Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. Or Edward – Or Robert – Damn it.
All I Want Is You
I sat perched on the edge of my bed, tossing my car keys back and forth between my hands. I was supposed to have gone home four days ago, but just couldn't bring myself to go. I couldn't bear the thought of taking the long lonely trip and passing the cutoff to Forks because I knew it would only dredge up the memories of the last time I'd driven along that stretch of road with Bella seated by my side.
It stung as her name crossed my thoughts, but the pain intensified when I thought about how I'd spent four days – four fucking days – in hell as I sat around my desolate dorm room knowing she wasn't here, knowing she'd driven to Forks to spend Christmas with her father.
Four days ago, I'd been so close to getting everything I'd ever wanted. Four days ago, she'd closed her door in my face, and on my heart. And for four days, every time I'd closed my eyes, I saw the agonized look upon her face as I stood there looking down at her, tongue-tied, unable to vocalize just how sorry I was for hurting her. For I knew that I had, and knowing that I'd been the one to screw it up – that it was my fault that things had gone horribly wrong – was the worst part of all.
I'd been replaying every detail from that night over and over again, torturing myself with the memories. As soon the cramped taxi pulled up in front of Shenanigan's some sixty-odd hours ago, I'd hopped out and made a beeline for the knotted wooden door with Jasper hot on my trail. "We're here to pick up my girlfriend, and you look like you're in line to meet Mickey Mouse or some shit," he'd said as we walked into the bar.
I'd expected the teasing from him, but I couldn't find it in myself to give a shit, or to come up with any sort of a come-back, because I spotted her immediately. I was hesitant to find out what Bella's reaction to seeing me after all this time would be. Surprisingly, Jasper let my lack of response to his jab slide, but I realized it was only because he'd followed my line of sight and found Alice. He immediately set off, making his way toward her, leaving me standing rooted to the floor as I watched him approach.
Alice's whole face lit up as she turned in his arms and leaned up to kiss him. Bella smiled before taking a glance at her surroundings, as though she expected someone. Before I could get my hopes up that she could possibly be looking for me, I spotted Mike Newton maneuvering his way toward her from the corner of my eye. My jaw tightened and my fists clenched at my side when he stood directly behind her and leaned down to speak into her ear.
The strangest expression flitted across her face before she turned to face him. Mike put on his best come-hither smile as I watched Bella's head tilt up, and I gnashed my teeth together when he coaxed her to dance by pulling her toward him from her hips. When Bella was forcefully spun around a moment later and I saw that she was biting her lower lip nervously, I felt bad for Mike; as it turned out, he wouldn't be dancing with her for long.
I was already making my way toward her, snaking in between groups of giggling girls and couples grinding in to each other, when I saw that weasel slide his arm around my girl, and watched as she cringed and bit into her lip again. When I reached them, Bella had her eyes closed and a look of disgust was clearly etched upon her face.
Mike hadn't noticed me approach him, so when I not so subtly shoved his shoulder, I caught him off-guard. He instantly spun to face me, and the look upon his face clearly said, What the fuck? When he saw the scowl upon my face however, he thought better of saying whatever insult was on the tip of his tongue, put his palms up in defeat, and walked off.
As I stood looking down at Bella, it was if she could sense when Mike's presence left her because her whole frame relaxed as a new song began. I recognized the slow, heavy beat of the music as she turned around to face me. A look of wonder briefly crossed her eyes before she bit her lower lip and looked down shyly.
I reached out to her and slipped my hand around her waist to gently ease her body toward mine, and everything around us melted away as we began to move together. I could feel the heat from her body, see the sweat begin to trickle down the nape of her neck, and watched the rise and fall of her chest as she took each labored breath.
The heavy beat began to soften, and as the song morphed into a much slower one, Bella looked up into my eyes. At that moment, all I wanted to do was take her face between my hands and kiss her with everything I had. I wanted to show her – tell her – with that one kiss all that I was, and all that she made me.
