Queen Stephenie Meyer owns, I own the plot. Don't take it or I'll sick my monkeys on you.

I was sitting at the table in the room that my sister, Rosalie, and I shared. It was round, cherry-wood, and was perfect for spreading out the books and doing homework at. I was preparing to skip the fifth and sixth grade, and had to go to the seventh grade instead. They told me that I needed a challenge and that continuing with my regular schedule just wasn't cutting it for me. The work was still to easy, but I didn't tell anyone that, because I feared that they would try to make me go to high school. Rosalie was only in the eighth grade – there was no way that I could go to school with her or surpass her.

She would probably have my head.

My lungs let out a soft sigh as I finished another packet of math problems. Math was far from my favorite, or best, subject and yet the work was still too easy. I found myself flying through equation after equation, unable to stop and think. I didn't have to think – the answers were already in my head. All I had to do was write the numbers down on the paper.

I sat back and crossed my arms, my two different colored eyes wandering around the walls of our bedroom. My mom always told me about how there weren't many years left before she was going to move my younger sister, Alice, in with me and give Rose the single room across the hall. I had a hard time picturing the bedroom without my sister. She had things everywhere. Rose's tiaras fromt he pageants that she had one, the ribbons from the many competitions and sporting events. She had a vase of flowers from our mom, because she had gotten and succeeded with the lead role in our school musical. There was photos of her and her many, many friends laying on every wall and every surface. She was three years older than me, fourteen, and pretty much ran the room herself. I basically had the corner by the window and the table that was close to it. She was at least considerate of all of the school work that was shoved down my throat. That was one of the only things that she really seemed to be considerate of, actually.

I turned my head and found my reflection. My long brown hair fell to where it touched the back of the wooden chair that I was seated in. I frowned at the way that my eyes stared at me. Even after living eleven years with them, I still felt weird with my own eyes. I had heterochromia, a condition that caused one of my eyes to be brown and the other to be blue. They were very sensitive to light and I found myself always carrying a pair of sunglasses with me. I even had to wear them at school, because the fluorescent lights gave me a migraine if I spent too much time around them. As if I didn't have enough problems with my peers, I had to be so weird looking.

The rest of me was fairly normal for a Forks kid. I had the average pale skin and the longer hair. The older girls wore their hair very long. I wasn't ready to have my hair so long that I could sit on it, because I didn't have time to take care of that, but I did my best to fit in with them anyway. Even if my knobby knees and lack of equilibrium gave my true age away almost immediately. I had found that it was much better to try, even when it was easier to give up. I wasn't in a position to where I could succumb to their constant teasing. I had enough of that with my bossy older sister.

Our red bedroom door suddenly burst open, causing me to jump as I was ripped from my meandering thoughts. My eyes found my older sister first. She rushed over to her bed and began pulling some of her crafting things from a drawer. I frowned at her, waiting for her to explain her rush. She didn't. Instead, she turned to the mirror that I had been looking in and foofed up her hair and put on some lip gloss. I found myself raising my eyebrows at the sight, curious about which boy she was trying to impress that time. It wasn't out of the ordinary for Rosalie to be plotting her next 'boyfriend'. Even if her definition of a boyfriend was just somebody to call on Saturdays and to hold hands with at school.

Rosalie looked older than she was, really. That was another thing that separated us. While Rosalie had inherited mom's early growth and curves, I had gotten our dad's lack of height and over-all plain features. She was fourteen and already wearing a b-cup. Her body was lean, thanks to the high amount of volleyball and basketball that she participated in, but still had what was becoming a womanly curve. She was a bit darker than me, still not anything near tan, but enough that she didn't look like she was half-albino. Her natural blonde hair fell down to her butt, much like the girls at school, and she always knew how to keep it in tact. Rosalie was very young but already stunning. She'd had high school boys asking her out on dates, mistaking her for a much older girl.

I would have been lying if I said I wasn't jealous. I lied a lot.

"Who is he this time?" I fought a smirk, deciding not to act too smug. She wouldn't yell at me if I was just curious. She'd simply ignore me or tell me to 'fuck off'.

"He's different." She remarked, suddenly turning around, her brown eyes sparkling. I pursed my lips, not reminding her that she seemed to believe that every guy she talked to was 'differen't. Instead, I chose to take the fact that she was talking to me at all with stride.

"Different? Is he in your grade?" I asked, cocking my head to the side. For her, different wasn't about having a heart and a personality. Her 'different' was more based around the boy's appearance and attitude towards her appearance. It was aggravating, really, but I still kept my mouth shut and played along properly.

"Yes, but he's fifteen." She huffed, pulling her blonde locks back and into a sleek ponytail. "And he's great. You have no idea. Oh, and he's downstairs."

"Rose, Mom said that you couldn't have boys over when she's not home." I chided and she narrowed her eyes at me, her eyebrows shooting up, daring me to say another word. I definitely wasn't going to be the one to tattle on her, that was for sure. It was really none of my business. I just didn't want her locked in my room, when she got grounded, because I didn't have anywhere else to go.

"Yeah, well, Mom's not home." She smirked suddenly.

"I know...that's the point." I muttered the last bit, bringing my eyes back to the book in front of me.

"No, you're right. It is. She's not home and if she's not here, she can't see him, and she doesn't know. And you are going to keep your bratty mouth shut, okay?" She wasn't actually asking me if I was okay with that, I had learned this long ago. She was simply being rhetorical and snotty. I was not going to answer her. It was right of me to not answer, because she continued on as if she hadn't ended her last sentence with a question. "Besides, we're just working on homework. We have a big project due this week. Edward is smart."

"Edward, huh?" I asked, almost laughing at the dorky name. "Do you actually like this guy, or is he just here to help with the homework?"

"You don't understand. He's nice, and all too willing to do my homework. He's gorgeous, so I could spend the time looking at him. And he's very smart, so there's an easy A for both of us!" She clasped her hands together before reaching down and picking up the box of crafting supplies. I scoffed. It sounded like it was an easy A for Rosalie, even if Edward was smart, it wasn't fair that she was using him for a good grade. Rosalie turned to walk out the door, her parting words not out of character. "So don't come down and bother us like you always do."

I went back to work, not taking too long to finish the rest of my packets and book work. When I was done, I took the extra time to put everything back into my bag in the right order. I organized it by class, and then organized each class by date, order of use, and then alphabetically. It felt nice to have everything together and made me feel less anxious about the days ahead of me. I was always nervous and there was something about being less of a mess that made the nerves calm a bit.

I still ended up bored, even after organizing my entire portion of the room. Not that there was much, other than a shelf of books and a few CD's that I had collected. When I was done with that, I changed into a pair of comfortable shorts and an old t-shirt from a 5K that Rosalie did a year before. My hair went up and into a messy bun and I found myself staring at my own feet as I waited for my parents to get home and give me something to do.

"Bella..." My younger sister's voice came from the doorway. I looked up to see Alice standing there looking frustrated. She was only five and very small. I wondered if she would end up being shorter than even I was. Her shorter, dark brown hair was pulled into a ponytail and there was a purple ribbon wrapped around it. I sat up a bit straighter, letting my chin rest in my hands as she walked in. "I'm hungry."

