Disclaimer: In no way shape or form does anything recognisable belong to me… I can only claim possession to my OCs.

P.S. I'm British so I don't really know anything about US Colleges or their processes etc… so if I get something drastically wrong feel free to point it out and correct it for me. Thanks.

Enjoy… See you at the bottom

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Monday 11th September 2006 – 6pm

After a good two days' worth of driving, I'm finally here; Dartmouth, Hanover, NH. I'm ready for a new chapter of my life to begin.

It's not until I'm in the elevator in my assigned Dorm building that the real nerves begin to set in. Once the elevator doors open, it takes me a few minutes to gather myself enough to just get my feet to move. Walking along the hall, it takes ten minutes for me to find the room that will be mine for the next four years and calm my breathing and insane shaking hands before I can knock on the door - I had been informed that my roommate would be arriving before me and would be awaiting my arrival. Finally finding the courage I so desperately needed, and before I could turn tail and run, I was making a fist and knocking against the mahogany door. After what felt like hours when in reality was actually only minutes, the door swung open. Behind it stood probably one of the prettiest human girls I'd ever seen. Shoulder length curly blonde hair, pale skin, a petite figure and the bluest eyes that made you feel as if she was looking straight into your soul, finding all your deep, dark secrets and laying them out for the entire world to see.

"Hi! You must be Isabella Swan?! I'm Melanie Alderton – to friends its Mel – and I'm your roommate for the next four years. Nice to meet you. Please, come in."

"Err Hi Mel. Please, it's just Bella. It's nice to meet you too."

"Well Bella, I think we're going to be great friends." At that a pang went through my heart, she reminded me so much of Alice. But then I shook the feeling off remembering that this was my new start and they left me; not the other way around.

OoOoOoOo

Tuesday 12th September 2006 – 3.30pm

Unpacking hadn't taken nearly as much time as I thought it would, despite having to make three trips to my car – a grey mini cooper with two black stripes across the bonnet a graduation gift, from Charlie - and back to get everything. The room was pretty nice, simple. A couch and a chair and TV, and table and two chairs and the kitchen area had a fridge, stove, sink, counters and a couple of overhead cupboards. The bedrooms were off to the left of the living area; a single bed, a wardrobe, a chest of drawers, a bedside table, a desk and chair. Everywhere was painted in a neutral cream with a soft brown carpet. The bathroom (off the right of the living area) was clean – white wall and floor tiles and a white bathroom set – two sinks, a toilet and a shower. Mel had the right room and I got the left – closest to the door – and already she had up pictures of family and friends - from back home, she'd explained – posters and knick knacks spread around her space to make it feel 'homey'; and it did.

In comparison, my space felt bare; I had no pictures – the only ones I did possess where in the scrapbook Renee gave me for my birthday last year (when Mel found this out, she had declared outright that she was going to make sure we all got pictures to document these next four years of our lives) – and the only knick knacks I had was the musical jewellery box from my maternal grandmother and my book and CD collections – the others had been left back in Forks as they either reminded me of the Cullen's or they were meaningless – unsentimental.

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Tuesday 12th September 2006 – 6pm

"So Bella, I was wondering if you're all settled in for the night and not too tired, if you wouldn't mind meeting my best friend and her new roommate. They live a couple dorms over."

"Best friend?"

"Yeah, Courtney Robertson. We've been best friends since we were in diapers, our mums were best friends too and I suppose it helped that all of our lives we've lived across the street from each other."

"No, of course I wouldn't mind. In fact it might be pretty nice, who knows maybe we'll all become lifelong friends." I teased.

"That would be pretty cool actually." Mel laughed "Ok, great, I'll just ring Court now and tell her and Shelby – that's her roommate BTW – to come on down."

"Ok. Do you want me to order take out or something?"

"Err maybe we should wait for the others, that way we can all decide together. Why don't you go pick a couple films and I think we might have some popcorn somewhere."

"Oh, yeah, of course. Any particular genre?"

"Oh, err, not really. There's at least a couple movies from each genre so you can pick… Oh hey Court… Yeah, come down… She wants to meet you two… yeah, we were thinking take out too, a couple movies, maybe some mani/Pedi's… Ok then, see you in a few. Ok Bella, they're on their way. Court said her and Shelby are craving Chinese food. Is that alright with you or do you want something else?"

"Chinese sounds fantastic actually."

"Well ok then, I shall order it now."

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Tuesday 12th September 2006 – 7pm

The food arrived not long after Courtney – who insisted it was just Court – and Shelby had. Courtney Robertson was a stunning brunette with pale skin and steely grey eyes that somehow managed to be both warm and friendly and cold and distant at the same time. Shelby Ochoa on the other hand had beautiful mocha coloured skin, an infectious smile, warm brown eyes, and dark wildly curly hair.

