Disclaimer: Meyer made the mold but we are all here to break it. I own nothing except this here story's events.
beta'd by jcat5507
Chapter 05 – Blinkin'
Waking to a most unladylike snort, Bella's head lifts with a start—her long, brown hair one crazy mass in front of her still-closed eyes. "Oh, fuuuck." It's croaked out, her head is pounding. "Ow." She grimaces and hides her head underneath her pillow as she rolls to her back on top of her bed.
That's when she hears it.
A most god-awful sound.
Her arms press the soft pillow tight against each ear, trying to block it out.
Everything goes silent.
She feels her tongue stick to the roof of her mouth, thick as a rug. Dry, too.
Then she hears it again and bolts upright, her pillow falling down to her lap over her extremely rumpled covers. She puffs, blowing her hair out of her eyes and attempts to crack them open, only to shut them closed again, real quick. Everything is so bright.
Reaching out blindly, she feels for and then grabs her too-large, green-and-blue plaid man-robe draped at the end of her bed, and manages to slip it on. It's a messy job when it's completed. A tight tug at the ties around her small waist hold it secure and in place…mostly.
The harsh noise sounds loud again, with a roar, and keeps on going.
Her eyes finally pop open. She curses and stands—obviously too quickly—and her hands go up, immediately, to grip her aching head. "Oh, Jesus!" Her head spins a little, and her hands fly out for balance.
Something wizzes by her window.
It wizzes by again and she screams. "Arrrg!" Then she sees dust and grass flying. "What in hell?" She tiptoes to the wall by her window, like she's hiding and trying to be extra quiet at the same time. It's stupid, she knows—like anyone can actually hear her—but it's an automated response.
Slightly crouched, she peers through her long, sheer curtain. It wizzes by again, and her mouth drops open. "No." It's said in quiet disbelief.
Not a second passes before Bella's rushing and putting on her fuzzy, black house shoes. Next thing, she's marching through her bedroom door and down her painted-yellow hall, right through her kitchen and out the back screened door.
She stops at the edge of her small wood deck and watches with fisted hands resting at the upper curve of each hip. Her still-pounding head cranes to follow what she sees wiz by in front of her and continue down across her lawn.
Apparently, she's become invisible.
Stomping her foot, she yells out, "Edward Mason Cullen! You stop that thing, right now!"
He just keeps on, not hearing her words. He's got his back to her as he stands on that loud-ass lawn mower—like some ridiculous pro—not havin' a care in the world.
Bella's thinking she's got a care. A few, in fact.
She's hung over.
It's, like, seven thirty in the morning, or something.
And, Edward Cullen is doing her chore.
A laugh sounds, light and amused, to her right, and Bella's eyes leave the back of Edward's receding form to latch onto Alice, who's sitting on the front porch stairs of her cabin, right under a fading, painted sign which reads Four-Nerve Daisy. She is grinning behind her mug of coffee at Bella. Lowering her mug, she gives a wink and motions back over her shoulder to where Edward has now disappeared around the curve of the other four cabins' backyards which face the dirt road.
She calls over. "Seems mighty interesting around here this morning, huh, Bella?" She sips from her mug again and then picks at the hem of her white sundress.
Bella cocks a hip to the side, the flap of her robe lifting lightly at the small breeze that drifts up from the lake's early morning water. "He wake you up with that noise?"
Alice shrugs, not answering, because she can hear Edward coming back around, right toward the two of them.
Bella's eyes flash back over to where he's now reappeared.
His eyes are trained right on her. He's grinning. It's full blown, like he's so pleased with himself, too.
Bella watches him get closer and closer, until he comes to a stop right in front of her, shit flying around and engine still runnin'.
He reaches for the hem of his sweat-stained T-shirt, lifting it up to wipe the wetness from his face and neck.
Bella's eyes go straight to his abs.
She gapes then.
Because, never…never in her entire twenty-seven-year life has she been so affected by a man's stomach before. She almost gasps out loud, but she manages to stop the sound from emerging. Blinking repeatedly, Bella looks away and back over at a now wide-eyed Alice, who looks just as stunned at the display of tight, lean, male muscle.
Alice sets her cup down next to her hip. Then she holds both dainty hands up with all of her fingers spread wide, mouthing the word ten.
Bella looks away from her guest, too, not wanting to laugh right now.
With a failed attempt at glaring, she says to Edward, "What do you think you are doing?"
It's loud when Edward responds. "Huh?"
Bella raises her voice over the sound of the lawn mower. "I said, what do you think you are doing?"
"Edward!" She stomps that foot again. She's getting peeved real quick.
Just then, the breeze blows a bit more strongly, and Edward's crazy too-long hair flies around his head. His eyes flash down to Bella's legs, now exposed at the calves from the wind. He looks back up, grinning again—eyes wide and wicked—and then he mouths out an I can't hear you while pointing to his large, red ear guards. He grins as he watches Bella react.