"Well," I glanced at the clock, disappointed when I noticed that it was only just then five. "Mom and Dad won't be home for another hour."

"That's sixty whole minutes!" She explained. Alice was well known for being dramatic and exuberant. She wasn't even abnormally smart – she just had a ton of clever little phrases saved in the back of her head. She reminded me of that one-line, little sibling that everyone loved in all of the sitcoms.

"Yeah, well, tough luck, huh?" I asked and she scowled at me.

"Alice, I can't cook. I could burn the house down." I told her. I wasn't even exaggerating when I said that. I probably would burn the house down, and then the neighbors, and then the rest of Forks. I was a complete klutz and I knocked more things over than I was able to pick up.

"Please? Just macaroni or something. Rosie won't make anything." She pouted, jutting her bottom lip out, her eyes sparkling sadly. I knew that she probably was starving – she was only five and didn't really have a lot of snacking options. She couldn't reach past the counter-top.

"Fine. But if Rosalie gets mad at me for interrupting...whatever is going on down there...you're taking the blame this time." I held out my pinky, making her promise. The last time she had just thrown me under the bus, blaming me for letting her play with her Barbies in the living room while Rosalie was in the middle of an 'important phone call'. I rolled my eyes at the thought but felt happy when Alice took my pinky.

Alice didn't break promises.

We walked down the wooden stairs and went straight to the kitchen. I held onto Alice's hand, not letting her escape and go to check out the scene in the living room. I could hear muffled voices in there, mostly Rosalie's, but a bit of a guy's voice. It was deeper than most of the boys in her grade and sounded softer in a way. He wasn't talking to Rosalie just to talk. He was genuinely answering, or at least making it sound as though he was being genuine. He was different.

"What's Rosie doing that's so important anyway?" Alice asked as I picked her up, almost losing my footing in the process, and placed her on the marble counter-top.

"Rosalie has a friend over and they are working on an important school project." I explained quietly, only half lying. I doubted, based off of Rosalie's earlier words, that Rose was working on anything at all. She probably thought that she was doing enough work just by entertaining the guy. Just by gracing him with her very perfect presence. I snorted at the thought before continuing with Alice. "Don't interrupt them. She really doesn't want a bad grade."

"Okay." She crossed her legs, and I only just then noticed what she was wearing.

While Rosalie dressed like a model, always in the classiest versions of the latest fashion, and I chose to dress things down – keeping it light with a solid top, jeans, and converse. - Alice dressed like Alice. Our dad joked that Alice was actually a fairy and that my real sister got switched when she was born. She always dressed in the brightest colors, and as many of those bright colors as possible. At the moment she was wearing rainbow tights, a bright purple tutu, with a blue ribbon around the waist like a belt almost, the front of it tying into a bow and a green, long-sleeved shirt with lady-bugs all over it as a top. She had several bracelets, a necklace with her name on it in rainbow, and then purple earrings in to top it off. Alice never went halfway with anything.

I suddenly felt under-dressed, only wearing my t-shirt and shorts. I had never been one for dressing up but I was aware of basic social protocol – even if I chose to ignore it most of the time. There was a boy in our living room and he wasn't a boy that I knew well enough to walk around in my pajamas with. I felt my cheeks burning and ignored them, rushing to get the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese together. I definitely wasn't looking forward to the embarrassment of meeting Edward while dressed like some slob.

An exasperated, unfamiliar sigh came from behind me and I spun on my heel, finding a boy in the doorway. He was taller, even though I knew he was fifteen, I knew that he looked much more mature. He had messy hair and it looked red-brown, the light coming in from the window highlighting small copper places. He ran his hand through it and stretched, having yet to notice Alice and I beside the stove. I took the moment to take in his already square jaw, knowing that it would mature very well int he years to come, and his already lean body and green v-neck shirt. Rosalie had never been more right about a guy being different – even if this one only looked older than the rest.

"Oh! Shit, sorry. I didn't know there was anyone else here." He kept one hand on the back of his neck, rubbing it as if he were stressed out.

"Well, we live here." Alice smiled at him, flaunting the new gap in her front teeth. She had lost her first one only a few days prior. "And we're starving."

"I'm pretty hungry myself," he spoke and suddenly smiled, a single dimple on his left cheek appearing. His green eyes were trained on the pot of macaroni that I was stirring and I wondered if he was wanting some too. It was hard to pass up a good bowl of Kraft, and even I could admit to that.

"You can have some if you help us cook it!" Alice exclaimed and I glared at her, wanting nothing more than to elbow her right in the rib cage. I knew better though, because those actions would lead me directly to a week-long grounding.

"Okay, I can do that!" Edward grinned, walking over to help us. I was instantly suspicious of how quiet my sister was being in the other room. It was almost as if Edward could read my mind, because as he began pouring the powdered cheese into the pan, he began talking. "Rosalie fell asleep a few minutes ago and I just finished our project."

"What is the project about?" Alice asked curiously.

"It's about the different phases of cells and their anatomy." He explained and Alice frowned. Edward chuckled and smiled. "It's science."

"Oh! We do science. My teacher cut an apple in half and showed us that it has seeds so that you can make more apples!" She looked excited and he nodded, explaining to her that what he was learning was basically a more detailed lesson on how that works. She nodded her head knowingly, as if she had heard it all before.

"You have life science too, right?" He glanced at me and I immediately flushed. For a moment I questioned why he was talking to me, but then dropped it and decided to just go with it.

"I'm in Physical Science 6." I told him and he narrowed his eyes.

"You don't look like a sixth grader."

"I'm not really." I sighed, wishing that just for a moment that I could look like my sister. He wouldn't have been skeptical of me then. All he would have done is thought about how pretty I looked. He definitely wasn't doing that in real life. "I'm only in the fourth grade...but taking sixth grade classes. They want to put me in seventh grade instead though."

"Jeez," his eyes widened as it all processed for him. I only grew warmer as my face was probably turning redder. I wasn't exactly happy about the fact that I was such a freak. I didn't need his shocked attitude as a reminder. "You must be smart."

Duh. I thought to myself, not saying anything more to him.

I watched as he periodically stirred the macaroni, keeping a close eye on it. He chatted quietly with Alice, who seemed overjoyed by the attention. He was so comfortable around us, that alone made me feel awkward. He hadn't said a word about my eyes or asked anymore questions about my photographic memory. It was all so new to me and I didn't know how to respond. I didn't get the opportunity to watch people cook very often, so I took my chance and paid close attention. Alice seemed to have the questioning part down, asking for the reason behind his every move.

"Well, you have to stir it so often to keep it from sticking to the pan and getting gross." He told her, being extra gentle with his words. He didn't talk down to her like she was a baby – the way that Rosalie always did. I had always been so sure that eight graders were just a bunch of proud jerks who did nothing but worry about themselves. It was such a change of scenery, spending time with Edward.

"What's your name?" She changed the subject quickly.

"Edward." He smiled and she nodded before asking what his last name was. Alice didn't beat around the bush. "My name is Edward Anthony Cullen."

