CHAPTER 5

BELLA POINT OF VIEW

Why can't I ever be on time anymore? Rosalie and Alice had already left to grab something to eat at the dining hall, while I was still picking out my shoes.

Fuck it, I thought. I tied up my white Keds, grabbed my blue leather Marc Jacobs handbag and ran to the dining hall.

I was up all night rearranging outfits, that when my alarm went off, I pressed the snooze button five times. I jumped into the shower, not even blow drying my hair. I didn't pick out what I was going to wear last night, like I usually do, so I had to throw on something fast. I'm pretty sure I'm wearing my horizontally ripped black skin tight PacSun jeans with a plain black leather belt, a white v neck T shirt, and an old black suit jacket with three quarter length sleeves, perfect for scrunching up above my elbows. As I stared at my reflection in the mirror, with the few minutes I spared, I realized I needed something to brighten up the outfit. Alice had left her make up bag behind, so I searched through that quickly. I found some L'Oreal lipstick in Luscious, a royal purple type of color. I spread it smoothly and thoroughly. I probably spent way too much time making sure that it was all even. I quickly applied mascara and slipped on some oversize black Prada shades.

As I was running, I realized that my hair was probably dried by now, but all frizzy and wild. Wonderful, why don't we disgust Edward even more?

Alice and Rosalie had already left the dining hall, so I cursed myself even more. I grabbed a cup of coffee and a plain bagel, and ran to my car.

EDWARD POINT OF VIEW

We were all standing by Bella's Audi, waiting for her. I kept telling myself that it was one day, and I could control myself and then everything would be fine.

"Oh, look how adorable she looks," Tanya cooed. She was dressed in a yellow flowery dress, which was very cringe-worthy, again. But she was talking about Bella, who had just appeared. She was walking quickly, looking disorientated, and…really urbane. How could she only be seventeen, yet look so mature?

"Did you dress her this morning?" Alice asked Rosalie.

"No, I thought you were going to," Rosalie answered. "I love it."

Her outfit was so cool. That's the only word I could describe it. Her vibrant purple lips completely offset her wild and disordered hair. Another thing about Bella that made me smile, her remarkable outfits. Her style went beyond the potential of peers. I'm sure if I would have seen her on the street somewhere, I wouldn't have even thought about how old she was, just that she had unparalleled confidence.

"Sorry, sorry, sorry. You can kill me, if you want. I hit my snooze button way too many times," she explained. She unlocked the car and started to get in. "Okay, three people in the back, one in the front," she said around the bagel that she was holding in her mouth.

Tanya spoke up first, "I think us three girls should go in the back, that way we'll have more room, no offense Edward."

"Are you sure? Doesn't someone want to work the radio?" I asked desperately.

"We can DJ from the backseat. We just hook up Bella's iPhone," Rosalie answered.

I took deep breathes before sitting in the passenger seat. Edward, get over her. She's just one stupid girl. Are you going to ruin everything for a quick fling with her? No. It's not worth it.

Bella turned to me and just stared. I couldn't see her eyes behind her sunglasses, but from her facial expression, I could tell she was panicking. "Let's get this show on the road," I said, cheerfully.

Fuck my life.

BELLA POINT OF VIEW

Fuck my life.

"Rosalie, music," I announced. She's always been DJ, it's just her thing. I started the car, and began the two hour drive to Seattle.

"We shall start with our tradition: A-Punk by Vampire Weekend. We play the song at the beginning of any long car ride," Rosalie informed them.

"Now, girls," Ms. Denali said. "Edward and I wanted to tell you that since we are off school grounds, we are not your teachers anymore. So call us by our first names and talk about anything you like."

Hmm, calling Edward, Edward. Sounded like a good deal. My mood lifted a tiny bit.

"Start the music, Rosalie," I announced. My stereo system blasted the beat. A lot of the time I was so concentrated with driving and the song, that I didn't even notice Edward sitting right next to me.

Okay, not true. I'm always aware of Edward.

"I'm going to the gas station before we get on the freeway," I screamed over the music.

Buddy Holly by Weezer came on next, and I couldn't help but sing to the song.

After a few minutes, I reached the gas station. I filled up, and paid for the gas, and looked in the car and at Edward. He was so adorable. With his dark wash jeans, Vans, and a black long sleeve sweater over a blue button down. I had no idea how he could wear the simplest clothes and look so hot. His slight stubble and messy hair made shivers run up my spine.

