Even after a century of life (or should I say un-life?) it never ceases to amaze me how trivial and dull the human mind is. For the past week the only thing on the minds and in the mouths of the populace of Forks High was the incoming arrival of a new student.
Isabella Swan, daughter to the chief of police.
The long awaited day had finally arrived, and the constant screeching of thoughts was becoming static in my mind and I was trying my very best to ignore it all. Throughout the day I had seen the face of the new girl in the thoughts of others, and I wasn’t entirely sure what all the ruckus was about. Sure she was attractive, for a human at least, but otherwise she seemed completely unremarkable. Brown hair and brown eyes, pale skin despite the fact she had spent most of her life in Arizona. She seemed shy, smiling and nodding politely along to conversations, offering the bare minimum to keep the discussion moving. I had yet to see her for myself, and like always I wasn’t going to go out of my way to interact with a human. New girl or not.
Edward. I heard Alice think my name, it rose above the static in my mind and I turned my head to look at my sister. How’s he doing? Her eyes flitted to Jasper for a millisecond and I took a moment to invade the privacy of my brother’s mind to put my sister’s at ease.
C onsidering Jasper’s shaky past, he was doing remarkably well. He wasn’t breathing as often as he should be, but I don’t think anyone noticed. In order to distract himself from the pounding of hearts and rushing of blood he was thinking incredibly hard about the wrestling match he had won against Emmett last night.
I looked at my sister and gave a slight nod, silently telling her that Jasper was okay.
“Hey,” Emmett’s deep voice broke the silence of our lunchroom table,“There’s the new girl,”
I didn’t have to look at Ro salie to know she was rolling her eyes. “ I guess you’d better see what she’s thinking, Edward. We know that these children have probably filled her head with all sorts of nonsense about us by now.”
I sighed heavily, such was my burden. Always on the look out for any indication that our cover was under threat. I scanned the lunch room for Isabella- Bella, as I have heard she preferred to be called- and I quickly found her sitting with the Stanley girl’s friend group. From where I was sitting I could see the girl’s side profile, and I realised that the thoughts of the human boys didn’t do her justice at all. She was radiant, in an understated way, as if she were unaware of her own beauty. I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion over my sudden interest, and instead started to focus on the girls mind.
N othing. Complete silence.
I narrowed my eyes and tried harder, perhaps her mental voice was just quiet. No matter how hard I tried, I could hear nothing from the strange girl across the room.
“I can’t hear her,” I whispered to my siblings.
“What do you mean?” Alice asked, her head cocked to the side in confusion.
“I mean her mind is totally silent. I can’t read her at all.”
T his was enough of a scandal to garner the attention of all of my siblings, who proceeded to turn their heads and stare at the girl themselves.
I watched as Jessica Stanley noticed our attention, and with a delighted smirk turned to Bella. “The Cullen’s are staring at you.” She whispered.
B ella seemed to be only barely there, and with a mouthful of food looked up at the other girl. “Huh?”
Jessica rolled her eyes with a nauseating giggle, “ I said , the Cullen’s are staring at you!”
“The who are doing what now?” I couldn’t help it as my lips twitched in amusement at the poor girl’s confusion. Bella slowly turned her head to look at us, sitting in the corner of the lunch room at a table all to ourselves. Her eyes widened and I heard as she made a strange strangled sound in the back of her throat and I wasn’t sure what to make of her reaction. To her credit, she recovered quickly, plastering a look of cool calm over her face. I watched as she eyed each of my siblings in turn, and I couldn’t help but think it was as if she were carefully calculating how much of a threat we were.
Ludicrous. Of course there was no way for her to know anything about what we were. But the way her brown eyes studied us still put me on edge, and I wasn’t the only one.
I caught the tail end of one of Jasper’s thoughts. It’s as if she’s waiting for us to make a move.
