A New Home
My first day of school in Hoquiam, Washington, was probably meant to be something special, but honestly, I’d been to better schools, and there wasn’t anything special about this one. It was actually rather depressing here. The teachers were small-minded and easily offended. The text books were secondhand, and so far beneath my education level, that it was ridiculous. And the students were so simple and innocent. I half-expected most of them to stare at me all day.
Carlisle and Esme had insisted on driving with me the first day to make sure I knew where to go, but it wasn’t like I could get lost. The school was situated inside the community park, not far from Emerson Avenue. And when Carlisle walked me into the front office so I could sign in, the secretary couldn’t keep her eyes off him. It was so rude.
Perhaps I should give you a little bit of background information. This isn’t the first time I’ve been to high school, although it was the first time in quite a little while I’d pretended to be this young. Honestly, I didn’t see how anyone could think I was 15. I was already over six feet tall, and though I didn’t usually have any stubble to speak of, I still looked older than your average fifteen-year-old boy.
And the reason why this isn’t the first time I’ve been to high school is because I’m much older than 15. In fact, with it being September of 1945, I’ll be 44 years old as of June, and for 28 of those years, I’ve been probably the least enthusiastic of my family that now includes Rosalie and Emmett being what we all are - vampires.
Oh, not the traditional, mythological kind that burn in the sun and turn into bats. Those stories were created to prevent normal people from discovering our true existence. We can’t turn into bats, though that would be fairly useful in certain situations, nor do we burn in the sunlight, even if being in the sun would shock a lot of people if they ever spotted us. My skin doesn’t react the way you’d expect it to when the sun shines on it, since it looks marble-hard, is ice cold, and becomes nearly translucent in direct sunlight.
I don’t have fangs either, since all my teeth are pure white, razor sharp and can cut through the jugular of a wild animal with ease. We’ve tried the last several years to exist without human blood, deciding instead to live off the blood of animals – which, while it doesn’t exactly smell or taste the same, it does have some of the same properties and keeps us as strong as any human blood would. Some days, I actually prefer animal blood as it allows me to retain a great deal of my humanity, however, that makes any sense.
Carlisle had gone to great lengths to enroll me, Rosalie, and Emmett into the local high school, drawing up all the proper documents and forging three new birth certificates so we could attend school as invisibly as possible. Rosalie and Emmett, who apparently looked a little older than me, had ended up being a junior and a senior, while I was relegated to the sophomore class, and even though I was older than Emmett in vampire years, he still tried to tell me how to behave around the girls who were much younger than myself.
It didn’t help that I could hear every implied sexual situation he played out for me in graphic detail. He and Rosalie had been going crazy away from me, Carlisle, and Esme. It was enough to make me sick of him for almost a month. But I suppose we all recovered when he agreed to keep those thoughts to himself. Being a vampire had turned Emmett into a horribly overt creature. I was having enough trouble keeping Rosalie from trying to give me advice about girls. When Carlisle had attempted to lecture me about the younger girls’ fragility, I did my best to pay attention.
I couldn’t really interact in sports, nor could I participate too much in their academics, even if Carlisle had allowed me to enroll in all of the advanced courses I was presented with my first day. It wasn’t much. I knew I was setting myself up for being objectified, but I had to play along. Our existence was fragile by itself, so I couldn’t push it for now.
So, first day. It was moderately typical, as first days go.
I was able to impress a few of the teachers with my intelligence. I think they expected me to be as uninterested as the rest of the students, but I rather liked school. Even though it could be monotonous at times, every now and then I did learn something interesting. English was a favorite, since I was fascinated by the written language – especially poetry. I had no trouble with mathematics or science, and social studies was bearable. But history was downright dreadful as of late.
With the War still going on, it was all the teachers could talk about, even at this little school in a little town in the middle of nowhere. I could still sort of remember wanting to enlist in the War, when I’d been seventeen in 1918. But I’d contracted Spanish Influenza, and my plans had changed. I suppose one could say I was lucky Carlisle found me and my mother as she was dying of the same thing. He’d been wanting a companion for several years, and there I was, on my deathbed.
People these days didn’t take illness as seriously as they should have. My first day at this school, I could see several of the teachers fighting common colds from the wet, temperate climate that was the Pacific Northwest. They truly had no idea how to take care of themselves. In 1945, people were scared of other things – like war and poverty. I feared nothing, since I would always be too young to be drafted, and I was perceived as the youngest son of a wealthy man. War and poverty could not touch me.
