[Disclaimer] SM owns all things Twilight

[A/N] I'm kind of stuck with my other works, so I decided to try something a bit different from what I usually write.

This story here is going to deal with GID (Gender Identity Disorder). If that topic makes you feel uncomfortable, feel free to leave now. For those of you who are still with me now. I hope you'll enjoy.

*1*

You need to learn to say no, Bella, I tell myself with a low sigh as I carefully apply a second layer of cherry-red lipstick on my mouth. Like always when I'm about to meet someone new, I'm wearing a bit more makeup than it would be necessary. But in a way all the powders, eyeliner and co are my shield. With them I feel more confident in my own skin. If it is possible for me to feel like that at all, that is. How must that be like to consider yourself pretty?

My phone starts ringing, and I quickly wrap a thin black silk scarf with little crystals around my throat before rushing down to the kitchen to answer the call. The scars of my latest surgery are finally starting to fade into a pale pinkish tone but I still feel more comfortable covering them up. I don't want anyone to notice. It could be so awkward.

Clearing my voice, I pick up the phone and take a deep breathe through my parted lips before speaking up. The voice part is still so very difficult for me, even after five years of speech therapy.

"Hello," I whisper, sitting down on the edge of my couch. My Siam cat jumps on my lap and I start caressing his brown fur with my fingertips as I listen to the familiar voice of my best friend at the other end of the line.

"Hi, Bella, how are you?"

"I'm fine, thanks for asking. How are you? Shouldn't you already be on the plane to your honeymoon yet?"

"We're at SEA TAC but all flights are delayed because of storm warnings. Good thing, Alice is coming to Seattle by car."

I can hear him slurp on something between his teeth before he continues speaking.

"Oh, before I forget it, sweetie; Tanya asked me to say hi to you."

What Tanya truly meant to say was probably something like; I hope the freak jumps off a cliff while we're gone. My best friend's beautiful new wife hates me with an almost sickish passion. Her problem is that she doesn't grasp the intensity of my friendship with Edward. How he can accept me so very easily the way I am instead of being disgusted like most other people. I don't even understand it myself but that doesn't make me one tiny bit less thankful for his never ending support and loyalty. Such a pity he has fallen in love with this awful harpy.

"Bella, are you still there?"

"Sure, I was just in thoughts. Tell her I said hello. I hope the two of you are going to have a wonderful time in Brazil. You deserve it."

"Thank you. Also, for letting Alice stay with you until we come back from our trip."

"You're welcome. You know I can't say no to you anyway, when you ask me a favor. The problem is just that I'm so terribly nervous about having someone here with me from back home. What if she remembers Brian?"

"Hasn't your therapist told you not to speak of yourself in third person?" he asks me reproachfully.

My therapist tells me a lot of stuff that I don't agree with, I think bitterly. Brian is dead. Just as I am dead to my own parents since the day, I finally managed to break the truth to them.

"Didn't Dr. Whitlock tell you to accept your past as a part of your life?"

I need to stop talking to Edward about my therapy lessons. He memorizes too much of it.

"Bella?"

"Maybe, he brought it up once or twice." I whisper hoarsely, running my manicured fingers through the light brown fur of the cat. Animals are so incredibly great. They never judge or ask unpleasant questions. If only humans were a bit more like that, my life could be so much easier.

"Whitlock is a smart man, much better than that awful woman you went to see before him. I didn't like her at all. As for Alice, please don't worry about that too much. The last time she saw you, she was five years old. I highly doubt you left that much of an impression on her. She hardly remembers me and I'm her cousin."

I can hear Tanya snarling something at him in the background and because I don't want to be the reason for another fight between the happily newly-weds, I tell Edward goodbye, wishing him and the strawberry-haired monster he married last Saturday a safe trip to Rio.

Then I stand up from the couch and walk through my spotless apartment, trying to check if I haven't forgotten to hide anything I don't want Edward's cousin to see. My pills are already in the safety of my closet, together with the little post-it that tells me at which exact time I am supposed to take them.

Explaining the injections in my fridge, that's going to be the difficult part but they need to be kept cool and so I have decided that I'm simply going to tell Alice that I have a mild form of Diabetes that requires Insulin injections every morning.

The doorbell rings and when I check the time on the delicate silver watch around my wrist, I wonder how she can already be here. She must either have been driving like a maniac or gotten up at an awfully early hour.

Lifting the cat up in order to keep him from sneaking out when I open the door, I try to prepare myself mentally for facing my new room-mate.

"Hi, I'm Alice!"

A pair of dainty arms is around me so quickly that I can't manage to step back fast enough. It is so random that someone touches me, that I let someone touch me. I can barely remember the last time someone hugged me.

"You must be Bella. It's so nice to meet you. We are going to be great friends. I know, we will."