A/N: I don't own Twilight or its characters; they belong to Stephanie Meyer. This is just what they got up to in my mind
I tapped on my truck's steering wheel in time to the tune bellowing out of the stereo and took a deep breath in preparation for belting out the chorus.
Shit! What? Why was my truck slowing down?
I forgot all about the song as I floored the gas pedal, but still she slowed. I glanced into my rear view mirror and was relieved to see that no one was behind me.
I pushed further on the gas pedal even though I knew it wouldn't do any good. All sorts of lights were now flashing on my truck's dashboard and every few seconds there was a loud beep that couldn't mean anything good.
And even worse than all that, the air conditioning stopped. Today was so hot I felt like my skin was melting, so the absence of cool air had an immediate effect.
My truck's engine groaned and then, sure enough, she spluttered, choked and finally lurched to a rather undignified stop.
Damn. I hit the steering wheel repeatedly with both my palms and used swear words I usually reserved for assholes who really pissed me off.
I turned the ignition key back and forth trying to coax my poor truck back to life.
"Come on, please. Oh God, Charlie's going to kill me...if oncoming traffic doesn't first."
I checked my mirrors again and instead of feeling relief that I wasn't about to be flattened by passing traffic, I realized the road was quiet, really quiet, which meant I didn't stand much of a chance of flagging down a passing motorist for help.
"I can't believe this," I muttered to myself as I flicked on my hazard lights and tried to remember what to do first. Should I leave the vehicle or stay with it?
My dad is a mechanic. I should know this.
My brother is also a mechanic. I should definitely know this.
I took a deep breath and reasoned that I was safer out of the vehicle.
As I'd managed to steer the truck close to an upcoming grassy lay-by I grabbed my handbag, checked that my cell was inside it and left the truck, slamming its rusty old door in annoyance.
Once I was stood a few meters from my useless truck I prayed to the cell phone reception gods as I unlocked my phone's screen.
The sun was beating down on me, making me overly hot and irritable, despite the fact I was only wearing a strappy white top and tiny denim shorts. The exact shorts Mike had told me were too short and I should change before our date. There had been no date then. I mean, they're called shorts for a reason, besides, no guy tells me what to wear. Ever.
I paced back and forth as my cell connected and I heard the very welcome ringing of the phone on the other end.
"Em? Oh thank god!"
"Bells, what's up?" I could hear clunking and shuffling as well as music in the background, so I knew Emmett was at work at the garage he ran with our dad.
"My truck, I think she's finally died," I informed him, placing my hand on my heart. I'd miss my little truck.
"What? Where are you? What's happened?" The clunking stopped and I knew I had his full attention now.
"I'm out by old Mr. Copeland's farm, she just died, Em. One minute I was driving along, having a sing-along and the next minute she just slowed and stopped and now she won't start at all."
Emmett chuckled at me.
Very helpful. "This isn't funny, Em," I protested as he tried to hide his mirth at my situation.
"Bells, it sounds like you just ran out of gas."
"No way," I told him. "I'm not that stupid. I filled her up yesterday."
"Oh." He was suddenly more serious.
"Yeah, unless there's a gas leak, that isn't the problem."
"Okay, dad and I are tied up here but we'll get to you as soon as we can. Stay out of the truck okay? And don't let some guy passing by try and help you, just...behave until one of us gets there."
"Behave? What else am I gonna do, Em? I'm stuck in a lay-by on the hottest day of the year with nothing but my handbag."
"Give me better directions, it won't take long to reach you," my brother soothed as I described more accurately exactly where I was.
"Okay, stay close to the car and don't go crushing any candy on your cell, save the battery," he told me before we hung up, and I sighed.
I paced up and down a little before spotting a raised flat stone and perched my little butt on that. I texted Jess, there was no way I was going to make our girls' lunch, now. She texted back with lurid comments about how she'd break down any day if it meant Emmett would come to her rescue. Eww.
However, twenty minutes later, it wasn't Emmett who came to my rescue.
I recognized the tow truck when I saw it approaching from some distance away on the long, flat road that stretched far into the horizon. It had our family business logo pasted over it but the person who got out of it was not family.
I saw his copper hair first, glinting in the sun as he swung his legs out of the raised truck and his well-worn work boots crunched on the loose dirt and gravel in the lay-by.
I scowled at him and he scowled right back, his height dominating mine as he neared me, making me wish I was wearing my trusty heels.
"You could look a little bit more grateful," he greeted me when he walked closer still. I stood taller and deepened my scowl.
He merely threw his keys in the air and caught them with an arrogance that drove me mad.
Ten seconds together and I already wanted to wipe that damn expression off his smug face.
"Am I meant to be grateful that I'm stuck here...with you?" I said, jutting my chin out. I wouldn't be bossed around by him.
"You're meant to be grateful that I'm here to help you," he replied, pushing his shirtsleeves up further, which helped to showcase his tan bare forearms.
Not that I was noticing.
"You're only here because my dad or brother sent you."
"Do you want my help or not?" he asked with raised eyebrows.
