Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight OR Boys Over Flowers OR Hana Yori Dango - the book series, the manga series and the Japanese and Korean drama series, the latter two of which this story is based on. :)
Boys Over Flowers
Chapter One ll The Red Card
For the past two weeks, I'd tried really hard to stay above them, to ignore the power they wielded in the school and the terror they commanded over the rest of the students...
In the United States of America, there exists one name that is known by everyone, one logo that every child recognises, one conglomerate that drives the nation and possibly the rest of the world.
Meet Meyer Group, the biggest, richest and most powerful corporation known to man. At its right hand is the school, founded by the CEO himself after making a heartfelt speech about building a school his own grandchildren could attend. Thus, St. Meyer came into existence.
Built by the elite and for the elite, St. Meyer is a legendary institution in education history. Less than one percent of the nation can afford to attend and yet everyone still tries their utmost to secure a place for their child because they know once you're in Meyer Kindergarten, you're free-sailing for the rest of your life. In the end, though, only the country's cream of the crop are enrolled.
It was this school that was the envy of every other student in the nation, it was this school that boasted of swimming pools, tennis courts and gymnasiums, and it was to this school that I now exiled myself, a newly enrolled senior student on a musical scholarship. It was an action I took with utmost dread and apprehension, and had only taken out of love for my family. Ecstatic describes their state of being when they'd heard of my "Cinderella opportunity", one too magical to miss, and if there was anything I couldn't stand it would be disappointing them; quiet and resilient Dad, loving and hare-brained Mum, loyal Seth and sweet little Nessie.
They were the reason why I found myself standing in the courtyard of St. Meyer, struck dumb by the enormity and beauty of the school so far. And all I had done was walk through the gates.
I watched two girls stroll past the fountain, arms crossed and expressions lofty.
"So how was Vienna, Di?" one of them asked.
"Oh, boring," sighed the other girl. "Dad was in meetings the entire weekend, he left me alone to shop and explore. It was so unbelievably dull."
"That's too bad."
"Mmm, next time I'll tell Daddy to have his meetings some place I haven't been yet. Maybe an Asian city, like Seoul. I'm just so sick of these European countries, they're all the same after awhile."
I felt a slight jolt of shock as they walked by me. Had she just referred to her trip to Europe as boring? I'd never even travelled out of the state, let alone overseas.
But this was St. Meyer after all, school to the sons and daughters of aristocrats and wealthy businessmen. The gulf between my world and theirs was larger than massive, and I had arrived prepared for this. Right?
I inwardly sighed, bravely bracing myself for whatever may befall. Day one was just starting.
But even in that one moment of innocence before I got pulled into a world of corruption, manipulation and games, I had no idea just how prepared I would have to be to contend with the politics of St. Meyer School.
The main entrance hall was, of course, enormous and modern. Two zigzag staircases led to the upper floors and there were students everywhere - chatting, laughing, squealing, walking. A wave of apprehension hit me - I was the blushing, shy, awkward type, and to be transplanted to a prestigious school with a new set of people I faced with the same dread as poking a sleeping dragon in the eye - but I swallowed my nerves and went by quickly, hoping not to attract stares.
"Hey man, where's your tie?" one boy was asking another as I rushed past.
"Pfft, why bother?" replied an obnoxious voice. "If F4 gets away with not wearing the uniform everyday, how is a measly tie gonna matter?"
Fortunately no one looked twice at me and I had just reached the staircase when several things happened at once to disturb my relief.
A girl shrieked, "THEY'RE COMING - EVERYONE, THEY'RE HERE!" and people's reaction was instantaneous. And unfathomable. Suddenly, students were sprinting from every direction, talking with increased excitement as they headed down towards the double glass doors. I scooted back into the railing to avoid getting bowled over by a group of girls.
"Can you believe it? They're coming here!" they babbled.
"I know, I know, how does my make up look?"
"This is such a privelige!"
Dumbfounded and curious, I peered over the many excited heads towards the glass doors. Was the President coming? Or Mr CEO himself? Somehow, I didn't think girls would care how their make up looked if these men really were the eagerly anticipated visitors.
The source of all the excitement appeared as the double doors opened, and I stared.
It was four boys. Four boys who came in as a group, four boys who sauntered through the double doors, four strikingly different-looking boys. The one leading was lanky with untidy, bronze-coloured hair, the boy right behind him was lean and blonde, the third bulkier and muscular, the last one with darker skin and hair.
