Summary: Originally an o/s for the FML-Contest: Mischievous alarm clocks, inappropriate Christmas gifts and slippery ice - Bella's day just keeps going from bad to worse. While thoroughly pissed off at the world, she finds her salvation in the unlikeliest of places.

For this contest, you received a prompt in the form of a "FML" - I've chosen to leave mine here at the beginning, so you can see what inspired this whole shindig.

Today, I received an early Christmas gift from my boyfriend of ten months. It was soap. In a few days he will be receiving his very expensive specialized car horn he has wanted for years, while I will be enjoying my new bar of Walmart brand soap, which has already begun to give me a rash. FML


This day can suck Hitler's balls.

"And his dick," I add, deciding that having only his balls in its mouth would be too generous.

I glare out the windshield of my car, feeling just generally pissed off at everything, like the street light 20 feet up the road and that particular shade of neon blue in the lower right corner of the billboard I just passed.

I squirm against my seat for the gazillionth fucking time. How could nothing help with this shit?

As all fucking hellish days usually do, the whole mess started with my alarm clock; it decided it didn't like me any more and that going off 30 minutes after I had set it would be really funny.

Since when do alarm clocks have minds of their own anyway?

Because I am slightly weird and hellishly slow in the morning, I need at least half an hour to get through a bowl of Cheerios. This morning I had about 5 minutes. That was Sucky Thing number two.

Sucky Thing number three turned out to be when Alec decided to join me in the shower.

"Hey babe…" he'd drawled lazily as he barged into the bathroom, letting the hot steam out and the freezing air from the apartment in.

"Fuck, close the door!"

"Oops, sorry," Alec had cheerfully – fucking cheerfully – replied, pulling the door shut with the annoyingly loud squeak he never got around to fixing. He'd started undressing and I inwardly snapped at him to leave me alone.

"So, babe, I know it's not Christmas just yet, but…" he said in what I was sure he meant to be a suspenseful tone of voice as he'd hopped into the shower. I turned to him with a sigh while I continued rubbing conditioner into my scalp.

"Tadaa!" he had exclaimed proudly, holding up a… bar of soap.

Like, Walmart soap. Store brand.

I believe I blinked a few times.

"Merry Christmas!" he beamed, holding the bar of Walmart soap out… to me.

Surely I must have blinked some more.

Merry Christmas? He had to be joking. But no, Alec didn't do jokes; like, ever. Seriously. Not even of the 'Knock, knock'-variety.

He's weird.

He'd looked at me expectantly, nudging me with the suspiciously green excuse of a Christmas gift.

"Uhm… thanks?"

"I just figured that since you were taking a shower, you might need this a little early."

Was he serious? Or was he genuinely worried that I didn't already have soap?

I'd gingerly pinched the thing between my fingers, staring at it. Then I glanced up at Alec, giving him my best attempt at a smile.

I'm pretty sure it came out wonky.

He made me use it. All over my body.

It didn't even smell nice. I was starting to think that buying that specialized car horn he had wanted for years might have been a bit of an overkill, seeing as he thought buying your girlfriend of 10 months a $3 bar of soap was perfectly acceptable.

Was it acceptable? No… it couldn't be. No.

I mean, he's a smart guy; he's studying sensory neuroscience and doing experiments and complicated math equations and stuff that makes my brain hurt. Surely he has to fucking understand that a suspiciously green Walmart bar of soap is not an acceptable gift to your girlfriend of 10 months. Unless you're like 11, but how many 11 year olds have relationships that last more than a week anyway?

The really fucked up thing was that we had decided on only buying one thing for each other; not the multiple-tiny-little-presents-that-end-up-making-a -really-awesome-package kind of crap that made the other one feel insufficient. One gift per person.

That soap was it.

While the soap-incident seemed relatively harmless at the time, it soon turned out to be the suckiest thing that happened to me today.

Sucky Thing number four involved only finding three mismatched clean socks in the entire apartment.

