Disclaimer: I do not own the Twilight Saga. No copyright infringement intended.
Author's Note: So I know this storyline has been done before, but I really wanted to do a college fic that's just sort of light and fun. There's a little dramatic flare, but with my original and my Crime Drama this is going to be light on the angst and heavy on the fun, sarcastic ribbing, and eventually the thrill of sneaking around. There will be some inherent angst thanks to the whole family angle…but I just want something light as a fun break from the serious stuff. I already have the first six chapters done, so those will post fairly frequently for a while and then once I get caught up, we'll probably see a few weeks between updates. Just wanted to warn you.
Thanks to my beta AgoodWITCH. While I was in writer's block on my original for two weeks and keeping writing to try to push past it, I ended up cranking out two anonymous contest entries and all six chapters I have done so far of this. Between her own work stresses, I think I overwhelmed my poor girl :( She got me all the chapters back betaed and ready to go…so yeah for her! Wanna thank her? Go give her stories a looksie. I beta for her as well :)
Without further adieu, the story My Other Brother. Oh and I'm not even going to bother with Chapter titles for this story. Just not in the mood to try. I know…lazy, bad Jen. LOL!
Oh…and this story will be primarily, if not all, from Bella's POV
My Other Brother
"I can't believe I'm taking all three of my kids to move into college dorms on the same day! How did this happen, Carlisle?"
My mom, Esme, had been whining like this all day, pestering my poor stepdad the whole three hour ride up from home. My older brother, Emmett, had opted to do two years of community college and live at home so he could be close to his girlfriend, Rose, who was the same age as me and our step brother, Edward. Mom thought this was awesome until the day arrived when she would go from all three kids at home to an empty nest in one foul swoop.
Carlisle, the most awesome step dad ever, reached over to comfort my distressed mom as I glanced over at Edward who rolled his eyes in their direction with a smirk before leaning back against the door and changing the track on his iPod. Edward was trying to play it all James Dean, but he was just as attached to my Mom as we were.
Our little family came into existence eight years ago. My mom had been married to our dad, Charlie Swan, chief of police for our little Podunk town. They were happy and totally in love, but just like in Greek Tragedies, sometimes great loves meet messy ends. For my parents, it was a drunk driving arrest gone wrong, ending up with my Dad being hit by a second drunk driver passing the scene. According to the doctor, he didn't feel a thing, his spinal cord being severed instantly.
That doctor, by the way, was Dr. Carlisle Cullen, recently widowed father of Edward. From what I understand, his wife, Elizabeth, was like June Cleaver and Donna Reed all rolled up into one super woman. The Cullen men adored her and didn't take it too well when she was taken by a very fast, very invasive cancer just a half a year before my Dad's death.
Mom and Dr. C ended up meeting up again a few weeks later when Mom joined a bereavement support group of which Dr. C was also a member, dealing with his own feelings of loss. Mutual feelings of loss developed into friendship over cups of coffee at the café, which later turned into nervous dates ending in chaste kisses on our front doorstep.
A year later, they were the new Dr. and Mrs. Cullen and our two households melted together into a new unit. I'd like to say that it was a smooth transition, but it REALLY wasn't. Ten year old Edward was angry and combative, hurt by his father replacing his mother. He took it out on us all at first, but most of all Mom and Emmett.
While Edward was going all tantrum-throwing brat, Emmett started going all Emo, black wearing, dark music listening, sullen teen. He too felt Mom was betraying our father by marrying Dr. C. It broke Mom's heart to see him pull away from her when they had always been so close.
Meanwhile, I was the lost child for a little while. You know what they say about the squeaky wheel getting the grease? Well, while the parents are trying to oil the rough bearings, the quiet one sort of falls to the wayside. I was sad and lonely. I had always been Daddy's girl. He and I had this special connection that I didn't share with Mom or Em. Em lost a Dad and Mom lost a husband, but I lost not only a Dad, but my best friend at the same time. I walked in a daze for weeks after we moved into the huge Cullen house, three times the size of the house we had shared with Dad, if not more.
It all came to a head after about two months living in hell. We came home from school that day, Edward and Emmett yelling at each other as we walked down the long gravel driveway to the house from where the bus dropped us off at the main road. I trudged behind them, hauling my backpack and suppressing the screams I wanted to let loose. I was so tired of being invisible.
