Summer Lovin' One Shot Contest

Pen Name(s): GreenEyedGirl17

Title: Free

Disclaimer: SM owns Twilight.

Summary: Bella and Edward have grown up together as best friends, but after a summer road trip before college, they find out that there may be something more to their relationship.

2000

-Bella-

High school was officially over and I could not have been happier. The only reason I made it through school was because of my friends. Our teachers were bitchy and our town was insanely boring.

I had the best group of friends anyone could ask for. They were supportive and helped me when my life turned upside down. During our senior year, my mother left my dad and me. She just disappeared while I was at school and dad was at work, leaving a freaking letter behind to explain her poor choices. A man that she met through some group chat thing on the internet – she chose him over her daughter and her husband that she had been married to for twenty years.

It was a tough year for me, but like I said, my friends were amazing. My dad became this zombie of a person, forgetting he had a daughter altogether. It just pushed me to be closer to Edward and Alice – my two best friends who were twins and lived next door. We grew up together, spending every waking minute with each other since we were toddlers. I told them everything – except for the fact that I had developed a major crush on Edward.

I watched Edward grow from a lanky, awkward teenager into a muscular, football playing hottie. Yes. Major hottie. And everyone wanted him. All the girls were jealous because I spent so much time with him, but it was strictly just a 'friends only' relationship.

Edward and Alice's parents were very nice, except for the fact that they were more involved with work related things than their kids. They did let us get away with anything, though... so yeah, they weren't bad at all.

At some point during our junior year, Edward and I started talking about taking a cross country road trip after we graduated. Alice, Jasper (her boyfriend), Emmett (their older brother), and Rose (Emmett's snooty girlfriend) had agreed they wanted to go as well. However, when we approached our senior year, everyone except for Edward and I wanted to spend the summer at the beach. We started saving everything we earned from our part time jobs and had our entire trip mapped out with extensive research. I silently screamed with joy when Edward insisted that he and I were going alone.

My dad, still in his zombie state, gave me a container of pepper spray to take along with me. And he warned Edward that he better not let anything happen to his baby girl. Yeah, his baby girl that he ignored for a year.

"Okay, so I'll be out front at seven. Are you sure you're going to be able to get up at that time? Don't forget that I was the one who suggested us leaving later in the afternoon, so I don't expect any -"

Sighing loudly, I interrupted. "Yes, E... I'll be ready to go." I had a problem with being late – always late for school, work, dates, etc., so his argument was relevant.

Edward grinned crookedly and nudged my shoulder with his. "You sure you want to spend all summer with me, B?"

Without a doubt. "Definitely. I mean, it's not like we wouldn't have spent all summer together anyway..."

"True."

"Oh! Did you download that list of songs I gave you?" I asked as Edward nodded his head while rolling his eyes. "And you put them on a CD?"

"Yes, B," he groaned dramatically. "But I'm telling you right now, we will not be listening to Savage Garden the entire time. I'm a man now; I can only take so much of the girly songs."

Elbowing him hard, I scowled. "Don't even go there. You played Truly, Madly, Deeply for Tanya about a billion times..." Tanya. The ex-girlfriend that we all hated. Thank God thatshe moved away with her parents.

"Oh, shut up..." Edward whined, making me laugh. He stood and ruffled my hair playfully. "Go get some sleep so you can get your lazy ass up in the morning."

I didn't get any sleep that night. I tossed and turned all night long. Things were changing so fast and when Edward and I returned from our summer long trip, we would all be going away to college. Everything was going to be different. I couldn't imagine being away from my friends - away from Edward. He was going to the University of Texas, along with Alice and Jasper, while I had to settle for school in Seattle. Emmett was already in college in California. He was in his third year, and recently engaged to Rose.

True to his word, Edward stood outside in my driveway right at seven o'clock. My hair was still wet from my rushed shower as I ran down the stairs and out to the porch.

Edward laughed and patted the hood of his truck. "I'm shocked, B." I rolled my eyes as I passed him. "Although, technically you would have been late, had you dried your hair like most normal people."

I scoffed as though I was offended. "And when have I ever been like most people?"

"You've got that right... now get your smart ass in the truck. We've already lost three minutes of being on the road," he mumbled as he glanced at his watch. Did I mention that my hot best friend was a closet geek most of the time? He had our trip in a file, color coded with tabs and all. I loved that about him.

Edward was checking the back of his truck, making sure his bed cover was secure, considering he was hauling several boxes to take to Texas. Our plan was to travel all summer and end up in Texas, where he would move into his dorm a few weeks early and I would fly back to Washington. I had no idea how I was going to get on a plane and leave my best friend of eighteen years, but I would have to and it would be heartbreaking for me.

Our first destination: Wallace, Idaho. I had no idea where Edward had found all the information for our road trip, but somehow, he found all of these odd tourist attractions that I would have never thought of.

We arrived in Wallace a few hours before the Oasis Bordello Museum closed. The pictures I took with my new camera were going to give the film developer a good laugh. Edward almost made out with a mannequin laid back in a tub full of packing peanuts. As a souvenir, Edward bought a red light bulb for me – he probably didn't know, but I still had that thing ten years later.

