A/N: Here we go again guys.
As TIWIA wraps up, a new story begins.
This will be M rated for language, and eventually, some material. I will give fair warning when it comes to that.
First few chapters will be background info.
All characters belong to S. Meyer. I'm just playing around with them.
Chapter 1 – Some Kind of Wonderful
Six and a half years ago:
"Yo Crusty Cullen, you planning on taking some lucky girl to senior prom next week?" Mike snickered from the seat behind me.
We were in Mr. Molina's Bio class, waiting for it to start, and while I had my head down, buried in my notes and reviewing for today's exam, Mike and his cronies, Tyler and Eric laughed and joked behind me.
My body stiffened and my fists tightened under the table at the sound of Mike's nickname for me, but I kept my head down and ignored him.
Only two more weeks, only two more weeks,' I chanted quietly to myself, bringing one fisted hand up to push my glasses back to the top of my nose with my forefinger.
"Hey Crusty, didn't you hear me?" Mike continued. "What's the matter, all that zit pus clogging your ears?"
Eric and Tyler chuckled.
I turned around, raising my fisted hands to the top of my desk.
"Shut the fuck up Newton," I growled in a low voice.
"Whoa!" Mike laughed, jerking back while Eric and Tyler made similar noises in their seats to the side of him. "Looks like Crusty's about to blow. Watch out everyone, unless you want pus raining down all over you."
Some of the kids around us made disgusted noises. I started to get up, my fisted hands at my sides, the fact that in a couple of weeks I'd never have to look at Mike or his cronies' faces again completely forgotten.
I was going to pummel him.
"Mike, stop being such a jerk," a soft voice called out from the desk to my left. "Leave Edward alone."
That voice immediately broke through my fury, piercing my heart like no other voice ever had.
Mike and his asshole friends completely forgotten, I turned to look at her. She smiled at me softly, kindly, and my hands immediately un-fisted and I smiled back at her, wishing I'd had the balls to ask her out at some point throughout my high school career.
"Don't listen to them Edward," she said in her beautiful, melodic voice, her rich chocolate eyes gazing at me tenderly. "They're just immature jerks." She narrowed her eyes and turned them towards Mike.
Unfortunately, Mike Newton, Forks High School's all-star jock, also had a thing for Bella. And although she'd turned him down time and again, I feared it was only a matter of time until she gave in and said yes to him.
And it was this fear that had finally convinced me, Edward Cullen, Forks High School's reigning pimple-faced four-eyed lanky geek, to finally ask her out. I was leaving for college soon, and it was my last chance. And besides, at least if she said no, I'd only have to bare the humiliation for one short week, instead of the two years of humiliation I would've had to endure if I'd asked her out the first time I saw her, almost two years ago when she arrived in Forks as a high school freshman, when I was a junior.
With Bella's chocolate eyes no longer on me and the spell they cast broken, I turned back to face Newton.
"For your information asshole, I am asking someone to prom."
Mike started to laugh, but then looked at Bella and stopped. He knew she had a kind heart, and he knew laughing at me would only make her dislike him more. His lips twitching, he turned back to me.
"Really? Good for you man! May I ask who the lucky girl is?"
His eyes narrowed and quickly, almost undiscernibly, flashed towards Bella.
Newton knew. He knew how I felt about her. After two years of following me around to taunt and humiliate me at every turn, he'd caught me looking at her. He'd seen the way my admittedly pimply face lit up whenever she was around, the way my four-eyes followed her around whatever room she was in, the way my skinny, lanky limbs trembled whenever I was in her presence.
But he also knew that Bella was one of the few people in this crappy school that had ever been kind to me, that was my friend even. And he knew being an asshole to me around her wouldn't win him any brownie points with her. So it was a rare moment – like just a few seconds ago – when he actually showed his true colors around her.
"None of your fucking business," I hissed, and turned around, slinking back into my seat. My eyes turned up to Bella. She was watching me and when our eyes met, she smiled at me again, nodding once, as if to congratulate me for being the bigger man. My heart swelled with joy as I gazed into her beautiful dark eyes.
