Disclaimer: If you are reading this, you probably already know that I neither own, nor did I create, the characters and concepts of the Twilight Saga. They are the sole property of Stephenie Meyer.
Rating: I am not sure. Probably about equal to that of the books. PG-13? Let's just say this story deals with light drug use, but does not glorify it. If that subject matter disturbs you, steer clear.
Flirting with Danger
It started quite innocently, as these things tend to do. I had driven out to La Push on a rainy Saturday to hang out with Jacob while he worked on my bike, only to find Jake missing and a handsome boy I had never seen before, in his garage in his place. I stopped in the entryway, a little uncertain.
"Is Jake around?" I asked the stranger, who was sitting on a crate, smoking. He drew on his cigarette, and exhaled slowly. For a moment, I thought he wouldn't answer, but then he spoke.
"He went to get some more sodas." He paused. "You must be Bella. My name is John."
I was about to reply, when the scent of what he was smoking enveloped me. My eyes dropped from his face to his hand and the cigarette that wasn't. He was smoking a joint. Noticing me looking, he politely held it out.
"Wanna try?" He said, grinning engagingly.
I automatically opened my mouth to refuse, as I had done the only two other times I had been offered marijuana, and then stopped. It struck me that if recklessness-induced hallucinations were going to be the only way I got to have Edward, experimenting with pot would make a great addition to my collection of reckless behaviors. The boy must have noticed the calculating look on my face, because he laughed and stood, walking toward me, the joint still held out in front of him. I looked from it to him speculatively, and slowly reached for it.
I stopped, fingers mere inches from the joint, Edward's voice echoing softly and disapprovingly in my head. I closed my eyes in relief. Oh Edward…It was working. I had found yet another way to be with him. My hand covered the rest of the space between it and the boy's fingers, and carefully took the joint from him.
Bella. His tone sharpened. Don't.
I brought the joint to my lips.
Bella! He sounded angry now. You will stop at once…BELLA! I am warning you...
"Keep talking, Edward," I muttered, before drawing deeply on the joint and inhaling.
Never having so much as puffed on a cigarette, my lungs were not prepared. They seized, and I started coughing wildly, causing the exiting smoke to sear my lungs and my throat, making me cough even more. Tears streaming down my face, I handed the joint back. The boy laughed again, lightly grasping my wrist to steady my hand, and plucked it from between my shaking fingers. He handed me an open can of coke. The tepid soda soothed my sore throat like cold water on a hot day. My lungs, however, were a different matter. They still hurt like hell.
"That's going to take a while to fade," he said, almost as if he had read my mind.
"Goodness," I gasped, trying not to breathe too deeply and set off the coughing again, "that was awful. Why do people...Oh."
"That's why," he said, laughing delightedly, recognizing the exact moment I began feeling the effects of the drug.
"Oh," I repeated stupidly. "That's...um...that's really nice."
"Want some more?" He asked, holding out the joint again.
I waved him off. "No, I think I'm good for my first time, thanks."
Your first and only time, Bella...Edward's voice spoke with dangerous intensity. You will NOT be doing this again.
Feeling very woozy, I carefully lowered myself on to the nearest seat I could find, which happened to be an old cooler, and tried to sort through the new sensations coursing through my body. They defied description. Not that I was remotely interested in describing them. I had discovered an added benefit of being stoned: I was able to think of Edward without pain. Reaching inward with my senses, I carefully probed the gaping hole in my chest that had been my constant companion since he had left me. Just to be sure.
It didn't hurt.
I may have something here, I thought, curiosity awakened.
I was so involved in what was going on inside my head that I didn't notice the boy was speaking again, until he was right next to me, tucking a brand-new joint into my jacket pocket.
"Uh...what?" I asked, squinting up at him.
"I said take this for your next time. Consider it a gift."
And so it began.
It had been easy to fool Charlie and his human senses. Not so easy to fool Edward, once he came back to me, though I had succeeded so far. I'd thought that once I had him back, I wouldn't feel the need to smoke anymore, but it turns out I had seriously misjudged the effects of marijuana. Though it wasn't physically addictive, it certainly was psychologically. I found I enjoyed it too much to stop, and it wasn't difficult to convince myself that it wasn't doing me any harm. My grades were good, I kept up with my chores...I was a good girl in all ways, and saw no reason to deny myself the occasional smoke. It wasn't like I could do it on a regular basis, not while I was under Edward's constant - and completely over the top - supervision. He was with me almost all the time, except for in the morning when I got ready for school, and the evening when I got ready for bed. His enhanced senses, especially his sense of smell, would have made it impossible for me to indulge, if not for the fact that for about five days out of every twenty-eight, Edward could not be around me.