"Bella," I whispered into the soft skin of her neck, leaving gooseflesh in the wake of my warm breath. She pulled back to face me, and I watched as her lips parted and her eyes slid closed. I was in heaven holding her there in my arms, enclosed in my own private bubble: smelling her skin, touching her body, and reveling in all that simply being near her entailed.
Her eyes remained closed, and as my lips parted to finally tell her all that she meant to me, she swayed on the spot before my arm – still wrapped around her waist – steadied her. After she'd seemed to regain her footing, I leaned back down, my mouth hovering next to her delicate ear. She abruptly pulled away from me, turned, and ran toward the back of the bar, leaving me standing there staring after her.
Jasper, who had watched the whole scene unfold, gave me a curious look. Alice turned to see why Jasper stopped dancing, and saw that Bella was making her way toward the back of the bar in a hurry. She gave Jasper a quick, apologetic look before following Bella off of the dance floor to check on her.
"Well, that was… interesting. I'm gonna go get a beer. Want one?" Jasper asked as he walked over to me. I nodded, not bothering to try and form any semblance of an answer, and followed numbly behind him.
"What do you want?" he asked as we approached the crowded bar. People tried to push their way past me, and I had to cover my right ear with my hand as a kid that didn't' look old enough to buy cigarettes legally, let alone alcohol, whistled to get the busy bartender's attention.
I shook my head after glaring at the young kid to indicate that I wasn't ready to drown out my emotions with alcohol. Though I knew we'd only been standing at the bar for a few moments, in my mind, the bartender was taking way too long. I turned to Jasper and said, "Hey, I'm gonna go back to where we were in case the girls can't find us."
I was worried that Bella would return to where we'd been standing only to find me gone. I knew that I'd look ridiculous standing all alone in the middle of the crowded dance floor, but Jasper would eventually make his way back, and when – no if, I mentally corrected myself – Bella came back, I wanted her to be able to find me. So I walked back to were I was and stood there, looking like a complete idiot.
I brought both of my hands up to rub my face and my eyes, trying to clear my head. When I lowered them I was surprised, to say the least, to find Angela standing there looking up at my face with a small smile.
"Oh," I said, somewhat startled, "Hey there." I peered over her head, scanning the bar to see if Jasper was on his way to come rescue me, or if by some miracle, Alice was returning with Bella in tow. Damn it, I thought to myself when there was no sign of either.
I looked back down at Angela's face to find her smile had widened into a vivid ear-to-ear grin. "How are you, Edward?" she asked with a bit too much enthusiasm.
This girl is hammered, I thought. She'd started swaying to the music, and though we were technically out on the dance floor, her provocative movement coupled with the way she was biting her lip and looking up at me didn't strike me as something the Angela I knew would do if she was sober.
"I'm good, I suppose," I answered.
"Oh, I know you're good," she said, slapping my chest. I smirked at her playfulness, and she laughed.
"So, are you having a good time?" I asked, once again peering over her head for any sign of Bella.
Where is she? I asked myself as Angela started bobbing her head, even though the song that was playing was too slow for such enthusiastic dancing. "I love tequila, don't you?"
"Uh-huh," I mumbled, not looking down at her as I answered. I'd stopped moving and craned my neck toward the door, because I thought I'd seen Alice for a second.
"Don't you, Edward?" Angela asked again. When I looked down at her, I knew that I'd missed something in the last few minutes; she was no longer talking about tequila.
Gnawing at the inside of my cheek, I looked down again at her and said, "I'm sorry, I missed that last bit. What?"
She took a step toward me, leaned up on her tiptoes, and placed both of hands on my shoulders. "I really like this song, don't you?" she asked, whispering into my left ear. Her implications were as clear as her words.
For some reason, I thought of the last time I'd seen Angela. She'd seemed to appear out of thin air just as she had tonight, and I couldn't help but compare her smile tonight from the one that had graced her face as I'd said, "Maybe some other time?" when I couldn't accept her invitation to dinner that night.
