SM owns all things Twilight. This is rated M.

This is my second fanfiction (see also, You Don't Know What to Do So You Do Anything You Like). I'd love to hear what you think. Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention my favorite stories, the ones that were so good I stayed up all night reading them.

Worst of Weather/Rose Like Thunder – yellowglue

How to Save a Life – unholy obsession

Dark Cravings – readingtime

Empty Panes and Pretty Things – AydenMorgan

Just Friends

Setting: New Moon, soon after the Cullens return to Forks. Only in this version, Edward doesn't get the chance to explain why he left. Instead, Bella convinces him that they can be "just friends".

I say I don't love you

Chemistry, my last class of the day. I sat on a high stool at the lab table, nervously jiggling my ankle and staring at the scratched Bunson burner I was supposed to use for whatever assignment the teacher was explaining. At least, I assume that's what he was doing. He could have been telling us about his plan to off himself this weekend with a pipet of H2SO4, or his wife's affair with Tiger Woods. I wasn't listening. For perhaps the hundredth time I noticed how the handle for the gas pipe closest my seat was installed just off center, so that no matter how tightly you turned it, it always looked as if the faucet was slightly on. I sighed, and leaned in minutely and surreptitiously took a breath, smelling the air for a hint that gas was poisoning all of us, me first. Well, almost all of us. Those of us who were breathing oxygen out of habit rather than necessity had no need to worry.

The teacher stopped talking and I decided to risk a glance across the table. As always, my eyes were drawn up and over to the seat across from me every moment that I didn't consciously avert them. I tried to stare down most of the class, because if I raised my head, no matter where I started out looking, my eyes drifted smoothly back to him without my asking them to, like water flowing downhill. Instead of meeting my eyes, Edwardrose and strolled casually to the front, probably to excuse himself for an unnecessary visit to the bathroom. Watching Edward walk away was so enjoyable I almost didn't mind that I would miss some of my precious minutes close to him. He was wearing black pants, and a thin gray t-shirt that hugged the muscles of his back. If only he still wanted me . . . my body would have trailed after him like a magnet instead of just my eyes. I would have pushed him against the wall, pressed my soft chest against his rock hard one. He would have smiled that trademark half-grin and let himself fall back, even though I could never overpower him. I would have touched my lips to his and then slid my tongue against his bottom lip, tasting his delicious mouth while his biceps tensed and flexed beneath my small hands. His long dexterous fingers would find my small waist and caress down over the curve of my hips, then back up along the sides of my ribs to brush against the soft swell of my breasts . . . I'll never stop being grateful he can't read my mind.

I spend my days sitting across the table from him, hyper aware of the proximity of his muscled forearms and lean, talented fingers resting on the table. Walking by him on the way to my seat and forcing myself to keep moving past rather than falling into his lap. Surreptitiously drinking in his delicious scent, planning each casual glance in his direction with careful forethought, as though he was a combination lock and there was some magic pattern of sidelong stares that would rouse him from his casual indifference, and make him look at me again, make him want me again. I'd roll my pencil across the table toward him, giving me an excuse to glance as far up as his broad chest, while pretending to retrieve my pencil. Then, I'd industriously study the poster on the wall behind him (A picture of a smiling scientist holding up a beaker and the caption "If you're not part of the solution . . . you're part of the precipitate."), imagining running my fingers though that ridiculously sexy hair. Trying all the while not to remember that while he was a stunning (immortal) male specimen, I was average, plain, bland, slow and human. And we both knew it.

It was humiliating to pass my time in this way day after day, in completely useless pursuit of something I was pretending I did not want. But I'm the only one who knows to be ashamed. He does not know how he fills my thoughts, how he haunts my dreams, how just the sound of his name makes my head whip around involuntarily and my heart race. He thinks we're friends. Friends! How the hell did I get here?

I remembered the moment I betrayed my own heart, the moment I looked into his eyes and realized that there was a chance to bring him near again, to resurrect a half-life from the blank emptiness of existence that yawned before me. In Volterra.