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Mari, thank you!

A Different Kind of Start.

"Between men and women there is no friendship possible.

There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship."

Oscar Wilde

"Did you fall asleep on me, Bella?"

He murmurs from his place on the blanket. I smile at his nickname, it always makes me feel warm inside. Here, resting on a black and white blanket on his backyard, looking at the stars, while sharing headphones, I'm not "B" or "Swan" or "Izzy" nor either of those annoying names people call me at school. To him, to us I'm just Bella; The girl who gave him his first pop tart when we were 6 years old, and the only girl who saw him cry when his dog died, when we were eleven

I'm the same girl who knows he'd rather eat pie over ice cream, and his hate for all things chocolate. I'm the one who shares his same taste in music and books. The one who knows his obsession over Beethoven, and that he is a little OCD with his things.

He lifts himself to a sitting position; I only know this by the sound of his movement and the loss of the headphone we were sharing. My eyes are still closed but I can feel the heat that radiates from him. The heat gets closer and closer and my heart starts beating faster.

"Bella?" I feel him whisper in my ear. His hot breath dances over my skin. His hand removes some hair from my forehead and leaves a trail of electric current on his wake. My whole body feels on fire from that touch alone. I know there are goose bumps on my arms and I silently thank God I wore a long sleeved sweater.

I hear him sigh and his breath once again caresses my skin. I decide it's been enough indulging for one night, so I open my eyes. He smiles down at me, my smile, the real, sweet one. Not the one he uses to get away with something, or the panty dropping, crooked one he gives to the girls in school. Although this smile is pretty panty dropping itself, at least that's what the flutter in my belly thinks so.

"So, you're alive then. Good. Get up, it's getting late." He tells me at the same time he starts to stand up. I sigh, and get on my feet.

"Did you like the song?" He asks me after a moment of silence. We are picking the blanket from the grass and collecting our garbage in a black bag.

This has been a tradition of some sort between us. Each time one of us discovers a new song or artist, we meet here and listen to it together. We've done it since 8th grade. Nobody knows we do this, not his family, definitely not mine and least of all, our friends.

"Yeah, it was really nice. I mean, it's so powerful in its calm."

"Yeah, right?" He nods, like a little boy who's proud of his new discovery, encouraging me to go on.

"I felt like something great was going to happen at the end. It was like it was building something more…

…passionate." We finish at the same time. I grin and nod at him, feeling smug that we get each other so well.

Suddenly, he drops the now folded blanket and grabs my shoulders to pull me in for a hug. At first, I don't react, standing limp between his strong arms, but then my moronic teenaged brain catches up and I wrap my arm around his waist. I smell his unique, intoxicating scent, prominent on his well worn favorite hoodie.

"Thank you for understanding. Always. I'd go crazy if you didn't." He whispers in my hair and I know exactly what he means.

"You too, Edward." I croak with a lump in my throat. He lets go of me, picks up the blanket and holds his hand out to me.

"Come on, I'll walk you home." He says with authority, as if I'll ever find the strength to fight him.

While we walk holding hands, the well known path to my house, I marvel at how normal all of this is to us. We walking hand in hand, spending an incredibly long amount of hours together. It's natural, easy. It's what we've always done.

"So, you ready for tomorrow?" He asks when my house comes into view. Tomorrow it's the first day of school.

"You mean for the constant talk about shopping and summer vacations, and gushing about how unruly your hair is?" I mutter. He chuckles before nodding and responding.

"Yeah, that."

"Oh, of course, I can't wait." I murmur sarcastically.

He bumps my shoulder in a playful manner, and I almost lose my balance. He catches me and laughs.

"Don't be like that. It's going to be a good year. I can feel it." He says always more positive than me, so confident.

I shrug, not really looking forward to it, no matter what. We reach the back door of my house. All the lights are out. My dad must be dead in his sleep.

I let go of Edward's hand and open the door cautiously. I turn on the kitchen light and turn around to face him.

"If you say so, champ." I answer his last statement. He grins at me and steps forward, closer to me. I look up at him, momentarily surprised by his proximity. He grabs my arm, pulls me to him, and kisses my forehead.

I feel his lips on my skin, in such an innocent gesture. It's like I'm his little sister, or a cousin. He's done it before, and it always leaves me feeling so special and so insignificant at the same time. Before I can really appreciate it, he lets go of me.

He starts walking, facing me, before talking.

"I'll pick you up tomorrow, Swan." He half yells, winking at me. He's back to his fake self, preparing himself for the day ahead of us.

I just smile and wave at him, before closing the door.

I go to my room, put on my sleeping clothes, and settle in my bed. The feeling of dread for the beginning of the new school year is not stronger than the butterflies in my stomach after being with Edward, my Edward, for the past few hours.

That night, I sleep with the sweater I wore tonight as a pillow, because it smells like him.

It is then, that I realize that this year is going to be harder than the other ones.