Beta(s): Stacyo72, Sunflower Fran, Geekchic12
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. The original plot and dialogue are mine.
I'm not a prude. At least, I don't think I'm a prude. I want sex. I want to ride the baloney pony, play hide the salami, watch Netflix and chill. Yet, somehow, by some strange, cruel twist of fate, I'm still a virgin at twenty-five.
How did THAT happen?
I certainly didn't plan this. I'm not overly religious, like Angela, the daughter of Rev. and Rev. Weber. Yes, both her mom and dad are ministers. She actually saved herself for her wedding night. I must have been a bit influenced by her back in high school. To only ever be with my soul mate seemed like such a romantic notion, straight out of an Austen novel. Of course, I expected to find that guy long before now. He's late—really, really late. Either that or I've missed my chance.
Eight years earlier . . .
"You're lying. There's no way that's true." I shut the door of my locker and give it a quick pull. Even though I know it locks when it closes, I always need to check. We walk close together, keeping our voices to whispers.
"Bella, I'm telling you Tyler Crowley gave Lauren Mallory gonorrhea. My dad had the file on his desk when I stopped by his office," Alice insists.
"Alice, your dad could be fired for showing you someone's confidential records," Angela chides.
"He didn't show it to me. He wasn't even in the room. It just happened to fall when I walked by his desk."
"Alice! You snooped? That's so wrong."
Alice begins to protest, but I silence her. "Angela's right. Just because Doctor Cullen is your dad, that doesn't make you privy to his patients' files. Suppose Angela eavesdropped on her parents while they heard confessions."
"Baptists don't go to confession. Catholics go to confession."
"Whatever. You know what I mean. Look, Lauren makes no secret of the fact that she sneaks into Tyler's house almost every morning so they can have sex before school. They're the horniest couple in our class. They're always all over each other in the halls. His hand's always on her ass. Her tongue's constantly down his throat. Why would he cheat?" I argue as we approach French class.
"Oh, Bella," Alice sighs. "You're so naïve. Just because they're exclusive during school doesn't mean he didn't find someone else last summer. They were at separate camps, and let's face it: Tyler knows he's a stud. I wouldn't be surprised if he'd cheat on her in Forks if he knew she wouldn't find out. They'll be broken up as soon as our senior year is over."
"But they're in love … " I protest as we walk into class and take our seats. I lower my voice even more since Tyler is sitting just two rows away.
"No, they're in lust. You don't get it yet. If you'd let Mike get past groping your boobs last year, you'd understand the difference," Alice counters while Angela just rolls her eyes.
"Please don't bring him up. That was a mistake from the first moment he asked me out. I never should've let it get that far." I scowl.
Mike was okay, but he really didn't light my flame. I wanted someone who'd give me butterflies when we made eye contact and fireworks when we kissed. That wasn't Mike. Madame Goff (she was Señora Goff to the Spanish class) entered the room, and the subject was dropped for good.
"Okay, everyone, I want to skip ahead to Greased Lightning. Get the set changed. I need Danny and the T-birds ready to enter from stage right. Let's roll; the production is in one week. We need to be ready!" Mr. Berty claps his hands twice as if it'd get us to move faster.
The other black-clad stage techs and I run around adjusting lights and changing sets. I prefer the background to the limelight, happily working behind the scenes at every show. The spring musical is the most important event on the arts department's calendar, much bigger than the senior art exhibit, or the orchestra recital. I'm especially proud to be part of this production because my friend, Edward, Alice's twin, has landed the prime role of Danny Zuko. He finally beat out Tyler, who's had every lead in the fall and spring productions for the past three and a half years. Edward has always been musically inclined, but with a lanky frame and thick nerdy glasses hidden by overgrown hair, he's generally not considered lead role material. Some kids refer to him as John Lennon, which irks me because the glasses are completely the wrong shape. Philistines.
Edward and Alice are practically relatives to me. Our families have known each other for generations. Our grandfathers were neighbors. My uncle went to his prom with Edward's mom. Edward's my brother from another mother, and I'm his sister from another mister. I know exactly how excited Edward is to play Danny Zuko. Alice, who works on all of the show's outfits, has already seen his transformation and is bouncing with excitement. I can't wait to see him in full costume. I keep one eye on stage right while I yell out directions to the underclassmen moving the big cardboard Greased Lightning into position under the two-level platform on center stage. Kenickie, played by Tyler, will drive it forward when the time comes. We finally get everything in place, making sure the car isn't visible from the front, and move off to the left wing. I hear Mr. Berty cue the T-birds.
