Title: Intrinsic Fascination
Summary: The world is filled with billions of people; a new breath is taken every second. The last breath is taken as well. But the cycle continues, on and on; who would bother noticing when someone doesn't quite fit into this cycle…
Chapter 1: Viscosity vs. Velocity
Viscosity and Velocity are opposites, yet they can look the same. Viscosity causes the stillness of disinclination; velocity causes the stillness of fascination. An observer can't tell if a person is silent and still because inner life has stalled, or because inner life is transfixingly busy. – Susanna Kaysen
Pushing through the large wooden doors, Bella sighed as she exited the rare sunshine of the warm, autumn day. She made her way down the long walkway, in between the towering shelves of books, to the long circulation desk at the far side of the library. It never made sense to her the way the check-out desk was so far away from the exit, but the one time she brought it up she was threatened with the idea of having to move the ten-foot-high bookshelves. It certainly didn't explain why the strange set up was first put into play, but it did keep the girl from ever wanting to fix it. Besides, the placement never seemed to cause any problems, there were still the anti-theft brackets that had been around since the library first opened, a thousand years ago. Or at least that was Bella's best guess. She figured the date of the building was etched into the walls somewhere, but she had never bothered to look. The library itself was somewhat boring to her. The shelves were unnerving, their books seeming to hover over her, threatening to fall at any moment, and just because the main room had such high ceilings was no reason to stack the books up to the top. Bella shuddered at the mere thought of having to restock the top shelves. Luckily for her, it was rare for a person to bother with the extra assistance needed to obtain the high stacked books; this, in turn, decreased the times Bella had to brave the ancient rolling ladders in which to return said books.
Bella sat down on the wobbly stool behind the library's oldest computer. A few months ago, when the library finally realized the turn of the century had occurred, the board had decided to update the entire section of search computers set up in the middle of the main room, and even open up a small computer lab deemed 'The Hot Spot'. They did not, however, upgrade the one computer that mattered, the one Bella sat at every afternoon cursing and smacking, not to mention apologizing to the few patrons that had to wait five minutes just to check out one book. Bella spun around once, the wobbly stool's squeaks echoing in the cavernous room, before placing her book bag in a small cubby space under the desk. She leaned to her left, where the long desk curved and ended against the wall behind her successfully closing that side off from any unwanted wandering children and pushed in the power button on the ancient computer tower. The device growled and groaned before its internal fan began vibrating the outer shell. Bella turned back to her bag and pulled out a string cheese. Unwrapping the treat, Bella looked over her reflection in the computer monitor; her hair had gotten long, reaching several inches past her shoulders, and laid straight and flat against her t-shirt. The fabric read 'If you are close enough to read this, you're close enough to bite.' The saying had made Bella laugh until Mike Newton had leaned into her in the lunchroom and asked, "Promise?" Even the memory of it made Bella shiver. Sure, the boy was cute enough now that the pre-teen acne of middle school had cleared up, but she had been turning him down for ten years now, ever since he wanted to share her mat in kindergarten.
The teen finished her snack at the same time the computer finally came to life. She signed into the libraries database and clicked on the email shortcut. While the screen began loading the list of inane questions the library's email always seemed to be full of, Bella spun in her stool three more times. The sound echoed once again but this time Mrs. Tetreau walked out of the back office, grunting in recognition of her assistant's presence. Bella truly believed that if she wasn't the chief of police's daughter, and hadn't gotten this job forced on her by her father because a teacher had caught her with a cigarette outside the gym (an unlit cigarette she had just taken from Jessica Stanley to throw away after accosting the young girl for thinking smoking would be cool), Mrs. Tetreau wouldn't have even bothered to learn her name. The librarian wasn't much older than Bella's dad, probably in her 40s, but her scowl aged her face indefinitely. Sometimes the teen imagined she worked for an old goblin sorcerous who took joy from laughing at the weak peasantry. In reality, Mrs. Tetreau wasn't mean in the slightest, she just didn't care for children or noise, especially squeaking, echoing noises made solely because a teen wished for acknowledgment just for showing up to work. Taking a large clipboard from inside a desk drawer, the librarian clipped on a list of books and handed it over to Bella. The teen stood to take the proffered assignment and glanced down the list. There were a few books that needed to be ordered, a few that needed to be taken out from the back and organized into the shelves, and a few that needed to be found in general. Bella smiled down at the woman, who was the only person in Forks, Washington Bella was taller than, save children and babies. The woman scowled in return before walking back into the small office. Bella turned back to the computer, relaxed into her seat, and began her groove of rummaging through the emails. They had received three copies of a blank email from Mr. Mallory, the fourth email contained a short message explaining why some books Lauren, his daughter, had taken out over two months ago would be late. He started to give details about their trip to London and Paris, and the issues with having the hotel the books were supposedly at send said books in the mail. Bella got bored after the first sentence consisting of, 'Lauren has a few books that will be overdue…' Clicking over to the patron accounts, Bella looked up Lauren Mallory and saw that the books were, in fact, three months late, having been taken out the last week of school before summer vacation. At least they were all from the summer reading list they received every year. Being in a good mood, and not wanting to bother with the ire that is the entire Mallory family, Bella deleted one month's worth of late charges from the account. She then checked over a few more emails, one including the question, 'Do you have any Shakespeare there? In English, not in the language he wrote in'. It was then Bella decided to step away from the emails for a bit and get working on the list Mrs. Tetreau had given her.
