It was our first day at a new school. We got to be the new kids, again. I found myself wishing for the millionth time that I had been changed at an older age. I would do almost anything to get out of the repetitive torture that was high school.

Just now, I was sitting on the couch in my room watching the numbers on the clock change from one minute to the next. I was waiting for it to become a reasonable time to leave for school. I really wasn't looking forward to this again. I would get to walk down the hallways of a small-town school while hearing everyone's thoughts yell about how beautiful and attractive my whole family was.

Every town was the same. We would become the center of gossip and everyone would have his or her own opinion. Most everyone would want to date at least one person in my family, and I would be the most wanted target considering I was the only one who wasn't 'taken'.

Come on Edward, it's time to go. Alice's thoughts jerked me out of my reverie. My eyes flicked to the clock on their own accord and saw that it was indeed an acceptable time to leave. Sighing, I stood up and walked out to the car to wait for the rest of my family.

Soon, everyone was piled in. We pulled out of the garage and I raced at my usual speed to school. We were earlier than normal today so we could get our schedules before everyone else arrived.

We all piled out and I was aware of eyes on us from all the students that were early. As a group, we headed towards the door of the office. Inside, there were plants covering every surface, as if there wasn't enough foliage outside. A woman with frizzy red hair sat at a desk surrounded by stacks of papers. I cleared my throat to get her attention. Her head whipped up and I saw her eyes widen as she took in the sight of us. I smirked.

"Hello. I'm Edward Cullen. My family and I would like to get our schedules." Her thoughts were in a complete scramble. We stood and waited for a while before she came back to the present.

"Oh! Of course. Here." She reached under the desk and removed a small stack of papers. "Which one of you if Emmett Cullen?" Emmett stepped forward and took a map and schedule out of her hands. "Rosalie Hale?" Rose stepped forward and took her papers. She and Emmett walked out together.

So he's taken. I grimaced at her thoughts. It was always the same. Even the adults couldn't help but turn their heads as we walked by.

"Alice Cullen?" Alice stepped forward to take her schedule and then stepped aside to wait for Jasper.

Please be waiting on the blond one. They're both gorgeous, but there's something about the other one that draws me in. No, Nancy. He's too young. It's ridiculous to even be thinking like that. Her thoughts were loud, as if she were shouting. I hated this part of being a vampire. Sometimes, I wished we weren't all so attractive. It's not like we wouldn't be able to attract our prey with our other skills.

"Jasper Hale?" It seemed Mrs. Cope had finally regained control of her thoughts long enough to hand out the other papers. Even so, there was no hiding the relief she felt when it was Jasper who walked out with his arm around Alice's waist.

"Edward Cullen?" I stepped forward. It fits him, even if it is sort of old-fashioned. Come to think of it, they all seem to have older names. Oh well, I'm not picky-no. Stop this right now…

Her thoughts faded out as I put as much distance between us as I could. The halls were more crowded now, and the humans seemed to part before me. Catching a glimpse of myself in one of their minds, I saw that I was scowling fiercely. I tried to rearrange my features into something that vaguely resembled an expression of bored indifference.

I didn't realize how little attention I was sparing for walking until there was a student that didn't naturally shy away from me. I ran right into her.

She bent to pick up all her books without glancing at me. It was as if she didn't even expect me to stop and help. I squatted next to her anyway. As I worked, I took my time to look at her.

There really wasn't much to see. Unlike just about every other girl her age, this girl's clothes were not in the least bit inappropriate. In fact, I couldn't even see her face because of the large hood that covered it. She had a large black sweatshirt that covered almost all of her and came down to her knees. Underneath that, she wore a pair of black jeans that seemed to be three sizes too big.

She was wearing gloves on her hands and I could see the bit of her wrist that was exposed pulsing with her blood. She smelled better than most humans, but not too good that I couldn't control myself. I could hear her heartbeat and tried to focus on something else. The other hand was shoved in her pocket.

She noticed me looking at her and looked up and her heart raced. It was the natural human reaction to one of us. With a shock, I realized that I couldn't even see through the darkness that her giant hood cast around her face. There were just two eyes that shone out, but I couldn't really tell what color they were. This strange blindness was something I hadn't experienced sense I had become a vampire. It unsettled me.

We had her books in a pile now and I handed them back to her. I think she smiled at me, but walked away before I had a chance to talk to her.