"Not really." My mouth spoke before I could think through my answer.
"Fine." Edward turned and started to walk back to the cab of his truck, covering an alarmingly long distance with only two large strides.
I tried really hard not to look at his ass but it was right there, looking firm in his pale denim ripped jeans. Why was he wearing jeans in this heat? He must have been hot because he'd rolled up the sleeves of his checked shirt to just above his elbows, and the top few buttons of his shirt were open. I definitely wasn't looking at his chest or his arms, though.
Not at all.
The sight of Edward turning and starting to swing his body up into the cab of his truck had me realizing the seriousness of my situation.
"Don't..." I paused.
He turned and looked at me, a look of triumph on his face.
"Don't…" He prompted.
Damn. I hated the smirk that was now the only feature on his face, somehow even his eyes were smirking at me.
"Don't leave me here. Were you really just going to leave me here?" I asked in disbelief.
Edward dropped his smirk and looked defeated. "No. We both know your brother and dad would fight over who gets to kill me if I left you stranded here," he grumbled.
"I'm not stranded," I protested as he scoffed.
"Really? You usually hang out on the side of the road, do you?"
"No, I'm not a prostitute!" I glared at him. "You're the one getting paid to be here, not me!"
"You know that's not what I meant." He sounded repentant.
"You're probably just saying that so I don't tell my dad, your boss, that you just accused his daughter of being a prostitute. Don't worry, I won't tell him," I added as he started to protest. "He wouldn't care anyway, he clearly doesn't care enough to come and help me himself," I grumbled.
Edward rolled his eyes at my comment. "You're such a spoiled brat." He delivered his opinion with a small amount of humor but it was clear that he wasn't afraid of angering me.
Funnily enough, I couldn't argue with him. Emmett was six years older than me and had always been an overprotective brother. He said it was because he knew what older men were thinking, but I was pretty sure he and dad just wanted to keep me a single spinster for as long as possible.
If only they knew.
"You know your dad and Emmett would do anything for you."
"Except turn up here and help," I grumbled under my breath, earning a sigh from Edward.
"I was with Em when he got your call. He has a big finance meeting today, with your dad and the bank manager, so I said I'd come."
"Okay. Fine. Well, can you fix my truck?"
"I don't know what's wrong with it yet," he spoke with the tone an adult uses when explaining something complicated to a child.
"It won't start, that's what's wrong," I grumbled. He always saw me as a kid.
I was his best friend's little sister.
I was his boss' daughter.
Never Bella. Never nineteen-year-old Bella who had grown up considerably since the days he and Emmett would hang at the house with their gaggle of giggling girls, repeatedly shooing me out of the way so they could do things with those girls that no thirteen-year-old should ever see.
Edward merely rolled his eyes at me and I could tell he was biting his tongue.
I knew I was exhausting him with my petulant attitude but I was pissed off. I didn't want him rolling up here like some superhero sent to save me. In his eyes, I'm sure I was always the kid who messed up. I was the nine-year-old who fell out of the tree he and Emmett had dared me to climb. I was the ten-year-old who burned pizza on the night he was sleeping over. And I was the seventeen-year-old who he had caught making out with Ben at the movies when he'd heard me telling Dad I was staying over at Jessica's. And now I was the screw up who was stuck in the middle of nowhere, too stupid to fix my own truck and forced to accept his help.
I don't know what it was about Edward Cullen, but he rubbed me up the wrong way, always had. It was a shame really, because he was so hot that I'm sure if he ever rubbed me up the right way it would be fucking amazing.
Edward took a deep breath and rolled his shoulders. "We need to move the truck further over here to the shoulder of the road so I can look at it safely. Can you get in, release the handbrake and steer?"
I looked at him dumbly.
"Really. That's all you've got?"
"Do you have a better idea?" He raised one eyebrow at me as I remained silent.
"I thought not." His smug grin was back. Again.
"So you're going to push my truck?"
"Yes." He rather obviously rolled his eyes at me.
"With me inside?"
"Yes." Another eye roll.
"But you have the tow truck."
"We can't fit both vehicles in this lay-by. Trust me, I do this every day."
His authoritative voice was back. Jeez, I knew me saw me as Emmett's annoying little sister but he didn't have to be so obvious about it.
"Bella you weigh like...nothing, I think I'll manage," he continued. "You're on a slight downhill incline here so just get in. It's hot as Hades and I don't want to spend my whole day in this heat."
"Okay." I shrugged. I stood up taller again and walked past him, leaving him to walk behind me to the truck. Who was I to argue with him? If he pulled his old football shoulder injury again, I'm sure he had a queue of ex-cheerleading sluts to massage it better for him. Or current ones, he was never short of a date.
That probably had a lot to do with his handsome face, complete with just the right about of stubble and that body that he didn't need to work on. I guess if you pushed around trucks for a living you don't need a gym membership. Not if you 'exercised' with a different woman every weekend as well.
But I wasn't bitter or jealous about that.
Not at all.
Once I was back in the truck Edward positioned himself at the rear, his palms flat on the tailgate as he shouted for me to release the hand-brake.
