AN: Some insight on the Leah situation… from Bellas pov

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-=[ Isabella Swan, 17 yo, the past]=-

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Everyone has a past; of course Bella was VERY well aware of this fact.

Edward wasn't some blushing virgin. He wasn't a manwhore, by any means, but by his own account he wasn't a monk either.

Naturally, this meant there were bound to be ex-girlfriends (or ex hookups, or whatever he liked to call them) popping up every once and a while. Of course Bella knew this. Still, she didn't particularly like hearing about them.

Finding out that Leah Clearwater was one of those girls, had come a bit out of left field (to put it mildly…). She had not seen that one coming for sure.

Bella tried to tell herself that she was more annoyed than jealous, but honestly…. perhaps a triple combo of feeling annoyed, insecure AND jealous was more like it.

And the annoyance was mostly because no one had thought to tell her about Leah sooner. Then again, why would anyone even suspect she had any interest in this kind of information to begin with? No one at school knew about her and Edward. And Edward himself certainly didn't have enough foresight to give any kind of heads-up. Fuck buddies don't do that, they don't owe each other anything. Period.

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Like many great conversations the one about Leah started in the school cafeteria one grey and drizzly spring day.

"The douchebag is staring at your tits again," Edward commented in a clipped voice, as he put his tray down at their regular table. "This obsession of his is getting a bit too much. Must be some sort of Freudian mommy complex…You know, not breast fed enough, not hugged enough-…"

"Who are you talking about?" Bella, who was already seated at the table, looked up from her food.

At half past eleven, the cafeteria at Forks High was busy, but not packed yet. Not that many people were looking their way - except … "Oh, you mean Newton?" she concluded.

"Who else would I mean?" Edward responded testily.

Oooh, grumpy much!

"You could just as well have been talking about Eric," Bella pointed out, trying to act nonchalant. "I caught him trying to get a look down my top in P.E yesterday."

True story, only she left out the part where she had gotten a god damn badminton ball stuck down her cleavage, which was why Eric (her badminton partner) had turned around to gawk at her. Edward didn't need to know that though.

Not that she thought something trivial like this would make him jealous. Edward Cullen didn't do jealousy….he didn't bother with feelings. (*insert eye roll*).

"Classy, but no, I was definitely talking about Newton," Edward snorted, unscrewing the cap of his water bottle, while sending a not-so-subtle middle finger in Mikes direction. "He's the one acting like he's never seen a pair of breasts before."

"Maybe he hasn't…. seen real ones, I mean. If his only references are the fake silicone tits seen in porn and Jessica Stanley's wonky-.." she cut herself short, when she suddenly noticed that Mike had moved. In fact, he was steadily making his way over.

"Incoming!" she groaned, looking around for someone to save her. "This is your fault, Cullen! I don't want to speak with him. You fix this!"

Edward merely shrugged. "He's your admirer. You talk to him."

Where was Alice when you needed her? Or Rosalie?

The former, she realized, was still held up in the line to the Pizza window. Unfortunately, she vaguely remembered hearing something about Rosalie having to leave for an emergency dentist appointment… or something.

Ugh! Bella would have to tackle this on her own. Because she knew better than to expect any help from Edward.

Oh, and it probably wouldn't be long before Taylor and Eric joined in too. They always stuck together, those three. Alice often referred to them as Bella's pack of yapping admirers... Angie called them fruit flies. Bella simply preferred to ignore them all together, if she could.

"Hi Arizona!"

Mike came to a halt just in front of the table, beaming down at her with that goofy grin of his.

"Uh… I mean hi!" she responded, giving him a fake smile in return. "Didn't see you there, Mickey!"

"Please, don't call me that," Newton groaned, scratching the back of his neck. "It makes me think my mother is here. That was her name for me when I was little."

Even though Bella didn't want to encourage conversation, she couldn't stop herself from teasing him a little. "Hate to break it too you, but I know your mom, seeing as she is my boss and all and she still calls you 'her little Mickey'."

A snort behind her, told her Edward was listening to the exchange with great amusement.

"Not to my face she doesn't," Newton said, choosing to ignore Edward's presence entirely.

"So, Mike….not that it's not great to see you, cause it is, but is there by chance any particular reason you came over?"

She hoped she didn't sound too bitchy, but she was hungry, starving even and just wanted to be left alone so that she could eat her lunch in peace.

"Ah, yes," he nodded. "I just wanted to come over and compliment you on your outfit, because I think you're looking very smart today… You should wear tops like that more often. It suits you."

