AN: Here we go again...

First of all, couldn't do this without my people. Mel betad and made my mumble jumble readable. Pali and Kristen pre-read, indulged me in my newest obsession, and held my insecure hand. Lizzie made a gorgeous banner (or two or three) to spoil me and inspire me. I love you ladies!

Now to some disclaimers:

This one might not be for everyone and it will definitely not win any undeserving awards.

If you like things to move fast, this ain't the story for you. I think they maybe hold hands in like chapter 22? (I'm joking, maybe? probably.)

There's some very triggering topics that will be touched on or alluded to, including but not limited to mental health issues, eating disorders, physical and mental abuse, substance abuse, etc. They are YOUNG and sometimes STUPID, so they do what young and stupid people sometimes do. It starts with Bella at 17 (3 months away from her 18th birthday) and Edward is 19. If you are concerned, send me a DM and I will answer any questions you may have.

Finally, I took a LOT of liberties with a sport I don't know that much about, and while some things may show similarities to real life, a lot of it is made up by me. Schools and locations are inspired in real places, but again, mostly made up by me. It's fic after all, right?

So that's all the reasons why you may not want to read it, but if you still do, then YAY! and I hope you enjoy it! :3

She's coming back.

It's what everyone is talking about.

I don't know when, or how, or fucking why, but she's coming back.

It's been just over two years since I've seen her face to face. Since I've touched her or felt her in my arms. Since I've kissed her or told her that I loved her.

Two fucking years.

Nothing lasts forever. I certainly didn't expect it. Not forever, no. But a good chunk of time? Sure. I just didn't see it coming. That she'd be ripped away from me so suddenly and completely. That she would just go on with her life as if I never existed, as if I meant nothing to her. No, I never expected that.

The truth is, the most unexpected thing of all is how much it still fucking hurts.

Chapter 1.

This story begins with me, and it should come with a warning: I'm not exactly your typical male protagonist.

I don't get all the girls. I'm not particularly funny or confident. I don't really know what I want or what my purpose in life is. I just try to do my best and I work very, very hard. I've always had to.

I am a perfectionist. I overthink everything.

I am many things and nothing all at once.

Oh, and I am a male cheerleader, or at least I try.

I think I got into cheerleading by mistake.

I grew up athletic and was always hyperactive. Turned my mom's hair prematurely gray. I'd challenge myself to see what my body could do. Sprinting, running, climbing, jumping. I broke a few bones and fell out of a few trees.

My dream as a kid was to be a professional football player. All I wanted in life was to be a running back for the Broncos, but a concussion during freshman year of high school cut that dream short. My mom freaked the hell out. Said that wasn't the life she wanted for me. She had enough on her plate, so I decided to find something else to keep me busy.

Instead, cheerleading found me.

After all, my favorite part of a football game was getting to do flips after scoring a touchdown.

Still concussed and off of the football team for good, I was with Emmett by the bleachers after his football practice when two senior girls approached us. One had her eyes on Emmett; the other didn't seem particularly interested in me. I was still skinny and scrawny back then...and used to Emmett getting all the girls. These two girls were handing out flyers, tryouts for cheering, specifically asking for guys.

"Don't you want to touch girls' butts all day every day?" is what Emmett said back then. He insisted we try it out. I only realized he meant it as a joke when I was the only guy who showed up for tryouts. I didn't do well, but they were in desperate need of guys, any guys, so I made the team.

I was the first male cheerleader at my high school, but I quickly became passionate about it. The tumbles. The stunts. I became good at it too. Emmett got interested in it not long after and joined us the next summer right before sophomore year. That was the beginning of the "Colorado Boys"—what they called us as we started competing nationally.

Unfortunately, our school team sucked, so we never really won anything.

Through the years, Emmett and I got more and more competitive with each other, pushing our bodies beyond our limits. He's always been bigger and better than me at stunts, but I'm faster and better at tumbling. We both always strove to be proficient in both skills.

After high school, the plan was to find a job, any job, and maybe take some community college classes. I wanted to help my mom out while I figured out what I wanted to do. I knew my chances of going full-time to a four-year college were slim. My mom wouldn't be able to afford sending me, and I wasn't going to burden her with it or put myself in debt for it.

Not going to college, though, also meant not being able to cheer competitively at the college level. The compromise? Both Emmett and I got jobs at the All Stars Cheer Gym in Fort Collins, him as a personal trainer, me at the front desk—mostly so I could get a free membership and keep tumbling and stunting.

Word must have gotten out, and even after being out of the competitive side of the sport for almost a year, we were both approached by a recruiter from Summit State University in Utah. They wanted us to try out for their cheer squad in the spring.

Tryouts were tough. It felt like Emmett and I were medium-sized fish, from a minuscule pond, that had been now thrown into the ocean. We were just messing around with our skills, mostly just trying to one-up each other, but extremely talented kids from all over the US were trying out for this school, including cheer celebrities I had never heard of. Emmett followed some of them on social media, so he knew at least a bit about them.

Honestly, I didn't think I would make it—I didn't think I was good enough—but when an offer arrived, I was ecstatic. Mom was excited too, and surprisingly supportive; I think she had always wanted me to get a higher education. Deciding to go was easy. I wouldn't be too far from home, and if I made their A Team, I would be eligible for a scholarship.

So against all odds, Emmett and I are on our way to Ogden, Utah, where later today, we will be moving into our dorm. And that's where my story begins.