Two updates in one week? WTF?? Haha...happy graduation to me so I decided to spend it writing. How sad is that? Haha! Anyways, I hope you like this one because there's a lot more going on in this chapter than in the last one. And, I have to say, one giant leap forward for B & E. Hope you like!!

Chapter Five

BPOV

"No…Bella…no…please, no…" Alice pleaded as we pulled into the parking lot.

"Yeah, I don't think this is a very good idea." Rosalie added, swinging her car into the nearest parking space. She swiftly shut the engine off and then both her and Alice were staring at me with petrified eyes.

Unfortunately for them, I had made up my mind earlier today that this shit was most definitely going down. I couldn't take it anymore because enough was just fucking enough. I didn't have to be subjected to this day after day.

Here and now, this issue was going to be resolved. There would be no going back but I didn't really care.

"There's got to be another way. I don't think this is the best solution to the problem." Rosalie reasoned.

I just shook my head.

"Sorry, Rosalie. I've made up my mind…because, if I do this, then they'll all fucking leave me alone."

Alice looked like she was biting down on her lip awfully hard. "Come on, Bella…let's just talk about this. We don't even have to go in there just yet."

Well, shit. It wasn't like I was going to leap off a roof or anything.

"Yeah, I mean, maybe there's something else we could try first and then we can think about this if that doesn't work." Rosalie tried reasoning again.

It was a valiant effort on her part. It really was. Especially since I'd only known Rosalie for a couple weeks, the fact that she was even attempting to look concerned was nice, given what I'd been told about her.

Rosalie flipped her model-like hair out of her eyes and sighed. "Well, if this is really what you want to do…"

"Yes, this is really what I want to do." I reaffirmed.

This was really happening. It was the only way to deal with the problem.

And what a fucking problem it was.

I suppose I could have worse things to deal with. Like a drug and alcohol problem…like Edward. Or a weight problem. That would probably majorly suck. But in the scope of my world, this was a major issue. I could not spend the rest of my time in this god-forsaken town with a problem like this. And I was going to take care of it even if it meant doing something I hadn't done since I was ten.

So with Alice and Rosalie trudging behind me, I pushed through the doors to meet my fate. The receptionist smiled up at us from the desk, completely unaware of the shit that was about to go down.

"Hello. Can I help you?" She asked, twirling the pen in her hand.

I gulped.

Be strong. Be strong. This is the only way.

"Yes. I need a haircut."


The problem came to my attention earlier that day in the middle of English class. I was minding my own business, trying to scribble down everything Ms. Brandon was saying about the possibility of Heathcliff benefiting from some major counseling, very much like Forks' resident asshole sitting right next to me. He was scribbling just as fast as I was, if not faster, and I have to admit, I was still reeling with shock that someone could be such a jock and do so well in school at the same time. I mean, who would've thought, right?

I was right in the middle of writing that Heathcliff was a borderline sociopath when a piece of paper was shoved roughly at me.

I attempted to hide my frustrated groan but that definitely didn't work. The note was obviously from Edward and although sending snippy notes back and forth during class was sometimes a pretty fucking fun way to pass class time when we had nothing better to do, now was not the time. This was good stuff and I didn't really care what he wanted. If anything, he should've been listening very closely.

He nudged the paper into my hand again and I finally looked up from my notebook, only to see him smirking at me.

Fine. Whatever.

Ripping my attention away from the pretty engaging discussion going on in class at that moment, I sighed and opened the note.

Newton's staring at you.

Immediately, my head whipped to my left. Sure enough, fucking Mike Newton was staring at me. Panting after me was probably more accurate. I turned back to face Edward, who was biting his lip but his shaking shoulders gave him away. Fucking asshole. Always laughing at someone else's expense.

Shaking my head, I scribbled a quick response.

He's fucking creepy.

Edward skimmed it quickly and nodded before writing back.

He keeps licking his lips too. It's pretty sad.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry about that one.