"Does anyone call you Eddie?" Alice grinned and Edward practically cringed. I smirked, suddenly aware of the fact that he didn't like the nickname. I had heard Rosalie call him that as we walked into the kitchen.

"Just Rosalie."

"Okay, Eduardo." Alice laughed and at that point I rolled my eyes. She was a complete goof.

When the food was done, I retrieved the bowls and silverware. He got himself and I a bowl, leaving me to decide how much Alice would eat. After giving her half of what I would have taken, I helped her down from the counter and lead her over to the small table that we kept in the kitchen. Edward had already made himself comfortable in a seat and I watched as Alice glanced frequently towards the stairs. I knew what was coming and I didn't like it one bit.

"I'm going to go eat with Jacob." She glanced at her wrist, as if there were a watch there, telling her that she was late for something.

"Okay..." I sighed, not arguing. My mother made it a point that Alice was to exercise her right to spend her time with her imaginary friends. Apparently she needed to explore and experience the creative side of her mind and that she couldn't pass up a window of opportunity like that. Half of the reason it bothered me so much was just the fact that my mother had put me in time out any time that I even attempted to have an imaginary friend. Apparently it was important for Alice's growth, but due to my advanced maturity, the fake people were only slowing me down.

I frowned to myself, wondering if that had something to do with my social ineptness.

"Who's Jacob?" Edward asked from across the table, pulling me from my reverie.

"Alice's imaginary friend." I mumbled, not looking at him.

"I had one of those. Her name was Tanya and she was Russian. Apparently, whenever I told my mom what she would say to me, I would use some weird accent. They decided it was Russian but nobody really knew where I had heard such an accent." He laughed and I had to push off the urge to grin. It was such a stupid story, really, but it felt nice having someone there to talk to me.

"I didn't have any – I wasn't allowed." I spoke without thinking at all, the words falling off of my tongue before I could stop them. I froze in place, my eyes shooting up and meeting his curious ones.

"And Alice is?" He asked slowly. He seemed to notice that I had crossed a line and didn't want to push it, despite his curiosity.

"Alice needs to develop that part of her brain. Apparently I was way past that stage when I began having imaginary friends. My mom didn't want me involved with the idea and put a stop to it pretty quickly. It's not a big deal...just, you know. It's something." I dabbled and he nodded, seeming seriously interested in what I had to say to him. That was definitely new.

I noticed then that he was still staring into my eyes, his green ones wide and bright. I pulled my bottom lip in between my teeth and found myself staring back. I wasn't sure what I was looking for in them. I felt like I needed to know what he really thought, what was going on in that pretty head of his. I had never met such a considerate guy and I was pondering just how different Edward really was. His own eyes seemed to be searching mine for something as well. I knew better, crossing that thought off quickly and reminding myself that he was literally just staring at my eyes.

"You want to know about my eyes." I stated, breaking his stare and looking down at the bowl of food that I had hardly touched.

"Well, I can't lie, I'm a bit curious. Not really that much though. They're really cool – pretty actually." He spoke quickly, as if he were trying to cover up his own words before I heard them. It was too late, because I had heard them and I sighed. He was lying.

"It's called heterochromia. Some genetic thing that messed up when I was in the womb – they're just extra sensitive and stuff." I muttered, not sure what else there was to tell him. People had always seemed disappointed when I told them. As if they were expecting some iliad about my being abducted by aliens or a science experiment gone wrong. "It's not that big of a deal, really. I just can't fix them. I'm stuck with them."

"Stuck? They're awesome."

"Not when you're already a freak!" I shot back, standing up quickly. He had no idea what it was like. He was worse than the people who were scared of them. How could somebody want to be weird? How could somebody ask to be an outcast? It was sickening to me. It wasn't something I would choose or place on somebody else. That was ridiculous.

"Bella, wait, I didn't kno-...you're not-...I-" Edward stumbled over the words, unable to say anything that was close enough to the truth without being considered a mean lie. I all but sneered at him as I dumped my full bowl of food in the trash and rushed out of the room.

That was the day that I met Edward Cullen. Despite the way that he seemed bored with my sister, that wasn't the last time that I had seen him either. I knew for a fact that he wasn't ready to pass up what a success she was. He couldn't just move on from someone as beautiful as her, either. I found myself disturbed and unable to sleep on that first night, or any night following. My mind, already so full of facts and whatever else, seemed to revolve around the boy.

It bothered me.

I was fourteen when we finally did all of the room switching that my mother went on about. Alice was eight and ready to have a bigger bed and Rosalie was seventeen and preparing to move out. Once she left, I would get her room and Alice would still live in ours. I was a bit happy to be closer to the privacy, but upset because I was going to have to share a room with someone who actually spent some time at home.

Rosalie was always out. She went out with friends, out to games, parties, and dances. Rose also dated. She dated Edward, for the most part, but they would split up every so often and that would leave her single and dating around again. Edward would come back though, he always did, and treat her better than she ever deserved. All of their breakups were her doings. Edward never came off as deeply in love with my sister, not like he put on, but he still stuck around for reasons that even I didn't understand.

There was no way that he hanged around so long just to sleep with her – that wasn't like him at all.

We had gotten over our fallout in the kitchen not too long after it had happened. Edward really meant it when he apologized to me. He explained that he truly thought that my eyes were amazing and gorgeous, and that he meant nothing more than that he thought that it would be nice to have something so original all to himself. I understood that, and apologized for reacting so rashly. I even explained that with all of my other problems and lack of friends that I didn't really know how to respond. I told him that the only people who I had ever come in contact with had hated my eyes and ostracized me for them.

"All right, ladies, who is ready to paint these walls?" Edward walked into my room, where the furniture had been pushed to the middle and covered up. I had already taped the edges and ledges, protecting them from any mishaps with the paint, and covered the floors in newspaper. We were painting the room purple, for Alice's sake. Rosalie was going to paint her room and Edward offered to help me with mine, because the walls were taller and there were much more of them. I smiled awkwardly at him and Rosalie slowly backed away and went back to her room. Alice was out with our dad. "Wow! Why'd you do all of this already?"

"I didn't have much else to do." I explained, shrugging my shoulders.

"That's a lot of work. I'm seventeen and I probably would have been too lazy." He barked a laugh and I just smiled awkwardly. I was still awkward, even at the ripe age of fourteen-and-a-half.

"What color is Rosalie painting hers?" I asked as I began rolling the deep purple color onto one of the walls. Edward was on the other side of the room, explaining that we should work our way to the middle.

Edward had become the middle man between my sister and I. I didn't talk to him much, but I talked to my sister even less. She talked to me even less. Whenever Edward was over and around me, he would tell me what she was up to and what she was doing. I wouldn't have known that she was going into pediatrics after high school, had Edward not told me. She seemed to keep the important things like that to herself, placing all of her drama on display. It was interesting to hear what Edward knew and had to say.

"She's actually painting the walls red," he told me and I raised my eyebrows. That was the color that I had said that I wanted to paint them after she moved out. It was nice to know that there was one less thing that I was going to have to do with the place. Edward smirked at me, already knowing where my thoughts had gone. "I know, that's what I thought. I didn't tell her though – I was afraid she'd 'change her mind' or some shit."

