Author: Rebecca.

Title: Show her Reality (or Shower reality depending on how you want to see it. :) )

Category: AU. No vampires. Edward and Bella. Mention of Jacob and Bella, but nothing graphic.

Rating: M

Disclaimer: Bella, Edward and everyone else, are not mine… I'm just borrowing them for a little while.

Summary: Edward. Bella. And a shower. That pretty much sums it up, so if you want to know more I'm afraid you'll have to read.

AN: Hey,

Here is another one of my former Roswell stories I changed into a Twilight fic because I thought it could fit that universe without having to change too much of the original version. Just know, before reading, that if you usually like Jacob Black, you might not appreciate him too much in this story or don't like my version of his character. Sorry, but I needed a 'villain' for the story and one scene in particular and I honestly don't think anyone would have fitted as well as him in it.

I have also changed some little things as well (like the fact that there are two highschools in Forks, West Forks High and East Forks high for example) but nothing major, so you shouldn't be too lost lol.

Well, that's it... let me know if you like it so far! Hope you enjoy! (I'll post the rest as soon as I find some time to change and edit the two next parts!)

~ * ~

Slamming the door behind her, Bella Swan stomped inside the girls' changing room, cursing all the way to her locker.

Damn Tanya Denali. Damn her, she could say it a million times and she still would have not said it enough. If it weren't for her, she would have been out of there and home a long time ago, like anyone else. But no, that little witch had to pull another one of her dirty pranks on her.

She was so fed up with her. With all of this in fact. So tired of always being the butt of the rest of the team's stupid little jokes. If it weren't because cheerleading was something she actually enjoyed doing, she would have given up a long time ago, because let's face it, no matter how unfair it could be, the cruel reality was that even after almost a year with the cheerleaders, she was still considered an outsider by most of them, all because their captain hated her with a passion Bella had never even been able to understand so far.

Of course there was no love lost between the two of them, and Bella could honestly say that coming from Tanya and her bunch of stupid minions, it wasn't really so surprising, but as far as she was concerned that was not reason enough to be locked up into the equipment room for almost an hour. Nothing could justify that.

She should have been more clever this time though. She should have known something was off when Tanya and Kate Banks had offered to help her put everything away after practice. She should have understood that there was no goodness in those girls and that there was necessarily something behind their sudden willingness to help and their pretended good intentions.

It had taken her to hear the click of the door being locked behind her and their evil mocking laughs however to realize just how stupid she could be herself sometimes. But at least she could use the excuse that she was spending too much time with them and they were starting to rub off on her as well apparently. What was theirs since they were always like that?

She could never be so cruel though, no matter what, she at least knew that. Yet she had no doubt that if Mr. Rodriguez, the janitor, hadn't passed near the premises while she was screaming at the top of her lungs for someone to come and get her out of the damned place, she would have probably spent the night in there alone, and Tanya would have certainly not lost sleep over that fact, that was for sure.

She and the West Forks High biggest tramp had never gotten along, that was actually an understatement, but this time Tanya had really gone too far and she would have to pay for this, Bella promised herself as she pulled her shirt over her head and kicked off her shoes.

As she tried to find something that could really hit Tanya where it hurt, she wiggled out of her skirt and once she had gotten rid of her undergarments, she gathered her shampoo, her hair conditioner and everything else she would need, and stepped inside the large common shower stall.

Her parents would probably wonder where she was and what she could be doing since she usually went home directly after practice, but after her little misadventure, she couldn't care less. A shower was just what she needed, and she had every intention to make a long one out of it, she thought as she turned the tap on and stepped under the not even tepid yet water.

She deserved that much after this, and soon Tanya would get what she deserved as well. And more.

Now in any other case or if it had been any other girl, Bella would have just gone for what she desired the most but had never managed to have so far, but she knew all too well that this would be like completely impossible with that blonde ho'. If Tanya wasn't able to get it, who was she to pretend she could, huh? And that wasn't even a matter of not really wanting it as well, because God knew she did herself. She had motivation and yearning in spades for that, she was just lacking in some other departments.

Bella wasn't ashamed to admit that, at least to herself. She would probably not say it out loud though. She would even go so far as denying it openly if anyone confronted her, but the truth was that the main reason she still put up with all the crap she was forced to go through regularly despite everything, could take up in two words. Edward. Cullen.

Ah, Edward Anthony Cullen. Captain of the school football team, who trained just at the same time she did and who she could spend her life watching.

There would be so much to say about him that she could probably write a book and make it a best-seller. And believe it she would just need to put a picture of that guy in the front cover to make sure the sales exploded. He had enough charisma for that. But if Bella had to sum it up, she would just say that Edward Cullen was one of the most gorgeous men she had ever seen. A tall, bronze-haired, green-eyed mystery every girl wanted to solve. Manliness and sexiness all combined in one to reach perfection, and… well, she could go on and on, and on about all his qualities. He was simply beautiful from the inside out, even if she had never really had the opportunity to verify that for herself. It was just something she instinctively knew. Sensed. You just had to look at him to know that much.

Edward Cullen was in fact every girl's fantasy become reality, hers included. He was the modern version of that Prince Charming every little girl dreamt about when they were young and their illusions about the world and the way it worked were still untainted. But most of all he was the love of her life, even if he didn't know that, probably never would, and what was more definitely wouldn't care.

Squeezing a generous amount of shampoo into the palm of her hand, she proceeded to lather her long dark mane, as she took a walk down memory lane. Once more.

She could still remember clearly the day she had realized she was in love with Edward Cullen. Or rather the day she had acknowledged that fact because if she was honest, part of her had always known it was him.

It was the first Saturday night off they had had in more than a month, her mother, the proud owner of one of the only local restaurants, having scheduled them to work every one of them till then, and she and Alice, her best friend, had actually planned to go and see the last Josh Harnett's movie at the drive-in theater.

Of course they had been excited to go but beside their usual cries and giggles when Josh had appeared for the first time on the screen, everything had been really normal. Or at least it had been until Alice had felt the sudden urge to pee, and after making her promise to pay extra-careful attention and tell her everything she would miss afterwards, had left her alone in the car.

Now Bella had not minded at all since there were several vehicles around Alice's and everyone seemed to be concentrating on the movie anyway to really pay attention to her. But when she had realized that Alice was really taking too long in the bathroom, she had started to get worried.

At first she had given her a few more minutes, thinking that maybe she had stopped on her way back to buy something, or maybe just met someone when coming out and that she would be back soon, but when there was still no sign of her about another good five minutes, she had locked the car and left in search of her.

After trying the bathroom first and seeing that she had already left, she had gone to the stands sure that she would find her there, but Alice was still nowhere in sight, which of course only increased her anxiousness. The craziest kind of scenarios had popped into her mind then, one more terrific than the other, but still she hadn't been prepared for the reality, sure that she was only overreacting like she usually did when she was nervous.

She didn't remember what had compelled her to turn around then and go back to the girls' restroom once more before going back to her car, but just as she was making her way there, she had heard Alice's unmistakable angry voice, and she had almost immediately run in that direction.

She had been stopped in her tracks however when she had noticed two guys she recognized as belonging to East Forks High School trying to drag Alice to their car. They had obviously been drunk as far as she could tell by the way they had slurred and kept telling her that it wasn't very nice to not want to share her candies with them, but once the first shock passed, she hadn't given a damn about their reasons. She could see Alice's frightened face though she tried to appear brave and fought against them, and that had been the only thing she could think about.

