A/N: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight, no copyright infringement intended.
Disclaimer: There may be some controversial material in this story later on. I am hoping to treat the subject matter with the respect it deserves.
Word Prompts: Bangle, Wrangle, Tangle
It isn't raining, for once, as we pull into school, but Ally and I are still running late. The usual. We can blame it on the fog, the solid mass of grayness that rolled in with the tide, making the day appear gray on gray. It's thicker today, the fog, heavy with whatever is weighing it down, obscuring my vision until the last possible moment. Of course, I don't have to worry about getting into an accident, as any opposing driver can hear us coming a mile away in my trusty old truck. As if on cue, the engine backfires as I pull into one of the specially-designated senior spots closer to the entrance.
"Good eye," Ally compliments. Truly it's amazing that we snagged the spot or that I was able to see it at all. We scramble out of the cab and grab our bags. Ally has traded in her backpack for a medium sized macramé purse that holds her pastels, pens, and make-up only so she reaches back for two heavy textbooks just as the bell rings. Despite my best efforts, we are late.
"Just go on," I say, waving her off. "I'll explain to Mrs. Jones."
I leave Ally in front of the art room then run into the front office, awaiting the wrath of Mrs. Jones, our not-Principal, our not even interim-Principal, but our disciplinarian nonetheless.
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Jones," I say as soon as I swing one of the heavy blue doors open. "There was so much traffic and—"
Instead of just Mrs. Jones, with her shockingly white-blond puff of curls and red cat-eye glasses, three other bodies turn to face me. I twirl my new yellow Lucite bangle on my left wrist over and over. I've forgotten my watch, again, and Mrs. Jones zeroes in on my movements and nods her head accordingly.
"Have a seat, Ms. Swan," she says, dismissively. "I assume your sister is in class?" I nod my head and sink down on the vinyl blue couch in the corner. While the couch is likely from the same decade as my "new" bracelet, it definitely does not qualify as vintage. In fact, I think that it's one of the original pieces of furniture from when the school first opened its doors. In 1965.
The three strangers—new students by the look of their fresh-looking uniforms—turn back to face Mrs. Jones who is pointing out their schedules.
I continue to twist my yellow bracelet round and round, letting the skinnier end rub against my skin reassuringly. It's a thrift shop find that my Mom brought back from her most recent business trip and I love it. The old school plastic sticks to my skin slightly.
As I ponder whether or not Mrs. Jones will give me a detention or not, I study the newcomers. The girl's blonde locks are curled to perfection and her pleated plaid skirt is rolled up at least twice at her waist, just like the rest of us. One of the two boys with her—her brothers, I presume—has the same shade of light sunshine yellow hair, just slightly long for this school's regulations. While they all share the same fair coloring—at least what I can tell from the boys' forearms, the last boy has darker hair. In fact, the hairs on his forearms appear reddish in places, at least under the fluorescent office lights.
Mrs. Jones summons me with her hand while the trio walks away and the girl glares at me as she catches me staring at them. Yeah. I'm not sure why I'm studying forearms either, Blondie.
The fog lifts by the time I make it to third period, which cheers me up since it's the only class that I hate. Biology. Again. With sophomores. It's my third time taking the class and there's only so much I can do. I trudge into class just as the bell rings and toss my backpack onto my lab table haphazardly, as is my usual, only this time it lands on top of someone else's stuff.
It's the new kid. The non-blonde one. "Hey non-blonde," I say. My filter is off, clearly. At least there's something interesting going on in Biology.
"Uh, hi non-blonde," he shoots back, with an arched eyebrow, waving one hand at my obviously brown locks.
"You a sophomore?"
"Why are you in this class then?"
"I'm repeating it." There. Now he just thinks I'm dumb.
"I never took it at my old school."
"Hmm," I respond, then slide onto my stool. I'm not used to sharing my lab table—this has been my spot for two years. My first lab partner switched out on my midway through our first semester during our sophomore year. Banner didn't bother replacing her and didn't give me a partner the following year or this year either. It's like he relishes keeping me back.
"Mr. Cullen, Ms. Swan," Mr. Banner intones from behind us. His classroom has an office and supply area at the back and he delights on sneaking up on students when we're unaware. The bell has not rung yet and there are just a few other students in the room. "Since you two are the oldest students here, I thought I'd partner you together."