But they could still affect the people around me. It was all any of the students could talk about, along with the teachers. The boys in my class were all talking about enlisting as soon as they were old enough. They wanted to fight for their country. I honestly could care less about the country. I had other pressing matters to deal with – like the blood and carnage of battle that would more than likely entice me too much to ignore. Even after the last 14 years I’d been back with Carlisle, my will was tested daily. The girls, on the other hand, only spoke of how the war was going to affect how they all lived their lives – as if a war being fought on another continent would reach them in their little community the way they all feared it would.
The boys mostly ignored me, unless they had no choice. I was able to give the gym teacher an excuse, expertly written out by Esme, that I was unable to participate for the time being because of an illness I was recovering from. I hoped that once I was settled in, I would be allowed to join my classmates, if not in a diminished capacity. I disliked watching everyone else when I knew I was fully capable of doing what they were doing a hundred times better than they could.
The girls were mostly too shy to speak to me, though many of them stared at me and whispered around me, unaware that not only could I hear what they were saying, but also what they were thinking. Again, it was very rude. But I expected no less.
The first girl to approach me after the first class that day was brave to say the least, and she had some of the most inappropriate thoughts making circles around the inside of her head. From my perspective, as I was from a different era than this girl, women were meant to be respected and cherished. My mother and father had taught me that, of what I could remember, and it was a habit I found difficult to break despite the fact that I avoided people on a whole as a general rule.
This girl was barely fifteen, blond with bright, blue eyes and a demeanor worthy of a woman twice her age. I was immediately reminded of the secretary and her ability to apparently undress Carlisle with her eyes. This girl, whose thoughts were no less prying, looked like someone whose neck I could break in less time than it took her to say her name to me.
“Hi, I’m Jennifer,” she said, extending her hand to me as I sat at my table in the cafeteria alone.
Rosalie and Emmett, I remembered, had opted out of going to lunch for the time being, so they could spend more time together.
Oh, my gosh. He’s so handsome! I’m being such an idiot. Surely, he wants to have friends. I know I want him to my friend.
Images of me kissing her neck and ripping her clothes off shot through my mind, and I instantly understood. It only made sense. All the girls were thinking it, and she just happened to be the poor soul chosen to approach me to see if I was available to play my part in her little human fantasy. Didn’t she see I was dangerous? Wasn’t it obvious by where I was sitting that all I wished was to be left alone? Couldn’t her small human mind comprehend that despite her desires and needs?
I decided to do what I could to dissuade her from thinking such inappropriate thoughts for a girl her age — especially thoughts like that about me.
“If you don’t mind,” I pressed, watching blood flush her cheeks as her heart sped up, “I really would rather prefer to be left alone.”
Her expression changed immediately from one of desire to that of disgust, and she turned her nose up at me, turning away from me without a word, even though her thoughts spoke for her loud and clear.
That was rude. No wonder he doesn’t have anyone sitting with him. Well, it’s his loss then. At least I’ll still be able to torment Brian this year. That new boy has no idea what’s he’s missing!
I grinned where she couldn’t see, knowing exactly what I would be missing and thanking whatever higher power that might exist for that one small favor. Perhaps she would spread this little encounter through the student body, and they would all leave me alone now. Perhaps she would end up doing me a favor after all.
Study period was also an interesting experience as it was a mixture of all the students in the school that included several juniors and seniors — none of which were Emmett or Rosalie. The lone teacher in the room commanded a certain amount of silence over the students, and even though most of the students obeyed his request to remain seated during the hour and a half we were all there, another student approached me from the opposite side of the room.
I’m just going to say hello, and then if he doesn’t say anything back, I guess I’ll have to get someone else to help me.
The tenor of her thoughts was gentle and innocent. She was nothing like her classmate as I realized she, too, was barely fifteen, but she thought like one — especially one from a small town.
“Excuse me,” she said softly, and I looked up to see her expression turn startled by my response. Her brown eyes were vivid — which was strange for their color, and the olive tone in her cheeks darkened immediately. She hadn’t even believed I would look at her.
“Yes?” I replied.
“You’re in my Advanced Mathematics class,” she said. It wasn’t a question. “Mr. Clarence sat you an aisle away from me.”
