Disclaimer: Not my characters

A/N: It's been some rough days, the delay is my fault entirely. Lot's of thanks to the greatest Beta.

Note: [Beta'ed and lots of re-writting by: b. krumova]


Chapter 3 - Selfish

I was watching the minutes slowly go by, and even though I wasn't able to calm myself down, I tried to look at the words written on the whiteboard. The effort was meaningless, because as soon as I would read them, I would also forget about them. I couldn't get over the fact that he was there, next to me. He wasn't talking to me anymore, he wasn't even looking, but that was just it! He was ignoring me, yet I knew that this was not the end of it. That was why I wanted to get out of here right now, but I couldn't, so instead I counted the time that was left.

It was any minute now. Still, time seemed to go even slower, when I counted the seconds left. I had gathered my notebook and pen, and when the bell rang I was out of the chair and bolting out of the door. I must have looked ridiculous, being the first to leave and walk as fast as if I had the devil chasing me. I was going to the toilets. I knew I was hiding, but I needed a little time to collect myself.

I dropped my bag along with my books on the counter by the sink and clutched my hair with both my hands. I was mad at myself, mad at this weak form of me. Mostly I was mad at Edward, who was causing me to feel miserable again, without even knowing. I was feeling sick, but tried to keep everything inside my stomach. It's simply mind over matter. I hated the nausea that was caused by my nervousness. Occasionally, I would feel a chill go up my spine and these clothes did nothing to keep me warm.

It was lack of sleep that made me feel like this as well. Whenever I had a bad night, with or without the nightmares and I've had several - I would be nauseated, dizzy and cold. However, lack of rest was just a small reason why I felt like this. The biggest reason was walking around in this school building.

I knew I was in here for too long and didn't want to be late for class. With some force, I was able to subdue the nausea and I slowly grabbed my books, putting them in my bag.

I found my schedule in the bottom of my bag and noticed I had the subject I most likely hated the most. Gym.

Finding the gymnasium was not a problem. I found a teacher I hadn't met before and asked her which way I had to go. She told me to go to the first floor and eyed me curiously. I scowled but ignored the look she was giving me and kindly thanked her. I didn't know quite sure how I could participate if I didn't have any clothes.

Carefully I opened the door that would lead me to the girl's changing room but there was only one girl in there. She jumped up instantly when she saw me and gave me a bright smile. Alice.

"Becca, I've got some clothes for you that you could wear in gym. I always bring an extra pair, you know?"

No, I don't know.

"Our teacher is very strict and it would be better to at least play along today."

I stared from the girl to the clothes she was holding in one hand. They were identical to the ones she was wearing. The nickname she used for me was the last thing I wanted to be called. It resembled my real name too much. The actual fact that she always brought an extra pair of gym clothes was beyond me. With all this new information I tried figuring out Alice, why she would still act friendly around me, when I was nothing but rude to her.

"Um, I'll just put them here," she quickly said, putting them on the bench. "Shoes are there; hope you don't find it gross, because I wore them a few times."

And then she walked to the door almost as fast as she had talked. After another blink of my eyes she vanished. The clothes were a simple black leggings with a grey shirt that had the Forks High's logo printed on the front. I didn't want to wear her clothes, but I did think it was wise to listen to her warning. If we had a strict teacher and I had clothes to wear, it was better to make a good impression and just put those clothes on.

It was another odd thing that the clothes seemed brand new. For a moment I felt utterly bad for acting like this to Alice, so selfish and arrogant. She was kind and thoughtful. She had taken it upon herself to even think about my problem that I wouldn't have anything to wear for gym. But I only felt bad as Rebecca. I was Bella, not Rebecca, and in this situation, Alice wasn't the victim, even though I hated to see myself as a victim. While being Bella, I didn't feel sorry for her at all. Her clothes fitted me and the shoes were a little tight, but I would survive it for an hour. Clothes I could maybe understand, but who would bring an extra pair of shoes?

