It was absolutely frigid outside

My new one-shot! Note that the rating is M…I don't know what that stands for, but I'm guessing MATURE! LOL. This isn't exactly a happy story, but it teaches a little lesson, and like I said it has an interesting message. I would love to hear your thoughts : )

BIG Thanks to the ever helpful not done baking, who helped me with this beforehand, and brought it to a much better place from where it was!

And thanks to edwardNOTjacob, for letting me run basically everything I do on here by her. LOL

Bella's POV

I took a small sip of wine and leaned back against the wall, surveying the happy scene around me. The semester was ending tomorrow, and like good little college students, everyone was celebrating to the best of their ability. But I sighed, looking down into the bottom of my cup. My mood didn't match theirs. Of course I couldn't complain about the end of the semester, in fact all I had to do tomorrow was pick up my portfolio from one of my professors and I would officially be finished.

But not even the prospect of freedom could cheer me up. Lately, nothing could. I frowned, and allowed my façade to fall. I was tired of pretending all the time that I was alright, when I really was just unhappy, and more confused than I had ever been in my life…

I lifted my eyes to scan the room, and they met instinctively with a pair of deep green ones.

There he is, I whispered to myself. The one thing that made me happy this semester, the only thing that was keeping me afloat. If I didn't have him, I don't know what I would do.

He smiled at me, his usual warm and smoldering grin that I knew deep in my heart he saved just for me. I felt my nerves twitch as he walked over, and I bit my lip in excitement. He came within inches of my face, but I didn't back away. I didn't want to. I needed him.

My eyes looked around to see if anyone was watching, wondering if anyone would notice if we slipped away early. When my gaze once again met his, I could see the unspoken question lurking behind his stare.

He knew me so well.

I nodded, reaching out to clutch his hand in mine. We both silently left the party, walking unseen out of the room. We didn't speak, but the longing I felt for him, the longing I always felt for him, propelled me forward and I led us down the hallway and into the badly lit stairwell. The lights were always flickering on and off, the wiring absolutely sucked.

His loud breathing filled the space between us as the door crashed shut. We stood apart from each other, and due to the lighting I could only catch his face in flashes. His pale skin that clashed with his messy bronze hair. His large rough hands that were currently reaching out to hold my waist.

He slid one hand over my belly and gripped my t-shirt in his fist. Standing within this dark corner, in his arms, I could think of nothing else. He slid his other hand up and filled his palm with my breast, and I buried my head into his shoulder, breathing hotly against his neck.

"Bella," he whispered, and I leaned back and looked into his eyes. An emotion, strong and undeniable, passed through us in that moment, and I felt my eyes fill with tears.

He meant everything to me.

The heat of his body warmed the seam of my jeans, and when he pushed his erection into my stomach, I groaned out loud, reveling in the desire that I had resisted for far too long today.

The instant his lips touched mine, the raw naked edge of desire sliced right through the primal place in my being that screamed to just go for it. My hands ran down his stomach and latched onto his belt buckle.

I kissed beneath his chin and he let out a breathy whisper against my lips.

"I love you Bella."

The Next Day

It was absolutely frigid outside.

The snow was coming down in harsh white flakes, blurring my vision as I made the slow and dangerous trek across campus. I switched my canvas bag to my other shoulder in order to properly zip up the two ends of my jacket. The only saving grace about the day was that classes were finally over for the semester, in which I must be honest and admit that I had felt no sadness at waving goodbye to my pyrotechnics professor. Good riddance if you ask me.

The cold angry wind whipped across my face as if in punishment, slapping thick strands of my hair into my line of vision. That, mixed with the slick snow and darkening skies, tripped me up and the next thing I knew I had fallen flat on my face. The bitter sting of the frosty ground burned the soft skin of my hand, but I waited a moment before pulling myself up.

I deserved that. I deserved much worse.

Sighing, I brushed the snow off my knees and reached behind me for my hood. I did my best to tuck the massive amounts of hair into the sides, but in the end, there were fly-aways trying to escape from every angle, hindering my view.

But I didn't have the energy to try and fix it.

As I made my way toward the dorms, I could hear the hoop and holler of my peers, obviously celebrating the coming month off. Normally, I would be celebrating too, just as gung-ho as the rest of the student population. But nothing was normal in my life this semester, everything had changed. And I couldn't pretend anymore.

"Hey Bella! Wait up!"

I turned at the sound of my name, my eyes squinting against the wind and snow, and I just caught sight of my friend Jessica's deep navy coat. She held up a white gloved hand and waved for me to wait. I plastered the familiar fake smile I had been using lately on my face and watched as she approached. She giggled as she walked her feet into my footprints, and then threw her arms around my neck once she was close enough.

