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Canzone di Anima

Summary:
AU. Bella has always known that vampires exist - how could she not, living in a place like Forks? - just as she's always known that they are monsters. But then the Cullens arrive, and Edward is determined to convince Bella that he's different.


Notes:


2. One

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1608   Review this Chapter

One

“Oh. My. God.” Sharp fingernails dug into Bella’s arm as she winced with suppressed pain. “They’re here!”

They could only mean one thing – five people. The Cullens.

Jessica hadn’t been the only person to notice their arrival in the cafeteria. The usual, low, buzzing din of conversation ceased as every head turned to catch their first, second, or even third, glimpse of the new students.

Every head except Bella. Instead, she focused on the blood pooling on her arm and tried not to faint as the smell made her dizzy. Bella couldn’t stand the smell of blood – the iron felt like it clung to the back of her throat as she choked out words around it – but the sight of the red fluid rising to the surface of her pale skin fascinated her.

“Bella!” The hiss of her name came from the girl to her left. Jessica Stanley, whom she’d known since they were in kindergarten. “Look, would you?”

Bella shook her head, her hair falling and making a barrier between her and the rest of the cafeteria. Keeping her eyes down at the table in front of her, she refused to show an interest in the new students.

She’d seen only a few – living in a town like Forks, having a new student at all was almost a novelty – but she knew that with the gaze of every person in the room on them, it could get quite intimidating. She jumped as she felt a warm finger tilt her head up.

“They’ll be okay,” the words were spoken with a wink. “I lived through it, all by myself. At least these Cullens have each other.”

Her smile was small, but heartfelt as she expressed her thanks to Mike Newton in her wide, brown eyes. She nodded at him, her smile twisting the corner of her mouth beautifully.

“Only three are actually called Cullen,” her aptly titled ‘chatterbox’ of a friend informed the rest of the table. “The blonde ones are the Hales.”

Mike glanced over at the table the new students had taken. “What’s the name of the one with the copper hair?” He peered around Bella. “He seems like he’s annoyed with someone.”

The temptation to look was getting too much to tolerate. Bella found her hands reaching for a pen as she focused her attention on drawing on the back of her hand instead. Long, swooping motions with a black biro was her distraction from seeming no better than the rest of the student population.

“Oh,” Jessica flipped her own curly hair over her shoulder, leaning towards Mike over the table, flirting obviously. “His name is Edward Cullen.” She tilted her head at the student, eyes perusing him lazily. “He’s quite good looking, actually.”

The dark colour was actually quite striking against the pale of her skin, Bella decided as she felt her cheeks burn pink. The way her friends spoke so openly about their attraction towards others always filled her with embarrassment.

Mike glanced at Bella, noting her flushed cheeks, and the conversation at the table died to a tense silence as he had yet to respond, leaving Jessica's words suspended awkwardly in the air like a ghost. She glanced up, wondering why the talking had stopped and found Mike’s eyes studying her intently.

Her mouth fell open, wanting to make a response, but not knowing what to say. She was saved the agony of doing so.

“Oh.” Jessica’s voice stung like acid as it fired out across the silent table. “He appears to be looking at you, Bella.”

Bella’s eyes widened, her mouth forming a small ‘o’ of surprise as the pen she’d been trailing across her hand jerked to a standstill. “Me?” She shook her head frantically, hating the feel of several gazes on her face. Hating the fact that she could feel his eyes burning her. “No, no. That’s got to be wrong. Why would he …? I mean … me?”

“He’s watching you Bella.” Mike’s voice was eerily cold. “It seems as if his eyes are almost black.” He turned his face away from hers swiftly and Bella felt a sting of rejection in her stomach.

Able to fight it no longer, Bella finally gave in to the urge to acknowledge the new students’ presence. The five of them were eerily beautiful. None looked alike, odd, considering they were related, yet, in another way, they looked entirely the same. All five had purple shadows decorating under their eyes and they all had faces that seemed too perfect.

It wasn’t hard to find out which one who been given the name Edward Cullen by her friend. His copper-coloured hair glinted dully in the artificial school lighting, yet that didn’t distract in any way from his overall breathless-inducing beauty. And, yes, his eyes were focused only on her.