I walked into the gym, hoping nobody would notice that I was late. The teacher turned around to stare at me when the door closed behind me loudly. She stopped talking and watched me with some form of expectation. Everyone at the gym was now watching me and I felt uncomfortable under their stare. I avoided most of their eyes and only looked at the teacher.

"I'm Be-Rebecca Dwyer." At this rate, chances were high I was going to be the one giving my real name away.

"Berebecca?" she asked.

My eyes widened as I heard few of the girls laughing. This was really, really embarrassing. My cheeks went red and I so badly hoped my blush wasn't visible.

"I love the new ones, they're always fun," she continued. I had no idea what to think of that statement. The woman was very tall with broad I wouldn't call her fat, but something about her appearance was catching. Maybe it was her short haircut, which was a dyed blond with a little black in it. "Same teams as last week, starting now!" She blew her whistle and threw a basketball into the field.

I walked over to her to ask her what I was supposed to do, but before I reached her, she whistled twice. Everybody stopped. They hadn't really started playing yet, but they just froze in place and looked at her. It was obvious that they were waiting, while she was scanning her eyes around the group of people. I was looking at her and wondering how she managed to get everybody to listen so well. They didn't even talk. In Phoenix, students would use any moment to talk when the gym teacher was preoccupied by something else. "Mike, Edward, which one of you would like to take her in his team?"

My mouth almost dropped at the mention of Edward's name. The same feeling of nausea as before started rising up in me. He's here? "Look, I'm not feeling so well—' I started, but she interrupted me. No, she ignored me.

"Well?" she barked. "Who'll have her?"

Did she have to say it like that? It sounded awful, as if I were an object.

"I wouldn't mind having her," Edward said, with a hint of teasing.

I was shocked, bewildered and suddenly very scared. When I turned to the direction Edward's voice came from I was surprised to see not only Mike, but Edward walking toward me as well. I understood why Mike was doing it, but I had a hard time placing Edward's reasoning.

I had given them only a short glance, but I saw that both boys were wearing the same gym uniform as I was, the only difference being the sweatpants. Mike was wearing black sweats and after a quick scan in the gymnasium, I noticed all boys were wearing the same sweatpants as Mike was. Edward was the exception though, because he had on a black boxing shorts.

There came a hand on my upper arm and I couldn't help myself to instantly see who it was. I sighed in relief when it was only Mike. It felt as if he was already trying to guide me toward him so that I wouldn't be close to Edward. I took a small step toward Mike.

I was beating myself up for not seeing Edward in class sooner. It took me by surprise and those were not good for people in my situation. Surprises meant I didn't have enough time to prepare myself and knowing me, I would probably reveal my true identity like I almost did before while introducing myself.

Slowly, a soft touch came around my other upper arm, and I knew this had to be Edward. Now both of them were holding me. I was frozen in place as I had no idea why they were even holding me. I felt like I was in the middle of something that was only between Edward and Mike.

"I'd do a much better job. You've already got your hands full with your own team," Mike said.

Edward chuckled. "I do doubt that, Mike."

"Well, don't."

Mike hissed the last part and for a moment I felt a tighter pressure on my left arm, the one Edward was holding. His fingers were touching me right under the hem of the sleeve. His hand was warm on my bare skin, but slowly his hold was becoming painful and I blanched when it became too painful. He loosened the hold he had on my arm, but didn't take his hand off of me. On the contrary, he made gentle circles with his thumb where he had just squeezed me. Momentarily, I was so shocked; I had to look up to see if it was really him standing there.

My eyes landed on his face only he wasn't looking down at me. He was looking at Mike with a small smile on his full lips.

"Then take her," he said, letting go of me and taking a step back. "Have her." After saying this, he had a smirk on his lips, but his eyes remained on Mike.

It was crazy, because I wouldn't be in Edward's team, but still did I feel adrenaline run through my veins like crazy. It made no sense to me why I should feel worried, but then again, I was his opponent now. I glanced back and his form was retreating from me toward his own team. I saw everybody I had noticed at the big table at lunch were in Edward's team, along with a few others.

"All right, let's get started!" the coach said.

