Notes: This is a story I started a long time ago but only now decided to let out into the world. I hadn't even decided on a title until recently.

Since this is my take on the original story, there will be a lot of similarities, especially towards the beginning and especially concerning events. But if you bear with it, the story will veer into its own.

I tried to incorporate a song into a lot of the chapters so I'll try to list those.

Thank you and enjoy.

Featured Music: Explosions in the Sky - So Long, Lonesome

Disclaimer: I own nothing Twilight. I merely play with the characters for entertainment. Songs and lyrics belong to their respective artists. No copyright infringement intended.

Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of man – Friedrich Nietzsche


Hope is a dangerous thing. Worse than failure. Worse than quitting. Worse than heartbreak.

Because any of these things alone is bad enough, but with hope, they can devastate you and crush your spirit.

I never had much hope in life. I relinquished myself to my fate. After all, how many of us are really special? I thought I would lead an ordinary life with ordinary experiences. I never thought I could feel such love and adoration for anyone, let alone for such dangerous beings. They came into my life and left soon after. But I guess I fell prey to my predator in the end.

Then that damned hope finished me off.

For how could I hope that someone like him could love me?

Chapter 1

Unspoken Agreements

Yet another new school. I was used to it by now, all this moving and transferring. But soon I would be able to do what I wanted. Soon I would turn 18 and graduate high school. I never really discussed my future plans with Phil, but it was an unspoken agreement that we would stick with each other till then. He was, after all, my father.

I never really discussed anything with Phil much. It was all unspoken agreements. It was an unspoken agreement that we don't bother each other with details of our unassuming lives. It was an unspoken agreement that I not harp on him about his drinking and he let me come and go as I pleased. Not that I had places to go. Usually it was to the local library, bookstore, cafe of wherever we were stationed at the time.

I never partied or got into trouble. I was responsible. I never caused trouble for Phil and he gave me a meager allowance, when he could spare the money from rent and drink. And now that I was old enough, I tried getting jobs. Usually it was menial work, but that was fine as I usually didn't stay in whatever town long enough to tire of it. The extra money I used mainly for food and music. Sometimes I indulged in clothes and books, though I didn't like to keep too many possessions. I've found over the years that these things just mean more baggage to lug around for the next move. That's one of the reasons music became so important to me. Since it was digital and convenient, it was the one constant in my life.

The reason we moved so much was that Phil was always searching and finding new jobs. Mainly he did construction work, manual labor, though he was willing to do almost anything. He wasn't stupid, just unreliable. But I mainly attributed that to his drinking. He was a functioning alcoholic and I gave up trying to do anything about it years ago. He was like this for as long as I could remember. And as a young girl, when I found out what alcoholism was, I tried getting him to stop but to no avail. He never got out of control or hurt anyone or drove drunk so I just let him be. I guess the only one he really hurt was himself – and I think that was the point.

This latest construction job brought us to the small town of Forks, Washington, a quaint but drab-weathered little town. But for all the gray weather, Forks managed to stay awfully green. It was actually nice, though, all that nature. Most of the cities we stayed in were big and loud. Rarely we got to stay in little towns because much work wasn't to be found there. Phil managed to get a big project a couple towns away and there was a cheap apartment for rent here. It was a one bedroom so I let him have the bed while I took the couch. He needed to keep his back in shape if he wanted to continue to work and support us.

Phil and I had taken care of my enrollment in my new high school and we used the weekend to unload and unpack our few belongings to our new home. One of my big must-haves was my bicycle. I bought it secondhand a few years back and I used it to travel back and forth from schools, work, and local areas. We had one car, and though I acquired my license in the last city we lived in, Phil drove the car to work so I was left to my bike. I didn't mind, though. I loved riding my bike on open roads – that sense of freedom and almost flying. And from what I saw on the car ride to and from school with Phil, it was a long, scenic route I looked forward to.