I sighed and shoved back the tears again as they pushed each other, running flat out for the front porch. They stampeded into the house, the yelling of their voices echoing behind them as I trudged up the steps. When I walked in, they were standing in the living room, nose to nose, yelling and pushing as Mom stood next to them on the verge of tears as she tried to get them to break apart. Seconds later, the boys both turned their anger on her, pissing me off.
"This is all your fault, you know! You and Dad both. What the hell were you two thinking! We didn't need you here, any of you. You made everything worse!" Edward yelled.
I had expected Emmett to defend Mom, but instead he turned on her too. "Yeah, Mom. Why did you guys have to do this to us? Dad was barely gone a year when you agreed to marry Carlisle. Were we really not enough for you?"
I watched in horror as my Mom crumpled before my eyes and for the first time I found myself speaking up. I threw my backpack across the couch next to Emmett as I stormed in between the three of them, looking up at all of them as I yelled.
"Stop it! Just Stop It! You are both such freaking babies! You can't handle this so you become bullies. It's one thing when you bully each other, but you don't get to bully Mom! You're not the only one who hurts! You're just the only ones who cry about it! So just stop it!"
They all stared at me with wide, blinking eyes as my eyes blurred with my quickly overflowing tears. Suddenly my strength was gone as I felt my legs go limp like spaghetti and my body folded into itself on the floor. I could hear myself mumbling, "I want Daddy," but I couldn't seem to make the words stop.
I felt my mom drop down next to me, folding me into her arms as I sobbed. "Oh, honey. Oh, I'm so sorry, Bella. You seemed to be handling things so well, and the boys…well…I should have known better. I know you miss your Daddy, baby. I know. You two were so close; I really should have known better."
I don't know how long we stayed there, but eventually she picked me up and carried me up to my room, cuddling with me on my bed and leaving the boys to kill each other if they wanted to. It felt good to be comforted. I had needed it for so long, I just didn't want to ask.
Mom stayed for a long time before asking if it was okay if she left to go cook supper. I nodded, curling on my side on the bed and hugging my favorite teddy bear my dad had given me to my chest. I hadn't laid there long when I heard someone knock lightly on my door. I looked over my shoulder to see Edward standing in the doorway all rusty brown hair and light freckles across his nose and cheeks. His big green eyes looked sad as he watched me.
"Are you okay, Bella?"
I sat up and leaned against the headboard, my teddy tucked tightly in my arms as I nodded. Edward fiddled with the bottom of his shirt as he stood awkwardly in the doorway. After a while, he finally spoke again.
"I…I'm sorry about making you cry earlier. I hadn't really thought about you losing your Dad too. I just miss my Mom so much and it makes me sad that she's gone. It's even harder with Esme here because, well, she sort of reminds me of her, which makes it even harder because she's not her."
I sniffed and nodded again as I wiped at my cheeks, brushing away the wetness running down them again. "You can come in if you want to."
He frowned before slowly walking in and sitting on the edge of the bed. "You miss your dad." It wasn't a question.
I hugged teddy tighter before moving to the edge of the bed and pulling my photo album out of the bedside drawer. I flipped to my favorite picture of he and I on the slide at the park. When I was little, he always went down the slide with me because I was afraid. I pointed at it with a sad smile, sliding the book toward him.
"He was a really good Dad. He was my only real friend. I could tell him anything and when I felt bad, he always seemed to make it better. I wish I could talk to him now, because I need him more than ever, and he's not here."
I took the book back, flipping the pages as the tears got worse and worse. After a while, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked up to see those green eyes looking at me sadly, overflowing with tears of his own.
"I know what you mean."
I leaned over, resting my head against his chest as he wrapped an arm around my shoulder. A friendship was born that day. That was the day we became the sort of siblings we had grown to be. Emmett came and apologized later too. We were close and were like siblings were meant to be, but Edward and I always had a special connection. Eventually, we replaced that friendship hole in one another's lives that our dead parents had left behind. Edward became not only my new brother, but my best friend ever.
