Summary: Edward returns to Forks after four years to find out just how much has changed in Bella's life, and how much his will change.
Disclaimer: I own the laptop this was written on and that's about it.
Forks. I hadn't been back in so long. This was the place I had grown up. Most of my life had been spent in this tiny little town. I hadn't been back in four years.
The town hadn't changed much in four years. The shops were mostly the same, some different colors but really no big differences. The high school had a new auditorium that had not been there when I graduated. The park had gotten a new play structure. But all in all it was the same little town that I had grown up in.
Despite the town's lack of change in the last four years, I had changed vastly. Four years of college will do that to a person. There had been apartments, parties, friends both new and old, and girlfriends, lots and lots of girlfriends. I was older now, more mature than I had been four years ago. I was a man. I had a college degree. I had a well paying job. I was ready to begin my new life. I tried not to linger on the fact that after four years I was moving back in with my parents.
My family moved from Forks a few weeks after I graduated. High school was over for the children of the family and it was time to move on. My parents moved to Chicago while I went on to Dartmouth. We packed up and left out lives here in this little town behind.
We all missed it, all seven of us. Dad missed the hospital, mom missed the community, Emmett, Alice and I missed being close and Rosalie and Jasper, the foster twins, missed it to. When mom said she had enough of the city and wanted to move back, she had not expected the children to come back either, but we did. We couldn't stay away.
We had moved back into the old house a few days before. As the kids grew our relationships changed. I would no longer share a room with Emmett, nor Alice with Rosalie. Rosalie and Emmett now shared the girls' old room. Alice had moved in with Jasper. And I was left to myself. When Carlisle and Esme had found out about these arrangements between their kids they hadn't been surprised.
"It wasn't what I had expected when we took the twins in," my mom said, "but I guess we can officially be a big happy family."
Carlisle only smiled and said; "I guess it's a good thing that Rose and Jasper turned eighteen before we got it in our minds to adopt them. That would have made things a lot more difficult."
The family was happy. We were whole once again. Back in the house where it had all began. It would take some time for me to get used to having my own room, but I doubted that I would dislike it.
Driving through Forks for the first time in four years brought so many different memories back to me. There was the sporting goods store where we bought all of our camping stuff. There was the library that had a pitiful amount of books. There was the salon where Alice and Rose had worked summers. But everywhere I went, everything I saw, reminded me of Bella.
Bella. I had not seen her since the night before I left. We had been best friends for so long and had lost touch so easily.
Bella and I met in kindergarten. We weren't friends then, but I always liked to pull her pigtails. As we grew she became friends with Alice and then Rose. Eventually, when we finally reached the age when the opposite sex no longer had cooties, Bella and I became friends.
The word "inseparable" was what was usually used to describe us. From junior high on everything we did we did it together. Partners in crime, my mom used to joke. We did school projects with each other, hung out every weekend and many nights together, when a school dance came around and neither of us had a date we would always go together.
Bella and I listened carefully to each other when one of us gave the other advice on a relationship. Bella had got me out of a few bad ones before they blew up in my face. I got her away from a guy that was obviously cheating on her. I held her when she cried over some guy. She helped me burn the pictures of the first girl who broke my heart.
Bella and I shared many first experiences. We tried sushi together. We learned to drive together. We saw our first rated "R" movie together. Even our first dates had happen simultaneously at the request of our parents.
And then there was the last night we ever spent together. The last time I ever saw her.
The fireworks exploded in the sky over First Beach. Bella and I sat together on the sand, side by side, necks craned towards the sky.
I turned to look at her, sadness filling my heart. She had been my best friend for years. What was I going to do without her? We had known for some time that we would be going to different schools, but now we didn't even have the promise of breaks together.
I realized that Bella was looking back at me. She still looked so sweet and young with her hair up in pigtails. She smiled at me.
"You okay, Edward?"
I sighed, "Yeah. I'm just thinking about how much I'm going to miss you."
She laughed and threw her arms around my neck. "Like I'm not going to miss you? Jeez Edward, stop being so melodramatic. We promised that tonight we would be happy and fun. Not sad. If you get sentimental on me then I am going to get all weepy. I didn't plan weepy into tonight."
