Age - 23 - Bella POV

Two weeks passed, and life went on.

Emmett was now out of the hospital, and Alex was back home with him, happy as an uneaten Orange hanging from a tree.

Alice still hadn't gotten her visions under control, which was making her pissy and frustrated and no fun to be around.

RayJ was hit hard by Cupid, and I don't think I've ever seen him happier. He was practically dancing around at work, whistling and humming as he tattooed customers with a huge, love sick, toothy grin. His date with Danielle had gone better then he expected.

And Edward was… gone. I hadn't seen him since I'd literary run into him. He hadn't been at the hospital ether when I'd gone to visit, and Emmett hadn't seen or heard anything from him, which was strange, seeing as Edward was his Doctor, intern or whatever he was called in the medical field.

And me? Well, I was working on a new Design for Emmett, because, according to him the great outback was a place he wanted to go, not something he wanted to have in ink for the rest of his life. I just had to keep trying since he refused to tell me what he wanted.

I was working harder then ever, trying to push thoughts of Edward out of my head. If he didn't want to be friends with me, that was fine. I could live with that. I'd been fine for the past five years, what's the rest of my life? No big deal. Psh, I could totally live a perfectly fine life. I didn't need that bronze haired god around…

"RayJ, stop fucking humming that same damn song." I growled as I walked past him, giving him a nasty glare as I ripped the appointment book open to see when my next client would be here. I had his tattoo stenciled and ready to go, and he was running late. Fucker.

"Would you like me to assist you in pulling that obnoxiously large tree trunk out of your ass before your client arrives?" He offered politely, batting his long, dark lashes as me innocently. My glare only intensified.

"Raymond James Powell, don't you fucking start with me today," I snarled out, checking quickly to confirm that the client was fucking late, which meant that I'd have to stay later and finish up my paper work. Fan - fucking - tastic.

RayJ put both of his hands up in surrender.

"Bella, honestly, you can't be this mad when the client comes in, you're going to scare the poor kid away before the needle even touches his skin. Besides, it would be bad for business. At least try to act pleasant. Now, take a deep breath, smile and deal with whatever shit you're going through," RayJ knew that there was no way in hell I was going to tell him, or anyone else what was wrong, so he didn't even bother asking.

I nodded my head, closed my eyes and took a deep breath, trying to ignore the face that flashed behind my eyelids, laughing and smiling. He was probably having sex right now with little miss Daisy.

I took another deep breath for good measure and opened my eyes and tried to smile. The expression seemed foreign to me somehow.

"Ugh, never mind, don't smile." RayJ said, smirking as I punched his arm lightly, electing a real smile from me this time.

"There, now you are ready to greet the new victim." He said in a ridiculously dark voice, pecking my cheek before he hurried over to his own client who was looking over at me with huge eyes. The shop was tiny and she'd seen and heard everything.

The reason I was so mad, if I was being honest with myself, was because of this whole fucked up situation. Why would Alice put me in this position? So I now know where he works, and I know that he lives within walking distance of my shop, and I have his best friends phone number.

And there was nothing I could do to contact him.

I don't want to be the kind of girl who just so happened to drop by the hospital after her brother was released. I don't want to be the one who looks him up in the yellow pages just so I can call him. And do what? Ask him if he wants to have a drink with me, and tell him to bring his insane girlfriend along? Not bloody likely.

And why hadn't he walked by the shop? Or dropped by and said hi or something? It was like he was wiped off the face of the earth. Or at least Orlando.

"Excuse me? Miss?" There was suddenly a hand waiving in front of my face, and I jumped, looking up only to realize I'd spaced off with a frown on my face.

I put on a fake smile, relaxing my face. It was the young teen who had approached me a few weeks ago from the skating shop. He was getting the All Star converse logo tattooed on both of his feet, where they originally would be if he was wearing Converse shoes. It was a pretty sweet idea, and it would look cool.

"Sorry, just in my own world today. You ready for this?" I asked him, walking over and showing him where he could sit.

"Sure, I've got another tattoo so I know what to expect." He said, jumping up on the bed/table, and started to remove his shoes. Which, ironically enough, were black Converse.

"Sweet, where is it?" I asked, finding the razor to shave off some of the long, brown hair on his legs. Men and their hairy legs.

"Um, on my wiener. It's a cherry…I got it when I got mine popped, so to speak," He said, rubbing his neck awkwardly. I sort of laugh/snorted in a very un-lady like way, giving him a grin.

"That's actually pretty awesome," I said, shaking my head as I placed the stencil over the aria he wanted. I could do this by free hand, but when costumers were involved I usually used a stencil, just to be on the safe side.

"Yeah, it was just a joke to begin with but my friends and I kept laughing about it so I thought it would be pretty funny to actually go through with it." He said, relaxing slightly when he got my approval, it seemed.

"So, are you doing anything special this Thanksgiving?" He asked, leaning back on his hands while he stared intently at my hands as I set to work. Boy didn't even flinch.

"Uh, yeah, I'm just having dinner with the family. Nothing special." Which wasn't really true. My first thanksgiving in Orlando was spent at Burger King, while Alice went to the Cullen's and Emmett decided to go hang out with some of his buddies, which was strictly man business, as he'd put it.

To say that my own mother, curse her, had ever given two flying fucks about thanksgiving would be laughable. She didn't like holidays, and nether did Charlie.

As soon as I was done with Senior year I was out on the road, because I knew Alice was fine with the Cullen's, and I wasn't very worried about Emmett. Roxanne came on the road with me, and she was my only companion for the next four years. I'd stopped by Orlando plenty of times, but never around any holidays.

Which means, this was going to be my first Thanksgiving. At the age of 23, how pathetic isn't that?

