There are six finalists for MissAlex's and Larin20's OneShot Lurkers Challenge. This is one of them.

Details/rules of this contest can be found under chapter one.

If you leave a review, that is your vote.

You are only allowed to review/vote for ONE of the six stories so please read all six before you make your final decision.

***VOTING ENDS MONDAY AUGUST 24TH, 2009 AT 8PM (EST)***

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WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY

Written by Hopeless Romantic79

Author's profile page: http://www(dot)fanfiction(dot)net/u/1717544/HopelessRomantic79

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I knew it was wrong. I knew it was sick, and loathsome, and creepy. I also knew her father would shoot me and my father would help him bury my body if I got caught. My right foot slipped a bit on the mossy branch, and I settled down further back against the tree to steady myself.

It was sick, and wrong, and all those other things, but I couldn't help but watch Bella brush her hair a hundred times in front of her mirror. She never did it in a vain manner like most girls would. Instead, the look on her sweet face was innocent and contemplative. I actually envied the brush in her hand, wishing I were the one running my fingers through her mahogany strands. The feeling in the pit of my stomach intensified.

She was standing in front of her dresser, still absentmindedly brushing her hair. Her expression was vexed, as if she were trying to figure out a puzzle in her head. I wanted desperately to know at that moment what she was thinking. Was there any possibility, even a small bit, that she was thinking of me?

My heart ached to know. I'd been in love with my best friend since we were children, which sounds ridiculous, but it was completely true. In fact, we'd spent many hours up in this exact same tree, on this exact same branch, talking and laughing and hating our parents and dreaming of getting out of Forks forever.

I had always loved her, but the beginning of adolescence had really thrown me for a loop. Suddenly, she wasn't just Bella, she was Bella, and my brain and body didn't know what to do with the new hormones racing through me. The beginning had been rather embarrassing, especially when I noticed her sweaters were filling in, in new and intriguing ways. Now, when she hugged me, I did all I could do to not get my hips anywhere near hers, to keep my hands firmly at her waist, to keep from burying my nose in her hair and breathing in her perfect scent.

She acted oblivious to these new developments, something which I blessed and cursed her for. Did she have any idea how I felt when she walked into the room? When her soft skin brushed against mine? When she wore that dark blue tank top that showed off her new body and made her practically glow from the inside out?

It had gotten to the point where I couldn't stand to be away from her, which is what led me to climbing the tree in the pouring rain, in the dark, risking life and limb to see her beautiful face. I hated myself for it, but it couldn't be helped. She was magnetic.

My phone suddenly rang in my pocket, nearly making me lose my grip as I teetered on the edge of the branch. Adrenaline pumped through my body, and I was in complete survival mode, all thoughts of Bella flying out of my mind. I managed to right myself, and fought my pounding heart and panting breaths as my phone rang over and over again. Gasping for air, I answered in a low whisper.

"Hello?"

"Edward? Are you OK?" Bella's voice sounded concerned. I chanced a glance through the window and saw she had buried herself under her covers, phone in hand. My heart sped up again, for different reasons.

"Yeah, I'm fine."

"Then why are you whispering?" she whispered back, then giggled.

"Uh… my parents are asleep. Don't want to wake them."

"But it's 9 o'clock," she said, confused again, and I mentally smacked my forehead.

"Err, they have to go to work early. I dunno, I wasn't really listening."

I could see her shrug, then she changed the subject.

"What are you doing for your English project? I'm still stuck on mine."

"I haven't really thought about it yet."

"Edward, you have to start soon! Otherwise we won't be able to hang out after school." I could almost hear the pout in her voice. "We'll work on it together tomorrow, OK?"

"Sure," I said, thrilled to have more plans with her. Anything to be near her.

I watched as she played with the tips of her hair. I was content to just hear her breathing. I dared to lean closer to the edge of the branch, trying to get a better look. My God, she was so beautiful. Suddenly, I heard her gasp into the phone, and saw as she recoiled from her relaxed position.

"Oh my God! Edward!" She sounded terrified. Her eyes were trained right on me. "Edward," she hissed. "There's a man outside my window. Oh my God! I've gotta get Charlie…"

My heart sunk as she scrambled to her bedroom door, eyes still fixed on the window.

"Bella! Wait!"

"Edward, he's gonna kill me… I have to-"

"It's me."

"What?!" she practically screamed.

"I… I mean… I-" I stammered, trying to find the right words to make me sound as positive as possible. Now she knew I was an obsessed freak. She was going to hate me. "It's just me," I said softly, hanging my head. I didn't want to see her reaction. I couldn't bear to see the hate and revulsion in her eyes.

I heard her window slide open slowly, and I finally chanced a glance up. She was staring at me with an unreadable expression. Her eyes were wide and she looked so… dazed? Numb? Confused? Surprised? I didn't know, but I was relieved that 'hate', 'disgust', and 'anger' weren't among the varying emotions crossing her face.

She had lowered the phone from her ear. "Edward?"

"Yeah?"

"What are you doing?" She sounded incredulous.

"Uh… sitting," was my lame answer.

"I can see that… but why? It's pouring out there! Can you climb in?"

"Do… do you want me to climb in?"

"Why wouldn't I? You're going to kill yourself, get in here now!"

She reached out for my hand, and I gratefully took it, surprised at the little volt of electricity that shot between us. She gave a tiny squeak, and I could tell she felt it, too. Her cheeks were fiery red when I climbed through her window, sopping wet and dripping onto the carpet.

"Sorry," I mumbled, and avoided her gaze.

"Edward, what on earth were you doing lurking outside my bedroom window?"

I pinched the bridge of my nose, trying to think fast and not sound like a complete stalker.

