Author's Note: This was originally intended to be a one-shot, but when I really started getting into the story, I realized that it would be a bit longer than your average one-shot. This story is pretty different than my Starlight Vows story, which is refreshing. Also, as a mini challenge to myself, I decided to only listen to Muse while writing this story. So without further ado, I hope you enjoy! Please leave me reviews and let me know your thoughts!

Chapter I.

Highschool Really Sucks.

Sometimes it's really easy to be invisible.

Walking through the halls of my small town high school is a daily routine filled with echoes of gossip, lip-smacking, and paper shuffling as teenagers brace themselves for classes. I'm a pretty good student, I'd like to think. I haven't failed anything since seventh grade biology (and I only failed that because of dissections and blood-typing; had to excuse myself for those and unfortunately for me, my teacher didn't approve). But I was definitely not the resident brain. I certainly wasn't "miss popular". That belonged to Jessica Stanley and Lauren Mallory with their cronies of Barbie-wannabes.

Nah, I was just plain old Isabella-call me Bella-Swan. It was my life's quest to survive high school with minimal emotional damage, though the blondette twins (that's what I call them) always seemed to find new ways to ruin my plan.

Seeing as I am the daughter of Charlie Swan, the police chief of crummy Forks, Washington, my status somehow warranted teasing of the common grade of those around me. Usually I just ignored it by walking away or blasting my iPod so loud I'd probably be deaf before 20. Today, though, the blondettes didn't want to go down without a fight.

"Good morning, Smelly Swan!" I heard the high-pitched yelp of Jessica as she leaned against her locker, twirling one of her dirty-blonde locks between her expensively-painted nails. Beside her was Lauren, smirking in my direction, boring into me with her pale green-grey eyes. I rolled my eyes at her over-used insult. I've heard them all by now: Smelly Swan, Ugly Duckling, Smelly Belly, The Honker, Bushy Bird, Virgin Belly, Quaker Barrel, and so on. These people really had no creativity in coming up with derogatory nicknames for me. Hunching my shoulders underneath my comfortable UofW hoodie, I continued down the crowded hall towards my locker, doing my best to ignore the on-looking stares created by Jessica's call. "Hey, bitch! I was talking to you!" Jessica tried again. It was time for operation blast-my-music.

But like I mentioned, today they weren't having it. So as I approached my locker, I was bombarded with the largest quarterback of the Spartans, our prized football team. Mike Newton was grinning as he blocked my locker, crossing his arms across his letterman jacket after rustling his pale blond hair. He had a vendetta against me since the second grade, when he offered me his juice cup and I refused. He liked me back then, before hormones and hierarchies of the teenage social agenda corrupted him. Now he was Jessica's boyfriend and co-conspirator.

"Hey there, Belly," he cooed, obviously trying to distract me. The bottoms of my worn converse sneakers squeaked against the linoleum floor as I averted eye contact. "My girl over there wanted to talk to you, ya know. Why are you being so rude and ignoring her?" I saw his lips smack while the blue tint of his eyes gleamed with mischievousness. I didn't like what was happening here.

"Excuse me, Mike. I need to get to class. And as you well know, my locker is right here. So if you please," I shrugged, hoping my voice was as steady as I wanted. He didn't budge. I felt his eyes scan over my average body, resting at my chest where the zipper of my hoodie clamped. No doubt he was looking at my modest chest.

"Why are you being such a damn prude? If you weren't so weird, you may actually fit in in this school…" I glared up at him, biting down on my lip when I noticed his eyes roam above my shoulder, towards Jessica. "Ha, what am I saying? People will think I'm hitting on you or some shit," he grinned, rubbing the back of his neck. "Aw well, this is just a warning, anyways. Better watch yourself, Swan." His eyes were dark as his tone became serious. I saw him wink towards who I assumed was Jessica before finally moving away from me. The threat in his words made me shudder slightly while I put in the combination on my lock.

My eyes stung when I felt it hit me. Hot, sticky goop sprung from inside my locker, coating me in black-like tar. I screamed in surprise, dropping my messenger bag strap, resulting in all my homework spilling out across my feet. The gasps of shock mixed with bellowing howls of laughter made my head spin. Seconds later, something white sprayed over me. The first coherent thought that came to me when I forced my eyes to open wide and focus was: why am I covered in feathers?

