Contest entry for the Happily Ever After TwiFic Contest
Title: Close to you.
Summary: For over a year Bella has been crushing on popular quarterback, Edward Cullen. But will she ever work up the courage to talk to him and get her happy ending?
Disclaimer: S Meyer owns all things Twilight.
Authors note: Hey guys, remember me? I know it has been forever since my last update. I really didn't intend it to be so long but the last few months have been pretty busy with starting my new job and moving home, and it is only now that I have a little more time on my hands. However I am back now with my entry for the Happily Ever After TwiFic Contest. Surprise, surprise I actually won one of the judges pick! I can't tell you how happy and thankful I am for the wonderful responses I had. If you haven't read it already I hope you like it too:) I'd love to know what you think.
Also be sure to check out all of the other entries for the contest too. There are some incredible one shots featured, and with a little encouragement I am hoping some of them will be extended.
Lastly, thank you to my wonderful beta Bronzed topaz for looking over this story for me:) If you aren't already,you should definitely check out her profile. Her stories are brilliant and incredibly underrated so be sure to leave her a nice review or two.
~*~Close to you~*~
All day long I heard the gossip that was spreading like wildfire. A party at the Cullen's house this Friday night was big news. Everyone was talking about it.
Usually I never paid much attention to idle gossip because parties aren't really my scene, but as soon as the Cullen's name was mentioned even I couldn't help but be a little curious.
From what I could gather Doctor Cullen and his wife, Esme, were heading out of town for the weekend to go to some fancy medical conference in Seattle, so their children were making the most of their absence by throwing the first party of our senior year.
Twins Alice and Edward Cullen are considered royalty at Forks High School; both popular, incredible athletes, members of the student council and honour students all rolled into one.
Apparently they wanted everyone to attend and even losers like me and my best friend Angela were invited. Though in all fairness, Angela isn't quite as geeky as me. Smart definitely, a little quiet perhaps, but she certainly isn't a cowardly bookworm who is too scared to even talk to the guy she's crushing on.
You see herein lies the problem;
I've had a crush on Edward Cullen for well over a year now, ever since I transferred to Forks High at the start of my junior year, but I'm not so stupid that I would actually let him or any of his group of dumb jocks know.
To be fair, Edward isn't like those stereotypical football jocks in their matching jerseys and jackets. For a start he doesn't dress like them. Edward has his own sense of style. He dresses much more casually in well worn out jeans, simple t-shirts, plain button down shirts, and hoodies that, on anyone else would look completely ordinary but on his perfectly toned body, look amazing.
He even makes a pea coat look cool. Seriously, who does that?
Personality wise, Edward Cullen doesn't exactly fit the popular kid mould either. He's sort of quiet, mysterious, the brooding type.
And did I mention that he is irresistibly handsome?
Well trust me, he is. He's got it all; the high cheekbones, dangerous green eyes, the softest lips, a strong chiselled jaw line and the most unique brown hair that shines bronze in the sunlight. I've heard words like Adonis and Greek God thrown around in reference to him and I'd have to agree with each of those comparisons because he is simply too beautiful to put into words.
And he's smart too. I know this because he's in my advanced biology class.
But what really sets Edward apart from the other jocks is that he's a genuinely nice guy, or so I've heard. Besides the occasional shy smile in the hallway, which probably isn't even aimed at me anyway, and the rare study related discussion in class when Mr Banner pairs us together in biology, I haven't actually had too many chances to talk with him.
I suppose it doesn't help matters that I am your stereotypical painfully shy nerd who gets nervous just looking at Edward, let alone talking to him, and whenever I try, I go all tongue tied. Or worse, if by some miracle I did actually managed to speak to him I would stumble over my words, go bright red or both, and end up making an even bigger ass of myself than before.
It's pretty humiliating how I always have the tendency to fall to pieces with Edward in front of me. I'm constantly dropping my books in class and tripping over in the hallway in full view of him. Thankfully he's really sweet and incredibly gracious about the whole thing, but in a way his kindness only makes it worse, and after the last humiliating incident when I spilled my drink down him in the cafeteria, I have been avoiding him like the plague.
It's not like I would ever stand a chance with him anyway. Edward Cullen is too gorgeous, too perfect and certainly way out of my league. I am far too boring and nowhere near interesting or beautiful enough to gain his attention. Guys just don't fawn over me like they do the Rosalie Hale's and Tanya Denali's of this world.
