Disclaimer: This is based on the book series written by Stephenie Meyer and is a tribute to her characters. It is purely written for fun and not for profit. Cover image from: http://hdw.eweb4.com/out/841200.html
Fatigued after a long day, I flopped down on the sofa, sinking down into the cushions with a sigh of relief. Grabbing the fuzzy blanket off the back, I settled into the corner of the couch, covering my legs and feet. I checked my emails on my laptop and surfed the net, before becoming bored. I was tired, but not yet sleepy. Spying the book Twilight under my coffee table, I decided to read a few passages to entertain myself until I felt ready to head off to bed for the night. I'd read the whole series numerous times before discovering the almost never-ending supply of fan fiction on the net dealing with my favorite characters. Now it had been several years since I read the originals, though I was still very familiar with the storyline.
I hunkered down with the first book, getting lost in the story once again, seeing it all in my mind clear as day as my eyes skimmed over the familiar words. Soon Bella entered the cafeteria with Jessica, and I could easily picture it: the room full of teenagers - sitting, standing, walking, talking, whispering, shouting, waiting, eating, drinking, laughing, reading, listening to music, texting, kissing, and cuddling all at the same time in the same space. I could imagine the cacophony of sound from a hundred simultaneous conversations and the unpleasant mixture of body odor, cleaning chemicals, and greasy foods, just like any other public high school cafeteria in the rural counties across America. Lastly, I could envision the table full of bored vampires, posing with their uneaten props, not even bothering to speak with one another as they attempted to tolerate their surroundings. I continued reading:
"One girl sat next 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 dark 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 table with several of her friends, who she introduced to me. I forgot all their names as soon as she spoke them. They seemed impressed by her bravery in speaking to me."
I couldn't help thinking of Midnight Sun at this point. This scene was so much more interesting when considering Edward's point of view of it at the same time. I focused on the vampires and could see them posed just the way Bella was about to describe them. The more I focused on them the closer my view got, as if I were zooming in with a camera, or simply moving closer. I watched Edward's head move slowly to the left and then to the right. Smiling to myself, I focused on him, moving closer again, noticing as his eyes looked up to the ceiling and then back down.
He's communicating with Alice, I thought to myself, smiling wider. My smile faltered as I remembered why. Jasper. My eyes flicked to him and saw how dark his were, how uncomfortable he was. As I watched, Jasper's eyes darkened further and focused on a girl at the end of the table next to theirs.
"Jasper!" Edward growled, kicking his chair. Jasper met Edward's black gaze for a minute, then dropped his head, a look of shame twisting his features. I scowled as Jasper muttered an apology.
Edward shrugged, and Alice murmured, "You weren't going to do anything. I could see that."
I frowned, knowing Alice was about to be condescending to him, talking about the girl's family, making Jasper feel worse about himself. As if talking to him like a child will help his self-confidence and drive to succeed. I rolled my eyes. "Seriously, Alice. Give him a break. Edward's the one you should be worrying about. He's the one about to …."
I would've finished my sentence - I had a habit of talking to the characters when they did stupid things in the stories I read - except for the fact that all five of them were staring at me in shock. I trailed off and blinked a few times, surprised. That didn't usually happen, unless I was writing a story and including myself as one of the characters. But I wasn't writing anything, I was just reading. Right?
"Um, did you hear..do you see me?" I blurted out confused, my words all jumbled together.
They all frowned and nodded. "Who are you?" Rose demanded in a bitchy tone, clearly implying 'Who the hell do you think you are?'
My eyes flew around the room, my senses fully engaged, noticing how real everything seemed despite my mental reminder that I was only reading a book. Normally that would have been more than enough to bring me jolting back to the reality of my living room, yet the cafeteria was still clear as day.
Frowning deeply, with furrowed brows, I looked directly at Edward and asked, "Can they see me?"
"Who?" Edward asked, looking at me like I was crazy at the same time Rosalie muttered, "What the hell is wrong with her?"
Ignoring Rose's glares, I rolled my eyes at Edward and murmured under my breath in a scathingly condescending tone, "The humans, duh."
