Okay, finally done with this chapter. I really wanted it up earlier, but I was unable to get my wish up until now. It took me a while to figure out what it was that I wanted in it, and I finally decided on it just a few days ago. I've had this done for about two days now, though - I was holding it while I got a but of a head start onto the next chapter, in hopes that it won't take as long to type out.

Anyway, enjoy.

Aftermath, Argument, and Invitation

It seemed almost as if ages had passed before the screaming started. I had straightened the two of us from our crouched position by that time, shielding Angela's mind within the same moment, aware of the fact that Edward would have most likely been reading it, enough to have noticed what I'd done. However, on the off chance that he hadn't been listening to her – and, if I was lucky, he would have been more focused on his siblings than Angela – I didn't want him to know just how I'd been able to save Angela as I had. I just wasn't ready for him to know much about me at the moment – I didn't know if I ever would be ready for such a thing, though, if we continued talking together a lot, I had no doubt that I would eventually tell him about knowing what he was, among other things.

Since we weren't completely wedged in, I pulled Angela's unresisting body with me as I made my way to my truck. As we were seen, everyone seemed to surround us, asking if we were okay. Just over the questions to us, I heard someone mention getting to Tyler – another person yelled out for someone to call nine-one-one. I pushed my way through the crowd, still pulling Angela with me, saying that we were okay repeatedly. Some people tired to stop us, not listening to my words as they tried to force me to stop and sit down to wait for the ambulance and police. I pushed them away, telling them that we were okay and to move when they continued to try and stop me.

Finally, though, as Tyler became more focal in the minds of everyone, I was able to get us through the crowd and to my truck, pushing Angela to the passenger door. As I was walking around to the driver's side, I happened to look over toward Edward, a strange scene meeting my eyes. Before, just before I realized that Angela was about to be crushed, they had looked as though they were going to shepherd Jasper away from the scene, before it could happen – understandable, considering that they'd somehow knew that there would be blood spilled. Now, though, they were no longer holding onto Jasper. Instead, they were surrounded and holding Edward back, who was looking straight at me, his eyes wide with shock. I saw them flicker between me and Angela, who had started to shake as she sat in the passenger's seat. I knew immediately what was wrong; he's always been able to hear Angela before, but now, since I was shielding her, it was no longer possible.

And I knew that he knew that I had something to do with it.

I had bigger things to worry about, though. Since his eyes hadn't once moved to the van, I was hoping her hadn't actually seen what had happened through her eyes, before the crash or after it. So, hopefully, he was unaware of any of my other little talents – talents that I shouldn't have, but did because of my true mutant gift. And, in all honesty, I was hoping that I was right; plus, I was a bit more concerned with Angela at the moment than him. And, as I got into my truck, I saw that she was starting to shake. I needed to get us away from the school before she became hysterical. It wouldn't do to have anyone hearing what she may or may not say – it would defeat the purpose of not letting people know about me. While I knew that I couldn't hide it from Angela – unless I wanted to Obliviate her – that didn't mean I was all for everyone else knowing.

Hopefully, I could convince her not to tell others. I didn't think she would, but just because someone was nice to you when they thought you were normal doesn't mean that it's the same when they do know that your not. It was nothing against her, but I'd seen others deal with something like that too many times not to be wary about it.

I had to admit, I was surprised about how quickly Angela got out of her shocked state. I wasn't sure what caused it or anything, but I was glad that she was clam as she did so. She didn't freak, or become hysterical. Instead, she took deep breaths, letting her mind process everything that had happened within that short space of time – basically, she was acting like I would in a situation like this. Then, as she got control of herself, she, rather calmly, asked, "What was that?"

I bit my lip, my grip on the wheel tightening a bit as I thought about how best to phrase it.

"It's...not something that can be told while driving," I finally said, chickening out a bit. I was deathly afraid. Most people who were non-mutant were often hostile to mutants like me. Even magicals could be like that as well. And, while Angela seemed to have an open mind, that didn't mean that there wasn't a limit. For some people, hostility towards mutants was ingrained, to the point that they'd turn against someone at the slightest hint of them not being normal.

"When can you tell me?" Angela asked. I thought for a moment.

"Are you willing to come over to my house after we're done at the hospital?" I asked her. She thought for a moment, then nodded. "I'll tell you there, then."

"Okay," she said. I had to admit, her willingness to come was surprising, as it would have been smarter for her to refuse. For all she knew, I could be someone who was willing to become hostile at the moment, as I was feeling threatened at the moment. Of course, the fact at I'd just saved her life might have something to do with it. After all, it would be wasteful to save her if I was planning on killing her. And, perhaps, she was one of those who were genuine about not having any prejudice, towards anyone one. Maybe it was a combination of those two things that afforded me her trust.

