|Starry Eyed Inside
Author: Rochelle Allison PM
High School Fictional. No one sends Bella into a tailspin quite like Edward Cullen... but can she make him hers? The ups and downs and all arounds.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Bella & Edward - Chapters: 29 - Words: 141,194 - Reviews: 8,440 - Favs: 4,912 - Follows: 3,167 - Updated: 12-19-11 - Published: 08-24-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6268757
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
the one shot i wrote for the Fandom Gives Back.
All copyrights, trademarked items, or recognizable characters, plots, etc. mentioned herein belong to their respective owners. No copying or reproduction of this work is permitted without their express written authorization.
thanks to my friend and beta, nic.
Starry Eyed Inside (EPOV of chapters 14, 15 & 20)
Chapters 14 & 15
Waking up in my old bed after years in a narrow, dark dorm was a little surreal. My first thought, once my eyes adjusted and I remembered where I was: it's just the same but nothing's the same.
Morning sun slanted through the same blinds I'd had since I was a kid, showcasing the places where they'd cracked and been taped half-assed. Mom hadn't changed the room at all. Several of my old skim boards were propped in the corner, between my desk and closet, and I could still see the spot on the carpet where Emmett and I had once spilled bong water on it.
I glanced at the clock beside my bed; barely eight a.m. That was the problem with living such a regimental life – I was so used to being up at the butt crack of dawn that I couldn't even sleep in. Thankfully there was no jet lag to be had between New York and Florida, though. It felt good to just veg out for once, nothing to do and nowhere to be, like I was off the grid.
Florida. A warm, familiar feeling spread through my stomach. I was home, and it felt damn good. No classes or assignments, no uniform or insanely strict rules. Getting to the beach was a priority, as was getting Mom to make lasagna, with homemade cannoli for dessert. And to think I'd been apprehensive about coming back to Jensen Beach. Now that I was home, the past few weeks of goodbyes, packing and relocation stress seemed distant and fuzzy.
I took a piss and headed downstairs, running my hands over my hair as I went. I'd let it grow out from my buzz over the summer, but it was still nowhere near as long as it had once been. Probably never would be; that shit just wasn't me anymore. Catching my reflection in the kitchen window, I wondered who I was these days. Not a beach brat, but not a wannabe soldier, either.
Whatever…I'd figure it out. Stomach rumbling non-stop now, I opened the fridge, grinning when I saw the crapload of stuff inside. Mom had stocked up for my return, just like I knew she would: orange juice with extra pulp, cinnamon rolls, smoked turkey cold cuts… the fridge was packed.
"You're up early."
I turned to see my father, who was fiddling with the coffee maker. "Yeah, I know. It's habit."
"Well, that's good, because actually… I was hoping to get to the car dealership sooner than later. You do still want that car, don't you?"
I grinned so hard it hurt.
Emmett appraised me from his side of the dinner table. "Already?"
"No time like the present," I said, shrugging. I'd been home for two days and had landed a job with a construction company out in Stuart, thanks to a phoned in hook up from Uncle Alec. The pay was decent, and though I'd be doing really physical, labor intensive work, it was all good. I already had been doing that all summer in New York, with my uncle, and was pretty used to it.
Besides, I was strapped for cash. I'd decided to put college off for a year, and I couldn't live in my old room until then. I said as much.
"What's wrong with your old room?" Mom asked, buttering a roll. "I thought you would have missed it…"
My little sister, Katie, rolled her eyes. "Please, Mom. He probably wants his own place so he can bring girls home."
I snorted in to my juice. That hadn't really been my intention, but now that she mentioned it…
"Come stay with me," offered Emmett absently, texting someone under the table.
I squinted at him, wondering if he'd been following the conversation at all. "Dude. I'm working in Stuart. You live hours away."
"So take the apartment over the garage," Mom said. "I'll clean it out this week."
Now that was an idea. Nodding, I took a huge bite of meat. "That'll work."
"Good, then it's settled," she said, dabbing at her mouth with a napkin. "And don't talk with your mouth full."