"I.. was just…"

"Spying on me?" She crossed her arms across her chest, which did nothing to help the situation. My body reacted as I took in how the swell of her breasts rose and emphasized themselves. I fought back a tiny whimper as I felt myself harden at the very sight of her.

"No, not… not spying…" I couldn't seem to spit out a full sentence. She raised her eyebrows.

I decided to man up. I was fifteen years old, for Heaven's sakes, nearly a man, and she was nearly a woman. I had to tell her the truth.

"I love watching you," I said simply, and her mouth fell open in shock.

"What?!" Her brown doe eyes, which had already been saucer-sized, grew even further, and a tell-tale blush crept up her cheeks and neck.

"You. You're beautiful. I love watching you. You fascinate me."

"Do you… do you watch me sleep?"

"I wish I could. But it's kind of hard to see into your window when it's dark."

A small laugh escaped her lips, but it didn't sound amused. She sounded nervous and slightly hysterical. I reached for her hand to soothe her.

"Bella, please don't hate me."

"I don't… I couldn't… never… I just… Edward, I don't know what to say. I wish I could say it scared me. It should scare me. But…" She looked down at her feet, and I could tell she was shaking slightly.

I'm such an idiot, I thought to myself, kicking myself mentally. I gathered her into my arms carefully, trying not to startle her. She stiffened against my touch, but just as suddenly relaxed into my arms. Her cheek rested against my chest, and I was certain she could hear my heart beating out of control.

"Edward," she said, and her voice was muffled against my chest. "What does this mean? I'm so confused." She pulled herself away from me again, and the look on her face nearly broke my heart.

"It means I think you're beautiful. It means I don't want to be apart from you. It means… I want to kiss you."

She gasped. "Really?"

"Yeah. Is that OK?"

She bit her lip in contemplation. I thought I was going to die if she said no. I stared at her hopefully.

"OK," she said meekly. She looked me straight in the eye, and I knew she meant what she said. I knew that look well.

Carefully, cautiously, I gathered her back into my arms. I ran one hand through her soft brown hair, feeling its silky texture. I slowly stroked her face, and she leaned her cheek into my touch. Her eyes drifted shut, and her breathing had hitched.

It was really hard to not simply crush my mouth against hers, which is what my body was dying to do. But I knew Bella deserved more than a sloppy wet kiss and a grope in her bedroom. I cared about her too much.

Her lips were puckering in preparation for my kiss, and it made me grin. I dipped my head low and brushed my lips against hers gently. The kiss was over before I knew it, but I knew I needed more. Her grip tightened around my shoulders as she pulled me in for another kiss.

This time, I took my time. Her bottom lip slid between my lips, and I reveled in its softness. I couldn't believe this was finally happening. She felt so good in my arms, so right. I kissed her until breathing was absolutely essential, and then pulled away again.

Her eyes were slightly unfocused when they finally fluttered open. "Mmm, wow, that was nice," she said a bit breathlessly.

"Yeah," I agreed, and leaned my forehead against hers. My heart was racing. I craved her mouth now more than ever.

"Can we do it again?" she asked hopefully, and my heart nearly gave out.

"Oh yeah," I said, and captured her lips once more. This kiss was bolder, sweeter. She gripped my shoulders tighter, and I about died of happiness when I felt her tiny tongue brush over my closed lips. I'd never done this before… but it felt so right. My lips opened at their own accord, and though it was slightly sloppy, we managed to make the kiss feel wonderful and new… mature. My pants were growing tighter with each passing minute, and it terrified me.

Bella was growing more and more eager, and her hands were finding purchase in my hair. She was melting against me, and I loved how perfectly she fit against me.

I was about to slide one hand dangerously near her bottom, when my phone rang again. The sound broke the spell between us, and she jumped from my arms as if electrocuted.

I cursed as I saw my dad's number flash across my phone.

"Hello?"

"Edward, where are you?! Do you know what time it is? You are in serious trouble, young man. I'm coming to get you, and God help you if your mother finds out."

"I'm at Bella's," I mumbled. I heard Carlisle growl, and he hung up without another word.

"Carlisle's coming," I mumbled. "He's really pissed."

"OK," she whispered, rubbing her arms.

"Hey," I said softly, hugging her again. "Are you OK?"

She smiled at me. "Yeah, more than OK. Are you?"

"More than OK," I assured her, grinning back at her. I kissed her softly once, and then found myself going for more. She whimpered softly, and responded enthusiastically.

A few short honks blasted from the road, and we broke apart again. I loved the look of her mouth. It was red and slightly swollen from our kisses. My heart tripped at the sight.

"You'd better go," she said, and followed me down the stairs to the front door. "And Edward?"

"Yeah?"

"Don't climb my tree anymore."

My heart sunk.

"Use the front door next time," she grinned, and I smiled happily back at her, waving awkwardly goodbye.

When I slid into the front seat, Carlisle was livid. I heard words like "irresponsible" and "inappropriate", but most of it went in one ear and out the other. I glanced up at Bella's window, and saw her standing there, watching us pull away. I waved, knowing she couldn't see me, but needed to do so anyway.

Carlisle abruptly ended his tirade, and he looked at me out of the corner of his eye.

"You really like her, son?"

"Yeah."

"That's what I thought. Did you kiss her?"

I felt myself blush despite myself. "Yeah."

He nodded curtly. "Good. Very good. But let's keep this a secret between us for awhile, alright? Unless you want to explain why you sneaked over to Bella's house after your curfew on a school night?"

I shook my head quickly, and he chuckled. We were silent the rest of the way home.

Just before I went to bed, I got a text from Bella.

Sleep well, E. See you in the morning. Thinking about you. XXOO, B

My heart exploded again. I quickly texted her back, and then rolled over, content for the first time in a long while.

Can't wait to kiss you again, B.

I miss you already. E.

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