"Sounds cool enough," He answered, cocking his head to the side. We chatted about anything and everything while I worked. His name was Troy, and he'd started his first semester at College, and he worked at the skating shop, even though he still lived with his mom, who was a little slow, which is why he didn't move out like all his friends.

"Now that wasn't so bad, was it?" RayJ asked when Troy left, hugging me from behind with his head on my shoulder. I leaned back and gave a long sigh, closing my eyes for a moment. I'd been up since 4 AM, and it was now 8 PM. I still had 3 hours of work ahead of me.

"I guess." I mumbled, opening my eyes, only to see a flash of bright Bronze hair hurry down the stairs from my shop, walking away quickly. Edward.

"Shit," I mumbled, untangling RayJ's arms and hurrying over to the door, ripping it open and running out on the street like a mad woman. I stopped short, making people bump into me. It was a Friday night, and my shop was placed on a pretty busy street with a few bars.

I tried to look in the direction he had walked, but I couldn't see him among all the other people.

"Damn it!" I swore, walking back to the shop slowly, fishing a cigarette out of my pocket. I sat down on the stairs, my head in one hand and a cig in the other. People stared as they walked past, but I ignored them. I mean, what the hell do you expect to see when you walk past a tattoo shop? A little girl dressed in pink with a fucking bow in her hair?

"What the hell was that?" RayJ asked from the door, staring down at me with confused and slightly hurt eyes. Shrugging, I turned away from him, spitting at the ground.

"Bella, at least tell me something? It doesn't have to be about feelings or crap like that, just, give me something woman." He exclaimed, walking down the steps to kneel in front of me.

"Edward was standing at the top of the stairs, and he saw us, you know, hugging or whatever, and he ran away. I couldn't see his face, but I know it was him." I muttered, feeling my cheeks burn.

"Ah,"

"Yeah," I took another drag, staring in the direction Edward had gone off to. It shouldn't matter to him if another guy is hugging me. I've met him twice in the past five years, dude's got a fucking girlfriend, and I was free to do whatever I wanted with whoever I wanted, no matter how innocent things were between RayJ and I.

"I thought you said he was dating that Daisy woman?" He asked casually, trying to make it seem like it was no big deal. Even though we both knew that it was.

I might not admit it to anyone, I even had a hard time admitting it to myself, but it was pretty obvious to me and everybody else that I had strong feelings for Masen. I don't know when I realized this, but I was falling hard and fast. My want for him was almost disturbing.

It's like my mind didn't understand that it's completely stupid and irrational to fall for someone after such a long time. And didn't it comprehend that it's socially unacceptable to be so pathetic as to fall for someone who's not only taken, but a person you don't even know anymore? The whole thing was ridicules, and I still couldn't control my feelings.

"He is, as far as I know. Not that I would anymore, I haven't seen-" I stopped short, embarrassed. It wasn't relevant, and it was private.

I hadn't told anyone about crashing into to him, not even Alice. I'm pretty sure she was too occupied with her own visions to be bothered with such small details anyway.

"Bella...this needs to stop. You've been moping for over a week now, it's time to face the facts. He isn't available, it's not going to happen, deal and get over it. Find another guy. Your dry streak has been amazingly long, it's time for some action." He said, clapping his hand down on my shoulder, making a large smacking sound.

"Just, get back to work or something. And I'm not having a dry streak, I've been busy." I snapped, taking another drag while I stared at an old couple that was walking down the street, hand in hand.

"I'm done for the day, and I'm meeting up with Danielle for drinks. You should join us, she would like to get to know you some more. And you haven't had sex in over two months. Two months woman. If that's not a dry spell then I don't know what is." He said challengingly, arcing one perfect brow at me while he crossed his arms in a way only he could.

"Fine, I'll go, but I'm not promising anything. I wont just pick some random guy for the heck of it." I said, standing up slowly, stretching my stiff legs and rolling my shoulder. Being hunched over all the time really did a number on my spine, as well as other tattoo artists, but it was a small price to pay in exchange for doing what you love for a living.

"Why not? That's never been a problem for you before." He commented, holding the door for me as we walked in together. Mark was drawing something up, paying little to no attention to us what so ever. But that wasn't unusual.

"Well, I'm, you know." I said, waiving my hands around wildly.

"I'm afraid I don't know," He answered, staring at me as if I was demented. Sighing, I dropped my arms to my side, letting my chin hit my chest.

"Just, let me get some money." I mumbled, dragging my feet into the backroom. I stuffed some cash in my jean pocket, pulling my bright yellow t shirt down a little further. It was surprisingly chilly for Florida tonight, but still warm. It sort of reminded me of a Washington summer night.

"We're just going to the bar," Which means we were going to our place, "I took Danielle there the other night, and she loved it."

"Hey Mark, do you want to come with?" I called out, putting some perfume on that I always kept in my office.

"Hmm, spending the rest of my night painting in my apartment, with some nice, classical music and a glass of wine, or going to a bar with the two of you, where I most likely have to watch RayJ sticking his tongue down some poor girls throat and you gamble away money you don't have while you flirt with everything that has male genitals. Though choice, though choice indeed." He answered dryly, not once looking up from his drawing.

"It happens one time and he won't let it go," I said with a grin, winking at RayJ as he tried to suppress his own laughter.

It had been a very successful night for both RayJ and I. RayJ went home with two lovely young girls and I went home five thousand dollar richer and quite the handsome guy hanging off my arm. Mark had only stayed to watch me loose more money then I had before he left, claiming we were both idiots.

"Well, you know where we are if you change your mind. If anyone calls just take a message and tell them to call tomorrow. I don't want to be disturbed tonight." I said, walking out the door without waiting for an answer, RayJ hot on my heels as we started walking. It was pretty far away, but we didn't mind walking.

