Ficawesome Gift Exchange- 3some
Title: She Isn't Real
Written for: Lyricalkris
Written By: beegurl13
Rating: M (for future lemony goodness :D )
Summary/Prompt used: "She's a myth that I have to believe in, all I need to make it real is one more reason."

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A/N: I don't own this, we all know who does. What I do own is a love of FAGE stories. And the fact that it seems to be getting bigger and bigger each time we do it. :D That's so fun. :)

Thanks to my girlies – MaggieMay14, EdwardsBloodType, UnchangedAffections, Twilight44, Luxure, and my wifey Mrs. Robward. I don't know what I'd do without these amazing girls. They're all pretty wonderful, and so helpful, too. :D

There's a banner for this, linked on my profile. It's pretty, and it has pictures. It's good. :)

Lyricalkris, I hope you like this. Thanks for the prompt, it was fun to work with. I figured if you went to the trouble of sending an actual song lyric, then that needed to be the prompt I went with. Hope you enjoy it. :)

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She is everything to me
The unrequited dream
A song that no one sings
The unattainable
She's a myth that I have to believe in
All I need to make it real is one more reason

"Vermillion, Pt. 2" by Slipknot

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Chapter 1 – Sparkly Tennis Shoes

I've known her since I was seven.

Knobby knees, wire rimmed glasses, uncontrollable hair...I was a mess. Never popular or cool, never picked first for recess kickball, never the highest math score posted on the bulletin board. I was normal, average, plain. Easily overlooked, that's what I was. Nothing special, not like her.

Bella was beautiful, from the moment she moved to our sleepy little town. Her brown hair in curls, her pink sweater and fancy jeans. She even had sparkly tennis shoes. Every girl in Forks wanted to be her, to talk to her, play with her. And every boy wanted to sit next to her in class, stand behind her in the lunch line, get off the bus at her stop. I was the only one, the lucky one, they said. Sadly, that was all I was known for through my years of schooling in Forks...that I lived across the street from Bella Swan.

That's how people knew me.

As we grew up, we talked, played, and watched tv together. My sister Alice was three years younger than me, so she played with us, too. I thought she was annoying, but Bella thought she was sweet. I always let Bella have what she wanted. Always.

When we were twelve and in junior high, Bella told me that Mike Newton had asked her to "go with him." My response was, "Go where?" Bella laughed, saying I was too cute, then proceeded to tell me that it meant going steady, being his girlfriend.

She was so excited, so flattered that he'd asked her. "The cutest boy in school," she said, giggling and dancing around my back yard. She broke my heart that day. And she never even knew it.

Realistically, I knew that Bella Swan would never look at me in that way, but it didn't stop me from dreaming about it. The thought of kissing girls was gross, except when it came to Bella. Holding a girl's hand seemed stupid, except if it was Bella's hand.

Acne didn't help me win any admirers as we entered our teen years, and neither did my growth spurt our freshman year of high school. I was gawky, awkward, unsteady. Bella was soft, graceful, magnetic. She attracted people, and soon it was only outside on our front lawns where we talked.

"People don't want me to talk to you, Edward. They say it's not cool if we're friends at school," she said softly, her head down. Her eyes were sad, and I didn't know why.

We were fifteen, and she was the princess of Forks High. I was just an average no body, no one important, nothing special. Not in the same realm as a cheerleader, which is what Bella was. Of course it wasn't okay for her to talk to me from eight in the morning to four in the afternoon, Monday through Friday. Or at sanctioned school events. Or in public, for the most part. How this never dawned on her, I didn't know.

"Well," I said, holding back the urge to cry so that I could make things easier on her. "We just won't talk at school then, and we don't have to tell anyone that we talk at home, either. I mean, all I have are Eric and Emmett, and Emmett can't talk to me at school either. Football players don't talk to geeks, right? I'm sure the same goes for cheerleaders."

I laughed, trying to lighten the mood. Her head snapped up, her eyes burning into mine with more fierceness than I'd seen from her ever before.

"Don't say that, don't call yourself that. You're not a geek, Edward. You're a nice guy and any girl would be lucky to have you. Trust me, I know."

Words pounded through my brain, but I couldn't say them. Would you be lucky to have me, Bella? We sat in silence, nothing around us but a breeze blowing through the trees that lined the street.

She let out a sigh. "I have to go. Riley's picking me up in a little while. There's a party or something, I don't know. I think he just wants to get drunk and make out. That's all he ever wants to do."