My mom says I am beautiful, but I am plain, in a girl next door kind of way, but its not like I would ever stand a chance. With his lean and muscular build, his chiselled good looks and blazing green eyes, Edward Cullen could have anyone he wanted, but he is notoriously picky and has never given a single girl at school so much as a second look.
According to Jessica Stanley he even had a girlfriend in college last year which is why he never shows an interest in anyone. Personally, I think she is just trying to make excuses for the fact that he turned her down.
Or perhaps there are some truth in the rumours after all, because not even Tanya Denali, head cheerleader and one of the most beautiful and popular girls in school, has caught Edward's eye, despite her many desperate attempts to entice him.
And if girls like Tanya and Jessica can't gain his attention what chance do us mere mortal have?
And a whole load of other words that mean it's never going to happen.
So, why waste my time when there is such an obvious inequality? Edward was never going to notice me and I needed to stop deluding myself with such foolish romantic fantasies. Sadly, things like that don't happen in the real world. There would be no happily ever after with Edward Cullen. I need to accept that, move on and forget about him once and for all.
Sadly that is a lot easier said than done and ten minutes later I was still so preoccupied, daydreaming about Edward, that I didn't even notice my best friend Angela enter the library until she was right in front of me.
"There you are! Anyone would think you were avoiding me," she said accusingly as she sat down on the seat beside me.
"Don't be silly. I'm studying," I justified, pointing down to the book in front of me.
"You study too much. You've always got your nose in a book," she said teasingly before a wide smile appeared on her face.
"Have you heard that there's a party at the Cullen's house? Do you want to go? It could be fun," she added hopefully.
"I'm not sure that's such a good idea, Ang," I replied, disinterested. Neither Angela nor I really do parties and after my last run in with Edward I was in even less of a hurry to put myself through any more potentially embarrassing situations any time soon.
"You know how I feel about parties. It's not really my scene," I replied gently which only seemed to encourage her more.
"Don't be such a party pooper. You might even surprise yourself and have fun!" she exclaimed.
I grimaced, unconvinced.
"Come on Bella, this is our senior year, we should be out there enjoying ourselves. And besides, Ben is going to be there," she added enthusiastically and a wide smile lit up her face.
It was no secret that Angela has had a major crush on a boy from our Spanish class ever since they had been paired together on a class project last semester. All summer long I had to listen to her blabbering on about how this was the year she finally did something about it.
"Please Bella, I need you to come with me. He actually asked me if I was going to the party. I really think this could be my chance," she pleaded with me.
I had never seen her looking so anxious before so I knew that this was important to her, and despite my apprehensions, I somehow found myself agreeing.
"Fine, I'll go with you." I sighed reluctantly, giving in to her smile and pitiful look. "I mean how bad could it be, right?" I was trying to convince myself but I was already regretting agreeing to go with her.
Why was I such a push over?
"Thank you so much, Bella. You wont regret this, we will have a good night I promise you. Plus, Edward is obviously going to be there. Maybe this could be your chance with him too." She said, wiggling her eyebrows suggestively. I reddened instantly and tried to look everywhere other than at her.
Angela knew all about the pathetic crush, correction, the obsession I had with Forks High's starring Quarterback, but unlike her infatuation with Ben, I had absolutely no intention of doing anything about it.
"Mention him again and I won't be going at all," I threatened.
"Relax, I'm only teasing you. I still don't understand why you're so nervous around him any way. Edward seems like a really nice guy. You should just talk to him." She said encouragingly.
"And why would I do that?"
"Because he likes you," Angela said totally deadpan.
"Oh please, don't be so ridiculous" I scoffed, shaking my head at the ridiculousness of her claim. "You don't know what you're talking about."
"You might be oblivious to it, but I'm not. Trust me, I've seen the way he looks at you when he thinks nobody else is watching," she insisted.
"Angela you're delusional!" I replied dismissively. She was always accusing me of being too self- critical and while I desperately wished her claims were true, I wasn't crazy enough to believe her. She was probably only trying to make me feel better about my completely one-sided crush.
"Now can we please talk about something else before I change my mind," I said, desperate to change the subject.
"Fine, but only if you say you'll come to my house before the party so we can get ready together."
I nodded back in agreement, a little scared and a little worried about what I was getting myself into.
The rest of the week passed by so fast that I barely had time to worry about the party and before I knew it Friday had arrived. As planned, I headed over to Angela's house after school where she dedicated herself to helping me find a perfect outfit. Thankfully, she was feeling rather generous tonight, putting me in some simple black jeans, a tank top and a dark blue sweater over the top. She was also kind enough to help me with my make up, something I had very little experience with. Usually, I only ever wore a little mascara and some lip-gloss at most but tonight I wanted to look my best, so I gave Angela free rein.
