Sunday, February 23, 2014 | By: Drotuno

Masen Manor Chapter 3 & Pics

Chapter 3
August 2001
EDWARD
As I leaned against an old, crooked oak tree, I caught sight of the thin tendrils of smoke curling up out of Leah and Jacob’s little cottage just on the other side of my property wall. With my keen sense of smell, I could tell she was cooking, something that Jacob raved about on many occasion. To me, it simply smelled like a wood-burning stove. My attraction to human food was long gone, and I wasn’t sure I missed it. Or maybe I just couldn’t remember that far back to when I’d liked it.
Glancing down at myself, I made sure my hunt had stayed a clean one. I remembered a time when clothes had been destroyed, I’d been covered in blood, and I could go nowhere near a human. But it had been so long that I could get it done without much fuss. Tonight, it was a moose and a black bear. And as far as humans were concerned, the draw was there, just not the desire. Their blood was sweet, taunting, but their thoughts were complex, filled with memories of family, friends, and lovers. Ending that would drive me insane, and at one point, it almost did.
Sweet Jesus, Edward…you’re killing me tonight. All this morose nostalgia. What the hell?

Chuckling, I turned to see Jasper approaching. His eyes were a bright gold from his hunt, which smelled like a few possible lynx, maybe a moose.
“Give me a break, Jasper,” I sighed, shaking my head. “Don’t you remember your first hundred years?”
He grinned, shrugging his shoulder. “I try to forget them, actually.” He nonchalantly rubbed his arm, his fingers grazing over the endless scars left by Maria’s newborns. “At least you had Carlisle. Yeah?”
“True,” I agreed and then glanced at the wall. “She’s waiting for us.”
“Us? Uh, no. I can barely handle you tonight.” He shook his head. “No offense to Miss Leah, but her emotions go a little haywire when she’s reading futures, especially when it comes to you. I’ll be sitting this one out.”
“Fine, fine. Wait for me,” I told him.
We scaled the stone wall, landing silently on the other side. Jasper wandered off toward the small pond, shooting a wave over his shoulder and silently telling me he’d be on the dock.
Over the years, Giselle’s cottage hadn’t changed much. Jacob kept it in good shape, repairing any problems and keeping the place surrounded by flowerbeds overflowing with whatever he could keep blooming. It was small, with a kitchen, living room, two bedrooms, and a bathroom. It wasn’t much, but they’d always told me they felt safer, happier inside my protection.
I walked up the stone path, knocking lightly on the door. I knew Jacob was in his wolf form somewhere on the grounds, so Leah would be home alone. My eyes met ones which were dark, almost black when the door creaked open. The aging woman in front of me still looked like the little girl I’d brought back, but only in her mischievous eyes and big, warm smile. There were wrinkles where there once were freckles and gray in her straight black hair she had twisted into a knot at the nape of her neck.
“Edward,” she greeted, almost like a sigh of relief. “I was hoping you’d come. I know what today is, and I know you’re probably upset. But I wanted to see you. Please, come in.” She opened the door and stepped aside.
“Leah, it’s good to see you,” I said, shoving my hands in the front pockets of my jeans. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be here, but I’d come as she’d asked.
I entered the house, smiling at the warmth, the cozy feeling the tiny place gave off. I sat down at the kitchen table. Leah’s thoughts were jumbled. She was worried about me, and images of her grandmother flickered just beneath the surface of her thoughts.
She sat down across from me and picked up my hands, never flinching over the touch of my cool skin. She’d been that way since a child, but kids tended to accept strange things quicker than adults.
“I’ve missed seeing you,” she chided. “You used to come by more, but now, not so much.”
“My apologies, Miss Leah. Things at the house are…busy. We’re starting a new school year soon, and changes in staffing needed to be made,” I explained, though it still wasn’t a good enough excuse. Though, really, she understood. We’d just brought her son back as a visible employee. However, this time around, he was playing his own son.
“Mmm,” she hummed, tilting her head at me. “Changes needed to be made,” she echoed, “but changes are truly coming.”
Grimacing, my gaze dropped to the table top. “You’re sure, Leah? Was she right? All those years, all this time that’s passed, and Giselle’s still right about this?”
