Your pen name(s): ***

Your beta's name: ***

Your story name: Coming Home

Song that inspired you: At This Moment by Billy Vera

Summary: Best friends since grade school and destined to be together, but when will they realize it?

Rating: M

Pairing: Edward & Bella

Disclaimer: Twilight and its characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.


BPOV

October 1985

"So you'll go home with me then?" The sound of his voice curled around my body, charming me like a snake and he sounded so much older than his 18 years. "Oh shit, hold on!" Well, he did until that. That was the Edward I was used to.

I heard a few twists and grunts on the other end of the phone and oh my god, the sounds were totally making my mind go places where it had never been before. Well, never before with him. I wasn't a complete prude; I'd heard them before on movies and made similar ones myself, but never with Edward. This was all new to me. My legs suddenly felt like they needed to move, like my body was starting to become hyper aware of every single noise coming through the receiver.

"Okay, never mind. I just thought that I had solved it."

Mood over. Fucking Rubik's cube.

I should have NEVER packed one in the latest care package I mailed him at UW. He'd solved every one he had ever been given. I think this may have been his ninth, tenth or fortieth. Honestly, I'd lost count. I'd solved one…by taking the stickers off and putting them where they needed to go. Edward informed me, very matter of factly, that it didn't count. Hey, all the sides were the same color. It counted as far as I was concerned.

As I lay there huffing and rolling my eyes in frustration that only Edward can create, I realized that the snake was gone and my best friend was back. I relaxed back into my pillows, thinking about how lucky I was to have somebody like Edward in my life. From the moment that he informed me in kindergarten that scribble scrabble was unacceptable, wherein I promptly took a marker and drew on his shirt exactly what I thought of his rules, we had been inseparable.

Well, until we graduated from high school.

Edward was currently at the University of Washington, studying International Business and Economics while I was thoroughly enjoying my classes as Le Cordon Bleu in Tukwila, just south of the city. I missed him thoroughly, so of course, I jumped at the chance to spend some time with him.

"Yes, you dork. I'll go back to Forks with you. I can't believe you actually want to go, though. Why the sudden interest in anything related to high school?"

"Alice."

I should have known.

There were two women in this world that Edward Cullen couldn't resist - me and his younger sister. Oh, and his mom, so make that three. "So what is she doing now? Is she excited about this year? I can't believe she's already a senior. Any idea where she wants to apply? I need to call her, but I've been so busy." I took a needed breath and heard Edward laugh on the other end of the phone.

"No clue, but she wants to have a few people over after the homecoming dance on Saturday. Mom and Dad are going to be away at a medical conference, so they said the only way she could do it is if I came home and chaperoned the shindig."

I rolled my eyes because Alice knew her parents would agree in a heartbeat if Edward said he'd come home; Edward was always the responsible one whereas Alice...she was kind of spastic, but I loved it.

"That's kind of last minute, isn't it? I mean, what if you had plans?"

"Ha. Perhaps you've forgotten how George McFly I am, Bella."

"I knew you've seen that movie! I knew it! And George totally gets the girl in the end Edward; didn't you stay and watch the whole thing?" I laughed because Back to the Future was totally not a movie Edward would ever go and see for himself. He had to be convinced or drugged; not that Edward would ever do drugs. The man was concerned with the effects from taking Flintstone's vitamins for Christ's sake because he didn't think their effects had been proven yet.

"I don't remember much about it."

"Uh huh. Sure. We'll talk about it when you pick me up."

"So that means you'll come with me?"

I blushed at those words, not exactly understanding why, but not able to help it. "Yes, Edward. I'll come with you."

The silence on the other end of the phone made me wonder if we had been disconnected until I could finally hear him breathing on the other end of the line. "I was wondering if you had fallen asleep on me." I giggled into the phone because Edward was too responsible for such things.

"No. I'm up." My legs started moving again and I knew that I needed to end this phone call before I said something that embarrassed me. We were not in that place and I couldn't afford to jeopardize our relationship because I was feeling a bit lonely.

"Goodnight, Edward. I'll see you tomorrow."

"Goodnight, Bella. Sweet dreams."

I don't know about sweet, but there will be dreams all right. I pulled out my Harlequin romance, the one with the oddly familiar looking, copper headed hero on the cover and tried to read, but I couldn't help but wonder when Edward saw Back to the Future and who he saw it with. I hated to admit it, but part of me was sad that it wasn't me.

