*Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. No copyright infringement is intended.


Chapter 21: Sense


Monday afternoon, I can be found on the floor of the girl's bathroom. We're supposed to be at lunch, but we'll be lucky if we get out of here before the bell rings.

Jessica and Lauren were no shows to the party, and now we know why. Lauren was busy hooking up with Mike. Jessica was occupied with witnessing the whole ordeal, and for her, the aftermath is debilitating. I've never seen someone act like this before. Her emotions vary between sadness and anger as she lets out heart-wrenching screams and spiteful words said through clenched teeth.

Angela is reassuring her as to what a great person she is and how any guy would be lucky to have her. Rosalie's reaction is a surprise as she pulls Jessica into a hug, cooing at her.

Another howling cry erupts from Jessica. I feel bad that she's hurting even if I don't understand what she ever saw in Lauren or Mike. I take her hand, and she squeezes mine through her misery. She yells out what an ass Mike is, and that Lauren is such a bitch. I try not to laugh at her outburst, but really? I thought that was common knowledge. Angela turns her face away from Jessica, but I see the smile she is unable to hold in.

"What am I going to do?" Jessica asks while gasping for air. "I have no other friends. No one likes me. Mike's the closest I'll ever have to a boyfriend."

My eyes start to roll, but I catch them, focusing instead on the writing inside the stall across from me, the one missing a door.

"Umm, hello," Rosalie says, quirking her head to the side. "Are we not right here? I feel bad for you, but I'm not going to help you if you're going to belittle the reason why we're here. 'Cause, ya know, we enjoy spending our time on this shitty floor, watching girls cry their hearts out."

"I'm sorry." Jessica swipes her hands across her cheeks, smearing mascara streaks across her face. "You're right. You three are ten times better than Lauren. And Mike—Esme said I can do better, and I totally can."

I take a deep breath as I try not to say something sarcastic. If Esme wants to talk to the girl, it's really not my business as long as she keeps me and Edward out of it.

Rosalie wets a paper towel and cleans up Jessica's face.

"Can I have your number?" Jessica gazes up at her through teary eyes.

"Sure." Rosalie tosses the paper towel in the trash, and Angela follows the cleanup with a dry one.

"One condition though," Rose adds. "You've got to stop ogling my boyfriend."

Jessica gasps. "I don't. I wouldn't…Angela?" Her eyes plead for confirmation.

"What?" Angela laughs. "You ogle my boyfriend too."

Jessica turns to me as if the words they're spouting aren't the truth.

I shake my head. "Don't even ask me. You know you ogle mine. You're not quiet about it."

"I'm sorry," she says, looking down.

Rosalie fixes Jessica's makeup and agrees to hang out with her after school. I have a dog to walk, and Angela has a boy to…I'm not sure what they do—probably everything. Maybe Jessica will benefit from some of Rosalie's tough love.




I'm lying on my bed, while doing my homework, with Edward on the phone. We have the same English teacher; we're just not in the same class. We're analyzing "The Metamorphosis" and arguing over the conflict of the story.

"I don't know. I still think it would be cool to wake up as a giant bug," he says.

I mindlessly doodle on my paper and have to erase it. "Well, don't wish for it too hard. Birthday wishes have a way of coming true."

His birthday is tomorrow. I think of the silver chain necklace I got him, hoping he'll like it. It seemed like a guy thing to wear and a girlfriend thing to give.

There's a knuckle rap on my bedroom door.

"Hold on," I tell Edward before setting down my phone. "Come in."

My dad steps into my room. "What are you up to, Bells?"


"Good. I'm heading to bed. I have to be at the station at four, so I won't see you in the morning." He knocks his knuckle against my computer desk twice, looking around my room. "So, just make sure you eat breakfast, get to school on time, and keep doing that…homework." He points at my open notebook.

"Okay, Dad." I raise my eyebrows at the vital guidance he decides to give me out of nowhere.

