6 YRS POST-BD: On her first day of H.S, Nessie befriends Chelsea Gray - a girl with a dark secret. When Alice can't see her future and she miraculously survives a fatal car crash, Nessie finds she has more in common with her than she thought. BOOK CANON.
3. A Friend Among Strangers
Rating 5/5 Word Count 3506 Review this Chapter
Twilight Saga: Crescent (Book 5)
Chapter Three: "A Friend Among Strangers"
Original Twilight Characters, Locations and Events (c) Stephanie Meyer
All other Characters, Locations, and Events (c) Fire Inferno & Leigh-Anne Kaylen
After saying our quick goodbyes after lunch, Chelsea and I headed off to our respective homerooms. Thankfully, no one else in my family was taking French, so I had homeroom "to myself."
I was one of the first students in the class, so I found a seat in the middle of the class figuring it was a good spot; away from the workaholics in the front of the class and the slackers in the back. I pulled out Angels & Demons by Dan Brown and started reading as I waited for the rest of the class to arrive. As I read about Robert Langdon's journey through Rome, I couldn't help but think about the Volturi -- and in relation, Jake. It seemed like so long ago they forced him to leave us, stating their completely ridiculous "protecting our kind" bullshit.
I didn’t understand it, but Carlisle seemed to agree with Aro. Jake, realizing that if he didn't leave Aro would most likely kill either him or I, decided it would be better if he just left. Last I heard he and his pack were down in Brazil with another shape-shifting tribe.
I was jostled out of my thoughts by the increasing flow of students into the classroom. I put my book away and started looking around the room, taking in the sights and sounds of my very first high school class. There were the very social students gathered around certain desks, talking about the latest fashions, video games, or catch of the week. In contrast there were the quiet students who sat in their desks reading, listening to music, or just staring off in thought.
The bell rang and everyone quickly jumped into their seats. The short, golden haired woman standing in front of the class began speaking as soon as the bell had rung. She had to be less than five feet tall, almost 4'8" if I were a betting woman (which I was, thanks to Uncle Emmett). She had the kindest eyes hidden behind her translucent glasses, yet an authority in her voice that demanded respect. It was obvious I was going to like her.
"Welcome class, to French One. This will be your homeroom for the first semester. My name is Madame Bougie. Now, if you would please take out a piece of paper and a pencil, I would like to see just how much French those of you in my class know."
There were loud groans and quiet arguments from the class as everyone pulled out the requested materials.
"Oh settle down," she said almost playfully. "These papers will not be graded. I simply want to find out just where this class is so I can better prepare my teaching plan. It doesn't make sense spending time teaching you things you already know. This is also an indicator if you should be placed in a higher level class. So everyone, please, I would like you to write a few sentences, in French, about what you did this summer. Use what you know, and don’t feel bad if you don’t write anything down. You have five minutes."
Having spent a few months in France with my mother and father, I knew some French, but not much. I had a good grasp of present tense, as well as most of the common verbs and nouns, but it was the past and future tenses that often got me confused. I decided to screw trying to bullshit my way through past tense and just wrote a paragraph like I was narrating my life. It seemed kind of ridiculous, but it didn't really matter.
"Time's up. Please make sure you have your name in the upper right-hand corner and pass your papers to the front."
I grabbed the small stack of papers that came from the young man behind me and passed them forward. Apparently, accepting sheets of paper from him was the same as accepting his wedding proposal, because I could feel his eyes undressing me.
"Alright, I am going to pass out the class syllabus. I would like you to bring it home, get the last page signed by your parents stating you went over it with them, and bring it back to me signed by Friday. I also need each of you to bring a check made out to Coltelle High School for $17.50 for your exercise workbook, also due by Friday. There are only a few minutes left in class, so you may spend the rest socializing with your classmates. Please try to keep the volume below a dull roar."
I wasn't really paying attention when the girl in front of me set the stack of syllabi on my desk. I set one aside for myself, then turned around to continue passing the stack back. When I turned to the guy behind me I had the sudden urge to throw up. He was staring at me, obviously trying to make it "sexy" but it just came off as creepy.
