"Twi-High Anonymous Challenge"

Story Title: Best Game Ever

Summary: Who didn't love slumber parties and Truth or Dare in high school? A little girl talk, some playful deception, and a few insistent friends force Bella and Edward to confront their mutual infatuation. Exactly how far will this game go?

Primary Players: Edward, Bella

Disclaimer: All characters, songs, and products referenced in this story are property of their respective owners. No copyright infringement is intended. The rest belongs to me.

Bella

"All right, Rosalie, I choose you. Truth or dare?"

I watched Rosalie's face as Alice asked her the question. Rose had taken a dare from Angela on her last turn and ended up performing the Single Ladies dance while we all watched and giggled. It was her own fault; we all knew she could do the dance to a T.

"I'm going with truth this time," she said, rolling her eyes at each of us. "What do you want to know, bitch?"

Alice smirked at Rosalie's teasing tone, tapping her chin as she pretended to conjure up a question.

It was completely ridiculous that we were playing Truth or Dare in the first place. I couldn't remember a single time that I had participated in this game since junior high, and here we all were, four eleventh and twelfth grade girls, acting like silly little kids at a slumber party.

Alice didn't miss a beat. "Rosalie Lillian Hale," she began seriously, "tell us what you and Emmett did the last time you fooled around."

To my surprise, Rosalie's face flamed with color, a reaction that was widely known to be my quirk.

"What?" I asked curiously. "Oh my gosh, if you of all people are embarrassed about it, you have to tell us!"

Angela squealed, inching closer to the group in our little circle on the floor in Rosalie's bedroom. "Spill it, Ro!"

"Nooooo," she whined in response, but I could tell by the look on her face that she knew we wouldn't give up easily.

Alice smirked when she realized Rosalie was about to give in at last. "Now…truth."

"Okay," Rosalie began, steeling herself with a deep breath. I was surprised that she wouldn't meet any of our eyes as she spoke. "He wanted to try something we've never done before, and he was practically begging me, but I just couldn't. Oh my god, this is so embarrassing!"

I actually started to feel bad about pressuring her to tell us, but it was hopeless now. Alice could be brutal about these things.

Eventually, Rosalie continued. "He wanted to put his dick…somewhere…somewhere I was feeling a little weird about."

"Oh my gosh! He wanted to put in your butt!" Alice laughed, practically jumping up from her seat on the floor as she clapped excitedly. "Did you let him do it?"

"Shut up!" Rosalie shrieked, throwing a pillow at our obnoxious little jester. "Fuck, Alice. No, he didn't want to put it in my butt! We haven't even had sex yet!"

"Really?" I asked automatically. It was an honest question. Of all our friends, Rosalie and Emmett were the ones I had assumed would be screwing like rabbits. The way they pawed all over each other at any given moment was uncomfortable to see at times.

Then again, that wasn't completely true. My sister Alice and her boyfriend Jasper were pretty intense for high school students. Jasper was my age, a senior, and Alice was a year younger than us. After dancing around each other for the majority of our high school career, they finally got together this past summer. As we approached Christmas, they had been together for six months.

Alice had always crushed on Jasper, but she was oddly patient about the whole thing. Whenever he would date someone else or she would go out with other guys, she'd say weird things about it "not being time yet." I didn't really get it, but she had always been the goofy one in our family. She claimed to get these "feelings" about things, as she put it, and Jasper was amongst those. Alice was convinced that they would end up together eventually, and she never pushed things because, as she assured me, they would be together forever once it happened.

At long last, it all changed at the first party of the summer at the Cullen's, hosted by Alice's best friend and fellow junior, Angela…and her older brother Edward. I'm not sure if it was my sister's teensy bikini did the trick or if something finally triggered in his mind, but before the party was over, Jasper and Alice were attached at the hip. The parts of their bodies that were connected thereafter were not something I liked to think about, even though I knew that they were…sexually active.

It was weird in some ways. My younger sister was having sex, but I never had. She and Jasper were so intense when they were together. There was really no other way to describe it. I worried when they jumped into the physical side of their relationship almost immediately, but Alice never fretted or regretted that decision. She was perfectly content and perfectly in love.

Still, it surprised me that Rosalie and Emmett hadn't reached that point in their romance yet. I guess that being Jasper's twin didn't necessarily mean that Rosalie had to do everything quite the same way as her brother.

