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Bella, suffering from an eating disorder, returns to Forks to care for

her estranged father. She seeks comfort in Edward, an aspiring

chef, who is having difficulty dealing with his own demons.
Rated: M- Angst/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 36 Updated: 4-16-10 Published: 6-2-09 - Bella & Edward - Complete

Chapter: 1
This is my first venture into fan fiction as a writer. I hope you find it entertaining. I have to thank
Project Team Beta for all their lovely assistance. They are gems! Also, the most poetic Joni
Mitchell, whose italicized lyrics are scattered throughout. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of its lovely characters.
When I think of my father, a million different smells swirl through my consciousness: fresh
tobacco, smoke wafting from the porch as he enjoyed his daily pipe; grease, oil and sweat, grimy
fingers reaching for a cold beer as he comes in from the garage; after-shave and soap, as he
pulls me into a fierce bear hug, laughing at my pathetic attempts to break free; fresh bread and
marinara, bubbling on the stove, splattering that will stay on the range for days until I finally
break down and wipe it up with a sponge.
The last time I smelled him I was ten years old. It was past midnight and my mother had jerked
me from a comfortable dream, frantically grasping at my pajamas and brushing the dark, unruly,
hair from my face.
"Bella, we're leaving, get your shoes," she had whispered fiercely into my cheek. I could smell the
whiskey on her breath, the smoke lingering in her hair. Her eyes were crazed, daring me to argue.
And, just like always, I accepted her challenge.
"Where are we going?" I mumbled lazily, still sleepy and incoherent. "Momma, I don't want to
leave. I want to go to sleep. Where's Daddy?"
"Daddy's gone. He's gone. We have to leave. We have to get out of here. I can't I can't stay
here This place is sucking the life out of me." She was choking on the words, spitting them out
with venom and tenacity, as if she were coaxing herself into this decision.
I observed her inner conflict, still confused. She was muttering under her breath, engaged in
some tormented dialogue, but I was still focused on my dad. Where did he go? What did she
mean, "he's gone"? Gone to the station? Billy's? Gone, like dead gone? I was scared. I mean, I'd
seen my mom upset before, usually after her "big girl" drink and her smoke on the porch. But
there was a frantic urgency in her voice, a desperation that made me want to find my father even more
"No Momma, go to bed, you're just tired. You'll feel better in the morning, everyone always feels
better in the morning." I tried to console her, looking for my slippers. "Where's daddy? I want to
see him."
She was grabbing my arm then, and this I remember quite vividly, pulling me close to her face,
searching my fluid eyes, her gaze flitting furiously from one dark iris to the other, begging for
something worth staying for. She slowly brought her palms to my face, cradling my cheeks and
lightly passing her thumbs over my eyelids, forcing them to close.
"You have his eyes, you know." Her voice was hollow, disappointment tainting her compliment.
She wouldn't look at me as she released my face. Apparently, she didn't find anything.

I ran to the downstairs closet, grabbing the first thing I could find: his old flannel shirt. He had worn
it last night during his smoke; it still smelled of sweet tobacco, after shave, grease, bread and
just everything decent about my childhood.
I knew then that this life was over. I didn't know why he left or where he went. I didn't know
what we had done to cause him to just vacate. All I knew was we were running. He didn't have his
favorite shirt and my mother was willing to drag her ten-year-old daughter out into the freeze of
February in Forks, Washington, in the middle of the night, while intoxicated and probably a little high.
Looking back, I can't believe this was the shit going through my ten-year-old head. My mother is
such a fucking bitch.
And now, 7 years later, kneeling on our linoleum floor in Phoenix, all I could smell was the vomit on
my fingers, the slight bleach smell of the toilet, and the bitter after taste of marinara, as I gasped
over the cool porcelain bowl. The humidity of the hot spray splattering against the shower
curtain was beginning to fog up the mirrors and a damp sheen covered my face. The saliva pooled
in my gaping mouth, causing me to heave again. Hot tears streamed from my eyes, blinding me
momentarily as I reached for a towel to wipe my mouth. I flushed the toilet, using the brush to
scrub the inside of the bowl. I swiftly brushed my teeth and lapped the stream from the tap. I
stepped into the warm water, letting it wash over my body, flooding the tub with all my self-disgust.
As I toweled my hair, my mother rapped softly on the door. "Fifteen minutes, Bella," she said
curtly. Like I didn't know.
I quickly detangled my long hair, wrapping it into a messy bun and pulled on my jeans and
favorite cotton tank, avoiding the mirror. I knew I wouldn't be able to wear it once I got off the
plane, but I just couldn't give in to extreme temperatures just yet. I had recently donated most
of my Phoenix clothes to Goodwill, including eight pairs of flip flops. I laced my newly acquired
sneakers and tossed the remainder of my toiletries into my suitcase. No looking back.
I met my mother and her new husband, Phil, at the car. It was surprisingly warm for March, even
in Phoenix. I said my goodbyes to the glowing warmth of the sun as I loaded my suitcase into the
trunk, my mother and Phil standing silently. You'd think Renee would want to give me some
advice, you know, something motherly. Then again, my mother has never actually been motherly.
Renee was one of those mothers that wanted to be her kid's best friend. You know, the kind of
parent that buys their kid alcohol because she wants them to drink at home, experience it in a
"safe environment". I'd had my first beer with Renee when I was thirteen. I had just gotten my
period for the first time, so she fucking handed me a beer. Luckily, I had learned about the
female reproductive cycle in fifth grade from the school nurse. Apparently, the ability to bear
children goes hand in hand with alcohol.
At 15, she educated me in the ways of cannabis. My mom had left her pipe out on the coffee
table again and I finally had a friend coming over. Not wanting yet another
not-that-far-from-the-truth rumor circulating my high school, I took the pipe and hastily stowed it
in my pocket, out of sight. I knew what it was for. She'd been smoking weed for as long as I
could remember. Anyway, she found it on my person and decided she would indulge my "natural
curiosity". I really wasn't that curious, but for the first time, a glimpse of what I presumed was
her mothering nature snuck into view. She scolded me lightly, telling me drugs are bad, she only
smoked to fall asleep, excuse, rationalize, blah. I was touched. We smoked a bowl and I was
further reminded that I am completely alone in this world.
Since then, she has deluded herself into thinking we have this wonderful relationship, that we are

more than genetics, we're friends. She tells me everything--appalling amounts of

information--constantly berating me for juicy gossip in return. Because that's what relationships
are, right? Give and take? It's not that I don't want to share; I just honestly have nothing to give.
Sitting now, in the back of Phil's car on the way to the airport, I popped a peppermint into my
mouth, the lingering marinara still slightly burning the back of my throat. I watched the wide, red
sky of Phoenix fade behind the dark tint of the back seat window. I focused on the high, white
clouds, while "Rows and flows of angel hair" chimed in the background, the high soprano voice,
lulling and relaxing. This might be the one thing my mother shared with me that I appreciate. I'm
pretty sure Joni Mitchell was my soul mate in a past life.
"Um, Bella?" Phil brought me out of my Joni-induced piano coma. He glanced in the rear-view
mirror. "I just want to let you know that you are always welcome in our home. I know this is a
difficult time for you, but once we move to Florida, you'll have your own room there." Oh, God,
he's trying to reach out. Maybe we could decorate it with little pink bunnies and flowers, adorable
curtains and a fluffy bed spread. Shit, I already wanted to puke again.
My mom teaches art at the community college in Phoenix. She met Phil when he took one of her
watercolor classes. He's only five years younger than her, but he was still taking art classes at
a community college. Ugh, I know, red flag, right? They got married six months later in Vegas.
She'd just gotten a new teaching position in Florida and was planning on moving us all out there
when Charlie had his heart attack.
"Sure, Phil, thanks." I threw him a bone. My mom just sighed, glancing out her window.
"I mean, after your father" he pressed. "Well, you won't have to stay in Forks forever, you know."
"Sure, sure," I responded, trying to control the tone of my voice. What the hell? After my father
what? Fucking dies? Just say it, asshole, don't hold back on my account. Fucking potheads.
"Bella, chill. We just want you to know that you always have a place with us." My mom had found
her voice.
I wanted to be comforted by their words, honestly. I wanted to believe I had a place somewhere,
even in shitty Florida, but I just couldn't see myself in their life now. When Forks Hospital called
my mom last week to tell us that my father, Charlie, had suffered a massive heart attack and
was undergoing a triple bypass surgery, I was indifferent.
I hadn't heard from the guy in 7 years and all of sudden, I'm supposed to care. I'm supposed to
worry, fill my mind and heart with concern and sympathy and pity and any other emotion that
has been void from this man for 7 years? I almost laughed. It was comical that this is how I would
find out where he was, what he was doing. He never tried to reach us after we left, and
apparently he didn't stray far from Forks. My mom always claimed that our leaving was the best
thing for him, no strings, no attachments. He must have agreed.
Anyway, now my father, Charlie, needs help. He needs my help. Yeah, the prognosis doesn't
look good. Apparently Charlie's severely overweight, courtesy of a steady diet of steak and
potatoes from the local greasy diner. Even if he were to make it out of the surgery, the recovery
was going to be long and tedious, the doctor had said. Get a fucking nurse, was the first thought
that came to mind. Of course, because I'm Bella, I accepted the responsibility. That's what I do.
I'm the one who remembers to put the clothes in the dryer so they won't get all mildewed, I make
sure we have milk in the morning for cereal and I hold Renee's hair when she's had too much to
drink, nursing her hangover in the morning. It's what I do, and now I must do it for him.

When I finally got on the plane, toting a small backpack which held my essential reading and
listening materials, I checked my ticket. 17 B. Shit, a middle seat. Karma is a fickle bitch and she
always seems to end up owning me.
I was seated between a man in a suit, probably traveling for business, and an elderly woman,
who sat knitting the ugliest sweater I'd ever seen. She kept bumping my arm, her bony little point
of an elbow mercilessly digging into my forearm. I'd have a bruise for sure. The man sat staring at
a laptop, lost in some power point presentation about synergy or some bullshit. I placed the ear
buds of my mp3 player snugly into both ears and found my soul mate. "It sure is hard to leave
here, but it's really not my home."
Home the closest thing to home I had was wadded up in the bottom of my tote: a dirty old shirt.
I didn't wash it for months after we had left. After Renee figured out where we were going, I kept
thinking my father would find us. She kept telling me he wouldn't, that he wouldn't even try, but I
couldn't let myself believe that. I slept in that shirt, inhaling it deeply and trying to force the
memories into my consciousness. Eventually, the shirt found its way to the hamper and his smells
were gone forever. I try to find them, every so often. Searching smoke shops for his tobacco,
learning to bake bread, ordering marinara, I even took auto shop in ninth grade. But Charlie was
gone and it wasn't the same.
Ninth grade, that's when I started avoiding food. I just couldn't find my appetite. I had always
been thin, 110 pounds at the most now. I guess I can thank Renee for my small 5'2" frame. I
didn't want to lose weight; I just didn't want to eat. Every time I'd eat, I'd think of the bread and
pasta Charlie used to cook for us and I'd smell it, remembering how I could smell the garlic from
the driveway as I was coming home from school.
Eating was the one thing I could control, the one constant in my life. Have you ever noticed how it
fuels your entire day? It controls your decisions, your moods, and your social life. What to eat for
breakfast is the first decision you make in the morning. You are a slave to the gnawing and
grumbling going on in your bowels. It influences our moods: some people are downright crabby
when they're hungry. And of course, there's dinner and a movie, the clich, perfect date: the
perfect meal, with the perfect guy, and the perfect happily ever after. It's a cure-all; an easily
accessible and socially accepted drug for a pick-me-up or for wallowing in self pity.
I remember my father being a large man; it used to benefit him in the line of duty. He was Chief
Swan before his heart attack, chief of Forks Police Department. He was imposing, strong, and
utterly terrifying. Nobody fucked with him. And now he's dying, consumed by his own traitorous
lack of self control.
I can remember watching him eat, savoring each flavor, while chewing and moaning in
satisfaction. He'd comment on how the basil was fresh, and that made all the difference. Or that
the tomatoes were bitter and how he should have let them reduce a bit longer at a higher heat in
order to release some of the acid. His meals were always amazing; I could never find anything
wrong with them. I soaked up this information, though, connecting myself to him through cooking.
It was something he had shared with me a long time ago.
No, food would not control me any longer. There was nothing remotely perfect in my life. I would
never have that perfect meal or perfect date or perfect guy. My own father didn't want me, so
why would any decent, never mind perfect, guy want me?
I started subconsciously, omitting a meal here and there. I'm not an idiot. I understand I need
something of substance to exist, but I only allow myself the bare minimum, dining for survival, not

Hunger eventually goes away, dulling to an annoying ache in my belly. I could usually score some
pills to help curb my appetite, but I like the feeling of being empty; it's even comfortable now. If I
fill myself it's because of the intoxicating smells, not the hunger. Renee knows I can't resist the
smell of marinara, that's why she made it today. She thinks it will help. If she cooks food that she
knows I like, I will eat. She's right, I don't have enough willpower to stay away, but after I'm
finished the guilt consumes me, causes pain to swell in my abdomen, so I ease the pain with the
only release I know. I purge. I stick two fingers down my throat and activate the gag reflex. It
only takes a couple of seconds; I have a weak stomach to begin with. And then it's out and I'm
empty again and it's comfortable.
I had worked really hard to hide this from Renee, but shit kind of hit the fan at my friend Angela's
party last month. I hadn't eaten in a couple days and was starting to feel a little loopy. I was still
taking the meds, pills designed to help with depression or ADHD, which conveniently cause loss of
appetite as well as some other useful side effects. The party was just so crowded, tons of
bodies crammed into Angela's small living room and kitchen. I started getting sweaty, my hair was
sticking to my forehead, my heart racing in my throat and my toes starting to curl. I couldn't
control my limbs, and I was twitching and hyperventilating all over the place. It was so fucking
embarrassing. I had collapsed on the bathroom floor. Angela called 911 and an ambulance took
me to the hospital. I told them it was just a reaction to the meds, but Angela knew everything
and she was pissed.
Angela was there the first time I made myself puke. It was sophomore year and we were at this
guy Ben's house, just hanging out, smoking, drinking, you know, sophomoric shit. The combination
of the weed, alcohol, and, of course, lack of food consumption had really fucked me up. I did not
want to puke, and I was trying everything in my highly compromised power to avoid it.
Angela and I had walked outside. I was hoping the fresh air would help, but the movement had
just made things worse. It was so pathetic. There I was crouched over Ben's mom's rock planter
(because no sane person grows anything green in Phoenix), willing myself not to puke, and then
Angela had said, "Why don't you just make yourself throw up already? You'll feel so much
better." And these words rang like an epiphany, like the solution for all of my problems had been
found. Then I did it. I made myself throw up in the fucking rock planter and I did feel so much
better. After a while, I began to rely on this to ease my discomfort. I didn't hide it from Angela,
because she had suggested it in the first place. But then she started to worry, so she researched
eating disorders and nothing's more dangerous than an overachiever with internet access.
She had threatened to tell my mom before her party, told me that I was going to die, that I
wouldn't be able to have kids, that the stomach acid rots your back molars. I knew it all, of
course, because I, too, had internet access. But it didn't matter. It's like telling a smoker they're
going to get cancer if they keep smoking. I was addicted. All the shit she was talking about was so
far removed from my present compulsion; the relief was my only concern.
And then, last month, I went and ruined her party. Along with the ambulance came the police,
kicking everyone out of Angela's house and humiliating her in front of practically everyone from
school. Then she had to explain everything to her parents and she did so with brutal honesty and
at my expense. Angela wasn't speaking to me, but she called my mom and told her everything.
Renee, like always, acted the friend. She wanted to talk to me about it, wanted to know if it was
a body image thing and I tried to assure her it wasn't. My mom just kept telling me I was beautiful
just the way I was, trying to boost my self-esteem in one conversation. Therapy was suggested,
and I shuddered at the thought of trying to talk to some stranger about this. It would be
exhausting and difficult and I just didn't want to do it.

Then there was the moving to Florida thing. I really did not want to live in Florida and I really did
not want to live with Phil. I really just wanted to disappear.
Renee had begged me to stay, said I didn't have to go. She did say, in a rare moment of maternal
rage, that if I wanted to die so badly, I should go and see what that would entail. This statement
furthered my resolve. Honestly, I don't want to die. I just don't want to lose that control. I felt
bad about how I had treated Angela; she was an okay friend and I wasn't. I was selfish and I had
hurt her. A good person would do this, take care of her ailing father, and currently, I am not a
good person. Hopefully, I can work my way back into Karma's good graces.

Jesus Christ, it is fucking hot in here. Why won't she turn on the fan or open a window? Where is
that saut pan? I quickly ducked below the counter, frantically searching for my desired pan. Ha,
hiding under a cookie sheet. I threw it on the range and lit the burner. I poured a small amount of
olive oil into the pan and reduced the heat, just causing the oil to slightly ripple.
Taking my large knife, I swiftly minced an onion and three cloves of garlic. Sweat was beading on
my prominent brow and I creased my forehead to prevent it from running into my eyes. The oil
had began to smoke slightly so I tossed the onions into the pan and they were quickly engulfed in
the sizzling liquid, popping and splattering and filling the room with the heady aroma.
"Edward, you're making a mess," my younger sister Alice said. Tiny and bothersome, she was
sitting on the counter, lazily shuffling a deck of cards.
"Can you open a damn window, or something? I'm fucking melting here," I spat back.
"But that will let the smell out," she retorted. She moved to open the kitchen window and a
flourish of cool, damp air began to circulate, causing a chill to move across my forehead.
The onions were translucent now, so I added the minced garlic, reducing the heat to a slow
simmer. Ahhhh, glorious. The smell permeated my senses, slightly stinging my eyes. I grabbed a
towel from the counter to wipe my brow. I added the stewed tomatoes, crushing them with my
fingers into a fine pulp. Salt, sugar, red pepper flakes and fresh basil, torn not minced I was home.
The kitchen is my home. Wrapped in the ingredients, the blending and fusion of acid and base,
smoldering flavors and fragrance, nourishing and fueling the body and mind, I found my purpose
here. Have you ever noticed how a good meal can change anyone's mood? Good friends, good
conversation and good food can pull anyone out of a funk.
Alice was now standing beside me, trying to look around my 6'2" stance and totally invading my
personal space.
"Dude, back up. I need some elbow room," I nudged her out of the way and began to stir the
mixture which was now starting to thicken. She stuck her tongue out at me and danced back to
the counter, gracefully hopping to sit in her former spot. She laid a card on a silk scarf, analyzing
and scribbling in a small notepad.
"See anything interesting?" I asked, rolling my eyes.
She glanced over at me, fluttering her dark lashes, her recently chopped jet black hair sticking up

all over the place. She was experimenting with new looks again. Two years ago, back in Chicago,
she'd been a carefree fourteen-year-old, bright and airy, her natural coppery bronze hair falling to
her tiny waist. Last month her smooth chin length bob was flaming red. Then, yesterday she
came home looking like she'd lost a bet, donning a super short pixie cut, practically shaved at the
nape of the neck. She made some adjustments though, dying it black and adding some gel, and I
really have to say, if anyone could get away with that hair cut, it would be Alice. For the last two
years she's been constantly reinventing herself, changing her hair, her clothes, trying
desperately to get away from what used to be, to get away from them.
Slowly, the images began to creep behind my eyes. I fought to push these visions aside, to
control the bile rising in my throat. I remember being amazed at how there wasn't very much
blood. Everything seemed normal when Alice and I came home from school that day and
everything seemed normal now, cooking my Uncle Carlisle's favorite dish, Eggplant Parmigiana
with marinara sauce, in his excessively large mansion of a house that we now live in, my sister
sitting casually on the countertop.
But I would never be normal. I would be just like him. I was a fucking ticking time bomb, just
waiting for the hormone and internal chemical levels to produce a vile and poisonous cocktail,
setting forth a chain of events that would alter the inner workings of my mind forever. I'd
researched it as soon as Carlisle had told us. I knew what was coming. When my somebody
snaps, are they aware they are snapping? I wonder if I'll still want to cook. Will they even let me
use the stove? I gazed intently at the flames licking the side of the pan, my fingers twitching
involuntarily towards the heat. Her words rang like a bell in a deep conclave of soul and mind,
"You're just like your father. You have his eyes, you know."
"Stop it." Alice brought me back, reading my mind, knowing where it had wandered.
I gave her a crooked smile, because I know she hates to see me in that dark place. It kills me that
she is going to have to deal with this on her own, that I can't protect her from the inevitable. So
I'll give her this smile now, knowing that she's going to hate my fucking guts when it happens,
knowing that I will never be able to give her anything again.
She glanced down at her cards again, squinting her expressive eyes and pursing her pixie lips.
"Something's changing, Edward," she murmured, her eyes scanning the cards. "The Wheel of
Fortune, symbolizes destiny, witnessing miracles, turning point, movement, awareness..."
She paused, "Eight of Wands, it's going to happen fast." She let them fall, not adjusting or
touching them after they had slipped from her fingers.
"The Hanged Man, letting go, accepting what is,"
I swallowed hard, removing the sauce from the heat and extinguishing the flame.
"The Tower, realizing the truth, exposing what was hidden, flanked by Death, a sweeping impact"
I slowly and deliberately turned to face her. I wanted to scream at her to shut up. I knew it all. I
didn't really believe in it, her cards, "fortunes," like some cheesy psychic on the boardwalk. It was
a load of bullshit, I know. But the words spewing from her mouth reminded me of that ticking
bomb. I raked my fingers through my messy hair, slightly tugging in frustration.
"The Chariot, control, mastering of emotions, Ten of Swords, putting others first, curbing impulses..."
The cards flew from her fingers now. Entranced, she rocked slightly in her seated position, tossing

cards and spouting verbiage at a disarming rate.

"The Moon, fear, releasing inner demons, Nine of Swords, anguish, guilt, Five of Cups, saying
I was going to snap. Yep, I knew it was coming. I felt on the brink, a gaping hole swelling in my
chest, fire burning in my veins. I growled a warning.
Suddenly, Alice gasped. She stopped moving, fingering the card she had just placed. "The
Lovers, Edward, forming a union, making love" She eyed me suspiciously, like I was the one who
fucking pulled that card.
She pulled another card, randomly from her deck.
"Page of Cups, intimacy"
"Four of Pentacles, declaring ownership"
"Emperor, establishing a family line"
She flipped another card.
"The Star, Edward. Hope." She gazed at me, her green eyes boring into mine, mirroring my own
stunned reflection. Hope, a nasty four letter word.
We sat in silence, sharing an unspoken conversation.
"You'd better cut that out Alice, someone might have you committed," I whispered to break the silence.
The front door opened then and a bustle of activity snapped the tension radiating from the
kitchen. Alice proceeded to frantically scribble her predictions into her notebook.
"Man, I can smell that garlic from the driveway." My cousin Emmett bounded into the kitchen,
tossing his gym bag on the counter. The kitchen seemed to shrink as he occupied it, taking up
more space than was necessary. He inspected the food I was preparing. "Eggplant? Seriously?
Didn't you make any meat? I need my protein, you know."
Emmett just turned 18, a year older than me, and on the Varsity Wrestling team. The dude is
seriously ripped. He is constantly on some diet, trying to make weight. Protein powders, weight
gainers, supplement shakes; it's all blasphemy in my eyes. Nothing but pure, natural ingredients
find their way into my dishes.
"I think there's some Spam in the cabinet somewhere, you could fry that up," I responded with a
grin. Even Emmett wouldn't eat Spam.
"So, Rosalie said that we're getting some new girl at school tomorrow." Rosalie is Emmett's
girlfriend and has a huge fucking mouth and an even larger ego. They've been together forever,
though, so I've learned to ignore her. I admit it, she's hot, stacked and curvy, not unlike this
eggplant I was currently cutting into thin slices. But I swear, the moment she opened her mouth,
I found myself wishing I could punch her in the face.
I really wouldn't ever hit her, or any girl for the matter. I just wish someone could remove the
smug sense of superiority that oozed from her very being. Her dad ran the bank in town and the
Hales considered themselves part of the elite society of Forks, with the exception of Rose's twin

brother, Jasper. I mean, come on, it's Forks, and she saunters around like a fucking Rockefeller
or something. Jasper's cool as hell, though. Sometimes we hang out, at parties and shit, get a jam
session going. Jasper kills on the guitar.
I glanced up at Emmett. He was staring at me knowingly, nodding his head with this stupid grin.
"Yeah, she's from Phoenix. She's probably hot, all tan and toned. I bet she plays volleyball, one
of them sporty types. I mean, she has to right? She's from Phoenix."
"Dude, you're an ass." I sighed. Poor girl. I remember when Alice and I moved here, two years
ago. You would have thought we were celebrities or something, the way the Forks student body
descended upon us like a pack of rabid wolves. It was ridiculous, hearing the whispers, rumors,
bullshit stories that glamorized and diminished the truth. Alice bleached her hair blond that week
and bought her first pack of Tarot cards. Being the new kid blows, especially in a town like Forks
where everyone knows everyone's shit and it's front cover news if the Newton kid gets a hard on.
"Get this, she's Chief Swan's daughter. She's moving here to take care of him, a real Florence
fucking Nightingale," Emmett continued. "Ultimate fantasy, dude, a naughty, tan, nurse." He was
full on grinning now. "Want me to hook you up?"
I didn't respond. I've found that it's best if you just ignore him, like a bee or a telemarketer. You
just crawl up in fetal position until he loses interest and retreats.
Alice was sitting in deep contemplation now, staring out the open window, breathing in the cool,
misty night air. I knew what she was thinking. The cards were still lying on the counter in front of
her, haphazardly thrown in disarray.
I was pretty familiar with Chief Swan and he'd never mentioned a daughter or any family for that
matter. He spent a lot of his time fishing down on the Quileute Reservation with his buddies and
he occasionally joined my uncle for barbeque on game day. In fact, he was with my uncle when
he had his heart attack. It's lucky as hell that Carlisle was with him, probably saved his life.
My father's brother, Dr. Carlisle Cullen, is a surgeon at Forks Hospital. He grew up with my father
in Chicago, but moved out west when things got weird. He met Esme in Seattle, married her and
baby Emmett makes three. I think he feels guilty for leaving my dad in Chicago, or something, like
this mess could have been avoided. That's Carlisle, trying to analyze this clusterfuck that is life. He
fixes shit, and this was something he couldn't fix. That's why he brought me and Alice to live with
him, to score a few points with good old Karma. They're great, Carlisle and Esme, really. They try
hard to restore that normalcy. They pretend we're just regular teenagers, give us birthday
parties and even grounded me once when they found out I ditched school to smoke pot with
Jasper Hale.
I know they genuinely love us and that's what is so fucked up about this situation, because it's
going to kill them when that bomb goes off. Carlisle tries to remain hopeful and optimistic, telling
me I can't possibly know the future, but I do know. You can't fix something that was never whole
to begin with. Genetically, I'm fucked.
Tarot info courtesy of learntarot[dot]com
Joni songs referenced:

Please be a dear and review!

Chapter: 2
And so the two shall meet.
Thank you, Project Team Beta, you are my shiny light break in the storm...as Joni would say. I
apologize for my incessant misuse of commas and semicolons.
Again, quoted italics are lyrics from Joni Mitchell songs.
Disclaimer: I don't own it.
CH 2 I Hate You Some, I Love You Some
As the cabin pressure dipped and the plane began its descent into Seattle, I glanced longingly at
the broad band of blue. The sun was beginning to sink below the hazy cloud cover, igniting the
milky barrier in opalescence: "Ice cream castles in the air" The plane quickly became engulfed in
the white billows and then a flood of gray and green. The finality of this transition caught in my
throat and I stifled a sob, closing my eyes and leaning against the headrest. Breathe, Bella,
damnit. You can handle this.
I took a cab to my father's house. He had been rushed into emergency surgery last week, spent
four days in the hospital and sent home to recover. Four days. They opened his chest, bypassed
three of his coronary arteries, harvesting the necessary grafts from a large blood vessel in his
leg and sent him home four days later. It seemed a lot to ask of an old, out of shape body.
As the car approached Forks, I felt a strong sense of familiarity and dread. I knew this town. I had
lived here for the first ten years of my life, but I was an outsider now. The daughter that the
Chief didn't want, offspring of a flighty ex-wife, coming home to nurse her poor hero of a father.
I couldn't fathom the random-ass shit I was going to endure tomorrow, my first day of school at
Forks High.
And then I was there, in the driveway of that house. It hadn't changed at all. It looked worn and
neglected, paint peeling from the wood siding, overgrown foliage covering the windows with
green. It looked vacant and still; however, I knew what awaited me inside. My stomach lurched
and I felt the nausea brimming, even though there was nothing left to purge.
I unloaded my suitcase from the trunk, paid the fare with the small amount of cash my mom had
given me before I left, and keeled over to put my head between my knees. What am I doing here?
This is my nightmare; I am walking willfully into my own personal hell. Stop being an idiot, Bella.
Get the fuck in the house, it's freezing out here.
I made my way carefully up the icy path to the front door, pausing often to regain my balance.
Sneakers don't have much traction. I am so not prepared for this. I grabbed the knob and taking
a deep breath, walked through the door.
A slight musty smell invaded my senses first, then bleach and plastic, the clinical scent of hospital
equipment. I searched for the tobacco or the grease, the after shave or even the bread; but I

couldn't find a trace of my past here. I must have looked like a moron, moving around the small
entry way, sniffing the air.
"Hello?" I called out, setting my suitcase down. I made my way to the living room. It was littered
with clothing, books, magazines, piles of mail, and various medical paraphernalia wrapped in
pristine plastic. The inside of the house mirrored the exterior and I found myself recalling memories
of fishing poles and bear hugs. I looked around again. It wasn't all that different, really, the
clutter camouflaging the fact that nothing had changed. Even the furniture was still in the same
arrangement. I stared at the couch, velvet and dusty, recalling the hundreds of times I had
curled up there with a crocheted afghan and my bowl of Honeycomb to watch Saturday morning
cartoons. I realized that not one of these things held any comfort for me now, not the couch or
the cartoons and most definitely not the Honeycomb.
Where the hell was everybody? I called out again. "Hello?"
"Isabella?" A soft voice from upstairs called my formal name.
Here we go.
"Yeah." I dragged my feet up the stairs. I made my way to one of the two bedrooms. The Chief
was situated in his bed. He was wearing gray sweats and a thin t-shirt and he looked like hell. I
mean, really awful. His massive form took up much more of the bed than it should have and his
dark hair, interspersed with gray, was sticking to his forehead, a thick mustache overpowering his
lips. He had dark black bruises under both eyes and his arms were riddled with puncture wounds.
He wasn't anything like I remembered. He was broken and soft, defeat etched across his brow
and in the creases of his eyes.
"Bella. I justIt's just Bellanow," I explained, shifting uncomfortably in the small space.
"Billy had to leave, but I expect someone will be coming around soon to bring dinner, so if you're
hungry" he replied quickly.
"Oh. Okay. Is there anything you need me to do, to get?" I hadn't expected this indifference.
Charlie was acting like I'd just been up in my room for the last seven years.
"Well, the mail hasn't been attended to and we're pretty much out of groceries; so if you'll be
wanting anything special, you'll need to go to the market." He avoided my eyes, looking instead
at my shoulder.
"Sure, I can take care of the groceries." That was easy enough. "I can cook too. So, if you want,
I can make the meals."
"You can cook?" He was surprised.
"Yeah, I've picked up a few things," I shrugged.
"Okay. Your room is down the hall. I had Sue Clearwater get some things for you. I hope it's okay."
I tried to remember the Clearwaters but came up blank.
We stood in silence a bit longer. I was dying to escape that room, but didn't want to seem too anxious.
"Okay. Well, let me know if you need anything." I finally said, moving towards the door.
"I'm glad you're here, Bella." He mumbled to the tiny window.

I left the room then and found the bathroom. I washed my face and ran my fingers through the
tangled beast that is my hair. I had to admit, I expected a much bigger confrontation upon our
reunion. I foresaw a long, drawn out, epic fight scene, full of dramatic displays of remorse and
pained declarations of wrongdoing. I was going to tell him off, tell him exactly how much he had
ruined me. But when I saw him helpless, broken, perforated with dependency, I couldn't be the
one to shatter him further.
That night, I stepped into my position as caretaker. I cleaned the kitchen and downstairs living
room. I found places for things that had no place. I brought Charlie his array of meds when it was
time. I met and socialized briefly with the Clearwaters when they had brought the Chief his supper.
I did laundry and I sighed at the fact that I was existing here in the exact same fashion as I had
in Phoenix. I was tired and satisfied with my offering to Karma when I finally laid down on the
purple comforter in the tiny bedroom that had been mine once before.

I was still in my clothes from the night before when I awoke. The rain had kept me up most of the
night, reminding me of my location. I dragged my sorry, sleepy ass out of bed and went to ready
myself for the impending doom that was to ensue this very day. I realized that I hadn't even
bothered to unpack last night.
I snuck a peak in Charlie's room. He was asleep, sitting up slightly. The small television was blaring
some infomercial for exercise equipment.
I quickly showered and assessed my wardrobe situation. I had a very small selection of jeans and
t-shirts to choose from. I settled on my boot-cut jeans and my favorite Stones t-shirt. Yeah, it was
old, faded and torn, but it was so molded. You know, forming me perfectly in all the most
contented places, a tiny cocoon of comfort without drawing attention to the protruding
collarbones or shoulder blades that often raised suspicions. I have to be careful not to look too
skinny. People start questioning, figuring shit out.
I examined my face in the mirror. Sallow, sunken in cheeks, and black circles enveloping my dark
brown eyes. Forks was going to have a field day. I tried to smooth my unruly hair, but with the
misty, humid air of the Olympic Peninsula, I was fighting an uphill battle. I left it down, hopefully it
would distract from my face.
I checked in with Charlie. I had no idea how I was going to get to school. I didn't think walking was
a viable option, seeing as how I could hardly walk across a flat surface without tripping over my
own feet. Charlie was awake now, just staring out the window into misty gray nothingness.
"Umm, so, I have to go to school today. Is anyone" Charlie interrupted before I could finish.
"There's a truck, in the garage. You can drive that to school. The school's just off the main
highway, you'll see a sign." His voice was like gravel. "Sue Clearwater will be here this morning
and then Billy Black in the afternoon until you get home from school," he continued.
"Okay. Well, I'm going to leave now." I blurted out. "I mean, I don't want to be late and I don't
really know where I'm going so"
"Drive careful." Charlie wouldn't even look at me. This lack of attention was confusing. Did he
really hate me so much that he couldn't stand the sight of me? Or worse, did he not care enough
even to hate me? Because it wasn't hate in his expression and voice. It wasn't anything.

"Yeah," was all I could think of to say.

I left quickly, slipping on my sneakers, grabbing my heavy corduroy coat and tote bag, just itching
to get out of that house. I found an old, decrepit looking truck in the garage. It smelled like
grease and tobacco. The smell was overwhelming, dredging up memories I had kept in a distant
pocket of my mind. I almost got out and walked. It really was freaking cold though, and comfort
won me over again. The keys were in the ignition and I started it up, blasting the heater.
I pulled into the parking lot at the small school a short while later. Students were starting to arrive
in flocks now, exiting their cars and greeting each other with exuberance. I grabbed my tote
and made my way to the front office, just trying to blend in. I blasted Joni on my mp3 player,
taking solace in the kind and familiar voice. "Will you take me as I am?"

It was lunch and I was going to hurl. I felt the desperation, that acute awareness of bile swelling
in my chest and burning in the back of my throat. I had to get it out. I was suffocating, choking on
the insanity of this decision, to do this here at school. A fucking new school, where I haven't
acclimated myself to the most convenient or safest place to, um, evacuate.
I should have just told them I wasn't hungry or that I was allergic to milk or something. The day
had not been as bad as I thought. Everyone just seemed really curious. I had met a couple of
kids. Er, Jennifer? No, Jeanette? Jessica! Her name is Jessica, like the singer, curvy and fake.
Then there was Mark or Mike? Yes, Mike Newton, like the fig, a chewy fruited cake. Anyway,
they seemed nice enough, contrived and ridiculous, yes, but they were helpful. As lunch
approached, I knew I would have to handle the situation with some finesse.
After Spanish, Jessica and I walked to the lunchroom. I had gotten a plate of fruit and a bottle
of lemonade from the lunch counter and followed Jessica to sit at their table, fully intending on
eating some grapes and tossing the rest. Fruits and vegetables affected me the least; I could
usually keep a couple carrot sticks or apple slices down. This appeased any overly perceptive
onlookers. I whipped out my reading material and tried to casually look like I was eating, just very
slowly, on account of me being so utterly immersed in my classic literature. The guy, Mike, was
acting a bit more enthralled with my existence than I cared for and kept commenting on how
skinny I was, how petite, minuscule, tiny, ugh, shut up! I mean really, who fucking says that to
someone they've barely met?
Then they started asking questions about my mom, Phoenix, my dad, and I just couldn't take it.
One of them, Tyler something-or-other, made some comment about how I need to eat and threw a
slice of pizza across the table and onto my plate. I just ate it. Partially to shut them up, but a
small part of me just wanted to be normal with them, eat fucking pizza and not have to punish myself.
And now I was frantically searching for a secluded bathroom, somewhere that looked like it
remained pretty vacant. I found a girls restroom towards the back of the school, behind the
science building. I catapulted myself through the door of the first stall and heaved into the toilet.
This was a new low, curling over a public toilet, my knees on the cool, grimy tile. I didn't even
want to touch the thing. The thought in itself brought on a new wave of nausea and I wretched
again. I stilled, panting and spitting into the bowl. I grabbed some cheap, public restroom, toilet
paper and wiped my mouth.
I walked out of the stall and the tiniest pixie of a girl was standing in front of me. Her small frame
was wrapped in soft gauze, her peasant blouse flowing around her. Long sleeves hid her tiny
fingers, which seemed to be clutching onto a bundle of silk. She wore flared jeans that looked
vintage, secondhand, patched and embroidered with delicate flowers. Her small feet donned a

pair of black Doc Marten boots, scuffed and wrinkled, and a large paisley bag slung sloppily over
her shoulder.
Her face was some sort of stunning. Not the beautiful you find in a magazine, but ethereal and
wispy, not of this planet. She gazed past her perfectly pointy nose at me, her cool jade eyes
surveying the situation. She brought her empty hand to her black tuft of hair, scratching her
head, not removing her eyes.
"Tough day, huh?" She spoke, a chiming soprano and immediately I was comforted. "Little Green,
be a gypsy dancer,"Joni's words rang in my peripheral.
"I'm allergic to milk." I blurted out, moving to the sink, washing my hands and rinsing my mouth.
I'd been caught like this before, back in Phoenix. The best thing to do is to pretend like nothing
out of the ordinary is happening. People don't usually see the obvious. So I don't know why I had
decided to lie, to fake a cover. Something told me she was well informed, intuition thick in her deep ey
"You want a smoke?" She casually reached in her bag pulling out a crumpled pack of cigarettes and
a lighter.
"Yeah, sure." Anything to get that taste out of my mouth. I placed the slender, papery, cylinder
between my lips, lighting it swiftly and inhaling deeply, the smoke swirling around me as I exhaled.
It was no peppermint, but it would do.
She stepped into a stall and balancing on the toilet, popped open the two small windows that
butted up against the ceiling. Her cigarette was dangling from the corner of her lips, her silk parcel
still in her fist.
"This bathroom's the best for school day smokes. They forgot to install a smoke detector in here
and if you leave the windows open, you can hardly even smell the smoke." The girl mumbled, the
cigarette bobbing as she talked. She jumped gracefully to the floor in front of me and lit her
cigarette quickly, taking a long pull and whispering an exhale.
"I'm Alice. Alice Cullen," She stood against the tile wall, leaning casually between the stall and the
paper towel dispenser.
"Bella," I took another drag, flicking the ash before exhaling.
"Did you just move here Bella?" Alice eyed me inquisitively. She looked too young to be in high
school and why was she smoking? Kids shouldn't smoke.
"Yeah, I'm here to help my dad." It sounded like a question. "How old are you Alice?"
"Sixteen," She puffed that cigarette like she'd been smoking for years, not wasting one drag. I'd
hung out with girls who pretended to smoke, you know, to look sexy or whatever. They usually
wasted the whole fucking cigarette, just standing there, holding on to it, letting the ash
accumulate while it burned. Not Alice. She quickly finished, tossing her butt in the toilet, and
produced a fresh cigarette in seconds, lighting it and inhaling in the same fashion as before.
"Don't you think you're a little too young to smoke?" I asked her, a double standard I know. She
just looked so young; like thirteen or fourteen, and that was because of her eye makeup. Could
you imagine watching a thirteen-year-old gulping cigarettes like a chain smoker? It was borderline
"Don't you think you're a little too old to be puking on the first day of school?" She retorted,

acknowledging my hypocrisy.
I grinned at that, because she was so dead on. I was relieved that she passed my "episode" off as
first day jitters. I didn't want to lie to her again. I liked her; she was someone I could easily be
friends with.
She finished her cigarette, disposing of the evidence as before and shoved her stuff in her large
bag. She made to leave, pausing at the door.
"I'll see you around Bella." She said lazily as she walked out the door.
I quickly finished and like Alice, tossed the butt in the toilet and flushed. I made my way back to
the lunchroom, searching for my tote. Luckily, my bag was still in the empty lunchroom, hidden
under the chair I'd been sitting in. I grabbed the bag and searched for a peppermint. I slipped one
in my mouth and pulled out my mp3 player, immersing myself in piano and soft melodies. "And her
coat's a secondhand one"
There was no way in hell I was walking into my next class now that I was unforgivably late.
Advanced Biology would have to wait until tomorrow. I sat in my truck the rest of the day, reading
and listening, and just folding in on myself.

The school had been a buzz of electricity all day. Every inch of the small campus was humming
with excitement, all because of some stupid girl. I hated to be one to give in to preconceived
notions, but if Emmett was correct in his assumptions, the whole of Forks had been anticipating a
mindless, vacant plaything. I had seen them earlier, in-between classes, walking a little too close
to the new girl, trying to place some unspoken claim. Tap, tap, she's mine and shit.
It was pathetic, like she was the last good shovel at the sandbox, a shiny, new toy brought out
for show and tell and they all wanted a chance to hold and fondle the acquisition. The girls were
hoping she would become their best friend, making them marginally cooler by adding a sense of
mystery. The males, well, they just want to play doctor with the naughty nurse. It's really hard to
find new people to date in a town like Forks. The dating pool is like a carousel, going round and
round, everyone just swapping ponies. And though I didn't want to admit it, I'd even taken a ride
or two. Rosalie, my cousin's girlfriend, was also my first kiss. It didn't mean anything, at all. We
were at Jessica Stanley's 15th birthday party and like a dumb fuck, I got tricked into playing spin
the bottle. Because that's what kids in Forks do to get off, they take turns kissing each other.
I didn't really get a good look at the new girl. She was constantly surrounded by Stanley and her
cronies and there was no way I was going near that. Fake-ass bitches. Mike Newton looked like
he was going to blow a load right there in the lunch room. She was smaller than I had anticipated
and her hair was dark, keeping her face hidden. She just looked average, like an ordinary girl. I
really couldn't see what all the fuss was about.
Alice seemed to be unusually interested in this new girl, Isabella, I think I had heard someone call
her. She kept craning her neck, trying to catch a glimpse of her face. She was also fiddling with
her cards again. I shot her a warning glance, put them the fuck away, I was trying to tell her. She
just glared at me and tossed the bundle in her bag, took out a bag of carrot sticks and
proceeded to munch.
"Well, personally, I don't see what everyone's so worked up about." Rosalie declared, trying to

sound indifferent. Rosalie was pissed. This was probably the first time that Newton, did not
eyeball her ass as she sauntered into the lunchroom. "I mean, she's nothing to look at. Like
literally, there's nothing to her. She looks malnourished, like one of those Sally Struthers
commercials. She doesn't even have boobs, for Christ's sake."
"Babe, she's just new; it'll wear off." Emmett took another rather pointed look at the new girl.
"Yeah, you're right. No boobs." He looked disappointed, naughty nurse fizzling away. Rosalie just
glared at him, smacking his massive bicep with her flat palm.
Jasper, Rosalie's brother, entered the lunchroom, taking a detour so he could pass Stanley and
her new project. He casually walked over to our table, hands in his pockets.
"Hey, Rose, give me your keys." Jasper sat down next to Alice, facing Rosalie. He glanced
sideways at my sister so quickly, if I hadn't been looking in his direction I would have missed it. Alice
just looked down at her bag andblushed? Was she fucking blushing?
"Why the hell would I give you my keys, Jasper? You know you're not allowed to drive my car, or
anything else for the matter." Rosalie smiled sweetly at her twin. Jasper used to ride this Ducati,
but last month, after a night of substance induced stupor, he accidentally--or maybe it was
intentional, you really can't tell with Jasper--drove it through the front window of the only
Walgreens for miles. The geriatric community was in an uproar. Jasper got off easy, community
service, thanks in part to a large donation on behalf of the Hale family to the Forks Senior Center.
"I just need to get my shit out of the trunk." Jasper brought his hands to the table, leaning forward.
"I'll bring them right back."
Alice quietly got up from her chair. "I'll see you guys around. I gotta use the little girl's room," she
said lightly and skipped out of the lunchroom.
"I swear Jasper, if you so much as breathe on the ignition, I'm telling mom about the porn and the
pot and your little gir-," Jasper stood up, making his chair scrape loudly against the linoleum.
"All right! Fuck! Do you have to be such a bitch all the time?" Jasper interrupted. Rosalie threw
her keys at him, hitting him in the chest. He fumbled to catch them before they fell to the floor,
then turned, raised his hand slightly in the air and flipped her off as he walked out of the lunch room.
"Hey, where'd Stanley's pet go?" Rosalie was trying not to obviously stare at the table the new
girl was no longer occupying.
I smirked to myself, turning to look at the table. Apparently, even the best of us get caught up at
the sandbox.

Alice met me at the Volvo and I drove her home after school. I had to go to the market to get
some ingredients for dinner. At some point in the past two years, I had taken over the cooking
duties. When I first moved here, Carlisle had thought the culinary classes would be a good outlet
for mybehavior. He signed Alice and I up for this vocational program, designed for high school
students suffering from all kinds of shit; mental illness, abuse, traumatic loss. I just kind of had a
knack for cooking.
After the program ended, I started watching Food Network, learning everything I could about
special techniques and how to choose ingredients, blend flavors and use spices. I learned about
the chemistry of cooking, which foods were acidic and which were basic, which unions

complimented each other and which were fucking disasters. It was a distraction and I was able to
distract the people around me without really having to even talk to them. As long as I was
cooking, Carlisle and Esme felt I was stable, interacting, and functioning in society: normal. It was
all I had to offer, because God knows I wasn't going to discuss any of this shit with them. They'd
have me back on those meds in a mad rush and I can't cook all catatonic.
Pulling from my musing, I parked at the local organic market and pulled a shopping cart from the
pile. I had to focus now. Grocery shopping is my favorite part of cooking. All the possibilities piled
in neat, tidy rows of inspiration. I was in my element, searching the fresh produce first. I walked
slowly down each aisle, choosing carefully, inspecting tomatoes for blemishes, peeling away layers
of onion, smelling the fresh basil, oregano and thyme, filling my cart with raw materials for my
I was thoroughly engrossed in choosing a basket of strawberries when a soft, tiny form slammed
into my back. I pitched forward into the display, crushing several containers of berries in the process.
"Shit!" I heard a low oath behind me. I spun around to find myself staring down at a thick tangle
of mahogany hair. "Shit, I'm sorry. I'm justshit." She was staring down at the ground, her
delicate face a soft shade of pink.
I took the lack of eye contact as an opportunity to scrutinize the small figure that had just
assaulted me in the produce aisle of the grocery store. She was pulling at her fingers, twisting the
tips of each digit over and over again, her tiny wrists twirling gently. She had tons of almost black
hair, cascading down the middle of her back overpowering and deeply contrasting her pale,
heart-shaped face. Her full bottom lip was caught between her teeth and my gaze lingered here,
my eyes intent on her plump pink lip, her white teeth gently pressing, accentuated with the tiniest
gap. She was skinny, too skinny, her jeans hanging low on her hips, her shirt two sizes too big,
emblazoned with a big set of red lips and that signature tongue.
"A fan of the classics?" I asked with a smirk.
"Huh?" She finally looked up at me. Her wide expansive eyes were velvet, smooth and brown,
framed by dark feathery lashes, the skin of her lids and cheekbones shadowed. Her gaze was
unrestraining and penetrating, as if I had never really been seen before this moment. I was
overcome with the desire to see the world through these eyes, these ever reaching portals,
jealous of the minute facets they must be able to detect and infiltrate. My breath sort of caught
in my chest as I lost my focus, inching closer to her, trying to find the bottom of those deep
pools. Energy was palpable in the atmosphere, radiating and humming, so thick I could feel every
tiny hair on my body stand on end. And then I could smell her, floral, sweet, organic and natural,
like lavender blooming in the spring.
Tap, Tap, she's mine
She gasped and then exhaled, blanketing my face with warm peppermint, her eyes narrowed
inquisitively. "Do I know you? Your eyesI've seen them. Before. I mean, they're familiar." She
shook her head, closing her lids.
I pursed my lips, "I don't think so." No, I would have remembered that meeting, just as surely as I
would not forget this one.
"Hmmm," she shook her head again waving her hand, "Never mind."
I stepped back, gathering myself and looked down as well, running a hand through my hair,
smoothing it from my face. "Your shirt. The Stones, right" I explained myself.

"Oh. Right, classic." She smiled a small smile and glanced up swiftly through the safety of her
lashes, flushing pink and rosy again. "Sorry I crashed into you. I tripped."
"You're Chief Swan's daughter, Isabella?" Jesus, I hope that's her name. I internally kicked myself
for losing my feigned nonchalance.
"Just Bella." She looked down again. Why won't she look at me?
"Bella, is that Italian?" I inquired, trying to meet her gaze.
"I guess so." She bit that damn lip again, forcing my eyes there.
"Well Bella, it was nice, er, being assaulted by you this afternoon?" I was trying to be funny and
failing miserably. Why wouldn't my brain tell my mouth to shut the fuck up?
She grimaced. "Sorry, I shouldn't be let out of the house. I'm a danger to everyone around me,
including myself."
I snorted; she looked about as dangerous as a small kitten, a tiny, awkward, soft, warm kitten.
Holy hell, I'm making gaga eyes at this girl and equating her with kittens and flowers. I had to get
this shit under control.
"Well, I'll see you around, Bella." I said quickly. I didn't want to be a dick, but I couldn't drag her
into this mess. She'd be running for the hills if she knew about the ticking bomb, constantly set to
I grabbed some strawberries and tried to hightail it out of there, but she called to me as I was leaving.
"Hey! What's your name?"
I stopped. This is a bad idea. Pretend you didn't hear her and avoid her like the plague that you are.
But I couldn't do that, now could I? Because my life wasn't fucked up enough as it is, because I
was beginning to realize I had no control against the gravity pulling me to her, magnetic, stars
aligning, cosmic bullshit or whatever, and because all I could think about was her warm body
pressed up against me, filling me up. I stopped.
"Edward. Edward Cullen." I quickly made my way through the checkout line and rushed home. I
had to see Alice.

"Alice?" I walked in the door, carrying the groceries to the kitchen and setting them on the
counter. I ran to the stairs. "Alice?"
"Edward, what's wrong?" Esme appeared at the top of the stairs.
"Nothing." Everything. "I just need to ask Alice something."
"She's not here. She went for a walk." Esme eyed me carefully. "Are you okay?"
"What do you mean, she went for a walk? Since when does she go for walks?" Shit, we needed to

do this now, before I chickened out.

"She's been doing this for weeks now. She says it clears her head, "It soothes my soul" were her
words, I believe. You know how she is," she shrugged.
Esme was always the portrait of calm, care, and patience. She used to be an interior decorator,
but she quit her job when Alice and I came to live here. She said she wanted to focus on us, that
being a mom was a fulltime job, and one she didn't take lightly. And she didn't, she treated us
exactly like she treated her own son, Emmett. She loved us all equally, giving of herself
everything she could and I respected the hell out of her. But she wasn't my mother. My mother
was in a cemetery in Chicago.
I turned, leaving Esme at the top of the stairs, and walked back to the kitchen, removing the
groceries from the bags and putting them in their proper places. I was making a Vegetable
Lasagna tonight, which takes an hour or so to cook, so I quickly sharpened the blade of my knife
and started chopping the vegetables. Zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers,
mushrooms, and fresh spinach, my knife whirled through them in minutes. I was getting quite
accomplished in slicing, cubing and mincing but Julienning was still a bitch. Luckily, lasagna doesn't
require tiny sticks of veggies, so my cuts were perfect and swift.
I pulled out the leftover sauce from the night before and then mixed the ricotta and shredded
the mozzarella. I had just put on a large pot of water to boil when I heard the front door open
and close.
Alice glided into the kitchen, slightly flushed, from walking I guess. Her cheeks were pink, her
blush reminding me of my initial urgency to see her.
"Hey," she said lazily and plopped herself onto the counter.
"Hey," I replied. My earlier frantic demeanor had been silenced by the therapeutic relief of cutting
shit up. I didn't know how to ask her now.
"Seen anything interesting lately?" I hedged, hoping she'd figure it out.
She looked at me, confused. "I saw the Crowley's cat licking its balls on our front porch."
Apparently, I was going to have to be more direct.
"No, Alice, have you seen anything?" I emphasized the word and pointed to the middle of my
forehead, indicating the psychic, all-seeing third eye. Alice loves that shit, astrology, palm
reading, tarot cards. She thinks she's psychic and I'll admit she's been right on more than one occasio
"Um, what are you talking about? Does it say "Fuck You" on your forehead or something?" Oh my
God, how could she not get it.
"Fuck, Alice, can you read your cards for me?" I just came out and asked because I only had an
hour. I put the noodles and a bit of olive oil into the boiling water.
"Oh! Oh, I get it, third eye, right." Alice jumped off the counter and went up the stairs. She
returned in a few moments with her cards, neatly wrapped in a silk scarf. She unbound the cards,
laying the scarf delicately on the countertop.
"No longer a skeptic?" she asked as she shuffled the cards. She called it "seasoning" but it looked
like plain old poker shuffling to me.

"I'm just curious. I think it'd be interesting if you could predict something actually before it
happened." I smiled at my sister, stirring the boiling noodles.
"If you're going to make fun, I'm not going to do this." Alice took her "craft" very seriously.
"I'm joking. I really am curious." I pulled the barely cooked noodles from the water and rinsed them
in the sink. "Besides, you know you're dying to do it."
"Okay, okay. Enough." She took a couple deep breaths, the cards still in her hand. "Edward, I
want you to open your mind and ask a question. You can ask it out loud or keep it to yourself, but
I'm going to ask that you meditate on this question for the duration of the reading."
I rolled my eyes. Alice has read for everyone; Emmett, Esme, Carlisle and even Rosalie. I have
never explicitly asked her to read for me, like this. Sometimes she would perform these "random
readings," as she called them, like the one yesterday. She claimed that those readings were
brought on by some inexplicable inspiration, something beyond this realm. Alice thought they
were more powerful, more meaningful because they didn't pertain to anything in particular. I'll
admit, they were far more intense than the readings I'd seen her perform for our family. The
random readings caused her to slip into an almost trancelike state, voicing the first connection to
the card that came to mind. That's why she wrote them in her notebook, so she could compare
her predictions with actual events, to gauge accuracy.
It was all just a real tough pill to swallow; that the random placing of cards could bear some
indication on the future. And it was just so subjective. Any reader could interpret the cards
based on what the subject wanted to know. But I was in foreign territory, with this whole
"feelings" thing. I was fucking desperate here. After the encounter with Bella in the grocery
store, I wasn't sure I could count anything out anymore, because if anything is more skeptical
than fortune telling, it's love-at-first-sight.
I mentally scolded myself for using the "L" word. How can you love someone you've only spoken
to once? "You know I'm not going to say it out loud," I said to Alice, who was now spreading all
the cards out in front of her on the scarf, raking her fingers through them, mixing the up.
Alice sighed. "It would make it so much easier! Please?"
"No way." No way in hell was I going to tell her what I was thinking about. She'd be laughing her
ass off for weeks.
"Alright, "ask" away." Alice rolled her eyes at me before closing them.
I knew what I wanted to ask. It constantly affected every decision I made, forcing me to live as a
shell of a human being, reigning over my emotions. That bomb, ready to go off any day now
Will I hurt Isabella Swan?
I meditated on this phrase and I began piling the layers of noodles, cheeses, sauce and veggies,
my fingers working; rhythmic and automatic. And Alice began laying the cards.
"I'm going to use the cross spread tonight, because this is a special reading, isn't it?" Damn her
and her intuition.
"Just read the cards, Alice, before I change my mind."
"Shhhh." She continued laying out six cards to form a cross, the first two crossing in the middle

and four cards in a vertical line beside the cross.

She turned over the center card first.
"The Fool, the beginning of something. You're expanding your horizons." She grinned at me,
giving me an old at-a-boy. I rolled my eyes. This was a mistake.
"Second position represents conditions or obstacles." She flipped the card. "High Priestess,
secrets and hiding." She quirked an eyebrow.
"Are you going to look at me like that after every card? I have to finish dinner you know, this
can't take all night." I had just put the lasagna into the oven and was quickly gathering the
ingredients for strawberry shortcake.
She went back to the cards, ignoring my remark, however she didn't look up any longer. She
focused now on the cards.
"The Star, you hope to open your heart, to see the path clear."
"Eight of Wands, you have already begun to see how fast it can happen."
"Nine of Pentacles, your past is full of self control and discipline but the future," she flipped
another card, "the Lovers, being sexual yet determining values."
She stopped. I'm sure I was 10 shades of green at this point, but when she read that last one, I
almost dropped the knife I was using to chop the berries.
"So, you're finally going to get laid, Edward." Alice was laughing. "Halle-fucking-lujah!"
"I don't think real psychics can use that kind of language with their clients." She's such a pain-in-the-as
"Okay, sorry. It was just too easy." She cleared her throat and continued with the cards.
"Okay, your attitude suggests a realization or downfall, The Tower." She frowned at me, slowly
flipping the next card. I was frowning as well, I was regretting asking her to do this.
"The Two of Wands, your family and friends think you brilliant and vital, they believe in your
worth." She smiled softly now, no longer joking. "We really do, Edward."
She flipped the ninth card, "The Devil. It's not bad though, it just means that you fear being
obsessed, afraid of the unknown."
She hesitated with the last card. "This is about a girl, huh?"
I wanted to tell her, to share this with her, but I didn't know yet what to think of these feelings,
things I've never really felt before. Okay, so I kissed Rosalie in the ninth grade, I got a hand job
from Lauren Mallory in the movie theater during sophomore year and Jessica Stanley sucked my
dick at her party a couple months ago, effectively ending any further alcohol consumption, ever.
That was it. Three girls, one of which is now dating my cousin. I am a seventeen-year-old virgin. I
think I may be the only seventeen-year-old virgin. I am why the porn industry is thriving.
But I had never felt this, this overwhelming compulsion to be near someone. I wanted to kiss her
so bad in that produce aisle, to touch her, tangle my fingers in her hair, protect her, love herand
I don't want to love anything because things that I love get hurt, broken, destroyed. How can I

feel this after only a minute's meeting? How can 5 minutes of awkward conversation fuck me up
so badly?
No, I couldn't tell Alice because I couldn't let this happen. I had to avoid Isabella Swan, deny every
pull of my being, and pretend she didn't exist. She was a force, gravity, sheer magnetism and I
would destroy that. I would crush her very essence, because that is what explosives do.
Compressed and encased, I was just fucking waiting for that electrical impulse to trigger the
fuse, detonating an explosion and sending shrapnel into everything around me. I had to make
sure the blast wouldn't reach her.
"When has it ever been about a girl?" I asked my sister. She just scowled at me and flipped the last ca
"This is the culmination of all the other cards, the outcome." She looked at the card and paused.
She scrutinized the card, tilting her head to the side. "The Emperor, fathering, establishing a family
line, but it's upside down, see? That means it's reversed, or not expressed completely or
normally." She looked up, sadly now.
"You'll find someone. They're just cards, Edward, a game."
I just kept cutting, the blade slicing into the thick red berries, reminding me of Bella's bottom lip
and the indentation from her white teeth.
Alice was trying to reassure me that I would, what, be a father someday? It didn't matter if I
would end up hurting Bella or not, because apparently I wouldn't get the chance. Shit, this is way
over my head. All I could focus on were the words, not expressed completely or normally. I
wasn't complete or normal. I am defective, malfunctioning, flawed, my own hypothalamus
plotting my destruction. Alice may be psychic after all.
So, I'm not an expert in Tarot, just a little versed. I'm using the site for reference: learntarot[dot]com
Just in case anyone's interested, Joni Mitchell songs quoted: Ladies of the Canyon, Little Green,
California and Clouds
And please, my dears, leave a review! Don't make me use the Jedi mind trick...you want to leave
a review...
Oh and thank you to my darling family members that did leave reviews...lovelies!

Chapter: 3
I have to say I am overwhelmed by lovely reviews from you readers and such kindness from the
gems at The Twilight Sisterhood, esp britpacksuccubus, for recommending my story! I found a
new support group lately, and have to send my love to Jezzeria for setting that up for us addicts.
Also, my main squeeze, n7of9 for pimping my fic and for the lovely lickable pics of Rob. And
misforMarisa, your icons are so amazing, I'm getting greedy! More!
The dears over at Project Team Beta are magic, and I promise to read up on semicolons and
commas. It's just so damn confusing.
All Bella this time. Don't worry, Edward will get his turn.
Disclaimer: I don't own it.
CH. 3 "And if You Care, Don't Let Them Know" (Joni owns me and these lyrics as well)
I am such an idiot. I cannot believe I fell into him. I was in the produce aisle, planning on slipping
in to get a basket of strawberries when the toe of my sneaker caught on the lip of a plastic mat. I
hit him hard, my chin slamming into the center of his back, causing my teeth to knock together,
and stunning me momentarily.
But that was nothing compared to the pain of the humiliation I experienced when he turned
around. I don't even remember what I said, probably mumbled a slur of profanities, refusing to
meet his eyes, hoping I could just grab the baneful berries and leave.
My proximity allowed me to catch the fragrance emanating from his entire being and at once I
was overwhelmed. He smelled absolutely delicious, almost herbal, like lilac infused honey warming
in the summer sun. I inhaled deeply, attempting to fill my head with his invigorating aroma as I
stifled a contented sigh. My head was clouded and I struggled to remain lucid.
Then he spoke, velvet oozing from those lips, smoldering and musical with a hint of a smirk in his
voice. I didn't register what he had said, just relished in the quiet beauty and prayed he would
speak again.
I was still staring at the floor, noticing his plain, black sneakers blending in with his slightly snug
black jeans. My gaze moved involuntarily upward, and my eyes were forced to follow. His white,
threadbare T-shirt clung to every ripple of his lean stomach and chest, a light trail of hair
peaking between his collarbones. He was wearing a black and white plaid shirt, unbuttoned, and a
blue industrial jacket. I took in every inch of his tall, lanky frame, chewing my lip to keep from
running my hands across his sculpted stature.
I finally met his face and luckily the human body is equipped with an involuntary muscular system
for lung, heart and brain function, because as soon as his eyes filled mine, I was unable to control
anything. My autonomic nervous system took over, quickening my heart rate, making breathing
unbearable, dilating my pupils, and I'll let you guess which of the four "F's" I was leaning towards.
"You turn me on, I'm a radio"

He was just so agonizingly beautiful. His strong jaw was covered in stubble, his full lips, smirking,
revealing perfectly even white teeth. He had dark eyebrows, heavily resting on the most viscous
green eyes I'd ever seen. I tried to participate in the verbal exchange but I couldn't find the
words, which was painfully obvious as I faltered through the calamity of conversation. I watched
him bring his graceful fingers to his hair, and immediately I was envious of that hand and the
gentle, nurturing caresses it bestowed on the tangle of browns and reds. His hair swirled and
flowed in gentle waves and curls, and my fingers trembled to reach out and stroke it. "I want to
talk to you, I want to shampoo you"Joni's words were flooding through me now, adding a
delicate soundtrack.
"Your shirt. The Stones, right?" He was looking at my shirt. I suddenly wished I wasn't so lacking
in the mammary department. I seriously have no boobs, my body stuck in pre-pubescence. I
hardly even wore a bra anymore. I could feel the exposing blush creeping up my neck and
flooding my cheeks. I mumbled more apologies, feeling utterly idiotic and foolish.
"You're Chief Swan's daughter, Isabella?" He knows my name? Holy shit. He continued to try to
make awkward small talk, and maybe even attempted to flirt. It was all lost though, because I
just couldn't help but focus on the shapes his lips were making as he spoke; his melodious voice
soft and quiet, easy and natural.
And then he was leaving. His face was contorted, a sneer playing on his lips now. He tossed a
basket of strawberries in the cart and stalked off. What the hell? Did I say something offensive? I
couldn't even tell you if I had. I was so completely befuddled by his mere presence, the ability to
recall my previous behavior eluded me. Fucking pathetic. I didn't even know his name. I had to
stop him, and I struggled to find my voice.
"Hey! What's your name?" Stupid, stupid, stupid Bella."Be prepared to bleed"
The beautiful boy stopped and turned, distress intensifying his lovely features.
"Edward. Edward Cullen." And he hurried off before I could ask anything else of him.
Cullen? Cullen? I knew I'd seen those eyes before. The chick from the restroom; tiny little smoker
girl. They have to be related, probably siblings? Same pale skin, same green eyes, same amazing
bone structure. I was pretty sure he went to my school, seeing as how I had puked in front of
his maybe sister in the ladies room earlier today.
Edward quickly rushed through the checkout line and was gone before I had made my way down
the next aisle.
I just sighed, drowning in a self-pity cocktail; one part defeat, one part acceptance. How could
someone like that even entertain an interest in someone like me? I mean, I had dated a couple
guys back in Phoenix. I'd never had a real boyfriend or anything, thanks to my superb sense of
self preservation. I just didn't want that rejection, and here it was, staring me in the face,
mocking my futile attempts to remain unaltered by the exchange that I just had with that enigma
of a human being.
Of course Edward Cullen would jet like that. Looking at it from his point of view, he was accosted
and ogled, probably worried I was going to follow him out to the parking lot so I could smell him
some more. It only solidified my resolve that a guy like that would date a beauty; someone sweet
and perfect. I'm not exceptionally charismatic or witty. I'm not feminine or pretty or oozing with
sexuality. I'm completely fucked up, with daddy issues and eating disorders, not to mention I
have the body of a ten-year-old and a wicked case of the clumsies.

I quickly finished my shopping, trying to push that boy from my brain, and regain the shred of
dignity that I had harbored for so long: detachment. If I don't care, they can't hurt me. It is my
mantra, my solace, my poise. I am a Zen monk when it comes to love.

When I got to Charlie's house, I started a big pot of vegetable soup. When I was little and we had
lived with Charlie, he had cooked our meals. I had learned a bit from him, like how to boil pasta
and make a simple marinara. After we left, I began cooking my own meals. Renee was either
working or too busy to cook, opting for a vast arrangement of chemically engineered and steroid
infested garbage. I mean, I was eleven and I knew that shit wasn't good for me. I quickly
learned how to make the basics, checking cookbooks out of the public library. After ninth grade, I
stopped cooking, not really necessitating it any longer. Anything I could eat now didn't take much
preparing and what was the use of putting all that effort into cooking a meal when I would
inevitably end up puking it up later anyway?
When I finished the soup, I took some to Charlie, who was still upstairs in his room. He hadn't left
that room, aside from bathroom breaks, since I'd gotten here. Charlie had been eating, sleeping,
and sitting in that same spot. I knew he needed to get up, move around, but I couldn't find my
place to voice this concern. That would require empathy and I just didn't want to give it. Don't
get me wrong, I felt sympathy for his situation: a big, tough Chief reduced to a helpless, mopey
invalid. He was incapacitated and dependent, unable to return to his position of proficiency. I
knew Charlie loved being a cop, so much so he was able to totally disregard his wife and child to
climb his professional ladder. I felt sorry for him, as a human being; but I couldn't feel care for
him, as my father. So I would care for everything else. I would cook and clean and leave the
majority of his care to his friends, his real family: Billy Black and the Clearwater's. It would be a
comfortable arrangement, almost like I was house-sitting or a maid or something. This I could handle.
That evening I had to call Renee. I hadn't spoken with her since I got on that plane yesterday. I
didn't really want to have this conversation. I knew it would be long, and full of questions that
my answers wouldn't satisfy. Talking to Renee had turned tedious; I constantly struggled to find
words that wouldn't raise any "red flags".
Finally, after exhausting all possible household duties, I dialed my mom's cell.
Renee answered, breathless and laughing. I could tell she'd been smoking.
"Hello?" My mom giggled into the phone.
"Mom, it's Bella."
"Bella! Hi, honey, I was going to call you. I just thought you needed a little time with Charlie,"
she soothed over the receiver. Yeah, why would a teenage girl going to live with her father that
she hasn't seen in years need to talk to her mom? My mother was so clueless sometimes. "How is
everything? How's Charlie?" Renee continued.
"Everything's fine, Mom. School's okay, boring, whatever. Charlie's recovering. He has help so I
basically just take care of things around the house."
"The house? What does it look like? Is it still the same?" Renee was prying.
"Yeah, it looks the same, Mom." I sighed because this fact made it painfully obvious that Charlie
had been sitting in the same position not only for the last two days, but for the last seven years.

Everything in that house was the same as it had been the day we left. The pictures on the walls
and mantle created a timeline of my childhood. Their wedding picture, still hung on the wall, was
covered in a small film of dust and bruising behind the frame. The painted cabinets in the kitchen
were yellowed and chipped, doors hanging slightly opened, and in need of new hinges. The stove
stood abandoned, dusted over from lack of use. He must not cook anymore and I found myself
wondering why. The old, secondhand furniture that they had purchased as newlyweds still
furnished the living room. Even my bedroom still had the rocking chair my father had used to read
me stories, play me songs on the guitar, and just fucking rock me to sleep.
"Bella, honey, are you there?" Yeah, I'm here. Barely.
"Yeah, Mom, I'm here." I needed to change the subject. "So how's packing going?"
"Oh, you know, slow. I have a lot of stuff packed away in this little house! I'm just taking it one
day at a time. Phil's been great though, so helpful."
Phil doesn't really have a job, so he's around a lot.
"That's great, Mom." It was silent for a moment.
"Bella, are you eating?" Wow, is that concern in her voice?
"Right now, no. We had dinner earlier, though." I decided to be evasive. I don't really like to lie,
explicitly anyways because I'm terrible at it, and I knew I couldn't fool her.
"Bella, don't be a smart ass." She saw through my articulated faade.
"I'm trying to eat, Mom. I had some fruit today, and a piece of pizza." And then I threw it up.
"Pills?" My mom pressed. Geez, what was this, twenty-questions? I really wasn't surprised, but it
was annoying all the same.
"Mom, where could I even get pills out here?" Where could I get pills out here? I didn't really need
them for the hunger anymore, but they did help me focus, making me feel productive by providing a
little burst of liveliness in my otherwise sluggish step.
"Bella, I mean it, you'd better not be doing any of that shit anymore. Your dad needs you and I
would die if something happened to you." Smoking weed always made her a bit overdramatic.
"Mom, relax. I'm fine. Everything's fine." I tried to assuage her fears. "I met some people, they're
really nice. You know, just kinda cool." I hoped that sounded convincing.
"Okay, honey. You call if you need anything. I love you, baby," my mom gushed.
"Okay, love you too. Bye Mom." I hung up, exhausted from the exchange. I walked down the hall
to see if Charlie needed anything before I went to bed. He was watching a baseball game, still in
the same clothes from yesterday.
"Dad, you okay? Need anything?" I asked quietly, trying not to intrude.
He seemed surprised to hear me, slowly turning his gaze to mine, and looking me full in the face for
the first time since I'd arrived. He stared at me for a moment, some foreign emotion that I couldn't
place creeping behind his irises. I shifted in my stance, a bit uncomfortable with even this level of

"I'm fine, Bella," he finally replied. He turned to watch his game again.
I started to leave, pausing in the doorway. "Good night, Dad," I said softly.
He didn't respond.
That night I showered and tried to find something to wear to school. I was going to have to
break down and go shopping, maybe find a thrift store or something. I settled on my jeans again
and a long sleeve thermal. I was going to have to do laundry every night this week at this rate.
When I finally lay down to sleep, wrapped in flannel, my empty abdomen aching in triumph, I
found my mind replaying the encounter with Edward Cullen over and over again, like some
depraved mp3 player set on repeat meant to torment me. I wondered if I would see him tomorrow
at school, and if he would remember me. He had known my name, making me hopeful that maybe
I wasn't as inconsequential as I felt.
Then I remembered that everyone at school today had known my name, and it wasn't because
they were smitten by my mere presence or mildly obsessed with me. It was because I was a
freak, a scandal, someone new to toy with. I was only special out of circumstances beyond my
control and that shit wasn't going to last. Pretty soon, they will forget me. They will realize that I'm
just some dumb-shit girl, boring old brown Bella.
Edward will forget. It will be like I never existed, like we never shared that moment in the produce
section of the market. And it was a moment, I had to be honest about that, even to myself. I had
feltit, and I'm not sure what it is exactly, but it was intense and confusing. I wanted nothing
more than to wrap myself in it, drowning and immersing in his scent, giving myself over to him
Needing a distraction from my own inner monologue, I slipped my headphones into my ears and
searched for Joni, "I found someone to love today"

When I awoke in the morning, I just had to lay there a moment to remember where I was and
what I was doing here. My sleep had been filled with visceral and surreal dreams, all of them
involving Edward Cullen. I grasped to the fading imagery, a fantastic tapestry of black and
white, oceans of thick green hues engulfing and tumbling, legs flailing and arms grasping as we
refused to break the surface. The scent of strawberries and honey and lilac was so authentic that
as I awoke, I licked my lips to see if I could still taste it. It was a most satisfying slumber.
I quickly got dressed for school, combing my hair into a long, heavy braid and checked on my
father. Same spot, same clothes, same shit. I was going to have to say something soon if he
didn't snap out of this funk. He needed to walk around or else he was going to get blood clots.
Maybe I could talk to Sue Clearwater, it seemed he always listened to her.
When I arrived at school, I noticed Alice Cullen getting out of the passenger side of a silver
Volvo. She was wearing another billowy blouse and a long green, gauzy skirt, very full and
bohemian; her black Docs peeking from beneath the material as it swirled around her graceful
gait. She was the only person I had ever seen that managed to look agile in big black boots. I
parked and waited for her driver to exit the vehicle, hopefully confirming my sibling suspicions.
Unfortunately, the driver side door never opened and I couldn't wait any longer. I grabbed my
tote and my corduroy jacket from the passenger seat and walked briskly to class, disappointed in
myself for stalking the Volvo driver.

The morning passed uneventfully. Jessica, who was in a couple of my classes, giggled and talked
excessively and then there was Mike. Ah, Mike, the loveable little goof. I seriously thought about
spending lunch in that bathroom.
I decided to spend lunch in the library instead. I carefully ditched Jessica after Spanish class,
telling her I needed to research something or other and dashed out of class barely before the bell
rang. I found the library easily and stepped inside.
Ahhh, the papery smell engulfed me as I walked through the glass doors. I love the smell of books,
rustic, leathery and slightly dusty. I'd found a comfort in the escape that prose offered, allowing
me to experience everything, to be everyone, go everywhere. I'd read all genres, but I have a
special place in my heart for nineteenth century British literature, especially love stories written
by unrequited women.
I pulled my book from my bag and sat at one of the tables. I opened the cover and sighed as I
inhaled the pages. I made my way through the beginning chapters quickly, having read the novel
dozens of times. I stopped when I got to the introduction of the protagonist's love interest.
Edward Ferrars. Edward Cullen. A tangle of legs and arms and green and honey came flooding
into my memory. I snapped the book shut. This is bad. I found my music, slipping the buds into my
ears and pressed play. "It's loves illusions, I recall. I really don't know love at all."
I sat in the library, laying my head on the cool table, and wallowing in Joni's lyrical torment,
dozens of haunting songs about lost and found love. I felt drained; the familiar burning in my
stomach was annoyingly present today. Finally the bell rang and I welcomed the disruption.
I found my Advanced Biology class in the Science building, next to the school day smoking and
now puking, bathroom. I had missed the day before, my first day, so I suspected the teacher had
already pegged me for some sort of unmotivated slacker. I would have to work extra hard to
prove him or her wrong. Despite my social and emotional deficiencies, I had always been a good
student. School was just easy for me. I greedily soaked up the knowledge, again losing myself in
the information and details, the distraction from my reality a welcome comfort.
However, I quickly found that this class was going to be a bit of a challenge. Distraction, bronze
and tousled, was centered in my line of sight as I walked through the door towards the back of
the classroom. Edward Cullen, smoldering in his dark blue jeans and snug gray T-shirt, was seated
alone at a lab table, next to the center aisle in the furthest row in the back. I stared in contempt
at the back of his head, unwillingly noticing how tiny tufts of copper curled around the base of his
neck. I swiftly walked to the front of the room, approached the teacher's desk and handed him
my schedule.
"Ah, Ms. Swan. Nice of you to show up today." Yep, unmotivated slacker. "I'm Mr. Banner and
this is Advanced Biology. Here's the syllabus, take any open seat."
Excellent, I could choose a seat in the front and totally forget that the most intriguing person I'd
ever come into contact with wasn't seated merely feet behind me. Maybe he wouldn't be such a
distraction after all.
As I turned around, the class full now, I realized I was fucked. Yep, one fucking empty seat. Yep,
right next to him. Really, Karma? Haven't I been good, lately? Kind of?
Still not meeting Edward's eyes, I walked to the table and plopped down my bag, slightly pouting.
I sat down, trying not to breathe because I knew the moment I smelled him, I'd be unable to
concentrate for the rest of the day. But you know, breathing is kind of essential, so I took a small

gasp of air.
And there it was, sweet and delicious, saturating my senses and causing images of black and
white and greens to swirl around me. Shit, I am going to fail Biology.
"Bella.." Edward said so softly in his harmonious voice, I almost didn't hear him. His tone was hard
to place, questioning, recollection, longing and perhaps a bit of disdain. The look on his face as he
had fled the market yesterday flashed through my mind. I turned my head sharply to look at him,
hoping I wouldn't see that same sneer. I was immediately rewarded. His shocking face was
flushed, his green eyes burning into my brown.
Edward was staring now, just staring at me. I couldn't peel my eyes away, couldn't break
thisthing between us. It was kind of freaking me out, but hell if I was going to be the one to
turn away from it. He, apparently, could turn away and did as Mr. Banner called the class to
attention. I turned my head slowly forward, mirroring his stance, inhaling deeply ever so often in
a pathetic attempt to keep a small portion of him all to myself.
Mr. Banner lectured for the first twenty minutes of class on Eukaryotic Gene Expression and then
gave us an assignment to complete from the book. I wasted no time, frantically clinging to the
busywork so as not to be tempted to look at him again.
Edward suddenly nudged my elbow with the end of his pencil. "Hey! What did you get for number
six?" Shit, here comes the part of my day where I make an utter fool of myself. I was extremely
glad, though, that I'd already had this lesson in Phoenix and was a bit knowledgeable about the
subject matter.
Still not looking at him, I muttered, "It's on page 278."
"Oh. Umthanks," he said quietly.
We worked for a few more moments in silence. I tried to forget Edward was there, but the scent
gloriously invading my space was a constant reminder of his presence. I decided one look wouldn't
hurt; I was almost finished with the assignment anyway. I glanced to my left, trying to be
inconspicuous and was met with green. Edward was staring again. What the hell is his problem?
"Do you need help or something?" I said in a quiet voice, a tad too snarky.
"Um, no. I'm finished." He whispered back, smirking at me now. Great, he thought this was
funny. "You might want to check number six though. I think you have the wrong answer." He
smiled a dazzling flash of white, one corner of his flawless lips pulling up slightly higher than the
other, leaning towards me now, that undeniable magnetism forcing us to bow together.
Smug bastard.
"Were you cheating off my paper?" I murmured, my pride slightly tarnished, a familiar heat
burning my ears.
"Well, I hope not. My uncle will kick my ass if I blow my 4.0." Edward's nose was inches from mine
now, his cool breath flooding my face. He was teasing me, mocking my intelligence. And for some
reason this really pissed me off. I mean, I know I'm not pretty, or funny, or sociable, I don't even
try to be. But I am smart. It's my thing, my classification, giving me a tiny place in this world where
I belong, and he was taking that away from me. This, combined with the fact that his pretty,
little, cocky face probably had never felt worthless or rejected just pissed me off.

