A journey through love beginning at age ten

"Pull in and a pulling weight, it's a hard part but the true love way" — Kings of Leon, True Love Way

Chapter one


September 1995

"Who is she?"

"I don't know."

"Is she going to be at school tomorrow?"

"I don't know."

"Is she our age?"

"I don't know."

"That's Bella Swan, twerps. The new Police Chief and his family moved in next door. Mom said she's your age, Edward." Alice, my older sister, says. "Maybe she can be your girly-friend." She messes with my hair as she passes by.

Jasper, Emmett, and I were riding our bikes like we do every day. Doing awesome flips and building jumps in the forest across the street from our houses when the moving truck pulled in next door. We got curious.

"Where are you going?" I yell out to my sister, who's backing out of the driveway in her purple beetle.

"Out," she says with her head sticking out the small window.

Jasper and Emmett back me up. "Girls are gross."

"Come on. Let's go play before we have to go inside." Jasper trades his bike for his skateboard, taking off down the road in the opposite direction from the new girl's house.

"Dude, it's just a girl … stop looking at her like that. It's strange," Emmett says. "Wait, you like her … you do. I can tell. Edward has it sweet for the new girl."

I swat him in the chest. "I do not."

"What do you think she's listening to?" he asks.

"I don't know." But I wish I did.

"Come on. We ride." Emmett pedals after Jasper.

The sun is going down, and it's hot out. Bella's dad is sweating, and her mom's face is red. Bella doesn't show any sign of discomfort, but her forehead is shiny. She wears a pair of ripped up, cut-off jean shorts and a faded black t-shirt with a design I can't make out. Her feet are in a pair of worn green Converse, and her hair is a dark wavy brown. She has on a pair of circle sunglasses that are the color of her shoes, and a portable CD player hanging off her hip. She has a box in her hands.

She blows the biggest bubblegum bubble I've ever seen.

Then she looks at me.

Bella walks from the moving truck to her front porch; bubble at her lips, green glasses reflecting in the setting sun. Her mom calls her name, but Bella ignores her, placing the box labeled Bella's room on the steps for her father to take.

She walks back to the truck, bringing the gum back into her mouth. Answering her mom, she doesn't remove her eyes from me.

I feel weird, like my heart feels a little odd.

Only blinking, sitting on my bike, and leaning onto my handle bars, the rotation continues: Bella walks boxes back and forth, blowing bubbles, and staring.

"What are you looking at?" her dad asks with his hand over his eyes to block the sun; he spots me.

"No one, Dad," Bella answers, blowing another bubble.

He looks a little longer, menacing me with his eyes. She makes him go away. "Don't embarrass me, Dad," she says. "You're so embarrassing, Dad," Bella complains.

The new Chief of Police laughs as he walks away. Bella turns back around toward me, blowing bubbles and waving.

I sit up straight. My heart is beating too, too fast. So, so fast I might ask my dad to check it out later.

Afraid of the girl and of the way she makes me feel, I turn and chase after Jasper and Emmett.

Girls are strange. Even pretty ones who can make the most awesome bubbles I've ever seen.