Note: I do not own anything related to Twilight. Quite obviously.

Also, I feel compelled to mention that I am not a native English speaker. My apologies for all the grammatic mistakes - and if they bother you, don't read! :-)

Hope you'll enjoy my first Twilight story, please leave a review as they are greatly appreciated!

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The human experience

I applied some more lipgloss on my lips and pretended to blow kisses at my reflection. An unrecognizable face stared at me from the mirror on the inside of my closet. This Bella was wearing a black, almost too-tight minidress and her hair was smoothed in soft layers. I felt almost ready; I stuffed my feet into my brand new high heels and tried to banish the look of uncertainty from my face. I turned around and posed playfully for the figure sitting on my bed.

"What do you think?" I asked him, dramatically posing with my left hand behind my head.

Edward let his warm amber eyes wander up and down my length. He got up and walked to me, taking my hand into his own cool one and pulling me close to him. His sudden closeness made me feel slightly dizzy.

"You look... absolutely beautiful. You are without a doubt the most gorgeous woman I have ever laid my eyes on." His words made me blush and he lifted his cool fingers to softly brush against my cheek. I lifted my face up and he bent down to touch my lips softly with his. I felt shivers run through my body, not because of cold but because of pleasure. I wondered how many times he had kissed me during the time we had been together - countless times. Yet my body still reacted just as strongly as it had in the beginning. My heart started beating faster and I felt hotness build up inside of me when his lips moved against mine. I could taste him on my tongue when his mouth explored mine. Every cell in my body yearned to be touched by him, and nothing he was ready to give me could ever be enough before I had him completely - a wish I knew might never even come true, at least if he were to decide.

I wrapped my hands around his shoulders while he lowered his from my hair to my neck and to my waist. The kiss was deeper now, more serious - his lips claimed mine, he held me against himself almost painfully tight, yet not close enough to satisfy my need for him. His hands moved from my waist to my lower back where they lingered for a while when he was kissing me breathless - then, without giving me a warning, his left hand slid slowly, softly, torturingly smoothly, from my back to my stomach and continued lower - he was now caressing my inner thigh through the soft fabric of my dress. Without having the time to rethink I breathed in sharply against his lips, desire pooling inside of me like a den ready to break in a strong current. I regretted it immediately - he pulled his hand quickly away and separated his lips from mine. I opened my eyes, disappointment probably quite evident on my face, because he bent down again to press a soft kiss on my lips. I sighed and turned away from him and back towards the mirror. Surely he wasn't so stupid as to not notice what he was doing to me? Surely he couldn't unintentionally drive me crazy? It just wasn't fair that he could so casually touch me, even this intimately, and then expect me to get over it whenever he thought we were going too far.

I met his eyes in the reflection of the mirror. He smiled slightly to me but the smile didn't completely reach his dark eyes. I sighed again. What ever he was thinking wasn't anything good. I knew how he was feeling about my plans for tonight. He hugged me tightly against himself from behind and rested his jaw against my ear. There was a look on his face I couldn't quite read.

"It's not too late to call Jessica and cancel, you know. I could do it for you if you'd like." His voice was a whisper in my ear.

I pulled away from him, annoyed. It wasn't the first time he had suggested this but after all the arguments we had had during the last two days I had thought he wouldn't have brought it up again. The mere idea of me going out in Seattle without vampire company seemed to shake him to the core. The idea was naturally Jessica's: originally we had been supposed to go to the movies in Port Angeles with a group of girls but when it turned out the tickets had been sold out Lauren had suggested we go to Seattle instead. Seattle was further away so we decided that we might just as well go and do something a bit more special than just watching a movie. Somehow someone (most likely Lauren) suggested we go to this large outdoor party she had heard about. The right to bring a date was brought up as well but since the night was originally supposed to be a girls' night out and since Jessica had just finished with someone it was decided that no boys were allowed to come. This suited me just fine because Charlie had been at my neck again for a week or so, trying to encourage me to spend time with my "other friends" - in other words, anyone whose surname didn't begin with a C - with the only exception being Alice, naturally. Alice was unavailable however, to the dismay of both Charlie and Edward - she was on a shopping trip in New York with Rosalie and wouldn't be returning before Monday. She had kept her eye open for my future though and promised to let Edward know if something alarming was to happen - so far she hadn't seen anything so he had grudgingly agreed to let me go. It hadn't, however, stopped him from trying to convince me to stay home as best as he could.

