Oh, yes, I know. It was very mean of me to tease you all by making you think I actually posted a new chapter. I hate it when authors do that, too. Yes, I'm a douche bag, I know. But the following is just a little update on what's going on with "Psycho" and what not. Hope you're not too pissed at me. *runs and hides*
First things first: I've changed my pen name upon the realization that "kfm-vampyr" is a little gay (no offense to the gays or the vampires. Or the gay vampires, for that matter). From here on out I will be known only as "Charles Obscure". I know this isn't really that important, but I thought I'd make sure you all know so that we can avoid any confusion in the future.
Next order of business: So, you're probably aware that I haven't finished "Psycho", yet. And now that I've got a new story posted you're probably thinking "What the fucking hell?? She's not even done with her first story and she's already moved on!! FINISH 'PSYCHO' FIRST, BITCH!!" And if that is what you're thinking, that would be totally legit. But hear me out. I've finally gotten back into the right frame of mind for writing fan fiction, which means that I would totally be down for completing "Psycho" (finally). However, I've been feeling extremely frusterated with "Psycho". Looking it over today, I noticed a million or more fuck ups and inconsistencies. And compared to my other work, I feel like "Psycho" is so underdeveloped and written on such a juvenile level that, for the most part, I don't even feel like it's worth finishing. And in addition to that, with the dark state of mind I've been in lately, I've found even more challenges in writing for it.
On the other hand, I have at least a few hundred very good reasons to finish it: you guys.
So many of you have believed in my little story from the beginning, despite its flaws. And in addition to that, I know that so many more of you have been waiting very patiently all summer for an update, and the constant support and ego-stroking that you've given me truly makes me want to continue on with it. So, here's the deal: I feel like I'll be able to finish "Psycho" if each of you guys can think of a way in which I can improve it. I know you guys are creative, so throw anything at me that you might like to see happen. I don't mean to sound like someone who's run out of ideas and has to use the ones that other people provide. I simply mean that if I do finish this story, I would be doing it as more of a "thank you" to the fans, so I want it to be 100% for you and about you.
I will let you know by September 25th whether or not I'm going to complete it. In the mean time, check out my new fic "Staying Alive". It's one that I actually began working on prior to "Psycho" but I never got the chance to do anything with it. I feel like it's some of my best work, especially since I've had the opportunity to develop the storyline before trying to write the first couple of chapters. Let me know what you think.
Much love to you all and thanks for the support!
- Charles Obscure
"Where are we going?"
Jasper turned to me and grinned impishly, a hint of dimples indenting his cheeks. "Well," he said. "You know how when people get nervous or freaked out they're supposed to go to their 'happy place'?" I nodded. "Well, I'm taking you to my happy place."
"And it's in your backyard?" I asked, looking around the open space.
"No," He pointed to the line of green trees that edged along the yard. "It's in there."
"In the woods? But," I looked down doubtfully at the peach-colored flats I wore on my feet. "I'm not really wearing the most ideal shoes for frolicking through the forest."
"Hmm..." Jasper glanced at a small white tool shed that sat next to the bordering fir trees. "I've got an idea." We changed course and walked across the slightly damp grass over to the shed. Jasper entered it and emerged a second later with a very large pair of black rubber boots.
"I don't think those will fit me, Jasper." My stomach fluttered. It felt so good to say his name. I'd said it so many times in the past when I thought of him or talked about him with Bella, but it was a completely different feeling when I was saying it to his face. I was still kind of in shock whenever I thought about the fact that he was really here and he was mine.
"You're not the one who's gonna wear them, silly," he said. Jasper sat down in the grass and began untying his black skate shoes. "Here," He tossed the shoes over to me. "Put these on. They're a little smaller and they have laces so they won't fall off your feet." I smiled at him as I slipped out of my flats and into his black Etnies, lacing them up as tight as they could go. He pulled on the boots and shot up off the ground.
"You're such a gentleman," I told him. He threw me a big, cheesy grin and held out his arm for me to take. I looped my arm around his and we made our way to the trees.
"Thanks, just don't tell my brothers that."
"My lips are sealed."
When we stepped into the forest I swear the whole entire world outside of it disappeared. The light gray clouds were almost completely obscured by the canopy green of leaves and branches that hovered high above our heads. And it didn't take long before the big white house behind us was hidden, as well. We were surrounded by giant oaks, blue spruces and hemlocks as we waded through a sea of green, leafy ferns. After about a few minutes we reached a bubbling creek that appeared to be only a few feet deep and we walked along the edge of it.
