Hey!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! This is our entry for Breath-of-Twilight's Valentine's Day countdown, we hope you enjoy it very much.

This wasn't intended to be quite so long, it just grew and grew... and here it is. Just remember – with us, you get quality and quantity!

Thank you very much to MeThinks-I-Like-Books who beta'd this, and to Breath-of-Twilight for organisationy-ness!

May your day be love-filled, and may you receive many boxes of chocolates. :D

And Happy Valentine's Day

Love,

Lucy & Em

P.S If you're Spanish, this has been translated by the lovely AnniePattz, and can now be found on her profile!

Disclaimer: The characters are property of Stephanie Meyer, we're just messing with them...


December 2007

I walked down the crowded hallways with Alice at the end of the day. Only half listening as she moaned about her brother, "I don't get him. Why does he have to sit with them at lunch? He always sits with us! Are we not good enough for him? Just because he's on the football team, it doesn't mean that he has to completely abandon all his friends."

She was referring to lunch today, when her brother, and my best friend, Edward, had chosen to sit with Mike and Tyler and the other football tossing idiots rather than with Alice, Jasper, Angela, Ben and I, as he had done nearly every day since middle school. I couldn't pretend that it didn't hurt, but we were practically inseparable, and I knew he wouldn't stay away for long.

I sighed, "Ali, Edward has other friends too. We can't hog him all the time. It'll be fine, you'll still see him at home anyway, it's not like you're going to miss him."

She rolled her eyes, "That's not the point. They're all immature fucking idiots. I really don't know what he sees in them."

"You sound like a jealous ex-girlfriend. He'll realise what they're really like soon enough, and then he'll be back to normal. Come on, let's get out of here." We headed for her car, and sped back to her house to work on a Biology project.

However, over the next few weeks, the exact opposite happened. Edward was drifting further and further away from our group. He spent most nights playing football, and then at the weekend he only wanted to hang out with 'the boys'. Weird how Lauren and Jessica counted as 'boys' when I didn't.

Every lunch time I held my breath as he walked into the canteen. I hoped desperately that would sit with us.

He never did.

The only time he spoke to me was during Biology. We sat together at the back, the only members of our group in the class. I looked forward to this hour every day, not because of any desire to learn biology, but because he would walk in and everything would be how it was before.


February 2008

It was a Friday afternoon, a few months after he had ditched us when Mr Banner walked into the classroom rolling a TV in behind him, announcing that we would be watching a video. That meant silence for pretty much the whole lesson. I was bitterly disappointed. I had come to rely on the brief window into Edward's new life that I was offered during this lesson.

He was late, as usual, and the video had already begun when he walked in, so he just shot me a quick grin then sat down.

As the end of the lesson neared, I began to worry that I wouldn't get to speak to him at all. I contemplated a plan of action, and realising quickly that I would never get away with talking (the whole room was silently concentrating, including Edward), I ripped a sheet of paper out of my notebook and scrawled a note on it.

Are you busy later? Ali, Ben, Angie and Jazz are meeting at mine for a film night, we're watching Alice's entire collection of Harry Potter films... Got some beers/pizza. You in? ~B

I slid it across the table so that he could see it, and waited for his response.

Moments later, he slid the sheet back to me.

Sorry. Going out with Jessica. I'll try and make it afterwards maybe. ~ E

I sighed, disappointed, but not without hope. He said he would try and come, right?

Unfortunately however, this confirmed the rumours – he was going out with Jessica fucking Stanley. Whore of this parish.

Not that I was jealous. Just... annoyed. He could do so much better than her. He was intelligent, and good looking and mature and just a really nice person. Whereas she was immature, stupid, nasty and well... sort of pretty. In a very fake way.

It wasn't like Edward to be with someone just because of how they look. But then, I supposed, Edward had changed. The new Edward one was different.

As expected, Edward didn't show that evening. I sat in the chair by the door, feeling like the odd one out, listening carefully so I would hear if he knocked. I made constant excuses to go into the kitchen so I could look out of the front window, just in case he was parked outside. But he never came.

Alice and Angela tried to console me after the boys had gone home, "Maybe it was the weather. Maybe mom said he couldn't drive?"

It was February, and it was snowing pretty hard outside, and Esme, their mom, did worry about him and Alice driving in the ice, but still... All I could imagine was him sat in his car somewhere with his hand up Jessica Stanley's cheap t-shirt.

The next day, after school, me and Alice were going back to Angela's house. It had been a spur of the moment idea at the end of school, probably an effort to cheer me up – I had been in a vile mood all day, so we all had our own cars.

As I struggled to get my old truck to keep up with Angela's dad's four wheel drive (her usual car had been retired for the winter – it was completely useless in the face of the horrendous Forks weather) and Alice's agile little Fiat 500, I noticed that we were about to pass the long drive which led up to Edward and Alice's house.

I made a snap decision, leaving it until the very last second to turn so that the others might not realise, and pulled up his drive.

I stopped the car outside of their house and pulled on my winter coat before running and knocking on the door.

Esme answered, "Hello Bella! It's lovely to see you!"

I smiled, "Hi Esme."

"I'm afraid Alice isn't here... She's gone to Angela's, I thought you were going with them dear?"

I shook my head, "Actually, I'm here to see Edward." Her face changed immediately, she looked worried, and guilty.

It was at this moment that I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that Jessica's car was parked on the drive next to Edward's Volvo. I nearly growled.

As politely as I could manage, I stepped past Esme and made my way upstairs. She called my name from behind me, but I was so angry I didn't acknowledge her even slightly.

I reached Edward's door and flung it open. Not at all surprised to find Jessica on her knees in front of him. I laughed sarcastically at their shocked faces.

Jessica squealed loudly and ran into his bathroom, while Edward turned bright red, fumbling to do up his trousers.

"So that's what you've abandoned us for? Easy blow-jobs from that skank?" I asked, practically shouting. I was so angry. My fingers were trembling and I could feel my face turning bright red – although that was partially from the embarrassment of having seen Edward's penis.

He raised his eyebrows, but didn't reply.

"It's really nice to know that that's all it takes to get you to ditch your best friends."

He shook his head, "No... Bella..."

I didn't let him finish, "Is that what you want? Sexual favours? Because I can do that Edward." I dramatically got down on my knees. "I could have done that if that was what you wanted. If that would have kept you with us."The voice in the back of my head was questioning my sanity, begging me to stop humiliating myself, but I couldn't. Once I'd opened my mouth, it was impossible to close it; it was as a dam within me had finally burst - the onslaught of angry profanities gushed out like a thundering river. Although I wasn't going about my issues in a mature way, I could hardly control myself. My clenched fists shook with every frantic breath as my sharp nails dug into the skin of my palms.

"Bella... Get up." He said, avoiding my eyes.

I shook my head, as the tears began to fall, "Tell me. Tell me what you want? What does she have that we don't? That I don't?"

I knew I would regret this outburst in the morning, but I couldn't help it. The verbal diarrhoea just kept pouring out of me.

"Bella. Are you drunk?"

"Ugh. NO!" I screamed, frustrated, "I'm not fucking drunk. I'm upset. And I'm angry. You're my best friend."

He gave me a cold look, and my stomach turned violently. I felt like I was going to throw up.

"You were my best friend." I amended, before turning around and walking out of his room.

I walked quickly out of the house, feeling extremely embarrassed on top of everything else – I was quite sure that Carlisle and Esme had heard the whole thing, but when I passed them on my way out, they had nothing but sadness in their eyes.

I could barely look at them, and focussed instead on my feet, as I tripped clumsily towards the door.

Once outside, I only made it half way across the drive towards my car before sobs began to shudder through my body. I stopped and sank down onto the gravel in despair. Part of me was desperately sad. I'd lost my best friend to some skank. But an increasingly bigger part of me was angry, with him, but also with myself.

As I sat there, trembling in the cold air, two cars pulled up on the drive, and my best friends jumped out and ran towards me. I sighed in relief, I didn't feel like driving now.

I felt a pair of strong arms pick me up and deposit me in the back of Angela's car. I didn't open my eyes. I just let them take me home.

The next day, I was 'ill'. Alice, who always got her own way where Charlie was concerned, had phoned my father and told him that I'd come down with something while at her house last night, and as soon as Angela's parents had left for work, we changed back into our pyjamas. I wondered how Alice had gotten away with this with her parents, who were usually very strict about school attendance, but I quickly remembered that Esme had witnessed the whole scene, and had probably made a special allowance.

The night before, I had gone straight to bed, and as we feasted on the buttery toast Angela had prepared for us, I could feel their expectant gazes on me.

I focussed intently on my plate. "The toast's good..."

Alice snorted, "Come on Bella... We gave you your space last night, now tell us what happened."

I fiddled with the tie around my robe, knotting it and then unknotting it, as I thought of the best way to phrase what I had to say. I figured it would be better to get it over with, and took a deep breath, "I went to your house and Jessica was in Edward's room giving him a blow job and then she ran away and then I offered him one and then I cried and he thought I was drunk and then you came."

Angela, who had been standing by the toaster waiting for a second helping, came and sat down next to me, "You offered him what?"

"Erm... I offered him a blow job." My face went bright red, as I whispered those dreaded words again.

They just stared at me, completely stunned for a moment, before Ang spoke, "I don't know what to be more shocked about, the fact that you offered Edward Cullen a blow job, or the fact that he said no?"