As we turned into the parking lot of the hospital, I was surprised to see a doctor already standing at the doors, looking as though he was waiting for us. It was easy to tell ho it was straight away. He was handsome, more so than any movie star I'd ever seen, but it was his beyond pale skin, the slight bruises underneath his eyes, and the golden toned eyes that told me who he was exactly. I had to wonder why Dr. Cullen was the one who was greeting us, for, as I parked, he stepped towards my truck.

"Hello," I said as I got out.

"Hello," he said. "I'm Dr. Cullen. My son Edward called, said that you two had a small mishap." He sounded a bit confused at that, probably wondering why Edward had bothered calling him about this, and I got the feeling that Edward hadn't actually told him what had happened either.

"Oh," I said, following him inside with Angela. "It's nothing, really. One of the other students just thought it would be a great idea to drive into the parking lot going fifty miles an hour, and hit the ice wrong. Angela and I were in it's path, but I managed to pull her out of the way. I don't think we have any scrapes, bumps, or brui– "

I was cut off by the door opening, a small cry of "Bella," coming from that direction. I turned around to see Edward standing there, looking worried. I was surprised to see him – he must've gotten into his car and drove over here straight after we left.

"Edward," I said, giving him a fake smile. Not that I wasn't happy to see him, but, at the moment, I didn't want to see him. I was more concerned with getting Angela and myself out of the place and over to my house, so that Angela could ask her questions, and I could know if I was keeping or losing a friend. I knew that I could always modify her memory, but I liked her too much to do that and besides, that would be the old British Wizarding World's answer, meaning that it would be wrong to do.

However, I saw that Dr. Cullen was leading Angela away – probably to check and make sure that she was okay – and Edward grabbed my arm, pulling me to a quieter hallway.

"Is there something wrong, Edward?" I asked him. He didn't stop to answer my question, continuing to lead me until he found what he was looking for. Afterward, he turned toward me, gripping my shoulders carefully.

"What were you thinking, putting yourself in front of the van like that?!" he said, looking at me wide-eyed, obviously frantic. I reached up, grabbing his hands and, forcefully, pulling them off of my shoulders.

"I don't know what you're talking about. I was standing right next to Angela when the van came. If anything, I made sure to try and pull myself away from it," I said, lying through my teeth. He frowned at me.

"No you weren't," he said. "You were by your car when the van came into the parking lot. I saw you."

"No, I wasn't," I told him, giving a loot that suggested that I thought he might've hit his head on something.

"Bella," he started, but, before he could say anything, he looked over my shoulder. I turned to see Dr. Cullen and Angela heading our way. I smiled, relieved to see them, as it meant that I could leave and get out of this interrogation that Edward was performing. I went to walk towards her, but Edward grabbed my hand to stop me.

"Bella, I know that you weren't near Angela at the time," he said quietly. "However, I don't want to argue with you about that. What I want to know is how did you do it? How did you get to Angela so fast, and stop that van from crushing the two of you?"

"Edward, I told you already," I said, sounding cross.

"I watched you," he said insistently. I mentally sighed. Why couldn't he just realize that I did not want to talk about it, that what I was saying was the story that needed to get around? Why did he have to be so persistent? I conveniently ignored the fact that I would be like that as well had it been me in his or Angela's shoes.

"Look, I've got to go. I drove Angela hear, and neither of us are going back to school. I've got to get her home," I said, before he could continue his questioning. Then, I bit my lip, deciding to give him a small bit. "Look, I need you not to question me about this. The reason why I did what I did is because I wasn't going to let Angela die or get hurt, and that's all you need to know. As, as you can tell, obviously I'm fine. She's fine as well, and nothing bad happened."

I yanked my hand out of his, walking away before he could do anything else. "Bye," I muttered to him, rejoining Angela where she stood with Dr. Cullen.

"It was nice meeting you, sir," I said, motioning with my head for us to head out. She gave me a curious look, as if wondering what Edward wanted, but followed after me without asking any questions. I took a glance behind us to see Edward standing there, looking towards us with a mixture of emotions on his face, curiosity among them. Dr. Cullen was standing next to him, also watching us. I waved to the two of them before they disappeared from my sight.

The drive to my house with Angela was quick, much quicker than I really wanted. I really didn't have any time to prepare myself with what I was going to tell her; then again, I doubted this was really something that would be easy to say anyway. After parking and letting her into the house, I headed straight upstairs, motioning her to follow.