Leah chuckled, sounding almost childlike in its sweet sound. “My grandmother was a lot of things, but wrong wasn’t usually one of them.”
I laughed a little. “Yeah, she told me that same thing that night.”
“I’m sure she did. She was quite powerful back then. And holy crow, did she have a crush on you,” the old woman sang teasingly.
“No,” I argued. “That can’t be true… It was… I’m a…”
“Oh, sweetie,” Leah sighed, shaking her head slowly. “You never see yourself clearly. She knew what you’d become, but she also knew that you weren’t for her. First of all, you were too young for her back then. And then, once she saw your future, she accepted things as they would eventually be.” She patted my hands gently. “Despite how you see yourself, Edward, you need to realize that deep down, you’re a good man. You’ve treated us with kindness and given us protection when we needed it most. You never saw my grandmother for the whore that society around us did. And you’ve created an amazing place for kids to learn. Those are special parts of you. Your mother would be proud of you.”
I smiled ruefully, but couldn’t help but ask, “And my father?”
Leah tsked, sounding so much like Giselle that I grinned. “Oh, to hell with him. From what I’ve heard, he was an abusive drunk who didn’t deserve all that he’d been handed. Stop basing your deeds on the opinion of a man who didn’t care about anyone but himself. Carlisle has been more of a father to you than the man who helped create you. You should be proud of that.”
“I am, Leah, but sometimes, it’s hard to forget.”
“I know, son.”
Silence fell over us like a blanket, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. Leah’s mind was calm, sweet, thinking about things she’d learned from Giselle just before she died.
With that line of thinking, I couldn’t help but ask, “Leah, are you sure Carlisle and I can’t help you research this so-called curse? There’s got to be something that can be done to reverse it.”
“I didn’t call you to my house about me…or about Jacob,” she huffed, almost pulling away from me, but I held her hands. “We are a long line of cursed people, Edward. For a long time, if the babies were born boys, they were destroyed, but apparently, it didn’t matter. Jacob is proof of that. The wolf is carried through the mother, but the ability to change is trapped in the men. My own mother had a theory – or a guess, really – that once Jacob settled down and married, he’d start to age again. We’ve never been able to prove it…”
“Because Jacob hasn’t settled down,” I finished with a chuckle. “Well, he doesn’t seem to mind not aging; then again, not much bothers him.”
“That’s thanks to you, Edward. You and Carlisle have given him fantastic male role models. He’s a better boy than if we’d been left on the streets. He’d have ended up a little thief, a thug.”
“Boy…” I laughed again. “He’s almost fifty-two, Leah.”
“Right…and he looks a helluva lot better at fifty-two than I do at this miserable ninety-two. Getting old sucks, Edward. Be grateful about missing out on the misery of growing old, getting sick, and losing normal functions. My hearing isn’t what it used to be,” she lectured, giving me a wink when she was done.
There was something deep down in her thoughts she was covering up. It centered around the mention of sickness. With a deep breath, I inhaled everything about her. While her blood was as sweet as any human’s, that wasn’t what I was seeking, and I found that something was just...off about her scent. Something foul, something…sick.
“Leah…”
“Now then, let’s look at you,” she chirped, pulling out a deck of tarot cards, but I knew she’d busted me. She just wasn’t going to allow me to talk about it.
I let it go for the moment, but I’d definitely be asking Carlisle to check on her. She let go of my hands, laying out her cards one by one. I saw evil, death, love – the last one making me groan.
“Will you wait?” she snapped with a grin. “Damn, always so pessimistic.”
Laughing, my head fell back, and I folded my arms across my chest in an effort to keep still.
“That’s better. Sit there and behave.”
She laughed softly at my pouting face, but she sobered quickly when she truly worked through what she was doing. She pulled the crystal ball closer, peering deeply into it, but pushed it away, asking for my hands again. I laid them down on the table, palms up, and waited quietly, because again, I wasn’t sure I wanted to know.
