A/N: After a failed search to find a teacher/student romance that didn't have naughty school girls and the jumping of bones, I decided to write this little number. There will be lemons later in the story, but I wanted to explore the emotional relationship between a teacher and his student when they fall in love, as opposed to the physical lust that claims center stage all too often. I hope you enjoy their struggle.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

~*~Happy Early Birthday~*~


I looked myself over in the mirror and sighed. Senior year was finally here. Normally, I couldn't care less about what I wore to school, but that was before I'd had class with him. Today my hair was styled, I had light make-up on, and I was wearing a dark blue blouse - Edward had told me once that blue looked nice on me - and a pair of designer jeans that my best friend had bought me.

I had no idea how Alice and I became friends. I didn't really fit in with kids my age, but Alice and I just clicked. It was strange, seeing as she was a shopaholic and I would rather pull my hair out than spend a day at the mall, but we still worked. She completed me, as ridiculous as that might sound. And she was the only person in the world who knew about my embarrassing infatuation with Edward Cullen.

Alice never judged me for it even though it hindered me having a boyfriend. I just couldn't get him off my mind long enough to like someone else. And I knew that it was completely wrong of me to think of Mr. Cullen in that way, but I really didn't care. No one would ever be able to see my daydreams about my teacher and it wasn't like we could ever be together anyway. It was just nice to fantasize. And I fantasized a lot.

I first met Mr. Cullen in January just after school reconvened after winter vacation. He was twenty-two and fresh out of college. It was his first year teaching. He was ambitious and took on AP Lang for seniors, so I didn't have class with him, but he also decided to put together a Literary Magazine in second semester where students could submit their writing. My junior English teacher thought I would be perfect for editor of the magazine, so I applied and got the position.

From the moment I saw my bronze haired mentor I knew I was in trouble. He was gorgeous, not in the regular hot guy way, but more beautiful like a Greek God. His emerald green eyes pierced through every barrier I built up and I felt like he was staring straight into my soul.

Yes, he was perfect, but I'm not a shallow person. I would not have fallen in love with him if he hadn't been so much more beautiful on the inside. He was so unbelievably kind and generous, not to mention how smart and funny he was. He had a temper that I would see occasionally, but that just made me fall harder. It stemmed from him being passionate about what he loved.

We also had a lot in common. We would have hour long conversations over composers, books, and what was going on in the world when we should have been reading student poetry. We just got along so well. I was never as comfortable with anyone as I was around Mr. Cullen and after a month of working with him on the magazine he told me to call him Edward when we were outside of other students.

I knew that he never saw me the way I wanted him too, but there were moments when I thought maybe he might. I was quickly brought back to reality, but I still couldn't help the longing for him to hold me the way one would hold a girlfriend as opposed to the handshake or pat on the back I got at every hello and goodbye.

He was always perfectly professional around me, but if you really thought about it, our relationship was anything but professional. Teachers aren't supposed to be friends with their students, but that's exactly what we were. We were friends; just friends.

I sighed again and headed outside to meet Alice. Alice and I rode together every morning and since her parent's bought her that Porsche she'd always wanted I hardly ever got to drive my truck anywhere. But I didn't complain too much. Gas was expensive and Alice was rich enough to afford it.

When I got in the car I noticed the familiar look in Alice's eye that I had come to dread. I was perfectly fine with Alice having money as long as she didn't spend it on me. That didn't stop her though. I groaned when I realized she bought me something.

"Oh, don't be like that, Bella," she pouted. "It's not like I don't have a reason this time! Your birthday is next week for crying out loud. You're going to be eighteen! Live a little, will you?"

"Yes, Alice, but I told you not to buy me anything for my birthday, remember?" Alice rolled her eyes.

"Did you actually think I was going to listen to you? Wow, Bella. Maybe you should get your head checked out, because you're obviously delusional if you thought I would miss out on a chance to buy you something." I sighed. There was no way I was going to win the argument. I never did.

"Alright, then. Where is it? I know you're not going to wait until my actual birthday to give it to me, so let's have it."

Alice reached blindly behind the seat as she drove and pulled out a shoebox. Inside were a pair of gold flats that went perfectly with my outfit. There was also a gold bracelet and a pattered blue purse with gold trim. Alice grinned like the cat that ate the canary and I had to laugh. Alice had a knack for knowing things, like what outfit I would wear and the fact that I was dressing to impress.

"Thank you, Alice," I beamed as I kicked off my worn out tennis shoes and slid on the flats.