"That suits you, Duck!" Lauren growled through chuckles as she and Jessica passed me, joining a cackling Mike.

The glue-like substance was lukewarm and hardening my hoodie and exposed skin of my hands and face. I fought back the growing urge to burst into tears, calming down my heavy breathing. The crap on me reeked of a hot pavement on a summer day.

"Isabella, are you alright?" A voice from heaven spoke behind me. I realized I was frozen in place, staring at the disheveled mess that was once my locker. For that moment, I was glad that the tar and feathers covered my cheeks, because I knew I was blushing furiously. There was a familiar chill in the air as I slowly turned around, meeting the golden gaze of Edward Cullen. His flawless, pale face was wrinkled with concern; the bronze-tinted brown unruly hair of his falling over his forehead. "Isabella?" he asked again, the velvety-soft sounds of his voice shrinking my insides into puddles. Suddenly embarrassed, I nodded, gulping loudly.

"Um…I…I think so…" I murmured, feeling very small.

"Would you like me to help you?" he suggested, bending over to pick up my books and papers. A breath hitched in my throat as I watched his lean, yet magnificently-toned body lower. He was wearing a pair of faded black jeans and a simple white button-up shirt with the sleeved pulled up to his elbows. He always dressed elegantly for a teenager. I admired him for that.

Oh, I forgot to explain who this mass of perfection is. Edward Cullen is the residential mysterious heartthrob of Forks Highschool. He, along with his four other "siblings", live with Dr. Carlisle Cullen and his wife Esme. They were all adopted since Esme suffered from an illness that made her infertile. They stuck to themselves, mostly. I knew that his siblings were paired off: Rosalie with Emmett, Alice with Jasper. When they first moved to Forks a little over a year ago, they spurred quite the controversy. But nowadays they are left alone, except for Edward, of course. All the girls swooned over him. I had to listen to their babbling in classes about how they all wanted to date him, go to prom with him, smell him, the works. I admit, I've swooned once or twice over him. Well, maybe more than that. Edward was a reserved kind of guy, never interacting much with anyone outside of his family. He was very nice though. And I had the privilege of having him as my biology partner this year. Unfortunately, that was used as fodder by the wonder-blondes.

Edward straightened back up with impeccable speed, holding my bag in his hand. I drew in a deep breath, wincing immediately as I tasted the bitterness of the tar.

"Thanks…" I whispered, realizing how close he was to me. I could smell his sweet cologne. It was like vanilla mixed with some sort of herbal twinge. Mint, maybe?

"Would you like to go to the nurse's office? Are you hurt?" Edward asked in a soothing tone, but I sensed some sort of anger or frustration in his voice as well. It was strange. He was always cordial with me in class, and I may have caught him peeking at me once or twice since school started last month, though how he looked at me in that moment caught me off guard. He seemed protective of me. No, that couldn't be right. He's just pitying me, like everyone else.

"No, no, I'm fine. Just need to go to the bathroom." He stared down at me, making my cheeks light on fire, before slowly nodding.

"Alright. I'm going to report this. Clearly Newton and Jessica were in charge of this debacle." Edward always spoke with such poise, making me wonder if he learned to speak like that from his real parents. It was like he was from another time…

"Thanks, Edward," I mumbled, shuffling past him in a flash, getting to the closest ladies room. Luckily, it was empty. Somehow during this disaster, the first period bell already rang. Shit. Well, hopefully Mr. Mason wouldn't be too angry when I waltz into his English class late. I pulled off my hoodie, stuffing it in the back of my bag. My pants were savable since my locker was more at my face. My faded Muse band shirt only had a little tar along the collar, which magically came off surprisingly easy. Using all the foamy soap from the wall dispenser, I scrubbed the hell out of my face, neck, and hands. My hair was going to be the real problem. My dark-brown locks were matted with the goop. The sink was too small for me to dive into it, so I had to lean over awkwardly, trying to splash as much water on myself as possible. How humiliating.

"You know, you could sneak into the gym showers if you needed to," I heard a soft, feminine voice say. I jumped, whipping my hair about. Water splattered across the mirror and floor. I was looking at Alice Cullen; her face smiling warmly as she played with the spikes of her short, black hair. The way she moved about reminded me of a pixie from Disney movies. I was shocked at the fact she was in the bathroom with me, speaking to me, for the first time ever. Why wasn't she in class?

