Disclaimer: I do not own these characters and no copyright infringement is intended.
Weeks passed following my makeover, mom insisted that I stay home from school and let 'the dust settle' following the fiasco of the winter formal. Then of course we had Christmas and the break after that. She had said that I was okay to go back then, but only if Janet agreed, and of course I kept up with my sessions. It was easier to focus, now that I had a goal in mind. Janet was great, she talked to me like I was an adult and not a child, or someone that needed to be wrapped in cotton wool. My parents were great, but I knew the truth, they were still worried about me going off the deep end again. What they didn't know what that I had a plan and I had no intention of letting the people who drove me to the very edge of my sanity, win this one.
I was now going back to school, minutes away from seeing all the faces that mocked me the night of the dance. My nerves were at an all time high as I pulled my car into the parking lot. Jake came to my house and we drove in together, even though he was with me acting as my moral support, I was still on edge.
"You okay? You sure you want to do this. We can always head home, your mom won't mind I'm sure. If you don't want to go home, we can always go to mine." He said, breaking the silence that had hung between us since we got in the car.
I took a couple of deep breaths as I held onto the steering wheel, my hands ached from the pressure I was exerting on it.
"No, it's good. Let's get this over with, give them something different about me to stare at and talk about." I muttered before I got out of the car and slammed the door behind me. I stood upright, shoulders back, head held high just like Rose had told me to. Then I began the seemingly never ending walk towards the building. I could feel people beginning to stare and point at me, their words were hushed, but no matter what they said I was not the person they last saw running out of the gym after being so humiliated. It was more than the change in my appearance they would notice, soon Forks High School would sit up and take notice of Edward Cullen.
I walked through the hallways to my first class and I could sense people watching me, assessing my every move. Then I heard the voice of the headmaster Mr Greene. "Mr Cullen, a moment of your time please?" I nodded before I followed him into his office. Closing the door behind me, I turned toward him a bright smile on my face. He frowned at me, indicating for me to take the seat opposite him.
I watched as he thumbed through the papers on his desk muttering to himself. Eventually he closed the file and steepled his fingers under his chin while he seemed to assess me.
Letting out a sigh I broke the silence. "Mr Greene, as much fun as this is, I am due in class in." I looked at my watch. "about four minutes."
"Mr Cullen, I will write you a late pass to excuse you. I wanted to talk to you." He paused "Are you sure that you should be back here already?"
I rolled my eyes, how many times had I heard this over the last couple of weeks. First my mom, quickly followed by dad and then Janet. It was like no one thought that I was ready to be here, to face everything that happened but I knew different.
"Mr Greene, I have been through this more times than I care to remember. I can give the name of my counsellor if you like, she is very highly respected and more than happy to confirm that I'm well enough to be here, that I'm not gonna flip out and do a 'Carrie' in assembly-"
"This really is no time for jokes Mr Cullen." Mr Greene's voice was stern. "The events at the winter formal are obviously of concern still. You and Miss Swan, are you…"
I watched as he squirmed in his seat, looking for the right words, a smile playing at the corners of my mouth.
"Still dating?" He finally managed to finish.
"Bella and I? What did you call it again? Oh yeah, 'dating'." I made the speech marks in the air "No Mr Green, Bella and I are most definitely not dating, nor do I think we will be in the future either. So you have nothing to worry about on that front. We probably won't even speak to, or acknowledge each other. I just want to finish the school year, graduate and leave with my head held high." I said without a flicker of emotion or change in the tone to my voice.
"I don't want any trouble, Mr Cullen."
"Trouble, trouble from me? Seriously Mr Greene, you need to get a much better grip on what goes on in your own school. I have been bullied for most of my time here. Pupils have made my life a misery, day in, day out not that anyone cared. Yet you call me into your office today and are lecturing me on causing problems when I was actually the victim. They set me up and watched me fall, not that anyone cared other than to laugh at me and enjoy the show." I took a breath, amazed at how calm I felt about this. "So forgive me. I just want to get my life back on track and leave this hell hole behind me. Now, can I go to class? I'm sure Mr Molina is desperate to have his star pupil back."
Mr Greene handed me a slip and motioned for me to leave, as I opened the door he spoke one final time. "Edward, my door is always open for you, it always was before you just never chose to step inside." I turned and nodded at him. "Have a good day Mr Cullen." With that, I left.
