stay right here, rocketeer
chapter one

She arrived on a monotonous Monday morning, completely unsuspecting—harmless, even—and then proceeded to mindfuck us all into oblivion.

It started during lunch of the said monotonous Monday morning. I was walking through the lunch line picking out the food I wanted to pretend to eat today. Sure, a bagel sounded fun. After I paid, I made my way to our table. Everyone else was already there; Emmett and Rosalie sat to the left, Alice and Jasper in the middle, the last chair empty for me. The plastic chair squeaked as I sat down. They didn't even look up.

I hated it when they did that. Nothing sucks more than being subtly acknowledged as the fifth wheel.

Nearby, a table of sophomore boys made obnoxious primal noises as they attempted to throw meatballs into each other's mouths.

Why do we have to tolerate these immature, low-minded fools? Rosalie thought. I shot her a look, but hey, the girl has a point. I hate to be arrogant and think us as superior to these humans, but we are.

Another table to our left had too many people crammed on too few chairs, a huddle of gossip. As if this microscopic town had anything remotely juicy to even qualify as gossip in the first place. Naturally, they were talking about her.

"Dude, have you seen the new chick?"

"She's so pretty."

"And she's from Phoenix."

"She used to live in a desert!"

I chuckled under my breath. These people who had spent their whole lives in the snowy town of Forks seem to have a false notion of what Phoenix, Arizona looked like. No, actually, Isabella did not live in a teepee in the middle of the Sonoran Desert next to a cactus. That's just absurd.

"What was her name again?"

"Isabella Swan. Apparently Chief Swan has a daughter?"

"Hey, isn't she over there talking to Jessica Stanley?"

My eyes searched the cafeteria and quickly spotted Jessica. I glanced over to the girl next to her and finally set eyes on the famous Isabella Swan for the first time. After seeing her face in all the students' minds the whole day, hearing their thoughts drone on and on, Isabella, Isabella, Isabella, you would think I'd be familiar with her brown curls and pretty eyes. But those people's thoughts didn't do her justice.

My eyes widened at the sight of her. To human eyes, she was simply extravagantly gorgeous. It takes the eyesight of a vampire to spot the difference. Because Isabella Swan was not just another girl who got lucky genetics and ended up with cover-girl beauty. No, it was like the rest of the cafeteria was in black and white while Isabella was the only soul in color. That's how extraordinarily vibrant she was. She demanded my attention, yet upon closer inspection, I couldn't exactly pinpoint why that is. Her clothes weren't any different that everyone else's, she had normal features, her skin doesn't give off an eerie glow, and she behaved like a regular teenager.

So why does she outshine all the others?

(Let the mindfuckery begin.)

Holy… Emmett thought as he followed Isabella with his eyes.

What the hell? Is everyone seeing this? Jasper wondered.

"So I'm not the only one who's noticed," I whispered, too low for any human ears to hear. As if under a spell, we all watched Isabella sit down beside Jessica and eat her lunch, occasionally talking with the other people at the table.

Something about the pale skin, the wide eyes, the high cheekbones…something about her was registering far different from the other people in the room. And I could not figure out what that was.

"She looks…" Rosalie trailed off because she also couldn't say what Isabella looked like. Even Alice sat with a blank stare as she went through everything she can remember the past, present, and future. I suppressed a chuckle; for the first time, Alice didn't have the answer.

I give up, Emmett thought. That girl is different but I don't know why. I just know that I've never seen anyone like her before.

This Isabella Swan, this new fancy of Forks High, this supernatural beauty, was way more foreign than your average Arizonan, that's for sure.

At the mention of the word "Cullens" I snapped out of my frantic mental contemplation and focused in on Jessica Stanley, sitting across the cafeteria, who was now explaining to Isabella all about my family. Pretending to be interested on the overhead lunch menu, I watched the conversation with my peripherals.

As Jessica continued her rant about my brothers and sisters, I saw Isabella's eyebrows rise slightly and her eyes squint slightly. She was scrutinizing our lunch table, trying to figure us out just like we were trying to figure her out. The corners of my mouth upturned into a grin. Oh the parallel irony.

"That's Edward…"

When my name left Jessica's lips, Isabella turned to stare straight at me. To avoid being caught watching her in full-stalker-mode, I went back to playing with the food in front of me. What did she think about me, I wondered. Focusing in that direction I searched for her inner thoughts…

…and nothing.

I could not hear her thoughts no matter how I tried. Jessica, Angela, Eric, Tyler, Mike, their thoughts I could hear loud and clear. But Isabella, sitting right next to them, remained absolutely silent. What is this blasphemy.

"I can't hear her thoughts," I muttered. Everyone glanced at me in surprise.

"I didn't see her coming," Alice whispered. "And I can't see any of her future."

Then we all glanced at Jasper. He waited for Jessica to finish speaking, and right before Isabella opened her mouth to reply, he sent a wave of cold indifference into the cafeteria. Immediately, everyone stopped talking. Except Isabella.

"Aren't they…" she stopped abruptly, but only because she was glancing around the lunch room, confused why everyone had gone silent at the same time.

Jasper alleviated the mood and the chatter continued. The pause was only long enough to be passed off as one of those awkward moments. However, judging from the grave looks shared at our table, this was definitely much more serious than some silly awkward silence.

We have just encountered someone who was immune to all our powers.

After some debate, we decided it would be safe to finish the school day before we consulted Carlisle about this peculiarity. I walked to Biology, sat down at my usual spot and thought about Isabella.

