A/n: Here it is. Sorry it took like 6 months. heh.

this chapter might seem a little weird, because it's taking me a little time to get back into this character, but i'll find her again, i promise.

Enjoy.


Dreams sucked. Especially when I remembered them vividly. And more especially when they didn't make sense.

I woke up the next morning shaking my head and whispering to myself that dreams like that were all kinds of fucked up. I got ready in a haze; I was auto pilot for the most part. It wasn't until I was leaning in as close as possible to my mirror and applying my eye liner that I glanced at my phone on my night stand.

It was blinking blue.

And how could I have no heard that thing vibrate last night? I never understood how sometimes I slept like a rock and other times a feather could drop and I was practically jumping out of bed.

Chalk full of contradictions, even while I sleep.

I finished my make-up and then grabbed my phone and checked the message.

It was from Rosalie.

I'm stealing your truck today, fyi, so you're going to have to hitch a ride with Edward after school.

Peachy.

I quickly hit reply and typed a message.

Thanks for the heads up, but I thought I said I'd think about it…

After I grabbed my backpack and slipped on my Rite-Aid slip-ons, I got another text.

Yeah, Rosalie replied, I know you did. But I went ahead and made the decision for you. Hope you don't mind.

I rolled my eyes and pocketed my phone. It wasn't worth a reply.

When I got to school, there was a parking spot next to Edward's Volvo open and I knew it had my name written all over it. I slid into the space, making sure I went in straight. I was super anal about parking. I hated not being perfectly straight within the lines. I swear it was the one (okay, one of many) thing I was OCD about.

Jasper was at my door and opening it before I even turned off the engine.

I smiled at him and he helped me out of the truck. "Why thank you kind sir."

Jasper played along. "You are very welcome, pretty lady."

I laughed and shoved his arm. He faked pain.

We walked over to where the rest of his family was congregating and joined the group.

"Good morning all!" I chirped. I wondered where my mood was coming from. Just ten minutes ago I was convinced today was completely going to suck. I had a feeling Jasper had something to do with it, but I shook it off and enjoyed it. Good moods were always welcome as far as I was concerned. "Oh, Rose, about my truck. Can you make it candy apple red instead of fire truck red?"

She smiled brightly at me. "Of course I can."

"Perfect. You're amazing."

She basked in the compliment. "I try."

The bell rang and signaled the beginning of the school day. There seemed to be a collective sigh within our group and we all turned toward the buildings and began walking. We seemed to couple off, which meant I was stuck walking next to Psycho Boy until he veered off to his first period.

This was awkward.

And I hated awkward.

"So how 'bout them Lakers?" I asked out of nowhere.

Edward shook his head and laughed silently. "I don't really follow basketball, to tell you the truth."

I sighed in relief. "Good, because I don't like organized sports and if you had started talking about them I probably would have lost you already."

"Then why did you ask?"

"Awkward silences," I said, "freak me out. Not a fan at all."

"We have something in common, then." Edward replied, smiling at me.

"Really?" I questioned rhetorically. "I dunno, you just seem like the kind of guy who prefers silence."

Edward shook his head. "Silence scares me. I can't handle it. If I'm alone, then I have to be listening to music or watching television. Something, anything. Any kind of noise and I'm good. And when I'm talking to people, if the conversation goes flat and things get awkward, I feel weird. I start fidgeting and I just need to talk about something."

I stopped mid step and stared at the gorgeous, issue-ridden, bipolar boy in front of me. "I feel like you're stealing my thoughts and saying them back to me."

He laughed. "You, too, then?"

I nodded and continued walking with him. I was still a little freaked out that he was so much like me in that aspect. I had never met another person who hated silence as much as I did.

Maybe Edward Cullen wasn't going to be so bad after all.

- - - - -

The rest of the day was kind of a blur. I zoned out for most of my classes, only paying attention when it was completely necessary. Everyone at lunch kind of let me be, which made me super happy. I was quickly falling madly in love with my new group of friends.

It was after school that things got a little interesting. I had completely forgotten that Rosalie was commandeering my truck for modifications and she practically detached my head from my shoulders when I tried to leave the parking lot.

As I watched Rosalie drive away in my truck, I leaned in close to Jasper, who just happened to be standing next to me.

"Does Bipolar Disorder run in your family or something?" I asked.

Jasper laughed. "Nah, that's just Edward. Although Rose does get a little high maintenance sometimes."

I quirked an eyebrow. "That was high maintenance? She looked like she wanted to murder me."