"Great." I laughed. "One less thing for me to do."

"I thought so."

"You know, I got an A on that project. Thanks for the idea." I told him after a moment of silence. It wasn't awkward though – nothing but a second where we weren't talking. The sound of paint sticking onto the walls. Edward had helped me come up with a project for my advanced biology class about the effect of playing video games on someone's health. I got a perfect A, all thanks to him. "My teacher loved it."

"I'm glad." He nodded towards me. "You worked your ass off."

I grinned, shaking my hips a bit. I knew better than to try and be cute, but I had acted without thinking. I was finally growing just a slight bit of curves and I was working on using them. Even if that meant embarrassing myself in front of poor Edward Cullen for the time being. He laughed loudly, after a moment of where he just stared at me, and tossed his shaking head back.

"You think you're just cute, don't you, Bella?" He asked and I shrugged, tossing a wink over my shoulder.

"You know I am. That's why you hang around so much." I joked and he rolled his eyes before turning back to his work. I turned around as well, thinking about how that was why I spent so much time with him. He was stunningly handsome and liked to talk to me. That was more than I had ever asked of anyone, and he made the activity seem effortless.

I jumped when something hit my back, splattering up and splashing onto my neck. A yelp came out of my throat as I realized that Edward had just chucked paint at me. I turned around and found him facing the wall again, whistling a tune, trying to look innocent. I rolled my eyes at his antics before tip-toeing over to him. He couldn't hear me, thanks to how skinny I was, and before he could notice, I took my roller and rolled the deep purple paint off and right up the back of his shirt, neck, and head. He jumped, turning around to face me with a devilish look in his eye.

"You didn't!"

"You started it!" I retorted and he gaped at me. Before I could think about it, Edward reached down, pulling a brush out of his bucket of paint, and ran it right down the front of me. I blushed and my jaw dropped, shocked at how forward he had been about retreating. Standing up straighter, trying to appear serious, I stood on my toes to whisper in his ear. "It's on."

I reached down and pulled paint out of the same bucket and then whipped it out and at him. He shouted out with shock and then broke out into a fit of laughter. I just grinned smugly, happy to have one for once. While I was distracted, Edward covered covered his hands in paint and grabbed the sides of my face, ran them down my neck, and then onto my shoulders, down my arms, and then gripped my hands. I stood wide-eyed, unsure as to how I was supposed to react.

My heart sped up, and I could hear it pounding in my ears as I used my still-paint-covered hand to muss up his hair. He let out a strangled noise and reached up to feel it before realizing that his own hands were still covered in paint. That seemed to set him off because we began just throwing it at each other and chasing each other around the room with it, after that. I was laughing non-stop, almost out of breath because of it, when Edward eventually knocked me to the floor. I giggled and shook before he just smirked at me. I could only imagine what was passing through his mind just then.

And then he dropped his body, pressing every inch of himself to me. My breathing stopped and I was no longer messing around. Edward Cullen was laying on top of me. I found myself unable to breath and I knew that it had nothing to do with how heavy he was. He just stared at me, his green eyes wondering as they bore into my own. I pursed my lips before an idea crossed my mind. He was trying to stop me from getting paint on him, but I had more on my torso than he had on this entire body. Instead of trying to get out of his hold, I began squirming and pressing myself into him. I wiggled and smeared paint all over him. His eyes bugged out of his head as I did so and I knew that I had accomplished something. As inappropriate as it was, I couldn't help but be happy with the fact that I had practically grinded on Edward.

Only...not.

He suddenly stopped moving, his eyes closed and his face turning a light shade of pink. I knew that I had most likely pushed things too far and my entire body burned. It was already burning, but that burn was different. I was blushing. Edward's eyes opened, very quickly, and his eye were looking into mine. I licked my lips instinctively, noticing just how close our faces really were. There was only an inch or two. Edward was right there.

"Bella." He huffed, his breathing surprisingly ragged.

"Edward." I said his own name back to him, not really sure what we were getting at.

"We can't do this." He groaned, rolling over and off of him, the newspaper making crunching noises beneath him. It was probably stuck to us now, thanks to the paint that covered our body. I was breathing too heavily, almost unable to hear him past the whooshing noises that I was making. I would have been embarrassed, had I cared more. "We can't do this, Bella. I'm with your sister. You're fourteen."

"I'm sorry." I apologized.

"Don't do that. We were both messing around." He sat up with a groan, and I giggled as I looked at the sight of him being covered in sticky newspapers. "Let's get this room painted."

We finished painting the room in a short amount of hours. When it was done, Edward awkwardly hugged me and then walked out to find his girlfriend. It came to me then that something had shifted. Something was different and I knew that it had something to do with our festivities when we were painting. I couldn't say anything to him though. I couldn't find the words for the life of me. So, I did what I did every night when Edward left. I watched him walk away from me and right into the arms of my older sister.

It wasn't the same after that. It wasn't even like what it was like before. My relationship with Edward did exactly what I was trying to stop it from doing. It began to diminish right before my eyes. He would still come over with Rosalie, all too often, but he wasn't 'accidentally' finding himself in the kitchen when I was cooking, or sitting in the living room watching TV when I needed to clean up. My frustration grew as our relationship shrank and I just couldn't believe how stupid I had been for ever thinking of us as anything more than acquaintances. His awkward, far and few, nods of acknowledgment proved just that to me. We were very far from what we used to be.

The years progressed and I found myself growing angrier with things. I was angry with my family, with school, with society, with Edward, but mostly with myself.

School was becoming more aggravating than ever. I hadn't told anyone that I wasn't being challenged when I was eleven and by the time I got to eighteen, I thought I was going to die of boredom. I should have graduated seven years before. I couldn't do that by the time that I got to where I was and I found myself stuck in a rut. I was so angry with myself for putting Rose's feelings first, when she had never done the same favor for me when necessary. I could have graduated and learned and been successful, but instead I decided to let my sister have her smugness in being older and 'smarter'. She never was and this only made me hate the one place that I had thought of as my safe haven.

The teasing didn't stop in the seventh grade, like everyone had said that it would. That was one thing that I wanted to discontinue but couldn't. Everyone still hated my eyes and they still hated that I had a photographic memory. I didn't know how it effected them, but I chose not to ask any questions of my peers. I knew that one day they wouldn't matter, even though they were the biggest part of my life at the time.

My family wasn't much help.

Renee, our mother, packed her bags and left when I was fifteen. I felt as though that was the truest turning point in my life. Alice was nine and Rosalie was eighteen at the time. I knew that Rosalie blew it off as nothing because she was the angriest – our mother paid the most attention to Rosalie. Rose probably felt betrayed because of how close they were. If it weren't for my broken-hearted younger sister, I would have felt more along the lines of 'good riddance'.

Charlie had always treated me well. He paid the same amount of attention to me as he did to my sisters, and it wasn't as negative as Renee was. He never spoke of her leaving. He didn't tell us anything about her or what had really happened between the two of them. I chose not to ask, knowing that he wasn't one for verbalizing his feelings. I had inherited that type of behavior from him, actually. I had no reason to complain about him but that didn't stop me from becoming more frustrated than ever.