"Rebecca, I assume you know the rules?" Mike said hurriedly, while we walked toward his team.

"Yeah, sure," I said, looking around at my teammates. I noticed Angela, Seth and Taylor. The rest I had seen in a few of my classes, but I couldn't put names of the faces.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten about the rules because PE had never been a subject I really cared for back in Phoenix. I always caused accidents, big or small ones, either on myself or somebody else.

"Okay, the other team members are already covered, so you can go solo, okay?"

"Yeah… wait, what?" I scrunched my face in confusion.

"Look, everybody stays close to one," at this he brought up his pointer finger, "member of the other team. But now it's twelve against eleven, because you came in my team, so you can go solo. You don't have to cover anyone. The other team won't see you as a threat."

"Why?"

He smiled apologetically. "You aren't very tall. And after all..." He pointed around a little, as if it was obvious. "This is basketball."

"Are you done chit-chatting, ladies?" Coach said from beside us. I jumped at hearing her voice. I realized that we have been watched by nearly everyone. I caught Edward's eyes and quickly, very noticeably, turned my back on him because I was blushing, again.

"I was just saying—" Mike started, but the coach cut him mid-sentence.

"Shut it and start the game!" she yelled. I felt a little sorry for Mike, but he wasn't offended because he brought his eyes up in an eye roll.

The game started and Edward quickly ran to Emmett, whom I noticed for the first time. Emmett nodded once at whatever Edward told him. I looked around, unmoving from my place, and saw that the ball was currently in our basket side. I didn't really care if we lost this game, so I didn't break a sweat when they almost scored. I crossed my arms and held in a yawn. An outsider might even think I was not part of the game.

My eyes suddenly snapped to a figure running in my direction. Was the basketball behind me? I quickly took a few steps aside, and somehow I was closer to my teammates now. Edward ran past me and I followed his movement, but he didn't run any further. He stopped a few feet behind me. I didn't look at him for long, but looked at the field. The ball kept going from one side to another. Edward didn't even try and keep it away from our side. I sensed him come closer, so I ran toward the other side of our basket. After a glance back, Edward was still behind me. This time he was looking back at me. I scowled and turned my head to find Emmett, who was covering two of my teammates easily. That's what Edward had done. He had told Emmett to cover his opponent so he could cover me. At least, that's what I thought he had done. However, any person could see that I would never get a hold of that ball, let alone make a goal. I wasn't even standing close to them.

The ball came flying in my direction, as if somebody heard my thoughts, and I had to catch it, because I didn't want my teammates to hate me for losing this game. I could have caught it easily, but Edward's long arms caught the ball a foot above me, where my short arms did not reach. He threw it back to Emmett who scored instantly.

I was in shock to say the least, because even though he hadn't touched me with a finger, I was still breathing hard from what had just happened. For a second I had been partly in the big circle of Edward's arms, but then I remembered what he had actually done. Though I did not care for losing this game, I did mind if Edward snatched the ball away from me.

Did they realize how unfair this was? I had Edward covering me and I would neverbe able to get the ball away from him. Did nobody even consider changing partners? I could cover Alice. That would be much fairer. I noticed that Mike had Alice covered and even though they weren't teammates, they were actually talking to each other, rather civilly.

Somebody dropped the ball and I ran toward it, just so I didn't have to stay around Edward. However, he caught up with me. I ran even faster, my eyes trained on the basketball. He was not going to win this time.

Edward pushed me slightly — which was probably nothing more than a soft knock with his hand — but it sent my flying sideways because of the speed I was running. I fell hard on the side of my body and the impact kicked the air out of my lungs.

The worst part of it all was that Edward knew I had fallen, but no, he did not stop to pick me up, even look back to see if I was all right. He ran to the ball himself and this time threw it to Jasper, who made a goal. They scored yet again.

I watched the ball bounce and glared at it. Screw them. All of them. I stood up angrily as I saw Edward standing in front of me with his palm up, bright smile on his face. Did he honestly think I wanted his help?

He noticed my anger and actually smiled and withdrew his hand while I stood up. "Haven't you heard? All is fair in love and war."

