Chapter 1: The Exchange Student
Bella Swan suppressed the urge to sigh as she stared sulkily out the window. The sun was warm and shinning for the first time since she had moved to Forks to live with Charlie, her father, but all she could think about was Edward. And thinking about Edward always made her sad or angry or…tingly. But he wasn’t here today! Hadn’t been here yesterday either! Was he running from her? Was she really so detestable? She sniffed discreetly at her hair. Nope, still smelled like strawberries. At least she thought it did. Maybe she could ask someone to smell it for her. She’d bet that kid Mike Newton would do it for her if she asked. Not that she’d ever actually have the nerve to ask but if she did, he’d probably do it. But then of course he also might think that she was coming onto him and she would have to put up with him asking her out again and then she’d have to turn him down again and then try to ignore Jessica’s sad eyes. Not that she felt guilty about it or anything, it wasn’t her fault that boys kept coming on to her! Lots of boys had been asking Bella out almost since the moment she had come to Forks Highschool…Lots of boys…But not Edward! Edward couldn’t even stand to sit next to her in class! This thought sent her into another sulk and she stared moodily out the window as if to accuse the sun itself for Edward Cullen’s, local hottie and forbidden fruit of Forks High, for his absence today at school. She wondered what he was doing right now…What would a guy like Edward Cullen do in his free time? Read? Fish? Go hunting? That seemed to be popular among the locals of this backwater town…
Bella jumped slightly in her seat as she was abruptly pulled out of her daydreaming. Once again the eyes of every single person in the classroom were on her, including that of her English teacher, Mr. Vander.
“Would you read the next line from the book please?” Mr. Vander asked sounding as annoyed as he probably should have after having just caught her clearly not paying attention in his class but instead sulking and staring glass eyed out the window. But…She was still new so he would cut her some slack.
“Oh…Yes! Alright…” Bella stood shakily from her seat, nervous now that everyone was paying attention to her again. But she could do this! She had read tons of books, while shut up in her room, away from the sun and people, and was very well read. At her old high school, back in Arizona, where she had grown up with her mother and step-father, she had gotten all As in English, and every other class for that matter, and she was confident that she would do just as well here in this simple school, in this simple town, with these simple people.
With this thought in mind she picked up her school issued copy of the book they were reading, cleared her throat, and spoke quietly but quickly as she rolled through the words with barely a pause or stutter,” "When the Count saw my face, his eyes blazed with a sort of demoniac fury, and he suddenly made a grab at my throat. I drew away, and his hand touched the string of beads which held the crucifix. It made an instant change in him, for the fury passed so quickly that I could hardly believe that it was ever there."
Bella was interrupted by the sound of the classroom door swinging open. As though they all shared the same mind and conscious the entire class turned as one to face the door and for once their eyes where not all on Bella. They had spied new prey.
The girl wasn’t remarkably tall but she was wraith thin, the worn and stretch black sweat hanging off her shoulders, a black and blue scarf wrapped tightly about her long neck, and the scuffed combat boots she wore gave her an added inch in height at least. She wore a simply, navy blue dress that all bung off her tiny frame. Bella recognized the scared look in her eyes and was surprised to find they were blue. At first glance the girls pale skin, long straight black hair, and almond shaped eyes she looked to be of Asian decent, probably Japanese Bella guessed, she had an eye for these things after all, and assumed the girl must be of mixed race to have inherited such a light shade of blue for her eyes.
Tiny hands clutched nervously at a tattered book bag which bore several tiny buttons bearing the name and logo of bands Bella recognized like Evanescence and Poets of the Fall as well and a few she didn’t know like The Weird Sisters of The Hippogriffs. The girl shifted from foot to foot nervously, biting her lip as she tried not to meet the gaze of all those students who were still staring at her. Bella wondered briefly if that was how she looked on her first day of school.
“May I help you?” Mr. Vander’s asked gently.
The girl nodded and stepped forward to hand the man a crumpled piece of paper she had been hold in one tight fist.
Mr. Vander’s examined it closely through his reading glasses,” Oh…” He sounded a bit surprised,” Well this is interesting, another new student.” Quiet murmuring began almost as soon as the words left his mouth,” Hush!” He silenced them quickly, before they could begin their raucous gossiping,” Alright everyone I want you to be respectful and help welcome our second newest student to Forks High, alright. A Ms. Lilith Haruno Ravenwood.”
“ ‘Ello everyone!” The girl said quickly with a small wave and even Bella was surprised to hear the clear accent of the English in her voice.
“Why don’t you go take a seat down by Bella, ok Lilith. That’s her right there.” Mr. Vander’s pointed Bella out for the new girl.
“Alright, thanks. And please, call me Lilly…Sir!” The blue eyes girl asked respectfully.
Mr. Vander’s nodded his acknowledgment of her request and waved her off.
The girl nodded respectfully once more and then made her way quickly, carefully not looking at anyone else, over to where Bella still stood with book in hand, and carefully sat down, slinging her tattered book bag over the back of the seat. Bella noticed upon closer inspection that the bag held a strange crest upon it in red, yellow, silver, and blue, lined with silver and gold, and barring the images of a snake, raven, lion, and badger and below it where stitched the words in gold lettering HOGWARTS.
Bella had a brief moment to wonder what a wart covered hog had to do with anything before she realized that all eyes where once again on her, sliding occasionally to the bowed head beside her, and where waiting for her to continue reading.
Bella cleared her throat once more and began reading.
*Book quote from Bram Stoker's Dracula
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