A/N: So I got the idea for this the other day, and it didn't want to leave me alone. It's M for a reason. So don't like, don't read. Simple.
This is pretty short for me, so the next couple of chapters should be longer. Feedback is appreciated - so let me know if it's awful. I can take it. ;)
Oh, and I don't own the characters. I doubt Stephanie would approve. And I don't own the song. That's by Daughtry.
I didn't really know what to expect. It was my first day of college – well, my first day at college. Classes didn't start until next week, but I wanted to get here early so I wouldn't end up lost. Plus, I'd been pretty damn excited about finally getting away from home.
Forks wasn't exactly the best place to live out your high school years, trust me.
But I survived Forks High, and I graduated with good enough grades to get me into …, which was my first choice. The day I got my acceptance I was so freaking happy. I think I scared Charlie, just a little.
That's my dad, by the way. He's been looked after me since I was fourteen and my mum passed me off to him after she got married again. At first I was reluctant to leave Phoenix, where I'd grown up, but Forks wasn't as bad as I thought.
I kind of grew to love the place, eventually.
I'm Isabella Swan, by the way. Bella for short – I hate people using my full name. I have for as long as I can remember, I don't really know why. But people have called me Bella for so long now that it takes me a while to respond to Isabella.
The room that I'd be staying in for my first year here at … was better than I expected, I guess. I didn't have a roommate, so I had loads of space, and my own bathroom. No shower though – those were down the hall. The joys of sharing a communal shower with the other twenty girls on this hall. Who were probably all freakishly perfect.
The door banged open then, the wood smacking against the wall loudly, making me jump up from where I'd been lying down on the bed, staring aimlessly at the ceiling, curious as to what the sudden commotion was.
But it was just Charlie – laden with so many bags that I could barely see his head, God knows how he navigated the three sets of stairs t get up here – and my best friend, Jacob Black, who was also carrying a multitude of my stuff.
I'd known Jake since I was tiny, and when I'd moved back we'd become instant friends. He was a year younger than me, and even though I knew that he had a huge crush on me I never mentioned anything to him. I didn't want to wreck our friendship, or make things awkward between us. His friendship meant a lot to me – there weren't many people that I could count on back in Forks.
I'd managed to piss of the majority of the female population of my year by snagging the hottest boy in the school. Edward Cullen. We'd started dating two years ago, and had been pretty inseparable since.
There was one thing though – I knew for a fact that he loved me more than I loved him. I don't know when I realised that, exactly. But I know it's true.
That makes me feel guilty, and I did try breaking up with him before we left for college (seeing as we were miles away from each other), but he was adamant that we could still be together. I just couldn't let him down like that.
And I did love him.
There were a few other people I could count on back in Forks – Mike had always been around, even though he seemed more interested in getting into my pants than anything else; and Ben and Eric were pretty awesome too.
But Angela was my best friend at Forks High. I was really going to miss her – she was miles away from me, too. I seemed to be the farthest away from any of my old friends. I didn't know if that was a good thing or not.
Jacob interrupted my inner rambling by sitting next to me and the bed and flinging an arm around my shoulders, pulling me closer to him so that he could hug me to his side.
"I can't believe you're leaving me, Bells. I'm really going to miss you." He shook his dark hair out of his brown eyes – it desperately needed cutting again.
"Sorry, Jake, but I think my dad's got the worst end of the stick – he has to cook for himself for weeks. I don't know how he'll survive." I ducked out of the way of the pillow that Charlie threw at me, but I nearly failed because Jake still had his arm around me and it was beginning to annoy me.
Why couldn't he just accept that we were never going to more than friends?
Laughing, I shook Jake's arm off and stood up, which, of course, meant that he stood up, too.
"C'mon Jake, we'd better leave her to it. It's going to take you years to unpack all this, Bells. Did you actually leave anything in the house?"
"Damn. I thought it looked a little bare when I left." I stepped closer to Charlie and hugged him. This would be the longest that we'd been away from each other since I'd moved in with him.
"Right. Have fun kiddo. I'll call when we're back home." Neither me or Charlie were good with words, so I just left it at that, stepping back only to be enveloped by a different pair of arms.
"I'll really miss you, but have fun here." Jake pressed his cheek to my hair before stepping away quickly, as if knowing how uncomfortable it made me feel.
