This is my very first fanfic, and I have been playing with ideas for this story for a very long time now, and just have not found the time to submit it all to paper (or screen...). But enough is enough, and I have now made time, as best as I can, to at least set the ball rolling.
Because I know a lot of you peeps, love the odd lemon or two, (naming no names, **COUGH, COUGH!!! Cullenbanger9**), I promise that there will be lemons for you dirty minxes, later on in the story, as I know that you all appreciate them. But listen up, and listen good: This story is more about the Strawberries, cos everyone needs a little L O V E!!! (With a citrus edge to spice it up a little!) Yep, it's all about the romance!
I am an old romantic, who have finally decide to give you all a piece of her heart on a platter – I truly hope you enjoy it.
Massive loves to my OWG posse, who I love and adore with all my heart: Oz girls, Alison, Tatum, Dani, Debbie….. Big-up my US buddies Sherri, Staci, Paula, Lita. Also including my personal fire-extinguisher, Angel.
The NC crew (incl. the Middle East…?!!!) Misti-Moos, Gaelsy….But most of all I dedicate this story to my counter-balance… Cullenbanger9 – LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!! This is for you, hun! Muah, muah, muah xxxxxxxxxxx
Your StupidShinyVolvoOwner, B xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
P.S. Review-CITY, people!!!!
'I can see how one might be... stirred up.'
~ Reverend Beebe, Room with a View ~
I stood there, stock still. I couldn't move. I couldn't breath. It was him. He was actually here. Would he remember? Would he know my face?
I smiled to myself as I let the memories from yester-year play, scene by scene in my mind. One in particular came to mind……
Kilderton Primary School, September 3rd 1995. (8 years old.)
It was my very first day of a new school and finally, finally, my Mother had settled in a place we could make our own. Somewhere we could make our home, a proper home. My Gran's old home, actually, willed to my Mother after her recent death, so here we were staying here for the fore-see able future. Or at least until my Mother got itchy feet again!
My Mother never liked to stay in one place for very long. She enjoyed change, unlike me. I liked stability, but alas, this was something that I was not able to experience very often. She was a friendly enough soul, and made friends easily, but as she never laid roots anywhere, she never had friends of any substance. It was almost like she was scared to let people too close, so kept everyone at arms length. Almost like a self-preservation mechanism.
I made my way out to the playground during morning break… I stood there in the corner, watching the children around me; Games of 'Tag' were taking place, with the squeals of my classmate's exhilaration as they were caught… Skipping ropes 'swished' tapping the ground as they were spun... Pebbles were thrown onto the chalk drawn hop-scotch grids on the ground. But there was way too much noise for me. There were way too many people to contend with for my liking.
I clung to my comfort rag which I had secretly carried with me without my Mother's knowledge. I turned and faced the wall, and quickly snuck it out of my pocket where no-one could see me. I slowly rubbed it in small calming circles against my cheek and across my nose. I inhaled deeply and shut my eyes for the briefest of moments, as I felt my anxiousness melt away. I hated being here. I would never fit in. I was a solitary being, who was used to being on her own, and sharing space with anyone scared me greatly.
My parents had separated soon after my birth, thus the idea of any siblings had been given up as a bad job a long time ago. Mum could barely look after herself, let alone me, without adding another to the mix. But her wacky ways, were a constant source of entertainment and contentment for me.
'What you got there?' It was one of the loudest boys in the playground, and he had skidded to a halt at my side without me realising.
'Nothing.' I panicked, and squeezed my rag quickly into a ball, and stuffed it into my pocket. I could feel my cheeks beginning to flush bright crimson.
'Well, look what I found…' Before I had a chance to stop him, he yanked the end of 'rag' that was stuck out of my pocket.
'Give it back!' I yelled in vain.
'Not a chance!!! Hey look what Bella 'Beetroot-face' has!! She has a 'blanky'!!!' He ran, and circled the large yard, waving my 'security' as he went, heckling me all the way.