Sucky Thing number five was slipping on ice and crashing into my parked car as I attempted to drive to school.

Sucky Thing number six was being late for my first class, which then coincided with Sucky Thing number seven and eight, involving a doorstep, my clumsy feet, my bag full of crap spilling across the floor, and the TA handing me my emergency tampon.

When I left my shift at the restaurant a while ago, I was already up to an impressive Sucky Thing number 29, which was just thoroughly pissing me off.

This is where the soap-incident comes in.

Apparently my skin didn't like me cheap Walmart store brand soap. The fucking thing gave me a rash, and I've spent all day scratching myself like a dog.

It looks gross too, and I thank god that I didn't use it on my face. I work as a waitress for fuck's sake – how many people want to order food from someone whose skin looks like it just might fall off and land in their bowl of butternut squash ravioli?

All I want to do now is go home and swim around in milk or yoghurt. That's supposed to help, right? Why else would there be milk and yoghurt in lotions and crap?

Oh, wait. Lotion.

I want to slap myself for not thinking about that sooner.

"Dumbass," I mutter, shaking my head. I know I have one old bottle of lotion at home. It smells nice but I doubt it'd help me with my problem. I need something stronger, and preferably recommended by a health care professional.

I squirm uselessly against my seat again, feeling my skin crawl and prickle. I decide that Alec really hasn't deserved that specialized car horn.

"Why did I even buy the fucking thing?" I demand of my steering wheel. "And why do I keep talking to myself like this? Shut up, you idiot."

I violently scratch my thigh through my jeans at a stoplight.

It does nothing except cause me pain and then my arm is itchy, and then my stomach, and then my back and my ass and my left calf and then my thigh again and oh my god, everything is itchy!

I shriek in furious frustration and anger as I scratch and scratch and scratch, bouncing in my seat and feeling like I really just want to kick something. I can feel the burn of rage-induced tears forming. I can't fucking take this crap anymore! It feels like every inch of me is covered in mosquito bites, only worse and more annoying. Maybe I should go see a doctor about this bag of fuckery?

And then shove the bar of soap so far up Alec's ass that his damn esophagus will itch until the day he dies.

In the middle of fantasizing about this, I spot a drugstore coming up quickly on my right. I make a snap decision and turn into the almost empty parking lot.

I drive my car as far away as I can from the possibly deranged lady having a conversation with a head of cabbage at one end of the lot.

I enter the brightly lit store, basically devoid of people. I guess it would be at 11 pm on a Tuesday. Only weird people like myself come in to buy lotion of all things at this time of night.

There is a very fine specimen of a wanna-be vamp-girl sitting behind the counter, popping blue chewing gum relentlessly as she flicks through what is either The Aspiring Vampire's Must Have Handbook or Star Magazine.

Or maybe she isn't a wanna-be vampire; her face is full of silver piercings and she has at least three crucifixes around her neck.

Or is the silver thing werewolves? I think it is. So maybe she's just goth or emo, or… something.

The precise spot on my back that I cannot reach on my own – believe me, I have tried – starts itching like hell. It's so bad I barely manage to prevent myself from dropping to the floor. The carpet looks very uninviting and scratchy, which suits my needs very well.

I quickly move away, rubbing my arm manically through my shirt. I barely see the wanna-be vamp/goth/emo-girl look up as I pass, and I refuse to imagine what she must be thinking about me.

Talks To Cabbage Heads Lady probably looks saner than I do at the moment.

As I walk through the store, I can't see a single other soul – does wanna-be vamp/goth/emo-girl have a soul? Maybe she's sold it to the devil for an iPod or something – and I'm mildly grateful that I can scratch myself without anyone seeing.

After whirring around the store for a while I finally locate the shelves of lotions. There are a lot.

While constantly scratching some part of myself I peruse the shelves meticulously, feeling more and more overwhelmed with every label I read.

