Author's Note: I'm going to make the note a bit longer this time. Why? Because I feel like it, okay! If you don't like reading boring author's notes, then just skip it. See if I care.
Do I really have to go over the list of things I don't own? Twilight, Storm Hawks, my little brothers (although I wish the last weren't true, then I could make them my personal slaves, Mwahahahaha). This is the disclaimer. Now it is done. Continuing with my longer-than-usual-but-still-reasonable-in-length author's note.
I have been thanking my reviews (I mean, who doesn't? Reviewers are awesome!), but I really want to take some time to let you know how much they mean to me. (Yeah, right. Nothing's going to stop me from writing this story. I write for the fun of it, not for reviews. That doesn't mean I don't like reviews!) So, I'd like to do a mini review corner here, in which I get to tell the people who reviewed how awesome they are, and the people too lazy to review get to be all 'Aw, man' and skip over and begin reading the story.
Helliexx: If there is one person who reviews all of my stories…well, let me put it this way—you have no idea how grateful I am. Thank you so much!
Smileyfacer: I'm glad you like it so much! In my opinion, the Bella in the book is nasty, selfish, and manipulative, but she tries to be nice. Really, sometimes she just nauseates me, especially the nasty way she pushed Jacob away when Edward comes back. I don't even like Jacob that much, but I certainly feel bad for him for being strung along. I personally think Cyclonis does a better job, because she may be just as nasty as Bella, but she knows she is, and she's a lot more honest about it. The way Bella in the book drools over Edward? It's truly sickening. She's such a bad role model for women. *sigh* Now that my rant is done (who am I kidding? I haven't even begun ranting yet) I'd like to thank you for your wonderful review. I am really glad that you're enjoying my twist on this story.
Missy-Dedocakes: I'd like to give you a giant thank you for your reviews. It meant so much to me, especially the way you pointed out the particular parts you liked. Truly, I felt that not only did you tell me what you thought, but your feedback will help me become a better writer. I am so grateful for your reviews. Thank you so much! I'm really glad that you enjoy the story, and hearing your comments always make my day brighter. ;-)
YOU: Yes, you, the ghost-reader, the lazy person who is reading this chapter and isn't going to review at all. I allow anonymous reviews, so I don't care whether or not you have an account or if you remembered to sign in today. Just review! You don't even have to say anything, 'hi' is fine, I'd just like to know that you're reading and maybe one word what you think. Is that too much to ask?
First class happened to be English. Which meant Mr. Mason got to be my punching bag.
Teasing teachers is a lot more fun than bullying other kids. For one, you have to be smart about it, because if you go out of line, they can get you in trouble easily. To tease a teacher, you need to hide your comments well enough so they know exactly what you mean, but can't punish you without seeming unfair.
"Thank you for joining us, Miss Cyclonis," Mr. Mason said in a disparaging tone.
"For what? Breakfast club?" I replied politely. "I'm not late. The bell is ringing right…" I glanced at my watch. "…now."
"Although the three walking in the door right now technically are late. Will you greet them with such sincerity as you have me?" The class all laughed, and Mr. Mason flushed red.
"So, um, get out your homework," he mumbled.
I raised my hand. He glanced at me, then grimaced, but everyone waited on him to call on me. Finally, he did. "What homework?"
A few people scoffed. I might have been insufferably rude when I was in the mood, but I was never a slacker.
Mr. Mason's eyes narrowed. Give me a homework slip? It seemed like a dream come true for him. He was waiting for the catch, then went to gleefully proclaim, "Reading chapters 13 and 14 and writing a one-page essay on the theme. I announced it in class, and it was written on the board. Now, do you want to come get a homework slip for missing work…"
He trailed off as I pulled out a two page essay, because I'm just an overachiever like that. "No, I'm referring to the fact that the latter aspect of the compound word 'homework' is work, and the stuff that you assigned us certainly was not work. There was absolutely no originality or thinking required; the stated the theme for you on page 97. In fact, it was so easy that I practically did it in my sleep." Not a lie—I had sleepwalked, sleeptalked, sleepsung, sleep-played-the-piano before; I wouldn't be surprised if I sleep-did-brainless-homework.