She didn't know anymore what had been going through her mind then, or what she had planned to do, if she had planned anything of course, but she hadn't even taken two steps in their direction that one of them had spotted her, brought the attention of his friend on her and ruined the element of surprise, however slim it had been.

'Look what we have here, another sweet treat,' one of those pigs had said when seeing her, and she had barely refrained from rolling her eyes at the stupidity of the sentence. Whoever had assured the guy that he could have any girl with something like that obviously didn't know women very well and surely didn't score!

She hadn't really felt threatened at first considering their state and all, but when she had seen them advancing to her then and noticed that as always whenever you needed a hand, there was never anyone around, that was when she had started to panic slightly. The parking lot was completely deserted at that moment of course and she would have actually considered running for help, if it weren't for the fact that she hadn't wanted to leave Alice alone, but in the end she hadn't even needed to.

A tall figure had stepped in front of her, shielding her from them and when she had heard him ordering them to let go of Alice and had recognized whom the voice belonged to, she had instinctively known that she had nothing to fear anymore. She had been sure right then and there that Edward would not let anything happen to them.

Bella had known he was there, too, before that of course, since she and Alice had seen him arriving with his sister a moment ago, parking his volvo not too far from their car actually, but she had no idea how he had known they were in trouble now, or even where he had been coming from. He had just appeared out of nowhere and before they could even really think about what could have happened, it was already over, fortunately.

Though she knew Edward wasn't exactly the type to throw the first punch, those guys, as brave as they had looked a minute ago, didn't seem to want to mess with him or be the firsts to start a fight with the Captain of West Forks football team either, and so after promising them that this wasn't over and that they would see them again soon, they were gone.

Bella was actually impressed with Edward's ability to scare them off so easily since only one of his looks had been enough to make them run away like frightened rabbits, but she wasn't utterly surprised. There was something about Edward Cullen that even when you hated him, you couldn't not respect him or even sometimes fear him for all that.

Well, normally. She could never be afraid of him though. Just incredibly intimidated.

At that moment, even Alice who usually could talk a storm had been left speechless as well, probably because she had been more scared than Bella had had time to be herself, but once she had found her voice again, she of course couldn't thank Edward enough.

That was actually when the strangest thing happened. Almost completely dismissing Alice once he had made sure she was really alright, and after repeating about a million times that there was nothing to thank him for, he had turned to her and had asked her if she was okay. How ironic when they had not even really had time to come anywhere near her. Thanks to him.

So yeah, it could seem stupid to hold on to such an insignificant question, but some times Bella could swear she could still feel the brush of his fingers on the soft skin of her elbow where he had touched her when he had asked. That and the jolt of electricity that had accompanied it and had set on fire all her nerve endings at that moment.

She remembered that her eyes had shot up to his face then and her breath had gotten caught in her throat at the sight. She remembered wondering how she could have gone all her life without realizing just how truly beautiful Edward Cullen could be, and how amazing his eyes could look. But most of all she remembered the true expression of concern on his perfect face and the way his eyes had never once left hers, like she was the center of his universe and he would only breathe again once he would be absolutely sure she was indeed okay.

Still now she was convinced that they could have easily spent the entire night just losing themselves into each other's eyes if it weren't for Alice coughing near them and pulling her out of whatever fantasy land her thoughts had suddenly taken her to.

And at that moment it had been obvious to her that Edward had not been able to control his reactions more than she had been, if the blush tainting his cheeks then and that had surely matched her own had been any indication. Or even the way he had stuttered a barely audible 'that's great… g-good,' before informing her that he should better go because his sister was probably waiting for him.

She had watched him leave without saying a word, but she had known then that she wouldn't look at Edward Cullen the same way ever again, because in the two minutes he had been standing near her, he had managed to do something she had always thought impossible till that instant: he had captured her heart… and then run away with it. Just like that, after nothing more than three words and a look.

It was not surprising then if she had barely been able to walk back to the car, and even less to act like nothing had happened, but the task had been made even more difficult with Alice rambling on and on about what she would have done if Edward hadn't arrived precisely at that instant.

Still, that wasn't what had marked her the most. No, Alice had been full of praises for Edward and what he had done, sure, but most of all she had made hers the mission of trying and convincing her that Edward had probably not been there only by chance. She was certain herself that it was not because of her persona or because he had been observing her, but more because every time he was around he couldn't take his eyes off her best friend and that he had most likely followed her there when she had come looking for her.

Bella had found that ridiculous of course, but Alice hadn't wanted to hear about it, going so far as saying that he had probably not done it for her anyway or because he feared they could really hurt her, but more because of who she was, that is Bella Swan's best friend.

Bella knew she couldn't be more wrong however, because Edward just didn't seem like the type to sit down and watch when something got wrong. Therefore she was sure he would have done just the same for any girl who would have found herself in such a situation. Yet she had to admit that when Alice insisted that it couldn't be just a coincidence he had been there when she needed him and moreover when it was obvious he hadn't come to buy anything or use the restroom himself, she was half-tempted to believe her.

What had gone wrong then and why was she so helplessly in love with someone who not only didn't know it yet, but probably wouldn't care anymore now, if he had ever of course?

Well, the answer was easy. Lauren Mallory and Jacob Black happened.

Now if she had any advice to give all the women out there, she would say never, ever make any decision when you were depressed, angry at the world and heartbroken because you would always end up doing a very stupid thing and regretting it afterwards. Believe it, she could talk by experience.

After that night and the little shy smiles they had started to exchange, and after realizing that she would do about anything to get to know Edward, she and Alice had been racking their brains to find a way for her to go and talk to him without looking like an idiot or like she was suddenly going to start and stalk him, and after many efforts and stupid ideas as well, they had surprisingly come up with what they had been sure was the perfect plan.

Bella was supposed to go to him and tell him that they had truly appreciated what he had done for Alice and that to thank him, they wanted to invite him and his friend Jasper for dinner. Easy, right? And that way they would get a real opportunity to talk and she would see if he was interested as well. Jasper of course was only there for security, since Alice was sure that Edward would be too shy to accept to spend an evening with two girls he hardly knew at all, and so he would surely be more at ease with a friend there, too. Besides, the fact that Alice was finding Jasper rather attractive wasn't unpleasant either naturally, and with that settled they were sure that everything would work out for the best.

Only their perfect plan was definitely not after all, and they had surely not counted on external forces to come and screw everything up. Bella had chickened out one too many times and by the time she had finally worked up the nerve to go and talk to him, it had already been too late. She had merely been a couple of hours from taking that huge step, only waiting to actually come across Edward in the school hallways to finally talk to him, when she had heard the rumor that changed everything.

Lauren Mallory and Edward Cullen had been caught in a heavy make out session in one of the school closets. And everyone knew that making out in those didn't only consist in a few kisses. Far from it. There were tongues, hands, and what else involved in there.

At first she hadn't wanted to believe her ears of course, not just because she had felt like her heart would just shatter into a million of tiny little pieces if the rumor were indeed true, but mostly because that just seemed so unlike Edward that she had been sure there had to be a misunderstanding somewhere.

But after hearing it about half a dozen of times, what could she do besides facing the truth? Edward Cullen was obviously one more of those guys who only went for big breasted blondes and who was she to compete with that, huh? That was the only conclusion she could come to then.

