This is my first serious attempt at fanfic. Review, or don't, I don't mind.
Much thanks to my beta thisbetaisincognito. I needed the help and you are amazing.
To the keepers of the secret, don't say anything or I'll have to lay the smack down.
I can't remember a time that I wasn't in love with Edward Cullen.
On my first day of Kindergarten, after informing him that when we grew up he was going to be my husband, I tackled Edward to the ground, jumped on top of him and smothered his face in kisses. For the rest of the year, he cried every time I came near him, and even as a child I realised I had come on too strong.
Grade and middle school passed without too much interaction between us. Edward didn't go out of his way to be my friend, and I avoided him at all costs – embarrassed that my five-year-old self had so pointedly displayed what my tween self tried so hard to hide. When Edward had asked Jessica Stanley to our middle school prom, I locked myself in my room and cried for hours. I went with Eric Yorkie, who gave me my first kiss and my first hickey that night. The same Eric Yorkie, who had to hide from my older brother, Emmett, for weeks after the dance, after Emmett's girlfriend, Rosalie, told him she taught me how to conceal said hickey with make-up.
The Whitlock family moved next door to the Cullens the summer before I was due to start my senior year at Forks High School. Edward and I still had no contact, and I admired him from afar, keeping watch as he grew more handsome and more amazing with each birthday. Not much was known about the Whitlock family; except that they had relocated from the South and that they were quite wealthy. Jasper Whitlock was my age, and had already made fast friends with Edward Cullen. According to Edward's main squeeze Lauren Mallory, who told Angela Weber, who told me; Jasper was tall, blonde, and gorgeous. With striking blue eyes and a Southern twang. Now, it seemed, there were two, gorgeous boys living in Forks that were way out of my league.
Funnily enough, the way Jasper tells it, it was the other way around. Apparently, he had seen me shopping for groceries one day and when he had finally got the courage to introduce himself to me, I'd been locked at the lips with Jacob; as such he'd been too intimidated to talk to me until we were assigned to work together on an English project mid-way through senior year. Jasper became my friend and confidant during those three weeks we worked together, and I soon found myself sitting at a lunch table that included Edward Cullen. I expected things to be awkward between Edward and I, and had even prepared myself to be persona non grata in Edward's world, but I was pleasantly surprised when the opposite occurred.
Jasper had led me over by the hand to the table and introduced me. Lauren Mallory looked like she had swallowed something unpleasant, but Edward and his younger sister Alice, smiled brightly and made room for me at the table. I had just taken a bite out of my turkey sandwich when Edward called my name.
"Bella," his green eyes were sparkling and they literally took my breath away, "not going to hold me down and have your way with me today, are you?"
I choked on my sandwich as Lauren stalked away from the table; Edward had not bothered to follow her. After that lunch, Lauren never joined the Cullens and Jasper for lunch again, but I did. Usually Alice sat with her own friends, but once a week she came and sat with us, catching up on gossip and in-jokes, and to offer girl talk, saving me from crossing the line from being a tomboy to being a guy wearing a dress. As I got to know Edward better, my crush turned to unrequited love and no matter how well I tried to hide it, everyone knew about it, even Edward. I thought I had been clever and deceived my two friends into thinking my feelings for Edward were truly platonic until one drunken night at the apartment the boys shared our first year attending Washington State University. Edward had come up from behind to hug me and kiss my hair.
"Bella," he slurred, "what am I going to do when you meet someone who steals your heart? Who is going to boost my ego then?"
I couldn't see through the tears obscuring my view as I ran out the front door. I tripped over my own feet, and lay face down on the grass crying until I felt a warm hand on my back.
"Bells," It was Jasper, my sweet, caring Jasper. "Bells, listen, you are too fucking good for Edward. Don't you forget that ever. You are worth a million Edward Cullen's." Sometime during his rant, he had lifted me so I was sitting in his lap, and I had clung to his shirt while I cried into his shoulder.
"What's wrong with me, Jazz? Why doesn't he want me?" The world was starting to get black, as I felt a panic attack coming on. Jasper looked on in alarm as I started gulping for air, my nails digging into his arm.
"Jazz, I can't breathe. Jazz! Jazz, don't leave me!"
He cupped my face in his hands and rubbed my cheeks with his thumbs, crooning things I couldn't make out in my hysteria. Two minutes later, I felt my breathing calm, and I was suddenly very tired. I put my head in the crook of his neck and breathed his scent in while he called Emmett.
"Emmett? It's Jasper… Jasper Whitlock,.. Bella's friend. She's had an attack. No, no, it was Edward, he said… it doesn't matter, she's okay now. Yeah, I don't think she is in any state to drive. We're at my place. Okay, see you in five minutes."
Jasper kissed my forehead and murmured sweet words in my ear until Emmett arrived. My brother was an overgrown teddy bear, but right now he looked murderous.
"Where is that piece of shit, Cullen? I don't know why you hang out with him, Bella. All he has ever done is break your heart for his own amusement." I winced at the truth of his statement and ran up to hug him around the waist.
"Em, let's just go, okay? I don't want to be here anymore." He wrapped an arm around my shoulders and guided me to the car. He turned and stared at Jasper over his shoulder.
"Thanks Whitlock, you're a good kid."
I smiled half-heartedly at my friend, who looked as devastated as I felt, as I got in the car. Driving away, I turned to look over my shoulder, back at the house where my heart was torn to bits. Jasper stood on the sidewalk out the front, watching us go with his shoulders slumped. I felt tears run over my cheeks. Emmett, sensing my discomfort grabbed my hand and squeezed it. I could almost hear the cogs ticking in his head.
"Isabella," I knew it was serious; I got the full name treatment. "I love you, you know that, right?"
"That prick Cullen makes you cry. Every night after school you'd come home and cry, you follow him to college, out of some misguided puppy love… you deserve better. That Jasper kid loves you so much, Bella… why do you waste your time with Cullen?"
"Em, Jazz doesn't feel like that about me. We're friends."
"Right… he looks at you like I look at my Rosie, and I don't want to be her friend. Well, I do, but it would kill me if that was all we were."
"Emmett Swan, you and Rosalie have been married for two years, I highly doubt you are 'just friends'."
"You know what I mean, Bella. There's plenty of fish in the sea, and that Whitlock kid is prime rib compared to Cullen."
"Prime rib isn't a fish."
"You know what I mean." He gave my hand a final squeeze and started fiddling with the radio.
"Emmett, drive please, we don't need the radio. If we crash and die, Rose will hunt us down and kick our asses for leaving her with the mortgage."
Suddenly, Emmett and my song started playing:
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
and I say it's all right
Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
and I say it's all right
Emmett was ten times louder than the music as he sang out of tune. He reached up and cupped my face, while I sang softly back to him.
"I love you, kid."
Things between Edward and I were weird after that for two reasons. Firstly; on Monday morning in our English lecture, Edward was sporting a bruised cheek and a mighty fine black eye. When I asked him what happened, he mumbled, "Why don't you ask your boyfriend Jasper?" before walking away and sitting across the theatre from me.
The second came two weeks later. Her name was Tanya. She was the self proclaimed love of Edward's life.