Everything is exceptionally bright. At first my eyes can't focus on anything. I realize I am running. Inhumanly fast. I can see silhouettes of huge trees of The Pacific Northwest. I am barely dodging them. From my deepest subconscious rises a clear thought. I am dreaming. There can't be any other explanation for this euphoric experience. Well I imagine this is what being a vampire feels like. My eyes flow wide open. HOLY CROW. What time is it. Have I missed my graduation. Why haven't my alarm go off yet. I fell like I slept for 3 days straight. I am too nervous to move for another five minutes. This is the price I'm paying for reading Dracula late at night.
I check my room. Bright light is shining through my bedroom window, the sunlight is actually pure white. No grey light. This implies it's sunny - almost impossible for Forks. I feel happier and serene... and then it hits me. I was looking around to check the time! My eyes immediately go to my nightstand. It's 5:47. I need to be at Alice's house at 7. I have plenty of time. Eager to start the day I put on my dark blue jeans and a mint green T-shirt and head to the kithen. First I wash the dishes from last night and then I prepare pancakes. As I am flipping my third pancake Charlie walks into the kitchen. I check the time. It's 6.30.
"Morning", I almost whisper.
"Hey Bells. Slept alright?"
"Yes", I lie. I give him his share of breakfast. I make one more for me and when I sit at the table he has eaten half of his breakfast.
"You remember that today is my graduation?"
"Yes. At four." Is he joking?. I stare at him while eating my first bite. He is serious.
"At noon.",I say. He looks at my like he is trying to apologize. I sight and take two more bites. I can't finish, I guess my stomach just can't digest well early in the mornings, that's why I usually eat light or nothing, today I had extra time and I knew Charlie would be happy. When he isn't watching I throw away my breakfast and go to the bathroom. First I brush my teeth and wash my face, I remember Alice is about to do my makeup. I really need a clean face at least, she won't be happy about my dark circles. I get them everytime I stay up late as a consequence of vampire novels and stories - I'm starting to look like one. I check the time again. I have less than 30 minutes to get to her house.
I get into my Chewy truck and drive to meet my best friend. The sun is shining through and I sense a faint smell of tobacco, gasoline and peppermint coming from the seats. My car has had that smell since the first day I got it from Charlie almost two years ago. I feel content just because it isn't raining and it's also not claustrophobically foggy as usual. I drive past the speed limit listening to The killers and get to the house in a couple of minutes. I feel ridiculous. I know Alice wouldn't be mad at me if I was late. Well maybe she would be secretly mad. She plans to work on me all morning and told me to be as early as possible, she is the earliest riser. I step out of my car and breathe in this beautiful summer morning. Alice is already out of the house and is now walking towards me like she is dancing. I notice her hair is different. Not spiky as usual. It is tied into a businesslike bun on the back of her head. "Heeey Bella. Quickly we have just a few hours."
"Morning. You have already taken care of yourself I see."
"Well obviously", she winks.
I am sitting in her bathroom. It is bigger than the one in my house. And she has her own bathroom, I'm forced to share mine with Charlie. She has closed the curtains and switched of the light. She says it's 'cause the lighting is a very important factor of how the makeup looks. And graduation is happening inside. I miss the natural sunlight, it is so rare here. I stare at the long counter, covered in all the paraphernalia of a beauty salon.
"Have you mastered the valedictorian speech already?"
"More or less. Want to hear?"
"I'm going to hear it anyway - at graduation and I'm sure it's perfect."
"You can hear it twice. I'm planning on reciting it one last time before the real thing." She has put foundation on my whole face at this point. It doesn't look like it though. I seem like it is my skin. You couldn't tell. It must be expensive. While doing the smoky eye she starts reciting....
It's 9 am. I'm looking at myself in her bedrooms mirror. My makeup is perfect. My hair is slightly curled. But not naturally from all the moisture as usual. Alice did my hair after completing my makeup look. I am wearing a black and gold dress I plan on wearing after the ceremony. Alice helped me pick the dress when we went shopping two weeks ago. For herself she bought a bright pink dress. I change back into my normal clothes. At graduation we will be forced to wear ugly yellow gowns anyway. And a cap!
Alice is downstairs, making us coffee. I head to the kithen. There she is, with her dad.
"Why have you been getting ready for two hours. She doesn't look really different."
"Dad you don't get it" Alice hands him his cup of coffee and he decides to leave us alone and drink coffe outside. I sit behind the kithen counter and look towards the living room and see numerous pink and orange roses. I can even smell them. I think I distinguish some orange blossoms and lilac too. I can see glimpses of other decoration - for tonights graduation party. Alice never misses an opportunity to throw an unforgetable party. "Sugar and milk?", she is staring at me. Ops, my mind wondered again... "Just a bit of milk please." She hands me my coffee. It is served in small fancy pale blue coffe cups. She sits beside me. We are on the ground floor of their pretty big house. The wall facing the forest is made of glass. I look at the beautyful aquamarine sky, there's not a cloud in sight. The trees are magnificent - reaching the sky with their eyecathing green branches and their trunks covered in moss. June is one of my favourite months. Seeing the nature change and bloom and feeling the warm sun on my skin. Sometimes it doesn't even feel real, more like a dream.