And I stared, not just because they were so different, but because they were so similar. Each of them were tall, exceedingly handsome, and wearing designer clothes rather than the school uniform. Each of them had a haughty look on his face as if they had nothing worthwhile to worry about.
It was these four boys who had the entire foyer excited. They couldn't have been any more different, and yet the way they stood together, the way they carried themselves, could not be anymore alike.
They were clearly popular in St. Meyer; girls were beside themselves applauding as if their favourite band had just come up on stage. Even guys were nodding their approval and clapping, and the quartet were doing nothing but standing there.
But I had to admit, even I was a bit mesmerised by the powerful charimsa of the group.
Until I saw what happened next.
Sudden silence filled the hall as the boy with bronze-coloured hair stepped deliberately over to a younger student standing by the side. The atmosphere was so tense, it was palpable.
"Where's your tie, junior?" His voice was hard and mocking, just like his expression. I couldn't blame the younger boy for flinching.
"What?" the senior continued, still in that quiet, deadly voice, "Not enough pride to wear your uniform properly?" A smirk twisted his mouth as the junior trembled, unable to look up. The bronze-haired boy glanced back carelessly at his friends, "Emmett, do you still have that juice?"
Taking the bottle that was passed to him, he unscrewed the cap and slowly emptied the bottle over the boy's white shirt. Some people gasped aloud but no one dared say a word. Others snickered.
The boy looked on the verge of tears as the senior patted him on the shoulder condescendingly. "Learn to respect my school, or you'll be out," he sneered and with that he was off, the other three following after him.
As people gradually found their voices and the boy's friends converged on him in worry, I was rooted to the staircase in shock. Had that just really happened? And were people actually laughing? Why had no one stopped that guy? Was I missing a vital part of the mentality of this school?
Probably. You did say you were prepared for 'whatever may befall', right?
I shook my head and tried to place the incident out of my mind as I went to my first lessons. Here, people started paying more attention to me. I saw their smirks at my average appearance, a commoner amidst royalty, and I blushed and stammered over my own words when teachers ruthlessly asked me to introduce myself. Girls raised their eyebrows, as if daring me to approach them. Predictably, no one made any friendly advances.
It was a relief when lunch time came. After Spanish, I followed some boys out of the classroom into the cafeteria, already so used to the flamboyance of St. Meyer that its resemblance to a fancy European cafe did not come as much of a surprise. Turning away from the banquet table, I chose the first free table I saw and took out my own lunch. Mum was an imaginative cook and several years of experimenting had given her quite a flair.
"Ugh, what is that smell?"
A glance up revealed that I wasn't alone; three girls had arrived by my table, their upturned noses and expressions plainly telling me they were not planning on befriending me. The middle one was glaring at my lunch, "Why are you eating this dog food, commoner?"
"Yeah," chimed in the girl on the left, "In case you didn't notice, we have real food here cooked by our own chefs. Why don't you go get some while you can? You could even take some home for your family tonight."
They sniggered and I stared at them. Sure, they were being downright nasty, but there was something dim and childish about them that made me unable to take them seriously.
"Um, who are you?" I asked.
"That's right, we haven't introduced ourselves yet," said the middle girl, flipping her hair. "I'm Tanya. This is Irina and Lauren. We consider ourselves gifted mentors for any new female students at St. Meyer. But not a commoner like you," she added distastefully, eyeing me, "Uh - what was your name?"
"Isabella Swan." I didn't usually use my full name, but then again, I wasn't usually addressed as "commoner" upon first meeting either.
"Hm. How fitting," Tanya said, voice dripping with sarcasm. "Well, best be on your toes, little commoner. We'll be keeping an eye on you."
"That's not a very nice thing to say," came a new voice from behind the triplets. A dark-haired, pixie-like girl came over, holding a tray in her delicate hands. I looked at her and she winked at me.
"If you're not going to sit with her, why don't you go somewhere else?" she continued innocently, "Or you're welcome to join us, but only if you stop being so charming."
"You are so annoying, Alice," groaned Tanya.
The petite girl's smile widened, "I try, Tanya. But what did I just say about being friendly?"
Rolling their eyes and shooting one last look at me, the three girls flounced off. I looked gratefully at my saviour as she sat down and smiled. She was angelically beautiful, with delicate features, dark twinkling eyes and a soprano voice.
"They're really not too bad when you get to know them," she winked.
"Thank you," I said shyly.
