I rested my chin on my folded arms, scribbled a word down in my notebook, then placed my hands on the guitar strings and strummed a few chords.
I stopped, glanced at my phone and rested my chin on my folded arms. Scribbled down some words, strummed my guitar and then stopped to glance at my phone again.
I had been going through this cycle for the past hour.
Angela had called twice that morning and I dodged her calls, but I was now considering calling her back.
I missed my friend, no matter what happened between us. I'm not sure that I wanted to forgive Ben yet. I guess I didn't know if I was ready to forgive Angela yet either, but I was ready to talk.
I was sitting outside, on the couch Charlie had on the front porch, because it was a nice day. Well, as nice as Forks got, anyway, and also because Sam was home and I was still pissed off about the other night and was trying to avoid him as much as possible.
I leaned my guitar back against the chair and grabbed my phone. I spotted Alice walking out of her neighbors yard across the street, Pumpernickel on his leash. She waved at me. I waved back and watched her walk down the street out of sight as I dialed Angela's number.
"Hey, Ang. It's me," I replied, hoping to come off as okay, even though I was anything but, now that we were talking. So weird. It was not supposed to be like this with Angela.
Angela immediately launched into an apology. "Isabella! I'm so glad you called. I'm so sorry. There's like, no excuse in the world. I mean, anything I tell you will sound like I'm not to take responsibility and all I want is for us to be friends again."
Her voice choked up at the end, like she was close to tears, but I was determined to stay calm. "It's like I lost both of you at once. I did lose both of you."
We talked about her and Ben. She told me how horrible she's felt. How she couldn't bring herself say anything, saying it was keeping her up at night.
We were quiet for a moment. We'd never been awkward with each other. Back home, the adults – parents and teachers – they all loved Angela. Including my mom. They had no idea. Angela can be sweet and well rounded, especially around my mom, but she was also the devious mastermind of everything we weren't supposed to do and did anyway.
"So, how did it happen?" I prompted Angela, breaking our silence. "Was it at Jessica's party while I was in London where she got a fake ID and all that booze?" Angela remained silent and if it wasn't for her breathing, I thought she had hung up. "Angela?" I prompted.
"There was no alcohol involved," she said in a rush.
"So, what?" I said, confused now. "You guys hooked up because you liked each other?"
"Isabella…" she trailed off and my heart ripped a little further.
"Are you serious? That was a rhetorical question!" I snapped at her. "When I first started dating Ben and you told me how much you liked him - you really meant that you liked him, huh?"
"I'm sorry," Angela said in a small voice. "I really am, Isabella. I can't believe I could feel this way after doing something so awful."
I squeezed my eyes shut tight. "Are you two dating?"
"We're…taking things slow."
I huffed out a laugh. "Meaning you're either together in secret and too chicken to go out in public, OR you two are waiting for me to leave for London so being together won't look so bad in front of people that we know. Or both."
We kept talking, no quiet pauses this time. Some things she said made me feel better. But a lot of things made me angrier. I unleashed on her, having things I wanted to share too, but because I suck at confrontation, I had to hang up because I was losing it.
I managed to garble out some sort of good-bye to Angela, before I hung up and burst into tears. I was crying into my lap so hard that I didn't see or notice Alice approach the house.
"Oh!" I swiped my hand over my face hurriedly. "Hi, Alice."
"What happened?" she asked, looking concerned.
"Nothing," I answered but the word came out all whiny and just talking made my body want to start crying again. "I'm fine."
"Are you sure?"
I started to say yes, but just nodded instead. My breath was coming in these weird, gaspy chokes, and I couldn't seem to make it stop.
Alice took a seat on the couch and gave me a hug. The gesture was so nice and comforting, it made me lose it all over again.
"I'm so stupid," I said, my body shaking in a sob, tears running down my face again. We pulled apart and I spilled out everything about Angela and Ben to this sixteen year old girl I just met two days ago.
"Sorry, Isabella," Alice said, once I was done talking. I wiped my face again. My body was doing this weird quivering thing and I pulled in another breath.