Ah shit, I thought to myself. Was I unintentionally leading this girl on? She was obviously flirting with me, and as I gnawed on my cheek, I realized that she'd probably been flirting the night she'd asked me out, too. I took a deep breath and looked down at her. She smiled sweetly up at me.
"Look," I began. I was really uncomfortable with confrontations, and if it turned out that my gut instinct was wrong on this matter, I didn't know what I was going to do. "Angela, I'm sort of…"
Jasper interrupted me by tapping my left shoulder, and I'd never been so happy to see him. "Hey man, did they come back out here?" he asked, looking down at Angela. He gave her a stiff smile before turning back to me for my answer.
"No, I uh…" I trailed off and motioned toward Angela with a slight nod of my head. I didn't want to be rude, but I didn't know how to get rid of her without sounding like an absolute dick. "Did you see them?" I asked, motioning to Angela again, hoping that he'd think of something to say to make her leave.
"I spotted Alice while I was waiting for my beer," he said, putting emphasis on Alice's name.
From the corner of my eye, I noticed Angela fidgeting with her hands, obviously uncomfortable with the mention of another girl's name. "Edward," she said meekly during the pause in conversation, and I looked down at her. "I'm gonna go over there with my friends," she said, nodding toward the tables on our left. "I'll see you later?" she asked optimistically.
"Uh, I guess?" She walked away after a quick nod, and I noticed Jasper's quirked brow. The look on my face wiped it right off, and I steered him back to the more important question at hand. "Did you see Bella with her?"
"Yeah, I saw them come out of the bathroom and head over to an empty table. Bella saw me first then looked around for you. Alice looked over at me, and had just nodded in your direction when the bartender gave me my beer. After I settled my tab and looked back up, they were gone."
I took a moment to process his words as he fished his cell phone out of his pocket and read a text. Was she sick? Was that why she left? I asked myself, but it didn't make sense that they'd sat down after she came back from the restroom.
So she wasn't sick. Maybe she just needed a second…
To do what, though?
I pushed aside the memory of when I'd escaped into a restroom to gather my thoughts and focused. Jasper said he'd nodded in my direction, and then they'd left. So she saw me and then what? I asked myself.
Then it hit me… Bella had seen me alright. She'd seen me with Angela.
"Alice just texted and said that Bella wasn't feeling very well. They grabbed a cab," Jasper said, and I was already moving toward the exit.
I felt as though the wind had been knocked out of me. She's seen me with Angela; talking to her… making her laugh… dancing with her.
When I found myself face to face with Alice a few minutes later at Bella's door, I tried to speak, but couldn't find my words. When I heard Bella's quiet sniffle from somewhere past Alice, I knew that she'd been crying.
I shuffled my feet then said, "Jasper came with me. He's downstairs in a cab, or at least he was..."
Alice stood there quietly looking up at me for a few seconds and I started to feel uncomfortable under her steady gaze; I'd never spoken to her before, and this was an unusual first meeting of sorts. Her expression was surprisingly gentle and understanding; it was much better than what I deserved from Bella's best friend.
"Is she… Can I…" I said, searching for the right question to ask.
"Give me one second," she said quietly, closing the door so that it was only cracked open and inch or two.
The sound of light footsteps filled the narrow hallway, and I turned to find Jasper walking toward me. "I told Alice you were here," I began. "She's talking to her for me."
He nodded and leaned up against the wall across the hall from Bella's door. I stepped aside when Alice reappeared, and after she walked out into the hall, she turned toward me. "She's…" Alice began, pausing and wringing her hands together. She sighed and looked me square in the eye. "She's hurting Edward. Just don't…" she said trailing off again, and Jasper took her hand.
My eyes dropped down to the floor and I gave a slow nod, understanding where she was headed with her last statement. After they left, I turned toward Bella's room, and watched her stand up from where she'd been sitting on her bed and walk toward me. Bella looked up into my eyes once she reached where I stood awkwardly in her doorway, and I couldn't help but notice that hers were puffy and red.