"Goodbye Fall semester," she laughed in relief. "I am in desperate need of this vacation, you have no idea. This was definitely my worst term yet." But her eyes were bright as she let me go, and I knew she was just going through the motions that we all did when the semester came to an end.

Even so, I tried to hide my bitterness at her obvious happiness. "Jess, you say every term is your worst term. I'm sure come the end of spring you'll be saying the same thing." I joked, wrapping my arms around my middle. The cold seemed to be burying itself into my blood and skin.

She tilted her head and pretended to think over what I said. "You're right," she finally agreed with a chuckle. "But still, these past four months seemed to just drag and drag. I always get anxious around Christmas time anways."

The mention of the holidays made the awful feeling spread through my stomach, and I felt anything but cheerful. It was going to be the first time I wouldn't be going home to celebrate with Charlie. Jessica must have been on the same mind track as me because she said, "Aren't you going skiing with that hunky boyfriend of yours?"

The awful feeling exploded. "Yeah…we're leaving today." I bent my head and pulled back my coat sleeve to check my watch. "In about an hour or so."

She shook her head, a huge grin on her face. "You're so lucky."

I didn't know if she meant I was lucky because I was going skiing, or if she was talking about…him. But her words were meaningless and I found myself concentrating on the puff of air that had come out of her mouth instead.

When I didn't respond, she rubbed her hands together and glanced over her shoulder. "All right….well have fun, yeah? I've gotta run back to my car and make sure Mike hasn't left without me." She laughed. "If I don't talk to you, Merry Christmas!" She turned on her heel and began to make her way back through the snow. "To both of you!"

"Merry Christmas," I muttered, and continued walking. I could see the big red brick building off in the distance and I shivered involuntarily as it came closer. I was so confused and there were so many thoughts running through my head, it was as if I couldn't even understand myself. I couldn't separate one thought from the other. I felt so hopeless…and dreadful.

I trudged up the steps and stomped the snow out of my boots out once I walked through the door. The heat must not be working because the temperature barely felt any different, and I silently cursed my tuition fees as I made my way over to the elevator. I pressed the button to get to the fourth floor and waited.

I looked around; noticing there was no one else in the corridor as I unwrapped my scarf and stuffed it in my bag. The elevator dinged its stop and I got on.

As the doors shut, I closed my eyes and leaned back against the side panel. The rickety old thing creaked and groaned, but the doors finally opened and I stepped out, and I spotted his door at once. My two feet carried me forward, but my cowardly heart was just itching to run away.

I inhaled a deep cool breath and covered my face with my hands for a moment, before mentally scolding myself to get a grip. I tensed my fingers, stalling and I then busied myself with staring at his door. He had a white board placed right in the middle, and the phrase 'Baseball King' was written across the top, along with their room number – 407- right underneath.

But my gaze shifted to the little words in the corner that I had written myself. I reached up and touched my name, circled within the red heart that I had put there over three months ago.

I had been so happy when I wrote that. Everything had seemed so perfect. I still could feel his arms around me and his laughing breath against my neck as I spelled out my name in cursive. He was the one who had made the heart around my name, and after it was done I had turned in his arms, thinking that I could stay there forever.

I didn't deserve my name there anymore. It didn't belong. But just as I was about to erase it with my finger, the door swung open.

"Hey love!" he shouted eagerly, right before he gathered me into his arms and spun me into the room. "I'm so excited for this trip! I feel like I've been waiting for this moment for months!" He placed me back on my two feet and pressed his lips against my own, to which I responded in the natural fashion.

I couldn't help but notice how much of an instinct it was now. Gone was every drip and drop of desire, at least for me.

He pulled away a moment later and I walked over to his desk, sitting down in the chair and putting my heavy bag on the floor. My eyes scanned the room and I saw with a heavy heart that we were alone. Both beds were empty, and once again I was conflicted with so many emotions. On the one hand, I couldn't deny that I was immensely relieved….but I secretly couldn't ignore the sharp ache that I felt…


"Yes Jake?" I answered guiltily, lifting my eyes. I smiled up at him, praying beyond hope that he couldn't detect my inner storm.

"You're quiet," he observed. He walked over and knelt in front of me, resting his elbows on my lap as he had a tendency to do. "Are you still excited to go?" He spoke the words seemingly with indifference, but I could hear the underlying worry in his voice.

"Of course I am," I lied, running my fingers through his thick black hair. "I'm all packed and everything." I reached down and patted my canvas that I had filled with some essentials. "My suitcase is back in my room though, so we just have to swing by and pick it up before we leave."

He looked up at me and grinned. "Perfect. Sounds good." He reached to once again press his lips against mine, and it was at that moment that I heard the door swing open.

I jumped in surprise so harshly, that Jacob looked at me with concern. "Are you okay, Bells?" But I couldn't even formulate an answer, because my eyes were locked on the green eyed boy that was currently striding past us as if we were invisible. The chill that had overtaken my body since I was outside melted in that instant and I felt as if I had been set on fire.