"All right, Edward, from 'I don't know why I brought this tire iron,' and action."
I turn around just as Edward, dressed as a greaser, emerges from the opposite side of the stage. He's in the requisite costume of tight jeans, a fitted white T-shirt, and black leather jacket slung over his shoulder. I want to give him an encouraging smile, but instead, my jaw drops. It doesn't matter because he's too caught up in the moment to notice me.
When did Edward's spaghetti arms sprout muscles?
This is not the Edward I've known since we were in diapers. My palms sweat, and my stomach tightens as I take in his appearance. His hair is slicked back in the sexiest D.A. since James Dean. His eyes, his jade green eyes, no longer hidden by thick glasses, simultaneously pierce through the heart and hooch of every girl within two hundred feet of the stage. The opening lines completed, he launches into Greased Lightning, and the entire female population of the auditorium comes to a complete standstill. This isn't the kid once compared to a post mop-head Beatle. I forget all about spotlights and scenery as Edward's hips gyrate and his surprisingly toned biceps flex.
"I had no idea Edward Cullen was so hot!" I hear Jessica Stanley squeak from somewhere behind me.
"Tyler's lucky Edward's a late bloomer because he'd never get another lead again," another girl comments.
I feel my body reacting to Edward in very unfamiliar ways. My mind races as I attempt to connect the past to the present. This is the boy who sat across from me as we played Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. He's the kid next to me on the sofa as we hold identical electronic steering wheels and race against each other in Mario Kart. We've gone to movies and bowling nights with our families; we've trick-or-treated together on Halloween. There've been cookouts and birthday parties in both our backyards. How is it possible that someone I've known for all these years, someone I never thought of as anyone other than a friend is suddenly making my stomach whirl, my blood race, and my hoo-ha ... wet?
Am I actually wet?
Oh, good Lord, I want Edward.
Suddenly, it all clicks. Edward is my closest guy friend. I talk to him about everything. He's the one I went to first, even before Alice, when I decided to break it off with Mike. He gets my geeky references and groans at my bad jokes. We share the same taste in music. Edward is the complete package. Why hadn't I ever noticed how handsome he is? Why did it take a retro quiff and a pair of tight jeans for me to figure out how right he is for me? This is about more than physical attraction, although I can't deny that the current state of my undies is entirely due to him. He's smart and funny and sweet, and how had I never realized we belong together? There are murmurs of appreciation from all the girls backstage, and my heart clenches because what if it's too late? Edward Cullen is an instant heartthrob. The worst part is that all these girls will be throwing themselves at him, and I'll never stand a chance. We can't go to prom together. I've agreed to go with Jacob Black, while Edward's already committed to taking the girl playing Frenchy—Samantha something or other. She's currently standing across from me at stage right, watching Edward thrust and swivel his hips in front of the Greased Lightning prop car like he's channeling Elvis. The look of satisfaction on her face speaks volumes. She knows she just won the hot prom date lottery.
I wish I could say that after prom and graduation, Edward and I had one of those romantic moments where he had an epiphany similar to mine. I wish we ended up locking lips, twining tongues, and doing the horizontal mambo like in the erotica novels my mom hides in the bottom drawer of her nightstand along with a portable neck massager. I may have accidentally read two or three of them, strictly for educational purposes, when it dawned on me that the neck massager was really for somewhere else. Ick.
Regardless, Edward and I never moved beyond friendship. I didn't tell anyone about my feelings, not even Alice and Angela. I pretended he was still the same dork I'd known since we were in diapers, and he was completely oblivious to my amorous glances. Edward was too busy. He got laid a lot that summer. Samantha didn't even wait until prom to take his virginity. It was gone the opening night of Grease. I know because he told me, his voice full of awe and gratitude. At that point, sweet, dorky Edward couldn't believe someone would want to do that with him.
"Yes, Edward, there are girls who want you to put your penis in their vaginas," I snarked, hiding my despair behind humor.
"Girls, B? As in, more than one?" Edward's voice cracked as he repeated the word. "Wait! Who else? You have to tell me what you know!"
So, like the good friend I was, I told him everything that was said. Lauren, Jessica, and Katie Marshall all thought he had a cute ass (oh, did he ever), and they all speculated about the size of his cock.