"I think she was just afraid you'd changed your mind about her fixing your truck. She gets really into cars."

"Yeah, no kidding." I scoffed and started making my way to Edward's Volvo.

Edward was already standing by the driver's side door, waiting for me to arrive. It was probably obvious that I was still a little shaken by my encounter with Rosalie, because he gave me a sympathetic look.

"She isn't always like that I promise," he said, apologizing for his sibling.

I shook it off. "No issue. I know she's not like that all the time. Apparently only when it involves motor vehicles."

Edward laughed and climbed in the car. I followed suit and looked in the backseat for Jasper, Alice, and Emmett. I frowned when I found it empty.

"Where's everyone else?"

Edward shrugged and glided out of the parking space. He shifted into first gear and began to drive away from the school. I could tell this situation had been carefully planned.

And I knew exactly who the culprit was.

Alice was getting a piece of my mind later tonight.

The car ride was pretty quiet except for the occasional question like: how was your day? Was class as boring for you as it was for me? Did you see what Lauren was wearing today?

We fell silent when we pulled up to my house. Edward parked in my usual spot and exited the car. He walked around the front and opened my door for me.

"Thanks," I smiled up at him. He held my hand for balance as I got out and I tried not to notice how cold his skin was. "This totally makes up for the ride you owed me, I hope you know."

Edward snapped his fingers in disappointment. "Damn. I was hoping you wouldn't remember so I could drive you somewhere again."

"Did you have anywhere in mind?"

"Anywhere what?" He seemed confused.

"Anywhere you wanted to drive me," I said, being more specific.

Edward smiled. "I did actually. I was wondering if you wanted to go to dinner with me this weekend."

I quirked an eyebrow. "Dinner?"

"Yeah…"

"As in you and me?" To demonstrate, I pointed to me and then Edward and repeated a couple of times.

He looked like he was getting a little frustrated. It was kind of cute. I'd have to do this more often. "Yes. Dinner. Together. As in you and me eating at a restaurant across from each other. Maybe even engaging in a little conversation."

I smiled wide. "Okay. As long as you don't take me to some cheesy Mexican place, I'm good. Spicy food and I don't really agree."

Edward brightened up considerably. "Great. I'll see you tomorrow morning, then."

He was already heading to his car when I asked, "What's going on tomorrow morning?"

"I'm picking you up since Rose won't be done with your truck till Sunday."

"Right," I said, not even bothering to be upset. No point, I thought.

- - - - -

Charlie didn't bother saying anything to me other than a quick hello when he rolled into the house around 7:30. I had nothing more to say to him than a quiet reply before I slipped out the back door and headed for the tree in the back corner of the property.

There, as expected, was what I could only assume were the beginnings of a tree house. Up the trunk of the tree were five small rectangles of wood, hammered in tightly so they wouldn't move. Sitting at the base of the limbs was the beginning of the foundation of the would-be tree house, but whoever was making it never even bothered to finish.

It was good for me now, though, because it was the perfect place for me to just sit and relax. It was nice, despite the cool breeze and constant threat of rainfall, to sit in a tree and just be. When I discovered my little sanctuary a few days ago, I'd immediately christened it as mine and began blueprints in my head of the wonderful creations I could make out of this tree. Problem was, I wasn't any good at making blueprints (even in my head) and I was terrible at crafts (one semester of woodshop did me in – don't ask).

It was a nice thought, though. And always fun to dream.

I climbed up the makeshift ladder and pulled myself onto the floor. As I settled in and pulled my jacket ever tighter around my body, I took one large breath, held it for a couple seconds, and released.

And then I lit up a cigarette.

The tree slash wannabe tree house was the only place around my house that I could smoke without my father knowing. And God knew if he found out, I was pretty sure he'd lock me in one of the holding cells down at the station. I was willing to risk it by coming out to the backyard, but I wasn't willing to risk much. I was extra super duper careful. I'd even brought a plastic (waterproof, duh) box out here to store a bottle of perfume, my carton of cigarettes, and a couple of lighters just in case.

In the middle of my second cigarette (I was chain smoking for the hell of it), my phone rang.

I looked at the screen and the caller ID said CARA CALLING.

I smiled instantly and answered. "Hi!"

Silence.

I hesitated for a moment and then said, "Hello?"

There was muffled static and then breathing. I was beginning to get a little freaked out.

"Cara?" I tried again. "Seriously, this isn't funny." I took a drag of my cigarette.

"Momma," a voice said. I instantly recognized it as Evan's.

