Title: When We Collide
Disclaimer: They belong to SM. I don't own the characters
Word Count: 9,996
Rating: M - Lemon and some strong language
Summary: Bella has been used to her shallow life for so long, what happens when a beautiful green eyed skaterboy makes her discover a different world? AH, AU, Romance.
When We Collide
I'll never forget the summer I met him. It was the summer where my life changed so completely. When I learned what it meant to truly live and be free from the restraints that had always been placed on me. It was the summer I truly understood love, passion and freedom. It was the summer of Edward Cullen; my skater boy.
As the car was moving the sun was beaming into the car. I couldn't feel the heat though because the AC was cranked up high. Some random pop song was playing on the radio and the views outside varied from half dressed people heading towards one of the many beaches, to people just generally enjoying their summer. I let my head fall back onto the passenger headrest and let out a small sigh. I turned my head to my friend, Alice, who was driving us to our destination.
"I can't believe you talked me into coming with you," I mumbled.
Alice just smirked at me and shook her head, "You could have said no Bella. Just relax we'll be there soon, you really need to learn to live a little," she let out a small giggle and started singing along with the radio.
I turned back to look outside my window.
I had been bitching the whole journey and she was right I could have said no to her, but it was either this or a night in with my mother. No thanks. I just truly couldn't wrap my head around where we were going. A skate park, of all the places in the world to go, especially with how beautiful this summer was shaping up to be, this would be the last place I chose. Unfortunately for me my best friend and constant pain in my ass decided this would be our destination tonight because of some 'really hot guy' who she claimed was her soul mate. He had come into her office with a delivery which she signed for and he had left with her number.
She had only met the guy once but I knew never to argue with Alice when she made any sort of predictions, she would more often than not prove me wrong. I still had a feeling this would be one of the rare times were she might be wrong. Who in their right mind could find their soul mate in a grown man who played with a kids toy and used words like gnarly, dude and bro. I mean, seriously, how you could talk to someone who spoke like that I have no idea. We were really going into unknown territory today. This was the first time in a long time I had seen a spark in Alice though. I had noticed lately that working in the office had dimmed it considerably.
So Alice could slum it with this guy but I decided I would be sure to deter her if things started to look like more than a fling. I am not a snob or anything but Alice, like me, comes from a good family. To have their names dragged down by some overgrown man-child who couldn't even talk properly wouldn't do them or Alice any good. We had to make sure the two worlds didn't collide. I would make sure to keep things under control.
If my Mom knew where I was she would have a fit. In her eyes my years at college and my travelling were quite enough and I now needed to concentrate on starting the life expected of me. I was expected to work in Dad's law firm for a few years, settle down with a nice man, produce children and maybe join some sort of women's club. Thinking of how planned out my life was made my head ache.
Parking the car along the sidewalk Alice started to bounce in her seat and squealed, "We're here!" I took in the scene outside the car window. There were a lot of people sitting on benches, the steps and dotted around the park. A majority of the people had something with wheels on whether it was a pair of rollerblades, a skateboard or a bike. Others were standing around in groups talking or cheering on those with wheels. Alice switched off the engine and made to jump out the car, I put my hand out to stop her.
"Promise me we won't stay long," I whined.
"Bella seriously how often do we do something like this," she gestured to the scene outside the car. "Just please for once loosen up a little and enjoy a different experience."
I was slightly offended by her words, "Are you saying I'm uptight?"
She grimaced slightly, "A little..." I let out a huff and crossed my arms over my chest.
"I am not uptight I just don't think spending a day of my summer hanging around these kinds of people is a good idea." I was glancing at one cluster in particular that seemed to be wrestling and spraying water bottles with one another. I suppressed a shudder "Seriously Alice couldn't you have just invited this guy to your house or something, you know just get it out of your system?"
Alice slapped her hands on the steering wheel shocking me out of the disgusted glare I was giving the group of Neanderthals; she had turned in her seat and moved her sunglasses of her face, her eyes were staring at me with such fire in them.
"Isabella Marie Swan you listen to me right now! I understand what you are going through with your Mom and Dad trying to plan your whole future, but I go through that too and I don't let it turn me into such a..."
"Bitch?" I finished angrily; she had hit a nerve.
"I was going to say snob, actually!" She huffed and sat back in her seat.
We both sat in silence for a while. I couldn't stand her being angry at me. She was the only person in the world who I couldn't bear to fall out with.
"I'm sorry," we both said in unison. It broke the tension that had been mounting and we giggled.
"No really Bella, I am sorry. I know this isn't our usual scene, but I really like this guy!"
"Alice you've only met him once, but if it means so much to you, I'll keep my mouth hushed whilst we're here, I promise." I held my pinky finger out to her.
She looked at me ruefully before linking her pinky finger with mine.
We both smiled at one another and got out of the car. We started to weave our way through the bodies crowding the area. The park was quite big and while there seemed to be an overload of grey concrete I could see some grassy areas with palm trees planted and colourful graffiti that broke it up a little. I was glad I had gone with my denim shorts and t-shirt combo. At least Alice and I wouldn't stick out looking around at how casually dressed everyone else was as we passed by. There was definitely no competition here to wear the latest designers and act like every gathering was a fashion show.
