Semi-Charmed Life (One Shot) by Writing4Roses

SUMMARY: Bella Swan is a sucker for a guy dressed all in black and that guy is Edward Masen. Whether Bella knows it or not, he's going to change her outlook on life, love, and everything in between as she goes from a young girl to a grown woman. E & B – Drama/Romance - M-Rating/NC-17 for eventual lemons! :)

DISCLAIMER: All original characters, stories, plots, and ideas are the sole property of Stephenie Meyer, The Twilight Saga, Little, Brown & Co., and Summit Entertainment. All songs mentioned in this story belong to their rightful owners. No copyright infringement intended; just pure fan fiction satisfaction. Although I do not own the rights to The Twilight Saga, I do own the right to this story and this very plot. Any form of translation or publication of this work is completely prohibited without this author's permission and written consent. February 2011 © Writing4Roses – All Rights Reserved.

A/N: Special thanks to my betas, DreamsofEdward1 and StAngelS! I appreciate them both so much in helping me make this story come to life! You ladies are awesome! I dedicate this to very three important people in my life— past, present & future. They know who they are; this is for them. This OS was previously written in February 2011 on behalf of the Fandoms for the Floods group benefiting the floods that took in Australia. Please visit their website to learn more about what you can do to help! http:/fandomsfightthefloods(dot)blogspot(dot)com

Betas: DreamsofEdward1, StAngelS

Twilighted Validation Beta: robbsweetangel

Banner: candykizzes24

She sat at her desk for the millionth time and looked at the picture in her hand. It had been so long since she had seen him last, those fond memories still fresh on her mind.

It was a photo of the two of them, sitting together on her front porch, his arm wrapped around her shoulders, the two of them laughing hysterically. She may only have been five years old at the time the picture was taken, but she could have sworn she could still hear their laughter as clear as day.

God, I miss him so much…

She and Jacob had been through so much together, from practically birth to elementary school. They were inseparable and did everything collectively from climbing trees to sleepovers to hosting neighborhood bike races with all the other kids on the street. One of Jacob's favorite things to do was to play on his swing set after a long day of bike riding and catching fireflies at night.

And now…? Well, now he was suddenly gone and removed from her life, for good it seemed. She feared she would never see her best friend again. She couldn't explain it because she didn't know the answers. Something wasn't right. She knew deep down in her heart that he was never coming back to their neighborhood. The knife stabbed her heart deeply when the for sale sign erected in his family's front yard. They were gone within a few weeks of putting it up for sale. Bella didn't understand at the young age of eight, but she knew for certain that something terrible had happened.

"Go away, Bella, and don't ever come back!" Even though almost a decade was upon them, Jacob's father's voice haunted her memory to this very day.

There was a quick knock at her bedroom door.

She jumped in her chair, looking up to find her Dad standing in the doorway. She quickly stuffed the picture into an open journal she had on her desk and put it away and out of sight in her desk drawer. Clearing away the other things on her desk, she looked up, smiling at her Dad, wanting to know what he was up to, what he wanted.

"Hey, Dad."

"I was going into town, wanted to see if you wanted to come along?" he offered with a shrug of his shoulders, jingling his keys in his hands.

"Sure, that'd be cool. I need to pick up some stuff for school."

"Great, I'll meet you in the truck. You want to drive?"

"Sure, I'll be ready in just a minute."

As soon as she was ready, she went downstairs and outside to the driveway where the family truck chugged in idle, revving and staling in agony.

No matter how much Bella's mother begged her father to do away with the old hunk of junk in the driveway, he was persistent and adamant that one day he would get it working again. His best friend and former neighbor, Billy Black, had sold it to him for one-hundred dollars; he was bound and determined to see this through— for once in his life. The truck was her Dad's pride and joy, whenever he was around - which wasn't often due to his job – he could always be found tinkering with it and buying some ridiculous part to prolong its life. Sadly, no matter how much work he did on it, there wasn't much change it seemed to "Cherry the Truck." Yes, he named the truck for its dark red, dusty color.

They rode to the center of town in silence, which was fine for the both of them. Charlie was not one to pry or nose around in someone else's business and that was just fine with Bella.

As Bella drove along the damp streets, she pulled onto Main Street and found a parking spot. Charlie Swan could not contain himself, as he was already ready to get out of the truck from the moment they got in.

For Bella, the relationship she shared with her father always seemed… off, it definitely wasn't your normal father-daughter relationship. He always took care of her and her family, and while sometimes things never made sense, it just never felt… enough.

"Alright, I'm going to go over to the hardware store. You want to meet back here in about thirty minutes?"

"Sure, that's fine."

First, she headed straight for Newton Outfitters. She was always so embarrassed going in there, as this is where Mike Newton worked. His family owned the place so her odds of running into him here were always high.

"Bella, hello there!" he cheerily greeted her, "Welcome to Newton's!"

She laughed, blushing as she waved to him and headed down the aisles. He was a nice person, he was easy to get along with and a great friend to have. Over the summer, she had finally admitted to herself that she did indeed like him. To anyone else, he was just a "great friend" and he was. Their mothers were always plotting behind their backs in hopes that one day the light bulb would go off for the two of them and they would discover they were destined to be together and live happily ever after.

