A/N: This was my submission for SU4K. The beautiful Katalina requested a story about soul mates, and this popped into my head the next day as I watched my kids play with the neighbors.
Dedication: For Katalina… your life and words are an inspiration. Thanks for being you.
"Thanks again, Jasper," I say into the phone. "You have no idea how helpful you've been. I can't believe we'll be living in the same city again soon. It's been too long."
"Don't even mention it, man," he replies. "You'd do the same for me if I needed it. Besides, most of it was luck. If Alice's friend hadn't found such a great deal on the house on Dawn Avenue and finally decided to spend some of her inheritance money, she wouldn't need to lease out her old apartment."
It sounds like more than luck to me, though. The timing was so perfect it felt as if fate had intervened to get me this job at exactly the right moment so this woman and I could save the other in a pinch.
"Yeah, well, hopefully once my lease runs out, I can just renew with the apartment complex. Moving sucks ass, and I'm not looking forward to doing it again six months from now. I wish I'd had more time to look for a place, but this is pretty much my dream job. No way am I turning it down because I can't find somewhere to live fast enough. The only job better than this would be working for ESPN," I joke.
"Maybe one day you will. You never know," Jasper responds, ever the supportive friend. We'd grown up together in a tiny town in Washington called Forks, but had gone our separate ways for college. Jasper studied music at Northwestern where he met the love of his life, Alice, a petite brunette with more get-up-and-go than the Energizer bunny. I traveled clear across the country to study sports broadcasting at Duke but had to move back home until I found a viable job.
After living with my parents for five months with absolutely no prospects, I was getting ready to call it quits and just take a job at the local newspaper. At least then I could move out of my parents' house. As luck would have it, I finally heard back from CSN in Chicago in the nick of time. They were in desperate need of someone for college basketball coverage immediately, and since I'd covered one of the best basketball teams in the nation for four years, my resume was pushed to the top. After a phone interview, I had the job and four days to report to my desk. "Sports data specialist" is clearly an entry level position, but I knew if I worked hard I could eventually move up.
"Well, I'm going to finish packing a few last minute things and hit the sack. I'll see you at the airport tomorrow at two, right?"
"Yeah, Ali's not coming with anymore, though. She's helping move everything out of the apartment so it'll be ready when we get there. At least you don't have to move a bunch of furniture in. That's the worst part." I can hear the relief in his voice. I helped Jasper and Alice move into their first home about a month ago, right before their wedding, and they were the hardest two days I can remember in a long time. Couches and refrigerators are fucking heavy.
"You don't have to tell me, man. I'll see you tomorrow then, and thanks again, Jas."
I click my phone off and double check all my stuff. The only things left out are what I'll need in the morning to get ready. Ready to start my new life, I climb into my old bed for the last time.
Saying goodbye to my parents at the airport is harder than I'd thought it would be. Whenever I left home before, there was always a chance I'd be coming back to Forks to live. This time I'm definitely not returning for anything more than a visit. Somehow though, I'm able to keep myself from tearing up while Mom snots and cries all over me. Thankfully, Dad just gives me a one-armed hug and tells me he's proud of me.
The plane touches down just a few minutes late and Jasper is waiting for me at baggage claim. We spend a few hours unpacking my stuff. Most of the contents are my clothes, but I have a couple pictures of my parents and my college buddies, Emmett and Carlisle. We went to every home Duke game together during our four years, so I also have an autographed basketball signed by the entire team and my pride and joy – a jersey signed by the legendary Coach K.
Oh, and let's not forget the fan-fucking-tastic 72-inch television my parents had delivered today as a congratulations-on-your-new-job gift. It takes us close to an hour to mount the TV on the wall and we are starving by the time we finish. While eating pizza and watching TV, I catch Jasper up on all of the gossip back home and ask him about my new landlady.
"She's great. You'll meet her soon, I'm sure. She's going out of town for the next three days so maybe when she comes back."
"I still can't believe she let me move in here without meeting me first."
"Yeah, well… it's not like you're just anybody. Alice can practically finish her sentences, they are so close. She knows Alice would never let some wacko move in," Jasper grins at me.
"So, is she into fashion as well?" Fashion isn't really my area of expertise, but according to Jasper, Alice is one of the best in the area.