I was running so late. I really had no business going out of town for the weekend with Edward, but I didn't have the strength in me to say no to him, not that I wanted to. I couldn't bear to look into his eyes and see disappointment. Edward's 'feel sorry for me' face was better than any basset hound and he knew how to work it. So in keeping with my inability to refuse him, a spur of the moment trip back to Forks for Homecoming was now on my already hellacious and over-crowded to-do list.

"Like...I thought you'd told me that you two weren't an item. You do realize that poor Mike is going to be crushed when I tell him you went away with a boy for the weekend." Chelsea elbowed me in the ribs as we left school and headed for the apartment we rented a few blocks away. I didn't even want to think about Mike, who was a major dweeb and wore far too many neon colored clothes. The poor guy had been hitting on me since I walked into the building on the first day of class and couldn't take a hint that I wasn't interested in him.

I had about twenty minutes between when our class ended and when Edward was supposed to arrive to pick me up and if there was one thing I could count on from Edward, it was punctuality. He was never late. Ever. I glanced down at my Swatch and cursed. Seventeen minutes. I had to hurry if I wanted to avoid a lecture on how promptness was a virtue. Not that I hadn't heard it before…several times.

"Whatever... and we aren't. Well, not really anyway. I guess we sort of dated by default all through high school, but we were never officially boyfriend and girlfriend. We were just Bella and Edward, Forks version of peanut butter and jelly. Peas and carrots. I don't know…," I trailed off looking for the perfect analogy, but feeling like I was failing to explain just how meaningful our relationship was.

"Like Sam and Diane?"

"Yes. NO! Wait, NOT like Sam and Diane. I am so not pretentious like she is and Edward isn't Ted Danson. He's just…Edward. Would you stop trying to put something there that so obviously wasn't there? We had the same friends and went to the same parties and whatever else. We were more like each other's perma-dates than anything else. It just made sense, ya know?" I shrugged and the faint smell of cinnamon wafted up from my clothes, a welcomed improvement from the red onions I smelled like all of most of last week since I didn't have time to take a shower.

"So no hot make out sessions? Not even once?"

I thought back to it and honestly, there weren't any, which considering how many times we ended up sleeping in the same bed after one of Rosalie's parties or even after prom. It was still hard for me to believe that nothing had ever happened between us. Did I smell funny? No, I had made sure I was covered head to toe in Love's Baby Soft perfume every time I stepped out the door, especially at prom.

I shook my head to try and get the visions of Edward in a tux out of my head because I did not have the time to be distracted. Plus, I didn't want to remember the fact that he accidentally touched my boob the first time we slow danced. His heart was racing so hard, I could feel it as my head rested on his chest, but I couldn't stand to look at him and see the embarrassment on his face. We never spoke of it and by the end of the night, it was forgotten. Well, not by me, I remembered everything.

He was Edward and I was Bella and we just were us, but not us, if that made any sense. "Nope. Edward was…is…I don't know. It just never really happened with us. He's very traditional and conservative all about waiting until marriage and doing the 'right thing'. The first time he saw Madonna on MTV, he ran up to his room and didn't come out for hours, he was so traumatized."

At least that's what I kept telling myself, but I'd had my suspicions when he re-appeared, looking more relaxed than I had ever seen him. Rosalie had been with us at the time and she totally started to rail on him, but I made her stop because the idea of Edward doing that was something I didn't particularly want to know about. At least, not at that moment. And my mind, again, went back to the sounds from our phone conversation. It was so wrong, but I couldn't stop. I was turning into a spaz.

Chelsea snorted as I laughed because on paper Edward and I were total opposites. I joked with Edward that he was the Forks version of Alex P. Keaton and if it weren't for the fact that I'd known him all my life, I'd find it hard to believe that we got along as well as we did or that I cared for him as much as I did or that I was as excited to see him as I was. I figured he was the reason behind the recent flutters in my stomach.

I really wasn't all that excited about Homecoming Weekend in Forks, but I had to admit that I was excited to see Edward. Sure, we had only been away at school for less than two months, and we talked on the phone almost every weekend, but I really couldn't wait to see him.

Thirteen minutes.

I ditched my book bag by the front door of our apartment and ran to my room to gather the few things I'd need, but couldn't pack because I needed them this morning. Though I seriously considered not bringing my hair crimper when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. All that time I spent in the morning, and it looked like I hadn't crimped a single strand. I took out the bright pink bow I had tied in my hair and resigned myself to just pull it back like I usually did. I grabbed a banana clip from my pink and purple Caboodle and pulled it back. It would have to do.

