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Twilight (Twilight #1) by Stephenie Meyer

1. FIRST SIGHT

Meyer, Stephanie, 1973-

Twilight : a novel / by Stephanie Meyer. - 1st ed.

Summary: Grade 9 Up - Headstrong, sun-loving, 17-year-old Bella declines her mom's invitation to move to Florida, and instead reluctantly opts to move to her dad's cabin in the dreary, rainy town of Forks, WA. She becomes intrigued with Edward Cullen, a distant, stylish, and disarmingly handsome senior, who is also a vampire. When he reveals that his specific clan hunts wildlife instead of humans, Bella deduces that she is safe from his blood-sucking instincts and therefore free to fall hopelessly in love with him. The feeling is mutual, and the resulting volatile romance smolders as they attempt to hide Edward's identity from her family and the rest of the school. Meyer adds an eerie new twist to the mismatched, star-crossed lovers theme: predator falls for prey, human falls for vampire. This tension strips away any pretense readers may have about the everyday teen romance novel, and kissing, touching, and talking take on an entirely new meaning when one small mistake could be life-threatening. Bella and Edward's struggle to make their relationship work becomes a struggle for survival, especially when vampires from an outside clan infiltrate the Cullen territory and head straight for her. As a result, the novel's danger-factor skyrockets as the excitement of secret love and hushed affection morphs into a terrifying race to stay alive. Realistic, subtle, succinct, and easy to follow, Twilight will have readers dying to sink their teeth into it.

For my big sister, Emily,

without whose enthusiasm this story might still be unfinished.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,

thou shalt not eat of it:

for in the day that thou eatest thereof

thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 2:17

PREFACE

I'd never given much thought to how I would die - though I'd had reason enough in the last few months - but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this.

I stared without breathing across the long room, into the dark eyes of the hunter, and he looked pleasantly back at me.

Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of someone else, someone I loved. Noble, even. That ought to count for something.

I knew that if I'd never gone to Forks, I wouldn't be facing death now. But, terrified as I was, I couldn't bring myself to regret the decision. When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it's not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end.

The hunter smiled in a friendly way as he sauntered forward to kill me.

1. FIRST SIGHT

My mother drove me to the airport with thewindows rolled down. It was seventy-five degrees inPhoenix, the sky a perfect, cloudless blue. I waswearing my favorite shirt - sleeveless, white eyelet lace; I was wearingit as a farewell gesture. My carry-on item was a parka.

In the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington State, a small townnamed Forks exists under a near-constant cover of clouds. It rains on this inconsequential town more than any other place in the United Statesof America. It was from this town and its gloomy, omnipresent shade thatmy mother escaped with me when I was only a few months old. It was in this town that I'd been compelled to spend a month every summer until Iwas fourteen. That was the year I finally put my foot down; these past three summers, my dad, Charlie, vacationed with me in California for twoweeks instead.

It was to Forks that I now exiled myself- an action that I took withgreat horror. I detested Forks. I loved Phoenix. I loved the sun and the blistering heat. I loved thevigorous, sprawling city.

"Bella," my mom said to me - the last of athousand times - before I goton the plane. "You don't have to do this."

My mom looks like me, except with short hair and laugh lines. I felt aspasm of panic as I stared at her wide, childlike eyes. How could I leave my loving, erratic, harebrained mother to fend for herself? Of course shehad Phil now, so the bills would probably get paid, there would be food in the refrigerator, gas in her car, and someone to call when she got lost, but still...

"I want to go," I lied. I'd always been a bad liar, but I'd been saying this lie so frequently lately that it sounded almost convincing now.

"Tell Charlie I said hi."

"I will."

"I'll see you soon," she insisted. "You can come home whenever you want -I'll come right back as soon as you need me."

But I could see the sacrifice in her eyes behind the promise.

"Don't worry about me," I urged. "It'll be great. I love you, Mom."

She hugged me tightly for a minute, and then I got on the plane, and shewas gone.

It's a four-hour flight from Phoenix to Seattle, another hour in a small plane up to Port Angeles, and then an hour drive back down to Forks. Flying doesn't bother me; the hour in the car with Charlie, though, I wasa little worried about.

Charlie had really been fairly nice about the whole thing. He seemedgenuinely pleased that I was coming to live with him for the first timewith any degree of permanence. He'd already gotten me registered for highschool and was going to help me get a car.