The ball was rolling toward us and he didn't see it because his back was turned against it. I did have a clear vision and told myself that I could do this. I could make a goal, or at least try. With all this new found energy, I decided to do something drastic, because I needed to win this time. I had to win from him.

That's why I talked to him for the first time in nine, whole, devastating years.

"Then don't take this personally."

His eyes widened slightly and I was impressed with myself for surprising him. He was always so composed, never letting an emotion cross his features.

I ran for the ball and when I finally had it in my hands, I threw it towards the basket without turning to see if Edward was close to me or not. My teammates cheered when the ball fell into the basket.

I smiled and high-fived everyone that came to me, because they were holding their hands up and telling me I did a good job. It was Edward who made my smile disappear as he came to stand next to me and glare.

Apparently, he wasn't glad I scored. I wanted to repeat his previous words, all is fair, right? However, something inside of me told me that that wouldn't be a wise choice. I was already pushing my luck with Edward.

While he was staring at me, I noticed a boy from my team make another goal. Edward could have easily stopped him, if he wasn't glaring down at me. I couldn't help but smile when I saw the ball bouncing on the ground as my team again cheered.

2-2.

We were even now. We could even win this. I could win this from Edward.

Edward growled and yelled for his team to gather together. Seeing this, Mike waved his hand as well and called us out.

"Nice goal, Rebecca; yours, too, Taylor. We need to beat them. Sam, try and help Rebecca with Edward." So they had noticed I had trouble covering Edward. "Seth, keep an extra eye on Jasper and Emmett. The rest, keep the ball away from our basket and throw it in theirs!" They all screamed as they ran out of each other, taking their positions back on the field.

"Why the enthusiasm?" I asked Mike.

"If we win this, we'll get a straight A for gym."

My eyes widened. Why did I not know that? I could use that.

"Let's do this!" I said with much less enthusiasm than the rest of my teammates.

Mike chuckled. "Cullen isn't giving you hard time, is he? I'm not sure why he suddenly wanted to cover you."

"I manage," I quickly said.

Coach blew her whistle and I bolted for the ball that was now being dribbled by Emmett. Right now, my small frame was the best thing a person could wish for while playing basketball, because I easily pushed it out of his hands. I thought Emmett had actually not even seen me and I ran while dribbling it. I hoped this was allowed, since most of the rules were forgotten by me.

"Tiny new kid is good!" I heard him say from somewhere far behind me now.

Someone appeared in front of me and I made a dash to the left and quickly searched the basket after I had a grip on the ball and threw it without having another rational thought that I perhaps would not even make a goal. It fell into the basket, without touching the ring. The first pair of eyes I caught were Rosalie's and she was glaring. However, the game soon continued, and she ran back to her side of the field.

Angela called my name and the ball was coming in my direction. I was about to catch it, when something, someone, held my hands behind my back and when the ball was just above me, the hand that had held both of my wrists let go of me to catch the ball. I turned to the one behind me, only to see the misfortune of a goal being made from the long distance by Edward.

He instantly turned and smirked at me. This was not anymore a battle between two teams. It was a battle between him and me.

I turned a little so that I could run around him but he grabbed my arm and I looked up with big eyes at the strength he was holding me. He slightly scowled and released my arm, giving me the ability to pull back.

"Rebecca!"

It was Angela's voice again, but I was too much in a haze to look why she called me.

Then, my head snapped to the side and I felt a pain over my whole right cheek. It began to get hot fast and I saw the ball bounce happily away from me. My neck was soar as well due to the hard snap it just received.

"Oh, Becca, I'm so sorry!" I heard Alice call. My hand was plastered on my cheek, trying to soothe the pain with my cold fingers. "Edward! You were supposed to catch the ball!"

"Shut up, Alice," he replied harshly. "You okay?"

No, I was not okay. I was angry, hurt and everything was unfair in this stupid game of basketball. First Edward sent me flying to the ground. My shoulder was still sore from the hard fall. He caught the ball above me, he held my hands back so I couldn't catch it, again, and then he didn't catch the ball, so instead, it hit me on the cheek.