Mike was different from most of the guys at Forks High School— he wasn't tall or sporty, in fact, he was the complete opposite. He was short and stocky, with a short non-descript dirty blonde haircut, slight acne and shiny silver braces. He was just your typical All-American guy, except for the fact that he enjoyed sports but was never coordinated enough to play for school. He was deeply involved in current events, and he even had been on the school's honor roll list since they were in Kindergarten together. Mike Newton was never one to get stressed out about trying to fit in or being sure to be seen hanging out with "the cool crowd" because he was friends with anyone he met, he was an all-around great person and that is probably what everyone admired about him most. Especially Bella.

Long story short of this brief mention is that day would never come and with no help from her. She would in fact never find the nerve to ask him to go steady. On the other hand, he would end up being her go-to guy for all the school functions that their parents forced them to go to and that would definitely be where their relationship would cease.

As she checked out, Mike switched places with the cashier and continued checking her out in more ways than one.

"So, Bella, how are you?" he asked nonchalantly.

"I'm fine, Mike. So, are you running the store today or something?"

"Yeah, my parents went to some couples retreat with the church. So, they left 'ole Mike in charge of the business and the house this weekend."

"Wow, a whole weekend? All by yourself?" she teasingly asked as he laughed, almost blushing as he nodded his head, "Impressive, Newton!"

"I know right? I was amazed when they suggested it, too. I honestly thought they were joking with me at first."

"Well, that's good then, that means they trust you. Who knows what this could lead to, maybe you will be Newton Outfitters' CEO someday?"

"The stars have already aligned, my friend." he smiled with a sense of pride as he looked over at the cash register, catching a glimpse of the tally. "Okay, so that's twelve dollars and sixty-five cents today."

He accepted the twenty dollar bill she handed him, he opened up the register drawer and he proceeded to figure out the change, handing it over.

"Alright and there you go. You have a great day, Bella." He smiled, his eyes saying something else. She couldn't help but smile at him as he had an infectious smile. She wished him a good day and proceeded to head on her way to the general store.

She crossed the street with her Newton Outfitters' bag in hand, headed a few doors down, and went straight towards Crowley's Market, Forks equivalent to a supermarket.

Walking through the door of the store, the overhead chime played a melody alerting everyone of her arrival.

As she was going down the first aisle she needed, she couldn't help but overhear an intriguing voice.

"Do you have any wide-ruled notebooks?" she heard a young male voice ask.

"Sure thing, son, right this way."

"Here you go. There they are." Their voices were closer now, just on the other aisle behind her.

"No, ma'am, I need wide-ruled, not college-ruled. My list calls for wide-ruled."

Grabbing a pack of pens, a set of markers, she held them in her hands. Scanning the selection, she couldn't resist the cool set of multi-colored highlighters so she grabbed those too and struggled to hang onto everything.

"Well, those are- ohhh dear… I'm so sorry," the clerk laughed nervously at her silly mistake, "let me check in the back for you, dear."

"Thank you."

As Bella turned the corner to head to the next aisle, she felt the force of a Mack truck running into her. The items in her hands flew out of her grasp and scattered across the linoleum floor.

"Oh, my God!" Bella couldn't help but shriek in surprise from the abrupt force that plowed into her.

"Oh, shit. I'm sorry." she recognized the voice immediately, the soft-spoken male voice from the other aisle. Yes, the same voice that belonged to the body that her hands were now pressed against, she struggled to catch her breath. Was she in shock?

Her eyes trailed in slow motion until she refocused and looked upwards following the path to where her hands now lay; her eyes stopped on her hands and continued slowly until she saw his face. However, the dream sequence that had been playing on repeat in her head had now stopped. The look on his face registered with her and she analyzed this as a look as one of horror that now spread across his face. His eyebrows furrowing, his green eyes piercing hers and lost in wonder of what exactly just happened here. She had no clue herself.

"Sorry," she said quietly, removing her hands from the pectoral assets that belonged to the mysterious guy dressed all in black standing before her. He offered no sign of appreciation or disgust. He seemed more confused.

She knelt down to pick up her things. Within seconds, he crouched down as well and handed her a few of the items that had scattered closer to him. His leather made an audible noise as he shot his hands out towards her direction with her items clutched in his grasp. "Here you go. Sorry for running into you."

"It's okay," she replied, smiling warmly in his direction. There was a moment as if time stood still and it was probably when both their hands had brushed against one another as they both held the pack of highlighters. Their shared gaze didn't seem odd to her at all. There was something so interesting about this moment; she could almost put her finger on it.

"Here you go," the clerk's voice called his attention and, together, they rose up. He walked in the clerk's direction, effectively ending their moment.

A couple weeks into the second six-weeks of the school term, Bella was sitting in her Biology class. On this day, they were having a study session. This was a time where you could either use the time for actual study or use it to catch up on your upcoming assignments.

There was a breeze in the air and it picked up every time the classroom door opened. A dramatic and a gust of air flowed through making chills run through Bella's body as she looked up to see how the door had swung open so quickly.

When she had looked up from her assignment, she couldn't believe her eyes. Her luck. Her fate.

Was she dreaming? It was him.

She rationalized that there was no way this could be real, her mind must be playing tricks on her.

The teacher looked up from his desk. "Can I help you, son?"

"Yeah, this is my class… apparently."

Bella nervously clutched her pen in her hand, capping and uncapping it without realizing, calling attention to herself.

"Sure. Do you have your admission slip?"

"Yeah," the guy replied and handed over a crumpled slip of paper that he retrieved from his back pocket.

