Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns. I have nothing to do with the original Twilight. This plot however, is mine. Edward . . . . is not :(

Can I just say that I'm loving you guys right now. I was really nervous about posting the last chapter as I thought I'd get a load of shit about the situation with Rosalie but you all shocked me in the best way. Everything in this story is planned out and nothing is accidental or spur of the moment. And I love all of you guys for your support. Only 11 chapters over 800 reviews?

You. Guys. Are. AWESOME!

31st October 2009


"It's scary."

"It's not! It's suitable for both."

"It's creepy and weird. It's Halloween!"

I laughed at Rose's conviction on the matter at hand. It's not like it was something that was life changing but the both of us had our own opinions and it seemed that neither of us were willing to budge.

"Why do you think that?"

Her eyebrows shot up as if she thought I had gone insane. Considering that circumstances, I might have done. "Have you watched it?"

I held up the piece of paper in my hand, showing her the drawing on it. "Duh!"

"What the hell is going on in here?" We both turned to see Alice, Jasper and Bella standing in the doorway to the living room.

"Ah, Jasper!" I grinned and he stepped back minimally, looking at me in alarm slightly. "Your opinion is needed. Actually, all three of you can help." The looked at each other, clearly confused. " Nightmare Before Christmas? Halloween or Christmas film?"

"The clue is in the title." Bella shrugged, walking around and sitting next to me on the couch. "The nightmare part indicates a Halloween film." Rose grinned at me, slightly smug but Bella, seeing the look on her face, held up a finger. "But the fact that it's the Nightmare Before Christmas says that it's also a Christmas film." Rosalie's face fell and I laughed.

"I'm inclined to go with Bella on that one." Jasper agreed and Alice nodded along with her boyfriend. "It can be watched on both holidays. The fact that it's slightly scary and also focuses on Christmas means that it's appropriate for both."

"Outnumbered, Rose." I grinned and she slumped back in her chair, huffing as she folded her arms across her chest.

"You all suck." She muttered and we laughed. "Especially you, Jazz. You're my brother, you're supposed to side with me."

"Normally, I do but with this, I have to agree with Edward." I grinned holding up my fist which he bumped, chuckling. "Anyway, what brought this up?"

"Edward wants to get that creepy skeleton as a tattoo." She muttered, pouting at the four of us.

"Jack Skellington?" Bella sat up, a grin on her face.

"You know Nightmare Before Christmas?" I asked, raising an eyebrow at her, slightly sceptical.

She smirked at me before clearing her throat and sitting up straight. "There are few can who deny, at what I do I am the best
For my talents are renowned far and wide
When it comes to surprises in the moonlit night
I excel without ever even tryingWith the slightest little effort of my ghostlike charms
I have seen grown men give out a shriek
With a wave of my hand and a well-placed moan
I have swept the very bravest off their feet"

I laughed at her rendition of the beginning of Jack's lament as she sat there, looking very proud of herself. "Well, who would have thought?"

"Not you, obviously." She rolled her eyes, unable to stop herself from smiling. "Can I see?" She nodded at the paper in my hand and I handed it to her. She grinned at the picture I'd drawn of the famous skeleton. "Headless? Nice."

The shot of Jack I'd chosen was the part of the film during Jack's lament where he takes off his head. I knew that many people had a Jack Skellington tattoo but I wanted something a little different.

"Where are you thinking of getting it?" Jasper asked, leaning over and looking at the picture. It was a rough sketch but I knew that they'd be able to smooth it out in the shop.

"My right calf." They nodded in approval.

"It's still creepy." Rose muttered and I laughed, nodding.

"That's why it's called Nightmare Before Christmas." She rolled her eyes, flipping me off and we all laughed.

Things between Rose and I had been more relaxed over the last couple of weeks. She had opened up about her past and why she was the way she was and why she had relied on Emmett so heavily for so long. He had been the one that she'd had to lean on over the years since they'd moved to Forks that wasn't in her family.

He hadn't thought that he would ever scare her or behave the way he had. And now that he had, she didn't want to be around him anymore. A fact, he didn't want to accept.