Rolling my eyes, I swallowed my food. "Fine. And, you don't have to clean the apartment; I'll do it."
"Pfft. You have changed," said Katie, staring at me like I had two heads. "I remember when you wouldn't even make your own bed."
Yeah, that was probably true.
I ran in to Jasper Whitlock at Publix the next day while picking up a couple of things for my mother. He did a double take when he saw me, before coming over and clapping me on the back.
"I thought that was you, man!" he said, shaking his head. "Long time no see. When'd you get back?"
"Monday," I said, grinning.
"You getting in to anything later?"
"Naw, what's going on?"
"My place," he said, nodding at me. "Folks are out of town but it's nothing crazy, you know? Just something to do before we go back to school."
"You stayed?" I asked, surprised. Jasper had always seemed so…serious and academic beyond the swim team thing.
"No, I'm in Atlanta. I come back all the time, though. My family's here." He grinned slyly. "And Alice."
That got my attention. "You guys are still together? Huh." I guessed maybe I knew that. Facebook had proved pretty invaluable over the years, giving me glimpses in to the lives of people I'd once known and kicked it with. Having access to unlimited info wasn't always a good thing, though. It was way too easy to dwell on stuff I saw in other people's pictures.
I decided not to dwell on who Alice Pena was close to, because that situation was pointless.
"Yep." He nodded, glancing at his watch. "I have to pick her up, actually. So you'll stop by later?"
I shrugged, and then nodded, because hell yeah I'd go. Setting up the apartment had given me something to do, but now that I was situated I was getting antsy. No one really knew I was back, and a house party – or whatever it was — at Jasper's sounded like a good way to reintroduce myself to Jensen Beach's scene.
Jasper turned to go. "Nice. It's good to have you back."
"It's good to be back."
US1 was always such a pain in the ass at this time of day. I remembered that now.
The traffic slowed, and I silently cursed myself for having taken such a main road instead of a back one. Late August heat simmered between the cars, rippling up from the asphalt like a series of mirages. Thank God for my new car with its crazy-cold air conditioning, because besides the heat the humidity was intense, too. New York could be brutal during the dog days, especially in the city, where sometimes it felt like you could fry an egg on the sidewalk, but southern summers were just different. It would definitely take some getting used to again, which was kind of funny, seeing as I was a Florida native.
As I watched, storm clouds rolled in, further darkening the already overcast sky. Earlier, I'd considered going to the beach to see what was up. Good thing I didn't go.
Traffic had barely crawled a few feet down the road before yet another red light popped up. Sighing loudly, I tapped the breaks and reached down to mess with my iPod. Movement from my left caught my eye, and I looked reflexively.
Bella Swan singing. Like, really singing. I didn't remember her being in to that, but then I saw she was just goofing around, apparent by her laughing. She glanced at me and I tensed before remembering that she couldn't see me through the tint on my windows. The tints Em had encouraged me to get, as dark as I could go before getting ticketed by the cops.
I watched her for a minute, remembering all the things there were to remember about her. Her big brown eyes, her voice, how we'd talk on the phone 'til falling asleep. The way she felt in my hands, all responsive no matter what I did to her, and the sounds she made. I shifted in my seat, assaulted by memories of her not-so-innocent innocence, somehow sexier than the perfect girls I'd dated up north.
All of a sudden I wanted her to see me, needed to look into her eyes so that I could ascertain whether or not she'd missed me, too. Over time I'd gotten good at blocking out the things that hurt, first with chemicals I could smoke or ingest, later on with distractions: schoolwork, running cross country, other girls. But now I was back with nothing to do but think and remember, letting myself truly feel, and to my dismay, seeing Bella happy with some douche in an ancient, rusted out beater hurt.
Before I could chicken out, I pressed the button and rolled down my window, letting fate decide whether or not we'd make eye contact.
It took one second for her to see me, and another for me to know her feelings were probably just like mine.
Emmett's old school playlist ended, leaving the room still and quiet. It was the first time we'd really hung out like that since back in the day; some of the songs had made me feel near giddy with remembrance, but others pulled at me in different ways. Feelings of longing messed with my head and I quickly pushed them back, not in the mood for that kind of introspection.