Her eyes met mine. “I still see your ‘swan.’” When I nodded, she went on. “I see death again, Edward, which worries me. I’m not sure how that relates to you, but I see it. It’s here…and here…and here again,” she stated, pointing to the cards. “I see…you traveling.” She frowned, glancing down at the cards and back to my face. “Not now, but you want to…and eventually, you will leave the castle.”
“Permanently?” I asked, my mouth hanging open.
“It’s not for certain.”
I sighed, pulling my hands away in order to rake one through my hair. “Okay. Anything else?”
“I see…music,” she said with a smile.
I scoffed. “Leah, I don’t play much anymore.”
“It’s not you playing,” she countered, raising an eyebrow at me.
In her mind, it was soft, delicate, feminine, human hands that graced the black and white keys.
“The last thing I see is…ruby eyes.”
“No,” I growled, standing up so quickly that my chair fell back. “That’ll never happen, Leah. If what you’re saying is true, then put it together... I kill someone? More than one someone? I refuse to believe I’d do that. Never again…”
She stood up and walked to me, grasping my arms. “Relax, Edward. Of course you’d see it that way, but there are many ways to read what I’ve told you. Just because there’s death doesn’t mean you caused it.”
“But red eyes?” I asked in a whisper.
“Read my mind, Edward,” she stated calmly. “See what I see. Those red eyes are full of love. And your beautiful swan is that much clearer, though her voice is silent to me. She’ll be here soon, and she’ll test everything you’ve ever known.”
“Esme thinks she found her,” I said softly, trying not to soak up everything Leah was seeing, but it was impossible. Again, deep brown eyes, large wings, and a scar.
Leah smiled. “Perhaps. You’ve drawn her a hundred times from my grandmother’s mind.”
“More than that,” I sighed, righting the chair I’d knocked over and falling down into it heavily. “What do I do?”
She smiled, sitting next to me. “You never truly believed, Edward. Even after Carlisle, Esme, even after Jasper and Jacob, you didn’t believe, because you didn’t want to believe. Is it so hard to imagine your heart full? Is it that difficult to consider yourself worthy of this soulmate you’re fighting so hard not to want?”
I didn’t have an answer for those questions; I merely blinked at her stupidly. She chuckled, patting my hands again.
“I think…” she started, smiling warmly my way. “I think you’ll figure it out. I think you’ll simply have to experience it for yourself, but I want you to promise me that you’ll be careful, that you’ll take all of this slowly. Those death cards scare me, Edward, and it would hurt me greatly should something happen to you. But while I truly believe all that my grandmother told you, the truth is that you control your own destiny. You can make it all that you desire, or you can stay in darkness.”
“I don’t know what I want, Leah,” I whispered, silently begging her for all the answers, but knowing she didn’t really have them.
“You will.” Her answer was firm, but her voice, her thoughts were sweet and kind, hopeful.
We both glanced toward the door when Jacob’s loud laugh met our ears. His large form walked through the door.
“I’m starving,” he bellowed, rubbing his stomach. “Break time, boss.”
Snorting, I rolled my eyes at him. “I’ll leave you to it. I’ve kept your mother up too late as it is.” I stood up, but leaned down to kiss Leah’s cheek. “Good night, Leah, and thank you.”
“Anytime, Edward.”
I stepped out into the night, seeing Jasper’s silhouette sitting on the dock down at the lake. I walked at a human pace to join him. From the bank, Masen Manor looked majestic, regal almost. Its dark stones, lit windows in different sections, and the faint sounds of humans milling about almost reminded me of how the house had once been. However, in a few days, the whole place would be filled with just under a hundred students. It would be loud with laughter, arguing, and classes. I’d have to hide in my wing more than not. I took a seat next to Jasper, gazing over toward the dorms. Even through the windows, I could see that the cleaning staff was readying the boys’ dormitory. The girls’ would most likely be tomorrow.
Jasper’s gaze was on the still lake water, but his thoughts were concerned. I heard her from here. You okay?
“Yeah, I think so,” I replied aloud. “It doesn’t matter, though. I’ve got a school to run.”
He smiled, his head dropping as he shook it. “You’re a stubborn ass, but you’re my brother. I don’t like the prediction of death,” he stated almost angrily. “No matter what, I’ve got your back, Edward.”