At first nothing happened, but slowly the truck moved forward until Edward was almost jogging behind it. We reached the lay-by quickly and I steered the truck to the side, off the main road where I brought her to a stop.
"Pop the hood," he instructed, walking past my open window from the back of the truck to the front.
"So bossy!" I muttered to myself.
When I looked up from pulling the lever by my knee I saw him with the hood half raised, grinning at me.
Maybe I wasn't as quiet as I thought.
He seemed to take my words as a compliment as he wiggled his eyebrows at me before raising the hood further and breaking eye contact.
By the time I walked around to the front of the truck, he was bent over examining the engine and muttering to himself.
I tried not to look at his ass but I didn't have much else to do so I allowed myself a small sigh at the sight.
"Don't you need some tools or something?" I enquired as I leaned over the side of the truck, under the hood, and looked at the engine. Edward's hands were already greasy as he pulled at leads, tightened and loosened fastenings and examined various parts of the engine.
"What I need is about ten new parts. Do Emmett and your dad know the state of this thing?" He didn't look up at me as he continued to assess my poor truck.
"Hey, don't hate on my truck."
"You were hating on your truck earlier," he pointed out.
"I'm allowed to."
"Ah, I see! Typical woman, double standards," he grumbled, making me glare at him.
"I'm joking!" He straightened up and looked around, presumably for a tissue or rag, before giving up and wiping his hands on his shirt.
"Bella, this thing belongs in a museum. Why do you drive a rusty heap of junk when your family could easily set you up with a nice, reliable car?"
"Because then I wouldn't be here with you, having such a great afternoon," I answered sarcastically.
"If you were my sister I wouldn't let you drive this piece of shit," he informed me as he ran the back of his hand over his brow.
"Let me?" I arched my eyebrows and sounded less than amused.
"You know what I mean. I'd be worried about you."
"Well, I'm not your sister so no worrying is necessary."
He nodded at me and jammed his hands into his jeans pockets. "Yeah, I guess so."
As much as he agitated me, sometimes, just sometimes, I felt bad for giving him a hard time while he was helping me, so it was my turn to relent.
"I inherited the truck from my gramps..."
Edward interrupted with a scoff. "That explains a lot."
"Hey, before you make some smart remark about it being the same age as my granddad, it's not. It's a good truck, most of the time. It's all I have left of Gramps, so I don't want to let her go. Will I have to?"
Edward looked serious for the first time today. "No, I don't think so. I have a few ideas, I reckon I can get it...her going again."
"Yippee! Okay, so what do you need?" I asked, enthusiastically rubbing my hands together.
"Calm down, this is gonna take a while,"
"Psh." He always ruined my fun.
"I'm going to grab my tool box," he informed me.
"Okay," I replied innocently, not daring to voice any of the jokes or rude thoughts I was having about his tool box.
I really didn't like him. He annoyed me. Most of the time. The rest of the time he was just so damn attractive, my eyes ached from looking at him; trying take in all of his hotness.
He shouldn't be allowed to be a mechanic. I'm sure the grease and the way his fingers worked on a car was unfair to women everywhere.
To make matters worse, when Edward returned, he pulled out a bottle of water and chugged the whole thing. Right there in front of me, looking like some model in a fancy advertising campaign. His Adam's apple bobbed up and down before he scrunched the empty bottle in his hand and turned to me.
"Did you want some?" he asked innocently.
I opened my mouth to make some snarky remark which involved a lot of expletives. I was so hot and I hadn't realized how thirsty I was until I'd seen that bottle of water. Or maybe it was Edward I was thirsty for. No. Surely it was the water. I didn't even like Edward so it must be the water.
Before I could lay into him, he reached into his tool box and threw a bottle my way.
To my surprise, I caught it and smiled when I felt it was still cold.
"Thanks," I muttered to him as he nodded and rubbed his hands together.
"Right, I have a lot of work to do on this rust buck...lovely antique truck," he corrected himself.
As he worked on my truck, he also worked up a real sweat. His shirt was becoming drenched as he worked in the ridiculous heat. Usually a sweat-drenched man would be an unappealing sight but somehow Edward looked more attractive than ever.
Not that I was looking.
Not at all.
I felt useless, merely watching as he loosened wires and nuts and bolts, tested various parts of the engine and sighed and muttered to himself about a 'shitty truck, shoddy work' and 'useless fix'.
I stood to the side of him, leaning over the hood of the truck, drinking my water, watching the way he worked and trying to ignore the way he smelled of hard work, the hot sun, and engine oil.
Every so often he swiped at his brow with his forearm and when that stopped working, he absentmindedly pulled his shirt away from his chest, trying to fan himself with the material. He then turned to me.
"Bella, have Em or your dad looked under this hood recently?"
I stuttered, unable to answer him. It wasn't because I couldn't remember. I knew full well it was over a year since my dad had insisted on checking my truck. I was speechless because, as Edward turned to me, he lifted his shirt from the bottom and used it to wipe his face, revealing his chest, pecs, abs, and a tattoo that I felt I should know about, but most certainly didn't.