"Nice room," she said as she walked through as took everything in.

"Thanks," I said, walking over to my bed. I motioned for her to take seat at my desk chair. I waited for her to say something.

"So, can you tell me now?" she asked.

"I'm a mutant," I said.

"I thought that would be it,"she muttered. "So, I take it that you have the gift of being extra strong or something like that?"

I shook my head. "No, it's just a bonus due to what I can do," I said. "There really isn't a term to what I can do. The basis of it is that I can absorb the psyche and abilities of any human being, including mutants, though skin contact. I absorb memories, knowledge, talents, personality, and, sometimes, physical traits of someone, which I can duplicate in myself to change my appearance slightly, and, even if the contact is brief, I will keep almost everything I absorb.

"What I am mostly unable to keep are personality and physical traits of a person, as we as any mental ability that a mutant may have – I only keep those for a certain amount of time. However, I can let some things go by choice, if I don't want or feel that I need them. Again, I do have to keep them for a certain amount time, just like the things that I am unable to keep – I think the ratio is every ten seconds of skin contact equals one minute of me being able to use anything I absorb.

"The ability is active constantly, and I do not know how to not have it that way, meaning I can not touch a single human being without this happening, and, in the cases of non-mutants, if I keep skin to skin contact with one for a certain amount of time – and it's not a very long one – they tend to end up in comas. In fact, though it hasn't be proven yet, it is suspected that I can end up killing someone because of this, so I tend to avoid skin to skin contact with others, particularly non-mutants. In fact, the only person I willingly have skin to skin contact with is my best friend/sister Elena.

"I also have one other, natural, ability, though it kind of pales in comparison to what I consider to be my main ability. I have this mental shield around my mind, which is also active constantly, which protects me from pretty much every mental ability out there. The only thing it doesn't protect me from is when someone telepathically talks to me."

I stopped there, a bit shocked at how easily and freely I had given the information. I hadn't actually meant to say it all, just give a hint of what it was that I could do, but then, I suppose, by telling her as much as I did, she'd understand it a bit better, and have less questions to ask about it. It seemed that I was right.

"So, that's why you wear the gloves?" she said. I nodded.

"How does you mental shield work, exactly? I mean, how do you even know it's there?" she asked.

"I know because I know quite a few mind readers, all whom ended up confused when they couldn't read my mind," I said. "As for how it works, it's basically two layers. One is always around my mind. I can shrink it down to open my mind to others if I wish, but that's all I can really do with it. As for the other layer, I can only stretch it, to include others within in it. I can pick and chose who I protect – I liken it to a rope with a lasso at the end. I can by-pass others to get to one person and protect them, even if there's several people blocking the person from my sight, and there's a certain distance from me. And I can do this to an unlimited number of people.

"In fact, I'm actually doing it right now, to you. I have been since before we left the school, truthfully."

"Really? Why?" she asked, and I could see that any apprehension she may have been feeling toward me was gone.

"Well, I won't name names, because it's not my secret to tell, but there is another mutant at the school," I said, lying a bit. Edward wasn't a mutant, but I wasn't going to tell her that. "And, well, they know about the mental shield, but they don't know about the other talent, and I would rather they not know it, in all honesty. So, after I rescued you, I shielded your mind right away, so that they wouldn't know."

Angela looked thoughtful, as if wondering who it was, before shaking her head.

"Why are you willing to have skin to skin contact with Elena?" she asked, sounding as though she just remembered that it was mentioned.

"Elena's abilities are like mine, only, where I'm able to permanently keep physical abilities and block mental abilities from being used on me, she's the opposite. Mental abilities are what she can permanently keep, while she had a physical shield around her body. And, while it's two layered like mine, she actually has to concentrate a bit to keep both layers around her. The inner layer can only be used to protect her, while the outer can be expanded to protect others, but while the inner one can be called up quickly, the outer one takes quite a bit of concentration to use," I said. "It's why she rarely uses it, unless it's absolutely needed."

She nodded, and went quite, thinking. Silence lasted for a while, and I wondered what she was deciding.

"I won't tell," she said. "And I still consider you my friend. I won't and say that I might not be a bit...wary every now and then, but, for the most part, I don't really care that your a mutant. You're still my friend, plus, considering that you just saved my life today, it would seem pretty horrible of me to just brush you off after that."

I smiled at her.

"Thanks," I said, truly meaning it. She ended up hanging out at m house for about an extra hour before I drove her home. It was as she pulled up that she realized something.

"Oh, no," she said.

"What?" I asked.

"My car, it's still at the school," she said. "Plus, I don't know what damage the van did to it."