"You're welcome, Isabella Swan." Her mischievous grin widened when I looked at her in surprise. "You were in my Maths class," she explained, "You're the new girl who came here because of a scholarship. You play the violin."
I blinked, surprised that someone had actually listened to my clumsy introduction.
"Oh! That's - that's right," I stammered, "But you can call me Bella."
"Hi, Bella," the girl said cheerfully, "I'm Alice Brandon." She stuck out her hand and I stared at it for a moment, lost, before realising and shaking it a little too eagerly. Alice laughed, and it was all bells and wind chimes.
"We're going to be great friends, Bella," she said merrily, "I can feel it."
I smiled back. It was a relief to meet someone genuine and friendly in this school, and it was a relief that I was going to have at least one friend here after all. It was hard not to take an immediate liking to Alice. She was open and enthusiastic, chattering a lot but somehow even managing to get me talking, the shy, blushing, awkward new girl. I'd had friends at my previous school, but we'd never been kindred spirits. I'd never seemed to be on the exact same page as them, in perfect harmony with their thinking. Sometimes I wondered if I was looking at the same world as everyone else.
Day one at St. Meyer came to an end as the bell rung and Alice fired riddles at me as we walked out to the entrance hall. She'd been trying to catch me out all of last period.
You're not going to get this one," she vowed. "What has neither flesh nor blood nor skin nor bone, but has fingers and thumbs of its - "
"Gloves," I answered.
"You're impossible, Bella!" she groaned.
I had to laugh, "My dad's fond of riddles and always gets us to answer them. How about I tell you one?" Alice looked eager and I took a deep breath, "I am the centre of gravity, hold a capital situation in Vienna, and as I am foremost in every victory, am allowed by all to be invaluable. Though I am invisible, I am clearly seen in the midst of a river. It is in vain that you seek me, for I have long been in heaven, yet even now lie embalmed in the grave. What am I?"
"What? Repeat that again!"
I was repeating it a fifth time with much emphasis when we reached the foyer and immediately noticed something was wrong. Students were tense and talking in whispers, glancing down towards the locker corridor.
Alice halted and grabbed my arm, "Do you feel that?"
"Feel what?" I asked uneasily.
"The buzz in the air. It's a bad omen." And still holding my arm, she strode over to a girl standing on the side, a stunningly beautiful girl with long, wavy golden hair. I immediately felt very dim in comparison.
"Rose," hissed Alice, "Rose, what's going on?"
The blonde girl sighed and tilted her head towards the locker area. "A red card," she murmured, "A boy named Mike Newton."
This didn't have any meaning to me whatsoever, but Alice moaned quietly, "Not another one! I thought they were over it. I mean, it's been three months."
The beautiful blonde girl rolled her eyes, "When are they ever going to grow tired of these games? It's probably the only reason they stay at this school." She caught my eye and added, "Hi, I'm Rosalie, by the way."
I managed a smile back, "I'm Bella. But... what's happening?" I looked from their grimaces to the mixed expressions of other students. Most were gleeful and eager, some looked uncomfortable and others looked downright terrified. Even so, they were trying hard not to show it. I was starting to feel a little paranoid. Did this school ever have a moment's peace?
Alice turned to me with an expression akin to a bearer of bad news.
Yup, definitely paranoid.
"The red card," she began, "It's the worst omen here. Once it appears in your locker, it's a green light for the rest of the school to make you suffer as much as possible. You become the sole target of everyone's pranks and ridicule, and you bear it alone. It doesn't stop until you grovel... or if you've really offended them, until you leave the school."
I wrinkled my nose, "You're kidding, right?"
"I wish," said Rosalie darkly.
My eyebrows shot up in shock and I stammered, "But - who? Who's doing all this? Surely not the teachers!"
"No, not the teachers," scoffed Rosalie, "Though what little they do to protect the students makes them just as bad. The instigators of the game, the ones who hand out the red cards - it's F4."
I started to ask what that meant, but just then her eyes narrowed and she muttered, "Hm. You speak of the devil and he appears."
"Ah, here they come, Bellabee," said Alice, taking my arm and pulling me forward, "You have a lot to learn! Meet the boys who are at the height of cool."
"You better be joking, Alice," groaned Rosalie.
Still confused, I looked to where everyone's gaze seemed to be drawn to - and my own eyes widened. It was those boys again, strolling across the foyer with their hands in their pockets. Once again, I was struck by how impressive and intimidating they looked. People stumbled out of their way and many broke into claps and cheers, and with a sickening lurch I realised they were applauding them for giving out the red card.
