Hi there! Isn't Bella the worst? Yeah, I kinda think so too. What's behind the curtain? Is it a horse of a different color? I guess we'll see... Please keep sending me your thoughts and theories - I read every review. Thanks for the love!

I don't own Twilight.

"So, how's your week been going?" Jasper asked as we watched his Grand Theft Auto character be beaten for trying to steal a car. "From what I've heard, it was something like this?"

I had to laugh. It had actually been one of the better weeks in recent memory - quiet and surprisingly drama-free. Bella-free, too. But I knew where - or should I say whom - this question was really coming from. "What did Alice tell you," I outright asked him.

"It seems all's not well in fair Verona," he said as he handed me the controller.

"Bella and I are taking a break," I admitted, fully aware he already knew the details from the other side of the theoretical fence.

"Did I miss the part where you were finally together?" He asked.

"Of course not," I scoffed. "You know Bella. She wants nothing to do with me until 2 a.m."

"So you cut her off?"

"I just need a break and some space, Jasper. I don't really like the person she is right now. It concerns me."

"Good," he said as he stood up to get another beer. "Bella is... she's like an anchor right now, man. I don't know what it is, but something has dragged her down. Don't let yourself be dragged down too."

Another Friday night spent beneath the dull glow of the Stube's bar lights.

"Long story short, Emmett thought 'babushka' was an appropriate term of endearment to use in bed," Rose laughed.

"It's the Olympics, man! I saw a story about this little old Russian woman whose life-long dream was to -"

"Oh, Emmett. You're my little babushka," Alice cut him off and pinched his sizeable cheeks.

The beers and conversation flowed as they would any other week. I waited for someone to ask where Bella was, but the absence of the question made me assume the topic had been covered before I got here. I was in the dark; I hadn't talked to Bella since our late night conversation last week.

It was a little uncomfortable knowing that everyone had probably heard the gritty details of our - whatever this was. Clusterfuck came to mind. I'd heard way more salacious things about the rest of the group's business over the years, so I didn't dwell it too much. It was an unavoidable side effect of being in a large, extremely close group of couples: you're just gonna hear stuff you don't want to know. Emmett's babushka fetish being the current case in point.

Pure Prairie League came on the jukebox, which delighted Jasper and elicited groans from the rest of us.

The jukebox was, depending on who you asked, the best or worst part of the Stube. While it was stocked with some truly great albums, there was a limited selection. And there are only so many times you can hear "Amie" before going insane.

But the jukebox was a far cry better than Stube's foray into live music with a house band two summers ago. The idea turned out to be terrible; the band couldn't plug in without overloading the electrical circuits and there was barely room to breathe even before adding five people and their equipment. I also blame it for bringing Riley into our lives. At the very least, I blame it for bringing Riley into Bella's life.

Riley was the bassist for Table of Nick, a local band that got the summer-long residency at the Stube. Jasper and I were already vaguely familiar with him because he worked at the record store on north campus, so he stopped over when he spotted us at our usual table the first Friday they played.

"Hey dudes! It's so cool you're here tonight. Are you ready to be rocked?"

Did I mention that Riley was kind of a douche?

"Hey, Riley," Jasper responded. "What a nice coincidence. We all come here every Friday, so you'll probably be seeing us a lot this summer."

Rose and Emmett were oblivious to the conversation, off in their own little bubble as usual. Alice was at the bar grabbing drinks and Bella... Bella's face was verging on being the color of a tomato. She was pretty shy and quiet back then - what a difference a year and a half could make.

"That's the plan," Riley said. "I don't believe we've met," he addressed Bella. "No, I'm sure we haven't met, I definitely would've remembered you."

"I'm not very memorable," Bella said with a shake of her head. "It's Bella. Nice to meet you."

Every Friday, Riley found a reason to come over to our table for longer and longer. The rest of us would fade into the background while Riley and Bella had ridiculous conversations, seemingly in their own little world. As the weeks rolled by, their relationship progressed pretty quickly. Before I knew it, Riley had moved in with Bella and our group saw her less and less. After the summer, Bella stopped showing up altogether. I heard from Alice that Bella and Riley had broken up and that she needed time to sort things out.

None of us really saw Bella until the next summer. She told us that she had gone home to her parents' house to clear her mind, but things were really different once she game back. Gone was the somewhat shy, timid Bella... Bella 2.0 had arrived. Shortly after she got back she had surprised me by showing up at my apartment late one night. Which sort of brought us to present day, in all its messy fucked up glory.

Emmett sloshed beer on the table as he plopped a full - well, mostly full now - pitcher into the center of the table, jarring me back to present day.

"Edward, good sir," he began with a British accent. Emmett got really weird when he had too much to drink. "I dost thou believeth that thou hasn't had enough to drink...eth."

"That is literally the worst thing I have ever heard, man," Jasper said, filling a glass. "But he has a point. Drink."

So I did. I was usually against drinking as a form of avoidance, but I needed out of my head for a little while.

When I finally fell asleep that night, I tossed and turned as I dreamt of a girl who was struggling to save herself from drowning. I tried to help her, but she kept slipping out of my grasp. I woke up with a start, looked at the clock and grabbed my keys.

It was time to make a 2 a.m. trip of my own.