"The Indies First Time Writer Challenge" One-Shot Contest
Title: Hear, Say
Pen name: Nom De Plume
Primary Players: Edward/ Bella
Word Count: 6786
Disclaimer: I am a renter, Twilight is where I live and Stephanie Meyer is my landlord. Meaning: Stephanie Meyer owns Twilight and all things recognizable from it. I own this story.
Summary: Seventeen conversations that changed Bella Swan and her life. For the First Time Writer's Challenge O/S AH E/B Mildly OOC
A/N: Part one (yes I'm delusional enough to write a/ns) This is an entry to the First Time Writer's Challenge so please vote (for anyone)… any of the authors could be the one to write the next Great Twilight Fanfiction.
A GIANT thanks to quothme and Pamela from PTB :)
17 Conversations that Changed Bella Swan—I mean, me—and her—my—life
#1: Tuesday. Second day of school. Morning.
"Er, hi. Can I help you?"
"You're the new girl?" Deep, velvet.
"Uh yeah. Sometimes people like to call me by my name."
"Bella. Bella Swan."
"Bella. Bella Swan." Soft. Melodic.
"Yes. I'm much more likely to answer when you call me that. I tend not to respond to 'New Girl'."
"I'll keep that in mind."
"Are you planning on calling me a lot?"
"I was just joking, no need to get all flustered…"
"I'm not, er I'm not, I mean, I wasn't er—" Definitely flustered.
"You don't have to leave… what's your name? Tall boy? Tall boy!"
#2: Wednesday. Third day of school. Lunch.
"Seats taken?" Loud, booming.
"You're the New Girl."
"All my friends call me New."
"Well, that's a cute nickname."
"They must call you Dimples."
"Or Emmett. But I like the admiration in your voice."
"If that's what they're calling it…"
"Don't worry. You're not the only one."
"Yeah. I like my dimples too." Grin. (And dimples.)
"Hey Or Emmett?"
"Is she going to just sit there or does she speak?"
"Oh. That's Rosalie." Sheepish.
"I suppose the glare pretty much says everything."
"Uh, yeah. Hey, you going to finish that pizza?"
"No. You want it?" Nod. "You're gonna take food from a complete stranger?"
"You're not a stranger. You're New! Besides, we'll all be good friends soon enough."
"Even me and her?"
"Well, maybe not. It's okay. She's pretty much like that around Edward, too."
"Oh okay. Good to know." Chomping. "Hey Or Emmett?"
Choking. "Well, New. I gotta go. Rose?"
#3: Wednesday. Third day of school. English.
"Hey Bella. How've your first couple of days been?" Quiet, warm.
"Good, Angela. People here are friendly. Strange, but friendly."
"I think you just described most small towns. But speaking of friendly…"
"Ang… Are you prying for gossip? What would Reverend Weber say? Isn't gossip frowned upon, hmm?"
"Amusing, Bella. Maybe gossip is, but curiosity isn't."
"You have me there. Ask away."
"I heard Emmett Cullen was sitting with you at lunch today!"
"You mean Dimples? Yeah. He and Scary Blond just plopped down from out of nowhere."
"Rosalie. That's his girlfriend."
"Yeah, I figured."
"Okay, so you're new—"
"Yes! That's what I told him! I'm New!"
"Um, okay... But you don't get it. Emmett Cullen is… well, a Cullen."
"Is that some sort of club?"
"It might as well be."
"Meaning there are three Cullen boys. They're all gorgeous, honor students and sons of Dr. Cullen, who works for Seattle Children's Hospital, Research and Foundation."
"Why do they live in Forks?"
"I'm going to ignore the mild disgust in your voice when you speak of our fair town. He came out here, years ago, to test plants in Olympic National Park for a cure to cancer or something. Met his wife here and my dad says they were married like a month later."
"Really? How does your dad know this?"
"He performed the ceremony."
"Oh. Shotgun wedding?"
"No! That's the thing, all three boys are adopted. That's why they look so different—you saw Emmett, right? Well, Jasper is a junior like us and he's blond. Edward's in our grade too, and he's got like this, I dunno, red but not quite… kind of bronze, or auburn or…"
"I get it. He's a ginger."
"He's gorgeous." Moony.
"So you've said. I'll keep that in mind the next time I talk to Emmett. If I talk to Emmett."
"So yeah, what did he want?"
"Nothing, he was just shooting the sh—sorry, making conversation. And then he kind of bolted after mentioning his brother… wait, you said Edward has red hair?"
"Okay, fine. 'Bronze' hair, really beautiful eyes, jaw line that could double as a t-square?"
