Taste of the Forbidden Contest

Title: Battle

Rating: M for mature themes

Genre: Romance, Friendship, Angst

Word Count: 5,247

Pairing: Edward and Bella

Summary: Society would say they should stay away from each other, that their feelings should be denied, but how can something so true and right be wrong? Why should their love be denied because they weren't the first to figure it out? "I'm saying...I'm saying I want to kiss you," she whispered.

Disclaimer: Character names and all things Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. This story contains a relationship that may be deemed inappropriate or offensive to some.


"Please. Don't."

"You don't."

"I feel like I'm being torn into two pieces. This hurts...so badly. I can't stand it."

"It's the same for me."

"What the hell do we do?"

"I don't know. I really don't know."

"Can we just...just hold me right right now? Just be here with me, please."

"Where else am I gonna go?"

"I...love you. You know I'm in love with you, right?"

"I know. And I'm in love with you, too. I think I have been for a very long time. I love you so much, and it's just so impossible. It's impossible, isn't it?"

"Do you wish you didn't love me?"

"Do you?"

"It would make life...less...complicated."

"Yeah, it would."



"No, I don't wish I didn't love you. Loving you, being with you, is the most right thing, even if the circumstances aren't."

"I don't wish it, either. You are my heart. How could that be wrong?"

"If only they hadn't..."

"I know."


Instant family, just add marriage.

I am now the proud recipient of a stepfather and stepsister. Neither is a great tragedy, I suppose. My mom's new husband, Charlie, is quiet and likes to watch sports and fish. Considering my dad was always too busy to have fun – is still too busy to have fun – I like that I'll have Charlie to watch games with and do outdoorsy stuff. And Bella - well, as girls go, she's pretty great. She's not super-girly, and I've never heard her squeal, gossip, or worry over her clothes and hair. She doesn't stand there weighing next-to-nothing and moan that she's "fat." I can't stand any of that behavior. At all. Thankfully, Bella hasn't acted that way so far. If I have to be stuck with a girl my age in the house, I could do so much worse.


When we started our sophomore year, only our closest friends knew Charlie Swan married Elizabeth Masen over the summer. Still, it didn't take long for our classmates to learn Bella and I were now "brother and sister." Nothing changed, really, except that I felt obligated to look out for Bella now. Mostly, she kept to herself or her friend Angela, and I noticed very few guys ever spoke to her. Hardly anyone spoke to her - she was practically invisible. It endeared her to me, I suppose. I wasn't fond of lots of attention, either. I realized maybe we had a little in common.

Things at home were comfortable – my mom and I moved into Charlie's house. Aside from Bella and I having to work around each other's bathroom needs, it was a pretty easy transition. Bella, being the way she was, meant there wasn't a lot of girly junk in the bathroom, and she didn't take too long with her "routine." There was an occasional uncomfortable moment of one of us walking in on the other when we weren't careful. But it was cool – she was laid back. I was laid back. We worked all right. Having to ignore things like pads next to the toilet was a small sacrifice, seeing that Charlie made Mom so happy. All in all, I couldn't really complain.

I never would have imagined I would come to wish for Mom to get another divorce. Yet, not even a year into her new marriage, that's exactly what I wished for. And I hated myself every time I had that thought.


Tenth grade was relatively uneventful. Neither Bella nor I seemed to be into anyone in our class, though everyone else seemed to discover "hooking up." A lot. I noticed girls, sure. I noticed how some grew taller or filled out that year. Because she lived with me and I saw her every day, I tended to not notice Bella's changes. It wasn't until our summer vacation before our junior year that I really saw how she'd changed. What a mind-fuck that was.

I'd slept late and woke to an empty hotel room. Mom left me a note that they were all either by the pool or on the beach. After I found Mom and Charlie by the pool, I took a quick swim before taking a walk on the beach. I noticed the girls - I was sixteen. I noticed the curve of a hip, the dimples above the ass. I noticed the valley between breasts and the hard peaks stretching bikini tops taut. I noticed long necks, toned legs, and flat - and curvy - stomachs. I took it all in, enjoying the wide variety of beauty.

