Second Chances

By Ani aka Cherished Dreams

Disclaimer: I don't own Stephenie Meyer's characters. I own the plot though!

Chapter One

If there's anything she knows how to do best, its writing about love. And not just love in general, 'no' she thinks to herself. The mishaps and sadness of love lost. She thinks of this wryly, as she continues tapping her chewed up fingertips, on the laptop Charlie awarded her with joy, when she graduated that faithful cloudy day, from Forks' High School. She knows this, as she writes the newest fiction her mind seems to have concocted, another one she longs to rid her system of.

Of course, it helps her greatly that she knows of romances with darkness lurking around each corner, scripted in flowery prose by their authors. Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Juliet were a few of her favourites. But nothing helps with her writing more, than her own personal experience of joyous impossible love and cold harsh reality of rejection and sadness that played mercilessly with her frail heart.

"Here". A familiar brown paper cup appears next to her laptop screen.

Isabella Swan raises her eyes from the screen in front of her, full of text and meets another pair of friendly brown eyes. She lifts the corners of her lips into a noncommittal yet friendly smile and accepts the caffeine from her friend's hand.

"Hi Ben, thanks."

She tries to sound cheerful and welcoming, but she can't help but feel her edges stiffen and a dash of annoyance seep into her veins. She doesn't like being disturbed, not when she's writing, he knows that, but he does it anyway. He moves to sit on the bench next to her, a smile still on his face and she forces herself to close the laptop, to keep her from being distracted and snappy from the upcoming conversation.

"Hey Bella. No problem, black with two extra shots right?"

She nods, he knows this already, and sips delicately from the small opening hoping it was still scalding hot. It is. She smiles as the coffee burns her tongue and continues to do the same with her throat before landing into her empty stomach. Her eyes water with the pain.

"How are you?" He asks, shifting his eyes towards the quadrangle, spotting a bunch of guys mucking around with a ball in between them.

"I'm... ok. How are you? How's Angela holding up?"

He shrugs and deflates a little. Judging from his posture, she surmises that Angela's finally delivered the much aggrieved news, she had known of since last week. She keeps in touch with Angela through email. She was always her most understanding and truest friend during her time at Forks High. At her lowest time, Angela, Ben and Mike stuck with her. It was surprising that Ben decided to accept along with her, after they'd found that they had both been offered a place at the University of Pennsylvania. Angela had been unfortunate enough to get accepted into Princeton. Her family had had a field day. She swore that she'd get her handwriting transferred into text onto her computer, to avoid having to write any more announcements. Bella turned sympathetic to their situation.

"You'll see her soon enough for Thanksgiving, only a couple more days. Still have Forks' remember?"

Ben scrunched up his face, as if just remembering. He wouldn't really get to spend time with her during that period. Only the few stolen moments together before returning for classes.

Bella would be celebrating Thanksgiving with Charlie this year. Renee and Phil would spend their Thanksgiving on the road. She went alternating years and holidays between them, depending on her step father's career schedule.

"Yeah, it's just... I don't have all that much time to spend with her ya know?"

She knew. He had been fumbling around with the ring he had been saving for since high school. He carried it everywhere with him. Marriage was a big step; they had talked about it a few times, Bella trying to dissuade him from asking too early. He told her how he felt. How he wanted to know deep in his heart that he was hers and she was his. It was an added bonus that the rest of the world would know they'd loved each other so much to get married. That is, if she'd agree to marry him. Bella stopped after that. She didn't have the heart to inject him with her views of love. They all knew already.

"I know. Just think of it this way, you two will be together everyday for the rest of your lives."

He smiled at the thought of that, and then laughed shortly before turning to her with a knowing look in his eyes.

"Surprised you'd think that way. That sounded nauseatingly cheesy, coming from you."

She rolled her eyes at his attempt to engage her into one of their mock fights.

"By the way Bella, another girl went gushing through the check out the other day, a girlfriend in tow, gushing about how she loves your novel. It made us an extra sale."

