All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

This story contains underage drug use, profanity, discussion of date rape, and sexually explicit acts. Mature readers only please.


~High Anxiety~

Chapter 1~ Returning Home

Well I'm going home,
Back to the place where I belong,
And where your love has always been enough for me.
I'm not running from.
No, I think you got me all wrong.
I don't regret this life I chose for me.
But these places and these faces are getting old,
So I'm going home.
Well I'm going home.

Home- Daughtry

~Bella~

We pulled into the driveway, the smoothly repaved blacktop gliding quietly underneath his truck tires. It looked exactly the same, but entirely different. The house was identical to how it was when I left five years ago, but it was creamy/ beige now, accented by burgundy shutters and a newly constructed wooden front porch. The landscaping was new, shrubs and bushes neatly manicured and arranged in the lush green lawn. Considering he had been a bachelor for so long, I had expected the house to look like a rundown piece of shit by now. It was a pleasant surprise to come home to the complete opposite.

"Dad, please don't overexert yourself. I can get the bags," I pleaded, while I watched my father lift the overstuffed suitcases from his truck.

He eyed me sideways, disdainfully ignoring my concern. Charlie, ever the manly man, was never one to accept assistance or pity, particularly from a woman. He had recently retired from the Forks police force when had been injured during a robbery, and his wounded leg rendered it difficult for him to stand for long periods of time. As a result he'd decided to open his own private investigation company based in Seattle. It had been doing rather well, proving to be a lucrative career, as cheating husbands and wives and their scornful mates were apparently plentiful.

I noticed that had acquired a minor limp, but only because I was looking for it. His hair had gotten slightly gray, lightened tufts sprouting out from the sides of his otherwise dark, wavy hair. His face still held its youthful manliness. When I was little I used to think he was the most handsome man in the whole world, and that I would most certainly marry him one day. He was still one of the most handsome men I had ever seen, but my silly, childish desires to wed my father were no more.

"Bella are you kidding me with all this luggage?" Charlie scowled as he hauled suitcase after suitcase from his truck begrudgingly, grunting and muttering under his breath. I smiled sheepishly at him before cringing. The heaviest suitcase, completely full of shoes was the last to go.

"Dad, I'm a sixteen year old girl, confused about life and social expectations, simply attempting to navigate my way in this ever confusing world while discovering myself and trying to maintain a healthy self image. A large variety of clothing and shoes helps me search for my true identity while at the same time providing an outlet for self expression and creativity." I snickered childishly while slinging a large hot pink duffle bag over my shoulder. "Plus it makes me look cute."

"That's funny, Bells. What, did you rehearse that on the plane? Don't be such a smartass," he chided. I rolled my eyes at him as he dumped the last of the bags in the hallway and threw his arm over my shoulder kissing my head. "I'm glad you're home, Honey. I've missed you."

"I've missed you too, Dad. The house looks great. It's about time you made some improvements." In my five year absence since he and my mother divorced, Charlie had the entire house redone. The whole kitchen had been replaced and modernized; two more bedrooms and two bathrooms were added to the upstairs as well as the addition of a huge den connected to the downstairs living room. It was still my home, but at the same time…not. I loved that the house was clean and new, but hated that it was no longer the home I grew up in.

"Yeah well, Esme convinced me that it was time to update. It's a good investment in the long run."

"Esme?" I asked with an eyebrow quirked, pausing as I started up the stairs.

He jerked his thumb in the direction of the house down the block. The monstrous, ostentatious, ill fitted for the neighborhood mini- mansion that had been constructed and moved into a year ago by the Cullen family.

The block Charlie lived on was a long, wooded dead end street with only two tiny houses on it. Alice Brandon and her mother lived across the street in a style house identical to this one. But this newly constructed eyesore on the end of the block, set back a few hundred feet into the woods, made the two existing houses look like pitiful little shacks compared to it. It was bigger than the home Phil had us move into and I thought that was huge. It was a beautiful home, but it didn't fit in Forks…at all.

