Author's Notes:

This is ultimately a Bella/Edward story but there are non-canon pairs initially and later in the story there is a Bella/Claire slash pairing for a portion of the story. If this is something you aren't comfortable with, please disregard this story. Rated for language/underage drinking/lemons.

This is my first story. It is completed and has been posted on both Twilighted and TWCS so if you absolutely cannot wait to read more, it is available on both sites. I will probably be posting here every few days, maybe daily when I have the chance.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


I met the most amazing guy in the world and I was too stupid to realize it when I fell in love with him. Too stupid to tell him how I felt, and most of all, too stupid to avoid fucking it all up.

I can't bring myself to regret the decisions I've made. Maybe I should. I've hurt people, hurt myself. It's always easier in hindsight to follow the ebb and flow of your life, to see the cause and effect. But while you're in the middle of it, you're just stumbling blindly through each day. Trying to find someone, something, someway to keep going. But I'll never regret meeting someone I care about so much, or having the chance to be with him. I regret the pain, the complications, the heartache. But meeting him; I'll never regret that.

It always seems like the monumental days in your life should feel different somehow. Flashing neon lights and signs announcing that from this day forward everything is going to change. But it's subtle, and insidious, and even when you're in the moment where you make that decision that affects the rest of your life it seems insignificant. Ordinary. Mundane.

The night I met him was just like any other.

Chapter One: The Way We Met

No there's nothing too romantic about the way we met.

That's not to say it doesn't make a certain sense.

Maybe it's just the kind of people that we are.

That's not to say whether it's right or wrong.

It's not right or wrong. It's not right or wrong.

There's no cute story that we tell together.

Laughing and finishing each other's sentences so charmingly

Truth is it was all an accident.

Just like it is for everybody else.

But then again it was all an accident.

Just like the way it is for everybody else.

There's no cute story about the way we met.

We just woke up one day in bed.

Now there's nothing too romantic about the way we met.

That's not to say it doesn't make a certain sense.

Maybe it's just the kind of people that we are.

It's gone to far to be right or wrong. Now, now, now, now.

-The Way We Met by Morphine

"They are so hot!" Alice shouted in my ear, nearly deafening me. "I'm pretty sure I could spontaneously combust right now."

Alice and Rosalie and I had all gone to see the band Still of the Night play and Alice was out of her mind with excitement. Rosalie rolled her eyes at me and I smiled at them both.

Sometimes I was amazed that the three of us were friends. We had met in kindergarten and I often wondered if we'd met later if we ever would have even spoken to each other. In many ways, we were all very different. But in Kindergarten, Alice had marched up to me and told me we were going to be best friends and I didn't even question it. From that day on…we were. And a few months later when Rosalie moved to Forks, she joined us. Alice and Rosalie were as close as I was ever going to come to having sisters, and I loved them dearly. Rose had always been beautiful, her long blond curly hair and huge blue eyes made everyone fall in love with her the moment they met her. Alice had looked a little bit like a porcelain doll, she was fine boned and dark haired with huge eyes. She was always a fiery ball of energy and was irresistible to everyone. I, on the other hand, was plain and boring. Or at least I had been. My dark hair, pale skin and more reserved nature had made me fade into the background. But finally, after years spent feeling invisible next to Alice and Rosalie, I was starting to blossom. I'd been stick straight until my sophomore year of high school, but then out of nowhere I developed curves. With Alice's unflagging enthusiasm I'd also figured out how to style my hair and put on makeup and dress well. Most importantly, over the years both Alice and Rosalie had managed to instill some self-confidence in me and I no longer felt like plain old, boring Bella Swan. In fact, that night I felt gorgeous. I was wearing an obscenely low backed black top and skin-tight black pants with heeled boots. We'd all gotten dressed together and Alice and Rose were equally stunning. Rose wore white off the shoulder silk shirt and leather pants that looked painted on. Alice was wearing a fiery red corseted top and a flirty little black skirt with her usual pair of staggeringly tall heels. It was January, and bitter cold out, and I'd questioned her sanity earlier for wearing so little clothing, but in the heat of the club I was starting to feel over dressed. I fanned myself and Rosalie grinned at me.