"Were you writing?" She asked me, looking at the paper that was on the couch between us. She picked it up and skim read it. "If this is about Ben, there isn't any emphasis at all on how tiny his prick is."
I almost laughed. Almost. I breathed in again and my body relaxed. Not a ton, but a bit—enough that I was able to hold myself together for a while.
"Can I hear it?" Alice prompted, looking hopeful.
"Sure." I didn't usually let people hear my work this early in the writing process, but it was the least I could do after I unloaded my sob story on her without any warning. I wiped away the last remaining tears off my cheeks and picked up my guitar, launching into the song.
"Woooow," Alice breathed out after I was done. She looked impressed. "That was so good!"
"I sound like a goblin from all the crying," I told her, feeling sheepish.
"Shut up," She dismissed, waving her hand. "You're voice is amazing. How long have you been working on that?"
"Um, what time is it?"
She glanced at her watch. "Just after noon."
"I go the idea this morning and starting writing at ten o'clock. So, two hours, I guess."
"Are you serious?" Alice stared at me. "It took you only two hours to write that?"
I shrugged, shifting my guitar away. "What you heard was just a really rough draft. I usually work on my songs using both guitar and a piano, but Charlie doesn't even have a keyboard, so I'm using the guitar until I get back home and then I'll work on it again on my piano."
Alice perked up. "We have a piano! Do you want to use it?"
I was going home tomorrow and it could wait, but knowing there was a piano right across the street from me was tempting. "Could I? It wouldn't be for too long," I assured her. "An hour. Maybe two."
She waved her hand again. "Use the piano for as long as you like. Nobody's home and the piano sits in the back of the house anyway."
"Okay. Let me just put my guitar back inside." I placed my guitar back into its case and then leaned it against a wall near the front door inside the house. I grabbed my writing journal and we made our way across the street. "So, who plays the piano in your house?" I asked Alice.
"Nobody," She answered. "It was my grandmothers and it got left to us when she died. Although, my dad likes to think he's Mozart when he drinks too much eggnog at Christmas."
I laughed. "Charlie's Fred Astair at Superbowl finals, twirling around the living room after drinking too much beer."
"Oh, I know," Alice told me, her tone wry as she led me inside her house. "My dad hosted the game at our place this year. Charlie broke a vase and two picture frames with his moves."
I groaned. "My dad is so lame."
"I'm pretty sure being lame is the only thing dad's are good at," Alice acknowledged with a shrug. "Anyway, the piano's in here." She stopped in front of a room at the far end of the house. It was like a sitting room/parlor type room, but with glass windows on one side that overlooked the Cullen's back yard. I spotted Edward outside with garden shears cutting branches off a tree.
I watched for a moment, seeing him pause to look up at the tree. The ever-present panda hat started to slip backwards off his head and there was a flash of blue. I leaned forward to look closer but he managed to catch the hat quickly, pulling it down and righting it on his head. I couldn't think why there would be any blue on a black and white panda hat, other than it must have been the color of the inside lining.
"It's over on this side," Alice told me, drawing my attention away from Edward. She stood in front of a light brown, wooden spinet piano. A lace doily ran across the length of the piano, on the top board with picture frames and souvenir trinkets. Alice plinked one of the keys. "Will you let me hang around while you work on the song?"
With a straight face, I said to her: "No, Alice. I'll need complete privacy in your house, using your piano while I work on some silly song." Alice made a face at me and I shook my head, amused. "Of course you can hang around. You'll probably get bored though. I won't mind if you get up and leave."
"I'm not gonna get bored." Alice flopped down on a squashy armchair adjacent to the piano, grinning at me while I took a seat at the bench. "When you release this song and it becomes a massive hit - I'm going to tell everyone how you wrote it in MY house using MY dead grandmothers piano."
"That's so sweet, Alice," I teased, laughing at her.
"You just do your singing thing and I'm going to be quiet as a mouse," Alice said seriously. I opened my journal and took out a pen from my jeans pocket. "You're not going to hear a word from me. Promise."