Along with other town gossip, Charlie had filled me in on the changes to the neighborhood on the drive home from the airport. However, he neglected to give me specific details on the residents of the Cullen home.

"She's pretty, I gather?" I wiggled my eyebrows teasing Charlie about being immune to a gorgeous woman's seductive wiles.

"Yes, Esme is attractive, and very happily married. She's just exceptionally persuasive and good at her job, is all." Apparently, Esme Cullen used to own an interior design company in Chicago before she relocated.

Whatever, Dad. Pretty woman sticks her knockers in your face and you drop a mound of dough to redecorate.

Typical guy.

I stopped on the landing of the stairs, and went directly into my old/ new room. The walls had been painted a soft sage green color, very soothing and serene against the bright white moldings and trim. There was a large picture window that faced the street and another that faced the side of the yard with a partially hidden view of the mansion. I dumped the bag on the naked mattress of the queen sized black wrought iron bed and opened the closet. It was big, but not nearly large enough to house all the clothing and shoes that I had brought.

It wasn't even my fault, really. I had to place blame on my mother and on my friends in California. Appearances were key to social status and quite frankly, I had grown tired of sitting in the background in my ugly, understated apparel with my nose in book, growing envious of the girls who wore pretty clothes and always looked like they were having such a good time. And with my mother opening her second overpriced trendy boutique in L.A. she supplied all the fashion I needed for free. Plus, I really liked having options. It was like playing dress up every day, getting to be whomever I felt like when I woke each morning. I liked very much not having to commit to one specific defining style, so I dressed eclectically, as my mother labeled it.

I opened the top drawer of the newly purchased black desk to find it empty, as were all of the other drawers in the room. I wondered what Charlie had done with my old furniture, and all of the stuff I had left behind in my mother's haste to be free from the binds of marriage to Charlie Swan..

Truthfully, it was weird being back here, almost as if I was trapped in an alternate universe. I had lived my whole life in Forks, until my mom finally couldn't stand being suffocated in this tiny town any longer and decided she needed to "find" herself. It took five states, five different schools, three different boyfriends for her and five different groups of friends for me before she finally settled in California.

That's where she met her husband, Phil. He had recently been signed to the LA Dodgers and with that promotion came a substantial pay raise, as well as our final move and my fifth school in as many years. They purchased a tremendous home in a posh, exclusive neighborhood with a pool in the park like yard, fit for an episode of MTV Cribs. My mother almost pissed herself when she saw the master bathroom and walk in closet. Money changed people, but my mother seemed to remain grounded, choosing to earn her own income with her boutiques. I was never allowed to be spoiled by Phil's' good fortune, however, occasionally, he would indulge me with something such as an iPod, or my car.

Across the street from that home resided Bree Fields, my stupid former best friend turned worst enemy –slash- slut who ultimately ruined my life, forcing me to move back with my dad. Horrid bitch. Just the thought of her made my skin crawl. Every morning that I woke up, I wished for her to spend her day on the toilet experiencing horrific diarrhea. I couldn't even bear to think of her at the moment, not wanting her to needlessly ruin another second of my life.

The irony of the situation with me moving back was that Forks, the same place that made my mother feel suffocated, made me feel like I could breathe freely for the first time in a long while. I hadn't even thought about the anxiety attacks that plagued my very existence, nor did I once feel like I was edgy or irritable being here. I thought to myself that moving back to Forks was probably the best thing I could have done under the circumstances. Maybe it was the gray skies or the steady thrum of the rain that was so calming. Either way, once I got through yet another terrifying first day at a new school, I was counting on smooth sailing and an easy year from that point on.

Charlie cleared his throat as he dragged the last of the bags into the bedroom. There were plain brown shipping boxes stacked against the far wall, wedged between the black dresser and matching armoire and I looked at Charlie questioningly.

"Your mother sent them," he said, rolling his eyes with a shrug. "Let me know if you need help. Oh by the way," Charlie paused at the door. "Alice is real excited about you coming home again, Bells. She…squeaked…when I told her." I laughed at that because Alice was quite possibly the happiest person I had ever been fortunate enough to call my friend and I could totally hear her squeaking. He disappeared down the hall leaving me on my own.