One body stood out, though. Where most of the girls around my age wore bikinis – the skimpier and stringier, the better, apparently - this girl wore swim shorts and one of those tank top kind of swim tops. She was on her stomach, reading a book, showing a beautiful curved back down to a firm ass. She had alabaster skin in a sea of fake-bake, spray-on-orange and too-tanned-leather skin. She wore a wide-brimmed hat hiding her hair, which, given her differences to these other girls, was probably not streaked, highlighted, dyed, or super-trendy. Something pulled me to her, made me want to know her. I wanted to know this girl who wasn't flashy or demanding attention. This girl who didn't buy into tans and loud music and ogling boys.

I decided to sit next to her and say hello, feeling nervous but hopeful.

This girl...this girl was Bella. Bella. Shit.

I'm thankful she didn't know what I'd been thinking. I'm thankful I said "hello" instead of some pick-up line. I'm thankful I hadn't gotten hard already thinking about this "stranger." No, everything seemed normal to Bella, I think.

I couldn't help but feel screwed, though. No matter what I did, I couldn't stop remembering how I'd seen her, was drawn to her, before I knew it was Bella. I couldn't un-know the way just looking at her had made me feel. She was my "sister" for all intents and purposes, but suddenly she was some sort of standard – some sort of perfection I wanted to find in a girl. I knew, intellectually, that it wasn't incestuous to think of her this way - we didn't share blood. But still.

That vacation felt very, very long, and not in a good way.

At home, I avoided her as much as possible. I would hang out with Jay or Em. I would not try to see her undress though cracks in the bedroom or bathroom doors. I would not listen carefully to every sound she made, every conversation she had, every laugh she shared. Not at all.

So screwed.


Once our junior year began, I was relieved to have the distraction of school, homework, and friends. A distraction from my near-constant mental focus on Bella - aside from driving to school together. But it was short, and we would listen to music. Even though my inappropriate thoughts still plagued me, I learned more and more about Bella's intelligence, her open-mindedness, her intolerance for superficiality and dishonesty. I learned that we shared the same taste in music, that we both preferred baseball to football, and that we both wanted to travel. I learned she missed cooking for her dad now that my mom had mostly taken over that task. I learned that she had a secret thrill-seeking side that made her want to ride motorcycles and cliff-dive.

Basically, I learned she was everything I wanted in a girl. This realization did absolutely nothing to quell my desire for her. I now wanted her intellectually as much as I longed for her physically.

She's so smart. She's so like me in so many ways. And she's so, so pretty.

Yes, I was definitely screwed.


Our junior year passed much like the year before, aside from our car-ride conversations and learning every last thing about each other. I came to see her as my best friend as much as someone I wanted everything with. I quietly battled my internal demon, and our year passed uneventfully and pleasant.

That was, until Bella was nearly crushed in the parking lot one icy day before school in February. Tyler lost control of his van and it careened our way, just as Bella rounded the back of my car. I noticed in time to pull her out of the way, but she broke her ankle and hit her head as we fell to the slippery pavement. I sprained my wrist and dislocated my shoulder. Suddenly, we were the most interesting people in Forks, and our quiet anonymity was shattered. Tyler kept apologizing and asking to make it up to Bella. Mike and Eric seemed to take notice of her because Tyler did. For my part, Jessica and Lauren wouldn't seem to stop fawning all over me. I wasn't interested in either of them, so the attention was nothing but an annoyance.

Another annoying thing I was dealing with how I felt about other guys' interest in Bella. I tried to remind myself that I'd always felt protective of her. I tried to rationalize that none of those guys were good enough for her or had things in common with her like I did. I tried to tell myself all kinds of things, but in the end, I was jealous and possessive. Plain and simple. I didn't want them pursuing her or thinking about her romantically. More than that, I didn't want her to like the attention, to want them back, to be interested. I was a dick. I should have been happy for her, but all I wanted was for her to want to spend time with only me.

