Bella's POV

I'd never thought I'd feel this happy again, especially after my disastrous eighteenth birthday.

Life had fallen into a pattern. Every morning, Alice insisted on coming over before school. Rosalie would come along – willingly, something I hadn't expected, despite our now less hostile relationship. She and Alice would stick with me as I moved around the house, talking and laughing. Talking with Cullen's was effortless, and I joined in easily. Right before we had to leave for school, they'd pick out something from my wardrobe, demanding I wear it.

I guess some habits never die.

School was more tolerable; I had at least one Cullen with me in every lesson – I suspect Rose had a huge part in it, considering the receptionist at school is a male.
I found myself looking forward to lunch breaks more than I ever did.. Laughter, no question, was apart of every lunch break. Smiling, I remembered what had happened yesterday.

After I sat down at our already full table, I noticed that Rosalie looked extremely angry.

"What's wrong, Rose?" I asked, fighting a smile. I'd guessed the reason behind Rose's pissed off mask.

She smiled at me, but her tone was still angry. "My dear husband forgot to use his brain, again. It's the eighth shirt I bought him that he had ruined during hunting! None of us ever ruin our clothes when we hunt." She fumed.

"Rose, baby, it was an accident." Emmett said, exasperated. Then his eyes widened as he realized what he had just done. "No I meant-" but the damage was done.

"Did you just, run out of patience with me?" Rose demanded.

"No, of course not! Rose, honey-"

"Don't you honey me!" Rosalie stood up, and stormed towards the door, Emmett at her tail apologizing. The remaining residence, me, Alice, Jasper and Edward looked at each other before we burst into laughter.

I chuckled. Emmett and Rosalie; they really were perfect for each other.

Usually after school, I would go over to the Cullen's house, and spend time with them. Then I'd leave and go back to my lonely apartment at midnight unwillingly, much to everyone's displeasure.

They had offered to let me move in (what an understatement; Alice was practically begging me to move into the spare room next to hers), but I knew I wasn't ready yet. To me, it was still a big step. And I still wanted to keep enough space, so that when they leave again – I cramped my face in pain at the thought – I would be able to handle the pain.

How's Bells you may ask? Well, she's the same as always. She's delighted to be friends with the 'hot new kids'. According to Jasper, she had also developed a little crush on Emmett. Emmet scowled which made everyone else burst into laughter. Of course, it didn't help when Edward said out loud some of the dirty things Susannah was thinking. Alice only calls him 'Muscleman' now.

Edward is… well, Edward. We were just friends now. We had talked about it, and we both agreed that it was for the best.

"Bella, can I please talk to you?" Edward asked his beautiful voice familiar. I sighed; after all these years, my heart still jumps when he walks into the room.

"Okay," I put my book down. I was at the Cullen's home again. Suddenly, I was nervous; I hadn't heard him walking into the room or noticed his scent. And I didn't know what he would want to talk to me about.

He sat next to me on the sofa, but gave me a few inches distance, and I was grateful. "First of all, I want you to know how sorry I am-"

"That's not necessary," I interrupted him with a forced smile. Now I knew what he wanted to talk about, I realized, panicking, that he will lead the topic to another area, an area that I never want to talk about. Before I knew it, I blurted out "Really, its fine. Just let go of the past. Why don't we start fresh? Let's be friends." There, I've said what he wanted to hear. He will be happy, and that's all that mattered. I felt the old wound thrashing around the edges, threatening to unleash itself. I took a deep breath, holding the wound in the place. I couldn't afford to show Edward my weakness; I didn't want him to pity me.

For a brief second, Edward looked sad. Heartbreakingly sad. And then he smiled, but it didn't touch his eyes. "Of course Bella, whatever you want. I'm glad we're friends now. Excuse me," I watched him walk swiftly out of the room, and I was glad; I needed the chance to recover.

Gripping my middle, I inhaled deeply, taking in his strange honey and lilac perform. I expected the agony to flood me, but unexpectedly, the hole stopped thrashing.

Up until now, I still can't justify his reaction or mine.

I sighed; it was a topic I didn't want to think about.. The doorbell rang; I rushed to answer it, thankful to whoever was visiting. This will surely make me think about something else.

I wasn't surprised when I saw Alice standing in the doorway. I smiled. "Hi Alice, what brings you here today?"

Alice pouted. "What, I can't visit my best friend just because I want to?"

I laughed. "Of course you can! I'm only joking Alice." A huge smile spread across her face. "Come in," I stepped aside to let her in.

Alice looked around at her surroundings, with a thoughtful expression on her face. Then, she clapped her hand together and looked at me with big, doe eyes. "Bella, how much do you love me?"