"So…um…'kay." He hangs around, rubbing the back of his neck, and he doesn't look me in the eye. "Well, I guess word got 'round about you going to this dance, and well, someone asked if you needed help with anything—maybe with getting your hair done. I didn't tell her yes. Maybe you've got Esme helping you with that." He swipes a hand across his face.

"Who is it?"

"You know Sue Clearwater? She's got a daughter too."

Sue's daughter, Leah, is a few years older than me. When I think back to the times my dad brought me to La Push, I remember Leah with short hair running along the beach playing football. I doubt Sue got many chances to do her hair, but I always liked Sue. My dad hasn't asked me to go to La Push in years; I can't recall the last time I saw Sue.

My dad starts shifting his feet and looking at me expectantly.

"Wow!" I exclaim with mock enthusiasm. "I can't believe word got all the way to La Push. I must be hot gossip."

He shakes his head, smiling like he knows I'm teasing him. "Yeah, well, guess so."

"You can tell her that I'd love her help."

He nods. "Will do."


"Night, kid." He pulls my door closed as he leaves, but he doesn't shut it all the way.

I grumble. Grabbing my phone, I put it to my ear as I get up to close the door. "Sorry."

"You were right," Edward says.

"I usually am," I tease. "What about?"

"Birthday wishes."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. I'm coming over at four in the morning."

"K," I say, giggling. "I should go shower and go to bed then."

"I'll go shower too. Don't think about that too much," he says.

I smile and get off the phone, knowing he'll be thinking about our showering at the same time just as much as I will.


Sleeping is futile. I toss and turn, watching the clock, willing the minutes to pass, and wishing for sleep to claim me. I must doze off at some point because the next thing I know, I get a text from Edward telling me he'll be here in ten minutes. After making sure my dad is gone, I hurry to the bathroom and brush my teeth, run back to my room to get out Edward's present, and go downstairs to wait for him.

As I wait, I walk the straight lines that border the rectangular runner rug in front of the door with my arms stretched out like I'm on a balance beam. Ten minutes is a long time.

If I wasn't right here by the door, I would have never been able to hear the knock. Opening the door in one swift motion, I step outside to meet Edward and wrap my arms around his neck. His shirt is damp from the sprinkling rain.

"Happy birthday," I say, squeezing him tighter.

"It's already the best birthday." He walks us back into the house and closes the door, careful not to wake up Emmett, but I don't care. Emmett wakes me up all the time.

"Do you want breakfast yet?" I ask.

He secures his arms around my waist. "No, let's go back to sleep."

"Okay. I left your present in my room. So…" I trail off, pulling him toward the stairs.

"Can't wait." He smiles, holding my hand as we ascend the stairs.

Once in my room, I hold the gift box in both hands, shifting it up and down as I tease him. "You don't want this now, right? We should sleep. You're too tired for presents."

He snatches the box away and rips it open before I can get it back. His grin is wide. "Perfect," he says, before dotting my face with kisses and thank yous.

I'm glad he likes it.

I wrap my arms around him and his shirt is damp enough to be uncomfortable.

I pull on his sleeve. "Take this off. You're all wet."

He gives me a suggestive look before pulling it over his head. "I left my car at Jasper's in case your dad does a drive by."

I sit on my bed, scooting over to make room. "Oh, were you at Jasper's house when we were on the phone last night?" It didn't sound like it at the time.

He flicks off the light, leaving the room lit up by the street lamp outside.

"No, but I can't leave my house at four in the morning," Edward says, laying his shirt to dry on the back of my computer chair.

"Makes sense." I shrug, knowing Jasper's mom cares about nothing, while Edward's cares about everything.

"His mom was still awake when I left though."

"Fun," I say, scrunching my nose. "What did she say?"

"Have fun." He climbs onto the bed beside me.

"That's awkward."

"It's weird, but it is what it is, and now I'm here."

"Was Jasper mad you left?" I ask, not being able to imagine using one of my friends like that.

"No, do you know how many times he's left me alone at his house? At least I told him what was up."

