A/N: For those of you who have read my previous stories, you'll know that I wrote Moonlight Sonata and it's two sequels. This story is going to be very different from that, as it's all human. It's also greatly inspired by music. To those of you who have read my profile, I know I said I'd be writing "Spiral" first, but this one refused to leave me alone.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything except the plot… sort of. It's greatly influenced by a song, but I manipulated for my own twisted purposes.
I hope you enjoy it:
One. Picture to Burn
"Bella, babe, wait. It wasn't what it looked like!"
The world's most cliché phrase.
"It didn't mean anything!"
Followed by the second most clichéd phrase.
"Then what was it Mike?" I spun around to glare at my (ex) boyfriend, Mike Newton. He wore a sheet (my sheet) wrapped around his waist and nothing else. "Because I'm pretty sure it's hard to misunderstand the sight of someone's tongue down your throat!"
"Just because it wasn't you-" My (ex) best friend Jessica blanched and backed off when I turned my glare on her.
"Get the hell out of my house," I told her.
"Uhm, I'll just go get my clothes," she moved to go back into the room she and Mike had just exited (my room), but I grabbed her arm before she could.
"I don't think so," I spun her around and pushed her towards the steps. "Let everyone see you in nothing but your underwear. God knows I shouldn't be the only one to suffer.
"What, no way!"
"Go Jessica, before I hurt you. And I will hurt you. Trust me on this one."
With a high pitched 'eep' Jessica ran down the stairs. I could hear the catcalls of various horny high school guys from the party as she made her way out of the house.
"Bella, you know it was nothing. Jess is just easy-"
"And that makes it okay?" I hissed. "You cheated on me Mike. In my own house!" I reached out and ripped the sheet away from him. "On my favourite fleece sheets!" I shook the sheet at him. "Get out, Mike! Go screw Jessica in your own room."
"I'm not going without any clothes," Mike argued.
I stalked into my room, grabbed his discarded boxers, and threw them at him.
"Here. Even I'm not so cruel as to make everyone else see your pathetic little wang," I waved my hand at him. "Now. Get. Out!!!"
Like Jessica, Mike blanched and, after quickly throwing on the boxers, ran down the stairs, through the party-goers, and out the door. Even over the loud sound of "Fire Burning" I could hear my front door slam behind him.
It was a nice sound.
I ran my fingers through my hair and headed down the steps and into the party. Several guys tried to grab me to dance, but I pushed them away and made a beeline to the sound system. I hadn't wanted to have this party anyway, but Mike had convinced me to throw the graduation bash before summer began and everyone started heading their separate ways.
I hit the 'stop' button, and the music shut off, the noise being replaced by several people arguing.
"I just caught my boyfriend fucking my bestfriend," I shout above the noise. "If you want to blame anyone for the party ending, blame them. Now, I'd suggest getting out of my house, because I'm pissed and would really like to cause someone, anyone, real physical harm."
I saw several people make their way out of the door, but the majority continued arguing.
"Seriously people, my father is the chief of police. Get out, or I call him."
That got everyone moving. In less time than I though possible, everyone had left the house, leaving behind a mess of beer bottles, empty cups, and a half a bottle of tequila.
I sighed. I hated to threaten people with my dad (who was actually fishing with his best pals on the reservation and would be unreachable until Sunday when he came home unless it was an emergency), but right now I was just glad to be alone.
Looking at the mess again, I decided that it was a job for the morning, and grabbed the tequila bottle before heading to Charlie's room.
I would have to get myself a new bed, but for now I'd just get drunk.
The next morning I awoke with a splitting headache and a new lease on life.
Yeah, I was still pissed off that Mike cheated on me, but as I gathered up his and Jessica's clothes, and my bed spread, I realized I was more pissed that my sheets were ruined than that he had cheated on me.
When you love a bed spread more than your boyfriend, it's time to get a new boyfriend.
Burning the clothes really helped soothe my temper.
It came right back when Mike started pounding on my door at noon.
"Bella, let's talk about this. It was one slip-up. I love you baby."
