CHAPTER ONE – Partying!

Bella's Dress: /2007/02/haute-couture-meets-hijab-east-meets-west/

Bella's Shoes: /Christian-Louboutin-Balota-150mm-Sandals-Silver_

Alice's Dress: .

Alice's Shoes: /christian-louboutin-sexy-black-sandal-cl03046_

BellaPOV

He just drives me crazy. And not in a good way!

Seriously, why does he have to be like that?

Walking down the hallway like he's some kind of God.

That's what the thinks. But he's no fucking God. He might even be Satan himself.

I don't know what all the other girls see in him, I just can't understand why they all flock around him like he's the sun or whatever.

Sure, his bronze hair is a turn-on and those dark green eyes must be really charming when he puts on his "sexy look", and his deep voice is appealing as well. Besides, he has defined abs and his ass is kind of perfect. But still. That's so not my point.

What I mean is… Edward Cullen is an arrogant jackass. He's so full of himself, he knows he's good looking and he uses that in his favor. He's a cocky, arrogant jackass and there's nothing about him that's interesting besides his looks. Believe me.

"Bella, stop staring."

I looked to my side, where my best friend Alice was standing. She was so little, she resembled a pixie, but she could be feisty and cranky and a little hurricane when she wanted to. But right now she was in a good mood and she looked at me with a hint of a smile in her dark eyes.

"I was not staring.", I replied, my voice dry.

"Yes you were. You were staring at Edward Cullen with that look of yours that clearly says you'd kill him if you could."

"Well I probably would!"

"I just don't get why. Has he ever done anything to you?"

We had had this conversation many times before, so I just sighed and said, "You know why I don't like him."

"Well, I do know that you think that he's smug and arrogant and all that but the truth is you don't know him."

I was getting angrier by the moment, as I saw him through the corner of my eye, surrounded by a herd of girls, as always. He was laughing and probably flirting with all of them at once, as he used to do.

"I don't need to know him to know that! I can't tell just by looking at him that he's no good! Just look at him, will you? Always with a bunch of girls on either arm of his, always that cocky smile on his face, because he thinks he could seduce every damn woman in this planet. He thinks he's that good."

"Well, Bells, from what I've seen… he might actually be that good. I don't know one single woman that wouldn't fall at his feet if he tried to make her do so."

"You know me! I would never, ever have something with a guy like him. No matter how good looking he might be."

"Oh, so you're at least admitting he's hot!", she chuckled at me, obviously finding the subject funny. I was just disgusted.

"I never said he wasn't. But that means nothing to me because he's a jerk who goes around with the first girl that appears."

"Actually… he seems to choose them pretty well.", and she pointed to him, who was going to his class – which was unfortunately one of my classes too – accompanied by a cute blond girl, who was delighted with having him smiling at her.

I just shrugged and got up from the bench and said, "Look Al, I'm late to class already. And this conversation is pointless, I don't like the guy and never will, so let's just drop it, ok?"

She laughed a little and said, "Whatever. Just never say never!"

I sighed in exasperation and started making my way to Biology class. It was one of my favorite subjects, but having to look at Edward Cullen for 90 minutes surely had a way to make it the class I most hated, lately. So I didn't rush, even though I was late.

#####

"Good morning class! I have exciting news for you!", announced my Bio teacher, Mr. Bryson, who was always full of energy, as early in the morning as it may be.

We all groaned in unison, because it was more than likely that whatever he had to announce wouldn't be such a good thing. You know how it is, teachers always are amused with the most boring things and expect their students to like them too.

"We, the teachers at Forks High School, decided that you, seniors, deserve a little treat to take your minds off all the study you have to get going, for the finals. So we are planning a big party that'll take place in our gym, next Saturday!", he said, a big grin on his face, waiting for our reactions.

I was honestly surprised. I would never see that coming – mostly because the majority of our teachers were super boring. I could never see them organizing a big party to us just out of the blue.

"A-are you serious?", someone asked, clearly as amazed as I was.

"Yes I am! But…", said Mr. Bryson, still smiling. Of course there had to be a but somewhere in the middle of that, "… we're going to need some help getting things set up. For example, we're going to need you to take turns bartending and we're also going to need someone to help us decorate the gym on Saturday morning. Are you guys up for it?"

Well, it wasn't that bad. Of course we were up for it. There were many of us, so probably that bartending thing wouldn't last long, if it was to be done in turns, and decorating the gym could actually be fun.