"Hi," he said, taking the papers, grabbing one for himself, and passing them back without even taking his eyes of me.
"Hey," I said, trying to shove as much disinterest as possible into the one little word. Obviously, it wasn't enough.
"The name's Blake, what's yours?"
"Nessie," I said, turning around, hoping he would get the hint.
"Nessie, that's a nice name." Ding-ding-ding, we gotta dense one!
"Thanks," I said, over my shoulder.
"So, this teacher is a total bitch right? I mean, like any of us would actually know any French? Besides, it’s the first day of class; we aren't even supposed to be doing any real work."
Okay, this kid was getting on my nerves. I resisted the intense urge to fold him into a human pretzel and play horseshoes with his mangled body.
"Actually," I said, turning around and glaring at him directly in the eyes. "I happen to like this teacher. And for your information, I happen to know a little French, having spent six months in France. So why don't you shut up before you say something that will make me think you are even stupider that I do now."
I turned around with a huff and went back to ignoring him. I thought I heard him mumble "bitch" in my general direction, but decided to just let it go. He wasn't worth the energy anyways. The girl next to me was staring so I gave her a quick friendly glance. She quickly turned her head away as her brown cheeks instantly flushed, hiding her face behind her long dark brown hair.
"Hi," I said as friendly as possible. "My name's Nessie."
"I heard," she said meekly. "Mine is Kadie."
"It's nice to meet you Kadie. Are you excited for this class?"
"Kinda, I really didn't have much of a choice. My parents thought that since we are so close to Canada, it would be good for me to learn some French. So, here I am."
"Well, I'm sure you'll be glad you chose French. It's really a wonderful language."
"Mhm," she said. It was obvious the girl was shy, and I was trying my best to not make her uncomfortable. "So, what was France like? I heard you telling that other boy you spent some time there."
I nodded. "It was so beautiful. Paris is absolutely spectacular. The Champs de Lyse was so wonderful; there were so many cool stores on it. I visited some of the largest chateaux in France: Versailles, Chinon, Louvre..."
"Wait, I thought the Louvre was a museum?"
"It is, but it was originally a fortress built by King Philippe Auguste. Later it was remodeled by King Louis IX, Louis XIV, Napoleon, and a butt load of others. Eventually, it ended up as a museum."
"Wow Nessie, you're like a walking French textbook."
I couldn't help but smile. I was pretty sure I was going to like Kadie.
"Thanks, but I don't know near as much as you think I do. I was kind of young when I went, so I don't remember much of it."
"Oh, well at least you've been out of the country," she replied solemnly. "I still haven't even made it out of the state."
"You'll get there eventually. You still have your whole life ahead of you! Besides, I hear that every two years all the French classes take a trip to France during summer break, maybe you can go on that!"
"Will you be going?"
"Alright, I'll talk to my parents about it," she said smiling. "So, what's your next class Nessie?"
"Geography with Harker," I said, thankful I remembered it so I didn't have to rummage through my bag again for the paper.
"Really?!? Me too!"
"Sweet, wanna walk there together? I was gonna meet up with someone on the way there."
"Sure, that would be great!"
Kadie and I walked together down the hall and waited outside Chelsea's Italian classroom. Finally after a few minutes, all the students burst through the door, frantically trying to figure out which direction their next class was.
"I can't believe she did that!" exploded Chelsea as she came out of the room. I felt Kadie take a small step back. I couldn't blame her, if I didn't know Chelsea I would have hid as well. "First, she's five minutes late to class! Then she hands out this huge packet -- " Chelsea waved what looked like a bound rough draft to a novel " -- that she wants us all to read by the end of this week. This week!?! Is she serious?!? Not only is this thing as long as the freaking Bible, but it's entirely in Italian! I swear, I just want to - "
"Chelsea, calm down!” I shouted playfully. “Take deep, calming breaths."
Chelsea stopped waving her arms around like a madwoman, settled down and turned to Kadie; who was cowering wide-eyed next to me.