"Ah, there it is," Jasper said. He pointed to a small, makeshift bridge that hovered a few inches above the water. As we got closer I could see that it was just two big slabs of plywood that rested on top of few large rocks that sat in the creek. The rushing water slapped noisily against the obstructions before winding its way around them. We approached it and Jasper slid down the soft, brown mud of the steep embankment. He held my hand as I flitted down next to him. "You've gotta be careful when you cross this thing. My brothers and I threw this thing together years ago, so it's not exactly stable." He let go of my hand as he stepped meticulously on to the first board. The other end of the board lifted up like a see-saw. Jasper carefully walked to the middle of the board and the two ends leveled out. The second board seemed to be a little more stable, but not by much. He carefully walked to the other end and stepped onto the soft earth, his boots making a loud squishing sound where he stepped. "Just step where I stepped, Alice," he said to me from the other side of the creek. I rolled my eyes at him and lithely made my way across the bridge in about half the time that it took Jasper to.
"And that's how it's done," I said once I reached him and grinned.
He mussed my hair playfully. "You little show-off."
We made our way deeper into the woods after that with my hand in his. I had no idea how Jasper knew where he was going. We didn't seem to be on any sort of path that I could see.
"There," he said as he pointed to a spot high up in the tall trees. At first, I couldn't see what he was pointing at. But as I scanned the high branches, I spotted a small patch of bright blue in a large Ash tree. It wasn't a natural color. It didn't fit in with the warm earth tones of our surroundings. We walked closer.
"What is it?" I asked curiously.
"My tree fort."
We reached the tree and I could now see that the blue thing was a tarp covering some kind of stand that was maybe twenty or so feet above our heads. Wooden planks had been nailed into the tree trunk to act as a ladder. "Do you wanna go first or do you want me to?" Jasper asked.
"I'll go first," I said, grabbing onto one of the planks and lifting myself up. "Plus," I added as I started climbing. "It'll give you a chance to enjoy the view." I shook my butt a little.
"No complaints here," he told me with a laugh as he began climbing after me.
The footholds led to a small fort settled in the top branches. There didn't appear to be any entrance. "How do I get in?" I asked him.
"Go underneath it. There's a hole you climb through to get inside," he said from below me. There was about three feet of space between the fort's floor and a large split in a bow of the tree. I crawled beneath it, found the hole in the floor and made my way through it.
The inside of the little house was about six feet wide and five feet long. The ceiling was high enough for me to be comfortable but low enough that someone as tall as Jasper would have to hunch. There were no openings except for the hole in the floor but the space was illuminated in a dim blue glow from the tarp that covered it. I had just noticed the random drawings and words written all over the walls when Jasper pulled himself through the opening.
"What do you think?" he asked as he sat down next to the hole in the floor.
"Actually," I said as I assessed the place. "I kind of like it." I settled down on the floor next to him. He smiled and put his hand in mine.
"You know, I'd wanted a tree house so much when I was little." Jasper's eyes drifted around the tiny enclosure. I looked at his face and his expression surprised me. His green eyes were suddenly distant, as if he were lost in another time. "My dad had promised me we'd build one together once he got better." His dad had been sick? I would've asked but I didn't want to interrupt. He looked down at our clasped hands and grimaced. "But he never got better. I suppose that's what drove my mom to the booze and dope." I squeezed his hand and a half-smile flitted across his face. I wanted him to continue. In that moment, I had suddenly grasped the fact that while I'd loved him for so long in my dreams, I didn't really know him at all. The realization stung just a bit, as if this made him less mine.
"Carlisle and Esme adopted Rose and me when she was eleven and I was nine. Emmett and Edward were already here. They'd taken Edward in when he was six and Emmett when he was nine. I'd never had brothers before. I was really excited." He paused for a moment to grab his pack of Newports from his pocket and lit a cigarette for himself. He inhaled the smoke and blew it out in a cloudy stream towards the opening next to him before continuing. "Carlisle wanted nothing more than for all of us to feel like this was our home. He and Esme were quick to attend to our every need. That's why we built this." Jasper waved his hand with the cigarette around the room and took another drag off of it. "Because I'd told him how much I'd always wanted a tree house. So Carlisle helped Emmett, Edward and me build it.
"We used to spend every fuckin' day up here just fuckin' around. Even Rosalie. It was the one place where we could talk about anything. This place is filled with so many memories. Like Emmett explaining sex to Edward and me when we were both ten year olds. Or the first time Edward and I got high. That was also Emmett's doing. Rosalie and Emmett had their first kiss up here. I guess Edward got his first blow job here, too. I think it was from Irina Dresden."