"Yeah, that's definitely Edward."
"Edward is Tall Boy!"
"Uhh, yeah, Edward is a tall boy—"
"No Angela! I've talked to him!"
"Wait what? Edward Cullen talked to you? The Cullen boys really keep to themselves—and Rosalie and Alice, when she's around."
"She's Jasper's girlfriend. She lives in Seattle, so they do long distance."
"Oh. They have girlfriends?"
"Yeah. And they've got it pretty bad. Obviously, most girls want a piece of them, y'know? But Rosalie and Emmett never even noticed each other all through elementary and junior high. And then, one day, bam! He was following her around like a puppy. And Jasper? Hooked up with a lot of girls—a lot. Met Alice in a coffee shop when we were on a field trip two years ago and bam! Um, again."
"Okay, Emeril. When was Edward's big moment?"
"He hasn't had one. Yet, I suppose. He's still single." Giggle.
"Picks up Jasper's slack?"
"No, actually. Polite, charming, even sweet, but really shy."
"No girl has claimed him?"
"Well, the girls try. He's really nice, but he never really talks to anyone for more than like, thirty seconds."
"In that case, don't get too excited. Our conversation was maybe thirty five seconds, tops."
"Still, two Cullens. And the two that aren't Jasper. And Emmett sought you out! And you've only been here three days!"
"Okay, slow down there. Let's not get ahead of ourselves."
"I know. It's just… it's the Cullen boys. Oh and Bella?"
"You can swear around me."
"Oh yeah. I just figured, you know, the Reverend…"
"Well, I'm sure as hell not telling you to swear around him." Smile.
#4: Wednesday. Third day of school. Biology.
"Hello. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to introduce myself yesterday. I'm Edward Cullen." Smooth, almost hypnotic.
"It's nice to put a name to the height."
"Nothing. Um, I'm Bella. Swan."
"I remember. How are you liking Forks?"
"It's okay. I'm not a huge fan of rain."
"Oh. I'm sorry. I guess that's not something I—uh, anyone—can help."
"And here I was, all ready to blame the rain on you."
"Uhh, I, umm, sor—I mean---"
"You're flustered again."
"It would appear you fluster me."
"Well, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to."
"It's okay. You've got a unique sense of humor."
"It was a compliment."
"In that case: thanks. Unique can be good or bad."
"To me, unique is good."
"Well, er, thanks. Again. Hey, you know who else is unique?"
"My—what? My brother?"
"Yeah, your brother, Emmett. Or as I like to call him—Dimples. He sat with me at lunch today. Him and Rosalie."
"Dimpl… he what? He talked to you?"
"Yes. And you're flustered again."
"Well, you're flustering me!"
"Not intentionally! And it's just you! Angela doesn't get flustered when I talk to her. Emmett didn't get flustered when… actually. He did get flustered. After he mentioned your name. Then he up and left."
"I'm going to assume you're recovering from the previous bout of flustering and let this one go."
"No I'm Bella. I'm also New."
"What? No, I meant, you're very honest."
"Again, it was a compliment."
"Again, honest can be good or bad."
"To me, honest is good."
"Well then, thanks again. Again. Umm…"
"You can probably assume that if I say something about your personality, it's a compliment." Smooth. Charming.
Blush. "Oh… thanks—I mean, I…" Wow.
"Well, now that I've flustered you…" Smirk "…Onion cell lab?"
"Uh, yeah sure."
"Ladies first, partner."
"The first one's prophase. Feel free to check."
#5: Thursday. Fourth day of school. Lunch.
"What's up, Jess?"
"Edward Cullen is staring at you." Incredulous.
"Huh. So he is."
"And Emmett Cullen is waving at you!"
"Yes I can see that. Dimples is very friendly."
"You guys have nicknames for each other?"
"Hey, New!" Loud, booming.
"Hello Bella." Dulcet.
"So I'll see you in Bio?"
"So, uh… bye Bella."
"Bye Di—er, Emmett."
"Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my—"
"What Jess? Are you okay?"
"The Cullen boys talked to you! And I was sitting next to you!"
"Well, I mean, Edward is my lab partner in Bio so…"
"No, you don't get it. It's the Cullen boys!"
"I know their last name."
"They barely talk to anyone."
"But they talk to you."
"It would seem so."
"Oh my god! This is just like when Emmett started talking to Rosalie out of nowhere! Do you think it's like that?"
"Do I think it's like what?"
"Like that. Like when Emmett all of a sudden talked to Rosalie and then started dating her after knowing her for years and never even saying hi…"
"Well, I mean, I don't know, I don't think so…"
"Bella. You're blushing."
