Chapter One

I get up in the evening, and I ain't got nothing to say
I come home in the moring, I go to bed feeling the same way
I ain't nothing but tired, man I'm just tired and bored with myself
Hey there baby, I could use just a little help

~Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen~

I should have known I would die young. Really, it was just a matter of time. I had always been clumsy, injuring myself, tripping over everything (including thin air) and it wasn't that much of a surprise when I got hit by a speeding car. Well, it was a surprise at the time. I didn't even see the damn thing coming. I flew twenty feet and landed with a big splat, rolling over on the pavement a couple of times. And then I got up.

Well… part of me did. The non-corporeal part. My body remained smeared across the sidewalk, looking rather unpleasant. Marginally worse than a bad-hair-day kind of unpleasant.

I guess I'm what you might call a ghost.

When I was alive, I was Isabella Marie Swan. I was eighteen and I attended Forks High School. I was a good student. Not great, but I passed everything. I kept my head down and had one or two close friends. I was going to go to university and take a degree in English Literature. I wanted to become a teacher or an editor. Hell, from this point of view, any kind of future looks good.

That's one of the worst parts, you know. Watching everyone else move on, achieving their dreams. Knowing that I should have had a future, knowing that I should have been amongst them, achieving and breathing.

But no. I died instead and I've been stuck around Forks ever since. There's not a whole lot do here when you're alive and being dead makes it even worse. Why stick around? That's simple.

My dad. Police Chief Charlie Swan.

He still blames himself. I've told him not to, told him it wasn't his fault. I've yelled it at him but he can't hear me. Nobody can hear me or see me. I can touch things though. I can pick things up and move them around. I don't do it too often though, because it tends to freak people out, seeing a random pencil floating past their heads, so I lay low. The last thing I need is some exorcist trying to get rid of me, I don't know if they can but I'd rather not risk it. I can walk through walls too, although I don't bother most of the time. Just seems like laziness to be honest; I mean, I'm a permanent fixture, why do I need to hurry with anything? Besides, walking through things? Yeah, not comfortable. It's like all the molecules in your body are being forced apart, one by one. It hurts, so I take the long way around most of the time.

And I can pass through people. But I don't. It's kind of annoying because they always shudder like something crawled up their spine, so I try to avoid it. No need to make everyone uncomfortable, including me. You think walking through solid objects is bad, walking through people with those pounding heartbeats and hard bones and slimy muscles is just revolting. Let's get a few ghost facts straight – I'm not transparent, I don't go 'wooooo' and I'm not out seeking revenge or possessing people. I mean, I've never tried to possess someone – why would I? That seems rude.

Oh, and the whole clothes thing is pretty cool – I was afraid that I'd have to spend the rest of my life in the jeans and hoodie I'd been wearing when I died, but I can change clothes. Once they're on they sort of… disappear from view. That's a good thing – variety is the spice of afterlife. But for some reason bags and books, stuff like that, don't disappear. Don't ask me how it works, I just live it. Or not, so to speak.

So yeah. I've been hanging around Forks for almost ten years. Everyone I went to school with has grown up and left for college or gotten married. There are one or two who hung around the town but most got out. Best thing for them, really. I wanted to get out too.

No chance now.

It was hard at first. I was terrified. I didn't understand. I wandered around the town, trying to figure out how to get back into my body. I tried right up until the funeral before giving up and resigning myself to life as a ghost. I kept thinking that there must be some reason why I was still around, some 'unfinished business', but nothing sprang to mind. I did go off to Seattle for a while and hung around UW, sitting in on an English Literature course to see if that was what I was meant to be doing. But when nothing happened I came home again, to Charlie.

So, what does an eighteen-year-old immortal girl do for the rest of eternity? Or at least for the lifespan of her father? I try not to think past that. It's too scary.

I went back to high school.

I know, it sounds lame, but I wanted to finish. To 'graduate' so at least I can say I've done it. Say it to who, I've got no idea, but it's the sentiment. Besides, with forever waiting for me, I might as well try and keep stuff fresh in my mind. Once I'd 'graduated', I went back to take a couple of classes that I hadn't done before. So yeah. I've repeated a couple of times, but that's fine. I'm still not sure I understand geometry but I'm pretty good at everything else. When Dad's sleeping I turn on his ancient computer and spend hours reading up on things that I've heard about in school. Wikipedia is great fun when you don't sleep.

Why high school? High school is full of life, hundreds of people all brimming with energy. It's infectious, that energy almost makes me feel alive again. It's full of stupidity too, don't get me wrong, half the time I want nothing more than to slap these idiots upside the head and tell them to get a life.

Get a life.

I wish.

God, I make myself laugh sometimes. Even dead, I'm still a colossal dork.

And that's what I do. I go to school. I keep an eye on my dad. I keep an eye on the kids at school and lend a hand when things go to shit. Like the time Lauren Mallory (total bitch) decided to stuff Angela Weber's locker full of toilet paper. You know, because that's the level of maturity we're dealing with here. Anyway, I took it all out between classes and put it in Tyler Crowley's with a note saying 'Call me, Lauren'. That had been pretty funny, seeing the bitch freak out and Tyler glaring at her solidly for a week. Angela doesn't deserve that kind of crap. She's a nice girl but kind of quiet. I hang out with her a lot. Not that she knows it. I'm kind of hoping she'll work up the nerve to talk to Ben one of these days, she's crazy about him. Maybe I'll lend a hand. Life gets kind of dull when you don't have one.

Man, I'm freakin' hilarious.

And that's my lack-of-life. Bella Swan, this is your not-life.

See? Hilarious.

Anyway, so that's how it was all going. Everything changing but at the same time nothing changing. And that was it. My existence. It kind of sucked, but I didn't know how to change so I just did what I could and accepted that this was my everything for the foreseeable future.

And then the Cullens arrived.

A/N: A quick introduction to my new story. Not much to say so far!

Dancing in the Dark – I used this particular verse to shoe how stagnant Bella's non-life has become. And I wonder who this 'baby' who could help her might be?? I sure don't know!

Love and smooches to Sarah, my wonderful beta-lady! It is her duty to poke me with a cattle-rod in order to ensure that I update in a timely fashion. She did originally threaten to use handcuffs but I think that's just her reading too much 'Master of the Universe'. Which you should read, by the way.

Reviewers will receive their chosen Cullen/Werewolf and handcuffs. Why start off small, eh?