All of a sudden Alice squeezed my hand and whispered into my ear, "That's him!"
I looked over to where she was pointing and saw a small group of people with skateboards and a bike. There were two girls and three boys. One of the girls, a blonde, was standing on her skateboard on the edge of what looked like a grey empty pool; she had on a light blue helmet, jeans and a black t-shirt. The other girl was clapping and chanting something I couldn't make out. She had red hair in a ponytail and one of her feet on a board, she was in similar clothes to the blonde girl. A big guy was sitting on a BMX bike, it was red and he was wearing some long shorts with a wife beater which showed of an entire sleeve of tattoos on his left arm. He was built in the muscle area and was grinning at the blonde girl who had turned to say something to him. The other boys were tall and lean almost looking like rakes next to the other boy's pure bulk. One had blonde hair that almost fell to his shoulders and it had a slight wave to it. He was wearing long denim shorts and a t-shirt. He was in the process of unfastening a helmet and had his board propped up against his leg.
When my gaze turned to study the boy next to him my mouth went dry, he was gorgeous. I knew instantly he was not in any way like any boy I had ever met. He had a light tan and a jaw line most models would sell their soul for. His lips were full and currently revealing a fantastic smile; he was wearing some faded jeans with holes in them and a white t-shirt. He was taking off his helmet and his hair shined an odd bronze colour in the sun. It was sticking out at all angles, probably due to the helmet. He used the bottom of his t-shirt to wipe away some sweat on his forehead and it was then my heart nearly stopped. The action revealed a hard stomach and a beautifully defined v shape to his hips, but what got me the most were the dog tags he had around his neck that were hanging in the centre of his chest.
Before I could get too immersed in the fantasies playing out in my head Alice shouted over to the group, "Jasper!" She jumped up and waved as the blonde boy lifted up his head. His face broke out into a huge grin and it was nice to see he seemed as infatuated as Alice. She grabbed my hand and pulled me over to where they were standing, letting go of me once we reached them. Alice and Jasper just stared at each other with big smiles on their faces. A few moments passed before the big guy just behind Jasper cleared his throat. Jasper let out a nervous laugh before holding Alice's wrist and turning around to face his friends,
"Guys this is Alice." Alice gave a little wave to the group. Jasper was still smiling down at her and swung her arm slightly in his hand, "Alice, this is Rose," he said pointing to the blonde, "Vicky," the redhead, "Emmett," the big guy and "Edward," him. They all nodded at Alice and a few hellos were thrown her way.
It was my turn to clear my throat to get Alice's attention. She turned back to me apologetically and pulled me next to her, Jasper nodded at over at me and I gave him a small smile in return. Alice introduced me to the group.
"This is my friend Bella." I gave a little wave before crossing my arms and sighing. I wasn't showing the enthusiasm that Alice had and I think they got the idea I did not want to be there. Alice pinched my upper arm and gave me a warning look, turning her face away from the group, "You promised." she hissed under her breath. I nodded at her before giving the group a big fake smile and saying hi. Alice closed her eyes in obvious annoyance before Jasper distracted her by showing his skate board. Alice appeared to be fascinated with what he had to say and seemed glad for the distraction. I couldn't disguise my incredulity; it was a piece of wood, with wheels, so what.
The blonde, Rose, huffed out a short laugh whilst shaking her head at me. I hadn't noticed she had been looking at me I was too busy looking at Alice interact with her skater boy. I noticed Edward was also frowning at me and Vicky rolled her eyes. Emmett didn't seem to really care about me enough to give a response. Rose gave me a hard look before giving me a fake grin with a little sarcastic wave, "See ya Princess." Before I could respond to the insulting nickname she dropped down into the concrete bowl she was balancing on the edge of.
I quickly stepped closer but as I did that I saw her come up on the other side, she balanced on that edge before falling back in. She continued like this, weaving up and down, sometimes doing a weird twisty thing at the top or grabbing her board before repeating the process again. I turned my head to see everyone else's reactions. Her friend Vicky and the big guy Emmett were cheering her on. Edward had a slight smile on his face. Alice and Jasper were also smiling as they watched. How is she not falling over?
"This is not normal." I mumbled turning back and following Rose's movements. I couldn't believe what I was seeing; I didn't know girls did this too. I didn't think anyone was actually listening to me they were all too busy cheering Rose, even Alice was clapping and cheering while asking Jasper the name of the moves Rose was performing. I was slightly impressed by her display but I still couldn't understand why someone would dedicate their time to doing this, this wasn't real life and watching Alice get so excited over it for some reason pissed me off. "Oh for God's sake, give me a break this is a waste of time." I moved to go sit on bench nearby and let them all enjoy the show. As I was moving I could feel someone watching me, I looked up to meet the green eyes of Edward and I could feel the anger coming out them. He continued to aim those eyes at me before opening that beautiful mouth that I had moments ago admired, curling it in disgust and addressing me,
"It may not be normal to you Bella but this is as natural as breathing for us, this is a way for us to just be. Just because you believe it's not normal doesn't mean it isn't. Just because all of us don't fall in line like robots and zombies does not mean we are any less than those who do." He gave me a look up and down clearly indicating I was one of those that did.
