Hello! Is anyone still reading this? XD For those who are waiting for the next chapter, you can thank my eight-year old sister for this update. Thrice a week, she surprises me with a book that she borrows from the school library. Last Friday, she borrowed Twilight. I finally had a bit of time to write the first part of what was supposed to be chapter 8. I decided to split it up into two, and I might finish typing up the next chapter by first or second week of October. This might seem like a filler chapter, but some information about Harry would be revealed if you look closely.
Thank you to those who read, reviewed, favorited and liked this story.
Bella's mom's emails and Bella's last email directly come from the book. The rest are just crap I came up with.
I hope you enjoy reading and please review if you liked it.
"So…Harry, is it? Harry…"
"Bells tells me that you came from England."
"Yes, Dad. Harry's from Surrey, Little Whinging. Small place. Really small. You wouldn't know it."
"You've come a long way from home, son. What're you doing in Arizona, of all places?"
"Dad, what is this, the Spanish Inquisition? Enough with the good cop, bad cop routine."
"Was Bells a classmate of yours?"
"Me, classmates with this old man? Harry's twenty five, now."
"How did you two meet, then?"
"Oh, for Pete's sake, Bells. Let the poor boy speak."
The 'poor boy' in question, who was perfectly content allowing 'Bella' to answer for him, looked up from his bowl of risotto to find both of his dinner companions staring at him expectantly.
"Er…that's okay, Mr Swan. Bell-bell knows me well enough to answer for me. Sometimes it feels like we're just one person."
Which we literally are, right now. Not-Bella thought to him from across the table.
Yes, but Daddy Charlie doesn't know that, does he? He thought back.
"I work at the coffee shop that Bella likes to go to. Sir."
"We hit it right off, Dad." Bella reached across the table and pinched him rather painfully on the cheek. He glared. "Har-bear here gives me a cuppa on the house every time I stop by. Isn't he a cutie patootie?"
Stop laying it on too thick, Bell-bell.
Charlie, for his part, was acting as if nothing was wrong, and that this charade of a dinner party was something that he encountered every night.
"Have you been in the States long? You haven't picked up the accent yet."
Charlie was also a master of faux passes and cringe-worthy gaucheries, and obviously, tact and subtlety were words in foreign languages to him. To be fair, this was probably the first time that Bella brought a boy home with her. Before this, he probably had only the chairs as discourse partners.
"I left England when I was seventeen, sir. Been travelling since then, but never stopping for a long time in one place," Harry replied, sticking as close to the truth as possible.
"How long are you planning to stay here?"
"Really, Dad? He just got here."
"Not for long, Mr. Swan," he mumbled, fiddling with his spoon absentmindedly. Delicious as the risotto was, he had lost his appetite. "I just…stopped by? I'll be out of your hair in no time."
Harry didn't know how he sounded like, but something in his quiet reply made Charlie's severe features soften.
"Call me Charlie, son. And you're welcome to stop by anytime you want."
Harry jerked awake, unable to shake away the strange feeling that he was being watched.
Moody would be proud of his constant vigilance, but he had learned never to discount those feelings.
A quick Tempus charm showed that it was just around three o'clock in the morning. His lips quirked. The Witching Hour.
There were absolutely no witches here, thank you very much. Just a wizard. A wizard currently wearing the guise of a female muggle, so he was not sure if it counted.
The boy's gaze flew to the corner where the noise was coming from.
Silly Harry. There were no such things as ghos – oh wait, there were.
He wondered if Charlie's house was haunted, aside from the memories of the past creeping up the wallpaper. Maybe there was a nice ghost living in Bella's bedroom that he can talk to, or a banshee screaming silently in the living room. Or maybe a mischievous poltergeist thumping happily in the attic.
Dear Hermione, I think I'm finally losing it. Don't roll your eyes and tell me I've lost it a long time ago. I'm so desperate to talk to anybody than myself. You know the point when you become scared to draw a breath in because the secrets might come spilling out? I even thought of migrating Myrtle to the bathroom Charlie and I share, just so I can have gloomy morning conversations with her while brushing my teeth. Do ghosts need passports or visas for haunting spot reassignments?
That stupid rocking chair was making that sound again. On its own..? Oh.
