Pick A Pic Challenge
Title: Little Miss Sunshine
Rating/ Disclaimer: Rated M
Summary: Can Edward help Bella to see herself as others see her – strong, kind, confident, and loyal? Or will she always feel like she's in her twin sister's shadow?
To see all the stories that are a part of this contest please visit: www .fanfiction-challenges. blogspot. com
Part One: Homecoming
When my identical twin Rosalie got nominated for the Homecoming Court, no one was surprised; least of all me. My being nominated just wasn't in the cards, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a little jealous. And then the guilt set in. I knew I shouldn't begrudge her because Rose deserved her place on the court.
Tonight was the Homecoming game, and I'd been anxious about it since the nominations came out. I'd been getting pity looks all week. I hated people feeling sorry for me.
"Bella! Rosalie! Come downstairs and eat, or you'll be late," my mother called from the base of the stairs.
I scrambled to get ready. I'd gotten so wrapped up in my book that I'd forgotten what time it was. I threw my hair back in a ponytail, slipped into some jeans and ran downstairs.
Rosalie and I hung out with the same group of friends, but she had a reputation for being more bold and stood out in a crowd, whereas I was more easy going. I was content to just hang out and not be the center of attention, unlike Rosalie. She always got noticed.
Despite our differences, Rose and I shared a lot of common mannerisms and interests, especially when it was just the two of us. I couldn't say whether it was the product of having identical upbringings or genetics, but it bound us together in a way that was difficult to describe. People thought that because they had a sibling close in age, their bond was similar. I'm sure they thought they could relate, but it just wasn't the same. There was no way to explain the bond to someone who wasn't a twin.
"There you are," Mom said as I took a seat at the kitchen counter to quickly eat the macaroni and cheese and a hot dog she presented. "You'd better hurry. The game's about to start."
"I know, I know. I'm going as fast as I can." I wasn't known for my speed, or grace. I certainly couldn't choke down my mom's cooking any faster than I already was without needing the Heimlich.
"You could have dressed up a little more, you know, Bella. It's a big night for your sister."
"I know, but I was running late. She won't care. I'll still be there to cheer her on." The truth was I wanted to blend in as much as possible. The Homecoming Court was going to parade around the track during halftime. I didn't want to steal any attention from Rose or invite more speculation and sympathy.
I heard mom gasp and knew Rosalie had made her entrance. "Oh, Rose darling, you look beautiful."
I turned my head and smiled as she floated into the room on the highest heels I'd ever seen. Not surprisingly, she did look beautiful. She wore a short, tight, strapless black dress. Her long, brown hair was curled and flowed naturally over her shoulders. Her makeup was flawless, and her large brown eyes sparkled.
"Mom's right. You look beautiful. How can you stand those shoes, though?" I asked.
Rosalie rolled her eyes at me. "They're platforms, B. You should try something besides sneakers sometime."
"Platforms? Is that another word for death traps?" I rolled my eyes in return.
"I need to go. Can't be late," Rosalie said over her shoulder on her way out to the car.
I went to follow, but my mom stopped me. "Are you going to be okay tonight, sweetie?" she asked, her voice laced with concern.
I shrugged. "Yeah, sure."
"I know you're happy for Rosalie. You're always so supportive. You know she appreciates you, right?" I just nodded, so mom continued. "Well, your father and I want you to know how beautiful and special you are, too. It might be confusing for you that she was nominated, and you weren't, but sometimes there's not an easy explanation for these things. Just hold your head high. You're a very special young lady."
"Thanks, Mom." I winced as she hugged me. My mom could always be counted on to embarrass me. She was worried I'd feel inferior to Rosalie and overcompensated so much it made it even harder for me. That wasn't the first time I'd heard this speech, and it certainly wouldn't be the last.
We got to the game and easily found our friends. Alice, our mutual best friend, was also on the court and showed up in a bright red, satin dress. She was one of the only people I knew who could pull off such a skimpy dress and make it look chic instead of slutty. Well, except for Rosalie, who could make a burlap sack look elegant.
When it was almost time for halftime, I kissed Rosalie and Alice goodbye.
"Good luck, Rose! We'll be cheering for you!" I said, giving her a quick hug before she ran off.
"Thanks, Bella. I appreciate it." She smiled in return.
As we took our seats, I couldn't help but scan the sideline looking for the new guy. I had him in two classes, but I didn't sit near him. Still, it was close enough to stare at him and not be noticed. I'd also caught glimpses of him around school but hadn't talked to him. Not that I'd have been bold enough to introduce myself. He probably had no shortage of attention. Being new at our school was a novelty, and that automatically made him a hot commodity. That, and the fact that he was gorgeous.
"Hey, Angela," I said as we sat on the bleachers. "Have you talked to him yet?"
I nodded toward the football sideline.
"Who?" Naturally, Angela had no idea who the hell I was talking about given my vague head nod.
"Number 18. You know, the new guy."
She smirked, obviously seeing right through my casual question. "Oh, you mean Edward Cullen?" she asked, waggling her eyebrows. "He's in a few of my classes. I can't tell if he's totally stuck up or just shy. Either way, he kind of keeps to himself."
"I'm sure he's just quiet. It must be hard being new," I said, giving him the benefit of the doubt.
He did seem quiet and easy-going but not at all stuck up.
"He's cute," I said, still trying to sound nonchalant but apparently not fooling Angela, who nudged me playfully with her elbow. It was unlike me to discuss hot guys; unless it was Rose's latest conquest. She usually left a trail of broken hearts in her wake. I, on the other hand, had barely dated, and apparently it showed.
The time ran out on the first half, and the players left the field. I noticed the Homecoming court in convertibles at the end of the field.
I pulled up my hoodie to avoid any more pity stares as the cars rolled forward. The announcer did a little introduction about each member of the court. As soon as they announced Rosalie, I could see my friends steal glances at me.
Jacob, obviously sensing my unease, nudged me on the shoulder. "I don't know why she got it and not you. You're totally the nicer one."
As nice as it was to receive a compliment, if it came at my sister's expense, it made me uncomfortable. I gave him a weak smile. "You just don't know her like I do. She's a total sweetheart."
All my life, I'd been compared to Rosalie as if we were some social experiment. Everyone expected us to be clones and couldn't understand when we weren't. People always tried to categorize us.
When Rosalie did better on a test or in a class than me, people commented. "Oh, so she's the smart one?"
When Rosalie started dating before I did, people noticed. "So, she's the flirt?"
