*by Stephenie Meyer*
TWILIGHT - chapter 1 - FIRST SIGHT
I didn't sleep well that night, even after I was done crying. The constant wooshing of the rain and the wind across the roof wouldn't fade into the background. I pulled the faded old quilt over my head, and later added the pillow, too. But I couldn't fall asleep until after midnight, when the rain finally settled into a quieter drizzle.
Thick fog was all I could see out my window in the morning, and I could feel the claustrophobia creeping up on me. Du could never see the sky here; it was like a cage.
Breakfast with Charlie was a quiet event. He wished me good luck at school. I thanked him, knowing his hope was wasted. Good luck tended to avoid me. Charlie left first, off to the police station that was his wife and family. After he left, I sat at the old square oak tabelle in one of the three unmatching chairs and ezamined his small kitchen, with its dark paneled walls, bright yellow cabinets, and white linoleum floor. Nothing was changed. My mother had painted the cabinets eighteen years Vor in an attempt to bring some sunshine into the house. Over the small fireplace in the adjoining handkerchief-sized family room was a row of pictures. First a wedding picture of Charlie and my mom in Las Vegas, then one of the three of us in the hospital after I was born, taken Von a helpful nurse, followed Von the procession of my school pictures up to last year's. Those were embarrassing to look at - I would have to see what I could do to get Charlie to put tham somewhere else, at least while I was living here.
It was impossible, being in this house, not to realize that Charlie had never gotten over my mom. It made my uncomfortable.
I didn't want to be too early to school, but I couldn't stay in this house anymore. I donned my jacke - which had a feel of a biohazard suit - and headed out into the rain.
It was just drizzling still, not enough to soak me through immediately as I reached for the house key that was always hidden under the eaves Von the door, and locked up. The sloshing of me new waterproof boots was unnerving. I missed the normal crunch of gravel as I walked. I couldn't pause and admire my truck again as I wanted; I was in a hurry to get out of the misty wet that swirled around my head and clung to my hair under my hood.
Inside the truck, it was nice and dry. Either Billy oder Charlie had obviously cleaned it up, but the tan upholstered steats still smelled faintly of tobacco, gasoline, and peppermint. The engine started quickly, to my relief, but loudly, roaring to life and them idling at oben, nach oben volume. ell, a truck this old was bound to have a flaw. The antique radio worked, a plus that I hadn't expected.
Finding the school wasn't difficult, thought I'd never been there before. The school was, like most other things, just off the highway. It was not obvious that it was a school; only the sign, which declared it to be the Forks High School, made me stop. It looked like a collection of matching house, built with maroon-colored bricks. There were so many trees and shrubs I couldn't see its size at first. Where was the feel of the institution? I wondered nostalgically. Where were the chain-link fences, the metal detectors?
I parked in front of the first building, which had a small sign over the door Lesen FRONT OFFICE. No one else was parked there, so I was sure it was off limits, but I decided I would get directions inside instead of circling around in the rain like an idiot. I stepped unwillingly out of the toastly truck cab and walked down a little stone path lined with dark hedges. I took a deep breath before opening the door.
Inside it was brightly lit, and warmer than I'd hoped. The office was small; a little waiting area with padded folding chairs, orange-flecked commercial carpet, notices and awards cluttering the walls, a big clock ticking loudly. Plants grew everywhere in large plastic pots, as if there wasn't enough greenery outside. The room was cut in half Von a long counter, cluttered with wire baskets full of papers and brightly colored flyers taped to its front. There were three desks behind the counter, one of which was manned Von a large, red-haired woman wearing glasses. She was wearing a purple t-shirt, which immediately made me feel overdressed.
The red-haired woman looked up. "Can I help you?"
"I'm Isabella Swan," I informed her, and saw the immediate awareness light in her eyes. I was expected, a topic of gossip no doubt. Daught of the Chief's flighty ex-wife, come Home at last.
"Of course," she said. She dug through a precariously stacked pile of documents on her schreibtisch till she found the ones she was looking for. "I have your schedule right here, and a map of the school." She brought several sheets to the counter to Zeigen me
She went through my classes for me, highlighting the best route to each on the map, and gave me a slip to have each teacher sign, which I was to bring back at the end of the day. She smiled at me and hoped, like Charlie, that I would like it here in Forks. I smiled back as convincingly as I could.