The curtains, silver spectres in the light of the moon, were flapping lethargically from the draft coming in from the open window. So that was why his bloody bits were freezing to death. He must have left it open before going to bed.
Pushing his quilt aside, he put on a pair of fuzzy bunny slippers (What? He found it them dumped in the deepest recesses of Bella's closet. They were delightfully comfy) and stood up.
The window was facing the front yard. Chevy was sitting in the driveway, an enthusiastic pup waiting for its master to come out and play. Charlie's police cruiser was parked behind it, a more dignified and sedate presence.
It was a moonlit night that painted the trees and made them luminescent. The occasional wind slithered through the leaves and whispered unheard secrets around the woods that surrounded the Swan residence. The evening news said that there was a possibility that it would snow the next day, so the air was chilly.
Harry closed the window with a loud thud, wincing when the unexpected sound reverberated throughout the house. He hoped he hadn't woken up Charlie. The poor man needed his rest.
He stopped to listen for shuffling noises from the other room and breathed in relief when there were none.
After a moment's thought, he decided to close the curtains, too. He didn't need to know more secrets. He had enough on his own.
He dropped back on the bed and drew the quilt up to his chin, making sure that Hedwig was underneath so that the stuffed animal would be kept warm. He closed his eyes.
And opened them again.
Sleep was an elusive bedfellow tonight. He got up a second time, and his gaze wandered to the computer placed neatly on the desk. Renée had insisted on it to keep in touch with her daughter.
Harry had always associated computers with Dudley. On some afternoons when Piers Polkiss and and the rest of Dudley's merry friends were not around, Dudley would sit in front of the computer in his bedroom. His small, beady eyes would track something intently on the screen, with a type of focus that he didn't apply on his homework. Harry would surreptitiously watch while vacuuming Dudley's room when his cousin was maniacally blasting an alien on his computer game. Sometimes, Dudley would see him watching and would either punch him or tell on him to Aunt Petunia. Sometimes, the beached whale would be too intent on clicking the mouse (looking at the computer screen and clicking rapidly were oftentimes too much for his brain) that Harry would be able to watch in peace until Aunt Petunia would call him to prepare dinner.
At that time, Harry would have given up anything (he was a child, he didn't own much) to be able to blast an alien on Dudder's computer.
I should make a list of dreams I realized when I no longer want them.
He wondered how Dudley was. He hadn't visited Number 4 Privet Drive since he turned seventeen. Harry didn't find any reason to.
Bella's computer was not the newest model. Charlie said that it was bought secondhand, but it still seemed more sophisticated than the one Dudley used to own.
Maybe I can play Dudley's alien game on this computer?
First, he had to figure out how to use it.
Waving his wand did amazingly nothing ('Technology and magic don't mix, Harry! How many times do I have to tell you that?' – Hermione). After a few tries, he was able to get it up and running. That was definitely not an innuendo for anything.
He remembered that Bella had a memory stick in her bag, and after much thought, he inserted it into the correct hole.
Goofing around and clicking random stuff on the screen seemed like a good way to learn how to use it, and eventually he stumbled upon a file containing Bella's passwords. Thank Merlin. His computer skills were not yet up to Hacker Extraordinaire just yet. Although, it seemed pretty stupid of Bella to store her important info on something that could get easily lost.
There were no alien computer games, though. Only a boring card game he didn't understand.
Renée reminded him that he would be receiving her e-mails soon, so he had to check those first. No, there was nothing wrong with reading the e-mails of a seventeen-year old girl. Nothing.
Bella's account contained a grand total of three emails – all from her mother. Isabella must have been really sociable.
Write me as soon as you get in. Tell me how your flight was. Is it raining? I miss you already.
I'm almost finished packing for Florida, but I can't find my pink blouse. Do you know where I put it?
Phil says hi.
Her pink blouse? Harry had no freakin' clue.
Why haven't you emailed me yet? What are you waiting for?
Talk about impatient. That was probably Harry's fault, though.
If I haven't heard from you by 5:30p.m. today I'm calling Charlie.
Oops. Seeing that it was already three a.m. of the next day, Bella's mom must be pretty incensed. Charlie didn't mention anything during dinner, but that was probably because of meeting Harry.