"Listen, Edward. You can't always be there to watch over me. I think you should just get used to the idea of me going out without you." I was slightly surprised at the bitter tone of my voice. The disappointment was pooling inside of me still - how long would this continue? Would he ever give into the demands of my body, my soul? Would he forever deny me the two things I wanted - needed - more than anything?

"I'm not sure I understand you. Are you planning on making a habit out of this?" he tried to sound careless but I heard the hidden anxiety in his voice. I took the lipgloss out again and applied some on my lips that had been wiped clean by his. He was still looking at me through the mirror, his beautiful face unreadable. I felt a sudden urge to leave the subject alone, because if we were to get into an argument I wouldn't be able to have fun at all tonight. But it was too late - I knew he would start pressing the matter if I wouldn't explain myself. And besides, I was right. And disappointed, for the millionth of a time.

"Well, you know. Since you're planning on keeping me human," I managed to make it sound like a dirty word, "I guess I'll have to start acting like one. You know, all those college parties I have to start attending and all. Graduation isn't that far away, really." I felt perverse satisfaction spiced with guilt seeing emotions flicker in his butterscotch eyes. I guess his list of "all the fun things Bella should do rather than join the eternal damned" didn't include taking part in college parties.

He didn't say anything in a while. He was eyeing me calculatingly but I continued correcting my make-up and tried not to notice. Suddenly I felt him circle his arms around me again. His breath was tickling my ear when he whispered in a soft, seductive tone of voice. "Perhaps, if you'd consider staying home tonight we could come up with some... other things to do." His breath made chills travel down my spine.

He started trailing small kisses along my neck. I stiffened. Was this really the way he was playing? There was absolutely no way he would give me what I wanted just to stop me from going out - he was just playing dirty, suggesting he might give in if I would stay, without really having the intention of giving in. However it was hard to concentrate when he kept on kissing my neck and I lost my trail of thought for a while. I couldn't help but to moan quietly when he tenderly bit my earlobe. I saw the corners of his lips turn slightly upwards. I immediately regained consciousness.

I turned to face him. Two can play this game, I though to myself. I pulled his face down for a passionate kiss, my brain constantly working. He seemed to relax a bit, probably certain that I would at any moment now ask him to pull out his cell phone and call Jessica to let her know I was too tired to come or something. I pulled back and smiled devilishly at him. He smiled back at me, oblivious to what was coming. I leaned against the door with him close to me. Then without a warning I grabbed his hand and brought it to cup my left breast. There was a jolt of electricity through my body - I felt heat build up within myself, responding to his involuntary caress. The look on his face turned from surprised to startled and then to pure shock. I felt a blush creep up to my cheeks again but tried not to mind. I had never been this bold before, this straight-forward. He pulled his hand away quickly but I held him against me, pressing my hips again him, still leaning against the door.

"I promise you, Edward, that if you'll take me to that bed right now and make love to me I will not go out tonight or any other night if you don't want me to." I tried to sound confident but my heart was beating too loudly, too nervously, and my voice was barely audible. I couldn't believe I was saying these things, acting this way. He stared at me with hypnotic eyes - I couldn't help but to stare back at him. I waited impatiently, afraid of what was coming next. Please, please, please, please, my body was screaming. Please, please let him take me to that bed and rip off my clothes and push himself deep into me and take me like he should've taken me a long time ago.

He was silent for a while, examining my face. Then he sighed and said quietly: "I can't, Bella. You know my reasons." He hugged me gently to himself and gave me a kiss on my forehead. I had a feeling of déjà-vu. All this was too familiar: him kissing me like this, so calmly while humiliation and disappointment made my cheeks burn and my eyes water up. How long could I take this? How many times could my self-confidence survive this uncalled-for battering? I shook his arms away, tears building up behind my eyelids. I swallowed them back, raising my jaw up and staring at him stubbornly.

"I guess I should've known you're going to say that no matter what. But I think you're just making up excuses because you're afraid!"

"Bella, of course I am afraid," he said softly. "I'm afraid of what I would be capable of doing to you, losing control. I might bite you, I might crush you to death –"

"Then bite me, I don't care!" I exclaimed. "Any fate, any pain is better than being constantly denied what I need – I don't know if you notice it yourself, but you always give me false expectations and pull back at the last minute and it makes me feel so - so – worthless! "

He looked unsure of what to do. It felt awkward to stand like this so I walked over to my bed, sat down and buried my head into my hands. I didn't hear him move but it seemed like I had barely sat down when he was already next to me, not quite daring to touch me.

