My entry for Twifandom News Revenge of the Nerds Contest. Judges Alyscia and Ikle Pixie pick, thank you, ladies. April and Gabby, thank you for pre-reading, and Fran, thank you for editing. Any mistakes left are my own.

DISCLAIMER: Twilight and its inclusive material is copyright to Stephenie Meyer. Original creation, including but not limited to plot and characters, is copyright to the respective authors of each story. No copyright infringement is intended.

Life of Edward

I quickly dug through my locker to exchange the textbooks and binders in my bag. I would have to get a new one soon as the seams looked stressed from the weight I carried around on a daily basis. I couldn't go to my locker between classes because I always ran into Mike, whose locker was next to mine. If I went at the beginning of lunch, I was able to avoid him. The only problem was I had to carry five periods worth of material with me.

I hated Forks High with a passion. Every day was miserable, and I couldn't wait to get out of this godforsaken town. The school was so small they couldn't even to offer A.P. classes, so every level was boring and unchallenging. I petitioned my parents to allow me to do high school online, but they vetoed my request saying it would be good for me to socialize with my peers.

My life was easier when Emmett was still here. My older brother had my back more times than I could count. However, he was now in college, so the bullying I received was magnified. Mike got away with it because he was never caught and his friends lied to cover for him.

"Hi, Edward."

I looked up at the sound of the sweet voice. "Hi, Bella." My voice squeaked.

She passed me by, giving me a smile. She tossed her long brown hair over her shoulder as she continued to her locker. She was one the few people in the school who was always nice to me. Bella reminded me of a gypsy in her long, flowing skirts and tops. I always admired how she didn't give a crap about anyone's opinion, and wished I could talk back to them like she did.

"Looky, looky what we have here, guys!" Mike thrust his hand into my locker and pulled out a round, pink object.

Damn, my sister, Alice. She was always leaving her things in my locker. It looked like one of her fancy lip-gloss things. Mike held it high with a smirk, Tyler and James were laughing behind him.

"Not too sure this shade of pink is your color." Mike held it close to my face.

"It's not mine," I muttered.

"No, then why was it in your locker, Ednumb?" Mike taunted.

Before I could respond, there was a loud squeal, and the lip-gloss was snatched out Mike's hand, as two arms were thrown around my neck, making me stumble back half-a-step. My nose was buried in a floral scent as Bella kissed my cheek—shocking the hell out of me.

Bella pulled away and looked at me, ignoring the guys behind her. "You've found it. Thank you…thank you…I thought I lost it. It's my favorite one, and I thought it was gone for good. Where did you find it? In your backseat? That's where I remember having it last." She winked then opened the lip-gloss and used it.

"Wait… that shit is yours?" Mike snapped.

Bella rolled her eyes then looked over her shoulder at him in annoyance. "Of course, it is, but it's not shit. Who would spread shit on their lips, that's just nasty, Mickey."

"You're dating Ednumb?" Mike wrinkled his nose.

Bella narrowed her eyes. "I'm afraid I don't know any Ednumbs. However, if you mean Edward, then I'll put it into words even your I.Q. can understand. No Duh."

She turned her back to them and kissed my cheek. That was the second time she kissed me and didn't seem disgusted by my acne vulgaris. She reached up to fix my glasses. "So, I was thinking about tonight…"

"How cute...the school freak and geek are dating," Mike interrupted.

"Maybe I am a freak, so you ought to be more careful who you piss off." Bella pulled a small leather satchel out from under her shirt. "Sit tibi discis ad calceamenta ligabis."

"What did you just do to me?" Mike took a step back, bumping into his idiot friends. He looked pale and nervous.

"Wouldn't you like to know?" Bella smirked.

"I'm telling," Mike threatened, hurrying away with Tyler and James on his heels.

"You do that." Bella rolled her eyes.

"May you learn to tie your shoes?" I snorted, translating her Latin into English.

Bella giggled and shrugged her shoulders. "He's a high school senior, he should know how to by now and stop wearing strap shoes."

"Hey, Bella, are you coming?" my sister called from down the hall.

"Not today." Bella waved to her then turned back to me. "Join me for lunch?"

"I don't consume my lunch in the cafeteria," I explained to her. "I can't." The thought alone of being in the cafeteria with so many of my tormentors gave me anxiety.

"I know, you eat in your car. Join me in the art room, I have plenty for two." She held up a small canvas bag.

"Are we even allowed to eat there?" I questioned.