She was the pretty one. I was the athletic one. I was the friend. She was the girlfriend. I was musical. She was the actress.
It went on and on like that. It didn't matter what the topic, I was never judged by my own merit, but rather how I stacked up against Rosalie.
Despite the inherent competition between us, Rosalie was my best friend. No one understood me like she did, and vice versa. We didn't always share intimate details of our lives, but we needed each other; we had each other's back.
Still, in moments like these, when Rosalie was riding and smiling in a car wearing a pretty dress, while I sat in the stands feeling like I had a neon sign that read "loser" over my head, I wondered how she managed to thrive so well in the spotlight, while I always seemed to be on the sidelines.
After the game, I went down to the field on the pretense of talking to my friend Jessica, a cheerleader. The truth was I just wanted to get a better glimpse of number 18 as the team headed into the locker room.
He was totally gorgeous, especially in football gear. His jaw was chiseled, and he had a perfectly shaped, kissable mouth. It was the kind of mouth girls dreamed about kissing. Well, I did, anyway. Just then, he spotted my not-so-subtle gawking and shot me a shy smile.
"Hey Bella," I heard someone call my name, pulling me from my "new guy" daze.
I turned and saw Rosalie, who had changed into jeans and a silky tank top. I was freezing, and I was wearing long sleeves, so I had no idea how she was coping. That was the price she had to pay to look good. I was thankful I was warm.
I waved up into the stands and said goodbye to Jessica. Apparently, everyone was going over to Mike Newton's house for a party, so people were hooking up rides.
"Over here, guys," Rosalie yelled behind her, as she walked up to me. "We can ride with Bella."
There were at least half a dozen people following her. Rose knew I would never turn people away.
I pulled Rosalie aside while everyone was already filing into my car. "It's kind of uncool of you to just assume I would drive all these people," I said.
"I'm sorry, Bella. I didn't think you'd care." Rosalie shrugged, looking unconcerned.
"Yeah well, it's not that big of a deal, I guess," I sighed.
Even though my buzz had worn off, I still felt a little worried.
Rosalie was sitting on Emmett McCarty's lap in the front seat, while a slew of people piled in the back. I could hardly see out the rear view mirror.
Emmett looked all too happy with the seating arrangements. He'd been flirting with Rose since the beginning of the summer, but nothing had happened between them. I liked Emmett and kind of felt bad for him, because I wasn't sure Rosalie liked him. She certainly liked the attention he gave her, though.
"Hey Rose," I said, keeping her back while everyone rolled out of the car. "Could you not invite so many people to ride with us next time? That was totally nerve wracking."
"I already said I was sorry. And anyway, it worked out fine, right?"
"That's not the point." I put my hands on my hips and cocked my hip, but it didn't faze Rose.
"Look, if it makes you that upset, I won't do it again." And with that, she took off to catch up to our friends.
I knew she'd never make good on that promise. She didn't do it to be a bitch or because she didn't care about my feelings. She just didn't think sometimes. At the end of the day, I knew there was no point fighting with Rosalie. There were no ramifications for our actions with each other. I'd always be her twin sister and vice versa; we couldn't divorce each other so I usually shrugged her off.
"Hey, wait up." I quickly ran to catch up before they went inside.
"Bella," Jacob said, pulling me against his side. "You go in and check it out. See if it's cool."
"Why don't we all just go in?" I asked.
"You're friends with those guys. I'm not. This party is invite only."
"Why not just send Rosalie? She loves that."
"No can do, Bella," Rosalie chimed in. "Royce is watching the door, and he wasn't too happy when I turned him down last month. He'd say no just to spite me."
"Okay, sure," I said.
"You're a life saver." Jacob kissed my cheek, and I couldn't help but shake my head and chuckle.
This always seemed to be my role. I certainly hadn't pissed off any guys recently.
Actually, I was quite proud of the fact that I got along with most everyone in our school, even though it was cliquey.
With Mike's blessing, our group joined the party and went straight for the keg. We knew it would either go dry or be confiscated by the cops within the hour. We had priorities.
After successfully procuring two cups (one would be gone too quickly), I jockeyed for position at the keg line. It wasn't really a line, more like a herd. The better you knew the person with the tap, the more likely you were to have your cup filled. To my surprise, number 18 was pouring. Rosalie caught his attention easily.
"Edward, right?" she said, the words rolling off her tongue. Of course she would know his name. "Can you get me next?"
Sure," he said, reaching the tap toward her.
Rose smiled her most flirtatious smile as he filled her up.
"Thanks. Can you get my sister, too?" She nodded her head in my direction, so I thrust my cups forward. He reached over, filled my cup, and flashed me a smile that I swore stopped my heart.
Holy crap, he was beautiful.
I was awestruck, and just then, the crowd pushed forward, and I fell flat on my face, spilling my beer and landing face first on Edward's shoe. He grabbed me and helped me up, but it was too late to stop the horrific embarrassment that flooded me.
I was soaked and embarrassed and wanted to die. While I was contemplating my exit strategy, Edward was nice enough to refill my cups.
Can I be any more lame?
I ran to hide amongst my friends. The girls had their heads together, which could only mean one thing – they were talking about boys.
"Did you see him tonight?" Alice asked. "We got a really good look from the field, and let me tell you, he's totally hot."
"He filled up my beer before all the other people who'd totally been waiting longer. He might have even been flirting," Rosalie whispered.
"Who are you guys talking about?" I asked as I squeezed into the circle.
"Edward Cullen. Have you seen him?" Alice asked.
"Yeah. Sadly, I just fell over on his feet just now. He's got to think I'm the biggest dork."
"Not possible, Bella," Angela said, throwing her arm over my shoulder. She always knew how to make me feel better. But once I heard Rosalie talking about him, I had to put him out of my mind. If she liked him, she'd get him, and that was the way it was.
As the party went on, people started getting pretty drunk. Since I was driving, I switched to water. I still loved seeing my friends letting loose. They revealed all kinds of secrets they rarely remembered telling me the next day. It was very insightful. I always kept secrets and helped resolve any crises.
"Bella," Emmett slurred, putting his arm over my shoulder. "You gotta tell me what to do to get your sister."
"Aw, Emmett, just be yourself. She'll see what a great guy you are and won't be able to resist."
"You sink?" God, he was really drunk.
"I do. In fact, I think I saw her out back at the fire pit just now. You should go find her."
I wasn't sure if I should be encouraging him, but I liked him. I wasn't sure he was Rosalie's type, but he was totally adorable and obviously totally into Rosalie.