She whines out at him, exasperated, "Edward, stop messin' around! I don't have the energy for it." Her fingers rub at her pounding temples.
At her obvious discomfort, Edward takes pity on Bella, powering down the motor and removing the over-the-ear sound barriers. He teases, "You look like shit this morning, Bella." He laughs. "Must 'a really got plastered, huh? Do any drunk texting last night?" His green eyes flicker down to her chest and back up. He knows she's naked under that loose robe.
His teasing catches her off guard, and for a brief moment, she tries to remember all of their text conversation from the previous night. It's confident when she says back, "Nope. Not the kind you're talking about. And it's your unexpected wake-up call what's lent to my shit-looking factor." Her fingers rake back through her messy long hair and then fall limp down at her sides. "Why are you here?"
"I think that's obvious, B."
She rolls her eyes as she stresses each next word. "Okay. Just who…asked you…to do…this?"
"No one." He's grinning wide at Bella, dimples in full effect.
Her body sort of convulses when she sees them. Attempting to hide her body's reaction to him, she motions over to her right. "You woke up my guest."
"Alice was up. She gave me the go-ahead."
Bella's eyes whip over to where said guest still sits, smiling now as she drinks from her coffee mug. Alice gives a little wave to Bella, but still remains silent. It's obvious that she's enjoying every minute of this morning and its interactions.
"So did Max."
Edward's just read her mind.
Doing a one-eighty, Bella looks over at Max's house next to hers. She grumbles to herself, "…better stay hidin'…" She can see a faded curtain move.
Eyes back on Edward, Bella's about to say more, but her words get stuck in her dry throat as she watches Edward—who's now stepped down off of that standing lawn mower, shaking grass and dust from his hair and ratty blue-jeans. She holds up a finger, silently ordering Edward to wait right there—but he doesn't even see—and then she whirls around and goes back in her house through her back screen door to get herself a glass of cold water.
Her hands fly up into the air, irritated.
Reaching the kitchen sink, she grabs her empty glass from last night and fills it all the way up to its rim. She gulps as she drinks the whole damn thing down without even stopping for air.
Relieved, her eyes close as she sags against her kitchen counter, murmuring, "…so good…" and wiping her mouth with her sleeve. She holds her hands under the still-running water and lowers down to splash it up onto her face.
Suddenly, the screen door slams shut behind her, and Bella shoots straight up and turns around. Water drips down her chin and neck to her now-partially-exposed upper chest, but she's unaware, because Edward's just come inside her house.
He's really close, too.
"You got some…right there." He points but not really.
"Oh, and now you just come inside?"
"You really want me to answer that, B?"
She tries not to snort and laugh. "My, God! You're just as bad as Jas—"
His next actions cut off her words as his finger lifts to smooth a strand of her long, slightly wet hair away from where it's currently sticking across the length of her delicate jaw and down onto her neck.
Bella shivers—convincing herself it's because it kind of tickles—and mentally forces her nipples to stand down. His gesture did not go unnoticed by either of them. She goes on high alert, because stuff might be happening…down there…and it's more than a little distracting.
Swallowing hard, she moves his hand aside. "Edward, seriously…you can't just come over like this and do whatever you want…whenever you want." The whenever is stressed. "I have timing and plans and lists…and even more on top of those, so…so…so…"
He takes a half-step closer.
"…so, just…um…just…you have to…"
One more half-step forward, and Edward's right up in her space, again.
It seems to be yet another developing habit.
She can't speak at all now, instinctually pressing back into the L-corner of her kitchen counter. She's trying to keep her eyes up on his face, too, but he's dirty and sweaty, and her eyes can't help but travel down the long length of him.
He is so trim…and tall…and all full grown.
She swallows again and licks across her lower lip.
One more half-step forward, and Edward has got her right where he wants her.
Her eyes fly up to zip back and forth between his own intense eyes, which are doing the same thing to hers.
"Bella…" He pauses, his large, dirt-smudged, grass-specked hands reaching forward to cage her into that corner. Taking a deep breath in, he lets it out, and then he glances down to where her man-robe has gapped open a bit at her chest, appreciating what he sees there. Eyes back up, he looks straight into her pretty browns, and then he says in a whisper, "Can I please…pretty please…mow your lawn?"
Her eyes are glued to his perfect lips.
She licks hers again.
She wonders how someone can actually be this appealing. He's so overwhelmingly sexy right now it's almost disgusting.
It's entirely unfair.
No, wait. What's unfair in Bella's mind is her reaction. It's what's disgusting, too.
So, so dis-gust-ing.
Her eyes flutter a bit but stay locked on Edward's lips when she gives her dazed, one-worded answer. "Oo-kay."
