A/N:
Hey all! Thanks so much for reviewing! I know, I can't believe it either... another chapter? I noticed that for thirty minutes after I uploaded chapter 16 after the author's note, the author's note remained, so if you clicked on the link and got the note... you probably missed a whole chapter. It's there now ;)

Thank you so much Fragile Human! Do I really need to explain how much i love you? Let me count the ways... ;)

Anyway, without any further ado, I give you... chapter 17.


~*~Bella~*~

The drive to Port Angeles was excruciating. My stomach was a bundle of nerves and my hands refused to stop shaking to the point where I had to shove them between my knees. But the most painful part of the journey was the fact that Edward appeared so cool and collected, his grip on the steering wheel almost lazy in comparison with the death grip my nails had on the inside of my thighs.

I was beginning to consider the fact that I was bipolar or something because as infuriating as I found his calm poise, I found it an incredible turn on at the same time.

The last few mornings had been carefully constructed by fate to drive me completely insane. Every morning, I woke up to find my limbs entangled with his, his breath caressing my skin and every long, lean inch of his body folded around mine like a security blanket. My fingers itched to slide along the taut muscles on his abdomen, to test how firm they really were, to feel how they undulated as he breathed. My lips practically puckered every time I thought of each inch of skin I could slowly expose if I faked a stretch… for the first time in six years, I was acutely aware of the fact that I hadn't had sex in, well, six years.

And if there was one thing that Edward and I had been good at six years ago, it was sex.

As distracting as thinking about sex with Edward was, it made the journey all the more excruciating because wherever we stood now, it was definitely not appropriate to lean over casually and place my hand on his crotch.

Not that that was something I had ever thought about doing… well, not six years ago, anyway.

By the time we reached the turn off for Carlisle and Esme's house, I couldn't decide whether I was nervous, nauseous or incredibly horny — or all three.

And Edward was still insufferably calm.

Serene. Placid.

Everything I was most certainly not.

"Ready?" I whispered as he turned off the engine.

"As I'll ever be."

I stepped out of the car without waiting for Edward to open my door. He didn't like that, though he didn't say anything. He fidgeted slightly with the car keys — the only sign he showed of being even somewhat discomfited — and as minute as the action seemed, I found it a little reassuring that he wasn't as calm about this as I thought.

I glanced around, noticing that Alice's red Beetle was parked alongside Esme and Carlisle's cars. I probably should have expected that she'd show up for dinner tonight as well, but my anxiety spiked a little in spite of all that. Steeling myself, I started walking up the front steps, ahead of Edward.

The door swung open before I had a chance to ring the doorbell.

"Hey, you two!" Alice sang as she burst onto the porch. She grabbed hold of both us, pulling into a surprisingly strong hug, before releasing us and grabbing my hand. "Oh my God, Bella! You won't believe this…"

I shot Edward a pleading glance, but he just shrugged his shoulders a little helplessly as Alice dragged me away from the doorway, toward the living room. Ugh. He had never been able to say "no" to Alice.

I let her push me down onto the sofa, a little perturbed by the smug grin on her face.

"Um…" She suddenly sobered up, her smile falling. "Bella, are you okay about me — about Jasper and I?"

"I — Yeah, of course," I said reassuringly. "We're just friends, Alice."

"Oh." Her smile returned. "Good. It's just, we went out again on Thursday night and we really hit it off and… anyway, I really owe you, Bells. You did introduce us, after all."

I shook my head. "You don't owe me anything! Honestly, I'm just really happy you both found each other."

"But still," Alice insisted. "If you hadn't asked him to go with you, we never would have met."

I shrugged. "You probably would have if you visited." I narrowed my eyes at her. "I know you hate my house and everything, but you can visit me."

Alice rolled her eyes impatiently. "I don't hate your house. I just think it's a bit big for you and stuck in the middle of nowhere, where you have absolutely no chance of meeting anyone. Speaking of —"

"Alice, we've been through this. You're not putting my profile up on Twilight." I shot her a quelling look that she promptly ignored with a wave of her hand.

"It doesn't matter." She beamed at me. "I've already found your Mr. Right."

"You — wait, what?" Surprise bloomed in my chest, overriding the nausea that had been lurking near the surface.

Alice was practically bouncing on the balls of her feet as she said, "His name's Austin. He's a teacher in Port Angeles and he is the sweetest man I've —"

"Alice, I told you that I didn't want you setting me up on any more dates," I growled, a feeling of distinct unease rising in my throat.