I stood in line in a dark hallway for the bathroom. I was convinced people were either doing drugs or having sex in there, based on how long I'd waited. I'd already determined this bathroom had the shortest line, and unless I wanted to squat in Mike's neighbor's bushes, I was stuck waiting. It was beginning to become a problem.
"You in line?" I heard a smooth voice say from behind me. I turned and saw number 18 and instantly froze up. What was it with me and guys? I was normal. I was friendly. Why couldn't I act like it?
"Yep. I'm pretty subtle, huh? My hopping up and down is kind of obvious." He laughed at my lame attempt at humor. "I seriously think we might be here a while, though. There are at least two people in there, and I'm pretty sure they're not using the bathroom for its intended purpose, if you know what I mean."
"Well, let me see if I can help you out."
Huh? What's he gonna do?
He smirked at me and put his ear against the door, looking up as if he were concentrating.
"I think they're hooking up," he said, and I blushed, thinking about hooking up - with Edward.
"Lucky for them," I said nervously.
"Yeah, lucky. You're in my Calculus and Spanish classes, aren't you?"
He had noticed me?
"Yeah, that's me."
"I thought so."
Just then, he banged on the door and shouted, "Hey, hurry up in there. Some of us have to piss."
That wasn't an understatement, but at least he was distracting me.
There was clamoring on the other side of the door, and I was extremely grateful that I might get some relief.
"Thanks. Hey, we've never officially met. I'm Bella." I extended my hand to shake his.
"Edward. We met at the keg earlier. Or at least you met my shoes."
Oh God, he remembered.
"Oh, you must mean Rosalie. I felt bad for my sister, you know, falling on her face like that." Being a twin did have its perks, even if I kind of felt bad throwing her under the bus.
"Nice try, Bella. I know it was you."
"Just seeing if you could tell us apart," I said, thankful the bathroom door opened just then. I slid inside before he could say anything else and locked the door.
Smooth, Bella. Very smooth.
"I tried to be quick," I said as I came out and wiggled past him in the hallway.
"Thanks." He moved to go into the bathroom, but stopped right at the entrance. "Oh, and Bella?"
I looked into his eyes and could feel my heart racing. "Yeah?"
"I can definitely tell you apart. You're the cool one. And there's beer in your hair." He tugged lightly at the ends of my hair as he shut the door, and I slumped up against the wall. I'd take that compliment, even if it made me a bad sister.
I didn't see Edward the rest of the night.
The next night before the Homecoming Dance, I had to endure another well-meaning speech from my mom about how I shouldn't let any of this bother me. I wished she'd just stop reminding me.
People always assumed that just because they compared us to each other that we compared ourselves to each other. But that wasn't the necessarily the case. We didn't try to make each other feel bad or outshine each other it just happened sometimes. I didn't want to win something if it made her feel badly and her success didn't always have to come at my expense. People just didn't get that.
I was fine with our differences and wished everyone could see that. There were definitely times I envied that certain things seemed to come so easily to her - mostly the attention she got from boys. There was one boy in particular who I couldn't stop thinking about, and I couldn't help but wish I had more confidence to be able to get his attention.
We headed to the dance as a group, instead of with dates.
As we walked up to the entrance, Edward and Eric Yorkie were standing out front smoking.
Rosalie noticed my change in stature right away and snickered.
"You are totally crushing on Edward, aren't you?" she said as she leaned in close. I suspected her voice wasn't as quiet as she thought.
"Shhhhh, Rose," I hushed her, trying not to stare at Edward, who was most definitely staring at us, well, at Rose.
"You totally are!" Rosalie was positively giddy with the news.
"But you like him, so you know..."
"Me? No, I don't. I mean, he's totally hot, but I'm kinda into Emmett."
My heart soared. Emmett was going to be so happy! But it also meant I might stand a chance with Edward.
"Hi, Edward," I said as we got to the entrance. Rosalie watched me with a knowing look. I thought she was going to blow it and embarrass me, but she didn't. Thank God.
Once we were inside, Rosalie immediately pulled me aside. "So, Bella?" she teased. "Anything you want to share?"
"Please leave me alone. Not all of us are totally obsessed with guys like you are." It was a little mean, but it was the only way I could get her to stop asking.
"Not obsessed? Uh-huh, sure. I saw the way you two were eyeing each other. Well, you look hot, so I say you should go for it."
"Please just drop it?" I pleaded. She could tell I was serious and let it drop. Knowing each other as well as we did, we both understood when it was time to stop.
Everyone was feeling good, dancing and hanging out.
The platforms Rosalie had finally talked me into were killing me, so I sat at a table to watch everyone dance. Eric came and sat down next to me and started talking to me, which was weird, because I didn't really know him that well. He was better friends with Rosalie than me but always seemed to get us confused. Usually I just shrugged it off, but it didn't really endear him to me. It was hard to have a meaningful conversation when the other person thought you were someone else.
"Hey, you having fun tonight?" he asked.
I smiled and nodded. I wasn't really in the mood to talk to Eric. He was nice enough, but it wasn't like we were good friends.
"So, a friend of mine likes you." Wow, that was out of the blue.
"What?" I asked, shocked.
"A friend of mine wants to take you out," he said as if it were the most normal thing to announce.
"That's sweet. Who is it?" My curiosity was piqued, and I was flattered. Usually it was Rosalie who had people wanting to go out with her.
Oh my fucking God.
I didn't even know Edward and Eric were friends, and if I hadn't seen them together earlier tonight, I wouldn't have believed it. Eric could be really cocky and kind of an ass, and I didn't see Edward that way.
I sat up a little taller and looked around the room, trying to see if I could see Edward, but I couldn't.
I leaned in and lowered my voice. "How do you know? What did he say?"
"He was obviously crushing when you guys walked in tonight, acting all nervous and shit. I told him you and I were friends, and you were up for Homecoming Queen. Don't take offense to this, but you're definitely the prettier one."
He thinks I'm Rosalie.
I wondered if Edward meant me or Rosalie? Even though our conversation was short at the party, I thought we'd hit it off, and he could tell us apart. Maybe he was just trying to get closer to Rosalie. It wouldn't have been the first time.
"Why would I take offense?" I said, my voice shaking as I desperately tried to hold it together.
"Well, let me know. You know, if you're interested or whatever," Eric said as he stood.
Once I was sure he was gone, I quickly put on my shoes and got the hell out of there.