Now if she hadn't been so disgusted to the point of getting physically sick at the thought of Edward's lips anywhere Lauren, maybe she would have learnt the truth sooner and things would have turned out differently, but she had missed the two most important school days of her existence and that changed her life for what she was sure would be forever.

She couldn't remember exactly how everything had happened, the only thing clear in her mind actually being that during those two short days she had certainly cried more than ever in her life before, but by the time she was back at school she had a date with Jacob Black.

Now any girl with brain and a little of common sense would have known that that guy was the last one on Earth you should get involved with and even less trust, but she had been so desperate then that when he had cornered her at the Eclipse, her mother's restaurant, and asked her out, she hadn't cared about a thing anymore and was ready to say yes to anything people asked her, as long as they would let her wallow in her self-pity and pain afterwards.

The next day in fact she had almost already forgotten all about it, when Jacob had come to her asking her if she was still in for a movie that same night and that was when she had heard the rest of the story.

It turned out that Edward Cullen had never been anywhere near Lauren Mallory, but Edward Coltonsurely did, yet when she understood what the problem had been, Jacob was already looking at her with what she was sure could only be hope shining in his large brown eyes and she hadn't had the heart to tell him no. Even though she was also sure he was still wondering why hers were brimming with tears when she had given him her answer.

Of course the news of their date had spread around faster than Tanya Denali's thighs and by the time she realized that she was making a huge mistake, there was no backing off. Besides, the damage had apparently already been done considering Edward's attitude from then on.

The worst was that since she actually found out that she could enjoy Jacob's company and she knew all too well that he would never be able to break her heart, therefore she wasn't taking any major risk, one date turned into several and soon they were going steady. Well, more or less, because Bella didn't think they had ever been that serious about each other.

In any case, it was a stupid thing to do if you considered that she was in love with someone else, but when you had managed to convince yourself that you didn't stand a chance with said person -and she had succeeded quite well on that one- it didn't look so bad after all.

That didn't mean that she could stop herself from seeking Edward out, if only with her eyes, because clearly asking her that would be like asking her to stop breathing, she just couldn't, but she had at least tried to be more discreet about her attraction for him and act like it actually didn't matter anymore. Only Alice was not fooled by her attitude.

Well Alice and Tanya, for a reason she couldn't understand though. One time, while she was still going out with Jacob, she had even confronted her.

'Stop looking at him, you're only wasting your time… Do you really think he would go for a mousy flat-chested girl like you?' she had told her as venomously as she could, and Bella had just stood there, with her mouth hanging open, wondering once more what she could have done to Tanya to cause such opened animosity.

It wasn't so much the fact that she had caught her that shocked her, but more that she had even dared comment at all. That surely proved the nerve of the girl and what type of person she was, didn't it?

No matter what, Bella knew that she would never be able to go to another girl and basically tell her that she didn't stand a chance with the boy she obviously liked. If only because it was not only totally rude and mean, but who was she to pretend she knew what could go on in anyone else's mind anyway?

Tanya didn't have that problem apparently however, but Bella shouldn't be surprised. After all she had more or less staked claim of Edward Cullen a long time ago and she knew she would stop at nothing to scare any girl who would just as much as think about approaching him or taking a chance. It wouldn't be a first and definitely not a last.

"Slut!" Bella muttered under her breath, remembering how many times that shameless hussy had thrown herself at Edward or how many times she had claimed that she would be the first one to make him cave and that once he would know what being with a real woman was, he wouldn't be able to get enough of her.

Right, maybe in her dreams. The only thing that comforted her was the fact that Edward had never given her the time of day, no matter how hard she tried to get his attention. That only reinforced her opinion of him in fact. She knew all too well that any other guy would have jumped at the opportunity to get to know Tanya better, and by better she meant biblically, but Edward wasn't one of them apparently.

Bella had of course tried to act like she didn't care at all about what she could say, but nonetheless the words had hurt her more than she was ready to admit and had definitely stuck with her.

After all Tanya could be stupid all she wanted, but she wasn't completely blind. Though she was not as 'flat-chested' as she said she was or wanted to make her look, what could she have to offer to Edward that about half the girls of Forks couldn't anyway, huh? She was nothing special, so why would he even bother to look at her twice?

Then again, as miffed as she had been by Tanya's remarks and everything else, Tanya and Jacob weren't the only reason she had stayed away from Edward even once she and Jacob had broken up. Edward himself had done his part.

Though it was really tentative, Bella had really thought that they could maybe get somewhere after the drive-in incident, or at least she had until the false rumor of his relationship with Lauren had spread. They weren't talking per say, far from it, but every time he would see her, he would smile at her and maybe even mouth a soft 'hi' sometimes, and that was enough to give her some hope. The couple of weeks it had lasted had actually meant the world to her, but all that changed when she accepted that first date with Jacob.

She hadn't seen Edward the few days immediately after, and if she didn't know better she would have even thought that he had been avoiding her, but when she finally came upon him again, she had only needed one look at him to sense something was different.

It was as if unexpectedly they had taken a huge step back and returned to where they had been before that night. Or maybe even worse in fact because at least then he would still meet her eyes occasionally, but after that he couldn't even look at her, though Alice kept affirming that he still did stare when he thought no one noticed.

Bella didn't know what the matter was however. If he was just avoiding any contact with her because she was going out with Jacob and didn't want it to look like he was actually coming on to some other guy's girlfriend, or because seeing her with someone else actually hurt him like Alice suspected.

The main point anyway was that whatever the reasons, it had surely not helped the situation, if of course there was a reason behind his sudden strange behavior. After all, she could have read too much into those few smiles and only been deluding herself all the while. That theory seemed more reasonable actually if you considered that she had been single again for almost three weeks now and he had never tried to approach her in any way for all that.

Yeah, she knew, hard to believe, but after five months and she had not counted how many days, she had had an epiphany at last and told Jacob Black to get lost. Even harder to believe actually was that she had refused to listen to that inner voice that told her that everything she had been hearing about him during all the time she had been with him was true, and that for so long.

Fact was that Jacob had never treated her badly, that was not it, so apparently she had no reason to doubt him, but more than once she had found his behavior a little strange to be honest. If you didn't even count all the times he had tried to convince her that they were made for each other, and that usually people who felt that way tried to show their feelings in a more physical way, there were also all those looks some different girl every time always seemed to give him after those long weekends he said he couldn't see her because he had too much to do.

Yeah, too much to do, right! Too many would probably sum it up better, but as long as she hadn't had any solid proof of his unfaithfulness, she had preferred giving him the benefit of the doubt.

The list of his supposed conquests was long, she knew that but it wasn't until Alice had caught him shagging another one of those brainless bimbos West Forks High was all too famous for, on the couch of his living room, that she had accepted to finally face the truth. No need to say of course that the shock had been actually greater for Alice, who gone to look for her mother who was currently dating Jacob's father had stumbled upon the scene, but she wouldn't have had it any other way.

She would have probably not known how to react if it had been her catching him, but Alice had definitely taken care of that like it had to: Leah Whatever-her-name-was had been slapped silly by an infuriated Alice, called all the names in the book and would most likely never come near an already taken guy ever again, and Jacob probably still had some indelible marks of her heeled-boots somewhere in his right ass cheek.

Bella in the end didn't care one way or another about what had happened since she had never been naïve enough to truly believe that Jacob had suddenly become a saint just because he was dating her, but she surely regretted not having gotten rid of him sooner.

