Rosalie hadn’t had a peaceful morning since she first owned her own cell phone. When her alarm woke her in the mornings, so did the multitude of social media platforms she used; all filled with people trying to talk to her.
Her mother, the woman who stuck sticky notes in Rosalie’s yearbooks to remind her of all the friends she had ever had, told her it was the price of being popular. Rosalie only half-agreed. What most people called popular, she called noticeable. Popular didn’t really apply; she knew full well not a lot of her school liked her; most of them might think she was a rich bitch or snobby. But most of the school thought about her, because she was worth noticing.
She was just about to have breakfast with her eight-year-old brother Kenneth, when her phone rang. It was Alice, she was worth interrupting breakfast, unlike the droves blowing up her messages who could easily be ignored. She sent an apologetic grimace to her mother, who was adding blueberries and banana to their slow-cooked oats. But her mother just smiled and nodded her assent.
“Morning bae.” Rosalie said, leaning over to give her mother a kiss on the cheek when she set down her food.
“Yes!” Alice answered, sounding a little flustered, “Listen, look, I know it’s silly to wear my coach backpack today, right,” she said frantically, “like it’s too good for school, but-”
“No way,” Rosalie said loudly, getting Kenneth’s attention, and she stroked her fingers over his soft forehead. Alice was one of the sweetest and intuitive girls she knew; and one of the rare few she got along with. “You wear your coach, and I’m bringing my prada backpack!” She declared, and heard her mother laugh softly.
“Oh, yay! Okay!” Alice cheered, and there was a rustling sound for a moment. “Oh and Jasper just got up so he’ll be at yours in like 20 minutes!” She added hastily. Rosalie glanced over to where her mother leant against the marble counter, hands wrapped around a large mug of tea.
“Of course,” Rosalie replied and hung up. She met her mother’s expectant gaze. “It’s not wasteful to wear nice things, is it?” She asked, smiling a little.
“Hija,” Her mother walked over and petted her cheek. “I don’t pick out presents for you just so you keep them holed up in your room!” She said, smiling affectionately at her beautiful daughter and laughed when she leapt up to give her mother a kiss.
Rosalie was in an excellent mood as she washed and dressed for the day. She was reapplying her sightly plum lipstick in the entrance mirror when her mother was on the phone.
Rosalie glanced over and saw her mom looking slightly wistful or something. “What’s up?” She asked, dabbing her finger against her matte lip.
Her mother smiled and puts her hands on her shoulders, squeezing lightly. “Your father just isn’t making it to dinner, that’s all, darling.” Rosalie didn’t scowl, but she did brush her mother’s hands away, muttering about her shirt. They didn’t say anything else until Rosalie had opened the front door. “Have a good day, baby.” Her mother called after her, but she didn’t feel like responding.
Alice was eating toast with her Aldactone and trying to keep her plate away from her maine coon-cross, Persnickety. She knew she had to reawaken her brother, who enjoyed sleeping until she jumped onto his back, and then falling back to sleep after she left the room.
Alice was preoccupied, because the note from their father said he wasn’t going to be home for dinner. That meant he’d order food from Parc Katya; which meant salted caramel crepe cake!
She was shooing Pernickety towards his own bowl, of very premium cat chow, when her phone dinged yet again. She glanced at it and muffled her own squeal. It was her boyfriend! She didn’t like getting bugged by her friend’s snapchat stories or facebook messages so early in the morning, but a text from her boyfriend was very much okay.
Morning sweetheart hope you slept well. Heading out now should be at yours in 45.
She knew that was the truth. From picking up Rosalie from her apartment to getting Emmett from the bus stop, her boyfriend was punctual. Then when he got here everyone would inevitably have to wait for Edward to finally get ready, but they always got to school on time.
<3 <3 Okay baby!! <3 <3
She texted back, but didn’t expect and wouldn’t approve of getting a response as he was driving. He drove an old Thunderbird coup that Rosalie helped him keep well-maintained, and always made it a habit of opening the door for her.
Alice went up to her room to pick out her outfit for the day. It was one of her favourite parts of the day. Maybe it sounded frivolous and girly, but she liked clothes. She liked staying up late to watch live streams of Paris Fashion Week, she liked collecting books by couture designers, and judging the celebrities who didn’t stay on theme for the Met Gala.
She had an internal crisis over whether she should bring her new backpack, but one quick call to Rosalie had solved that problem. Rose was the most beautiful girl Alice had ever seen in real life, and had the wonderful personality to match. Except when she was acting tough, which was nearly always, and then she kind of reminded Alice of a pitbull.