Once outside the door to my class I paused, this would be the first time I had seen many of these people since the night of the dance. Now, I would be walking back into the lions den and I could show no fear. As I stepped inside Mr Molina stopped writing on the board and smiled at me. "Ah Edward, first day back and late for my class. Not a great start is it?"
I walked over to him, the white piece of paper held out for him. "Mr Greene asked to see me sir, I have a note to explain." My voice didn't waver and I kept my head high.
Mr Molina read the slip. "Take a seat Mr Cullen. I know you are not too far behind where we are now." He motioned for me to find a seat. When I looked there as only one seat free, next to Jessica Stanley. It was the last place I wanted to sit but there was no other free seat. As I walked over to the desk I watched as she sat up a little straighter and fluffed her hair. My new look was obviously something that she liked.
Sliding into the seat next to her I pretended not to notice her, but I could feel her eyes on me. "Hi Edward, it's good to see you back." She purred. I simply smiled and pulled my notebook from my bag and started to take notes. Ignoring her was easy, but ignoring the eyes that I could I feel boring into my back was a lot harder.
Once the bell rang I grabbed my books and was out of the class first. I knew that my next class was English and once it was over it would be lunchtime, then I would have to run the gauntlet of the cafeteria, and more importantly Jessica and her gang of bitches.
English was my favorite class by far, I loved that we were reading Romeo and Juliet, although I don't think that Mr Mason liked the fact that I knew the text already and could quote more than just the key parts verbatim. He made me stand before the class and read a few pages. While I was doing this I did notice Lauren Mallory was paying me more attention than I liked while I was reading, a dreamy far away look on her face as she sat twirling her hair around her finger.
I soon found out that people took one of two options when dealing with me now I was back at school, they would either; ignore me completely, pretending they hadn't seen me. Or they would stare as I passed them, not sure if they should say anything to me. Then when I turned to them, they would look away quickly. This was getting pretty boring by lunchtime. Being ignored I was used to sure, but the latter was frustrating. Were they afraid that I was going to freak out? Sitting in the cafeteria with Jake, despite the fact there were so few seats free, we managed to keep a table to ourselves; unheard of.
"So, how's this morning been?" Jake asked.
I choked back a laugh. "Pretty much like this, I have gone from being the school loser to being a leper. Who would've thought."
"Shit, I thought that people would have grown up. Anyone given you any hassle?"
"Nope. People have all on to look at me, well apart from Jessica being a flirt and then Lauren was practically drooling through English." I smiled at the memory.
"Anything from Bella?" He attempted to keep his question casual but I knew there was more to it than just curiosity.
"No, I haven't seen her. Why?" I tried to keep the questioning light.
"Nothing, no reason just wondering." He took a bite of his sandwich before he smiled. "So, you have Jessica and Lauren both making their play for you. Good going to say you have only been back for a matter of hours."
I shook my head. "It's not right though, I don't care about them or what they want. They see the new shiny outside, the packaging. The inside is the same as it was before, I haven't changed as a person. Yes, the outside has changed, but so has the inside. I am no longer scared of them or their opinions. I just want to finish this year and leave this place behind me."
Jake continued eating, nodding the whole time. People were still turning to stare at me quickly before turning away, it was now getting old. So I pushed my chair back before I used it to climb up onto the table. A deathly hush fell across the room as people stopped eating and turned to stare at me, those that hadn't noticed were nudged by friends. I waited until all eyes were on me, painfully aware of the last time I was in a similar situation. Taking in the room like I was about to give a huge speech I saw her, sat at a corner table, back to the room. She didn't turn to see what was happening, it was like she didn't care anymore.
"Listen, you all know what happened to me, yes? Well that shit was in the past, done, finished. Dead and buried, if you will excuse the pun." I paused for effect, knowing they wouldn't know what to make of that, sarcasm was lost on most of these people. "I'm back, fully alive and functioning. I don't want your pitying looks, or whispers behind your hands. You have something to say to me, say it, out loud. Trust me when I say I'm not going to crumble to ash or fall apart. Yes, I had a bad time of things, but shit happens. I'm not saying you have to like me, I really don't give a fuck if you do or you don't, your choice. But if you want to get to know me then make the effort, Okay?"
