Title: Grad Night
Pen name: RobzBeanie
Pairing: Edward and Bella
Genre: Angst / Romance
Summary: One last high school event changes Bella's life in ways she never imagined.
Disclaimer: The author does not own any of the publicly recognizable entities herein. No copyright infringement is intended.
"Please, Dad," I beg, clasping my hands together in front of me. I'm used to Charlie's overprotectiveness by now, but one day he's going to have to accept that I'm 18 years old. I'm an adult; I'll even be a high school graduate in another three weeks.
"I don't know, Bells. It's over three hours away."
"It's not like I'll be driving," I growl, trying hard not to roll my eyes. "We're taking a bus. And I'll be going a lot further away than three hours when I go to college."
I cringe internally as soon as the words are out of my mouth. My dad and I have had many conversations — more like arguments — in the last six months about my decision to accept the offer of a full scholarship to the University of Illinois in Chicago. The last thing I need to do is remind him of that right now.
"Who else is going?"
"Most of the senior class. Angela will be there," I point out. Dad loves my best friend, Angela Weber, given that her father is the reverend here in the tiny town of Forks, Washington. "And at least a dozen chaperones."
He strokes his moustache and I try to remain quiet, my face impassive.
"All right," he sighs. "You can go."
"Thanks, Dad," I cry, hugging him quickly before rushing upstairs to my room. I pull my phone out of my pocket, texting Angela to let her know that he said yes.
I can't believe I was able to convince him. I can't believe I'm going to see Edward Masen in the flesh.
Two weeks later, I stand staring into my closet, trying to figure out what to wear. All of my clothes are so… lame. I've never been interested in wearing tight clothes that show off what few curves I have — not that Dad would let me out of the house in anything like that anyway.
But tonight I need to look extra special.
Along with most high schools within driving distance, Forks High School has been invited to participate in a Grad Night celebration at Wild Waves theme park, near Tacoma. The park will be open exclusively for graduating high school seniors from 6pm through 6am.
I haven't been to Wild Waves in years, since back when it was still owned by Six Flags. I can still remember visiting the park for the last time with both of my parents, shortly before my eighth birthday. I had finally reached four foot tall — the minimum height for most of the thrill rides.
A stray tear slides down my face and I brush it away angrily. There's no use dwelling on the past. My life is what it is.
I am excited to visit the amusement park again, but what I'm really looking forward to is the midnight concert by my very favorite band: The New Moons.
Started by lead guitarist Jasper Whitlock and drummer Emmett Cullen when they met in college, the band also consists of bass guitarist Riley Biers, lead singer Seth Clearwater, and the youngest member of the group, Emmett's step-brother, Edward Masen.
I smile to myself, like I do every single time I think of Edward. Only 21 years old and he's the heart and soul of the group, playing keyboards and writing all of the band's music. The New Moons were just a cover band until Emmett's father, Carlisle, married Edward's mother, Esme, and Emmett learned that his new step-brother could write music.
And wow can he write. Edward is a classically trained pianist and everything he composes has an instantly memorable melody. But more than that, his lyrics touch something inside of me. He's a poet, a freakin' poet.
Now on their second album, The New Moons have only had minor success on the pop charts, but they're known as a must-see live act among the college set. They've played Seattle before, but there was no way my overprotective father would have ever let me drive to Seattle for a concert.
He thinks tonight is all about riding a few roller coasters. What he doesn't know won't hurt him.
I check the time on my phone and I know I have to hurry it up. We're meeting in the school parking lot at four o'clock for the bus trip to Wild Waves.
I hurriedly pull out my nicest pair of skinny jeans and a dark green henley-style shirt. After running a brush through my hair and spraying some perfume, I slip into my Chucks, since I'll be walking quite a bit around the park. Downstairs, I grab a jacket — I'll be outside all night — then slip my phone and a few bills into my pocket.
Angela is already waiting with the rest of our class when I pull my ancient pick-up truck into my usual spot in the parking lot. I jump out, almost running as I join the group of students and chaperones.