#6: Thursday. Fourth day of school. Biology.
"Um… I have something for you."
"Yes. I couldn't help but notice yesterday that you were reading some sonnets during independent study."
"Uh… yeah. I'm a big fan of Shakespeare."
"It's a collection of poems by Christopher Marlowe. Hero and Leander and some others… I thought, if you like Shakespeare, you might like his contemporary."
"I've read Faustus but none of his poems. Thanks, Edward! I'll give it back to you as soon as I'm done."
"No, it's yours to keep."
"I couldn't do that, Edward."
"Bella, I live in a house with four men. We might claim to be civilized, but we're definitely not going to pick up a book of love poems—let alone get the appreciation out of this that you might."
"What about your mom?"
"With the amount of books we have in my house, I'm fairly sure she has her own copy."
"Edward… I can't…"
"You should work for the CIA."
"Because that puppy dog look would work far better than most torture tactics. Thank you, Edward. This is… really nice."
"It's nothing Bella. Really. I hope you enjoy them."
#7: Friday. Fifth day of school. Lunch.
"Hi Bella. Jessica."
"Hi Edward!" Squealing. Squeeing, even.
"Oh hi, Edward. Do you um, maybe sort of want to sit down?"
"No. I mean… uh thanks Bella, but I can't. I'm actually leaving for a doctor's appointment in a few minutes."
"Oh. So you won't be in bio today?"
"Okay. I can give you my notes if you like."
"Yeah that'd be great. In fact… maybe you could give me your notes over lunch tomorrow? If you don't already have plans?"
"She doesn't! No plans!"
"Jess! Um, that'd be fine, I guess."
"Okay. Then I'll see you tomorrow. Can I pick you up at your house around noon?"
"Great. Goodbye Bella." Smoldering.
"Oh my god, oh my god, Bella—"
"Shh, at least wait two seconds until he's out of the cafeteria, Jess!"
"Okay." Pause. "Oh my god, Bella! Edward Cullen just asked you out on a date! You are so the next Rosalie!"
"That's not something I necessarily want to be, Jess."
"Okay, fine. You're not anything like Rosalie… but still! A date with Edward Cullen!"
"He just asked me to lunch, Jess. I really don't think he's at the point where he's going to follow me around Emmett retriever style."
"You have no idea Bella, you're new—"
"So I've been told."
"—the first time anyone saw Emmett and Rosalie together, he walked by her lunch table and dropped a box of chocolate milk on her table and walked away. The next day, they were holding hands!"
"Well I suppose lunch is one step up from that."
"Edward! Edward Cullen! And did you see? He said hi to me, too!"
"In fact, a note with the question 'do you like me' and a 'yes' box and a 'no' box would be a step up from that."
"Stop saying his name!"
"I'm sorry, Bella. It's just…Edward Cullen."
#8: Saturday. Forks Diner.
"I hope you don't mind eating at the diner."
"Oh not at all. Me and Charlie—my dad—eat here all the time."
"That's why I thought you might mind."
"Not at all. I'm a bit of a creature of habit. "
"Yeah. I don't particularly dislike anything but I like what I like and I like it a lot. And apparently one of the things I like a lot is to talk about myself. Sorry."
"Not at all. I like listening to you. You fascinate me." Shy.
"Oh. Thanks." Also shy.
"I'm sorry, you first."
"No, you go ahead."
"I wouldn't expect anything less from you."
"I really didn't have anything to say."
"Oh. I'm boring you already."
"No, not at all. I just didn't really feel like talking about me. Tell me something about yourself Edward."
"What do you want to know?"
"What do you want to tell me?"
"Better yet, what don't you want to tell me? I'm nosy and that's what I want to know."
"Err, let's not open that can of worms."
"Fine. Then something you don't mind telling me."
"Alright. I'm heterochromatic."
"My eyes are actually two different colors. I'm centrally heterochromatic, which means that my inner iris is a different color than my outer one, in my case green dominantly, on the outer part and amber on the inner. "
"Wow. I didn't know you could have amber eyes."
"Yeah, they're pretty rare. Here, look into my eyes."
"Hah, I bet you're the only guy in the world who can legitimately use that line. Oh wow. Your eyes—they look gold almost, because of the green. They're really… um, pretty."
"Uh, thanks. Actually, my brothers have it too. Emmett's are brown and amber, Jasper's are blue and amber."
"But how do you all have it if you're not related? Sorry, I don't know if that was being rude…"
"No, not at all. Our adoption isn't exactly a big secret… and I couldn't ask for a better family, my parents included. And to answer your question, heterochromia is not hereditary."