Bella spun in the stool one last time, before hopping up and tripping slightly on her bag. Apparently, a strap had been leaning out and her foot caught hold. The teen shoved the book bag back into the cubby hole and walked out past the circulation desk, around the religious section, through the biographies, and past the gardening how-to books. For being such a small town, the size of the library still surprised the teen. The walkways were clear enough and sitting high above the shelves one could always see the exit, restroom, circulation, and reference signs, but Bella still found patrons lost amongst the books. After finding a poor ten-year-old boy crying because he couldn't find the bathroom, Bella took to weaving in and out of sections instead of walking down the straight path from the circulation desk to the reference desk. The fact that they were separated at all was another issue Bella had with the library set up, but she enjoyed the excuse for getting up and walking about. Sitting at the desk was another teen, the same age as Bella, with long dark hair held back in a tight ponytail, and topaz colored glasses. Finding her friend Angela completely lost in a romance novel, Bella cleared her throat and in a low voice asked, "Excuse me Miss, but would you please point me in the direction of the genealogy section." Bella added a slight accent which caused the word genealogy to sound reminiscent of genital, but the other girl was so distracted she merely nodded and pointed towards the fiction section. Bella laughed at the thoughtless action, finally rousing the other girl.
"Oh, Bella!" Angela said in surprise. She blushed, her dark tanned cheeks reddening slightly. "When did you get here?"
"I'm guessing about a half hour after you." Bella held her clipboard up against her chest and leaned lightly on the desk in front of her. The desk was half the size of the circulation one but still stood out amongst the shelves. Bella assumed its prominence was so great due to the oversized oil painting of Aslan, the lion from C. S. Lewis' Narnia novels. The lion growled silently into the library, a quote from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe marked the bottom of the frame: 'Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,/At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,/When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,/And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.' Looking down at her friends smile, Bella couldn't help smiling in return. Something about the quiet, nerdy girl always put Bella at ease. Growing up in a small town, you really couldn't help but be different levels of acquaintances with most everyone in your class. Even if not exactly friends, it was rare for there to be a complete outsider, someone that doesn't get along with at least one other person in their class, and each year the friendships seemed to change, grow, or fall apart. That's why Bella still seemed to consider Mike and Jessica friends, despite their differences, and why Bella and Lauren had lunch together even though neither particularly had anything nice to say about the other. Maybe that wasn't the way it worked in other towns, Bella had no other experiences to compare hers too, but that was the way it worked in Forks.
"How is it that you can't get yourself over here right after school?" Angela asked, putting her book down and leaning forward on the desk.
Bella shrugged, "I just told Mrs. Tetreau I had an afternoon club."
"Oh, you know, EMT training."
Angela laughed lightly, covering her mouth and trying to stay quiet. The action amused Bella as she'd never heard the girl speak over a crowd; sometimes she wondered if her friend's voice could even grow loud enough to get her in trouble. "And she actually believed that?"
Bella nodded, smiling broadly. "I know I couldn't believe my luck either. Even if I could stand the sight of blood," Bella shivered just at the thought of the sticky substance. "I don't think I'd be able to deal with any type of tragedy. Remember that time Tyler twisted his ankle in the gym? I nearly had a heart attack and it had nothing to do with me, I was on the other side of the gym."