He opened his mouth like he was considering berating me, then thought better, and closed it. I sighed, then smiled contently. One and a half months here, and I already had the teachers well-trained.
When class ended, both Mike and Eric decided to escort me to the next one. Mike was prattling on about this beach trip he was planning for the weekend. Apparently, I was going, too, although I hadn't really been informed. I tried to sound fairly eager, and reminded myself that Social Services and my adoptive father, Chief Swan, wanted to see me socializing and being a normal high school girl.
The rest of the morning passed in a blur, which was a welcome relief, because already I was tired of the things these kids called classes.
For some strange reason, I was impatient (at least, more impatient than usual) when Jessica and I entered the cafeteria. I was curious—was Edward having another one of his weird mood swings, or was he back to the cold, indifferent person that I could tolerate? Jessica babbled about her dress shopping plans, and I tuned her out expertly.
I glanced towards the Cullens' table, and was slightly disappointed to notice that there were only four of them. It made little sense. Based on the behavior patterns that I observed, all of them sat at the same table every day, yet at the same time, why would Edward randomly ditch, especially after being here this morning?
"Edward Cullen is staring at you again," Jessica stated, catching my attention. "I wonder why he's sitting alone today?"
I followed her gaze, and sure enough, there was Edward, smiling crookedly, staring at me from an empty table across the cafeteria from where he usually sat. Once he'd caught my eye, he motioned with his right index finger for me to join him. Then, to my disbelief, he had the audacity to wink at me.
"Does he mean you?" Jessica asked with such astonishment it bordered on insulting.
"No, I think he's paging my imaginary friend," I retorted. "Who else? I'm his Biology partner. I bet he wants help on his homework or something." With that parting line, I sauntered away, ignoring the feeling of her stare burning holes in my back.
When I reached his table, I unloaded my backpack off the shoulder. I was already halfway into the chair when he invited me, "Why don't you sit down with me today?"
My cheeks flushed a delicate pink. Although, I had to give him credit—by officially inviting me to sit with him, he both made it clear that the power here was his, and made me feel rather rude for sitting down without being invited.
Then, I realized I was overanalyzing everything.
An awkward silence stretched between us, which I didn't mind at all. I proceeded to ignore him, and start on my lunch. Finally, I glanced up, and saw that Edward looked a lot more uncomfortable with not talking than I was. I decided to make it easy on him, open up the conversation. "So, this is different."
"Well," he paused, then the rest of the words came out in a rush. "I decided that as long as I was going to hell, I might as well do it thoroughly."
I glared at him again, my irritation evident in my expression. "Are you referring to the fact that you believe I'm evil enough to corrupt you, or are you worried about getting in trouble by being with me and have decided that you might as well go all-out?"
He flashed a smile. "Yeah. Well, the second part at least."
I snorted. "Okay, onto the next mysterious, lame statement with a cryptic undertone designed specifically to keep me up at night wondering. Which they kind of fail at doing, because I'm a heavy sleeper."
He glanced around. "Well, um, your friends look rather mad at me for stealing you."
Rolling my eyes, I replied, "Yeah, right. Well, my male friends might hate you, but I think my female friends are forever in your debt for giving them something to gossip about besides what dress they want to wear to the spring dance. Trust me, they'll survive without me."
"I might not give you back, though." His eyes glinted wickedly.
I felt fury rising in me, making my stomach burn. "No, Edward, you will not be 'giving me back,'" I spat. "To give me back, you have to own me in the first place. I am an independent woman. If I return to their table, it will be on my own terms."
He chuckled. "Someone has a temper."
"Get used to it."
"Oh, I plan to." My eyes widened, surprised. Was that the most pathetic pickup line ever, or had I been hearing hidden meanings that weren't really there?
"What brought this on?" I asked carefully.
"I told you—I got tired of trying to stay away from you, so I'm giving up." He was still smiling, but his eyes conveyed far more serious emotions.
"Edward, you were the one boy at this school who does not annoy me to the brink of insanity," I replied. "In addition, I did not begin to hate you once you opened your mouth. Sometimes, you actually have something worth listening to, to say. However, I'm tired of your weird statements which make absolutely no sense and have contradictory meanings. In plain, pre-schooler English: are we friends now?"