Once we had dinner at a local restaurant, we stayed at the Stardust Motel. In an effort to save as much money as possible, we opted for the king size bed, rather than two queens. It wasn't like we hadn't slept in the same bed together before, so I knew that I shouldn't have felt so nervous about it, but I did. In the past, I would usually sneak down the hall to Edward's room whenever Jasper snuck in Alice's window during one of our sleepovers. But it was different now... we didn't have his family right down the hall. It was just me and him.

"What's wrong, B? It's not like this is the fucking Bates Motel or something... you look scared."

"I'm not scared! I just... I don't know."

"Oh, please tell me we're not starting out our trip with you getting all, PMS-y and shit..."

Well, I was overly emotional, which meant it was on its way, but that still wasn't the reason for my weird mood. "I'm not... I guess I'm just tired." And I even dredged up a fake yawn to go along with my lie.

The attraction at our next stop the following day did not calm my nerves whatsoever. We ended up in Driggs, Idaho to go to the Spud Drive-In. Alone, in a dark truck with Edward, watching a scary movie – it just screamed disaster or torture for me. Edward chuckled as I leaned away from the window, afraid that some crazy axe murdered might knock on it.

"Come here," he said while raising the console between us.

I wanted to take my chances with the wicked axe murderer, knowing that pain wouldn't come close to the pain I felt when I was so close to Edward, yet so far away. Unfortunately, I couldn't pass up a chance to sit so close to him. And when he wrapped his arm around me, it almost felt like we were just another couple out on a date.

"Are you ever going to tell me what's bothering you?" he asked in a whisper.

"I'm just worried about next year... it sucks to be so far away from you guys."

With his arm wrapped around my shoulder, he squeezed me closer to him. "I know what you mean... but let's just enjoy our summer. We'll keep in touch all year long, and there's always Thanksgiving and Christmas... Spring Break... so don't worry that much, B."

Yes, I knew we would see each other during the holidays, but I also knew what happened when people were away at school. He would meet someone like Emmett did. There was no way around it; Edward would make all those Texas girls swoon as soon as they laid eyes on his crooked smile. I would be depressed and missing my friends. Missing him.

"You're right... I just got so used to seeing you all every day..."

"Well, there's always webcams, B," he chuckled and kissed the top of my head. "So, will you please shut up and enjoy this fucking scary movie that I intend to spook you with for the next several weeks?"

Leaning my head against his chest, I nodded. "Thanks, Edward."

The rest of our summer flew by as we made stops in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Oklahoma, and finally Texas. We stayed a few days in some places when there was more to see. We ended up in Texas with two weeks to spare, in which we explored the huge state, finding the oddest things. For instance, there really is a Cadillac Ranch. And a giant pair of Buddy Holly glasses.

On our way from Amarillo to Austin, Edward stopped at every historical marker. And there were tons of fucking historical markers. We took our picture at each one.

It was starting to get dark and we were in the middle of nowhere when Edward pulled off the main road to a secluded farm road/rest stop. I looked at him like he was insane, because he was insane for doing that. Um, Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Yeah, we were just down the road from a house that resembled it.

"It's a yellow house, B," Edward groaned as I gaped at the sight.

"So... it still looks spooky."

"And you think I can't keep you safe?" he asked as though he was offended.

"From crazy chainsaw chasing weirdoes...? Um, no."

Edward laughed, shaking his head as he hopped out of the truck. I groaned and folded my arms over my chest, practically screaming when he opened my door and pulled me out of the truck.

"Come on... I just want you to see the sky. It's beautiful out like this," he said as he wrapped his arms around my body, holding me close to him, my back against his chest.

It was gorgeous, and as I leaned back against my best friend, I fought hard to hold back my tears. I didn't do a very good job. A stray tear that I didn't catch dropped on Edward's arm. Before I knew what was happening, he spun me around to face him, his face so concerned and caring.

"What's wrong?" Edward asked softly. I couldn't answer him. "Come on, B... I'm sorry, I didn't know you were that scared. We'll go to the hotel now."

As he hugged me against his body, I finally found my voice. "I'll miss you, Edward. That's why I'm upset."

He didn't respond right away, but still held me tightly in his arms. "I'm going to miss you, too. This summer has been amazing."

"It's not just the summer, though..." Where all this newfound courage came from, I had no idea. "You've been my best friend all my life... even more so than Alice."

"You've been mine, too, B... and I don't really see our friendship ending... ever, so please don't be upset. I can't have you leaving me like this."

I was leaving, flying out of Austin in two days. My things back at home still had to be packed and I had to make my short move to Seattle. I would be going back home for two weeks, feeling more alone than ever.

"Edward, I think I love you," I mumbled against his chest so low that I hoped he wouldn't hear. He had terrific hearing, though. And I guess in some ways I wanted him to know it.

"Well, I know that, B... and I love you, too." His words were carefree and he didn't quite realize the extent of how I felt about him.

"But I think it's more than just friends, Edward... I don't love Alice like this," I sniffled, feeling so bold for actually saying those words.

Edward pulled away slightly, his eyes wide open with shock. "We can't let this happen now... with school, and being so far away... it's just impossible, B."

God, I felt like a moron. I almost wanted to throw myself on one of the cactus bushes beside us just so I could be taken to the emergency room and be knocked out with drugs. My face blushed a deep red and I looked away, stepping back from him.