I thanked him and began opening the boxes. Apparently, Renee went ahead and purchased new bedding, matching curtains, a throw rug, and various decorative accessories for the room. The bedspread was white with lavender and sage green flowers scattered all over it, and I assumed she conferred with Charlie about paint colors prior to him actually painting. She included a framed picture of her and me, which made me somewhat sad but not necessarily homesick

After I unpacked the boxes, I spent the rest of the afternoon decorating my new bedroom and setting up my computer.

Once I had successfully stuffed all of my belongings into every crevice I could find, I made my way to the kitchen and discovered there was practically no food in the refrigerator. Charlie said we'd order a pizza for dinner but I took it upon myself to make a trip to the grocery store seeing as how I most certainly would not be consuming a bachelor's diet of frozen Hot Pockets and Diet Coke for the next year.

Charlie handed me my keys with a scowl and I smiled down at the pretty little keychain that held the keys to my pretty little car. I had been elated when we pulled in from the airport and I saw that my shiny red Audi convertible had arrived before I did, and was parked in the driveway. I knew it would be salt in Charlie's wounds though so I barely even acknowledged it.

"It's ridiculous," he said with a half-snort, always one for practicality, not style. "Gift from Phil?" Charlie practically spat out my stepfather's name. My mother's remarriage was a definite bone of contention with him.

I shrugged my shoulders. "It was a birthday present- he and mom picked it out. I wasn't expecting to be living in the wettest place in the country, otherwise I'd have insisted on something more appropriate…like a jet ski." I chuckled as Charlie joined me.

I had never had anything but admiration and respect for Phil. Not quite love, but as much affection as a sixteen year old can have for her thirty two year old step father. He adored my mom, and he was more a friend to me than a father figure anyway. But unlike my mother's actions, no one would ever replace Charlie in my heart.

"You do know that the convertible top is going to get destroyed with all this rain. You will probably have leaks, and mold and…"

"Thanks, Dad. I plan on getting a job, so I can replace the top, or put gas it in and take care of my needs on my own." I spoke with a bit more indignation than necessary. I kind of had the feeling that the new living arrangement was about to put a cramp in his lifestyle and I could only hope that he wasn't resentful of my unexpected presence.

Charlie's business was three hours away in Seattle. He also had a girlfriend who resided there, who he rarely spoke of, but made known to me nonetheless. When my mom asked him for his permission to allow me to live here again, Charlie was reluctant, informing her that he was often away from Forks for several days at a time. She assured him that I was an adult and I could take care of myself. Truthfully, the arrangement was ideal in my book.

"That isn't what I meant, Bella. If you need anything, do not hesitate to ask. I know I can't be here for you a lot of the time, and your mom said you were independent and mature for your age, but I am still your father and when you need something you come to me, understand?" I nodded, sort of stunned by the warm and fuzzy feeling of my father's protectiveness. "I uh… have a friend who has a job opening if you are interested." He pulled a small yellow business card from his jeans pocket and handed it to me.

"Big Billy's Party Time Fun? I'm not sure how comfortable I am with doing underage strip –O-grams," I said with a snicker, while turning the card around in my fingers. There was a clown holding a colorful bouquet of balloons on the front.

"Bella, please," he chided, with a disapproving glower. "You remember my friend Billy Black? Well his company supplies characters for kids' birthday parties. You dress up like a princess, go to the party for an hour and get paid in cash."

"What would I have to do at the party?" I asked, with my eyebrows furrowed at the thought. I wondered if I was to be expected to sing or something awful along those lines. I could dance pretty well and thanks to all the gymnastics lessons I had taken as a kid, I could do a neat backbend and a handstand. But performer I was not. All those lessons provided structure and the foundation for elegance and grace; however, I still managed to be a superklutz.

"I don't know, honey. What do princesses do?" he murmured, with a sideways glance.

