Nothing you could say could tear me away from my guy,
Nothing you could do, 'cause I'm stuck like glue to my guy,
I'm sticking to my guy like a stamp to a letter,
Like the birds of a feather, we stick together,
I'm telling you from the start I can't be torn apart from my guy
My Guy - Mary Wells
The backseat door opened, and Bella stepped out onto hard-packed gravel. One by one, the girls spilled out and into the lot, giggling and stumbling as they slammed the doors shut. Another Friday night, another excursion away from their neatly-tended campus and into the quiet town surrounding it. The sun had only just set, but night air was cool on her face, almost chilly. Spring had only just barely arrived, after all. After spending most of her life in Florida, the frigid temperatures of Washington had taken some getting used to. A much more familiar season was now on the upswing, and soon it would be warm once again.
A tiny, almost elfin hand suddenly grasped her about the wrist. "Come on. I've got to powder my nose before the movie starts."
"I'm fine. I'll just stay with the car until you all get back."
Alice shook her head and began tugging. "Oh no you don't. You have forever until Edward picks you up. He won't get here any faster if you wait in the car."
Bella sighed in resignation. That wasn't what was on her mind, but she didn't need to tell her friends that. The bathroom at the drive-in was always a madhouse. By this point, she was sure a grey cloud of hairspray and cigarette smoke would be hovering at eye level, every sink hogged by high school girls freshening their lipstick and talking at length about Rock Hudson. Even after living here since her senior year, she still wasn't accustomed to that sort of thing. Florida was so much more laid back, and it was hard for anyone to care so much about clothes and makeup when it was all going to melt off by noon anyways. She was grateful to have girlfriends of her own now, but their insistence on analyzing her outfits every time they went out was still strange.
Not that there was anything wrong with dressing up. When she first met Edward, she spent hours on admittedly clumsy attempts to be as girly and fashionable as her classmates. She couldn't see the star member of the college crew team wanting to date a tomboy. There weren't many like that around here anyways, except for the ones who smoked and stayed out late with boys. Her father sometimes had run-ins with their boyfriends on his patrols, making him scrutinize her appearance more now than he ever did. With his encouragement and Alice's help, she was now cleverly disguised as a normal girl who liked dresses and school formals. To her surprise, it got Edward's attention. She'd never met a boy like him before. He was tall and handsome, with perfect dirty-blond hair and a smile like a movie star. Perfect student, perfect athlete, and perfect gentleman. Even after they started going steady, she still wasn't sure why he picked her when he was surrounded by hundreds of prettier college girls every day. As long as he seemed just as crazy in love with her as she was with in, she decided not to over-analyze it.
"I'm fine, Alice. Really. I'll wait outside until you're all done."
"Alright." She narrowed her eyes for a moment before scurrying after Lauren and Jessica.
Bella leaned against the wall outside the door to the ladies room, shyly taking in the scene around her. There were a lot of couples here tonight. A blonde girl with perfect hair and a letterman jacket hanging around her shoulders was being lead from the concession stand by a tall, beefy guy, and she looked absolutely thrilled to be in his company. Some had already retired to their respective cars. She adjusted her skirt for was must have been the hundredth time this evening, tugging down at the hem. She already had to wear "proper" clothes for class; why did she keep letting Alice talk her out of wearing pedal pushers on her time off?
It hadn't been long, but she could feel herself getting restless. She poked her head around the corner, getting a faceful of what felt like pepper spray. She didn't mind the smoke on its own, though it did start to give her cravings.
"Hey Jess, are you all done yet?"
"Patience is a virtue, Bella," Alice called back. "You don't have to wait out there by your lonesome, you know."
"Well I'm going back to the car now," she huffed in response. "The previews are almost over."
The ground crunched under her feet as she made her way back to the car, the audio from nearby speakers carrying over the wind as she wound around cars and the dirt roads that ran between them. Lauren had insisted on seeing Breakfast at Tiffany's, which looked alright. She certainly couldn't argue with a comedy after everything that had happened. A sudden blast from a brass section made her stop dead in her tracks, and her eyes centered back on the screen for what had to be the final preview. It looked like this one had Natalie Wood. Handsome Spanish boys danced across the screen. Natalie was singing with some strawhead actor before it cut to the rival gangs charging each other, a huge mambo number, knives being drawn with a flick of their wrists. Now this was something she had to see.
She was entranced. There hadn't been a good musical out in a while either. It looked cool enough that maybe she could talk Edward into taking her, though he was definitely going to need to keep his hands to himself for this one. The stood there pondering her plan as the title card faded to black, becoming increasingly oblivious to everyone around her. She turned her head for only a moment, long enough to be blinded by a pair of headlights that were advancing much faster than she realized.