"I know, but…" She trailed off, gesturing wildly. "I really, really think that this guy is perfect for you. You know I wouldn't insist if I didn't think —"

"Alice, I can't."

Alice shot me a curious glance, her brow furrowing in confusion. "I know that the date with Eric didn't go so well but if you gave Austin a chance…"

"Alice, I really, really can't…" I exhaled slowly, gathering my courage. "That's actually what I wanted to talk to you about tonight."

Alice frowned. "You found a guy? You did, didn't you? You're seeing someone and you didn't tell me!" I couldn't tell whether she was excited or annoyed at the prospect; but I couldn't dwell on her reaction. I had to get this over and done with before I lost my nerve.

"I — I think that we should get Carlisle and Esme first," I said slowly. "And Edward," I added as an afterthought.

Alice nodded in understanding. I followed her out into the hallway where Edward was standing, his hands folded loosely over his chest. He shot me a questioning glance that I answered with a pointed look at the dining room, where Esme was flitting around the table.

She looked up and smiled as we made our entrance. "I thought that was you outside. Dinner's almost ready. Carlisle's just gathering the wine glasses."

"Mom!" Alice exclaimed. "Bella's seeing someone!" Her enthusiasm bit into my emotions like a knife, and the guilt that flooded my body was overwhelming. I'd known, on some level, that Alice and Esme worried incessantly over how alone I seemed to be, locked up in my little house in the middle of nowhere. The hopeful glint in Esme's eyes as her gaze flicked in my direction only confirmed my suspicions and my guilt deepened.

"A-actually, maybe, um — Carlisle, can you come in here, please?"

He appeared in the doorway to the kitchen, five wine glasses balanced precariously in his hands as he glanced at Alice, who was practically bouncing on the spot with anticipation, before looking at me.

"Is everything all right, Bella?" he asked concernedly, probably noticing how green I undoubtedly looked.

"Peachy," I croaked.

"Bella," Alice whined. "The suspense —"

I flinched in surprise as a hand grazed mine and I took it without thinking, my fingers lacing through Edward's as though it was the most natural thing to do in the world. It felt like the most natural thing to do in the world.

I couldn't look at him. Nausea, fear, anxiety and guilt warred for dominance and I was abruptly terrified at how much I was relying on him to get through this without having a mental breakdown.

Alice's eyes dropped to our joined hands, her mouth opening in a silent "O" of shock and comprehension. A heartbeat later, both Carlisle and Esme noticed the same thing and a thunderous silence reigned for a long, painful moment.

Then —

"Oh my God." Alice slapped a hand over her mouth. "Oh my G —You two?" Her eyes grew round as she stared at our hands.

Esme glanced at Carlisle, her mouth opening several times though no words came out. Even Carlisle seemed at a loss for something to say.

I hadn't anticipated their reaction to this part of the story; the idea that Edward and I might be a couple now. Considering the bond we'd shared when we were younger, was it that much of a leap to consider that we might have been linked romantically? But then, because we'd never said anything, maybe Carlisle and Esme — and even Alice — had misinterpreted all the signs from the very beginning.

"Actually, that's not it," Edward said, his voice shaking slightly. His face was clear, composed, though I knew that he was anything but; his hand was squeezing mine so tight that I had lost all feeling in the tips of my fingers.

"What do you mean?" Carlisle asked. His eyes flickered between us, trying to understand what both of us were trying to say.

"We, that is, we, um…"

"Bella and I got married on January fourteenth, in 2003," Edward stated, like he was rattling off information at a court case. His hands shook as he reached inside his black shirt and pulled out the chain with his wedding ring on it, like they might need proof.

Esme gasped, her eyes widening as she stared at the ring in Edward's hand.

"Oh my —" Alice's mouth snapped shut with an audible click. "I can't — I can't believe —!" Her voice shook — with anger, I realized. She shot me a venomous glare before she stormed out of the room, whipping past us so fast that my hair blew over my shoulder.

A second later, I flinched as the front door slammed shut and the sound of a car engine permeated the silence outside.

My stomach rolled and only Edward's presence at my side kept me from throwing up my lunch all over the floor.

"Well…" Esme looked a little pale. "I can't say I was expecting that."

"Esme, I'm so, so sorry —!" I blurted out.