I saw Principal Greene standing at the edge of the cafeteria, a stern look on his face, arms folded across his chest. I knew I was going to be in trouble for this outburst, but I didn't care. Jake began to clap his hands as he got to his feet. Then one by one people started to do the same. Soon the whole cafeteria, except for the lone figure of Bella, was on their feet, applauding me. I could only watch as she got to her feet and bolted for the door without so much as a backwards glance at me.
Principal Green motioned at me to get off the table and join him, I knew that I was in trouble but couldn't find it in myself to care. Jake slapped me on the back, joking with me. "Been nice knowing you." I simply smiled as I made my way across to where the principal was standing. I was now being treated like some kind of hero, people were still applauding and slapping me on the back, it was all a bit surreal.
No words were exchanged I walked out of the cafeteria with Principal Green, I paused at the double doors and took a final, completely overacted bow, which caused another round of applause to break out. With a smile I followed behind Principle Green knowing we would end up in his office where I would be given a lecture about inappropriate behavior. So I was puzzled when he stopped outside and told me take a seat. I waited as I heard the bell go signaling the end of lunch, but yet I was still waiting for the inevitable to happen.
The phone on the secretary's desk rang and when she replaced in on the cradle I was told to go in. Closing the door behind me I took a seat and waited. Principal Green was busy reading what I assumed to be my file, yet again. There was a gentle knock on the door before it opened and in stepped my father. Shit. He had called him? Taking the seat next to me I got a stern glance from my father before he looked at the principal.
"Mr Cullen, sorry to have called you away from the hospital-"
"Dr Cullen." My father interrupted, causing me to fight back a laugh.
"Sorry, Dr Cullen. As I was saying, Edward was being disruptive in the cafeteria at lunchtime and showing a complete disresgard for school property. I am considering suspending him as he is clearly not ready to back here after his… accident. It's my belief he would benefit from being home schooled until he is ready to rejoin the general school population. Also you should consider stepping up the counseling or change his therapist if the one he is seeing isn't able get results. I can recommend several that are highly regarded in this particular field." He sounded smug, rather pleased with himself.
I looked to my father, his fingers steepled with the index fingers resting against his pursed lip.
"Are you quite finished?" My father finally asked. I knew this tone of voice, he was mad and trying to keep calm.
Principal Green simply nodded, before he offered a pamphlet to my father, who snatched it from him only to screw it up without even looking it.
"Principal Green, you may have forgotten that I am a Doctor, and this is my son you are talking about. I watched as he lay in a hospital bed, fighting for his life. Watching as my wife cried at his bedside thinking that he might die. Watching as he built himself back from from nothing to be able to make it back here. Edward has an excellent counselor, first rate in fact. Now why don't you tell me what he has done that makes you think excluding him is the only option? Considering it was on school property my son was so thoroughly humiliated by some students, an incident that led him down the path which has us here now." He paused for a second. "Have the school authority and the board of governors been informed of those events?"
Principal Green sat there, his mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water.
"I thought as much. I really do suggest that you look at the behavior of some of your other students before you summon me here to discuss my son with me."
"He climbed onto school furniture in the cafeteria and disrupted lunch."
My father stood. "I really don't have time for this, and if I am not mistaken Edward is missing the start of afternoon classes. It's been enlightening as always Principal Green, now if you will excuse me." He paused briefly. "Edward, I will see you this evening, now get to class and learn something , you've missed enough school." I simply nodded and watched as he left.
Turning to Principal Green I asked. "Shall I just go to class?" He nodded. "I'm gonna need another hall pass." One was handed to me and I left. Once outside I found my father waiting in the hallway. "Don't think you're getting off the hook so easily. We will talk tonight."
I nodded before making my way to class, knowing my father was angry but I wasn't sure who he was angriest at, me or my school principal, but I knew tonight I would find out.
SURPRISE! Okay, so not really for those of you in Fraggle Rock Fics over on Facebook, but hopefully you are all still with me. Firstly, if you are reading still THANK YOU and please accept my apologies for the long delay in updating. I have been struggling with writers block and didn't want to start this again until I had a few chapters under my belt. I have another couple… Just need to get working on this again.
HUGE thanks go out to ETPhonehome (Elaine) who has been pre-reading this and giving me a nudge when it was needed to change things and put me back on track wen I have veered off it.
This is my Christmas gift to you, my readers. I really do appreciate the fact that you have stayed with me, without you guys I wouldn't want to continue so THANK YOU!