Super sensitive, moisturizing, softening, fast absorbing, hypoallergenic, refreshing, Vitamin E enriched, shea nuts, jojoba oil, dermatology recommended, goat milk, fragrance-free…

Holy shit.

If I could get all of them in one huge bottle, I'm pretty sure I'd be all set. As it is, I have no idea what my needs are – I've never had a rash before, how the hell should I know what to use?

Just then the Unreachable Spot on my back starts itching like fucking mad again. I wriggle and twist back and forth, vainly trying to generate some friction with my useless shirt. It does fuck-all.

I kick the low shelf in front of me.

I'm going to fucking kill Alec when I come home. And possibly try to return the car horn – no way does he deserve something that nice when his 'gift' has done nothing but make an already sucky day suck more than I even thought possible.

A shriek leaves me when the itchy spot on my back just won't ease up and I look around frantically, searching for something to aid me in my quest of scratching my back. I flounder when I can basically find nothing.

I'm sure a more resourceful person would be able to craft some sort of scratching device from the products all around me, but not only am I not resourceful at all, I'm also slightly apprehensive about using store products to scratch my blotchy, disgusting rash. What if I have to pay for it? There are cameras all over this place; they'd barge down the aisle, pointing an accusatory finger at me and demand that I purchase the pump bottle of "Udder Cream" in my petrified hands.

I have no idea who 'they' are – The Man? Wanna-be Vamp/goth/emo/potentially-soulless-girl? Either way, they are out to get me, I'm sure of it.

In the end, I resort to turning around and rubbing my back up and down the ledge of a shelf.

"Oh my god…"

I let my head fall back in pleasure as I continue to grind against the shelf, scratching my stomach and upper right thigh at the same time. Jesus fuck, it feels amazing.


I shriek as a distinctly male voice announces its presence. I jump away from the shelf with my heart hammering its tiny fists against my ribs.

I stare in horror at the guy standing in front of me, a slightly dumbstruck look on his face.

Oh, no, no, no, please god, no.

Why can't holes just open up in the ground and swallow you whole? It would be so convenient.

I can practically see the heat-waves coming off my face as I blush. Just when I thought my day couldn't possibly get any worse.

I slowly die inside as the guy continues to gape at me with his hands in mid-air, palms facing me. I almost crumble to the floor when I notice that he's wearing a name-tag. He works here.

Oh sweet baby jesus, just kill me.

Edward, as his name-tag informs me, slowly takes a step closer.

My mortification just about doubles, which is impressive seeing as how that amount of embarrassment would surely kill you, when I fully realize that the cautiously approaching Edward is the most beautiful guy I have ever seen, in a slightly nerdy, geeky but still cool kind of way

He looks about my age, tall and broad-shouldered, with a head full of the kind of hair that no possible hair product in the world could tame.

His eyes are green, and his skin is pale and his jaw… holy shit, his jaw. I have never seen such a magnificent jaw in my life.

I want to whimper at the sight of that jaw.

Then he parts his lips to speak, and I almost miss every word because I'm too busy staring at his mouth.

Jesus… is this guy for real?

"Bella, what are you doing?"

Wait, what?

"How— how do you know my name?"

I'm fairly positive that I have never seen this guy before in my life; surely I would remember seeing someone so gorgeous?

My stomach drops in horror as I contemplate the possibility that I have in fact met this guy before, and I am now embarrassing myself even more by telling him I have forgotten him completely. I pray this isn't the case. I really, really need that to not be the case right now.

However, judging by the way Edward freezes at my question, how his eyes slowly but surely turn wide and horrified and how his pale face loses even more of its color, I'm pretty sure I'm not the one who should be embarrassed here.

This is further reinforced when a blush creeps up from the collar of his shirt, moving across that exquisite jaw and finally blossoming in his cheeks.

"I— I don't— What?"

He swallows nervously as his eyes flicker back and forth between me and the bottles of lotion all around us.