The two teens chatted away for a few more moments before Angela mentioned they "should really be getting back to work." Bella nodded and handed the clipboard over to Angela. She transcribed the list of books that needed to be ordered and handed everything else back to Bella. "I'll get these ordered for the Saturday delivery, that way we won't have to worry about categorizing the book Microwave For One, amongst others." Bella wondered off to the front of the room, weaving through the shelves once again. At one point, she thought she saw a young man she didn't recognize in the history section but when she doubled back the area was empty. Shrugging, the teen continued her tour of the library. Bella often used the vastness of the main room to stretch her legs and alleviate her boredom.
Every day after school, the teen worked the library's circulation desk; from 3pm to 6pm she answered inane questions, stocked and restocked books, and stared at the clock. After five years of the monotonous actions, Bella was convinced time moved slower in the old building, keeping her captive and torturing her slowly. She knew it could be a lot worse, Mike kept trying to offer her a job at his parent's outdoor sporting goods store. Not only did the job pay less and consist of much later hours, but she would have to endure training under the teenage boy, something he was just a bit too excited about. No, Bella had decided, the library job was a safe haven in a lot of ways. One, for example, was that she never got unexpected visitors from her school. The students of the high school only showed up the day a new project was assigned, or the day before the project was due. Middle and elementary schoolers only showed up for field trips, which were during school hours and therefore not while Bella was working. And the rest of the population was not well read. Of course, there were a few regulars, Mrs. Mallory actually stopped in quite frequently but mostly spent the time reading through old Good Housekeeping magazines. The only reason the library was so well stocked and continued to stay open, was because of Beth Crowley, Bella's classmate Tyler's mother. She donated her late husband's entire life insurance plan to the library knowing how much the man loved studying old town records and maps in the public building. The library's board talked Mr. Alexander Crowley Esquire, Tyler's grandfather, out of retirement to keep the accounting books and properly invest the money. The result was the need for a few assistants, giving Bella, and a year later Angela, jobs. Tyler was also recruited by his mother to unpack the Saturday shipments, but he was considered a volunteer.
When Bella poked her head out the front of the library to prop open one of the double doors, the sun was already starting to duck behind the tall trees and extended mountains that surrounded the small town. She frowned, even when the sun decided to play nice it seemed to get tired and go to bed early. The teen turned back to the entrance hall to see a young man standing directly behind her waiting patiently to leave. Bella jumped in surprise. The young man was a teen, maybe two years older than her, but stood about six feet tall. He had blond, wavy hair which he had tucked behind his ears and a slightly crooked nose. Bella looked over the teen's features carefully, noting his pale skin, slight stubble, and a few, unimaginably paler, thin scars. One marked his chin, just off center, another shown noticeably on his neck, ducking into the collar of a finely pressed white button-up shirt. The teen girl leaned forward, staring at the scar on the boy's neck; for a moment there, she thought she saw a tooth mark.
"Excuse me, Miss." The voice was smooth, soft, and slightly accented. Bella leaned in more before a hand reached out and tapped her right arm. She cursed at the cold contact and snapped out of her reverie. The male seemed to smile but the action looked painful to Bella. "Excuse me, but are you the librarian's assistant?"
Bella had to think for a moment, lost in the boy's golden eyes, but soon remembered herself. "Yes, of course, I am." Her voice came out perky and loud. She coughed and shifted her stance to her right leg, crossing her arms and trying to rub the heat back into them. The two stood in silence for a few beats before Bella realized she would need to be the one to clear the tension. "Was there something you needed?" She asked slowly, wondering if she sounded condescending and whether or not the blond teen would notice.
"Please, I would like to check out a book." He held up his hand, holding a large, dusty almanac.
Shifting in her stance, Bella stared at the boy for a few more silent moments. Something about the teen seemed to draw her in; she had to consciously keep herself from reaching out towards the glimmering skin and caressing the cold hands of the boy. Shaking her head, Bella blinked several times before walking past him. She dared not look again, knowing she'd be kept engrossed in whatever supernatural aura the teen possessed. He must be something straight out a teen fantasy book, maybe even one of the romance novels Angela devoured. Bella laughed at her own thoughts, knowing if she spoke any of them out loud the boy would certainly think she was weird. Well, weirder than she was already portraying herself, which might be a little hard.