"Apparently, you hang left."
Edward turned five shades of red while I wrinkled my nose, pretending not to understand what they meant even though I knew. Trust me, I knew. Those tight skinny jeans, which he continued to wear after Grease was over, hid nothing. Before long, flighty Samantha moved on, temporarily breaking Edward's heart but not his libido. Katie was next, but she had a penchant for auto-tune pop music, so that was destined to fail. Finally, just as Alice predicted, Lauren and Tyler went on a "break" before going off to college, and immediately, Edward scored his third girl in as many months. I felt ill, but I choked my feelings back while I cheerily reminded him to use really good quality condoms if he was going to hit that. At dinner that night, Alice, who never liked Lauren, made sure to announce that Edward was dating her. Doctor Cullen promptly took Edward for a long drive. I understand Edward looked a little peaked after that outing.
Soon enough, we were both at the University of Washington: the Tacoma campus and environmental sciences major for me, the Seattle campus and music major for Edward. I didn't hear much from him, an occasional email or text. Of course, we saw each other when we came back to little Forks on breaks. Every time, it was like we'd never been apart. We'd fall into that same easy, comfortable pattern of friendship, but I could tell Edward was changing. There was a new confidence to him. He talked about the band he'd joined in Seattle, and I'd listen to the songs he wrote. I was amazed by his talent. We traded stories about school and my lack of enthusiasm for the environmental sciences program. By the beginning of our junior year of college, I'd transferred to Seattle to become a marine biology major. Alice was also there. Naturally, I became her roommate. It worked out perfectly.
I tried to put my feelings for Edward behind me. I'd pretend it was just a high school crush brought on by the irresistible magnetism of Danny Zuko. I focused on finding my Mister Right as Angela announced her engagement to Ben and Alice hooked up with one of Edward's bandmates, Jasper. I did meet guys, but somehow, none of them were right. I found myself in a perpetual cycle of dating the unattainable and undesirable. I went from being a nineteen-year-old virgin to a twenty-two-year-old virgin in the blink of an eye. I lowered my expectations from Mister Right to Mister Right For Now. I still wanted my first time to be with someone I cared for, but he didn't need to be my future husband. I figured if we lasted past the two-month mark, it was good. Unfortunately, none of them ever lasted that long. Twenty-two turned into twenty-five. At this age, virginity is becoming a liability. Guys are starting to wonder what's wrong with me. Like, do I have a herd of cats living in my apartment or a shrine to Justin Beiber, or maybe I'm too busy preparing for the Rapture? No, no, no! This is not what was supposed to happen! Yet, here I am: a marine sciences doctoral student who knows more about whale sex than human sex.
That needs to change.
"Do you think God wants me to be a nun?" I ask Alice before I take a sip of my latte.
"Bella, you're not Catholic," she replies without glancing up from her phone.
"Yeah, but maybe it's a sign, you know? Maybe I'm still a virgin because God wants me to move to Africa or Haiti and become a missionary." I gaze at the view of the water outside. We're at the aptly named Vista Café, my favorite haunt on this part of campus.
Alice quirks an eyebrow as her eyes remain fixed on her screen. "Bella, you're ridiculous. God isn't keeping you a virgin. You are."
I sputter a protest, but Alice waves her hand at me while finally making eye contact.
"Bella, forget about Mister Right and Mister Right For Now. What you need is a Mister Right Now. Find the hottest guy you can, and just do it. Get it out of the way, over. For fuck's sake, Angela has had sex before you!" she whispers, even though the restaurant is mostly empty at this time of the afternoon. She returns her focus to her phone.
"Do you think I haven't considered that? It's not so easy. Suppose he sucks in bed. If I'm not with someone I love, then I need to be with someone who knows what he's doing. What do you want me to do, put an ad on Craigslist?"
Alice pauses mid-text. "That's not such a bad—"
"Forget it!" I cut her off. "I'm not that desperate." Yet, I silently add.
"Not again, and don't suggest eHarmony or Match. I always end up with some sort of religious fanatic or a guy who lives in his parents' basement."
"What about showing up at Edward's?" Alice asks as I practically choke on my chocolate croissant.
"No, no, not Edward's place. I mean go see his band. They're playing tomorrow night at The Showbox."
"The Love Pumps are playing at The Showbox?" I repeat, temporarily forgetting the point of this conversation. "Wow, that's huge, Alice!"