Bella grinned at that. Ben was her inside scoop to how people really took her novel. Whether they liked it, or thought it was crap. She heard it all from him. Watching him get animated at how they reacted through their actions was worth much more than the millions of email and flame mail she received through her editor's office. It was great that he was able to get all this info for her, working at the local on campus bookstore.

"What did they say this time?"

He threw his hand around casually, barely containing his excitement which were evident in his eyes and started his recount, using different tones and pitches to make his point. "Just the usual - excellent writer, such a sad story -- it had me bawling in bed like a little baby -- soooooo totally wanna kill the male dude -- what's his name -- Jeremy. I'm never going to date any Jeremys if I can help it. Can't beeelieve what he did to that poor sweet girl -- kinda thing."

He stopped and looked at her then. They both broke out a few bubbling episodes of laugher, inducing the wide berth from passers by and a couple of stares from other people lounging in the courtyard.

"Honestly Bella doesn't your editor let you in on these kinds of things already?"

Coming down from her high, she let out a deep sigh and crinkled her nose, thinking of his latest report -- of course they had hated the male character. What she couldn't believe was they have actually liked the female protagonist. She was plain, almost a second character, with Jeremy always there. She didn't have to think twice to answer Ben's question.

"You know it makes it all soon so real then. At least you get to see their faces and reactions. I should go back to people spying at the store."

He sighed and pulled her free hand into his. She was left with her laptop resting in her Indian crossed legs.

"You're a great writer, we all know that." He paused and smiled at her. "Well, those who know you're really Isabella Marsen." He ended voice sly and full of connotations.

She tugged her hand away lifting it to her lips, shushing him. "Shh. Some freak fan might hear you!" She said turning her head to survey the emptying courtyard of eavesdroppers mocking him.

They both ended up clutching their sides for air, laughing again. Once in a while, when a fan found out she was really in Philadelphia instead of the leaked Washington, Ben's bookstore would be filled with rabid fans, coming in making the store manager a very happy man. Unfortunately, with all the book buying, they also brought in some crazy made up stories of the bookstore actually knowing the author and hiding her from them.

One went so far as to knock on as to call up every person whose surname ending in 'M' and 'S' in the Philadelphia phone book. It had shown in the local news. She had for a few charity auctions, signed a couple of books with her real initials (her publisher's representatives being secretive when questioned about it) instead of her penname causing much speculation and many theories floating in Internet forums.

"Were you working on your new one when I came along?" he asked shaking the few remaining drops of his coffee into his open mouth. His question surprised her.

"Yes, how did you know?"

He smiled. "You always go people watching; you get some of your characters' traits from that. That crazy golden haired retriever guy you had in your novel was awfully familiar ya know. And... You always close your laptop when someone approaches you. When I catch you at your dorm room, you leave it open if you're studying."

Ben was a much more perceptive person that she gave him the credit of. She'd have to remember that. "Sorry Ben, I just don't like showing people my work til the very end. It's kind of like my baby. This is my mothering period. Once everyone starts smothering it with their opinions etc, its, kind of no longer mine."

"S'ok. I guess I kinda understand your meaning." His phone rang at that moment and he shot her an apologetic look before he rummaged through his worn out bag in search of it. He shook it open and closed it with a small goofy smile on his face. "Alarm to get my butt back to my dorm and to video chat with Ange. I can't wait to see in her in person again." He sighed, looking up. "Its getting dark, lemme walk you to the women's dorms on the way."

She turned her head to the skies, surprised that the sun was now so close to gone.

"Twilight," she whispered quietly to herself, half remembering.

With that she hastily packed her laptop away and let Ben walk her to the dorms, comfortable silence radiating between them.

Author's Note: So instead of updating Chasing Cars, I post up a new fic. Is that nice at all? No. Unfortunately, I'm finding myself blocked as to how to word the second chapter for CC. (I'm halfway through the second chapter!) I came up with this a few weeks before CC and turned to this. I've got the whole thing for this set out. Unlike the kinda vague storyline I have for CC.

Let me know what you think of this beginning fic. The next chapter will have a whole bunch of background information.