Chapter 19

Bella

When Mr. Campbell assigned personal journals to the creative writing class, I was excited about the opportunity to develop my writing skills and to record inner thoughts and creations for future reflection.

Each Monday, he would give us guidelines to follow but would let us choose the subject matter. The first week's suggestion from him was a poem using any rhyme scheme pattern. The first week's subject matter from me was Jacob.

We had only been overunequivocally overa little more than two weeks. Still going through emotional ups and downs, there had been too much left unsaid between us for there to be any other subject on my mind. Add to it spells of regret, anger, and missing him, and I couldn't argue that I wasn't a pitiful mess. Again.

In the library, jotting down whatever popped into my Jacob-crowded mind during fourth period study hall, I felt satisfied with the results, but I was now stressing about sharing my experiences with Mr. Campbell.

He wasn't going to grade our papers. We were only handing them in for completion points. He was, however, going to read them and offer little critiques and writing tips, written on sticky notes so that they could be removed by us at our convenience. To give us freedom of expression, it was understood that the writings in our personal journals were confidential.

But allowing anyone a peek inside my head, inside my soul, frightened me to death, especially a male someone.

Focusing on the paper laying before me and attempting to convince myself to be brave in my truths and write as if nobody but me would ever see the words, I noticed that the energy of the library lifted and the quiet chatter increased.

I raised my head to find our Port Angeles transfer student, Edward Cullenaka, the new kid in townhad just entered the library and was speaking to the librarian.

Gazing around at the horde of females who had their eyes on him, I thought how ridiculous they all acted whenever he entered a room. There wasn't any mystery as to how he achieved this level of instant popularity. He had arrived in Forks just in time to fill Mike Newton's vacant position on the football field as quarterback, along with positions as one of the top dogs and male hotties of our school. You name it: cheerleaders, smart girls, popular girls, athletic girls and girls with questionable reputations all swooned at the slightest attention from him. He was after all, fresh meat.

Letting out a small grin, even I had to admit the first time I came face to face with him, which was way before he ever appeared in Forks High's lowly corridors, I was somewhat star-struck.

It happened during last Christmas's holiday break, while on a Port Angeles excursion. The time when Seth and I took in a matinee together in which Leah and Jasper later joined, and when I was in a bad way from dwelling on mine and Jacob's first failed attempt at a relationship throughout the entire movie.

We left Seth and Jasper waiting for Emmett at the food court while Leah and I ducked into a boutique, so she could exchange a blouse she had bought Sue as a Christmas present and ended up deciding on another one instead.

I was doing my best to return to a happy place for the sake of the group when I recalled The Music Shop was directly next door. I'd get a new classical CD, and as soon as the sun went down and I was in my bedroom, all by my lonesome, I could wallow in despair as much as I cared to and cry until the tears ran out again with nobody being the wiser.

Leaving Leah in the long customer service line, I wandered next door, disappointed to find that it wasn't any less crowded with holiday shoppers than the boutique had been.

I was preoccupied with memories and brooding, not paying much attention to anyone or anything, when I absentmindedly skirted around a shelf and ended up banging my thigh hard against the corner of it. Ouch! I grabbed for the pain.

Then a knee-jerk reaction of a mysterious nature followed.

I didn't know how it occurred, but I ended up stumbling backward and bumping into a standing CD rack and knocking several CDs onto the floor.

Trying to gather them up frantic and blushing, I was aware that all eyes were on me.

I may as well have had my hands creamed in butter because I couldn't get a grip on any of the cases. They kept jumping out of my hands with a mind of their own, working effectively not to get caught.

"Here let me help you with that," a poised male voice amiably offered. A body knelt down beside me, casually reaching strong steady hands into the pile of plastic I was fumbling through, which helped me gain control of my embarrassed self.

I peered up through my hair, and my sight was met by the warmest, deepest sea-green eyes I had ever had the pleasure of falling into. I smoothed my hair behind my ear to see him better. He smiled crookedly, causing a slight stuttering inside of my chest.

I softly gasped; Jacob was the only person that ever elicited involuntary responses like that from me.

How strange was that?

At the same time, I couldn't help but feel relatively excited that it was even possible.

Together, we gathered the CDs in silence and slid them into the slots of the rack. "Is there something I can you help you find?" he asked.

"Sure. I was looking for Halina Czerny Stefanska's Chopin."

He grinned. "Right this way."

Following him to a tiny one-row section at the back of the store, I gaped at his broad shoulders and very awe-inspiring physique-a physique that screamed out "mega athlete."

I didn't even attempt not to stare at the display of muscles visible beneath the fitted fabric of his blue V-neck shirt. Sleeves pushed up to the crook of his elbows and wearing dark-beige twill jeans, confidence exuded from him and his sense of style.

He flipped through the CDs, turned to me and said, "Sorry. It doesn't look like they have it. Um ... I'd recommend this." He tugged out a Debussy Greatest Compilation CD. "If you don't already have it."