"Uhm… thanks, I guess," Bella muttered, looking down at herself. She'd taken her favorite, almost worn out, dark hoodie off and draped it over her chair. The soft grey top she wore underneath, was by no means new, but it had perhaps not been quite this…. tight, the last time she'd worn it.

Most of her clothes fit her a bit more snuggly these days. She'd not weighed herself recently, but it seemed as though she'd gained some of the weight back that she'd lost during those first six months following her mother's death. She supposed it made her look curvier, more feminine, or something.

Seriously though, it wasn't like she was dressed particularly provocative or anything... In fact, there were others that wore far more revealing attires to school on a daily basis *cough* Jess Stanley *cough*. So it made little to no sense for Mike to walk up and start giving her weird compliments about her clothes out of the blue.

"Not that you don't look nice all the time!" Mike added, sensing her confusion. "I like your regular outfits too! It's just-..."

"Cut the crap Newton! Can't you see you're making Isabella uncomfortable," Edward suddenly spoke up, surprising the hell out of Newton… and Bella too.

You see, fuck-buddies can't be seen talking to one another in public, according to Edward Cullen. And while they often found themselves sitting at the same table during lunch hour, it was very rare for him to acknowledge her presence in any way shape or form, when others, (outside of his close knit group of friends and family) were around to witness it.

Of course, he was a wee bit more talkative when they were alone together. Actually, behind closed doors, he tended to be an opinionated bastard… She even suspected, he picked arguments with her on purpose, because he got a kick out of seeing her get royally pissed off at him.

"It's called giving a compliment you idiot," Mike shot back at Edward. "You should try it some time."

"Mickey, Mickey… Did you get lost again? Sometimes I wonder if there is something seriously wrong with you!" Alice suddenly appeared at the table, shooing at Newton to step back so that she could reach her usual seat next to Bella

"That makes two of us," Emmett laughed, as he too, pulled out a chair and sat down.

"Cut it out, I was just stopping by to tell Bella I like her outfit today," Mike defended himself. "Girls like to hear that they look pretty."

"From their boyfriends, maybe," Alice was shaking her head at him. "Not from some random dude, bugging them while they're trying to eat. Drooling is unsanitary, after all. "

Mike frowned. "I'm not some random dude… I'm her friend. Also, I don't drool so-…"

"Was there anything else, Newton?" Edward interrupted him, "You're ruining my appetite with your ugly face and idiotic behavior. No one wants you here!"

"Says, the weird, anti-social one," Mike shot back, still not showing any signs of leaving.

Normally this was where Alice would step in, but she must have been having an off day or something, because she merely hummed like she was agreeing with Mike. Actually, she was being uncharacteristically quiet all together….

"Anyway, I'd like to ask you something, if that's alright?" Mike's focus was, once again, directed solely on Bella. "I'm sure you're aware that the Spring Fling is coming up soon, right?"

Ah, the Spring Fling…

Unfortunately, the annual Winter Formal – also known as 'the Ho Ho Dance' - had been canceled last minute this year, due to a bad snow storm. The dance planning committee had tried, but failed to move it to a later date. It had simply been too close to the holiday season to make it work. However, the committee had taken upon themselves to fix the situation by squeezing in an informal school dance now instead (eventhough Prom was just around the corner). Because God forbid, the students were left a school dance short when the school year was over!

So now there was a 'Spring Fling Mania' of sorts happening, where everyone was scrambling to secure dates, score tickets and sort out outfits... and all of this on very short notice.

"Yes, I'm aware," Bella answered Mike with a shrug, acting like she didn't know where this was going, even though she pretty good guess what would come next. She'd been dreading this …

Alice knew too, it seemed, as she was hiding a smile behind her hand - no doubt enjoying this farce immensely …which would explain why she hadn't chased Mike away already.

"I wanted to know if you'd consider going to the dance with me … as my date," Mike continued, looking down at her gravely.

"Are you serious? Right in front of my salad?" Emmett complained in the background.

"Oh that's sweet, I'd love to, Mike," Bella quipped, firing off another fake smile at him, "But unfortunately, I've already made arrangements to go with someone else. Sorry."

"Aww, that's a bummer, Mickey," Alice said innocently. "Sounds like you're too late."

Mike ignored Alice. "Who?" he said instead, the question directed at Bella. "Who are you going with? Is it Taylor?"