Looking in the mirror, I barely recognised the stranger staring back at me. My eyes looked bigger, with thick, long lashes, my skin shined with a natural glow that had nothing to do with my embarrassingly frequent blush. I almost always wore my hair pulled up any which way because it was too much hassle to attempt to do anything with it, but now I was surprised by how much more glamorous it looked as it shimmered about my face and shoulders in the loose curls that Angela had created.
"You look beautiful Bella. Tonight is going to be so much fun," Angela said brightly as she went to the mirror and put the finishing touches to her own make up.
"I have a good feeling about this evening. Now come on lets get going," she urged as she grabbed her purse and started making her way out of the house.
Throwing caution to the wind, I took one last look at myself in the mirror before grabbing my purse and following after her.
My excitement lasted all of twenty minutes, right up until the moment we pulled up outside the Cullen house on the outskirts of town. From a distance their house was pretty impressive but it was even more spectacular up close. The driveway was already full with cars and my heart gave a jump in my chest when I spotted Edward's silver Volvo parked among them.
As this was my first real party I really had no idea what to expect. My nerves seemed to kick in when I reached for the door handle and I felt Angela give my arm a gentle tug before she started making her way inside.
I followed after her in a bit of a haze, while trying to take in everything around me. Though we had arrived relatively early, every room was already packed full of people. The music was blaring and the drinks were flowing but I was surprised to see that it all seemed pretty civilised, for now at least.
As we walked through the house my immediate response was to see if I could spot Edward amongst the crowd. I looked around anxiously for him, but was severely disappointed to find that there wasno sign of him at all.
Disheartened, I made my way into the kitchen where Angela grabbed a fruity looking concoction while I stuck to soda. With our drinks in hand we then headed back towards the main living room where Angela immediately spotted Ben sitting at one of the sofas on the far side of the room. I gave her an encouraging smile and a gentle nudge before we went over to join him and his friends.
As soon as we reached them, Angela immediately struck up a conversation and seemed totally at ease with them. I don't know where her newfound confidence came from but I was incredibly happy for her.
And while Angela was lucky in getting to talk to her crush, I glanced around the room in search of my own. Still, there was no sign of Edward. Then, just when I had given up hope, I spotted him entering the room talking with his best friend Emmett McCarthy and Emmett's girlfriend Rosalie.
I was staring helplessly when he suddenly looked up at me. My breath hitched and the heat rose to my face at being caught out. I hastily looked down to my feet, and I kept my face down to hide the blush that spread across my cheeks.
I wasn't brave enough to look at him again for fear of being caught out and for almost an hour, I stayed besides Angela and Ben listening only half-heartedly to their conversation. I'd never liked being the third wheel and though they both tried to include me in their conversations I still felt like I was intruding. Deflated, I turned my attention to the drink in front of me and tried not to let my disappointment show, but deep down I was counting down the minutes until I could leave.
Despite being so obviously caught out earlier on, that didn't stop me looking across at Edward from time to time. Occasionally he was busy talking with his friends from the team, sometimes I was even more surprised to find he was looking my way, which caused me to blush even deeper and quickly look away. Other times he was surrounded by girls vying for his attention. Thankfully he seemed indifferent to the attention and they soon gave up when he showed no preference to any of them.
Regardless, every careless look had grated on my nerves and I felt a sudden dart of complete and unreasonable jealously when out of the corner of my eye I noticed Tanya Denali hovering besides him. My heart ached as I watched her in her short skirt and low cut top desperately fighting for his attention. It really shouldn't have surprised me really; she had made no secret of the fact that she had wanted Edward for some time now.
Still, watching Edward being surrounded by countless girls was not my idea of fun; I had had quite enough already at school and I wished I hadn't bothered coming tonight after all. To know that he was out of my league was one thing, but to have it thrown in my face was another thing entirely.
Disheartened, I forced my gaze away. I really needed that drink now. The first opportunity I got I excused myself and left Ben and Angela talking away. I retreated into the kitchen and I had just started pouring some of the fruity concoction that Angela had earlier into my cup when a smooth, deep, velvet voice startled me.
"I'd avoid that if I were you, I'm pretty sure it's been spiked by now."
I recognized the voice immediately but my heart still did an involuntary leap in my chest when I turned around to find none other than Edward Cullen standing in the doorway.
