Chapter 1

I'm twelve, it's the beginning of October, and the Cullen's just moved in next door. My mom is at their door before noon with a plate of cookies and me by her side. She taps on the door with her manicured fingers and waits for the family to open it.

I'm looking around the house. An older couple used to live here. They moved to a retirement community in Florida. "We're tired of the rain," the explained to my dad as they hammered in the For Sale sign on their trimmed yard. The week they moved, a category 3 hurricane hit the coast of Florida.

Empty boxes line the wrap around porch. A BMW SUV sits in the drive way. This house is three times the size of ours. In fact, most houses on this street are much larger than ours. My dad is chief of police and mom sells her own art out of our basement. We don't have a lot of extra money, but I have new clothes every school year, they were able to get me braces last year, and I'm promised a car when I turn 16.

October air whips at my bare legs and I shiver. "It's cold, mom," I groan, wrapping my arms around myself.

"I told you to put a sweater on, Isabella." My mom glances down at my cap sleeved dress. It's light blue and made of cotton. I have black flats on and my feet dance to warm up my legs. She sort of pushes me behind her as wind whips the side of us.

Just as I'm about the protest again, the door swings open. In the doorway is a boy who looks a little older than me. His hair is so disheveled and red copper brown. I watch his fierce blue eyes size up my mom. He watches her with brows furrowed and then to the plate of cookies in her hand.

"Mom," he calls, "visitors!"

I come out from behind my mom and smile. His eyes fall on me. He watches me silently. I can't read the expression on his face.

"We're the Swans. We live right next door," my mom explains excitedly. The boy is still staring at me.

"Edward Cullen," he explains before a lady in dark denim and a marshmallow cream-colored top walks over.

"Hello! Please, come in!" she expresses excitedly.

"I was just explaining to Edward that I'm Renee and this is my daughter, Isabella. We live in the house next to you. We just stopped by to welcome you to the neighborhood." My mom is smiling high.

"How lovely! I'm Esme Cullen. You already met Edward, my daughter Alice is upstairs, and my husband, Carlisle, is in the den."

She calls Alice down and introduces us. She has the same blue eyes as her brother but her hair is much different. It's shoulder length and dirty blonde. She has it in two French braids and she pops her gum as her mom introduces us.

"Wanna come upstairs?" she asks. "We can hang out."

I look to my mom who nudges me. "Ok," I whisper.

I follow her up the stairs to the last room on the right. When she opens the door, her room is scattered with boxes and bubble wrap.

"Furniture comes tonight, so we'll have to chill on the floor," she says, sitting on some blankets and looking through boxes. "What grade are you in?" she asks.

"Eighth," I tell her. "So are you, right?"

"How'd you know?" she looks at me between unwrapping trinkets.

"Forks is a small town. You were the talk of the school all week. When you start Monday, everyone's going to know about you."

She nods. "Excellent." Her eyes roll and I giggle.

"I know. It sucks but you get used to it."

We talk a little more over the next hour. She tells me her dad's a doctor and got an excellent sign on bonus for moving his whole family from Arizona to Washington. She told me her mom makes jewelry but actually she does nothing except bake and watch soap operas. She tells me her and Edward are 10 months apart. He turned 13 in July which puts her at 13 at the very end of April. "My parents don't know how to keep their hands off each other, obviously. Plus, I was six weeks early," Alice explains jokingly. I tell her I just turned 12 in August and was born exactly on my due date. Her favorite color is violet, she hates skirts, and loves summer.

"Don't get too excited about summer's here," I admit.


"When they're not extremely wet, they're extremely hot."

"Sounds pretty good to me," her brother jokes, walking into the room. "Hot and wet are my two favorite things."

"Ew, go away Edward," says Alice. Her eyes roll and she throws a stuffed animal at him. He's pretty tall for 13 and his hair is every which way. They look both alike and totally different at the same time. Alice is petite. Her nose is slender. Her hair is dirty, dirty blonde. Her skin is Arizona sun kissed brown. Edward towers. His hair is red brown and wild. His nose is strong. His skin is pale. His smile is butterflies-in-my-tummy cocky.

"Make me," he teases. She gets up to chase him out. "Wait. Can I borrow your headphones?"

"No," she answers quickly.

"Please? Dad won't give mine back and mom won't let me listen to music without them."

I watch Alice roll her eyes. "Don't mess them up," she replies before handing them over.

"Thanks," he says, smiling and kissing her cheek.

"Don't get jizz all over them either!" she says as he wraps them around his neck. He chuckles.

"Jizz?" I ask.

Her eyes are curious. "Do you know what that is?"

"No?" I answer. "Is it, like, some weird snack you brought from Arizona?"

Alice just stares at me. Edward turns his head to look at me sideways. I see the slightest little smirk play on his lips. I'm so self-conscious right now and I wish my mom was up here.

"Oh my god!" Alice is laughing at me. My eyes are on my fingers as they pick at my skin.

"Don't be a bitch, Al," Edward says quietly.

"Is it food?" I ask again, focusing on Edward now. I can feel my cheeks burn bright.