"You're right... I don't know what I'm -"

But my words were silenced as he stepped forward, pressing his lips against mine. Never in a million years did I think that Edward Cullen would actually be kissing me. As if my legs were moving on their own, I was backed up to the passenger door of his truck, our mouths still connected and our bodies pressed together, feeling every inch of one another. It was one of those toe tingling kisses that I always wanted to experience, but knew it would only happen if he ever kissed me... and now that it was happening, I lost all train of thought. Thankfully, his gentle caresses and slow movements guided me gracefully. When his tongue entered my mouth, I groaned and so did Edward as his hands gripped my hips tightly.

And just my luck, it started raining. Not like one of those light rains, but a drenching rainstorm. We broke apart almost instantly, staring at each other as the rain soaked our clothes.

I couldn't move.

I couldn't think.

Edward ushered me inside the truck and ran around to the driver's side. Once he was inside, we both sat in silence, neither of us knowing what to do or say as the rain pounded on his truck.

When I couldn't take the silence any longer, I turned to him and cleared my throat. "Are you mad?" Judging by his hands gripping the steering wheel so tight that they turned white, I figured he was.

"No," he said in a clipped tone.

"Then why aren't you saying anything?" I asked, getting only a shrug in return. "I didn't make you kiss me, Edward."

He turned to me then, staring at me intently. "I didn't say you did... I just... I think we just fucked up our friendship and I didn't want that to happen."

"I didn't, either, but it happened... and I don't think it was that bad." It really wasn't. In my small experience of kissing, that was definitely the best.

"Bella, get real... you're going to be in Washington... I'm going to be in Texas. I can't be one of those guys that wonder what you're doing constantly... being in different fucking time zones... neither of us enjoying our freshman year of college."

Sex. He was thinking about sex. Being with me in a long distance relationship would make him feel guilty if he wanted to be with other girls.

By some amazing miracle, I was able to hold back my emotions, like I always did around him. "You're right. I'm sorry... just forget what I said. I think it's those stupid no-doze pills I took earlier."

"B..." Edward sighed.

I shook my head and buckled in. "No, really... can we please just forget it?"

Edward nodded and started up the truck, heading to the nearest hotel. We didn't speak until the next morning, and even then, it was just a simple 'good morning'. We spent the day in Austin as Edward tried to find his way around campus. Alice and Jasper's plane arrived in the evening, so we had dinner with them. I was extremely relieved to have them around because things were still so tense between Edward and me. I didn't know how I would ever face him again.

His silence was killing me, even though he wasn't really silent. He laughed and joked with Jasper, telling him all about the things we did all summer, but he wasn't talking to me.

When it was time for me to go to the airport, I was a little shocked that he insisted on taking me. We rode in silence and I stared out the window, unable to look over at him.

Edward parked, rather than dropping me off at the front, and he refused to let me carry my things. There was a row of chairs behind the long security line, and I honestly felt like running away when he led us to sit down.

"I'm sorry I've been so distant... I just -"

"Please don't," I interrupted, not able to hear any more of his reasons why that kiss ruined our friendship. "You were right... I mean, we've been best friends forever, and I don't want that to change at all."

"But -"

"No. Please just leave it at that." I really didn't want to stand in the never ending line with complete strangers, bawling over him. "I love you as a friend... my best friend, and I don't want anything to come between us."

Leaning forward, he kissed my forehead. "I love you, too, B. Promise to keep in touch?"

"Definitely." Lie. I was going to do everything in my power to forget about Edward Cullen. It wouldn't be easy, but I would try.

"So we should travel again next summer... maybe head over to the east coast?"

"Sure."

After one last hug, I walked away from him, not able to look back because it would kill me even more. I said my silent goodbye to Texas, praying that he'd be safe and not change from the boy that I fell in love with.

2001

-Edward-

My first year of college turned out like every other freshman's experience – drinking, partying, girls, more partying... Luckily, I had Alice there to keep me in check regarding my grades. I don't know how, but I passed everything, keeping my GPA up enough to make my parents proud.

Bella and I kept in touch through emails during the first semester, but after Christmas break, I maybe received one message from her. In the few short months of being away, we had both changed slightly, which meant our mini break at home was awkward. It was still awkward from a kiss we shared the previous summer.

In all my years of growing up with Bella, I honestly never knew she had feelings for me. I really thought that she hated me sometimes, but maybe that was because I was so dumb when it came to her attempts to get closer to me. I remembered all those nights when she blushed if I complimented her or when she was practically glowing when I asked her to prom. I was such a fucking idiot.

We were going on our summer road trip again, only this time our friends were going with us. Alice set up everything and kept in touch with Bella about it. Bella was flying in from Seattle and as much as I wanted to pick her up, Alice insisted on going.

Emmett and Rose, his fiancée that we all kind of disliked, had flown in the previous day to join us. We were planning to travel east, and unlike the last summer, I wasn't prepared. Alice and Bella made all the arrangements, which meant we were going to see some really girly shit – outlet malls and gift shops.

When Alice brought Bella to the dorm room Jasper & I shared, I felt almost queasy. I didn't know what things would be like between us, especially since I really didn't know what was going on with her during the past few months.

"I hope you have your damn clothes on," Alice hollered as she walked through the door with Bella following behind her.

I stood from my bed and couldn't fight the huge smile spreading across my face. Same old Bella. Blushing and all.

"Hi," I said a little too enthusiastically.