"What, do you have like, multiple personality disorder or something? You're kind of acting like a
schizo," I spat venomously, a little breathless from my brash.
Edward recoiled from my words, an excess of emotion flitting across his face: anger, fear,
painacceptance, and then, nothing. He was a mask of cool collection, void of emotion, hard
and empty.
And then Edward was gone. He closed his notebook and just left. This seemed to be becoming a
habit for us; me acting like an idiot, and him tearing away from my presence like a bat out of hell.
There is no "us" Bella, I chastised myself. I felt awful. Why did I say that? I was only slightly
serious. He was acting bizarre, ignoring me one minute and insulting my intelligence the next. And
what is it with the staring? It's enough to shake anyone's confidence and it really fucks with an
over-analytical bulimic with an inferiority complex.
Still, he was obviously affected by what I had said. I had to get out of here. His scent still lingered
in the air, taunting me, reminding me that I am a total fuck up.
Grabbing my tote, I walked to Mr. Banner's desk with my assignment. This was only going to
further his negative opinion of me.
"Mr. Banner, I'm not feeling well. May I use the restroom?" I asked, a model of respect and
decorum. "I'm finished with my assignment." I handed him the paper.
He grabbed my paper and inspected my answers. "Have you had this lesson before?" He eyed me
"Yes sir, at my old high school in Phoenix," I admitted.
"Very well," he sighed and waved a hand at me.
I rushed from the room. My face was flushed and hot tears were beginning to burn in my eyes.
How do I always manage to make such a disaster out of everything? Edward was probably just
trying to get a rise out of me, playing around, and I reacted like such a fricking girl. Ugh, I hated
being so typical.
I headed to the bathroom behind the Science building. It was a pretty secluded location, perfect
for smoking, pukingand now sulking and self-deprecation too. I had just turned the corner when
I saw a couple leaning against the brick wall.
The guy was handsome, his chin-length twisted hair sticking out beneath his cap. His tall frame
vested in a white pinstriped button-up shirt, and his sleeves rolled up around his biceps. He wore
vintage jeans, a thick belt buckle and black boots. He had one hand on the wall, while the other
palm softly cupped an adoring face, his thumb caressing her cheek, as if he had never held
anything so precious.
I then recognized the shock of jet black. She was leaning against the wall, her fingers casually
hooked in his belt loops. He was whispering something, staring into her face and they just looked
so harmonized that I couldn't help but sigh at the exquisiteness of their intimacy.
He bent down, then, and placed a gentle kiss on each of her eyelids before tasting her lips
delicately. It was probably the most beautiful kiss I'd ever witnessed. My chest just heaved,
because I knew this would never be for me. I would never have that, that adoration and swelling
of peace. "Love is touching souls"

I must have sobbed out loud because at this moment, Alice turned, breaking her embrace to face
me. A look of sheer panic clouded over her esteem and I saw her mouth form various profanities.
Humiliated that I had been caught intruding on their very private exchange, I ran to the restroom
and locked myself inside a stall. I sat on the toilet, tears falling freely now, hugging myself and
rocking slightly.
A minute later I heard the bathroom door open and then the charming voice, "Bella?"
I didn't want to come out, but I figured I should apologize. I wiped my face and nose silently,
trying to pretend the fact that I had been crying wasn't evident in the blotchy red and puffiness
of my eyes and nose. Alice must have lit a cigarette; the earthy aroma was swirling inside the
small room now. I stepped onto the toilet to shakily open the windows. Carefully climbing down, I
unlocked the door and stepped out.
Alice was standing against the tile wall. I started to apologize but she stopped me.
"You look like shit." She handed me her cigarette. I took a long pull, letting it fill me up, before
handing it back to her.
"I know." I leaned against the wall, next to her. "Sorry about that," I waved my hand to the door.
"I'm just having a really bad day."
"That's two in row. Your track record's not looking so hot." Alice commented, exhaling. She looked
over at me, the cigarette burning in her outstretched fingers, her arm crossed in front of her
body. "Do you want to talk about it?"
God no, I do not want to talk about it. I took the cigarette from her hand, dragging in the flavor.
"It's nothing. I'm just homesick I guess." I really wasn't, but it seemed like a viable excuse for my
Alice smiled a small, knowing smile. "Yeah, me too."
I don't know why, but something about this confession made me want to explain, like maybe she
could comfort me with her smokes and her sarcasm. I handed her back the cigarette. "Look, I'm
just going through some stuff and I didn't mean to stare or watch or whatever. I'm not a freak or
anythingthat was just incredibly sweet."
Alice smiled again but it was hollow, not reaching her green eyes. She extinguished the cigarette
after a final puff, turning to face me. "No one can know, Bella." She wasn't smiling anymore.
"Please, promise me you won't tell anyone."
"Of course not, no worries. I don't really talk to anyone anyway." And when I do they end up
running away.
She continued, "It's just, Jasper's a senior and I'm barely sixteen. My brother would fucking shit if
he found out. He's not good at dealing with stuff. He'd probably try to kick Jasper's ass or get him
arrested or something."
I almost snorted at the irony, but that would be misleading so I nodded in understanding instead.
Her brother. He seemed to be the reason for a lot of anxiety lately.
"Thanks, Alice. I really appreciate this, the smokes and the talks." And I really did appreciate it.
I'd never had a best friend. Angela had been an okay friend, but we weren't that close. She

knew about the puking and the pills, but I had never told her anything about my dad and I really
didn't know much about her either, come to think of it. I'd always just kind of known people and
they just kind of knew me. But I hadn't ever really been known, as in silent conversations and not
having to explain yourself or be ashamed of your most asinine behavior or thoughts and all the
other shit that came with having a best friend. Alice had seen me cry, she'd seen me puke and we
already had a secret. I don't know if you can really call someone your best friend after knowing
them for two days, but right now Alice was the closet thing to a best friend I'd ever had.
"Anytime, Bella." Alice smiled again. She cocked her head to one side, pursing her lips. "Now, we
need to fix your face."
Alice spent the next half hour pulling shit from her bag that no sane person would carry around
with them all day. She dabbed some herbal ointment under my eyes and then rubbed some cream
into my forehead, nose and chin, chatting quietly as she worked. She had a menacing amount of
cosmetics tucked inside her bag, powders, creams and liquids in various shades and palettes. We
talked about people at school, had a couple of smokes, and I was just itching to question her
about her brother, but I didn't want to raise suspicions. I asked about Jasper instead.
"How long have you guys been seeing each other?" I asked through tight lips, my eyes watering.
Alice was plucking my eyebrows now and that shit is painful.
"Um, only a couple of weeks. He's my cousin's girlfriend's twin brother." As if this explained
anything. She must have seen the confusion on my face, because she continued to explain.
"We all hang out a lot. We were at Tyler Crowley's party a couple of weeks ago and this
freshman, James, kept hitting on me, like all night. Wouldn't get a clue, you know? He had been
drinking too much and started to get a little handsy. So Jasper punched him, like in the face. I'm
not a fan of violence normally, but it was kind of heroic and old fashioned, like my honor was at
stake or something. It was also totally hot." Alice was beaming now.
"Anyway, that morning we went to the diner for breakfast, like we always do after a party, and I
snuck outside for a smoke. Jasper came out andI I don't know. He was always just kind of
ideal, you know? Unattainable. But in that moment, I just knew. That sounds pathetic right?
Okay, forget I just said that."
"Anyway," she continued, "Edward, my brother, is really overprotective. Oh, and he doesn't
know I smoke either, so" She made a face that clearly meant keep it hush. "Edward's just
different. He's not a normal kind of guy. He's real intense and takes everything entirely too
seriously. He's the most genuine person though and I love him, a lot. He just misunderstands
things and overreacts."
Ah, the mother-load. I was listening so intently, I probably looked a little creepy. So, affirmative
on the sibling status, I had definitely witnessed the overreaction and intensity first hand, and
misunderstanding seemed to be the current running throughout our interactions. I pondered this in
silence and Alice finished my brows.
"There. Perfect." I snorted at this. She handed me a small compact mirror. It wasn't so bad, the
girly shit. My face did look better, no more red blotchiness, and not so pale. My eyes seemed to
appear wider and my eyebrows were clean and arched.
Alice gasped suddenly and clutched my hand. "Bella! You have to let me read for you."
"What?" I asked.

"Tarot. I read Tarot cards. I'm pretty good; I may have a natural affinity for clairvoyance." She
was totally serious. "You don't have to be psychic to read Tarot, but it helps in making predictions."
"Um, I don't know, Alice. I do have other classes to go to. I ditched gym yesterday, so I'm pretty
sure I should go today," I responded. I really did need to go to class, as much as I despised gym.
"Yeah, I should go to class too. Tomorrow! Sit with us at lunch and I'll read for you. It's an
unearthly experience, I know you'll love it." Alice's enthusiasm was infectious.
"Sure. That sounds great." I would be having lunch with her tomorrow, which meant I would,
maybe, also be having lunch with him. A small part of me wanted to avoid this; an even greater
part was jumping up and down and praising God and Buddha and whatever other deity had
graced me this day.

Joni Songs referenced: (There's a ton this Chapter)
You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio
I Could Drink a Case of You
The Last Time I Saw Richard
Tin Angel
Review bbs! It's good Karma!

Chapter: 4
All will be revealed.
Once again, I am so grateful for such awesome reviews. You guys are insightful and articulate and
I love it!!!
So, I just love this chapter, more than the others (don't tell) because of darling n7of9 who has
been persuaded to weed through my convoluted sentences, riddled with out of place commas
and semicolons. Yeah, she beta'd this shit, and she's freaking amazing!
Also, amers_52, who answers all my questions of the psychological variety! Thanks bb!
And of course: I don't own it.
CH. 4 "Was it hard to fold a hand you could win?" (Joni Mitchell's words)
I went for a run after dinner. I was still mulling over the incident with Bella that afternoon in the
grocery store, and then after Alice's bizarre tarot card reading of devils and upside down
emperors and fathering, I just had to clear my head. When we first moved here Carlisle
suggested running as a way to relieve stress and anxiety; apparently, that helps to keep the
bomb at bay. I'm glad he did because it has become my nightly ritual. I love running at night;
surrounded by nothingness, porch lights streaking by in a blur, and the biting wind on my face
causing my eyes to tear. With my pulse and breathing forming an even, rhythmic pace, the
repetitiveness forces me into a meditative chant. Meditative or not, I don't know what I was
fucking thinking tonight because guess where I ended up? Why would I come here? It's not like it
was close, a good 5 miles or so, and I was going to have to run the whole way back too. But I just
felt this pull to be near her, that fucking magnetism and cosmic bullshit thing again.
I stopped outside Bella Swan's house, noticing an old and faded truck in the driveway. She
couldn't possibly be able to drive that thing! It probably didn't even have power steering, and it
had to be a stick shift. There's no way her bony little arms would be able to handle that behemoth
of a vehicle.
The small upstairs window was glowing and I wondered if she was in that room. What was she
doing? What had she eaten for dinner? What color bedspread did she have? I started thinking of
nonchalant ways I could casually explain my presence here. I could say I was visiting Charlie, but
it was past eleven now. I would have to come earlier next time.
Next time? Fuck Edward, I thought you were going to stay away!
I thought about faking a cramp or something and then mentally punched myself in the dick for
being such a girl. I guess I'd have to settle on sick pervert and scale the tree in her front yard. I
ignored the absurdity of deciding that being a sick pervert was better than being a girl because I
just had to see her, to somehow make sure she was okay.
I glanced around to see if anyone would be able to identify me in a line up, but her street was

remarkably silent and still. I quickly scaled the large spruce in the front yard. The boughs softly
touched the overhang of the roof and I lithely glided along one of the branches. I stepped softly
from the limb to the roof, hoping like hell this was her room, and crouched, thankful I had worn my
black sweats and hooded sweatshirt. While somewhat concealed, I probably looked like a pervy,
peeping Tom stalker creep. This was so going to bite me in the ass.
I slowly crept to the window and peeked inside. It was a small room with little furniture, and I
noticed the lamp on the nightstand was still lit. A small suitcase was thrown open on the floor in
the corner next to a wooden rocking chair, clothing haphazardly tossed astray. Looking around I
saw a pile of books, paperbacks as wells as notebooks, a backpack, a laptop and a large tote. My
eyes scanned involuntarily to the small, full-sized bed.
And there she was. She lay slightly on her side, her legs tangled in cotton sheets, a purple
comforter kicked to the floor. Her earphones were still in her ears and I yearned to go see what
she was listening to. Her wet hair was swirling out around her, sticking to her face, neck and
shoulders in loops and curves. It seemed an endless flow of darkness sharply contrasted with her
translucent skin. Her berry lips were slightly parted I noticed, and her white teeth were peeking
from beneath their fullness. The bend of her tiny wrist was curled to her face with the back of her
hand resting against her cheek, her other arm raised over her head. My eyes traveled the length
of her small body. She looked so fragile, so breakable, a tiny china doll. Utterly beautiful.
Her tantalizing neck flowed rather nicely into an expanse of remarkable shoulder blades and
collarbones, her milky skin stretched, the indentations perfect for delicate kisses. She was
wearing a blue tank top under an old flannel shirt and my eyes lingered on her dainty breasts, her
chest heaving as her breath moved in a deep fluid cadence. I could practically count her ribs
through the thin material as I ran my eyes just above the low waistband of her sweatpants, her
prominent hipbones and the hollow of her lower stomach exposed. I hissed at the sight of that
skin. I burned for her. I burned for her and felt disgusted with myself, disgusted for intruding on
her like this and then envisioning her like that, imagining myself entering her room, crawling into
her bed, my fingers folding around her exposed hips, pulling them into mine.
I am so fucking sick. I'm definitely going to hell for this.
Bella started to move, turned her head a bit and rolled onto her back completely. Her lips were
moving now and it looked like she was saying something. Shit, she's a sleep talker! I had to know
what she was dreaming about. It was so wrong and intrusive but I couldn't stop myself from
trying to open that window. I was now not only a sick, pervy, peeping Tom stalker creep; I was
breaking and entering as well. As long as I'm going to hell
I pushed the window open and it creaked slightly. I stopped, waiting for any indication that she'd
heard, but she was still. I continued to push the window up all the way, stopping about 5 times,
scared shitless she was going to wake up. I climbed down and sat on the window sill.
This is so wrong, so wrong! My inner monologue was screaming at me but I didn't care, because
Bella was talking again.
She was uttering small bits of rambling information: green, drowning, can't breathe, honey,
delicious, and then I heard it, clearly and without a doubt
"Edward, stay."
In that moment I became hers. Always. I couldn't even fathom leaving that room let alone forcing
myself to stay away from her any longer. She had just uttered my fucking name in her sleep. She
told me to stay and I would stay. I would do whatever the hell she wanted me to. I wanted her,

wanted her more than I wanted to believe that I could be normal, wanted her more than I wished
I wasn't a ticking bomb. Actually, in that moment, I didn't give a shit about the bomb. I just
wanted to reach out and brush her hair from her face and taste her berry lips. I wanted to hold
her hand and bring her flowers. I wanted to cook for her, see her enjoy something I created, to
nourish and comfort her.
It seemed so ridiculously barbaric, but in that moment I wanted to claim her. Her, she, mine! Oh
my God, I am such an asshole.
Okay, I needed to get it together. I obviously could never let Bella find out about any of this, the
peeping or the claiming, but I couldn't stay away from her either. I needed a plan.
I climbed back out of her window, closing it as silently as possible and jumped from the roof. I
practically hit the ground running. I had a long 5 miles ahead of me and I had to figure out how I
was going to get Bella Swan to fall in love with me.

The next day I drove Alice to school in my Volvo. Emmett always drove separately from us
because he had wrestling practice after school. I pulled into the parking lot and parked quickly.
My muscles were aching from last night's excursion and I was exhausted from the lack of sleep. I
needed to find out Bella's schedule, maybe casually appear where she was. I was still high from
hearing her voice my name, the euphoria masking the defense mechanisms I had put in place ages
ago. I was proceeding with plan Make Bella Mine.
As Alice got out of the car I noticed that god-awful red truck parked behind me. I wasn't ready for
this. I froze. "Go ahead Alice, I need a sec." She glanced at me strangely, then shut the door and
left for class. I felt like I was going to be sick. I had only felt this way one other time in my entire
life. In the fifth grade I had a massive crush on Tanya Denali. She was a picture of strawberry
blond ten-year-old perfection, all pigtails and freckles. Every time I would see her on the
playground at lunch, I would get sick to my stomach and go to the school nurse who would take
my temperature and send me straight back out to recess. Eventually, my mother blamed it on
lactose intolerance and ever since then there's a little note in my academic file that claims I'm
allergic to milk.
I was watching Bella through my rear view mirror. Why wasn't she getting out of her car? We
were both going to be late to class. Luckily I had U.S. History first thing and I could probably
teach that class. Finally, seconds before the bell rang, like a breath of fresh air she left the truck
and I was free to leave as well, keeping a good distance behind her while watching her long braid
swish across the top of her lovely behind. It was quite an exquisite sight to behold and not a bad
way to start the day either.

As the lunchroom was starting to fill the anticipation was literally making me sick. Should I talk to
her? Um, hi, remember me, we crashed in the grocery store, followed by bad jokes and then I
acted like a dick? Oh and by the way, I'm kind of stalking you, and I want to touch you, and I
might love you
No, I would most definitely not be talking to Bella today.
Emmett was sitting across from me, Rosalie situated on his lap as usual. He kicked my shin,
"Dude, what the fuck is wrong with you? You look green."

"Lactose intolerance," I responded. Alice, who was sitting cross-legged on the table, looked at me
sharply. She knows about the whole Tanya thing and in conjunction with her revealing reading last
night, she knew something was up. I gave her an apologetic look, feeling like shit that I couldn't
tell her about this. We normally didn't have any secrets. Alice always gets people to spill, she's
just gifted that way.
Bella still hadn't entered the lunchroom and I started to panic at the thought that she might be hurt
or sick or something. Maybe I should check the nurse's office to make sure she hadn't crashed
into anyone else lately. This made me think of the grocery store, and her bed, and her berry lips,
and her fragrance, and her warm, melting eyes
I kept scanning the lunchroom for a glimpse of her. I checked Newton's table, very carefully
avoiding the contemptuous yet greedy gazes from Jessica and Lauren.
Rosalie was leafing through some gossip magazine. "So, are we going to Newton's party on Friday?"
"Hell yeah, I seriously need to get fucked up," Emmett replied, nodding his head. Like he hadn't
been "fucked up" barely three days ago.
Alice groaned, remembering. Drunk Emmett is not safe for anybody, the alcohol unleashing the
need to prove that he could pin anyone in five seconds flat. Emmett has issues with personal space.
"What? I won't wrestle anyone this time, I promise." Emmett was smirking now, his fingers surely
"Are you going to go, Edward?" Alice was asking me, but she already knew the answer.
"No fucking way. I can't stand Newton." I replied.
"You don't actually have to hang out with him. It's a party, there will be tons of people there. Ah,
c'mon, cuz, I'll keep you safe from Stanley and that hoover mouth of hers," Emmett teased.
"You're an asshole Emmett," I muttered.
"Yeah, I know." He practically inhaled a slice of pizza, hardly even chewing before chugging a
whole pint of milk. I shuddered.
"C'mon babe, lets go make out in my car for a while." Emmett smacked the side of Rosalie's ass,
urging her to get up off his lap. This was another reason Emmett drove his own car. I refused to
let him do that in my Volvo.
They walked out of the lunch room and I was left with my annoyingly perceptive sister and my own
frantic desire to find Bella and make sure she was whole. Where was she? Didn't she need to eat?
Alice reached into her bag and pulled out her cards. I eyed her warily and tried to send her the
no-fucking-way message. "What? I'm just seasoning them. You're supposed to keep the cards
acclimated to your touch."
I snorted, "Okay," I replied, a little too condescendingly.
"You know, you don't have to be mean about it," she was pouting now, "and it's not nice to keep
secrets." She glanced up, trying to work her charm on me.
But then her gaze caught something else across the room and she looked back down quickly at

the cards in her hands. I looked behind me but didn't see anything unusual. I shrugged it off.
Whatever Alice had noticed was gone now.
"Um, I forgot, I have to go to class early. I failed my Algebra test and Mr. Varner said I could retake
it if I saw him during lunch. Are you okay?" Alice asked me warily. I frowned. Alice had never
failed anything in her life. She must be stressed or something. I should stop giving her such a hard tim
"I'm fine, good actually. I'll probably just go sit in my car, listen to music or something." I would
conveniently walk by the nurse's office on the way to said car, checking for any injured Bellas.
"Okay, see ya." She grabbed her bag, shoving the cards inside and left the room swiftly.
I walked straight to the nurse's office and stood outside the door, waiting for it to open so I could
peek inside. I had to wait about ten minutes but finally the door opened and Mrs. Hammond, the
school nurse, walked out.
"Oh! Goodness, Edward. Did you need something?" she asked, her fingers playing with the
neckline of her blouse.
Shit. "Um, could I have a Band-Aid?" The things I would do for Bella Swan.
"Sure, of course." As she walked back into the room I grabbed the door and glanced inside. No
Bella. Now I just felt like a moron. "Let me see, ahhere you go." She handed me the Band-Aid
and I quickly spun around and left.
I felt like a lost puppy. I had no bearings, no distractions to force my mind away from Bella, so I
just went to my car and spent the rest of the lunch hour engulfed in violent lyrics and angry drum
beats. I just didn't know what else to do.
When the bell finally rang signaling the end of lunch I hurried to Advanced Bio, still none the wiser
as to Bella's whereabouts. This class was a cake walk and no one ever sat by me, so I didn't have
to engage in superfluous and meaningless conversation, and without the music to distract me, I
had a full hour of Bella's lips to fuss over in my mind. I sat down at my table, opened my notebook
and stared at the whiteboard, willing the images to assault me.
And then I smelled her, lavender and cream, sweet and intoxicating. Bella had come in the back
door and brushed by me as she walked up the center aisle. I wanted to snag her and bring her
closer, but I thought that might be too presumptuous at this early stage, so I opted to
shamelessly stare instead. My head immediately fogged up as I watched her shuffle up to Mr.
Banner, slightly catching the toe of one of her sneakers on the leg of a lab table towards the
front of the classroom. I smiled, remembering the grocery store. Maybe I could strategically place
myself in her trajectory and catch an opportunity to touch her again.
I watched as Bella engaged Mr. Banner in conversation. She shifted uncomfortably, moving her
bag from one shoulder to the other, her long braid swaying, but then as she turned her face fell.
Realization dawned on me as she moved towards my table. She recognized me and she was not
happy about it. She looked upset, her eyes on the floor, because she had to sit next to me. The
look on her face almost shook my resolve and nearly obliterated my plan, but then I remembered
the fact that she had whispered my name in her sleep. Maybe I should plead my case to her
subconscious. Frankly, I didn't care about any of it anymore. I was being selfish now and I would
not fail.
Bella still wouldn't look at me. She set her bag on the table and finally sat down next to me. She
was so close now, the aroma unforgivable. I was dying to press my nose into the base of her jaw

just below her ear and trail kisses down her neck to her shoulder blade. Her hair was pulled back
exposing her porcelain skin, and it was torture. I couldn't stop myself from staring at her neck,
wisps of dark hair decorating her nape. I was going to explode if I didn't get this out.
"Bella" I began.
I was going to say more, but in that instant she turned to face me. Fuck, she's beautiful! I
couldn't read her, so many emotions thick behind her lashes, that I forgot what I was going to say.
At that moment Mr. Banner called the class to attention and I used the excuse to break from her gaze.
I half-assed listened to the lecture, preferring to watch Bella take notes instead, absorbing her
mannerisms. She recorded minimally, opting to form little stars and circles in the margins of her
notebook instead. Her pen traced the outlines of her letters, darkening them until they were barely
legible. She chewed the inside of her lip and I was envious, longing to taste that lip myself. I
noticed her fidgeting and pulling her ear when she lost interest in the lecture. I wanted to know
what she was thinking about during these phases, when her pen would stop and her eyes would
glaze over, staring past this room. I couldn't keep my eyes off of her, fascinated by every
minute movement she made.
When Mr. Banner assigned the book work, she immediately began scribbling the responses,
skimming the chapter for answers that she didn't know from memory. I had to say something; I
couldn't take the silence any longer.
"Hey! What did you get for number six?" I nudged Bella's elbow with my pencil eraser. I didn't know
if I could handle touching her yet without it turning into something creepy, this just seemed safer.
"It's on page 278," she responded without so much as a glance at me.
"Oh. Umthanks." Shit, she's blowing me off. Take a fucking hint Edward, she's not interested asshol
Bella went back to work. I quickly jotted down the answers, taking maybe five minutes to finish
the assignment. What the fuck was I going to do for the next thirty-five minutes? It was
unbearable being this close to her but not being able to speak, with nothing to distract me. So I
watched her again. She worked conscientiously, rereading her responses and changing her
wording. I glanced at her paper, checking her answers. They were mostly right, except for number
six. I smiled at the irony.
Suddenly Bella was looking at me, irritation pouring from her now. She was so fucking adorable
when she was angry, I almost missed what she said.
"Do you need some help or something?" she snapped quietly, leaning towards me.
I smirked. Yep, adorable.
"Um, no I'm finished." I smiled fully at her now, because I knew that what I was going to say
next was going to piss her off, but I couldn't stop myself. I loved the interaction, even in the
negative connotation, because it was something. I leaned in further towards her now, "You might
want to check number six, though. I think you have the wrong answer."
She blushed, crimson creeping up her neck and ears, blending into her hair, and it took my breath
away. "Were you cheating off my paper?" She asked, exasperated.
I snorted, as if I needed to cheat. "Well, I hope not. My uncle will kick my ass if I blow my 4.0." I

was so close to her face I could smell the peppermint on her breath. It was wrong, I know, to
insult her intelligence. She must be incredibly bright, obvious in the ease at which she had
completed the assignment and the care she took to perfect her answers. But that fifth grader
inside of me had taken over, cooties and teasing, insults masking adoration, trying desperately to
illicit some kind of response from her.
Apparently, I had gone too far. She turned to face me, "What, do you have like, multiple
personality disorder or something? You're kind of acting like a schizo," poison spewing from her lips.
Maybe. Probably. Most likely, yes.
What am I doing?Her accusation brought me back to reality, dissipating that initial euphoria and
ever taunting hope. Of course I'm acting like a schizo! I should have known it all along, known that
I couldn't do this, couldn't hold someone close to me. I had stupidly let the hope swell, invading
my cognition and filling my head with delusions.
And then, I wanted it to happen. I wanted the bomb to just fucking explode, to shatter my
awareness into a billion pieces, and replace it with paranoia, hallucinations, apathy and all the
other fucked up symptoms of psychosis that were no doubt waiting for me. It had shattered my
father, causing him to destroy everything around him, like a fucking atomic bomb. The same bomb
which was now residing within me, and I was yearning for it to break free.
I had to leave, get away from Bella before I could destroy her. My body acted on its own volition
now. I felt my face smooth over into a cool mask. I saw my hands reaching for my notebook. I
watched my legs carry me out of the classroom. I knew my entire being would protect Bella Swan,
which is why it did not look at her as it walked out of that room and out of her life.
I let it all come back to me, because I wanted to drown myself in this now. Get it over with and let
it happen. I was surrendering, raising my white flag. Within twenty-four hours my hope was
shattered, the delusion I let myself believe now gone.
I thought of Chicago, of my father locking me in my room, holes in the drywall he never repaired.
I thought of my mother cradling him, smoothing his hair and weeping with him after he eventually
felt the tide of remorse.
I thought of Alice, locking herself in the bathroom and spending the night in the tub or sneaking
into my room and squishing into my small bed.
I thought of our last day there, a knife wound in my mother's chest, a small trail of blood on her
lips. I thought a stab wound would have produced more blood, but apparently there was internal
bleeding in her lungs and she asphyxiated. I thought of my father's self inflicted gunshot wound,
a pinhole in one temple, the exit wound gaping, his head slumped over, blood spilling onto his
latest deposition.
My father had been fooling people with his brilliance and his beauty since he was a teenager. A
genius of a human being, he just seemed eccentric, his exchanges riddled with idiosyncrasies. His
high intelligence, photographic memory, and highly obsessive behavior earned him a degree in
law. His beauty and vulnerability earned him a wife, my mother. As a lawyer in Chicago, he was
successful and revered; his quirkiness earned him a sense of likability and awe with the jury. His
handsome features clouded his true nature, attracting women who wanted to fuck him and men
who wanted to channel him. People just didn't want to believe that someone so brilliant, so
beautiful, could be so flawed and so entirely fucked up.
My mother didn't want to believe it, even though she was there when the doctors had made the

diagnosis. And now she was dead.

Within a week we were living with Carlisle and Esme. Carlisle explained to us that my father, his
brother, had been diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was seventeen. He was medicated and
received cognitive behavior therapy, which had been effective in masking some of the symptoms.
Carlisle had left Chicago when my father started refusing treatment. My father was convinced
that he was better; he had a phenomenal job and a beautiful, loving wife. He thought he was
cured. He was okay most of time. However, his frequent recreational marijuana use triggered
the symptoms of the psychosis, heightening the paranoia.
How could I not know this about my own father? It could have been Alice with that wound in her
chest. Of course, I wanted to know more about the disease that had quite effectively destroyed
my life, killed my mother and left Alice and me possibly irreparably damaged for the rest of our
lives, so I researched it.
Most of the shit I read said the same thing that Carlisle had told us, it's a neurological disorder;
symptoms include hallucinations, paranoia, flat affect, disorganized thoughts, and delusions. The
symptoms could be amplified by marijuana, his drug of choice, but mostly drug use was an effect
of the disease. And then I read the genetic implications. Fucking genetics. Some studies showed
that the genetic implications were varied, but twin studies suggested a high level of hereditability.
I was sure I would be just like him. And my mother knew, "You have his eyes, you know. You're
just like your father." A fucking genetic ticking time bomb.
I have been waiting for it to happen ever since. When Alice and I first moved here, I went
through what Carlisle referred to as 'a destructive phase'. I had just found out about my father's
mental illness and had gone a little crazy myself, trying to manifest the disease, trying to bring
forward the inevitable. I would do crazy things trying to elicit a neurological response, pushing
myself to extremes. Cliff diving, mountain biking, storm surfing, rock climbing, stuff that seemed
completely normal but that I was completely reckless with. Then, of course, there were the more
traditional methods of self-destruction: drugs and alcohol, fighting, fasting and sleep deprivation.
Carlisle said it was grief and I was given anti-depressants and cooking classes, but I really just
wanted to be committed so I couldn't hurt anyone like my father had. If he could kill my mother,
no one would be safe from me, because I didn't love anything as much as he loved her.
And now I might.
And I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I ever hurt Bella.
And I was desperate to feel that explosion now. I was begging for the bomb to explode, just
fucking begging for it as I ran, sobbing, to find that release. I knew what I had to do, I knew a
way to make this all go away.
I went to see the Italians.
It was a journey I had taken often, back during the days of my 'destructive phase'. They were
dicks, total fucking assholes, the kind of guys that like to prove their self worth by destroying
someone else's. They hung out behind the gym, smoking pot and drinking beer and just kicking the
shit out of kids that didn't belong there. Nobody fucked with them though, and you definitely
didn't venture into their area of the school without expecting a fight. Back when I was fighting, I
found release in the battle, the flailing of fists connecting with tissue, swelling, splitting, bleeding.
I could even take one or two of them. I'm kind of skinny, but freakishly strong, years of running
contributing to my increased stamina. They expected little of me and because of this they were ill
prepared. It would be different today, though. I wasn't going to fight back this time.

I saw them standing against the brick wall of the gym. Two big, greasy motherfuckers. One,
Demitri I think his name is, was smoking a joint, running his hand through his dark hair. The bigger
one, Felix, was grabbing his dick and air humping the wall, probably degrading some girl he
claimed to have fucked in this disturbing montage, an interpretive dance, if you will. Like I said,
total fucking assholes.
They saw me approaching and quickly readied their positions, Demitri snuffing out the joint and
pocketing the roach. Cheap ass bastard.
"What the fuck, Cullen. We haven't seen your pretty face around here lately." Demitri approached
me first.
I didn't say anything. My face was tear-stained and sweaty from running, my hair falling in my
eyes. I just wanted to get it over with.
Felix decided it was his turn to goad. "Are you crying, bitch?" He walked right up to my face. "Holy
fuck, you little bitch." He shoved me hard. "I don't know if I can hit a girl."
"What's the matter, Cullen? Missing your mommy?" Demitri was closing in, stalking me like a
predator, preying on the weak. It wouldn't be long now.
"Just fucking do it asshole." I decided they were talking too much. I was going to lose my nerve.
They just stood there, looking at each other. Why wouldn't one of them hit me already?
I was going to have to take matters into my own hands. I put on my best antagonistic sneer.
"Didn't you hear me, pussy. Fucking do it. Hit me, you goddamn fucking bitch."
Felix stood gaping, "What did you fucking say?"
"I said I fucked your mother." That did it.
A fist collided with my jaw, my lip splitting. I fell to my right, spinning and scraping my face against
the brick wall. I coughed, spitting blood, the coppery fluid running down my chin. I rested my
forehead against the bricks, pushing away with my hands.
I turned around to face them. I guess Felix was the one that had punched me, he was
anticipating my retaliation. I just stood there, a smirk playing on my lips.
"Again." I spat blood, aiming for Felix's shoes.
"You fucking bitch." Felix hit me in the face again, this time right below the eye, a vicious right
hook sending me to the ground.
"Fuck!" I gasped. That one hurt. I was going to have a black eye. Now on my hands and knees, I
touched my face where his fist had landed and noticed the red smeared on my fingertips. Why
wasn't it happening? Why hadn't I snapped? I still just felt hopeless and pathetic and now my face
hurt too.
I stood up slowly, staggering and wiping the blood from the wound under my eye, the flesh
stinging where I had touched it. There was quite a bit of blood now, my eye already swelling,
impeding my vision. But it wasn't enough.
"What's wrong boys, gone soft on me?" I just wanted it to be over and I needed more. "Is that

all you got, you limp dick bastards?"

They both charged at me now. Demitri shoved me into the brick wall, knocking the wind out of me.
As I struggled to catch my breath, Felix's fist collided with my face again and again. My nose was
crushed, my head whipping backward and smacking into the wall. My cheekbone was next, the
sickening sound of skin splitting further, widening the already gaping wound. My jaw now, sending
a stream of blood down my throat. Even my fucking ear, they were all throbbing and pulsating. I
was beginning to get woozy, losing my balance and using the wall for support. It still hadn't
fucking happened yet. No bomb. No explosions.
Felix, sensing I was close to unconsciousness, sent one last punch to my gut, sending me keeling
to the ground, gasping and spitting blood, the taste oddly comforting. It would be over soon.
Demitri sent a carefully aimed kick to my ribs, and I collapsed on the gravel, groaning and bleeding
all over the fucking place. Fuck there was a lot of blood coming from my face.
Demitri started to leave, jogging away, looking around to see if anyone had seen the altercation.
Felix spat down at me, "You are one fucked up motherfucker, Cullen." He wiped his mouth and
followed his friend, laughing.
I just lay there on the ground, panting and trying to breathe, pain shooting through my side with
each inhale. I had gone too far, yet apparently not far enough. My face probably looked like
ground beef. I could only see out of one eye now, the other one completely swollen shut. I rolled
over onto my back, my breath slowing, trying to remain conscious. I had to get to the car;
Carlisle would kill me if I got suspended again. I tried to assess my injuries. The wound under my
eye would probably need stitches. My nose was bleeding, but didn't feel broken. I was pretty sure
I had a couple of broken ribs and my lip was split pretty bad, but I didn't think that would need
stitches. I struggled to sit up, one side of my body feeling pulverized, and I painfully took off my
jacket and shirt. They were covered in splattered blood. I bunched the shirt up and pressed it to
my cheek and nose, trying to stop the bleeding.
I gingerly put my jacket back on, over my undershirt, and walked to the Volvo. There was no way
I was going to be able to drive. I sat in the passenger seat, waiting for school to end so I could
go home and Carlisle could stitch up my face. Finally, about five minutes after the bell rang, I saw
Alice walking up to the car, confusion on her face as she noticed me sitting in the passenger seat.
She opened the driver side door and climbed in. "Edward, what the hell is going on?"
Then she looked over at me. "Fuck! We have to get you to Carlisle." She turned the key, which I
had placed in the ignition and without waiting for my response, peeled out of the parking lot and
sped towards home.
I'd just like to clarify that my knowledge of Schizophrenia is extremely limited. I have some first
hand experience with the disease and the rest is research, so if I misinterpret, I apologize.
Also, I love Italians. I am Italian, as you may have guessed by the running theme in Edward's
cooking choices. Well, that and it's really the only kind of food I know how to make. They are
Italians because it coincides with canon. I'm all about the Italian pride bb's!!
I'm sorry, dear Edward, but you knew it was coming. You know how many times I've seen Fight
Club. Now, lay down while I clean you up...
Also, reviews help Edward heal faster!!

Chapter: 5
I can't tell you how my heart sings every time I hear that little ping that notifies me of new mail...
Your reviews are amazing and I appreciate you all! Thank you, thank you!
Ah, n7of9, my darling BETA BAMF. Thank you for random thoughts and for answering my
incessant questions, and I'm sorry I'm annoying as shit. And thank you for reading this chapter
so many times and indulging my insecurities...
And of course, I don't own it.
CH. 5"But for an ancient injury that has not healed."(Joni's words)
Fuck my face was fucking killing me, just fucking pulsating. Once Alice drove me home, she helped
me into the house. My nose had stopped bleeding but there was still blood everywhere, all dried
up on my face, matted in my hair, splattered onto my undershirt. I just wanted to get upstairs
and into my bathroom before Esme saw me. She would freak if she saw me like this.
We slowly made our way up the stairs, Alice struggling to hold me up, but stopped at the second
floor bathroom because I didn't think I was going to make it up the second staircase to my
bedroom. Alice left to get some washcloths and the first aid kit that Carlisle kept in his office.
I turned on the tap, staring at myself in the mirror. Fuck, I looked like shit. My left eye was
completely swollen shut, a deep, fleshy gash about an inch long on my cheekbone. The right side
of my face was red and scraped, a large abrasion running from my ear right across my cheek
from where I had hit the brick wall. My bottom lip was split on the left side, swollen and raw. And
then there was the blood.
Alice came back and put one of the cloths under the stream. She placed the cloth to the cut on my
eye first.
"Esme went shopping, she's not here. We need to tape this up until Carlisle gets home, it's going
to need stitches." She dabbed it carefully with the cloth. Once she dried the skin, she cut a couple
of pieces of medical tape and placed the bandage over the cut, holding the wound together.
She continued to wipe the blood from my face, careful not to apply pressure to the scattered
cuts and scrapes. I looked at my palms, my skin curling around the shallow scarlet lines from when
I had fallen in the gravel.
"Edward, what the hell?" Now the interrogations would begin.
"Alice," I groaned, "not right now, okay?" I just didn't have the strength to do this now. It was
bad enough I was going to have to explain it to Carlisle when he got home. "LaterI promise." I
looked at her with pleading eyes. I just wanted to lie down in my bed and think about what Bella
was doing right now.
"Okay, but only because you look so awful." Alice smiled a small smile, but I could tell she was

worried, her eyes flat and devoid of humor. "You need to take a shower," she said as she left the
bathroom, closing the door behind her.
I turned on the shower and struggled to remove my clothing, wincing as I pulled the filthy shirt
over my head. I was going to have to burn this shit. I stepped into the warm water, careful to
keep my bandage dry, and washed my hair, scrubbing the dried and caked blood, the water
pooling and swirling red around the drain. I let the hot water soothe my muscles, my side aching
from Demitri's kick. Fucking asshole, that blow was highly unnecessary.
I stood in the shower until the water ran cool and my teeth were knocking together. Wrapping a
large towel around my waist, I finally made my way up the second staircase to the third floor and
into my room, my sanctuary. Once in some clean clothes, I laid down on my bed to wait for Carlisle.
I drifted in and out of consciousness, welcoming the visions of berry pink and chocolate brown
peppering my awareness.

Carlisle got home around seven and came to my room immediately. I guess he knew something
was up when there wasn't any dinner waiting for him on the table. Esme had also come up as soon
as Alice told her but I had pretended to be asleep. I needed some time to prepare for what I was
going to tell Carlisle.
I did not want the drugs again. I hated that feeling, the semi-awareness, living a half-life, not
really feeling in the present, not really feeling anything at all. I knew that if Carlisle suspected I
had been purposefully seeking out fights he would slap me with a prescription, so my first
inclination was to lie.
But then I spent the next hour thinking of that girl in her room whispering my name as she
dreamt. I thought about all the shit I had felt in the last two days, things I didn't even think were
possible for me to experience. Two days. Two fucking days and everything had been blown
straight to hell.
If I was going to do this, I mean, really try to do this thing with Bella, I would need help. Because
I had no idea what I was doing here, like, no fucking idea how to be normal. I had spent the
majority of my adolescence isolating myself and trying to be vacant, existing and waiting for that
excess infusion of dopamine, wondering when and where it would happen, who I would hurt and
whether it would hurt me. And now for the first time I wanted to try to prevent it, now that I
had something else to exist for. I'd do whatever Carlisle wanted me to.
Carlisle knocked softly on my open door, "waking" me from my false sleep. He had his medical bag
with him and concern littered his sharp features. Like my father, heredity had gifted Carlisle with a
quick mind and strong facial features, Cullen features. It was strange really how we all looked
alike, yet different. Carlisle, Emmett, my father and I all dignified a strong jaw line and high
cheekbones, very angular and geometric. The similarities ended there though, each of us
stemming from this one prototype like paper dolls. Emmett was a fusion of angular and curved,
Esme shining through in his dark curls and dimples, a far cry from Carlisle's blond and blue, and me,
a replica of my father's bronze and green without a trace of my mother's blue and brown. Yet we
all looked like family, the genetic implications undeniable.
I sat up as Carlisle silently walked to my bedside and began unloading various items onto the
nightstand: disinfectant, anesthetic, suture kit, forceps. We'd done this before.
He looked at me finally, ready to speak. "Edward, what happened?" He carefully pulled the
makeshift bandage that Alice had placed there hours ago. I hissed as the cool air hit the wound,

stinging slightly as the tape pulled the skin and caused the wound to gape again.
I could sense his reluctance, almost as if he really didn't want to know the truth. I knew he didn't
want a repeat of my first year here. He had been so patient with me, calling it a mourning period,
thinking I just needed to get it out of my system. Alice had handled it so much better than I had.
All she did was cut her fucking hair. I could have killed myself with the stupid shit I was doing.
I exhaled. I was going to tell him but I had some things to take care of first.
"I ventured down the wrong hallway at school, that's all." It wasn't a lie, really.
"No bullshit Edward." Carlisle said in a low voice, calmly saturating a cotton ball with antiseptic and
wiping the area around the wound on my cheek.
I knew he wouldn't listen to bullshit, especially mine. I had exhausted my quota for bullshit a long
time ago.
I sighed, feigning defeat. "No Esme, no Alice, no Emmett." I stated my terms. I did not want the
whole fucking family finding out about this.
Carlisle filled a syringe with anesthetic. "I don't keep secrets from my wife Edward." He brought
the needle to my cheek, tilting my head to the side, a familiar pinching and pressure on my face.
I knew he wouldn't concede with Esme but I had to have an initial offer, that way he could
counter and I could get what I really wanted out of this compromise.
I had to be cool though, make it seem like this wasn't my original intention. I was silent while the
anesthetic numbed the left side of my face.
"Alright, no Alice or Emmett, then," I insisted.
"I'll try my best," he said as he cracked open the suture kit and began to stitch up my face.
I took a deep breath. "Well, there's this girl..."
"You did this to impress a girl?" Carlisle was obviously not expecting this, his hand slightly faltering
"No, not really. Maybe. I don't know. It's just, I kind of like her. I don't even really know her, but
every time I see her it's like memorable. Do you know what I mean?" I was so terrible at this and
trying to explain about Bella made me feel like an idiot.
"I think I can relate." He smiled at me and I could see hope fucking brimming in those blue circles of hi
Carlisle finished, his swift fingers knotting the sutures and covering them with a small bandage.
He began to prod the area around my nose. "Any pain here, difficulty breathing through your nose?"
I shook my head no, "Anyway, I'm justafraid. That I'll hurt her. Like him." I was struggling to
find the words. I looked down at my hands, picking at the skin around the superficial scrapes on
my palms.
Carlisle sat down on the edge of my bed. "Edward, you know there's no way to know if you are
going to develop this disease, or any other disease for the matter. We know the risks, and I'm not
going to say it's not going to happen, because I don't know. But we're well informed. We know
what to look for." We'd had this talk before too so his canned response did nothing to calm my fears.

He could see the doubt in my face, I'm sure. He continued, "You are not your father. You're
forgetting that I was there when the disease invaded and conquered him."
He was right. I had forgotten that. I tilted my head slightly at the reminder. We had never
discussed my father's youth, the beginning of his downfall. Carlisle had never brought it up, always
sticking to the present, factual and clinical. I wasn't quite sure if I wanted this link in the chain
yet, the details that would connect my father with me.
"I think I might have a broken rib." I could barely breathe now, the pain in my side intense with
every inhale.
Carlisle understood my diversion. "You need an x-ray. We have to go to the hospital." He stood
up, gathering his tools and placing them in his bag. "What am I going to tell people when they ask
what happened?"
I exhaled with difficulty. "Tell them I was wrestling a grizzly," I smirked.
Carlisle wasn't laughing. "I'm serious, Edward. These are my colleagues and they will ask
questions. I'm going to need to give them an answer."
I frowned. "Tell them it's because of a girl." I finally shrugged. It seemed less complicated this
way and it was kind of true.
Carlisle knew I wasn't giving him the full truth. "Edward, I don't know exactly what's going on here.
I'm glad to hear you're interested in pursuing a relationship with someone other than your family.
It's healthy for kids like you to have social relationships. Isolation isn't beneficial, for you or Alice."
Yeah, kids like me, kids that might go fucking nuts one day.
"I need help, Carlisle. I don't know how to be okay or normal. I keep making a mess out of things
andI just need help." I sounded like such a little bitch, so ridiculously pathetic. But Carlisle would
never make me feel that way. He told me what I needed to hear but was too chicken shit to ask.
"Schizophrenia is an insidious disease, Edward. It manifests itself in many ways, some of them
obvious, some very subtle. Usually the patient has no clue that anything is wrong, the delusions
and hallucinations cloud coherent thought and reason. I didn't know anything about the disease
when your father was diagnosed and I'll admit he scared the shit out of me.
But I can't regret leaving Chicago, because I found my life in Seattle. We ALL have demons,
Edward. My brother is mine. What happened to him, to your mother, will forever haunt me. I left
him alone and unprotected because I was ill equipped and unknowledgeable. I didn't know! But I
do now. As your uncle, as your father figure now, I am here to protect you, even if it's from yourself."
The sincerity and conviction that poured from his voice was so overwhelming, I couldn't respond at
first. I barely knew that I had an uncle before two years ago. I knew he was out there,
somewhere, living his own life and not in Chicago living in hell. I couldn't really blame Carlisle,
because if I would have had an out, I would have taken it. That wasn't an option for me though.
There's no way I would have left Alice to deal with all that shit on her own. It was my job to
protect her. It still is. We had always stuck together during my father's episodes, and it would be
a cold day in hell before I would just fucking abandon her like that.
I still hadn't spoken and I didn't want Carlisle to misinterpret the silence, but I couldn't think of an
appropriate response. So I just said the first thing that I could think of.

"Thanks." It was shit, I know. I gingerly rose from the bed, the pain shocking me into a quick stillness.
Carlisle motioned for me to leave and he followed me out of the room. My lame ass attempt at
thanks was enough, for now.

There was no way in hell that I was going to school that week. I was on some pretty heavy
narcotics for the pain and my face was the size of a watermelon. No broken bones, just bruises,
but it was going to be at least six weeks before I could run again. I had been watching Food
Network for the past 27 hours and had already purchased a Titan Peeler and a Slap Chop, and I
was seriously considering getting a Sham Wow. I was anxious to try out a new recipe for Baked
Chicken and Pastina but Esme wouldn't let me cook. She was babying me, and I let her because I
knew she loved it and I kinda did too.
I was just so fucking bored. I watched all the Star Wars episodes, even the new digitally
enhanced bullshit. I read some depressing ass shit of a book about the apocalypse and fucking
owned Emmett in Call of Duty. All my independent study homework that Carlisle had gotten from
my teachers on Wednesday was finished and I had organized my music collection, even the LP's,
first chronologically and then by preference within that year. I was out of distractions and it was
killing me that I couldn't see Bella. I really just wanted to climb into her bedroom and hear her
say my name again.
Alice was pissed off I wouldn't tell her the truth about what happened. She had approached me
repeatedly, taking advantage of my house arrest, demanding information. Today, Friday, she
was being exceptionally pushy.
She was sitting on the couch in my bedroom, sheets of loose leaf paper scattered around her.
She had a large Astrology book spread out before her and she kept flipping the pages furiously,
stopping to scribble something when she found what she had been looking for.
"Are you going to school on Monday?" She asked, her pencil flying across her page.
"Probably, I don't think I could stay in this house another day, fucking cabin fever, you know?" I
answered, stretching my side carefully.
"Still not going to tell me what happened, huh?" The repetitive swish of Alice's pages reminded me
of how Bella's braid had swished across her tight little ass when she walked.
I had to see her. Like now!
And I needed Alice to leave, because the thought of Bella's ass had me sporting a semi and I
suddenly had a strong desire to take up permanent residence in the masturbation nation. I had
been visiting the nation often the last couple of days.
"Fuck, Alice. I told you, I messed with some guys I shouldn't have, alright? Said some shit I
shouldn't have said. Let it go." I was being an ass, but I was hoping she'd get offended and leave.
"Whatever Edward. You're such a liar." Alice snapped her book shut and I thought for a moment
she was going leave. I even started up my laptop, fully planning on visiting a highly restricted, of
the eighteen and older variety, and highly bookmarked site as soon as she left.
Instead of leaving, Alice just sat there staring at me, waiting. I stared back, a showdown of sorts,

battle of the wills.

She caved first, "Come on, I know this is about a girl. The tarot readings, the fighting, the
excessive whacking off, plus you watched Pride and Prejudice on T.V. yesterday, even with the
commercials. You're so transparent Edward."
Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Perceptiveness at its worst. Alice was not going to let this go. I guess I
could tell her enough to appease her, get her off my case. I didn't have to use names and she
would probably spend the next two days trying to figure it out, buying me some time.
"Okay. So maybe it is about a girl," I shrugged. "So what?"
Alice just buzzed. She was grinning like an idiot.
"What?" I eyed her suspiciously.
"Nothing." She was still smiling all over the place. I glared at her cheerful demeanor.
"What?" This was starting to piss me off.
"Nothing!" Alice laughed and paused a moment, calculating her next move. "Can I meet her?"
"Get out of my room." This was miserable. I couldn't even get up to kick her out.
She was laughing victoriously now. "I fucking knew it! Is it Jessica? Please, say it's not Jessica."
"It's not Jessica," I said confidently.
"Is she going to be at Newton's party tonight?" Alice was gathering her book and papers, forming
a sloppy bundle.
This was a good question. I had no idea if Bella would be at Newton's party tonight. I'm sure she
would have heard about it, she had classes with Mike and by the way he was looking at her on
Monday, I wouldn't be surprised if he was already planning their wedding.
"Maybe. I don't know." I replied, honestly.
"Well, I'll be watching for her then." Alice was definitely going to be preoccupied with trying to
figure out who my "her" was.
But now I was preoccupied with a dilemma. What if Bella was going to Newton's party? Sober, the
girl had no control of her limbs. I'd hate to see what kind of trouble she could get into all
inebriated. And I would get to see her, maybe make some advances in plan Make Bella Mine. Shit,
my side still hurt like hell and now I was going to have to go to this party. I fucking hate parties.
"Maybe I'll tag along so I can throw you off her scent," I teased Alice. I knew she couldn't wait to
start putting this shit together.
"But you hate parties." Alice looked slightly disappointed, probably worried I would attempt to
thwart any advances in her quest.
"I do. But I hate the thought of sitting in this room another night more." This was definitely
plausible and if Bella wasn't at the party, I would just leave. "Now, get out of my room. I have
shit to do." I motioned for her to leave.

"Yeah yeah, I know all about the shit you have to do." Alice grabbed her book and mess of
paperwork and laughed her giddy ass out of my room. "Use a sock, will you? You don't want to
ruin your laptop."
Fucking hilarious.
Now, how was I supposed to whack off after that? I sighed and lay down on my bed, closing my
eyes. Why was Alice so happy about this? Why would it matter to her that it was about a girl?
Because it was about a girl. All about her. Her white teeth biting into her plump lip, her dark hair
trailing around her porcelain neck, her velvet eyes seeing right through me. The thought of
possibly seeing her tonight sent a shock of anticipatory pleasure throughout my entire being.
I grabbed my laptop and quickly clicked the link to the site. I searched, clicking through the
images, looking for pale, small and brunette. My hand slipped into my sweatpants, clutching and
tugging. Eyeing the screen, I squinted at a faceless brunette, a vision in white with stethoscopes
and thermometers. It didn't take long and soon I was panting and grasping and frantically coming
into my boxers. A real Florence fucking Nightingale.
Fuck, I hate it when Emmett's right.

"Where the hell is my blue shirt?" I muttered to myself, emptying the entirety of my suitcase onto
the wood floor of my small room. I was seriously panicking about Wednesday's lunch plan,
primarily because I was going to have to eat something. Alice was way too perceptive to let that
go, she would notice for sure. And I would not be able to puke because I had Biology after lunch
with Edward and he would notice my absence. I was going to have to wait until after Biology, at
least, before I could have any relief.
Secondly, I would, potentially, be spending an entire lunch period with Edward. I wondered if I
could go a whole hour without offending him this time. I wanted to apologize for my behavior in
biology yesterday. There was just something about this guy that turned me into a bumbling idiot.
I couldn't get my bearings around him, my mouth just rambled on about nothing and everything at
the same time.
Thirdly, I had nothing to wear. I couldn't find half the clothes I thought I had brought with me,
apparently a bit too generous during the eradication of my summer wardrobe. I would have to ask
Alice if there were any cheap clothing stores around here.
I gave up on the blue shirt and just grabbed my sweats and tank and headed into the bathroom.
For someone like me, the bathroom takes on a whole new connotation. It's a very ritualistic kind
of place, like a sacrificial temple or something. Every day, people take part in the ritual of brushing
their teeth, cleansing their bodies, applying various creams, liquids, sprays, and all kinds of
chemical concoctions for the betterment of their external appearance. But for someone like me,
an ordinary bathroom was a conflicting place, offering relief and seclusion while serving as an
enabler in purging.
The bathroom also served as a source of self disgust. When you think about it, during my "ritual",
I was placing my face mere inches from where people literally put their shit. And I was okay with
this, seeking out and finding comfort in this routine. It was fucking repulsive. I was fucking

repulsive and the very epitome of abhorrence for choosing to do this, for knowing, even while I
was chewing the infrequent meals that served as my masquerade, that I would be venturing to
this temple to sacrifice any ounce of pride I had so that I could feel that emptiness again. I hated
myself for it. But not enough to stop.
I took a long hot shower, relaxing in the spray and puddles around my feet. I was a bit overcome
with anxiety and I wished I had some of those little pills to make me focus, or even a joint so I
could just calm down. I was itching in my own skin, my chest tight and not letting my lungs expand
fully. I felt like I couldn't breathe. For the first time in a while I almost wished I could eat because
I had been doling out Percocet to Charlie for the last two days. Percocet really needs to be
partnered with food though, and that just wasn't feasible. After my shower, I rifled through the
medicine cabinet looking for anything I could take to calm me down, but all I could find was some
cough syrup. Swigging straight from the bottle, I hoped it would be enough. I finally was able to
fall asleep with the help of my constant drug, Joni's words a soothing lullaby forcing me into
nothingness. "I wish I had a river I could skate away on"

Shit, I was going to be late to school. My prehistoric vehicle was groaning as I punched the clutch
and forced the truck into fourth gear. A small compact car sped around me, passing on the left and
flipping me off. It's not my fault this truck has a maximum speed of fifty. I just sighed and
struggled to find the exit off the highway through the thick cloud cover that had enveloped the
town during the night.
I almost missed the school, turning at the last minute and practically maneuvering a u-turn in
order to make the exit.
I had woken up late, groggy and disheveled from a night of deep sleep, the cough syrup effective. I
still hadn't decided on anything to wear, so I had spent twenty minutes this morning staring at
the same five t-shirts. I finally just put on a plain black long-sleeved shirt and my jeans. I twirled
my hair in a bun, tossed my coat on and headed to check on Charlie.
Charlie was still in his bed, lying on his back, elevated on a stack of humongous pillows. I couldn't
really tell if he was breathing so I stood there staring at his chest waiting to see it rise and fall.
My eyes hadn't fully adjusted to daylight yet, making them unreliable from that distance, so I had
entered the room and walked over to Charlie's bedside. I leaned over his large body, placed my
face close to his nose, and felt a warm exhale tickle my cheek, the scent of sweat and the chalky
hint of his medication whispering across my face. I sighed, relief flooding my veins, coursing
through my body and making me feel lightheaded. Just then Charlie had begun to stir so I quickly
sprinted out of the room before I had to uneasily explain why I was listening to him breathe.
I ran out the door and into a freezing fog, slipping and falling on my ass once in the driveway. I
got in the truck and locked the door with shaking hands and fumbled the keys into the ignition. I
had dropped them three times before I was able to start the engine. I hadn't realized the gravity
of this situation I had put myself in until that moment. What if he had been dead? The idea of
being in the same room with the dead body of my kinda father had made me panic. I wasn't able
to control my emotions and my eyes welled with tears, my breathing erratic and expanding in my chest
So I sat in the that driveway this morning for fifteen minutes trying to calm my breathing and just
function normally so I could drive to school. Hence, the tardiness.
I pulled into the parking lot, dodging a few other overdue students. Scanning the other cars, I
searched for the silver Volvo but I didn't see it. A shock of panic bolted through me. I parked
quickly and raced inside the building.

Running and panting for lack of stamina, I headed to English, the missing Volvo on the forefront
of my mind. There's no way I would be able to concentrate without knowing why that car was
M.I.A. I still had, like, four hours before lunch. I'd never been so eager for a meal in all my life.
I doodled my way through my classes, taking incoherent notes and sketching strawberries and
dark eyes in the margins of my notebook. My mind was invaded with meaningless conversation
during Spanish, Jessica talking about a party at Mike's house on Friday. She was spouting details
of her favorite drinks, I think trying to impress me, when she mentioned a name that suddenly
made me focus.
"I kind of had a thing with Edward Cullen" was what I had caught. My pencil froze and I looked
up, maybe a little too quickly.
"Who?" I asked, cutting her off.
She was taken aback by my sudden interest in the conversation. "Edward Cullen. I'll point him out
in the lunch room. He's so totally hot but, like, really antisocial. I kind of had this thing with him a
couple of months ago, but I broke it off because he's a psycho, like, totally crazy."
"What? What do you mean crazy?" I pried, thirsting for the information and disgusted at the
thought of her anywhere near his thing.
"I hooked up with him at my party a while ago. We were both totally drunk, and, yeah it was hot,
but he was a total dick afterward. Like hell if a guy thinks he can treat me like that and get away
with it. I dumped him on his sorry crazy ass," she explained smugly.
Well this was enlightening. For the first time I really took in Jessica's appearance. She was very
petite yet also curvy, her figure rounding in all the appropriate places. Her dark curly hair framed
her very ordinary face, and she was constantly batting her big doe-eyes, perpetuating a state of
constant bewilderment. She wasn't bad looking, pretty even with all the effort she put into it, but
she definitely wasn't gorgeous. She wasn't who I imagined Edward would choose. She didn't
even have any of those redeeming personality characteristics that eventually softened a person's
outer appearance, like a sense of humor or a kind soul. She was catty and felt the need to fill
every silence with empty conversation. And she just seemed so typical. Typical and boring. Why
would he like her?
And why did I care so much?
I was so consumed by my thoughts that I almost missed the next part of her disclosure.
"I'd been dying to get with him for, like, two years. Him and his sister moved here when their
parents died. They live with their aunt and uncle now." She leaned closer to me. I slightly flinched,
her proximity annoying. "Everyone thinks there's, like, some scandal involved. Nobody really
knows, it's all very mysterious. More like a sack of shit if you ask me."
Hmm, sour grapes much?
Christ, Edward Cullen was getting hotter by the second. Let's see, he was a total smart ass,
aloof, and surrounded by a scandal involving dead parents. I always get into these fucked up
relationships, like gravity pulling me towards a black hole. Every relationship I'd ever been in was
a complete disaster, not that there'd been that many to begin with.
There was the narcissist, the guy who thought he was God's gift to women but couldn't get me

off to save his life and who fucked one of my friends when I wouldn't sleep with him. I mean, if he
couldn't finger me properly, what good would his dick do? He had even less control of that appendage.
Then the pacifist, you know, one of those sensitive types, weasels his way into the confines of
your mind and soul, pretends like he "gets" you, tells you everything you want to hear until you
realize that you want him. Yeah, he fucked all of my friends when I wouldn't hand him my virginity.
I tried, but it was just weird, no chemistry at all, like kissing my brother or something.
Then there was the antagonist. I had hated him. All through middle school he had teased me,
called me skinny dog-face. He would knock my books out of my hands when we were walking in the
hall, throw food at me in the lunch room, stupid petty shit that I should have been mature enough
to get over. But I wasn't. Turns out he just had a big crush on me and didn't know how to curb
his Cro Magnum tendencies. We went out twice and both times I acted like a total bitch. I hold
grudges, it's a personality flaw.
I utterly failed at relationships. I always found something wrong with the guy, which was usually
the exact characteristic that had drawn me to him in the first place until my instinct for
self-preservation would kick in and I'd find a way out. In the true blue words of Miss Mitchell, "And
if you care, don't let them know. Don't give your heart away."
"Bella?" Jessica was looking at me like I was fucking crazy now. I wondered how long she'd been
calling my name. "Are you coming to lunch?"
Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. The period had passed quicker than I was ready for. I looked around. The
class was pretty much empty with only a few stragglers at the teacher's desk and everyone else
filing out the door. Jessica was standing over me, her arms crossed, tapping her foot impatiently.
"Yeah sorry. I was totally spacing." I closed my notebook, wondering how Jessica was going to
react when I left her to sit with Alice and her infamous brother.
I followed Jessica to the lunch room, lagging behind, using her as a shield of sorts, trying
desperately to reign in my nerves. My heart was racing in my throat and pounding in my ears, my
face flushed with warmth. I was probably beet red, the depraved blush destroying any mask of
cool I had hoped to conjure up. If I could just get through the lunch period without pissing Edward
off, I would consider the meeting a success.
I followed Jessica to the lunch counter, not yet surveying the tables. I didn't want to look at him
until it was absolutely necessary.
I was grabbing a salad when I felt a tap on my shoulder.
"Hi Bella!" Alice, clad in tight black skinny jeans and a long black and white sweater, bangles
clanging around her tiny wrists, was standing beside me now. Her hair was parted on the side
today, very smooth and stylish, la Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby. "Are you still going to sit with
us?" She eyed Jessica warily, but Jessica refused to make eye contact with her focusing instead
on an apparently fascinating piece of lettuce that had fallen out of her salad and onto her tray.
"Um, sure. I promised, right?" Jessica's eyes shot up to meet mine, her look of pure detest piercing
right through me. Shit, I'd only been here three days and already I was pissing everybody off.
"I'll see you later Jessica." Looking away, like a coward, I paid for my lunch and followed Alice. I
was pretty sure Jessica wanted to bitch slap me right there in the lunch room. I didn't have the
guts to look at her to see the expression on her face.

Alice led me to a table towards the back of the lunchroom, near the back door. A huge wall of a
human stood up as we approached the table. He was towering and intimidating and my steps
faltered a bit as we approached him. Hoping Alice hadn't noticed, I tried to quickly regain my composur
"Relax, it's just Emmett," she murmured under her breath. "My cousin. He's a teddy bear, I promise."
So she had noticed my stumbling insecurities. Is there anything she doesn't see?
Now that we were close I could see a definite gentle nature about him. He was smiling, a curve in
his angular jaw. He looked so childlike, with dimples and dark tight curls adding to his charm. He
was standing with his arms folded across his chest, and he was huge. His t-shirt strained against
his pectorals, tendons and skin stretched tight across his massive neck.
He held out a hand as we walked up to the table, smiling warmly.
"Hi there Bella. Emmett Cullen." He shook my hand, his large, rough grip enveloping mine. "This is
Rosalie, my girlfriend." He motioned to a girl still sitting at the table, previously hidden by his
massive form.
Rosalie stood up and I instantly felt like shit, like total, insignificant shit. She was gorgeous, my
total antithesis. Her honey blond hair waved around her perfect face, violet eyes glittering and
slightly smug. Her eyelids were adorned with a light brown shadow and lined with a perfect smoky
streak and mascara enhanced her eyelashes, like tiny brushes sweeping her cheekbones when
she blinked. I couldn't help but envy her curvaceous figure. She was right out of an Italian
Renaissance painting, Birth of fucking Venus and shit, which was a far cry from my flat and bony form.
She held out her hand, "Pleasure. Bella, is it?" Her fingers were long and manicured and she just
reeked of blue blood, royalty. "Rosalie Hale." As I shook her hand, she looked down at my
appearance, apparently engaging in the same surveillance, yet obviously, judging by the smirk on
her lips, a very different perception than mine.
"So, Bella, how did you and our Alice meet?" Rosalie knew she was treading on delicate waters, it
was evident in her tone of voice, and she didn't care. She wanted exposure, like a lioness
hunting her weak prey.
I panicked, not quite sure what to say, how much Alice would want them to know about the
smoking and the ditching. I knew that she had said that Edward was protective, but I didn't know
about her relationship with Emmett. And I didn't think that I wanted to see him angry.
"What do you mean?" I decided on ignorance. So what if I perpetuated her already developing
opinion of my low intelligence.
"Well, Alice is a sophomore, dear. I doubt she has any classes with you." Rosalie smiled down at
me before fluidly taking her seat, almost melting into the hard plastic chair. Emmett, occupying the
chair next to her, pulled a huge sack of food from his backpack. He started unloading the
containers. Chicken salad, mixed vegetables, two turkey sandwiches, a bag of chips, a protein
bar and a package of Twinkies. How could one person eat that much food?
I looked at Alice for help, who was seated on the table now, a bundle of silk in her hand, an apple
in the other.
"We had a smoke together in the bathroom," Alice shrugged, taking a large bite of her apple with a
satisfying crunch. I could live with that. I sat down in a chair opposite Rosalie and Emmett. There
were two unoccupied chairs at the table, and I was sitting right in the middle of them, forcing the

still missing Edward to sit by me. I initially thought about moving over one seat, giving him a
choice, but I was frozen in that chair. Where was he?
Rosalie grimaced, "Smoking is disgusting Alice. You're going to end up looking like a shriveled old
hag. Do you like little wrinkles around your lips and yellow teeth? Plus it stinks." She opened the
container of chicken salad. Emmett continued to shovel food into his face, the sight literally
making me a bit nauseous.
"I kind of like the way tobacco smells," I said quietly. Alice and Rosalie both looked at me then,
their contrasting expressions causing me to snort slightly. Emmett stopped chewing his protein bar
and looked directly at Rosalie. Alice was smiling, triumph and conviction apparent in her features.
She took another bite of her apple and shrugged her shoulders at Rosalie, clearly conveying an "I
don't give a shit" stance on the issue. She began shuffling her cards, her silk scarf laid out on the table
Rosalie had frozen mid scoop, her fork still in the air, and if looks could kill, well, I'd be rotting away
in Forks cemetery.
She quickly smoothed her appearance, plastering on a sweet smile. "To each her own," she said
calmly, still meeting my eyes and daring me to look away, like some fucked up stare down. What the
hell is this chick's deal?
Not one to back down from a challenge, I smiled back, staying silent. Rosalie looked away first,
her eyes slowly moving down to my food tray. At first I felt victorious, having beaten her at her
own pissing contest. Then, intuition and resolve flashed in her eyes. She met my gaze quickly
upon registering my lunch choice and I'm sure paranoia was evident in my expression.
"Would you like some of my chicken salad, Bella?" She asked appraisingly. "I noticed you were only
able to get a spring mix before Alice tore you away from the lunch counter." Damn this bitch and
her passive aggressive bullshit.
"I'm okay, thanks. Vegetarian." Did she think she was dealing with an amateur here? I'd been doing
this for way too long to not think up a million reasons for why I didn't eat.
"Really? Well, that explains why you're so thin. Do you take supplements?" Rosalie took a dainty
bite of her chicken salad, chewing and waiting for my reply. I seriously wanted to punch her in the face
Alice came to my rescue once again. "Rose, knock it off. Now you're just being a bitch." She
continued to shuffle her cards. A moment later she dumped them across the scarf and ran her
fingers through them, mixing and turning the jumble of color.
Rosalie looked at Alice incredulously. "Alice, I'm merely interested in your new friend and her
extremely interesting lifestyle." Rosalie's eyes glinted with double meaning. "Speaking of lifestyle,
Alice have you seen my brother today?"
Alice stuttered in her card shuffling for the slightest second. She glanced at Emmett who was lost
in his food orgy, obviously oblivious to any underlying meaning behind the conversation. "Yes,
Rose, I'd have to say I saw your brother quite thoroughly this morning." She smirked at Rosalie,
satisfied with the grimace she was receiving in return.
Taking advantage of this distraction, I nudged some of the greens off my plate, trying to be
discreet, as if they just accidentally spilled onto the table. I chewed a small bite of the salad, the
saliva pooling in the back of my throat. Swallowing was difficult, my stomach already rejecting the
foreign matter trying to occupy space. I paused, waiting for the compulsion to stop.

Alice had finished shuffling the cards now and I looked up to find her green eyes trying to make
sense of my demeanor. She was slightly squinting, her head tilted to one side, lips pursed. I
faltered in my reassuring smile, small, tight-lipped and fake, just like me. I felt like shit, total fucking
shit, because she had been nothing but honest and trusting with me and I could not return the
honor. And I still couldn't work up the nerve to ask Alice about her brother. The expectation of his
arrival was making it difficult to focus on anything else.
"So Bella, are you going to party with us this weekend?" Emmett asked, interrupting my self
loathing. He moved on to the sandwiches, taking large bites, and storing the enormous bulge in
his cheek as he spoke.
"Yes, Bella is definitely going to party with us this weekend," Alice answered for me.
"Really? Is that what the cards told you?" I asked, teasing. The last time I had partied I ended up
in the emergency room and I really didn't want a repeat of that disastrous event. Then again, I
did just want to fucking escape, lose myself in the influx of chemicals, altering the synaptic
functioning. I just wanted to feel good for a while, not have to worry about my dad or my diet or
that beautiful boy that keeps invading my dreams. And who knows, this party might lead me to a
supplier, the desire for the pretty pills increasing as my inability to be normal reared its ugly head.
"Oh, come on Bella! It'll be fun, I promise." Alice winked, causing me to grin. "Mike Newton's a
douche but his desire to please is favorable to our desire to get totally faded."
"Okay, but I'm a mean drunk. And I fall down a lot. Are you sure you can handle mumbling and
stumbling Bella?" I was only slightly joking. I couldn't even tell you the number of injuries I'd
sustained while under the influence.
Emmett laughed, "Oh, I think we can handle that. What are you, like, ninety pounds?" My gaze
immediately dropped at the mention of my weight, insecurity flooding my psyche. Why do people
always notice this? They never noticed my eyes or my hair or even the clumsiness. But it never
fails, someone will always comment on my weight.
Rosalie snorted, rolling her eyes and placing the lid on her container of chicken salad. She threw
the container into Emmett's paper sack, and folded her arms across her chest.
"Bella! This is going to be awesome! It'll be totally memorable, I promise!" Alice was squealing,
her enthusiasm a little overwhelming.
"Okay, are you ready?" Alice asked me, waving the stack of cards. Emmett leaned forward,
placing his forearms on the table, flashing a deliberate grin. Rosalie shifted in her seat, leaning
toward Alice now. I found her interest somewhat perplexing. Why would she care what these
cards had to say? She had already made her opinion of me very clear and it made me
self-conscious knowing that she would be listening.
"Sure, I guess. What do I have to do?" I was starting to feel uneasy, like maybe this was a
mistake. I didn't have too much experience with the occult; it always just seemed kind of cheesy
to me, crystal balls and magic cards with the ability to tell the future. It totally negated the idea
of free will, like nothing could stop the train wreck that you're destined for from happening. I
guess I could indulge Alice, though, a small way to make up for all my failures as a friend.
"You don't really have to do anything. Just open your mind and relax. You need to meditate on a
question, either verbally or internally, it doesn't really matter, but I can help with the interpretation
if I know what to look for," Alice explained.

"Okay." I was definitely apprehensive now. What could I ask of a pack of cards? Where the hell
was Edward? That was by far the biggest question invading my brain with maddening persistence.
But that didn't seem significant enough because if I could just muster up the courage I would be
able to solve that mystery this very moment.
I took a deep breath. Alice was waiting for me and I just kept drawing a blank. "Shit, I don't know
Alice. Do I have to ask something?"
Alice sighed. "It makes it easier. Come on, anything. It doesn't have to be life altering."
Shit Bella, think of something, anything.
I closed my eyes and saw his flushed, full lips, his smile uneven and dazzling. I thought of the
grocery store, a flood of warm honey and lilac, greens and grays, engulfing and suffocating, my
breath quickening at the memory. I opened my eyes, inhaling sharply as I was met with those
green eyes.
Alice was staring at me, waiting, her emerald pupils mirroring her brothers. "Okay, I've got it." I
managed to mumble.
Alice began to lay the cards. She was pulling them at random and placing them in a semi-circle on
her scarf. She was muttering to herself as she pulled each card, finding significance in the
patterns and pictures.
"Death," she said as she touched the first card.
I couldn't help but snort. Alice glared at my mockery. "Don't even start, Bella." She rolled her
eyes at me, muttering, "You sound like my brother."
I stilled at this, the knots in my stomach tightening. How pathetic can I be that the mere mention
of his existence sends me into such a spiral?
"Sorry," I apologized. "I'll be good."
"Death in this position represents your past, the path of sweeping change that cannot be
avoided," Alice continued.
Again with the negating of free will. Cannot be avoided.Please! Skepticism was brewing in my
facial features and I quickly snuffed it out before Alice could suspect anything.
"This card is the present, the Nine of Cups, representing sensual pleasure, experiencing beauty."
Alice squinted at me, probably trying to figure out whose beauty I was experiencing presently.
Presently, my dear, his beauty is not at my disposal to experience
"Why Bella, I do believe you're blushing." Emmett said chuckling, while Rosalie smirked at my discomf
I was horrified by what my face exposed. I'm like an open book when it comes to this kind of shit,
that fucking pink tint giving me away every time.
"All right, knock it off." Alice touched the next card. "The Moon is your influence, chasing after
some fantasy, deceiving yourself." It could not get any worse. Emmett was laughing gregariously now.
"Emmett, I swear to God, shut the fuck up. I can't do this when you're all obnoxious and shit."
Alice was getting seriously pissed.