Why? Why was it always Rosalie? She didn't even like Edward, so why couldn't he like me – just once.
I leaned up against the wall outside the gym and couldn't stop the tears. Even if it was true, why would someone say something so hurtful like that? And God, it had to be Edward, too.
I wanted to die.
I heard footsteps and looked up to see Alice walking over to me. I tried to straighten myself up. The last thing I wanted was more pity.
"What's up, Bella? Someone said they saw you come out here," she said as he got closer. "Hey, are you crying?"
"No, I'm fine. It's nothing."
"Tell me," she pushed. "Come on. You're messing up your beautiful makeup, and we spent so much time getting you perfect."
"I'm not perfect, Alice. When it comes to looks, Rosalie is the pretty one. Everyone knows that."
"Oh Bella, that isn't true. You must know that."
"I don't know why it's bothering me right now. It usually doesn't matter. It's just Eric compared me to her in there."
"Please tell me you didn't listen to that asshole. Seriously, I know Rose tends to be the center of attention, because she's comfortable there. I've known you both for a long time, so I can honestly say you're totally different. Other than your looks, you're nothing alike. I love Rose, I really do, but you're like Little Miss Sunshine. Everyone loves you. Don't let anyone bring you down."
"Thanks, Alice. I'll try. I'm fine." I said, trying to convince both of us. Alice was a good friend and made me feel better as she helped me straighten myself up. I still wasn't ready to disclose that I was really upset about Edward liking my sister.
We rejoined our friends and went back to dancing and having fun as the night wound down. Edward and I danced a few times, and I barely noticed the ache in my feet.
Rosalie won Homecoming Queen.
Part Two: Prom
"Hey there, shorty," Edward said as he approached my locker.
"I don't know why you call me that," I pretend huffed. "I'm not short."
He shrugged. "Well, you're shorter than me."
"Everyone's shorter than you. Come to discuss my height, did you?" I smirked at him as I shut my locker.
"No, not exactly." He shoved his hands in his pockets. "I need your help."
Edward had become fast friends with everyone in our group, me especially. We talked a few times a week on the phone and hung out at school. We liked the same music and had a lot of fun together. Other than the upsetting conversation with Eric at Homecoming, I hadn't heard any more about him liking Rosalie. In fact, she started dating Emmett right after that, so it hadn't come up.
I admit I was relieved about that. Edward was gorgeous and could have anyone at school, and I suffered through him dating a few girls, but the thought of him with my sister made me cringe. I could accept my natural and inevitable progression to the friend zone, but not if Rosalie got to date him. I didn't mind being in the background with Rosalie most of the time, but her dating Edward would have been too much. Still, by the time my mortification over Homecoming blew over, Edward and I had become great friends, and I didn't want to risk that.
"So, what do you need?" I asked. Whenever his hands were in his pocket, it meant he was nervous.
"I need you to put in a good word for me with Tanya."
"You like her?" I tried to keep my voice light so he wouldn't detect my panic.
"Yeah, she's hot. Anyway, I know she's in a couple of classes with you. Could you just maybe…I mean prom's coming up…and I just…want to scope it out. You know?"
I did know. It was what I did best. Helped other people hook up.
"Sure, Edward. You got it."
He kissed me on the forehead with renewed excitement and ran off. My skin flamed where his lips had touched me. If only that kiss meant something to him.
I sat down in my History class with a whoosh. I didn't like playing matchmaker where Edward was concerned, but he was my friend, and I wanted to see him happy.
I passed a note to Tanya who was two rows over from me in History class.
Do you have a date for prom yet?
She read it and looked at me, confused, before she began to write back and send it my way.
Not yet, why?
I really didn't like Tanya; she seemed really stuck up, but I smiled and did my part anyway.
I think Edward wants to ask you. You interested?
Please say no. Please say no. Please say no.
Her face lit up like a Christmas tree. She wasn't saying no.
Tanya could barely contain her excitement all throughout class. I tried not to let my conflicting feelings get in the way. I could only imagine how she felt right now. I'd have been bouncing out of my seat, too.
She accosted me the minute I walked out of class, blasting me with question after question.
"Oh my God, is he really going to ask me? How long have you known about this? Do you think he wants to date me or is this just a friend thing? Oh my God, I have to tell Irina. She's going to freak." She didn't even stop to breathe.
"Calm down, Tanya," I said as if I wouldn't be acting the exact same way if I were in her shoes. "Just be cool about it, and I think he'll ask you."
She took off, presumably to go share the gossip with her friends. I watched her leave, feeling green with envy and a bit sad.
Jacob came up right then to save me from any further humiliation, and I was happy for the break.
"What was that all about?" he asked, pointing at Tanya over his shoulder.
"Oh, you know, typical girl drama." I rolled my eyes and tried to act as if none of it bothered me.
"Girl drama, huh?" He shook his head and ruffled my hair. "I swear, girls are crazy. Hey, do you think you could help me with my Calculus homework tonight?"
"I don't know…I've got…"
He grabbed my hand and kissed the back of it. "Don't make me beg."
"It's just that I've got a test on Friday," I said meekly, knowing I was useless against his puppy dog eyes.
"You'll have plenty of time to study for that. Please…please…I need your help."
He was begging.
So I agreed.
Edward did ask Tanya to prom, and I had to spend the entire week before the dance listening to him and all the guys talk about how hot she was, and how Edward was definitely going to score that night.
I tried not to think about it.
The night of prom came, and I was really excited about it. It was my last dance of high school, and all our friends were going in a limousine again.
I felt like crying when I saw Edward and Tanya slow dancing. She was grinding all over him, and he didn't seem to mind. At one point, he looked over at me and smiled and waved. I gave him a thumbs-up, mustering up as much of a happy face as I could to hide my jealousy. He smiled back at me but then he went back to dancing and having fun.
I decided to try some of the punch, which Jacob had informed me had been spiked. Thank God for small miracles.
"Hi Bella," Mike said as I poured myself a cup and promptly threw it back.
"Oh, hi, Mike." He was looking me up and down, which made me really self-conscious.
"You look nice in a dress. Who are you here with?" he asked.
"Oh," I said dismissively. "We all just came as a group."
"Oh right." He nodded. "Well, Jessica sprained her ankle so she's not up for dancing. So, what do you say? Want to dance?"
Dancing sounded nice. It would be a good distraction. I looked over at the table he had pointed at and waved at Jessica, who looked miserable in her formal dress with her foot propped up on a chair. I smiled and waved at her, and she kind of half smiled back and shrugged, granting permission for her date to dance with me.