I managed to nod and I reluctantly ripped my gaze to look back into Jake's troubled eyes. He shrugged his shoulders, patted my knee once and then turned to his roommate. "Yo Eddie, what's up man?"

"Not much, just finished my last final," Edward answered, not looking at either of us as he unloaded his books onto his desk. His voice sounded normal, but I knew better. I glanced at his hands and noticed that his knuckles were white. I bit my lip and pressed my fingertips into my red hot cheeks, overwhelmed and feeling as if I might drown in the tension.

"Nice... We'll be out of your way soon," answered Jacob. "And then you've got the whole room to yourself my man. Bells and I won't be back until after the New Year."

I watched as Edward's back stiffened, his movements halting for just a second, before he walked quietly over to his closet.

I turned back to Jacob, he had a smile on his face, and was completely unaware of what was going on around him. The room went silent and I stared at his familiar back, watching his large tan muscles move under his tight t-shirt….but I felt….nothing. I was looking right at the man I was supposed to love….and I felt…nothing.

For the past five months, Jacob had treated me like an absolute princess. He was so good to me, and I didn't deserve him. We had been happy once…I had been happy once. But I wasn't happy anymore, and Jacob was so caught up in his feelings for me that he hadn't even noticed.

I resisted the urge to bury my head in my hands, and I scrambled for an excuse to escape. I couldn't bear being in this room with the two of them. Edward was still facing away from us, but I didn't dare look at him either. I wouldn't be able to stomach the heartbreak.

He had just moved in with Jacob in the middle of this past semester, and the second we were introduced, everything had changed. There was nothing about him that didn't intrigue me. I can't even recall the number of times we sat and talked for hours, while I waited for Jacob to come back from practice. How many times he had made me laugh…

Was it love at first sight? I don't know. Probably not. But my entire body…my mind….was pulled toward Edward, my boyfriend's roommate, and I was completely powerless to stop it. And the worst part was…he felt it too, just as strongly as I did.

And last night…

I groaned softly and bit back the burning tears as images and his words ran through my mind. I pressed my fingers against my eye lids, trying to erase them. But I snapped back to reality as I heard Jacob's footsteps.

"Babe, I'm going to run and bring my bags down to the car real quick. Be right back okay?" He gave me a chaste kiss and then swung his large duffel over his shoulder. The door shut with a soft click, leaving us in silence.

Now that we were alone, the strain on the atmosphere upped about ten notches and I almost choked on a sob that threatened to break through. Edward must have heard me, but he didn't turn around. My cheeks pinched together and I crossed my arms tightly across my chest. I didn't know what to say…I wanted to run across the room and throw myself into his arms, but I couldn't….I shouldn't.

"You're still going on the trip, huh?"

His voice cut through the silence. I turned my head and saw that he was now staring at me through emotionless eyes, sitting against his headboard as he spun a CD around his finger.

"What?" I croaked out softly, wondering why he would ask me that question. I uncrossed my arms and shifted slightly so I was facing him.

"You're still going on the trip?" he bit out, spinning the CD faster. He didn't wait for an answer, but continued in a nasty tone. "Well great Bella. I hope you have a wonderful time with your boyfriend, honestly."

I felt my temper rising. "What do you expect me to do Edward?" I snapped, gripping the edge of my chair and meeting his green gaze full on. "We've been planning this since September, I can't just not go with him."

"Of course," he said sarcastically. "I mean, the right thing to do would be to go. And we all know you always do the right thing." He dropped the CD on the bed and walked over to his desk, beginning to shuffle papers around aimlessly.

"Don't put the blame all on me Edward Cullen, it takes two you know," I told him curtly, feeling the first tear make its way down my cheek. This wasn't the Edward that I knew. And the abrupt change to his personality was all my fault. I had caused that hidden look of pain on his face, and it killed me.

"You're right," he said, sitting down on his desk chair. "And obviously it was a mistake, so we should both just forget it."

"A mistake?" I repeated, my voice betraying exactly how much those words had cut me. Even though I knew how wrong it was, and I felt completely guilty, I didn't regret it. Not for one moment. "How can you say it was a mistake?"

"Because look where it's got me," he answered. He spun around and looked at me through sad and angry eyes. "I'm the fool here Bella. For the past two months, we've been dancing around this...this…thing between us, and when we finally do something about it, nothing changes. I keep putting myself out there for you, and I keep getting run over." He slammed his hand on the chair with the last word and began to pace on the rug in front of me.

"What do you want from me Edward?" I shouted, standing up and shaking my head. "What can I do? Break up with him? I can't do that Edward, he'd be so hurt…"

He stared over my shoulder, as if he was unable to look at me directly. "You're right…he'd be so hurt." And with that, he walked back over his bed and flung himself onto it.