"Just like old times," Emmett said with a sigh, patting his stomach. Rose had brought by brownies, and he was on his fifth.
I couldn't help but smile. "Pretty much."
"You going to Whitlock's tonight?"
I nodded, scrolling endlessly through the songs on my iPod, not sure what I was in the mood to listen to now. "You?"
"Of course," he said. "What else is there to do around here? Swear to God living in Miami makes this place feel even duller." He grinned at me, shrugging. "But anyway, Rose'll be there. Saves me a trip."
"Can't believe you guys are still together," I said. "I thought for sure your relationship had a shelf life of maybe a year, tops."
A pillow came flying my way, barely missing me as I dodged it. "I love her, dude."
I shook my head, remembering a time not all that long ago when my older brother had been so intent on being a free agent.
"Don't worry, we'll find you a girl," Emmett continued.
I sent the pillow back to him and sat down. "That's okay, thanks."
"Naw, man, I hate to see you..."
"See me what?" I laughed. "I broke up with Tia, not the other way around. And that was months ago. Months. I'm fine."
My brother made a face. He'd never been too crazy about Tia, thought she was high maintenance and bitchy. Kind of funny, seeing who his woman was. Didn't matter, though, because for a while Tia just…got me. I'd never deluded myself in to thinking she was marriage material or anything, but I'd cared for her. A lot. Until I didn't. I never meant to hurt her, but I also never meant to stay in New York. We wanted completely different things, and that included the intentions for our relationship. In the end, the notion I'd worked so hard to repress for years finally reared its head: I'd never really gotten over Bella.
The irony that the first and only girl to actually hook me was the only one I'd been forced to leave was not lost on me.
Emmett looked like he wanted to say something. "Don't wanna hear it, Em."
He stayed quiet, prompting me to look over at him in suspicion, because when had he ever shut his trap when I'd asked him to? "What?"
"You see Bella yet?" he asked, totally catching me off guard. Of course he'd asked me that. Of course. Emmett knew me better than I knew myself, half the time.
"Not really," I said. "I mean, I saw her on US1 with that dork..."
I shrugged, not knowing the guy's name and not caring, and continued puttering around my room, separating stuff to bring to the apartment above the garage.
Emmett smacked his thigh and laughed, startling me from my thoughts. "I knew it!"
"Knew what?" I asked, tossing a pile of underwear and socks in to a bag.
"You still want Bella Swan, dude," he crowed. "It's all over your face."
Grimacing, I went to my closet and starting yanking clothes off the hangers. I wanted to deny what he was saying, but no. I did still want Bella, and it made me crazy. It wasn't like I'd pined away for her the whole time I was gone, but I'd thought about her. Too much to have a real, in-depth relationship with anybody else, anyway.
I'd known – through the grapevine and also Facebook – that she was in a long term relationship, and while that definitely sucked, it hadn't meant much to me when I was still in New York. Once it seemed like things were serious for her, I'd kind of just… stopped looking. Time went on, and so had she.
When I got back to Jensen Beach, I was fine by myself, and truthfully, not in the mood to deal with any girl. After all, I'd just ended an on again/off again deal with someone at the start of summer.
But then our paths had crossed on the road, though briefly, and instead of the friendly, innocuous nostalgia I'd been hoping for, I felt sick, like I wanted to rip her out of the car she was in and put her in mine. Crazy. I'd never been the possessive type, not because I didn't care, but because I'd never had to be. It made me feel out of control and I hated it.
"Bro," chuckled Emmett, coming to stand beside me.
"Shut up," I said, turning to stuff the clothes pile in to a garbage bag.
"You know she's been with him for like years."
Years. Yeah, he was definitely tapping that. The thought made me rage, which was hypocritial, but whatever.
"Hey," Em said.
"What?" I said, fed up. "I know, all right? Good for her. I didn't expect her to stay by herself…at least he's around."
"Actually, he's in Miami, for college. I saw him once, it was so weird..."
I sighed, finally looking at him. "Why are you telling me this? You do realize there are other chicks in Jensen Beach, right?"