"Nah, they met in school when Alice saw her dance one night and insisted on being her personal wardrobe designer from now 'til the end of time. You know Ali. She had one of her feelings." Jasper rolls his eyes a little, but I know he's all talk. Alice had had that same feeling about him. She walked up to him in a bar one day and said, "I've been waiting for you." Jasper never stood a chance.
"So, she dances?" I ask.
"Yep, ballet, mostly. And she's amazing. She's always acting crazy and doing those spin moves with the leg out when we get together. I think she calls them 'a la secondes' or something."
Jasper throws down the crust of his pizza and I'm tugged into a long-forgotten memory.
"Quit spinning round in circles and come pway with me, Behwla," I huff. Why does she always gotta spin around? It's so boring! Tee-ball is lots more fun but only when Bella plays with me. I hate chasing after the balls myself.
"I'm not just spinnin'. They're called 'a la secondes' and I need to practice if I want to do good at my recital. Besides, you never let me hit." She doesn't even look at me. It stinks when Bella won't play with me because she's twirling around.
"When's your recital?" I ask. I wonder if Mom will take me.
"Saturday." She finally stops spinning and looks at me. "Can you come?"
"I'll ask my mom, but only if you play tee-ball with me! I'll let you hit first. Please!" I beg her.
She smiles at me big and runs over to grab the bat. "I can't wait for you to see my costume. I'm going to look just like a ladybug!"
"Bella? I thought her name was Isobel?"
"Isobel is her stage name, but her friends call her Bella. Isobel was probably on the paperwork I emailed to you as well. Why?"
"Nothing, just a strange coincidence. The girl who lived in your house before you moved in was named Bella. We played together all the time, but she was always taking dance classes. I even went to one of her recitals. I'd almost forgotten about her until you mentioned the 'a la secondes.'" I ball my napkin up and stand to throw it away.
"Huh," Jasper says, wrinkling his brows. "I don't think I've ever heard her mention living anywhere but here before she went to Julliard, but she would've been really young when she moved so maybe she doesn't remember. Wouldn't it be cool if Bella used to live in my old house, though?"
"Nah, I doubt she's the same girl. Just a coincidence like I said, but it'd be crazy if she is," I reply as Jasper stands to leave. "Anyway, thanks for your help, man. I'm going to finish up tomorrow, I think. It's been a hectic few days. Maybe once Bella gets back, everyone can come over here. I can grill out if it's not too chilly, and thank you guys for all your help."
"Sounds good, man. I'm just happy to have you in the same city again," Jasper clasps my hand in his and pulls me in for a hug. "Give me a call if you need anything else. Ali and I can show you around this weekend before you start your job, if you like."
"Let's do it," I say, opening the door for him. "Thanks again, Jas."
"Anytime. Later, man."
I fall into bed a little later, exhausted but keyed up. It's kind of late, but since I'm still on Pacific Time, I don't see myself falling asleep for another couple of hours yet. I muse how insane it would be if my landlady is the same Bella. Until she moved away, that Bella was my best friend. Even though I was a little older, she had me wrapped around her little finger. She would usually give in and do what I asked, but we both knew I was doing whatever she wanted first. I constantly found myself playing school or house before she'd come outside and run around with me. At the time I never would have admitted it to anyone, especially Bella, but I actually enjoyed when we played house and I got to pretend to be the dad.
I was devastated when they moved away, but then Jasper's family moved in shortly after, and my five-year-old mind quickly recovered from the loss. Eventually, I stopped asking my parents when Bella was coming back.
I toe off my shoes and open the drawer of the nightstand to set my watch inside when my fingertips bump into something hard. I reach further in to grab the object and find myself holding a brown leather journal. I know I probably shouldn't, but curiosity gets the best of me, and I flip it open. I justify my snooping by telling myself I'll just check out the date of the most recent entry. If it's not recent, maybe it isn't even Bella's.
The first half of the book is filled with pages of loopy, pretty writing and I note the entry on the last page is dated within the past week. I quickly realize I need to abort this mission immediately.
Just before the cover snaps shut, I notice my name at the top of the page.
I hesitate for all of half a second before flipping the book back open to find the entry, figuring she's probably just mentioned finding a tenant. I decide to just read the part about me, and then I'll close it and put it away.