Bella couldn't believe her chances. In the doorway of her Biology class now stood the tall figure from the store. The guy who was dressed all in black, the one she had her hands pressed against.

"Of course, if you'll just have a seat," the teacher motioned, "there's one free spot left next to Miss Swan."

Of course, there was only one free spot.

Of course.

Just perfect.

It would take several classes for Bella to get the nerve to speak to the new boy in her class. The one she had been so close to those weeks before. Her mind went to places she had never imagined before: her hands against his stomach, trembling against his rock hard abs, chiseled to perfection. She could still feel the details on her fingertips. Those few seconds they were so close, she wondered if he recognized her.

"So, did you catch that?" His velvety voice whispered into her ear.

She was stunned, frozen in her seat. She gasped in surprise, turning to her left, unsure of what to do. Oh, my God, what do I say?

"What was that?"

"Yeah," he laughed, "that's what I thought," he shook his head and went back to his notebook. Notebook. The infamous wide-ruled notebook he was looking for. He must have been shopping for his school supplies that day, she thought to herself in assumption.

"Alright class, feel free to use the last ten minutes of class to discuss the assignment with your partner, and next time this class meets, I want each of you to present a page-long essay about the pros and cons on the topic that you choose from our discussion today."

She had totally phased out. What the heck was this new guy doing to her? It only seemed worse as she sat next to him in close confinement.

"Look, partner, if you're just going to sit there and not participate that's cool with me I guess, but don't think you're getting credit for it."

"Huh? No, I just—"

He started laughing, shaking his head, "No, no, I'm just playing with you." he looked at her through his long eyelashes, flashing a crooked smile as he tried his best to be irresistible. He wasn't doing too badly. He put his hand forward to shake, "I'm Edward, by the way."

"Bella," she said, shaking his hand, she looked into his eyes again. They were a rich emerald green, as odd as they were so dark but so beautiful. He seemed interested in talking to her, his eyes smiled as they spoke.

"Nice to meet you officially, Bella." He didn't miss a beat; he was incredibly witty which kept Bella on her toes. She felt the need to keep up with him. "So, while you were taking your nap, the teacher said we're going to be each other's partner for the rest of the year. Lucky you!"

"Oh, yeah," she smiled through her laughter, "What about you? You should be so lucky, please!"

They spent the next ten minutes going over their ideas for their assignment. It was clear they enjoyed talking with one another and before they knew it, the bell had rung. It was time to move onto their next class.

"Alright, well, I'll see you next time."

"Well, actually, don't you think it would be a good idea if we exchange numbers or something so we can talk more about our project?"

His question caught her off-guard. Holy crap! This is almost too easy. Why is he making this so easy?

"Um, yeah, we can do that. Sure. You want to follow me? I have to go over to the other side of campus for my next class."

Edward agreed he would walk her to her next class and that surprised Bella. She was expecting him to say no. Something had taken over Edward, he couldn't explain it, compared to all the other girls he had been friends with, there was something different about this girl. She was definitely special. He would have followed her anywhere. He didn't even mention that his next class was only two hallways away and not on the other side of campus like hers. He didn't care.

When they arrived to the doorway of Bella's next class, he took a bold step, took Bella's hand in his, and made her stomach drop. He pulled a Sharpie out of the back pocket of his jeans and pulled the cap off with his teeth. Leaning over, his tall stature shadowed over her as he wrote his name and number on the backside of her hand.

If Bella Swan knew any better, she would never wash her hand again.

On Thursday, there was buzz in their Biology class. That previous Monday, the teacher had let the class know as they were turning in their completed projects and that the Science Department instructors would be reviewing each group's assignment, picking ten groups to present at the event the school was hosting on Saturday.

"I'm happy to announce that three of the ten groups are from this class. Once I have made the announcement, those who have been chosen will remain after class to receive their instructions. The following groups chosen are: Marshall and Yorkie. Swan and Masen. Newton and Crowley."

"Oh, my God! Edward, they picked our project! This is huge!" Bella was so shocked and surprised. She knew they had done a good job, but still she was overwhelmed they had been picked.

"Yeah, this is great." Edward smiled, nodding his head in agreement.

"This is really great. I can't believe it." Bella was in a daze and was excited not only for their upcoming presentation, but also for the opportunity they would have to spend more time together.

On Saturday, Edward and Bella enjoyed spending their time together. They each took their turns explaining their project. Each group was given twenty minutes to explain the importance of their project's topic, discussing their findings, and how the existence of their project would make a positive difference in everyday life.

They received a round of applause after their presentation and walked around the event checking out everything.

After they finally had their fill, they realized the time and went to stand outside to wait for their rides. Bella was waiting for her mother to come pick her up. Her mother was playing chauffeur today as she was driving her other sister Jessica around to cheerleader activities.

Mrs. Swan arrived for Bella and Edward walked her to her car, opening the door for her. As they talked, Bella introduced them to each other. Edward, ever the gentleman, leaned across Bella in the passenger seat to shake Mrs. Swan's hand. Mrs. Swan was immediately dazzled, she couldn't stop smiling at him as they spoke. Bella noticed this and couldn't help but roll her eyes at this situation.

Edward went to reach for his keys when it dawned on Bella that he was planning to walk home afterwards. Bella asked her mother if she didn't mind driving him home as he had mentioned earlier that he didn't live too far away from the school.

She agreed and they were on their way. When they pulled up into the apartment complex, it was clear to see that Edward lived a much different life than Bella's family was blessed with. Normally, this neighborhood would have been one that Bella would have been afraid to go into had she been alone.