"Okay okay sorry. I'm done, I'm done." He ran his hand over his face, changing it into a calm
mask. Rosalie giggled and smacked him on the chest.
I'd had enough though. I did not want to hear anything else. "Alice, why don't we just stop? Really,
it's not my thing." I pleaded with her. I didn't want to hear I was deceiving myself into thinking I
could be loved. The nausea was stirring in my gut, uneasy and tempting. If Edward wasn't even
here today I'd be able to stop at the school day-puking bathroom.
Alice's face was mustering up all kinds of conviction. "No! I'm going to finish, you're going to listen
and you two," she pointed at Rosalie and Emmett, "are going to shut the hell up."
And for some reason we did.
Alice, satisfied with our compliance, continued. "Your obstacles are represented by Temperance,
renewing health, healing, recovery."
I'll say. Yeah, that was kind of bizarre. I tried to look as nonchalant as possible, but Alice's
predictions were really starting to get under my skin. I didn't say anything, though. I didn't want
to unleash the wrath of the pixie demon again.
"Your hopes, setting a course for the future, Justice." She glanced up at me, gauging my
response and I forced myself to appear emotionless. But it was becoming intolerable. I felt
warmth spread from my chest, choking in my throat but I stifled it down.
"Forgive yourself; forgive others, Judgment representing the best course of action." She was
quiet now, as was I. And as I stared at her while she watched the cards, I couldn't stop it, a
solitary tear streaked down my cheek, followed by another betrayal, the warm, salty liquid
trailing down my face. I couldn't even bring myself to wipe it away, the telling movement sure to
be my undoing. I just turned my cheek to my shoulder to blot it dry.
Alice touched the last card. "The World, the outcome, Bella. Pleasure in life, rendering a service."
Alice sighed. "I always love it when it ends happily." She grinned at me but her face fell as she saw
the traitorous emotion plastered across my face.
"Bella? Are you okay?" Alice asked me quietly.
And I turned on the show. I smiled brightly, hoping my eyes didn't look as dead as they felt. "Of
course! I got the World. That's good, right?"
Alice smiled softly, "Right," she nodded. I looked towards the clock in the lunch room. How much
longer before I could hide in my car. I decided I was definitely ditching class today.
Just as I was opening my mouth to excuse myself from this disaster, I heard a calm, smooth
voice behind me.
"So, I talked to my people and apparently it was Demitri and Felix who fucked up your brother
yesterday." I turned in my chair swiftly to find Jasper speaking to Alice. They stared into each
others eyes, a fleeting moment of understanding passing between them, a mixture of longing and
gratefulness playing upon Alice's features.
"Ugh, your brother is such an idiot. What was he thinking? He knows those guys are total
assholes." Rosalie rolled her eyes.

"I'm going to fucking kick their asses!" Emmett was pissed. "You should have seen his face man.
Carlisle had to give him six stitches." I gulped, wishing I had gotten a drink. My throat was
closing, my breathing labored. The vomit was swelling in my throat and I swallowed it back,
forcing myself to keep shit together.
I didn't understand. He was fine, and I mean fine, yesterday during class. His face was perfect
right up until
Oh my God, please say I'm not responsible for this. Please, please let it be something else,
anything else.
Alice spoke next, "Emmett, you know he did it on purpose." I looked down at the cards still lying
on the table. Please someone clarify, I was silently begging them to disclose more.
But they were all silent. They did know, and I didn't. I was the outsider here, intruding in their
business and they weren't going to fill me in. Fuck!
I had to know. I wasn't going to be able to live with myself if I didn't find out. I wanted in.
Swallowing my pride I asked, "Why would he do it on purpose?" They all turned to look at me but
Alice was the one who spoke.
"I overheard them in the hall. He told Carlisle it was because of a girl."
And I lost it. I felt the saliva filling my mouth. I had to get out of here! I dry heaved once, jumping
out of my seat, my hand flying to cover my mouth, and racing for the door. I heard the cries
behind me, the sound of thudding boots following me as I ran out of the lunch room and into the
freezing fog. I leaned over the railing of the planter and dry heaved again. Fuck! I had nothing in
my stomach to purge, the poor excuse of a salad that I had ingested for lunch stuck in my throat.
I coughed, spitting the small amount of bitter bile now released, tears just fucking pouring down
my face.
Alice caught up with me, "Bella! Fuck!" She was panting, bending over trying to catch her breath.
"Are you sick? What's wrong? Do you need to go to the nurse?"
I shook my head no, just feeling horrible and wrong. "I'm so sorry, Alice." I couldn't think of
anything else to say. "I'm so fucking sorry." And I was wishing like hell I could tell this to Edward,
see him, see what I had caused, and fix this. Instead, I poured my apologies into Alice.
"Alice, I'm so sorry, so sorry." I just kept repeating it over and over again. Alice was
dumbfounded and didn't know what to do. She wrapped her arm around my shoulders and
hugged me until the sobs eventually stopped.
Joni Songs Referenced:
Party's next...should be a good time for all, right???

Review, bb's, Review! (*wink)

Chapter: 6
Wow, what a freaking week. I'm overwhelmed by the many reviews and alerts and favs and all that
shit is amazing! Thank you, dear readers, for such honesty! You guys are phenomenal and we
have a beautiful thing going on here!
And I can't send enough thanks to the amazingly talented ilsuocantante for recommending this fic
on The Twilight Sisterhood and for setting up the thread on Twilighted. Dude, you rock my world
and could quite possibly be my literary soul-mate. I'm going to post the links on my profile,
checkity check it!
Larin20, deary, thank you for recommending as well. I can't believe all the generosity I've
encountered in this process! And the girls at rehab, I swear, you make my day, all of you, my own
little support group, like on Fight Club, right? See, I told you Jezz, this is totally our Fight Club!!
Watch it already!!
And my fascinating and extrodinary beta, n7of9, holy shit, you're are my idol. You're on a
pedestal bitch, and I'm so worshipping you!! You deserve a thousand robwards at your disposal
for putting up with me.
Disclaimer: I don't own it.
Ch. 6-"I could drink a case of you" Ah, Joni soothes my soul!
"Bella, you have to get up." Alice was trying to pull me up from my prostrated position. At some
point in the last fifteen minutes my legs had stopped supporting my body and I had slid down the
outside brick wall of the lunch room, curling into a ball and pressing my forehead to the cold, hard
ground. I was feeling lightheaded now, my heart thumping in my throat, the lack of calorie
consumption enhancing my distress and adding another element to this already fucked up
situation. With weakness emitting from my pours, and physically and mentally exhausted, I tried to
sit up, my head swimming with fatigue. I needed to eat something, anything. I knew I had
pushed my body too far and the starvation was now taking its toll.
And yet, despite the failings of my body, all I could focus on was what Alice had said.
"He told Carlisle it was about a girl."
It could be a coincidence, right? I mean, the fact that after one stupid conversation with me
Edward would go get his ass kicked on purpose was ridiculous. Why would it matter to him what I
thought? I was trying to reassure myself, ease my aching conscience, but I couldn't help but feel
responsible. I had seen the look on his face, flat and inhuman. And the way he had left that
classroom, a mad dash out the door, it was obvious something was terribly wrong.
"Alice, I think I need to eat something," I mumbled into the ground. I was dangerously close to
passing out, spots before my eyes, white and swirling, distracting my vision and I blinked trying to
rid my sight of the intruders. I was starting to feel warm, sweat beading on my forehead and
nose despite the cold mist and fog still hovering over the town. A light rain was dampening my

hair and shirt now and I realized I was shaking, my fingers tingling and trembling. I kept wringing
my hands, folding and unfolding them, desperately trying to get the shaking to stop.
"Bella, I'm going to take you to the nurse. Can you walk?" Alice was trying to lift me up from the
ground but I was having difficulty supporting myself. I sat up slowly, trying to dissipate the vertigo.
"I just need something to eat, Alice. Can you get me a fucking cracker or something? Or some
juice?" I could barely get the words out.
"Okay. I'm going to go get you something. Wait here." If I would have had the energy I would
have rolled my eyes. I mean, honestly, where the hell was I going to go in this condition?
As I lay on the cool concrete, with precipitation saturating my shirt and my hair starting to stick to
the skin of my forehead and neck, I struggled to find strength. The smell of wet concrete, earthy
limestone and mineral, solidified in my head, the geological aggregate beginning to pull me from
the confines of my incoherency. I inhaled deeply, just trying to gain some control of my body. I
knew I was totally fucked. I mean, in addition to the fact that my body was starting to shut down,
Alice was going to figure this shit out. I would have to explain my behavior and I didn't know what
to say. I had already passed this shit off as nerves before, so there was no way all-knowing
Alice was going to let this slide again.
Able to sit up now, I waited patiently for Alice to return, dreading the conversation that would
surely take place. "We can't return, we can only look behind from where we came" The Circle
Game. Joni's tune slapped me in the face, demanding, questioning: How many times are we going
to go through this, Bella?
When she returned she brought with her a package of Twinkies and a Coke. Are you fucking kidding
"I think you're going into shock, Bella," Alice said as she knelt down next to me, opening the
package and handing me the squishy cake. It just reeked of high fructose corn syrup and
hydrogenated oil. Jasper had followed Alice out of the lunch room and was surveying my condition.
I hesitated, knowing that this may end badly. I hadn't had any type of sweets in years and I
really had no desire to consume this chemical cataclysm of cake, but I knew I wouldn't be able to
move until I had some sort of fuel racing through my blood, igniting my metabolism and
regulating my bodily functions again.
"You need the sugar, just eat it," Jasper said, sensing my vacillation. I took a small bite, chewing
quickly and swallowing the thick sponge. Alice handed me the now opened Coke and I swallowed
the fizzy liquid, gulping the sugary syrup in an attempt to force the provisions into my system.
Alice and Jasper kept glancing at each other like I was five years old and mommy and daddy had to
tell me my puppy had died. It was so fucking patronizing, I felt miserable that I had let myself get
to this point. I closed my eyes so I didn't have to see the worry on their faces. I was not
something to be worried about. I hated this more than anything. There are people out there with
real problems, problems they have no control over. And here I am, willingly destroying myself. I
didn't deserve any of it, their pity or their patience. I kind of wished they would just slap the shit
out of me for being such a selfish asshole.
"You're wrong you know." Alice's voice was quiet and certain. "Whatever you're thinking, it's wrong."
Fuck, she is a tricky pixie! How the hell does she do that? I'm sure my face was a mix of shock
and incomprehension because she just smiled and stood up.

"Alice, I'm sorry. I'm just" I couldn't make my mouth form the words. I wanted to tell her but my
own sense of self preservation was prohibiting me from giving her the truth. "I'm just" I tried again.
"It's okay Bella. I know." Alice rescued me from my pitiful attempt at honesty. I didn't really know
what this meant exactly, or how much she actually did know, but right now I was grateful for the
"Come on, we're going to take you home. Where are your keys?" Alice continued
"In my backpack, in the lunch room," I answered, and Alice went to get my things. I took another
drink of the Coke, the carbonation tickling my throat. I was starting to feel normal again, my body
ceasing to shake and spin. I knew we were dangerously close to the end of the lunch hour and
really didn't feel like being a spectacle again today, so I allowed Jasper to help me to my feet.
Alice returned, my backpack and coat in her arms, my keys in her hand. We walked to my truck,
Jasper supporting most of my weight, and Alice linked onto my other arm.

I fell into my bed the moment my legs were able to reach the small room. My brain was just
throbbing, the implications of this afternoon thick and sticky. I slept for hours, waking up well into
the night rested and completely awake. It was fucking 2:30 in the morning and I was trapped in
this prison of a room, with jack shit to do, alone with the constant nagging of my own conscious. I
left my cell and headed downstairs, looking for a distraction, anything to pull me from own head.
The house was completely silent, energy vibrating in my eardrums. The stairs creaked softly as I
tried to silently navigate in the dark.
The small living room was pitch black and I waded my way to the secondhand couch. I sank into
the velvet and stale plush, finding comfort in the springy coils groaning beneath me. Memories
permeated my awareness, the relief I had found on this couch as a child was tangible and in my
fingertips as I clutched the crocheted afghan that stretched across the back of the piece of
furniture. I wove my fingers through the intricate series of knots, the yarn course and brittle with
age. Bringing the scratchy fabric to my face, I inhaled deeply, dust and musk now enveloping me
in a tide of emotion. Guilt, the gnawing burn of remorse bitter in my core, was truncated only by
the span of self disgust pounding in my head. The hunger that I normally used for a distraction
was satiated, the Twinkie and Coke swiftly absorbed and placating that emptiness.
Without the pills, my brain was an open wound, and without my permission it recollected the last
time I had slept on this couch. I was nine years old and I had strep throat, and Charlie had taken
me to the hospital. I really hated needles and I had cried like an infant when the nurse had brought
the little syringe into the room. My dad, not wanting me to be alone in this misery, asked the nurse
if she would shove a needle in his ass too. She declined, of course, but my dad saying ass to a
complete stranger, to my nine year old self, was the most hilarious thing I'd ever heard. I
giggled my way through the shot, and even during the ice cream sundaes that we had enjoyed
afterwards, as I curled up on this very couch with this very fucking afghan, my toes twisted in
the gaps. We had watched "Annie" and I had fallen asleep, content and loved, with sugar in my
blood and a song in my head.
When had the shift occurred? I tried to remember my childhood mother, but all I could see was my
father's face and smiling eyes, and I wondered what the catalyst was that destroyed that spark.
In less than ten years, how had I found myself so removed from that child, a child that loved the
man that was now choosing stagnation and sulking in that room above me? I wanted to feel that
love again, I was just aching for it, the need causing my chest to gape and swell, guilt and hate
and disgust pouring out as I pressed the bundle of blanket to my chest in an attempt to hold it all
in because this is what I felt comfortable in, wrapped in a tiny cocoon of self pity and contempt.

But it was all there now, every sense persistent and rich with recollection. I took some deep
breaths, trying to gain control of this new influx of emotion. I remained in that position, curled in a
ball, snared in the refuge of tangled yarn, just fucking feeling something other than hunger or
intoxication, until the sky eventually lightened and the thick weight of the darkness had lifted.
"Only a dark cocoon before I get my gorgeous wings and fly away."

"Bella, just fucking try it on." Alice was handing me a yellow piece of itchy fabric, crinkled and
flowing. There was no way that cheery ass color was getting on my body. It would be a total
faade, the sunshine and warmth a fucking joke. I looked at the pile of clothing in my grip, a
tumble of blacks and grays, the dark palette more pleasing to my aesthetic.
"I'm not going to wear that. I can't believe you think I would willingly put that shit on." I threw the
shirt into the pile of color that was now accumulating in the aisle of the thrift store Alice had
suggested for some new threads. Alice had this thing for thrift stores, she said she refused to
pay ungodly amounts of money for something that companies pay peanuts to underdeveloped
countries to manufacture. This was perfect for me, seeing as how my funds were seriously limited
and I wasn't going to ask Charlie for cash. The party was tomorrow night and I was in dire need
of some new clothes. The school day had passed without incident, Edward still missing from our
Biology class, but now that I knew why, I was able to relax and concentrate somewhat. I even
took some comfort in the fact that I knew why he was gone and the others didn't, like some sick
inside joke I was just grateful to be a part of.
"You have to get something other than black. You need to broaden your spectrum. Color is
beautiful, Bella. Don't be afraid! Step into the light" She waved the yellow shirt which she had
resurrected from the floor in front of my face, and I actually fucking flinched at the material.
Alice's hair was spiky today, forming a slight peak on the top of her head, a picture of punk perfection.
"Can't we start with something a little less bright? Maybe a dark purple or something?" I searched
the racks, finding a midnight blue jacquard blazer. "Like this!" I held the jacket up for her to see.
"This is beautiful." I took the blazer off the hanger and tried it on, buttoning the center button. It
was a light coat and wouldn't provide much warmth, but it hung nicely, adding somewhat of a
curve to my stick figure.
"Bella, that's way too big. You're drowning in that thing." Alice pulled some tiny jeans off the rack
and tossed them to me. "Here, you'll have to wear something really tight underneath that to
balance out."
I held the pants up, checking the size. Size two. There was no way my ass was going to squeeze
into these toddler pants. Alice is crazy.
"These aren't going to fit, Alice. I think I wear a size four." I threw them back at her.
Alice snorted, catching the pants, "Yeah, and I'm from the future. You're totally a size two. Stop
being difficult and just try them on." She threw them back at me and continued to look through
the racks, trying on shirts over her tank top in the aisle and continually reaffirming my ignorance
when it came to this kind of shit.
I took the pants into the dressing room, along with the blazer and my handful of dark material. I
could distinctly recall this past Christmas wearing a size four. My mom had bought me some slacks
in the attempt to sharpen up my appearance. They were now circulating the Phoenix Goodwill,
having not survived the great wardrobe purge. But I definitely remember them being a size four
because Renee had been so proud of that fact. "That's the same size I had worn in high school!

Before I had you, of course. Children ruin your body Bella. After having a baby, you're never the
same." I had vomited twice that Christmas evening.
I pulled the stiff denim around my legs, expecting the material to strain. The pants pulled on
easily, buttoning snugly, but comfortable. I was disgusted and amazed, staring at my reflection
and the tiny silhouette that was staring back at me. How had I not noticed losing this much
weight? You'd think I'd be able to perceive it every day, my current wardrobe growing larger as
my body shrank. But I hadn't. I hardly paid attention, sure, but it had been only three months
and already I had decreased two clothing sizes?
It had to be a mistake, the tag must be wrong. That could happen, right, especially in a thrift
store? I mean, who knows where the hell this shit came from. I ripped the pants from my body,
almost panicking when the pant leg got caught around my ankle, hopping and stumbling on one
foot, desperate to have the material free from my skin. I threw them on the floor in disgust, and
to my dismay, even stomped on them a little bit. Stupid thrift store toddler pants.
I left the wretched pants in the dressing room.
"Where are they?" Alice asked as I walked out, her arms full of clothing.
I shrugged, smoothing my tangled hair from my face and ignoring her suspicious eyes. "They didn't
fit." I took my wallet and two peppermints from my bag, kindly giving Alice the hint I was ready to
leave. I held up one of the mints to Alice and she took it from my hand, placing the other in my
mouth. "I'm getting this jacket though, and these shirts."
"That's such bullshit, I know those pants fit. I've never been wrong, Bella. It's kind of my thing, do
not take this away from me." The look on Alice's face was hilarious, as if her very self worth
depended upon this admission. It was a little pathetic and utterly endearing.
"Alright, fine, they fit, but I looked ridiculous. Besides, I have lots of jeans. I really just need
shirts. And this jacket. I totally need this jacket." I conceded.
"Honestly, Bella, you are so stubborn. Your lack of taste is almost self destructive." Alice popped
the peppermint into her mouth, crumbling the wrapper and stuffing it into my tote.
Oh, Alice, you have no idea, I thought to myself.

We had gone shopping straight from school, and I was now wondering if Alice had a plan to get
home and, more importantly, if I was going to be able to see where she and Edward lived. The
thought of being given even this small detail had me envisioning the whole ordeal and
romanticizing the occasion.
I'd been dying to see Edward since, well, truthfully, since he had stormed out of that classroom.
But now that I knew I had quite possibly caused him so much pain, I wanted to assess the
damage. I wanted to know what his face looked like, did he have any bruises or cuts? I mean, he
hadn't been to school in two days, so it must have been pretty bad. More than anything, I
wanted to apologize and explain about my big mouth, how sometimes it has a mind of its own
and how sometimes I forget to use my filters. I would eat a huge ass pile of crow if he would just
give me the chance.
When we pulled into my driveway I noticed a black Mercedes parked on the street in front of the
house. I instantly thought something was wrong, this foreboding vehicle a symbol of gloom with

its shiny dark paint and opaque tinted windows. Alice's reaction only perplexed me further.
"That's my uncle's car," Alice commented as we got out of the truck. "He must be here to check on
I looked at her, confounded, What the Fuck probably plastered all over my telling face because
she continued, "He's Charlie's doctor."
"Your uncle's a doctor?" I felt so ignorant, like a total idiot. I'd been living here with a man
recovering from heart surgery and I didn't even know who his doctor was. In all honesty, I didn't
really know anything about him at all.
"Yeah. Carlisle and your dad are buddies. He was there when your dad had the heart attack,"
Alice revealed nonchalantly.
"What? They're friends?" My voice was higher and louder than normal. I don't know why this
information was shocking, it made sense that the town surgeon and the police chief would know
each other, especially in a town as small as Forks. I guess I was irritated that knowledge of the
elusive Edward Cullen could have been easily divulged at any time. Charlie probably knew
everything about Edward and Alice. And then a shock of understanding made my stomach flip.
How much about me did Carlisle know? I almost didn't want to find out because either way I
would probably feel like shit.
"Yes," Alice answered, "they're friends. They used to go fishing together and Charlie would come
over all the time to watch a game or just to shoot the shit." Alice was giving me the answers
because she knew I couldn't ask the questions.
"Did he ever" I was torn between not really wanting the answer and not being able to stop
myself from asking. "Did he ever mentionme?"
The second the words were forced from my lips I instantly felt very vulnerable, yet eager to
discover this small detail. It was something that had plagued me since my mom and I had left.
Why hadn't he contacted us? Why didn't he try to find me? Was there some missing piece of this
puzzle that I didn't know about, something that made this scenario something I could forgive?
Alice just shook her head, a reluctant silent no.
I nodded in understanding, my hope dissipating. I knew it. I had known all along. He didn't want
me. He's a fucking cop for Christ's sake, he had connections and he could have tracked me down
any time he wanted. The difference between ability and desire was apparent. He didn't give a
shit. And I didn't know why.
"I'm sorry Bella." I could tell Alice was disappointed that she had to be the one to give me this
information. I could tell that she wished she had a different answer for me. Believe me, so did I.
"Do be stupid, Alice. You had nothing to do with this." I was hoping to convey the right amount of
reassurance and cool so that when I walked through that door my emotions wouldn't be so transparent
"Oh, I know that. I'm just sorry he's been suck a prick." Alice definitely knows how to diffuse a
situation. I was genuinely able to smile at that comment, allowing my emotions to stay beneath
the surface.
"Thanks Alice," I paused, taking a deep breath through my nose. The air smelled of dew, crisp
spruce and wet asphalt. "Me too."

Just as I turned to walk up the path to the front door it opened, and a very handsome man
walked out of the house. I recognized the jaw line at once, the shape of his face distinctly
familiar. He had short blond hair and crystal blue eyes that looked worn and knowledgeable. He
was wearing a grey suit, a briefcase in his hand. He looked up, slightly startled to see us.
"Alice! What are you doing here?" He glanced at me as he addressed her, clearly assessing and
making judgments about the situation. I could almost see the gears turning behind those clear
pupils. He was a thinker, this one.
"Hey Carlisle. We were just shopping." Alice nodded her head towards me. "This is Charlie's
daughter, Bella."
He looked at me now, meeting my eyes and sticking out a formal hand. "Ah, yes. I'm Carlisle
Cullen, your father's doctor and friend. So nice to meet you Bella." He was wishing he could say
I've heard so much about you, but he wasn't a liar, I could tell.
I met his hand with my own and mumbled, "Nice to meet you."
"How are you liking Forks so far?" Um, I'm pissing everyone off, I may have caused your nephew
serious bodily harm because of my big fat mouth, and yesterday I thought my dad was dead and
it freaked me out. Forks is fucking fantabulous.
"Forks is great. I'm lucky Alice has adopted me." It was a half truth.
He continued, "I was wondering when I would get to talk to you. Forgive me, I've been a little
neglectful as of late. I usually check on my patients every other day." His demeanor was easy
and nostalgic and he reminded me of a classic film, regal and undefiled by the masses, rich in
storyline and sepia tone.
"No worries. He's been okay." I felt like such a damn fool. I had nothing to tell him, because I didn't
really know. He should be talking to Billy or Sue, not me. I didn't have a clue what went on here
during the day and I spent most of the evening in my room with my books, reliving some fictional
character's experiences.
"Well, you see, I've spoken with Sue Clearwater and Billy Black. They seem to think he's had a
rather negative attitude about his recovery. Would you agree?" Dr. Cullen tilted his head to the
side, truly interested in my point of view, even though it was shit.
"Umhe's kind of quiet. He never moves from the bedroom. I don't even think he's been
downstairs since I've been here." I knew this behavior wasn't conducive to a healthy recovery.
Overachiever with internet access, remember? He needed to be moving to prevent blood clots
and he needed to be practicing his deep breaths, to prevent pneumonia. He needed a positive
mental attitude, because the psychological impact of this type of surgery could be devastating.
He wasn't doing any of this and the consequences could be grisly, death being the most
prominent. I knew all of this and still I tried nothing to fix it. Jesus, I am a total bitch.
"I was afraid of that. I'm going to need you to help him, Bella. He needs to start recovering. This
stagnation that he's stuck in has to end. Do you think you can help us with this?" Dr. Cullen was
staring intently at me, just pleading with me to agree. He must have been the doctor who called
when Charlie had first had the heart attack because just like his last pleas for help, I couldn't say no.
"Yeah. I mean, I'll try. I really don't know what to say to him, he's so reclusive all the time, like
mute. I don't know how much I can help." I didn't want to get the doc's hopes up. The way he was

pleading with me you'd have thought I held the solution in my shopping bag.
"I think you can help more than you know," Dr. Cullen smiled and winked at me. What the hell did
that mean?
"Okay." I looked down, feeling like the punch line to a joke I didn't understand.
"Well, it was nice to meet you Bella." Dr. Cullen looked over at Alice. "Are you going to be home
soon Alice?"
"Actually, I can just ride with you. I was going to have Emmett pick me up after practice, but I'll
just go with you now." Alice opened the door to the truck, reaching for her many bags, Dr.
Cullen coming over to help her.
"Alright Bella. I'll see you tomorrow." Alice was barely visible behind her barrage of baggage.
"Okay, yeah. And thanks Alice, for the shopping." I was grateful to have something to wear that
I hadn't already worn that week. I waited on the porch while Dr. Cullen and Alice got into the big
black car, Alice waving as the car pulled away.
I sighed, trying to prepare for the task ahead of me. So, I'm supposed to convince the guy who
basically denies my entire existence that he should man up, pull his head out his ass and get
happy already? I wondered if Charlie owned any Broadway musicals. Those always made me
laugh my ass off.
I walked into the house, pulling off my coat and dragging my new acquisitions to my room. I stood
in my room for a moment in an internal battle of will, trying to make myself walk into Charlie's
room. What the hell was I going to say to him? I couldn't even make myself well, how was I
supposed to help somebody else?
I paced the hall outside Charlie's room before finally taking a deep breath and just barging in.
Charlie was still in his bed, a various sporting event on the television. He had changed his sweats
though, thank God for that.
"Hey, Dad?" I'm so horrible at this. I was trying to sound upbeat but that state of mind was so
foreign to me, so it ended up sounding like a question instead.
Charlie startled in his position, grunting something that sounded like a "hmph", surprise and slight
annoyance deep in his throat.
"Um, so what did you do today?" It seemed innocent enough. And I was, surprisingly enough,
genuinely interested in the answer.
Charlie looked over at me, a sideways glance out of the corner of his eyes, like I was some
swindler here to rip him off. I was starting to get annoyed with his totally unprovoked
antagonistic responses. I mean, what the hell? Can't a daughter ask her father how his day was?
Charlie went back to watching television and I didn't know if he was even going to answer. I
started to panic, the rejection of my attempt to converse stinging in my eyes. I turned to leave,
but stopped when he finally responded.
"I didn't do shit today." His response was such a shift from the sparsely worded grunts and growls
I was used to but I was still hesitant. I really did want to help Charlie because it was what I had
come here to do, to offer my humility to Karma, but I still felt the aftertaste of Alice's bitter

disclosure from earlier.

He continued through my silence, shocking the shit out of me. "I mean, what do you expect I did
today?" He was annoyed, Dr. Cullen had probably already given him a similar speech to the one I
was leading up to, and he saw it coming. "I've been sitting here, just like always. I can't do
anything. I have nothing to watch and Billy can't cook for shit. I just want a beer and a steak and
my pipe, none of this rabbit food bullshit. Can you get that for me Bella?"
Did he really think I was going to partner in his pity party or was this a rhetorical question? I
honestly couldn't tell. I felt a strange kinship with my father in that moment. He wanted to indulge
in those very habits that were killing him. He knew they were detrimental and he didn't care,
either because he really wanted to disappear or because he was too selfish to change. Either
way, I could relate.
I couldn't though, in good conscience, get him a smoke or a beer, but I could cook. Maybe not a
steak, but something that could provide comfort just as easily.
"I'll make dinner tonight," I said, and turned to leave the room. I knew exactly what I wanted to
make, it was a dish that my father had made for me when I was a child, usually when I was sick.
It was a simple recipe, almost ridiculously basic, but the impact was always great, mentally and
emotionally gratifying.
Before I could leave I needed to address the party situation. I needed to make sure someone
could be here to look after him, in case Charlie needed anything and also, something told me he
would not be as understanding as Renee when it came to underage drinking and possible drug
use. But I didn't see how I could lie because everyone knows everyone's shit in Forks. I decided
on exclusion as the best policy, only giving him information on a need to know basis. He needed
to know I would be gone and I could tell him I would be with Alice, because that would be true.
And I wasn't going to ask for his permission because, truthfully, he wasn't fathering me. He didn't
deserve the right to tell me no, he hadn't earned it.
"Um, I'm going to a party with Alice Cullen tomorrow night. Is there someone that can stay with
you while I'm gone?" I tried to ask confidently, like I wasn't scared shitless he would freak out
upon hearing this information.
He stayed silent for a moment, rubbing his eyes with his fingers. He was trying to find the nerve
to deny my proclamation but he knew as well as I did, he didn't deserve it. "Yeah, I can probably
have Billy come stay with me." He sighed, defeat once more apparent in his expression.
"Okay, great. I won't be home too late." And you probably wouldn't even notice if I was.
He nodded his head in agreement, my signal to leave before he changed his mind. Once
downstairs I began looking through the cabinets for the ingredients to make pastina. I didn't
actually think Charlie would have these supplies due the condition the stove was in when I had
arrived. It hadn't been used in months, dusty and filmed over.
I quickly found what I had been looking for, however, the plastic container of tiny star-shaped
pasta with a dried basil leaf tossed in with the noodles to protect against grain festering pests,
and chicken broth. That's it. I mean, yeah, you can add all kinds of shit to it like herbs and
vegetables, but when I was younger this was all that you needed to make good pastina, the
soupy star-noodles soothing the stomach and reminding me, once again, of all the good from my
I found a saucepan and filled it with water and added a bit of salt. Putting the pan on the stove,

I turned on the gas and the burner lit in a warm flash of blue and white, sizzling away at some of
the dust on the stovetop.
As the water heated I snagged my book from my bag and began reading. I was quickly
entrenched in Yorkshire moors and vindictive parenting, personally reminded of the fucked up shit
parents can do to their children.
It was such a betrayal. My parents had screwed me over royally. It didn't matter, the
rationalization that my mother had conjured up to make her feel better about leaving my father.
Or how my father had deemed it okay to forget the existence of a human being he helped to
create. How am I supposed to be a functioning member of society with them as fucking role
models? Both of them have failed in their basic, evolutionary purpose, survival of the fittest waving
its iron talon at its sickly prey.
I wallowed in self pity until the water boiled, dissolving the chicken bullion and adding the tiny
noodles, allowing them to soften. Pouring the soup into a large bowl, I carried it upstairs to Charlie,
a slight trepidation building in my chest. Here goes nothing!
Charlie was watching some fishing challenge on ESPN, absorbed in the reels and flies, finding some
sick satisfaction in the flailing creature desperately struggling for survival. I turned so I didn't
have to see the screen.
"I made soup," I said, trying to sound indifferent like I hadn't been reminiscing over this fucking
broth for the last twenty minutes. I set the bowl on the nightstand, torn between wanting to wait
for Charlie's reaction and wanting to get the hell out of there.
Charlie stared at the soup for a moment. "You made pastina?" he questioned, accusatory in his
tone. This may have been too much.
"Yeah," I replied defensively. "It's not like there were a lot of choices." Asshole!
"Huh." So we're back to the fucking grunts again. Charlie turned his attention to the television
once more, leaving the soup on the nightstand untouched.
Dumbfounded and humiliated, I left the fuckhead to his childish pouting. I was at a loss. I forgot
the rest of the pastina and left it on the stove as I curled up into the bed, climbing under the
covers and engaging in my own childish pouting. "Stepping stones on sinking sand"

"Turn left at the next street." Alice was sitting in the passenger seat of my truck, her legs curled
beneath her. Emmett had dropped her off at my house so we could get ready and so I wouldn't
have to arrive at this soire alone. I think she was just afraid I wouldn't show up and she's
absolutely correct in her assumption. There's no fucking way I'd be going to this party on my
own. She was looking very grunge tonight, a flannel baby doll dress over purple leggings and, of
course, those black Docs. Her hair was smoothed around her cosmetically enhanced face,
channeling Cabaret Liza sans ugly black hat. I had chosen one of my new-to-me tee's, the blue
blazer, and my number two jeans, because my number one jeans hadn't been washed all week. I
left my hair down, my insecurities influencing all my choices this Friday evening.
I turned onto the small street and immediately saw a myriad of vehicles parked in front of a
modest house. I had a shit of a time trying to parallel park this stupid truck but was able to find a
spot on the crowded street.

As we walked up the slippery sidewalk, the fog forming a dense barrier of moisture in the
atmosphere, Jasper trotted over to meet us. He looked rather rock and roll in his black jeans and
t-shirt, a wool coat masking his slim stature. He took Alice's hand and in a very gentlemanly
gesture brought her small fingers to his lips, meeting her eyes and captivating her attention. It
was a most virtuous kiss yet sensuality swelled in their connection. Again I was the intruder and
distanced myself from the lovebirds. Walking slightly ahead of them, I could only barely make out
their conversation.
"He said he was going to come tonight. I know, I was super irritated, because that means we
won't be able to hang out," Alice was murmuring in her musical voice.
"We can hang out. I'm allowed to be friends with you, Alice. Just because you're brother has
some superhero complex doesn't mean you're not allowed to have fucking friends." Jasper had lit
a cigarette, the earthy aroma glaring in my nostrils.
"I know. Just be careful, okay? I will not visit you in prison, but something tells me you won't be
very lonely," Alice giggled, borrowing his cigarette and taking a long pull.
"Yeah, yeah. No physical contact, no adoring glances, no deep conversation. The masquerade is
officially on." Jasper took the cigarette from her fingers and placed it in the corner of his mouth.
He reached into his jacket pocket, pulling out a small package wrapped in a paper bag. "I gotta go
deliver this to Newton. I'll be around shortly. Don't get too fucked up without me, love." He spoke
out of the side of his mouth, balancing the still burning cigarette between his lips.
Alice stood on her tiptoes to kiss his cheek. He nodded casually at me and walked into the house
that was now in front of us, alternative rock straining against the plexiglass. I waited for Alice to
catch up and we walked through the large wooden door.
The room was throbbing with bodies. The music provided a rich, calm beat, smooth and
penetrating, and the majority of the room's inhabitants were pulsating along with the bass, their
heads bobbing up and down, just feeling it. It was beautiful, the unison of the motion, everyone
moving as one, yet each internalizing a different reaction. I, personally, am most affected by the
lyrics, so I struggled to pay attention to the verse. "Here I am and I want to take a hit of your
scent 'cause it gets so deep into my soul, Ooh I want you"
"Come on, we need drinkage." Alice grabbed my hand, meandering through the thick wall of
swaying bodies. As we wove through the room I looked for the bronze hair and the tall, lanky
frame. If I could just see his face, see the damage I had done, I would be able to relax. We found
bottles and bottles of alcohol set up in the kitchen on the island in the center of the room. The sink
was filled with ice, bottles of beer, ales and ciders as well as fruity malts. Weak ass shit. I needed
the hard liquor if this night was going to be any kind of worthwhile.
Alice grabbed huge bottles of Jagermeister and Southern Comfort, holding them up for me to see,
asking for approval. I nodded towards the Comfort, Jager just a little too thick for my stomach.
She put the other bottle down and poured two tumblers of Comfort, handing one to me, clinking
my glass, and downing the entire glassful. Impressive for such a little shit. I followed suit and
she had my glass refilled almost the instant I had pulled it away from my lips. I downed the second
glass as she grabbed the bottle of Comfort and pulled me out the back door.
And when we walked outside the vision before me truly inhibited my normal thought process,
because there he was. Edward. He was sitting with Rosalie and Emmett at this picnic table under
an EZ up. I couldn't see his face, the darkness of the night and shadows cast by the canopy hiding
his features, but I started to freak out because I realized where Alice was leading us. Please don't
let me fuck up today.

When we reached them, Edward was still looking at the wood grain of the table, picking at the
paint with his finger, so I took a moment to survey his injuries. He had an inch long gash on his
cheek, the black knots weaving through the skin on his striking face. My stomach twisted at the
sight of the scabbed-over lip, the bridge of his nose swollen and protruding, his lovely eye
covered in purple and green flesh, distended and distorting his appearance. He looked so
vulnerable, so exposed, and I had never seen anything more beautiful in all my life. I wanted to
soothe his injuries, run my fingers over the planes of his cheekbones and jaw line, offering some
form of comfort for the harm I had caused. I'm sure my desire was plastered all over my face and,
quite honestly, I didn't even want to try to hide it. I wanted him to know how I ached over this,
how wrong I had been to open my big fucking mouth.
Alice walked over to her brother and pulled him from his fiddling. "Hey, jackass," Alice said,
teasing and placing the liquor on the table. "So you really came, huh?"
Edward looked up, first at his sister and then at me, the shift in his demeanor blatant as he
passed from warm and friendly to green and cool. He instantly became stiff, avoiding my eyes and
staring only at my sneakers.
"Hey, Alice," he muttered quietly.
Alice continued, sensing his reluctance. "Hey, so this is Bella, Charlie's daughter." Alice motioned
to me. "Bella, this is my brother, Edward."
I looked right at him, willing him to just look at my face. I was starting to get a little self conscious
about my shoes.
Urged by the adult beverage I had just ingested, I decided to take the lead. "Hey, I think we
have Biology together or something," I responded. "Nice to finally meet you properly, Edward." I
held out my hand, to touch him, shake his hand. I was going to fucking die if he pulled a Charlie
and left me hanging.
Edward shifted his gaze to my outstretched hand. Like before he avoided my eyes, but
contemplated taking my hand. He stared at it for a second or two, before taking my hand into his,
fingers wrapping around the base of my wrist, and I swear to fucking God, I heard angels sing
when he touched me. The current of electricity buzzing through my arm and into my very core
gyrated and curled, sending a spark straight into my soul. "And the loose wires were lashing out at me
Finally, Edward met my eyes, our skin still in contact, my arm now tingling and flooding with
warmth. He was close enough to smell and I recognized the clean, delicious sweetness, longing to
drink him in. His gaze was foreign, his injury altering his stare, but the cool green beneath the
swollen lid revealed his disbelief. He'd felt it too, I was sure. The thought of this made me giddy
and I smiled a little, despite my best attempts to remain neutral.
And then Edward pulled his lips into a grin, one side slightly higher than the other. "Yeah, Biology.
I'm so glad to see you, Bella," he responded, still holding my hand. He looked so good, his plain
white t-shirt damp with moisture. Why didn't he have a coat on? He had to be freezing.
I was hoping this meeting looked casual and generic because Alice was still watching us, and a
crowd of various people had started to crowd around the picnic table and under the canopy. The
rain was falling quietly and softly now, a light feather of a mist, but it was enough to send the girls
into a panic, their pretty painted faces and artificially articulated hair at risk of ruin by the weather.
It was at this time that Jessica fucking Stanley, the very same bitch that had copied my notes in

Spanish just earlier today, fucking ruined the greatest moment I had had in, well, ever. She
walked up to Edward and sat down sideways in his lap. He dropped my hand, ignoring my eyes
again. I turned around, my back facing them. From this proximity I could hear her whisper but I
only caught certain words, suck, dick, come being the three that would surely induce vomit.
I grabbed Alice's arm and the Comfort, opening it and swigging from the bottle, and walked out
the side gate pulling Alice with me. I stopped at the side of the house, the rain dewing on my
untamed mane. I was starting to feel the effects of the alcohol now, but it wasn't the feeling I wanted.
"Alice, I'm going to need something stronger than alcohol," I hedged, hoping like hell she didn't
look down on dopers.
Alice appraised my expression and finally asked me, "What do you want?"
"Um, pot? Or pills? It doesn't really matter," I answered. Jesus, I hope this wasn't a joke because
she seemed to know where to get some shit.
"Okay, let's find Jasper." Alice took the bottle from my hand and, taking a swig, turned to find
her Jasper.
We weaved through the house again, looking in the bedrooms and bathrooms first. Jasper was in
the kitchen, fixing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Alice walked up to him and whispered
something in his ear. He grinned, shaking his head and winking at me. Um, I'm am idiot. How did I
not see this one coming? Secretive, brown paper bags, constant meetings; Jasper is a dealer.
No wonder Alice is keeping this shit under wraps.
Jasper inhaled his sandwich, him and Alice crossing the small distance to where I was standing.
"So, Bella, you want to get faded?" Jasper asked, a grin playing on his lips.
Alice reached into Jasper's jacket pocket, pulling out a pipe and bag of weed. She put it into her
own pocket and pulled me outside, Jasper following behind us.
"Where are we going?" I asked Alice, perplexed. Couldn't we just smoke on the porch?
"Your truck. Your dad's a cop, Bella. You can't just fucking smoke a bowl in front of all of Forks."
Alice dropped my wrist now and grabbed Jasper's hand, bringing it to her lips.
"Right, never had to worry about that shit in Phoenix," I muttered. The three of us hopped into
the truck, Alice sitting bitch. She packed the bowl diligently and lit the pipe with her pink lighter,
drawing in a deep breath and passing me the pipe.
I did the same, holding in my breath until I was lightheaded and exhaled the smoke into the small
cab of the truck which was quickly becoming thick with haze. I passed the paraphernalia back to
Alice who passed it to Jasper. Within ten minutes the contents of little baggie were gone and I was
finally feeling some relief. I was utterly relaxed, fucking toasted, and I couldn't remember ever
feeling this calm. All thanks to Jasper.
"So, Jasper, can you get anything else?" I asked, feeling him out. I needed those fucking pills damnit.
"Naw, Bella. I don't deal with the hard shit, not worth my trouble. Why, what do you need?"
Jasper looked at me through narrowed eyes.
"Um, I used to get these pills in Phoenix. I think they're for ADD or some shit. They like, really
help me focus." I wouldn't bring up what they did to my appetite; they didn't need to know that detail.

"Pills, huh? I'll see what I can do." Jasper put his arm around his Alice and kissed her on the side of
her forehead. "Come on, let's get back to the party. Newton's got a whole case of Stout in the
fridge in the garage that nobody knows about."
We got out of the truck, still fucking soaring, and walked back to the party. Alice and I set up
camp outside on the four foot brick pony wall separating the Newton's front yard from their
neighbors, Jasper trying like fuck to boost us up onto the wall. Once Alice and I were perched on
the wall, Jasper went to get the Guinness. I didn't have the wherewithal to realize that this
probably was a horrible idea, me sitting on a fucking brick wall, totally smashed. Jasper returned
with the case of beer and a bottle opener. We spent the next half hour drinking and flicking bottle
tops at Newton's car.
"You have to fucking aim with your elbow, Bella." Alice was trying to teach me the fine art of
flicking bottle tops. I pinched the top between my thumb and middle finger and snapped, like she
had taught me. The top went flying, hitting the tire of Mike's car parked in the driveway. I giggled
like crazy, just ecstatic it didn't hit me in the face this time.
"Did you see that? I fucking hit his tire and shit. I'm getting better, I swear. I'm going pro. Fuck
school, I'm going to flick caps for a living." I finished off my bottle, dropping it carefully into the
pile that had accumulated on the gravel below our feet.
It was almost enough to force Edward and fucking ho-bag Jessica from my brain.
But, because Karma hates my guts, as soon as I was drunk enough to forget that Edward didn't
want me, there he was. Fucking furious and shit, glaring at me, at his sister, and at Jasper. And I
couldn't help it, I had to just fucking laugh, because he looked so hot when he was pissed.
I nudged Alice, "Dude, look at your fucking brother. What the hell's his problem?"
Alice immediately changed her demeanor. She hopped off the wall, falling to the gravel and
stumbling to get back up. She shuffled over to Edward, putting her arm on his shoulder.
"Edward, my brother, why do you have such a bad look on your face?" She pinched his cheek and
he flinched, his injury irritated by the contact.
Alice was mortified, "Shit, Edward. I'm so fucking sorry. Are you okay?"
Edward pulled his face from her hand. "Alice, were you fucking smoking? You smell like weed."
Edward was looking at Jasper now, staring him down.
Alice laughed, slightly pushing his shoulder. "Oh, that was fucking ages ago. We're totally
smashed now, though. And Bella can hit Mike's car, so that's good for her." Alice turned around
to give me a thumbs up.
I returned the signal, feeling slightly dizzy now. Sitting on the pony wall was quickly becoming the
worst idea ever. I grabbed Jasper's arm to brace myself.
"Fuck, I think I'm going to fall," I said to Jasper.
"We have to get you down from here." Jasper jumped down off the wall at that point, just as a
large group of kids walked out the front door.
Momentarily distracted, we watched the kids walk down the driveway. I recognized some of

them, one of them Lauren I think, and one was named Tyler. Anyway, they were getting closer
to the wall and I wanted to ask one of them to help me down, but I was having a hard time
putting together a coherent sentence at this point. Just as I was going to open my mouth, one of
the guys pushed the kid Tyler, I think trying to fuck with him or something. Tyler was out of
control already, totally drunk, and maybe it was the weed or all the fucking alcohol or the hunger,
but I saw Tyler colliding with me in slow motion, like an out of body experience, his shoulder
knocking into me hard.
I heard someone yell my name and then I was flat on my back, my head smacking against the
pavement with a deafening crack, on the other side of the wall. My back was wet, my jacket
soaked through from the soggy asphalt. I was seeing fucking stars, just white flashes of
brilliance, and for a brief moment I thought I saw an angel, mini quasars bursting around his face,
giving him an iridescent glow, and I heard a soothing voice in my ear, a tender touch on my neck.
And the next thing I knew I was being lifted from the wet ground, an intoxicating smell
infiltrating my awareness. I just wanted to gobble up the owner of this scent, this delicious
euphoria causing my stomach to literally ache. This was no angel, this being was pure sin. "Like a
devil wearing wings"
Okay, so only Bella this time, because that bitch is wordy! Edward will be next...be prepared to swoon!
Joni songs referenced:
A Case of You
The Last Time I Saw Richard
I Think I Understand
Oh, and one Third Eye Blind reference, because I saw them in concert in Ventura on Tuesday and
it was an out of body experience. I love them, absolutely love them.
Your reviews are like calming whispers to the chaotic pounding of my brain.

Chapter: 7
The other side of the coin...
Another long chappy, my dears, and hopefully I made good on my promise for swooning. n7of9
and I had a lengthy discussion about what Robward were to taste like, if we ever got the chance
to lick him and we came to a conclusion! Read on dearies to find out!!
Again, I can't thank you readers enough! The reviews are so well thought out and I thank you for
the conversation.
misforMarisa made the icons and banners on my live journal page! They are so beautiful and
surreal, just like you bb!
n7-bestest beta ever!! Thank you for knowing my brain, it's like I have a little usb port in my
head and you can just plug in when I can't articulate. That's a beautiful thing, fuckin' oath bb!
Disclaimer-It's not mine.
CH. 7- "I can be cruel, but let me be gentle with you" Joni wrote it.
"Are you sure you don't want a beer, Edward?" Emmett had been trying for the last ten minutes
to get me to drink a beer with him but, after the Stanley incident, as I liked to call it, there was no
way I was ever drinking in public again. Biggest monumental mistake ever!
It was past ten and Bella and Alice weren't here yet. I knew Bella would be coming tonight
because Emmett had dropped Alice off at Bella's house earlier this evening. Apparently they were
BFF's now or some shit, and I don't even know when the fuck that happened, but it was highly
irritating, like Alice had stolen the toy I wanted to play with and now I had to wait my fucking turn.
I didn't want to share. Plus I forgot my fucking coat and was freezing my ass off.
"I'm so fucking bored." Rosalie was pissing me off. "These high school parties are so boring."
"You already said that," I told her.
"What?" She'd already had like four shots of vodka and a rum and diet coke, so she was having
trouble understanding English.
"I said get a fucking thesaurus." Shit, how much longer was Alice going to take? What the fuck
could they be doing?
"You're a dick." Rosalie went back to thinking about herself. I could tell she was sizing up every girl
here, rating them and determining where she fit in the hierarchy. I'm pretty sure she positioned
herself at the top of the food chain.
Emmett finished his sixth beer, sitting down and pulling Rosalie to lean against him. "Where's
Alice? I thought she was coming with that Bella chick?"

Yeah, Emmett and Rosalie now knew Bella too. Shit, I had only been absent for three days. Rose
had told me all about it on the way here, how Alice had read for Bella and she had freaked and
ran out of the lunch room. Rose thought it was a fucking riot to see others in pain. But I was left
wondering what Alice could have said to make Bella so upset. Rose seemed to think she had some
kind of chemical imbalance, but Rose is a bitch and loves to see people fail.
"I guess," I replied, staring at the wood of the table, just fascinated by the swirls and patterns
the grain was making. I picked slightly at the paint on the table.
"Hey, jackass." My head jerked up at the sound of a large bottle meeting the table and I found
Alice standing before me. But I only offered her a fleeting look and I missed what she said after
that, because Bella was standing a mere three feet from where I was sitting.
I instantly froze, wishing I had drunk that beer so that I could just be clever and not this
insecure, anxious motherfucker, all nervous over some girl.
Not just some girl, Edward. The girl. My internal monologue was making shit worse, enhancing the
pressure of this situation.
I couldn't even look at her face. I wanted to, badly. I wanted to see her bite her lip again or stare
right into my being with those fucking deep ass eyes. I just couldn't bring myself to look at her,
afraid all she would see were the bruises and cuts on my still-swollen face. I stared, instead, at
her shoes. Black sneakers with rubber toes peaking beneath wide-leg pants that dragged on the
floor, the back of the hem frayed, wet and muddy. I fucking memorized those shoes.
"Hey Alice," was all I was able to say.
"Hey, so this is Bella, Charlie's daughter." Alice was introducing me to Bella. The absurdity of this
almost made me roll my eyes because I was already well acquainted with this girl. "Bella, this is
my brother, Edward." I was still looking at her shoes when she spoke. Bella's voice was confident
and friendly, something different about the way she was handling herself tonight.
"Hey, I think we have biology together or something. Nice to finally meet you properly, Edward."
Bella was offering me her hand.
The sound of my name rolling off her tongue sent a shiver straight through every appendage of
my body, and I do mean every appendage, and the thought of touching her outstretched hand
was sending sparks radiating to my fingertips. My right hand twitched involuntarily towards her
and I couldn't deny what every pore of my being was yearning for any longer. I gently pulled her
petite hand into mine, wrapping my fingers around the prominent bones of her wrist. My fingers
began to tingle, a slow warmth spreading through my hand and up my arm, into my shoulder
and down my spine and before I knew it, electricity was buzzing on my skin. I couldn't release her,
the skin of her hand soft and warm, her pulse quickening beneath my fingers still holding her wrist.
I finally allowed myself to look at her, just relishing in everything majestic about this human being
in front of me. Her eyes were the pools I remembered, just brimming with a multitude of
emotions, darkened by the thick wavy hair framing her features. I wanted to pull the hair away
from her face and I wished I had a rubber band or something to tie the tangled hair back so I could
fully enjoy all the curves and indentations of her neck and jaw stretching from her hairline to her
shoulders. I internally cursed her confounded coat, just burning to see the silhouette of her
figure more plainly and uninterrupted by frivolous material. I noticed another band emblem
peeking out from beneath her jacket, a lightning bolt surrounded by four letters on her fitted
t-shirt. Fucking appropriate considering the electrical pulse surging through my body at this very

If she had noticed the battle wounds on my face, she didn't gape the way everyone else had
been doing tonight. Instead, she smiled, clearly as delighted at our connection as I was. This
revelation gave me hope and I found my lips turning upward as well, unable to control them.
"Yeah, biology," I was able to respond now. "I'm so glad to see you, Bella." And I was, she had no
idea. I had been dying to see her all week, cryptically trying to weasel information out of
anyone, desperate for anything. Now I was filled with her very essence and like a drug, she had
me completely hooked.
And then an unsolicited form dropped into my lap, obstructing my view. Jessica Stanley was
body spamming the shit out of me. She whispered in my ear some shit about sucking my dick and
I wanted to knock her on her fucking ass because I was missing out on valuable Bella time.
"Get the fuck off me! Shit, what the hell is your problem?" I shoved Jessica, trying to get her off
my lap without it looking like assault. She stood up and shoved me hard in the chest, the bitter
sting of rejection now transferred to my upper body. And it fucking hurt too, my side still bruised
and throbbing.
But it didn't fucking matter because Bella was gone, taking Alice and a huge ass bottle of
Southern Comfort with her. Maybe she would come back. It would be futile to go searching for
her. Newton's house was buzzing with people now, crowds of bodies filling every space outside
and in. Bella knew where to find me. 'Sit tight' seemed like a reasonable option.
Yeah, that lasted about two minutes and then I was up and searching for her. I weaved my way
into the house, my height an advantage. I scanned the top of the crowd for her, afraid that I
wouldn't be able to find her because she was really fucking small. I searched everywhere,
bathrooms, bedrooms, closets, the garage, the pantry, ridiculous places, just trying to think of
every hiding place imaginable.
I walked back outside and searched the backyard. I made my way through the sea of drunken
assholes, trying not to panic. What if she went home? I would drive to her house right now, I
didn't care. I needed to see her, make sure she didn't have the wrong impression. Maybe even
give her the right impression.
I looked for another twenty minutes before deciding she had left and I was going to have to go
to her house. As I walked out the front door to leave, I finally saw them. Bella with Alice and
Jasper, sitting on the small brick wall, a fucking accumulation of beer bottles at their feet and the
driveway scattered with bottle tops. They were all shit-faced and laughing their asses off. Here I
had been searching for practically an hour, thinking of an apology, ways I could express what I
was feeling for her, and she was fucking getting trashed with my sister and Jasper fucking Hale,
street pharmacist extraordinaire. Alice better not have been smoking weed, she knows how
marijuana can affect people like us, people who are already highly susceptible to schizophrenia.
I was fuming now, fucking pissed at this shitty situation. Pissed because Alice was probably high
and I was going to be mean to her about it. Pissed because Jasper had gotten to spend time
partying with Bella and I didn't, and now she probably had all kinds of inside jokes with him and
shit, and he had probably discovered how utterly adorable she was. I couldn't compete with
Jasper, he was pretty fucking cool.
Alice practically fell off the wall trying to get down. She stumbled over to me, trying to reassure
me, and I'm sure I was making all kinds of accusations, but all I could focus on was Bella taking
Jasper's arm, steadying herself. Jasper slid down off the wall and he was going to help Bella

down. I saw his hands go for her waist and then he paused, his attention now on the onslaught
of drunken ass bastards stumbling against the wall.
And before I realized what was happening, fucking Eric Yorkie had shoved Tyler Crowley and he
was careening directly at Bella, an out of control vehicle certain for impact. He was going to knock
her off the wall. I yelled her name, but Tyler and Eric's shouting drowned me out. I ran, trying to
stop the collision, my side splitting in pain, but I was too late to stop the transfer of kinetic energy
slamming into Bella and knocking her backwards off the wall. She disappeared behind the barrier,
lying flat on her back on the asphalt of the neighbor's driveway, and she didn't move. I freaked
out, thinking she had broken her neck or something.
I heard a calamity of commotion behind me, Alice screaming Bella's name, Tyler and Eric fucking
full-on fighting, the girls screaming at them to stop. I could only focus on one thing though.
I hopped over the wall, my own injuries a distant thought now, and knelt down beside Bella,
placing my face near her mouth and checking to see if she was breathing. She was, so I checked
her pulse, touching her neck and applying a slight pressure to that point between the tendons in
her neck.
"Bella? Can you here me? Bella, wake up." I just kept calling her name over and over, trying to get
her to wake up. Finally, her eyelids started to flutter. She was still pretty out of it and it was
highly probable that she had a concussion. I think I remember reading somewhere that you
aren't supposed to move someone with a head injury, but it was fucking freezing out here now
and her thin coat was soaked from falling in a shallow collection of rainwater.
Fuck it. I picked Bella up, carrying her to my car, with Alice and Jasper following close behind me.
I had to get her to Carlisle and make sure she was okay. I had parked quite a way down the
street, planning my easy escape. It was easy as hell carrying Bella, she was so light, a hundred
pounds maybe, and having her this close to me was exhilarating, adrenaline masking the pain in
my side. I breathed in her scent, more potent now that she'd been marinating in rain water, and
tinged with liquor and weed, but mind altering nonetheless.
When we got to my car, Alice opened the unlocked front passenger door and I gently put Bella in
the car and fastened her seatbelt before running to get behind the wheel. She was conscious
now, although drifting in and out of awareness. Alice and Jasper got in the back seat and I
started the engine, cranking the heat. I peeled out of the parking space and sped towards our home.
Alice was the first to speak. "Aren't you taking her to the hospital?"
"No, I'm taking her to Carlisle," I answered. "For a couple of reasons but mainly because she's
completely fucked up, high as all shit and drunk off her ass. I don't think that would go over so
well at the hospital."
"What makes you think it's going to go over well with Carlisle?" Alice asked, apparently worried for
her new friend.
"I don't know for sure, but I can't think of anyone I trust more, can you? And do you really just
want to drop her off at home without making sure she's okay?" I asked Alice.
Alice shook her head no from the back seat. Jasper had been abnormally quiet and I still wasn't
entirely sure what he was even doing here in the first place.
Bella was stirring now, sitting up in the seat and holding the back of her head. She looked around
the car, meeting my eyes shyly and looking confused. "What happened?" she asked.

"You hit your head." I smiled back. "You might have a concussion so we're taking you to see my uncle.
Bella just nodded her head in understanding. She leaned her head on the headrest, closing her eyes.
"You shouldn't sleep yet, if you have a concussion you need to stay awake," I told her. If she
had any serious damage, sleep could be bad.
She sat up, panic in her eyes. I thought she was worried about the concussion so I began to
explain. "You're probably fine. You might have to go to the hospital, but"
Bella cut me off, bringing her hand to her mouth. "Pull over." This was all she managed to get out
of her mouth before the rest came up. I pulled over just in time for Bella to fall out of the car and
violently vomit on the side of the road. I didn't know if she was puking because of the alcohol or
the concussion. Alice was passed out in the back seat, leaning casually against Jasper, so I got
out of the car to see if Bella needed any help.
"Feel better?" I asked her. Bella was on her hands and knees on the side of the road. She put
her hand up to stop me from coming closer.
"Don't come over here," she said, coughing. Like hell if I was going to let her hurl all solitary and shit.
"Bella, I've seen people puke before." I knelt down beside her, placing my hand on her back.
She seemed to relax at my touch so I pulled her hair away from her face, twisting it into a knot at
the base of her neck, my fingers involuntarily lingering on her flushed flesh.
She looked at me incredulously. "Did you just put my hair in a bun?" she asked, wiping her mouth
with her t-shirt.
I shrugged, "Yeah, so what? That shit's fucking manly." I smiled at her, my insides just expanding
at this opportunity to care for her.
"Yeah, it is kinda manly," Bella admitted, her smile small and meaningful. I pulled her to her feet,
wrapping my arm around her waist, and she just fit so perfectly, molded into my side, like we were
cut from the same cloth, the severed seam joyous in it realignment. I didn't want to let her go as
I helped her into my car. She reached into her pocket, pulling out a peppermint and putting it into
her mouth.
"You carry peppermints in your pockets?" I thought this was interesting.
She didn't answer at first, turning to look out the window. "Obviously," she retorted, clearly a
topic she didn't want to discuss.
We drove the rest of the way in silence. I kept glancing over at Bella and sometimes she would be
glancing back, our eyes quickly darting somewhere else. But sometimes she wouldn't be, and it
was in these moments that I was able to truly appreciate Bella Swan and how beautiful she made
this world for me, her wide eyes staring out the window, wisps of curls around her face. She had
fucking just puked and I was still waxing in my adoration.
Bella was still awake when we got to my home. I helped her out of the car and she acted a bit put
out I was helping her. "I can walk you know, I'm not an invalid." I just smiled at her
independence because I knew that, deep down, a small part of her wanted me to help her, but
she rejected that indulgent part for the larger, self-empowered part that she felt pride in.

Jasper woke Alice up, helping her out of the car and walking her into the house. I guess it was
kind of cool to help out some chick he hardly knew. Then again, this could all just be a ploy in the
ever present quest to "get some". Like I said, you never can tell with Jasper. He waved a
goodbye to me and set off walking down the road. I would have offered him a ride but I didn't
want to leave Bella.
Alice and Bella took a seat on the couch in the family room, Bella laying her head against Alice's
shoulder, and I went to get Carlisle.
It wasn't that late, only a little after midnight, so Carlisle was still awake and in his office. I
knocked softly on the door, "Carlisle?"
He looked up from his book, "Edward? I thought you guys were going to a party."
"Yeah, we're back. Emmett's still out. Um, you know Charlie?" I asked him, a little nervous now at
what his reaction would be.
"Sure, I was just over there yesterday." This news surprised me. I mean, I knew Carlisle was
Charlie's doctor, I just never really made the connection with Bella until now.
"Oh, so you know Bella then." This was going to be difficult, because I didn't want to rat Bella out,
but she needed medical attention, if for nothing more than to calm my own fears.
"Sure" Carlisle was waiting for me to continue, giving me his full attention now.
"Well, we were at the party and she was sitting on this brick wall, and um, these guys started
fighting and she fell and hit her head pretty bad. She was in and out of consciousness for awhile."
I left out the drug and alcohol shit because Carlisle wasn't an idiot and would probably figure it out
on his own.
"Did she go to the hospital?" Carlisle asked me.
"Um, no. She's kind of here." Carlisle looked at me, surprise etched all over his face, though he
was desperately trying to hide it. "Can you check her out?"
"Of course. Where is she?" Carlisle got up to get his medical case.
"Downstairs in the family room, with Alice." I walked out of the room and down the stairs, anxious
for Carlisle to evaluate her. Alice was asleep, but Bella was staring past the walls, deep in
thought. She looked up and smiled as we came down the stairs.
"Hi there, Bella. I hear you had a bit of an accident." Carlisle walked over and sat next to Bella,
forcing me to sit down on the couch next to Alice. Carlisle immediately went to work. "Do I have
your consent to perform an exam?"
"Yeah, sure." Bella sat up and folded her hands in her laps. Carlisle began his routine battery of
tests and questions, checking for signs of severe head trauma. Bella sat very still, smiling every
so often at me as I watched Carlisle gently feel her scalp and check her pupils, ears and neck. I
was slightly envious that he got to spend this much time touching her but I waited patiently for him
to finish.
"Well, we can't be sure there's no skull fracture unless we do a CT scan, but I'm not very worried
about that. You seem fine. You'll just need rest, but it's best if someone wakes you up every
couple of hours, just to be sure there isn't a more serious brain injury." I frowned at this. I didn't

want Bella to leave, to go home to her house with only her sickly father. She needed to be taken
care of. My mind was reeling, a solution on the horizon.
"Bella could just stay here. I mean, nobody is available to help her at her house and we're all here.
It just makes sense." I was hoping like hell Carlisle wouldn't see through this to the true
motivation for my actions.
"I can do it," I looked at Bella now, "if you want." Please say yes, please say yesShe met my
gaze and without so much as a waiver, nodded.
Carlisle hesitated before conceding. "Okay. Edward, just nudge her every couple of hours. She
doesn't have to become fully conscious, just aware enough so we know she's not slipping into a
coma." Jesus Carlisle, don't sugarcoat it or anything. "And you should probably stay on the couch
Bella." Carlisle eyed me, sending me a very pointed message. Bella must have picked up on it too
because she blushed something fierce, the flood of color to her cheeks breathtaking.
Carlisle continued, "Well, Bella, now is the time for the PSA from your doctor. Underage drinking
and drug use is highly dangerous and can become addictive. Remember that it is against the law
for you to consume alcohol if you are under twenty-one years of age, and marijuana is against
the law no matter what age you are. And, be more careful next time. No more intoxicated wall
climbing." He patted Bella on the shoulder, said goodnight to me, and disappeared up the stairs.
And now I didn't know what to say to her. I ran my fingers through my hair which was still slightly
damp from the evening's light rain. I glanced over at Bella and she was looking at me.
"Thank you, Edward. For everything. Even after" She stopped, looking at her hands. After what?
"After what?" I asked. What was she talking about?
She took a deep breath. "Even after I said those awful things in Biology," she whispered. "And
then you you know. It's entirely my fault and I feel like total shit about it. So, I'm really sorry. I
didn't mean it, I just have this problem"
"Wait. This wasn't your fault, Bella." I couldn't let her take the guilt for this. "I just, I don't know. I
just need a little rush sometimes." It was the best way I could describe it without coming right out
and laying it all out on the fucking table. I was just trying to induce Schizophrenia so they would
lock me away in an institution so I can't hurt you.
Yeah, that would go over great.
Bella looked surprised. "And you get this rush by letting assholes kick the shit out of you?" She
was doubtful and I was sure eventually she wouldn't be satisfied with this response, but for now
she accepted it.
"Well, I still feel awful about what I had said. I'm so sorry for being such a bitch." She looked at
her twisted fingers.
"You're not a bitch. Believe me, I know bitch. Have you met Rosalie?" I wanted to lighten up this
conversation, get her away from her self-loathing.
Bella snorted, "Yeah, she hates me."
"Don't take it personally. She pretty much hates everything." I wanted to be closer to her, Alice
interrupting our line of sight. I needed an excuse to move.

"I'm just going to get some blankets and stuff." I realized a little too late how that must have
sounded and I struggled to make myself clearer without sounding like a douchebag. "For you and
Alice. I don't think she's going to be moving anytime soon." Alice was practically snoring, her
breathing deep and noisy.
Bella just nodded, crossing her legs beneath her and drawing her wet coat around her frame.
Shit, she needed something dry to wear. I struggled not to turn this into porn in my head but I
was already envisioning her in my shirt
Fuck, I have to get out of this room. I ran up the stairs to the hall closet and grabbed a couple of
thick blankets, and Alice's pillows off her bed. Then I ran up to my room, choosing a t-shirt,
sweatpants and a sweatshirt for Bella. I guess I could've given her something of Alice's but I
wanted her in my clothes, a tiny, tangible claim on her. And I didn't want to go snooping through
Alice's drawers, I might find something that would scar me for life. I also stopped at the medicine
cabinet, taking a couple of the painkillers that Carlisle had prescribed for my internal bruising and
getting a bottle of Advil for Bella. She was probably going to have a headache later. Awareness
of my injuries was slowly coming back to me as the adrenaline evaporated from my system.
I was hesitant to give her this offering, the dry clothes, afraid of what conclusions she might
draw, but I was in now, completely in. I walked slowly down the stairs, carrying the rations, the
throbbing in my side a reminder of the underlying ticking bomb I was now desperate to suppress.
There would be no going back once I sat on that couch with Bella, her wrapped in the clothing
that had also touched my skin, and I still wasn't entirely sure that I could be something worthy of
her attention or that I wouldn't end up ruining her life. But I was willing to try. That selfish asshole
in me wanted this, even if it would only be for a little while.
And then, as I approached her sitting on the couch, shivering slightly from the chill of her wet
clothing, another realization dawned on me. What if I wasn't the Edward she had dreamt of that
night I had heard her voice my name? In my arrogance, had I misjudged this entire situation?
Here I was invested and shit and it could all be in vain, this thought a tad too fucking late, I might add.
"I brought you some dry clothes too. You fell in a puddle." I grinned, hindsight making this ordeal a
little humorous.
She looked down at her fingers, picking at the frayed hem of her jeans. Shit, she thinks this is
weird. This is weird. I'm weird, a big fucking weirdo, bringing her to my house, making her stay
here, giving her my clothes wear.
"Yeah, thanks for that too. For not taking me to the hospital. I kind of hate hospitals and Charlie
would shit if he found out about this," she said, reassuring my silent fears.
"Do you need to call him or something?" I asked.
"No, it would be pointless. He probably won't even notice I'm gone and Billy Black's there, in case
he needs anything," she responded, continuing to pull at the threads.
I nodded my head in understanding and put the care package of cotton on the coffee table. I
walked over to Alice, lifting her head as gently as possible and placed her pillow under her head.
I grabbed one of the blankets from the table and threw it over her, hoping like hell she wouldn't
wake up because I did not want to deal with sleep-deprived Alice. I thought about moving her,
but then worried about how Bella would feel being alone with me, because there was no way in
hell I was leaving her side tonight.

I peeked at Bella who hadn't moved from her position on the couch, and I was met with her liquid
eyes, just emitting incredulity and disbelief. Her mouth was slightly open, her full bottom lip
seemed to pulsate as it hung there, the protrusion so inviting. Head slightly tilted and tired eyes
slightly narrowed, she was making a judgment. I didn't know what conclusion she came to,
because she just continued to stare at me, her face flooded with astonishment and confusion,
until I eventually looked away.
I decided to break the silence. She still hadn't accepted the provisions I had placed on the table.
"Want something to drink? Are you hungry?" My questioning was swift and Bella startled at my voice.
She shook her head no, "No thanks, I don't think I can put one more thing into my system."
"You're not going to puke again, are you?" I asked her.
She smiled a little, raising her eyebrows, "Not tonight." She chuckled at her own response and
this made me smile too.
"Do you want to watch T.V.?" I asked, just trying to make her comfortable.
She shrugged her shoulders, "Sure, if there's something on."
"Bella, we have like five hundred channels. There's always something on." She rolled her eyes at
my literal translation. I grinned again. There's just something about this girl that brings out that
immature fifth grader. I constantly wanted to tease her, see her get all furious, because it was
so damn cute and, honestly, I needed the attention from her.
I grabbed the remote control from the coffee table and turned on the television set, trying to
find something entertaining to fill the silence. I thought about the Food Network, but didn't think
anyone could really find that shit as interesting as I did. I scanned the guide, eventually finding a
movie that I thought would be a good distraction.
"Romeo and Juliet?" Bella's surveying eyes hinted at amusement. Shit, now she probably thought
I was some sappy, masochistic, wuss weirdo, failing in my desperation to impress her.
"This is a great movie. Baz Luhrmann does a fantastic job using color to accentuate the
symbolism." She was glancing sideways at me now, her eyes sparkling from the verbal
engagement and quite literally daring me to argue with her.
"I can't deny that, it is a beautiful film. The cinematography is phenomenal." I thought about
arguing with her just so I could see her get all heated again, but this movie was kick ass, even if it
was, technically, of the chick flick variety.
I sat down on the curved couch, choosing a seat on the section adjacent to the one Bella was
occupying, and forced my eyes to the television. Reds and greens, and vintage black and white
images filled the screen, occupying my sight but not my mind. I struggled for what to say next,
craving a bit of attention from her again, wanting to gain some insight into that brain of hers.
Bella shifted in her position slightly, leaning forward and grabbing the sweatshirt from the coffee
table. She removed her blue jacket, fulfilling my earlier wish, yet now I was bound to that
television. I forced my eyes not to gaze at the girl removing clothing sitting not two feet to my
right, using every ounce of self-control I could find within myself. She tossed the jacket on the
table and turned slightly to the right, fucking pulling the hem of her wet t-shirt over her head,
sending a flood of bodily fluids coursing straight to my dick. Holy fuck! She was wearing a very
small tank top underneath and, I swear to God, she didn't have a bra on. This was fucking

torture. She's torturing me, and she knows it. She had to know what this would do to me, right?
My eyes were still trained on the television, but you know I was glaring from my peripherals like a
motherfucker. It only lasted a second, but braless Bella in a tank was forever etched in my mind,
to be very useful in further endeavors of self pleasure.
Bella quickly pulled the sweatshirt over her head, the fabric flooding around her, hiding all of the
features that had been so exposed only seconds ago. She pulled the blanket from the table and
leaned against the back of the couch, spreading the material around her.
"Are you tired?" I asked her. She looked exhausted, her eyes drooping from the draining events
of the evening.
"I'm tired, but not really sleepy." Leaning her head against the back of the couch, she turned to
look at me, her hair still knotted at the base of her neck from my handiwork. Growing up with
Alice I knew all about that shit, braids, buns, twists. I had to. When my mother was nurturing my
father, someone had to be there for Alice, get shit ready for school, pack lunches, braid hair.
That duty had fallen on me.
Bella's enigmatic responses were driving me crazy. How was I supposed to gauge her reactions? I
was repeatedly assuming the opposite of what she was actually thinking. Every time I made a
judgment I was quickly refuted, left in ignorance once again.
"How's your head?" Let's see how she could puzzle me with her answer to this one.
"It's okay. I have a splitting headache though. My head is just throbbing," she answered,
straightforward and to the point, exactly the opposite of what I was expecting.
"Do you want some Advil or something? You're in a doctor's house, you know. We have lots of
drugs here." I smiled deviously, tempting her with double meaning.
"Do you?" she asked, interested. "Yeah, painkillers would be stellar."
"I'm on it." I pulled the bottle of pills from my pocket, and set them on the coffee table. After
getting a glass of water from the kitchen, I handed her the painkillers, allowing my fingers to
slightly linger on her palm during the transfer of pills. I loved touching this girl, it was pathetic the
way I searched for reasons to simply contact my skin with hers.
Bella swallowed the pills and drank all the water, and I watched them travel down her throat as she
tilted her head back to allow the medication easier access.
She placed the glass on the table. "So, how come you were so pissed at the party?" she asked
me, playing with her fingernails.
"Which time?" I mumbled under my breath, internally debating whether I really wanted her to
hear my comment or not. She wouldn't just let it go, I was sure she would ask for clarification and
I wasn't sure I wanted to clarify just yet.
Her eyes darted to mine, questioning and confused, "You were pissed more than once?"
I sighed, clarification is a process, "Bella, I'm usually pissed. A more accurate question might be,
'So, how come you were so happy at the party?'"
"Were you happy? You kind of just eluded that was unlikely," she commented with raised eyebrows.

"Once." I answered truthfully, feeling again that energy spreading up my arm, a ghost of the
initial electrical impulse. I was trying like hell to convey meaning in that one word, hoping that she'd
just fucking get it.
She looked down now, her fingers capturing her attention once again. "Ah, yes. I bet I can guess
the incident you are referring to. Did it have anything to do with Jessica Stanley's ass in your lap?"
Fucking Stanley. Another highly needed moment of clarification.
"Um, yeah, that was totally unsolicited." I began to explain before Bella interrupted me.
"Edward, it's okay. Jessica told me all about you guys." Once again, fucking Stanley. "And I get
it, the whole unrequited love thing, pining for the one that got awayyou always want the one
who doesn't want you, right? I get it, believe me." Bella was still looking down, unwilling to meet
my gaze. And I was fucking pissed having to play damage control now.
"What the hell did she tell you?" Unrequited love? Now I felt like puking.
Bella looked confused, "Yeah, she dumped you after a hook-up or something"
"Whoa, whoa. I think Stanley may be spouting shit here. I was never with Jessica in the first
place to even necessitate alleged dumping. I had gotten really drunk at her party and ended up
passed out in her bathroom, cuddled up with the toilet. I woke up to find her" I didn't know how
to say this, it was so fucking humiliating, and I didn't think Bella would believe it was unwarranted.
"Well, I woke up with my dick in her mouth."
Bella's mouth dropped open and she actually brought her hand up to close it. This made me smile
and gave me the courage to continue.
"And I was freaking out, because I was seriously too drunk to move." Bella just waited patiently
for the rest of the story. "And she was really into it so I was just going to let her finish"
Bella exhaled loudly from her throat in disapproval, a little force behind the gust.
"What?" I asked her, taking a defensive stance.
"Nothing. Please, proceed. So, did youfinish?" Bella folded her arms across her chest.
"Noum, actually, in her enthusiasm tofinish, she gagged and she puked up mudslide in my lap.
True story, I can't make this shit up." I can't believe I was telling her this.
Bella let out a huge booming laugh, noise just erupting from her petite frame, a sound really too
big to come from someone so small. I was shocked by the enormity of it, and I wanted to hear
more, so I gave her more of the gritty details, finding a deep satisfaction in the self-mockery.
"I'm glad you can find humor in my extreme discomfort. And I do mean extreme. My pants were
fucking ruined. I had to rinse them in the sink and wear them home with a huge wet spot on the
front," I continued as Bella continued laughing. I was slightly worried we would wake up Alice, but
then again, I slightly didn't care.
"And believe me, in Forks, a wet crotch can be fatal." I was amazed at how easy this was,
discussing this with Bella. She let out another siren of laughter, snorting a little bit. She quickly
clamped both hands over her mouth, trying to suppress the little influx of air getting trapped in
her nose.

"Did you just snort?" I asked her. Cutest snort ever!

