A/N: This is a new story, or idea I should say, that kind of just popped into my head, and I decided to share it in hopes that I could get some feed back. It's fairly new, and I would really appreciate if you reviewed and told me whether you wanted to see this grow into a multi-chapter piece.
So just as a warning this is a darker take on the Imprint that is loaded with angst...so if you were expecting unicorns and rainbows and fluff, I don't suggest that you read my story, unless you feel so inclined.
Summary: They say the imprint is designed for you in every single way; that they're meant for you. According to Paul that cannot be true because there is no way that Bella Swan is his imprint.
Read and review!
Disclaimer: All that jazz (characters, settings, etc.) belong to S.M. I am just borrowing.
White Blank Page
Chapter One: That's how you're going to play it, huh?
I hated shopping, really I did.
It was so painful, going from store to store, trying to find something that would fit me. Hide me. Something like that. But what was even more painful was the reason why I was venturing into the humid and overcrowded place that was La Push's nearest mall. Tomorrow was the first day of school, of my senior year, that is. Truthfully I wasn't that excited, not really. I wasn't fawning over this year like my mother was and every whore-bag on our reservation. I wasn't thinking about how exciting it was that it was senior year. Because, really, who gave a flying fuck?
This year would be like every other one: same shit different day. I would walk down the same hallways; watch the same pretty girls fawn over the moderately handsome guys, hear the hurtful words fall from those very couple's lips as I passed by. I didn't need to give this year a title, it was senior year, the last year they all had together. La-Dee-Fucking-Da.
However, my mother was obsessed with shit like this. The whole senior year thing was what she considered to be a big bench mark of my teenage life. She was obsessed with those bench marks, if you will. My mother loved to experience life, from the small clichéd moments, to the great ones that carved out who you were. She firmly believed that life was not about finding who you were, but rather, creating yourself.
Some pretty profound shit, huh?
Yeah. My mom was loaded with sayings like that. In fact they covered every surface possible of our house: over door frames, on walls, above the sink in the bathroom. You name it, a corny saying was there.
Sighing I push through the racks of clothing, listening to the faint sound of the metal hook of the hanger scrape against the metal bar of the rack. I wince when there is a particularly loud screech, of metal greeting metal, and pray that nobody has noticed. The last thing I needed once one of those over-eager store personnel coming over and asking if I needed help with anything.
I had no such luck and heard that voice, lacquered with a sickly sweetness and fake happiness, "May I help you with anything?"
I am attempted to snap that yes, yes I do need help. I want to tell the sales lady or whoever has bothered to pester me that I need them to start selling jeans in size fourteen in their store. But I hold my tongue, and glance up, smiling tightly as I shake my head.
The person who has come to assist me can't be much older than me, but she is definitely smaller than me. It seems like everyone is smaller than me, and I sometimes wonder if I'll always feel this big. I know that I am not as big as I feel but I can't help but feel big when I see girls like her: with a slim waist, dainty hands, and a lean body that guys drool over.
Sighing internally I promise to go on a longer run tonight, and turn my attention to the neatly folded tops. I let my eyes slide over them, touching the soft fabrics. I turn away, not seeing anything that would do any favors to my body type and head towards the exit.
I walk out into the not-so-fresh mall air, and let the crowd carry me as I walk through the mall. I clutch my bag a little closer as I see a bunch of girls from school up ahead, and I curse fate when I draw nearer. I keep my eyes cast down and pretend that I don't hear them snicker as I walk by. I hurry towards the exit of the mall, and breathe a sigh of relief when I break through and reach fresh air.
It is warm out, and the distinct smell of hot ash fault permeates the air. Taking a deep breath, I cut through the parking lot, headed for home. I am once again reminded how much I miss my red truck, Bessie, when my feet begin to complain. The soles of my feat are tender after walking just about everywhere for the past couple of days, and I curse Bessie for her unreliable nature and putting me in this position.
I was told that it would be finished by tomorrow; that Bessie would be good as new, but I had my doubts. My dad had enlisted the skills of a family friend, a guy from my school—Paul. I didn't know much of Paul, other than the fact that who always had a scowl firmly in place and was constantly looking for a fight.
I try not to judge, or separate people by the little information that the high school hallways have provided, but how can I not separate people? It was made so easy for me with the cliques and social circles that were set in stone. To me, the break down was relatively simple. You had the kids who liked to party and drinkers, then you had the well rounded Reservation boys, that being Sam Uley and his ever growing fan base, Paul included. Then you had the perky-sorority-sisters-in-training-bitches, and the list goes on, dwindling into the loners, namely people like me.