"Well, if you can get dropped off at my house, I'll take you to school tomorrow. After all, we wouldn't want everyone to think that there actually was something serious that happened during the accident," I said.

"My Dad does pass by the street," she said, thinking. "I think I can get him to at least drop me off at the end of the street. It'll be early, though. He tend to go in around six-thirty."

"Charlie will be up by then," I said, shrugging. "If he's not, the key is under the eaves, so you can just let yourself in. And I'll let Charlie know so that he doesn't freak out if you do show up. Just call if you will or not tonight, so I can tell Charlie if it's a definite that you'll be there tomorrow morning or not."

"Okay," she said, hopping out of the truck. I waved bye to her before heading back home. As it was still pretty early, I didn't feel a need to rush to do anything, and headed up to my room, pulling out my phone as I did so. Immediately, I pulled up the option to send out a new message. There was no way I was keeping the fact that Angela knew from my friends, no way at all. Besides, since she knew about me, I wanted to make sure that they wouldn't mind if I accidentally let it out that one of them was a mutant as well. And I knew that I most likely would end up mentioning it to her, if she asked.

Once I finished typing out my rather long message to her, I sighed, setting my phone down next to me, and fell backwards onto my bed, thinking about all that had happened today. Strangely enough, I didn't feel anything but relief that Angela knew about my abilities and had accepted them. And I didn't feel any fear that Angela might change her mind, mostly because, in the last few weeks of knowing her, it seemed like something that was out of character for her to do.

After examining what happened with Angela, my mind immediately went over to Edward, and his over reaction, for that was what it was. I didn't understand it. Sure, we were friends, but that really didn't explain the reaction Edward had. The way he acted was as if there was a bigger connection between us, much bigger than there actually was. I wasn't sure of what to think about that, at all. And, at the moment, I didn't want to. So, after checking to make sure that there were no responses to the text I'd sent to my friend, I headed down the stairs, deciding that, with the extra time I was suddenly given, that I could afford to take the time to make something really good for dinner, and set about working on it.

About ten minutes after school would have ended, while I still working on the meat for what I had decided to make, a knock came from the door. I paused, my hands still in the meat as another knock sounded.

"Hold on," I called, cleaning my hands off before heading to the door. I pulled on my gloves as I hurried over to the door. Opening it, I was surprised to see Jasper and Edward standing there, Alice, Rosalie, and Emmett still in their car. I looked at the two guys confused.

"Um...Hi," I said, not knowing what else to say. I leaned against my door, looking from one to the other. Edward kept his eyes on me, still worried about what had happened earlier. Jasper, however, was looking at the doorway, and I knew that he had seen one of the sets of runes I'd used there, for he was studying one of them. I didn't worry about his figuring out why it was there; I couldn't see a reason for him to do so, as the runes I'd used weren't common ones. The worse that would happen is that he might know what they were.

I waited for either of them to say something, but neither seemed inclined.

"Hey, guys, what are you doing here?" I finally asked, after another two minutes had passed without any sign of anything happening. That seemed to get their attention.

"Oh, I came to let you know what we had to do in class today," Jasper said, handing me what he was holding in his hand.

"Thank you," I said, glancing down to see that it wasn't anything hard. I turned to Edward, ignoring Jasper for the moment.

"Mr. Banner asked that I come and give this to you," he said, handing me a form. "You need to get your father to sign that, in order to go with the rest of the class to a plant nursery."

"Oh, okay," I said, taking the form from him. "Thanks for bringing it by."

"No problem," he told me, and I saw Jasper look at Edward a bit suspiciously for some reason. Edward looked as though he was about to start asking me questions once again, but an impatient beep from his car kept him from doing that as we all looked to see the fact that his siblings were becoming impatient with us, based on the fact that Rosalie had been the one to honk the horn.

"Well, I'll see you at school tomorrow," I told them. They returned the sentiment, saying bye as they turned and headed to their car. I saw Edward glance back at me several times before I close the door. Walking back to the kitchen, I placed what I'd been handed down, wondering vaguely if Angela had been brought a permission slip or not. I hoped that she did, since I didn't think that it would be very nice if no one brought one to her.

Charlie, having heard about what happen, was in a bit of a panic when he came home that night. It was only the fact that I was obviously fine – and that I admitted that the reason that I didn't go back to the school was because I didn't want to deal with the crowd I'd most likely have around me if I did – that calmed him down. He wasn't all that upset over my ditching school, though I knew it was mostly because he was relieved that I was all right. Once he had calmed, and I told him what actually happened – his panic had apparently become bad because of all the gossip and rumors about what had happen, which had been twisted until it was mostly untrue, just additions to make it much more interesting – I told him what happened.