"Siobhan doesn't mind, as long as we clean up after ourselves. Are you coming?" She took a backward step down the corridor.

"You call Mrs. Brennan by her first name?" I started to follow her.

"She insists." Bella tossed Alice's lip-gloss into the trash on the way by.

"Uh…that was Alice's." I paused, not willing to dig it out of the garbage.

"I'm doing her a favor. It's filled with chemicals and who knows what else. I'll replace it with one of my mother's; it will be made with all-natural ingredients." Bella pushed open the art room door and gestured for me to go first.

"Make yourself comfortable. I'm going to draw." She kicked off her flip-flops and sat on a pile of pillows.

I watched as she pulled a sandwich out the bag and split it in half, placing one on a cloth napkin then setting it on the pillow across from her, the other next to her. She pulled out a sketchbook, and positioned it on her lap. She looked up and tilted her head to the side, her necklace hung between her breasts.

"What is in that?" I questioned.

"Hmmm." She glanced up at me. "Oh, this…" She held up her necklace. "There's a clear quartz and an amethyst crystal."

"So you believe in crystal voodoo?" I furrowed my brows.

Her lips twitched. "No, not voodoo, that's something entirely different. Crystals can be used to boost energies and for healing. It was a gift from my mother."

"That's right, your mother is a…" I stopped before saying the word witch. I didn't believe all that mythical fallaciousness, it was all rumors spread by the town.

Instead of looking upset, Bella looked amused. "I am aware of the town gossip, but you know how often rumors end up being true. My mother is into New Age and homeopathic things, she's not some magical being. She likes to use crystals and even essential oils instead of modern medicine. Although it was amusing to mess with Mike's mind a bit with it."

"That is ridiculous." I snorted.

"Is it?" Bella asked, shifting away from me.

"You can't cure diseases and other medical problems with a shiny crystal or oil," I scoffed.

"I'm not surprised you think that. You…"

"What does that mean?" I snapped.

Her eyes narrowed slightly. "If you'd let me finish, I would explain. You think logically, and scientifically, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, there are some things that can't always be answered by modern science. I agree that you're right that crystals and oils can't cure everything. Doctors and hospitals will still be needed for major issues. But sometimes a homeopathic cure is better than a chemical one."

"How so?" I found it farfetched.

"Well…" She hesitated. "Like Alice's lip balm. Chemicals can be harsh on the skin. A product made with natural ingredients can be much healthier. I, myself, use shampoos and soaps that contain no chemicals. And I believe some studies have shown honey can work for soothing a cough better than some drugstore medicines."

"But honey won't cure the flu or pneumonia," I pointed out.

"You're right. But I still think you shouldn't write off homeopathic medicine so quickly." Her smile brightened suddenly. "I have an idea…promise you'll listen before you get upset."

"You know statements like that don't usually lead to anything good." I immediately tensed.

She gave me a pointed look. "Just listen to me fully before you pass judgment."

I gave her a Boy Scout salute before remaining quiet. She arched an eyebrow and smirked.

"Were you even a Boy Scout?" she questioned.

"Ahh…Cub until Mike started making my life miserable." I frowned.

"Okay…you like scientific experiments, right?"

I nodded, not sure where this was leading. I hope she didn't expect me to start wearing crystals too.

"Alice asked me the other days if I knew any creams or soaps that could help you with your acne. Please, don't be mad at her, she's only looking to help you. She told me the other medicines and creams you have tried haven't been working." She paused for a moment when I huffed.

"I explained I do have some soap and cream that worked for me, but I preferred you were onboard with the idea, and I didn't force them on you because I was afraid of overstepping. My idea is this. What if you try my mother's homemade products for a few days and see if it can help. You'll be able to see firsthand if homeopathic works or not."

I considered her offer; at first, I was upset with Alice, but deep down I knew my sister meant well. "Okay. What do I have to lose?"

"Nothing." Bella grinned.

OOO

Friday night, I was enjoying my evening, until Alice decided to blast her horrible choice of music. I swear, some of those boy bands would never sell an album if they had sacks over their heads. I went downstairs in my boxers to make myself a cup of tea to help me with a raging headache.

I just set some water on the stove when the kitchen was suddenly filled with light.

"Oh, Edward, you scared me, I didn't know anyone was in here." Hearing Bella's voice shocked me.

My head shot in her direction. She was still standing in the doorway, wearing a flowy nightgown that flattered her curves. My body started to react to her, and I became hyper-aware that I was nearly naked. Thankfully, the island blocked her full view of me in my boxers.