I nodded. “He did,” I confirmed. I remembered her now. Mr. Clarence hadn’t been very easy on her that morning.
She extended her hand. “I’m Abigail — Abigail Williams. You’re Edward. I heard Mr. Clarence say your name this morning.”
Despite wanting to remain as anonymous as possible, I realized she wasn’t there to harass me. Her intentions were much more innocent than her classmate’s. Perhaps interacting with certain students wouldn’t be such a bad idea. I met her halfway, even though I was certain my cold hand would alarm her. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Abigail,” I greeted.
She blushed deeper, sitting in the seat next to mine. “The thing of it is,” she began, “I’m horrible at math. I always have been. And I noticed how easily you answered all of Mr. Clarence’s questions this morning. I was wondering if it might be possible for you to help me. No one in my family has gone to college since my father’s grandfather, and all my other grades are good except that one. I hate to ask, since I realize you’re new here, but maybe if you helped me, I could show you around.”
I considered her offer for the few seconds it took for me to notice all the other students in the room staring at us. She was far too young for me to even consider being friends with, and I didn’t want to refuse her in front of her classmates, but it wasn’t really a good idea for me to help anyone — even someone who believed they needed it. I was still dangerous even at my most sated, and it got worse with each passing day. Whether I was good at answering math questions or not, she was better off finding a human tutor — one who wouldn’t be tempted to attack her if he went too long without hunting or if she happened to get a cut in his presence.
“Abigail,” I said after those few seconds, “I can see you believe you need assistance, and I would be more than happy to oblige. However, I don’t think it would be a wise course of action for me to tutor you. I am new here, unfamiliar with the layout of the land, as it were, but it’s for that same reason that I wouldn’t be an appropriate person to help you.”
Though I should’ve expected it, especially with the way her thoughts had been going before she’d spoken to me, I was surprised to see her face become even darker as tears welled in her eyes gently. Clearly, I hadn’t chosen the correct response to her request, even though I’d only meant to keep her safe. I didn’t know how to alleviate the situation other than to amend my previous statement in the hopes that she would understand that I meant no harm by her.
“Please. I’m sorry,” I whispered gently. “It’s obvious you believe you need help. If it’s only here at school, I would be happy to help you in any way I can.”
She wiped a small tear from the corner of her eye, tucking a lock of her medium brown hair behind her ear. “Excuse my behavior,” she whispered. “I just can’t fail any of my classes. My mother would not be happy with me.”
My father wouldn’t be too thrilled either, she thought.
“I understand,” I told her, despite not really knowing what it felt like to have a parent be disappointed in me for doing my best and still coming up short.
The bell rang then, and I waited for her to rise before following her to the entrance of the room.
“Tomorrow, then?” she asked.
I bowed my head. “Tomorrow.”
She smiled slightly and moved off in the opposite direction. I followed a different flow of students toward the end of the school thinking the day couldn’t get anymore interesting.
At least until I arrived in my last class of the day, English, where the teacher, Mr. Jennings, became even more strangely curious about me than any of the students.
“Where are you moving from, Mr. Masen?” he asked, and I had to quickly think up an answer for him.
“Rochester, New York,” I replied, and it was mostly true. I only paused for a 24th of a second before continuing. “My sister’s husband wanted to get away from the east coast, because of the war.”
“And what exactly does you sister’s husband do?” he asked, and I could feel no more than sixteen pairs of eyes focus on me.
Again, I barely paused. “He’s a doctor. He works in Aberdeen.”
“And he moved here?” Mr. Mason asked suspiciously.
I nodded. “Yes, sir. He wanted us all to have a quiet life.”
I tried to speak with as much finality as possible, and he was thankfully satisfied with my answers, moving on to his lesson, which was coincidently about Middle English poetry – one my favorites. I had no trouble keeping up.
The end of the day was probably my favorite part, since both Carlisle and Esme came to the school to retrieve me, Rosalie, and Emmett. Other then Abigail, I’d met no one interesting, and I’d made no real attempt to despite the obvious interest three people had seen in me for three completely different reasons, but Rosalie kept babbling on about a girl in her science class who reminded her of someone she used to know, and Emmett couldn’t stop talking about a boy he was already making friends with from his Gym class. So much for the quiet life.