"Bella!" she yells when I reach her. "I thought maybe your dad changed his mind and wasn't gonna let you go."
"He's not home. I just couldn't decide what to wear. I mean, I'm going to see Edward!"
Angela smiles. "I wonder if he knows his biggest fan will be there tonight."
I shove her arm. "I know we probably won't get within 20 feet of him, but just in case, you know?"
The chaperones check any purses or backpacks, making sure no one is trying to sneak in any alcohol, then hand each of us a box with a sandwich, a bag of chips and a can of pop, since we'll be driving through dinnertime.
"I call dibs on the window seat," I tell Angela, looking back at her over my shoulder as I step up onto the bus.
She sticks her tongue out at me. "Fine, then I get the window on the way home."
"If I hear one more rendition of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, I'm going to scream," Angela growls when the bus finally pulls in to the parking lot of Wild Waves a little after 7:30pm.
"No kidding." I shake my head.
As we file off the bus, we are each handed a Grad Night "diploma" and told in no uncertain terms that we must meet at the front gates by 5:45am for the bus ride home. I roll up my diploma, tucking it into the pocket of my jacket.
"What do you want to ride first?" Angela asks, practically bouncing on her feet. Every time she visits Wild Waves with her family, she gets stuck taking her younger twin brothers on all of the Kiddie Land rides and never gets to go on anything good.
"We have all night," I chuckle. "Let's just find the closest one and go from there."
Angela leads us off along the left side of a small lake until we reach Celebration Square. All of the carnival-style games are in this area, and I resist the urge to laugh at the teenage boys trying to win huge stuffed animals for their girlfriends.
"Look!" I yell when I spot The Wild Thing roller coaster. I remember this one from my last visit to the park. It was my first ever coaster and as such, holds a special place in my heart. Angela agrees to ride this one first and we join the line.
The theme park area of Wild Waves isn't all that large, and within a few hours, we've pretty much ridden everything in the park, given the fact that the lines are all pretty short with only high school seniors here.
"Want to ride Timberhawk again?" Angela asks, motioning toward the park's only wooden roller coaster.
I glance at the time on my phone — quarter after ten. "Maybe we should get in line for the concert. I want to be close enough to see how green Edward's eyes really are."
Angela rolls her eyes, but she agrees, following me back to Celebration Square, where the concert will take place. "Oh my God," I yelp, running toward the theater when I see how few people are already waiting. We should be able to get close to the stage, especially since I want to be on the side — where the keyboard is — instead of the more popular location in the center.
As we wait, Angela and I chat with the girls on either side of us. I'm thrilled to hear that they're mostly crushing on Riley or Jasper and not Edward.
Just before midnight, the security guards let us in and we rush toward where the keyboard is set up on the right side of the stage, finding ourselves literally in the front row. I try to keep calm, feeling like my heart is going to burst out of my chest.
Someone from the park walks up to the microphone to the sound of deafening screams. He announces the band and the screaming gets even louder as the five guys take the stage.
"What's up?" Seth yells as Emmett's drums start off the first song.
My eyes are immediately trained on Edward, whose head is down as he focuses on the notes he's playing on his keyboard. He's wearing dark wash jeans and a tight white t-shirt with some sort of photo on the front, totally showing off his toned and tattooed arms. His reddish brown hair is a wild mess on top of his head, just as it always seems to be; it's become his trademark.
I think I might faint when he glances up, winking at me. Well, winking in my direction anyway; I'd like to think it's directed at me.
For the next 90 minutes, I dance and sing along with the words to every single song. I'm probably going to be hoarse for days. I pull out my phone between songs, trying to take photos of Edward. He's just so unbelievably gorgeous. It should be illegal for a boy to be that pretty.
As the last few chords die away, the band members step to the front of the stage, taking a bow to thunderous applause. Emmett tosses his drumsticks into the crowd and they all wave as they leave the stage.
I barely resist the urge to call out, "I love you, Edward!"
