Disclaimer: I do not own anything that can be found in the Twilight series
The dark is a funny thing; it's so great for sleeping and so not great. The problem with finding out the people you spend most of your time with are vampires is it tends to disrupt your sleep or it was disrupting mine. Perhaps someone without a preservation instinct and no imagination would sleep very soundly no matter what happened but I was not one these people and my vivid imagination, which had once been one of my most attractive traits, is now haunting me. Currently I was sitting up in bed, clutching my blankets around me as if being covered would keep me safe, and trying to convince myself that the shadow in the corner wasn't a person. It's just a chair - I tell myself - that ugly one Charlie put in here but the thought niggles at me that the chair has slats and the shadow has no holes, my hand itches to turn on the lights. I chanced a quick glance at the window but a thump caused me to whip my head back around and when I looked back the shadow had changed. Officially creeped! I lunged for the light, falling out of bed in the process and fumbling to get up and inspect my room in the luminosity. My breath came in quick gasps as I looked slowly around but nothing appeared to be out of place, except for the jacket that had fallen off my chair. I made my way slowly across my room, suppressing the urge to take my lamp with me, and picked up my jacket. It felt heavy; reaching into my pocket I pulled out my phone and laughed at my own paranoia.
"Stupid jacket" I muttered, walking over to my cupboard and taking great pleasure in chucking it on the floor at the back.
Walking gingerly across my room I checked my window was locked – for a third time since Alice's departure – before getting back into bed and pulling up the covers. Turning over to face the window I closed my eyes and within twenties minutes fell into a light sleep, though I kept the light on.
"Morning" Charlie called as he walked past the kitchen and out the front door to fetch the paper. I think I made some noise of recognition before going back to spreading butter on my toast, though my memory is fuzzy and I can't be sure.
"What's wrong with you?" Charlie asked, emerging in the kitchen with the paper tucked under his arm and I squinted up at him from under my drooping eye lids.
"Insomnia" I muttered, returning to the toast.
Charlie cleared his throat loudly causing me to look up at him again as he said "that kind of explains why you are trying to spread butter with a fork."
"Fork?" I looked down at my toast, it was a fork. I moaned and banged my head on the table, narrowly missing face planting in my food.
"Here" Charlie said, handing me the coffee he was holding, "you need this more than me."
"Thanks" I mumbled grabbing the hot cup and sipping greedily at the life giving liquid. After a couple of seconds and some rummaging through draws Charlie also handed me a knife.
"For the toast," he said, laughing as he sat opposite me and opened the paper.
I grumbled about annoying, overly cheery parents under my breath as I returned to spreading my butter.
"You been watching too many horror movies Bells?" Charlie asked "scared of a little blood" he joked.
"Something like that" I mumbled through a mouthful of dry toast, tomorrow I'm putting some jam on as well.
"Now, now, no need to be grumpy" he teased "it's not my fault you can't handle an all nighter as you teens say." Ecstatic with his proper use of teenage slang Charlie burst into loud guffaws.
"I'm gonna go," I muttered, sticking the toast in my mouth, grabbing my back pack off the floor and clutching the coffee cup firmly.
"Now Bells drive safely, wouldn't want you to fall asleep at the wheel!" Charlie laughed, unable to resist making one last joke which I resolutely ignored.
Picking up my car keys from the bowl near the door I made my way outside into the cold. The sight that met me caused me to drop my hard earned toast. An outrageous yellow car was sitting on my curb, its windows heavily tinted but the owner was obvious as she was currently leaning against the vehicle in expensive designer clothes. I walked towards Alice with my mouth hanging slightly open and doing a good impersonation of a gold fish.
"There's a car," I mumbled.
"Good morning to you too Bella," Alice said cheerily and I silently cursed happy, morning people.
"How did you get here?" I asked and Alice laughed merrily.
"As you just said Bella this is a car."
"Oh, haha you're so funny, between you and Charlie I'll die of laughter." I replied in a monotone, if you haven't already noticed I require large amounts of sleep to be civil. "Let me correct myself, why are you here?" I asked, running my free hand through my yet undone hair.
"Well, I thought I could give you a lift" Alice said, suddenly nervous, "seeing as you didn't get much sleep last night; sorry about that by the way."
"It's fine," I waved off her apology "it's not your fault I have an over-active imagination."
Alice grinned nervously and gestured towards the car, to which I shrugged impassively and hopped into the door she opened for me.
"Thanks" I said when Alice got in the driver's seat and she grinned at me.
