Stephenie Meyers owns Twilight. No copyright infringement is meant
The main idea of this story was posted a couple of years ago, but I have totally rewritten the story as well as a sequel. I hope that you enjoy.
In the Long Run
I watched silently as Edward walked her through the unkempt yard to her front door. She was giving him an earful, her arms waving, stopping from time to time to point back at me, then turning back to him and jabbing him in the chest with her pointer finger. He gave as good as he got, pointing back at me and telling her something I couldn't make out from my new position in the front passenger seat of his Mustang. By the time they got to the front door under the light which her parents had left on for her, both were red faced. He said one final thing to her, and her response was to slap his cheek. I saw the curtain in the front window shift just before the door opened and her mother stepped onto the porch.
He turned and strode back to the car. When he got in, he gripped the steering wheel with such force that his knuckles turned white. When he started banging his head on the wheel, I asked, "Do you wanna talk about it?" in a voice that was meant to be strong but came out broken and almost a whisper.
He shook his head but looked into my eyes for several seconds before staring back out of the windshield. I had seen this Edward before, several times, in fact. When he got angry about something, he tended to internalize it, let it eat him up from the inside out. He would sit silently, stare into space, grind his teeth, and then, when it seemed like he was about to explode, he would let out the pent up energy by going a round with his punching bag or the tackle sleds out at the football field. I assumed that this time would be no different.
After waiting several minutes watching the natural progression of his anger, I put my arm around his shoulders. He jumped with the contact.
"Do you want me to drive us home?" I asked.
"No, Bella. I'm fine," he said.
"Do you wanna talk about it?"
"I said, 'I'm fine,' damn it!" He shrugged my arm off his shoulders and started the car. I didn't much like this Edward. I faced forward in my seat, making sure my seatbelt was fastened.
The trip home was quite eventful. There were some wild curves, broken speed limits, and I held my breath a time or two. When he pulled safely into his driveway, I looked at him again. He had blown off a lot of steam during the drive. He was much closer to My Edward.
"Are you coming over to my house to study tonight?" I asked.
"Am I still invited?"
"Of course you are. Do you honestly think I'd let one of your moods stand in the way of our grades?"
"Thanks. I don't know what I'd do without you."
"Well, let's don't ever find out, okay?"
We got our bags out of the trunk and walked next door to my house. When we entered the front door, my dad called out from the family room, "You're late. Is everything okay?"
"Yes, Sir. We just talked a little bit after the movie. Everything's fine," I said.
"You two don't stay up too late studying. Tomorrow night's an important game."
"Yes, Sir," I said.
We went upstairs to my bedroom and dumped our books on the floor. I sat down and made a show of organizing our homework by piling up books and notebooks in order of our classes. In reality, I was thinking about Edward. I wished he would just go ahead and break up with her. She wasn't right for him. It was so obvious to the rest of us that she only wanted to be on his arm because he was the most popular guy in school. Why couldn't he see it? Was she that pretty? Was she putting out? Was that why he was staying with her? Was My Edward that kind of a guy?
I was shocked from my reverie by a hand towel hitting me in the face. "A penny for your thoughts." I shook my head. "Oh, come on. What's rattling around in that empty head of yours?"
"Empty?" I jumped up from my position on the floor. "Empty?" I rushed to where he was standing and tackled him. He fell onto the bed with me on top of him. "I'll show you empty." I tickled him in every place I knew he was ticklish, and I knew them all. I goosed the one behind his knee, and then I got the one behind his ear. He roared and turned his head, trying to pin my hand. I snatched it from beneath his head, and with the other side of his neck open, I attacked again. He countered my move leaving me straddling his waist and giving me access to his ribs where I took immediate advantage of the new opportunity. This time, he rolled over and pushed me beneath him, pinning my legs and my arms.
"I give!" he said, and as his laughter faded into the background, he gazed into my eyes. I was sure my eyes were playing tricks on me because I was certain I saw something new in the way he was looking at me. I thought I saw admiration. No, that's not it, exactly. It was more than that. It was ….
"I knew it!" The voice didn't belong in my house, but I recognized it all the same. "You tried to tell me that I was imagining things, but I knew it. I knew if I came over here I would catch you two. You cheating bastard!"
"Jessica! What the hell are you doing here?" Edward swore, and his fists clenched as he stood up.
"Chief Swan said I could come on up. I guess he didn't know what was going on up here, did he?"
"Nothing was going on. Bella was tickling me, and I was holding her down to stop her. That's all."
"Yeah, you were practically on top of her. I'm sure nothing else is going on here tonight."
"Nothing else is going on. Bella is my best friend. She has been since we were five. Come on Jessica! You're being ridiculous!"