Oh, gosh, stop Bella. Stay focused. You will get him in enough time.

After a few Hush Sound songs, True Affection came on. I groaned and begged Rosalie to turn if off.

"Please Rosalie, you know I hate this song!" She turned it low, but not off.

"What? Why do you hate this song? It's so catchy," Tanya announced. I rolled my eyes.

"Bella, do you want to tell the story?" Alice said sweetly.

"No! There will be no story telling while I am driving the car."

"Calm down, Bella," Edward laughed. "I'm sure the story isn't too embarrassing. Go on." He turned around in his chair and faced Alice. I just groaned and focused on the road.

"Okay, so when we were freshmen, Bella had this crush. It was a guy from her swim team, a senior, in fact. His name was Christian Romero," Alice announced.

"No way, I know Christian Romero," Edward said, in disbelief.

"Really?!" I asked panicked.

"Nah, I'm just fucking with you," Edward laughed. I just shook my head and tried not to smile.

"Well, she used to stalk him on Facebook," Rosalie added.

"Okay, stalk is a strong word," I said, defensively.

"Yeah, but not strong enough," Alice said. "She loved him. She would watch him swim, and then dragged us along. She became friends with his girlfriend, so that she could talk to him. Anyway, True Affection was Christian's and Summer's song. The song, Summer told Bella, they had sex to, practically every night."

"Ooh, tough break, kid," Edward said. I bit my lip, to keep from smiling. I love it when Edward talked to me.

"And his girlfriend! She cursed Summer Stanley to the moon and back," Rosalie said.

"Stanley, huh? So that's why you don't like her," Edward said.

"That and many, many other reasons. Was today not a good enough example? She humiliated me. Who does that?" I ask, in disbelief.

"Oh, no. What did she do now?" Rosalie said. "Do I need to smack her around a little?"

"First of all, she asked me, in front of the entire class, where Taylor was," I said, angrily.

"No!" Alice said.

"What a little bitch! Like she has any right to even bring Taylor up around you!" Rosalie said, outraged.

"Wait! Who is Taylor?" Tanya asked.

"Taylor Roffer," I replied.

"Bella's boyfriend," Alice answered.

Tanya replied 'ahh', just as Edward said, 'boyfriend?' abruptly.

"He's not my boyfriend," I announced. "Well, kinda, but not really." It was silent. "We have a very open relationship."

"Which means," Edward enforced.

"That we can hook up with anyone we want, but when we are together, we are together. But Taylor uses this as an excuse to fuck every girl within a five mile radius," I said evenly. "So," I said slowly. "If I happened to, maybe, hook up with someone over the summer, it wouldn't have been cheating because at the time Taylor and I weren't together, so we weren't together. Get it?"

"Yeah," Edward smiled. "Seems like a pretty raw deal for him, though. I mean, it sounds like he isn't really attached."

"Thank you!" Rosalie screamed. "I could kiss you right now, but it would be wrong on so many levels." I cleared my throat at that. "That is what we have been telling Bella this entire time!"

"But this relationship is good for me too. I mean if we didn't have an open relationship, there would have been those guys that I would have missed out on," I reasoned, even though I was positive I would have lived my life just fine without those happenings.

"Yeah, but if you didn't have a relationship at all, then there would have been so many more guys," Alice said.

"Well, I like Taylor. I don't mind being with him. He's simple. He likes me, and that's all I need," I said, firmly. "And he's sweet."

"Then why do you hook up with other guys?"

"I guess I like variety. There's nothing wrong with that. And sometimes I get lonely, and Taylor isn't around," I said, softly.

"See! You shouldn't be lonely. If Taylor was a good boyfriend, then he would there all the time, but instead he's busy having sex with Jessica Stanley!" Rosalie worked up to a great climax, but then realized at the last second, the whole sex with Jessica thing was a sensitive subject, instantly shut up. I sucked in a sharp breath.

So I lied. I did care about the Jessica thing. How could I not care? Taylor had been my boyfriend for nine months, and then he had sex with a close friend of mine. It was a sharp jab in the stomach to hear he did it with Jessica. Taylor knew that I didn't like having sex with him, so he went to Jessica. He picked Jessica over me, I could never let that go, no matter how much I thought I loved him.