Rosalie and Emmett's story was one I always found quite amusing. They spent the majority of eleventh grade playing each other like a yo-yo. They were both so damn bullheaded that they could never get it over with and just be together already. Everyone knew they had feelings for each other, but they played too many games. When Rosalie accepted Royce King's invitation to prom, Emmett was furious. He took Easy Lauren Mallory and was further infuriated when Rosalie didn't react to his antics. By the time we all reached the after party at Tyler Crowley's house, the gloves were off. Royce got handsy with Rosalie in a very unwelcome manner, and that was all it took for Emmett to abandon Lauren, knock Royce out with one punch, and claim Rosalie as his prize. Their grand performance at the party was the biggest piece of gossip around school until the end of the year.

"Yes, really," Rosalie said, rolling her eyes and drawing me out of my memories. "We've barely done anything at all, actually."

Angela spoke up for this part, looking very interested. "So what have you done, then?"

Rosalie scrunched her nose, probably considering what to dish or how to say it. "Umm, I guess you could say that he's very familiar with my boobs, and uh, we do a lot of making out shirtless." The group burst into girlish giggles, but we quieted when Rosalie scowled. "We've never been naked together, per se…"

Alice gasped, drawing all our attention to her. "No way! You're so full of it."

"I'm serious!" Rosalie defended. "I let him touch me, but I've never taken all my clothes off before."

"Aww, Rose, don't be embarrassed," I interjected. "I think it's cool that you guys are taking things slow."

To my annoyance, Alice coughed something that sounded like "virgin," which forced me to punch her in retribution. She laughed me off, and I rolled my eyes at her.

"Anyway," Rosalie said dramatically, drawing the group's attention back to her, "that's it. That's all we've done. I've never touched him…well, other than over his clothes and, like, dry humping," she giggled.

"So what happened last time?" Alice asked persistently. "Did he want you to give him a hand job? A blow job?"

Rosalie looked embarrassed once more, shaking her head and looking down into her lap. "No, he's actually really sweet about all that, which is amazing, I've gotta say. I mean, what guy would put up with his girlfriend greedily being on the receiving end all the time and never reciprocating? He's surely dealt with some serious blue balls," she laughed nervously.

"I'd say a guy with a girlfriend who looks like a supermodel," Angela chimed in with a laugh. "What did he ask you to do? You've got to tell us already!"

"All right," she finally relented. "He asked me if he could, umm…put it between my boobs." She mumbled the last few words, but we all heard them anyway.

I sat in stunned silence while Alice laughed hysterically. "Holy fuck! Emmett wants to titty fuck you! God, I wish I actually had a rack so Jasper and I could do that. You are so lucky!"

"Eww! TMI, Alice! That's my brother you're talking about," Rosalie spat back, her lip curling in disgust. "And just because I have big boobs doesn't mean I let him do it! I mean, I can't even imagine. Like, wouldn't his balls be on my chest?"

Alice and Rosalie continued their verbal sparring on the subject for a few moments. I sat back and shook my head, laughing at the fact that we were actually having this conversation. However, it was Angela who surprised us all the most.

"It's not that bad."

"What?" Rosalie and Alice said at the same time, their heads snapping in Angela's direction.

"I said it's not that bad," Angela repeated with a shrug.

"Holy hell, Angela!" Rosalie practically screamed. "Okay, I pick you. Truth or dare? And you'd better say truth or I'm going to kick your skinny little ass," she said with a cross between humor and seriousness.

After chuckling at Rosalie, Angela agreed to a truth.

"All right, since we already know that you've done some kinky shit with little Ben, tell us when you're going to give it up, Miss Virtue."

With nonchalance that shocked me, Angela smirked deviously at us. "Who says I haven't already?"

Once again, we were all howling with laughter, shock, and disbelief. There were many questions being asked at once, so Angela forced us to stop with a loud, "Shut up!"

"I never said we weren't ever going to have sex. We just weren't rushing anything. Come on, we were only fourteen when we started dating in ninth grade. At least now we're both seventeen," she explained. "And seriously, there's only so much foreplay and experimenting you can do before it happens."

"So…when?" Rosalie asked softly.

"Two weeks ago," Angela admitted with a sweet and excited smile. "Well, actually, it was twelve days ago, but close enough, right?"

We all giggled and squeed together as Angela described their very romantic and slightly awkward first time…and the subsequent times when they got the hang of things a little better. I was equally amused and amazed by how different each of us was. I may not have had the experience they all did, but it was okay that way. We were still in high school, and no one expected us to be on some predetermined level of sexual history or know-how.