I felt more and more like shit every time I was happy she turned one of them down. They were persistent little fuckers. She copped to her hurt ankle and general lack of dancing skill as good reasons to avoid the prom and dates. The guys would sometimes ask me what's up –why she didn't seem interested in anyone, and could I work on her for them. I just told them we didn't get in each other's business and let it go at that.

But I knew. I knew, like me, she thought all that high school stuff was hokey and superficial. I knew she wasn't challenged by any of those guys, that their interests didn't interest her. We would vent about the day's advances to each other on the way home, groaning and complaining. We never spoke the words, but we seemed to agree to help deflect unwanted attention from each other.

Mom and Charlie didn't say much about the influx of phone calls but would occasionally ask if either of us were interested in anyone. I'm sure they thought we were odd, being more than mid-way through our junior year and neither of us having had a boyfriend or girlfriend. I didn't care. High school was stupid and the people were immature. I'd known them my whole life and was not interested. I did sort of wonder if Bella harbored a secret crush she didn't want to share, though. I didn't ask. I didn't want her to ask the same of me. I didn't want to lie to her, and I sure as hell couldn't be honest about the only girl I wanted.


The summer before senior year found us spending even more time together. I worried I was monopolizing her, but Bella seemed just as eager to hang out with me. Since her ankle had healed, we tried to fill her thrill-seeking need a little. We para-sailed while on vacation, as well as tried to learn to surf. Back at home, we hiked and biked and swam in the ocean. She introduced me to some of the Quileute boys she knew through her dad's friendships on the reservation. It was Jake, Sam and Embry who encouraged us to cliff-dive, so we went for it.

We weren't crazy enough to jump from the very top, but it was a thrill nonetheless. I'll never forget the look of sheer bliss and pride on Bella's face when we surfaced. I could also never forget how she whooped and lunged to hug me there in the water, how her body felt in my arms, and how tightly she held to me. In all our growing closeness, we'd never shared more than a side-arm hug at the holidays. Holding her to me in the water was exciting. It was comforting. It was the most right feeling I'd had in my seventeen years. Knowing I could do nothing about that feeling was the most suffocating heartache.

Later, we stayed on the beach and enjoyed a bonfire with the Quileutes. We talked, laughed, ate, drank soda and rehashed our daring deeds. After answering the call of nature, I returned to find Bella looking sad and uncomfortable.

"What's wrong? Something happen?" I asked.

"Nothing," she said. She smiled but it wasn't real. "You ready to go? They're probably waiting up for us." She made to stand, dusting off her shorts and fidgeting with her jacket.

"Yeah, sure," I said. "Do you need to go say goodbye to anyone, or..."

"Nah, I already told them we were leaving," she said, interrupting.

She was quiet on the way home, only talking and smiling as we remembered our dive.


She stayed quiet for the next couple of weeks. She wasn't ignoring me, but something changed and it was bugging the shit out of me. We'd never been this way with each other, so I decided to confront her. Mom and Charlie were working. Bella and I were both lazing and reading. I knocked on her open door, hoping we could clear the air.

"Hey," I said.

"Hey, yourself," she answered, sitting up against her headboard. "What's up?"

"I was hoping you'd tell me," I said. I moved to sit on the end of her bed, facing her. "You've been super-quiet ever since La Push, and I want to know why."

Her face flushed bright red, and she looked away out the window.

"Come on, Bella, talk to me," I pleaded. "And don't say 'it's nothing,' or 'I'm fine,' all right? I'm not buying that shit."

"Edward, you don't – " she started, but I interrupted.

"Look, I know I'm being a nosy asshole, and I'm sorry. I am. But you and I talk. We don't hold stuff in, and something is making you sad. Maybe it would help to get it out?" I asked, hopeful. You shrugged and looked at the quilt, distractedly tracing its designs.

"Did one of the guys try something with you?" I asked, trying to keep the disdain from my voice.