"Alright, I'll call him tomorrow and see what it entails," I said, slipping the card into my purse. He nodded, seeming satisfied with my verbal accord.

~%~

When I returned from shopping, a very familiar voice was chirping excitedly in the kitchen, immersed in conversation with Charlie.

"Bella…you're here!" Alice screamed, throwing her tiny arms around me. We hugged excitedly, rocking back and forth.

"Hey Alice! I missed you," I replied warmly, stroking a silky lock of her dark, waist length hair. She looked exactly the same as she did when she we were twelve…exactly. Well, except that she had much bigger boobs now.

"Oh, I missed you too!" she said, clapping her hands excitedly.

"Bella, what the hell happened to your face?" Charlie interrupted. I automatically touched my fingers to the bridge of my nose, which had apparently begun to bruise.

"I walked into a giant two by four hanging out of the back of a pickup truck." I replied with a scowl, shrugging and rolling my eyes as if it were no big deal. It happened all the time. I could walk gracefully in a pair of three inch spike heels with no problem, but smashing into immobile objects and stuff regularly falling on my head was a common occurrence for me. He opened the freezer, handing me an old bag of peas as he shook his head in dismay. Charlie then excused himself with a wave, saying that he was heading out to Billy's, and that he would be home for dinner.

"You look so different! Your hair is so long." She grabbed a lock of my newly styled hair and tugged on it. "Wow, I'm so glad you're here now. Everyone is thrilled to see you again! Are you excited for school tomorrow?"

"Excited, and nervous, you know, first day jitters. Hey, do you and Rosalie still hang out with Jess and Lauren?"

"Eww, God no. They're way bitchy and totally slutty now. Well, Rosalie is kind of a slut too, but don't ever tell her I said that," she giggled. Her laugh was intoxicating; I had to chuckle right along with her.

"What am I going to say, 'Oh hey Rose, haven't seen you in five years, you look great and I heard you a whore?'" I asked, chuckling. It wasn't such a big surprise to me that Rose had turned out that way. She had always been gorgeous; tall, thin and big breasted, her long blonde locks flowing down like a supermodel. Even in first grade, the boys were ogling her. I remember in junior high school our gym teacher used to stare at her chest when she played basketball, and she would deliberately "forget" to wear a bra under her t-shirt. Rose had always liked to be the center of attention.

"Your car is freaking awesome! It's once of the nicest cars I have ever seen! I can't wait until it's sunny out and we can drive around with the top down like in the movies. What's that movie? Oh! Thelma and Louise! Only we're not criminals…but we could sooo pick up a hot guy like Brad Pitt. I still don't have a car. My dad says I'm not ready to drive because I don't pay enough attention to the road, but he's totally wrong. Still, I don't have enough money saved for the one I want, and I refuse to drive around in a piece of shit," she said wide eyed, as she enthusiastically helped me unload the bags of groceries onto the kitchen table.

I stood frozen with an eyebrow cocked at her. I had absolutely no idea what the hell she had just said but apparently, she was as nuts as ever. Since we were little, Alice did this sort of nervous rambling thing when she got excited. It could get annoying at times, but she was so cute that most people tended to tolerate it. I'd forgotten how…animated she was.

"Do you think that I could get a ride to school from you? Rosalie was driving me, but she always complains that she has to drive a million miles out of the way to pick me up, and then sometimes Edward and Jasper give me a ride but I hate riding with them because Edward drives too fast and sometimes he freaks me out, but I didn't mind so much when Jasper drives because I looooove to stare it him, but I don't think he even knows I am alive." She spoke so rapidly, I was waiting for her to take a long winded breath at the end which she never did. She kind of made my head spin a bit.

"Sure, Alice, I'll drive you. Who are Edward and Justin?" I asked.

"Edward and Jas-per," she corrected. She pointed her thumb in the direction of the big brick house down the block just as Charlie had earlier. "Jasper and Edward Cullen. They are step brothers, and they live with Carlisle and Esme Cullen. Oh, and Emmett. He's the older brother."