There was so much sadness in her voice, but I let it go. It was her life, her choice. And if she wanted a jerk like Riley, who was I to stand in the way? She sat on the porch step, picking at her fingernails, and blowing wisps of hair out of her eyes. There was nothing I, Edward Cullen, could do about her problems. Nothing other than get my nose broken by her boyfriend. And that really wasn't something I wanted to deal with.

Later that evening, I watched her get into his car, his hands all over her body as he kissed her and held her and touched her. She laughed, giggled, and I knew she liked it. No matter what she said. I'd seen them late at night, when he brought her home. Through steamy car windows and my frosted bedroom panes, I could see things were happening between them. She never talked about it, I never asked. But I knew.

It was late one night in May, the last week of school, when I heard tapping against my bedroom window. Looking outside, I saw Bella, barefoot and wearing her pajamas. It had been years since she'd done that, but the look on her face told me all I needed to know. She needed me, and because she was Bella, I would never deny her.

"What are you doing?" I asked as I quietly walked out the back door and across the grass to where she was standing.

"Riley broke up with me," she said. It was then that I noticed the tears on her face.

I'd never seen her so upset, shaken, but my first instinct was to hold her, to offer my embrace as comfort. She melted against my chest, letting out heaving sobs. Smoothing my hand over her hair, I tried to calm her, worrying a bit when I noticed my mother looking out the back door. She waited for a moment before turning and leaving us alone.

"I'm sorry," I told her, saying over and over again that Riley was an idiot, that he didn't deserve her, that she could do way better than him. It was all true, and she needed to hear it.

After an hour or so, she had calmed down. She told me what happened, that Riley was going away for the summer, to California, and that he wanted to be single and free. He had assured her that when school started again, he'd probably want to date her, so she shouldn't tie herself down while he was gone. That infuriated me, that he thought it was okay for him to mess around, but not for her. Bella didn't like it either, and by the time she was ready to go home, she had decided she was done with Riley. She didn't need him.

"Edward," she said quietly, a nervous hitch in her voice.

"Yeah?"

"Let's get out of here next summer, just you and me. Let's just go. Drive, see places, just like we always said we were gonna do. Spend the whole summer going anywhere we want to. Do you think you'd do that with me? Could we really do it?"

I envisioned us together in my car, driving across the country. Stopping to eat at crappy diners, crashing at two-star hotels, singing along with the radio as scenery flew by. Smiling, I nodded my head. "Yeah, I think we could do that."

Her smile was beautiful. I hoped for just a moment that maybe as we drove across the country, she'd fall in love with me the same way I'd been with her for the past ten years.

"Okay, it's a deal. I have it all planned out, our whole trip, all the places we should see," she said, her eyes soft, excitement sparking through them. "Deal?" She held out her hand, waiting for me to shake. A laugh bubbled from my chest, and reached out my hand, letting it envelope hers.

"Deal."

And it was set.

If only the next year had been agreeable to our arrangement.

In August, a week before school started, Riley came home and within a week, he and Bella were back on track, only thicker than before. I knew Bella was having sex with him, I'd accidentally heard them one night as I walked Alice's dog for her. Bella's parents were out of town and her bedroom window was open.

I threw up in her yard. I doubt she ever even noticed. Or cared. As the days went by, I saw her less and less, talked to her hardly ever. The first day of our senior year was quiet, lonely for me. She performed in the assembly, I sat in the middle of the auditorium with Eric and Angela, a few other stragglers seated around us.

The football players whooped it up, laughing and punching each other. My cousin Emmett was in the midst of them, and though he smiled and waved as he walked past me, I knew that was all I'd get from him. He had a reputation to uphold, and a leggy blonde girlfriend in a short cheerleading skirt. She was on the squad with Bella, and after their performance, the girls all ran to their boyfriends. Riley lifted Bella up off the ground, his hands under her cheer skirt. She laughed, giggled, as he kissed her.

Our eyes met for just a moment. There was a flash of emotion, a flicker of something other than happiness on her face. But it was just for a moment, then she broke our gaze, returning to her life.

That was it. I knew then—that day—that our friendship was over. My life would never be the same, but Bella didn't seem to care, and that was something I would just have to get past.

As the school year continued, a new group of Freshman wormed their way into my small circle of friends. One girl, Tanya, was sweet, cute. She batted her eyelashes at me, though I wasn't sure why. She wasn't the prettiest girl I'd ever seen, not by a long shot. That would always be Bella. I knew that. Tanya was smart and funny, quiet most of the time. I respected her.

She and Alice became friends, and soon Tanya was at my house all the time, doing girlie things with Alice. Their personalities complimented each other, and I actually enjoyed spending time with my sister when Tanya was there to act as a buffer.