"Eww," I said, looking around the room and wondering where the abomination had transpired. Jasper laughed. He released my hand and crawled over to the other side of the shelter, searching for something on the wall. He flicked his lighter on.
"Ah," he said and pointed to one of the scribblings on the wall. "Here it is. Yup, definitely Irina." I crawled over to him and looked at what he was pointing to. In black permanent marker was written "HAHA, FUCKERS. IRINA SUCKED ME OFF. - EDWARD, 7/12/05" in bold print. I giggled. That was so Edward.
"And over here," he said, moving down the wall and pointing to another spot. "Everything in this corner is from the first time we got high."
I moved down with him and looked. There were pot leaves drawn all over it and random things that didn't make much sense out of context. "You're sucking too hard, Jazz! And that's the wrong end, anyway. – Emmett, 4/20/04" "I can't get comfortable. I'm too hard." – Edward, 4/20/04" "It's the fucking devil! He's talking to me!" – Jasper, 4/20/04". I looked at him and quirked an eyebrow.
"All I've gotta say is, don't listen to Cradle of Filth when you're stoned," he said.
"I'll keep that in mind." I looked back at the wall and scanned more of the writings. "So, what happened? Why don't you guys come out here anymore?"
He shrugged. "Once Emmett and Rosalie got serious and Edward turned into the lazy-ass, man-whore, stoner we know and love today, they didn't have time for this place anymore." Jasper grimaced and rolled the cigarette between his fingers. "Now it's just me."
I crawled along the wall, scanning the words. As my eyes ran along the different quotes and drawings, one in particular caught my attention. "JH + JS" I narrowed my eyes.
"Who's 'JS'?" I asked, trying to keep the spite in my voice to a bare minimum. I sat back on my feet and crossed my arms.
"Oh, shit, I forgot about that," Jasper said sheepishly from the corner. I turned my head and eyed him. He took a slow drag off of his cigarette before answering me, eyes cast down. The term "awkward" couldn't even begin to describe the new emotional climate in the small room. "That's Jessica, an ex-girlfriend of mine."
White hot jealously ripped through my chest. I knew it was ridiculous. Of course he'd had girlfriends before me. Jasper was a virgin, but that didn't mean he'd been single for the past seventeen years. Besides, I had him now. That should be all that mattered.
"You're not like… jealous, are you?" Jasper rubbed the lit end of his cigarette on the floor and threw the butt down the hole. He moved towards me on his hands and knees, his rubber boots clunking on the plywood floor. He reached his hand up to my face and delicately drew his fingers along my cheekbone. "Are you?" he wondered. His eyes searched my face, looking for the answer that wasn't being spoken. The intense green of his eyes grew alight with inquisition. I looked away, searching the walls once again for nothing.
"No," I lied.
"Hey," Jasper said as he brought his hand to my chin, turning my head to face him. His eyes had grown from inquisitive to solemn. "You know you don't have to worry about that shit, right? Yeah, I've had girlfriends before, but they were nothing to me. But you," He smiled, dropped his hand and scooted across the dirty brown floor to get closer to me. "You're different." I could not doubt the look in his eyes. It was overwhelming, like a crushing emotion deep within my chest. How could we possibly already feel so deeply for each other? But I wasn't going to question it, just bask in it.
"How different?" I asked with a smile. I turned and sat against the wall, my back to the "JH + JS". He moved up against the wall and mirrored my pose.
"You're better than any other girl I've ever met. I could actually see me-" Jasper cut himself off and suddenly became very interested in the floor.
"What?" I asked.
"It's nothing." He shook it off.
"No, tell me. I want to know," I said softly. I moved my hand onto his and twined our fingers. He smiled and turned his piercing gaze back to me.
"I could actually see myself falling in love with you," he said.
It was if the world had suddenly shifted around us. The surrounding air had turned into static and my body felt suddenly weightless, as if I was floating. Jasper was everything I'd wanted right from the start. He'd given my life meaning so long ago and now I could finally do the same for him. Jasper was a gift from the gods. His energy, his beauty; it was intoxicating.
And I was all too aware that we'd only ever had one kiss.
"Kiss me, Jasper." I squeezed his hand. His eyes sparkled and danced at my request.
"Of course," he replied.
He pulled me over to him by the hand and brought me to his lap. I wrapped my arms around his neck as he snaked his around my waist. So slowly, he brought his soft lips to my forehead and kissed me tenderly, moving down to my nose and then finally my lips. I closed my eyes and relished in the feeling of his lips against my skin. Jasper's kisses were like a shot of morphine straight into my veins, or what I'd always imagined morphine feeling like. Warm, soothing, addictive. But that was just how Jasper was. The second he was by my side, any unease or distress I'd felt was instantly washed away and forgotten. He was better than any kind of drug. Vicodin, weed, Valium, heroin, Xanax. Jasper was my drug, my addiction.