It was unfortunate to see Paul fall into Sam's little pack of lost boys. Especially for a guy like Paul who seemed to have more than enough back bone and confidence. It was scary, watching guys of all ages fall into to step beside Sam with that look in their eyes and that way about them—defeat. Yes, I watched.
But not like a stalker or anything. Just, well, I didn't really have friends. I mean sure I had people that I could smile at in the hallways or whatever but that was about it. Plus, really, I didn't need friends. I didn't need anyone—get too attached and you'll end up getting hurt.
Anyway, I didn't know how it happened but guys had been slowly starting to mingle with Sam for the past couple of weeks consistently. Part of me felt curious, wanting to know exactly how Sam did it, but then another part of me—the smarter part—knew to let it alone. Sam Uley walked in the shade of secrets and who was I to shine the light on things? No one. I was no one.
I tucked my lower lip into my mouth, as I let the though slither down my spine. I sometimes wondered if it was true, and it would be according to my peers at high school. They knew who I was, and part of me was resentful of that. Life would be so much easier if I wasn't Chubby Cheeks Swan to them.
But a label didn't define me; a cruel nick name did not make or break me.
I found myself just two houses away from my own after thirty minutes and was ready to relax just for a few minutes. I walked past my neighbor's house—Embry, one of Sam Uley's cronies—and ignored the painful protests of my feet. I was walking up my own pathway, eyes cast down and my head in anywhere but the present when I stumbled.
The ground tilted at a sickening angle as it rushed up to meet me, and I hear my own shriek as well as a sharp curse coming from behind me. I hit the ground, rolling over to see the glaring sun. I clenched my eyes shut and did one of those ten second assessments: limbs attached, check, broken bones, none, bruising—definitely.
"What are you, fucking retarded?" a cruel voice spat. The acidic words burned through me, crawling under my skin as I laid there like a fool.
I scrambled for response, settling on silence as I pushed myself up off the ground. I felt anger course through me as I thought about what had happened—I had fallen over what I thought to be something not someone.
I glared at the legs coming from underneath, Bessie—my truck. So that's what I had tripped over, and this asshole was calling me retarded? I bristled at the thought and snapped, "Fuck you! You're the one in my drive way with your legs hanging out like an accident waiting to happen, and you're yelling at me? You'rethe fuck-tard between the two of us, you ass-hat!
The bronze legs slowly grew before my eyes as they slid further out from underneath Bessie and I couldn't help but notice that this guy under my truck did indeed have nice legs: long, powerful looking with the toned, trim muscles that looked like they should be modeling or something. I dismissed the thought reminding myself of not only the fact that said legs had tripped me, but who they were attached to—Paul, also known as crony number six of Sam's little troop.
I jutted my chin out, hands on my round—too soft, too round hips—as Paul wheeled himself out from under Bessie. His face was finally visible, sharp and edgy with his anger, and I felt a little bit of fear swell up inside. I nibbled on my lower lip, sinking my teeth into it repeatedly.
"Fuck off, who's doing who the favor—" Paul snapped when he saw me, but his angered tone died off once he made proper eye contact. He just stared at me blankly for a moment before blinking back into awareness with a haggard breath.
I scowled at him, and felt my eyes widen in surprise when I caught his gaze—but more importantly what was there. Paul looked at me with frightened eyes, disgusted, horrified almost, and my gut clenched painfully, the nerves twisting my stomach in their vice grip. What had I done? Did I really look that bad? Why was he looking at me like that? He had paled considerably, and he rushed to get up—smacking his head on the lip of the truck's bumper. He cursed again, but got up, scrambling away from the truck.
"Are you okay?" I asked nervously, trying not to let my eyes wander, but how could I not? Paul was huge—he was tall, super tall, towering over my pitiful stature of 5'5. But it wasn't just his height that made me drool, he had broad shoulders, and he was wearing a plaid shirt open, displaying a tone muscled chest that had me blinking in surprise. He was hot, but it was his face that tied the package together: tall cheek bones, soft looking and perfectly shaped lips and deep, almost black eyes.
Paul remained silent for a while and clenched his jaw tightly, asking, "I'm fine. Can I work on this later?" By this I assumed he meant my truck, and I nodded watching as he ran a trembling hand through his wavy hair—it just brushed the collar of his shirt, just a little—and I replied, "Sure, whatever."
Paul nodded, looking scattered as he walked away from me.