"Dude." Jasper tried to intervene.
"No Jazz, I'm sick of people like her passing judgement just because they don't understand something different. She needs to wake up and realise that she is not better than us just because her daddy pays for everything she's got. Just because she's got her whole perfect little life figured out and feels this, is a waste of time." He started to put on his helmet again "Maybe it's not this that is the waste of time, but you, someone who's too scared to really live."
With that he dropped down into the concrete to join Rose. Alice grabbed my elbow and I turned to look at her, she was giving me a look of concern. Once I got over my muteness I focused on her.
"I'm okay, I'm just gonna go for a walk," I said quietly. I nodded to Jasper who gave me a reassuring smile. He put his arm around Alice's waist and proceeded to distract her while I headed away towards a different area of the park.
I looked back one more time to see Jasper moving Alice away from the group. She was looking around over her shoulder and I could tell she was looking for me. She seemed worried, so when she finally met my gaze I winked at her and mouthed, "Go on." As much as I moaned about not wanting to be here, I didn't want Alice to feel she needed leave to because of how I felt. She was my best friend I wanted her to be happy. She smiled at me before putting her arm around Jasper's waist and walking away. I was glad I hadn't shown her how much I wanted to leave; she looked like she was glowing.
As I moved to get away I caught of glimpse of Edward in the concrete pool and became entranced. If I thought he looked gorgeous before he looked stunning now. It was as if I was watching him in slow motion. His forearm muscles would strain as he grabbed the side of the concrete bowl whilst kicking his feet and board over his head and holding the board in place with his other hand, it looked almost impossible. He would twist and spin and trace his hand along the ground. I was so sure he would take a tumble but he never did.
Someone bumped into me knocking me out of my trance and I continued to walk away, resisting the urge to look back at Edward.
The sun was starting to set by the time we left the park. I felt like shit after the whole incident with Edward and had done a circuit around the park a few times lost in my thoughts before Alice text me letting me know she was ready to go.
When we did meet back up I could tell Alice was trying to contain her happiness. She kept glancing at me to check I was all right. I think she may have also still been feeling guilty for the words we exchanged before we got out of the car. I plastered a reassuring smile on my face and distracted her by asking her to tell me all that went down between her and lover boy. We both knew what I was doing but she went along with it and told me all about Jasper and their plans for a proper date. It distracted me for the whole car journey and I was glad to see my friend so happy but as soon as she dropped me off home and I was in the safety of room, my mind returned to the day's events again.
I couldn't get the look on Edwards face out of my mind. It was a look I was not used to seeing. It was probably a look I always used on people; disgust and anger at someone's mere existence. But what he had said to me, talk about a slap across the face. Even the way he said my name sounded like an insult.
After the initial hurt and confusion had worn off I analysed my actions and I realised how I probably deserved worse. I know I had slowly become what I feared the most, exactly as Edward said; a zombie. I could try kid myself but this day had proved it to me. I was a snob on autopilot. I was doing what was expected of me and at the same time judging others who did not fit in a conventional box in my 'ideal' world. I had even given up playing music and doing my art after my Mom said it was not suitable and distracted me from more important things.
I needed to stop before I ended up hating myself, or ended up like my Mom and Dad. I needed to change and be the Bella I know I am. The one Alice always tried to coax out of me, the one I continually repressed day after day. I was going to get Edward Cullen to see the real me.
Over the next couple of days I tried to discover all I could about Edward from Alice. She had been hanging around with that entire gang since that day in the park. As much as I wanted to be with her, because she was my best friend and I didn't want to lose her, I still needed time to collect myself before I faced Edward again. Our friendship was strong though and it wasn't coming between us. I was just glad to see her becoming as happy as she was before she took her job.
I knew I could just take what he said and find me again, without needing to show him I changed, but the more I heard the about him the more fascinated I became. He was big into giving back to the community; he lived in his own house which to my surprise did not play host to mass amounts of parties, just the odd gathering between friends; he doesn't talk to his Mom and Dad. Alice said Jasper wouldn't tell her why because it wasn't his story to tell; he was a year older than me, at twenty-three years old; he had studied psychology at college and he worked part time in a record store. Every time I got a little snippet of information, I wanted to know more.
Jasper had been around to Alice's place a few times while I had been there. I got to know him a little more and realised why my friend had become infatuated with him. He was one of the nicest most laid back people I have ever met. It also made me ashamed of my initial assumptions of skaters because he wasn't the cliché I had pictured in my mind. He was just a normal guy with a hobby, like me and my art. It made me more ashamed that I assumed he and Edward were only good enough for a fling. Jasper was good for Alice. They were total opposites but seemed to love all the differences about each other. He was in the process of trying to convince Alice to let him design a tattoo for her. Apparently he had designed Emmett's but she just laughed at his attempts of persuasion. He couldn't understand why she wanted to have her own daycare, he wanted kids, but the idea of caring for a bunch of strangers kids did not appeal to him. Alice had told me they loved to discover new things about each other, even if they didn't understand it.