"Oh, wow...I'm sorry. I promise I'm not normally like that," she said, her exasperated expression replaced with her friendly smile. "My name's Chelsea, it’s nice to meet you -- "
" -- Kadie. I take it your in French with Nessie?" Kadie nodded. "You're lucky. I might end up switching if this doesn't get better. Anyways, enough talking, more walking. We don't want to be late to geography."
I nodded in agreement. "Oh Chelsea, by the way, Kadie has geography with us."
"Really? That's cool. This should turn out to be a fun class."
Oh, she didn't even know the half of it, because in that class was --
"NESSIE!" squealed Alice as Chelsea, Kadie and I walked into the room. All three of us jumped a good seven inches in the air as my aunt flew at us. “Oh my gosh, how was your first class? Did you have fun? Hi there Chelsea, how are you? I’m really sorry about before, I hope you’ll forgive me? Oh my, who is this? Hi, my name’s Alice, what’s yours?”
All of…that…was said in one breathe and without stopping. The three of us just stared at my aunt, more out of shock than anything else.
“Um, hi. My name is Kadie.”
Three pairs of eyes suddenly fell on Kadie. Alice’s lit with joy while Chelsea and I were shocked that out of the three of us, she was the first to speak up.
“It’s very nice to meet you Kadie. I’m Alice, Bella’s sister.”
Kadie looked at me, her eyes wide as if saying “Sister?”
“Alice and I are fraternal twins,” I explained, hoping she would buy it. Kadie mouthed a “wow” before turning back to Alice who looked like she had just snorted a pixie stick.
“Come on you three, I saved us some seats in the corner.” She grabbed my and Chelsea’s hands and pulled us down the main aisle towards the back corner. Unlike my French class where the desks were in rows all facing the front, this class had the desks split between two halves of the room facing the center creating an aisle. We sat in the corner four desks, Kadie and I in one row and Chelsea and Alice in another.
“You guys are gonna love this teacher! He is hot!”
“Alice!” I said, choking back a laugh. “What’s Jasper gonna think of you checking out other guys?”
“Once Jasper meets him, he’ll understand why, and so will you!”
I started laughing until I looked up to see what I swear was the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen walk into the room and sit at the desk. He had this gruff, almost Bond-ish appearance to him. I looked at Chelsea and Kadie, both who just sat, staring with mouths hanging open.
“If you girls aren’t careful, you might catch some flies,” laughed Alice, quietly enough so that only the four of us could hear.
“Oh…” I started.
“My…” continued Kadie.
“GOD!” gasped Chelsea.
“Excuse me miss,” said a sultry British accent. We looked up to see the teacher looking at the four of us, or more accurately Chelsea. “What’s your name?”
“Chelsea,” she squeaked out.
“Do you have a last name Chelsea?”
“Gray. Chelsea Gray.”
“Well, Miss Gray, this is a class on geography -- not religion. Are these outbursts something I should be expecting from you regularly, or do you think you’ll be able to keep them to a minimum?”
Chelsea couldn’t speak. All she could do is nod and continue staring.
“Thank you,” he said with a smile before returning to the work on his desk.
Chelsea turned to me. “Wow” she mouthed, her eyes almost popping out of her head, her hand over her rapidly beating heart. She was right, Mr. Harker was beyond gorgeous, but there was something about him that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Before I could put anymore thought into it, the bell rang signaling the start of class.
“Welcome to Freshman Geography everyone,” he said as he got up from his desk and started walked up and down the aisle in the middle of the class, his hands in his pockets accentuating his muscular body. “My name is Jonathan Harker, but you may call me Sir or Mr. Harker. If you call me anything else I will not hesitate to throw your sorry Yankee behind in detention. Am I understood?” he barked as he stopped at the front of the room and surveyed the class. We all just nodded our head, eyes wide and mouths open.
“Good,” he said, smiling and with a much calmer demeanor. “As anyone with half a brain and eardrums can tell, I am indeed British,” he continued as he began his slow stroll down the aisle. “If I hear any derogatory comments made toward my Queen or country, I will find great pleasure in assigning you a 100 page paper on the climate changes of Northern Europe…and then throw your sorry Yankee behind in detention,” he said with a half-smile. “Am I understood?” he asked again, this time softer.
“Yes sir,” we all managed to say in unison.