"Speaking of your family, isn't that your brother and his girlfriend?"
"Oh… I don't think I was supposed to point that out."
"I'm going to kill Emmett."
"Why is he here? From the look on Rosalie's face, I don't think they frequent the Forks diner."
"My father, whom I did a favor for, by giving him a ride to work before I picked you up, must have let it slip that I was on a date and of course, my brothers would never miss an opportunity to mortify me."
"So this is a date?"
"Flustered. And the tips of your ears are red! Wow, your brothers might be onto something.
And Edward, that's not the most brotherly of gestures."
"You can't beat it though. No other gesture says so much with just one finger."
"Well it worked… he's gone."
"But I think that might have more to do with Rosalie than me."
"I think so too. Can I ask you something? What do you think of Rosalie?"
"Oh. Um… well Emmett is pretty crazy about her so I guess she's okay."
"What if Emmett wasn't crazy about her?"
"That's irrelevant. He is crazy about her so I like her too."
"Wow. That's loyalty."
"I guess I just feel that my brothers are the greatest guys I know. So if they've chosen or, umm, want to be with Rosalie and Alice then they must be pretty great girls too."
"That's sweet. Alice, that's Jasper's girlfriend?"
"Yes. She lives in Seattle."
"Is she tiny? Really petite with black hair?"
"Uh, yes. Have you met her?"
"No, but I'm assuming she's the one standing next to Jasper, trying to subtly peer in from the parking lot."
"What?! Oh my god, Bella. I'm so sorry, you would think I've never spoken to another female before, the way they're acting. I'm going to kill him—"
"Edward! Sit down, it's okay! Look if you go out there, you're just going to provoke them more. Let's just ignore them and continue as if we couldn't care less who was watching."
"That sounds like something you do often."
"It comes with being new."
"Yes, you are the shiny new toy of Forks' junior class."
"Moving on… You have a tuft of black hair on the back of your head. I assume you know that already."
"Oh you noticed that?"
"Yeah I noticed that when you turned around and practically leaped out the window. I can tell from your expression there's a story behind it."
"Uh, well, when I was a kid, I really hated my red hair."
"Have ever heard the term 'red-headed stepchild'? Well, I literally am a red-headed stepchild. You can laugh, it is kind of funny."
"I'm sorry I'm laughing but, it is funny in an awful way… and I mean you're not even a stepchild, you're adopted."
"Well, when I was younger and a little more impressionable, Emmett really didn't bother to make that distinction. And he never missed an opportunity to remind me. So I decided to dye my hair…"
"Oh god! But why black of all choices?"
"Well, Emmett's brunette, Jasper's dirty blond, Carlisle—my dad—is platinum blond and my 10-year-old self didn't want to be accused of being a copy cat so I went with black. Plus my mom went through a phase where she dyed her hair black, so I had access to it. Luckily she caught me just as I started, but that tuft always remained black. Yes, it's funny. Ha ha. Go ahead. Get it out of your system."
"I'm sorry… it's just… " Snort. "Okay. I've snorted. We're even."
"Uh, I don't think so. One snort does not equal a lifetime of discolored hair follicles."
"But at least you can claim to be partially brunette now."
"I wish I hadn't told that story."
"No, seriously, I liked it. Maybe… you fascinate me, too."
"So are your ears."
#9: Monday. Second week of school. Biology.
"Hi Bella." Bashful, painfully shy.
"How was the rest of your weekend?"
"Uhh, it was good. Yours?"
"It was very good."
"Glad to hear it."
"I had a good time on Saturday."
"Okay, you have to work with me here, Edward. You have to at least attempt to make some conversation."
"You look really pretty in blue, Bella."
"That's what you say when I tell you to make conversation?"
"It was the thing on my mind."
"You mean 'the first'."
"You said, 'it was the thing on my mind'… you forgot to say 'first'. It was 'the first thing on my mind'."
"If you say so, Bella."
"It wasn't the first thing on your mind?"
"But it's not just the first thing on my mind. It's just on my mind."
"I don't get you, Edward."
"You don't get me?"
"Yeah. I don't get you. Me? I'm straightforward. But you? Sometimes you look at me like you're drowning and the only thing you need more than a breath is a word from me. Sometimes, you are so flustered by something I say that you can't even speak! And sometimes, you are so smooth I can swear you practice what to say just so it comes out sounding so good! You're like a human non sequitur!"
"You don't like it?"
"I didn't say that! I just… I just… I never know what to expect from you."
"And that upsets you."
"No it doesn't upset me, it just… I'm trying to figure you out, Edward."
