Author: Lady Gwynedd PM
Bella and Edward meet in 1975 and there is an instant and insistent connection but a serious relationship seems impossible. Will Bella follow her head or her heart?Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Friendship - Bella & Edward - Words: 4,791 - Reviews: 132 - Favs: 60 - Follows: 34 - Published: 01-08-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7723925
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Age of Edward Contest
Young Adult Entry
Disclaimer: I simply borrowed the names Edward, Bella, Alice, Jasper, and Jake from SM. The rest is mine, both literally and figuratively.
The smell of wood smoke drifted across the sun drenched campus lawn, the crisp autumn air invigorating all who were out to enjoy it. Oblivious to this, Bella strode along the sidewalk, dodging bicyclists and slower pedestrians, her arms full of books and notebooks, and her purse slung over her shoulder. She walked up the hill toward the women's dorm where she lived, the wide wales of her corduroy hip-huggers making an irritating zipping sound with each step she made. She swore she wouldn't wear them again, to hell that Alice said they were the hottest fashion.
She skirted the huge oak and maple trees that thickly scattered the campus lawn. Usually appreciative of the University's beauty, today she failed to notice the trees' brilliant golden and scarlet leaves as they were slowly being shed in preparation for the coming winter. The arches and towers of the limestone buildings that composed the school lent a gothic feel to the constant undercurrent of excitement that was forever present on any college campus.
Noisy pants aside, excitement stirred in Bella as well. It was Friday, which was wonderful in itself, but it was also Halloween. She and her roommate, Alice, were invited to a costume party. She was disappointed in her disguise, though. She had wanted to go as "Mother Nature," like in the margarine commercial, and had practiced the catch-phrase, "it's not nice to fool Mother Nature," but the closest thing she could put together made her look more like a hooker, so that's what she chose to go as by default. It consisted of a black leotard and tights, an orange table cloth tied around her waist to resemble a skirt with a split up the side, and all the jewelry and make up she and Alice owned together.
Alice, for some reason, was going at Mae West. This was surprising as she didn't resemble the mammarily gifted star in the least, having a chest as flat as a board; however, Alice was enthused with her role and wandered about the dorm floor repeating in a suggestive nasal voice, "Why don't ya come up and see me sometime?" or "Is that a pickle in your pocket or are ya just glad to see me?" and then bursting into peals of laughter. Since the folks hearing this were all girls, they sort of gave her a blank look but humored her just the same.
Bella rushed into their shared room to find Alice completely gowned and ready to Mae the heck out of them at the party. In her Mae voice she said, "Open hours start in fifteen. You'd better get ready, schweetheart. Jasper will be up as soon as they let him."
Their school had a very liberal visitation policy. Men and women could visit each other's dorms after six o'clock on Friday nights but they had to be out by midnight. They could return after lunch on Saturday and visit until one a.m. Sunday morning, then lather, rinse, repeat later that day but had to be out at six p.m. If someone was caught where they weren't supposed to be it could cost them their education. There were to be no overnight sleepovers. The school was very strict about it.
Scrambling into her costume, Bella hurriedly layered on her makeup, putting on twice as much as usual. She was brushing her waist length brown hair when Jasper arrived. Seeing her in her hooker garb and being from the big city, he suggested, "You don't have on enough make up. The hookers I've seen wear twice as much as that."
Laughing, she got out her makeup box again and slathered on more. Watching her critically, Jasper said, "More blush…yes. Now you look like a hooker. I'd buy your services anyway."
Rolling her eyes, Bella laughed and shook her head as Alice threw a pillow at Jasper's head.
"What are you supposed to be, Jasper?" Bella asked.
Jasper was wearing a flowered shirt, hip-hugger bell bottoms, a large Panama hat, and sunglasses.
Fingering his polyester, Jasper smiled sheepishly. "I'm a pimp. Seen plenty of those in the city, too."
"Have you noticed how all of our costumes revolve around sex? I guess that says something Freudian, doesn't it?" Bella commented, remembering something her Psych professor had said. It seemed like that college education was paying off! Her parents would be so proud…maybe.
Little did she realize it though, her destiny awaited her that Halloween night and sex had something to do with it!
Grabbing her shoulder bag that she'd made out of an old pair of jeans, Bella led Alice and Jasper out of the room and down to Jasper's car. The costumed trio got some strange looks from people as they passed but most seemed to accept their outlandish appearance as a sign of the season, the age, or their insanity. All this was normal on a college campus in 1975, evidently.