"O-Oh... T-Thanks," I stammered out, trying to keep from dropping the cup I held.
I couldn't help but stare at him for a moment. He was even more spectacular up close - how that was even possible I'm not sure. His eyes, I decided, were the most unusual shade of green I had ever seen. The colour of emeralds flecked with gold and hazel. He looked effortlessly gorgeous in simple jeans and a grey fitted T-shirt and I couldn't take my eyes away from him.
"Is that a yes then?" His velvety voice broke my trance like state.
"Hmm?" I breathed, thoroughly dazzled, but at the same time mortified that I had been so busy eyeing him up that I had no idea what he was talking about.
"S- sorry what w-was the question?" I stuttered like the complete imbecile that I am.
His mouth twitched slightly at the corners, hiding a knowing smile. "I asked if you were having a good time tonight?"
"Um, sure." I managed to smile back.
I was trying to act natural around him when inside I was a jumble of nerves. Desperate for a distraction away from Edward's piercing gaze, I looked around the room for something to drink but all I could see was beers and spirits. Neither were a good option for a lightweight like me and Edward must have read my dilemma because he thoughtfully offered me a can of coke instead.
"Here, you can have this if you'd like" he said before an amused look passed across his features. "Just promise me you wont throw it at me this time," he teased.
I felt my cheeks heat up in embarrassment, as I hastily began apologising. "Oh god. I'm so sorry about that. I'm a total clutz!"
Eager to avoid another awkward, regrettable encounter I turned to flee when Edward's voice stopped me.
"Hey, don't go."
I turned back to face him and faltered at the small smile he sent my way. "Sorry, I didn't mean to embarrass you. Here, have this," he said, offering me the can again.
When he reached across to hand me the drink our fingers brushed and I could have sworn I felt a sight spark as our hands touched and I quickly drew my hand away. Edward looked down sheepishly and quickly retracted his hand like he had been burnt.
Did he feel it too?
"So, I haven't seen you at any of the other parties before. Why this one?" He seemed genuinely interested.
"It was my best friend Angela's idea, she kind of talked me into coming tonight. I'm not really used to being around so many people," I told him honestly, suddenly feeling a lot less nervous around Edward than I usually was.
"You don't like big crowds?" he inquired.
"No, I don't. Angela thinks we should try new things, embrace our senior year, but honestly I'd much rather be at home."
As soon as the words were out of my mouth I realised I had said too much and I could feel my blush spreading across my cheeks.
"I didn't...I mean, I don't ..." I started backtracking when Edward's voice interrupted my rambling.
"It's okay, I'm not really into parties either," he told me.
"Really?" I failed to keep the scepticism out of my tone.
"Yes, really." He smiled that beautifully crooked smile that once again left me gaping like an idiot.
"Trust me, the party was more Alice's idea than mine."
Opening up to people had never come very easily to me but for some reason I was suddenly feeling a lot less shy around Edward than I usually did and all the awkwardness that I feared would be there disappeared. And somehow, despite the obscurity of the situation and all my previous embarrassing encounters, I felt myself relaxing around him.
There was something about Edward that put me at ease instantly and we quickly fell into easy conversation. From then we talked about everything and anything. Books we had read, music we listened to, and films we enjoyed. It turns out we had a lot more in common than I would ever have thought.
Yes, Edward is good looking but it was his modesty and charm that knocked me sideways. He made me laugh without trying too hard, but best of all he is a great guy, funny, charming and so easy to talk to. Never once did he make me feel uncomfortable and I was glad that I had finally found the courage to talk to him.
Rather than going back into the living room where everyone else seemed to be hanging out, we stayed where we were. A few people came into kitchen from time to time for another drink while we continued to get to know one another.
I lost track of time when I was with Edward and I spent the best part of half an hour with him. I was amazed at how we never seemed to run out of things to talk about. I'd never felt happier and I couldn't remember the last time I smiled as much. I got butterflies in my chest every time he smiled my favourite crooked smile and I felt myself falling for him even more the better I got to know him.
We had just started discussing what colleges we were thinking of applying to when a new voice spoke up from behind Edward. I turned around to see Emmett McCarthy and Rosalie Hale coming towards us.
"There you are! We were wondering where you had got to," Emmett's booming voice interrupted.
"Are you going to introduce us?" He grinned, and clapped a hand on Edward's shoulder.
"Bella this Emmett and his girlfriend Rosalie. Guys this is Bella," Edward replied smoothly
"Nice to meet you, Bella," Rosalie spoke first.
