How could this be? Was the universe playing some sick, twisted game with me, trying to test the many ways a heart could be scattered and still be expected to keep beating?

For two years I had been a living dead, walking through life with no hope, no purpose, no desire to go anywhere but back.

And now? When I had finally began to take careful steps forward, to explore the world outside the isolated hell that I was living, Life decided to throw this my way?

Yes, someone was indeed playing a sick game, and I was the main character.

Chapter One

Eyes of gold

Take a look at my body
Look at my hands
There's so much here that I don't understand
Your face-saving promises
Whispered like prayers
I don't need them

'Cause I've been treated so wrong,
I've been treated so long
As if I'm becoming untouchable

Well, contempt loves the silence, it thrives in the dark
With fine winding tendrils that strangle the heart
They say that promises sweeten the blow
But I don't need them, no I don't need them

Do you remember the way that you touched me before
All the trembling sweetness I loved and adored
Your face-saving promises
Whispered liked prayers
I don't need them

I need the darkness, the sweetness, the sadness, the weakness
Oh, I need this
I need a lullaby, a kiss goodnight, angel, sweet love of my life

I woke up to a shrill noise, flinging my arm out to pound it down the snooze button on my alarm clock. Once again I wondered how on earth I never managed to remember to change that stupid signal, it sounded like a fire alarm gone wild rather than a regular alarm clock and it made me wake up cranky and annoyed every morning. Yet somehow I always forgot to change the signal as soon as I got out of bed. I was embarrassed to admit that I had been waking up to that horrible noise for almost a year now. Sometimes change takes time, if it happens at all that is.

But this day was different, because today I was not just going to get up, dress, choke down a glass of juice and leave for work like I had done almost every morning for the past year. No, my job at the small café just around the corner from my apartment was now a place where I only worked during the weekends.

As from today, I was starting school again.

I wasn't really sure how I felt about it, probably indifferent like I did about most things these days. There was no purpose, it just needed to be done for the sake of it.

So after I rolled out of bed, once again forgetting to change the signal on my alarm clock, I walked over to my drawer to find something to wear on this first day of 'what ever the reason', looking for clothes that would help me melt into the background, allowing me to avoid being seen or spoken to what so ever. It didn't hurt to try anyway.

As I was digging through shirts, each having either too much colour or in other ways being simply wrong for the 'melting into background' task, my eyes for a moment rested on the white, long sleeved t-shirt I had worn the last time I had started a new school. I didn't even have time to catch myself before my mind was throwing images at me. Memories, usually locked safely away in the back of my head, where surfacing and blocking everything else out.

Sitting in the cafeteria, trying to make small talk with strangers. Seeing Him sitting in the other end of the room, feeling His eyes on me. Walking into class to find that the only seat open was next to Him. Feeling a current of electricity from His body. Meeting His murderous glare as I looked into His midnight black eyes…

It felt like someone had slapped me in the face. Most days I was able to almost keep him out of my thoughts all together. It had taken some time, the first year after he had left he was always in my mind, constantly overshadowing everything else.

But now he only hunted my dreams at night. There was no way to stop that and I still woke up screaming in the middle of the night, clutching my hands to my chest and realizing that I was still alone and that he hadn't come back for me.

I suppose you could say I eventually started cutting off my feelings for everything, it all hurt too much and I was afraid that if I could feel again then the pain would overwhelm me and I was sure my body would physically drown in it all. So I put up walls around me, I made them high and impenetrable so that no one would ever have a chance to hurt me like that again. It hadn't been just a heart break, it had been an complete body and soul break down and I was only now starting to feel like I was getting some balance back into my life.

For a year I had convinced myself that I couldn't leave Forks. I had stayed home after I graduated and just filled time dreaming that he would come back.

Jacob had been a good help, he had been able to put some of the pieces of me back in place but he could never really heal me. When he had met Caroline the first summer after Edward left I had known that it was time for me to move on as well. I couldn't stay in Fork any longer, I couldn't keep waiting for someone who would never return, when that someone didn't even love me.

So I moved. I took all my things and travelled to Rochester where I got a job at a coffee shop. I worked there for a year and though I liked it very much I knew I needed to get a real education. After encouragement from Jake I eventually applied for Rochester college and thanks to my impeccable grades – a result of having nothing else in my life but school work during my last year in Forks – I got in.

I had set up a goal for myself since I needed something to work for to keep me motivated and I knew the second the thought came to me that it was right choice; I would be a teacher. English teacher, since that had always been my favorite subject.

The walk from my apartment to the college wasn't long, just 15 minutes if I kept up a normal pace. When the building came into view I felt the first surge of nervousness. New school, new people, new friendships. Was I really ready for this?

When I entered the building I discovered how much stronger and confident I was starting a new school this time around. Before I knew it, I had gotten my schedule and all the other necessary papers and was walking to B13 where my first seminar would be.

English literature, I noticed with a smile. Good start.

I found the classroom easily, following a group of students all looking a bit confused and nervous. I figured it was their first day as well.

We settled into our seats, I chose the one in the second row, next to a girl with long blonde hair and who didn't look quite as nervous as the rest.

She smiled at me as I sat down and extended a hand. I was a bit shocked but took it quickly, not wanting to offend her by hesitating. I wasn't good with socializing with strangers so I generally kept to myself.

"Hi, I'm Anna. I just moved here from Santa Barbara. What's your name?"

Santa Barbara, I thought. That would explain her golden sun kissed skin.

"I'm Bella Swan. I've lived here for about a year but I'm from small town in Washington originally."

"Oh, that's cool, then you'll know all the good places to go during the weekends, right?" She smiled a friendly smile at me, and before I got a chance to admit that I really had no clue where people went, the door opened and the teacher walked in.

My heart stopped beating and my breath caught the second my eyes fell on him.

He was long, with a perfectly lean and muscled body, brown hair, beautiful cheekbones and a mezmorizing smile on his lips.

All that made for an altogether gorgeous man. Just that those were not the features that had made my heart stop.

This man was pale, he moved with the same grace I had only seen one person do before and his eyes were golden butterscotch.

I didn't have to look at him twice to know that he was a vampire.

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