His mouth parted against mine, moving from my top lip to my bottom lip. I responded and tightened my arms around his neck, bringing him closer to me. His lips responded to my touch with more urgency as he brought my lower lip into his mouth. I drew the fingers of my right hand up his neck and tangled them through his blond waves of hair and I pulled away for a second to adjust my legs to straddle him. Jasper smiled at me again before returning his lips to mine. His hands on my waist slid up to my shoulder blades and he pushed me against him, our chests clashing together. And to feel his chest on mine ignited me. My other hand moved from his neck to join the other one twisted into his hair. He slipped his tongue into my mouth and withdrew it quickly, teasing me. And I truly needed him in that moment. I needed him to satiate this burning need I had. His tongue slipped into my mouth once again but this time he tickled the tip of my tongue with his own.
He was mine.
I wanted to prove it. I wanted everyone to know.
So I moved my lips to his cheek and trailed kisses down to his jaw and to his tender neck. I licked and sucked on the delicate skin where his pulse beat before biting down. Jasper gave out a small hiss of pleasure and his body rocked beneath mine. I moved to different spot on his neck and bit down again while sucking. This time he emitted a small moan.
"Shit," he said beneath his breath as I became aware that he'd gotten hard. I grinned mischievously. I did that to him. I made Jasper aroused.
And I'd never wanted anyone more.
I moved along to several different spots all around his throat, biting and sucking. I pulled back to inspect my handy-work and grinned. Jasper's neck was covered in dark reddish-purple hickies. He was marked as mine.
"There's no way in hell you're getting away with that." Jasper's expression was mirroring my own, I'm sure. One of his hands moved to the small of my back and his other hand flew to the back of my head as he suddenly brought me to the floor. He teased my lips with his own, brushing softly against mine but never quite kissing. Without warning, his lips flew to my neck as he began biting and sucking on the supple skin there.
I might've cried out a little bit.
His mouth moved all across my neck until it matched his, nipping and sucking on all of the right places: just above my collarbones, below my earlobe, the spot on my throat where my pulse was going erratic in response to his touch.
Jasper brought his lips back to mine for one last small, soft kiss before pulling away and gazing into my eyes. He was glowing, shining from within.
"Had enough?" he asked me with a slightly smug grin.
"Not nearly." I smiled back at him, making his smile grow even wider.
And that's when the vision hit me. The vision I'd had in the hospital when I'd only known Edward for a week. Him and a figure sitting on a bed together, laughing and smiling. But the figure had taken a shape. And I wasn't the least bit surprised to find that it had been Bella there with him all along. The thought made me smile. He was accepting it. He was letting himself fall for her. But the vision wasn't exactly the same. The vision took on a cloudy element, as if the room was filled with a light fog or... smoke.
I watched as Bella put a joint up to her lips and sucked in.
That's not even something I would've predicted.
I was brought back to the dim tree for then and Jasper's face was staring down at me once again. But his expression was now one of intrigue.
"What'd you see?" he asked. I smiled a little. He knew my "vision face".
"Your brother got my sister high."
"Uh oh," Jasper said, sitting up.
"No, no," I said as I knitted my eyebrows. "As long as she doesn't turn into some drug fiend I don't care. But," I sat up, too. "I think he's falling for her."
Edward groaned and stood up. "Damn it," he said with a resigned sigh. "Okay, fine. I'll play my damn piano." He stretched, the muscles of his shoulders and arms straining. I marveled at the sight of his naked torso. His smooth chest and stomach were defined into effortless perfection. His arms were strong and his bronze hair was stunningly chaotic. Every inch of him was so beautiful it almost hurt to look at him. The grace of his hands, the slope of his nose, the muscular lines below his stomach that slanted down from his hip bones to the area below his belt - an area that I was suddenly eager to investigate. It took everything within me to not to throw Edward back down onto the bed and have my way with him.
And after today, I was pretty sure he wouldn't have objected to that.
But I'd told him that I would explain the story behind my tattoo, the abomination on my left hip.
He opened the glass door on the other side of the room and walked out onto his balcony. The waning sunlight that peeked from behind the clouds caused his pale skin to glow subtly. He took a couple of lengthy drags off his cigarette before flicking it into the air. When he came back into the room Edward grabbed his black t-shirt off of the floor and pulled it over his head. I was suddenly reminded of my very absent shirt. I looked around the room. Shit, where had I thrown it?
