A/N: Here comes the funny! The gang packed into a truck driving cross country for weeks… *evil grin*
Just a warning…there are references to The Three Stooges, Star Wars, The A Team, Babe, munchkins and The Wizard of Oz, Bull Durham, and Dumbo. If you don't know what those things are, then I suggest you google and watch them all so that you're not left in the dark.
Thanks to all who have read and reviewed. If you think there is anything that I might improve upon, please don't spare my feelings and let me know what you want to see changed. I promise, I will get back to those of you who have reviewed - real life in the way lately and all that - so I figured getting you a new chapter would smooth things over between us. Still BFF's? J
On with chapter 10...
I woke to Emmett's huge hand shaking my shoulder.
"Bells, honey, wake up. We're going in to get something to eat. You coming?" he asked softly.
"Mmm hmm." I stretched and yawned. "What time is it? Where are we?" I was barely coherent.
"It's about eleven at night and I have no fucking clue. Some truck stop with a greasy-looking diner," Rosalie whined as she exited the truck. I heard Jasper do the same and felt a gust of cool air blow through the cab.
"It's got character, Rose, maybe some of it will rub off on you," Emmett chided. Without hesitation she flipped him the bird.
I sat up and swung my legs out of the truck, still trying to fully open my eyes. Jasper walked over toward me with a smug look.
"Aren't you forgetting something, sweetheart?" he asked.
"Um…no?" I was way too tired to process anything.
"Don't think it'd be a good idea for you to be traipsing around the parking lot here in just your little white socks," he drawled.
"Oh, shit. I'm so not awake yet," I said as I shook my head and fished for my boots on the floor. I slipped them on, then we all walked into the all-night trucker oasis.
We sat at a table in the back corner, where the riffraff belongs. A forty something aged waitress squeaked her worn generic sneakers over to our table. She had on the cliché blue checkered skirt uniform and took a pencil from out behind her ear to take our order. "Hi, my name's Jane. What'll it be for y'all tonight?" she asked.
"Tonight feels like a flapjack night, ma'lady," Emmett grinned. "I'll have flapjacks with blueberries, please."
"I second that, ma'am," Jasper's twang rang out.
"I'll have the chicken noodle soup, please," I ordered.
"Chicken salad for me, thanks," Rose replied.
"Sure thing dolls…say, that y'all's truck and trailer out there?" the waitress asked as she nodded toward the window.
"Sure is, ma'am," Emmett stated proudly without breaking his stare and grinning widely at waitress Jane.
"Well it's gettin' away."
All four of us whipped our heads toward the window in synchronization and yelled, "WHAT!?"
My eyes caught sight of the beloved McCarty Mobile slowly rolling past the diner window. The boys flew out of their seats and scrambled over each other to get out the door.
By now every one of the fine diner patrons was clued in to our truck's plight. Our heads turned to follow the truck and trailer, pursued by two sprinting cowboys, past the window. Rosalie, waitress Jane and I all had the same open-mouthed look of shock.
Emmett was running, hands waving in the air yelling at the truck to stop itself.
Jasper had caught up to it on the passenger's side and tried to grab hold of the large side mirror so he could climb inside, but lost his footing - though still clutching the mirror for dear life - and ended up being drug down the lot.
Finally, Emmett reached the door, threw it open and dove head first onto the floor, slamming his hand onto the brakes. The jarring of the vehicle halting made Jasper lose his grip and he fell in a heap on the blacktop.
The whole scene looked like something from a Three Stooges episode.
I looked at Rosalie and she looked at me.
"Oh. My. God. That was the funniest thing I have ever seen in my entire life!" she roared and she and I both burst into a tearful laughter. By the time the boys made it back inside, Rosalie, the waitress, me and the rest of the diner were in hysterics and tears from laughing at their circus-like high speed chase through the parking lot.
I was doubled over in the booth, clutching my stomach that was in pain from laughing to hard. Rosalie was slumped against the window, not able to keep herself upright with her violent quaking. The poor waitress was stooped down and clutching the end of the table, desperately trying to compose herself and failing miserably.
Jasper and Emmett sat down with a huff, their faces nearing a deep shade of maroon. The waitress found the will to get to her feet and the rest of us - me, Rose and the diner patrons - managed to tone it down to a persistent snicker.
Emmett just looked seriously at the waitress. "Lots of blueberries."
A little while later, I was manning my post as the night shift driver as we drove across Pennsylvania via their wonderful, pot hole ridden Turnpike. Some of the holes were so bad I thought I might lose the entire rig inside one. We made our way through the narrow, winding and mountainous passages that someone who must have been drunk deemed an interstate, with Rose and Emmett in the back, Jasper by my side.