"What's there to figure out?"
"What's there not to figure out? The fact that you talk to me and compliment me all the time?"
"You don't like it?"
"I didn't say that either! But from what I understand, few others are blessed with your company."
"I'm not trying to make you feel uncomfortable, Bella."
"You don't, Edward. Not at all, in fact, because I like you—"
"There it is! Drowning man!"
"What if I said the reason I am the way I am is because I am trying to figure you out?"
"And there's the rub. Of all the girls in this school, why did Edward Cullen start talking to the New Girl he didn't know? Why me?"
"I'm not trying to annoy you or confuse you; I just don't know how to even begin to explain this to you…"
"Oh, this! Why didn't you tell me it was this? If I had known it was this, well then that explains everyth--"
"Can you meet me after school? I want to talk to you."
"I'm on the yearbook committee. I have a meeting after school."
"Fine, after that. That's better even. There won't be many people around. I'll meet you around four. By your truck."
#10: Monday, around four. By my truck.
"Alright, Edward. Spill. Otherwise I'm going to find a really bad picture of you to put in the yearbook. That is, if one exists. I have seen no evidence to support that."
"I don't know how to say this so…"
"Why don't you start with what this is?"
"Well, I should start by explaining that although we are adopted, Emmett, Jasper and I are all related. Distantly, seventh cousins or something. In fact, we're also related to Carlisle. That's how we all came to live together. When Carlisle moved to Forks, he met Esme—my mom—and, well to hear him describe it, he fell in love at first sight."
"Just hear the whole story first, please. He saw Esme and that was it. But it was more than love at first sight—it was a change of perspective. He said it was like gravity shifted—it wasn't holding him anymore, she was. Naturally, he was shocked by this turn of events, and he didn't know how to explain it to this girl he had just met, how to explain to her that he couldn't not be around her, how every move of hers inextricably affected his. He couldn't even explain it through science or genetics but it did lead him to the answer. Carlisle is a descendent of gypsies called Pavees or Irish travelers. The story goes that they were a polygamous tribe and that's why they were cursed with something more powerful than love at first sight, a phenomenon that they called imprinting. Finally understanding but not being able to explain this phenomenon, Carlisle sought out more of his family and happened to come across three boys, all in the foster care system, who happened to be descendants of the Pavees as well. He adopted us, explained the phenomenon to us and well…"
"So Emmett and Rosalie…"
"Yes. Emmett knew Rosalie for years but—and this is Carlisle's inference—when Emmett reached maturity, around the age of sixteen, he imprinted. We don't quite know what changed in him to notice a girl he had seen everyday for so long but, it happened."
"And Jasper and Alice…"
"Yes. He just saw her and… Jasper described it very interestingly: like you had been floating upward slowly for your whole life and suddenly, you are jerked to the ground and have to walk. It's not like you're going in the opposite direction, just a new one. And the sensation of having your feet on the ground is indescribable."
"Then you… and… me?"
"Yes, Bella. I imprinted on you the first time I saw you. In fact, the minute you stepped out of this very truck on your first day… and I was found, Bella. I barely even knew I was lost. To borrow Jasper's phrasing, I was walking on solid ground for the first time."
"So that's why you talk to me when you don't talk to anyone else?"
"I couldn't care less if no one else spoke to me for the rest of my life. But to separate myself from you… you are my life now."
"Maybe it was God who cursed our forefathers. But it's a fantastical reality that my father and brothers have had to live with for years and that I am now just beginning to grasp."
"And why you're so quiet sometimes, you're so charming at others… it's because you didn't really want to talk to me, it's because you had to?"
"Silly Bella. That's simply me being a teenage boy, not knowing how to act around the girl he wants. You're so open and funny and lovely and smart and—"
"Sorry. It's just I didn't know what type of guy you would like. Shy and reserved, bold and charming and then of course, I had to get over my nerves just to speak…"
"And which one is you?"
"Honestly Bella? Whichever one you would want."
"So you'd change who and how you were just for me? Because I'm your imprint?"
"It sounds absurd but really it's just love in a compressed time unit. Don't people who love each other ultimately make sacrifices and change for each other?"
"And is there an answer? A reply to imprinting?"
"No, there isn't. It's one sided. Rosalie and Alice, Esme, they're absolutely happy. They say it's… hard to resist that amount of adoration. But, they chose to believe and take a chance. Take a chance on that crazy fool who was saying the most illogical things."
"So it's not… it's not necessarily requited."
"No, my brothers and father, they… they're blessed. This curse was the greatest thing to happen to them."
"So I have a choice."