I hate Newton. And I hate you too.

His eyebrows rose immediately after reading my response. He looked at me for a second and then went to work on his next response.

What did I do? I was trying to help.

How the fuck was that helping?

Idk.

Fuck you.

Nope, not going to happen.

Are you high?

Nope, but it sounds like fun.

How do you respond to such idiocy? For someone so fucking smart, he was sure fucking stupid sometimes. All I could do was my very best so I scribbled something and shoved the note back at him.

So if you really want to help me, do something about Newton then.

His shoulders started shaking even more after reading that one.

And what do you suggest I do?

Defend my honor, you asshole.

Wow. Such language. Besides, why would I want to defend your honor?

Because you don't like Newton either.

True. What's in it for me?

Ugh. I should've known.

You can make him look like an idiot.

I don't have to defend your honor to do that.

Can you at least find out what his malfunction is?

Fine.

And just like that, class was over. Saved by the fucking bell.

As the day went on, I began to notice that this problem was bigger than just Mike Newton. In Pre-Calc, Tyler Crowley was leaning a little bit too closely to me, despite Eric's constant badgering of him to leave me the hell alone. But it was more than that too. I was starting to notice…in the library, at lunch, in class, in the hallways…guys were staring at me. What the fuck? And more pressingly, why the hell hadn't I noticed this before?

I needed answers and it was all I could do to wait until school was over to find out the hell was going on. But, wonders never cease, Edward wasn't at his fucking locker. Apparently, asking him to do one thing for me was too much to ask. So I hightailed it to the team locker room in a futile attempt to catch him before he headed in to do God knows what. They had a game tonight (since it was Friday and all) and I knew as soon as he was in the locker room, there was no way I was getting him to come out.

After almost five whole minutes of waiting, I caved and texted the mother fucker.

Where r u?

Ugh. If he was already in the locker room, he probably wasn't going to respond.

Then God threw me a bone as I saw Jasper coming down the hallway and headed straight for me. Thank you, Jesus. I officially love you.

"Bella? What are you doing?" Jasper called out to me as he jogged over to me.

"Um…have you seen Edward?" I asked nervously.

His eyebrows flew into his forehead immediately. "You're looking for Edward? Since when do you guys get along?"

"Since never," I snipped. "But I need to talk to him…he was supposed to do something for me…"

His mouth opened a little as he shifted his gym bag on his shoulder. "Alright. Don't really want to know. Just give me a second, I'll see if I can get him out here."

Thank God for Jasper. Scratch every negative thought I'd ever had about him. Jasper was a fucking saint. I loved him. In a purely platonic way. But I loved him.

He disappeared into the locker room and there was some instantaneous yelling and whooping. Within a few minutes, Edward was pushing open the door with a wide grin on his face. Fuck.

"Hello, Bella…let me guess…you want the dirt, huh?" He was still smiling as he crossed him arms over his chest. It was then…unfortunately…that I become instantly aware that he was only wearing a pair of shorts. Fuck, he was ripped. Oh shit. This was not a good image to have in my head. Not all. I wasn't sure whether to pounce on him or close my eyes so I wouldn't have to be tortured anymore. What a problem to have.

"Just give it to me so I can get out of here." I spat. I was way too distracted by the sight of a bare-chested Assward to mess around.

"Interesting choice of words but that's beside the point…anyways, so I talked to the little fucker and apparently, he wants to fuck your brains out and touch your hair."

Excuse me?

I barely knew how to respond to that. "What?"

His smile only got wider and he had to cover his mouth to keep from bursting with it.

"This. Is. Not. Fucking. Funny. You asshole!" I yelled.

He held up his hands defensively. "What? I was just telling you what he told me."

"My hair though?"

He laughed again and nodded. "You heard me. Something about it being better than Gisele's and…"

He trailed off as Emmett and Jasper came barreling out of the locker room, laughing their heads off.

"Bella! You'll never believe what Crowley just said about you!" Emmett was roaring through his laughter.