"Um...uh…that's okay. I think I'll be fine," I stammered. What a lie. My skin shivered as the water ran down my back, soaking my tshirt. Alice tilted her head to the side, watching me curiously. Then, she smiled broadly, reaching over and taking my hand in hers. I gasped at how cool her flesh was, but I blamed it on being drenched myself.

"Come on, I can help you sneak in," she said. Something in her eyes drew me in, and I followed her nervously with a nod. The halls were empty since class was in session. Alice moved with a grace that was inhuman, strolling down the hallway, still holding my hand. "What they did was terrible," she said distastefully. "I'm sorry." I raised an eyebrow at how it seemed she sounded remorseful.

"It's okay. Not like anyone could've prevented it," I groaned. Alice was strangely silent after that. When we got to the gym locker room, Alice bounced to her changing locker and pulled out some extra clothes.

"Here, I always bring spare clothing. You can borrow them since yours are sopping wet," she said. I was wide-eyed as she handed me the bundle. "Go on and shower. I'll keep lookout!" her hands clasped together with excitement, making me more nervous. I stepped into one of the small stalls, welcoming the hot water after I discarded my outfit. Why was Alice Cullen, of all people, helping me like this? Did Edward tell her? The pity-party I was getting put me on edge as I scrubbed my hair. I didn't like being the center of attention as it was. I knew that what happened would be spread across school by the time I got to class. My stomach churned at the looks I was going to get. Usually I didn't pay much attention, but this prank they pulled was bigger than what they normally did.

I still didn't understand why the blondettes had a hatred for me. I never did anything to them. I kept to myself, or hung with Angela Webber and Eric Yorkie, my only real friends in this school. They worked on the school newspaper together, and were kinda geeky. I didn't mind, though. We understood each other. They were going to give me sad looks when I ate with them today. Great.

I shot out of my thoughts when I heard Alice call out that one of the coaches was coming. I hustled out of the shower and changed into what Alice gave me: a cream colored camisole with a matching wool over-shirt and a pair of dark-blue skinny jeans. I was thankful that we fit in the same clothes and towel-dried my hair as fast as I could, grumbling as how it would surely frizz out throughout the day. Alice was waiting for me by her locker and we ran out of there like there was a fire. As I caught my breath, I mouthed a thank you to her as we peered over the corner to see Coach Clapp walk in, whistling some messed up tune. The two of us stared at each other, breaking out in a fit of giggles. It was refreshing, standing there in the empty hallway, laughing like that. I pulled back my hair and tied it into a ponytail, checking my watch for the time and cursing under my breath.

"Damnit, I'm gonna be so late!" I said in frustration. Turning to a calming Alice, I smiled at her appreciatively. "Thanks for helping me, and the clothes."

"No problem, Bella," Alice said. I was surprised she knew my nickname, though actually, as I thought about it, everyone used it when teasing me one way or another, so it was well known. She held up a bag that I failed to notice before. My clothes and hoodie were inside. "I can get these cleaned up for you and return them to you tomorrow morning?"

"You don't need to do that…"

"Nonsense! It's the least I can do!" She chimed. I narrowed my eyes as she covered her mouth with her hand instantly. What did she mean by that?

"Alice, what-"

"Miss Swan, Miss Cullen, what are you doing loitering the hallway while you should be in class?" We both cringed as Mr. Varner walked over to us, giving us a stern glare.

"I was just accompanying Bella to class, Sir. You see, Mr. Newton and Ms. Stanley played a really mean prank on her, and I was helping her. My brother reported the incident to Mr. Sessleman, if you would like to check," Alice cut in before I could make up an excuse. Boy, was she good. Mr. Varner eyed us for a long minute before huffing.

"Fine. Hurry back to class now, before I lose my patience," he said. Alice grinned and pulled me away once again, leading me down to where my English class awaited.

"Wow, you're a smooth talker," I said. Alice chuckled.

"Only when I need to be. Mr. Varner is such a sleaze," she replied as we arrived at my classroom. "I'll see you tomorrow, Bella!" She gave me a friendly wave as I dodged around the corner, walking into the suddenly silent classroom.