Just then Mr. Molina walked in, and Bella quickly turned around to face the front.
It was then that Mike leaned into his seat, hissing close to my ear, "Keep dreaming crusty asshole. She'll never say yes to you."
My heart, swollen up with joy just a couple of seconds ago, shrank in resignation.
Newton's words rang in my head on the drive home from school that afternoon.
'She'll never say yes to you.'
'She'll never say yes to you.'
I sighed, turning up the volume on my stereo to drown my sorrows. Unfortunately the song currently playing only made me think more of Bella.
'…and so I'd like to say before I go
that I just want you to know
I found a reason for me to change who I used to be
A reason to start over new. And the reason is you.
I found a reason to show a side of me you didn't know
A reason for all that I do. And the reason is you.'
Since the day I'd first set eyes on Isabella Swan at the beginning of my junior year, I'd been hooked. She'd walked into Ms. Cope's English class one morning, having just moved to Forks from Phoenix, where she'd lived with her mom. The rumor mill around the small school already had all the 411 on her by the time she'd walked into school that morning.
Her mom had re-married, and wanting to travel around the country with her minor-league baseball playing husband, she'd sent Bella to live with her dad, Forks' Chief of Police, Charlie Swan. I'd listened to the gossip quietly all morning, not really very interested. I had other things on my mind. I'd never been what you might call a popular kid; mostly quiet, into my schoolwork more than anything. I didn't play any sports – at least not in school. My dad and me, and my older brother Emmett liked tossing around footballs and baseballs in our spare time. But the jocks in school were assholes, and I'd decided early on I didn't want to even try to be on teams with them. So I was definitely a few levels removed from the upper echelons of the high school elite.
And if that wasn't enough to mark me as one of the less important citizens of the Forks High population back then, in the past few months, my face had begun to break out. My dad, a doctor at the small hospital in this town, had reassured me that it was no big deal; that I was probably just under some sort of teen hormonal stress, and that the problem would clear up in a few weeks; a couple of months at the most.
Well a few weeks passed, then a few months, and the problem just grew worse and worse. I tried everything; Clearasil, Oxy. My dad got me a prescription for some stronger meds. Nothing. I started walking around with my head down, my shoulders bowed, so that no one would see my face. Unfortunately, most high school kids aren't known for their discretion, or for their kindness, and so the whispers and snickers started.
And then one day, sitting in the middle of Math class, Mike had penned my current nickname. Crusty Cullen.
But no. The Gods weren't done punishing me for whatever sins I'd apparently committed in my past life. Because about six months after my facial problems started, the required eye exam for my driver's license turned up that I had the eyesight of a fucking bat. The eye doctor told my dad he had no idea how I'd gotten this far without glasses. I threatened my parents I'd never wear them as they drove me into Port Angeles to pick out a pair. Fuck, that's all I needed to complete my poster-boy impersonation of a typical geek. But they counter-threatened.
No glasses, no driving.
Finally, to add insult to extreme injury, I had a serious growth spurt over the summer before senior year. In two months, I went from five foot nine to a little over six feet tall. Unfortunately, my dexterity didn't keep up with my growth, and my height became the last ingredient in the recipe that made up Edward Cullen, Nerd Extraordinaire.
But back to the first day Bella walked in to class.
By then, I had two of the three main ingredients that made up ECNE (Edward Cullen Nerd Extraordinaire, remember? Close to 'ACNE.' Pretty clever of me, huh?)
I was sitting with my head down, as had become my habit, when I felt a strange tingling in the pit of my stomach. The tingling grew stronger, like butterflies flying around, but not just in my stomach anymore, all over inside of me, until I felt as if my heart were about to burst out of my chest from the intensity of the feeling. And then I looked up.
You know those 1980's teen movies?