I had slowly become more irritated with our own group of friends; I could no longer stand the mind numbing conversations. I found myself biting the inside of my cheek and wondering how I ever sat through such shallowness. Then I realised I used to behave this shallow, I used to be on auto pilot. I knew then that I could not see the future with them in it.
I had started up my art again. Amongst the pictures I had sketched, two were of Edward. One was of him in motion on his board; I tried to capture how powerful and graceful he was. The other, was just of him from the shoulders up and the intense look on his face I could never get out of my mind. I knew it was becoming a bit of an obsession. I asked Alice if I was crazy, but as she pointed out she had only met Jasper once and felt a strong connection with him. I laughed when she told me that because their feelings were mutual. I was certain after the way he acted toward me, Edward hadn't given me much thought.
"I wouldn't be so sure about that Bella," was her only response. I didn't look too much into it and focused on finalizing my plans. I was going to be volunteering at a kids centre that Edward was a volunteer at. My mom wouldn't protest because she always says, "It looks good for a lady to be charitable," even if she would rather I just donate money. The centre was for under privileged children to have somewhere safe to hang out, instead of hanging out on the streets and getting into trouble. I would be doing music and art with the children. According to Alice, Edward ran other activities and acted as a big brother to the kids.
I couldn't wait to start, it sounded like a step in the right direction for me to discover me again while trying to get closer to Edward.
I arrived at the centre early and waited nervously outside, for someone to let me in. The centre was just a big stand-alone hall by the looks of it, surrounded by a lot of grass; a nice place for kids to run around. I noticed on my way round to the front that there was a concrete playground area, with what looked like miniature skating obstacles, as well as swings in the corner. I rested my guitar case along the railing that led up to the entrance of the main doors and continued to wait.
I was shocked to see Edward walking towards me with headphones in his ears, a few moments later. I had assumed the woman I spoke to on the phone would be here first. Edwards head was down as he tried to find something in his messenger bag, he had his skateboard under his arm. He was wearing his ripped jeans again but had on a black shirt and a knit hat on, in what seemed an attempt to hide the chaos of hair underneath. He found what he was looking for, a set of keys, and held them in his teeth so he could zip up his bag. Before I had a chance to prepare myself he looked up and I found myself caught in his gaze.
He looked shocked to see me and I would have laughed over how comical he appeared but he quickly removed his keys from his mouth, frowned at me and started to talk.
"What are you doing here?" He continued to walk past me towards the doors with padlock on them. He put his board on the floor resting his foot upon it while he put the keys into the lock.
"I spoke to Mrs Cope, I'm volunteering here." He was making me feel nervous, "I am going to be doing art and music with the kids." I attempted a smile towards him, but he just raised an eyebrow at me and shook his head. Once he got the door open he pushed his board through with his foot and started to head inside, he held the door open.
"Well are you going to come in or just stay out there?"
I picked up my guitar case and went to push past him but he quickly blocked my path,
"Seriously, what are you doing here?" He questioned me searching my face.
"I told you, I spoke to Mrs Cope and told her what I could do, and I said if she needed any help I was more than happy to be here. Plus, Alice told me you volunteered at this centre and I thought it would be..." he raised his eyebrows at me, "different."
"So you're here for me?" He smirked and leaned on the doorframe. I tried not to focus on how gorgeous he was and concentrated on replying.
"I'm here for me too." I didn't deny what he asked, there was no point, "I couldn't stop thinking about what you said it made me realise how much I hate my life." I started drumming my fingers on top of my case, "I don't know what happened, I haven't always been like that but you showed me what a bitch I was." I felt tears in my eyes when I realised that is exactly how everyone, including my best friend, must have seen me. I swallowed a few times to keep the tears at bay.
I was surprised to feel Edward place his hand on top of mine stopping me from drumming my fingers. I felt a humming, like an electric current run through it and found myself just wanting to hold his hand. He removed his hand quickly, when I looked up his Adams apple bobbed up and down. He gave me a rueful smile.
"You weren't a bitch." I laughed and gave him an incredulous look, "You just acted like one."
That had us both laughing. He took a step back from the doorway and kept the door open for me.
"C'mon I'll show you around. Mrs Cope told me we had a new starter today, so I'm ready to act as a tour guide." He gave me a gorgeous smile and tilted his head towards the inside of the centre.
It wasn't too hot in the centre, I was grateful for that. Edward made me feel flushed enough and I didn't want to walk around with a face like a beetroot. Edward helped me store my bag and guitar case away, as well as storing away his own things. Edward explained that the centre had one big hall area, it was often were the big activities were set up or where the kids would hang out if it was bad weather and they couldn't go outside. There were a few other rooms including a kitchen; the staff area where we had stored our things which also had some desks; a store cupboard for all the toys and other equipment that may be used; a music room; a room with a few bookcases, filled with children's books and bean bags; and a room which was empty, so it could be used for whatever. He said it would be likely the blank room would be used for the art.
"So that's it." Edward made he was back to the front of the centre, "Now we just wait for the other volunteers and the children. It would have been Mrs Cope to do all this with you, but she won't be coming by much anymore. She's put me in charge, she can't do as much as she used to so she trained me on how to run things."
