Disclaimer: Twilight and characters belong to Stephenie Meyer.
A special thanks to Jessica0306 for being a wonderful beta and pushing me to actually post this.
Constructive criticism is appreciated. This is my first fanfiction. You have been warned.
The sun was pretty bright. Bright enough to make it feel like your eyes were going to catch on fire. You know, nothing too serious, just permanent blindness. Bella Swan took refuge under the family oak tree in her backyard. Sweat beaded on her forehead, and she used the dress of her rag doll to wipe it away. Fingers soaked in pulp, sticky juice, and dirt dug into the fruit that rested in her lap. The sweet orange was of little comfort on such a hot summer day.
While Bella tore apart her orange, a boy seethed in the neighboring yard. Perched on the lowest limb of his family's oak tree, he sat reading, or pretending to read, a comic book. He was acting as if his mom's latest speech wasn't bothering him. She really had given him a good talking to, and he had stormed out of the house and climbed up the tree. Wearing nothing but a pair of cut-off jean shorts and a scowl, seven-year-old Edward Cullen contemplated running away. It was the pretending-to-not-be-bothering-him stuff that caused him to lose focus. He lost his grip and slipped feet first from the tree.
The loud thud caught Bella's attention, but it was the boy's loud wailing that kept it. The heat told her to stay put. It was comfortable in the shade with her fruit and her doll, but her boredom won out. She was too curious to see what all the fuss was about. She needed to make it from her shady refuge to the other side of the yard without catching on fire or melting completely, so there wasn't anything timid about the way she crossed the yard. Jumping over the dry ditch that separated their yards, she pushed aside the neighbor's bushes that acted as a privacy fence. She was planning on just taking a peek, just to see what all the noise was about, but her foot snagged on a protruding root, and she fell right through the bushes landing on her belly. Edward sat just a foot away, recovering from his melt down. The fall really didn't hurt him. He was just too upset over everything that he decided once he had hit the ground that he wasn't too proud to throw a tantrum.
But the sudden appearance of a girl in his yard made him shut up real fast. Nothing could be worse than being a cry baby in front of a girl. Well, in his little boy brain there wasn't. Both of them kept their positions for what seemed like hours in their minds, but only seconds in real time. Edward then sniffed back some tears, and Bella pushed herself up to rest on her knees. The grass in his yard was much nicer than hers. Bright green and cushy, it felt quite nice.
"I heard a noise," was all she could muster to say. The way she said it made him relax. She didn't seem to be teasing, and she said she heard a noise. She didn't say, "I heard you crying, you little cry baby."
"I fell," he mumbled in a quick response. He just wished she would leave. His tongue licked at the metal tasting fluid that bled from his cheek. It was a small cut, nothing too serious, but it still stung.
Bella looked up to see where he had fallen from. She wasn't much of a daredevil, so to her, the lowest branch of that tree was higher than Empire State Building.
"You fell from there!" she exclaimed while standing to admire the height. Edward looked up as well, not quite understanding why she was so excited.
"I'm surprised you're not dead. You should be dead. Did you break your back? You may have broken your back. I bet you can't walk ever again. That is what happens when you break your back," she babbled, still looking up at the tree.
He stood too, wiping away the stale tears from his face and adding some dirt in the process.
"I didn't break my back," he said, bent over with his hands on his hips and a crease between his eyes.
"But it's so high! How did you even get up there?"
Edward straightened up. He did fall pretty far, didn't he? He must be a superhero to have survived that. How strong he must be, to not be seriously hurt. She was impressed with that, and it cheered him right up.
"Aw, it's not that high. I climb up there all the time. It's no biggie" With his feet balanced properly, he jumped, wrapping his arms around the trunk. He used a stump to help hoist himself up. His hands wrapped around the branch and he dangled there, grinning at her. His antics made her nervous. Wasn't he just crying in pain from falling from that very spot?
"See!" he said smiling at her. He shimmied back towards the body of the tree and walked up sideways, pulling himself up with his arms at the same time.
A nursery rhyme sprang into Bella's mind. "Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, and all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put him together again," she teased.
"You look like Humpty Dumpty up there, waiting to fall and break."
"Who's that?" He didn't like this name Humpty Dumpty. It sounded too close to the word dumb. "Are you calling me dumb?"
"No. He's an egg. How did you do that?" She placed her hands on the bark and looked up at him. It was the way she looked at him that calmed him down, and it was the first time he really looked at her. She was pretty, for a girl. But he also noticed the way she looked at him with wonder. There was just something about her that made him relax.
"I can teach you, if you want?" he asked. And he meant it. He really wanted to teach her how to climb that tree.