Edward's band has been around for a few years, playing local venues like The Crocodile and Neumo's, but The Showbox usually only books national acts. Despite their stupid name, The Love Pumps have earned a reputation as one of the best local bands in Seattle in the past five years.
"Their EP is getting play on alternative radio. Of course, everyone's comparing them to Death Cab for Cutie or The Shins, but I don't think they sound anything like them. It's just because they're from here."
Last summer, while I took part in a whale research study based in Alaska, Alice moved out of our apartment. She's now living with Jasper, the band's bassist. He's all lean, tattooed arms and pierced, um ... parts. There are times I wish Alice had a filter. Of course, I'm happy for her. She and Jasper have a deep connection that I can only hope I'll find with someone. After several minutes of comparing Seattle's past and present bands to The Love Pumps, Alice finally gets back on track.
"I think you should go. The place will be packed. Plus, we'll have access to backstage, maybe find you a yummy musician of your own. There's an opening act."
"So, you think I should be deflowered by a manwhore like your brother?"
Alice scowls slightly, then flashes a brilliant smile. "Yes, exactly. Bring condoms. I'll scope out the possibilities and find a couple of candidates."
"I won't tell them that's the plan! I'll just bring us backstage. We can hang out, watch the show from the wings. It'll be fun. You'll have a few drinks and maybe just let loose for once. I'm not saying it definitely has to be tomorrow. Stop overthinking it. If you find someone hot, kiss him, make out, and see how it goes. If he's got a good tongue, put it to use in other places. I know you've done that before."
I blush. I'm not completely inexperienced, and Alice knows my sexual history in detail. I'm what's known as a T.V.– a technical virgin. I'm always very upfront with the guys I date and I tell them before things get too intimate. Despite that, there've been some unexpected reactions among my past boyfriends.
"What if he turns out to be like Garrett?"
"Really, Bella, most guys wouldn't lose their erections when you tell them you're a virgin. That was just your bad luck."
"He completely deflated."
"I know, honey. It was a freak accident, I swear. Most guys would be honored to be your first. Ask Edward. He must have deflowered a few dozen of his groupies. You know what they call him."
"Don't remind me. Sometimes, I think you and I are the only two women he hasn't screwed," I grumble.
Sometimes, I think the only two women I haven't screwed are my sister and Bella. My sister, for what should be obvious reasons, and Bella, because she's Bella, my sister from another mister. Despite both of us living in the city, we don't see each other that often. We now travel in very different circles. She's busy doing the academic thing: writing her thesis about whales, and I'm busy trying to get my band to the next level. We've built up a good following, and we're right at the cusp of something big. I just know it.
I've gotten kind of famous in the local music scene, although it's not just about my vocal skills. I'm a good front man. I was nervous when I first started singing at gigs, but then I just pretended to be Danny Zuko, like when I was in Grease. I'd swivel my hips and strut confidently around the stage. People ate it up. Now, I command that stage when I'm on it. I always get the crowd pumped, especially the women, at whatever venue we're playing. I love it when they get really into it—hanging on to my legs and grabbing at me. It gets me going, which apparently became obvious during one particular show when our band first began the local club circuit. Emmett started called me the M.C. At first, I went along with it because I thought he meant it as a rapper, an emcee. Our music isn't rap at all, but hey, whatever. At the end of the show, I asked him. He just pointed me to the full-length mirror in the dressing room. I still didn't get it.
"Bro, do you have a zucchini wrapped in tin foil in your pants, or is that really you 'cuz that is one monster cock. Even I'm impressed. Those girls were going crazy trying to grab you."
"Oh, it's real," his girlfriend, Rosalie confirmed. She should know. She sucked me off the night before she met Emmett. He's aware of our dalliance, to be polite about it, and it's cool. I'd never make a play for Rosalie now that they're together.
"He's a little longer than you baby but you've got more girth," she added helpfully.
I just shook my head. I learned a while ago not to be shocked by anything she said.
"Yeah, it's all about the girth, ain't it?" Emmett replied, stretching out on the lumpy sofa next to her, not the least concerned with his girl comparing our cocks.
That's how the legend of M.C.—Monster Cock—began. We even wrote a song about it, sort of comparing my cock to a vampire because it seeks the blood of virgins. Jasper and I wrote the lyrics while we were stoned. It made sense at the time.