Finally arriving at the front desk, the teen walked around the far edge, banging her hand against the corner, and sat down in her stool, squeaking louder then she remembered it ever sounding. Hissing in response to the petit bruise already forming on the back of her hand, Bella managed to smile at the circulation desk and request the book the teen boy wished to borrow. With a practiced hand, Bella opened the book, The Civil War Almanac in Large Print, stamp the return date on the marked slip, and scan the book in the database. The computer beeped loudly, and Bella realized she hadn't scanned the teen's library card yet. She then wondered if the boy had a library card and if so, how did he get it? When did he get it? Who was he? She could avoid the teen no longer; Bella looked up and saw the boy smiling at her, but the smile was more of a smirk and Bella knew at once he was laughing at her. She huffed in response and stuck her hand out, not bothering to voice her obvious request. The blond nodded solemnly before speaking.
"I'm sorry to say I haven't yet acquired a library card." Bella waited silently, wishing for more of an explanation. She wasn't sure if she would get one, but for some reason, she was agitated with the well-spoken, dare she think gentlemanly, teen before her. Her own actions surprised her since she was usually well-mannered and soft-spoken. Before she could apologize, a small, far too hyper girl bounced up next to the boy. She was short, possibly even shorter than Bella, and her hair was spiked off into various directions; she grabbed onto the blond teen's arm, holding it firmly between both her hands and squealed. Shrinking back into herself a little, Bella tried to keep from covering her ears. If the two kept on with all the racket, Mrs. Tetreau would come out and 'shoo' them away. The idea made Bella sad, but she wasn't sure why; her feelings towards the teens were quite conflicted. On one hand, something about the stance of the blond, the way he kept rigid and the thin scars on his face, made Bella squirm, and the protective hold the girl had on her boyfriend, as it was very obviously affectionate, made Bella angry. On the other hand, the girl's eagerness with life made Bella want to laugh and dance and sing, while the boy's soft voice and beautiful eyes made her want to… to… well, she wasn't quite sure what she wanted to do to him, but she knew she shouldn't; at least not in the library.
"Hi, Bella!" The short girl quietly yelled out. Bella figured the girl must know that a library was meant to be quiet because her voice carried like a stage whisper. She smiled brightly, shiny white teeth glimmering even in the library's dull lighting. Bella began to stare at the teeth, curious as to what toothpaste the girl must use, but quickly regained her composure and blurted out a noise. It was a nondescript noise, but it did the job all the same. The small teen giggled, covered her mouth, and tugged on her boyfriend's arm.
"We will both be needing library cards." The boy's voice somehow became more inviting now that the pixie-like girl stood with him. The realization made Bella sneer in response; she quickly covered her mouth, eyes wide. The teen, in response, gave her a strange look; it didn't quite seem to be in reaction to Bella's sneer, per se, but for some other unknown reason. Bella was so confused she didn't know what to do or to say.
Closing her eyes and breathing deeply, the librarian's assistant focused her attention on the air going through her lungs, she focused on her heartbeat, and she focused on the girl's last words. Opening her eyes, Bella looked up at the girl and cocked her head. "How did you know my name?"
Shaking her head and trying not to giggle anymore, the teen spoke in a sing-songy voice. "You're sitting behind a nameplate, silly." Bella looked down at the desk, spying the back of two desk placards. "And I'm pretty sure you're not Mrs. Tetreau."
Bella blushed. It was a bad habit of hers, one she tried desperately to avoid, but who in history had ever really accomplished not blushing? In reaction, the two teens before her seemed to lean backward, the girls hold on her boyfriend's arm tightened. Bella noticed the small change in the atmosphere but worked hard on not getting distracted again.
"Right, okay, I'll need both of your names and you'll have to fill out these forms." The teen searched the desk, looking for the small pile of applications. Finding the stack, which only had three forms left, the teen passed out one sheet to each of her new patrons, along with two pens. She then sat quietly, watching the two fill in their information. The blond had tall, sharp handwriting that made it very difficult to read upside down; the girl, on the other hand, wrote in large, bubbly letters. Bella was amused by the similarities between the two teen's handwriting and their own personalities.
"Here you are, Bella." The girl handed over both forms, followed by the two pens. Bella smiled shyly and looked over the top form. Name: Alice Cullen. There was a small doodle of a heart marking where a middle name would go. Address: 1 Olympic Dr. Clallam, WA 98331. Bella squinted at the address, not recognizing it.
"Oh, did you need a P.O. Box? We get all of our mail at the post office, its box 4475." The girl seemed to be watching Bella read over the form. In response, Bella nodded and jotted down the mailing address on the side margin.