Eleven minutes. Totally awesome. I was most definitely going to be ready when he got here, unless I spaced out like an airhead.

"Oh honey, no. You can't wear that. You look like you belong in a homeless shelter. Bella, you are in the real world now, in culinary school. Heck, you are practically a grown up. You need to start looking like it." I looked down at my jeans, pegged and rolled up to mid-calf, and my Frankie Says Relax t-shirt hanging off my left shoulder, wondering what was wrong with it. My Keds were even the right balance between day glow white and noticeably dirty. Besides, I was just going to get in the car and go for a ride for a few hours. Chelsea clearly had other plans, returning with some sort of purple tulle skirt that looked more like a tutu than anything else and a frosted denim jacket.

And were those suede ankle boots? Ugh.

"Chelsea, really. I'm just riding in his car. What if I promise to take this with me and wear it when I'm there?" She shook her head and just held the clothes out until I reluctantly took them. "But it's cold outside."

"Go put on the black leggings you got last week, the ones with the lace edges. You will look incredible and Edward will have a cow."

"I don't want him to have a cow."

"Whatever. You totally want him. You just don't know it yet. I see you when you talk to him, your finger all twirled up in the phone cord and your face all starry eyed. I hear you blasting Crazy for You in your room. How many times have you had to replace that cassette, by the way? "

Apparently my silence was enough for her because she just smiled and mumbled something to herself that sounded like, "I told you so."

Whatever.

I wasn't going to wear this skirt. Just looking at it made me itchy and I was comfortable in my jeans but before I could stop her, Chelsea was undoing said jeans and pulling them down to my ankles. "Stop fighting me. In five seconds I can have you transformed so Edward wants to do the nasty with you."

Thankfully, I had them pegged so tight, that unless she decided to cut them off, they weren't leaving my body. I had my hands firmly attached to the back of the couch, resisting the freakishly strong tugs and accompanying grunts coming from Chelsea when I heard it.

"Um, hi. I'm looking for Bella Swan?"

No. Please tell me that that voice belonged to the FedEx man, or the rent collector or anybody but who I knew it truly belonged to. The voice that I heard on the other end of the phone every Saturday afternoon. The voice that always sounded a bit sleepy, but authoritative at the same time. The voice that right now made me want to beg the MTV gods to play a Madonna video and so I could see what happened; in detail.

The voice that belonged to my Edward.

No, wait. I mean, Edward. He was just Edward.

And he decided to show up while my roommate was trying to take off my jeans. I bet his poor little head was about to explode. Wait…which head was I thinking about? The one on his shoulders or the one...

Jesus, Bella. Get a grip.

I could feel the telltale signs of a blush start to creep up from my chest and it was suddenly very warm in here. Chelsea was still kneeling at my feet trying to get my jeans off and whispering about how awesome it was that I was wearing fluorescent yellow lace underwear instead of cotton.

I wanted to beat her until she cried. This was NOT a good thing.

But what if it was?

"Hi, Edward!" I peered over my shoulder and greeted him enthusiastically, trying to distract him from the awkwardness.

He was standing in the doorway in jeans and a puffy orange vest that shouldn't work with his hair, but it did and I wanted to go give him a hug, but I couldn't move for fear of losing my pants. And he was wearing jeans. The Edward I knew didn't own a pair of jeans, just lots and lots of Duckheads, khakis, ties and sweater vests. He looked completely conflicted and confused at the situation. I reached down and pulled Chelsea up by the scrunchie, ignoring her shrieks and protests until she got a look for herself at who was waiting for me. I wasn't shocked when she suddenly went quiet.

"That is Edward?" she whispered harshly in my ear and I'm continued staring at him like everything was completely normal.

"Uh huh. That's my Edward." I could actually feel her smugness roll off of her in waves.

"Way to go Bella. He's a stud; totally hot." I could tell Chelsea was getting flustered because when she let her guard down, her Valley Girl came out, like, to the max.

But that was the least of my issues. At that moment, I had one of my best friends standing in the doorway, while I was half undressed with another best friend trying to dress me, and she may or may not be discretely singing the lyrics to Like a Virgin.

I lied before; now I wanted to beat her until she cried.

"Is everything okay, Bella? Edward ran his hand through his normally perfectly arranged hair, making it look a little more Rob Lowe and a little less Rick Moranis.

My jaw dropped down and I couldn't move. I just stood and stared, staying motionless as Chelsea somehow managed to get me out of my jeans and into the purple skirt, her body blocking Edward's view of me, before pulling my t-shirt tight to my waist, twisting it, and securing it with the lime green scrunchie. She sucked...hard.