Grinning, Edward stays put, not moving away just yet. He raises one hand from where it's caged her in and lets the first two fingers trace down an open lapel of her loose robe, until they stop right at the hint of where he can see the beginning of her breast's swell. His eyes flash back up to her semi-stunned ones as he fingers the tiny, delicate heart hanging right there.
"This looks really nice."
Swallowing deep, she says, "Yeah…um, uh…yeah…" Her breath rushes out.
He shifts on his feet and glances down and back up again. "You always go outside dressed this way?"
Her chest does this one weird hyperventilate-thingy, then she says, "Oh, um…no." She doesn't know what to do with her hands.
His fingers move back up to just barely touch the exposed soft, white skin at the base of her neck. Green eyes move back up to hers. He says quietly, "I wouldn't want any undesirable getting a look at what I'm seeing right now." His eyes move back down.
Bella's thinking she might just faint. Or, possibly she'll have a conniption fit.
Never once has she seen him look at her this way.
He may have completely flustered her, but Bella knows exactly what to do with her hands now. Well, one of them, anyway.
She pokes him.
Right in his stomach.
Edward's breath whooshes out as he scoots back a bit. He's looking at her like "what the fuck".
She pokes him again, several times.
Now he's trying to squirm away, 'cause Bella's now digging the tips of her fingers into his upper left—highly sensitive—ribs. "Fucking hell, Swan…" he man-screeches, swatting her away, "…that's not right! That shit's not right!" Now he's five feet away and pointing. "You are cruel, you know that?"
"Ha, you are one to talk, Edward Cullen." It's scoffed out. She straightens up, gripping the lapels of her robe tight and pulling them closed under her neck.
She's remembering when someone left here, eight years ago.
She's remembering when she tried to give said person that wholly-failure of a kiss.
She's also remembering those months and years after he left, too, trying to understand why.
Now she's fuming.
"I mean, what'd you expect? You're gone…for years. Then, you come over, way too early and unexpected at that, and all 'willy-nilly'. Bet you think you can charm your way right on through." Bella stops, trying to gain her thoughts back. She sees Charlie's last message on the small black board hanging on the wall in the kitchen. Then she says, determined, "Well, guess what, Edward Cullen. I have got one thing to say to you. I am the boss around here. Not you."
Edward's eyes rake up and down her as he sort of paces around. He still knows she's naked under that damn robe, and now she's got him all worked up.
He also knows that there is no doubt about it. Bella is more of a man than he ever was. He means that as a compliment.
She's thumbing at her chest as she's said the last part, and Edward stops his small pacing. He rubs his hand across his mouth. He looks at her again. He understands and whispers, "I know you are."
Bella is, again, shocked.
She blink-blink-blinks some more.
She doesn't know what to do.
"Well…" she fidgets, gripping her robe a bit more tightly, and then she continues, "…um, okay…just ask ahead next time, okay? If you like, the grass needs cuttin' every other week, most months. We…we like it long and grown for a bit before it gets chopped down. The birds…"
Edward's shoulders relax now, his eyes so sincere. "I know you do…Bella. I remember, too. Next time I come I'll get the mowin' on to your schedule, all right? But just know, this time around there'll be no pussy-footin' about it. Grass needed cuttin'. You said it yourself." He's looking right at her again. "And I am here to do it. I know you wouldn't have let me, otherwise. You're just like Charlie."
Bella doesn't know what to do with that exactly.
She is stubborn at times. Especially when she's trying to do things right and work hard.
These cabins have been a huge, huge chore…but a chore that she's begun to cherish.
She knows she's still adjusting to Edward being back and to her father's death. She realizes then that if Edward is true to his words, wanting to help her out, then what more could she ask for? He's plopped back into her life.
It's help, too.
It's help from her old friend.
It's help from her old friend, Edward Cullen, and she knows she's askin' for trouble.
Things are different now between them.
She kind of bows over a bit, looking at her black, fuzzy, slipper-covered feet. Then she looks up at him and gins. "You're hired. Fifteen bucks an hour."
Edward just stands there, still.
Then he's the one blink-blink-blinking.
He smiles and says, "Deal."
a/n …hey peeps...just fyi: i have posted pix/images for Go Fish over on my blog...but you gotta go there to see-ee...*sing-songs*...and, review, review, review…please, review…love love…*twirls*…
shout outs: love love to jcat5507 for her AWESOME BETA SKILLZ-SKILLZ-SKILLZ (echoed) and attempted rec'n (*girl tackles and bounces*), SunflowerFran for her encouragement and support and her fb rec and 'favorite author' add (*fist pump*), Cappy for her rec at TLS (*jumps up and down*), Cappricorn Seventyfive at TLS (fb) (*skips around happy*), Missus_T for her AWESOME re-tweet (*tackles with love*)...and anyone else who rec'd my little story...love love love...