OMG! If I were him, I'd go home and shower before school starts. I feel bad for him. He didn't have a chance to realize how freaky Bella is before she made him interact with her. She's probably desperate to meet someone who's just as weird as she is. Too bad for her. He's too cute to be weird. Besides, he's mine.

I turned around to see where the particularly malicious and misguided thoughts were coming from. A short girl with a pile of curls atop her head was standing behind me. She saw me looking at her and gave a smile that was supposed to be flirtatious.

"Sorry you had to go through that. That was Bella. Talk about a freak." I wondered how someone could make any friends by being that cruel and close-minded. Then again, I had seen it happen again and again at every school I'd been to. Apparently, the girl whose books I'd knocked down had been the outcast of the school.

"I'm Jessica. You must be one of the Cullens. We heard you guys were moving here." This is the biggest thing to happen since Bella's disappearance. She's such a liar, trying to draw attention to herself like that. There is no way she doesn't remember what happened. She probably got pregnant and ran off before she started to show and then came back after giving her kid to an orphanage.

Apparently, Jessica was the gossip queen of the school. I waited for her to stop talking and get the point that I really didn't want to talk to anyone. The sooner we became outcasts, the better.

Sadly, Jessica wasn't one to take a hint, so I walked all the way to my first class with her trailing behind me like a lost puppy. Just as I feared she had the same class as me, the warning bell rang and she walked out of the room.

I sighed and slumped back into the seat.

Have a good morning? Alice laughed as she sat down in a seat next to me. We were in the back of the class. Are any of the girls catching your eye? She chuckled, but I could hear the concern behind it. My whole family really did worry about me. They just didn't get that I was perfectly fine by myself. I rolled my eyes, pretending to have not noticed the concern.

"Very funny Alice." My lips moved so fast that no human would have been able to see it. My voice was at normal volume, but it was pitched so low that no human would have heard. Alice had no such problem.

Whatever. Hey, I saw you run into that Bella girl. Did you hear the whispers? Everyone keeps talking about how we're the biggest things to happen since her disappearing act. Do you have any idea what that's about?

"I was just about to ask you the same thing. It seems like no one knows what happened. Supposedly, Bella herself doesn't remember what happened."

Do you know how long she was gone?

"I don't. However, Jessica seemed to think it was enough time for her to run away before she started to show she was pregnant and then get back after the baby was born." I smirked, and Alice did too.

So, around six months. Alice thought. Honestly, that's quite a long time. If Jessica even bothers to consider things like dates and the amount of time people were gone.

I chuckled quietly and then turned back to the front and proceeded to zone out for the rest of the class.

The rest of my morning classes went like that. I walked into the lunchroom, not looking forward to the upcoming experience. Alice had seen at least ten people planning to come up and ask one of us out. Most of them were for me.

I went through the line and headed toward an empty table in the back of the room. Just as I was almost there, Jessica came up and stood in front of me.

"Hey Edward. I wanted to ask you if you wanted to take me to dinner tomorrow night." She said. There was no doubt in her mind that I would say yes. I almost laughed, but restrained myself. Any human boy from these days wouldn't have bothered.

"No, thank you." I tried to be as curt as possible even though I knew it would have no effect. This would not be the last time Jessica would ask me out. Alice could prove it.

The laugh I had swallowed earlier bubbled dangerously close to the surface when I saw the expression on Jessica's face. I wasn't one to laugh at someone's pain, but Jessica wasn't going through pain. She was just embarrassed.

Before I had time to worry about keeping my laugh under control, Jessica whirled around only to have someone do the laughing for me.

At first, I didn't realize what I was hearing. It started out as just a light giggle from the corner of the room. I turned to where it was coming from and saw Bella sitting alone at a table with her hand raised to her mouth as if to hide the fact that she was laughing at Jessica. I noticed she still had her gloves on.

Bella was laughing so quietly that only a vampire or someone sitting right next to her would have heard. I glanced over to my family. They had sat down during my time talking to Jessica and were now laughing quietly as well.

I strode over to them and sat down. We spent the rest of lunch staring off into space and declining dates.

At one point, I looked over to where Bella was sitting. From one look, I could tell that she didn't mind being an outcast. In fact, it seemed almost as though she encouraged it. She was sitting at her own table with a water bottle sitting in front of her. There seemed to be a dry-erase board on the seat next to her, but I dismissed that. She was listening to an iPod. I listened closely but could only pick out a few notes. The volume seemed to be as low as it could go. There was a book in front of her and I squinted to see the words.