I tightened and loosened my hands on the steering wheel. The awkward silence was getting unbearable. I felt Edward's gaze but didn't dare look at him. I was humiliated. I didn't like people knowing that Taylor cheated on me. So I cheated on him, as much as I could, but by the end of the year, I stopped. It wasn't worth it to have a meaningless make out session with a guy that I didn't even like, just to spite Taylor. I wanted Taylor, but didn't want him, whatever that means.

I jumped when my phone started ringing, the first piece of sound in a while.

"Here," Rosalie said, very gently. "It's Taylor."

I took the phone and wiped away a tear that I didn't even know had escaped. I stared at the phone for a second and then pressed the green rectangle.

"Hey, what's up?" I said as happily as I could. I was very aware of the car full of people that were listening at the moment.

"Hey, baby, it's so nice to hear your voice. I missed you."

"Yeah, I missed you too. How was Greenland?"

"It was awesome. You should have come, Bella. Why didn't you?"

"Ah, you know, I wanted to spend the summer with my girls," I said, making something up, really quickly. Really, I knew it would just be a summer full of uncomfortable sex, and heartbreak.

"Well, I am in your room right now, and you are not here. What's up?"

"I have to go to Seattle to get some stuff for the car wash, did you hear about it?"

"Yeah, I did. Sounds fun. I can't wait to go and see you kill Mike Newton during your campaigning."

I laughed. It seemed like everyone had faith in me, except me. "Yeah, maybe."

"So how did you score a day pass on the first weekend of school? Suck the headmaster's cock?"

"No, you perv, I just had to meet some conditions."

"Hmm, well hurry back, I want a proper greeting tonight."

"We're coming in late tonight, I don't know if I'll be able to see you."

"Don't worry; I can sneak into your room, just like last year."

I laughed, recalling the happy memories of when our relationship was young and untainted. When we use to get so excited every time we saw each other and that him sneaking into my room at night was really bad-ass.

"Yeah, that will be fun."

"Anyway, I picked up my schedule and it looks like we have English together. How's the teacher?"

"He's actually sitting right next to me." I turned to Edward.

"Really? Should I be worried?" He laughed. I wanted to answer, yeah, yeah you should be worried.

"No, don't worry, I won't pull a Taylor on you," I replied evenly. I heard Rosalie and Alice whispering happily.

There was silence on the other line. "Bella, baby, I thought we were over this. Jessica means nothing to me."

"Yeah, I know," I said, instantly submerging into my submissive state with him again.

"Okay, well I'll see you tonight."

"Maybe, I'll see," I replied, in defiance.

"Bella? Are you alright?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. Hey, I'll talk with you once I get back. Bye." And then I hung up. I dropped the phone in the cup holder and kept silent.

"Are you happy?" I asked and turned to face Alice and Rosalie.

"Not until you break up with him," Alice said stubbornly.

"So what else did Jessica say?" Rosalie asked, changing the subject.

"I don't feel like talking right now. Ask Edward, he was there," I said, still a little shaken up over the phone call.

"She asked why Bella wasn't with him," he said, still staring at me.

"I hope you slit her throat," Rosalie replied.

"I just told her I didn't want to be there," I said softly.

"And then?" Rosalie asked.

Both Edward and I were quiet. We didn't want to bring up the hicky part. "She brought attention to my hicky," I said quietly.

"Oh, that thing," Alice said, lifting my hair. "I think it's cute. Like a little souvenir from a night you didn't remember."

"Speak for yourself," I said, laughing. I was getting out of my mood.

"Who is that hicky from?" Tanya asked.

"A guy she met a week before school started," Alice said, secretly. I heard Edward clear his throat.

I pressed my lips hard together to keep from smiling. I could feel my cheeks getting pink. I didn't dare look at Edward.

"Ooh, do tell," Tanya said.

"It was nothing. Just a brief fling before I left."

"Did you guys have sex?" Tanya asked, wanting more information. She was like another Jessica Stanley.

"No," I said, softly. But my cheeks, I knew, were bright red by now. I looked at Edward, who also stole a glance at me and gave him a small smile before turning my attention to the road.

"Do you two do anything else?"

Edward started coughing, and I thanked him mentally for the distraction.

