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The Dreams of the Boy In the Nighttime

Summary:
Bella Swan has had a tragic and abusive childhood; everyone knew it. But not everyone knew of the bronze-haired boy who visited her in her dreams. He was the only one who knew the true Bella. But Edward wasn't real, was he? Banner made by Anne Cullen :)


Notes:
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the authors. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended. Twilighted Supervisory Beta: qjmom Twilighted Validation Beta: Twilightzoner


10. Friendship and Forbidden Thoughts

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2009   Review this Chapter

The gold of fall was running swiftly into the gray of winter, and the ground was littered with hues of vibrant oranges and rusty browns. The determined leaves that remained on the trees looked too delicate, as if even the slightest of winds would blow them from their branches. Waves lapped in a continuous flow at the banks of the lake, being coerced by the vicious northern wind.

The day was predominantly overcast, with only tiny gaps where the clouds thinned to reveal blue, a remembrance of sunny days in June or July. Bella and Edward were sitting underneath their tree as they were found often these days. They no longer felt the childish urge to explore every inch of the meadow as they had when they were younger.

Instead, they retreated to their tree and filled their time with conversation and each other's company, with looks that spoke more than a thousand words. They were huddled together for warmth as close as they could possibly be while being fully clothed. She was sitting sideways on his lap, her head resting on his shoulder, and his hand was rubbing up and down her arm, causing friction.

With each of their exhalations, condensation exited their mouths and warmed the air before it, too, froze. "Why's it so goddamn cold?" Bella spoke more the elements to the man by her side.

"It's November," Edward answered nonetheless.

"I know that, stoopid. But, it's never really the same here, is it? It could be January out there, but still ninety degrees in here."

"Well, maybe they're cooperating for once."

"Hmmm..." she murmured noncommittally, snuggling closer into him.

They sat for an immeasurable amount of time. Bella was so close to him that her body moved up and down with each of his breaths. She looked up at his jaw, for lack of anything interesting to grasp her attention, and observed the layer of stubble that he'd accumulated over the last several years. She liked it when occasionally it would scrape across her skin when they changed position.

Sensing her gaze, he looked down at her, his eyes connecting immediately with hers. There was curiosity in his gaze, but Bella didn't question it. There always seemed to be some million dollar question floating around his brain, usually something philosophical. She hated philosophy with a passion. She hated the way it made them question everything around them. It made her feel uncertain and vulnerable, yet irritated, as if the world around them wasn't what it appeared to be. She couldn't recall one moment in her life where she'd willingly swallow the red pill.

She usually shut him up with some physical altercation - usually a strike to the back of his head or a shove in his chest. He knew that she disliked his questioning - though he had no idea why - and didn't tend to press her further after she'd indicated that she wanted him to stop.

"What's your favorite color today?" he asked her at random.

"Green," she answered without thinking. His eyes really were the most beautiful hypnotic green she'd ever seen. The ring of black surrounding them was symbolic somehow. She felt that no matter what happened in the outside world, he'd always be here for her, his arms held wide open, for the rest of... time, she guessed. The color encased inside them was vibrant, like emerald - she'd never seen anyone's eyes who could come remotely close to the color enveloped in his - with a pattern that Bella couldn't help but associate with the hue a pine forest dancing on top.

"Green?" He raised an eyebrow in question.

"Mmmhmmm..." She nuzzled her face further into his neck and their eye contact was broken. She knew that her eyes were so transparent they were almost invisible - a window into her thoughts and feelings. They were silent for a while, the only sound each heard was the inhalation and exhalation of the other and the rustling of the meadows grass in the wind.

"So... why green?" he asked after the pause. Bella's favorite color always revolved around something.

"Why not green?" Bella rebuked. "Green is a wonderful color. It represents vibrancy and life, nature..." Her words trailed off.

"Right." Laughter hung in his voice, his lips stretched into a smile. Speaking of those kinds of things was so not Bella it was actually laughable.

"I've been thinking of cutting my hair..." she said after a moment. His hand moved from her arm to the brown curls tumbling down her back. "Alice says I should get something that frames my face better. She says-"

"Don't." He cut her off. His voice was strong, full of finality.

"What...? Why?"

He grabbed a handful of the curls, marveling at the softness between his fingers. "It's perfect the way it is." She looked back into his face and saw that his forehead was crumpled in thought. His eyes, averted from hers, were gazing distractedly at the lake below them.

She raised a hand to his forehead, straightening out the lines. "What are you thinking?" she questioned, moving her hand to the nape of his neck and massaging his scalp; she knew it was something that calmed him.

"I... no, never mind..." he ended cryptically.

"Come on... tell me!" There was even a little whine in her voice - not at all like her, more like Alice.

"I... I don't even know, Bella, ‘kay?"

"Okay." She wished to press him, but she was certain that he would never hide anything from her. She would just have to assume he was telling the truth.

