New story ~ All human, and you know that I don't own Twilight or anyone in it, but I need to remind of you of that!

Will contain lemons along the way, maybe a swear word or two, so if you are not an adult walk away now!!!

Thank you to my beautiful Beta ButterflyBetty ! xxx

Stand beside me. ~ Chapter 1

I wasn't sure about moving here to this small town, I loved how being in the city made me feel more…anonymous.

I preferred to blend in, not be seen by anyone.

I had always been really shy.

My best friends Rose & Alice were anything but.

It had been their idea to move here when we finished University. It was close enough to my father and this town gave us all an opportunity to start up our own businesses

We met at school. Neither of them wanting to go to an expensive boarding school, they found themselves at Forks High, along with me. Some girls wanted to know them, just because they were rich.

Rose found me hiding in the girls bathroom after yet another session of having my head rammed down the toilet by the school bullies, Alice came in and helped me dry off while Rose showed the bullies how much fun it really was having their hair washed while she flushed the toilet…they took me home, and we were best friends since then.

The bullies left me alone and I gained two sisters.

I could hear them downstairs laughing away, Alice was telling Rose to come in at lunch time to her beauty shop to get her waxing done.

"Can't do it today Pixie…I am hoping that Emmett will call in by and we can sort something out the changes to Bella's shop."

"Oh so that's what you are hoping Emmett will do eh? Well best not leave your waxing much longer in that case!!" Alice giggled as she used her hot iron to add the little flicks in her hair.

"Hush Alice!" Rose laughed while tying her hair up in a messy ponytail, even her casual hairstyle made her look beautiful.

Both my friends looked beautiful. I didn't look it but they did their best everyday to make me feel beautiful too.

"Morning Bells!" Alice smiled before jumping up to give me a hug.

"Good morning girls." I smiled back at them, they were my best friends and I loved them like sisters.

She took a brush up to my hair and started working some de-tangling gloop through the wet locks.

I ate breakfast that Rose handed me while Alice worked away. "You have such beautiful hair Bella." Alice sighed. I carried on eating while she worked.

"Are you going to come by the workshop and we can go and see how your new place is coming along today Bells?" Rose asked.

"I would like that." I said thinking about our new business ventures.

Rose had bought a garage and really loved being her own boss. Alice now owned her own beauty salon in town and me? Well I used the money Grandma Swan gave me to buy a book shop. She kept telling me she would leave everything to me anyway, and this was just an advance! I loved my Grandma and didn't want to think of her never being around.

Give me a book to talk about and I can talk to anyone…apart from that, I am so shy it is unbearable.

I was determined to make an effort in this new town. They didn't know anything about my past, they didn't know about my fears and insecurities. They didn't know how I used to hide when people made fun of me. That was the old me, the one that Rose and Alice helped me leave behind.

It was a huge effort each day but I was determined to keep improving.

We could all walk from our home to our new place of work. My book shop would be opening soon. Rose popped in everyday to check on the contractors, making sure they were doing what I wanted them to, and keeping to their promised schedules. The fact she quite fancied the head contractor Emmett was a bonus!

It seemed he had a thing for women in greasy overalls too! He had taken to calling in to see her at least once a day to give her a progress report.

Emmett was a huge bear, but a teddy bear when you got to know him. I was starting to feel more comfortable when I was around him. I wanted to hide the first time he roared my name!

We combined our money and bought a house to share between us. Rose's family all but disowned her when she chose to become a mechanic and not a lawyer like her rich father. She was given money when her brother died and set up her own business running a garage.

Alice's family were strange to say the least. They were never around, leaving her with nannies while they took never ending holidays abroad. They always gave her money instead of love. Alice shrugged her shoulders when they were mentioned. She didn't miss them; they had never been part of her life to miss.

Apart from Grandma Swan, there was my dad, Charlie.

He was the closet thing they had to family that Rose & Alice had too. He loved us all in his own Charlie way.