"I will be as soon as we get out of here," I only half joked because I was stuck somewhere between mortification and the opposite of mortification, whatever that was. And in that vast cavern of wherever it was that I was, Edward was there in his jeans and just the vest looking like a major stud. I think I liked it there.

"Do you have a bag or anything?" He was staring at the ceiling, then the floor and then the ceiling again. Anywhere but at me as I finally freed myself from Chelsea and launched myself at him, knocking him into the doorframe with a thud.

His hands grabbed me around the waist, steadying both of us, but all I could feel was the heat from his fingertips and how good they felt on my bare skin. Not that I would ever tell Chelsea that because then she would totally take credit for it.

"I just have to put a few more things in my bag," I started, ignoring the eye rolls but rather enjoying the sarcastic smirk that started to form on his face. "Come with me." I grabbed his hand and pulled him to my bedroom, thinking about how those words suddenly meant something else in my head. I needed to get my mind out of the gutter or finally decide once and for all what I wanted with Edward. Did I want friendship or more? Maybe I would talk to Alice about it sometime during the weekend. She was a genius when it came to this stuff.

Maybe I did need this pseudo-vacation after all.

"So, tell me about things. How is UW? Are your classes all right? Did that girl ever show up to help with that econ project?" Why did I ask about that girl? Edward griped about her for hours the other day and I couldn't even remember her name, but I hated her for making him so mad. And I hated her for even being in his class. I wondered if Edward had ever considered an Independent Study class.

"Oh, you mean Jessica? Yeah, she showed. She was actually smarter than I gave her credit for and had a legitimate excuse. She left a message on my answering machine, but obviously I didn't get it until I got back to the dorm that night. She took me to see Back to the Future as an apology."

I hated Jessica.

"I was wondering who twisted your arm," I joked, trying to chase away the lump in my throat. Yeah, I was jealous of the girl who I was sure was a bimbette since she sounded like a flake.

"I haven't seen her since that night."

I wanted to grin and high five every person I saw, but simply nodded and made some comment on how it was good that he was getting out and making new friends. "You don't need to justify anything to me Edward; we're going to meet people at school."

He looked at me with these green eyes that were so expressive that I was a bit in awe of him. I grabbed his hand and squeezed it, knowing the whole transition to college hadn't been the easiest for him, but I really was excited for him to be making new friends and figuring out that he was so much cooler than he thought he was. But maybe, in the grand scheme of things, it would be nice if his friends were boys and not girls. Let's focus on the boys, shall we?

Every second that I was with him, I realized that I missed him. It was like this magnetic force that made me want to be around him and the closer he got, the stronger the pull. And I had him for almost 48 hours before I had to give him back to UW.

This meant we needed to get on the road now, where it was just the two of us and the open road. Maybe I could convince him to skip the Homecoming game. There's a thought.

Once I was packed and all my things were stuffed in his trunk, we were on our way.

"Oh shit! I forgot to call Charlie and let him know when we were leaving!" I cringed because if there was one thing that my father had instilled in me it was to always let somebody know when you were leaving. "We need to find a pay phone or something so I can call them."

"You told them you were coming home?" Edward asked, his voice sounding a bit depressed. "I didn't tell my parents you were coming with me. I thought it would be fun to surprise Alice since she has been more than a little obvious about the fact that she wanted me to drag you home with me."

"Aww, she's so cute."

"Apparently she's been going with this guy that moved from Texas that she says is really smart and supposedly I'll like him. Anybody has to be an improvement over that Ben kid. Between the two of them, they had to have used five cans of hair spray a day. What kind of a guy uses Aqua Net, Bella? Ugh. Anyway, I figured we'd swing by the school on the way in town and see what everybody is doing. I always wanted to do that." So much for skipping the game, I thought to myself.

He looked so excited at the concept that I couldn't help the grin that spread across my face. It would be fun to see everybody and I hated to admit that. Being an only child and best friends with a boy, I looked forward to seeing Alice and catching up and hearing about this new flame. He must be something pretty special to capture her attention, especially remembering how Ben looked in leather pants. I looked over at Edward and tried to imagine what he would look like wearing…no. The jeans were enough.

"Fine. Just promise me that we don't spend every free moment we have reliving high school?" I put my hand on his arm and he tensed and it felt like my fingers were surgically attached to his bicep.

Edward now had biceps; this was new.

