Preface

"Someone's at the door!" squealed tiny, four-year-old Bella Swan. She started squirming in her seat, anxious to escape the doting hands of her mother to run downstairs and see who it was.

"Hold still, Bella," Renee chided her eager child. "Your father will get the door."

"But it's probably Edward!" she protested. "I want to go see Edward!"

Renee smiled at her daughter's eagerness. "Edward can wait a little while. I just want to finish braiding your hair. I'm almost done."

Bella made a face of plain dislike. "I hate braids," she grumbled as she folded her arms across her chest. The young girl usually ended up releasing her long brown hair from their pleated restraints with the help of Edward and his sister Alice.

"You look so lovely in braids, sweetie," Renee protested gently.

"But Emmett and Jasper always pull on them," she whined. "And they always make fun of me. They say it makes me look like a brat." Then the young girl paused. "Mommy? What does brat mean?"

The woman laughed at her daughter's confusion. "Don't pay any attention to Emmett and Jasper," she instructed Bella as she finished tying the bright red ribbon around the end of the long plait of brown hair. "There you are sweetie. And please, try not to get your dress all messed up."

Bella made another face and picked discontentedly at her dress. "I hate wearing dresses." And before her mother could say another word, she raced downstairs to greet her best friend.

"Edward!" she shouted as she skipped the last couple of steps. "Edward, look at what I found yesterday!"

The little boy was sitting on the couch with Charlie when he jumped at the sound of his friend's voice. He whipped around and his coppery, bright red hair followed him. Esme, Edward's adoptive mother, loved keeping his hair long. It was a unique color and she often said it was a waste to keep it short. Edward didn't mind it either; he didn't like having his hair cut.

"What did you find?" he asked excitedly. Bella pulled a flat, tiny piece of stone from the pocket of her red dress and held it up. Edward's bright green eyes widened with awe and excitement as he eyed it. "Wow!" he exclaimed. Then he paused. "What is it?"

"It's an arrowhead! It's what the Indian peoples used to kill other peoples with!"

Edward's ginger brows furrowed as he took the artifact from her. "Really? This doesn't look like it could kill anyone."

Bella rolled her eyes. "That's 'cause it's not sharpened, dummy. Daddy says they used to tie them to really long sticks and stab people with."

The young boy's expression lit up. "Let's sharpen it, then! I want to use it on Emmett. He used my toothbrush again on purpose."

"Sure." Then she looked around the tiny living room for something that could help them sharpen the tiny arrowhead. "Oh, Daddy has a knife sharpener. He uses it to sharpen his fishing knives." The young girl turned to her father with large brown eyes. "Daddy, can we use your knife sharpener?"

Charlie chuckled at her innocent expression. "I don't think so, Bells. Why don't you and Edward just look for sharper arrowheads?"

Two pairs of eyes widened simultaneously. "Yeah! That way we have extras!"

"Let's go!" With that, the two children rushed out of the house and into the woods they knew only too well.

"Stay close by the house!" Charlie called after them. "And don't wander off the trails!"

The children waved their acknowledgment of the warning and rushed into the woods. They knew the forest like the back of their hands, so they weren't worried about getting lost. The forest was their domain, their kingdom. They had nothing to fear in these dense woodlands.

Immediately, Bella led Edward to the creek that ran through the forest to show him where she found the arrowhead. They started sifting through the silt and the mud in hopes of unearthing another one. Completely heedless of her mother's threats, Bella wiped her muddy fingers all over her pretty red dress.

When the search for more arrowheads started to get boring, the two of them turned climbing up to their favorite tree trunks instead. Edward pulled two lollipops out of his pocket and handed the green one to Bella while he kept the brown one for himself.

"Gross, brown," she grimaced as she watched him stick the candy in his mouth. "Why do you like the brown ones? They're nasty."

Edward stuck his tongue out at the little girl. "They're chocolate. I like chocolate."

She shrugged at her friend's weird preferences and contented herself to eat her own sour apple lollipop. She relished the tangy sweet taste that spread across her tongue.

"Bella?" Edward asked as they sat on their respective tree trunks, swinging their legs back and forth. "Do you want to get married?"

The little girl furrowed her eyebrows. "What are you talking about?"

"I asked my Dad what being married meant and he said it's when two people spend a lot of time together and do things together. And they stay that way forever."

Bella's eyes widened. "Forever?"

The young boy nodded solemnly. "Forever and ever."

Then she grinned widely, showing off her slightly green teeth. "Then let's get married! We can be together forever!"

Edward smiled back. "Then we have to give each other rings."

A thoughtful frown replaced Bella's excited expression as she looked at herself. "I don't have a ring to give you." Then her eyes lit up with an idea. "How about I give you the arrowhead instead?" She pulled the ancient artifact out of her pocket and handed it to him.

He took it reverently. "Okay. Then you can have my lucky buffalo quarter." He took the coin he carried with him at all times from out of his back pocket and put it in Bella's small palm. "Don't lose it," he said sternly.

"I won't," she promised as she carefully slipped the coin in her pocket.

"Now we're married." Then he leaned over and kissed her on the cheek.

"Now we're married," Bella agreed. Then without warning, she poked him in the shoulder, screamed, "Tag! You're it!" and slid off her tree trunk to run off before he could tag her back.

The years went on and tag and arrowhead searches gave way to school and parties. But the one thing that remained was Edward and Bella's close friendship.