She pressed a hand to her forehead, glancing imploringly at her fiancé for help. Carlisle looked as stunned as she did. He was staring at the ring in the palm of Edward's hand like it would somehow explain six years of silence, his mouth opening and closing like a goldfish.

At least they weren't yelling, I thought with little relief. The guilt I felt at having lied to them intensified as I replayed Alice's reaction, watching her storm out the door, her face contorted with anger. I understood her reaction. We were supposed to be best friends. This was the kind of thing that best friends told each other.

"I think we should sit down," Carlisle suggested. He pushed gently on Esme's elbow, guiding her toward the table. Edward and I followed, dropping down into the chairs opposite Esme's.

"2003…?" Esme said slowly. "You've been married for over six years?"

I nodded numbly, aware of Edward doing the same.

"Why… how? How did you…?" Esme hands flailed helplessly as she struggled put her confusion into words.

I glanced at Edward before taking a deep breath. "Maybe we should start at the beginning. Remember the Rainbow Club?"


~Edward~

Alice didn't return for dinner. Despite her reaction, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief at having everything out in the open. I hadn't realized how much of a burden it had been to lie to my Dad; I had been lying to him since just after we got to Seattle after Mom died, so the surge of relief that flooded my system when Bella and I finally stopped talking took me by surprise.

Dinner was quiet. Carlisle and Esme were still trying to process the information while Bella concentrated on not bringing her food back up. She played with her vegetables absently, her eyes flicking to the window every so often with guilt lurking in her expression.

After dinner, Esme and Bella took the plates into the kitchen, leaving Carlisle and I alone out on the verandah where Bella and I had had our first serious conversation since I got back. The night was warm, a gentle breeze whistling through the trees, and I watched distractedly as wisps of Carlisle's grey hair fluttered in the wind.

"I'm disappointed in you, Edward," Carlisle said finally. "In both of you."

I nodded, having expected as much. I sighed, leaning back against the railing with my back to the garden. I could see Esme and Bella moving around the kitchen wordlessly. There was a worried pucker between Bella's brows and her lips were pursed, her mind obviously elsewhere as she helped Esme load the dishwasher. "We were stupid kids. I know that's not an excuse, but…"

"We didn't even know that you and Bella were involved," Carlisle pointed out. "We thought you were dating Carmen all through high school and college, until you joined the Volturi recruitment camp."

"Carmen and I broke up before I went to college," I offered. "I — We didn't get together until after the night that… Bella ended things with Seth Clearwater." I winced at the memory of that night, my thoughts lingering masochistically on the way his hands had been all over her in her prom dress before we both beat the crap out of him. I shrugged, trying to dislodge the memory. "I think I loved her before that. Maybe the first time we met." A burst of warmth shot through me as I recalled her thirteen-year-old self, her nose scrunched up as she stared at the ceiling of the Rainbow Room, explaining why she was in there in the first place. "Definitely the first time we met."

Carlisle shook his head, like he was finding it difficult to understand what I was saying. "I just don't understand why you two felt that you had to hide this from us."

"It started innocently," I tried to explain. "We had to swear not to betray each other's trust at the Rainbow meetings and we grew so used to telling each other everything and excluding everyone else from our conversations that it became second nature to us to keep everything private. I think, at the time, it didn't even occur to us that we should tell you."

"I know you didn't mean any harm by it — but you can understand why Esme and I, even Alice, are upset, can't you? It wasn't just a secret relationship. You got married." Carlisle sighed, staring out over the garden as he tried to sort through his thoughts. "Are you still married?"

"We never filed for a formal separation," I admitted. "I never really thought about it once I was in training. It was never a consideration because I didn't get involved with anyone else — and neither did she."

"Edward, when you left, she was destroyed. You realize that, don't you?" Carlisle frowned, turning to face me. "I didn't want to say this, but in light of what you've both just told me, I think you should know. Esme and I have been extremely worried about her. She rarely goes out with Alice or Rosalie, I can count her friends on one hand, she's working at a dead end job because she chose not to go to college. Her house is haunted by memories of a broken childhood."

I swallowed, pain lancing through me, even though I'd already seen this for myself.