I looked Alice in the eye with the fury that was raging inside me. She did it again. She called me Becca. The name itself was mocking me for resembling my real name so much. "Don't call me Becca."

I looked at the field, seeing Mike hold up his hand but I just gave a small wave to tell him I was okay and ran away from the two Cullens. It was just a ball and besides, I've had worse. My head was really pounding, but if we stopped now the attention would be laid too much on me and I didn't want that.

Seth scored but this time I didn't smile, even though inside I was satisfied. I touched my own cool fingers against my hot cheek.

"Are you okay, Coco?" Edward asked again from behind me. Wasn't this guy going to leave me alone any time soon?

I turned, and without really looking him in the eye hissed, "Stop calling me Coco."

Somehow I managed to take possession of the ball again but I knew I couldn't make the goal.

"Throw it, Rebecca!" Tyler called.

"I won't make a goal," I said desperately, but turned and threw it anyway. It fell into the basket, again, and I wondered if this was real. I couldn't even call it beginners luck, because it wasn't my first time I played basketball.

My teammates were beyond happy now. Coach blew her whistle and screamed, "Team Mike, won! Unfortunately."

I gaped at the woman. She had a problem with Mike that much was obvious.

"Well done," Angela said, and then running away towards another girl, happily chatting with her. The girl next to Angela turned to me.

"Thanks for the A! You rock!"

"Great job!" Taylor said, running to the boys changing room.

Rosalie and her lemmings had just lost an A and they minded a lot, because they were all glaring at me as Rosalie gave the basketball to the coach. I ran to the changing room before she could catch up with me. I quickly pulled off the grey shirt and legging and put back on my own clothes. I dumped every other clothing in my bag. I put on my leg warmers and boots and looked up to see Angela watching my cheek with a pained look on her face.

"Your cheek is awfully red," she said. "I tried to warn you when Alice threw it. She isn't the best thrower."

"Hey!" Alice said from behind me. "Edward should have caught it, if he wasn't staring at Rebecca."

My eyes widened, but I didn't let them see the shock I was in by letting my hair fall in front of my face. I put the shoes next to her. "I'll give you back the clothes tomorrow. Bye." I walked towards the door and opened it, being the first to leave.

When I sat in my car, I first waited until it warmed up. I realized my mistake for waiting, because Edward walked out of the building. Tanya, Lauren and Jessica were talking, probably to him, but Edward's mouth did not move once. I wondered for a second if he even liked being around those girls.

Emmett and Jasper were behind Edward, the thing that was walking in only jeans and no sweater. Rosalie slowed until she was walking next to Emmet, but the girls were clinging on to the half naked boy. Why wasn't he wearing any sweater? It was freezing and raining.

My eyes landed on his chest, and I quickly had to look away. It felt like I was staring, even admiring somebody that did not deserve that. The girls he deserved were clutching onto him right now.

I let my hair drop in front of my face and reached for my seat belt and looking down while I fastened it. The sounds my car made when I started it were so embarrassing, I wanted to laugh. I pulled the car out of the parking lot and drove off without a second glance.

At home, I searched on the internet the books I would need and ordered them. I also found the clothes I would need for gym. This was one expensive joke, but I had to have them. Education was key, or so I heard.

When I finished digging through the website, I wrote an email to my mother.

To: Renée
From: Bella

Hi. How is everything in Florida? Everything here's fine, you wouldn't believe how the house hasn't changed. Are you doing fine? How's Phil? Don't know if I'll be able to email you tomorrow.

Kisses,
Bella

I hit send. When Charlie got home, he didn't call for me, so I walked down myself.

"Hi," I said. "How was work?"

"Hi," he said, looking up from the television. "The same. How was school?"

I was not in the mood for lying. "The same."

While I was lying in the bed that night, I thought about my name, the real one and the fake one. My last thought before I fell asleep was that it would have been nice if I could stay Rebecca Dwyer for the rest of this short Senior year.