Anyway, all this was a long time ago and it wasn't as if she could do a thing to change the situation now. What was done was done and Jacob Black was only a page of history in her life, one that had never really mattered anyway and therefore one that was definitely not worth wasting her time remembering.

She had already wasted too much of it as it was and the water was slowly starting to turn colder, which meant that she had at least been under the stream a good ten minutes and had only managed to wash and untangle her hair in the meantime. She didn't know what to do to get back at Tanya either yet, but she realized that if she wanted to really enjoy the rest of her shower, she should better not think about her anymore right now. She would probably find something later on, and if not, she would just ask for Alice's help. If she couldn't herself, she would certainly come up with something.

Reaching for her vanilla soap, she started taking care of her body when her thoughts drifted back to Edward. She wondered if he had already finished himself, knowing that the guys had been done with practice not so much longer before she had been allowed out of her momentary prison.

She still couldn't understand how they managed to not hear her when she was vociferating in there, but she guessed that with the distance and Coach Durham's all too famous shouts on top of everything, she could have cried herself to death and they would have still not heard a thing.

Nonetheless during all the time she had been locked in there, and that even when she had perfectly known it was absurd, she had still hoped that if any of the footballers had to come and rescue her, it would be Edward.

She could perfectly picture herself throwing herself into his arms and kissing him senseless in thanks. That would have been the least she could have done, wouldn't it? Of course it would have been the right thing to do, but now that didn't mean that she had come any close to that with Mr. Rodriguez, only Edward was worth of such gratitude on her part naturally.

He would have been shocked, that was a given, but maybe not enough to not answer back she hoped. Or even if he had not, she could always have passed that for a lapse of judgment on her part, an impulsive gesture only done in the heat of the moment. Yet again, this was only wishful thinking on her part… and one more opportunity that went up in smoke.

As she felt her own hands running along her sides, soaping her body up, she couldn't help wondering nonetheless if she would ever have the chance to know what it felt to be caressed by his hands. If their touch would feel that different from hers, or if they would ignite the same fire in the pit of her stomach hers did whenever she imagined he was the one stroking her skin.

How many times had she thought about him that way? She didn't know, she had lost count of them a long time ago, but sometimes she felt he had always been a part of her fantasies. She actually didn't remember anyone being able to make her feel any way remotely close to what he only could.

Of their own volition, her hands drifted to her firm breasts, cupping them gently and massaging the flesh briefly, then down her stomach to the place where she ached for his touch the most, and she found herself sighing softly at the instant and anticipated pleasure.

It was the sweetest caress really, but unexpectedly images of a dream she had had not so long ago popped into her mind and before she could stop the word from escaping her lips, she ended up moaning a name.

His name.

She wasn't even aware she had said anything at all actually until she heard the audible 'oh, fuck', the sound making her eyes fly open and her jaw hit the floor.



Half an hour earlier.

"Alright guys… that's enough!" Coach Durham shouted at the top of his lungs, announcing the end of practice much to many of the players' relief.

With the big confrontation with East Forks coming this weekend, he had made them sweat even more than he usually did if that were possible and most of them had only one thing in mind now, getting out of there as fast as possible.

Edward Cullen wasn't one of them apparently however, if the way he seemed to drag himself out of the field was any indication. Practice was usually fun for him and definitely not a big deal, but today everything had gone wrong and if he had touched a ball it was only by sheer miracle, if he said so himself. Therefore he didn't really feel like hurrying and being ribbed by his co-players even more than he had already been.

Now if he could avoid the coach as well that would be even greater of course, but he hadn't even taken two steps out of the turf that he understood he wouldn't have such luck.

"Cullen!" the other man called out to him and Edward just knew he was going to have it now. The strange thing was he hadn't heard about it sooner actually, considering all the week he had played like a mere debutant, or at least like he had suddenly forgotten most of everything he had been taught so far.

"Yeah?" he stopped and answered, turning around to wait for him, but hoping he would be the only one to stay behind. The last thing he needed was to be humiliated or scolded like a little boy in front of everyone else.

"You were out of it again!… Should I ask the cheerleading squad to train somewhere else or at another moment to be sure you don't get too distracted by all those beautiful ladies?" Durham reprimanded him but though there was no real anger behind his words and he could actually sense the joke, Edward didn't doubt that part of him was slightly annoyed by his lack of concentration lately.

He was wrong however. All 'those beautiful ladies' as he put it, didn't impress him or distract him in the least. They didn't turn his head or affect him in any way.

Only one actually did.

Edward could honestly say he nearly died the day his brown-haired beauty joined the cheerleaders a year ago and he had to see her almost every freaking day in that little tiny uniform, doing splits and whatsoever just in front of him.

To add that he had been surprised would be a major understatement as well given that she was actually the last person in the world he thought he would see joining the team. She was nothing like the other girls, mainly brainless bimbos who were so superficial and completely interested in his opinion, but he would lie if he said that part of him hadn't been elated when hearing the news. Or at least he had been until she had started practice.

If he had never paid any attention to what the cheerleaders could do at the other end of the field before like all his teammates had, he surely started from that point on, even when he knew it would impact on his playing.

After a month he had almost all her choreographies memorized, even if he had never thought it would be possible for him to remember any of those moves cheerleaders made. He could even tell what she was going to do before she even started doing it, and he almost constantly kept an eye on her and everything she did, even when he well knew he should concentrate on anything but her. But still, he had always managed to force himself to ignore her when he needed to so he could at least act like he was actually into the game nonetheless.

It had become more and more difficult as the year progressed however, truly boarding on the impossible at times, and gradually her constant presence had taken its toll on him. Even more actually after he had rescued her and Alice at the drive-in that night a few months ago.

Still now he didn't know what had possessed him to follow her at that moment, maybe it was just because she had seemed so anxious he had just wanted to make sure she was alright, maybe it was instincts or just because he couldn't stay away from her, he didn't know but he surely didn't regret it.

What he did regret however, was to not have been more daring after that. How many times had he wanted to go and talk to her? And how many times had he chickened out? He couldn't even remember them, there had beenso many. But it had taken him to hear about her date with Jacob Black to realize just how stupid he had been. After all, if she was ready to go out with him despite his far from being flattering reputation, maybe she would have accepted a date with him as well, even if it maybe would have only been out of pity.

The worst of all was that seeing her with someone else had not lessened his obsession with her for all that, quite the contrary in fact. If he thought of her about every minute then, he started thinking about her every second after that, always wondering why he had not talked to her sooner, why he had not simply tried to make her see what he felt. That when he wasn't thinking about what she could see in Jacob Black, or what he could do with her, to her when they were all alone.

Knowing she was with that ass drove him insane, but instead of trying to do something about that, he had acted like a child, refusing to look at her from that point on, or show her, them, that this was killing him.

But being proud had never gotten anyone anywhere, he knew that now, and by the time he realized he was not doing himself a favor and was actually only ruining the tentative and fragile relationship they had -if exchanging a few smiles and soft 'hellos' could be considered a relationship of course- it had already been too late. He still caught her looking at him some very rare times, but it was just not the same, and during five months and seventeen excruciating long days, he had watched her with another man, all the while knowing that said man didn't deserve her, and cursed himself for his own stupidity.