"Esme and I never understood how close you two were. We couldn't understand how Bella could go from being a bright, vibrant teenager to a – to half a person. She's broken, Edward. Maybe it's not obvious to you but it's painfully obvious to Esme and I. Alice has tried her best, but…"

"I know." I inclined my head, though my eyes were on her. I had already acknowledged what Carlisle was telling me for myself, but hearing him say the words made me consider how other people perceived Bella's appearance — people who didn't know her as well as I did. And there was a… deadness… about her. She didn't laugh like she did before. She withdrew into herself when she was feeling angry or sad. "I don't know what to do, Dad. I can make her mad enough to spit fire and stop withdrawing into herself, but when she calms down, we're back to square one."

"She needs to heal," Carlisle said quietly. "She's blocked away all the hurt and pain inside of her since her Dad walked out without fully experiencing it and moving on from it. It's a defense mechanism, but one that is doing her more damage in the long run."

"I know that. But what can I do?" I raked a hand through my hair in frustration. "I hate seeing her like this. I remember how she was before. I loved how she was before. I still love her, but sometimes I want to throttle her until she just…" I realized that my fists had clenched unconsciously and I forced myself to relax my knuckles. "Sometimes she yells at me and I feel like crying with relief because she's Bella again. My Bella."

"If I knew what to do, Edward," Carlisle said tiredly, "we wouldn't be having this conversation."

I nodded, gritting my teeth, but it wasn't the answer I needed to hear.

"But you've only been here a week," Carlisle said gently. "Give her time. Just don't… mess with her, Edward. Not if you don't intend to stick around once your, er, job is finished."

"She's my wife," I said, unaware of the pride laced in my tone. "I didn't know what that meant when I married her, but I fucking know now. I'm not letting her go. Not without one hell of a fight."

Carlisle nodded, clapping my shoulder gently. "Then, good luck. And congratulations, I guess."

He smiled wryly before turning on his heel and striding back into the house.


Bella was quiet as she climbed into the passenger seat, waving goodbye to Esme with a trace of warmth in her expression. She didn't notice that we were driving in the wrong direction until the bright lights of Port Angeles jerked her out of her thoughts and she glanced at me questioningly. "Is something wrong? Are we being followed or something?" Her gaze flitted nervously to the back window.

"No, we're good," I said reassuringly. "I just wanted to see something."

"See something?" Bella narrowed her eyes at me. "We're not driving to Alice's, are we? Because I'm pretty sure she'll never talk to me again…"

"No, we're not going to Alice's." I reached over and clasped her hand. Her skin was surprisingly cool. "She'll come around, Bel. She loves you."

"I still lied to her."

"We both did." I nudged her thigh with our joined hands. "Hey, think positively. Carlisle and Esme know."

"I don't think Esme took it well. After the shock wore off, I think she felt betrayed."

Bella had obviously worked herself into a funk and I realized I was going to have my work cut out for me, pulling her out of it.

Her eyes widened slightly when we reached our destination. She didn't move as I climbed out of the car, darting swiftly around the hood to open her door. Her brow puckered as she glanced around, perplexed, and stepped out of the car into the parking lot.

"What are we doing here?"

"You'll see." I grinned mischievously and started walking in the direction of the gate, without waiting to see if she would follow. I knew she would. She wouldn't be able to resist.

"We're trespassing!" she hissed, grabbing my arm as I went to climb over the stone wall. She glanced around furtively, as if she expected a security guard to show up any second.

I rolled my eyes. "So?"

Sneaking around with her like this made me feel like a teenager again. It was laughable that I actually had an adrenaline rush as I climbed over the wall like I'd done so many times before in my past; considering the life or death situations that I'd previously found myself in, trespassing on the grounds of my old high school was pretty tame.

I started walking across the front lawn, leaving Bella no choice but to follow me or get caught waiting for me to return at the entrance. I had my car keys stowed in my pocket and the car was locked, so she had nowhere to hide if a security guard did show up.

I snickered under my breath when I heard her curse, turning just in time to see her drop from the top of the wall. She hit the ground with a quiet thump, her expression unamused.

"This is a terrible idea," she whispered loudly as she jogged across the grass to where I was standing.

"Like you haven't done this before," I scoffed. "I seem to remember you sneaking —"

Bella thumped my arm in annoyance. "You promised you'd never bring that up again!"

I snickered at her indignant expression. "I did no such thing."

"You did, you idiotic — brat!"

The lock on the gym door was the same, rusty lock that had been there when Bella and I had attended PA High School. I had it open in just under fifteen seconds and I pushed open the gym doors, ignoring Bella's protests.