Over the last two weeks, she had melded into our group, not really caring about the looks that she was getting from everyone at school. She still held her head up high as she walked through the hallways and didn't even glance at people as she sat in class. Emmett had tried to talk to her a few times but had been told to get lost, mostly by Jasper but Alice and Bella had had a hand in it as well. I didn't put myself in the middle, knowing that on some level, I was the reason for their break-up. Rose had stressed that it wasn't anything to do with me, that it was because she didn't like who she had become and she didn't like who Emmett had become.

After what we'd heard the day they'd broken up, I didn't completely believe her.

"When?" Alice asked, grinning at the picture Bella had handed to her.

"I actually managed to get an appointment for later on today." They looked at me, wide eyed. "Don't look at me like that. Just because you guys didn't know about it, doesn't mean I haven't been considering it for a while."

"What time?"

"Two." I glanced at the clock seeing that it was nearly eleven now. I would probably leave here about half twelve to make it to Port Angeles on time.

"Can we come?" Alice asked and I raised an eyebrow at her. "What? I've never been to a tattoo place before."

"I have." Bella grinned and I laughed, remembering how freaked she'd been when she'd had her tongue pierced. "Is it that same place?" I nodded. "With the guy with the weird accent?"

"No." I laughed, shaking my head. "There are other artists there. The guy that's doing mine is called Riley and he's completely understandable. I sent him an email of the picture about a week ago and we made the appointment for today. There's a woman there as well. I can't remember what her name was." I shrugged. It was simple.

"Doesn't answer my question." Alice whined and I laughed. "Can we come?"

"If you want." I shrugged and all four of them grinned. "I mean, there's not going to be much for you to do but you can come if you want."

"Great." Alice squealed, jumping up and down. You'd think that I'd told her that we were going to Disneyland or something. "That means we can get some scary movies and snacks for tonight." I rolled my eyes, knowing that Alice wasn't going to let the idea of watching scary shit and stuffing ourselves full of candy and other crap. At least my house was so far out we didn't need to keep an eye out for trick or treaters.

"Ali, baby, calm down, sweetheart." Jasper laughed, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. She pouted up at him and he laughed, kissing the top of her head. I glanced at Rose, who was smiling sadly at the two of them. I had to feel for her. Two weeks ago, she thought she had what the two of them had only to find that the boy she was with wasn't the one she had fallen for in the first place.

"I know. Why don't we go early and get some lunch before Edward gets his tattoo done." She giggled and I rolled my eyes, knowing that she would want to make a day of it.

"There's no point arguing, is there?" I asked Bella and she shook her head, rolling her eyes.

Alice knew that she would get her way so by eleven thirty we were piling into two cars and on our way to Port Angeles. Bella had been dragged into Jasper's dad's SUV that he had borrowed for the day. Rosalie and I were taking my R8, a fact she didn't seem to mind at all.

She had told me that she had a love of fast cars and she loved to tinker with engines. She was currently in the process of fixing up Jasper's car. They were working on it together, a bonding thing, it seemed.

"Shall we lose 'em?" I asked, knowing that now we were on the highway, I could easily overtake them.

She nodded, biting her lip and I put my foot down, skilfully manoeuvring around the three of them, hearing the horn blast as we laughed, essentially leaving them in the dust. I could just imagine Alice getting pissed at Jasper for not keeping up with the two of us, Jasper coming back with the fact that there was no way his dad's car could keep up with this vehicle and Bella laughing at the two of them from the backseat.

I glanced down at my phone as it lit up with a text. I asked Rose to check it for me and she raised an eyebrow. I nodded and she giggled, reading it.

"What does it say?" I asked and she grinned, glancing up at me.

"You're in for it now. Just make sure that Alice doesn't get hold of the needle when we get there." I laughed, shaking my head. "If you didn't guess, it's Bella."

"I thought so." I chuckled and she grinned. "Text her back saying that her warning has been noted."

"Done." She smirked as she dropped my phone where it's had been before. "I still can't believe that your parents got you an R8 for your birthday."

"Well, what can I say?" I shrugged, glancing over at her. "Gotta love being a doctor's son."

"I bet."