He had a register in his hand and was flipping over a few pages,
"I need you to sign in here," he pulled pen from his pocket, "here you go." I signed my name in the volunteer register and handed his pen back.
"I'm going to hazard a guess you've already had a background check? Working with kids, we gotta be careful."
"Yeah, my dad has a law firm which I am meant to start work at, so I have never even gone over the speed limit." I rolled my eyes at him.
"Sounds fun," he said smiling at me. He flicked through the register and came to a big list of children, "Now we have around sixty kids that come here on a Saturday and Sunday for a few hours. Sometimes we have events which will go on all day, but most of the time we just watch over them for few hours. I know it seems like a lot of kids but we split them into groups between all the volunteers. These kids come from quite poor backgrounds so we understand this is often the only chance they get to be kids. We have a huge waiting list as well, but we just don't have the money or manpower to cater to them all. Mrs Cope probably already told you all this?" He looked at me for confirmation and I nodded, "So the other volunteers are, Jess, who does dance; Mike, who runs the kitchen so he is often teaching the children to cook; Angela, who reads and writes with them and Ben, who often supervises games. We end up with around eight to ten kids each, depending on the turn out. We change who they go with every weekend, to allow the children to do everything."
"What do you do?" I asked.
"I just help them with skating and general things. I also try to talk to them, deter them from doing anything bad and discuss any problems they might have. I just disguise it under stuff they like," he said as he shrugged at me.
"I think that's wonderful." And I meant it. We were gazing at each other and I could feel myself starting to blush so changed the subject, "So how come no one is doing music or art now?"
"Lauren used to do it but she's moved away with her fiancé, for his new job. The kids loved her and were sad to see her go," he paused, "But they've got you now, not too shabby I'd say." He said, looking at me which made me laugh a little.
We discussed more about the centre and how they were trying to get more funding. We also went a little into what brought him here but I could tell it was a painful area for him to get into. We talked more about my life and I told him how I was grateful for him waking me up, and that I didn't want my life to be over before it began. He seemed to understand and looked happy at me trying to do something now. During our little talk the rest of the volunteers came in and Edward introduced them all to me. He had to discuss something with Ben which gave me a chance to talk to the others. We helped each other set up our areas and I got to talk to them all a little more. They seemed like lovely people and I couldn't wait to get to know them better.
It was getting near the time for the children to arrive so we gathered next to the centre entrance.
"You okay?" Edward's voice came from behind me, I looked back over my shoulder at him, nodded and smiled but was feeling a little overwhelmed. He must have sensed it because he placed his hand on my shoulder and squeezed it.
"Yeah just scared they will hate me." I shook my head feeling silly; I looked up at him, "What you guys do here is amazing."
He shook me a little using the hand on my shoulder, "Yeah well you're part of it now." He was staring at my face and his gaze paused at my lips. His arm moved down from my shoulder and along my arm. I shivered as the rough skin of his hands came into contact with the bare skin revealed by my t-shirt. I could have sworn we were leaning closer to one another, but the sound of children running up the path towards the centre made us jump apart.
Edward cleared his throat and turned to me,
I will still in a bit of a daze from our little moment but snapped out of it and nodded, I turned ready to greet the children. I was excited to get started.
I had been volunteering at the centre for three weeks and loved it. I got to know the guys there a little more and found out most of them had regular jobs, but they were happy to spend their weekends helping out with the kids.
That gave me hope that my Dad would still let me volunteer once I started at the firm, but I highly doubted that. Mom still hadn't got off my case the whole time I was volunteering and was desperately trying to set me up on a blind date; she couldn't understand why I was doing what I was. I had taken to staying around at Alice's to avoid such conversations. I practically lived with her now.
I loved my work at the centre. It had appealed to me when Alice first told me about it, but I obviously mainly volunteered to see Edward, now, I couldn't imagine not doing it. Even if Edward left, I would want to stay. I had bonded with the kids there. Edward kept them in line if they did get a bit unruly but mostly they were wonderful and fun to be around. I could see myself doing this for the rest of my life.
Sometimes we would group them all together and take them outside to enjoy the grassy area and playground. We would often join in any games they decided to play and I loved to watch Edward interact with them. It was cute watching him help them put a helmet on and let them try rollerblading or skateboarding. He always tried to make sure they were all okay. He acted as an unofficial councillor for them and I saw new children arrive who came out of their shell after a few hours of being around him.
Over the few weeks, I got to know Edward more; I got to see how amazing he truly was. Whenever we were alone together we would talk for hours. He would sometimes walk me to Alice's. A few times he stood me on his board and pushed me along, which I thought was hilarious because if he let go I would fall. I would never have his grace on the board.
We would hang out outside of our work at the centre as well, often Alice and Jasper and the others would join us. Sometimes at the park and other times we would go for drinks at a local bar. The group seemed more accepting of me now, maybe because I didn't have my walls up and was more relaxed around them. Rose still called me princess but it wasn't used as an insult, just a weird term of endearment.