"Ridiculous, huh. The last thing you said to me was you were going home to study. I called your house, Edward. Your mother answered your phone. She tried to lie for you and tell me you weren't home yet."
"I'm not home yet, as you can see. I decided to study here instead. I'm sure if you gave Mom half a chance, she told you that."
"No, I called her on her lie. I told her I knew you'd had enough time to make it home."
"Don't . You. Ever. Call. My mother. A liar. Again," Edward said through gritted teeth. His face was turning red, and the tops of his ears were on fire. I slid off of the bed and stepped in front of him, placing both of my hands squarely on his chest.
"That's what your mother is. She was trying to cover for your cheating on me. She knew you were over here with her." Jessica almost threw her shoulder out of joint as she pointed her finger at me. "Your mother wants you to get together with her."
"Yes, she did know I'm over here with Bella. We STUDY together."
I faced Jessica. "Get the hell out of here! You're only making him mad!"
"Making him mad. What about me. I catch him cheating on me, and all you can say is that I'm making him mad. What kind of slut are you?"
"Maybe I should dump you and get together with Bella! She's so much better than you are in every way!" Edward spat at Jessica.
"You're gonna be so sorry, Edward Cullen! I'm gonna tell everyone what I found here tonight. You just wait! Everyone's gonna know what's going on between you and Bella, how she isn't little miss innocent like everyone thinks! You'll both pay for this!" Jessica turned and stormed out of my bedroom. Seconds later, I heard the front door slam.
"What do you think she's gonna do?" I asked, my voice just a bit shaky.
"What can she do? Tell everyone she found me at your house? That's the truth, Bella, and the truth can't hurt us."
"What if she makes something up? You were on my bed on top of me."
"Nobody's gonna spread any rumor if I tell them it's not true. They'll listen to me before they'll listen to her."
"They'll think you're lying to protect me."
"Why would I lie to protect you?"
"Because you're my best friend, and everybody knows it."
He took me into his arms and pulled me close. I'd never felt as protected as I did at that moment. I knew for a fact My Edward was back, and he would never allow anyone to hurt me. I enjoyed the comfort of his embrace until I heard a throat clearing in the doorway of my room.
"Is everything okay up here?" Charlie asked.
Edward looked up, and breaking our embrace, he said, "I'm sorry for that, Charlie. I never meant for her to interrupt your night. She's gotten it into her head that Bella and I are in a relationship behind her back, and she set out tonight to prove it. It didn't help that she caught Bella in one of her tickle attacks."
"I can see how that could be a compromising situation," Charlie said.
"Yes, Sir, and now she's threatening to tell everyone we're in a relationship behind her back. She just doesn't understand my relationship with Bella."
Dad turned and walked back downstairs. I looked up into Edward's eyes. The look that was in them before Jessica had interrupted us was gone. Disappointed, I pulled away from him. "I'm gonna get us some snacks. I'll be quick."
I walked to the window and stared into the September sky. Venus, the planet named after the Roman goddess of love, was mocking me. I couldn't stand the girl I was dating. Her incessant nagging me about Bella was just the tip of the iceberg. The very sound of her voice grated on my nerves. All she wanted to do was to make out, and I ran out of excuses to keep putting off her advances ages ago. I had no desire to have sex with her. I could barely stand to be alone with her. In fact, after tonight, I had no desire to call what we had a relationship. I would have to take care of that just as soon as possible. Absolutely nobody talked that way about my mom or Bella. Who the hell did she think she was?
I gazed back out at Venus. As she continued to rise, my thoughts went back to Charlie's last words as he left the room: "Do you, Edward?" I was pretty sure that Bella didn't hear him. What did he mean by that? I knew about my relationship with Bella. I was in love with her. I had been since we were five. The problem was, she didn't know I existed beyond a friend. Jessica almost had it right. I would give anything to have Bella love me back, but she didn't. I almost thought I'd seen something in her eyes when I'd rolled her onto her back when she'd been tickling me, but I must've been wrong. Surely I'd know it if she loved me.
"Edward, are we gonna study tonight?" Bella asked as she plopped down on the floor with our snacks and pulled a book into her lap.
"Of course." As I left the window, I took in the sight of the only person other than my family that I'd ever love. She was exquisite. I quickly lowered my eyes and walked over to where my books were piled up on the floor.
Taking my seat, we began our nightly exercise. We completed our homework together. In addition to Bella and me, there were still three others with perfect GPA's, but we knew with our determination, one of us would become valedictorian.
Our homework took us two hours, and when we finished re-packing our bookbags, I told Bella good-night. I walked home and crawled into bed expecting to fall asleep quickly, but instead, I kept replaying the tickling scene in my mind. I dreamed that night of Bella running into my arms. At least in my dreams, life was good.
