My God, was it freaking hot outside. Even in the shade. I was standing under the awning at my favorite beer and wing spot, watching as traffic went by. I was so engrossed in my thoughts that I didn't see the bike messenger coming at me on the busy sidewalk. I jumped out of his path at the last minute.
"Sorry!" I yelled after him as he whizzed down the street.
"No problem!" He called back.
Everyone always seemed friendlier on Friday evening. Just knowing the next day was work free made people so much lighter. I felt my cell phone buzz in my purse and I fished it out. I had a text message.
Sorry, Babe. Stuck at work again. U and Edward have fun without me- Emmett
On a Friday night, Em? – Izzy
I know. This project is taking up all of my time. I'll make it up to you. I promise. – Emmett
I sighed in frustration. I couldn't fault him for being so goal oriented and driven. But sometimes, it sure got lonely. I hadn't seen him in a week.
"Hey, Izzy!" I heard. I looked across the street and saw Edward waving. He crossed in the middle of the block, weaving through the evening rush hour traffic.
"Where's my brother?" He asked as he hugged me. I rolled my eyes.
"Still at work?" He asked. I nodded. This was the second week in a row he had blown off our Friday night dinner plans. We all worked pretty close to one another and a few months ago had gotten in the habit of having beer and wings every Friday night after work.
"If you want to just go home, I understand..." Edward said. I stopped him.
"No. I have had a gruesome week and I need some beer and some two alarm wings. And maybe some beer battered onion rings."
"Fuck yeah. Come on." He said. He pulled me toward the entrance and we both stepped out of the August heat and into the cool air of the restaurant.
"It feels so good in here." I remarked as we walked up to the hostess stand.
"Yeah, this heat wave is brutal. What has it been, twelve days of above ninety degree weather?" Edward said as he took off his aviator sunglasses.
"Something like that." I agreed.
"Just two today?" The hostess asked. We were pretty regular so the staff knew us well.
"Yep, just two." Edward told her.
"You are in luck. We have one small table in the corner open. Otherwise it would have been a thirty minute wait." She told us.
"See, the day is already looking brighter." Edward remarked to me with a smile. The hostess led us through the noisy restaurant to a small table in the corner. It was close to the kitchen, but I wasn't going to complain. I was starving.
"So tell me about your week? Why was it gruesome?" Edward asked. I told him about my hellish experiences dealing with the summer interns. I worked for a non-profit organization writing grants. The college juniors that I was working with were horrible writers. Grammar and punctuation meant absolutely nothing to them.
"It's not like I'm some fifty year old nun, rapping them on the knuckles with my yardstick every time I see a run on sentence. I only graduated from college six years ago- I'm not from some far removed generation. I just think writing is not for them." I told Edward.
"Sometimes people take internships based on what's available, not what they really want to do. Most people in college have no idea what they want to do." Edward said.
"That's true. Wasn't your undergrad degree in like gym or something?"
"It might as well have been," he laughed. "I have no idea why anyone let me into law school but I thank God or Zeus or whoever that they did."
"You like being an attorney?"
"I love it. I can't imagine doing anything else. Tax law might not be as exciting as being a celebrity divorce lawyer, but I enjoy it." He told me.
"Hey, guys! Where's the big guy today?" The waitress, Lauren, asked. She casually put her hand on Edward's shoulder. I chuckled to myself. I knew she had a crush on him, but he ignored her.
"Still at work. Just me and Izzy today." Edward told her.
"What can I get you?"
"Couple beers, two orders of the two alarm wings- blue cheese for her, ranch for me and an order of the beer battered onion rings."
"Cool. I'll put your order in." She said and sashayed away.
"I don't know why you won't give her a chance." I said.
"She's not my type."
"Oh because she's 'just' a waitress?"
"No, that's not it at all. She's just so…not my type."
"That explains…absolutely nothing."
"Just leave it alone, Izzy."
"What made Tanya your type?"