Well, he guessed he should reply to Bella's mom soon before she freaked out more.
Dear Mrs. Dwyer.
I have received your urgent correspondence and implore your forgiveness for the lateness of my
response. The inclement weather of Forks has not been auspicious, but I have arrived in
good spirits. I have no knowledge pertaining to the current location of your garment. Mayhap
it would be prudent to purchase another one of its resemblance? It is my fervent hope
to acquire your prompt dispatch. I send my cordial regards to your spouse.
What the fuck was he, an applicant for a job position? Too bloody formal. He sounded like a pompous old fart. Very dodgy.
Hey, Renée, my darling bosom friend-mother from whom I inherited
my mitochondrial DNA! I arrived well-and-good in little ole'
Forks and met some of the Forkites in school. Apparently, indoor
plumbing does exist here, so my situation is not as dire as you
redicted. I'm not exactly sure where your funky shirt is
(seriously, pink? What is up with women?)
But maybe it's in the last place where you put it? Lol
(Harry doesn't know what lol meant. Lots of love? It seemed like a good place to put an "lol")
Everything is great. Of course it's raining. I was waiting for something to write about.
School isn't bad, just a little repetitive. I met some nice kids who sit by me at lunch.
(maybe "nice" was stretching the truth a bit...and they probably won't be sitting by him after what happened)
Your blouse is at the dry cleaners – you were supposed to pick it up Friday.
(he hoped to hell that it was true)
Charlie bought me a truck, can you believe it? I love it. It's old, but really sturdy
which is good, you know, for me.
I miss you, too. I'll write again soon, but I'm not going to check my e-mail every five minutes.
Relax, breathe. I – l love you.
There. That seemed like something that Bella would write. He clicked send and logged out.
Well. Using the computer was not as fantastical as he thought it was.
Harry stood up and plopped down on the old, rickety rocking chair. A wave of his hand summoned the quilt and Hedwig from the bed.
Creak. Creak. Creak. Creak.
The chair was surprisingly comfy.
He drifted off.
School for the next few days was hell. Everybody avoided him in fear of being molested and contracting his weirdness. People in hallways where he usually walked would make the sign of the cross whenever he passed by. He even heard in passing that they were planning to contact an exorcist to banish his unholy desires. Seriously. Forkites needed a new hobby.
Harry didn't mind their avoidance. He preferred being alone.
Cookie (Harry didn't really know his name) made school life bearable. Harry made it a point to bug him as much as possible during History class. Cookie was amazingly knowledgeable about American History, almost as if he had lived through it. He was also nice enough to whisper the answers when the teacher called on Bella.
Plus, Cookie had an astounding collection of coloring materials (highlighters, Hale insisted) that he generously allowed Bella to borrow. Cookie used them to highlight his history book (Harry had a feeling that Hale was highlighting mistakes and not important information). Whatever. Harry used them to draw Cookie eating cookies on the margins of his textbooks. He proudly showed it to Hale who crumpled it immediately.
Harry saw him furtively put the doodle in his bag, so he guessed Cookie must have liked it after all. He vowed to draw his new friend more, even if it meant sacrificing more pages from his book.
The boy was sitting by his lonesome self in the cafeteria when someone sat across him.
"You're stealing my man," Alice complained, plunking down her food tray on the table with exquisite grace.
Harry stared at her, then at the Cullen table where she is supposed to sit. The White Queen, Muscle Man, Cookie and Sullen Cullen were sitting in frigid silence, trying (and failing) to ignore the prodigal Cullen who jumped tables.
In fact, everybody in the cafeteria was doing the same thing.
Alice Cullen never interacted with others outside her family quite so intimately. None of the Cullen-Hale clan did, apparently.
"I'm sorry, what?" he asked.
"Who?" The only Jasper he knew was one of Mrs. Figg's cats. Nasty little bugger.
"Jasper. Jasper Hale? Does it ring a bell?"
"You're barking up the wrong tree, lady. I don't know anybody named Jasper Ha-oh." Realization dawned. "Cookie."
"Yes. Cookie." If Alice thought that she was able to suppress her snicker, then she had another thing coming.