"Looking for this?" Edward was holding my black Ramones t-shirt out to me.
"Thanks," I grabbed it from him.
"By the way," he added as I slipped my arms through the short shirt sleeves. "Esme's home. Try not to act too stoned, Smokey."
"Esme?" I asked.
"My mother. I heard her come home when we..." He trailed off and I could feel the heat rising up to my face. He rolled his eyes and held a hand out towards me. "Shall we?" I took it and Edward pulled me off of the bed. And he didn't let go of my hand right away. Our eyes locked while my palm lingered against his. It almost looked as if he was trying to tell me something, as if the words were on the tip of his tongue but his lips refused to let them escape. But he released my hand then and turned to walk out the door.
We descended the staircase to the first floor without a word.
"Okay," he said as we entered the room with the exquisite grand piano. "Spill it." He sat down at the black piano bench and I took a seat in the large chair by the window.
"Play." I pointed to the piano and eyed him meaningfully. He sighed and lifted the glossy cover off the piano keys and began fiddling with them again. Soon, his fiddling turned into a tune, which led into a song, which became an all-out composition. I had no idea why Edward was so against playing his piano. Was it shyness? Or maybe nerves? Whatever it was, it baffled me because watching Edward's long fingers caress the ebony and ivory the way they did struck chords in my heart. Watching him play his guitar was sexy, but seeing him play the piano like he did was just downright breathtaking.
"No talking means no playing," Edward reminded me, still transfixed on the keys before him.
"Right," I said. "Okay." I took a deep breath to prepare myself. I was so afraid of Edward knowing the truth. I was terrified that he would think of me as "damaged goods". And then I spoke.
"When I lived in Phoenix, I went through a slew of ordinary teenage relationships. They were all the same. We'd hold hands at school. We'd act like we were so in love, even though we'd only known each other for a week or so. And I got bored. I wanted excitement. I wanted thrill." I hesitated, finally uttering J's name.
"And then there was... James." I winced. Edward missed a note. "I was sixteen when I met him. He was nineteen. He had this whole badass rebel thing going on. Wore a leather jacket, smooth with the ladies. Very Marlon Brando and James Dean. I met him at this party that Alice and I had been invited to. He was outside on the patio with five other people, making them all laugh. And then he saw me standing off to the side. So, he came over and started talking to me.
"James was very charismatic. As cliché as this sounds, he had me at 'hello'. So we exchanged numbers and the next thing I knew, I was on his arm at every high school party in Scottsdale.
"Things were good between us for awhile. James was everything that I'd felt like I'd been missing in my past relationships. He was fun, exciting. He used to like to take me out on his little Kawasaki motorcycle. We'd go riding at 90 miles per hour out into the country to go party at the sand dunes with his college friends. He was all into Motocross and wanted to ride professionally. And he had a way of getting me to completely abandon my inhibitions. He even convinced me to get his initial tattooed on me."
And then my tone grew bitter. "So I guess that's why I fucked him so soon." Edward missed a couple of notes again. I realized that I wasn't even looking at him. I had completely spaced out, lost in my memory. I focused on his face for a moment. It was slightly twisted like he was pissed, a crease between his brows. Or perhaps he was just trying to concentrate, I couldn't tell. So I continued.
"James was the second guy I'd slept with. He's the one who taught me all that I know when it comes to sex. But it wasn't too long after that when things got... weird. Whenever I couldn't go to a party with him, he'd get completely shitfaced drunk and text me twenty times during the night. And whenever I'd talk to a guy friend of mine, James would totally freak out and tell me that I wasn't allowed to see them. He even started going through my received phone calls and text messages to make sure I wasn't fucking around behind his back.
"Alice told me that if I didn't break it off with James that things were going to start heading in a real bad direction. I should've listened to her sooner. I tried to fix things between us, but it only got worse. He started driving past my house in the middle of the night to make sure I was really home when I said I was. He did all kinds of crazy stalker shit like that. So I tried to end it, but he always refused. I'd ignore his phone calls, which I got frequently. I stopped partying so I wouldn't run into him. He even showed up at my door a bunch of times. Renee had to call the police, eventually. So we had a restraining order put on him."
I bit my lip. This was the hard part; the part I didn't want to remember but could never seem to forget. Edward's beautiful hands caressed the keys even softer now, his song turning melancholy. "And you see that's where we fucked up. My mom was staying late at work one night. Parent-teacher conferences or something. It was a Friday. Alice and I were going to go out that night, so I was in the basement, throwing the clothes I planned on wearing into the washer. I heard the kitchen door open and I figured it was Alice. A minute later, I headed back upstairs. But it wasn't Alice who'd come into my house.
