This was my entry for the second Season of our Discontent. Didn't place, but I think this O/S wasn't pretty bad. It's something different than the one-shots I've done in the past. It was inspired by one of my favorite songs from Hollywood Heights, as well as the usual RL roots.


I gaze at her passing body as she walks down the aisle, wearing that long white dress. She's the one that everyone envies today, the one that they think is the most beautiful woman on earth. In my eyes, she's more than beautiful. She's stunning. From her long, flowing brown curls and deep dark chocolate brown eyes to her long, sinful legs that always take my breath away. I remember those days when she'd tell herself that she was just an average girl, just another girl on earth, and I remember telling her that she's more than average. She's beyond that. She's Bella.

She's still beautiful, but I can't tell her that now without having her know how I feel. She'd see that I haven't forgotten, that I still care, that I still love her. She'd see that I still want her to be mine, just like we used to be. She knows that she still loves me, but not enough for the man she's walking down this aisle for. We don't hate each other anymore, yet we can't love each other the way we used to. I would have been the one standing in the end of this aisle, waiting to take her hand and call her my wife.

That was if she chose me.

~:~

"Give that back!" she shouts at me, desperately reaching forward to grab her black calculator that I "borrowed" from her desk. Hey, it's her fault for leaving it there. She should have left it in her bag before checking her grades that Mr. Shiro, our math teacher, updated today.

"You snooze, you lose, Swan," I tell her, faking a yawn.

"I swear, I'll kill you if you don't give it back," she seethes, breathing heavily. My arm with her calculator is still up in the air, easily raising up every time she jumps up to try to grab it.

"I'll give it to you, if you can grab it shorty," I say. I'm compromising, aren't I?

"Shut up," she barks. "And I'm not short, stupid." She tries to reach for the calculator again, to which she just fails. Again.

"Then get it. Prove me you're not short."

She growls, then leaps up and makes another attempt. She fails again, but I have to admit she was close.

"Give. It. Back. Or else."

"Or else what?"

"Or this." She takes a step forward and punches me on the shoulder. Hard.

"Ow!" I yelp, rubbing my shoulder as soon as she steps back. "What was that for?"

She takes her calculator and smirks. "For you calling me shorty." She punches me again on my uninjured shoulder, but lighter this time. "And that's for all the other stupid things you'll do in the next few years."

I should be scared, but I'm not. I look forward for the chance to tease her again. We may be just sixth graders, but I already know there will be more times like this.

~:~

"I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride." That's it. Guess there's nothing else to do now. I watch with sad eyes as he lifts her veil and presses his lips on hers, sealing their marriage. When the pastor had said "Speak now or forever hold your peace", I was almost tempted to do so. But I didn't. She would never forgive me if I took away her chance of eternal happiness. I promised her years ago that I'll never interfere with her love life. Even though this is America and promises are easily broken, I can't do that to her. That will mean crossing the line, just like I did the first time.

~:~

"YOU DID WHAT!" she screams. "How could you?"

"I didn't mean it!" I shout.

"Yeah you did!" A tear slowly drops down her face, the fire behind her eyes blazing. "I told you not to tell him!"

I hold my hands up. "I was only joking! I didn't think he'd tell you about it! And why are you making such a big deal on this?"

"Because I was crushing on Mike!" Her tone was softer this time, but it didn't hide the hurt she felt. "I knew I should have been more careful and thought better to trust you!"

"But-"

"Zip it! I'll never forgive you for this! Never! You really are stupid, stupid!"

~:~

Everyone stands up and claps, a few wolf whistles here and there. From the side, I clap too, hiding away my sullen mood. This is supposed to be a happy day, and I'm supposed to be playing the role of her faithful good friend at her wedding.

After their kiss, she holds the hand of her new husband as the two of them walk down the aisle, waving to their friends and family. When she catches my eye, she gives me a huge smile, mouthing 'you're here' to me. I almost didn't come, so I know it must make her happy that I came to witness her big moment.

I give her a small smile, mouthing 'yeah' to her. This causes her to smile even wider as she looks back to me and gives me a thumbs up.

I love her smiles. I love it more when those smiles are meant for me. Even through all the times I've teased her, there were those few times that she had genuinely smiled for me.

~:~

She groans. "How the hell do I do this problem?" We're in our advanced summer math class, prepping ourselves for algebra 1 next year for eighth grade. Ironically, our teacher, Mr. Payell, seated us next to each other. She hates that she has to sit next to me for the remainder of our summer class, but I don't mind. In fact, I kind of like it.