He pulled me out onto the dance floor, and we started to move in circles.
Every half turn, I was graced with the Edward and Tanya show, relieved when I was turned, giving me a reprieve.
Edward looked happy.
I thanked Mike for the dance and walked off, not wanting to indulge in this particular form of self torture anymore.
Edward left with Tanya. Rosalie won prom queen.
Part Three: Graduation
We all lined up in alphabetical order. It was surreal to think this was it. We were done with high school and going our separate ways.
My parents had been over the top excited all morning, taking a million pictures. I guess I could understand their enthusiasm. We were their only kids and were both leaving at the same time. It had to be hard on them, but they didn't let it show. All we saw were beaming smiles filled with pride.
"Hey shorty," Edward called as he made his way to the front of the processional. "You going to Newton's tonight?"
"Sure, where else would I go?" Mike's parties were usually pretty fun.
"Just wanted to make sure," he said as he kissed me on the cheek, and I watched his beautiful retreating form.
"Wow, he's awfully excited," Rosalie said.
"Yeah, he just got late acceptance to UCLA, so he's all amped up."
I was also going to UCLA, so Edward's news had been particularly exciting for me.
"UCLA, huh?" Rosalie raised her knowing eyebrow at me.
I could hide my infatuation with Edward from everyone except Rosalie. She knew every one of my facial expressions, and there was no fooling her. She teased me relentlessly.
"So, are you finally going to tell Edward how you feel? Maybe he just needs some encouragement. Maybe if you act like a girl instead of a buddy. You know, flash him some cleavage," she said, jutting out her own cleavage, and then poking me in the ribs.
"Rose, shut up," I chastised. "People are starting to stare."
As always, happy to provide entertainment.
That night at Mike's house was crazy. His parents had really gone all out. They hired a band and everything. There wasn't any obvious alcohol, but that didn't stop everyone from bringing it in on their own. People were having fun, letting loose - me included.
All our friends made a big circle on the dance floor and people took turns going into the middle to show off whatever horrible moves they had. The longer it went on, the more bold we all got, grinding and dropping down.
On one of Edward's turns, he dragged me out into the middle and began to grind with me. I'd had a few drinks, so I was all too happy to oblige. Our friends were cheering us on, and I couldn't help but laugh. It was definitely not something I would have done sober.
As he pulled me in close and wrapped his arms around my waist, I hoped my body didn't betray my casual exterior. I was on fire with his every touch, and my pulse raced. I wanted it to be real. I wanted him to want me and touch me and have it mean something.
I maintained my calm and carefree exterior until the song was over and I could make a quick getaway. My breathing was heavy and labored.
How does he do that to me?
Edward found me a few minutes later. "You okay?" he asked.
"Oh yeah," I said, waving my hands in front of my face. "I was just thirsty."
He just smiled, but I needed a change of topic, so I asked, "So, are you getting excited for college?"
"Totally, aren't you? I'm glad I'll have a friend there. You'll be the only person I know," he said, briefly grasping my hand.
"Yeah, it'll fun." I said, gripping the hand he had touched. He didn't have any idea what he did to me.
He leaned against the wall. "Are you nervous about leaving Rosalie? I mean, you two are like two halves of a whole."
"I don't know. We've never been apart."
Rosalie had been accepted to Columbia in New York. I was happy for her. She'd worked hard. I never wanted to go back east. It was a long way away, and I was kind of nervous about being separated. The longest time I'd ever been away from my sister was a week, and that was only because I got sick and was throwing up the week of our ski trip our junior year. I didn't know how I felt about being away from her. It would certainly be weird.
On one hand, the competition thing got really old, but Rosalie was my constant - my other half. I didn't know how to be me without her. I'd never known any life that she wasn't a huge part of, and I wasn't sure I wanted to. She kept me sane, grounded. I was going to miss her, even if a part of me was giddy with excitement.
Of course our family gushed with pride over Rose's acceptance to an Ivy League school. They overcompensated with me as they always did, thinking I must have felt inferior to her, by constantly telling me all the wonderful attributes of Southern California. They told me how 'practical' a state school was because the local population supported the university. Blah, blah, blah.
I was getting excited for the independence college brought with it. It was something I almost couldn't fathom, although I had imagined it many times. I thought about meeting people and automatically saying something about Rosalie, because I always talked about Rosalie, only to have them ask, "Who's Rosalie?"
She's the sun; I'm the shadow.
Rosalie got Columbia. I got UCLA and Edward (kind of). It was a fair trade-off.
Part Four: UCLA
I thought high school was fun, but college was so fast-paced and crazy. I loved it. I missed my friends and my family but I easily made new girlfriends, and when I wasn't them, I was with Edward.
"There's a progressive party on my dorm floor on Saturday. Do you want to come?" he asked one day as we walked on campus.
"Sure, sounds fun. Can I crash? My roommate is out of town, and it always freaks me out to be alone."
"Yeah, no worries."
I was afraid we'd grow apart , but Edward and I had actually gotten closer. He always looked out for me like a big brother those first few months of school; well, except for my huge crush on him. But he didn't know that, and he never would.
All my girlfriends swooned when they first met him, alternating between insisting I was either lying about just being friends or asking me to set them up.
Yeah, that'll happen.
I brought an overnight bag to Edward's dorm room the night of the party. His roommate was the starting quarterback on the football team and was never there, so Edward had an extra bed. I'd never even met the guy. It was very convenient on nights like tonight.
"Hey," he said as I threw my stuff on his bed. "You cut your hair."
He closed the distance between us and flipped my newly shortened hair. I shrugged as if it was nothing, but I was glad he'd noticed. I'd had my hair the same way my whole life. I guess I felt like I needed a fresh start with something new.
"I wanted to change it up. You know?" I said nonchalantly.
"I like it. It looks pretty."
That was all he said about it, but it was more than enough for me.
The progressive party started off in Russia (aka Paul and Embry's room) with a vodka ice luge, which was basically just a long frozen track for shots. How in the hell these guys built and managed to keep an ice luge from melting was beyond me. Embry stood at the top by standing on a chair, while I hung my mouth just at the bottom of the ice track. My eyes crossed as the clear liquid trickled down, gaining speed until it poured into my mouth. I didn't even have time to process the God awful taste and just tried to keep it down without gagging.
I wiped my mouth as I stood up. "Oh my God, that's terrible. What did you guys get? Rubbing alcohol?" I glared at Paul, still shivering from the shock of the shot.