"Yeah…and then Newton shoved him into a locker because he 'saw you first'! It was fucking priceless!" Jasper managed to get out in between laughs.

I huffed and put my hands on my hips. "I don't see what's so fucking funny about this. This is complete bullshit."

Emmett frowned and leaned an elbow on my shoulder. "Come on, Bells…you have to admit it's a little funny."

I shook my head. "No, Emmett, there is absolutely nothing funny about this. Do you know that almost every fucking guy except for you three idiots in this school has been eye-fucking me since I walked into this fucking school?"

All three doubled over with laughter.

"What the fuck am I supposed to do? Wear a hat to school everyday? This is fucking bullshit!"

More laughter. Emmett was even pounding his fists into the wall he was laughing so hard.

"Come on, Bella. It's not like you can really do anything about it. They'll get over it eventually and leave you alone." Edward reasoned in a weak attempt to calm me.

God, things must be really bad if he was trying to make me feel better.

There was only one thing I could do to end the madness.

"See you guys later." I called out to them as I turned on my heel and headed down the hallway with a mission.

"You ladies are still coming to our game, right, Bells?" Emmett called after me.

"Yeah, sure!" I waved as I ran to hunt down Rosalie and Alice.

It was time to nip this problem in the bud.


"You know, I actually really like it." Rosalie mused as the three of us stared into the mirror.

"Yeah…it's so cute!" Alice chimed in while she fluffed the back of my hair with a comb.

I have to admit, the whole thing had been a little more traumatizing then I was expecting. After all, I was used to having hair down to the middle of my back. I was in for a major adjustment that was for sure.

When I was sitting the hairstylist's chair, I clammed up as soon as she asked me what I wanted her to do. I hadn't actually given it much thought I just knew I needed it gone. I hadn't really thought about an actual style. Thankfully, Alice took charge and started giving the stylist directions as she snipped away at the hair I'd been growing out since I was ten. But it needed to be done. It was really the only way to get all the assholes at school to leave me the fuck alone.

To be completely honest, I was still in shock. My hair had been chopped to my shoulders, with the ends in front a little bit longer than the rest of my hair…something Alice had ordered the stylist to do, thankfully…and it really did look good. It hung smooth and straight and whatever Alice had just put on it made it really shiny. The more I looked at it, the more I liked it. But still, this was a huge change...

It was probably the most impulsive thing I'd ever done. And that was saying a lot.

"Just think of how much fun you can have with this, Bella!" Alice chirped behind me.

"It almost makes me want to cut my hair too…" Rosalie said quietly. "Almost." She added with a smile.

"Well, we'd better get out of here so we can show this off…this game's probably already started!" Alice squealed as she practically leapt out of the bathroom. I could already hear her flying down the stairs.

"God forbid she should miss any of Jasper's pitches…" Rosalie mumbled under her breath as we followed Alice.

"I know. Things are really starting to progress between those two though." I offered.

Alice was already in Rosalie's car with a stricken look on her face.

"Your hair really does look good, Bella. I hope it works." Rosalie said quietly to me as she opened her car door.

Wow, Rosalie was definitely not the girl I thought she was. It was kind of amazing to think that if I hadn't gotten to know her the way I did, I would probably still think she was nothing but a supermodel ice queen.

By the time we were walking to the baseball diamond, I was really starting to feel like the problem had been resolved. With my hair gone, there was nothing more for those idiots to eye-fuck me about anymore. I had taken away the thing they liked most about me so…my hope was that they would just leave me the hell alone now and move on to the next sorry victim.

As we neared the bleachers, the boys were running onto the field while the other team's batter swung a few practice swings by home plate.

Edward was closest to where we were walking and as he jogged out to his spot in between second and third base, he caught sight of us and waved.

Then he completely froze and just stared at me. Even when we had past him and were sitting in the bleachers, he was still staring at me. Even when Jasper threw the pitch, he was still staring at me. Even when the batter swung, he was still staring at me.