"Mmmmm …" I roll over, stretching my long legs, and check my phone. Tanya texted me. She's one of the several regulars who come to every show. Yeah, she's a groupie I'm screwing. I know we're a sleazy cliché. I'm not above admitting it. It should probably bother me that I know almost nothing about her outside of how she likes to fuck, but it's not like I see us growing old together on the front porch. Up until now, my philosophy regarding relationships has been to just have a good time and not get attached to anyone. I can get plenty without ever having to invest in a relationship and get my heart broken, so why not? Sometimes, though, I wonder if things haven't gotten too far out of hand.
Not so long ago, Riley, our keyboardist, and I were each in our rooms, screwing chicks after a gig, but the bedroom doors somehow never got shut At one point, Riley and I make eye contact. It was a little too weird, so as a joke, I yelled out, "Switch!" Except ... no one thought I was joking. I watched in a daze as the girls switched places, giggling. Next thing I knew, Kate, who'd been fucking Riley, straddled me while Irina and Riley started banging. Yeah, maybe I should have said something, but what do you say? Hey, get off my dick. I was kidding. Besides, Kate and Irina were part of our regular pack of groupies. I'd already had sex with each of them before. Afterward, Riley thought the whole mix-up was hilarious.
For me, it was a wake-up call. I don't want to be that guy anymore. I got tested even though I always wear protection, and I'd just gone a few months earlier. I'm clean. Since then, I've sort of retreated to just fucking Tanya, but that's losing its attraction too. Tanya's a pretty girl, but she parties hard, and it's starting to wear on me. I've decided to cut her loose. I send her a quick text back, letting her know that we need to talk. We agree to meet in an hour at the coffee shop around the corner. Even though she's technically not my girlfriend, I want to do this the right way. I'm not the kind of douche that breaks up with someone via text.
I glance down at the time on my phone. It's almost one in the afternoon. We've got an important show tonight, and I need to be ready. I slide out of bed, unplug my phone, and walk into the main room of the loft I share with Emmett, Rosalie, Riley, and Bree, our guitarist.
"'Sup?" Riley asks between bites of a Pop-Tart.
I mumble a response as my phone buzzes with another message. I can't help but smile as I read my sister's text.
"Damn, what's that shit-eating grin for? Did you win the lottery?"
"Nah, man. Alice is bringing our friend, Bella, to the show tonight. I've got to add her to the list," I respond as I turn on the Keurig.
"Bella? She hot?"
"You banging her?"
"I said she's a friend. It's not like that."
Riley snorts. "Since when? You bang every girl you know. You even had sex with Bree, and she's a lesbian."
"She's bi, and that was over two years ago." I shake my head. "Bella's different. She's like family."
"Why haven't I met her before?"
Riley's only been with the band since the spring, so I explain our history while I pull out the K-cups, cream, and sugar.
"She was up in Alaska all last summer doing research for her thesis. She's a marine biologist or will be when she gets her doctorate," I finish.
"That's cool. So, you don't mind if I bang her?"
I generally don't have a temper, but there are certain things that just make me explode. For example, guys who think they can take advantage of Bella. She's just too good for a sleaze like Riley or me.
"Don't even think about looking at her, let alone fucking her. Got it? She's off limits."
Riley gives me the 'back off' motion with his hands.
"Bro, it's cool. I didn't realize it was like that. Just say so."
"You've got a thing for her."
I sigh. Riley is a great keyboardist, but he's not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed.
"No, man. Bella's just special. She deserves better than guys like us. She's not someone you just bone. She's not into that."
"Does she love you too?"
"What? Dude, did you take those mushrooms again? Emmett told you to stay away from them after that last trip you took."
I turn away from Riley, ignoring him while I finish making my coffee. When I finally turn back around, he's wised up and retreated to his bedroom. I huff to myself as I grab a Pop-Tart. The last thing Bella would ever want is to hook up with a guy like me.
I really want to hook up with a guy like Edward, or rather someone who makes me feel the way Edward makes this crowd feel. He's the quintessential lead singer—channeling everyone from Robert Plant to Michael Hutchence to Gerard Way—yet, there's still something uniquely Edward about him. In skin-tight jeans and a Ziggy Stardust t-shirt, he struts and shimmies in front of us as his strong tenor hits every note just right. It's as if we're back in high school and he's playing Danny Zuko again. He's got that combination of confidence and charisma that make women want to jump on stage and men fist-pump the air. He has all of us in his thrall.