"Edward, that sounds awful. You know its flu season, you should get that checked out," I said, concerned.

"You're right, you know-," he was cut off by Rosalie.

"You stop avoiding the subject," she said pointing to me. "And you, stop helping her," pointing at Edward.

"It wasn't a very physical relationship," I said, outright lying. "He wasn't very good looking." I was smiling so big, that I turned to look out the other window, so they couldn't see me cracking up.

"Oh, that's a shame," Tanya said.

"But, Bella," Alice protested. "I thought you said he was the hottest guy you've ever seen." I instantly turned as a tomato. I can't believe Alice just divulged that.

"Temporary insanity. I guess I just thought he was better looking than I remember because I too stressed over starting school again. It happens," I explained. Tanya, Rosalie and Alice looked confused, I smiled. But when I looked over at Edward, he was smiling smugly.

"Well, that's terrible," Tanya commented.

"Yes, it is," I said, finally looking at Edward. He was staring at me, shaking his head. I could tell he was fighting back a smile too, by the twitch of his lips. "It was very verbal. We talked all night. At one time, I sucked all the conversation right out of him. He is very…deep."

Edward was taking a sip of water at the time, and then promptly sprayed it out, when he heard me say, 'I sucked the conversation right out of him'.

"Don't get that on my leather interior," I warned him. "Control yourself, Edward."

"Sorry, the water tasted funny," he said, evenly. But his green eyes were lighting up in amusement. I didn't hide my smile this time. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and smiled a crooked smile.

The phone rang again, and this time when I picked it up, I was happy.

"Hello?" I said without looking at the color I.D.

"Bella, its Emmett. Jasper's here too. We have a great idea for the car wash. Are Rosalie and Alice there too? Put us on speaker phone."

I did as he commanded. "It's Emmett and Jasper," I announced.

"Hi, ladies, Mr. Mason," Jasper said, formally. "Alice," he said in a low voice.

"Hi, baby!" Alice chirped. "What's up?"

"Emmett and I have a proposal."

"We're listening," I replied, wearily. The last time they had a good idea, it ended in almost setting a tree on fire. Apparently, smoking pot in the middle of a forest is not a good idea.

"So for the car wash thingy-mabob, you know how the girls are wearing bikinis and washing cars?" Emmett started.

"Yeah."

"Well, the boys would like to offer their services as well. We figured that underclassmen girls wouldn't be interested in seeing senior girls in bikinis. I mean if they are, that's totally fucking cool, but," Emmett said.

"You want to take off your clothes and wash cars?" I asked, in disbelief.

"Yeah, we want to help the cause," Emmett said, innocently.

"Psh, you just want all the little girls fawning over you, you pedophile," Rosalie laughed. "You're eighteen now, you can't associate with minors."

"If I remember correctly, you are still a minor Rosalie. And you definitely associate with me."

"Three more weeks. Three more weeks until I turn eighteen."

"Okay," I said. "That's a good idea. I'll call some guys from the team, and then some others."

"Don't worry, Bella, we got it covered. And we already picked out our outfits," Emmett said, slyly.

"No speedos!" I shouted.

"Very funny, we have class. We'll just wear swimming trunks, good enough for you girls?"

"No clothes would be better," Rosalie answered.

"Enough flirting, you two can have phone sex later. Emmett, have you told your dad yet? I only told him it would be girls," I asked.

"He said it was no problem. So we're having Mr. Mason and Ms. Denali there, as well? Are you guys dressing up, or should I say, dressing down?"

I turned to Edward and raised my eyebrows. "No, thank you. I don't think Mr. Cullen would like to see his new employees half naked." Maybe Mr. Cullen wouldn't, but I sure would.

"Party poopers. Well have a good day. Rosalie, I'll see you tonight, and Alice, Jasper says he'll talk with you later. Bye Bella."

"Bye." I hung up the phone and turned the music back on.

"Ooh, I can't wait for next weekend. It's going to be so much fun. I can't wait to see Mike Newton's face when he sees how many people will show up. Yay, Bella will be president!" Alice cheered.

"Yay," I said sarcastically.

"Why aren't you happy, Bella?" Alice asked, dejected.

"Because I would win because you guys helped me. How would that be fair?"

