"I'm Not That Girl"
The gentle rocking of the sea lulled me into a peaceful trance. I felt the heartache and pain of the day wash over me as I stared out onto the moonlit water. I quietly leaned against the railing of the small boat that I was currently on and sighed. It had been an old boat of my dad's that he had given to us when we were kids to fix up. Every day, over the course of the summer when we were eleven years old, we worked on it to make it sea-worthy again. It was all worth it the moment we set sail around the small harbor in Port Angeles. The wind was at our backs and the world at our feet. We named her Victoria. I think that was the moment that I knew I was in love with him. Cullen, who was my best friend, along with his twin sister, Alice. The three of us were inseparable, except when it came to Victoria. Alice hated the water and wanted nothing to do with the boat, so it was something that was just ours. His and mine.
The sounds of the party on the dock behind me broke into my thoughts, and made the ache in my chest grow larger. It wasn't everyday that the man you loved with all of your heart got married; to another woman. Even after all of these years of hiding my feelings while they dated, it was still a knife to my chest to stand up as his Best Person while Alice was her Maid of Honor. I heard his jubilant laughter all the way down here and I let out a sigh, thinking back over the years.
I was eight when the Cullen's moved in across the street. Seeing as how Forks was a small town and I was a klutz, it was only natural that I became close with the doctor's children. Both of them hated their first names. Alice insisted upon dropping 'Mary' and only using her middle name. He decided that his name was too old-fashioned, so he demanded that everyone call him E. Our parents called us the three musketeers for years. Until we turned thirteen and started to drift apart. E started noticing girls and experienced his first kiss with Lauren Mallory. I died a little inside. I wanted that to be me. I wanted to be the one feeling his lips pressed against mine.
Hands touch, eyes meet
Sudden silence, sudden heat
Hearts leap in a giddy whirl
He could be that boy
But I'm not that girl
I settled for Mike Newton as my first kiss, at Allie and E's fourteenth birthday party, the summer before we started high school. It was quick and wet, but not too unpleasant. I'm sure that was because the whole time I pictured my best friend's lips instead of Mike's. E drifted further from Allie and I, once school started. He joined the football team and became part of the "in" crowd. Hanging out with your sisters was deemed as uncool, so he ignored us on a daily basis. Only to turn around to be friendly and jovial with us once we were seated at the Cullen's kitchen doing our homework after school. We both allowed it to happen, even though it hurt us. We only wanted the best for him.
It all came to a head our Senior year, though. I was pulled out of class early to be informed that my father had been shot in the line of duty. Esme was there to pick me up and take me to the hospital. By the time they were finished telling me the news, I felt numb. I barely recognized the bell ringing that fourth period was over and the students that filtered into the halls. Esme and I walked quietly towards the parking lot when I heard Alice's voice calling my name. I looked up and saw her running to us with tears in her eyes. When she reached me, she hugged me tightly, but still I couldn't feel anything.
"It'll be okay, Bells," she whispered in my ear. "He'll be fine, I know it!"
I looked over her shoulder and saw E standing off to the side of the building, staring at us. He offered me a sad smile, but looked away when one of his friends called his name. He slung his arm over his girlfriend's shoulder and turned to head into the cafeteria with his friends. Another piece of me died inside when he walked away from me that day. Thankfully, it was a flesh wound and Charlie made a full recovery. That night when Esme and I entered their house, I knew immediately that something was wrong. You could hear E and Alice shouting at each from the kitchen.
"You, you," Alice screamed. "You are not my brother! You are a cold, callous, piece of shit! That stupid Barbie doll and your so-called friends mean more to you than your own damn family! Bella needed you today and you walked away! I'm tired of you turning your back on us! I'm tired of you hurting not only me, but her, too!"
"Mary Alice!" Esme exclaimed. "What is going on?"
"Ask your son," she sneered in his direction. "Ask how he's treated us like shit every day at school for the past three and a half years. Ask him how much more important status and popularity are to him than his family!"
He blanched and looked like he was going to throw up.
"Alice, I -" he started to say before she punched him in the stomach. He didn't even flinch from her tiny blow, but you could see the emotional pain wave across his face.
"Save it. I'm done. I want nothing more to do with you," she yelled and promptly broke down into tears, before rushing out of the room. He sank to his knees and started to cry, mumbling, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." Over and over.
My heart was torn. I wanted to stay and comfort him so badly, but Alice needed me more. She was the one who deserved my comfort, so I ran after her and laid beside her on her bed. She curled up against me and we cried together.
Don't dream too far
Don't lose sight of who you are
Don't remember that rush of joy
He could be that boy
I'm not that girl
The next few weeks were strained. E did everything he could to get back into Alice's good graces, even if it meant sitting with us during lunch, instead of his crew. Finally, Alice caved and forgave him, extracting the promise that he wouldn't do anything like that again. When he gave her his word, I knew that he meant it. Things fell back into place after that. E developed a balance of his social life and his family life. I spent every moment I could helping him with his homework and smiling at him coyly, trying to get him to notice me. One day, at the end of May, he sat back and looked at me. I mean, really looked at me.