“Good,” he said, smiling and quickly returning to the front of the room and began writing on the whiteboard. “There are a few things that I would like you to know about me. One is I am an avid outdoorsman. In a town like this, I do not waste good weather. If you notice that on a particularly sunny day I am not here, it is because I am most likely hiking in the mountains and you will be assigned a substitute teacher. Two, if you have not yet noticed, I do not tolerate disrespect. When I was growing up, disrespecting your elders was punishable by actions that are no longer legal in most countries. Yet, I somehow survived, so it is not impossible to behave as such,” he said, having finished writing and turning around to the class.
“On the board is your reading assignment that is due tomorrow. While it may look like a lot, let’s all try to keep in mind that geography textbooks contain quite a few pictures. Please read it carefully and be prepared for a small quiz. That is all I have for you today, so you may grab a textbook,” he said, motioning towards a large pile of textbooks against wall underneath the whiteboard, “and a syllabus. Please have it signed and returned to me by Friday. You may do what you wish for the remainder of the period. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.”
Alice ran up to the front of the room, giving Mr. Harker a wink and a small wave before returning to her desk with books and syllabi for all four of us. I quickly jotted the assignment in my planner and found the required pages in the textbook. Mr. Harker was right when he said there were a lot of pictures. As I flipped through the pages I could hear the hushed whispers around the class. There were a group of girls who were gossiping about the size of…various “body parts” on Mr. Harker. It was true Mr. Harker was so far beyond hot that it was almost unfair, but still…he’s probably married with a wife and kid.
“Nessie,” said Kadie, trying to get my attention.
“Yeah,” I said, closing my book and looking up at her.
“What’s your next class?”
“Math, with Tangent,” she said without looking up from her planner, which she was furiously writing in.
“Tangent…wasn’t it Tangen or something like that?” I asked, rather confused. What kind of last name is ‘Tangent’?
“Yeah, it is. But if you look on the sheet, her first name begins with a ‘T’, so it looks like it spells Tangent. See?” she said, holding out her schedule. Sure enough, the teacher’s name was printed ‘Tangen, T.’
“Oh, I have math too, but it’s with Cosin…”
“No worries,” said Alice, with a smile. “I have that class with our other sister Bella; you can hang out with us.”
“Yeah. Nessie, our brother Edward and I were adopted along with Bella and her older brother Emmett.”
“Oh, you’re adopted?” Kadie asked, turning to me. I nodded with a smile. “That’s cool.”
The bell rang and everyone started gathering their things.
“I’m gonna throw this book into my locker,” said Alice. “Kadie, you wanna stick your book in my locker too? It’s right down the hall -- you can pick it up at the end of the day.”
“Sure, that would be great. My locker’s on the other side of the school and this book is kinda heavy.”
“Alright. Well, see you later Nessie! It was nice seeing you again Chelsea,” sang Alice as she finished gathering up her things.
“You too Alice. See ya Kadie. Hopefully you have some more classes with Nessie and me.”
“Mhm,” she said before being pulled away by Alice who was skipping out of the room. Chelsea and I laughed as we gathered our own things and headed towards the door.
“Miss Masen,” said Mr. Harker as I passed his desk, “can I speak with you for a moment.” I stopped and gave Chelsea a small nod telling her I would catch up as the rest of the class finished filing out.
“Yes Mr. Harker?”
“Would you be able to do me a favor dear?” he said with a gentle smile. “Could you say hello to Carlisle for me, and tell him to give me a call,” he continued, handing me a piece of paper with a phone number on it. “I haven’t seen him in quite some time.”
“But…how do you…” I stuttered as I stared at him, getting lost in his glimmering golden eyes, when it hit me like a ton of bricks. Incredibly beautiful…missing on sunny days…golden eyes. “Will do Mr. Harker,” I said with a smile. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Enjoy the rest of your afternoon Miss Cullen,” he said just loud enough for only me to hear. I smiled and joined Chelsea out in the hallway as we headed to our next class. I couldn’t help but shake my head in silent laughter. Out of all the geography teachers in the world, mine would be a vampire.
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Originally Posted: January 17, 2009