“Maybe you’ll meet some more children your age tomorrow,” Esme said encouragingly. I knew she didn’t want me to be lonely or unhappy, but with the restrictions on my physical life, I couldn’t see how my mental health could really survive or thrive in such a simple-minded environment. But it felt good that she at least wanted it for me, since it was obvious she, Carlisle, Rosalie, and Emmett had each other. I didn’t know for sure whether or not I wanted anyone, but still.
Our house was situated south of town, probably 20 miles or so to keep most of the townspeople from finding it. It was the only three-story Victorian house within a fifty-mile radius of Hoquiam since most of the houses in town were one or two story and not very dissimilar from one another. There was this one other house, but it was supposed to be empty. We’d been in this house a few months now, and I could honestly say I liked it much better than many of the other houses we’d stayed in. Esme fancied herself a decorator and a house-restorer of sorts, so when Carlisle had found this house, she’d set herself to make it perfect. Even though we’d only been here a little while, I was actually saddened that we would have to leave it one day.
Rosalie and Emmett disappeared upstairs within seconds of us arriving home, and Carlisle resigned to his study. He’d apparently taken the day off from his new job in Aberdeen just so he could see us to school and back, and now that we were back in the safety of the house, I knew he wanted to be with us in the event we had anything we would want to discuss with him. Esme was currently working on the kitchen, since she’d already finished with the living room and most of the upstairs that included our bedrooms, so she drifted off in that general direction. My room was the only one without a bed. I never slept, and only Rosalie and Emmett really ever used a bed on a regular basis, so I didn’t need one, and I hadn’t asked for one.
I unconsciously followed Carlisle to his study, noticing the boxes of books he’d had shipped here from our previous address. He’d only just began unpacking, pulling out books as he needed them and then resigning them to a specific place on the shelf. He noticed me as soon as I entered the room, only grinning as he pulled a book set out of another box and proceeded to sit at his desk to begin reading.
“Avoiding Rose and Emmett?” he asked with a slight grin.
I returned his grin, extracting a book from one of his boxes on English literature and opening it rather unceremoniously. “You know me too well,” I replied, reading a non-specific passage.
“Well, they’ll calm down after a few more weeks,” he said, also reading, but I noticed he was glancing over a book on Medieval Great Britain. “They were like this in Columbia Falls, remember?”
“I’m actually trying to forget that we were ever there after what Emmett did,” I replied as memories from those few years threatened to plague me yet again. So horrendous and completely unnecessary.
“Well, maybe this new school won’t be so bad for you,” Carlisle said, and I could hear what I thought was hope in his voice even though his thoughts were centered around other things, like how I was going to keep everyone from finding out what I was without being a total outcast.
“The teachers are mediocre,” I scoffed. “The subjects are barely up to my intelligence level, and the students are for the most part so simple and small-minded that I practically already am an outcast. I doubt any of the people there would be able to comprehend how complex my life actually is.”
Carlisle’s thoughts focused on the principal whom he’d spoken to when enrolling me, Rosalie, and Emmett into the school, and I knew he was thinking I should talk to someone there — even if it was an adult. “Maybe you shouldn’t purposefully isolate yourself,” he amended from all our previous conversations on the matter of exposure. “Interact with them; just don’t overdo it. I’m certain you’ll find a way to fit in. You always do,” he commented, and I knew he was right. I did have a rather unique ability to adapt.
I drifted away from his desk to the windows that overlooked the forest around our house. “I just don’t want to go upstairs right now. Perhaps I’ll hunt. Northeast should be far enough away for us to not bother anyone, shouldn’t it?”
He bowed his head. “It should.”
I replaced the book in the box I’d retrieved it from, leaving his office without a word and taking the long way outside to avoid hearing Rosalie and Emmett upstairs in their room. They really knew no boundaries, and maybe it was easy for Carlisle and Esme to ignore them, but without an honest way to occupy my time other than hunting, I didn’t have the same luxury.
So, hunting it was. I ran from the house without pause, hitting the forest floor at full speed and forgetting everything else that had happened over the course of the day. I didn’t think about the school, or the students, or the town, and I didn’t think about where I was going. I only thought of when I would find my prey. And the moment, I was far enough away from civilization, I left my own civility behind me, solidly inside a place where my instinct and experience would lead me to what I sought.
In addition to the people in the town, there were also a great number of animals that populated the immediate vicinity of the town, and it was easy to find the herd I had smelled upon exiting the house. They were exactly due east, but almost northeast and further into Washington than I’d been so far. I’d been honing my skills as a hunter for nearly thirty years, and it was easy enough to sneak up on them. Their heavy hooves crushed the leaves and tree limbs beneath their heavy bodies, but they were no match for me, despite being twice my size.