"Yeah! So worth it! Oh my Godthat's definitely the bestblow job storyI've ever heard!" She
struggled to get the words out, gasping for air and clutching her sides.
"Yeah, yeah, fucking hilarious," I replied dryly. "That's what I'm here for, all for your amusement."
Bella, finally composed, continued, "So, is that why you were pissed at the party, because of Jessica?"
"Kind of." How do I explain this to her, without having to explain this to her? "I don't like it when
Alice smokes. It's not really safe."
Bella snorted and rolled her eyes. "Oh, come on Edward. Pot's so not a big deal. I mean, it's only
illegal because some newspaper guy wanted to keep his monopoly on the paper industry and
didn't want hemp messing with his profits. Besides, my mom's smoked forever and she's kind of
normal. I mean, she's a little stupid, but she can't really help that, right?"
"Well, I'm not a fan. Of any of it really," I replied truthfully. If she only knew what the drug could
do to someone like me, someone like Alice. Genetically inclined to develop psychosis, marijuana,
along with some other street drugs, have been found to dramatically increase that risk. And, I'll
admit, during my days of self-destruction, I smoked a lot of weed. I never got into anything else,
frankly because I didn't know where to get it. But Jasper could always get pot so that's what I did.
And, yeah, I didn't have symptoms yet, but the research that I found stated that those who
were heavy users of cannabis at age 18 were over 600% more likely to develop psychosis over
the next 15 years. So it might not happen today or even this year, but it could happen when I am
married and have children and a career and shit. That's when it could happen, and then we'd all
be fucked and I'd be just like him.
Bella dragged me back down to this moment and I was disgusted with myself for wasting my
waning time with her thinking about this shit. Yet she continued the conversation.
"It being?" she questioned, trailing off and expecting me to answer.
"Drugs, alcohol, any of it. Anything that chemically alters the way the body works. I don't want to
feel numb. I want to feel everything for as long as I can," I replied, ready to defend my stance
because someday I might not feel anything, my affect flattened by the disease.
"But you used to, right?" Bella asked me.
"Yeah, but fucking Stanley cured me of that shit," I muttered.
Bella's mind was active though, a rebuttal quick on her lips, "What about caffeine, Advil, Penicillin,
prescription shit?" She was calling me out.
"I normally don't partake, but" I began.
"But you are now, huh?" Bella's smile reveled in victory.
"Well, have you ever been fucking kicked in the ribs? That fucking hurts," I spouted, her smile
crumbling, eyes shooting back to her lap.
Bella's face was contorted now, distress disrupting her velvety eyes. "You were kicked in the ribs?

Holy fuck, Edward, I'm so sorry"

"Not your fault, remember?" I shrugged off her apology. It was my decision to fuck with those
guys. My choice, my consequence.
"Oh, come on. Let me take some of the blame? It makes me feel useful." She was pleading and I
would have let her have anything she wanted. But not this guilt. I knew too well how guilt
becomes a poison, festering and gnawing at the very essence of your being.
"Nope, can't do it," I said, shaking my head. "You'll just have to find some other way to feel useful."
She rolled her pretty, brown eyes at me. "Right, easier said than done."
"Well, I'm sure Charlie finds you useful," I commented. It was empty, really, because I didn't know
shit about that situation. I really had just thrown it out there, testing the waters where Charlie
was concerned, hoping she would just keep talking to me.
Bella let out a dry laugh. "Shit, now that is funny."
"Proceed," I said, gesturing for her to continue.
Bella shook her head slightly. "It's complicated."
Such a bullshit response. "Well, un-complicate it then," I said, staring into her liquid eyes. In the
low light of the television the brown seemed to swirl and dance, trapping my gaze in a hypnotic stupor.
Bella sighed, breaking the trance and looking down at her lap again. "I'm not getting along so well
with Charlie."
I shrugged, "What, you don't like him?" Charlie seemed nice enough. Sure, he could be a little
intimidating, especially when he had his badge on.
"It's not that. He's" She paused, tenderness in her eyes, apparent in the downward pull of her
pouting lips. "He doesn't like me." Her whole body seemed to deflate as if this admission made it
true, defeat evident in her lack of posture.
"How could he not like you? Aside from your near death experiences and your wicked smart-ass
mouth, you're completely charming." And beautiful, and interesting, and brilliant. I tried to give
her a compliment but being out of practice, I was afraid it came off as argumentative.
"I know, right," she agreed, smiling again and shaking her pretty head.
I smiled as well because I just couldn't control the twitching of my muscular facial tissue, drawing
the corners of the split into a display of pure contentment. Control was a fleeting virtue when it
came to Bella Swan.
"Just give Charlie some time, he'll come around. He's pretty cool once you get to know him," I
responded without thinking, my reply artificial and demeaning. And for the second time tonight, I
caused pain in that face, Bella crumbling at my idiotic attempt at consolation. "Hey, sorry. I didn't
mean to be so"
"No. You're right. I don't know him. I hadn't seen him in seven years, you know. I don't know him at
all." She looked right past me, through me, her eyes gazing on some unknown entity out of her reach.

Realization on the brink, I searched for another clue. "Is that why you came to Forks? To get to
know him?" I pressed.
"Not really, no." My face fell in disappointment. I was sure I had pegged that one. Bella was a
master at the art of surprise. She was continually confusing me with her never ending array of
non-disclosing responses. It's like answering a question with another question. Fucking futile.
"Why did you come to Forks then, Bella?" I spewed in frustration.
She paused, analyzing my tone and probably that pissed off look on my face.
"Why did you come to Forks, Edward?" Point taken, Miss Swan.
"Well played. Another day then?" I didn't want to air my dirty laundry all in one night. This shit
was going to take time. I mean, that's not the kind of thing you just come out and tell a girl,
especially a girl you might want to see again, or often, or, like, every day.
"Perhaps. If you're lucky." Bella turned her head back to the television now, another infomercial
playing in the early morning hours. She snorted at some worthless piece of exercise equipment.
"Infomercials are nature's way of saying go to fucking bed! I mean, who buys this shit anyways?"
She shook her head at the absurdity of the idea, while my thoughts immediately focused on the
Titan Peeler that may be making its way to my front door tomorrow.
"People, obviously, buy this stuff. And, obviously, the infomercials are effective because they're
still on the air, right?" My reasoning was completely motivated by self-preservation.
"Oh my God, you're an infomercial shopper!" Bella laughed her large laugh again, falling over in
her hysterics and rolling over onto her side on the couch.
"Okay, just get it out of your system now. Don't make me bring up the side of the road puking
incident." I needed to remind her of my collateral.
She gasped, "You wouldn't? You can't tell anyone! Edward, promise me!" She crawled closer and
reached for my leg, grabbing my thigh directly above the knee and squeezing, eliciting a very
different physical response than what she was aiming for, I'm sure.
"You have to promise me. Say it. Say, I promise Bella." She was close now, her deep eyes dazzling.
"I promise, Bella," I whispered, and though she thought she was getting a different promise, I
knew what I was really binding myself to. I made her a million promises in that second - some
small, some large. I intended on fulfilling each one before I couldn't feel this anymore, before the
void took over.
"Good." Bella said, removing her touch, but lying her head on the couch cushion almost touching
my leg. She closed her eyes and within seconds she was snoring, the effects of the drugs and
alcohol apparent in her peaceful slumber. I wondered if she would dream, perchance to speak
my name once again.
I watched her sleep until the sun crashed through the shutters, streaming butterscotch into the
dark room and bathing Bella in a glow of warmth and light, the wavelengths reflecting off the
crystals of the chandelier and showering the room with rainbow slivers. I had trailed my fingers
across her cheek to rouse her in the early hours of the morning, remembering the concussion.
She had shifted and moved her face further into my touch, causing the slight electricity to spread

through my arm and shoulder again.

It wasn't the first time I had felt that electrical pulse graze my arm, and the subtle tingle stirred a
vivid memory. When I first moved here, I was helping Esme change the electrical outlet face
plates. I couldn't get this one cover on, the tiny screw just wouldn't connect. So in my
fifteen-year-old ignorance, I used the screwdriver, like an idiot, to pull the outlet closer to the
cover. The minute I connected the screwdriver with the metal of the circuit I felt the electricity
flow from the wall, the current slowly tingling up my arm. And I was unable for a moment to break
the circuit, or even drop the screwdriver. I was attached, connected, fucking magnetism, the
force overwhelming my basic impulse to pull away.
That is what Bella Swan is to me, that outlet, sending out her electrical pulse, and I am the idiot
sticking out my screwdriver and willing to connect the circuit, even if it burns me, a magnetic
force preventing me from ever pulling away.

I'm going to need more eggs, I thought to myself as I whipped the batter, combining the simple
ingredients and eradicating any lumps that may have formed when I mixed in the dry
ingredients. The sweet scent of vanilla hung in the air, its aroma intensified when I poured the
fluid batter into the scalding pan, already doused with oil and rippling on the stove top. I picked
up the pan, swirling the thin mixture to coat the bottom of the skillet. I let the batter set only an
instant and then, using a spatula, flipped the crepe once, browning the opposite side and then
tossing the thin, delicate circle onto a plate. I rubbed some butter into the center of the circle and
folded the pastry into fourths. I quickly moved on to make the next, the tedious work ahead of
me, set to repeat the process dozens of times before I was through. I had already prepared
everything else, a lemon ricotta filling, lightly sugared strawberries and blueberries seeping in
their own sweet juices, and garnishes of maple syrup and powdered sugar. I also prepared some
eggs and bacon, in case Bella wanted that instead. I hadn't ever had a meal with her so I wasn't
sure what she would like. But Lemon Ricotta Crepes are exceptional, and I haven't had a complaint ye
It was past eight now and the house was quiet. Emmett hadn't come home until around three,
sneaking in the back door and hurrying up to his room. He hadn't even noticed the slumber party
going on in the family room, stumbling to his room down the hall from mine on the third floor, like
a drunken ninja, his stupor severely inhibiting his stealth. Carlisle and Esme had come down for
their coffee around seven, taking two cups upstairs for their weekend ritual. They always had
their coffee on the balcony of their master suite on the weekends, just talking and catching up
with each other, maybe reading the newspaper or a magazine, or playing cards or chess. It was
a way for them to stay connected with each other, despite the crazy schedules that Carlisle
worked sometimes.
Alice awoke first, squinting like hell as she walked into the sunny kitchen. Her hair was sticking up
all over the place, one side completely flattened against her scalp. She had dark makeup
smudged beneath her eyes and her dress was rumpled and disheveled. She looked like a
homeless person.
"Wow, you look purty," I teased. She flipped me off before walking to the sink and pooling water
into her cupped palms. She splashed the liquid to her face, wiping her eyes with a paper towel,
black spreading on the absorbent paper, the inkblot spreading into dark sprawling patterns
creating her own little intuitive insight into psychotic personality disorders.
She leaned over the sink, bringing her mouth to the faucet and drinking from the tap as I
continued to pour the crepes.

"Ugh, my mouth is so dry. Did I sleep with my mouth open all night?" She stretched her body
before hopping onto the countertop and taking her familiar post.
"Well you were pretty out of it, like dead to the world, snoring and shit," I flipped another crepe
onto the plate. They were starting to pile up. People were going to have to get eating soon, or
this shit was going to be ruined.
"So what's up with Bella?" Shit, she didn't waste any time did she? I had kind of known this would
be coming and I had plenty of time to prepare my response as they slept this morning. I would
give her the honest truth.
"What do you mean?" Well, she'd have to work a little bit for it, I don't just hand that shit out.
"Don't bullshit me, Edward. You were awful quick to be her prince charming last night. I didn't even
realize you knew her. I didn't know, didn't see it coming. Do you know how much that pisses me
off?" Alice folded her arms in front of her, confusion sneaking its way into every feature of her face.
I laughed at her expression. "Yeah, I do know, Alice. Bella's in my biology class." As if this would suffic
"Yeah, picked up on that." She was still glaring at me expectantly. I drizzled a small amount of oil
into the hot pan and when I didn't say anything she about exploded, leaning forward and
slamming her hands on the counter beside her knees, eyes widening in fury. "Edward, fucking spill!"
"Okay, the truth. I like her." I poured the last of the batter into the pan, swirling the batter and
watching it bubble. And it was blasphemy, I like her, to use these words to describe this
compulsion. I mean, that's how you describe your affinity for stupid shit, like your favorite color or
flavor of ice cream. But Alice would think I was insane if I told her the things I was thinking, how
I needed to consume her, I yearned for her company, for her attention, and how every time she
offered herself to me I wanted to greedily soak her up into my very being. It was quite
disturbing, even to me, the sensations I was feeling for Isabella Swan. She was becoming my
obsession and it scared the shit out of me.
Alice rolled her eyes, "You like her?" Alice's expression altered as she paused, her tone inquisitive
now. "You like her like how you like running or how you like cooking?"
I wasn't quite sure where she was going with this so I decided to answer as carefully as I could. I
weighed the two options. Running consumed me, it was a compulsion I couldn't resist, a release
of energy, and I relished in the exhaustion that came with that release. But cooking, cooking was
who I was. It was the one thing I could offer others, something I did well and took pride in.
Cooking flowed through my veins, brought me peace, a constant on the brink of the black hole of
my existence, just shy of singularity and tethering me to reality and awareness. There was no
comparison, my choice evident immediately.
"She's like cooking, Alice." I said quietly, removing the pan from the heat now, snuffing out the fire.
"Then you don't like her, Edward." Alice leaned back on the counter unfolding her legs to swing in
front of her. "You-"
Just as she was going to say it, and I knew what she was going to fucking say, Bella walked
awkwardly into the kitchen. A sight to behold, her hair falling in small curls around her face, half of it
still trapped in the knot which had now slid to the top of her shoulders. It struck me as a very
intimate moment to see her this soon after coming out of unconsciousness. She still wore my
sweatshirt, the sleeves pushed up around her wrists, and the length covering her to her knees.
And I noticed at some point she must have taken off her shoes, I couldn't remember when,

because here she was standing in argyle socks of gray and pink, the diamonds cutting a pattern
across the top of her pretty feet. Her eyes were heavy with sleep and as I turned to look at her I
felt a little insecure with my current appearance. For one thing, I was wearing the same clothes
from last night, but I had added a very hard-core black apron, because bacon grease splatters
like a son of a bitch.
Bella looked at my eyes first, her gaze trailing to the apron and back to my eyes, a grin spreading
across her pink lips. Just as I suspected, she was going to give me shit for this.
But she didn't have a chance because I just shrugged my shoulders and turned to begin
assembling the crepes. I unfolded each circle, placing a small dollop of ricotta and spreading the
cheese mixture to coat the inside of the pastry. After a spooning of berries through the center, I
rolled each crepe into a cylinder of delicate flavor fusion, the airy ricotta mixed with the tart of
the lemon and sweetness of the berries. I created them all like this, filling the plates, drizzling
with warm maple syrup and a slight dusting of powdered sugar. Behind me Alice and Bella were
having a whispered conversation that I couldn't hear, despite my obvious straining to listen. Alice
noticed this and pulled Bella from the room, taking her upstairs, probably to her room.
"Get Carlisle and Esme, will you? These are almost done," I shouted after her, annoyed with her
decision to leave and strip me of Bella's presence. A few moments later, Esme and Carlisle came
walking down the stairs, empty coffee cups in tow.
"Wow Edward, crepes? What's the special occasion?" Esme kissed me on the cheek, taking a plate
from the counter by the stove.
"Nothing special. Just we had all the stuff and I haven't really made these in a while so" I trailed
off, hoping she'd buy that poor ass excuse, especially because she most likely knew of our house gue
"Oh, I'm not complaining." Esme carried her plate into the dining room, Carlisle grabbing a plate for
himself and following her.
Alice and Bella came down the stairs then, and Bella was no longer wearing my sweatshirt or my
bun, but instead her hair was smoothed back into a pony tail and she had on a blue blouse. The
yellow and red daisies chained in embroidery around the neckline forced my eyes to the span of
skin stretched tight across her clavicles and sternum, notably exposing her small bones. She was
really fucking skinny, making me even more eager to hand her a plate.
I held out two plates for each of them and they took the offering and walked silently into the
dining area. I removed the apron, hesitating a moment to take a couple of deep breaths, and,
grabbing my own plate, went to sit with my family.
"Are we waiting for Emmett?" I asked as I entered the room. I noticed that Bella had taken a place
by Alice and I opted to sit across from Bella, so I could watch her enjoy the breakfast I made for her.
"I don't think Emmett is going to be up any time soon. He was out pretty late last night." So
Carlisle had noticed the drunken ninja noisily climbing the stairs last night.
"No complaints from me. A day I don't have to watch Emmett eat is a glorious day indeed," I said
as I watched Bella taste the crepes. She seemed hesitant, smelling the cheese first before taking a
small nibble from the bite speared on the end of her fork. She looked up then, and seeing that I
was watching, took the whole forkful into her mouth, chewing slowly. I was perplexed and
couldn't stop myself from watching, because she actually looked pained accepting the food into
her body, swallowing with difficulty and taking a large drink of the water from the pitcher I had
set on the table earlier this morning. She met my eyes as she brought the cup from her mouth, a

tight-lipped smile. She didn't like it.

"I made eggs, if you'd rather have that. And bacon," I said quietly, disappointment and humiliation
coursing through me and tainting my casual tone.
"No!" She shook her head. "This is amazing. I'm just not really a breakfast person, takes me some
time to get going in the morning, you know?" She looked away as she was speaking, fiddling with
her fork. I went back to my meal, but my appetite was vacant, the crepes mocking my attempt to
impress this girl.
"When you're finished, Bella, I can drive you home. I'm sure Charlie wants to make sure you're
okay. You did inform him of what happened, didn't you?" Carlisle asked, but before Bella could
answer, I interrupted.
"I can do it. I'll take her home." I knew she hadn't called Charlie and that she probably didn't want
to explain it to Carlisle, and, of course, I wanted some more time with her. "Can I take you
home?" I asked her, forcing her to make a choice.
"Okay," she said. She grinned again, genuine, though this time with more gusto, and cut another
small piece of crepe with her fork. She ate without hesitation this time, continuing until her plate
was nothing but a puddle of syrup and sugar, not participating in the conversation Carlisle, Esme
and Alice were engaging in about some political scandal, just fucking enjoying the shit out of my
creation. And with the resurgence of my appetite, I followed suit, my hope and pride swelling with
When Bella finished she excused herself to the restroom and I began to clean up the plates. Alice
helped me take the plates from the table to the sink, Esme shooing us off as she began rinsing to
load the dishwasher. Bella had been gone a while and I was hoping the cheese hadn't made her
sick or something, especially considering the fact that the last thing she had had in her system was
a shit load of Southern Comfort and Stout.
I looked at Alice, "Maybe you should go check on Bella," I said. She nodded and walked through
the living room to the guest bathroom adjacent to the downstairs guest bedroom. I decided I
should probably clean up a bit if I was going to be in my small car alone with Bella. I walked slowly
up the stairs, the twinge in my side lessened by the pain medication I had taken this morning,
opting for the Advil instead of the Vicodin I had taken last night. My little attempt at
super-heroism had caused a strain to my rib injury, the pain worsening overnight.
When I got upstairs I washed my face in the sink of my bathroom, brushing my teeth thoroughly,
flossing the strawberry seeds that lingered from breakfast. I changed my clothes, putting on
deodorant again just to be sure I didn't smell like crepes and bacon and shit and, running my
fingers through my hair, I walked downstairs to wait for Bella.
She was already waiting for me in the front sitting room, seated on the tapestry chaise. She had
her belongings in her arms, ready to leave. And she just looked drained. Her eyes red and lifeless,
staring at some minute detail in the carpet. She didn't look up as I walked into the room, just
continued to stare at nothingness, a thick haze clouded over her normally deep eyes. What was
going on with this girl?
"Are you ready to go?" I asked her. She startled out of her coma-like state, shaking her head
quickly and, rising from the chaise, followed me out the front door to my car.
I opened the passenger side door for her and she lowered herself into the car without a glance in
my direction, just a small "Thank you" as she took her seat. I softly closed the door, frustrated

with the wide array of Bellas I'd seen this weekend. I mean, what the fuck? I thought I was the
one with multiple personalities.
With a deep breath, I climbed behind the wheel of the Volvo, placing the key in the ignition and
starting the engine. The gentle hum of the vehicle offered a decent distraction from her silence,
the radio muted from last night's confusion.
As I drove along the highway, Bella's fog seemed to lift slightly. After a few moments she turned
towards me to speak, I think, but she was unsure as to how to start. Then she found her voice.
"Thank you for breakfast, Edward." Her voice was quiet and small, a sharp contrast to the loud
booming laughter of last night or, rather, early this morning.
"It's of a hobby of mine, cooking," I responded. "It's just something I kind of like to do."
She nodded in agreement, looking at her hands. We drove in silence a while longer, the car
rapidly approaching her street. My time was almost up and I glanced sideways at her, trying to
breathe, my eyes traveling the lines of her neck and shoulders, the bluish veins protruding and
throbbing. Her lack of attention was festering in me now, her inattentiveness causing actual pain
within my chest, a swell of panic building and causing oxygen to trap in my lungs. I had to do
something, anything. I demanded her concentration now, craved it, and I felt I would surely stop
breathing, at the very least, without it. Control slipped from my grasp.
"Bella!" My voice was all wrong, harsh and deep, the frantic gasping hardly disguisable. I didn't
know how to stop this, my responses seemed to happen on their own now, my cognition bleeding
away, making way for pure instinct and desire. What the fuck was I doing?
"What?" Bella's brow was hovering over her eyes, confusion and questioning overflowing in her
brown pupils. She reached out her hand and gently touched my forearm, the energy burning into
my skin, sending a wave pulsating through my body, cleansing the panic and pulling it back as the
tide receded. My chest eased, letting the air escape from my lungs, a gush exhaling into the small
space. My awareness returning, I realized I was shaking, my fingers barely able to control the
vehicle. I pulled to the side of the road, stopping the car and bringing my hands to my face. A
warm liquid drained onto my fingertips, tears I hadn't acknowledge.
"Edward? What's wrong? Hey, look at me. Look at me!" Bella's voice was clear and concise but I
couldn't face her yet. Her fingers on my skin tightened, her seize was firm now. I didn't know what
to tell her, because I didn't know what was wrong. Man, this is fucking me up.
I tested my voice and turned to face her, a reunion of green and brown as I spilled my gaze into
hers. "Bella?" I whispered, my voice resigned, relief submerging the terror. "I'm just having a
hard timestaying away from you." I breathed easy now, the gentle rise and fall meditative and
"No one told you to stay away from me, Edward." She loosened her grip on my arm, securing my
gaze, and slid her fingers down to my wrist and around my hand to fuse her hand into mine.
"See? You don't have to stay away."
With her hand in mine, fingers tangled and palm to palm, she continued. "Thank you Edward. For
everything, for last night, for this morning, for thisright now." Her voice wavered in gratitude
and she turned slightly to face me, static hovering in the space between us. She was leaning
toward me now, the tip of her delicate nose millimeters from my jaw. I wanted this, wanted to tilt
my head just so my lips would meet that skin, envelope her, draw her in. I felt her exhale a warm
breath onto the skin of my neck, her lips parting in desire. I gasped and turned slightly, so that

her nose was now against my skin.

But the monster within me wasn't easily forgotten. The reaction experienced just moments ago
still seared in the back of my mind, and although yearning charged through my veins and spread
over every inch of my skin, the vision of Bella holding my hand as I wept conjured up images of
Chicago, of a different time and circumstance, but familiar all the same.
"We'd better get you home now," I said quietly. I pulled the car back onto the road as she
slumped back into the seat, disentangling her hand from mine and folding her arms across her
chest. She crossed her legs in the seat, all folded in on herself, and stared out the passenger window.
A few moments later I was pulling the car into the driveway of her house. She opened the car
door and paused before getting out.
And she was going to fucking lay into me. I could see it coming. Bella turned to me, conviction
and determination obvious in her blazing eyes, her lips pursed and ready to just let it fly. "I don't
know what kind of fucked up mind games you people play here, but you can't just do that to
somebody. You can't fucking "save" me," and yes, she actually used air quotes, "and then talk to
me all night and cook that phenomenal breakfast and then fucking hold my hand and almost kiss
me and then... You just can't, it's not decent. It's shit, Edward! This whole thing, it's shit!"
She left the car then, slamming the door hard enough to make the whole vehicle shake and
causing me to flinch at the force. The minute she left my presence, with the confining walls of the
car almost suffocating and her scent still thick in the vehicle, the panic began to build. She was
storming up her walkway, a tiny ball of fury, rifling through her bag looking for a house key. I
couldn't let her go.
And again my body moved of its own free will, adrenaline pumping in my head and heart, just
rushing through my veins, and I frantically moved my feet to reach her before she found those
keys. She was on the porch now, still searching her bag, her back to me. She tried the door once
and thankfully it was locked.
I was close behind her then. "Bella, you forgot one thing," and when she turned to face me I
pulled her face to mine and crashed into her, our lips meeting as the momentum of my rush to
stop her forced my body into her. We melded together, my hand moving down her spine, feeling
every vertebrate down to the small of her back, clutching the gauzy material and using it to pull
her closer. She pressed her body against mine, her hand sliding up my neck and into my hair,
weaving her fingers through the curls and slightly twisting the tendrils, the partner clutching my
shirt, twisting the fabric and straining the material across my chest. Her tongue slid out to meet
my bottom lip, licking the wound, and I instinctively flinched away, drawing back and breathing
erratically. Her eyes, sensual and coveting, bore into mine and I slowly drew her mouth back to me,
licking her lip now, as she parted her mouth and welcomed my tongue with her own. We kissed
slow this time, the panic gone and the residing lust and heat just fucking radiating from us. And
the monster was gone, silenced and content.
She pulled away from the kiss, leaving me leaning into her and I rested my forehead against hers.
She looked up at me quizzically and I was equally as perplexed by her facial expression. I had to
ask, "What?"
"Exactly. What did I forget?" She asked, completely serious.
"This!" I pointed, my finger vacillating back and forth between us. "And this." I placed a small,
delicate kiss directly on her full mouth, lingering for a moment, and deciding to kiss her a few more
times this way, slow and gentle.

And it was in this moment that we were interrupted by the strain of the opening of an old,
weathered front door. Charlie, massive and thunderous, even in his weakened state, was
glowering in the door frame.
"Get in the goddamn house, Bella."
Do you think Charlie's pissed much??
Title is from the song Gallery by Joni Mitchell
Yeah, so n7 and I decided that Robward tastes like Lemon Ricotta Crepes with fresh blueberries
and strawberries, drizzled with maple syrup and sprinkled with powdered sugar...you want to lick
him, don't you??
*body spamming: unwanted physical contact
Was there swooning??? Because I promised swooning and I have to make good on my promises!!
Reviews make me swoon!

Chapter: 8
Some roof top loving for youdid you really think Edward would serve lemon ricotta crepes
without some lemony goodness??
The readers of this story are special, special people. Thank you deary's for lovely reviews and for
your dedication to this sometimes difficult subject matter.
amers, thanks for sending me inspiration for Charlie and your continuing support in all things
ilsuocantante, another rec? wowzers!! You are something else, my dear! Thanks bb!
Beta babe n7of9-sweets, thank you for letting me use your brain when I have brain fail and for
your unparalleled dedication to this story. I heart you big time! And I heart the bulgethanks for
that too.
And I have to thank my husband for all information Astronomy related. He's a wealth of useful
Also, Vote for your favorite Twific in the Indie Twific awards! Show us small timers some love!
Check out the link on my profile bbs!
CH. 8 "Like the Song of a Warm, Warm Body"
An onslaught of olfactory enticement pulled me from my slumber and I awoke in a sensory stupor.
I was very warm, the sun beaming down on my face, making a rare appearance considering the
previous night's cool rainfall. Before I even opened my eyes I inhaled the rich aromas in the air.
The smell of laundry detergent tinted by summery honey, the warmth from the sunlight
intensifying the fragrance and causing my head to swim with recollection. I brought the neckline
of the thick sweatshirt to my face, snuggling the fabric and inhaling the aroma deep into my lungs.
Vanilla sifted through the air, the engaging scent forcing a rumble from my stomach and a pang
of hunger settled on the brink of awareness. I relished in the discomfort, allowing the sense of
victory to rush over me, bringing with it the power and authority of control. The faint smell of
maple bacon exaggerated the hunger and the growling of the traitorous organ reminded me of
the need to sate for survival. I tried to open my eyes, forcing the lids to rise in order to gain
awareness, while the events of the previous night hovered between dream and reality.
Jesus Christ! That sun is fricking bright. I shifted onto my side and was hit with a wave of vertigo,
dizziness causing my hands to clutch my head, the pulsing of my temples creating a rhythm of
remorse as I sat up. I blinked and rubbed my swollen eyes, still heavy with exhaustion, and
looked around, intent on gaining a better bearing on my surroundings.
I found myself on a large semicircle sofa, the plush and amiable textile a deep brown. My blue
coat and t-shirt lay folded on the ornate circular coffee table, amongst other various items: a
drinking glass, a bottle of Advil, a pile of dark cotton material. The compilation before me incited a

wide smile to spread across my face and I allowed myself to bask in the reality.
Holy fuck! I had spent the night on Edward's couch. Despite the wide assortment of
psychoactive enhancements I had ingested last night and the fact that I smacked my skull on the
concrete, I remembered every little detail of it. I remembered waking up in his car just in time to be
utterly mortified as the contents of my evening of debauchery spilled onto the side of the road.
He had knotted my hair back and in recalling that moment I touched the messy bun, now sagging
on my shoulder affectionately. Yeah, that was probably the most adorable thing anyone had
ever done for me, an unexpectedly tender gesture from the same boy who had willfully sought
out a physical altercation earlier this week. There was more to Edward than meets the eye, so
much more that I just had to discover, and I was definitely invested now. I wanted to know him,
needed to know every detail of his soul, to be an expert in the inner workings of his mind and heart.
I remembered our conversation from last night. It was probably the most comfortable I had ever
felt in talking to someone, just being myself. There wasn't any game, no lies. He was engaging
and honest, feeding me tiny morsels of information that I gobbled up greedily, just dying to fill
myself with his very essence. The ebb and flow of the conversation was gentle and lulling, each
gesture brimming with care and concern. The way Edward cared for his sister, getting her a
blanket and pillow and making sure she was tended to, abruptly awoke in me a sentiment of
admiration for this human being. That he could be so furious with her one moment and in the next
push his own needs aside to take on the responsibility of caretaker sent me reeling through a
crest of emotions: envy, awe, desire, need, respect, wonder. All of them crashed over my being,
engulfing my awareness and absorbing my attention.
Edward may be the most magnificent creature I have ever come into contact with. He made me
want to write fucking poetry, and I can't write for shit. He made me want to bare my soul, taking
comfort in the shelter he would provide. I was drawn to this nurturing side of his being, the
caretaker that I had never known, that I had always been. And for the first time in my life, I
allowed someone to take care of me. I accepted his comfort while I puked, while I was at my
weakest and most pathetic, and his help back to the car, cradled against his sculpted form and
just taking in gulps and gulps of his rich scent. I accepted Dr. Cullen checking out my head,
because I really do hate hospitals, and I accepted his sweatshirt because I couldn't wait to have
it draped around me. I accepted his painkillers, his engaging conversation, his compliment when he
said I was charming, his half-assed yet sweet attempt at explaining Charlie, his promise to never
tell anyone about the alcohol induced vomit, and I allowed myself to find hope in these interactions.
And now, as I waded through the heady smells of breakfast and the hurried conversation coming
from the kitchen, I knew I would not be able to walk away from this unaltered. Something big
was happening here and I allowed my need for Edward to consume my mind and heart and soul,
rewriting the aloof wiring I was fond of and obscuring my ever present logic. I knew there was a
reason I was supposed to stay away from feelings like these but I just couldn't remember what it
was. To be honest, I really didn't want to remember. I just wanted to be where he was, always,
dancing beside him indefinitely.
I stretched my back, the awkward curve of the couch had caused an uncomfortable sleeping
position that I was unable to shift from during the night due to the influx of inebriation. I had slept
hard, comatose to the world around me, and a slow realization began to burden my new and
enlightened mood. Holy shit, I hope I hadn't been dreaming, and I really hope I hadn't been
talking. I know I talk in my sleep. Renee always loved to tell the story of how I had freaked out
every boyfriend she'd ever let stay the night, including Phil, shouting from my room and carrying
on conversations in complete unconsciousness. She learned to shut my door when she liked the
guy she was fucking so my antics wouldn't send him packing. I only hoped that as I couldn't
remember any dreams I hadn't had any, and therefore hadn't professed my undying love for
Edward while completely unaware, or something equally embarrassing.

I stood up slowly, tripping over my shoes which I had hastily kicked off while Edward had been
gathering blankets and stuff last night. I thought about putting them back on, the informality of
my socks a confusing level of intimacy. What was appropriate here? I mean, I distinctly remember
removing my wet shirt while Edward sat not two feet from me, and now I was worried about
socks? It wasn't such a big deal, I don't wear a bra like normally developed girls do. There's no
need, a camisole bra top gives plenty of lift and coverage for my nonexistent chest. But still, the
intimacy of the moment may have been inappropriate, just like me waking up in his house wearing
his sweatshirt, with evidence of his fingers in my hair, walking around in my socks.
Fuck, Bella, you're being an idiot! Who wastes their time thinking about this shit?
I sighed and tried to walk with confidence into the room emanating with activity. I followed the
sounds of quiet voices, passing a room adorned with a beautifully set table, pitchers and plates
and fresh flowers adding an ambiance of peace and relaxation.
I could hear two voices, both harmonious and musical, the wind chime tones mirroring each other
in tenor and cadence. Edward and Alice were having a hushed discussion. I knew it was totally
wrong of me, but I wanted to know what they were talking about, so I lingered in the hall and
listened to the cryptic conversation.
Alice was speaking when I had walked up, "You like her?" Her tone was sarcastic, biting almost.
She paused a moment and then asked, "You like her like how you like running or how you like cooking
What were they talking about? I walked closer to the room so I could hear the response.
"She's like cooking, Alice." What the hell did that mean? And I wasn't entirely sure who she was yet.
I didn't know if I really wanted to find out. I walked in just in time to hear Alice say "Then you don't
like her, Edward. You"
Alice stopped abruptly when I walked into the room. Edward's eyes flashed over to me as I took
in the portrait of gloriousness before me. I burned that image into my brain. He was staring into
my eyes now, his bronze waves a complete disarray and, even though I wanted to stay and drown
in his sticky green collection plates, my eyes traveled the length of his body. He was still wearing
the white t-shirt and jeans from last night, his feet bare, and I noticed his abnormally attractive
toes sticking out from beneath the hem. This little bit of skin had me reacting all aflutter and I was
almost embarrassed by what just the sight of this boy's naked feet did to me.
And then there was the context in which this beautiful being was standing before me. Edward
was wearing a black apron, the strap looping around his neck and the sides tying around his
waist. Goddamn lucky apron! He was waiting for my reaction and I just had to grin at his fucking
sexy as hell domestic nonchalance. What kind of guy puts my hair in a bun and then cooks
breakfast in an apron? A fucking apron! I must have had the I want to fuck your
brotherexpression plastered all over my telling face because Alice quickly hopped down from the
countertop and rushed over to me.
"Why didn't you tell me you knew my brother?" she whispered into my ear, her face very close to mine.
"I wasn't quite sure he was actually your brother," I responded, slightly ashamed of my
dishonesty. It wasn't quite a lie but it wasn't quite the truth either.
"Come on." Alice pulled my arm, dragging me away from Mr. Fuckhot Apron, culinary God. I
glanced back over my shoulder as Alice forced me upstairs, reveling in the swiftness and care he

put into the assembly of the meal. "Come on up to my kitchen, I'll show you my best recipes."
He turned then and yelled over his shoulder for Alice to get their uncle and aunt for breakfast.
"And stop eye fucking him, it's grossing me out," Alice said, smiling over her shoulder at me. My
mouth dropped open in shock, mortified at my transparency.
"I was not eye fucking him" I muttered indignantly as she chuckled under her breath.
She walked down the hallway to a wide set of open double doors, knocked, and walked in. I
stayed in the hall, looking at the pictures hanging on the walls. Most of them were beautiful works
of art, some recognizable like The Lady of Shalot and Water Lilies, and some were obscure pieces
by unknown and underappreciated artists, but the one that caught my eye was a photograph. I
immediately recognized Dr. Cullen as a young man, probably in his twenties. He was standing
with another recognizable face, arms around shoulders. I had never seen this man before, but I
knew him, the shocking bronze hair and green eyes vivid in the muted spectrum of the aged
photo, his face bare, a lack of conviction and empty of emotion or life. He looked like a shell of a
human, flat in the photograph, sharply contrasted by Dr. Cullen's dimensional features.
Alice must have entered her aunt and uncle's room because when she reemerged Dr. Cullen and
who I could only assume was his wife were behind her. The woman was soft and curvy, her dark
hair hanging in large curls at her shoulders. She looked carefree and easy and the tenderness
just poured from her, affection and care in every movement of her body. They smiled warmly at
me and I couldn't help but return the gesture.
"Good morning, Bella. How are you feeling today?" Dr. Cullen walked over and looked into my
eyes, checking my pupils I assumed, trying to assess my condition.
"I feel fine. Just a little headache but I took some Advil so I'll be okay," I responded, trying to pry
the attention away from my injury. "Thank you so much, by the way." I was hoping like hell he
wouldn't tell Charlie about the weed and shit. I could probably get away with telling my dad I just
spent the night with Alice, but he might shoot me if I mentioned drugs. This, I knew, was a
festering wound left courtesy of Renee and her ever spanning affiliation with Mary Jane. I knew
this much because Renee has a big mouth.
"Any time, Bella." Carlisle motioned to the dark haired woman. "This is my wife, Esme." Esme
moved to embrace me, squeezing me tightly, a true hug, not one of those weak-assed artificial
pats on the back. Instantly I liked this about her, not afraid to show her feelings, because for
someone like me who lives in a constant cocoon of hidden emotion, this was very admirable.
"It's so nice to meet you Bella," Esme said, taking my hand and squeezing it in emphasis before
dropping it. "Hurry down for breakfast, Edward made crepes and they are his specialty."
"Thank you. It's nice to meet you too, Mrs. Cullen," I responded.
"Ugh, don't call me that. It makes me sound like an old lady. Call me Esme, please." She patted
my shoulder and turned to walk down the stairs, Carlisle following her.
Alice was already in her room pulling various items from her drawers. She handed me one of her
gauzy shirts, a rich blue embroidered with little red and yellow flowers scattered around the
neckline. Reluctant to remove the sanctuary of sweatshirt but not wanting to seem psychotically
attached to a piece of clothing, I shed the sweatshirt, handed it to Alice and replaced it with the
more feminine blouse. Alice handed me a brush and I struggled to unknot the bun still holding my
hair from my face, hesitant to disintegrate the reminder of Edward's hands in my hair. I was still

struggling with the snarl of tangles when I looked up to find Alice eyeballing me cautiously.
"What?" I asked, even though I knew what she was thinking. It had been the foremost thought
swimming around in my brain since that boy picked me up out of that puddle yesterday.
"Do you have a thing for my brother?" she asked, squinting her emerald feathery eyes at me. She
tilted her head to the side, awaiting my response.
"A thing? Define thing," I countered, mirroring her facial expression. I was going to make her spell
this out, partly because I wanted clarification as well. What did this look like to her?
"Okay, here's the deal, Bella. My brother doesn't really likepeople. It's not in hischaracter to
just carry some random girl home and then spend the whole night taking care of her and then
make her fucking crepes. I mean, do you know how long it takes to make crepes? It's a total pain
in the ass. And he did all that shit. For you. It seems he may have a thing." She looked down
now, his sweatshirt in her hands. "So, what I want to know isdo you?"
"Did he tell you to ask me this?" I asked her, questioning her curiosity.
"Shit no. If he knew I was even talking to you about him he'd freak." Alice took the brush from
my hand and yanked it through my messy locks, smoothing the hair into a tight ponytail.
"Well?" she asked again, her hands on her hips.
"WellyeahI may be in possession of said thing for your brother." I smiled at this admission like
a fucking giddy-ass fifth grader who had a crush on a silly boy.
"I cannot believe I didn't see this coming." Alice shook her head in shame, disappointment thick in
her dainty face. She sighed and eyed me again. I recognized that quizzical look and almost
laughed because I knew a question was on the horizon.
"Bella, are you really a vegetarian?"
My smile stuttered slightly because this was not the fucking question I was expecting. Shit, I
didn't know what to say to her. Yeah, I don't eat meat, but this was not what she was asking.
And she knew that this was not what she was asking.
Maybe I could use the whole vegetarian label as a metaphor of sorts, a code word for what I
am. Maybe if I used the right amount of inflection or tone Alice would just get it and spare me
the embarrassment and discomfort of having to come clean.
"Yeah, I'm a vegetarian. I stay away from food, that is, meat. I just can't eat, it." I was trying to
make her guess, using pauses to accentuate the meaning behind the words.
Alice was quiet for a long time and I honestly thought she was going to call me on this. But she
just sat there, her sad eyes questioning and curious.
I sighed, frustrated with myself that I couldn't just be fucking honest with her. "Come on,
breakfast is waiting," I said, pulling her from her conclusions.
Edward was waiting with two large plates filled with crepes, syrup and powdered sugar coating
the paper thin fruit-filled cakes. He handed us each a plate, his eyes fixed on the space of skin
now exposed by Alice's blouse, and I ached for that sweatshirt or one of my t-shirts to cover up
the sallow skin, taught over my exposed skeletal frame. Fuck, I must look disgusting.

I followed Alice into the dining room and settled into a chair next to her, glancing down at my
plate. Shit, this is a lot of food. I had gotten pretty good at disguising my inability to eat, but
there was nowhere to hide now. Panic swelled in my gut, literally causing physical torture as the
realization became painfully obvious. I was going to have to fucking eat. And then I was going to
have to puke it up.
Edward entered the room carrying his own plate and missing his black apron. He took a seat
across from me as I cut away a small piece of the outside of one of the crepes. The red juice of
the berry mixture swirled in the syrup causing sugary patterns to form on my plate. I brought the
bite to my lips, slightly smelling the lemony mixture of cheese and fruit. It was a unique aroma, the
light cheese and citrus with sweet sugar glazing unlike anything I'd ever experienced. I lightly
nibbled a small piece of the bite on my fork, looking up to find Edward staring meticulously at my
eating habits. His face was strained, fatigue and worry creasing his eyes and forehead.
Edward's concern sent another gush of terror coursing through my veins, but for a very different
reason this time. Alice's words rang in my mind as I stared into Edward's jaded eyes, "I mean, do
you know how long it takes to make crepes? It's a total pain in the ass. And he did all that shit.
For you. It seems he may have a thing."
Edward had done all this for me. It was difficult to fathom, I wasn't really willing to accept that
someone would put such care and time into nourishing me. I mean, I was a total fuck up, a self
destructive fool who didn't deserve this offering of endearment. If I didn't eat he was going to
think I didn't want it and, in turn, didn't want him.
I couldn't destroy him like that. I quickly placed the forkful into my mouth and was hit with a
glorious array of flavors. Holy Christ, the savory tastes swirling around my tongue now
overwhelmed my senses, causing the ever present nausea to seep back into my peripherals. I
slowed my chewing and took a large drink of water from my glass, allowing the cool liquid to flush
the berry and vanilla essence from my palette. I looked up again, those green eyes draining, and
gave Edward a smile.
"I made eggs if you'd rather have that. And bacon," he said, his voice quiet and disillusioned. I
panicked at the harm I had caused evident in his voice.
"No!" I blurted out, shaking my head and feeling spastic. I tried to calm my voice. "This is amazing.
I'm just not really a breakfast person, takes me some time to get going in the morning, you
know?" Excuse number one hundred and seventeen; just not an insert meal that I'm trying to
avoid here person.
Dr. Cullen spoke, bringing my awareness back to the table, "When you're finished, Bella, I can
drive you home. I'm sure Charlie wants to make sure you're okay. You did inform him of what
happened, didn't you?"
Shit, I was going to have to lie again. Just as I was about to speak, Edward rescued me.
"I can do it. I'll take her home," he said, and I was grateful for the diversion. I was pretty much
living on an eternal plane of gratefulness where Edward was concerned.
And then he asked me for permission. "Can I take you home?" It was such a simple question,
nothing really, yet the power of his offering of choice, asking me instead of declaring as he had
done with Dr. Cullen, displayed a vulnerability and insecurity that just made me want to melt into
his lap, comforting him and running my fingers through his ruffled hair.

"Okay," I said, grinning this time and taking a large bite of this meal. He was offering a bit of
himself with this plate and I owed him this much at least. The taste again was overwhelming but
this time I relished in it, pushing aside the weakness bumbling in my belly and just proving to
Edward that I appreciated this, wanted this, and in doing so proving to Edward that I wanted him.
I didn't stop until the plate was empty, the gnawing hunger from this morning grinning stupidly
from indulgence.
I sat there a moment, my guilt beginning to spread and I was suppressing it, cramming that
feeling back down, but it was no use, my body's automatic responses rejected any form of care
and nourishment that I offered it. I felt the expanding of my abdomen, the crepes taking up far
more space than I thought was possible in my small stomach. I had to get out of this room. I
excused myself to the restroom and walked swiftly through the door of the guest bathroom,
locking it behind me. I ran the sink, causing the sound of rushing water to mask the noisy vomiting
that was sure to occur now. I leaned over the sink and hesitated.
How can I do this? Edward made that breakfast for me, like, especially for me. Now I was going
to purge this offering of concern and adoration, willingly throw it away. Tears stung my eyes as I
realized that I could never be worthy enough for Edward and everything he embodied. He
deserved a good person, someone who would be able to bask in his reverence and accept his love
willingly. I could never do that. I am a toxin, a poison, a vile liquid of destruction and remorse, the
vicious cycle making it impossible for me to ever find some peace in this world, because the
greatest manifestation of peace I had ever known was now probably doing dishes or cleaning the
kitchen or some shit, his ever reaching role of caretaker fulfilled in his every decision, and I
couldn't even fight back the convulsion to purge for him. "I'm selfish and I'm sad."
With this admission the guilt struggled back, rumbling to the surface, scolding me for accepting
the sustenance when I knew I didn't deserve it. I sobbed harder now, tears streaming down my
face because I knew what I needed to do, and it was the biggest blunder, allowing that perfect
meal to be flushed down the toilet, a waste, sacrilege.
I curled over the white bowl and shoved my fingers into my mouth, feeling the familiar gag cause
an automatic response in my bowels, but nothing came up. I tried again, spitting saliva that was
now collecting in my mouth. Still nothing, hysteria present at the thought of the heavy food sitting
like a rock in my stomach. It had to come up. Once again, I initiated the gag reflex and this time the
fruit and cheese mixture came rushing forth, spilling into the toilet and splashing vomit toilet
water on my face. I spat again, pathetic and disgusted with myself and just fucking sobbing all
over the place. Struggling to get it together, I pulled myself from the floor and used the hand
towel to wipe my face. I rinsed my mouth with water from the tap and attempted to straighten
out my appearance before I walked out that door.
When I decided I looked halfway presentable, I pulled a peppermint from my pocket and popped it
into my mouth. I opened the bathroom door to find a pair of large-lashed green eyes staring at
me accusingly. Alice.
She spoke, "What are doing, Bella?"
My initial response was denial, "What do you mean, I had to pee."
She sighed, "I know what you are." Like I was a fucking alien or something.
"Oh really, what am I then, Alice?" I asked. "Say it, just fucking say it." I wanted to hear it voiced,
confirmed. Bulimic, Anorexic, idiot, dumbshit, screwed. So many things that she could say, how
would she pick just one? I waited for her to make her assumption.

"You're sick, Bella." Alice's sad voice melted my sardonic exterior. "You're impossibly skinny and
I've only known you a week and I've seen you puke at least four times now." She grabbed my
hand. "Carlisle can help you. It would be totally confidential and secret. We don't even have to
tell your dad. Please, Bella? Let us help you?"
Alice's pleading caused the pain to erupt again, a slow rumbling in my stomach, swelling and
taking up any vacant space.
"Maybe, Alice. Let me try to do this on my own. I really want to be able to do this on my own," I
answered her, taking my hand from her grasp.
"On your own obviously isn't working, Bella." Alice was irritated now, her tone biting and sarcastic.
"I'm fine. I've got this under control, don't worry about me okay? Please, it's not worth your
worry." Now I was the one pleading.
"Of course you're worth the worry! What the hell is wrong with you?" Alice didn't really want an
answer. What the hell is wrong with me?
"Alice, just mind your own business. I know what I'm doing," I spat back, her rhetorical question
still hanging in the air.
"Look, I will help you if you want me to. But if you're intent on destroying yourself, please, don't
take my brother down with you." Alice turned and walked away, leaving me stewing in my shame.
In a daze, I went about gathering my belongings. I sat in the living room, on a chaise near the
front door, ready and waiting to leave. My mind was numb and I forced it into silence. I didn't want
to think anymore, didn't want to be anymore. I was wishing like hell I had some of those little brown
pills to make this easier but I didn't think I could go about asking for them now with Alice in the
know. I just focused on the carpet, this tiny red thread in the beige field, "Nothing lasts for long".
"Are you ready to go?" The harmonious voice startled me, breaking my concentration. Edward
was standing before me.
I nodded, following him out the front door and taking the passenger seat. We rode in silence, each
lost in our own mulling. I inhaled deeply, the lingering scent of bacon and vanilla mixed with soap
reminding me of my father, causing the numb fog to lift slightly. I glanced at Edward, trying to
find the words for what I wanted to say.
"Thank you for breakfast, Edward." It was a start.
"It's a hobby of mine, cooking. It's just something I kind of like to do," he responded. I had an
inkling this was more than a hobby.
I just stared at my hands, empty and blank, trying to find a way to make this right, when
Edward suddenly started gasping and struggling to breathe. Holy shit what was going on?
He forced a word from his haggard gasps, "Bella!" His voice was raw and primitive, deep in
intonation and lacking that musicality that normally adorned his voice. It was strange and
troublesome, and like a flood, concern and worry rushed over the numbness.
"What?" I practically shouted. I reached out to touch his arm, hoping to ease his tension, and the
buzzing of energy that I felt radiating through my fingertips had me wishing I could press every
inch of my skin to his so I could feel this shock of life throughout my entire body. The pulse shook

me from my haze and I was finally able to focus. "Input, Output, Electricity."
Edward eased at my touch and was able to pull the car to the side of the road. He brought his
hands to his face and quiet tears leaked from the corner of his eyelids, trailing into his fingers
and washing over his exceptional face. My heart ached for him, it just fucking broke, a tiny fissure
that I wanted to mend with his soul, bring him into me and stitch it up with his selfless esteem and care
"Edward? What's wrong? Hey, look at me. Look at me!" I was fully aware now, taking control of
the situation, using this opportunity to return last night's favor. I gripped his arm now, trying to
shock him out of his ragged breathing.
He turned toward me, his broken tear-stained face gazing into mine. "Bella?" he whispered, "I'm
just having a hard timestaying away from you."
"No one told you to stay away from me, Edward." I slipped my hand into his, trailing my fingers
down his arm. "See? You don't have to stay away." Our hands formed a unit, a tangle of fingers,
fused together in a palmer's kiss.
"Thank you Edward. For everything, for last night, for this morning, for thisright now." I turned
to face him, ready to give myself to him, to feel that electricity pulse through my lips. I leaned in
to catch his enticing scent, the clean freshness caught in my chest. I exhaled into his neck, parting
my lips, ready to touch them to the skin of his neck, when he gasped, stopping me in my tracks.
He leaned away, "We'd better get you home now," he said quietly, and pulled the car onto the highway
I felt like an idiot. I had totally put myself out there and he just fucking knocked me down and I
was fucking pissed. What the hell?
Edward pulled the car into the driveway of Charlie's house and I could hardly wait to get out. I
paused, ready to defend myself and my actions.
"I don't know what kind of fucked up mind games you people play here, but you can't just do that
to somebody. You can't fucking "save" me and then talk to me all night and cook that phenomenal
breakfast and then fucking hold my hand and almost kiss me and then You just can't, it's not
decent. It's shit, Edward! This whole thing, it's shit!" I slammed the door, satisfied with my
display and hoping like hell I didn't slip on the way up to the front door.
I practically ran to the front door trying to find my fucking keys before I got to it. Shit! I tried the
door but it was locked and I had to take a deep breath to calm my mind before I returned to my bag.
"Bella, you forgot one thing." I heard his voice and I turned to tell him to fuck off when his body
collided with mine, his lips forceful and crushing as we connected. His hand slid down my back
grabbing Alice's shirt and I felt a wave of lust spread from my swelling lungs down, down through
my thighs, making my legs quiver with longing as he pulled me closer to him. I slid my fingers up
his neck and into his bronze waves, twisting the curls gently while longing caused my other hand
to crawl to his chest, the firm and sculpted flesh beneath my hand causing me to clutch the fabric
in desperation. I could feel the scabbed wound on his lip and I wanted to taste it, the coppery
substance a small piece of him I could ingest. I licked the wound, causing Edward to pull away. At
first I was worried he was offended at this but then he engulfed my mouth, licking my bottom lip
and pressing his tongue into my own. The ferociousness fading, lips and tongues, tasting and
licking and swirling and just soaking him in, his mouth and hot breath curling around my own and I
swear, my kneecaps fucking disappeared. "When I think of your kisses, my mind seesaws"
I was out of air and needed to breathe so I pulled away from his mouth and he was reluctant to

let me go. Then I remembered his words as he approached and I wasn't sure what he had meant.
"What?" he asked.
"Exactly. What did I forget?" What was he talking about? Did I leave something in his car?
He rolled his eyes, "This!" he said motioning to our embrace. Oh. Yeah, I'm an idiot.
"And this." He kissed me gently this time, slow and sensual, and then again, and again.
I lost myself in these gentle kisses, so much so that I wasn't aware of Charlie standing in the doorway.
"Get in the goddamn house, Bella." I startled, almost pissed my pants when I heard that deep,
booming voice.
I pulled away from Edward, turning to face my father. I was shocked beyond belief. What the
hell? Why was he out of bed? And why did he all of a sudden give a shit?
Edward stepped forward, "Good morning, Chief Swan." He moved to shake Charlie's hand but
Charlie just turned and walked slowly back into the house. I turned to face Edward, defeat now on
his face. He sighed and wrapped his long arms around my waist and pulled me into a remorseful
hug. He pressed his lips against mine one last time and then kissed the tip of my nose. "I'll see you
later, Bella. Call us if you need anything." I inhaled his scent one more time, greedy to keep it
with me, and nodded. He let me go and I walked into the house, leaving him on the porch.
I prepared myself for the battle. I took a couple of deep breaths, trying to calm my nerves, still
foggy from the most memorable kiss ever. There would be time for reminiscing later. Now, I was
ready to deal with Charlie.
I walked from the foyer to the small living room. Charlie was seated on the couch, the afghan
crumpled in a pile beside him.
"Where have you been?" Charlie's voice was grave and quiet, a cop first and foremost,
questioning. I wondered if this was the good or the bad cop I was seeing now.
"I stayed the night with Alice Cullen. That was her brother, Edward. I believe you know them," I
responded sarcastically. I was looking for a fight, dying for it, desperately needing answers from
this man.
Charlie took in my tone, surveyed the situation, and opted to ignore my antagonistic attitude. So
this must be the good cop. "Why didn't you call me?"
"Well, frankly, Dad, I didn't really think you'd give a shit," I answered honestly, spitting the words
as they formed in my head. "I mean, it's not like you've been very involved in my life thus far, so
I guess I figured one more night of anonymity wouldn't hurt."
Charlie recoiled, his hand moving to his chest. I panicked momentarily, worried that I'd somehow
hurt him with my rash explanation. Then I remembered it was Charlie and nothing I did could hurt
him, his cool indifference his greatest ally.
I continued because Charlie had opened the floodgates the moment he had opened the front
door. "Why the fuck do you care now anyway?"
"Isabella, you will not use that language in this house, do you hear me?" Charlie morphed into bad

cop practically before my eyes. But I didn't care. Really, what was the worst he could do?
"I'll use whatever the fuck language I want. You are not allowed to tell me what to do. You think
you can parent me now? I'm almost a fucking adult, Daddy." I said that last word with as much
venom as I could muster, wanting him to feel the brunt of his decision years ago, of his decision to
not give a shit until now.
Charlie was subdued, again not the reaction I was expecting from him. I wanted him to yell back
at me, berate me, tell me I was selfish and disrespectful for staying out all night then making out
with a hot guy on the front porch, say anything that showed he cared even a little. Anything he
could give me I would accept, anger, hate, guilt, shame, disappointment, I would take all of these
in opposition to the indifference. The indifference made me void, canceled out my entire
existence, giving validation to his decision to keep me out of his life. I could only imagine the
conclusions he must have came to when he opened that door. It didn't look good, in the very
least. He should have been pissed, ready to lock me in my room.
But he just sat there, taking my abuse, a broken man riddled with defeat.
"You're right, Bella," he said, shocking the hell out of me. "You're right. You are almost an adult.
And I know I haven't been" He was choking on the words, struggling to finish the thought. "But
this is still my house and I still expect you to give me the same respect you would give any other adult.
I snorted. I understood and even agreed with his point. I did not agree with the context though.
Respect was something to be earned and Charlie had done nothing to earn my respect yet.
"Well, Charlie, when you act like an adult instead of moping around here like a two-year-old, then
I'll treat you like one." I waited for his response. Even I thought this comment was out of line. I
thought he'd freak out for sure.
He just sighed, exhaustion evident in his withered eyes. He rubbed his face with his massive
hands. "Just tell me next time you're going to be out all night doingwell, doing whatever the hell
it is you're going to be doing."
"Are we done here?" I asked, fuming, his lack of emotion maddening. He didn't try to put me on
restriction or forbid me from seeing Edward. He didn't even take away the truck, which was still
parked in front of Mike Newton's house. He didn't offer one consequence for my behavior.
"Yeah, we're done," he stated. I turned on my heel and stormed up the stairs, slamming the door
to my room. I collapsed on my bed, reveling in how I had experienced the full swing of the
pendulum today, the highest of the high and the lowest of the low all wrapped up in one fucking
day. I found my mp3 player, digging through my bag and tossing my t-shirt and jacket in the
corner. In the comfort of a good friend and exhausted from the last twenty-four hours, images
of Edward clad in a black apron and white t-shirt and barefoot in his kitchen flooded behind my
eyelids as I drifted. "Do you want to take a chance on finding some sweet romance?"

I should have been fucking exhausted but the high from kissing Bella was keeping me awake. I
didn't remember driving home, my subconscious taking over and guiding me in the right direction,
allowing my foot to hit the brake and gas accordingly, pulling the vehicle into my driveway and
walking my tired ass into the house. Emmett was awake now and consuming a huge-ass plate of
leftover crepes. I noticed he also had a huge empty mixing bowl, the milk residue left on the

bottom indicating that crepes were second breakfast to cereal.

The moment I walked into the kitchen Emmett was harassing me. "Dude! What the fuck? You
totally bailed on us and we had to get a ride home with Seth from the wrestling team. Rose is so
fucking pissed at you." He was shaking his head, chuckling to himself.
"I kind of had more important things to attend to than Rose and her high-maintenance bullshit,
okay" I responded. Exhaustion was beginning to settle over me and my limbs were becoming
difficult to control.
"Oh, I heard all about it, dude." Emmett was grinning like a motherfucker now, a knowing smile
making me want to punch him right in his fucking stupid-ass dimples. This is why I hate it when
Emmett's right. He's not a gracious winner. "Did I not call it? I knew you'd be all up on that ass!
Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta."
"I'm hardly, all up on that ass, as you so eloquently put it," I responded, defending myself.
That's not what this is about, the ass. Sure, the ass was a definite benefit that hopefully I would
get to enjoy at some point, but this was so much more than attraction.
"You will be, you will be, my young padawan," Emmett said in his best Yoda voice, which was
pretty fucking horrible, especially between huge mouthfuls of berries and crepes. "I can teach
you some moves, dude, if you need some help."
"You just keep your moves to yourself. No one needs to be subjected to that torture, except
maybe Rosalie." I laughed, heading up the stairs to my room. My whole body was aching now,
sleep calling to me, and in the time it took me to walk up two flights of stairs I suffered from
naplash, like, three times.
When I finally got to my room, I didn't even bother to remove my shoes but I did notice the
sweatshirt Bella had slept in last night wadded up on my bed. I pulled the fabric over my head,
her sweet scent still stuck in the fabric, and holding the sweatshirt to my face I drifted into a deep slee

Bella lay on her side on a flannel sheet, her dark wavy hair falling around her face, tendrils forming
swirls on the terrain beneath her. The smell of grass in the sun, rich and earthy, dirt and
lavender, the sweet familiar scent blossoming and spiraling around our bodies. Her brown velvet
pools brimmed with pupil, enlarged and dark, the glow of the sunlight causing her pale skin to
shine white as diamonds as I grasped her outstretched hand, an offering, a lifeboat pulling me
into her embrace as I wept, tears streaming from my eyes, dampening the blanket that lay on the
I curled into her, my face against her soft breast, her heart beating in my head, her chest
heaving and lulling me into serenity and peace, molding my body to fit, convex against conclave,
a union of pieces forming a solid whole entity. I felt my whole being come alive as my body fused
with hers, opposites blending together to become a whole new shade never before gracing the
universe. Pulled under, breathing erratically, drowning in deep satisfaction and ecstasy, our souls
tumbled and twisted until our spirits escaped the confines of flesh, drifting upward, circling each
other in an indefinite orbit.
She was still now, completely silent, and I pulled away from the warmth to gaze at her remarkable
face. A small seeping of blood trailed from her mouth, smearing across her cheek. Perplexed, I
reached up to inspect the wound and noticed a smear of red where my hand had been on her
chest. A gaping blood stained gash between her breasts, Bella refused to move, her lifeless eyes

charcoal black and thick with death. Her body hung limp in my arms now, her blood on my hands,
and I brought her mouth to mine, sucking and drinking in the thick, sticky liquid oozing from her lips

I awoke to a black room, sweating and panting, feeling like I'd just run a fucking marathon or
something, my heart pounding in my ribcage, my head pulsating with the images from a fucking
nightmare that had me fighting off waves of nausea. The images flashed through my mind, Bella
limp and lifeless in my arms, stilled, paused, burning in recollection, the taste and scent of her
blood just rotting in my memory. I turned on the light and looked at my clean hands, inspecting
them for traces of red. I was convinced by my fingernails which upon closer inspection were clean
of any blood. Then I felt like a freak for actually inspecting my fingernails for blood from a dream.
I had to see Bella, make sure she was okay. That dream had been so fucking real, the smell of the
earth, her warm body aligned with mine, and before I had even made up my mind I was moving
out the door and down the stairs. I didn't run this time, the pain in my side still pronounced, but
drove my car to her house, speeding along the streets, sometimes running a red light or stop
sign when the intersection was vacant. The clock on the dashboard said only 9:23pm. I had been
asleep for a little under ten hours, probably dreaming about fucked-up shit like drinking blood
from dead Bella all day long. The imagery made itself known again and another wave of panic
caused my foot to press more firmly on the accelerator of the Volvo.
I parked on the street. Just like the first time I was here, I didn't know how to go about getting
her attention. There's no way I was going to knock on the door, not after this morning. I wasn't
going to be able to climb onto her roof this time, so I picked up a tiny rock instead. I was going to
have to do this the old fashioned way and fire a battery of tiny pebbles at her bedroom window
until she noticed and either came down or invited me up. I chucked the pebble at her softly lit
window. It hit with a plink, bouncing off the pane and landing on the roof. I waited. Nothing. Shit!
I searched for another small rock and threw it a little harder this time at her window and waited. I
was still staring at the window when the front door opened.
"Edward?" Bella was standing in the doorway, her slim silhouette illuminated by a dull light from the
living room. I walked over to the front door and taking her wrist in my hand, pulled her into my
chest, engulfing her petite stature and feeling every inch of her electricity pulsating against me.
Leaning down to press my nose into the indentation below her jaw, I inhaled her scent, just like I
had wanted to do to her that first day in Biology.
She was still wearing a ponytail and I brought my hands to her face, trailing my fingers down her
scalp and pulling the rubber band slowly down the length of her hair, allowing it to fall free around
her shoulders. I pulled my fingers through the strands, massaging the nape of her neck and slightly
pulling the hair away from the scalp. She closed her eyes, allowing her head to move with my
hands, and I watched her relax into my fingers.
With my hands on the back of her neck I brought her lips to mine, pressing into the plump pink
flesh, lightly sucking on her bottom lip and then pressing into it with my teeth. She inhaled
sharply, causing a wave of desire to guide my actions, and I slid my tongue out to touch hers,
sending out a few quick licks before truly entering her mouth and relishing in the flavor. Bella
tasted amazing, like peppermint, the fresh coolness invading my senses now, a hint of sweetness
on my taste buds. She pulled away slowly, placing a few lingering kisses on my lips before speaking.
"What are you doing here?" Bella folded her arms across her chest, wrapping the old flannel shirt
around her shoulders and concealing her tight little black tank top.

I shrugged my shoulders. "I just wanted to see you." Unable to control the impulse to touch her,
I brushed the now loose hair from her shoulders and face.
"Do you want to come inside?" she asked shyly, looking at her feet.
"Is that really a good idea? Won't Charlie be pissed?" I didn't think Charlie would like the idea of
his daughter entertaining a male visitor, especially after the debacle this morning.
"Doesn't matter. He's passed out in his room having Percocet-induced dreams. He'll never know."
Bella unfolded her arms and took my hand. "Come on, I'll show you my room." She pulled me into
the house. Little did she know I'd already seen her room, but the idea had a whole new
connotation now that I was invited. I followed her into the house, closing the door behind me. She
pulled me up the stairs and I couldn't help but watch her hips sway back and forth in her thin
sweatpants as she negotiated the steps. Her hair was falling in waves down her back and I had to
fight the compulsion to reach out and stroke it.
Still holding my hand, energy humming around us, she led me to her small bedroom. Again, I was
familiar with this room and had to feign novelty as she walked into the space. Her bed was littered
with various paperbacks, the books covering the purple bedspread and offering an indication as
to what Bella had been doing all day.
I sat on her bed as she dropped my hand. She stood in the middle of the room, gazing at me
intently. Under her scrutiny I suddenly felt awkward. What did she think I was expecting by
coming here tonight?
Trying to avoid my own thoughts, I picked up one of the books from the bed. I flipped through it,
not really reading but just thankful for the distraction. Bella came to sit by me. "It really is a
horrible story. The two characters do everything in their power to destroy each other, and even
in death, they can't be apart." I'd read this book. It really was a tragic story.
"Like a binary star system," I said, recalling an article I had read on the internet a while back.
Bella tilted her head questioning my analogy. "What's that?" she asked, taking the book from my hand
"Well, a binary star system is a solar system that has two stars," I began.
"Oh, like on Star Wars? On Tattooine, right? Where Luke lived?" Yes, and by the way I love you.
"Yeah, two stars, two suns, right! Anyway, in a binary star system, one star is usually dying and
the other star is healthy. The dying star is running out of fuel and begins to collapse upon itself,
becoming ever more dense. This smaller dead star feeds off the living star, literally pulling the fuel
into its own ultra dense core until nothing is left to be burned and you're left with a black hole. In
this book, the two characters are constantly trying to suck the life out of each other, and all that's
left at the end of this book is a black hole, a place in space that nothing can escape, not even their
children." Bella was staring at me incredulously now.
"And that's it then? They just die, these binary stars?" Bella asked, scooting to face me.
"Well, there are binary star systems that are healthy. Two stars formed in the same place in
space and therefore have the same elemental makeup. They orbit indefinitely, their mass holding
them together while the speed of the universe tries to rip them apart. Generally, they die at the
same time." Bella was fascinated, leaning in towards me now and intently gazing into my eyes.
I had a flash of a brilliant idea, something that I do often at home and just had a feeling Bella

would love.
"Do you want to look at the stars?" It had been a sunny day and the usual fog and cloud cover
never arrived until the early hours of the morning. Bella nodded a quick yes and I stood up and
grabbed the comforter off the bed, startling her. She finally stood up when she noticed what I
was trying to do.
Bella spoke first. "What, like now?" she asked me, grabbing her shoes and putting them on.
"Yup," I said, opening her window and climbing out onto the ledge. I held my hand out for her to take.
"Edward, this is a really bad idea," she said, thinking of how much higher than that brick wall this
was, I'd wager.
"Oh, come one, Bella. Don't you trust me?" I winked at her and reluctantly she let me pull her onto
the landing outside of her window. She shivered a bit as she stepped into the cool evening air,
but I wrapped the comforter around her shoulders and eased her onto the space of roof directly
next to her bedroom window. "See? You're perfectly safe."
Bella laid back onto the roof, opening the comforter and beckoning for me to lay with her. I
nuzzled into her side and she wrapped the comforter around the both of us. I could feel her heart
beating within the cocoon she had created for us and I placed a tiny kiss on her temple,
wrapping my arms around her and pulling her closer.
"Edward, I'mI don't knowshit. I don't even know what this is, you know? Between us. What is
it? What are we doing here?" Bella wanted a label.
"I don't know either, Bella," I said truthfully. "All I know is that if you are anywhere close to where
I am, I have to be near you. Like, if I'm not there with you, I'm missing out on something fucking
magical, you know? I can't explain it" I tried to convey meaning by sliding my hand down to her
hip, that same hip I gazed upon in lust that time when I came to watch her sleep, and I just
wanted to fucking own that hip.
Bella must have understood, because she turned on her side then and looked into my eyes.
Covetous and brimming, her lips slightly parted and her teeth came out to meet them.
"Edward, I've never.." She took a deep breath. "I'm still a you know, v-word."
"What, virgin?" She nodded, ashamed.
"Hey, well, that's just one more thing we have in common," I said, wanting to ease her discomfort.
Bella looked up and smiled a big-ass goofy grin. "Well, that's unexpected," she said.
I just shrugged my shoulders and turned into her. "See, we're the same. Binary stars and shit,
formed from the same elements."
Bella nodded, her breathing becoming whispered on my face as I pulled her lips to mine, forcing
every plane of her tiny being to make contact with mine. I tasted her tongue, the fleshy muscle
working in synchronization with mine, just fucking licking and tasting and pulsing right to my dick.
Holy fuck, this girl could kiss.
I felt her hands move to my chest, her lips pulling away from mine and she began peppering
kisses down my neck to my collarbone, her hands clutching the material and pulling it away,

continuing to kiss and lick beneath where the sweatshirt had been.
It felt so fucking good, her mouth on my skin, lingering in the spark that our touching elicited. I
wanted to return the favor, make her feel what I was feeling, so I brought her mouth to mine
again. More forcefully this time, I plunged my tongue into her mouth, intertwining and swirling. I
let my hands wander to her hips and I pulled her on top of me, rolling onto my back, and I was
sure by her gasp that she could feel my very obvious hard-on through the material of my jeans.
This was a sight to see, the wide sky spanning the distance in various gradients of dark, littered
with millions of stars, only interrupted by a heart-shaped face framed by wild and sprawling
tendrils. And then there were her eyes, lustful, her lids laying heavy across her pupils. She licked
her lips again and I reached up to pull her to me, kissing her neck and along her jaw, little nibbles
causing her to rock on my dick as she straddled my lap.
My hands wandered her sides, rubbing across her stomach just below her breasts. I wanted to
touch her everywhere but didn't know what would be appropriate a for late night, fucking cold,
put you on the spot make out session. I just kept licking, kissing her neck, her ear, her lips and
rubbing the material of her tank top into that poor spot directly under her breasts.
Our breathing heavy now, I heard her say, "Just fucking do it Edward," causing me to pause in
my adornment of affection.
"What did you say?" I asked her. I had to be mistaken.
"I said just do it. You can feel me up, it's okay. I know you want to, your hands have been like
right there for, like, the last twenty minutes. It's fucking torture!" She was matter of fact and to
the point. She wanted me to grope the shit out of her.
I'm not one to complain, so I dove back into this girl, my lips on her neck again, nipping at her
jaw, my hand slowly traveling up her side to palm her breast. She wasn't wearing a bra again and
the material of her thin tank top allowed me to feel her already hard nipple precisely. At this
contact she rocked again, forcing her weight against my dick and causing the most painfully
splendid friction. I moaned into her neck and found her lips once again. I sucked her mouth into
mine, enveloping her lips in a wave of heat and electricity, and I slid my fingers into the neckline
of her tank. I pulled the neckline down to expose her breasts and leaned back to look at her in this
Fucking amazing, the vision of this girl, straddling my lap, her hands clutching and groping the
troublesome sweatshirt I was wearing, her full lips swollen with lust and her hair a wicked tangle
of waves just flying out every which way, some falling against the milky white skin of her
shoulders and halfway hiding the small rosy nipples and the flesh of her dainty breasts. I brushed
the hair back allowing my fingers to graze the buds before grasping both of her breasts
forcefully, causing her head to fall slightly back and to the side in pleasure.
She let out a throaty moan and I had to have more. The pressure was building in my dick and I
wanted her to get me off, but I didn't think it polite to just come right out and ask, so I focused on
her instead. I continued to thrust my hand across her chest, rolling her nipple between my
fingers and gently tugging on the hardened piece of flesh. I licked her neck and ear lobe and she
moved with more ferocity now, rocking her hips back and forth, rubbing her pussy against my hard
dick, which was just fucking pulsating now, desperate in the pursuit of that cosmic climax. I let my
hands grasp her hips tightly, offering my assistance in providing that friction, and she wrapped
her arms around my neck, snaking her hands into my hair and grasping the strands tightly,
breathing heavily into my mouth.

Fuck, I wanted to see her come so bad. Just then Bella pulled my face into her chest and I licked
her nipple, sending her head rolling back and letting a low curse slip from her lips. She pressed my
face harder into her chest and I sucked the flesh into my mouth, flicking with my tongue, causing
her hips to increase in speed. And then, as she pulled my head back to stick her tongue in my
mouth, I fucking came in my pants, fucking white lights and spots and dizziness. I probably looked
like a complete moron, but fuck, like hell if I was going to try to hold back from something like that.
I pulled her down onto my lap hard, just grinding into her as my dick twitched with bliss. And in
that moment, she must have had her own white lights and spots and dizziness because she
convulsed, arching her back and clutching the back of my neck, her nails digging into the skin. It
was so fucking amazing I wanted to cry. But because I had already cried once today in front of this
girl I restrained, instead placing tiny kisses all over Bella's shoulders and neck as she came down
from her orgasm induced high. I readjusted her tank top and looked at her liquid eyes. She was
beaming something fierce, just happy as fucking sin. I loved that I had made her feel this way,
that I could offer somebody something more than pain or resistance. I kissed the tip of her nose
and she shifted off of my lap, curling into my side, her little face burrowing into my chest. Bella
Swan was my elemental match, formed in the same region of space, and I was intent on pulling
her into my orbit indefinitely.
Okay, how was that? Was that good for you?? It's my first so be gentle
Joni songs referenced:
All I Want
Judgment of the Moon and Stars
Raised on Robbery
Chinese Caf/Unchained Melody
And yes, I'm a Star Wars fan...and apparently so are E & B!!
Review my dears!