I pressed the 'C' key, testing to see if it were in tune it was. I placed my foot on the pedals below and started tinkering around the keys idly. Alice kept still and quiet beside me, watching me but I quickly forgot about her as I absorbed myself in writing and playing.
I worked for a good three hours. When I read over what notes and words I had written and felt good about it, I turned to Alice to ask what time it was - only to see an empty armchair. In her place was a sheet of paper.
Got called into work to cover someone who got sick. Sorry I had to leave!
Parents are out at that football game. Edward too.
Everything in the house is locked.
All you need to do is pulled the door shut behind you when you're ready to leave.
You can go through the front door or the back yard - either one, doesn't matter.
No hurry - take your time writing that song!
I'll come over and see you tomorrow morning to say goodbye.
I sighed, reading over her note again. Well, that was a bit of a bummer. After my phone call with Angela and pouring all my energy into writing, I was hoping to go out and do something. Not that Forks had a lot of things to offer, but it would've been nice to spend tonight with some company.
I gathered my things, my journal and pen, ready to head back to Charlie's for my pity party for one. I decided to go through the backyard and stepped outside only to step on someone's hand.
"Sorry!" I cried out, taking my foot off of Edward's hand. "Oh my God. Are you okay?"
"I'll live," Edward told me, flexing his fingers.
He was sitting by the side of the door, leaning back against the house, his legs stretched out. I wondered if he was listening to me sing and how long he had been sitting out here for. "You're not at the football game?" I asked him.
"Not into football that much. I'm more of a baseball guy," Edward replied. He got up from the floor and tugged his hat down over his ears. "I just got back taking Alice to work. She told me to tell you sorry for ditching."
"Yeah. She left me a note." I said just as the doorbell of the house rang.
"That's my pizza." Edward glanced into the house and then back at me. "Wanna stay and have a slice?"
I had worked on the song through lunch and was currently starving, so a slice of pizza sounded really good. But before I could say yes, I needed to ask an important question. "What topping did you get?"
"Meatlovers. With extra pepperoni."
I thought for a moment—it wasn't pineapple and ham, the best toppings ever, but it was still good—and then nodded. "Okay."
Edward led me into the house and I waited for him in the kitchen, while he answered the door. There was a vase of flowers on their countertop and I was admiring them when Edward walked in, pizza box in hand, already eating a slice.
"Pretty," I commented, regarding the flower. It looked like a daisy, but not one that I had ever seen, with the petals being reddish brown in color.
"You should smell it."
I stared at him, wondering if I had heard him correctly. "Um."
Edward opened the fridge and got out two cans of soda. "Smell the flower," he said casually, passing me a can. "It smells nice."
I gave him an odd look, and he shrugged back. I briefly wondered if this was some sort of prank (maybe it was one of those fake flowers that squirted water). So I reluctantly leaned over and smelt the flower.
"Oh my God. It's like..." I smelt the flower more deeply, "like chocolate. In a flower!"
"That's a Chocolate Cosmos," Edward told me as we settled on the counter chairs. "They belong to the daisy family."
I pulled the vase closer to me. It smelled so good. "They smell like a Milky Way bar," I stated dreamily. "I love Milky Way's."
Edward scoffed, helping himself to a second slice. "Twix are ten times better than Milky Way bars. It's a known fact."
"Do you have any Milky Ways?"
"I think so."
"And some hot chocolate mix?"
"Probably." Edward was the one looking at me oddly now. "Are we playing some sort of 'guess the contents of a kitchen' game?"
"I'm going to prove you wrong and show you how great Milky Way bars can be."
"Have you even tasted a Twix bar before?" Edward questioned, looking genuinely offended. "They're the greatest chocolate bar in the country."
"Not after what I have to show you," I assured him and he shook his head at me. The panda's pom pom ears moved with his head and an idea came to me. "But I'll only show you the hot chocolate, Milky Way drink if you give me something in exchange."