I didn't talk to my old friends anymore. Not since the day they found me walking along with Edward. I remember it clearly;
It was another gorgeous day and Edward was once again walking me back to Alice's. He was making fun of me because I had paint everywhere;
"You should have just stuck to pencils and crayons Miss Swan." He looked back to where I was walking behind him and paused on the sidewalk. He was on his board and would sometimes roll ahead before stopping and waiting. When I caught up with him he tugged on the edge of my t-shirt, "You look like you've been paintballing." I playfully shoved him and he laughed rolling away again.
"I hope you fall flat on your face!" I called after him. We passed a few shops and were heading towards Alice's street when I heard a bell ting from a doorway.
"Bella!" I turned around to see who called my name. I saw Tanya walking towards me with Tyler, Alec and Gina all trailing behind her.
"Tanya, hey." She finally reached me and was about to give me a hug when she noticed my attire and stopped. She just grinned at me instead which I tried to return. I gave a little nod to the others.
"Where have you been? We've missed you at the clubhouse," she asked me in her high pitched whine. I heard a noise behind me and knew Edward was kicking his board up to catch it in his hand. I turned back to him with a smile and jerked my head for him to come stand by me, he did so eyeing my old friends warily, "Oh who's this?"
"Guys this is my friend Edward, he volunteers at the centre with me. It's why I haven't really been up to the club much." I held on to Edwards elbow and smiled up at him; his height always made me feel like a midget. I turned to smile back at them but didn't like the looks on their faces. Tanya and Gina were eye fucking Edward but I could tell they thought of him as scum. It made my skin crawl and I wondered if that was what my face looked like when I first met him. Tyler whispered something to Alec which had them both laughing. Tyler gave me a cold look, obviously he was still a bit bitter from me rejecting him earlier in the summer.
"Well I guess it's true what we've been hearing Bella, causing quite the scandal aren't we?" Tanya giggled looking at Gina, "It's no wonder you are slumming it though, if they are making them like this," she said looking Edward up and down. "Do remember where you come from though this is a good neighbourhood and there's no need to flaunt your little fuck buddy in front of us, what would your mother say?"
I could feel myself getting red with rage. How dare she talk about Edward like that, and right in front of him as though he didn't exist. I could sense Edward flinch next to me and looked up to see his jaw twitch.
Edward had been glaring at Tanya who just winked at him, when Tyler decided to speak up, he clicked his fingers arrogantly to grab his attention,
"Eddie boy do you think she's any good in the sack?" he pointed to me, "You don't mind having another man's cast offs?" he winked at me. He gave Edward a snooty look, "Then again, I guess you've had sloppy seconds all your life though, haven't you?"
I couldn't help what happened next. I was so angry, my hand clenched into a fist and before any of them could register it I pulled it back and punched Tyler square in the face. Blood gushed out of his nose and he put his hands up to try stop the flow. The group all stood slightly stunned while Tyler slowly fell to his knees in pain.
I couldn't believe these are people I once considered friends, now, they disgusted me.
"Don't you dare insult Edward. He has more class and honour than you all have put together." I looked at them all in the eye, "You stay the hell away from me, C'mon Edward." I grabbed his arm and turned us around.
We had covered quite a distance and were close to Alice's when I paused to catch my breath, I couldn't tell what emotion was on Edward's face as I turned to face him. I began to rant,
"How dare they, who do they think they are I mean really, and Tyler." I let out a frustrated growl, "I would not even touch him if he was the last man on earth. He is obviously still sore that I said no to him, that and the fact he had a real man standing in front of him, I just can't..."
I didn't get to finish my rant because Edward pulled me into a fierce hug lifting me up and burying his face in my neck. I quickly put my arms around him and stroked the soft hair at the bottom of his neck.
"Thank you," he mumbled into my neck and then he placed a small kiss there. He slowly lowered me down to the ground.
"Fighting for me." He stroked my cheek and smiled.
"Anytime." We stood there for a while before I took his hand, "C'mon before Alice sends out a search party."
This wasn't the first time I had reflected on that day. I kept thinking about how Edward reacted after the confrontation. Nothing else had really happened between us since that day but now I felt I could call him a close friend. We had a few lingering looks and touches but nothing else.
I had talked about how I felt about Edward with Alice and she said I should just be open with him and ask him out, but I wasn't so sure. I didn't want to risk losing him as a friend.
I was currently sitting with him in the Centre's staff area going over budgets and fundraising ideas. We had had been at it for a while now both lost in the numbers and not really talking.
I was brought out of my musings by the man himself throwing some scrunched paper at my head;
"I vote, we grab some takeaway and go back to Alice's," he said smirking at me.
"Okay I'll text her to let her know." I got up to text Alice and looked back to see Edward packing everything away. His hair sticking was out in every direction from him running his hands through it every time he was frustrated. He was wonderful, but there was no way I was going to risk our friendship until I knew he felt more. Cowardly, I knew, but I couldn't risk my heart.
More weeks passed in the same fashion. Sometimes Edward and I would just hang together and talk about everything and anything; other times we would be in a big group just having a laugh.
