There is nothing special at all about Forks High School.
1. Chapter 1
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Strange, thus, that this particular new start carried with it a glimmer of excitement, a bubble of unfulfilled possibility. It shouldn’t have. School was a chore, an inane six hours a day he would have to waste listening to uninteresting prattle while surrounded by warm, tempting blood – fellow students who held no more personal interest to him than a herd of cattle would to the average person, but who appealed to the creature inside him that hungered to kill them – a creature he’d strived for nearly a century to repress. There was nothing new, nothing even mildly stimulating about this particular experience.
Yet now, the day appealed to him most inexplicably; as if there was something he was meant to find in this new place: Forks High School. It was this incomprehensible anticipation that made him seem as though he had a case of first-day nerves.
‘You’re anxious,’ Emmett observed curiously.
‘No,’ said Jasper dully. ‘Excited.’ He was, of course, right; Jasper could read feelings as well as Edward could read thoughts. Jasper gave him a sympathetic smile, too pre-occupied himself with nerves of his own to spare much energy on Edward’s. I wonder if I’ll be able to hold out, he was thinking. Jasper, the newest of all of them to their lifestyle of abstinence, worried about his ability to control himself near people. He’d fared well enough to try attending school with his ‘siblings’, but the effort was tremendous.
Edward didn’t bother to explain that the reason he seemed a bit keyed up had nothing to do with the anxiety Jasper was experiencing about his first time spending a day with humans in an enclosed space. It was lucky that none of the others possessed Edward’s unique ability; he wasn’t sure any of them would understand any more than he did this strange … premonition that something awaited him in Forks High School. Especially as he wasn’t the one with the power to see into the future – no, that was Alice’s gift, and he could see nothing in her thoughts pertaining to himself in the near future.
Esme, ever a romantic, had once suggested that perhaps he was looking for a partner – a soul mate who would match him the way she did Carlisle; the way Rosalie and Emmett, and Alice and Jasper fit each other. Esme, he thought, worried too much about his single status. It’d been almost a century since his creation, and never had he seen a female who called out to him the way he expected it should happen: a bolt of lightning, a flash of thunder, eternity in a single glance. No, he didn’t think he was searching for that, consciously or not. And after all, they’d have known if another vampire was here in Forks, let alone attending the high school.
If he had a heart, it would have skipped a beat as he stepped out of the shiny new Volvo Carlisle had bought him last birthday, into the drab grey school parking lot, where it was sleeting down onto the arriving students; they paid little attention to the Cullens as they made wild dashes from the shelter of their cars to the school entrance. Would that mysterious thing, whatever it was, that he seemed to be awaiting emerge?
Unfortunately, the thrill was short-lived. It took exactly ten seconds from the moment Edward walked through the school’s front doors for things to return to normal. That was the amount of time required for the thoughts of a hundred nearby students to wash through his mind, filling it with inane, uninspiring chatter. Ordinary. He sighed and focused on they way to the general office, tuning out the tinny voices in his head. The anticipatory feeling dissipated; it was just a regular, mundane first day of school after all.
People were disappointingly predictable. Sure, there were exceptions – there always were, to any rule. But the majority of them – and the student body of Forks High School in particular, it seemed, was exceptionally dull. Six hours in a building full of them and he had yet to discover a truly original thought. The school secretary, a middle-aged woman with greying hair and a maternal face, was absolutely flabbergasted at their entrance – Three gorgeous young men – it’s almost criminal that they’re far too young … and the girls – what I’d give to look half as good! Her thoughts would have been more disturbing if it had been the first time he’d heard them before. Or if he didn’t factor in that the five of them actually were older than her – and by at least several decades.
Designs on the five beautiful new students were definitely the foremost thought in the minds of half the students by lunch time.
I thought I was going to die when Edward Cullen looked at me – god, he’s incredibly gorgeous! This from a number of girls he passed in the corridors as he got from class to class. Jasper and Emmett, both enrolled in the junior year, drew as much attention among their peers, from what Edward heard in snatches as he passed older students.
I wonder if she’s still single. Should I try asking her out anyway? Rosalie’s stunning beauty, exceptional even for a vampire, was the clear object of desire among the male population. Alice didn’t draw quite as much attention as she would have outside Rosalie’s wake, but she was clearly noticeable as well. Edward was careful to avoid male thoughts; it was decided awkward to have lewd fantasies about his sisters painted vividly in his mind.