Before Bella could respond, Alice headed back to the door. "I'm going to go find Jasper... have you seen him around lately?"

"Um..." I couldn't even think clearly. "I think he went to return some books."

Giving me an evil smile and wink, she nodded. "Okay, well, I'll be back in a little while... give you two some time to catch up. That okay?"

"Yeah," I replied eagerly.

Bella nodded, looking so uncomfortable. This definitely wasn't the same Bella I grew up with. The Bella I grew up with would have jumped into my arms and scolded me on my messy room.

"See you guys in a little while... we'll meet for dinner. Call me," Alice said on her way out, leaving Bella and I alone for the first time in year.

"How have you been?" I asked quietly, taking a step toward Bella.

With a small smile, she played with the hem of her shirt. "I've been good... and you?"

"Good, but I..." And I stopped myself, wondering if I could actually be honest with her. Fuck it, I told myself as I closed the distance between us, pulling her into my arms. "I've missed you."

Her body stiffened at first, but relaxed after a few seconds.

"I missed you, too."

The evident tension eased away as we sat on my bed across from each other, catching up on everything. She told me how her mom came to visit her in Washington, bringing her new husband along with her. From the sound of it, she hadn't had a very good time away at college, though she did mention some new friends she had made. I couldn't help but be envious of those friends that I felt like were replacing me.

Very quickly, we settled back into our same old friendship from before, only now I couldn't take my eyes off of Bella's breasts that had miraculously grown throughout the school year. This did not go unnoticed by Emmett, either, as we made our first stop in Louisiana.

The girls stripped out of their shorts and tank tops, wearing their revealing swimsuits. I really didn't want to spend the summer seeing my sister half naked while my best friend basically humped her in front of us... but I couldn't complain too much because I had Bella to look at.

And then Emmett had to open his big mouth. "B, did you get fucking breast implants in Seattle...? Because, fuck, I swear you're like all fucking grown up now."

Amazingly, Bella's face not only blushed, but her entire body did as well. "No, I didn't get implants." Her arms quickly moved to hide her chest from all of us.

"But I mean... do you have your top stuffed or some shit? I saw you at Christmas and they were not that -"

"Jesus, Emmett... can't you just shut up?" Bella whisper-yelled. "You want to know why they grew?" Emmett nodded as though he was extremely interested. "Well, I guess instead of gaining weight in other places, my ass and boobs grew. There. You have your fucking answer."

And with that little outburst that we had never seen before, Bella walked away, slipping her tank top back over her head. Alice slapped the back of Emmett's head, along with Rose. That was not a good thing to say to a girl.

I ran after Bella, grabbing her hand as I caught up to her. "Hey, stop a second, B."

Her hand was wet and she turned her face away from me, swiping more tears away with her other hand. She was so different – this wasn't the same Bella that would have slapped Emmett across the face for a comment like that. I just wanted to see her smile again.

"Talk to me," I urged, pulling her over to a large rock. She shook her head, but followed my lead, sitting on the sand, leaning against the rock. I held onto her hand and stared at her. Staring would always do the trick.

"Ugh," she groaned, looking up to the darkening sky. "I hate when you look at me like that."

"And I hate the silent treatment."

Bella let out a small huff and shook her head. "He just always has to point out the obvious... no fucking filter... but we can't talk shit about Rose, right? I mean, he has some freaking nerve... like I want everyone looking at my big boobs that make my body look awkward and proportionally unbalanced, and -"

I couldn't stand to hear her putting herself down anymore. Interrupting her rant, I pulled her body into my lap and wrapped my arms around her. "You are not proportionally unbalanced... and you know how Emmett is. He thinks of you as a little sister, just like Alice. Why didn't you just hit him? That's what Forks-Bella would have done."

Sniffling, she gazed down, fixated on her wringing hands. "I'm not Forks-Bella anymore. Everything's changed. I've changed."

"You're still my best friend, though."

"Yeah," she sighed. "Best friend."

I wanted to shake her. Ask her what was going on. Tell me what I could do to make it better. "Talk to me... tell me what's going on."

"Nothing, really... I just – it's seems different now. I haven't talked to you for a long time, and I don't know, Edward," she groaned. "I feel awkward around you, now. After last summer."

She blushed furiously, and I think I did, too.

"We kissed. So?"

"It may not have meant anything to you, but -"

That's where she was wrong. "Yes, it did, B. Why would you think that?"

Bella shrugged her shoulders, still not looking at me. "You practically ignored me during Christmas break... Spring break you went away with your new friends, while Alice, Jasper, and I went to the beach. And you didn't even pick me up at the airport. Oh, and if I didn't email you, you wouldn't email me. That's why I stopped... just to see if you would send me a message without me starting it."

Fuck. "I just -"

"And I slept with someone," Bella blurted out, hiding her face away from me.

Fuck. That did not help my jealously one bit. Yes, I was jealous. Really fucking jealous. The kiss last summer made me want her in ways I never thought possible, and since then all I could think about was spending all summer with her again.

"And...? Was he... did he... did you like it?"

Stutter, stutter.

"No. Not at all. He lasted maybe a minute, which I was grateful for because it hurt like a bitch. Anyone who says it's just 'uncomfortable' is the biggest liar ever."

I laughed quietly because she was being so serious. "Sorry, B."