They left then, and I had nothing to do but unpack and explore. I got through two boxes before getting bored, so I gave up with that and left my room. There weren't many other people who had arrived as early as I had, so there weren't a lot of people about.
I decided to take advantage of that and pawed through several boxes before finding my shower stuff. Then I headed down the hallway, armed with extra clothes (I'd been travelling all day) and a towel. I double-checked before pushing open the door that there wasn't any steam creeping from underneath it.
There wasn't, so I figured that I'd be ok. The last thing I wanted to do on my first day here was be embarrassed. I breathed out a sigh of relief when the room was empty, but I still went to the opposite end of the room to the door, in the farthest stall possible. The hot water was relaxing, and I finished up quickly, eager to explore the campus.
And maybe meet some new people. I wasn't a total recluse – I did actually like other people.
My phone rang as I was putting my stuff back into my room, and I considered whether or not to answer. I let out a sigh before hitting accept call – if I ignored him he'd only call back and text me about fifty times.
"Hello beautiful. How's …?"
"I cant really say, I've only seen my room, which is nice enough. I was just on my way to check the place out."
"Oh, awesome. I still don't see why you couldn't have waited an extra two days before you left, though. We could have had more time together." I could practically hear the pout in his voice. Ever since we'd slept together the first time – about three months ago, now – he'd been obsessed with sex.
Sure, it was nice but it wasn't anything amazing. That might be because he didn't have a clue though, bless him. But I didn't see why he obsessed so much - I certainly didn't. In fact, I'd been thinking of ways to avoid it recently. I just didn't enjoy it that much. There were no fireworks, like you read about.
Nothing like that. Maybe there was something wrong with me. I knew for a fact that most of the girls at Forks would have killed to be in my position.
"You know me, always organised."
"Maybe I could come down there this weekend . . ." Couldn't he get the message that didn't want to talk about this right now? Obviously not.
"I don't think that's a good idea." My voice was sharper than I intended, but at least now he's get the message.
"Fine." Great, now he was sulking. Baby.
"Look, I have to go. I'll speak to you soon."
"Ok. Say hi to Emmet for me." Emmet was his big brother – older by two years. The guy was huge, but was a teddy bear when you got to know him. I hadn't expected to get on with him when I'd first dated Edward – the guy terrified me at first. But now we were good friends, and I was glad that I wouldn't be totally alone here.
"I will. Bye."
"Bye, I love you." I didn't say it back. Instead I hung up and threw my phone onto my bedside table. I didn't want to be bothered, not just by him, but by anybody, while I got to know this place.
It was something different, a totally new experience, and I was glad to be able to start afresh, make new friends, be whatever I wanted to be without people judging me because I changed.
That was what college was about. Well, for me it was.
I was probably going to get lost, but it was only two in the afternoon, so I wasn't in any danger of it getting dark. The grounds of this place were probably bigger than the whole of Forks, so I was going to have a lot to memorize.
I had a map, and even though I probably looked like a real tourist, I used it. I went over to the library first, mainly because I was majoring in English, and even if I wasn't I'd still spend a lot of time in there. I loved reading – if I had brought all of my books from back home I would've needed way more boxes.
As it was, I'd just brought my favourites. But hopefully I'd be able to find some new stuff around here.
Then I went over to the science building, but it looked a little too futuristic and sci-fi for me, so I didn't go inside.
There weren't many people about, but those I did see smiled and nodded, and generally looked friendly. I put the map away – the less attention I drew towards myself, the better. Being in the spotlight wasn't good for someone as uncoordinated as me.
After I went to the English department and had a look around (everything was spotlessly tidy – a change from back home, that was for sure), I just let my feet take me wherever they wanted to go, not caring where I ended up.
Me being me, though, as I was walking along a gravel path through some gardens, my foot got stuck and I went flying. I managed to use my hands to stop myself hitting the ground headfirst, but the impact stung my palms. Lifting them up I saw that I'd grazed the skin pretty badly.
They'd better be healed by the time classes started – I didn't want everybody knowing how much of a klutz I was.
"Hey, you alright? I saw you fall, it looked pretty bad." I glanced up to see a guy looking at me with concern. He had a subtle Southern accent. He was tall and wiry, but even under his sweater I could see that he had well-developed muscles on his arms.