Her eyes went wide, but she shook her head. "No, no one did anything, you know, 'inappropriate,'" she said.

"So, what then? What changed?"

She huffed. She fidgited. She bit her lip. She darted her eyes.

"God-damnit, Bella, talk to me!" I yelled.

"Jacob asked me out!" she yelled. She frowned before pulling up her knees and hiding her face behind them.

Fuck. I knew something went down. I fought to control my jealousy and disgust. I fought to be the voice of the friend and brother she knew. I fought hard.

"Okay...so, what? You were disappointed? Happy but freaked? What's the deal, Bella?" I reached to pull on the ends of her hair draped over her legs.

"Can we please not talk about this?" she begged, muffled.

"Nope. Tell it, Swan. The truth will set you free," I said, trying to smile. I was such a hypocrite. The truth was holding me prisoner. I wanted her to tell. I wanted to know. I didn't want to know. I was scared, nervous, anxious.

"I'm not interested in him," she said.

"No?" Please, no.

"No." Thank fuck.

"So...why the sadness?" I asked, tickling her calves. I took any contact I could get away with having. She huffed again.

"Bella, please," I whispered, begged.

"Why..." she started. She raised her eyes to the ceiling and thumped her head on the wall. "Why is it that no one wanted me for so long, then suddenly these guys notice me? Why is it that the only guys that want me, I can't stand? Why can't I just be normal and want someone who actually wants me? Why – "

"Whoa, whoa, hold on," I interrupted, holding my hands up in a "timeout" motion. "First, neither one of us seemed to be very interesting until we became 'accidental celebrities.' But whatever the reason, they finally looked. They finally see how amazing you are."

She scoffed, shaking her head.

"No, you are, okay? You are. You are smart, you have the sharpest wit, you love great music, you have a lot of interests," I said, ticking off each trait on fingers that ached to comfort her. "And...you're pretty, you know? Bella? You're really a beautiful girl." I kept too-honest eyes from hers, staring at my longing hands instead.

"You're my b – " she started, huffing. "You're...supposed to say that. You live here."

I snort a laugh at her disbelief in the truest feelings I'd ever shared. "No, Bella. I'm not supposed to say anything but what's true. And what I said is all truth. Trust." It was easier to smile then. I stared the truth into her face and smiled wide.

She stared long before dropping weary lids and sighing. "Is there a 'second?'" she asked. "You said, 'first' before – is there a 'second?'"

"Yeah. Second, I'm glad you can't stand those guys – they're idiots," I said, mouth twisted, brows raised. She laughed. She laughed, and my heart clenched.

"Third," I began.

"Oh, there's a 'third' for me?" she asked, smirking. "I feel special."

You are. You are so, so special.

"Oh, yes, there's a third, and it's a good one," I said. "You are normal. You are the most normal person I know. There's no rule that says you have to like someone back or give in to them just because they like you that way." Even though I want you to want me back. Against all reason.

"But it sucks wanting someone you can't have," she said, defeated.

You don't even know the half of it.

"Why can't you have him? Or her?" I asked, leaning in and waggling my brows at her.

"Shut. Up!" she said, laughing, smacking my arm.

I laughed with her, then pulled serious. "Why can't you have him?" I asked, nudging her toes with mine. I already felt the sting of irrational jealousy over this guy she wanted, even while feeling vindicated that, for whatever reason, she couldn't have him. I felt awful. I should want her happiness, even at the cost of my own. Dick.

She stared at me then. She looked long and hard, searching both my eyes. She seemed to be working out the most complicated calculus equation while simultaneously translating War and Peace into Farsi. I wanted to look away, but I held fast.

"It's...not an...appropriate attraction," she said. She looked again out the window, blushing. "And even if it were, I don't think he'd ever feel the same about little, ol' me." She smiled sadly, looking back to me.