I'd held her in my arms that night, but I hadn't been able to keep her there. I'd had all of the right words to say, but I just hadn't been able to say them. She'd had every right to slam the door in my face.
When the tip of one of the three keys hanging off of my Boba Fett keychain dug sharply into my palm, I winced and swore under my breath, shaking my wrist as though it could somehow dull my senses. Unfortunately, it didn't work. Instead, it flipped a switch in my mind, setting a plan into motion. Although I wasn't keen on the idea of driving anywhere at the moment, especially along the lush tree-lined highways that led out of the city in every direction, I had to get out of my room, out of this building, out of this city.
I stood in the space of my open driver's side door in the cold, near-empty parking lot across the street from Weston Hall and looked across the hood of my car. I'd parked next to the old, beat-up red Chevy all semester, not only because the space next to it seemed to be permanently vacant, but because the small, luminous crystal hanging from the rearview mirror intrigued me. It was beautiful when it caught the light, and reflected off of every shiny surface offered around the parking lot.
The crystal was unable to catch a single ray of light from the dismal gray Washington sky; the only thing it seemed able to reflect today was my loneliness. I tore my eyes away from her truck, not letting the fact that it was parked here lull me into a false sense of hope. She'd told me once that its engine was more than likely on its last legs and that she tried not to drive it long distances if she was able to. More than likely, she'd ridden home to Forks with Alice.
I slid into the leather seat of my Volvo, not finding the usual comfort I usually did as I turned over the ignition and listened to the soft hum of the engine. Though I loved to drive, I felt no excitement of the prospect of doing so today. But I needed to get out of here. Everything around me conjured up memories and images of Bella. Even the empty seat to my right seemed to mock me, but I had to get as far away as possible from Seattle to clear my head, if only for a moment.
As I left the west side of campus, I followed the smaller rural roads that led me out of the city, but was soon frustrated with the fifty-five mile per hour speed limit that I knew was being enforced by the extra state patrol out en force for the holiday travelers. Driving up the entrance ramp of the first highway I encountered, I soon found myself speeding along and watching the blur of the ever present greenery fly past me, until I noticed that I had somehow ended up on the one-oh-one north, only forty short miles away from the small town of Forks – from her.
The next exit quickly became my exit, and as I turned around under the freeway underpass, I came face to face with Buccee's. As if on cue, the small yellow light indicating that I was running low on fuel suddenly illuminated the dark shadow of my dashboard. With a resigned sigh, I pulled into the station, got out, swiped my credit card, and unscrewed the cap to my gas tank.
I kept my eyes away from the main building, choosing to focus on the loud rumble an eighteen-wheeler made on its way toward the freeway entrance as I pumped the fuel. When I'd finished, I turned back toward the machine in search of my credit card receipt, only to find a message informing me that if I wanted the tiny scrap of paper, I'd have to go inside and have a cashier print one off.
I screwed the gas cap back on, sealing off my tank, and then slid back into my seat. I allowed myself to look up at the building that lay in front of me before I closed my eyes and rested my head upon the steering wheel for a moment, relishing the cool feel of the leather on my skin. I don't need the receipt, I told myself. I don't need to go in there, and I certainly don't need a Dr. Pepper with ice to quench my sudden thirst.