"Yeah I know that," he said, smacking my back hard enough for it to sting. "Do you?"
All afternoon I battled with myself, wondering if it would be too forward to show up at a place where I knew she'd be with her boyfriend. I knew who he was; I'd seen pictures of them together online, at the beach and going to prom, doing all the crap I could never do with her because I'd been too much of a dipshit back in the day.
In the end, though, I went. Jasper had invited me, and a lot of my friends were sure to be around. Life had gone on without me, but it didn't have to continue being that way.
There weren't too many places to park when I pulled up to Jasper's house. A light mist fell, so damp and fine it was hard to tell if it was raining or the humidity had taken over. I saw Jake's car as I walked up the sidewalk, and I had to smile, wondering what he was up to, if he was with anyone. We'd stayed in contact better than I'd thought we would. He knew I was back, but we hadn't made plans yet, so I looked forward to seeing him.
Someone walked out the front door, holding it open when they saw me so I could slip in. Alice and Jasper were lingering just inside the foyer, talking a couple of girls I didn't know. He grinned when he saw me, but she froze in mid-sentence.
"Edward?" she said.
Surprised and a little nervous from her reaction, I nodded. "What's up, Alice?"
"Ha," she said, giving me a quick, but firm, hug. "Jas said you might come. Wow. It's been awhile."
"Tell me about it."
"Beer in the kitchen, bro," Jasper said, pulling Alice toward the stairs.
I made my way further in to the house. More and more people recognized me, and it felt good to start reconnecting. Wondering where Jake was, and if Bella was coming, I grabbed a beer from the cooler in the kitchen.
And then there she was, looking at me with those big, brown eyes.
"When did you get back?" someone asked, and I turned to answer them. When I glanced back, though, Bella was gone. I wrapped up the conversation as politely as possible and wended my way through the light crowd, searching. When the back of her head came in to view, I made a beeline for her, tripping out because with a few miniscule glances this girl had me wound up and anxious as hell.
Her boyfriend was nowhere to be seen, so I sat down beside her, anticipating the moment I'd hear her voice again. Two years. It had been two long years. She looked up, her cheeks going pink right away. Her nervousness was palpable, and I couldn't tell if that made me feel better or worse. Maybe both: better because it meant I still affected her, worse because that shit was complicated.
"You avoiding me, Bella?" I asked, grinning down at her. Maybe if I pretended it was all good, it would be.
She smiled right back, and damn if it wasn't beautiful. Bella. A little older; her face had lost just a bit of its softness. "Not really. How've you been?"
"How long have you been back?" She was fidgeting, and the edge in her voice caught me off guard.
"A couple days," I said.
At that, she frowned, her mouth opening like she was going to speak. Not knowing what else to say, I took a sip of beer and hoped the Douche would leave us alone a little while longer. Maybe it had been a while, but I could still read her – to an extent – and she had things she needed to say. I know I did.
No such luck, though, because her boy reappeared with a beer for her. There were no kisses or hugs or even affectionate words, just a comfortable closeness, and that was almost worse: their shared demeanor spoke of an intimacy so established they could just be. Like Emmett and Rose, or like…my parents.
Heart pounding, I sat there for a second, feeling like a complete idiot, before getting up. Maybe I'd call Jake or something, but I couldn't stay there.
Because I didn't know if she loved that guy, but it was obvious that he loved her.
I threw myself in to work. Long, intensely hard days in the stifling, late summer heat using every muscle I had, meant I was wrung out by the time I got home. Most the time, I was too tired to do much else but shower and eat before falling asleep.
It freaked my mom out a little, to see me going so hard. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I'd been like this for most of my time in military school, too. After my very wild, very debauched first half of a junior year, keeping busy had been the best way to avoid the temptation to constantly smoke and party. Nowadays, I was over all that… but I wasn't over Bella.
Even though I didn't see her, being in such close physical proximity made it all come rushing back. Memories floated around like ghosts, lurking around every corner: beaches where we'd gone swimming and parking lots where we'd made out or smoked. God, I'd been careless back then. It was a wonder I'd never been caught and arrested. I knew now that was exactly what my mother had been protecting me from.