"How are you tonight?" She smiled sweetly and started heading towards me.

I froze, unable to answer, my chest tightened, and I started to have a hard time breathing as I began to panic. Her eyes grew concerned as she eyed me.

"Are you okay? Your face is turning red; are you having an asthma attack?" Bella asked.

I opened my mouth to speak, but my voice was caught in my throat. I rubbed my chest as it started to hurt.

"Where's your inhaler?" Bella looked frantically around then back at me. "Try taking some slow breaths in…and out… in and out…" she advised as she rubbed circles on my back.

When I stayed unresponsive, she ran for the stairs.

"Alice!" she hollered. "Alice! I think Edward is having an asthma attack. Get his inhaler!"

I heard feet running in the hall upstairs, and realized it was more than just Alice coming. Thinking quickly, I ducked into the pantry and locked the door.

"Edward, what are you doing?' Bella knocked on the door and tried the knob.

"What's going on? Where is he?" Alice sounded panicked.

"He ran into the pantry and locked the door. His face was red, and he was clutching his chest and gasping for air. Now I can't get him to answer me." Bella sounded upset.

"What if he passed out and he can't," a new girl said.

"Should we call 9-1-1?" yet another girl said.

How many were there?

"Hey, it's a chick convention?" Emmett's voice boomed then laughed.

"Emmett, don't call them chicks, it's degrading," his girlfriend scolded.

I groaned, just how many were witnessing my humiliation?

"Emmy, Edward is having an asthma attack, and he locked himself inside the pantry. We can't get him to answer the door." Alice sounded like she was crying.

"Why would he lock himself in a room if he was having an asthma attack? That doesn't sound like him," Emmett questioned.

He pounded on the door, making it rattle. "Hey, bro, open up the door. You have a bunch of people panicking over you."

"Please just go away," I begged, but my voice wasn't loud enough.

"Emmett, knock down the door. What if he passed out," Alice pleaded.

"Shit. Bro, if you can hear me this is your last chance before I forced my way in," Emmett called.

I groaned and unlocked the door. I grabbed my mother's flower-covered apron to cover me, although my erection had long since deflated. The door opened, and Emmett was the first one through. He took one look at me and spun around, blocking the entrance.

"Okay, show is over. Everything is fine, go back upstairs to your pillow fights and boy talk," he told them.

"What do you mean, everything is fine? He was having a hard time breathing a moment ago. Let me by so I can see him," Bella demanded.

I could see her jumping up and down, trying to dodge Emmett to get by. He blocked her and put a hand on her shoulder.

"I swear Edward is fine. Just give him a few minutes. He doesn't need a bunch of girls flocking him. Rose, babe, will you go with them; I need to have a chat with my brother for a moment."

"Sure." Rose sounded hesitant.

Once their voices faded away, Emmett turned back to me. He shook his head and snickered.

"This isn't funny." I wheezed.

"Do you need this?" He held up my inhaler.

I shook my head and slumped to the floor, leaning against the shelves. I removed my glasses and rubbed my face.

"They're gone. What in the hell happened, bro?" he asked, trying not to laugh.

I explained everything. I could tell he was desperately trying to control himself.

"This isn't funny," I repeated.

"Aww come on, you would be laughing too if the situation was reversed." He chuckled.

He dragged a duffle bag into the room. He dug through it and pulled a pair of athletic pants and a T-shirt. He tossed them at me, and I caught them single-handedly.

"Here, put these on until you get upstairs. They may be big, but at least you'll be covered. I'm willing to bet a brown-eyed girl will be waiting to pounce to see if you are really okay."

"Thanks." I managed a small smile.

"By the way, you have nothing to be ashamed about, I can tell you have been doing the work out regiment I gave you." Emmett crossed his arms and leaned on the doorframe.

"Off and on," I admitted, pulling the shirt over my head.

"Anyone giving you trouble at school that I need to pay a visit to while in town?" he asked.

"No. I'm good." I hated that he always needed to protect me from bullies; it made me feel weak. "Why are you home?"

"Laundry. And Mom has been begging Rose and me to come home for a weekend. And I may need your help proofreading a paper. I got it done, but the sucker is worth forty-percent of my grade, so I really need to make sure I nailed it," he explained.

"No problem. I can work on it tomorrow," I agreed.

"Thanks, bro. I think Bella really has a thing for you. She looked ready to tackle me to get to you," he teased, elbowing me. "You should ask her to prom."

