Here it is... Final chapter!
My head was pounding, and I mean really pounding. All these head injuries were surely going to have an effect on me? I tried not to imagine how ridiculous I would look laying in the middle of the street, my eyes puffy and red, with a cork-induced concussion. Perhaps if I played dead I could be carried away without having to face anybody?
"Bella, can you hear me?" I heard Edward's voice and it made my head hurt that little bit less and my heart race that little bit more. "Please, Bella, open your eyes. I really think we should call an ambulance… it's been ages."
"Nah, relax, Eddie. She'll be fine."
Who the hell is that?
Carlisle's voice was the next I heard and his didn't have the same soothing effect that Edward's did. "He's right, bro. It didn't hit her that hard and her dad's a cop, remember? If he finds out what's happened he'll freak out."
"So what?" Edward pressed. "She should have woken up by now, Carlisle. Go and call 911."
I heard Carlisle mutter something that sounded like, "Not likely."
"Just give her a few minutes." I recognized the other voice with us, I just couldn't place it. "Come on Carlisle let's go get some beer."
"Please, Bella, come on, wake up," Edward begged and he sounded really concerned.
I wanted to open my eyes, but they weren't cooperating. Maybe they just couldn't face the rejection again? I persevered, I didn't like to hear him worried when I was perfectly fine… physically anyway. I managed to open one eye enough to see Edward's beautiful green eyes staring right back at me and I almost started crying again.
"Thank god," he breathed in relief and smiled. "Are you okay?"
"No," I mumbled and he smiled a smile which took my breath away. "I'm not okay. I'm lying in the middle of the street with a monster headache because I got knocked out by a goddamn champagne cork… that's just humiliating."
"Huh? Champagne cork?" He chuckled. "You definitely do need to see a doctor. Bella, you just took a hit to the head by a football not a champagne cork."
"What?" I cried, sitting up quickly and ignoring my throbbing head. "A football?"
He nodded. "What did you think happened?"
"A football," I said again, things starting to click into place. "So that means…"
I looked around the room and had no idea where I was but I was most definitely not outside on the street. I could hear loud music and people laughing and joking, almost as though we were at a party. It couldn't be… could it?
"So I'm not thirty-two?" I said happily and Edward frowned.
"Not what? Bella, are you sure you're okay?"
I beamed with happiness as I noticed that although it was definitely Edward right there before my very eyes, it was my sixteen year old best friend Edward who quite frankly had never looked more beautiful.
"It hasn't happened yet?" I gushed, clapping my hands. "I haven't ruined everything… you're not… there's no Charlie… I can't believe it."
Edward was staring at me with even more concern now. "I'm calling 911, you have a concussion, Bella."
"No need, Edward." I shook my head. "I do not have a concussion. As a matter of fact I've never seen things more clearly."
I reached out and pulled him closer to me, my fingers softly stroking the hairs on the back of his neck. At first he was too concerned about me to realise what I was about to do, but as it began to dawn on him, I saw his eyes flicker down to my mouth and then back to meet my gaze. I closed my eyes, knowing exactly how kissing Edward would make me feel and without a trace of hesitation, I kissed him.
I still had the memory of my old first kiss fresh in my mind and I tried my hardest to replicate that. I traced my tongue gently across his bottom lip and let my hands move up his neck, tangling my fingers in his hair.
If it had been magical before, then experiencing it now was simply divine. I placed one final soft kiss on his lips and then moved back slightly, smiling at him. When I stopped, Edward's eyes opened and he looked at me thoroughly confused.
I let my arms rest on his shoulders, never breaking eye contact with him. I never wanted to look away again.
"Um…" he let go of my waist with one hand and rubbed his forehead, his brow furrowed. "What… I mean… why… um… what…"
"Full sentences would be good." I smirked.
"I don't have full sentences right now, Bella," he said. "I'm still trying to figure out what the hell just happened. Why you… um… why you…?"
"Kissed you?" I finished for him and he nodded. "Because, Edward Cullen, you're amazing in every way possible and because I love you."
"You what?" he breathed, his eyes wide. "I think you have the wrong brother, Bella."
"Nope," I disagreed. "Definitely the right brother."
I leaned forward, hoping to kiss him again, but Edward moved back. "Bella, I don't understand… ten minutes ago you were fawning all over Esme Platt and painfully in love with my brother."