I frowned, and her eyebrows shot up, "He did say no, right?"

I nodded, "Yes. Obviously. Why would he want me when he could have Jessica Stanley and her huge –"

"Bella." Alice interrupted me, "I know my brother, he would pick you over her a million times. He's just having a momentary lapse in judgement. I swear Bella, he loves you."

I rolled my eyes, "No he doesn't."

Angela looked at Alice dubiously, then turned back to me, "So, tell us the full story. How did you come to offer him a blow job?"

I blushed, but told them everything, describing in great detail the look of pure disgust and annoyance on his face throughout our interaction.

It didn't take me long to reach the end of my story, "I just ran out of there. He didn't even try to apologise. I mean, I know it sounds bad, but when I walked out, I half expected him to follow me, you know... To run after me and apologise and make everything go back to normal... But he didn't. I suppose he's just grown up. I mean, people outgrow each other, right?"

Angela frowned, "Bella. He did run after you... Who did you think carried you to the car?"

"That was Edward?" I asked, incredulously.

I looked at Alice for verification, and she nodded sadly.

I contemplated this for a moment, "I thought it was your dad."

A moment of silent passed, "It doesn't really change anything though..." They both looked sad, and I suddenly felt selfish, "Sorry. I know it's not just me though he's hurting, it's all of us. The group's not the same without him."

Alice nodded in agreement, "It's not."

The next day, I had to go back to school.

I had been dreading it. I was not only worried about seeing Edward, but about the sorts of rumours that Jessica would have spread all over school.

As I walked through the doors in the morning, I knew my worry had been justified, everyone was staring at me. I sighed, feeling my face turn red, and walked quickly towards my locker, keeping my head down.

I tried to keep a low profile for the rest of the day, and for the most part, Alice and Angie were compliant, walking the long way around to avoid potentially seeing Jessica after French class in the morning, and hiding out in the bathrooms when we saw Edward walking in our direction. However, when I suggested we ate lunch in my truck, the looks on both of their faces told me I'd gone too far.

Alice rolled her eyes dramatically, "No. Bella, you cannot avoid this forever. It's really not that bad, people will have forgotten by tomorrow. In fact, most people don't even know."

We both knew that was complete shit, but I followed her reluctantly, and got into the lunch line, keeping my eyes down at all times.

Although I did get a few stares, Alice was right, it wasn't that bad. At one point, Lauren Mallory, one of Jessica's little posse, looked like she was going to approach our table, but one scathing look from Jasper was all it took to scare her away.

As the end of lunch, and my impending Biology lesson drew near, I became more and more nervous. For a while, I very seriously considered skipping class, but I was too much of a goody-goody, and more importantly, I was way too scared of Charlie catching me, to do that.

So, when the bell rang, I shuffled reluctantly into Biology, sliding into my usual seat. Luckily, Edward was late, so there were no awkward silences while Mr Banner messed around with the ancient TV.

As he pressed play and turned out the lights, I began to relax slightly, Edward was a no show. I was safe.

The rest of the hour passed uneventfully, and when the bell rang I headed out for my truck; my last lesson was a free period, so I was free to go home and mope.

I pulled onto the drive, feeling slightly relieved to have made it home relatively unscathed, until I spied a figure wrapped in waterproofs standing on my doorstep.

I frowned, wondering who it could be... Someone waiting for my dad maybe?

As I cautiously got out of the car, the figure turned towards me and I realised it was Edward.

Shit.

I contemplated getting back into the car and driving over to Rosalie's, but I knew I couldn't run away from this forever, I had to face him sometime.

I tried to steady my voice before asking him, "What are you doing here?"

He shrugged, "I figured you'd skip Biology to avoid me so I came here... I guess you're braver than I gave you credit for."

I locked my truck and walked briskly over to the house, unlocking the door, and stepping inside. I turned back to look at him.

He was soaked from the rain, and I wanted to invite him in, but I knew it wasn't a good idea – I'd only make more of an ass of myself.

"What do you want?" I asked, trying to sound more confident than I felt.

He looked at me, "Can I come in?"

"No." I answered shortly, taking off my boots.

"Bella... Please? We need to talk about things." He pleaded.

I looked away from his eyes, knowing I'd crack quickly under his piercing gaze.

"Look at me." He commanded quietly.

I focussed intently on the zipper of my rain coat, undoing carefully and hanging it on the hooks on the porch wall.

"Bella?"

I shook my head, "There's nothing to talk about. We've grown apart. It's fine. It happens. I understand."

I took one last glance towards him; he looked defeated and sad.

I was pleased – now he knew how it felt – and I shut the door, turning, and walking purposefully into the house.

The moment I was out of site, I ran into the sitting room and peaked out of the window. He was still standing there in the rain, leaning his forehead against the wall. He stayed still for a few moments before kicking his foot against the brick in frustration, then turning and walking off to where his car was parked, a little way down the street.

I sighed, slightly annoyed at myself; I'd had the chance to forgive him, maybe even to get things back to how they were, and I'd ruined it. All because I was stubborn and mean.

I walked upstairs and dumped my bag on the floor of my room. I looked around hoping for a distraction, until my eyes settled on the Leonardo DiCaprio calendar that was stuck to my wall. It had been one of the many misguided presents that my grandma in Arizona had sent me at Christmas, and while I laughed it off as such around my friends, I was secretly pleased, he was certainly easy on the eyes.

I'd been putting off turning over the page from January to February for a few weeks now, because the January photo was particularly lovely, but I had a couple of dates to add on for this month, so I picked it up and flipped to the next page.

The next photo was just a lovely and I examined it for a good few moments before my gaze drifted down to the dates.

It quickly dawned on me that today was the 14th. How the fact had previously escaped me, I didn't know, but this explained why both Jasper and Alice, and Ben and Angela were going to Port Angeles tonight on dates.

I supposed it was the consequence of being single...

I'd never liked Valentine's Day. It wasn't really a holiday. Not like Christmas or Easter. At least those had some traditional and religious meaning... Valentine's Day was probably fun if you had someone to share it with, but for everyone else... It was just pure torment.

My phone beeped, revealing a text from Charlie to let me know he probably wouldn't be home tonight, there'd been a murder in a neighbouring town, and he'd be needed to help.

This was not an irregular occurrence – Charlie was somewhat of a workaholic. I didn't mind though, he's been the same way since I moved here from Phoenix for middle school, and I was used to it. In fact, I usually used it as an excuse to have everyone round for some drinks and a pizza, but obviously tonight, that wasn't going to happen.

Last Valentine's Day, Edward and I had hung out at his house while the others went out on dates, but obviously that wasn't going to happen either. I wondered what he was doing tonight - Taking Jessica Stanley out most probably.

I quickly stopped myself from thinking about that, hanging the calendar back up and heading into the bathroom. I washed the make-up off my face and changed into grey sweatpants and a flimsy purple camisole that Alice had bought for me, before heading downstairs.

I hated how silent the house was, and couldn't go two minutes without jumping out of my skin at the slightest noise, so I switched on the TV, tuning into a completely random channel, and proceeded to get on with some house work.

Having been out of the house for a couple of days, it needed some serious care. I found an abandoned cereal bowl in the sink, newspapers on the sitting room floor, even an empty ready meal carton still in the microwave.

By the time I was done with the downstairs, it was already dark, and I decided to leave the rest for another day. I sat down in front of the TV and tuned into MTV. Crappy reality shows were my weakness, and I had watched two reruns of The Hills and was into my second hour of 16 & Pregnant when someone knocked at the door.

I had ordered a small pizza to save having to cook for myself, so I grabbed my purse and began riffling through for a note. However, when I got to the door there was no one there – just a pink envelope lying on the door mat.

I picked it up and opened it.

The card was white with a picture of a big pink heart printed on the front. There was no message, so I opened it cautiously, I recognised the handwriting immediately.

It read:

Dear Bella,

I'm sorry about how I've behaved recently. I've been out of line. Really. I guess the whole football thing's gone to my head a bit – I've been so focussed on it, that it's taken over my life.

I swear to you, from now on I'm going to make more time for you, for all of you.

Please, forgive me?

I'm going to wait outside in my car for ten minutes, just in case you want me to come in... I'd like to spend this evening with you like we did last year.

Love,

Edward

P.S. Sorry about the card. It was the only one they had in the gas station.

I was thoroughly shocked. Was he serious? And more importantly, why was I so upset that it wasn't a real Valentine's Card?

I dithered for a moment over what to do. I wanted desperately to run out and call him in... But I knew it wasn't a good idea. He was probably doing this because Esme or Alice had made him, and... ugh.

I looked out of the window. Sure enough, there he was, sat in his Volvo at the end of my drive.

I was looking towards the house expectantly, glancing down at what I assumed was his watch or phone every few seconds.

The minutes were ticking by, and I had to make a decision.

With a small sigh, I pulled open the door and waved at him to come in.

He was down the drive in seconds, his arms wrapping me into a tight hug.

I slowly inhaled in his masculine scent as he whispered into my ear, "I'm so sorry Bella. You are my best friend."

I knew this should have made me happy, but I still couldn't escape the strange wave of discontent which washed over me when he said the word 'friend'. I shook the feeling, and smiled.

After that night, things returned to semi-normality.

Edward still didn't sit with us at lunch, and he wasn't really back in the group, but once or twice a month, he came out with us all, and more frequently, he came over to my house, and the two of us would watch a movie and order a pizza together.