He disposed of his thoughts and the playfulness returned - if only halfheartedly - to his eyes, a grin stretching across his face. He released her hair, still clenched in his hand, and smoothed it down her back, his hand coming to rest at her waist.

"So, how's that Alice been, eh?" he said conversationally.

"Ugh! She's a nightmare!" Edward laughed at the horrorstruck expression on her face. She took a hold of the hair swimming around her fingers and pulled harshly.

"Ow!" His hand came up to rub his scalp.

"You think I'm joking!" She sounded exasperated, and Edward knew he was in for a treat.

"What's she done now?" he asked in a singsong voice.

"Well, not only has she taken to dressing me head-to-toe every single day, and spends so much time dragging me around the mall that I'm thinking that we should just pitch a tent and save the hassle of traveling, but now I swear Jasper's at our apartment more than I am. Even when she's not at home he's there, either waiting for her return or for me so he can grill me about the state of her mental health! I mean, I know he's studying psychology and all, but you'd think he'd find someone else he can interrogate. I mean, there's like a gajillion kids on campus..."

"But, you like Jasper, right?"

"Yeah, of course I do. He's like a brother to me."

"Then, what's the problem?"

"Well, there are certain things that a brother never has to see about her sister." Her answer was way too cryptic for his liking, and he scowled in confusion.

"Like what?"

"Like her coming out the shower, for instance." His grip around her tightened, but she was too lost amidst her tirade to notice. "And then there was the time when I was yelling around for Alice, asking her if she had a tampon." She bowed her head in shame, shaking it side to side.

There was only stillness for a moment, the awkwardness surrounding them like a bubble that the both of them wanted to pop. Edward resumed rubbing up and down her arm and she continued.

"Of course, I love Alice, even with all the baggage that comes along with her." Her voice was more mellow than it had been before, and she swallowed heavily. "She's all I've got."

"Hey," he said in an attempt to cheer her up, "that's not true. You've got Esme, you've got Jasper - even if he has turned a little overbearing as of late... and you have me. You'll always have me." Bella suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of comfort. It felt like... home.

"Yes, I do have them, and especially you." She smiled up at him, glistening tears but a shadow, her actions speaking of how much she appreciated his words. She hugged him tightly to her, expressing all the gratitude that she possibly could give in that one gesture.

She slowly released the pressure of her arms around him, and he kissed her temple chastely before tucking her head under his chin. He closed his eyes to the scent of dew and some flower her couldn't put a name to, the scent of her.

She heard his breathing slow and even out underneath her andshe, too, closed her eyes, concentrating on the warmth of his body in contrast to the chilly wind whipping around them, instead of her curiosity at his attitude earlier.

He was right, what he said before. She did have him, and she never appreciated it enough, the one constant in her life. She loved him. He was the greatest friend Bella could ever wish for. He understood her perfectly, even if it was annoying sometimes when he could just guess her thoughts, no matter how embarrassing they were.

She knew him better than she knew herself, but she guessed that wasn't saying much; she'd never met anybody more uncertain about themselves than she was. But Edward gave her some reason not to believe all the words that came from Rosalie's plump lips. When Edward and she were together, it was as if she was the most important woman in the world - no, the universe - and nothing or nobody could ever hold his attention more securely.

Somehow, Edward made all of the blows of her past - which attacked her from every angle - less powerful, like he was shielding her from them. The commands of her father... the death of her mother... her separation from Alice and the Cullens... they all seemed so less painful when she thought about them in his presence.

But then there were the other thoughts she had of him, the thoughts that nobody could ever know about, let alone him: the way that she could replay each of their tender moments with perfect clarity before waking up in reality; the way that she could think up his face in an instant; how his laugh was her most favorite sound, his smile her favorite sight.

And those were only the more innocent of her thoughts.

She could imagine his lips... closing in on hers, the warmth and softness of them when they would touch, one held in between two of hers. She could imagine the fire in those pine forest eyes as his hands would ghost down her sides before they would retreat to take a hold of her breasts, squeezing him in his large palms, his thumbs crossing fleetingly across the hardened peaks. She would gasp and press her pelvis into his, seeking friction.

She pushed the thoughts from her head, feeling as if she was violating him somehow by thinking these things with him so close to her. It can never happen, she told herself cuttingly. Why could she not just be happy with their relationship as it was.

This relationship was the one good, stable thing in her life, and she wanted to change it. What did that say about her? Rosalie was right. She was all "take, take, take." She brought it on herself. She deserved every ill word used against her.

Instead of the comfort sleep usually brought before she entered reality, she found herself restless, as if she hadn't had even a minute of rest. She rubbed her eyes, trying somehow to eradicate the soreness before looking over at Alice's sleeping form and pushing herself from the bed to go take a shower before her first class of the day.