"A lot can happen in ten minutes," I said, never believing it more. "Maybe I had an epiphany? Maybe the football knocked some sense into me? Whatever it was, I know it's true, Edward, because I can feel it everywhere. We might only be sixteen but I know the way I feel won't change—believe me I know it won't. I love you. There I said it again and I can keep saying it if you want?"
I saw the corners of his mouth twitch. "I think you're going to have to say it all the time for me to actually believe it."
"Edward Cullen, I love you," I said, grinning widely and he laughed.
"I think maybe I took the hit to the head and I'm the one who's dreaming," he whispered. "Because I've waited so long to hear you say that. It doesn't seem real."
"It is," I replied simply. "And you're definitely not dreaming. I can slap you if you like and prove it?"
"Mm." He tapped his chin. "I think I'll just do this instead."
I almost squealed when he kissed me and this time he really kissed me back. It was beautiful.
I would have been more than happy remaining in that very spot for the rest of my life, but the door burst open and Esme Platt strode into the room.
"What are you doing to her?" she cried and Edward jumped back. "She just got hit on the head, Edward, and she certainly doesn't want a loser like you slobbering all over her."
"Esme!" I shouted. "Stop it-"
"Leave her alone and get out of here." She ignored me and continued yelling at Edward. "You're a disgusting pervert taking advantage of unconscious girls."
"Jesus, what the fuck is going on in here!" The familiar voice from earlier reappeared and I saw the huge form of Emmett McCarty standing in the doorway. "What's with the screaming, Es? Oh, hey Bella, you're awake?"
I nodded and started to try and explain what happened, but Esme cut me off.
"That freak was taking advantage of her while she was knocked out, Emmett. You need to get him out of here." Esme gave Edward a look of disgust.
"Whoa, he did what?" Emmett looked at Edward for an explanation just as Carlisle came into the room. "Your bro needs to learn boundaries, dude."
Esme started to tell him what was going on when she walked in and I lost it. I jumped to my feet and shouted as loudly as I could. "Will you all just shut the fuck up for a second and let me explain."
Emmett laughed. "That's one loud voice for someone so tiny."
Ignoring Emmett, I began to explain, "Edward wasn't taking advantage of me. I don't think a boy kissing his… his… girlfriend… constitutes as taking advantage unless she was unconscious and I most definitely was not unconscious. It was a good thing, really, because boy I would have hated to miss that." I smiled shyly, suddenly remembering I was the old Bella. The one who could barely form coherent sentences around people like Esme, Carlisle, and Emmett and the one universally referred to as a loser.
"Girlfriend?" Esme scoffed.
"Girlfriend?" Carlisle said looking at his brother, silently asking him if it was true.
I followed his line of sight and l waited nervously for Edward's response. He was blushing but a smile was forming on his face. With a casual shrug of his shoulders, he said, "Yeah, my girlfriend."
Emmett's booming laugh sounded in the room. "Then I guess we'll leave you two alone to take advantage of each other. Come on Carlisle still plenty of time to part-ay!"
Carlisle glanced between Edward and me and laughed to himself before following his friend out of the room. Esme, however, looked at me in disbelief.
"Why would you want him to be your boyfriend, Bella? Why don't you let me introduce to one of the guys from the football team?" She was obviously still playing the act, pretending to be my friend ahead of the test she thought I was going to sit for her.
"No thank you. I think I'm onto a winner here, Esme." I winked at Edward as I spoke. "I wouldn't trade him for anything. Not now, not ever. You can go now."
Edward laughed as Esme's charade slipped for a second. I saw her glare briefly at me, before composing herself quickly. "Well, isn't that just sweet," she said tightly. "Can I just have a second to talk to you, Bella?"
"Of course, Esme," I said with a matching fake smile and walked over to her.
"So, about the test…" she whispered.
"Yeah, about the test, Esme." I looked at her apologetically. "I don't think it's such a good idea."
"Excuse me?" she hissed through gritted teeth. "What did you just say?
"I said," I began and raised my voice more than was necessary. "I DON'T THINK IT'S SUCH A GOOD IDEA. I've been giving it some thought and something tells me you wouldn't really appreciate it and getting expelled isn't something I'm prepared to do for someone like you, Esme."
"What about me? You can't do that… think about what's going to happen to me, Bella!"
I shrugged. "Sucks to be you I guess, Esme."
I tried not to smile, but it was so hard. Her face was turning a deep shade of red, and I expected steam to come exploding through her ears at any second. I turned to Edward and held out my hand. "Shall we take off?"
"Definitely," he answered and chuckled as I towed him from the room.