Alice and I are currently ensconced in the tiny photographer's pit on the left side of the stage. The speakers are directly above us. I can feel Jasper's bass and Emmett's drums pound through my body with every note. Alice shouts something, but I can't hear her over the music. I force myself to look away from Edward and turn to her.
"What?" I shout back.
She leans over and yells directly into my ear, "Riley's checking you out."
"Who's Riley?" I yell back even as our heads touch.
I glance across the stage. Behind an array of synthesizers stands a tall blond wearing heavy guy-liner and a retro eighties haircut. I'm startled as my view is suddenly blocked by Edward's crotch. He's leaning backward, his long legs spread wide, as he holds the microphone above his head, singing his heart out. His junk is at eye level, and I can understand why he's called M.C. He still hangs left, or maybe it's pointing? Poking? Edward is practically in a backbend, and I can't help but be impressed by what I'm seeing.
"Wow! That's got to hurt," I say, forgetting I'm still next to Alice's ear.
"He and Jasper started taking yoga last year. They're both very flexible."
Thankfully, Alice thinks I'm impressed by his backbend rather than by his package. Edward finally finishes the note and straightens up while the crowd screams its approval. I quickly adjust my gaze back to his face and catch him scowling at Riley, who merely shrug and smirks. After that, I can't see any more of Riley's expressions because my view seems to always be blocked by Edward. It doesn't take long for me to forget about Riley with Edward front and center, between Jasper and the girl guitarist. They finish their final set, and Alice is pushing me past the beefy security guy while flourishing our wristbands in his face.
"What did you think of Riley? He's cute, isn't he? He's very experienced. I think he's slept with almost as many groupies as Edward," Alice babbles as we head down to the dressing rooms.
"I really couldn't see him behind the rest of the band."
"Oh, that's okay. You can check him out after he's showered."
We reach the dressing rooms, where the scent of pot and tobacco seems permanently embedded in the walls and furniture. I meet Rose, Emmett's girlfriend, as well as a few other close friends of the group. It's been a while, but I remember most of them from the times I've seen the band live. Jasper is already showered and seated on an old beat-up sofa. Alice sits on his lap, and I grab the overstuffed chair across from them just as Edward emerges from the bathroom, freshly showered. He sees me and smiles, causing my stomach to somersault. No matter how many years have passed, he still has the same effect on me.
He comes over and sits down on the arm of my chair. He leans forward and gives me a friendly hug. His eyes are still the same shade of light green. When we were young, I'd have described them as jade, but they're not. They're serpentine, an unusual gold-tinged green, which is so much more expressive than mellow jade. I lose myself in our conversation, vaguely aware of the party around us. Somehow, he ends up squeezed next to me in the chair. We catch up on the minutiae of our lives, laughing over the vast differences. I forget my original purpose in coming out tonight, but Alice hasn't forgotten. She gets up and leans over to whisper in my ear.
"Bella, you're never going to hook up with Riley if you spend all night next to Edward."
"Whoa! What? Why the fuck would she want to do that?" Edward whispers back.
Alice rolls her eyes. "Why not? He's cute; he's available—"
"He's a total manwhore! No, absolutely not." Edward scowls at his sister while she raises an eyebrow.
"This isn't about me, Alice. Why would you want to set Bella up with him? He's totally wrong for her."
"She's not looking for a relationship. She just wants to lose her virginity to someone who knows what he's doing."
I groan in embarrassment while Edward's eyes widen in shock. That was one subject we hadn't covered while we were catching up.
Edward looks back at me, confusion and frustration etched on his face.
"Why would you want to do that? I thought you were waiting for the right person. There's no way some stranger is the right person."
"Edward, I'm twenty-five. I don't think like that anymore."
"You've waited all this time, and now you don't care? You're fine with casual sex now, with just throwing your virginity away to the next guy you hook up with?"
My blush turns to a flush of anger. I cross my arms in front of my chest.
"I'm not throwing it away. This is my choice. I waited for Mister Right; he never showed. I tried finding a Mister Right For Now; it never worked out. Now, it's time to move to Mister Right Now. You're no one to judge me, Edward. You've probably slept with half the women in this room."