"So why does Edward freak you out?" I asked casually, as I leaned into the refrigerator to place a carton of eggs on the shelf. Charlie hadn't cleaned his refrigerator in like, oh, five years. It was disgusting and smelled like feet.

She rolled her eyes and said in a whisper, "He has issues. I personally think he might be a psychopath. He barely speaks to anyone and he only hangs out with Jasper and Emmett and a few other boys from school. He doesn't date anyone either. There is some speculation that he may be…gay." Alice gave me a wide eyed knowing nod. Her silky hair bobbed up and down over her shoulders.

"So just because he's quiet and gay means he's a psychopath?" I whispered back to her in confusion. It seemed like a very big assumption to me.

"No, he's just…he's just Edward. You'll understand when you meet him. And since he doesn't even speak to any of the girls here, it's kind of assumed that he plays for the other team. Though some of the girls think he's just a rich snob who thinks he's too good for anyone in Forks, but that just makes him more desirable, you know? He's major eye candy regardless. You'll see."

"So are Jordan and Ernest shy, gay psychopaths too?" I asked, sarcastically.

"Jas-per and Em-mett," she enunciated, a hint of annoyance to her tone. "Is there something wrong with your short term memory?" She handed me a loaf of bread from the table. Actually, the Prozac I took to assuage the panic attacks sort of made things cloudy at times, but I was not about to reveal that morsel of info unless absolutely necessary. Letting people know you are taking anti depressants for general anxiety disorder wasn't necessarily the best way to gain friends.

I rolled my eyes animatedly again. "Sorry. Jas-per and Em-mett." I deliberately overcorrected myself to make a point. "Do they have issues too or is it just Ed-ward?"

What the hell kind of names were those anyway?

She giggled, rolling her eyes back at me. "No, they are very normal. Jasper is so cute and he's kind of quiet too, but not standoffish like Edward. Jasper dates a little, but not much. He is more of a flirt. Emmett is very popular and he plays like, every sport there is. Rosalie has a major thing for him. She has definite plans to officially make him her boyfriend by Thanksgiving."

"That's very ambitious of her. Hey, do you want to eat dinner with us? We're ordering pizza," I asked her.

Her smile faded and she scowled. "Thanks, but I have to go to work. I have the dinner shift at the diner tonight. But I'll see you tomorrow morning at seven, okay?" She hugged me goodbye again. "Hey Bella? Welcome home!"

I watched her cross the street and disappear into her little blue house. Then, I took a big breath and sighed. Alice in large doses was going to take some adjusting to. I had known her most of my life and it seemed that she had definitely gotten more hyper as she'd gotten older. Her exuberance was going to take a toll on my anxiety unless she toned it down a notch.

Once I finished eating dinner, I headed up stairs to call my mother to thank her for the bedroom décor and to pick out tomorrow's outfit. As I knew too well, the first day impression would set the tone for the entire year. I tossed around cute and flirty looks with smart, mature sophisticated ones and an hour later my room looked like a missile went off, completely rendering my earlier unpacking efforts futile.

Finally, I settled on my favorite pair of dark tight jeans, a tailored white button down shirt that I liked to tie in the front over a craftily aged brown belt and a pair of brown heeled boots with a pointy toe. Stylish, cute, not too conservative.

I found my pajamas, powered up my laptop, and then I checked out my nose in the mirror. The swelling had gone down but I could easily cover up the bruise with concealer. I walked across the room the window to close the blinds and I fingered the new sheer curtains reverently feeling the silky fabric under my fingers. My mother was trying to make the transition more comfortable for me by purchasing the bedding, and I was entirely appreciative of her efforts.

From my bedroom window, I could see the front and side of the Cullen's enormous house lit up through the trees. The house was set far back into the woods, making it look even bigger and more pretentious at night.

I undressed, pulling off my top and jeans, tossing them into the hamper. Standing in front of the full length mirror mounted to the inside of my closet door in just a bra and underwear, I looked at the reflection wondering what the hell I was doing with myself. Tomorrow would be the start of a whole new life here in Forks…a whole new future. Clean slate, blank sheet of paper, fresh start.