Alice inserted the key into the ignition and where I expected to hear the roar of my truck I was greeted with the soft hum of an engine obviously tuned up more recently than the five years my beast was pushing. However I quickly came to appreciate how the roar of my truck filled the silence where Alice's car made it very obvious. I sipped my coffee to give me something to do with my hands and with each drink I felt my courage grow a little, but I kept my gaze on my feet.
"Sooo, what did you do last night?" I asked to the break the awkwardness between us and I felt more than saw Alice smile.
"I did some painting" she replied and now it was my turn to smile, turning my face up to look at her and catching my first glimpse of where we were out the window. Or I would have if looking didn't make me feel a little sick at the speed everything was flying past at. The hand that was not holding my coffee tightened on the leather seat until my knuckles went white and I glanced quickly down at the floor.
"Are you alright?" Alice asked as I counted to ten in my head.
"Yep," I muttered, secretly proud that my voice didn't break. I risked another glance at the window and was pleased to see we had slowed a little but were still travelling at ridiculous speeds.
"So, speeding is another vampire thing?" I asked, "or is this just you?"
Alice laughed timidly "it's a vampire thing, sorry I should have warned you. We're used to going at such high speeds that everything feels really slow, it's like when you come off the free way and then have to drive on suburban streets and it feels like you're competing with a snail for world's slowest though normally I'd go slower if you were in the car it's just that I'm nervous. Sorry I'm rambling, please say something so I can stop talking cause I can go on for ages, it's such a bad habit"
"Alice it's ok," I chuckled, choosing to look at her rather than the window which was still unnerving me a little.
"Oh good cause I was really worried I was going to scare you off, I mean you were up all night so obviously I creeped you out but I'm not sure how to fix it and I'm talking again, I really have to stop talking."
"Oh no keep going" I laughed, "this is the most entertainment I've had all day." That comment seemed to break Alice of her nerves as she glared half heartedly at me and didn't continue her ramble.
"Oh drink your coffee" she joked and I grinned as I took a large swig.
Within a few seconds we were pulling swiftly into the school parking lot and I had the feeling I could have gotten out a tape measure and recorded each distance of Alice's tyres from the white lines of the parking space and found them to be all the same.
"Is there anything you don't do perfectly?" I asked a little miffed, and Alice laughed.
"You might need this" she said, handing me a hair tie and looking down at my wrist I realised I hadn't brought one.
"I've never been proven right so quickly" I muttered, securing the band on my arm as we walked up towards the dull grey school building.
"BELLS!" I heard a yell from behind us and turning around I came face to chest with Emmett. Taking two quick steps backwards I looked up into his beaming face and smiled nervously.
"Hey," I said, waving, and he waved back before starting to rock on his heels.
"Sooooo, what do you think?" He asked eventually.
"Um...you're shirts lovely today" I replied, struggling to think of what he wanted me to say and Emmett guffawed happily and grabbed me around the shoulders, steering me towards the doors.
"Thank you Bells, I really do like it, Rosalie does too and you know how important it is to keep the women happy. Come on Alice you're slowing us down!"
Emmett removed his arm only to open the door and with a theatrical bow he gestured for Alice and I to pass through first.
"You ladies go on ahead I'm going to wait for the others!" He yelled even though Alice and I were only a few steps ahead of him.
"Sure" Alice replied, hooking her arm through mine and pulling me through the crowds.
Before long we were standing in front of the famous physics classroom, hard to believe I'd only been here two weeks.
"This is where we must part ways" Alice said majestically, sweeping her arm out to gesture me into the classroom.
"Indeed we must," I replied, stepping forward and turning around to enter the classroom backwards "I wish you a good day."
"And to you, oh, watch the desk," Alice replied cryptically before she disappeared down the hall.
"Huh?" I turned around and was one step from running into a desk in the front row. "Haha, I win" I said to the empty classroom, navigating my way around the desk and subsequently hitting my hip against the teacher's desk.
"Ow! Damn it." I cursed, rubbing my aching hip and glaring at the desk.
"I never would have hit that if Alice hadn't said anything. Damn that's gonna screw with my mind for the rest of the lesson!"
Limping to the seat Jasper had pointed out to me last week I collapsed into it and tired to not to think about any time paradoxes I was possibly living in.
I didn't take long for the class to file in and as Jasper passed me to get to his seat, he smiled. Although there was a bit too much teeth for it to be considered friendly, but I don't think my returned grimace was much better. It seemed that nothing had changed between Jasper and I, at least I thought so until he came up to me after class.
"Hey" he muttered under his breath and I was so surprised I didn't reply for a good minute.