I tried to ignore the sinking feeling in my stomach, tried to ignore the weight of reality as my stomach hit the floor at my feet and my heart swelled up, choking me. What had I done? Paul had given me this look, like I was a monster. I swallowed thickly, trying not to think about it too much. But how could I not?
I pushed back my tears of anger—yes, I cried when I was angry, and I fucking hated it. I clomped up the steps and pushed my way through the front door. I dashed up the stairs, headed for my bedroom. I made a bee line for it and slammed my door shut, resting against it.
I felt the hot tears running down my cheeks, and I resented them. I wiped them away roughly, hating the feel of the soft, fullness of my cheek. I walked over to my mirror and stared at myself. I saw the look in Paul's eyes and understood why he had looked at me the way he had.
Look at me, I spat inwardly. I wasn't stupid; I understood why he looked at me that way. I wouldn't even want me with my thick thighs and wide rounded hips, my chubby stomach and chubby cheeks. I blinked at my reflection and knew that I wasn't beautiful. I wasn't stupid, and I refused to be fooled other wise. I wasn't pretty, I wasn't beautiful, I wasn't anything like that. It was clear as it always had been.
I knew I wasn't beautiful and I had accepted that. I wouldn't fool myself into thinking that I was beautiful in my own way, that I was one of those—how had my mother put it, ah, yes, a wholesome beauty. Yeah wholesome my ass, my mother had to say shit like that.
My lower lip trembled in the mirror, and I was hit with the same thoughts that always flew around in my mind when I had one my moments in front of my bedroom mirror. It didn't matter that I was smart, it didn't matter one bit that I was funny or witty, all that mattered was what people saw. I was not pretty by any standard, and I knew it.
That's why I didn't blame Paul, who could?
I sat on my bed, picking at the loose thread there, feeling a sob building. I kept my mouth shut, quiet, always quiet. I felt it swell and swell and swell and then it burst, ripping its way through my silent lips. I gasped for breath, and let it all out—a shuddering, heaving, gasping mess.
I wiped my eyes, walked back over to my mirror, taking in my blotchy face and red rimmed eyes as I vowed, "Never again."
I said that myself last time, and I could only hope that this promise could be held. But it was like a dam, holding it all back, and then it would break leaving me to drown in it all. I steeled my spine, holding my own gaze as I murmured, "Never."
P ~ B
The high school hallways were looking equally sterile as they were forgiving from last year. I sigh as I stop at my locker, fiddling with my lock. I feel eyes on me, but try to ignore the weight of the stares as they seem to settle on my shoulders. I don't know why people do that. I mean, why the fuck did they do it? I hadn't magically lost weight, and there was no need to reevaluate how I looked every time they saw me. I looked the same: round face, full cheeks, round and not at all flat stomach, soft hips with lots of padding, and equally padded legs.
I mean, unless you had amnesia, I am kind of hard to forget. I'm not huge or anything, I am a seize fourteen, but I am one of the few size fourteen girls on the La Push reservation. But I guess my peers get some sick pleasure in seeing me the same, a constant, that way they can recycle insults, maybe even trade some. It'll be a good ole' time. Great bonding session.
I put up the minimal decorations I have up on my locker door: a white board with a faded black marker that I write with (on the white board of course), a little basket thing for some spare pens, and a pad of paper that has a little magnet on the back. Now, it may seem redundant to have both a whiteboard and a pad of paper hanging up in my locker, but on the pad of paper, in every bottom-right-hand corner I had written a number. These numbers counted down until I could leave this hell-hole.
There were too many days left for my liking.
I couldn't wait to escape from this bum-fuck of a town, cut through all the bull shit and just escape. I didn't want to stay in the same town and get the same pitying, or, oh, my favorite, condescending stares for the rest of my life. Fuck that shit; I was going to make something for myself, of myself, in the real world where I didn't have to watch pretty bitches win at everything because they were popular because they were pretty.
I slammed my locker door shut, and whirled around, knocking into some girl.
"Watch where you're going fat-ass!" She hissed, curling her upper lip at me.
I just narrowed my eyes, "Piss off."
I could take it on a good day, but today was certainly not a good day.
She just gapes at me and I roll my eyes, pushing past her as I make my way down the hallway. I keep my head down, and walk speedy-quick, wanting to escape the eyes that followed me. I slip into my first period, my 'home room'. I always wondered why they called it your home room, I mean, I did and I didn't. I wouldn't say being trapped in a room with my peers for an extended period of time was my home. Personally, I opted for something a little more suitable: purgatory.