"Naw, she's just really nice." I flushed.

The problem was, I really liked Bella. However, I was positive it didn't go both ways, and I didn't want to risk losing my only friend.

"Uh-huh. Well, I'm going to get Rose and find something to eat. Have a good rest of the night," he said, knowing I was going to be hiding out in my room until morning.

I thankfully made it to my room without running into anyone. I grabbed a pair of my own sweats and my Ten Commandments of Math T-shirt. My head was still hurting, but thankfully, Alice had finally turned down her music. I put on Monty Python and the Search of Holy Grail, so I could lose myself in the dry British humor.

There was a knock on my door too light to be Emmett's, and if it was Alice, she would be already in the room. My parents wouldn't be back for another hour or so.

"Come in?" I said more as a question than a command.

Bella's head popped around the door, and she gave me a soft smile. "Am I disturbing you?"

"Um…no. Come on in." I stood to greet her.

She walked in, carrying a small tray with a mug, a few cookies, a small jar and a bar of soap. She set it on my desk and turned to me. "Are you feeling better?"

"Yeah…sorry about earlier. I…" I grimaced, not relishing telling her the truth.

"I'm pretty sure it was mostly my fault. I scared you, didn't I? Then I made it worse by calling attention to you—I am so sorry." She tugged on the small leather bag around her neck.

"You didn't scare me…more like startled. I wasn't aware that Alice was having a slumber party. If I had been, I wouldn't have…would've worn more." I cleared my throat roughly.

"Please, don't be embarrassed. I brought you some tea. I noticed that was what you were trying to make, and I finished it for you. I also brought you the products we talked about the other day." She gestured to the tray.

"Thank you. That was nice of you." I grabbed a cookie and nibbled on it.

She walked across the room and stood in front of the screen. "Monty Python? I haven't watched it forever. Can I join you?"

"What about your slumber party?" I asked.

"I like hanging out with your sister, but I can't stand cheerleading movies. I deal with enough of them at school. I was going to read but this far more interesting. But if I'm intruding…"

"No, it's fine. Please make yourself comfortable." I felt a bit nervous, and surprised, besides my grandfather, I didn't know anyone that enjoyed this genre.

She made her way to my bed and curled her legs under her, leaning against the bed frame. I hesitated. Do I sit next to her or do I sit in my desk chair?

"Come on, I don't bite. It would be no different if we sat next to each other on a couch." She patted the spot next to her.

I took sat next to her and placed my pillow on my lap for safety. She set the plate in between us and focused on the movie.

"My favorite sketch is the killer bunny? Do you have one?" she asked.

"It's hard to choose; either the black knight or the bridge of death," I answered.

We watched in silence for a while. I relaxed against the wall behind the bed, and she shifted closer, resting her head on my shoulder. After the initial nerves faded away, I realized how comfortable and right it felt.

When the movie was over, Bella stretched, and shamefully I couldn't help but look at her breasts.

"Thank you for letting me join you. We should do this again; my favorite is Life of Brian." She stood and turned to me.

"I would like that." Then I thought about Emmett's suggestion. "Would…you…" And then I chickened out.

"Would I…what?" she asked sweetly.

"Go with me ... to prom?" I said nervously.

"Oh…I usually skip those things." She frowned slightly.

"That's okay…" I felt my face burn in embarrassment.

"But why not…I'm sure with you, it will be fun," she said with a smile.

"Are you…"

"Yes, I'm sure." She winked; she leaned down and kissed my cheek. "See you in the morning."

OOO

"I will run to the mall as soon as it opens and get you a few new pairs. Your brother didn't mean to shrink your pants. He was trying to help with the laundry," Mom promised.

"These jeans are too tight and are uncomfortable," I complained about the pants I had received for Christmas but hadn't worn until today.

"That's the style now. You could always wear a pair of your father's," she suggested.

"Then they will be about two inches too short," I said, like I needed to give Mike another thing to tease me about.

Mom sighed in exasperation, "Then I don't know what to tell you. Try to make it through the day, all right?"

"Fine." I knew she wouldn't agree to let me stay home.

"By the way, sweetie, your face is looking much clearer. I wish we knew about the cream and soap earlier—it has done wonders," she complimented.

"I'm a bit surprised myself," I admitted but was pleased.

In just the couple of days that I have used Bella's products, there was a drastic difference. The redness had gone down, and no new pimples, in fact, there were fewer and no scars. I was hoping if this kept up I would be acne free by prom next week.

"We're going to be late," Alice yelled from to doorway.

