I do not own anything related to Twilight or the characters. S. Meyer is the lucky one.
Finally, four years of necessary college tedium was completed. Necessary to keep my dad off my back so I can do what I want to with my life. Charlie didn't exactly agree with my career plans when I graduated high school. That was one of the biggest arguments we had ever been in. I can still hear his words in my head.
"Absolutely not! I will not have my daughter forgoing college so she can go and play with horses all day." Charlie yelled.
"Dad it's not playing, it's…." I was cut off by Charlie's continued ranting. I knew better then to try to say anything more until he had finished.
"What kind of life can you make for yourself doing that? No stability, no money, no insurance! You will go to college and you will get a degree in something useful. After that if you want to try making a living doing something ridiculous, at least you have a fall back. God, you sound like your mother!" As soon as the last sentence left his mouth, I knew he wanted to take it back. I gave him a dirty look regardless. This was different then my mother's harebrained life choices.
"Dad, this shouldn't be a surprise to you that this is what I want to do. I feel like I have finally found my place in the world. A place where I am good at something for a change." I sighed, and then continued before he could interrupt. "I see your point, and I will make you a deal. I will do four years of college and get my degree. After that I get to do what I want, with no interference from you." Under my breath I added…."Even though I'm currently a legal adult,"
Charlie was staring out the window as he sank into his favorite recliner. "Bells, I just want you to have some security. I don't want to squash your dreams. If you promise to get your degree, I promise to butt out after that on what you decide to do with your life."
That had been a little over four years before I came to school at Santa Clara in California. I guess I had the typical college experiences. Too many papers, a few too many parties, and a best friend, my roommate Alice. We saw each other through everything. I took her to the ER when she broke her toe from kicking a wall during a drunken fight with her ex. Whiskey and Alice didn't mix well. She helped me escape from my self-imposed shell some. Having a roommate who lived to see your social and fashion lifestyle improve was nice most of the time. Even if it never brought me my "Mr. Wonderful" that Alice was always on the lookout for. Alice was someone I could always count on to tell it to me straight, and be there for me no matter what. I tried to do the same for her. Alice couldn't understand why I didn't date more, but there were things that I was still not prepared to share with her. I knew I would someday, but that day had not arrived yet.
Graduation was the usual crowd of family and friends. Charlie was proud to see me in cap and gown, taking way too many pictures. Emmett was here, and no doubt would do at least one thing to embarrass the hell out of me. He lived to see me turn red. His girlfriend Rosalie had to work her nursing shift in the NICU, so she had to stay home. Renee had called me that morning. Not surprisingly, she was stuck in Tibet on some pilgrimage. After the ceremony, Alice tackled me from behind with a squeal.
"Bella!!! We made it, we did it, isn't it so exciting! You have to meet my family!!" I didn't think her words per minute could go much faster.
"Alice, I have met your family, remember?" I put my hands on Alice's shoulders to try to dampen her bouncing a little.
"No, but they are all here today! Even Edward came!" She bounced around in a little circle.
"Wow. He came down off his high horse to grace your graduation with his presence? No pun intended of course." Alice rolled her eyes at my sarcasm and bad joke. She adored her brother Edward, even if he was a jerk to just about everyone. It didn't help that I was completely jealous of his life. Edward was one of the top young dressage trainers and riders in the Pacific Northwest. He was doing what I dreamed of doing. The fact that their family had money had made his road a little easier, but I couldn't deny he had worked his ass off to get where he was. Jealous or not, I also admired his talent and work ethic, even though I'd never actually met him. When I found out Alice Cullen was related to the Edward Cullen I had heard of, I about died.
"Yes, fortunately he didn't have a show this weekend, so he was able to come down. OH, there they are!" Alice screamed and ran across the grass to her parents, and her boyfriend Jasper. They were walking with Charlie and Emmett towards us. Esme and Carlisle Cullen were some of the nicest people in the world. They were frequent visitors to our school, and always took Alice and me out when they were in town. You would never know by talking to them that they were enormously wealthy. I could see where Alice got her looks though; both Esme and Carlisle were beautiful.
I could see a shock of tousled bronze hair behind Carlisle. I wondered if that was Edward. Alice confirmed my hunch screaming "Edward!!! I'm so happy you came!" and pounced on him with a giant hug. I was surprised he remained standing. Closing the distance to our families, my breath left my body in a sudden gasp. Oh my god, he was a god. That amount of good looks in a person that I knew to be enormously talented, that just wasn't fair! He looked to be about six feet tall, slender but muscled. His dark jeans were snug enough that I could see how fit he was. I slowly gazed up his body and found him staring back at me over Alice's shoulder. Green eyes, emerald green that contrasted with his bronze hair and, oh wow. Was I drooling? My blush gave me away as usual as I looked down.
Alice grabbed Edwards hand and began to drag him to where I was standing with Emmett and Charlie. "Edward you have to meet my best friend Bella!" "Bella, this is my big brother Edward." Edward smiled slightly and nodded in my direction, "Hello Bella." Oh my god, even him saying my name was like a little piece of heaven. I did my best to find my voice and not sound like a complete dork. "Hi Edward, it's nice to meet you. I've heard a lot about you." He gave Alice a sideways glance, she pretended not to notice.