Then one day when he was sure he would be miserable for the rest of his life and regret his foolish decisions for just as long, the nightmare ended… And another one started.

Ever since that day he had heard the guys making fun of Jacob because Bella had finally told the dog to go back to his kennel, like they said, he had been haunted by the same irrevocable truth. He would never have any chance with Bella if he didn't decide to take his fate into his own hands. The only problem was that he was so convinced that she would never give him the time of day and that he would never be good enough for someone as incredible as her that he had still not managed to move a single finger and he was slowly getting frustrated. Seeing her every day and chickening out every day as well, was seriously putting a strain to his patience, to his attention, to his sanity, to everything.

And the coach wondered why he couldn't concentrate anymore most of the days? Well, he was reaching his limit point and Isabella Swan was the reason why.

That and the fact that he was crazily, insanely, like-you-didn't-see-it-anymore in love with her and she probably didn't give a damn of course.

Nonetheless he didn't think that sharing that piece of information with the coach, no matter how important it could be to him, would help him in any way right now. So rather than having him telling him once more that nothing in this world should take his attention off the game and certainly not a woman, he hung his head low and tried to appear chagrined and ashamed of his own behavior.

Edward highly doubted he would understand him anyway if he was to tell him how crazy Bella Swan could drive him, and that without even trying. That man had probably never cared about anything but his football games in his whole life.

"I'm sorry… I wasn't really feeling alright today… " he lied as he scratched his neck uncomfortably, sure that the coach would probably not believe him unless maybe he just suddenly started to puke in front of him. Which he would rather not force himself to do of course.

"Well… you have two days to get better then… you know I need you, Edward… the team needs you… we can't let East Forks win… and we can't beat them without our captain and best player!" the coach reminded him and Edward tried his best to not cringe at the words.

Of course he was grateful for what he knew to be a compliment, but he would have definitely done without the added pressure considering he was already feeling bad enough as it was. He knew all too well how everyone, and more particularly the coach, was counting on him and that was what made the thing even more difficult.

Football had always been such a huge part of his life he had always thought he wouldn't be able to live without it, but the fact was that lately he just wasn't feeling the thrill anymore. He still enjoyed it as much as he did before, but he could tell that it was gradually becoming less and less important to him and that he could easily give it up if he had to now, thing that would have been completely unimaginable a couple of years ago for example. Simply put, he needed more.

Of course he knew that the end of his career wasn't just around the corner yet, but he was finishing high school and soon he would have to make some decisions and really consider what he wanted to do with his life.

There were things that were way more significant to him now and that mattered more than playing football. People, too, and Bella Swan was definitely one of them. Sooner or later he knew he would have to overcome his doubts and go for what he had always wanted, and what he wanted more than anything right now was her.

That was the only thing he could think about most of the time actually, and even more now that she was single again. No matter how stupid he knew it was, it was only fear that was still holding him right now and stopped him from going to her in fact. Fear of not knowing what to say. Fear of making a fool out of himself, but most of all fear of being rejected, and he hated himself for being such a coward sometimes.

"Yeah, I know that… but I'm sure I'll be okay by then!" Edward affirmed as convincingly as he could, hoping that it would be enough to ease his worries and make him let him go already. Not that he minded the conversation that much, but if the coach started questioning him a little too much, there was a good chance he would just blurt out the truth and he wasn't sure the man would appreciate hearing it that much.

"I surely hope so… now go, I will see you tomorrow, okay?" the other man told him at last, unaware of the way Edward all but sighed almost in relief when he heard him giving him the go ahead he had been waiting for.

"Sure… I'll be there!" he promised quickly before jogging to the entrance of the gymnasium, glad it had finally not been as bad as he had thought it would be.

He could hear the shower calling his name now and he wanted nothing more than just let the hot water pound his body and wash away the tension he was still feeling. It was little wonder then if he barely refrained from groaning out loud when he entered the locker room and saw all the showers already taken and about half the team still waiting to go.

Well, since he had no other choice, he should as well go and prepare his things in the meantime, he thought as he made his way to the far end of the room, doing his best to not draw attention on him though.

"So… who was it this time, huh?" he heard Emmett McCarthy, one of his best friends, ask him almost as soon as he joined him in front of their lockers. So much for going unnoticed, huh?

"Who was what?" he demanded absentmindedly, confused as to who he was referring to. He briefly wondered if Emmett was asking about who had made him late, but he was sure he had seen the coach stopping him on his way in, so it didn't make much sense.

"You know… the girl who had you drooling all over yourself!" Emmett elucidated, a strange gleam in his eyes.

This was the moment of truth, he just knew it. For he couldn't even remember how many months, he had tried to figure out who the mysterious cheerleader who had Edward spacing out at least once during each practice could be, but so far his investigations had gotten him nowhere.

He had actually reduced his suspicions to three names now, Bella Swan, Candice Harrison and Jessica Stanley, but after reaching that point he hadn't been able to decide between them, mainly because those three seemed to always be at the same place at the same moment, and always in Edward 's line of vision. But since he was kind of fed up of racking his brain in vain, he should as well ask directly now, shouldn't he? And this was as good a moment as any other.

"I don't drool!" Edward refuted even when he knew he most likely did, only to realize afterwards that instead of denying that part, he should have probably said something more like 'I have no idea which girl you could be talking about'. And by the way Emmett was smirking at him now, he had evidently caught on his mistake as well. Obviously to him it was by far the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard.

"Sure, dude… and I actually stand a chance with your sis…" Emmett all but snorted, shaking his head and giving him a look that seemed to say 'who do you think you're kidding here?'

"My… what?" Edward barely got out as he looked at Emmett and tried to process what he had just told him.

Now he thought he knew his friend pretty well, but this?… was he trying to tell him that he could be more than interested in his sister Rosalie? Not that it was that big of a news or a surprise to him considering that half the male population of West Forks had pinned over her at one point or another, much to his disgust, but to learn that Emmett was one of them as well was quite unexpected to say the least.

When had that happened, and how come he hadn't seen a thing? Guess the coach was right after all, he was out of it, in more way than one, and definitely more than he had first assumed.

He didn't have time to dwell too much on that new information however before they were interrupted by another voice.

"Leave him alone!" Jasper joined the conversation and probably for the first time in his life, Edward found himself grateful for his help. Or at least he was until he had to hear the rest of his sentence. "Edward just needs to get laid before the big game and everything will be alright!" he declared mischievously, smacking him in the back for good measure.

What? Had he really thought that Jasper Whitlock would be supportive for once, mind his own business and not try to seize the opportunity to humiliate him when he could? Right, when pigs would fly.

"Jasper!" Edward grunted warningly, trying to remember once more why he was friend with the guy. Best friend actually. He must have been incredibly high the day that decision had been taken.

"Well… I'm sure that Tanya would be more than happy to spread them for him and let him work all his frustrations out if he just asked nicely!" Tyler Crowley, one of the team's guys couldn't help but comment as he heard them, knowing that when anyone was feeling frustrated, Tanya Denali was the person to go to.

"And even if he didn't!" Mike Newton chimed in, reminding those who could have forgotten it that how you asked it had never been a problem either, Tanya was all too eager to satisfy everyone, which of course elicited another round of laughs and smutty remarks.