I knew that Ali, Angela, Emmett and Ben were a little jealous. I saw him much more often than they did, excepting Alice of course, who saw him every day over breakfast, but I think they understood; they had each other – I only had Edward.

Things carried on like that for the rest of the year. I saw Edward once every few weeks, and in Biology, and reported all his news back to the group.

I knew first when he broke up with Jessica (I suspected that this had something to do with the fact that he spent Valentine's Day at my house instead of with her), and then later, I knew when he got together with Tanya, then Lauren, then Samantha and then later got to enjoy (with probably a little too much enthusiasm) all the gory details of the break ups.

And of course, it was not just Edward's gossip - I got the rest of that whole crowd's too. Finding out about, Lauren Mallory's genital herpes was particularly enjoyable.

However, despite these perks, I would have much preferred to have the old Edward back.

I had really believed that after our reconciliation, he would be brought right back into the fold, but in the end, he was too 'focussed on his football' to do that.

Not too focussed to meet Tanya's sister Kate for a quickie in the disabled bathrooms twice a week though – Oh yes. I knew about that too.

Still, I didn't say anything. I knew I couldn't have all of him, I just had to settle for whatever he gave me.


July 2008

Before I had time to blink, it was graduation. My mother and her baseball playing toy boy Phil had flown up from Jacksonville, and my grandma from Arizona had arrived that morning too. Due to the immense amount of school work and extra-curricular activities I had taken part in over the year, I was hoping to attend Harvard in the fall to study English Lit. Edward had already received an acceptance from MIT to study something about medicine and science that I didn't really understand.

Obviously, when I had had to decide between Harvard, Princeton and Yale, that hadn't influenced my decision at all...

When we had all received our diploma's, and Jasper had made his surprisingly interesting Valedictorian speech, I headed to dinner at the Lodge (Fork's answer to fine dining) with my parents and Phil and grandma...

It was appalling. Charlie and Phil spent the entire time glaring at each other, mom never shut up about why I didn't have a boyfriend, and grandma couldn't stop drooling over Edward who was sat with his family a few tables across.

"Isabella. Isn't that that nice boy that you're courting with?" She asked, for the third time in twenty minutes, pointing towards the Cullen's table.

"Gran, that's Edward. We're not courting. You met him last year..." And the year before that, and every other year you've been to visit me...

She sighed unhappily, "I just want some grandchildren... Is that so much to ask."

My mom rolled her eyes, "Great-grandchildren, mother. Bella is your grandchild."

Grandma glared, "That's what I meant. And don't I know it. You didn't give me any chance to want for grandchildren... You were knocked up at 18."

"Grandma... I'm 18 now too." I said, barely paying attention to the conversation, my gaze had wondered over to Edward, who was busily tucking into a huge steak.

A moment later, he looked and caught my eyes, grinning happily. I smiled back then looked away quickly, embarrassed at being caught.

I turned back to the conversation at my table just in time to hear grandma say, "Well. It's not the same. Isabella's a responsible girl. And that boy over there..." She pointed towards Edward, "What's his name?"

"Edward." I answered.

"Yes. Edmund. He seems sensible. Not like you Charles."

My dad blushed, and concentrated intently on his food.

My mom sighed, "Mother. Please, can we not talk about it now?"

"Well, Renée. There's no time like the present, you've never been good with men, and you obviously haven't learnt from your mistakes..." My grandma stated, with a glare towards Phil.

"What is that supposed to mean?" My mom asked, beginning to raise her voice.

I could feel the beginnings of a loud, public family domestic stirring, so I quickly excused myself and ran to hide in the bathrooms.

Unfortunately, I had to abandon that plan when I saw the huge line of women waiting in the hall. I sighed, and made my way outside instead, grabbing my coat from the cloakroom on the way.

A little way outside of the restaurant there was a low wall, so I made my way towards it and sat down.

Even though it was July, the wind was still cold in Forks, and I pulled my coat tighter around me. I was contemplating the pleasant possibility that perhaps I'd been adopted when I heard footsteps approaching.

I turned to find Edward sitting down next to me, an amused grin on his face, "I didn't want to be the one to tell you this but your grandma and your mom and currently screaming at each other across the table. It's quite funny really."

I blushed, then scowled at him, "It's not. You should try being related to them..."

He laughed, "That's alright. I've got Alice. She's enough to contend with, thank you."

He paused for a moment, "Are you ok? I mean, it's not that bad. My mom was just going over to diffuse the situation when I left. I'm sure it's fine now..."

He didn't sound like he believed it.

I smiled weakly, "I'm fine. Really."

He nodded, "Are you going to Tyler's later?"

"Yeah... As soon as I can get away from that..." I motioned in the general direction of the restaurant.

"Ah... Let me take care of that..." He winked at me conspiratorially before jogging beck inside.

He returned moments later with my bag in hand. "Let's go."

I followed him to his car, confused, "How did you do that?"

He laughed, "I told your grandma I was taking you to a party. When your dad tried to protest she practically beat him around the head with her bag."

I grinned, "She loves you."

"I know." He replied as he opened my door for me, then scooted around to jump into the driver's seat next to me, "I heard... She wants us to have children..."

I turned bright red, "You heard that, then?"

He nodded, "Oh yes..."

Ground, please swallow me up?

Edward pulled up outside my house, and I ran in to change quickly. Alice had already decided on my outfit for me, as usual, and all I had to do was slip it on. For once, she hadn't gone to over the top. It was a dark blue, short, chiffon thing, with a silk bow tied around the waist. Had I seen it on the hanger, I would have said it was a bit young for me, but actually, it looked fairly sophisticated.

For the first time in a while, I felt a bit better about myself.

I pulled on the blue heels she had picked for me reluctantly, but decided not to complain. Once people were drunk enough, I could take them off and no one would notice.

When I returned to the car, I was feeling much more confident. As I slid into the passenger seat, I surreptitiously watched Edward's expression. His eyes raked up and down me, and he looked... Well, I couldn't really interpret his expression, but I took it as a good sign.

My heart sped up under his gaze, and I focussed on not blushing as much as possible.

He was silent for the rest of the night, but every now and then, I would catch him glancing towards my legs.

I crossed them, and then uncrossed them, in a manner that I hoped was sexy, and watched his knuckles turn white as he gripped the wheel tighter.

I was thoroughly enjoying this. I'd never had this effect on a boy before. Let alone someone like Edward...

All too soon, we arrived at Tyler's, and my little game was interrupted. I got out of the car slowly, then followed Edward to the front door.

As we waited for someone to answer, Edward glanced at me once more, "Are you looking forward to this?"

I shrugged, "Meh. It'll be fun until people get too drunk I guess... I'm not really a partier."

He smiled, "Nor me. It's the last big thing though... I suppose attendance is mandatory."

I nodded, "Yeah. Are you drinking?"

"Nah. I'm driving home later. Find me when you want to leave, by the way, and I'll drop you home."

Just then, Tyler threw the door open, "Cullen!" They performed some strange hand touch/hug thing, before he turned to me, looking me up and down appreciatively, "Bella... Looking fly..."

I rolled my eyes, "Hi Tyler."

He stumbled away, leaving us to handle our own coats and such. I turned back around, after dropping my bag under some coats, preparing a witty comment about Tyler's alcohol consumption, only to realise that Edward had been stolen. Mike and some other football players I didn't recognise had grabbed him and dragged him across the crowded sitting room, which had been conveniently transformed into a mostly unconvincing dance floor. He caught my eyes and gave me a helpless sort of 'sorry' look, before turning his attention back to his friends.

I sighed, and made my way through the house, on the lookout for my friends.

I knew exactly where they would be, and sure enough, I quickly spotted Alice, Ange, Jazz and Ben standing next to the kitchen counter where Tyler, or maybe Tyler's mom, who seemed to have no issue with underage drinking, had stacked up bottles of wine and beer.

As soon as she saw me, Angela handed me a shot glass filled with an orange coloured liquid. "What the hell is this?" I asked, examining it.

She shrugged, "No idea. We found it. It kind of tastes like cherry coke and vodka."

Ben rolled his eyes, "It's one of those cheap liquor bottles that you get in all the colours..."

I nodded, smelling it quickly before knocking it back. "Ugh. That's disgusting."

I made a face and grabbed Alice's wine, taking a large gulp to wash away the taste.

Jasper grinned, "Here! Try the green one!"

I shook my head, "No thank you..."

Alice shook her head wildly, "NOO! Seriously. The green is nicer."

She handed me the glass and I quickly swallowed it, nodding, "Mm. Apple. Still a bit sickly. But you're right. The green is much nicer."

She handed me another one, and within half an hour, I had more than caught them up. After an hour or so, we stumbled back into the living room. The house was teaming with people, and it seemed like they were mostly all in here, dancing.

Alice grabbed our hands and dragged us to the centre of the crowd. The three of us began to sort of half dance/half prop each other up.

The various colourful shots had left me with a real buzz, so although I usually belonged to the stand-still-and-sway school of dancing, tonight, I threw my arms in the air and shook my hips wildly. A fast, dance-y track was playing. I didn't remember the name, but it was definitely sung by Shakira, I recognised her voice.

I stumbled slightly, and caught hold of Ange's shoulder. She was singing loudly and doing her best Shakira impression, thrusting her hips towards me. I regretted having forgotten my camera...