Chapter: 9
We're taking shit back to the old school, well, because I'm an old fool...
You guys are brilliant! There is such a kinship amongst these readers, I feel like we're all just
hanging out in a swanky bar, drinking and smoking and just enjoying the shit out of good
conversation! Maybe it's because we have virtual drinks at Rehab...I don't know but I thank you
for that my dears!
and beta phenom and my favorite fucking dag, n7of9, my most exquisite
conversationalist...thank you for inspiration beyond belief...you're LJ page alone is necessary in
the composing of lemons, adorned with robporn and just fricking beautiful man!! (I'm giggling at my
ellipses and sponging!!!)
And all you lovelies that voted for this little diddy in the Indie Twifics...AMAZING! I'm stunned
because this story has made it to the final round of voting! It's nominated in the category Best
Use of Music as Inspiration WIP...If you're loving the Joni, vote for it bbs! (Link is on my profile page)
All Bella this time...
CH. 9- "And the Sparks Started Flying"
How did I get here? How is this even happening? A week ago I was packing my entire life into a
suitcase and boarding a plane, broken and sad and completely alone.
I peeked up, tilting my head back so I could fully see. Yep, he was still here and yep, he was still
Edward fucking Cullen, all green-eyed, gorgeous and tangled up in my legs and arms on my small bed
We'd stayed on the roof until the hostile haze of Forks coated us in a fine mist, dampening the
comforter and causing me to shiver, despite being wrapped in that warm, warm body. I had
suggested we move inside when my fingers went numb and I couldn't feel Edward's skin anymore.
I had hidden my hands under the warmth of his sweatshirt, dragging my fingers up and down his
sides trying to find a ticklish spot, all to no avail. We had talked about music and movies, pop
culture shit that doesn't really matter but stuff people are intent to define themselves by. I had
learned that he had an eclectic mix of musical mantras ranging from classic rock to more modern
alternative, and occasionally dabbling in the world of lyrical hip hop. I explained my obsession with
all things Joni and was surprised to learn he was familiar with my most cherished poetic genius.
We talked about politics and social tribulations, agreeing on most issues and sparring on others,
debating the disruptions plaguing the future of our society. I reveled in his ability to concisely and
logically express his opinion, almost swaying my conviction at one pointalmost. He talked about
the stars, constellations and nebulas, just fucking blowing my mind with the shit he had bottled up
in that beautiful brain of his.
Then there was the, well, what would I call that mystical display of sexual energy that we
experienced on the roof? I mean, oh my fucking God! I had been felt up once or twice in my life
and I had been pretty sure I'd almost had an orgasm those times, but I had been sorely, sorely
mistaken. I had never been truly groped before tonight. The way Edward's hands touched my

body was a unique, ethereal experience. The electric impulse still radiated in my body, his
presence lingering and leaving me craving that shock again. And his mouth, holy sweet Jesus, his
mouth! When he licked my nipple, I swear I thought I was going to pass out. The fact that he
even paid any attention to my chest left me in awe. The care and attention that he took, rubbing
and kissing and licking, made me feeland I know it sounds ridiculously cheesy, but he made me
feel womanly. My body is so not sexy, flat and static, a most unfeminine figure, and I never
really thought I could be sexually attractive to a guy. There is nothing about me that is womanly,
I mean, I didn't even have a period anymore for Christ's sake. Knowing his touch and how it had
affected me and knowing it affected him, knowing he found me desirable despite all my feminine
shortcomings, offered me a chance to bask in confidence and sexuality, something I had never
experienced before. All because he fucking groped me. "And I feel like I'm just being born"
Then there was the grinding and blinding, his entire being a conduit of encouragement, guiding my
body in the search for gratification. I wanted to feel every inch of him against me, I wanted to
show him exactly how he made me feel, and I just wanted to fucking shred that barrier of
material between us. I was afraid that would scare him and I really didn't want the sensation
swelling between my legs to go away, even for the seconds it would have taken for clothing
removal, so I just pressed and rocked against him, feeling him quiver beneath me as he dug his
fingers into my hips, and moaned in satisfaction until I couldn't see anymore and my toes and
fingers were tingling and dizziness consumed me. It was better than any high I'd ever had,
greater than any satisfaction I'd ever gotten from purging or abstaining from food. It was a truly
life altering experience knowing that I could cause this reaction in a person, that a person could
satiate this need in me, nourish me in a whole new way and feed my very soul with carnal
delicacies. I instantly ached for more than the appetizer we had shared last night.
It was now three forty-three in the morning and the residual sleep debt from the previous night
was beginning to weigh on my eyelids. Edward was stroking my hair gently, twisting and curling
the strands around his fingers, a lullaby of listless lucidity causing chills of relaxation and euphoria
to spread across my scalp and down my neck. His damp sweatshirt now tossed on my floor, I
traced the pronounced veins of his arm over the long, sinewy, developed muscles, pressing gently
on his pulse points and pausing only to place tiny kisses on his skin. He was going to have to leave
soon, before Charlie woke up and before his family would notice his absence, but I selfishly
remained silent in an attempt to keep him here with me.
Edward softly grasped my hand and brought it to his lips, kissing my palm and wrist. He sighed and
shifted underneath me and I knew the end was near, so I snuggled my face deeper into his chest,
reaching to wrap my arms around him in desperation, his aroma enriching the air around me and
actually causing my mouth to water with desire. Holy fuck, I have got it bad!
He chuckled softly at my futile attempt and gently slid off the bed, pulling me halfway up with him.
"Carlisle's going to be up soon," he stated, shoving his hands in his pockets after smoothing his
hair a couple of times. I sat up on the bed and crossed my legs beneath me, a pathetic portrait of
indignation as I fought to restrain my psychotic urges of clingification.
"I know," I said, pouting and stifling a yawn. I didn't know how to say goodbye and every particle
in my body was screaming in protest. Edward must have sensed my reluctance because honestly,
I really wasn't trying to hide it. He walked over to me and pulled up me from the bed, gently
folding me against his body, moving my hair from my neck and whispering in my ear.
"I don't want to go, Bella." His hot breath in my ear and on my neck had me envisioning his lips
and tongue. He let his lips press into the space below my ear and then continued the soft
adornments down my neck, removing his hands from my waist and bringing them up to run his
thumbs from my collarbones to my shoulders. He continued to graze the skin of my neck and

shoulders with his lips, slightly parting them and applying a small amount of suction and quite
literally making my legs shake and tingle. His hands moved back to my neck, his fingers taking long
strokes, massaging the back of my shoulders and up into my hair and the back of my head, as he
gazed into my eyes. My breathing accelerated and I was practically panting, that tormenting ache
coiling between my hips, the energy spiraling deep in my core. Shit, if my body was reacting this
way to just his hands in my hair and his lips on my neck, I couldn't wait to feel his hands in other,
lower, more sensitive areas. There was no way in hell I was going to be able to let him leave now.
Edward placed a small, innocent kiss on my forehead before dropping his hands from my hair and
turning to leave the room. What the hell is he doing?
"Edward? What the hell do you think you are doing?" I said in annoyance. He turned, a little
bewildered by my tone.
"I'm going home. Carlisle will be pissed if he wakes up and I'm not there." Edward's brow was
heavy, confusion evident in his expression.
I felt like a total idiot, acting all obsessive and crazy. What the hell is wrong with you, Bella? Of
course he had to go home. My mind was trying to be rational but my chest clenched at the
thought of him leaving me.
I tried to salvage any shred of dignity I could muster. "Well, you didn't say goodbye," I said,
trying not to expose the pitiful tears that were welling beneath my lids. I was mainly embarrassed
that I'd nearly made such an ass out of myself, but a small part of the tears were in tribute to the
loss of his company. I tried to tell myself it was just because I was tired, which was kind of true,
or because of my argument with Charlie, which was also kind of true. In reality a small part of me
was petrified that if Edward left he wouldn't ever come back and all of this, the roof, the kisses,
the stars, all of it would just disappear.
Edward smiled, his lips forming a slanted crevice and his eyes creased in amusement. He walked
back over to me, taking my hand and bringing it to his lips, placing a lingering kiss on the back of it
in a very gentlemanly gesture.
"I know," he said, not offering any reasoning. Well, that was a shit answer. I just waited, pulling
my hand from his and placing both hands on my hips, the universal sign for explain now please.
He smiled again, his eyes fixated on my hands as he took them from my hips. He looked up,
dazzling green bombarding right through me. "Bella, I just can't say goodbye to you. Don't
make me do it, okay? I'm just going to go home and pretend that I'm still with you, like maybe
you're just in the other room or something. And when I think of something funny I want to tell you
or if I need to see your pretty little face, I'll just find you. Is that okay?"
I could only nod a quick yes, my voice apparently having vacated the building.
"Okay. We have an understanding. No goodbyes allowed." Edward wrapped his arms around my
waist and burrowing his face into my shoulder, reassurance evident in his body language. He
wanted me to know he was being honest and sincere. He turned his head and kissed my neck,
lingering to take a breath, and then released me as he turned and walked out the door.
I thought about following him down the stairs and to the front door but I decided that was
something you would do if you were saying goodbye, and I wasn't, because he had asked me not
to. After I heard the front door open and close gently, I rushed to my window and watched
Edward walk to his car. He glanced up at my room, smiling and shaking his head, and I had to
smile too because despite my best efforts, I was in, one hundred percent in. Self preservation

didn't stand a chance against soul mates.

I awoke way too early on Sunday morning, my head pounding from the lack of sleep, and I was
just fucking freezing. My comforter lay on the floor, damp and discarded, a shell of a reminder of
what had transpired last night. I rubbed my eyes, yawning and causing them to water, my neck
and back stiff from dreamless and motionless sleep. I looked for further evidence that Edward
was indeed in my room last night and that we had indeed blurred that careful line between friends
and lovers. I scanned the floor looking for something tangible. Shit, my room was a mess. I was
going to need to spend some time tidying up this barrage of belongings, maybe even finally
unpacking my suitcase, before I even thought about inviting Edward back up to my room.
I walked into the hall intent on using the restroom and could hear a familiar voice downstairs. I
stopped at the top of the stairs to listen for confirmation. Eavesdropping was a skill I was quickly
becoming well acquainted with.
"I'm glad to see you're up and moving around, Charlie. Stagnation is the quickest way to delay
recovery. Are you sleeping upstairs or down here?" Dr. Cullen was either on or by the couch, I
think. His voice was full of concern and caution, questioning Charlie but trying not to pry.
"I had been sleeping upstairs but I think I'm gonna post up here on the couch from now on. In
case I have any more visitors." Charlie's words were thick with implication and I wasn't sure which
visitors he was referring to. I waited for Dr. Cullen to respond, just eager as all hell to hear even
the tiniest hint of what might have been discussed in the Cullen household.
"That would be fine, better even. You shouldn't be using the stairs continuously for at least 6
weeks. Going up and down once in a while is okay, but you need to stay either up or down." Dr.
Cullen was all business and I scoffed at his reluctance to spill. I heard the medical equipment being
shifted around and thought I recognized the scribbling of pen on paper.
"So, how have you been doing with that list I gave you?" Dr. Cullen asked casually.
I could hear Charlie shifting on the soft couch, the springs groaning beneath his weight. "I'm doing
just find with my list."
Dr. Cullen sighed slightly, "I see you got dressed today, that's a great start. Have you started
making any lures? That used to be a hobby of yours, right?"
"Hmph! I don't even have the stuff I need to make a decent lure." Charlie was pouting, I could
almost visualize his massive arms crossed over his paunchy chest in defiance.
"Have you talked to Bella? Maybe she can help you with this. It could be something you could do
together." Dr. Cullen was grasping here. Fat chance doc!
Charlie was silent for an awkward amount of time, Dr. Cullen just sitting and waiting for his
response. During the quiet I spread out on the floor, laying on my stomach on the landing,
pressing my cheek into the cool wood floor and just begging for them to say anything.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Charlie spoke. "Bella doesn't want anything to do
with me, Carlisle. And can you blame her really?"
The admission stung with contradiction, the underlying inference not yet alluded to. What did
Charlie think was the reasoning behind my little emotional outburst yesterday? I thought I had

been pretty clear in my words, using just the right amount of profanities for emphasis.
To my extreme surprise Dr. Cullen answered Charlie's rhetorical question, "No, Charlie, I can't
blame her. She's probably going through a tough thing here. It's hard to be a teenager in a new
place with a father she barely knows. Now, I'm not going to pretend that I know anything about
this situation, but I do know that children need their parents, even when they think they don't,
even when they tell you they don't. Even as they're spitting in your face, ignorant of every
sacrifice that you've made with their well-being in mind, children still need their parents. Be a
parent, Charlie."
Charlie didn't respond right away, probably debating whether or not to address the
confrontation. It dawned on me that Charlie was a walking paradox, the way he shied away from
conflict, yet spent his professional career in a world of interrogation and turmoil.
Speaking in a low voice, Charlie finally responded, "We had an argument, Carlisle, and I couldn't
deal with her like that. The way she fired back at me, the fury glowing in those eyes, just
reminded me of a different pair of brown eyes, a different time, a different dark haired girl. But it
was disappointment all the same."
My breath caught in my chest, reproach consuming my previous irritation. He was equating me
with my mother. Disgust burned in my face, my eyes welling with tears, because that woman was
everything that annoyed the shit out of me. She was self-serving and weak, choosing to fulfill
her own needs before anyone else's. Nobody came before Renee, not even me. She was the
worst possible role model for a girl, the ultimate personification of passive aggressive
superficiality and the fucking queen of guilt trips - and I was apparently just like her. No wonder
he wouldn't fight back. In his relationship with my mother he was invariably resigned to defeat.
Why should it be any different with me?
"I understand that would be difficult Charlie, but it's time to put that torch out. It's time to focus
on your daughter rather than your ex-wife. I think that mending this relationship will be very
beneficial to your recovery," Dr. Cullen offered.
Charlie sighed, a deep breath exhaling so loudly I could hear him from the top of the stairs. "I
think she may be seeing your nephew, Edward. Did you know about this?"
Oh, fuck. I prayed to God that Dr. Cullen was cool and wouldn't spill about the debauched
condition he had found me in.
Dr. Cullen chuckled, "I had some inclination. I mean, he made her crepes. He hardly ever makes
crepes. How do you know they're seeing each other?"
"I caught them in a compromising position on the porch yesterday when he brought her home."
Charlie spat the words maliciously. Shit, this was so fucking embarrassing, the two of them
discussing my love life like a couple of gossipy old women.
"Hmmm. Well, what do you think about this partnership?" Dr. Cullen was playing the mediator.
"I don't like it. I don't like that she's been here a week and already she's got boys bringing her
home after staying out all night. She's only seventeen and I don't want to see her plucked off the
vine. I don't want to see her make the same mistakes as her mother." He paused, apparently
relieved from the freedom of the verbal purge.
Plucked off the vine? What was I, a fucking squash?

Charlie continued, his thoughts flowing without interruption. "I don't like it that he had the nerve
to kiss her on my front porch without even taking her on a proper date. Well, I'm assuming that
of course, because Bella sure as shit wouldn't tell me something like that, but if he's going to kiss
my daughter he should at least have to decency to stop in and shake my hand first.
"And I just don't know about that boy, Carlisle. It seems to me he likes trouble, he's not your
average kid. There's something off about him, isn't there? I know he's your nephew, but he's
been through a lot and people don't go through something like that without dealing with some
trauma." I guessed Charlie was talking about the death of Edward's parents.
Dr. Cullen cleared his throat, "Charlie, this is where I have to intervene, because while I can
appreciate your concerns, I cannot let you go on with these pretences about my nephew."
I was practically crawling down the stairs now, my curiosity overwhelming my need for stealth.
"Edward has been dealt a hard hand, Charlie. He's had to endure things you yourself have
probably only read about in police reports. And still, he remains a constant source of comfort for
our family, nourishing our needs over his and cultivating strength and goodness in his every
action. I'm not denying that his past has left a scar, but he's healing too Charlie. It's just that,
I've seen a change in him the last couple of days, a good change. I'm thinking Bella might have
had something to do with that. I think they might be good for each other." Dr. Cullen shifted in his
seat, the coil springs singing under his shifting weight.
Charlie exhaled a noisy breath again, clearing his throat slightly. "Well, I'll be expecting Edward
to be making some proper advances concerning thisrelationship." He voiced the word like a
derogatory term and I could practically see his lips pursing at the bitterness. "Like taking her on a
proper date, somewhere niceand he should get her flowers."
This last command caused the tears dancing on the verge of expulsion to spill over the brim,
streams of salty remorse trailing across my face as I lay with my cheek pressed to the floor,
running down to the tip of my nose, puddling under my cheek and seeping into my hair. I had
never heard Charlie speak of me with suchconcern, like he really fucking gave a damn. I didn't
know why he wasn't able to look at me or talk to me, but his concern over this boy was the tiny
inclination that I needed to hear. Maybe I wasn't invisible to Charlie after all. Maybe he even liked
me a little. Maybe.
I'm sure they continued to discuss this fucking shithole of a situation we were in, but I didn't want
to hear anything else, the fear of Charlie's rejection once again dissipating the hope that now
filled my head and motivating me to move away from my meddlesome monitoring of their conversation
I went into the bathroom and shut the door with an obvious slam so they would know I was
awake. I stood at the sink, allowing the water from the faucet to get warm before I splashed my
face and washed away any trace of the compunctious crying. I quickly brushed my teeth and ran
a comb through my raveled hair, the snarls and knots proving a pain in the ass, so much so that I
eventually gave up and tied the twisted mess up into a bun. Ugh, I needed a shower badly, the
night's umresidue, still lingering in my clothing, but I was eager to see if Charlie would talk to me
today. We hadn't spoken since yesterday, after my tirade I had locked myself in my room with
my books, immersing myself in imaginary lands and languages, but now I wanted to set things right.
I bumbled my way down the stairs, giving the direct impression that I was approaching, hoping
they would get the hint and shut up about all the relationship shit. I peeked into the living room as
I approached the first floor and, finding it empty, I walked into the kitchen. Dr. Cullen and Charlie
were seated at the kitchen table drinking tea and discussing the latest trade rumor for some
various sports team. They both looked up at me when I entered the room.

"Good morning," I said, trying not to let the fact that I had been snooping in on their conversation
show in my conduct.
Charlie cleared his throat, "Umgood morning Bella." Well, we had to start somewhere. I got a
glass from the cupboard and filled it with some water from the tap.
"Nice to see you again, Bella," Dr. Cullen addressed me, paranoia creeping into my carriage.
Please don't let him mention the alcohol-induced concussion
"Hi Dr. Cullen," I mumbled, taking a drink of my water.
"Please, call me Carlisle. We're all acquainted here, right?" He sipped his hot tea and I understood
the lurking connotation of his remark. Hopefully this meant he wasn't going to rat me out.
"Okay, Carlisle," I said, taking another drink of my water before emptying the cup and placing it in
the sink.
"So, um, Carlisle, how's Charlie's recovery coming? I mean, is there anything I can do to help?" It
was a small offering, my interest and concern, but I was hoping it would be one that Charlie
would appreciate. I mean, I was going out on a fucking limb here, the rejection of my pastina from
the other night still a fresh wound to my ego.
Charlie paused mid-sip and darted his eyes to mine for the briefest moment, faltering in his
apathetic faade for just an instant, an instant that strengthened my eagerness to show regard
for his healing.
"Well, how do you feel Charlie? Do you feel like your recovery is going well?" Carlisle put Charlie
on the spot and it was obvious Charlie did not like this.
"Hmph, sure, I guess." The return of the one word answers.
"O-kay," I said sarcastically. I was getting pretty sick of these stupid games. I care, I don't care,
maybe I care a little bitit was ridiculously absurd that a grown man felt the need to play
hard-to-get with his fucking kid.
Charlie and Carlisle both looked up at me then, surprised by my tone.
"What?" I asked, ready to defend myself. "This is insane. I can't get a straight answer out of
either of you. Will someone just tell me what to do to help? Maybe I'll do something right for a
change if I don't have to guess at what is expected of me." I almost said the f-word like five times
but refrained. I didn't want to be a trash mouth in front of Carlisle.
Carlisle opened his mouth to speak but the phone cut him off. Neither one of them acted like they
were going to answer it so I picked up the receiver, feeling a tad out of place answering Charlie's phon
"Hello?" I said into the receiver.
"Bella?" A familiar soprano voice emanated from the handset.
"Alice? Hey, what's up?" I asked, confusion plain in my tone.
"Hey! So, how are you?" Alice was being polite, our last conversation probably still fresh in her
memory. She had actually been really great about it, despite the way the conversation had

ended. She could have made me confess everything to her, she could have pushed and pried
until I eventually gave in and spilled it all, but she didn't, and I loved her for recognizing that I
needed to come to terms with thisillness on my own. Any help right now would be futile because
I was not in a place where I could just give it up. I didn't know how to be without it. I didn't know if
I could be without it, my body sometimes reacting without my consent. I had some shit to work
out, for sure, but I couldn't do it under pressure and I wasn't ready to do it with an audience.
"I'mconflicted." I wanted to be honest and I didn't think there was an adjective out there to
sum up the horde of emotions I had been through in the last twenty-four hours. Conflicted would
have to suffice.
"Ah, yes. That makes perfect sense. I can see how a person in your position would be conflicted
today." I could almost hear her smirking over the phone. "So, are you in love with my brother yet
or what?"
"Jesus, Alice, I've only known him a week." I blushed at the thought of her brother and love in
the same sentence. Those were some pretty heavy words right there, a weight I wasn't ready or
even capable of carrying yet. I glanced over my shoulder at Carlisle and Charlie who were silent
now, obviously listening to my conversation. I turned so that my back was to them so I could more
efficiently muffle my voice. "Why, what did he say?" I added pathetically.
"Nothing, Bella!" Alice laughed into the receiver. "The attraction was just so horribly obvious."
"Yeah, yeah, I'm an open book," I retorted, cynicism tainting the all too true words.
Alice continued to giggle, and I smiled a little too.
"Okay, I had a reason for calling, I promise," Alice said in between breaths. "Um, this is going to
sound weird, but when's your birthday?"
"Why?" I asked, suspiciously.
Alice sighed into the phone, "Just tell me, it's for research."
"Um, okay, September 13th," I told her.
"A Virgo, huh? That's interestingwhat time?" Alice continued.
"What do you mean, what time?" What the hell was Alice talking about? I was starting to worry
about what little Miss Cullen had up her sleeve.
"What time were you born?" Alice asked, exasperated. How the hell was I supposed to know
that's what she meant?
"Shit, I don't know Alice." I wasn't about to call Renee. I really wasn't in the mood for storytelling
and there's no way I could tell her about what was going on here in Forks.
"Well, ask Charlie," Alice pressed. I glanced over my shoulder again. Charlie and Carlisle looked
perplexed and I almost laughed at their matching expressions. I seriously doubted Charlie would
know what time I was born.
"Um, I don't think that's going to work." I was hoping she'd take the hint and drop it.
Of course, Alice didn't drop it. "Why won't that work? Let me talk to him, I'll ask if you're too

chicken," she said.

"Alice, just drop it okay? This really isn't a good time," I said in a hurried whisper, hoping my
audience wouldn't get suspicious. It was difficult to hide my tone though, and the next time I
glanced over my shoulder Carlisle was giving me questioning expression.
"Bella, is there a problem with Alice?" Carlisle was concerned.
"Hold on Alice," I said, pulling the phone from my ear. "No, Alice just wants to know what time I
was born for some inane reason she won't divulge, but I don't know and she won't let it go."
"5:49 in the morning." Charlie was staring into his cup of tea. My head whipped around to look at
him, utter shock apparent in my expression.
"It was a Tuesday. I know because I was working dispatch when I got the call from your mom."
Charlie turned his gaze to the kitchen window and glared at the pane.
It took me a moment to remember that Alice was still on the phone. I put the receiver to my ear.
"5:49 in the morning Alice."
"Bella, what's wrong? Are you okay?" Alice's questioning faded as I watched Charlie watching
the window.
"Yeah. I'm good, Alice," I said, still dumbfounded that Charlie had remembered those details for so
long. "Um, I have to go. I'll see you at school tomorrow."
"Okay, I gotcha. Is Carlisle still there?" Alice asked.
"Yeah, do you want to talk to him?" I responded, focusing on Carlisle now.
"Yeah, let me talk to him," Alice said. I handed Carlisle the receiver and glanced again at Charlie
who refused to meet my eyes.
I left the kitchen to retreat to my bedroom, deciding that conflicted was a very appropriate word
for how I was feeling today. I was so confused. Why would Charlie act so awful but then worry
about me staying out late and kissing a boy? Why would Charlie ignore my existence but then
suggest that Edward get me flowers and take me on a real date? Why would Charlie forget about
me for seven years, but remembered the time I was born? Charlie was rich in contradiction, full of
unsolved puzzles which fostered perplexing conclusions.
I began to clean up my room, gathering the dirty clothes and creating a pile of filth in the
otherwise tidy space. As I was pulling clothes from beneath my bed I noticed Edward's sweatshirt,
still folded from this morning. I instantly brought it to my face, sucking in the summery scent
greedily. I pulled the sweatshirt over my head. Yeah, I needed to wash it, the smell of slight
mildew and mist coating the material, but it reminded me of Edward's lips on my neck and his
fingers in my hair. I shivered as the ghost of his touch grazed over my skin, giving me goosebumps.
I heard the familiar cry of a strained vehicle barreling down the street. What the hell? I quickly
moved to the window just in time to see my truck pulling into the driveway. Edward got out of the
driver side door as I heard the front door slam, and a moment later Carlisle walked out to meet
him but Edward ran past him and up to the front door, I was assuming, and then back down to
Carlisle's black Mercedes on the street.
Edward looked up at my window then, his taunting lips curled in a grin, and got into the passenger

seat of the big black car. Carlisle took the driver's seat and the Mercedes pulled away from the
curb and headed down the street.
Well, this just added to my horribly conflicted mood. I mean, it was incredibly sweet of him to
bring me my truck, not to mention extremely convenient considering I really had no other way of
getting it, but my ego throbbed at the fact that he didn't even come in to at least say hi or maybe
kiss or touch me a little.
I just sighed, trying to silence that obsessive crazy person lurking just beneath the surface, dying
to pick up the phone and call Edward, but it had only been, like, eight hours since I had seen him.
I could survive a whole day without him, right? Stifling the urge, I continued to clean my room,
showered, did laundry, read my books, intent on busying my mind and trying not to think of
school tomorrow. I didn't know what to expect, what Edward would want to disclose about our
relationship or if he wanted to disclose anything at all. It was the worst form of torture, going
over every possible scenario in my head and determining my course of action for each of them.
It was awful, the anticipation seeping into my every thought as I lay down that night to sleep,
eager for the morning and the answers it would bring. I just hoped they were the answers I could
live with.

As I drove through the misty fog to school I gave myself a little pep talk, reminding myself that
Edward Cullen was not the center of the universe and that I would be perfectly fine with him
pretending that nothing had happened this weekend. It was all lies of course, completely false
statements my sense of self preservation had conjured up in an attempt to function normally. It
took me a ridiculously long time to get ready this morning, I had showered, shaving my legs
meticulously, then debated my attire and which hair style would be most appealing, as if any of
this really had any bearing on anything. I mean, I don't think anyone had ever been denied soul
mate status based upon what they were wearing. This thought helped me decide on some black
pants and one of the t-shirts at my disposal. I kept my hair down though, just in case my most
desirable scenario played out and Edward would want to run his long fingers through it again.
I had grabbed an apple and my coat on my way out the door, intent on not embarrassing myself
with antics of the unconscious nature because I was calorie deprived. I ate the apple slowly, my
body quickly absorbing the nutritional necessity and causing a slight discomfort in my gut, but
nothing that I couldn't live with.
I scanned the parking lot as I pulled into the school, the silver Volvo already in place. Shit! I took
a couple of deep breaths, nervous as all hell and practically hyperventilating. Get a grip, Bella!
Pull yourself together!
I parked the truck a few spaces from Edward's car and killed the engine. I put my head on the
steering wheel, trying to compose my nerves. Maybe the apple was a bad idea, my stomach was
churning with apprehension. I was trying to settle my nerves when a loud rap on my window
caused me to jump.
Shit! I rolled down the window. Jasper was leaning against the side of my truck, dapper in his
vintage threads and chewing a toothpick, effectively displaying his carefully articulated retro persona.
"Shit, Jasper! What the hell? You scared the crap out of me!" Jasper leaned into my truck, placing
his folded arms on the windowless door.
"Sorry doll, I'm in a bit of a rush. Occupational hazard, you dig?" Jasper grinned at me, his
toothpick pushed to one side, and raised his eyebrows. A small baggie containing thirty or so brown

pills dropped from his clenched hand to his fingers, his hand hanging low inside the window. In all
the excess of activity I had found myself immersed in this weekend, I had totally forgotten about
asking Jasper for pills.
"Oh!" I was surprised. I really hadn't expected him to come through, especially now that Alice was
so well informed. "Cool. Um, what's the cost?" I asked, taking the bag from his fingers. My
monetary situation was quickly becoming a dilemma. I mean, I had never had tons of cash at my
disposal, but I had never really gone without. With Charlie, I just didn't feel comfortable taking
his money, it being just another method of nourishment I was intent on denying.
"No cost. Consider it repayment, for keeping our courtship copasetic. Alice seems to think it's best
this way." Jasper looked away, leaning slightly away from the truck.
"Right, no problem. We all have our secrets, right?" I mumbled, the pills weighing heavily in my
hand. "What's the dosage?"
"Thirty milligrams, XR. Don't take more than two in a twenty-four hour period. I'm sure you know
all the grisly details concerning side effects. You seem well-informed." Jasper turned to eye me
carefully, his expression revealing some sort of inner conflict.
I rolled my eyes at his concern, "No worries, I'm not looking for a fix. I just need to focus, you know."
"Right." Jasper nodded in agreement. "Just, be careful. You kind of matter to people that matter
to me." Since when did drug deals come with warning labels? As if I didn't feel guilty enough as it was.
"Does Alice know thatyou know?" I was having a hard time using the words now that Jasper had
acted all worried and shit, like I was doing something wrong.
"Not yet. But you know Alice, she doesn't stay in the dark long." Jasper smiled at the thought of his
girl, this small gesture so telling as to the depth of their relationship.
I nodded in agreement. "Yeah, she's pretty incredible." I felt like a total shithead, the pills becoming
salt in a gaping wound.
"Yes she is." Jasper pulled away from the window. "Well, see you around, Bella."
Before I could respond, Jasper shoved his hands in his pocket and took off across the parking lot.
I threw the pills in my bag. There's no way I could take them now, not after that conversation. I
thought about flushing them, to relieve my own discomfort, but it seemed like an awful big waste.
And there was always the chance that I might need them at some pointI decided it best to hold
onto them, just in case.
I grabbed my tote bag and got out of my truck, slamming the door and as I turned I collided with a
tall, slim body, warm honey assaulting my discernment. "Shit!" I exclaimed, as strong arms gently
righted my position, holding me into a snug embrace. What was this, startle the hell out of Bella day?
But the position I found myself in was definitely part of the most desirable scenario I had
concocted for today. I looked up to find Edward's emeralds glittering and creased in concern. The
stitches on his cheek had been removed, a small bandage over the cut instead, the bruises
yellowing and almost indiscernible now. His reddish brown waves were freshly washed and still
damp from his morning shower. Edward smelled so damn good, a mixture of soap and spice, his
scent more potent to me from its absence. I wanted to taste him, licking my lips in anticipation, a
coy grin playing on my lips. He recognized my desire and leaned down to place a delicate, muted
kiss on my lips. Not enough, my brain was screaming, but I had only begun to assess this

situation. "He's my sunshine in the morning, he's my fireworks at the end of the day"
"Hi," he said quietly, searching my expression.
"Hey," I replied, not quite sure how comfortable Edward was with public displays of affection. He
still hadn't released me, his arms snug around my middle. I tested the waters, bringing my hand to
his chest, smoothing over the firm muscle and running my hand up his neck and into his hair,
massaging his nape as he had done for me. His eyes fluttered closed, a small smile forming on his
lips. I gripped the back of his neck more firmly and brought his mouth to mine, kissing him deeply
this time, licking his lip before gently entering his mouth fully. He quickly matched my eagerness
with fervor, twirling and pivoting his tongue around mine, a pirouette of intensity. He pulled me
closer, weaving his hand into the length of my hair and pressing me into his chest, his other hand
coming up to cradle my face, his fingers sprawling to clutch my jaw, and just fucking swallowing me up
Coming back to coherency I realized we were still standing in the parking lot, which was now
crawling with students. I tried to pull away slightly, finding myself locked into this position by
Edward's unyielding grip. His reluctance to release me sent a frenzy of electric excitement
spiraling between my legs and I groaned instinctively into his mouth.
Edward pulled away, panting and staring wide-eyed at my face, his gaze skipping across my
features. He brought both hands to my face now, smoothing my cheeks with his thumbs and
kissing me sweetly, a delicate peck on the lips and then one on the tip of my nose.
"Fuck Bella, I don't know if we can do this in public. We might get arrested. I mean, that had to
be obscenely indecent," Edward muttered, wrapping his arms around me once more.
"Hmm, obscenely indecent, huh? Yeah, that's awesome." Self control was getting more difficult
to channel the closer I got to Edward. It seemed there was an inverse correlation between
proximity and restraint.
Edward chuckled and released his grip, causing me to frown at the disconnect. He placed his arm
around my shoulder instead, leading me onto campus. "May I walk you to class, Miss Swan?" he
asked in a very gentlemanly voice, his decorum smoldering and reminiscent of one of my
nineteenth century novels.
"Of course. If you didn't, I'd be wicked pissed." I smiled, glad to offset his formal cadence. We
walked onto campus and I swear you would have thought we were humping right there in the
quad the way people were staring. Apparently, Edward was a hot commodity among the ladies
because I was getting fucking death threats in the form of glares as he walked me to class.
"What class do you get to suffer through this morning?" he asked me as we walked through the campu
"Um, English," I answered hesitantly. "Yeah, I have Jessica Stanley in this class."
"Of course you do," he responded, his voice dry and sarcastic. I suddenly felt very apprehensive
about Jessica and how she was going to react to this. I mean, I was going to have to deal with
her in Spanish also, and it was obvious in her actions at the party Friday night that she could be a
little overdramatic.
We made our way to the English building and Edward bravely lead me through the doors. Jessica
and a couple of other girls I didn't really know were standing outside the classroom. I could faintly
hear Jessica's slur of profanities as we approached the door. Edward's grip on my shoulder
tightened in response to their stares. I heard someone mutter "skinny-ass bitch" and "probably
on drugs" and I just had to smile because it was so typical for them to jump to that conclusion. It

was the same shit I had put up with in Phoenix and it really didn't phase me anymore. What was
more disturbing was the apparent lack of imagination plaguing the youth of the United States.
Couldn't they think of something a little more unique?
Edward leaned over to whisper in my ear. "Are you going to be okay?" His concern caused a great
swelling in my chest and I snuggled further into his side, practically trying to fuse myself to him
or something.
"Of course I'll be okay. These chicks are nothing," I responded. He leaned over and kissed my
forehead, which was probably for the best seeing as how whenever our lips met our ability to
restrain seemed to disappear.
"Good. I'll see you at lunch, okay?" Fuck, lunch! Yeah, totally forgot about that issue for a minute.
"Okay. Have a great learning day!" I said, my voice rich with sarcasm. It was something my fifth
grade teacher used to say and I had used it ever since, usually when I wanted to mock the public
school system.
Edward walked away chuckling to himself. I entered the classroom and took a seat in the front. I
pulled out one of my books and began reading. Jessica and her horde of hussies ambled into the
classroom and she took the seat behind me, still muttering various attacks on my character. I
ignored her, trying to put myself in her shoes so I wouldn't punch the bitch in the face. I tried to
imagine how I would feel if some girl swooped in on my crush, a guy I had not only thrown myself
at but made a complete fool of myself in front of as well. It had to be pretty devastating.
"So, Bella, how much is Edward Cullen paying you to fuck him?" Jessica was sitting directly behind
me, speaking in a voice low enough to not make a scene but loud enough for everyone in our
immediate vicinity to hear. "There's always somebody callin' you down"
I sighed. I had been expecting this. "Jessica, that doesn't even make sense. Are you trying to
slam me or Edward? Because that statement infers that I'm actually rather delightful in the sack,
so much so that someone would pay money to sleep with me. Are sure that's an insult?"
Jessica just blinked at me, opening her mouth to retort but unable able to follow my logic. I smiled
at her and turned back around. Yep, logic will get them every time.
Jessica didn't bother me for the rest of class and the remainder of the morning actually sped by,
the more pertinent issue being what in the hell was I going to do about lunch. Now that Alice
knew what was up I didn't know if I could maintain my non-eating habits in front of her.
Edward was waiting for me by the door to the lunch room, his blue button up short sleeved shirt
clinging to his sculpted, lanky frame. He smiled softly when he saw me, one cheek creasing slightly
higher than the other, his lips forming an adorably uneven fissure.
He didn't say anything, just reached for my wrist, bringing it to his lips and pulling me into a
gentle squeeze. "How was your morning?" he asked me as he bent to kiss my jaw. Little shivers
went scurrying over my skin, up across my scalp and down my neck and across my shoulders,
causing goosebumps to break out all over my arms.
"Horribly dull," I responded. "And yours?"
"Getting better," he whispered against my skin, causing another wave of shivers. He pulled away,
brushing the hair from my face. "Hungry?"

We walked into the lunch room, moving to a table already occupied by Rosalie and Emmett.
"Ugh, I hate cafeteria food." This was all I could come up with. I'd had, like, four hours to sit and
think about it and this was all I could come up with. It was a meager excuse, I know.
"Hmm. You're in luck. I don't eat cafeteria food." Of course not. Why didn't I anticipate this
response? Wow, Bella, nice one, way to hit one out of the park.
"Oh? What do you eat then?" I asked, my voice wavering and slowly filling with panic. I
swallowed a couple of times, my throat parched, a dry barren desert of desperation.
"I made grilled eggplant and roasted red pepper sandwiches, with marinara and melted
provolone cheese. Now, before you judge, remember that these should really be served hot and
fresh, but they're pretty good lukewarm too." He pulled out a large grocery bag of sandwiches
wrapped in foil as we arrived at the table. Emmett looked up at us, a big goobery grin on his face.
Rosalie scowled and ignored us, a reaction to be anticipated seeing as how she pretty much
hated my guts.
"Bella! You're back! I'd have thought after this weekend you'd be hightailing it back to Phoenix."
Emmett winked at me causing me to blush furiously. Shit, I hoped Edward hadn't spilled about the roof
"Yeah, well, I'm pretty resilient. I always bounce back." I looked down, feeling the blush creeping
up my neck again.
"I guess it's pretty easy to bounce back when you have prince charming rescuing you all the time,
huh?" Rosalie broke her silence to offer her snide remark.
"Shut it, Rose," Edward muttered.
"What? I'm just saying, if you can't hold your liquor you shouldn't drink. And you shouldn't climb
walls if you can't walk in a straight line. It's all very damsel in distress, isn't it now?" Oh, that's
why she hated me. She thought I was just some stupid girl that needed attention and acted like an
idiot on purpose in order to get it. You know, a "look at me" girl.
She really wasn't that far off.
"Fuck, Rose. Do you have to-" Edward started to defend me again but I interrupted.
"No, Edward. She's right." I knew what kind a girl Rosalie was. The weaker you appear, the
harder she pushes until you're broken and she has won. Well, sometimes when you submit, when
you appear weak, you gain control, the way the land submits to the constant pressure of a
stream, the water continuously berating the soil, pushing and crumbling and dragging little bits of
rock and silt away with it. Eventually, you have a full bodied river, the water a tumultuous force,
bending the will of the terrain and forcing the earth to mold.
Sometimes, all you need is a little stream.
"I acted like a total idiot. I drank too much, I smoked too much, and I made dumb decisions. It was
very foolish and I'm lucky Edward was there to help me." Admitting fault was never my strong suit
and I hoped I was doing it justice.
Rosalie was staring at me now, dumbfounded. Edward smirked and went back to readying our
lunch while Emmett gaped, his head whipping back and forth between Rosalie and myself.

Alice's clear voice interrupted the heavy silence. "Hey guys! What's for lunch? I'm fucking
starving." Alice plopped into the seat next to me, giving me a wary glance. Her black hair was
wavy today, brushed back from her face and held in place with some strategic clips. She was
wearing a large red sweatshirt paired with black leggings, the neckline cut to expose her shoulder
and her black tank top underneath, very eighties. I smiled at her, trying to convey a silent
apology for the last time I had seen her. She smiled back and I was thankful for her quick
acceptance. Of course, I had learnt that there's no telling what's going through that brain of hers
and a small part of me continued to worry about what she was plotting.
"Eggplant sandwiches," Edward said, handing her one of the foil packages. Alice took the
sandwich and unwrapped it, the scent of marinara wafting around the table. Fuck, it smelled
delicious. My stomach growled and churned in anticipation, agitation itching under my skin.
Edward handed me my sandwich and I held the foil package in my hand for a moment, an internal
battle waging, my will quickly fading as Edward's expectant eyes monitored my mannerisms. I
smiled at him, opening the package and exposing the hoagie filled with the eggplant mixture.
Thank God he had cut them in half because there was no way I was going to be able to eat this
whole sandwich.
I picked up half of the sandwich and took a small bite. The flavor was amazing. The eggplant, a
tad smoky, was grilled to perfection, not too soggy yet not too firm, and paired with the roasted
red peppers, the vegetables were a mixture of savory and sweet. And the sauce, oh my sweet
Jesus the fucking marinara sauce. I hadn't had marinara this good in likewell, in like ever. It was
sweet and a tad spicy, just the right amount of basil to offset the tartness of the tomatoes.
Edward really was an amazing cook, his food like fucking art, the blending of colors and flavors
just beautiful to look at and even more beautiful to taste.
I ate the whole fucking thing. I don't even remember what they were talking about, some video
game or some shit. All I could focus on was this damn sandwich and how Edward had created this
for his family and for me, for nourishment, sustenance, pure selflessness in his care and actions.
Shit, I wanted to cry. He was so beautiful, not just his face but his spirit, his very soul was a
natural nurturer. It was a fucking remarkable thing that he even wanted to be with someone like me.
When I came out of my marinara-induced stupor, Alice was staring at me intently, and the slow
rumbling was building in my belly, my fucking body discarding Edward's devotion once again. It was
all kinds of frustrating.
I tried to stifle the nausea, repress the compulsion. I took deep breaths, filling myself with oxygen,
inhaling through my nose and exhaling through my mouth, trying not to be a loud mouth
breather, and just petrified of puking up this meal, petrified that I would never be able to
function normally, that I could never fully enjoy Edward's creations and therefore never fully
enjoy Edward himself.
The worst feeling was knowing that I had done this to myself. This wasn't the byproduct of some
rare disease that I had been cursed with. I had cursed myself, looked Karma in the face and
whispered a fuck you as I bent over that porcelain bowl time and time again.
The guilt was beginning to consume me and my belly straining against the waistband of my pants
was an immutable reminder of my inability to monitor my intake. I needed to at least go to the
restroom, maybe to just puke up little bit. Maybe I could keep a portion of the sustenance with me
while satisfying the compulsion to purge. I had to try something, anything, because I was not
going to be able to hide my discomfort from Edward during Biology.
Edward was engaged in conversation with Emmett, the two of them arguing over something. I

touched Edward's arm, trying to be subtle. "I'm going to go the restroom. I'll be right back." I
could barely get the words out without bursting into tears. I kissed his cheek and got up to leave.
Alice, noticing our interaction, stood up. "Where are you going, Bella?" she asked, and I knew
what she was doing. Fucking shit, not now Alice, please!
"I'm have to pee," I said, trying to send a very pointed message: Fucking butt out.
Alice stared me down, acknowledgment in her face but stubbornness burning in her green eyes.
"Me too. I'll go with you." She stood up, grabbing her bag and heading out of the lunch room. I
knew where she was going and I followed her to the school day-smoking restroom, ready to let
her have it.
I ran to catch up with her, grabbing her shoulder and turning her to face me.
"What the fuck do you think you are doing?" I asked her, trying to remain inconspicuous due to
the clusters of students milling around in the quad area. Alice just ignored me and continued
walking to the restroom, past the Science building. Again, I had to jog to keep up with her and
when I finally caught her she had entered the restroom without so much as a glance at me. I
caught the door as it was closing and followed her into the small room.
Alice was already standing on the toilet, her Doc Marten boots carefully balanced, and opening the
small windows for ventilation. Shit, she was going to have a fucking smoke, which meant she was
planning on staying. Well, fuck! Fine, if she wanted to see me like this, then fine. Two could play
at this game.
She hopped off the toilet and stared at me.
"Bella, I can't make you stop, I'm not even going to try, but I can sit in this restroom all fucking day
if I have to. If you're going to do this, you're going to have to do it with me in here. I'm not leaving
until you do." Alice leaned against the tile wall and took out her pack of cigarettes and her
lighter. She put one of the cylinders into her mouth, lighting and puffing, smoke filling the room
and causing the ache in my stomach to scream.
"Fine. I've puked in front of you before. Big fucking deal." I shrugged my shoulders. Actually, it
was a big fucking deal, because I didn't know if I could do this with her in here. Sometimes it
doesn't come right up and it's embarrassing as all fuck, the spitting and gagging that goes on in
the process.
I pushed open the door to the stall and kneeled on the disgusting tile floor. Public restrooms were
always the worst because literally anybody could have used that toilet and now I was putting
myself in direct contact with their possible fecal matter.
I could still smell the cigarette smoke swirling around the room reminding me that Alice was still
here whether I could see her or not. I hesitated a slight moment before placing two fingers into
my mouth and gently hitting the uvula hanging in the back of my throat. I gagged but nothing
came up. I spit the saliva into the toilet. Fuck, this was embarrassing. My eyes watering, I tried
again. Nothing, nothing but fucking spit. This wasn't going to work. Alice was a distraction,
something to focus on instead of the satisfaction of vomiting.
Defeated, I wiped my hand with some toilet paper, the tears streaming down my face and the
nourishment still causing my belly to protrude, gasping for air between sobs. Alice opened the
stall door and pulled me into a fierce hug. How did she know this would work, that I wouldn't be
able to do it with her in here?

"It's okay Bella. It's okay." She kept saying, over and over again. Lunch was almost over now,
and there was no way I was going to be able to ditch Biology, so I pulled away from her and went
to the sink to wash my face and hands.
"How did you know that would work?" I asked her, still trying to clean myself up.
"I didn't. But it was worth a shot." Alice already had a new cigarette between her lips and she
handed me one as well. We smoked until the bell rang and I popped a peppermint into my mouth
before heading to face Edward in Biology. I didn't know which smell I was trying to cover up now,
the almost puke or the cigarette. I decided it didn't really matter. Edward was going to find out
about everything soon at this rate.
When I walked into the classroom Edward was already at our table. I walked up behind him and
wrapped my arms around his lean torso and leaned my head on his back, not caring about the
audience that was accumulating, not caring about the smell of cigarettes that surely clung to my
hair and clothes. I just wanted to be close to him for a couple of minutes. His hand clasped around
my interlaced fingers on his chest and he shifted to put his arm around me, pulling me into his side
and kissing my temple. He pulled away to look at me, I'm sure smelling the cigarette smoke.
"You were smoking with Alice, huh?" Edward asked, quietly. I nodded. It was a good excuse and
not totally a lie.
Edward smirked, "She thinks I don't know, but come on, it's not really a smell you can hide." He
smirked again and brought my hands to his lips, placing little kisses on each finger. It seemed Alice
wasn't the only Cullen with the power of perception, making me a little uneasy. What else did he know
When Mr. Banner walked in to start the class, we separated slightly, our stools still ridiculously
close. We never ceased to touch, Edward's hand on my back or in between my knees. After the
lecture we completed our assignment together, working well as a team this time and finishing with
almost twenty minutes left in the class period. We spent the rest of the time talking about silly
things, like infomercials and movies and Edward drew a tiny lowercase 'e' onto my palm with his
pen. After class, he walked me to the gym and explained that he had some things to do after
school and he would stop by my house later. He kissed me on the forehead, not wanting to incite a
riot due to indecently obscene behavior, and walked swiftly to his class. It was the most
comfortable experience after the disaster in the restroom and I was peaceful and serene,
knowing I would see Edward later that night. And I didn't feel sick again once.
I drove home after school, quiet and introspective. What did all this mean? Initially I wanted to
puke. I felt my body trying to quench the desire for emptiness on its own. But after Alice forced
me to fight the demands, my body quieted, the compulsion subdued, and my interaction with
Edward allowed me to actually forget about the pressure in my stomach. It was progress, to say
the least, progress that would allow me to be an equal with Edward, to equally enjoy and equally care.
That night I made Charlie dinner, baked chicken and rice. It was one of the meals on the list that
Carlisle had provided. He ate at the kitchen table like a real fucking person. There wasn't any
conversation or explanations, but we didn't need it. The actions were enough.
Charlie settled into the couch for the night and I brought him his meds. I cleaned the kitchen,
putting away the leftovers and washing and drying the dishes. I was burning time, waiting for
Edward to get here. What the hell? Where was he?
Finally, at eleven, I resigned myself to my room. Charlie was in a deep sleep on the couch now,
snoring softly while the T.V. cast a soft glow upon the living room. I opened my window, the cool

chill of the night air causing the hair on my arms to stand on end, hope of Edward's arrival still
lingering in my head. Just as I was about to pull away from the window the headlights of a small
car shone in the distance. The silver car came to a stop and parked across the street. Edward
climbed out of the Volvo, his eyes immediately on my window, a grin on his lips. I smiled down at
him, relieved and anxious to have him close to me. Creeping downstairs, I opened the front door
to find him waiting on the porch. He was still in his school clothes and I pulled him by the shirt into
the house. I wanted to feel his lips on mine but was afraid Charlie would wake up if we dawdled,
so I motioned for him to follow me up to my room.
Once in my room I shut my door with a tiny, satisfying click. I couldn't allow any more time to
transpire without at least tasting Edward's sweet mouth. I wrapped my arms around his neck,
sucking in his bottom lip. He enveloped me in his arms, his hands running the length of my back,
pulling up my shirt and snaking under the hem. His hands, chilled from the night air, caused a
shiver to run down my spine as they made contact with the bare skin of my back and sides.
Edward's tongue came out to meet mine as he deepened the kiss, kneading and pulsing, his hot
breath in my mouth. "You taste so bitter, bitter and so sweet"
I let my hands drop from his neck and brought them to his chest instead, allowing them to glide
over the fibrous muscles down to his stomach and letting them linger just above his waistband.
His breath caught and his swirling tongue paused when he felt my hands enter this region. He
pulled his mouth from mine, gazing into my eyes, begging, asking, pleadingso many emotions
showing on his face and flooding from his thick green pools, and I wanted to answer them all with
a very emphatic yes. My hands moved to unbutton the silly piece of material keeping my hands
from the true sensations they desired. I discarded his shirt, tossing it aside and gazing at the full
extent of his upper torso, the stretched skin of his neck and shoulders, his collarbones and
shoulder blades tightly wrapped in slightly freckled skin, his chiseled chest covered in a fine layer
of dark hair, his pink nipples hard and enticing. I grazed his chest with my hands again, running my
fingers over his nipples, his head rolling back and his eyes closing.
He uttered a tiny moan, the only sound voiced from him so far tonight, breaking the silence and
sending a shock of energy throughout my entire body. I moved my gaze to his stomach, the
depressions of the muscled sections rippled under my fingers as I ran my hands across his belly. I
grazed my thumbs down the small trail of hair leading behind his zipper, the rest of my fingertips
tracing the V shaped by his pronounced hip bones. He trembled at my touch as I slid my fingertips
barely into the waistband of his jockeys sticking out of his jeans. I ran my fingers along the
waistband, pulling the undies away from his stomach and my fingers lightly grazed the top of the
hair beneath. He was panting now and I pressed my hip into his hard dick, rubbing against it with
my body and just dying to shove my hand down his pants to feel it.
"Fuck, Bella. I can't take much more of this." I kissed him deeply again, my fingers still hooked in
his waistband, and I pushed him back onto my bed. His hands were still under my shirt and he
grabbed my sides and pulled me onto the bed with him, rolling so that I was under him. He pulled
away from the kiss, pushing my shirt up to expose my breasts. He gently pulled my nipple into his
mouth, his hand palming the other, and licked the hardened flesh a couple of times before moving
to my stomach. Edward's lips crawled across my belly, licking and slightly sucking the skin around
my belly button, his hands still massaging my breasts, rubbing large circles across my chest and
down my sides. He wrapped his arms around my waist, lifting me off the bed and causing my back
to arch in an effort to bring the skin of my abdomen closer to his mouth. Fire burned between my
legs, heat pulsating in the moisture, as he got closer and closer to the waistband of my pants with
his lips, his tongue darting out every so often to taste my skin. I could hardly breathe evenly
now and my discretion was quickly evaporating.
"Edward." I pulled his face to mine, whispering into his cheek. "I want you to touch me. Please?"
He pulled back, his eyes heavy and craving, his hands still beneath my shirt, rubbing my stomach

and grasping my hips. He moved his mouth to my neck, sucking and licking my earlobe while his
hands unbuttoned my pants. He slid the pants down my legs and I was praising Buddha I had
shaved this morning. His hands slowly trailed down my thighs and up again, one hand resting on
the small of my back and the other grabbing my ass with a gentle squeeze, only a thin layer of
cotton between his palm and my skin. He pulled back to look into my eyes again, asking for
reassurance. I answered by moving my hand to rest on his hard dick against my thigh. He
grabbed my ass with eagerness now, sliding his hand across my hip and into my panties and holy
hell, when his finger slipped into the crease of my slick pussy, I thought I was going to fucking
faint. He continued to just feel everything while still kissing me, his fingers everywhere, grazing my
clit and pumping into me, wet and sticky and just getting fully acquainted with my anatomy. It
felt so amazing, just having him touch me, his skin connecting with mine, his fingers filling me up,
hard and fast and then slow and lingering. My body was a live wire, sparks flying everywhere. I
couldn't breathe, my panting causing me to get light headed, but I wanted Edward to feel what I
was feeling too, so I gently popped the top button of his fly open.
Edward ceased his fingering, "Bella, that's not a good idea."
"Of course it's a good idea. It's a fucking phenomenal idea, I guarantee it." I kissed his lips again,
slowing unzipping his pants.
"Bella, stop. What if I can't control myself? It might be too much." Edward looked away from my
face, shame in admitting this lack of restraint.
"It's okay, Edward. Let's just see what happens. You'll never know if you don't try." It was trite
and clich, but I wanted to get him off. I wanted him to fall apart in my hands, feel the power of
his arousal coursing through his body, culminating in hard throbs against my palms and straining
against my grip, and I wanted to know that I was the one in control of his pleasure.
I brought my hand to his face, running my finger across his lip before pressing my lips to his and
sliding my tongue into his mouth. His fingers resumed in their wonderings and his moans matched
mine as I slowly reached into his jockeys and grasped his cock tightly, pumping it hard. He pulled
his mouth away from mine and pressed his head into my shoulder, his fingers fucking the hell out
of me now. I was eager to climax but wanted to give Edward the same attention he had given me,
so I pulled and pushed, sensual and hard, using both my hands to feel every inch of him, sliding
my hands over his stomach and the mass of skin below the shaft, just hoping he was enjoying
this as much as I was.
He moaned again, the sound alone causing little sparks of pleasure crawling over my skin, as his
fingers worked ferociously. I took this as a sign to move my own hands in pace with his, using
the momentum building in my own body to fuel my actions, while my mind chanted more more
more. I stroked him furiously, his dick twitching a few times in anticipation of his climax. I slid one
of my own hands down to feel his fingers pumping into me, bringing some of the natural
lubrication back to coat his dick. His head sprang up then and he looked at me intensely,
wide-eyed and surprised, before ejaculating into my hands and all over his belly and mine. I
continued to rub over his dick, mixing the fluids and causing him to shudder into my shoulder as
he brought his head back down and his clenched eyes relaxed. Resolved to equal my efforts, he
moved his thumb over my clit, pushing up my shirt and once again taking my nipple into his mouth,
gently grazing it with his teeth. This fucking did it and I exploded, convulsions pulsing through my
body, my fingers and toes tingling and buzzing with electricity.
We laid there for a few moments, just messy as all hell and reveling in our mutual ecstasy.
Edward turned toward me and placed a small kiss on the tip of my nose before silently leaving the
room to clean up. I struggled to stay awake while I waited for my turn in the bathroom.

When I returned from cleaning up, he was sitting on the edge of my bed, his nimble fingers
swiftly fastening the buttons of his shirt around him. I lingered in the door frame, watching him
get dressed, and then running his fingers through his hair. I didn't deserve him, his food, his
nurturing, his fucking fingers. I didn't deserve any of it. I wanted to run from this room, hiding
myself from him, because when he found out what I was he would surely hate me. He would hate
me for the lies, disgusted by my compulsion. He wouldn't be able to touch me like that anymore, or
kiss my hands, my fingers, my mouth, knowing where they had been and what atrocities I had
used them for. He would hurt and I would be the cause. This realization caused the ever present
tears to once again cause a choking in my throat and a blurring of my vision. I couldn't let that
happen. I couldn't be the cause of his anguish, but I couldn't be apart from him either, my very
soul a gaping divot when he was away from me.
Edward sensed my presence and looked up at me, smiling and a little embarrassed, and I had to
rush to him. I hit him hard with my body, almost knocking him off the bed, and curled into his lap,
clutching him as silent tears soaked into his shirt. He held me in silence, his hands running through
my hair and I could have fallen asleep, right there in his arms, making me yearn for the day when
I could sleep next to Edward. I wasn't sure what he thought the motivation for this emotional
outpouring was, but I let him make his own conclusions, my tears eventually ceasing and the
tingles on my scalp from Edward's fingers in my hair a lullaby calming me to a near slumber. "While
the song that he sang her, to soothe her to sleep, runs all through her circuits like a heartbeat"
I walked him to his car when it was time for him to leave. The cool mist of early morning was
settling on the town and I shivered as he pulled me into his warmth. He kissed my neck and jaw a
few times before looking into my eyes, his all green and sparkling.
"Bella, will you go out with me?" His voice was genuinely inquisitive and I giggled softly at the
purity of his request.
"What, like on a date?" I smiled, consumed with giddiness at this idea.
He nodded, a sly smile creeping into his face.
"Hmmm, I'll have to think about it," I teased.
"Really?" he asked in mock surprise. "Well, if you're unsure I could always ask Jessica Stanley."
I scoffed, "Ew, gross. Don't even joke like that." I shoved him away.
Edward caught my hand and pulled me back to him. "Please, Bella. Will you go on a date with me?"
He kissed my cheek and my chin and finally my lips, persuasion in every press.
"Okay," I conceded, breathlessly. I would do anything for this boy. Edward Cullen owned me,
body and soul.

Good, clean fun!!! Well, maybe not clean... A little bit of something from Charlie too! And Alice,
ah, Alice my girl...I love her, seriously LOVE her...
Joni Songs referenced:

Case of You
Free Man in Paris
My Old Man
Edward's fingers make me think of magical things... Review my dears!!

Chapter: 10
And now through Edward's eyes...
This is a fricking long ass chapter so I had to include an equally long ass A/N, scroll down if you
don't give a shit...
So, here come the thank you's and I'm feeling all gooey this week, so they might be gratuitous.
Readers, my dear readers, and all you new lovelies, thank you for kind words! It's like a warm
chord, stay and play baby! (That's a little Joni reference for you, because we don't get much with EPO
Amers52, for your help with the psychological matter, thank you for your expertise!
Anechka86, over at the gazebo on LJ, thank you for rec'ing this fic and for offering me a place in
you're community! And yeahyeah143, another LJ pal, your support is divine...
For one doosey of a rec, deary and quite possibly the best reviewer of all time, Starrynytex, I
thank you so much and bow down to your inhumanly quick updates. You are a machine, my lady!
And of course, my choice for president and my partner in big mouthed bitchiness, beta goddess
n7of9...you get lots of gratuitous love today bb, because I just saw vag liquification on your LJ.
Let's just take over urban dictionary...and the country...and eventually the planet, all while
wearing stilletos...
And my husband, who thinks it's weird that I think like a 17 year old boy...
I think I've forgotten this like the last two times I've posted: It's not muuhhnnn...(This is how Bill
says Mine on True Blood, in case you're looking for a pronunciation)
CH. 10 "And she prayed aloud for love to waken in his face."
Fuck! I quickly brought my finger to my mouth, sucking the sanguine substance from the small
fissure in the digit. I had neglected to sharpen my knife before slicing into the deep purple
eggplant on the counter before me, causing the dull blade to slip on the waxy surface of the
vegetable and nick my skin. There was way more blood than necessary spilling from the shallow
wound and I quickly tried to stifle the flow. I grabbed a paper towel, wrapped my finger tightly
and applied pressure to the cut, the red fluid seeping into the absorbency of the paper. Yeah,
living with a doctor has its advantages - I've got excellent first aid skills. I ran upstairs to get a
small band-aid from the medicine cabinet on the second floor.
I had woken up this morning reliving the last two days, my dick completely hard and fucking
screaming for relief. Bella Swan had totally fucked me over. Normal porn wouldn't do anymore, not
after seeing Bella come like that, not after seeing her riding my dick through my jeans in that
fucking black tank top, her insistent hands pulling my mouth onto her breasts. That had to be one
of the sexiest things I'd ever seen. These were the thoughts imaging through my mind as I found
relief in self gratification, fucking jerking it in the shower to the memory of Bella on the roof.

As I got dressed I saw Bella's car keys on my dresser. Yeah, I swiped that shit from her
nightstand this morning. Her truck was still parked in front of Newton's house and this bothered
me tremendously, like he had some claim on her because her car graced his street. I wanted that
truck on my street, in front of my house, demonstrating to the entire neighborhood that Bella
belonged with me and not douchebag Mike Newton. When I had heard Carlisle tell Esme that he
was going to check on Charlie, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to surprise Bella with
her truck. If it couldn't be parked in front of my house then it should at least be parked in front of hers.
I quickly fastened the sticky strip along the break in the skin and stopped at Alice's bedroom door
to see if I could commission her vehicle operating services.
"Alice?" I asked as I approached her bedroom. She was lying on her stomach on her bed, a long
white gauze skirt tucked around her legs and her large astrology book in front of her. She was
furiously scribbling down something and looked fully engrossed in her writing.
I walked into her cluttered room. She had shit everywhere, books and papers covered in
scrawled notes, big floppy hats and colorful scarves, woven scraps of silky material and
numerous sewing patterns. I picked up one of the papers to read and Alice snatched it out of my hand.
"Not your business. What's up?" I looked at Alice as she hurried to pick up the remainder of the
papers. Alice was hiding something.
"What are you doing?" I asked her suspiciously. I walked to sit on her bed, to see what she had
been scribbling so furiously.
"Nothing," she said, shrugging her shoulders and messing with her midnight hair.
I snorted at her response. It was so blatantly obvious she was being secretive. Since Alice and I
usually didn't have secrets, her stealthy attempt to divert attention from her activities caused me
to become suspicious.
She tilted her head to the side and glared at me in response to my sardonic snort. "You have a lot
of nerve, you know."
"What's that supposed to mean?" I was taken aback by her accusation. I couldn't place an
incident that would warrant such irritability.
"You know what it means. Did you honestly think you could disappear for hours last night and
nobody would notice?" Alice had her hands on her hips now, a smug satisfaction just glowing
around her. Curse her natural inclination for tricky sapience! Not only had she diverted attention
from her own secrecy but she exposed me for the hypocrite I was. Fuck.
I didn't know what to say. I didn't want to go into this right now but I knew Alice would berate me
into giving her some details.
"Yes. I thought that is exactly what would happen," I told her, remembering that I needed a
favor from her and should try not to piss her off too much.
"I know you were with Bella anyways. I mean, first you like her like cooking, then you make her
crepes and then sneak out and don't return until the wee hours of the morning. You're obviously
smitten with the girl." Alice grinned at me like a motherfucker, an all-knowing annoying as shit
because she's always right motherfucker.

I didn't say anything, just stood there gaping at her, a look between detestable and incredulous
brewing on my brow, I'm sure.
"It's okay, Edward, you're allowed to be happy. I know you don't think you deserve this or
whatever. I know you're afraid ofthat minute possibilityof what could happen, but have you
ever thought that it could happen to me too? I mean, we sprang from the same DNA, I'm just as
susceptible as you are." She sat down on the bed beside me now. I had thought of all of this, it's
why I didn't want her smoking or drinking, but I hadn't ever really given much credence to it. Alice
was full of life and vitality, energy pouring out of her very being. She has never shown any signs
or symptoms whatsoever. She has always been a free soul, a positive life force that I can't fathom
this disease snuffing out. But her words were absolutely true, despite my idealistic perceptions.
This shit killed me. If anything ever happened to herif she ever hurt someone elseit would
destroy everyone, and destroy the last thread of hope that I had in this world.
"I know. It's so many levels of fucked up, Alice. I would never let anythingbad happen. As long
as I'm able, I'll take care of things," I said, sitting on her bed. As long as I'm not completely
fucking drowning in my own psychosis, that is.
"No, Edward, that's not what I'm trying to say. I'm not your responsibility. You can't spend your
life worrying about this shit. Whatever is going to happen, will happen. Until then, I'm going to
fucking live. I'm going to fall in love and I'm going to smoke if I want to and make mistakes and just
fucking live, Edward. I want that for you too. It kills me to see you wasting your time on worry,"
Alice said, taking my hand and giving it a squeeze.
The worry was very much ingrained in my entire being now. I had been worrying for so long, long
before I came to Forks when I was still living in that house with him, my father, constantly worrying
if it would be a headache day. That's how my mother used to explain it to us. Dad had a
"headache". This was code for 'lock yourself in your room'. He never had a chance to physically
hurt me or Alice, my mother had been decent about his episodes, but he'd do shit, fucking
weird-ass shit that I should have seen as off, that I should have investigated further. Even at
ten years old I knew there was something bizarre about the way he dealt with his "headaches".
I was back in that room, sitting on my twin bed, the comforter covered in old war airplanes. It was
July and the air sagged with humidity. It was almost bed time and I had a killer scenario playing
out, the little green plastic soldiers lined up strategically along my bed. I was about to maneuver
the troops in an offensive stride toward world domination when something slammed into my
bedroom door. I could hear the yelling, my mother screaming her pleas, pathetically begging for
him to stop. I jolted out of my fantasy and scrambled off the bed. The door knob moved violently,
the screws whining in protest and scraping against the metal of the latch. Panic coursed through
my veins, causing my hair to stand on end and my stomach to churn, the bile rising in my throat as
I looked for somewhere to hide. I quickly slid underneath my bed, pulling off the comforter and
using it to camouflage my hiding place.
I heard the splintering of wood, the latch cracking and groaning under the pressure. They were
inside now, the pounding of their feet on the wooden floor, and every step reverberating in my
body as I lay smothered and sweating under the bed. I heard muttering in a low voice, my
father's voice, but I couldn't quite make out what he was saying, something about "devil's turning
the boy". My mother's sobs were drowning him out and I could feel her light, frantic steps on the
flooring desperately dancing around, trying to corral him out of the room, but it was no use.
There was a thunderous crash and I felt the floor shudder beneath me, a variety of small items
scattering across the wood and bouncing off the baseboards. I uncovered my face and could see
an ocean of marbles casually rolling around, a glittering jade ball of glass turning black as it rolled
towards my hiding spot and out of the sparkling sunlight.

My mother was calling my name, or his, I could never tell, but her constant cries of Edward,
where are you? were appropriate either way. My father was gone, lost in his "headache", and
she was desperately trying to call him back to her. I felt a soft thump on the boards beneath me,
watching my mother's knees hit the floor from behind the dust ruffle, her full skirt ballooning
around her as she collapsed into herself.
There was a sudden thud causing me to startle and slightly hit my head on the box spring above
me. And then another. And another. The ripping of paper and the breaking of drywall collided
with the muttering of words I didn't understand, my mother crumbled on the floor and just fucking
waiting for him to finish, and me under that goddamn bed, suffocating in a comforter in the middle
of July.
He had carved out half the fucking wall by the time he was finished. Then he curled up in my
mom's lap fucking crying like a baby while she stroked his hair and kissed his head. He kissed her
fingers and apologized while scrunching the material of her gauzy skirt to his face and sobbing in
silent shudders. I had witnessed it all from underneath that bed.
Alice's hand squeezed mine, reminding me that I had a task to do and couldn't sit here all day
reminiscing about the reasons why I'm so fucked. Alice was still pleading with me, holding my hand
in a flowing gauze skirt, the similarities between her and my mother rich in recollection and a sick,
torturous reminder of that evening spent hiding.
"I know, Alice." I pulled my hand away from her and stood up, stepping over piles of books and
papers. "I'm trying. Bella's making it easier." I smiled, giving her an appeasing answer, something
that I hoped would get her to shut up yet gave her the sense that she got everything that I was
going to give.
"Don't try, Edward. Do it." Alice was being totally serious and I don't even think she knew she had
just roughly quoted the best movie of all time.
"Sure thing, Master Yoda," I teased. She rolled her eyes, pulling at a thread on the comforter on
her bed.
I cleared my throat, trying to think of a way to phrase this without Alice thinking I was total tool.
"So, um, Bella's car is still at Newton's"
"And you want to go get it for her." Alice grinned knowingly, implication seeping into her intuition.
"Man, you got it bad for that girl."
"Alright, alright! Can you just bring my damn car home so I can take her her truck?" I asked,
needing to get back to the eggplant. "I guess I should call Carlisle and tell him to wait for me so I
have a ride home."
"I'll call him. I need to ask Bella a question anyway." Alice moved to get the phone. "Do you know
her number?"
Alice's question struck a chord of unease as I hesitated in answering. I didn't know Bella's phone
number. Sure, I'd fucking sucked her tit, but I didn't have her phone number. This made me feel
disoriented, anxiety pressing heavily on my chest and fogging up my brain. I couldn't even get a
hold of her if I needed to, the thought stifling and uncomfortable.
Motivated by my facial expression, Alice continued, "No problem, I bet Esme has Charlie's number
in her phone book."

Right, Charlie's number. The vice on my chest lessened at this reminder. I found the oxygen
necessary to speak once again. "We'll leave in fifteen," I mumbled.
I went back to the kitchen and finished chopping the eggplant into thick slices, then whisked the
olive oil and balsamic vinegar for the marinade. I crushed two cloves of garlic with the flat edge of
my knife, releasing the aroma into the air and after removing the skin, minced the garlic and
combined it with the liquid. I then added the spices, thyme, basil, dill and oregano, stopping to
smell each one before pinching a portion into the bowl. Whisking the mixture a couple more times,
I covered the bowl with plastic wrap and left it on the counter.
Alice was pensive as I drove to Mike Newton's house. She was gazing out the window, into the
gray quiet of late Sunday morning. She silently slid into the driver's seat of the Volvo as I quickly
commandeered the monstrous truck. I hesitated in starting the ignition, the gentle quiet of the
neighborhood about to be interrupted by the thundering of this archaic conveyance. I started
the engine and the truck shuddered to life. Struggling to get the bitch into gear, I stalled that shit
twice. Fuck! How did Bella drive this thing?
Finally getting the feel for the way this truck operated, I maneuvered the streets of Forks until I
found myself in front of Bella's house. I wanted to go to her, to stay with her all day, talking and
reveling in her endearing mannerisms, like the way she pouted when she didn't get her way, her
bottom lip jutting out and her eyebrows converging in a most charming crease. I wanted her to
invade every one of my senses, an overload of sensory enticement, intent on dominating my
But as soon as I pulled up, the loud screeching made everyone within a five mile radius aware that
I was approaching and Carlisle was already traipsing down the walkway ready to leave. I ran the
keys to the house, placing them on the table just inside the front door, just fucking begging I
didn't run into Charlie. I closed the door silently so he wouldn't be summoned and ran back to
Carlisle's car. I looked to Bella's window for some sort of validation and was rewarded with a
curious face in the frame. It killed me to just leave without explanation.
I did not, however, want to have to explain anything to my uncle, so I just got into the
passenger seat of his black Mercedes. Alice must have given him a decent excuse because Carlisle
didn't ask how I got Bella's keys or why I would go out of my way to bring her truck home. He just
drove in silence, occasionally singing along with the classics rocking on the radio. I was anxious to
get home, intent on redemption for my aloofness in the form of grilled eggplant sandwiches.

I woke up early Monday morning so I could heat my redemption offering. I assembled the
sandwiches, mixing the already prepared grilled eggplant and roasted red peppers with the
marinara sauce. I placed the provolone cheese slices into the fold of the roll so that the bread
wouldn't get too soggy and spooned the eggplant mixture into the roll. After the sandwiches
were toasted I wrapped them in foil and threw them in a bag. They really were best hot and fresh
out of the oven, but this would have to suffice.
As I showered and readied myself for school I appraised my injuries. The stitches were fucking
itching like crazy so I removed them from my cheek using Alice's scissors and tweezers from her
makeup bag on the counter. I maybe could have waited a couple more days but they were
irritating as all shit, so I carefully cut each stitch at the knot, pulling the thread with the tweezers
and swabbing the area with alcohol. There was only a trace amount of blood, so I covered the
wound with a small bandage.

The bruises were almost gone now and the scab on my lip had been removed by all the extra
activity it was getting as of late. It still hurt like hell to physically exert myself but I no longer
needed the painkillers, the ache in my side a welcome distraction to the more pressing and ever
increasing obsessive need I was now forced to confront. I was terrified to admit that I needed
Bella. I needed her smell, her approval, her touchI just needed her, her very essence soothing
that ticking bomb, fooling me into a false sense of security and normalcy. The pain was a reminder
that the bomb was there, quieted for now, and I'd be an idiot to forget that.
Alice and I left for school a tad earlier than normal. Yeah, I was fucking anxious as shit to see
Bella. I hadn't seen her in over twenty-four hours and I was having withdrawals. I was impatient
to get to school, to run my fingers through her thick hair. I loved that shit because I knew she
loved it, the proof evident in her goosebumps and shivers.
Bella's car wasn't in the parking lot when we arrived on campus. Alice turned to look at me before
exiting the vehicle. "You're going to wait for her, huh?" she asked.
"Yeah," I replied, slightly embarrassed but too anxious to give a shit.
Alice got out of the car, shaking her know-it-all head and chuckling to herself. She disappeared
onto campus and I was left alone with my anxiety. I watched in the rear view mirror, waiting to
catch a glimpse of the old red truck with my brown-eyed girl.
I heard it before I actually saw it, the beast, as I was now going to lovingly refer to it. Roaring
into the parking lot, Bella parked her truck a couple of spaces from mine. I watched her from my
seat, leaning against the steering wheel, and I was about to go to her when I saw fucking
Jasper swaggering up to her truck. What the fuck is this shit?
Bella rolled down the window and Jasper casually leaned onto the frame, his hands falling inside
the vehicle. Motherfucker! I didn't want to jump to conclusions but Jasper only had a couple of
reasons to be interacting with Bella in this manner and I couldn't see any of them being beneficial.
I wanted to fucking knock his face in.
The longer he lingered at her window the stronger the compulsion grew. I could feel the
adrenaline pumping in my blood, causing my brain to pound with energy, thump, thump, thump.
A rhythm that kept pace with my heart, which was now bursting with intensity, the fear swelling
in my chest, and I felt sure I would explode if he didn't get off her fucking door. I struggled to
breathe through my nose, inhale, exhale, shaky breaths that filled my chest with disgust, unable
to unclench my jaw, my teeth painfully ground together. My fingers started to tingle, twitching
into clenched fists, my nails digging into my palms and throbbing for absolution, and I yearned for
the fucking discharge of energy. I wanted the contact of fist to flesh, barbaric and raw,
protecting that fragile being from the fucking onslaught of malfeasance I could only imagine
spewing forth from Jasper's mouth. I sat in my car fucking buzzing with outrage and needing a
distraction so I wouldn't let my body take control. Fighting against my own head, I gripped the
steering wheel, an attachment to physically keep me in the car.
The urge overwhelmed and I couldn't rein it in anymore. I opened the door and got out of my car
only to see Jasper leaving Bella's window. I felt like following him, pushing him into a wall or
something, but my desire to see Bella smothered my desire to fuck his shit up. I had to touch her
now, the urgency compounding, and I needed that cathartic release to ease the disdain of
seeing Jasper hanging on her window frame.
Bella was getting out of her truck, her tote bag slung across her shoulder, when I collided with
her, my every particle longing for that connection of cosmically charged energy. The instant her
body met mine the energy was dispersed, transferred, and I knew that she was now carrying

some of the weight of my compulsion. Guilt and relief flooded into my being, disgusted with myself
for allowing the transfer to take place yet relieved at the lessening of the heaviness and euphoric
at the encumbrance of her body seamed to mine.
"Shit!" she cursed, and I fused myself to her, locking my arms around her waist and just inhaling
her, natural and lavender, like I hadn't been breathing. Her chocolate pools absorbed me in ocular
liquification before my gaze drifted to her tongue pulling across her sly grin. Fuck. That mouth
sang to me, pulling me to it, and I fought the urge to just glue myself to her face. Instead, I
gently placed my lips to hers, still not releasing her.
"Hi." Really, it was all I could think of.
"Hey," she responded, bringing her hand to my chest, and I reveled in the no longer absent
touch. Her other hand slid up my neck, kneading the muscle below my hairline, and it felt so
fucking good, just fucking delightful to have that tension released. I closed my eyes and couldn't
help but smile at her caress.
Unexpectedly, her hand turned forceful and I found myself being pulled to her, her tongue flicking
out to lick my lip and causing an influx of endorphins to explode out of my carefully controlled
demeanor. Her mouth was on mine now and I couldn't control my body, my mouth moving with
hers, tongues all twisting and pulsing, and I needed her closer still. I clutched the first thing I
could, her soft hair running down her back, and used it to pull her into my chest, engulfing her,
one hand coming up to bring her mouth closer to me, inhaling and pulling her closer and closer until
she tried to pull away.
No! My mind screamed in protest and my grip on her face and hair tightened, refusing to let her
pull from my grasp, the power of control hardening my dick and fucking with my mind. What the
fuck is my problem?
Bella groaned into my mouth, her pleasure dissipating my self-disgust. She liked this, this made her
feel good? Confusion tainted my resolve and the shock of her display allowed me to release her. I
searched her face, looking for fear, disgust, rejection, finding only lust and enticement in her
flushed and swollen expression. My sweet girl, you are a marvel I am dying to explore.
I brought my hands to her face, trying to force calm into my being, and placed a small kiss on her
lips and then one on the tip on her narrow nose, trying to make up for the vicious attack of a kiss
just moments before.
"Fuck Bella, I don't know if we can do this in public. We might get arrested. I mean, that had to
be obscenely indecent." Indecent in so many ways I didn't even want to begin to consider. I
gently pulled her into me, still trying to silently apologize.
"Hmm, obscenely indecent, huh? Yeah, that's awesome," she responded, causing me to chuckle in
panic. If she only knew what was reeling through my mind during that kiss, she'd freak out,
probably run away screaming. I had to make it right, show her the respect I felt. I pulled away,
opting to place my arm around her shoulders instead.
"May I walk you to class, Miss Swan?" I asked, trying to be a gentleman and shit, which is fucking
difficult to do with a raging boner.
"Of course. If you didn't, I'd be wicked pissed," she responded, making light of my exhibit and
bringing a grin to my lips. I walked her to her class, English, and I couldn't deny that people were
staring. The town freak and the new girl were causing quite a stir in fucking supercilious Forks.
Bella just acted like it didn't bother her at all. I was fascinated by these little tidbits of information

that I was learning about her, like what classes she had and that she was brave in the face of ridicule.
Bella was even brave when we encountered fucking Stanley and her clan of fake-ass bitches.
Even as they muttered insults, she just trudged on, acceptance and even humor evident in her
carriage. I mean, it was impressive. I thought girls were supposed to be all self-conscious about
this shit. I wanted to punch each of them in the face, cause real physical harm, but Bella just
ignored their stupid remarks.
After making sure she'd be okay I kissed her forehead goodbye, still worried about the creepy
possessive kiss making a comeback. I mean, what the fuck? It was like an impulse I couldn't
control, the need to have her close to me, and when it was threatened my whole being fought
back, the only relief seeming to be contact with Bella, the very trigger for the urge. I had to admit,
this scared the shit out of me, but I obviously enjoyed her company too much to actually do
anything about it.