My brother Emmett likes to watch them when he comes home for weekends from UDub. In these movies, when the hot girl walks in, everything moves in slow motion. A fan out of the camera's eye blows the girl's hair back while she shakes her head from side to side. A wide, knowing smile graces her beautifully made up face. And you know she's going to trample over some poor bastard's heart before the movie is even half way through.
Well it was something like that.
Except Bella walked in with her head down, and then she tripped on some invisible object in her path as she walked up the narrow pathway to her desk, steadying herself with one hand over one of the desks. Her long brown hair was up in a messy ponytail, and the only hair-blowing came from her own lips as she tried to blow a few stray strands out of her face before gnawing on her lip so furiously that I was sure it would be bleeding by the time she sat down.
But the slow motion thing? Yeah, that sure as hell happened. In my eyes, at least.
And the trampled heart? Well, it wasn't so much trampled, but it was sure as fuck stolen before she even sat down.
I'd turned around in my seat, mesmerized by the sight of her, no longer aware or concerned with whether anyone was looking at me. And then suddenly she looked up and our eyes met, and I knew I'd never seen such beautiful, expressive eyes in all my sixteen years on this planet. Her tense shoulders seemed to visibly relax, and she smiled at me. A soft, shy smile.
That's when I knew for sure that Isabella Swan - the mysterious girl from Arizona – would always own my heart.
The truth was, Bella probably wouldn't have been cast as the lead exotic beauty in one of those teen flicks. She probably would've been the exotic beauty's best friend; the one who sat around and patted the beauty's shoulder sympathetically when the evil hot guy dumped the hot girl. The one who offered up the good advice that finally got the hot beauty to realize the hot guy was no good for her, and that her less-handsome-and-slightly-dorky best guy friend was the one to go for.
She had those girl next door looks, dark hair, dark eyes, five foot four (at least, that's what I'd put her at over the past couple of years of staring at her), cute figure without the huge tits or ass many guys went for. But it was her personality that set her miles above any other girl in this school. Any other girl in this town. Any other girl in this universe, as far as I was concerned.
From day one, she'd been nice to me. At lunch time that first day, she'd already walked in with Jessica Stanley at her side, talking Bella's ear off a mile a minute. And although I thought I detected a mildly frustrated expression on her face, Bella listened intently to Jessica - smiling and nodding or shaking her head in all the right places. Within a few minutes, Mike and Tyler and Eric had joined Bella and Jessica at their table. I'd immediately seen, from where I sat alone at my own table, that Mike had set his eyes on her. The way he watched her, the way he pumped up his status as school jock, showing off his crappy-ass maroon and yellow letterman jacket like it was spooled out of pure gold or some shit. I'd watched it all through lowered eyes, smirking and wishing I had the balls to go up to her and introduce myself. To talk to her. To find out her thoughts, her secrets, her biggest dreams and desires.
And then halfway through lunch, she'd suddenly looked up and straight at me, as if she'd heard her name. As if my constant thoughts of her had been spoken aloud. I remember I'd been startled and my first instinct had been to look down, embarrassed to have been caught staring. But once again, she'd smiled at me sweetly. Jessica had followed her line of vision and had seen her looking at me. She'd smiled a colder, crueler smile and leaned in to whisper something in Bella's ear. Whatever it was made Bella frown and purse her lips, and then suddenly she was walking towards me, ignoring Jessica and Mike and the rest who looked on at her in shock, calling her back to them.
I'd frozen in my seat, unable to look away, unable to chew the bit of pizza currently in my mouth. In five seconds she'd been standing in front of me.
"Hi." With that one simple word it was as if the choirs of heaven had opened up and started singing to me.
I'd forced the un-chewed pizza in my mouth down my throat.
"Hi," I'd replied simply, my voice hoarse and low. I'd swallowed thickly as I stared at her, spellbound by her eyes.
"I'm Isabella Swan. Well, Bella. Everyone calls me Bella." I'd nodded, unable to say anything else.
"You're Edward?" she asked after realizing I wasn't going to say anything.
Again, I'd just nodded.