But it was sure to be awkward with Charlie. Neither of us was what anyonewould call verbose, and I didn't know what there was to say regardless. I knew he was more than a little confused by my decision - like my motherbefore me, I hadn't made a secret of my distaste for Forks.

When I landed in Port Angeles, it was raining. I didn't see it as an omen- just unavoidable. I'd already said my goodbyes to the sun.

Charlie was waiting for me with the cruiser. This I was expecting, too.Charlie is Police Chief Swan to the good people of Forks. My primarymotivation behind buying a car, despite the scarcity of my funds, wasthat I refused to be driven around town in a car with red and blue lightson top. Nothing slows down traffic like a cop.

Charlie gave me an awkward, one-armed hug when I stumbled my way off theplane.

"It's good to see you, Bells," he said, smiling as he automaticallycaught and steadied me.

"You haven't changed much. How's Renée?"

"Mom's fine. It's good to see you, too, Dad." I wasn't allowed to callhim Charlie to his face.

I had only a few bags. Most of my Arizona clothes were too permeable forWashington. My mom and I had pooled our resources to supplement my winter wardrobe, but it was still scanty. It all fit easily into the trunk ofthe cruiser.

"I found a good car for you, really cheap," he announced when we werestrapped in.

"What kind of car?" I was suspicious of the way he said "good car foryou" as opposed to just "good car."

"Well, it's a truck actually, a Chevy."

"Where did you find it?"

"Do you remember Billy Black down at La Push?" La Push is the tiny Indianreservation on the coast.

"No."

"He used to go fishing with us during the summer," Charlie prompted.

That would explain why I didn't remember him. I do a good job of blockingpainful, unnecessary things from my memory.

"He's in a wheelchair now," Charlie continued when I didn't respond, "sohe can't drive anymore, and he offered to sell me his truck cheap."

"What year is it?" I could see from his change of expression that thiswas the question he was hoping I wouldn't ask.

"Well, Billy's done a lot of work on the engine - it's only a few yearsold, really."

I hoped he didn't think so little of me as to believe I would give up that easily. "When did he buy it?"

"He bought it in 1984, I think."

"Did he buy it new?"

"Well, no. I think it was new in the early sixties - or late fifties atthe earliest," he admitted sheepishly.

"Ch - Dad, I don't really know anything about cars. I wouldn't be able to fix it if anything went wrong, and I couldn't afford a mechanic..."

"Really, Bella, the thing runs great. They don't build them like thatanymore."

The thing, I thought to myself... it had possibilities - as a nickname, atthe very least.

"How cheap is cheap?" After all, that was the part I couldn't compromise on.

"Well, honey, I kind of already bought it for you. As a homecoming gift." Charlie peeked sideways at me with a hopeful expression.

Wow. Free. "You didn't need to do that, Dad. I was going to buy myself a car."

"I don't mind. I want you to be happy here." He was looking ahead at theroad when he said this. Charlie wasn't comfortable with expressing his emotions out loud. I inherited that from him. So I was looking straightahead as I responded.

"That's really nice, Dad. Thanks. I really appreciate it." No need to addthat my being happy in Forks is an impossibility. He didn't need to suffer along with me. And I never looked a free truck in the mouth - or engine.

"Well, now, you're welcome," he mumbled,embarrassed by my thanks.

We exchanged a few more comments on the weather, which was wet, and that was pretty much it for Conversation. We stared out the windows in silence.

It was beautiful, of course; I couldn't deny that. Everything was green:the trees, their trunks covered with moss, their branches hanging with a canopy of it, the ground covered with ferns. Even the air filtered down greenly through the leaves.

It was too green - an alien planet.

Eventually we made it to Charlie's. He still lived in the small,two-bedroom house that he'd bought with my mother in the early days oftheir marriage. Those were the only kind of days their marriage had - the early ones. There, parked on the street in front of the house that never changed, was my new - well, new to me - truck. It was a faded red color,with big, rounded fenders and a bulbous cab. To my intense surprise, I loved it. I didn't know if it would run, but I could see myself in it.Plus, it was one of those solid iron affairs that never gets damaged -the kind you see at the scene of an accident, paint unscratched, surrounded by the pieces of the foreign car it had destroyed.