"Friends…" he mused, dubious.
"Acquaintances, companions, peers, however you wish to put it. Or will you go back to not talking to me, please? One or the other. I can't stand your weird, in-the-middle actions."
He grinned. "Well, we can try, I suppose. But I'm warning you now that I might not be a good friend for you."
I shrugged. "You say that a lot. Besides, I'll be the judge of what is or is not good for me."
His golden eyes smoldered, intense. "It's because you don't listen to me. If you were smart, you'd stay away from me."
I returned his gaze, retorting, "If you were smart, you'd stop trying to boss me around."
He smiled apologetically, and I turned back to my lunch. On the one hand, I missed the silent Edward who didn't bug me, but on the other, I was enjoying our verbal sparring matches immensely. It was a marvelous change from the normal high schooler's conversation, which I had discovered were no different if the only response was "Uh-huh."
"What are you thinking?" he asked curiously.
"Cogito, ergo sum. I think, therefore I am. Do you really think I'm going to blurt out my innermost identity by giving you access to my secret thoughts?"
Edward looked nearly sheepish. "Um, yes?"
I sighed. Flashing back to our previous conversation, he seemed pretty upset every time I brought up his super-powers. "I'm trying to figure out who—or what—you are. Care giving me a DNA sample, and making my life a lot easier?"
He shook his head, grinning, but I could see by the way his eyes narrowed slightly and his forehead crinkled that he was paying far more attention. "I'm more intrigued about how much luck you're having on your own."
I sighed, loud and fake. "Not much, you haven't been giving me much to go off of."
"A theory is a compilation of proven hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. I can't even make a hypothesis with the limited data you have provided. At best, I can make an educated guess, and even then it wouldn't be that educated. And even that, I'm not telling." I felt the childish urge to stick my tongue out at him, which I repressed.
His golden eyes narrowed. "You know, this is really frustrating," he complained.
"No, I don't see why it would be frustrating at all," I spat, getting out all my pent-up annoyance. "You not only defy the laws of physics, you defy the laws of how teenage high school boys act, according to moi. You've done a wide range of bizarre things, from saving my life under impossible circumstances one day to treating me like a pariah the next, and again, with no reasonable explanation. You are not the one allowed to be frustrated, okay?"
"So you admit that I saved your life?"
"That's beyond the point!"
We glared at each other, then suddenly, he broke off, staring over my shoulder. To my surprise and amusement, he began to grin. "Your boyfriend is quite mad at me. He's wondering if I'm being unpleasant to you, and is contemplating coming over and breaking us up."
"Don't think you can distract me," I snapped. Then, of course, I had to ask, "But who are you talking about? I don't have a boyfriend." I glanced over my shoulder to see Mike glaring at the pair of us. "Oh. Yeah, definitely not that brainless drone. But tell me, what gave you that idea?"
He smiled, glad that my annoyance was directed at someone else for a change. "Most people are easy for me to read."
"Everyone but me. Yeah, we've been through this before."
His mood shifted abruptly, his eyes turning brooding. "Yes, everyone except for you. I wonder why."
I looked at my food and decided that I definitely was going to pack a lunch for tomorrow, because this cafeteria stuff was complete junk. I pushed my plate away from me slightly, wincing.
"You're not hungry?"
"No, I am absolutely starving, and that is why I'm pushing the plate away from me." He looked at me blankly, and I sighed. "No, I'm not hungry. What about you? Aren't you hungry?"
"No, I'm not hungry either." His expression was one of morbid amusement, like he was enjoying some inside jokes. I'm fine with inside jokes, as long as I'm on the inside of them. Otherwise, I completely and utterly loathe them.
I wondered briefly why I was spending so much time with Cullen, if he made me this mad. Then I decided I sort of liked being mad, it made things fun.
"Could you do me a favor?" I asked, after a second's hesitation.
He was suddenly wary. "That depends on what the favor is."
"Actually, I don't have one in mind right now," I admitted. "I was trying to see if you would give me a blank check. Still, I think I'll save the favor for later."
"That sounds fair, may I have one thing in return?"
I grinned viciously. "Depends on what that one thing is."