I woke with a gasp at a nightmare I was already forgetting, which I was grateful for. I ran to the shower because water usually made me forget the nightmares completely. I hadn't checked the time when I went to the shower, but it was already half past seven. I dried my hair, but the problem with my hair was that I had too much of it and it was too thick to dry completely. I pulled out the first pair of jeans I found. I searched for a black undershirt, because the brown V-neck pullover I wanted to wear would reveal too much cleavage.

I grabbed my bag and threw in the washed clothes from Alice in the bag. Downstairs I saw that I had around thirty minutes to make it to first class, so I made a sandwich. I wasn't really that late.

Outside it was freezing. Soon I would even see snowfalls, something I hadn't seen for years. With chattering teeth, I made it to the parking lot and threw the door closed as I ran through the pouring rain to the entrance. I found my classroom and the door was luckily still open. I was about to walk to my seat, when I noticed another boy was already seated next to Angela. This then must be Eric.

"Hi," I said to them, and sat two tables behind them, where nobody had taken place yet.

I was tired, even though I did catch enough sleep. However, having nightmares made no change to how many hours of sleep I got, nightmares drained me out of energy and this day had only begun. If classes were fun, I could have enjoyed them and time might go faster. But it was quite the opposite and I was staring more often at the clock then at the whiteboard.

Finally when this class was over, I went to Art. This class was actually quite fun. We had to draw in silence and I made the face of a child, her eyes somewhat down and lost, her face the one who cares no longer about life. Behind her face, three girls were having the time of their lives. But, it was at the cost of the broken one. The one that was clearly unhappy. I wouldn't consider myself a good drawer. I just did what the teacher taught me and remembered the tips. More shadows around the neck. A little less on the forehead. And then you have a face. It didn't look like me at all, but I knew better. I was drawing me.

"That is so beautifully sad."

I turned my head to Alice and she looked at the drawing with admiration. I gave a timid smile. I didn't do compliments very well.

Alice looked up from the drawing. "It's so good, Rebecca. So beautiful."

I noticed her drawing. It was clearly herself, wearing a huge hat — one that blocked the sun. Jasper next to her and had his arm around her shoulders. Next to him stood Rosalie, the side of her body was noticeable with her arm tight around Emmett, her cheek against his chest. Next to that was Edward staring up a little dreamily and not paying attention to what surrounded him. They were in Disneyland, probably the one in Paris. Above her drawing laid the picture; they looked like a happy family. They also looked younger, probably around sixteen or seventeen.

"Thanks for the clothes," I said as I pulled them out of my bag and placed the on the table.

"It was no trouble. I'm glad your cheek didn't turn blue. Basketballs are really dangerous."

"Yeah," I mumbled. I grabbed the drawing and gave it to the teacher. I noticed how she opened her mouth, but I was already a few feet away. After I had my bag, I went to next class.

I avoided most of my classmates for these next two hours. I mostly avoided Rosalie, Tanya, Jessica and Lauren. The subjects were too vague for me. With Trig, the numbers were there, but that didn't mean I understood how they changed every time into something else. And Spanish was even worse, because my only knowledge were the few basic words and some grammar.

Lunchtime meant one more lesson to go, except this lesson would include Edward. I was waiting in the line when Alice appeared beside me. I grabbed a sandwich with a coke. My plan was to go to my car and have lunch there.

My heart skipped a beat when she said, "My family is over there, let's go."

She stopped walking when she realized I wasn't following.

"Oh, come on, Bec-Rebecca," she said. She laughed a little nervously, probably because she almost called me Becca. "They don't bite."

I looked at the table, seeing Emmett with Rosalie and Jasper. Jasper was looking at us both and smiled at me.

"Edward!" she said happily. "Convince Rebecca to sit at our table."

Quickly, I put the sandwich and coke back. "I..." I looked at Alice, thinking for a second, my hand half up in the air, "have to go." I pointed towards the exit of the school. Alice looked very confused and I didn't get to see Edward's face.

I turned and almost ran out, to my car where I sat and searched for my music. I glanced at the clock. Listening to music is known for killing time. I was supposed to be in Biology in five minutes. However, I wasn't ready yet for that lesson.