"My roommate nicknamed him 'Minute man'."

More laughter as I moved away from the rock and laid back, pulling Bella to lay beside me. The stars lit up the sky and I couldn't help but wonder what she was thinking as we held hands like a couple would do. The tension that was present just a few minutes prior had disappeared.

"Oh, look!" Bella exclaimed. "A shooting star!"

"Make a wish."

Bella closed her eyes tight and smiled widely while doing so. "There. Now you."

I closed my eyes just as she did and smiled just as much as she did. "There."

Her hand tightened around my pinkie finger. "What'd you wish for?"

"I'm not supposed to tell you... but I think I'll take my chances," I said as I turned onto my side. Pulling my hand away from hers, I cupped the side of her face and inched forward. "I wished that you would let me kiss you again..."

"I... I can't, Edward. You said last time fucked up everything... and I can't go through that again. I lost you as a friend and –"

"I was a fucking moron, Bella. Really."

I didn't give her another chance to protest as I leaned in, pressing my lips against hers. Her entire body stiffened, her fists balled up at her sides. I moved my lips against hers slowly, trying to relax her as my fingertips stroked her arm. And as I was fully pressed against her, I realized that my chest was now in contact with her glorious breasts that she was embarrassed by, causing my nether region to react. There was no way Bella didn't feel me, hard against her hip and needing her to open up to me.

Pulling away slightly, I removed my mouth from Bella's, staring into her unsure eyes. "Please kiss me back, Bella... I've thought about this all year long."

"Promise I won't lose you again," Bella whispered shyly.

"Never."

2002

-Bella-

"Bell, there's a guy downstairs for you – says it's important," my friend Krista yelled from the hallway.

Important or not, I really didn't have time for any visitors. I wanted to get my crap packed and taken over to the new house my friends and I were moving to. It was this insanely huge, six bedroom house that one of my friend's parents bought. The idea of my dad ever being able to buy a house for me was laughable. Jessica's parents insisted on none of us paying rent, but we had to promise to keep our grades up and no parties – they directed the last request mainly towards their daughter. Jess was a bit of a partier.

I hated dorm life, by the way.

I didn't get visitors very often, except for the occasional visit from my nutcase ex-boyfriend, Jake. I spent all year long avoiding him, trying to convey to him that I didn't want to experience the "one minute ride" again. He refused to believe me.

Imagine my surprise when I rounded the hallway to the waiting area to find Edward Cullen - my ex-best friend, and the person that I cried over many months after the last summer.

We spent the entire summer experimenting with each other and getting closer in ways that I had always dreamed of. I wanted him most of my teenage life, and even now as an adult, he made me fall for him like no other. I asked him to promise me that nothing would change, that he wouldn't ignore me – forget about me. And he did.

Edward didn't come home for Thanksgiving break that year, and I spent Christmas with my mother, which prevented me from seeing him. I stopped talking to Alice, Jasper, and Emmett, cutting all of them out of my life so that I could avoid the pain that Edward had caused. Being around them reminded me of him, and I just couldn't take it if I was actually going to pass all my classes and graduate someday.

"Hi, Bella," Edward said, looking deliriously hot as he leaned against the wall.

My hands clammed up almost instantly as I looked down, wishing I had fucking changed or put on some decent clothes before leaving my room. Wearing shorts and a paint stained tank top, while also feeling sweaty and tired from packing, was not how I pictured myself seeing Edward again.

"W-what are you doing here?"

With a cocky smirk, Edward pushed off of the wall and stepped closer to me. "I can't come visit my best friend that's ignored me all year long?"

Oh. My. God. I wanted to scream at him. "Your best friend?"

"Yeah."

"Best friends call each other... best friends don't lie to each other... and they -"

Edward wrapped his arms around me before I could finish. "I fucked up. Again. But I missed you so fucking much, B."

I wanted to pull away and slap him. It wasn't like I hadn't seen all the conquests/sluts/dirty-whores on his Facebook page throughout the year. I'd be lying if I said I didn't check it every night.

Instead of hitting him, I relaxed in his arms, my anger leaving as I was reminded of how much I missed him. "You lied to me, Edward."

He kissed the top of my head, not loosening up his grip on me. "I know, B... I'm sorry."

Sorry just wasn't enough, but I didn't have the strength to push him away just yet. We eventually did pull away, only when one of my friends came around the corner, informing me that our moving truck was outside.

"You're moving?" Edward asked.

"Yeah... my friend's parents bought a house for her, so a few of us are moving in." Speaking of parents... "Edward, why are you in Washington? Your parents aren't here." While I avoided my old friends like the plague, Esme and I would email back and forth, keeping in touch. They were spending a month in Italy, celebrating their anniversary; I hoped I would have a great marriage like theirs someday.

"I came to see you."

"But -"

"Bella, get your ass moving!" Jessica hollered, walking past us, carrying a couple of boxes.

Rather annoyed, I groaned and mumbled a few choice words. "Do you want to go up to my room? I need to finish packing some stuff."

Edward smiled crookedly. "Sure."

Part of me wondered if he would find my busty, blonde friend attractive and if I would end up heartbroken at the end of his visit. Yes, it sounded like I was overreacting, but based on the things I had seen on his page, I knew what kind of girls he went for. They definitely weren't brown-eyed, brunette, plain girls like me.

