A/N: Big gasp! Here's the new chapter. I slipped in a little present for you guys because it took so long to update!
Hope you enjoy it.

Incase you guys haven't checked out our profile page, I'll repeat it here. House of Trepidation is on a little mini hiatus while Bri waits for internet in her new apartment. I know we all miss her, and hopefully she'll be on soon and she did reveal to me that she's been writing a new chapter for HoT anddddd working on some new stuff! So, we'll have to wait and see.

Also, please excuse any errors/typos/jumbles, I don't have anyone here to read it over anymore (sadface) and I really wanted to get this chapter up.

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Twilight.


Chapter 8

He took a deep breath, shifting his eyes away from mine, then back again.

"I think there's something you should know."

I raised my eyebrows in question, curious to see where the hell he was going with this.

"…What is it?" I asked when he remained quiet.

He took another deep breath. "Bella I—"

"Miss Swan, can you come forward please? And bring your belongings with you," I heard Mr. banner's frazzled voice call out.

I looked ahead to find my teacher holding a yellow slip, waiting patiently for me to get moving. I glanced back at Edward and by the look on his face, I could see he was just as pissed by the interruption as I was.

"Now, Miss Swan."

I sighed while gathering my things. "Coming."

I felt Edward's eyes on me the entire time it took to reach the front of the classroom. Then again, the whole class was giving me their undivided attention, happy to have some distraction from what I guessed was a boring lesson.

"Guidance Counselor," Mr. Banner said simply, handing me the slip of paper and pointing at the door.

I walked through the halls in no hurry as I made my way to the front office, knocking loudly on the counselor's door when I arrived.

"Come on in!"

I opened the door and poked my head in. "You wanted to see me?"

"Ah! Isabella, come have a seat," Mrs. Dot said, a bright smile and twinkly eyes adorning her face. It was all fake, of course.

I did as she asked and sat down in the uncomfortable chair, waiting for her to start. She had my file in front of her on the massive, paper cluttered desk. As she skimmed through the folder I peered around the room. If I hadn't met her, I would've guessed by the small space that she was a bit of an erratic busy bee in her organized chaos of an office. Knowing her pretty much proves that observation is correct. Not that I knew her, I just call them like I see them.

After several moments of silence, she addressed me. "So, how are your studies going?" she asked. Seriously?

"You tell me." I answered with a shrug.

"Isabella, I won't lie. You're behind in almost all of your classes. The main complaint of your teachers is that you refuse to apply yourself. You don't pay attention in class, your homework doesn't get turned in, and the work itself when it is turned in is sub-par at best.

"Good to know."

"You're on the verge of being kicked off of the Yearbook staff which would effectively ban you from using the school's darkroom," she said with a hint of a smile.

What the fuck? They can do that?

"Yes, they can. This isn't good news for you, I take it?" she smirked like the cat that ate the canary. I shook my head, scowling at the mess in front of me.

"Well, this gives you some incentive, now doesn't it?" I watched her smug smile get wider and wider. "I've seen many students with the same attitude. You feel you can't be bothered with the trivial educational process. what's the point, right? You already know everything you need to know. You don't care about graduating, going to college or even getting a decent job, because you are so sure you can get by some way, somehow."

I snorted. Did she really think this reverse psychology shit would work?

"Mess with your future, who cares?" She threw her hands in the air.

"Mess with something you love, and now we're getting somewhere."

"Are you done yet?" I questioned while rubbing my face, trying to suppress a loud groan.

"The funny thing is that as careless as you are about your future, I'm willing to bet you'd agree to anything I say as long as it kept your precious little hobby safe."

Minutes passed and I was full on glaring at her.

Who the fuck did she think she was?

The thing that really pissed me off was that she was sort of right, and I hated her even more for it. She stared right back, completely calm, just waiting for me to crack. And crack I did.

Rolling my eyes, I sighed in defeat. "What do I need to do?" I asked reluctantly.

"Isabella—"

"It's just Bella." I spoke slowly through clenched teeth so as not to scream at the insufferable bitch.

"Bella," she replied pointedly. "You're a bright girl with common sense. You should already know what obviously needs to be done."

"So I just get my grades up and that's it? I won't be kicked out of Yearbook?" I asked dumbly.

She nodded slowly and it made me think of Jasper. "We need to see a significant amount of improvement. You have one week." She spoke with a tone that left no room for argument. Thankfully, she dropped the smug expression.