After a short drive, they arrived at the apartment where the party was being held and found they were one of the first to arrive. Greeting Count Dracula and his wife who were their hosts for the evening, the girl made her way to the make shift bar, looking for her favorite beverage, rum and coca cola, heavy on the coke—very heavy on the coke as she really didn't have much of a head for drinking. Other guests started to arrive in earnest by then.
Smiling and chatting with her friends, Bella felt moderately successful since she had to explain to only about half of the people there exactly what she was dressed as that night. The rest seemed to know she was a "lady of the evening." One person, however, thought she was a Mary Kay distributor due to all the makeup. Puzzled, she didn't know that Mary Kay ladies wore table cloths tied around their waists, but then maybe hookers didn't either.
Sitting in a rocking chair across from the front door, she was one of the first to hear the doorbell ring. Count Dracula peeked through the door's peephole and laughed.
Turning to the crowd, he shouted, "Get a load of this!" He threw the door open and there stood a tall fellow in a trench coat, hiking boots, train engineer hat, navigator glasses and nothing else. He flashed them all.
Amid the screams and shouts of laughter, the party as a whole did a double take and noticed the fellow was actually wearing something under his coat: very tight flesh colored shorts. He looked like the bottom half of a Ken doll under his mac.
Bella was in complete admiration of his wit, humor, AND modesty. Maybe it was more sense than modesty, though. He could have been arrested for indecent exposure, otherwise. She remembered meeting him a few weeks back. He was Jasper's roommate, Edward. An engineering student. Very witty. Very interesting. Very cute. She smiled, liking him better and better. She was going to have to get to know him. Yes, indeed she was.
After the tumult died down, she rose from the rocker and wandered over to where he stood. "Hey, do you remember me? I met you at the student union last week. I'm Alice's roommate."
Smiling, he nodded. "Yes, of course! It's good to see you again."
She grinned and felt a blush rise on her cheeks. She was very pleased to know he remembered her. They set off together for the makeshift bar, speaking of little things but very happy to pursue the acquaintance.
He was charming, tall, on the thin side and about twenty-one years old with longish, thick brown hair. He had fair skin and the greenest eyes Bella had ever seen. He started regaling her with stories about his major: sanitary engineering. She was flummoxed as to why anyone would wish to study sewage but his self-deprecating humor was infectious. She was having a wonderful time.
After a few hours, someone suggested that they all go out to a local dance club. There was a holiday costume contest being held and, of course one of the party goers in their gloriously creative costumes would win. So, off they trooped. She found herself being ushered into the young man's car, exchanging more information about themselves. She discovered that he came from Chicago, a city she had abhorred in the past but listening to his stories about it, she began to see the city in a different light. It seemed that his city was as fascinating as he was.
They arrived at the dance club and met other friends there. Staying together, they danced, talked and laughed. He would occasionally flash a person here and there to her amusement. The night flew by and soon the club turned up the lights, indicating it was time to close. Loath to end the evening, she turned to her companion and said, "Do you like coffee?"
Nodding, and holding out his arm to escort her, they soon found themselves at Carol Lee's Doughnut Shop, the only place around that was open all night. They talked and talked and talked about everything: school, family, home, pets, favorite foods, and philosophy. The hours flew by and they must have drunk gallons of coffee. Finally, looking outside, Bella could see the sun was up and the little university town was coming to life. Looking down at her outfit, and then at his, she gasped.
"Oh, my! I've got to get back to the dorm!"
"The only way to do this gracefully, is to simply walk in there like there is absolutely nothing strange." He smiled and took her hand.
As nonchalantly as possible, they strolled arm in arm across the campus to her dorm. Still dressed their holiday costumes, a Hooker and a Flasher, they ignored the strange looks they got from the people they passed. Wearing garb ON Halloween was explainable but there was only one explanation for wearing it on the morning after.
Evidently, Ms Hooker and Mr. Flasher hooked up.
The phone rang, waking Bella from a sound sleep. "Hello?" She had the uncanny ability to answer a phone barely awake and sound as if she had been up for hours. He wasn't fooled.
"Did I wake you?"
"Oh, no…nope…no," she lied. Why did she always lie about that? She had no idea.