"We're going to get arrested!"

"Oh, shut up and stop being such a baby," I muttered. "Since when are you such a chicken?"

Bella froze, her eyes narrowing into thin slits. "You did not just call me a chicken."

I rolled my eyes, gesturing inside the dark gym. "Are you coming in or not?"

She stared at me, her teeth grinding with fury, and made no move to step inside. It had been much easier convincing her sixteen-year-old self that breaking and entering was a good idea, I remembered. Even when she'd been at her most stubborn.

"Just pretend I'm about four inches smaller with black hair, and a mission to show you the stars," I grinned, deliberately goading her. "Oh, and don't forget — I'm more than a little drunk."

"Cullen, I'm going to fucking kill you!"

With a final sweep of the school grounds, she lunged inside after me. Laughing loudly, I sprinted into the dark gym, a wave of smug victory racing through my veins as she slammed the doors shut and followed me inside.

Our footsteps echoed noisily in the otherwise silent hall as she sprinted after me, making several death threats when I climbed nimbly over the steps to the stage area, disappearing behind the heavy, navy curtain.

"Cullen!" she shrieked.

"What?"

"You tricked me," she said accusingly.

I shoved the curtain back and leaned against the wall, folding my arms over my chest loosely. "I did no such thing. It's not my fault you can't control your temper."

"You promised you wouldn't make fun of me for that night!"

"Oh, you mean the night that Clearwater introduced you to second base?" I waggled by brows suggestively at her.

"Why do I bother telling you anything?"

"Because I'm so irresistible?" I smirked.

Bella rolled her eyes. "Wow, you don't have a high opinion of yourself at all." Her voice was thick with honeyed sarcasm.

"I really don't," I teased. "You do."

Bella shot me a withering look and gave me the finger.

"Come up here."

I thought she might shake her head and continue to glare at me from the gym floor five steps below me, but she just rolled her eyes and huffed as she started up the stairs.

I grabbed her hand as she hit the top stair, and spun her around until she was half-hidden behind the navy curtain, her back pressed up against the wall.

"Do you remember?" I murmured, my eyes gleaming as I stared down at her, deliberately invading her space.

Her breathing hitched and her glare softened, her brown eyes glazing over slightly as I braced my arm on the wall above her head. The darkness suddenly felt electric. I was hyperaware of how close we were standing, with only a sliver of space between our hips.

I inhaled the strawberry scent of her hair, prolonging the long, agonizing moment as my senses flared to life; everywhere our skin almost touched, the air tingled with electricity and my eyes raked greedily over her face, drinking in her reaction to our closeness.

"Do you remember?" I repeated.

"Remember… what?" she whispered. Her eyes dropped to my mouth and she bit her lip hesitantly. My fingers curled into tight fists as I forced myself to remain in control of the situation.

"Second base," I murmured. I dipped my head, brushing my lips along her temple in a featherlike caress as I inhaled the scent of her skin. "With Clearwater."

"I know what you're doing," she whispered suddenly, her lips tilting upwards as she smiled slyly.

"Oh, yeah?" I cocked my brow at her.

"Yep. It always bugged you that the gym was the one place you never managed to seduce me in, and that when I was here, I was more likely to think of being here with Seth than you." She grinned, absurdly proud with the conclusion she had drawn.

It didn't bother me in the slightest that she was one hundred per cent correct.

I trailed the knuckles of my right hand over her collarbone, finally daring to touch her. She sucked in a breath, her chocolate-brown eyes widening slightly as she returned my stare.

"Admit it," I said softly. "When you're with me you can't even remember what he looked like."

She arched her brow at me, scoffing at my cocky tone, but I knew her better than anyone. My cockiness was turning her on.

I curled my forefinger around the top button of her blouse and popped it open.

Her lips parted in surprise.

"I remember second base with you," she admitted, her eyes darkening. Her hands crept up my sides, her forefingers curling around the belt loops on my jeans. There was a note of insecurity in her voice that held my attention. I hated that she was nervous about admitting that to me, but glad that she'd taken the chance at the same time.

"Good answer," I grinned huskily. My lips skimmed the shell of her ear and I felt her breathing pick up against my throat. Her hands tightened on my jeans.

"Edward?"

"Hmm?"

"Kiss me. Please."