"You do, Bella. It's not your burden to bear. And I'm sorry that I have even put this on you."
"This… this is crazy, you do realize? I mean, what proof do I have to believe this?"
"Just me standing in front of you."
"Wow. When I was badgering you today in Bio, I had no idea… I mean, I'm pretty straightforward. And I wanted you to be too… I just wanted you to admit you liked me."
"Well, clearly, I do." Chuckle. "And honestly, I wanted to do this differently—I wanted to take you out on dates and meet your father and be normal and then tell you. I didn't—I wanted to get a regular chance with you but, I guess it wasn't supposed to be like that."
"So there is something new to learn about you."
"I mean, everyone talks about you boys and your family so much, and as you can imagine, it gets a little repetitive."
"Like, 'oh there's three of them, he's Emmett, he's Jasper and there, that's Edward'—"
"Well, I mean—"
"And he's tall and he's gorgeous and he's on the honor roll—"
"Okay, do you mean that Emmett is tall, and Jasper is gorgeous and I'm on—"
"And their dad is a doctor who researches the cure for cancer—"
"But this? This is new. Brand new information. The father and adopted brothers are actually distantly related descendants of the same gypsy tribe who are cursed with love upon first sight! Only they call it imprinting. I mean, wow. Talk about adding to the mix."
"I didn't mean to offend you—"
"Why would you think you offended me?"
"Well you sound offended!"
"No, I'm not. There's nothing offensive about a perfectly wonderful—or is that wonderfully perfect?—seventeen year old boy telling you that he is in love with you and that you are his whole world and that all this happened the first time he saw you."
"It is not offensive. It is crazy and absurd and unbelievable and I think I'm slightly hysterical…"
"I think you are too. Your voice is squeaking. Just take a few deep breaths." Exhaling. "There, Bella. Please don't freak out. I don't want you to be worried or hysterical." More exhaling.
"Why not you?"
"That's not an answer."
"Why does anyone fall in love with anyone, Bella?"
"That's not an answer either!"
"It's the beginning to one. There's plenty of reasons to be with someone—attraction, affection, compatibility, admiration."
"And none of those occur immediately—except for attraction. So is that what this is? Severe attraction?"
"No! I mean, that's part of it, Bella but—look. I'm not going to be able to explain it much better. All I know is, I saw you and I wanted you. Every part of you. And I want to be whatever you need me to be."
"And if I wanted you to be gone?"
"If that's what you truly wanted? I would vanish. As if I never existed."
"Would you be hurt?"
"Devastated. But the thing you're failing to grasp about imprinting is, I don't matter in this. It's all you."
"That hardly seems fair."
"That's why it's a curse."
"Do you hate it?"
"Couldn't if I wanted to. Only if it hurt you. So I suppose yes, now, I hate that it's freaking you out."
"So why do you imprint on one person, for example, me, and not someone else. For example, Lauren Mallory? Don't make that face, it's a valid question!"
"There's no explanation for that. It's just all a bit of destiny, I guess."
"You can't discount destiny and fate in this, Bella. Carlisle might have sought my brothers and I out on purpose to adopt us knowing what we'd one day face but what else, other than destiny, could make it so all four of us coincidentally found our imprints in the state we live in?"
"Of course, that's the artist in me. Jasper thinks if we search hard enough, we'll find a link between Esme, Rosalie and Alice. And you."
"Nothing. The possibilities are endless—maybe you are all related, too, or maybe you have some sort of genetic link or maybe it's just a reaction to the environment. If there is a link, it could be the key to explaining imprinting biologically. But, we probably need to be able to explain imprinting biologically first to narrow down our search. A bit of a catch-22."
"So nothing so far."
"Nothing to link you other than gender."
"Well, that's something to consider."
"What if you were gay?"
"I think we've got enough on our plates with your hysteria… speaking of which, you've stopped squeaking. And I heard some snark in there too. Are you feeling better?"
"Is there something you need Bella? Just let me know, anything. What? Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Because I may believe you."
"Yeah. I can… I can hear it. In your voice. Especially when you say my name."
"It's a beautiful name." Blush. "And it's true so why wouldn't you be able to hear it in my voice?"
"It's okay. I don't expect an answer from you now."
"I don't expect an answer or anything from you. Your mere existence is enough for me. You not running away screaming is something of an achievement in itself."
"Did Alice run away screaming?"
"No, she accepted immediately. She's very special."
"You're fond of her."
"Alice? I am more than fond of her. She's my best friend—and my brother's imprint."
"What did your mom do?"
"She fainted. The first time she spoke with my father, she was his patient—she had broken her leg. And he just leaned down and kissed her, and she just fainted dead away."