Have you ever had one of those moments? A moment when you realize there's something you've known in your subconscious but never acknowledged? It's not a lightning bolt, more like a slow tingling that starts in my belly and spreads until it's permanently etched into every cell of my body. I turn to Bella and grasp her hand, pulling us both to our feet. I gently rub my thumb over her knuckles as I ask her to come with me. She nods, and we walk out, leaving Alice and Jasper without another word. There are a few people milling around, but I just barrel past them, still holding on to Bella until we reach the end of the hall. I turn and grasp her shoulders.
"I'm not judging you, B. I'd never do that. You're right. I have slept with most of the women in that room, and it meant nothing. It hasn't meant anything ever because I didn't love any of them. I've never been able to love any of them because someone else took my heart a long time ago. I just didn't realize that was the reason until now."
I slide my hands down her arms until I'm holding her hands as I look into her confused eyes.
"I'm taking a huge risk saying this, but I love you, Bella. I think I've loved you for so long that I didn't know what word to use to describe why I smile whenever I hear your name, or why my heart swells when you talk to me. No one else gets it when I say 'the pearl is in the river.' No one else knows I've seen High School Musical eighteen times, twelve of them with you. When I write songs about love or relationships, you're always the girl I picture with some nameless, faceless guy. Until now. Now, I know I'm that guy."
I pause, taking a deep breath.
"When you announced that you wanted to just throw your virginity away on the next guy who shows an interest, Bella, please…" I grip her hands just a bit more to emphasize my words. "If you're determined to do this, then I'm asking, please, do it with me. Even if you don't love me, you deserve to have your first time be with someone who loves you, who cares about you, who'll do everything I can to make it as good for you as possible."
"I'm clean. I've been tested, and I've only been with one girl for the past month."
"I swear. Even if you don't feel the same for me, let me give you the night you deserve…"
I stop, afraid of the rejection I'm about to face.
"I'm not brave, Edward. In fact, I'm the biggest coward on the planet. I've waited and waited for Mister Right, then blamed him—blamed you—for being late when you were right there all along. I've known how I've felt since the first time I saw you walk on stage as Danny Zuko, but I never had the guts to tell you. Instead, I watched as all those girls came in and out of your life. I figured I never had a chance. I was so afraid of losing you that I couldn't take the next step. Now, you're telling me that not only do you love me, but you love me enough to be my first even if I don't love you? Edward Cullen, I do love you. Can you forgive me for being such a fool?"
I stare at Bella for an eternity of seconds before I finally manage a weak nod.
"This means you're definitely not sleeping with Riley?" I half kid before I lean down and close the space between us. My lips brush softly over hers, once, twice, three times before I slowly suck her lower lip between mine, savoring her sweet taste. I repeat my motions, this time with her top lip, before fully enclosing my mouth over hers. Our tongues touch, and I feel her giggle against my mouth. I break away, curious.
"I'm kissing bed-head Ed." She laughs, using the nickname she and Alice gave me when we were eleven.
"How about I show you bed-head in the morning?"
I smirk, my confidence fully restored as I run my hands through her soft, long hair.
It's been two weeks since Edward cornered me in the hallway of The Showbox and confessed his love. We went back to my apartment that night and fooled around. Ultimately, we decided to wait just a bit longer for the actual event, not because I didn't want to, but because Edward wanted me to enjoy it as much as possible. We've been nearly inseparable since then. Alice, that little sneak, told us she'd been trying to get us to admit our feelings for years. Apparently, we'd managed to fool everyone else, including ourselves, but Alice saw right through it. Her whole "Mr. Right Now" plan was a ruse she and Jasper plotted in order to get Edward and I together.
Well, it worked. I go to his shows; he waits for me after class. I study while he practices his songs. In between, there've been many intense sessions in what I've named Advanced Sex 400: the Edward Cullen curricu-cum. (See what I did there?) Edward's fingers and tongue have been very busy prepping me for the M.C., which is even more impressive when it's not contained inside those tight jeans. I know it will still hurt a bit, but after two weeks of having every other Edward appendage in there, I need Edward's cock. My vagina is practically screaming for the M.C., so tonight is the night.
I admire Edward's bare backside as he walks around my bedroom lighting candles. He's thought of everything: candles, white rose petals—because apparently red makes it look like a crime scene—silky sheets, and several bouquets of flowers. Ever practical, Edward also has a box of condoms and a Costco-size bottle of lube on the nightstand. He finishes lighting the candles and climbs into bed next to me.
"Bella…" he whispers reverently before I close the distance between us.