"I say we try to get backstage after the show," Rosalie yelled in my ear. I grinned back at her. If Rosalie put her mind to it, we'd have no problem getting in. She had mastered the art of wrapping guys around her little finger at the age of 6 and now she was unstoppable.

"Sure." I shrugged. The bass player was gorgeous. He was tall and thin, with broad shoulders and a wicked smile. His blond wavy hair kept falling into his eyes as he played and it just made me want to run my fingers through it. I wouldn't mind meeting him at all. "Who do you have in mind?" I winked at Rosalie.

"Mmm, I have my eyes on the lead singer."

The lead singer was hot, in a very artsy sort of way. He had messy bronze hair and deep intense eyes. He didn't seem to smile much, but the serious brooding persona worked well with the set they were singing that night. They were a cover band, and one of the better ones we'd seen recently. I was surprised at Rosalie's pick though, he didn't seem like her usual type. I would have expected her to go for the drummer. The drummer was cute with dimples and dark hair and he looked like he could bench press a train car.

I grinned at her. "Have fun! I'm surprised though, I figured you'd go for the drummer."

She shrugged. "I'm in the mood for something different. Who do you have your eye on?"

"The bass player is pretty hot."

She nodded. "Nice."

Alice had been listening and she chimed in, "I'm all about the guitarist. Look at those abs. Rowr." He was tall and lean with longish blond hair pulled back into a ponytail. He was playing shirtless and he had an incredible chest and stomach. A little over-muscled for my tastes, but I could hardly fault Alice for being interested.

"Go for it Al!" I encouraged her. "I do feel bad for the drummer though, poor boy will be so lonely."

Rosalie smirked at me. "I think I could probably handle both."

We laughed and went back to dancing. The small club was packed and the band was very good. They had gotten the crowd worked up right away and everyone was begging for more. Their final song had the crowd roaring and the encore brought down the house. We were all laughing and buzzing with energy by the time they finally left the stage.

After we grabbed our coats from the coat check, Rosalie shouldered her way backstage with Alice and I in tow. I watched her flirt with the bouncer; she blatantly dragged her manicured fingernail across his chest and whispered in his ear. Alice and I flanked Rosalie on either side and did our best to smile pretty and bat our lashes. The guy looked a little stunned and in just a few moments we were being ushered backstage. We grinned at each other when we saw that so far we were the only people who had been let through. The bouncer headed back to the stage and we continued on to the dressing room.

"What on earth did you say to him Rosalie?" I asked.

She snickered. "That I'd be eternally grateful if he'd let us through. It's not my fault he probably thinks my eternal gratitude involves certain favors." The dressing room door was closed but we could hear voices behind it. Alice giggled and opened the door a little way and we peered inside. We were greeted with the gorgeous sight of four half-naked sweaty guys.

"Very nice boys," Rosalie purred and all eyes turned to us.

"And who are you gorgeous?" The drummer looked very interested. I snickered, Rosie was going to have her hands full tonight.

"Rosalie," she answered, but she had her eyes on the lead singer. He flashed her a half smile and walked over.

"I'm Edward." He introduced himself and the drummer looked crestfallen.

I smiled at the bass player and he grinned and came up to me to introduce himself. "I'm Jasper."

"Bella." We shook hands and he tucked a strand of hair behind his ear.

"So what are you girls up to tonight?" The guitar player made his way over to Alice.

She giggled. "Oh, just out for a night of fun. The show was awesome by the way."

"Yeah, it was great. Really good crowd tonight," he said. "Especially you three, we noticed you out there. You really got us fired up." I wondered for a moment if he was talking about their playing or something else. "C'mon in, we won't bite. I'm James by the way."