I rolled my eyes. "What else could you possibly have planned for tonight?"
We had spent all day together. We had spent most of the afternoon on Port Angeles and the evening down in La Push. The Fourth of July fireworks were almost at an end and I had suspected that the evening was coming to a close, but Bella seemed to have other ideas.
She stood up and took my hand, pulling me along with here. "There's one place I still want to go. One last time."
It was silent in the meadow. Our meadow. It was the one place in the world that only belonged to Bella and I. We had discovered it in our sophomore year of high school. We had been out hiking and I had wondered away from the trail, insisting that we go on an adventure. Bella had protested, but never regretted allowing me to lead once we had stumbled upon this little patch of heaven.
It was surprisingly warm that night, even for July in Washington. We lay in the grass looking up at the stars. Tonight Bella had insisted that we weren't allowed to talk about the past, only the future.
Bella talked about all the places she wanted to see once she got her journalism major. I told her that I would go to, if she wanted me to. She wanted to travel alone, she had said, but maybe she could put up with me in a country our two.
We talked about my plans for music. She made me promise that once I was a composer that I wouldn't record the lullaby that I had written for her, even though it was the best thing that had ever come out of my brain. She wanted to keep it all to herself. It was for her, she could do whatever she wanted with it.
"Any regrets?" she asked me out of nowhere.
"Do you have any regrets about high school?"
"I thought we weren't talking about the past, Bella," I teased.
"We're not. We're talking about things that didn't happen. What do you regret not doing?"
I thought about it for a moment. Once I had the answer I resolved not to tell her.
"What is it Edward?" She knew the look on my face. She knew that I didn't want to answer her.
"I'm not telling you."
"Why?" she whined.
"Edward Cullen you are blushing!" she squealed. "Now you have to tell me."
"No." I crossed my arms over my chest and shut my mouth tight.
She got an evil grin on her face and I knew that I would regret not telling her. Before I knew what was happening she had me pinned to the ground and was tickling me. I tried to push her off, but was too afraid of hurting her to use and real force. She knew that she always had that advantage over me, my guilt for being the stronger one.
"Fine, fine I'll tell you."
She grinned triumphantly and returned to her spot next to me. I rolled on my side to look at her and she matched me.
"Promise you wont think badly of me?" I asked. I cringed at the amount of insecurity I could hear leaking out of my voice.
"Edward, you could tell me that you drown live puppies and I still wouldn't be able to think badly of you," she laughed.
I sighed, hoping that she was telling the truth. "I—I had always hoped that when I started college," I paused. I really really didn't want to continue. Bella's kind eyes and comforting smile urged me on. "I didn't want to be a virgin when I started college." She didn't say anything, which made me feel compelled to go on. "I guess that I'm out of luck now, huh? It's not a big deal, though, really. I had just always thought that—" Her lips cut me off.
People had always been suspicious of the nature of out relationship, but to be completely honest, Bella and I were never anything more than friends. As far as I knew neither of us ever even entertained the idea of being more since we were much younger. That's why her kiss shocked me so much.
I pushed her off me. "Bella, what are you doing?"
She smiled at me. "Giving you what you want."
"Bella, I—" She pressed her fingers to my lips.
"I know, you didn't necessarily want me, but come on Edward, it makes sense. Out of all the girls in this town who would you honestly want to lose your virginity to?"
I thought about it long and hard. I had dated several girls in high school, none of whom seemed to be worth it. They were all too extravagant for me. It just never felt right.
Then there was Bella, my best friend in the whole world. I trusted this girl with my life. She knew everything about me, even my deepest darkest most embarrassing secrets. She was laying next to me smiling at me in the most reassuring way.
It was the last time we would ever really get to be together and we both knew it. She was asking me to share something special with her. One last first experience.
"Think of it as my way of making sure that you don't forget me."
I reached towards her to brush her hair behind her ear. "As if I ever could."
"Alright then, think of it as 'goodbye.'"