I am seated in the gym of Forks highschool. It is the biggest place in the school. There are around 50 chairs for us seniors. I am placed in third row waiting for our principal. Everyone is talking to eachother, it sounds like there's a swarm of bees all around me, it is making me nauseous. I stare at the huge window. The sun is now slowly getting hiden by a huge grey cloud, theres now just chunks of the sky that are still clear. I must admit... I feel a bit better now that sun isn't shinning directly on my face. The principal is now giving a speech, It's very much cliché I can't force myself to listen. Thankfully he is done soon. Then it' time for the veledictorian speech. Alice is epic of course, she dousn't need clichés. The principle stars calling our names in alphabetical order. I get really nervous because I will have to walk in front of all these people, what if I fall. I have fallen many times during PE... and what should I say 'thank you'? I try to hear what others say when they get their diploma, I can't hear. "Isabella Swan".It is my turn now. He congradulates me. I say nothing. One of my teachers congradulates me too. I say "Thank you". I'm afraid a bit too loud. I quickly return to my seat. There's just a few more students to get called. At the end the principle finishes by saying he is happy we decided to go to Forks highschool...wish I could say the same. I detest Forks. But René remaried and I wanted to give her and her new husband Phil space, so I decided to live with my dad.
It's 2 pm. Alice is driving to her house, I left my car there. She needs to add some final touches to the decore for the party. I offer her help. "Don't worry, I got it".
As I park infront of my home, Charlie is already home, waiting to congratulate me. He shakes my hand and only then I see René at the door. "Surprise!" Wait.. I thought Phil injured his knee while playing basketball.
"Hy mom. How's Phil?"
"Oh honey so sweet of you to ask. He is feeling better but still couldn't come. He's really sorry."
"No, I understand he's badly injured."
"I hope he survives without me for one day. Ha! Man just can't live without woman's care right?" She glances at Charlie. He looks grumpy. She's right. Before I moved back to Forks he lived of sandwiches and an occasional burger and cobler from the diner. A memory pops up of us eating at that diner , I ate strawberry cobler for the first time in years. It was my favourite when I was little. "Oh right. Congratulations on graduating high school. We are all very proud." I applied to Seattle University. I want to study biology, it has been my favourite subject since sixth grade. "I invite you two to lunch", it seems Charlie has recovered after René's tantalization. We thankfully go for René's rented car, not his police car. The car is red and round. Mom drives, I sit beside her. Charlie has no other choice but to sit in the back. He doesn't seem to mind.
We are eating in the best restaurant in town. The last time I've been here was for my 18th birthday. It's a mexican restaurant - I was astonished by the fact that it wasn't awful like most mexican restaurants outside Southern USA. When I still lived in Phoenix I ate mexican food all the time. The walls are orange, the tables are covered with red tableclothes. We are positioned at the table next to the wall with a sombrero hanging from it. I take another bite from a delicious chicken taco.
"I have a graduation gift for you. I'll give it to you when we get home."
"Mom, I don't want you to waste money"
"Oh come on I'm not!"
I take a sip of coke. The bubbles tickle my throat.
"I also have something for you", says Charlie
"Thank you". My mind goes to tonight's party. I don't really want to go, but Alice can be very persuasive. She's going to be a great personal stylist. She is planning on studying fashion in Seattle, her's is close to my university so we're moving in together. She already found an apartment for us.
My dress is golden with a thick black belt and thin black web all over. It ends above my knees. I decided to wear my checkerboard slip-on vans. My makeup is untouched. There is a brisk tapping on the front door. I go downstairs to open the door. It's Alice - already in her pink satin dress. She also has high hells in the same color. Her short black hair is now let down as usual."Are you ready?". I nod and she's already grabing by my hand and taking me to her car. She is really overjoyed, the last time she hosted a party was months ago for Angela's birthday.
As we turn into the drive I see it's wrapped in hundrets of thousants of twinkle lights. She pulls into the garage north of the house. Her parents's BMW is of course gone. When Alice opens the front door I am once again assiled by the scent. The smell is almost intoxicating, but not overwhelming. The balance of the different fragnances is impeccable. The flower bouquets are raging from red and soft orange to white. There are dozens of purple and pink ballons hovering. In the middle of the room is a huge table covered with pizzas, mini hamburgers, chips and some other snacks. The music is laud, but pleasant.
"Hey loca!", says a familiar warm voice. I turn around
"Jake, hey. I thought you wouldn't come." He gives me a tight hug and has a huge smile on his face.
"I don't know how I managed to convince Billy to let me skip the tribe metting, but I'm glad I did. Happy graduation! I made you a present." It's a bracelet made of colorful beach stones and a dolphin. He must have carved the wood himself. He is great at DIY, he is an excellent mechanic afterall.
"It's beautiful. Thank you."
"I thought you would need something to remind you of La Push. Would you like a snack?" He is looking at the table full of food.
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