Oct. 29, 2012
Edward. I dreamed of the little boy again last night. It's the craziest thing ever. Alice called to tell me about Jasper's best friend who needed a place to stay right away. She told me his name – Edward Cullen – and that she'd met him several times, and he was a good guy. I knew I could trust Alice, so I didn't hesitate to accept. I'm so glad I don't have to worry about finding someone anymore! While his name didn't ring a bell at the time, it obviously means something to my subconscious. Because now, instead of the little boy in my dreams having no name, he is suddenly Edward. Does that mean he's real? Are these dreams I've been having really memories from my past? I'd already reasoned they were my future kids with Mr. Perfect. But where would I have known this boy? I don't recognize our surroundings. And maybe they wouldn't feel so significant if the dreams of the very adult, bronze-haired sex-god didn't leave me always wanting more. They feel so real—like if I try hard enough, I can actually wrap my arms around a memory that hasn't happened yet—and man, does he make me want to wrap my arms around him. I mean, UNF! He is so dreamy hot. And so damn perfect. That's probably my answer right there… no way he could be real… he's too perfect! I know, I know… it always comes back to that. But what if...
Until next time… maybe when I finally meet Edward for real, he'll have even more answers for me. HA! –XB
The next entry is so short I didn't even notice it at the bottom of the page.
Oct. 30, 2012
Oh. Em. Gee. I was right. The adult dream-Edward is so ideal there is no way he is real. (How do I know his name, you ask? Because it's the name he had me screaming in last night's dream–UNF!) Too busy for deets but couldn't resist noting that last night's dream was a-fucking-mazing! -XB
Oh. Em. Gee. Is right.
Or maybe What. The. Fuck.
Is this girl dreaming about me? Is this the same Bella, and why the fuck didn't she have more time to write about that dream? Inquiring minds want to know.
It wouldn't be wrong to read more now, right? I mean, she's writing about me!
Kinda. Sorta. I think. Maybe?
Knowing I'll give in eventually, I flip back another page and continue reading.
Oct 28, 2012
I dreamed about Mr. Perfect again last night. I don't remember many details this time. He was just there and it felt right. I don't think he ever even touched me… but his presence was such a comfort. Isn't that strange? I'm not even sure what I needed comfort from. My life is pretty damn good... I have great friends, a job I adore, and now even my dream home. As crazy as it sounds, I think the only thing missing is him. Maybe one day I'll figure out who he is. -XB
Whoa. That's kind of heavy. Sex dreams are one thing, but this melancholy entry has me wondering if I should stop reading. There's definitely more to these dreams than I originally thought, but if I read just a few more entries I can probably get a better grasp on her thoughts, maybe even figure out if this is my Bella and if the childhood memories are about me.
I shake my head at these insane thoughts. Clearly, I need to put the journal back and go to sleep. There's no way this girl is talking about me.
Way to be full of yourself, Cullen. I close the journal and lay it on the nightstand before flopping back on my bed.
Approximately ninety seconds later I have the journal open again, searching for the prior entry.
Oct. 25, 2012
My little friend visited me in my dreams last night. We were playing in a tree house this time. We kept putting Snickers in the lift to raise him in and out of the tree house because his front leg was bandaged up. Maybe he is real if my favorite childhood pet is in my dreams, too? I don't know. Maybe I've just inserted Snickers into my dreams because I found a bunch of pictures of him yesterday while I was packing. It's clear to me the little girl in my dreams idolizes this boy. I can feel it. Looking at him from four-year-old eyes, it feels like he hung the moon and the stars. I can see right through the nonchalant act she puts up for him and know without a doubt she would have done anything he asked, even if he'd never agreed to her silly demands in the first place. But if he is real and was so important, why can't I remember him? -XB
For the second time today, I am knocked into another forgotten memory.
"SNICKERS! NOOO!" I take off running toward the road, ignoring my dad yelling at me to stop. I know I'm not s'posed to go into the road but Snickers is Bella's most favorite thing in the world and he's not s'posed to, either.
Snickers stops in the middle of the road and I'm almost caught up when I hear my mom screaming. I stop and turn to look at her. She looks pretty mad, but I know she'll forgive me. I have to get Snickers back to Bella. Before I turn back around, I hear a loud squeally noise and a sharp bark. Oh no!