We let the door swing shut behind us and Jasper gestured me toward a comfortable looking couch and he sat beside me after I had a seat. James sat on an over-sized chair and Alice immediately plopped herself in his lap. "You aren't shy are you?" he asked.

"Nope." She laughed. He leaned in to whisper something in her ear and I saw her giggle and shake her head.

Rosalie sat between the drummer and Edward on the second couch and looked rather smug.

"So did you enjoy the show?" Jasper asked me, there was a hint of a Southern drawl to his speech and I felt myself melt a little. Normally Southern boys weren't my thing, but tonight...tonight I could make an exception.

"It was great," I said enthusiastically. "Honestly, it was one of the best shows I've seen here all year."

"Good to hear." He gave me a sweet smile and I had the overwhelming urge to reach up and kiss him.

"So, do you want to hang out for a while?" James asked, running his hand across Alice's leg.

"Sure." Rosalie shrugged, feigning indifference. "What did you have in mind?"

"We could head back to our place," he offered. I wasn't sure if I liked the way he was leering at Alice, but she was a lot tougher than she looked and I trusted her to take care of herself. It didn't mean I wasn't going to keep on eye on him though. There was something rather predatory about him.

"Your place is fine," Rosalie agreed. "So, do all of you guys live together then?" she asked, looking at Edward.

"Yeah," he said, "We all live in a house. It's not far from here actually, just a couple of blocks."

"We could walk there," Jasper offered, taking my hand and helping me off the couch.

"Sure, that sounds nice." I smiled at him. "Do you guys have to take any of your equipment home or anything?"

"No. We're playing here again tomorrow night so we're just keeping everything here, we just have to make sure the room's locked."

"Hey Emmett," Edward called to the drummer. "Go talk to security and make sure they lock up after us." The big dark haired guy shot Rosalie one last puppy dog look and walked out the door. "And you…" Edward turned to Rosalie "…I think you need to come with me."

She wrapped her fingers around his bicep and purred, "sounds good to me."

I shook my head; I knew where that was heading. Rosalie had decided she wanted in the boy's pants and nothing in the world could stop her. It was going to be an interesting night. James grabbed Alice's hand and pulled her out the back door. Jasper and I followed behind, a little slower. He helped me into my coat and I thanked him.

"So, are you a student?" he asked.

"Uh, yeah, a senior," I said, feeling a little shy all of a sudden. I pulled my coat tighter around me and I stuffed my hands in my pockets, suddenly chilled by the cold wind after the warmth of the club.

"You're a senior in college? Wow, you look younger than that." He grimaced, "Sorry, that was probably rude."

I laughed. "Um, no, a senior in high school, I'm 18."

"How did you guys get in the club?" he asked, sounding confused.

"Fake ID," I said sheepishly and he laughed and gave me a lopsided smile.

"Ahh, yeah. Oh. Um, so I'm going to school at University of Washington. I'm twenty two." He looked a little nervous, as if he expected me to run away once I heard that he was four years older than me.

"What are you studying?" I asked.

"History. I'm focusing on the Civil War Era actually."

"Wow, a history buff and a musician." I smiled at him, "Impressive."

He smiled back. "What about you? Do you have a plan for after you graduate?"

"Yeah, I got accepted to U of W too actually. I'm thinking about going into editing."

"Cool. So you like to read?" he asked.

"Yeah, I love to." I nodded.

"What's your favorite book?" he asked.

I laughed. "That's kind of tough, there are so many. I do love Wuthering Heights though." I blushed a little. "I'm such a nerd."

He laughed and his hand squeezed mine. "I think it's cute." He paused and I looked up.

"Wow, this is your house?" I asked, amazed. It was huge and looked way too nice for a bunch of college boys to be living in.

"Yeah. Well, we live here. It actually belongs to Edward's dad. We just pay the rent and try not to trash it too bad."

"It's incredible."