"It's nice to meet you," she'd continued, putting her hand out. I'd stared at it for a few seconds before realizing she was waiting for me to shake it.
I'd cleared my throat and forced myself to reach up for her hand.
A thousand sparks exploded inside of me the second my hand came in contact with hers. Scorching heat traveled up my arm and to every extremity in by body.
My eyes grew wide, but I forced myself to speak through my shock. "Nice to meet you too."
Bella's eyes widened too, and for a split second I'd let myself believe that maybe she'd felt the strange sparks also.
"You're in a couple of my classes," she said in a shy voice. I'd been surprised to know she'd noticed that.
I'd nodded again, but then realizing I was still holding on to her hand like a fucking weirdo, I'd dropped it quickly. She frowned slightly. Scared she'd realize what a basket case I was and lose interest and leave, I made myself speak again.
"English and Math. You're brainy I guess." I visibly cringed as I finished. Good going Cullen, those are the types of lines that drive the girls crazy. Emmett would be proud.
But Bella was only a freshman. The fact that she was in my English and Math classes meant she was taking advanced classes for her grade.
Still, as stupid as my words had been, they'd elicited the most beautiful reaction from her. She'd blushed, from her neck all the way up to the top of her forehead, the most wonderful, mesmerizing pink color.
"Yeah, I guess," she'd murmured, looking down. "Looks like you're pretty smart yourself, the way you answered those questions in Algebra class."
She'd heard my answers?
I shrugged. "Got nothing else to do but study." I smiled up at her wryly.
She smiled back, her dark eyes twinkling. "Well you know maybe" – she swallowed – "maybe one of these days, uhm" she stammered "if you have time, you can help me catch up in Algebra? We were working on some different stuff in Phoenix and I'm not sure if I understand what we're doing now."
So that's what this had all been about. Bella was obviously a smart girl, and it hadn't taken her long to figure out her new buddies would be of no help in the schoolwork department. So she'd forced herself to speak to the resident geek.
But fuck it. I wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
"Yeah, sure," I'd agreed quickly. "Whenever you want to go over anything, you just let me know."
The sound of a chair raking loudly across the linoleum made me glance behind Bella, where I found her new friends watching us curiously. Mike had pulled a chair and sat straddling it, and when he caught my gaze he flipped me the bird before quickly bringing his hands to his face and pretending he was popping a pimple with two fingers. From my periphery I could see the rest of the group burst out into fits of laughter. I stiffened, my jaw locking in place.
Bella saw my shift in expression and slowly turned around, which gave Mike and the rest of his asshole friends enough time to turn towards each other, as if they'd just been laughing at some innocent, private joke.
The buzz I'd felt by her unexpected visit was quickly killed, and when she turned back to me, the first words out of my mouth were,
"I guess you should be getting back to your new friends."
She raised her brows, as if surprised by my dismissal. "Alright Edward," she said in a low voice. "I guess I'll see you around."
"Yeah, see ya," I muttered before looking away from her, back down at my cold lunch and open book.
Out of my periphery, I saw her stand there for a few more seconds, as if she wanted to say something else, but then abruptly she turned around and left.
Over the next few months, Bella and I slowly became friends. Almost every day she'd take her lunch time walk over to me for a few minutes, and although at first the conversations were awkward and I was always too chicken shit to ask her to sit, that didn't deter her. We'd both show up to classes a few minutes early, and at first I did help her out with Algebra, even though I wasn't sure why she'd needed my help in the first place. She'd catch on so quickly you would've thought she could've caught on like that when the teacher first explained it. And then after a while, when she felt comfortable enough with Algebra, we'd just talk about mundane things, our favorite bands, our families. My music. Her art.
See, Bella was an artist.
Well, she didn't consider herself an artist, but I did. She'd told me once during one of our earliest conversations that she liked to doodle, and I told her I'd like to see her doodles someday. She'd blushed (she had a habit of doing this, which I absolutely adored) and said she didn't really show her doodles; she was too embarrassed. That's when I'd confessed to her that I liked to write music, that I'd make up lyrics in my head and then try them out on my beat up guitar. And that wasn't something I usually told anyone, much less showed anyone. Only my family knew about it, and even among them it wasn't very often I'd play them something.