I snorted at that, and continued to clean my living room, completely ignoring him.
"Don't be this way Bella. Everyone makes mistakes."
I would've told him that a mistake is missing a birthday, not tearing up your girlfriend's sheets with her (ex) best friend, but I thought that if I ignored him, he might go away sooner.
I was wrong.
By three, the house was clean and I was so completely sick of Mike, that I did something that could have proved to be fatal to someone as… gracefully challenged as me.
I climbed out my bedroom's second storey window to get away.
The fact that I made it down with my purse only getting caught once and a minor five foot fall from the tree's lowest branch was really quite a miracle.
Since Mike was still sitting on my front doorstep, I chose to exit into the alley behind the house through the garage. Fifteen minutes later, I was kicking a rock down main street Forks.
It was absolutely dead on a Sunday afternoon.
In a town the size of Forks, no one was ever open on Sunday. Half the population needed the day off to go to church, the other half were sane and chose to use the day off to go to sleep.
I couldn't wait to get away in the fall.
I was so caught up in my dreams of a life away from Forks, that I didn't realize I was the only person on the sidewalk until the stone I was kicking hit a pair of scuffed black boots.
"Now, what's golden girl doing walking around all alone? Did Mr. All American leave you for Stanley again?"
My head snapped up so I could glare at the speaker, who also happened to own the scuffed boots.
Edward Cullen- Forks' only surgeon, Carlisle Cullen's, troubled adopted son stood there, leaning against his shiny black motorcycle.
By 'troubled' I really meant trouble. My father had taken him in on traffic infractions and underage drinking on more than one occasion. There was even a particularly memorable occasion when he had been caught setting the stop sign on main street on fire.
Jessica always gushed about how hot the bad boy thing was to me. Given half the chance, she would have jumped on the back of his motorcycle and ridden off into the sunrise (or to a good fuck) with him.
I couldn't exactly blame her- Edward was gorgeous, with emerald green eyes, and bronze hair that was in a permanently mussed state (a look that Mike had tried, and failed horribly, to copy once upon a time).
"What do you want, Edward?" I asked.
Edward raised an eyebrow at my voice. It had sounded weary, even to me.
"Here," he tossed me a helmet.
"Why do I need this?" I asked dryly.
"Why do you think?" he replied. "We're going for a ride."
"You expect me to get on that with you," I couldn't help but laugh. "Do you remember who my father is? Sorry Edward, but he'd kill me if I got on a motorcycle with anyone much less with you."
"I guess the Golden Girl really does do everything Daddy says," Edward replied, turning on the motorcycle's engine with a roar. "Pity. And I'd had such hopes for you after I heard that you sent Stanley and Newton running off in just their underwear and an expression of terror."
I scowled at the reminder of Mike and Jessica. Charlie had approved of my relationships with them because they came from 'good families' and 'didn't cause any trouble.'
Showed how great a judge of character Charlie was.
I looked at Edward and the motorcycle (they made an impressive picture), then down at the helmet. A sudden impulse to climb on behind him and not look back hit me, and I frowned.
I wasn't impulsive. I was smart, I was responsible, I was…
Stuck in a rut with a cheating ex and a slutty ex best friend.
"If you crash, I'll kill you," I told him, slamming the helmet on my head and climbing onto the bike behind him.
"Hold on tight," was his reply.
I wrapped my arms around his waist and barely refrained from screaming as she shot away from the sidewalk and towards the edge of town.
The speed was exhilarating, and I found myself loving it once I got over my initial reaction of extreme terror.
"This is amazing!" I laughed, loosening death grip around Edward's waist. "I think I understand why Charlie always catches you speeding now!"
I managed to just barely hear Edward's chuckle over the roar of the engine and the wind.
"Someone's got to keep your old man in shape," he called back. "He'd go soft without me."
I laughed again, throwing my head back to enjoy the feel of wind whipping against my face.
I'm not sure how long we rode. Before I knew it, it was dusk and Edward was pulling to the side of the road where there was a tourist stop for pictures on the cliff edge.