"She slapped Emmett."
"You didn't have to take a step back; I'm not going to slap you. I said I believe you. At least some part of me does. But this is so much to comprehend, so much to take in and I haven't fully decided yet… but I don't know if I can… I mean, I can't just accept, I just… Edward—"
"It's okay. I get it."
"Yeah. I've flustered you."
"Among other things, yes, you've definitely flustered me. I'm not trying to be rude or cold, it's just so much to take in."
"I know. And I'm going to go now, let you process. I just, I had to tell you, Bella. You're an undeniable part of me now."
Mild swoon. "Undeniable?"
"Like trying to hide that my hair color is red."
"It's not really red… it could be bronze—or auburn. Even brown in some lights—not that I've been looking at it or anything."
"My hair is red, Isabella. And I love you."
Medium swoon. "Wow. A ginger is in love with me."
"Oddly enough, that statement has convinced me that your hysteria has passed. I'll be going now."
"Can I still sit next to you in Bio?"
"Of course! Why wouldn't you—"
"I'll see you tomorrow, Bella."
# 11: Tuesday. Second week of school. Biology.
Lots of it.
# 12: Wednesday. Second week of school. Biology.
"Edward? I wanted to ask you something about… i-it."
"Is Carlisle heterochromatic?"
"So you picked up on that. Yes. He is. All males who can… you know, are."
"Oh. Are there any other um… signs?"
"No other physical manifestations. But Carlisle is dedicated to see if he can find a biological explanation."
#13: Thursday. Second week of school. Biology.
"How's your day going?"
"Fine. How's… er, I mean, how… how are you, Bella?"
"I'm very glad to hear it." Low, smoldering.
"What was that, Bella?"
"What was what, Edward?"
"You said 'wow'."
"What? No, I didn't!"
"Yes, you did!"
"If you're sure I did, then why did you ask me 'what was that'?"
"Because I—uh, well. Umm..."
"That what I thought."
"You love it… uh, I mean..."
Snickering. "You're not wrong."
"Sorry. I'm sorry. I just thought if we could joke about it, it'd be easier to get over."
"You can get over it?"
"Never. I meant you could."
"But I don't want to be you to be uncomfortable around me forever, Bella."
"I'm not. This is a really strange situation so I guess you're right, we've just got to get over the strange."
"And we can do that by talking. Like normal people. Conversation."
"Okay. So Bella?"
"Why'd you say 'wow'?"
"Alright kids, books away! Pop quiz on cell anatomy! Let's see how you do."
#14: Thursday. Evening. Home.
"Bella, you okay? I don't know if it's just the connection but you sound really down, honey."
"It's… it's just been a really crazy couple of weeks, Mom."
"Oh I bet, honey! How are you liking Forks?"
"It's good, Mom. Weather's a bit of a downer but at least I'm not getting sunburned."
"And how are the kids? Have you made any new friends? Any cute boys?"
"People are nice… friendly but strange. I guess the guys here are pretty cute."
"Bella… have you met a boy?"
"Err… sort of."
"Oh my god! What's he like? Is he cute? Bella, are you being safe?" High pitched, over excited.
"Mom! I haven't even been here two weeks! We haven't even kissed yet… we're still in negotiation stages."
"What does that mean?"
"I wish I knew."
"Does he like you?"
"Uh yeah, I'm pretty sure he does."
"And do you like him?"
"Well that's the thing… I think I did. Or I thought I did. Or I think I do."
"Listen, Bella, it's all wonderful when a boy likes you but don't make the mistake of dating a boy just because he likes you. It has to be mutual… that's what happened with your father, honey, that's why I couldn't stay. A relationship just doesn't work if both people aren't in it equally."
"But, don't you think love can grow? That maybe as you get to know someone, you'll love them as much as they love you?"
"I don't know, Bella. That never happened to me with your father."
"No offense, Mom, but you and Dad were married for six months. During which you were pregnant for four and had a newborn for the other two. Where was the time?"
"Sorry. I didn't mean to be rude. It's just… Dad's pretty great."
"It's okay. Maybe you have a point. Or maybe you do like this boy and for some reason are trying to find another reason to be with him."
Knock. "Bella? It's about time for dinner, isn't it?"
"I'll be there in a sec, Dad. Sorry, Mom. Dinner time. I love you."
"Call me soon. You can always talk to me, honey. About anything. I love you too."
#15: Thursday. Evening. Dinner.
"This is great mac 'n' cheese, Bells. Much better than that blue box."
"Everything okay, Bella? You're quiet."
"Just have got a lot on my mind, I guess."