Why the fuck was Edward Cullen staring at me?

He was still staring at me when the batter hit a line drive straight at him, smacking him right in the upper thigh with a sick pop.

"Oh fuck!" Rosalie gasped out.

Edward yelled out a string of profanities as he crumbled to the ground, gripping his thigh with the most pain-induced grimace on his face I'd ever seen. He rolled around a few times until the trainer got to him.

"Shit…that looked like it really hurt." Alice muttered.

My hand just flew to my mouth in shock.

"Yeah, he's really going to have to drink like a fish tonight to make the pain go away." Rosalie continued with a chuckle.

"What's new?" Alice added.

Rosalie leaned into her as she cracked up and Alice covered her mouth so the players on the field couldn't hear her. That did it. I couldn't help but feel like Edward's little mishap was somehow my fault but that couldn't stop me from laughing my ass off at the hilarity of the situation. The scene just kept replaying over and over again in my head and that only made me laugh even harder.

The whole thing was pretty fucking funny.

Emmett had his hands on his knees with his head in between his legs. I could see his shoulders shaking even from where we were sitting. Even Jasper, who was normally very controlled with his emotions, was biting his lip. Edward, on the other hand, was still on the ground, probably trying to be as manly as possible by not crying out in pain while the trainer looked at his leg.

After ten minutes, they finally carried Edward off the field.

If it had been anyone else, I would have been concerned. I would have felt bad. But since it was Edward…it was just funny.

A couple hours later, I remembered why I hated baseball. It was boring as shit. The ninth inning finally came to a close and we jumped down from the bleachers while the teams shook hands. Edward was still in the dugout, probably crying from the pain and from missing a game. Poor baby.

I trailed after Alice and Rosalie, who ran up to their respective men to congratulate them on their win.

"Hey, how's the invalid doing?" I asked as soon as I made it up to them.

Emmett grinned widely while Rosalie hung on his arm. "He'll live…he just doesn't feel too good right now."

"But he's still throwing a party tonight though, right?" Alice asked worriedly.

Since when was she worried whether or not her cousin would be able to have a party? Oh right. Since Jasper was finally starting to show some interest in her. And she was probably hoping that the mixture of alcohol and loud music would lead to some dancing and some sexy times.

"Oh yeah," Jasper answered as he swung an arm around her shoulders. "He needs to drink tonight more than ever I think."

"Oh God." I rolled my eyes. "That's probably all he needs. Just don't let him mix too much alcohol with all the painkillers he's probably going to get."

Jasper raised his eyebrows. "Since when do you care?"

I just shrugged my shoulders. "Someone's got to keep an eye on him, I guess."

Emmett cocked an eyebrow at me. "Well, since you're going to be there anyways, Bells, you can baby-sit him."

Fuck.

Insert foot in mouth.

Jasper and Emmett were already starting to walk away when Jasper turned back to me.

"Oh and Bella? Like the new 'do." He said with a wink.

"Yeah, Bella…pretty fucking hot." Emmett called as they made their way back to the team.

I had a bad feeling about this.


Edward's mansion of a house was thumping with music like any other typical Friday night when we walked through the front door. Very much like the first party I'd been to, it was practically lined with people.

But this time, when I was in hallway, people just turned and stared at me. This was probably not a good sign.

"Wow, Bella! I love your new haircut!" Someone said to me as we passed through.

"It looks great!" Someone else yelled over the music.

But it was the guys that unnerved me. They were openly staring more than they had been when it was long. Not good.

Just walking down the hallway, heads were turning left and right. This was not at all the effect I had been going for. Not at fucking all.

Shit.

We finally made it into the living room when Emmett's voice came booming through the room.

"Rose! Alice! Bells! You made it! Get the hell over here…you're just in time!" He yelled, waving his hands for his to go over by him.