I nodded, standing back up. “I know. I need to…go for a run, but I won’t be far. Have Esme call me when she’s back. I’m absolutely certain she’ll want to see me.” I tried to keep the sarcasm out of my voice, but failed miserably.
Jasper’s laugh was deep, but he nodded. “Oh, I’m sure she will.”
~oOo~
I made my way down the long, narrow passageway, smirking at the sounds of activity just on the other side of the wall. The students were starting to arrive, and the staff was in full swing. I could get to just about any part of Masen Manor without ever entering a main corridor, room, or wing. It was the benefit of having grown up here, and it was helpful as hell when I needed to stay out of sight. Through the years, Carlisle had helped me add a few more just to make it possible to move about the castle. I could leave the east wing and never set eyes on someone else.
The secret passage was dark, dusty, and cold, though none of that bothered me. I could see just as well in the dark hallway as I could in the light of day. A human, however, would be almost blind.
I came out into the east wing, taking the long running rugs that provided a softer path, but also covered up years of dust and debris. My destruction of that wing sat untouched, except for my own living quarters. Stepping into my bedroom, I smirked at who was waiting patiently for me.
“Esme,” I greeted, nodding my head once, but she wouldn’t have it. She yanked me into an almost smothering hug. When she pulled back, she cupped my face, which made me ask, “You gonna tell me or not?”
Her laugh was short-lived, but it was her thoughts that made me frown. She was covering them up with unnecessary student records…every student, save one.
“I will, son, but you’re going to have to be patient. I told Carlisle to meet me in your room,” she explained, kissing my cheek before taking a seat on my sofa. “Before he gets here, I will tell you that there will be a staff meeting first thing Monday morning. I’d like you there, even if it’s on the other side of the wall.”
“Okay,” I said, dragging out the word and taking a seat next to her.
Her formal speech, her hardened tone, and the covering of her thoughts were all a little unnerving. Normally, Esme was the warmest person I knew, but at the moment, she was slightly scaring me.
She got up from the sofa when Carlisle entered the room. They reunited with smiles, kisses, and soft words between them. It was something that happened every time she went on a trip to interview new students, which usually took a few weeks. With promises to make up later for their time apart, they both joined me in the sitting area of my living quarters.
“I needed to see both of you before anyone else concerning this new student, Isabella Swan,” she started, smiling when I flinched at the sound of the girl’s name. “Son, look at me,” she ordered gently. When my gaze met hers, she pushed my hair from my forehead in such a motherly gesture that it made my chest hurt. “Edward, all predictions and fortunes aside, this new student is…different.”
I tried like hell to see an image of the girl through her mind, but she was still keeping me out.
“Why are you blocking me?” I asked her.
She smirked, patting the side of my face. “Because business first, then we’ll talk about personal.”
Carlisle chuckled, shaking his head. “God, Edward, you look like she’s going to set you on fire. Would you please calm down?”
Esme turned her sharp gaze on him, saying, “I’d like you to see this girl. According to her parents, she’s seen every doctor known to man in Boston, but nothing seems to work.” He opened his mouth, and she stopped him with a raised hand. “I realize you’re not a psychiatrist, but please, just…see her. She’s already agreed to it.”
“What’s wrong with her?” I asked, sounding like an ass, but not being able to read Esme’s thoughts was killing me.
Esme took a deep breath and let it out. “She rarely speaks out loud, son. There’s a…scar that goes almost goes completely across her throat – like someone tried to take her damn head clean off. At first, I know she wasn’t able to speak. Now…she does so only when not given any other choice.” Her brow furrowed, but she added, “She spoke to me, but I’m not sure I heard her say a single thing to her mother and stepfather.”
Carlisle sat forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “What happened?”
Esme sat back, adjusting her clothes. “Robbery, it seems. Bella showed me the newspaper clippings. She and her father, who was a federal judge at the time, were home alone, asleep. Someone broke in. They succeeded in killing Charles Swan, but Bella survived…just barely.”
“They couldn’t just take the stuff? They had to kill him?” I asked, my mouth hanging open.