We pulled up to school and Alice headed off to find her man. She and Jasper had been going strong the past year and a half and although I was happy for her I was also jealous. She was so in love and Jasper loved her just as much if not more. I was in love with a man five years older than me and who, by law, I could never be with. Not that he'd ever want me in the first place.

There was still twenty minutes till class started, but AP Lang was my first class and I was excited to see Edward again after three months apart. He was sitting at his desk when I entered the classroom and the second he saw me his face broke out into the crooked grin that I loved so much.

"Bella! How was your summer?" I couldn't contain my smile. I had missed him so much.

"It was fun. Alice dragged me all over the country for a few weeks and met a guy named Jacob down at La Push. My dad says we used to hang together when I came to visit when I was younger, but I don't remember him. He seems nice enough, though. He's the first person my age that I can connect to besides Alice." There was something strange in Edward's eyes that I couldn't place, but I brushed it aside.

"So, you like him then?" He gave me a suggestive smile, but it almost seemed forced. I must have been imagining it. I laughed at his implication.

"Yeah, right. Jake's cool, but we're just friends." Edward seemed to relax a little, but I put it off as being my imagination again. Then his smile faded a little.

"You'll find someone eventually." I sighed. I already had found someone. It was just too bad he didn't want me back.

"Yeah, I suppose," I said and shrugged. "So when is LitMag starting up? I think we should get a head start this year and start right away." Edward laughed at my enthusiasm.

"I had the same idea. We'll need to find a new crew since everyone except for you has graduated. You're still interested in being Editor, yes?" I smiled at his hopeful expression.

"Of course! LitMag is my baby!" Edward laughed again and I laughed with him. It was so nice to be able to talk to him again.

"Alright, well I want to start as soon as possible. You're going to have to help me get flyers and presentations together. Did you want to start today after school or tomorrow at lunch?"

"Today's good for me," I said a little too quickly. He laughed so I relaxed.

We chatted for a few more minutes before the class started to fill and I had to take my seat. AP Lang went by faster than I would have liked and it seemed like time all but stopped when it came to my other classes. School was so frustrating, especially since Alice and I didn't have any classed together until after lunch.

Finally, the bell rang and I no longer had to listen to Mr. Anderson drone on in AP Government. I quickly went through the line grabbing a fruit salad and a water and went to wait for Alice. She strolled in with Jasper five minutes later and sat down with her tray.

"Alice, I'm dying without you. You need to switch classes." She laughed at my pathetic attempt at a pout.

"It's your own fault, Bella. What did I tell you about all of those AP classes? I'm not killing myself my senior year of high school and you're only killing yourself because you want to impress Romeo."

I glared at her. She was technically right, but there as more to it than that. Edward made me see how much potential I had and I wanted to get into a good college for myself as well as him. I wanted to make him proud of me. I know it sounds stupid, but it made me feel closer to him.

"So, am I ever going to find out who this Romeo guy is?" Jasper inquired.

"No," Alice and I both said at the same time although Alice said it a lot more gracefully than I did. I was just so mortified by someone finding out that I overreacted sometimes. Jasper raised his hands in surrender.

The rest of the day passed unbearably slow, although having Alice in both PE and Spanish helped a lot. She always knew exactly what I needed. I was in the middle of telling her why I couldn't go shopping with her after school when the bell rang. I couldn't help the smile that plastered itself on my face. Alice sighed.

"Okay, then. I'll just take Jazz. Call me when you get done and I'll pick you up."

"No problem," I called over my shoulder as I was already out the door. Edward was waiting for me with everything set up by the time I arrived.

"Hey," he said as he walked to me with last year's magazine. "I pulled the unsold copies from storage and I've also got a list from Mr. McCarty of students who are qualified and interested."

"Awesome," I replied and we worked diligently on preparing announcements and presentations.

We got a lot done in the two hours that we actually spent on the magazine, but pretty soon we drifted into catching up with each other. Five o'clock rolled around and Edward told me to wait a moment before I left. I sat in a chair as he dug around in his desk for a few seconds and came back with a small plain white box. He knelt down before me and handed me the suspicious object.

"Now, I know your birthday's not till Monday, but I can't wait that long."

I didn't know what to say. I never expected in a million years for Edward to get me anything so I stayed silent and just opened the box. Inside was a first edition copy of Romeo and Juliette with my name on the cover in gold leaf. It was stunning and it looked like it must have cost a fortune. Before I could stop it, a traitor tear rolled down my cheek and I tried to wipe it away before Edward could see. I didn't do a very good job.