"I promise we will do other things." The flutters inside me felt like they were on speed. There was something about his words that had promise, and I liked how that felt.

The rest of the drive was filled with constant conversation. We talked about my training and his classes. How I loved what I was doing and how I hoped to open my own restaurant someday. How he was taking advance French classes because he was thinking about going abroad for a semester or two, believing that it would be good experience for his International Business with a focus in economics major.

I was filled with an image of croissants, red wine and lazy mornings in Paris. Tangled sheets and bare skin. Of course, Edward was holding the finance section of the paper and had a pencil behind his ear. I tried to stop the giggle that escaped my lips, but I couldn't and Edward looked at me with amusement.

"You are beautiful when you laugh. When we talk, it is one of my favorite things to hear. Your entire face lights up and it's like there is nothing wrong in the world."

I looked closer at him and there was something there in his eyes that I didn't recognize. Something unfamiliar and I wasn't sure how to react, but before I could question him about it, we were pulling into the familiar FHS parking lot.

There would be time for talking later.

EPOV

Alice swore to me if I came home for homecoming weekend, and brought Bella with me, that I wouldn't regret it. The more time we spent in Forks, the more I wondered what my sister had been huffing because nothing was happening. It was probably all that hairspray that had gone to her head.

I wasn't pleased that I had gotten coerced into coming home, but Alice had been counseling me over the past few weeks on how to make Bella my girlfriend and I would be damned if I would throw away this chance to spend quality time with her. Though, I doubted we'd get to the 'boinking' like Emmett liked to say. I just wanted to talk to her, without there being a phone line between us. Seeing her would be rad.

Needless to say when I walked into her apartment and found her being umm…undressed, by her roommate, I almost fled to my car to whack off, but that would have look a bit suspicious. Now, as we sat together in my car again, on our way to the party at my parents' house, I had the same urge.

I had taken Bella home following the football game on Friday night, which Forks High lost 14-21 to La Push Reform School, our local rivals. We had never lost to them in the history of the school, and Emmett, our former Quarterback was absolutely devastated that the team sucked so hard this year. I didn't give a rat's ass. The only thing I liked about the game was sitting beside Bella and catching glimpses of her every so often. I could just stare, that would have been creepy.

"So…are you excited to meet Jasper?" Bella asked as she fiddled with the hem of her skirt. It was short… like totally fucking short, and I wanted to stab anyone who looked at her. Yeah, I was that jealous. Where did she even get a skirt that short? Did she get confused and was it actually a headband?

"Sure, I guess," I said with a shrug of my shoulders, as I glanced over at her again and caught a glimpse of the edge of her hot pink bra beneath her shirt. Shit. "Alice says he's a good kid, so I believe her. She hasn't steered me wrong yet." Yet, being the operative word. There was still tonight to get through and her grand scheme to help me.

"I like…the jeans," Bella said quietly as I looked down at the purple jeans Alice made me wear and grimaced. "Alice?"

"How did you guess?"

"Cause you aren't wearing your standard jacket and tie. I liked those jeans you wore yesterday," Bella replied with a small laugh as I looked at her in surprise. "Don't get me wrong, you look like a total stud, it's just the real you that I really liked." Stud? Hardly, I groaned to myself as Bella gave me a sweet smile just as we pulled into the driveway. I made a mental note to buy more jeans.

"Are you ready for this?" Bella asked me as I climbed from my Dodge Aries, which had been a gift for my 18th birthday last summer. Unfortunately for me, it wasn't brand new and used to belong to my grandmother, so it originally smelled like mothballs. With Bella's help, and a little time, we got rid of the smell, thank god.

"As ready as I will ever be," I lied as she led the way into the house and to my possible doom.

Two hours later Alice's party was in full swing. The house was filled with kids I didn't recognize and Bella was waiting impatiently for her best friend, Rosalie, to show up. I got along just fine with Rose, but it was her boyfriend Emmett, a total jock, who I wasn't exactly friends with. We used to be friends back in grade school when everyone was friends, but when we hit high school he became an annoyance.

Of course, because karma was a bitch, just as I thought about Emmett, he strolled in through the front door with his arm draped over Rosalie, who was wearing what looked like a linebacker's dress. Thankfully, Bella agreed with me that shoulder pads were tacky. "The party can begin…Emmett Fucking McCarty is here, losers!" he shouted out as he raised his hands to the sky and several other current and former football players came up to surround him, two of them offering him their drinks, which he downed with ease. He was a fucking tool.