A blush raised to her cheeks, staining the ivory skin a darker red as Bella tried to fight it off. But her eyes refused to move from where they were locked with this boy’s own. Which is when she swore she saw a flash of red leak into his eyes, his dark gaze becoming all the more menacing, and she gasped.

Stuttering excuses, she ran from the cafeteria and off school premises. She was out of breath by the time she reached a payphone and dialled the familiar number.

“It’s me.” In spite of her shock, Bella found a smile spreading across her face as she heard the reply on the other end. “Can you come and pick me up?”

The wait was bearable – it was hardly any time to wait at all. But, as she was alone, each moment that passed was agonisingly long. And each moment that passed, she was thinking of him, of Edward Cullen and his red-speckled, inky black eyes.

She felt a shiver pass through her just as the sound of an engine roaring became louder as it came down the street, breaking in front of her with an ear-splitting shriek. She’d have winced, had she not been used to the sound.

The driver stepped out, tall, tanned and dark, his friendly smile instantly alleviating her rapidly approaching dark mood as he wrapped her up in his familiar, warm embrace. “Hey there, Bells.” Jacob grinned as she climbed up into the ’53 Chevy pickup truck that he and his father, Billy, were working on for her to use to drive to school. He waited until she’d pulled her belt over her safely before he shut her door and climbed into the driver’s side, gunning the engine once again, and wincing as it spluttered a complaint. “That needs more work.” He noted with a wry smile.

Bella remained silent, her head propped up on her hand as she stared out the window at the passing scenery.

“What’s with this ditching school?” Jacob asked, filling the comfortable silence with words that held the potential to shift the conversation into something undoubtedly uncomfortable. “It’s not like you.”

She made a non-committal sound, determined not to talk about it.

“You even skipped out before Biology.” He glanced at her quickly before turning his attention back on the road. “What’s wrong?”

“Why would anything be wrong?”

Her voice was quiet and dismissive, laced with a warning for him to not pursue the conversation. He said nothing, only raised his eyebrows. Seeing that he wasn’t going to let it drop, Bella sighed and turned to face him, changing the conversation as they approached the La Push reservation.

“Do you remember those ghost stories that Billy used to tell us when we were little?” Bella’s voice was low, almost conspiratorial. “About the cold ones?”

Jacob laughed, the sun shining down on his russet-toned skin in a way that had his arm sparkling much like Edward’s hair had done under the cheap lighting. “I remember your hand crushing my own, you were so scared.” He flexed his hand against the steering wheel. “You were supposed to be the big, fearless six-year-old. Even at five I knew they were just ghost stories.” He laughed again, the usually contagious sound falling on deaf ears.

“But what if they aren’t, Jacob?” Her voice was a whisper. “What if there are such a thing as vampires?”

“Ridiculous.” He dismissed the notion easily as he pulled up into the safe haven of their home.

“Remember what the stories said?” She glanced out across the sea. “Eyes that change colour? Skin that is beautiful and pale?”

“Skin that shines like diamonds in the sun?” Jacob put his warm hand down on her shoulder. “Yeah, I remember.” He noticed that she was shaking and pulled her into his warm chest. “Bella, what’s wrong?”

She bided her time to answer, staring down at the pattern on her hand, drawn when she was trying to resist the temptation of staring at the Cullens.

“The stories are real, Jacob.” Her wide eyes looked up imploringly at his face, gauging his reaction to her words. “There are such a thing as vampires. And now they’re in my school.” Jacob’s protective grip on her tightened as he glanced around him and led her into the house. “But they can’t come here, right?”

She looked so scared, Jacob could think of nothing he’d rather do in that moment than to reassure her of her fears, and protect her. “No, they can’t.”

“Good.” She pulled away from him and averted her eyes, not wanting to see something in his own that she didn’t want to. Unconsciously, her fingers raised to idly scratch at the back of her hand, the ink there making her itch.

Only as she was about to wash it off later that night did she glance down and see the word inscribed in somewhat calligraphic writing, so different to her usual messy scrawl, and Bella felt dizzy as she realised what the letters spelt.

Edward.