So when Monday rolled around, I got to test out my bike on the forest flanked road to my new high school. I left extra early in the morning, making sure Phil was stirring for work before I left. I wore my blue jeans, sneakers, a white t-shirt, my warm zip-up hoodie, and my jacket. Very plain and inconspicuous, indeed. First days were not a time to stand out. I turned on my iPod to play Explosions in the Sky, put it in my pocket and put in my ear-buds. I grabbed my book bag filled with some notebooks, pencils, and other school supplies, my keys and my wallet and headed out the door.

It was still dark out when I ran down the stairs of the apartment to the front door where I unlocked my bike on a post. Who was I kidding? It had been nonstop dark here since we arrived. Did the sun ever come out on this town? Not that I enjoy blistering sunlight, but still. How did people here not get depressed?

I pedaled onto the long road that led to school and glided down the road. It was such a refreshing feeling – the wind in my face. And the chilly air woke me up and made me smile. Just then, my iPod started playing the song "So Long, Lonesome." Perfect. The road was empty – that was the good thing about small, quiet towns – and I let go one hand off the handlebar and leaned up. Then I let go of the other. The road dipped slightly so I didn't have to pedal for a little bit. Then the road dipped back up and I grabbed the handlebars once more and pedaled my feet. I loved looking at the trees and all the green fly past me.

I finally reached the school and I rode my bike to the side where the parking lot led. I rode up the sidewalk to the entrance where a bike rack was under the roof overlay cover and locked my bicycle. I turned my head where I was kneeling by the bike lock to face the parking lot. There were cars still entering, filling up the spaces. There were groups of students milling around the cars, some walking towards where I was to the entrance. Some noticed the stranger amongst them and stared and whispered to their friends. A small town negative. My small towns pros and cons list was growing. At least none of them were pointing and laughing. A good start, I joked to myself. Bigger schools usually helped my anonymity.

I quickly found my way through the hallways to the main office where I came to enroll a few days earlier. The same secretary greeted me and asked me to wait while she retrieved my new schedule. She offered to have a student show me around but I politely declined. I assured her I would be fine and that I'd like to find my way around.

I would rather ask someone for directions than have one student feel responsible for me for who knows how long. I thanked her and left the office to make my way to my first class.

After a trip to my new locker, I was almost to the classroom after a couple wrong turns when I heard, "Hey, new girl!"

Damn. I almost made it. I turned around to face a smiling boy a few inches taller than me with dark hair. I raised my eyebrows to signify he had my attention.

"Hey. You need help getting to class?" he asked.

"I think I'm almost there," I told him, pointing behind me.

He peered down at the schedule I was holding in my hand to take a look. I lifted the paper so he could have a better view. I was used to people wanting to look at my schedule to see what classes I had.

He gave a slight frown and said, "Doesn't seem like we have any classes together. But we do have lunch period together. You can sit at my table. I know lunch is supposed to be like some hierarchical class thing. Who sits where thing. But my table's cool. It's not too bad here. Small town and all. Everyone knows everyone and all that." He extended his hand. "I'm Eric, by the way."

I accepted his handshake and said, "I'm Bella." I gave a polite smile. I always liked the friendly kids at schools. I didn't like to make much effort into getting to know new people and the outgoing ones always made it easier. And having somewhere to sit at lunch did make things bearable, even if it was a cliché. I didn't mind sitting alone so much, but people tended to stare more and I knew they were looks of pity or scoffing. The best way to be invisible was to blend in.

"Nice to meet you, Bella. I'll walk you to your class just in case you get lost," he smiled. "If you have any questions, you can always ask me. Lived here my whole life. I know everyone."

The classroom was not so far ahead so we reached the door quickly.

"Thanks, Eric," I told him. "I'll see you at lunch then?"

My dismissal seemed to make him happy and he left after lingering a few seconds. Small towns probably didn't get too many new students. Although I wouldn't count myself as something to write home about. I sighed and stepped into the class.

The thing about transferring to different schools is, you're either behind or ahead of everyone else. Being behind was not something I liked. I managed to always catch up, though. That's the perk of having no friends and hanging out in libraries. I could tell after a couple classes that I would not have to worry about that. It didn't seem like any material I couldn't handle.