Emmett was driving the moving truck behind us, bearing all of our things. Thankfully, Pop, as I eventually started calling him since Dad felt wrong, but I wanted to give him that title since he turned out to be an awesome stepdad, pulled a few strings, and got us an opportunity to move in a day early. This not only allowed us to beat the Freshman move in day chaos, but also allowed us to park an actual U-haul in front of the co-ed dorms the three of us all ended up in. Emmett and Edward both ended up in separate rooms on the sixth floor, while my room ended up being on the fifth floor right below them, which was an all girl floor.
As soon as we parked, we started in on a divide and conquer strategy. Since someone always had to stay with the truck to make sure nobody ran off with our stuff, and I was the weakest of us all, I was left on truck duty while the boys carried in all of their things. My things would then go in last since I was the only one organized enough to not have to pack anything else on the day we moved, thus having all my things crammed in the front.
This time, I got to go up with Mom, Pop, and Edward while Emmett shifted all my boxes toward the back of the truck. I was nervous as we took the elevator to my floor and walked down the hall toward my room. I sighed and rolled my eyes as the few girls already around made goo goo eyes at Edward. Edward had always been the school stud. Apparently, nothing would change when we started college. Just like when we all moved in together. Edward got the attention and I got ignored. Some things would probably never change.
Mom sighed happily as we walked into my small room with two beds mounted loft style on stilts, a desk and dresser underneath each bed, and a microscopic closet. I looked around in bewilderment before turning to Edward.
"Are all the rooms this small?"
Edward chuckled, hooking an arm around my shoulder and hip checking me. "Afraid so, Bells. This is a college dorm, not the Ritz."
I groaned. "I didn't expect the Ritz, but I did at least expect the Holiday Inn. This is more like a Motel 6."
Edward chuckled as he tugged his hair. "At least they keep the light on for ya."
I groaned, rolling my eyes at his pathetically cheesy attempt at humor. Edward and Pop went back down for more boxes while Mom and I set about unpacking what we had already brought up and finding homes for everything in the cramped space.
Once the last boxes were brought up, Emmett came up with the other guys to help finish unpacking me. When we were done, the boys took me up to see their rooms, Mom helping Emmett finish unpacking while I helped Edward.
I was almost done with my pile under the window when I went to open one last box and Edward flipped out on me, yanking it away, and tucking it under his bed. I laughed, trying to get to the box as he easily kept me away.
"What's wrong, Eddie? Did I almost find your porn stash?" He groaned at the nickname as he kept me away with one hand while pushing it further in the corner under his desk tucked neatly under his loft bed.
"Please! I know you and Emmett have a huge stash somewhere. I found one of them a few weeks ago and shoved it under your bed while you were out with Lauren last week. I'm not some little innocent thing, you know."
He grumbled, his face turning red at my not so subtle reminder of my near lack of virginal status. Of course, with my luck, I suffered any girl's ultimate worst nightmare come to life when BOTH my brothers stumbled across me and my then boyfriend Mike, just shy of rounding home for the very first time in the back seat of his car after prom. Mortification was an understatement. It also didn't happen again as Mike quickly dumped me like a chickenshit. I was no fool. I knew my brothers threatened death on his head if he touched me again…and he didn't…nor did any other boy for the rest of the summer. I had hopes that things might change in college, but I wasn't holding out any high hopes. If high school was any indication, it would be slim pickings for Bella Swan…as usual.
Of course, thinking of my own mortification right after bringing up Lauren made me think of what he was most likely doing with Lauren while I was saving him from an ass ripping from Mom. I sighed, moving to the other side of the room to sit on top of the desk under the unclaimed loft bunk.
"You gotta tell me, Edward, because I've never understood it. Why do you date girls like Lauren?"
He rolled his eyes at the question I was asking for the millionth time. "I've told you, Bells. They're fun and easy."
I scoffed. "Yeah, well you didn't have to tell me that part!"
He groaned, shaking his head. "Ugh…that's not what I meant by easy. I just mean uncomplicated. There's not really any drama or mess."
I scoffed again. "Please, Edward. EASY was exactly the right word, and by uncomplicated, you mean unattached sex. You can have all the benefits without any of the deeper connection."