"Nah," I shook my head, slowing down when I knew that there would be a police check point. I hated driving slowly in my car but I didn't want to risk being pulled over and give my parents some reason to doubt that giving me that car was the right thing. Obviously, it had come with conditions. Safe driving was one of them.

We'd arranged to meet at LD's Woodfired Grill before we left and I chuckled as I glanced in my rearview mirror, unable to see Jasper's car behind us. Rose turned to glance out the back of the car, smirking as I slowed as we approached the town.

"Not sure where this place is." I advised Rose, pointing to the glove box. "Can you plug it into the satnav?" I grabbed it out and input the name of the restaurant, fixing it onto the holder I had on the dash as it figured out the fastest route.

It didn't take us long to wind our way through the town and find a place to park by the restaurant. She laughed as we climbed out, knowing that it would be a little while before the others arrived. I texted Bella, asking what the three of them wanted so we could order for them as we walked into the restaurant.

A hostess smiled at us as we walked in, looking me up and down. Rose scowled at her and I raised an eyebrow. She rolled her eyes, unable to fight a smile and I chuckled.

"Table for two?" She asked, smiling sweetly, batting her eyelashes in my direction, glancing at Rose, who stood there, looking every inch the ice bitch she was known to be in Forks.

"Actually, we're meeting some others here but we're a bit early. We're going to need a table for five." I took off my jacket and rolled up the sleeves of my sweater, feeling a bit warm now that we were inside the restaurant.

She glanced at my arms before blushing and grabbing some menus, leading us to a table. She told us that our waitress would be with us in a few minutes and I asked her if she could get her to wait until our friends arrived. She blushed again before nodding and walking back over to her station.

"She is so lucky that Bella's not here." Rose chuckled and I raised an eyebrow at her, clearly confused. "Come on, you really can't see it?" She asked and I shook my head, wondering what the hell she was talking about. "Bella likes you. As in likes you, likes you."

"What are you talking about, Rose?"

"God, why are men so stupid? You might be a genius but you're stupid sometimes." She laughed dryly. "Look, Bella likes you. It's obvious in the way that she is with you. It just hasn't clicked yet. Why do you think she got you that music paper? She didn't have anything to do with that and she got it for you anyway. She even had it monogrammed for you. What do you think that means?"

"I . . . I don't know." I said softly, letting Rose's words sink in.

"I know you're still clouded and wary and I . . . understand that. But the fact that we're sitting here, you and me," she gestured between the two of us, emphasising her point, "means that you're better than anyone else we know. You're better than me for sure. I wouldn't have been able to forgive someone that had done all of that shit to me. We might not be forgiven, but you've let us in and that makes you better than anyone else I know. And you've changed Bella. She's not the same girl she was before. She's different and it's good. You being here has changed her for the better."

"Yeah," I sighed, running my hand through my hair. "But she wouldn't have reacted the way she has if I was still the same kid that left. If I'd turned up looking the way I did when I left, nothing would have changed."

"You might be right." She shrugged, not really caring. "The fact that you look different might have been the initial reason she started acting differently but do you really think that's the only reason. She started to get to know you, Edward. And she obviously liked what she found." She took a deep breath, looking at the entrance to the restaurant before looking back at me. "She'd kill me for telling you this but I think you need to know. She feels bad about what she did to you, which you know," she was right. I knew that, "but what you don't know is that she's felt so bad about it, it's reduced her to tears."

"What?" That was new. Since when did Bella cry about all of this?

She nodded, looking down at her hands. "She's cried about it. She didn't want you to know because . . . I don't know why, you'd have to ask her. On second thought, don't. I'd get in shit for it."

"Don't tell me you're afraid of her?" I chuckled and she nodded slowly, her eyes wide. Okay, maybe she was.

Our conversation was cut short as we heard Alice burst into the restaurant, calling our names and not looking pleased with us. I glanced at Rose, indicating that our conversation was not done.

"What the hell was that?" Alice demanded as she walked towards the table we were sitting at, completely bypassing the stunned looking hostess. Bella and Jasper were chuckling as they walked behind her, glancing apologetically at the woman that was watching the three of them.

They sat down, Alice huffing as she glared at the two of us Rose and I looked at each other, trying not to laugh.