"You wanna come in?" he asked.


Charlie would kill me, I thought, as I walked into the house behind Jasper. Charlie was my dad, the chief of police of the small town of Forks we lived in, and I was fairly sure he would have completely flipped out if he knew we were going into a house with a bunch of older guys we'd never met before.

I watched as Alice and James went up the stairs once we were inside the house. She giggled and still looked very happy, so I relaxed a little and decided I should stop being so paranoid and just enjoy myself. Rosalie purred something into Edward's ear and he looked like he was about to rip her clothes off there on the stairs so I followed Jasper into the living room.

"Would you like something to drink?" Jasper asked.

"Oh, um, sure, what do you have?" I wasn't sure if he was asking about alcohol or not.

"Hmm, we have iced tea and I think we have some soda, maybe some white wine, and tons of hard liquor." I didn't drink a lot but I figured a glass of wine wouldn't be too much. I hadn't had anything at the bar earlier.

"Um, a glass of white wine would be good," I said. "Just one though, cause I'm the DD."

"Of course. I'll be right back with that." I glanced around the room while he went into the kitchen. It was stylish, but very comfortable. There were a few low lights scattered throughout the room but the vibe was relaxation, not seduction. I laughed to myself. Maybe I wouldn't even mind a little seduction. Jasper was adorable and seemed so sweet and polite. I sat down on the couch and rubbed my hands together, still chilled from the cold air outside.

"Here we go." Jasper set a bottle of wine and two glasses down on the table and opened the bottle. He poured a little into both of the glasses and handed one to me. I took a sip and was surprised, it was very good. I didn't know a lot about wine, but I did know that it wasn't the cheap nasty stuff most students drank.

"It's good. Thank you." I paused. "So I'm curious, if you're a student at U of W, why are you guys living in Port Angeles instead of Seattle? It seems like a really long drive to get to classes."

He laughed. "Yeah, I know. We moved into the house last year. Emmett's mom was really sick and he wanted to be close to her, his parents live here in Port Angeles. He's graduated and he found a job here. Edward's almost done with school too, he's actually working on his masters now. James has a job here too so it was really just Edward and I who have to make the drive. We arranged our schedules so we just have a couple of long days of classes a week. Plus his dad had the empty house here that he wanted to rent out, so it worked out really well for all of us. We wanted to try to keep the band together for at least a few more years."

"So you guys aren't trying to make it big?" I asked.

"Not really. We have a great time, but I don't think any of us are looking at it music for a career, at least not playing in a rock band. Plus, we're really just a cover band, we don't have that many original songs we perform."

We talked for at least an hour, slowly sipping our wine. He politely offered me a second glass, but I declined. "Thanks, but I really can't."

"Oh that's right, you're DD, sorry. I shouldn't have even asked darlin'." The wine had apparently loosened Jasper's tongue and his drawl was becoming more pronounced. I smiled at him and he smiled back. We looked at each other in silence for a while and there was a strange tension in the air. I wondered if he was going to kiss me. The silence was broken by a yell from upstairs.

"Leave me the fuck alone James." I heard Alice holler and I bolted up the stairs with Jasper right behind me. He reached my side when I hesitated over which door it was coming from and he yanked one open.

Alice stood in the room with her hands on her hips and James clutched his nose while blood gushed from it. I went over to Alice and hugged her.

"Are you ok?"

She snorted. "I'm fine. But this jackass doesn't seem to understand that when a lady says no, she means no." I noticed that James's pants were around his ankles but Alice still appeared to be fully dressed and fine.

"What the hell did you do?" Jasper glowered at James.

"The little slut led me on," James said thickly.

"What did you call her?" Jasper's voice was low and threatening.

"She's a cocktease," James managed to spit out and he grabbed a t-shirt that was on the floor behind him to hold to his nose.

