I watched wide-eyed as Edward glided effortlessly down the drive on his skateboard. He had his nose in the air and a happy smile on his face. I wished I could do that. He was so cool, the coolest kid I knew. I had never been able to stand up on my skateboard. I was still kneeling on it and pushing with one foot, and even then I was more likely to fall off than he was. But he was nice to me about that, unlike his brothers.

When I had tried to roll over the garden hose and fell forward onto my face, grazing my chin, nose, and forehead, he had helped me. Emmett and Jasper laughed and made me cry. Edward helped me up and took me to Esme.

Esme cleaned my wounds then held me while I cried. I ruined her shirt with my tears and blood and she didn't care. All she wanted was to make me feel better. For as long as I could remember she treated me like a daughter, I loved her like a mother, and I wished she was my mother. I also wished my mother was like her but not very often because my mother was usually non-existent to me.

One day I asked Esme to adopt me. She said she would, but that would break Charlie's heart. I loved my father too much to do that to him. Also, I wanted Edward to be my brother, but not Emmett and Jasper, they were too big and mean.

"Hurry up, Bella," Edward said, snapping me out of my memories.

I quickly pushed off with my foot and followed him out the gate and down the road. We raced to the corner, Edward won easily. Esme had told us not to go passed the corner of the quiet cul-de-sac. We lived on the last street, on the edge of Forks, and the main road was busy with people speeding in and out of Forks. She had said she would kick us into next week if we got run over by the cars. I think she was joking, if we got run over we would be dead and she would never hurt anyone.

But Edward and I were good.. We didn't mind staying near home and staying safe. We didn't want to run across the busy main road, touch the fence, and run back, like Emmett and Jasper liked to do.

"Try to stand up," Edward told me as we turned to go back.

I shook my head. There was no way I was going to risk the pain of falling again.

"Okay, scaredy cat, let's go." He started running and jumped on his board, zooming along the pavement.

I watched, wide-eyed again, until he looked back at me and grinned. I smiled back and ducked my head. I carefully made my way after him, looking for pebbles or twigs that might make me fall.

Eventually I got home and found Edward with his brothers. Emmett had Edward's skateboard and Jasper was holding Edward, his arms pulled tight behind his back.

"Eddie, do you want your stupid board back?" Emmett asked.

"It's not stupid," Edward yelled and struggled a bit more.

"Hold him, Jasper," Emmett warned.

"I will give it back if you do something for me, and don't tell Mom."

I crouched down behind the hedge, glad they hadn't noticed me. I desperately wanted to jump up and save Edward but I was too scared. Emmett and Jasper were older, bigger, and stronger, there was nothing I could do.

"No!" Edward said. He was brave. Much more brave than me. He could stand up to the big kids.

Emmett leant the skateboard against the house and put his foot on the middle. He was going to snap it. Edward started screaming and struggling harder, kicking at Jasper's shins.

"Let him go!" Someone shouted at them. I felt relief now, someone had come to rescue Edward, until I realised where the voice had come from: me!

Emmett was so shocked he almost fell over, quickly putting his foot back on the ground to save himself.

"Shit, she speaks," he said loudly.

With one last kick-twist combo Edward broke free from Jasper, pushed passed Emmett, grabbed his skateboard, and ran towards me.

"Run, Bella," he yelled as he got closer.

I turned around, fear shocking my startled brain into action. We ran side-by-side up the footpath and across the street into Mrs. Cope's garden. Emmett and Jasper stayed away from there ever since she caught them punching Edward in the stomach and showed them her gun. She told them she needed moving-target practice and would use them if she ever saw them again. Her over-grown garden was our safe-haven and sometimes Mrs. Cope brought us milk and cookies while we hid.

Edward rested his arm over my shoulders as we stood panting.

"Thank you," he said when he had caught his breath.

I just shrugged, I hadn't meant to help, but I was glad I had been able to do so.

"You know I'm going to a different school soon," he said. I nodded. "You will have to find your own friends. You won't be able to follow me around anymore."

I nodded again. I was not looking forward to being left alone at school. Edward was my best, and only, friend. The other kids didn't like me. I was already counting down the days until I could follow him, just one year, but a long time for me.

We sat in silence on the garden bench for a couple of minutes. I watched his feet tapping on the ground as he grew restless.

"Bella," Esme called from the road. We climbed through the front hedge and crossed over to her.

"Bella, Charlie will be home in an hour. Would you like to help me make dinner?"

I nodded, waved to Edward who was going to his bedroom, and followed her to the kitchen.

Every night that Dad was home in time for dinner Esme would cook a meal for me to take home to him. She knew he couldn't cook and wanted to 'save' me from pizza and other junk food. Usually he worked late, so I would eat with the Cullens. I really was part of their family, the shy, quiet part.

I loved helping Esme cook. Her kitchen was bigger than my house and had lots of shiny silver stuff. She had two shiny ovens, a two-door fridge, and a matching dishwasher. Her pots and pans shone, hanging overhead like an industrial-style chandelier.

Esme lifted me onto a stool and instructed me to peel potatoes, without skinning my fingers like I did last time. I concentrated hard on this job, vaguely aware of Esme flitting around and humming to the music playing softly through the speakers.

I finally finished and everything was cooking. Esme sat with me and handed me a hot chocolate.

"No marshmallows, sorry," she said. "I don't want you to spoil your appetite. Charlie hasn't been able to finish this early for a while."

"Thank you," I said and took a sip.

"Here," she said, handing me a paper towel. "I don't want you to look any more like a boy, and at the moment you have your dad's moustache."

I laughed and wiped the melted chocolate from my mouth.

"Don't you like my new clothes?" I asked, already knowing the answer.

"That is the last time I trust Charlie to take you shopping," she replied, frowning. "I thought it would be a good activity for you two to do on his day off. I forgot he is a typical male and you like boy's clothes."

I laughed, knowing full well I took advantage of my clueless father. "It was fun. I liked not being forced into girls' clothes."

"I am going to buy you a pink t-shirt," Esme said, laughing too.

"T-shirt, yes. Pink, no."

Esme sighed, defeated, and sipped her hot chocolate. She was not upset with me. She had taken me shopping for clothes, every time I needed them, since my mom left five years ago. She knew what I liked and didn't. I knew she would always try to dress me up like a girl. She knew I would always win, and still loved me enough to try.

She asked me about school and scolded me about not having my own friends. She was also worried about the year Edward and I would be separated for.

At six we heard a car horn. Dad was home. Esme quickly put some of the food on two plates. She helped me put my backpack on and saw me out the front door, watching until I reached my dad's front door.

©(storyline) 2012 Abbyward