I laugh. "Okay. If that's how it is."

"It is. Will you put this on me?" He hands me the necklace, turning over so his back is facing me.

I slide the chain around his neck, secure the clasp, and kiss between his shoulder blades. "Hey, lie down on your stomach. I have an idea." I nudge him before climbing over him to grab a bottle of lotion.

"No, what are you doing?" He lifts up on his arms.

I hold the bottle for him to see. "It's just lotion, relax."

He lowers his elbows, looking skeptical. "But what are you going to do with it?"

"Birthday massage. Lie down!"

"Shh!" He looks at the wall as if he'd be able to see if I just woke Emmett up. When he's convinced Emmett's not awake, he lies down with his arms at his sides.

I straddle his hips, causing my bed frame to squeak.

After twisting off the cap and setting it down, I turn the bottle over.

Edward lifts his head. "Wait."

I right the bottle, unsure as to why this is so complicated. Going sans lotion may have been a better idea.

"I like the way you smell, but I don't want to be drenched in it." He strains his head back to look at me. "I can't go to school smelling like fruity flowers."

"It's cucumber melon," I say, turning the bottle back over and squeezing.

He hisses at the cold. "A fruity vegetable." He huffs, but lies back down, giving in as I start rubbing in the lotion.

Kneading the contours of his back, I experiment with different pressures and movements. When I press my thumbs along his shoulder blades, he groans, so I do it again. I go down his spine and up again, paying extra attention to his neck.

"Am I doing okay?" I ask, reaching for more lotion.

"Yeah, but I want to do it to you."

He starts lifting up, so I move to the side so we can switch positions.

As I lie down, Edward stops me, tugging my shirt up a few inches. I nod as I sit up. With my arms crossed in front of me, I pull the shirt off in slow motion over my head, bringing it back down in one hand and letting it fall to the floor.

I catch his eyes with mine before his start to wander. The corner of his lower lip is held between his teeth. Leaning forward, I kiss the side of his mouth that's free, and then the one that isn't, drawing it out.

Rolling onto my stomach is a natural flow of movement, and his hands cover the expanse of my back. He doesn't bother with the lotion. He straddles me the same way I had done to him, but he keeps his weight off of me.

I feel the heavy feeling that comes with lack of sleep. There's a dull headache in my temples, but it's worth it.

As soon as he applies pressure, it feels so good that I whimper.

"Shh," he says, but he's laughing.

He finds places I didn't know were hurting until he started kneading into them.

He moves his hands up my back and under my bra. "You sleep in this? It's really tight."

"I feel weird without it. Keep rubbing my back there though. It really hurts."

"Yeah, because it's squeezing the life out of you. Every time you're mad, I'm blaming this. You can't possibly be happy right now."

"Mmm hmm," I moan as he massages. "I'm miserable."

He tugs on the back of my bra. I feel the lack of restriction as soon as he gets it undone, the tightness in my chest at the exposure, and the flutters in my stomach when his hands go back to massaging my back in the same way as moments before.

His touch is gentle as he caresses my skin. It's a magical, early morning, birthday bliss. No other time or day, no other moment could feel as good as this.

As his hands venture to my sides, moving up and up and up, I'm ablaze with wanting more. I start to roll over and he shifts to give me room to move. Straps are still on my arms from a garment that's barely covering me.

He takes the straps in his fingers as I move my arms to help him slide them off. Mesmerized, he stares. His hands move up my stomach to my chest, blindly feeling what he already sees in the dim light. The room is silent save for our breathing. Hooking my finger on the chain on his neck, I pull him down to kiss me.

He moves to lie beside me—never taking his hands off of me. He's careful, but confident as he explores. My heavy eyes close. I'm learning too. Learning what it's like to be touched like this. What it feels like on the outside and in. It's a sensuality I'd never be able to put into words.