He was of two minds about my rescue of Angela – both proud and scolding. While he was glad to know that I was willing to do what I could to save a friend, he did not like the fact that I had almost put my own life in danger – as far as he knew – to do so. That resulted in a slightly comical lecture from him, as he alternated between scolding me and praising me. I finally escaped to my room to keep from laughing out loud in his face because of it.

Once I was sure that I had myself under control, I headed back downstairs, just as the phone rang. Picking it up, I realized that it was Angela who had called, informing me that she would need a ride to the school tomorrow. I said alright, then asked her if she had gotten a visit from someone, mentioning that there was apparently a permission slip that she one of her parents to sign. She told me that her lab partner had brought it by just moments after I left. We talked for a bit before saying bye, and I headed to the living room.

"Hey, Dad," I said as I entered. He turned his head to me. "Angela's going to be here tomorrow morning. She'll most likely be here before you leave or arrive just as you're leaving. I'm giving her a ride to school, so don't be surprised when if you see her. I told her where the key is if no one answers the door when she arrives, so she won't have to stay outside while waiting for me. Okay?"

"Yeah," he said, turning back to his game as I headed up the stairs.

"Night!" I called.

"Night," he answered back.

As I was pulling into the parking lot – a bit later than I should have been – we saw that Angela's car had been towed away, just as Charlie had informed her about this morning, when she arrived just as he had come downstairs to eat something before leaving. We also saw two school buses, which would be taking us to plant nursery. Angela and I got out of the truck, and she walked over to Jessica and some of the others, who immediately wrapped their arms around her in a hug upon seeing her. She shook them off for a few moments, handing in her and my permission slips to Mr. Banner, which I had given her before we got out of my truck. I yawned, leaning up against my truck tiredly.

I hadn't slept well the previous night. And it wasn't my normal nightmares that kept me up – in fact, it wasn't even a nightmare. No, what I had dreamt of was something rather unusual – at least for me. I looked over to the area where the van had almost crushed Angela before I had come, seeing the skid marks left from it. As I did, parts of my dream floated back to me.

Me being the one standing there, instead of Angela... Edward saving me the way I'd saved Angela... Us at the hospital, where he did his best to convince me that I hadn't seen him actually save me, the way I had tried to convince him that I had been standing next to Angela the entire time... Him walking away after telling me that he hoped I enjoyed disappointment in response to my statement of not giving up on trying to figure him out...

However, it was none of that which had freaked me out. No, it was what happened next, after the last bit. I had dreamt that Edward had been able to get into my room, me waking to discover him standing at the foot of my bed, just staring at me, as if he was merely a statue. It didn't freak me out in my dream, as if I had been expecting him to be there. No, instead of freaking out, I had leaned forward, sitting up and reaching for him, grabbing him by the shirt he wore and pulled him down to me on the best, our lips connecting in a kiss that had quickly become passionate.

Just thinking about it had me groaning softly, wondering what was wrong with me. I didn't dream about guys – of course, there had never really been a guy I was interested in... No I told myself sternly, erasing the rest of that thought from my mind. Still, I couldn't help but wonder what would happen if we had skin to skin contact. Would he be affected the same way a human would? The idea was laughable, and yet, I was afraid that it might actually be true.

"I need everyone's permission slips, okay?" I heard Mr. Banner say as my eyes found their way to where Edward – with two of his siblings – was at, walking towards everyone else. I saw Edward look at me for a moment as they came closer before Mike stepped in front of me, blocking my view of them.

"Look at you, huh? You're alive," he said, his voice changing slightly at the last phrase, indicating that he was joking as he said it.

"I wasn't in any trouble," I told him. "I have good reflexes."

I notice Edward seemed to pause slightly, not moving an inch.

"Yeah," he said, suddenly becoming nervous. "Now I wanted to ask you, you know, if, you know..."

I tuned him out, my eyes on Edward, who had turned towards me slightly, looking at me.

"So, what do you think?" Mike ask, bringing me back to the conversation at hand. I forced myself to focus on him instead of Edward.

"About what?" I asked, feeling a bit apologetic for having ignored him. He was very nervous, and I knew that making him repeat whatever question it was that he'd ask wasn't what he wanted to do.

"Do you want to go?" he asked again. "To the dance? With...me?"

The last bit was said kind of haltingly. I was crafty in hiding my horror. I despised dances, and had actually forgotten about this one – the Spring Dance that was to start off the spring vacation for this school. I thought about it, trying to figure out an excuse, when I realized that I already had one – and it wouldn't be a complete lie.