"I don't recognize the street address you gave." She spoke it like a statement but wished for it to be answered. Neither teen offered up any explanation, so Bella shrugged mentally and continued reading the form. Phone Number: 360-381-7885. Date of Birth: Unknown. Email address: lilpsychicpixie . Notification Preference: Email. Bella nodded and began typing the information into the database. When she reached the date of birth she paused, wondering how she could have missed that answer mere seconds before. "Uh, your um date of birth is sort of needed."
"You should never ask a woman to reveal her true age." The short girl protested with a small giggle.
Bella waited but still didn't receive a proper answer. She shrugged and filled in the slot with July 4th; looking up at the girl's face, Bella filled in the year making the girl 17. Alice smiled in response and nodded. The gesture made the teen feel warm and appreciated, she sighed happily and scanned in a new library card before saving the information. Three minutes of awkward silence passed while the computer raged in anger at having to work, before settling into a gentle hum. Bella repeated the procedure with Jasper Hale's information, noting his date of birth as being December 14th, but not including a year. Bella paused, huffed slightly, and looked up. The boy shrugged and smiled, the action making his eyes twinkle. Bella smiled back and filled in the teen's age, making him 18. Alice giggled, seemingly overcome with excitement at Bella's guess. The computer repeated its angry rebellion, the tower vibrating against the shelf. Bella kicked the machine, silencing its actions. She then handed the two teens their new library cards, quickly scanning Jasper's before completing his transaction.
"What is taking you two so long?" A tall, blonde woman stood in the aisle; arms crossed. She tapped her foot expectantly and hummed angrily at Jasper and Alice. Bella stood up from her stool, not really knowing why, and stared at the woman. Not a typical gaze like the way she might look at Angela while watching her make faces at whatever she was reading, but also not really a curious gaze like how Bella used to watch Tyler play basketball, back before he turned into a pompous popular kid. The teen, leaned forward, hands on the desk, mouth open, gaping at the girl, who, in turn, scowled. The action caused Bella to flinch and focus in on the scowl. The woman's mouth curved downward, her top lip raising just enough to show off her bright white teeth; they seemed to shine more than Alice's had. The blonde's teeth had one more distinct difference: her canines seem to come down to a point, sharp and deadly.
"Rosalie," Another boy appeared in the library. Bella would have said he walked in through the front door, but she wasn't quite sure. The teen seemed to have simply appeared next to the blonde but then again Bella had been so transfixed by the woman she wouldn't have been surprised if a hurricane had gone by. Rosalie, as the teen boy had deemed her, continued to scowl, completely unaffected by the boy.
"Right then, we should probably go," Jasper spoke quickly and had already begun moving away before his sentence was completed. "Thank you, Bella, for…"
"No wait, not yet; we aren't done here yet." Alice's voice rang like a bell, a loud school bell. "Rosie needs to get a library card too; she's going to be spending a lot of time here. And since Eddie is here, he might as well get one as well."
Bella reacted quickly, a lot faster than any one of the teens expected, herself included. She grabbed the last form and thrust it out into the air, almost whacking Alice with her hand. "Here you are." She didn't speak a name, but it was obvious Bella was offering the paper to Rosalie. Her eyes went unblinking and her hand shook while she tried to keep it held out.
The blonde teen managed to darken her scowl, a feat quite amazing in and of itself but moved forward all the same. She took the paper, making sure not to allow any physical contact, and walked a few paces down the desk, away from the group. She quickly completed the form and handed it over to Alice. The short girl giggled and passed the form to Bella. It took her a few moments to realize she couldn't merely read the form telepathically through the blonde herself and started to sit down. A quiet huff of a laugh tore Bella's attention away from Rosalie and towards Eddie; he was attempting to hold back a laugh but failing quite miserably. Bella, with all of her attention on everything, but what she was doing, missed her stool and promptly landed on the floor. Before anyone could flinch, Bella bounced back up and onto the stool trying to pretend like she hadn't just fallen on her backside. Rosalie, however, didn't seem to want to let the action go.
"You need to watch yourself." Her voice was deep, moody, and not at all like any of the others. The sound made Bella unexpectedly furious; she turned back towards the girl only to find she had moved. Rosalie stood behind Bella maybe three steps from where she had fallen. Bella spun around completely, shifting slightly off the stool, but leaned on the desk for support. "There you go again, stop doing that."
