This is written upon request, and I do hope not to let her down! My brain has been on fire lately, and since my computer is possibly failing, I've been churning out work at a much faster pace. Writing is a stress reliever, you know... My stories will be updated much more often, I assure you. :D

Review! It means a lot to me.


Tell Me It's Not Edward

Adara

The call came late on a Thursday night, when I was already warm in bed. A terrific storm was raging outside, threatening entrance with its wet fingers.

My mood was no less cranky.

"Who in the name of—" I reached out blindly, groping the air. My hand smacked into the bed stand, and the cell phone bounced onto the carpet, emitting another whiny screech before falling silent. I picked it up, slowly regaining vision, and opened the "missed calls" list. There were two; the first from an unknown number, and the second from…

"Not again," I groaned. "Oh my gosh, not again."

It was only ten-thirty, but I had had a long day. What with the extra honors courses and family events, I was lucky to get to bed at twelve most nights. I had finished my homework early (miracles never cease), and promptly collapsed in the blankets, not bothering to undress.

Until Bella tactfully wrenched me awake.

The phone was ringing again. Resisting the urge to smash the thing, I pressed the "talk" button and held it to my ear. "This better be good," I snapped.

"Adara! Thank God. I need your help—"

"Bella, I am not doing this. If you want to play therapist late at night, then go wake your dad."

"It isn't that," she pleaded.

"What then?"

"It's about Edward."

I laid flat on the bed. A not very pretty word escaped my lips.

"Adara, please. I know I'm being selfish, but this is a matter of life and death."

It sounded like a drama film. "That's what you said when he left. You survived. Go to sleep."

There was silence as I lay there, too tired to even hang up. I closed my eyes, drowsing, when a soft sound made me open them again.

She was crying.

"Bella?" I sat up. Remorse flooded through me. "Bella, I'm sorry."

"He's dying," she sobbed. "He's going to kill himself, and I can't help him. I can't… oh, God…"

"Bella? Bella, listen to me." I tossed the covers aside, stumbling across the floor. If she didn't stop crying, I was going to bawl, too. "Bella, I'm coming over, ok? Just calm down. Everything's fine. I'm coming."

"Thank you," she whispered.

I threw the phone on the bed, then dashed into the bathroom. Well, more like crashed, actually, since I stubbed my toe on the door. Groaning, I started rummaging in my drawers for a brush. As I looked into the mirror, a sigh broke my lips. A ghost floated there, surrounded in her halo of dark, stormy tresses. Bright sapphires blazed out fiercely, heightening the sense of unreality.

"Someone really should have given me different skin," I muttered. I was so pale—paler even than Bella, for I rarely blushed—and my skin was stretched tight over my bones. My features, too, were sharp, like the ribs jutting in neat order under my breasts. A pointed chin, followed by rigid, high cheekbones. My ears were tiny, disappearing into the cloud of hair.

Was I pretty? Perhaps. Was I beautiful like Bella? Maybe not. I was too small, too pointy, and even a little too cranky at times.

I smiled at the ghost in the mirror, exposing tiny, even teeth. Bella was my only friend, a fact which I did not regret. You can only have so many human connections in this world, anyway.

I should know.


When I arrived, Bella was in hysterics. There was someone else there, too.

"Jacob!" I cried as he opened the door.

"Hello, Adara," he said tightly.

I pushed past him, resisting the urge to hold my nose. I'd moved to Forks in late October, so I hadn't met Edward, but I'd often wondered how vampires smelled compared to these hunky shapeshifters. Bella told me she liked his smell, that it was "musky" like the outdoors, but I begged to differ. I was mainly shocked he was wearing a shirt… though the skin-tight material made little difference.

"She's in the kitchen," he called behind me.

"And you're not?" I snapped back. Super, I thought angrily. Leave the hysterical girl alone in the kitchen with the knives…

"Bella?"

"Adara!" She ran over, nearly strangling me. "I didn't think—I was hoping you would—"

"Of course I came. What on earth is the matter? Why is Jacob here?"

"Have you seen her?" she cried. Her eyes were wild. "Is she still outside?"

"Who is—"

She gripped my arm. "Adara, you have to help me. He's dying."

"Bella, this is ridi—"

"Stop confusing her!" barked Jacob.

Since when had he come in? "I beg your pardon?"

He reached out, as if to push me. "Can you, like, leave for a second? She wants to talk to me."

"Adara, what about Edward—?"

I pressed both hands to my head. "For the love of heaven, SHUT UP!"

They gazed at me, each stunned to silence.

"Jacob, get out of here."

"What?"

"Don't push me, wolf-boy!"