"Fine. Whatever."

"One week, Miss Swan."

"Got it."

"Any questions?" she asked as I started to stand.

"Nope." I turned to leave but she spoke once again.

"You know… If you treat the world like a pain in the ass, you'll never be able to sit comfortably."

I looked back, surprised. Did she really just say that?

Her chin was resting on her clasped hands, smirk back in place. "You'll do well to remember that the next time someone inconveniences you with help," she stated, pointing a finger at me. "Get to class." With that, I left the stuffy room and made my way back to Biology.

The bell rang when I was halfway back to class making me turn around and head in the opposite direction. On the way to Economics I thought back to the 'conversation' I was having with Edward. What the hell was he going to say anyway? And why did he look so serious?

At least I had an excuse to approach him now, with a question other than "You're smokin' hot, do you mind if I lick your face?"

Yeah…no.

I arrived at Mrs. Ellison's room, taking my usual seat in the back. Edward wasn't there yet so I decided to entertain myself by doodling on an empty page of my scarcely used notebook. A few minutes passed and the bell rang, signaling the beginning of the hour. Edward was still absent from the seat in front of me.

As class progressed, so did my pathetic descent into depression, with a side of anxiety. Where was he? Why wasn't I let in on this disappearing act? Most of all: why did I care? It was like I was having withdrawal symptoms. Edward withdrawals. It was beginning to make my head spin.

Ugh.

What's wrong with me?


EPOV

"Miss Swan, can you come forward please? And bring your belongings with you," the dreadful teacher called out, interrupting me just as I was about to tell Bella that her boyfriend was a lying, cheating sack of— "Now, Miss Swan."

My eyes stayed trained on her back until she was out the door. I sighed in annoyance and decided it was probably best not to spill that kind of news—especially to a girl—in class. She could have had some kind of breakdown and everyone around us would think I'd said something horrible to her on purpose.

In my short time at Forks High, I had already acquired the reputation of a heartless asshole. I hated it, but it was what it was. Bella was different though. I didn't want her to think of me that way. Well, any more than she already did.

Class seemed duller without her presence, even though we didn't usually speak when she was there.

Bella still hadn't returned by the time Mr. banner dismissed us, so I went searching for her out in the hall. I was still scanning the crowds of students with no luck when I saw my sister walking in my direction.

"Have you seen Bella?" I asked Alice when reached me.

"Hello to you too!" she replied, feigning a scowl. "Why are you asking me if I've seen her? Oh my god! She went all bitchy on you again, didn't she? I'll maim her, I swear!"

"Alice? Shut. up. This is important." I stated while dragging her into an empty classroom.

I quickly told her the situation. How I saw Bella's boyfriend with another girl, how I'd unfortunately slipped to him that I had a bit of a crush on her, and how I was about to tell her everything I saw when she had to leave class. Alice's reaction was nothing I expected it to be. No evil laugh or happy dance! What she did do frightened and confused the hell out of me.

"Edward Anthony Cullen! You will NOT tell Bella that she's being cheated on!" her voice was surprisingly loud considering the small form it was coming out of.

"Are you insane? You can't just tell someone something like that without proof! All you'll do is break her heart, and you don't even know if he's actually cheating. You shouldn't even tell her what you saw. Besides, even if what you think is true, you know it's none of your business." She was seething by the time she finished. It took a few minutes to speak.

It was like she was trying to…protect her?

I guess I stayed quiet for too long, because she spoke again. Thankfully in a calmer, quieter tone.

"So, telling her anything is out. What do you plan to do?" she asked, looking at me expectantly with her hands rested on her hips.

"she knows I have something to tell her. What am I supposed to say when she asks? You know I can't lie about it."

Alice sighed and and sat down on the desk behind her. She was silent for a few moments, twirling her hair every so often. I couldn't understand why she was so adamant about keeping this a secret from Bella. I thought she hated her. Must be a girl thing. Again.

Life would be so much simpler if everyone had my condition. Or it'd be completely chaotic. Maybe life would be simpler if I were normal. I wouldn't even need to worry about any of this.

"Look, Edward. Just tell her that…that you can't tell her."

"Brilliant idea! Then afterward I could start wearing pea coats and sunglasses indoors and tattoo 'obscure loner freak' in huge letters on my forehead, because that is exactly what she'll think of me. A freak."