"She wasn't my type either. I thought she was, but I was so fucking wrong." He admitted. Tanya was this uber bitch that Edward dated for about two months. She was a big time corporate attorney who thought that her job was more important than everyone and everything else. Every time the four of us would have dinner together, she would monopolize the conversation with talk about her job and when she wasn't doing that, she was on the phone conducting business at the dinner table. As if we weren't even there. She constantly called me Missy, no matter how many times I corrected her.
Lauren came over with our beers and I took a long pull from mine.
"I've been waiting for that all week." I said as the cool liquid slid down my throat.
"You should have texted me. We could have gone for beer any night of the week. I would have saved you from your idiot interns."
"I'm going to hold you to that." I said, sipping my beer.
"So what project is Em working on that has him so busy?"
"A new medical records system that is going live in a couple weeks at the hospital. They are working the kinks out." I explained.
"It is. I just…" I started and then I stopped myself.
"Nothing. Forget it." I gulped down the rest of my beer. Edward was a nice guy and over the few months that Emmett and I had been together, I had grown to consider him a friend, not just my boyfriend's brother. But I couldn't forget that he was my boyfriend's brother. I certainly couldn't tell him about how I felt about his brother. It would put Edward in an awkward position and I didn't want that.
"Tell me about your week at work. Any new tax laws I should know about?"
"Tax laws don't change on a week to week basis. So no. Another beer?" he asked. I nodded and he signaled to Lauren, who of course had been looking over at us anyway. I had to admit, Edward was cute. I could see her infatuation. He was tall like Emmett, but leaner. His face was usually scruffy but it was attractive on him. And his eyes were a beautiful green. Deep, intelligent eyes that could draw people in. His reddish brown hair was longer on top, shorter on the sides and the back and was usually messy from him running his fingers through it.
"Here ya go, guys. Your food should be out in a few." Lauren said, dropping a couple beer bottles on the table and picking up the empties.
"Thanks, Lauren." I said.
"Sure!" she said in her chipper voice before breezing to her next table.
"Any plans for the weekend?" Edward asked.
"Alice and Rose and I are supposed to hang out tomorrow night. Alice got us tickets to a concert. Some band I never heard of."
"Sounds like it could be fun."
"What about you? Any plans?"
"I'm helping Mike move."
"He broke up with what's-her-name?"
"Of course. She's fucking psycho. She cut the arms off of all of his shirts."
"What?" I said, laughing.
"Yeah, she's a weirdo. She had some kind of crazy reasoning. Something about the arms symbolizing hugs that she never received or some shit. Mike said that was the last straw and he had to break it off."
I swigged my beer. "Hearing stories like that makes me think my relationship is not that bad." I said before my head caught up with my mouth.
"Is everything okay?" Edward said.
"Sure, sure. Just regular relationship stuff." I said dismissively, playing with my napkin.
"Izzy, you can talk to me. Whatever you say stays between us." He said sincerely, meeting my eyes.
"Edward, I don't want to burden you with my bullshit."
He rolled his eyes.
"What?" I asked.
"You always put everyone ahead of yourself. I'm here. I want to listen. It's not a burden."
"God, Edward, it's so much stuff. Emmett is a great guy but I feel like he doesn't really see me. Does that make sense?"
"Is it because he's working all of the time lately?"
"That's what I thought at first, but..." I paused, gathering my thoughts and trying to put them into words. "I just feel like he only cares about what I can do for him, encouraging him and listening to him talk about his problems and his work and his friends. It feels so one-sided sometimes. But he is a really good person. He's smart and talented and goal oriented. He is committed to our relationship. I sound like such a needy bitch, don't I?"
"Have you told him how you feel?"
"Whenever I try to tell him, he changes the subject back to himself."
"Yeah, my brother is pretty self-absorbed." He said, tilting his beer back and drinking.
I looked at him in shock.
"I don't know why you look so surprised. I've known him for thirty years. You've asked me more questions about my life and my friends and my job in the short time that I've known you than he ever has. But I know that's how he is. I don't expect anything else."