When I took too long to answer he lowered his shirt to look at me. He couldn't hide the amused expression that covered his features when he caught me looking at his body.
I shook my head. "It's been a while."
Edward's laugh was full and rich as he raised his eyebrows. "Been a while? The truck or you seeing a guy..."
"What? No..." I shook my head as I tried to defend myself from his innuendo. "I...sorry...I didn't know you had a tattoo."
"Only special women get to see my tattoo," he answered with an eyebrow wiggle that made me smile.
"Well then, I guess that makes me special!" I replied coyly.
I expected some smart-ass reply from him but he assessed my face for a few seconds before nodding.
"Yeah, I guess it does."
He pulled his shirt away from his skin again, fanning his body from the heat, before reaching for my bottle of water and helping himself.
"You can take off your shirt. It's so damn hot. I promise I won't faint or jump your bones or anything."
"Are you sure? I've heard it's been a while."
His smirk was back.
"Ha ha," I replied, unamused. "Now I've seen your tattoo there can't be anything left to hide," I told him.
"I wasn't hiding it," he answered. He seemed to take my words as a challenge because he grabbed the neck of his shirt and pulled it over his head in one swift movement.
Damn. What was that promise I made? I'd seen Edward topless before, when he was a teenager and horsing around in the garden with Emmett, but I don't remember him looking like this.
He was perfection.
From his tanned but reassuringly normal chest, to his tattoo of a lion, to the beads of sweat that were resting on his pecs, right where my fingers were suddenly itching to be, he was glorious.
What? Since when did I look at Edward like this? I don't even like Edward Cullen, remember?
"Hungry?" He asked, trying to sound innocent.
I knew he'd caught me looking at him, again, but I narrowed my eyes and remained silent.
"For food." He clarified. "There's a bag of grapes in my tool box," he explained.
"Hmm, sure, thanks," I nodded to him and walked to the toolbox, calling his bluff.
I could see inside the large metal box, in a separate compartment to his greasy tools were a bag of grapes, some chewing gum, a banana, and what looked like a sandwich in a clear bag.
"Aww, Cullen, did your mama pack you a lunch box?" I teased as his head disappeared under the truck hood again.
"No. Bella, I've lived alone for years now."
Alone. I knew that already. I knew there was no serious woman in his life but it was nice to have it confirmed. I don't know why it was nice; it wasn't like I liked him or anything.
Not at all.
I returned to the truck with the grapes and offered him some.
"No thanks." He held up his greasy hands in explanation.
Hands that had seen many years of hard work. You could tell he had never had an office job. His hard labor was evident in his hands. In fact, his whole body was proof of his hard work. He was tan from working outdoors, his forearms had a few scratches, and his hands were worn and calloused.
Edward seemed more serious now as he removed parts of the truck's engine and placed them on the dirty ground. He would occasionally speak to himself, or swear about the apparently crappy state of my beloved truck.
The ringing of Edward's cell snapped me away from those thoughts. He didn't move from his position under the hood of my truck, he just pulled his cell from the back pocket of his jeans and answered it after a quick glance at the display.
"Dude, your sister's a pain in the ass."
My head shot up as I looked at him but he was still studying the truck's engine.
I could hear the humor in his voice but I still threw a grape at his head.
"And her truck's a piece of shit," he continued, unperturbed.
This time I threw the whole empty grape stalk at him. By now he should know better than to insult my truck.
He raised his head, grinning from ear to ear as he continued to talk to my brother.
"Yeah, it's not a fuel leak, that's for sure. No, I'm pretty sure I can fix it rather than tow it."
Pretty sure? Half my truck's guts were currently on the ground, I hoped he could fix her. The last thing I needed was a trip in the tow truck back to my dad's garage where I'd surely get a lecture about truck maintenance from both my dad and Emmett.
"Oh, shit! Is that tonight?" Edward ran his hands through his hair. He then raised his shoulder to hold his cell to his ear as he checked his wristwatch. "Shit, no. I'm not gonna make that, Em." He looked down at the parts to go back in my truck and nodded. "Yeah, sure. Thanks. Okay. I'll keep you up to date."
With that he hung up, slung his cell back in his pants pocket and got back to work.
"Sorry." I whispered. "Do you have to be somewhere?"
"Just a drink after work, it's fine," he reassured me.
"Oh, okay." I wished I could say more but I merely kicked at the dusty ground with my Converse, not knowing how else to pass the time. Occasionally a car would drive past, kicking up more dirt and making Edward swear at the dust cloud that traveled our way in the small but welcome breeze.
When Edward stood up a few minutes later, he straightened his back with a groan before turning to me and chuckling.
I'd drawn an "Xs" and "Os" grid in the dirt and found some stones to play with.
"Wanna play? I'm winning so far!" I joked and he smiled halfheartedly.
"Winning against yourself?" He teased. "Sit in my truck for shade if you like."
"I'm okay here. The view's much better." I spun around and gestured to the open fields behind us. When I looked back at him he was smiling. He wasn't fooled; he knew I hadn't been watching the fields.