"Need help?" I murmur, seeing the distress of her difficulty of solving the problem on her math worksheet. She was never the best in math, yet she was able to squeeze by with an A or B every quarter.

"No," she grumbles. "Go finish your worksheet."

I smirk. "Already done, shorty."

"What?" she says in disbelief. Peaking over my outstretched arm, she frowns when she sees that I have indeed completed my worksheet.

"Prick," she mumbles. "Fine, you can help me. But only because I want to finish this."

So I help her out, telling her the steps on how to solve the word problem and the numbers from the problem she needs to use. With my guidance, she was able to finish the problem, along with the rest of the worksheet.

After we turn in our worksheets and sit back down on our seats, she gives me a tiny grin. "Thanks for that. You're pretty good at math. Maybe you aren't really stupid."

I grin back. "You're welcome. Happy to help anytime."

"You do know this doesn't make us friends, right?"

"Yeah..."

"Good, because I'll kill myself if I ever live to see the day that I call you a friend."

~:~

The reception is in full swing as all the guests shuffle across the ballroom to find their seat. I managed to find mine near the front of the stage, where I find myself sitting with some of my old friends in high school. It's good to see them again since we've lost touch for the past few years.

Sipping my wine, I watch the activity around me, searching my eyes for her. When I do find what I'm looking for, I see that she and her new husband are going around and greeting their guests, taking a picture with someone every now and then. Occasionally, I catch her new husband kiss her cheek, which makes it harder for me to hold back and kill the guy. It's bad that he's the man she married, but it makes me feel more bad that I knew him. I was there the day she told me she wanted to be with him.

I remember that day before he was in the picture. Back then, I knew what the word love meant, but it was when I could never find the right girl that could love me back. I was young, wondering when I would find the girl that would accept me for being me.

~:~

My head was pounding by the intensity of my thoughts running through my mind. I can't stop thinking about Angela, how I want to tell her how I feel, but fearing that she'll reject me like all the girls in my life.

I need to text someone, and I know exactly who that should be. Finding her number on my phone, I shoot her a quick text.

E: Shorty?

It takes mere minutes for my phone to vibrate, signaling a text.

B: Oh hey you. Whats up?

E: I'm sad

B: Why?

E: You should know

B: Angela problems again?

E: Yeah

Believe it or not, she's the only person that knows how I feel about Angela. Not even my closest friends like Garrett know that I have a major crush on Angela. She's a quiet girl that shares a few of my classes (along with shorty). I forgot how exactly I started crushing on her, but I do remember feeling shocked when I realized that I could have those feelings again.

B: Still thinking about her?

E: Every minute of every day

B: That's impossible. So the name Angela is always in your mind?

E: Shut up. You know what I mean.

B: Whatevs. So how do you feel?

E: I wish Ang was here. This is such a long summer. I can't wait to get back to school already.

B: I wouldn't say the same for me. I wish summer never ended.

E: Lol you and everyone else

B: What? Aren't you not looking forward to go back to school? I am. That, and to finish our damn summer math class. We have like... what? A week left?

E: Four days actually.

B: Don't have to be so exact. :P

E: Force of habit. But back to Ang... what do I do?

B: Same thing I do w/ Mike. Try not to think about it as much. The less you think about it, the less you'll worry. Just go w/ the flow. Once you catch yourself thinking about Ang, just immediately think of something else. Most of the time I think of food & I end up forgetting what I was thinking about Mike in the 1st place.

Another thing about shorty: when she has good advice, she makes it to a long message. This wasn't one of her exceptions.

E: And it works?

B: Yupz. You should try it sometime.

Hmmm... maybe I will. I'll do anything at this point to deal with all this.

~:~

From across the room, I spot Angela, my old crush that I longtime abandoned since middle school. She was there to help me through it all, and one day, I stopped liking her. Maybe it was because it was all just a crush, but when I look back to it, maybe it was because I was just fighting for something that I knew all along I could never have.

Angela is sitting next to her husband, Ben. From what I've heard, they have been married for a little over a year. Ben and I go a long way back. I've known him since third grade, but we started drifting off when we reached high school. The ironic part about Angela and Ben's relationship was that exactly six months after I stopped liking Angela, Ben had asked her out. I wasn't angry at him, but it was still ironic.

Things have been a bit better when I got rid of the burden of liking Angela, but it was not as bad as the day when she told me she wouldleave.

