Disclaimer:

I don't own any of these characters and places. Twilight and its characters belong to*Holy* Stephenie Meyer. I make no profit from using her characters in this story. I use her characters and places only for fun, not for profit, and intend no infringement or offense.

I'll be constantly adverting to Florence + the Machine's songs throughout my story. Do listen to her songs, you won't be disappointed. Trust me on that.

I don't have a Beta *weeps*...and I really don't know how the whole beta thing works anyway. So all errata and grammatical errors are entirely my fault. Feel free to correct me!

Really hope you enjoy this :)


"Are You Hurting The One You Love?"

Are you hurting the one you love?

You say you've found Heaven but you can't find God.
Are you hurting the one you love?
Bite your tongue till it tastes like blood.

Are you hurting the one you love?
So many glasses on the tabletop.
Are you hurting the one you love?
You'd like to stay in heaven but the rules are too tough.

Tough,
it's just too tough.
Tough,
it's just too tough.

Are you hurting the one you love?
When they watched the walls, and the ticking clock.
Are you hurting the one you love?
And was it something you could not stop.

Could not stop.
Stop,
Could not stop.
Stop,
Could not stop.
Stop,
Could not stop.
Stop,
Could not stop.

Are you hurting the one you love?
When you leave them sleeping on the hollow ground.
Are you hurting the one you love?
And lost for themselves.

Are you hurting the one you love?
And if heaven knows then who will stop.
Are you hurting the one you love?
You said you got to heaven, but it wasn't enough.

By Florence + the Machine


Though I'd caught only the briefest glimpse from the corner of my eye, I knew immediately that the person who was flitting across the warped hardwood floors was an angel—the beautiful, radiant seraphic figure I'd ever seen.

He had very shiny eyes as if diamonds where gleaming in the dark. The seraphic figure had narrowly avoided skimming across my bare face before it disappeared behind the bookcase.

Palpitating, I impelled myself to practice the breathing I'd learned during an involuntary week at the dramatics class. My heart rate slackened slightly after a few concentrated breaths of re on the inhale and lax on the exhale, and within a few minutes I was functional enough to take some necessary precautions.

First, I rescued Scarlet (my dog, who was also cowering in terror) from her hiding place under the couch. Then, in quick succession, I zipped on a pair of knee-high leather boots to cover my exposed legs, opened the door to the hallway to encourage the angel's departure, as if that's going to help, and began vocalizing or rather imitating Florence + the Machine's song "there's a ghost, in my lungs and it ties in my sleep, wraps its self around my chest, as it softly sleeps, then in walks with my legs, with my legs ".

I gripped the TV remote as though it were a microphone and was still stressing my voice to match up to Florence Welch's when the phone rang nearly five minutes later.

The caller ID flashed with Bella's number. I almost screened her before I realized that she was one of only two potential refuges. Should the angel like ghost manage to live through my shrieking voice and cruise through my living room again, I'd need to crash with her or Uncle Carlisle. Unsure where Carlisle was tonight, I decided it'd be wise to keep the lines of communication intact. I answered.

"Bells, I'm under attack by the most beautiful ghost with sparkling eyes in Forks. What do I do?" I asked the second I picked up the phone.

"Nessie, I have NEWS!" she boomed back, clearly indifferent to my panic.

"News more important than my extrasensory activity?"

"Edward Cullen just proposed!" Bella shrieked. "We're engaged!"

Goddammit. Those two simple words—we're engaged—could make one person so happy and another so miserable. Autopilot quickly kicked in, reminding me that it would be inappropriate—to say the least—if I were to verbalize what I really thought.

He's nice, Bells. He's a dewy-eyed, cute little kid in the body of a big boy. With, perfect and angular - high cheekbones, a strong jaw line, a straight nose and full lips. He knows you like him and is putting a ring on your finger before you realize you're in L.O.V.E. Worse, by not marrying him you will be merely biding your time until he replaces you with a younger, hotter version of yourself five years down the line, leaving you to pick up the pieces. Don't do it! Don't do it! Don't do it!

Something in my mind implored me, to tell her the truth. But I didn't have the courage to tell her now.

"OH MY GOD!" I shrieked right back. "Congratulations! I'm so happy for you!"

"Oh, Nessie, I knew you would be. I can barely even speak; it's just all happening so fast!"