I'd made amends with my parents a long time ago, when it became apparent that they really were trying to save me from myself. It took time, and a lot of refereeing from Emmett and even Katie, but eventually we'd worked it out. I couldn't bring myself to come home for Christmases or summer, knowing it would be too hard to have to go back afterwards, so my family always came to me. It ended up being better anyway, because we spent those holidays with family in Chicago and New York, with people we hadn't seen in years. Now that I was home, though, I couldn't wait to spend Christmas in Jensen Beach.
It was another quiet night and Jake was over, goofing around and trying to convince me to go out.
He still smoked, but he had the decency not to do it around me. As far as I knew he didn't do it much anymore, but I could tell when he was lifted. Like now, obviously. He had the munchies and was tearing through my kitchen while he accused me of being a hermit.
"I don't know," I said, yawning. "I had a long day…"
"Every day's a long day, Edward," he almost whined. "Is this really why you came back? To work, eat and sleep? You coulda done that in New York."
Shrugging, I leaned against the wall. "There's nothing to do here."
"Oh, right," he said, smirking. "You're used to raves and clubs and crazy shit. I forgot."
"Shut up," I laughed. I didn't bother reminding him that we had plenty of "crazy shit" down in Miami and West Palm, and that if I wanted, I could go any time. In fact I'd already been invited a couple of times by this girl at work. She was cute, but I didn't want to give her the wrong idea, so I'd passed.
Jake washed his hands in the sink. "Let's go to the mall. Your brother's meeting his girl there. It'll be like old times."
"Fine." The mall was close; I could come right back home if I wanted to. Maybe getting out of the house would be a good thing. I didn't have work the next day, anyway. And, yeah. A small part of me knew that where Rose was, Bella was. I knew from Emmett her boy was gone again, that he was always gone.
We weren't at the mall food court for more than ten minutes when the girls arrived. Emmett immediately started pawing at Rose and Jake got up to say hi to everyone, but all I wanted was to give Bella a long overdue hug. It was the first time I'd really seen her without Garrett.
"Hey, Edward," she said, giving me a little wave.
Smiling, I stood up. "Hey, Bella." I grabbed her and pulled her close, just for a second. The girl was so warm, and she still smelled really good. She seemed a little skittish, but maybe that was to be expected. We had history, and if she felt even some of what I felt, it probably wasn't over.
Our friends were headed over to the movie theater, which sucked because then I couldn't talk to Bella. But she looked like she didn't want to go with them either, and then it was just us, sitting at a table in the middle of the food court. It was awkward. I didn't want to stare at her like a creeper, but it was hard not to. I'd always thought she was pretty, but now there was this depth to her that hadn't been there before. She knew who she was.
And she didn't need me… but she wanted me.
Maybe she was a little older and lot more confident, but she had the same tells that she'd always had. It was in the way she kept sneaking glances at me, and how she made sure not to look at me if I was looking at her. And the blushing. God, the blushing.
My stomach knotted up. Now or never. "Do you wanna… sit in my car?"
Her eyes flashed to me. "For what?"
She stared at me, probably wondering what my angle was. I couldn't help it; I laughed a little. "What? It's loud in here."
She bit my lip and smiled, a total Bella move. "I know."
"I'm not…" I leaned closer, and she did too. I liked her freckles."I know it's not like that anymore. Relax. I thought you wanted to talk."
"Then… relax. I'm not going to seduce you in the mall parking lot," I said.
She rolled her eyes and snorted. "Oh, like that's so beyond you. You did try to seduce me in the mall movie theater."
That cracked me up, because she was right. "Yeah… I guess I did."
Her eyes shone in amusement, but she was blushing, and I wondered if she was thinking dirty thoughts, remembering the things I done to her once. Remembering how I touched her in the theater, my hands up her skirt…
I stood up, needing to be alone with her. The bright ass food court wasn't cutting it."Well… let's go then."