I waited patiently as the girl’s eyes drifted over to me, and I hoped that making eye contact would help me see into her head. Deep brown eyes met mine, and her hard eyes softened a tiny amount as her head tilted to the side gently. She frowned, and an adorable dimple formed in her forehead before she shook her head slightly and turned away.
S till nothing but silence. How queer.
“And?” The girl shrugged, doing a pretty good job at coming across as uncaring, but I could see the tension in her shoulders. The way she had moved to the edge of her seat as if she were getting ready to jump up at a moment’s notice, to any human she looked positively at ease, but I could only see a frightened deer preparing to bolt.
“And!?” Jessica squeaked in a nasally voice, “You act as if it’s nothing!”
M y family and I had turned away from staring so openly at the new arrival, but that didn’t stop me from continuing to listen intently. Her silent mind notwithstanding, her initial reaction to us was strange and I needed to make sure that she wasn’t a threat to us. I needed to know everything I could about Bella Swan, only for the safety of my family of course.
“Jess, she doesn’t know what we know.” Angela Webber’s kind voice interrupted.
“Oh right!” I heard the screech of the plastic chair against the linoleum as Jessica moved closer to the girl. I couldn’t help myself from glancing at the group every now again, I was desperate to see Bella’s reaction to the local gossip that surrounded my family. “So, the Cullen’s are the adopted kids of Dr and Mrs Cullen.”
I watched as Bella raised an eyebrow in confusion, “Okay?”
“I haven’t even got to the good part yet!” Jessica whined, and to my surprise Bella laughed at her new friend.
S he shook her head as her laughter quietened, “Oh, the good part? I can’t wait, do tell.” I could detect a level of sarcasm in her tone that made me smirk, but it was totally lost on the other girl.
“So the best part? Is that they are all like, together. Like dating. Isn’t that just so strange?” Jessica snorted her amusement and I caught Rosalie rolling her eyes, a scowl a permanent fixture on her face.
“It is a little strange, but I have seen stranger things.”
T hat caught my attention, and I looked around at my siblings to see them relaying similar thoughts in my direction. The idea of a bunch of foster kids all shaking up together usually got tongue s wagging, sometimes the odd adult would even consider calling into social services to make sure that we were well looked after. As far human standards went, our cover story was pretty damn strange. I was even more curious than before. What had Bella Swan seen in her short human life that would be considered stranger than our living arrangements?
I tuned back into the conversation happening across the room at just the right time. “ The only one that is single is Edward, b ut don’t get any ideas. He doesn’t date. At least no one here. Apparently no one in this school is good enough for him.” Jessica’s voice was bitter, and her thoughts were turned to the time I not so politely shut her flirtation attempts down. I could help but laugh lightly at the poor girl, she had no idea who (or what) she was dealing with.
B ella laughed, tipping her head back slightly in amusement, and I watched from across the room as she rose from her chair before she started to walk towards the exit. “I don’t think that’s going to be an issue.”
Nothing? I heard Alice’s questioning thoughts.
“Silence.” I murmured back, “Utter silence.”
I considered the enigma that was Isabella Swan as I made my way to Biology and settled into my seat near the back of the room. I couldn’t help but remark that she was an incredibly attractive girl, something that I usually paid no mind to. She was taller than her peers, but not lanky, and I could tell by the way she held herself that she possessed a quiet sort of confidence, despite how shy she seemed to be. I had noticed how she walked with finesse, each footfall seemed careful and calculated and it was as if some part of her was always aware of her surroundings. I watched through the eyes of the students in the hall as she weaved around the huddled masses, her silent mind like a calm oasis amidst a tumultuous storm of thoughts and memories. I noticed how she made sure to keep her distance from the other students, and I wondered if it was a conscious decision or if she simply shied away from touch on instinct. The more I learnt about Bella, the less I seemed to know.
T he class was filling up quickly, and I pulled my mind back from the thoughts around me so I could at least pretend to pay attention. The door opened and I turned to see who was entering the room, and much to my delight Bella Swan stepped into the class.