The party outside was still in full swing and no one gave us a second glance as we pushed our way through the crowds of people. We were nearing the gate when I heard Esme shrieking my name. I groaned and turned around to see her stomping in my direction with her army of clones hot on her heels.
"Who the hell do you think you are?" She was borderline hysterical and it was the funniest thing I'd ever seen. "You're only at this party because of me. Do you think anybody else wanted you here, Isabella Swan? Of course they didn't. Everyone knows you're nothing but a loser and stood no chance of ever being friends with people like us."
"I agree with you unequivocally," I told her truthfully. "I am a loser and proud to be one, because if being friends with you means actually being like you, I think I'll pass. You might be the prettiest girl in school, Esme Platt, but underneath all of your make up and designer clothes you're the ugliest person I've ever met in my life."
I heard a catalogue of laughs being disguised as coughs and realized we were being watched by the entire party. I giggled and turned to walk away, only to see Edward staring at me with a proud, beaming smile on his face. I was about to stand on my tiptoes and kiss him, when Esme grabbed my arm and spun me back around—clearly she wasn't done.
"You don't get to speak to me like that," she growled, her long nails digging into my skin.
"Take your hand off me right now," I told her.
"And if I don't?" she goaded me and I looked back to Edward.
"I did warn her, right?"
He nodded and remembering how good it felt last time, I figured why not get to do it again? Esme clearly wasn't expecting it, because the brief look of surprise on her face as my fist came towards her was priceless.
As she lay sprawled out on the floor, I saw Emmett doubled over laughing, and even Carlisle was trying not smile as he tried to help his girlfriend to her feet.
"That was so much better than last time," I said excitedly to Edward and he frowned.
"You've broken Esme Platt's nose before?"
Realizing he had no idea what I was talking about, I laughed it off. "I just meant it felt better than I ever imagined."
"I think that's true of other things," he said softly and kissed me. "Now, we need to get going before someone calls the cops and your dad has to arrest you for assault."
I was back in my old room, my posters in their place on my walls, and my old friend Pat Benatar was back on my record player, much to my father's dismay. He banged on the door and yelled, "Turn it down, Bella, or you'll lose the stereo, too."
"Aw, come on, Dad," I moaned, but turned the dial down. "It's not fair."
He poked his head around the door. "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time."
"Yeah, yeah," I muttered.
The crime that he was referring to was the breaking of Esme Platt's nose and it had gotten me grounded for a month. I didn't even regret it, seeing her at school on the Monday morning with two black eyes and a very bruised and swollen nose was more than worth it.
The best thing was, she couldn't even bunk off school until it healed—she had a crucial test to sit, which I assumed she failed miserably, because within a matter of days she was off the cheer leading squad and rumour had it, Carlisle had dumped her for Jessica Stanley.
It's funny how violent tendencies seemed to warm people to you. I was no longer invisible and neither was Edward. People said hello to us, knew our names, and asked us how we were doing. Edward told me it was because they were scared I was going to sock them in the face if they didn't. Did I mention Edward Cullen can be an ass?
I did seem to have acquired a fan since the party. A fan in the huge form of Emmett McCarty. Edward and I got to enjoy his company most lunchtimes, and I would have loved to say I hated it, but in truth I liked Emmett. There was nothing forced or false about him, and he really didn't give a shit about anybody else. I didn't particularly like the fact he now referred to me as Rocky whenever he talked to me, but Edward found it hilarious.
"I mean it, Bella, keep it down," Dad warned, unaware I'd been daydreaming instead of listening. "And keep that window locked."
I rolled my eyes. "It's like, a hundred degrees outside I'll get heat stroke."
"I'll get you a fan." He narrowed his eyes. "I'm not stupid, Bella, I know damned well you have a late night visitor when you think we're asleep. It stops now."
"If you mean Edward, then you're wrong," I began to say but he held out his hand.
"It stops now, Bella," he said with a finality to his tone that told me to let it go. "And when your punishment is over, this door always stays open when he's here. Are we clear?"
I groaned. "You've never had a problem with Edward before."
"He wasn't your boyfriend before, Bella, he was just your friend."
I shook my head. "Dad, Edward's always been so much more than just my friend."
"Not helping, Bella, really not helping," he muttered and closed the door as he left.
A few hours later, he and my mother went to bed and after a few minutes I heard his familiar snores emanating from their bedroom. With a smile, I opened the window as quietly as I could and almost straight away Edward's head popped up and he scrambled through the window.