So fast? He's the only guy you've dated since you were seventeen. It's not like this wasn't expectedit's been four years. And he's very much into you, anyone could've guessed that. It wasn't hard to predict.

"Tell me everything. When? How? Ring?" I rattled off questions, playing the best friend role fairly believably, I thought, all things considered.

"Well, I can't talk too long because we're at the La Bella Italia right now. Remember how he insisted on picking me up for work today?" Before waiting for my answer, she raced breathlessly ahead. "

He had a shiny new Volvo waiting outside and told me it was just because he couldn't get his Chevy Volt, and said that we were expected for dinner at his parents' house in ten minutes. Of course, I was a little annoyed that he hadn't even asked if I wanted to go to dinner there—he'd said he'd made reservations at La Bella Italia, and you know how tough it is to get in there—and we were having pre-drinks in the library when in walked both our parents. Before I knew what was happening, he was down on one knee!"

"In front of all your parents? He did the public proposal? Wow!" I knew I sounded astounded, but I couldn't help it.

"Nessie, it was hardly public. It was our parents, and he said the sweetest things in the world. I mean, we never would've met if it weren't for them, so I can see his point. And get this—he gave me two rings!"

"TWO RINGS?"

"Two rings. A seven-carat flawless long oval, set with slanting rows of glittering round stones. With gold band — delicate and narrow. It has a fragile web of gold around the diamonds; that was his great-great-grandmother's for the real ring, and then a very pretty three-carat ascher-cut with baguettes that's much more wearable."

"WEARABLE?"

"It's not as though you can roam the streets of Forks in a seven-carat oval ring, you know. I thought it was really smart."

"Two rings?"

"Nessie, you're incoherent. We went from there to Seattle, where my father even managed to turn off his cell phone for the duration of dinner and make a reasonably nice toast, and then we went for small bowling game in AMF Bowling Center, and now we're at the La Bella Italia. I just had to call and tell you!"

Where, oh where, had my friend gone? Isabella Swan, who'd never even shopped for engagement rings because she thought they all looked the same, who had told me two months earlier when a mutual college friend had gotten engaged in the back of a horse-drawn carriage that it was the tackiest thing on earth, had just morphed into a very close approximation of a sober Wife.

Was I hurting the one I loved, Bella. The song playing in background constantly made me feel hangdog. "Are you hurting the one you love?" No. I'm not. "When you leave them sleeping on the hollow ground". Maybe, I am. "Are you hurting the one you love?" Oh! No. I so am. "And lost for themselves". No! I'm definetiley NOT HURTING , I turned off the song, as it was driving me toward incertitude.

Was I just bitter? Of course I was bitter. The closest I'd come to getting engaged was reading the wedding announcements in The Washington Inquisitor, every Sunday at brunch. But that was beside the point.

"I'm so glad you did! And I can't wait to hear every last detail, but you've got an engagement to consummate. Get off the phone with me and go make your fiancé happy. How weird does that sound? 'Fiancé.' "

"Oh, Edward's on a call from work. I keep telling him to hang up"—she announced this loudly for his benefit—"but Mr. Edward, just keeps talking and talking. How has your night been?"

"Ah, another stellar Friday. Let's see. Scarlet and I took a walk over to the Quillayute River, and some homeless guy gave her a biscuit along the way, so she was really happy, and then I came home, and hopefully scared what must be the most fine-looking ghost in the Clallam County area, I've ever seen. I'd ordered chicken; it smelled so good that I started eating it right out of the box, burning my tongue in the process. By the fifth or sixth bite, though, it had cooled enough for me to taste it. My chewing slowed. There was something off about the flavor? I checked the meat, and it was white all the way through, but I wondered if it was completely done. I took another experimental bite; I chewed twice. Ugh— definitely bad. I jumped up to spit it into the sink. Suddenly, the chicken-and-oil smell was revolting. I took the whole plate and shook it into the garbage, then opened the windows to chase away the scent. A coldish breeze had picked up outside. It felt good on my skin. But, I threw it out. Now I'm about to dine on reheated rice and beans and a packet of stale Twizzlers. Oh, Jesus, I sound like a skimpy Cuisine commercial, don't I?"

I was, what anyone would call verbose, she knew that I could never abridge my experiences.

She just laughed, clearly having no words of comfort at that particular moment. The other line clicked, indicating that she had another call.