Like always, I kept my head down in the hallways, but it seemed the whispering was worse today than normal. By lunchtime, I still hadn't seen Bella, and I was hoping to talk to her. She wasn't in the art room, so I got the courage to go to the cafeteria. I spotted Alice near the back; however, Bella wasn't with her. I made my way over to my sister to ask if she knew where I could find her.

"Alice?" I bent down awkwardly to get her attention.

She glanced up, and her eyes widened. "Hey, Edward, is there something wrong? You look pale?"

"No…do you know where I can find, Bella?" I asked, adjusting the strap of my bag.

"She's not here today. She probably won't be back until mid-week. Her mom called her yesterday wanting to elope with her boyfriend, but she wants Bella there," Alice explained. "Can I help?"

"No, I just wanted to thank her for the cream and stuff." I shrugged.

Alice grinned. "It's like miracle cream; I swear you look like a whole new person. Do you want to join us?"

"No thanks." I shook my head.

I was almost out of the cafeteria before someone yelled out to me. "Hey, Cullen."

I turned to see Mike smiling and waving. My gut told me to ignore him, but I figured if I didn't go over there he would just follow me. At least here there were witnesses so he couldn't beat me up.

"What?" I asked him.

"Sit down with us," he invited, kicking a chair towards me. "Awesome speech in history today. You knew a lot about the Vietnam War."

I hesitantly sat on the edge of the seat. "My grandfather served, so he used to tell Emmett and me a lot of stories."

"Cool. I got stuck with the Korean War. Not only is on the other side of the word but it's in the past. I don't know why we should even bother learning it," Mike said.

"They should cover more interesting wars like the second wizard one. The battle at Hogwarts is legendary," James said.

I snorted to try and hide my amusement that these idiots clearly didn't get the point of history class. Mike seemed to take it as me agreeing with them, and his smile grew.

"Cullen, you know everyone, right?" he asked.

I glanced around the table and nodded. Besides his normal cronies, there were two girls, Lauren and Jessica.

"Hey, you're like our class validator, right?" Jessica tossed her blond hair over her shoulder.

"It's Victorian, Jessica," Mike snapped.

"Shut up, Mike, I am so glad we aren't dating anymore, you are such an ass," Jessica yelled.

"Actually, I believe the word you're looking for is Valedictorian, and it's between Angela Webber or me," I said.

All their heads turned to me, and I shifted uneasily. Mike looked annoyed at first before he smiled again. Jessica acted strangely and batted her eyes at me.

"I'm sure you'll get it, buddy." He reached towards me, and I flinched, but he just patted me on the shoulder. "You're the smartest guy I know."

"Why are you being so nice to me?" I was starting to get suspicious.

Mike shrugged his shoulders and leaned back in his chair. "I decided to grow up and stop giving you a hard time—it's not that much fun anymore. What do you say we put our past in the past and be friends?" He held out his hand.

I shook it skeptically not sure if I trust him.

"Great. Come by the diner tonight and have a burger and milkshake, my treat." Mike stood as the bell rang.

The day only got weirder from there. When I left school, I saw Jessica, leaning against her car that was parked next to mine. The rest of the lot was mostly empty; I had stayed later since I was an editor on the school paper. Jessica had her face buried in her hands, and she was crying.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

She looked up and brushed tears from her eyes "Oh, Edward, I'm so embarrassed you've caught me like this. I must look terrible."

"No, you don't. Umm…here." I found a tissue in my pocket.

"You're so sweet." She dabbed at her eyes. "I wish I had a sweet guy as my boyfriend. Bella is so lucky."

"Actually, Bella and I aren't dating. Bella just told Mike so he would leave me alone. We are just friends." I don't know why I just told her that.

Jessica smiled. "Well…her loss is my gain. You know I always found you cute. I think that was why Mike disliked you so much; he was jealous. But now that we aren't dating, he decided to back off."

She took a step closer and placed her hand on my chest. "I was crying, because I have a pretty dress and shoes, but no one to take me to prom. I have been dreaming about prom since I was a small girl. I have an idea, why don't we go together?"

"Um…well," I stuttered, trying to tell her I was going with Bella.

Her smile dropped, and tears filled her eyes. "Unless, you're going with Bella."

"I'll take you." Bella didn't want to go anyway, and Jessica was really hurt by Mike, and I knew that feeling.

"You will! Oh, thank you, Edward. I'll make sure you have a good time." She kissed my cheek; it didn't feel the same like when Bella did.