Bella fumed, just who did this girl think she was? "You aren't allowed back here." She snapped. The last thing she needed was for this haughty girl to get her in trouble. "Shoo, off with you." Bella couldn't believe she had just said those words; she sounded exactly like Mrs. Tetreau. She sighed in exasperation.
"Did you seriously just 'shoo' me away like a farm animal?"
"If that's the way you have to interpret it to get you to move, then yeah sure."
"Why you little…" The blonde woman growled, actually growled at Bella, and crouched as if she was going to strike her down. Bella closed her eyes, hands up in surrender; a small voice, not quite her own but still coming from her lungs, squeaked out a quiet, fearful noise. It couldn't exactly be defined as a scream, but Bella felt it was bigger than a whimper.
"On that note, we should really be leaving now," Jasper spoke, completely at ease. Bella opened one eye, then the other. There was no crazy blonde in front of her. She turned back to the front of the desk where Jasper and Eddie stood, unmoving, completely still. That is just unnatural, Bella thought to herself.
Eddie swayed gently and readjusted his feet. He smiled down at her and nodded a farewell. "I will return at a later date to get my own library card." With that, the two boys walked out of the library leaving Bella alone and very confused. She sat staring down the aisle to the front door, past the entrance and out into the late afternoon air. Her body barely shifted, only her chest moved in accordance with her breathing, her lip trembled slightly. Bella was overcome with emotions but unable to act on any of them. The thoughts racing through her head were so great in number the teen believed she might be thinking everything, yet nothing at the same time. Was the thought of the teens, of Rosalie, holding her still or was she keeping herself engrossed in her mind by keeping her body immobile.
Angela walked up along the desk from off to the right. Leaning on the desk she looked Bella up and down before knocking on the desk and asking if 'anyone was home'. Bella flinched and turned to her friend. "You okay there, Bells?" Bella blinked a few times and nodded affirmatively. "You got a few new patrons?" Angela leaned down onto her forearms and looked over the application forms. Shuffling through the bunch she grunted, "I heard a new family was moving in. The hospital just accepted a new doctor into their ranks, a Dr. Cullen. My mom said he and his wife had five adopted teenagers. Were they nice?"
Wondering how Angela, the quietest girl she had ever met, always seemed to know the newest gossip before anyone else, Bella nodded and smiled, but crinkled the application in her hands. The sound reminded her of the mixed experience she had with one tall, blonde, witch of a girl, but Angela's words were what Bella responded to, "Family? Adopted? They were all adopted? Well, I guess that makes it fine if they aren't actually related." Bella began contemplating the relationship between Jasper and Alice and wondered if she should say anything about it. Deciding it could wait, she explained to Angela who exactly had come into the library that afternoon. "They were very nice. You said there were five? Four of them came in, I guess. Alice, Jasper, Eddie and…" She scowled and lowered her voice, "Rosalie."
Reaching out to take the form from Bella, Angela laughed lightly at the aggression in Bella's voice. She had only ever heard her friend use that tone when talking about Mike, and then it was more in frustration than in any sort of actual anger. Bella, however, wouldn't let go of the application. Smiling a tight-lipped smile, Bella kept the form until her friend gave up trying to take it away from her. She then placed it down on the desk and smoothed out all the wrinkles. Leaning in, the two girls looked over the paper for a few moments in silence. Finally, Angela looked up at Bella and asked, "Could you translate that into English? I don't really speak cursive."
Bella laughed, a big hearty laugh that filled the entire library. The noise brought Mrs. Tetreau out from the back office. She looked between the two girls, down at the applications, and over to the clipboard she had given Bella earlier that afternoon. It had sat, untouched for the past half hour. Mrs. Tetreau huffed, tapped a pen against her hand a few times, and then turned back in the office. Bella turned back to Angela, giggled quietly then got back to work.
It was 6:30 when Bella finally left the library. She had been stuck working thirty minutes after close just to complete the list Mrs. Tetreau had given her. Internally she scowled at her luck; externally she smiled at her father waiting in his cruiser to drive her home. She had gotten her license a few months earlier, having failed the test the first time but didn't like the feeling of driving, of having some giant chunk of metal controlled by her as she too often spaced out in car rides. Bella didn't care too much, she got around just fine by riding with friends or riding her bike. The teen opened the cruiser door and climbed in. She promptly closed the door on her own foot but fixed herself with no notice from her father. Bella secretly believed her father pretended not to notice her missteps just to make her feel better; the thoughtful gesture certainly worked. They rode home in companionable silence, much the same as most of their trips, and arrived at the house in only five minutes. Normally Bella walked home due to her father, Charlie's, awkward hours; the trip would only take her twenty minutes, thirty if it was raining heavily, and a little bit longer if she was having an especially klutzy day.