Carlisle smiled sadly. “And you think we’re the dangerous ones out there, Edward. Humans are desperate, cruel creatures when push comes to shove.” He turned to his mate. “I’ll be happy to see her. I’m assuming prior to the staff meeting Monday?”
“Yes, please. I’d like your opinion on her before I explain to the teachers that her verbal participation isn’t required and I’ll have no one pushing her. Anything that can be spoken aloud can be written down or typed. And her work at her prior high school was extremely impressive. I’m not sure it’s necessary to force her.”
Carlisle and I gaped at her. There was something about this girl that was bringing out the protective mother in Esme. She was almost angry and feral about it.
“You’re protecting this girl, sweetheart,” Carlisle pointed out. “What is it about her?”
Esme shook her head, but her eyes fell to me. They were sad, yet hopeful. “She’s…a smart, beautiful sixteen, almost seventeen-year-old girl, and she’s been through hell. If I had to guess, she’s still in hell, she just doesn’t see it. Her parents were…distant, practically cold, like they simply didn’t care.” She sighed deeply before going on. “Edward, before I let you see her, I’m going to tell you something. I didn’t give much thought to Giselle’s prediction…until I saw this girl. Everything you’ve ever drawn is right there. But it’s more than that. It’s as if she was made for you, son. She’s absolutely stunning, except for that scar. She’s kind and smart, but she plays the piano almost as well as you do.”
Esme sat forward and grasped my face. Her mind opened to me like a flower in bloom, causing my breath to catch in my throat. The first thing I saw was the scar that had clouded my mind for decades. I never knew where it was, just the look of it slashed across perfect, creamy skin. But Esme was right; whoever had given the girl the scar had had nasty intentions. Next were her eyes – deep, soulful, knowing eyes. They were youthful eyes, yet they’d seen too much already. My caretaker, Collette, would’ve said Isabella Swan carried an old soul inside her.
Lastly, I took in Esme’s memory of Bella at the piano. She was fluid and really, really good.
I soaked up every inch of the girl through Esme’s mind. I was fascinated at finally seeing the owner of those dark eyes, and they were on a face that was equally as beautiful, framed by dark, mahogany curls. My first instinct was to say she was simply a good-looking teen girl, but that would’ve been wrong on so many levels.
I stood up quickly, clawing at my hair and starting to pace. “All the more reason for me to stay behind the scenes the next few years,” I muttered, shaking my head.
“Edward, that’s what I need to talk to you about,” Esme said, standing up and walking to me. “I’d really like you as her piano instructor. As good as Mr. Harris is, she’s way above his level. I think you should tutor her.”
“No,” I growled.
“You haven’t shown your face to a student or staff member in over fifty years, son. You could pull this off,” Esme reassured, placing her hands on my shoulders.
I was shaking my head the entire time she was talking.
“Why? Edward, what has you so adamant about this?” she asked.
My eyes left hers and drifted to Carlisle, only to look at the floor. “I don’t want Giselle to be right. I don’t want Leah to be right. There are…additions to the prediction, and things could end badly.”
“Son, you don’t know this is the same girl. It could be another student starting this year,” Carlisle argued.
I rolled my eyes his way, and Esme chuckled.
“Her name is Bella Swan, Carlisle,” I stated with a touch of fear and exasperation.
He grinned, patting my shoulder. “Beautiful swan. Yes, I can see where that may be where everything comes together. Think about teaching the girl, son. If she’s as good as Esme says, then she’ll need to be challenged. You have the capability of doing that.” His face sobered, though, and he asked, “What are these new additions Leah told you?”
I spent the next few minutes going over the things the old woman had said – the changes coming, the three death cards, how Giselle’s original fortune was still there, and my red eyes she’d seen.
Both of them frowned at that last thing.
“No wonder you’re a little apprehensive,” Carlisle said softly, nodding a little. “And three deaths?” he verified, and I nodded. “I don’t like the sound of that.” He looked over at Esme. “I’m afraid I’m with Edward on this one. Let’s just…see how things play out. No need to push anything. She may do well with Mr. Harris, you never know. In fact, let me speak with her before we make any decisions.”
“Fair enough, Carlisle,” Esme conceded, but I could see that she wasn’t happy about it. She really liked the girl, which said a million more things about this Bella Swan than I was willing to admit.