Rosalie and Angela's admissions eventually led to Alice's being asked, by Angela, about her most recent "adventures" with Jasper, as Alice liked to call them. I had already been regaled with most of those tales, considering that I shared a bedroom with Alice, but she spoke of everything in her usual blunt and honest manner. Rosalie cringed several times, stating that she didn't want to know anything about her twin brother's anatomy. Truthfully, we all felt a little of that, given the dynamic of our group of friends and each of our siblings.

Unfortunately, Alice did not forget that we were in the middle of a game of Truth or Dare as I wished she would. I could never be that lucky. As the last person left, her attention turned to me.

"All right, Sissy, what will it be? Truth or dare?"

Considering that I honestly had nothing to share in this little gossip fest and the combined factor that Alice would be ruthless with me if I chose truth, I decided to risk the other option.

"Dare."

"Oh, come on!" Alice protested.

"Dare," I repeated firmly.

She crossed her arms and stared at me like a petulant child, which was quite humorous given her lack of stature and petite frame. "You suck, Bella."

"Whatever," I laughed, sticking my tongue out and making a W with my thumbs and forefingers. "What'll it be?"

"Well," she said conspiratorially, "since you won't dish about Edward Cullen, then I'll just have to come up with something involving him!"

"Alice, no!" I objected, but I knew it was too late.

"You wanted a dare, Bella," she sing-songed.

As she pondered my dare, I hung my head and buried my face in my hands. I had the feeling Alice was going to be vicious. If nothing else, whatever she chose was going to be insanely embarrassing. She knew that I liked Edward a lot, and that I was really confused about what was going on between us right now.

He had asked me to Homecoming back in October, and the small crush I had at that point turned into a full blown like by the end of the night. Not only was he sweet and funny, but our paring completed our little group. His sister dated Ben, whose brother Emmett dated Rosalie. Rosalie's brother dated my sister, which brought it back around to the two of us. The rest of them thought it was adorable.

I wasn't sure what would happen with Edward after that, but I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed when things didn't exactly go anywhere. We hung out a lot on account of our friends and we even had a couple classes together, as we did every year, but he hadn't attempted to take things further.

I was relatively inexperienced with flirtations, but I tried. I smiled all the time, we talked at school and on the computer a lot, and there were a few times we did assignments together. Finally, last weekend, we all went to the movies together, and he held my hand for the latter half of the film. He and Jasper ended up driving Alice and me home, so while my sister and his best friend made out in the backseat of Edward's Cadillac Escalade, we sat on the front porch swing and talked…until he kissed me goodnight. The kiss wasn't anything more than a little peck, but it was amazing. I could feel how soft and pliant his lips were, and being so close together, I enjoyed the full intensity of his masculine scent.

Since then, nothing. Well, nothing new. We still chatted online, but he hadn't called me as I hoped he would. Classes were the same, and he didn't try to hold my hand again. I couldn't deny that I was disappointed by the standstill in our possibly-maybe-sort-of-budding-relationship. I had no idea what he wanted. That was the part that was chipping away at my self-confidence. Unfortunately, Alice knew that.

"Okay, Bella, I've got it," Alice announced proudly.

"What?" I groaned, peeking up at her and the girls.

They all smiled and nodded.

"I dare you to call Edward and ask him when he is going to step up and kiss you properly!"

"No way!"

"Yes, Bella! It's a dare, which, I might remind you, was your choice. So do it. Get out your phone and call him."

Seeing my panic-stricken expression, Angela and Rosalie both looked at me sympathetically.

"Hey," Angela began. "I happen to know that he was stupid-happy after he came home the night of the movies. I sort of guessed that he'd finally kissed you, and he was excited about it, Bella."

"Really?" I asked. She nodded and I smiled at her in thanks.

"Maybe you can text him instead?" she suggested, but Alice protested.

I hadn't noticed that Rosalie had pulled her laptop into her lap until she spoke. "He's online right now. Can she instant message him, Alice?" she suggested.

"Fine," Alice huffed, "but if you don't do it, I reserve the right to steal the laptop and do it for you. I don't think you want it in my words, now do you?" she threatened.

I certainly didn't, so I grabbed the laptop from Rosalie as the girls gathered around me. Taking a deep, shaky breath, I signed into my email and double clicked on Edward's name in my gchat box.

Bella: Hey
Edward: hi bella, what's up? aren't you hanging out with the girls tonight?
Bella: Yeah, I was just checking my email. Are you having a good night?
Edward: yup, we're just playing some video games and hanging out at the cheney's

"Come on, Bella, get on with it!" Alice prodded, jabbing me in the ribs.

"Ouch, Alice! I am," I said harshly, pushing her away from me. "Let me at least say hi, you impatient harpy!"

"Okay, but hurry up. I want to see what he says!" she giggled.

