Muddy Bird

Bella's POV

It was my second day at college, and I was finally settled enough that I could slip away with my laptop, so I could chat with my friend, Culling Wraith. We'd met in a chat room, discussing the similarities of Avengers and Justice League. He wasn't pleased with my comparison. When other less friendly people tried to jump into our conversation shouting blasphemy, I suggested we take it to a private room. It made me giggle when I typed that, and I wondered if he'd think of it as an innuendo. He quickly agreed, because he felt it was important to properly educate me, and he'd been doing it ever since.

I'd always enjoyed comic book characters. Let's face it, most superheroes were hot, cartoon or otherwise. Though I really enjoyed the otherwise, that was for sure. Needless to say, Culling Wraith and I became fast friends. I found myself looking forward to chatting with him online and had done so most of the summer. We both had taken a couple of days off to get settled into our dorm rooms; otherwise, we spoke almost daily.

I went to the library, looking for a quiet place to use their wi-fi. The place was full of rowdy people. It felt more like a pep rally than a library. Someone needed to fire that librarian and get a ghetto one with a shotgun to keep the peace. A little glaring and shushing wasn't keeping that crowd under control.

I finally found one semi-quiet table. When I set up and checked my email, I was thrilled to find a note from Culling Wraith. He had two openings available during the day that would allow enough time for a quick chat or email session between classes. Once I compared notes, I realized I could only match up with one of his. I let him know that I'd be waiting for him online the next day. What followed for the next couple of weeks was frustrating to say the least.

If it wasn't for his fussy emails after missing me, I would have thought he was trying to brush me off. He'd missed every one of our chat dates, but would leave me emails for just minutes after I signed off. To make matters worse, there was an uptight guy who was always hovering around the table. He'd ask me rudely and yet politely at the same time to please let him have the table. I knew it was the only quiet one, I knew why he wanted it, but that didn't mean I wanted to give up waiting for Culling Wraith.

The first couple of times he asked, I thought it was annoying, but I realized he could be rather amusing if I paid attention to him. He had a tendency to dance around a little, as if he had to pee, but he didn't. I'd even pointed out the bathroom to him once, and he looked at me like I was crazy. He didn't have to pee, he was just insanely anxious to sit down at the table, and not just the table, but my specific chair. I tried moving to different chairs to see if he'd just sit down across from me to share the table, but he stood awkwardly, waiting for me to get up and leave the table completely. He still always sat in the middle chair on the left side of the table. Out of curiosity, I switched out the chairs from another table to see if he noticed it. He did notice something was different and sat in all the chairs to see which one he liked best out of the group and moved it to the middle spot on the left side.

He was an odd fellow to say the least, but his lanky body and messy hair were very enticing. He seemed wound so tight, that I wanted to do something to loosen him up. I contemplated leaving a nude photo of myself for him to find, just to see if he'd excuse himself to go "relax." Heaven knew he needed it.

"Excuse me," I heard him once again. He was always on the verge of exploding, but he somehow held back. He was surprisingly patient with me, considering how uncomfortable he most likely was. I considered telling him to take a hike, and even thought I could have possibly moved to a different table and concede to let Mr. Fussy Pants have his table indefinitely, but I kind of enjoyed our little interactions. One of these days, I was going to grab him by his sweater vest and pin him to the table. I'd show him how to loosen up and teach the rowdy freaks occupying the other tables in the library how to do it right and be quiet at the same time. It was a library after all.

After a month of frustrating misses with Culling Wraith, we'd gotten used to communicating through emails instead of chats. I had let it slip that my humanities teacher had several bad hair pieces. One day, it was some strange shade of green. When I mentioned the green hairpiece to Culling Wraith, he asked me if the teacher's name was Professor Banner. My heart jumped in my throat. I was worried he was stalking me for all of three seconds. It turned out that we happened to be attending the same school.

Once I was aware that we were at the same school, I talked to him more openly about the events going on. We attended the same frat party, me with some of my girlfriends and him with his roommate's cousin who was a member. We both agreed that the strobe light was a bit excessive, and that the vomiting football player had ruined the night. No one wanted to dance in vomit.

I could tell he was getting as frustrated as I was about the near misses. I'd swear I was on the verge of shouting out I was Dirty Swan in the middle of the music festival in the outdoor amphitheatre. I knew he was there, and I wanted to kick myself for not asking for some description or giving him a clue as to my own. We'd been corresponding for eight months. I thought it was time that we actually met.