"Bells, do you have any plans for this weekend?" he asked, almost shyly. My heart sped up and I almost broke out into a cold sweat. My voice would have betrayed me, so I could only shake my head 'no.'
He smiled and said that he wanted to talk to me privately. I suggested we take Victoria out for a sail on Saturday, which he readily agreed to. It would be just like old times. While we were out sailing that day, he laid himself bare to me. He wanted to take his girlfriend, Jessica, to a hotel after Prom so they could lose their virginities together. It was so stupid and so cliched. It was so him and my heart ached. I never wanted to step foot on that boat again. This was just another piece of him that I would never have. I sucked it up. He was my friend and he needed my advice and my help in covering for him. Looking back, I was a colossal sucker for heartache, but I did what he asked of me, and I spent the night of Prom crying into my pillow.
Ev'ry so often we long to steal
To the land of what-might-have-been
But that doesn't soften the ache we feel
When reality sets back in
Graduation came and went. All three of us were accepted to different colleges. Alice chose to go to Berkeley, while E received a full football scholarship to University of Washington to play for the Huskies. I never told anyone, but my choices were Dartmouth and U of W. I chose to stay close to E. I knew I was only asking for heartbreak, and I was handed it in spades.
Two weeks into the year, he met the love of his life, Lily. She was buxom and blonde, crass and adventurous. To put it plainly, she was perfect for him. She quickly became another close friend to me, which should have made the heartache easier to live with, but it didn't. She had tough skin, but a heart of gold and even Alice fell in love with her. After two years of watching their sickly sweet romance, I finally pulled my head out of my ass enough to transfer schools.
Blithe smile, lithe limb
She who's winsome, she wins him
Gold hair with a gentle curl
That's the girl he chose
And Heaven knows
I'm not that girl
Neither E, nor Lily wanted me to go, but they couldn't deny the positive impact that Dartmouth would have on my writing career. So, I went. I tried to cut myself off, little by little. I told myself that if I could put them out of my mind, I could move on. I could find a way to be happy without him. I embraced college with a new-found ardor. I made new friends quickly, and even lost my virginity to my first boyfriend that I had out there, James. We dated for six months before calling it quits. My heart just wasn't in it, so I threw myself into my school work and graduated with honors. I moved to a tiny New York apartment and published my first novel, and still kept in contact with Alice, E and Lily occasionally.
Three years later and there I was. Best person in the happy couple's wedding. For months beforehand, I told myself that I could do this. I could be there for my friends, even though in a half-assed attempt to save my heart, I alienated the people I loved dearly. After all of that, they still wanted, no, needed me there. I was a part of them just as much as they were a part of me. I closed my eyes and remembered the way they looked at each other as they said, 'I do.' It was beautiful and perfect. I knew right then and there, that I had been deluding myself. They were soul mates and perfect for each other. My love for him was this all-encompassing true love. I didn't look at E the same way that his Lily did.
Don't wish, don't start
Wishing only wounds the heart
I wasn't born for the rose and the pearl
There's a girl I know
He loves her so
I'm not that girl
I sighed and opened my eyes, staring up at the stars. My other half was out there somewhere and I wouldn't find him by throwing a pity party over un-requited love. With renewed vigor, I carefully made my way to the steps that would leave Victoria and my past behind. As I stepped back onto the dock, I tripped and threw my hands up in front of me to cushion my fall. Instead of meeting with the cold, hard wood, I was held gently in a pair of warm arms. Brushing the hair out of my face, I looked up and gasped. Staring at me intently with amusement and concern were the single most beautiful pair of emerald eyes that I have ever seen.
"Thank you," I said quietly. He smiled this bright, crooked smile and held out his hand.
"You're E's Best man, err, lady, right?" he asked, running his other hand through his messy copper hair. His voice had a slight Irish brogue to it and it melted in my ears.
"Yes, I'm Bella," I answered, embarrassed by the breathy quality of my voice, and placed my hand in his. I felt a slight spark as his fingers closed over mine.
"It's a pleasure to me you, Bella. I'm Edward Masen, Rosalie's cousin."
"Rosalie?" I asked, confused. I didn't know any Rosalie.
His eyes lit up and he let out a laugh. "Weren't you standing across from her when she said her vows? Rosalie Lillian Hale—well, Cullen now."
"Oh," I squeaked. "Sorry, I'm used to calling her Lily. I think today was the first time I've heard her full name."
I felt my cheeks heat up and my breath catch in my throat as he reached out to brush a finger over my cheek.
"Your blush is lovely," he murmured. He took a deep breath in, through his nose, and fixed a determined smirk on his face.
"Bella, would you please dance with me?"
My heart started to beat quickly and I knew it was now or never. It was time to move on.
"Of course, Edward, it would be my pleasure."