"So I should just overlook it like you do? Right?"
"Izzy, I can't tell you what to do. But you have to stop putting everyone else's feelings ahead of your own."
"Isn't that kind of telling me what to do?"
He rolled his eyes again and we both laughed. Lauren came over then with our order.
"Two orders of wings, one with ranch dip and one with blue cheese dip and one order of onion rings. Anything else I can get for you guys?"
"Two more beers?" Edward asked.
"Be right back!" she smiled.
We dug into our food, chatting easily about baseball and music and anything else that crossed our minds. I noticed that when Edward laughed, his eyes crinkled at the corners, and when he was talking about something serious, he rubbed his chin.
"Can I ask you a question?" I said when there was a lull in the conversation.
"Of course." He said, sipping on a glass of bourbon. He had traded beer for something a bit stronger.
"It's super super personal…"
"So when you are with a girl, you know…" I looked around the room to see if anyone was listening, but no one seemed to be paying us attention. "sexually."
"Uh huh." He prompted.
"Do you just go for yours or do you try to make it good for her, too?"
"I try to make it good for her. We're having sex with each other. I'm not masturbating using her vagina."
"So the girls you were with were able to…you know…"
"Able to what, Izzy?" he teased.
"Orgasm? Look at you blushing."
"Sure. Wait…you and Emmett…you can't…?"
"I guess it's just me. He said with all his other girlfriends, he didn't have to do much and they were able to… and I've never…" I admitted, looking down at my plate.
"You've never had an orgasm?" he asked incredulously. I shook my head.
"Not even alone?"
"Now you sound like Rose. No."
"Have you tried?"
"Yeah, I have. Maybe I'm just too uptight like Emmett said."
"He said that to you?" Edward asked, his face suddenly tense.
"Yeah. More than once, so it must be true, right?"
"Izzy…" he said, sighing. "You're not uptight. You probably just need someone to take their time with you."
"Alice bought me a vibrator. Hot pink, of course."
"Did you try it?"
"You should try it. Look at you blushing again. You're so cute."
"You should go home right now, get into your bed with that vibrator and have a great night experimenting with what you like."
"Experimenting?" I asked, completely baffled.
"You know, whether you like a lot of pressure or just a little bit of pressure. Fast, slow. That kind of thing. You need to know what you like and what you need in order to orgasm. I can't believe you've never googled this stuff."
"I'm going to google it now." I said and pulled out my cell phone. It was almost nine and no text or calls from Emmett. Big surprise. I searched how to orgasm and clicked on the first link.
"Izzy, you are bright red right now." Edward said, chuckling. "Put the phone down."
"It says that a woman's feet need to be warm for her to orgasm?" I told him as I read the screen. I guess there was more to this orgasming thing than I realized.
"How about this? How about we go to your apartment, you get under the covers with your toy and I'll sit on the chair next to your bed and instruct you on what to do."
"What? What the...? Hell, no. You're Emmett's brother. I can't…I can't…" I said. But even as I was saying that I couldn't, I knew that I wanted to. And that scared me.
"Okay, okay. It was just a suggestion." he said, putting his hand up and stopping my panic. "Do you have any room for ice cream? Want to walk to the ice cream place around the corner?"
"Sure." I said. Edward paid the check, ignoring my protests, and we walked out into the night air. It was still sticky and the street was bustling with evening activity, the sidewalks still crowded with groups of laughing teenagers and young adults. We walked in silence for a while, each deep in our own thoughts.
"Edward, if we tried what you suggested, no one could ever know. Ever." I said suddenly, breaking the silence and turning to face him on the sidewalk.
"Izzy, I swear I would go to my grave with that secret. It's not like it would make me look good. I would come off kind of creepy."
"Yeah, but I would come off kind of pathetic. Not to mention, you're Emmett's brother."
"It will just be between us. We can catch a cab right now, or we could do it another day…"
"Let's catch a cab." I said immediately. I wanted to do it before I lost my nerve. I needed this.