"Oh, I... Actually, I'm have something that weekend anyway. I have something that entire week, in fact," I said. "I'm...I'm going to Mystic Falls that weekend."

Mike looked dishearted.

"Y-you can't go another weekend?" he asked, hoping to change my mind.

"Non-refundable ticket," I lied. I had no plans of flying out there, but what he didn't know wouldn't hurt him. Plus, I really didn't want to explain the reason for going there, either. He gave a understanding though disappointed nod.

"You should ask Jessica," I said. "I know she wants to go with you."

He perked up a bit at that, looking over to where she was standing. She waved to him with a smile upon noticing him looking at her. He looked back at me, smiling a little bit, though there wasn't much happiness to it.

Mr. Banner called all of us at that moment, motioning us over.

"Hey, guys, come on," he said, "We gotta go. We gotta go. Green is what? Good."

I rolled my eyes as I followed Mike over to the first bus, climbing into it as I heard Mr. Banner direct the rest of the people over to the other bus. I mentally sighed when I noticed that Edward was among though a part of me was relieved that he wasn't, having the feeling that he'd most likely ask questions that I didn't want to answer.

As we were led through through the plant nursery, I barely listened to what Mr. Banner was saying, looking at all of the plants instead. As I moved from my current position, walking around Edward – who had somehow come to be in front of me, despite having been near the back when we first arrived – suddenly spoke.

"How did you stop the van?" he asked.

I looked over to him.

"Hi, Edward, how are you today?" I asked, my tone mocking, making it clear that I found his lack of manners horrible.

"Are you going to answer my question?" he asked.

"I had an adrenaline rush. It's very common. You can Google it," I told him. He frowned, but didn't press it, clearly hearing that I didn't want to talk about it.

"What's in Mystic Falls?" he asked instead. I looked over to him, confused.

"How do you know about that?" I asked, then remembered the fact that he had been there in the parking lot this morning. He must've, for some reason, been listening in on the conversation I had with Mike.

My question seemed to stump him. He finally just said, "You didn't answer my question."

"Well, I think you're being rather rude right now. I mean, I have no obligation to answer your questions anyway. Plus, you haven't even bothered to say hi, so..." I trailed off.

"Hi," he said. I rolled my eyes.

"Why do you want to know, anyway?" I asked. He shrugged, and I shook my head.

"Virginians. That's what's in Mystic Falls," I said, turning to him. Unfortunately, I hadn't been looking where I was going, and my foot ended up getting slightly tangled in a hose that was on the ground. I stumbled, about to fall, when Edward grabbed onto me, keeping me upright. I looked at him, to say thank you, when he snapped, "Can you watch where you walk?"

I looked at him, confused, and slightly angered by his manner.

"If you hadn't distracted me, I would have been able to avoid it," I snapped back at him, turning away, intent on ignoring him as I quickly waked forward, a gap having formed between us and those in front of us.

"Look, I'm sorry I'm being rude today," he said. "I just...think it's the best way."

"For what?" I asked, confused at to what he meant by that as I turned to him. However, I wasn't given an answer, for Jessica came bounding up to me.

Bella!" she said excitedly, not seeming to realize that Edward and I had been talking in her excitement. "Guess who just asked me to the spring dance."

"Who?" I asked, already having a good idea. I watched as Edward walked away, a frown on my face as I tried to decipher the meaning of his words, wondering if they had to do with him being what he was. Jessica also watch him, confused, before turning back towards him once he was out of sight.

"Yeah, I actually totally thought that Mike was gonna ask you," she said. I shook my head, not wanting to hurt her with the fact that he had asked me. We started to walk as she continued to talk, up until she rejoined her other friends. The tour of the nursery finished, I made my way outside, figuring that I would wait on the bus until it was time to leave. As I walked passed Eric in a slight tiredly daze, I was startled when a worm was put in front of my face, Eric acting as though he was younger than he was.

I shook my head, ignoring him as I walked past, making my way to one of the buses. Just as I got to them, I heard someone behind me, walking quickly, and I turned around to see Edward there.

"Bella," he said as he got closer, and noticed that I had seen him, "we shouldn't be friends."

I looked at him, surprised. However, right under the surprise was hurt. I didn't know why he would say this. I thought – despite the secrecy between us – that we were doing pretty well on our way to becoming friends. My hurt feelings began to turn mad, especially when I considered the fact that I had him something that was private.

"You really should have figured that out a little earlier," I told him, glaring. Then, I shook my head. "You know what, whatever, Edward. If that's what you want, then suit yourself. But I do have to say, next time you do this, try to make a decision before you begin ask personal questions that you have no need to know."