He thanked Mrs. Swan for the ride and walked up to his front door. As they waited for him to go inside, they realized he started to become frustrated and then began to head back to the car.

"Edward, what's going on?" Bella asked when she rolled down the window of the passenger window.

He sighed reluctantly, admitting he had left his keys inside as he had left home before his Dad that morning.

Mrs. Swan pulled her cell phone out of a cubby in her car's console, handing it over to Bella. "Here, let him call his parents and see if someone can come home and let him in or something."

"Thank you," Edward smiled at them both as he took the phone from Bella and began to dial his father's work number.

"Hi, Ed Masen please?… Right, this is his son," he paused as he waited on hold before taking a deep breath when a familiar voice came on the line, "Hey, Dad, its Edward… Yes, I know, sorry to bother you— look, I was wondering when you would be home— I know you're busy; I've just locked myself out… I know, I know. I'm sorry... I just- Yes, I know you can't do anything about it right now… That's fine; hey, I just thought I would ask. Its fine, I'll just figure it out myself. Mmmhmm. Bye."

There was profound sadness in Edward's eyes as he handed the phone back to Bella's mother.

There was a silent pause before Mrs. Swan spoke, she looked at Bella and then back to him, "You know, Edward, you are more than welcome to come over and wait at our house if you would like?"

Bella turned and looked at her Mom; she was surprised as she wasn't really one for inviting guests over. Normally it was like pulling teeth for her to agree to let Bella have friends over. Oh yeah, she was definitely dazzled by Edward Masen.

"Well, sure, if that's alright with you," he replied, looking at Bella and Mrs. Swan.

Bella happily nodded her head and Edward opened the door to the backseat of the sedan and claimed his seat again.

Once they arrived at the Swan residence, Mrs. Swan set off to start prepping for dinner so she wouldn't have to worry with it later. Mr. Swan wasn't home yet as he, too, was working over the weekend.

Bella and Edward headed off to her room to hang out for a while. He skimmed through her CD collection and then raided the DVDs.

"I can't believe you have this!" He laughed, holding up a Backstreet Boys CD.

"Hey, that's actually not mine, that's my sister's." she laughed; she was so glad that her sister Jessica was at yet another cheerleading function. She would have been all up in Edward's business: Who are you? Where are you from? Why are you here? In my room, ugh... I mean, our room?

Oh yeah, Bella had to share her bedroom with Jessica. The queen of pink and pop, next to girl of practicality and according to Jessica, Bella was boring. Their older sister Angela was a college student but still lived at home and made the long commute back and forth to the city for her classes every day.

Bella sighed with relief that they were alone and there were no interruptions. Her mother seemed to approve of him, so that was good. Sitting on the bed together, they watched a movie. She knew this was inappropriate in her household but at this moment in time, she didn't care. The door was practically closed, another no-no in the Swan household.

Edward continued to scan over her CD collection and picked up a couple CDs, shuffling through them.

Holding out one CD case in particular, his eyes lit up, "Oh, I love this group, they're awesome! Want to hear my favorite song?" He asked her, his eyes lighting up with excitement. She nodded her head, motioning to the nearby stereo.

Third Eye Blind's Semi-Charmed Life started to play through the speakers and Bella smiled to herself, she liked this song too. "You have a lot of great music." She rolled her eyes, shaking her head at his remarks, "Whatever."

"No, seriously." He tried to convince her that he wasn't joking; it was true they did enjoy some of the same music. He picked up a few of the cases, reading them off to her to prove his point, "The Verve Pipe, Beastie Boys, Wallflowers, MxPx, Fastball, Silverchair, The Offspring, Dave Matthews Band, Everclear, Matchbox 20, Nirvana, Green Day, Semisonic. See? These are some of my favorites, too." He turned his ear back towards the music, nodding his head along to the song, reaching over to turn up the volume, "Oh, yeah! I love this part…"

As the song continued to play, he silently mouthed the words of the song, not missing a beat.

I want something else, to get me through this
Semi-charmed kinda life, baby, baby
I want something else, I'm not listening when you say 'good-bye'

On the last note of the chorus, Edward chimed in and sarcastically sang a high-pitched and purposefully off-key "goodbye" which made Bella chuckle, throwing a pillow at him. This caused him to stop the music, grab the pillow, tossing it back at her and joining her where she sat on the bed. After a moment of awkwardness, they agreed they would watch a movie and sprawled out on the bed together as they watched their pick on Bella's small 13-inch television set.

To this day, she wouldn't remember which movie it was that they watched but she did remember that whenever Edward would laugh, so would she. She loved hearing his laughter, he seemed so happy in that moment. That moment… with her. That definitely made her extremely happy!

She knew then, this was more than just liking someone or having a silly crush on them. She honestly enjoyed his company. They had spent numerous hours on the phone together first talking about their project but then eventually getting to know one another.

They were definitely becoming good friends. However, if Bella wanted to be honest with herself, she had hoped they were growing into more than just friends.

When the movie ended, she saw him notice the clock. The sun had gone down now; any minute she was sure her Mom would come tell them dinner was ready.

He sighed with reluctance, "I think my Dad should be by home now, maybe I should go ahead and give him a call."

"Sure," she replied, handing him her phone.

He called his Dad and sure enough, he was home and within fifteen minutes of receiving Bella's address, he was on his way to pick up Edward.