Dear God,

Please let me have a good year here in Forks. Please don't let me have any panic attacks and don't let me trip and fall in the cafeteria in front of the whole junior class while I spill applesauce all over my new boots. Thank you for my new boots, by the way. Oh, and bless all the poor people and the sick kids and my mom and dad and Phil and Alice and say hi to Jesus for me.

Amen

~Edward~

"How are you today, Edward?" she asked, without looking up or making eye contact with me. I am pretty certain she avoided eye contact as a precaution. Like looking into the eyes of a lion, I sensed I made her uneasy. I knew it and I used it.

Yeah, I can be a prick on occasion, so what?

She sat in her ugly tan business suit with her legs crossed just enough so that she thought I wouldn't notice the visible run in her stocking. Her notebook was in her lap and the two hundred dollar Mont Blanc pen perched delicately in her fingers just waiting for me to say something profoundly insightful or deftly incriminating so that she could write it down, analyze it and cure me…or have me arrested, which is what I truly believe was her ultimate goal.

She would be highly disappointed today, as would she be on every other Tuesday when I sat in her office, trying to whittle away the fifty minute therapy session with minimal but satisfactory answers to her mundane questions with as little effort or detail possible. She knew I wasn't about to spill my guts to her. She knew damn well that I was an untrusting pissed off kid that was resentful and angry and bitter at the world for taking away the things that were most important to me.

And it wasn't without notice that she never once led me to believe that she thought I was innocent. Time after time, with subtle and obscure references, she would try to entrap me into a guilty admission. I fucking hated her guts for that. And I hated the last two therapists who felt the exact same way.

"I'm, fine, thank you. And you?" I asked, creepy politeness oozing from my words.

"Very well. So how was school this week?" She didn't bother to glance up from her pad while she scrawled notes.

What in God's name could she possibly be writing?

"School was the same as usual."

"Would you care to elaborate?" She still hadn't looked up.

"Not particularly," I responded dryly. Because seriously, what the hell was I supposed to say? That Forks High school was an unchallenging joke of an educational institution? That I knew more than the miserable teachers who were grossly underpaid and resented rich spoiled little pricks like me who lived lives of privilege while they ungratifyingly busted their asses in a classroom all day?

All right, Dr. Kate, since I'm bored, I'll dangle the bait just for the sake of some entertainment value.

Carefully, with a smile behind my tone, I said, "A new girl just moved down the block from my house. She's supposed to be starting school this week. "

Ah, there it is…eye contact.

Score!

She looked up abruptly, meeting my gaze, quickly averting it, and then back to her pad. "Have you met her yet?"

"Not yet. But from what I hear, she's very pretty. I am sure half the male population is planning on staking a claim before she even gets to homeroom," I said, with a smartass snicker. The males enrolled at Forks High School were craving fresh pussy, and hadn't seen anything new or worthwhile in ages. The new girl had been the sole topic of conversation for the last two days.

"And you? Do you want to stake a claim as well?"

Here we go…

Furrowing my eyebrows in confusion I asked, "And how would I be able to do that? I am afraid I don't understand the question, Dr. Kate. What are you asking me?"

"Edward, why did you choose to tell me about her? You could have spoken about any other event in your week, but you chose to mention the new girl. Why is that?"

"Because she is the only thing that isn't the same as last week, when you asked me the exact same question."

She sighed, clearly frustrated with my insolent behavior and lack of cooperation. "You have been my patient for fifteen weeks, Edward. And each of those weeks you come here, sit for fifty minutes and say absolutely nothing. I realize you aren't here under your own volition, but you could at least make it worthwhile for both of us to come to the session."

"What exactly do you expect from me?" I asked narrowing my eyes at her.

She hands raised in a pleading gesture. "I want you to open up. Give me something to work with. Talk to me."