"That bad, huh?" he laughed and then he softened his tone. "I know it's your favorite story and your old copy is falling apart at the seams."

Whenever I was around Edward I always double checked my movements and words, but for some reason, all rational thought evaded me and I launched myself into him. He hesitated a moment, but then he wrapped his arms around me and rested his head on my shoulder. It was the first time he had ever touched me that way. It was wonderful.

"Thank you so much, Edward. I absolutely love it." I pulled back and smiled at him. He seemed to be having some internal conflict and I ached to help him resolve it, but just as soon as I saw it, it faded and Edward smiled a small, almost sad smile.

"You better call Alice." I nodded and he went to go pack up everything.

I tried Alice five times and Jasper three before I figured that neither was going to answer their phone. I was a little upset, but more than that, I was worried. Alice didn't usually flake out on people. I shook my head to clear it. There was no use getting anxious over anything. Alice probably just put her phone on silent and forgot, but then the question became how was I getting home?

"Is something wrong?" Edward was all packed and ready to lock up.

"Alice isn't picking up," I sighed. Edward furrowed his brow.

"Is there anyone else you can call?"

"No, my dad is working late tonight and Jasper won't pick up either. Ah! I really don't want to walk home in these shoes!" Edward seemed to be struggling with himself again. I wracked my brain trying to think and then it came to me. "Jacob!"

I dialed Jakes number and he picked up on the second ring. "Hey, Bells!"

"Hey, Jake. I'm so sorry to bother you, but I don't have a ride home and Alice put me in fancy shoes again." He laughed.

"No problem, I'll be there in fifteen." I sighed in relief and turned to Edward. "He'll be here in a bit." Edward smiled and walked me out to the parking lot.

"I'm really looking forward to having you in my class this year, Bella. I love reading your stuff. I still don't know why you refuse to submit anything to the magazine." I smiled. Edward always encouraged me to get my work out there, but I was too self-conscious for that.

"It wouldn't be fair to the other students. You and I decide who gets in and we're both biased."

"I speak nothing but the truth," he scoffed, but smiled all the same. "So, any big plans for your birthday?"

"Nope. Alice is upset because her fake ID got confiscated last week and she doesn't have time to get a new one to take me clubbing." Normally, I would never talk to a teacher about fake IDs, but Edward was different.

"I'm sorry." I laughed at his sincerity.

"Don't be. Me and dancing do not mix. Clumsy, remember?" I said, pointing to myself. Edward was about to reply when a loud rumbling noise broke through the quiet evening atmosphere. Jacob came into view riding a large motorcycle. I gasped. "Jake! What the heck happened to the Rabbit?"

"Oh, well," he rubbed the back of his head sheepishly. "I kind of had the engine ripped apart when you called."

"Jeez, Jake. You're trying to kill me." I sighed and turned to Edward. "This is Jake. The guy I was telling you. Jake, this is…uh, Mr. Cullen, my favorite teacher." I blushed at almost introducing my teacher by his first name.

"It's nice to meet you, sir," Jake said extending a hand. Edward didn't take it.

"Do you have a helmet for her?" Jake nodded and Edward reluctantly turned to me. "I'll see you tomorrow, Bella. Be safe."

I watched as Edward walked to his car a few yards away. It always hurt when I had to say goodbye. I turned to Jake and held out my hand for my helmet, but Jake just shook his head.

"Nope. I found out your birthday is on Monday and so I'm going to give you your present early." I sighed. Jake was as stubborn as I was and I really didn't want to fight over something as stupid as a gift.

"Alright, go get it," I said and looked to see that Edward was still waiting in his car. I turned back, but Jake hadn't moved. "Jake, where's the present? I don't have all day, I'm tired and…"

In the blink of an eye, Jake's lips were silencing my own. I was in shock. It didn't even register for a few seconds and when it did, Jake was already trying to deepen the kiss. The sound of Edward's Volvo speeding off brought me out of my state of disarray. I pushed against Jake and slapped him hard across the face. When I turned, Edward was already long gone. Great. It looked like I was walking home after all.

A/N: Thanks so much for reading! I'm a huge fan of constructive criticism, so if you found a typo or hate my use (or misuse) of certain grammatical properties, let me know. I love to hear what my readers are thinking, whether you loved it or want to poke your eyes out from the utter horridness that is my writing. *grin*