Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. If I did, there would be no fading to black…ever.
Side note: If you have not read The Honeymoons Over… well you should because this is the prequel to it.
I patted my mother's back softly as she held me in a chokehold of a hug and sobbed against my shoulder. My father sniffed loudly and shuffled around the car, making sure everything had been taken inside.
"I just can't believe my baby is all grown up," she wailed loudly. "I'm going to miss you so much!"
People were starting to stare so I slowly pulled away and gave her an encouraging smile. "Mom, I promise I will be fine. I am only a few hours away and I will be back in a few months for Thanksgiving."
She nodded and wiped her eyes, laughing weakly at the scene she had made. My father must have felt the emotional outbursts were over because he wrapped an arm around my shoulder and held me to him.
"Remember to lock your door every time you come in or go out," he said gruffly. I tried to reassure him that I would, but he just kept talking. "Now Bella, I know how this world works. I see it every day. You and Alice just promise me you will be safe."
I wanted to ask him exactly what he saw in Forks that made him question humanity as a whole but decided against it. My sarcasm normally went unnoticed by him anyway and I didn't need another lecture from him today.
Alice appeared at his other side and wrapped her arms around his middle.
"Charlie, you know we will be safe. A little trust, please?" she smiled and batted her eyelashes up at him.
He gave both of us his "serious cop" face before kissing the top of my head and then Alice's. I hugged her parent's goodbye as she promised my mother she would look after me. After several more hugs and quite a few tears from our mothers, Alice and I stood side by side and watched as their cars left the parking lot.
"Thank God!" Alice cried sarcastically as she threw her head back.
I laughed, ignoring the bubble of nervousness that sat in my stomach as I watched my parent's car disappear around a corner. This was it--I wasn't a child anymore. I was an adult, on my own and free to make my own choices. If I wanted to leave at two in the morning to go get something to eat, I could. I didn't have to ask anybody's permission for anything, and that both excited and scared the shit out of me.
I followed her back up to our dorm room. Alice put in a CD as I fell onto my bed and stared around at the decorations our mothers had put up. The bright pinks and purples were so feminine and extremely similar to the decorations we each had back home in Forks.
"We really should have told them no," Alice sighed, her hands placed on her hips, eyes wandering around the small room. "I can't handle this much pink."
I laughed and sat up. "We should have, but we didn't."
Alice started pulling the pink curtains our mothers had hung over the windows, and together the two of us started making the room less pink and more us. She was in the middle of hanging a poster of a band her mother had forbidden her to listen to when there was a knock on our door.
I told her I would get it, and when I pulled the door open, I found one of the prettiest girls I had ever seen standing there smiling at me. My eyes blinked rapidly as she said hello in a perky voice. I muttered a hello, wondering what the hell she wanted.
"My name is Lauren. Are you Alice?" she asked quickly while her eyes scanned the room behind me.
"Oh um, no…" I looked behind me to see Alice glaring at the door. "Alice, it's for you."
"What?" she practically growled at the girl. I stepped back, watching as Lauren's perfect smile slipped off her face. I had no idea who this girl was or how she could have already pissed Alice off, but I felt sorry for her.
Lauren quickly recovered and held her hand out for Alice to shake, her smile back in place as she squared her shoulders and looked at Alice. "I'm Lauren Mallory. Your sister asked me to come by and talk to you about pledging…"
Alice shook her head and stopped her. "I have no idea what my sister told you but I can promise you I have no plans on pledging anything. That's not really my thing. There were some rather snooty looking girls a few doors down--try there."
Without even a good-bye, Alice shut the door in Lauren's face and went back to unpacking. I watched her for a second; debating on if I should risk asking her what the hell that was all about. Before I could make a decision she turned to look at me.
"It's not something I'm interested in," she said plainly. "I am not that kind of girl, even if my mother and sister want to believe I am."
I nodded, telling her I understood, and went back to my side of the room. I sunk down in my chair and started organizing my desk. I watched Alice out of the corner of my eye and couldn't help but be a little jealous of the fact that she was so confident in herself.