All five of them instantly growled at me, but a quick scan of the nearby tables indicated none of the humans heard it. Why could I hear it? I wondered.
Alice was spaced out, obviously looking into the future, Edward was concentrating with a constipated look on his face, and Jasper was watching me like a hawk who'd spied a juicy mouse after starving for a week. Emmett was surprised, but not worried, and Rosalie was constantly flicking her gaze from me to her siblings to the nearby humans and back again.
"They don't see her. She's invisible to them!" Edward growled at the same time Alice admitted in a panicked squeak, "I can't see her! She doesn't exist."
"What the hell are you?" Rose demanded ferociously, reaching out to grab me. I didn't even have time to think about trying to dodge her claws before her hand passed right through my arm. They all froze, just as shocked as I was, giving me their undivided attention.
Oh, I'm dreaming, I thought. Of course. Smiling, then grinning, I chuckled. "Well, obviously I'm not a threat, since I can't touch you and the humans can't see or hear me."
I felt it was wise to point that out to them, so they could all calm down and stop trying to figure out how to kill me.
I saw Edward shake his head minutely and realized he was answering someone's thoughts.
"What?" Rose hissed in a near silent whisper.
"Edward can't hear her, Alice can't see her, and I can't feel her," Jasper breathed.
Oh, goody! I thought, then mentally smirked as I figured out they thought I couldn't hear them either.
Rose's eyes widened in fear, while Emmett scoffed, "Well, duh, she's a ghost."
Sure, I could be a ghost, I thought with amusement. "Exactly, Emmett! A+ for you!" I praised with a smirk.
Jasper lifted an eyebrow and interrogated, "Why were you so surprised that Rose couldn't touch you?"
I shrugged. "I didn't know I was a ghost. I was alive in my living room an hour ago."
It sounded like a reasonable explanation to me, and it was absolutely true. This was one of the best dreams I'd had in ages.
"How'd you die?" Rose questioned suspiciously, narrowing her eyes.
I shrugged again. "No idea. One minute I was relaxing on my couch, reading a book, and the next, I was standing here with you. Maybe a vampire drained me dry," I suggested with a grim smile. I looked over and noticed Bella was getting bored with the conversations around her and starting to glance around the cafeteria.
"Try to look normal," I hissed urgently. I shook my head and rolled my eyes, before correcting myself. "I mean human." I chuckled to myself and added, "You all probably look a little crazy talking to the air right now."
They all quickly shifted position self-consciously, directing their heads away from me, but still watching me in their peripherals.
"The new girl is about to notice you guys, and the first thing she's going to think about is how inhumanly beautiful you are, how much alike you look, how none of you are eating or talking or behaving like normal teenagers," I warned.
They grimaced and quickly began making corrections to their behavior, mimicking the gestures and actions of those around them. Rose and Emmett began kissing each other, their hands coming up to shield each others' faces in the guise of stroking each others' cheeks. I noticed Bella's eyes skim hastily over them, embarrassed by witnessing their public display of affection.
Jasper hunched over, rifling through his backpack, as if searching for something. It put him out of her view, since the only thing she could see over the heads of the other students was the back of his jacket. Alice took out her phone and bent her head down to look at it as she began surfing the net. Finding nothing for her eyes to latch onto, Bella's eyes skimmed over them as well.
Edward sighed and began pretending to eat the bread he'd been tearing to pieces on his plate. He brought pieces up to his mouth then tossed them rapidly into the napkin in his lap while pretending to bite and chew. After every five or six 'bites', he pretended to take a sip of his soda. The first time he started to lift it to his mouth, I huffed, "Open it first, idiot. You think no one will notice? You think that won't be incredibly weird? Don't answer that. If you move your lips to talk at vampire speed, she'll notice."
"Who's that?" we heard Bella ask. I was loving my new enhanced hearing and thrilled I had already changed the story.
"Don't look at them," I quickly warned, just in time to stop Edward from turning his head in response to hearing his name in Jessica's thoughts.
"Edward Cullen," Jessica giggled. "I know, gorgeous, right? His whole family is. But don't waste your time, he doesn't date. Apparently none of the girls here are good-looking enough for him." She sniffed, and the other girls nodded their heads in agreement. Bella raised an eyebrow, but didn't reply.