Edward could only groan as he heard them discuss what he should and shouldn't do like he wasn't even there. Like that could happen anyway. Tanya Denali was all too well known for her lack of inhibitions, sure, but even if he weren't so in love with someone else, she would definitely not be a girl he would like to be associated with, even if she didn't seem to understand that point unfortunately for him. He couldn't even remember how many times he had tried, nicely and not so as well, to tell her there would be no way in hell anything could happen between them, no matter how hard she tried, but her persistence hadn't ebbed one iota for all that.

"Over my dead body!" he muttered before he could stop himself, and only realized he had voiced his thoughts out loud when the last person he wanted to deal with now took upon himself to give his opinion and join the fun.

Great, just what he needed. Not. Could his day get any worse?

"Is that so?" he heard coming from behind him, but barely spared the newcomer a sideway glance.

What did that idiot want him to say exactly? It was common knowledge among the guys that Tanya absolutely didn't do it for him, that was certainly why they were always teasing him with her, he shouldn't look like he was so surprised then, or like he had suddenly heard some major revelation.

"What?" Edward just growled in answer, more because he knew that Jacob Black wouldn't stop anyway until he would have said what he wanted to, than because he really felt like engaging in any kind of conversation with the guy.

"Right…" Jacob drawled out, like Edward hadn't even talked just two seconds ago. Not that he cared about what he had to say anyway, the only thing he wanted was to tick him seriously off and he had a feeling he wouldn't need much for that. "I keep forgetting… you're more into short, dark-eyed brunettes, aren't you, Edward?"

"Whatever!" Edward mumbled dismissively, basically showing Jacob that he had no interest talking to him, but that guy had never been able to get a clue and understand when he was not wanted somewhere, why would today be any different, huh?

"No, go ahead, Cullen… why don't you tell everyone here who really grabbed your interest today again, because it was certainly not the game… tell them who keeps making you play like an ass and compromise our chance in the Championship, huh?" Jacob insisted like Edward hadn't just snubbed him in front of everyone, each word dripping with more venom than the last one.

If he didn't hate him enough already before, he sure did now. He hated everything the guy represented in fact.

Edward Cullen didn't deserve all the praises he received. He didn't deserve the title of captain of the team either, he had always known that. It should have gone to him, he deserved it way more, there was no doubt in his mind, but the coach was a pigheaded idiot who would never recognize his mistake. However this had lasted long enough, and if that old stupid man couldn't see it, Jacob would show the truth to the rest of the team.

They were always so proud of their perfect captain. Always so ready to defend and excuse him even when everyone could see he messed up. What would they think if they knew why they had nearly lost their last game, and why they would probably lose the next most important one as well? How would they react when they would understand that this was all about a girl? A girl Edward had no right to even think about. Not when he had done his best to keep them apart.

If he were honest, he could admit that the main reason he had tried to have Bella Swan himself at first, beside the fact that he had always thought she was one of the most beautiful and interesting girls of West Forks, was because he had noticed Edward's interest a long time ago. He would have probably not tried his luck otherwise, sure that she would never pay attention to someone like him anyway. But much to his surprise, she had accepted the first date, and the next one, and the next as well, even if how they had managed to last so long was still a mystery to him actually.

He was not stupid however, and definitely not blind either, and he would have to be both to not realize that the reason Bella had actually said yes to him had only been because he had caught her at a bad moment, and it was all too evident to him why she hadn't been in any state to refuse that day. Just like the rest of the school, he had heard about Lauren's latest trip to the 'make-out closet' and who she was supposed to be with, though he had never believed any of it was true, and he had used that to help his cause.

His plan had nearly backfired the next day when Bella had learned the truth however. He remembered all too well that look on her face that screamed 'god, what have I done?' when she had heard Victoria Jameson saying that she had always known that Edward would have never gone anywhere with that idiot of Lauren, but of course he had chosen to ignore it, because there was no way he would have renounced at that point. Not when he was so close to finally getting his revenge on Edward Cullen.

To this day he was still convinced that it was only her kind nature that had led her to keep her word and of course he had played on that, knowing all too well what kind of person she was. The puppy dog face and the hopeful eyes had done the trick even if he knew it hadn't been fair. He hadn't really cared then in fact, he just wanted to get back at Edward and steal something that mattered from him, just like he had done himself on so many occasions.

And it had worked. He had noticed the looks Edward gave them every time they were together even if he thought he was being subtle then, and he knew all too well that it had never been only coincidence if Edward always seemed to find himself near Bella whenever he was not around. Just because he didn't see him then didn't mean that he didn't hear about it.

Nonetheless, it hadn't bothered him that much at first, on the contrary, because it felt kind of good to be able to rub into his face the relationship he obviously envied. He liked knowing that for once Edward could be jealous of him, but after a while even that was not satisfying enough. Not when he knew that said relationship was only a masquerade and was nothing to be envied.

Of course he and Bella were no Romeo and Juliet, though Bella usually acted her part and everyone believed they were good together, but as good an actress as she thought she was, she had never been able to hide her attraction to Edward and how much she yearned to be with him. Just like he did.

Too many times he had noticed the looks they gave each other when they thought no one was seeing them, the only ones being oblivious to that and what was going on being actually themselves, though Jacob couldn't understand how was that possible. How could they be so ignorant of the reality?… even if there was no saying it had worked for the best for him.

If they could see what he saw, he didn't doubt for a second that they would have already acted on their feelings, and that long ago, but neither of them seemed to realize that their obvious attraction was mutual, or even want to change a thing.

Until recently at least. Jacob had a feeling Edward wouldn't hold back much longer now. Something was different, he could see it and because of that, he already knew he wouldn't content himself with just staring at Bella from afar indefinitely. He would actually go and talk to her, and then everything would be screwed up for him. Not that he was still interested in Bella in any way, but he would be damned if he let those two get together after all that had happened.

"What the fuck is your problem, Black?" Edward snapped his locker shut upon hearing his insinuations, and finally turned fully to him. He better not start him on a certain topic again or this would end up badly.

The last thing he needed was Jacob Black talking to him about Bella, but he could already sense that the other guy wouldn't be able to stop himself, if only to have the pleasure to see him losing his cool.

He didn't know how Jacob had been able to figure out what no one else could apparently, and it wouldn't be the first time Jacob tried to make him react to his stupid taunting, but if he had managed to ignore him so far, he was so definitely not in the mood today. No, absolutely not in the mood.

"Since you're asking… you!" Jacob snarled, taking a few steps to stand just in front of Edward now.

It didn't matter that the other guy had a few inches on him, he didn't impress him in the least. He had had it with him and today was the day it ended. And he knew exactly where to hit to make it hurt.

"I don't like you, Cullen… I don't like the way you fuck everything up lately… but most of all I don't like the way you look at her… and now that we're at it… neither does she!"

As expected the rest of the team had by then gathered around the two of them and were waiting with anticipation to see what would happen next, even when they still didn't have any clear idea of what was really going on.

Except for the obvious of course. This was apparently about a girl.

Now Edward Cullen was not exactly known for his impressive list of conquests, none of them having actually seen him with a girl before, even if there was no need to say that it was certainly not because he couldn't: with his looks, he could probably have any girl he wanted and it wasn't as if he lacked opportunities either, he just seemed to not care at all, but Jacob was definitely another story.

He had had so many of them, including half the cheerleading squad, that no one was even sure who he was talking about, but whoever that girl was, Edward apparently knew her, knew exactly who Jacob was referring to, and the shorter guy had obviously hit a nerve when he mentioned her.