I was so fucking excited for lunch. I really wasn't even hungry but I couldn't wait to offer Bella
my redemption sandwich, especially now after the morning creepy kiss. I waited for her outside
the lunch room and I greeted her by kissing her wrist, inhaling the scent as I placed a small kiss on
the distended bone before pulling her into my arms.
"How was your morning?" I asked her, dying to kiss her lips but opting for her jaw instead. Her
skin here was so soft, reminding me of her skin elsewhere in a more concealed place, skin that only
I currently had access to, skin that I longed to pull into my mouth and taste.
"Horribly dull. And yours?" she responded breathlessly.
"Getting better," I whispered, my lips still on her jaw, struggling to pull away before my impulses
took over. The eggplant sandwiches invaded, giving me the strength to control my urge to feel
her up right there outside the lunch room. I moved the hair from her face instead.
"Hungry?" I asked, hoping she liked eggplant. It's kind of an acquired taste, but everyone in my
family liked my sandwiches. We walked into the lunch room, Emmett and Rose already waiting at a
table. I had kind of fallen into the habit of bringing them lunch. Sometimes Emmett brought
leftovers from dinner, sometimes I made new stuff especially for lunch. Cafeteria food really was
terrible and it didn't really make sense for me to make just enough for myself. It was just as easy
to make a shitload and share.
I explained to Bella the lunch I had prepared as we walked to the table, pulling the bag from my
backpack. She seemed a little apprehensive but hopefully that would be assuaged when she
tasted my creation.
Emmett grinned as we approached and made some smartass comment and Bella responded with
equal banter, but I didn't hear their conversation. The look on Rosalie's face as we approached
distracted me from paying attention. Rose was going to start some shit. I'd seen that look in her
eye before, she was prepared to rip Bella to pieces, seeking retribution for me ditching them at
the party.
"I guess it's pretty easy to bounce back when you have prince charming rescuing you all the time,
huh?" I heard Rosalie say. Yep, seeking retribution. Bitch.
"Shut it, Rose," I said, intent on squashing this shit quickly before Rose got the upper hand. I
knew the shit that could fly out of her mouth when she sensed weakness. But she continued.

"What? I'm just saying, if you can't hold your liquor you shouldn't drink. And you shouldn't climb
walls if you can't walk in a straight line. It's all very damsel in distress, isn't it now?" Rose's tone of
voice was sickly sweet, but I knew the implication behind the words and I did not want her to
fucking ruin my retribution offering.
"Fuck, Rose. Do you have to-" I was going to say "be such a fucking cunt" but luckily Bella
interrupted because I firmly believe Emmett, and probably Rose herself, would have kicked my ass
for that remark.
Bella surprised the shit out of me, again, for like the tenth time today. "No, Edward. She's right."
She turned to address Rose now. "I acted like a total idiot. I drank too much, I smoked too much,
and I made dumb decisions. It was very foolish and I'm lucky Edward was there to help me."
I had to laugh because I doubted Rosalie had ever been spoken to like that before. She'd been
cursed at, yelled at, flipped off, and even shoved in the hall. But she'd never been given a dose
of her own passive aggressive, kill 'em with kindness crap. My adoration for Bella just fucking
beamed knowing that she had Rose pegged and that she knew how to put her in her place.
Alice finally showed and I passed out the sandwiches. Bella took hers, unwrapping it and picking up
half the sandwich. She didn't look as hesitant as she had with the crepes and when she took her
first bite I was able to ease into conversation. Bella and Alice left to use the restroom so I walked
to class alone, waiting at the lab table for Bella.
I was deep in thought planning on pasta for dinner when I felt two thin arms wrap around my
waist, a pair of familiar hands interlacing at my middle, and I felt Bella lay her head between my
shoulder blades. I reached around to pull her to my side expecting sweet lavender but was hit
with tobacco instead, the earthy musk filling my lungs. She'd been smoking with Alice. I knew
Alice smoked, I mean come on, the "walks", the pink lighter that she said was in case of global
catastrophe, and the smell. I mean shit, I am a connoisseur of aromas. Did she really think I
wouldn't smell that shit on her?
I really wasn't surprised that Bella was smoking with her, but I wasn't really thrilled either. It
made her smell funny, not my Bella smell, but someone else's, reminding me that I might not be the
only thing out there that wanted to claim Bella. This habit, smoking and drinking, it might have a
hold on her too, and I just couldn't have that. Like I said, I didn't want to share.
"You were smoking with Alice, huh?" I asked her, hoping she'd be honest and rewarded when
she nodded. "She thinks I don't know, but come on, it's not a smell you can hide."
I decided to let it go, hoping that this was something that might disappear as our relationship grew
and it wasn't worth wasting one minute in discourse with Bella. I kissed her fingers to let her know
that I wasn't planning on a lecture today.
The rest of the class period flew by and I couldn't keep my hands to myself, like some prehistoric
mating ritual, I wanted to make my claim on her evident to all the others in the classroom. I even
fucking marked her, a goddamn 'e' on her palm, etched with my pen. It was so fucking ridiculous
but I just couldn't help myself. I had to go grocery shopping after school so I told her I would see
her later that night and anticipated the meeting with all my being.
After school I went to the market, getting the ingredients for dinner. I decided on a Pasta
Primavera, throwing the necessary ingredients into my basket, the vegetables green and
refreshing next to the rich heaviness of the cream and parmesan.

When I got home I cooked the dish and served dinner to my family, packaging the leftovers for
tomorrow's lunch. I found myself making dishes that excluded meats because I faintly remember
Rose had said something about Bella being a vegetarian. Bella hadn't told me herself, but I adhered
just in case.
It was past nine by the time dinner was finished. We had to wait for Carlisle to get home and
Emmett to get out of practice and Alice was gone after school for, like, four hours doing God only
knows what. She said she had stayed after with a math tutor and then went for a hike, but come
on, who the hell did she think she was fooling? Something was up. Between the secretive shit she
pulled yesterday and her sudden interest in physical activity, she was withholding information and
that fucking pissed me off. If the roles were reversed she'd be all over my ass with her incessant
questioning and tarot card shit.
I was ready to go see Bella and I wondered how I should approach the situation with my uncle. I
didn't want to be sneaking around like what we were doing was bad because it wasn't. It was
good, very fucking good, but I did not want to explain that to Carlisle. I went up to Carlisle's office
to tell him where I was going. I didn't think he would mind, he'd always been persistent in his
endeavors to get me to socialize. Apparently it's important for kids like me to have friends and shit
and I doubted Carlisle would deny me this opportunity to engage in a social interaction, especially
on my own volition. Still, I was slightly apprehensive that he would deny my request because then
I would have to fucking sneak out.
Just as I reached the landing my uncle stepped out of his office. "Edward! I was just going to
find you. May I speak with you for a moment?" Carlisle was acting strange, all formal and shit, like
I was one of his patients or something. This couldn't be good.
I walked into his office like a fucking five year old. He motioned for me to sit on the ocher chenille
couch while he took a seat in one of the brown leather smoking chairs. I leaned over to rest my
elbows on my thighs, folding my hands between my knees. Carlisle crossed his legs, bringing his
hand to support his chin and looked at me appraisingly, obviously not knowing where to begin. We
sat there for, like, five minutes in silence before Carlisle spoke.
"Emmett has mentioned that you've been spending some time with Alice's friend, Bella Swan." He
was acting like he didn't know what was going on. I mean, fuck, he went to medical school, he
could figure this shit out.
"Carlisle, yeah, I've been seeing Bella. We're kind of dating." Were wedating? I hadn't really
taken her out on a date. I mean, I would willingly drown in the fiery rivers of hell for her and I let
her rub up on my dick, but dinner, nope. God, I am a complete asshole.
"Well, I would like to know what your intentions are. Charlie Swan is a good friend and his
daughter is important to him." Carlisle was looking at his own hands now, knowing the truth behind
that statement. He wanted to know if I was fucking her or if it was more. Shit, I didn't know how
to explain this.
"I'm notsleeping with Bella, Carlisle," I said honestly. "We just enjoy each other's company.
We're hanging out and talking and stuff. I don't know." I shrugged because I really didn't know.
I knew that I couldn't be without Bella. I knew that I was weirdly compelled to be near her, her
mass drawing me in, magnetically charged and electric in our connection. She was my binary
star, my symbiotic match, formed from the same fabric. But that sounded insane, right? Definitely
not something you should tell a doctor, the fear of those mind numbing drugs inhibiting my honesty.
"How long has this been going on? Since she got here?" Carlisle asked, eyeing me curiously.

"Yeah, I guess. I met her at the market last Monday, I think." I looked down because the minute
the words were out of my mouth I knew he was going to make the connection.
"She's the girl. The memorable one?" There it was. Click, Carlisle, motherfucking click.
"Um, yeah." I was still looking down at my hands, remembering them on Bella's skin. The impulse
was beginning to creep up again and agitation was burning in my gut. It was getting late and
Bella was expecting me to come over. I did not want to be responsible for disappointing her.
"Ah. And the fighting?" Carlisle was going to ask it all tonight. I knew we were in for a long
conversation. I was going to be fucking late.

I ran every red light driving to Bella's that night, my conversation with Carlisle still burning in my
brain. The fucking sex talk. Oh my God, the torture, having to explain to Carlisle that I already
knew how sex worked. I mean, I'm fucking seventeen and I have internet access and nobody is
more knowledgeable about sex than a seventeen-year-old male with internet access. He asked me
if I masturbated and I had to tell him 'frequently', because it was the truth. He asked me if I was
still a virgin and I had to tell him the truth here also. Then he started talking about women and
their anatomy, their fucking reproductive cycle and how they got pregnant, not that I didn't know
all of this as well, thanks to my fifth grade sex ed teacher.
Then he wanted to talk about Bella. He wanted to know the extent of our relationship, was I
planning on dating her or having a physical relationship with her, and if I did, to use precaution in
the form of prophylactics. He even gave me a box of condoms, newly purchased for this special
However, at the end, when I was crawling in my skin trying to get out of there and over to Bella's,
Carlisle said something that made me listen intently. He said I should take Bella on a date and that
girls like flowers, that he didn't know why because flowers just die and make a huge mess, but that
if I was serious about Bella, I should be a gentleman. He also said I should be honest with her
about my parents.
The thought of discussing my parents with Bella made me nauseous because I was going to have
to explain to her the possibilities in store for me as well, and that shit would freak anyone out. I
mean, this thing was just developing and I was going to hit her with all this fucking family drama.
I planned to tell her because it was only fair, seeing as how her safety could be in danger, just not
yet. I just wanted to enjoy this thing with Bella a little bit longer.
I pulled up in front of Bella's house to find her looking out her bedroom window, all
Shakespearean and shit. I didn't even bother pulling in the driveway or turning around to park on
her side of the street. I just pulled over and parked, anxiety welling in my every movement as I
got out of the car and walked across the street. She met me at the front door again, pulling me
silently by my shirt into the house. Charlie was in the living room, the glow from the TV streaming
into the foyer. I figured he must still be drugged up but I crept past the doorway regardless and
followed Bella up the stairs. She was still in her school clothes, her jeans caressing her sweet little
behind, and I swear she put an extra little twist in her hips because she knew I was looking. I was
struggling to keep my hands to myself as she led me to her room, just like before. God, I hoped
this was going to turn into a habit.
Bella closed her bedroom door when we were inside and once the metal of the latch secured
closed with a telling click, the intensity of the magnetic pull forced us together. I drank her in,

urgently sliding my hands underneath her shirt making contact with the skin of her lower back and
sides, right below her ribcage, the bones causing little ripples on her tight skin. I touched her
tongue with mine, sinking into her mouth and breathing her in so deep the influx of oxygen made
me euphoric.
Bella pulled her hands from my neck and trailed them across my chest and stomach to my fucking
waistband and I pulled away to look at her face. What was she doing? She began to unbutton my
shirt and I let her take it off, her hands and eyes roaming my torso and God, her hands felt so
amazing, I closed my eyes to allow my sense of touch to fully absorb the feeling. I groaned into
the silence when her fingers grazed my nipples because, quite honestly, they'd never been
touched by anyone like this, the sensation was quite overwhelming, heightening my arousal and
sending those familiar fluids surging, making my cock just fucking swell.
Bella continued to trace the lines of my stomach, moving to my hips and causing my body to
seriously fucking shake the closer she got to my crotch. Then, because apparently Bella likes
surprises, she slid her fingers into my underwear, just underneath the waistband, and pressed her
hip into my dick, causing that intense need to spring from the desire coiled deep in my being. The
need was raging now, surging through every vein and seeping from every pore in my body. I
wanted her badly, wanted her naked, wanted her enveloping my dick in whatever fashion
possible. I needed to feel her skin on mine, to connect with her on this primal and guttural level.
It was becoming uncontrollable, suffocating reason and destroying my self control.
"Fuck, Bella. I can't take much more of this," I managed to say. She answered with her tongue
in my mouth, which did not help the fucking situation. She pushed me onto the bed and I pulled
her down with me because there was no way in hell I was going to let her go. I rolled us over so I
could hover over her, pushing her shirt up and just fucking basking in her braless and bare skin. I
kissed every part of her naked breasts and stomach, licking the little valleys formed by her ribs,
sucking the skin closer to her belly button, hands massaging everything and I couldn't fucking get
her close. I wrapped my arms around her too tiny waist and pulled her closer, but it wasn't enough.
She reached down and brought my face to hers, whispering quite possibly the best phrase in the
English language.
"Edward, I want you to touch me. Please?" That last beg almost made me come in my pants.
Fuck! Her words turned something in me, silenced my reserve, my fingers gripping and rubbing
furiously. My mouth sucked on her neck and ear while my hands unbuttoned her pants. I found
myself peeling away her jeans quickly, rubbing my hands up and down her thighs, the creamy skin
inviting and begging to be touched. My hands moved up her hips and wrapped around the small
of her back and ass, squeezing the most fleshy part of Bella, and she sucked in a breath. This
sound brought my awareness back and I stopped, gazing into her eyes and silently asking for
Her hand moved to grasp my fucking dick and I was gone. I was hovering in reality, my hand
gripping her ass hard and the other just fucking dove into her panties, touching everything. She
was wet, so fucking wet I almost thought something was wrong. But she didn't look like she was in
pain so I found myself diving deeper into her pussy, the flesh tight around my fingers, one and
then two, stretching and swirling, alternating between fast and slow, my fingers just eager to
move on their own. I couldn't control it now and my fingers curled around and inside her, pushing
and pulling on everything I could touch. My hard dick fucking ached as it pushed against my
pants, begging to be released, jealous of the task my hand got to perform. I was thankful it was
confined, the possessive creepy kiss still fresh in my awareness. It was a fucking mess. I hadn't
really ever done this before but I'd seen it done of course, and I'd heard about it, unfortunately
from Emmett, but nothing compared to the feeling of my fingers pushing into this girl, all tight and
wet and just a big fucking sticky mess.

Suddenly, I felt Bella's fingers on my pants again and found the button of my pants loose. I stopped.
"Bella, that's not a good idea," I warned. I wasn't sure I could control this. This whole experience
was new to me. Bella was in a vulnerable position with her pants removed and it would just be too
easy to shed those tiny white cotton panties. What if my body took over again? What if I did
something Bella didn't want? What if I hurt her? I didn't want to find out.
"Of course it's a good idea. It's a fucking phenomenal idea, I guarantee it." She kissed me while
unzipping my pants and the pressure on my erection eased while the pressure in my head
pounded a warning.
"Bella, stop. What if I can't control myself? It might be too much." I didn't want to tell her all the
grisly details from this morning or from my out of body experience just now, so I left it at that,
hoping she would get the picture.
She didn't. "It's okay, Edward. Let's just see what happens. You'll never know if you don't try." I
wanted to believe the words, but my mind was still apprehensive about this. It was just too much
to have us both exposed and willing. How would I be able to find the strength to stop?
She touched my face, her fingers like a calm song, smoothing her finger across my lip before
kissing me fully. I slowly continued to touch her, sliding in and out, push and pull and when her
hand enclosed my throbbing dick, my will crumbled, eliciting a deep moan from my chest, the
pleasure of her hands on my skin just unbearably gratifying. I pulled away from her mouth
because I couldn't fucking breathe and lightheaded as a motherfucker I collapsed into her shoulder.
She used both hands now, our hands working in unison, and I felt that growling deep in my groin
taking over. My fingers pumped into her hard, too hard, but her hands on my cock forced me to
keep going, all rational thought gone, and I could feel her opening stretching and widening as my
fingers worked fiercely. I wanted to stop to see if she was okay but I couldn't find it within
myself, the mounting pressure too staggering to ignore, which fucking scared the shit out of me. I
could feel the flesh swell around my fingers and I wanted my dick inside her. I wanted to feel her
surround me, engulfing and suffocating, and I wanted it now. I needed to consume her, claim her
by flooding her with my fluid, our bodies combining on a cellular level. I thought about removing
the fucking underwear and just seeing if she would go for it, the need all encompassing, and I
couldn't ignore the burning to take her, disgust burrowing its way into my cognizance.
Struggling to hold onto my sanity, I felt her insistent hand moving with mine inside her, her fingers
entering and using her wet slick fluid as lubrication around my dick. Shocked, I gazed intensely
into her eyes. The ecstasy was shattering as I fucking came all over my stomach and she
continued to pump, the aftershocks inundating and smothering all other senses at the same time.
The glory of the orgasm quieted the impulsive monster lurking and I pushed the disturbance from
my mind so I could give Bella my full attention.
I had to see Bella come, I had to see the orgasm rock through her body and feel her clench
around my fingers, so I pushed into her clit and violently pushed her shirt up, taking her nipple
with my teeth, hoping like hell I wasn't being too rough. I guess it didn't matter because she was
pulsing now, tightening around my fingers and shuddering when my thumb hit her clit.
I removed my shaking hand and lay back on her bed. Bella's chest was heaving, a content smile on
her lips, her lovely eyes closed, and the horror of what I had almost done sickened me. What the
fuck am I doing with her? I was a fucking mess, just fluids everywhere. I leaned over and kissed
that beautiful creature on the nose and went to the restroom.

I crept silently down the hall to the only open door and entered the dark room. I closed the door
and flicked on the light, relieved I had chosen the right door. I washed my stomach using some
toilet paper, not wanting to wipe up my spunk with one of Bella's or, God forbid, Charlie's towels
but then realized that was an awful idea as it crumbled and shredded, little pieces of paper stuck
in the hair on my stomach and groin. I sighed, defeated by paper products, and spent the next
fifteen minutes picking shit out off of my belly all the while thinking of the horrible things going
through my head while I was finger fucking Bella.
I was so fucking confused. Bella made me feelnormal again. Like I'd never had a crazy father
that murdered my mother, like I'd never had the ticking bomb, like I was valuable. The way I felt
when I was around her, when we were together intimatelyit was a feeling unlike anything I'd
ever experienced, even compared to all the shit I'd put my body through during the destructive
days, better than fighting, better than extreme sports, this release shook me to my very core,
and I hadn't even had sex with her yet. It was just so intense and I was petrified by what this
might mean, what implications this realization had. If I ever hurt her, I wouldI don't even know
what I would dobut I know it would involve some sort of self inflicted torture.
I refused to experience that loss of control again but I couldn't give up the high that being with
Bella gave me, my soul would simply not allow it. But I could be a gentleman, take Bella on dates
and bring her dying flowers. In my urgency to feel as much of Bella as I could before Icouldn't
anymore, I had neglected the thought that she might want to feel something different. Even
though it seemed she couldn't quell her desire any more than I could, I knew she deserved better
than this. We hadn't even said but a handful of words tonight, just went straight to the groping.
It was unforgivable. I mean, I didn't even know what kind of flowers she would like.
I left the bathroom and made my way back to Bella's room in the dark, my eyes having a difficult
time adjusting to the loss of light. Bella was still lying on the bed, her soft hair fanned out around
her face, her pink lips still curled in small smile. Her shirt was slightly pulled up, exposing her
sticky stomach and panties. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
As soon as I sat down on the bed Bella opened her eyes and turned her head towards me. With a
grin she left for the bathroom while I looked for my shirt. In my haste to see Bella I had
forgotten my coat and I shuddered at how freezing it would be walking out to my car.
I sat on her bed buttoning my shirt when I heard the door open. I looked up, embarrassed now
by our exchange, the fact that we had just had to clean ourselves up from the mixing of bodily
fluids was a little awkward.
Suddenly Bella crashed into me, the propulsion of her body almost knocking me off the bed. She
crawled into my lap, her fingers fastening in my shirt, dampness spreading into the material. Bella
was crying, her whole body fucking shaking in silence. At first I panicked, not understanding,
thinking she was hurt, that maybe I had hurt her with myenthusiasm. Bella seemed to calm when
I touched her so I wove my hands in her hair, the tangled web a soft gossamer mess, and I
smoothed every strand until she was quiet and still. I didn't know why she was so upset but I
knew that I could ease it, so that is what I focused on.
It was getting late and I needed to get home or else Carlisle might not be so understanding about
my late night social interactions. Bella walked me to my car after pulling on some sweats and I
pulled her into my arms, trying to abate some of the cold. I kissed Bella's neck because it was so
close and I just couldn't have her that close to my lips without putting them on her. I found her
velvety brown eyes and felt the warmth dissolving any sense of foreboding that had been present
earlier. I knew what I wanted to do.
"Bella, will you go out with me?" I asked her, wondering if she'd actually say yes.

"What, like on a date?" She smiled a huge fucking smile and I knew she was going to say yes. She
was just going to play a little first.
I nodded, returning her grin and knowing her plan.
"Hmmm, I'll have to think about it." She looked up at the sky, trying to look uninterested.
"Really?" I asked, pretending to be surprised. "Well, if you're unsure I could always ask Jessica
Stanley." Two could play.
"Ew, gross. Don't even joke like that!" She pushed me in the chest, a tinge in my side, but I
caught her and brought her back, intent on never letting go.
"Please Bella, will you go on a date with me?" I begged, kissing her a little as part of the persuasion.
"Okay," she said quietly. I kissed Bella one last time, a small kiss on the lips, before getting into my
car. I drove home without the radio, Bella's acceptance the only sound I wanted in my head.

I couldn't believe how two weeks could completely change your life. Bella had been here almost
two weeks and already things were so fucking different. For one, I spent most of my free time at
Bella's house. On her roof wrapped in a comforter. In her room with the door closed. We'd spent
every evening just fucking groping and kissing and roaming, some nights intent on getting each
other off and some just enjoying the shit out of exploring our relationship. But I didn't let our
pants come off at the same time. That kept the creepy monster under wraps and I was able to
enjoy my time with Bella without the fear that I would do something unforgivable and manifest that
guilt. The time bomb still ticked, just not as loudly.
Another thing is that school went by in a blur. I always met her at her truck in the morning and
walked her to class. Then I would meet her in the lunch room where we would eat whatever I had
created for us that day, talking and bullshitting with Emmett, Rose and Alice, although Alice was
still having some issue with her math class and claimed she needed a remedial tutor. This made no
fucking sense because Alice knew that Emmett and I both were excellent at math.
Sometimes Alice would walk Bella to class, the two of them stopping at the restroom by the Science
building, and I knew what they were doing. Bella would either come back smelling like fresh
cigarettes or fresh peppermint. The girl sure did love her mints.
Even Esme and Carlisle were different. Esme gave me extra long hugs in the morning, patting my
back and kissing my cheek before we left for school. It saddened me to think that she couldn't do
this before and I wondered why it was okay now, now that I had Bella. Carlisle insisted that we
keep the "lines of communication" open, meaning if I decided to have sex with Bella I should tell
him. I planned on it, it really wasn't anything I was ashamed of, I just wasn't ready to tackle that
demon yet. Even with Bella's consent, I didn't know if I could handle being that close to her
without the monster making an appearance and this scared me shitless.
I had gathered a large bag of snacks together for my first official date with Bella. I was taking her
to the local drive-in to see a really gory vampire flick. I didn't actually plan on watching the movie
much and it just seemed so fucking fantastically clich to take her to a scary movie at a drive-in for
our first date. I had never actually been on a date before and both my experiences with girls
were accidents, but Bella was totally on purpose.

I had also asked if I could drive the beast. The Volvo was a beautiful vehicle but her truck oozed
drive-in nostalgia and the bench seat in the cab was a plus too. No pesky center console or shift
knob in the way.
I packed up the popped popcorn, trail mix, licorice, peppermint patties because Bella likes mints
so much, cans of soda, bottles of water and lemonade. So far Bella favored water and lemonade
from the lunch counter, so I got both, and I got soda, in case she wanted that too.
We had made plans for me to pick her up at six thirty at her house, which meant I would have to
go in, pretend to introduce myself to Charlie and shake his hand or some male bonding shit. This
really was ridiculous seeing as how I already knew Charlie but Carlisle seemed to think it was a
good idea and he's never steered me wrong.
I showered and got dressed, choosing some gray jeans, a white t-shirt and my black and white
plaid flannel shirt, because it might be fucking cold. I even put a little of Emmett's gel in my messy
hair trying to tame it into some sort of style but the length kept fucking shit up so I eventually
just walked out of the bathroom and left it as is.
I still didn't know what kind of flowers Bella would like so I went out into the woods behind my
house and picked her some wildflowers, the yellow sunflowery Balsam Root and deep blue
Delphinium accented by delicate white Prairie Star. I looked up all their names, in case she asked.
I used a piece of twine to secure the small bundle and it looked sad as all hell but it smelled
fucking awesome and it was cultivated from my home, an offering of myself to her.
Tossing about ten blankets into the back seat I placed Bella's flowers on the seat next to me and
the bag of snacks on the floor of the Volvo. As I drove to Bella's my nerves began to make an
appearance, settling in my gut and fucking with my normal bodily functions. I checked the clock
again. Six fifteen. Okay, I was still on time and even a little early. That looks good, like I'm
responsible and shit, right?
I pulled into the driveway and then backed out onto the street to park in front of Bella's house. I
tossed the blankets and food bag into the back of her truck and, clutching the fragrant bundle
tightly in my shaking hand, walked up to the front door. Relax, fucker, you've been here before.
Before I could even knock, Bella appeared in the doorway. She was wearing a long olive green
flowing skirt and a black long sleeve shirt that was all twisted and tied in odd places, and she was
wearing, like, dancing shoes or something, like a ballerina. She looked like a fucking ballerina, all
beautiful and graceful. Her long hair was loose around her face, thankfully, and her brown eyes
glittered with sparkly shadows. Bella was mesmerizing, her beauty all encompassing and surging
around her in lustrous adornment. She smiled and walked out onto the porch, closing the door
behind her. Reaching up to slide her arms around my neck, she kissed my lips in slow and sensual
tugs and licks.
"Hey," she said, pulling away from me.
"Hi," I responded. This was our usual greeting, easy and comfortable, like I'd just been in the
other room this whole time. I handed her the bunch of flowers. Her eyes lit up in surprise, an
incredulous grin on her lips. She whispered a thank you, quickly kissing me on the cheek. I
shrugged, a little embarrassed with my offering, but seeing that light in her eyes made it all worthwhile.
"Okay, so Charlie's really bummed he has to eat Billy's food tonight, so please, please, don't take
offense to anything he says or does." Bella felt compelled to warn me. That couldn't have been
good. "And, um, he's going to want to knowlike, what you areto me." She looked down,
chewing her bottom lip and twisting her fingers.

"Well, what am Ito you?" I asked, interested.

She was still looking down, shifting her stance and causing the material of her skirt to sway around
her legs.
"You're kind of like everything to me." She was putting her feelings out there. It was more than
I deserved, but I would accept it for now, while I had the opportunity to make the choice. I had
to give her something in return, aligning my emotions with hers.
"I know, me too, Bella. I mean, I feel the same." Fuck, I am terrible at this. I would be glad to
claim her as mywhatever. Everything, soul mate, elemental match, pick one, but you couldn't
really introduce someone as your binary star, right?
"But maybe we'll just stick to traditional boyfriend and girlfriend labels, for Charlie's sake," I said,
pulling her back to me and kissing her forehead. She smiled and nodded, returning the gesture
with a small kiss on my lips.
Bella opened the front door and we stepped into the foyer. I could hear the TV on in the living
room and I walked in to greet Bella's father. Charlie was seated on the couch, the living room had
obviously become his new healing place. I had really only seen the room in passing, in the green
glow of a television set. I knew that Charlie slept down here but according to the menagerie of
shit that had collected in the room I came to the conclusion that he must stay down here all day too.
Bella walked in behind me and moved to stand by the couch. "Dad, um, this is Edwardmy
boyfriend." She kind of looked at me with a sarcastic grin when she said that last part and I
totally understood her mockery of the word. It was kind of profane to label Bella as only my
girlfriend, the ordinary noun unfitting for an extraordinary person.
Charlie slowly stood up, his large form filling the space. He wasn't so tall as much as just big, the
residue of atrophied muscles making his arms and legs massive. Charlie assessed me quietly for
a moment before offering a huge weathered hand. I mean, he knew me, this was kind of
ridiculous, so I smiled and rolled my eyes as I shook his hand firmly. Feeling the power in his grip I
realized this man, if he were healthy, could totally fuck me up.
Charlie obviously didn't appreciate my nonchalant gesture because his face remained appraising. I
felt like I should say something but I couldn't think of anything. I just stood there, holding this
dude's hand for like a whole two minutes of silence. I eventually pulled my hand away and Charlie
sat back down on the couch, giving his attention to the television set again.
No wonder Bella though he didn't like her. Charlie was stone, a fucking statue of blank affect.
Bella smiled apologetically at me and then turned to her dad. "Okay, we're going to go. I'll be
home soon, not too late."
"Hmph," Charlie grunted. Bella moved past me to get her coat from the foyer.
"It was nice to see you again, Charlie. Carlisle says hi," I said. Charlie's head snapped over to
look at me, his lip twitching, and for an instant a glimmer of amusement shone in his weary eyes. I
grinned again, shaking my head.
Bella was waiting by her truck and I ran out to meet her, opening her door and helping her into the
vehicle. I walked around to the driver's side, praying I wouldn't stall her truck, or grind the gears
or something like that.

I drove to the drive-in only stalling once. Bella laughed her ass off so I didn't feel too bad about my
inability to move my feet in opposing directions at the same time. The lot was already filling up
but I managed to find a good spot, right in the middle. I parked the truck, got two blankets and
the snacks from the back, and tuned the old radio to the FM modulator frequency for our movie.
"So what movie are we even seeing?" Bella asked, unbuckling and kicking her shoes off, exposing
her bare feet. I had never really seen her feet before, they had always been shrouded in socks,
and the sight of them naked uncovered yet another part of Bella for me to adore. She curled her
legs underneath her skirt, sitting cross legged in her seat. The skirt was killing me, easy access
couldn't be more enticing.
"I don't even know what it's called, but it's scary," I responded with a sly grin. "You might be
scared. You might have to sit really close to me, like on my lap." I winked at her and she moved to
crawl closer.
"Really? What if you're scared? I'm not going to let you sit on my lap," she said, nestling into my
side as I put my arm around her.
"I'll just have to find something to distract me," I replied, breathing into her neck and placing a
slow wet kiss below her jaw.
"Jesus Edward, the movie hasn't even started yet," she joked breathlessly, leaning her head
away from me, exposing more of her skin and allowing for easier access. I brushed the hair from
her shoulder, entranced by the exquisite lines of her neck curving into her shoulder. Her black
criss-cross shirt formed a lovely V along her chest, exposing her delicate collarbones. This girl was
all bones and the urge to nourish her arose, reminding me of the snackage I had prepared for us.
I pulled away, snickering at her answering glare, and reached down to get the bag. "I brought
the goods," I announced, putting the bag between us.
"What'd you bring," she asked, slightly interested.
"All kinds of shit. You know, movie food." Digging through the bag, I searched for the peppermint
patties because I had a suspicion she would like them the best. I pulled them out and tossed the
bag to her.
She caught the bag and stared at them for like a full minute. I thought she might not know what
they were so I explained. "They're chocolate and peppermint, because you like mints so much."
"I know," she said quietly, apprehension clinging in the air. Shit, was she pissed?
"You don't have to eat them. I just thought you might like them since I don't really know what kind
of candy you like. I was kind of shooting in the dark here." I felt like a total ass. Why didn't I just
fucking ask her what she wanted instead of assuming? Shit, I fucked this up with goddamn candy.
"No, you're right. I love mints. I've never tried these before, that's all. I bet they're great." Bella
looked up now, her eyes glassed over, and smiled at me. She opened the bag and removed one
of the candies, unwrapped it and took a bite. She chewed slowly and carefully, smiling at me as
she consumed the treat. Bella must have liked them because she unwrapped another and ate it
slowly, like the first. Then she twisted the top of the bag and put it on the floor.
Content with this display, I brought out the bag of popcorn and drinks, stowing the bag beneath
my feet. The credits had started to roll and Bella cozied up to my side again.

The movie was a fucking cherry pie fest. Red syrup and gore just fucking everywhere. It was
seriously turning my stomach to watch this shit. Bella spent the first thirty minutes of the movie
hiding under my arm and asking for a plot play by play.
I pulled one of the blankets around us and handed her a bottle of lemonade. She took the bottle
and opened it, taking a sip.
"You really thought of everything, didn't you?" she said, engrossed in the bottle.
I shrugged. "I just wanted things to be cool, you know." I kissed her hair, inhaling deeply her
sweet organic scent.
"Well, mission accomplished. Everything has been very cool." She turned toward me and placed a
gentle kiss, slightly sucking the puckered flesh, and her teeth tugging on my lower lip. I returned
her endearment and flexed the arm already around her to press her closer to me, deepening the
kiss, sliding my tongue out to meet hers as she arranged her hands in my hair. Her fingers on the
back of my scalp, massaging, her mouth moving with mine, she moved her body to rest on her
knees. Her hands tugged slightly, tufts of hair in her fingers as frenzy and intensity bled into her
Bella was now completely on top of me, our bodies moving in a tidal push and pull as her hands
pulled on my hair and her tongue pushed into my mouth. I brought my other arm up to her lower
back, running my hand down to grab her ass, and pressed into her, the gauze under my gripping
fingers reminding me that she was wearing a fucking skirt and I could have shouted hallelujah right
out loud. I continued to clutch her skirt around her ass with both hands now and she pushed that
little butt out into my grasp, arching her back and pushing her tits into my chest. Bella was driving
my actions tonight, her lust evident in every movement and touch.
I couldn't fucking breathe now and I pulled away from her mouth to connect to that curve in her
neck. I sucked on the skin, wanting to make a mark, pulling the flesh a little with my teeth. Bella
leaned away, exposing the area more, a silent beckon to continue. I continued to suck on the
spot, the blood underneath rising to the surface. My brain was telling me to pull away, that I
would leave a mark, but the undulations of Bella's body rolling against mine as I sucked on her
neck secured my mouth to the spot and I couldn't stop. Her flesh was sweet, her lotion or
something tasted like fruit, and I wanted to taste more. Bella gripped me even closer to her skin,
inciting arousal as she moaned in satisfaction. The sound of her voice caused my semi-swollen dick
to stir, expanding and straining against my zipper.
I could have sucked her neck for hours but Bella disengaged from my mouth, bringing her lips back
to mine, licking at my mouth and begging for entrance. I brought her tongue inside, looping and
rolling together as her hands trailed down my shoulders and chest and came to rest in my lap.
She rubbed my dick with her hands, sending sparks throughout the energized matter and pulled
away from my mouth.
She stared into my eyes now, rubbing and groping, her hair falling around her face and
shoulders. She was breathing heavily, her chest heaving with every movement of her hands.
Bella moved her hands to unbutton my pants. This was kind of against the rules because
technically Bella didn't have any pants on. I dropped my hands from her ass, the elastic lines of
her panties grazing my fingers. I brought them to her sides instead, holding her small frame away
from my body.
"No, let me do you. I mean, we can't let this skirt go to waste," I suggested, trying to give her a

subtle hint. She ignored my request and continued unzipping my pants.

"Bella" I moaned in protest.
"Please, Edward." She was fucking begging. I swear she knows that this gets me every time. I
stopped protesting and let her pull down my pants and jockeys, freeing my dick and just feeling
fucking glorious in all the attention. She grabbed it with both hands, massaging and rubbing the
entire area, paying attention to every little detail of my groin. I groaned as she began to massage
the tip, a slight bit of the fluid oozing from the opening. She used her thumb to smear the liquid
and my hips convulsed involuntarily. I brought my hand to her shirt, pulling the neckline down to
expose her breast. I fucking loved it that Bella never wore a bra, it was just so damn convenient.
Kneading the flesh and twirling her hard nipple, I rolled my head back to lean against the back
window, my hand moving into her shirt to pull her other nipple. Bella's hands felt so amazing,
warm and soft yet persistent as all hell in their strokes. She knew what she was doing to me,
coming up over the tip with her palm and then pulling down hard on the shaft. Utterly amazing.
I was just reveling in the surges of need pulsing throughout my veins when I felt Bella's wet tongue
swirl around the tip of my dick. Holy sweet mother of God! Sparks shot through my skin at that
moment igniting each cell beneath. My head whipped up and I gazed down at Bella's head in my
lap, her hands wrapped around the length of my cock, her eyes gauging my reaction.
"Is this okay?" she asked. I don't know what kind of shock was plastered on my face, but it was
enough to worry her.
"Yeah, I mean, you don't have to." Please. Please. Please. She didn't respond, her mouth
hovering over the tip, her pink plump lips poised in fucking anticipation. Oh my God, she's trying to
kill me. She spread her mouth into a sly smile and slipped my dick between those lips, her flesh
finally connecting with mine in an initial moment of glorious euphoria. Bella's mouthed moved so
incredibly slowly, her tongue searching every inch and crevice, her hands working in unison as
she moved up and down.
She was still on her knees, her ass in the air. Desperate to feel her, I pushed my hand up her
skirt between her legs, my hand gripping the back of her thigh. I grazed the crotch of her panties
with my fingers and as Bella's tongue swirled around my tip again, I slid my fingers under the
elastic to feel her wetness. Her position made things incredibly easy and I slid my fingers into her,
pulling some of her slickness to rub into her clit. She groaned around my dick as I continued to
press my fingers into her, matching her speed. Slow and torturous, the pressure was building and
spiraling up my spine. I continued to force my fingers into her, feeling her swelling flesh warm and
slick around me.
I brought my other hand to Bella's head, my hand pulling her hair to one side and I saw it, the
dark brownish red mark on the curve of her neck. Fuck! I had left a bruise, a defilement on her
perfect porcelain skin. I had done this to her, fucking bruised her, probably hurt her. Bile caught
in my throat and I had to fight the urge to heave.
I pulled away, removing every connection, and then she was crawling into my lap, straddling me,
her back against the steering wheel and her skirt hiked up around her hips. This was a very
dangerous position, my dick pressing into her thigh, the only barrier a thin piece of cotton.
"Bella!" I gasped. I wanted this bad, wanted her to just fucking sit on my dick so I could finally fill
her up completely. But the mark on her neck reminded me of my inability to keep control. I didn't
know what that sensation would do to me, what it could trigger, if that would be the catalyst to
set my bomb off.

"Edward, it's okay. Just go with it, it's just natural. I want this, you don't have to feel guilty.
You're not taking advantage or anything." Bella was trying to guess the reason for my reluctance,
giving the response for every excuse she could think of. She pressed into my dick with her pussy,
rocking against me, and I could feel the heat and dampness through her panties.
I couldn't do this to her, not here. I couldn't defile her again. "Bella, not here, okay? Not in your
truck at the drive-in. I mean, it's only our first date." As soon as the words were out of my mouth
I knew she was going to interpret them in the wrong way.
She squinted her eyes, glaring at me now. Fuck.
"What do you mean by that? Are you insinuating I'm some kind of slut or something?" She was
fucking pissed and now I could see that my choice of words was horrific. Even though I knew I
was going to have to kiss a whole lot of ass to make up for this, I was slightly relieved, knowing
she wouldn't press the sex issue any further. For now.
"Of course not. Bella, I'm just saying, not now, not here. I mean, your dad would kill me." I was
trying to smooth over the situation which apparently was going to backfire completely.
"Fuck my dad, Edward! And what the hell are we waiting for? Don't you want me like that? Don't
you want this?" She was yelling now, angry tears in her eyes. "You know what, forget it. I have
to go pee. I'll be back in a minute. You might want to finish yourself off otherwise you're going to
be pretty uncomfortable for the next couple of days." She slid off my lap while fixing her top,
grabbed her shoes and exited the truck, slamming the door in the process.
Fucking shit! This is not what I had planned. I hastily pulled up my pants, pinning down my
erection and grabbed the keys, following her to the concession stand and restroom. I stood
outside the women's restroom waiting. I walked around the back of the building, pacing, trying to
quell my desire to intrude on her in the restroom. My desire won over logic once again and I
ducked inside the women's restroom searching the stalls for Bella. The last one was locked and I
peeked underneath the stall looking for the ballerina slippers. Instead, I saw her green skirt
swirled around the floor, the soles of her shoes peeking out from beneath the skirt. She was
crying and spitting into the toilet.
I stood up, confused and panicked.
"Bella?" I asked, choking the words out.
"What are you doing in here?" she cried. I could hear the pain in her voice.
"Are you okay? Are you sick?" I wanted to see her face, look her in the eyes so I could see for myself.
"Yeah, Edward. I'm fucking sick," she said quietly, spitting out the words.
"Come out. I'll take you home." I put a hand on the door, waiting to touch her, soothe her discomfort.
She was silent a few more moments and I paced while I waited. Finally the door opened and Bella
came out of the bathroom, her face tear-stained and sunken in, her eyes swollen and red. I pulled
her into my arms, practically carrying her to her truck. "It's okay Bella. I'll take care of
everything," I promised as I drove her home. I was intent on keeping that promise.

Intense much?? Anyone else need a drink and a cigarette? And maybe a nap?
And what is an appropriate amount of time for two horny and mentally unstable 17 year olds to
wait before fucking?? Just curious...
I just want to say thank you again for the Indie Twific goodness and the rec's and all the positive
love...God, I'm being such a sap today.
Reviews are like drinks and cigarettes, so deliciously satisfying...

Chapter: 11
Darlings and new Lovelies,
It's been awhile since our last chat and for that I'm deeply regretful...
I'd like to welcome all the new lovelies to our little soiree we have going on here, enjoy the tasty treats!
I appreciate all you readers so much and those ladies that incessantly praise this story, I just
want to hug and kiss you under a bridge in France on Main Street. In other words, I'm very grateful...
Speaking of grateful, dear beta, n7of9, I think I owe you homemade chocolate cake everyday for
the rest of your life for the amount of energy you contribute to this story. I sat here for like
twenty minutes trying to think of something clever to say...Thank you my love, will have to suffice...
Ch. 11: "Young Love was Kissing Under Bridges"
"And you're a Virgo with a Virgo rising and a Virgo moon, which means that your Virgo traits are,
like, insane. It says that you have a methodical mind and examine the details of a situation." Alice
was reading from her notebook again, a pen poised between her lips. She had my whole fucking
life story laid out in that damn notebook. "She's gotten to the Zodiac and Zen" Joni's words
hummed in my brain and made me smile.
Alice had already told me that I have innate skills of manipulation, that I could be boring because I
stick to the 'rules', and that I thrive in a stable environment. I scoffed at this, I didn't really know
if it would be true because I'd never actually been in a stable environment.
Alice's big purple Astrology book lay open on my bed, her notes and papers scattered across my
comforter. Apparently, she'd also cosmically critiqued Edward, explaining that he was a Gemini
and that his Moon was in my Venus, or something like that. I didn't have the heart to tell her that
his Moon wasn't nearly as close to my Venus as I would have liked. I couldn't really concentrate on
her ramblings though, I was nervous enough as it was - Edward would be here in two hours for
our date.
It was Saturday and Alice had been here since two. She had brought over a huge duffle bag
containing the necessary ingredients for Operation Make Bella Pretty, and now we only had two
hours left, two hours to get beautiful. Considering it hadn't happened in the last seventeen years
I doubted it would happen now. Alice was planning on preparing my face with an onslaught of
cosmetics she was currently arranging on my dresser - small containers of shimmering gold and
brown powders, the translucent shades glittering in the dull light of my bedroom; several bottles of
liquids in numerous flesh tones and pink pastels; smudged pencils, the tips black and dull from use;
black and blue tubes; and some awful looking pinching contraption that could only be a device for
torture, all laid out like surgical tools.
"We're just going to keep things natural," she said after she put the notebook down and
continued with her impossible mission. Alice had been trying to relay to me the enlightening
information she had discovered in her astrological quest for world domination by memory but had
wound up running back to her notebook, like, five times already.

"I need all this shit to make me look natural? Fuck, I'd hate to see what I'd need to make me look
somewhat attractive." I sighed at the thought of my face all painted up. It was a futile task,
beauty, and it only made me feel more defeated to try.
It had been five days since Edward had asked me out on a date, like a real date. I had never
been on a real date actually. All three of my almost boyfriends had just been guys that I hung out
with, you know, messed around with from time to time. Not one of them had actually asked me
out on a date, like a come-in-and-meet-your-parents kind of date, so I was ridiculously excited
that Edward had.
We had spent almost every evening together this week. Edward would show up at my front door
after Charlie had gone to sleep and I would lead him to my room. Sometimes he would take me
onto the roof, wrapping me in my comforter like that first night and we would just talk, just fucking
talk for hours about all kinds of shit. Sometimes it was deep and meaningful, taking on the issues
that are quick to be debated. Sometimes it was silly, like his favorite T.V. shows from when he was
a kid or my top five favorite songs of all time which, to no surprise of mine, all include the phrase
'by Joni Mitchell'.
Sometimes we would make out on my bed, just exploring every inch of our newfound fascination
with each other. I loved his hands on me, they way they felt me up every time like they'd never
felt me before, the way Edward seemed to be unable to control the urge to feel my skin and to
kiss my lips or play with my hair. It just felt goodmuch better than I thought I could feel. It was
like he knew what I was thinking, knew what I wanted, and anticipated my every craving.
Then there was the way he made me feel, and the emotions meandering through my cerebellum.
What I found in his star-dappled green eyes, the raw power of what we were both feeling, initially
tainted my elation with anxiety. I didn't want to lose that, ever, not even for one quick second,
so I soaked it up insatiably when I was with him, pouring it into my soul and allowing it to sift with
my very elemental basis.
I had thought school would be much more awkward than it was turning out to be. With Alice now
knowing about my eating habits, I hovered between relief and worry with my exposure an
ever-present possibility.
I was relieved because now I had an ally. Alice wasn't someone who was going to lecture me
about what purging was doing to my body, she knew I was already aware of that shit. She was
just there, a reminder that my actions may indirectly affect others. I had always been under the
impression that by abstaining and purging I had only been destroying myself. I found value in that
fact, that at least it was something in which only I suffered from.
Alice had gone and fucking shot that theory all to hell the day she refused to leave the school
day-smoking restroom. I just couldn't do it in front of her and she knew that. On those days we'd
just smoke our cigarettes and Alice would talk about how she was getting tired of hiding Jasper,
and I would talk about how I was tired of hiding my eating issues, all the while both of us hiding in
that fucking restroom.
This put me in an interesting predicament because I couldn't refrain from enjoying Edward's
lunches, the ambrosial aromas were just too much for me to bear, but I couldn't always allow the
weight to settle in my body, the compulsion to purge still too heavy to stifle completely. I had
only puked twice this week at school, both times Alice had been covertly spending her lunch period
with Jasper, and I felt guilty as shit going to that restroom without her. Both times I had gone
back to Edward just wanting to confess everything to him, to let it all out and be free of this shit.
I had chickened out, of course, one look into his deep receiving eyes and I just couldn't fucking do
it. But I was exceedingly worried that Edward was going to find out without me getting the

chance to explain myself. I knew there really wasn't an excuse for what I was doing, and for
what I was willing to let it do to Edward. He was a part of this now and I was keeping him in the
dark, showing him the sugarcoated version of myself. It was so fucking cowardly that I couldn't
own up to this, but I couldn't let go of it either, my body still getting used to this new habit. This
connection with Edward had me completely entrenched in finding a new source of self-worth by
allowing myself to be nurtured, but it was going to be a slow process.
I had warned Charlie that Edward was going to be coming to the house and was going to take me
on a date. Charlie wasinterested, I guess that would be an appropriate description. He grunted
a couple words, wanted to know when and where we were going and then he asked me
something I wasn't expecting - he wanted to know if Edward was my boyfriend. Like, he asked in
those exact words, 'Is Edward your boyfriend?' It took me a moment to respond, anxiety
engaging my awareness and sending tiny flutters to my stomach. Was Edward my boyfriend? It
certainly seemed that way. He walked me to class in the morning and made me lunch every day,
he practically pulled me into his lap in Biology and we spent the late nights consumed with each other.
Despite all the evidence that whispered 'Yes', I honestly didn't know. I was reluctant to slap a
label on what I was experiencing with Edward, afraid to enclose our relationship within one little
petty word, but the label brought understanding. One word I could offer to Charlie, or Renee if
she ever called again, to explain that Edward and I were attached. At any rate, nothing had been
declared or decided so I just ignored Charlie's question, pretty sure that he would do the same,
and was relieved when he didn't bring it up again. But I didn't forget.
Alice yanked a brush through my chaotic hair, the tangles causing my head to lurch and yank back.
Alice was intent on giving me smooth hair yet despite her every advance - blow dryer, styling
cream, straightening iron - the high humidity of the atmosphere damned her attempts straight to
hell. She finally settled on untangled as a goal. She handed me the olive gauze skirt that was "to
be Edward's demise", as she had put it, and a black wrap top, completing the ensemble with black
ballet flats. I had to admit that I liked the way it looked, the skirt swirling around my legs and
swishing when I moved. I felt graceful for maybe the first time in my life, poised and figured, the
skirt ballooning from my hips and making them look a little wider than they really were.
I sat on my bed as Alice decorated my face, choosing her tools wisely, a seriously pensive purse in
her lips and her eyebrows creased in concentration. She was wearing a black headband slicking
her hair back and showing off her celestial features. I couldn't help but stare at her as she
focused on the task at hand, her green eyes reminding me of that picture hanging in the Cullens'
I still didn't know what had happened to Edward and Alice's parents. I knew they were dead and
I knew that there may have been some sort of scandal involved, but other than that I was just as
ignorant as Jessica Stanley and her band of miscreants. I tried to remember that I too lived in a
world of secrets and that they would divulge this information when they saw fit, but I couldn't
help but dwell on deciding whose silence stung the most, Edward's or Alice's.
"Alice?" I began, but then stopped. My curiosity was gnawing at my resolve. I could ask her and I
think she would tell me, because she always did, but I didn't know if this was how I wanted this
information exposed to me. Truthfully, I wanted Edward to willingly offer me this piece of his
past, the detail probably a very important part of his being.
"Um, where did you learn all this makeup stuff anyways?" I lamely asked instead of the pressing
inquiry that was really plaguing me. I thought for sure Alice would have noticed my hesitancy but
she just launched into some detailed explanation of her favorite magazines and websites and I
half-ass listened, further perturbed that Edward hadn't given this part of himself to me. Again, I
was the hypocrite, wanting the revelation when really I didn't deserve it.

"Well, if I may say so myself, and of course I may, you look lovely, my dear." Alice began
cleaning up her myriad of makeup, shaking off any residual dust. "Jasper is picking me up in like
five minutes."
"What? How did he get his license back?" I asked, thinking that he still had at least a couple more
months of probation.
"Oh, well he didn't exactly get his license back," Alice shrugged. "But I needed a ride so he said
he'd come pick me up. I wonder whose car he'll be driving? I doubt Rose will let him use her BMW."
"I doubt Rose would do anything that would be considered helpful," I muttered, remembering
the awkward lunches I had spent in her presence this week. She hadn't said but two words to me
all week, the silent treatment her new preferred method of inflicting humiliation and detest.
"Oh, she's not so bad once you get to know her. She just doesn't like change. It's scary to her,
trying to deal with someone she can't control." Alice sticking up for Rosalie was slightly irritating,
but I pushed that aside, focusing instead on the fact that Edward would be meeting my father in
merely twenty minutes. Sure, Edward technically already knew Charlie, but he didn't know him as
my 'father' and the distinction kind of made a difference. It was another small offering I could
give to Charlie, introducing him to a boy who's taking me on a date. It was almost like we were
pretending to be family.
I walked Alice out to meet Jasper who, surprisingly, did pull up in Rosalie's red BMW, most likely
borrowed without consent. He grinned slyly at me from the driver's seat, a lit cigarette between his
lips, the smoke swirling around his face. He gave a slight wave as Alice gave me a hug and
whispered "Good luck" before running to the car and sliding into the passenger seat. Jasper flicked
his spent cigarette out the window and leaned over to kiss his lady before pulling away from the curb.
Fifteen minutes now. I took a deep breath and walked back into the house. I guess I could go
make an attempt to talk to Charlie for fifteen minutes. Charlie was in his new spot on the couch
wrapped in that afghan, watching T.V. I wandered casually into the living room and Charlie turned
to take in my appearance. He stared at me a few moments before grunting and turning back the
"What?" I asked. I was no longer controlling the impulse to voice my opinion, not since my initial
outburst last Saturday. I said what I wanted now, hoping this would spur Charlie into some kind
of verbal exchange. Plus, if I was going to be here for any length of time, there was no way I
was going to be able to repress that part of my personality for long.
Charlie sighed, still a bit surprised by my impetuous responses. "Nothing, you just look too
nice," he grumbled. I suppose this was a compliment.
"Thanks. Alice did it," I explained, smoothing the skirt and suddenly feeling super self-conscious
and wishing I had just opted for the jeans and t-shirt.
"No. I don't think she did." Charlie kept his gaze fixed on the television and it took me a moment to
realize what he meant. I didn't really know how to respond.
"Thanks," I said quietly, unable to think of anything meaningful to say.
Charlie shifted in his seat and cleared his throat. I shuffled my feet, swaying from side to side to
feel the skirt swish around my legs, looking everywhere but at Charlie. It was the most awkward
sixty seconds of my life.

"So, there's some vegetable soup in the fridge if you're hungry, or some chicken and rice," I
mentioned, sitting in one of the chairs under the window. I'd been trying to keep some already
made meals in the fridge for Charlie, knowing that nutrition was kind of important for his recovery.
I would make a meal from the list Carlisle had given me and freeze half of it, leaving the other half
in the fridge in case Charlie wanted it.
"Billy said he's bringing me something," Charlie scowled. He hated Billy's cooking.
"Okay." More awkward silence. Shit, when was this going to get easier?
We sat in silence for the next ten minutes. At five till, I glanced out the window and saw Edward
parking his car on the street. Early, he was fucking early. I ran to the door, probably a bit too
enthusiastically, to greet him without watching and critiquing eyes.
When I opened the door Edward had been about to knock, surprise etched across his beautiful
face, and I couldn't help but smile a big-ass dopey grin at his bewilderment. He was wearing these
gray jeans and a white t-shirt, the material clinging to his angular frame beneath his flannel shirt.
Flannel fucking kills me, the softly woven blends of blacks and whites just begged for caressing.
I wanted to inhale him, natural and fibrous, bringing him in through my senses, infused with just
another way to absorb him.
I slipped my hands up around his neck, striving to bring him closer as I brought his fleshy lips to
mine, breathing him in and tasting his warm honey essence. I pulled away, licking my lips and
relishing in his nectarous flavor. It was perplexing how this boy could actually taste good,
intoxicating really, like the most delicious meal or a most satisfying dessert. Maybe it was because
of his affinity for cooking, but I swear, whenever I tasted Edward I felt curiously and most
comfortably filled.
"Hey," I said, the taste lingering.
"Hi," he replied, pulling out a small bundle of the most visually appealing flowers I'd ever seen. I
didn't recognize any of them but the contrasting buttery orange, deep azure, and striking white
reflected and coalesced, the fragrant bundle bringing tears to the brim and causing my chest to
constrict. I didn't think I could speak without sending the salty fluid sprawling down my cheeks, so
I barely whispered 'Thank you', unable to hide my delight, I'm sure. Shit, I am such a girl, tearing
up over fucking flowers.
Gathering my emotions and trying to alter my mental state, I fixated on the reason I had met him
on the porch in the first place.
"Okay, so Charlie's really bummed he has to eat Billy's food tonight, so please, please, don't take
offense to anything he says or does." I was pathetically pleading, knowing Edward was inclined
to overreact and really not wanting Charlie's bad attitude fucking this up for him.
And I had to warn him just in case Charlie asked the boyfriend question. That was the reasoning
I was using to rationalize my deplorable prying. I really just wanted to know what Edward was
thinking about us, about our relationship, about me, if he was thinking about me at all. It was
horribly conniving, I know, and I felt like shit for doing it, but my own self-serving curiosity won
over my conscience.
Hesitant in what I was I was going to ask, I struggled to articulate, "And, um, he's going to want
to knowlike, what you areto me." Shit, shit, shit! I should have just put it in a note, Do you
like me? Circle yes or no...

I waited, apprehension caught in my throat, anticipating his response now that the words were
hanging out there and just vibrating in my own ears.
"Well, what am Ito you?" Edward asked. He was going to put this on me. This boy was going to
make me declare myself before responding, feeling out the situation before he made himself
emotionally vulnerable. Fuck, why didn't I think of that?
I didn't know what to do, my head shouting retreat, my heart propelling me forward. Maybe it
was because I had just almost cried or because I was wearing a pretty skirt, but my romantic
side won over practicality.
"You're kind of likeeverything to me." There it was. And it was true too. In two weeks my whole
existence had shifted to orbit around this one intriguing creature.
"I know, me too, Bella. I mean, I feel the same." The stress in my chest eased with this
information, a bit of resonance now lingering in the atmosphere. I had to admit, I wasn't horribly
surprised, seeing as how I didn't think Edward would spend so much time with someone he didn't at
least like a little bit. However, the testimony was bittersweet, adding clout to my fear that when
Edward found out what I really was the intensity of his discord would make the betrayal that
much more unforgivable.
I had to tell him. Soon.
Edward continued, "But maybe we'll stick to traditional boyfriend and girlfriend labels, for Charlie's
sake." He pulled me close to kiss my forehead and I understood his judgment. I don't think people
would understand our connection. I mean, shit, I didn't understand it and I was fully immersed in
this enigmatic conjuncture of souls.
My anxiety abated by Edward's admission, I ushered him into the house to "meet" Charlie, placing
the flowers on the table in the foyer, intent on hanging them to dry later before they crumbled
into a mess. I was about to introduce Edward to Charlie as my boyfriend and I had to admit, I was
suffering from equal parts dread and elation at the thought of this.
"Dad, um, this is Edwardmy boyfriend." I smiled at Edward, knowing that this word didn't begin
to describe what he was to me. Charlie stood up and held his hand out to Edward without a
word. He was playing the bad cop tonight. Edward took his hand, kind of smirking at the formality.
They just stood there holding hands for what seemed like forever. The silence was killing me, and
I almost said something on many occasions, but I couldn't bring myself to be the one to fill the
conversational void. Charlie was blank, I couldn't read him. And EdwardEdward was assessing,
judging the silence, appraising Charlie's lack of facial expression, evaluating the conditions my
father was living in. He finally pulled his hand from my father's, Charlie sitting and focusing once
again on his preferred medium for entertainment. I couldn't stand it in this room anymore.
"Okay, we're going to go. I'll be home soon, not too late." I escaped the room, getting my coat
from the foyer. I thought Edward would follow me but he didn't and I couldn't bring myself to go
back into that tension thickened room. Blood was rushing to my cheeks and I felt that familiar
heat burning in my skin. Yanking the front door open and flooded with cool, I quickly filled my lungs
with the crisp air, the spruce outside my window sending coniferous wafts of spiraling evergreen,
the woodsy scent of mineral constituents placating my nerves.
I remembered then that Edward had asked to drive my truck and I realized that I didn't even
know where the hell we were going. I glanced in the back of the truck and saw blankets and a

large plastic bag - late night picnic, nice!

I was surprised as shit when Edward pulled into the drive-in, noticing the two movies playing
were some horror flick and a romantic comedy, both equally dreadful. We had settled into a nice
conversation and I was feeling very cozy until Edward busted out a bag of peppermint patties.
He threw the bag into my hands and I just stared at the silver and blue wrapping, the shiny foil
disdainfully inviting.
"They're chocolate and peppermint, because you like mints so much," Edward said uneasily.
Fuck, he was getting closer, connecting the details and drawing his conclusions without even really
realizing it. The thought was stifling, shuddering me into time-induced worry. I had to offer this
information before he figured it out, before he heard it from Alice or worse, before he witnessed
the spectacle for himself. The longer I let this go, the larger that threat became.
"I know," I responded. Trust me, no one paid more attention to food than I did.
"You don't have to eat them. I just thought you might like them since I really don't know what kind
of candy you like. I was kind of shooting in the dark here," Edward defended. Shit, I am such a
bitch! Here he was taking the initiative in every aspect imaginable and I was sitting here like a
spoiled brat, wrapped in deceit and centered on my own fear.
"No, you're right. I love mints. I've never tried these before, that's all. I bet they're great." I
suppressed the urge to flee and smiled instead. I unwrapped one of the candies and ate it slowly.
It wasn't really the love of mint that kept me tied to the candies but the fact that they seemed to
relieve the nausea sometimes and they were successful in disguising that oh-so-lovely vomit
smell. I used to chew gum but then I started getting headaches, my jaw aching from the
constant chewing motion. Mints had been working out much better for me.
I claimed another patty for good measure and then tied off the bag and dropped it to the floor,
out of sight, helping me to forget my lapse in self control. I was hoping that because mint was a
natural antiemetic the candy wouldn't set my stomach to self-destruct. It only took about a half
hour to find out.
I was hidden under Edward's arm avoiding the grossest movie I'd ever seen. Well, I didn't exactly
see the movie, I just berated Edward into telling me what was happening while I closed my eyes
and lost myself in Edward's body. He must have thought the snuggling meant I was cold because
he reached down to get a blanket from the floor. Edward tucked the blanket around us and
handed me a bottle of lemonade. I took a drink of the tart liquid and there it was, creeping into my
belly, the gurgling and rumbling associated with an irritated bowel.
Shit! My stomach lurched and I calmed myself by inhaling Edward's refreshing scent deep into my
lungs. It seemed to calm the involuntary reaction momentarily and I used this break in nausea to
fill myself with another compulsion that I noticed seemed to distract me from the pressure of my
extended abdomen. After some meaningless transfer of niceties, I kissed Edward.
I started slowly, tugging on his lips with mine, sucking his lip into my mouth because I knew he
liked it when I did that. The kiss distracted my attention, the nausea and pain in my stomach
lessening and altering, shifting into a different pain, a pain that was easily eased by much more
attractive means. Edward pulled me closer, his tongue gaining access to mine, my hands moving
up to his reddish brown tangles. His hair felt strange, crunchy almost, and I twirled the gelled
portions between my fingers to loosen the strands. His mouth was starting to get intensely
powerful, the sexual energy between us had been mounting all week, and each time we found
ourselves in these intimate exchanges it got harder and harder to control myself.

I wanted him, like, wanted him wanted him. I wanted to give myself to him completely but I didn't
know if he completely wanted me. I couldn't deny the attraction, the fervor with which his hands
and mouth and other slightly more important parts seemed to react to my attention, but I didn't
know if this was enough. I knew Edward was a virgin, I just didn't know why. I mean, Edward was
beautiful, like the kind of beautiful that made you forget that horrible things like pain and
suffering even existed in the world. It was glaringly obvious I wasn't the only one harboring this
opinion and yet Edward had still remained unattached. I wasn't complaining, trust me, his
inexperience matched mine, allowing my insecurities with my performance of the sexual nature to
go unfounded. It seemed that together in this intimate way with him, I felt confident and desired,
allowing self-doubt to melt away. I loved the way I felt about myself when I was with Edward and
I wanted to feel that way more and more.
I craved to be closer so I shifted to my knees, pressing myself against him and forcefully
wrapping my mouth around his, my hands moving in his hair and my body rolling on top of him. I
pitched forward in an attempt to release some of the potential energy radiating from deep below
my navel.
I pushed into him, unable to control the way my body was pulsing in waves against him now and I
had to further our connection, yearning for him to take advantage of this damn skirt. He was
apparently in need of some coaxing so I shifted to kiss him again, dragging my hands down his
chest and resting them in his lap, his already hard dick palpable through his jeans. Fuck, that is
such a turn on, the fact that his body reacts to me this way, that I was possibly responsible for
this involuntary response, like even subconsciously Edward's body danced to my energy,
connecting to mine in a symphony of explicit bliss.
My hands caressed and rubbed, clutching at his dick through the stiffness of denim, trying to
convey my need to feel his skin. I decided it was better to apologize than to ask and be denied,
so I unbuttoned his pants. I had noticed his unspoken rule, his aversion to being exposed at the
same time. I didn't quite understand it and I hadn't asked, but simply pressed the issue whenever
possible. I wasn't exactly wearing pants tonight, Alice coconspirator in my carefully thought out
plan, Operation Mutual Nakedness.
Edward noticed also. "No, let me do you. I mean, we can't let this skirt go to waste," he smirked.
He was trying to entice me into caving, the offer of orgasmic ecstasy on the table, but I couldn't
deny this new compulsion. I ignored him, unzipping his pants.
He moaned, either in pleasure or protest, I couldn't decide.
"Please, Edward," I begged, knowing he wouldn't deny my request. He rarely ever did. I pulled
down his pants and attended to his cock, grasping with both hands, and massaging the entire
area. I once read this book that said that most people only pay attention to the product and not
the process. This kind of stuck with me and I really enjoyed this process so I ran my hands over
everything. As my hand traveled up his shaft and over the tip, a small amount of fluid leaked out
of the slit and the sight of this made me want to do something I'd never done before.
I wanted to taste him, curious to see if this part of him tasted as good as his mouth did, like
warm summer honey. I ran my thumb across the tip, the slippery liquid filming over the tip.
Edward reacted with enthusiasm, his hips shifting and his hand yanking the neckline of my top
down to expose my breast, palming the flesh and toying with my nipple as my hands continued to
stroke his dick. Jesus, his hands were amazing, the sensitive skin between his fingers tingled
sending electric sparks shooting throughout my body, warming the tissue and causing my breath
to smother in my lungs. I felt like I was breathing so loudly, embarrassingly so, my every sound
echoing in the small cab. I tried to calm myself by breathing through my nose a couple times.

Edward leaned his head against the back window, closing his eyes and enjoying my hands on him.
I had kind of gotten to know the types of things Edward particularly liked and using this
knowledge and his reactions, I felt accomplished that I was able to make him feel something amazing.
I wanted to give him more. The urge to reach down and place my mouth around his dick was
tormenting me. I yearned for that experience, to have every part of him inside of me, and this
was one way I could do that. However, I knew about his past with Jessica Stanley and I was
afraid he wouldn't like this because of what had happened with her. I was nervous as fuck,
worried he would reject my advances, and I was worried about how I would react if he rejected me.
With Edward's head leaning back against the window and my hands wrapped around him, I used
my tongue to lick the sticky head of his dick, my eyes intent on his expression and gauging his
reaction. He alerted his head as soon as he realized what I had done and I had a sudden
afterthought that maybe I should have warned him, that this was exactly the same way as
fucking Stanley had done it, surprised him while his eyes were closed.
"Is this okay?" I asked before he could speak, his face jolted with shock and wonder. Again that
worry engaged my cognizance, the threat of rejection foreboding.
Edward's face softened, pleading in his eyes yet nonchalance in his voice, "Yeah, I mean, you
don't have to." I think he added that last part to make himself feel less guilty for wanting this too.
His acceptance eased my worry and I allowed a coy smile to invade my face. I paused, my lips
gently resting on his tip purposely causing the anticipation to thicken. He was watching me, his
eyes on my mouth, and I knew he was waiting, causing me to smile wider as I pushed him into my
mouth, fully enveloping him and applying a slight suction, moving my tongue to trace every curve,
line and protrusion that I could distinguish. Every action deliberate and slow, I continued to move
up and down along his length, my mouth and hands working together, all in the endeavor to bring
him that lustrous level of erotic enlightenment.
I felt Edward's hand sliding up my leg, gripping the back of my thigh, the skin beneath his fingers
flowing with electric charges. His fingers grazed the center of my panties and I continued to
whirl, my tongue applying more pressure as I pressed my lips around him more tightly, matching
the intensity of my own yearning now, internally begging for Edward to just fucking do it already.
I mean, shit, my ass was conveniently placed allowing the easiest access imaginable and Edward
was rubbing my underwear? Karma again, rearing its ungrateful head and making yet another
appearance at an inopportune time, reminded me of my taunting and teasing just seconds ago.
Just as I had made up my mind to further the situation myself, Edward finally slipped his fingers
into the soft cotton, pushing his fingers into me and eliciting a moan that was only muted by
having him in my mouth. The ease to the anticipation was immediate and once again, Edward
inside me, even in this fashion, satiated that need for fulfillment. To have him connected this
way, to know a part of me so hidden from all others, engaged all my emotions and I craved to
engage him fully.
Edward pushed the hair from my face and his hands tingling in my hair sent shivers spiraling down
my spine. His fingers lingered on my neck and he removed his hand from between my legs. This
lack of contact caused panic to rise in my chest, my heart racing, and I needed him back. I was
desperate for the distraction, fearful of the bile that would surely resurface if I let Edward
remove himself from me. "I feel renewed, I feel disabled by these bonfires in my spine"
I slithered into his lap, pressing my panties into him and I could feel the wetness on my thigh, his
dick pressing into the crease of my groin. Fuck, he was so close, if I shifted only slightly I could
have him inside me, easy and comfortably natural and it was at once clear to me that this was
where he was supposed to be.

"Bella," he gasped, surprised and maybe even a little fearful. I wanted to reassure him that it was
what I wanted so I told him it was okay, desperate in my attempts to convince him that it really
was the most natural and beautiful thing that we could do for each other, but I don't think any
of my words came out that eloquently so I stopped with the verbal explanation and continued
with the physical one. I adjusted onto him fully, my panties pushed against his hardness pressing
into me and rubbing against my clit. The tiny amount of material was almost inconsequential and I
rocked on top of him, the heat and wetness saturating my underwear and pulsing, the blood
rushing through this area and pounding in the flesh. I could have continued the grinding and it
would have sufficed, but I was stubbornly intent on that connection.
Before I could slide into position he spoke, and the words were deafening.
"Bella, not here, okay? Not in your truck at the drive-in. I mean, it's only our first date."
Rejection. He was rejecting me. The connection, the natural beautiful sharing, he didn't want it.
And I was a freak because I did.
I felt like such a moron! Why would he want me? My obsessive need to have Edward a part of
me was becoming increasingly obvious and I'm sure as soon as he realized his hold on me, he
would leave. Why would he stay? There wasn't anything interesting or special about me that made
it worthwhile enough for him to stay. The thought of my existence minus Edward caused my
stomach to bend and twist, the meager contents rising in my throat, and I actually had to swallow
back the vomit. I had to leave, get out of this truck before I made a fool of myself again. I turned
to anger, recalling his words and purposely using them against him.
I squinted my eyes, pulled out my best mean face, and shouted, "What do you mean by that? Are
you insinuating I'm some kind of slut or something?" Guilt burned at this deceit but I was operating
on self-preservation now.
"Of course not, Bella, I'm just saying, not now, not here," Edward tried to explain. He was giving
me an excuse, trying to let me down easy. He continued, "I mean, your dad would kill me."
I was just going to ignore his excuses. I was going to pretend to be angry with him and leave until
I had time to think about what Edward was becoming to me. I wanted to meditate on the fact that
I had never felt comfort, I had never been happy to be engaging in life, never been at ease with
being myself until now, until Edward. I needed to assess what this meant and how horribly it was
going to hurt when Edward was done with me. I needed to wallow in the anticipated pain so that
when it happened it wouldn't crush me. Because it would happen, it always did. Normally I would
just bail first, but this wasn't the normal situation and I didn't know what the fuck I was going to do.
But then Edward mentioned my father and for a slight moment I was distracted.
"Fuck my dad, Edward!" I responded furiously, the fact that Edward would use that as an excuse
was infuriating. My father had no right to even be considered, his impact on my decisions
negligible, coinciding with his willingness to be involved in my existence. That Edward used my
father's feelings as an excuse not to fuck me caused an involuntary heave, the aftertaste of
chocolate and lemon and peppermint burning the back of my throat as I choked back the bile so I
could continue my rant.
"And what the hell are we waiting for? Don't you want me like that? Don't you want this?" Fat
tears were rolling down my cheeks now because I already knew the answer, my brain circulating
back to self-preservation. I had to get out of there before he voiced the words confirming my
fears and cementing the idea in my brain. Once again anger became my ally. I think I told him to

go fuck himself or something and got the hell out of that truck. The compulsion to puke was rising
again and I only narrowly escaped spilling the contents of my stomach in front of a boy that
didn't need another excuse to not want to have sex with me.
I ran to the restroom, the ballerina flats slapping against the pavement, my skirt all twisted from
Edward's hands beneath it and tangling in my running legs. This only made the tears flow more
freely, blinding and hot as they streaked down my face, frustrated with the reasons why I had
wanted to even wear this skirt in the first place.
When I arrived at the restroom I found it thankfully empty. I entered a stall and kneeled over the
toilet, sweat beading on my forehead, the unease and discomfort in my abdomen taunting, calling
me a fucking failure, and I had to dispose of this bully. I shoved my fingers in my mouth and
gagged, the contents of my stomach coming up easily this time and spilling into the toilet before
me. I spat, failure chanting in my mind. Failure, failure, failure. It was all I could think of: failed
at Edward, at our date, at being normal, at eating, at Charlie, a big fucking failure at life. I
sobbed over the toilet, fucking hating myself for ruining the date, for what Edward must be
thinking right now after the way I had spoken to him. I knew he didn't think I was a slut or
anything, he just didn't want me like I wanted him, and he couldn't really be blamed for that. I was
to blame for all of this.
I spat into the toilet again, my hair in my mouth and sticking to my face, when I heard a voice
outside the stall door.
"Bella?" Edward was in the fucking women's restroom.
"What are you doing in here?" I sobbed. Fuck! I wasn't ready for him to see this, to know this,
not now, not here.
"Are you okay? Are you sick?" he asked, worry thick in his voice. I couldn't do this anymore. I
either had to give this up or give up Edward. The fact that I even had to think about it made a sob
well in my heart again and fresh tears spilled over my cheeks.
"Yeah, Edward. I'm fucking sick." Defeat was worming its way into my consciousness. I wanted
Edward to comfort me again like he had after the party. I wanted his hand on my back, his
soothing touch, his lips on my forehead. I wanted him to help me.
Edward said the words that I longed to hear. "Come out. I'll take you home."
I wiped my face with the sleeve of the black shirt, trying to wait until the redness and swelling
diminished. I finally opened the stall door to find Edward standing on the other side, his mouth
creased with consternation and fear, and I felt like shit knowing I had caused that.
He pulled me into his capable arms and led me to the truck. Edward opened the passenger side
door and helped me in, even fastening my seatbelt for me. I just sat there, my hair sticking to
my sweaty face, a fucking zombie, even the fact that he was buckling my seatbelt like I was a
four year old didn't bother me like it normally would. It just made me feel worse because it was so
fucking considerate, the regard he was taking with me, all the while making promises, guarantees
that I criminally found hope in.
Edward started the truck and pulled out of the drive-in and onto the highway. He was driving
fast, my truck grunting its dissent, the cab shaking and threatening to self destruct. I looked
over at Edward, a wild glare in his eyes. Shit! He's freaking out. I've totally freaked him out.
"Edward, slow down! You're going to murder my truck," I said, trying to distract him.