She mentioned Jasper’s text before she hung up, though, which brought her focus right back to him. She thought he’d been acting strange lately, and she hoped he wasn’t too stressed. He could be a high-strung boy, and she really liked winding him down.
She sighed to herself as she wandered back downstairs after her shower, very content to continue dreaming of her darling, when she cried out as Pernickety took the last bite of her cold toast before she made it back to her plate.
“You’re spoilt and cheeky!” She told him, and marched straight to Edward’s room to complain.
Edward loved his sister, probably all the more because they were adopted. He felt much bigger and stronger than her when they were both four years old, when she was scared and lonely. The subsequent feelings of protectiveness had never diminished.
Not even when she jumped on his back for the second time this morning. A very undignified grunt was squeezed out of him as she bounced off.
“Edward! Persnickety took my toast! And get up! You’ll make us late!” She yelled, and dragged the covers from him. She smelt like blueberries and perkiness and it made him sick.
“Some people respect boundaries and privacy and personal space …” He grumbled as he heaved himself up, and shooed her to the exit.
“And some people get up on time!” She said as he closed the door in her face. He sighed and leant against the wood.
His mind was very preoccupied, and it wouldn’t do to have the world’s biggest busybody start pestering him, which was unfortunate since he lived with her.
His mind was preoccupied by one thing; Jacob Black. He was an indigenous boy and one of the youth liaisons that his father was coordinating with for a children’s vaccination program on a reservation somewhere north. Edward had met him a week ago and now he was in love. Jacob, or Jake, had a literally sunny disposition, he was friendly, nice, funny and beautiful. So very beautiful. Edward felt hideous, skinny and grumpy in comparison, until Jacob smiled and Edward always, without fail, lost his train of thought.
Edward also lost his train of thought when Alice decided to start pounding on the door. “Hurry up! You won’t be able to eat breakfast!” She yelled, as though he ever did, before thumping down the stairs.
With a groan, he tottered over to his bed and flopped back down.
Emmett always got up early. It was a habit since he was a kid, and always wanted to see his father off before he went to work. But now his dad was a site manager, and they had money, and Emmett didn’t need to be up at the asscrack of dawn to say goodbye. To be fair, with four other kids still in the house, it was hard to sleep in with the racket.
But Emmett loved his giant family; he didn’t get a lot of supervision, but he didn’t feel at all neglected. His parents knew the best thing a teenager could have was the space to make their own decisions. It was a lesson learned through his three older siblings.
But he was never one to let a good opportunity go to waste, and nearly always went on a jog in the mornings, with the trusty family St Bernard, Miss Larry, before he had to eat and catch the bus.
Emmett was also very glad he didn’t have to beg for the jeep to get to school anymore.
“You think I’m going to let you drive a half hour to and from school, just to have my car parked in at your school all day? Teenagers could do Moses knows what to it, and just so you can skip a bus ride? Boy!” His dad always said. But with all public transport, it quickly became a forty-minute bus ride, followed by another half-hour bus ride and nearly always made him late.
Now, thanks to one very good friend, he just had to bus it into the city and Jasper was there to pick him up, with a very beautiful, special lady too.
Rosalie was a knock-out, and rather tall, almost the same height of Jasper and taller than Edward. They weren’t really anything, yet; but she danced with him at parties because he was 6”5’ and sat on his lap if they had to squish up in the car. Emmett made her feel petite, he supposed, and she was so gorgeous that he was more than happy to oblige. Lately they had taken to making out at parties. Some of the guys on the team gave him shit about it because she had a high-profile thing with some dude in college, but Emmett didn’t need to know the details to know it ended badly.
He made it back in time for a quick shower and a longer breakfast, and heading off after scrubbing the plates and leaving the utensils for one of his little siblings. It was one of the perks of being the oldest kid still at home.
Rosalie and Jasper were in the parking lot of the Manhattan Centre; which was just a café that attempted to appeal to businessmen, while only being frequented by hipsters. It was across the road from where Emmett’s usual bus stop was, and it was their favourite coffee shop.
Jasper had treated Rosalie to a coffee, while teasing Paul, their favorite barista.
“Come on, Paul!” Jasper groaned, slumping over the counter. “At this rate we’ll grow old and die here!” He claimed. Paul ignored him in favour of filling their order. It was their usual, four iced coffees for anyone, except Alice who had an iced tea.
“Don’t you care about our education?” Rosalie simpered, batting her lashes. She liked fake-flirting with him because he kept sticking up a photo of his girlfriend’s growing foetus right on the coffee machine. Jasper was ready to see a baby picture hanging up there already.
“No.” Paul grunted, and then immediately passed over their order, and they trotted off while he shooed them out of the store.