My dad's caught up to me and he grabs me by the shoulders and fusses at me for running into the street, then gives me a big hug, but it doesn't make me feel better like usual 'cause I can hear Snickers whimpering. I shake out of Dad's grasp and turn to look for Snickers. He's lying right there at the edge of the road. He almost made it back. I feel the tears in my eyes, and I don't even care that little boys aren't s'posed to cry. Bella's gonna be so sad.
"Daddy! You hafta save him!" I cry. "Bewlla loves him. Please, Daddy!"
I run to the edge of the road and scoop up the little dog in my arms before my dad has a chance to touch him. "Fix him, Daddy, please?" Daddy's a doctor. If he can make people better, fixing a dog should be easy, right? It makes sense, but still, thinking about how upset Bella's gonna be when she finds out something happened to Snickers makes me cry all over again.
My mom reaches us and wraps me in one of her special big mommy hugs. It only makes me cry more. She tells me we are going inside to clean up while Daddy looks at Snickers. Mommy helps me wash my hands and wipes my face off, but I don't let her change my dirty clothes. I have to go tell Bella. I have to tell her I tried my best.
Mom walks over to Bella's house with me, but I tell her I'm a big boy and ring the doorbell myself. Bella's Mom opens the door and looks confused when she sees me. I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes again, and I'm glad when Mom steps up behind me and tells her what happened.
Just then Bella comes running up, looking so happy to see me. When she sees my face, she stops for a second before running forward to hug me. It's almost as good as one of my special big mommy hugs. "Ehwurd! What's wrong? Why you cryin'?" she whispers.
I confess immediately.
"Snickers ran into the road and a car hit him and I'm so sorry. I tried to stop him but he wouldn't listen, but I promise I got to him as fast as I could. I even didn't listen to Mommy and Daddy when they told me to stop. But I went and got him and Daddy's fixin' him right now. He can fix people, so you know he can fix doggies, too. Right, Mommy? Daddy can fix him. I'm sorry, Behwla!"
"Snickers is huwrt?" Bella whispers again. She thinks about it for a minute before saying, "But you said he's gonna be okay? So why're you cryin'?"
"You're not mad at me?" I ask.
"No. You saved Snickers. I love you!"
I can't even believe it. There's no chance this is not the same Bella I remember. There's no way I'm stopping now. I flip to the front of the book and start with the first entry dated about five months ago.
May 22, 2012
I graduated from Juilliard yesterday and promised myself I'd start keeping a journal. I'm not sure why. I have grand visions of giving it to my kids one day, but I'm sure that'll never happen. Alice gave me this beautiful leather-bound journal as a graduation present, so I figured why not? I don't have much to say though. This is kind of a lame first entry, huh? Oh well, until next time. -XB
May 27, 2012
I clearly suck at this journal stuff! I never remember to write in here, but last night I had the most realistic dream, and I just knew I had to write it down. I rarely remember my dreams, but this was so vivid even after I woke up this morning. I was a little girl, maybe four- or five-years old, wearing one of my many tutus, doing a la secondes (even back then!) and studiously ignoring a boy about my age. He wanted me to play Super Mario Brothers with him, and I wouldn't until we had a tea party. Even back then I was making guys work for it! Too bad none of the ones today seem to want to work that hard. Oh well… maybe this little boy will come back for me someday! HA! Yeah, right. Maybe when pigs fly. The dream filled me with such happiness, I couldn't resist writing it down so I could keep it forever. Until next time! –XB
I flop my head back on my pillow for a second and contemplate what I'm about to do. It seems fairly obvious that Bella doesn't know for sure if these dreams are memories or just made up fantasies, and since she's such good friends with Jasper and Alice, it's likely we'll become good friends as well. This is such a huge invasion of her privacy.
There is just absolutely no way I can stop myself from learning every detail I can get my hands on, so I turn the page and continue reading.