~:~

"You're what?" I whisper, not believing what I'm hearing. This was what she hid from everyone?

She nods. "I'm moving... and this time I'm transferring to another school."

Suddenly all I could hear was my heart beating a million miles a minute. It felt as if all oxygen from my lungs escaped. I thought that what she was hiding from me wasn't major, but I didn't know that it was this serious.

My shorty was leaving. The girl that I have come to know as my rival turned frenemy is moving away. No more teasing her about her crush on Mike. No more jam sessions with her and her friends. No more having those moments when I do things better than her. No more causing her shorty.

I would have thought that this wouldn't affect me as much. After all, people see us as people who couldn't bear to stand next to each other for five minutes without arguing.

They're wrong.

"Did you hear me, stupid?"

Oh. Right. Spaced out there for a bit.

"Yeah. Uh... I'm sorry to hear that."

She frowns. "Me too. I'll miss this school."

'And you' I wish she'd say.

~:~

Food starts arriving at the table once most of the guests settle in. Everyone on my table stares at the food with hungry eyes, relieved that it's finally time to eat. Normally I'd be hungry too when I see delicious food like this, but today is one of those days that I just don't feel like eating. What I want to satisfy me isn't on this table, yet is still in the same room.

I still have to keep up the act though, so I keep a smile on my face as I take a sample of food from each of the plates. I'll pretend that I'm hungry, but really I could use the time to eat while I gather my thoughts.

Weddings are supposed to be a happy occasion, and I remember one time when I was happy, even if it did not involve a wedding at all.

~:~

"Hey shorty. How's the new house?" She had just gotten onto Skype and noticing the unfamiliar walls behind her, I'm genuinely curious as to how she's taking the new house so far.

She shrugs. "Not bad. The air's a bit fresher, but it doesn't compare to being back home with you guys."

I smile. "Same here." Home was where she lived, where the friends she was forced to leave behind are.

"It's boring though," she says with a sigh. "Without ya'll around, I'm resorted to playing video games and watching TV until I make new friends. And you know how many miles it is to get from here to where ya'll are. "

"Well I'm glad to see that you miss us. We miss you too." I want to specifically tell her that it's mostly me that misses her, but I don't want her to take it the wrong way.

"Yeah..." I hear a bang from behind her. "Hold on." She turns around and I hear a sound to what seems like a door opening. "Mom! Be careful with that!" I hear the door close. "Sorry about that." She has a sheepish look on her face. "We're still getting things together and since my uncle isn't here, it's a bit tough moving around the heavier things."

"What was the bang then?"

"Oh. That's just my mom and dad trying to move the couch." She stays silent for a minute.

"Can I ask you something?"

I nod. "Sure. Anything."

"Remember when I asked you what your opinion was if I asked you out? And you said you'd say yes if you didn't like Angela?"

"Yeah..." Where is she going with this?

"What if I said I wanted to ask you out because I like you?" She looks at me with a worried expression, biting her lip when she sees the complete surprise on my face.

Is this another opinion question? Or is she really saying that she likes me? Swan, the girl that I enjoy taunting since sixth grade, might like me?

"You like me?" I find myself able to say.

She nods. "Weird, huh? And I'm supposed to hate you."

My eyes fall, looking down at my lap. "Why?"

"What do you mean why?"

"Why do you like me? I've done nothing but pick on you, tease you, and taunt you for the last two years. I've given you so many reasons to hate me and you said it yourself that you hate me too. What's the sudden change?"

"I don't think there was ever any change," she tells me. "Sure, I hated you once. But underneath all that hate, I had to remind myself that you were a human being too. You have real feelings, and your huge crush on Angela told me that. I call you stupid not only because you are sometimes stupid, but because you're stupid for not seeing through me. You can be an inconsiderate jerk, but you can also be that vulnerable boy that plays the guitar to mask his feelings. When you vented to me last summer, I fell for the boy that had a soft side, and it reminded me that we had those moments when we wouldn't be clawing each others' eyes out." She chuckles at her statement. "You may be loud, but you're also funny. You may tease me, but you'd never purposely hurt me. You may accidentally hurt my feelings, but it's because you're telling the truth. You may have had a history of broken hearts, but at least you know what your mind wants. And if you could, maybe you could want me too."

Wow. She sounded so much like a grownup instead of the thirteen-year-old girl on my computer screen. I always knew she has a way with words, but it was always for rebutting my ways of teasing her. I've never seen her use her way with words in such a way like this, telling me that she likes me, telling me that I'm not the stupid boy that I thought I am. She made me see myself in a better light, and that itself is enough for me.