The walk to my room was spent in silence. My nerves were going haywire as I prayed that I hadn't left any underwear or other embarrassing things lying out in the open. I rushed in first, scanning the room, feeling relieved when I didn't find anything out of the ordinary.

Edward made himself at home, plopping down on my bed while I tried to ignore the fact that he was actually in my room, sitting on my bed, watching me as though I was... interesting?

"So how's school?" I asked, feeling like I should try to start up some kind of conversation, but avoiding eye contact with him. It hurt too much to look at him.

"Can't complain," Edward mumbled as he found my photo album, flipping through random pictures. I continued packing in silence, so nervous I was sure I would pass out at any second. "Why aren't you in any of these pictures?"

I shrugged my shoulders. "I was always the one taking pictures... plus, I hate getting my picture taken. I'm not photogenic at all – you know this."

"Yes, you are, B."

"No, I'm really not."

Edward pulled out his phone and walked over to me, shoving the phone in my face. "See that," he whispered while displaying a picture of the two of us from last summer. Alice had taken the picture of us as we said goodbye at the airport. Edward was kissing my forehead as I tried to keep a smile on my face. "You're so beautiful, B. Why can't you see that?"

While he was being sweet, it also reminded me of that horrible day when I said goodbye to him. I just knew he would go back to ignoring me like he had the year before. And then I started to get angry.

"So beautiful, huh...? Yeah, so much so that you forgot about me the second you dropped me off at the airport that day."

Edward scowled, and just as we were about to have the conversation that needed to take place, Jessica walked back into our shared room. She smiled flirtatiously at Edward and jutted her hand out toward him.

"Hi, there. I'm Jessica... and you are...?"

Edward grinned and shook her hand. "Edward."

Her smile immediately faltered as she spun around to face me. "The Edward?" she mouthed, furthering my embarrassment.

I nodded and finally looked up from my box to find Edward staring at me with a worried look on his face. He had to know that I was heartbroken over his rudeness all year long, and of course my friends in Washington knew. Around them, I could call him an asshole and say how much I hated him (though the hate part wasn't true, of course), but around our shared friends, I couldn't; our shared friends and family would just make excuses for him. 'You know how Edward is...' or 'boys will be boys'... None of those excuses made what he did okay.

"Okay, well, I'm going to head over to the house with the first load," Jessica announced, eyeing me warily, as she picked up a couple of boxes. "You think the rest will fit in your car?"

"Yeah, we'll get the rest. See you in a little bit."

And then she turned around and flipped Edward off before leaving the room, making me wish I could just crawl into a hole and die. Seriously.

"Wow," was Edward's stunned response.

It wasn't until later that night that we were finally alone and inside my new room, putting sheets on my bed. We spent the evening with my friends, all of them a little more excepting of Edward, except for Jessica. She was my roommate and listened to me cry most of the year. Many nights we would stay up having I-Hate-Edward marathons.

Why was I so pissed? I spent all summer making out with him, discovering each other's bodies, wishing it would never end... I even gave him a blow job, even though his dick didn't taste all that good. And to be fair, he did go down on me, though I was completely mortified at first, but ended up enjoying it so fucking much. And then nothing. No calls, no emails, no nothing.

"How long are you going to be in Washington?" I asked, trying to make small talk.

Edward fluffed my pillows and placed them neatly side by side on the bed. "The entire summer – I'm thinking small road trips and camping for you and me."

I rolled my eyes. "Yeah."

"B, can't we just talk. I know I fucked up, but I care about you... and I'm sorry. So fucking sorry."

He spent the entire summer begging for my forgiveness. There would be times where I would forget about what he did, but other times, I couldn't forget the pain he caused. I kept trying to rationalize what happened and why it shouldn't have mattered – we were just screwing around, not in an official relationship. I should have been more demanding and told him what I wanted and expected.

Edward did try to kiss me a few times, but understood that I needed to keep my distance from him; I was grateful when he finally realized that. But on our last night together, after we packed his bags for his flight the next morning, we lay next to each other on my bed, staring at the ceiling.

"What are you thinking about?"

"Surprisingly, I'm wishing you weren't leaving tomorrow," I answered truthfully.

Edward turned on his side and placed his hand on the side of my face, turning me to look at him. "And that surprises you?"

I nodded and wished I could look away. "I kept telling myself that I shouldn't get attached to you again..."

"I love you, Bella," Edward stared, maintaining eye contact with me. "I know you don't believe me when I say this, but I will spend all year doing nothing but..." he paused, at a loss for words. "I'll stalk you all year long... hell, I'll fly here every fucking weekend if that's what it takes, but please don't pretend that there isn't something between us."

"If you love me, show me."

Edward leaned in without hesitation, and pressed his lips against mine with his hand still cupping my face. I kept my eyes open, unable to believe that this was actually happening.

He smiled against my lips, pulling away slightly. "You're freaking me out with the open eyes thing, Bell."

"Sorry," I blushed.

"It's okay," Edward whispered, leaning in once again, but moving down to my neck, placing small kisses along my skin. "I love your eyes, Bella."

I let out an embarrassing moan, loving the sensations that he was causing, even though they were simple kisses. Before I even realized it, Edward was on top of me, pressing his sculpted body into my own. His hand drifted down from my face, slowly moving along my side.

