|A Secondhand Spark
Author: queenofgrey PM
Even the smallest of sparks can cause a flame. Bella's counting on it. Edward, well, he's just trying to get over his heartbreak. AH/OOC.Rated: Fiction M - English - Friendship/Romance - Edward & Bella - Chapters: 9 - Words: 21,070 - Reviews: 604 - Favs: 415 - Follows: 220 - Updated: 06-27-10 - Published: 05-26-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6001221
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
One day, two days, then three, and Edward is a no-show at school – again. It's his go-to move, apparently, when something goes wrong with us. I half wonder how he gets away with it, I half don't care, and I half want to ask my father to take out an APB on him, but I half think that's a bad idea because my father wants to take a rifle butt to his face, or something. I add up the halves and I know there are too many, too much, but my brain isn't working. Two – they add up to two – and all I can think of is two. How Edward and I made two parts of one steamy, glorious whole, until my flapping mouth ruined it. How I was his rebound girl, his number two, but it felt almost as good as number one, maybe. How his heart still probably belongs to Rose, even after all this time, and it's secondhand at best – a stupid, secondhand heart. How my own heart will split in two, if Emmett can't make things right. Two, two, two. And at two-forty-five in the afternoon on the fourth day, I see him, side-by-side with Emmett in the school parking lot, and there are two black eyes to be had. Emmett gives me a small smile, an apologetic-looking one, and Edward shuffles his feet. My heart races and my stomach churns, and I don't know what I'd do without those two, despite everything.
"Shit. I'm going to kill your ex-whatever-friend-boy," Rose bites out in a whisper when she sees them, and picks up her pace. She's beside Emmett, prodding gently at his left eye with her cashmere-covered hand, and he winces, but smiles. I stand on the outskirts of the three of them, feeling like I want to vomit and like I want to poke at Edward's eye, and I can't move my feet. "Edward, I swear to God," I hear Rose say, and she's pointing her fuzzy, soft finger into Edward's chest, and I definitely want to vomit. I love and hate them both, and I'm so torn, and to see her poke her finger into his chest, to see her touch him right over that damn heart of his, it's too much. Then she says, "You're a fucking asshole," and it takes me by surprise – and I don't really hate her as much. "How fucking dare you punch Emmett in the face."
Emmett laughs and slings his arm across my shoulders, tugs me protectively to his side. "Oh, this is going to be good," he whispers into my hair, and we sit back and watch Rose ream Edward – it's been a longtime coming, it seems.
"And, Bella, don't even get me started on what you did there. What the hell is wrong with you? Wah, I'm Edward, and Rose is a bitch and she broke my heart. Get over it. You've been toying with Bella for months. What, like your heart is the only one that matters? Um, no." She turns to me then and pouts dramatically, and her big blue eyes look apologetic. I want to hug her. And Edward, I dare to look at him, and his jaw is slack and he looks like he's been punched in more than just the eye – like he's taken a fist to the gut. And I still want to vomit, and punch him in his other eye – and then kiss him. Ugh. "Man the fuck up, already. You can't just go around holding her hand and kissing her and fucking fucking her – not a girl like Bella. She's too good for that, too good for you. I have half a mind to clone Emmett because she, like me, deserves someone that good. But, she doesn't feel that with him, that spark you're supposed to have – she feels it with you."
Again, she shoots me a look, an I'm-totally-betraying-you-but-it's-for-your-own-good look, and I can't remember why I ever hated her, because she's saying all the things I can't put into words, and me, once-nothing Bella Swan, I know what a best friend feels like – two, two of them, because Emmett's hand on my shoulder speaks volumes, as much as Rose's mouth. I reach up and pat Emmett's hand, and I notice the scuffs in his skin, the parts of it that cracked when he slammed it against Edward's body, and I don't know what I feel anymore. I drop my hand and I look to Edward and I feel a sharp pang of something in my chest, and I can see it in his eyes – he feels something, too. Though, with the way Rose's finger is penetrating his chest, I think he might only be feeling crippling fear.
"You're pretty silent, Edward," Emmett chimes as Rose fumes, and Edward looks down at Rose's finger and boldly pushes it away. He takes a step past her, a step towards me, and Emmett holds up a hand – a fist. "That's close enough."
"Em, it's okay." I step out from beneath his arm and I nod to him and Rose, a weak smile on my mouth. "Thanks—thank you so much, both of you, but I—I need to take it from here." They stalk off, Rose mumbling threats beneath Emmett's laughter, and I'm alone with Edward, completely alone on the outskirts of the parking lot, and it's like the first day I met him all over again – only, it's a lot worse. He shuffles his feet and I shuffle mine, and I think I look about as bad as he did that first day. He looks that bad, too. I don't know what to make of that. "Edward—" I start, but I'm at a loss. Then, the words are there – two. "Secondhand spark." Then, two more. "Secondhand heart."
"What?" he asks quietly, his gaze latching to mine, and I can't look away.