"So, I know this is going to be a stupid question, but do you want to talk about it?" He asked, showing his hands in his pockets as we walked down the street together, people dodging out of our way, staring openly, even though they could only see our arms, because the rest was covered with clothes.

We were both pretty used to it now though. I'd long since stopped being annoyed by it, because in the end, they would keep staring no matter how irritating it was.

"There is nothing to talk about, so just drop it. Like you said, I need to get over it, and talking about it wont make that happen, now will it?" I asked rhetorically, lighting up a cigarette, handing it to him before I took one for myself.

"No, I suppose you're right." He muttered, a concerned look in his eyes.

"So, changing the subject, do you think little Alice would like to come along?" He asked, trying to lighten my mood. I gave him a wry grin, shaking my head slightly.

"I highly doubt that, considering how stressed she is right now."

"The visions still aren't working then?"

"Nope," I answered, popping the 'p', blowing some smoke out of my mouth.

"Strange. Maybe she'd need a night off-" My phone beeped loudly once, signaling a new text message.

I don't want 2 go out 2 night, I'm working - Alice

"-too, relax a little. She needs it," RayJ finished, and I showed him the text, making him chuckle.

"Creepy," He muttered, glancing at me playfully. I grinned up at him, because hanging with RayJ always made me happy, no matter how down I'd felt all day.

The tourists started to thin out, the further we got into the bad side of town. I wasn't scared off walking these streets though, because I had no reason to.

All the drugs that people sold around here happened behind closed doors, and there was hardly ever a shootout between any gangs, because they kept to themselves for the most part.

Another reason why people found it scary was because there was a lot of homeless people around here, living in alleys and begging on the side of the road. It was dirty, quiet and ere. But it was our place. Besides, they had great beer.

"Danielle!" RayJ called, his face breaking into a huge smile as he spotted the petite woman standing by the bar.

Danielle was gorgeous, to put it lightly. She was around the same size as Alice, only a little bit taller, because come on, who isn't taller then Alice?

She had long, pitch black hair flowing down her back in curly waves, with almond shaped gray eyes placed perfectly on her face. She had a curvy figure, her skin tone just a little bit darker then my own, which was pretty damn pale.

She was a nice girl, from the few times I'd met her while getting a massage. She had no tattoo's though, and her style was closer to Alice's then my own. She was classy, which is why she was so hesitant to date RayJ.

"RayJ, Bella, it is lovely to see you both," She kissed RayJ on the cheeks twice and once on the lips, lingering there a little before she walked over to me and kissed my cheeks three times.

"Faire la bise, it is how we greet people in France. I ordered beer for us, my treat," She said happily, with her heavy French accent. She'd only moved to the states a few months ago, so it was a little hard to understand everything she said. It would be interesting to see how much I'd understand after I got a few beers in me.

"Thanks Danielle, lets grab a table, shall we?" I said, gesturing to the usual spot we always had.

"I like this places, it is very nice." She said, and I could tell she was concentrating on the English to get it right. RayJ looked at her with almost loving eyes. It was weird seeing him stare at a girls face rather then her rack.

"So, how was work?" She asked nervously, trying to fill the silence. The usual guys who sat in the back playing poker looked over at our table curiously. Her seductive voice was hard to ignore. I'm pretty sure she could read from the dictionary and have every single guy in the room hang on to her every word.

"We had a fainter today, which was pretty funny. It was this huge biker dude, with absolutely no ink, in his mid forties. He wanted a huge skull on his bicep, so ten minutes into what would have been a four hour tattoo session, the guy faints and has to lay on the couch for an hour to recover." RayJ said excitedly, chuckling. She smiled up at him with sickeningly adoring eyes.

It probably wouldn't have bothered me much if it hadn't been for Edward. Watching them was like a slap in the face, knowing that I now, for the first time wanted what they had, and it was being dangled in front of my face, and I couldn't have it. Life is unfair.

"Yeah, the guy is walking around with a quarter of an outline. He had to reschedule, poor guy," I said, shaking my head, thinking of the guy walking out on unsteady feet.

"Wow, I don't think I could handle the pain ether. Poor man." She said, shaking her head, her eyes huge. I grinned at her.

"You'd be surprised. It sort of feels more like a bee sting then anything, and after a while you can't really feel it." I said with a shrug, just as the beer was being served.

"Merci beaucoup," She said, batting her eyes at the bartender. He grunted as he placed our beer on the table, giving us all a weird look as he slung the dirty rag over his shoulder.

"Well, that's the biggest response we've ever gotten from him," I said with a laugh, sipping my beer. It was icy cold, and the rich taste filled my mouth. I savored it before I swallowed.

"Don't listen to Bella, she can hardly feel any pain at all. It does hurt, a lot." He whispered in her ear, biting her ear lobe playfully while drawing her closer to his side. She giggled, slapping his chest lightly.

"So not true dude, I cried like a little girl when I got my nipples pierced." Not quite true, but it's the most painful thing I've done so far. I had considered to split my tongue, but I liked my tongue ring too much. And I'm pretty sure that would have been the most painful thing I'd done, if I'd gone through with it.

"You did not! I was there, and all you did was squeeze your eyes shut."

"You were there when she got her nipples pierced?" Danielle asked, her smile faltering just a little. My eyes flashed to RayJ, who looked a little panicked and pleading. I shook my head at him, disappointed.

"You might want to tell her everything, J. I'm gonna go have a cig while you guys talk this out. Danielle, I want you to know all of this happened 3 years ago and I have no feelings for your guy what so ever, and vice versa. You have nothing to worry bout." I said with a smile, ignoring the glare RayJ was searing into the side of my head.