Something changed in that moment. Something in her eyes made me wonder if maybe I was that complicated equation she was working to figure out. Perhaps it was wishful thinking, but I felt that maybe I was the complex translation she was mulling over in her mind. I was the puzzle she was trying to solve. Crazy though it seemed, I felt it. But this was no game. This was something impossible. It was enough of an ordeal that I didn't want to trust my gut. I wanted to feel her out without getting too specific. I needed to know her cards before showing my own hand.

"I told you to stop that shit. You're amazing. Get used to it, all right? As for the guy...what makes you think he doesn't harbor the same...inappropriate attraction...that you feel?" I held her eyes. I looked as searchingly in her eyes as she had in mine. I tried to convey all I wasn't yet sure I could say.

"He doesn't look at me that way. He can't," she said, shaking her head and shrugging.

"Maybe...maybe you just don't see it when he does. Maybe he looks at you the exact same way, Bella."

"He can't."

"Why not?"

"Because it's impossible. It can't happen. I want him. I want him to want me. But we can't...we can't ever go there," she said, eyes watering, spilling over.

Closer. I feel even closer to this impossible truth I want, yet want to deny. No - I don't want to deny this truth. I only want our circumstances to be different.

I scooted closer to her, lifting a hand to her tear tracks and wiping them clean. "Would it feel better? To know? Would it be better if you knew he wanted you the same way? Would that make it easier or harder to deal with?" I asked, whispering hoarsely. My fingers lingered on her jaw. I knew I was going too far. Giving away too much. In that moment, I was selfish. I wanted to be able to have what I wanted without all the drama. I was insanely jealous that our parents could have each other, but I could not have Bella. I was so angry at them for finding each other before I found Bella. Yes, I was telling too much in my actions, but in that moment, I wanted to be selfish. I wanted to have something for myself, even if it was wrong to push.

"I think...maybe...it would. I think it would feel better to know I'm not the only one suffering in this," she whispered back, placing a hand over mine, leaning into my touch.

My breath stuttered, as did hers. Our eyes remained locked. I would never have believed in the notion of speaking only with eyes, or knowing a truth just by looking at someone or touching someone, but it was so real. I knew she was talking about me, and she knew I was telling her how I felt about her.

"He does. He feels the same, I'm sure of it. He burns for you, he agonizes over you, never doubt it," I said. I grabbed her empty hand and squeezed it, not letting go. An eternity passed in the next minute. We stared and soaked in and reveled and awed and wished and hoped and hated and wanted and gave in and gave up.

"Please. Don't."

"You don't."

"I feel like I'm being torn into two pieces. This hurts...so badly. I can't stand it."

"It's the same for me."

"What the hell do we do?"

"I don't know. I really don't know."

"Can we just...just hold me right right now? Just be here with me, please."

"Where else am I gonna go?" I turned to sit next to her, putting an arm behind and pulling her tightly to me. I scooched us down further on the bed and squeezed her hard with both arms.

"I...love you. You know I'm in love with you, right?" she said, her hand over my heart.

"I know. And I'm in love with you, too. I think I have been for a very long time. I love you so much and it's just so impossible. It's impossible, isn't it?"

"Do you wish you didn't love me?"

"Do you?"

"It would make life...less...complicated."

"Yeah, it would."



"No, I don't wish I didn't love you. Loving you, being with you is the most right thing, even if the circumstances aren't."

"I don't wish it, either. You are my heart. How could that be wrong?"

"If only they hadn't..."

"I know."

"Is it wrong to be so angry? I hate myself for hating that my dad is so happy with your mom. I hate that they get to have each other, and because of that, we can't have each other. I feel like such a terrible person!" she cried, her voice rising at the end.

"Shh, I know. I do. Believe me, I never imagined you felt this way, too, but I've been running the gamut of those emotions for a very long time," I said, stroking her hair.

"How long?" she asked, tilting her face to me.