"Oh, it's Jacob. I have to tell him. Do you care if I three-way him in?" she asked.

"Sure. I'd love to hear you tell him."

Jacob would undoubtedly won't be as euphoric as I was with the entire situation once Bella hung up. Since he hated Edward even more, than I adored him.

There was a click, which was followed by a brief silence and then another click. "Everyone there?" Bella squealed.

This was not a girl who normally squealed.

"Jacob? Nessie? You guys both on?"

Jacob was a colleague of mine and Bella's at Newton's Olympic Outfitters, but since he'd made VP (one of the youngest ever) we'd seen much less of him. Though Jacob had a serious girlfriend, it took Bella's engagement to really drive the point home: we were growing up.

"Hi, girls," Jacob said, sounding exhausted.

"Jake, guess what? I'm engaged!"

There was the tiniest beat of hesitation. I knew that, like me, Jacob wasn't surprised, but he would be trying hard to formulate a believably enthusiastic response.

"Bell, that's fantastic news!" he all but shouted into the phone.

His volume did much to compensate for the lack of any genuine joy in his voice, and I made a mental note to remember that for next time.

"I know!" she sang back. "I knew you and Nessie would be so happy for me. It just happened a few hours ago, and I'm so excited!"

"Well, we'll obviously have to celebrate," he said loudly. "Seattle, just the three of us, multiple shots of something strong and cheap."

"Definitely," I added, happy for something to say. "A celebration is most definitely in order."

"Okay, honey!" Bella called into the distance, our drinking plans understandably of little interest.

"Guys, Edward's off the phone and is pulling on the cord. Edward, stop! I've got to run, but I'll call you both later. Nessie, see you at work tomorrow. Love you both!"

There was a click and then Jacob said, "You still there?"

"Sure am. Do you want to call me or should I call you?"

We'd all learned early on that you couldn't trust that the third line had disconnected and therefore always took the precaution of starting a new call, before talking shit about the person who'd hung up first.

I heard a high-pitched voice in the background and he said, "Dammit, I just got paged. I can't talk now. Can we talk tomorrow?"

"Sure. Say hello to Rachel and Rebecca for me, okay? And Jacob? Please don't go and get engaged anytime soon. I don't think I can handle you, too."

He laughed.

"You don't have to worry about that, I promise. I'll talk to you tomorrow. And Ness? Chin up. He might be one of the worst guys I've ever met, but she seems happy, and that's all you can ask for, you know?"

We hung up and I stared at the phone for a few minutes before twisting my body out the window in a futile attempt to see a few inches of comforting river landscape; the house wasn't much, but it was, thankfully, all mine.

I hadn't shared it in the nearly two years since Charlie had moved out, and I had the west bedroom that faced out over the front yard. The room was familiar ; it had been belonged to me since I was born. The wooden floor, the light blue walls, the peaked ceiling, the yellowed lace curtains around the window — these were all a part of my childhood. The only changes Charlie had ever made were switching the crib for a bed and adding a desk as I grew. The desk now held a secondhand computer, with the phone line for the modem stapled along the floor to the nearest phone jack. This was a stipulation from my mother, so that we could stay in touch easily.

Even though the floorboards were warping slightly and the coruscate ghost had taken over, I had reign over my own private palace.

It's small, but pretty house on Hundred Eighty fourth, in the state of Washington under a near constant cover of clouds and rain, there's a small town named Forks. Population: 3,120 people. This is where I live. The house has only one small bathroom at the top of the stairs, which I'd shared with Charlie.

It was nice to be alone, not to have to smile and look pleased; a relief to stare dejectedly out the window at the sheeting rain and let just a few tears escape. I wasn't in the mood to go on a real crying jag. I would save that for bedtime, when I would have to think about the coming engagement.

While still twisted on the couch, I reviewed my reaction to the news. I thought I'd sounded sincere enough, if not downright ecstatic, but Bella knew ecstatic is in my nature. I'd managed to ask about the rings—plural—and to state that I was very happy for her. Of course, I hadn't mustered up anything truly heartfelt or meaningful, but she was probably too giddy to notice.

Overall: a solid B-plus performance.

My breathing had normalized enough to smoke another cigarette, which made me feel slightly better.

The fact that the cherubic ghost hadn't resurfaced yet helped, too. I tried to assure myself that my unhappiness stemmed from my genuine concern that Bella was marrying an extremely attractive guy and not from some deep-rooted envy that she now had a fiancé when I didn't have so much as a first date.