I laughed, and lost my balance even more, nearly falling. Luckily, Alice caught me, and pulled me back up. I threw my arm around her and leaned down to speak into her ear over the loud music, "Thanks!"

She just grinned. I decided that right about now would be a good time to grab a glass of water and sit down, I didn't want to make an ass of myself later in front of Edward...

I squeezed through the crowd of drunken dancers, finally making my way into the kitchen. I glanced around, surprised to find that it was empty, and poured some tap water into a paper cup.

I swallowed the water in one big gulp, then chucked the cup onto the counter behind me. I was hot and sweaty still from dancing, and my panties were sticking to my ass uncomfortably. Seriously regretting having worn a pair of boy-shorts, I slid my hand under my dress quickly and snapped them away from my skin a couple of times, trying to create a bit of airflow.

I sighed with relief as the cool air touched my skin, and began to relax a little.

Suddenly, and to my utter mortification, I heard someone clear their throat behind me.

I knew exactly who it would be. With my face bright red, I turned around slowly to come face to face with Edward. He was standing a few metres away from me, leaning against the refrigerator, smirking sexily.

Did I just describe Edward's smile as sexy?

I internally slapped myself. He's your friend Swan. Don't forget it.

I looked at my feet and tried, unsuccessfully, to explain... "Erm... I was dancing. And well, it's warm, and my ass got really hot, and erm... yeah..."

He nodded, obviously trying to suppress a laugh, "Right. Of course... That happens. I understand."

Quick... Change the subject...

"So... Are you having fun?" I asked.

He shrugged, "I guess." He didn't sound too convinced of this, "You?"

I thought for a moment, "I am now. With you..."

My internal self started to develop a bruise as I slapped her for a second time. I had no idea what was coming over me, but involuntary thoughts I'd started getting about Edward were beginning to seriously stress me out.

"I mean... I don't really like crowds. This is much easier."

This was, of course, a complete lie. Being with him alone had become nerve-wracking and generally terrifying. I wasn't sure when this had happened, because I remembered a time when being with Edward was just like being with Alice or Angie, but something had changed. There was a different energy between us.

I felt his eyes on mine, and it was a real effort to look away from him. Finally, after a long minute, I managed to pull away from his gaze.

I looked down and became very aware that I was still wearing Alice's stupid death traps, and that my feet were absolutely killing me. "Erm... Do you mind if I take these off? They're killing me."

He shrugged, his lips still pressed together, still holding back his laughter, I suspected.

I carried on regardless, steadying myself with one hand on the counter and using the other to try and reach down and unhook the clasps. However, the stupid things were attached, and it was much more complicated than I had anticipated.

Just for a second, I forgot that I was balancing precariously on heels the size of toothpicks, and lifted one foot off the floor in an attempt to get closer to the other. Unfortunately, that was all it took to unbalance me. My ankle sort of twisted to one side and the cold stone kitchen floor rushed towards my face.

I closed my eyes and held out my hands to try and soften the impact.

When I reopened my eyes, it took me a good few seconds to figure out where I was.

Definitely not the kitchen. That was for sure... I tried to remember what had happened but came up blank.

I was lying down. But not on a bed, in the back seat of a car. A moving car.

Shit.

I tried to sit up, but my head was spinning and I was forced back down. I took a deep breath and tried again, this time, more successfully. I slowly looked around me trying not to panic.

However, I breathed a sigh of relief as I recognised the wild coppery auburn hair of the driver.

"Where are we going?" I asked, looking out of the window and trying to decipher where we were.

"The hospital." He replied, glancing at my in his mirror.

"Oh..." I let this sink in for a moment, "I fell over right?"

He nodded, "Trying to take your shoes off. Remember?"

I did. "Oh dear."

My face flushed and I wondered if he'd gotten an eyeful of my ass when I fell. Unfortunately, due to the large amount of alcohol which was still in my system, my brain-mouth filter was switched off, and I heard myself voice this concern out loud.

The words hung in the air. Oh Fuck. Bella... Did you really just ask that?

He was silent for a moment, then began to laugh - I took that as a good sign.

"No. I saw nothing. But you hit your head quite hard..."

I reached up and felt the back of my head, and sure enough, I had developed quite a lump. I sighed, "We don't need to go to hospital. I'm fine really."

I watched through the mirror as he rolled his eyes at me, "You were unconscious for more than 5 minutes. Trust me. You're going."

He was right. Despite my protests, we pulled up outside Forks's small hospital 10 minutes later, and he literally dragged me inside.

Luckily, Alice and his Dad, Carlisle, was on duty, and was able to see me quickly without too much fuss.

After groping the back of my head and shining various lights into my eyes for 15 minutes, it was decided that I had a minor concussion, but was free to go with just one stipulation. "Now, Bella, when you get home, I need you to stay awake for at least 3 hours, and drink lots of fluids." Carlisle informed me, then turned to Edward, "Take her back to our house, and keep her drinking."

We both nodded, and another 15 minutes later, we pulled up outside Edward and Alice's house.

We stopped off in the kitchen and grabbed a couple of bottles of water, then headed up to Edward's room, being careful not to wake Esme, who was asleep upstairs.

As we passed by the door of Alice's room, I suddenly realised that I hadn't told her I was leaving. They were probably panicking by now.

"Shit... Edward, could I use your phone, I think I left mine in the car, and I need to text Alice and Angie and tell them where I am."

He smiled gently, "Already did it, don't worry."

I relaxed, and followed him into his room. I sat down on the edge of the bed and he poured one of the bottles into a glass, leaving the other one on his night stand.

He passed me the glass, then sat next to me. I was super-aware of the fact that the outer edges of our thighs were touching, however, I focussed on chugging down the glass of water instead. It was much safer ground - Our situation really didn't need to get any more complicated than it already was.

I stood slowly, and replaced the glass on his night stand. When I sat back down, I put a little distance between us, but sat with one foot tucked under me on the bed, and the other on the floor so that I could see his face properly.

He smiled at me, "How's your head?"

I shrugged, "Not too bad."

He frowned, "Are you sure...? You took quite a spill."

"Honest. I've had worse." I tried to reassure him.

"That's what worries me... You're so accident prone. What'll happen when I'm not here to pick you up, hey?" He smiled and brushed a stray strand of hair back from my face. I knew he wasn't being overly serious, but still, there was concern in his voice, and rightly so.

To say that I was accident prone was a mild understatement. And it was usually Edward who ended up carting me off to the hospital and looking after me.

"I don't know. I suppose I'll have to pick myself up." I replied, sad at the prospect of being separated from him.

"Bella," He gently stroked my cheek, "I'll never be too far away. We'll be in the same city. And we may not see each other every day... But I'll only be a phone call away."

I nodded, "I know. It's just strange. We've all been so close for so long. It'll be weird to be alone."

"You won't be alone. You'll make new friends. We all will." He reassured me. I was hyper aware that he was still touching my cheek... "Bella..." He paused for a moment, and seemed to be struggling to find his words, "I'm really sorry... About everything. I wish I'd spent these last few months with you guys. I've been stupid."

I nodded, not bothering to sugar coat it, "You have..." His cheeks reddened a little, and my heart melted slightly, "But we still love you."

His eyes never left mine, and I could feel him lean towards me slowly... It felt like one of those moments you read about in books, that moment just before the big kiss. But I knew better than to get my hopes up. Edward was just a friend. Sometimes not even that anymore.

But then he was closer still, and I closed my eyes slowly, and I could feel his warm breath on my cheek, and then our lips met.

I was completely thrown. I never thought in a million years that I'd find myself doing this with Edward Cullen. I never thought I want to do this.

But as his lips, and then his tongue, gently caressed mine, it felt like I'd never wanted anything or anyone more than I did now.

I sighed and moved closer to him, sliding my hands around his neck.

His finger which had been gently resting on my knee moved up to grip my thigh tightly. He pulled me closer still, manoeuvring me onto his lap, when suddenly there was a bang behind us.

We jumped apart quickly, just in time to look natural as his bedroom door swung open and Alice and Angela rushed in.

"Bella, are you ok!" Alice grasped my hands and pulled me up off the bed, "Edward said you had to go to hospital. What happened? It wasn't the shoes was it? I'm so sorry Bella. Honestly... I didn't think."

She had tears in her eyes as she held out a pack of Tylenol and a bottle of water. "We bought you these and a couple of films. Come on, we'll stay up all night with you. It'll be fun!"

I didn't have the heart, or the choice, to say no, as she was already pulling me out of the room. I took one last look behind me, to see Edward sat on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands. I mentally willed him to look up at me, so that he could see I didn't really want to leave him.

But he didn't, and soon he had disappeared around the corner and was replaced with the pink hue of Alice's wall paper.


September 2008

"Ok Bella... It's time to go. You got everything, yeah? Passport? Tickets?" Charlie fretted as we stood in the crowded departure hall of Seattle Airport.

I nodded, "Dad, don't worry. I've got it."

Not wanting to draw out the goodbye and make it any harder, I quickly gave him a hug, "I'll call as soon as I'm there, and I'll be back for Christmas."

He nodded, "I know. I know... Just look after yourself. Love you, kid."

I smiled, knowing this was a big thing for him to say, he wasn't the emotional type, "Love you too Dad."

I quickly turned and walked towards the security queue before he could see the tears welling in my eyes. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of auburn hair, and recognised Edward, standing saying his goodbyes with Carlisle, Esme and Alice, who didn't leave for another few days. We had already said our goodbyes, and I had no desire to repeat the scene that had ensued, so I avoided them, dodging into the furthest line I could see. Once was hard enough.