"I have nothing to say. My life is completely boring; it's void of any excitement, entertainment or any real pleasure for that matter. I simply exist. I go to school, hang out with my brothers afterward, play some video games, and do some homework...maybe read a novel and go to bed. That's it. That is my day. Do you want to know what I ate for breakfast or…?"

She huffed with a resigned nod. "Have you given any consideration to playing baseball in the spring?"

Awww, she's gonna start this shit again? Fuuuuuck.

"Uh, no. I'm done playing ball," I responded curtly, letting her know this was not a topic that was open for discussion. Not that any particular topic could necessarily be considered as open, but this one specifically was none of her fucking business.

"Why is that, may I ask?"

No you may fucking not ask, stupid prying bitch.

I shook my head leaning my elbows on my knees.

Topic closed.

"Edward, I think that this is something of importance that we should discuss. It would be insightful to…"

I cut her off sharply stating my feelings. "It's not who I am. I'm not that person anymore, alright? Jesus…"

The popular, all American, baseball playing, good boy next door that every girl is dying to bring home to their mother died the night I was with What's- Her –Face.

Done. Gone. History.

Eddie Masen is fucking dead.

Now get the hint and change the subject before I throw that picture of your ugly kid at your head and walk out of this office.

"How are your panic attacks?" she said quietly, changing the subject. I suppose the growing hostility in my voice and my obvious tensed posture discomfited her. I knew I could be intimidating at times. I think that's why my whole damn predicament happened in the first place.

"Fine. I haven't had one in six months."

"Have you thought about going back on the medication?"

"Why would I do that? I don't need it anymore."

Jesus fucking Christ. This woman…

"Well, I think perhaps it would help your anger a bit, maybe lead you to put some perspective on things."

I dropped my head in my hand out of frustration, running my fingers absently through my hair. I really wanted a cigarette and a cup of coffee and to get the hell out of there. "No, I don't want the Zoloft anymore. It's nothing but a crutch and I am doing much better."

Besides, I have plenty of weed to calm my nerves anyway.

I didn't need to tell her that the primary reason I went off the meds was because mixing alcohol with anti-depressants was a definite mix for disaster. I was not about to have my weekends fucked up too.

"So, no meds then… If I may change our focus back to your new neighbor? Do you have plans to get to know her as a friend?" she asked, presumably working to gather some insight on my damaged fucking psyche and my apparent feelings of distain toward women in general.

Back to the girl again?

"Sure. I think it might be nice to get to know a sweet young lady and then have to explain why I am so distant only to have her run away from me screaming," I replied, sarcasm dripping from my tone.

"Edward, you don't need to be physical with a person to have a relationship with them. There are many ways to be intimate with a woman without actually touching. There's no need to have bodily contact with a friend."

I want to fucking rip my hair out in chunks.

Don't lunge across the coffee table at her. Don't do it.

I took a calming breath, my fists balled at my sides. "You see? This… This right here is what I am talking about. What you're basically saying to me is, 'Edward, you can have sex with a girl without forcing yourself on her.' You want to see my reaction to it. You are waiting for me to get angry, so I do what? Admit to something I didn't fucking do?" I stood up, kicked the leg of the chair and spat, "I'm done with this bullshit."

Slamming the door behind me, my chest heaving in agitation and anger, I didn't even need to look back to see her horrified expression. I wonder how she would handle this. Carlisle would definitely be getting a call.

I took the elevator down three flights to the lobby as I texted my brother Jasper. He said he was at Starbucks across the street, so I crossed, glaring at him while I ordered a double espresso. Leaning against the brick wall facing my car, I waited for him outside with a smoke while he finished up his conversation with the big titted blonde sharing the table with him.

As he approached my car I hit the electronic key and paused, staring disapprovingly at the cup in his hand. Without saying a word he tossed it in the trash. When I pulled away from the curb, he asked, "You have papers?"

I nodded toward the glove compartment, where he pulled out the package of rolling papers and began to empty the contents of a zip lock into the waiting sheet.