Emmett was the local hero; the kid who made good. Too bad I knew his grades were shit and if he hadn't gotten a scholarship to the University of Oregon for football, he never would have left Forks. I smiled stupidly at the fact that he would probably be bagging groceries if it wasn't for his prowess on the football field, but Bella caught me.

"What are you thinking about?"

"Reagan's inauguration," I replied as Bella looked at me with her eyes raised. "Not buying it, huh?"

"Nope. Plus, you're looking at Em with a grin across your face. I bet you are thinking about him blowing out his knee and never being able to play again, even though that's just mean." I gave Bella a small smile as she pushed against my shoulder, nudging me slightly. "I don't know what your problem with him is."

"Where do I start?" I thought about all the times Emmett had made fun of me, ignored me or was just a complete asshole and I rolled my eyes as he walked passed. "I know you and Rosalie are friends, and I will tolerate him for your sake, but it doesn't mean that I have to like the guy."

"Fine," Bella replied as she kissed my cheek softly. "I'm going to go talk to Rose for a bit. Don't dance without me."

"You know I don't dance, Bella," I replied with a groan, thinking briefly about our one dance at prom where I grazed her boob. The effect it had on my body still embarrassed me to this day. "As much as you might wish it was true, I am no Kevin Bacon." Bella gripped my hand tightly in hers briefly, giving it a squeeze, before she headed into the kitchen to find her best friend. I knew I was in deep shit last year when Bella dragged me to the movies to see Footloose. She then spent the next four months drooling every time she saw either Kevin Bacon or a tractor on TV. I had a brief moment where I wanted to become a farmer and not the financial analyst I dreamed of becoming.

While Bella was gone, I stood against the far wall in the living room, making sure that nothing got broken. There were several guys in the corner building a pyramid out of beer cans and a couple more arguing over the football game by the front door, but overall, other than the loud music and mess, everything was going smoothly. I still didn't know when the hell I would get my chance with Bella, but I was trying to keep hope alive.

"Bella is looking bodacious," Ben declared as he sidled up beside me, a styrofoam cup filled with warm beer in his hand as he stared at the object of my affection. "Do you think she likes younger dudes?"

"No, she doesn't," I snapped back as Ben held up his hands in surrender.

"Don't have a cow man, I get it."

"What happened to your leather pants?"

"They chafed. My mom made me throw them out."

"Do you ever get tired of being a complete poser?" I questioned as I looked Ben up and down once more and held back a laugh as I noticed he was wearing white pants, a black t-shirt that was really tight on his skinny body and a white sport jacket. "Does Don Johnson know you stole his wardrobe?"

"Fuck you, penis breath," Ben declared before storming away, spilling most of his beer on his pants and making it look like he pissed himself. What a fucking hoser.

Thankfully, Alice came over a moment later with Bella and a blond looking slacker who I guessed was Jasper. He looked like a cross between Jeff Spiccoli and John Bender, and so far I thought he looked like a stoner.

"Edward, this is my boyfriend Jasper," Alice gushed as Jasper held out his hand to me, but only after Alice stared him down. This was not off to a good start.

"Nice to meet ya, dude," he said nervously as he looked anywhere but at me. I couldn't figure out why this kid was so fucking odd, but then it hit me; he's worried I'm an angry and overprotective older brother. Luckily for him, I didn't really care about him so long as he wasn't boinking my sister. Oh god, he wasn't doing her, was he? I would hope Alice had more common sense than that.

"You too."

"Wow, you guys are great conversationalists," Bella replied with a groan as a loud crash came from the kitchen and I grew concerned, but Alice ran to check on it with Jasper close on her heels. "You are hating every second of this, aren't you?"

"You know me so well," I replied as Bella offered me a drink from her cup and I quickly declined. I needed to stay on my toes in case someone got rowdy or began singing 'When Doves Cry', which was one of the worst songs ever in my opinion. "I want to go lock myself in my room and have it be tomorrow already."

"Party pooper."

"Yes, I am," I replied as loud screaming was heard through the house and suddenly Emmett's oversized body was streaking through my living room. Rosalie was shouting behind him that she was going to tell his mother and Bella just rolled her eyes beside me, clearly used to the antics of her best friend and her boyfriend. The moment the front door slammed, signaling that Emmett was gone, for now, I realized that Bella had just seen Emmett's penis. This was not a good thing.

"Let's go upstairs. I feel like I haven't spent much time with you lately," Bella shouted into my ear so that I could hear her over the music. I nodded my head and grabbed Bella's hand, leading her up the stairs as several people catcalled and whistled below us. God, I wish we were going to do what they thought we were doing.