She was undeniably gorgeous, but not vampire gorgeous. Her skin was white, but not the lifeless marble color of vampires. She shined in the most subtle way. She wasn't susceptible to Alice's, Jasper's, or my powers. She looked like a normal teenage girl in every sense, but she just wasn't. My mind was doing somersaults trying to decipher these strange clues when who enters the classroom but the aforementioned enigma, Isabella Swan.

She stood at the front of the room, talking with the teacher. In closer proximity, I examined her appearance again. Shiny, chestnut colored hair that flowed to her waist, a green long-sleeve, v-neck sweater, dark skinny jeans, and brown faux-leather boots. She was nothing out of the ordinary, but she was everything out of the ordinary.

Why was she so illogical.

Somewhere between Mr. Banner telling her to sit in the only empty seat (next to me) and her turning around to walk towards me, I was struck with such an awfully strong scent that I coughed. I actually coughed. Vampires don't cough; our body system deems trivial matters like coughing and sneezing unnecessary. Yet I'm certain I've never smelled anything as strong as that.

The scent stung my nose and my lungs. As the smell intensified, the stinging was so strong that my head began to feel pain—a headache, something else vampires never have. This horrible nausea continued to escalate until it covered the aroma of all my human classmate's blood, until I was completely blinded and confounded in every sense. Like, I was seriously concerned I would spontaneously combust and it would not be pretty.

"Hello," Isabella said softly as she sat down in the chair beside me.

It wasn't until she set her book bag on the floor and tossed her hair in front of her shoulder did I understand that she was the cause the overbearing scent.

Well, she sure gives 'stunning' a new meaning.

She looked at me strangely since I still hadn't responded. And I was probably making a really interesting facial expression at the moment.

"Hi," I choked out. The right side of my body, the side closest to her, was beginning to burn from being so close to her. I wondered what kind of perfume this girl wears. It's god awful.

Class proceeded in a painfully slow fashion. I normally don't pay attention anyway, but today, I was physically incapable of forming logical sentences in my head, much less recalling the stages of mitosis. Even if I held my breath, the scent attacked every inch of my body. I had to look down and check periodically to ensure my body was not, in fact, in flames.

Thankfully, about fifteen minutes into the lesson, the stinging turned into a numbness of nose, throat, and basically everywhere else. When my body finally adjusted to the forceful impact of the odor, it was much more bearable. The smell was still horrendous and made me want to gag (yet another human reflex I haven't experienced in decades) but I discovered that underneath the powerful stench is a soft, gentle, extremely appealing aroma. Something like sweet pea.

And thus, I was faced with another contradiction. How could such a repulsive smell and such a delightful smell coexist?

I was still taking random inhales and trying to process how these two extremes could be mixed when all the students broke into conversations. Apparently Mr. Banner ended class five minutes early and we were allowed to talk amongst ourselves.

Isabella turned to face me. Shit, she wanted to talk to me. The tip of my nose began to sting again.

"I'm Edward," I said to be polite. My voice was slightly strained to keep the disgust out of my voice. I hope she didn't notice. "And you're Isabella."

"Call me Bella," she said. "Isabella sounds so…formal."

"Okay, Bella. But you are not allowed to call me Eddie." It amazed me that I couldn't hear her thoughts. I've forgotten what it's like to hold a normal conversation with someone without hearing what they are going to say before they say it.

She laughed and it was a tinkling laugh. A laugh that if she laughed enough, I'm sure she could bring world peace and end world hunger. How can everything about Bella be so charming except she reeked like no other?

Then, I caught sight of her necklace, a pendant with a bright red gem attached to a gold chain. It looked antique and didn't seem to match her clothes at all, but somehow it tied her outfit together. By then, I had already given up trying to solve her endless contradictions.

"That's a nice necklace," I commented.

Her hand went up to touch the gem and she smiled, "Thanks." I saw her teeth for a fraction of a second, but it was enough to notice the perfectly straight lines of teeth with incisors slightly longer and slightly wider apart than a normal person. Maybe she just had a unique dental structure. Or maybe she's an extraterrestrial.

"Where did you get it?" I asked, pointing at the necklace. "It looks old. Did you inherit it?"

"Well yes, actually I—" Sudden alarm flashed through her eyes, then terror, then full-outrage. Her clear brown eyes darkened as she glared at me.

I only stared questioningly back. Did I offend her somehow?

Her face was starting to flush red from her anger. It sent a wave of that terrible scent again and I realized it was her blood that smelled so paradoxically sickening and attractive at the same time. Then I noticed she had six freckles, three on each corner of her eye. And I couldn't believe my eyes, but as she grew madder, as her face turned redder, those tan freckles turned a dark purple color. I questioned my sanity, because this couldn't be happening.

The bell rang and Bella was the first one out. Her speedy exit created a breeze of her remnant scent, and I was left utterly senseless.

Bella Swan was a lot of things, a walking contradiction. Although I could not describe or justify any of her oddities, of one thing I was now certain. She's not human.

post script: hey guys :) so, i wrote this entire story last november for nanowrimo (nationalnovelwritingmonth) but then i decided i didn't like it, so i never posted it onto fanfiction. then, this past summer, i reread the story and decided i do like it after all, so now i will be posting it! lol, i'm so fickle.

basically, this story will be a different take on the twilight storyline. i know the whole "what if bella wasn't human" plot has been done, but if you're reading this right now, that means you finished the whole first chapter, so it must have intrigued you somewhat, right? besides, i bet you can't guess what bella is. i'd love to hear your theories.