I smiled softly, and then pulled her close, hugging her against my body. I was going to miss Bella everyday of my life.
My lips found hers. Bella tasted like strawberries. In all the years we had been friends I was astounded that this was the first moment that I had ever tasted her. Her soft mouth opened under mine and our tongues met.
When breathing became necessary I pulled away, looking deeply into her sparkling brown eyes. I rolled her under me, pressing her into the cool grass. "Are we really doing this?"
Bella smiled at me, I would miss that smile. "Yes."
That night was still the best night of my life. Afterward we had walked back to my car and driven home in contented silence. Our parents didn't question our late arrivals home, they knew it was our last night together. I left Bella on her doorstep with one last hug, promising to email her as soon as I got to Chicago and reminding her that I would never forget her.
I never did forget her. It was impossible to go through my life without Bella coming to my mind. She had been such a large part of my life that it would have been impossible for me to forget her, even if I tried.
We had lost touch though. It was not for my lack of trying. At first I got emails from her every day. Phone calls on the weekends. When school started I only got emails once a week at most, and they were always short and nondescript.
Bella admitted to me that she never got to start college. Charlie had a heart attack just before she was set to go and there was no way that she was going to leave him like that. She was busy, so I never thought much about her drifting away.
I had my own life developing at that point. I didn't even notice at first when the emails stopped coming. It was almost Christmas before I realized that I hadn't heard from Bella in a month. I had sent her one last email, but she never sent one back. I thought about her everyday though, just like I had promised.
Bella was the main reason that I was so excited to move back to Forks. I had no idea what had happened with her and even if she was off at school or traveling just like she had wanted then I could still hear about it from her father and her friends that she was still sure to have here.
I pulled into the grocery store, the reason for my drive around the town. We had moved back in two nights before and up until that point we had been living off of take out food. My mother had sent me to the grocery store so that we could have some real food.
I wandered the aisles, acquainting myself with the new layout of the grocery store. Along the back wall I saw what I thought was a hallucination.
She was putting milk into a very full looking cart. She turned to face me when her name was spoken. Bella looked older, tired. If I had aged four years Bella had aged ten. She wore jeans and an old sweater that looked terrible on her. Her face looked sallow and she had dark circles under her eyes. Her brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail at the back of her neck. The look on her face was blank.
"Bella!" I rushed over to her and flung my arms around her. She stiffened in my arms then relaxed enough to give me an awkward hug.
"Bella, I haven't heard from you in three and a half years. How have you been?"
She smiled weakly, "All right, I guess. You? How was college? Was it everything that I heard it was?"
This statement shocked me. "What? You never got out of here? Bella, what happened to all of your plans?"
She sighed. "Sometimes plans change, Edward. I found myself too tied down to this place to leave."
"Momma?" a voice came from nowhere. I was surprised to see Bella react.
We both looked down to see a tiny figure pulling at the hem of Bella's sweater. "Momma," it said. "Can I get this one?" The tiny person was holding up a coloring book.
Bella took the book from the child's hands and flipped through it. "Sure sweetie," she smiled down at the child and threw the book into the cart.
I was in shock. Bella had a child. Bella had never wanted children, one of the drastic differences between the two of us. I glanced to her hand and saw no wedding ring. Of course not, Bella didn't wan to get married.
She bent over and picked the child up heaving it into her arms. When Bella stood up again, two pairs of her eyes were looking back at me. But what was also looking back at me was my mothers face, my sisters face, my face. The delicate face of a cherub framed in bronze colored curls. My heart stopped.
"Nessie," Bella said, bouncing the little girl on her hip, "this is Edward. He's an old friend of mine."
Nessie shyly buried her face into her mother's neck.
"We should go," Bella said. "If we don't get home soon someone is going to be late for her nap." She sighed. "It was nice to see you again Edward."
She pushed the cart away, disappearing down an aisle to the front of the store, leaving me alone in my shock.
Yay! I finally got the first chapter up. I insisted on writing the whole thing before posting any of it. Chapters are short so I will try to make it no more than a week between postings. Thanks for reading!