Edward: is it as fun as last weekend over there?

"Oh my gosh!" Angela squeaked excitedly. "I told you he likes you! He's totally flirting!"

Bella: I guess it depends on how you look at things.

"Nice," Rosalie said approvingly. I smiled.

Edward: i'm sure it beats watching jasper and alice make out all night LOL
Bella: HAHA, yeah, definitely

"Here's your chance! Do it, Bella! Now!"

"Fine, Ali, just shut up for a second and let me think!"

Bella: So, about that…I was wondering something…
Edward: what's that?
Bella: Well, I was wondering if…or when, I should say…you're going to pick up where we left off and give me a kiss that's worth telling the girls about. I feel a little left out while they're gossiping at these little slumber parties…

I hit the enter key before I could regret or second guess the words that had spewed from my fingers hastily. Once I actually saw them in the chat box, I gasped. What had I just said?

The girls all squealed, giggled, and bounced around excitedly, but I was a nervous wreck. It didn't help matters that he did not respond immediately.

I waited for a response.

And waited.

And waited.

When nothing came after more than a full minute, I released the breath I'd been holding and felt a single tear trickle down my cheek.

Alice hugged me and apologized. Rosalie called him an asshole under her breath. Angela pulled out her cell phone, offering to call and bitch him out. I couldn't do anything but sit there and stare at the computer screen, hoping and praying that he would just say something.


Edward

I stared at the computer screen.

Had Bella really just asked me that?

Bella. The sweet, gorgeous, unassuming girl I couldn't seem to work up the nerve to really pursue, no matter how hard I tried.

My first instinct was to worry that it wasn't really her and that one of the other girls was messing with me…or that one of the guys was doing it, but how would anyone have the password to her email?

I reread her words for the twentieth time, allowing them to fully sink in as I formulated an answer in my mind. She was calling me out, asking when I was going to man the hell up and seal the deal. I had wanted to since Homecoming – since long before Homecoming – but I was clearly too much of a pussy to do that.

There was just something about the girl that intimidated me. It wasn't as though she was fierce like Rosalie or energetic and hard to keep up with like Alice. Bella was her own unique person – kind, caring, and seemingly unaware of what a freaking gem she really was, inside and out.

Of course I wanted to kiss her. God, I wanted to do so much more than kiss Bella Swan. My mind was constantly plagued with thoughts of lying in my bed together, talking, listening to music, cuddling, making out…and maybe more. Hopefully more. Not that I wanted to rush into anything. Damn, she made my mind go a million miles an hour and in a thousand different directions at once.

I knew she was waiting for my reply, and it was completely shitty of me to make her wait for a response, but I needed to find the perfect words.

I finally decided that I would tell her that I'd like to take her out on a real date. It would be better to call to ask something like that, but we were already chatting here, so it was a little late for formalities. If she could go with me tomorrow, that would be ideal, but if not, I could wait a week or so.

Just as I was about to type my thoughts, Emmett burst into the small office alcove from the main section of the guest house.

"Dude! Come on already," he howled at me. "We're tired of waiting. Little bro is already texting Angela and J-dog looks like he's going to flounce Rock Band and put on a one-player game if you don't hurry up. I want to keep going, so get your ass out here!"

"Hold up a minute," I said, brushing him off. "I told you I wanted to watch this video on YouTube first so that I know how to sing it the right way. I'll be out in a minute."

"What the fuck, dude? You're checking your email?" he said as he walked closer to the computer. "Hey, who are you chatting? Oh man! Bella's totally macking on you! J-dog, get in here right now!"

Before I could react or defend myself, Emmett ripped me off the stool and away from the computer as he instructed Jasper to take over and talk to Bella. I kicked and fought against Emmett, fearing what they would say to her if I couldn't get away from him in time. Unfortunately, Emmett directed Jasper to take over and invite the girls over to hang out with us. I could only hope that he wouldn't be crass or rude, whatever he said.

After the deed was done and Jasper confirmed that Bella had signed out of her email, Emmett released me. I gave him a swift punch in the gut, which I knew would do very little against his hulking frame, but it was worth it to vent my frustration. I jumped at the computer, reading what Jasper had written as he pretended to be me.

Edward: Why don't you girls come over to the Cheney's and I'll see what I can do about that?
Bella: Seriously?
Edward: Absolutely. We're up in the garage apartment and Jasper said the Hales aren't home anyway, so no one would know you left. C u soon?
Bella: Sure, the girls are all in…we'll be there in 20

I wondered briefly if she would notice that I didn't use capital letters when I was typing while Jasper did, but it didn't seem to matter at this point.

