Here's Chapter 50—I can't believe I've written fifty chapters for this story over the past eleven months! Wow....
Chapter Fifty: The First Day of School
On this gray September morning, I leaned against the Volvo in the Forks High student parking lot, waiting anxiously for the grinding growl of Bella's truck to greet my ears. Today marks the first day of Bella's senior year of high school; I refused to consider how many senior years I had spent in far too many small towns and big cities over the last century. My excitement stemmed not from yet another dull year of high school but from the beautiful girl who would soon be holding my hand as we began this school year together.
If only Charlie had been more understanding about allowing me to drive Bella to school. But last night he had put his foot down when he overheard Bella asking me about the time I would be picking her up in the morning. He had stormed about he hadn't bought her a vehicle just to let it rust away in the driveway and that he expected her to drive it to and from school and work during the entire school year. Bella had half-heartedly attempted to argue with her father, but I had shaken my head at her, silently asking her to stop. Charlie was unmovable in his stance, and I reluctantly agreed to meet her in the parking lot this morning.
But as I had left to “go home” last night, I winked at Bella, and she grinned back. Little did Charlie know that Bella and I had every class save one together this year, thanks to my casual visit to the school office earlier in the summer. Bella had been ecstatic when we had compared the school schedules which arrived in last week's mail; only our last class of the day--mathematics--was different. Bella had groaned at the idea of studying Calculus I (while I was stuck in Calculus II), but she brightened considerably when I offered to tutor her.
Charlie couldn't very well argue with that activity, and Bella and I would have more time together in the evenings, even if it was just teaching her the finer points of higher mathematics. But any time spent in her sweet presence, no matter the activity, was a positive in my book. And what Charlie didn't know wouldn't hurt him.
As we waited, Alice began bouncing up and down next to me as we both detected the familiar groaning of the ancient engine of Bella's truck. She was almost here. Although I kept my composure better than my sister, I was nearly as excited as Alice this morning. While Bella and I would be in school, at least we'd be together this year more than we were over the summer due to her work at Newton's, even allowing for her stay with us during her recuperation from her illness. I was hoping that with the busy summer season over, the Newtons might let Bella go as an employee, thus leaving her more free time to be spent with me.
Bella knew that I wasn't crazy about her part-time job at Newton's Olympic Outfitters, so she didn't talk much about her work when she was in my presence. There were definitely better topics of conversation for us to enjoy than her working with Mike Newton, and we were both loathe to start an argument that seemed to have no possible resolution. Bella stubbornly refused to allow me to pay her summer expenses, nor would she let me start a college fund for her. And I did not want my already limited time with Bella interrupted, especially by someone with a huge crush on her (and a decided lack of boundaries) such as Mike Newton.
I let out the breath I was unconsciously holding with a sigh, and Alice gave me a teasing sideways glance. She knew all-too-well about mine and Bella's differing opinions regarding her work schedule. And my sister was kind enough to start chattering at me to distract my attention from the frustrating subject.
“Bella will look adorable in the floral dress I took to her yesterday,” Alice enthused. “It's just right for her: simple yet elegant, and I even provided silver metallic flats for her to wear with it. Metallics are the new shoe fashion for fall, you know. Even Bella can't complain about flats—they're practically sneakers! Of course, the dress would look soooo amazing on her with a low kitten heel—Prada makes the loveliest pair in the perfect shade of deep red—but I know her too well. Now, if I were wearing the dress, I would want four-inch stilettos—Kate Spade's Greats in Amethyst would be perfect!—but we know that Bella would probably trip and injure herself, and perhaps possibly even impale Mike Newton!”
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