Our bodies mold together as we kiss over and over. I love feeling the pressure of his soft lips as his tongue traces mine. I feel him, already hard and heavy against me, as my hands instinctively seek out my favorite places to hold. With one hand on his firm ass and the other ensconced at the base of his hair, my legs wrap around him as his hands caress my breasts. First, each thumb slowly circles over my nipples, simultaneously hardening the sensitive peaks. I gasp into his mouth as the sensations carry from my breasts to my now throbbing clit. His other fingers massage while his thumbs focus on bringing me to the brink. Edward knows exactly how to drive me crazy. He breaks our kiss and lowers his head to one breast, his tongue expertly repeating the motions of his thumbs. I'm already pressing and rubbing against his long cock, desperate for the friction that I know will ultimately bring me release. He raises his head and chuckles in my ear.
"Not so fast. I want you ready."
I practically whimper as he returns to laving each breast with his tongue while one hand edges down my back and squeezes my ass lightly before he continues around to the front and inserts a finger inside me.
"Hmmm, I think I can get you wetter than this," he murmurs while his other fingers lightly slide over my clit.
My body responds as if on command. I'm moaning and whining, begging for him to not stop as he inserts a second finger.
"Yes, please! Keep doing that."
I'm not sure if I'm begging or ordering as he combines his fingers and tongue until I finally explode in waves of pleasure.
As my breathing returns to normal, I feel him slide down and spread my thighs. He gently kisses me on my still-sensitive clit before he lowers his head more. The first time he did this, I nearly died from the pleasure. His tongue deserves its own national holiday or a commemorative postage stamp. It's that incredible. It doesn't take long before I'm crying and writhing as my second orgasm engulfs me.
The sound of a wrapper tearing is barely audible over my erratic breathing.
"Bella, are you ready?" he asks.
"Yes," I reply, panting heavily. "I'm so ready."
Edward hovers above me as he aligns our bodies.
We kiss, our eyes never leaving the other's. He takes one of my hands in his, wrapping his fingers around me while he uses his other hand to help guide himself in. He goes slowly, allowing my body time to adjust to his size until he reaches the point where my barrier lies.
I give him a slight nod. He pushes forward, and I feel the sharp sting. I arch up and cry out despite myself. Edward stills as we wait for the pain to dissipate.
"Okay?" he asks after a while.
I kiss him before replying, "Yes."
He begins to move, gently at first, asking at each interval if I'm ready. Eventually, he increases his pace, and I stop feeling as if I'll split in two. Instead, I feel nothing but pleasure as he fills me in a way no one ever has. I grasp his backside as he reaches his own hard-earned climax.
Edward caresses my face with one hand.
"I love you, Bella. It's always been you and only you in my heart and soul."
I smile,. "I love you too, Edward. You're my Mister Right, my Mister Right For Now, and Mister Right Now, all in one."
A/N: This was my entry for the "Straight thru the Heart" contest. This version is slightly longer than the one posted on the contest's profile since I'm no longer required to keep the story under seven thousand words. I want to thank Stacy and Sunflower Fran for their encouragement and support. This entry wouldn't have posted without their help. I also want to thank Geekchic12, the contest's emergency beta, for her help when called upon in the twelfth hour. All three contributed greatly to the finished story. I wrote most of it in less than a day and sent it to the contest on a whim, which was a mistake. My second beta, Maxandmo, has been busy with baby #3, and her punctuation skills were sorely missed. Participating in this contest was an interesting experience. I learned a lot about this fandom, even though I thought I knew it pretty well beforehand. Regardless, just as you should never judge a book by its cover, you should never judge a contest's grammar rules by how it spells "through." I'd like to thank everyone who read, reviewed, favorited, and followed this story. I've come to really appreciate the dedication of readers who will read and review every story in a contest, even if it's just a simple "thank you for your entry." I can't tell you how much that means to those of us who enter these contests. That said, I have no plans to enter any more contests. I'm focusing on one special project and my two WIPS. I'm also proud to say that the very talented Stacyo72 is regularly posting new chapters for her entry from the Age of Edward 2015 contest, Pressing for Love. I'm her beta/pre-reader, and I'm thrilled she has finally started writing again. I first met Stacy many years ago when she wrote an epic Duran Duran fanfic, which I loved from the moment I began reading. Almost ten years later, she is one of my best friends and I treasure that friendship.