Note: I'm still unable to post chapters with the original story. I'm really sorry about this and I know it's a royal pain. Those of you new to the story can go to the previous chapters: 1: In the Grip of Twilight (the title of the entire story) 2: Daggers 3: Old Paths

Again, I'm sorry for the inconvenience. –Olivia

In the Grip of Twilight

By: Olivia Tannis Moore

Chapter Three: Old Paths

When the bell rang, it was Mrs. Cargill that ruined any chance that I had to speak to Edward. I was stuffing the notebook in my bag when she appeared in the aisle next to me.

"Is everything okay, Isabella?" she asked with concern.

I glanced at Edward, hoping to catch his eye. But he didn't look in my direction. He was waiting patiently on her to gather her belongings. I pressed my lips together and took a deep breath; Mrs. Cargill was waiting patiently for me to reassure her that I wasn't on the verge of some mental breakdown. I wasn't sure I wasn't.

"I'm fine, Mrs. Cargill. Really. I'm just having one of those days." From the corner of my eye I watched as Edward shuffled into the aisle to leave, with Elena so closely behind him that my teeth clenched. That aloof, catty smile that she wore so well was in place again.

"Wait on me, please," I said in the tiniest of whispers, and watched as his head twitched. There was no way to keep Elena from hearing my plea, too. But I was past caring.

Mrs. Cargill startled me with a gentle touch on my arm. "If you should need someone to talk to…"

I tried to smile and give her more than a mere fraction of my attention. I knew I was being rude—and to a teacher that had shown me nothing but kindness—but Edward was escaping without a glance in my direction. He appeared absolutely indifferent to the fact that I was even there.

"Thank you. I really appreciate that," I told her as I watched Edward's smooth gait as he left the room. He was sucking all the life from me as he disappeared; I felt it draining away. I couldn't even muster any anger when Elena tucked her hand to the crook of his arm and he looked down to smile at her. It was the last thing I saw before the crowd engulfed them as they drifted off to third period.

It was then that I was certain that he wouldn't be waiting for me when I left English class.

I don't remember walking to my locker. My legs felt strange, as if they belonged to someone else and I was only borrowing them. Behind my eyes there was a familiar numbness that would later develop into a raging headache. All this, and I had not yet survived half of the school day.

Jessica was at my locker waiting for me. I couldn't decide whether I was glad to see her or not. She was in an anxious state, practically launching herself at me.
"I found out more about Elena," she gushed proudly.

I raised an eyebrow. Not as much as I did I was willing to bet.

"Did you see her?" Jessica asked as she studied my face.

"Yep," I replied. "A Twenty-First century Veronica Lake wanna-be."

Jessica's forehead crinkled. "Worried?"

"I shouldn't be…"

She sucked in her breath, "But you are…"

I closed my eyes and shook my head. "We had an argument yesterday."

"You've broken up?" she said incredulously.

"I don't know," I said, gripping the sides of my head. "Maybe…kinda… I don't want to be broken up."

"Of course you don't," she said sympathetically. And then, "Oh, Bella. Bella. You have to fix things. Like now. You can't just leave the door open for someone like her."

"I'm trying," I squeaked.

"No. you don't understand. She's staying with the Cullens. Her parents are in Europe or something."

That probability had crossed my mind earlier when I realized she wasn't human.

"Oh, I nearly forgot," she said, digging into her purse. She brought her hand out to give me something. "Alice wanted me to give you this." She gently rested a broach in my palm. It was one of those antique pieces with gold filigree surrounding the oval; a strange black crest was the centerpiece. It looked ancient. "I'm fairly certain that Alice doesn't like Elena at all. Her lip kept curling whenever she said her name."

I smiled, warmed by that thought. I wondered what the others thought of Elena. Would Rosalie befriend her out of spite for me? Somehow I couldn't see Elena playing nice with Rosalie; however, if the prize was Edward, she'd probably swallow her envy for the sake of winning.

The warning bell rang, snapping me out of my musings.

"See you at lunch," Jessica promised and then scurried away.

I gathered my Biology and Calculus books and started for the North Hall. Passing the front doors, I suddenly paused and looked for Edward's silver Volvo.

It wasn't there.

There was a prick of pain in my palm. I was still holding the broach in my hand, clutching it so tightly that the pin had pierced my skin. A single droplet of blood stood out there, surrounded by the imprint of the gold filigree pattern in perfect form.

Again, I gazed out the glass doors, over the parking lot where the morning fog was lifting off. Where are you, Edward? I asked the drifting fog. But like me, it had no easy answers.

(Chapter Four: Nemesis—slated for posting on Friday—O.T.M)