Edward didn't say anything. He looked over at me, inquiring, speculating, wondering, a stew of
scrutiny simmering in his gaze. I searched the floor of the truck for my jacket. I still had that vomit
taste in my mouth and needed a peppermint badly. I could see Edward out of the corner of my
eye, not wanting to make eye contact for fear he would see the shame in my expression. He
continued to watch me, not paying nearly enough attention to the road upon which he was
driving my ancient vehicle at high velocities. I needed a peek at Edward, an attempt to decipher
his thought process. Still bent over and searching the floor, I glanced up at him from behind my
massive shroud of snarled hair.
He was staring at me, his handsome features illuminated by the lights of the highway blurring past
us in multicolored streaking fluorescence. He wasn't even attempting to watch the road now, his
eyes fixated on my every movement. "He sees the damage in my face..."
"Edward, maybe you should pull over. I don't think you should drive like this," I said cautiously,
pushing my hair behind my ear so I could see him more clearly. What was the matter with him? He
was a little frantic to get me home after the restroom, sure, but this was something different,
there was something uncontrollable in his actions, a frenzy almost, like a fucking shark discovering
blood in the water.
He moved slightly, glancing to the road and then straight back at me, his eyes dark with theory,
hypothesizing the cause of tonight's events I'm sure. Yep, he was connecting the fucking dots
and soon he would have a pretty disgusting picture of what I truly was.
Finally finding my coat I reached into the pocket and pulled out a mint. I unwrapped the hard red
and white striped candy and popped it into my mouth, the cool tingle of the sweet, fresh flavor
resonating in my nostrils. I relaxed into the seat, leaning against the back window and trying to
calm the tornado of emotions going on inside me with meditative chants.
Instead of calm, chaos erupted as Edward slammed on the brakes causing the truck to swerve and
fishtail to a stop beneath a poorly lit bridge, the steel structure green and glistening in the damp
and dull glare of the streetlamp. My head flew forward, the momentum causing shit to pitch and
roll around my feet and the next force slamming me back against the seat. My heart was pounding
in my chest, the smell of burnt rubber sticking to my lungs made my breathing erratic, and I
wanted to fucking punch Edward in the face. I settled on verbal abuse instead.
"What the fuck? Are you trying to fucking kill us?" I screeched, my white-knuckled hands clutching
the dashboard, trying to extinguish the automatic response to the adrenaline now shooting
through my veins.
Edward stared out the windshield, conviction playing upon his lips.
"What's with the fucking mints, Bella?" Edward's voice was calm and quiet.
Shit! I didn't know if I could do this, if I could actually say the words eating disorder to him. I
knew as soon as he found out he was going to try to help me, try to find a way to solve this for
me, and I was going to want to instinctively push him away. I didn't trust myself to be what I
should for Edward, I was scared shitless I would disappoint him, make him feel like a failure
because he couldn't help me.
But what if he could? I had to admit, everything that I had been feeling with Edward lately was
new to me. Everything, the attachment, the connection, the desireI had never...never cared
before, never wanted to care. What if Edward was the difference? What if I could be different with him

I could try. I think I could really try, but he couldn't know. I couldn't stand it if he were constantly
watching over me, treating me like an invalid, buckling my seatbelt like a fucking four year old in
our every interaction. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if Edward thought of me like that,
weak and broken, a burden for him to carry. No, I could do this on my own. Edward had already
made a difference without any knowledge of my problem.
Diversion is the key to self-preservation. Divert and conquer.
"What? What are you talking about?" I asked him, ignorance my ally.
"Fuck, Bella, that's all I can fucking smell on you, those damn mints." Edward put his hands in his
hair and ran them down his face, bringing them to his chin and looking at me finally. "What is with
the mints, Bella?"
Diversion thickened in my resolve and I swallowed. It had to be done if any of this was going to work.
"What is with your parents, Edward?" I stared directly into his eyes, hoping he wouldn't be able to
dispute my request and reminding him of his own diversion.
Edward's eyes bore into mine, intense and decisive emeralds, their hue agonizing and conflicted
as he determined whether or not to share this part of himself with me.
He turned his eyes to the steering wheel, tracing the curve with his finger. "They're dead," he shrugge
"How?" I asked, quietly intrigued. He was quiet for a long time, just running his fingers along the
curve of the wheel. I scooted closer, reaching out to take his hand and bringing it to my lips. I
had known it would be difficult but I hadn't really given credence to exactly what it must be doing
to Edward, how it must tear him up to have to relive this so that I could have my selfish diversion.
More than the selfish diversion though, I wanted to know what extinguished that fire in him.
What brought him back to the brink of self control every time?
"He was always gone, working late into the night, sometimes neglecting to come home at all,"
Edward said softly, one of his hands in mine, the other still running along the circle.
"I didn't see it, you know. I didn't even fucking know. I started to notice weird shit though. The
police would call my mom, saying they picked him up in some bar and he would be muttering the
strangest things, accusing my mom of affairs, of turning Alice and me against him. My mom would
pick him up at the station while he ranted about how everyone was out to get him, the police, the
partners in his law firm, my mother, Alice, me. Everyone just accepted it, turned the other cheek
because it was easier than admitting the truth." I guessed he was talking about his father, the
image from the picture in the Cullens' hallway still vivid in my memory. I brought my other hand to
his face, tracing the bones of his cheeks and jaw before running my hands to his hair, trying to
smooth the coppery mess.
Edward continued, "My father started using drugs, mostly pot, sometimes coke and probably other
shit I didn't know about. I'd heard him tell my mom it made him feel more normal, like he could deal
with some of the fucked up things he was facing. But, then he'd get violent. He'd get into fights at
bars, destroy things. Once, when I was ten, he had said that he saw the devil's face in the
wallpaper in my bedroom. He took a crowbar and started ripping up the drywall. When I was
thirteen, he said I had the devil's voice. He locked me in my room, keeping "the devil" at bay,
prisoner, for the good of mankind. He never physically hurt me really, he'd just slap me around,
it was mostly mental and emotional shit. He never touched Alice or my mom though. Maybe he
knew I could take it, I could be a man.

And my mother just accepted it. She loved him, cared for him, playing nurse to him when he
would come down from one of his episodes, holding his head in her lap, stroking his face and hair,
soothing him, even after the horrid things he would say or do to us, she loved him. She just
fucking accepted it." Edward wiped the corner of his eye, a few tears already welling in his green
lashed ovals, and turned to look at me, anguish caught in his face as he debated what to say next.
"He killed her. Two years ago he stabbed her in the chest. I thought there would have been more
blood, but when Alice and I got home from school she looked like she could have been sleeping.
She was on the bed, on her back, her eyes closed. And at first we couldn't find him, my father.
But I knew that it was his fault, somehow. Alice ran and locked herself in the bathroom, curling up
in the bathtub. I was glad, she was safer there. I called 911. I didn't touch her, I couldn't, not
even to check for a pulse because I knew she was gone. And I wanted to find him, to kill him
myself. I would have, too. I wanted to just beat the living shit out of him for making us live that
way, fearful, paranoid, ashamed. It turned out he wouldn't give me the satisfaction. I found his
body in his office, slumped over his desk, his self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head spilling onto
his latest deposition. And I felt relief at finding him like this, relief that he could no longer torment
us and relief that my mother wouldn't have to live through the pain of finding him like this."
Edward turned to face me now with tears on his cheeks and I brought my fingers to his face in
an attempt to dry them. Edward grabbed the hand that rested on his cheek, bringing it to his lips
and kissing it softly.
"My father had schizophrenia. It's a genetic disease. That might be me someday, Bella. And it
could be you. I could hurt you if I'm not careful. I already have." Edward brought his fingers to
rest on the curve in my neck, smoothing one spot over and over with firm pressure.
"I did this, I made this mark, because I couldn't control myself." Edward brought his hand to his
face, covering his eyes, his face distorted in pain. I had no idea what he was talking about so I
pulled down the visor and looked at the spot he had been rubbing in the mirror. There was a small
bruise on my neck, reddish brown. A hickey, it was just a fucking hickey. Edward was freaking out
over a goddamn hickey.
"If I let myself slip just once, it could all be over," Edward continued. "I'm scared shitless, Bella. I
don't know what the fuck I'm doing."
I couldn't take it, all the shit he was saying. It just seemed so far removed from the situation at
hand, so distant and circumstantial. If, could be, mightthey were all words of little real bearing,
all speculative in nature, but it all suddenly made sense to me. His reluctance at first, the fighting,
the anti-drug attitude, even the avoidance of real sex. Edward didn't know how to do this, this
being normal shit. He'd always just kind of lived in a box, a scary, emotionally scarring box. Trust
me, I knew this place well and my entire being ached for him.
"Edward, I'm scared too," I told him, crawling into his lap again, this time with a different agenda.
I wrapped my arms around his waist, burrowing into him and just immersing myself in his very
being. "Everyone's fucked up. Everyone has issues. It's just a matter of finding someone whose
issues fucking mesh with yours the best, finding out what level of fucked up can you live with.
And I know what I can't live without," I whispered into his chest and neck. Edward folded his arms
tighter around my frame, curling into a ball with me at the center, magnetic mass holding us
together and pressed his face into my shoulder. Warm and wet spilled onto my sleeve, and I
kissed his cheek, breathing and inhaling the salty remnants of his lost family and childhood that
was currently saturating my shirt.
I don't know how long we stayed under that bridge but when the first mockingbirds of the
morning began to sing and flutter, Edward drove me home. I was exhausted, mentally drained
and defeated. During the night, Edward had told me everything, every little disturbing detail about

his family. He told me his mother, Elizabeth, and father, Edward Sr., met in high school and how
they were married the summer after they graduated. Elizabeth had worked two jobs, sustaining
their need for cash while his father had gone to college and became a lawyer. It was supposed to
be Elizabeth's turn for educational enlightenment but she had gotten pregnant and gave up any
hopes for a career after she had Edward, just another sacrifice for the love and life she had
chosen at such a young age.
He explained how he had taken over as caregiver for Alice when his mother was occupied with
their father, how he'd pack their lunches, get her ready for school and help her with homework
after they walked home. Alice would sleep in his bed during their father's episodes, and he would
hide from his father under the bed or in the closet when the threat was more severe. Edward
talked about the kinds of things his father would do during his psychosis. His father had once
poured paint into every cooking pot they owned, placing the pans around the house, and his
mother had just let the paint dry and ruin the cookware because she was too frightened to move them.
Edward talked more about the day he found them dead, how Carlisle came to arrange the funeral
and then brought them to Forks. He was fifteen when that shit happened, forced to grow up at
fifteen, and I couldn't imagine myself in his or Alice's position. I just listened to him talk, letting him
vent his anger, his pain giving in to the sadness and mourning the loss, something I don't think he
had ever gotten the chance to do.
While Edward talked about his father, I thought about my own. There were some things from
when I was a kid that I remembered about my father and they were pleasant, happy even. His
smells, his cooking, the way his moustache tickled my cheek when he would kiss me goodnight, I
used to dwell on them, searched for them when I could, trying to regain that innocence of my
youth. When Renee took me from Forks and Charlie disappeared from my life, I was forced to
mourn the demise of my childhood and ultimately my relationship with my father. I said my
goodbyes, thinking I'd never get another chance to see him, to smell his aftershave and tobacco,
to talk to him or feel his whiskery face on mine. When I lived in Phoenix I never talked about him
to the people I knew there. He was a distant and painful memory of what my life could have
been. I wasn't given any explanations, left to internalize the blame for my father's absence. My
mother had always made it clear that she hadn't wanted children, that I was a mistake. I
assumed he had felt that way too. I didn't know for sure but when he neglected to try to find
me, when I didn't hear from him for seven years, the suspicion was pretty much confirmed.
I was only beginning to realize that maybe Charlie wasn't what he seemed, that maybe I had
been wrong in my assumptions and now I was panicking. Charlie had come very close to dying
during his heart attack, he could potentially die still, the threat only weeks abated. Edward's
confession about his father ignited a desperation in me to renew the relationship with my own
dad, experience all the things a child wants from their parent. I wanted him to worry about me
and lecture me when I came home late, track me down when I didn't call him with my
whereabouts. I wanted him to teach me how to change the oil in my truck or a flat tire so I
wouldn't have to rely on some boy to do it for me. More than anything, I wanted him to cook me
dinner, like he used to when I was younger, remembering to crush the tomatoes extra fine
because he knew I didn't like my sauce chunky and I wanted to be able to enjoy it without
suffocating in guilt.
Without some drastic lifestyle changes, Charlie was in deep shit. He was still severely overweight,
suffering from a variety of life threatening illnesses ranging from sleep apnea to diabetes, and
there was still the dread of complications from the surgery, the strain on his heart ever present.
His body wasn't going to last forever and I almost felt like we were operating on borrowed time as
it was, Charlie's heart a ticking bomb, and that we were just waiting for it to explode. I had been
offered a second chance here, an epiphany brimming in my awareness. I had come here to help
Charlie under the pretense of satisfying my own Karmic unease, my failures as a daughter and a

friend most prevalent in that disquiet, but maybe that's not the reason I was here at all. Edward
was indirectly responsible for this realization, his intensity and warmth in our interactions offering
a sharp contrast to the indifference I was used to. Edward had really never known his father, the
disease claiming his existence before Edward could. His confession made me reconsider my
unease with Karma, that maybe I had it all wrong. Coming to Forks wasn't my Karmic obligation, it
was a gift, an opportunity to have something I would have never had otherwisea father. And if
I was patient enough, maybe I could have love too.
Again, Amers, thank you so much for your assistance with Psychological babble!! I appreciate it
so much!!
Joni songs:
In France They Kiss on Main Street
Come in From the Cold
Roses Blue
What a Strange, Strange Boy
Who's sighing in relief? I am!! Review my sweeties!!

Chapter: 12
Two POV's for you this chapter!
Dear, dear readers, Bella applauds all your patience and understanding! She's kind of got a lot of
shit to deal with right now, the most important being her relationship with her father, even though
we all want it to be the one with that boy!! And what a boy he is at that!
Some dearys are fans and spreading the love!! mamma4ever aka I_LOVE_WA and miztrezboo you
ladies are gems! Thank you for your love!!
Oh, my dear beta, n7of9, read that email I sent this morning again...okay, that, plus a big fat
thank you for the ending resuscitation. Thank you for putting your mouth on it and blowing...Oh
and cookies, I'm sending you lots and lots of cookies!
If anyone would like to learn more about Schizophrenia or Eating Disorders, please check out the
links on my profile!! These are serious psychological diseases and deserve our attention!
Okay enough with the chatty...
Disclaimer: It's not mine...
CH. 12-"Feeling Proud to Say I Love You Right Out Loud"
"Hmm I think it's better next to the window." Edward gave me a look that I recognized
immediately as you've got to be fucking kidding me, having seen it for maybe the tenth time
today. We had been moving furniture since this morning, rearranging the living room to have a
better flow of energy and balance, removing the clutter and opening those energy blockages that
stifle healing. Yeah, Alice got me a fucking book on feng shui and I was using the hell out of that
thing. Since coming to the realization two weeks ago that this excursion to Forks was a bit of a
Karma reward, I'd been a believer in all alternative methods of thinking. I'd take it, if it meant I
got to have a father again and I got to be with Edward, I'd take it all. Tarot, Zodiac, Zen - bring it on.
It was now the middle of April and all of Forks was on vacation for Spring Break. In Phoenix,
Spring Break was a week of lewd and vulgar behavior, everyone running around half naked,
spending their week at the river on speedboats and wave runners. Something told me Forks was
going to be different. It might have been the fact that it was still cool and misty and lack of
clothing was not a viable option. I had been in Forks for nearly two months now and every day
looked exactly the same as the day before it, overcast, gray and cold, the cloud cover resting on
the horizon each morning. I missed the radiance of the sun, the rays penetrating my skin with
electromagnetic energy and basking my soul in luminous efficacy. I wasn't particularly fond of the
cold but I had enough here to keep me distracted, plus the cold had made my hickey-hiding scarf
plausible. I had to wear a scarf for a week straight until that lovely bruise had faded.
It seemed Edward's perception had changed since revealing to me the details of his parents'

deaths. He seemed a bit more at ease, like his revelation freed him from the confines of his own
head. It was such a tragic story, survival of an unaffected mind inconceivable, and I mourned that
loss of innocence not only for Edward, but Alice as well. She was just so tranquil and calm, the
thought of her trying to fight off an attack or something was horrifying. It made the shit that I
had gone through as a kid seem ridiculous and insignificant in comparison. I mean, sure, Renee
was an idiot and Charlie had acted like an ass, but my wellbeing had never been in danger and the
risk had never been physical harm. I never had to hide under my bed or in the bathroom because
I was afraid of getting hurt in my own home by one of my parents. That had to have been
petrifying, especially for a young child. I couldn't imagine my own father, someone I was
supposed to be able to trust to keep me safe, becoming the ultimate aggressor. It had to have
left an indelible mark upon both their psyches.
Knowing this information only furthered my resolve to wallow in anonymity, the basis for my
purging deemed completely humiliating after Edward's admission. I mean, this shit was
embarrassing as it was. I knew people wouldn't understand my situation, the media's portrayal of
eating disorders a joke, something that only self-centered, vain rich bitches suffered from. My
own mother thought it was because I wanted to be skinny. I could fucking care less about the
size of my ass, the added weight would only improve my appearance. My body literally didn't
know how to function anymore. I don't know how many times these past weeks I had just
fucking prayed for the nausea to abate, for my body to accept the nourishment and be filled
without a fight. "I want to be strong, I want to laugh along, I want to belong to the living."
Edward didn't need this shit, he was engulfed in turmoil much greater than mine. If I put my
burden on him also, how could he focus on his own healing? And that is exactly what he needed
to do. He needed to heal, the emotional bruises from his lost childhood thick and black on his
soul. I made it my mission to offer Edward an escape from this fear, striving to prove to him that
he would be able to engage in life and experience this world without the presence of chaos. If
this meant that I kept my inconsequential purging a secret for now, then I would do it. And all the
while, I would be attempting to combat my problem, struggling against my own body to overcome
deprecation that had been in place for years now. But I would do it. I would do whatever I could
to reassure Edward that he would not share his father's fate.
Of course, as soon as I got home the morning after our highly unconventional first date, fully
awake and withholding from exhaustion, I had researched Schizophrenia. I read page upon page
of information, learning about the history, lurking on message boards, reading about
experimental treatments and perceived causes, until I came upon a study concerning the genetic
implications of the disease. My eyes blurred from lack of sleep and I nearly passed out hovering
over my laptop, but I had to make sense of Edward's fears. I wanted to know if they were fully
supported with documentation or if he was mistaken, the implication made more severe from his
experience with his father's psychosis.
I scrolled through the document, much of the jargon difficult to comprehend, until I found the
results section of the study. From what I could gather, the estimates of heritability of
Schizophrenia varied because it is difficult to separate the effects of the environment and
genetics, the old nurture versus nature dilemma rearing its ugly head. The article stated that
there are many genes interacting to generate risk for the disease and that sometimes they raise
the risk of other psychiatric diseases. But the study also said that there was conflicting findings
and that so far all theories remained unsubstantiated.
So there was a risk, but it wasn't as prominent as Edward thought it to be. Now I was conflicted
because I had wanted to find out that it was all bullshit and Edward's mind would forever be
brilliant and perfect, but that might not be the case. I found it ironic that just weeks ago, the
second time I met Edward, we were studying this very concept in Biology, and now here I was
trying to figure out if Edward was going to go crazy and hurt me and have all his fears realized at

some point in time.

That morning as I lay in bed listening to the mockingbirds whistle their warnings outside my
window, I thought about what this meant for me. Should I pursue this relationship, knowing it
could be potentially harmful, even if the risk was miniscule? The emotional scarring would greatly
outweigh the physical, my bodily preservation inconsequential. I didn't really give a shit about
dying or being physically hurt, but the pain of having to see Edward deteriorate would be
devastating. I had read all about the symptoms, hallucinations, delusions, apathy being the less
severe, ranging to things I wouldn't be able to fathom, like motionlessness, purposeless agitation
and catatonia. Would I be able to handle that? What toll would it take on my own psyche and soul
if Edward were to show symptoms of this debilitating disease?
And like a shock of electricity jolting through my body, causing every hair on my body to prickle
with energy, the answer rang clear. It didn't fucking matter. Any of it. I would take this time I had
with Edward, whether it was plagued by an unlikely psychiatric disease or not, I would take it.
Because I was going to love him. I had felt it brimming in my soul for a while. I already knew he
was my match, my soul mate, my very element wrapped up into one cosmically chosen being.
Nature had matched me with Edward. But to love, that is a pure mixture of personality traits,
choices and decisions, environmental factors creating a nurturing path of least resistance and
bringing together characteristics and mannerisms that are most compatible. To have both is rare
and I would be a goddamn fool to pass it up because of some possible risk of mental disease and
personal safety. Even if I could only have it for a while I was going to have it, and that was by
far a more enticing possibility. "I'm a lucky girl, I found my friend."
I scooted the coffee table over to rest in front of the two large chairs now. Charlie had gone to
the hospital for some tests. He was off the pain medication now and was ready to go back to
work, a nice comfy swivel chair awaiting him at the station. Carlisle had initially said he only
needed to stay home for six weeks and Charlie was anxious to get back. I think he was getting
sick of my persistent coaxing, but I was intent on sticking to the rehabilitation plan. Medication,
check; eradicate house of tobacco and alcohol, check; daily exercisewell, we were still working
on some things.
Charlie was not a fan of fitness saying that if nature had intended our bodies for exercise, sitting
on his ass wouldn't be so comfortable. I was somewhat indifferent in regards to exercise, the lack
of food consumption causing lack of energy which made exercise futile, but Edward had disclosed
he was a runner, that it had been one of the ways he cleared his head and that before his
debacle with deliberate dueling, running had been his nightly meditation. This, combined with the
fact that his cousin was a prominent member of the wrestling team, made Edward about a
hundred times more knowledgeable in the ways of health and fitness than I was. Edward had put
together a light strength training workout, mainly consisting of careful stretches for now, and
something Charlie could do in the living room or his bedroom. Charlie was supposed to walk every
day too, to help pump blood through his altered arteries. So far, I hadn't seen him do any of it,
but he'd finally stopped asking for steak and pipe, realizing I wouldn't be a party to his purposeful
Once we had the furniture in a pleasing position in the living room we moved on to the kitchen
and, using a couple of screwdrivers, set to work tightening the hinges on all the cabinets. It
bugged the shit out of me the way the doors were always hanging open, the kitchen a ghost
town and void of any life, abandoned and neglected. My resolve still fixated on renewing my
existence, I was striving to bring warmth back into this kitchen and exterminate any lingering
elements of indifference and disregard. "Forgetting fear but never disregarding her."
Edward had been teaching me how to cook too, giving me the tools to create the healthy meals
that were most beneficial to Charlie. Charlie needed a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats,

which was a challenge since his preferred diet had consisted of artery hardening animal lards. All
his favorites - red meats, eggs, butter, cheese - they were all to be avoided. As clueless as I was
about exercise, as Edward shared his organic, natural food philosophy with me, I realized that I
had become even more out of touch with food than I had thought. I mean, I knew a couple of
recipes by heart, things you never forget like marinara sauce and pastina, but what Edward knew
about fusing flavors and using herbs and just the whole chemical processes of certain foods,
what happens when you add variant levels of heat and liquids, it was like a science to him, a
wonderfully aromatic and succulent science.
Edward had a remarkable outlook on the culinary arts and food consumption, opting to use
ingredients that hadn't been tainted by chemical preservatives and additives. He created a menu,
consisting of whole grains, oatmeal, brown rice, and wheat and vegetable pastas, choosing foods
free from complex sugars using natural sweeteners like honey or juices instead. Edward
prescribed proteins low in fat, like turkey and fish, appealing to Charlie's preferences while
maintaining the stipulations of the plan and using spices, juices and herbs instead of sodium and
fats to add flavor. Of course, fruits and vegetables were becoming the main staple, Edward
experimenting with techniques for preparing and reinventing old recipes. Charlie had a difficult time
trusting Edward's cooking at first, but one meal of tarragon roasted salmon and asparagus with
wheat penne later, Charlie quit his grumbling.
Charlie's terminated use of sleep inducing drugs had thrown a bit of a snarl into our late night
liaisons. Don't get me wrong, it didn't actually halt the engagements from occurring, we were just
paranoid as all shit Charlie would catch us in an awkward position. Charlie hadn't explicitly told me
I couldn't have a boy in my room every night of the week until two in the morning, but common
sense told me this probably wouldn't be allowed. Edward had suggested climbing the tree in the
front yard and coming in through my window, but I refused. I didn't want to sneak around like a
criminal in my own home and I certainly didn't want to subject Edward to feeling like some creepy
stalker. I wasn't doing anything wrong or bad and unless Charlie prohibited it, Edward would use
the front door.
I tried to hoist myself on the counter but my lack of strength made the climb embarrassingly
impossible. Edward was already tightening his second door and I was still trying to get on the
fucking counter. I sighed and crossed the kitchen to get a chair. I started moving the collection of
crap currently utilizing the small chair when Edward, noticing my divergence from our task, turned
to look at me.
"What's wrong?" Edward asked me, leaning against the counter, his arms folded across his
chest. He was wearing 'work' clothes, the torn jeans frayed at the knees and a torn gray t-shirt, a
Stoli's logo stretched across his torso. I thought it somewhat ironic that his shirt was promoting
Vodka when he didn't even drink. It must have been one of Alice's thrift store finds, but it was
fucking hot, the little holes exposing bits of Edwards skin. I kept wanting to run my fingers over
the tears, and the damn shirt was like a size too small. Every time he lifted his arms that little slice
of skin above the waistband of his pants would taunt me, imploring my fingers to glide across the
flesh. I could see it now, my eyes roaming to the epidermal display, the concave scoop of his hips
prominent and inviting. I licked my flushed lips, anxious to taste the expanse and wondering if
he'd notice that fucking shirt absent from his wardrobe.
"Nothing," I replied, the fire beneath my skin forcing a rosy hue. I turned back to my task, the
image burned into my brain, completely ignited and suffering from an insatiable case of vag
liquification. Shit! My body's involuntary response to Edward's bare skin was beginning to border
on torture.
I started to drag the chair over to the counter when Edward caught on and moved to wrap his
arms around my waist. I gasped as he hoisted me up until my eyes met his, his lips just inches

from mine, and I instinctively wrapped my legs around his torso, my groin pressing into that naked
stretch of skin, my arms prowling up around his neck. With one hand adjusted to grip my ass and
the other wrapped around my waist, he walked to the counter and set me on it, pressing into me
as I pulled his face closer to mine, our eyes interlaced and waltzing in electric eagerness.
Edward was breathing quietly, his warm breath flooding over my skin, a bath of aromas swirling
around my face in small whispers. He pulled away, leaving me on the countertop practically
panting and thirsting for his mouth, and turned his attention back to the fucking cabinet, forcing
me to ache in covetous desire.
"Um, thanks, ass," I said sarcastically. Edward was engrossed in his task, staring intently at the
hinge he was promptly tightening, a small smirk hiding on his lips. I suppressed a grin of my own,
trying to maintain my composure and torn between wanting to punch him in the face and the urge
to dry hump him right here in the kitchen.
"Anytime," he smirked, a full smile now, and just continued to adjust the hinges.
"So what do you want for lunch?" Edward asked after few quiet moments. "I'm starving." It was
only, like, eleven thirty and already the boy was hungry. Hunger for me was still an infrequent
occurrence, my body forgetting to notify me when it was empty. I hadn't eaten in over
seventeen hours and still my stomach was comfortably vacant. Logically, I knew I should eat,
that my body needed some sort of fuel to function. However, if the choice was left up to me, I
wouldn't even think about eating until I felt it in my belly, that gnawing and aching of bowels
calling for satiation, and those times were few and far between.
I had been trying to eat when I was with Edward, really trying, the task made easier by the fact
that his food was so incredibly satisfying to my palate. I was getting better at curbing the nausea
and pressure that erupted regardless, not having purged for an entire week, a fact I found
great accomplishment in. "Today I am not prey to dark uncertainty," a mantra I had to remember
to take things one day at a time.
The purging was no longer fulfilling its original purpose - instead of the satisfying void I used to
feel, now the emptiness was deafening, like I had eradicated a piece of Edward himself in flushing
his nourishment down the toilet. Every time I felt the compulsion I remembered Edward's voice in
the women's restroom, worry and pain thick with implication in his questioning of my
overabundance of minty reliance, and I couldn't do it. Just like Alice's presence in the school
day-smoking restroom was a deterrent, Edward's ever presence in my subconscious was
changing the dynamics of my self-deprecation.
In Phoenix, nobody ever noticed my lack of eating. Renee was never home during meal times and
any acquaintances I surrounded myself with were too stoned to notice, gorging themselves only
when the urge to munch arose. Edward's propensity for meals, like actual times set aside just for
eating, made disguising my problem a little tricky, especially when I had to engage in said meals in
front of others. This threat was impossibly more evident today, because tonight I was having
dinner with Edward's family before heading to La Push for a bonfire. Emmett and the wrestling
team had planned a huge party on the beach. Apparently, the tide was going to be really low
tonight, exposing the briny coral and sea life, the tide pools offering a glance at the world
beneath the salty surface.
"Um, whatever. I think we have stuff for sandwiches or something," I replied. I had just gone to
the market yesterday so the fridge was pretty stocked.
"Are you hungry?" Edward asked me, pausing his task and turning to look at me.

Shit. I had a choice here. I could lie, tell him yes and make us lunch, choke down a sandwich and
spend the rest of the day suppressing the compulsion to puke because I knew tonight at
Edward's house I was going to have to eat again. Or, I could tell him the truth, that I wasn't
hungry, make him lunch and watch him eat while he stared at me wondering why I didn't want to
share in the habitual feeding with him, causing him to become suspicious and question my
previous behavior, quite possibly nurturing that seed of realization that had undoubtedly been
festering in his mind.
And then I realized that this was just like the sneaking through the window thing. Edward
deserved to know the truth, always and about everything. So I decided that I would no longer lie.
I would give him the truth, let him draw his own conclusions, and I wouldn't deny any of it when
he figured it out, I'd deal with the repercussions. It was a way that I could begin to let go of my
secret, a way that I could begin to deal with the fact that this piece of comfort that I could
control was no longer under my control. When Edward told me about his parents, when he
offered me freely that piece of himself, I had relinquished that control to Edward and I hadn't
even been aware of the transition. It wasn't everything, but it was a start.
"Um, not really. But I can make you something," I said lightly, trying not to make this a big deal.
Edward stopped tightening the screw and turned fully towards me, his gaze appraising. "Did you
eat breakfast?" he asked, his arms folding across his chest.
Fuck! Are you serious? What are the odds that I decide on honesty and he decides to question at
the same exact time? Fucking Karma.
I was tempted to revert back to cowardly liar but I fought the urge, the photograph of Edward's
father flashing through my mind.
"No, I wasn't hungry." I took a deep breath and looked down instinctively and I could actually
feel Edward's eyes on me, burning into my now hot face. This honesty thing was going to be
"You weren't hungry for breakfast? Did you eat a big dinner last night?" Edward wasn't going to let
it go, he was pressing and I was instantly reminded of my reasoning in withholding this information
in the first place. Repercussions be damned, I wasn't going to be able to deal with twenty
questions at every meal time.
"No! Edward, fuck. The last time I ate was lunch with you and Alice yesterday, alright?" I snapped,
filled with regret.
"And you're not hungry?" He ignored my tone and focused on getting information. Edward was
searching for answers, an investigator looking for clues. He knew something was up, his
suspicious behavior making this evident, but his questioning proving he just didn't know what.
"No. I'm just not hungry," I shrugged.
"Will you eat a sandwich if I make you one?" Edward asked, formulating the question quickly.
Edward already knew the answer to this, I'm sure. "Sure," I said, defeated.
The front door swung open with a clang, causing me to startle at the distraction. "Bella!" Charlie
called from the living room.
"Kitchen!" I replied, still refusing to look at Edward and grateful for the break in questioning.

Charlie's large form groaned into the kitchen, nodding a salutation to Edward and assessing our
task at hand. "Living room looks interesting."
"Thanks," I said. "What did Carlisle say?"
"Blood pressure's still high, incision's okay, still gotta stick to the list." Charlie said this last one
with a scowl.
"I don't think that the list is ever going away, Dad. I think the list is pretty much for life." I hated
to burst his bubble but coddling was not going to make Charlie realize that this shit was serious.
Charlie scoffed, muttering something under his breath that I decided to just let go, my mind
otherwise occupied.
"Do you want lunch, I think Edward was going to make sandwiches?" Edward had been quiet in
contemplation throughout the exchange and as I glanced over at him, he met my eyes, calculation
still in his gaze.
"Naw, I'm not really hungry. I stopped at the store on the way home. I'm goin' to work on some of
my lures." Charlie held up a bag from Newton's Sporting Goods.
"I've got to go anyway, actually," Edward finally spoke, shocking the hell out of me. I had
thought we'd be leaving for his house this evening together.
"What?" I asked, uncomfortable with the amount of time Edward would have to meditate on my
answers to his questions.
"I need to go to the market and get everything prepared and marinating," Edward replied. This
was a good excuse, maybe even a real one, but the paranoia in me thought it a diversionary
tactic so he could escape. He may have seen this in my expression because his own face
softened and a smile spread across his lips.
I couldn't help but return the grin. "Okay," I said, unable to disguise the disappointment in my voice.
"I'm going upstairs if you need me." Charlie made a beeline for the stairs, sensing a public display
of affection that he didn't want to be witness to.
Edward pulled me into his arms as soon as Charlie left the room. He kissed my forehead as I
wrapped my arms around his waist. "I'm sorry about the fucking questions, Bella," Edward said
softly into my hair.
"Don't apologize for that. You can ask me whatever you want," I replied. "I'm sorry I can't control
my bitchiness." I pushed my face into his maybe soon to be mine hot Stoli shirt, the material
threadbare and soothing, inhaling the scent of fresh laundry and soap.
"Well, you were provoked." Edward twirled the end of my ponytail, his other hand running up
and down my back.
"So, you think I was acting bitchy?" I pulled back, teasing.
'Oh, no, no, no. I'm not even dignifying that with a response. That's a fucking trap, right there."
Edward laughed.

"So, do you really have to go grocery shopping or are you just trying to get out of chores?" I
moved my arms to his neck, running my fingers into his hair, twirling the loops and curls at the
base of his neck.
He moved his face very close to mine, running the tip of his nose along the base of my jaw and
into the space directly below my earlobe, placing a slow, sucking kiss on the spot and sending
shivers across my skin.
"Like I'd pass up watching you do chores, what with all the bending and stretching and such. Do
you have any idea how good your ass looks in those pants?" Edward whispered into my ear, his
lips grazing the lobe as he spoke, his hands slithering down my back to clutch the aforementioned are
Instinctively, my fingers tightened in his hair, pulling his mouth closer into my neck. Thinking
about wrapping my legs around him again but remembering that Charlie was upstairs, I refrained,
opting to press my chest against his instead.
"Fuck, Edward, you can't just say things like that and expect there to be no consequences," I
breathed into his ear now, licking the lobe and bringing it between my teeth.
"Oh, I was fully anticipating consequences, Bella. In fact, I was banking on it." Edward pulled my
hips into his, his strong fingers tight on my flesh. He pushed his lips onto mine with gentle
pressure, thrusting his tongue into my mouth and twirling fervently, the kiss frantic and fast, my
hands still twisted into the length of his coppery hair and pulling with every thrust of his tongue.
He pulled away first, both of us out of breath, and pressed his forehead to mine. My chest was
heaving against his, my head fuzzy from the lack of oxygen. I probably would have stubbornly
kept kissing him until unconsciousness ensued. Thank God, one of us has common sense. "Oh
starbright, starbright, you've got the lovin' that I like, all right."
"I really do have to go to the market, Bella. And now it's going to be a very uncomfortable trip."
Edward kissed the tip of my nose and I pushed my body against his swelling bulge in an attempt
to keep him here.
"Bella!" he gasped. "Seriously, Charlie's upstairs. And I really do have to go."
"I know," I pouted, placing a soft, gentle kiss on his lips. I walked Edward out to his car, leaning
against his door. "So, are you going to give me directions to your house or what?"
"I'll pick you up. We'll just leave for La Push from my house." Edward stood across from me.
"Okay. Who's going to be at dinner?" I asked, hopeful we'd be dining without Rosalie and knowing
it was all in vain.
"Just all of us, and Rosalie," Edward responded, confirming my suspicion, a scowl inadvertently
forced upon my face.
"I know," was all Edward needed to say. "Okay, I'm going to go. I'll pick you up at around five or
five thirty, depending on how preparations for dinner are going."
"That's fine. Whenever. I could come over early even, if you want. I could watch you cook." I
smiled at the prospect, that black apron muddling my brain.
"Okay. I'll call you when I get back from the store to see if you're ready." Edward was smiling
too, appreciating my alternate plan. He gave me a quick kiss and I moved away from his car,
walking into the house as he drove off, anticipating a very interesting evening ahead of me.

I opened the oven for the tenth time, checking the potatoes and wiping the sweat off my
forehead on Bella's hip which happened to be inconceivably close to my face.
"Edward! I have to wear these pants all night you know!" Bella was stirring the marinara on the
stovetop. She'd been driving me fucking crazy all day, first this morning with her black pants, the
thick waistband all folded over, making them even lower on her hips than necessary. Shit, and
the way the material felt in my hands, thin and stretchy when I grabbed her ass in her kitchen,
the material pulling and sliding against her skin, fucking visualizing the flesh beneath the clinging
fabric. It was fucking painful, both emotionally and physically, plagued by a wicked boner as I
headed out to the market to get some groceries for tonight's dinner.
And then I pick her up and she's wearing these fucking tight-ass jeans, the bottoms scrunched
around her ankles and, like, five shirts, two of them thermal, and her corduroy jacket. Did she
think we were going to Antarctica? She insisted on helping me with dinner, claiming she wanted to
pick up cooking tips, but I swear she just wanted to torture me with her tight jeans, more bending
and stretching while getting pans from the cabinet and reaching for spices on the shelves. Fuck,
this girl's ass was going to kill me. They'd have to inscribe it on my headstone, "Death by Blue Balls".
"You don't have to wear pants. I think it'd be far more interesting if you weren't actually," I
teased. Bella was going to have dinner with my family and then we were going to La Push Beach
for a bonfire. Normally, I wouldn't be caught dead doing this kind of shit, but Emmett was sort of
conspiring the whole thing, so I felt obligated. Plus, I'd have a chance to show Bella the tide
pools, something I think she'd enjoy. There was also this really secluded spot where kids went to
make out and shit, up on one of the cliffs overlooking the ocean. I thought that might be kind of fun too
Bella snorted at my comment, scraping the sides of the saucepan with the spatula. "Yeah, that'd
be priceless, my scantily clad ass at your dinner table." I'd be a fucking liar if I didn't cop to
picturing that shit, Bella's bare ass on the dining table. Fuck, I was pretty sure hell had a parking
spot with my name on it.
I pulled the potatoes from the oven using my apron as a guard against the heat, setting them on
the counter and turning off the oven. Tonight I was making gnocchi with marinara, the light
potato dumpling a fantastic alternative to traditional pasta. The trick to gnocchi was to bake the
potatoes in the skin instead of boiling them. Boiling causes them to absorb too much water,
making them rubbery and heavy. The baked potatoes produced a much fluffier and lighter dumpling.
Once the potatoes had cooled I scraped the flesh of the potato from the skin, spooning it into a
large bowl and whisking with a fork. Mixing the egg, flour and salt into the potato, I used my
hands to combine the ingredients until they formed a pliable ball of dough.
I looked up realizing I hadn't heard from Bella in a while, my mind occupied by the mixture before
me. Bella was staring at me, her velvet eyes wide and absorbing, her mouth slightly opened,
displaying her top white teeth through her full glossed lips. They spread into a smile when she
realized she'd been caught, her eyes darting down to the dough in my hands.
"You're really good at that, you know, you look like you know what you're doing, like it's second
nature or something," Bella commented, her eyes still on my hands.
I shrugged. "I've got a knack for it, I guess. It just makes sense to me." I threw some flour onto

the cutting board and began to pull portions of the dough and roll them into the dumplings.
Bella walked over to where I was working and began to pull portions of the mixture, mirroring my
technique and placing the gnocchi on the floured cookie sheet. We worked in comfortable silence,
our hands lingering when they accidentally touched, and because I couldn't help it, I leaning down
to kiss her cheek a couple of times.
I hadn't felt the bomb in weeks. Since I'd told Bella about my parents it seemed that the bomb
had somewhat been diffused. I didn't hear it ticking in my head anymore, the only sound in my
head now was Joni fucking Mitchell. Yeah, she'd got me listen to that shit. I mean, I'm regularly
not a fan of high-pitched sappy metaphorical poetry put to piano, but it was a part of her, a huge
part, and I wanted to know that part, really know it so I could understand when she quoted one
of Joni's songs and so I knew what the fuck she was trying to say.
I knew exactly what made me decide to tell Bella about my parents. I was afraid, fearful of my
fucking shadow, worried that if Bella knew what I could become she'd run. She'd leave and the
best thing that I'd found in this life would be gone.
I'm not a fucking idiot. Something was up with Bella, something she was keeping from me. I could
fucking smell it on her, those mints a dead giveaway. I honestly didn't know precisely what she
was being so secretive about but I'd seen enough shit in my life to have some suspicions. I had
spent some time looking at the evidence.
For one thing, she was fucking skinny as all shit. Sometimes I worried I was hurting her when we
were making out, bruising her fucking bones, the way they jutted out all over the place, her skin
taut and stretched. Don't get me wrong, I loved feeling her, every part of her, I just thought
there should be a bit more to feel. I don't think there was an ounce of fat on her body. This could
be due to the fact that she was all weird about eating. The way she looked at food, well, it was
like she was looking at a fucking corpse or something, smelling everything before tasting it.
Usually she ate what I cooked, but I'd rarely seen her eat anything else. She did eat the
peppermint patties and then proceeded to throw up. And then there were the fucking mints.
Bella was an emotional mess, getting off one minute then crying the next. She had a somewhat
short fuse, irrationally pissed over things that weren't that big of a deal. She smoked cigarettes
and sucked on hard candy. She'd already proved that she liked to party, getting plastered and
smoking weed and then associating with well known drug dealers.
I was like ninety percent sure Bella had a drug problem.
The other ten percent was sure it was a mixture of various psychological disorders.
I didn't expect Bella to come at me with something like that. I mean, really, she'd only known me
two months. You don't just come right out with your life story after two months. But you also don't
call someone your soul mate after two months and I was sure as shit doing that. My connection
with Bella was different than anything I'd ever experienced and I was pretty sure she felt it too.
So I fucking told her. I swallowed my fears and I told her everything with the hope that maybe
she'd feel comfortable telling me someday. I didn't expect her to spill that night, honestly, I
didn't. She wouldn't have done that, and besides, she was too busy consoling my blubbering ass.
I just wanted to make sure she knew that I wasn't going anywhere, that I've got shit in my past too.
Sometimes, when she'd look at me, I could just see it in her eyes so close to the brim, the purse in
her quavering lips just struggling to form the words, and I knew she wanted to tell me, just lay it
all out there. But she never did. And I knew why. I had been in the same predicament, my heavy

secret weighing thick on my being. I hadn't wanted to share it with her because I was scared
shitless she would leave. Maybe she was scared too.

Accepting Bella's help was surprisingly easy. I really didn't know how it would be to have help in
the kitchen and with dinner. I'd always preferred to work alone and I always denied anyone when
they offered to help, but Bella didn't offer to help, she just did it, and I didn't even have the
chance to dispute her. We'd gotten shit done in record time too, Bella setting the table leaving me
free to plate the dish.
My family was seated around the large table, Esme and Rose immersed in trivial conversation.
Carlisle was reading some paperwork of some kind, an article or journal or something. Alice and
Emmett were discussing this episode of Top Gear they'd just been watching and were debating
the performance superiorities between an Aston Martin Vanquish and Porsche 911.
"Emmett, the 911 is like a classic. My dream car would be a yellow 1968 Porsche 911 with sweet
wheels and black interior. That would be hot." Alice really knew nothing about cars or she would
have waited another year to get the '69 which was quicker in acceleration.
"Whatever dude, that Vanquish is foxy. I want to make sweet, sweet love to that car," Emmett
replied, nodding his head in grotesque undulations.
"Emmett!" Esme had overheard their conversation, scolding her son and giving him an
exasperated glare.
"What? Everyone does it, Mom." Emmett noticed me walking into the dining room and started
clapping, starting off real slow and getting faster as I walked towards the table. "Come on guys, I
started with the slow clap. You guys gotta do the splattering background applause." Fuck,
Emmett was in one of his 'funny' moods tonight, you know when you think everything you do is
the most hilarious thing ever uttered. And he wasn't even drunk yet.
Alice jumped up to help as Bella was carrying in the salad, giving me a dirty-ass look in the process.
"Edward, dude, you made our guest serve us? What is wrong with you?" Alice ushered Bella to a
seat, which happened to be next to Rosalie. I could see Bella's whole being just tense up as she
took the seat. Rosalie turned her body ever so slightly so that the back of her shoulder was facing
Bella. Now it was my turn to throw the dirty looks, glaring at Alice, what the fuck my intended message
I put the gnocchi on the table, taking my seat on the other side of Bella and across from Alice,
giving her a little kick under the table as I was adjusting my seat.
"Ow, Edward, watch it, ass." It was the second time I'd been called that today, this reason
much, much different from the first.
As everyone filled their plates I noticed Bella had a substantial amount of salad and not very
much gnocchi at all, maybe six or seven dumplings, but I suppressed the urge to ask her if
everything was okay. I needed to stop that shit, seriously. After the shit in the kitchen this
morning, I had to minimize my urge to question the shit out of every move Bella made. She had to
know that I would accept any flaw that she had because I knew she'd accept mine.
"Hey Bella, how do you like your gah-nocchi?" Emmett mispronounced it on purpose, something
he does every time I make it. I rolled my eyes and was about to explain when Bella responded.

"It's gah-awesome, Emmett." Bella giggled at Emmett's dumb joke and I pretended I didn't hear
Bella's response, afraid it might lower the pedestal I had her upon. "Seriously, Edward, it's
delicious. You really have a gift."
Rosalie, who'd been quiet for, like, the past week, finally found her voice and unfortunately
ruined a perfectly good dinner conversation by bringing up the future. "Hasn't Edward told you
Bella? He's going to apply at this culinary institute in Italy."
Fucking cuntwords, that's all I could think of. Cuntface, cunthead, dumbcuntI could go on and
on. Rosalie wasn't singing my praises, she was trying to start an argument, trying to make Bella
feel insecure.
Bella looked over at me and smiled, excitement in her eyes. "Really? Do you know how awesome
that would be! You could totally do that!" Ah, she is a keeper, this one.
"Yeah, The Italian Culinary Academy. It's like a ten week course in New York and then nine weeks
in Italy. After that you can apply for an additional nine weeks in Italy as an intern, like working in
real Italian kitchens and shitI mean stuff." I glanced over at Esme who thankfully hadn't noticed
my slip, she didn't like foul language. It really was a sweet little program they had over there, the
purpose of the internship being to get a permanent position in a restaurant, as an assistant or a
sous chef or something, and then work your way to the top. It'd be fucking sweet to have my
own restaurant someday and this would be the best place to start.
"Well, that sounds incredibly interesting. I'd like to learn more about this school, and New York and
Italy too." Bella grinned again, her mouth wrapping around her fork as she ate her salad. Rosalie
was quiet again, defeated as she sank into her chair and pushed her food around her plate.
Bella ate everything before her, bringing the gnocchi to her lips and chewing slowly, even closing
her eyes for a moment. This was always a good sign, equated with pleasure and longing. The
table settled into a comfortable chatter and it felt excellent to have Bella create this food with me
and then see her enjoy it. I thought about my plans for the future and now they involved Bella. I
couldn't see a path I'd take that didn't have her beside me.
After dinner, we gathered our supplies for the bonfire. It was the middle of April so I wasn't
counting on any ice or snow, but rain was always a possibility. I threw in some blankets in case
we found that spot on the cliff, or in case Bella fell in the tide pools, both entirely plausible,
especially if alcohol was involved. I wasn't going to drink but Bella might want to and I wasn't going
to tell her what to do, but you bet your ass I was going to be there to take care of things if shit
got ugly.
Emmett and Rose had already left to secure the spot on the beach and set up our camp. The
wrestling team did this about once every couple months and they had their shit down. Each
person was responsible for bringing one of the following three itemsbeer, food, firewood. Then
they'd get stupid and intoxicated and create the largest, most dangerous fire imaginable, some of
the guys bringing those wood palettes that shit arrives in stores on and standing them up around
the fire until it was as tall as I was. It was highly dangerous and pretty fucking cool.
Alice was riding with us and sat quietly in the back seat of the Volvo as we drove the half hour
drive to La Push Beach located on the Quileute Indian Reservation. When we got there Alice split,
saying she was going to go find Emmett, but her previous secretive behavior eluded that she was
going to find something else, something very specific.
I stashed the flashlights in my jacket pocket and took Bella's hand in mine, interlacing our fingers
and walking towards the already raging tower of inferno down on the sand. We made our way

around the dozens of people already chatting and drinking, some roasting marshmallows by the
fire. A couple morons from the wrestling team were actually debating whether or not they could
run through the blaze before their clothing caught on fire. Fucking idiots. I suddenly wished I had
grabbed Carlisle's cell phone, the need to call 911 would probably arise at some point tonight.
We found Emmett and Rose over by the beer buckets, huge buckets of ice just overflowing with
beer. They were both already buzzed by this time, Rosalie squinting and having a difficult time
walking in the sand and Emmett fucking doing his damn impersonations. Alright, some of them
were funny damnit, but I'd seen them all before. I really just wanted to find some place quiet
where I could be with Bella, wrapped in a blanket under the stars.
"Do you want something to drink?" I asked, turning to speak quietly into her ear. Bella brought her
lip between her teeth, shaking her head no and reaching up to kiss my cheek.
"Tide pools," she said, dragging me towards the ocean. It was true the tide was out really far, a
few surfers past the crests and waiting for a night ride. I led now, pulling Bella to the rocky
expanse of sand normally covered by the ocean and now exposed, trapping the creatures of the
sea in these temporary homes. I gave Bella a flashlight and we explored the reefs, looking for
crabs and fucking squealing when one would scuttle across the sand to hide in an inaccessible
spot. We stuck our fingers in the sea anemone, watching them close up around the intruder, and
we watched the tiny trapped fish swim around and around in the enclosed space. There wasn't
anything romantic or sexual about the activity, it was just two people who liked each other acting
like goofballs together. Bella was fun, she was silly and cracked stupid jokes and I just generally
liked being around her. She made me feel like maybe I could be fun too.
Bella had started to shiver and I was eager to find that lookout point on the cliff and wrap her in
a blanket before she got too numb. I wasn't exactly sure where it was but it couldn't have been
far and I'd seen kids on the point before. We walked back to the car to grab the blankets and,
using my flashlight, found a path cleared of foliage. This had to be the hiking path to the cliff.
"Um, so I think this is the path to a cliff with at really wicked view of the ocean. Are you up for
an adventure?" I asked Bella. She might be too cold or tired to hike and in that case we could go
sit by the fire.
"Oh Edward, I'm always up for an adventure," Bella replied, kissing my hand intertwined with hers.
We began walking up the hill, Bella falling a little behind, and since we were joined at the hands, I
slowed my speed to mirror hers. We followed the meandering path, the packed dirt making it easy
to tread and navigate.
Bella was quiet during our walk, thinking, but the silence wasn't uncomfortable. The sound of the
party below was chaotic and messy, the screaming and laughing fading as we moved further from
it, the sounds drowned out by the crashing of the waves against the rocks below us. We had
hiked for twenty minutes maybe when we came to a fork in the path. To the right was a steeper
path, climbing straight up, probably to a higher peak. To the left was a narrow path that hugged
the rocky wall of the mountain. I chose the path on the left for us, not sure if even I could make
it up the alternative.
"Edward, I don't think this is safefor me," Bella said quietly. She was afraid of falling, but I was
sure that the area opened up on the other side of this path and that we'd be secluded from
people yet exposed to the elements of the night, the salty air and spray of the ocean, the stars
and constellations in the sky, the backdrop for a most delicate memory. Yes, this is the pussy I
had turned into for this girl, and I wanted everything to be perfect for her.

I had decided that I wasn't going to hold back anymore in my physical relationship with Bella. Like
she had said, we should be natural and let things happen. The pressure of the bomb abated, I
would be able to focus on Bella, on enjoying every aspect of our electric connection and giving
her every bit of myself.
"Bella, would I ever lead you somewhere unsafe? Here, hold the flashlight." I handed her the light
as I gently pushed her ahead of me, one arm around her waist, guiding her across the narrow
path from behind. I knew we were close, I could hear the waves crashing, the air thick with
moisture, the briny, mineral smell of the salt rich in the air. It was a tad cooler than I had
anticipated but I had three blankets in my bundle and I was immediately shameful that I had
mentally capped on Bella's multiple layers.
We eased around a bend in the mountain and then the pathway opened up to a wide plateau,
the edge overlooking the ocean. The moon was full and glittering off the sea, basking us in its
blue white glow and making Bella's skin a beautiful shade of cream. We could see the glow of the
bonfire to the left, hear their banter. We weren't really that high up, just out of sight and hidden
in the darkness.
"See? Isn't this worth it?" I whispered into her ear, kissing the area below the lobe. She leaned
into me shivering slightly so I pulled my arm tighter around her soft body.
"It seems you do know what you're doing," Bella exhaled, her voice quiet and breathless. I pulled
away from her, spreading the blanket onto the ground. She sat down, kicking off her shoes and
crossing her legs beneath her as I placed another blanket around her shoulders. She opened her
arms, welcoming me into them, and I quickly took my place beside her. Bella burrowed into my
side, a place she seemed to like, and I placed my nose and lips to her hair, inhaling her lavender
and allowing the soft, fragrant brown to tickle my face.
I pulled her back onto the blanket so that we could see the rarely visible stars. The marine layer
had yet to make its way ashore and the lack of light pollution made them shine in bright reds and white
"Okay Mr. Astronomy, impress me with your knowledge of constellations," Bella said into my
shoulder as I adjusted the blanket around us. Luckily, I watched a shitload of television before I
met Bella, the Discovery Channel being one of my favorites, so I knew a thing or two about stars.
"Well, that's the big dipper," I said, teasing. Everyone knew the big dipper.
"Everyone knows the big dipper, Edward." I could almost feel her rolling her eyes at me and even
though I couldn't actually see it, visualizing it was one of the cutest damn things I'd ever seen.
"Ah, yes, but not very many people know that it's actually part of a larger constellation called
Ursa Major, The Great Bear," I countered. People aren't ever very impressed with the Big Dipper,
the constellation getting a bad rap from overuse and from being easily identified, but Ursa Major
is a pretty interesting area of the universe.
"The Great Bear, huh? Damnit, you're right, I didn't know that. Why do they call it The Great
Bear?" Bella snuggled closer, her small frame delicately melding to mine. I pointed to the stars.
"Okay, so there's the handle of the Big Dipper, right? That's the bear's tail, and then the cup is
the body. See? Then there's another star called Muscida, like in a straight line at the top of the
cup, that's the head. And then there are strings of stars that make up the legs. See it? Ursa
Major." I tried to point out all the important stars, but it was difficult without a picture. I decided I
would print that shit out when I got home to give to her.

"Okay, but what's the story behind it? You know, because all the constellations have, like, some
mythology that go with them," Bella asked. She was such a girl, wanting the gossip and shit.
"Well, you know Zeus right? The God of Gods?" Bella murmured in agreement so I continued. "So,
Zeus wanted to get with this nymph, Kallisto. Hera, Zeus's wife, gets pissed and turns Kallisto into
a bear. Later, Arcas, Kallisto's son, is going to shoot this bear whom he doesn't know is his mother
in animal form and because Zeus is such a softy, he sweeps them both into the sky. Thus, Ursa
Major. The Great Bear." The constellation actually had many interpretations, but I just told her
the Greek one because it was the most well-known.
"Hmmm. So Kallisto didn't even do anything and she got turned into a bear? Seems kind of shitty
to me," Bella retorted.
"Yeah, most mythology is pretty fucked up. I think the stories are meant to scare people or
something. Don't cheat, you'll turn into a bear." I tightened my arm around her shoulders, bringing
her closer. "Anyway, what is fucking awesome about this constellation is that it can be seen in
the northern hemisphere all year long, because it's very close to Polaris, or the Northern Star.
And you see that star in the handle of the dipper, the second one from the end?" Bella nodded.
"That's actually two stars, Mizor and Alcor. It's a binary star system, actually the very first binary
star system to be discovered. Binary stars look like one star from this far away, because they're
so close, they actually appear as one."
"There's also a bunch of other shit in there, some spiral galaxies and a planetary nebula. All in all,
a pretty fucking righteous set of stars. Hard to believe there's so much depth and intrigue
concealed in something so prosaic as the Big Dipper, huh?"
"I think depth and intrigue is always concealed in something prosaic. It's what makes it so
intriguing, that it's not inherently obvious or on display, but that you have to dig a little for it, get
your hands dirty." Bella responded, turning her body so that she was laying on her side, her face
searching mine. Her delicate features illuminated by the light were angelic and smooth, her lips a
vibrant shade of red refracting the cool tones of the moon.
I bent down to kiss her protruding lips, the blood rushing to them and pulsing hot against my own,
tangling my tongue with hers. My hands instinctively found their way around her waist, the
material thick and cumbersome beneath my fingers. Fuck, how many damn shirts was she
wearing? As though she had heard my thoughts, she pulled the layers over her head in one fell
swoop, leaving on a pink and black bra. It was the first time I'd ever seen Bella wear a bra, the
binding material straining against her chest, pushing and squishing her flesh into two neat little
packages. I ran my hands up over her breasts to feel the material, applying pressure, gently
squeezing her tits as I brought my thumbs over her hard nipples. She shuddered a bit and I pulled
the blanket up around her shoulders, bringing my lips to her neck, and celebrating the exposed flesh.
Bella's hands instantly tangled into my hair, her fingers on the back of my neck. I licked the top of
her breast, the indentation of her bra causing the muscle to jut out in lovely fullness, forcing my
tongue beneath the material to lick her nipple. She gasped, her hand moving to touch the other,
her fingers pulling at the hardened flesh. Holy fuck! I fucking lost it, the burden of fearful self
control now dispersed, Bella absorbing some of the weight when she allowed me to confide in her.
I pulled away from her, my hands swiftly unbuttoning those fucking jeans, and I slipped the pants
over her ass, stopping to glide my hand over the skin, and pulling the pants from her legs. She
brought her mouth to my neck, her hand sliding up under my undershirt and into the waistband
of my pants. Her hand surrounded my swollen dick and I groaned at the feel of her fingers
stroking the skin, clutching and grabbing, the monumental pressure coiled at the base of my groin
and radiating for release.

As much as I wanted Bella's hands on my dick, I had something else planned. I pulled away from
Bella, guiding her to lay on her back and making sure the blanket covered her exposed skin.
"Edward? Whatare you okay?" Bella was concerned. I was okay. The bomb was quiet.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Are you okay?" Now I was concerned that she was concerned.
Bella smiled, pulling me down on top of her, her legs wrapping around my waist. She used her foot
to pull my hips into her and groaned out loud when she felt the hardness between her legs as she
rocked her hips back and forth. This startled me momentarily, our intimate exchanges were usually
so voiceless but here, without Charlie to worry about, Bella was able to vocally exhibit what she
was feeling. And it was the most agonizingly beautiful sound in the world.
"Fuck, Edward. You have to take these jeans off. I'm going to get chaffed rubbing up on this shit."
Bella was already unbuttoning my shirt, removing the fabric from my shoulders. Her hands
quickly moved to my jeans as I kicked off my shoes, all the while her legs still hinged around my
hips. I think she was afraid I was going to deny her request because she wouldn't remove her
legs from my waist, her thighs pressed against my abdomen and the wet fabric of her cotton
panties pushed into my belly. She sighed at my dick tenting the stretchy boxers, once again
skating her hands between her legs and into my underwear.
I struggled to recall my original plan, Bella's inclination to lead allowing me to succumb to her
whims. But there was something I'd been thinking about doing, something that I couldn't wait any
longer to do, the fucking anticipation of it was killing me and I just had to know what it felt like,
what it tasted like.
I wanted to lick Bella's pussy.
There's no romantic way to say this. I'd been trying on different phrases, ways that I could ask
her, because I really didn't know what the fuck I was doing. What if she thought it was gross?
What if she wouldn't want to kiss me anymore? And I couldn't come right out and say, Fuck Bella,
I want to eat you out so badly. Right?
Wait, could I?
Shit, I guess I could find out.
I pressed into her again, another moan slipping from her parted lips, and brought my mouth to her
ear. I licked her neck, pulling at her hip with my hand, the other supporting my weight so I
wouldn't crush her. My lips at her ear, her heavy panting and her hands between her legs, on my
dick and pushing it into her pussy, that shit gave me the courage to say the words.
"Fuck Bella, I want to eat you out so badly," I growled into her skin.
"Oh my God, fuck, Edward. Holy shit." She unhitched her legs and moved her hands to pull off
her underwear. Shit, she wanted it. She wanted this maybe as much as I did. Bringing her hands
back to my hair and neck she pulled me close to her. Her eyes were heavy and wanting, begging
as she pulled my mouth to hers in a ferocious battle of tongues and lips, crashing my clothed dick
into her exposed pussy, her wetness seeping into the material of my underwear. At one point I
had moved just so I could feel her wet flesh on my bare dick through the slit in the boxers and I
almost fucking unloaded right then and there. I pulled away, my hands reaching down to feel the
warm slickness, slipping my fingers into her. Bella gasped, her hands still around my neck, pulling
my face to hers until her nose touched my cheek.

"Do it, Edward. Lick it. Please." It wasn't a request either. She wanted this, maybe more that I
did, and I found extreme pleasure in the fact that I could grant her this request.
I scooted down to between her knees under the blanket. She accommodated by stretching her
legs wider, making space so I could move freely. I inhaled her salty smell, using my fingers to open
the crease and running them through the fluid, my thumb massaging every part of her. I wanted
to see her completely exposed like this, but it was fucking cold and I didn't want to disrupt the
cocoon of warmth we had tangled ourselves into. A bit nervous I was going to be a huge
disappointment when she obviously wanted this so badly, I grazed my tongue across her clit a
few times, the protrusion of flesh swollen and slick. Pulling her into my mouth and sucking every bit
of Bella I could, I tasted her tangy and viscous essence, just fucking drinking her in and reveling
at the softness of the skin on my tongue. Bella moaned loudly, long and guttural, a growl almost
in her chest.
"Holy fucking shit," Bella breathed in a low voice. I couldn't see her but I could hear Bella breathing
heavily, a quiet moan vibrating off her lips every so often as I continued to lick and suck,
tonguing the pulsating tissue with fervor. Bella pushed herself into my face, her thighs tightening
around my ears and her hands running forcefully through my hair. She was rocking her hips in
accordance to the oscillation of my mouth, paced and rhythmic, the sounds pouring from her mouth
igniting the mounting pressure, and I found that familiar need to have her bellowing in my being.
"EdwardEdward, I'm going to come," Bella breathed in a whisper now, her hips swiveling, fucking
trying to get closer to my tongue any way that she could. I flicked more vehemently and then
pulled her clit into a satiating suck. She stiffened and arched, a bouncing motion almost as she
came, her throaty cries burned into my memory. Jesus Christ, that is the fucking most beautiful
thing I'd ever experienced. Bella writhing in orgasmic euphoria, her hair splayed around her
flushed face and just reveling in ecstasy could not be compared to any natural phenomenon in
this universe. The sight alone was the epitome of appeal, pure captivation pouring out of every
cellular constituent of her body.
"Edward. HolyShit." She was out of breath, sitting up and pulling me so she could see me.
"That...fuck. Oh, my God." She laughed, unable to find the words. "I'm speechless. I can't
believeI didn't think it could get better." Bella brought her lips to mine in a frantic kiss, her tongue
swirling, and I was hesitant thinking she wouldn't want to taste herself on me, but she just fucking
kept kissing me until we both couldn't breathe and I had to disengage.
Bella wasted no time climbing on top of me, bringing her knees to rest against my hips, and I
surged with equal amounts of panic and lust. I didn't know if this was going to be okay, if I could
handle this, but I let the fear wash away instead of clinging to it, I let it all wash away, allowing
only the natural urge and wanting to reside in my being now.
Bella pulled me from my revelation, pressing her naked pussy against my underwear. She
reached down to free my dick, enveloping the hardness with soft hands. Pulling my boxers down
to the top of my thighs, she pressed her wetness around my bare dick and fuck, the current
beneath my skin just flowed, the heat, the warm slippery conductor fucking engulfing my
awareness and sending flares of voracity through my entire body. I craved her wrapped around
me fully, to push into her, fusing our physical conduit and, unlike last time, I was willing to give
into the craving and gorge myself in Bella's libidinous avidity.
My breath left my body as Bella's hand folded around my cock. Her eyes were electric, crackling
and dancing in the moonlight, the salty spray misting the blankets woven around us.
She smiled and bent down to bring her lips to mine, a slow, playful tug on my mouth.

I realized that I was trembling, my hands unable to move or feel, my whole being shaken at what
was about to take place. Bella raised herself into a keen position and I felt the tip press into her,
her eyes on mine the entire time. Fuck, this might hurt her. I hadn't even thought about that, the
fucking bomb having been the antagonist most at the forefront. I couldn't be responsible for that pain.
"Wait," I said, pleading with Bella, my eyes intent and gazing.
"It's okay," Bella's voice was soothing and quiet as she peppered my face with small kisses. "It's
okay." She said it again, a genuine grin upon her red lips.
I searched her eyes for any apprehension or doubt, any reason to stop what was most definitely
going to happen but all I could find in those liquescent chocolate pools was acceptance and
conviction, the reliance on herself to be sure that this was the most desirable decision. And I was
calm, that acceptance wrapping me up and drawing me into her.
"Okay," I replied finally. She moved to continue but I rolled us over so Bella was on her back, her
body spread out beneath me, and I brought myself to her brim. Bella held my eyes with hers,
bringing her hands to my neck and running her hands into my hair, and it felt so good, her fingers
twisting into my tresses, tickling my scalp and sending shivers down my back and shoulders.
Hesitating only a mere second more, I pushed into Bella slowly, her eyes wide and still holding
mine. Her mouth opened, her teeth coming down to bite into her lip. She gasped at the initial
penetration, the force of her surrounding me, the pressure of her body on my being reveled in
the conjointment as I continued to push into her until my hips were flush with hers. She voiced a
small groan, exhaling as she did so and, bringing her face to mine, kissed my cheeks and nose,
peck after peck scattered across my face in between our labored breaths.
I clutched at her skin with my fingertips, not really moving but just basking in the glory of being
connected with Bella like this, jointed together in carnal lucidity. My body was still trembling, and I
felt that unraveling in my spine, that pressure deep in my being, and I only just realized I didn't
have a condom on, the threat of ejaculation now a very real danger.
And then we heard it. Laughter and dumbshit conversation. And it was fucking close, like in ten
seconds some fucking shitheads were going to be seeing my girl's naked ass. Bella heard it too and
in seconds the connection was broken and I was frantically finding my clothes under the twisted
and raveled blankets, trying not to fully disentangle for fear of hypothermia. Bella was struggling
with her shirts, the arms knotted and inside out. She looked at me pleading for help and I threw
her my button up shirt, my undershirt still covering my chest. I searched for the jeans and found a
pile of denim scrunched into the blanket. Separating the pairs of pants, I tossed Bella hers and
she scrambled into them, leaving them unbuttoned and pulling on her shoes as I pulled on mine.
She smoothed her hair just as this group of stoners walked around the bend in the path. I knew
they were high, I could smell it on them.
"And that's a good match though, Leo and Aquarius, because Leo is fire and needs the air of
Aquarius for survival." Alice, my fucking sister, skirted around the corner, passing a joint to
skeezy-ass Jasper who was trailed by three other fucking inconsequential potheads. I couldn't
believe Alice was still smoking pot, she knew that shit was detrimental, and I mean really bad for
us. What the fuck was her problem? I was readying myself to go over to her and verbally scold her
decision to participate in destructive behavior.
They hadn't noticed us, the space we had chosen inconspicuous for a reason. Jasper licked his
lips, and as he took the joint from my sister's hand, his other interlaced with hers, bringing her
hand to his mouth and fucking kissing it, his lips lingering on her fingers. What the fuck? Why was
this fucking bastard kissing my sister's hand? And the look on Alice's face. Shit! I'd seen that look,

I'd just seen it earlier today actually, when Bella had helped me in the kitchen. What the hell was
going on here?
"Edward, no." I exhaled as Bella whispered my name, trying to pull me back. She tried again,
"Not now, not here." I glared at Bella, unable to say a word yet, the anger boiling in my gut and
pounding in my head. I was going to rip this motherfucker a new asshole. He was probably fucking
my sister and giving her and my girlfriend drugs and I was going to shred him on it. Fuck, I was
just now able to run again, my bruised ribs finally healed, and now I was potentially going to fuck
shit up again.
I got to my feet, Bella grabbing my pant leg. "No, Edward, please. Just let it go. Talk to her
tomorrow." I shrugged Bella off, my body unable to cope with this too. I was going to walk right
up him and clock him right in the fucking head. Seconds after I stood up, Alice noticed me, losing
my element of surprise. Her expression changed and she knew that I knew. And she also knew
what I was about to do.
"Edward, don't you fucking dare, Edward!" Alice's words were venomous, spitting and shouting at
me as I lunged toward Jasper.
Jasper readied himself for the blow by putting his hands up to block the attack right as I came
close enough to make contact and his arm collided with my face, crushing my nose and sending
blood squirting everywhere, running down the back of my throat and splattering in my hair. I think
the fucker broke my nose.
"Fuck!" I bent over, clutching my face, Bella running over to me and grabbing my shoulders, trying
to bring my head up.
"Edward! Are you okay? Look at me!" I pushed her away, retaliation my only goal.
"Dude, stop. I'm not going to fight you." Jasper had his hands up again, a surrender of some sort,
but I didn't fucking care.
"What do you mean, you're not going to fight me? I don't think you have a choice, you fucking
dickhead," I spat back, advancing as he backed away, his hands now waist level, still fucking
surrendering. "How could you fucking do that to her, take advantage like that?"
"I didn't take advantage of shit. I didn't do anything that she didn't want to do first," Jasper
replied, and the thought of him doing anything with my sister seethed in my head and the outrage
boiled over.
I lunged for him again, connecting with his torso and slamming him into the rock wall behind him.
Jasper gasped, the wind knocked out of him, I'm sure. He coughed and I could hear Alice and
Bella screaming at me to stop, pleading. I think one of them may have been crying even, but I
was too far gone. I wanted to feel my fist split his face. I wanted to see him bleed.
"Do you even know anything about her family, what drugs can do to her? I didn't think so. Just
looking for a good lay? Sick, you're fucking sick." I was screaming now, our altercation so loud
even people down at the bonfire could hear us. They stopped to see what was happening on the cliff.
I pulled back my fist and punched him square in the eye, the connection sickened with a deafening
crack as my fist hit his face.
"Fuck, Edward! I'm not going to hit you back, so fucking knock this shit off! Fuck!" Jasper grabbed
his eye, his other arm still in the air.

"You think it's fun to fuck with little girls? She's only sixteen you pedophile fuck. You're so going to
prison for this!" I shoved him hard in the chest. "Just a fuck to you, my little sister?" I shouted this
last part, frustration making it hard to comprehend what was happening. I pulled back my fist to
hit him again, shifting all my bodyweight to my back foot so that my strike would be at optimal
force and apply the most damage to that fucker's face.
"Fucking stop, Edward!" Jasper shouted, causing me to pause. "I love-" And when he said that
word, that fucking word, the bomb exploded. I had never felt the need to eradicate anything the
way I wanted to take Jasper down in that moment. This asshole was going to throw around that
word like it just excused his behavior, but to me a further reminder that I was damaged, ruined,
love something that I hadn't ever seen in my future. Putting all my strength and bodyweight
behind my fist, I punched him right in the fucking face, my fist colliding with the flesh of his
cheekbone, the skin splitting underneath the throbbing of my knuckles. Jasper's head snapped
back, smacking against the rock wall behind us, the momentum of the punch sending me
stumbling forward.
Jasper, stunned and bleeding, slid down the rock wall, slouching onto the ground as Alice ran over
to him, pushing me out of the way.
"Jasper?" Alice crouched down beside him, smoothing her hands over his face and pushing his
hair behind his ears. "Jasper, fuck, are you okay?"
Jasper rolled his head, looking at Alice only now, a slight slur in his speech. "I love you, Alice.
I've wanted to tell you, I just felt like you were embarrassed by me, like maybe that was the real
reason behind all the secrecy and shit."
"I'm not embarrassed, I just didn't want you to get your ass kicked." Alice put her arms around
Jasper's neck and placed a small kiss on his lips. "I love you, as well," she whispered, pulling him
into a more passionate kiss this time, making my stomach churn in disgust.
What the fuck had just happened? Shocked beyond belief, my eyes glazed over and I found
myself unable to see the details of their faces anymore as they enjoyed their newly declared
affection. I was freaking out, the raw animalistic rage that had just consumed my being was
horrifying. But that fucking word, the goddamn trigger, forcing me to realize that I would never
be normal, never be whole. Damaged fucking goods, Jasper had exposed and stripped me of any
hope of normalcy I had been collecting over the past two months. The fact that this fucking
asshole could attain this revered and sanctified emotion, this love, brought forth every ounce of
hatred and loathing that had been festering since I had found my parents dead two years ago.
I tried to move my legs, to get the fuck out of there, but my knees weren't working properly and
I stumbled backwards, trying to get a bearing on my body. Bella grabbed my hand, pulling me
away from the intimacy of their embrace, and I followed her back to where our blankets were still
spread out. She bent down, folding up the blankets, looking up at me and asking if I was okay
over and over again. I stared right through her, still unsure of the implications of this clusterfuck.
Bella collected our shit and grabbed my hand, leading me as we hiked down the mountain.
Jasper loved my sister. It all made sense now. The sneaking around, the walks, tutoring, it all
fucking made sense. My own sister didn't want to tell me she'd found love because she thought I
was too fucked up to handle it. My own damn sister didn't trust me to be normal. That shit stung,
especially now.
I increased in speed, walking ahead of Bella now, my mind reeling from what had happened. That
word, what the fuck was with that word. I shouldn't give a shit really. Alice is allowed to be

normal, she doesn't have the same fears as I do. She never had, really. And now I had a piece
of normalcy in my very abnormal existence, someone that didn't care that I wasn't normal
because it was us, it was just us, and it was beautiful. Bella never worried about me accidentally
destroying her public image or picking a fight with some guy. I didn't want to see that destroyed,
especially by something I couldn't fucking control. I finally had someone, someone I could love,
"Edward! Can we slow down? You're walking too fast." I was practically dragging her now, eager
to get to the car, and she was out of breath. Slowing down, I leaned over to Bella walking
beside me and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead, a small amount of my blood smearing into her
skin, the vibrant red radiant on her porcelain glow.
Staring at the blood, fucking reveling in how beautiful it looked against her skin, I touched her
face, rubbing her cheek with my thumb. I leaned in to smell her hair, reminding me of how it
tousled around her face in the throes of ecstasy. And then it was so obvious, I laughed out loud,
Bella gazing at me, her lovely chocolate eyes narrowed.
Did I love Bella? The cadence of the statement rang in my ears. I loved every part of her being,
even those she chose to keep secret. I loved being with her, our conversations easy and
comfortable. I loved that she was so bold, taking her relationship with Charlie into her own hands,
intent on following through with her mission and proving to herself that she could do it. I loved
touching her, our physical relationship electric and connecting in ways I didn't think was possible.
But it was possible, a possibility realized tonight, the memory of our almost sex a connection not
even I could destroy. For one brief moment, Bella and I had been one solitary unit, aligned and
conjoined, we had been brave enough to enter into the most physically vulnerable and intimate
position. And now, even after that bullshit, after I'd lost complete control and gave in to my
instinct for maniacal behavior, she was still here, still connected to me, her hand in mine as we
approached the car.
And I fucking knew. When I pulled her into my side, her body forming perfectly against me, I just knew.
I fucking loved Bella Swan.
I stopped abruptly by the car, my hand still in Bella's and she jerked, not expecting my sudden
halt. She looked at me, surprised and apprehensive, the worry creased in her eyes, probably
thinking I was still freaking out. Meeting her gaze intensely, I just stood there, shocked now by
the suddenness of my own conclusion, digesting the intoxicating elation and fucking basking in the
afterglow of conviction.
Bella moved to face me, bringing her hands to cradle my face and then prodding my nose with her
soft touch. She lightly slid her thumb across my cheek, trying to wipe away the now-dried blood. I
pulled her by my shirt into a deep, forceful kiss, my lips violently attacking hers, my hands pulling
at the material and pushing her up against the Volvo, the cold metal against her bare skin, and I
twisted my hands into the back of the shirt. I was trying to convey so many meanings in this one
kiss, the urge to express them all simultaneously and with equal importance fueling my behavior,
pushing into her mouth, her head slight thudding against the window as my tongue commanded
hers to match my enthusiasm. I poured my every ounce of gratitude into that connection,
gratitude for allowing me to feel normal, for giving me an outlet to express my concerns without
feeling judged or criminalized, for trusting in me to not become like my father, and proving to me
that I might be different, that I deserved different. I was desperate to convey this to her, and I
was almost worried I would crush her, my body pinning her against the car. But Bella met my
enthusiasm, her mouth moving with mine in quick and fiery undulations of unearthly divination,
the urgency and fervor of our mouths matched, equally intent on validation. And I just knew she

fucking got it.