She was reading Wuthering Heights. Seriously? Bella hardly seemed like any other teenager I had ever met. Then again, that was probably why she was sitting alone. High schoolers always were afraid of different.

So then why was she sitting there as if none of this bothered her? It went against everything I had ever learned about humans in the last hundred years.

It was then that I realized that I didn't know the answer to my questions. Normally, I would reach out and read someone's mind, but I couldn't seem to read hers. I focused. Nothing. This had never happened before. What was going on?

Just then, she turned around. I still couldn't see her face, but her shoulders were shaking in a way that suggested more laughter. I felt a strange urge to know why she was laughing and to be able to join in, and it confused me for a second. But of course I would feel like that. I was used to being able to reach out with my mind to find out what was amusing and then be able to laugh privately along. So naturally, I would want to do the same thing when I saw her laughing. The only difference was that now I had no idea what was so funny.

Seconds later, I looked up to see Jessica and her followers creeping up behind Bella. A girl named Lauren had a bottle of soda with her and I peeked into her mind to see what she was planning to do with it. I almost growled when I heard what they were about to do. Sadly, there wasn't much I could do about it besides watch it play out.

They were just passing behind her when Lauren stumbled-quite obviously faking-over mid air. Her soda bottle flew up in the air and landed with unusual accuracy on Bella's head. It dumped out on her hood and streamed down her shirt. Luckily, the black swallowed it up and left it looking much as it had before. In fact, even with my vampire eyesight, I had trouble seeing the stain it had surely left. I wondered sadly if that was why Bella only wore black. Maybe it was just to cover up all of the stains that came from what seemed to be a regular lunchtime tradition.

Bella turned around and I saw that her shoulders were shaking. For a second, I thought she was crying. Then, she reached down and picked up the whiteboard that I had noticed earlier and started to write furiously with a marker she had taken out of her pocket. In seconds, she held up a sign to Lauren.

Seriously? We do this every lunch. You can't even tell you did anything. That's the magic of black. When are you going to realize that this accomplishes nothing?

That was when I realized that she wasn't crying. She was laughing.

Bella was nothing like any other teenager I had met. It seemed like she was the only one who could grasp the fact that high school was only four years of your life, and that it didn't really matter what others thought of you because you'd be out of there soon, and you'd probably never see anyone ever again. I admired her for it.

Poor Bella. I wish I could go stand up for her, but she's doing fine on her own. Besides, she made it quite clear that she didn't want to talk to me last time I tried. I wonder what happened when she disappeared. It must have been horrible. I still can't believe she would push me away though. We used to be best friends.

I looked up to see where the only kind thoughts were coming from. I found a small girl who I now remembered was in my Government class. Her name was Angela. Unfortunately, the thoughts that had faded away while I was so focused on Bella now came back as I listened to Angela's. Sadly, Lauren's were the next ones I got to hear.

Serves her right for being such a freak. She doesn't hang out with anybody. She doesn't even talk anymore. Anyway, you can totally tell that we spilled on her. She's just in denial.

So that just added to the mystery that was Bella Swan. She was a self-proclaimed social outcast who had disappeared for months and didn't care that nobody liked her. She read old-fashioned books and never talked. I filled Alice in on all I'd heard and then wondered why we were taking such an interest in her. We'd seen people like this before. There was at least one outcast in every school. Usually, the 'freaks' would band together, but in as small a school as this, Bella seemed to be the only one.

Of course, my family and I were freaks too, but Bella couldn't afford to band with us. It could kill her. Besides, I doubted that even if there were other freaks that Bella would hang out around them. Judging by what Angela had said-or thought, really-Bella wanted to be alone. It reminded me of my family in a way. For a second, I wondered if Bella was a vampire too, but then I remembered how she had smelled so good in the hallway, and how I had felt her heartbeat when I bumped into her. Heck, I had seen her heartbeat. No, she was just a weirdly mature and antisocial human.

The bell rang then, and it seemed long overdue. The lunch period had seemed so much longer than any other I had ever had. Maybe it was just because so many things had happened. Bella Swan had already changed my life, and I'd never even talked to her. Then again, it seemed as though no one had talked to her since she came back.

Sighing, and deciding I had already spent way too much time speculating about someone who didn't even matter, I got up and headed toward my next class. It was Biology, in building 6 with Mr. Banner. I really wasn't looking forward to it. There was nothing new this class could teach me. I had already gone through college twice on some branching of this subject.