OOO

The next few days my life took a turn for the better. Mike seemed to be truthful about turning over a new leaf. He didn't seem to mind when Jessica hung off my arm. Alice, on the other hand, kept giving me strange looks and asked if I was feeling okay.

On Thursday, Bella was back at school. Just like Alice, she too kept looking at me strangely. Did the two of them really want me to stay the school nerd?

Bella approached me at my locker at lunch. "Hey, stranger, I missed you." She smiled at me.

"Hi, how was your mom's wedding?" I asked.

"It was beautiful. I'm glad to be back though. You have been using the cream." She reached over and touched my cheek; my skin had cleared up completely.

"I have. You were right about homeopathic medicine," I told her.

"I'm glad you like the results. So about prom…"

"About that," I interrupted. "I don't need you to go with me anymore. I'm taking Jessica."

Bella blinked rapidly and shook her head. "As in Jessica Stanley, Mike's girlfriend?"

"They aren't dating anymore," I explained. "Besides Mike and I are friends now, he's cool with it."

"Exactly how long have I been gone? You and Mike are suddenly friends. That's not at all suspicious to you?" She gave me an incredulous look.

"What? Am I such a loser that it's hard to believe I could have any friends?" I slammed my locker shut.

"Don't ever call yourself a loser." Bella's eyes narrowed. "Of course, you can have friends. I am your friend, or at least I thought I was until you did something shady by asking me to prom then deciding to go with someone else."

"You don't even like prom, you were going because you pitied me," I said

Her eyes flared. "I have never pitied you …never. How could you think such a thing? Did Mike suggest that? I liked you since the day I met you. You are smart, sweet, and a great guy. Or perhaps I should say was— I don't know who this guy is."

"If you were my friend, you would be happy for me. Things are finally going great for once," I snapped at her.

She clamped her lips shut and looked away then looked back at me. There was no anger in her eyes just sadness. "Fine, I'll be happy for you. I hope you find what you're looking for." She tugged on her necklace and walked away.

I immediately felt guilty as I watched her. I wanted to go after Bella, but my legs wouldn't move. I turned and came face to face with my sister.

"She's right. Who are you, and where is my brother?" Alice asked.

"Stop being over-dramatic. I'm right here, just a better version of myself." I was getting tired of defending myself.

She scoffed. "I thought you were supposed to be smart. Bella really liked you, the real you. You didn't need to change your clothes or lose the acne for her to be your friend. I hope you know you just really hurt someone who genuinely cares for you." She shook her head and went after Bella.

OOO

The music at the prom was starting to irritate me. At least, Jessica didn't seem to care that I didn't dance with her. She was dancing with a group of friends in the middle of the dance floor. I spotted Bella here with Alice; their group of friends all seemed to come stag. She seemed to be having a good time.

Needing to leave for a moment and get a minute to collect my thoughts, I stepped out into the hallway. I took a left and walked down the hall trying to figure out why I wasn't happy. It had been a couple of weeks since I hadn't been bullied, but I was happy before.

I heard voices and paused, it took a moment to realize that it was Jessica and Mike and they appeared to be arguing.

"Just a little longer, Jess," Mike pleaded.

"I'm not kissing him and don't even think about suggesting we have sex," she hissed.

"Of course not. That's just gross. I just need you to keep Ednumb happy a little longer," Mike whispered.

"I hate this. If you actually paid attention in class, you wouldn't need to rely on that nerd to write your report," Jessica snapped. "Why not force him to do it."

"Keep your voice down. Because he would do a much better job if he did it willingly. Plus, I couldn't risk him saying something to the freak, and her telling the principal or her father. Excellent work splitting them up, by the way."

"This is just wrong," Jessica muttered.

"Just keep your mouth shut," Mike threatened.

I ducked behind a column as they made their way back to the gym. I followed behind upset. Bella had been right about Mike—he had been up to no good.

I glanced around after reentering the gym and spotted Bella. I needed to talk to her; she would know how to make this right.

When I was halfway across the room, she looked over and caught my eye—the smile left her face. I froze mid-step.

What was I doing?

We hadn't spoken since our argument last week. I had chosen my new friends over her. She had been right about Mike.

And me.

I had changed and not for the better. And now, at the first sign of trouble, I was running to her for help, and that just wasn't right. I blew it with her. I changed directions and managed to get by the chaperons and outside. I went down the hill to the bleachers and sat down to look up at the stars.