He looks at me and shakes his head. "Well," he counters, "some people like to eat it."

This sends Alice into another fit of hysterics. I'm furrowing my brows slightly. Well, then what could it be? I think as Alice composes herself.

"You are too freaking funny, Isabella."

"Just Bella," I answer.

"I'll see you later, Just Bella," Edward says, walking out before I can say goodbye.

"Really, Alice, what is it?" I ask after her brother leaves.

She smiles before leaning over to and opening her mouth to explain. At that moment, my mom calls my name.

"Coming!" I respond which makes Alice giggle again. I smile because her laugh is infectious and despite her teasing, I think I'm going to get along with her. "I'll see you around, Alice!"

"Wanna hang out tomorrow? I know it's Sunday, but maybe you could fill me in on all the people to avoid at school?"

I laugh. "Sounds like a plan! I'll come over after lunch."

As we walk the few yards from their porch to ours, I wave goodbye to Mrs. Cullen and grab my mom's hand.

"Did you have fun, Baby?" she asks.

"Yeah, Alice is actually pretty cool."

"I'm glad. Mrs. Cullen seems really nice. Did you know she makes jewelry?" I nod and tell her Alice told me. When we get home, she starts dinner. When my dad gets home, he brings her flowers. She fills a vase and sets them on the table where we eat dinner. They discuss their day while I eat quietly.

"And they're from Arizona, Charlie! You should see how tan they are."

"Did she tell you why they moved?" he asks, forking a bite of spaghetti in his mouth.

"Some job offer for Dr. Cullen," she explains.

He shakes his head. "That ain't all," he states and looks towards me. My mom cocks her head but catches on. This is conversation they'll continue after I go to bed. I tell my dad about Alice and how nice she seems. When he asks if I met "the boy" I shrug.

"Yeah for like a minute. He answered the door, right mom?"

"Yeah, honey," she explains, clearing the table.

"Mhm," he responds before helping my mom with the dishes. When I get up to help, he tells me to go on upstairs and get ready for bed. It's only 7:30, but I don't argue with them. I never do.

After I get out of the shower, I dress in pajamas and slowly creep down the steps.

"Drugs," my dad says.

"Drugs? What kind?" mom asks.

"Just a little pot," he explains. "Word at the station is that they moved up here before the kid could get involved with anything else."

"Should we watch Isabella with them? I mean, she was upstairs alone with them, Charlie. I didn't even suspect anything!" I roll my eyes at my mom's dramatics.

"We'll just have to see," dad explains. "I think we've raised our daughter to make good choices, don't you, Renee?"

She doesn't say anything, but I hope she's nodding. I have never made a bad choice or given them any reason to think otherwise. I scrunch my brows together. Pot. I learned about it in health class. It's just a plant or something, right? I should have paid more attention in class.

I creep back up the steps and shut my door quietly. I walk over to my computer and fire it up. When I log in, I open google images and type four letters. J-i-z-z. What pops up is not at all what I was expecting. My eyes bug out and my heart pounds. Pictures of stuff I have never seen flood my screen. Vaginas and penises of all shapes and colors. They never showed us this in Health class when we had "the talk" last year. Each picture had the same thing: white stuff laying all over the girls' vagina. Oh my god, I think to myself. It's sperm!

The next day at 12:30, I dress in a grey cotton dress with a long burgundy sweater. It's colder today, so I trade flats for boots.

I yell down to my mom who is in the basement that I'm headed over to see Alice. She says, "be careful."

When I knock, the door opens immediately. It's Edward. I'm suddenly nervous. "Is, uhm, is Alice here?"

He leans against the door frame. "No," he responds simply.

I'm unsure what to say. I said I'd be over after lunch. She must have forgot. When I turn to leave, Edward tells me, "they went for lunch awhile ago. They should be back soon. You can come in and wait." He cocks his head to the side. "Furniture came earlier. You can hang out in the living room until she gets back."

I bite my lip. I could just go back home and watch for her out the window, but instead I say, "ok."

"Want a drink?" he asks, showing me to the couch. I shake my head. Why am I so nervous? He's just a boy. "Okay, well…" he trails off.

I don't know what makes me say it, but I tell him, "I googled it last night."

"What?" he asks, confused.

"You know, what Alice said…"

He looks confused for a moment longer before he catches on. "What did Alice say?" he teases.

"You know!"

"I don't remember."

"Ugh!" I clear my throat and whisper yell "jizz."

I glance up through my lashes. "So, you googled Jizz last night? And, what is it, Just Bella?"

"Well, it's not a snack!"

"Isn't it?" he asks, cocking his head to the side.

"No!" I tell him.

"I don't know," he starts, "I know a lot of girls who like to eat it." His smile is so cocky and it's getting a little awkward.

"Ew," I state simply before I hear Alice throw open the door.

"Bella!" she calls when she sees me. "I'm sorry, I told my dad to book it! I didn't know people in this town go way under the freaking speed limit!"

I giggle because she's right. I shrug. "Forks is a safe town."

Alice glances at her brother. "Not anymore."