"Finally," he whispered and flopped down on my bed. "I thought they were never going to go to bed."
"He's onto us." I giggled, lying back down beside him. "He told me to lock my window."
"I'm pleased you didn't," he said, kissing my head sweetly.
"Never." I tilted my head up and kissed him, not quite as sweetly as he did.
Kissing Edward was now my most favourite thing to do and I did it whenever and wherever I could. Luckily for me, he seemed to enjoy it too… in fact I knew for a fact he did. He was, after all, a sixteen year old boy, and right now, my thigh was being reminded of that fact quite prominently.
I knew that it happened pretty much every time we made out, and he knew that I knew but neither of us brought it up. Not yet anyway. I was in no hurry to move things along, I was going to make the most of every second.
We'd been kissing for about ten minutes when I heard the floorboards creak in my mom and dad's room. Edward froze and we both looked to the door anxiously. Footsteps padded down the hallway and stopped outside my door.
"Turn your light off now, sweetheart," my mom said through the closed door. "It's late and a school night."
"Okay, mom," I croaked. "I was just reading."
"Mm hm," she said. "I bet you were. Goodnight, Bella."
"Goodnight, Edward," she said, and I could hear the smile in her voice,
"Goodnight, Mrs. Swan," he mumbled and dropped his head to rest on my shoulder.
I had to pull the comforter up over my head to muffle my laughter, and as embarrassed as he was, I could feel Edward's body shaking as he laughed with me.
"Busted," I said to him and ruffled his hair.
"Do you think she'll tell your dad?" he asked anxiously.
"She won't say anything," I reassured him. "It's you, Edward, she loves you."
"That's getting to be quite the common thing with Swan women, huh?" he said smugly.
"It seems so, yeah." I pushed him down onto the bed again and kissed him. "Edward?"
"You don't have any older woman fantasies, do you?" I teased.
Edward held my face in his hands and shook his head. "Isabella Swan, you should know every fantasy I ever had involved you."
"Really?" I was both delighted and embarrassed at that revelation.
"Always you, Bella." He nodded seriously and then whispered, "I love you."
I smiled, loving the way those three simple words made me feel when they came from Edward. "That's the first time you've said that."
"But not the last," he told me placing one more kiss on my lips and then standing up. "Definitely not the last."
"I don't want you to go home," I pouted as he headed to the window.
"We need to keep your dad happy," he told me.
"Why?" I huffed, folding my arms across my chest.
"Because the faster you are done being grounded, the faster I can take my new girlfriend home to meet my mom. She's desperate to meet her."
"There's something else we have to do for the first time," I told him and his eyes widened. "Get your head out of the gutter, Edward. You and I need to go out on a date."
"Oh," he chuckled. "I like the sound of that. G'night, Bella."
"Goodnight, Edward," I said and blew him a kiss.
I watched as he disappeared through the window and then climbed under the covers, letting the smell of him on my pillow and the taste of him on my lips soothe me, never more thankful for getting a second chance with him, with life.
"So, let's talk about you and Edward," my dad said as we sat down to dinner about three weeks into my punishment.
"Aw crap," I said under my breath. "Let's not." I pushed around the spaghetti on my plate with a sudden loss of appetite.
"Dad set his knife and fork down and said, "Look, Bella, I'm sure this is as difficult for me as it is you, but what kind of dad would I be if I didn't talk to you about it?"
"The normal kind?" I protested and looked to my mom for help.
She held up her hands and laughed. "Keep me out of this."
"Bella, I'm not trying to make you uncomfortable I just think it's the responsible thing to do." Dad was either really hot right now, or he was feeling the embarrassment of the talk just as much as me. "I'm Edward's biggest fan, Honey, you know I am, but he's your boyfriend now—things have changed for the both of you, so we have to make some changes here, too."
"Like what?" I huffed. "This is ridiculous."
"First of all, your bedroom is out of bounds."
"What? Come on, Dad. Why?"
"Why do you think?"
"We don't pounce on each other like rabbits as soon as we're alone, Dad. Believe it or not, we do actually study and do homework together. It's kind of an important few years for us—senior year, graduation, college acceptances… we both know we have to work hard if we want to go to the same college." I was beyond pissed and was shooting daggers at my dad. "Edward is always the perfect gentleman thank you very much, so you really needn't worry about anything untoward going on."
I chose not to mention the over the clothes boob grope that went down last night while my parents were sleeping. In fact, I was hoping for some of the same tonight… or maybe even a little more.