"Er hi," I said eventually, wondering briefly if I should offer my hand to shake.
"I'm sorry we haven't had a chance to talk much" Jasper said brokenly and I thought the surprises were over for today.
"No, think of nothing of it, Alice told me I reminded you of your sister" I said thoughtlessly and wished instantly I could take it back but instead of the hurt I expected to see on Jasper's face I saw surprise.
"Alice told you about Lizzie?" Jasper asked and now it was my turn to be surprised.
"Lizzie was your sister?" And then we were both confused.
"How could she not be?" Jasper inquired and then it finally clicked.
"Oh right! Cause she's was Alice's mate, she was your sister, I see."
Jasper chuckled at my revelation and like the rest of the Cullen's his laugh sounded more like music, although if Alice was bells, Jasper's laugh was like a tuba, deep and full. The very image of Jasper with a tuba brought a smile to my face.
"I'm surprised Alice told you about her, she doesn't talk about Lizzie." Jasper said after a few moments, starting to head towards the door and I followed.
"Oh. Well, she was almost in tears the whole time," I revealed, "the conversation wasn't exactly smooth."
Jasper chucked again "we can't cry Isabella" he said and my shock was enough to distract me from the fact that he used my full name.
"It's just Bella" I said to break the silence. Jasper smiled cheekily at me and I could finally see why the entire female population here thought he was gorgeous.
"Not yet Isabella, we're not quite past acquaintances yet. Have a good day." And after delivering that dramatic line he turned away and walked down the rapidly emptying corridor.
"When I decided to ambush you I didn't expect you to take so long to get out of class" a voice behind me remarked and I turned around to come face to face with my first friend in this town.
"Angela!" I cried, hugging her briefly. "it feels like I haven't seen you for ages."
"Well, what with being Miss Popularity I imagine it must be hard to find time for us little people." She said jokingly, hugging me back and gesturing that we should walk.
"So how have you been?" She asked and I was thankful she hadn't launched straight into an inquisition about the Cullen's.
"Good, though I'm really late for Lit, can we talk at lunch?"
"Sure, I'll see you then" she said and we parted ways.
I was about ten minutes late for Lit but my teacher was amicable enough not to mention it when I crept into the class and after that the most unusual thing to happen was asking the girl next to me if I could copy her notes and receiving her reluctant acceptance. Angela met me in the hall outside the cafeteria.
"I see your not talking to your Cullen's this time" she remarked as we entered and I rolled my eyes.
"They're not my Cullen's, they're just the Cullen jeez, you'd think no one had ever talked with them before."
"They haven't" Angela replied and I stopped.
"What?" I asked, hurrying to catch up, ahead of me Angela took a tray from the stack.
"No one talks to the Cullens, ever. If a class does group projects they A – don't take the class, B – have one their family in it or C – have the project finished before it's set and say they read ahead."
"So, like, no one even knows where they live?"
"Oh no everyone knows where they live, this is a very small town - there's only many places you can stick a house - they just don't know what's in the house." Angela replied, taking a bowl and plopping some sort of meat in it, I forwent the mystery meat.
"I am not snooping in the Cullen's house to feed the Fork's gossip mill" I said resolutely and Angela put her hands up in surrender.
"It's ok I'm not asking you too, they have a right to their privacy. Sure I'm curious but I'd never ask you ferret around in their house."
"Well, good." I said awkwardly, grabbing an apple to have something to do with my hands. "What were we talking about before?"
"How the Cullen's are yours" Angela replied with a laugh, "but that's not actually why I tracked you down, and believe me it was tracking, I just wanted to know how you've been."
"I've been good" I replied, pleased that she cared.
"I saw you run out of the cafeteria yesterday, I was just wondering if you were ok." Angela said kindly, walking slowly towards her table and I realised she was giving us extra time to talk privately.
"Oh yeah I just ate something bad" I glanced meaningfully at the stew and Angela made a face.
"Don't touch the mystery meat guys," Angela said as she sat down "Bella got sick from it yesterday."
"Is THAT why you ran out!" Jessica exclaimed as Mike and Tyler both dropped their forks and looked dubiously at the meat they had been consuming.
"Ah, yeah." I said, feeling awkward as the entire table gazed at me in awe.
"I see Miss High and Mighty has decided to grace us lowly with her presence." Lauren said snootily from the end of the table and I blushed at the barely concealed hatred.
"You're just pissed cause Edward turned you down" said Tyler dismissingly. "So Bella, what's it like with the Cullen's?"