The next morning, I met Bella at the car as usual. Her shoulders were hunched and there was fear in her eyes. "Bella, what's wrong?"
"I'm nervous about what Jessica's gonna say. I'm afraid she's gonna try to convince people we're sleeping together."
"I told you not to worry. I'll take care of Jessica."
She nodded, but the look of fright in her eyes didn't go away. She looked at me as we parked in my parking space in the students' parking lot. I could still see the concern in her eyes.
"Don't worry. I told you. I won't let anyone believe her lies." She took a deep breath and nodded.
As we made our way to our lockers, I listened intently to the conversations going on in the hallway around us. None of them were about Bella and me. By the time we were changing out our books for our morning classes, I'd about decided that Jessica's threat had been a bluff.
Then I heard the voice I was dreading. "Why weren't you waiting for me at our usual place, lover? Aren't you gonna walk me to my class this morning?"
I could feel Bella take a deep breath as Jessica spoke. I slowly turned to face Jessica. "After that stunt you pulled last night, how dare you even speak to me this morning?"
"Last night was just a misunderstanding, lover. You know when we make up it's so much better than when we fight," she said, looking directly at Bella.
I felt Bella tense next to me. "Jessica, there's not gonna be any making up. Just go away." I looked at Bella and said, "Come on, Bella. Let's get to class." She wouldn't look me in the eyes, but she nodded and began walking towards our first class. I quickly caught up to her. "Bella, what's wrong?" I could tell by the way she was walking that something was bothering her.
"It's just the way she thinks she owns you. That's all."
"Well, she doesn't. You own more of me than she ever will. Remember, you bought me as your alien robot from Emmett when we were eight."
"Yeah, I know. I'm still trying to get my money back. You're defective," she said with a smile. I loved to see that smile on her face. I would go to the ends of the earth to see it.
The rest of the morning was uneventful. When we went to lunch, we were the first to arrive at our regular table. We were soon joined by our group. We had all met as children. Emmett and Alice were my cousins, and Jasper and Rosalie were a brother and sister who lived down the block. Emmett and Rosalie were a year older than the rest of us. When we got old enough to pair off, they did, first Emmett and Rosalie, then Jasper and Alice. Then, when Jessica started to show an interest in me, I was flattered and asked her out. I wish I knew then what I know now. I would've never made such a big mistake.
I was thinking about what I was gonna say to Jessica at tonight's party when Mr. Green, our principal, clapped me on the back. "Isn't that right, Cullen?"
"What's that, Mr. Green?"
"You, and the other Mr. Cullen, and Mr. Hale are gonna bring in a glorious win for Forks High School tonight, aren't you?"
"Oh, well, yes, Sir. There's nobody who can catch the ball like Jasper, and with Emmett giving me all of the time in the world to throw it, we can't lose."
"That's the spirit, young man. We're all counting on you."
"Yes, Sir. You won't be disappointed."
The bell rang. Bella and I had every class together except for the last one when she had cheerleading, and I had football. There still wasn't any rumor to deny when Bella and I headed to our last period class.
"Well, I guess she changed her mind," I said.
"I'm glad. I wasn't looking forward to dealing with her today." Bella and Jessica were both cheerleaders along with Alice and Rosalie. I was sure there would be words said today, and I only wished I could be there to protect Bella. Well, Alice and Rosalie would be there. Alice, though short, was a firecracker. She was definitely not someone to be messed with. I knew I could count on my cousin to take care of Bella for me.
I watched as Edward walked outside towards the field house. He was soon joined by Jasper and Emmett, and the three of them started joking around as if nothing were wrong. How could he be so nonchalant about this whole thing with Jessica?
"Bella, what do you think?" Alice asked, nudging my shoulder.
"What?" I asked.
"Where were you? We've been talking to you for the past five minutes. You've been in your own world all day. Wanna talk about it?" Alice asked.
"Not really," I said. The three of us started walking towards the gym where the girls' locker room was.
"Okay, then. What happened with Edward and Jessica? Rumors are all over school that they had a fight, but nobody knows anything about it. Spill," Alice said.
"You're gonna to have to ask him. I really don't wanna get any more involved in it. I don't want him to blame me for anything," I said.
"So you do know what happened," Alice said.
"I told you she knew," Rosalie said.
"Of course she knew. She knows everything about him. They might as well be Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum," Alice said.
"I'm starting to feel like Tweedle Dum when it comes to Edward. I've found out that I don't know him nearly as well as I thought I did," I said.
"Why? What happened?" Alice asked.
"It doesn't matter," I said quietly.
"Bitter much?" asked Rosalie.
"Huh?" I asked. I stopped walking and looked at her. "What do you mean? I'm not bitter."
