A/N - Hello all!
This story is a collaborative effort between myself and Emmy415. She rocks. She's the peanut butter to my jelly.
We'd like to thank our lovely beta sweek539 for getting this back to us so fast! YOU ROCK! :)
Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight. We don't. But I DO own lots and lots of Robporn!
Enjoy! Hope you stick with us crazies till the end.
Prologue - EPOV
"I don't want you to go, Edward." my best friend of 16 years said sadly from her place beside me in the hammock in my backyard. It was the August after our senior year. There was a slight chill to the night air, and the sky was unusually clear for being the Pacific Northwest. Usually we were masked under a layer of clouds. Not tonight though; although it felt as if there were clouds above our heads. This night was unbearably sad.
I frowned and pulled her closer to me in the small space. "I know, Bella. I'm going to miss you...more than you know." I leaned my head down on top of hers. I sighed, looking over at my expansive backyard in Forks, Washington. Bella and I had so many good times in this town, but it was time to leave. We had graduated this past June, and I had plans to make my way to New York City to attend ICE Culinary School. Being a chef had been my dream since kindergarten when I would stand on a stool in my mom's kitchen, making Bella and I peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Over the years, my culinary skills became more profound. When we were 11, I learned how to make macaroni and cheese, and we ate it everyday for an entire month that summer. In high school, I expanded my conquests to Italian dishes, steak, and even tried my hand at baking. Cooking was my passion and I loved seeing people's eyes light up when they took that first bite. Bella and my little sister Alice had been my guinea pigs through our entire childhood; sometimes becoming victims to inedible dishes, having to spit it into the trash or clapping happily should I make something that tempted their taste buds. My father had always hoped I'd take the same career path as him and become a doctor, but going to school for 10 years was not something that interested me. I loved experimenting with herbs, and spices, and textures of food. There was nothing better then creating something and then watching someone fall in love with that creation. It gave me such a rush...a thrill...and I would gladly do it everyday for the rest of my life. My mom always joked that it would make me an excellent husband someday.
Bella fingered at the soft fabric of my shirt. "You're going to be great Edward, I just know it. I just wish we weren't going to be so far away from each other." she said, her voice cracking a bit.
"Don't worry, Bella. We'll see each other on holidays, and when you come to New York to visit Emmett. We've got e-mail and phones. Trust me, you won't miss me when you get to college anyways. You'll be too busy with classes, and new friends. Whenever you need me, I'll be there for you, alright?"
Bella was opting to stay in Washington and attend the University of Washington in Seattle. I thought for sure she would come to New York with me, since her older brother was already living there, but she said she didn't think she could handle being that far away from home. Plus, the University of Washington had a phenomenal writing program. Bella was destined to be a writer. She had a way with words like no one I'd ever seen. Even knowing all of this, I still knew that I was going to miss her. We'd been inseparable since our mothers ran into each other at the Safeway in Forks, Washington 16 years ago. We both sat in our respective carts, grinning madly and reaching for each other. At least, that's what we were told. After that, our mothers constantly set up play dates for us, and we became fast friends. We'd been through a lot together; each others first kisses and break-ups, learning how to drive, being grounded for sneaking out of our houses, homecoming, prom, and every other teenage milestone you could think of.
Now, however, we were preparing to say goodbye to each other. Our rooms were stuffed into boxes, our cars packed to the brim with belongings, and our hearts breaking little by little as we sat in silence. I had faith that we would get through this and remain just as close as we had always been. We just understood each other.
"I think we should get to bed, Bells." I said into her hair. She immediately grasped my shirt tighter at my words, not wanting our last night in Forks together to end. I pried her tiny fingers away and stood up as carefully as I could without knocking her onto the ground. Offering my hand to her, I pulled her out of the hammock and into a hug.
"We'll see each other in the morning. I'm not leaving until I see you, okay?" I felt her nod against my chest, and she pulled away, heading to her car to drive home.
"Bella?" I called out as she walked down the driveway. She turned, still not saying anything.
"Text me when you get home, okay? I want to make sure you get there alright." She nodded again, and walked the remaining distance to her car. She got in and backed out of the driveway, waving to me when she got to the street. With a loud sigh, I ran my hands over my face and through my bronze hair, before turning and looking at my moonlit backyard one more time.
When I got upstairs to my room, I looked around at it's emptiness. My hundreds of CDs were packed up in boxes, ready to be shipped to my new place. My clothes were expertly folded by my sister and placed delicately in boxes and garment bags. Pictures of my family and friends were wrapped up, preventing them from breakage.