Besides the fact that watching Edward work wasn't exactly difficult on the eyes, I wouldn't feel right leaving him in the heat to fix my truck while I relaxed in his.
Hmmm, teenage Bella had many a fantasy about lying back in EC's truck. And the way my mind was currently wandering, adult Bella wasn't too different. I didn't want him to know that though. To him, I was his best friend's annoying little sister and I doubted anything I did now would change that.
Instead, I straightened up and insisted there must be something I could do to help.
He didn't look convinced but he retrieved his toolbox and plonked it at my feet, telling me he'd ask when he needed something handed to him.
A few minutes passed in silence and I felt useless again.
"Argh, come on! You must need some of these tools," I reasoned with him as I picked up a funny looking device with a spinny wheel. "Look, this one's fun. I'm sure you could do with its help," I joked, as he looked sideways at me.
"Bella, that's for the tires,"
"Yeah, that's the only part of your truck I don't have to fix!"
"Okay, well what about this one?" I waved a long metal stick with small open circles at each end.
"That's for undoing nuts," he explained as I placed it back in the toolbox.
"Huh, okay, I won't go near your nuts then," I muttered under my breath as Edward laughed and shifted his weight from one foot to the other.
"Okay. This is a good one." I held up what I was pretty sure was a pair of pliers. "Look, it has a pretty band-aid on it."
Edward chuckled again. "That's electrical tape. It's to tell my tools apart from Emmett's," he explained.
"Okay, fine. I give up. Just shout if you need any of these bad boys." I picked up a spanner and turned it around in my hands as I spoke.
"So do your tools have names? You know, Sydney Screwdriver, Harry Hammer?" I offered.
I could see Edward was trying not to laugh as he replied.
"Shame. I could help you with that?" I offered, trying to keep a straight face myself.
"I'm good, thanks though," he replied as I sighed and felt more useless than ever. I rooted around the tools some more, holding up the more unusual looking ones and sometimes getting an explanation from him about what they were used for.
"Pass me that one, with the red handle."
"This one?" I checked as I passed over a large heavy wrench. Well, I think it was a wrench.
Edward didn't actually use it, he just nodded and put it to the side and I got the feeling he was just trying to make me feel useful.
I picked up the spanner again and slammed the lid of the toolbox closed and sat on it.
"So, where did you learn all this stuff anyway?" I asked, hoping to pass our time together in a more pleasurable way.
He shrugged. "My uncle."
"Oh. Hey, I'm sorry. Em mentioned..."
"Can you pass that cloth?" he interrupted, nodding to a dirty rag he'd retrieved from his tool box earlier.
I took the hint and changed the subject.
I took a deep breath and continued to spin the spanner in my hands. "So, last I heard you were with Connie? Or was she called Candy?" Seriously! Who dates someone called Candy?
"Nope. No Candice," he replied and was then silent.
I sighed and resigned myself to an afternoon of silence. I'd tried but he clearly didn't want to talk. Maybe I would go back to naming his tools. Hannah Spanner? That was a good one.
"So what about you. How's Garrett?" I was so surprised Edward was starting a conversation with me that I almost missed the nonchalance he was trying to inject into his voice.
"There is no Garrett."
That made him look up at me in surprise.
"I didn't kill him! I just meant we're over. Finished. No more."
Edward looked amused before returning to the engine.
"Oh, sorry. The clarification that he's still alive was reassuring though!"
I wished I had another grape to throw at him.
"Where were you headed today anyway?"
Oh, two questions in as many minutes. Edward must be finding this silence as awkward as me.
"Port Angeles for lunch with Jess. Do you remember her?"
He scoffed. "Yep."
"What does that mean?" I tried not to sound angry, but there was something about his tone that made me question him despite the fact that I didn't want to return to our earlier animosity. We seem to have found a truce, both accepting we were going to be in each other's company for a while so we'd be better off getting on for once.
"It means I remember how she tried to hit on Emmett every time she saw him."
"Yeah, I'll give you that. She's not as subtle as she thinks."
Edward bent down to one of the pieces he'd earlier removed from the engine and picked it up, slotting it effortlessly back into place.
"How do you feel about that?" He asked, not looking at me. "Your best friend wanting to hook up with your brother?" His voice had turned serious.
I shrugged. "I've never really considered it. I guess I never thought it would happen. Jess is great but Em...he only has eyes for Rose. Once Rosalie woke up and saw how great he was, I told Jess she needed to move on."
"You dodged that bullet then," he informed me.
"I did?" I put Hannah Spanner down and looked at him confused.
"Yeah. That sort of thing always goes wrong. You lose the friend 'cause the siblings will never cut ties."
"Oh. I guess if it doesn't work out it's awkward but I'm sure everyone involved can be adult about the situation."
"Maybe," he agreed with a shrug as he continued to piece my truck back together. Now that all of the parts were back under the hood I felt a lot better about her survival rate.
"So you think my truck will live to see another shopping trip?"