But nevertheless, the next day I'd sat down next to her, pulled out a sheet of paper, and with trembling hands, handed it to Bella.
"What is this…?" she'd asked with a puzzled smile, taking the paper from me, and then her eyes had grown wide when she'd realized it was lyrics to a song. She'd studied the paper carefully, her lips moving around the words silently. We were outside at lunchtime, sitting on one of the few tables along the quad. Here in Forks, it wasn't very often we got to hang out outdoors. But this day, the clouds had taken a break and the cool Washington sun was shining down on us.
I watched her in rapt amazement for a few seconds, mesmerized at the sight of her mouth moving around my lyrics, until embarrassment had taken over and I'd looked away, letting her finish and kicking myself for having shown it to her in the first place. She probably hated it.
"Edward, you wrote this?" I thought I heard pure awe in her voice, and when I whipped my head back to her, she was watching me through dazzled brown eyes.
"Yeah," I'd mumbled, feeling stupid all of a sudden.
Bella had bitten her lip and then turned her eyes back to the piece of paper clutched tightly in her hand. "I'd like to hear it someday," she'd whispered finally.
I'd swallowed thickly, wishing I had the balls to tell her I'd written the words for her, that it was about how she made me feel, that she'd inspired the music that went with the words. Instead, I just said,
"Sure. One of these days," knowing that I'd never have the nerve to really go through with it. Bella had nodded. Just then, Jessica had called her from a few feet away.
Bella's friends had slowly gotten used to the idea that for some strange reason, Bella wanted to be my friend too. So they'd give her a few minutes with me, and then when they grew impatient, they'd call her back to them. They never came within more than a few feet of us though.
"Coming Jess," Bella had answered with a roll of her eyes. She'd looked over at me apologetically. "I- I gotta go, Jessica's waiting for me."
"I know," I'd nodded. I'd already accepted the fact that time with Bella was borrowed time.
She'd hoisted her heavy back pack over her shoulder, and I'd wished for the thousandth time I could carry it for her. Before walking away she'd handed me back my lyrics and looked deep into my four eyes. Her chocolate pupils sparkled.
"Thank you for showing me this Edward." Her voice so full of emotion it pierced my heart.
I'd nodded, unable to respond. And then she'd started walking away, and I'd dropped my eyes to the ground.
Suddenly, blue Converse stood in front of me. I looked up to find Bella before me again. She met my gaze and then started rummaging through her back pack, a sigh of relief escaping her lips when she'd found whatever she was looking for.
"Bellaaa!" Jessica whined from a few feet away. "Come on!"
"Coming, coming!" Bella called out distractedly, pulling out whatever she'd been looking for from her back pack and handing it to me quickly.
"Don't show this to anyone Edward, okay?" Her brown eyes were open and trusting, and I'd immediately nodded, my hand holding on tightly to whatever she was giving me.
Quickly, she let go of the paper and walked away. I watched her until she disappeared around the quad with Jessica, Mike and the rest of his group waiting for them at the end.
Then I'd looked down at the paper, and gasped.
It was one of those heavier types of paper, the kind the art teacher made us use for our projects. Within the paper, Bella had created the most beautiful design. It was a harmonious swirl of all different shades of green, traced with a few lines of black and brown, and interspersed with a few shades of blue, even some swirls of yellow here and there. So beautiful; so artistic. And although I knew I'd never seen anything like it and I had no idea whatsoever what it was supposed to represent, there was something familiar about it, something recognizable; something that put my soul at ease.
No. Bella definitely wasn't a doodler.
Bella Swan was born to be an artist.
A/N: Reviews are like musical lyrics in my ear.
What are we thinking?
Any ideas what the design Bella gave Edward represents?
Hope you enjoyed this first chapter. The next one will be up in a couple of days.