Alice had always been a force all her own, even as a child. From an early age she knew exactly who she was and what she wanted. Alice's sister, Sarah, had graduated the year before we became freshmen in high school. Sarah was beautiful, popular, and basically the All-American girl. When it came time for Alice to step into Sarah's place at Forks High School, she rebelled. She cut off all of her hair and declined the offer to be on the yearbook staff and in student council. She changed all of her electives to art classes and point blank refused to have anything to do with Forks' social scene. Alice had made it perfectly clear that she was not her sister, and everyone knew not to challenge her on that issue. I think her mother always held out hope that her youngest daughter would eventually come around, but it was obvious she had no plans on changing.
Alice had been my best friend since second grade. Her family had just moved to Forks and from the moment I saw her walk into our classroom, I knew something was different about her. The more popular girls offered to let her sit with them at lunch but she declined and instead sat next to me and offered to share her PB&J. She didn't question why I chose to sit and read at recess instead of play like the other kids; she only sat next to me and asked me to read to her. Years flew by and our friendship became something closer to being family. Our parent's eventually gave up on refusing to let us sleep over on school nights, and throughout the week we would alternate between her house and mine. When it came time to decide on colleges, we both applied to the same ones and unsurprisingly both got accepted to the University of Washington. God knew our parent's couldn't handle us as sisters so he made us best friends instead.
Unlike Alice I was just…well I guess you could say I was plain. I did what everyone expected of me, making good grades and never getting into trouble. It was expected that I would be the ideal student. After all, my father was the police chief and my mother was the high school guidance counselor. What I never understood was why the same expectations never fell on my older brother. Emmett was a straight C student, only passing so he could play sports. He finished college, again only so he could play football, and now worked as a coach for a junior high school. Emmett was the popular guy that threw great parties, and I was the girl everyone ignored or avoided.
I can say with all honesty that I hated high school. I hated the drama and never ending bullshit that came with it. In a town the size of Forks, once you were branded something, it stayed that way…forever. To those people I would forever be the weird girl that was Emmett's little sister, or the police chief's daughter. Growing up you try to define who you are, try to figure out exactly where you stand in this world. Until now, I hadn't been given that chance. I didn't want to be the insecure wallflower that I had been for the past eighteen years of my life. I wanted to be able to be myself around people other than Alice and my family. But every time I thought about it, the same fear and insecurities would plague me all over again. Would people get my sense of humor? Would my sarcasm offend anyone? Would my random thought process make me look like a complete idiot? It made my heart rate increase just thinking about it. My problem wasn't that I was shy; it was that I didn't know if people really got me.
The few times I had tried to be myself back home had ended badly. My sarcasm would make me seem like a huge bitch when instead I was just trying to break the ice.
Over time I learned to just keep my mouth shut and only be myself when I was around my family or Alice. The more I kept the real me hidden, the harder it was to remember who the hell I was. Was I shy Bella? Was I bookworm Bella? Or was I random, sarcastic Bella? I had no idea anymore and that scared the shit out of me.
I had spent the entire summer promising myself that I would try to be myself here. I was away from almost everyone that had known me in Forks and this was the perfect opportunity to figure things out. I wanted to experience new things, be open to new ideas and beliefs. I wanted to figure out what it was I wanted in life, and who the hell I actually was.
My first day as a college freshman was not going well. If this was an indication as to "who I was supposed to be," then I was supposed to be a clumsy, socially awkward girl who got lost every time she turned a corner. I had spilled coffee all over myself, accidentally knocked someone down the stairs with my backpack, and successfully managed to end up in the wrong classroom. Twice.
With a sigh, I double-checked the room for my chemistry class; after making sure it was the right one, I pulled the door open. There were a few people already inside, some reading and a few quietly talking. As I walked inside, all of their eyes turned towards me. I smiled awkwardly as I felt my face blush with embarrassment. I nervously twisted my fingers together as I made my way to one of the lab tables at the back of the class. I dropped my bag on the floor and carefully slid onto one of the high stools.