"Them?" I said faintly, though I already knew. Who else could influence the entire student body to bully one person?
"Yup," Alice said nonchalantly, "F4. They rule the school. You see the one at the back, the tall one with blonde hair?" She pointed discreetly, "That's Jasper Whitlock. His grandfather was the former president of the United States - " I almost choked at this, but Alice didn't notice, " - and if you get too close to him - POW! His bodyguards will be all over you in a second. But he won't allow them to follow him around when he's at school."
Rosalie came on my other side and continued in a low murmur, "The darker one is Jacob Black. He's from a family of famous artists, but he's famed for being on the athletic track. He holds the fastest record at St. Meyer."
I looked over accordingly at this Jacob Black while Rosalie gave her profile on him. He wore the same haughty, arrogant look as the others, but there was something about his dark eyes that held me for a moment. It seemed like he was hiding something within himself, keeping it away from the eye of the world.
Or maybe I was just so overwhelmed by everything that I was making things up.
"That's Emmett McCarty, the big, muscly guy. His family's a bunch of successful entrepreneurs. And don't let the brawniness fool you if it would even - he's super smart."
"And a playboy," added Rosalie wryly.
"That too," Alice grinned.
"Which leaves..." I gestured at the last one, the one with bronze-coloured hair, the leader of the clan. The one who had poured juice all over an innocent boy this morning, all because he wasn't wearing a school tie. I felt an erratic lurch of anger at the memory.
"Ah," Rosalie rolled her eyes. "Edward Cullen. You must have heard of him at least, right? Everyone knows the Cullens. Edward is the heir of Meyer Group, so you can imagine how people see him as the prince of this school."
I chewed my lip fervently, looking at Edward Cullen. I had heard of him - the Cullens owned Meyer Group, they were practically royalty in America. I had no idea the son was still in school, though. I stared hard at him and inwardly groaned when I had to concede that he was good-looking - exceedingly so. He was the most beautiful of the four, although they were all handsome in their own way.
At this, I suddenly (and irrationally) felt my pulse quicken in anger again. It was always the few people in the world that had absolutely everything, and yet here they were flaunting it, not at all grateful for how much they'd been blessed with. To have been born into such priveliged families - could they not take it graciously and live quietly instead of trampling down on everyone?
I let out a deep breath, surprised by the sudden flood of fury. I was usually a very even-tempered girl.
"These guys are beyond school itself," Rosalie said, sounding thoroughly disheartened. "They don't even turn up in uniform anymore. Even teachers are terrified - terrified of defying them. It's not easy to get a job at this school and if you have one, you're not going to risk it."
"So they just allow this - this game to happen? For red cards to be handed out and for students to be forced out of the school because they've been bullied to breaking point?" My voice rose a little at the end and Alice clapped a hand over my mouth.
"SHH! You're going to get slaughtered, Bella!"
Rosalie, on the other hand, smiled serenely at me.
"It's nice to see a fresh reaction like yours," she mused, "It reminds me that this is absurd, after all. After being here for so long, you can't help thinking maybe this is the norm. It's depressing."
I looked at the four boys again - F4. They were stalking towards the double doors, leaving the foyer and their rabid admirers behind.
"Let it be known," a boy's voice called to the crowd, "Mike Newton has received a red card. It's game on!"
Alice groaned loudly, "Come on, let's go." She grabbed my arm and pulled me and my bewildered self out, away from the cheers and jeers that followed the announcement.
"F4? Aren't they the sons of some of the richest families there are?" my mother said in a tone of interest, stirring a pot on the stove.
I looked up from the chopping board, "You've heard of them?"
"Of course!" My mother, Renee, had an admiring gleam in her eyes that I didn't like the look of at all; she had no business to be so radiant when talking about those boys. "They crop up in conversation here and there. Quite well known in the social circles."
"Good-looking, too, I've heard," Mum added mischievously and my little sister giggled while I ducked my head, hoping my faint blush would go unnoticed.
It was almost dinner time and we were cooking together, our usual evening custom. Mum was boiling the sauce, I was chopping up vegetables, and Nessie was arranging them neatly with her little fingers. My dad and brother were sitting at the table; Seth doing his homework and Dad watching TV and listening to our conversation. Evening was always my favourite part of the day.
My dad, Charlie, glanced over at us with a frown, "You be careful around them, Bells. Students at St. Meyer they might be... they're still teenagers."
"Hey, doesn't one of them own a soccer team?" asked Seth excitedly, twirling his pen, "One of F4?"