Bella was super nervous that Mr. Masen would come to the door and expect to meet her and his family, but he didn't. He just honked the horn, letting him know he was outside.

They stood in the foyer saying their goodbyes; neither wanted the evening to end.

"Yeah, so thanks for letting me stay and hang out. It was fun."

"Yeah, it was fun. We can do it again if you want?"

"Cool. Oh, tell your Mom thanks, too, alright?"

"Of course," she smiled, blushing at all the attention he gave her today.

The horn outside honked again. "I better go. I'm sure he's going to be in rare form tonight." He rolled his eyes, "I'll talk to you later, Bella."

She reached for the doorknob just as he did as well; he turned around quickly and hugged her.

"Goodnight, Edward," she whispered softly, smiling to herself.

"Goodnight." He smiled and walked outside, down to his ride.

Just ask him, Bella, c'mon. Go over there, put your big girl panties on, and ask the boy already! Geez!

She walked over to his table with confidence, she stopped at the edge, and her foot tapped against the leg of his chair. He smiled as he looked up at her.

"Hey there, Bella."

"Hey, Edward."

"What's going on?"

"Nothing much, um— there's something I wanted to ask."

"Sure, what's up?"

She stalled; she had a blank look in her eyes. Do it. Ask him. You've got this.

"Look, um, my church is having a New Year's Eve party—"

"No kidding?"

"Yeah and it beats hanging around at home, so I was going to meet up with some of my friends there and I wanted to see if you'd like to come, too?"

"You want me to come to your church's party?"

"Sure, of course, if you'd like to, that is."

He paused, she figured he was going to decline, but she was completely surprised when he said he would go.

"Seriously?"

"Sure, it'll be cool to spend some time together."

"Um, there's something else though."

"What's that?"

"It's kind of a lock-in." His face was blank as he received the message. Suddenly his eyebrows raised in confusion. Uh oh, this could be the deal breaker. "You know, where you stay overnight under the supervision of other adults. No one gets in, no one gets out."

"Ahh, the infamous lock-in," he mused, shaking his head, laughing.

"Infamous?" She shook her own head at him, laughing nervously. She waited anxiously for his answer, even if that meant no. She would take the answer like a big girl and try to get over it. Maybe.

"I've had my fair share of lock-in's, Bella. I just wanted to hear you explain it."

"Gee, thanks." she playfully slugged him in the arm, sticking her tongue out at him. That earned a chuckle from him as he jokingly defended his body.

"Yeah, I'll go with you. Thanks for inviting me." He looked back down and continued to scribble into his notebook. "I guess… just call me later and we can figure out the details."

"That's not really necessary. I can just pick you up at seven, okay?"

"Just call me, Bella, okay?" he laughed to himself as he wrote something else down.

"Fine, I'll call." she grinned as she was suddenly feeling a level of confidence she had never felt before. She went to turn around and walk away but she paused, looking over her shoulder as she added, "I promise."

There were various television sets placed through the game room of the church's Youth Center; each television playing a different set of Christian rock videos. A large group of youth members had gathered around one television in particular. This is where the rowdy bunch was, cheering on one another as a hardcore head-to-head Sega baseball throw down was in action.

The two had already played several rounds and were now attempting their final game of ping-pong. Bella couldn't stop laughing at Edward's attempt at playing ping-pong, it was a terrible display as he continuously kept swatting at the ball. She would duck whenever the ball would ricochet off to the side. In his mind, he was doing his best impression of Andre Agassi in a championship. Dream on!

"That's my game! In yo' face!" he cheered as he had somehow won the final game.

"Nice, Edward. Real nice," she replied, putting the paddle on the table. He crossed over to her side and stood next to her against the wall.

"Oh, I know this song!" he exclaimed pointing to the television that hung from a wall mount, hearing the music much better now than when they were playing. He started pumping his 'rock fist' and singing along to the song, "But if I can't swim after forty days and my mind is crushed by the thrashing waves - lift me up so high that I cannot fall – life me up!"

Bella let out a chuckle as Edward broke out in his own private concert accompanied by air guitar and fake audience cheering. She joined in and applauded his efforts as he bowed sarcastically. "Huh! I didn't realize this was a Christian song, that's pretty cool."

"Yeah, no one really realizes that. It's like… the best kept secret I guess." she shrugged as they continued to chat.

They walked around the gym and watched a couple of games of one-up and then headed up stairs where there were a couple movies playing. They had missed the beginning of the movie, so they weren't really into watching it.

He leaned over to her side, him being so close to her did something indescribably crazy to her. She couldn't explain it. She didn't know whether she should fight it or allow what was going to happen. Unfortunately, she knew nothing would happen right now as they were at church.

"I hate to break it to you, Bells, but this is kind of lame. You know that right?" He whispered into her ear, his hot breath ghosting against her neck, sending chills

"Yeah, totally lame." She replied nervously. Oh, man, he's not having a good time. Well, wait, this is kind of lame. She laughed at her own thoughts before he nudged her shoulder.

"But, you know what?"

"What?"

"I'm having a great time." He stuck out his tongue and made a funny face, which made her laugh aloud. She could barely see it in the dark, but his face was lit up from the reflection of the television in front of them.

"Oh," she laughed nervously, "okay, good."

"So, you want to go outside and get some fresh air?"

"We're not really supposed to."

"I know, but it's so stuffy in here. I need fresh air. Bad."