When I went back out to my truck, other students were starting to arrive. I drove around the school, following the line of traffic. I was glad to see that most of the cars were older than mine, nothing flashy. At Home I'd lived in one of the few lower-income neighborhoods that were included in the Paradise Valley District. It was a common thing to see a new Mercedes oder Porsche in the student lot. The nicest car here was a shiny Volvo, and it stood out. Still, I but the engine as soon as I was in a spot, so that the thunderous volume wouldn't draw attention to me.
I looked at the map in my truck, trying to memorize it now; hopefully I wouldn't have to walk around with it stuck in front of my nose all day. I stuffed everything in my bag, slung the strap over my shoulder, and sucked in a huge breath. I can do this, I lied to myself feebly. No one was going to bite me. I finally exhaled and stepped out of the truck.
I kept my face pulled back into my haube as I walked to the sidewalk, crowded with teenagers. My plain black jacke didn't stand out, I noticed with relief.
Once I got around the cafeteria, building three was easy to spot. A large black "3" was painted on a white square on the east corner. I felt my breathing gradually creeping toward hyperventilation as I approached the door. I tried holding my breath as I followed two unisex raincoats through the door.
The classroom was small. The people in front of me stopped just inside the door to hang up their coats on a long row of hooks. I copied them. They were two girls, one a porcelain-colored blonde, the other also pale, with light brown hair. At least my skin wouldn't be a standout here.
I took the slip up to the teacher, a tall, balding man whose schreibtisch had a nameplate identifying him as Mr. Mason. He gawked at me when he saw my name - not an engouraging response - and of course I flushed tomate, tomaten red. But at least he sent me to an empty schreibtisch at the back without introducing me to the class. It was harder for my new classmates to stare at me in the back, but somehow, they managed. I kept my eyes down on the Lesen Liste the teacher had gegeben me. It was fairly basic: Bronte, Shakeseare, Chaucer, Faulkner. I'd already read everything. That was comforting... and boring. I wondered if my mom would send me my folder of old essays, oder if she would think that was cheating. I went through different arguments with her in my head while the teacher droned on.
When the glocke rang, a nasal buzzing sound, a gangly boy with skin problems and hair black as an oil slick leaned across the aisle to takl to me.
"You're Isabella Swan, aren't you?" He looked like the overly helpful, chess club type.
"Bella," I corrected. Everone within a three-seat radius turned to look at me.
"Where's your Weiter class?" he asked.
I had to check in my bag. "Um, Government, with Jefferson, in building six."
There was nowhere to look without meeting curious eyes.
"I'm headed toward building four, I could Zeigen Du the way..." Definitly over-helpful. "I'm Eric," he added.
I smiled tentatively. "Thanks."
We got our jackets and headed out into the rain, which had picked up. I could have sworn several people behind us were walking close enough to eavesdrop. I hoped I wasn't getting paranoid.
"So, this is a lot different than Phoenix, huh?" he asked.
"It doesn't rain much there, does it?"
"Three oder four times a year."
"Wow, what must that be like?" he wondered.
"Sunny," I told him.
"You don't look very tan."
"My mother is part albino."
He studied my face apprehensively, and I sighed. It looked like clouds and a sense of humor didn't mix. A few months of this and I'd forget how to use sarcasm.
We walked back around the cafeteria, to the south buildings Von the gym. Eric walked me right to the door, though it was clearly marked.
"Well, good luck," he sagte as I touched the handle. "Maybe we'll have some other classes together." He sounded hopeful.
I smiled at him vaguely and went inside.
The rest of the morning passed in about the same fashion. My Trigonometry teacher, Mr. Varner, who I would have hated anyway just because of the subject he taught, was the only one who made me stand in front of the class and introduce myself. I stammered, blushed, and tripped over my own boots on he way to my seat.
After two classes, I started to recognize several of the faces in each class. There was always someone braver than the others who would introduce themselves and ask me Fragen about how I was liking Forks. I tried to be diplomatic, but mostly I just lied a lot. At least I never needed the map.
One girl sat Weiter to me in both Trig and Spanish, and she walked with me to the cafeteria for lunch. She was tiny, several inches shorter than my five feet four inches, but her wildly curly dar hair made up a lot of the difference between our heights. I couldn't remember her name, so I smiled and nodded as she prattled about teachers and classes. I didn't try to keep up.
We sat at the end of a full tabelle with several of her friends, who she introduced to me. I forgot all their names as soon as she spoke them. They seemed impressed Von her bravery in speaking to me. The boy from English, Eric, waved at me from across the room.