"Nice of you to join us this morning, Miss Swan," Mr. Mason snapped. I lowered my head and rushed to my seat. The rest of the period, I felt the eyes of all my classmates and heard their whispers of my morning.

At the end of class, I saw Mr. Sessleman, the principal, approach the room. He requested that I see him in his office to recount what happened. To say that was a comfortable conversation would be an outright lie. But he seemed sympathetic and told me that the wrong-doers will be dealt with. He already was having the janitor clean up my locker, but insisted that I change lockers for the time being. He gave me a new number and lock combination. I then went off to geometry class, wanting nothing more than for this day to end.

Lunch was painful. Angela and Eric were understanding, telling me they felt bad for not being there to help me. When I explained to them what Edward and Alice did, I couldn't believe their mouths got as wide as they did. Eric wanted to make it front-page news that the Cullens spoke to me, and I frantically refused. I could heard Lauren complaining at the popular table about my tattle-telling. It was hard to sit there, knowing she was brainwashing people into hating me more than they already did.

"Oh my gosh, Bella, Edward's watching you!" Angela whispered at my side. Slowly, I turned my head to see that she was right. He was sitting at his usual spot, at the end of a round table with his other siblings, glancing over at me with empathetic eyes. I had biology with him later in the day. I knew I'd have to thank him for what he and his sister did. Alice waved from beside him, smiling. Jasper was next to her like usual, looking indifferent, yet in pain, as she brushed some of his dirty-blond, curly hair from his ear. Rosalie was scowling, and still looked beautiful. I was surprised she didn't hang out with the rest of the barbies. She definitely looked like one. Her long-blond hair cascaded over her pale shoulders. Emmett was talking next to her, holding her close to his side. He looked like he could beat down any football player. I snickered to myself at the thought of him pummeling Mike to the ground. He scratched his short brown hair and sighed.

Snapping my head back, I ignored everyone else the rest of the period. Angela changed subjects, telling me about the bonfire happening at La Push that upcoming weekend. I told her I was invited by Jake, but wasn't sure if I was going to go. I grew up with Jacob Black and his family. He had two older sisters, Rebecca and Rachel, whom were both in college. Jake was two years younger than me, so he was a freshman right now. He was a rebellious kid, always getting into trouble with his band of friends. But we were best friends. I'd watch him fix up old clunkers in his dad's garage and we'd play video games while our dads fished on Saturdays. Since it was the middle of October, the Quileute tribe was having their annual Autumn bonfire, which meant lots of food, booze, and listening to tribal stories from the elders. Angela was excited because this was her first year going to it. Usually it was only open to Quileute members and friends. I let Angela come over to Jake's once last spring because she want to do a research paper on Quileute legends. Ever since then, she's been visiting and learning all sorts of stuff about the land and the people. Harry and Sue Clearwater wanted to adopt her into the family, since she was vastly different than their own kids.

For some reason, my heart wasn't in going to the bonfire. Probably because I knew Jake was starting to get a crush on me, which was a little irritating since I saw him as a brother. Charlie teases me about it all the time, about how it would be nice for me to find a boy as good and handy as Jake. I made an audible groan at the thought, burying my head in my hands until lunch was over. I had American history next, which went by pretty quick. I actually paid attention to the in-depth discussion on slavery during the Civil War. Then, it was biology.

I mentioned before that I hate biology right? 11th grade biology is so much worse than 7th grade, let me tell you. At least it was still early in the year, so I had time to come up with foreign illnesses to excuse myself from reliving horrific trauma.

Like a magnet, I was drawn to Edward's presence as soon as I walked into the room. He sat casually in his spot at the table third from the front. My feet dragged as I tried to keep myself composed. He flashed me a stunning smile as I joined him at the table, yanking out my bio lab book and plopping it on the blacktop. Mr. Banner walked in, going on about the different types of soil, which clued me in that we would be lectured at for a while. Silently, I willed myself to speak to Edward. To thank him. Normally, we would be silent unless we had to work together. I wondered on the first day if he hated me, to be honest. He had given me a very odd stare, like he wanted to kill me or something. Weird, right? It also seemed that he had darker eyes then, too. Since then, I was always too scared to say much to him.

