AN: We're on Chapter 8 already? Wow, time FLIES when you're reading, huh?

I'm so sorry that you've had to wait light-years for the update, but I hope it's worth it. Luckily, all my exams are finished for now, so updates should be more regular.

Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. Everything belongs to Stephenie Meyer.

Chapter Playlist: Ridin' Solo – Jason Derulo (LOVE this song. Jason Deruloooooo!:) And okay it's kind of old now, but I was listening to it when I started this chapter, yes – that's how long I've been writing this for :))

Thank you. Happy reading...


Jacob Black.

He's infuriates me. We don't have anything in common.

Well, I suppose we have one thing in common.


And because I'll do anything for Bella, here I was. Sat barely a meter away from him.

Jacob was seventeen – two years older than Bella and I. His dad, Billy, had known Charlie Swan for years, so Bella and Jacob had known each other since they were babies. They had never been as close as the two of us, but sometimes Jacob would play with us at Charlie's house. We had never gotten along. Male rivalry, probably... We're both very protective of Bella...

We're in Bella's back garden, enjoying the rare Forks sunshine. Alice, Rosalie and Tanya were laying on beach towels, trying – but not succeeding – to sunbathe. Meanwhile, Jasper, Emmett, Jacob, and I sat lent against a tree trunk, listening to the music playing from Tanya's i Pod speaker. Every single track was of her favorite genre - super-sickly-bubblegum-pop. The type of music that made me shiver – visibly. Naturally, I was critical when it came to music.

Unable to listen to the boringly generalized song lyrics for a moment longer, I swiftly made my way into the house.

"Ed? Where are you going?" Tanya called, her pretty face screwing up in confusion.

"To find some decent music," I smirked, raising an eyebrow. Tanya's own brow furrowed.

"Excuse me?" She looked a little hurt. I cupped her cheek lightly, my eyes showing an emotion somewhere between amused and mocking.

"Seriously, Tanya, I need to give you some lessons in musical taste." I shot her my trademark crooked grin before turning back towards the house.

I followed the familiar trail towards Bella's room, taking in the family portraits, little ornaments and bad décor I'd seen a thousands times before.

Her bedroom door was open by just an inch, but I could still see her moving around.

She looked beautiful – she always looked beautiful. I always felt something when I thought that, though I tried to ignore it.

Her eyes met mine through the slither of a gap, and she smiled as if she was glad to see me. Bella always seemed glad to see me. Since we were little...

I swung the door open completely, and ruffled her brown curls. She pushed me away lightly.

"Hey! Don't touch my hair, Cullen!"

I raised an eyebrow. "Since when have you cared about your hair, Bells?" I chuckled, dismissing the idea immediately.

Bella's chocolate brown eyes turned solid, her pink lips forming an angry straight line. "Since now."

I smirked. Bella didn't care about trivial things like a tiny little hair being out of place. She wasn't one of those girls.

"You know that I can look pretty too, don't you?" she said suddenly, her voice raising slightly. "I can wear make-up, and fashionable clothes. I can do my hair nice." She shrugged her shoulders sarcastically and looked at me, her eyes wild. "Did you know that?"

My mouth opened in utter astonishment. "Bella -"

"Just because I'm not Tanya, or Irina, or Kate – or even Alice or Rose – well, that doesn't mean that I can't try. Just because I'm your best friend doesn't mean that I can't be more to someone else."

Someone else. The harsh words stung me like acid.

Bella shook her head, muttering something under her breath. She tried to stalk out of the room, but I caught her arm.

"Bella," I said in a small voice, "I didn't mean -"

She sighed, and her angry expression softened into a heartbreaking pout. "It doesn't matter, Edward... Just don't be surprised if..."

"Surprised?" I questioned in confusion. "Surprised if what...?"

Her one-word answer was short and unexplained, but it said everything.

"Jacob," Bella whispered, before vanishing out of the door.

Jacob and Bella?

No. Bella doesn't like Jacob. Not like that.

Does she?

"Bella!" I followed her to the top of the staircase, and my golden eyes bored into hers.

"You and Jacob... You're not … dating - are you?" The words came out wrong; just like earlier with the hair comment.

Bella made a huffing sound. "Why would you say that?"