"Edward, is everything, okay?" Bella soft voice startled me. She stood at the bottom, looking up at me.

"No, it's not. I guess you get to gloat and say I told you so. You were right about Mike, he's using me so I will write a history report for him, and Jessica was in on it too," I confessed.

"I'm sorry," Bella said.

"You're sorry? I'm the one who should be sorry. I should have listened to you." I shook my head.

"I'm not going to gloat. I'm not happy you got hurt. That's the last thing I wanted to happen." Bella frowned.

"Tell me what I should do. You're so good at standing up to them and not caring what they think. How do you do it?" I asked.

"I can't tell you what to do next." She went to play with her necklace but she wasn't wearing it tonight, so her hand dropped to her side.

"Is this because you're still mad at me? I know I probably lost the right to ask, but…"

"Edward, I can't tell you what to do, because you need to figure this out for yourself. I'm not trying to be vindictive. You're one of the smartest men I know. The only thing you lack is confidence in yourself, that's why Mike sought you out as a target. You have it in yourself to stand up to him, without me or anyone else telling you how to do it or doing it for you."

"You make it sound easy. You don't know what it's like to hear all the shit they've said to me," I said.

"No. But the only opinions that should count are from the people that genuinely care for you. Trust me; it hurts more when one of them says something hurtful." She glanced away, looking upset

A twinge in my chest reminded me one more time that I had hurt her. "Bella…" I stopped I didn't think saying sorry was enough.

"I should go, Alice is probably looking for me. Good luck with whatever you decide." She turned and headed back to the gym.

After a few minutes, I went back in and found Jessica. I told her I had a headache and wanted to go. She couldn't hide her look of relief and told me she would catch a ride with a friend.

The rest of the weekend I formulated a plan on how to deal with Mike. Saying a simple no wasn't good enough, Mike would instantly retaliate. Going to the teacher would be my word against his, and he could have his friends back him up.

I wanted revenge for all the swirlies, the shoves into my locker, trips, and nasty comments. Mike had this coming, and it was time for payback.

Sunday night, Mike called and lamented about his history report. I hid my laugh as I promised I would write it. And do my best work.

I met Mike outside of class on Wednesday. He looked nervous and glanced behind him to see if Mr. Gallagher was paying attention. I didn't want Mike reading his paper too early and catching on that it was a phony; I had gotten good at avoiding him the past few years.

"You are cutting it close, man. You had me worried," Mike hissed.

"Sorry, I've been busy." I handed over the paper.

"Yeah, yeah. Thanks." Mike looked relieved.

I took a seat in the back of the room and got ready for the fireworks.

"Let's see who is on the schedule for today. Newton and St. Marks. Any volunteers to go first?" Mr. Gallagher asked from his podium.

Mike's hand shot up into the air, and Mr. Gallagher gestured to the front of the room. Mike placed his paper in front of him and got ready to speak to the class.

This was going to be good.

"I had the Korean War. The war started in 1950 when Dictator Sauron sent his General Saruman into the South to battle over the Middle Earth."

Around me, a few heads shot up in confusion. Ben Cheney and Austin St. Marks looked at each other and looked ready to laugh. Mr. Gallagher glanced up from his notebook with a furrowed brow.

"The South was led by King Aragon of Gondor, with his Generals, Legolas and Gimli, at his side." Mike continued.

Ben lost it and started laughing so hard he almost fell out of his seat. Mike glared at him, but stopped when his paper was snatched away by Mr. Gallagher. I angled my head down, in case I couldn't control my expression.

"Mr. Newton, did you take the assignment as a joke?" he asked.

"No, sir. I worked hard on it," Mike insisted.

"Uh-huh." Mr. Gallagher scanned the paper. "Advisor Gandalf died in the Mines of Moria…a forestry brigade led by Lieutenant Pippin…last battle of Mordor. Mr. Newton, this isn't the Korean War, this is Tolkien's Lord of the Rings? Did you think I wouldn't recognize it?"

"I didn't write this…Cullen did?" I could see Mike point his finger at me.

"Mr. Newton, you're already in enough trouble and trying to point fingers at someone else is making it worse. If you're going to try to pin this on someone, at least choose someone believable. Mr. Cullen is at the top of your class, he would never write this trash; not only is it far off-topic, but it is riddled with grammar mistakes." Mr. Gallagher gave him an incredulous look.

"I swear, he did it to make me look bad," Mike insisted.

"You want me to believe that Mr. Cullen came up to you and said, hey, Mike, I wrote your history report for you?" Mr. Gallagher crossed his arm and looked over the rim of his glasses at Mike.