Time moves too fast. My alarm clock screeches at us to go to school. Edward hits buttons as he tries to turn it off. I pull my blankets up around me. I'm not ready to get up just yet. Edward figures out the alarm and joins me under the covers.

There's a rhythmic knock on my door before Emmett opens it. His eyes open wide when he sees Edward with me.

Covering his eyes with his hand, Emmett says, "I'm counting to ten." He turns his back to us.

Edward grabs my shirt and tosses it to me before shoving my bra under the blankets. He scrambles to put on his own shirt, but we both manage to dress before Emmett turns around.

The disappointed or angry glare I expect to see from Emmett is instead a proud smile.

He sits down on the end of the bed. "I guess you're going to need more privacy now." He laughs as he grabs my foot that's still under the blankets.

I feel my face heat up, but Emmett is unfazed.

He nods at Edward. "Are we still playing ball after school?"

Edward doesn't look at him. "Yeah."

"I approved that." Emmett points to Edward's chain. "You're welcome."

Edward laughs as he brings his hand to his neck. "Thanks, Em."

Emmett starts nodding to himself as he hangs his head.

"What's up?" I ask.

He sighs. "Can you talk to Charlie for me later?"


"My uncle called yesterday. He's thinking of having me come down to Portland for winter break. You know how he works for a used car lot?" he asks, and I nod in reply. "He's always working on cars at his house. He said he could use some help. He'll pay me and everything. It'd be cool to get to know him better and make some money. If it works out, I'd go back in the summer."

"What did Dad say?"

"It sounds like he's looking for cheap child labor. It's shady business if you ask me." He groans. "How am I supposed to go when he says stuff like that?"

I understand Emmett's need to go. If I had the option to see my mom, I'd be in the same dilemma. But if Emmett finds a family completeness with his uncle, he may never want to leave.

"You'll come back though, right?" I wring my blanket in my hands. "If you go, you have to come back."

Emmett pulls his head back in surprise. "What? Of course I'll come back. Don't say things like that." He squeezes my calf and then asks Edward, "You want to come with?"

"Sure. I'll talk to my mom about it later."

Emmett laughs. "Never mind, I'll ask Jasper."

Edward shoves Emmett's shoulder. "Shut up. I'll go."

"I want to go." I glare at Emmett for not inviting me.

"Sure you do. Charlie's never going to let you go."

I stick my tongue out at him. He's right, but I would have liked an invite.

Emmett stands up. "I'm going to Rose's. I'll let you two get back to it." He walks to the door, and before he closes it, he says, "Let me teach you this trick I know. You see this thing on the door knob, if you turn it like this, no one can open the door." He closes the now locked door, and jiggles the handle from the outside, proving his point.

Edward falls back on the bed beside me. "Sorry. I should have locked it."

"I don't barge into his room. He shouldn't barge into mine."

We are out of time to go back to doing what we were doing before my alarm and Emmett's subsequent interruption, so I begrudgingly get up and start the process of getting ready for school. My former worry about pulling underwear out of my drawer in front of Edward is no longer an issue, but he is a distraction as he's already ready to go. I'm in and out of my bedroom as I get ready, but Edward spins in my computer chair and talks to me whenever I'm back in the room.

"How often does your dad work early?"

"Not that often."

"Oh," he says, dropping his shoulders. "I'm supposed to ask you if you want to go to Seattle with my mom."

"Okay, are you coming with?"

"No, she wants to do a shopping trip. Dress shopping, I guess." He shrugs. "You don't have to go with her."

I think about the dress I had once hoped to wear to homecoming. I had figured I'd go back and see if I could still get it, but when I look at Edward, and the difference between now and then, I'm not so sure it's still the dress for me.

"Yeah, tell her I'd love to go." I climb onto his lap and lace my fingers behind his neck. Forget that modest dress. The dress I get will be so much bolder.




Hi!Thanks for reading!

My help this chapter: dazzled eyes22, ttharman, EdwardsMate4ever, and TDS88. Thank you all!

I'd love to know your thoughts on the chapter.