious but mostly bewildered and worried. "Look, I'm just going to out and get straight to it because I know that you won't take kindly to being lead down the garden path. You know we're different, don't you?"

I nodded. Of course I had noticed. As it was, it was hard enough being around people like Alice and Rosalie who are so beautiful and graceful, but after I met the boys, I was dumbstruck. Even the big, burly, bear of a man, Emmett was more beautiful and graceful than me.

"Can you tell me what you noticed?" Carlisle asked.

"You all have pale, cold skin, dark shadows under the eyes, incredible strength. I can tell that you have much more strength that you let on, and speed, same with speed." I knew I was close to incoherence, but I was speaking as I put, previously unconnected, facts together. "Oh yeah, your eyes change colour, and Emmett gets really grouchy when his are black. Actually Rosalie does too." She shot me a look, so I changed tracks. "Jasper always seems to know when I need cheering up and Alice always seems to know things in advanced." I was silent for a moment, thinking over my time spent in the Cullen mansion. "You know, come to think of it, I've hardly seen any of you eat or drink or sleep." I shook my head, trying to clear my mind of what it was trying to tell me.

Alice was looking pleased and bouncing in her chair. She was very obviously excited. I raised one eyebrow at her, waiting for her to continue. She just gave me a look that said I was missing something. Then it dawned on me.

"When you said different, you don't mean within known human boundaries, do you?"

She perked to look, impossibly, happier and nodded encouragingly.

"Are you trying to tell me you're a family of superheroes or something?" I looked at Emmett and Rose. Emmett seemed pleased with being called a superhero, Rose looked less pleased. I asked for an explanation of her expression with a look.

She sighed and said, "What if we're not the heroes? What if we're the bad guys?"

I laughed at that. "There is no way you are villains, you're all way too awesome. Except maybe Emmett" I threw in playfully.

Emmett pouted and everyone but Rose laughed at his ridiculous expression. I glanced quizzically at Rosalie again and this time she sighed and just said it. "Bella, we're vampires."