"Can I touch you?" he asked, whispering huskily as he sucked my ear lobe into his mouth.

"God, yes," I groaned, feeling his fingers dip beneath the waist of my shorts.

His fingers rubbed my sex over my already soaked underwear as he whispered in my ear. "Does that feel good, baby?" I nodded, unable to utter a single word. "You want more? Because I want to take these off," he whispered huskily into my ear, tugging on my panties. "Can I, Bella?"

God, the things his voice and words did to me... "Yes," I replied breathlessly. Edward sat back on his knees, smiling at me with his sex eyes. Yes, definitely sex eyes – hooded and dark green – staring at my body intently.

I lifted my bottom off of the bed, allowing him to pull my shorts and underwear off. He slid them off slowly, so slowly that I was sure he was trying to kill me. Once my lower half was completely naked, he leaned down and kissed my knees, lightly trailing his lips up my thigh, but skipping over the most important and needy spot.

I whimpered. "Edward..."

"I'm taking my time, baby... we have all night."

And that was true, but this was our last night together. I wouldn't be seeing him until maybe Halloween. He told me that he would visit me every weekend if I wanted him to, but I would never be that demanding even if I desperately wanted him to.

Edward looked up, removing his mouth from my lower stomach where he teased. "Baby, I..." he paused as he moved up my body, kissing my lips softly. "If you don't feel comfortable doing this... I don't want you to think this is just something quick for me, like I'm going back to Texas a free man. I am in love with you. And I will see you soon..." he kissed my nose. "And I will call you every day." Another kiss on each of my closed eyes. "So if you want to wait, then that's fine with me because I know we'll have many other chances for this."

I didn't want to wait. I definitely did not want to wait as I felt his cock press against my pussy. "No, I don't want to wait... I'm sorry, I just need you, Edward. Please."

My thumbs hooked into the waist of his shorts, pulling them down as he nodded against my shoulder, kissing the spot just beneath my ear. Once his shorts were discarded and I discovered with a playful grin that he had been going commando all night, Edward hitched my leg over his hip; his large hand grasping my thigh tightly in his hand.

"You're sure, Bella?" he asked once again.

Wordlessly, I reached between our bodies, guiding his length inside me as we both groaned at the new sensation. He sucked the skin along my collarbone, grunting as he moved inside me. My hands moved along his back, holding him tightly against me.

"You feel so good," I managed to say. "I love you, Edward."

Removing his mouth from my neck, he lifted his head to look at me directly. "I love you, too, Bella... you feel amazing. Never felt like this before, baby."

I reached between our bodies once again, finding my sensitive spot and jerking as I circled around it. Surprisingly, Edward pulled my arm, bringing my hand to his mouth.

"I'm going to make you come, Bella..." Abruptly, Edward sat up, leaning back on his heels, and lifted my body atop his. "Just like this, beautiful girl." His hands were on my hips, moving me up and down his length, hitting the perfect spot... a spot that I didn't know existed until that point as I moaned his name again and again.

"That's it, baby... come on my cock. I can feel you getting close. Come on, Bella," he coaxed, sending me into the most powerful orgasm I'd ever experienced. "Oh, fuck," he groaned, letting himself go as well.

We stayed like that, breathing deeply, Edward still inside my body. I couldn't move. He couldn't move. I didn't want it to end. My forehead was pressed against his shoulder, relishing in the fact that Edward and I actually had sex... no, we made love. And it was perfect.

"Bella," Edward whispered my name, causing me to sit up, looking directly into his green eyes. "Are you okay, baby?"

"I'm good," I smiled lazily. "Are you?"

"I'm a little better than good, I think," Edward chuckled, kissing the side of my face. "You're amazing."

"So are you, Edward... so amazing."

We eventually pulled away from one another, lying on my bed, side by side, staring at the ceiling once again. I was overly emotional, missing him already... missing my best friend already.

Edward kissed my forehead before pulling me to lie on his chest. "You're it for me, Bella... and I'm going to prove that to you for the rest of our lives."

2003

-Edward-

Lying next to Bella, I stared at her sleeping face, wondering what she was dreaming about. Every so often, her eyebrows would lift, and then she would seem like she was crying, just without the tears. I wanted to take away whatever pain she was feeling.

It was our last day together before we had to go back to our schools. I didn't know how much more I could take being apart from her. I wanted to make our relationship official, something to remind her that this would never end, that I wouldn't be the asshole she once knew a couple of years ago.

The ring inside the console of my car had driven me insane all summer. I could never find the right moment, always feeling like it wasn't enough. Bella deserved the most special proposal, and I felt like no matter how hard I tried, it wouldn't be perfect for her.

But now was the time. I would not wait any longer. The ring, like I said, was inside my car, and since I couldn't find the strength to leave the beautiful girl by my side, I decided the ring could wait.

"Baby," I whispered, kissing just beneath her ear. "Wake up, beautiful girl."

Taking in a deep breath, Bella opened her eyes and smiled. "Hi," she said, her voice sounding so fucking sad, knowing this was our last day together.

"Hi."

"Did you sleep okay?"

"Yeah, I did," I replied, kissing her cheek and chin and finally, her lips. "I love you."

"I love you, too," Bella replied with her beaming smile.

I grabbed her left hand, and rolled her little rubber band that held her ponytail the night before along her ring finger. "How would you feel about marrying me someday?"