Rosalie all but flounced across the road to his car, which she loved more than her silver Rover, because her father had bought it for her so she wouldn’t make her own car from scratch, like she had wanted. Rosalie was looking over his paint job with as much focus as Edward usually had for books.
“It’s not fading yet,” she clicked her tongue, considering, “but I’d rather you kept her undercover.” She added heavily.
Jasper rolled his eyes. Unlike Rosalie’s apartment building, where there was underground valet parking and an infinity pool; Jasper’s building was filled with 20-something douches who were all founding a start-up or currently power-brokering a fortune 500 company, or so they acted. Mostly they just seemed to smoke weed to piss off their parents. They were the ones that paid for spaces in the leaky parking lot, not him.
“Stop gendering my car, it’ll be fine as is.” He replied dryly. He and Rosalie had an extremely good understanding of each other, but for her tendency to err on the side of controlling. It was a constant source of amusement to see her up against Alice’s whimsical sense of leniency.
Thinking of his girlfriend did not send his insides into the usual mush, but made him stomach tighten. He was partially worried about them lately. They’d been dating for more than a year now, and he was getting hung up on the little things. He knew this, but when you focus on small things, they just multiply and multiply ….
He fiddles with the beanie on his head; it was red and nearly as long as he was; Alice had made it for him because she knew he only owned one scarf, which was really thin. So he wrapped the end around his neck and didn’t let anyone else touch it.
Rosalie came to lean against the fencing of the parking lot with him, her eyes studying his expression. “What’s up? You have your thinking face on.” She said, reaching out and pinching his chin. Her nails were long, but they were square and didn’t hurt, so he let her. “Don’t do that, it’s not cute.” She tells him, the sarcasm heavy in her tone.
“What? Think?” He smiles, but she doesn’t really respond. She knew how to wait him out better than most. “… It’s nothing.” He says instead. He wasn’t going to bring up his relationship troubles with her right now. He wasn’t stupid, this was a conversation to have with the other half of this.
Rosalie released his chin with a huffy kind of grunt that she wouldn’t make in front of other people. “Don’t do that either!” She snapped. He didn’t reply, and she knew she wouldn’t get anything out of him about it this morning.
Jasper texted his little lady that they were waiting on Emmett, and smiled as he got a string of hearts in reply. His smile dimmed as he stared at his home screen; a picture of her taking a dorky selfie. He’d found it after a daytrip date.
He threw his phone onto the driver seat through the open window, ignoring the multitudes of other messages from friends. He was being so bugged it looked like his phone would vibrate right off the seat. Rosalie’s phone was the same, but she was actually actively replying to people. Jasper though in a way, for all her prickly bravado, she was nicer than he was.
Jasper heard a deep, familiar laugh, and glanced around Rosalie to see Emmett waving at them. He waved back, very glad the big friendly giant was here to soak up Rosalie’s attention. “Hey, look at these two blonde bombshells!” He whistled, and Rosalie clicked her tongue at him, looking annoyed.
Jasper watched as she kissed both of his dimpled cheeks, and held out his half-full cup as Emmett came up and clapped his shoulder.
“You want the rest of my coffee?” Jasper asked, and in exchange, he took Emmett’s backpack to throw it into the trunk.
“I’d love to share cooties, gimme.” Emmett took the cup, and made sure to open the back door for Rosalie to get in before climbing into the passenger seat himself. Rosalie climbed in primly, as this was the only way she was willing to relinquish front seat, and Emmett needed the leg room.
Jasper started the car and pulled out of the parking lot.
“The quicker we get to the doc’s, the quicker we can rag on Edward.” Emmett said, and they laughed at the idea of further impeding the morning of their perpetually-sleeping friend.
Jasper’s Walkman mp3 was plugged into the car’s radio, and Emmett was messing with it while typing on his phone.
“Boy, pick one and don’t distract me,” Jasper told him sternly, referring to both the music choice or whether he was going to be on his phone. He didn’t even hold hands with Alice while he was driving, as much as she wanted him too; he drove stick and needed both hands.
Emmett pouts, his curly hair ruffled by the wind. “But dad, I need to talk to my friends and chose a banger!” He whined. He’d already moved onto his own coffee, he was a big guy and there was a lot of blood that needed to be pumped with caffeine.
Jasper grinned and Rosalie clicked her tongue while sipping her latte. “I said pick one, young man.” He said, and Emmett fell back against the seat with an easy laugh.
Alice was up and bouncing when she heard Jasper’s car in the driveway, and, ready now that she changed her estradiol patch, and nearly threw herself out of the door.