"So you're saying you love me?" I ask her.

"Not love. Like. Or maybe if you give me time, I could possibly fall in love with you."

~:~

Things changed forever after that night. We talked until midnight that night, discussing how we should deal with our sudden change of feelings. I realized that night that I felt the same way too. She had given me such a huge smile that night, asking me if we could try pursuing a long-distance relationship and see how it works out. I didn't hesitate with saying yes.

We tried to keep our new-found relationship under the down low, not wanting anyone on Facebook to find out that we got together. It would spur gossip, and it would tarnish the image of Stupid and Shorty hating each other for life.

We tried to make it last, but in the end, we couldn't. We knew the truth. As long as we lived miles apart from each other with hardly any days we could ever see each other, we can't stay together without somehow breaking up in the end. We had to reach the inevitable eventually. It was a mutual breakup from both our parts, but it was also an accomplishment. We stayed together for about a month, which is longer than any of the relationships I ever had.

We drifted apart for a while afterward, focusing on our own individual lives. She has a new school that she wants to find new friends in, and I have to focus on moving on and finding another girl that would replace her. I knew that replacing her would be hard, but it was all I could do. I missed her so much, but it was what I needed to move forward. Maybe, in a different universe where she didn't move away, we could have stayed together. We could have let everyone know that we were together, and we could have tried to be a real couple and not just have some forbidden secret relationship.

We occasionally talked on Facebook, catching up with what the other was doing. She still called me stupid, and in return I still called her shorty. We gradually grew back to our old teasing ways, only this time it was not out of hatred. For the first time, we finally became what people thought was the impossible: friends.

She changed over the course of several months. Her messages and statuses told me that her new school was making her happy, but I could catch a hint of sadness in her part. I never questioned since it wasn't my business, but I still wondered.

One day on the last week of April the following year after her move, I pieced together my suspicions.

~:~

I logged onto Facebook and did what I usually did. Update a status, check my current notifications, answer any messages, and look through my news feed for anything new. When I checked through my news feed, it seemed as if there was nothing new as usual, but a new status from shorty caught my eye.

Isabella Swan: I shouldn't have done that. If only I didn't say anything. Now I'm destined to be nothing more than a memory to him, & to get nothing but silence from him from now on. I'm really stupid for thinking that he was different. That's it. I'm done w/ boys. :'(

What the...? Who's the boy that hurt Swan in that way? No one does that to my shorty, even if she is my ex-girlfriend! I want to hurt this guy for doing whatever he did to her!

I should ask her what is wrong, but I realized that she isn't on chat. Guess I can't ask her now.

Oh well... I can always ask her later.

~:~

She eventually did tell me who it was that hurt her. However, that eventually came two months later when I finally found a time when she was on the same time I was. The question plagued my mind for weeks, and to see that I finally had the opportunity to answer my question made my curiosity peak to high levels.

I found out that his name was Jacob. She wouldn't give me all the details, but I did get the basic facts: He had broken her heart, and she had lost her trust on boys. Not me though. She may have lost her trust on boys, but she had not lost all of it.

We spoke less during our first year of high school, but it didn't mean we lost contact. High school was a different environment than middle school, and we had different lives to lead. We still chatted on Facebook every few of months or so, but other than that we practically lost contact.

The more we drifted apart, the more I realized the change in her Facebook statuses. Even though her statuses were less depressing, I noticed a little more... happiness in them. Like there was someone else that helped her heal. Like there was another guy.

It was the next question that plagued my mind for months. Was it true? Was Swan crushing on another guy after what Jacob did? If so, why so soon? It was barely months since she told me he broke her heart! Why was she doing this again? Risking her heart for someone that could break it all over again? I'm still fiercely protective of her, even though she isn't mine anymore. Isn't this what friends do? Protect each other?

But the fact remained: People still saw us as enemies. Even though it had been months since she left us, nothing changed their views between us. No one knows about out relationship, which remained as a secret. If only they knew the truth. If only they knew that even after our mutual breakup, I still care about her. If only they knew that I still have feelings for a girl that is slipping from me every day that passes.

I wanted another chance. That's all I wanted. I wanted some way to earn her back, to really have the opportunity to date her for real this time. I want to be able to take her out on dates, to have her first kiss with me, to be a real couple.

And I did get that chance.