"James was lounging in the arm chair in the living room. He sat there all calm for a minute and told me that he wanted to talk. He said that things needed to work out between us, that we had to be together. I told him that it wasn't going to happen. And then he got pissed. He started yelling at me then, freaking out and saying that I didn't want to be with him because I'd cheated on him and found someone else, which wasn't true. And then started working himself into some kind of crazy-ass meltdown. And then he basically..." I didn't want to give Edward the gory details, so I went for a generalization. "James basically beat the living shit out of me."
Edward's playing stopped abruptly but his eyes remained transfixed on silent piano keys. He said nothing, so I continued.
"Alice ran to my house as fast as she could the second she'd had a vision of what he was doing to me. I don't think I'd be exaggerating if I were to say that Alice saved my life that day."
"So she kicked his ass?" It was the first time Edward had spoken since I'd started telling him my story.
"Well, you know how Alice is really nimble and like, retard strong?" He nodded in response, the faintest whisper of a smile tugging at his lips. "Well, I guess she just snuck up behind him and bashed him in the head with a wooden baseball bat. I can't really remember; I was starting to black out when that happened.
"When they took me to the hospital I was going in and out of consciousness. I needed seventeen stitches on the back of my head and my left wrist and arm were broken." I rotated my wrist around. As a result of my injury, my wrist felt no resistance when I moved it in certain directions, unlike most people. "I guess that's the one cool thing I got from that whole situation. My wrist is double-jointed now." I threw Edward a small smile but he was still staring down at the piano keys, unmoving. "Anyway," I continued. "That's the whole reason we moved up here. When Renee and Charlie started working things out, they figured that coming to Forks made the most sense. It would give both Alice and me a fresh start."
Edward remained silent. His stoic expression was somewhat alarming. I wanted to walk over to him and sit beside him on the bench in an attempt to break through that emotional façade of his, but I was suddenly afraid to move and disturb his internal preoccupation. So I drifted off and began daydreaming. I guess it must've been the weed. So when he finally did speak I was somewhat startled.
"Alice and Jasper are on their way back," he said calmly. "They want to watch a movie. I'll drive you guys home afterwards." In quick succession, Edward shut the lid over the black and white keys, stood up and headed for the staircase. Was that my cue to follow him? Unsure of myself, I stood up and walked behind him. We ascended the stairs and returned to Edward's room. I flopped down on the bed but Edward walked back out onto his balcony, grabbing his pack of cigarettes on the way, and lit another one for himself as he leaned over the railing.
"Go ahead and pick out a DVD. They're on the shelf," he said as he exhaled, his back to me. I turned my head towards the massive bookcase filled with an assortment of novels, c.d.'s and movies. I got up off the bed, went to the bookcase and scanned the titles. A lot of the music, books and movies I recognized. And they were all alphabetized. Huh, weird. I didn't take Edward for being an organization freak. And most of the books' spines gave the appearance that they hadn't been read at all. But it was the names that I didn't recognize that caught my attention the most. I'd always considered myself well read and knowledgeable when it came to good music and films, but Edward's collection rivaled mine own. I wasn't sure which of us had the larger collection. Most of mine was still in boxes from the move, so it was hard to tell. But this much I could say: Between Edward and me, the two of us could've opened up a halfway decent media library.
I grabbed a movie with a title that I didn't recognize; SLC Punk. It was between that and Requiem for a Dream, a movie that many people had told me to watch. Maybe Edward would let me borrow it, but his sudden mood swing told me that I probably shouldn't ask him today.
I put the movie in the DVD player and flipped the TV on. Edward was still smoking on his balcony.
And that was when I decided that I'd had enough of his random standoffishness. I sauntered over to him out on the balcony, leaning next to him on my elbows over the wrought-iron railing. He didn't respond to our close proximity. I looked up at his aloof expression and grimaced.
"Did I do something?" I asked.
He shook his head. "No."
"Okay," I responded. "Then if I asked you what was wrong, would you tell me?"
"No, probably not, but it's worth a try."
He took a drag off his cigarette. "I don't want to talk about it."
I rolled my eyes. "Alright, fine. I'll respect that. But since you're not mad me, can you hold off on being Mr. Passive-Aggressive Guy until I get home?"
He smiled infinitesimally. That was a good sign.