"You called me Bella – how do you know that?"

Oh my god, what if he's a creepy, amazingly hot stalker who takes pictures of me and uses them as wallpaper in his bedroom, and lies in his bed staring manically at them while talking to himself?

Wow, that should really freak me out more. I become worried about my own mental health when the idea of Edward stalking me actually doesn't sound so bad.

"I didn't— uh. Yo-you, eh…" Edward stammers, flailing his hands around a little before abruptly jamming one into his hair and pulling on it. He looks genuinely freaked out as he stares at me.

I rub my arm frantically as I wait for him to speak. After a few seconds, he lets out a huge sigh. His chin drops down to his chest and his arms fall by his sides in a clear sign of resignation.

He raises his head just enough to look at me again.

"Look, I'm not like some crazy stalker or anything, I swear. We haven't actually, uhm… officially met, but I— I've seen you around campus, and—"

He stops as he takes in my widening eyes. Yeah, telling me we've never actually met but that he still knows my name and has seen me around really isn't helping him in his 'I'm not a stalker, I swear'-thing.

"N-no, not like that! I mean, yes, I have seen you around campus, but not like I was following you, or something! I wouldn't do that, I promise. It's just that I've heard a lot about you."


Edward once again looks horrified, and he groans and rubs his face.

"Fuck, I really can't get this right, can I? Alice has been talking about you a lot and she showed us some pictures of you two once, so tha-that's how I recognized you. Uhm… fuck, I'm sorry – you must think I'm completely insane."

Meh, just a little.

Then I focus on the more important issue here.

"Wait, you know Alice?" I find this suspicious and add it to my slowly growing pile of evidence that Edward actually is a stalker, no matter what he says. I find it hard to believe that my roommate and best friend would know someone like Edward and never once mention him to me. She tells me when there's a new employee at the Starbucks closest to our apartment for fuck's sake.

"Well, she's dating my roommate. Jasper?"

Oh thank god. I honestly don't want to think that Edward is a creepy stalker, and if he really is Jasper's roommate – who I have heard of once or twice, but never by name – it would make this whole situation easier.

I nod and smile, making Edward slump a little in relief.

"So yeah, that's how I know your name – we just haven't had the opportunity to meet yet." He smiles back, and fuck if he doesn't look impossibly more attractive with a grin on his face.

"Oh, right. Well… whew!" I laugh ridiculously, pretending to wipe at my brow.

Jesus, you're an idiot, Swan.

But Edward laughs with me, and I suddenly don't think I'm such an idiot any more. I have never heard such a wonderful laugh in my life.

"So…" he trails off, looking down at my arm which I am still manically scratching through my sleeve.

I blush with embarrassment as I remember how he found me rubbing up against the shelf.

I tend to say stupid, nonsensical things when I'm embarrassed.

"Suspiciously green early Christmas gifts do not agree with me."

Yeah… stuff like that.

Edward's smile slowly transforms into a confused frown and I feel a strong urge to bang my head against the closest solid object I can find.

Like Edward's chest.

I sigh and prepare to speak like a normal person.

"I got a rash from the Walmart bar of soap my boyfriend gave me."

At which point I remember I have a boyfriend.

Well, crap.

I briefly wonder if this is maybe says something about my feelings for Alec. I'm pretty sure madly-in-love people don't completely forget their boyfriends for a good minute or two while drooling over someone else.

"Your boyfriend gave you a bar of Walmart soap for Christmas? Fuck, how long have you been dating this guy, two weeks?"

See? I knew it wasn't an acceptable gift!

Edward laughs at the apparently ridiculous idea.

I fidget with my hair as I look down at my feet and mumble, "No, 10 months." I then sigh as I realize how stupid it sounds when I say it out loud.

I mean, really Alec? A bar of soap? After 10 months, a fucking bar of soap is the best you can do?

