An Introduction to Swirl and Daisy: The Non-Romantic Romance

Disclaimer: Any Twilight characters that may appear in this story belong to Stephenie Meyer. The remainder is my original work. No reproduction is allowed without my written consent.

Betas: xsecretxkeeperx, acciodanrad9

*IMPORTANT A/N* If you go to my profile (which you can do by clicking the "m81170" link above), and scroll down to the An Introduction Swirl and Daisy section, you will see a hyperlink called "Swirl and Daisy PDF Download." This PDF is a complete version of the story, and is at least 32% more awesome than what's here on FFn due to less formatting restrictions. I highly recommend downloading that rendering of Swirl and Daisy. This was a five-year labor of love so, however you choose to read it, I hope you enjoy!

. . .

The first time I met Edward Cullen I was twelve years old.

He was sitting in front of a computer in first period Yearbook class with a camera around his neck, furiously sorting through pictures on the monitor in front of him. I couldn't see much with his head bent down, but it was easy to assume he wanted to be left alone based off his "vibe."

Renee had described to me exactly what a "vibe" was when I was five years old and had attempted to kiss Aiden Case for the first time. After being enrolled in ballet class – a misguided attempt by my mother to give me poise and equilibrium – and being laughed at daily for my tendency to fall down, I began clinging to Aiden like a life-vest. Every class he wore a pink tutu like the rest of us, with pink princess shoes that sparkled. I was so jealous of those shoes, and, yes, I was a little in love with Aiden.

At the end of class, I would go over to Aiden's house and play Barbies with him. One afternoon, deciding it was time to take our relationship to the next level, I asked Aiden to marry me. We both wore dresses to the wedding – not exactly what I had imagined, but I had gotten him to the altar (or, in this case, the Barbie Dream House) and that was really all that mattered. We professed our love for one another and just as I was leaning in to kiss him, he scrunched up his nose and began crying.

Our parents found us in that condition, both of us crying because I wanted to kiss Aiden and Aiden didn't want to kiss me. Renee talked to me about reading the signals people gave out by their personality and body language, and apparently Aiden didn't give out the "vibe" that he liked girls in that way. This spawned a rather awkward conversation about what exactly "that way" was.

That was how I knew that the boy with bronze hair and the camera around his neck wanted to be left alone. I scanned the room to see what "vibe" the other students were giving out and then I spotted them – powdering their noses in front of their compact mirrors like I'd seen those women do in the Covergirl commercials.

There was one girl with short spiky hair layering foundation onto her skin and another with long blonde hair applying heavy lip-liner, a light shade of pink gloss already on her lips. The effect was… disenchanting, but she seemed to be pleased with the way she looked because she snapped her compact mirror shut, slipped her make-up into her purse, and smiled confidently as she strode over to the boys sitting in the next row.

I felt awkward standing there in my plain grey t-shirt and jeans, my old purple backpack that I had carried over to Forks from Phoenix slung carelessly from my shoulder; I'd brought it for good luck, needing all that I could get, because apparently thirteen-year-olds in Forks wore skirts that went to mid-thigh, carried purses, and donned two-inch high heels.

I was not getting a good "vibe" from those girls.

I didn't know where to sit exactly, since no one in the room seemed to be giving welcoming signals. I was the new girl, but I didn't think anyone even noticed I was there. Just as I thought that, the blonde girl turned her head to look at me with unreceptive ice-blue eyes. I quickly snapped my head in the other direction and determinately walked towards the boy with the camera around his neck.

He had to be less intimidating than those other girls. I would take a standoffish, geek type over a frosty bitch (I mentally slapped my wrist for thinking the word "bitch") any day. I only hoped I looked half as confident as the girl with the blonde hair did when she walked up to those boys. It might have helped if I hadn't almost tripped on the leg of one of the computer desks.

I approached the boy, but didn't want to startle him – he was staring at the computer screen rather intently – so, I gave a quiet, "Hello."

No reaction. Apparently he hadn't heard me. I cleared my throat and tried again. "Hello."

He looked up, his eyes blinking furiously, as if he had a speck of dust in one of them. Or, I chided myself, as if he had been staring at a computer screen for the last ten minutes and some rude girl had walked over and interrupted him.

It was then that I realized what a huge mistake I had made by choosing to sit next to him rather than the Barbie doll in the mini-skirt. Because he clearly was so much hotter than she was.

I meant he was cute. And he had nice green eyes. And awesome hair.

I was just about to turn around and walk back over to the girls when he asked in a whisper, "Are you talking to me?" The question in and of itself was a bit rude, but his tone suggested he was genuinely surprised.

"Um, may I sit next to you?" I asked.

He nodded, but his eyes registered a startling amount of curiosity. I walked to the other side of him and fell into the next seat, turned on my computer, distracted myself by reaching into my backpack for my notebook, and tried not to stare at his face. This was made infinitely harder because he was definitely staring at mine.

The login page of the computer popped up in front of me and, seeing as this was my first day, I decided it would be alright if I looked at him to ask what the password was. This was also a mistake because when I finally turned my head to meet his eyes, all the words left my brain.

We stared at each other for a few moments. I'm sure my own eyes reflected the same bewilderment as his. I would say that I fell in love in those brief seconds. But adults were adamant that young people couldn't fall in love – I didn't know if I believed them.

He suddenly looked down and scrambled in his pocket before pulling out and handing me a card.

As in, his card.

As in, his business card.

Oh. My. God. How old was he?

"Oh, my God, how old are you?" I internally cringed. I was glad to have some words back in my brain, but why were those the words it decided to conjure up?

Fortunately, he didn't seem too bothered by my rude question. "My name is Edward Cullen, I'm thirteen years old. My home phone, beeper, and fax number are all on that card."