In honors English class, I seemed to make another perky friend, Jessica. I sat next to her and she immediately made conversation asking to check out my schedule. Seemed we had lunch together next as well. When the bell rang at the end of class, I headed to my locker to stuff my new heavy textbooks and found the lunchroom. I joined the queue and bought a sandwich and juice and scanned the noisy yet fairly small cafeteria.

There were some round tables by the walls and a few long rectangular tables in the center of the room. That's where I noticed Eric standing and waving his hand, and I was actually glad to see his enthusiasm. I made my way over and sat next to him. Jessica was coincidentally sitting on the other side of me and she greeted me happily. Eric then introduced me to the rest of the people sitting at the table. A shy girl named Angela, a pretty blonde named Lauren and her boyfriend Tyler, and a good-looking boy named Mike. I waved and smiled politely to them trying to remember their names and faces. They started passing around my schedule and I discovered I had the next class with Mike, the one after that with Angela, and my last class gym with Mike again.

They asked me a few questions about where I moved from and what it was like there and then they got to talking about other things and the spotlight was soon off me. That was the good thing about groups of young people – short attention spans.

Then they came. They looked like they stepped out of a fashion magazine spread and into this now laughable cafeteria. Surely, they couldn't be students. The first couple to step in were both tall and gorgeous. She had long blonde hair and looked like a model. He had dark hair, in contrast to hers, and was muscular. He had his arm around her waist protectively. The couple behind them were not as tall but no less beautiful. The boy, no, man had slightly long, curly blonde hair and though he was not as tall or as big as the first man, he still had a very commanding aura about him. He was holding hands with an adorably pretty girl with short, dark hair. She had a smile and demeanor so inviting, she seemed to lightly float. I wondered if he was holding her down to the floor with his hand. Then another man walked in. This one looked the youngest of the males, yet he looked the most serious. He was also the most beautiful man I'd ever seen in my life. He was also quite tall and had deep brown hair, almost reddish. If he was not a model, everyone must be blind. This whole group actually could, should be models if they weren't already. And they were all impeccably dressed. They could literally walk onto a photo shoot right now and take the most striking photos. I kind of wished I had a camera on me at the moment, just so I'd know they were real and not some angels I was hallucinating.

As they walked across the cafeteria, Jessica noticed me staring. "Ah," she said, "meet Forks' royal family, the Cullens." As soon as she said it, the last one to enter turned his head towards Jessica and me with a dark look and I averted my eyes quickly. He was too far away and the lunchroom was way too loud for him to have heard her, but his coincidental timing was perfect.

The group reached an empty table by the windows and the two girls and the last boy, if I could call him "boy," sat down while the other two went to the lunch line.

"The two that got up – the tall one's Emmett, and the blonde's Jasper. The blonde girl sitting is Rosalie, the short one is Alice, and that's Edward," Jessica informed me. I managed to sneak a peek again and saw that none at the table were paying any attention our way so I was free to look again. And look again I did. It was not my imagination. They were impossibly beautiful.

"They're all related?" I asked, even though I could see that they all shared the same pale, flawless skin and light eyes. There was something else, too, something indescribable about them.

"Not all by blood," she said. I thought I saw a hint of a smirk on Edward. "Their parents adopted them. Their father is this really great doctor, and he and his wife are young and can't have children. Anyway, they're like super rich and charitable so they took in Edward, who I think is like Mrs. Cullen's nephew. And they adopted Alice and Emmett, and Jasper and Rosalie who are brother and sister. But Alice and Jasper are a couple and so are Rosalie and Emmett. It's all a bit gross, really."

Emmett and Jasper returned with trays of food and sat next to their respective partners. Emmett put his arm around Rosalie's shoulder and Alice kissed Jasper on the cheek.

"But they're not really brothers and sisters," added Angela.

"Yeah, but they kind of are," chimed in Lauren with a disapproving look.

"They're just jealous," smiled Mike.

"Yeah, 'cause they secretly wish they would get adopted and be paired with Edward," laughed Tyler. Mike gave Tyler a high-five and Lauren punched Tyler on the arm.