The first time I kissed her was awkward, weird. She was helping me clean up some of my dad's tools in the garage, after I'd worked on a science fair project. It was quick, nothing earth shattering, but her lips were soft, and I'd never felt lips before. Except for Bella's on a few occasions during our childhood, when she made me play "House" with her. I had to be the husband, she the wife, and she would peck my cheek, and once my lips, when I went off to work. I remembered each one of Bella's light kisses, but there was only one thing I remembered from my first kiss with Tanya. As I pulled away from her, I looked to the side and saw Bella in her yard, watching us. Her hands balled into fists, and she turned and ran into her house, a strange expression on her face.

Why did she even care who I kissed? It's not like we were friends anymore.

We were nothing, really, yet I couldn't help but wonder about her. Bella had always been this enigma to me, something that I just couldn't quite figure out. She was perfect in my opinion, but completely unattainable for someone in my position. She was the dream that I couldn't stop dreaming, even though I knew she would never be my reality, never be real for me. There was just something there, in her appearance, that wasn't right. It was like she was there, but not. Like no one truly understood her. No one got her. No one sang the song she was singing. But they were all too stupid and self absorbed to notice it.

Their loss.

I enjoyed spending time with Tanya, it was easy, simple. She was nice, my family liked her, there was no drama at school...it just "was" with us. We seemed natural, carefree. But I always felt like something was missing. A few times a day I would see Bella in the hallway at school, or in the cafeteria. She never smiled at me, never looked my way, never even acknowledged my existence. That hurt me. It broke my heart a little more with each effortless dismissal from her. It was like all the time we'd spent together meant nothing anymore. Before, she would sneak a smile in here or there, offer a little wave if she could, but all that had stopped. That's what hurt the most. I had known from the beginning that she and I would never be together, but I thought we'd be friends at least. Now, she didn't even seem to want that.

"Hey, Edward?" Tanya asked me one afternoon as we sat at my dining table, working on homework.

"What?"

"You know that Bella girl, that lives across the street?" she asked. Her finger was twisting nervously in her mouth, her teeth biting down on her nail.

"Yeah, what about her?" I was curious. Why was she asking about Bella?

Tanya let out a sigh. "Did I do something to upset her? I mean, I don't think I did, but it seems like she doesn't like me very much, and I can't figure out why."

"I don't know, I'm sure it's nothing. Why, did something happen?" I looked up at her, my interest piqued.

"Well, she ran into me in the hall the other day. It was just an accident, she came around the corner and I was there, but just the way she looked at me... It was like she hated me. There was this glare in her eyes, and she mumbled something under her breath, I don't know."

"Did she say anything else?" I asked.

"Yeah, she just said to watch where I was going and to stay out of her way."

Bella had never been a mean person, so the scene that Tanya was describing didn't sound like her at all. But then I had to remember, I hadn't spoken to Bella in almost four months. I really didn't know what she was like anymore.

"I'm sure it was nothing. You know how it is, the popular people trying to push the rest of us around. Just stay away from her, you shouldn't have any more problems." I rubbed my hand on her arm, trying to comfort her. When she smiled up at me, I leaned over and kissed her quickly, softly. She was okay after that, and there was no more Bella talk.

But I was still thinking about her.

For days, weeks, months I thought about Bella. I dreamed about how our senior year of high school should have gone. About the friendship that had withered away, all the wasted time we'd spent together over the years. How pointless it all had been. Before I knew it, prom had rolled around and Tanya was pressing me to ask her. I didn't even want to go, but seeing her tear up when Alice asked about a dress her grandmother had made for her convinced me. It was the least I could do. Tanya and I both knew our relationship wasn't some great, long lasting love affair. It was high school, sweet, innocent. I'd be leaving for college soon, and she still had three more years of high school. Neither of us was delusional enough to think we'd be together forever. That made it easier, knowing I wasn't going to break her heart.

The dance was a big deal around town, though I could have cared less. Bella was going with Riley, and was nominated for Prom Queen. I couldn't bring myself to vote against her, but I couldn't vote for her either, so I just didn't. My ballot was blank when I turned it in. I didn't care who won. I was too busy counting down the days until I got out of Forks. I just wanted to get started with my life.

Tanya looked pretty when I picked her up, her hair pulled back and curly. The red dress she had was nice, and I could tell she was excited to wear it. We had a great time at the dance, until the moment came for royalty to be announced. It was custom for the king and queen to dance together, while their attendants danced alongside them. Then half way through the song, the king and queen would dance with the class representatives, who would award them their gift certificate prizes. Unfortunately for me, I was one of the representatives, and I would be dancing with the queen. As I stood on the side of the stage, watching the nominees line up, I prayed with all I had that Bella wouldn't win. There was no way I'd be able to hold her in my arms and be okay.