Rosalie continued to ignore me through out her senior year and Alice just lived her own little life. It was as if I didn't have any sisters at all. I hadn't just lost my mother, but I had lost a best friend, a little sister and an older one. I truly had hit a wall in my life and all I wanted was to feel again. I wanted someone to love me and talk to me. I wanted someone to tell me things about themselves and to make jokes and teach me how to cook. Despite my several losses, there was only one of them that I actually wanted back in my life.

When Rosalie and Edward graduated, I felt as though something finally snapped. Edward invited me to the graduation party that they were sharing but I couldn't bring myself to go. Why would I inflict something like that onto myself? Why would I go somewhere, wanting nothing more than to see him, when he only invited me there out of politeness? I wasn't that naive and I wasn't going to play those kinds of games. Edward and Rose weren't going to be around much longer than that and I wanted to remember him the best that I could. The way that I remembered painting my room with him.

So, after I moved into my own room, I decided that it was time to move on with myself. Rosalie left a lot behind – clothes that I had finally grown into and makeup that I learned how to use (thanks to the internet.) When my own senior year rolled around, years after the last time that I had seen Rosalie or Edward, I knew that it was my last chance to make my mark on Forks.

Rosalie wrote to Alice all the time. Alice told me that she sent her love, but I knew better. I knew that Alice, at the age of twelve, wanted nothing more than to have Rosalie and I get along. She always asked why we couldn't be close like her friends and their sisters. I told her the truth, but not much of it, reminding her that any gaps in my relationship with Rosalie was created by Rosalie herself and that our older sister had made it very clear that she wanted nothing to do with me. Alice only became angry at me, probably eating up the wicked lies that Rosalie fed to her about me.

I had no doubt about that.

They never visited. Not her or him. They had both gone of to The University of Washington. I wondered if they even talked. Scratch that, I knew that they did. Rosalie sent plenty of pictures to our happy-to-share younger sister. It only made me angrier that he didn't want to talk to me anymore. It wasn't fair to me that he could act like he cared for four years straight and then just drop me as though none of that meant a thing to him. Rosalie may have lived with me, but I wasn't as upset about our separation as I was about mine and Edward's.

"Where are you going, Bells?" My dad asked, looking skeptical as I grabbed my car keys and my purse from the table by the door.

"Just...out." I mumbled, trying to keep it vague.

I was dressed in my usual – a dark-washed jean mini-skirt, tights, my cow-girl boots, and a button-down, plaid shirt. It wasn't that outfit that was particularly my usual. It was the fact that it was so revealing and skimpy. I was tired of going unnoticed and I wanted to feel something again – so I decided to put myself out there in a way that Rosalie never did.

Rosalie may have been a boy-crazy psychopath, but she still didn't party it up as much as the student-population of Forks wanted her to. The ones who had finally noticed me had only noticed that my body had grown to be very similar to my sister's. They were looking for another Rose and another chance to have the Swan sister that they couldn't get their hands on. I had decided to go ahead and go out of my way, but instead of giving in to what they wanted, I took my own route.

I knew that I couldn't just throw college away by fooling around then. High school was literally the biggest waste of my time ever, because it took no work to keep my grades above a 4.0 average. I knew that I was about to pass up my only chance to experience and explore before I went off to college. I ended up showing up at parties that I wasn't invited to until they began inviting me. I spent my Fridays and Saturdays partying and my Sundays preparing for the week ahead of me.

Charlie could see the change and he was the most oblivious, ignorant father on the planet. I was sure that my blabber-mouth younger sister had something to do with that. She was seated in the recliner, with a giant bowl of popcorn in her lap, and watched me with slit eyes as I collected my things.

"Yeah, but where's out?" She asked and I almost growled at her.

"What is this, the Spanish Inquisition?" I hissed and Charlie then caught on, surely putting some red flags up.

"Bells, we have a right to know where you are. You still have to finish high school and it's not safe for you to be running around so much." He cocked his head to the side and frowned at me, his mustache drooping a bit. He was the chief of police – I was surprised that he hadn't shut down one of my parties yet.

"I'm fine. I have brains." I used my fingers to make it look as though I was pointing a gun at my head and pulled the trigger. That didn't seem to make my dad feel any better.

"Have you talked to Rosalie? She and Edward are in town!" Alice piped up suddenly and I froze, my legs suddenly planted into the ground and my hand on the doorknob. I wondered if they were going to visit. Whether I was going to miss my chance to show Edward that I didn't need his friendship. That there were other people who genuinely cared about me. They didn't care, but I wasn't going to let any of them know that. "She could drop by at any time and you'd miss her."

"Well, I doubt she'd miss me." I spoke up and walked out the door anyway.

I ended up at a normal party. It was a kegger and everyone there was already drunk when I arrived. I should have been annoyed by their stupid activities, but instead, I did what I always did and I played along. I grabbed a red cup and began drowning myself in the shit. It was gross and dirty, but all I could think about was trying to forget all of my problems.

It worked. I knew that I was plastered pretty quickly, stumbling around the spinning house. After a third guy hit on me, trying to talk me up and into a bedroom, I decided that I was done for the night. Even when my head was a jumbled mess, I couldn't think of anything but the fact that Edward was probably within twenty miles of me. I slowly made my way to the car and climbed into the front seat, hardly able to yank the door closed. When I did, I started the car, and quickly made my way onto the dark roads that lead back to my own house. I couldn't have been as stupid as I was then.

When I got home, it took me a while to get up the steps. My footing was a mess and I found myself practically tossing my arm around, trying to grip the door handle that was right in front of me. When I finally got a hold of it, I twisted it and shoved myself forcefully into our living room. I looked up and found several pairs of eyes looking at me with shock.

I saw Charlie, who had his eyebrows raised. He was only a bit shocked with my behavior. I had never come home drunk but he had his suspicions. He wouldn't have asked me any questions if he wasn't suspicious. And then there was Alice and she wasn't shocked at all. Her hair was freshly curled, although very short, and her blue eyes looked almost annoyed. And then I saw Edward's eyes.

Edward looked shocked. His jaw, which had grown much more defined since they left, was slack and he was just staring at me. I wasn't sure what I could see behind his eyes, but I knew that it wasn't joy over us being reunited. In fact, I was instantly sure that he was far from happy to see me. I shot a smirk at him before my eyes rolled over to the worst ones. Rosalie's brown eyes were enraged.

I hadn't seen her in several years and yet she seemed to be as beautiful as ever. She had grown into a woman, her twenty-two-year-old self looking closer to twenty-five than twenty. I felt my grin disappear as I realized that she looked outraged. She was glancing at our dad, her face turning different shades of red as she did so. I was swaying, because it was clear that she wasn't moving, but someone was.

"What the fucking hell? Are you drunk?" She shot up and I stumbled back, as if she had gotten suddenly closer to me. "You're not just drunk! Dad, she's fucking plastered! Is this what you let her do?"

"I didn't know she was drinking that much..." He grumbled, still looking surprised. "I figured she was experimenting."

"I leave her here and this is what I get? She's eighteen! She shouldn't be experimenting with anything!"