"Edward, you should pretend to answer your phone and smile into it," I suggested. Jasper had taken out a text book and notebook and was pretending to do homework. Edward put his phone up to his ear and started to smile, but his smile turned into a grimace as he suddenly realized he couldn't hear Bella's thoughts.
His eyes darted to mine, and he demanded, "Why can't I hear her thoughts either? Are you shielding her?"
I snorted. "Nope, she's got her own mental shield. She's gonna be an incredibly powerful vampire, strong enough to protect your whole family."
"What? Why would she become a vampire?" Edward growled, his question and growls echoed by Rosalie.
"To keep her from dying, of course," I replied nonchalantly.
"Oh!" Edward replied, his anger quickly draining away, though his brow furrowed at whatever he was thinking.
Rose didn't say anything, simply huffed and rolled her eyes. I knew mentioning that Bella would be able to protect their family would make Rose interested. After all, Rose was all about protecting her family. Sure enough, her curious gaze, as well as Emmett's and Edward's quickly settled on Bella. Seeing the same curious looks from their table as all the other tables, Bella flinched and quickly averted her eyes, not wanting to meet their stares any more than the human stares she was already avoiding.
I smiled, knowing I'd already made changes to the original script. Time to make some serious alterations to Bella's first day. "You guys should really take the rest of the day off from school," I suggested.
"Why?" several of them asked at the same time.
"Alice, look at Edward's future instead of Jasper's. Edward, decide to go to Biology. Bella has already decided to go."
Alice got her 'seizure' look that meant she was using her gift. Both Edward and her gasped in horror, causing Jasper to immediately go on the defensive. He tensed, his eyes on his mate, waiting for her to reveal the source of the threat.
"Edward, how could you?!" Alice sobbed. Edward looked sick, disgusted, and ashamed. "I don't know," he admitted in a haunted whisper.
All of their eyes were on Edward now, as were Bella's. She couldn't resist peeking up at him again, and the look on his face had arrested her attention. Good thing he's supposedly talking on the phone, I thought.
Jasper and Rose were growling softly - Jasper because of Alice's emotional torment and Rose at the obvious threat Edward's future presented.
"What?! What's the numbskull going to do?" Rose challenged.
"Nothing!" Edward growled, his expression fierce, at the same time Alice whimpered, "The whole class? Edward!" She sobbed, as horrendous visions continued to assault her mind from all the ways his monster strategized getting to drain his singer.
"Wow, Eddie, didn't think ya had it in ya!" Emmett murmured, impressed. He cowered and put his hands up in surrender when Rosalie immediately turned her furious black gaze on him instead of Edward.
Jasper flinched and asserted, "We need to hunt. Now." His voice rang with authority as he stared at Edward expectantly, no room for argument in his tone. Edward nodded, the haunted look on his face again.
"The humans have noticed how upset you guys are, especially Bella," I mentioned, startling them and directing their attention to those around them. "Act like you're finishing up your phone call, Edward. You've obviously received some very bad news from whomever called you."
Edward looked at the phone he'd been holding up to his face as if he'd forgotten it was even there, then hastily acted like he was ending a call and slipped his phone back in his pocket.
"We should have a family meeting after y'all finish your hunt," I suggested with a smile.
Thinking I had just helped them 'prevent' a slaughter, they looked at me with new eyes.
"How'd you know?" Jasper asked.
"I'll tell ya at the meeting later," I replied, smirking. They all exchanged glances, but nodded in acceptance. They got up as a group, leaving the cafeteria, with me reminding them to move slowly and not so gracefully. Rose ignored me, until Alice pretended to accidentally bump into her enough to knock her off balance, but careful not make any excess noise in the collision. Rose growled and shoved her away, knocking her into Edward, who instinctively caught her. It was so much more normal looking than the way they'd started walking.
At my suggestion, they'd stacked all the 'leftover' food together on two of the trays with 'used' plastic utensils and napkins on top, so it wasn't as obvious none of them had eaten anything. They clustered together too, around Jasper and Emmett who were carrying the trays, making it harder to view the contents. They talked to each other in hushed human voices, so the humans around them could hear them talking but not quite make out what they were saying.