'Please!!!' I cried, knowing full well that there was no chance he was going to give it back to me without letting the whole play-ground know what a sad-case I was.
I felt the ache in my throat, as I choked on my first sob. They cannot see me cry like this. I would not let them. I swallowed hard. My embarrassment suddenly turned to anger, and I could see the cartoon steam starting to shoot out of my ears. That was my 'rag', and he would damn well give it back!
I took a deep breath, and ran after him. I gave chase as best as I could, but I have to admit that I was not the most co-ordinated of children, and just as I had managed to reach him and tugged on the edge of his jacket, he pulled away suddenly, yanking me behind him. I tumbled forward, my face slamming into the ground.
I lay face down on the floor for what seemed like forever, before I suddenly heard some heated exchanges going on above me. The next thing I knew, I was being carried into the library, where I was placed gently onto the padded bench. I squeezed my eyes tight shut, as I felt the pain in my chin. From no-where, and as if by magic, I felt someone thrust something into my hands. My 'rag' was suddenly there. OH! My rag!!!
'Mr Cullen, can you take care of Bella for a moment? Sit with her until she feels well enough to play out-side again?
'No problem, Mrs Wheatstone. I will take care of her.'
He was going to take care of me? Whoever he was… I started to get very nervous. I was being left alone with someone I did not know. Not only that, but I was being left alone with a boy!
'It's going to be ok, you know?' I heard the sweetest voice say. 'Mrs Wheatstone saw what happened, and she in not very happy with him. She's put him in the corner of the class room, whilst she writes a letter to his Mum. He's such a bully, that Mike Newton. Don't worry, I will look after you. Plus, I have a secret too…'
I opened my eyes to see if I could put a face to this intoxicating voice… And I was not disappointed.
Pair of big green eyes, were staring at me intently. I gazed at his square jaw, chubby cheeks, (that were dusted with a few of the cutest freckles), and dark, bronze, dishevelled hair. I gave an internal chuckle at the thought that he obviously had no clue how to use a hair-brush!
'Here.' He handed me a piece of cotton wool and very tentatively, yet carefully, placed it on my bleeding chin. I held up my hand to take the cotton wool from him, but he kept his hand there as mine settled upon his. I felt my nerves dissipate in an instant at the feel of his warm hand. I would normally have shied away completely at the touch of another person, let alone a boy. But there was something very calming about him that instantly settled me upon his touch.
I opened my mouth to speak, but no words came out. I must have looked like a wide-mouthed frog. I could not take my eyes away from him.
Then he did the unimaginable… He raised his other hand, and gently, oh so gently rubbed the side of my cheek with his thumb. Like someone flicked a switch in me, my cheeks began to burn, and redden at his tender touch. I suddenly shut my eyes in awkwardness and embarrassment of the situation. Why did I have to be such a bashful child?
I took a deep breath through my nose, and tried to gain some control over the uncontrollable actions of my body. My cheeks were always my undoing. I was so easy to read.
I decided to be brave…
'You said you had a secret?' I managed in a croaky voice.
'Yes… But I will only tell you if you promise not to say anything to anyone? Swear it! Swear you will never tell?'
'I swear I will never, ever tell.' I promised truthfully. After all, he was entrusting me with his big secret. He was willing to tell me. How could I not promise this for him?
'Look....' He said, pulling something out of his pocket.
I stared down at the small strand of ribbon.
'It's from my comfort blanket. I loved it so much, that it fell apart, and this ribbon is the only bit left… When no-one is watching, I sneak off to the cloak-room and rub it under my ear. I cannot live without it. I love it so much!' He said with a cheeky, yet almost shy grin on his face.
'See we're the same! You have your…? Your…?'
'Rag', I said with a soft smile.
'Rag,' he repeated. 'And I have my ribbon. I think we are going to be friends for always…' My heart jumped at the thought. A friend, a real friend! Even if he was a boy, I knew I was going to make an exception.