I learned Edward's dog tags came from his older brother, who died six years ago in Afghanistan. He wore them to remember him and honour his bravery. He said he could never fight in a war he didn't believe in, but he would help fight in a different way. He wanted to become a councillor for troubled children to stop them growing up and falling into a bad social cycle. He to me he needed experience first before he could get into any courses which is why he was at the centre. He loved his job at the record store, but it was just a way for him to support himself. Helping people was where his real passion lay. We sometimes made jokes about how I was one of those people he helped. He told me he didn't talk to his parents because they were alcoholics and barely registered that they had lost a son. It was sad that throughout his whole childhood he had seen his parents drunk. It made me further understand his need to work with children from troubled backgrounds.
I told him about my Mom and Dad's plans for me, how much they wanted to control where my life was headed. I told him how working at the centre and meeting him and his friends had made me return to art. I even showed him some of my new stuff, including the ones of him; one of which he begged to keep. He made me sign it before he took it. I even let him listen to me play my guitar, although I wouldn't play anything he inspired, that would reveal too much.
Edward Cullen, had slowly become one of my best friends. Though I would never say it out loud I was sure I was in love with him. No one had ever made me feel as he did, but until he gave me some sign I was keeping my mouth closed.
I was round at Alice's, yet again, but we weren't hanging here tonight. Edward was having a small gathering at his house. I was making a bit more of an effort than usual by applying a little mascara and lip-gloss.
"Bella, c'mon move your butt, we're gonna be late." I took one last look at my reflection in Alice's bathroom mirror and ran downstairs.
Alice grabbed my hand and we ran outside to Jasper, who had his pickup truck parked up alongside the road.
We arrived at Edwards and found quite a few people there. Some were just skating up and down the road; others were sitting on the porch just watching. It was still too warm to sit inside. His house was quite big but looked a little rough around the edges. I knew Edward barely had enough to cover bills and food shopping, so I understood how hard it would be to do what he wanted to the house.
We found Rose, Vicky and Emmett in the back garden sitting on some shabby garden furniture laughing about something.
"Hey princess," Rose said as she got up to give me a hug, "Ali, Jazz." She turned to greet them and then we sat down. Edward came out from inside the house carrying a box of beers. He placed them down between us all and we grabbed one each, with a thanks directed towards our host.
I met a few of Edward's other friends, they were all so warm and friendly. The guys from the centre were also there which was nice. I met Vicky's new flame James, who worshiped the ground she walked on. It was nice to see.
Slowly but surely, people started to leave until it was just the gang left. I was very aware of the fact they were all couples and I wondered if Edward had noticed. Sometimes when I glanced over at him I would catch him looking at me, it made me want to leap on him.
I didn't want the night to end but soon enough everyone was getting up, ready to leave. I was about to get in the car with Jasper and Alice when Edward tugged on my hand.
"Do you want to just crash here?" My heart was pounding in my chest and my mouth felt like a sandpit, "Not too sure I'd want to be stuck with that." He nodded towards Alice and Jasper who were sucking face. I burst out laughing.
"Yeah thanks I'll take you up on that."
We told Jasper and Alice to go on and with that it was just Edward and I. I felt nervous now, things felt different, like something big was going to happen. I broke the silence,
"So." He smirked at me, "I think it's time I got you to actually ride a skateboard on your own." He went over to his porch and picked up his board waving it at me as he returned. I can't believe he just couldn't accept that anything to do with balance and me did not mix.
"You have got to be kidding me?" Before I could grumble anymore he picked me up around my waist and placed me on the board. He held on to me and pushed me along a little. I kept chanting random nonsense under my breath in fear.
"Bella, shush, just trust me," he whispered into my ear, "just relax and bend your knees a little, there you go, now just go with it."
He pushed me away and I managed to stay balanced for a few seconds, a new feeling for me. I turned around to share my joy with Edward but threw myself off balance with the movement. The board went from underneath me, causing me to fall on the ground. I burst out laughing, despite the pain I could feel in my elbows.
I could hear Edward jogging over to me, "Bella!" I felt him cradle my head with one hand and hold on to my waist with the other. He was mumbling something about him being stupid and forgetting a helmet, "Are you okay?" I stopped laughing and looked up at him. Everything seemed to become clear and I knew I needed to be brave; I knew I needed to do what he had first accused me of not doing and live without fear. Before he could ask me again I pulled on his dog tags and smashed my lips against his. His lips were soft and tasted a little like beer and something else. Something that was just him. It felt fantastic and I could feel it all over. I sucked his bottom lip into my mouth before we broke apart; I searched his face for any hesitation I found none. Instead he helped me up and we walked back to his house.
Once inside, he pushed me against the wall and kissed me. It felt amazing. No one had ever kissed me like this; I felt more turned on with this kiss than any other sexual encounter I had ever had. When we broke apart I was breathing so heavily. I didn't feel any shame, it felt amazing. In that moment, I knew, I was finally no longer scared to live. He picked me up and I wrapped my legs around his waist. He carried me into his bedroom and we fell onto the bed causing us both to laugh,
"Are we really doing this?" I whispered.
"Hell yes." was his reply before he started to take his clothes off. I followed his actions and soon we were both naked, making out on the bed. I couldn't get enough of the feel of his skin against mine, I wanted him closer, and I wanted every single part of him always. He was so much more than any man I had ever known.