They started to leave, but I called Carlisle back. “I think Leah’s—”
“Sick,” he finished for me. “Yes, I’m aware, though she won’t let me help her. She’s very stubborn. Like her grandmother.”
Smiling sadly, I nodded. “So there’s nothing we can do?”
“Oh, I haven’t given up on her yet, son,” he stated, and then he left out through my door.
~oOo~
BELLA
“This is us,” Alice chirped, pointing to a door with the number thirteen on it. As she opened the door, she said, “This was my room last year. Though, I didn’t have a roommate.”
My brow wrinkled as I followed her inside. She chattered just enough that I didn’t need to talk. And as we’d been in the limo on the way here, I could tell that she used her hyper, chatty ways to cover up something sad. It was in her eyes. They were a pretty mix of green and blue, but they’d darken if she got quiet.
She glanced over her shoulder, laughing softly. “My little talent isn’t accepted by everyone. Some think I’m a freak.”
I snorted, thinking that Mrs. Cullen may have put us together for a reason. I wasn’t sure I bought the whole psychic thing, but she certainly believed it.
Our room was pretty, spacious, and split perfectly down the middle by a large bookcase. Each side had access to a window that overlooked the front courtyard, a small twin-size bed, and a desk. There was dark wood flooring, with thick red and tan rugs, dark wood on the walls, thick red curtains, and a bathroom for us to share. In some ways, it reminded me of Harry Potter’s room at Hogwarts. But strangely enough, it felt…welcoming.
“You want the right or left side?” Alice asked, setting her things down. When I shrugged, she smiled. “If you don’t care, I’ll just take the left side again.”
Nodding, I dragged my trunk to the right side of the room. I walked to the window, gazing out over the front courtyard. It was a dreary day, misty and cloudy. Down below, more cars were pulling up to bring more students. They seemed to range in ages from about fourteen to eighteen, if I’d had to guess. Some were hugging in greeting, some were yelling and laughing, obviously catching up from being away over the summer, and some looked as nervous and lost as I was.
I caught a glimpse of the guy who had driven us from the train station. Jacob Black was busy unloading trunks and suitcases, while off to the side was a guy painting the front door.
Alice appeared beside me. “By Sunday, everyone will be here. We’ll have a walk-through of classes Monday.” Her eyes gazed around the courtyard. “Jacob’s pretty cool. He started last year…some long-lost son of the guy before him. He’d been away at college or some shit.” She pointed toward the other guy. “Jasper, he’s really hot, but kind of standoffish.”
I chuckled, glancing over at her, but back to him. I was too far away to get a really good look at him, but from where I was on the third floor, I could see that he was tall, blond, and well-built.
“What?” she asked with a giggle. “You’ll find that the student body is…lacking, Bella. Besides, older men are sexy.”
Grinning, I shrugged a shoulder and turned to start unpacking. It didn’t take long, and I was just about finished when there was a knock on our door. Alice practically danced across the room to open it, and she revealed a tall, stunning blonde girl.
“Hey, Rose,” Alice greeted, stepping aside. “I heard you were made girls’ dorm captain for your senior year.” She pointed to me. “This is Bella Swan. She doesn’t talk.”
Rose smiled, which made her even prettier, and I noticed her eyes were a pale blue. “Yeah, I’m aware. I just saw Mrs. C. I’m Rosalie Hale.” When I shook her hand, she glanced between us. “I’m just making sure you guys are all in.” She faced me again. “If you’d like, I can give you a quick tour tonight before dinner, but I have a message for you from Mrs. Cullen. She said that you need to report to the infirmary tomorrow. Dr. Cullen will be expecting you.”
I nodded that I heard her, but shifted nervously on my feet. I had kind of thought I’d get a reprieve from the doctor thing, but it seemed Mrs. Cullen had been serious.
“Hey,” Rose said softly. “We’ve all seen him at least once. He’s a really mellow kinda guy. You’ll like him.”
I smiled at her reassurance and nodded her way.
“Good. Okay, then, so come down to room one around five, and I’ll give you a quick tour of the place before we head down to the dining hall. No need for uniforms yet. Not ’til Monday.”