I heard a hum build in his chest. He shoved past me rudely, flinging open the kitchen door. I heard the back door similarly banged, then turned back to Bella. The tears were still glistening in her eyes. I put my arm about her shoulders (difficult, as she was taller than me), and led her to Charlie's couch. She sank into the worn leather.

"Now," I said. "What can I do to help you? Talk slowly."

"Edward…" Her arms constricted, tightening around herself in a gesture I recognized too well. This was serious. "Edward needs help. Not me. I'm… I'm fine."

"Yes, I can see that," I said sarcastically. I sat beside her on the couch. Much as I disliked Jacob, I was in accord with him on one point. That damned immortal had just about destroyed her life. "You're not well, Bella. How do you know he's in trouble, anyway?"

"Alice."

I sighed. "She's here?"

"I asked her to wait outside for me. Jacob and I… we were having a talk."

I didn't understand her blush. "Ok… so what can I do? Tell me what's going on."

Her brown eyes widened, deepening to a fear I had only seen once before.

It was a month ago. I had dragged Bella to my house, as usual, to prevent her from wandering off alone in the forest. She was alone too much. Her father, Charlie, was only too grateful to me, and my aunt saw her as yet another child to coddle. She'd grasped my hand, voice trembling, and told me everything.

"He never even looked back," she sobbed.

I understood, holding her.

Our friendship was only several months old, yet I'd grown to care for Bella with a tenderness that was very uncharacteristic of me. I loved children, loved babies, but other teenagers were out of my line. In the harsh world of reality, or high school, I had come to learn that crudity, indifference, and the swift pursuit of whispered gossip were the way of things. No one was going to let me in. Needless to say, I returned the compliment. But Bella?

Isabella Swan. The most unassuming, socially awkward girl I had ever met. And that came with her beauty. A complexion that you would die for, yet she could scarcely close a door without injuring herself. I hated gossip, yet it proved an immense help in the days after meeting her. I overheard chatter, sitting in my lonely corner at the luncheon table, and the words fell heedlessly into my lap.

She was quiet.

She was clumsy.

She couldn't catch a ball to save her life.

She was dating Mike Newton.

She wasn't dating Mike Newton.

Edward…

I heard the name with the same slight curiosity as the rest, not realizing its full meaning 'til later. Edward Anthony Cullen. A strange name. Old-fashioned. They had been "a thing," apparently, going everywhere and doing everything together. He was gorgeously handsome. Made the boys in junior class half mad with jealousy.

Until he left. Dumped her, just like that. I looked away after hearing this, trying to find Bella among the heads in the lunchroom. She sat alone, gazing out at the rain with a dazed expression. It broke my heart. This was no conniving coquette. This was a sweet, modest girl, crushed by what had happened to her, yet horribly ignorant of the whispers about her. I remember tossing my lunch in the trash, sickened more than ever by the hypocrisy around me. If the boys were so mad for her, why weren't they there now, offering up their sympathy?

Typical.

I broke the taboo. I sat with her the very next day. They stared, sure, but what did I care? The tears in her soft brown eyes were thanks enough. Lord knows how she put up with me (I could be silent, too), but we worked it out. I was caring for her, protecting her from cruel words as I'd once protected my sister from the cruel blows of my father. Did I not love children; have a natural way with them? Was she not a child, too, in a way? She might have killed herself had I not come along. This Edward had ripped her soul; torn it without even bothering to pick up the pieces.

But I was determined to fix it for her. I was already in danger of becoming a recluse, shut off from all contact except when necessary. I'd wanted to be homeschooled, but Aunt Karen couldn't afford it. She lived alone, without a modest income, and I couldn't see her suffer anymore. Not after what my father had done to our family. I was doomed to attend Forks, but it was a willing condemnation.

Bella made it better. Sweet Bella, who, like me, knew what hurt really was. Her parents were divorced. Her reason for enjoying Forks had abandoned her. I knew I could never fill that place in her heart, but healing it could never hurt.

When Jacob Black entered her life, I didn't try to take that from her. She had known him before me. He was good for her. I didn't like him, but he brought some sun into her life. He could brighten her days, coax out a smile or two… and I could be there in the dark hours. The worst hours, when she'd curl up tight on my sofa, hugging herself, and sob unrestrainedly into my sweater. I had cried too often myself in the past to condemn her. As the months went by, these crying sessions slowly dwindled. She was, at last, getting better. Was…

That damned immortal.

I looked at Bella, huddled next to me, then up at a worried Jacob. He came to the other side of her, reaching for her hand. She snatched it away numbly. Her eyes were paralyzed with terror. I clutched her other hand. That look was beginning to frighten me.

"Bella, where is Edward? Is he in danger?"

Her lips trembled, and she uttered a word I had never heard, yet shall never forget.

"Volturi."