"Oh, what the fuck ever." I drawled out, laughing a bit. "I can't hurt your image Rosie-Posie. Nobody knows who I am. I just show up, do whatever, and leave..."

"You think I'm worried about my image?" She looked abhorred at my words and I couldn't help but be complacent with her reaction. Her eyes flickered towards the window before they looked like they were going to fall out of her head. "How the hell did you get here? Were you driving like this?"

"What does it matter to you?" I laughed shortly, unable to really find her words funny. They were annoying, not funny.

"You could have been killed, that's why it fucking matters!" Edward joined in, his voice deep with athority. I turned to him, my own eyes narrowing.

"Oh, and you care now too? What, do they teach you to be nice at College or something?" I slurred the words, almost not making sense.

"I've always cared!" He shot back and I just laughed loudly. Very loudly – it was rather obnoxious.

"About my sister, but not me. You never cared about me. Because when I care about someone, I don't just get bored with them and stop acknowledging them all together! When I care about someone, I treat them right and I don't just walk on them like a fucking doormat!"

"What is she talking about?" Rosalie turned on him, placing her hands on her hips.

"Oh, you didn't tell her?" I asked him, shuffling towards the pair. "You didn't tell her about all of those times that you agreed with me? All of those times that you pretended to be my best friend, because you knew that Rosalie was insane? You didn't tell her that you just randomly remembered that she's always going to be better than me and just dropped me like a piece of shit? I'm not surprised. You're both a bunch of ignorant, selfish fuckers!"

"Isabella!" Charlie coughed, as if his scolding meant something to me.

"Edward!" Rosalie gasped and Edward just stared at me.

"Bells, you were always my best friend!"

"Fuck that. I was your best friend when you were fighting with my sister. But the moment she got her act together, you ditched me." I pointed at him, finally sobering up a bit, because I could only see one arm in front of me. "But I don't need you. I don't need either one of you. There are lots of people who want to go out with me, have sex with me, and do other things. I don't need either one of you for anything!"

"Bella..." Rosalie huffed, her eyes softening. I narrowed my own at her and then looked at her pathetic boyfriend.

"I hate you, Edward Cullen, you know that? I always thought that it was Rose that I was angry with, for stealing you, but now I realize that it's not her fault that you're a misogynistic asshole." I turned on my heels and ran up the stairs.

I went straight to my room and kicked off my boots. I slipped my jacket off and chucked myself into my bed. At first I was sure that the anger wasn't going to subside, but when it did, I found myself engulfed by fresh tears. I hadn't cried since the first day that I realized Edward wasn't talking to me. I didn't cry when my mom left or when the girls at school taunted me. I felt as though all of that pressure had finally built up and knocked me down. Like I was losing the fight with myself all over again, and that hurt more than ever.

There was suddenly a light tapping on the door that I had forgotten to close all the way. For half of a second, hardly even that, I expected an apologetic Edward to be standing on the other side. My brain put a stop to that the moment that Rosalie called out, saying my name. I huffed, rolling over and stuffing my face into the pillow, so that she couldn't see me cry. I thought about how my pride issued had never gone away as Rosalie quietly walked into the room. I heard the door latch behind her.

"Bella, I had no idea..." She was using the softest voice that I had ever heard from her.

I didn't answer her. Of course she had no idea – it was none of her fucking business.

"Where's he at?" I seethed and she sighed.

"Bella, I'm not a total bitch. If I had known that he was playing mind games with you, I would have stopped bringing him around." She whispered, her voice cracking. "I didn't know that he had lied to you. Or treated you so poorly."

"You don't know anything!" I stood up, my voice very hoarse as I began pacing. She was seated awkwardly at the end of my bed. It used to be her bed, not that she probably noticed. "That's the problem. You don't know me and you don't know my fucking life. You never even pretended to care about me."

"Bella!" She exclaimed my name and I shot her a look, daring her to argue with me.

"Don't even pretend that you didn't call me stupid all of those years. That you didn't outcast me and make sure that I was a freak. Don't pretend like it's not you're fault that I'm the 'fuck up Swan sister'." I hissed and she looked pathetic, her eyes cast down towards her perfectly manicured hands.

"You're drunk, Bella."

"No! I'm sober. Thanks for killing that buzz too. What's next? Gonna kick me back out of my room?" I asked her, my hands reaching up and gripping my hair. She just scoffed at me, her eyes wide and staring openly at me. I rolled my own eyes at her, annoyed by her 'innocent' act. Her pretending was getting very old and I wanted nothing more than to kick her out of my room.

"Bella, seriously."

"No."

"Why have you been partying? That's so dumb! You're the smartest person I fucking know and you've been out partying? I didn't do that and I'm not a genius!" She stood up, stepping closer to me. I glared openly at her, shaking my head roughly, fighting the burning tears that were trying to betray me and spill over. She just kept her eyes on mine, pushing me to claw her smug face off. "Seriously, I thought you'd have known better, I thought I was the wild one and I-"

"Stop! Stop comparing us! We are not the same fucking person!" I cried at her, the traitor tears spilling and gushing down my cheeks. I tended to cry when I was angry and in that moment, I was utterly fuming. "We aren't the same! I'm not fucking perfect, like you, and I never will be! You should stop pointing it out, because all you're doing is making me angrier. I am not you. I will never be you. Hell, I don't want to be. I'm tired of being 'Rosalie's little sister' and 'the weird one that's younger than Rose'." I was sobbing, the anger melting and turning into sadness again. "I just want to be Bella. I just want to be me and not have everyone hate me. I want to be Bella Swan, the girl with the freaky eyes, who's good at school, and friends with anyone who will treat her right. You ruined that for me!"

"I didn't do anything to you!" Rosalie cried and I barked out a laugh.

"I can't believe you! How can you just ruin my childhood, my teenhood, and then try to show up and pretend like you didn't ruin me? Huh? What makes you think that's okay? Why can't you just leave? Mom sure had an easy time doing so!" I threw my hands up and Rosalie looked pissed.

"Mom left because she needed to find herself!"

"Mom left because she hated us, and you know it! She hated being a 'mom' and she hated her life. Don't try to give her any fucking excuses, because it's all a load of bullshit!" I pointed my finger at her again and then noticed that she had begun crying too.

"I know." She sniffled. "I know, Bella. I know that...because I spent the last three years just trying to find her."

"Why though? If she doesn't want you to find her, what's the point in looking?" I rasped and she plopped back onto my bed, pulled her knees up to her chest, and looked sadly up at me.

"Because she didn't just leave me." She whispered, the tears coming faster. "She left Dad here to take care of three teenage girls. She left Alice to grow up without a mother. She left me to figure out how to be a woman on my own. But worst of all, Bella, she left you."

"Why the fuck does it matter that she left me? The only thing that she was concerned with when it came to me was getting me into college before I was ten." I muttered, finally taking a seat beside my sister. She was rocking a bit, her eyes not looking at anything in particular. I couldn't help but wonder just where her mind was and just what she was thinking about. I hated to admit it, but Rosalie knew Mom better than anyone in the house and if anyone could explain her actions, it would be Rose. I hated that she had to be right, even if it were just for that moment. "Mom didn't even like me."