"No. I'm going with my friend Jake," she replied, because douche or not, Jake was still the straw she tended to grab in these type of situations. No one ever questioned her when she turned down a trip to the mall, or the movies because she wanted to spend time with Jake. It worked like a charm almost every time.

Out of the corner of her eye, she was watching Edward, gauging his reaction to all this. As predicted his jaw clenched and his eyes hardened. No lost love there… Edward really, truly hated Jake and he hated when Bella brought him up in conversation. Even the briefest of mentions usually had him cussing up a storm.

Mike didn't seem too pleased either. "Jacob Black? He doesn't even go to this school," he whined. "Besides, isn't he like two years younger than you?"

"That's right, he doesn't go here, but I'm allowed to bring a guest. I've already cleared that with Rose, who's on the committee (a blatant lie, of course). Also, he's old enough to get in, so I don't see why his age should be a problem."

"It's just-… Never mind," Mike looked miffed. "I'll let you have the afternoon to think about it. If you change your mind-…"

Just then, someone came jogging up to them, hitting Mike in the back of the head.

"Ouch! What the fuck was that for?"

"You know why, Newton. We had a pact, and you just broke it," Taylor shouted above the clatter, before disappearing out of the cafeteria.

"This has been a blast y'all, but I've gotta jet," Mike said, giving Bella one last smile, before taking off after his 'frenemy'.

"Aww, how cute! Your pack of admirers is beating the hell out of each other," Alice teased Bella. "I heard from Eric's little sister that the pact was for all three of them to ask you together. Only, you went and picked someone else entirely! I'm loving this! Very entertaining…"

WTF?

Bella was about to respond to that, when Edward interrupted her.

"Why didn't you just tell him you don't want anything to do with that stupid dance?" he asked, in a voice that was strangely without both tone and inflection.

"I could have, but what good would that have done?" she snorted. "It's Mike Newton we're talking about. He would have kept pestering me about this, not stopping until he got his way."

"True, he got her to come to one of our games, remember? And we all know Bella here HATES football with passion," Emmett laughed.

"I, for one, would love it if you came to the dance with us, Bella," Alice said hopefully. She was back to her ol' talkative self agai,n it seemed. "I didn't know you were seeing Jake again, but if he makes you happy, then I'm happy for you. Now, on to the important stuff…. We need to start planning! When can we go shopping for dresses? I'm free this weekend, what about you?"

Ugh, shopping with Alice meant hours of walking from store to store for hours in search of the perfect outfit. Not fun at all… 'torture' was the word that sprung to mind

"I'll… have to get back to you about that one, Alice," Bella started responded, but didn't get to finish, as Edward cut in.

"Are you daft, Alice? She doesn't need a dress, because she isn't planning on going to the dance. It was all just an excuse to get Newton off her back," he explained slowly like talking to a three year old.

"That's not true… wait, is that true?" Alice turned to Bella. "Did I just get my hope up for nothing?"

"I wasn't planing-… " she started, but then something made her change her mind. "I mean, I haven't actually decided one way or the other yet. And before I do, I'll obviously need to ask Jake if he is up for it. "

She could feel Edward's eyes burning holes in the side of her head. "It's been ages since me and Jake did anything fun together. We have been talking about going out and seeing a movie or something. Maybe we could skip the movie and stop by the dance for a bit instead. He might already have other plans for that particular night though."

"Oh, ask him! I bet, he'll be honored to take you to the dance, you'll see," Alice assured her.

"Oh, he'll be ecstatic alright. He's no better than those other losers," Edward snorted, gesturing vaguely in the direction of the table Newton usually sat at.

"I can't imagine you in a girly, pastelly dress, Swan," Emmett's face contorted as if he was thinking hard, his forehead starting to wrinkle. "Nope. You should come to the dance though. It will be fun… Spiked punch, cheesy music, teenagers rubbing up against one another."

"Yeah, that sounds like my kind of fun …NOT." Bella grimaced.

"Then stay home. If Mike gives you a hard time about it, just tell him daddy changed his mind and wouldn't let you out of the house or something. There problem solved," Edward stated with an airy wave of his hand, as if dismissing the whole thing.

"Shut the trap, Cullen! Whether I end up going or not, the decision will be mine and mine alone," Bella shot back at him, almost forgetting they had an audience.

Apparently, she wasn't the only one momentarily forgetting their surroundings, because Edward responded by saying, "I can't believe you're even considering going with HIM. Haven't you learned anything from your past mistakes?"

"Wait, what mistakes? Why do I feel like I'm missing something here?" Emmett said at the same time as Alice asked, "Why are you giving her such a hard time about this?"