We happily agreed to those terms and started talking about the party, excitedly. It was probably the first time in Forks High School history that the teachers had decided to do something that pleasant for their students!

#####

When I walked out of the Bio class, Alice came running in my direction, a big smile on her face, and as soon as she reached me, she started talking so quickly, I could barely understand what she was saying.

"Oh my God, Bella! A party! Can you believe it? I couldn't believe when Mrs. Ford told us and I almost fell off my chair! An actual party! Organized by our teachers! We have to go to Port Angeles first thing this afternoon to buy our dresses!"

"Alice, Alice, calm down!", I said, grabbing her arm and pushing her through the crowd that was around us. People were looking at her and smiling at all her excitement – Alice was really into parties and it showed.

"Seriously Bella, it's not too soon! The dance is in four days, all of the other girls will start looking for their dresses soon and we have to be the first so we can choose the best ones!"

You couldn't deny Alice something when she really wanted it. She kept on repeating that over and over again until I agreed that we would go to Port Angeles that afternoon, after our classes. I loved shopping almost as much as she did – no one loves shopping and fashion more than Alice! – so she wasn't exactly forcing me to do it, anyway.

One hour and fifteen minutes after we left the school parking lot, we were arriving at Port Angeles, and Alice drove to her favorite store.

Another hour later, after trying on more dresses and shoes than I can count, Alice and I got out of the store, each of us carrying various bags.

"I'm so happy! We're going to look so stunning, Bells!"

"Don't we always?", I chuckled at her.

"Of course we do, but on Saturday we'll overcome ourselves!"

"If you say so.", I wasn't that confident on my looks. She could look like a little cute pixie, she was really original on everything she was and did, but I was just… average. Average brown eyes and hair, average height and weight, average on… pretty much everything, really.

I was really fond of my new dress, though!

#####

The week passed really quickly. Everybody talked about the party – in fact, I think that the party was probably the only subject that people talked about. The girls talked about the dresses, the shoes, the make-up, the hairdos. The guys talked about how to get some booze into the party and how hot this or that girl would look. Whatever… we all talked about it, all week long, and all of us held big expectations on that party.

Well, to be honest, I had kind of a bad feeling, but I was trying to shut it. I'm not a very optimistic person anyway, and I really needed to unwind and forget how much I had to study, even if just for one night.

On Saturday I was actually pretty excited and I couldn't wait for the night to come. Alice and I were going to get ready at my house and, since she was a goddess when it came to handling make-up and hair accessories, I knew I was going to look really good – which wouldn't certainly happen if I had to do my own hair. She was really a magic fairy sometimes and I loved her as a sister.

When she arrived, a little past 4 pm, she gave me a big hug and asked me if I was ready for our "beauty afternoon", as she always called those occasions.

We started off by putting on some amazing strawberry and watermelon facial and hair masks, which did wonders to our skin and hair. Alice always had the best cosmetic products, that was for sure.

I went to take a bath and when I came back to my room she had spread a myriad of eye shadows, concealers, blushes, lipglosses, batons, mascaras, eyeliners and everything else you can think of, along with our dresses and heels, all of it on my bed.

"Wow", I said under my breath, "You are really going to need all of that to make me look pretty?"

"Bella, you are pretty… this will only make us look even prettier."

I wasn't quite sure of the first part of that sentence, but I trusted entirely on the second.

About three hours later, at 7 o'clock, we headed downstairs, where my parents, Charlie and Renée, were waiting for us. The looks they had on their faces when they saw us really made me feel confident, since they looked amazed.

"Girls… you are stunning tonight!", my father said, holding out one hand for each of us, while my mother started taking pictures, as she always did. I honestly didn't know anyone who loved taking pictures as much as my mother… everything was an excuse for her to take endless pictures, let alone her only daughter and her best friend leaving for a school party.

I was wearing a fuchsia V-neck dress, with embroideries on the neckline, above my breasts. It flowed a little above my knees and I felt really good wearing it. It was one of my favorite colors and I just loved the dress since the first moment I saw it. I had let Alice talk me into a pair of Christian Louboutin silver heels that I knew were going to kill my feet before the night ended – but I had fallen hopelessly in love with them and there were no others I'd want to wear that night. My hair was down; it wasn't straight as usual, Alice had done loose curls in all of it, which I loved.