"I tricked him into doing, and he backstabbed me." Mike glared at me.

Mr. Gallagher turned my way. "Mr. Cullen, did you have anything to do with this?"

"No, sir." I shook my head.

"I didn't think so. Mr. Newton, I don't know what game you're trying to pull, but it's over. I'm not unaware of your treatment of Mr. Cullen over the last few years. You may have had alibies in the past to cover for you, but you don't today. You will receive an F for the assignment and a one-way ticket to the Principal's office—get out of my class." Mr. Gallagher pointed at the door.

Mike grabbed his backpack and glared at me. "You're going to pay for this, Ednumb."

"That's threatening, Mr. Newton, I'm going to have to report it. Plus, if one hair is harmed on Mr. Cullen, a classroom full of witnesses will be able to inform Chief Swan of what they heard and saw." Mr. Gallagher stepped beside him and placed a hand on his shoulder, he guided Mike out of the room.

He turned to us. "Back to History. Mr. St. Marks, please enlighten us about the Civil War. And, if your paper is anything about Ironman vs. Captain American, please don't even get out of your seat."

The class started laughing.

OOO

I steered clear of the cafeteria at lunch, even though I heard rumors that Mike had been sent home. I didn't want to risk facing his friends.

Besides, there was something else I needed to do.

I found her in the art room, sitting amid the piles of pillows with her drawing pad on her lap. I knocked on the door and stepped into the room. She looked up and gave me a small smile; however, nowhere near as friendly as it used to be.

"Hey, I heard rumors of Mike being suspended, sounds like he may not even graduate with us," she said.

"I heard something about that." I took a seat on a stool, letting my bag hit the floor next to me.

"Apparently, he wrote his paper on Lord of the Rings instead of the Korean War and tried to blame you for it." She arched an eyebrow.

"Unbelievable, right?" I smirked.

"I know, it would've been more believable if he wrote about Monty Python's battle of the Black Knight." She shook her head, her smile was more genuine. "So what brings you here?"

"You," I said. "I owe you an apology."

"You already apologized." Bella shrugged.

"Not properly; I was a jerk. You were completely right; it was shitty of me to ask you to prom and then drop you for Jessica. Jessica gave me a sob story about wanting to go and Mike dumping her. And I thought I was doing you a favor by letting off the hook since you didn't like dances."

"I wouldn't have said yes to you if I didn't want to go. I did because I thought we could have fun together, and I liked you." She gave me a smile.

"There's a bit more. I didn't want to be friends with you."

She flinched, and I cringed.

"Shit, that came out wrong. Let me start again. I do like having you as a friend; you're probably my best friend. But I have stronger feelings than that for you, and I was afraid you didn't feel the same. And the more time we spent together, the more I would feel, and I thought if you didn't feel the same, then I would ruin our friendship," I explained, hoping it sounded better out loud than in my head. "So I thought keeping some distance would protect our friendship."

Bella rose and stood in front of me. "I forgive you. And, Edward, just to be clear, you're not the only one who wanted more. I always have like you, the real you. You never had to change for me."

She leaned in and kissed me…on the lips. Her lips were soft, yet firm, and sent a tingling sensation throughout my whole body. She pulled back and rested her forehead against me, smiling.

"I have wanted to do that for a while," she said.

"Me too. I have something for you." I leaned down and grabbed my gift out the front pocket of my bag.

"You didn't have to get me anything," she said.

"I wanted to as an apology. Emmett told me I should only get you flowers if I knew what kind you liked, and I've never seen you eat candy. However, when I saw this store, I immediately thought of you. The salesperson helped me pick out the right one." I opened up the tissue paper to reveal her gift.

"It's pretty." Bella fingered the rose quartz bracelet with the heart charm. "Did she tell you what rose quartz was for?"

"She did. That's why I knew it was the right one," I said nervously.

Bella held out her wrist for me, and I slipped it on. She turned her arm and admired it before kissing my cheek.

"It's beautiful, thank you." Her eyes sparkled.

"Is it too soon to ask you if you'd like to come over and watch Life of Brian this weekend?" I asked.

"No, Edward, it's not too soon."

She grinned then leaned in to kiss me once more.

A/N: Thank you to everyone that reviewed and voted for my story. This was fun to write. Rose quartz is used for attracting and keeping love, rose quartz is also used when it comes to healing one's heart from pain and disappointment. As of right now this fic. won't be continued.