"How are you?" she asked, rolling over on her back, a silly grin upon her face. "I had a wonderful time last night. I couldn't believe how fast it went by. Alice really gave me a hard time when I got back to the room. She thought we had been up to no good."
Edward laughed and agreed that it didn't look very well. "Maybe I should make an honest woman out of you."
Blushing deeply, her heart fluttered. "Oh, let them wonder. I don't care what anyone thinks."
Both chuckling now, they moved on to other, less intense topics, and picked up where they left off earlier that morning. It was so easy to talk to him, Bella thought. It was like she had met her other half, her soul mate. However, the term "soul mate" made her shudder. She really didn't believe in them—but she couldn't think of a better term. They just clicked, or at least she thought they did.
After an hour of talking, he asked, "Why are we using the phone when we could be face to face?"
"I don't know." She couldn't help but to grin.
So, they made arrangements to meet and after hanging up, Bella bounded out of bed and dashed for the floor's community shower down the hall. You soon lost any modesty you may have had when you lived in a dorm. Gang showers weren't accomodating for the shy. When she returned to her room, she dressed quickly but when she was done, she paused and studied herself critically in the mirror. She wasn't beautiful. She wasn't ugly. She was of average height, weight and had a fair complexion with a spray of freckles across her nose. Her thick, dark hair hung down her back and it was her one vanity. She had brown eyes and her features were "regular." Shaking her head at herself as she put the finishing touches on her makeup, she resolved not to worry about not being model material. It seemed Edward liked her well enough just as she was. She ran downstairs to meet him in the lobby.
From that moment on, they spent just about every waking moment together outside of classes. They talked practically nonstop but so far, they had nothing more than a deepening platonic friendship. They didn't consider themselves more. Yes, they spent inordinate amounts of time together. Yes, they planned their days around each other. Yes, they were happiest when they were together but, no, there were no plans to be more than "friends."
She already had a boyfriend. She was "in love" with someone else.
She was wearing a heavy woolen overcoat. It was so heavy, she could hardly move. She struggled against the weight of it as she trudged up the hill. The further she walked, the heavier her burden felt. The enveloping folds clung to her legs and the collar was high around her throat and cut off her breath. The thick fabric blanketed her chest and back in a tightening embrace. She fumbled with the buttons on the coat but couldn't shed her ever increasing albatross. She was stifling. Panicking, she tore at the choking garment, straining to pull it off. It only clung more tightly. She was suffocating.
She bolted upright in her tumbled bed, heart racing as the last dregs of the nightmare seeped away. Alice roused enough to ask her if she was all right but quickly went back to sleep after Bella's embarrassed explanation. Too disturbed to return to her slumbers, she dressed, grabbed her coat and purse, and went out into the early winter morning. It was almost six a.m. Carol Lee's was the only place open and she had a great need for some intensive caffeine therapy.
She stumbled her way to the doughnut shop and ordered a large cup of coffee, then wandered among the tables and the other early morning coffee addicts. She had been sleeping badly lately, her normally restful nights were now filled with anxious dreams. She remembered her mother saying that nightmares were the product of a guilty conscience or an unsettled stomach. Even now she rolled her eyes at that but truly, she knew what was wrong. This time Momma was right. It wasn't her diet. She had a guilty conscience. She'd broken a promise—a promise to herself.
Her boyfriend, Jacob, graduated the year before and now lived a few hours away. They spoke often on the phone, saw each other when they could, and she had always thought he was the one. She knew she loved him. After all, he loved her, didn't he? They never made a permanent commitment but, of course, she was loyal and faithful and sad. Instead of feeling happy when she thought of him lately, she felt anxious. This wasn't right. Was she so fickle that the adage, "out of sight, out of mind," described her?
Still thinking about her worries, she didn't notice that she had sat down at the same table she had shared with Edward all those weeks ago on Halloween. There was something about her time with him that felt magical. Even thinking of the last time they were together, she smiled. She had been up front at the beginning with him about her absent love. He acknowledged that fact about her as he had everything else, with non-judgmental acceptance. She was sure that was the reason their relationship had never gone beyond friendliness. He knew that her heart was committed elsewhere, so he didn't press.
Lifting her coffee cup, she almost choked when she heard a familiar soft voice right behind her. "It's early for you, isn't it?"
Turning, there was Edward with a big smile on his face, a coffee in one hand and a plate of crullers in the other. "Could I join you for breakfast?"