It made sense that Edward would be on the same flight as me. Alice had informed me that he would be starting college the day after me, and there were only a couple of flights per week.

I should have been expecting it. But I wasn't, and seeing him shocked me.

Since graduation night, I'd hardly seen him. In fact, I'd made a point of avoiding him. Everything was just too awkward after that kiss. And I knew it had just been a mistake. He'd had plenty of chance to seek me out and talk to me since then, but he hadn't.

And that said it all really.

I eventually got through security, the headed for Starbucks while I waited for them to call my flight for boarding. I didn't see Edward again until I was descending the steps of the plane in Boston.

He was well ahead of me, and had obviously been at the other end of the plane. I continued my well practiced plan of avoidance. However, as I stood by the luggage conveyor belt waiting for your bag, I felt a hand touch my shoulder, and the jolt of electricity I felt course through my body told me it was him.

I turned around slowly and braced myself.

He was heart stoppingly gorgeous.

"It's a small world after all, hey?" He joked.

"Hi." I replied lamely.

"Alice told me you started about the same time as me. You nervous?"

I shrugged noncommittally, "Yeah. I guess. I'll miss Charlie." And you.

He nodded, "Yeah same. Well, I won't miss your dad. I mean I'll miss mine. And my mom. Well, you know what I mean."

I giggled a little, acutely aware that I sounded like a ten year old, "I know what you mean."

He blushed a little then grinned, and my already frantic heart beat sped up.

My attention was distracted away from him momentarily as my bag passed on the belt. "Oh! Shit! That's mine." I began to scramble after it but he beat me to it, taking a few quick steps and swinging it onto my trolley as if it weighed nothing, when I knew it was immensely heavy, packed full of my books and shoes.

The other bag, this one containing my clothes, arrived soon after, and Edward once again lifted it off for me.

I waited while he grabbed his own luggage, and we made our way out of the airport together.

"Do you know where your dorms are? Want me to come with you to carry those? They're pretty heavy." He offered, motioning towards my bags.

As tempting as that was, he had his own stuff to sort, so I politely refused his offer, telling him I'd get the cab driver to help.

He frowned, "Ok. But if you need anything, call me, yeah?"

I nodded, "I will."

"Good, we'll get together next week to catch up?"

I nodded eagerly, probably too eagerly, but he didn't seem to mind.

We parted ways, and I hailed a cab, quickly giving him the address I'd been sent in the post a few weeks ago. I sat down in the taxi, and sighed, allowing myself to relax into the seat.

I tried to look out of the window and take in my new surroundings, but my mind kept wandering back to Edward and his perfect crooked grin...


December 2008

I looked at the cheap plastic clock hung on the wall of my dorm. It was 6:45, Edward would be here in 15 minutes, and the place was still a complete mess.

My roommate, Rosalie, was a complete slob.

You wouldn't have guessed it to look at her. She was always dressed immaculately, and I'd never seen her with so much as a hair out of place.

I contemplated the irony of this as I gingerly picked up her dirty underwear from our bathroom floor.

As messy as our room was, I wouldn't swap Rose for all the tea in China – I'd heard enough horror stories about other people's roommates from hell to know that Rose was an angel in comparison.

In the few months we'd been here, we'd grown close. She, and her boyfriend, Emmett, a mechanic who'd found a job locally to be near her, came from a small town in Kentucky, so she knew exactly what it felt like to be unsure and scared of a big city like Boston.

She understood the whole Edward saga – it had come out one night when she encountered him in the hall as he was leaving after one of our movie nights a few weeks ago and had begged me for details about our relationship. Or lack thereof.

Because of that, she had kindly removed herself to Emmett's apartment for the night to give us some space.

Edward was coming over for our usual film night, and would then be staying the night before we headed to the airport early tomorrow to catch a flight home for Christmas. His dorm contract stipulated that he had to be out for a full two weeks at Christmas so they could be used for foreign students who had no way of getting home, and today they had been turned over, however, he had to wait till tomorrow for a flight, so I had offered him Rose's bed to save him having to get a hotel room.

Although in fact, he would have to sleep in my bed, as Rose's was so full of crumbs and wrappers and god knows what that it would be embarrassing to let him anywhere near it.

There was a loud knock at the door just as I threw the last armful of dirty laundry into Rose's room.

Shit.

My quick dash across to the door turned into more of a glide as my socks slid against the wooden floor, propelling me forwards. My body connected with the door with a resounding crack, and I rebounded backwards, landing on the floor.

I groaned as I stood up and rubbed my ass. I'd have a bruise there later.

I opened the door reluctantly, anticipating the smug look on Edward's face.

I rolled my eyes when I saw him, standing with his arms crossed over his chest, wearing, as expected, the smuggest smirk in smug smirk land.

"Good trip?" He asked, walking casually past me and into the room.

"Fantastic." I bit back sarcastically.

"Anything broken?" He quickly looked me up and down.

I shook my head. Obviously deciding I was fine, he collapsed onto the sofa, holding out a pizza box towards me, "I got food. But it's fucking freezing out there, so it might be cold. Stick it in the microwave for 20 seconds or something?"

I laughed, "I'm beginning to get more of an insight into your life Edward... Do you ever eat without the use of a take away menu or the microwave?"

He looked offended, "Yes!"

I cocked an eyebrow, "When?"

"You don't need a take away menu or a microwave to pour cereals." He replied with a smug but slightly childish grin on his face.

I grabbed the pizza and reheated it in the oven for a few minutes, then returned to Edward. I lazily deposited the pizza on the table before slouching onto the couch next to him and turning on the TV.

I grabbed a slice for myself and handed one to him, "What do you want to do then?"

He looked at his watch and then at the TV screen, an excited grin spreading across his face, "Well, there's this documentary on the discovery channel about Louis Pasteur, and I thought that maybe we could watch it, I mean, you don't have to watch all of it but-"

I threw the remote at his, effectively shutting him up. "Watch whatever you want, I'll go and get some beers..." I watched as his dropped some of the cheese from his pizza slice onto his lap, "And maybe some napkins."

He grinned, "Oh Bella, it's such a shame we don't live in the 50's... You would have made an excellent housewife..."

I slapped him playfully round the head, then grabbed a pillow from the old armchair that sat in the corner of the room (a hand-me-down from Rose's grandmother) and snuggled down on my end of the couch, preparing myself for an hour of boredom.

By the time the stupid program was finished, the pizza box was lying empty on the coffee table, along with 7 beer bottles, none of which contained a single drop.

I sighed and collected them up in my arms, Edward made no move to help me, so I didn't bother offering to bring him another one.

He scowled when I returned, but I just shrugged, "Get your own, you lazy ass. I swear you spend too much time with Emmett."

This was worryingly true – Edward had arrived at my dorm as promised for a catch up a week after we'd arrived, only to be greeted by Emmett who was setting up our TV while Rose and I were out shopping.

Buy the time we got back three hours later, they had emptied our fridge of both food and alcohol, and had declared themselves BFF's.

It was good in some respects – the four of us went out together quite often, but sometimes, there would just be an awkward moment, usually when Rose and Emmett were making gooey eyes at each other, when I really did not know where to look.

Sometimes it felt like we were a couple, but his obviously uncomfortable demeanour in said situations made it clear that nothing could be further from the truth.

He reluctantly got up and slouched into our small kitchen, playfully kicking me in the ankle on the way past. I rolled my eyes and grabbed the remote, bouncing through the channels quickly to find something good to watch.

I hit the jackpot as Hugh Grant's face appeared, walking into 10 Downing Street to meet his staff in the opening scenes of Love Actually – one of my favourite films of all time.

Edward reappeared moments later, "I am not watching this shit. No way... Find something else..."

He tried to snatch the remote, by I gripped it tightly to my stomach and turned the other way, "No chance Eddie..." He scowled at the nickname, "I had to watch your shitty program, now shut up."

He sighed but sat down next to me anyway, taking a swig of his beer.

We watched the rest of the film mostly in silence, except for Edward's occasional annoyed sighs and gagging noises whenever something romantic happened.

As the ending credits rolled I stood up and took the empties into the kitchen, when I returned, Edward was asleep on the couch. I thought about leaving him – he looked so peaceful – but I knew his back and neck wouldn't thank me for it in the morning, so I gently shook him awake.

He opened his eyes and growled, "Let me sleep..."

I rolled my eyes, "You can sleep, I won't stop you, just trust me – don't do it on the couch, you'll pay for it in the morning."

He stood slowly and started walking towards Rose's room.

I coughed slightly, "Erm... I'd actually rather you can slept in my bed."

I eyebrow shot up, and he smirked.

"Not like that. Perv. I meant I'll go in Rose's, because her rooms a bit... messy."

He shrugged, "If you're sure. I don't want to kick you out of your bed."

I shook my head, "Honest. It's fine."

He nodded and began to cross back over the room towards my door. I turned sideways and backed up against the couch to let him squeeze between me and the coffee table. As he passed me, the whole of his body pressed against mine, and I had to fight to hold in a small sigh.

He stopped and enveloped me into a big hug, before pulling back and looking at me, "Good night then..."

"Yeah..." I responded, slightly dazzled by his green eyes which were currently burning into my own, "Good night."

He paused for a moment, our eyes still locked. I could feel his hand still on my arm from when he'd hugged me.