I sighed and threw myself onto my bed, willing myself to fall asleep. I was dreading the following day, and wanted to be as rested as possible for my long drive. I tossed and turned, making a mental note that Bella had yet to text me to tell me she had made it home safe. She didn't live that far, so it shouldn't have taken her that long to get back to me. Finally, I heard my phone buzz from its place on the nightstand. I nearly flew off my bed to grab it. I pushed a button and couldn't help but chuckle at her text.
I made it. You can stop worrying now. :) - B.She knew me too well.
Who says I was worrying? Big ego much? ;) - E.Once I had confirmation that Bella was home, I slipped under my covers and fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.
Goodnight Edward. :P See you in the morning. - B.
Where is she? I thought to myself, and then glancing down at my watch.
I stood in my driveway the following moring, my Volvo packed and ready to make its cross country trip to New York. My mother, Esme, was standing beside me, trying to reign in her tears. She was taking this move ten times harder than everyone else, with the exception of Bella. My mother was the most loving and giving person I knew, but she wore her heart on her sleeve, and it would be any minute before she burst into tears. Luckily, I had put some tissues in my pocket for the occasion. My father, Carlisle, was sitting on the front step of our house with my sister, chatting quietly. I turned my eyes back to the road just as Bella's old car came crawling down our street. She pulled into the driveway and hopped out of the car, looking frazzled and frantic.
"Oh, thank god you're still here! I thought you would've left without saying goodbye! I'm so sorry it took me so long Edward. My mom had all kinds of questions for me this morning, and I cooked my dad breakfast, and I know you wanted to be on the road by now, and -" I placed my hand over her mouth to quiet her and smiled.
"Bella, I wouldn't have left without saying goodbye. I would've driven to your house if I had to."
I heard a sniffle and looked down at her. Tears were starting to leak out of her eyes, and she was playing with her fingers; a nervous habit that she had developed over the years. I reached out and enveloped her in a big hug. She wound her arms around my neck, and buried her face in my neck, letting the tears run freely. I glanced at my mom, who was saddened by Bella's sudden tears, and walked over to put a hand on her shoulder.
"Bella, honey, we'll see him soon. If I have to fly you to New York myself, I will. You two need each other, and you'll keep in touch." Bella then wrenched herself away from me and into the arms of my mother, who took to soothing her. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my dad and Alice get up from the porch and move towards us. I could feel tears springing up in the back of my eyes, but I willed them away. I needed to be strong for my mom and Bella. They needed me to be strong.
Alice came to me first, throwing her tiny 4'11 body into my arms. "I'm going to miss you, bro. You're the best big brother ever. Who's going to scare the boys away now that you're gone?"
I laughed and pointed to my father. "He'll have to take over for me, I guess."
"No one scares the boys quite like you, Edward. I'm surprised any guys were lucky enough to get close to her at all." He laughed, and pulled me into a hug. "I'm proud of you, son. Follow your dreams, and you'll be great." I nodded in understanding.
"Thanks dad. I love you."
He walked back over to Alice, and I turned to my mom and Bella, who were consoling each other. Bella's tears had slowed, and they stood with their arms around each other, waiting for the impending doom.
I pulled my mom into a hug first. "I love you Mom. Thanks for everything. I'll call you as soon as I get to New York, okay?"
"New York!? Oh no. You're calling me as soon as you get to a hotel tonight, young man." She said in her best 'stern mother' voice, which wasn't actually very stern at all. My mother wouldn't hurt a fly, no matter how intimidating she thought she was. I nodded and grinned at her.
"Sure, mom." She patted me on the back, kissed my cheek and let me go. Something I know she had been dreading for the past 18 years.
I closed my eyes for a split second, and then turned my attention to Bella. She threw her arms around me and collided harshly with my body. "I'm going to miss you. Be safe, okay? Call me when you can."
I kissed the top of her head and smiled. "Of course. I'll see you as soon as I can, I promise. Don't talk to strangers, and if you manage to snag a guy while I'm gone, make sure he wraps the package, okay? We really don't need any mini-Bella's running around just yet, and I kind of don't want to have to beat anybody up."
She smacked my arm and then crushed my cheeks between her hands. "Well don't you go using this handsome face to try and be the next New York City playboy, you hear me hotshot?"
Laughing, I grabbed her around the waist and crushed her in a huge bear hug one more time.
"Alright B. I gotta get on the road. I'll miss you. Love you, kiddo."
She smiled softly. "Love you too. Go get 'em."
With that, I turned and got in my car, waving out my window as I left the driveway, my home and my childhood behind.
Little did I know that this life would be much different from what awaited me in my future.