"Yeah. Just give me a few minutes to double check everything then we'll try starting her up."
"Wow." I rubbed my hands together in anticipation. And to stop myself thanking him with a hug. A hug that would involve his bare chest. "Thanks Edward, I thought she was a goner for sure."
"It's been quite fun, actually," he replied, wiping his brow and leaving a smudge of grease above his left eyebrow. "So many cars have electronic diagnosis these days. We just hook them up to a computer, which orders the parts we need and tells us precisely how to fit them. It takes the fun out of the job."
"No need to worry about that with my truck." I patted her fondly as I spoke.
He grinned. "I noticed. I think it was built before computers existed."
"Hey, she's a classic. Show some respect!"
Edward held his hands up in surrender. "Bella, a Spitfire is a classic but I wouldn't fancy flying in one on vacation."
"No sense of adventure," I grumbled.
"Jeez, Bella. You have such a smart mouth. Sometimes I just want to..." he trailed off with a shake of his head. He bit his lip and looked at me but by now I was too mad to read his body language.
"Want to what?"
"Nothing." He jammed his hands into his jeans pockets and rocked back and forth on his heels, not looking at me.
"You want me to shut up?" I concluded. "Fine. Hannah and I will just sit here in silence," I huffed. I plonked myself back on his tool box and picked up the spanner again, just to keep my hands busy.
"Hannah?" His voice was cautious, as if he wasn't sure about talking to me but I could hear the humor back in his tone.
"Hannah Spanner," I explained, holding her up and waving her at Edward.
"See. Smart mouth."
"Don't worry. Me and my smart mouth will just sit here and be boring."
"Bella, I never said I wanted you to be quiet. Forget I said anything. I like your chatter and I'm quite relieved Hannah isn't a new imaginary friend."
I laughed despite myself. "Aww. Jared. I haven't thought about him in a long time. I only made him up because you and Emmett wouldn't let me play with you."
"That was all Emmett." Edward defended himself.
"You would say that."
"Why wouldn't I want you there? You're Emmett's little sister, not mine."
"You just saw me as annoying," I replied.
"Nope." He seemed adamant I was wrong. "Bella, I was an idiot teenage boy. I had to pretend you irritated me because Emmett was my best friend," he explained for the first time.
"You were really convincing," I scoffed. "So you're saying you never disliked me?"
"No! Of course not. I thought you were gutsy and feisty. Half the time I came to your house it was to hang out with you. All those times I came by when Emmett was out..."
"Huh! I thought you just had a really bad memory!"
Edward scoffed, shook his head and turned back to the engine. He checked the connection of a wire and then gave it a tug as he spoke, quieter this time.
"So did you really dislike me?" He sounded dejected, making me take a few seconds to think about my reply.
"Yes, I did," I answered honestly. "I could never work out what I was doing to be so annoying."
"And now?" he asked, still not looking up at me.
"Now I'm just confused. I've spent so long trying to hate you..." I trailed off as I shrugged. "I dunno, maybe you're not so bad after all," I joked.
Edward laughed. "Not the best compliment I've ever been given but, coming from you, I'll take it!"
He worked in silence again, tightening a few parts before unclipping the rod which was holding the hood up.
I stood back while he dropped the hood with a loud bang. He dusted his hands off and turned to me.
"Try her, then."
Edward gave me the honors, nodding to the driver's seat as I grinned and raced to my truck.
I leaned in through the open window and turned the key with some apprehension.
Immediately she roared to life, her familiar rumble and growling noise making me squeal in delight. I was convinced for a minute there I'd never get to drive my truck again and the relief of keeping her roadworthy was surprising to me.
"You saved her!" I turned to Edward to see him watching me with a huge grin on his face. "I thought she was headed for the scrap heap for sure."
I ran to him and flung myself at him in what was meant to be a hug. However I was running too fast and ended up jumping onto him.
"Thank you so much." I flung myself at him, so grateful for a working truck once again that I temporarily forgot how I'd convinced myself that I hated this guy.
"Oomph." Edward grabbed me as I launched myself at him. His hands gripped my ass, more, I think, to steady himself from my flying body than to cop a feel of my ass. But it was a good ass so I wasn't surprised when I felt him squeeze it.
I smirked and raised my eyebrows at him.
He raised his eyebrows right back.
Hmmm. Edward Cullen, I see your raised eyebrows and I raise you one moan.
It wasn't an entirely voluntary moan. It escaped when I realized how cute Edward looked with cocked eyebrows and a rather confused expression.
As silence fell around us Edward still held me, my front to his. My crotch to his.
As it appeared he wasn't moving away anytime soon I laced my hands together behind his neck, making myself at home right next to his chest.
Our silence continued as the moment of our hug passed and turned into something more.
Still, neither of us moved as I looked him in the eyes and was surprised by the softness I saw staring back at me.
Now that I was holding on to his neck and was more stable, he removed one hand from my ass and moved it towards my face before he hesitated.
I furrowed my eyebrows at him in confusion, wondering why he was pausing now.