Bella ducked inside the house, dropping her book bag on the living room couch, just to the left of the entryway, and made her way over to the kitchen, directly opposite. Boiling water and heating up some pasta sauce, Bella whipped up spaghetti for dinner while her father set the dining room table. It was a custom for the two to eat a formal dinner on a Friday evening. Although the conversation tended to stay simple, the company was appreciated by both participants, and it was a sentimental practice. Growing up, Bella, her mother, and her father would sit down at the table for every meal they could. As the years went by, Charlie was promoted to chief of police and his hours became more sporadic; meals were shared between Bella and her mother while Charlie ate the leftovers sitting on the couch in front of a sports game. When Bella's grandparents died, her father spent more and more time working, completely absorbing himself in the problems of other people instead of looking at his own emotions. The family started to pull apart, Bella acted out at school, and soon Renee, Bella's mother, decided to leave for sunny Arizona. Bella, at the young age of ten, was asked to choose between her parents. Her mother reached out for her, with tender words and soft smiles, but Bella chose her father. She remembered the look on his face, how sad and guarded he was; Bella knew someone had to help him. Seven years later, the teenager still believed she had made the right choice. She spoke with her mother on the phone often, visiting once a year, but the relationship she had with her father was cut out of rough stone.
It took a while of persistent bugging, for a time Bella showed up at the station with a small meal and forced the chief to sit at his desk until he finished every last bite, but Bella succeeded in convincing her father to always sit down for a Friday dinner together. It was a small gesture, and a bit silly when she looks back at her actions, but when Charlie rose out of his depression Bella knew it had a lot to do with Friday night dinner.
"A new family just moved into the area." Charlie cleaned some sauce from his mustache as he spoke. "The Cullen's, they just moved down here from Alaska."
"Sounds cold. Pass the butter?" Bella reached out to receive the condiment and smothered a piece of white bread before wrapping it around a large helping of spaghetti. The result was messy but made Bella moan at the taste.
"Make sure you chew that." The man made a face at his daughter, a mixture between concern for her health and a little bit of disgust at such a large bite.
"An jello bed heefer his editor." Bella's words were muffled and confusing, her last bite still very much in her mouth.
"Finish what's in your mouth before you talk," Charlie responded, a small bite of bread still being chewed himself.
Bella smiled but waited until she was done chewing to repeat her comment. "Angela said the father is a doctor." She gulped down some milk. "And that he took a job at the hospital."
Charlie nodded, "And Mrs. Cullen is an interior decorator. They bought a house outside of town; I'm driving up there tomorrow to welcome them to the area." Charlie wiped his hands on a napkin and began cleaning up this area. "You are, of course, invited to come."
The teen dropped her fork; it clanked off the side of her plate, spun and landed on the carpeted floor. Spaghetti sauce splattered, marking a large stain on the grey fabric. Charlie bent down and rubbed at the stain with his napkin, it spread but rubbed further into the carpet making it no worse for wear. Standing up, he picked up the fork and added it to his pile. When he returned, Bella still hadn't moved.
"You know, all you had to say was no thank you." Charlie watched his daughter sit, staring off into space for a few more seconds before tapping her on the shoulder.
Confused, the older man asked, "Sorry?"
"What?" Bella blinked. She couldn't believe just how often she had lost her head that day. What was going on in her brain? She'd never had anyone affect her so much, and so violently. She felt her thoughts rush around her mind so quickly she couldn't keep track of them. "What were you saying?"
Charlie crouched down eye level with his daughter. "Bells," He searched the teen's confused expression for any obvious signs. "Have any of your friends, maybe that Jessica Stanley, offered you something? Maybe even pressured you to try something you didn't want?" Bella laughed at her father, but he ignored the sound and continued, "Anything that might, I don't know, take all your cares away?"
"Dad, dad, seriously, it's okay." Bella laughed harder, trying to keep herself focused on the conversation but too amused with the situation. "I'm not taking drugs, it's nothing like that." Bella shook her head and relaxed, a deep breath calming her. "I met some of the Cullen's today, a couple of the kids. I was just thinking about it and got lost in thought."
