Disclaimer: All publicly recognised characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. The plot and any characters added in are mine.

This is a story I've had hidden away in my files for a while. It is already complete in my documents, so it won't interfere with the updating of my other stories. I will be posting two chapter tonight but after that, each chapter will come every other day.

Hope you enjoy.

Prologue

The two individuals stood their ground, staring at each other, their breathing heavy and faces flushed with exertion. Their argument was one that neither knew they would win, yet neither would back down.

"But if you just . . . if you just showed people what you've showed me . . ." the girl stood there trying to reason with the boy standing in front of her, wondering if she would ever get through to him. "Then they'd see the real you."

"I don't want anyone to see the 'real me'." He countered, running his hands through his hair, the muscles of his arms straining beneath his shirt.

"Why not?" She stepped towards him, closing the distance by a few feet. She didn't know if there was anyone else around and didn't want to chance anyone from school stumbling on their argument.

Because that's exactly what they needed.

They had been getting so much ridicule from school peers as it was. The Police Chief's daughter friends with the local bad boy and ultimate jerk. It wasn't something her father was impressed with, I'll tell you that much.

"Because I just don't." He sighed, wanting her to just listen to the words he was saying. "Why can't you understand that?"

"Because I don't understand why someone would purposefully wall themselves off from everyone." She countered, her voice rising again. Obviously the earlier thoughts of being overheard weren't a problem anymore. "Why would you do that? Why would you want to sit there and admit to yourself that you have no friends? That the only people you see outside of school are your parents and quite possibly my father?"

"Well, forgive those of us who aren't little social butterflies like you are, Bella." He spat, his hands gripping his hair as he turned away from her, walking away a few feet. "God! You just don't get it, do you?" She shook her head at his rhetorical question, shrugging gently. "You don't get that there's so much shit going on that I just don't want to bring anyone else into it.

"It's not that I don't want friends. Of course I do. Of course I want people to be able to hang out with after school. People to talk to and . . . you know . . . to be someone people go to when they need advice. I want to be that for someone. I want to be able to go out places and be with people, but I can't.

"That's why I'm a jerk to everyone, Bella. That's why I'm an asshole. Because I can't afford to have people getting close to me. At all. Ever. You're the only one I've properly spoken to in years. And I . . . I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know what the hell is going on here. I don't have friends because I can't afford to have friends. I don't go out with anyone because I can't. And you don't seem to realise that I can't."

"Why not?" She asked softly, walking towards him again. Part of her felt like she was backing him into a corner, taking away his freedom step by step, but she couldn't stand to be away from him. "If you want to there's nothing stopping you."

"Like I said, you don't get it." He whispered, opening his eyes to reveal the level of pain that was encompassing his entire being at that moment in time. He wanted to tell her. He had never wanted to tell anyone so much in his life. But he couldn't. He couldn't do it. He couldn't hurt her in the way she wanted him to.

"No, I don't." Her whisper was as soft as his as she stopped in front of him. "So tell me, Edward. Help me to get it."

"I can't."

"Yes, you can."

Without either of them consenting, their lips connected softly, the fire their argument had lit between them converging into something much more than they had been experiencing moments ago.

Edward knew that he had to tell Bella what was going on. He had known for a while he couldn't keep it a secret from her for long. She would find out eventually. But now he knew that he had to tell her, as soon as possible. And he couldn't keep this up.

It would hurt her too much.

And he couldn't stand to have her hurt.

Because for the first time in a long time, he allowed himself to feel.

. . . . . . . . .