"Evolution, the Big Bang, relativity—"
"Fine, a not-very-educated guess."
"Black holes do not exist because they are a mathematical improbability, there are no infinities in our universe—"
Now his voice was a little bit annoyed. "About me."
"Didn't I already tell you? Bipolar, weirdo, multiple personality disorder—"
"I mean what you thought about…you know…the van…and my…"
I laughed. "Will you stop interrupting me?"
He glared; I don't think he was finding this as amusing as I was. "Will you stop answering the wrong question?"
"Touché. Although, the way you phrased it, technically they weren't the wrong questions." I played with the cap of my water bottle, letting him squirm a bit, before beginning, "Well, I've considered bitten by radioactive spiders."
"That's not very creative," he scoffed. He almost looked a bit relieved beneath his swagger.
"Don't you dare insult the spider-monkey theory! I do not look in comic books for inspiration. My father and I created a serum that was supposed to create a super-soldier, which has absolutely nothing to do with my non-existent plans for world domination, and it was basically a radioactive venom. It worked, too—the guy went super-strong, super-fast, and indestructible for about three hours, then he died. We saw why—the mutagens in his bloodstream were actually producing extra chromosomes, and the stress on his cells was too much. Father figured if we had given him blood transfusions, we could have prolonged his life-span, but without them, it was only three hours."
Edward looked very, very nervous. "Well, sorry to disappoint you, but there are no radioactive spiders." He forced a laugh. "No kryptonite, either."
"Don't you dare put down radioactive crystals. Or was one slam into the wall not enough for you?" He winced at the memory.
I sighed. "I'll figure it out eventually," I continued.
"I wish you wouldn't try." His tone was dark, serious again.
"Give me one good reason."
"What if I'm not a superhero? What if I'm the bad guy?" He smiled playfully, but his eyes were impenetrable.
"Well, I'd have to say I'm very sorry," I replied, keeping my eyes glued to his face. His expression didn't disappoint: his eyes fell, and his mouth twisted up in a self-deprecating smirk. "In the oncoming world order of Cyclonia, lead by your truly, the role of 'Tyrant, Dictator, or Da Big Boss' has already been claimed. By Moi. However, I still am looking for evil henchman. The Dark Side is always hiring, and you know what they say about cookies isn't all rumors." His mouth fell open, like a capitol O, and his eyes went all wide. I smirked, continuing. "You know, really, this is the best news I've heard in a while. We can get together and drink tea and exchange world domination plans…" I trailed off, glancing up expectantly.
He finally recovered enough to speak. "You're not kidding, are you?"
"No, nope, no way, nada." I flashed him a smile. "You know, you better not be kidding, because that's called stringing a girl along and I will extract nasty revenge."
The bell rang, cutting off his reply, and I stood abruptly. "You coming? Or are you determined to be late?"
"I'm not going to class today." Somehow, he had managed to steal the lid of my water-bottle, and was now twirling it. Jerk. He better recycle.
"It's healthy to ditch class now and then."
"You know something I don't."
"I don't like it."
"How did you put it? The bell rang, are you determined to be late?"
I wanted to tell him that I was ditching, too, but knowing my previous records for ditching for days to participate in complex experiments, Chief Swan probably wouldn't take it so nicely. I would have to go to class. Then, I realized I was just standing there sputtering at him. I pivoted on one heel, then stormed out, leaving him sitting there, that annoying smile covering his face.
Time for Biology, or should I say bore-ology. Considering the amount that my knowledge had increased from information I had gathered in that class, I concluded that the latter would be a more appropriate name. I slid into my seat a few moments after the bell had rang, but lucky me, the teacher was even later than I was.
Mr. Banner came into the room, calling class to order. He seemed slightly out of breath and was balancing far to many cardboard boxes in his stubby arms. He plopped them all down on Mike's table, so roughly that one nearly capsized, and enlisted the boy to help his pass them around to everyone in the room.
"One piece from each box," he instructed, snapping on white gloves. I wrinkled my nose in disgust. Maybe it looked cool in movies, but in actual labs, you never snapped your gloves. Never. There were too many substances that you didn't want to fling or hit…it just gave me a bad feeling.