"You okay, bro?" he asked. I nodded twice, still highly agitated. He knew when I wanted to talk and when I didn't. My brothers, Jasper and Emmett, were the only people who really knew me. My parents knew the G-rated version of Edward Cullen, and as far as I was concerned, my mom was the only woman I could trust. I hated feeling like that, but I had no choice on the matter really.

Once we got into the town of Forks, Port Angeles a distant memory, I had calmed down and all but forgot about the shit therapy session that had occurred a half hour prior. My mind was fixated on smoking the joint that Jasper rolled. He made a fucking mess of it, but I couldn't drive and roll at the same time, and I'd be damned if I let him drive my car.

We were idling at a red light, while my gaze focused on a sweet little brunette walking down the street with as ass that made me want to cup it in my hands and bite a chunk off it. Jasper noticed her too, though neither of us said anything. She had her head down distracted, her eyes focused intently on her phone when I noticed she was about to walk off the curb right into a huge piece of wood hanging out of the back of a beat up old red pickup truck.

"She's gonna walk right into it," I said flatly.

"Yeah?" he countered. "Fifty says she'll pick her head up at the last minute." My instinct was to honk the horn to startle her into looking up, but I didn't want her or anyone else for that matter, thinking I was honking at her because she was cute. A sexual harassment accusation was all I needed.

"OOOOHHH fuck!" we yelled simultaneously, as she cracked the bridge of her nose right into the wood causing her to literally stager back a few feet. Her phone dropped from her hands, the battery cover popping off onto the sidewalk.

"All beauty, no brains," I commented flatly.

"It's a shame, really," he said laughing, as he dug in his pocket for the bills. "It's a good thing for her that she has a great ass."

"No, I think it's a good thing for us, Bro."

Once we got home, we smoked the joint out back, ate a late dinner with mom, and then I headed upstairs to bed. I noticed that there was a pause in the rain colliding against the sliding glass doors in my bedroom, so I took the opportunity to smoke. I pulled a cigarette out of the pack walking out onto the wraparound balcony that joined the three upstairs bedrooms. The September night air had a slight chill but not too bad- warm enough to go out sans a jacket. I took a deep drag, savoring the delicious rush of light-headedness and exhaled out, the damp air exacerbating the cloud of smoke. The weed from earlier had just about worn off and I was tired as hell.

I liked to take a few minutes at night outside, under the overhang of the roof to just enjoy the solitude. Someone was always talking, and it was rare that I was able to get a silent moment inside my own head. I slid down the brick façade, drawing my knees up to my face, resting my elbows on them.

For the first time in almost a year that I had lived in this house, I noticed a light in the upstairs window of the house down the block. Must be new girl's room, I assumed. I could faintly see her image beyond the window, featureless with dark hair that she had piled up on top of her head. She gazed out the window for a while and then she disappeared back into the room.

As I snuffed out the butt on the wooden balcony, I noticed her appear in the window again. This time, it wasn't actually her, but her reflection in a long mirror attached to the back of a door. I gasped and smirked as I realized she was standing there in just her bra and panties, her female curves soft and subtle through the glass and sheer curtain.

Oh, please take it off, sweetie. Please.

Come on…be a good new neighbor.

I bit my lip, shamelessly willing her to take the rest off while I debated on grabbing Jazz and Emmett to join me in the show.

Jasper would fucking love this shit.

Slowly, as if I was stuck in a dream, she took off her bra, quickly slipping a shirt over her naked torso to my dismay. I couldn't really make out too much detail, but from what I could see, she had a great set of breasts, average size, perky, swollen and all girl.

She was fucking beautiful.

I should really share this, no?

However, I realized that if I did let my brothers in on my newly discovered show, they would never leave my bedroom at night. I also chose not to intrude on this girl's privacy any longer than was necessary out of respect for Charlie Swan, who was a good man and had been nothing but kind to my family. Besides, the last person's shit list I wanted to be on was the town's Chief of police, retired or not.

I waited just a few more minutes before I retreated into the house, clicking off the lights, and having my way with the new girl, before we had even been properly introduced.

~%~