"What? We bought in bulk," he said, unapologetic.
Edward did his shot, and I couldn't help but laugh. He looked ridiculous.
Next it was on to Ireland, where I was thankful for the beer selection. I could control myself with beer.
"You should try a Guinness," Edward said as he held a glass with the liquid sludge in it. It didn't escape me how close he was standing to me. If I didn't know him so well, he'd have been seriously violating my personal space. As it was, I was all too happy to let him stand as close as he wanted, even if it was because he was drunk, or at least well on his way.
I made a face at him as if I was grossed out. "Thanks, but I don't like having to chew my beer."
"You don't chew it, Bella, you swallow it." His tongue slid out and lapped up the foam at the top of the glass, and I was mesmerized by the sight, like watching a snake weave its way out of a basket.
I collected myself and tried to come up with a witty response. "That's okay; I'd rather swallow just about anything else." The minute I said the words, I slapped my hand over my mouth.
Oh my God, did I really just say that?
Edward moved closer until we were almost touching. "Do tell, Bella. What else did you have in mind?"
I knew he was joking, but it was making me sweat. Plus, I wasn't all that crazy about the overtly sexual innuendos.
"Eww, Edward," I said, pushing him back as I walked over to the cooler to get another beer. "Don't be gross."
He laughed, not even remotely fazed by our close proximity or sort-of flirting. I, on the other hand, was a mess. I made a hasty departure, claiming I needed a bathroom break. Thankfully, there weren't too many people in the little girl's room, so I spent a few minutes practicing my yoga breathing, pulled myself together, and made a cheery entry back into Ireland.
Edward slipped his hand around my waist and pulled me against his side. "Hey, you're back!"
It wasn't like Edward and I didn't ever touch – we were always touchy-feely – but this felt different. It was almost as if we were together. I tried to push the thought of us together out of my mind for good. He did seem a bit more forward than usual, but I decided it was the copious amounts of alcohol and uninhibited atmosphere.
My train of thought was a disaster waiting to happen, and I did not need to get my hopes up. I was not going to make a move on my best friend. My poor little heart could not handle being rejected by Edward. I could deal with watching him from afar and being relegated to friendship status, but outright rejection would scar me for life. Then again, I wasn't sure it made any difference, since he had already ruined the thought of any other guy. They just couldn't measure up.
Next we were off to Japan, where the drink of choice was hot Sake. I had to hand it to the guys on Edward's floor, they were damned creative.
I took a big sip of the hot liquid, cursing as it burned my mouth and throat on the way down. "Holy shit, that burns!"
"I don't think I've ever heard you cuss," Edward said softly in my ear, his eyes still alight with mischief. "It's kinda hot."
I was spinning. Between the alcohol and Edward being so close, I was feeling really warm. I blew lightly on the hot Sake to cool it down. I was not about to make the same mistake twice, buzzed or not.
"And now you're blowing?" Edward joked. "It's been a banner night for you."
"Very clever, Edward. Blow job double entendres. How creative."
"I know, right? I'm taking a creative writing course. Wanna hear a limerick? I'm also quite the poet."
"Or desperate. You know what they say about guys who talk about it. Been a while, has it?"
God, I sounded like Rosalie, all flirty and outgoing. I really needed to tone it down.
Once again, he moved in close to me, almost flush against my body. "Or maybe it just hasn't been done right."
"Get a room," Paul said abruptly as he squeezed by us to fill his cup with Sake. "Seriously, Bella, this guy's a total pussy for not making a move. You need a man, not a boy."
Edward fake punched him in the stomach, while I fumbled around nervously, trying to break the tension. I didn't know if I was grateful to Paul for his bluntness, or if I wanted Edward to really punch him.
By the time we arrived in Mexico, which I feared the worst of all the rooms, there was full blown dancing, everyone long past the point of feeling stupid dancing in a the tiny confines of the dorm room. The room was packed with writhing bodies.
The only way to get a drink was to bounce your way through the dancing crowd. Apparently the night started in this room with margaritas, but had downshifted into strictly tequila shots. Mixers, I was learning, were considered an unnecessary expense at college parties.
Edward came back from the bounce-a-thon and weaved his way back through the crowd with two shot glasses held above his head. He somehow managed to not spill a drop on his pretty head.
"Hey, princess, did you have to go to finishing school to get that nice posture? Not a drop spilled," I teased.
He rolled his eyes and set the shot glasses down on the desk next to us and turned around again to brave the crowd.
"Where are you going?" I asked, confused.
"I need garnishes."
Garnishes? We were in a dorm room.
He bounced back a few seconds later with a salt shaker and several lime wedges.
"Garnishes," I said. "Good thinking."
"Give me your hand, Bella," he said, his palms face up, waiting for me to oblige.
I put my hand in his, and he turned it face up, pushing up my sleeve to reveal my forearm.
Before I even knew what was happening, he licked my wrist.
Oh my hell.
Watching his tongue lick my arm was about the sexiest thing I'd ever seen. I wondered if he felt me shiver, or noticed the goose bumps alight on my flesh. I didn't think it was possible for the room to get warmer.
He smirked, obviously pleased with my response, and picked up the salt shaker, generously showering my wrist.
Next he picked up a lime and held it out. "Hold this in your teeth."
He wasn't serious, was he?
"What?" I asked, just making sure.
He was serious.
"Like this," he said, showing me, then removing it and placing it gently between my teeth as his fingers brushed lightly across my lips. I felt the room get even warmer.
He reached down and grabbed his shot glass with one hand, while he held my salt covered wrist in the other. In one fluid motion, he pulled my arm up to his mouth and licked the salt clean, as I once again became mesmerized by his mouth and tongue darting out to meet my skin. Then he downed the shot, wincing. And, finally, his lips were on mine, sucking on the lime.
It was all I could do to stop myself from grabbing him inappropriately. Even though I knew it wasn't a kiss, his lips were on mine, and that was enough to make me practically pass out. He continued to suck for what seemed like an unnecessarily long time, not that I minded.
Finally, he pulled the lime from my teeth, set his glass down and threw the lime in. "Perfect!" he exclaimed, wiping his mouth.
"Your turn," he said, offering me his wrist.
"Oh…I don't…yeah…" I must have looked like an idiot, trying to come up with something to say as I waved my hands in front of my face.
He grabbed both of my hands and interlaced our fingers, pulling them down by his side, and consequently pulling me close to his face.