He lived in the next town and was delighted we were only 20 minuets drive away now, popping over most days to see how we were doing. We had always been close. My mother had left when I was a child, she wanted to discover herself…what ever that meant. This did not include a husband or child…I can't say I missed her. I remembered so little about her. Charlie was my mother and my father all rolled into one. I may not have had a large amount of people in my family but the ones I had loved me.

Living with Rose & Alice was easy, I loved to cook and neither of them could, so we settled into our own routine. The chores were split between us, and I did all the cooking in the evenings. We gathered around the table and talked about our day. It was my favourite part of the day. Afterwards, they did the dishes and I wiped everything down. It worked for us.

"Do you need me to bring anything home for dinner tonight Babes?" Alice asked as she tidied away her hair taming supplies.

"I am planning to go into the shops and see what they have today." I told her.

I promised myself I would make an effort to talk to people here, get to know them and be part of the community, so this morning I would go and get some groceries in town, instead of the huge supermarket in the city.

Rose and Alice both smiled at me, they knew this was a big deal for me. I was determined to be more outgoing.

We all walked together up into town. I loved how people smiled and said good morning to you as they passed.

Rose and I went into the florist, I wanted to take some flowers home, and get some to give to Sue, Charlie's lady friend, who was coming to see us tonight.

"Good morning Laurent!" Rose smiled at the handsome florist.

"Hello there pretty ladies!" he smiled and winked at us both.

"What can I get you today?"

Rose looked at me, waiting to see if I was going to speak or let her do the talking. She wouldn't pressurise me or leave me standing their embarrassed by my lack of confidence. Rose gave my hand a squeeze, encouraging me to speak up.

"I would like some of these beautiful freesias and roses please." I tired to speak load and clear, my squeaky voice filled with nerves.

"Ah they are pretty, but not as beautiful as you two girls." Laurent shook his head and sighed dramatically!

Taylor his boyfriend appeared. "Are you flirting with the ladies again?" he pretended to scowl…I knew he was joking but felt a little nervous anyway.

"Well Taylor look here at these roses and these two girls, who would you say are the most beautiful?" Laurent held up the sweet smelling flowers and gestured his back and fore from the blooms to Rose and I.

Taylor looked for a second and shook his head.

"No competition… the girls are more beautiful!" he smiled and winked at us.

"You know it!" Rose laughed as I blushed.

"Taylor your car will be ready for you this lunch time, Eric told me the part arrived this morning and I will work on it when I get there."

"You are a Honey Rose!" Taylor kissed Rose's cheek and Laurent handed me the flowers with a smile on his face.

I smiled back and hid my face in the flowers, enjoying their perfume.

Rose offered to walk with me to the shops but I was determined to make the effort myself today.

With a hug and some encouraging words she turned left to go down to her garage and I continued up the street to get my groceries.

People here wanted to know your name. They chatted away while serving you. Emily the grocer was so friendly, and she owned the store with her husband Sam. I had met her when Rose took me in her a few days ago.

She asked how I was and was very gentle with me when I all but whispered back to her. Rose had told her I was shy.

Emily smiled at me today and offered to help me pick out what I needed.

I found lots of new interesting veggies and fruit in their shop, Emily showed me how to check they were ready to eat, she even let me taste a few exotic fruits I had never tried before. You didn't get this in the big supermarkets.

I decided to make a fruit platter and warm chocolate sauce for dinner tonight. No idea on a main course yet.

Emily suggested I have a look in the butchers next door and come back if I needed any other vegetables.

I hesitated…but nodded at Emily. The look of concern on my face must have given me away.

Emily told Sam she was just popping next door to get some sausages for their dinner, she gave me a wink and offered me her arm to link onto.

I smiled and felt braver than I had done in a long time.

We walked into the butchers shop and looked at all the meat in the display cabinet.

"What were you planning for dinner tonight Bella?" Emily asked me.

"I don't know." I whispered to her.