Then, because I was very angry, I was unable to keep myself from showing it in another way, and, without thinking about it, I balled my hand into a fist, punching him just hard enough that he would be able to feel it – in fact, if he was human, where I had hit would have begun to swell and turn colors.

He stumbled, shocked that I had been able to do that, but more so when he noticed that I wasn't jumping up and down in pain after doing that. What was more, I was sure that he had also realized that there was something else missing; the fact was, I shouldn't have been able to hit him hard enough to make him move, and he should have been able to hear bones breaking in my hand from the actions. The fact that it hadn't happened most likely filled him up with more questions, but his brother and sister arrived then.

"Hi," Alice said, smiling. I couldn't see anything that would suggest that she had seen my actions, though I knew that she could have easily composed herself before walking over here. Her eyes flickered between me and Edward, who was standing straight once again. She turned towards me. "Are you going to be riding with us?"

"No," I said. "My bus is full." I stalked off before anything else could be said, over to the other bus, giving the door a sharp hit so that the driver would open it so that I could get on. Before I did so, I sent another glare to Edward, who hadn't moved from where he stood.

Charlie stayed home the next day, having it off. He was in the kitchen, reading the newspaper when I came downstairs. Angela was at the table with him, eating some of the food that I'd made when I'd gotten up this morning.

"Hey," I said to her.

"Hi," she answered back, once she finished swallowing. I could tell, by the look on her face, that she was enjoying the breakfast I'd made.

"You should hurry up," I said. "We've got to leave in a few minutes."

She nodded, finishing up her last bites, before standing.

"Bye Chief Swan," she said.

"Just call me Charlie," he told her as he waved bye to us.

"Your father's rather nice," she said.

"Yeah, he's cool," I said. "Been real great since I've been here, too. Of course, I think my food might have a bit to do with that."

She could tell right away that I was just joking about the last bit.

"Do you like it here so far?" she asked.

"It's been nice. Different, but nice," I said. "I can't say I like it completely, because I miss all my friends, who I've considered to be my family for most of my life, but it's a bearable ache. You help quite a bit." Edward had helped as well – it was even easier to forget myself around him – but I wasn't going to mention that, especially considering his words the previous day. Just like the previous night, I had dreamed of him again, only this time, it was more like a nightmare. (I had been in a forest, and seen him turning and walking away from me, not seeming to notice the fact that I was repeatedly calling to him, and trying to follow him. I really didn't want to think about what that might mean.)

"Well, glad I could help," she said, smiling.

The day went pretty fast, up to lunch. I was a bit late, having taken a small shower after PE and needed extra time to put on my clothes afterward – it was a much more active day today, and the fact that I was wearing sweats over the favored shorts really hadn't helped me out all that much. Walking into the cafeteria, I could easily hear Eric talking about something from across the room. I paused for a moment, feeling eyes on me, and looked behind me suspiciously. I didn't see anyone actually looking at me, though; in fact, the one I thought had been looking at me was talking – no, arguing seemed to fit better – with the rest of his family. He looked at me briefly, not long enough for me to get a hint of his mood. I turned after seeing Jasper looking to where he was, hitching my bag back up onto my shoulder properly as I walked over to the lunch table with the others.

"Hey," Eric said upon seeing me as I placed my bag in an empty seat between Angela and Jessica. Mike and Tyler (sporting a small, white bandage on his face from the accident, which I hadn't seen the previous day) gave me a small wave. Eric commanded my attention almost immediately, before I could actually sit down.

"La Push, baby. You in?" he said. I scowled a bit.

"Should I know what that means?" I asked.

"La Push Beach down at the Quileute Rez," Mike explained. "We're all going tomorrow, after school."

"Yeah, there's a big swell coming in," Jessica added.

"And I don't just surf the Internet," Eric chimed, trying to sound cool. There were some chuckles.

"Eric, you stood up once, and it was a foam board," Jessica said, rolling her eyes.

"There's whale watching, too," Angela said, looking up at me. "Come with us."

I stole a cucumber from her plate, thinking.

"La Push, baby. It's La Push," Eric said. I rolled my eyes.

"I'll think about it if you stop saying that," I said. The others laughed. "And don't call me baby, okay?"

I didn't think anyone heard the last bit, though, as Mike immediately followed up with saying, "Seriously, dude. It's creepy."

I walked away then, barely listening to what they were saying as I headed to the salad bar to get my own food, since I didn't think Angela would appreciate me taking all of hers. Not feeling in a hurry to go back to the table, I played a bit with my bowl.