"Are you even listening to me?" Dad fumed.
"Oh, sorry," I said, blushing furiously. "What did you say?"
"I was trying to compromise. I suggested that whenever you two are alone in this house, you stay downstairs."
But if they weren't here, how would they know? Besides, we could make out on the couch.
"I can deal with that," I told him. "And when you are here and we need to study?"
"Door stays open and we check on you sporadically." Dad didn't look too happy about that, so I figured I missed mom's intervention. "But, there's to be no loud music."
"Music could… um… hide noises."
"Oh my God, Dad, please stop talking," I groaned and covered my face.
"And while we're on that subject, we need to talk about protection."
"No, no, no, no, no. We most definitely do not need to talk about that!" I moved my hands to my ears and squeezed my eyes tightly. "Worst. Dinner. Ever."
"It's an important thing to talk about. Your mother and I-"
"I'm begging you to stop," I whimpered. "You cannot talk about you or Mom in the same sentence as sex, Dad. It's borderline child abuse."
"I think you're too young to even have a boyfriend, Bells, but I know that's just what any father would say. Now that you and Edward are involved I need to know that when you two… you know… you're going to be careful."
I stood up quickly. "I promise when the time comes I'll have it covered…" Dad turned purple and I heard exactly how that sounded to him. "Oh shit, I didn't mean that! I'll make sure we're careful I promise."
Mom was trying her hardest not to laugh and I glared furiously at her, before saying, "Dad, Edward and I aren't going to rush down that road. You brought me up to cherish the important things and that's what we're doing. Okay?"
Dad seemed to accept that and his shoulders relaxed. "Okay."
"Thank God for that," I breathed in relief. "I'm going upstairs to die of shame. Unless there's anything else you want to talk about that's going to humiliate me a little bit more?"
"No, I think we covered everything."
"Great." I took off like lightning towards the stairs.
"Actually there was one more thing he called out and I turned around. "You're on parole."
"Released on good behavior as of this moment." He winked and I grinned.
"Thanks, Dad." Forgetting about dying of shame in my bedroom, I raced out of the front door and ran down the street to Edward's house.
I burst straight through the door, knowing he was here alone. I found him on the couch with his head in a book and he looked like a startled lamb when he saw me.
"I'm free," I told him excitedly. "Dad just ungrounded me."
"Finally," he said in relief and came straight over kissing me like only Edward could. "You do realise, this is the first time you've been in my house since the party."
"That's true. So what do you want to do?" I asked innocently. "We have a chemistry worksheet we could work on?"
"As tempting as that sounds," he said with a smirk. "It also occurred to me, that we do all the fun stuff in your bedroom and I think my bedroom feels a little left out."
"That doesn't seem fair," I mused and grabbed his hand. "We should really even things out."
"You read my mind," he agreed.
Edward's bed became my new favourite place, it didn't creak and groan every time we moved about and right now there was a lot of moving about going on. Edward was lying on his back with me perched firmly on top, my shirt was unbuttoned enough to reveal the edges of my bra. Whenever we stopped kissing, I noticed Edward constantly glancing down my shirt eagerly.
I took a deep breath and opened the rest of the buttons, giggling to myself as Edward's eyes almost popped out of their sockets. I shrugged the shirt off my arms and then had no idea what to do next. I sat there feeling a little awkward but Edward didn't seem to notice. Those eager glances were now wide-eyed stares.
"Um, I don't know what to do now," I admitted shyly.
"Never putting your shirt back on again would be good," he suggested, finally looking up at my face. "I'm serious, Bella, being nearly naked suits you."
I was just about to suggest I saw him nearly naked when I saw him peering over my shoulder with a frown on his face.
"What's wrong?" I asked him turning around to see what he was looking at.
I half expected to find my dad in his bedroom or something equally terrifying, but all I could see was our reflection in the mirrored doors of his wardrobe.
"Bella, when did you get a tattoo?"
And hits complete button. I think there'll be an epi at some point… just not yet. This was seriously so much fun to write and gave me a wonderful escape from a lot of crap in RL. Massive thanks have to go to ThatsMzPeachesTYVM, Twilightladies & Kitty for their help ironing out all my mistakes and to Evilnat for the banner she made.
Thank you for being so patient when I disappeared for a while, this fandom is amazing I swear!
I have something new posting on Sunday… something a lot different to this and pretty much all my other stuff and I promise SIFY will complete, it's just a heavy kind of fic to write.