Standing up, I grabbed my beer and walked out, sitting at one of the chairs, placing the beer on the table as I fished in my pocket for a lighter.

"Bella?" A familiar voice asked, and I looked up, only to see Jasper stare at me from the other side of the street. He'd just walked out of a building you really shouldn't be in unless you are buying something illegal.

Seriously, the guy in there could get you anything. Emmett used to sell weed to the guy, hence how we know about this bar. But what was little Mr. Stripper doing in there?

"Jasper? What are you doing here?" I asked, finally finding the lighter. I lit up the cig hanging from between my lips as he walked across the street, plopping down in a seat diagonally from mine.

"You know, little of this, little of that." He said with a devilish grin, putting his backpack down.

"Alright then," I said with a laugh. It wasn't my place to pry, so I didn't. I knew enough people who were involved with drugs to know that it really wasn't all that important. They were still great people.

"So who are you here with?" He asked, gesturing to the bar.

"I'm meeting my friends girlfriend. He is now explaining to her that we had sex a few years ago. Word vomit wise this night is going great." I said, taking a drag while I chuckled, coughing slightly. I really need to cut down on cigarettes.

"Want one?" I offered, holding the pack out.

"Trying to quit," He said, smiling shyly.

"So did you ever get your breakfast that morning?" I asked before I could stop my mouth. So much for word vomit restrictions.

"What morning?" He asked, looking intrigued.

"The morning I ran over Edward with my skateboard. It's what, one or two weeks ago now? I can't really remember." 15 days to be exact.

"Oh, yeah, he mentioned that. Poor guy, on top of everything else that happened he gets assaulted by you too." He said with a chuckle, grabbing a cigarette and lit it up, ignoring his earlier statement. I raised an eyebrow in question.

"There's always tomorrow." He laughed.

"So what do you mean, 'on top of everything else'" I asked, more curious then I'd ever admit aloud. Secretly I was dying to know what had happened.

"Well he lost his job, his car broke down, he got punched in the face and he left Daisy, on the same day. What are the chances for that ever happening? You only ever read about that shit, or it happens in movies. I seriously think Edward is cursed though, he has the worst luck ever." Jasper rambled, unaware of the huge celebration happening in my head.

He left Daisy. He left her. As in, they weren't together anymore. He was free, single, alone, a bachelor, up for grabs. And he probably needed a shoulder to cry on. I could be a friend. Right? Just like Alice had suggested all along.

"Wait, he lost his job? The day before he ran into me?" I asked, confused. Why didn't he tell me?

"Yeah, all of it happened in one day. Not really a full one, more like a half day. But still, it's pretty intense." Jasper babbled. It was weird to see such an attractive guy act like such a… kid. Most of the attractive people I knew were serious assholes who thought they were better then everyone else and regarded themselves as high class. Not that my friends were ugly, but they were more down to earth.

Jasper though, just acted like such a kid. It was a little adorable, to be honest.

"But he told me that he was still going to be a doctor, he never mentioned that he lost his job. I am such an asshole!" I groaned aloud, smacking a hand to my forehead.

"I was sitting there, babbling on about how great it will be when he becomes a doctor." I said, shaking my head at my own stupidity.

"Ah, he'll probably be really pissed at me now then. I thought he told you about everything that happened. I have a good idea of why he didn't tell you though," He said, sucking on the cig as if it was a lifeline. I took a healthy gulp of my beer. I felt like I needed it.

"Spill,"

"Okay, so Edward has always kinda had this perfection complex going on. He has to be perfect, at everything he does. He absolutely hates disappointing people. So when you said it would be great that he'd be a doctor, he probably figured that that's what you wanted him to be, so instead of disappointing you and telling you that he got fired, he just went along with it so you'd still be happy. Also doesn't help that the fight that split Edward and Daisy was because of him loosing his job.

"Apparently, the only reason she dated him was because she thought that he would be a surgeon, and she wants to marry one some day. Kinda sick, isn't it? But good riddance, that chick is a bitch. And her boobs are fake, but don't tell anyone because I'm technically not suppose to know that. I just think it's funny, so I tell everyone." He said, chuckling as he took another drag.

"But that is so dumb! I don't care about what he does as a living! Why would he even care bout what I have to say? I need to apologize though, that was really inconsiderate of me." I muttered, more confused then ever.

"Eh, don't worry bout it. He's a dumb shit for not saying anything. It's not like you could have possibly known. He was going back to Ben's Deli to get some food for tonight while I got something. For a friend of course," He lied smoothly, knowing that I could see right through him.

"Ah. Yeah, he walked passed the shop today, or ran is more like it. I don't know if he looked through the window though," He only ran down the steps without peeking in. Yeah, not likely. He probably thought that I was dating RayJ.

"He probably did, curious little fucker that he is. He talks about you all the time, but don't tell him I said that or he'd have my balls on a platter." He chuckled nervously.

I blushed, looking down at my beer. So he was thinking about me then? I don't think I've felt such a strong current of butterflies in my stomach before. It was a little disturbing, to be honest.

When the hell did I turn into such a flustered little girl?

"So, I was wondering. You know that Alice chick, your FBI friend?" Jasper said casually, leaning back in the little metal fold up chair.

"What about her?" I asked, distracted.

"Well, I know she's got a boyfriend and all, but is it really serious between them? I mean, could I meet up with you and accidentally run into her at a bar or something?" He asked hopefully.

"Hmm…" This could be sort of a real payback for her pulling the whole Dexter stunt, and I knew that Jasper wasn't dangerous. I could help him, and annoy the hell out of her.

"Okay, what I am about to tell you is probably going to come back and bite my ass, but Alice… deserves this, so to speak. Pay back time," I said, hoping her visions cleared up long enough for her to get a vision of this.