"No, no, I didn't mean..." I paused, struggling for the right words. "Do you like him?"

Bella was silent.

"You can tell me, you know," I whispered, brushing a strand of hair from her face. "I know you're meant to tell this kind of thing to girl friends and everything, but you can trust me."

I watched her bite her lip.

"Bell," I said softly, cupping her chin. She closed her eyes.

"I don't know," she whispered so quietly it was barely audible. "But he's the only boy who's ever given me any attention – I think I might."

Her words made my chest ache. "I give you attention, Bella," I said in an almost inaudible voice.

She lifted her heavy lids, her eyelashes revealing those lovely chocolate orbs again. "You know what I mean, Edward," she said, a hint of sarcasm in her voice.

I stared at the floor. "Do you think he likes you too?"

"I don't know. I'm hardly an expert on these things... But I – I think so... Edward, how did you act around – around Tanya? Before you starting dating, I mean."

I thought back to those early days in our relationship, almost three months ago now. I hadn't really known her. Well, sure I knew her. Everyone knows Tanya Denali: the gorgeous sophomore every girl wants to be and every guy wants to be with. But I'd hardly uttered a word to her before that day – the day Jasper said that Tanya thought I was cute. The day he told me that I should ask her out. The day Emmett practically forced me to ask her out. The day that I somehow found the courage to do just that.

The day she said yes.

I took her to the cinemas in Seattle to see some rom-com movie. I liked her. She walked with her shoulders back and a smile on her face. She flirted with me and laughed at my terrible jokes and giggled when I dropped the popcorn all over the floor – not at all like me. But I always seem to turn into a clumsy, stuttering idiot around Tanya.

That's it. I'm nervous around her. I stumble because I'm trying so hard not to fall; trying not to fall in every way possible.

But does Jacob act that way around Bella?

I'm too angry with him to notice.

"I don't know, Bella. Guys act differently around girls they like. Sometimes they turn overconfident or cocky or show off."

Bella frowned. I wrapped an arm around her comfortingly.

"If you see anything, though. Like him looking at me when he thinks no-one can see or something. Promise you'll tell me." She blushed, clearly feeling stupid.

I smiled. "Of course," I assured her, but for some reason, I was a little scared of what I might see.

"Hey, Cullen."

The voice was familiar, but it the voice's tone wasn't. Usually, when I heard this voice talking to me, it was more like an angry growl. This wasn't quite a greeting, but it certainly wasn't a growl.

Jacob was stood directly behind me. We were still in Bella's garden, though it was late evening now. The sky was midnight blue and a few stars lit up the sky like random pockets of light, alongside a bright full moon.

The others were all sat in a little circle at the very bottom of the garden, out of earshot.

"Jacob," I said simply, raising an eyebrow sceptically.

He cocked his head sarcastically at my reply, but otherwise ignored it. "You and Bella, you're pretty close – right?"

I paused for a moment, trying to read his expression. "She's my best friend," I responded eventually, and wondered why it sounded like a warning.

"... So you know her really well?"

"Yes." Where was he going with this conversation?

"But you're dating Tanya?"

I blinked, remembering mine and Bella's earlier conversation – the conversation I'd been trying very hard to forget.

But why? Bella liked him, and I wanted her to be happy – more than anything. Why couldn't I put aside my childish qualms for my best friends?

Deep down, I knew the answer, though I couldn't even admit it to myself. I would act this way whether the guy was Jacob, or Emmett, or Jasper, or Mike Newton (thank goodness it isn't Newton...) or even the nicest guy in the world. No-one was good enough for Bella – except maybe...

But I'm with Tanya now. And I'm happy... aren't I?

Of course.

And Bella deserves to be happy too.

"Yes," I said carefully, then paused, struggling for words.

"You like her, don't you," I said after a while, and silence filled the air.

Jacob nodded, and I sighed.

"Look after her, Jacob," I said in firm voice, my eyes focused on him as I slowly stood. "I mean it. You hurt her, and you've got me to answer to."

AN: Well, what do you think? My other story, Fearless, is catching up to PADA in review terms. So lets see which story gets the most reviews, okay? :)

Oh, and I hope you like the direction the stories going in ;) don't worry though, it will be a Bella/Edward HEA :)

Thank you,

Love Tayla :) x