"Wow, Dad, I love it! Thanks!" Now my horrific day tomorrow would be justthat much less dreadful. I wouldn't be faced with the choice of either walking two miles in the rain to school or accepting a ride in the Chief's cruiser.

"I'm glad you like it," Charlie said gruffly,embarrassed again.

It took only one trip to get all my stuff upstairs. I got the westbedroom that faced out over the front yard. The room was familiar; it had been belonged to me since I was born. The wooden floor, the light blue walls, the peaked ceiling, the yellowed lace curtains around the window -these were all a part of my childhood. The only changes Charlie had ever made were switching the crib for a bed and adding a desk as I grew. Thedesk now held a secondhand computer, with the phone line for the modem stapled along the floor to the nearest phone jack. This was a stipulation from my mother, so that we could stay in touch easily. The rocking chair from my baby days was still in the corner.

There was only one small bathroom at the top of the stairs, which I would have to share with Charlie. I was trying not to dwell too much on that fact.

One of the best things about Charlie is he doesn't hover. He left me alone to unpack and get settled, a feat that would have been altogether impossible for my mother. It was nice to be alone, not to have to smile and look pleased; a relief to stare dejectedly out the window at the sheeting rain and let just a few tears escape. I wasn't in the mood to go on a real crying jag. I would save that for bedtime, when I would have to think about the coming morning.

Forks High School had a frightening total of only three hundred and fifty-seven - now fifty-eight - students; there were more than seven hundred people in my junior class alone back home. All of the kids here had grown up together - their grandparents had been toddlers together.

I would be the new girl from the big city, a curiosity, a freak. Maybe, if I looked like a girl from Phoenix should, I could work this tomy advantage. But physically, I'd never fit in anywhere. I should be tan,sporty, blond - a volleyball player, or a cheerleader, perhaps - all thethings that go with living in the valley of the sun.

Instead, I was ivory-skinned, without even the excuse of blue eyes or red hair, despite the constant sunshine. I had always been slender, but soft somehow, obviously not an athlete; I didn't have the necessary hand-eye coordination to play sports without humiliating myself - and harming both myself and anyone else who stood too close.

When I finished putting my clothes in the old pine dresser, I took my bag of bathroom necessities and went to the communal bathroom to clean myself up after the day of travel. I looked at my face in the mirror as I brushed through my tangled, damp hair. Maybe it was the light, but already I looked sallower, unhealthy. My skin could be pretty - it was very clear, almost translucent-looking- but it all depended on color. I had no color here.

Facing my pallid reflection in the mirror, I was forced to admit that I was lying to myself. It wasn't just physically that I'd never fit in. And if I couldn't find a niche in a school with three thousand people, what were my chances here?

I didn't relate well to people my age. Maybe the truth was that I didn't relate well to people, period. Even my mother, who I was closer to than anyone else on the planet, was never in harmony with me, never on exactly the same page. Sometimes I wondered if I was seeing the same things through my eyes that the rest of the world was seeing through theirs. Maybe there was a glitch in my brain. But the cause didn't matter. All that mattered was the effect. And tomorrow would be just the beginning.

I didn't sleep well that night, even after I was done crying. The constant whooshing of the rain and wind across the roof wouldn't fade into the background. I pulled the faded old quilt over my head, and later added the pillow, too. But I couldn't fall asleep until after midnight, when the rain finally settled into a quieter drizzle.

Thick fog was all I could see out my window in the morning, and I could feel the claustrophobiacreeping up on me. You could never see the skyhere; it was like a cage.

Breakfast with Charlie was a quiet event. He wished me good luck at school. I thanked him, knowing his hope was wasted. Good luck tended to avoid me. Charlie left first, off to the police station that was his wife and family. After he left, I sat at the old square oak table in one of the three unmatching chairs and examined his small kitchen, with its dark paneled walls, bright yellow cabinets, and white linoleum floor. Nothingwas changed. My mother had painted the cabinets eighteen years ago in an attempt to bring some sunshine into the house. Over the small fireplace in the adjoining handkerchief-sized family room was a row of pictures. First a wedding picture of Charlie and my mom in Las Vegas, then one of the three of us in the hospital after I was born, taken by a helpful nurse, followed by the procession of my school pictures up to last year's. Those were embarrassing to look at - I would have to see what I could do to get Charlie to put them somewhere else, at least while I wasliving here.