Alice rolled her eyes. "He seemed to think that just because I was wearing a short skirt and I didn't mind kissing him that I would give him a blow job. He was misinformed, so I helped explain it to him." There was a glint in her eye and she looked very pleased with herself for giving him the broken nose.

"Are you sure you're ok?" I asked and she turned to me.

"I'm fine. He just needed to be taught a lesson." I could hear someone practically growling behind me and I turned to see Jasper looking like he was ready to tear off James's head. Rosalie was standing in the door wearing nothing but what I assumed to be Edward's shirt looking like she was ready for a brawl, and Edward and Emmett were there too, glowering.

"Get out of this house," Jasper snarled. "Before I throw you out." The other guys nodded in agreement.

"What the fuck?' James shouted. "You're kicking me out of the house? What about the band?"

"Screw the band." Emmett's voice was low but menacing, "I don't want to play with someone who treats girls like that. Look at her, she's probably half your size, and younger than you. You should be taking care of her not taking advantage of her." Rosalie glanced over at him gratefully.

"Get your shit and get out." Edward's voice was cool, but he sounded equally angry. "We'll give you 15 minutes and then I never want to see you again. We'll send you a check for the rest of the month's rent money and you can pick up your crap next week. We'll leave it in the garage." He walked out of the room and I noticed that he was wearing nothing but a pair of partially buttoned jeans.

We all walked downstairs and Jasper and I sat on either side of Alice on the couch after he brought her a glass of water. She sipped it and patted my hand.

"It's ok Bella. I know you're worried about me, but I'm fine. He never had a chance to do anything."

"Good." I nodded and hugged her fiercely. "Or I'll go beat the shit out of him." I was irritated with myself for not saying something to her earlier about the vibe I'd gotten from him.

The guys nodded in agreement. "We don't put up with shit like that," Emmett growled. "Do you want us to call the cops?" A guilty look crossed his face. "We probably should have called them before we kicked him out."

"Thank you guys," Alice said gratefully. "But no, you don't need to call the police. I don't think it's necessary under the circumstances, but I appreciate it. I'm sorry about this. I hate to think that because of me you guys are out a member of your band and a roommate."

"Don't even think that," Jasper said, taking Alice's hand. "If we'd realized he was that much of a jackass we never would have let him in the band or our house in the first place."

Jasper looked at Alice with such concern and I could see her stealing little glances at him. I sighed, so much for my little crush on him. I had a feeling it wouldn't be long before he and Alice were completely smitten. We talked for a while longer and Jasper never let go of her hand.

No cute musician for me tonight, I thought. Oh well, Charlie would have thrown a conniption fit if I'd started dating him anyway. I chuckled to myself, imagining him turning purple at the idea of me dating a college guy in a band. Luckily Alice's parents were a little more laid back.

Once Rosalie saw that Alice was alright, she and Edward disappeared upstairs again. I was tired, but Alice and Jasper were still quietly flirting and I didn't want to interrupt. Emmett prowled around the front of the house, keeping an eye out in case James came back. A short while after the guys had told him to pack up and leave James had crashed down the stairs, tossed a few bags around and swore, and then left.

I grabbed a book sitting on the end table by the couch and started flipping through it. I'd heard of it before, The Turn of the Screw was a classic, but I wondered who in the house had been reading it. I had gotten about thirty pages in when Rosalie and Edward came back down the stairs. They both looked smug and Edward's hair was even messier than before. The guy could definitely pull off the just rolled out of bed look, that was for sure. I tried not to stare too much at the long lean muscles of his back and arms.

"You want to head home Al?" Rosalie asked. Alice jumped, I'm not sure she'd even realized that they were back. She and Jasper had been staring at each other intently and holding hands without speaking. It was a little weird, but they both looked very happy.

"Uh, yeah, sure," she said, still staring at Jasper. "Let me just run up and grab my phone, I think it's still in James's room." She went upstairs and Rosalie and Edward went outside to talk to Emmett.