"Bella, you remember all of the sports I played, right? All of the activities that I was signed up for and all of the things that I attended?" She spoke in a hushed voice and I nodded. Of course I remembered. That was the only thing that our parents talked about. The only thing that had ever truly made them proud. It was hard to forget some of the most scarring pieces of growing up with Rosalie. I nodded and she continued. "I only did all of that so that Mom would chill out and stop worrying about your education."

"You what?" I gasped.

"You heard me. The route that she was going on would have had you graduating at the age of ten, but I just couldn't allow it." She turned hear head, her brown eyes boring into mine for what felt like the first time. I wasn't sure that she had ever looked at me like a human being before. That was definitely new to me. She took a deep breath before continuing. "By making myself look busier, Mom felt obliged to control that. So, she put less into you and put more into my awards. I hated it – I couldn't stand her, but it kept her off your case. It kept her from sending you away to some private school."

"Why didn't you just tell me?" I all but pleaded for an answer.

"Because I didn't want you to hate her. Not like I did. You deserved to remember your mother as a harebrained woman who wasn't ready for a family but had one anyway."

"Rosalie, I practically hated you. You shouldn't have done that!" I whined.

"I know that now." She ran a hand through her blonde hair. Our hair was about the same length, falling just above our lower backs. The two of us looked a bit similar, when we were placed next to each other. I could see similarities, other than our size, that I had never seen before. Like her jawline and smile was just like mine. One of my eyes looked like hers, the other like Alice's. It was interesting. "You know, Bella, I really am sorry about Edward. I only dragged him around for so long because I thought that you guys were great friends."

"We were." I murmured, thinking back to a time before they graduated. "Until we painted the other room. We were just fine but then something happened, something changed, and Edward must have changed his mind."

"I don't believe that. I may be insane, and not a great listener, but I know Edward and I know he's not much for lying."

"Then why did he lead me on?" I asked her and she shrugged lightly.

"You should ask Edward."

"I almost...I don't want to ask him." I turned and looked at her. She nodded knowingly. "I don't want to hear his excuses. He ignored me for five years after spending five years pretending to be my best friend. It's hard to just forgive someone for that."

"I understand. It's easier to let someone go than to risk getting hurt again. I understand that." She breathed and I frowned, flopping down and onto my back. She repeated the action, beside me, and turned hear head to look at me.

"Rosalie, do you even like Edward? Let alone love him? You guys have been together since what...eighth grade?" I asked her, not believing the words as they came out of my mouth. It had been nearly ten years and yet they still stuck together, for reasons unknown.

"Sounds dumb, doesn't it? I love Edward...I really do...but I am not in love with Edward. I never really was." She explained and I nodded, understanding her all too well.

"Not dumb...just...not something that most people can recognize." I giggled. Rosalie was far from dumb, even if she was stupid.

"I think you should talk to him anyway." She changed the subject back to Edward, I knew that much. I looked over at her, trying to understand why I should. Edward didn't really deserve my forgiveness. I had trusted him and he really hurt me. He really hurt me. "He was upset too. He wasn't the same after we graduated...it was like there was something missing. It doesn't sound like it was your fault, but you need to figure it out. You guys were so close. It would be silly to see that all go to waste."

"You mean like how he threw it away when I was fifteen? I was more than willing to work it out, but apparently that's just me." I sat up again and she followed quickly.

"That was a dick move of him, but you need to be the bigger person. You're better than that. Better than this." She pinched my shirt at the shoulder, reminding me of my very skimpy get-up. "This is not you, Bella. This is a cover up and I'm sorry that I caused so much shit..."

"No. It was immature of me." I groaned.

"No, you didn't have anyone to teach you what was immature and what wasn't. You never learned the right thing to do, so you learned the hard way. That's okay because it's my fault – not yours." She seemed so capable of giving up her faults. It was so different from the Rosalie that I had walked in and screamed at the day before. "Just do what the heart wants." She smirked, standing up. "I already promised Alice that I would sleep in there with her tonight, but tomorrow we're having a sleepover. Total girl's night."

"Thank you, Rosalie. We may have had a bad past, but we're better late than never." I walked her to the door, where she quickly turned and caught me by surprise with a sisterly hug. I just hugged her back, unable to let go for a certain amount of time.

"I know." She whispered before walking out.

I ended up not calling Edward. I got very preoccupied with rebuilding the relationship with my sisters. Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, and months rolled right into years in the blink of an eye. I graduated and joined Rosalie up at The University of Washington, only having two years there before I moved on to Harvard, where I was going to get a degree in medicine. I was excited, planning to go from there to psychiatry, wanting to spend my life helping teenagers who didn't have someone to talk to. I needed to give back in that way. I didn't really visit Forks either. Rosalie and Alice came to stay with me once a year, for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but other than that I cut off all contact with my home town.

I still thought about Edward. More than I was ever willing to admit out loud. Whenever I painted my nails purple, cooked macaroni, or did my biology homework. Edward was in my every single thought and that made it very hard to focus. All I really thought about was whether or not he had moved on, gotten married, had kids, and lived his life. I wondered what career path he had taken and where he was living. It was like he was still my best friend, only not with me.

"So, are you coming Tuesday, or what?" Rosalie asked me, making me drop my deep thinking as I flipped through some wedding magazines. Rosalie was calling me every day for updates on what my plans were as maid-of-honor at her upcoming wedding.

"Yes. The tickets are booked and everything. Stop worrying."

"I can't. I'm getting married, it has to be perfect." She sighed.

Rosalie was marrying the guy that she secretly dated around with during her days when she was broken up with Edward. I had never met him, until the most recent holiday, and found myself surprised when she announced their engagement. After seeing them together, I was far from shocked, because they were perfect. Emmett was huge, like a lineman, and had dark hair, dimples, and blue eyes. He was loud and crazy, and unafraid to say whatever passed through his thick skull. He worshiped the ground that Rose walked on though, and I could appreciate that. I was very happy to be their maid-of-honor.

When I flew in to help her set up some final things, I stayed at their place. Rosalie, thankfully, had done the invitations and seating on her own. I was thankful for that, because I was terrible at contacting people and planning out things like that. Who was I to judge who should go to my sister's wedding and who would be capable of getting along while there? She seemed happy to do most of the planning though, and that gave us lots of time to hang out and relax before the big day.

"You'll be walking on with the best man," Rosalie spoke quietly as I placed the veil in her delicately curled, blonde hair.

"I'm aware of the tradition, thanks." I answered sarcastically, and then checked to make sure that her makeup was perfect.

Rosalie looked stunning in her gown. It was an off-the-shoulder type thing, with lace and white, and sparkles. I was the worst at describing things, but I knew that the dress was the right dress and that the ceremony would be as perfect as she was while wearing it. She had me, and Alice – who was acting as a regular bridesmaid, wearing a deep blue number. It was silk and reached the ground. She said that she chose it because it made my skin glow and Alice's eyes shine. I couldn't believe that I had ever thought of her as inconsiderate when she did stuff like that. It was her special day and yet she was still planning for the well-being of others.