"Mike had his younger sister doing all the dirty work for him. We are like your vice presidents. We do all the dirty work so you look good. It's practically the definition of a vice president during the campaign. This is politics. All you need to do is be a good president and let us take care of the campaigning," Alice argued. "How would it look if you openly criticized Mike?"

"She's right," Edward said. "Vice presidents are like the attack dogs."

"It would look bad on you. But if I said something bad about Mike, people would listen and wouldn't care that I'm being hurtful, because I'm not the one who wants to be president. See it now?" Alice asked.

"But I don't even know why I want to be president anymore," I said.

"Remember the class trips?" Rosalie said. "You said that this school would be so much better if each grade could have their own class trips. You were going to set up a tutoring system that could give juniors and seniors community service hours, perfect for their college applications. You were the one who came up with the idea of having a movie projected on the chapel wall every Friday night so that it would reduce the amount of sneaking around on Friday nights. Don't even try to tell us that you would be a bad president if you came up with all these ideas, even before you got in office."

Before I could respond, my phone rang again. "Man, I'm popular today," I commented. Edward rolled his eyes and looked out the window. What's that about?

"Hi, Mom," I said. I hated it when my mother called. I didn't like my mom in general.

"Bella, dear, why didn't you tell me you were going to be in Seattle today? Your dad and I would have visited the school and have lunch with you."

"Mom," I groaned. "I just needed some stuff for a school project; it's not a big outing. And you don't need to visit my school every month."

"Why not? We're its biggest benefactors; I think we have a right to visit sometimes. And Carlisle told me about the car wash. It sounds like a grand idea, it's really too bad that we will be in Cabo next weekend. But don't worry, I sent a donation check in the mail, and it should be there by next Saturday."

"Okay, thank you." One thing about my mom, was she was very generous. So I knew that that check would be a big help towards the computer lab.

"Now sweetie, I have been meaning to ask you, did you get the box, with your dress in it?"

"Yes, and no way am I wearing that."

"Oh, God, is she talking about the white frilly thing?" Alice asked. I nodded.

"Why not? It's a beautiful dress, all it needs is a little accessorizing." Accessorizing huh? I already pictured the dress with a red velvet blazer and black leather riding boots. I loved making my mom mad.

"Actually, I think you're right. I'll wear it," I said, smiling.

"Bella," she warned. "Don't cut up the dress or dye it a different color."

"I promise I won't cut it up or dye it." I turned and smiled at Alice. She had already voiced her opinion of the dress, which included dying it dark pink and cutting the hem much shorter.

"Okay, well, I'll tell Mr. Cullen that I want a large ball next time we visit. You can wear your dress and everyone will dress up and look proper."

"Mom, don't make them do that."

"Why not?"

"Never mind, I'll talk with you later." She said good bye and I hung up.

"Planning another ball?" Rosalie asked.

"Yep," I said.

"So what are we going to do to that dress if we can't cut it up or dye it?" Alice asked, crestfallen.

"I was thinking leather boats and a red blazer," I said, stealthy.

"And red lipstick!" Alice said, happily. "We need to go to Sephora."

"Okay, well we're almost there. About fifteen more minutes. So should we go to Pearl first?"

"Yeah, then we can go to American Apparel and Sephora. Also, we need to go to the post office. I ordered expedited shipping on the shirts and Polaroids. Then we can go the CVS, and look for soap and sponges and buckets. What else?" Alice asked.

"Um, Emmett and Jasper wanted Alice and I to get them some clothes at American Apparel, so it looks like that will be a big trip," Rosalie said.

"Well, you guys can go to American Apparel and I'll go to the art store," I said.

"Oh, I'll help you girls," Tanya said, cheerfully to Rosalie and Alice.

"Great," Alice said slowly and unenthusiastically. But Tanya didn't even notice.

"Edward, you want to go with them?" I asked him.

He turned around to see the three girls giggling excitedly. "Um, I'd rather go with you."

I'd rather you didn't, I thought.

I parked and got out of the car to stretch. I reached my arms up over my head and flexed my legs. Three guys walked by and whistled at me. I blushed furiously and dropped my arms. I giggled nervously and ducked my head into the car to get my bag. I hope Edward didn't see that.

"Okay, we'll call you when we're ready," I said and started walking off. I felt Edward run up next to me.