"Alice, calm down." Bella sighed, sitting in the seat on my other side, shaking her head at her exuberant friend. "Be honest, if you had a car like that, would you stick to idling at sixty or seventy?" Bella asked and I looked to Alice, waiting for her answer. She didn't respond and I knew that Bella had her.

It wasn't long before a waitress came out for our orders, and I saw Alice tense as she looked at Jasper, suggestively. What surprised me was how Bella's reaction was the same when she moved around the table. Rose nudged me with her foot, raising an eyebrow and I couldn't help but feel completely confused. Since when had Bella been this way around me?

We ended up ordering one of each of the woodfired pizza's and we all ordered cokes.

"So, Eddie," I scowled at Jasper for using that goddamn name and he smirked, knowing that it pissed me off, glancing up as the waitress placed our drinks and some breadsticks on the table. "You nervous?"

"Why would I be?"

"It's a big tattoo, right?" I shrugged and he laughed. "You mean to say you're not nervous at all?"

"I say again, why should I be? Yeah, it's gonna hurt but it doesn't hurt forever. It's gonna be as annoying as fuck for the next week or so, so what?"

"I don't think I'd be this calm." Alice shook her head, grabbing a breadstick. Deciding that that was a good idea, I grabbed one as well, munching as we waited for our food to arrive.

Bella kept glancing at me a smiling as though she had a secret. It was amusing and made me curious as to what was going on inside her head. Rosalie's words ran through my mind and I wondered how accurate she actually was. Did Bella like me?

Why would she?

I didn't take long for us to devour the pizzas when they came out. Bella and I had coveted the Alfredo Mediterranean, not allowing any of the others anywhere near it. We laughed as the three of them pouted at us, carefully guarding the pizza in between us.

Eventually they shrugged and went back to the other two pizzas in front of them. Bella and I shared a victory grin before finishing off the pizza in front of us.

We left the restaurant after about an hour, deciding to leave the cars where they were and walk around to the tattoo shop. I was a little nervous about leaving my baby where she was but Bella called me a baby before grabbing my arm and pulling me away from the car, stating that if it was possible, I'd marry the thing.

And why not? She was a fine piece of machinery.

Alice squealed as she saw the shop, bounding up to it and pushing the door open, not waiting for anyone else. We all laughed, following her inside. She was looking at some of the artwork on the walls, grinning and bouncing on the tips of her toes.

"Alice, calm down." I chuckled and she glared at me quickly before turning back to the wall in front of her. "There's pointy things in here."

"She okay?" We turned to see a young blonde guy standing there, watching Alice with wide eyes. He was wiping his hands on a towel.

"Yeah," Bella waved Alice off, earning another glare from the overexcited imp. "She's always like this."

"Alrighty then, as long as she doesn't hurt herself or anyone else, I'm cool with that." He glanced around at the rest of us. "I'm guessing one of you is Edward."

"That would be me." I held up a hand, stepping towards him and taking my jacket off.

"Cool, I'm Riley," he introduced himself as he sat in a chair, opening a filing cabinet and bringing out a folder. He opened it, turning it to face me on a small desk. I grinned as I saw the drawing I'd done of Jack, finished and exactly what I wanted. "I take it from that smirk, it's alright huh?"


"Black and grey."


"Cool, gimme a couple of minutes to get it turned into a stencil and we're good to go. Want to do it out here or in private?" He asked, pointing with his thumb to what I guessed was the same room Bella had gone into when she'd had her tongue pierced.

"Well, they badgered me to come with, so it wouldn't be right to leave 'em out here." I shrugged and he grinned, disappearing into the back room. I saw Bella looking at some Chinese symbols on the wall and walked over to her. "Thinking about getting one?" I chuckled and she looked up at me, biting her lip. "Seriously? What happened to never getting one?"

"I didn't say never, just not when we came here before." She shrugged and I thought back to the conversation we'd had before. She was right. She hadn't said that she'd never get one. Just that it wasn't something she wanted at that time.

"You seriously thinking about getting one?" She nodded and I smiled down at her.

"What do you think?" She turned to me, her eyes wide.