"Fine, but just for a few minutes."

"Of course." The two friends stood up and walked downstairs, heading out the front door. He held the door open for her and motioned for the beautiful girl to go first.

"Thank you."

They stood together outside at the main entrance of the building, the chilly air surrounding them.

Edward was dumbfounded. He didn't understand what Bella saw in him, even if they were just friends. He was elated to be in her presence once again. He suddenly couldn't help himself and tried deep down to resist the urge to reach out and hug her or hold her close. Possibly, even kiss her. That suddenly confused him.

In the breeze, they stood outside in the moonlight night as they chatted about the evening. They quietly talked to one another and got along very well as they were enjoying one another's company.

"You want to go over to the playground?" He motioned behind her, laughing as the cold air wrapped around them. She nodded her head, grinning, and together, they took off on foot, heading down the property of the church to the playground.

When they arrived to the gated playground, they discovered it had been locked-up for the evening. This caused Bella to groan, she guessed they wouldn't get to play after all and it had sounded like fun. This meant nothing to Edward as he shrugged his shoulders and pulled out his Swiss Army pocketknife. With little to no effort, he jimmied the lock on the gate of the playground and motioned her way jokingly referring to her as "milady" in a horrible attempt at a British accent. Ever the perfect gentleman… who jimmies locks, that is. They sat next to each other on the swing set and as they kicked and pumped their legs in the air.

Out of habit, she reached her hand out to him and he accepted, entwining their fingers together. Holding hands, they were laughing and having a great time as they swung together in cadence.

This continued for some time, time disappearing within in itself and getting away from them.

Then abruptly, he dropped her hand and kicked his legs straight out in front of him and flung himself off the swing. When he surprisingly landed safely, he was crouched at the waist, steadying himself.

"Oh, my God! You're crazy!" She laughed, shaking her head at him.

"You should try it!"

"No." She shook her head, slowing her speed down.

"Aw, c'mon! It's fun!"

"No!" She laughed. Finally, stilling her movements as her feet had met the gravel below; Bella stood up and followed him over to what she always used to call "The Tree House" as a kid.

It was not your typical tree house as it wasn't actually up in the trees. It was more like a wooden atrium that was next to a tree. It just so happened that it was in the form of a house. A la 'The Tree House'.

He was sitting inside, he seemed nervous with his hands stuffed inside his leather jacket.

As she ducked her head down, she made her way into the makeshift house and sat down next to him. Once seated, it was as if his head gravitated towards her, she didn't mind him laying his head on her shoulder after all. Without thinking, she sucked in the air around her. Bella's senses were heightened, closing her eyes; she was able to take in everything from the notes of his musky cologne to the peppermint on his breath and the leather of his clothes.

Bella's eyes opened immediately yet he was unmoved. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes again, trying to gather her thoughts. This isn't right; she thought to herself, I shouldn't be thinking about my friend this way.

She thought she was going to lose her breath. Suddenly, she felt slightly light-headed; her heart was beating out of control. Whenever his green eyes gazed into her brown ones, she felt as if he was pouring into her soul. His eyes were clearly trying to tell her something, she just needed to figure out what that was. She didn't really know and she was okay with that.

He reached up and rubbed the back of his knuckles against her cheek. Her face was involuntarily moving towards his hand, letting him almost cup it, the warmth of his hand heating up the coolness of her cheek.

It was in the moment, they both could not deny that something was changing between them. They both had never been this close to anyone else before. It was an unspoken agreement that they were going into uncharted territory with one another.

Bella felt fortunate to have a friend like Edward in her life, someone who got her and understood her, accepting her wholly for who she was as she did him. The moment stood still as their breathing was shallow, almost shared. She felt as if her chest was going to explode, her heart was racing and thrumming with excitement. Bella looked up at Edward through her long eyelashes. She watched his tongue as it swept over his bottom lip, she couldn't help but gulp as he had rubbed his lips together, moistening them.

"Edward, I-"

"Shh, shh..." He leaned in, his hands now cradling her heart-shaped face and pulling her closer towards him. She didn't know what she was doing; she just figured she would tilt her head and meet him halfway.

This is finally going to happen!

Oh, my God…

He surprised her when he stilled his movements, stopping and resting his head against her forehead. She was more than just confused, but before she could ask him what was wrong…

A throat was cleared behind them, "Hey, you guys!" An adult voice called out, stunning the two-pseudo lovebirds in place. They looked up to find one of the mothers who had been suckered into lock-in duty looking at them. Her hands were on her hips as she shook her head. Bella couldn't figure out if it was in disgust or disbelief.

"You two need to come back inside. Now. You guys know better. No one's supposed to leave the building, remember?"

Edward and Bella looked at each other and broke out into laughter as they stood up, grabbing one another's hand, and ran back towards the building. They couldn't help but laugh the entire way until they were inside and ready for the countdown.

Only a sweet kiss on the cheek was shared that evening, yet that exchange left the two longing for more. Edward's warm lips pressing gently against Bella's flush cheek. When he leaned back, she couldn't help but blush, looking down at the ground.

As the weeks went on, Bella and Edward became extremely close. They would spend hours on end talking on the phone and hanging out at one another's houses, mostly Bella's. Edward became a fixture in her family, and he was always welcome there.

Finally, one day Edward didn't know what came over him. They hung around each other all the time, but they never went together anywhere.