Alice's dress was black, down to her knees, with a deep V-neck. It was tightened to her waist with a little belt that had a fake little diamond on the center of it. It flowed around her tiny figure and fit her really well. She had on black strappy Yves Saint Laurent heels, that barely covered her feet and were as high as mine, but she wasn't as scared as I was that they were going to kill her feet after dancing a little. Her short hair was spiky as usual and she had styled it to look like she had spent no more than five minutes on it – but I knew she spent a good half an hour to get it exactly as she wanted it.

We looked pretty good – we looked beautiful. And we knew it. That night, even I felt beautiful and confident, which was very rare. And so we left the house with big grins on our faces, planning to have a blast.

#####

A few hours later, I honestly couldn't remember the last time I had so much fun. Alice and I put on our best moves and danced with pretty much all of our friends, and I was feeling damn sexy. I could see many guys not taking their eyes off of us and that made me feel even more confident in myself.

"It's really good to see you having a blast and being confident in yourself for once!", Alice said, winking at me.

I laughed and grab her to a quick dance as a song we both loved came on. Alice and I had our own little dance for this particular song so we started doing it, getting cheers from our friends.

"Isabella?"

I stopped dancing with Jacob and turned around to see who was calling my name. It was Mrs. Ford, our English teacher, holding some sheets and trying to read them at the dim light.

"I'm sorry to interrupt you, but it's your time to bartend now, darling.", she said to me, smiling.

"Oh… no problem. Who am I bartending with?", I asked her, curious.

"Well, you were supposed to be with Jessica Stanley, but…"

"… She's sick, I know. She's one of my best friends."

"Exactly. So I don't know who will take her place, you'll have to see when you get there."

"Thanks, Mrs. Ford. I'll be there in a minute."

#####

As soon as I got to the bar, I cursed under my breath and my mood shifted immediately. No fucking way!

"Oh, here you are Bella!", Mr. Bryson said as I got closer to the counter, "I believe you know Mr. Cullen?"

"Not exactly.", I said dryly, as Edward Cullen grinned at me, his eyes sparkling with the lights around us.

"Well this will be a good time to get to know him better then, since you'll spend the next forty-five minutes together!", and he walked away, beaming at us.

I couldn't believe it. Just my damn luck. There were like, a hundred people in there. Why in the world did he have to get the same turn as me to bartend?

"Isabella, isn't it?", his deep voice asked, right behind me as I walked into the bar and started cleaning the counter.

"Just Bella."

"I'm Edward Cullen.", and he shot me a big smile.

"Yeah… I know. We're in the same Biology class."

"Oh, that's right. I'm sorry, I wasn't remembering."

"No problem."

"So, Bella, are you enjoying the party?"

"Yeah."

I was getting annoyed by the minute at his attempts to do small talk and answered with as few words as I could, but he would just keep on talking to me and smiling at me. I should have never underestimated the power of that smile – especially that crooked smile of his – because he almost made me like a little more, but then I would just think about how he was a player and nothing more than that and the angst I felt would return full force.

"Look, Edward, we have work to do here. I'm sorry, but now is not a good time to talk."

#####

EdwardPOV

Not a good time to talk. That was a new one. People – ok, girls – usually made the time to talk to me. Not trying to sound cocky or anything… it's just the truth.

I have to confess that I had never really paid much attention to Isabella Swan until the night of the party. She was just one of multiple girls with whom I had Biology class and her and I didn't really have any friends in common. We had never talked and I had never really noticed her.

But now… well, I don't know how to explain it. There was just something about her. And it wasn't just something about her physical appearance – which, I have to say it, was indeed very satisfactory. It wasn't just the way her mahogany locks cascaded down her back. Or the way her skin seemed to be pure silk, if I could touch it. Or the way her smile seemed to lighten something inside of me. Or the way her brown eyes seemed to sparkle in the dark, with streaks of gold in them. She was beautiful. In fact, one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen – and I honestly don't know how I'd never noticed that before.

There was more to it than her looks, really. She didn't seem to realize how beautiful she was, and every time someone complimented her, she would blush in an adorable way. And she was… well, the best way to say it is that she didn't seem to be interested in me. At all. Which was something that I wasn't used to. And it only made her more appealing, because she was… a challenge. A mystery. She wouldn't melt in front of me as I talked to her and turn into a brainless girl as most of the ones I knew. She seemed fierce and independent and would barely talk to me, a determined look on her eyes.