"Edible art?" I suddenly heard from beside me. Startled a bit, my hand accidentally hit the apple I had grabbed, rolling it off the counter. Edward kicked it slightly, enough for it to bounce off of his shoe. It flew upwards, and landed into his hands perfectly. I looked up at his face.

"Bella," he said in greeting, holding out the apple. I took it from him.

"Thanks," I muttered, grabbing my bowl and moving to the other side of the bar. "What are you doing over here, anyway? I mean, did you forget what you said yesterday? Did you forget my answer?"

He came a little closer to me, just enough that he could talk lowly and I'd still be able to hear him over the crowd.

"I only said that it would be better if we weren't friends, not that I didn't wanna be," he said.

"No, you straight up said that we shouldn't be friends, nothing about how it would be better not to be," I corrected him. "And my answer still stands. Do you need a reminder of it?"

He shook his head, and I went back to making my salad. However, while he continued to stand next to me, and my curiosity over why he thought that it would be better not to be friends grew, I finally sighed, looking back at him.

"What does your whole 'it would be better if we weren't friends' mean, anyway?" I asked.

"It means that, if you were smart, you'd stay away from me," he answered. I scoffed.

"Wow, how nice. Didn't know that insulting a person's intelligence was the best way to go around making friends," I said, shaking my head. "Okay, well, let's say, for argument's sake that I'm not smart. Would you tell me the truth about why?"

"No, probably not," he said. I nodded, hearing the blank honesty in his voice.

"Why not?" I asked. He didn't answer, though I wasn't really expecting him too.

"All right, you can keep your little secrets," I said, turning back to my food. I popped a carrot into my mouth.

"It's not like I'm the only one with them," he said, and the tone of his voice had me looking at him again. "I know that you weren't telling me the truth yesterday. Care to explain why?"

"No, not really," I said.

"So, can we agree on the fact that we both have our secrets?" he asked.

"Yes, but that doesn't mean that I won't figure yours out. I'm good at that," I told him. "And don't bother trying to tell me that you're not going to try and figure mine out. I can see it in your eyes that you want to know. And I don't think you have the control not to try and figure them out. In fact, I'm kind of curious to know what your theories are already."

"I looking at either radioactive spiders or kryptonite," he answered. I snorted.

"Reading a few comics lately," I said. "Sorry to disappoint you, but it's neither."

He shrugged, and I got the feeling that he hadn't been serious anyway. We were silent for a few moments.

"You know, I'm not going to tell you what I am, though I won't deny it if you manage to figure it out yourself," I said. "And, if you want to try this whole being friends thing, why don't we hang out sometime soon. Everyone's going to the beach tomorrow. Come with us."

He looked as though he was thinking about it. "Which beach?" he asked, a smile playing around his lips, which had started when I'd asked him to hang out.

"La Push," I answered, seeing his face change immediately.

"I don't know," he said. "I just..."

"Is there something wrong with that beach?" I asked. He didn't answer right away, and I got the feeling that he was looking for a quick answer to my question, which just made me more suspicious about it. He looked behind him, and, when I leaned over and looked myself, I noticed that Eric and Mike immediately looked away, not wanting to be caught watching us. When I looked back at him, he was looking back at me.

"It's just a little crowded," he answered.

Okay, as you can see, this chapter follows the movie more than the book - I decided on that because I just like the movie approach to it better than the book, and i didn't want the blood scene in it, especially since this Bella isn't like the Bella in the book when it comes to blood, therefore what happened in the book wouldn't have happened here. Also, I gave a hint of just where this is at in time, as well as how long the days between everything is. Personally, I don't want to have Edward and Bella not talking to each other for long. Oh, and since Edward doesn't know what Bella is, he's the one trying to figure things out, over it being Bella who shows signs of not being completely human and also because Bella already knows what Edward is.

Angela knowing about Bella was pretty much planned the minute I decided to have her be the almost smashed victim of the van accident. Of course, Angela doesn't have all the information - that'll come later. And she doesn't know about vampires or anything like that, either. She just knows that Bella is a mutant, while someone (she doesn't know who) is one as well.

Bella hitting Edward wasn't actually planned, but I could see it happening, because of just hurt she is over Edward's words, as well as angry because he's saying what he is while also knowing about some of her issues - her mother did leave some scars on her, after all. I, and therefore she, never actually planned on hitting him, though it did happen, and I kept it in because it looked good. Also, I'm sure you can imagine the questions Edward would have after that, especially since she was able to move him with the force of her hit.

Anyway, please, please, please review, I'd really like to know that people are still reading this story.

Hearts In Strangeness