It was the please that did it for me. Without another word, I crushed my lips to hers; breathing in the heat and sweet taste that was Bella and everything I wanted.

I raked my fingers through her hair as she skimmed her hands up over my shoulders and around my neck, dragging me closer, tugging on the collar of my shirt, crushing her lips fiercely against mine.

My right hand curled into a fist in her hair as I secured her head against mine. Heat and desire surged through me and I could feel myself hardening at an alarming rate as all the blood rushed to my cock. Her body arched and pressed against mine, sending shivers down up my spine.

"Want you," I said roughly, as though she didn't already feel the proof.

She sighed, her lips parting, and I took advantage of the opportunity, my tongue delving inside the warmth of her mouth. I could taste her hot breath; feel the acute pressure of her body against mine. Want or need — I could never tell the difference with her — surged through my veins, trapping me in a haze of heat and pressure and just… Bella.

This wasn't like kissing her in her kitchen. She wasn't reassuring herself that I wasn't shot and I wasn't angry at her for disobeying my orders. I felt the years being stripped away until we were both two hormonal teenagers again, caught up in emotions too powerful for either of us to comprehend.

Our lips swiftly found a synchronized rhythm, our loud breaths and pounding heartbeats tearing through the silence.

My brain had completely shut off. All I knew was that I had to have her. I had to be in her, possessing her, claiming her. She was mine and my instincts were screaming at me to prove that to her.

I wound my fingers into her hair more securely and kissed her hungrily, breathing in the essence of everything Bella; her smell, her taste, her soft, breathless moans… My grip loosened as her nails dragged down my neck, shivers erupting down my spine, and my hands began to travel down her sides, tracing and relearning every contour that I had memorized so many times already.

She was different, but she was the same.

I trailed blisteringly hot kisses over her mouth, her chin, to her jaw. She moaned, arching against me and I could feel her nails digging into my skin.

The sound of the gym doors slamming suddenly echoed throughout the hall.

I cursed silently under my breath. My concentration was shot whenever I was around her; how the fuck did I think I could protect her when I lost my head so easily around her and failed to measure the situation correctly?

I forced myself to enter my stealth mode. Bella had frozen against me, her breathing barely audible as she shot me a panicked glance.

I dipped my head and whispered, "Ssh."

Through the curtain, I watched as a torch light skimmed over the stage and a pair of footsteps made their way into the building.

"There's an emergency exit behind us," I murmured softly in Bella's ear. "When I say go, we're going to run for it, okay?"

She nodded slowly, though her expression was uncertain.

The footsteps started in our direction and her breath hitched.

"Go."

I grabbed her hand and sprinted into the black darkness behind us, away from the windows and pale moonlight spilling across the wooden floorboards.

I faintly heard the security guard start running for the stage behind us as we scrambled for the emergency exit door, followed by Bella's shriek of startled laughter as I forced the door open and stumbled out into the night.

We ran for the car without looking back, ignoring the guard as he burst through the emergency door and started shouting indignantly at us.

"I can't believe I let you talk me into going in there!" Bella exclaimed as we reached the car. "We almost got arrested!"

I unlocked the car and slid inside, my breathing quiet and even. Bella, however, was obviously experiencing an adrenaline rush because her hands were fidgeting as she tried to pull on her seatbelt and her eyes were darting feverishly around the car.

"Don't act like you didn't have fun," I grinned.

"We could have gotten in serious trouble!" she insisted, her mood sobering.

I experienced a stab of worry as the light started to dim in her eyes. I started the engine, trying to remember what Carlisle had said — she needed time to heal. It wasn't going to just happen overnight, as much as I wanted it to. Tonight might have been a diversion, but we still had to go back to Forks and to reality.

Bella was quiet for the rest of the ride home, after the adrenaline wore off. She stared out the window of the car with her forehead pressed up against the glass, her shoulders slightly hunched.

I wanted to reach over and throttle her — or kiss her again — but the inclination faded as I pulled into her driveway and cut the engine because as she reached for the door handle, I caught the faint smile playing at her lips in the car door mirror and I knew that tonight hadn't been for nothing; it had definitely been a stab in the right direction.

"Hey, Bel."

She glanced at me, her cheeks coloring faintly. "Yeah?"

"Do you remember, now?"

"God, you're such a loser!"

And with that, she slammed the car door shut, drowning out the sound of my laughter.


Thoughts? Questions? Review, please? :)