"I couldn't help but overhear the end of your conversation with your mom…"
"Oh god, Dad!"
"No, just let me say that I do appreciate what you said. And for the record, I always thought that if Renee had stuck around, we could have made it work. And I appreciate you sticking up for me."
"I meant it, Dad."
"Here's the thing Bells, and you'll probably never hear me talk this much again, but I'm a creature of habit."
"I like what I like and once I like it, that's it. And, I liked—still like—your mother. I know it's not fashionable or the way that most people are nowadays, but I'd like to think that there are still people out there who are like that. Who choose one person and stick with them. No matter what. It doesn't always work out, I'm an example of that. And some call it stubborn, and some call it foolish. But, you have to make a choice, Bella. And you have to stick with it… your mom, well, she didn't."
"Her loss, Dad."
"Not for Phil." Chuckle.
"I'm glad I moved here, Dad."
"Me too, Bells. Me too."
#16: Friday. Second week of school. Biology.
"Isabella, do you know where Mr. Cullen is?"
"Um, no I don't actually."
"I'm on the track team with Emmett. He told me him and his brothers wouldn't be in school today because they're going to a special lecture being given by Dr. Cullen in Seattle. Mrs. Cope has the paperwork."
"Alright. Thank you, Mike. Isabella, feel free to work with another group."
"Huh? Oh… no it's okay. I'll be alone."
#17: Saturday morning. My front porch.
"Hi." Shy, bashful
"Just out for a stroll, Edward?"
"I never miss a chance to soak up all that Forks' climate has to offer." Wet. Smiling.
"So you always take a walk at 7:30am on a Saturday morning? In the rain?"
"Whenever my schedule permits it. Did I miss anything important in Bio?"
"Is that why you're here? For those all important Bio notes?" Smirking.
"I'm sorry, Bella, I know I told you I'd let you process all this but… I can't help being the tiniest bit relieved."
"You haven't moved away."
"Nope, I still live here."
"You haven't joined the Witness Protection Program."
"I'm saving that for the mob bosses."
"One day you're gonna wake up and find a horse's head in your bed. You won't be smirking then."
"Are you putting it there?"
"No! I was just making conversation. Like you said the other day."
"Well stop mentioning it. It makes you seem creepy."
"Creepier than before, you mean?"
"I didn't find you creepy before."
"Psychotic? Delusional? Scary? Repulsive?"
"E. None of the above."
"Bella, I know that I probably sound crazy and that this is probably the opposite of romantic and that I'm possibly the last person you would ever think of this with and like I said, it is a compulsion only to me, I can understand if you feel nothing, want nothing—"
"Yeah. Sorry. I'll stop. But I get it, you probably don't want me anywhere near you, at school or in your home, especially now that I mentioned dead horses and—"
"Sorry." Forlorn. Nervous. Sad.
"Did you know your hair is red?"
"You think so?"
"Undeniably so." Grin. "Would you like to come in? Meet my dad over breakfast?"
"Really?" Bright. Beautiful. Adorable.
"Yes. I'd really like that." Hopeful, hungry. Happy.
"I would love to."
"Come on in."
"Is Charlie up?"
"No, I'll wake him up once I've rustled up something to eat."
"Wait. Before we go inside, Bella…"
"I've always wanted to try one thing…"
No more talking.
A/N: Thank you for reading! I decided to dive headfirst into fanfiction with this little departure from my comfort zone as I am usually far less prosaic. I will hopefully start to post a full story soon so if you're so inclined, author alert me. A review is always appreciated but if you've even made it to this a/n that's wonderful for me.
This story was, if not inspired then encouraged by a poem called Who Ever Loved That Loved Not at First Sight. You can google it. It is by Christopher Marlowe, the literary red headed stepchild of the Elizabethan Era (Will gets all the game and glory). Perhaps it was with the intention of getting Bella to read it that Edward presented his book to her. Sneaky.
If you enjoy a fun, snarky Bella and really great dialogue, please check out quothme's Type O Negative. She doesn't know I'm doing this and I hope she doesn't mind.
A quick FYI: I have a compulsive need to justify or everything: The Pavees are a real group of gypsies or Irish Travellers (as they're known) whose origins are in the UK/GB. Their actual story is that they were cursed to roam as nomads their whole life because one of the ancestors was a tinsmith who help make the cross that Jesus was crucified on but I manipulated the story to fit the wonderful Cullen men. It was simply a use of imagination, and if you are a descendant of one of these groups, there was no harm intended.
And if you're still reading this epic a/n, you get a second thank you just for indulging what seems my unending narcissism.