A/N: all the characters from the Twilight saga featured in this fiction are the property of Stephenie Meyer.
Fog over Dartmouth
The year is 2009. The month is September. Bella has been living in a fairy tale for the last two and a half years, but has realized there is a world outside of the Olympic Peninsula. Although she has all the time in the world to enjoy life with her beloved Edward, her precious Renesmee and the rest of her family, she knows that every passing day puts her in greater danger of exposure. Nessie has grown up to become more like an eight year old schoolgirl and less of the preschooler she is supposed to be. Bella is confined to her cottage and to the Cullens'house, because if she takes her daughter with her to visit Charlie in town, she might run into the friends that are still oblivious of her past ordeal. To all the people living in Forks, the Police Chief Swan's daughter has been gone for three years, moved to New Hampshire with her new husband Edward Cullen right after her honeymoon, and become a student at Dartmouth College.
As much as Bella is happy with her life, she knows that the moment has come to leave the West Coast behind her. Dartmouth was meant to happen after all. Besides, moving from one place to another has been the price the Cullens have had to pay for almost one hundred years. Bella would just need to get used to it…and to the fact that her family was not the only one who had secrets.
Getting ready for college
It had taken us less than a week to settle in that house I'd heard about so many times during the last few months, after it'd become obvious that our days of living in Forks were numbered. The property owned by Carlisle and Esme in the forest surrounding Hanover was not just a house, it was a mansion! I thought I'd seen it all with the white manor I was so accustomed to back in Washington State. How far was I from reality when I dared to think about it!
Yes, even in the deepest happiness that I was experiencing ever since I knew that nothing bad would ever happen to us again, I had been thinking of what I might be missing as a counterpart. So here I was now, preparing our bedroom in the principal residence of a domain that was a compound of at least seven buildings! I had the feeling it would take me an eternity to find my way through it, which, of course, had not the same meaning for me than it had for, say, my fellow classmates at Dartmouth.
Speaking of my soon to meet classmates, I was almost sure I would do very poorly compared to them. I had the impression College would not be a picnic to me. After being a vampire for three years, I had realized that my brain was somehow a lot more effective than it had been prior to my transformation, but I could still not measure up to Edward and all the knowledge he had come to accumulate in his mind over the years. I would never be able to catch up with him unless I asked him to take an academic break of 90 years. Which I wouldn't, because I needed him to be here with me in more ways than just one.
For one thing, I needed him to tutor me so I can compete with all the geeks I would see on a daily basis.
I also needed him because he was a good liar and he would be the one who would make our story believable. Because even though we now were a married couple, that is not what we would be telling around here. Edward was after all supposed to be only 17, and I had been changed at the dawn of my 19th birthday. Neither could we present Renesmee as our own daughter, because she now looked like a second or third grader, so she was going to pose as Carlisle and Esme's. We could only hope that no one would be too curious about our family situation. Other than that, nothing was really different from what it had been in Forks, except that Alice and Jasper would not be joining us until after Christmas. Rosalie, on the other hand, could never be away from Renesmee for more than the duration of a hunting trip. She'd been fully expecting to be part of the Dartmouth adventure as well. Needless to say, Emmett was more than happy with her decision to follow us all the way to New England. He would never miss an occasion to make fun of me. Some old habits die hard… In fact, the only one left behind was Jacob. He had made a promise to come join us, but his father just needed him too much at La Push. His diabetes was getting a toll on him; he was going blind. To be honest, try as he might, Emmett could not find much in me to laugh about these days. And that was another reason why I needed Edward around me more than ever. The Bella I had become was too gorgeous not to be noticed by a bunch of undergraduate guys, as absorbed in their subjects as they would probably be. Edward would stand as a reminder that I was already involved. With him around, I was pretty sure no one would dare to cross the line that separates friendly talk from flirtation. But should they try, and they would be good for some frightening moments in my company. Or maybe not. I had to keep a low profile. It would be easier for me than it must have been for Edward when I was a constant temptation to him, in another life.
Last but not least, I would need Edward to motivate me through that first year of college. To get accepted at Dartmouth was very prestigious, and Charlie had been ecstatic about it, but I still felt like a cheater. I was certain that the only reason I could be a student here was because the Cullens had made a generous donation to the College in return. But I was determined to make them proud of me no matter what, even if the courses I had to take were not my forte. I was in no obligation to major in sciences, but I still needed to attend some math and physics classes during that first year.
I sat still on the bed for a moment to memorize my schedule. The process of memorization itself took me less than 5 seconds, but I froze at the sudden thought that Edward was finally having his way, even if later than he'd anticipated. Had he known from the beginning that we would end up on the East Coast?
Edward was not Alice. He couldn't see the future. And yet here he was, preparing himself for the coming semester with serenity and even some kind of excitement. We were definitely not on the same page today. The prospect of more calculus and physics was not going to put a smile on my face, and Edward knew me all too well to think otherwise.
With a bit of concentration I could have lifted my protective shield and let him read my thoughts, but I still held on to my private mind most of the time, and I liked it much too much when he was looking at me with question marks in his golden eyes like he was right now. I could never get enough of him trying to figure me out.
"What is wrong, love?" He asked me after a moment of contemplating my unusual stillness.
"Same old same, and maybe worse, actually," I answered him in a low voice.
"Bella, if you're about to tell me again that you are afraid of failing your courses, I can assure you it's not going to happen." His voice sounded reassuring, indeed.
"Three years ago I would have agreed with you, Edward. But that calculus from my senior year in Forks, it's a blur now to me. I'm afraid I'll have to start from scratch…"
My voice broke on the last sentence. Every time I thought about that last year in high school, my now silent heart would still sting from the memories of days I wished to forget. Three years after having been turned into a vampire, my days as a mortal were like a blur. However, I knew some of it was not just a result of my new acute lucidity. Edward and I never talked about those months when he had left me, but I had lived them nevertheless. And all I could remember from the weeks after my 18th birthday till the day I had emerged among the livings were my nightmares.
"We will start from scratch if it's what it takes, darling. Don't worry about it."
Edward sat beside me on the bed and put one finger under my chin to force me to look him up in the eyes. My marble body started to liquefy. For a reason that was beyond my comprehension, Edward's empire over me was growing more powerful with every passing day. I could never help but being mesmerized by him. That thought brought back a smile on my face.
"There, see? That's much better," he continued. "Plus it's not like we have only math and physics on our schedule. We also have astronomy with Professor Letourneux. That ought to be easy, don't you think?"
I smiled wider. Astronomy. Planets and stars. Right. I didn't know much about that, but I had seen "Contact" when I was 10, and for a while I had imagined myself as the one who would make a trip on that spaceship featured in the movie.
"Edward, you do realize that none of this stuff would ever appeal to me if you were not enrolled with me, don't you?"
"Yes, Bella, but you said a few months ago that if you were to leave the Olympic Peninsula, it wouldn't be to get lost in some remote place. That's why I had to talk you back into going to college. You have no idea how happy I am about returning myself, only with you around this time."
He was right, of course, and I couldn't argue with him anymore. So I grabbed him and made him fall on the bed with me.