"Oh, really?" he drawled, rolling his eyes. "And what am I supposed to give you?"
"You can give me the story of why you wear that hat."
"There is no story to the hat," he countered quickly. Too quickly.
"Oh, really?" I mimicked. I narrowed my eyes. "So you voluntarily wear a hat in the shape of a panda? All the time? Because you want to?"
"I call bullshit."
Edward shrugged, leaning back in his chair. "Call it what you want. There's nothing to tell, other than the fact that I just like wearing the hat."
I scowled, feeling frustrated and then thought of a different tactic. "How about this," I began, leaning forward in my chair. "I'll make my Milky Way, hot chocolate drink and if you like it, you'll tell me about the panda hat. If you don't like it, then you don't have to tell me anything."
Edward looked thoughtful for a moment. "Okay. If I don't like the drink, I don't have to tell you anything. But as payback for you losing..." He grinned, looking smug. "You have to take Pumpernickel for a walk."
"No," I said immediately. I shook my head quickly. "I am not walking that…that thing."
"He's just a dog, Bella."
"No, he isn't! Stop calling him that!"
"Do we have a deal or not?"
I grimaced at the thought of losing this bet and having to walk that beast of an animal. "Fine," I finally said. "Deal."
A few minutes later, Edward and I were standing side by side in front of two oversized mugs of steaming hot chocolate. Next to it were some straws and a bag of fun sized Milky Way bars, the kind you gave away to trick-or-treaters at Halloween.
"So, to start with, you eat both ends of your Milky Way -" I took a small bite out of one end of the chocolate bar and then flipped it over and did the same to the other end. "And then with the hot chocolate, you do this -" I used my Milky Way as a straw, drinking my hot chocolate through it and then took a bite of the melting chocolate to keep it from dropping into my mug. "See? Ifts freey yummy," I mumbled around my mouthful.
"Is that all?" Edward looked unimpressed. "That's kinda lame, Bella."
"Just try it, Panda Hat Guy."
Reluctantly, Edward did the same thing as I did and took a small sip of his hot chocolate. He swallowed and shrugged.
"Eh?" I repeated, incredulous. "You did not just 'eh' my Milky Way hot chocolate drink. Take it back and say you like it."
"But then I'd be lying," He told me. He ate the rest of his chocolate, and then took another sip of his drink. "And if I were telling the truth, and I am, I'd say that this drink is only okay and that I've had better."
"There is no better drink!" I said angrily, raising my voice. I can't believe I'm not going to hear the story about the hat now that he thinks the drink is 'only okay'. "It's a chocolate bar that you use as a straw to drink hot chocolate with! How can you not understand how amazingly delicious that is!? Are your taste buds dead? Do you even have any taste buds?"
"You're cute when you're frustrated," Edward said out of nowhere. He was grinning at me. "I'm just teasing. This is actually pretty great."
"Told you so," I replied, even though I'm completely thrown. I'm the one who thinks he's cute—he's not supposed to think I'm cute, too. That's not how this works. I can't think up of anything to reply to his comment about me, so I defer the topic back to the main part of the conversation. "You owe me a story, Panda Hat Guy."
Edward reached for another chocolate. "I agreed to tell you the story. Not that I had to tell it to you right now."
"No loopholes!" I exclaimed, frustrated. If I don't get to hear the story now, I never will. "I go back to Phoenix tomorrow. We had a deal-"
"You're leaving?" Edward interjected.
"Yes," I emphasized pointedly. "And I don't know when I'll be back in Forks. This is the only time Charlie and me could manage to spend time with each other before I left for London."
"Right, London," Edward remarked and then stared into his mug, his eyebrows low. "I forgot about London," he added, almost to himself.
I regarded him curiously. He almost looked...disappointed. First, he thinks I'm cute and now he's sad we won't see other again? I wasn't sure I knew how to process that.
"Hazing, by the way."
"Where?" I glanced out the window, startled. "I don't see any smoke."
Edward laughed and moved to put his mug in the sink. "College hazing. Y'know, when you're in college and to get into frat or a sorority, their leaders make you do stupid, initiation shit?"