We were approaching the only part of this state highway that made us act like sugared up twelve year olds - the tunnels through the mountains.
"Almost tunnel time guys," I called to them. We'd been through tunnels like these before, and each time we'd act as if we were in the movie Star Wars as we drove through the dim lights. We all slumped a little lower in our seats. I gripped the steering wheel with both hands, everyone else held their pretend wheels and began manning their fake x-fighters.
(Song suggestion: Throw It On Me by Timbaland & The Hives)
I looked in my rear view mirror to Rosalie. "Ok, Leia, the Empire is out of control. What's the plan of attack?"
Jasper interrupted before she could answer. "Uh uh, no way is she Leia, especially if I'm going to be Han Solo. That's just fucked up for me to mack on my own sister."
"Well then you can be Luke," Rosalie offered. "Besides, Luke does kiss his own sister and has dirty incestual thoughts until Han shows up."
"No way, I'm totally Luke Skywalker," Emmett scoffed.
"Well then Bella can be Leia, I'm good with that," Jasper grinned.
"And what does that make me? C3PO? I don't think so," Rosalie whined.
"No, Jaba The Hut," Jasper said under his breath, which Rosalie heard anyway and smacked the back of his head.
I broke up their fight. "Cut it you guys. I'm Leia because I'm driving and I'm controlling this fucking ship. Rose, you can be the Queen or R2D2 - either way we thankfully won't be hearing many lines from you." Jasper erupted in laughter at that one; Rose scowled. "Jazz and Em will have to fight it out for Luke and Han. Now, may the force be with you, bitches," I relayed as we entered the tunnel.
"We look like idiots," Rose scoffed.
"Shut up, Rose," Emmett teased. "The windows are tinted anyway so no one can see you actually having fun. Plus it's dark in here. Now aim your blasters for the damn death star."
I looked over at Jasper. He was staring out the window, completely lost in thought.
"You okay Jazz, I mean Han? Losing faith in the Millennium Falcon?"
"Just looking at these tunnel walls. I don't feel too safe going through a tunnel under a mountain that's being held up by shoddy bathroom tile."
Each one of us paused our play to look out our windows. I had never noticed before, but the walls of the tunnels were lined with small white ceramic tiles, though most of them were rotting and falling away.
Rose just smiled evilly at Emmett. "Luke, your Jedi ass better use the force to keep that tile in place."
I exchanged a worried look with Jasper, then hit the gas. If this waylaid relic was going to come down, I was going to try my hardest to get us out in time. No way was I going to have our coroner's report read "death by bathroom tile".
It was nearing two a.m.. The group around me was fast asleep as I kept up a steady pace through the night. Jasper had tried to stay awake for me, but failed miserably after his second round of pain meds for his groin injury. I didn't object - I couldn't even imagine that kind of pain right near his manly bits.
Emmett had his head resting against the window. Every time I hit a bump, his head made a loud thump against the glass. It was hilarious. He didn't even wake up, so I made an effort to aim for every pothole I could find just to keep myself amused and awake.
I decided that now was as good a time as any to take Edward up on his offer. The snoring and drooling A Team wannabe's beside me weren't helping at all, so calling in back up seemed like a great idea.
"Hello, love. I was wondering if you were going to take me up on my offer," Edward chimed.
"Hi Edward. And of course I would. Everyone else is sound asleep and of absolutely no use to me right now, and the little white and yellow lines are beginning to wobble and blur together. So I was hoping you might be able to keep me mentally stimulated enough to stay awake," I practically pleaded.
"I'll sure try. What did you want to talk about?"
"Um, not sure. My mind is mush at this hour."
"How 'bout I start with telling you what I'm wearing…or rather, not wearing?"
My eyes widened. "Edward…" I started to protest, then quickly changed my mind at the visual I was getting. "Oh fuck it, that'll definitely keep me awake. Tell me."
I heard him let out a deep throaty laugh. "I'm not wearing a damn thing, and I was actually laying here in bed hoping that you would call."
"You're lying," I ventured, though I wasn't completely sure I should doubt him.
"I most certainly am not. You want me to hang up and send you a picture on your phone?"
"Yes. I want proof, mister." Not to mention seeing that sexy body of yours again would make me…ugh…sigh…
"Okay…" and then the phone went silent.
No way he was already laying there nak-
My phone chimed, interrupting my dirty, dirty thoughts.
Holy shit, that wasn't even sixty seconds.