'Jasper' shuddered. Maybe it was just Harry's imagination.
"You've been borrowing his 64 Crayola crayons to doodle yet you don't know his name? He's very protective of his Razzle Dazzle Rose, by the way."
That was the crayon that Harry broke.
"Uh…names didn't really come up in our conversations? Our friendship is one that transcends boundaries. We don't need to know each other's first names to know that we are kindred spirits, fated by the stars that dominated the night skies at the moment of our birth."
"Jasper was born in the morning."
"The sun is a star, yes?" He learned as much in Astronomy. "If he was born in the morning, then I probably was, too. And it's not as if Cookie knows my real first name."
There was no way that he would know.
Alice rolled her eyes. It was the first authentic human-like gesture Harry had seen her make.
"I hate to be rude, but what exactly are you doing here, Alice? Your sister looks pretty pissed at me."
Cullen waved a dismissive hand.
"Don't worry about her. That's just her default expression. It's pretty easy to tell if she's in her super bitch mode. Right now, she's just being a bitch."
A plastic fork snapped across the room.
Harry looked at the Cullen table again.
"There are five of you today," he blurted out before he can stop himself.
"You noticed?" Alice seemed oddly delighted for some reason.
Harry decided not to ask, for the sake of his sanity. Or what was left of it.
"It's kind of hard not to. Jessica couldn't shut up about it. I'm sick of hearing about 'Eddie's enchanting voice or his perfect hair or God forbid it, his cute, flawless, crescent moon-shaped cuticles or something."
The pixie-like girl laughed.
Harry backtracked, feeling himself reddening in embarrassment. Damn Bella's fair complexion! "No offense to your brother. I'm sure his cuticles are adorable. Don't – don't tell him I said that!"
She was still laughing.
"I'll just stop talking now," he mumbled sourly.
"Oh, please do go on," she encouraged in between laughter. "Do they talk about his "dazzling hair"? His "sweet breath"? His "glorious face"?"
"You forgot to mention his "smoldering topaz" eyes. I heard that his "bronze hair" is to die for, so try not to touch his hair or anything. Even if you're a close family member."
Alice Cullen made giggling an art form. There was no way to make giggling graceful, but somehow she pulled it off.
"I think that rumor was started by Edward," she admitted. "He's very protective of his hair. Nobody gets to touch it. One girl tried once."
She recoiled in horror upon remembering the answer to his question.
"You're better off not knowing," she assured him.
At the Cullen table, Edward ran a hand through his hair, as if he had heard their conversation.
"As much as I enjoy this stimulating conversation and your lovely company, Alice, I don't think you were here to listen to me making fun of your brother. Why are you here again?"
"Oh, yeah!" She perked up. "Why am I here again?"
"If that is an existential question, you're only here for a filler chapter," Harry informed her seriously. "Someone is making a fanfic of my life, but they couldn't decide what to do next. They needed a minor character for comic relief."
"That's not fair! I should be a major character, too! I'm too cool to be in the sidelines."
"I hate to break it to you, lady, but we just met one week ago. I don't know you that well. Therefore you're a minor character."
"What was it again?" she asked in a mocking tone. "Our friendship is one that transcends boundaries. We don't need a lifetime to know that we are BBFs. We are kindred spirits…blah, blah, blah…fated by the stars…night skies…birthdays, etc., etc., etc."
"I hate it when somebody uses my wiseass lines to myself," he complained to her. "At least paraphrase and cite it properly, would you?"
The Cullen girl grinned smugly.
"And, I think you were here to complain and to treat me as Quality Control? Something about stealing Cookie?"
The smaller of the two smoothed out a crinkled sheet of paper and slid it across the table. The boy picked it up gingerly, raising an eyebrow upon seeing it.
It was a picture of Cookie being cannibalized by gigantic Chips Ahoy's (cannibalism was possible between them because they were both of the same species, so sue him). The doodle was by far his most favorite. Harry admired the blending of colors, remembering that Fuzzy Wuzzy, Jazzberry Jam and Mauvelous were responsible for the majestic gore of his masterpiece.
"What's wrong with it?" he asked warily. "Did it make Cookie cry? I promise to stop my budding artistry career if it made him cry."