Jasper was just stepping out of the car before she tackled him. It would be much more effective if she hadn’t been five-foot-nothing, and if Jasper’s reflexes were any slower.
He caught her into a hug and gave her a tender, if polite, kiss. Alice felt as warm and tingly from her hair follicles to her toe tips. Everything about her boyfriend made her so happy, and he rests his forehead against hers for a few moments.
“Good morning!” She chirped, and he nodded as he took her bag and put in the trunk. It was one of his rules; larger bags went into the back. She followed him behind the car and gave him another kiss. And then another.
She rearranges his beanie when he tilts his head down for her. It was red and four feet long, tapering into a tip; to double as a scarf, and she’d made it for him last month. She’d teased him for not washing it for three days after he’d got mustard on the end, but he’d told her that for the first few days it still smelt like her and she couldn’t tease him any longer.
Jasper opens the door for her, and Alice climbed into the back seat and gave Emmett a quick one-armed hug in the small space, before cuddling in next to Rosalie.
“Girl, you need to warn me if you’re going to bring out the Prada a-line skirt!” Rosalie admonishes her after kissing her hello.
Alice knew Rosalie probably only appreciated the brand name, it made her laugh and slaps the taller girl on the thigh. “I told you the Veronica Beard mid-rise!” She gloats about the jeans she had on, smiling as Rosalie pet her cheek nicely. Jasper didn’t get back in the car, and Alice could see he had his eyes on the front door.
Edward had yet to make his supermodel entrance, and Alice rolled her eyes.
“Just like every morning ….” She said, and turned her attention onto more important things. Rosalie had the cute YSL moto jacket on.
“Babe, what top have you got on under that little sweater. What colour is that, rust?” Rosalie asked, and pinched the hem of Alice’s sweater to inspect its hue.
Alice lifted it up and showed off the burgundy high-neck sleeveless top underneath. “So cute, someone’s ready for autumn!” Rosalie teases.
Emmett flung himself over to the driver-side and slammed on the horn.
“Edward!” He yelled, “Get your ass out here now!” He hollered, and slumped back in his seat. “Before they start comparing boots …” He grumbled.
“Oh! I love your knee-highs, Rosie!” Alice gushed, and stuck her tongue out at Emmett when he groans. Rosalie tacked on her approval for Alice’s heeled Chelsea’s before Edward finally came out of the front door.
They gave him a round of applause as he climbed in the back, putting Alice in the middle, and he almost immediately slumped against the window and fell asleep, an apple limp in his hand.
“Ready or not,” Jasper muttered, and purposefully grinded the gears to wake Edward back up, making all of them gasp in unison, before laughing.
Bella felt like a creepy nerd, sitting around, waiting for the library to open. But her dad had gotten up early, which woke her up, and now she was just sitting with Jessica, wishing they had friends that got up more than an hour before school.
That wasn’t true, Angela was always an early-riser, because she had to take the train in, and was currently texting her about a cute dog that was in the same train car.
Jessica gasped, and grabbed Bella’s arm.
“They’re coming now!” She squealed, and Bella blushed at her friend’s obvious antics.
Bella couldn’t help staring a little along with Jessica. Her long-time crush, and current crush of at least half the girls in school, had just arrived. The old car pulled into the parking lot, effortlessly reversing into a spot. The car stopped and the trunk popped open.
Bella watched as the driver-side passenger door opened, and Edward Cullen stepped out.
He was wearing a grey pea coat and dark slacks, and Bella told herself not to swoon simply because he didn’t wear his jeans halfway down his legs, though she had yet to see him in jeans, and she did take careful inventory of him. She barely registered the driver and passenger doors opened. Jasper Whitlock and Emmett McCathy stepped out and immediately went to help the two girls out of the car.
Edward went straight to the trunk and began pulling out bags. Jessica was keeping up with ensemble choices like this was the red carpet, or she was having a very specific type of stroke.
“Oh my god, Alice’s dark orange sweater and black skirt look so cute, black pantyhose always look so grown up, she’s so thin.” Jessica whispered. “Damn, Rosalie always wears the best shit, she dresses like everyday is a HBO show except she’s the only one in designer.” Jessica added. “Also, why is it that Edward just … walks like that? I mean, it’s really a strut but he pulls it off.” She mused.
“Jessica, any louder and they’ll hear you.” Bella muttered, which wasn’t true as they were quite far away from the parking lot.
“I can’t believe they get helped out of the car like that! So lucky!” Jess whined, as Alice Cullen was gently pulled up by her boyfriend, and Rosalie Hale primly brushed herself off as Emmett McCarty, a footballer of some type, let go of her hand. None of Bella’s friends-that-were-boys were half so gentlemanly.