"Yeah, why Edward?" Bella challenged, jutting her chin out at him.

"Because… I don't like this kid, or his friends," Edward shot back. "It's that simple!"

"Let me get this straight, just because you dislike him, everyone else should dislike him too?" Bella asked for clarification.

She knew she was pushing it. Any second now he'd get up and storm out of there.

"Excuse me for trying to look out for you," Edward crossing his arms over his chest. "He's bad news and you know it."

"Don't listen to my stupid brother," Alice snorted. "He's just grumpy because of the way the whole Leah-situation played out. Newsflash- yes, it sucks that everyone found out about it the way they did, but that was last year, Eddie! Move on already! Everyone else has…"

"No, that's not it. Eddie is just bummed that Embry won't cater to his needs anymore," Emmett corrected his sister. "You see Bella, all the rez kids are loyal to Uley and no money in the world will change that. So now, Eddie has to play nice with James to get his hands on the good stuff."

"I was getting to that," Alice huffed. "None of this would have happened if Leah hadn't dragged Edward into her beef with Sam."

"Eddie is Jamie's bitch now and he only has himself to blame for it!" Emmett pointed out.

"Oh, shut up, you two!" Edward scowled, throwing his near empty water bottle at his brother, sending water droplets everywhere.

Emmett in turn jumped up to grab his brother in a neck-lock. "I'm right though and you know it."

While the two brothers wrestled, Bella tuned to Alice asking, "What Leah-situation? Is this about my neighbor, Leah? Leah Clearwater?"

"Yes, that's the one. You don't know what happened? Wow! I can't believe Jake hasn't told you about this already."

"Told me what? What happened? "

"Oh, just a little cheating scandal - typical high school drama, really… It happened last year, like way before you moved here, so I suppose that's why he hasn't said anything. It's still a bit strange though, considering she's your next door neighbor and everything."

"Are you saying Jake and Leah were part of some kind of love triangle…? The only thing he's told me is that they used to be friends, but that they had a falling out. That's all I know."

"No, not Leah and Jake." Alice shook hear head. " Leah was dating jakes friend Sam Uley. You might not have heard of him, because he's older than us, goes to community college in Port A now, but-.. "

"Oh, I know who Sam is. He's that beefy guy that makes Emmett look tiny in comparison."

"Hey, you wound me, Bella," Emmett said indignantly, loosening his grip on Edward's neck to pout at her.

"Sorry! What I meant to say was, I know Sam, he's that big, bulky guy, roughly the same size as you, only a wee bit taller… and way less handsome, of course," she amended, with a smile.

"That's better," he nodded, stealing a pizza slice of off Bella's tray, the ongoing wrestling match already forgotten.

"As I was saying," Alice continued." Leah and Sam had been dating for about a year when Sam screwed her over — quite literally and in public! The whole gang was getting together for a bonfire down at First Beach. Leah had turned down the invitation, initially, as she was supposed to be working, but then her schedule changed or something. Anyway, she caught Sam and her cousin Emily together in Sam's car. The way she found them, stark naked and mid-act, so to speak, left no room for misinterpretation."

"Ouch, what a jerk!"

"Yeah, that's our sentiment exactly," Alice was making a sweeping gesture around the table. "Leah is not a bad person. She made some rater questionable decisions in the after match of it all, but she didn't deserve what Sam did to her, or how his friends treated her afterwards."

"Very questionable decisions, indeed," Emmett commented, wiggling his eyebrows at his brother.

"Stop interrupting me," Alice complained. "Leah was pretty upset with Sam, and quite rightfully so. No wait, upset isn't the right word, she was livid. Tires were sliced and a handful of scratches were added to the front hood of Sam's car."

"Leah did that? 'Leah the lone'? Really?" Bella asked, using the nick-name she'd heard Angela's friends use. "I mean, I didn't think she had it in her. She always seems so reserved and… well, bitter - which makes way more sense now."

"Yep, Leah did that," Alice confirmed. "When she gets mad, she means business."

"Okay. I still can't wrap my head around it, but good for her, I guess."

"Wait till you hear the rest, though… Afterwards, Sam somehow managed to get every single one of their friends to take his side… your Jake included."

Bella frowned, hearing this. "Oh, he must not know exactly what happened then…only going by what he'd been told, or something… Jake's pretty loyal to his friends. They're a very close-knit group, I know that much."