The day after Thanksgiving, I headed over to Bella's with an armload of leftovers. I'd kind of wanted to head over there anyway, but when my mother had suggested I share some of her garlic mashed potatoes and rhubarb pie, it gave me the perfect excuse to go.
Bella's grandparents were still in town, so I wasn't sure if they'd be busy, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to stop by. No one could refuse food, right?
As I approached her door, I felt like a loser for being nervous. Things had changed since that day on the boat, since the night at Rose's, and since she'd left me that letter. I knew now that she felt the same way, and yet, she still had the upper hand. Totally. She was just a girl, but I wanted her to be my girl. Like before, but more. I wouldn't let go of her this time, but there was only so much I could control. In the end, it was all up to her.
Bella opened the door, shocked as hell to see me before accepting the food and introducing me to her grandmother. Her mom was there too, standing back, observing. I wondered how much she knew of what had happened with me, and between Bella and me specifically. But then she said hello, and thanked me for the food, and the moment passed without too much weirdness.
Outside again, I teased Bella about something her grandmother had said. "You were talking about me, huh?"
She closed the door behind us and fidgeted."She… was just asking. About boys. You know."
I shoved my hands in to my pockets. "What did you tell her?"
She hugged herself, yawning, going for nonchalance but I was having none of it. Bella was no actress. "That you were handsome."
"Shut up," she said, pretending to be annoyed.
I wanted to hug her, so I did. And she wanted me to. I saw it in the way she looked at me, in the words she didn't say. Things were changing between us, evolving. She felt amazing this close to me, and while it wasn't close enough, it was good for now.
I'd missed this.
"Did you just come by to bring me potatoes?" she asked, her voice muffled by my jacket, teasing me. Always teasing me lately. She knew she could. It was like she smelled weakness, and got her sweet-sharp little jabs in whenever she could. I liked her this way…it reminded me of old times and meant she'd loosened up around me.
"They're not just for you… and there's rhubarb pie in there, too."
"Never had that."
"It's good," I said, pushing my face in to her hair.
"You didn't answer my question," she accused, pinching me.
I held her away, so I could see her face. "Let's go out. Just us."
"No. Tomorrow. The next day. Next Friday, I don't know…"
"What did you have in mind?"
I hugged her again, sniffing her hair. "Dinner."
"Where?" she asked in this breathy voice. The mood between us was shifting again, like by going on an actual date we were really agreeing to something more.
"Is there someplace you wanna go?" I asked, wanting to know. I had an idea, but if there was someplace she preferred…
She shook her head. "I trust you."
As we finished making plans, I realized that out of all the things we'd been through, we'd never actually been on a date. I'd never taken her out on one. I kissed her cheek, slowly, savoring her soft skin and wishing I could do more. Maybe later, if she let me. Her eyes fluttered open as I backed away, and in them I saw the same thing I'd seen years before.
More than affection…maybe love.
When I picked her up the night evening, right around seven, I couldn't help but touch her hair. It was so wavy that it almost curled. I liked it that way; it reminded me of the way she'd looked after fooling around back in the day. I saw myself tangling my fingers and face in it and had to pull back, not wanting to rush it.
She was fresh-faced and wind-swept, a real beach girl.
The flirting between was getting intense though, both on our way to Caps Island Grille and while we ate. It crackled between us, like a power line tossed down by storms, bright, electric and dangerous. Back and forth, back and forth, until she admitted that she could no longer stay away from me. A funny feeling squeezed my heart. We were standing on a precipice now, steps from the point of no return.
I wanted her, in more ways than one, but I settled for holding her hand.
On the way home, I drove aimlessly, finally parking at the beach, not wanting the night to end.
"When did you realize I liked you?" she asked suddenly. "Before, I mean."
I cut the lights, thinking carefully before responding. "That day at the beach."
The memory was clear as day. "We were… driving by in Tyler's brother's truck. You guys were sitting on the sand."
"By the Intracoastal…" She made a face, her features lit by the glow of the dashboard. "Well that's embarrassing. I was falling all over myself for you after that and you totally already knew."
"Yeah, well, it probably wouldn't have mattered but then Jake started liking you so, I knew who you were."