"Um, Edward?" I whispered, keeping my eye on Banner to make sure I wouldn't be caught.

"Hmm?" he replied, sounding bored.

"Thanks, for this morning. For reporting everything. And, uh, thank Alice for me. I promise to take good care of her clothes. I can wash them for her tonight."

For a second I thought I could actually feel him smiling at me. Before I could say anything else, Mr. Banner shot me a glare as he continued talking, signaling he knew I was talking. Damn. I sunk deeper into my seat, staring down at my poorly-written notes. There was a tearing sound beside me, and I saw a small piece of paper slide over my notebook. My lips parted as I read the beautifully written script.

It was my pleasure, Isabella. You don't deserve the treatment you get. Alice was grateful to help. I hope she did not overwhelm you. Don't fret so much about the clothes.

Did my mind just go completely wacky? How could someone my age write so…so gorgeously like that? It was perfect cursive! Like the kind you'd see on books. I reread his words over again, letting his comments sink in. He doesn't think I deserve the teasing? My cheeks were definitely red again. I wanted to look at Edward, but I knew that if I did, I would probably turn into a pile of teenage angst and drool.

All too soon, the period bell rang. Sluggishly, I pulled myself to my feet, shoving my stuff into my bag. Edward flew past me like a gust of wind, making me frown. I wanted to…do…what…exactly? Say thanks again? Ask why he's even speaking to me? Shaking my head, I get out of the room and run off to my final class of the day. It was slow, of course. Relief rolled over me in droves as I got to my beast of a truck when the school day was finally done. My iPod was on full blast, but that didn't stop me from seeing all the swear words and insults being mouthed to me by all of Jessica's friends. I could see Mike in the corner of the parking lot, giving me a death glare from his car. I hastened my walking, getting to my rusty red truck without breaking a sweat.

My face fell when I saw the neon blue letters against the red. At first I wasn't sure what I was seeing. It popped out at me, taunting me: the word 'WHORE' was spray-painted on the side and windshield of my vehicle, outlined in ruby red lipstick. They defiled my baby! There was a snap in my jaw as my teeth clenched, anger surging through my veins. I knew what they wanted. Those bastards expected me to cry, sob, and run away. They wanted to see my utter humiliation. Deep down, I wanted to do those things. How was I going to ride this home without causing a car accident? What was Charlie going to think? Isn't spray paint a pain in the ass to get off? Please, God, for once make me invisible again!

"Oh no, Bella!" Angela's voice carried over the cool breeze as she scampered to my side. Her mouth was agape as she gawked at the sight. "What…what are you going to do?" I turned to her with a barren expression on my face. I had absolutely no idea. That's when the howls began. Laughter erupted like a bad movie across the parking lot. All the faces of my peers mangled together like in that Carrie movie, spiraling around me, laughing at my demise. I could almost hear the mother's line "they're all gonna laugh at you" when I heard Angela gasp at my side.

"Isabella?" No. Not again! The two of us turned in slow motion behind us to see Edward with the rest of his siblings. He, as well as Alice, looked on with disheartened expressions. Jasper looked just as pained as he always did, while Rosalie tried to hide her smirk. Emmett shook his head in disgust, looking over at Edward. I saw something like sparks in Edward's amber eyes. Alice glared over at the snickering bunch that obviously did this.

"I can't believe this! Those juveniles are so detestable!" She sneered, squeezing her hands at her sides. "Bella, are you alright?" Angela gasped again. Edward took a step forward, looking unsure. I was frozen, my hand clutching my bag strap for dear life, while the other shook at my hip.

"Bella, I think I'm gonna go report this to the principal…" Angela glanced at me quickly before she took off towards the back entrance of the school. The air whipped around me as she passed us. I saw Edward immediately tense; his muscles flexing underneath his shirt. Oh god, why was I even looking at that right now?

He darted his eyes between Alice and I rapidly, and then opened his hypnotizing mouth. "Isabella, would you like a ride home?" My face probably looked horrendous. I thought my eyes would spill out of their sockets. Edward Cullen was asking to give me a ride? He never gave anyone rides, outside of his brothers and sisters! The laughter around us started to die down. Actually, I couldn't tell, since my heart was pounding like a drill in my chest.