"Ah, good, they're really nice." I replied, conscious of the fact that they could hear every word. Chancing a quick glance at their table I saw Edward and Alice bent over and talking in hushed whispers to Rosalie. Jasper was looking pointedly at his tray while Emmett appeared to be trying to catch my attention as he waved at me when I looked at him. Waving back I turned my attention to the table.
"What do they talk about over there?" Jessica asked in a hushed whispered and I laughed at little at how she was asking all the wrong questions.
"They talk about normal stuff. I think we were talking about last year's school play yesterday."
"Really?" Jessica said, sitting up and casting a disappointed look towards the Cullen's table.
"Maybe you're just not part of the cult yet" Mike joked "they don't want to share their secrets with you yet."
Mike was lucky I was just drinking water cause if it had been anything bubbly it probably would have come out my noise with how hard I chocked at his words.
"Cult?" I asked, continuing to cough as Angela patted me on the back.
"Yeah, that's what we're calling them, the Cullen Cult, has a bit of a ring to it don't you think?" Mike replied with a grin, though it shot me a funny sideways look.
"You're sure good with these names" I muttered sarcastically, recovering gradually from my coughing fit.
"I like to think so," he replied enthusiastically, not appearing to pick up on my disinterest. "Wanna know what we're calling some of the teachers?" And without waiting for my reply he ploughed on with all the creative nicknames he'd created.
"Actually I wanted to ask you something" Angela said, managing to cut in when Mike had a breath between stories.
"Sure," I said, hoping I didn't sound too grateful that Mike was now silenced.
"Our group's going down to La Push this weekend, to do some surfing and have a bon fire, it's doesn't sound that great but it's normally really good, we were wondering if you wanted to come?" Angela said with a hopeful smile and everyone at the table leaned forward a little, anticipating my answer.
"Ah, what day, cause I work Saturday?" I asked.
"So do I!" Mike exclaimed getting way too excited "none of these lazy asses have a job yet, where are you working?"
"Just down here at the butcher," I replied, "So Sunday?"
"Sounds good" Angela said happily.
When the lunch bell sounded I went with Angela to dump my scraps in the bin and walking out I saw Emmett and Rosalie talking in the hallway, not wanting to intrude I went to walk past but Emmett called out for me to wait a second. Raising one eyebrow Angela shrugged and left for her class while I waited for Emmett to finish; although from the looks of things the conversation, more like argument, could have gone on for another hour if Emmett hadn't kissed Rosalie and dashed over to me.
"Hey Bells hear you're going to La Push on Sunday" Emmett said cheekily as we made our way down the hall. I resisted the urge to look over my shoulder and check what Rosalie's face looked like, in my mind she was pissed.
"Looks like it," I replied as we headed for maths and Emmett's grin widened.
"Bit of advice," he said "try not to bring home any strays!" And then he cacked himself laughing.
"Right," I muttered as Emmett laughed all the way to maths.
The afternoon was over before I knew where the time had gone and was walking out of the doors and planning to head over to the Butcher's but it quickly occurred to me that I didn't have a car.
"Need a lift?" A soprano voice asked from behind me and I turned around happily to find Alice spinning her car keys around her finger.
"Alice!" I cried, taking a step forward to hug her before thinking better of it and stumbling back, overall a rather awkward move. Alice seemed to know what I was going to do though as she laughed and stepped forward to hug me briefly before moving around me and towards her car where a group of teenage boys were currently gathered.
"That's insane" I muttered "you should sell tickets."
Alice laughed merrily "I thought about it but decided it wasn't worth the effort to clean the car every day. Excuse me boys."
Alice parted the crowd like Moses parted the Red Sea and after gesturing for me to get in, though I had to elbow a few people out of the way, she slipped gracefully into the driver's seat.
"So where to?" She asked and I raised an eyebrow.
"Don't you already know," I inquired and she giggled.
"Of course, but it seemed polite to ask." Alice replied, starting the car up and pulling slowly out of the car park, amazingly not running any of the awed spectators over.
"Why a butcher anyway?" Alice asked as we drove and I shrugged, silently surprised at the fact that she did know where to go even though I'd joked about her already knowing.
"It seemed like a good job, plus the real positive was that it was available." I replied, smiling and Alice grinned at my joke. I congratulated myself on making her smile.
"Yes I suppose that does help." She laughed, pressing her foot down on the gas and the trees around us began to blur past. I gulped and looked down at the CD player.
"This speed is something I'm going to have to get used to isn't it?" I inquired and I felt rather than saw Alice nod, beaming, and press her foot closer to the floor.