"Yeah, I can do that," he said. The wind picked up slightly then, making me shiver in my short sleeves. Edward flicked the ash of his cigarette and the white particles flew up with the wind in a flurry. Just then, Alice and Jasper emerged from the trees that lined the edge of the Cullen's backyard.
"Up here, guys," Edward called to them.
"Be up in a minute," Jasper called back.
"Where did they go?" I wondered aloud.
"They went to the tree house out in the woods. Carlisle, Emmett, Jasper and I built it when we were kids," Edward explained. He flicked his cigarette out into the yard and added, "I'll show you it sometime." I smiled at the thought. So that meant he planned on hanging out again?
Alice and Jasper were up in Edward's room a minute or two later. Edward and I sat on his bed while Jasper and Alice occupied the black leather couch by the bookshelf. I ended up really liking the movie, but what I enjoyed even more was the way Edward seemed to tense up during the couple of mild sex scenes. It was kind of cute, actually, how slightly embarrassed he seemed to get.
Edward drove Alice and me home afterward with Jasper in tow. Quiet classical music emitted from the Volvo's speakers as we all talked casually. Classical music? Edward never failed to surprise me.
Jasper insisted on walking Alice to the door, so I held off for a moment to give them some privacy. Edward turned to me as they walked the up driveway to the front of the house.
"Bella, you've got a cell phone, right?" he asked. I nodded in response.
"Why? Are you trying to ask me for my digits, Edward Cullen?"
He gave me the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful crooked smile. "Something like that, yeah." I grinned back at him and gave him my cell phone number. He gave me his in return. As we entered each other's numbers into our phones, he spoke again. "I'm sorry about that bullshit earlier. I'm not trying to make excuses, but you should know that I am a bipolar mother fucker."
"Yeah, I got that much," I said.
"And about what happened in my room..."
"What?" I asked. "You mean the pot-smoking or the dry-humping?"
He snorted out a laugh. "The, uh, dry-humping, I guess."
"What about it?"
He looked down and began twirling his cell phone around in his hands. "I just want you to know that you're my friend and I don't view you as some random bitch I'm trying to fuck. And I didn't purposely bring you up to my room so that I could try and tap that fine ass..."
"You think my ass is fine?" I quirked an eyebrow at him with a suggestive smirk.
"Please, Bella," he said, looking back up at me. "You know your ass is fine." My smirk grew from a smile into a huge grin that I tried containing without much success. He smiled back and rolled his eyes at me. "Anyway, I guess I'm just trying to say that I'm sorry."
"You're sorry?" I asked, confused and suddenly a little incredulous.
"Shouldn't I be?" He raised an eyebrow.
"I don't know, should you be?" I knew that I wasn't sorry. Not in the least. So why would he be? Did he regret making out with me? What the hell?
Edward pursed his lips. "I guess I'll have to get back to you on that."
"Whatever," I said, opening the door, grabbing my bag from the floor and removing myself from the car before he could say anything else to piss me off. "See you later, Jasper," I said as I passed him on my way to the front door. He was heading back to the car.
"Bye, Bella. See ya tomorrow," Jasper called from behind me. I trudged through the front door and slammed it with a little more force than was absolutely necessary.
"Easy on the framework there, Bells," Charlie said as I walked past the kitchen. He was standing at the counter, chopping up some green peppers.
"Sorry, Dad." And then I stopped. Charlie was cooking. Shit.
"Oh, good God, Dad," I said, dropping my book bag and running to his side at the counter. "What're you making? Here, let me help." I went to wash my hands before trying to assist him.
"It's fine, Bells. Alice here found me in here a second ago making a mess. She's running damage control now." I looked at the kitchen table behind us and saw Alice sitting in one of the chairs, observing. She smiled at me but once Charlie turned back to the peppers she mouthed "I need to talk to you".
"So, girls." Charlie said as he chopped. "Your mother told me you went to a friend's house today?"
"Yeah," I said. "We-"
Alice cut me off. "We went to our friend Rosalie's house." I quirked my eyebrow at her. "Trust me," she mouthed.
"Rosalie. Isn't she one of the Cullen kids?" Charlie asked.
"Yup," I answered. "That's the one."
Charlie shook his head. "She's about the only decent kid out of those four. That big tall one has more cannabis tickets on his record than all of the other kids in town put together. I guess that crazy blond one who wears girl's pants hasn't gotten into too much trouble lately." He lifted the cutting board and pushed the chopped peppers into a bowl before grabbing some portabella mushrooms and chopping those as well. "But the other one. Edward, that's his name." He shook his head again in distaste. "That kid's a piece of work. A bunch of disorderly conducts, nearly as many cannabis tickets as the big one and one time, about a year ago, he got taken downtown for beating the crap out of that Newton kid at school. Mike Newton, now there's a good kid."
