A/N: This is a third revision of Chapter 1. For those that are still with me - thank you! I am now working with a pre-reader and beta for this story and the changes they have helped me to make really improve the story. If you've already read it, please read it again! Review or send me a PM to let me know what you think :) Chapters 2 - 8 are going to be taken down from FanFiction until they are done being revised as we have adjusted the chapter ends / beginnings. Hopefully, I will be able to get the revised chapters up pretty quick. I am definetely the bottle neck as my pre-reader and beta are so fast!
A big huge squishy hug thank you to SaritaDreaming (beta) and Branchips (pre-reader) I was introduced to these two wonderful ladies via Sparkly Red Pen and I have to recommend it to anyone needing to get set up with a beta and pre-reader...what a great service!
I was up and getting ready for school as slowly as possible. This town had done nothing but make me miserable since I arrived here. The constant clouds and rain were depressing my already depressed personality. Heading into a new school didn't seem exactly like the antidote I needed. The proverbial hole in the head sounded way more fun.
Forks. Who the heck came up with that name anyway? Why not Runcible Spoon? That, at least, had a better ring to it. But my father needed a new job, and Forks needed a police chief, so here we were. New school and I'm the police chief's daughter...great. Hopefully, this town isn't like the last place that seemed to expect certain decorum from the chief's daughter. At least my dad doesn't have to depend on voters here since he's appointed by the mayor. Not sure I'll ever forgive myself for costing my dad his last job, no matter how much he says it wasn't my fault
Ugh, this train of thought is not what I need right now! Big, puffy, teary eyes would attract way more attention than what I wanted. Okay, enough wallowing. Boots: check. Jeans: check. T-shirt with comfy sweatshirt on top: check. Everything close enough to in-style so I don't stand out, but nothing flashy to call attention either. Just call me wall-flower please!
I stomped down the stairs to get the last bit of my grumpies out. Dad was already at work. He knew I'd function way better on my own instead of under observation. I grabbed myself a quick breakfast; chocolate milk and a chocolate donut. Yay, fast metabolism. I walked to the door and there it was: mom's picture. Now I felt like such a jerk. Big deal; I had to go to a new school in a rainy town. She didn't get to go anywhere, ever.
It was all my fault. I was the one he had been seeking. If it wasn't for me, my mother would still be alive. Would I ever be able to look at her picture and remember the good times? Instead of only the last time? In my mind, I could hear her saying, "Bella, stop blaming yourself! I'm fine here watching over you and just want you to be happy." Fat chance, Mom. I ran out the door fighting my own head. The rain actually felt good, like it was washing the thoughts away.
At least I got to drive my new truck to school. New to me anyway. A '57 Chevy, all dented up but beautiful in its orange, rusty glory. Awesome! No one was going to beat me in a crash in this thing. I drove myself to school trying to forget about the dreaded destination. I concentrated, instead, on the lines on the road, the other cars, and the weird joggers who actually went out running in this weather. But the inevitable happened, and I arrived at the school.
Small schools were nothing new to me. The last one I attended was actually in a town smaller than this one, in Southern California. That school was nice because the lockers and some of the classes were held outside. My dad had already taken me once to see the school here, so I would know where it was. There was hardly anywhere outdoors set up for the students to hang out. All I had seen were some beat up picnic tables. No one was going to spend money on outdoor facilities in a town where it rained almost every day.
Ah, well, nothing left to do but get out of the truck and get the whole "new girl" thing over with. I climbed out of the truck and started wandering towards the front doors. Other kids gave me curious looks, but no one stopped to chat. I found the office easily enough, right inside the main door. The receptionist gave me that look that said she was expecting me and was curious as to what I would be like. Lord only knows what she had seen in my file. I walked up and introduced myself.
"I'm Bella Swan."
"Hi, Bella!" she said, way too excited. "I have all you need right here: schedule, locker assignment, and a school map. Please note the emergency exits. Also, here is a school handbook with all our rules and regulations. Please read them carefully as they are strictly enforced."
"Thank you," I mumbled, just wanting to get out of there.
All the secretaries were just staring at me like they had nothing better to do. Seriously, this was a high school. Didn't they know anything about teenagers? Did they really think I enjoyed being stared at by a bunch of strangers?
Homeroom was conveniently located just down the hall. I had time, so I darted into the bathroom to have one more mini nervous breakdown before entering the classroom. The bathroom was clean and had an amazing lack of graffiti on the walls. Nice not to have to read a zillion, "I luvs" while trying to clear my head. OK, I told myself, just walk in, tell the teacher your name, and then sit at the desk. Take out a notebook and look busy. . Plan in place, I exited the bathroom and walked into homeroom. The teacher was one of those young hippy types dressed in jeans, trying to look more like a friend than a teacher. I didn't like that type; I preferred uncaring and uninterested.