"Oh. That hazing," I remarked and then frowned. "What about it?"
"That's why I wear the hat."
"Is that it?" I prompted, giving him a flat look. "You have to wear the hat to get into a frat house? Who's being lame now, Panda Hat Guy?"
"There's more to it then that," he admitted and then stopped.
"Well?" I demanded eagerly. "Let's hear it then."
"I don't think so," Edward said and leaned back against the sink, looking smug. "I'm going to need something in return," he declared and I hesitated, suspicious. "You'll want to hear the next part, believe me," he stated heavily.
"Something in return - like what exactly?" I squinted at him. "If it has anything to do with that mutant of a creature next door that's disguised as a dog, I swear to God I'll -"
"I want to hear your song."
"What song?" I questioned stupidly.
"Alice said you wrote a song," Edward explained. "She talked about it in the car when I was driving her to work. Couldn't stop talking about how great both your voice and the song was."
"Your sister's good at overselling. How do you know she's not just being polite?"
"She might be," he acknowledged. "But I've heard you sing before and I meant what I said at First Beach - you're voice is impressive."
"Thanks," I murmured. I chewed on my lip, thinking about it. I really did want to hear the next part of his story and I guess it wouldn't hurt playing the song to one more person. "All right, you can hear the song," I relented and then added quickly, "But just the chorus."
"Just the chorus?" Edward echoed, wary.
"You told me part of the story, so you only get to hear part of the song."
Edward nodded. "Fair enough." He waved his hand at the kitchen door. "After you."
I stayed where I was. "Why am I singing before hearing the rest of the story? I think you should go first."
"Not a good idea if I go first, trust me," Edward declared cryptically, and then walked out of the kitchen. I scowled and reluctantly followed after him. He was already in the room with the piano, settling down on the bench. I sat down next to him and with the bench being so small, there was no choice but to sit close, shoulder-to-shoulder.
I stalled for time, fidgeting with my writing journal, making it stand up on the piano and stretched my fingers. I placed them on the keys but then quickly put them in my lap. "The song is really girly," I warned him, my voice rushed. "And melodramatic. Most of what I write is like that."
"I don't mind," Edward remarked with a shrug and watched me, expectant.
"The second part of your story better be really, really good," I muttered and placed my feet on the pedals underneath. Playing the opening notes for the chorus, I took a breath and sang.
"Handbrake, mistrust, disbelief; Give me the emergency exit key; Heartbreak at the hands of the thief; Is killing me with some kind of urgency; And I'm thinking that you owe me an apology; Go and love the one that your with; I'm calling this a state of emergency because;
My love's for sale; I don't need it anymore; and if I fail, you'll hold my face back from the floor."
I stopped singing abruptly and put my hands back in my lap, feeling embarrassed. "Okay, that's enough."
Edward gaped openly at me. "Are you kidding me?" he shook his head, incredulous. "That was so good. You gotta keep going."
"Tell me the story first," I demanded.
He ignored me. "I didn't think it was possible for you to sound better than what you did the other night at the bonfire, but you do."
"Finish the story."
"And the piano too. Your voice sounds ten times better with the piano than the guitar."
"Hey!" I elbowed him lightly in the side, laughing. "Stop being such a kiss ass and tell me the story!"
Edward screwed up his face, and then let out a heavy sigh. "Fine," he relented and I sat up straighter on the bench, excited. "But it's more of a visual thing, to be honest."
He reached up and pulled the panda hat off his head, revealing the greatest thing my eyes had ever seen in my eighteen years on planet Earth.
"Oh my God! It's BLUE." I laughed loudly, not even bothering to keep quiet. "You have blue hair!" His hair was messy and hung slightly over the top of his eyes, nothing unusual there – except for the fact that it was bright blue.
"Yup," Edward said, his tone bored. "My hair is blue."
"It's so bright! And blue!" I repeated, still awed, still gawking at his hair and still laughing. "Is it a wig?"