The rest of the hour goes by uneventfully, unless you count me staring at Cullen's forearms as an event. I can't help it—I'm disturbingly mesmerized by the fact that his hair is an odd shade of brown, not quite ginger, not quite brunette. Plus, he's got this odd leather wristband with a cameo of a lion design on it. It looks vintage, except the leather makes it look more modern.
"Nice bracelet," Cullen says, right as the bell rings. He point to the yellow bangle I've been twisting around and around to pass the time since I don't need to take notes in this class.
"You too, Non-Blonde," I respond.
"It's a cuff," he says, grabbing his backpack with ease. "And, my name is Edward Cullen."
I nod, my lips quirking up in a smile despite myself. Apparently, Edward is much friendlier than his sister. "Bella Swan," I toss out over my shoulder as I walk away.
When I leave school for the day, I pass by my locker to drop off my books. Inside is a CD case that doesn't belong to me. Scrawled on the cover is "What's Up? Four Non Blondes, Acoustic". I'm so impressed that he caught my reference that it takes me a full minute to wonder how the heck he got into my locker in the first place.
I make my way to the office again for my daily afternoon argument with Mrs. Jones. Maybe this will be the day that she gives in.
When I arrive, she is already at the counter, waiting for me. "You're going to be late for detention, Isabella," she says as soon as I step into the room.
Fuck. I forgot about detention.
I glance at my left wrist, where my yellow bracelet is located instead of my watch and shrug my shoulders. "I still have five minutes or so." She's hiding a smile behind her stern exterior; I can feel it. "So," I continue. "Any chance I can switch into Home Ec?"
"Do you want to drop Bio?"
"There must be something I can do."
"You know it's not up to me."
Our words are scripted. I know it's not up to her; Banner is adamant that I complete the class. My shoulders slump and she asks more softly, "Unless you want that 'Incomplete'."
"An 'Incomplete' is worse than failing," I counter. My hair rushes to my face as the front door opens and closes behind me. Another student has joined us. "There must be another class I could switch into."
"You already know the possibilities."
I'm about to refute her or ask for another meeting with the principal and my parents when I hear a throat clearing behind me. "Excuse me, Mrs. Jones. Here are the attendance slips for me and my brother and sister."
It's Edward. I'm not sure how much of our conversation he's heard but I am too angry to turn around and ask him about the CD.
"Thank you, Mr. Cullen. You may go," Mrs. Jones answers him then turns to me. "Well, Ms. Swan?"
I turn and catch a glimpse of Edward as he opens the double bars of the door with great force. What's his problem?
Then I notice the fact that he has changed out of his uniform and into an old Smiths tee shirt and track shorts. His legs are toned like that of a runner's. The boy is going to be the death of me.
Forty-five minutes later, I am dragging my stuff behind me and heading for the truck where Ally is likely waiting for me. I'm sure I am a mirror image of Pig Pen as I trek down the parking lot, puffs of chalk dust billowing behind me with every stride. Detention sucks, but especially more so on Fridays when teachers love to have their chalk and dry erase boards cleaned, and erasers clapped empty.
Ally is sitting in the truck bed edge with the other Cullen brother keeping her company. She's smiling in a way I haven't seen in a long time and she doesn't notice me until I am two feet away.
"Hi. I'm Bella," I say. "I'd shake your hand but…" I gesture to the thin coating of chalk on my hands.
"Jasper," he says with a wide smile.
"Hi, Blondie," I smile back.
"Ew, Bella. Why didn't you wash your hands?" Ally hands me a baby wipe from her macramé bag. I can't believe all the non-essentials she keeps with her.
"Looks like they're finishing up." Jasper nods over to the track where his brother and sister are stretching side by side. "Nice to meet you."
Ally and I drive home, and she doesn't expand upon the details of her new acquaintance. Thinking of my new CD, I let her have her thoughts for a while. My trusty old truck spouts puffs of smoke from its exhaust pipe behind us, like empty cartoon thought bubbles trailing us home.
A/N: 1) Four Non-Blondes, "What's Up" youtube (dot) com/watch?v=6NXnxTNIWkc&ob=av2e
2) Pig Pen is a character from Charles Schwartz' Peanuts aka the Charlie Brown comic strip