"You must be Isabella Swan," he said. Duh.
"Actually, I go by Bella please."
"Well, Bella, we sure are happy to have you and your father here!"
I desperately wanted to look behind me to make sure Dad hadn't somehow followed me into the class. Guess any last hope I had of being anonymous was shredded.
I brought out my patented teenage mumble, "Thanks, uh, where do I sit?"
Of course, that brought out the sympathetic icky face. "Right over there, Bella," he said, pointing to a desk smack dab in the middle of the room.
"Anything in the back or by the window?" I replied back in what I hoped was a voice that would trigger his need to help.
"Sorry, Bella," he said. "You're taking the last empty seat."
Oh, well, no help for me then.
I took my seat and pulled out my notebook as planned. I started scribbling a shopping list on the page. I hoped I looked like I didn't want to be interrupted. We needed groceries anyway and food shopping was one of my jobs.
"Hi!" I heard.
Guess I was going to have to work on that look.
I brought my head up and noticed my greeter was a bubbly looking girl with blond hair and blue eyes. I thought she looked like she should be a cheerleader, if the school was large enough to have a football team.
"Hey," I replied.
"I'm Jessica; you must be Isabella?"
"Bella," I said. "I go by Bella."
"Aren't you from Southern California?" she asked. "I thought you'd be more tan."
"Nope; pasty pale, just like everyone else here," I said.
She got this funny kind of look on her face, like she smelled something odd. I repeated my words in my head and realized what I said. Crap, now I'd gone and insulted someone. I meant to imply that I fit in, instead of standing out. All I did was showcase my inability to talk to people like a normal teenage girl.
"Uh, yeah... well, thanks," she said and turned away.
Oh, well, no help for it... my social skills were not up for this. I decided to keep a running tally of how many people I alienated that day. To protect the innocent, I used letters instead of full names; J x1.
I realized I hadn't actually spoken to my Dad yet this morning and started to get antsy. I wanted to text him but wasn't sure of the cell phone policy. I grabbed my handbook and started searching a little frantically. Happy as I had been to have the house to myself that morning, keeping a link to my dad was still crucial. He was all I had left.
Luckily, he never minded the multiple texts I sent him during the day and always replied back even if he was busy, if just to send a "bz" to me. I found the correct spot in the handbook and saw that the rules were going to be easy to follow. I could send and check text messages in between classes but no actual calls unless there was an emergency. Keeping the ringer off was a no-brainer.
The bell rang, letting me know it was time to head to my first class. Like the bell was a cattle call, we all started to herd out of the classroom and into the hall. I always thought those stupid bells were very dehumanizing. At least I was happy about which class I had first. It was AP Calculus, and the complex equations would keep my mind off of where I was.
I headed out into the hallway and sent the text to my dad. It was a simple note letting him know I was here and not lost somewhere in the middle of Forks. I kept my head down and avoided looking at the other kids as I walked. I wasn't ready for eye contact yet. Considering how clumsy I was, it was always a good idea to keep a close watch on what my feet were doing anyway. I was much more likely to trip on nothing than walk into something.
Ooph! Next thing I knew, I was on my ass in the middle of the hallway. All the kids were laughing, and I could feel myself turn beet red as tears formed in my eyes. I was so embarrassed! I had walked right into something after all. I didn't know what I had banged into. It felt like a wall, but there wouldn't be one in the middle of the hallway. I sat there for a moment longer, not wanting to look up and see everyone pointing and snickering at me. I was about to hoist myself up when a very large, very pale, hand appeared in front of my face. While all I wanted was to be ignored, someone was trying to help.
I took the hand and looked up. The owner of the hand stood in front of me with a sheepish grin on his face. He was a huge guy, well over six feet tall and solid muscle. "Sorry for getting in your way. Are you okay?" he said.
I was about to answer him, when I realized there was something different about him. My words stuck in my throat as my brain processed what I was seeing. I stood there, staring at him, and felt my heart start to race. It was his skin that was causing me to freak out. It's paleness was well beyond that of a normal person. There was no life at all in the chalk-like tone. It had a dull sheen, similar to marble. There had been only one other time that I had seen skin like that.
Before I knew it, my feet were moving me backward as fast as possible. I no longer cared what anyone thought of me. My sole focus was on getting away from him.
I noticed a bathroom and darted in. I could tell the room was empty, so I quickly locked the door with the bolt. I deflated like a balloon. My back was up against a wall, and I let myself slide down to the floor. I sat there, barely breathing, as I started to compare the boy from the hall with a memory I had tried to suppress for as long as I could remember… my mother's killer.