"Now Ladies…" I looked up and saw a handsome man with blonde curly hair and twinkly eyes looking at us both.

"Hey Jasper, this is my new friend Bella."

Jasper nodded and smiled at me. "Well hello there Bella, nice to meet you today."

"She is opening the new book store when it is refurbished." I nodded and looked away.

"Oh that's the store my brother Emmett is working on just now."

Jasper was very friendly and I relaxed a little as soon as he said he was Emmett's brother.

We chatted, well they chatted and I nodded and answered the questions that came my way.

"So what can I get you today Miss Bella?"

I picked some steaks to go with veggies I had already bought at Emily's, and wanted to get some sausages to cook for breakfast tomorrow, since the girls both had Sundays off.

"I will just get some more sausages for you." Jasper winked and I blushed.

"Edward… have you got more sausages ready back there?"

I heard a velvety smooth voice answer from the back of the shop.

"Just bringing them through…"

I looked back down at the display cabinet, waiting patiently for Edward to appear.

When I looked up, the most beautiful man was standing there looking back at me.

His green eyes locked on mine. His lips rose into a half smile, and I bit down on my lip before blushing and looking down at the flowers I was holding.

"Edward, this is Bella, as in Bella's Books, the shop that Emmett is working on."

"It's nice to meet you Bella."

I nodded and looked back at him.

"You too Edward." I whispered.

He smiled at me again and handed Jasper the box with the sausages in it.

Jasper weighed out the sausages, I paid for my purchases and was waiting on Emily when a man with dirty blonde hair scraped back into a ponytail strode into the shop and almost knocked me out of the way.

I fell back a bit and Emily steadied my arm.

"James! Will you watch where you are going?" Jasper called out to the man.

"What?" he turned and looked at me, suddenly he was smirking. He turned his head to the side and walked towards me.

He looked like he was about to pounce on me like I was something for him to eat.

"Who do we have here?" his eyes staring right at me.

I moved back as he extended his hand out towards me.

Emily moved forward and stood in front of me blocking his path. "James…this is Bella and we were just leaving so excuse us."

Emily's arm wrapped around me and she ushered me out of the store. "Keep walking Bella." She muttered and I didn't question her. We walked into Emily's shop and headed to the back of the store.

"Who was he?"

"Trouble that's who…James Carlton." Emily explained. "Keep away from him Bella, he fancies himself as a ladies man but he treats women badly."
I nodded.

"Sam, James was in the Cullen's store and took a shine here to Bella. I am going to run her home."

Sam sighed and nodded. "He is trouble Bella." he agreed with Emily.

"I can walk home I don't want to be any trouble Emily." I whispered.

"No trouble Bella, will Rose or Alice be at home?"

I shook my head, Emily was scaring me now.

The bell on the shop door tinkled and Sam walked back onto the shop floor, pulling the door over behind him.

"James…what can I do for you?" Sam's tone was not his usual friendly one at all.

"Just on the prowl…for something…sweet." James answered, his tone menacing.

"Strawberries come to mind." He muttered.

Emily shook her head and sighed. "I knew it." She murmured. She quietly pushed the door so it was completely closed and snibbed the lock shut.

I had tears in my eyes and was shaking on the spot.

Emily tried to get me to move with her out the back door, I couldn't move at all.

"Stay here." She whispered.

I nodded, unable to speak now in fear.

This could not be happening again. My body slid down onto the ground, wrapping my arms around myself, I closed my eyes and waited for Emily to return.

A few moments later I heard her speak to me again.

I could not move at all now. Huge warm hands touched my shoulders I went to scream but Emily placed her fingers to my lips as she whispered. "Shush. Bella, its ok, it just us."

I looked up and saw Edward knelling down beside me.

"It's ok Bella, I won't hurt you."

I looked into his eyes, I knew in an instant that he would not hurt me. My hand moved up to his cheek and he smiled before gently nodding his head.

"Let's get you out of here." He whispered.