With my eyes still closed and my forehead still resting upon my steering wheel, I turned over the ignition and put the car in drive. Still leaning forward, I opened my eyes and glanced to make sure that my path was clear before pulling forward and parking in front of the one place that was more significant than even Weston Hall when it came to Bella. After all, this was where I'd finally admitted to myself that I was in love with her…
As I turned off my car yet again and stepped out into the cold, moist December air, I realized that I'd parked in this very spot the last time I'd been here. My phone vibrated from my front pocket as I shook my head and walked through the automatic doors. When I'd made my way over to the soda fountain lining the back wall, I took it out and read the message displayed on my screen:
Edward, is my gay in your closet? If it is, can you bring it over later? I can't find it anywhere. Em
I read the message through once more to make sure I'd read it correctly before I replied:
Em, your gay is probably in your closet. Just come out already ~ E
I filled a large Styrofoam cup with ice, and as I positioned it underneath the Dr. Pepper nozzle, my phone vibrated in my left hand. After I secured the lid to my drink, I read the message displayed on the screen:
What the hell are you talking about? Em
I really wasn't in the mood for his bullshit so I forwarded his original message back to him, hoping that he'd get the hint and stop fucking around with me. I couldn't be bothered by his antics, especially when I was here. Everything about the small store reminded me of Bella, and when I saw the small table to my left from the corner of my eye, I couldn't stop myself from moving toward it.
Buccee's cute little beaver face stared up at me from the display of t-shirts in the center of the unusually empty store; it was strange that not many people were here, what with it being so close to the holiday, a busy time for travel. When I glanced down at the array of various Buccee slogans printed on black and white t-shirts, I spotted the same one I'd held up to Bella a month ago.
Her big, bright smile flashed behind my eyes as I picked up the shirt, but instead of shying away from the memory, I basked in it, allowing the image of her to become engrained in my mind. As I made my way to pay for my Dr. Pepper and the size small t-shirt folded under my arm, my phone buzzed yet again. I set my items down in front of the smiling cashier, asked her for the receipt for the gas I'd pumped, and looked down at my phone as she busied herself ringing up my items.
Emmett had apparently not gotten the hint, but I have to say, I was amused with his message:
God damn auto text. I meant gay, not gay.
Before I had a chance to hit reply and try to formulate a response, my screen lit up and my phone buzzed again with a new message from him:
Son of a bitch. HAT, damn it. Do you have my gay?
I couldn't stop the chuckle that formed in my throat as I realized what he'd been trying to say this entire time. I sent off my reply within seconds:
It only took you 4 texts to get your point across. I'm so proud. Nope, haven't seen your hat or your gay & definitely don't have either. Try Jasper's closet ~ E
I pocketed my phone as I waited for the cashier to ring up my drink and Bella's shirt, and returned her welcoming smile. After I made sure I'd gotten the receipt for my fuel – the reason I'd come in here in the first place – I strode out to my car and tossed the small bag containing the t-shirt in the direction of the passenger seat. I shifted into reverse and backed out of the spot, and the plastic bag slid along the leather seat, landing with a small plop on the floorboard.
I shifted into drive and made sure that I wasn't blocking anyone before leaning down to retrieve her shirt then placed it back on the seat. As I pulled out of Buccee's parking lot, I thought about what was inside of that little bag to my right. I knew it meant more to me than it could ever possibly mean to her, but when I'd seen it, I'd simply had to buy it for her. The first time she'd seen it, she'd shown me her breathtaking smile, and I had to see that smile again.
Along with the small impromptu gift, I wanted to give Bella something that would make her know what I was feeling – what I'd been going through without her – and I wasn't going to chicken out this time. I penned a letter in my mind, letting my words flow uninterrupted by any noise, and repeated them to myself over and over again as I drove toward Seattle. I knew that she wasn't there, but something inside of me told me that Weston Hall was where I needed to be.
I found myself parking next to her truck in what seemed like moments later, and hurried across the street and up to the fifth floor. After retrieving a black notebook and pen from my room, I shut my door behind me and walked down to room 575. Slumping down along the wall just across from her door, I looked up to where her dry erase board hung and a piece of purple construction paper read, "Bella Swan, Resident Advisor." I studied her name for a moment then looked down at the empty sheet of paper on my lap and began scrawling the message that had been playing on a continuous loop in my mind for the last hour or so.
After I'd finished and done a quick read through of what I'd written, I pushed up off of the floor and set off toward my room. I placed the shirt and the words that would always belong to her into a small box, and tucked the small gift into my closet. The dorm was quiet that night, and I slept better than I had in days – four days to be exact.
