Canzone di Anima
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.
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Her eyes darted everywhere, but not at their table. The one belonging to the vampires. Yet, she could feel the gaze of every single one of them itching at the back of her head at one time or another. Her eyes fell onto the table in front of her, staring at her hand as her dark hair curtained her face.
“What happened to you yesterday?” The slightly snobbish tone belonging to Lauren had Bella jerking her head upwards, words stumbling over themselves in her mind as she thought for an excuse.
“Um, I, er,” nervously, Bella glanced around her. “I was just –”
Relenting, she sighed and remained silent, ignoring the people at her table once again.
“Who was that guy who dropped you off this morning Bella?” Mike’s jealous tone whispered harshly in her ear. “He looked a little old for you.”
She fought the urge to laugh, the threatening gasps of laughter caught in her throat as she choked them back down. “Who? Jacob?” Her words were accompanied with a small, pretty giggle. “He’s just a friend – his father is my guardian.”
The confused expression that twisted onto his handsome face could be considered adorable. “So,” he paused, his mind trying to make sense of the words. “You live with him?”
Bella nodded, her eyes wide as she looked up at Mike, her pale, heart-shaped face flawless and void of any emotion; as it always got when she had to remember the heart-breaking agony that had wrenched her parents away from her at a young age.
He had caught her expression and immediately felt guilt shoot through him, mumbling words no one could decipher as he hid his face behind his hands.
The bell ringing loudly interrupted the awkward silence that had descended, like a ghost, upon the table and every person present stood, almost simultaneously, shrugging their bags over their shoulders.
Silently, Bella followed Mike to their next lesson, Biology II. She loved this lesson; she understood the work and sat alone, not having to talk to anybody as she finished her work in silence. Only, when she walked into the classroom, she saw somebody else sitting at her desk – someone arguably non-human.
She froze in the doorway, her eyes staring into his dark, butterscotch eyes, which were embedded in a paler face than her own. Wrenching her eyes away from his, she noticed the self-satisfied smile that sat boldly on his jaw as he tapped his pencil, slowly, against the table.
“Ah, Bella,” her teacher, Mr Banner, greeted her. “I’m not sure if you’ve met our new student before now, but he’s your new Biology partner. I think the two of you might make a great partnership.”
A blush patterned her cheeks at her teacher’s choice of words before she nodded, once, and walked to her seat, turning her back to the vampire she was now forced to endure. Pointedly, she flicked her hair over her shoulder – not noticing Edward Cullen freeze – and bent over her notebook.
It was an undeterminable amount of time that had passed before she felt cold fingers tap against her shoulder twice; the second time, the touch lingered against her skin, chilling her and making her shiver.
“Bella.” It was the first time she’d heard him speak and his voice, she found, was addictive. He’d barely finished the second syllable before she felt herself wanting him to speak again, wanted him to talk to her. She shook her head, undetected, forcing herself to be rational. In response, she turned her head fractionally towards him, never looking at him. Undeterred, he continued. “I don’t understand this question.”
Sighing, she turned fully and glanced at his notebook, noticing that the question had already been answered, perfectly in a neat calligraphic penmanship. But that wasn’t what made her pulse increase or her palms moisten with a nervous, clammy sweat.
“Bella?” Edward’s voice actually sounded like he cared about her, his tone disguised by a nervous worry. “What’s wrong? You look …”
He trailed off, reaching out a hand to clasp her own, only to have her jerk backwards and gasp out a loud “No!” that could be heard around the classroom.
A tense silence reined, every pair of eyes turning to glance at her.
“Isabella?” She barely recognised her given name – no one called her by that anymore. “Are you alright? Bella?”
The shock of a warm handing clasping heavily on her shoulder in order to gain her attention had her jumping off her stool and turning frantic eyes on her Biology teacher. “No,” she answered. “I don’t feel too well.”
She nodded, packing away her equipment with a furious pace as she inwardly cursed herself for running away. Again.
Stumbling out of the classroom, she ran gratefully into the cold air, shocking herself into awareness. She closed her eyes and fell onto the curb, resting her burning forehead against the cool stone.
Overreacted. That’s what she’d done. It was a coincidence, and only that, that Edward’s handwriting had matched that in which she’d inscribed his name onto her hand the day before. Just a coincidence.
Taking a deep breath, Bella finally looked up and saw a glint of silver flash in her peripheral vision before it came to a stop a few feet from her. Climbing out of the car, with a dancer-like grace, was a girl, her skin as pale as Edward’s and her hair chopped messily into a pixie-like look. A quick glance at her eyes – the exact same shade as Edward’s – and Bella knew the girl was watching her intently.
Studiously avoiding her gaze, Bella stood and walked away, rounding a corner as she heard a familiar voice calling a name that had her breath catching in her throat.
“Edward, wait up!” Mike Newton panted by the vampire’s side. “Man, you walk fast.” Regaining his composure, Mike continued coolly. “We’re having a get together in La Push next week. I was wondering if you were interested?”
“La Push?” Bella watched as Edward’s eyebrows rose and his lips revealed his glinting, ivory teeth as they spread into a smile. She watched and she swore that his eyes momentarily met hers, even though she hadn’t made a sound. “Sounds good. I’ll be there.”
Bella’s heart skipped a beat, her breaths growing ragged at the thought. Vampires weren’t allowed to enter the La Push reservation. Billy Black had told her when she was a child, Jacob had reassured her of that fact not twelve hours ago. And now Edward was insisting that he would be there, after all.
This was all wrong. Each and every single vampire myth she’d been told over the past seventeen years were being dismissed as easily as if they were gravel among beautiful jewels. Could it be that, possibly, she was wrong? That there was no such thing as vampires?
But there was. She’d seen them – living in Forks for all of her life had made her more aware of the abnormal. Leaning against the wall, Bella shut her eyes and willed the truth to reveal itself.
A flash of Edward’s scarlet-flecked, dark eyes haunted her dark vision and her eyes snapped open immediately.
She needed to stay away from Edward Cullen, she told herself. She desperately needed to avoid him, before she found herself in too deep.