"What? 10 months?" he says incredulously. He looks away and frowns at nothing for a few seconds before turning back to me, adding "Sorry, but that's just really… douchey."

I laugh loudly and nod in agreement, reaching behind me to scratch my lower back viciously.

"Yeah, it wasn't exactly the kind of thing I had been expecting from him."

Edward purses his lips while he watches me shamelessly attack my own skin. I give him an apologetic smile.

He smiles back and then randomly sort of starts, shaking his head as if to clear it.

"Uh, sorry – do you need any help? That's why I came down here…" He glances behind him towards the register and wanna-be vamp/goth/emo/potentially-soulless-girl. "I'm really bored, seriously."

"Not many customers this time of night, huh?"

"Actually, it's been unusually slow. There are always a few weirdoes that come in right about n—" He abruptly stops and looks up at me with a frantic expression. "N-not that I think you're weird, I— I just, you know. Uhm, fuck. I wasn't calling you weird."

"I didn't think you were," I laugh.

He exhales in relief before displaying a crocked grin that literally makes my knees buckle just a tiny bit. Holy shit, how is that even possible?

"Yeah, uhm… as I was saying, I usually have to deal with a few strange customers, but you're the first person I've seen here except Crazy Lady." He motions towards the door this time. "You know who I'm talking about?"

"Talks To Cabbage Heads Lady," I confirm with a nod.

Edward smiles at me again.

"Exactly. So, since my choices were either stare into empty space some more, or go help the one customer we had…" He trails off, sweeping his arm around as if to point out which option he has chosen. I thought that was fairly obvious, but maybe not.

I wave my hand at the shelf. "I'm sorry you had to see me shamelessly grind against this fine piece of construction, but this rash is really fucking killing me."

Edward chuckles again and nods. "Yeah, I kinda figured as much. I'm guessing you're looking for some kind of lotion?"

I nod, turning to look at the multitude of bottles. "Yep. I just don't know which one would work best."

I scratch my thigh, and look up to see that he's staring at me.

He looks a little speechless.

Is he checking me out?

He catches my eye and immediately turns to look at the lotions. His ears may have turned a little red.

"So, uh… what kind of rash are we talking about here? Is your skin just really dry, or…?" he asks, as if trying to distract me from the fact that he was totally checking me out. He reaches for a bottle and wiggles it in front of my face. "This one is supposed to be like, super-moisturizing and good for irritated skin. Does that sound like what you need?"

"Uh… I don't know."

"Show me."

I wrinkle my nose and glance up at him. "It's gross."

"I'm pretty sure I can handle it."

I push my sleeve up. "Don't say I didn't warn you."

Edward hums and leans closer. "You're right, that's totally gross."

He extends his hand and pokes me, and then drags his finger along my skin for a second.

It feels like paradise, chocolate, rainbows and puppies, all rolled into one.

"That must have been one hell of a soap. Are you allergic to something?"

"Not that I know of."

"Huh. Well, I would strongly suggest you never use it again."

"Yeah, I'll only be using that thing as a weapon from now on."

Edward looks amused. "Do you have a particular victim in mind?"

"Yeah, Alec's definitely going to get some soap thrown at his head when I get home."

Edward's smile falters just a little.

"He deserves it," he agrees. "I really am sorry, but your boyfriend is a douche for giving you a fucking bar of soap after 10 months."

"I'm thinking of returning my gift to him and then buying like a loofah or something."

"I think that sounds like an excellent idea."

I motion to the bottle in his hand. "So, you think that'll work?"

"Let's try it, shall we?" Edward asks, reaching for the test-bottle of the same brand. He puts a blob on my arm and rubs it in.

"How does that feel?"

"Uhm… it feels good."

It actually feels really fucking fantastic, both the lotion and Edward's hands on me, but I'm not about to tell him that.

"Well, as you can see it absorbs really quickly, which either means that the lotion is just really good or that your skin is essentially dying of thirst."