I sighed in relief and rolled my eyes. "Evan, honey, can you give mommy the phone?"

"No!" he exclaimed happily.

Oh boy, I thought. This was going to be interesting. Why was it that children always learned the word no before they learned yes?

After much deliberating with an almost two-year-old, Cara finally got a hold of her phone. By that time, though, I was about ready to just crack up laughing. Even though Evan couldn't talk much yet, what he could say were probably the most random things ever. And mix in the gibberish baby talk and you had yourself an almost limitless entertainment source.

"I am so sorry about that," Cara said, bringing me back to the present.

I snorted. "No worries. I love the kid. Can't wait till he can actually hand over the phone when I ask, though. Not gonna lie."

"I can't either. He digs through my purse so he can play with my phone and then he goes through my phone book and calls anyone who has a picture next to their name."

"It scares me that your son knows how to work your phone," I pointed out.

And in all ironic seriousness she said, "Oh me too."

I laughed and then Cara took the opportunity to launch into one of her rants about how Michael (her fiancé) was being stupid again. I half paid attention, like always, throwing in the appropriate responses when needed. By the time I realized what was really happening, it was well past dark and I was actually somewhat surprised that Charlie hadn't come looking for me yet. Then again, I did sneak out when he wasn't looking, and he probably liked that he couldn't find me.

I sighed, which made Cara fall silent. "I'm sorry; I've been going on and on, haven't I? It's just that I'm so stressed and you're the only person I can talk to and I miss you so much sometimes I feel like I can't deal with this and I wish they had let you move in with me and…"

I waited. This was typical Cara. Ramble till she ran out of breath, and then lose her train of thought.

"…Ugh." She finished. "I love you."

I had to smile. "I love you, too, Cara. And everything will be alright, I promise. Just take a deep breath and relax."

She was silent for the next half minute and I knew she was taking my advice. She always did. I was one of the few people Cara actually listened to. And visa versa, come to think of it.

"I gotta go," I told her. "I'll talk to you later, though, okay? Love you so so much."

"I love you, too, Bella. Hang in there. I just know something cool is going to happen to you soon."

As I hung up the phone, I realized I'd completely forgotten to tell her about my date this weekend with Edward. Instead of even texting her, though, I shrugged my shoulders, sprayed some perfume on me and made my way back into the house.

- - - - -

It wasn't until I was taking off my makeup that I noticed the blue blinking light on my phone. I wondered when I had gotten a message. Was it before I talked to Evan and Cara? After? I didn't recall feeling and/or hearing my phone vibrate so it must have been during the call.

I finished wiping off my eyeliner and mascara and checked my phone. Five messages and they all seemed to be from a Cullen or a Hale.

Oh wait, they were.

I started from the most recent and worked my way down.

Emmett: please please please tell me I left my Econ book in your locker. I can't find it anywhere. I'm dead without it.

I laughed lightly. That was what he got for begging to use my locker solely because it was closer to his Econ class. And it wasn't like Jasper wasn't in his class the same period, so he wasn't completely dead.

I didn't bother replying because there really was no point.

Edward (AKA Psycho Boy): Be at your house at 7:30, hope that's okay.

I quickly replied that it was fine, I'd be ready, and moved on.

Alice: Was it seven inches or nine inches, I forget.

She was talking about making her regular jeans into skinny jeans. I forgot I'd mentioned how the process went the other day at lunch. I was surprised she was already attempting to re-hem something.

I hit the reply button on my phone and typed. It depends on how big you want your skinny jeans to be. If you want them more like boot cut, then make the opening bigger, but if you want them to be skin tight, like mine, then make the opening smaller. Experiment with different sizes and find what works for you.

Satisfied, I sent the message, waited for it to be delivered and read the next one.

Jasper: Good night soon-to-be-best-friend.

Oh Jasper. He seemed to know everything, didn't he? I wasn't even going to bother trying to argue with him on the fact that he thought we were going to be best friends. Though I had to admit, I wasn't much opposed to the idea.

Rosalie: So I ordered all the parts for your truck, got what I could done today, and I'm starting on the paint tomorrow. It's coming along nicely, I hope you like it as much as I do.

I smiled at this one. I liked that Rose was keeping me updated, like I was a part of the process as more than just the girl whose truck it was. It made me feel more connected and intertwined with what was going on. I hadn't felt like that in such a long time, it was almost so foreign that it freaked me out. It still kind of made me want to cut ties while I still had a chance to run away mostly unscathed. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was already in too deep to stop now.

And that scared me a lot more than it should have.