When I walked back to the common area, the guys were waiting expectantly to resume our game.

"A couple more before the ladies arrive?" Emmett asked as though he hadn't just roughed me around in the other room.

I refused, scowling at them. I plopped myself on the couch while they rearranged themselves to set the game for three players instead of four.

Watching my friends, I inwardly laughed at the enormous difference between Emmett and his "brother" Ben. In all the ways that mattered, they truly were brothers. After years of trying to have children of their own, the Cheneys, a sweet little Asian couple, adopted baby Emmett when he was only a month old. Mere months later, they were surprised to find themselves pregnant at long last with Ben. Everyone called him a miracle baby because of the coincidences. My dad was a doctor and told me that it was surprisingly common for such things to happen. He said it had something to do with the parents' minds and bodies finally releasing all the stress of not being able to conceive and finding contentment with their adopted child. He said it happened with parents who used fertilization methods as well. Once they reached that proverbial "happy place," they became pregnant the old fashion way. No one ever questioned how thrilled they were to have two sons, but it was impossible to deny the humor when they were all together. At six and a half feet tall and close to three hundred pounds, Emmett was a giant compared to his parents and brother who all fell into the stereotypical Asian height and weight range. Still, they were a family and they loved one another.

The apartment over the Cheney family's detached garage served more as a game room than a guest house. With two teenage sons, it was convenient to exile them out of the house when they wanted to be loud, rough, or rowdy. For all of us, it was an ideal place to hang out, especially tonight when we were apparently sneaking the girls over.

Before long, a light tap sounded against the door as it opened to reveal my sister and our friends. Everyone smiled and moved toward their respective significant other. That left Bella and me as the odd ones out, and I bit the inside of my cheek nervously, wondering what she was expecting after Jasper's invitation.

"Hey," I greeted her with a smile.

"Hey," she said back shyly, tipping her chin toward the floor, but peering up at me through long bangs that fell over her eyes. I wanted to brush them away, but I resisted touching her so soon. Instead, I noted how adorable she looked in a long sleeved tee shirt and sweatpants with the name of some store written across her cute little ass.

After exchanging a few more pleasantries, we noticed that Alice and Jasper were already getting hot and heavy on the couch while Rose, Emmett, Ben, and Angela resumed playing Rock Band. I gestured toward the far wall, arranging some floor pillows for us to sit upon. Side by side, we sat close enough that our shoulders touched as our backs pressed against the wall.

Neither of us brought up the chat conversation, but I wasn't too worried about that at the moment. After talking for five or ten minutes, I leaned my leg against hers. Once I knew she was comfortable with that, I slowly reached my hand out and took hers in mine. She gave me the widest, most beautiful smile so far tonight, and I returned it automatically. It seemed like she couldn't stop smiling at all since they arrived, and that made my heart beat excitedly. Was it really me doing that to her? I hoped so because she was definitely keeping a crooked grin plastered on my dopey face.

As we spoke about books we were reading for pleasure, not our English assignments, I intertwined our fingers. While she recited lines from Austen that she had obviously memorized long ago, I used my free hand to gently trace up and down her knuckles, rounding her fingertips and feeling the soft pads beneath them.

I had no idea how long we'd been there, but I couldn't deny the urge…no, the need…to feel her lips against mine again. It had been a full week since I had first done it, and that kiss was not enough to sate my hunger for the pretty brunette I was so infatuated with. She must have noticed the way I was staring at her lips as she spoke because she grew silent suddenly, cutting herself off in the middle of a sentence.

"Edward?" she whispered softly.

"Yeah?" I leaned in closer, angling my body away from the wall slightly.

"I, uh…it was a dare to IM you earlier."

"Oh yeah?" I asked quietly. "That's all right. When Emmett saw that I was talking to you, he held me down while Jasper pretended to be me and invited you girls over."

"Are you saying you didn't want me to come over?" she asked teasingly, something secretive and seductive playing in her eyes.

"That's a stupid question." With that, I leaned closer, filling the gap between our bodies and inching closer to her mouth.

I was almost there…almost there…

"Eww! Jasper you are so fucking nasty! Quit that shit!"

I groaned as our attention immediately snapped to Rosalie shrieking at her brother. We looked just in time to see him pulling his hand out of Alice's shirt. Bella shook her head knowingly while Alice simply smirked and giggled.

Jasper, always the way-too-casual fool, grinned lazily while dumbly muttering a, "What?" at everyone.

While noise and clatter erupted, I looked over at Bella and chuckled nervously. "You wanna go for a walk?"