I pick a seat at the back, this way I could watch and abstain from being watched. I allow my bag to thump to the floor beside the crappy desk as I sit down on its partner—the equally crappy chair. I pull out my book and begin to read, getting lost in the world of paper and print.
I glance up from my book when I hear catty giggles and roll my eyes as a handful of Future Sorority Sister Bitches breeze through the door way. I return to my book, but am interrupted again when some kid's back-pack knocks into my desk, the teeth of the zipper scratch their greeting as they run along my desk. I feel my lip curl into a sneer until I see who the back pack belongs to—Embry.
I glance up at him questions raising with my stare as look him over. He seemed to be just as big and muscular as every other one of Sam's followers, but not as tall or built as Paul, and I wondered if Sam was doping them up on some steroids. That would explain their size. I watch as he plops down into the seat next to me, and it takes all I can not to ask him why he follows Sam around so obediently. Instead, I take in a deep breath, feeling the questions settle as I turn my attention back to my book.
You know that feeling you get when you're being watched? I hatedthat stupid sensation. I was getting it right now, and my eyes slid from the page to my left, where Embry, quite obviously was staring at me. I scowled, snapping, "May I help you?"
Embry just smirks, shaking his head, like he knows the meaning of life or some shit. I huff out a sigh and close my book just as the teacher enters the class room. I watch as girls slip off the desks they had been sitting on, and slip into their chairs, sharing glances as they do so. I roll my eyes inwardly, and mentally compel the teacher to start doing his job already and teach.
I was feeling unusually angry today, my wit holding a little bit more bite to it. I knew why though, it was the first day of school. I hated it. I hated walking through the halls, seeing the same faces, the same looks, the same everything. Everyday was an exercise in frustration between stupid girls and Future Sorority Sister Bitches and guys who only saw what they wanted to, no needed to.
I listened as my teacher, Mr. Hodge droned on and on about the exciting semester ahead of us. I wondered if he truly believed that his course, History, was truly that exciting. I mean, I was here because part of me liked History, but at the same time I knew I was good at it, which made for a good mark, which always looked good on an application for University.
I paid minimal attention throughout my teacher's class and was more than thankful when he uttered those lovely words that every student loved to hear, "That's all we have time for today, class, see you tomorrow."
I stand and grab my bag in one swift movement, loosing my balance and leaning too far over, on the brink of a stumble. But Embry catches my elbow, and murmurs, "Careful there, wouldn't want anything to happen to you."
I jerk my elbow out of his grasp, "Thanks."
My 'thanks' is sharp and edgy as it passes through my lips, no doubt in response to his creepy words. Wouldn't want anything happening to me? What the hell? The way he says it chills my bones, rattling them as I shrug my back pack onto my shoulder. Scurrying down the aisle between the columns desks and out the door I try to push the panicky feeling I have in my gut away. I breathe a sigh of relief as I move with the crowd of students, falling into step, blending, disappearing.
But I am not as invisible as I think I am and my gaze gets caught by none other than Sam Uley. He is passing through the crowd, opposite of the flow, like a salmon swimming up stream, and I frown, watching as two other guys follow him. He holds my stare, his gaze scrutinizing. I drop his it quickly, focusing my attention on more important things, like the dandruff on the girls head in front of me.
I segue to my locker, placing my newly acquired text book from Mr. Hodge inside. I lock my locker and turn away from it joining the crowd again. I come to Stairway A and slip through the doors climbing the steps. I make it to the English room, and plan to sit at the back, but there is one minor problem.
There is only one seat left at the back, right between Paul and a Future Sorority Sister Bitch. I glance around at the rest of the class room and see a couple lonely desks scattered through the middle, and a shit load at the front. I worry my lower lip before walking the aisle between two columns of desks, slowing at the middle, considering sitting there, before plowing on and taking the last available seat at the back. I keep my eyes trained on the front, on anything but the beast of a teenage boy next to me.
I try not to think about the way that he looked at me the other day, but it all comes back, clogging my mind till it's all I can think about. I feel the anxiety swell, choking me as I cross my arms over my torso, trying to hide the chubby stomach, but I know I can't and it's a moot point. But that doesn't stop me from trying.
Future Sorority Sister Bitch, F.S.S.B for short, makes this noise, and I glance over at her to find her sneering at me, "Excuse me, but that seat you're like sitting in was for my friend, I promised I'd like, you know, save her a seat."
But I didn't know, because frankly I didn't really ever, under any circumstance have someone save a seat for me, or save a seat for someone. I just stare back at F.S.S.B and drawl dryly, "That's like nice."