"Shut up," Lauren cried. "You know they give me the creeps."

"Yeah, the Creepy Cullens," said Tyler and wrapped an arm around Lauren. He used his free hand to wriggle his fingers in front of her face as she slapped it away.

I couldn't understand why they thought the Cullens creepy, but I smiled along. Jessica turned to me and said in a lower voice, "But seriously, they think they're too good for everyone here. They only hang out with themselves. And forget about Edward. He's like the most gorgeous one and don't think he doesn't know it. I've never seen him show the slightest interest in any of the girls here."

It didn't bother me what she was saying. It actually kind of made sense to me. They seemed like angels. It made me feel superficial – after all, I was only enamored by their looks. But there was a stillness, a coolness about them. They even seemed to glow. And I would probably agree they were too good for us mere mortals. But the way Jessica said it made me think she was possessive of them and at the same time a bit bitter. Her warning to me was unfounded. I would be satisfied admiring them from afar. How else does one worship angels?

"Maybe he's gay," Mike added.

"Not that there's anything wrong with that," I said. "Why, has he shown an interest in you?" I don't know what encouraged me to say that out loud. Usually, I save my insults for my head. I could feel everyone's eyes turn to me. I blushed with embarrassment.

"Whoa, new girl's got balls!" said Eric, laughing. Then everyone else started laughing too, even Mike, and I was glad for that.

In the midst of the fun-making, I turned to look at the angels' table again and I saw Edward's furrowed face looking straight at me. I held his glare for a second and turned away. I couldn't look at him again for the rest of the period. Had I angered the angel?

When the bell rang, everyone started to depart from the lunchroom. Mike stood up and waited for me. When the people from our table had said their goodbyes and departed, I turned to Mike and started to apologize. It was not a good idea to make enemies with a popular kid at school.

"I'm really sorry. It was a stupid joke. I don't even know you and..."

"Don't worry about it," he cut me off. "I can take a joke. When it's good. I kind of set you up for that one anyway."

I smiled, relieved. Mike was tall and muscular, obviously a jock. But he had a friendly, open face. Quite boyish-looking. He stepped aside as I led us out of the cafeteria and he walked me to our next class.

It was biology honors class and I stepped into the room. The students were just starting to take their seats at the two person lab tables. I could see all but two of the seats were taken and my eyes widened when I realized who one of the seats was next to.

"Good luck," Mike whispered in a gleeful tone to me as he walked past me to, of course, the empty seat that was not next to Edward.

Oh great, I thought. I didn't know if I should be happy or mortified. I was actually thrilled that I would be sitting next to this beautiful creature. And I couldn't believe I could feel this way about someone. Let alone for someone I didn't even know. Was I so vain as to throw all my morals about not judging people by the way they look out the window? I mean, I prided myself on not caring what other people thought of me and what I looked like, and now I had to sit next to him and think about how I looked in comparison. What was happening to me? This was not good.

The teacher, Mr. Banner, handed me a heavy textbook and pointed to the seat. At least he didn't make me introduce myself to the class as some of the other teachers had. I walked slowly, but not too slowly (jeez why did I care so much?), to the table and I actually stumbled slightly trying to pull out the chair and glide in quickly.

I heard a stifled chuckle from somewhere behind me, and I could've sworn it was Mike. But I did not risk turning around and calling more attention to myself. Which was why I didn't slap my forehead onto the table like I wanted to at the moment. Oh God, what is wrong with me? I am not a clumsy person. Why right now of all times?

I didn't dare look to my left to see if Edward was looking my way, which I was certain he was. Instead I lowered my head so that my long, dark hair would hide my profile. And I tried not to wonder if he just saw my public display of idiocy, which I was certain he did. Okay, get a hold of yourself, woman. You are not some giddy girl. You are a responsible young adult. Stop being so jittery. Body, I know we just had some trouble, but please don't fail me now.

And it didn't. Not entirely. I managed to pay attention to the teacher's lesson mainly. I managed to realize that I would not be behind in this class either, which was incredible news because if today was any indication of how I would be sitting next to him, then the rest of the school year was going to be a long one. I managed not to look at him during the entire class. Not even a peek, though my insides were aching to.