"Sure," she said, accepting my help up, then grabbing our coats before we slipped out unnoticed.

I grabbed her hand once we were out in the street, wrapping my fingers around hers to keep her warm.

"So that was incredibly awkward," she laughed as we distanced ourselves from the house.

"Well, that's Jasper."

"Did he do stuff like that with other girls?" she asked hesitantly. "I mean, I don't want to know the guy's history or anything, I just want to look out for my sister. They're a bit gross at times, but I don't want him taking advantage of her or treating her like it's okay to just…manhandle her, you know?"

"Hey," I replied quickly. "Jasper's a good guy. He really didn't have much, uh…well, you know. He wasn't a man whore or anything. That's totally an Alice thing with him."

"Thanks," she nodded. "You know I like him, but…"

"She's your sister. Trust me, I feel the same way about Angela."

Her appreciative smile made me feel warmer than I should have in the cold winter air. I couldn't get past how amazing it was to know that I was the one who made her smile that way. Did she have any idea how beautiful she was?

"So," I began suggestively, dragging out the word. "Tell me more about this little dare earlier." I lightly tapped her with my elbow, earning myself a small giggle in her tinkling soprano. It made me want to kiss her even more than I had wanted to earlier.

"It's nothing," she hedged.

"Bullshit. Come on, Bella."

One squeeze of her hand was all it took to convince her.

"Fine," she huffed. "I can't tell you what everyone else said because, you know, girl code and stuff. Secrets stay between us, but I will say that they were all pretty much swapping stories about their boyfriends. I didn't have anything to share in the truth department, so I picked a dare."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah," she nodded. "Alice wanted me to call you to ask, well, to ask if…"

"The kiss?"

"Right," she said with a gust of air as she exhaled sharply. "That led to the chat, and you know the rest."

I could tell that Bella was nervous, which completely surprised me. It didn't make sense that someone whose simple presence drew people to her could possibly be shy or hesitant. I wondered if she had any idea how much attention she commanded when she walked into a room…or maybe that was just what she did to me. No matter, her reactions were equal parts endearing and puzzling.

"Are you telling me that you didn't really want to know…or that you don't want me to do that?"

She kept my hand but pulled away from me a few feet, stretching our arms between us.

"Edward Cullen! You are totally fishing right now!"

"What?" I asked in mock offense. "I'm not."

"You are! Do you want me to tell you how much I'm just dying for you to kiss me like some fairytale princess? 'Oh, Prince Edward, please rescue me from the dragon and carry me away to my happily ever after!'"

Her teasing had me laughing hard and long, and I was taken aback for a moment by how quickly she switched to such a playful tone when she had previously appeared so nervous. She was a mystery that I wanted to unfurl like a blooming flower.

"All right, all right, enough!" I laughed, yanking her hand hard enough that she came crashing into my chest. She looked up at me for a moment, obviously aware of the sudden change in the atmosphere around us, before tucking her head into my jacket. My arms immediately wound around her, holding her flush against my body as I nuzzled my cheek against the top of her head. Her arms wrapped around my waist as well, holding onto me tightly.

We stood there like that for who knows how long, but I didn't mind the stillness or the quiet in the least.

"Want to hear a truth?" I whispered into her hair.

"Sure," she muttered against me, nodding.

"I really like you. A lot. Sorry that it's taken me so long to tell you."

When I felt her head turning up toward me, I looked down at her and smiled uneasily.

"I like you too," she replied in a very small voice.

"Come on, you're shivering."

Releasing her, I placed my hand in hers again and led her back up the street to Emmett and Ben's house. We didn't say anything else on our return walk, but every few seconds, one of use would wiggle our fingers or squeeze the other's hand. I didn't know what was happening between us, but I knew she made me happy.

When we got back, I noticed that Jasper's car was missing from the driveway, but I didn't think much of it. We ascended the outdoor staircase and moved toward the door. To my surprise, it was locked. Bella shivered, wrapping her arms around herself, so I pounded on the door. I wondered why someone had locked it.

After two more series of hard beats against the door, Ben appeared, only cracking the door slightly and poking his head out to us.

"Uh, hey guys," he said, grinning at us nervously. His eyes looked a bit shocked and unsure.

"Let us in, dude. It's cold as balls out here and Bella's going to turn into an ice cube."

"Oh, well, everyone left," Ben said quickly.

I raised my eyebrows at him in silent question.

"Umm, Jasper and Alice went to the Hale's to, well… Yeah, and Emmett snuck Rosalie into the house with him…."