"Bella, if you could only hear your voice right now. It could cut through ice. I've never heard you talk about Edward in that tone before. Jessica, yes, but never Edward," Rosalie said.
"I don't know what you're talking about. I've never been anything but civil to Jessica." The two of them burst out laughing.
"I hate to burst your bubble, but you're worse than Alice. At least she knows she's being hateful to her. You, you're always saying nice things to her, but the tone of your voice when you speak to her, it's like you're saying 'I wish you were dead, and if I could get away with it, I'd kill you myself.' Trust me; none of us ever wanna hear you talk that way to us. That's the tone you just used about Edward," Rosalie said.
"No way," I said.
"Way," Alice said. "You really didn't know you were doing it?"
"Nuh uh," I said.
"So, what's my cousin done to make you so mad at him?" Alice asked.
"I'm not mad at Edward, really," I said. At that moment, Jessica and her best friend, Tanya, stalked up to our small group.
"Don't think I've forgotten my promise, bitch. I've just decided to wait 'til Monday to put my little plan into action. That'll give the two of you just a little more time to think about what I said," Jessica threatened, a grin forming on her face. She then turned and walked into the girls' locker room. Tanya blew on her fingernails and rubbed them on her shirt. Then she turned and followed Jessica.
My face must have gone pale, because Alice grabbed my shoulders and shaking me a little, she asked, "Bella, what the hell happened last night?" I shook my head. "Damn it. We're supposed to be your best friends. If you can't tell us, then who can you tell?"
"I don't wanna talk about it," I whispered. "I need to talk to Edward."
"She caught the two of you in a compromising position, didn't she?" Rosalie asked.
I looked away. "What were you doing?" Rosalie asked. I just shook my head. "Were you kissing?" I shook my head. "Were his hands on you, where they shouldn't be?" I thought for a moment and decided that though he was holding my hands above my head, they weren't really inappropriately placed. I shook my head. She took a deep breath, and asked, "Were you doing it?"
I looked up at them. "No! It's nothing like that! It's just, … damn, it's just that, … oh hell." I looked down at my shoes. It was really interesting the way that the laces crossed before they were tied together.
"Go on," said Alice.
I looked up at them. I could either keep everything bottled up inside or trust my friends to help me get through this situation. It wasn't as if they wouldn't hear about it when Jessica started spreading the rumor anyway. I told them about the tickle fight and Jessica's bursting in on us, and her threat to tell everyone that we're lovers. "It really didn't look innocent, but it was."
"But you're not lovers?" Alice asked.
"Of course not! He's with her. Besides, I'm still a virgin, and I made a deal to stay one until I get married."
"You're serious?" Rosalie asked.
"Of course," I said.
"Who'd you make that deal with? Charlie?" Alice asked.
"No, he just told me that if I ever got pregnant that he wouldn't be there for me. He'd kick me out of the house."
"He wouldn't do that," Alice said.
"Oh yes he would. He meant it. He was dead serious when he said it."
"Then who'd you make the deal with?" Rosalie asked.
"It doesn't matter," I whispered.
"Why doesn't it matter?" Rosalie asked.
"Because I found out that he didn't keep up his end of the promise," I said.
"Edward," Alice whispered, reaching for me.
I nodded, and the tears started rolling down my cheeks. I had made it all day without crying, and now the tears escaped my eyes, and once free, they stole what little dignity I had held onto. Alice pulled me onto her shoulder and rubbed my back.
"Are you sure he's slept with her?" Rosalie asked. All I could do was nod. "He told you so?" I shook my head. "Then how do you know?"
"This morning, when Jessica was talking to him, she kept calling him 'lover.' He didn't correct her," I managed to say through the tears. Alice and Rosalie were quiet. "What?" They exchanged looks with each other. "What do you two know? Tell me."
"Are you sure you wanna know?" Alice asked me.
I thought about it for what seemed like forever. I was sure they were gonna confirm my suspicions. Did I want to know? I had to know. I had to know if he had betrayed our promise to each other. I nodded.
"Edward has talked to Jasper about his and Jessica's relationship. Jasper told me that Edward has asked him about sex, about the first time and how to, … ," Alice glanced over at Rosalie who nodded for her to continue. "… prolong it."
"He's also told Emmett that they've touched each other, under their clothes, enough to get each other off," Rosalie said.
Their words echoed in my mind. I looked first at Rosalie, then at Alice. Both of them had their eyes down, and they refused to look at me. Unable to face their pity, I turned and ran. I left the gym and headed to nowhere. When I finally stopped, I found myself at the end of the football field. I allowed the tears to flow freely as I evaluated my relationship with Edward. Could I still love him? Could I still be his best friend? Could he still be my best friend?