I hear a deep chuckle coming from beside me, and I think it is Paul who is laughing, but I don't look to verify. Instead I turn my attention to the rest of the class, and try to ignore F.S.S.B's sounds of displeasure. I didn't really care if this seat was for her friend, because frankly I didn't give a shit. She should have done a better job 'saving' it.
The teacher walks in spouting off greetings to the class and asking how our summer was. That gained a few shout outs, one of them quite loud as the owner of the boisterous voice shouted, "Not long enough!"
That earned a couple chuckles and giggles but I kept quiet. I listened as the teacher discussed the year's prospects from projects to the literature we would be reading. It was about half way through the class that I grew bored and let my thoughts drift.
Immediately my thoughts were drawn back to the other day and Paul's look he gave me. The damn near disgust there in his eyes seeped under my skin, making it crawl as I tried to focus on my teacher's voice. But I couldn't, now with Paul sitting right next to me. I glanced around me, looking at all the small, slim and trim, normal, girls around me. My heart clenched, and I damned my father for his poor genetics that he passed down to me. I took in a deep breath, sighing with resigned acceptance. I gazed down at my chubby hands, and curled them into fists.
I closed my eyes, pushing all the thoughts away and was more than thankful when I heard the teacher dismiss us. I got up, grabbed my bag and fled from the room, the strong desire to abandon the painful reminder that was Paul urged my feet to move faster.
I dump my things in my locker and head off to my next class. I make my way through the hallways and arrive at my class early, only one person in the class as of yet. I immediately recognize the hulking figure as Paul, and my stomach drops to the floor. He glances up at me, a scowl firmly set on his handsome face. I hold his stare long enough to recognize the anger and pure disappointment before looking away. I walk in the class shaking like a leaf. What had I done to deserve such a stare? The anger? The disappointment? I didn't know. I hadn't done anything to my knowledge that warranted such a reaction.
I slipped into a seat at the back, far away from Paul as I could get. At this point, it wasn't far enough. The way he looked at me seemed to reach in and breathe life into all my insecurities. I wished they would lay dormant, leave me be. Unfortunately they wouldn't and their voices seemed loud, screaming at me. I shuddered, bit down on my lower lip, trying to distract myself from the insecurities pilling up, filling me up. I feel sick, like someone is cutting the power.
I see our teacher enter the classroom and I ask to be excused, sprinting my way to the washroom having claimed illness. I burst into the girl's washroom and slip into a stall. I plunk down onto the seat and press my forehead on the cold wall of the stall, staving off the nausea.
All of a sudden my trachea has seemed to shrink and I gasp for air, the short breaths seeming to make it worse. I feel a sweat break out across my brow, and it only makes it worse. I feel sick to my stomach, the dizziness not helping at all. I recognize panic running through me, flooding my lungs. My chest begins to ache as I glance around the stall, my hyperventilating breaths seeming unreal. It's like I am not even here. My trembling hands are slick with a cold sweat and I feel like I am going to die.
This is it, I think, right now, right here, I am going to die right in the middle of the girl's washroom, all by myself.
I try to suck in a deep breath but it doesn't work. I know that if I don't stop this I am going to die, surely I will. I am screaming on the inside, trying to relax, trying to make it stop, just fucking stop already.
I try to calm down, ordering my body to stop. I am really hoping that this mind over matter shit is going to work, because if it doesn't I am shit out of luck. I hear someone calling to me, telling me to breathe but I can't. The voice is panicking now as well, screaming at me for to breathe in deeply. I try, and I do. I realize it's my own voice, inside my head that is coaching me. I take in more air, and slowly the tension lessens. The pain in my chest isn't so bad as before and I order myself to stop. To stop whatever the hell is still going on.
I focus on my breathing, trying to slow it. It seems to be setting in, working and a feeling of joyous relief sweeps through me. I finally make the slow, delicious climb back to normalcy. I rest there in the stall for a moment, and it is with a surprisingly confident clarity that I think, I just had a panic attack.
The thought lands a brick in my stomach and I press my hand to my forehead, muttering a low, quiet, "Shit."
My hands are trembling as I undo the simple latch on the stall.
My knees are wobbly as I walk over to the sink.
My eyes are watery as I dry my hands.
My stomach is clenching nervously, painfully, as I approach the class room.
I keep my eyes on the floor as I walk into the classroom. If anyone is suspicious of my absence they don't show it. Everyone but Paul. He looks at me with these curious eyes, his head cocked to the side. I drop my eyes to the floor again quickly because I don't need another panic attack. I make it to my seat safely and settle into it. I plant my hands on the desk, folding them in hopes of stopping their trembling dance.