She left us to finish settling in, and Alice started telling me about Rose. She apparently had started at Masen her tenth grade year. It was well known that she was dating Emmett McCarty, who just happened to have been placed as the boys’ dorm captain. According to Alice, they were like the All-American perfect couple. Both gorgeous, both coming from wealthy families, and both were going on to Dartmouth when they graduated. She also said there was a rumor that Rosalie had come from an abusive home and that she’d come here to get away from it, but she wasn’t quite sure that was true, that there were plenty of rumors around the castle about everyone.
By the time all my clothes were in their drawers and hanging up on my side of the closet, my books put away, and my journal locked in my nightstand, it was time to head down to Rosalie’s room. Alice went with me, stating that she’d simply keep me company.
I wasn’t the only one at Rose’s door when we got to the end of the long hall. There were a couple of girls already there. It was obvious that two were younger than I was, and one looked to be about my age, with dark hair and glasses.
Rose came out of her room, looking like a runway model in simple jeans and a sweater. It would’ve been intimidating had she not been so nice.
“Okay, introductions. Angela Weber, sophomore,” she said, pointing to the girl I’d assumed was my age. “Bree Tanner and Lauren Mallory, both freshmen,” she said, pointing to the younger girls, one with really long hair, the other looking like a pampered brat with a scowl on her face. “And Isabella Swan, junior. Oh, and Alice Brandon…also junior, but she’s not new, just…nosey.”
Alice giggled, shrugged a shoulder. “Call it new student support.”
“Whatever,” Rose said with a laugh. “C’mon. We’re meeting Emmett so that we can give the new guys the tour at the same time.”
We turned down a few corridors, coming out to see a group of boys waiting at the end. A giant of a guy was leaning against the wall. When he saw us, his face lit up, allowing the biggest of grins to grace his features. That grin showed off dimples and straight teeth, which took away from his large, almost intimidating form. His eyes were the same color as my own, but warm and happy. Had I seen him at my old school, I would’ve assumed he played sports – especially football. He was built for it.
“Rosie,” he cheered. “You wanna sing this song, or shall I?” he asked her.
She rolled her eyes, blushing a little, but she smiled anyway. “You love the sound of your own voice, Emmett, so get on with it.”
“Excellent.” He turned toward the boys. “We’ve only got a couple new guys so far, but I think a few more will show up before Monday. Eric Yorkie, sophomore. Tyler Crowley, junior. And Brady Campbell, freshman.”
Eric was a tiny thing, nervous and twitchy. Tyler looked sure of himself, almost cocky. And Brady had a sweet baby face, though he looked a little anxious.
Once everyone knew everyone else’s name, Emmett took the lead and started talking. He showed us where all the classrooms were – math, science, history, English, and foreign language. He stopped in a trophy room, which displayed a few of Masen Academy’s past student achievements. At the end of a long hall, Emmett opened a set of double doors, revealing an auditorium. On the stage was a gorgeous black grand piano.
“Music and drama room. Not to mention, this is where you guys will come when there are student assemblies,” Emmett explained, but he caught my gaze, which was locked onto the stage. “You play?”
I nodded, smiling up at him.
“Awesome! There are a handful of students that do. Mr. Harris is the new music teacher, but he seems cool,” Emmett told me. “Personally, I can’t play music for shit. Fat fingers.”
Giggling at him, I shook my head. Emmett, like Rose, was super-easy to like, but I had a question, which left me no choice but to speak.
“Can…we?” I sputtered, pointing toward the stage.
“What? Can you practice?” he asked, and I nodded. “Oh, yeah. Whenever it’s not being used, and as long as you’re not out of bed at night or whatever…sure. You can come practice. Every now and then, I hear someone really early in the morning. Though, it’s been a while since I heard that,” he muttered to himself. “Maybe they graduated or some shit. Anyway, let’s keep going.”
We turned back toward the main hall, and he stopped us in front of a door.
“Teacher’s lounge.”
He kept going, but all of us looked down the hall at the sounds of a door opening and then some giggling. A girl with light brown hair and a guy with overly gelled, highlighted hair, stumbled into the corridor, both looking a little rumpled. I could only guess as to what they’d been doing.