That was when Ben shifted and I noticed something. He wasn't wearing any fucking pants. And his tee shirt was inside out. Oh hell no.

I shoved the door open without hesitation, causing him to stumble back a few steps from the force. I didn't even have it in me to apologize as I searched for the light switch. Once I found it, I immediately wished I hadn't. There, on the pull-out sofa, was my sister, holding a blanket over her body and wearing a shocked expression. Her arms and shoulders were bare, and she appeared to be a cross between embarrassed, frightened, and steaming mad.

"Fuck no!" I yelled, turning on Ben. "Dude. My sister!"

"Don't you dare, Edward!" Angela hollered back at me. "This is not your business!"

"Of course it's my business! You're my sister. My little sister."

"In case you haven't noticed, there is nothing little about me anymore, and I'm only a year younger than you, so cut the shit. Get the hell out!" she said firmly.

My head was spinning with implications. How the hell had I missed this development? It wasn't that I didn't like Ben or approve of him dating my sister, but I never truly expected this. It was just instinctual to be protective of her, no matter how long they had been together.

It was then that I felt a tug on my sleeve.

"Edward?"

I glanced behind me to see a very worried looking Bella.

"Come on," she insisted.

"Not until Ben and I have a little talk," I growled, taking a step closer to him.

Angela and Bella called my name at the same time, and from the look on Ben's face, I could tell that he was on the verge of pissing his pants or passing out at any moment. He may have been my friend, but a little man-to-man talk seemed to be in order.

Before it could come to fruition, Bella was in front of me, pushing against my shoulders and backing me into the door. "Let's go," she said with no uncertainty in her tone as she dragged me out the door. Looking into her dark chocolate eyes, I knew I had to oblige, no matter how upset I was feeling. I intrinsically knew she was doing this for my benefit.

Out on the porch, she hugged me, offering soothing words and strokes of her hands across my body. After a few minutes, I stared down at her and nodded to let her know I was all right.

"What do we do now?" she asked uneasily.

Her words hit me hard. Alice and Jasper were at the Hale's, and neither of us wanted to be a part of that. Emmett and Rosalie disappeared. The game room was…occupied.

"Are your parents home?" I asked.

"Yeah," she nodded. "Yours?"

"Yes…fuck. What the hell do we do now?"

We stood still for a few minutes longer until Bella perked up and smiled at me. "Stay here for a second, all right?"

I agreed, unsure of her intentions as she slipped back inside. When she reemerged, she was carrying an armful of pillows and blankets, as well as a wad of cash in her hand.

"What's all this?" I asked.

"It's me hoping you have the keys to your Escalade on you. You do, right?"

"Yeah," I answered, taking most of the bedding she had procured and walking down the stairs.

We threw everything in the back and climbed inside the front seats. I glanced over at her and shot her an expectant look.

"All right, what are we doing?"

"Well," she began, "the first thing we need to do is use this cash Ben so thoughtfully provided to put some gas in this bad boy. It seems we're exiled to your car for the night, so he's paying for heating."

I chuckled at her weaseling, starting the car and heading toward the only gas station in town that stayed open late.

"Then what?" I asked.

"Then, we go to the video store and pick out a few movies. I think we can park the car out at the beach for the night, right?"

"Umm, sure," I nodded. "We're sleeping in the car?"

"That, or we stay up all night watching the movies," she replied with a wink. "I figured that we could lay the seats down and use the pillows and blankets to make a bed in the back. Then we can put the movies into your DVD player. Sound good?"

"Sounds great."

There was no jest or humor in my tone. The thought of spending the night with Bella, no matter what the circumstances, was the greatest way I could ever imagine passing the time.

Forty-five minutes later, we were parked at First Beach in La Push, adjusting the seats and creating a pillow bed in my car. A goofy comedy movie played on the small DVD screen, but I could hardly pay attention to it.

It was impossible to concentrate with Bella so close to me, especially after the almost-kiss encounter earlier that night. Once we had things set, I held my arms out to her, and she willingly snuggled against me. Her head rested in the crook of my shoulder, and I couldn't help but smile at the way she nuzzled her face against me. Her slim body was pressed to the length of mine, and her hand rested comfortably on my chest. At first, we were still, but our feet tangled together once we kicked off our shoes. Eventually, her leg slid over mine, hooking around to rest between mine. I nudged my other leg closer, sandwiching hers. By the end of the movie, they were a tangled, pretzel mess of limbs. I had been rubbing her back and playing with her hair, and she rubbed her hand in circles and lines over my torso. I was keyed up, but I didn't want to push or rush anything.