I sighed and forced myself out of the car before walking around the hallways that would lead to my next class. When I reached the final corner, I saw Edward was walking in front of me. He hadn't noticed me yet.

He reached the door and opened it. After looking inside the class, he turned his head with a scowl. When he saw me though, he opened the door completely and held the doorknob while watching me approach him. This was really bad. If he went in first, people wouldn't notice me that much. Instead I had to go in first. I quickly stepped inside the classroom and he followed, closing the door behind him.

"Edward, Rebecca," Mr. Banner said. "Take your seats." He didn't sound pleased, but I couldn't form an apology. "Let this be your last time, Edward." He was staring pointedly at the boy behind me.

"Of course," Edward said in a sweet voice.

"And I do not want you to cause that girl to be late again, is that understood?"

"That girl is late because of herself," Edward said. "Not me."

I had reached my table by now and now I didn't see Mr. Banner's face anymore. I couldn't believe he was blaming Edward for me being late.

"I asked, is that understood?"

"You'd have to ask her."

Mr. Banner sighed angrily but didn't continue the discussion.

I sat down and put my bag on the table. Edward pulled his chair back, pushing it closer to mine and sat. I turned my head to see him staring, rather in a rude manner, but I ignored him and turned my head back to Mr. Banner. The class had begun talking in a whisper, but Mr. Banner told them to be quiet as he continued his lesson.

"What's wrong with you?" he asked directly but only loud enough for me to hear.

"What?" At least I could talk to him, even if it was no more than a few letters.

"You're rude. You ignore Alice. You avoid me."

If I gave him my name, he'd understand instantly.

"Tell me," he said in irritation. I looked from the left to the right, thinking of a way to ditch class. It was even more strange that he knew there was indeed something. I just didn't know why he would want to know.

He wasn't giving up either.

"You're nervous. Why?"

I was biting hard on a piece of dead skin on my finger again. It wouldn't go off. One of his fingers got closer to my mouth and I stopped breathing. I felt his pointer finger lock around my pointer finger, pulling it away from my teeth.

"At least try to keep your cool," he said. "Stop biting off your nail." He pushed my hand down with only his finger and withdrew his hand.

I bit on my lip while I pushed the nail of my thumb under the nail of my pointer finger, fidgeting with my fingers. He was right, I was nervous and I was showing it.

Edward chuckled. "Go take some self defense classes, Coco. This isn't getting you anywhere."

"Why?" I breathlessly asked, but not daring to look at him.

"Why what?" he asked in whisper. I was sure he was mocking me.

"Why would you care?"

"I don't. But watching you like this is pathetic." My eyes widened. He rolled his eyes. "You're such an obvious target for anyone who likes to hurt other people."

I bit my lip harder which caused it to bleed and flinched at the pain. I tasted the iron and the little salt.

"Stop it," he whispered, pushing his chair exactly next to mine. "You're making me nervous."

"Edward!" Mr. Banner snapped. "Stay after class for a minute."

"Whatever," he mumbled, turning his head back to mine, catching my eyes. "Your lip's still bleeding." He turned back and listened to the teacher and I brought my finger to my lip, feeling the moisture come in contact with my finger. I brought it in front of me, seeing the redness on it. It would heal again. Just like Edward had said, whatever.

We were supposed to take notes, but I couldn't do that. Edward was relaxed next to me and I was stiff from all the nerves.

"Where did you live before you came here?" Edward asked from next to me, while writing and taking the notes.

I didn't want to tell him.

"Someone hurt you there?"

The irony. If he knew the truth. If only.

"I'm sure you didn't deserve it," he said, standing up. He quickly tore out a piece of paper out of his notebook and put it in my notebook, and then closed it. I saw him put his bag on the table and pull out a sandwich and coke. He put them in front of me. That was supposed to be my lunch. The bell rang, but it was low in my ears, I barely heard it.