"Probably," I muttered, chopping up mushrooms with more vim than necessary, "They seem to own everything. The school exists for their entertainment."
"Wow," my brother whistled, having not listened to the rest of my vent. "A soccer team. Whoa."
"Ah, some people are just born lucky," said Mum whimsically, dumping the vegetables in the pot. "But what else, honey? Did you make any friends? Did you get to see the school music room?"
"You didn't even take your violin today, Bella," Nessie ratted me out, prodding me with her finger. I caught her hand and made her poke herself in the forehead, making her giggle.
"I know, I know," I said, sighing, "I wouldn't have had time to play, anyway. I'll take it tomorrow and look at their music room."
"And friends?" Mum pressed on, glancing at me out of the corner of her eye.
"I made one," I said, a little doubtful, "Maybe two."
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see her smile in relief. Mum was always worried about my interaction with people my age. She once said that I had been born middle-aged and was a complete mystery even to her at times. Only Dad really understood me - every tiny, little bit of me. We were both quiet people who were comfortable with silence and weren't the best at expressing our emotions out loud, like the rest of our family were, and that meant we read each other better than anyone else.
"WHOA - THEY SCORED! DAD, DID YOU SEE THAT?" Seth yelled, jumping up and down in euphoria and pointing at the TV.
Dad grinned, "Yeah. It was great."
I hid a smile.
After dinner, I went to my room to start on some homework. I knew it would only start piling up otherwise, and that was my motivation as I sat on my bed, my laptop in front of me and one hand absently ruffling Nessie's locks as she slept curled up beside me.
A notification for an email popped up in my new school account. I opened it.
The email loaded a very badly taken photo of a boy with blonde spikes. His identity didn't remain a mystery for long, since the name MIKE NEWTON were the first words to appear beneath the picture, followed by numerous profanities and a list of outrageous accusations.
I closed the window, disgusted. F4 were behind this, no doubt. Saying these terrible things about a boy and spreading it to the entire school - were they completely ruthless?
I groaned. I had a feeling things were only just beginning.
My hunch proved ominously true the next day when I arrived at St. Meyer and found a crowd of people in the entrance hall, standing in a ring and jeering at whatever - or whoever - was unlucky enough to be at the centre. I bit hard on my lip when I saw who the victim was, not that it was a surprise.
But the way Mike Newton stood in the middle like a cornered animal, spinning around quickly on his heel to take in everyone's pitiless faces at once, made my stomach clench. It was a vile sight. His fellow peers, probably those whom he'd laughed and joked together with once, were so quick to stab him in the back and treat him like this now.
"Stop - stop!" he gasped as a boy caught him by the collar and shoved him to the other side of the ring, where he was promptly shoved back. The jeers rose to a fever pitch as I felt sickened to the stomach. Edward Cullen and the rest of F4 were nowhere to be seen, and yet the students were still so eager to participate in his disgusting games.
"You want us to stop?" sneered a boy as Mike, breathless and bruised, stood hunched over in the centre of the ring. "Then beg. Get on your knees and beg."
Mike Newton looked up slowly, taking laboured breaths. He looked desperately at the expectant and smug faces around him. I clenched my fists, unaware of how tense my body had become.
Don't do it, I found myself pleading silently, Don't give in to them. Come on, stick up for yourself!
Very slowly, he sank down onto his knees and disappointment filled me as the students whistled and cheered.
"Now sing for us, Newton," the boy laughed raucously.
"I said sing for us, pretty boy."
"I - "
"Alright, alright, break it up!" called a loud, authoritative voice from behind the ring. About time. A teacher strode over, waving his arms as students started to disperse, "The bell has gone, move off to class. Mr Newton, get off the floor at once. Where is your dignity, boy?"
Mike painfully rose to his feet, and I caught sight of a large bruise on his arm.
"Sir," he began. "I need - "
"Did you or did you not hear me the first time, Newton?" the teacher snapped.
For a long moment, both Mike and I just stared at him in disbelief. Then, defeated, Mike limped off. The teacher rounded on me instead. "And what are you still doing here, madam?"
I didn't need to be told twice. I turned on my heel and walked off as quickly as I could, struggling to contain my shock and horror. I felt as if someone had just shook me up and slapped me across the face, and all for no apparent reason. Now I understood what Rosalie and Alice had meant yesterday.