"Did you really like me? When we were together? Or was it more when you left?"
Was she crazy? She was the only girl I'd liked. "Are you serious right now?"
She shrugged, nodding.
"Yeah, I liked you."
"Why were you so all over the place about it?"
Ouch. Good question. "I don't know Bella; I was an idiot. Why does anyone do anything? We liked each other… I didn't see the point of labeling it. And you didn't seem to care, if I remember correctly."
"Yeah, I lied about that."
I laughed, because that shit was so…"Typical."
"Typical what?" she asked.
"I know. I'd never put up with that nowadays," she said.
I was glad to hear; I didn't want anybody treating her like that. "I'd never do that to you nowadays," I promised her, squeezing her hand.
"So you acknowledge it was lame."
She had me. I shrugged. "I acknowledge that I was too stupid to know what I had until I didn't have it."
She looked away, smiling.
"I remember when I knew I liked you," I said.
"The day after I kissed you."
"The day after?" Bella eyed me suspiciously. "That's a little backward, isn't it?"
"Yeah. But I liked a few girls around that time… I hardly knew you. I thought you were really cute, but anyway, the next day I kept thinking about kissing you, and how sweet your mouth was. Like, you didn't shove your tongue down my throat. You were all shy about it. That's how I knew."
"That was my first kiss," she said.
Didn't see that one coming. "Shit."
My nerves were all over the place now, and I hoped desperately that it was a nice memory for her. "Was it… good for you?"
"It was perfect. I thought about it for days. I still think about it."
Oh, man. Her mouth was just begging to be kissed. And I wanted to kiss her. Have her, not for a quick hook up in the dark, but to feel her from the inside out. Is this what it felt like? Is this where we would've ended up before had I not left?
"I miss you," she whispered.
Almost shaking with need, I reached over and stroked my fingers along the back of her neck, marveling at the softness of her. My heart began pounding in earnest, and I knew that if we didn't leave now, I was going to straight up climb over the gearshift and do things we'd regret later. There was a chance she'd let me, I knew that, but maybe not and this was too important to mess up. It was too new for me to be sure; just because Bella seemed like she was reciprocating, it didn't mean she actually wanted to get physical right the hell now. Either way, she was worth it. I could wait.
"I should take you home," I told her, withdrawing my hand so I could reverse back on to the road.
"Why?" she asked, her voice warm and low.
I rested my hand on her knee. "Because."
"Because you're impossible to read. I find it frustrating, and at the same time… I don't mind waiting for you."
We stopped at a red light.
I heard her seatbelt unbuckle and then she was leaning over, turning my face toward hers for a series of little kisses, each one longer than the last. I couldn't believe she'd made the first move like that. We were on the same page, after all.
The light turned green, and cars started moving around us. Bella sat back, fastening her seatbelt again as I went forward, but her eyes were on me. The rest of the ride was silent, weighted by those kisses.
"What are you doing tomorrow?" I asked eventually, once I'd turned down her street.
"I don't know yet. What are you doing?"
"No plans." I shut off the engine and got out so that I could walk her to the door.
I wanted to give her a proper good night kiss, but I wavered, choosing instead to hold her tight, pressing her body to mine.
"Let me see you tomorrow," I said, so quietly I didn't think she'd hear.
She nodded and held me tighter. Seconds passed. And then I had to. I had to try.
"Let me kiss you," I whispered, tired of waiting, unable to resist.
She lifted her face and I kissed her right on her mouth, slipping my tongue inside. My body reacted instantly to her, but I didn't pull away. After having thought about this for so long, kissing Bella was bliss. Her kiss was sweet and sexy. I tried not to think about who'd taught her to kiss like that.
"I love kissing you," she breathed, once we'd stopped.
I leaned down and kissed the spot between her ear and neck, a place I'd learned was especially sensitive, and was rewarded by a breathy moan and a shudder.
"I love kissing you, too," I said, tucking her hair behind her ear.
What an understatement. I loved her.
Kissing was just icing on the cake.
Passion Play - William Fitzsimmons
It's Not True - William Fitzsimmons