~:~

A week has passed since the start of the second quarter. It's been a tough time to adjust back to my classes after a week of my theoretical do-nothing-all-day fall break. I made it through it, but it was still tough, especially falling back into the homework-due-the-next-day routine.

The bell for the end of fourth period rings and I immediately shuffle out of the classroom with everyone else. I always look forward for the end of the day, where I can go home and crash on my bed for a half hour before I hang out with my friends. I have acting lessons every Tuesday, but luckily today is Monday, so I don't have to worry about it until tomorrow.

I'm walking on the parking lot when my eyes set on a girl that makes me stop on my tracks and chills to run through my body. She's wearing a red and black plaid blazer, a black Aeropostale T-shirt, blue skinny jeans, and black Converse shoes. She's holding a cell phone with white earphones in her ears. Must be listening to music.

It's not what she's wearing that catches my attention, but the face of the girl that is wearing it.

I couldn't believe it. Never in a million years did I believe my thoughts would be heard.

She's here.

"Oh my god." Did I say that out loud?

She pauses and looks up from her phone, looking straight in my direction. Her expression clearly matches my own.

"It's you," she whispers.

How did no one tell me she was back in the area? I heard rumors from Tyler that she was back in our area, but I thought they were false. Since when were rumors true in this school? Apparently, these are one of the rumors that are true.

"Shorty?" I murmur.

She scowls, but a hint of a smile curves from her lips. "I'm not short."

I smirk. "Did you get any taller?"

She laughs. "Yeah. I'm almost at five feet."

I ask the question that's been floating in my head for the last few minutes. "When did you get back?"

She shrugs. "During fall break. Took everyone by surprise."

"Tell me about it..."

"How are you, stupid?"

I chuckle. She still remembers.

"Not bad. You?"

"Same. It's not the same as my old school, but I'll adjust."

"Yeah... well I've got somewhere to go, so I'll see you later?"

She nods. "Yeah. Sure. Nice seeing you again, stupid." She gives me a small smile before walking away.

I was lying about having somewhere to go since all I'm doing is going home and taking a nap, but I need some time to process this. I need time to process the reality that shorty, the girl that I still have feelings for, was back.

~:~

It took me a while to get used to the fact that she was attending the same school as me. We ended up bumping into each other often after school for the next few weeks after our encounter. We would talk for a while before we would have to part paths so she could wait for her city bus to arrive. I wished we could talk more during lunch, but she had other friends to catch up with. I remembered the friends that she used to hang out with during our middle school days since I occasionally hung out with them too. I stopped hanging out with them during high school though. It's not like I did not like them. It was that being around them made me think of her when she was not there.

We easily fell back into our old routine. We would tease each other and share a few insults like when we were back in middle school, but it was a bit different. We could accept the fact that we were friends.

But there was something different about her. I didn't know what it was, but I felt that she was hiding something. It felt like she was hiding a secret that she couldn't tell anyone. Even me.

I secretly tried to coax her into telling me, but every time I did, she would either change the subject or make some sort of excuse. I thought it was her playing hard to get, but I came to learn that what she was hiding was something she could tell no one. So I stopped. I came to the conclusion that I should just wait and let her tell me when she was ready.

So, during the second semester of our sophomore year, I asked her out.

~:~

"Hey Bella?"

"Yeah?" She knows that whenever I don't call her shorty or Swan, I have something important to tell her.

"Remember what we did during the week you moved away?"

She stays silent for a few seconds, then nods. "What about it?"

"Would you be okay if I asked you out now?"

More silence.

I look at the ground for a while, too afraid to meet her eyes? What if it's wrong for me to ask this now?What if I've misread the signs that there was a chance for there to be an us again? The mass amount of worries is giving me a headache, but it disappears as soon as she opens her mouth

"I wouldn't mind," she says softly.

A small smile curves on my lips. "So is that a yes?"

Her reflecting smile is all that I need as an answer.

"Yes."

~:~

Things only went uphill after I had asked her out. On our first date, I took her out to Fun Factory, where we spent the next couple of hours playing random video games and trying our hands at the crane machines. We walked out of there with two new iPod Nano's from the iPod crane machine and a Hello Kitty doll I won for her. Afterward, we ate lunch at McDonald's and took a leisure stroll around the park. It was one of the best days I ever remember having since she left.

When the day came to an end and I walked her back to her house, I knew I had to kiss her.

So I did. And I had no regrets.

The kiss was everything I wanted it to be ever since she told me she liked me. And when I went home that day, I was left with a promise for another date the following week.