While Mel had gone to get the food, and Court – who had brought the alcohol – was pouring us all a cocktail each, Shelby asked which films had been picked out.

"Well, we've got 'Greece', 'Beauty and the Beast', 'Mean Girls', 'Monty Python', 'The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants' or 'The Notebook'. So I suggest we put it to a vote?"

"Yeah, a vote is a good idea."

In the end, it was decided that we would watch 'The Notebook' and then the 'Monty Python' films.

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Tuesday 12th September 2006 – 10.30pm

By the time 10.30pm had rolled around, we'd watched 'The Notebook' – which left not one dry eye in the house – and the first 'Monty Python'; we had all had a mani/Pedi and at least three cocktails each, so with the alcohol fuelling the conversation the second 'Monty Python' played on in the background, all but forgotten and conversation turned to us and our lives before Dartmouth.

Courtney and Melanie had already taken their turn – they had grown up together in Oak Ridge Tennessee, their parents' had been best friends since high school so it was only natural that they became best friends. Court was born 27th Jan 1988 and Mel was born 1st Feb 1988. Both were only children. Both of their mothers' were stay-at-home mums, and their dad's owned an accountancy agency together.

Shelby's story was different – Born 12th June 1988, in Dexter Michigan. A mother working two jobs to keep their heads afloat; a 16 year old sister, Bonnie; and a good-for-nothing sperm donor (her words, not mine) who walked out when Bonnie was just 4 months and Shelby only 2.

My turn was nothing exciting – Born 13th September 1987, in Forks Washington. Parents divorced when I was three. Flighty mother and level-headed minor league baseball player step-father. Chief of Police father. Lived in Phoenix most of my life. Moved back to Forks for Junior year.

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Tuesday 12th September 2006 – a couple hours and too many drinks later

"So BellaBoo, left a boyfriend back home?" All at once, the three other pairs of eyes swivelled in my direction – and cue the blush.

"No, no boyfriend."

"Really? Huh? You're so pretty though. Not even one?" Despite it being a year since Ed-He left, I still didn't like to talk about it – not because it was painful but because I'd finally realised how unhealthy our relationship had been; it definitely wasn't my finest hour. And while I was certain that my new best friends would get the truth out of me at some point, for now I needed to get the spotlight away from me.

"What about the rest of you? Any boyfriend's? Ex-boyfriend's?"

OoOoOoOo

It didn't take long after that boyfriend's conversation for sleep to overcome the four of us and we all crashed on the living room floor.

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Saturday 16th September 2006 – 1pm

"Right, girls!" Courtney said, literally bursting through the door to her and Shelby's room – we were all there just hanging out together – and scaring the snot out of us. "We are all going out tonight. And no arguments Melanie!"

Melanie spluttered indignantly – Court carried on as if Mel had made no noise. "Josh Graham is throwing one of his parties at one of the clubs downtown – Eclipse, I believe – and I, being the genius that I am, scored us all invites. Do you know how hard it is for Junior's to get invites – let alone lowly freshman like us?"

"Woah, hold up. Josh Graham! Like the Josh Graham? Seriously, you got us invited to his party? How?" Me and Mel shared equally confused looks – apparently Shelby was far more informed than either of us were.

"Who's Josh Graham exactly?" Mel and I asked simultaniously

"OMG! How do guys not know who he is?!" Courtney demanded "He's just like the Hottest guy to ever attend NYU. Did I also mention that his dad –James Reid Graham - played for the Boston Red Sox, before a knee injury ended his career. He now coaches the Sox. Word is, Josh is also set to be the next big thing and that the Yankees and the Sox want to sign him after he finishes college."

"How did you manage to get us invites exactly Court?"

Courtney clears her throat and avoids looking directly at Shelby; "Well, er, I kinda, er, accidently-on-purpose bumped into Jared Lawrence – one of Josh's best friends – and we got to talking and he asked me out, I said maybe, so he suggested if I felt more comfortable he could get me and a couple friends invites to Josh's party, so I'd have you guys 'in case he turned out to be a creep' – his words, not mine. What?! Don't look at me with those judg-y little eyes. He's cute."

OoOoOoOo

Saturday 16th September 2006 – 6pm

We were all getting ready together in Court's room when Shelby pulled me aside – while all three girls were fast becoming my best friends, Shelby just got me; we had a lot more in common.

"BellaBoo, honey. Whats wrong? You don't seem as in to this as the rest of us. Even Mel hasn't put up much of a protest – and she hates parties."