"A lot," I said carefully, appraising Alice's expression.

She began to pout. "Enough to let me and Esme renovate your apartment?"

I groaned. "But Alice, I really don't need to. This is a waste of money," I tried to reason. But it was a lost cause; Alice was using both of her "make-you-cave-in" advantages.

Her lips trembled. "Please?" she whispered. "For me?"

I groaned again. "Fine."

"Yay! I promise you'll like it." Despite my reluctance to her idea, I grinned. This is one of those things I loved about Alice. She can make anyone forget their troubles in an instant.

"Oh I have no doubt about that; Alice Cullen is on the job." I told her. She squealed as she gave me another hug. "Where's Rose?" Rose was also a frequent guest. It was as if she was determined to make up for her previous malice behaviors.

"She was going to come, but, uh, Emmett started something with her." Alice grimaced, probably having a bad mental image..

I wrinkled my nose. "Enough said."

She giggled. "Anyways, I was wondering if you want to go shopping."

I put my foot down. "I have enough clothes, besides" I added hastily before she opened her mouth "one big favor is enough for today! Don't push your luck missy," I playfully ruffled her hair. She poked her tongue at me.

"You can never have enough clothes, but fine. Let's watch a movie!" she ran into the living room, by the sounds of it, was setting up the DVD. I followed slowly, and by the time I sat on the couch, a movie was already playing. "This is one of Emmett's favorite films," she told me.

Two hours later, almost everyone in the movie died, the movie was finally over. "That was awful," I told Alice.

She grinned. "Well, I don't know. I thought it was alright. At least the hero didn't die." She pulled out her phone. "Hello Muscleman, that's fine you big baby. See you soon."

"You have to go," I guessed, trying to hide my disappointment.

She laughed. "Quite the opposite, Emmett is coming."

I was puzzled. "Why?"

"Because he is complaining on how unfair it is that only the girls get to visit you." Alice rolled her eyes. "Honestly, as if we get enough time with you! He's acting like we've got time to spare."

I laughed at her words. But, it touched me more than I liked to admit.

"Emmett's here," Alice said lazily. Surely, a second later, the doorbell rang. When I opened the door, someone – I can only assume its Emmett – picked me up and gave me his famous trademark – his bear hug.

"How're ya doing squat?" he said, after he put me down.

"I'm good, you know, it wasn't really that long since I last saw you," I said.

He laughed. "I know, but I've missed you."

"Careful, don't let Rose hear that." I joked.

"What shouldn't I hear?" said Rosalie as she came up to me and hugged me. "Hi Bella,"

I hugged her back. "Hello Rosalie, how are you?"

"Good thanks. What shouldn't I hear?" she smiled at me.

"Oh, Emmett was just joking about how much he missed me." I told her, a little nervous of what her reactions might be. To my relief, she laughed.

"Oh, he can only tell that to our friends and family without getting into trouble. And you're family," she said, smiling at me warmly.

"It's a good thing we can no longer cry, otherwise the room would be flooded with tears," Alice graced us with her presence as she joined us in the doorway.

"How would you know, Alice?" Emmett challenged.

Alice smirked. "I'm the one who can tell the future."

"Yes, but your visions are subjected to the variables, and since we can't cry, you wouldn't know for sure." Emmett grinned, probably thinking he'd gotten Alice there.

"Actually, I do. I just do, because, since I can tell the future, I'm the know-it-all. And if I'm the know-it-all, I would know what would happen!" Alice poked her tongue at him.

I laughed. Emmett and Alice bickering is also another favorite past time, although it's not as entertaining as watching Rose get mad at Emmett. Seeing Emmett was about to open his mouth again, Rosalie grabbed me by the arm. "Come on Bella," she said. "Let's go. Let's leave these children alone."

Emmett looked worried for a second. Then he laughed. "Well, you married me, so I guess I'm not as childish as you say, well, in parts and areas. Besides, I'm definitely not childish where it counts," he winked at Rose.

Alice groaned and rubbed her eyes. "Too much information, Muscleman." Rosalie and I laughed.

"Well, I didn't come here today to argue with little Alice. I'm here to bond with my little sister, come on Bells, wanna get beaten in a game of Halo?" he grinned.

"Your funeral," then we all laughed at the irony.

"This was where I belonged," I thought in contentment. And I hope it would last. But life has never been a piece of cake for me. At times like this, it was hard to remember – or do – why I should keep the space between me, and the dearest people to me. I knew it wasn't okay to get attached now, because it would cost me a lot when they leave. But what else can I do?

AN: Sorry about the wait. Really. Huge writer's block, then school, then more school. Sorry.

But reviews do speed things up. So reviews = update. =]