"So basically my skin has been lost in the desert, and this lotion is an oasis."

"Yeah, that's pretty much it."

"Oh. Well, that was easy. I'll just buy this one."

Edward drops my arm, and I feel more than a little confused and guilty at how sad that makes me.

"Good choice," he chuckles, jamming a hand through his hair and making it even messier.

I lean around him to grab a bottle from the shelf.

He blinks down at me where my head is so close to his chest, a slightly dumbstruck look on his face, before an smile takes over. He takes a small step back.

I can't help but smile back. Like, I have to smile back – it's compulsory and automatic, because the way his face looks when he grins is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

We stand there smiling at each other before the incessant need to scratch myself becomes too much. Edward looks on, apparently highly fucking amused, as I attempt to reach that goddamn spot on my back that I will never ever, no matter how long I live, be able to reach on my own.

I glare at him.

"Need some help?" He flutters his fingers at me vaguely, raising an eyebrow in question.

I contemplate his long, amazingly sexy fingers for a few seconds. With a sigh, I drop my arms to my sides and nod pathetically.

Edward's Cheshire cat grin makes me raise my a finger of my own. I point it at him sternly.

"No funny business."

I'm only being half-serious.

Edward holds up both his hands, palms facing me.

"I wouldn't dream of it," he assures me with a smile, but I don't miss how his eyes follow the lines of my waist, over my chest and along my shoulder as I turn.

I reach up to move my hair out of the way, but Edward beats me to it. His fingers sweep slowly over my neck as he gathers up the strands, gently pushing them over my right shoulder.

The paradise-chocolate-rainbows-and-puppies-sensation leaves a tingling trail after his fingers; I can feel its path arching over my neck, long after his fingertips leave my skin.

"Where does it itch?" he asks me, not yet touching me.

"Everywhere," I whine, rolling my shoulders in frustration.

"Ah, ok… I'll— I'll just… uhm."

He flounders a little before his fingers are suddenly descending upon me like a gift from heaven. His long, amazingly sexy fingers manage to accomplish in just a few seconds of scratching what I have been trying to do all day.

"Oh my go-od."

I emit a deep, long groan as I arch my back for him, his fingers moving up and down, side to side, in circles and in waves.

"How's that?"

"Oh fuck. To the left… yes, yes. Oh jesus, harder. Up, up… oh, right there, yes! And down. Down. Harder. Shit, to the right, too. Yes, yes, yes! Oh fuck, don't stop, don't stop – right there, yes."

And then I moan incoherently for a very long time, because Oh. My. God.

"Jesus fuck…"

That was Edward, not me.

And it occurs to me that my sounds-like-sex-noises-but-aren't-really-sex-noise s might be slightly inappropriate.

Leaning forward and bracing myself against a shelf, I bow my spine up and towards him. My head lolls forward and hangs between my arms.

"Oh god, Edward, you have no idea how fucking amazing that feels."

"I think I do a little."

Here is what I would call the pivotal moment.

I bow my back even more, pushing my hips out towards Edward, and I accidentally brush against something I really shouldn't brush against on a stranger.

We both freeze.

He stops scratching me, and the world is still for the length of seven labored heartbeats.

He then pulls away with a gasp, or a groan, or something in between the two sounds, removing his hands and his body from me.

"Shit. Uh, right. How— how's that? Better?" His voice cracks and turns into an adorable squeak. He clears his throat in a very manly way as I straighten out and turn to look at him.

"Yep. Much better."

Edward swallows as he looks at me, eyes wide and a little nervous, as if I might remind him he has a boner right now.

"Thanks," I say instead. "For the help with the lotion and the… scratching." Which was a little awkward there at the end, not gonna lie, but still pretty darn great.

"No problem."

We stand in silence for a moment. I'm reading the back of the lotion bottle when I hear him sigh.

"Ready to pay?" He points towards the cash register, which makes me sad because even though it's awkward, Edward is also very, very cute, and I kind of want to stay here.

