Chapter 17

With both Christmas and New Year’s Eve spent at the Cullen house, winter break had been over in a blink of the eye and soon I found myself waking up to the alarm clock. Bringing my fist down upon it with as much strength as I could muster, I let out a yawn.

As I stumbled to my closet, determined to pick out any random set of clothes that would present itself to me, I thought back on those few wonderful days. Christmas had been, well, it had been the way I had always imagined Christmas to be. It was the way you saw it in movies, in which everyone laughed together and was happy and smiling. We’d shared stories as we sat by the Christmas tree, drank champagne – they’d even allowed me to have a glass – and lastly, we’d exchanged presents. Although I had insisted upon not wanting anything, I left the house that night with a new outfit, a book, two pairs of new shoes and a DVD of the BBC Pride and Prejudice series – of which the latter Edward promised to watch with me. New Year had been equally pleasant as I got to spent it at the Cullen House as well. We’d played games until midnight and had then moved outside to watch the men set off fireworks. I must say playing hints wasn’t all that much fun with a mind reader as your rival..

Anyways, as is always the case with wonderful moments, they don’t last. Soon the last, wonderful day of holidays had arrived and I knew the fun would be over. No more sleep overs with Alice, no more Edward sneaking into my room to talk all night, they were far too responsible for that. Which was too bad, really.

I sighed, picking a washed skinny jeans, a simple striped, black-and-white shirt and a jacket out of the closet and moving to the bathroom. I suppose I wasn’t the only one not ready to start normal life again, for even after being so slow, the bathroom was still vacant.

As I dressed into the outfit, brushed my hair and my teeth, I wondered if things would be the same as before the break. Perhaps people would finally stop bugging me about being new. Perhaps Derek would have finally gotten the hint and would leave me alone. A girl could only hope..

I was done quicker than usual and even had time left to sit down for breakfast. My phone buzzed as I poured some cereal into a bowl, but decided to finish breakfast first. After all, eating really stood above my social life on my priority list.

Putting the first spoon full of cereal into my mouth, I read the message. I’ll pick you up in five minutes. Fitz. Ps. Close your mouth when eating. I shook my head, not even wondering how he knew anymore. It was just one of those little things that you stop asking yourself when you’re being friends with a mind reader, a seer and an emotion manipulator. Just like when they respond to things you never said, or when they warn you for certain places, people or situations. Really, you got used to it. Doesn’t mean I didn’t still freak out whenever I saw Alice zone out and every time my emotions suddenly changed seemingly out of random.

I dropped the empty bowl into the sink, not being motivated enough to put it in the dishwasher instead, and went to put on my rain cloak. After about half a year in Forks, I knew not to expect any rainless day.

A car horn honked as I zipped it up and I stepped outside, into the already pouring rain. Running outside, I threw open the car door and practically jumped onto the backseat. Dramatically, I closed the door behind me and let out a sigh. ‘Good morning.’

‘Well good morning to you, too, Indiana Jones.’

I ignored his comment, instead looked at the empty passenger’s seat. ‘Where’s Alice?’

Edward took out of the driveway before he answered. ‘She wanted to sit with Jasper today. She said she was having a weird feeling.’

Nodding, I sat back in my seat, putting on the seatbelt. ‘You know I could just drive with Veronica, right? I mean, then you could all just go with one car. I don’t mind, really.’

Edward smiled a crooked grin. ‘You are such a bad liar.’

‘I am not,’ I protested, crossing my arms. ’But I can’t help it that you read my mind. Besides, it’s true. Veronica and I hardly talk to each other, so it’s not that bad.’

‘What if I say that I like it this way? With winter break over, we won’t see each other as much as we did during the holidays.’

‘Yes well, Fitz, I didn’t say you couldn’t still visit me at night.’

Edward chuckled. ‘Indeed; I did. You need your sleep and we both know that if I come, you will practically black mail me into staying the entire night.’

‘That’s not true! Besides, I am not a kid anymore!’

‘This is not debatable,’ he said with finality and I knew the conversation was over. That didn’t mean that I wouldn’t, indeed, black mail him to visit anyway. Besides, we both knew he enjoyed spending his nights with me, as well. What else was he supposed to do, anyway, what with the not sleeping. I was the center of his freaking universe. Stupid, proud vampire.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a smile creeping up his lips and I knew he’d heard my thoughts. Served him right. ’You know, I think my ‘pride’ is rubbing off on you.’

Holding my head up, I did my best to imitate as British an accent as was possible. ‘But pride – where there is a real superiority of the mind, pride will be always under good regulation.’

‘Nicely quoted,’ the bronze haired vampire noted, while he parked the car on the Forks High parking lot. ‘However, I believe that a superiority of the mind does not really describe you very well, do you?’

‘As opposed to you then, I suppose?’

Another smiled flitted across his face ‘Naturally.’

As I walked into the cafeteria, my suspicions were proven to be right: something was going on. Derek had not talked to me for the entirety of the morning, had not even done as much as try engaging me in conversation. And that was not all.

Apart from Derek, there was something else that I couldn’t describe. Firstly, there were the looks. Wherever I’d go, whenever, people would stare at me. And with people I do not just mean Derek, or perhaps even some of my classmates. I mean everyone. It was like the first time I’d driven to school with the Cullens, but ten times worse. Then, secondly, there was the whispering, which most of the time would stop as soon as I entered a room, succeeded by before mentioned looks. Besides making me completely uncomfortable, as the day drew on, it also became slightly annoying.

And now, as I entered the cafeteria, I knew I had not just been imagining things. In fact, I would not be exaggerating if I’d say that 90% of the Forks High population was staring at me in that certain moment. Since I had already checked and double checked whether I’d really put on pants that morning – after all, that had been my first worry when the stares started – I decided to simply ignore them.

Grabbing a food tray, I waited until the noise would start up again. By the time I got to the buffet, people were slowly resuming their conversations. I didn’t waste a lot of time in picking lunch – deciding on some fruit and a yoghurt – as I was anxious to hear what the Cullens would be able to tell me about what was going on.

While making my way through the maze of tables, I kept my eyes firmly on the ground. The last thing I wanted now was to make a fool out of myself whilst I already was the topic of the day. Although focused on my walking, I couldn’t help but overhear a small snippet of conversation as I passed a table of girls.

‘.. so special about her?’

‘I can’t believe he chose her.’

I looked up, but found that they ceased talking when I did so. Frowning, I continued on, wondering what that had been about. Something was seriously wrong today.

‘Hello Dalia,’ Jasper greeted me friendly.


‘Hi Dalia!’

I decided to simply wave, since it would save me the time of responding to each of them one by one. I had bigger matters to attend to. Taking the seat they had left me, I crossed my arms. ‘What’s going on today?’

Alice was the first one to respond, holding an expression of faux-confusion. ‘What do you mean?’

Pointedly turning my head to the rest of the cafeteria, I noticed how many a person was outright staring in our direction. ’This is what I mean. They’ve been staring and whispering all morning.’

‘I am sure it’s nothing,’ Alice assured me, though I knew she was lying.

Edward sighed, throwing the piece of bread he’d been crushing back on his tray. ’Apparently your friend Derek told everyone what happened on Christmas.′

I frowned, not understanding what he was trying to say. What had happened on Christmas?

‘When I picked you up.’

‘Oh..’ Realization slammed into me and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. ‘They think.. we’re a thing?’ It was truly ridiculous. That surely couldn’t be it, right? Right? Then, I remembered the bit of conversation that I’d overheard, the accusing looks girls had given me all day. Was this what it had all been about? ‘That’s a joke, right?’

‘I wish it were,’ Alice said, softly.

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