Culling Wraith was a sweet, silly guy. He'd been patient with me when we'd first met online and a bit chivalrous as well, chastening the others in the chat room for being mean and swearing at me. He'd always been kind and polite as well. I knew he was a real gentleman, and I knew that no matter what he looked like, I wanted him. He was a rare breed of man, and I was dying to meet him.

I nervously typed out the email, asking to meet him; terrified he'd say no and stop writing me. My stomach was upset the whole next day, scared to read his answer. It was crazy how important he'd become to me, even if we hadn't actually met.

I was so relieved when I read his email agreeing to meet me, thrilled actually. I was in such a good mood that when Mr. Fussy Pants showed up asking for the table, I conceded early. I figured if I was really going to try things out with Culling Wraith, I should probably stop thinking about doing dirty things to Mr. Fussy Pants. I decided to finally give him the table for good, once I met Culling Wraith in person.

We didn't specify where we'd be meeting at the game. I was worried that I'd miss him again. I was hoping everyone would wear orange shirts, so his blue Frosted Flakes shirt would stand out. Imagine my surprise when I saw Mr. Fussy Pant fidgeting nervously by the front gate in said shirt. It all made sense. I couldn't believe we hadn't figured it out before.

I stood back just watching him bounce around, a nervous mess. I had to cool myself down, before I sprung at him. I couldn't believe my luck. I'd really hit the jackpot, both men in one adorkable package. I wondered how long it would take him to figure out it was me, when I approached him. The poor sweet boy was hurt when I joked with him. I wanted to kiss him and make it all better. I knew that was exactly what I was going to do.

Once I explained who I was, I dragged my awkward man to my truck, with plans to kiss it all better. The problem was, as soon as I got my lips on him, my libido exploded. I had to hold back from biting him and ripping his clothes off. I could tell he was inexperienced, and that made him all the more wonderful. I wanted him to be mine. I needed him to be mine.

I was ready to take him home with me, but thanked the powers that be that his apartment was across the street. Once I got him into his room, I tried to slow down. I knew I was scaring him, but I couldn't stop myself. I was so relieved when he finally got into it. I knew he'd be nervous about his performance, but I was ready to accept him, good or bad. I could always teach him. In fact, that was exactly what I had planned. I just needed to let him know he was safe with me. I was not a stranger to sex and knew I could make it good for the both of us.

I was right, and the look he gave me as I hovered over him squeezed my heart. He was such a beautiful man in that moment. I knew then I would do anything to keep him. I hoped he'd want to keep me, too.

Even with my prep work, I knew he wouldn't last long. I knew what I was doing. I knew what got me off, and I knew I'd build his confidence if I came, so I made sure I did.

His innocent exclamation clenched it for me in more than one way. I'd keep him forever if he'd let me, and I really hoped that he'd let me.

His roommates were funny. I'd swear they thought I was a unicorn or something, and if they took their eyes off me, I'd disappear. I had a couple of friends I knew would adore them. I'd have to talk to Edward about setting them up.

The fact that Edward called me his made my insides flip. I wanted to take him home or camp out in his room. I didn't want to leave, but I didn't want my crazy to show too much and have him freak out.

He told me he'd thought my handle meant muddy bird or something, but he finally figured out it was actually an innuendo. I proved it was an appropriate name…thoroughly.

When we came up for air and food, his roommates were dressed and eating at the bar. Ben froze, with his sandwich in mid-air and his mouth open. Eric had his lips puckered to take a drink from a water bottle, and they both just stared at me, which was silly. I was dressed.

I pulled Edward down, licked his neck and bit his ear, before I asked if he thought they'd like to meet a couple of my friends. "Yeah, I bet they'd like that. Then we could…you know…double date or something…"

"That sounds like fun. What do you say guys? Would you like to meet a couple of my friends?"

Ben's eyes widened, and then he quickly pulled out his inhaler. Eric fell off his stool and just lay on the floor with his water bottle pouring out over him, unmoving.

"Are they going to be okay?" I whispered.

He kissed my lips lightly. He'd gained so much confidence and had learned so much in just the few hours we'd spent together this morning. He pulled the bottle out of Eric's hand and helped him off the floor. Ben was still struggling to breath, his food abandoned.