I walked in and stood at the front of the class, at some sort of a loss. Slowly, the class filled up with students. Still, I stood waiting for the teacher to come in. Finally, he came in just as the bell rang. Directly behind him was Bella, and she seemed to be having an argument with him.

"I'm sorry Isabella. There can be no exceptions. You'll have to talk to Mrs. Muland later. You simply can't miss my class for some musical fantasy you somehow got stuck in your head."

She scribbled on the board cradled in the crook of her arm and I peeked over her shoulder to see what it said.

Please Mr. Banner? I could still keep up with my work. You could tell me what we covered and I would get all the homework done. I can't switch out any of my other classes, but I really want to play the piano with the band.

"We've already discussed this, Ms. Swan. You are not allowed to skip my class under any circumstances. I don't care if you're a piano protégée. Now go take your seat before I lose my temper."

Even without Jasper, I could see Bella's rage from the way she turned and marched swiftly to the only empty lab table. I realized that I would most likely be sitting next to her. Poor girl. Humans couldn't help being scared of us.

Mr. Banner seemed to have been so distracted that he completely missed my presence and went to sit in his desk. I stopped him before he could.

"Excuse me. I'm Edward Cullen. I'm new here." I said.

"Of course." I could swear he wasn't there a second ago. I smirked. Humans often seemed to think that around me. However, this was the first time the human hadn't been right. "I'll get you a book at the end of class. What did you study at your last school before you left?"

I spent the next couple minutes convincing him that I was on the same page as his class was before I was allowed to sit down. Of course, I was probably even more advanced than him, but he could never know that.

"You'll be sitting next to Ms. Swan. She's right there. She will be your lab partner for the rest of the year."

I looked up to see Bella gripping her whiteboard with clenched hands. She still had gloves on, and I wondered if she ever took them off. In fact, I don't think there was a single piece of skin showing on her. I went back to sit by her.

"Hello. My name is Edward Cullen." She turned to look at me, as if in shock, and then took out her marker.

Why are you talking to me?

"Well, I am your lab partner. If we're going to be working together all year, I would hate to not get along with you." It was a plausible excuse, but I knew it wasn't true. I had never really cared what my lab partner thought of me. Why should that change now? Maybe I just wanted to see if I could unlock the secrets of her mind by talking to her.

Sorry, that came out wrong. I meant, why aren't you ignoring me like everyone else?

"Maybe I'm not like everyone else. Besides, I'm an outcast too. We should stick together." Even as I said that, I knew I was lying. I couldn't even hang out with her anyway. It was too risky.

Did you ever consider that I like being a freak? Besides the occasional hot soup or drink dumped on you, no one really notices you.

"Why would you want to be ignored?"

I think you're missing the point.

"And what would that point be?" I was teasing her, so the seriousness of her answer surprised me.

Stay away from me. I'll work with you on our labs when it's needed. Other than that, I'd just like to be left alone. Go date Jessica or something. You certainly could become part of the 'in' crowd. I don't care, just leave me be.

I turned back around to face the front of the room, shocked. I had never been treated like that before. No one had ever spoken to me like that, especially not a girl. It was a much needed wake up call. I just needed to adjust my perspective on the world.

Now that I wasn't talking to Bella, there was nothing to distract me from her scent. It pressed in around me and caused venom to well in my mouth-reminding me that I needed to hunt tonight. I tried to focus on the lecture to distract myself, but found that he was discussing the stages of meiosis. I'd heard this particular lecture many times before.

The class crawled by. Halfway through, I gave up trying to focus on anything and just let my thoughts drift. I found myself thinking about the strange human sitting next to me. It seemed that she occupied my every thought already. No other human had ever affected me in this way. But, of course, it made sense. I couldn't read her mind and she didn't follow any normal human behavior patterns. Naturally, that would cause me, a 108-year-old vampire, to take notice. It was the only thing that explained this.

Just then, the bell rang. Bella leapt up and fled the room as if the hounds of hell were after her.

The rest of my day was uneventful. I went home with my family, but my mind was elsewhere. I wondered what had caused me to think about Bella so much. She hadn't done much to bring about suspicion. Still, sitting next to her had given me the undeniable feeling that something about her just wasn't right; natural.

And I was going to figure out what it was.

A/N: So there you go. I hope you like it. I'm planning on going with longer chapters, but that will mean longer times between updates. Hope y'all can be patient with me.

Do you like my story? Please review and tell me what you think!