S he had a strange sort of smile on her face, like she was not fully present but content nonetheless. When she looked around the class and saw that the only spare seat was next to me, her smile faulted and fell into a grim line. Being this close to her I could hear her heartbeat, and I noticed it stutter in her chest when our eyes met. We locked eyes for a moment, and I could see in her deep expressive eyes an internal battle occurring. She seemed to be struggling deeply with something, and in the few seconds that passed I hear d her heart beat climb faster and louder.
B ella looked away, and with stiff movements she walked over to Mr Banner’s desk. She cleared her throat and he looked up at her, “ Oh yes, Isabella Swan.” He greeted her with a smile.
I waited for her to correct him like I had heard her do all day but the ‘I prefer Bella’ never came. Instead she said. “Uhm, Mr Banner I am not feeling so well. I was wondering if I could please go to the nurses office.”
I frowned as Mr Banner looked the girl over, noticing her pale complexion, the wide look in her eyes, and the slight sheen of sweat on her brow. She didn’t seem sick at all, she seemed scared, terrified even. Mr Banner didn’t see what I saw, however and nodded, “Of course.”
B ella turned on her heel and rushed out of the classroom, and I listened to the sound of her thundering heartbeat as it resounded in the empty hallways. I listened to her hurried footsteps as she moved throughout the school, but she didn’t go to the nurses office and instead rushed outside. I heard the crunch of gravel and the sounds of a car door opening and being slammed shut. She was leaving? I couldn’t make out her mumbled words, before the deafening roar of an engine filled my ears.
I knew that I would have to fill my family in on this bizarre development. And soon.
I tried my best to be patient as Carlisle returned home, I could hear him carefully taking off his coat and scarf and hanging them on the coat rack before making his way to the dining room at an annoyingly human speed. I had called a family meeting, and my siblings agreed, the new addition to Forks High needed discussing.
C arlisle entered the dinning room- a room that no one had ever dined in- and took his place at the head of the table. Esme entered after him, placing a chaste kiss on his cheek before sitting at his side, across from me at the table. Carlisle offered a kind smile to each of my siblings before turning his fatherly gaze to me , “Would you like to share the reason for this family meeting?”
“There is a new girl at Forks High, Isabella Swan. She’s the Chief’s daughter.” I began, and Carlisle nodded and I could hear in his thoughts his confusion as he mentally asked for me to continue. “She reacted to us rather strangely, and whats more I can not read her mind.”
C arlisle leaned forward, placing his elbows on the table as he templed his hands against his lips in thought. “ When you say that she reacted strangely, what exactly are you referring to?” He said after a brief moment of contemplation.
“When she looked at us, she seemed rather startled. Also, it was like….” I paused as I thought about what word would best suit the strange girl’s actions, “Like she was studying us.” I finished.
“Well, son, it wouldn’t be the first time a human has reacted that way towards us. We naturally instil a certain level of fear among humans, and yet they are also drawn to us.” Carlisle responded calmly, taking his elbows off the table and leaning back in his seat.
“It was more than that, Carlisle.” Jasper interrupted, “When we were first pointed out to her, she displayed fear, but it very quickly became confusion. Also, Edward’s right, she was studying us. I have never seen a human look us over so… methodically.” Jasper straightened up in his chair, squaring his shoulders and looking at Carlisle with stern determination. “The more she looked, the less fearful she became. By the end there was almost no fear present at all, in fact all I felt from her was… sympathy.”
“Sympathy.” Carlisle echoed, a curious gleam in his eye. “That is certainly strange.”
I couldn’t help the distasteful scowl that formed on my face, if she was no longer scared of us then why had she run from me during biology? Was it just me? Did she see something in me that told her exactly what kind of monster I was? I didn’t want to bring any of this up to my family, it seemed… too personal somehow. I didn’t know why Bella was so terrified of me, but I was determined to discover why. While her silent mind would certainly be an obstacle, I would not let it deter me from my mission. Whatever secrets Isabella Swan was hiding, I would uncover them . I was sure of it.