He placed his other hand on my neck, and took a deep breath, "Thanks for having me here tonight. I appreciate it."

"Yeah." I seemed to have lost the ability to speak coherently, "Erm... It's ok. I mean, it's nothing. Well, it's not nothing it's something but I mean it was no trouble."

Oh fuck. Once again, I mentally slapped myself. Now he really thinks you're a spazz.

He grinned slightly, and walked quickly away into my room, the moment completely dead.

Well done, Bella.

I sighed, frustrated, and switched off the lights, before going into Rose's room and pulling on some pyjamas. I didn't bother to brush my teeth or hair, instead just climbing straight into bed.

I stretched my legs out, forgetting momentarily where I was, and my foot touched something small and rubbery at the bottom of the bed.

I clapped my hand over my mouth to keep from squealing, and pulled my knees up to my chest. I was going to murder Rosalie for this when I got back after break.

As I lay there trying to forget where I was for long enough to sleep, I thought about Edward. Had he been about to kiss me then? Or was that just my over active imagination.

I only saw him once during my 10 day vacation in Forks – in the Thriftway on Christmas eve. Our entire conversation lasted about 3 minutes total, and mostly consisted of planning our return to the airport in Seattle for our flight home, but still, I analyzed the whole thing like a 12 year old.

I was pathetic. Every time I went out in Forks, I was constantly on alert, hoping for just the briefest glance of his red hair.

Unfortunately, I didn't see him again until we were piling our bags back into Carlisle's car on our last day. Edward's father had kindly offered to drive us to Seattle, Charlie had wanted to take me, but I had quickly persuaded him that it would be silly to take two cars all that way.

I felt bad not spending that extra time with him when I so rarely saw him these days, but I was so desperate to spend the extra time with Edward, that the guilt was pushed to the back of my mind.

I spent the entire journey back to Boston in an Edward induced haze. I didn't understand why I'd never felt like this around him before. I'd spent years fearlessly bantering with him until now, and suddenly, I was scared shitless to even open my mouth.

The car ride went quickly – Carlisle filled up most of the time with questions about how I was finding life at Harvard. Unfortunately, as soon as I could begin to relax, we were at the airport, and I was alone with Edward again. I tried to make a coherent conversation with him as we checked our bags and waiting for the flight to be called, but we quickly lapsed into silence.

Fortunately, it wasn't one of those awkward silences I'd become so used to living with Charlie – it was much more natural. I didn't feel like I had to speak to fill the pause.

The plane journey wasn't so bad either. We bitched about the other passengers for a while, and then I tuned into a film as Edward had fallen asleep.

Much more confident in our surroundings now, when we arrived at the airport, we both took the subway into the city centre, then switched trains to get home. Edward's stop was just a couple before mine, and I cherished the last opportunity I would have to see him for a few weeks, or maybe even months.

Our friendship had become somewhat sporadic. Sometimes, I'd see him three times in a week, others, I wouldn't see him for two months. I'd seen him more frequently since he'd palled up with Emmett, because the four of us went out occasionally. That had been ok then... But things were changing. Or maybe I was changing. Sporadic wasn't enough for me anymore.

I needed to take some initiative...

I took a deep breath, "Hey-"

He interrupted me, nervously fidgeting with the edge of his shirt, "I was wondering, err... do you want to come round later? Or well, now? I mean, I can cook, because my roommate's been here over the holidays so we've got loads of food and I know Rose and Em went home so you've probably got nothing in the fridge."

He motioned to the station we were just pulling into, and I was shocked to see the big sign that said 'MIT' stuck on the wall. The journey had gone really fast.

I didn't have to think to respond, "Yes! Just, let me go home and drop my bags and freshen up first."

He nodded and grinned, and my insides melted as I watched him jog off the train and up onto the street.

Had his ass always looked that good?

Fuck...

It was at this point that I realised that there was something seriously wrong with me - I'd become mentally unhinged.

Throughout January, I saw Edward more than I ever had since before our falling out in high school. I was almost worried that he might get fed up with me, but he never did. In fact, more often than not, it was him who made the effort to call or visit me, rather than the other way around.

Unfortunately, Edward had some project thing on for the first few weeks of February, so I hadn't seen him for a while.

Withdrawal symptoms were starting to take hold.

I was becoming more and more pathetic by the day.


February 2009

I was sat on the couch with the music channel on the TV, sort of half reading a book for my latest assignment, and half watching Lady Gaga dry hump a random guy.

I sighed and threw the book on the floor. "I hate this fucking book."

Rose laughed from her seat at the table across the room, "I hate this fucking song."

I flicked the TV off, "Yeah... Me too. I need to get out."

She shrugged, "Go out then."

I rolled my eyes, "Thanks Rose. Helpful. What are you doing later? Want to go to a bar or something?"

She looked up from the papers she was reading through, "You're shitting me. What's wrong? Seriously, I've never ever heard you actually volunteer to go out before..."

"Fuck off. I'm just bored... So? Are you free or not?"

It was her turn to roll her eyes, "Looked at a calendar recently?"

I just stared at her, clueless.

She laughed, "It's valentine's day, you ass."

"Ooooh...!" Of course it was. "Sorry. I totally forgot... Never mind. I'll just rent a movie or something."

"Sorry... Me and Em are going out for sushi, then back to his place..." She grinned and wiggled her eyebrows. "Isn't Edward free?"

"Ew. Didn't need to know that... No, he's doing some project thing." I shrugged. "He's rushed off his feet apparently."

She nodded, "Yeah, I forgot that, Emmett mentioned it."

I picked the book up again, glaring at it, before reluctantly turning to my page and continuing to read.

I didn't get very far. After reading the same sentence over and over for about 20 minutes, I finally gave up. "Fuck it." I said, throwing it back down on the floor, "I can't focus. I need some air. I'm going to go down to the shop on the corner, we need some butter anyway."

Rose nodded, "Ok. Grab me a can of coke and a candy bar? Or anything with sugar in really."

I agreed, and grabbed my coat, "I'll be back in 10."

I walked briskly down the street, pulling my coat up around my ears to protect them from the biting cold.

I practically ran into the shop, sighing in relief as I was enveloped by the warm air being pumped in from two little storage heaters in the corner.

It wasn't the most... sophisticated of shops, and it took me a good while to hunt around the crowded shelves to find the butter, but it was quite handy. Despite its small size, they literally sold everything.

I finally found the butter, then grabbed a six pack of coke and a couple of Kit Kat bars before paying and leaving the shop.

The cold wind whipped straight through me, and once again I found myself almost running back to our building.

So much for wanting some air...

As I swiped my ID card on the door and headed inside, I noticed a pink envelope sticking out of mine and Rose's mail box.

Assuming it was a Valentine's card from one of Rose's many admirers, I grabbed it quickly and stuffed it into the oversized pockets in my trench coat.

It wasn't until I pulled it out as I opened the door to our dorm that I realised that it was in fact addressed to me.

I recognised the handwriting immediately.

Edward.

It had to be a Valentine's Day card. That was too much of a coincidence otherwise, and why else would he be sending me something? It had no address on, which meant that he'd been here himself to put it in the box, and yet, I hadn't noticed it while I was on my way out...

I frowned and sat down opposite Rose, passing her the chocolate and breaking two cans out of the packet.

She glanced at the card, "What's that?"

I shrugged, "No idea. A Valentine's Card I guess... But, it's Edward's handwriting."

Her eyes lit up, "Really? Are you sure?"

I nodded, "Quite. How many teenage boys write like that...?"

I held the card up and she nodded, "Fair point. Do you think it's like... his way of telling you?"

I raised an eyebrow, "Of telling me what?"

"That he's into you or something?"

I snorted, "I doubt that..."

"Why not? I mean... It would make sense. You guys have been spending loads of time together recently. He texts and calls you all the time too. Maybe he likes you?"

I didn't like to admit these things. Usually I was only setting myself up for disappointment, but she did have a point...

We had gotten really close recently. I turned the envelope over a couple of times, nervously preparing myself to open it.

What would happen if he did say that he liked me? Should I go over there? Would I have to wait until his project was done? What if it didn't work out? Would we still be friends?

I was becoming more and more panicked by the second. Rose, seeing this, kicked me under the table. "Just open the damn thing. Deal with what it says afterwards."

I nodded, "Ok."

With trembling hands I tore open the envelope. I sucked in a breath as I was confronted with a card almost exactly the same as the one I'd received this time last year. I flipped it open, and scanned the neat writing that filled the inside:

Happy Valentine's Day Bella

In true Edward & Bella tradition, when I thought about telling you what I'm about to say, I could only imagine one way to do it.

My actions still haunt me when I think back to last year. And I really wanted to reaffirm what I've already said – I'm very sorry. My main regret in life so far is that I didn't get to spend my last months of high school surrounded by my best friends.

I hope you'll agree that I've re-evaluated my priorities since then. Which bring me to my next point –

I just want to make sure you know how much I love you, and how much I appreciate our friendship. You are my best friend, you always have been.

I also wanted to apologise for not being able to attend our annual Valentine's Day movie night. We'll recreate it one night next week? I promise!

Edward x

I banged my head against the table and threw the card at Rose. I raised my eyes, watching her excited expression fade into disappointment and then annoyance as she read through it.

She dropped it onto the table and scoffed "Coward."

I raised an eyebrow, "Why?"