We didn't talk the entire time to the art store or even in the store. I kept looking at him, waiting to hear him address me in some way, or even acknowledge my existence. Finally, in the store, I turned to him and looked him right in the eye.

"Why don't you talk to me? Why don't you even look at me? I feel like I'm a lemur to you. Are you completely disgusted with me that I'm so young or just not as pretty as last week? I'm sorry I'm not as old or as fashionably excessive as Tanya, but I deserve to be treated like a human, you know," I said, indignantly. I felt good that I finally told him all of this. All of yesterday and today, he had been making me slowly angrier.

"God, Bella. You know for someone so fucking smart, you are really dumb," Edward said and walked off.

I was hurt by his statement, but I didn't dare show it. I picked up many bottles of paints, brushes, and then headed over to the parchment paper roll. It was very big. I set my bag and paints and brushes on the floor and tired to pick it up. I barely got it off the ground an inch, before giving up and setting it back down. Leaned against it and thought about how I would do this.

"Bella, don't hurt yourself," Edward said and bent down to pick up the roll. He carried it over to the counter, and then to my car. The entire way I was staring, captivated, by the movements of his muscles under his shirt. He stopped walking abruptly, but it took me a minute to realize that he was waiting for me to open the trunk.

Edward heaved it in, using even more muscles. I forgot that I was openly staring, until he turned around and waited for me to put the rest of the stuff in.

"Checking me out, Bella?" he said, smiling. This boy was so bipolar. First, he was laughing with me in the car, then he wasn't looking at me, then he was calling me dumb, and now he's joking with me again.

"No," I said, unfazed. Actually, Taylor did have some muscles but it was all in his legs, considering he was a runner and soccer player, nothing like the ones in Edward's back. "Let's go get the soap and sponges."

I picked out about forty sponges. We were probably going to have ten girls and ten boys in all, but now they could all have two. I bought five barrel type buckets and three bottles of dishwasher soap. This should be good.

Edward, again, helped me carry these. I smiled gratefully, but again, he wasn't looking at me. What is up with him? He is so weird. But of course, that doesn't stop me from being so attracted to him.

"So, what's next?" Edward asked. I ignored him and picked up my phone, calling Alice.

"Are you guys almost done?" I asked.

"Actually, we just got to American Apparel, we already picked up the shirts and Polaroids. Could you two maybe come and get them?" Alice asked.

"Yeah, sure," I said. I turned to Edward. "We're going to pick up some stuff from Alice and Rosalie. Let's take the car," I said.

Edward wordlessly got into the car. We drove in silence the two blocks to American Apparel. "You're a really good driver," Edward commented.

"Thank you," I said, surprised. "Probably why I'm always picked to be designated driver."

"Well, Alice and Rosalie trust you," he said.

I didn't know how to respond to that, so I was just quiet.

The minute we walked into American Apparel, we knew it was a mistake to come. Alice tried sucking me into their shopping spree while Rosalie kept daring Tanya to try on the most outrageous outfits. I picked up the shirts and Polariods and headed out, to Alice's dismay.

Edward and I had nothing to do but stand by the car. I finally sighed and opened the door and reached for the glove compartment. I opened it and took out the pack of cigarettes that were in there.

"Taylor's," I explained to Edward. I took two and lit them in my mouth and handed one over to him. After some hesitation, he took it.

"Don't worry, they will be in there for at least another hour," I said nodding my head towards the store.

"So, what's the deal between you and Taylor?" Edward asked.

"Why do you care? You're just my English teacher," I said smiling. Finally, he was talking to me again.

"Bella," he said, pained.

"What, Edward? You send out so many mixed signals, that I don't even know what we are right now. That night, we were together, yesterday, we were student and teacher, which you made very clear, and today we're friends? What the fuck do you want from me, Edward?"

"I don't know. I want everything. I want to be your teacher, friend, and…boyfriend," he said, quietly.

"Well, you can't have everything," I said.

"I know, and that's what makes it so goddamn frustrating," he said, as he ran a hand through his hair. I wanted to run my hand through his hair. I even lifted my hand a little, but then brought it back down, cursing myself.

"Well, as a friend, I could tell you that," I said, smiling. I leaned in close, as if telling him a secret. "That I'm only staying together with Taylor Roffer to make my English teacher jealous. But shh, don't tell anyone that," I said, and put a finger on my lips, and smiled wickedly.