Rosalie took charge and blazed the trail as she pushed her way through mass of people that had crowded around the bar. There was obviously some kind of commotion going on and whatever it was, if Emmett was involved, it probably wasn't good. And probably pretty dangerous too.

When we were finally to the bar, it was obvious what was going on.

Edward, looking drunk out of his mind, was leaning onto Jasper, who was trying to help him stand up. Emmett gripped his other forearm and was helping him to the front of the bar.

"Alright, everyone. This is the moment we've all been waiting for! Who wants to see Edward's bruise?" Emmett boomed.

Everyone surrounding us cheered. I just smacked my forehead with my hand. Rosalie groaned next to me and Alice just shook her head.

"Sometimes, I really don't know why I'm with him." Rosalie muttered to me.

Edward was standing in front of the bar now. He balanced himself on his good leg, with Jasper's help, and much to my dismay, he managed to somehow unbutton his jeans and pull his pants down to reveal a massive black and blue swollen welt on his thigh. I could even see little indents from the stitching on the baseball on his thigh.

But it was the fact that Edward Cullen was standing right in front of me with his pants down that really got to me. Edward Cullen was fucking wearing boxer briefs. And black ones to boot. I wasn't even going to let myself think about the bulge that was protruding from said black boxer briefs. Not even going to go there.

A loud cheer erupted from the crowd surrounding him as he did a couple of drunkenly awkward poses to show off his battle scar. Several girls were reaching out to touch him but Emmett slapped their hands away.

"Save it for later, ladies. On second thought, maybe sooner rather than later cuz I think my boy's going to pass out soon."

He smacked Edward on the back, which made him wobble a little, causing Emmett to reach out and steady him.

The crowd around the bar was starting to disperse a little so I took the opportunity to duck behind it to make myself a drink. I was reaching for the bottle of Malibu when I saw Edward come around the bar and set his crutches against the edge of the bar. He leaned his elbows on the bar before looking up at me with a big goofy grin on his face.

"Bella, Bella, Bella," he slurred. "How you doing tonight?"

He was so drunk I had to laugh.

"I'll be better when I get a drink."

He frowned and hobbled a little bit closer to get a better look at what I was doing.

"Well, shit…you didn't put enough booze in that cup. Here," he motioned for the bottle. "Let me help you with that."

I quickly shook my head. "I don't think that's such a good idea."

He waved that off and poured a generous amount into my cup and kept pouring until I yanked the bottle away from him.

"I think that's enough…thanks."

"Don't mention it." He smiled as he opened a can of Diet Coke and poured it into my cup.

When he was done, he pushed it towards me. "There you go. It's perfect now."

I took a hesitant sip and gagged. Shit, that was strong. Too strong for anyone to actually drink, let alone someone that was already pretty sober to begin with.

"So I see you attempted to solve your problem…" Edward was slurring again as he gripped the edge of the bar for support.

"Yeah, it was kind of spur of the moment thing."

"Well, I for one, think it's pretty slammin'."

"Slammin'?"

He nodded with that goofy lop-sided grin on his face again. "You heard me. Slammin'…I like it."

"Uh…thanks, I guess."

He tipped his beer to me and took a long gulp from the bottle. There was a long awkward silence then and I shifted uncomfortably with my drink in hand. Neither one of us really seemed to know what to say to the other. It wasn't like we were friends or anything but for some reason, I felt a strange sense of responsibility to make sure he didn't fall face first into my drink.

"So…" I started shakily. "How are you feeling?"

"Well, considering I'm doped up and drunk as fuck, I'd say pretty damn good."

I rolled my eyes and shook my head. "Shit…I told them not to let you drink so much."

He frowned. "Why?"

"Because alcohol and painkillers are a bad combination. Someone probably should've capped out your drinks a long time ago."

He swayed a little and my arm shot out to steady him.

"You know…come to think of it, I'm starting to feel pretty weird…I think I need to lay down."

"Alright…do you want me to find Emmett or Jasper for you?"