"Shel, honestly it's been one year exactly since He left. One year of crying, nightmares, pain, heartache. I don't even know how I managed to get through Senior year. It's all pretty much a blur. But tonight a change is happening. And I'm ready to accept that change. I guess I just got a little lost in my head trying to finally put that part of my life behind me so we could have fun tonight. I know how much this means to Court." I'd finally decide to just tell the girls about Edward and the Cullens – well as much as I could. It was time to put those memories into Pandora's Box.

"Well ok, if you're sure. You don't have to rush anything – healing takes time."

"Thank you Shel, I know but I'll be fine. I promise."

OoOoOoOo

Saturday 16th September 2006 – 11.30pm

We'd been at the club just over an hour when Courtney finally caught sight of Jared; who, it turns out, was looking for her. Jared was the typical tall, dark and handsome type. Mysterious looking too. He had chin length dark brown hair, a long face and dark eyes.

We were all introduced and then he insisted that he buy us a round – how could we say no. After a little while of talking to Jared, Court gave Mel the subtle nod that led to her grabbing both mine and Shelby's arms and hauling us away from the bar declaring she wanted to dance.

After dancing for a while, I actually found myself having fun. We all danced together, which was awkward at times especially since we were literally in the middle of the crowded dance floor but we made it work and laughed when we couldn't. Shelby and Mel were in the middle of attempting to Robot and I was trying not to die of laughter when Court ran over, exclaiming that Jared's friends had joined them and they were interested in meeting us.

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Excited but anxious, we all left the dance floor and made our way over to the booth Court, Jared and two unknown males occupied.

As soon as we reached the booth and Shelby met the steely grey eyes and chiselled features of the blonde at the table, he stood and asked her to dance. If I had blinked, I would have missed the whole thing. [Later, Shelby would declare it as love at first sight – if I hadn't seen their meeting with my own eyes, I would not have believed it.] We later learned his name was David Hamilton. After the shock had worn off, Jared introduced us to Aiden Poole. Aiden had the look of a typical jock – dirty blonde hair, a smile that oozed charm, two cute dimples and warm grey eyes.

While we all got along quite well, at times it felt awkward – I felt like the fifth wheel. Aiden and Mel seemed to hit it off and Jared and Court were having the time of their life. I didn't have a clue to where Shelby and David had gone. And conversation seemed too forced; too conscious of involving me. So I was extremely glad when Aiden spotted the most gorgeous human guy I had ever seen and waved him over. He had blonde hair, a strong jaw and a slightly crooked nose –which only added to his beauty. He wore dark wash jeans, a black t-shirt and a leather jacket.

This must be Josh. Court had said earlier that evening that Josh would most probably be rocking the bad boy persona and be the only one to pull it off. She was right.

Aiden stood "Hey man, where you been? We were looking for you. Before we got distracted by these lovely ladies. Come sit, I'll introduce you."

"Ladies, this is Joshua Graham. Your host for tonight. Josh these are Bella, Melanie and Courtney. They had another friend – Shelby – but David whisked her off someplace before we could even sit."

"Well that's not typical David behaviour. Strange. He must really like this Shelby then."

"Yeah, definitely."

"Anyway, Ladies it's nice to meet you. Are you enjoying the party? I'm assuming, Jared, these are the girls you told me about earlier?"

"It's nice to meet you too" We chorused

"Yeah man they are. Great girls. Sit, stay. I'll get you a drink. Ladies, Aiden, a refill?" Jared didn't wait for an answer and strode off towards the bar.

Josh turned towards me while Aiden engaged Mel and Court in conversation. "Bella, right?"

OoOoOoOo

One Year Later - Sunday 16th September 2007 – 1pm

Over the past year, we had all become best friends. The girls were the best friends and sisters I could ever ask for; Jared, David and Aiden are like the brothers I never had. David and Shelby entered a relationship almost from the start and having been going strong. It took Jared a little longer to get up the courage of asking Court to be his girlfriend but he did – they too are extremely happy. Aiden and Mel have been in an on-off relationship – for now it's on I believe. And me and Josh are just really good friends although I can tell that Josh wants more – I want it too, I just haven't been ready; maybe now I will be.

Déjà vu hit as Court –and Mel - burst through the front door exclaiming that since today was one year exactly since the girls had met the boys, we were all going out to celebrate. To Eclipse – the place we met.

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A/N: Just a little plot bunny that hopped into my head while listening to Florence + the Machine's 'Dog Days Are Over' and wouldn't stop bouncing around till I wrote it down.

I know very little – miniscule in fact – about baseball, so I apologise. You'll also notice I completely made up Josh's Dad – but this is fanfiction, so creative license and all that :p LOL

Pictures of people I thought would be good as my OCs will be on my profile if you wish to have a peek.

Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Alix oxo

P.S. Virtual high fives to the first person to correctly identify the little TVD quote I slipped in there somewhere ;)