Bella smiled as she pulled away from my lips and I released her, my fears abated by my realized
adoration. I was a fucking wreck, exhausted and drained, my body already sore from the
altercation. I released my grip on the shirt, wrapping my arms around her shoulders instead, and
pulled her closer to me, fusing her existence to mine as we stood by the car. Despite the bizarre
turn of events, I felt light and jovial as all fuck because I loved Bella, the admittance still fresh in
my awareness, and she was comfortably melding to my being. With Bella folded into my side, so
close we could be one, I could just be hers. Orbiting with Bella in that stellar dance of avoided
destruction, I could just be hers, indefinitely.
Gahhhh! I love a good fight...and gnocchi, I fucking LOVE gnocchi... and Stoli!! Who loves Stoli??
So much love, bb's!!
Who Loves Joni??? Edward does!!!
Songs Referenced
All I Want
I Think I Understand
I'm a Lucky Girl
Flight Tonight
And.....DISCUSS! (that's the teacher in me)

Chapter: 13
So real life has been kicking my ass lately. I apologize for the delay in posting, my dears!
Lovely readers, thank you for kind words and personal stories in your reviews and messages.
Amers, once again, you are a brilliant confidante of psychobabble bullshit!
Fabulous beta n7of9, you deserve so many thanks, and hugs, and chocolate, and kitties, and
Robward's. I wish I could put all these things in a box and send them to you...
SHIT! I always forget this!! Disclaimer: It's not mine!!
CH. 13"It All Comes Down to You"
What the fuck had just happened?
I was thoroughly enjoying probably the most magical, fiendishly enchanting evening I'd ever
experienced, full and brimming with gratification as Edward's body poised above me, his eyes
boring into my very soul, connecting, reverberating in my being and dousing my every insecurity
and doubt with unyielding acceptance. I felt such empowerment in what I was experiencing with
Edward and the physical reception he granted me. I could see his discerning gaze searching my
features looking for anything that would cause him to hesitate and I was eager to show him only
my firmest resolve, that what we were about to enter into would be an innate and comfortable
Satisfied in the reassurance he saw in my face, he pushed into me, and I inhaled deeply as my
body swelled to accommodate his breadth. Consumed by the sweet satisfaction of the stinging
stretch, Edward completely pervaded my being, our hips fused, flesh upon flesh causing a
visceral moan to erupt from my lips. I couldn't find the words or the oxygen necessary to form
them, but I needed to express to Edward my gratitude for trusting me this way, for making
himself so vulnerable considering our fucked up circumstances, so I swiftly began peppering his
entire face with soft, wet kisses, my desperation to breathe obvious in my heavy breaths.
And then there was laughter and panic and Edward was gone, tossing shit everywhere.
Somehow we were able to cover ourselves and I knew who it was before I even saw them slink
round the bend.
Honestly, I didn't know how Edward was going to take the fact that his sister was dating Jasper.
The only experience I'd ever had with Edward's temper was when he stormed out of Biology. He
only ever showed me a gentle, kind soul and I was wondering at how I might react to angry,
violent Edward. Well, I was about to find out.
At first, Edward just looked annoyed. Alice was leading Jasper and some friends, a joint between
her ringed fingers, turquoise and pewter jewels decorating her hands, her Doc Marten boots

practically skipping around the bend. She had borrowed one of my t-shirts, the rose entwined
pistols hugging her frame much more graciously than they did mine, paired with threadbare jeans,
holes gaping at her knees and bright red leggings peeking through the tatters. Her shoulders
were covered with a large brown velvet blazer, Jasper's bare arms in only a thin, blue v-neck
evidence to the true owner of the coat.
Edward was about to approach them and I could practically hear the words he was going to say,
but then his entire body language changed. Tense and strained, the muscles in his back and neck
visibly flexing, his demeanor darkened. Jasper took the joint from Alice and brought her fingers to
his lips, kissing each of them in a silent thank you.
Edward caught on quick, not waiting for an explanation, and I saw the resolve already vibrating in
his predatory stance. I tried to stop him by grabbing at his clothing, trying to get him to listen or
to calm down, but I don't even think he heard me. He charged at Jasper and I heard Alice scream
as Jasper's arm flailed out in unfortunate timing and collided with Edward's face, blood splattering
the pair of them.
I ran to Edward to see where the blood was coming from, the coppery odor sending my stomach
twisting with nausea, but he pushed me away, his eyes dark with justification. He advanced upon
Jasper, backing him against the cliff, all the while accusations spewing from his lips. Jasper didn't
want to fight, that was obvious in his defensive manner. It was also obvious that Edward didn't
really care.
At first I hoped they would just yell at each other, exchange insults and then come to an
understanding, but I soon realized this hope was futile. Edward slammed into Jasper hard,
crushing him against the rock wall, a fury of fists and insults until finally Jasper yelled, "Fucking
stop, Edward!"
And he did, long enough for Jasper to utter the next two words, "I love-", but Edward didn't let
him finish his declaration. In a flail of fury, Edward's eyes blazing in the moonlight and with a
majestic power in the arc of his swing, he delivered the concluding blow which sent Jasper into the
rock again, his head bouncing off the wall as he slid to the ground. Alice rushed to him as he
sprawled on the ground, their confessions of emotion outweighing the pain of the moment.
"Love's not puffed up."
I could see Edward's chest heaving and his body trembling as he tried to gain control. He took a
step to walk but his knees buckled and he stumbled backwards. I ran to him and grasped his hand,
feeling his body release with the connection. I pulled him to the blankets and quickly gathered our
stuff, Edward still silent and vacant. Shit! He looked fucking catatonic, staring past me as I asked
him over and over if he was okay. He hadn't answered me once, hadn't said anything, his silence
festering and nipping at my awareness. Why hadn't he said anything yet? Anxiety was beginning
to swell in my chest, tightening in my throat, making it hard to breathe. Fuck! Say something,
anything! I silently begged for Edward to respond, to show some sort of recognition or coherent
thought while the words of those fucking journal articles I read were swimming around in my head.
No! I internally shouted at myself for even thinking about it and eased my hand into his, noticing
again the current that flowed between us calmed his trembling, and I led him away through the
bend and down the mountain.
Edward was quiet and meditative as we walked, the moonlight streaking off his sharp features in
blurs as he started gaining speed down the hill. He would every so often shake his head or exhale
sharply as his long legs carried him swiftly. I was struggling to keep up with him, my breath heavy
in my chest and tripping slightly as he dragged me down the hill.
"Edward! Can we slow down? You're walking too fast," I pleaded, trying to catch my breath. He

pulled me into his side, not stopping but slowing his gait, and placed his lips upon my forehead and
it was like he was back again. He touched my face and brought his nose to my hair, reintroducing
me to his senses. And then he laughed, a gasping chuckle, quick and sharp.
I gave him a questioning glance but he continued to walk to the car and I readied myself to move
to the passenger side, when Edward abruptly stopped. My hand still in his, I jerked back, the
sudden stop throwing me off guard and causing questioning eyes to focus on Edward again. He
was changing his demeanor so rapidly and alternating between moods that I didn't know the cause
for his sudden stop.
He was staring at me, intensity pouring from his gaze and a small, delicate look of contentment
playing up on his features. His lips pulled into a small smile and I found myself drowning in his
emerald green pools dancing in the moonlight and shining with excitement and revelation. I didn't
know what had caused this newfound contentment but I was glad this was the emotion present in
his being at this moment. I appraised his face, his eyes no longer vacant but brimming and aware,
thick slices of his hair falling to block my view. His nose was swollen, blood splattered across his
cheeks, the red splay garnishing his white undershirt.
I brought a hand up to touch his face and feel his nose to gauge his reaction. He just continued to
stare, his eyes fighting for my attention when I would focus elsewhere. I wanted to wash his
face, the dried blood a reminder of his oscillating behavior, so I used my thumb to try to wipe it
away, not really helping in any respect.
Suddenly, Edward grabbed the front of my shirt, thrusting his mouth to encompass mine, his lips
and tongue pulsating around my mouth. He pushed into me, moving me back until I felt the bite of
cold metal against my lower back which sent a chill thriving through my body. The material of my
shirt was twisted in his hands and strained against my body and I seriously thought he might rip
the fucking thing, either accidentally or on purpose, I couldn't tell, but the intensity of his kiss was
threatening to unravel any shred of decorum I possessed. "He loved me so naughty, made me
weak in the knees."
My mouth was working furiously to keep up with his, the swirling of our tongues a torrent of
emotion as he pushed more forcefully into me, my head thudding against the window. I wanted
to put every ounce of my entire being into Edward, to console him, to care for him, to be
everything he needed me to be. And I knew he felt the same. I felt it in the magnitude of our
matched fervor, that desire to convey acceptance in the normalcy we had found in each other
despite the shit we both had dwelled in for so long.
I pulled away from the kiss, freezing yet ablaze as Edward's arms enveloped me, sucking me in to
press against his body. I found myself in the very calm of a storm, a quiet sanctuary intended
just for me, a space molded for my body.
Edward released me only when his own teeth began to chatter and he feared I was as cold as he
was. He opened my door and helped me in. I was aware that he still hadn't spoken a word about
this. He was keeping it all in, secluding himself within his own head, and I had to pull him out.
Edward needed to deal with this so that his relationship with his only tie to his parents wouldn't be
snipped. Edward adored his sister, something I found incredibly endearing having no siblings of
my own, but he now needed to release her, let her relish in her own happiness and individual choices.
I wanted to ask him so many questions as we drove to my house, my curiosity just burning a hole
in my restraint. Why did he just kiss me like that? What was he thinking about when we were
walking down the trail to the car? Why had he laughed? Did he like the almost sex? Oh my God,
was he laughing at the almost sex?I was going to give myself an anxiety attack at the rate the
questions were popping into my head. Why did he feel the need to punch Jasper when he

mentioned love? This was particularly perplexing because I didn't know why he would care so
much about Jasper loving his sister.
I held my questions though, I could tell this wasn't the time for them. Edward held my hand as he
drove, never losing contact with my skin. He drove quickly, the highway a blur as we sped toward
Forks. I almost dozed off a couple of times but Edward's thumb would rub into my skin or he'd
rearrange his fingers in mine and the connection would restart my awareness, pulling me from the
frothy lull of unconsciousness.
When we pulled into my driveway he quickly got out and opened my door for me. He clasped my
hand to help me from the vehicle, again our skin in constant contact, and walked us to the front
door. I unlocked it and crept inside, pulling Edward along with me. The living room was absent of
the blue-green glow of the television set and I motioned for Edward to wait in the foyer. I walked
into the living room to find it empty, an eerie sensation creeping up my neck as I walked to the
floor lamp and clicked on the light. The couch was empty, the afghan folded over the back of it.
Only faintly aware of the pounding in my chest, I walked into the kitchen and flicked the switch to
illuminate that room too. Nothing out of place, the table where normal families shared meals was
covered in stacks of paperwork and fishing line. I searched the table for a note or something,
anything indicating where Charlie would be so late in the night.
"Bella? What's going on?" Edward followed me into the kitchen and moved to the sink, running the
tap and splashing his face with water. "Where's Charlie?" he asked.
"Fuck if I know?" I spat. I was pissed. No fucking note or anything? What the hell? "Maybe he's in
his room?" I stomped up the stairs, irritated and anxious to find out where the hell he was. I
rounded the corner to find his room dark. He was definitely gone, like, not in the house.
Edward made his way up the stairs and I moved to stand at the landing. "He's fucking gone! What
the fuck? Where the hell did he go?" I was yelling, my hands on my hips and panicking at the
implications, my mother's frantic voice in my head, "He's gone."
I knew I was overreacting and I was probably acting a little like a four year old, but this was
highly uncharacteristic of the man who recently had heart surgery and was barely cleared to drive
a car alone, never mind stay out until midnight. Torn between fear and irritation, I stormed into
my room to change into my sweats, my stupid tight pants cutting off my circulation and proving
once again that dressing up once in a while was going to kill me. I freed my legs from the confines
of the pants and sighed out loud with relief. I wadded up the denim into a ball and tossed it in the
"Nice, um, shirt." I heard a chuckle from my doorway, Edward smirking just inside the moonlit
room. He was leaning against the doorframe holding out a slip of paper in his fingers. "It was
taped to your door."
I flicked on the light, a bit self conscious of the fact that I was standing in front of Edward
wearing only my underwear and his button-up shirt, and pulled the paper from his fingers.
At the hospital for some tests.
I might have to stay the night.
Call Carlisle if you need anything.

Why don't you have your cell phone?

I frowned at the note, a slow pressure festering in my chest. Tests? He had said everything was
fine earlier today and I'm sure he hadn't mentioned more tests. Why hadn't he mentioned it?
"What does it say?" Edward asked, moving closer and smoothing my hair behind my ear. His fingers
trailed the skin of my neck and over my shoulder, lightly wrapping them in the fabric of my collar.
"He's at the hospital, for more tests," I said, handing him the note. Edward pulled the note from
my hand and glanced over it, his lips pursed in contemplation.
Seeing the scowl which had taken over my features, he leaned in to press his lips to my nose.
"Let's call Carlisle."
I was glad he suggested it because I didn't want to admit out loud that I was slightly freaking out
about this. I nodded instead, moving to find the cell phone Renee had given me before I came to
Forks. The battery had been dead for about a month but I hadn't really seen any reason to
recharge it until now. I plugged the phone into the wall and turned it on.
The small screen lit up. Two missed calls, one from an unknown number, the other Renee. From a
week ago. I laughed out loud at the absurdity. I didn't know what was worse, the fact that I
hadn't spoken to her in weeks and she just now tried to call, or the fact that it didn't seem to
bother her when she did call and couldn't get through.
"Huh! My mom called," I mused out loud.
"Your mom? Is she in Phoenix?" Edward asked before he sat on my bed, and I had to think about
that for a moment. Was she still in Phoenix? I didn't even know. She was supposed to be moving
to Florida at some point. Had she already left? Would my mother leave for fucking Florida and not
tell me? I had to shelve this shit for later though, my initial concern more prevalent in urgency.
"I don't know," I shrugged. I handed him my charging phone, the device tethered to the wall, and
he swiftly dialed Carlisle's number as I anxiously waited.
"Carlisle?" Edward spoke into the phone. I sat down on the bed across from him, folding my legs
beneath me. "Yeah, we're here now."
"Oh. Okay." Edward kept my gaze, a small smile on his lips. "Yeah, no problem," he answered
Carlisle's question. "She's okay." More agonizing quiet. "Of course, Carlisle, Jesus." Edward
shrugged and rolled his eyes and I had to smile at the irony of the normal behavior despite the
abnormal circumstances we constantly seemed to find ourselves in.
"I will. Thanks." Edward disconnected, setting the phone on the nightstand. "So, Charlie is having
some sleep tests done, I guess something to do with the sleep apnea. He has to stay overnight
so they can monitor him."
I nodded, still perplexed as to why he hadn't mentioned it earlier. I mean, it's not like he didn't
have the opportunity and with his omission of information, I felt that familiar pang of his indifference.
"Umm, Carlisle also asked if you would be okay herealone." Edward glanced at me, his lashed
eyes apprehensive and gauging and I hoped it was some kind of humor he was attempting.

"I don't plan on being here alone," I said, rolling my eyes. A slow smile spread across Edward's
face as he reveled in his mocking.
"Good answer." Edward leaned across the small space and tugged at my lips, slow and tortuous,
small sensual kisses that burned into my skin.
He brought his hands to my hair, smoothing the tangled mess especially awry because of the
salty sea exposure. He searched all of my features, something different shining in his gleam,
something new and purposeful, beckoning him to adjust his gaze. If I was going to get any
answers tonight it was going to be out of that gaze, so I cautiously formulated my inquiries.
"How does your nose feel?" I asked him, genuinely concerned. His nose was slightly swollen, but
definitely not as bad as last time.
"It's fine. Just sore, it's not broken or anything," he responded, his fingers connecting the
freckles on my thigh and making logical or coherent thought highly impossible. I wondered if he
was making it difficult to focus on purpose, as if he knew what conversation was about to take
place and was trying to divert my attention elsewhere.
Well, it worked. We sat silent in this position, Edward tracing the three freckles over and over
again, a triangle of distraction prominent in his contemplation. My questions still pounded in my
head and I was getting ready to suck it up and just ask, when Edward beat me to it.
"Did you know?" Edward continued his tracing, gazing at the imaginary patterns on my leg. Fuck!
I knew what he was asking about and the deceiver in me wanted to use the fact that he hadn't
specified to my advantage, another long term side effect of self preservation.
I wanted to say no but I had obliged myself to complete honesty and I would deal with the shit
that came with that pact. So I took a deep breath and nodded a quick 'yes'. Edward's finger
faltered slightly as he accepted this information.
"Why didn't you tell me?" he questioned further, assuming the role I had planned for myself.
"Alice was my friend first," I stated simply, recalling the promise I had made in the school
day-smoking restroom. "I promised."
Edward gazed at me intently, either because he didn't believe me or because he was unaware of
the depth of my relationship with Alice. I had only known her an extra week, but I felt the
solidification of our camaraderie in that first day.
"I can understand that," he said finally, his eyes focused on my freckles again. "I just don't
understand why she couldn't tell me. I mean, I'm her family. It's unlike Alice to have secrets.
Why now? Why this?"
I knew Alice had her reasons for keeping the relationship from Edward. We had discussed it on
our days spent in the restroom, yet I felt it was something Edward needed to hear from her,
something she needed to explain to him, because it coming from my lips might alter the meaning.
I also knew that Alice's reasons were similar to my own reasons for withholding from Edward and
after his reaction tonight, I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't scared to all hell of what he would do when
he found out my secret. I gave him my own rationalizations instead and although they mirrored
Alice's, my own frame of mind was prevalent in my explanation.
"Sometimes people need to figure shit out on their own first and then when they're good and

ready they can share the information with whomever they choose." I judged his reaction to my
justified rambling. Edward listened intently, speculation in his facial features. "Maybe Alice didn't
want to tell you until she was sure it was something worth discussing," I mused.
Edward remained quiet and pensive, geometric quandaries still in the movements of his fingers. I
added this next statement quickly, knowing he wouldn't be able to let this one slip by without
questioning it, "And I know when people are prone to certain reactions, it might make others
nervous to tell them something they don't want to hear."
At this, Edward withdrew his hand from my skin. His eyes focused on mine and I could tell he had
digested the statement.
"What do you mean, prone to certain reactions?" Edward asked quietly. I realized he thought I
was talking about the schizophrenia and quickly tried to clarify.
"I just mean how overprotective you are, how you assumed that Jasper was just with her for
sex, that he was the one pushing the drugs on her, how you think she can't take care of herself.
She's sixteen, Edward, you don't have to make her lunch anymore." I took his hand in mine. "I
know you think it's your job to take care of her, and that is beautiful, honestly, it is very
commendable. But she can do this, Edward, have a little confidence in her decisions. Show her
that she has your love no matter what she decides to do. That's really all she needs anyways."
"I know, Bella. I know everything you're saying. It's just hard, you know, to step out of this role.
I guess I've just always been trying to give her the father she never had." Edward picked at my
fingers now, tracing the nail bed of each digit as he spoke.
"But you're not her father. And why would you want to be? Parents fuck up all the time, Edward.
Look at my parents, they've both completely failed at parenthood. Either that, or I must be
exceptionally forgettable, out of sight out of mind, right?" I snorted, looking at my hands
intertwined with Edwards, thinking of Renee's missed call, her one fucking attempt to remember
that I existed.
I mean, yes, Charlie was trying now, now that he was forced with the knowledge of my existence.
It didn't make up for the seven years that I was left wounded and bleeding, seven years of feeling
like I wasn't worthy of attention or acknowledgment, seven years of thinking that I didn't deserve
to be loved.
"Your father loves you Bella," Edward said quietly. "And he's around, even if not in the way you
want him to be. It's possible he always was and you just never knew it."
My head snapped up, meeting Edward's gaze in disconcertment. "Whywhy would you say
that? Who I mean, what do you mean?" I stuttered.
"Well, Carlisle knew where to find you, so Charlie must have told someone about you, right?"
Edward shrugged slightly. "Or, maybe you were on his emergency contact list or something.
Either way, he didn't forget about you."
I let this logic fill my brain and push against all my preconceived notions about my father. I tried to
dispute it, letting it crash against any and every excuse I had to not accept it, but the truth was, I
just didn't know. I had no proof either way and now, where conviction once stood fixed, I was
left with doubt.
"Did you know my father can cook?" I muttered to Edward, the doubt beginning to invade, allowing
all the memories of Charlie to slowly seep into me.

"Yeah, actually I did kind of know that. He used to barbeque for us all the time," Edward said quietly.
"He can make marinara too. And he used to make me pastina when I was sick," I said, slow tears
beginning to brim in my eyelids as I forced the memory into consciousness.
"He can fix cars too. I'm pretty sure he restored my truck. He always smelled like tobacco and
grease, and I used to love the way he smelled." I choked out the words, causing the tears to
stream and my chest to swell, and I found myself grieving the loss of that scent, that intangible
tie to my father that I had searched and searched for.
"And he plays the guitar," I added, the tears overflowing as the memories cascaded through my
mind. "He used to sit in that rocking chair and play The Beatles or The Eagles, but mostly Joni
Mitchell. The Circle Game was his favorite and I knew every fucking word to that song by the time
I was five. He'd make me sing, joining me with the chorus and reminding me when I'd forget the
lyrics." And the memory caused my hair to stand on end, goosebumps prickling up all over my
arms and legs and flooding my heart with the lyrics of my soul, "It's the warmest chord I ever heard."
Edward pulled me to him, wrapping me in strong arms, his hands soothing on my back and neck, his
lips on my cheeks and eyes and nose. He pulled us down to lie on the bed, his body still
encompassing mine. He massaged his hand into my back, running the length of my spine to the
nape of my neck, soothing my tired mind and soul until the tears dried and my wet and salty face
ached from the release and, entwined on my bed, we both allowed the exhaustion of the night to
bathe us in tranquil rest.

I could see him in the distance, winding up the path with a curiously quick gait, his coppery hair
curling on his neck. The salty chill in the air caused my entire body to prickle with desire as I
struggled to follow, tripping over rocks, the skin curling on my palms, the sting of the abrasions
acutely satisfying. My heart was pounding in my chest, my breath pulsing in rasps as Edward
glanced over his shoulder, tossing me a smile from his ruby lips, his emeralds sparkling in the
summer sun, reflecting the light like jade embers scorching into my soul and blinding any apprehensio
He disappeared over the crest of the mountain as the path suddenly increased in steepness and I
had to use my hands to climb the almost vertical wall of debris. Dust in my hair and mouth, my
fingers and toes aching with persistence, I finally breached the summit of the mountain to find
Edward at the edge of the cliff overlooking the violent angry spray of current amid rock, the
battle for control apparent in the struggle.
Edward stood with outstretched arms and lifted his face to the sun, allowing the rays to bathe his
flesh in radiant adoration. He was waiting for me. With firm resolve I attached myself to him,
clinging to his neck with my arms and wrapping my legs around his waist as his arms folded to
encompass me, pulling me into him and melding our bodies as one. As I closed my eyes and buried
my faced into his chest, he stepped off the cliff and we found ourselves fused and falling, an
orbit of complimentary destruction as the universe pulled and pushed at our connection, my arms
fatigued and strained and denying the compulsion to be ripped from his entity. His arms
tightened around me as the inviting ocean approached and one phrase slipped from my lips just
before the icy spray swallowed us up. "Edward, I love you."
I jolted awake, reaching out to catch myself, the falling sensation evident in my still present
vertigo. My face was covered in a fine sheen of moisture, my chest heaving with the frantic need
for oxygen.

"Bella?" Edward was awake, one of my books in his hand. I was lying on his chest, his shirt still
damp from my late night lament. I sat up, my head spinning, looking around the lamp-lit room, the
dull light casting an orange glow and basking everything in sepia toned luminance. I inspected
Edward lying on my bed, his face creased and perplexed, his hands reaching up to wipe my brow.
"Are you okay?"
I couldn't stop staring at his face, his perfectly angular features, reminiscent of an artist's
rendition of the human form, and I recognized what my subconscious was trying to tell me. I
loved Edward, the dream still thick in my perception, I knew it immediately. Flashes of my dream
were fading from recollection now, Edward holding me to him, craving my body to be fused with
his, and I had to bring myself closer to him. I ran my hands up his stomach and over his chest,
crawling onto his lap, an exhale sighing from his lips as they parted, and his eyes closing as I
reached my fingers into his hair to massage his scalp.
Pulling his lips to mine I kissed him, slow and deliberate, his nectarous skin still smelling of the salty
vapor, every push of my tongue flush with desire and force as he slid his arms around the middle
of my back. "Bella? What's wrong?" he asked, pulling from the kiss and still questioning my
strange behavior.
"Nothing's wrong. Everything is right, very, very right," I smiled, the pain of the craving from my
dream still bleeding in my brain, and I couldn't let that need dissipate. I pushed my mouth on his
once again, the pressure of his hands sprawled across my behind, the stretchy fabric of my
underwear pulling under his gripping fingers. He pulled from the embrace, his lips moving to my
jaw and neck, little licks and nips jolting that pulsing greed deep in my belly and blending between
my legs. I ground myself down onto his lap, feeling his hardness beneath me, my body reacting
with copious moisture.
Edward moved his hands to unbutton my shirt, his lips on my neck, creeping his way to my chest
as he opened the shirt, his hands gripping my breasts still confined by this silly bra, pulling down
the material to lick the hardened pink flesh. I rocked my hips, uncontrollably desiring that friction
and groaned as the cool air hit my skin, chilling the area previously occupied by Edward's tongue.
He brought his hands to fold around my hips, his green portals boring into my eyes as I continued
to rock my hips, grinding down onto him and bringing my mouth to taste the skin of his jaw, low
throaty groans coming from his lips. I reached down to this waistband, unbuttoning his jeans and
trying to pull the fabric from his hips.
"A little help here?" I asked breathlessly as he laughed, lifting his hips so I could shimmy down the
denim to just below his hips, too impatient to remove his pants completely.
"So, do you always wake up sospirited?" Edward asked in a low, hushed voice. He brought his
lips again to my neck and shoulder, slow moist kisses interrupting my thought process, his hands
back on my hips, pulling at my underwear.
"Maybe," I responded, a playful smile upon my lips, every inch of my skin burning with
anticipation. "Do you?" I reached down to pull his hard dick from the confines of his boxers,
wrapping my hand around his length and slowly pulling with every rock of my hips.
"Fuck, Bella. You have no idea how that feels. There are no words." Edward rested his head
against the skin of my cheek. I swear the word fuck had never sounded so beautiful as when it
came from Edward's lips . His low voice sent my body aching for his touch, the pressure slowly
building begging to be satiated.
"I think I have some idea," I responded. I reached down to pull his hand from my hip and placed

it between my legs, guiding his hand to push my panties aside. I sighed with satisfaction as his
fingers came into contact with the warm, pulsing flesh.
"Bella!" he exclaimed in a deep groan. "Fuck, that isjust spectacular." I grinned at his description
and leaned back so he could have a better angle. He massaged my skin and pushed his fingers
into me, grazing my clit, the intense spark of pleasure causing further undulations to roll through
my body, and I longed for that greater connection, that unifying of body and soul, our very spirits
mingling in pure ecstasy. Edward quickened his fingers, causing me to moan out loud, the sound
of my voice shocking in the silence of the house, and I felt the building ache begin to crest. I
leaned forward to slow the release, bringing my forehead to his so I could inhale his scent. The
smell of Edward's skin was briny and crisp from our excursion to the beach and I was reminded of
our earlier connection, and remembering how it felt, the security of the unifying act, made me
want to feel him inside me again, a renewed surge of desire spiking through my core and radiating
into every fiber of my being.
I pulled away from him, slipping the messy cotton underwear from my hips. Edward's eyes, the
green of the ocean dark with lust, fixated on me the whole time, moving from my hips to my belly,
lingering on my breasts and finally to my face. I dove into those ocean eyes, wanting and
conductive, transmitting a multitude of emotions and he was the most beautiful, fucking ethereal
thing I'd ever seen and I had to tell him, let him know how the very sight of him caused me to
stop and marvel.
I moved to lay beside Edward, running my fingers along his face, his jaw covered in stubble and his
delicious lips slightly agape. "Edward," I pulled his face to mine, tasting his full mouth,
"EdwardGod, I love your lips," I could hardly speak between the frantic kisses. I pulled him on
top of me and lifted his bloodstained white shirt over his head, pushing his pants and boxers off
his legs with my feet. I kissed his chest, the softness of fine hair and the paleness of his skin
enticing as he struggled to help me rid him of his clothing, running my hands all over the muscles of
his stomach and chest. "I love touching you," I said, my brain unable to stop my mouth from
spewing my every thought.
"I love you touching me," he responded with a small chuckle, removing the remainder of the
cumbersome clothing. There was no hesitation this time, no reservations about what would
happen or how it would feel, just pure need and anticipated fulfillment, easy and comfortable.
Crawling back on top of me, he gazed intently into my eyes, his hand moving to push the hair out
of my face. "Bella, you're so beautiful," he whispered, bringing his lips to mine as his words danced
in my brain. I could feel his erection pressed against my inside thigh, and breathing became
difficult as the anticipation caused thrill and excitement to clench at my chest. I reached down to
feel him, to move him into prime position, and without further direction Edward pushed himself
into me, my skin stretching to accommodate his width, my body tight around him and we groaned
in unison, causing a soft giggle to slip from my lips at our mutual satisfaction in this initial thrust
of warmth flooding and filling me. Edward smiled as he pulled my lips to his, our tongues patient and
rolling, his hips pushing deeper into me. I gasped into his mouth, my body broadening with a
delicate strain, but I could feel him inside me now, sliding and trembling. I wanted to feel every
part of him as I moved my hips in small circles, trying to force myself onto him completely. I
clutched at his back, my fingers digging into his muscular frame as our breaths became more
strained, a harmony of noisy pants and grunts.
"I need you closer," I said desperately, the pressure of Edward's body connected to mine eliciting
the need for a quicker, deeper friction. Edward's lips moved down my neck to my shoulder and I
tangled my legs around his waist, the shift pressing him against my sensitive swollen flesh, the
contact causing a spark of intense and powerful pleasure to jolt through me, my head rolling back
as I moaned loudly and brought my fingers to tangle in Edward's hair.

"Holy fuck!" Edward muttered breathlessly, and I mirrored his sentiment. He brought his hand to
my side, and I giggled, his fingers tickling my skin. "What's wrong?" he asked and stopped his
"Nothing, I'm just ticklish, that's all." Edward grinned at this admission and slowly grazed his hand
across my side again, eliciting another squirming jolt, the movement causing Edward to rub inside
me in a particularly sensitive space of skin and I gasped, shocked at this new point of titillation,
my eyes widening in surprise. "Shit! Oh, my God, that is unbelievable."
"You are so fucking adorable," Edward dropped his head and breathed into my chest, taking my
barely exposed nipple in between his lips as I relished in this new sensation. I yearned for the
feeling again and again as I raked my hands through his hair and pulled slightly as he rocked into
me, using my legs to pull him further, my thigh muscles burning and throbbing as they tightened
around his waist.
He began to move quicker now, like the tide of the ocean, each thrust a wave of tingles flooding
over my skin and pulsing where we connected. We moved together easily, our bodies rippling in
synchronization, breathing in heaves and gasps, low and whispered profanities filling the quiet.
"So good, Bella, you just feel so fucking good, and warm and just fucking right," Edward whispered.
I responded with a lame "I know," but he had expressed my thoughts exactly. "Like we were made
to fit together," I added breathlessly.
Edward moved in and out of me with fervor, my mind spinning and disbelieving that this was
really happening and that it was really, really incredible. Each time Edward crashed into me I felt
myself tighten around him, a sensation I couldn't even control, and I was surprised at how easy it
was to not be in control of this. I was elated in the sense of satisfaction, the pure satiation filling
the void inside of me. For the first time in my life I felt right, like I was exactly as I should be,
because I fit so well with Edward like this, our connection seamed beautifully together, the rich
fabric encompassing our bodies in sweet bliss and blanketing the experience with pure contentment.
The pressure spiraled and swirled within me now, the flesh surrounding Edward pulsing and
tightening as my breathing became more erratic and gasping. I didn't want to speak or breathe for
fear the feeling would subside. Edward wrapped his arm around my waist, lifting my body closer
to him, one arm supporting him above me, my body completely wrapped around him in every
capacity, and he moved with increased fervor, pushing and pulling,"Input, output, electricity."
I could feel the impending orgasm mounting and I reveled in the build, crying out to any deity that
would listen, unable to control my voiced pleasure as I succumbed to the unraveling, my groin
just throbbing and straining against him.
Just as the intensity of my spasm was subsiding, the shockwaves still vibrating against him,
Edward pulled out and came on my belly. With a low "Fuck" moaning from his lips, the warm sticky
liquid ran down my sides, tickling my skin and filling my belly button, his dick pulsing on my stomach
as the force of his body pressed our skin together.
I figured he didn't want to do that inside of me for fear of procreation, but he didn't know that
was not an option for me, my body no longer engaging in the reproductive cycle. Pregnancy
required ovulation, something my body no longer did. I couldn't really explain this to him without
disclosing other information first but I felt he'd been deprived of a part of this experience that was
particularly important. The culmination had to have been less gratifying for him and not that I
minded the fluid splayed across my stomach, but I desperately wanted his fluid inside me,
combining that part of him with me and quite literally absorbing a portion of him to stay with me always

Edward collapsed beside me, breathing quietly and basking in contentment. I turned to face him
and just beamed, the only response I could think of.
He smiled back, running his hands over his face and then through his tangled hair, the humid salty
air at the beach having caused it to curl profusely around his face and the nape of his neck.
"Edward, it's okay, you didn't have to do that. You could have done it inside me, I'm not going to
get pregnant." I didn't offer the reason why, but I would if he asked.
Edward looked at me perplexed and for a split second I panicked with the thought that he was
actually going to ask me why, that I would be forced to stick to my honesty pact, and I would
have to explain on the day that I first made love to him, I'd have to destroy him with this
information. The thought quite ironically turned my stomach in self-disgust.
"Good to know," Edward said, pursing his lips a moment. "For future encounters, that is." He got
up off the bed and grabbed his white t-shirt, swiftly cleaning my stomach, carefully sopping up the
fluid before folding the shirt and using it on his own sticky untidiness. "This shirt is trash anyway,"
he said, shrugging his shoulders and causing a smile to creep upon my face, his buoyant demeanor
just so damn adorable as he cleaned us up, still completely naked.
"I'm going to shower," I said, glancing at the clock. Four forty-five. I had no idea what time
Charlie would be home and I did not want to be smelling of sex when he got here, but I didn't
want Edward to leave either, not without some kind of verbal resolution of the evening's events.
"Don't leave yet," I commanded, pointing my finger at him. I was suddenly feeling very insecure
realizing I had no underwear on and I was going to have to walk out of the room. Edward,
sensing my unease, tossed me my panties and I pulled them on, thankful Edward seemed to be
able to read my expressions so readily.
"Um, I don't think that will be a problem seeing as how I'll be needing my shirt back now that my
other one has been disposed of." Edward eyed the button up shirt still around my shoulders, the
pink and black torture device still crushing my chest. It had been purchased by my mother a year
ago and this was the second time I had worn it. I had only packed it because it still had tags and I
couldn't bring myself to throw it out with tags, it had just seemed such a waste. Plus, it was kind
of pretty, the pink gauzy fabric corseted and trimmed in black lace and bows.
"Well, then I'm taking it with me so you can't leave," I responded, wrapping the shirt around me
and grabbing some incidentals as I left the room to shower.
I washed and lathered, anxious to get back to Edward, anxious as to what he was discovering
about me as he sat alone in my bedroom. I wondered why he had been reading instead of
sleeping when I had woken up, and I basked in the many revelations that had happened this
evening, all the while indulging in the hot spray of the water as it streamed onto my scalp and
down my back, washing away all the evidence, the textures, the smells, the tastes, the very
essence of what we had experienced. I swiftly dried my body and toweled my hair, pulling on my
sweats and stones t-shirt, not even bothering to brush my hair, simply pulling it into a wet bun. I
knew I would pay for this decision later but for now Edward time was far more valuable than the
time it would take me to detangle this infuriating mess later on.
I rushed to the bedroom to find Edward sitting in the rocking chair reading that same book. He
was wearing his jeans now and my fucking AC/DC t-shirt which looked ludicrously small on him, the
hemline well above his belly button. I laughed out loud, the sight of Edward in my shirt so ridiculous
I could hardly breathe.

"What?" he asked, his eyebrows creasing in feigned nonchalant inquiry as I practically collapsed
from the lack of oxygen.
"OhmyGod, that isthe funniest," I couldn't even get the words out, I was laughing so hard
my side started to cramp. "You have to wear that all day now."
I threw him his button up shirt and he grinned, pulling the shirt on over the tee and buttoning it.
I watched his fingers work, the impish grin still on his lips. Walking over to him and desperate to
show my love for this silly boy, I placed a small kiss on his hand. His hands stopped their work and
he looked at me, surprisingly frowning and catching me off guard.
"What's wrong?" I asked, worried some negative secondary emotion had invaded while I had been
in the shower.
"This will not do at all," he said, motioning to my hair. "I was compelled to run my fingers through
your hair and now I can't. What the fuck is up with that?"
I laughed again, my initial concern abated. "Well, I was afraid you were rifling through my
drawers or something. It seems I had cause for concern," I said, pulling at my shirt on him.
"Where's your brush?" Edward asked, pulling my hair free from the twisting band, his hands
smoothing my wet hair down my back and around my face.
"Bathroom," I answered, pathetically excited at Edwards fingers in my hair. Before Edward could
move I ran to the bathroom and got the brush, returning to find Edward still seated in the rocking chair.
He motioned for me come sit with him, grasping my hand when I got close enough and pulling me
to sit on the floor between his legs. I sat on my knees, my ankles crossed underneath me, and
Edward brought his hands to my hair, his fingers grazing my neck as he collected all the rogue
tendrils and pulled the brush through the tangles, carefully and gently not allowing the knots to
cause strain on my scalp. Tingles of electricity skimmed over the surface of my scalp, down the
skin of my back and arms as he continued to detangle my locks, and I closed my eyes, drowsiness
pulling at my eyelids and I continued to nod off until he finished, not concluding until every last
tangle had been worked through.
This small gesture reaffirmed my love for him, for his cultivating nature, his only goal in this life to
provide others with nourishment. He did it with his cooking, offering others sustenance and
expecting nothing in return, not even love, believing himself undeserving and damaged, his
demonic bomb forever the culprit. I wanted to provide that same feeling for him, help him see that
he is so worthy and deserving of it all. I wanted to selfishly wrap him in this love, keep him to
myself and never let him function outside it. Of course, this wasn't feasible and I settled on kissing
him instead, turning my head upward to ask for a declaration upon my lips. Edward responded,
slow and sweet, his lips pressing to mine.
He pulled away and gazed at me intently. "You love me you know." He said it with such conviction
I was seriously starting to think divination ran in the family.
"Oh really? And how did you stumble upon this information, might I ask?" I responded, turning to
face him now.
"Oh please, Bella, it's all over your face. You're so easy to read, like a motherfucking Judy Blume
book." He squinted his eyes, bringing his face very close to mine and trailed his finger across the
bridge of my nose. "See, says so right there, I love Edward Cullen."

I snorted, "Judy Blume, huh? Is that your choice of literature, Superfudge?"

"Hey, don't knock Fudge. That little dude's hilarious." Edward grinned at me, sliding off the rocking
chair and joining me on the floor, pulling my hand to his lips and gently kissing my fingers. "Besides
the fact you're an open book," he whispered, "you're also a sleep-talker."
My face flushed with red and I knew that I had said it during the dream, the catalyst for my
realization and my apparent voiced declaration.
"Well, you love me too," I said, not meeting his eyes in case my assumption was denied.
Edward sighed, his fingers on my chin, forcing me to meet his gaze. "Truly, I do," he said softly,
goosebumps exploding onto my skin and tears brimming in my eyes. In a most magical, most
spectacular display, Edward pulled my face to his and gave me the tiniest of pecks forcing the
streams down my cheeks, causing my chest to swell and pulse, my lungs having a difficult time
expanding because this kiss was so much more than a mere peck. This kiss wasn't filled with desire
or lust or pain or urgency. This kiss was so much more meaningful than any of the others because
he really meant it and so did I.
This kiss meant I love you.

That kiss meant I love you. And I gave it to her. I fucking gave her a tiny little kiss filled with the
most powerful emotion I think I'd ever felt, diffusing even the hate and disgust that had
encompassed me during my fight with Jasper. I loved her when she was crying about her father,
her reminiscing difficult for me to hear but I thirsted for it anyway, the desire to know her that
little bit more ever present. I loved her when I couldn't sleep, Bella's words too encompassing to
allow my mind to rest and then, when she had whispered it, "Edward, I love you," I felt my love
for her fucking explode, a solar flare blasting any doubt or hesitancy from my being. I loved her
when we were making love, the fucking most amazing thing I've ever experienced, better than
porn, better than running, better than fucking mushroom ravioli in a buttery basil sauce with
sauted pine nuts.
Making love to Bella was a high I'd never before felt, a fulfillment I didn't think capable, and she
had given herself to me, so brave and vulnerable, so passionate and free in her actions, I couldn't
help but feel undeserving. And she loved me, the sound of her voice reverberating in my mind,
she fucking loved me.
It was seven thirty in the morning and I was driving home from Bella's house. She had fallen
asleep about seven but I had a hard time convincing myself to leave for a few reasons. Primarily,
I wanted to be with her, even if she was asleep, I just wanted to be near her. I loved listening to
her breathe as she slept, her chest rising and falling in peaceful ease as I ran my fingers through
her hair. I loved that shit.
Secondly, I didn't really want to see Alice. I was worried she'd be pissed and, after talking to
Bella, I knew I was going to have to apologize to her. I didn't have to accept or forgive Jasper
just yet, and I knew I was going to eventually, but I was still pissed at the fucker. I did have to
accept my sister, not for any reason other than she was my sister and this was not the worst
thing we'd been through together. But shit, did she have a temper when she was pissed. It was
best to steer clear of her until she cooled off.

Lastly, Carlisle was going to give me the fucking third degree. When I had talked to him he had
mentioned the fact that he knew I had a physical relationship with Bella and that even though he
didn't know the extent of it, he really wasn't expecting me home tonight. I rolled my eyes and
blew him off but now I was going to have to tell him about it. He was going to ask all kinds of
doctor questions, like did I wear a condom, and I was going to have to tell him no, but that it was
cool, because I pulled out and I was pretty sure Bella was on the pill. I made a mental note not to
use the words "pretty sure" when I discussed this with Carlisle. I wasn't embarrassed or ashamed,
I just didn't like having to explain shit, especially when the shit included sex and Bella.
When I got home, the house was remarkably quiet. I didn't know what I was fucking expecting,
but this silence was not it. I walked into the kitchen, the room clean and empty. I listened for a
television set or radio or anything that would signify the presence of people, but I didn't hear
anything. I climbed the stairs to my room, pausing on the second floor to find Alice's door closed.
She was probably sleeping, a closed door usually meant stay the fuck out.
Maybe everyone was still asleep. I had to admit, I would have been too if it weren't for the fact
that I was just getting home. I turned the corner and climbed the second set of stairs, dragging
my feet, the effects of exhaustion now weighing on me. I was fully intent on taking a fucking
shower and passing the hell out, but when I entered my room, a small form was curled up on my bed.
Alice was asleep on my bed, her tarot cards and astrology papers sprawled around her. I moved
silently to the bed, picking up one of the papers to read it. Scrawled across the top of the page it
said 'Jasper Hale, October 13th, Libra', followed by a large wheel decorated with various symbols
and lines, confusing as all hell. Underneath the wheel were various details concerning his
personality traits and some shit. She had a paper just like this for each of us, even Bella,
everyone important in her life, she had chronicled their personality traits, their strengths and
weaknesses, even those that were most compatible.
Alice had invested hours and hours into this, it meant that much to her, and I realized then how
much Jasper meant to her. Shit, if this fucker meant that much to her, my hands were pretty much
tied here. I would have to befriend the asshole, who I actually only thought was an asshole
because I had assumed he was trying to snake my girl and push drugs onto my sister. Now that I
knew the truth, some of the hatred dissipated and I was left with just genuine dislike. Baby steps, right
Grabbing some clothes, I went to the bathroom to take my shower. Exhaustion was threatening
to take over and I'm pretty sure I washed my hair twice because I couldn't remember if I had
already done it. Ready to pass out, I let Alice sleep on my bed and crashed on my couch, the
cushions welcoming me as I drifted off to a comfortable dreamless sleep.

I awoke disoriented, unsure where I was at first, the couch not being my primary place of
slumber, and having spent the majority of the night at Bella's, not knowing what time it was. My
back was sore as fuck, my face felt about the size of a dinner plate, and the knuckles of my right
hand were swollen and scabbed from pummeling Jasper's face. I sat up, glancing at my bed and
finding it clear of any evidence Alice had been sleeping there surrounded by her data, the occult,
mystical evidence to state her case in favor of Jasper, I'm sure.
Running my hands through my hair, I left my room, ready for the hailstorm of shit that awaited
me below. As I walked down the stairs I could hear Emmett playing his XBox, the wail and merciless
cries of festering zombies screaming from the television set in the family room which meant I was
not going to be able to get to the kitchen without crossing his path first.
"Hey there, sleeping beauty," Emmett said as I stumbled into the family room, his eyes fixated on

the screen. "Jesus dude, it's fucking after two. I was getting ready to go lay a big wet one on you."
"Bring it baby, what are you waiting for? Gimme the wet one, please," I responded dryly, trying
to get by without a mention of last night. I was pretty sure everyone in the fucking house knew
about the Jasper thing by now.
"Please! You couldn't handle this big wet one," Emmett scoffed, never missing a beat, with a big
goofy grin on his face. He loved this type of banter. Any time he got to talk about his own dick,
he was thrilled.
I walked into the kitchen. Esme was at the counter, pouring water into the coffee pot. This meant
that Carlisle would be home soon, Esme preparing for their after work coffee break.
"Edward!" she exclaimed when she saw me enter the room. "How are you today? How was the
bonfire? Did Bella have a good time?" Okay, either she really didn't know what had happened or
she was really good at pretending she didn't. I walked over to kiss her on the cheek before
opening the fridge, looking for something to eat. I was fucking starving, my stomach on the verge
of digesting itself if I didn't eat something soon.
"We had a good time, I think. I showed Bella the tide pools. That was cool." I was searching for a
chicken parmesan sandwich I knew I had put in here yesterday, knocking shit out of my way. If
Emmett fucking ate my sandwich, I swear to God, I was going to microwave his XBox.
"Are you looking for your sandwich? Check the crisper. I hid it in there so Emmett wouldn't eat it,"
Esme said. I opened the crisper and sure enough, there it was.
"Thanks," I muttered, placing the sandwich in the microwave. "Um, so where's Alice?"
Esme turned back to the coffee maker. "She's out with Jasper Hale, I think. They went to Port
Charles for lunch." Well, that was fucking quick. But then I thought, what if it were Bella and I and
the roles were reversed? Would I want to waste one fucking day without her? Not a chance in hell.
The microwave dinged, pulling me from my introspective quandaries and drawing attention to
the now warm, cheesy chicken and marinara conglomeration available for my consumption. Esme
stared at me while I ate, the look of concern and contentment contradicting in her gaze.
"Edward, I'm just going to say that she's your sister and she deserves to be happy." So, really
good at pretending then. I stopped chewing, realizing that I might as well call a big fucking family
meeting and spill my guts to everyone around the dinner table. I didn't want to have to relive this
misery five times today.
Instead, I forced a grin, my mouth full, and nodded. She smiled back and added, "And you do
too. So I'm glad that you've found Bella. You two make a good team." She let the coffee brew,
walking over to me and giving me a small hug. I couldn't be upset with her really. Esme just
always wanted things to be peaceful and loving. She'd made huge sacrifices for us, giving up her
job and opening her home, not to mention enlarging her heart to encompass two more teenagers
instead of just the big one. I didn't know how she could love us so much, Alice and I, but she
blindly offered her compassion without even knowing if we deserved it.
I heard the front door open and shut. Esme pulled two cups from the cupboard while Carlisle's
shoes slapped against the hardwood floor.
"Well, that's the most annoying thing to come home to." Carlisle placed a small kiss on Esme's lips.
"The smell of chicken parmesan and knowing it's gone."

I shrugged, taking an abnormally large bite so I wouldn't have to speak, not yet anyway. Carlisle
took his coffee from Esme's hand and sipped it gingerly as they walked upstairs to their balcony. I
quickly shoved the last portion of the sandwich into my mouth and left the kitchen, joining Emmett in
killing zombie hordes instead. Emmett's sixth sense must have kicked in because he didn't mention
the bonfire once, like he knew I just needed a rest from the thinking and the questioning with all
it's fucking enlightening implications. Shit just needed to be simple, just fucking brainless for a
while. We killed zombies for about an hour before Carlisle called me into his office.
I sat down in one of the large leather chairs, the material straining and groaning beneath me.
Carlisle left his chair to come around the desk, perching himself on the edge of the furniture. He
gazed at me appraisingly and I felt it coming, the words just fucking buzzing around his head as he
sat there smug as shit.
"So, how is Bella?" Fucking polite bullshit. This was going to be worse than I thought.
"She's good. She's worried about Charlie," I offered, trying to speed along the process.
Carlisle pursed his lips, his eyebrows knitting together in concern. He was making a decision, I could
tell. I just honestly didn't know what his decision had to do with Charlie.
"Charlie has some serious health issues and it's natural for Bella to be concerned. What you're
doing for her, for them, is invaluable. But you and Bella can only do so much. Charlie needs to
start helping himself." Carlisle frowned, worry creasing in his eyes.
"Right, I know. He's trying though. I've been showing Bella some things she can cook for him and
I gave him some exercises he could do. If he'd just lose some weight, then-"
"Charlie has to do it," Carlisle interrupted. Something else was going on here, something between
Carlisle and Charlie that I didn't know about, but this was not just about Charlie's diet. I knew that
Carlisle wouldn't divulge, he was bound by patient/doctor confidentiality. But he was trying to
tell me something, without actually telling me.
"Okay," I said with a shrug. I really didn't know what to say so I just agreed with him, trying to
decipher his cryptic counseling.
"And you need to be careful with Bella. She's extremely vulnerable right now. Take care of her,
Edward, she needs someone who is going to take care of her." That worried look was becoming
a permanent fixture on Carlisle's face today and it was sort of freaking me the fuck out. I mean,
Carlisle didn't demonstrate worry about anything, he was always calm and collected, a portrait of
serenity and peace.
"Bella is great. I mean, yeah, she has some issues but we can deal with them." It was true, she
had a problem, a big one that I didn't even know about and I didn't care because being with her
made it all worthwhile.
"I only mention it because I'm assuming you have a physical relationship with Bella. Am I correct in
this assumption?" Carlisle put on his doctor hat. Shit.
I nodded, not willing to divulge that shit. Carlisle nodded also and I could tell he wasn't going to
push this further, the memory of our previous sex talk still burned in his awareness.
"Just be mindful of your actions with her, Edward. You are both very young and I understand it's
natural to want to explore a physical relationship with someone you're attracted to. Just be safe, is

all I am saying." Carlisle almost fucking blushed as he told me those last words and I was so
relieved he wasn't going to explain further.
We had now arrived at the real reason for this discussion - Alice. There was silence between us as
Carlisle mulled over how to begin.
"Edward, Alice told us about the beach, how you had an altercation with Jasper Hale. She described
it in detail and I'm a tad concerned about what you were feeling when you decided to attack
Jasper." He was going to send me to a shrink, I fucking knew it. I'd be back on the drugs, a
fucking zombie just aimlessly milling around and looking for shit to fuck up. I wouldn't be able to be
with Bella like that. I wouldn't be enough for Bella like that. I was going to have to do some
damage control.
I'd had to deal with this before and I knew exactly what to say to get him off my back. You don't
go through shit like this without developing some survival skills. I'd read enough psychobabble to
know that he was looking for remorse, which I had, kind of. He was also looking for insight, like
did I know what I was doing and why, and I most certainly did. I had calculated every fucking
detail of that fight, except the love shit. I hadn't been banking on that. Lastly, he was looking for
control, was I in control of my body at the time. This was questionable. I knew what I wanted to
do and I knew what I should do and it was under no control of mine that the two didn't correlate.
Last night, the decision was not my own, but I didn't have to tell Carlisle that.
"I thought he was taking advantage of my sister and he was going to hurt her. I didn't know
they'd been dating a while and I was pissed she didn't tell me. I took it out on him because I'm a
hothead and, I don't know, I wanted to protect Alice or something. I made a mistake, but come on
Carlisle, are you telling me you wouldn't have been shocked to all hell too?" I knew he would
relate to my statement, having been thrown a couple curve balls in his life as well. He would let it
go, I could see him easing with every word.
"I understand your frustration. But you can't go beating up every person that pisses you off.
You need some strategies to manage your anger," Carlisle lectured. I had to tell myself not to get
infuriated by this accusation, not to show Carlisle exactly what he was looking for.
"I'm going to start running again. I haven't been sincewell, since a while ago. That should help."
Admission is always the first step, a step that Carlisle got off on seeing. So that's what I gave him.
Carlisle nodded. "Edward, I've seen many positive changes in you since Bella has been in your life.
I'm pleased with the progress and hopefully things will continue to improve. I'm very proud of you,
son." Carlisle put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed.
I had to admit, I was pretty pleased with myself as well. I knew drugs and therapy weren't the
answer, I'd been through that shit before. Fooling Carlisle would only last so long, I'd have to
think of something else to keep him at bay. But Bella, that shit was all true, how she brought out
the best in me, let me forget about my problematic past and possibly precarious future. It all
came down to her, every decision, from the very meager like whether I should bring my coat in
case she needed it, to the rather substantial of whether I should really try to go to school all the
way in New York if Bella was in Forks. Every thought, every choice, even all the vegetarian shit I
was cooking, it was all for her. Bella Swan was far more than my girlfriend or even my elemental
match - Bella Swan was my life now.

Did you think I'd leave you hanging? C'mon???

Joni Songs
My Old Man
Tell me all about it my lovelies!!!
Bottom of Form

Chapter: 14
Disclaimer: I don't own it.
CH. 14- "When All the Black Cards Come You Cannot Barter"
How had this all gone so catastrophically wrong? Panic tightened in my chest and I actually
brought my hand up to clutch at my heart, the constriction making my breathing difficult as I
inhaled through my nose to try to abate the fear. I wiped the tears from my eyes with the back
of my hand, the mascara running into them and burning, making it impossible to see anything. I
swiped my hand through the fucking cards for the fourth time, knocking some of them to the floor
in my frustration.
What the fuck was happening here? I had done four different spreads four different times and
still kept getting the same shit, the same fucking shit! And the charts! I had checked all the
charts, over and over, looking for any clues, any sign that any one of them were in danger, but I
couldn't see anything, I just couldn't see. I pulled at my hair, sitting crossed legged on Edward's
bed and rocking slightly, trying to ease the worry and anxiety that was now festering in my
brain. The short tufts were sticking out all over, I'm sure. I'd been pulling my hair all night.
This was supposed to be relaxing and reassuring as I tried to make sense of the evening.
Edward knew about Jasper now and although I was partially relieved, Edward had reacted exactly
as I thought he would, with venom and violence. I knew he would be fucking pissed and try to
kick Jasper's ass. That's why I had kept him hidden for so long in the first place. But the look in
Edward's eyes when he pounced was wild and feral, and I knew he was not cognitive of what he
was doing. His behavior frightened me to my very core and reminded me of a time when I had felt
fear like that, when I had seen that fear destroy, and conquer and I was scared shitless it could
happen again.
As I had laid the cards the first time I saw Edward, the splitting image of my father, and the
images flashed to when we first arrived here, when he was thin and pale, his face and body
mangled from whatever method of self abuse he had chosen for the night, unaffected by fear
and dangerous to himself and to others as he yearned to be catatonic and rotting in a hospital
somewhere. I heaved at the thought of his soul blackened by the disease that had destroyed my
family, my body literally nauseated at the thought of accepting that Edward could develop
schizophrenia. I couldn't let myself believe that if I had any chance of staying sane in this world. I
knew that, if provoked, Edward would revert back to that time, when he could solve everything
with a fight, reassuring himself that he could feel pain, he wasn't numb, and in this regard
reassuring himself that he might one day feel good.
And he does feel good, he does! I can see it in the way he looks at her, the way he talks about
her, Edward loves Bella. And Bella, she loves him too, but she's sick. She is trying to be brave, to
be a big girl and take care of business on her own, but fuck, she needs help. She is so fucking
skinny, like maybe a hundred poundsmaybe. She always claims to be one ten and size four, but
that is a load of bullshit. She doesn't see herself clearly or maybe she just doesn't see herself at
all, avoiding mirrors so she can avoid the truth. My heart aches for her, my memory of the last
time we hugged causing a sob in my chest and fresh tears to fall. There was not substance in it,
no warmth or comfort of fatty tissue, just the cold hard bite of her bones. And Edward needs to
know. He needs to know because he can help her and that is the ultimate goal, for Bella to get

help. We already love her and want to her to be a part of our family, a part of us, and if
something were to happen to her, it would crush us all. It would devastate Edward. I don't know
if he would be able to recover from losing Bella and I don't want chance to find out.
The second time I laid the cards I had visions of Bella, skeletal and weak, her body not even
functioning on its own, a hospital gown covering her emaciated frame and her scalp visible from
the loss of hair, her large eyes hollow and sunken in, a ghost in life. I saw her hooked up to
machines, her straining heart barely able to function on its own, tubes and needles and tethered
and bound. Or worse. Blue gaping lips, large vacant eyes, a grave site, fresh dirt and misty
Washington rain, her tiny casket trimmed with pink roses and purple lavender while my brother crumbl
I pulled Bella's chart again, examining her horoscope, searching for clues of early demise or injury,
any hint in the stars that she was who these damn cards were pointing at. Nothing. Nothing
outright, just like the cards were declaring. The cards, the fucking cards, had never been this
persistent before. Sure, they had predicted Jasper in a three card spread; Queen of Cups, the
Moon, and the Knight of Cups - my past, present and future, but it all made sense in Jasper.
Jasper! My heart plummeted, his outright reckless behavior now cause for concern and grief. The
drugs, the alcohol, sure they had abated, but what if I wasn't enough to keep him from using?
What if he wanted that life back, crazy nights of partying followed by stunts to get attention from
his parents, stunts he hoped would land him in the hospital or in prison because maybe there he
could finally get noticed by his arrogant as shit and neglectful socialite parents. He hated them
and craved them all at once. The third spread brought visions of Jasper in an alleyway, his veins
bruised and broken, eyes red and bloodshot and bloated, void of life, and I brought my hands to
my hair again, sobbing and falling into the bed, muffling my cries with Edward's comforter as I let
the grief consume me.
I had known Jasper would come find me that day at the diner. The cards had predicted it. They
had predicted Bella, that sweeping change, the day before she got here I had done a random
reading and she was in the Lovers and the Star, hope arriving the next day. Hope for my
brother, but my brother serving as hope for her too. My conviction in the cards was not
unfounded but solidified in my notebook, pages and pages of proof that the cards speak the truth.
But I had never experienced this before. The same five cards kept coming up, even when I used
a spread with more cards, like the cross or the horse-shoe, they always made their way into it.
I had even tried changing the scenery, like maybe the cards were too acclimated to my bedroom.
I brought everything, all the charts and cards to Edward's room, setting up camp on his bed,
which brought me to the reading I had just done. It just didn't make sense.
Until I realized it makes perfect sense. Everyone around me is trying to destroy themselves.
I wiped my eyes, my sobs easing into slight hiccups, and I frantically gathered the entire deck
with shaking hands. One more. One more time I would lay these cards, just to be sure, just to
see. I inhaled deeply, trying to calm my nerves, petrified at what I might see in front of me. I
shuffled the cards again and again, the task difficult because of my trembling fingers.
The star. I would do the star. A symbol of hope, it had to shine through somehow, it just had
too! Focus Alice, focus like everything depends on it. I pulled the first card and placed it in the
first spot.
I gasped, my breath caught in that card, Justice; the courtroom, where judgments and decisions
are made, a past mistake in the position of what I can see. Yes, what I have already seen four
times tonight. Silent tears rolled down my cheeks in acceptance. I already knew what I would find
when I lay the remaining cards, I could even almost predict their positions. I followed through, not

to discover now, but to confirm.

My breathing slowed as I laid the second card, what I can't see, the three of swords;
heartbreak, betrayal, sudden pain, terrifying curve balls that life throws at us, an open wound,
sharps and shards jabbed through the heart, hitting you when you least expect it. It was going
to be sudden.
The third card, what I could change, Temperance; quiet composure, temperance is comforting
and centered, a need for moderation, balance, self-restraint.
My fear lay in the fourth, the worst I was sure, what I cannot change, The Tower; fire, lightning,
falling on jagged rocks, sudden change, having a revelation and realizing the truth, falling down,
experiencing a crash. I thought of every single person in my life and how this card could be for
them, could be their downfall, could be my downfall.
The fifth card in my hand, I was completely blank. I threw it to the bed, five of cups, exactly what
I was expecting, ironic in the place of expectation. Bereavement, loss, draped in black and bathed
in grief. Defeat, regret, sorrow. My whole body froze as the last tone of hope and peace drained
from it. I rolled over onto the cards and charts, gently rocking my legs in a soothing rhythm,
clutching at the hole in my chest and folding into a ball.
There was nothing I could do, the finality of the statement wallowing in my heart, sealing itself in
my brain. Something was happening, something dark and threatening to our whole way of life,
something that none of us could control. I couldn't even warn them because they wouldn't
believe me. They'd laugh in my face, or worse, they'd lock me up in that hospital, all my charts
and notes proof that it was I who followed in my father's footsteps, not Edward. Realization
dawned on me that it very well could be my own demise the cards were predicting. Whatever it
was, the cards had predicted it and it was coming. And someone wasn't going to make it out alive.

Chapter: 15
I just have to say that I'm so grateful for all the thoughtful reviews. You dolls are such a
phenomenal audience, I love chatting with you and reading all your insightful comments!
A couple sweeties to note, Allysue08, thanks love for the little shout out in your A/N, Orlipanda,
who reminded me of the wonders of Limoncello and pixiekat7 for being my own personal
cheerleader this week! Check out my profile page for other bb's that give this story love...
Dear, dear beta n7of9, oh how I wish I could make Rob your cyber twinsorry but you're stuck
with me instead sweets (btw, that's funny). Big smooches to you babe!
Disclaimer: It's not mine.
CH. 15- "Only a Reminder that You're Just Not Good Enough"
I stirred the pot of bubbling minestrone soup on the stovetop, the tomato aroma complemented
by the various vegetables softening in the broth. The intense colors were mesmerizing, the
vibrant greens of the beans, spinach and zucchini in direct contrast with the red drape of broth. I
tasted a small amount, the tangy burst of flavor indicative of vegetable and bean infusion. I
pierced a piece of carrot with a fork and it was starting to soften, so I tossed in the bag of shell
pasta to absorb some of the liquid.
It was my peace offering to Alice, I knew how much she loved minestrone soup. It had been a
favorite of our mother's and Alice always felt better after she had a bowl. I emulated the recipe
exactly, even remembering to splash in a small amount of red wine, a secret ingredient my
mother always added to make her soup taste that little bit special, that little bit hers.
I readied the romaine for the antipasto, tearing the leaves and placing them in the colander to
rinse. The salami and provolone julienned and waiting in the fridge, I mixed the balsamic vinegar
and olive oil, salt and peppered the dressing, and carefully added the dried oregano, basil and
garlic. I placed the dressing in a bottle and shook to blend the liquids and disperse the herbs.
Stirring the soup again, I heard the front door slam. There was a long pause in the entryway,
five whole minutes of contemplation before Alice walked gingerly into the kitchen.
She was still wearing that brown velvet jacket, Jasper's claim on her, I assumed. She crossed
behind me, hopping onto the counter and crossing her legs in front of her. Pulling out a parcel
from the pocket of her jacket, she opened the brown bag and produced a fresh deck of tarot
cards and unfolded one of the various scraps of silk from her room. She spread the silk across her
lap and began shuffling the cards in her hands.
I watched the cards moving in her hands and I started to apologize. "Alice, I" but she stopped
me with her small hand, holding up her index finger indicating she needed a moment. I sighed,
anxious to have the words out and be done with this fucking mess.
Alice continued to shuffle the cards while I ran the spoon through the soup, waiting for her to

gather her thoughts.

Finally, the cards stopped and I turned to see Alice flip over a single card. Her eyebrows creased
and I craned my neck to see it but she snatched it up before I could. Alice's tired eyes glanced up
at me and for a moment I saw pain in her expression. She must still be thinking about the fight last nig
"Doesn't count, new cards," I heard Alice mutter under her breath, and she continued to shuffle
the deck.
Another fucking long-ass uncomfortable silence. The need to say something pressed on me now,
fucking suffocating my patience, and again I tried to speak. "Alice, listen I" and again she cut me off.
"Edward, do you have any idea what you did to his face?" Ouch. Yeah, I was pretty sure this was
going to take more than fucking minestrone.
"Yeah, Alice, I know what I did," I muttered, my eyes inspecting my own hand, knuckles braised
and scabbed over, flexing my fingers and absorbing the ache. I deserved it.
"Are you even sorry? Because you're just in here cooking like normal, like you didn't even assault
my boyfriend last night." I tried not to cringe when she called him her boyfriend, hoping she
wouldn't notice. She just continued her ranting.
"You know that was assault, right? Jasper could press charges if he wanted. He didn't even fight
back." Alice crossed her arms in front of her. Yeah, I had noticed that too. He didn't even take a
swing, the first hit was a fucking accident. I guess it was kind of commendable. Shit! I had really
fucked up here.
"Alice, of course I'm sorry," I said, my gaze still fixed on my knuckles. "I justI just always want
what's best for you and I didn't know. It's not like he's reeking of moral fiber. He sells drugs, for
Christ's sake."
"You don't know the first thing about his moral fiber. You don't know anything about him," Alice
retorted bitterly. It was true, I knew very little about Jasper, only that his parents were big in
the community, his bitchy twin was dating my cousin, and he had an affinity for pissing on the
long arm of the law.
I tried to find a way to explain my behavior. "I know, Alice. I just fucking snapped when-"
"Yeah, I was there, I remember," Alice interrupted, quietly. I looked up to find her staring at me
now, her features laden with obvious concern and fear, and I knew why. I recognized that look,
the fear a permanent fixture she had carried back in Chicago.
"Alice, it's fine. Okay? I'm fine. I was justcaught off guard. I don't know how to explain it, but I
promise you, it's fine. I'm fine." I was trying to get the words out quickly before she could
interrupt me again, but I was having difficulty finding the right thing to say.
"You already said that." Alice looked down at her fingers, the cards tumbling between her hands.
She was seasoning or cleansing them, I don't know, I never can tell the difference. She'd explained
it to me before, the cards had to absorb her energy or something.
I sighed, unable to articulate what I was trying to fucking say. What was I trying to say? My
mind had been a jumbled mess but after talking with Bella, everything became so clear, so
precise, and now, without a record of the conversation, I couldn't put it into words on my own.
Now it was just a feeling, a general feeling of ease and comfort.

Instead of offering her more futile excuses I turned back to the stove, bringing the wooden
spoon to the pot and gently swirling the bubbling mixture. The pasta was soft now so I removed
the pot from the heat, pushing it onto a cool burner. My back to her, I heard Alice slip down off
the counter.
"Is that minestrone?" Alice was straining to peer around me as I placed a lid on the pot, insulating
the soup and trapping the aromatic vapors inside.
"Yeah, it's a peace offering," I mentioned casually. "It seems I'm a bit prone to overreaction."
Alice snorted at this admission and a small smile crept across her face. "Well, it's a start. What
else did you make?"
"Antipasto with fresh salami and provolone, and I marinated some green olives and artichoke
hearts." Alice loved green olives, especially marinated in garlic infused olive oil with a splash of
lemon juice and freshly chopped basil.
"Dessert?" Alice asked with a raised eyebrow, and I smiled at my sister, food once again easing
an argument in my family. Since moving to Forks, no matter what, we always came together over
a good meal, despite any slander or wrongdoing that had happened previously. Maybe that's why
I loved cooking so much, because I could provide the catalyst for resolve, the meal the basis for
our gathering around the dining table. This was what I could do for my family.
"Vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries and topped withwait for it" I paused for dramatic
effect, "Limoncello."
"Well, fuck! I was going to be angry with you for a while longer, but now I don't know if I'll have
the grounds." Alice's small grin faded. "Just promise me, Edward, that you'll try to control the
fighting. Please? One of these days you're going to fuck with the wrong dude and find yourself
seriously injuredor worse." Alice's features darkened at this statement and I rolled my eyes at
her worry. I could handle myself in a fight. That should be the least of her worries.
I was about to tell her this when she continued, "Just be careful. You matter to people."
I nodded, absorbing the implications of her statement. I did matter to people, I mattered to Bella,
and it was true that I did need to be aware of my actions, even more so now. There was a
contemplative silence, both of us lost and wading through our various thoughts and queries.
"He asked me to prom, you know," Alice finally spoke, breaking the quiet.
"Shit, you're going to prom? Are you even allowed to go to prom? You're only a Sophomore."
Prom? What the fuck? What the hell had happened to my sister?
"Yeah, well, Rose and Emmett are going and Jasper said he wanted to take me. I don't know, it's
kind of nostalgic, right? It could be cool, like Pretty in Pink cool. I could make my dress out of
other more stylish dresses and everyone will secretly think it's ugly but won't say anything
because there's a whole sewing montage." I laughed at her explanation and let the positive
pieces of our childhood creep their way into my memory. Alice loved that movie, she used to watch
it constantly when we were younger, but she always hated the chick's prom dress. She'd go on
and on about how she should have just worn the one her friend gave her and she almost cries
when the chick starts cutting it up.
"Dude, rationalize it any way you want, prom is fucking lame," I laughed, tossing my dishes into

the sink and running the tap.

"I don't think Bella will think it's lame," Alice hinted. "I mean, it's like a rite of passage or something."
"Bella will definitely think prom is lame," I snorted.
"What would make you think that? She's not the introvert, Edward, you are," Alice countered.
Again, the know-it-all was fucking right. Shit, did Bella want to go to prom? I guess I was going to
have to fucking find out.
Just then, Alice gasped. "What? What's wrong?" I asked her, perplexed.
"Eighties prom. Dude, we should have an eighties prom!" Fucking Alice was going to make this
shit unbearable.
"What the hell are you talking about?" I asked her, although I had some inclination as to what she
was proposing.
"We should all dress in eighties formalwear for prom. That would be awesome!" She had the idea
in her head now and there would be no swaying her otherwise at this point.
"Rose is not going to wear an eighties dress to her prom, you know that, right?" I countered.
"I don't care, she doesn't have to, but I bet Bella will," Alice smiled, smug as shit because she
was probably fucking right. I sighed and resigned myself to the idea because if Bella wanted to go
to prom, then I would take her.
"Fuck, Alice, I swear to God, the minute there's talk of a choreographed group dance, I'm out."
Alice gripped my arm and I could practically see her designing the dresses in her head.
"Edward, you will not be disappointed. It'll be fun, I promise. I'm going to call Jasper. You have to
ask Bella soon so I can start her dress. Prom is in, like, four weeks I think. That should be plenty
of time." Alice pranced out of the kitchen, her mind calculating, I'm sure.
And just like that, I was going to prom in eighties formalwear, fucking white tuxedos and bow ties
and shit, unless, by some stretch of the imagination, I could convince Bella not to go. But at least
I'd get to see Bella all dressed up, that being about the only worthwhile thing about this whole
fucking debacle.
I also had to figure out how I was going to ask Bella to go to prom with me without looking like a
total douche. I was all for going if that's what Bella wanted. I'd do just about anything if it made
her happy.

"Human blood types are genetically determined. The table below shows the symbols used to
represent two of the alleles for blood types and gives a description of each allele." Bella tapped
her pencil on our lab desk as she read the notes from the study guide. I traced the outer edge of
her ear with my finger, pushing her soft curls behind it and fingering the loose tendrils on her neck.
I just couldn't keep my hands off her, the exposed skin too inviting not to touch.
Spring Break was over and this past Monday the mundane misery of public education began its
relentless inundation of torment. It had only been four days and already I was craving the next
vacation, days of sleeping in late after quiet, remarkable nights with Bella. Just being able to

freely spend my time doing whatever I wanted, which mainly consisted of spending time with Bella;
talking to Bella, cooking with Bella, feeling Bella. I could hardly stand to be apart from her now,
her absence a constant dull ache. I spent our time apart anxious for her return, wondering what
she was doing, thinking of funny or interesting things I wanted to tell her, things I wanted to do to
her. It was actually quite fucking alarming how much of my mental awareness was occupied by
thoughts of Bella.
Mr. Banner was giving us time to complete a study guide that supposedly held all the answers to
tomorrow's exam and Bella was frantic about completing it to perfection. It had been over a week
since I told Alice I would ask Bella to prom more than seven days of seeing her and not being
able to ask. I don't know why I was so fucking nervous, I didn't really think she was going to say
no, but then again, she might just laugh in my face. I didn't think I could stomach either.
Bella turned her head to kiss the fingers now drawing lines in the curve where her neck flowed
into her shoulder, her indigo v-neck t-shirt a dark contrast to her creamy skin and displaying the
indentions of her collarbones and shoulders quite torturously. It took every restraint imaginable
not to just sink my teeth into that naked curve. Instead, I let my fingers do the adoring where my
lips could not.
"Then there's this stupid chart and it asks us to find the blood type of their fucking offspring.
Shit! I know he said something about this yesterday. Where are your notes?" Bella was flipping
through her spiral notebook, looking for yesterday's information.
"I didn't take notes yesterday," I mumbled, my fingers still enthralled with the flow and ripple of
her neck and shoulders.
"Yes you did. I saw you, you were definitely writing something." Bella turned her body to face
me now and I brushed the stray strands of hair from her face.
"Recipes, ingredients. I had an idea for a dish." I shrugged my shoulders and nodded towards the
study guide. "Let me see that."
I glanced over the problem. It was simple enough, I did some quick calculations in my head. "D,
One-fourth," I said, handing the packet back to Bella.
Bella just blinked a few times, her long lashes quickly dusting the top of her cheekbones.
"I hate you," she muttered, rolling her eyes and turning back to her notes, a slight smile upon her
lips. I laughed quietly, running my hand the length of her back and leaning in swiftly to kiss her
cheek, her lavender essence intoxicating as it invaded my senses.
"So, how you doing on attendance this trimester?" I asked, allowing my hand to gently massage
the nape of her delicate neck. She leaned into my fingers, her lids fluttering closed and just so
fucking beautiful.
"Hmm?" she mumbled, still relaxing into my touch. Her mouth opened slightly and I wanted to press
my lips to hers, run my tongue along her slightly glossed pink flesh. All I could focus on was Bella,
her mouth, her neck, her hip pressed against mine
Fuck, I needed to get out of here. And I was taking her with me.
"Can you skip gym? Or are you particularly looking forward to badminton this afternoon?" I
hummed quietly into her ear. She inhaled sharply, turning her gaze to me and sinking her little
white teeth into her fleshy bottom lip.

"Oh, I don't know," she said, her tone rich with cynicism. "I think I've missed at least one day of
gym a week since I've been here."
"Come on, Bella, it's healthy to ditch class now and then." I trailed my fingers down her spine, my
hand tracing slow spirals on her lower back and causing her to slightly shiver beneath my touch.
"Well, you know me, I'm a health nut," Bella said, sarcasm seeping from every syllable. "You should
let Alice take the Volvo and you could just ride home with me."
"I don't know, Bella. Have you ever actually ridden with Alice? She fucking speeds and she thinks
she can multitask. There's nothing more threatening than a driver with mascara and a lead foot."
I shuddered a little at the thought of Alice driving my Volvo but I didn't want to leave her without a ride.
"C'mon! Let me take you home. Please?" Bella pretended to pout, her bottom lip jutting out in
flirtatious fullness, and fluttering her long, dark lashes. It was almost too much to bear.
"Alright! Fuck, you know I can't resist you all pouty and adorable and shit," I teased. Bella
beamed at me, collecting her notebook and study guide and tossing them into her tote bag. I
hated to have to tell her she wouldn't be getting much studying done this evening.
We met Alice outside the lunch room and she was way too excited to be getting the keys to my
car in her grubby little fingers. After Alice pranced off to class, we walked to Bella's truck,
engaging in the usual "who's going to drive" banter. As much as I wanted to let Bella win this time,
her familiarity with her truck giving her the advantage, I really didn't want to have to explain
driving directions to my house. So I persisted in the argument and eventually Bella succumbed to
my persuasion.
I was still adjusting to the timing of Bella's truck, but I didn't stall once this time, earning me a big
fucking job well done from myself as I pulled into the driveway. Carlisle's house was on a street
diverted off the highway, a little further into the heavily wooded areas of Forks and nestled back
against a mountain dense with cedars and firs, the misty evergreen backdrop draped in moss and
crawling with vines. When Alice and I first arrived here I had been mesmerized by the green, the
leafy landscape contradictory to the concrete forest of downtown Chicago, and the cool, clean
atmosphere, crisp with organic aromas, a stark contrast to the thick, heavy air of the city. I
found in Washington a place I could breathe, even when I didn't particularly want to.
As we walked to the front door I realized that Bella had only been here a couple of times and had
never even seen my bedroom. We always spent our time at her house, especially since Charlie
had returned to work, the lack of parental supervision just too inviting and convenient.
The house was quiet and vacant, Esme the only occupant, probably in her drawing room or
something. Bella walked quietly beside me, apprehensive and a little fucking nervous, which was a
little fucking cute. I took her hand and pulled her up the stairs.
Esme appeared in the doorway of her bedroom. "Edward? Oh! Hi there, Bella." I knew she
wouldn't be pissed at me for ditching, as long as I kept my grades up they wouldn't harp on me
about shit like that. "Everything okay?"
"Yeah, everything's fine. We just left early," I said quickly.
"Oh, okay. Well, it's nice to see you, Bella," Esme said, giving Bella a tight hug. "We miss you
around here."

"Thanks," Bella said, blushing. I could tell she wasn't used to this type of physical display of
affection. You'd think her parents never hugged her, the way she blushed and received the hug
with cumbersome comfort. It made me want to wrap her in my arms every minute of every day to
try to repair some of the fucking damage.
"Well, I'm just finishing up some laundry and then I'm going to meet Carlisle for coffee. He's
working a double shift tonight so he won't be home until late," Esme said, walking back into her
room and leaving us on the landing. Esme was pretty great about the meddling bullshit. She
trusted me to make good decisions, even with all the fuck ups I had purposefully engaged in so
early in our relationship.
I pulled Bella up the second set of stairs to my bedroom on the third floor. That was probably the
best fucking thing about this house, I practically had the third floor to myself. There were two
bedrooms up here, one for me and one Esme used for her crafts and designs and shit. Other than
that, nobody ventured up here.
"Do you realize how cool this is, practically having your own floor?" Bella said quietly.
"Yeah, it's definitely a plus," I responded. "I had to rho sham bo Alice for this room when we first
moved in. She claimed that because she was the only girl she should get the separate floor. A
good argument, but I was insistent. Luckily, she's highly predictable. I mean, if I've learned
anything growing up with Alice, it's that nine times out of ten she'll throw paper first."
I opened my bedroom door, thankful as all shit I had managed to clean up some crap last night
and that I had made my bed this morning. Most days it remained a tangled lump of fabric.
"My room," I said pulling her inside. She walked in gingerly, a bit out of place. I couldn't quite
place her apprehension - I'd been in her room hundreds of times. I moved to sit on the bed,
trying to appear comfortable and maybe project some of that ease onto her.
Bella walked over to the window facing the river behind the house which stretching into the wide
expanse of darkened forest. "Wow, you have an amazing view up here." She stretched to take in
the complete view, pressing her face to the window.
"Yeah, I can see right into the Crowley's backyard from up here. They're nudists, you know," I
said winking as Bella whipped her head around to look at me, shock all over her pretty little face.
"Shut up! They are not." She turned back to the window, craning her neck again to see for
herself. "Are they?"
I laughed at her gullibility. Bella scowled at me, muttering a profanity or two under her breath as
she moved away from the window. She ventured over to my music collection, a large wall of CD's
and LP's. Sure, I had all that music in digital format, but there's something tangible about having
the ha