He glanced around the room before shaking his head. "Nah…let 'em have their fun. Mind giving me a hand though?"

Well, considering all this was indirectly my fault anyway, I figured I owed him that much.

"Sure, why not?"

He swung an arm around my shoulders to get his balance and then we started inching towards the stairs. Thankfully, people saw us coming and got the hell out of the way before we plowed them over. When we were at the foot of the stairs, I have to admit, just staring up at it seemed like a fucking daunting task. And somehow, I had to get Drunkward up all those steps and safely into his room in one piece. Shit, I wasn't sure I'd even be able to make it up there in one piece. It was kind of like asking a blind man to give across the country and expect him not to get in an accident. Not going to happen.

"You know, you can be pretty cool when you want to be." Edward was slurring as we took the first step.

"Oh yeah? I guess you can be too…thanks for the recon work for me earlier today by the way."

"Is that what provoked the sudden chop chop?" He made scissor motions with his free hand and almost tripped us both the process.

"Watch it there, killer. We don't want to fall down the stairs now, do we?"

"Fuck no! Do you have any idea how much that would fuck up my leg?"

"More than it already is?"

"Fuck yes!"

He was pretty funny when he was wasted. I was beginning to wish he was like that all the time. He'd definitely be more pleasant to be around.

We had finally made it up all the way and were about to cross into the safe zone when his foot tangled with mine and we went tumbling into the hallway.

"Aw fuck! My fucking leg!"

Apparently, I had landed directly on top of him and managed to knee him right in his bruise. Go figure. I quickly scrambled off his chest and reach over to help his drunk ass up.

"Sorry."

He just swung an arm around my shoulders again and we continued our awkward ambling to his bedroom. Now, I'd never been in his room before. I hadn't ever really given it much thought and was actually a little proud of the fact that I had no idea what it looked like. Or what it felt like to lay in his bed.

Now all that was going to be shot to hell too.

Oh well.

When Edward collapsed on the bed, almost pulling me down with him, I looked around nervously, unsure of what I was supposed to do next.

"Um…do you need anything?"

He lifted his head from the bed to look at me. "Some ice would be fucking fantastic actually."

"Ice ice baby, it is then."

I sprinted down the stairs and was surprised that for the most part, the party seemed to be winding down already. I was fishing around in the freezer for ice when someone poked me in the shoulder.

I whipped around to see Emmett, of course, smiling down at me.

"Running errands for my boy?"

"I'm just getting him some ice."

He nodded. "Uh huh, I can see that."

He was still smiling at me.

"What?"

Now he just shrugged. "So you're going to make sure my boy's alright tonight, then?"

"Yeah, someone has to, I guess."

He slapped a hand on my shoulder. "That's my girl. Now, I'm going to go have some fun with Rose. Catch ya later!"

"Hey wait! Where's Alice? How am I supposed to get home?"

But, of course, he had already disappeared.

By the time I made it back up the stairs, Edward was still lying on his bed but now his eyes were closed. I immediately dropped the bag of ice I was holding and jumped onto the bed.

"Edward! Wake the fuck up! I don't know much about this stuff but I know you probably shouldn't be sleeping just yet!"

I bounced on the bed a little until he started and shot up before grabbing his thigh.

"Shit…fuck…that did not feel good." He exhaled, wincing.

I handed over the ice. "This'll probably help."

"Thanks."

He gingerly set the bag on his thigh, taking a sharp breath in when the ice met his skin.

Yes. He had taken off his pants during the time I'd been gone.

Edward Cullen was lying in his bed. With his pants off. And I was in the same room.

Fuck my life.

"So is it working?"

His voice yanked me out of my thoughts.

"Hm?"

He laughed and scooted towards the side of the bed to make a little room for me. He patted the edge lightly and against my better judgment, I sat down.

"Is it working?"

"Is what working?"

He gestured to my hair. "Your little plan."

"How did you know?"