That was how it was until the end of high school. It took two dates for me to gather up the courage to ask her to my girlfriend, only for her to shoot me down and tell me no, but only because she wasn't ready to have a boyfriend yet. I didn't pressure her for the details, but part of it told me it was because of what Jacob did to her.

She did end up agreeing to be my girlfriend six months after our first date. I remember having a huge grin on my face when she told me.

We did everything a couple could do after we made our relationship official. That time, we didn't have to hide our relationship a secret. Many students were shocked that the two of us would ever be together, but we got over it. We didn't care what people said about us. All that mattered was that I finally had her.

By senior year, everyone got over the memory of us hating each other in middle school. Her friends learned to accept the two of us together, as well as my friends accepting the fact that I could have a long-term girlfriend.

When I found out we got accepted to the same college, I couldn't believe my luck. I thought we'd be one of those couples that were gonna deal with a long-distance relationship for the next four years. But we got lucky. Sometimes, I even wondered if my luck happened because I waited two years for a second chance to be with her.

Even though we looked to be the picture-perfect couple, I noticed a change in her after senior prom night. We lost our virginities that night, and the morning after, she told me it was everything she could hope her first would be. So it made me wonder... what was bugging her?

I didn't press her on, but while I noticed her change in attitude, it also made me think of our future.

~:~

"Swan?" We were laying down on my bed under the covers after taking a "break" from homework.

"Yeah?" She was still taking a deep breaths after what we just did.

"Do you think we'll stay together after college?" It's a question that has been plaguing my mind for a while. Even though we don't have to worry about it yet, it would be nice to know what she thinks about our future.

"I don't know," she answers softly. "I haven't thought about it."

I turn my body so it's facing her. "I have."

"Really?" She turns her body to face me. "What do you want to happen?"

I shrug. "I dunno. Do you think we'll have a future?"

"Define future."

"You know, get married and stuff."

A look of shock crosses her face. I expected that expression, but I didn't expect the expression under her shock. I didn't know exactly what it is, but it looked to be an expression of... sadness? Despair?

"Why do you ask?" she whispers. Her eyes are still directed forward, but she's not looking at me. She's looking over my shoulder, looking as if there's something interesting behind me.

"Just wanted to know," I tell her. "Why? Is there something wrong?"

She shakes her head. "No."

"Are you alright?"

"Yeah. Just thinking of something."

"What are you thinking about?"

"Something." By the tone of her voice, I know she wants to stop there.

"Okay... but really. Do you see a future of us?"

I'm met with silence. I gaze at her, waiting for an answer. If only I knew what was running in that mind of hers.

"I really don't know," she says moments later. "It's something we don't need to think about now, so just drop it. As long as you're here, we don't need to have that conversation now."

~:~

I wish I could say there was a future between us, but I can't, because we didn't. I thought that we would have our future once we got through college, but I was wrong. College was the place that tore us apart, and made me think that things could have been worse if we did go to separate colleges. Because I was there, I had more time to be with her until the inevitable end.

Things went downhill on the first day of our freshmen year in college. We had different classes, so I wouldn't be seeing her until our classes were done for the day. We decided that our new meeting spots would be in a spot on campus where there was a large tree, where we'd either do homework there before we go back to the dorms or eat out and do homework there before going back to the dorms.

On our first day, we went with the first option. I waited there for a few minutes before she arrived. And when she showed up, she wasn't alone.

That was the day I met him, the boy that became the bane of my existence for the next few years. He became one of the few friends she had in the school. I wouldn't have been worried about it if they just met, but that was the thing. They did know each other. All she told me was that they were friends when they were freshmen in high school, but I came to learn that there was more to the story than she first told me.

And then came the day when he asked her out.

~:~

"He what?" I shout. "You can't be serious, Swan!"

She glares at me, fuming with anger. "I am serious. And I am going, no matter what you say."

"No you're not."

"Yes I am. And who said you can control who I can go out with? He's just a friend."

"It sure doesn't seem like it," I hiss. "He's being too friendly for my taste."

"Maybe that's because I let him," she fires back. "He's my friend. And if he wants me to accompany him to lunch, then I'll let him!"

"But-"

"No buts! I'm going! End of discussion. I'm leaving." She moves to head to the door, but I grab her wrist.

"We're not done here," I growl.

She pulls on her hand, escaping my grip. For a girl, she's strong.