"You too," I replied shyly. In school Rosalie scared the hell out of me. She's the epitome of perfection with her blonde hair and body to die for but underneath her hardened exterior she was really nice and I actually enjoyed talking with her.
Even Emmett who was notoriously loud and boisterous was nowhere near as scary and intimidating as I'd wrongly assumed he would be, and I quickly realised that I had misjudged them both.
The two of them stayed chatting with us for a while before announcing that they were leaving, but not without a parting jibe from Emmett.
"You guys are going to come and join the party at some point, right?" He teased on his way out.
Edward watched them go then he turned to me with a sheepish smile as he rubbed a hand against the back of his neck.
"I suppose we should head back inside?" He sounded reluctant.
"I guess so," I agreed, though I was a little apprehensive about going back and joining the rest of the party.
"Do you want to come meet some of my other friends?" Edward offered me his trademark crooked grin that I couldn't refuse. I nodded back, secretly thrilled that I was getting to spend more time with the object of my affection.
On our way back to the main room I couldn't help noticing all the people casting curious looks in our direction and I felt slightly embarrassed by the attention. I was used to blending into the background and most of the time people tended to brush past me as though I didn't exist, but with Edward beside me it was virtually impossible to go unnoticed.
Still, it was an unnerving experience going from being unknown to having people noticing me, but I was determined not to let my shyness spoil the rest of the night and I tried hard not to let their blatant staring affect me.
Of course, it helped that Edward was with me and I could ignore the pointed stares and whispers from the other people in the room when he was there.
The night flew by as he took me around the room, introducing me to his friends, even some of his team-mates and, most surprisingly of all, his sister Alice, who much like the rest of Edward's friends, made a real effort to make me feel welcome.
The only time he left my side was when he went to get us some more drinks. No sooner had Edward left than I spotted Mike Newton making his way towards me. I had spent much of the night avoiding his gaze because he's as sleazy as you could get. Everyone knew that he was sleeping with Jessica and Lauren; everyone except Jessica and Lauren themselves. They were the only ones dumb enough to fall for his charm, not that he had any what so ever.
I cringed when his smile grew ridiculously wide as he moved towards me.
"Looking good Bella," he said leering down at me. I felt slightly nauseous.
"I almost didn't recognise you. You look great," he declared, sending me a wide smile as his gaze lingered over my body.
I shifted uncomfortably at the looks he was sending in my direction and looked down at my feet to avoid his lingering gaze, but I could still sense his eyes on me. I just stood there fidgeting awkwardly, trying to think of a polite way to get rid of him when an all too familiar voice appeared behind me.
I didn't need to look up to know who was beside me. The unique scent that radiated off his body, a scent so distinctly Edward, instantly reassured me.
"Sorry I took so long," he whispered in my ear. I was even more dumbfounded when his arms came to wrap around me from behind and pulled me back against him like it was the most natural thing in the world. My heart stuttered and I leaned back against him without thinking about it. It was so natural, so easy like this.
I saw Mike taking in our embrace and I felt myself tense. I think Edward must have noticed too, judging by the way his grip tightened around my waist.
"What do you want Mike?" Edward's tone was harsh.
"Nothing, I was keeping Bella company, isn't that right Bella?" Mike smirked, leaning in towards me. He reached out to touch me but Edward brushed his hand away.
"Leave her alone Newton," he warned, sending him an icy glare.
"Relax Eddie, I'm only messing with you," he laughed before he finally took the hint and went off in search of his next victim.
After Mike's departure I stayed glued to Edward's side while the music got louder and the crowd became more boisterous, though it was nowhere near as bad as I had thought it would be. Sure, there were a few guys a little worse for wear and some over excited couples making out, but overall it was pretty tame in comparison to what I had imagined.
"So was tonight as bad as you thought?" Edward asked me.
"No, worse." I teased.
"Geeze, thanks Bella." He tried to sound offended and nudged my shoulder playfully.
"You know I'm only kidding."
I looked up at Edward who seemed to be debating something. I was about to ask him what he was thinking when Emmett announced that the real fun was about to start with some drinking games. I cringed when a few of the guys tried to call Edward over to join them but thankfully he ignored their calls and turned to me nervously.
"Do you want to get out of here?" He offered much to my relief.
"Yes, please," I replied in an instant.
"We could go to my room?" Edward suggested, then he started backtracking when he realised how that sounded.
"I- I didn't mean... N-not like that."