He had finally found the nerve and asked Bella to go to the movies with him. He was flying high whenever she said yes; there was a part of him, which assumed she would say no. Even though she was often sending signals of approval in his direction, he hated deciding for her how they each felt about the relationship. Maybe he was getting his information wrong…?

At 7 o'clock on a Friday night, Mrs. Swan called out to Bella letting her know of Edward's arrival.

Mrs. Swan greeted Edward at the door; Bella could slightly overhear their idle chatter. When Bella came around the corner, she saw him standing in the doorway, smiling when he noticed her. He looked wonderful, dressed in black Dockers, his laced-up Doc Martens and a black t-shirt, over this he wore his grey corduroy jacket.

Bella felt relieved that she went out of her way to get ready; she had been running around like a crazed maniac the whole day. She wasn't sure if this was a date or not, but wanted to treat it as one, just in case. Once again, she was relieved to find both of her sisters gone and her father not yet home for the evening; their nosiness would not be butting in for once so she was able to get ready in peace.

She decided to go simple and wear a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. It wasn't until they would arrive at the theatre that she realized she had forgotten a sweater as it normally was cool in the theatre.

"Um, I'm terribly sorry but my father was wanting to come inside and formally meet you both since we're—I'm – you know, going to the movies and all? I mean, if that's okay and all."

"Of course that's okay. Tell him to come inside."

Edward stuck his head out the door and waved his Dad inside. Within a few minutes, a tall gruff man with auburn hair and sideburns longer and thicker than Edward's stepped inside. He had a goatee and a serious case of five o'clock shadow. There was no denying that this was Edward's father. He was Edward in about thirty years if he didn't take care of himself and gained fifty pounds. His arms were covered in tattoos and his ears pierced, holding thick silver studs. His fingers freshly cleaned, although they had the remnants of oil and he had the combined odor of a hard-working mechanic and a chain smoker.

Mrs. Swan was taken aback by the shocking similarity, if they were any closer in age, they could have been considered brothers. They exchanged handshakes with each other and shared a short conversation before Edward brought up the fact that they didn't want to be late for the movie. They began to leave and when they stepped outside, the sun was beginning to set. Bella gasped when she saw his father's truck. It was amazing. She assumed that it was—

"It's a '52 Ford." Edward answered for her, completing her thought. Bella, still, stunned nodding her head. The men climbed into the car and Edward assisted Bella into the truck. She felt like a kid in a candy store. Her own father's truck had nothing on this one, neither had it been fixed as well as this one had. As they pulled onto the street, his father turned on the radio, Steppenwolf's infamous song blaring on the radio. Edward shot his Dad a silent look, almost begging him to play nice and turned down the music.

As they stood in line at the ticket booth, Edward purchased their tickets before Bella could get a chance to buy her own. Edward Senior waited for them in the truck while they made their purchases, Edward walked over and let him know they were all set and could be picked up in an hour and a half. That satisfied Mr. Masen and he drove off into the night.

Again, at the concessions, he beat her to the punch and bought her a soda and medium popcorn, Bella insisted she could buy her own but Edward wasn't hearing it. He implied that it was his pleasure to buy since he invited her. Drinks and snacks in hand, he motioned their way over to the ticket taker and then to their theatre.

Bella shook her head laughing, Edward was really trying, and she would give him credit. This was a nice side of him she had never seen before, it made her blush, made her feel special.

They walked into the cool theatre and found a seat in the middle, towards the back for "optimum viewing pleasure" explained Edward. Bella couldn't help but laugh, she never knew him to be a movie buff. Their selection of movies was limited but they had finally decided on As Good As It Gets staring Jack Nicholson. Come to find out, Nicholson was one of Edward's favorite actors and practically begged Bella to see that movie instead of the other lame options. Bella hoped that the irony of the movie's title wouldn't predict their future. Although she had enjoyed herself so far, she was extremely hopeful that this wasn't it and there would be more for them.

Before the movie started, Edward leaned over and whispered, "When we're done here, I have a little surprise for you."

"A surprise? What is it?"

The previews had begun to play, "Now if I told you what that was then it wouldn't be much of a surprise now, would it?"

"No." She pouted, crossing her arms for a moment, almost sulking that she would have to wait in anticipation for whatever this surprise he had cooked up his sleeve was. He chuckled to himself, pointed to the screen ahead of them, grabbed a handful of popcorn, and stuffed his face.

As the movie went on, the air began to become brisk and even cooler than when they first walked in. Edward bravely wrapped his arm around Bella's shoulder, pulling her in and this calmed her and helped her lighten up so she could enjoy their evening together. She immediately began to relax, resting her head on his shoulder. He smiled at her, taking delight in the fact that she felt so comfortable to rest against him and how good it felt to hold her in his arms.

When the movie was over, they headed outside, his arm still draped around her shoulder. Walking outside, they found his father waiting at the} curb. What service, thought Edward!

"Did you have a nice time?" Mr. Masen seethed.

"Um, yes sir?"

"Do you even realize what time it is?"

"Oh, it's after ten-thirty." Edward replied, a sound of defeat. He had miscalculated the time duration of the movie. "Oh, crap I'm so sorry."

"Yeah, you are. I'm going to take your little friend home now. You can forget the other plans you had."

"I said I'm sorry, it was an honest mistake."

"Don't you argue with me! Do you even realize I was here at nine o'clock and when you two didn't come out, I figured out what time it ended? I could have been doing something else but no, I was waiting around for your dumb ass!"