May 29, 2012
Well… I had another dream about that little boy! Wild, huh? We were playing house this time. I was the mom and he was the dad, of course, and he went right along with every daddy request I made! He burped our baby, gave her a bath, and put her down to bed. He even helped me wash dishes! How funny is that?! I keep saying "we" because in the dreams, I'm the little girl, but maybe I'm dreaming of my future kids or something? I've heard people do that sometimes. Oh…OH! Maybe that means good things are coming my way! –XB
May 30, 2012
I know! Two days in a row. Go me! Apparently this is turning into a dream diary. I had the BEST dream last night. Oh boy, but this time it was Mr. There's-No-Way-This-Man-Is-Real-Because-He's-Too-Perfect visiting me in my dreams. I think I'm going with my theory that my other dreams are about my future kids because they could be little miniature versions of me and Mr. Perfect. This man had THE most gorgeous hair I've ever seen in my life, and it was all rumpled like he'd just woken up. Somehow we were at my apartment—only I was standing in the hallway and he was inside. I think. I can't quite grasp it all the way anymore! I hate that, because I SO want to grasp this man. I wish I could describe the pull I felt toward him. It was as if we were supposed to come together in that moment, and nothing in the world could have stopped us. I must've woken up before anything good happened because I don't remember after that! Isn't that the worst luck? Until next time! –XB
I read through the rest of Bella's journal, unable to stop. I become addicted to her words, and with entries three or four times a week, there are a lot of them. She must've documented every dream she had about me as a boy.
I'm so overwhelmed I have no idea what to think. Bella vacillated between thinking her dreams were some prediction of her future and some memory of her past. Peppered in between dreams, she wrote amusing stories of friends or her passion for dancing. Not much, just enough to give me a taste of the woman she is today.
My head swims with memories of us, memories that would only come to her in her dreams. Some are innocent. Others remind me of how important Bella was to me. Not that four- or five-year-old kids have romantic feelings, but I think we really believed when we were playing house that we'd grow up and be Mommy and Daddy together.
Our perceptions of these memories are so different. She wrote several times how she just knew that little boy could turn the sun on for her, but I always felt like I had to jump through hoops to impress her. Believe me; I tried hard to impress that girl.
Then there's the man that she dreamed about. Sometimes she called him Mr. Perfect. Or Mr. Right. Or my personal favorite—'Sex Hair.' Those dreams were fucking hot, and I had to stop myself from becoming a complete creeper and rubbing one out more than once reading those.
Outside of the sex dreams, there's rarely interaction between them though. He's often on the edge of the scene, fuzzy even, but he watches her intensely, always checking in.
Ensuring her safety.
Making sure she knows she's appreciated.
Oh man, is this guy intimidating! From the way she describes him, he's beyond perfection. I don't see how I – or any other flesh and blood human, for that matter – could ever measure up.
Bella makes it clear that she will not settle for anything less than perfection in a boyfriend, or at least perfection for her. Part of me wants to scoff at her belief of finding the perfect love, yet another part admires her for not settling for anything less than she deserves. Bella's words… her memories… have made me feel more in one night than I've ever felt before.
I'm not entirely sure what to do with that information.
I realize it's creeping up on 2AM, and I had every intention of going to sleep early tonight. With my mind reeling, I set her journal down, turn off the light, and fall into a quick, and ironically dreamless, sleep.
I'm gradually awakened by a relentless pounding on my front door. I wonder who in the hell, in a city where I know exactly two people, would be pounding on my door at this ungodly hour.
Of course, maybe it wouldn't feel so early if I hadn't been a huge voyeur last night and stayed up reading a journal I had no business reading.
You saw your name; you had every right to read it. For all you know she wanted you to read it. I can practically see the devil sitting on my shoulder whispering in my ear. I shake my head… that is a problem for another day.
"Coming!" I yell, before pulling on some sleep pants and trudging to the door. "Who is it?"
I hear an unfamiliar female voice through the door. "I'm so sorry, Edward. It's Bella Swan, your landlady. I left something here by mistake, and I wanted to make sure I got it before I leave on my trip."
SHIT. It's her! She must be here for her journal. What do I do? Will she recognize me? Do I say something or pretend I don't know her?
There's no doubt now that Bella is my long-lost and long-forgotten neighbor, and while she looks upon those memories fondly in her journal…I don't know for sure she wants to know him again. Is the man, her perfect Mr. Right, Sex Hair dream man, the same boy? Does she want him to be? Am I that man? I'm not sure that's me, and after reading this woman's words for hours last night, I'm definitely falling for her—or at least for her words.
Her wit and her charm.
Her determination not to settle for less than perfection.
Her love for her friends and her passion for dancing.
Deciding I'll follow her lead, I take a deep breath and open the door. I'm fully prepared to be aloof and act as if I have no clue who this girl is until she gives me some kind of sign otherwise.