Rosalie and I walked out to the doors that would lead into the church. Waiting outside of them was Alice, Dad, some blond boy who I had never seen before, Rosalie, and the last person that I had expected to see on earth. Edward Cullen was whispering to the blond boy, and there was seemingly something off about him. I tried to figure it out, watching him very closely. Rosalie had noticed, her own eyes glancing frantically between the two of us.

"Alice, you'll be walking with Emmett's second-cousin, Jasper." Rosalie introduced the pair and Jasper seemed completely taken by Alice. He grinned at her and greeted her with a slight southern drawl. I tore my eyes away from them and found a blushing Rosalie and Edward.

Edward was staring at me, his green eyes not shining like they once did, and his entire body looking shocked.

"Bella...this is Emmett's best man."

"Rosalie!" I shot her a look and she shrugged. She had always made remarks about how I either needed to move on or track him down and get with him. I never admitted to wanting him back, but somehow Rosalie saw right through that act of bullshit.

"Just go with it." She smiled. "You guys have chemistry."

"Bella." Edward breathed out a sigh, walking over and holding his arm out for me to hook mine onto. I politely did so, noticing the warm comfort that washed over me. I felt so at home, just while I was touching his arm. I couldn't imagine what a kiss with Edward would have been like. I kept my distance anyway, not wanting to come off as some psycho who dwelled on the past. Instead of gushing my sappy feelings, I gave him a simple nod of acknowledgment. He huffed. "I've missed you."

"Yeah, well..." I murmured, looking down at the floor. I didn't want to have a conversation like that while walking down the aisle at my sister's wedding. It seemed so infantile and immature.

The music started and Alice left on cue. Edward counted down from five and I shot Rosalie a 'good luck' smile before beginning my walk with Edward. Pachelbel's Canon in D was being played on the piano and all eyes were on us. My cheeks burned as though they were on fire. I shot quick glances at Edward, and once we even caught each other in the act, making me blush even more furiously. Edward chuckled lightly as we approached the altar and kissed my hand before sending me over to my side, and joining Emmett on his.

The rest of the ceremony was gorgeous. Rosalie and Emmett looked nothing more than in love. They hadn't taken their eyes off of each other since the moment that she had walked in behind me. They were both so happy and excited to be together, the joy was radiating from them. Their time up there almost felt private, like it was too private for me to watch. I found my own eyes looking at Edward. He had been watching me the entire time, and I knew that. At the age of twenty-two, I had finally figured out how to tell when someone is looking at you and whether they're staring or just genuinely looking.

Edward was looking.

Time passed too quickly and we were all being rushed out and taken to a beautiful dance hall for the reception. We entered at the correct time and I immediately separated myself from Edward. I made an excuse about needing to use the restroom, and instead found myself awkwardly sitting in a chair, on the other side of the room.

When they announced that it was time for the wedding party to dance, I attempted to hide myself from Edward's searching eyes. I must not have done too well, because he was standing above me in a matter of moments, asking me if I wanted to share a dance with him. I cringed, annoyed by how truly polite he was being. Most boys you could ignore because they were only trying to use you. I couldn't ignore Edward when he was actually giving me his honest attention. I ended up letting him lead me out, and onto the dance floor, where he pulled me to him for our first dance.

"Bella, Bella, Bella..." He breathed, his smoldering green eyes searching mine. I stumbled over his feet and he chuckled, wrapped his arms tightly around my waist, and then lifted me so that I was standing on his feet. He took 'following the lead' to a new extreme and that made me blush. We were so close. Just like that last day. "I can't stop thinking about you."

"You're always on my mind. Don't doubt that." I muttered, not wanting him to hear me, but at the same time wishing that he could just read my mind and understand.

"Then why haven't you talked to me? We've had so many opportunities, Bella. I miss you. I want you." He breathed into my ear, causing a shiver to run down my spine.

"Because, Edward," I pulled back a bit, still very close and pressed up against him. I just couldn't think when he was dazzling me. His presence was intoxicating. "You really hurt me, you know?"

"No, I don't. You won't talk to me about it." He shot back.

"I shouldn't have to!" I hissed.

"Bella, I'm not a mind-reader."

"Well neither am I. I may have been smarter than most kids my age, but I don't understand guys. I probably never will. That was one thing that I couldn't just read about. I couldn't just understand you. I still don't understand what made you want to hang out with me, every day, for five years but then stop for the next eight. You can't read my mind, but I really couldn't read yours. I had no idea why you'd done that to me." I ranted, my voice shaking with anger.

"And you know now?"

"I understand now that I was just a kid to you. That I took too much from that friendship and that I was being dramatic. That's fine. I just wish you had told me, instead of hiding from me. I really loved you." I whispered, my eyes downcast towards my shoes, which were probably tearing up his.

Good.

"Jesus, Bella. That's not true." He groaned and I narrowed my eyes at him. He muttered something about himself being a prick before looking me directly in the eyes. "I stopped talking to you because I was afraid of hurting you. But it looks like my efforts were bullshit."

"Bullshit? You think?"

"I'm such an ass. I can't believe...I just thought you would understand. You're right. Sometimes it was so easy to forget that you're four years younger than me. Sometimes it's so easy to think that you're Rose's age, and that you're like me, and that we can be together. But you were too young. I should have told you – but I was an immature idiot. I was seventeen and worried about nothing but getting away and growing up."

"I can see that now." I sighed.

"But I haven't dated a single girl since. Rosalie and I broke up for good during that night that you came home drunk. We still talked, obviously, but it wasn't the same. I haven't dated or even looked at girls. The only girl that I can even think about, the only girl I ever really loved, was Bella Swan and wanted nothing to do with me."

"Except I'm still in love with you too." I spoke seriously, my voice smooth with a sudden confidence. "I've always loved you, Ed. Even when I pushed you away on that very first night. It's always been you." I wrapped myself tighter around him, my head resting on his chest. I hadn't even noticed how much more filled out and nice he looked. He had really grown up. Both of us were adults, at last. "You're the only one for me. Whether you want to be with me is up to you, but that's-"

Edward surprised me by ducking his head down and kissing me. I gasped, but didn't stop him, not even for a moment. Instead, I pulled myself closer to him, letting him engulf me. I reached up and intertwined my fingers with his messy hair. He deepened the kiss, running his strong hands up my back and stopping on my shoulders, where he massaged them gently. I knew, in that very instant, that I was at home. I knew that he was it for me and that I wasn't going to kiss another man until the day I died. When he pulled away, the both of us gasping for air, he grinned widely at me.

He still had his dimple, even on his more matured cheeks.

"Isabella Swan...I know I've fucked up and that I don't even deserve an ounce of your forgiveness...but will you be my girlfriend?" He asked me and I felt my heart swell.

"I would love to. And I do forgive you. We are best friends forever, after all." I smirked, remembering when we promised that even when a best friend isn't there, that they're still your best friend. Edward was always my best friend and then he was my boyfriend too. "I love you, Edward. Forever."

"Forever." He agreed before leaning back in to kiss me again.

Forever.

A/N: yep, this has been done for some time, but I've been dying to upload, so you know...have at it. Please, let me know what you think and give me any suggestions for other one shots or stories that you would like. I'm open to anything, mostly.

- Ro.