It was the first time that I had ever heard him stutter and it was reassuring that Mr Popular Edward Cullen was just as human as the rest of us.
"It's fine Edward, I know what you mean. Lead the way," I encouraged him.
As strange as it might seem, I knew that I could trust Edward completely and I placed my hand into his out stretched one without hesitation.
Neither of us spoke until we reached what I assumed was Edward's room. He paused and turned to face me with a nervous look on his face. He was rubbing at the back of his neck again, his other hand shoved into his jeans pocket.
"This is my room," he said before he turned to open the door and lead me inside.
I took the opportunity to look around his room and blushed when I stared at the doubled bed in the middle of the room, before moving towards his desk. I was in the process of looking through his vast collection of text books and journals when Edward came over to join me.
"Wow, you have a lot of books," I said, sounding utterly juvenile.
He shrugged in response and for some unknown reason he looked kind of embarrassed.
"I have to find a way of keeping up with you and your friends." He spoke so quietly I was unsure whether he meant for me to hear him or not.
"Excuse me?" I asked confused.
"I'm not like you Bella. Biology's a struggle for me. I've had to work hard all last year to even stay in that class." He looked embarrassed by his admission so I tried to reassure him.
"I'd never have guessed. I mean you always know the answers in class. You're one of the smartest people I know," I added with a smile.
"That's what I wanted you to think," he confessed. "Of course, it doesn't help that there's added distractions in class," he added almost casually.
"Never mind," Edward sighed. Then his expression changed and he took a step closer. I felt my stomach flip and I swallowed against the sudden dryness in my throat. He had an unreadable expression on his face and I bit my bottom lip, wondering what he was thinking. We were both quiet for a moment and an awkward silence fell between us which hadn't happened all evening. My mouth suddenly seemed so dry. We had talked so freely before but now I couldn't get my words out and it seemed surprisingly tense between the two of us.
"I'm glad you came tonight, Bella," Edward said suddenly, breaking the silence.
"Me too, I've had fun," I told him honestly.
Edward smiled back though it was obvious he was apprehensive about something. I had never seen him behaving this way before and I felt nervous by the way he was shifting from side to side, seemingly anxious.
"Is everything okay?" I cautiously asked.
He looked even more worried as his face looked up to mine. "Sorry, I have a few things going on in my head at the moment," he apologised.
"Is it anything that I could help you with?" I began sensitively.
He seemed to be debating something in his head before he finally spoke. "It's a bit personal. There's this girl that I've liked for a while now," he revealed.
"Oh!" I gasped, unprepared for his frankness. "That's .. that's ...well, that's wonderful."
I tried to smile back, but inside I was a mess. I felt like I had been punched in the chest and I struggled to keep my expression impassive.
"What's the problem then?"
" I don't know if she feels the same way. I'm worried she might turn me down?" Edward sounded weary.
"I can't see any girl turning you down," I told him honestly.
"She's not just some girl, she's special," he declared passionately.
I stood there in silence for a few moments, taking in what he had said. All I could think about was Edward's dream girl and who she might be. There were just so many beautiful girls it could be and it wasn't long before my curiosity got the better of me once more.
"What is she like?"
The second the words were out of my mouth I wished I could take them back. I wasn't sure I was ready to hear Edward declaring his feelings for another girl.
He paused looking thoughtful for a moment before he spoke. "She's beautiful, and kind, and caring. No to mention a little clueless at times." He smirked.
"She sounds perfect," I sighed, devastated that I had lost him before I'd ever really had a chance with him in the first place.
"She is. The first time I saw her I knew she was special." Edward's smile was breathtaking. "I've just been waiting for the right moment to make my move."
"So you've liked her for a long time then?" I surmised.
"Yeah, you could say that. She's had me on the loop for a while now. As scary as it might be, I think she could be the one."
My heart clenched at the beautiful smile on his face and in that moment my heart broke. I mourned the loss of the only man I would ever love, but somehow through the pain, I managed to find my voice to reply.
"Who is the lucky lady?" I asked before I could help myself.
"I would think it were obvious by now," Edward said, his blush returning.
"Why, do I know her?" I panicked.
Edward chucked lightly, something passed on his face but it was gone a second later. "Have a guess and perhaps I'll tell you," he said cryptically.
"Tanya," I suggested automatically.
A frown appeared on his handsome face and also a furrow between his brows as he contemplated my enquiry.
"No, it's definitely not Tanya," he replied, staring at me like it was the most ridiculous suggestion in the world.
"Jessica?" She was definitely clueless.