"Um…" I bit my lower lip, confused as to how to reply. If I rode with them, how would my truck get home?

"Oh, Bella, don't worry about your truck! Emmett here is awesome at fixing stuff like this!" Alice sang, elbowing Emmett in his side. He groaned, rubbing his side and looking at the two of us oddly. Rosalie's eyes narrowed and she…growled? I think? Alice giggled softly to herself.

"Really, you don't have to-"

"Nonsense! Consider it taken care of!" Alice cut me off for the second time today, jumping over to the truck and peering through the door window. "Just take out anything you need and we have it dropped off at your house tomorrow!"

Seriously, how did this girl have so much energy? She never acted like this during school, at least as far as I had seen. Her spikes of enthusiasm were giving me whiplash. After a moment of looking like an idiot, I'm sure, I shrugged my shoulders and did as she asked. I opened the door and pulled out my water bottle and leftover books. Alice held her hand out in front of her, smiling at me. "Keys, please?"

"Ah…course…" I was terribly shaken by her excitement. Handing her the key set, I turned to see Edward, who watched me intently. Alice tossed the keys to Emmett.

"All yours!" She grinned, and Emmett grumbled something I couldn't make out. "We can ride in the jeep today, Edward," the spiked pixie said, patting her brother on his arm swiftly before the rest of the group walked towards their cars. Edward lingered in his spot for a few more seconds, as if lost in thought. Then, snapping out of it, he flashed me a crooked smile, which made my insides melt.

"Let's go, Isabella," he almost cooed to me. I gulped, following him as he strode by his siblings, to his very shiny silver Volvo. I admired his car from afar, as well as his siblings' cars. Emmett drove a giant Jeep Wrangler. Once in a while Rosalie would bring her red BMW. They usually travelled between the jeep and the Volvo.

"I'm sorry for putting your siblings out. They don't all need to ride in the jeep…" I said quietly, feeling my nerves rumbling underneath my skin as Edward walked to the passenger side and opened the door for me. He was such a gentleman, which struck me as admirable. He was clearly raised well-mannered. A rarity in this day-in-age. There was a mesmerizing chuckle from his lips while I sat down. My heart fluttered at the sound, and I wanted to hear it again. He slid into his seat, placed the key in its slot, and let the engine come to life. I turned around to see Emmett give Rosalie his keys before running back to my truck and getting inside it. Rosalie gave me a dirty look before getting inside the jeep.

"Don't worry about my siblings. Emmett will take good care of your truck," Edward reassured me. I slumped in the car seat. As we pulled out, my nerves got the best of me while I watched the shocked faces of the remaining students; Jessica and Lauren specifically. They were both appalled, angry, and shocked. A small smile came over me when I saw Angela walking out with Mr. Sessleman, pointing to my truck and leading him to where they stood. I pulled out my cellphone and texted her a fast thanks. Then I began to wonder how all this happened.

Ways my day went from normal to weird:

Got to school with only one slip over the black ice in front of my house. Check.

Avoided much of the teasing about my truck and it's old age in the parking lot. Check.

Was tarred and feathered by the blondette bimbos and their sidekick Mike the dick. Check.

Rescued by the amazingness that is Edward freaking Cullen. Check.

Ninjaed across the school by Alice Cullen, who spoke to me for the first time today. Check.

Saw my car after it was vandalized. Laughter ensued. Publically humiliated for the second time in one day. Check.

Rescued yet again by the Cullens. Currently riding in the car, alone, with Edward. Double check!

I sighed deeply, holding my head with my hand and watching the sights blurring across my vision. The real question I had racking my brain all day came back in full force, pulling me out of my reverie about my day.

"Edward?" I asked, keeping my gaze out the window.

"Yes, Isabella?"

"Why are you helping me?" If he knew how desperate I was, he would laugh in my face. But I really needed to understand why this family, who ignored everyone for over a year, suddenly was paying so much attention to me. Edward was silent for a while, making me think he ignored my question. I thought I heard something uttered under his breath. Something like "I couldn't stay away any longer", but I shook my head and cursed myself for being so stupid.

"You were treated rather harshly today, and I felt compelled to help. Alice, too. We don't like seeing you, or anyone else for that matter, being disrespected like that."