I grinned, taking another dip in the green sea of his eyes as I took hold of his recommendation. "Thanks for the suggestion."

"Edward." A female voice sang out from across the store. He gazed over my shoulder, and I turned my head toward the voice. A beautiful blonde woman standing by the register was gesturing him over to her. She was classic early Audrey Hepburn gorgeous, less Audrey's dark mane-that is.

"Glad I could be of help," he said, moving a step back and waving to the blonde.

"Your boss?"

He laughed. "That's a matter of opinion. She's actually my girlfriend."

I quickly dropped my eyes below his collar bone, realizing he wasn't wearing a nametag. "You mean, you don't work here?"

"Nope. Just trying to help a lady in distress."

"Edward," the soft melody of a voice played again, this time with impatience.

Now that I knew she was his girlfriend, she appeared a lot younger. I figured them to be at least nineteen or twenty.

"Gotta go. She can be rather bossy." He winked.

Passing Leah's gawking eyes and gaping mouth, he glided with smoothness toward the blonde siren.

"Thank you!" I called out after him. He turned back, nodding with a smile.

"Whoa! Who was that?" Leah questioned as she approached.

"Just a nice guy," I replied, wandering after him with my gaze as he left the store.

I never expected that I would ever set eyes on him again. Not in Forks and definitely not in my school.

Since seeing him again, I realized that he didn't look that old at all. It was just the sophisticated way he carried himself during the circumstance when we met.

Emerging from my daydream and recalling the words Leah spoke that day, "Wouldn't you just love to have a guy like that?" I was mortified to grasp I'd been staring and probably with a goofy look on my face to boot.

It was even more mortifying to see him staring back. Thinking he was about to smile at me, I broke eye contact and buried my attention into my project.

I wasn't at all interested in becoming an Edward Cullen groupie-regardless of how handsome or fresh he was to our small town.


Edward

I was dividing my attention between finding source material for a report I was working on and this breath-taking brunette I had noticed staring at me as the librarian was pointing me in the right direction.

She looked so familiar, long dark hair and large brown, sensitive eyes. I certainly recognized her face from somewhere but couldn't figure out where or when we might have crossed paths.

She gathered her belongings to leave the library when a loose leaf paper slipped from her binder and went gliding to the carpeted floor, softly settling behind her as she walked away.

"Pss," I muttered, waving to get her attention, but she wouldn't acknowledge me and continued out the door.

Immediately, I headed over to retrieve the document for her. It was lying face down beneath the vacated wooden table, a writing of some kind, a poem.

I should have stopped reading when I comprehended its private nature, but I kept going.

One day I hid my heart from you, a long time ago.

Though you were often near, my heart would never know.

You've always held the power to hurt me; it happened once or twice before.

It took all the strength I had in me, just to close that door.

I guess my guard was down on that random summer day.

Because when you smiled at me, I was swept away.

And once the door was opened, I longed for your arms.

I longed to hold and kiss you and melt within your charms.

You took me to the beach, a night I never will forget.

A passion-wakening memory, a special time we kept secret.

It was the first time that you held me, and you gave me my first kiss.

At the time I couldn't guess, you'd disappear like this.

Beneath a liar's moon, you waltzed back in my life.

I gave you back my heart amidst the fire and the strife.

Sweet lips touching mine, you convinced me "one more try."

Here one day and gone the next, before I could blink an eye.

I understood what I was getting into before I returned your kiss.

If I'd known then, what I know now, I'd have made myself resist.

But I crumbled with your touch, became foolish and unsure.

I had to stay inside your arms; they seemed my only cure.

Forever I have loved you, almost believed you shared the feeling.

But once again, you put me away. It was my soul chance was killing.

A pathetic little soul crushed from all the times we've parted.

Paying for the fight I lost, the fight that never should have started.

Then you just walked away—unhurt, unharmed, unfazed.

I was left devastated, thoughtless, and betrayed.

I know I'll never have you, and I know we'd never make it.

But these dreams, they keep coming. This feeling, I just can't shake it.

Makes it hard not to hope, someday our love will come to power.

And all the dreams I have of "us" will wake, live, and flower.

But you don't feel the same as me. It's a fact I can't deny.

That's why I'm giving up for good. It's time to say goodbye.

I pray I never see you. I pray that this at last will end.

Forever's finally over Jake. I won't be with you again.

Dreams do die!

Wondering about her even more, and so I could return her belongings to her, I chose a student who was at a table near where the attractive author had been working.

The dolled up cherry-blond gazed upward from her sitting position as I approached. "Hi" having been briefly introduced to this girl at some point during the past week, I searched to remember her name"Lauren," I greeted.

Shifting in her chair and straightening her slender body tall, she smiled smugly, pleased I remembered her. "Edward."

"Yes, I'm wondering if you could help me."

"I'll do my very best." She fluttered her lashes.

"Could you please tell me who that girl is that was sitting right there?" I asked, indicating who I was referring to by turning my head to the empty chair. "She left this behind." I lifted up the paper.