Smiling in delight and taking careful note of how her heart leaped to see him, she responded, "Yes, of course."
"What are you doing up this early?" he asked, looking at her shadowed eyes and unmade face, sensing that something wasn't right.
Grimacing, she looked down into her coffee and sighed. "I couldn't sleep."
"You know, too much coffee usually has something to do with restless nights," he said and reached out and brushed away a strand of her hair that had fallen across her face. Up until now, it was the most intimate gesture he'd ever made. He looked into her eyes and smiled. "Now, tell me what's been bothering you so much that you've been losing sleep?"
His hand was still on her cheek, she looked back into his eyes and suddenly everything was crystal clear.
But first she had some unfinished business to do.
A Ford Pinto station wagon is not a glamorous car, especially an automatic Pinto with air conditioning. Pintos hadn't been made for upgrading. She learned this the hard way for when she turned on the A/C in her car, it was impossible for it to go over 40 miles per hour. This made interstate driving a challenge. Even fully loaded tractor trailer rigs flew by her at break neck speeds. At any moment, she half expected to be spun around like a top when she was passed by one of those behemoths.
Thanking God when she finally reached her destination, she carefully parked the car and sat for a moment thinking over again what it was that she was trying to do. She really wasn't sure. There, ahead of her was the home of her boyfriend.
It seemed simple at first. He loved her. She loved him. She had always assumed when she gave her love, it would be forever. But now, she questioned her own fidelity and integrity. She had met someone else who caused her to doubt herself. This wasn't the way she had planned it.
True, Jake had not asked for a commitment but there was the unspoken assumption between the two of them that they would marry one day. But it was also true that sometimes she felt uncomfortable when she was with him. Her complete ease in the relationship that was developing with Edward starkly contrasted with the anxiety she frequently felt when with her boyfriend. She came here today to test her feelings and to see if what she saw in Edward's eyes yesterday morning in Carol Lee's Doughnut Shop could counter what she had with Jake.
Taking a deep breath, she got out of the car and climbed the stairs to her boyfriend's apartment. When she knocked on the door, she heard a muffled, "Yo! Come on in!"
She stepped into the little apartment and called to him. Out from the back room walked her boyfriend with that big, charming smile on his face. Oh, how she loved that dimple. They hugged and kissed hello, and then he held her at arm's length, and looked at her critically. "Hey you've lost some weight on those saddle bags. Looking good, Momma! Now, you only have to firm up your legs a bit and you'll be a knock out."
Making a face, she forbore commenting upon his appearance. He was wearing paint stained surgical pants and a torn T-shirt.
"Is it laundry day, maybe?" she asked.
"Funny you should ask that—it is. I thought you could help me."
Grinning charmingly, he went back to his bedroom and soon emerged with a basket of dirty clothes and a box of detergent. "You're lucky; the washer's right downstairs."
Aghast to speechlessness, she took the basket and was ushered out of the door and down to the basement laundry facility. When she could speak, she said sarcastically, "I guess I should have brought my dirty clothes with me and we could have done it together."
Still blinking in amazement, she helped him sort his clothes and listened to his monologue. He told her about his new job, his old car, his new friends, and his social life. She had hardly said half a dozen sentences to him so far and she'd been there for an hour.
"Hey! You thirsty? Wait right here and I will get some beer."
He dashed out of the doorway, leaving her on her own to commune with Maytag. The washers soon clicked off. Looking towards the still empty doorway, she shrugged and then loaded the wet laundry into a dryer. Fishing around in her pocket, she slid the appropriate coins into the slots and started the machine's tumbling.
Drumming her fingers on the counter, she discovered she was getting angry. Where was he? How long does it take to get a couple of beers? She only had a few hours to spend with him today because she had to drive back to school before nightfall and here she was doing his laundry! And he took off! What a jerk!
Then, she started to worry. Maybe he hit his head on the refrigerator door and knocked himself out. She could imagine him lying sprawled on the floor, dead to the world. Truly frightened over her thoughts, she abandoned the laundry, dashed up the stairs, and burst through his doorway.
He didn't hit head on the refrigerator door. He wasn't sprawled on the kitchen floor. Actually, he was sprawled but in his bean bag chair, watching a football game, and drinking a beer.
Looking up he smiled and said, "Hey babe, my laundry done?"
She was gob-smacked. Had he always been such a jerk? Jake the Jerk. It suited him.