I watched as people arrived, noticing how more and more of the girls in my class were all made up. Their perfect hair and makeup made me feel slouchy. I looked down at my own plain shirt and jeans, mentally debating if I should pull my hair down from its messy ponytail and hope that it didn't look like I hadn't brushed it in a week. As my hand moved towards the back of my head I had to make myself stop. This was exactly what I didn't want. It was only the first day of classes and I was already conforming to what I thought was the norm. I sat my hands in my lap and waited for the class to start.
The professor eventually called us to order, making the quiet chatter come to a stop. As she introduced herself and started explaining the syllabus, I glanced around the room. Almost everyone was either watching her or reading the paper she had passed out. I turned my head slightly to look at the table next to mine only to find some guy watching me. I quickly looked away, praying he hadn't seen me. I mentally cursed myself for not letting my hair down--it would have provided a curtain to at least hide my cheeks that were probably beet red by now.
I bit my lip nervously as my heart pounded in my chest and tried to look back at him from my peripheral vision. A fat lot of good it did, because before I knew it, my head was turned again to find him still watching me. I tried to make myself turn back around, but as his eyes narrowed into a slight glare I felt my mouth fall open from surprise. He continued watching me for a few seconds before looking back towards the front of the room.
What the hell? I turned back towards the front and slightly shook my head. I leaned my elbow on the side of the table, resting my head against my hand and turning my body away from him. I had no idea who this guy was or why he felt the need to glare at me. For a split second I debated on turning to see if he was looking at me again but decided against it. Whatever his problem was, there was no way it could have anything to do with me.
I sighed and looked down at the syllabus Dr. Bryant was still explaining. I glanced over the assignments and started to worry. Chemistry and I had a mutual hatred for each other. I had almost failed it in high school and could only imagine how much worse it would be at a college level. I prayed that I would at least get paired with a strong lab partner. Looking at Dr. Bryant's grading scale, she seemed to favor lab grades as opposed to homework. Homework you could fake, get the answers straight from the books. Labs required actual knowledge about what the hell you were doing, therefore screwing me royally.
"I will randomly being choosing your lab partners, so if you guys would pair up when I call your names, we can get started," she called over the class and everyone looked around nervously. I stared straight ahead and hoped that she wouldn't stick me with the asshole sitting next to me.
I watched as my classmates were paired together--they would smile awkwardly as one of them made the first move to pair up. Fewer and fewer people were left sitting by themselves and my stomach fluttered uncomfortably.
"Isabella Swan and oh, let's see…" she said while looking over her list of students. I prayed and prayed that he wouldn't be my partner. "Edward Cullen."
She smiled and looked around. I heard a chair beside me move and I inwardly groaned. I sighed before turning to look beside me and sure enough, this Edward Cullen person was standing and looking around the room.
"Isabella?" Dr. Bryant asked and I reluctantly raised my hand.
"It's Bella," I corrected her lamely as Edward moved towards my table.
I jumped as his stool scratched against the floor when he pulled it away from the table. He sat down, dropping his bag on the floor between us and sighed heavily.
I folded my arms across my chest, holding onto the back of my arms and pretended to listen as Dr. Bryant passed out our first assignment. All I could really focus on was Edward mumbling under his breath that all of this was a waste of time. I didn't understand what he was talking about until I looked down at what she handed me and saw that it was a survey of sorts. Twenty questions we were supposed to ask our lab partners as a way of breaking the ice.
I timidly looked up at Edward and saw his eyes quickly scanning the page then glaring back at the front of the classroom. I was going to need something more than a survey to break the ice; I needed a freaking ice pick.
Once she had finished explaining the instructions, I picked my bag up off the floor and pulled a pen out of the front pocket. I was about to put it back down when Edward stopped me.
"Can I borrow a pen?"
I turned to look at him, momentarily distracted by how beautiful his eyes were. I couldn't help but stare at the intense shade of green that looked back at me. He watched me with a cocky smirk on his face that frustrated the hell out of me.