My hands still shake as a copy notes down.
My stomach still clenches nervously as I pack up my things.
My eyes are still watery as I pass by Paul as I leave the classroom.
Would it stop?
Or was this just the beginning?
P ~ B
I sit in the cafeteria munching the lunch I packed for myself. I still feel somewhat shaken from my incident but at least the trembling has stopped. I am scared though, the attack came quickly and seemingly out of nowhere. But it was more frightening to think that the root cause of it might be Paul. I would like to think that it wasn't, that no one could influence me that way, but the only way that theory could be feasible would be that my attack was caused by the stress of my first day. But it was just that, there really was no stress that came with the first day, and I hadn't even been thinking about it being the first day when the attack happened.
I had been thinking about Paul, more specifically the look he gave me. The look he gave me made me feel so…ugly. It reaffirmed everything I thought about myself. I knew I wasn't pretty, and I don't say that as a whine or complaint. It was simply a fact. I wasn't pretty or beautiful or anything like that. The best I had ever heard from the opposite sex was that I looked 'nice'.
Even though all those things were true, I never really focused on them. I never felt the need to pity myself and say, 'Whoa is me!', because it was completely and utterly unnecessary. There were girls far worse off than I was; who had made their weight problems the centre of their worlds. I didn't have an issue with my weight, really I didn't, I more so had an issue with how I was treated, or perceived because of my weight.
It bothered me to no end that because of my weight that boys in general saw me differently. I could see the automatic judgment in their eyes; I was a friend to them right away and nothing more, if they ever bothered to get to know me as a friend. Still, it didn't matter; they never even let themselves see me as something more than just a friend.
Whatever, it wasn't like a needed a boyfriend or anything. It would just be nice to know what it felt like to actually be liked by a guy. I hoped that when I got into University I'd meet someone who didn't immediately put me into the 'friend-zone' and maybe actually see me as more than just that, a friend. I mean, I wasn't going to lie. I wanted to know what it felt like to be a girlfriend, not a friend that was a girl. It seemed so typical, so juvenile, but I just wanted to know.
I bite in to my carrot stick, the snap sound pleasing to my ears. I turn the page in my book before glancing up quickly, sensing that someone was watching me. I narrow my eyes immediately—it was Paul. Fuck me sideways, would he just leave me alone and stop staring at me?
It felt like a noose was wrapped around my throat and it was slowly tightening the longer I held Paul's stare. The disgust and disappointment I found there made me want to crawl into a whole and never come out. Not wanting to induce another panic attack I looked away, feeling pinpricks poking at the back of my eyes.
Normally I could handle all of this.
Normally when guys were being assholes I would tell them to stick it where the sun doesn't shine.
But today wasn't normal by any of my definitions.
Paul wasn't normal.
How he made me feel wasn't normal.
Anger surged through me at the recognition of the way he was making me feel. I felt so tiny and weak and worthless and ugly and fat and vulnerable under his stare. It rushed through me, and I clenched my hands into fists. No one had the right to make me feel this way. No one. Not one of the dip shits I was surrounded by everyday here at high school. The F.S.S.B didn't have the right and Paul certainly didn't.
With a scowl to rival Paul's set firmly on my face, I lift my gaze, but my little burst of courage was too little too late and Paul wasn't looking at me. Instead I was faced with the back of his head. I glared at him anyway, and if looks could kill Paul would be a pile of ash by now. I returned to my book and tried to calm myself down. The anger simmered and clamed itself but it was still there inside, a fuse waiting to be lit.
I glance at the clock and pull out my schedule to see where my next class is. I put my schedule back in my bag once I know where I am going and decide to make my way to class even though there is still about ten minutes left.
I am walking down the hallway headed for Art class, the sound of my Converse squeaking against the tiles the only noise I can hear until I round the corner to my left. I hear two voices, one commanding and the other petulant. At first I thought it was a student bickering with a teacher, but I was proved wrong when I slowly inched my way closer, peeking out from my post at the corner.
I see Paul and Sam Uley arguing rather heatedly. Frowning I move a bit closer, my ears straining to pick up any of their conversation.
"That's easy for you to say, Sam! You've got Emily to look forward to and I've got her! She's not my type at all! It's unfair that I get stuck with her for the rest of my life!" Paul complains, his voice getting louder as he went on.
I hear something like a growl, and my eyes widen, trying to assure myself that it didn't come from one of the two arguing boys. Instead of trying to solve the growling mystery I latch on to Sam's reply.