They all saw something switch inside Edward's eyes, saw how he fisted his hands at his side, but as quickly as it had gotten there, it disappeared and the next second they weren't even surprised to see him smirk down to the other man. If Edward Cullen was famous for something after all, it was for the way he always seemed to be able to control his emotions. Or so they still thought.

"Isn't that only wishful thinking on your part?" Edward demanded, thinking that if Jacob wanted to play he would give him a taste of his own medicine. And not surprisingly his smile grew even wider when he saw the corner of Jacob's mouth twitch nervously and his jaw set angrily.

"C'mon, Jacob, admit it… she dumped you like you were yesterday news and you just can't stand it!" he continued, pleased beyond belief to see that he was obviously getting to him.

That was all it was about apparently. Bella and the fact that they weren't together anymore. What he didn't understand however was what it could have to do with him or why Jacob seemed to hate him even more than before if that were possible ever since then. After all it wasn't as if Bella had dumped Jacob for him, so why he seemed to even care so much about whatever feelings he could have for Bella -not that he was going to confirm them to him or anyone else- or how much time he could spend looking at her when they had never even really talked to each other so far, made no sense to him. But that didn't mean he couldn't take advantage of his obvious insecurities.

"What? Afraid I could give her what you couldn't?" he suggested, though talking that way about Bella when she wasn't even present disgusted him more than he was ready to admit.

He could already anticipate how everyone was going to take such a sentence, but he would think about that himself later. Right now he just wanted to show Jacob that he didn't have the upper hand like he obviously thought he did. No matter what he could say, Edward wouldn't take it at face value because it was evident that whatever Bella could feel for him, her ex would probably be the last person in the world she would confide in. It actually only proved to Edward just how jealous Jacob could be of him, otherwise he wouldn't have bothered trying to make him think Bella minded the fact that he was all too often looking at her. If that point was indeed true, Edward doubted Bella noticed at all anyway, considering he had always been extremely careful and had always done his best not to be caught. At least by her.

Edward knew he had made a point when he saw Jacob's nostrils flare in anger, but what he had certainly not expected however was to see him recover so nicely and actually react so fast.

Now he prided himself on his control and he could usually take any insult Jacob could throw his way. He could do with his constant superior tone and his stupid little insinuations no matter how twisted they could be, but what he could really not tolerate was to hear him badmouth Bella or downright insult her in any way in front of him.

"Hey, if you like to go for sloppy seconds… go ahead, because that's all she is now!" Jacob threw his hands up like in conceded defeat and flung back slyly after only a brief moment of hesitation.

He would lie of course if he said that Edward hadn't hit a nerve himself, but there was no way he would let him see that, no matter how right he could be. Edward had obviously something he had not been able to give Bella, whatever the hell that could be, otherwise she wouldn't have been pinning over him all the time they had been together.

He also knew that what he had just said was unfair to Bella and that she would probably hate him even more than she surely already did if she ever heard about it, but he couldn't care less right now. All was fair in love and war, and right this instant the only thing that mattered to him was to make Edward Cullen swallow back that stupid smile he was giving him. And he was quite proud of himself when he realized just how successful he was.

Gone was Edward's calm façade now, and anyone present would have to be completely blind to not understand that things were about to get ugly. Edward looked ready to blow a fuse and that couldn't be a good sign. At all.

Of course he knew that Bella had gone out with Jacob Black long enough for them to maybe reach that stage in their relationship, and that damned rat had insinuated more than once that he had tasted the goods, but hearing him declaring so, so offhandedly and so openly now was the last straw for Edward.

"You bastard!" he growled, shoving him off forcefully before he could even realize what he was doing.

He who usually was the last one to encourage violence in any way felt like he wouldn't be satisfied until he would have beaten the crap out of that asshole. To hate him for no valid reasons was one thing, but to disrespect Bella in front of everyone else just to get back at him was the last thing he should have done, and he would understand that soon.

"What? Can't face the truth, Cullen?… I got her first and you can't stand it!" having gotten exactly the reaction he had been waiting for, Jacob couldn't help but add fuel to the fire no matter how stupid that could be. His problem had always been to know when to stop, though in this case he couldn't bring himself to regret it. At least not immediately. "She's a screamer you know! I'm sure you would have liked! Too bad she doesn't even care you exist!"

The instant the words escaped his lips, Edward saw red and threw himself at the other guy, not caring about what the consequences of his actions would be.

"You fucking ass… you didn't deserve her… you never did… bastard… you…" he spat out, his fist connecting with Jacob's jaw in the same second and making him stumble backward before anyone else could react. However before he could deal him another blow, he felt strong arms restraining him but immediately tried to free himself from the firm grip when he recognized who was holding him. What the hell was he doing? Shouldn't he be helping him instead of stopping him? "Jasper? What the… let me go!"

"Hey, there… cool down, man… he's not worth it!" ignoring his protests, Jasper tried to calm him down and refused to let him go no matter how much he struggled against him. He was surprised he still managed at all, however, when he saw Jacob straightening up and glare back at Edward, his hatred now all too evident in his eyes.

Contrary to what he could have thought though, Jacob didn't even try to retaliate, knowing that for once his words would hurt more than anything else at this point.

"Maybe… " he started as he brought his fingers to his now split lip and noticed the blood, then with deliberated slowness licked the wound and announced even more spitefully. "… but believe me, she sure did serve me right!"

If Jasper had strived to hold Edward back before, the task seemed almost impossible now and he was actually considering letting him lose so he could go and kick that idiot's ass -for there was no doubt in his mind that he definitely deserved it- when the hoarse voice of a now very pissed coach resonated in the room and everyone seemed to freeze on their spot, Edward and Jacob included.

"Black! Cullen! What the hell is happening here?" he asked angrily, stepping closer to the two guys, his imposing stature serving to put the necessary distance between the two of them.

Of course no one dared say a thing at first, but when he sensed his dark eyes on him, Jacob was finally the one to relent and answer, though his muttered 'nothing' would have been barely audible if it weren't for the fact that everyone seemed to hold their breaths at that instant and wait for the moment when Durham would really lose it and give them a piece of his mind.

"Nothing!" Edward parroted reluctantly when the coach turned to look at him, pinning him with the same disapproving glare he had given Jacob just a second ago.

Jasper had long let go of him but his breath was still ragged and fury was still pulsating through his veins. If it weren't now, he would get back at Jacob for this later, but this was far from being over.

"How many times have I told you I won't tolerate this kind of behavior?!" the older man shouted like they hadn't even talked to him at all.

He wasn't stupid and even if he hadn't witnessed the whole thing, the little he had seen was enough to give him a clear idea of what had been happening between two of his best players before he arrived. Now he couldn't say that this was that surprising coming from Jacob Black, but hearing Edward spewing threats and colorful insults was definitely something he wasn't used to. He was half tempted to just let him go and deal with Jacob, sure that whatever had occurred was actually his doing only, but that didn't seem entirely fair considering he didn't have all the facts. Consequently when none of them seemed to want to talk and explain themselves, he yelled again, making even the bravest of the other players jump in surprise. Or was it fright?

"How many?"

"Too many!" Jasper, never one to know when his opinion was not welcomed, coughed behind his hand, but almost immediately took a step back when the old man threw him one of his all too famous 'don't mess with me' looks. Okay, maybe now was not the time to joke, but what a spoilsport that man always was!