"Edward don't be silly!" She paused. "That tattoo would never fit on your forehead," she said, giggling at her own joke, like this was no big deal. I sighed, tugging at my hair. Why did it have to get so complicated? I just wanted to do the right thing, and apparently even that was wrong.

"Okay, okay. I'm sorry. Just tell her that you can't say anything now. It's not a lie."

"Alice—"

"I say you can't. So it's not lying."

"This is so stupid! Remind me, why I shouldn't just tell her?"

"Because I said so, and that's final,"

"And if I do?" I challenged, inching closer to her. Her only reply was an evil grin.

We stood there, staring each other down while waiting for the other to break. She looked so confidant that I would fold before she did. Like it was useless to fight, an easy win for her. I'd just cave in and do whatever she said because 'Alice is always right and Edward is a brainless, submissive fool who is only around to take orders and embarrass himself daily with his inability to keep his mouth shut when he should.' Damn it all to hell. I sighed at my self-deprecating thoughts.

But she was right.

"Fine!" I shouted acerbically, throwing my hands in the air.

Alice clapped seeming pleased with herself. She even added a giggle to which I rolled my eyes. I looked up at the large clock that hung over the blackboard to see that class had already started and we'd spent half an hour talking. Alice followed my gaze and made a small gasp, then she rushed out of the empty classroom shouting "Get to class, and remember what I said!"

Instead of following her lead and heading to Economics, I stood there in the dark, quiet room, trying to think of a better way out of this mess. Something other than telling Bella "Sorry, I can't divulge the information you seek at this time." Something that wouldn't make me sound mentally incompetent.

After twenty minutes of racking my brain for an idea, I finally came to a conclusion. The only thing that sounded plausible. It was definitely going to affect my grades and it was probably just as bad as Alice's suggestion, but it was something I was already used to doing, dramatic as it was.

I was going to ignore Bella completely.


BPOV

He never showed.

School ended and I was on my way to my own personal torture chamber known as Yearbook Club. I hadn't seen even a glimpse of Edward since Biology, but unluckily for me, I had pleasure of being able to spend the next hour with Alice and Rosalie. Yet another reason to dread that place.

After retrieving my camera from my locker I made it to the Arts classroom which doubled as the club's headquarters with only a few minutes to spare. I chose that time to not think about Edward, or his family for that matter, and set up my makeshift station. While I was organizing the many photo prints in my small area, I heard Angela walk in and greet everyone. I turned to wave when—oh god.

"Bella!" Alice yelled in a sugary sweet voice.

She was wearing a clean, pressed, white button down shirt, a curve hugging high-waist pencil skirt, and shoes that looked far too expensive to wear in Forks weather. Really? A wardrobe change for an after school club? I looked down at my own outfit and suddenly felt atrocious in comparison to the tiny supermodel walking towards me.

Rosalie came in behind her, nowhere near as enthusiastic as Alice. She even had the nerve to scowl when she noticed her sister speaking to me. Guess she hadn't gotten over that whole 'verbally bitch-slapping her brother and flipping her off' thing.

"This is going to be so much fun!" she squealed. Angela saved me by beginning the meeting before I had a chance to reply.

"Okay guys, listen up. As I'm sure you've heard, we have two new members. Alice and Rosalie Cullen." She introduced us one by one, even though it wasn't necessary. The Cullen sisters were already popular with pretty much everyone.

We began our usual work and after making her rounds, Angela waved me over to her station. "Hey Bella" she smiled. "I need the pictures from the game by tomorrow. Go work your magic!" she said, as if she could sense my need to just get away for a while.

"Thanks Ang." I smiled gratefully and turned to grab my things before practically sprinting out of the door.

I walked down the pitch black, narrow hallway that lead to the back entrance of my dark little sanctuary and in a much better mood, I started working on the pictures of Edward.

A while later, I was rinsing the last picture. I waited until the last possible minute to look directly at the finished product. I hung the wet paper up to dry and finally allowed my self to see what I created.

It was perfect. He was perfect.

I was lost in the small black and white print for what seemed like an entire hour, just staring. It was like being in a trance. I couldn't look away, couldn't give any attention to anything but his face.

"Well, this is interesting." I jumped at the sound of the voice behind me.

Completely alarmed by the sudden sound in the silent room, my head spun around to face the intruder. I just stood there, unmoving, with a look of pure shock on my face as they spoke again.

"I think you have some explaining to do."

Fuck.


One of these days I won't end with a cliffhanger or dramatic, soap opera worthy line!