'How's you chin?' He asked.
'It's ok. I think it's stopped bleeding, but it's a little bit sore.' I stated.
'Do you know what my Mum does when I hurt myself? She always kisses it better and reads me a story make me forget…' He squeezed my free hand and smiled a dazzling smile that I could not resist!
He moved his hand with the cotton wool in it off my chin and looked at me intently.
'Here, let me… Kiss it better... It will work, I promise. It always works for me.' He said with sincerity, giving me a wide-eyed gaze.
I opened my mouth in horror at the thought of this gorgeous, floppy-haired wonder kissing my chin, but I quickly snapped it shut, as he threw the cotton wool in the dustbin, and very gingerly grabbed hold of my entire face bringing it toward him.
'It's stopped bleeding. See, you are almost better, but this will help.' He closed the inches between us, and I couldn't help but to close my eyes tightly – I was entering a dream world…
I felt the heat from his hands, and the circling of his thumbs on my red-hot cheeks, constantly reassuring me that everything would be ok. Then suddenly his soft wet lips, carefully kissed from one side of my chin to the other.
I know, I know….I was eight years old for crying out loud, but the memory of those very seconds still sent a shiver down my spine, and made me exhale as loudly now, as they did back then.
'Feeling better now?' he enquired, as he squinted through his messy hair up to my opened-mouthed stare.
'Oh, yeah. I guess I am.' I mumbled, but wanting to prolong this time together, 'But didn't you say that your Mum always read you a story too?' I was suddenly feeling braver than I had ever felt before, around anyone other than my Mother that is. I was so proud of myself.
'Which one do you want? He said pointing towards the shelves full fantasy worlds… Could he know how much I loved to lose myself in a book? So much less scary than real life…
He stood up, placing my hands gently into my lap. I was sad that loss of his touch. Then, as if knowing how I was feeling at that exact second, he turned and looked back over his shoulder, then spun around, took a step forward and pulled me up to him with both hands.
'Let's go sit in the reading corner. The beanbags are so much more comfy.' He said as he towed me along behind him.
'Ok.' I said simply. I had already forgot the pain in my chin, who needed to read?!
He collapsed into a squishy blue beanbag, and pulled me down into the red one at his side.
'I know the perfect book!' He stated, as if sudden inspiration had hit. He grabbed a large pink one, that stuck out from the shelf next to him.
'You'll love this. My sister, Rosalie, she loves this book. It's full of princesses, and handsome princes on white horses that rescue them. Girls love this stuff, don't they?'
'Yes they do' I said with a half smile. Inside I was beaming.
'Ok, so get cosy. Why don't you rest your head here?' He put his arm around me and pulled me into him, so my head was resting upon his shoulder. In his best velvety voice he began the story…
Suddenly I did want to read. I needed to read.
Mrs Wheatstone appeared around the corner and smiled at us both, before quietly tip-toeing away.
'Once upon a time, in a land far, far away lived the beautiful princess Bella… That is your name, right? Bella?' He asked.
'Yes, yes it is. But I don't know your name.' He began reading again
'One day, the handsome prince, Edward, came riding over the hill…' He winked at me, before he continued with the most mesmerizing story, which made all the hurt and fear quickly disappear.
I had found my Edward.
But that was then… Fifteen years had passed since then. Would he know who I was now? Would he recognise me after what seemed like an eternity apart?
We were about to find out…
I had no right being here. I did not belong in this world… At all.
The red carpet was waiting. Any other rational human being would have jumped at this opportunity, but not me. I was literally being dragged kicking and screaming, and the only thing I felt was dread and fear washing through me to my very core… I felt nauseous. I didn't know if I was going to be able to hold it together, for five minutes, let alone and entire evening.
There was so much noise from the crowd, but all I could hear was the deafening sound of my heart thudding in my ears. Taking a deep breath and gripping my best friend for all I was worth, Alice and I took our first tentative steps towards him…