"Yep. Sure."

Edward follows me up to where wanna-be vamp/goth/emo/potentially-soulless girl is sitting; she looks up with a questionable eyebrow, her glance bouncing back and forth between us.

They settle on Edward, and her eyebrow rises even higher.

I notice the TV behind her, showing different aisles from the store.

Well, shit.

He walks around the counter, apparently oblivious to wanna-be vamp/goth/emo/potentially-soulless girl's meaningful look, and makes a shooing gesture with his hand.

"I can take this," he tells her kindly, giving her a small smile before turning back to me. I feel stupidly pleased that his smile widens when he looks at me.

Wanna-be vamp/goth/emo/potentially-soulless girl wonders off slowly, turning back every few steps to look at us until she disappears around a corner. Edward chooses not to comment on it, so neither do I.

I throw a pack of gum in with my purchase. He tells me their his favorites, and I decide we're pretty much soulmates.

"Well, I'll see you around," I say after paying, taking the bag he hands me. "Maybe you and Jasper could come over to our place sometime? Have some dinner?"

Edward's grin is both relieved and thrilled. "Yeah, that'd be cool. See you around, Bella. Hope the rash goes away."

I giggle and nod, adding a soft "Bye," before I turn and leave the store, waving happily before he disappears out of sight.

I barely even notice Talks To Cabbage Heads Lady as I make my way over to my car. I am way to blissed out to notice such things.

In my mind, I make a list of what I am going to do when I get home.

First, I am going to spread this lotion all over me.

Then I'm going to throw that stupid fucking soap at Alec's head so hard it breaks.


"You're sure he's coming? I mean, you're not just fucking with me, right?"

"I'm not 'fucking with you' – Edward is coming tonight, trust me."

Alice sounds confident and strong in her reassurance, which is impressive seeing as how it's the 11th time she has said those exact words in the last hour. She flits about the room, putting the final touches to everything as I sit impatiently on the couch. Alice is more than happy to support me through this troubling time, because if there is something she wants, other than Jasper naked in her bed, it's me and Edward together. Preferably also naked in a bed.

I want it so bad too.

It is almost Valentine's Day, which means that it has been almost two months since I last saw Edward. Alice has assured me that we would need some space, and that I should take some time to mourn my old relationship with Alec before attempting to establish a new one with Edward. Alice didn't care when I told her I was done mourning after a week.

She wanted to throw a party; and not just any party either – a Valentine's Day party. It was the 'perfect setup.'

I had shoved her pretty little face into a pillow when she told me that.

But that was her plan, and you don't go against a plan made by Alice Brandon.

So here we are, throwing a Valentine's Day party – an early Valentine's Day party I might add, because apparently couples will want to spend that special day with each other, not other people.

That had earner her another pillow-shove.

People are filtering in slowly, looking around in wide-eyed awe at first, as their eyes vainly try to take in all the hearts and pink balloons and red candles and fluffy things and all that other crap that Alice has adorned our apartment with.

I wander around the place, chatting and socializing like a complete dork, outwardly calm, pleasant and collected. On the inside, however, I am a nervous wreck, because all I can think about is that Edward is going to be here soon.

I become more and more nervous, and also a little sweaty and gross, as time passes and no Jasper and Edward walk through the door.

What if Alice is wrong? She has never been wrong before, but there has to be a first for everything, right? What if he isn't coming? What if he doesn't want to see me again? What if—


Alice squeals next to me, tugging on my arm hard enough to rip it off. Her eyes are trained towards the door.

I follow them, almost afraid I won't see what I'm desperately hoping I will see.

But I do.

A bronze, product-defying mess of hair, pale skin, perfect face, straight and strong jaw, and those indescribable green eyes.

He's here.

I raise my arm unconsciously and give him a small wave. His eyes lock with mine, and that grin of his that literally makes my knees buckle just a little bit appears on his lips.