I was staring at my now closed notebook and lunch. He leaned down and whispered, "You're too cute to be treated badly. Too innocent. Whatever the bastard did or bitch said, they were wrong." I felt his hand pat my shoulder twice. It did strange things to me that I hated to admit. He walked towards Mr. Banner, quickly talking to him. Most people were walking out of the classroom and I stood, put my bag over my shoulder and grabbed my books and pen. I threw the food and drink in my bag.

When I was out of the classroom, I took only two steps to the right to stop and breathe for a moment. Sitting next to Edward was so nerving. I felt so tired, as if I had just run the marathon.

"I'm sorry," a faint voice said, "and it won't happen again." I was trying to do Zen, or something to calm down, so I was also blocking out all the noises around me.

Footsteps were getting louder and then everything happened so fast. I was hit hard from the back and started falling forwards, while releasing my arms from the deadly grip I had put on my books to try and break my fall. I already saw the books hit the ground but from behind me I was caught, a pair of hands coming in front of me and I was forcefully hit on what was behind me. It pushed the air out of me forcefully.

"Wow," I heard Edward say from behind me. "Talking about reflexes." He started to let me go and turned me around. He grinned and bent down to pick up my stuff.

"You were standing a bit in the way though," he continued sweetly in his smooth voice, standing up again.

We were staring at each other, when he broke eye contact to look behind me.

"Leave Rebecca alone, Edward," Mr. Banner quickly said while locking the door and he went off as if he was in a hurry. Now, I think, we were officially alone.

He handed my stuff to me with a smile. I reached for them, but he pulled them back and brought his other finger up, where also the pen was in.

"Answer one of my questions."

My notebook and pen weren't worth this.

I turned and walked away. Edward laughed from behind me and suddenly his arms came around me, but they didn't touch me. This reminded me of yesterday during gym. It did stop me effectively from walking any further. My notebook was right in front of me, in his hands.

"You win. Go on, take them." I reached for them slowly and this time, he let me take them.

I exhaled in relief when his arms left my vision. I stood there, my books again on the verge of falling, because I couldn't hold them as tightly as I wanted to.

"Can I ask you something?" he asked seriously, walking around me and stopping in front of me, looking in my eyes.

My head was up towards his, eyes big and I was frozen. I looked back once, to see nobody in the hallway. Then I turned to meet his green, happy eyes again.

"You have a boyfriend?"

It sounded definitely like a question, but something also made it sound like a statement.

He smiled a little when I didn't answer and he stepped beside me. He took a step back, folded his arms and raised an eyebrow. I had followed each movement, never looked away from his eyes.

He then unfolded his arms and with his palm up, his fingers pointed towards the hallway.

"Deliverance," he said. Again, he was mocking me. He knew, probably, that it was him causing me to act so shy.

My head went to where he was pointing and I quickly turned and walked away. His far away sounding footsteps told me he was following me, but when I reached the ending of the hallway, I once quickly turned to see him still looking at me.

With too much energy, I went down the stairs and bolted out of the doors, toward my car. I was barely looking around me, except when I was seated safely inside my car, seatbelt fastened. I noticed Edward walk to a silver Volvo and he was alone. Then, he turned, his eyes instantly on mine as he took the last few steps backwardly, reached for the door handle and broke our eye contact. I was still looking at him and saw him shake his head with a grin.

Back home I saw that the paper he had pushed in my notebook were the notes he had taken in class, while I had been doing nothing.

~#~

Should I leave her alone? Or should I find out her fears?

Do I ask anyone for help? Or do I solve this on my own?

She's barely a challenge, but then again each time she didn't speak, each time she didn't answer me, she left me wondering for more.

I felt dreadful, because maybe I didn't want to know the answers. If they feared her already that much, what would they do to me?

The choice was easily made. I had to know. The girl had raw fear in her eyes. At gym. At lunch. At biology.

How come she seemed like a tortured prisoner and walked away like she had no idea what to do with her life when I said deliverance to her? Was I affecting her, or did all boys give her that effect?

I was not a therapist and I knew how long it took to heal a person emotionally. I wasn't going to do that. I was going to get my answers, and then be selfish.

~#~