There she stood in his living room, her mind spinning like a top as it finally understood what her heart had been telling her all along. In one instant, realization hit her with the impact of one of those tractor trailers she had dodged earlier that day. She had been in love with Jake's smile. Take away his smile and all he had was guy sitting in a bean bag chair watching the game and expecting her to be bribed to do his laundry with a flash of white teeth and a Vinnie Barbarino dimple.
How long had he been pulling crap like this and she had just been too blind to see it? It was so ludicrous, she just had to laugh. She started with a low chuckle that progressed to a giggle, then on to outright guffaws. Jake watched her with growing concern, his lady killer smile slowly fading from his face. "Babe? What's so funny? Did you need more money for the dryer?"
She died then. She could barely stand, she was laughing so hard.
"No, I don't need your money," she managed to gasp out. "And I just discovered, I don't need your smile."
She walked over to him, placed her hand against his cheek and grinned at his absolutely pole axed expression. Looking directly into his befuddled eyes she said, "It's been fun, Jake, but it's over. I wish you the best."
With that, she picked up her coat and purse, and practically skipped out to her car. She revved her mighty Pinto's engine and waved gaily at him as she backed out of her space and roared out of the parking lot, tooting her horn as she shouted out the window, "Goodbye, JERK...er…JAKE!"
Turning up her radio, she sang at the top of her lungs all the way home, all the way back to Edward. She practically shouted the chorus along with Paul Simon as he sang about the fifty ways to leave. Other drivers gave her a wide berth due to her maniacal expression, she was sure. She felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted from her shoulders and she was flying!
The sun shone brightly on the fallow fields she passed as her mighty Ford put-putted up the mountains back to school. The sparkling clarity of the afternoon reflected the newly realized condition of her heart. She was so thankful. She felt so free.
Finally reaching the outskirts of town, she found herself driving down the road where he lived. Without thinking, she slowed and turned into his driveway and was pleased to see his car parked out in front. Her heart was beating faster and faster as she shut off the engine and climbed out of her car. Not even pausing to think about what she would say to him or how she could explain her unexpected appearance, she rounded the back of the house where the door they used was, then abruptly stopped. He was standing right in front of her on the back steps of the porch.
Sure that her heart shown in her eyes, she didn't say a word but just stood there, grinning like a looby. He regarded her for a bit, then revelation dawned in his own eyes and he slowly held out his arms, his own smile echoing hers.
As naturally as breathing, she closed the gap between them and sank into his arms, feeling for the first time the power of his embrace. She wrapped her arms around him, rested her head against his chest, and heaved a great sigh of relief.
She knew she had found her heart's home.
AN: Welcome Back, Kotter was a very popular television show during the 70's and John Travolta had his break out role as Vinnie Barbarino. He was a cutie patootie.
Chiffon margarine had a commercial that was popular where Mother Nature tasted that margarine and thought it was butter and got pissed when it was revealed it wasn't. Here's the commercial on Youtube: http : / / www . youtube .com/watch?v=LLrTPrp-fW8 (remove spaces).
Worn out jeans were frequently made into other cool things, shoulder bags being one of them. The legs were cut off and openings sewn closed. The legs were cut into strips and made into a strap and a button kept the top closed.
Ford Pintos were pieces of shit.
Paul Simon's "Fifty Ways to Leave your Lover" refrain goes Slip out the back, Jack. Make a new plan, Stan. You don't need to be coy, Roy. Just get yourself free, Hop on the bus Gus, you don't need to discuss much, just drop off the key, Lee and get yourself free.
I know all of this first hand because I'm old enough to have lived during two of the age of Edward contest's time periods, in fact, this story isn't fiction. This is the true story of how Mr. Lady Gwynedd and I met. I only changed the names, the color of his hair and the city he was from. Mr. Lady Gwynedd happens to be from Baltimore and he had light brown hair (now it's white.) He still has the most beautiful green eyes I've ever seen. And he's still and always will be my heart's home.
Also, in case you were wondering, he knew I was his "one" that first Halloween night. He was a perfect gentleman for two months, knowing that I was dating someone else. That day, when I walked into his arms, will live in my heart until the day I die.
We got engaged January 26th, and got married on August 28th. I remember thinking later the following fall, that I hadn't known him a year and we were already married but evidently it worked. We've been married for 35 years. Some have asked that I continue this story, but to preserve the sanity of our children, I won't.