When the bell rang, I rushed out of the class as fast as my legs would carry me without tripping over myself. I made it to my next class, French, without incident. I found an empty seat in the back after briefly saying hello to Angela. Why had I picked French as my language? It was useless. I would never speak it well enough, and I would probably never go to France. I would probably never even go to Canada. I don't know, maybe one day I would go somewhere. Maybe. I even got a passport not too long ago in the hopes that one day I would be able to get myself far away. Yet, right now, I didn't have the same urge to run away...

French class passed by fairly uneventfully, except when the teacher made me introduce myself and my likes to everyone in French. Dreadful. Thankfully, my pronunciation wasn't too bad and that's half the battle with speaking French. I said bye to Angela when class ended but not before she pointed me to the direction of the gym.

Because it was my first day, the gym teacher let me participate in my jeans. Luckily, they were playing badminton so it wasn't too strenuous. I was pretty athletic, though I didn't really exercise on a regular basis except riding around on my bike which I did more for pleasure. Mike was in my gym class and I noticed him on the other side of the gymnasium occasionally glancing at me. When class finally ended, I was able to leave class before the others because I didn't need to change and I made my way to my locker.

It had been a long first day. I carried most of my newly acquired textbooks and made my way to the school's library. I sat at a small table and stacked the books. It was daunting playing catch-up. But still, I've had it worse in other schools where I was really behind. I took out my math notebook from my backpack and started on those problems first.

I barely started when someone came walking toward my table and sat down. I looked up to see Mike staring back at me.

"I was walking by and saw you in here," he said. "At the library on your first day. Such a nerd," Mike teased.

"Well not everyone can be a jock like you," I teased back.

"Hey, I'm in bio honors with you, if you forgot."

"Jock with a brain. Excuse me, then," I said.

"That's right," he smiled. Then his smile faded. "Speaking of bio. What was with Cullen? Did you say something to him?"

I was slightly startled to hear Mike mention him. "What do you mean?" I questioned.

"He was staring at you practically the whole class," he said a little loud for the library. No one paid mind to him though, thankfully. "He looked kinda pissed. I hope you didn't mention the gay thing. Not everyone has a sense of humor like me, especially that sullen Cullen."

I smiled at the rhyme. But I quickly got serious again and said, "I didn't even know. I guess I wasn't paying attention to him."

Mike looked at me dubiously, as right he should. What woman in her right mind would not pay attention to him? I didn't mention that I never spoke a word to him. What reason could he have to look at me, let alone be angry with me? I didn't want Mike speculating. But what reason had I given him? Was it because I stumbled around like a moron around him? Maybe just the proximity to him had given me an association with him that embarrassed him. Or maybe he didn't want a lab partner. I didn't think I had done anything else. So my mere existence was a nuisance to him. If I wasn't a stronger person, I'd probably contemplate throwing myself off a bridge for him right now. Wait! What am I thinking? This is way too crazy. Did he make other girls feel this way? I would not be surprised if he did.

"You're shaking your head," Mike said eyeing me strangely.

I recovered from my insane reveries and gave him a confused look. "Beats me why he hates me. Maybe I smell bad," I said.

He looked at me stunned for a second and he gave a short laugh and said, "You're funny." He stood up and added, "I like that. See you tomorrow, funny girl."

I watched him leave and returned to my work. I didn't have too much trouble with my homework for the day and I even managed to backtrack and review some stuff I'd missed. It was a good distraction for my head. I ended earlier than I thought I would. I returned the heavy textbooks to my locker, thankful I wouldn't need to schlep them home which was the point of working at school and rode my bike back home with my music for company.

I was eating a TV dinner in front of the television on the couch when Phil returned home from work. He showered and changed while I put another tray in the microwave for him. When we were both settled in eating and watching TV, he asked, "How was your day?"

"Good," I replied, not thinking. "How was yours?"

"Good," he said in a low voice.

We didn't say another word to each other the rest of the night. Why couldn't high school be this easy?