"My hands are filthy," he whispered as he caught a strand of my hair between his thumb and index finger.
I grinned at him. "That's okay EC, l like you as dirty as you can be."
I shocked myself with my bluntness but Edward didn't look shocked, he looked almost angry. His eyebrows furrowed, his eyes narrowed and he took in a deep breath before growling out his words.
"You really shouldn't have said that."
He grunted and pushed his body impossibly closer to mine. He was taking loud, deep breaths as a small hint of a grin played across his features. He gripped my ass with both hands again before he effortlessly walked us a few steps to the hood of my truck that he'd just spent ages working under.
Now I wanted to be the one to spend ages under him.
As he laid me down on the back seat of my truck I stared intently at his face, which was now hovering over me. There was a hint of the grease smudge from earlier, and now I was so close to him I could see his stubbled jaw in all its perfection. His brow had relaxed slightly but I could see he was studying my face as his tongue quickly wet his lips.
His eyes fell on my lips where they stayed as he spoke, gritting his teeth and clenching his jaw.
"You know what I want to do with that smart mouth?" His voice was hungry and it devoured me in the way I hoped his lips would.
I sensed his question was rhetorical, which was just as well because I couldn't think straight when he was so close to me. His eyes were flicking between my lips and my eyes. His breath was deep and his jaw was tense. His naked chest was radiating heat and so damn close to me I didn't know where to look first.
But he was taking his time.
I felt his fingertips, still gripping my waist even though I was now lying down. They twitched, switching between gripping and smoothing my skin.
A low, throaty groan escaped from between his lips and I'm not sure I'd ever had a sound turn me on so much.
Before I could respond, his lips descended on mine, ravaging and needy from the start.
There was no slow introduction, no gentle build up. Edward was wild. His lips were clashing with mine. His hands seemed undecided about whether to grip my waist or delve into my hair. All I could do was surrender and buckle up for the ride Edward was taking me on.
Fuck, this dude could kiss! I'd always suspected as much, even though I tried not to think about him and his kissing abilities. But now I knew how soft his lips were, how frantic his tongue was and how hungry his groans sounded.
Just when I thought I couldn't handle any more of this sensory overload, he moved his groin on top of mine.
Oh, sweet lord. Heaven. I'd gone to heaven.
Edward's crotch on mine was the best feeling of my life. A moan escaped my lips that I'd never heard before. I was losing control and judging by Edward's reciprocal moan, he was feeling something similar.
I gripped his hair and tugged, desperate to touch him, to pull him somehow closer to me. To feel him. To consume him. One hand stroked his stubble, to his ridiculously perfect jaw. It was scratchy and rough, and somehow right there. Right next to my face. Right where I never thought it would be.
Our kiss continued, as did our moans. Edward's were deep and loud in the silence of the open air. And he, thankfully, continued to grind his body on top of mine. His crotch on top of mine.
Fuck! I was losing my mind.
"Jesus Christ, Bella."
I think it was safe to say Edward felt the same.
He finally pulled his lips from mine as he spoke into my neck, his nose nuzzling my overheated skin as I gasped for much needed fresh air. "Do you know how long I've wanted to do that? Fuck."
I stilled my hands in his hair as confusion installed a tiny amount of common sense back into my lust filled brain.
"What?" I looked up to meet his eyes as he grinned at me.
"Years. Fucking years." He had spoken before his lips descended on my neck once again. He licked and nipped at my hot skin, groaning as he spoke. "Do you have any idea how good this feels?"
"Wait, what? Years?" Fuck I was confused. We were doing things I never thought we'd do and he was saying things I never thought he'd say.
Maybe the hours in the sun had finally gotten to me and I was hallucinating.
"Yeah, years. One minute you were Emmett's feisty little sister and then that time I saw you on a date at the movies, you looked so grown up...you hit seventeen and just...boom!"
"I did?" I was still so confused. Edward was leaning further back now, presumably to focus on my face as I stared back at him like he was now speaking a foreign language.
"Yeah. Your smart mouth grew at the same rate as your body, but I don't know which one I like the most. Good thing you're all in one package."
"Hmm." I groaned. "Speaking of packages..."
Edward chuckled as my eyes lowered to look at his package, which was quite noticeable from this angle.
"Bella, it's been really hard..."
My eyes shot to his as I laughed.
He realized immediately what he's said and grinned. "I meant developing feelings for you. You're Emmett's sister, I tried so hard not to go there but well...it's been hard."
Hearing his words and seeing and feeling his desire for me made my stomach do a weird flip-flop. A deliciously weird flip-flop that made me groan out loud and made Edward's lips descend on mine again and his groin pressed into my core, telling me exactly how hard it had been for him.
"Fuck. We should stop," he groaned reluctantly.
"Why?" What? He was speaking madness. This was the best feeling ever. Why on earth would we stop?
"I...I should date you...romance you. Fuck! I should buy you a fucking drink at least."
"I don't want any of that."
"No? Then what do you want?" He leaned back to look me in the eyes.
The look of lust in his eyes and the concentration with which he stared at me gave me the confidence to speak my mind.