"Oh, Bella. It's hilarious that you think I would be bothered by a silly high school couple. I already know that the relationship is meaningless," he said, with a tight laugh.

"See, that's what you think now," I said. Just wait until Monday.

"But," I said, more serious now. "I was going to break up with him at the beginning of the summer, but then he left school early to go to Greenland, and I haven't seen him since. I'm not that much of a bitch to break up with him over the phone. It's hard though, I've been with him for a year now, and then all of a sudden I wouldn't be with him."

Edward was quiet.

"So, what about you and Tanya?"

"What about us?" We both took another cigarette.

"Are you two together?"

"No way, we are just friends. No one for you to hate," he laughed, making a Summer Stanley reference.

"I was fourteen, give me a break," I said, and gave him a playful hit.

"Yeah, sure. I'm just glad I don't have a Facebook for you to stalk," he said, still teasing.

I blushed. "Haha, very funny," I said, sarcastically.

"So, you're a swimmer," Edward said to himself. "I dated a swimmer once."

"Best sex of your life, huh?" I joked, really hoping his answer was no.

"Nah, only a few dates. Always smelled like chlorine though," he commented, wrinkling his nose.

"The benefits of a salt water pool, no chlorine," I said.

"So what else do you do? Amaze me, please," Edward said.

"What are you talking about?" I turned to look into his green eyes.

"You are captain of your swim team, you have the highest GPA in the school, all the teachers, including the headmaster, are smitten with you, you're incredibly popular with loyal friends, and are most likely going to be Student Body President. What else?"

"You really want to know?"

"Come on, we're almost at perfection," he said.

"I'm captain of the field hockey team, I was student body treasurer last year, I was picked last year to go on the students/teachers retreat, and I was prom queen in my sophomore year."

"Prom queen, sophomore year? I thought prom was only for seniors," he asked.

"My boyfriend was a senior," I responded.

"Of course, how could I think otherwise?" he said, sarcastically. I raised my eyebrows at his tone of voice. "Are you sure that's it? No student ambassador? National honors award? Humanitarian project in the near future?" he said in disbelief. "Not thinking of interning at NASA or assisting in open heart surgery?"

His attitude irked me. "You know, I'm far from perfect. I didn't make debate team captain. I didn't get first place in the 200 I.M. at league finals last year, I got third. I can't run fast, I barely made field hockey team captain, and can hardly walk in heels. I read way too much, sometimes mixing reality up with what I read in Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte. Animals hate me, and I'm very messy. I can't put on my own makeup and can't pick out my own outfits."

"Oh, please, so you don't get first place in everything, and you have some bad habits, that you'll probably grow out of," Edward reasoned.

"I have the highest GPA because unlike normal parents, mine don't think B's are good enough. And I don't know if you remember, but my boyfriend cheated on me. I hate being touched by people, which is why my boyfriend cheated on me."

"That's probably right," Edward said casually, after a minute.

I laughed. Whenever I tell Rosalie or Alice that, they get mad at me for even thinking that's why he cheated on me.

"So, you still haven't convinced me," Edward commented. "I still think you're perfect."

"You've only known me for about a week," I laughed.

"That's all I need," he said.

Thinking of how I never looked perfect in my parents' eyes, I appreciated what Edward was saying. It felt nice knowing that no matter what short-comings I had, in Edward's eyes, they didn't matter. I turned and kissed him on the cheek. His stubble tickled my lips.

"Thank you," I said. "And yes, friends kiss each other on the cheeks."

"Really?" he said. He kissed me on the cheek, but held his lips to my cheek, not swayingin the slightest. His closeness was so comforting. I closed my eyes and leaned into him, breathing in his heavenly scent of Old Spice deodorant and Drakkar Noir cologne. We stayed like that for the few minutes, until we heard the tinkling voice of Alice approaching.

"Bella!" Alice chimed. "Wait till you see what I bought you!"

Alice was skipping over with two huge American Apparel bags in her hands. Edward jumped a foot away from me, we dropped our half smoked cigarettes to the ground instantly and stepped on them.

When Alice got to us, I knew she was suspicious of my glowing cheeks.

But she shrugged and began loading them into my trunk. I turned to Edward and shared a secret, relieved smile.

"Who wants lunch?" Tanya asked. "I'm starving."