"I think that it's something you have to live with for the rest of your life. And if you don't, you have to live with a fuck ugly scar so it's something that only you can decide." She looked back at the symbols on the wall, worrying her lip again. I wanted to reach up and pull it out from in between her teeth but managed to stop myself from doing that.

Why did I want to do that?

"Alright," Riley called out as he reappeared, stencil and picture in hand. "Where did you want it?"

"Right calf." I grinned, dropping my jacket on one of the chairs and rolled up the leg of my jeans. Thinking for a moment, I took off my sneaker and sock as well, making it a little easier for Riley and a bit more comfortable for me. It was going to be painful in the first place, I didn't need to be uncomfortable along with it.

Riley quickly pulled a pair of latex gloves on, broke open a new razor and shaved the back of my leg – another reason to take off my shoe and sock, having a wet sock from the solution he used was not something I wanted to experience – before he grabbed the stencil and pressed it to my skin.

"Check it out." He gestured towards the mirror on the wall and I turned, looking at the ink image of Jack Skellington holding his own head. I grinned at the image, looking at it as I twisted my leg from side to side. "What do you think?"

"Let's make it permanent." I turned back to him and he flattened out the chair. I hopped up, turning so I could lie on my stomach.

"Someone's practised at this." He chuckled, sitting on the chair and I could hear him setting up.

"You should see the one on his back." Bella put in, sitting on the sofa that was just by the chair I was on. She grinned at me and I stuck my tongue out at her.

"Maybe when I'm done." Riley chuckled and I rolled my eyes. The others had all sat down in the various chairs that were sporadically placed around the shop. "Ready?" He asked as he rubbed some of the gel onto my skin, testing the machine a couple of times.

"Yup." I replied popping the 'p' as I crossed my arms in front of me, resting my chin on them. Bella looked a little worried, so I pulled a face at her and she giggled, bowing her head and flicking her hair out of her eyes. I grinned at her, glad I had wiped the look off her face as Riley touched the needle to my skin.

I knew that the others were watching as Riley worked on my leg, working from the bottom of my calf up.

"What are your parents gonna think?" Rose asked, from where she was sitting just outside my line of sight, slightly behind me. I couldn't turn to look at her without moving my whole body and disrupting Riley so I shrugged.

"They're gonna hate it but oh well. I'm eighteen. Nothing they can do about it." Bella raised an eyebrow at me, clearly not expecting that answer.

"You're not worried they're gonna be mad?" She asked and I shrugged again.

"They probably will be but there's nothing they can do about it."

"So, how come the rest of you decided to tag along?" Riley asked, not stopping as he worked.

"Tag along?" Rose snorted, a very unladylike sound that made the rest of us laughed. "We were practically dragged here by the little pixie."

"Hey!" I glanced at Alice, who sat there with her hands on her hips, glaring at the blonde. "It wasn't like I dragged you here. You didn't have to come."

"Ha!" Rose shot back and I looked at Bella, who was grinning watching the exchange between her friends. "Like we had much of a choice. There was no way any of us were getting out of coming here when you set your mind to it."

Riley chuckled at the two of them and I shook my head before turning my head and resting my temple on my arms. I closed my eyes, smiling slightly at the familiar feeling of the needle passing over my skin. Most people I knew that had tattoos found it unbearably painful, even if they had many of them. I didn't think it was that painful. Yes, of course it hurt, I mean, in essence when you get a tattoo done, you're being stabbed with a needle thousands of times but it wasn't like it was excruciating to go through.

I kind of found it relaxing.

Did that make me weird?


I heard Jasper and Alice talking, as well as Rose and Riley. Bella was quiet as she sat next to me and I had a feeling that she was watching Riley work on my leg.

"Hey," she chuckled and I lifted my head, looking up at her. "You awake on there?" I nodded, smiling at her. "That's good. How can you be so relaxed?" I shrugged and she rolled her eyes. "Seriously, does it not hurt?"

"Of course it does." I smirked and she scowled at me. "I just don't find it as painful as others do. Maybe I have a problem with the nerves that mean I don't feel pain like others do. I don't know. Either that or I just have a high pain threshold."

"Or maybe, you're just weird." She suggested and I chuckled.

"Or that."