Jasper stared at me with slightly confused but with eager eyes.

"So, how old do you think Alice is?" I started, enjoying myself more then I probably should. Besides, whatever would keep my mind off of Edward for a while was a welcomed thought. I needed time to process everything I'd learned.

"I don't know, she works for the FBI so older then us, probably. 24, 25 maybe? She doesn't look that old though." He added as an after thought, dragging one hand over the blond scruff adorning his chin.

"Alice just turned 21, got the job with the FBI as soon as she was out of high school. She's never attended College, but she's still got her own driver and more power there then most people twice her age could only dream of. She's been in training, obviously, but she never had any schooling in this stuff. Now could you possibly think why the FBI would do such a thing?" I asked, cocking an eyebrow at him expectantly.

Predictably, as if I was the psychic one, I got a text message.

Say one more word and I'll call Edward and tell him about your undying love for him!!! - Alice

This was a though one, because I knew she was going to call him and tell him. Alice was not one to bluff when it came to threats.

So, conversation with Edward later, explaining that Alice is a fucked up nut job, and telling Jasper everything he needed to know about Alice to woo her brittle little heart.

OR, I could make up some bullshit right now and avoid the whole mess.

Decisions, decisions… It was almost laughable. As if I'd pass up a reason to talk to Edward Masen. Besides, my inner teenager, who was making an appearance more often then usual these days, was begging me to cause some sort of trouble in some type or form. This would be harmless enough.

Go for it ;) -Bella

"Well?" I asked when he didn't answer. He snapped out of his little trance.

"So she's smart and beautiful?" He asked in an almost breathless voice, and I had to remind myself that the boy was going to be a drama teacher for a reason.

"Yeah, but that isn't why. Jasper, do you believe in psychics?" I questioned, sipping my beverage while I waited politely for him to answer.

Bella I swear you'll regret this - Alice

I'm sure I'll live -Bella

I have your ferret -Alice

My smile slipped slightly. Alice had this ridicules idea that Roxanne should be pink. She'd even bought animal hair dye from Japan. One thing I really loved about Roxanne was her long, silky fur coat. Not only was it soft, but it was gorgeous too. Animals should be natural, no matter how many times she assured me that the dye was safe.

"I guess, I've never thought much about them though. Why? Is Alice one?" He asked after a while, staring sideways at me.

Pink ferret, telling Jasper, pink ferret, telling Jasper, pink-

"Yes, yes she is." Hope Roxanne wouldn't be too mad for turning pink.

"Really? So does she help the FBI solve crimes and stuff then? I cant say I'm surprised. Someone as amazing as her… it's easy to tell that she's special, isn't it?" He mused, a content smile on his face.

I want you to know that your ferret is already pink, and I am not talking to you anymore -Alice

I grinned, knowing that we would talk about it later anyway.

"Yup. She's a special one alright. The guy she's dating though, John? He might be short, but he is one big motherfucker. A body builder, in fact, so I'd watch out for him. He can be a little possessive. Alice's favorite flower is orchids, surprisingly enough. She's a pushover, and serious as hell about her job. I'll give you the address so you can send her some flowers at work. Just, don't go overboard, because she hates getting attention at work." I over shared happily. If you're digging your grave, you might as well dig it deep.

"Thanks Bella, I owe you one. Really," He said gratefully, zipping his back pack open and pushing away a surprisingly big amount of my old friend Mary Jane.

I'd all but stopped smoking pot, deciding to focus more on my work rather then partying. Although, if I sat down to paint, I knew the best ones would be produced while I was higher then a satellite.

I'd never done any other type of drugs, except for the shit Renee used to put in my food at night when I was a teen so I wouldn't sneak out at night. To this day I still don't know what it was, but I swear it could put a rhino to sleep.

He pulled out a pen and wrote all her phone numbers down, her work and home address along with where she stopped every morning for coffee.

"Are you going to hang out here for the rest of the night with your friends or do you want to head back to Rose and I with me? We're having a little get together with some friends," He said, looking over at me hopefully.

"I don't know…" Danielle and RayJ would probably be fine if I left, if not happy. Besides, it had been a little awkward in there, and I had met her, which was the whole point of the evening.

"Edward's going to be there,"

"Just let me get my wallet." I said, standing up quickly. He grinned at me as I hurried off inside, flicking the cig out on the street as I went.

"So, everything out in the open?" I asked, grabbing my wallet off the table.

"Yes. I am not sure I like it, but I trust you both. RayJ told me about Edward, and I can tell when someone is in love. And I think I can safely say that you aren't interested in RayJ." She said with a small smile.

"Got that right. So, I just got invited to this party, and, uh, Edward's going to be there, so-"

"Just go Bella, I'll see you tomorrow." RayJ said with a smile, waiving me off. I smiled back, a little embarrassed that he knew why I was leaving and all but there wasn't anything I could do about it now.

"Bye guys!" I called over my shoulder, running out on the street to Jasper.

"So, do you live far away?" I asked, putting my fingers through my belt loops to keep them busy. I was more nervous then I'd like to admit.

"We live on the edge. Kinda between the good and bad side of town, only further south, so it's pretty far. Edward lives seven blocks away from Ben's Deli. He's only picking up food for us though, cause people aren't really going to come until a few hours…" He trailed off, smiling sheepishly.

"Sweet, then I get to talk to Rosalie for a while too." Rosalie was actually one of the few people who hadn't annoyed me in Forks.

I knew their Dad, who was a pretty awesome guy, but I never really talked much with her or Jasper before. Even if they were home when I came over to discuss tattoo's or do some work around the house for him. He knew Charlie, and felt sorry for me. I hated to be pitied, but I was in desperate need of money, seeing as all of my income went towards the RV.