I couldn't. It had been two years since Charlie had moved out, and though I'd cycled through the requisite stages of recovery (job obsession, retail obsession, and food obsession) and had gone on the usual round of blind dates, drinks-only dates, and the rarer full-dinner dates, only two guys had made third-date status. And none had made fourth.

I told myself repeatedly that there wasn't anything wrong with me—and regularly made Bella confirm this—but I was seriously beginning to doubt the validity of that statement.

I lit a second cigarette off the first and ignored Scarlet's disapproving doggy stare.

The self-loathing was beginning to settle upon my shoulders like a familiar, warm blanket. What kind of evil person couldn't express genuine, sincere happiness on one of the happiest days of her best friend's life?

How conniving and insecure does one have to be to pray that the whole thing turns out to be a giant misunderstanding?

"How did I get to be so wretched"?

I picked up the phone and called Uncle Carlisle, looking for some sort of validation.

Carlisle, aside from being one of the brightest and assistive people on the planet, was my perpetual cheerleader. He answered the phone with the slightest gin-and-tonic slur and I proceeded to give him the short, less-painful version of Bella's ultimate betrayal.

"It sounds as though you feel guilty because Isabella is very excited and you're not as happy for her, as you should be."

"Yeah, that's right."

"Well, sweets, it could be far worse. At least it's not some variation on the theme where Isabella's misery is providing you with happiness and fulfillment, right?"

"Huh?"

"Schadenfreude. You're not emotionally or otherwise benefiting from her unhappiness, right?"

"She's not unhappy. She's euphoric. I'm the unhappy one."

"Well, there you have it! See, you're not so terrible. And you, my dear, are not marrying that handsome, sweet guy whose only God-given talent is his liquid gold eyes and his striking similarity to the mythical Greek god, Adonis. Am I mistaken?"

"No, of course not. It just feels like everything's changing. Bella's my life, and now she's getting married. I knew it would happen eventually, but I just didn't think eventually would be so soon."

"Marriage is for the bourgeoisie. You know that, Nessie."

This triggered a series of mental images of Sunday brunches through the years: Carlisle, Esme, Alice, me, and the Sunday Styles section. We'd dissect the weddings for the duration of brunch, never failing to collapse into evil giggles as we creatively read between the lines.

Carlisle continued.

"Why on earth are you eager to enter into a lifelong relationship, the only purpose of which is to strangle every iota of individuality out of you? I mean, look at me. Twenty-seven years old, working, and I'm perfectly happy."

"You're also married, Carlisle. And not only that, but you wear a gold band on the ring finger of your left hand."

"So what's your point? You think I've actually no idea what it feels like to be married at Twenty-One? Those flamboyant, Seattle city hall weddings aren't exactly my scene. Not in this life."

"You've been going out with Esme since before I was in high school. You do realize that you are, blithely, married."

"Negative, Sweets. Either one of us is free to leave at any point, without any messy legal or emotional ramifications. And that's why it works. But enough of that; I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. Tell me about the ring."

I filled him in on the details he really cared about while munching the remaining Twizzlers, and didn't even realize I had fallen asleep on the couch until close to 3 A.M., when Scarlet woofed her desire to sleep in a real bed.

I dragged us both to my room upstairs and buried my head under the pillow, reminding myself over and over that this was not a disaster.

Not a disaster. NOT A DISASTER.

I was abruptly exhausted and I couldn't sleep well that night, even after I was done crying. So I opened more windows in the room. The constant whooshing of the rain and wind across the roof wouldn't fade into the background. I pulled the faded old quilt over my head, and later added the pillow, too.

But I couldn't fall asleep.

When I opened my eyes again, the rain had finally settled into a quieter drizzle and moon was up in the sky, but it was not the moonlight that woke me.

Cool arms were around me, pulling me against something.

Someone was watching me. Or, I was so sleepy headed that I dreamed; as if someone was staring at me intently.

The moment I saw those familiar GLOSSY eyes. I was already asleep.

That was the first night I witnessed HIM.


Author's Notes:

This is my first attempt at writing a fan fiction.

Next update in a week, hopefully. Let me know any ideas on where you'd like to see the story go. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your reviews.

Please do tell me your views about it. I appreciate your time. Do write your views on it.