The oldest male was my target as he grazed less than five meters from the others with him, and based on the size of his antlers, I could tell any other hunter would be proud of such a kill. I simply wished to feed off his blood. And he didn’t stand a chance at outrunning me. No animal ever stood a chance.
He was easy enough to pick off from the group, and though he had no idea what I was doing, he was obeying my every command — even the ones I wasn’t saying. When we were far enough away from the herd, I charged him promptly, taking him down with ease and precision. Only Carlisle possessed more for the hunt as I did. The buck had no opportunity to refuse my attack, letting out a last pained cry before finally giving in and then dying as I drank every last drop of his hot, thick blood.
It was after dark when I returned to the house, discovering it lit up brightly despite only holding four occupants — all of which were currently sitting in the living room around the radio listening to a news broadcast.
“What’s going on?” I asked, stepping into the room and sitting on the couch as Carlisle and Esme occupied an armchair, and Rosalie and Emmett were sitting on the sofa.
“The President just declared the end of World War II,” Carlisle said gravely. “They’re saying delegates from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and China have all agreed to the terms.”
“It was a long, bloody mess,” Rosalie stated. “Completely unnecessary. How many of their own did they kill?”
“Hundreds of thousands,” Carlisle said certainly. “The killing of innocent people is nothing to celebrate, but at least it’s over for now. I suppose it’s only a matter of time before they find something else to fight over.”
All their thoughts were centered around this news, and I could imagine what this meant for the rest of the world. But suddenly, all of my problems no longer mattered. Suddenly, other things became much more important. Suddenly, I felt insignificant.
I never moved from the couch upon which I had settled after returning from my hunting. I lay there all night, listening to the radio, and it wasn’t difficult to imagine what all those people who’d died had gone through. I wondered if the people who were still alive through all the chaos wished they were dead. I wondered if they were still suffering and wanted their suffering to end. I couldn’t remember anymore if I’d wished for my suffering to end or if Carlisle had simply chosen to end it for me. How many of those people would have to live for only a few minutes or hours or days or weeks or months or years with their suffering? It was almost too much to bear. The ones who had died were the lucky ones.
The sun rose promptly at 5:25 a.m., and by then, I was in my room watching the cloudy sky turn from nearly black to a dull grey. It had been cloudy the day before as well — perfect weather for those of us whose skin reacted rather brilliantly to sunlight. Carlisle was thinking it would be better later in the next week, and then we would all be able to hunt safely. Of course now that I’d already hunted, I didn’t know if I would go again.
Esme found me when it was time for us to go back to school, and I followed her downstairs quietly, meeting Rosalie and Emmett at the front door. She would be taking us to school until we all got settled in, and then Emmett would be driving us since he would be “old enough” to do so. I actually preferred running, but we had to keep up appearances.
For another two weeks, Rosalie, Emmett, and I were the talk of the school. I took Esme and Carlisle’s advice. I tried not just to blend in, but to participate in as diminished a capacity I could under the circumstances so I wouldn’t be the outcast the way I feared I would be. Though I remained with Emmett most of the time, there were a couple of teachers who were willing to give me work that was well above their education level to work on after school and on the weekends. Even Mr. Jennings was willing to help me. He was an interesting teacher, to say the least. And I even helped Abigail with her math every afternoon, since she was a nice person to listen to when another student got it in their minds to approach me the way Jennifer had.
And then two weeks after we started school, another family moved into the town. This family was more normal than ours was, though their make-up was exactly the same. Two adults, two boys and a girl. They were, however, a real family. More refined and wealthy than just about any other family in town. Just about. I could tell the moment the three children arrived at school in a brand new car.
Aside from Carlisle’s relatively new model, this was the newest car I’d seen in town since moving here. And the three people who exited the car couldn’t have stood out more than we did, even though we probably stood out a little more with our skin and eyes no one had seemed to pick up on as being strange. Most people avoided us on instinct. Call it a survival mechanism.
All three of the new students were dressed as well as we were, appearing to be as wealthy as we were with nicer things than most of the people in this small town. I had to assume the eldest was the one driving based on his thoughts as he rose from the driver’s seat and stepped back to rear passenger door to allow the girl out of the car. Her hair was blond and wavy like Rosalie’s, past her shoulders even as the front was pinned back from her face.