"No, not a wig."
"It has to be a wig," I remarked in disbelief. "No hair can be that be dyed that blue."
"Can I touch it?" I reached out but he leaned away.
"No, Girl I Just Met Three Days Ago, you cannot touch my hair," Edward stated mockingly, eyeing me oddly.
"So the hair is part of the hazing thing too?" I asked, trying to distract him and reached out again.
"Stop it." He glared at me and I pouted at him, lowering my hand. "And yes, its part of it."
"What college do you go to?"
"That's pretty far from here," I pointed out and then glanced to the panda hat that sat on top of the piano. "Who's going to know if you cover your hair with a plain hat?"
"Jasper will," Edward said flatly. "He's my roommate. He's trying to get into the same frat house. We try to one-up each other as much as we can, so the first chance he'll get to see me not wearing the hat, he'll rat me out."
"Bummer," I remarked sympathetically. "So, how did you get it that blue? Did you have to bleach your hair first?"
"I don't know. They did it to me in my sleep," Edward muttered.
"I'm a really heavy sleeper. Like, real heavy. I'll sleep through anything. Jasper gave that piece of information to the frat leaders. I got my payback though," he added with a wicked grin. "Because you're a girl, I won't explain how though."
"Ew, gross," I remarked but laughed. Edward turned to the piano keys, plinking some idly.
"So, that song," he began, still playing. "I'm going to take a guess and say it was about the ex, right?"
"Yeah. His name's Ben and he's an asshole," I declared warily and started explaining. "When I came back from London, things were a little tense between us. I had this feeling that maybe he was going to end things because I was leaving and long distance relationships don't have a good rep. And I was right...in a way. About a week after I got home, I was over at Ben's place doing homework. He got up and went to the bathroom and left me on the couch. While he was gone he got a text message. His iPhone flashed the message from my best friend Angela saying, "Can we just forget about what happened on Tuesday night? It wasn't like me at all and I don't want to be the one to ruin things with Isabella."
Edward shifted on the piano bench, looking uncomfortable. "He cheated on you with your best friend?"
"Clichéd right?" I laughed humorlessly. "There was a lot of screaming and yelling on my part after hearing that. I stormed out of his house and made the forty-five minute walk back home. The next two weeks at school were unbearable. I didn't want to talk to either of them and avoiding them was getting harder. One night, Charlie made his usual monthly phone call to say hi. While we were talking, everything that had happened between Angela and Ben had sort of burst out. He suggested I come up here to get away for a little while. So, here I am." I finished and my chest felt heavy, my eyes prickling with tears. I hated that. Am I ever going to get over the fact that my should-be boyfriend was now with my should-be best friend?
"Can I hear the rest of the song?" Edward asked quietly.
"Um, I guess so, yeah," I replied with a shrug. Because I had the feeling I was going to cry, I idly played the introduction to the song for a few moments before singing.
When I finished, Edward let out a laugh.
"Holy fucking shit."
"Was it that bad?" I asked, feeling confused and also, a little pissed because of his laughter.
"No, the opposite." He raked a hand through his hair, amused. "I'm just feeling really...I don't even know," he said, laughing again. "I suck at words. You're really, really good. Piano, guitar, singing, songwriting - all of it. I can see now why everyone think's you're going to make it big."
"Thanks," I said, feeling pleased. I picked up the panda hat, seeing if he would let me try it on and he did. One of the souvenir trinkets on the piano top was a small mirror and I glanced at my reflection.
"I am totally working this," I said, flattening the hat over my ears. "Does it come with matching mittens?"
"No. Thank fucking God," he added under his breath and I grinned at him. He reached out and straightened the hat a little to the left. "Better," he murmured. With his face this close to mine, he was just nose and cheeks and eyes that are freakishly green against his blue hair.
My heart kicked into quadruple time and we stared at each other. I wished he would just lean in and kiss me or that I had the guts to lean and kiss him but he isn't and I don't because it's too soon after Ben but I want to, I really, really want to and –
"I don't think it would be a good idea if I kissed you right now," Edward whispered, shattering the moment.