Then I see her, standing on the welcome mat she left for me, wearing a long-sleeve tee, skin tight jeans, and flip-flops - dressed for travel. I'm pretty sure I forget how to breathe.
The sight of her there actually sucks the oxygen clear out of my lungs.
Her brown hair is in a messy pile on top of her head and she's worrying her bottom lip between her teeth. She is easily the most beautiful creature I've ever seen and when her deep, chocolate eyes meet mine, I know I'm a goner.
Her purse falls to the floor as her mouth drops open in shock.
"Oh my gosh. It's you. I remember you." Her eyes are wide as saucers, and I'm not even sure she realizes she's speaking out loud. "I've been dreaming about you—almost every night. You're Edward? He's you?"
I want nothing more than to crawl inside her head to see exactly what she's thinking, what she wants… who she wants. Then, as if it has a mind of its own, my thumb is lightly grazing her cheek. I attempt to play it off by brushing back an imaginary stray hair, but then she closes her eyes and leans into my hand, so I wrap my fingers around the back of her neck and gently pull her to me. I step forward to close the distance between us and meet her in the middle. I have no idea what to say to her, so I continue to stare into her eyes as she places her palm gently on my bare chest. We both gasp a little at the contact, and it breaks the trance we've created.
"I just finally decided you were real. I never thought I'd actually meet you…and now you're here." she's barely even whispering to me, her eyes filled with amazement.
"I don't know if I can be the man in your dreams, Bella," I reply, hesitantly, "but I swear on my Coach K jersey to spend every minute of eternity trying."
Her eyes soften momentarily, but when she realizes what I've said, they narrow in anger.
"You read my journal!" she accuses, pushing me back into the apartment.
I feel the blood drain out of my face as I realize what I've done. I've broken her trust before I even had a chance to get to know her again. So much for being sexy-haired Mr. Right.
"I'm sorry, Bella. I really am. I had no intention of reading the whole thing. I was just going to see if the entries were recent at first. Then I saw my name, and I was instantly drawn in to your words. I remember it all. Snickers, your twirling, those fucking tea parties..." I laugh and shake my head, lifting my hand to her face again. "My world revolved around finding ways to make you happy when we were kids. And now… I've fallen for you all over again, just by reading your words. I remember, too, Bella… I remember how much I loved you, even back then. I'm not that little boy anymore, but idolizing you seems to come naturally. I'm scared I can't live up to being Mr. Perfect, but I know with everything in me, he is based on my adoration of you from when we were kids. Please, give me a chance."
Bella's eyes light up and a smile plays on her face. I figure this bodes well for me.
"Oh my gosh, Edward. You had me at 'I'm sorry' but there was no way I was interrupting that!" And suddenly she's teasing me. Just like that.
"Come here, you," I growl, hooking my hand around her neck and pulling her to me. I look into her beautiful, smiling face and slowly lean down, inching my way toward her. When our noses are touching, I gently nuzzle against her and close my eyes, breathing her in. "I suggest you run now if you don't want me to kiss you and fall completely, irrevocably in love with you. No way to stop it once I taste your lips."
Instead of giving her an opportunity to flee, I tighten my grip on her and gently brush her lips with mine. It's the softest of kisses, but it touches my soul deeper than anything else. Bella sighs softly and I take that as my green light. Pressing my lips against hers again, I gently suck her top lip between mine and slowly coax her mouth open. My tongue peeks out and swipes along her lower lip. It's all I can do to stop the groan from escaping when I feel her tongue reciprocate.
Finished being tentative, I slip my tongue into her mouth and kiss her fully, deeply, passionately, as my hands roam down her back and pull her closer to me.
Our first kiss in a lifetime of kisses to follow.
When her hands fist into my hair and she moans into my mouth, I feel my dick start to harden and realize we need to slow down before we get carried away. I do not want to do anything to scare this girl away.
I slowly back out of the kiss, keeping my arms firmly around her waist. I lightly peck at her lips, her chin, and her neck before resting my head on her shoulder. "You are so much better than my dreams," she whispers.
I smile into her neck, kissing it lightly and reply, "I'm so glad you remembered me."
A/N: I'll be posting another chapter in the next couple of weeks. We have to find out if these two crazy kids are sexually compatible after all!
Big thank you to bornonhalloween and Chaya Sarah for pre-reading and beta skills and CaraNo for my gorgeous banner (link on profile). Love to each of you.