"They're going to be fine. Tell us about your friends. It might help them settle down."

"Well, I was going to bring over Jessica Stanley and Angela Webber."

Ben looked like he was about to have a seizure. "Do we need to call 911? He doesn't look good."

I was shocked, when Eric spoke up. "He's had a crush for years…"

"On who?" I asked, because Eric stopped speaking as soon as I looked at him.

"Angela Webber, Ben has a huge crush on Angela Webber. They went to the same middle school for a couple of years, before she moved away."

"Oh, cool. Maybe she'll remember him."

"Not likely," Eric started, but again stopped speaking when I look at him.

Edward rolled his eyes and finished what Eric was trying to say. "Angela was a cheerleader, and, well, Ben was…" Edward shrugged, I was sure not wanting to say that Ben was a geek.

I whipped out my phone and brought up her number. She answered, moaning, "What the hell, Swan? Do you know what time it is?"

"One in the afternoon," I deadpanned.


"What are you doing? Do you have company right now, or would you like some?"

"What'd you find?" she asked perking right up.

"You ever hear of a guy name Ben…" I waved at Edward for his last name.


"Do you remember Ben Cheney? You went to middle school together. He's my kind of flavor," I offered in a way that politely told her he'd be a nerd.

"Does he have big blue eyes when he takes off his glasses?"

I snatched them off his face and was hit full force with the big double blues. "Yup, that's him."

"I'm on my way, text me the address," she said eagerly.

I handed Ben his glasses back with a smile. "She remembers you, or your eyes, I should say. She sounded excited and is on her way over to see you."

I thought this would be great news, but it turned out it was cause for vomiting.

"Well, that's going to be a challenge. Are you sure this is a good idea?" I asked Edward.

He rubbed the back of his neck. "He should be fine once he takes his anti-anxiety medicine."

"What about you, Eric? Are you up to meeting a girl?" I asked, and he stared at me dumbfounded.

I covered my face, totally frustrated, and then I heard Eric squeak out a yes. I guess as long as I wasn't looking at him, he could talk.

I pulled up Jessica's number and glanced over at Eric to see if he would give me any indication that I should stop. He just stared at me gap-mouthed.

"S'up, bitch?" was her usually greeting.

"Is your bed empty?"

I heard a moan and a thump, "It is now. What's up?"

"You know how I was meeting Culling Wraith?"

"Yeah, how'd that go?"

"So well," I moaned. "It turns out he's library guy."

"No shit!"

"I know, right? But that's not why I called. He has a couple of roommates. Angela is on her way over. She knows Ben. Do you want to meet his other one, Eric? He's shy, but I think he could talk to you, as long as you don't actually look at him."

"Text me a picture."

I snapped a pic of Eric staring at me gap-mouthed and texted it to her. "Did you get it yet?"

"Yeah, I just got it. He's got nice teeth. I'll bet he had braces as a kid."

"Do you want to come over and let him stare at you?" I giggled, and Eric's brow furrowed. He didn't know how much Jessica loved being gawked at.

"Yes, address please, and have them get us some lunch. I'm starving."

"Will do, see you soon." I hung up and handed my phone over to Eric. "Order us all some lunch. The girls will be hungry." He didn't say anything, but once I turned my back, I heard him talking.

Angela was first to arrive. Edward had settled Ben down enough to take his medication and get cleaned up.

She walked right in and scanned the room, zeroing in on Ben with purpose. He lifted his inhaler to take a puff, but she snatched it from his hand, sprayed it into her mouth, and then covered his mouth with her lips, forcing the mist into his lungs while they kissed. I'd swear it looked like Edward's eyebrows were going to shoot off his head in shock.

When she pulled back, Ben was still gasping, but with a huge smile on his face, and he made no move to grab his inhaler. He settled down pretty quickly, and she leaned in and whispered something into his ear. He blushed and nodded yes and led her down the hall to the bedrooms.

The food arrived before Jessica. Edward just passed a bag into Ben's room for him and Angela. When Jessica walked in, I pointed to Eric, and she grinned huge and wicked. "Oh, this is going to be fun."

"You should probably take it easy on him at first," I suggested.

She tipped her head to the side, assessing Eric once more. "I don't know, Bella, I think he just might be into the kinky shit I like."

