I saw a parking spot the minute I entered the lot, and went for it. The engine was making an embarrassingly loud noise, but I was acting nonchalant. Besides, this was a high school. No one was going to have a decent car. I cut the engine the second I was in the spot, and grinned triumphantly to myself. My grin faded as I noticed a car backing away from the spot I'd taken, and turning to go in search of another spot. True to cliche, not just any car. The silver S60 that drove through my daydreams. One of the most amazing cars in the known universe. I got out of the Monster/Thing (I was conflicted as far as nicknames went) and glared at it.
"You are not worthy." I told it. "You have taken a parking space destined for a greater vehicle than you."
"What?" It responded in a voice much higher-pitched than I would have expected, if I had been expecting it to speak. I stumbled back in shock, and bumped into a mop of curly hair.
"Are you alright?" The curly mop asked in the high-pitched voice I'd just heard. I wasn't sure whether to be relieved my truck wasn't actually speaking to me or concerned that a curly mop of hair was walking and talking on its own. "I'm Jessica." The mop introduced itself.
I stepped back a little and noted with definite relief that the mop was attached to a very short person with disproportionately large boobs. Or maybe that was just because she was sticking them out, in a sadly obvious way. "I'm Edward." I told her. She blinked. "Edward Masen? The police chief's son?"
I nodded, a mannerism I now associated with Charlie after painful attempts at conversation during the ad breaks yesterday. "Oh," she said. "I didn't think you'd be hot!"
I'm not the kind of person who is frequently lost for words, but I could not think of a way to respond without potentially offending little Jess. I decided to ignore it and move swiftly on.
"I'm going to the office now. For my schedule and stuff." I said. She beamed. "I'll take you to the office. It's this way!"
Glad to have sidestepped the mine, I followed her across the parking lot to a small, solitary building at the edge of an intruding vein of forest. Forks High School consisted of many of these separate grey buildings, grouped together by a ring of vegetation. I realised I'd probably have to cross the carpark and go outside to get to different classrooms. I groaned internally, and cursed the architects for idiots. Would a little foresight have hurt that much? We were in possibly the rainiest place in the continental US. Even now, the sky was swarmed with pregnant grey clouds. I sighed. My raincoat didn't have a hood. Jessica was a pleasant, if mind-numbing, person. She nattered the entire way to the office and through my conversation with the exceedingly helpful Mrs Cope and then followed me to my first class before she realised she had to be somewhere else. I was a talkative person, but I had an idea of my audience. Jessica just blurted whatever she was thinking, whether her listeners were interested or not. I had a feeling not was more common. English with Mr Bertie was my first class. Irritatingly enough, this class was not studying Wuthering Heights at the moment, but The Bell Jar, by Slyvia Plath. I actually had read The Bell Jar, and preferred it to Wuthering Heights, but I was annoyed I had wasted my time yesterday. Maybe Mr Bertie would read Wuthering Heights later in the year. A blonde girl named Lauren offered to show me where my next class was, and I gratefully accepted. Mrs Cope had given me a map, but I thought I'd be self-conscious if I had to stop and look for my class when everyone else knew where they were going. I was crossing my fingers I wouldn't have to use it. Jessica met Lauren and I in the parking lot, and wondered why I hadn't waited for her to take me to my class. Lauren answered that for me.
"You're not the only person who knows her way around the school, Jess."
"I never said that Lauren, but Edward and I are friends, so maybe he wanted me to bring him to class."
"Eddie's my friend too, Jess." I couldn't help wincing at this. "It's Edward." I said loudly. "I don't like Eddie or Ed or Ned or any abbreviations." I thought that was clear enough. Lauren looked put out and Jessica looked delighted.
I didn't pay strict attention in Calculus, because the unit was one I'd covered already in Phoenix. I flipped ahead through the book, and made sure Mr Varner wasn't watching me as I tried to decipher the next chapter. The guy sitting next to me was called Mike Newton, and we struck up a conversation on the way to the cafeteria. I liked him immediately. He was funny and didn't take himself too seriously, or monopolise a conversation the way some Forksians did. He'd lived in California until he was ten, so we bantered a bit about the dreadful Forks weather. I sat with his group of friends, which included my buddies Jess and Lauren, Mike's friends Tyler, Eric and Ben and a shy, pretty girl named Angela. Everyone seemed sound, though Ben and Angela didn't say much. We were all laughing at Eric's impression of some teacher named Mr Banner, who I hadn't met yet, when Mike suddenly stopped and stared avidly at something over my shoulder. I followed suit and saw the most beautiful girl I had seen in my life walking to a cafeteria table. She was tall, with naturally blonde hair and a runway-worthy figure. She also had a gargantuan, muscled guy who looked like a wrestler walking behind her with his arm possessively over her shoulders. Self-preservation took over and I cut off my staring abruptly, switching my gaze to a second impossibly gorgeous couple. She was tiny and delicate, with cute, short dark hair. She was utterly graceful, practically dancing to her seat. He wasn't a built as the huge guy, but was somehow more dangerous. His blond hair waved around his face and he held the tiny girl's hand tightly in his. The sound of the door closing drew my attention away from them and the final member of their group made her way to their table. Blonde lost first place on the list of most beautiful girls I'd ever seen. This girl was slightly shorter than average, though she would still be tall next to the little dark-haired one. I imagined the top of her head would come to just under my chin. Her full, glossy mahogany curls tumbled to her elbows, framing her pale, elfin face. Her lips were plump and pink as though they'd just been bitten. Her dark eyes were huge, seeming to take up most of her face. I couldn't stop staring at them until she turned away, breaking the spell. Mike and I turned back to the table at the same time.