"I don't know why—how I could've expected so much—I get nothing from your secondhand heart. I just—I knew it was possible that I was your rebound, but I didn't—slow was good for us, but I didn't realize you were—you were just biding time."
"Is that—is that what you think this is?" he asks, and he nears me, and my damn feet are stuck again. Then, his hand wraps around mine and I feel it, that spark that Rose blabbered on about, and it makes me want to cry. I look up at him, then down at our hands, and I can't look at him again. "How can you say that's what this is?"
"Was," I mutter, correcting him, and the tears spill, cover our hands. "You don't—why don't you hold my hand anymore?" It's pathetic, I know, but I feel like it sums up everything I need to say, says everything Rose didn't. "Why don't—"
"You want me to hold your hand more? Is that what this is about?" Both of his hands fit around mine, then. I can feel the warmth of them, pulsing and heavy, and a bold reminder of what we felt like when we were new, back when I thought I stood a chance. "Have I not shown you affection?"
"Edward," I sigh, sniffling back tears, "you know what this is about – affection, love, they're different."
"Bella—Bella, look at me," he coaxes, his fingers twining with mine, and I can't. He unclasps one of his hands from mine and nudges my chin upward with his knuckles, and I can feel the breaks and cracks in his skin. I close my eyes and picture punches thrown, picture the blood that spilled from broken skin, and I try to picture why it happened, how, and then I look at him and I think I know the answer – I think I see love. I think I'm delusional, and grasping at straws, and I still think I want to vomit. "Bella, you—I wasn't expecting—"
"Why did you punch him?"
"He decked me and told me to stay away from you—that you deserved better than me." My mouth forms a little O and I want to look over my shoulder for Emmett, maybe throw a knuckle-splitting punch of my own, but I can't look away from Edward. It's there, it is. I swear it. "Don't be mad at him—I know why he did it. But I—I couldn't have that. I came here today and threw a punch of my own, and I—" His knuckles budge from beneath my chin and his hand cups the side of my face. I shamelessly lean into it, so badly wanting his touch, so thankful he wants to touch me like this – that we're not just rough, pressing hips and hot moans. "Bella—I've done everything wrong, backwards, and I've acted like it was okay—and I've held back, held my heart away from you. You call it secondhand, but I call it guarded."
"What are you so afraid of?" I whisper, and it's so low that I can barely hear it, myself. "Don't be afraid."
"I'm terrified," he sighs, and I can feel the heat of his words on my face; I shiver at the feeling. "You saw me after—you saw what I was like when I—"
"So, you break my heart—you break my heart to save yours." It isn't a question – I know it's what he's thinking – and, God, I feel like a giant fool for ever thinking I stood a chance. I know it and it feels like Hell. I scoff at him, at his words, through my tears, and I snort out a sad, pathetic laugh. "Well, that's great."
"No, Bella—don't—don't shut me out. I didn't say that."
"What—what, then?" My voice gets loud out of nowhere, and I'm running the gamut of emotions, and I wish I could let my fists do the talking like he could. Then, I use them; I pummel Edward's chest and shout, "Jesus, Edward, just spit it out, already. Break my heart, if you want to, but do it fast. Tell me that I don't stand a chance with—"
"I love you." The words still me, still my mouth and my ardent, thumping fists, and I stare up at him, at his still mouth, and I can't believe what's just come out of it. As if he knows, he says it again. "Bella, I love you, okay? I love you and I'm fucking terrified of losing you and—"
"I'm not her," I whisper, and, after a beat, he smiles, and it's so out of place in this serious, serious moment. "What?"
"Funny, how you used to think that was a bad thing." I smile, catching the meaning, and he smiles back. Then, the air between us seems to crackle with tense, hot energy, and we gravitate toward each other. "I'm going to kiss you, now," he says softly, and his breath fans over my lips. They twitch in anticipation. He stops, though, so close to skin on skin, and I bite my lip and close my eyes. "I'm going to kiss you, because I love you, and I want that to be clear, okay?" I nod slowly and I'm shaking, and my hands fit to his hips to keep myself upright. "I love you, and your lips are the only ones I want."
"I love you, too," I manage to choke out, and then his lips press to mine and it's so different than it's ever been before; it feels and tastes and sounds like love, and it isn't one-sided. I give into it, press myself wholly against him until I can feel his heart thumping in his chest, beating as hard as my own. They beat in time, rapid and full of want, full of love, and it feels perfect, right. It feels like what I've always known, and it feels like nothing to fear. I kiss his lips harder, kiss them full-on until I'm breathless, and so is he, and when we break apart, I whisper, "God."
"You feel that, right?" he whispers against my lips, and I nod, because, yeah, I do. He takes my hand and fits it between us – my heart on one side, his on the other – and he dips his head to kiss the tips of my fingers as he smiles. I smile back, and feel the two as they beat in time, two parts of one whole. "You may call it secondhand, but it's yours."
That's all, folks.
Thank you for reading, for reviewing, for rec'ing.
Also, a giant thank you to everyone who has held my hand, done pre-reading & editing, told me I'm a headcase, etc.
You know who you are, & you know I love you.