"Edward, you and Bella have horses in common. That is what she wants to do now that she's done with school. Maybe you can help her out?" Alice tugged on his arm, and smiled up at him. Great, thanks Alice. All I really need is her making me out to be a charity case to her brother. I gave her a little glare and shake of my head, but she ignored me. Edward noticed though.
"What did that mean?" he asked, "You aren't really interested in horses, or you don't want to find out if I can help you?" He smirked at me, and now I was seeing why Edward Cullen got on people's nerves sometimes. I stood up a little taller and narrowed my eyes at him. "No, I do love horses, and I want to learn more about training and riding them in dressage. But I don't want your help as a favor to Alice. If you were to help me, I would expect to have to earn it. I would expect it if you saw I had potential for it." I put my hands on my hips as I told him this.
Edward's smirk disappeared. I could see a bit of annoyance in his eyes. "Well then Bella, maybe you should make an appointment to stop by my barn next week. We can discuss your potential more then." Then he turned and walked to join his parents.
Alice stared at me like I had grown a second head. "What?" I whispered to her. She shook her head.
"Bella, I've never seen someone talk to Edward that way, and still get an invite to his barn. He doesn't like to be challenged. I am the only one that can get away with it occasionally."
I snickered. "Well Alice, maybe it's time someone made him like it."
If it had been anyone else's graduation, I would have preferred staying home cleaning stalls. But your baby sister only graduates from college once. Plus I wasn't really eager to incur the wrath of Alice. She would expect my presence even if I had just lost a major limb. Fortunately the ceremony wasn't too long and drawn out. I would be back home tomorrow and return to my routine.
We walked across the grass to meet up with Alice and her friend. Our parents were talking with the family of Alice's roommate. I couldn't remember her name…Brenda? That wasn't right. I could remember a complicated 4th level dressage test, but not this girl's name. Guess that shows where my focus lies, where it always is, with horses.
I saw my little sister, a blur of a red robe with black hair come running at me. I braced for the impact as she crashed into me and hugged me with all her might, screaming into my ear. Yep, good thing I came, the wrath would not have been pretty. I looked over her shoulder at a slender young woman whose face seemed to be all brown eyes. She gazed up my body and met my gaze, and then blushed when she realized she'd been caught staring.
Alice grabbed my hand and pulled me to her friend, whose family was joining her as we approached. "Edward you have to meet my best friend Bella!" "Bella, this is my big brother Edward." Bella. That was her name. Since Bella means beauty, maybe that would help me remember. This girl was beautiful, and I usually didn't notice those things. She twisted her hands together and turned those huge brown eyes back up to look at me.
"Hi Edward, it's nice to meet you. I've heard a lot about you." Bella's voice was soft, almost soothing. The fact that Alice had been blabbing about me didn't escape my notice. Lord knows what she has been saying. I glanced sideways at Alice, who put on the innocent face that never fooled me.
Alice grabbed my arm and tugged. "Edward, you and Bella have horses in common. That is what she wants to do now that she's done with school. Maybe you can help her out?" Great, another wanna-be rider. That was all I needed. Alice tossing her friend on me to deal with. She probably didn't know a saddle from a coach purse. I looked back at Bella who was glaring at Alice and shaking her head slightly no. That wouldn't stop Alice, but I was surprised at the strength in the glare. Bella didn't look thrilled about Alice's revelation. This deserved a little digging.
I put a smart ass smirk on my face. The same one I use when the one of the local dressage queens tries to talk to me. "What did that mean?" I asked, "You aren't really interested in horses, or you don't want to find out if I can help you?" Bingo! That hit a nerve. Bella seemed to stand up at least 2 inches taller, and her eyes grew darker. Her jaw clenched momentarily before she responded with a short tone.
"No, I do love horses, and I want to learn more about training and riding them in dressage. But I don't want your help as a favor to Alice. If you were to help me, I would expect to have to earn it. I would expect it if you saw I had potential for it." She ended this little rant with by placing her hands on her hips. Bella looked up at me defiantly, almost daring me to tell her she didn't know anything. She was a puzzle. Clearly there was a passion there. Where there was passion, there was potential, even if there wasn't natural talent. There was more there then I could discover in the next few minutes, but I couldn't let Bella know that.
I frowned a little down at her, but still made the invitation for her to call me to make an appointment for a meeting at my barn. Before she could answer I turned and walked back to my parents. Glancing back I could see Alice's jaw was dropped. She looked at me and then stared at Bella. Okay, I may not have fooled Alice, but I could never fool her. The girl's voices carried over to me. I didn't hear all of their conversation, but enough to get the gist of it. Alice was shocked Bella had challenged me, and still I invited her. Bella clearly had enjoyed challenging me it seemed. She told Alice something about it being good for me. Oh yes, Bella was a puzzle. I would make sure she made that appointment with me.