She eyed me up for a moment, as though trying to figure out what I was thinking, before finally speaking, "Well, I know that he likes you."

I opened my mouth to protest against this, but she silenced me with a flick of her wrist, "I know. I can see it. So can everyone... Well, except you, apparently. He just hasn't got the balls to tell you."

I shrugged her off, not believing her for a second, but not wanting to argue with her over it.

She dropped the subject there, obviously, like me, not wanting to push the matter any further. I pulled an assignment of my own out, and we continued to work in companionable silence until she eventually got up to get ready for her evening with Emmett.


February 2010

"So, Bella... How's my brother?"

I rolled my eyes, "You tell me?"

Alice sighed, "Don't roll your eyes at me, you know full well that you see and speak to him more often than I do these days."

"How did you know I was rolling my eyes?" I asked, defensively.

"You didn't answer my question. And you're too predictable, I can imagine your exact expression." She giggled.

"Weirdo." I said, as I weaved in and out of the people lingering on the side walk. "Hang on. Let me just get into Starbucks and order a drink, then I'll call you back, ok?"

She sighed, "Fine. But then, you'll tell me everything?"

"Yes. Yes. Fine."

She squealed then hung up. I made my way to the counter and I ordered a hot chocolate and a blueberry muffin.

I collected and paid for my order before finding a comfy seat near the window from which I could ring Alice back.

She answered the phone on the first ring, "Ok. Spill?"

"There's nothing to spill." I said calmly, hoping she would back off a little.

She didn't. "Whatever Bella. I know there's something going on with you two."

I rolled my eyes, again, "No Alice. There isn't. Why would you even think that?" Although I missed being able to share all of my secrets with her, I knew I couldn't tell her how much I wanted that statement to not be true. Only Rosalie really knew the full extent of my feelings for Edward.

I had spent months denying what I felt, but the more time I spent with him (and we now saw each other nearly every day), the more time I wanted to spend with him.

With hindsight, I knew I had always felt this way, but it had taken me a long time, and a lot of coaxing on Rose's part, for me to properly admit it. It was still pointless though, he definitely didn't see me that way.

"You went on holiday together Bella!" Alice practically shouted, snapping me out of my little emo moment.

"With Rosalie and Emmett!" I sighed. This wasn't the first time we'd had such a conversation, however, since the four of us had taken a last minute trip to Paris over Christmas, Alice had evidently become more... persistent.

"So! That's even worse! You went on holiday with another couple. Which, by the way, is slightly upsetting. Are me and Jasper being replaced here?" She asked, feigning mock hurt.

"No Alice, of course not. Look, Rosalie's mother is a travel agent, she had four cheap flights left over at the very last minute, we took them. It's not that big a deal." I explained.

She sighed, realising perhaps that she wasn't going to get any more out of me. She changed tactics, "What was Paris like then? Tell me everything."

"It was pretty amazing! We did all the big touristy things you know... The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame..." I proceeded to talk her through the entire week, knowing she'd only be satisfied with the full details and nothing less.

When I'd finally finished, she sighed, "I'm very jealous – it sounds fantastic. I should warn you though – my mother's going to have your ass next time you come home."

"Hmm." I was already aware of this. I knew she wouldn't be pleased when Edward golden-balls decided not to return back to Forks for Christmas. "I can imagine."

Alice laughed, "Don't worry though. I think she can't decide whether or not to be really angry that he missed Christmas, or really happy that he spent it with you."

This was probably true – Esme had made no secret of the fact that she wanted Edward and I to get together.

"Anyway, back to the original point. It's not just that you went on holiday together. I know you see each other all of the time, and he talks about you non-stop." She complained, "Every time I speak to him it's all Bella this and Bella that. If I didn't love you so much I'd be damn fed up by now."

I laughed and then quickly changed the subject, "How're Angela and Ben doing?"

She didn't seem to notice my avoidance, or perhaps she was saving it up for later, but she quickly launched into a full description of Angela and Ben's lives. I was grateful for the distraction, listening half heartedly until eventually she'd had to leave to get to class.

When I finally made it back to mine and Rose's new apartment (we'd moved out of the dorm over the summer - with a little help from my mother and her new, much younger, boyfriend Phil, who'd recently been picked up by some Baseball team and had some real income coming in), my eyes immediately flicked to the mailboxes on the wall in the lobby.

I unlocked our little box, and sure enough, tucked amongst a plethora of magazines and bills, was the pink envelope I had been anticipating all week.

I skipped up the stairs and threw open the door, experiencing a moment of déjà vu as I found Rose sat at our small kitchen table working on an assignment for class.

"I have mail..."

She looked up quizzically at first, then understanding as she spotted the envelope in my hand. "Sit. Open. Now."

I did as I was told, not waiting around this time. I tore into the envelope. My hands didn't tremble this time – my expectations weren't high.

Bella,

A shorter note this time – I just thought I'd carry on the tradition and take the time to remind you how wonderful you are, how much I love you, and how grateful I am to have you as my best friend. I couldn't ask for someone better.

Edward x

P.S Your place tonight. You pick the movie, I'll bring the food.

I flicked it across to Rosalie, trying to fight the disappointment.

No expectations.

No expectations.

No expectations.

That should be my new mantra.

I put on my game face as Rose quickly skimmed the text. She frowned, "Well, it's sweet of him I guess."

"Yeah. Very... So, are you guys going out tonight?" I asked, silently hinting that I didn't really want her and Emmett to ruin my night alone with Edward.

"Yeah. We're going out to eat, then we'll... retire... to Emmett's apartment." She finished with a girlish grin and I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. Her and Emmett were cute. It was nice how even after their many years together, he could still reduce her to a giggling mess.

That's what I wanted. Well, it was what I had, really. It was just a pity that Edward didn't act or feel the same.


February 2011

This year, I received my card in person. As Edward had arrived at my place, he'd handed me the infamous pink envelope, explaining that he hadn't had time to drop it by sooner.

I went to open it but Edward stopped me, "Don't open that now. Come on. The food will go cold..." He motioned to the Chinese in his arms.

I deposited the card on the kitchen counter top, and grabbed a couple of sets of chopsticks and some beers. We laid out the food on the coffee table, and I grabbed the film I had purchased for the evening.

He took one look at it and groaned, "I'm not watching that."

"Why not?"

"I'm just not. First Love Actually, now this. No, Bella, just no. It's a girls film."

I smirked, "You should enjoy it then."

"Are you calling me a girl?"

"If the boot fits... Or should I say the bra?"

He scowled, "I'm not watching it."

"Come on..." I pulled Alice's signature puppy dog face, "Please?"

He immediately saw through it, "That didn't work for Alice, and it won't work for you. I'm not watching it."

I sighed, admitting defeat, "Fine. I'll watch it another day with Rose. I just thought it was topical."

He rolled his eyes, "Since when have these evening's been topical?"

I shrugged, and slid my shiny new, and unfortunately unopened, copy of 'Valentine's Day' across the floor towards the TV.

"What do you want to watch then?"

He shrugged, "Well, there's this docum-"

"NO."

"Fine. Let me look..." He got up and meandered over to mine and Rose's large collection of mostly girly films.

He eventually settled on the Hangover and returned to his seat next to me, grabbing a carton of chicken Chow Mein before reclining back onto the couch.

2 hours and at least 6 more beers later, the film was over and we had moved on to spirits. Why I'd ever thought that this was a good idea I didn't know, but still...

"Ok, Ok!" Edward slurred, "On three... One! Six! Twenty-two! Four! THREE!"

I knocked back another shot of tequila, and banged the glass down on the table.

"Christ... My vision's gone blurry.." Edward complained.

I watched, laughing, as he rubbed his eyes.

He glared at me, "Will you have a look? Is there something wrong?"

I snorted, and mumbled, "Yeah... 10 shots of Tequila."

He looked upset, so I rolled my eyes, and pulled his face towards me, poking and pulling at his eyelids, trying to see something. Eventually, I gave up, "There's nothing there."

I dropped my hands from his face, reluctantly, but he didn't move his face away.

In fact, he moved it ever so slightly closer.

Fuck! Was he going in for a kiss? Or did I have something on my teeth? I quickly and discreetly ran my tongue over my teeth. Nothing.

His face moved closer. I knew I should be enjoying the moment, but frankly I was far too panicked to even think about doing that.

Before I had a moment to think about the consequences, his mouth was on mine, hot and desperate. I had waited for this moment since middle school, and it didn't disappoint. As his tongue slid into my eager mouth, he pushed me backwards so that his body was pressed against the length of mine.

His hand grasped my thigh, pulling my leg around his waist, my other leg followed suit, and he pressed himself harder against me. Our tongues continued to caress one another, as he ground his hips into mine.

I felt his arousal press against my thigh through his jeans, and I moaned breathily. The noise must have pulled Edward back to reality, because, much to my discontent, he pulled away slightly to look at me, his eyes burning with concern and admiration, "Bella..." his thumb trailed across my cheek, "You're so beautiful.. Is this ok? Is this what you want?"

I trembled nervously, I wasn't sexually experienced. Far from it. I was no virgin, but most of my experiences so far had typically involved fumbling and darkness. I knew this would be different. I knew was putting my heart on the line here, making myself vulnerable. But I had no choice in the matter. This was Edward. As far as my heart was concerned, when it came to him, there were no choices. My mind had no control.

"Mmm. More than anything." I answered him.