"You're right Paul, it isn't fair. It isn't fair to her. You're punishing her because of standard that you have and let me tell you something, keep this attitude up and you will be punished, Paul. I feel sorry for Swan right now because she is going to be stuck with you."
My heart hammers in my ears and I am sure that Sam Uley did not just say my name. I chalk it up to my over active imagination and unreliable ears. Sam didn't say my name. Impossible. What business would I have with Paul if that were the case? Stuck with him?
Sam did not say my name.
It's been decided, but I still have this uneasy feeling swelling up inside. It churns in my stomach and I try not to let the words get to me because if Sam did say my name, that meant that Paul was disgusted with me as I thought he was.
I feel the burn at the back of my eyes and I try to blink back the tears. I swallow around the lump in my throat and begin to slowly retreat when everything goes quiet in the hallway. They are no longer talking, it's like they're waiting for something. Holding my breath I slowly move away until I bang into a row of lockers. I mutter a low, "Fuck."
The shrill sound of the warning bell sounds and kids flood into the hallway, but not fast enough as Paul has just rounded the corner. He catches me against the lockers, his eyes full of anger. I feel a twinge of fear pinch my belly and I join the crowd dropping his gaze just as I get lost in the crowd.
But it doesn't matter.
He knows I was listening.
I've been caught red-handed.
But I don't care because I've got bigger things to think about, like why Paul is going to be stuck with me of all people?
P ~ B
I roughly knead my clay, twisting and turning it just like the teacher said. Art class was my one reprieve because it was a time when I could just turn my brain off and work. But my brain was having a hard time finding the off button today and wouldn't shut the hell up.
I couldn't get over what I had heard.
What the hell had they been talking about? What could Sam and Paul be involved in that I was somehow stuck with Paul? I gritted my teeth against the thought of being around Paul for more than a couple of classes and decided that I would leave this where it was. Something told me that the saying, 'curiosity killed the cat' definitely applied to me right about now and I, unlike cats, didn't have nine lives to spare.
I had a funny feeling that whatever the hell Sam and Paul had been talking about was best left alone. I mean, I could have heard wrong anyways. There really is no need to get too worked up about it. But Paul gave me that look, that one look that told me I had heard something that wasn't meant for my ears. This would, in theory, suggest that my name had indeed been uttered.
"Bella we want to knead the clay just until ready for molding, not beyond recognition," My Art teacher Mrs. Windsor quipped, patting my hands that had attacked the poor mound of clay.
I nod sheepishly and begin to mold my clay as my teacher smartly advised. But even that doesn't distract me. It's like Paul is the water I get in my ears after I go swimming, and no matter how much head shaking and slapping I do, the water won't get the fuck out of my ears. I close my eyes and take in a deep breath trying to focus on the soft clay beneath my hands that looks nothing like the vase I want it to.
Paul had officially ruined Art class.
Now I feel like a bitch, because it doesn't have to be Paul's fault. If I stopped being such a girl and banished all thoughts of Paul from my mind then I wouldn't be cursing him. I shouldn't let him get to me, but part of me was also scared of him and the reactions he seemed to get out of me. But not anymore.
I have decided that I will not let Paul affect me, not at all. I refuse to care for his dirty looks or weird secret conversations. I can not and will not let him bother me. I just had to keep that in mind every time I got one of his glares or saw him.
After my little pep talk (you'll find it above) Art class went relatively smoothly, though that can't really be said for my vase. It wasn't smooth at all. Hey, I said Art class was an outlet, not a passion that I was good at. Because truthfully, I'm lucky if I can draw a straight line with a ruler—which is why I always dread the sketching part of the curriculum when the time comes.
I left the Art Room, wiping my damp hands (having washed them in the Art Room sink) on my pants I startle when I see Paul leaning on the row of lockers opposite me. I move to walk by, chanting my thoughts from my pep talk until I feel a hot hand grab my arm. I jump, yanking my elbow out of Paul's abnormally warm hand that sends tingles all up and down my arm.
"Sorry," Paul mutters, shoving his hand in his pocket, taking a step back from me.'
"Whatever." Is my intelligent reply. I would have had a sarcastic remark to put him in his place for manhandling me instead of calling my name and stopping me that way, but I was too distracted by the tingles.
It's quiet for a couple of beats as I wait for him to say what he needed to say whatever he needed to say, ergo him stopping me, but he doesn't. I begin to turn away, and I gain two steps of solid school hallway before Paul seems to snap out of it and calls out, "Swan!"