I wondered if she hated me for some reason. But I couldn't understand why.

"Edward, we're out of ice here. Could you go get some, please? Mr. Bryson said it would be on the freezers in the school canteen.", she said, looking at me with a weird expression. Oops. I was staring at her and I was caught.

"Yeah, sure. I'll be back in a minute."

And she addressed me a dry smile, and nothing more. She was really interesting, to say the least.

When I got back and gave her the ice packs, she said, "Thank you. Our shift is over, so you're free."

I smiled at her and asked, "Where will you go now?"

"To meet my friends. What do you care?"

"Wow. A little harsh, don't you think?"

"Not really, no.", she said, looking me right in the eyes.

"Is there something wrong… Bella?"

"Why would there be?"

"I don't know. You just seem to not like me that much and I don't know why.", I said carefully.

"Well… I just don't like playboys.", and with that, she stormed off, leaving me there. My mouth fell open, I just couldn't believe she had said that. Not that it was a lie – at least, it wasn't a big one. But I had never really thought about myself that way and I never expected someone to tell me that, straight to my face.

Strangely, it didn't make me like her any less. It just made her even more interesting.

#####

I kept my eye on Bella through the entire night. She was easy to spot, always surrounded by friends and guys trying to dance with her – whom she would turn down, I couldn't help but wonder why – and her pixie-like best friend, who I believed was called Alice Brandon.

I was dancing with a lot of girls who'd come and ask me to, but I wasn't paying much attention to neither of them, which was somewhat rare about me. I know how to treat girls. I know how to please them. And I know I can get everyone I want to. But tonight I wasn't just that interested in dancing and teasing random girls. Bella was more interesting.

I was waiting for an opportunity to get her alone and try to understand why she seemed to hate me so much – besides the fact that I was, apparently, a "playboy". But she was never alone, a lot of people flocked around her the entire night and it was making me kind of frustrated. I didn't understand my own reasons to pay that much attention to her, but I wasn't spending much time thinking about them either. She just had something about her.

At last, I saw her saying something to her best friend and turning around. She was clearly headed towards the bar so I started to follow her, quietly, not to make my intentions too obvious.

Then she suddenly stopped as a guy approached her. He was tall, tanned, with thick dark hair and seemed to have very definite biceps and abs, which showed through his tight black t-shirt. I didn't like the look on his face nor the way he grabbed Bella's arm and started pulling her through the crowd to a more "private" place. I didn't like the look on her face either – she was scared, I could see that. So I kept following them.

He stopped, turned to her, said something and she shook her head, saying "no". He grabbed both of her arms tighter and started screaming at her, but I couldn't figure the words because of the loud music. He started being more violent so I couldn't stop myself – I went straight to me and, catching him by surprise, I put myself in front of Bella, as if shielding her with my own body.

"What do you want, jerk?"

"I have no idea of who you are, but I know you're not from this school so you're allowed to be in this party."

"Get the fuck out of my face. I was talking to her."

I quickly glanced at Bella and she still had that scared look in her eyes, and I felt a sudden need to protect her from him, whatever it was that he wanted.

"Guess what, you're not anymore. So you get the fuck out of here."

He motioned to punch my face but I saw it coming and quickly moved to my right, pushing Bella with me. In that instant, luckily for me and him – because I was getting seriously mad and was seriously thinking about punching him – my best bud Emmett showed up behind Jacob and jerked him to the side.

"I think you might consider leave, before we make you do so. And if we do, you might not be able to leave walking.", he said. Emmett was much taller than Jacob, and his biceps and abs were pretty scaring. Besides, we loved a good fight and never lost. I saw Jacob considering his options and quickly backing away.

"Yeah, seems like you're not that dense after all.", Emmett laughed.

Jacob started making his way out of the gym but, after a few steps away from us, quickly came back and looked at Bella, saying, "This isn't over. You won't get rid of me that easily. This conversation will take place somewhere else. You be waiting for it."

"Over my dead body.", I said, "You won't touch her that way again. Probably, you won't even touch her at all."

"Stay out of it, bitch. This doesn't concern you."

"Oh yes it does. You don't do that to a woman, not when I'm around."

"Well… maybe you won't be around next time I talk to her."

And with that, he ran to the front doors and left.