We fell into an easy conversation as Riley continued to work on my tattoo. He had to stop once when Bella told me a story about Alice and Jasper – which judging from the looks on their faces, they didn't want me to know – and I started laughing so much my legs were moving as well. After calming down and apologising to Riley, he got back to work. I scowled at Bella and she smirked, not caring at all. She stood up again, walking over to the symbols on the wall, biting her lip.

"What are you thinking?" I asked, drawing the attention of the others as well. She glanced around, blushing gently.

"I want one." She said softly and Alice squealed, clapping her hands as she bounced in her seat. Jasper placed an arm around her waist, trying to calm her down.

"You going to get it done today?" I raised an eyebrow at Alice as she sat there, visibly excited by Bella's words.

"If you're serious, I've got some time when I'm done with Edward here." He tapped my leg with the back on his hand and I hissed slightly, turning to look at him with a glare. He grinned sheepishly. "Sorry." He made a motion for me to turn back around so he could finish and I did.

I looked up at Bella to see her watching me closely. "If you want it done, it's up to you." I shrugged and she looked back at the board, a determined look on her face.

"I want it done." She said softly, her voice full of conviction. She looked at me, her eyes set and I knew that she had made up her mind. "If you've got time."

"Not a problem, girlie." Riley chuckled and I smiled at her as she sat down.

"You sure about this?" I asked, searching her face for any sign that she wasn't. "Remember, this isn't something you can get rid of if you don't like it anymore."

"I know." She looked at me with an eyebrow raised. "What if you decide that you don't like Jack Skellington anymore?"

"Are you kidding?" I snorted and both of her eyebrows shot up. "Jack Skellington is and always will be awesome. There is no way that he will ever stop being my favourite character of all time."

"Fair enough." She sighed, grinning in spite of herself.

"Right," Riley placed the machine down, spraying and wiping down my leg, "you're all done." He rolled back and I pushed myself up, carefully swinging my legs off of the chair and getting up.

I walked over to the mirror, turning and looking at the fresh ink on my leg. I grinned, looking at it as I twisted my leg so I could see the whole thing.

"It's awesome, man." I grinned, walking back over to him and turning so he could put the usual cream or gel on it and bandage it up. I paid for the work and sat down next to Bella. She looked at me, looking slightly worried. "You sure you want it done?" She nodded, standing up and walking over towards the wall. Riley finished clearing away his station before walking over to where Bella was standing, looking at the symbol she was pointing at. He nodded, taking the sheet off the wall and walking over to his desk and drawing the symbol out onto a piece of paper and turning it into a stencil. He walked over, waving it to her.

"Where'd you want it?"

She stood up, biting her lip as she pulled up her dress. My eyes widened and I was glad that she was wearing leggings underneath. I glanced at Alice, who looked as surprised as me at where she wanted it. She pulled down her leggings slightly, pointing to a point just below her hip.

He crouched down, spraying her hip and placing the stencil on her skin. When he peeled it off he gestured towards the mirror and she looked at it before turning and showing it to the rest of us. She looked at me, as though my opinion mattered more than anyone else's. I wondered why.

Could Rose have been right in the restaurant?

I nodded, giving her a small smile. It was two cute Chinese characters. Seemed to suit her perfectly.

After Riley sterilised the chair that I'd just been on and laid some fresh towels down onto it, she climbed up on it, laying back, looking at me.

"You okay?" I asked quietly and she nodded, glancing down at Riley who was setting up his station again. She held her hand up by her head, palm up and I knew she was looking for reassurance. Getting your first tattoo could be nerve-wracking and scary so I placed my hand in hers, watching her face as he explained that he was going to do a small line before carrying on to see how she handled it.

I watched her eyes as he started and there was a slight wince as the needle touched her skin before he asked if she was alright. She nodded, not taking her eyes off of me. Apparently, she saw me as someone that could help her get through this. Even though it was a small tattoo, it was in a sensitive spot and she needed some kind of strength to get through it.

It seemed that that was me.

How the hell had that happened?

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Link to Edward's tattoo (take out the spaces, replace the dot's and imagine it on a man's calf) - www dot myspace dot com / artworx08 / photos / 50418560 / tagged