Turning around, she glares at me again. "I am. I'm going out to lunch with him. I know you're jealous, but that doesn't give you a right to control who I can and can't go out with. You're having jealousy issues that I don't want to stick around to see. When you're done being stupid, I'll be in my dorm, waiting for your apology." With that, she opens the door and leaves the room.

~:~

If I hadn't had that argument with her, would things have been different? If I trusted her, would she have still stayed with me? I don't know.

She ended up going on that date, and just like she warned me, I showed up at her apartment two days later with an apology.

Things were okay between us, but I still hated the guy. I don't care if the two of them are friends. They were close... too close. I didn't like it.

But I had to tolerate the guy. As long as they shared the same classes, I couldn't do anything about it. I may be jealous, but that doesn't mean I have to go to the extent of telling her to stop talking to him.

So I backed off. And months later, I ended up wishing I did tell her to stop talking to him.

~:~

The door to my dorm swings open. My girlfriend walks through the door, a grimace etched on her face.

"Hey Swan. Ready to go?" Since the weather is nice today, I'm taking her out on a boat-riding date for the day.

She sighs. "Yeah. Let's go." I could feel the tension rolling off her shoulders. I want to ask her what's wrong, but I figured I can ask her later when we're alone and on the water.

An hour later, I ask her.

"Bella, you've been looking like this since you showed up at my door earlier. What's wrong?"

Her head is down, and she refuses to meet my eyes.

"Shorty?"

She's silent, but the words that come out of my mouth causes my blood to run cold.

"We have to break up." It was the same words I once told her when we pursued a long-distance relationship years ago. It was the same words I've heard countless times from the girls I dated before her, but hearing the words coming out of her mouth... It hurts.

"What?" I could not believe what I was hearing.

"We have to break up..." Her voice trails off at the end, and I notice tears gleaming from her eyes.

"W-Why?" I stutter. I thought things between us was okay. Sure, I knew we faced our downs since we started college, but we went through them, right?

"It's not you. It's me. It's... damn this is harder than I thought." The dam breaks and she starts sobbing.

"Oh shorty." I lean forward and cradle her close to my chest, wrapping my arms around her petite body.

Today is supposed to be another perfect day for us, and instead she drops this bomb on us. What did I do wrong? Didn't I do everything I could to keep this relationship alive? I lost her the first time, and now I'm going to lose her again?

When her sobs start to stop, she lifts her head from my chest.

"I"m sorry," she whispers. "I tried to be everything I could be, but instead I ruined everything..."

"Shhh... it's okay, . What do you mean you ruined everything?"

A flash of fear reaches her teary eyes, causing her to back away from me.

She gulps. "I cheated on you."

I'm astonished. She did what?

'You know who she did it with.' I close my eyes. I don't have to ask her and I know it had to be him.

"I lied. When I told you he was a friend back in high school, I was telling you the truth. What I didn't tell you is that I had a crush on him too. But we never got together, because he moved away before I could tell him how I felt. By the time he left, I've fallen in love with him. Then when I moved, I heard he'd be moving back and transferring back to the school. I pissed off. I didn't understand why I have to move on the right time. If I didn't, I would have seen him again."

A lump forms in my throat. "Did you see him again...? Before we started college?"

She nods. "Remember the birthday party I went to for one of my friends?"

"Yeah..."

"That's when I saw him again. We did talk, and I wanted to tell him how I felt, but I chickened out again. I regretted it."

That's when it hits me. This party was a month before I asked Bella out. Wow. No wonder she was silent at first before she said yes. Maybe she was thinking about him before giving me an answer. And maybe all those other times where we shared awkward silences was her thinking about him.

She continues. "And remember when I told you I had to do a project with him for Psychology?"

I nod.

"We ended up working on it for a while before watching a movie. When one of those scenes came up, we were so caught up in the moment that we kissed and just... did it. We talked about what happened the next day and I realized that he always had feelings for me. And I realized that even though I love you, the love I had for him in high school was always there. I just hid it so I could get the opportunity to be with you." She gives me a wistful smile. "I'm not lying when I said that I love you. But it's not the same kind of love I've felt for him."

A different kind of love?

"The way I love you is like it was bound to happen. I knew that I'd eventually fall in love with you when we first started dating. But with him, I fell in love with him naturally. I wasn't forced. I was able to love him like girls fall in love in movies. Falling in love with him was something I didn't expect to do. I thought it was just a simple crush on a friend, but it wasn't. And when he ended up here, I realized that I may have been granted a second chance." She sighs. "If only it wasn't at the wrong time."