Alice and I were trying desperately to contain our laughter. We glanced at each other, but that only made things worse. I'm not sure what was funnier: Charlie telling us all about how horrible the Cullen boys were or the idea that Mike Newton was a good kid. I hadn't heard that Edward had beaten Mike up, though. I'd have to ask him about that, if we were even still talking. I gritted my teeth together, remembering why I'd stormed inside the house the way I did.
"Umm, Charlie, have you got everything from here?" Alice asked as she slipped out of the chair. "Bella and I need to go upstairs and work on homework."
Charlie nodded. "Yeah, you girls go on ahead. I'll call up the stairs if I run into any trouble."
"Okay," she said as she grabbed her bag off of the table. "Just remember to keep the burners on a medium-high heat."
"Got it," Charlie said, scraping the chopped mushroom into the bowl with the peppers. Alice and I raced up the stairs to our room then. I flopped down on my bed and she closed the door behind her before joining me.
"You are a very bad girl, Isabella Swan," Alice chided.
"Umm, yeah," I blushed. "Oops."
Alice slumped against the wall and eyed me. "I don't understand what the deal is between you two," she said. "You obviously like each other. So why is it so hard for you guys to admit it to yourselves?"
"Well, I know what my deal is, but as for him," I sighed heavily and threw myself down onto my pillow at the head of the bed. "He's a complete mystery to me, Alice." I frowned. "Sometimes I feel like there might be more on his end, but other times he'll do a complete one eighty and make me feel like shit. It's like there's two different Edwards in the same body."
Alice patted my knee softly in a comforting gesture. "You know, he may not be a schizo, like the doctors keep trying to convince him he is, but Edward is one of the most bipolar people I know. You have to understand that."
"That's exactly what he told me when Jasper walked you to the door," I told her. "But that can't be an excuse for everything."
"I think you'd be surprised at how many things Bipolar Disorder can affect in a person like him," Alice said. "If you don't think you could handle something like that, then maybe it's for the best that you two aren't dating."
All of the air in my lungs left with a 'whoosh'. I sat up so abruptly that I was slightly light-headed. "Dating?" I choked the word out. "Who said anything about dating?" Alice put her hands up in defense.
"Whoa, whoa, wait. What do want from him? A long-term sex buddy?" she asked.
"Well, yeah, I guess. That's all we really could be because..." I shook my head. "I can't date. Not for a long time, if ever."
Alice sighed heavily. "Bella, I realize that situation last year was hard on you, I do. But you have to realize that not every guy is going do what that jackass did to you. You have to get passed that eventually."
"Why?" I asked her. "So I can get married? So I can live happily ever after in Suburbia with my bread-winner husband, a green minivan and three kids I can run to soccer practice with it? That's not me, Alice. I don't need those things."
"No," Alice said, exasperated. "But you should get past it so that you don't wake up one day when you're forty-five and wonder why the hell you're alone." She grabbed her book bag off of the floor then and pulled out her English notebook. "Now, I don't want to fight with you, so let's just drop it."
"Fine." I grabbed my bag off the floor and proceed to dump my workload onto the bed.
"Oh, one more thing." Alice hit me lightly on the forehead with her palm. "Say no to drugs, Cheech."
I couldn't fall asleep as I lay in bed that night, though I was thoroughly wiped. Alice was snoring lightly on the other side of the room while the light from the moon shone through the window and casted eerie shadows in the darkened corners of our minuscule bedroom. Though we didn't talk about Edward and me the rest of the night, I'd thought about what Alice had said. And then I decided that even at forty-five, I knew I still wouldn't want to have an emotional relationship with a man. So what would I care if I was alone? It's not like I would be this big slut, sleeping with a new man every other day. I'd had a brief slutty phase after James and I had broken up, but I hadn't enjoyed it at all. I honestly wasn't even sure why I'd been like that in the first place. Perhaps I was trying to prove something to myself or to James by disrespecting my body like that, or maybe I just didn't want his dick to be the last one in me. But I didn't feel like staying single and having a little "wham, bam, thank you, ma'am" every once in awhile was such a bad thing.
And then my cell phone vibrated once on the dresser next to my bed. I had a new text message.
With a groan, I rolled over onto my side and grabbed the little white phone. Who the hell was texting me at one in the morning? But then I wasn't too shocked when I read who it was from. One new text message from Edward Cullen. I opened it and a large, sleepy smile spread across my tired face.
"I'm not sorry. - E"