Before we joined he paused and held my face in his hands, "So beautiful" he murmured as he pushed into me. I felt whole at the feeling; he was the other half to my puzzle. Nothing in my experience compared to this. He took me to heaven and back several times and it was a beautiful feeling to share. Once we both had our fill, he held me close as I started to fall asleep tucked into his arms. It felt right making love to him and lying in his arms, like this was exactly where I was meant to be.
In the morning when I wake up I can feel the sun on my back. I am still snuggled into Edward, my head on his chest. My brain started working over-time. I hoped this was more than just two friends hooking up; I don't want it to end here. My thoughts were interrupted by Edward waking up and giving me a kiss on the top of my head. I kiss his chest and we hold on to one another tighter. We stay that way for a while before he pushes me on my back and starts kissing my neck, my back arches in pleasure pressing against his chest. His hand makes it way down my body until he reaches where I need him most; he starts stroking and teasing me relentlessly and just when I think I can't stand it anymore he thrusts into me. I lock my ankles around his back and run my hands through his hair as he continues to push into me, it doesn't take long for us to reach our release. He doesn't move from me and I welcome the weight of his body and continue to stroke his hair. Eventually he leans up putting his arms on either side of my head.
"Stay with me" he states as he kisses my jaw.
"Of course," I replied kissing his neck "But I think I already did that last night." I giggled.
"No. Stay with me forever," he said looking into my eyes. I gaze back before replying
"Always, Edward." I meant it with my whole heart. He grinned before kissing me senseless.
"I love you," he said once he stopped kissing me. I ran my fingers through his hair again and smiled up at him,
"I love you too." He kissed me hard and we make love again. I knew I could get used to this.
Even after all these years, I think back to that first summer. I am so grateful to Edward for changing my life so completely and bringing me where I am today. Over the years other joys would follow including our engagement; our wedding; fixing up the house; and the children.
I loved watching Edward over the years teach our children to skate, ride a bike and be there for them in a way neither of our parents were for us. Letting them be who they wanted to be. We watched them grow into strong individuals, who respected others despite any differences they may have. I always felt so proud knowing that they came from me and Edward.
My Mom and Dad cut me off financially after I revealed I was going to pursue my art, run the centre and live with Edward. I still had enough money saved on my own so Edward and I survived on that combined with our jobs. We didn't need to worry too much it turned out Pops, my Dad's Dad, had a trust fund set up for me for when I married, much to my parents dismay. Edward and I were rich but didn't let it overpower us. We even helped fund some new centres around the city, but the money mainly went towards the children's college funds and setting up our own home. We didn't want to give up work; it gave us purpose. My sketches were successful especially the ones of Rose skating and I even displayed my pieces in a few galleries, selling quite a few. Edward followed his plans to work with troubled youth. With his qualifications, he became a councillor at the centre, which was still going strong. He also remained in contact with most of the kids once they left.
Mom and Dad did eventually come round, for the sake of their grandchildren, who they spoilt and doted upon. However, things were often strained between us.
Alice and Jasper married and adopted children after discovering Alice couldn't have any. We remained close to them and they lived nearby, so we were often in each other's home with the kids playing together. Alice ran a daycare like she wanted and Jasper opened his own tattoo parlour. They were still total opposites in every way, but totally in love.
Rose went on to become a professional skater. She was very successful; she acted as a spokesperson for female skaters and achieved a certain level of fame. She started her own company, which launched her own brand of clothes and skateboards; she used some of my drawings for the board designs. She married Emmett who runs the company with her. They even managed to make time to have children. Due to Rose and Emmett's hectic schedule they weren't as close to us as Alice and Jasper, but we would often share the holidays with them.
Vicky followed James to the other side of the country; last we heard she was very happy and still crazy in love. We usually got phone calls around the holidays.
The guys from the centre were all doing well. We still saw them at the big events and fundraisers which they remained involved with, although they couldn't volunteer as much of their weekend time due to having their own children. I was glad to have got the chance to meet such selfless and kind people. People who had helped me rediscover me.
I never heard from any of my old friends and I was glad. I knew I didn't need people like that in my life. I had my own life now and didn't need to conform to what they wanted.
When the children all went off to college Edward and I would still sit together doing nothing in particular. Sometimes talking for hours, other times just enjoying each other's presence. I would wake in the morning and watch him sleep. His hair was now greying at the temples and he had wrinkles at the corners of his eyes and mouth. To me he still looked as handsome as ever. Some of the best moments were when he would wake up and look back at me, mirroring the love I felt. He still knew how to make me melt in every possible way; we never, ever lost that.
Edward didn't skate anymore due to an injury to his leg after a car accident. He would still give pointers to others and a handful of times he still tried to get me to remain upright on one. We would sit in the park sometimes to watch other people skate, I may be biased but I don't think anyone was as good as him, or Rose.
The pictures dotted on our walls and mantle place proved Edward never lost his sense of freedom or adventure. Even after all the adventures we had and the countries we visited, he still loved our home. We were free there.
We had built our own new world, together, after ours collided.