The dam broke and more tears fell down my face. I had to lock my knees to keep from falling, and to keep myself from running over to him. Jacob would be back any minute and I didn't want to leave with him, go skiing and pretend to be happy. I wanted to stay with Edward...but I couldn't do that. It would make me more of a bad person than I already was.

"I'm sorry…" I said quietly. "I'm sorry Edward. This is all my fault. We should have just stayed away from each other. Ignored it…"

After a moment, he sat up and shook his head. "I couldn't Bella…I couldn't. It was too hard."

And I knew that he was telling the truth, because I felt exactly the same way. What do you do in this situation? What do you do when you know you're with the wrong person, but there isn't much you can do about it without hurting someone? Every way you turn, you're doing the wrong thing. I didn't love Jacob…I loved someone else, and by some awful twist of fate, the two knew each other. How was I supposed to handle this? Did giving in make me selfish? Maybe not…but going behind his back was wrong. Especially when he when he loved me with all his heart.

"We messed up though," I told him seriously, the tears thickening my voice. "It wasn't right of us. He's my boyfriend…and he's your friend…"

"I know that Bella," replied Edward hotly. "And that makes me feel ten times worse, but I can say honestly, that for me, it was bound to happen sooner or later. And you know it." As the words left his mouth, I saw his resolve turn to steel and his jaw clench. His eyes locked with mine as he said. "Bella, I want you. I want to be your boyfriend. I want to take you skiing and I want to walk you home from every party and every class. I told you I loved you last night, and I meant it. I do love you Isabella, and you're worth the risk…so I'm asking you to choose me, right here and right now. Don't go with him. I've never been selfish in my life, but I can't help it this time. So please…don't go with him. Stay with me."

I choked out a sob and shook my head, backing away from him. "Don't ask that of me Edward."

"I have to Bella," he replied. "If you go with him, I'll leave you alone, I promise. But no more games. If you choose him now, you can't have me when you come back."

I knew he was telling the truth, and the thought of losing him made my heart split in two. Even if we weren't together, I cherished the time we had, and I knew he would take that away from me. God, when did everything get so complicated?

"It's now or never Bella," he said softly. He ran his hands through his hair, his eyes that I loved so much, pleading with me to accept him.


The door burst open, and Jacob strode inside, clapping his gloves together. "GOD, it is freezing outside," He walked to his desk and grabbed his other duffel bag before turning to me with a big smile. "You ready babe?"

I hastily wiped the tears off my face and closed my mouth with a snap. Edward had walked over to the window, his hands in his pockets with his back to the two of us. I stared at him for a long minute, my heart tearing and my soul shattering. I finally faced back to my boyfriend and smiled, hoping he wouldn't notice that I had been crying.

"Yes, I'm ready."

I mechanically reached down for my bag and walked out the door. But the second I saw the elevator, I cracked. I broke down into pathetic sobs in the middle of the dirty college hallway.

"Bella?!" said a very confused Jacob. I heard his duffel drop to the floor, and his feet running over to me. "What happened? What on earth is wrong? Why are you crying?" He put both hands on the side of my face and turned me so I was facing him.

I closed my eyes against the shame and swallowed against the guilt. I couldn't even stand his hands on me. "I…I….I…." I stuttered. I couldn't say the words. I couldn't get them out. I was suddenly so mortified at what I had done to him, and I felt even worse because I wouldn't take it back if I could.

I began to tremble in his hands and he became even more worried. "Bella? Please talk to me?" His eyes flickered back to his door for just one quick second, but I caught it.

I started shaking my head. "I can't go with you Jacob…I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry."

He stared at me, not seeming to understand what I was saying. But he dropped his hands away from my face and took a step back.

"What do you mean? Why not?" he asked, as he began to back away from me.

And then I broke down, and I told him everything. And it hurt so bad, but I also felt as if a huge weight had lifted off my chest. I cried and resisted the urge to comfort him as he ran his hands through his hair, his own tears dripping off the end of his nose. I listened as he yelled and cursed, slamming his fist into the wall and looking at me with no more animosity than I deserved.

But I couldn't lie to him anymore. It wasn't right. It wasn't fair for anyone involved.

And then he left me. Sitting on the floor in the middle of the hallway, feeling like the lowest scum on earth.

But then he came and lifted me back up.

I heard the door open, and Edward all but ran to my side, his breath heavy in my ears. We sat there for a long time, staring at each other and I closed my eyes as he kissed my face and neck. I latched onto him, and my whole body felt as if it was sighing in relief.

This was where I was meant to be. And it killed me that we had to hurt someone in the process, but it couldn't be helped. The universe works in mysterious ways, and I knew all the way down to my little toenails that I was supposed to be with Edward.

He was everything to me.

Review! : )