Day two at St. Meyer taught me just what happened to a victim of the Red Card. You were tripped whenever you walked down a corridor, pelted by balls of paper and books whenever the teacher's back was turned in class, or by food if you were in the cafeteria. Your possessions were bound to be covered in swear words and ugly names by the end of the day, and if you were unlucky enough to be ambushed by students during breaks, you were subject to what was called the Ring of Judgment.
And all this because Mike Newton had checked the last book out of the library that Edward Cullen wanted.
"It's not as if he couldn't have bought ten copies of that exact same book in three seconds, anyway," Alice sighed after telling me this during lunch hour.
One morning of the week, I went to St. Meyer bright and early to do what I'd come to this school for. Shivering in the cold with a coat over my uniform, armed with my violin case and a map of the school campus, I finally found the music department. My mouth fell open when I went inside. The room was huge and sumptuously decorated, full of resources to fulfill any musician's wildest dreams. I spent a good half hour poking through the music folders that lined the shelves and examining the sound system installed. Then, finding a spot by the window that overlooked the beautiful courtyard, I took out my violin and played to my heart's content.
For the first time at this school, I felt a sense of peace and familiarity as the melody and notes washed over me. The violin was my soulmate; I'd been playing since time immemorial and it was my own way of expressing myself like nothing else could. Some people can write beautiful lines of poetry and others have amazing voices to sing, but the violin is what works for me. I can't describe it.
I told you I don't have a way with words.
My parents had wanted me to apply for a scholarship at St. Meyer in my senior years. I thought the music lessons at my old school were fine, but they, especially Mum, thought this was an opportunity too magical to miss. So I took it, and here I am now, in the most prestigious school in the country where, unknowingly, corruption was going on behind the walls.
Don't think about that, I told myself sternly, but my annoyance had already crept into the music I was playing.
Afterwards, I felt appeased and returned to the locker corridor to put my violin away. I stopped dead, gazing in disbelief at one locker which door was wrenched open and hanging at a funny angle. Books spilled out in a careless mess of torn pages, the locker itself covered in red spray paint. The corridor was deserted; it was still too early for students to be here.
Taking a few tentative steps forward, my stomach plunged when I saw the name on one of the ripped notebooks. Mike Newton.
Compared to everything else that had already happened to the poor boy, this was almost trivial, and yet a wave of helpless frustration engulfed me. Was this ever going to stop? Instead of putting my violin away, I spun around on my heel and stormed out of the building. I didn't know where I was going and I wasn't too sure why I was moving so fast. Maybe it gave me the illusion that I could run away from the realities of this school, as if I could move away from the injustice and arrogance that dominated this place.
I stopped at last, panting. The school oval loomed ahead of me, an enormous emerald green patch surrounded by tiered seats.
Wanting to go higher, wanting to rise above the helpless feeling I found myself in, I started to climb the stairs to the top of the stands. When I couldn't go any further, I stopped and dumped my case down onto the seat, looking down at the oval. It was beautiful from this far up and I felt a kind of savage pleasure that I could still enjoy its loveliness without F4 ruining it.
"F4," I vented aloud to the open air, still breathing heavily. "F4, F4, F4... F4! Why am I even using their stupid title?"
Then, because it was natural to me, I took out my violin and bow and started to play.
"That's Jasper Whitlock. His grandfather was the former president of the United States."
"Jacob Black. He's from a family of famous artists."
"Emmett McCarty, the big, muscly guy. His family's a bunch of successful entrepreneurs."
"Edward Cullen... Edward is the heir of Meyer Group, so you can imagine how people see him as the prince of this school."
As my frustration grew, my playing became more aggressive and forceful, the notes sharper and shorter as I jerked the bow over the taut strings. After awhile my arm became numb and I dropped it, breathing deeply. The silence was prominent after the loud, harsh music I'd just been playing, and I sat back down on the seat and stared glumly at the empty stadium below.
"They're unbelievable," I mumbled.
And then, from somewhere behind me, I heard a dragging sigh.
My heard almost stopped when I jumped up and whirled around. I thought I'd been alone, but I was wrong. A boy was lying down a few rows behind me, only visible now above the seats as he lazily sat up and frowned at me as if I was a nuisance.
"You sure make a lot of noise," he accused, yawning widely. I stared wildly at his tall form as he straightened himself out, stretching.
There was no mistaking those dark eyes and that russet-coloured skin. Jacob Black. Jacob Black lying on the stadium seats behind me, having heard my entire display with the violin and my little rant. About him. About him and his friends.
"What - what are you doing here?" I stammered, trying to cover up my mortification.