When the door was closed behind us, I realized how odd it felt to be in my old bedroom. Nothing had changed in the past two months, not even the He-Man sheets that still graced my bed. In fact the room was cleaner than usual which immediately made me worry that my mother had tidied it up and maybe found my magazine stash between the mattresses, especially the issue with Shannon Tweed as the Playmate of the Year. That one was a keeper. Hmm...maybe I should take it back to Seattle.

"Edward?" I heard Bella ask as I turned my head and saw her fiddle with the knobs on my boom box until she had the radio turned on, 'Careless Whisper' by Wham coming through and drowning out some of the music from downstairs.

"Yeah?"

"Do you ever wonder why we never actually dated?" she asked, catching me completely off guard. I looked at Bella with a quizzical expression on my face as she offered me a small smile. "Alice mentioned something to me downstairs in the kitchen earlier and it got me to thinking."

"About what?"

"Did you know everyone at Forks High, hell probably everyone in Forks too, assumed we were dating all through high school?" I shook my head slowly, because this was news to me, as Bella continued on. "So she pointed out that basically I have had a boyfriend for the past four years, without actually having the benefits of a boyfriend."

"Oh."

"Guys never approached me about dates because they assumed I was with you. It's why you had to take me to every dance, charity auction and even prom." I could tell Bella was a bit saddened as she spoke and I felt sorry for her. However, I also wasn't going to tell her that I may have said something to a few of the guys at school who had expressed an interest in her, and because of that they kept their distance. "Do you think we should umm...tell them all the truth?"

"What? No," I shouted without thinking as Bella fell silent. "Do you um...do you want to date other guys?" Oh god, what if there was someone at her cooking school that she was interested in? Didn't she once mention some guy named Mike or something?

"What do you want?"

"No way, I asked you first," I answered, feeling like a six year old. "How about we both go at the same time?" Bella seemed to like this idea so we both counted to three and blurted out what we were thinking.

"I want to date you," we both replied as huge smiles crossed our faces and it looked like we each breathed a sigh of relief.

"Did we waste four years?" I asked as I grabbed her hand and pulled her down to sit beside me on the bed. I couldn't help but notice the tears forming in the corners of her eyes, and when the first tear fell, I brushed it from the apple of her cheek with my thumb. "I'll be honest, I didn't think you liked me...like, liked me."

"Oh, Edward," Bella sighed as I wrapped my arm around her shoulder and she buried her face into my chest, most likely so I couldn't see her continue to cry. "I always liked you, as more than a friend, but I felt like...I felt like you didn't like me that way either. I wanted to be your friend instead of being nothing at all."

"I've liked you since you scribbled on my shirt back in elementary school," I whispered into her hair as Bella gave out a small sob of disappointment for all the time we had lost.

I held on tightly to Bella knowing exactly how she felt. All those years we basically wasted, because I felt like I should take what I could get, rather than rock the boat and possibly lose the most important person in the world to me.

"So...what do we do now?"

"Well, I don't want to go back down to that party," I replied with a small chuckle as I felt Bella nod her head against me. The song on the radio faded into 'At This Moment' by Billy Vera and Bella stood up, lacing my fingers with hers.

"I think you owe me a dance," she declared as she stepped back, effectively pulling me up with her.

"I don't..."

"I'm not trying to turn you into Kevin Bacon in Footloose, Edward," Bella replied as she finished pushing the tears from her face. "Just a dance." I nodded and took a step forward; wrapping my arm around her waist as our free hands met and Bella rested her face against my chest once more. The room was engulfed in silence except for the music coming from the radio.

What do you think I would give at this moment
If you`d stay I`d subtract twenty years from my life
I`d fall down on my knees
and kiss the ground that you walk on
If I could just hold you again

As the song came to a close I realized that there was no better time in the world to kiss Bella than right at that moment, no pun intended. So, I bit the bullet and reached my finger under her chin and lifted her head slightly, her eyes bright with excitement, as I cupped my face with my hands and leaned down and kissed her softly on the lips. It totally reminded me of when Marty's parents kissed at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance in Back to the Future.

For our first kiss I thought it was pretty good, but Bella had other plans. Her hands found their way into my hair and she was pulling me closer to her, desperate for more. I backed up and within seconds we had tumbled onto my bed, kissing relentlessly and passionately, our hands moving all over the place.

God, I loved this girl.