His hair was honey-blond, and he ran a hand through it before offering it to help me up. I tried to decline (what with the blood and all), but he didn't listen and instead pulled me upright.
"Sorry, I kinda lack balance. Or coordination." Could I make a bigger fool out of myself? On my first day? God, I'm such an idiot. But he just laughed, his blue eyes sparkling with amusement.
"Why are you apologising? Are you alright?" He sounded so concerned. Bless him.
"I'm fine, honestly. This kind of thing happens on a regular basis. I'm Bella, by the way." He shook my hand even though there was still blood on it, not looking the least bit repulsed like I would have.
"Jasper. Nice to meet you. You new here?" He started walking, in the direction I'd been headed, so fell into step beside him.
"Yep. Majoring in English."
"Awesome. I'm more of a scientist, myself. I'm doing chemistry. Second year."
"Tough break." He laughed, still smiling. We talked about meaningless stuff then. He seemed like a pretty cool guy, I could see myself getting along with him well.
"Right, this is my stop. I'll see you around?"
"Yeah, sure. Thanks for back there, by the way."
"Not a problem. Saving damsel's in distress is why I'm here early." He winked, before adding: "Here. Take my number – call me if you want to hang out." I passed him my phone and he put his number in, before he waved and made his way into the building we were stood in front of. It looked like a dorm, but I had no idea where it was in relation to mine.
I continued walking, and after a few minutes I arrived in front of what claimed to be the arts department. I was curious (I'd heard a lot about this college being particularly good for the arts). So I went inside.
It was, like the rest of the place, state of the art. The theatre was huge, and posters covering the walls boasted performances – but most were from last year. That would be one thing on my list of things to do – go and see a play. They looked pretty good.
I hadn't seen anyone else near this building, so when I heard someone playing a few chords on an acoustic guitar, curiosity got the best of me again. I followed the sound of the music through several hallways.
It was a girl, of that I now knew, because she's started singing. I couldn't hear the words yet, I was too far away, but I could tell from here that she was amazing. Good on the guitar, too.
The room that she was playing in had the door open slightly, and I hesitated before starting towards it. I didn't know if she would be particularly welcoming to me if she saw me watching her.
I knew I wouldn't be.
So I proceeded with caution. I didn't need to, though, because even though she was facing the door, her eyes were closed.
She was beautiful, but not in a classical way. Her hair was short, and stuck out in every direction possible. Her features were small, delicate, just like the rest of her body. She looked so fragile, as if she could snap in one wrong move.
Her hands moved with an easy elegance over strings of the guitar - she must have been playing for years. Her voice was soft but powerful, and she was an amazing singer. She'd have no problem making a career out of it, I was sure. I didn't know the song that she was singing, but I could make out the lyrics:
For the first time you can open your eyes
And see the world without your sorrow
Where no-one knows the pain you've left behind
And all the peace you could never find
It's waiting there to hold and keep you
Welcome to the first day of your life
Just open up your eyes
She carried on singing, but I couldn't stand there and watch her for much longer. I didn't want her to see me, because I didn't know how she would react. I didn't want her to think that I was some sort of weirdo-stalker.
Now that would be just the type of first impression that I'd make.
But it was more than that, if I was being honest with myself. For some inexplicable reason, I also wanted her to see me. I wanted to know more about her. Why she looked so broken. Why she sang with such emotion in her voice.
And to be honest, that scared me. I mean, I didn't even know the girl, and I wanted to know more about her? That just wasn't me. I wasn't drawn to people so quickly. It took me weeks to get accustomed to new people.
So I turned around and got the hell out of there. I don't know if she heard me leave. I didn't really care, though. She wouldn't see much of me. So she wouldn't recognise me if (when) she saw me again.
And I was planning on seeing her again. Just when there were other people around, so I wouldn't make a fool out of myself.
I considered calling Jasper, but it hadn't been long since we'd parted. I didn't want him to think that I couldn't get by on my own. Besides, I really should be trying to figure out where the hell my dorm was.
I wasn't lost.
I was just … adjusting.
While wandering around.
Quite possibly looking like an idiot.
But hey. That's just me.