"Who is she?" I asked, my voice embarrassingly rough. Mike shook his head, as if to clear water from his ears, and I was glad that at least there were two of us making fools of ourselves.
"That's Bella Cullen." He sighed. There was no doubt which he was referring to. Jessica took over, dishing out the gossip. "The big one is Emmett, and the little one is Alice. The blonds are the Hales, Rosalie and Jasper. They're all Doctor Cullen's foster kids."
"They're adopted?" I asked, and mentally high-fived myself for making a coherent remark. "Yeah, Doctor Cullen and his wife are way too young to have teenage kids. They're barely thirty." Jessica said. I sneaked a glance at their table.
"Are they...together?" I struggled to express my surprise that these were siblings. Jessica looked like a car with cream.
"Yes! Jasper and Alice are together," she used my word. "And so are Emmett and Rosalie."
I glanced over again. None of them had noticed they were being talked about, though I supposed are table was too far for them to eavesdrop. I thought they would have seen the ogling. "But not Bella?" There was something odd about the way I pronounced her name. Mike frowned over at me.
"No." Jess admitted. "But she doesn't date. All the guys here ask her out, though I don't see why she's kinda plain if you ask me - "
Jealous much? I bit my tongue to keep from saying it aloud.
" - but she turns them all down." I was disappointed at that, but I knew she was out of my league anyway. "Except for me!" Mike suddenly announced, his tone joking. This provoked a chorus of 'Yeah, right' from the table, and everyone started laughing again.
"Mike insists he's 'wearing her down' with his constant pestering," Angela giggled, her cheeks turning prettily pink. I grinned at her and she blushed harder. I put all thoughts of the unattainable Bella Cullen out of my head for the rest of lunch.
Unfortunately, when I walked into the Biology classroom with Angela, the seat next to her was occupied. In fact, all the seats were occupied except one third from the front in the middle row, situated next to the seat in which Bella Cullen lounged. She had one arm lazily stretched across her desk, and the other supporting her chin. Her posture was entirely relaxed, until I started walking towards the seat. Then her whole body stiffened, and she pulled herself upright, her hands fisting at the edge of the desk. She glared at me as I approached, her face set in hostile lines. Bewildered, I hesitantly took my seat.
"I'm Edward Masen." I said quietly. She didn't even look at me, and her lips pressed tighter together. I swallowed. Why was she so furious? She didn't even know me. I searched for an explanation, and slowly, one presented itself. She must have seen me gawking at her at lunch, and was nervous of me. My face heated with painful humiliation. She looked so innocent and vulnerable, and was probably shy. I'd frightened her with my weird staring. She probably thought she'd gained a stalker. I tried frantically to find a way to deny this and apologise, but everything I thought of would just make me sound more like a stalker. It was only with incredible restraint I managed to refrain from bashing my head off the desk for the rest of that class. Once the bell rang, she hightailed it out of there like the classroom was on fire. I trudged after her, downcast. Mike caught up with me at the door.
"What was up with Bella Cullen?" He looked honestly curious and a little confused. I hung my head.
"She thinks I'm stalking her." I confessed. His eyebrows shot up. "What?"
I sighed. "She saw me staring at her in the cafeteria, and she's creeped out. She wouldn't even look at me for that entire class!" The urge to bash my head off something reared its head again as I narrated the disaster to Mike. He looked sympathetic, but suspiciously cheerful. "That's too bad, man. Hey, you have Gym now, right?"
"Yeah." I was picturing Bella's angry glare. It was surprisingly intimidating, for a girl that size. She probably gets a lot of practise with her older brothers.
"We can be partners!" Mike exclaimed. "You can play badminton, right?"
"Sure." I was pretty good at sports in general. Mike and I won all four games, but I was sort of vacant for the rest of the day. I kept going over that disaster of a Biology class. I would have to apologise the next time I saw Bella Cullen. Even if she wouldn't listen, even if my explanation was stupid, I couldn't leave things the way they were. I brainstormed apologies the whole drive home, steering clear of anything that sounded too much like an excuse. I had been out of line, and I was going to own up to it.
Charlie and I ordered pizza again, after I ransacked the kitchen and came up with nothing but frozen fish. I was absorbed with my thoughts, and he seemed thankful I was quieter. I went to bed early, as soon as I'd finished studying, but I didn't fall asleep until late. My thoughts were still spinning with images of Bella's hostile, almost warning glare.