She's right. If he wasn't here for college, we wouldn't be doing this right now. We would be having a peaceful boat-ride, enjoying each others' company, spending time with each other. She wouldn't have gone out with him, and she wouldn't be saying this to me right now.

I should beg her to stay with me, to convince her to not break up with me. But I can't. I promised to keep her happy. If this is what she wants, I'll give to her, even if it breaks me.

"So this is it?" I ask, my voice barely above a whisper. "You're choosing him over me?"

She shook her head. "It was never a choice. It was always him."

~:~

"Emmett?" My eyes widen in surprise to see Bella in front of me.

A smile forms on my lips. Even with the pain I felt from seeing her marry Cullen, I feel the tiniest of happiness of seeing her speak to me, even though she's only my friend.

"Hey shorty."

She giggles. "That never gets old."

Oh, it doesn't.

"I'm glad you came," she tells me. "I was afraid Alice didn't send your invitation."

I shook my head. "No. And why wouldn't I come? I wouldn't miss this for the world."

She frowns. "You know, with what happened between us... I haven't seen you around. You wouldn't answer my calls."

"I was busy."

A truth and a lie. Nice going, Em.

"Uh-huh..." She looks at me with a skeptical gaze, but quickly covers it up with a smile. "Would you like to dance?" I notice that many of the guests were dancing, including a few of my old friends.

Eh, wouldn't hurt, right?

"Sure," I tell her.

I stand up from my seat and hold her hand as I lead her to the dance floor. When we stop, she leans her head against my chest and we sway back and forth to the beat of the music.

You've got this hold on me

Don't want to be set free

So keep me safe and sound right here with you

You've got this hold on me

And I am yours to keep

We'll lock ourselves away from everything

Cause you've got this hold on me

I remember this song. I used to play this to Bella all the time on my guitar in high school.

"I know," she whispers, answering my unspoken question. We always had a way of knowing what the other was thinking.

You really have a hold on me," I murmur, laying my head on the top of her head.

We continue dancing until the song ends, singing the lyrics softly in her ear.

It's been four years and I still love her.

"I know," she says again. "I'm sorry."

I pull back, looking her in the eyes and shaking my head. "Don't apologize. You did what you had to do."

"But I hurted you..."

"It's all in the past, Bella." I look over her shoulder and see Edward looking at us. He gives me a slight nod. Acceptance.

The guy never did hate me, and he never deserved my hatred. Maybe Bella's decision was for the best. Edward gave her what I couldn't: his love.

It still hurts, but I have to deal with it.

When the song ends, she steps back, a small smile on her face. "Thanks for the dance, Em. I gotta get back to Edward now."

I nod. "Don't keep your husband waiting." I meant that in the literal way and the literal way she kept him waiting all those years ago.

"I won't," she answers softly. She turns around and takes a few steps towards Edward before stopping and turning to my direction.

"Emmett?"

"Yeah?"

"I love you."

I close my eyes, immediately remembering the last time she said those words, the last words she said before she left me for him.

When I open my eyes, I nod at her.

"Love you too shorty." There's something in her eyes I can't place. Concern? Regret? Remorse? I want to ask her, but she walks away before the words come out.

Life has a way of changing our destinies in an instant. At one time, the change is good, but if you don't appreciate the chance while you still have it, it'll go bad as soon as it turned good. If Bella hadn't moved away all those years ago, would we still end up to where we are today? If that change didn't happen, would she still have fallen in love with Edward?

But it happened anyway, and I couldn't have done anything to stop it. Change is universal and timeless. Change happens without our consent, and it decides where we end up. Change shifted my fate, and because of it, I watched the only woman I've ever fallen in love with marry another.

Bella was right. Things that happened between us occurred at the wrong time. We've been left with wounds that will never heal, bruises that take a long time to go away, and scars that leave a permanent mark etched on skin.

But I wouldn't trade those years of happiness, pain and everything in between.

At least she had given me the memories that the good part of change did to us.

~:~

A/N: The HH song that Emmett & Bella danced to in the end is You've Got This Hold On Me by Cassidy Ford. Look it up on Youtube, because it's an amazing song. :)

Let's see... so Emmett is based by one of my close friends, & about half of the things that happened in this was real. Most of it comes from the fact that he thinks I'm short, which he still teases me about. xP But he's cool.

I'm marking this as complete, but if inspiration strikes, this could be continued. Maybe w/ Emmett's happily-ever-after?

Till next time!

~ AA