"Oh my God, that was ah-ma-zing," Angela gushes as we follow the crowd out of the small theater.
"It really was," I agree, coughing a little. "Want to get a drink?"
We walk up to the nearest food kiosk and buy two bottles of water, then take a much needed breather, sitting on a bench while we down our drinks.
"What's all the excitement over there?" Angela asks suddenly, and I look up toward where a crowd of people is gathering.
"Let's go check it out." We stand up, walking over to the crowd. "What's going on?" I ask the nearest girl as we reach the group.
"Someone said The New Moons are going to come out to sign autographs!" she replies excitedly.
My eyes widen as I look over at Angela. Holy shit, I could meet Edward? That's more than I've ever dreamed of.
About ten minutes later, Seth appears, a towel still around his neck. Sharpie in hand, he begins signing his name to whatever is thrust in front of his face. As he nears us, we pull out our Grad Night diplomas. "Hi," I breathe as he smiles at the two of us and signs his name.
Angela squeals as Seth moves away — he always was her favorite. He's just finishing up when Riley comes out, quickly followed by Jasper. I get both of their signatures, my heart starting to pound madly as I realize Edward could be next.
And he is. "Oh my God," I squeal, turning to Angela.
"You should try to get a picture with him," she suggests.
"Oh! Yeah, great idea." I pull my phone out of my pocket, my hand shaking as he gets closer and closer. "I think I might puke," I mutter under my breath.
"Hello, ladies," Edward greets us with his velvet voice. Oh. My. God. He's even better looking up close… his two-day scruff of beard is so sexy. And my God, he's tall.
I swallow thickly, unable to do anything but hold out my diploma. He signs his name for me and then moves to Angela.
"Wait!" I call as he starts to turn away. "C-can I have a photo?"
"Sure," he smiles. I hand Angela my phone and step closer to Edward. He puts his bare arm around my shoulders and it's all I can do to stay on my feet. His body feels so hard and so warm pressed up against mine. He smells like a combination of sweat and something masculine that I can't quite put my finger on — but it's a good smell, nothing like the guys at school by the end of gym class.
Angela snaps a photo, then looks down at the screen. "Let me take another one," she offers. I feel Edward's fingers squeeze my shoulder as I try to give her my best smile. "Ok," she nods, giving us the thumbs up.
Edward pulls his arm away and I feel the loss immediately. "Thank you," I manage to say, reluctantly stepping back toward Angela.
"My pleasure." He winks, moving on to the next group of girls. And I swoon.
After we've got Emmett's autograph, Angela and I move back to our bench and I get my first chance to look at the photos of Edward and me.
"The first one was fine… why did you need to take a second?" I ask as I flip through them.
"I just thought you might want more time with Edward's arm around you," she replies with a grin.
"Ang, you're a genius!" I stare at the second photo, at the twinkle in Edward's eye, and for just a moment, I allow myself to imagine that I'm the one who put it there.
"I can't believe we actually met them," she says dreamily.
"It's so surreal," I agree. "This is the best day of my life."
We decide to go on some of our favorite rides again, but Angela needs to stop by the bathroom first. As I wait outside for her, leaning against the concrete wall, I close my eyes and let my mind go back over every moment of my interaction with Edward.
"Hi," a male voice says. I open my eyes, really glad for the wall behind me when I see Edward standing in front of me, still wearing his stage clothes.
A/N: Thanks to moosals for her pre-reading and beta work as usual! And also thanks to Rose (CozItRunsInMyBlood) for pre-reading and helping me to up the drama level, even if I didn't win anything in the Bandward contest.
Daily posts starting Sunday until the entire contest one-shot is posted, then we switch to twice-weekly updates. I've pre-written up to 95,000 words and it's not done yet.
On May 27, 1988, I attended the Fourth Annual Grad Night at Geauga Lake amusement park in Aurora, Ohio. I saw a midnight concert by the Canadian band Glass Tiger, then the band members came out afterward to sign autographs. All I got besides the autographs was a hug from Sam, their cute keyboard player, though.