As they got closer to the trash cans, Emmett decided to get in the game and 'stumbled' over somebody's bag instead of simply stepping over it. He pitched forward, but 'caught' himself before falling, and tossed the tray and all its contents into the trash can from five feet away. "Three points!" he cheered, holding his arms straight up in the air, causing all the humans around him to start laughing.
"Emmett!" Rose scolded, trying to hide a smile.
"Ew! Now you're gonna have to reach in there and pick out the trays," Alice pointed out with a shudder.
Jasper smirked as he dumped his tray, banged it once against the side of the trash can, and set the two stacked trays on the end of the table where they belonged.
"Oh, gross!" Emmett whined, causing the humans to laugh louder. He reached in as if the can was full of toxic waste and lifted the three stacked trays between two fingers, holding them well away from his body.
Rose had taken a step back and had her hands on her hips, watching him. He set his stack of trays, covered with goop, on top of the other trays on the table. He looked at his messy fingers with disgust. "Don't even think about touching me," Rose warned.
"Aw, man!" he whined again. The humans were having a field day, loving this display of imperfection from the mighty Cullens. Jasper and Alice were laughing too, their arms wrapped around each other, and Edward was forcing himself to chuckle.
I knew they could hear the comments of the people around them, relating to them, how 'normal' they were currently appearing, no longer so perfect and untouchable. I knew Rose hadn't missed the "You tell him, girl!" and "Damn straight!" comments from some of the girls after she spoke, as well as the "Touch her!" and "Do it!" challenges from some of the boys.
Emmett wiped his fingers on the cleaning cloth the janitors had left there for wiping down the tables after everyone finished. He tried to put his arm over Rose's shoulder, but she stepped away, shaking her head. "No, go wash your hands first."
Emmett pouted, but Rose was firm. The humans were laughing and talking amongst themselves, amazed to see how 'tame' Em was, calling him pussywhipped. He didn't look quite as intimidating when pouting at his girlfriend like a little boy.
"Come on, Emmett, just go to the bathroom," Edward prompted. Emmett let his shoulders droop and headed out of the cafeteria with Edward, as if dejected. Rose smirked and followed them out, enjoying the whip cracking sounds and catcalls many were making, with Jasper and Alice hot on her heels.
I stayed behind for a minute to see what Bella's reaction was.
Lauren huffed, "I don't blame her. I wouldn't want anyone touching me with crap on their hands either."
Jessica giggled, "Unless it was one of the Cullen boys. Then I wouldn't care."
Lauren smirked, replying, "I know, right?"
Meanwhile, Angela reminded Bella of her name and offered to show her the way to Biology II. I drifted along behind them as they walked silently to class. Bella settled easily into the empty table she would've shared with Edward. Without him to confuse and distract her, the class was boring to both of us.
Mike promptly cornered her when it was over, not bothering to mention the absent Edward in his pursuit of the girl. Remembering that nothing else of interest would happen here today, thanks to Edward having left, I decided to go in search of the Cullens.
Oh, shit, what if they left without me? How am I supposed to find my way to their house? I suddenly thought. I hurried outside to the parking lot, drifting right through the closed door. I couldn't help but mentally squeal in delight as I did. That was so cool!
Quickly scanning the parking lot, it was obvious there was no shiny, silver Volvo. Heading back into the office, I saw that all five of the Cullens had indeed signed out for the afternoon for a family emergency. Frowning, I wondered how I could get to them. It would take forever to walk there, if I even knew where to go. Well it is a dream, I figured, maybe I can just teleport there.
Concentrating on my mental image of the description of the Cullen's house, I closed my eyes and focused on picturing it in detail. Once it seemed clear, I opened my eyes and found myself staring up at the house.
"Yes!" I cheered, clapping my hands. "This is awesome!"
I smiled evilly to myself, rubbing my hands together, as I realized I could now deliver quite a few home truths to my favorite vampires, and they couldn't do anything to stop me. The truth hurts, baby, I thought to myself. But it also sets you free.