“Newton!” Emmett snapped, his face reddening, which caused the couple to freeze like deer in headlights. “You know the east wing is off limits. Get to the dining hall. Both of you. If you’re lucky, I won’t mention this to Mrs. C.”
“We got lost,” the girl said, smirking at Emmett.
“Lost, my ass, Jessica. Just get out of my face, will ya?” Emmett grumbled, but he turned to face us all once the couple had left. “Guys, it is easy to get turned around in this place, but if a door says ‘No Admittance,’ then leave it alone. Most of the time, they’re locked. Why this one wasn’t, I have no idea. The east wing is messed up and under construction, though no one’s touched it in ages. Something about permits or whatever.” He waved a hand in the air. “Anyway, it’s a safety thing. You could get hurt in there. One kid broke his leg in the east wing about five years ago. The stairs crumbled underneath him.”
“Never mind that the rumors say it’s haunted back there,” Alice piped up.
Emmett grinned. “There’s that. I’ve heard strange shit myself, and I saw Newton busted once. Someone left the door opened when they were tearing him a new one. The place is pretty messed up, and you can tell no one’s been in there in like forever.”
“Is it haunted?” Angela asked, her eyes wide, but no one looked more nervous than Eric, who’d paled at the mention of it.
“Maybe,” Rose stated, shrugging a shoulder. “You never know what’s in these old castles. This place has been standing since before the Civil War.”
“Which brings us to the main stairs,” Emmett transitioned, pointing to a staircase. “This will lead you to the dining hall, front doors, and the library.”
He led us down to the large foyer, which put us right inside by the front main doors.
On one side, the library doors stood propped open. Above the doorway, a plaque stated, “The Elizabeth Masen Library.”
“The library was named after Masen’s wife. Apparently, she died in this room,” Emmett said with a wicked grin. “Old ass ghost stories that float around here are crazy. Anyway, the library is open until just about an hour before curfew. Don’t eat in there, ‘cause Mrs. C will flip out. Otherwise, it’s well-stocked and the WiFi works in there, as well as in your dorms.”
We all stepped just inside the doors. The library was stunning and old and dark. Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves lined every wall and created aisles, with a few tables scattered here and there. Off to the left was an enormous fireplace that, at the moment, wasn’t lit. In front of that were several velvety red sofas and chairs.
“Now the dining hall,” Emmett stated, pointing across the foyer.
Inside the dining hall, tables were already filling with students and what looked like some teachers, too. It looked like any other school lunchroom, with plenty of tables, except this one had hardwood floors and walls. At the far back was the serving line, and the smells reminded me that I’d barely eaten lunch earlier. However, my eyes were drawn to the large portrait of a man that loomed over the large room. He looked cold, hardened. Captured in what I’d guess to be oil was Edward Masen Sr., or so it said on the plaque beneath the frame. His hair was dark brown, his face had a sharp jawline, and his eyes were a piercing green. For a moment, I wondered why the son would open the school in that guy’s honor and not his own. Mr. Masen gave off a mean vibe, simply from his picture. I couldn’t imagine that he was a teacher.
Emmett told us the same story that Mrs. Cullen had told me on the trip here, that the school had been opened by Edward Masen Jr. in honor of his father, who’d died in 1901.
“That’s it, guys,” Emmett said, clapping his hands softly together once. “If you need anything or have questions, come see me or Rosie. Otherwise, welcome to Masen…and eat up!”
I hesitated before stepping into a room with so many people. A chill ran up my spine, and I turned around to gaze about the front foyer. No one was there, but I felt like I was being watched. Though, closer inspection of the dining hall showed that most of the people already eating were shooting curious glances our way, most likely because we were the new kids.
Alice tugged on my sleeve. “You comin’?”
With one more glance behind me, I nodded and followed her inside.





2 comments:

Snoopylover said...

I love the whole haunted part of the house. Looking forward to Edward actually seeing Bella.

Looking so forward with more!! I love the picture that you post with every chapter :D

aelita48 said...

It is a really interesting school...
I like this third chapter.
Thank you

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