He shook his head and stepped closer to me. "Try again."
"Lauren?" I was running out of ideas. They seemed like the obvious choices.
"Wrong again," Edward smirked He was having way too much fun with this. I'm glad he found it so funny. Couldn't he see how hard this was for me? I hoped not.
"I don't know Edward," I yelled, throwing my hands up into the air in frustration.
"One more guess," he encouraged stopping right in front of me. "The answer is closer than you think." He raised his eyebrows and sent me a look as if to say the answer was so blindingly obvious.
My mind raced as I tried to figure out who else it could be. Racking my brain I thought of all the girls at the party that Edward had spoken with or seemed especially interested in but no one stood out in my mind. Then a sudden terrible thought hit me when I remembered how he had taken the time to get to know me and how he'd seemed genuinely interested in hearing about my friends.
Oh God no!
"Angela." I couldn't keep the tremor out of my voice. If he said yes I wasn't sure what I would say.
Edward didn't bother to hide his amusement, he actual laughed at my suggestion.
"I don't know who you're talking about," I said, growing increasingly frustrated.
Edward sighed, looking at me imploringly. "Are you really going to make me spell it out to you?"
"I think you're going to have to!"
"It's you Bella, it's always been you," Edward declared, sending me a shy, hopefully smile.
I blinked, hearing him but not understanding. I didn't know what to say and I stared up at him in a daze. I was struggling to get my head around it. I was utterly speechless and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get my words out. It was like my mouth wouldn't function and instead I just stood there like a statue.
The silence seemed to drag out and when I still hadn't said anything, Edward expression went from hopeful to devastated in a matter if seconds.
"Say something please," he begged.
"Why?" I said, finally finding my voice.
"Why what?" Edward asked looking equally confused.
"Why would you like me? I mean, I'm not one of the popular girls. I'm not a cheerleader. I don't understand what you see in me," I blurted out, almost angrily.
Edward looked like I had slapped him, and he stood staring at me before his expression turned harsh.
"Is that what you think about me?" he snapped not even attempting to keep his temper in check. "That I'm only into the pretty girls? That all I care about is football and popularity?"
Finally, I found my voice and then it all came out in a rush. "I'm so sorry, Edward. It wasn't fair of me to judge you like that. It's just, look at you; your you and I'm.. I'm .. I'm just me. I'm nothing special." I lifted one shoulder in a shrug and shook my head.
Edward cast me a strange look somewhere between angry and confused.
"Bella, how can you say that? Have you not listened to a word I said?" he said gently. I felt him take my hand in his and I shuddered when he softly stroked his thumb across the back of my hand.
"Because it's true. Look at me Edward! I'm very ordinary, plain, and boring," I admitted, embarrassed and when I looked up into his eyes he was staring at me intently.
"Bella, you're the smartest, funniest, prettiest girl I have ever met. I think you're amazing. The truth is, I've liked you for a while now. I just never got the courage to ask you out." He told me this with such passion that I was temporarily speechless.
"I like you too, Edward. I've liked you for so long, I just never thought you would feel the same," I admitted.
"Then you'll go out with me tomorrow night?" he asked softly.
"I'd love to," I agreed in a heartbeat.
"Perfect," he said, a crooked smile tugging on his lips.
Edward leaned toward me and I froze when I became aware of just how close we were; so close that our noses were almost touching and his lips were mere inches away from mine. His hands moved from mine, working their way up my arms to my shoulders until they finally rested against my cheek.
I gulped as I was overcome by the strangest tingling sensation. My heart jumped to my throat, my pulse began to hammer, and an odd combination of heat and chill gripped me.
His eyes danced over my face while his fingers roamed over my cheek, then my chin and finally settled on my jaw before his eyes focussed on my lips. They involuntarily twitched in anticipation. I could lightly feel his breath on my lips and my heart began pounding frantically in my chest. I had never felt anything like this before. I was partly terrified, partly excited.
I could feel butterflies gathering in my chest as he tilted my head up and traced my cheekbones with his thumb. It felt like an eternity before his lips finally brushed against mine.
He kissed me slowly, his lips pressing firmly but not too hard against mine. I froze initially, too shocked to respond as the lips I had long dreamt about kissing lightly touched mine. It started off sweet and fairly innocent at first, almost like he was testing the waters to see if I pulled away.
When I didn't, he kissed me one, twice, three times before he brought his mouth hard against mine and I couldn't help but respond to him. His hands grasped either side of my head, holding me close as he kissed me deeply. He kissed the bump of my chin and around my throat while one hand twisted in my hair. I felt his other hand against my hip again, his fingers splayed against the fabric of my shirt and gripping my skin tightly.