"You know I have nothing but respect for you, Bella. I understand your feelings and agree that I should stop leading you on like this. I simply find it hard to not kiss you, to not hold you.. and the more I give into my desires the more reluctant I am to ever let go. But I must."

"Why is it always you who has the control over me, over us both? If you really love me, why can't you just change me then? If I wasn't this breakable we wouldn't need to have this conversation right now! If I was like you are you wouldn't need to hold back." I sounded bitter again. I felt ridiculous all of a sudden, wearing my dress and my makeup - things that were supposed to make their wearer feel sexy, appealing, powerful. I didn't feel like any of these things. I felt like a clown.

Edward ran his hand through his hair, like I'd noticed he often did when aggravated. "You should know by now that my decisions about this matter have nothing to do with me not loving you enough. In fact it's the exact opposite – I love you too much to allow you to make decisions you would regret with time. You deserve something better than having to damn yourself into this existence just because you think you want me now. You're too young to make decisions like that, Bella. How can you really know it's me that you want?"

There was a ringing silence in the room. I was staring at him with wide eyes. I couldn't speak. Was he really stupid enough to think that after everything that had happened last year, after all the pain we had gone through, I still didn't want him?

"Well, maybe tonight I'm going to find out what other options I have." I said coldly, grabbing my purse from the dresser.

We were still staring at each other when the doorbell rang. I could feel his gaze on my back when I left the room and went to open up the door. It was Angela. She smiled brightly and I forced a smile on my face.

"Hey Bella! The girls are waiting in the car. Could I borrow your bathroom quickly?" she asked me.

"Go ahead," I said with a monotone voice and let her pass.

"Oh hi, Edward," I heard Angela greet him in the stairway. He answered politely and came down. His face was a calm mask which only aggravated me further – I was sure my inner turmoil was written all over my face, yet he could always look so collected, making it impossible to read him. He pulled something out of his pocket and handed it over to me. It was a cell phone.

"Please keep this with you and call me if there's any trouble. I would also appreciate it if you would give me a call when you're about to leave Seattle." His voice was just as pleasant and collected as the look on his face. For a moment I considered not accepting the phone but instead just took it from his hand and put it into my purse without saying anything. He kissed me gently on the lips but I didn't return the kiss. I heard Angela come down and turned towards her. She smiled at the both of us.

"What a shame you couldn't come with us, Edward. I wished Ben could've come as well, but I guess it's not fair to the other girls if everyone doesn't have a date."

Edward smiled at her. "Just have a fun night, girls. And be careful."

I still didn't say anything. I think Angela sensed something was off but she kept on smiling radiantly. I opened the door and we all stepped outside at the same time. Jessica's mother's blue Ford was outside of the yard, blocking the way out for Edward's Volvo. We walked over to Jessica and Lauren who were waiting inside the car. I could hear Edward shutting the door of the Volvo and within a second he had already started the car.

"Hey Jessica, Lauren." I greeted them both.

"Hey Bella! What a great dress, what do you think about mine?" Jessica was wearing a tight orange dress with glittery parts here and there, with a black leather belt tied around her waist and huge earrings hanging from her earlobes. Lauren had, to my surprise, dressed up rather elegantly: her dress was dark gray and simply cut, with her hair tied up on a knot at her neck.

"You both look very nice." I complimented. Jessica beamed at me and Lauren raised her eyebrow. Jessica was driving; she started the car and pulled out into the driveway. The silver Volvo followed. The girls were happily chatting away while I couldn't take my eyes off of the left side mirror, where I could see the reflection of his car. Jessica was driving rather quickly and carelessly, not really paying any attention to the road. She turned left towards the road to Seattle and sped up. Lauren was trying to find a good radio channel and settled for something speedy. Angela was staring out of the car window. I looked into the mirror again. The Volvo was still there; for a moment I wondered if he was intending to follow us all the way to Seattle before I remembered that this is the road he had to take to get home anyway. And true enough, when we passed by the unnoticeable turn that led to the Cullen's home the Volvo turned right and disappeared from the sight. Lauren looked over her shoulder.

"Is that where he lives?" she asked, her voice curious.

"Yeah," I said.

"What's his house like?" she asked. Jessica's eyes met mine in the mirror and her face was curious as well. I had to think for a while what to answer.

"Well, it's white, large and very beautiful. Edward's mother likes to decorate, so the interior is mostly her doing. They designed the house together, though."