"Indicator card, four-pronged applicator, and micro-lancer," he explained, holding all of them up in turn. Instantly, my visceral feelings of dread found an intellectual base: there was a good chance that he had been doing blood-typing with all of his classes, and due to the funding of this school, 'sterile' meant 'run them under water in the men's restroom.' I felt nauseated at the thought of pricking myself with such an unsanitary tool.
He started at Mike's table, carefully putting one drop of water on all the squares, then grabbing Mike's hand and jabbing the spike in. I felt my stomach heave again, and I was completely thankful to Edward Cullen for making me too annoyed to eat lunch. Because if I had eaten…
"Mr. Banner, I already know my blood type," I said, trying to sound superior. I failed miserably, only giving a sick, weak impression. It also didn't help that I had begun to hyperventilate.
He sighed, then called, "Will someone take Miss Cyclonis to the nurse?"
I was too upset about the unsanitary lab equipment surrounding me to bother getting mad at him for messing up my name, again. Most of the teachers got it right, but some still stubbornly refused to call me my last name without adding the title 'Miss.'
Mike volunteered. Surprise, surprise. This guy just couldn't take a hint. I wondered if I threw up on him, would he stop trying to hit on me?
The boy offered me his shoulder to lean on, and even in my state, I managed to give him a look of loathing and disgust my father would have been proud of. Then, with as much dignity as I could muster, I stood on my own and walked out. He followed behind, tagging like a sad puppy-dog. (Seriously, what is with this boy and puppy dogs? Didn't he get the memo—I'm a cat person.) It took all my self-restraint not to sprint away from the scientists' nightmare of high school students, blood, and dirty, contaminated tools.
When we got out of the range of vision of the classroom, I stopped, sinking down the wall of lockers to a seated position of the floor. Mike plopped down next to me.
"Fine, just need some air, keep that hand in your pocket!" I put my forehead in my hands, inhaling deeply, taking in the chill, crisp air.
"Cyclonis?" This was a different voice, from a bit of a distance. It was a low, velvety voice. A familiar voice. As in his voice.
I bit back a groan. Seriously, he had the worst timing. Of all the people I didn't want to see me weak, the only person who topped Edward Cullen was my father. I squeezed my eyes shut, wishing to disappear; it was an illogical response, but given my current nauseated, sickened condition, it was one to be expected.
Mike seemed stressed, his voice filled with tension. "I think she fainted. I'm not really sure why, she didn't even stick her finger."
Suddenly, I was no longer on the ground. "Cy? Can you hear me?"
I opened my eyes and snapped back weakly, "What do you think?"
"I'll take her to the nurse. You can go back to class now." He began walking forward, ignoring Mike's protests until the idiot boy shut up. It took me a few seconds to get used to the rocking feel of being carried, then I realized I sort of liked it. There was a soothing, calming aspect to the motions. Suddenly, I didn't feel like I was about to die. My breathing returned closer to normal.
"So, you faint at the sight of blood?" I looked up, slightly surprised he was speaking to me.
"No," I replied. "I find it repulsive to give insane high school students contaminated laboratory equipment, and then tell them to prick their fingers. It doesn't help that I was raised in a very…strict, ordered environment, especially when it came to laboratory hygiene."
"So…how would you put it, in simple, pre-schooler English? You don't faint at the sight of blood, you faint because of your paranoia of contamination?" He seemed highly amused, especially when it brought a chuckle out of me, too.
"You know, Edward, I find it quite hilarious when you can't think of a witty enough comeback of your own so you have to use one of mine." He continued chucking, though, his good mood refusing to be dampened.
As he got me to the front office, there were a chorus of "Oh, dears," first from the receptionist then the nurse. Nursey made me sit down with an ice pack, and Edward got me excused from my next class, Gym. It wasn't three minutes before someone else came limping into the sick room, also helped by Mike (which made me wonder if he was just interested in getting out of class after all), and I was let go.
I decided to make conversation as we walked along the buildings, the only students outside. It was a strange feel, like the whole place was deserted, but at the same time so alive.
"So, do you also faint at the sight of blood?"
Edward grimaced. "No."
"Then why ditch? Obviously, the blood typing was the something you knew which I didn't."