He laughed. "Come on, Bella. I may be ignorant but I'm not stupid. It's pretty obvious why you cut your hair today. At least to me. Which by the way, in case I haven't told you yet, it looks really nice."

Wow. Did he just give me a compliment? What the hell was going on today?

"Uh…thanks. But actually, to tell you the truth, I'm not sure that it really has been. When I walked in here earlier, I think guys were staring at me even more than they were before."

"So it backfired on you then?" He laughed.

I blew out a breath. "I think so."

"Yeah, as soon as I saw you earlier today, I figured that was going to be the case."

I decided it was best to just sidestep that comment. "You seem to be sobering up a little."

He laughed again and ran a hand through his hair as he shifted the ice on his leg. "Well, I guess severe pain does that to you."

We were both silent for a few moments after that. He was playing with the edge of the bag and I was desperately trying to not look at his boxer briefs. I now officially loved boxer briefs.

After the long awkward silence, I figured it was time to leave.

"Well," I said, getting up. "I should probably head out."

"Come on, Bella. It's two in the morning. Everyone's gone. If Alice and Rosalie are still here, they're not going to want to take you home anytime soon and I'm in no condition to drive you so you might as well just crash here tonight."

He had a point.

I sighed and ran a hand through my hair, feeling a little surprised at how much hair I didn't have.

"Alright…I guess I'll just go find an empty room to crash in."

I was turning to leave but his voice stopped me. "Bella…don't go…you can just stay here."

"You mean…like…"

His hands shot up in defense. "You can take the bed. I'll just take the floor or something."

"God, Edward. I'm not going to let you sleep on the floor. This is your room and especially not with your leg…you should be sleeping somewhere comfortable tonight."

He just rolled his eyes and shook his head. "Well, how about this? How about we both sleep on the floor?"

Considering that the only other option besides the ones already mentioned was both of us sleeping in his bed, I figured this was the safest choice. I would probably still feel guilty about him sleeping on the floor but since I got the impression that he wasn't going to give in, I didn't really have any other appealing options.

So I sighed in surrender and flopped down on the floor. A pillow and blanket were tossed down to me and within seconds, Edward had lowered himself next to me, until we were laying in opposite directions on the floor.

A few more minutes passed when Edward's soft voice came floating across to me.

"Hey, can I ask you a question?"

"Sure."

He paused for a second. "What's the story behind the zero tolerance policy? I mean, like, the whole thing…there's got to be a reason…"

Huh. Who would've thought he would actually be interested? Well, here goes nothing.

"Well…there's a lot of reasons actually. All the guys I was ever with in Phoenix were all the same…"

"Same as in all they wanted to do was get laid?" He asked.

"Yeah." I said with a smile, even though I knew he couldn't see it.

"Yeah, I know those guys."

I just laughed and continued with my story. "Anyways…there was just kind of a revolving door of assholes…they never called when they said they would, never seemed to care too much about me...all because I gave it up too soon. Sure, I started dating them eventually…but most of the time, the first time I ever hooked up with any of them, there definitely wasn't a solid relationship there. God…just saying that out loud makes me feel like a slut."

"You're not a slut."

"You really think I'm not like all the other girls that jump on your dick around here?"

He laughed out loud at that. "Well, I don't exactly know what you were like in Phoenix, but you most definitely the complete opposite of all those girls. You're the only one, besides Alice and Rosalie of course, who hasn't done that. It's kind of nice actually."

"What do you mean?"

"It's cool that you don't give a shit, you know? Sure, it pissed me off as hell when you acted the way you did the night we met…but at least you know what you want. Most girls don't really think about shit like that, you know?"

Well, this was an interesting development.

Another awkward pause.

"So how many guys are we talking about here?" He asked quietly.

"I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours."

"No fucking way."

"Fine, then…but I will say that there are two that stick out in my memory as being kind of important, at least in terms of explaining why I think the way I do. You still doing alright over there?"

Even in the dark, I could see him wave his around in the air. "Keep going, I'm still here."