"Because you're an awful kisser?" I whispered back, even though I think I knew the answer.
"I don't think you're completely over what happened with Ben," he said, confirming my thoughts.
"I wish I were over Ben," I admitted unthinkingly. Heat crept up my neck over my bold statement but Edward grinned.
"Me too," he replied, with a glint in his eye. "It would've given me a chance to prove that 'bad kisser' statement wrong."
"You say that," I said, staring at his mouth. "And yet you haven't moved away."
"I like to draw out the moment before I kiss someone," he murmured. "It's kind of my thing."
I'm about to make some sort of comment about his 'thing' being a little more south, when I heard a door open in the house. I'm the one to lean away, glancing around the room.
"Parents are home," Edward declared. "They'll head upstairs in a second."
Edward and I listened to the sounds of muffled talking and shuffling and then sure enough, there was the clomping of feet heading up the stairs. I took it as my cue to leave.
"I should probably head home too," I said, getting up from the bench. "I didn't tell Sue or Charlie I'm here. They might be wondering where I am."
"I'll walk you out," Edward stated and got up with me, leading me out the door leading to their backyard. As we walked past the side of the house, there was an explosion of barking from the other side of the fence. I shrieked, leaping away and then let out a frustrated sound.
"Stupid dog!" I shouted, but my voice was all high and squeaky. I kicked the fence lightly to make myself feel better.
"Relax," Edward told me, but he was laughing. He knocked on the fence. "Quiet, Pumpernickel."
There was a low woof and I grimaced, walking faster.
"You can handle singing in front of complete strangers," Edward said from behind me. "But dogs freak you out?"
I didn't answer until there was a good distance between Pumpernickel's fence and me. "Pumpernickel can kill me – I can't die from singing," I told him and he scoffed at me. "Its true! What if, while I'm asleep, Pumpernickel breaks into Charlie's house, sniffs me out, goes into my bedroom and then eats my face?"
Edward gaped at me. "Eats...your face?"
"It could happen!" I pointed wildly to Pumpernickel's house. "That thing is a killing machine!"
"You're funny," Edward declared, looking amused. "Maybe you should write a song about you're hatred for dogs."
"Maybe I will," I retorted lamely.
Edward put his hands into the pockets of his hoodie. "So, do you prefer song writing or singing?"
"Song writing, definitely." I shrugged. "I don't know why writing lyrics comes to me so easily. I like words. They fascinate me. Individually, they're a thing of beauty but put them together and you can create something really great and powerful. Not just with songs, but books and screenplays as well. It's that thing where something happens to you that make you have certain emotions that not even your best friend can sympathize with. But you can always find a song or a movie or a book and it will understand you."
"Did you practice that for when MTV interviews you on your music?" he teased. "Because it's a good answer."
"Shut up," I muttered, but I laughed too.
"And moving all the way to England by yourself doesn't scare you?"
"I guess," I answered musingly. "But I'm glad I have the chance to do this though. Because I'd rather look back and regret something I did when I was young and crazy, than look back and regret something I never had the courage to do, and realize it's too late."
"What about England itself?" Edward prompted and I frowned, confused. "Doesn't the Queen have dogs? What if one of those little fluffy things come for you and eat your face?"
"Not funny," I muttered. It's not fair that a guy with blue hair could make fun of my fear of dogs. A cute guy with blue hair but still, my fear was perfectly rational.
"I'll stop making fun now and leave you alone. Good luck in London, Bella," he said with a sincere smile. "I hope it works out really well for you."
"Thanks. And good luck with the hair and the hat," I teased.
Edward rolled his eyes. "Seriously. I hope you get to write and record all the songs you want. You're too talented for it to go to waste."
"I'm serious too," I told him, widening my eyes because I don't know why I can't accept a compliment without a sarcastic reply. "You'll need the luck. What if your hair stays blue forever? Or if the hair grows into the fibers of the hat and you can't get off your head?"