I blew out a breath. I didn't want to freak her out, but we'd always been honest, and I didn't want to stop now. "Since...vacation last year. Well, sort of. I noticed this beautiful girl on the beach, not like the rest. Her body was stunning, and I could tell she was different, in the best way. I sat down and told her 'hello,' not realizing she was my...she was you." I chuckled humorlessly. "After that, I couldn't stop thinking about you in all the...inappropriate...ways. It really screwed with my head. But then, last year...the car. All our talks. Learning so much more of you. It didn't take long before the physical attraction took a back seat to the other things I began to feel for you." My heart twisted and ached in my chest to remember. It ached that I held her in my arms. It twisted to know this might be all we ever have. "What about you? When did you feel something?"

"Pretty much from day one, Edward," she said, ducking her face further into my chest. "You were someone I always wanted to know, I had a crush. I almost cried when Dad told me about you and Elizabeth."

I squeezed her to me again and kissed her hair. We stayed that way for minutes - long, tortuous, perfect, agonizing, beautiful minutes - pressed together and binding our longing and want and regret. After a while, she spoke, stroking my jaw.

"Is it wrong to still want this? This impossibility - is it terrible that I don't want to let go of it?"

"What are you saying, Bella? Do you want...somehow...do you – " I said, confused. "Nothing about being with you feels wrong except the circumstances surrounding our parents. You are not my sister. You are my best friend, and you are the woman I love and want."

"But the world sees us as brother and sister," she said.

"Fuck the world," I said.

"That's how I feel," she said quietly. "I just want to have what everyone else is free to have. I feel too stubborn to believe that we 'just can't' because our parents married each other before we figured this out between us."

"So...what do you want to do? I thought you were torn in two?" I asked.

"I don't know – being here with you like this, finally – I feel a tiny bit put back together. You just feel right, and it can't be wrong to feel this right. If our parents weren't married, this would be completely perfect. Accepted. Encouraged."

"Yes. But it's that one detail that could alter the way the whole world chooses to view us. We will be judged. We will be tried by a jury of our peers, and we will be convicted of doing something wrong. You know we will. Not to mention, Mom and Charlie won't be okay with this in any universe," I said, petulance and remorse lacing my tone.

She stayed quiet for a few moments. She continued to stroke my chest above my heart. I kept my fingers running through her hair and my hand running up and down her arm.

"Just...dammit. I know, I know I shouldn't, I'm opening up a can of worms, but I can't not, Edward, I can't not..." she trailed off, shaking her head.

"Bella, you're not making any sense. What are you trying to say?" I asked, turning her face to mine to see her eyes. She stared back at me, inches away, working that equation again.

"I'm saying...I'm saying I want to kiss you," she whispered.

I practically moaned at her simple, innocent declaration. I wanted it, so much. I wanted more than her kisses, but I never believed I could have even those. "Bella...I," began, swallowing hard, mouth dry. "I want that, so much. But-"

"No, no buts – please give me this, please?" she scooted closer to me, our mouths so close. I felt her sweet breath against my lips, and I did moan a little. I knew what the world thought we should do, but I knew in our hearts this was right. I knew no societal convention or rule could stop this love, and in that moment, I would have moved mountains to have what I wanted. I hesitated not one second more and closed the distance between us.

The kiss was everything I'd ever hoped for and more. How so much feeling could be conveyed by the simple act of lips on lips, I'd never understand. But I felt it all. We felt it all - all the longing and want and wishfulness, all the sadness and denial and impossibility. It all came together and mingled with our breath and our lips and our tongues. Our hearts flew and our breaths were short, and we loved each other so sweetly in that kiss. It was a kiss of promise and desire and hope and maybe and someday.

I pulled her on top of me, and she moved to straddle me. We rocked and moaned and kissed and found a little bit of peace in our fucked-up reality. We gave and we took, we pushed and we pulled and we just were. All the world fell away until all we knew was this moment: boy, girl, kiss, touch, love.

"What are you doing?" a pained, incredulous voice asked, shattering our bliss.

We froze. We tucked and buried faces and tried so hard to find that little bit of peace, but it was gone.

I knew an epic battle was on the horizon, but I vowed to myself that come what may, we would be together. It was right. It was real.

"I love you, and we will be together. Stand up and fight with me."