"What, from the scratch?" Jessica asked. "Even the kids?"

"I guess so, I don't know really." I admitted. Everyone was quiet for a while. It was starting to get dark outside, the sky's color turning from orange to purple. It was clear for a change, there were still clouds on the sky but the sun had descended underneath them and the sea of clouds looked rather pretty in the light. I missed Edward already, but at the same time couldn't erase his words from my head.

"You're too young to make decisions like that, Bella. How can you really know it's me that you want?"'

Was that really what was bothering him? My age? Maybe if our relationship was a bit more usual I could agree with him, but there was no doubt in my mind that without him I would surely die from a broken heart. Young or not, I knew what I needed and it could never be someone else.

I was disturbed from my thoughts by my purse vibrating. It was the cell phone Edward had given me. I pulled it out and looked at the caller: Edward. No surprise there. I was about to press the answer- button when something stopped me. A devilish side of me wanted him to sit at home waiting for me, wondering whether or not I was having fun with someone else. Wasn't that basically what he had told me to do? It only took me a moment to decide against answering; instead I put it back into my purse where I could feel it continue to vibrate. I'll call him when we get to the party, I promised myself. It can't hurt him to wait for an hour and a half can it?

The road was dark now. Every once in a while the front window was drummed by a light rain shower which worried the girls a little: the party was supposed to be outdoors. Jessica was intimidated by driving in the city so she asked if someone else wanted to drive instead – I couldn't remember the last time I had been driving inside a city (nowadays I didn't seem to do much driving anyway, city or no city, because Edward was very reluctant to let anyone besides him drive). None of the girls seemed too eager to drive but eventually Lauren agreed to do it and so we stopped at a gas station and changed drivers. Angela and the others got up to get some fresh air but I sat in the car, staring at the gloomy sky, missing Edward. When had I become like this? I'm sure I had had some good times in my life before meeting him, times that I couldn't really even remember now: even some boys I had used to look at – but only look at, because that was as far as I ever got with them. Just looking. A bit like with Edward, I suddenly realized. After all this time we had been together, apart from kissing and cuddling and talking about love, I had never actually gotten anywhere with him. Would I ever get to experience the love instead of just talking about it? Would we forever remain like this? It was strange and ironic, I thought humourlessly, how Edward was trying to protect me from a fate he seemed to think was so horrible: from never going forwards, just staying in place forever, unchanging. And yet, here I was; unable to go back, unable to go forwards. Forever doomed to live a life in between of two worlds that I could never completely belong to.

I had a sudden urge to call him, to hear his angelic voice telling me things I needed to hear, things that would make me feel good again. I imagined calling him and asking him to come and get me. He would be here in half an hour with his maniac driving speed, and he would look at me with his sympathetic beautiful eyes and I would melt into them like I always did, and let him take me home and cradle me in his arms while I slept. The temptation to be in his arms again was so great that I dug out my phone and was about to choose his number when I stopped myself again. I couldn't quite put my finger on it – something was slightly off, a faint feeling buried underneath all my longing for Edward that was telling me to wait for tomorrow to see him. I looked at the screen – 4 unanswered calls from Edward Cullen. It was so like him to add the surname behind his first name even though he quite clearly knew he was the only Edward who was or ever would be found on that phone.

I hesitated for a while and then I turned the phone off. His name disappeared from the screen and I let it fall onto my lap. What was wrong with me today? I looked up and noticed for the first time that the girls weren't standing next to the car anymore. My heart started pounding faster in my chest. What was going on? I got up and opened the car door, scanning the surroundings in panic. It was dark now, the lights of the gas station too bright – I couldn't see outside of the circle of light I was surrounded by. There was only one person outside of the station, a young dark-haired man who was smoking a cigarette and leaning against the wall. I stared at him, suspicious – his skin was quite pale but was he pale enough to be a vampire? Could vampires smoke? With a start I realized I didn't know. I stared at him intently, not quite seeing his face. Then he moved a bit and I relaxed – his gestures were too human. And dragging three girls off quietly and coming back for a quick cigarette, all within a minute, would be quite of a task for any regular guy. The door of the shop opened and someone came out: another young man with light brown hair followed quickly by a man wearing a dark blue hood over his hair. The guy who was smoking threw his cigarette to the ground and left with the two others. They disappeared into the darkness and I was alone again. I got out of the car, but before I could actually decide what to do the shop door opened again and the girls came out. I sighed in relief and relaxed.