"I want you. Now."
His hands found my thighs that were already pushed open by his stance.
"Fuck! Bella," he groaned.
"That's the idea." I couldn't believe how bold I was being but Edward had made it clear he wanted me and I sure as hell wanted him.
"Christ! Emmett's gonna kill me," he muttered as his hands traveled higher, to the frayed hem of my small denim shorts.
"Can we not mention my brother right now?"
"Shit!" He cursed. "Of course not. I would just like it noted that I'd like a cremation though, no burial..."
I grabbed the back of his neck. "Shut up and kiss me."
"That I can do...at least until Emmett finds out." His lips met mine again in an even hungrier, more explosive union.
"That won't be long then, Cullen."
Edward's lips were ripped from mine as Emmett pulled him off of me. Where in the hell did he come from? I hadn't heard his car or approaching footsteps.
"Get the fuck off of my sister," he growled. "Is this why you offered to help? I knew you'd go back on your word..."
"What word?" I asked, my hands automatically running over my lips as my body felt the loss of Edward's proximity.
When neither of them answered me, I hopped up and stood to confront my brother.
Edward stared at Emmett, his breathing heavy and his eyes piercing.
Emmett stared at Edward, not acknowledging me as I spoke.
Still, neither of them replied.
I walked closer to Emmett. "What. Word?" I shoved Emmett in the chest, but he didn't even flinch.
Without taking his eyes off of Edward he spoke slowly and carefully.
"This dick has liked you for years. I don't want you with some guy who has a string of cheerleaders and sluts in his past."
I blinked in disbelief at my brother's words. "And you get to make that decision?" I yelled at him.
"I don't want my best friend and my sister hooking up, that's too weird. There are so many guys out there..." Emmett reiterated, finally looking at me.
"You don't get to decide who I date," I shouted furiously, wondering why Emmett was being such a piece of shit right now.
"Well, you haven't done such a great job for yourself so far," Emmett told me before he turned to Edward.
"And you...is this how you accept payment from all your customers?"
"What? No!" Edward looked hurt as his eyes flitted between Emmett and me.
Two seconds later Emmett's face cracked into a huge smile.
"Jesus, you two, lighten up! I'm kidding. Well, not about all of it, he has liked you for years, Bells, but he was too much of a pussy to do anything about it. I hoped leaving you two stranded here for a few hours would...break the ice."
I turned to Edward who looked as confused as me.
"Ed, there was no bank meeting. I set you two up. I thought maybe if you stopped hating each other for a few minutes you might realize you're made for each other."
Edward and I finally made eye contact with each other and I could tell he was as surprised as me.
"You don't mind?" Edward asked Emmett.
"Ed, I can't tell you or Bella who to date."
"But I don't want to lose you as a friend, I've seen it happen too many times..."
"Honestly, Ed, it's okay with me. Years ago I might have had a problem with it, and if you start telling me any bedroom details I'll certainly have a problem with it. But if you care for Bella as much as I think you do then I don't want to stand in your way."
"And your dad?" Edward asked cautiously.
"He won't fire you. He might have if he'd found you dry humping his daughter like that, but it must be your lucky day because it was me who turned up, and not him."
Edward chuckled and placed an arm around my shoulder.
"Man, I don't think I'll ever understand men." I groaned.
Both Emmett and Edward had confused and surprised me today, but as I looked from one to the other I couldn't help but smile.
I was finally starting to believe that Edward saw me as more than Emmett's little sister and I was excited to see where our feelings would take us.
Two months later…
"Hello." I could hear the smile in my boyfriend's voice and the radio playing in the background in the garage.
"Edward, my truck has broken down again." I tried to sound exasperated but I hated lying to him.
"What? Seriously? That damn truck. You know it's a piece of…" he was beginning to raise his voice, speaking on the topic we disagreed on most frequently, my truck.
He really wanted me to get a better ride.
"Please, Edward, I need your help, not a lecture."
He sighed. "Where are you?"
"About a mile away from the spot where I broke down last time, further up the hill, by the meadow." I was trying to sound flustered and irritated.
"Okay, I'll be there in about twenty minutes." He responded exasperatedly.
I hung up my cell, grabbed the picnic hamper from my truck, and headed straight for the meadow. After laying down the blanket, I set up the food and drinks I'd brought with me, and spent the next few minutes making sure everything was ready.
About fifteen minutes later, I heard the rumble of the tow truck and ran to greet him.
I wasn't nervous he would be upset by my sneakiness. It was, after all our two-month anniversary.
He was my man now.
He rubbed me in all the right ways.
Would I ever regret my truck breaking down on the side of the road that day?
Not at all.
Thanks for reading this one-shot. Please let me know what you think. I really love to hear your thoughts and appreciate any reviews and any feedback.
If you enjoyed this story, please give my completed multi-fic Tougher Than The Rest a go, see my profile for details.
Thanks to EdwardsFirstKiss, SarcasticBimbo and CopertopJ for giving me their time and opinions when they pre-read and beta this. Any mistakes are my own.