My hands moved slowly up her side as our lips continued to connect over and over again, eager for more. Before I knew it, I was grazing my hand against the underside of Bella's breast and she stilled, sitting up slightly on my lap. Shit...could she feel how horny I was?

"We, ummm...I don't want to rush this," she admitted, her bottom lip caught between her teeth.

"I'm good with that."

"Are you sure...cause the thing in your pants seems to disagree," she replied cheekily as she rocked her hips against me and I let out a long torturous groan.

"No rushing, I swear. I just want to make out with you all night."

And that was exactly what we did until Alice knocked on the door just after three in the morning to let me know the house was empty, except for the people passed out in and around it. I didn't care though. The house could have been on fire and there could be dozens of gremlins running around because Jasper fed them after midnight and I wouldn't notice. I had Bella in my arms, I had reached second base with her, and I was in heaven.

The rest of the weekend flew by in a blur. The next morning, Bella and I made our way downstairs where we found Emmett, wearing a sheet since his clothes seemed to have gone missing, sitting on the couch extolling the virtues of the new Nintendo system to Rosalie, who looked bored out of her mind as she filed her nails. I gave all of them a ride home, including Bella who I dropped off last, even though she lived closest, and I was surprised that Emmett was actually nice to me. Apparently miracles can happen.

Bella and I drove back to Seattle together late on Sunday afternoon and before I let her go, we made plans for a date on the following Friday night. A real, honest to goodness date. I spent days researching it and I took her to dinner and to visit the Space Needle, since we both admitted we had never been before. From there on it was smooth sailing, at least I thought so. We talked on the phone almost every day and when finals were over for me, I took her out to dinner and to see the movie Clue, which we both loved.

For Christmas break, Bella and her parents came over for Christmas Eve dinner and we exchanged gifts, she got me a calculator which I had been coveting, and I got her a small necklace with a locket, our pictures shoved inside. Alice thought it was awesome, and I really did have to thank her for all her help. Apparently she had put the bug in Bella's ear the night of the party that she should be dating me and everyone thought we were anyways. That of course led to our conversation in my room and our first, of many, make out sessions.

As time moved on, the physical relationship between Bella and I advanced rather quickly, but I had a plan. Valentine's Day I was totally going to romance her. I had gotten us a hotel room and was going to have flowers and candles, the whole nine yards. That was until Bella called me the morning of and informed me she was currently at the ER getting stitches after slicing her hand during class. There went our plans.

We ended up spending Valentines holed up in my tiny dorm room watching reruns of the Cosby Show and Family Ties. Bella insisted her hand was fine, but I refused to take any chances, and it was nice to just spend the night with her cuddled close.

Two weeks later, I had everything rescheduled. We went out and saw Pretty in Pink at the movie theatre and then we walked the two blocks to the hotel I had arranged. Bella's roommate, Chelsea, had packed a bag for her and it was already sitting in the room. Needless to say Bella was shocked when we walked into the room covered in flowers and candles.

"You did all this for me?" Bella asked, incredulously.

"Well, I originally had it set up for Valentine's Day, but the hotel was very accommodating when I told them about the change of plans," I admitted, my cheeks turning red as Bella came up to me and kissed me roughly on the lips.

When we finally parted, Bella walked around the room, shrugging out of her jacket as she went. "This is really...special."

"I wanted it to be special for you...for us," I explained as Bella sat down in the middle of the bed, patting the spot beside her. I kicked off my shoes and put my jacket on a chair by the door before making my way towards her, my heart beating out of my chest as I sat beside her.

I reached over and tentatively took her hand into mine, our fingers lacing together as we both leaned back against the pillows, staring at the ceiling. Fuck, this was awkward.

"I love you," Bella blurted out suddenly, causing me to roll onto my side and stare at her in shock. "I've probably always loved you, I just...we were stupid."

"God, I love you too," I replied as I wrapped my arms around her and my lips pressed against hers. I rolled onto her, hovering above her body and Bella simply smiled, her beautiful genuine smile, at me as I began to kiss her neck.

For our first time, it was slow and gentle but definitely not perfect. We both took the time to appreciate the fact that it look us a while to get here. Bella and I whispered words of love to each other, our hands and mouths eager to explore the others body and when we finally came together, it was like everything in the world was right.

I was with the girl I was meant to love for the rest of my life, sharing this experience only with her. She was my forever, and I never doubted it. It just took us a little while to get to this moment.


Endnote: Thank you for reading. Please leave a review and then check out all the other fantastic contest entries. Voting begins 11/1/11.