Edward sighed, gripping the bridge of his nose. "That's not fair, Bella. Yeah, I mean, we have sex and it's uncomplicated and a nice relief…but…well…sometimes a guy just needs that. Feelings are messy and complicated…"
"And Dangerous," I interrupted. "Don't try to play me, Cullen. I know you better than you know yourself. You're afraid to fall in love because then they might die and leave you behind. I know it because I'm afraid of the same thing."
Edward sighed again, running his hand through his hair and rubbing his neck. "No…you just don't understand, Bella. You don't necessarily know everything, as much as you might like to think you do."
I rolled my eyes as I hopped off the desk and walked over to the window to look out at the view. I looked around a few minutes before looking over my shoulder. "You know, I think your room might be right above mine."
Edward rolled his eyes and laughed. "NO Genius…that's not the reason why your room is 522 and mine is 622. Are you sure you actually graduated or was it all for show?"
I walked over, jumping a little to smack the top of his head before moving to hang some of his clothes up on hangers in the closet. One thing was bothering me that I just had to ask as I slid another sweater onto the black plastic hanger. I didn't look away from my work as I asked the potentially incendiary question.
"Yeah?" he asked warily, hearing the tone in my voice and knowing he didn't really want to answer my question before I even asked it.
"Why is it okay for you but not for me?"
I could feel him stop working and look over at me as I continued to work with focus.
I swallowed before hanging the hanger up with the pair of jeans and reaching for another. "To have sex for fun. Why is it that you can screw around all you want and yet you guys run off the first guy I ever even got close to it with? I don't understand."
Edward groaned loudly, shifting with a thump as he moved to lean against the post holding up his bed, the heels of his hands pressed into his eyes.
"Awe Fuck, Bells! What the hell? How do I explain this?"
I looked back at my hangers and tried not to look again until I felt his body move next to mine, leaning against the side of the closet. He reached out to grab my hand after it hung a concert tee shirt on the bar before turning me to look at him.
"In a nutshell?" he started, looking straight into my eyes and deep into my soul. "You're way too good to ever let a guy use you like that. You don't even understand how special you are. You deserve something awesome and earth moving, not a needle dick in the back of a car. You are my sister and an amazing person. You deserve for a guy to love you and worship you, not use you to get off."
I frowned up at him as he continued to hold my wrist, my stomach fluttering under the intensity of his stare. He stared a moment longer before shaking his head slightly and stepping away, releasing my hand. I stood staring at him in confusion until a knock at the door broke me from my dazed state.
Mom and Pop came in with smiling faces. I could tell Mom's was forced though. "Well, children of ours, it is time we go turn in that u-haul and start driving home. We already said our goodbyes to Emmett just before he ran off to go help Rosalie with her things. You kids take care of each other, okay?"
Mom moved to hug me, tugging me toward Edward who she then wrapped with her other arm. The position forced us to wrap our arms around the other as well, just as we always did. I wanted to cry as my heart fluttered again when Edward's arm wrapped around my waist. I curled tighter into Mom, my tears squeezing past my cinched eyelids. After a long moment, she released us, wiping at her eyes, and mumbling to herself that she needed to get it together.
Poppa C stepped up next, shaking Edward's hand before tugging him into one of those manly guy hugs where they pat each other's backs three times before stepping away. Both men were teary eyed. Then, he turned to me as I stretched onto my toes to wrap my arms around his neck and burrow my face in his Old Spice scented neck.
"Bye, Pop, please take care of Mom for me. She's not going to take this well at all."
He nodded with a whispered "I promise" in my ear before releasing me and stepping to wrap his arm protectively around my Mom. A few minutes later, they were gone and I was left, crying at Edward's window as I watched them climb into the vehicles and drive away. I wasn't crying long before I felt two arms wrap around my shoulders as his chin rested atop my head.
"It'll be okay, Bella. She'll be okay and so will we."
I turned my back on the view, wrapping my arms around Edward's waist and resting my head against his chest, listening to the loud thump of his heart. I sighed, gripping his shirt in my fists as I struggled to regain my composure, only to find myself confused when his heartbeat sped a bit. A moment later, he pulled away, asking if I wanted to go grab some supper. I smiled and nodded before following him through the building and out onto the street for the short walk to one of the many fast food places nearby.
I had the strange feeling that college was going to mean a whole new life for me. I just hoped it was going to be a good one.