AN: This chapter is quite short and actually not very telling of the story to come, but every story has to start someplace. I had tossed around the idea of combining it with the next chapter, but chapter 2 is something of its own. If you make it through this one, I promise to do better. Trust me, you didn't want me to make this one longer.
Disclaimer: All characters and places in this story that also belong to the Twilight Universe do not belong to me. I claim no rights over any of them; they all belong to SM.
"So you're gonna come, right?"
"What did I tell you last time? Parties and I just don't mix. Too many horny co-eds letting their hands wander as more of their drinks wind up on their shirts rather than down their throats."
"Bell-a…" Most of the time I loved my little sprite, but times like this her sing-song voice pushed me closer and closer to psychiatric imprisonment as I thought of ways to shut her up for good. Don't get me wrong; she is my best friend and confidant, but God love her, she is always talking me into situations I do not want to be a part of. I say no and Alice hears 'sure, lets go shopping now for a new dress and shoes that I would never-in-a-million-years-be-caught-dead-in so that I can look perfect for whatever situation you have brilliantly schemed up for me'. I thanked God the day she started dating her now fiancé, Jasper. Ever since he came into her life two and a half years ago, the brunt of her force has lightened up on me slightly. But only slightly.
"Are you forgetting? I'm legally a teacher now, hired three weeks ago, and expected to be a model citizen for all to look up to." This is one more thing I have to be grateful to Jasper for. His sister's husband is the phys-ed teacher at the school that hired me. Jasper heard about the opening and was able to land me an interview. Being able to use his brother-in-law as a reference and inside contact even though I had never met him, I got the job.
"Bella, you're expected to teach kids the difference between nouns and verbs, not hide away in a dusty attic until your va-jay-jay withers away. Live a little; you're a teacher, not a nun."
Why was I bothering? Alice would not give up until I told her I would come. She never gives in until she has her way. If there was anything I had learned from my roommate for the past four years at UW, it was that my life was much less complicated if I just went along with her hare brained ideas and dealt with the punches as they came. I was the perpetual pleaser, while Alice could charm a tick off a hound with the right smile and half a minute's talk.
"Seriously, it's one last hurrah, celebrating the final chapter of our college lives before you have to strap on the gray cardigans and red pens for eternity, and I have to wine and dine everybody who wants to be anybody." While I chose the humble little vocation of teaching, Alice found her calling in PR work. I knew she would be a huge success; she'd been running my life for years. "And besides, it's really not a college party. Jasper's cousin just got promoted and he's throwing a kegger." She ended with a one-shoulder shrug and slight smile, like the difference was vast and the party was nothing more than a few professionals getting together for a cocktail after work.
"Come on, Bella, you are going." I knew I was, but I couldn't let her powers go to her head, now could I? But in all honesty, as much as I loathed parties that centered on how much alcohol one can consume, I wanted to go with Alice. Our finals were last week, and in just two more weeks we would no longer be roomies. Alice was staying here in Seattle to be close to the firm she was now working for, while I was moving a forty-five minute drive away to a small little suburban town to start my new life. Still the outskirts of Seattle, but a completely different world than the one Alice would be living in. I would miss my pixie and my best friend and, to be honest, was a bit scared about what I would do without her at home every day. She was moving into Jasper's place, while I had no one.
"Where, exactly, are we going?" Alice squealed with delight at my admission; I was going.
"It's really not that far from the neighborhood you will be moving to; only about a twenty minute drive. Which is why I have also taken the liberty of setting up some appointments the following day to look at apartments. I know how much you've been stressing over moving, so I thought this would be the perfect time to look around since we'll already be there. I also have our rooms booked at a hotel not far from the party."
"You've really thought of everything, haven't you?"
"Yup. Your dress is still in the garment bag inside your closet, shoes at the bottom. You've left me no time to take you shopping, so I picked you up something the other day while I was out with Rose." Great. At least when I went, as much as I hate shopping, I stood a chance of having a small influence over what I would wear.