I woke up late the next afternoon, feeling rested and relaxed. Knowing that I would be giving Bella my letter in a few days seemed to lift my spirits and the weight that had settled upon my chest for the last two months. I spent the day lounging around my room – cleaning of all things – something that I was rarely afforded the time to do.
There was a Christmas party being held downstairs for employees and friends, and since neither Jasper nor I had ventured home for the holiday, he'd convinced me to tag along with him and Alice. I assumed she'd driven down just to be with him on Christmas Eve.
The party was supposed to start around 10:30, so I ventured downstairs at around 10:15, waiting for Jasper to show up. Mrs. Banner spotted me immediately as I exited the elevator, and I couldn't hold back my smile as she bustled over to me. Her cardigan was a bright shade of lime green, and several little wreaths and snowmen that looked like they'd literally been pasted on just before the party were scattered along the lapel.
"Edward," she exclaimed as she made her way to where I was standing. "It's been much too long. How are you?"
"Merry Christmas, Mrs. Banner," I said, suppressing a short laugh as I noticed that her vibrant pink lipstick was smeared across her teeth. "I'm good. Are you and Mr. Banner ready for the holiday? Are Robert and Vickie coming over with their families tomorrow?" I asked, and her face lit up when I mentioned her two grown children's names.
"Yes, and we're so excited to have them," she said, and her smile revealed the deep pink hue of her teeth again. "And call me Shirley, Edward. I'm not going to tell you again. I'll just have Ted get after you instead."
"Surely you jest," I said, and I knew that she'd love the reference to her first name. As if on cue, she blushed and looked down as though she were a schoolgirl talking to her first crush.
Taking my chance to be covert, I snuck a glance down at my watch, and was surprised to find that it was already 10:35 and still hadn't heard from Jasper. In fact, I hadn't spoken to him since earlier in the afternoon, when he told me that he'd text when he was on his way over to Weston.
My phone vibrated against my leg just as Shirley had composed herself enough to look back up at me, and after I retrieved it from my pocket, I politely motioned that it was a message that I needed to take. She smiled and dismissed me, and after I promised that I'd find her again later on in the evening, I strode over toward the elevator where it was a bit brighter, due to the lights illuminating the fake Christmas tree perched there.
I looked down at the small screen of my phone and smirked as I read Jasper's message:
E ~ Not gonna be there for least an hour. Took Alice to a stuffy restaurant downtown & the host was an asshole. Hold down the fort & save the good stuff for me ~ J
As I typed in my response, telling him that it was no big deal, I noticed the time displayed in the corner of the screen, and deleted my original message. Instead, I told him that I was going call it a night. It had been a long couple of days, and if Jasper was going to be spending the holiday with Alice tomorrow, then I figured that I'd might as well make the trip home to spend the day with my parents.
After the slow elevator trek up to the fifth floor, I walked directly across the hall to my room. I left the lights off, choosing to turn on the lamp next to my bed instead. Stretching out along my mattress, I leaned back and put my hands under my head. I wasn't ready to go to sleep, but I knew that if I stayed up much longer, I was going to drive myself crazy thinking about her.
My mind had already conjured up images of her tear-stained face, and I could hear her voice as she said, "Have a Merry Christmas, Edward."
I closed my eyes and tried to pick another memory of her – any other memory – when my phone vibrated in my pocket. Reluctantly, I took it out and glanced down at the screen to read the message displayed there:
E ~ Forgot to tell you: Bella and Alice didn't go to Forks. Alice just got a txt from Bella & she's the party. Go talk to her, man ~ J
Without a moment's hesitation, I stood up. Within seconds, I was out the door, pressing the button to summon the elevator.
A/N's: I know I've been gone for a while and I'm not going to ask for your forgiveness. I only ask that you tell me what you thought of my triumphant-return of a chapter…