My mind freezes up at the mention of my last name as I automatically think of Sam's use of it and all the confusion surrounding it. I squash the feelings, burying them in the turmoil that is churning in my stomach as I turn to face Paul for the second time.
I look at him and note that he seems nervous as he scratches the back of his head. Sighing impatiently, I note that the hallways are emptying and I need to get to my next class. Huffing I order, "Talk to me while I walk, that is if you even plan on talking to me."
I don't give him time to consider (on purpose, part of me hopes he just forgoes talking to me) and begin to walk away. I feel him fall into step beside me and I don't say anything as I am waiting for Paul to.
Finally, the seemingly silent giant of a boy walking beside me speaks in this deep voice that sends shivers down my spine, "Listen, what you heard earlier…"
"I didn't hear anything." I interrupt, hiking my back pack up my shoulder, not even bothering to look at Paul. That was my story and I was sticking to it. I didn't hear anything and that was that.
Paul makes a sound of frustration and snaps, "You shouldn't haven been listening anyway. Didn't anyone tell you that it's rude to eavesdrop?"
I roll my eyes, "Didn't anyone ever tell you not to stare?"
Paul makes a weird sound at my jibe and I have never been so happy to see my Math Room. I stop beside the door and finally look up at him, matching the anger that I find there in his eyes.
We don't say anything for a moment and I roll my eyes yet again, sighing, "Well, is that all?"
Paul nods tightly, speaking lowly, "You do realize I know you heard me, Swan."
The way he says it makes me nervous, and fear pinches my belly at the look in his eyes. All of a sudden I regret being in that hallway and listening to the argument. I bite my lower lip nervously before whispering, "I don't know what you're talking about."
"That's how you're going to play it, huh?" Paul asks.
The way he says it sends a tremor through me and I decide that in this case, feigning ignorance was how I was going to play it. I figured it was the safest thing for me to do and it wasn't so bad that it gave Paul an easy out, now was it? So I nod my head and lift my head to meet his gaze, "Yeah, it is, because I didn't hear a single thing."
But I think Paul disagrees as he narrows his eyes at me, "So you admit that there something to be heard?"
I'll give him that.
"Listen," I hiss, glaring. "I am not saying anything. But I will say this-leave me alone and keep your eyes on anything but me, you got that, Paul? Because I will not spend my senior year enduring your dirty looks. Take them and shove them up your ass. And if you don't do as you've been told, I'll shove them up your ass for you."
"Oh you will, will you?" Paul steps forward. I immediately step back and he boxes me in, both hands on the wall on either side of me.
"Well, Swan," Paul dips his head to speak lowly in my ear. "I think you're forgetting something, because I know you were in that hallway listening to every single word I said and because you did, you'll know that you're stuck with me. You're mine to look at, Swan. Get used to it."
He pushes off the wall and steps back with this hard look in his eyes. It makes me bite my lower lip and I look away. Nerves dance in my belly to the beat of fear and I can't help but feel mildly helpless. I feel so tiny and insignificant under his gaze, like I am actually his to look at. The thought makes anger burn through me and without even meaning to I sneer, "Go fuck yourself."
Just then my Math teacher walks out, and glancing between Paul and I, he asks, "Everything alright here?"
Paul smirks, not taking his eyes off me, "Yes, Bella and I were just sorting out a miscommunicatoin, weren't we?"
My Math teacher looks at me for confirmation and I smile tightly, "Yeah. Paul made a mistake, but we've got it all cleared up."
With that my teacher ushers me inside, dismissing Paul with the action. I turn my head, looking back over my shoulder and watch as Paul backs away with a smirk firmly in place. Paul meets my stare, and the mother fucker winks at me and I know that I've just entered a game. A game that only Paul seems to know how to play. I clench my teeth and decide that I won't be played for a fool and if Paul knew what was good for him he would drop this and talk the easy out I offered him.
Judging by the look on Paul's face, he doesn't know what's good for him.
A/N: Before anyone asks:
Yes, Paul imprinted on Bella in this chapter.
Anyway I hope you all enjoyed this chapter and please leave a review and let me know what you think. If you want more please review! Oh and just a warning: prepare my readers for a slow burn. This is a darker take on the imprint, so ye be warned!
Bird Song—Florence and the Machine
Reflections are Protections—La Roux
Heads Will Roll—Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Honeybear-Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Charmer—Kings of Leon
Drop Dead Blues—Anya Marina
Eyes on Fire—Blue Foundation
Happy Alone—Kings of Leon
I hope you all enjoyed this chapter and are ready for another story by me! Leave a review please and thank you!