“Hey, Emmett’s duffle coat is kinda cute, he looks like he’s a long shore fisherman.” Jessica said. “Is Jasper’s jacket actually from a park ranger? I mean it looks weirdly like, authentic.” She added.
Emmett was swathed in the dust-brown coat, but Bella could see the Timberlands accented by the rolled-up ankles of his jeans. He followed behind Rosalie, grinning with his hands in his pockets.
Jasper held himself very well, Bella always straightened her back when she saw him, and this time was no exception. He looked almost kitschy, in a large green vintage-looking jacket, and black docs. What was comical was the large red beanie he wore. It was a slouch beanie, or would be, if the end wasn’t so very long enough that he wore it as a scarf. Bella admired how unique it was.
Jessica seemed to take her feigned nonchalance to heart, though, and loudly moved onto the dumb videos Mike had posted on snapchat about how the set-up for his party tonight was going.
They made up the entirety of the popular group, in a way.
Rosalie was the most popular girl in school, undisputed. She was gorgeous, wealthy and proportioned in a way that made any other pubescent girl want to crawl under a rock. You couldn’t really say she was a bitch, partly due to the social ostracization such blasphemy would cause, but also because she didn’t even need to be mean; simply no acknowledgement from Rosalie Hale felt like ice-cold rejection.
It would be disingenuous to call Alice Cullen ‘second-most-popular’ when compared to Rosalie, because you couldn’t really compare them. She was short and rail-thin and really, very pretty. She reminded Bella of Clara Bow, an old silent actress. Nothing about Alice could ever be called ‘awkward’, not the way she dressed, or moved, or acted. She just had that quality that made you want her to like you. It was easy to tell Rosalie and she were best friends, in a way that made any girl want to be in the place of either one of them.
Like all queen bees, there was a posse. Jennifer Ford was the type of popular you could call a bitch, she was from Los Angeles, as she liked to constantly remind everyone and drove a Beemer. Katie Marshall’s mother worked in advertising, partnering with several designer labels, and literally didn’t talk to anyone unless they were worth knowing. Katie just shut up and stayed on her phone, or simply said good-bye. Bella learnt that the bizarre way when she was in a group project with her, and she would only speak to Lee Stephens while they were all sitting there. Samantha Wells made no waves until sixth grade, when she came back after summer with a completely new outfit and look; her mother had made a lot of money when one of her online games went viral.
As soon as Jasper Whitlock came sauntering in from Texas, he was undeniable cool. He had an awesome vintage car, his style was unique and because he was so attractive it looked good on him instead of weird, he even made his black nail polish look stylish. But his personality was like a magnet. He was rakishly friendly to anyone who spoke to him. Bella had never actually known someone who was as ‘charismatic’, which was the word you used to describe important historical figures, not the boy that talked his way out of a tardy slip for gym. With him elevated the likes of alternative Austin Marks, and otherwise quiet and singular D.J Garrett.
Emmett McCarty was a familiar type of popular; he was handsome, loud, friendly and exceedingly excellent at sports. He was the tallest boy in their grade and had the upside-down triangle shape of an action-movie star. But he had a kind of wild, devil-may-care attitude that made him leader of the jocks. He even bumped the football captain Lee Stephens down to second-in-command, and leading Rob Sawyer and Connor Chijindu.
Seeing Emmett and Rosalie flirting was like watching a romantic teen movie, a la Clueless, a sleeper hit with A-list stars ‘before they were famous’, with an obvious teen target demographic except the actors were too beautiful and it pulled you out of the story.
Then there was Edward Cullen. He was heart-melting and room-stopping beautiful. He played piano, and even won a few awards that ended up in the school paper. He liked reading, and was once lectured for hiding a copy of A Room With A View inside his biology book to read in class. Bella loved that he'd read such a gorgeously romantic book. He was the reason the after-party trips to Fourth’s were so tempting, like his presence was the reason the popular group looked so appealing. If their school had a written ‘Hot Or Not’ list, all these people were hot, and Edward was fire.
He was the reason Bella and Jessica staked out the parking lot if they had time in the mornings; the five of them climbing out of the car. Jasper always parked in the teacher’s section – next to Clapp who was a car fan and seemed to be fond of his vehicle.
In a stroke of insanity at the last party she went to, Bella snuck into the bathroom and wrote Mrs Edward Cullen on the mirror in lipstick. Everyone accused the current Edward Watch; Jessica Stanley, June Richardson, but Bella had felt sneaky and silly with that one little harmless secret, and for all her musings on being out-of-place, or ‘too old’ to be a teenager, she had left that party feeling like she cracked the code of puberty.