We put the second movie in, but it was late and Bella was yawning repeatedly. The opening credits had hardly passed before we were both on our sides, facing one another. I pulled a couple blankets over us, weaving our legs together once again for both intimacy and warmth.

We stayed that way for a while, just staring and whispering little things as we stroked each others cheeks and necks and she pushed her fingers through my hair, scratching my scalp with her fingernails.

I knew what I wanted, and I wanted it so fucking badly, but I didn't want to push her. I vacillated between making a move and waiting for her to be the one to do it. Part of me wished she would initiate this so that I would know how she really felt, but I remembered how this all began tonight. She wanted me to kiss her. How could I not oblige?

"Hey, Bella," I said softly, rubbing my thumb back and forth over her cheekbone.

She hummed in response, closing her eyes in a long, lazy blink before looking at me again and smiling.

"Truth or dare?"

She giggled sweetly, and the involuntarily reaction my body had to that sound made me shift my hips away from her slightly.

"Hmm… Since I've already completed my dare for tonight, I think I'll take truth," she said quietly.

"Okay," I nodded, giving her a half smile. "I'm dying to know what you're thinking. Now…all the time… Tell me?"

She breathed deeply, and when she exhaled, her sweet, warm breath fanned across my neck. I wanted her mouth closer, her lips and hot breath pressed against my skin.

"There are too many things on my mind to count. It's just all over the place," she admitted. "I'm thinking about you, tonight, last weekend, the homecoming dance, how soft your hair is and how much I love the color because I've never seen it on anyone else, and…lots of other things."

Even in the dim lighting from the movie, I could see her cheeks flame with color. When she added her delectable lip biting to that, I was nearly done with my self-restraint.

"What else?" I asked.

"Well, I'm thinking that…I'd like to dare you."

"Then ask."

"Okay," she nodded, tugging on her lip again. "Truth or dare, Edward?"

"Dare."

"Kiss me."

Her words made me smile, and there was no longer any hesitation from either of us. I closed the gap between us, only a few inches, and pressed my lips firmly against hers. Unsurprisingly, her response was immediate, working against my mouth. Within seconds, our tongues were tangling together, and I couldn't help but moan and hum appreciatively. She was the softest, sweetest, most perfect girl I had ever kissed, and I never wanted to stop.

We didn't. We rolled around in the back of my vehicle, tangling and twisting ourselves in the blankets as we took turns in different positions. Each one was a tease, but they all provided new, fun angles for kissing and necking, touching and PG-13 groping. It was completely innocent, but devilish and terrible at the same time. There were so many things I wanted to do with her and to her, but not tonight.

It continued that way throughout the second movie and for quite some time after it was over as well. Bella began to nod off eventually, so I released her neck from my delicate kisses, and we curled into a comfortable position. We clung to one another as we both drifted off to sleep, and we awoke the same way when the morning sun broke through the car windows.

I hummed the beginning of Good Morning, Beautiful to her as her eyes opened, and she smiled and giggled at me for it. Slowly, we stretched and twisted, trying to work the kinks from our bodies that came from sleeping on a surface that was meant for cargo, not human bodies. We each popped pieces of gum into our mouths and scrubbed our faces on our shirt sleeves. When I was fully awake, or awake enough at least, I drove her to the Hale's house and bid my goodbyes.

"Are you doing anything tonight?" I asked, rubbing her thigh before she exited.

She shook her head and offered me a coy smile. "Not that I know of."

"I'll call you," I said smiling. "Go home and take a nap."

With one last cute giggle and brief kiss, she hopped out and went into the house. Once I was sure she was safely inside, I headed home to catch a couple more hours of rest.

I awoke late in the morning. After a shower, coffee, and breakfast, I took a long run on the treadmill in our basement. I needed another shower after that, and then I settled down to do my homework for the weekend. I couldn't stop thinking about Bella all day, but I knew there were things I needed to do before I became distracted by her again.

When I finally felt that things were in order, I picked up my cell phone and scrolled to her name. Instead of dialing a call, I smiled to myself and typed a text message.

Truth or dare?

Her response came immediately.

Truth =)

I smiled wider, typing furiously and hitting the send key with confidence.

Would you like to be my girlfriend?

I waited for her response anxiously, bouncing my leg up and down and causing most of the furniture in my bedroom to shake. To my surprise, a return text message didn't chime. Instead, my phone rang, and I answered as soon as I saw her name on the screen. I didn't say anything though. I didn't need to. As soon as I held the phone to my ear, I heard her response.

"I would love that, Edward."

Best game of Truth or Dare ever.

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