A huge hand reached out and took her roughly by the arm, yanking her backwards out of the road and nearly into another parked car. She yelped in shock and pain before being cocooned in a strange, almost smothering warmth. Small spots dotted her vision while her surroundings seemed to blur together. She blinked over and over, trying to catch her breath and adjust to the darkness all over again, until they finally snapped into sharp focus in front of her. A tall boy with a deep copper complexion was looking down at her with a smirk. His hair looked windswept, pushed back with some kind of product that clearly couldn't combat whatever mischief he'd been up to. He seemed to scan her, the flashes of light from the screen illuminating his onyx eyes. The upturned corner of his mouth revealed a sliver of bright white teeth.
"Careful, sweetheart," he chuckled in a low and husky voice. Her heart was pounding in her chest, which she first attributed to her brush with death, only to realize that she had been in his arms this entire time, shamelessly drinking in his impossible features. She jerked backwards, panting and looking around her while she tried to remember where she was, but pulling out of his grip reminded her of the injury she'd just sustained. She winced, rubbing her shoulder as it throbbed.
"Easy there," he said carefully, dropping his smirk. He glanced at her shoulder, his eyebrows furrowing. "You okay?"
She nodded quickly, still rubbing.
"Here, lemme look."
She gulped, still staring wordlessly at him. He carefully stepped forward, reaching out his hand, and she flinched.
"Aww, come on, baby. I don't bite. I just want to make sure I didn't dislocate anything. You look kind of breakable."
His voice was soft and apologetic. She shouldn't trust this guy. He looked like some kind of delinquent in his dark jeans and boots, his large biceps straining against the sleeves of his shirt. Was that a tattoo? He probably had a motorcycle waiting for him with some chick in a tight skirt perched on the back. Her father would blow a gasket. Still, there was something honest about his eyes that shoved all these judgements to the back of her mind.
"...Okay then," she murmured. He gave her a faint, reassuring smile, and her eyes immediately darted away to the ground. He stepped to her side, gently placing his hands along the top of her shoulder, feeling bones and tendons underneath her blouse. His hands were bigger than her father's and even more calloused, but they could still handle her as delicately as if she were a baby bird. The hair began to stand up on the back of her neck. Her breath suddenly hitched as his fingertips located the source of her pain, and he pulled back.
"Well the good news is that there's nothing wrong with it besides a little bruising. Sorry about that. Sometimes I forget my own strength." He flexed, that cocky expression returning to his face. "Don't stand in the middle of the road anymore, okay? Getting dents out of rich kids' cars pays good and all, but I'd feel bad if it was because a cute girl cracked her skull."
She blushed, which was met with unabashed amusement. He had a nice smile when is wasn't caused by his own arrogance. He was huge; his arms and chest were more muscular than any man she'd ever seen, which stood in contrast with his boyish features. How old could he be, twenty-five? He wasn't a student, that's for sure. Come to think of it, she'd only ever seen white kids at her school. She needed to quit looking at him like this and say something before he teased her even more. She didn't know why she'd apparently been struck dumb in the first place.
"You got a name, sweetheart?"
"B-Bella," she stammered.
"Hey Jake!" someone barked across the lot. They both turned to see a several guys clustered in the far corner up front. They were half-cast in shadows, but she could see the orange glow of cigarettes hanging from their mouths as they glanced casually in the boy's direction. They all seemed to be dressed alike, as if there was a uniform. "You coming or what?"
"Cool it, Em!" The boy looked back at her. "Looks like I gotta go."
"Yeah?" His eyebrows raised expectantly.
"Thank you. I'm sorry. I should have said that before, but thank you."
He grinned broadly. "Don't worry about it. I'm sure I can think of a way for you to repay me later." He winked. "Guess I'll see you around, sweetheart."
He jogged back to his friends, where he was greeted with mocking whistles from the group. The loud friend glanced at her from over his shoulder and muttered something in the boy's ear, which earned him a sharp punch in the arm. She shook her head, trying to come back to earth. Her heartbeat hadn't yet returned to normal, even now that he was dozens of feet away. She'd barely said anything to him, just stood there gawking and letting him tease her. Why? She had guy friends growing up, so it wasn't as if she didn't know how to talk to them. She certainly never had any trouble talking to Edward. He didn't introduce himself, which was rude, but she thought better of it when she realized she never asked either. At least she got his name.
"Bella! Where were you?" Alice's disapproval rang out over the metal roofs as she pushed her way closer with the other girls in tow. Bella gave Jake one last look before turning her attention back to her friends.
"Right. Sorry," she replied. "I was watching the previews when I was walking back and I got distracted.
"So," Jessica whispered, leaning inwards. "Who was that guy you were talking to?"
She could feel her heart sputtering back to life again. This whole evening was strange and embarrassing enough without having to tell her friends that she almost got hit by a car.