I nodded. "Well, for starters, I lost my virginity when I was drunk out of my mind at a post-prom party. And I didn't even go to prom because I was a sophomore."

"Shit."

"Yeah, shit is right. I don't remember a lot of it. But what I do remember isn't very good…and then in the morning, I just felt kind of dirty, you know?"

I really had no idea why I was telling him this.

"So it was bad then?" He asked quietly.

"From what I remember…yes…let's just say, he was not very gentle, which fucking sucked for me."

"That sucks…sorry."

"Not your fault. Anyways, after that stellar experience…I ended up with the reputation that I was 'that' girl, you know?"

"Everyone knows that girl."

"Yeah, that was me. It just became more of a pattern than anything. I went to parties, got blasted, hooked up with someone, woke up in the morning and didn't really know where I was, repeat. I didn't particular like it but I guess I didn't really know anything else. Let's see…the other guy, well, this one was actually a boyfriend…also the result of a drunk hook-up but I thought I really liked this one. I was even contemplating the dreaded 'L' word."

"Oh shit." Was the muffled reply.

"Yeah…but every time we had sex…I don't know…something just wasn't right. I mean, I thought I loved him, but there was just nothing with the sex…not that it was bad, necessarily, there just wasn't any…"

"Spark?" He offered.

"Yeah, spark. There wasn't any of that…and I remember thinking, 'I wonder what it's like to have sex with someone I'm actually in love with'. I started thinking that, maybe the drunk hook-up had something to do with it, that if our relationship had started in a less sexually charged way, more sober way, things could've been different. On the other hand, maybe he was just bad in bed. But still, I couldn't help wondering what sex would be like with someone I was in love with…and he definitely didn't help his case when he cried when I broke up with him."

Edward chuckled. "He was probably gay then."

"Uh…I don't know about that but I do know that he sent me crazy clingy texts up until I left Phoenix."

"Which brings us to now, here in Forks?"

I nodded again. "Yeah. I don't want to deal with those type of guys anymore. If they're willing to hook-up with you when you're falling down drunk, they're probably not the kind of guy you'd want to have a relationship with. I guess I just decided that I was due for a fresh start. I don't want to be 'that girl' anymore. I want to be a girl that guys respect and treat well. I don't want to be their fucking doormat anymore."

"Guys respect here, Bella. Probably more than you realize."

I wasn't sure how to respond to that.

"And nobody sees you as 'that girl', just so you know." He continued, his voice surprisingly soft.

I still didn't know how to respond to that so I just kept going. "So…that brings me to my zero tolerance policy. I guess I figured the next guy that gets in better be fucking special, you know? He's probably going to have to work pretty hard to get in because I'm not letting just anyone in anymore. It's time to be choosy and there's no time like the present."

He was silent for a moment and for a while, I thought he had fallen asleep.

"You know," he began quietly. "I'm probably going to regret telling you this tomorrow but since I'm drunk and we're all about sharing tonight…you should probably know that that night we met, when we were talking in the hallway…you remember?"

As if I could forget.

"Yeah, I remember."

"You know how I asked you if you wanted to find an empty bedroom?"

As if I could forget.

"Yeah."

"Well, if you had let me finish, I would've told you that I just really liked talking to you and wanted to keep talking to you somewhere quiet where I could actually hear everything you were saying…because I really wanted to hear what you were saying."

I felt a little tug on my heart and turned my head to try to see him but it was too dark.

"I didn't know that."

He was silent for a moment. "Well…now you know."

"I'm sorry I flipped out on you."

"I'm sorry I've been a dick. Thanks for taking care of me tonight, by the way."

"You're welcome."

I heard a soft yawn next to me and felt one coming on myself.

"Well, night Bella."

"Goodnight Edward."

That night, I got the best night's sleep I'd had since moving to Forks. On the floor. With Edward Cullen.


Well, if that's not a step in the right direction, I don't know what is. Let me know what you think!!