"That's not funny," he emphasized seriously, raking a hand through his hair again. "Speaking of, can I have my hat back?"
"Oh, sure." I had forgotten about it still being on my head, that's how comfortable it felt.
And I don't know why I did the next thing I did - I took the hat off my own head, stepped forward and put it on Edward's head. Doing so brought our faces close again, my hands on either side of his head, and I swear the air between us prickled with some current.
"Now you're just making fun of me," he whispered, referring to how close our mouths were.
"Not really," I whispered back and straightened his hat. "I'm starting to see what you mean." It took a lot - a lot - of will power but I managed to step away. "I still prefer the actual moment, rather than the build up."
"Everyone prefers the actual moment," Edward pointed out teasingly and I nodded in agreement.
Then there's an awkward moment because I'm not sure how to say goodbye to a guy I had a near kiss with and was one of the most comfortable people I spent time with here in weeks. And also wore a panda hat and had blue hair.
So I leaned up again and kissed him on the cheek. "Bye, Edward," I said in a rush and then quickly made my way across the street. I was halfway up the driveway, walking with my eyes closed, mentally berating myself when he called out to me.
"Bye, Bella! I'll be sure to give a kiss goodbye to Pumpernickel for you too!"
I didn't turn around but I laughed and lifted my hand to wave.
The whole point of coming here to Forks was because I didn't want to feel anything for anyone. But it turned out all I needed to kick-start my heart again was a guy with blue hair and a panda hat.
**Interview Transcript – Isabella Swan, Tanya Alexandrov, Edward Cullen**
Edward: "And she never saw him again…"
Isabella: "You're sitting right next to me."
Edward: "Oh, right."
Tanya: "So that's the origin of your 'Love for Sale' song. I always wondered how that song came to be."
Edward: "Whatever happened to that Ben guy?"
Bella: "He ended up marrying Angela. From what I've heard, they have two kids and run a successful bakery."
Edward: "I hope their kids are hideous and that their bakery goes bankrupt."
Edward: "What? That guy was an asshole for what he did to you, you said so yourself."
Bella: "It was thirty years ago, I'm over it now. I wish both Ben and Angela all the happiness in the world. And that their kids aren't hideous and that their bakery does well."
Edward: "Never mind that it was thirty years ago. An asshole is an asshole."
Bella (sound of a glass being pushed away out of mic range): "I think you've had enough to drink."
Edward (sound of the glass being pushed back into mic range): "That's your opinion. I, on the other hand, think I'm due for a refill."
Bella: "You're getting another pint?"
Edward: "Open tab, remember? Actually, does the open tab include food too?"
Bella: "Don't answer that, Tanya."
Edward (sound of a chair being dragged away from table): "Fine. But I'm getting a large plate of chips for the table anyhow."
Bella: "That's fine, Edward. Go and get your drink and food while I continue on with the second part of the story."
Edward: "In case I don't return in time, be sure to tell her about the part where I was your hero and saved you from that rat."
Bella: "I think the term 'hero' is a little too strong."
Edward: "Handsome, charming hero – How's that?"
Bella: "I meant, that I wouldn't use the term 'hero' at all."
Edward: "I would definitely use it. It's real 'damsel in distress' story. I swooped in and saved the day. Hero."
Bella: "I wasn't a dam – ugh, will you just go and get your drink?"
Tanya: "Did he really swoop in and save you from…a rat?"
Bella: "Well, I should probably start at the beginning. Otherwise it will sound ridiculous out of context…come to think of it, it sounds ridiculous IN context as well. But I've come to accept that anything involving Edward and myself is ridiculous."
Tanya: "I don't think so. I actually think you two are quite sweet. And funny."
Bella: "Thank you. That's nice of you to say.
"Anyway, on to the next part of the story. Well, the second time I met Edward was at a wedding in Malta. I was twenty-four and Edward twenty-five. And then he spent ten days in London with me and it was all because of a fountain and a silly children's game…"
Far out, brussel sprout!
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Song credit – Love for Sale, Faker