"No idea," she said quickly. "He just wanted to know the time." The opening score crashed out of the nearby speakers, saving her from needing to reveal anything else they'd missed. There wasn't anything to tell, though: He pulled her out of the path of a car and she said thank you, very cut-and-dry. Nevertheless, she was sure that Lauren would find a way to make a fuss about it later, that shameless gossip. She was grateful when they finally made it back to the car, sliding onto the cool leather seat with a sigh. For the next ninety-minutes, she would have some relative peace and quiet to settle down and forget everything before she saw Edward.
"Hey there, beautiful," a smooth voice whispered in her ear. She jumped in her seat, letting out a tiny shriek before realizing that the voice belonged to her boyfriend, who was laughing to himself at her reaction. As always, he looked like a million bucks, which made sense given that his parents probably actually had a million bucks. His shirt was crisp and immaculate, tucked into khaki pants with a dark blue jacket that fit perfectly around his toned upper torso. He watched her eyes shrink back to normal size and laughed again, taking her hand and gently squeezing it.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you. I thought you would've seen me. It must be a really good movie."
Bella looked around him to find that his friends were there as well. Jasper, a fellow member of the crew team, was already working his way to Alice's side of the car, and met her with a kiss on the lips. Jessica was too busy making eyes at Emmett to care about the interruption, knowing full well that he was already dating Edward's older sister. Both issues were a minor source of contention between the boys. Emmett was on the shorter side, but thick, stocky frame was like catnip to girls and to the football coach, who supposedly had been all but bribing him to join, but he could never give up wrestling. You could tell he enjoyed taking down his opponents a little too much, both on and off the mat, but his opportunities were growing smaller. A rival jock made the mistake of calling him a queer mid-match. He passed out forty-five seconds later, and nobody dared to taunt Emmett McCarty ever again.
"It was until Bella gave us a heart attack," Lauren griped.
"Hi, Edward," Bella finally responded, ignoring her. "I didn't think the guys would be coming, too."
"It was a last minute change. I was actually coming just to see you." He smiled. "But Rose is sick, so Emmett has no date and Jasper knew you were with Alice, so we decided to surprise you a little early and maybe go throw a ball around for a while."
"That's sweet of you!" Alice chirped, only furthering Lauren's annoyance. "Are you guys staying for the movie?"
"That depends, is there room in here for me?" Jasper asked with a sly smile, crossing his arms and leaning forward on the side of the car.
"C'mon, Jas. They're doing chick stuff. You can feel up her up later."
Alice and Jessica let out a small gasp at Emmett's somewhat lewd commentary. That was all it took to turn Alice beet red. Bella wondered if that was how Edward and his friends talked when she wasn't around. Was he bragging about things they did in his car too, or was that just Emmett being Emmett? Surely he would never do something like that. The thought mortified her, and she slunk down in her seat. Jasper shot him a dark look, but he only laughed, spitting into the grass behind us.
"Lay off, man," Edward said sternly. He leaned back and lowered his voice enough that Bella could barely hear. "I don't care how cool Rose is," he scolded, his voice bearing a hint of disgust. "You can't talk like that in front of girls, especially our girls. You're gonna scare them off."
"Whatever," he mumbled, kicking at the dirt. Edward turned his attention back to his girlfriend, flashing his trademark smile. She still didn't understand why he didn't go into acting or become a teen idol. He could have sold ice to eskimos just by standing there. His dazzling visage always reminded her just how lucky she was. It was hypnotizing.
"I didn't mean to interrupt, ladies. We'll kick off now." He bent down and gave her a short kiss. "How about we hook up afterwards? We can get something to eat." Two dates in one weekend: how could any girl compete with that?
"Sure." She could feel herself blushing again. A shy smile formed as she leaned forward for another kiss. He smelled like mint and aftershave, which sounded nice but always burned her nose when they got this close. She liked him better when he came back from practice, musky with a trace of salt water lingering on his clothes. She loved kissing her prince more than anything else. It never got old. But this time, when she finally managed to pull herself away, her eyes immediately traveled away from his to the pack of roaring motorcycles cruising towards the exit.
A/N: This story was inspired by my love of music from the fifties and sixties, as well as the class and gender issues that were present in the books. As such, this story is going to include a lot of the attitudes towards women, poc, etc that you'd expect from this period in American history, but there will be no racial slurs. Please keep in mind that I am just one well-meaning idiot trying to make something a little more complicated and interesting out of a book about hot guys with superpowers.
In the interest of the story and of not over-complicating my life, this does not take place in a particular year(s). I'm leaving it a little ambiguous, which will result in some minor anachronisms, but suffice it to say that the events of the story take place somewhere between 1960 and 1965
I know I've vilified Edward in the past, but that's not the kind of story that I'm writing this time.
Finally, please check out the songs I'm including with these chapters, as I think they add a lot in the way of tone and context.