I quickly turned to Bella and asked, "Are you okay?"

She nodded but I could see she was trembling and that afraid and sad look lingered on her eyes.

"Come with me", I murmured gently, putting my left arm around her shoulders, "You need to get some fresh air."

Emmett mouthed me, "Want me to go?" and I just shook my head and lead Bella to the back doors of the gym, which leaded to the back of the school, where there were some benches.

The April night was not very cold but I took off my blazer and put it around her shoulders. She didn't resist or reject any of it, my leading her or lending her my jacket and by that I understood she was really shaken up. The Bella I had met earlier that night would have never let me do that.

I made her sit on a bench and sat besides her, smiling at her gently.

"T-thank you.", she whispered in a trembling voice.

"You're welcome, Bella. Will you tell me what was going on? I don't mean to pry, but I am truly worried. Believe me."

She look into my eyes, as if trying to find something there that would tell her if I was really being honest, and seemed reassured by whatever she saw. I was being honest indeed.

"He… Jacob… he's my ex-boyfriend.", she started, looking at her hands, which were nervously pulling the hem of her dress, on her lap, "We… well, I… broke up with him about one month ago because I realized I didn't love him… and because he was overprotective and even… controlling. Way too controlling."

I nodded at her but said nothing, so that she understood I wanted her to continue, which she did.

"And since then, he's been… calling me all the time and showing up at random places where he knows I sometimes hang out. And he's even threatened one of my friends when he saw him driving me home."

"Have you talked to anyone about it? Alice, perhaps?"

She seemed surprised that I knew her best friend's name. She shook her head, "No. I… well, I feel guilty for having broken up with him and I didn't want to get him in trouble, which I would, if I ever told anyone. Like my parents. But I never thought he could come after me here, at school."

"Do you… do you want to tell me what he said to you a while ago?", I asked, not out of curiosity, but because I really wanted to help her.

"He said my dress was too revealing and that I should leave with him. Because he didn't want me to be there without him and he wouldn't allow me to."

"And you refused."

"Yes. And…", her voice cracked and she couldn't continue.

"I saw what happened next. Bella, look at me. Please understand that I am just trying to help you here and I don't want to take advantage of you in any way.", I said, looking at her very seriously, "Please answer me this… has he ever done anything like that to you before?"

She just looked at her lap again and pursed her lips, as if trying to decide whether she should answer or not. But I already knew the answer.

"He has, hasn't he?"

She nodded and said, in a very low voice, "He hasn't slapped me or punched me or anything like that… I wouldn't put up with that. But he has done some things like this before… like when he was really angry, he would yell at me and grab my arms and sometimes I would even get some bruises over that."

I couldn't believe it. That motherfucker will get what he deserves.

"Listen, Bella… You have to talk to someone about this."

"No! Edward… please don't. I really think it's better to keep this between us."

"Are you trying to protect him?", I asked in disbelief.

"No, it's not that!", she grabbed my hand then, "It's just that… I'm afraid of what he might do. And I can't really prove any of it, since I've never talked to anyone about it."

"Emmett and I saw what happened tonight."

"That may not be enough."

"Or it may be. Bella, he threatened you tonight!"

"I… well… uh…", she was trying to come up with some kind of compromise, I could see that. I could see she really didn't want me to go and tell the police about what had happened. And even though I wasn't pleased at all with that decision, I felt like I should oblige and do what she wanted.

"Bella.", I said and she looked at me again, blushing lightly, "I promise I won't say anything to anyone, for now… But I think you should talk at least to Alice. And if you'll let me, I'll try to be around you more, so I can protect you from that motherfucker, if he ever decides to come near you again. Which I think he will. And he's so mad right now, that I think he'll try to do something to you, and I just can't stand that. I don't want to see you this afraid again. So, I'll keep my mouth shut… for now. But if he ever does anything, anything at all, to you again, you have to tell me. Promise me."

I don't know what got to me and why I was talking to her like that, especially because we had never talked before that very night, but I just felt I had to. I needed to know she was safe. I needed to protect her. She seemed so fragile, so petite, so beautiful…

"Okay.", she agreed, much to my amazement, "Okay, Edward, I promise I'll tell you. And I don't have enough words to express how thankful I am that you were there tonight. And I never thought I'd be say these words, but I am, and I mean them. Thank you very much."

"You're welcome. You want me to drive you home?"