He was compelled? Where was he when they barraged me with insults and death threats? I nibbled on my lower lip again, trying to keep calm. His answer spurred many more questions. Each egged me on to continue the conversation. Instead, I ignored them and sighed.

"Thank you. I'll pay Emmett back for his work. Just let me know," I relented.

"Please, Isabella, don't worry about that. Emmett loves tinkering."

We were silent again. It wasn't until he pulled into my driveway that I realized Edward knew exactly where I lived. I was going to ask how, and then remembered that Charlie was the police chief, so most people knew where we lived, anyway. I caught a glimpse of Edward as he turned off the car and lightly pulled at his thick-looking hair. A strange thought came to me then: I wonder if it was as soft as it looked. My lips went dry as I shook my head. Stupid, Bella! Stupid!

"Thanks for the ride, Edward," I said, opening the door and getting out. Edward followed suit, standing by his door.

"Isabella, can I ask you something?" he inquired while I made my way around the car. I nodded. "Why do you not go by your full name?" Oh.

"I dunno. It sounds too formal, I guess. My mom tried calling me Izzy once and I hated it, so I stuck with Bella. It's more modern and welcoming…" I trailed off, growing more and more embarrassed with each word I sputtered. How was it that I lost control whenever I was around this guy? Edward chuckled again. I felt the burning of my cheeks and held onto my messenger bag tighter.

"Well, then, I'll see you tomorrow, Bella," he said with a smile that teased me to my core. Was I drooling? Please don't show me drooling!

"Yeah. Bye, Edward," I replied. He got back into his car and left, taking one last glance at me before disappearing from my sight.

I hustled inside, setting the kitchen up for dinner. I decided on a lasagna dish the night before, so the sauce was already made. I slapped all the pieced together and shoved it into the oven. Once that was all done, I dove for the couch and mentally prepared myself for Charlie. No doubt the principal contacted him after today. He had some slight knowledge on my being bullied at school. I never really discussed it with him. The good thing about Charlie was that he didn't hover. We weren't all that close verbally, but we understood each other. Our silence was a comfortable one.

He got home right when the lasagna was ready. He looked tired as he scratched his mustache, tossing his hat on the coffee table and hanging his handgun on the wall by the front door. "Hey, Dad," I greeted, taking off the oven mitts.

"Hey there, Bells," he yawned. "Smells mouth-watering. I'm starved."

"Glad to hear it," I said as I grabbed a plate and scooped out some of the pasta onto it. Charlie plopped in the chair at the kitchen table, cracking open the can of beer I placed there and taking a swing. After making my plate, I sat down across form him and we started eating. Some time passed, and I could see from the creasing of his forehead that the dreaded conversation was coming.

"So I noticed that your truck isn't in the driveway, and I got a very interesting phone call from school today…" Oh, great. He was leaving me to finish what he started. I proceeded to give him a brief explanation, leaving out the sneaking into the gym info, of my day. He furrowed his brows as he thought.

"Cullens, eh? Nice family. I've met Carlisle a few times. Nice man." Well, that was a short and sweet opinion. I rolled my eyes, finishing my meal. Charlie glanced at his watch, mentioning a game coming on. I told him to leave his dishes as he went into the living room with a fresh can of beer. After I cleaned everything up in the kitchen, I walked upstairs to do the homework deed. When I got into my bedroom, I felt the strangest sensation. Was I being watched? Just to be sure, I snooped around the room, looking in my closet and under my bed. I even opened the window and peered out into the night. Nothing. Jeez, was I losing my mind from the day? Had to be. Maybe a hot shower was in order.

Yes. A shower was definitely in order!

It felt amazing. I think I could've fallen asleep in there if I wouldn't prune or collapse. The robe I slipped into felt extra comfy as I returned to my bed, staring down at the evil math equations and short answer sheet for history. Gag me.

Before long, my eyes were getting heavy. When I saw the time (11:30!), I knew it was bed time for Bella. So, I got settled under my comforter and turned off the light, lazily watching as the moonlight poured through my window. It gave off a purple-ivory hue across my bed. What a weird day, I thought as I yawned. Hopefully I'll survive tomorrow, too.

I dreamed of Edward Cullen for the first time that night. And it was a doozy. In a very, very good sort of way.