I regretted not saying bye to him when I left.

"Yeah, she should be home right now. She just got off work, so she wanted to relax a little. Some of the guys from the shop where she works is going to be there, and some other people that we know. It's not going to be a huge party or anything." He ranted.

"Is that why you bought so much Mary Jane?" I asked before I could stop myself. Shrugging, he pulled the backpack up a little with one hand before letting it drop back.

"No, it's not for the party. I just don't like to buy it in small amounts. This will last me for over a year." He could get a whole hospital high with the amount he'd bought.

"Change?" A homeless guy asked, clinking his banged up metal cup on the ground.

"There's a Burger King right around the corner, do you want us to get you something there instead?" I asked kindly, making Jasper, who'd kept on walking, stop and turn around with a bewildered look on his face.

The homeless guy looked up, surprised that someone actually stopped. A group of people passed us, giving me the same look Jasper was. I ignored them.

"Uh… sure." The man said, sitting up a little.

"Tell me what you want and I'll go get it for you." He wanted the biggest menu with a chocolate milkshake, so I told him to stay put as I strolled passed Jasper and headed for the burger joint.

"Why didn't you just give the guy some money?"

"Because, most places they wont sell homeless people food, and he is almost skinnier then I am. He needs some real food." I explained.

Jasper waited outside while I ordered the food. I'd seen a few other people down the alley too so I went a little overboard.

"Wow, how much did you get?!" He exclaimed, taking one of my bags to help me carry it.

"I spent 50 bucks on burritos, muffins, drinks, burgers and fries. This should keep them full for a while." I answered with a smile. It wasn't the first time I'd done this, but I usually only did it if people asked. It was weird to just randomly hand someone a burger if they didn't ask for anything at all.

"Here you go, and this is for some of your friends too." I told him, putting the bags down in front of him. He wasted no time with ripping a bag open, stuffing his face with a burger.

"Thanks miss." He mumbled, and I gave him a smile before I walked away with Jasper. He hadn't said much.

"I feel bad now," He muttered, looking over his shoulder as we walked.

"Why?"

"Well I just spent all my money on pot and you spend yours on feeding the homeless." He exclaimed, giving me a sidelong glance.

"Yeah, but keep it to yourself. It's really not that big of a deal to me, and I do it all the time, so no mentioning it to other people, alright?" I asked, shoving my hands in my pockets awkwardly.

"Why not? It's a good deed. You're not doing anything wrong." He said, staring down at me. Jasper was almost the same height as Emmett.

"Because it's no big deal, and not worth mentioning. The only reason Alice knows is because she saw me do it in a vision." I tried to explain, feeling silly. It just wasn't something I wanted everyone to know.

"Sure…" We walked the rest of the way in a comfortable silence, with Jasper glancing over at me every now and then.

"Rose! I'm home!" Jasper yelled, flinging his backpack on the floor in the narrow hallway. He didn't take off his shoes so I didn't bother to ether. We were on the third floor in a pretty crappy apartment building. It made me thankful for my own place, no matter how messy it was.

"Finally! Did he give you any trouble?" Rose called back. Jasper and I walked into the kitchen, where you could see the tiny living room. It was separated by a small island.

"Not at all, but look who I ran into." Jasper said, stepping to the side so Rose could get a better look at me.

"Bella?" She asked, cocking her head to the side, grinning slightly.

"Hey Rosalie." I gave a small waive, feeling a tad bit out of place. It was awkward knowing that Edward would be here in a few moments, and the fact that they both knew I was only here for him made it just a little bit worse.

"Wow, you look so different, but… exactly the same," She said with a laugh, shaking her head slightly as she looked me over, focusing on my tattoos and face more then anything. But she was smiling, which is always a good sign.

"Jasper? I hope you got a lot because I need to get fucked up, now- Bella?" I whirled around quickly, feeling my heart slamming in my chest almost painfully. I wouldn't be surprised if they could all hear it thumping.

Edward was standing in the doorway to the living room in nothing but a towel that hung low on his hips, small drops of water running down his muscled chest and that delicious V shape that made me go stupid with lust. I've never been so jealous of water in my entire life.

"Hi, Edward." I squeaked. Fucking squeaked. Clearing my throat, I tried to concentrate on his face rather then his abs. He pushed some of his wet hair out of his face, looking embarrassed and ashamed.

"Um, what I meant was, did you get some booze?" He corrected himself, straightening up just a little as he focused his gaze on Jasper, who was sitting at a Bar stool with a cold beer in hand.

"What are you talking about? There's already booze here. I got pot though, it's in my bag if you want some." Jasper answered, oblivious to Edwards murderous glare and flaming red cheeks. This was clearly something he did not want me to hear.

Rosalie smacked him hard on the back of his head, glaring at her twin with icy blue eyes.

"Jasper you idiot, he obviously doesn't want her to know. I'm sorry Bella, I think Dad dropped him a few times on the head when we were little." Rosalie apologized, wringing her hands as she stared at me with concerned eyes, her gaze flickering between Edward and I.

"Don't worry about it. I smoke too, it's no big deal. Um, Edward, could I talk to you for a second?" And maybe help you remove that towel of yours?

Surprised, he nodded, seemingly too embarrassed to form a sentence. He spun around quickly, grabbing his towel with one hand and tugging at his hair with the other. My god, even his back was sexy…

It was hypnotizing to watch the muscles of his back move with each step he took. He was just so…so, gorgeous. I almost crashed into him when he stopped to open a door, holding it open for me as he flicked on the lights. It was a small bedroom without any windows in it. The walls were white, and I felt the urge to paint something pretty on them. If it was one thing I hated it was unpainted walls. They just had so much potential.