I leaned against the car door, now annoyed with myself for always thinking the worst. All this time spent running around with vampires (sometimes rather literally) had made me too paranoid.

. "Where did you go?" I demanded, trying to sound all casual and failing. Jessica giggled a little and threw a meaningful glance at Lauren. I noticed for the first time that Lauren was carrying a green plastic bag. She raised it up to show me and shook it a bit; there was a clinking sound coming from within. I stared at her for a moment, trying to understand what they meant by looking at me with such "don't you get it" kind of faces. Angela looked a little unhappy standing behind them; as always she was a bit of an outsider, just like me. There was a small crease of worry on her forehead when she was eyeing the clinking plastic bag. Then it clicked.

I drew in a sharp breath. "Did you buy alcohol?"

I wasn't entirely shocked to find out they had attempted to buy alcohol; I was more surprised about the fact that they had actually succeeded.

"Lauren bought it," Jessica said sounding quite admiring. Lauren looked rather satisfied with herself. I still had some questions.

"But how? You weren't exactly 21 years old the last time I checked." Unless you had to redo the same school year quite a few times to pass, I added in my thoughts. "Do you have a fake ID or something?" I was trying to think. Did Lauren have older sisters she could borrow ID's from or something? I had no idea: I had never actually had anything that could pass as a real conversation with her.

"No, I just went to the counter and bought it. Nobody asked me for an ID," Lauren explained. "I think they just don't care in a place like this." I scanned her over, trying to look at her with the eyes of a stranger. Yes, perhaps she could pass for 21 or at least close enough if you didn't know her. Her sophisticated outfit made her look more mature than she was. I could only assume Jessica had been nowhere near her when she had bought the bottles – she looked closer to fifteen than 21 in her frilly, glittery dress.

I met Angela's worried eyes behind Lauren's head when we climbed back into the car and could tell she wasn't happy about the unexpected turn of events. I could see from her face that she had started to regret coming with us. At the very moment she was probably dreaming of being at home, nicely huddled up to Ben, watching a movie and eating popcorn on a comfy couch. Lauren had taken over the driver's seat and Jessica was blabbing on about how much fun we'd be having tonight while fighting to open the bottle of wine she had dug out from the plastic bag. She finally managed and took a gulp of wine. She offered some to Lauren who shook her head. "I'll drink later, once we get to the city. I don't want to drink and drive. But this way I'll sober up before we head back." I wasn't exactly following her logic but Jessica just shook her shoulders indifferently and took another gulp. She first offered the bottle to Angela who shook her head in declination and then to me. I didn't know what to do. I was a police officer's daughter; I knew I shouldn't and I knew all the reasons why. But I was also curious. I hesitated only for a second before accepting the bottle and taking a gulp. It wasn't good wine, probably the cheapest brand they had found. It tasted too sweet in my mouth, it made me feel slightly nauseous. I exchanged a quick glance with Angela, but couldn't really read her face.

Lauren turned the car stereo on. I leaned my now burning face against the cool window glass and thought about Edward. He wouldn't approve, I knew. I also wondered if Alice would see this in a vision. Maybe, but probably wouldn't tell Edward because nothing bad was about to happen, because she knew just as well as I did that he would worry.

It had started to rain a bit more now. It felt like we were driving alone in the middle of nothingness – the sound of the rain and the music from the stereos blocked out all noise from the outside. I closed my eyes. I missed him so much already. There was also another feeling – a feeling of rebellion I had barely been aware of before. Wasn't this a part of being a human, too? Doing silly, forbidden things? Testing one's limits? Making mistakes? Growing up? What kind of a life was ahead of me when I wasn't allowed to throw it away to become a vampire – but I wasn't allowed, it wasn't possible, for me to live a normal carefree life either? What would Edward's role be in my life? My boyfriend, my lover, someone who would love me in words only but never in flesh? Someone who would stand in between me and harm – but also between me and life? I felt tears well up behind my eyelids and fought against them. I took another sip at the wine. It didn't taste half as bad this time. There was a sound of Jessica opening another bottle on the background. The stereo was blasting. In my head things started to make sense, I knew the course my life had already started heading for. I would never be completely happy because I knew there would be an end to the happy days. I would always be counting. But I couldn't choose another way of living because my whole being knew I could never choose anything or anyone over Edward. I had no other options and never would – except for tonight.

Tonight I could be and do anything I wanted. Tonight I could be just one of the girls. Tonight I wouldn't have to give up Edward to do it – I would only have to give up Bella.