A few clicks later and I was staring at a photo of Edward's nakedness in all it's glory.
Fuck. Me. Sideways.
He was standing in front of a full length mirror in his bathroom, holding his camera phone to the side to take the picture. Even though I had witnessed this incredible unadulterated man in person, that picture was absolutely priceless, and furthermore proof that I did indeed have a fuck-awesome experience in New York City.
I dialed his number back immediately. It rang only once.
"You thought I was lying didn't you?" he answered.
"You're damn right I did, but you definitely proved me to be an ass for not believing you. I will never doubt you again, oh master of nakedness."
There was more laughter on the other end of the line.
"So, now that you know that I wasn't lying, let me tell you what kind of mood I'm in."
"I've already seen exactly what kind of mood you're in. That photo leaves nothing to the imagination," I chuckled.
"Oh, I guess it doesn't," he said and I could almost see his sheepish grin. "So then let me tell you what I would do to you if you were right here next to me, naked as a jay bird," he lulled in a low tone.
"I would lick and kiss every inch of your body," he said with certainty.
"Every…little…inch. No millimeter left unexplored."
"Fuck," I breathed. I was definitely awake after that thought.
"Not yet, love. I'm not done licking you. But when I am finished with your tonguing, I'll slowly slide myself into you, teasing you with every one of my inches."
"Shit, Edward…okay, I'm very awake, and now it's becoming difficult to drive for entirely different reasons," I blubbered.
"Well then I guess my mission is accomplished. Anything else I can do for you? Taxes? Psychic reading?" he teased.
"No, that'll do pig, that'll do," I slammed right back.
"Ugh…oh my God, I think I might, like, be offended or something," he said in his best valley girl voice.
I snorted. "Serves you right for making me horny when I'm driving in the opposite direction," I mumbled into the phone, not wanting my friends to hear my dirty conversation.
"Yeah, yeah, very funny. Call me if you need stimulated again," he snickered.
"Will do," I said as I shook my head.
"Be safe, Bella."
"You, too…be good, or name it after me!" We both giggled before hanging up.
I shut the phone and wiped my hand down my face. Leave it to Edward to be naked and awake at this ungodly hour. I'd never met anyone quite like him.
I had to laugh to myself - the rest of the cab was silent around me, completely oblivious to my near pornographic phone conversation. I thanked my lucky stars for keeping my friends in their deep slumber, sparing me from the twenty questions that surely would have ensued had they been awake to hear my little chat.
Rosalie would never have let me hear the end of that shit.
One week later…
On the road again. We had just left another successful rodeo in Ohio and were headed west to the next stop on our little tour. Just outside of Toledo, we all decided to stop at a Red Robin for some quick dinner.
On the way out, needless to say, everyone had to take a helium balloon since they give them away for free. Rosalie and Jasper proceeded to beat and smack each other over the head as they ran back to the truck. Emmett and I were too busy trying to untie the end of the balloons so that we could suck out the helium.
Five minutes later, every one of us were sucking the humor inducing gas from the little pink latex orbs. Jasper was driving this time, and we were all bouncing in our seats, singing Lady Gaga's song Love Game in our high pitched voices.
Big, brawny Emmett was the most hilarious, shimmying, shaking and singing "Let's have some fun this beat is sick, I wanna take a ride on your disco stick!"
We were all doubled over laughing when someone let go of their balloon, causing Jasper to swerve across the yellow lines a few times as he tried to avoid the latex assault. Thankfully, there were no cars near us on the road. Unfortunately, the only vehicle that was near us was parked on the side of the street…with red and blue flashing lights attached to it's roof. I know, because we got to see them first hand.
Jasper quickly pulled over as we all tried to hide our snickering. The officer made his way to the driver's side window and Jasper handed him his license, the truck's registration and insurance.
And then it happened. Somewhere along the way Jasper must have forgotten the two and a half balloons worth of helium he downed just seconds earlier, because he opened his mouth and began to speak in that high pitched voice to the state cop.
"What seems to be the problem officer," he squeaked.
We utterly lost it.
Rosalie snorted and covered her mouth. Emmett openly guffawed and slapped his knee. I bent over and clutched my head in my hands, my shoulders silently shaking up and down. I almost peed myself even more because everyone's laugh was still in that shrill tone.
The officer bent down and scanned over each of us with his judging eyes. Then he inhaled deeply. "Have you all been smoking some reefer, son?" he asked Jasper with a pointed glare.
"No Sir," he replied, still in the munchkin voice. He tried clearing his throat, which only made his accent crack. "We were just playing with balloons when one got away."