Hopefully, this school will be able to live up to the one in the city, the driver thought as he and the girl made eye contact. I’m not repeating my senior year again.
The second boy met them at the end of the car, his hair lighter than the other boy but darker than the girl’s. I could see from where I was that they all had different shades of blue eyes. I wondered what the darker-haired boy meant by repeating his senior year again. Had he been through his senior year once before already?
Within seconds of these new students exiting their car, the girl looked in my direction, and I’d never seen a girl look at me the way she was looking at me. Her face was sad but friendly. She didn’t look any older than fifteen, the age I was supposed to be portraying, but her thoughts weren’t what I would expect from a fifteen-year-old girl, especially with as young as she was. Most girls her age were only worried about the next several minutes of their own lives. They worried about boys noticing them, and they thought the most important thing in the world was what people thought of them. But not her.
She was different, even though I wasn’t very certain at first what was so different about her. It felt almost like she could see me for what I really was, and I knew I would have to work hard to avoid her, even though I didn’t fully understand why I didn’t want to avoid her. She was only one human in a sea of many. What made her so special?
“New students,” Rosalie said, coming up to my side as we all observed the trio of younger children. “Perhaps this will mean people won’t be talking about us for the remainder of the year. Although, I will admit, for a short while there, it was rather flattering. It takes so little to excite them these days.”
“She’s cute,” Emmett remarked, eliciting an elbow in the ribs from Rosalie. He grinned. “Well, she is.” He looked at them and then me. “Where are they from?” he asked.
I looked again, and the girl was now being walked inside by the younger boy as he held his arm around her.
“You don’t have to be so independent,” he whispered to her softly. “We are your big brothers. We just want to look after you.”
“I know,” she agreed, the tenor of her voice slightly annoyed as she walked. “But he doesn’t have to be so bossy.”
“No,” her brother replied, glancing in the older boy’s direction. “He doesn’t.”
I glanced at Emmett, having seen enough to know what he asked. “Seattle,” I told him softly, feeling her eyes on me again. “But they’ve been in town about as long as we have.”
“Why are they just getting to school today?” Rosalie asked.
I followed her and Emmett inside slowly, or as slowly as humanly possible, but I didn’t have an answer for her. I knew Carlisle had delayed our enrollment in school for many reasons, but none of those reasons seemed to apply to this new group — for obvious reasons.
“I’m not sure yet,” I told Rosalie.
We separated at the main entrance as we’d been doing the last two weeks, and while they went to their advanced courses meant for students in their grades, I was resigned to what the school liked to label Advanced Mathematics. However, it was even more below my capabilities than most the other courses available. Though I enjoyed school from time to time, the way some teachers acted as though they simply had to be smarter than their students was sometimes insulting. Despite my longer experience in life, I had to continually remind myself that to these people I was only a child.
The classroom was filling up when I arrived, and I made it to my seat in record time, listening to the others talk about what they’d done over the weekend. Carlisle, Esme, Rosalie and Emmett, they’d all talked about stock and trade tips, so I couldn’t talk about that. So I chose not to say anything at all. Not even when I heard the teacher speak.
“Ms. Jones,” he said. “I remember that name. Are you related to Walter Jones?”
“He’s my father,” was the soft reply, and her face immediately flashed before my eyes, and for the smallest fraction of second, I looked up to see her with the teacher Mr. Clarence.
He grinned, and I saw a hint of recognition in his eyes. “Of course.” He reached into his desk, glancing around the room and extracting a text book for her. “There’s a seat open next to Mr. Masen.”
She looked out into the room, her expression unreadable, but she said nothing, taking her book and moving away from the teacher to the seat next to mine which happened to be between me and Abigail. I tried not to stare, looking away as she sat down and smelling her scent on the air as it eased and passed me. It wasn’t an unusual scent, and she wasn’t an unusual girl, but for a split second, it was an uncomfortable feeling that spread through my chest, and I unconsciously groaned. I had to work to shut out the tiny prickles of memories easing around the inside of her head, and I pinched my fingers to my nose, wondering exactly why the teacher had sat her next to me.
I hope he’s okay, she thought gently. He doesn’t look very well.
But of course he would sit her next to me. It was the only seat left. Call it a coincidence. How was I supposed to avoid her now?