The kiss went deeper and deeper until we were both lost in the passion of it all. When we came to the end of our feverish kissing session we reluctantly broke apart to catch our breath. My breathing came out in pants for a few minutes as I tried to recompose myself.
"I've been wanting to do that for a while now," Edward confessed, his voice a mix of wonder and confusion.
"Me too," my voice was breathless.
"Can I kiss you again?" Edward asked blushing, and I thought it was adorable how he could go from being so determined and confident to shy and bashful in the blink of an eye.
I nodded back eagerly, feeling my own blush heating my cheeks but before I could feel embarrassed, Edward's lips were covering mine and once again I was lost in the taste of him.
I'm not exactly sure how it happened but one minute we were kissing, the next we were on the bed with Edward on top of me. A part of me was screaming that this was wrong; that we were moving too fast but my body refused to cooperate and my hands tangled in his bronze hair as his tongue swept across my lips. He licked my bottom lip, asking for entrance, which I readily gave. My lips parted beneath his and he plunged his tongue into my mouth as he pulled me hard against his body. A low groan escaped his mouth when his tongue stroked mine.
Suddenly Edward pulled back and we moved away from each other, a bit awkwardly. A part of me was relieved that he had the sense to stop now while there was still time, because no matter how strongly I felt, I just wasn't ready for that kind of commitment right now. However the other part of me was hurt and disappointed and I looked at him in confusion.
"Sorry, I just didn't picture my first time being like this," Edward said as he put his arms around me and kissed me gently, reassuringly. When he pulled away from me I swore his cheeks were tinged pink. He was adorable. Then his words sank in and I froze.
"YOUR first time?" I said, failing to hide my disbelief.
Edward Cullen, the guy who could have any girl he wanted, was a virgin!
"Yes, my first time." Edward leaned down and kissed me softly, our most tender kiss yet.
"Trust me, I'm not in the habit of bringing girls up here. Actually, you would be the first and hopefully last."
"But what about the girlfriend you had who was at college?" I accused.
Edward laughed, it was a beautiful sound. "There was no girlfriend, Bella. It was something that Alice made up to get the girls off my back. Of course, that rumour came back to bite me in the ass a week later when you arrived at school. There's only ever been you." He leaned in to place a quick kiss on my surprised lips.
When he pulled away, he was smirking. "What about you? Any jealous ex's I need to worry about?" He tried to sound casual but I could hear a trace of jealousy in his voice.
"No, there's been no one but you," I admitted. I'm sure I would have been embarrassed by my lack of experience had Edward not seemed pleased by my answer. He leaned down to kiss me again and it was several long minutes later when we finally pulled apart.
Resting my head against his broad chest, Edwards arms held me in his protective hold. I'd never felt so content or loved. A little while later we slowly drifted off to sleep in each other's arms. The first of many times this would happen in our lifetime.
After the party, Edward and I were practically inseparable. And if I thought he was perfect before, he was an even more wonderful the more I got to know him. He was the most loving, caring, thoughtful and romantic boyfriend I could have asked for.
So here we are; almost a year on and moving on from high school into the next stage in our lives .
Luckily, we had both been accepted into UCLA and were making the move together. From the outset we knew that we wanted to live together and with the help of Edward's parents, we're renting a place of our own near campus.
Dorms and room-mates just weren't an option for us.
We are married after all!
Yeah, I definitely hadn't pictured myself married at 18 but, just like with me and Edward, some things are just meant to be.
After graduation we decide to go on a four-week road trip to celebrate. Our route wasn't exactly planned and by chance we ended up in Vegas. One night when we were packing up our things, ready to move on to spend some time with my mother in Florida, Edward asked me to marry him. I jokingly said 'what today?' His response: 'why not?'
So, two hours later in a rented dress, witnessed by two complete strangers and performed by the a stereotypical Elvis lookalike, I said I do!
It may have been spontaneous but I've never regretted it for a second. The only problem we have is telling our families. We're kind of putting it off for a while. We'll tell them eventually but for now it's nice having our own secret.
"So what do you think?" Edward asked, drawing me out of my reverie as he came behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist.
"Perfect," I said, glancing around the house we had spent the best part of the weekend unpacking and organising.
"Yes, you are," Edward whispered as he leaned over and kissed me just below my ear.
As far as Happily ever afters go, I think we're as close to one as you could get.