"It's beautiful," I said, walking away from the bike so I could watch the sun set over the water.
"I like to ride up here when I want to think," Edward replied, leaning against the protective railing next to me. "It soothes me."
"Do you often need soothing?" I asked, looking up at him.
He looked down at me, that soft smile in his green eyes.
"Every now and then," he replied. "Carlisle and I sometimes fight. I like to come up here after that happens."
"What do you fight about?" I asked, turning my gaze back out to the view.
"What do you think?" I could hear the amusement in his voice. "I'm the resident delinquent of Forks, remember?"
"Why do you do that stuff?" I asked. "I mean, I can understand the speeding- it is completely exhilarating. But what about the rest of it?"
"I think the better question is how can you not do it?" Edward replied. "Forks is completely boring, Bella."
"You tried to burn down the main street stop sign because you were bored?" I couldn't help but laugh. "That's ridiculous."
"That's life," I looked up at Edward as he said this, and felt my breath catch. The combination of laughter and the way the sun reflected in his eyes was beautiful.
"You're kind of beautiful, you know?" I told him, starting another bout of laughter.
"I've been called man other things, but never beautiful. Couldn't I be cruelly handsome instead? That sounds much more masculine."
I laughed again.
"You're not cruel. Stupid, but not cruel," I replied.
"Whatever you say, miss 'a' average. Not all of us are as perfect as you."
I snorted at that.
"Pride in my GPA doesn't make me perfect. What's yours? It must be bad if you ridicule those of us who have good ones."
Edward hesitated for a moment and watched the sun as it continued to disappear beyond the horizon.
"Three point eight," he admitted at last, and I choked in shock.
"And you were mocking me? That's better than mine!"
Edward shrugged, a faint hint of red on his cheeks.
"I've done stupid things. That doesn't mean I am stupid," he replied, his voice defensive.
"No it doesn't," I agreed, turning introspective. "Look at me. Good grades, crappy judge of character."
"Mike is an ass and Jessica's an airhead. They deserve each other, and you deserve better."
"Thanks, Edward," I threw my head back and closed my eyes, taking in the sounds of the waves, and the scent of ocean. "God, I can't wait until summer is done and I can leave that mire."
"Why wait?" Edward returned.
"Because college doesn't start until September," I replied. "And neither does my apartment lease."
"Who needs an apartment? My gas tank's still three quarters full and there's a big wide world out there to explore before you hit college."
I looked at him incredulously.
"Edward Cullen, are you asking me to run away with you?"
His grin was unrepentant.
"Why not?" he replied. "What's holding you in Forks, Bella? A Dad you can easily contact by phone and a cheating ex?"
"Charlie would worry-"
"He has to cut the apron strings eventually."
"I have no clothes."
"That's what your credit card and a chequing account are for. Besides, before my parents died they were loaded, and it all came to me on my eighteenth."
"I'm not living off you, Edward," I replied.
"Okay, then, I'll accept sexual favours for it."
I couldn't help at the ridiculousness of that statement.
"C'mon Bella- why are you really so unwilling? Is it because I'm Edward Cullen? Are you really that chicken?"
"It's not chicken, it's responsible. It's sane!"
Edward took the helmet from my hand and placed it on my head, doing up the strap.
"Be a little crazy, Bella," he whispered, looking down at me and closing the distance between us so it was nearly non-existent.
"I'm not crazy. I don't do impulses," I replied.
But, God, standing there, looking into his green eyes, I wanted to be crazy. More than anything.
A small, crooked grin quirked his lips, lips that, when he leaned down slowly, brushed against mine in one word.
A/N2: As you can probably guess by the title, this chapter was inspired by Taylor Swift's "Picture to Burn". The story itself came into my mind while I was listening to two songs: "God Love Her" by Toby Keith, and "Didn't Even See the Dust" by Paul Brandt. I will be telling you the musical inspirations to the story at the end of each chapter. If you don't care, you can skip over this stuff, but if you like music, then you can read and maybe find a new song you like. I hope you like the story, and if you review, you will be my hero.