"Oh, well, what a relief." Charlie stood up, suddenly very uncomfortable. "Good, that's good. Well then, we'll be going around 4, at the end of my shift; that way we won't be interrupting any meals." With that, he walked out of the room and turned on the television.
Bella knew there wouldn't be any more discussions that evening, so she cleaned up her own dinner, put the leftovers in the fridge, and grabbed her book bag before heading up into her room. The clock on her bedside table read 8pm; she wondered when it had gotten so late. Settling into her comfy desk chair, Bella opened her laptop and immediately signed on. In seconds, rather than minutes, she was checking her email and signed into the town's social network. The small laptop speakers sang out the billboard top 40 while Bella updated her private online journal. Ah, this is how a computer is meant to work, she thought to herself, pushing the small device far beyond the library computer's bare minimum limits. Bella wrote about her day in scattered detail. She described her morning routine as, 'Woke up today at the same time, showered and dressed in the usual way. Got to school two minutes late and was scolded by Mr. Jefferson.' She explained a small lecture about Rome falling because of tardy students and then fast forwarded to her interaction with Mike at lunch. The reminder made her scowl, which in turn made her wonder if she looked as beautiful as Rosalie did when she scowled. Bella stopped typing; the thought had surprised her. Did she find Rosalie beautiful? With her long, golden hair, her piercing lilac colored eyes, and her statuesque build, how could anyone not find the teenager beautiful? Bella frowned and crossed her arms; if the girl weren't such a pain maybe… But Bella didn't know where that thought was going. She'd never asked anyone out, was Junior year in high school really the time to start? And would it be too soon? Really the girl and her family had just moved here, maybe she wanted to settle down a bit before jumping in a car with a stranger. Bella crossed her right foot over her opposite knee and began tapping her leg in rhythm with the pop song currently playing. She wondered where they would go, what they would do. Would Rosalie kiss her, on a first date?
"Oh my god," Bella let the words slip out of her mouth, "What if Tyler asks her out?" The thought hadn't occurred to Bella before but now she couldn't think of anything else. Tyler was the most popular boy in school; he was good looking, charming, and the Cullen's didn't know about the long list of girls he'd already gone through. This would mean, "I'd have competition." The words were a whisper, and Bella knew no one was around to hear her, but speaking the words made her feel self-conscious. She glanced around her room abruptly. It was well lit, filled with deep purples and blues, and very messy. Her clothes flowed out of her dresser and onto the floor next to her bed, her walls were lined with photographs of her and her friends, various monuments and shrubbery from school trips, and a few artsy pictures Angela had taken in her photography club.
But none of this caught the teenager's attention; instead, her eyes were drawn to the tree outside her window. It was an old cedar tree, tall and broad, that had been growing in the back yard since before the house had been built. The lowest branch was level with Bella's bedroom window, so she had never feared anyone climbing up and creeping in, but for the tiniest of moments, the teen thought she saw a boy sitting on the branch. It was crazy, Bella knew, but it fit very well in the theme of her mind that day, so she wasn't too quick to dismiss the idea. Instead, the teen stood and walked over to her window; she scanned the small yard, dimly lit by the house windows, and looked out into the forest that continued behind her house. Her eyes scanned the trees, her ears listened for any noise, but all she saw were trees and all she heard was the light babbling of the Calawah River. The teenager shivered and pulled her window down tight, even going as far as locking it, something she wasn't sure she had ever done. Anxious from all the excitement, Bella went back to her computer and lost herself in a nonsense game site. At one in the morning, the teen could barely keep her eyes open, so she finally changed into a pair of pajama pants and an old Mariner's tee, brushed her teeth, and crawled into bed.
That night she dreamt of a beautiful monster with long blonde hair, rock hard skin, and fangs dripping with blood.
A/N: Well, that was the first chapter of a new fanfic I'm working on. The idea came to me when trying to think of new things to write for my fic Vocalise. I kept wanting to start with a clean slate and see what I could do, so now I'm actually doing it. Anyways, this fic obviously has a few changes from the Twilight universe, the first being fangs, the second being Bella's gift (Edward did hear her thoughts while in the library). I haven't worked out all the kinks, but I'm messing around with different vampire worlds (Vampire Diaries and Vladimir Todd being two) and trying to pick out the things I like and ignore the things I don't.
This story is going to be in only two points of view if any. Bella is the primary, but I'm thinking of writing some from Rosalie's perspective. Tell me, what do YOU think?