We first meet Bella Swan as she is moving from her home in Phoenix, Arizona to live with her father Charlie in Forks, Washington. She attends Forks High School and is shocked to find that she is able to make some new friends on the first day. Despite the attention that she draws from her fellow classmates, Bella remains socially awkward and tries to keep to herself.
But when Bella attends her first Biology class, one person appears to be utterly repulsed by her. Sitting next to her, Edward Cullen is pained by her closeness. Little does Bella know that she is sitting next to a vampire who finds her scent so irresistible that he contemplates killing the entire biology class just feed on Bella. He makes it through the class and Bella is left wondering what she did to make this mysterious and beautiful boy hate her so much.
Edward returns after a two-week absence and decides that he can be strong enough to control his desire for Bella’s blood. But as time progresses he finds himself increasingly interested in the enigma that is Bella’s silent mind. When Bella is almost killed by a skidding van, Edward uses his vampire strength to put himself between the van and Bella. From this moment Edward realizes that he cannot stay away from Bella any longer.
Bella becomes determined to discover how Edward saved her life, and constantly pesters him with questions. After a family friend, Jacob Black, tells her the local tribal legends, Bella concludes that Edward and his family are vampires who drink animal blood rather than human. When he saves her life again from being attacked by a gang of youths, Edward finally confesses that he initially avoided Bella because the scent of her blood was too desirable to him. Their friendship blossoms into a hesitant relationship.
While introducing Bella to his family, nomadic vampires who still observe the traditional lifestyle of a vampire appear. The leader, James, immediately sets out to hunt Bella. When Bella surrenders herself, under the assumption that he has her mother hostage, James attacks her. Before James can kill her, Edward, along with the other Cullens, rescues her and destroy James, but not before James bites Bella’s hand. Edward summons all of his self-control to successfully suck the poison from her bloodstream and prevent her from becoming a vampire. Upon returning to Forks, Bella and Edward attend their school prom, and Bella expresses her desire to become a vampire, but Edward refuses.