He was silent. "Okay, maybe I do. Just don't tell anyone."
I gazed at him carefully, taking in his posture, expression, and tone of voice. It was all perfect, too perfect. "I think you're lying. Your first answer was closer to the truth. I will figure you out, Edward." I turned, breaking off from him and heading towards my car.
His hand was on my shoulder in an instant. "Where do you think you're going?"
I flashed him a sneer. "Do you see any other ugly red trucks in the parking lot?"
"I said I would get you home safe, and I will. You're in no condition to drive."
I glared at him. Seriously, I was getting to be an expert at glaring because of the way he could so easily annoy me. "So, what? You want me to walk? You know, you're in no condition to order me around."
He grabbed my arm lightly, but dragged me with an iron grip towards his silver Volvo. After a few stumbling steps, I realized where he was taking me, and complied. When we finally reached the passenger door, he opened it for me, waiting.
"You are so pushy," I huffed.
I didn't move.
"You know, you'll make but three steps before I catch you, so don't even think of making a run for it."
"I wasn't," I leered. "I was contemplating which I disliked more: hearing the roar of my engine deafen me or the humiliation of backing down, on this issue at least."
His grin widened. "Get in, Cy."
I was about to correct him on the usage of my nickname, then I realized that we were 'friends' now, so he was allowed to called me that. Holding my head high, I slid into the seat, waiting for something else to further my embarrassment.
"So, you don't like your truck? You know, I wouldn't mind picking you up for school every morning."
"I prefer my independence more than I detest my truck, but give it a few weeks, and I'll probably be begging you."
He nodded, turning up the heater. As he started up the engine, the stereo turned on, playing a certain piano piece that I knew.
"Claire de Lune?"
"You know Debussy?"
"No, it was a random guess. Of course I do, I was forced to learn to play this song on the piano." Before he could ask, I continued, "My father made me take lessons from age three to five, he thought that it would give my fingers more precision in the laboratory."
He nodded, relaxing a bit. I closed my eyes and let the music wash over me.
Of course, the peace couldn't last. Not with Edward Cullen in the car. "So, I've heard a bit about your father, but what was your mother like?"
"I don't know," I replied shortly. "She died giving birth to me. A burden I've lived with my entire life."
He turned to face me, making me wonder how much safer it was to drive with him, asking, "How old are you, Cy?"
"You don't seem seventeen."
"Neither do you." He grimaced, and I almost felt bad for him. I guess extra maturity was another one of the strange, unexplained phenomena surrounding him?
"So you lived with your father?"
"What was he like?"
"Why are you asking me all these questions?" Edward was silent. "He's an absolute genius, very strict, but quite brilliant. I miss him a lot. I guess I was the only person who really understood him, and I worry about him sometimes. How he's getting along."
"So, are you going to tell me about your family?"
"What do you want to know?" he replied. His expression was guarded, and I knew the answers I received would be carefully worded as to not give anything away.
"The Cullens adopted you?"
"What about your real parents?"
"They died a long time ago."
I felt sorry for him—I knew what it was like to lack a parent. "I'm sorry," I whispered.
His eyes widened in sympathy. "Don't be," he assured me. "I don't remember that that clearly, and Carlisle and Esme have been my parents for a long time now."
"And you love them?"
"Absolutely. I couldn't imagine too better people."
Jealousy twisted in my gut. Rich, educated parents, siblings, the perfect family…what wasn't there to envy? My childhood had been bleak, and nonexistent; I was expected to behave as an adult since well before I had reached double digits. Although I knew it was such a gift to have received such higher learning, I still sometimes wished for the simpler pleasures of life.
A small change in the subject was needed. "What about your brothers and sisters?"
"My brothers and sisters will be highly annoyed with me if they are forced to wait in the rain."
I gave a small start, realizing we had reached Chief Swan's house. It wasn't like me to be so unobservant.
I got out of the car, into the cool, clean air, and couldn't help but smile. Really, the weather over here might be the only thing I did truly like.
"Cy? Will you promise me one thing?" His voice, his eyes, his entire expression was tense.
"Be careful this weekend." Then he drove away, leaving me to wonder what was so dangerous about the beaches at La Push.