"You can keep your 'budding artistry career.' Jasper doesn't have tear ducts. But why is it that he likes your kitsch doodles better than my avant garde masterpieces? I can forge Monet or Dali well enough to sell on the black market, but it's your stupid Cookie sketches that he frames and hangs on our bedroom wall."
"You're jealous of my 'stupid Cookie sketches?' They're not stupid."
"They are, but that's not the point. He's spending a lot of time with you. He has never done that before."
Harry now sort of probably understood what 'stealing my man' meant.
"Cookie is a wonderful friend. Don't worry about competition from me. He's not my…er? type."
The interested glint in her eyes brightened. "What's your type, then?"
"Human-shaped? Not that Coo-Jasper isn't human shaped! He totally is! But – but –"
The bell-like sound of Alice's laughter drew more attention to their table. He slumped lower in his seat.
"I think I now realize why Jasper likes you. You're adorable," the girl cooed. It looked like she wanted to pinch his cheeks and pet his hair, so he inched his seat farther away from her. She laughed again. "Do you mind if I keep this Cookie sketch?"
"Be my guest. Ask Cookie first, though. He might really cry if you took it without his permission."
"That's not a problem." The drawing was carefully tucked in between the pages of a notebook. "He wouldn't notice that I borrowed it permanently."
"...Okay? At least I know whom to ask if I need to read page 279 of my History textbook. I think that one was in the chapter about American Civil War."
Tinkerbell was still staring at him in fascination, so she probably wasn't done bugging him yet.
He untwisted the cap of his thermos nervously, unnerved by the number of eyes tracked on both of them. There were talking in low voices, and he was sure that his nosy schoolmates couldn't eavesdrop.
"Who's Harry, Bella?"
Alice had a habit of asking questions out of the blue that caught people off guard. It was most likely deliberate on her part.
"I'm going to pretend that I understand the context of that question and ignore the fact that 'Harry' is a common name and I probably know five people who are named Harry. I assume you meant Harry, the one who met Mrs Cullen?"
"Yup!" Alice nodded, as if he had answered the mystery of life. "How was the risotto?"
"Fantastic. Although, Mrs Cullen didn't have to do that. I can repay – "
"How dare you, Isabella 'I-don't-know-your-middle-name-yet' Swan! Don't say the 'p' word to me. That was a gift!"
"Technically, the word started with an 'r' if I put an affix on pay-"
Pixie shook a finger at him threateningly.
"I know what you're doing. Don't think that I can be distracted from my ultimate goal: Harry."
"Why do you want to know?"
"Why do you always answer a question with another question?"
"Whatever is it that you're planning," he warned, shaking his soda straw at her. "Drop it right now. Harry doesn't need to be involved in your nefarious schemes. He gets into enough trouble on his own. Leave him alone."
He was channeling his inner Hermione. Go him.
The only real girl on the Swan-Cullen table pouted.
"Is he your boyfriend?"
"Why does everybody think that I am romantically involved with him?" he lamented. "First, my dad. Then Mrs Cullen. And now, you. For the record, we're not."
Selfcest was creepy.
"Esme, my mom, really liked him," she said, poking her uneaten salad with a fork. "From how she described him, Harry is like little lost Bambi who needs his mommy. No offense to your friend."
Great. Now even random strangers felt sorry for him.
Alice leaned forward, her frame buzzing with intent.
"I want to meet him, too. When do you think he'll –"
"Oh, good heavens, look at the time!" Harry stood up, shouldering his knapsack and sweeping up his lunch tray with one hand. "It looks like I have to…go. Yes. Pop quiz in Biology, need to study for it. Toodles, dear!"
The boy left as quickly as humanly possible, eager to avoid answering more questions.
He was never good at keeping track of his lies.
All the adjectives used to describe Edward (except for the cuticle-related ones) were lifted from the Twilight Saga. Meyer used a lot of perfect-amazing-flawless-beautiful-etc to describe him. I mean, seriously.
I probably won't be following the Twilight timeline and facts faithfully (please don't subject me to the torture of reading Twilight again), but you might recognize some major events - like the lab encounter of Edward and Bella and the Van Incident on the next chapter.