Her eyes widened, tears instantly filling them with a wide smile on her face. "I think I would kinda like it."

I jumped from the bed and pulled on my pajama pants. "Stay right there, baby." She looked so fucking confused and cute, causing me to chuckle the entire way out to my car as I ran faster than ever.

Once I grabbed the ring and ran back into her bedroom, I was met with a very concerned girlfriend, soon to be fiancée. Bella was sitting on the edge of her bed, biting her bottom lip nervously as her leg bobbed up and down. "Edward, what are you -"

She stopped talking when I moved in front of her, dropping down to my knees. I opened her legs and settled in between them, my hands gripping her thighs with the ring secured on my pinkie finger.

"I've loved you my whole life, and I want to spend the rest of my life showing you how much I love you. Marry me?"

My hand shook as I held the ring up. Tears landed on my forearm as Bella nodded frantically. "Yes," she whispered, staring at the ring that I wanted to see on her finger more than anything else.

2004

-Bella-

My white dress got caught in the door, sending Alice into a screaming fit as Edward attempted to drive away.

"Stop!" she screamed, running in heels, which was pretty hard to do. "You cannot ruin that dress!"

Edward laughed and rolled his eyes as he brought my hand to his mouth, kissing it gently. "Are we ever going to get out of here?"

"Ready to get on the road, Mr. Cullen?" I winked, ignoring Alice as she opened the door to stuff my dress inside.

Smiling crookedly, Edward leaned over and kissed my cheek. "Yes, Mrs. Cullen, I am."

All was forgotten. I was married to the man I grew up with; the only man I would ever love.

"Would you two quit eye-fucking, please? Your sister is not even two feet away and you can't wait until you get to some sleazy motel... which, by the way, I wish you would take your new wife to a better -"

We'd both had enough. "Alice!" we said at the same time.

She relented and kissed me on the cheek once more, whispering her thanks for making her brother so happy. And for becoming her sister. All those years we wanted to be sisters; now we were.

Edward drove us out of town, heading south, away from the city. I had no idea where we were going and it was pretty exciting wondering what he had planned. For weeks I would catch him whispering crap to Jasper and Emmett, even his parents, but none of them would give me a hint. Alice and Rose didn't know because they couldn't keep a secret if their lives depended on it.

When Edward pulled off the main road and drove through a thick lining of trees, my heart pounded in my chest. First off, it was a little scary. But second, I was with my husband, so my fears quickly disappeared.

"Close your eyes, baby," Edward requested softly.

I complied while smiling so big that my face actually hurt. "I hope we're not staying at some scary motel, E... I really wanna have crazy, married sex with you, and I don't think I'll be able to get off if I'm terrified that some freak is secretly watching us."

"Baby..." Edward chuckled, squeezing my hand twice. "Like I would let some freak look at my wife. Seriously, B."

The car came to a stop suddenly and like I was asked, I kept my eyes closed, even when Edward dropped my hand and got out of the car. Almost instantly, my door was open and Edward leaned in, kissing my lips softly.

"Okay, keep your eyes closed, gorgeous, and I'll help you out."

After stumbling several times, Edward sat me down on what felt like a bed and told me to open my eyes. Once I did, I was absolutely in shock. We were in a clearing, surrounded by thick trees with candles lit everywhere.

"Where are we?"

"We're standing on our land... where our house will be built. Do you remember this spot?"

I nodded. "We camped here a couple of years ago, right? This is just down from your parents' house."

Edward rubbed the back of his neck nervously. "Yeah, I hope you don't mind, but I know how you and mom are so close and I figured that after we have kids it'll be easier if she's close by if we want her to babysit... plus, we're just a few miles away from the school and -"

He had thought of everything. Kids, work, family. Most women probably didn't want to be near their mother-in-laws, but I very much considered Esme my own mother. And Edward mentioning us having children literally made my heart flutter. I wanted to wait a couple of years at least, but when the time did come, I knew I would have the best father for our children.

"Stop, baby," I said, effectively silencing him as I stood from the bed. Yes, he had a bed out in the middle of nowhere, perfectly set up for our wedding night. "I would love to live here... and it is perfect, being close to your parents and to the school." Both Edward and I had applied at the local school for teaching jobs. He was going to be the elementary music teacher, while I got a job as a senior English teacher. I couldn't wait to see Edward with those little kids, knowing he would be absolutely perfect with them. "And I can't wait to have babies with you someday."

Finally losing the nervous smile, Edward looked into my eyes and grinned widely. "I love you, baby."

"I love you, too." I pulled him over to the bed and pushed him onto his back quickly. "Now, would you please be quiet so I can make love to my husband?"

That stopped his nervous talking for the rest of the night.

Present Day

-Edward-

Year after year, we spent our summers traveling, never breaking that tradition because it was just something we enjoyed. Our tenth year was different, though. We had our twin boys along for the ride. The previous summer we had spent in Ireland and like the saying goes, luckily Bella ended up finding out she was pregnant when we got back home. After trying for years to get pregnant, I knew when Bella picked Ireland for our trip that she was hoping we would get some of that Irish luck. And we did.

I'm thankful for the summers I spent with Bella, realizing that I couldn't spend my life without her.

She's my best friend and my wife.

My life.


Many thanks to my beta, Jessica1971.