"It's your turn, Bella."
My turn. Right.
He let go of my hands and held his wrist out again. I was reeling from his shot as well as our interlaced fingers. What was going on with him tonight?
I licked his wrist, never taking my eyes off him, and sprinkled it generously with salt. His eyes were dark and watched my every move. I began to feel a little confident as I handed him the lime. He smiled through his teeth as he held it in place.
I took my shot glass and steeled my resolve. First I licked his wrist, careful to get all the salt off Edward's skin without licking his entire arm. Then I brought the shot glass to my lips and closed my eyes as I drank the poison down in one gulp. Before I could taste the tequila, I sank my teeth around the lime in Edward's mouth. His arms came around my lower back and clutched my shirt as he let me suck the lime.
I liked the way his hands felt on my body. I liked the way his lips felt on mine. This was a lot more than just a shot.
The energy between us was palpable once I opened my eyes again. Edward was looking at me intensely, and I wanted to both run away and cling to him at the same time. He pulled me from my chronic over-thinking into the dancing area. We were in the middle of all these people, pressed up against each other as we swayed to the music, noticing no one. His hands were moving on my hips; his fingers curling to bring me closer. I wanted to be closer, to really feel him, but I was scared to let myself go there. This was one of those time I really wished I had Rosalie's confidence.
"What are you afraid of, Bella?" he said in my ear, his breath making me shiver.
"Edward, be serious." At least one of us needed to have a clear head.
"I am being serious." His lips touched my neck and ever so slightly, he kissed me. God, how I wanted this to be real and not some drunken escapade.
I allowed it to continue because it felt too good not to, but I knew it had to stop. This was wrong. We were at a goddamned progressive party in the middle of a dorm room turned dance floor.
"I think we should go," I said, pushing on his chest so he could look at me.
He nodded but didn't say anything as I led him out of the room and toward his. We didn't talk as we walked, but I didn't drop his hand, and he squeezed mine tight.
"Is it still okay if I crash?" I asked, once we were in his room. The events of tonight had muddied the waters.
He looked at me like I'd just said I believed in the tooth fairy. "Don't be ridiculous."
Okay then, I guess it's okay.
"Why don't you take my bed," he said, grabbing a pair of pajamas as he turned to leave to go to the bathroom. "I'll take the other one."
I nodded, clutching my shorts and camisole.
I was nervous. I didn't know what any of this meant. I quickly changed into my pajamas, not wanting to be caught naked, which would definitely complicate things, and climbed into his bed. It smelled like him, and I couldn't resist taking a deep whiff of his pillow.
He came into the room a minute later wearing nothing but his pajama bottoms. His muscular chest and arms taunted me. A little trail of hair disappeared below his waistline, bringing my curiosity to new heights. He was so gorgeous.
It quickly became clear he wasn't headed to his roommate's bed. He sat on the edge of the bed I was in and pulled me to sitting. His hand came up and gently stroked the side of my face, and then moved to play with my hair. I leaned into his touch involuntarily.
"Bella, there's something I want to try," he said, never breaking eye contact.
I lowered my eyes, not able to handle the full effect of his gaze. "Not like this, Edward."
Rosalie would have had my head on a platter. Turning down Edward Cullen? What the hell was I thinking?
"Why not?" His voice was soft and caring.
"Because you're drunk. You won't mean it, and I'll be hurt."
Honesty was the best policy, right?
"Hey," he said, pulling my chin up so I would be forced to look at him. "Is that what you think?"
I let my eyes fall and nodded, ashamed. I really didn't want to be having this conversation, as I wasn't prepared to admit I had feelings for him. He must have thought I was completely pathetic.
"You've got it all wrong." He shook his head and ran his hands through his hair. "I admit that I used the alcohol to break the ice tonight. I was just having fun and was hoping to get enough courage to make you see we could be more than just friends. But I'll be damned if I let you sit here and think you'd be meaningless to me, like some one night stand."
"I just know you so well, Edward. You're a flirt and that's one of the things I love about you. But I don't want to be one of your conquests."
"Conquests?" His voice sounded a little defensive. "Why would you say that? You've known me for a long time. You should know I'm not like that. I want more than a casual fling. And besides, there's only one girl who's ever made me feel anything more than infatuation, and that's you."
I was about to playfully swat his hand, but he grabbed my hand and began rubbing circles on the back. "Bella, I'm serious. Do you really not have any idea how I feel about you? None?"
"Sure, I know we're friends." I shrugged.
He chuckled. "I've been in love with you since I met you."
"Don't you mean Rosalie?" I asked, remembering my not so fond conversation with Eric Yorkie all that time ago.
"Rosalie? No. It was always you."
"You couldn't even tell us apart back then."
"I couldn't? You're funny, Bella. I know you better than you think. I know you part your hair on the left side, and she parts hers on the right. I know that you have a scar above your eye from a water skiing accident…" his fingers ghosted over my scar "…I know that you knocked your teeth out when you were a kid and have two fake front teeth. I know that you've always been content to let Rosalie steal the spotlight and always cheered her on, even if you didn't get the same recognition. I know you'd never let anyone say a mean thing about her, even though deep down you don't know if she'd reciprocate. I know that everyone you meet loves you because you emit sunshine and happiness. I know that you will help out any friend who needs you, even if it's at your own expense. And I know that you're crazy if you think I'd want to be with anyone else if I could have you."
The tears were welling in my eyes, but I really didn't want to cry. "Why are you telling me this? I mean, there were other girls. If that's the way you felt, why didn't you say anything?"
"It always seemed that you just wanted to be friends, so I went along with that. It wasn't until we got here that I suspected we had any chance to be more. Tonight I decided I just needed to know for certain. I don't want to stay away from you, Bella."
"I just don't want to get hurt, not by you." The heaviness of his confession was hitting me hard.
"I would never do anything to risk our friendship. And I would never hurt you."
I looked into his eyes, the tears falling from my eyes as he leaned in and kissed me. His kiss was better than anything I'd ever felt – soft, warm, home.
He pressed me back on the bed until he was lying on top of me. I could feel every inch of his body on mine. I brought my hands around him, moving my fingers gracefully over his sculpted back.
Our tongues moved in harmony as our breaths grew shallow.
"I've wanted this for so long," Edward said as he kissed my neck and positioned himself between my legs. I gasped as I felt his erection pressing into me.
"Are you okay with this?" he asked.
"Yeah. I'm a little afraid of what this will all look like in the morning, but I've never wanted anything so badly in my life. I want to trust you, Edward."