Jacob raised an eyebrow at me, "I thought the better question would be what are you doing here? Nobody else normally comes here to cause such a disturbance. It's my place. Could you leave now?"
"Why should I?" I countered, my defensive streak coming out of me at the worst possible time. "It's a public area. I don't see your name on it."
He looked at me demurely for a moment before nodding his head over to a plaque on one of the nearby seats.
Meyer Stadium. Black Family.
I blinked. Holy crow! He even owned the school stadium.
Rendered speechless, Jacob chuckled slightly at my expression. "So you play that, huh?" he asked, looking at my violin hanging limply from my hand. "I think it's meant to sound nice, but don't try to play when you're annoyed at me and my friends."
"I - " I was too mortified to form any words.
Jacob turned away, yawning again and putting his hands in his pockets. "Forget it," he said, walking towards the steps and going down. "I'll go. I was about to leave anyway."
I was staring after him, still unsure of what just happened, when he turned around again and gave a little smirk. "It's refreshing, actually."
Coherency had left me completely. "Huh?"
His smirk widened, "To meet someone who doesn't worship us." He left like that without a backward glance, and I sunk back down into my seat, my thoughts in a total disarray.
Did that just happen? I groaned and buried my face in my hands.
Stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
By the time Friday came around, my first week at St. Meyer was over and Mike Newton hadn't been to school for two days. I had only caught glimpses of F4 during the week, strutting around and not lifting a single finger while the rest of the school carried out their dirty work. The sight of Edward Cullen's self-satisfied smirk was unbelievably infuriating, leaving me in such a state that my mum commented she hadn't seen so much passion alight in my face and eyes apart from when I was playing the violin. Of course, she had no idea, just like the rest of the world outside of St. Meyer's walls, what was the true cause of my emotions.
Another week of classes, homework and violin practice eclipsed and, apart from the excessive lifestyles and disdainful attitudes of my peers, life at St. Meyer took on a familiar groove. I was even getting used to the crazy receptions that F4 received whenever they appeared in our midst, and as much as I hated to admit it, the fact that they were above all regular rules of common courtesy and decency was something I was starting to subconsciously accept. Such was the mentality of St. Meyer School.
"Bella! Did you do the trig homework due next period?" Alice demanded as soon as she appeared at our usual table in the cafeteria. She looked a little wild and flustered. I chuckled.
"Only just realised again?" I said, taking out my book and handing it to her.
"Yes - thank you, Bellabee, I love you!" she called before rushing back out to go to the library, no doubt.
Contemplating a lunch alone, I took out Mum's sandwiches. People didn't bother too much with the "little commoner" anymore; even the triplets just cast scornful looks at me before going on their way. As long as I kept my head down and stayed quiet, I would survive the next two years at St. Meyer.
"F4 ARE COMING!"
I stayed rigidly in my seat as girls flew out to greet the four boys. They had their own special lounge room upstairs which they frequented. Ugh. As if they needed to rub their wealth in our faces anymore.
I tried hard to ignore the girls' squeals and cooing. Tanya, of course, was up the front, with Irina and Lauren right behind her.
"Oh, Edward," she gushed. "Your hair looks so good today."
"Get out of the way," he ordered, and of course a path was cleared for Edward Cullen. His royal highness. I couldn't help looking up and glaring as he strode past, until I was conscious of another pair of eyes on me.
Jacob Black looked at me curiously, recognition dawning in his eyes. The memory of our last encounter immediately made me blush and avert my gaze back to my lunch. The look lasted for no longer than a second, but he smirked slightly as if he knew exactly what I'd been thinking when I was glaring at Edward.
I'd been careful to avoid the stadium since my first and last visit.
Although, was I sending a bad message? I really shouldn't let Jacob Black and his smirk get to me. Sure it had been an embarrassing encounter, but I liked looking at the oval and playing my violin there, I shouldn't have to stay away just because one of F4 had marked it as theirs...
"Excuse me... can I sit with you?"
There was a girl standing in front of me with a tentative expression. I knew who she was; Jessica Stanley, St. Meyer's newest transfer student. Today was her first day. Unlike me, however, she belonged here. Her dark curly hair was perfectly groomed, not a strand out of place, and the faint apple blossom scent around her was definitely some brand of expensive perfume.
"Oh, sure," I said, caught unawares. "I'm Bella."