"Dad—"

"Shut up! We're taking her home and that's it."

"But, Dad, I—"

"I said that's it!"

Ten minutes later, Bella was standing on her front porch with Edward.

"Good night, Bella."

"Good night, Edward. Thank you for a great time."

Edward scoffed, looking down and shook his head. "Yeah, sure. Whatever."

"No, seriously, it was great until that. And you're right, it was an honest mistake."

"Yeah, well, thanks," he replied solemnly, "I guess I'll see you around." He paused and lingered for a moment. He wanted to give her a kiss goodnight but he wasn't sure if the moment was right anymore. Everything seemed to have been ruined by now.

He gave her a hug and before he pulled away, Bella could have sworn he lingered, sighing. As they pulled away from each other, he looked into her eyes. His eyes were speaking volumes to her as if he wanted to say something else, hoping to make their evening end on a better night.

"Okay. Goodnight," she replied, looking back at him one last time before putting her hand on the doorknob and going inside.

Weeks later, Bella and Edward found themselves in a weird situation. They were friends. Good friends, no, great friends. They both liked each other but they were too chicken to realize it and admit it.

Things had rapidly changed before Bella could grasp the situation and fix it before it was too late.

She had been out for about a week with laryngitis when she returned to find that more than just her health had changed.

Walking down the hall, she heard the murmuring of a new couple when around the corner she saw Edward and Lauren Mallory coming down the hallway. Hand in hand.

It had felt like a knife to the heart. What the hell happened?

Bella felt like she royally screwed up. Something went wrong.

She couldn't bring herself to talk to Edward. The mood between them had drastically changed.

Their Biology teacher had just explained the new project that was to start the next week and again opened the time up for the lab partners to discuss their options.

"Alright, so let's talk about this." she said softly, not really wanting to talk but they needed to discuss their plans for the upcoming project.

"Bella, I can't."

"Of course you can, we just-"

"No seriously, I can't."

"Is this because of Lauren?"

"What? Lauren? What are you talking about?" he whispered as he realized he was drawing attention.

"I figured she doesn't want you talking to me anymore, and maybe that's why you haven't been around."

"This has nothing to do with Lauren. In fact, we broke up, I'll have you know."

"Oh really?"

"Yeah."

"So, what's the big problem?"

He reluctantly sighed, almost grumbling, "I'm moving, Bella, I leave tomorrow."

"What? You can't! Tomorrow?"

"Yeah, my Dad's kicking me out, sending me back to my Mom's."

"What? Edward, no. Noo…."

"Yeah." He held his head down and couldn't make eye contact with her anymore. They definitely missed their chance.

The next day at school, Edward met Bella at her locker. They stood in front of each other knowing what was about to happen. She was being forced to let go of one more important person in her life. This can't be happening, please God, say this is a joke, she prayed silently.

She followed him down to his father's blue truck. She had nothing to say to him—to Mr. Masen and she hadn't since that night at the movies. She just wanted to say goodbye to Edward properly.

She wrote her address, e-mail and phone number down on a piece of paper and handed it and a letter she had written to him.

They hugged each other tightly, not wanting to let go and promised always to keep in touch.

There wasn't a day that didn't go by that she hadn't thought about him. She prayed for him, hoping he was okay and somehow, one way or another, that their paths would cross again, someday.

To her surprise, they did keep in touch. They became great pen pals via snail mail and e-mail. Bella's face would light up with great delight whenever a piece of mail would come in and it was artistically decorated in Edward-style. He would draw some kind of picture, hoping whatever picture he drew for her would brighten her day and lighten the mood on their being so far away from one another. Five hundred miles was so far away now. Although they both tried to stay strong through the move, they were both beside themselves and heartbroken.

Years later, she would find herself in the arms of the man she loved. Snuggly wrapped in a blanket of warmth and comfort surrounding her as they watched a movie together. It was nice to be able to relax together after the long and arduous days they had each had. After yawning for the zillionth time, Bella decided to retreat for the evening, heading on to bed while he wanted to stay up and watch the rest of the news.

As she stood to leave, her attention was briefly called to the television as the news anchor spoke of an upcoming breaking news report on a tragic accident that happened locally on the outskirts of town.

After the long and tiring day she had experienced, Bella didn't want to hear about it, so she brushed it off and went to bed after gingerly kissing her husband goodnight.

The thoughts of the news report were far gone from her mind as soon as her head crashed against her pillow.

Although there was nothing she could have done about the situation at hand, it wasn't until the following day at work, during a break, when she would discover more than she wanted to know about the cruel story that is called life.

There would be no redemption. No second chances. No last times to whisper those three special words... "I love you" or even…

Goodbye.

A/N: Oh my… I hope you enjoyed this. Thank you for reading! Yes, I know there's a lot of unanswered questions, so if you're interested in reading further into this story, I'd love to hear from you! Want to know why Jacob moved away? Want to know who Bella ended up marrying? And where in the hell is everyone else— Alice, Jasper, Emmett, Rosalie? Hmm… looks like you'll only find out if the story is continued, so let me know what you think!

MOVIES MENTIONED:

As Good As It Gets staring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt (1997) – 139 minutes (2 hours 19 minutes).

SONGS MENTIONED:

Third-Eye Blind – Semi-Charmed Life © 1997 – S. Jenkins

Jars of Clay – Flood © 1995 – D. Haseltine, S. Mason, M. Odmark, C. Lowell, M. Bronleewe