"You can. I promise," he whispered as he pressed his lips against mine again.
His hands moved to the hem of my camisole as he pulled it up over my head. I was shaking with nerves. We were chest to chest, skin to skin, and it felt amazing. He was hot and soft and so intense.
His lips pulled one of my nipples into his mouth, and I arched into him and sighed.
"So perfect," he whispered and then his lips continued to work on my breast while his hand moved lower. I sucked in my stomach as his light touch tickled my hip. He dipped his finger below my waistline and paused as his eyes sought permission, so I reached down and moved his hand lower.
He smiled, still kissing my breast as he slid his finger underneath my panties. I was embarrassed because I was so wet, but I didn't have time to focus on my own embarrassment before he pushed his finger inside me.
I gasped loudly, which seemed to spur him on. He left my breast and moved up my body, lying slightly off to the side.
"Does that feel good, Bella?" His gaze was so loving, concerned, attentive. I nodded and closed my eyes, clutching the sheets as I threw my head back
He quickly removed my shorts and underwear. Normally, I'd have been worried that things were moving too fast, but this was Edward, and he just felt right. His thumb grazed over my clit while his finger slipped back inside me. The combination of sensations was overwhelming.
"I want to make you feel good," he said.
Thank God one of us was coherent. I was rapidly approaching release, and I began to get nervous. I'd never had an orgasm with someone else, and I was horribly self-conscious. What if I made a horrible face or noise?
"I'm nervous…oh God that feels good…" There was no way I could form a sentence.
"Just let go," Edward said, picking up the pace.
I couldn't stop the orgasm from ripping through my body, and as soon as the spasms were done, Edward's lips were on mine, gently kissing away any remnants of fear and doubt that remained. He gently pulled the sheet up to cover us.
He kissed me again, but this time the kisses grew deeper, more intense. His hips ground into me. Only the fabric of his pajamas separated us, and even though I'd never been with anyone like this before, I wanted it with him.
I reached down and tugged down the waist of his pants. He shot up and looked at me. "Are you sure you want to do this?"
He leaned down and kissed me chastely, while lowering his pants and finally throwing them off the bed. He returned to his position between my legs. He moved his leg up and down mine, creating a delicious friction. He was right there. If he moved forward, he'd be inside me. I wanted him desperately, but he could sense my nervousness.
"Have you done this before?" he asked, running his hand through my hair.
I shook my head.
He kissed my nose. "I'll be gentle. Tell me if I hurt you."
I nodded, still absolutely freaking out that this night had taken this turn. How had we gotten here?
I was too busy panicking to notice what he was doing with much detail. I heard the package rip and saw him fussing around with the contents, but all I could think about was that I was going to make love to Edward. My first time was going to be with the man I had been secretly crushing on for two years. And he wanted me just as much as I wanted him.
OH MY GOD!
He brought me out of my thoughts as he lowered himself on my body again, bringing his heat with him. He felt so perfect, so right.
"Are you sure you're okay?" he asked, giving me one last chance to back out. But there was no way I'd stop.
"I'm more than okay."
I'd barely gotten the words out when I felt him. I began to stretch as he pushed forward. It wasn't necessarily painful, but it was uncomfortable enough that I flinched and pulled back slightly.
"Promise you'll tell me if I hurt you," he whispered, holding still until I could adjust.
I put my hands on his ass to encourage him and let him know I was okay.
He slowly pulled out and pushed back in, going even deeper this time. I studied his face, which was intense with emotion. My body quickly became accustomed to him, and he established a slow and steady rhythm.
He was propped up on both elbows, which were right by my face. Each exhale he made blew his breath across my cheek. We were so close. Each time he pushed into me, his face tightened and a soft moan escaped his mouth. I'd never felt so connected to anyone in my life.
I didn't think I could have an orgasm like this; my mind was too distracted with the feel of him filling me. But it was still incredibly enjoyable once I got past the initial discomfort. I loved watching the way his muscles contracted as he moved. I loved watching the way his lips engulfed my nipple as he sucked and licked. I loved feeling his tongue in my mouth as it mimicked the actions his hips were making. I loved everything about it.
"Oh God…Oh…" He inhaled sharply through his teeth and closed his eyes tightly as he stilled his body, letting his climax overtake him. I liked that best of all, knowing I'd brought him to that point.
I wondered if it was always like this for people or if it was just because it was Edward. I suspected it was the latter. This wasn't just about sex. Each touch of his fingers and kiss of his lips let me know not to worry.
He panted heavily as his body fell on top of mine. He muttered apologies as he kissed my shoulder.
"Shh," I said, wrapping my arms around him. "Don't apologize."
"I wanted to last longer for you," he said as he leaned in and kissed my cheek.
"No, it was perfect."
And it was.
"Bella, I need to ask you something," he said after a minute or so.
"Sure." I looked at him, growing concerned.
"Did you ever think about me as more than a friend before tonight?"
Is he serious?
"You're joking, right?"
He propped himself up on his elbow, looking down at me, as his hand caressed my hip. "Well?"
"If I thought you'd have gone along with it, I'd have asked you to prom when I had the chance instead of having to be tortured watching you and Tanya all night."
"Good. I mean, it's not good that you were tortured, but it's nice to know it wasn't just me."
The next day, I was prepared for awkwardness that never came. It was as if Edward and I had the same amazing friendship we always had, but now we could be open about our physical attraction and true feelings for each other.
Edward's roommate came home mid-morning, and I was glad we'd gotten dressed and made ourselves presentable.
"Bella, I'd like you to meet my roommate, Alec. Alec, this is Bella."
I put my hand out to shake it. "Rosalie's going to freak out when I tell her I finally met you. She's a big fan of UCLA's team."
A/N: Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Voting goes from January 8 – January 15. I'd love your support.
Thanks to my betas, TwiHeart and Viola Cornuta, without whom this story wouldn't be nearly as good. Also thanks to my pre-readers - Sunfeathers, dana1779, and ellierk. I always value your input. Also, a shout out to TxBirdie for giving me your thoughts.
PSA: This story was written based on my experiences growing up as an identical twin. PLEASE, if you have twins, don't label them. It's so harmful. I won't tell you which one I was, but I know that in trying to encourage us to be individuals and stick with what we excelled at, my parents limited us. I'm sure it's hard as parents of twins, but being labeled is very hurtful, even if it's a positive label. **stepping off my soapbox now**
Don't forget to leave me a review! :)