Even more uncomfortable were the fantasies of one Jessica Stanley, a fellow Sophomore who had – in her words – the amazingly good fortune to be in both his morning classes. She’d attached herself rather annoyingly to him, tagging along like a pet poodle by his side as they walked to class, nattering away all the while. Her conversation was as empty as her thoughts; Edward barely paid attention – not that it hindered her. More than once, he had to resist the urge to speed up his pace to something inhuman just to get away from her. He finally managed to shake her off at the cafeteria with the excuse that he had promised to meet his family for lunch. He was afraid for a moment that she would try to join them, but the idea of meeting all the beautiful Cullens at once – he caught her seethe with jealousy as she spotted Rosalie, already seated at a table – proved too daunting and she went off to find her friends. Maybe I’ll see him after lunch. He seemed a bit shy, but I think he’ll warm to me soon. I was trying so hard to be friendly. Oh, I do hope we become friends … maybe he’ll ask me out … Edward shook his head to clear it of her ludicrous thoughts and threw himself into a chair, sighing half out of relief, half out of exhaustion. There was another reason that Jessica Stanley’s proximity grated on him: it was terribly trying to spend so much time so very close to a human. Just because he had learnt control over the years didn’t mean that the pervasive thirst dissipated.
‘Tough morning?’ said Emmett, grinning. Edward rolled his eyes. ‘What’s the scoop on us, then?’
‘The usual.’ Edward glanced perfunctorily into the minds nearest their table. They were, of course, straining to hear what the beautiful, mysterious Cullens were discussing. Just as well – it would be good to give them something to put them off. ‘The boys can’t take their eyes of Rosalie –’ he didn’t have to read his sister’s mind to know that this would please her ‘– and the girls are all wondering if they have a chance with us.’
Emmett snickered. ‘Better correct them now rather than later, then.’ He reached over to pull Rosalie to him and plant a kiss on her lips. The sound of a million disappointed mental sighs around the cafeteria rang in Edward’s head. Shallow, he thought viciously, thankful that this mind-reading thing didn’t work in reverse. Aloud, he snorted and turned to Jasper and Alice, who were both silent and staring at their food. Jasper’s lips were pulled tightly together and his eyes were a shade darker than they had been this morning.
Alice, no doubt, was examining the afternoon ahead of Jasper. Edward couldn’t help catching snatches of the thoughts that ran through both their minds – hardened resolve and a hint of pride at making it through the morning from Jasper; a vision of them all walking calmly out of the school together in Alice’s head. There was nothing alarming yet, so he pulled away from their thoughts, giving them privacy.
A moment later, Alice seemed to be satisfied. Her stiff, concentrating face relaxed into a smile.
‘I’m proud of you,’ she said softly. She reached out for Jasper’s hand under the table and held it – an action that didn’t go unnoticed by the eager eyes scrutinising them. Oh woe, thought Edward sarcastically. More hearts broken. How tragic. Didn’t these people have anything better to think about?
His mood didn’t improve through the afternoon. The entire freshman year seemed to have reached the conclusion after lunch that he was the only one of the five Cullens who was unattached, and suddenly, all female fantasies were focused on him. Esme probably had a point about the whole soul-mate thing, he conceded halfway through Algebra – if he’d had someone like Emmett and Jasper had Rosalie and Alice, he wouldn’t be constantly stuck in this position – the odd Cullen, the one every girl focused their attentions on.
He spent the whole of Algebra rebuffing advances and crumpling the notes passed surreptitiously to him under tables. He did regret snarling at one girl – an Angela Weber, whom he’d chosen to take a seat next to because her thoughts showed a reluctance to speak to him, even if it was out of shyness rather than imperviousness to his looks. His patience thin after the teacher, Mr. Patrick, asked if he’d anything to share (of course he’d swept all evidences of notes away in half a second), he’d snapped at Angela in a hiss to stop acting as a courier. Alarmed by his hostile tone, she’d shrank back.
He’s so frightening … I guess he’s really tired of girls chasing after him … but it’s not like they really mean any harm. I mean, he is nice-looking … though he’s far too intimidating for me, really …
Her thoughts were certainly kinder than the average person’s, kind enough to make Edward feel a tiny stab of guilt at scaring her. But it was probably for the better. Better that they get scared off now. Safer.
The day continued to drag. He suffered through Physics – another subject he’d been through time and again, and at college levels. It was clear that by the end of the period, his teacher thought him a genius. There wasn’t much to be proud of, being able to give perfect answers to questions he could have answered in his sleep. He did, however, feel some grim satisfaction in the way the love-struck girls were beginning to be wary of him.
By the time he got to the end of school, he was certain that his strange excitement earlier had been nothing but an aberration. There was nothing special whatsoever about Forks High School, and Edward was fully prepared for each of his days here to be just as boring.