"Yeah, I think that's part of the issue. It's almost like they have their own little 'cult' going on…"

"You haven't told her the best part yet," Emmett cut in. "You see, Casanova over here, "he paused to point at his brother. "… swooped in to comfort the girl. He must have seen a golden opportunity to dazzle her with his intellect and sparkly personality... Or whatever it is he does to get the girls throwing themselves at him. Anyway, he landed himself an easy la-…"

"Don't," Edward suddenly interrupted brusquely, before Emmett could finish the sentence.

"Don't what?" Emmett laughed, ignoring the daggers his brother was shooting at him.

"Don't remind me. I'm trying to eat here." Edward's face was suddenly blank and unreadable again.

And… Oh!

"You slept with her?" Bella asked, feeling her stomach drop and she connected the dots.

"No Bella, we sat around in our undies, eating ice cream and playing cards," Edward responded, heaving an exasperated sigh, acting like it was stupid of her to even ask.

"Well, in that case it was Strip Poker," Alice interjected. "You forget, the whole school saw photos she uploaded on the internet afterwards … Gosh do I wish I could un-see the sight of your pale, naked ass!"

"Sarcasm, Alice. I was being sarcastic," Edward shot back. "Yes, I hooked up with her, or rather she was making a move on me and I made the mistake of not questioning her motives. I'm not sure about the timeline exactly, but I know it was at least a week, or two after the slashed tires. Long story short, she was only interested in getting back at her ex, by hooking up with someone she knew he wouldn't approve of."

"She linked to some rather suggestive pictures of Eddie and herself on her twitter account," Emmett added as explanation.

"Photos she took and uploaded without my approval, or knowledge, I might add," Edward said with a grim face.

"Anyway, her stunt backfired, because somehow, Sam managed to twist it around, so that everyone now believes Leah had been messing around with Edward for months … and that it was a broken heart that drove Sam into the arms of sweet, innocent cousin Emily," Emmett continued.

"But that's bullshit. Why would anyone believe such a thing?" Bella asked, eying Edward cautiously, searching for any sign, revealing how he really felt.

"Because they are not using their own brains and asking enough questions - or even questioning anything at all. Now, our Eddie here can't set foot on Quileute land. He is 'carne morta' over there," Emmett commented. "That's dead meat, but it sound's way cooler in Italian."

"You see Isabella, this is just one of the many reasons why I hate your friend Black and the other rez boys," Edward stated, looking her straight in the eyes for once.

"Well, this all happened before I even got here and I've only heard your side, so it's kind of hard for me to form a balanced opinion. I'll have a word with Jake about this for sure, I can tell you that much," Bella said meeting his eyes square-on. "However, I still don't see why this should have any influence on who I take to the school dance," she continued. "It's just one night, just one stupid school dance…that I'm sure will be chaperoned anyway, so it's not going to be a date-date or anything like that. "

"I'm with you, Bella. If you want to invite Jake, then go for it," Alice hurried to assure her. "I'm just glad you're actually considering coming with us. It will be fun, I promise."

"I won't be wearing any stupid, neck breaking shoes, just saying… " Bella muttered. "And no fake lashes, hair extensions, or silicone booty pads."

"Silicon what?" Emmett asked with a hearty laugh. "I mean, I know what they are…. but can you get a pair of those in Forks?"

"Internet, Emmett," Alice responded. "You can get anything on the net these days."

Bella suddenly felt Edward kick her shin under the table. At least she thought it was Edward, since from where Emmett sat, he wouldn't be able to reach her and Alice usually never bothered to be that discreet.

He kicked her again, and Bella turned her head looking at him quizzically

He had his car keys in his hand, and he was looking towards the glass door leading out to the parking lot. Did he mean what she thought he meant? Did he want her to follow him outside?

He looked at her, then at the door, then back at her again.

Ohhh, this was new….

"Oh, lookie here comes my Rosie," Emmett suddenly exclaimed and started waving frenetically.

"Annnd that's my cue to leave," Edward declared, grabbing his tray and getting to his feet. "I left my cigarettes in my car. I'm gonna go outside and smoke before the bell rings."

"Yeah, I better get going too," Bella said, "I'm need to… "She searched her mind trying to think of something to say that wouldn't result in a million questions. "…stop by nurse Coop for tampons," she finished in panic, feeling her neck heat up in embarrassment.

Smooth, Swan! Real smooth…. She half expected Alice jump to her feet and offer to tag along, or Emmett to embarrass her further with some stupid joke. But thankfully, none of that happened and she managed to leave with minimum fuss.

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