During that time, Edward would take the opportunity to go on one of his bi-monthly hunting trips, and while he was hunting, I would hike out into the woods to smoke a bowl. It was the only way to be sure that he would never smell it on me. Of course it wasn't long before that wasn't enough, and I was slipping into the woods during his other hunting trip. I knew that was an increased risk...he had a habit of cutting his trips short, and showing up unexpectedly. If he turned up after one of my trips into the woods, but before I had showered and gotten my clothes into the washing machine...well. He would most certainly know exactly what was going on, and I imagine I would be in a certain amount of trouble.
I knew it was only a matter of time before he busted me. After all, there was still Alice to consider...if Edward didn't show up at exactly the wrong moment and smell it on me, she would eventually see something in my future and probably rat me out. No, definitely rat me out. All Hell would break loose. The idea annoyed me more than it frightened me, which was surprising, because Edward had an uncanny ability to put the fear of God in me. It was a fear that was difficult for me to understand; it wasn't like I was afraid he would hurt me. He might not believe I was safe with him, but I knew better. He would never, ever harm me physically. I knew that as surely as I knew that the sun would rise in the east tomorrow. Emotionally...now that was another matter. I was completely secure in the depth of his love for me, but I still couldn't be sure he wouldn't decide one day to make some sweeping decision for me for the sake of my safety, without consulting me, and in doing so break me beyond repair.
"Bella?" Charlie called up the stairs.
I hopped of the bed and opened my bedroom door. "Yeah, dad?"
"I'm heading over to Billy's. Do you want to come? I'm sure Jake would love to see you."
I considered it for a split second, then decided that even though I now had Edward's grudging permission to spend time with Jacob (as if I needed it), Alice would probably see my future disappear and tell Edward, who would worry unnecessarily, cut his hunting trip short and come home regardless of whether he had fed enough or not.
"Thanks, dad, but I have some homework to finish. I'll catch Jacob later."
"OK, honey...I'll be home late, so don't worry about dinner."
"Say hi to Billy and Jake for me," I yelled as he walked out the door.
Plopping myself down on my bed, I put my headphones in my ears and turned up the volume on my music. Thinking about Edward's overprotective and controlling nature had put me in a bad mood. It was flattering in a way; there was something comforting about having someone who was willing to die to protect you, someone who did what they firmly believed was right for you even when you disagreed with them, but at the same time it often made me feel like I was no more than a wayward child. To the Cullens, my running off to play with werewolves wasn't that different from a human child running off to play in rush hour traffic. As far as they were concerned, I didn't understand the dangers, and as a result needed to be protected, even against my will.
Ridiculous. Jacob would no more hurt me than Edward would.
It was ironic that in the middle of my inner grumbling about being treated like a child, I should start acting like one. Getting off the bed, I headed to the hidey hole under the floor boards in which Edward had hidden my birthday presents and pictures of him when he had abandoned me all those months ago. It now held a small antique beaded clutch - securely wrapped in a heavy duty plastic bag, just in case Edward's sense of smell was better than I could possibly imagine – which contained the stone pipe John had given me a week after our first meeting, a lighter, and a small enamel pill box full of high-grade marijuana.
If I had been completely honest with myself I would have recognized my smoking at that moment for the knee-jerk act of rebellion that it was; instead, I managed to convince myself that it was simply an opportunity too good to pass up: Charlie was out for the rest of the day and most of the evening, and Edward would not be back until tomorrow. It was raining cats and dogs outside, and the chance to get stoned in the comfort of my own bedroom would probably not come up again soon.
Opening the windows all the way, I returned to my bed, and settled on top of the comforter with my legs crossed. Using a magazine as a tray, I set out the pipe and tipped a small amount of marijuana into the bowl. I tamped it down with my finger, flicked the lighter and held it to the bowl, inhaling a cloud of fragrant smoke. When the drug started to take effect, I set everything aside on the night table and stretched out on the bed. Staring up at the ceiling, I listened to the rain pattering down outside and the swishing of tires on wet road in the distance, enjoying the cool breezes that blew through the windows and across the bare skin of my legs and arms. I smiled and stretched luxuriantly, deeply content, happy to just lie there and think of nothing. As I grew more relaxed, my eyelids slowly drifted closed.
"What the Hell do you think you are doing?!!"
I screamed, bolting upright so quickly that I slid of the bed and landed on my butt on the floor.
"Wha…?" I gasped, clutching at my chest as if my hand were the only thing keeping my heart from bursting out of my ribcage, and looked straight up a pair of jean-clad thighs, right into the icy yet incandescent eyes of my very irate vampire boyfriend.
"Holy buzz-kill, Batman," I said flippantly, to disguise the abject terror that caused the bottom to fall out of my stomach.
Edward in a blinding rage was pretty impressive, but strangely enough, wasn't nearly as frightening as Edward gone completely still. And right now, he was totally redefining the word still.
I was pretty sure I was in more trouble than I had ever been in my short life.
To be continued…