"Look Bella," I heard Jasper say, "I'm really sorry." He looked uncomfortable. "I was indescribably rude to you. I really like you, you seem absolutely wonderful, but all of a sudden I just felt very protective of Alice. And then we touched and there was this spark…" he trailed off, looking remorseful and slightly confused.

"It's ok Jasper," I said. "I can see there was something between you guys. You're cute, and I like you too, but I'm not going to be heartbroken."

He smiled at me. "Thanks, Bella. Friends?"

"Friends," I agreed. When Alice re-joined us and we all went outside.

"We'll walk you to your car, I don't want you girls going by yourself tonight." Emmett suggested as he fell in beside me. I could see Alice and Jasper holding hands and Rosalie and Edward flirting with each other as they walked ahead of us.

"Thanks Emmett," I said. "You guys have been great tonight."

He sighed. "I just wish I could have taken a swing at him. The bastard deserved it. But I'm glad the little pixie got in a good shot."

I laughed. "Yeah, she's a lot tougher than she looks, isn't she?"

"I guess so. I'm kind of afraid of Rosalie too," he admitted. "She's hot as hell but I have a feeling she could cause some real damage."

"That she could," I agreed. He gave me a hug when we got to the car and so did Jasper. Edward stood back with his hands in his pockets and nodded goodnight to me. The guy was gorgeous, but he seemed very aloof.

"Mind if I drive Bella?" Rosalie asked, reaching for the keys. "I haven't had anything to drink in hours and it wasn't much."

"Sure." I tossed them to her and got in the back seat. The guys waited until we started our car and drove off. Alice shivered and we both looked at her, worried.

"Are you sure you're ok Alice?" Rosalie asked as she drove.

Alice reached over and patted Rosalie's hand. "I'm fine, I just got a chill. I was glad to have you two there, and the guys too, but I can handle myself. He really really didn't get a chance to do anything. We were kissing and he just sort of dropped his pants, stuck his dick at me said, "suck it baby." Alice said the last part in a deep voice and we all laughed.

"Ugh, who says that?" I asked between snickers.

"I don't know. I laughed at him, which probably didn't help, but I told him no thanks and he got really pissy with me, told me I 'owed' him." She snorted. "And he grabbed my arm and I punched him in the nose."

"Good girl," Rosalie said appreciatively.

"It could have been a lot worse, but beyond being a jackass he didn't hurt me. If he'd gone any further with it I would have pressed charges, but I don't think I'll have to worry about him again," she said firmly. We sat in silence for a few minutes and then she twisted around in her seat so she could talk to me. "I'm sorry about Jasper, Bella."

"It's ok. It's obvious you two have something going on there." I shrugged. "He's cute as hell and seemed like a really nice guy, but I've only known him for a few hours. If you're into him, go for it."

"Are you sure Bella?" she asked, looking worried.

"I'm sure. He's totally into you too, he apologized to me while you were upstairs getting your phone but it's clear that the guy has eyes only for you. Enjoy." I smiled at her.

"Will you promise to tell me if it bothers you? I don't want there to be any weirdness."

"Zero weirdness," I promised. "So Rosalie, I see you had fun tonight."

I could see her grin in the rear-view mirror. "Yes I did. The boy is hung."

We all snickered.

"You're such a size queen Rose," Alice teased her. "Does he actually know what the hell he's doing?"

"God yeah," she said fervently. "He has some serious skills. I think I came at least three or four times."

"Nice," Alice said. "So was this a onetime thing or did you get his number?"

"I got his number and gave him mine. I don't want anything serious but I think it'll be a great friends with benefits situation. If either of us meet someone else, no big deal, but if we don't we'll have fun. And if either of us starts to get serious about the other one, we'll end it. No complications that way."

"You cold hearted bitch," I teased her.

She blew me a kiss in the rearview mirror, "You know it!"

So, tell me what you think, I'd love to hear your opinion on the story!

-Were you surprised by the pairings?

-Are you looking forward to reading more?