"Bella, I don't know how to say this, but I don't want you to think any less of me for smoking pot. I promised I haven't been doing it a lot. I mean, lately I have, but I can explain-" He started to ramble. Apparently Jasper wasn't the only one with the habit.

Placing one finger on his lips, thrilled at the sensation of his soft skin beneath my finger, I shushed him gently. His vibrant green eyes widened slightly, but he shut up immediately. I could feel the heat rolling of off him.

"I would in no way think any less of you Edward, don't ever think that. Besides, how much of a hypocrite wouldn't I be if I got mad at you for doing something that I do myself?" I questioned, moving back from his still form. While I was talking, he'd parted his lips slightly.

I sat down on the bed, crossing my legs beneath me- this was a safer distance. I didn't want to do anything foolish. Just friends.

When he didn't say anything, I decided to keep talking. "How come you didn't tell me you lost your job the other day? I mean, I can understand that you didn't want to tell me everything else, it's really none of my business, but I feel like such an ass for going on and on about how great you'd be as a doctor. I don't care if you were a garbage man for a living as long as you're happy. Hell, my opinion shouldn't even really matter to you." I said honestly, picking at the blanket with one tattooed hand.

Edward sighed, sitting down beside me, shifting the towel slightly. If it was up to me he wouldn't be wearing a towel at all. Suddenly RayJ's words rang in my head. "You haven't had sex in over two months. Two months!"

Don't I know it.

"So Jasper babbled, huh?" He asked, evading the question. I nodded, motioning for him to go on.

"I just- you looked so hopeful, and with everything that- of course I value your opinion- I mean. Ugh, I'm not making any sense." He muttered, closing his eyes briefly.

"Jasper told me what happened, so you don't have to tell me. I just want you to know that you don't have to lie or hide things from me. I mean, I know we aren't exactly friends who hang out all the time, but I do consider you as one of my friends. What I'm trying to say is that I don't want our friendship to start off with lies and half truths. Because I'd like us to be, you know, friends." I said awkwardly, rubbing the back of my neck. But at least I'd said it. It was out there and up for grabs.

Edward looked slightly disappointed for some reason, and he didn't meet my eyes.

"Friends… I'm kind of at rock bottom right now. I don't know if I'd be a very good friend to you." He said carefully. I put on a blank mask to hide how much his words hurt me.

"I have a friend who actually, literally lives in a dumpster. I'm pretty sure you can't stoop lower then that. Besides, I'm not expecting much from you. I just think that there's a reason I've ran into Jasper twice in a row now, and I don't feel like tempting fate." I said, trying to get him to change his mind.

Edward grinned, lifting his head slightly.

"The mighty Bella Swan believes in fate, eh? Well, I wouldn't want to piss off fate." He mumbled shyly, looking at me sideways. I bumped his shoulder lightly with my own, ignoring the skin to skin contact.

"I just think everything happens for a reason." I defended, standing up.

"You should probably get dressed, so I'll go out and chat with Rose about bras and tampons, you know, real girly shit," I said with a grin, making him laugh loudly. Shaking his head, he rose from his place too.

Hesitantly, he lifted a hand as if to touch my hair or face, but decided against it, letting his long, elegant arm drop. I walked out, my face on fire.

Did I really just have that conversation with Edward Masen?

"Did you guys get to talk?" Jasper asked as soon as I entered the living room. I took the seat next to him as Rosalie worked on some snacks. Checking out my nails for a while, I decided to answer before he pissed himself.

"Nah, we decided to have wild crazy sex instead. Unfortunately, it didn't last very long," I said with a dramatic sigh that could rival Jasper any day. He gaped at me for a few seconds while Rosalie snorted loudly, shaking her head.

"I like to think I have more stamina then that." Edward said from behind me, making me jump. Seriously, the guy had a talent for sneaking up on people.

"Hey Edward, could you come help me with the food?" Rosalie asked before I could come up with something witty. I silently thanked her, because I think Edward's good looks broke my brain.

He was dressed in jeans and a tight fitted black tee shirt with Boondock saints scribbled elegantly on the front. His hair was sticking up everywhere, still damp. And god did he smell good.

"Sure," He answered, walking over to her side quickly.

"You cook?" I asked, surprised. I'd never take him as the domestic type. He looked like he should be on a runway, not this tiny kitchen.

Now that I knew he was single, my mind seemed to be on overdrive. He probably wasn't ready to date anyone for a while, but if I stayed close while he got over little miss psycho, I could grab him before anyone else got their filthy claws on him. He'd been interested in me once, why not again?

"Cook, clean, bake, mix, you name it, Edward can do it. He is excellent in the kitchen, and other places." Rosalie said, giving me a sly look over his shoulder. She was almost as tall as him. I grinned when his cheeks pooled red, hunching his shoulders slightly.

Even now, he was still the same guy on the inside.

"Really now?" I teased, loving the way he cleared his throat awkwardly, glaring at Rosalie quickly.

"You've met my mother Bella, there is no way in hell she'd ever let me out of the house without learning how to clean and cook for myself." He reasoned, ignoring the other remark. I felt a thrill go through me as my name practically rolled off his tongue.

"Elizabeth, right?" As if I didn't know her name. She'd yelled at me more then once growing up. She'd even showed up at my house once, but she stopped yelling at me after that. No, after that she'd look at me with pity and sigh that same old sad sigh. It used to bug the hell out of me.

"Yup, that's her. God I love that woman, she makes the most amazing food. I can't wait for thanksgiving!" Jasper blurted, a little tipsy already.

"So you're all going back to Washington for Thanksgiving?" I asked conversationally. It was hard not to stare at Edwards face as he concentrated on what he was doing, a little crease appearing between his perfectly sculpted brows.