A few snickers were heard at his remark but all too quickly died when they all understood that the old guy was definitely in no mood to endure their little games. Durham's eyes swept around the room, causing the few unfortunates who met his gaze to tremble in their shorts, and everyone was almost relieved then when he finally addressed again those who had really started all this.

"Pull something like this again and you're both out!" he promised them once he was sure he had everyone's attention, and even though they all knew he would rather give up on training than getting rid of Edward and Jacob for whatever reason that was, they couldn't miss his dead serious tone either. Fact that was only confirmed when he turned to Jasper as well.

"And you might just join them, Whitlock, if you don't learn when to shut up!" he added meaningfully before turning around at last and marching back to his office, missing the way Jasper saluted him mockingly on his way out however.

God, those kids were going to be the death of him one of these days. He so needed a drink now.

"I'm out of here anyway!" Edward muttered angrily when he noticed all the eyes still on him, sure that if he didn't leave right then, he wouldn't until he would have beaten Jacob 'Asshole' Black to a bloody pulp.

Without waiting for anyone to answer, he grabbed his things, slammed the door of his locker behind him once more and exited the room, leaving behind him a very confused Emmett.

"Who the hell were you guys talking about?" he asked Jacob almost as soon as Edward was out of sight.

If he put all the elements he had now together, he knew that Candice Harrison was out of the game apparently given that obviously whoever Edward was head over heels in love with was one of Jacob's ex and as far as he knew she was the only one who had never gotten out with him, but for the life of him he couldn't decide between the last two.

Jeez, not knowing was slowly killing him, moreover since considering Edward's so unexpected and violent reaction, that girl really had to be something and must have done quite a number on him.

So Bella Swan or Jessica Stanley.

Jessica Stanley or Bella Swan.

Tough choice, and of course the only one beside Edward himself who had the answer was just being his usual mean self and refused to cooperate.

"No one!" Jacob grunted and turned his back to him, not caring more about Emmett McCarthy now than he had ever before.

The only one in his mind was Edward Cullen. They weren't finished yet. Not by a long shot.


Outside the locker room Edward took deep cleansing breaths, hoping it would be enough to calm him some down, but it didn't seem to help him in any way. He was so infuriated, it was honestly only by sheer willpower that he resisted the urge to go back inside and just be done with Jacob Black once and for all. Yet he knew that in the end, it wouldn't solve anything.

No matter how much he hated the guy, beating him up would get him nowhere, and would only give him a mild and all too short satisfaction. Afterwards, Jacob would still be the guy he had to see going out with Bella. He would still be the one who treated her like no woman should be treated.

Edward had always more or less figured he had only been using her, the only one not realizing just how much being probably Bella herself, but hearing him admitting that out loud and in front of the whole team no less, like she didn't matter at all and was just another insignificant name among the long list of the girls he screwed and left, that was what hurt him the most because Bella Swan was certainly the person who deserved it the least.

Still, taking care of Jacob and making him swallow up his teeth like he so wanted to right now wouldn't change a thing to what he had done to Bella. Just like getting kicked out of the football team just because of him wasn't worth either if he really thought about it.

In the end he guessed he could only be glad that she had opened her eyes eventually, even if now he had the certitude that it had still been too late. He didn't know though what disgusted him the most, having finally the confirmation that she was another notch on Jacob's bedpost, or realizing that it meant even less to him than he had first assumed.

God only knew how many times he had wished for a chance to be that close to Bella and have the opportunity to cherish her himself, but Black had been where he had always wanted to be and hadn't even been able to realize what a treasure she could be or how lucky he was she had even spared him a second glance. Life was definitely unfair!

His hands were still trembling slightly and his head still fogged with murderous plans when he passed near the girls' locker room. Now he would have certainly laughed out loud or thought he was going crazy suddenly considering the thoughts that crossed his mind at that moment, but for once he couldn't care less. He knew that the cheerleaders' squad had finished practice a long time ago, which meant that by now none of them would still be around, and since taking a shower was the only thing he knew would help him after his altercation with Jacob, he didn't even think about it twice.

Carefully he opened the door and after making sure the coast was clear, he quickly entered and closed it again behind him. Just to be sure nonetheless, he announced his presence and was relieved when no one answered him back.

He knew all too well how much trouble he would be in if he was caught but if it meant not having to go back and wait for his turn in the shower in the guys' locker room after such an exit, or even less having to go home all sweaty and sticky, he was willing to take the risk. Besides, this wasn't a first even if usually he wasn't alone, and nothing had gone wrong thus far. What would be different now, except for the fact that he had no one to be on the lookout for him?

He and Jasper had used the girls' showers several times before already when they were in a hurry and didn't want to wait for everyone else to finish, one watching if anyone came while the other actually showered, so he was kind of used to this. He would just have to be more careful today since no one would be there to warn him if someone arrived. That was all.

With that in mind he hurried to the stall and as fast as he could, he discarded his clothes, hid them just in case, and then with a towel and his gel in hands, stepped inside, ready for what he was sure to be the quickest shower of his life.

It felt kind of weird to be there alone this time nonetheless, because when no one else was there to witness it, he could let his thoughts wander to places he normally wouldn't let them go in anyone else's presence.

Now he couldn't help wondering if Bella hadn't used that same shower a moment ago when she had been sweaty herself after practice. What she would think if she knew he was there himself now, trying to catch a whiff of her so particular scent. That sweet combination of strawberry and vanilla that drove him wild whenever she got close enough for him to sense it. God, how he loved that scent.

He didn't smell anything in the air this time, maybe because she had probably showered a long time ago and her scent had long evaporated, but he could really recognize it, no matter how crazy that could sound.

He still remembered the last time he had come here with Jasper, and how embarrassing for him that shower had turned out. That day Emmett had gone with them as well, and while he was outside waiting for his turn, he and Jasper had showered and everything had been normal, at least until Edward had suddenly been hit by the strong strawberry-vanilla aroma that permeated the room and had ended up with probably one of the hugest boners of his still short life.

Of course it had taken Jasper all but two seconds to notice, and never being one to let a good opportunity pass him by, he couldn't help but comment. Edward was sure his face had never been redder in his whole life than when Jasper actually told him that he hoped it wasn't his hot body that was turning him on so much because he was sorry for it, but he didn't plan on being part of any fantasy that could go through Edward's mind at that instant.

The worse part was he hadn't even really been thinking about anything special at that moment, beside the fact that he loved her scent, but then again, even thinking about Bella wearing a parka and Eskimo boots was enough to put him in an embarrassing state of excitation, so he shouldn't have been surprised.

Not more than he was to see that just recalling the event was enough to provoke the same type of reaction right now. He was painfully hard and even turning the water cold wouldn't help him in any way. Experience had taught him that. Whoever had said that a cold shower could heal even the hardest ones, had obviously never been excited by Bella Swan. There was only one thing to do to get rid of a Bella-induced boner.

He wasn't ashamed in the least to admit he was actually considering taking the matter into hands, literally, his only worry in fact being to know if he would have time to finish without taking even more risks and being caught. What he didn't expect however was to have that decision taken away from him when he heard the locker room door being opened, the noise forcing him to squat down in a haste to avoid being seen, and that with barely any time to grab for his towel and cover his nudity.

That alone was bad enough in and of itself of course, but he honestly expected even less to see Bella Swan enter the stall a few minutes later.

In all her naked beauty.