He grinned crookedly and lifted me up off the couch, carrying me towards my bedroom. I ignored the fact that the room was spinning slightly as we moved, and I ignored the fact that even when telling me how beautiful I looked, Edward had been slurring his words slightly.

I knew that the consequences of this would most likely not be pleasant – but if this was all he would give me, then this was all I would ask for. I might never have another chance like this again, and in my tipsy state, it seemed like the best plan would be to just go with it.

Edward dropped me unceremoniously onto the bed, and climbed back onto me. As his lips approached mine, I noticed that his expression had changed. The look of adoration he had worn just moments ago had melted away and been replaced by something entirely different.

His eyes were filled with searing, white hot desire. Our mouths collided again in a kiss that rocked me to my core. Before I had a chance to think through what I was doing, I was pushing his shirt up and over his hand. I smoothed my finger tips across his magnificent chest, tracing the lines and contours of his well defined muscles. My hands slid lower, not stopping until they reached the top of his jeans. I nimbly unbuttoned them and he kicked them off his legs until they landed on the floor behind us.

I froze apprehensively as he began to undo the buttons on my check shirt, pushing it back over my shoulders. I was grateful that for once I was wearing matching black underwear as his eyes darted across my chest hungrily.

His fingers ghosted slowly up my sides for what seemed like an eternity, before finally brushing along the side of my breasts.

Edward leaned forwards and placed a light kiss in between them. "Bella Swan. I am going to worship you."

And he did.

His fingers gently undid my bra, pushing it and my shirt completely away from my body and throwing them to the ground behind him before latching his warm mouth onto my nipples. He nipped at them tentatively at first, but, encouraged on my pleasure induced sighs, he quickly became more aggressive.

As his mouth worked miracles, his fingers travelled lower, unbuttoning my jeans and pushing them off my legs, taking my panties with them. Both joined our other clothes on the floor with a light thud.

He knelt down on the floor and dragged me to the edge of the bed before spreading my knees aggressively and leaning towards me. No one had ever touched me this way before, and I nervously didn't know what to expect, or if he'd like it, but the moment I felt his mouth press against my clit, all worries flew straight out the window.

I writhed and moaned as his tongue worked wonders, sending wave after wave of pleasure crashing through my body. I gripped his hair and bucked my hips against him as he pushed his tongue into my wetness. I moaned his name loudly and his movements became more and more frantic.

As I felt myself reach the cusp of orgasm, I summoned all of my self control and pushed him away. He pulled back, and looked at me, confusion tainting his perfect features, "What?"

I took a deep breath, "I want to cum with you inside of me... Please?"

His grin stretched into a smirk, and his hands seized my hips, pushing them against his own. Only his thin boxers stood in between us now, and I couldn't get them off fast enough.

He kneeled on the edge of the bed, my legs still loosely wrapped around him, and we looked each other over for a long moment. With any other man, I'd have been scared shitless by now, by Edward's usual grin put me at ease. His hands grasped the bare skin of my hips and quickly tipped us over so that I was on top of him, his hardness rubbing against my ass. He grabbed my waist and pulled me in for a deep kiss as his fingers massaged my breasts.

He moaned loudly against my mouth, before pulling back and whispering in my ear, "Bella... I want you so much."

"Take me then..."

He needed no further invitation. He pushed me onto my back, then leant down to where his jeans lay on the floor. I watched his ass very intently as he pulled out a pack of condoms and slid one onto his cock before returning to the bed.

He climbed on top of me, and I felt his hardness pressing against my entrance, "Fuck, Bella. I've wanted this for so long. I've wanted you for so long."

I moaned in pleasure as he entered me in one hard thrust. He filled me completely, and took a moment to let me adjust, before pulling out and pushing back in again.

His hands gripped my shoulders as leverage, and I pulled his hips as close to me as I could manage with my legs, desperately seeking more friction, more pleasure.

He quickly found his rhythm, pounding into me senselessly, over and over. My loud moans tangled with his in the air as the pleasure began to build inside me.

"Ugh. Bella... I'm close." He murmured, his breath tickling my ears.

"Mmm..." I'd lost the facility to formulate real answers, Edward was turning my brain to mush.

Suddenly, he repositioned my legs slightly, tilting my hips up towards him more, enabling him to reach that spot.

I felt him pulse inside of me, and with one final cry of his name, I fell over the edge.

"Fuck."

We collapsed back onto the bed, breathing heavily and exhausted.

I trained my eyes on the ceiling and took a deep breath, "Edward... I have to get this out... I don't know how you feel about me still. I know that we've both had a bit to drink but, I'd like to think that this won't just a be a onetime thing and –"

I was interrupted by a soft noise from Edward, I turned to look at him and realised with a sinking feeling that he'd gone to sleep.

I sighed, frustrated, and decided to give up until morning. We could talk about it then...

The next time I opened my eyes, the first thing I saw was Edward's sleeping face, at some point during the night he must have moved us, because my head was now resting on my pillow, and his arms were wrapped around me tightly.

I extricated myself from his arms carefully, then sat up and looked around. Our clothes were no longer on the floor where we'd thrown them, but were piled messily onto the chair in the corner of the room. The used condom was sat on my nightstand. We were both still stark naked.

Fuck.

Laid out bare like that, and seen through hangover-strained eyes, our actions seemed five times worse than they had the night before.

What had I been thinking, having sex with him like that. What if things became really awkward between us now.

I was never touching a drop of alcohol again.

I got up quickly and quietly, desperate not to wake him up. I pulled on some shorts and a t-shirt, and grabbed the condom, taking it into the kitchen to dispose of it.

I flicked the light on, shielding my eyes for a moment, before glancing swiftly at the clock on the wall.

It was 4am.

That was good at least, that gave me a few hours to think.

Unfortunately, the more I thought, the more I panicked. What if he didn't remember in the morning? What if he regretted it? Or thought I'd taken advantage of him being drunk?

Even worse, knowing Edward's penchant for self loathing, what if he thought he'd taken advantage of me?

I paced up and down the room for a good half hour, contemplating exactly what to do. Maybe I could pretend I couldn't remember either? Let him think I slept in Rose's room...

On second thoughts, that wouldn't work – I hadn't drunk that much last night, and he knew it.

I spied a notepad and a pen on the coffee table, and an idea came to me. I grabbed them quickly, then sat down at the table to write:

Edward - I'm sorry.

We were drunk. I shouldn't have encouraged you... I've gone over to Emmett's for a few hours to save ourselves the awkwardness. Let yourself out. Keys are on the counter, leave them in the mail box when you're done.

I am really sorry.

It wasn't the most articulate note anyone had ever written, but I couldn't find it in myself to write anymore.

I left the grabbed my coat from the hanger and pulled it on, and reached for my shoes. Just as I was about to go out of the door, I realised I hadn't left the keys. I quickly ran back into the kitchen and looked around for them.

Shit... They were nowhere to be seen. As I scanned the room, my eyes landed on the pink envelope Edward had given me yesterday.

I glanced at the clock, it wasn't even 5am yet, Emmett and Rose would be asleep, so I quickly grabbed the envelope and ripped it open.

Again, the card was the same, however when I opened it up, Edward's usual essay was missing. Instead, he'd written just a few words.

Bella,

I'm in love with you.

Be my Valentine?

My eyes widened as I read and reread his words in disbelief.

My shoes and coat were off before I could stop myself, the note I'd written was in the bin, and I was all but running into my bedroom.

I shook Edward awake, much to his annoyance, and waved the card in front of his face. He looked at me groggily and confused for a moment until he finally realised what I was brandishing.

He face broke into a shy smile, "You read it?"

I nodded, "Is it... you know? Were you serious?"

"Of course. Bella, I've loved you since the moment I clapped eyes on you."

I fell onto him, wrapping my arms around his body, "I love you too, you idiot. Why didn't you give me the card earlier! I was having a major panic – I thought you wouldn't remember last night..."

He laughed nervously, "I'm sorry. I was nervous. I thought it would be better if you read it a bit later on... then I thought that maybe if I had a few drinks for courage... I am sorry. Bella, I could never forget the best night of my life."


April 2011

"Bella? You in?" Rose called from the hall as she entered our apartment.

"Yeah, I'm in the bathroom, hang on." I finished brushing my teeth, and went to meet her in the kitchen. "Breakfast?" I offered as she chucked her overnight bag on the couch.

She nodded, "Please."

I began to prep some toast, "How was Emmett's?"

She shrugged, "Great, as usual. I just hate travelling back and forwards all the time."

I didn't blame her. She practically spent every other night at Emmett's place.

She hesitated for a moment, and I could tell from her expression that she was about to tell me something. I had a hunch that I knew what it was.

"I was just thinking Bella, well, me and Emmett were actually, that maybe in September, when the lease here runs out, I might move in with him. And obviously, if you haven't found an alternative then we'll just renew the lease her. I wouldn't ever abandon you but... I thought maybe it would be something you could think about..."

I laughed at her uncharacteristic nervousness, "Rose. I really think you guys should do it, I mean, you practically live there as it is..."

She nodded, "I know. It does make sense. But Bella, what about you?"

My phone vibrated in my pocket letting me know I had a text message. I quickly flipped it open,

Morning Sunshine. Hope you slept well? Come round later? Love you

– E

I smiled up at Rose, "I think I have a vague idea..."


Review please! If not because you liked it then because it took me like 20 minutes to post this because is sooooo crap! :D