His hands dropped to his lap, trying to hide his excitement, proving her point. She pulled a riding crop out of her purse and ran it down his cheek and chest. His eyes rolled back in his head, and he grunted.

"Looks like I got myself a new toy. Come along, little boy, it's time to get you cleaned up." She walked down the hall, with him following obediently behind her.

"Is Eric going to be safe with her?" Edward asked worried.

I pushed into his arms and pulled him down for a kiss. "She won't do any permanent damage and will make sure he likes it. As for Angela, I think she really likes Ben. She knew who I was talking about right away, and you saw how she greeted him."

"They did still have their clothes on when I gave them their lunch and were looking at some yearbooks."

"I hope it works out for them." I really did.

Eric came running out of his room in just his underwear. Edward looked scared for him for all of two seconds, but Eric wore a huge grin, as he rushed over to the counter, grabbing a bag of food off of it, and hurried back down the hall to his room.

"Jessica's a wildcard, but his need to please her will keep her happy for a while, at least long enough for him to gain some confidence with women. I think she'll be good for him."

Edward let out a deep breath and squeezed me tighter. "I sure hope so."

Things worked out for everybody. Jessica did give Eric confidence, just like I knew she would, so when she moved on, like she always did, he had no problem asking a new girl out. Speaking to them was no longer an issue, and Jessica had pretty much done a makeover on Eric. He was a hottie now, but still not as cute as my Edward.

It turned out that Angela had just as big of a crush on Ben as he had on her. It didn't take long for them to be joined at the hip and planning their wedding. Some might think it was too fast, but if you knew them, you knew it wasn't.

As for me and Edward, he was still my adorkable boyfriend that I adored. He didn't stutter or shake anymore, and he'd definitely learned all the sweet moves to use on me in the bedroom, but his shy side still came out once in a while. I could just eat him up, and I did eventually grab him by his sweater vest and take him on the library table.

When he met my father, he'd nervously rattled off his grade point average, major and his plans for the future, which included marrying me, all before my dad had said hello. Needless to say, my father wholeheartedly approved. Not that it'd matter if he hadn't.

Edward's family was another story. They were fiercely protective of him and were sure I was using him to copy his schoolwork or take his money. The thing was I didn't know he had money. He lived in a ratty apartment with two other guys and only ever had toast and jam at his house. He was two slices of moldy bread away from being a starving artist.

I didn't gain any footing with them until Thanksgiving. Oddly enough, it was when I wracked his brother in the balls. He was giving Edward a hard time, and it pissed me off. I was sure they would kick me out for it. In fact, Edward grabbed our coats, sure of it as well, but then his mother smiled and asked me to help her in the kitchen.

"Sorry about that. I guess you'll just have to depend on me and Edward for the grandkids," I said it so causally that I didn't even notice, until I heard a pan drop. Edward was across the kitchen, wearing a huge smile. I realized what I'd said and blushed so red I thought I'd give Rudolf's nose a run for its money.

He wrapped me up in his arms, kissing me softly. "You want to have a family with me?"

"You're too handsome not to reproduce, and with our combined brain power, they can take over the world."

"I don't think world domination should be our parenting goal," he mumbled against my lips.

We were lost in the kiss, when we heard a loud bang. We looked over to see his mother giggling and his father holding a pan that he had just smacked with a spoon. "Let's have dinner, before you work on the grandchildren."

It was New Year Eve at midnight when he proposed to me, and I said yes. We'd planned to get married after we graduated from college. Of course, that was quickly canned. After seeing Ben and Angela in wedded bliss, we didn't want to wait. So our senior year in college, we tied the knot. Though I'd planned to be a career woman for a few years, before we started a family, God had other plans. I happily gave birth to a Culling Wraith Jr., but we called him little Eddie for short.

Our lives turned out perfectly. At least I thought they did. It was five years after we met face to face for the first time and we were celebrating our anniversary.

Edward walked into the bedroom with a big grin, a silent baby monitor in one hand and a jar of jam in the other, "Ready to get cleaned up, Dirty Swan?"

"I'm always ready for you."

"I guess you're not a dirty bird anymore, you're my naughty Cullen."

"I think you've been the naughty one," I sassed.

"Yeah, what are you going to do about it?"

"Why don't you hand me that jar of jam and I'll show you."

And I did.