Authors Notes:

Beta is Xrxdanixrx. She is awesome.

Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of its characters. Although I sometimes feel they may own me! No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter 1 (The Beginning)

My name is Bella Swan, and life is good. I'm the happiest I've ever been. Things haven't always been that way, though. I've had my fair share of fun and heartache; excitement and uncertainty; love and loss. All roads have always led me in the same direction, toward where I am today. I think I've always known that, even back at the beginning of it all. The day that I met him.

March 1992, 11th Grade

My father was in the military so we moved around more than we stayed put. I was rarely in the same school for more than one year, and this year was no different; except that my father retired and decided to take a position as the police chief for a small community in Maryland, just outside the Washington DC area. While I was happy that my dad finally wanted to lay down some roots for our family, I wasn't going to count on staying. Moving to a different place every year was what I was used to. While I didn't like it, it's what we did. My father's retirement was right before Christmas, so we had spent the holidays moving and getting settled into our new house.

My mom had always wanted to live in a cute little cottage, so when my dad was offered the position of Police Chief for the town of Garrett Park, he jumped at the chance. He had been promising my mom that he would retire for several years and she had been more than patient. He could see that she wanted more time with him and wanted to settle down in one place for a change. Garrett Park was close to where he and my mom grew up, and he found her the perfect house. It was a quaint, stone, cottage-style house with lots of windows and wooden shutters. It was surrounded by a big yard with lots of trees and a stone path leading to the front door; it looked like it could have popped out of a storybook. In fact, my mom called it her Hansel and Gretel house.

It didn't take long to get settled. My mom was so excited to finally have her dream cottage and a permanent address that she stayed up late every night getting everything unpacked and put away. The house was smaller than most of the other houses in the neighborhood, but what it lacked in space it more than made up for in charm. It really was a cute house. The downstairs had your typical rooms; just inside the front door was the entry and staircase leading upstairs. Off to the right, was a fairly large living room with a stone fireplace. On the other side of the house, after walking through the living room, was a big kitchen with a wall of windows by where the table sat, overlooking the back yard. There were also hardwood floors throughout.

The upstairs was also kind of small, but had three bedrooms and two bathrooms. My room was on the front side of the house and had a window overlooking the front yard. There was a smaller bedroom off the hallway across from my bathroom, and my parent's master bedroom and bathroom was on the other end of the hall, overlooking the back.

Garrett Park was a unique community. From inside the town, it was like you had stepped back in time. It was just outside one of the largest cities in the US, but you would never know it from the look and feel of the place. It was a historic town consisting of 154 acres and Victorian style houses set back from the sidewalks. The two and three story houses had wrap around porches, cross-gable roofs, and large expansive yards. The town also had their own little country store and post office, which sat right along a B&O railroad train depot. It was all very different from the kind of city life and housing we were used to.

The people were extremely friendly and welcoming, and many of our neighbors stopped by to introduce themselves and welcome us to the neighborhood. The fact that my dad was the new police chief may have had some influence on that though.

I quickly settled into a routine and once the holidays were over, found myself at yet another new school. It was the beginning of a new semester, a new year, and a new life. There were all new classes and teachers and lots of new people to meet. I always excelled at school and got good grades and moving around a lot makes a person develop a certain amount of people skills. As a child I was painfully shy, but learned to get over that by moving to a new school every year. I wasn't overly outgoing and didn't like to call attention to myself, but I was friendly and didn't have a problem making friends. In the few short months we had been here I had made several new friends, many of them on the first day of school.

Luckily, I had my driver's license and was able to drive myself to school, as I would not have wanted to ride the dreaded school bus. I wasn't up for dealing with the overly crowded, slow moving vehicle that would ultimately force me to sit next to someone I probably wasn't interested in talking to. Plus it was just kind of lame. I wanted to make a good impression and the school bus definitely wasn't the way to go about it.

That first day I was greeted by a group of people. First was a boy named Mike Newton. He was average looking like me, with blond hair and blue eyes, and was very outgoing and friendly. He quickly introduced me to his friends, who I sat with at lunch. They were a small group consisting of two other guys: Tyler and Eric, and three other girls, Angela, Jessica, and Lauren. They were all pretty nice to me, at least at first. Angela was, by far, the nicest out of the bunch.

As fate would have it, there was another new student who started the same day as me. Her name was Rosalie Hale and we met in the office that first morning. She was easily the most beautiful girl in the school, with her curly, long blonde hair, dreamy blue eyes, and super model body, but had a great personality, as well. She was feisty, I'll say that, but very friendly and outgoing, and we became fast friends.