"Yeah, we do it every year. Our dad comes over to Edwards house and his dad will be there, sometimes. If he's not in Olympia or Seattle that is." Rosalie explained, putting some old jazz tunes on. I recognized Frank Sinatra's voice right away. Jazz was one of my guilty pleasures, and I usually got most of my work done while I listened to the catchy, soothing tunes. Listening to jazz was like being high, creative wise that is.

"What about you?"

"Um, I'm actually spending it with Edwards old boss, Carlisle Cullen. He and his wife sort of adopted Alice Brandon, one of my closer friends, a few years back. Emmett used to live with them for a while too when he was a teen." I decided not to tell them that this would be my first thanksgiving.

I'd always seen it in movies, and I enjoyed all the discounts that came with holidays, but I never really celebrated anything.

"You told me you were going to live with Emmett and his parents when you left," Edward said suddenly. He stopped chopping vegetables and turned to look at me expectantly. He stared at me openly, and I suddenly felt naked, as if his intense eyes could see straight through me and all my bullshit.

"Uh, yeah… Emmett's mom, my mothers sister, she's dead. And his dad is in jail because of it to put it like that. So if you guys ever do meet Emmett, don't bring up his parents." I never lied to anyone about what happened to them anymore, because they were my aunt and uncle, but also because me explaining it to people stopped awkward conversations in the future when Emmett was present.

"And I don't know, I used to lie a lot back then. Not something I'm too proud of but, its true. I apologize though." I said honestly, ducking my head slightly. At least stuff was being laid out in the open now, no matter how stupid I felt bout it. Edward nodded, going back to his chopping.

"Don't worry about it. It's all in the past. But, um, did you, uh, lie about anything else that day?" He asked hesitantly. Jasper stood up abruptly and walked over to the couch, turning the huge TV on to give us some privacy. Rosalie walked out too, going into another room, presumably her bedroom to change.

"No, I told the truth about everything else. And I meant all of it." I said quietly, gazing up at him through my lashes. He nodded, not looking up from his task.

I often used to speculate on how my life would have been if Edward came with me rather then stayed behind in Forks. Would we still be together? Would I have met Alice? Would I have walked out of my RV that night and get Roxanne? Would I have bothered to call Emmett as often if he was with me? How would my life had been if he'd only said 'yes' back then?

I guess I'd never know, but I used to lay awake at night and think about it. I grabbed the ring that still hung around my neck. It wasn't something I was ashamed off, but it was a little private.

"Emmett told me you still had that," He commented after a moment of silence. My head snapped up, and he averted his gaze quickly when I caught him staring at my face rather then the ring. We were acting like young, fumbling teens.

Whatever happened to the confident Bella Swan I usually was?

"Yeah. I like the way it looks, and, well, it reminds me of you." I stuttered slightly, embarrassed. He grinned, dropping the knife as he pulled on a chain around his neck. My old ring fell on the front of his t shirt.

"Seriously?" I stared in shock at my old ring. It used to be my favorite, because my Grandmother had given it to me without Renee knowing it. It was also the prettiest ring I'd owned at the time.

Hopping off the bar stool, I made my way around the island and grabbed it lightly, staring at the old, worn sapphire stone. I could tell it had been worn, because it had lost some of it shine, and it had a small crack in it.

Edward grabbed his old ring too, the same silly grin on his face.

"You know, I had a hard time believing Emmett when he told me. I mean, five years is kind of a long time… But, I still have yours, so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised." He almost whispered, and I realized how close we were standing.

I backed away, trying to breath normally. Not only did he manage break my brain, he made it impossible for my lungs to function normally around him too. Who'd ever think Edward would be worse for my health then cigarettes?

He straightened up too, and was about to say something when the doorbell rang, signaling the arrival of one rowdy bunch. Edward excused himself to answer, so I grabbed a beer and plopped down between Rose and Jasper, feeling comfortable now that I was able to breath again.

"He is so into you," Rosalie whispered, giggling much like Alice would. I furrowed my brows, glancing over at her.

"He's been moping around the apartment for the past two weeks, looking for a job and a way to just bump into you on the street or something. He still doesn't have a job, but at least now he doesn't have to worry about not seeing you again." She winked, taking a swing of her own beer.

"Nathaniel! Nice to see you," She said seductively, making the guy who was very clearly gay grin at her. He sauntered over to the couch, kissing her lips lightly before he straightened up, standing with one hand on his hip.

"Honey, you need to touch up on those roots, this is just not acceptable." He said, and I almost expected him to snap his fingers in her face.

"Nathaniel, this is Bella Swan, an old friend from Washington. Bella, this is Nathaniel, Jasper and Edwards basketball buddy." She introduced us, ignoring his jab at her hair. I shook his manicured hand, and it was softer then a babies bottom.

"You play basketball?" I asked, surprised. He was probably ten times more girly then I could ever dream to be. Not in a drag queen kind of way, but there was definitely a hint of makeup on his handsome face.

"Please, as if I'd pass up an opportunity to grope any sweaty guy without a shirt on. Besides, it helps me stay in shape." He explained, sitting down next to Rose, crossing his legs in a very feminine way. I'm surprised his junk didn't scream out in pain.

"Bella, you should come meet everyone else." Edward said from the doorway, a kind smile on his face. I grinned back and stood up to meet the rest of their friends, who surprisingly enough seemed to all be males. Most of them were probably Rose's colleges, while I could tell that a few where defiantly strippers.

And, of course, they had a chubby friend, because the night just isn't complete without a chubby dude.

"It's nice not to be the only girl for once," Rose whispered in my ear before she pushed me into Edward, who caught me before I could spill anything. He kept his hand on my waist as I greeted everyone, sending chills through my whole body.

This was definitely going to be an interesting night.


AN: Review :)