Wow, this guy was smooth. How many other girls had this card in their backpacks (or purses)?

"How many other girls have this card?" I blurted out and internally punched myself in the nose.

His cheeks reddened, and damn that was really cute. I internally slapped my wrist for thinking the word "damn."

"Um, I actually just had them printed up," he muttered. I internally let out a sigh, and then decided I was sick of doing everything internally and held out my hand.

"My name is Bella Swan. I just moved here from Phoenix to live with my dad. I actually don't know my phone number. It's really nice to meet you, though." He nodded but seemed hesitant to reach out and shake my hand. I saw him covertly wipe his hand on his jeans, but it was still a little sweaty when he placed it in mine.

I couldn't bring myself to care though because I was actually holding hands with a boy. And by holding, I meant shaking, but really it was the same thing. And maybe it was just my imagination, but I thought he held my hand longer than what was necessarily polite for the circumstance. And the heavens opened up and angels sang as I realized I had found my soulmate. I was meant to be with this boy.

Of course all of this was completely ruined by the next five words out of my mouth. "You aren't gay, are you?"

Oh shit. My hand immediately slapped over my mouth and I felt blood rush to my cheeks, closing my eyes in mortification as I internally beat myself to a pulp. I didn't even have it in me to mentally punish myself for thinking the word "shit."

What was wrong with me? I mean, yeah, the last boy I had allowed myself to fall in love with gave off the gay "vibe," but Edward didn't! I cursed Aiden. I cursed Renee. I may have cursed God too, but I swear it was an accident!

I was just sitting there drowning in self-pity and humiliation. I couldn't look at Edward, knowing I'd only find disgust on his face. He'd never speak to me again. He'd think I was a diseased, social leper, and ask me to go sit somewhere else.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he actually found that funny and was thoroughly amused. Maybe if I look, I'll find humor and good-will on his face and then we'll have this amazing connection and we'll fall in love and get married and tell people about the first time we met and how humiliating and awkward that was…

I chanced a peek from behind my fingers and died a little more inside when I realized my first instinct was correct. He hated me. He wasn't even looking at me anymore, back to sorting pictures on his computer. I turned away from him and blinked a few tears out of my eyes.

The teacher walked into class then and started calling roll. I tried to collect myself, doing my best not to look at Edward when she called his name. After she was finished, she asked me to come up to talk to her while the rest of the class worked on their assignments.

I must have still looked flustered because the first thing she said was, "Do you need to go to the nurse's office? You look a bit peaky."

While at first escaping Edward seemed like an appealing prospect, I quickly realized that this would only bring further attention to me, so I decided against it. "No, I'm all right. I guess I'm just nervous about my first day of school," I said, hoping she wouldn't question me further or insist on me leaving.

"Well, in that case, my name is Ms. Evans and I'm the Yearbook advisor. Everything is very casual in my class. Rosalie and Alice are chief editors." She nodded her head over to the two girls who had been applying a new face to their old one a few minutes ago. "You'll meet them and the rest of the class a little bit later.

"Most of the other people here have different sections of the yearbook that they are assigned to and put together pages for those. I allow everyone to work independently or in groups for most of the class and I go around and check on their progress, making sure they are all contributing, and staying focused."

I bobbed my head at the appropriate moments to let her know I was following her, though I couldn't help but think this class seemed more like a free period for socializing and flirting (aka, mating) over anything else.

"I'm afraid, however, that all of the positions for editors are filled up. I saw that you were sitting over with Edward, our photographer. Would you be interested in working as his assistant?"

I was torn – I loved to take pictures and (if I was being honest) I really wanted to spend more time with Edward, but he hated me now and that would probably put a damper on our interactions. I didn't want to make him uncomfortable by forcing him to work with me.

Leaning in a little closer to Ms. Evans, I whispered, "I'm not sure how good of an idea that is. I mean, I don't think he likes me."

To my surprise Ms. Evans let out a loud chuckle and smacked me on the back – hard. "Oh, Bella, he'll like you just fine. He's just shy. Go over and tell him the good news! He'll be happy to have some help."

I felt oddly… hopeful. I mean, it was the teacher that was forcing us to work together. It wouldn't be my fault if he was uncomfortable. Except for the fact that I asked if he was gay, I corrected myself.

Ms. Evans handed me a sheet a paper, quickly explaining that it was a "how to" guide on working with the computers. Standing up a little straighter in an attempt to gather my confidence, I walked back over to Edward with my head held high, and managed not to trip on anything as I took my seat next to him.

After a deep inhale, I said, "Ms. Evans told me that I'd be working with you as your assistant photographer."

Edward only acknowledged what I said with a silent nod.

Turning back to my computer dejectedly, I typed in the password that was written in the "how to" guide. I had begun to work through the instructions on the sheet about how to access the photos on the network data drive when an instant message popped up on my screen.

COMP520072: This is Edward Cullen to Bella Swan.

My eyes widened and quickly flicked over to Edward who was still sorting through pictures as if nothing was happening. What was he up to?

COMP520073: BS to EC. How do I know this is rly Edward?

COMP520072: Because the ID on this computer is the number right before yours.

COMP520073: Oh.

COMP520072: I would like to answer your question now.

COMP520073: Wat question?

COMP520072: You asked if I was gay.

Heat flooded my cheeks once again. I had actually managed to forget about that little mishap during my excitement over Edward talking to me. Well… kind of talking.

COMP520072: You look really pretty when you blush like that.

The slightest hue of pink was tinting his ears, but his face remained composed and steadfast on the screen as he continued typing.

COMP520072: And no, I am not gay.

I could have sworn I saw him smirk.