Emmett and his girlfriend Rosalie were also nominated, and I hoped they would win. The crowd erupted in applause when Riley's name was announced as king, followed by Bella's name as queen. Emmett was happy, since it meant he wouldn't have to let Rose dance with anyone else, but my stomach began to twist, turn.

Half way through the song, my friend Angela and I made our way to the dance floor and waited for our turns. Riley was nice to Angela, winking as he sidled up next to her and put his hands on her hips. Bella stood before me, her eyes focused on my chest, my tie. She didn't say anything, she just stood there.

"Let's just get this over with," I whispered, taking her right hand in my left and placing my right hand on the small of her back.

Her breath sucked in quickly, and she kept her head bowed, her forehead against my shoulder. Never once during our time together did she look up at me, did she speak, did she relax against me. We'd once been so close, I'd held her this way countless times, but now...it wasn't right, we weren't right anymore. Maybe we never had been, maybe I'd just been fooling myself. It was all just a myth and I'd tricked myself into believing it. I'd been so blind.

As the song ended, I let go of her hand, reaching into my jacket and pulling out the certificates, holding them out to her. When she looked up, her eyes were filled with tears and her bottom lip was white from the force of her teeth pressing into it. "Edward?" she whispered. I was still for a moment, staring at her, unsure of what to do. When I saw Riley walking toward us, I held the cards out to her.

"Congratulations from the senior class of Forks High."

She whimpered a bit, shaking her head ever so slightly before Riley reached up, grabbing the cards from my hand. "Thanks, dude," he said, wrapping his arm around her waist and pushing his face into her neck. "Let's get outta here, baby. I want that dress off you, now," he murmured against her skin as her eyelids slid closed, tears slipping down her cheeks.

I turned away, not able to watch them anymore. Tanya was standing near the drink table, talking to some friends of ours. "You ready to go?" I asked. She looked a little surprised, but nodded in agreement, then followed close behind me as I left the room.

I didn't turn, my stare focused on the door, but I felt Bella's eyes on me. Burning into me as I quickly exited. I needed away from her, from everything.

"You okay?" Tanya asked as we sat parked in front of the only 24 hour diner in town. I knew other kids from school would be there once the dance was over, so I hoped we could beat the crowd. Get in and out before anyone saw us.

"Yeah, I'm okay. You want ice cream or something?" I asked, holding her hand as we walked into the little dining room. After we'd eaten what we wanted, we left. I was confused about what to do. My every thought was twisted around Bella in some way, but I couldn't ever have her. She'd made it painfully obvious over the past year. Tanya, on the other hand, was always there for me. She deserved more than I'd ever been willing to give her. I decided, as we drove down the street toward the edge of town, that maybe tonight would be the night I'd give her what she wanted.

The backseat was small, cramped, and our formal clothes weren't helping the situation. Tanya sat on my lap, the skirt of her dress pulled up around her waist. Her hands were in my hair, her lips on my lips, my neck, my chest. It felt good, right, and we were going farther than we ever had before. I was okay with it, I wanted it. When her hand slid between my stomach and my underwear, her fingers grazing over the head of my dick, I moaned.

"No, wait, I can't do this. It's not right, I can't," I said, pushing her off my lap and onto the seat beside me. "I'm so sorry, I thought I could do this, but this isn't us, Tanya. I can't."

She sat quietly for a moment, before nodding and letting out a sigh. "I know, I just thought maybe you'd changed your mind. I thought maybe after tonight, that you'd really be over her and we could move on, but I guess not."

I looked at her, curiosity coloring my words. "Over who? What are you talking about?" I asked.

"Bella."

We sat in silence for several seconds before she spoke again.

"I know you like her, Edward. It's okay, I mean, I like other guys, too. But I know I'm never going to be with them, they're never gonna look at me or notice me, and that's okay. They're just a dream, an unattainable desire that will never happen. You, on the other hand, you're real and you're wonderful and I'm so lucky to have you. Bella doesn't know what she's missing out on."

I let out a deep breath, nervous about confirming Tanya's suspicions. Finally, I nodded. "Yeah, it's never gonna happen with her, I know that. She's just a dream, but I have to let myself dream it, you know? I never used you, please don't think that."

Tanya smiled. "I know, Edward. It's okay, I get it. Plus, we both knew this wasn't a forever kinda thing, it's fine. We've got another month of school and then you'll graduate and you'll leave and we'll both be okay."

I hugged her to me, kissing her a few more times before finally deciding to take her home. I told Tanya that night that I loved her, and I meant it. But not the same way I would have meant it if I'd said it to Bella.

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