Lauren stretched her neck a little, assuming I wanted to share it with her. Her lips turned up at the corners in enthusiasm. I knew Lauren's typedated Lauren's type on plenty occasionsand some of these beautiful, innocent angel-faces contained atrocious mean-streaks. I quickly brought it back toward my chest.

Her upward turned lips straightened back to normal. Slightly rolling her eyes, she flipped her curled, long hair over her shoulder and said, "You mean Bella Boring?" with a certain amount of emphasis on the letters b.

"Excuse me?" I asked, pulling back, a bit puzzled.

"Bella boring Swan," she said again, emphasis on the second b.

"Swan? As in ... Emmett Swan?" Emmett was the best football player on Forks High's football team which I had recently joined, All State last year from what I was told, so I knew him just from practicing with him.

"I know huh. Super hard to believe, isn't it?"

My God!

This girl seemed kind of a bitch.


Later during the evening as I was finishing up my homework, Alice, my step sister, came into the study. "Edward, do you have one of those big erasers? This algebra assignment is killing me."

Alice was once my neighbor slash classmate until my father married her mother and turned us into a version of today's Modern Family. That was how we ended up in Forks. My dad, Carlisle, exchanged his prestigious position at the Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles to open up a smaller family practice in Forks, so he would have more time to dedicate to being a family man.

I displayed the large pink most-valuable tool when performing algebra, up in the air then placed it on the other side of the table nearest her.

She came over and plunked into the chair across from me. "God, it's only the first week of school, and I'm already struggling in Algebra II. And we're only working on assignments that should all be review from last year. Problems we should have already learned in Algebra I. Honestly, I don't know how I'm going to pass this class. I've forgotten everything from last year," she complained.

Lifting my eyes from the report I was typing on the laptop, I said. "If you want my help just ask."

"Help, please."

"All right. Give me a few minutes to finish this up."

Only a couple of seconds past and she curiously asked, "What is this?"

I looked up as she slightly elevated the upper corner of the paper I left resting atop the books I had checked out from the library.

"A girl by the name of Bella Swan ..." I stalled the explanation to complete the thought I was in the middle of in order to make sure I got it down on the page before I lost my train of thought, "... left it in study hall today."

"Edward, you shouldn't have this ... this is ... personal." Her declaration was in the tone of shame on you as she proceeded to read on.

Suddenly conscientious, I stopped what I was doing and reached across the table, placing a flat-palm on the face of the paper and nudging it from her finger tips and back onto the books to prevent her from reading any further, glaring displeasure back at her. "Exactly."

She complied with my wishes by rolling her chair away from the table. To eradicate any further temptation from her, I took the page, closed it within my notebook, and placed the laptop over the notebook as she watched.

"Well, what are you planning to do with it? You shouldn't keep it. Tear it up and throw it away or something." She seemed really bent out of shape over me having it in my possession.

"Throw it away? I can't throw it away. What if she needs it?"

Her eyes rounded like she had just remembered something. "You said Bella Swan, didn't you? You're right. She's in my second hour English class, and this is probably the assignment that is due tomorrow."

Alice sat back, relaxing against the chair. "Problem solved, my lucky little friend. I can return it to her tomorrow, before class."

"Thanks, but that's unnecessary," I said to her surprise. "I'm going to return it myself."

"No you're not," she concluded, smiling as if I were making a joke. My expression remained stone, causing her to instantly move forward from her laid back position. She folded her arms over her chest and leaned on the table, judgmental. "And you're going to do, what exactly? Use it as a conversation starter? Bad idea."

"Of course not. All I want to do is talk to her." Actually, I was hoping that talking to her would jog my memory of where I had seen her before. "She looks familiar, and I'd like to know why."

"Edward, listen to me. As an expert on being female, plus, knowing all the inner most workings of our minds, Bella Swan is not going to like the knowledge that you are the person that has this."

I gave Alice's concerns some thought then removed the page from its hiding place and made a big demonstration of folding it in half before her eyes. "I'll tell her that I didn't read it."

She made a face that pretty much told me she thought I was being an idiot. "And you really think she is going to believe that?"

Why not? I shrugged. "You underestimate my ability to convince."

Giving up on the argument, Alice conceded."Go right on ahead. She's your enemy to make."

The word enemy was a bit strong in my opinion.

Observing me skeptically and smirking, she asked a teasing question, "Has my little brother been bitten?"

It annoyed me whenever she made a joke out of her being the older sibling; Alice was only two months my senior. I was going to ignore her remark, but with the way she kept looking at me, I gathered she was being serious in wanting to hear an honest answer.

Lifting an eyebrow and glaring at her for being absurd, I informed her, "Rebound guy's not my thing."

At least, it had never been before.


A/N So, I know that some of you might be unhappy about Edward's entry into the story. He is listed as a character on the first page. All I can say is that, although Edward may have taken the stage, by no means, has Jacob left the building.