"Jessica," she said meekly, taking her spot opposite me. "Thanks for letting me sit with you... it's a bit overwhelming." My heart stirred in sympathy. I'd only been here for two weeks and already I felt like her mentor.
"Um... if you don't mind me asking," Jessica ventured, "Those guys just then... they were F4, weren't they?"
Sigh. There was no escaping them.
"Yeah," I said resignedly. "You know them already?"
Jessica nodded a bit absently as if she was thinking about something else. Determined not to talk or think at all about F4, I asked, "So you transferred from London? How long did you live there?"
"Oh! I lived there for five years, it got really cold in the winter, but I liked it. And - what are you eating?" Jessica's tone was bewildered as she looked at my curried egg sandwiches. They did look very odd against her filet mignon. Definitely a rich girl.
"My mum made them - curried egg. They're good, really. Want one?" I offered her a triangle, which she took uncertainly and inspected. Most definitely a rich girl.
Very carefully, Jessica bit off the top of the triangle and chewed. I had to grin as she looked up suddenly, "It is delicious! I've never tried anything like it."
"That will make Mum happy," I laughed, and Jessica smiled.
Jessica Stanley was a sweet girl, and I found her ignorance about things in the common life endearing rather than annoying. I was surprised by how much she had to say once she opened up though. She chattered away most of the lunch hour and I was only too happy to listen, although more than once I failed to keep up with her brisk mental processes.
"What do you have next, Bella?" asked Jessica. She glanced up as there was a boisterous round of laughter from F4's lounge upstairs.
"I have Spanish," I said.
"Oh, me too!" she exclaimed, "I can sit with you and tell you about the time I visited China three years ago. Wait a sec, I'm going to put my tray away." Beaming, she stood up and turned around - and walked straight into someone.
Silence filled the cafeteria as her plate toppled onto the floor, smearing sauce all over the shirt of the person standing in front of her. Jessica gasped and stood very still. My heart plummetted.
"What is this?" Edward Cullen asked quietly, his eyes narrowed. The rest of F4 stood behind him. Everyone else was deathly still as they digested the situation.
"I - I'm so sorry," Jessica faltered before his hard gaze.
"You're sorry?" he repeated softly, "Is that it?"
Jessica quickly set down her tray and scrambled to grab a napkin, "Please, let me clean it for you - "
"Get away from me!" He caught her by the wrist and dragged her hand away from his shirt, an expression of disgust etched on his face. Jessica winced and I clenched my fists; he was hurting her.
"Do you have any idea who I am?" Edward Cullen asked, staring pitilessly into her wide eyes. She stared, terrified. "No, I didn't think so, because then you would have thought twice before touching me with your filthy hands." He shoved her away so that she fell back into her seat, whimpering, and he sneered, "Clean it for me - you must be joking. What good is this shirt to me anymore? It's tainted." He pulled it off roughly and flung it at her so that it whipped across her face. A dry sob escaped her.
Suddenly, I couldn't hold back anymore. Mike Newton's desperate and anguished face flashed in my mind and before I knew what I doing, I was out of my seat.
As if in slow motion, every eye in the room turned to me. I was breathing heavily, more terrified than I had ever been before, but determined. Edward Cullen slowly turned his gaze to me. With a pang, I realised just how painfully good looking he was. His green eyes were completely devoid of any warmth.
"Please... just stop," I whispered, trying to keep my voice steady, "It was an accident... and she's apologised. Now just leave her alone."
It was foolish of me to hope for even a second that he would listen. But at that moment, with everyone's eyes upon me, I was praying very hard that Edward Cullen would have a sudden change of heart.
Every nerve in my body shook as he stared coldly at me for one long, terrible moment. He didn't say anything, but he didn't need words as he finally walked away, his friends following. I caught a glimpse of Jacob Black and his unfathomably amused expression as he went with them. The murmurs started then, growing increasingly shrewd as every eye remained fixated on me.
I was shaking.
For the past two weeks, I'd tried really hard to stay above them, to ignore the power they wielded in the school and the terror they commanded over the rest of the students...
With my heart pounding in my ears the next morning, I reached out to open my locker.
The red card leered back at me.
"IT APPEARS AGAIN!" somebody behind me yelled, "LET IT BE KNOWN - F4 AND ST. MEYER HAS DECLARED WAR ON ISABELLA SWAN!"
...but in the end, I've fallen into their game.
A/N: Let me know what you think! Would you like to know what happens next? Hehe - I dearly love this storyline and thought the characters of Twilight would be really fun to write and play with. So hit me up a comment! - msq.