"Did you hear me?" he asked with a laugh, and I shook my head quickly before handing him the pen I had taken out earlier and pulled another one out of my bag. The asshole didn't even say thank you. Instead he pulled the cap off of the pen and pulled our assignment closer to him.
"Name?" he asked in a bored voice that made me want to roll my eyes. Had Dr. Bryant not just called out both of our names?
"Isabella Swan, but everyone calls me Bella," I told him as I wrote his own name on my paper. When he didn't say anything I looked up at him again, finding that same damn smirk plastered across his face. "What?"
"You do realize your parents named you 'beautiful swan,' right?" he laughed even when my eyes narrowed while I glared at him.
Obviously he was not the first person to realize how stupid my name was, but most of the jokes had stopped when we were all in the seventh grade. I was glad to see his maturity level was advanced. Ignoring his weak attempt at humor, I continued. "Are you originally from Seattle?" I asked quietly.
"Born and raised," he answered. "You?"
I shook my head. "No, I'm from Forks."
"Forks?" he laughed while writing down my answer. "Is it close to Spoons? Or Knives?"
I dropped my pen and looked up at him and his stupid freaking cocky ass smile. This guy was seriously starting to annoy the shit out of me. "Is there anything else you would like to make fun of? How about the fact that I have an innate fear of wet paper? Or that when I was a child, I had a speech impediment?"
He looked at me for a second, the cocky smile lessening into a kind smile. "I'm sorry," he said quietly.
I nodded and went back to our survey. I was about to ask him the next question when he interrupted me.
"Are you really afraid of wet paper?" he asked while a smile played on the corner of his lips.
I opened my mouth to say something snarky, maybe even bitch-like, but decided against it. I was going to have to deal with guy for the rest of the semester, so I chose to ignore him and continued on with our assignment.
In that one class I learned several things about Edward Cullen. He was an only child and a Seattle native, and he went to some private school that I assume must have been prestigious because the way he said it made it sound like I should have known what he was talking about. Edward was majoring in architecture, enjoyed music and sports, and lastly, was a complete asshole.
I was a sarcastic person, but he was overly sarcastic. He had some comment for every single thing I said, laughed at me when I admitted to being horrible with chemistry, and didn't even give me my pen back when class ended. It annoyed the shit out of me that he had this…this…pretentious and absolutely infuriating smile on his face at all times. Ugh! He was just so irritating!
I followed a group of people outside of the building, watching as Edward laughed and talked with some guy that was also in our class. He obviously didn't have problems being nice to other people, which only infuriated me more.
Rolling my eyes, I hitched my bag further up on my shoulder and carefully made my way down the stairs and out into the open quad. I kept my head down as I walked past Edward and his friend, hoping that he would be too engrossed in conversation to recognize me. Of course that didn't happen.
"Hey Bella, catch!" he called to me. It was unlucky for him and me that I had a slow reaction time, because as I turned my head to see what he was even talking about, a Frisbee collided with my forehead.
"SHIT!" I yelled loudly as the disk fell with a thud onto the ground. I rubbed my forehead as both Edward and his friend ran towards me.
"Oh my God, are you okay?" Edward said with a laugh that only made me glare at him.
"I'm fine," I said poignantly as I started to walk away.
"I'm really sorry, I didn't…" he said in a fake serious voice that broke with laughter.
I shook my head and continued on my way. Edward Cullen was going to be a pain in my ass for the next four months. An hour a day, three days a week I was going to have to deal with that jackass and his antics.
As I shut the door to our dorm room behind me, I sighed and made my way over to the mirror next to Alice's closet. I groaned when I saw a welt forming over my right eye.
Edward Cullen was definitely going to be a pain in my ass.
Assward for the mofo win! So… ask and ye shall receive! I know this was a short one, but I promise to make up for it. You know the drill… thanks to everyone for sticking with me, thanks for Little Miss Whitlock for being a fill in Beta while Hammondgirl's computer is being an r-tard… and yeah… hugs and kisses!
Oh PS… if you have not already check out the Stalking fic that I am writing with Little Miss Whitlock… it will make you pee in your pants from laughing.