The days were passing in typical high school fashion, nothing too out of the ordinary from any of the other countless schools I'd attended. The inner social structure of the school was much like any other American high school. There were definitive cliques that made up the social hierarchy: jocks, cheerleaders, nerds, theater kids, punks, stoners, goth/emo kids, and, of course, the beautiful people. However, the strange thing about all these groups was that there was a hybrid group of people that was an eclectic mix of some of each type of student. This is where I fit in.


It was just another day, another boring hour of sitting in the school guidance office for my third period assignment as office aide. I was already far ahead of the rest of my classmates when I started the new school and, in an effort to keep me from advancing too far ahead and becoming bored in class, my academic counselor assigned me as an aide to the guidance office to fill up some of my schedule.

Some days the counselors actually had me run errands, like delivering notes or messages to different classrooms, or retrieving students that were needed from class. However, most days, I would just sit on the couch inside the office and do homework or read. This was one of those days. As I sat studying for my fifth period Spanish test, in walked the person who would forever change my life. The one who would turn the world as I knew it upside down.

"Mr. King, Mr. Cullen," greeted Ms. Cope. "To what do we owe the honor of your presence with us today?"

I looked up from my seat on the couch to the two people entering through the office door, Royce King and Edward Cullen. Both boys were tall, good looking, and both had quite the reputation at our school. I had only been a student there since the beginning of the semester, but had already heard about some of the antics and trouble they had gotten into. They were practically inseparable and were friends with the most beautiful people in the school. While I knew who they were and had heard plenty of stories, I never really gave them, or should I say him, a second thought… until that day.

"Hi, Ms. Cope," they both stated innocently with dazzling smiles on their faces.

"We know that we're supposed to be in class," Royce explained, "but I forgot my English paper at home this morning, and Edward gave me a ride back to my house to get it! We missed second period, though, and I was hoping that you could write us a note to be excused from class."

While Royce was pleading their case with Ms. Cope, I looked up from my book to see the most beautiful pair of green eyes staring back at me; Edward Cullen's eyes. I knew that Edward was good looking, but I underestimated the extent of his beauty. He was tall, easily 6'1", with pale, smooth skin and a perfect complexion. Not at all like the other boys our age who were just coming out of their awkward puberty stages. No, Edward was perfect. He had a chiseled jaw with the most amazing hair and eyes I'd ever seen. He looked like he stepped out of a magazine. His hair was a unique shade of bronze with copper highlights and was styled so that it was neatly messy, looking like he just rolled out of bed. However, the best part of his face was his eyes. In the quick second that I took to look up, his eyes penetrated me with their sheer beauty. The color was a rich, emerald green and I found myself wanting to get lost in them. My heart skipped a beat, my stomach began to do flips, and I immediately looked away from him in the embarrassment of our eyes locking. I tried to play it off that I was uninterested by rolling my eyes and looking back down at my book, but I had a feeling that he knew better. My traitor face always gave me away, and I prayed that he couldn't hear my heart about to jump out of my chest.

"Gentlemen, you know that you are not to leave school grounds without parental consent or notifying the office prior to leaving," Ms. Cope admonished. "And this is not the first offense for either of you! I cannot keep excusing your deliberate breaking of the rules."

"Ms. Cope, we know that we've been in here many times, and that you've always been more than fair. We just hope that you look at the circumstances," Royce begged. "We've been trying to be better students and follow the rules. When we've been here in the past, it was for slacking off and being disrespectful. Today was different. Even though we left the campus, we were trying to be responsible. I really needed to get my paper and turn it in. I need to pass English in order to move up next year. Please try to understand," he implored.

"Yes, please, Ms. Cope?" Edward added.

"Fine!" Ms. Cope gave in. "But this is the last time I'm going to help you with something like this. Do we have an understanding?"

"Yes, ma'am!" They both replied, smiling.

Ms. Cope looked disappointed, but it seemed she had a soft spot for them. They were definitely charming, and it appeared that they were perfectly aware of this skill. After they received their notes, she told them to get back to class. I stole another quick glance as I heard the office door open and saw that Edward was looking back in my direction. When my eyes met his for the second time, he was on his way out the door, smiling at me with the most adorable crooked grin. I thought I was going to melt, so again, I looked away, and he left. Little did I know that this encounter would be one of the most significant of my life.

Chapter End Notes:

So, we learn a little bit about Bella and what her life is like. She also encounters Edward for the first time. She seems intrigued by him. What do you think he thinks about her?

Also, Garrett Park is a real town in Maryland. I grew up very close to there and always loved the neighborhood. Some of the information depicted on the city is accurate, though they don't have their own police force and the citizens are completely fictitious. Here is a link to get a better idea of what it looks like there, should you be interested: www (dot) garrettpark-md (dot) gov/album (dot) php?album_id=2

I'd love to hear from you. Reviews make me write faster! ;)