"Balloons?," the policeman asked skeptically.
Jasper held one of the shriveled pink offenders up between his two fingers. "Helium balloons," he reiterated, his voice finally coming back to normal.
The very stern looking cop rubbed his face with his hand and leaned back on his heels, contemplating. Then he handed Jasper his license and paperwork, finally relenting. "Alright. You keep it between the lines, son. No more balloons," he declared as he pointed his finger at Jasper.
"Sure thing, officer. Thank you," Jasper assuaged, his normal drawl back in place. He was still the only one of us that was managing to keep a straight face.
The trooper walked back to his cruiser shaking his head and then sped away. I could only imagine what he'd be telling his fellow officers at the barracks tonight.
Emmett turned to Jazz, and still in his own munchkin voice said, "whoa, that was close. Okay, onward Toto! Follow the yellow brick road!"
A few hours later, Jasper was beginning to get unusually tired. The traffic was so bad, however, that we couldn't find a suitable place to pull over the truck and trailer to switch positions.
Emmett, master of all great ideas, came up with the best one yet.
"We'll just do a Chinese fire drill," he proclaimed.
"A what?" Rosalie asked.
"Chinese fire drill. When we get to a red light, Jasper will put the truck in park and we'll all jump out the doors, run around the truck and switch positions before the light can change back to green." Rosalie looked at him like he had grown a third eye, but he continued doling out orders without missing a beat. "Bella, it's your turn to drive. Jasper go to the passenger seat. And Rosie, you and I will get in the back," Emmett instructed.
"Why can't Jasper and Bella just trade by crawling over the seats or something? I really don't think running around the outside of the truck is all that necessary if you ask me," Rose griped.
"Oh, Rose, just do it. It'll be fun," Jasper coaxed. The way those two bickered left no doubt that they were brother and sister.
"Fine. I'll get out of the truck and run around like an idiot just like the rest of you. This is completely moronic, you know that right?" she directed at me.
"I know it, but I definitely don't care," I giggled.
This is going to be good.
At one of the hundred traffic lights on this exhausting stretch of highway, Jasper finally pulled to a stop at a red one.
He threw it in park just as Emmett yelled, "Go!"
I jumped out my door and sprinted around the front of the truck, slamming into and bouncing off of Jasper in the process. Emmett cheated and just did a flip over the front seat, landing in a pile of denim and muscle in the back. And the last I saw Rosalie, she was headed toward the very back of the trailer.
In the rush I lost track of everyone. I jumped into the driver's seat and slammed the door, Jasper doing the same on the passenger's side.
"It's green! Go, Bella," Emmett yelled and I started pressing on the gas. That is, until I heard a familiar voice calling out my name from outside.
"Bella! Damn-it, stop the fucking truck! Hey!"
I looked into my side mirror to see Rosalie's blond hair flowing behind her as she ran down the highway beside the trailer, hysterically waving her arms in the air and screaming. I started slowing down just as she dove, head first, for an open window, landing directly on top of Emmett with an "Oaf!".
"Oh my God! Rose, I thought you were already in here! I am so sorry," I apologized in the rear view mirror.
"Where the fuck were you?" Jasper grilled and laughed at the same time.
Still trying to catch her breath, Rosalie struggled to untangle herself from Emmett. "I was running around the fucking vehicle, ass wipe! Where did you think I was?"
Emmett couldn't stop giggling. "You weren't supposed to run around the whole trailer, Blondie," he teased. She hit him - hard.
"You fucking deserved that! You didn't even get out the truck you bastard! I almost got run over by yellow a Volkswagen," she screamed.
Jasper was laughing hysterically, now completely wide awake. I snorted and tried to keep my composure enough to continue driving. Emmett and Rosalie at last managed to get themselves in an upright and seated position. Her face was beet red and there was a little perspiration around her hairline. I had to bite my lip to keep from snickering again as I looked at her in the rearview mirror.
With a deep breath, Jasper slumped back into the seat beside me. He let his head fall back onto the headrest, then rolled it to the side to peer back at a still fuming Rosalie. His smile deepened as he took in her sulking form.
Then he looked to me and I just had to glance over at that killer smile of his. He took a deep breath and shook his head. "Gotta love the Chinese and their odd traffic light customs, right Rosie?"
Emmett and I chuckled.
Rose just shot her brother an "if looks could kill" glare.
"Fuck off, Jasper. Maybe next time the truck tries to escape out of the parking lot it won't miss you. How's that groin by the way?"
"Peachy, Sis. How's your ego?"
"Just like my groin," he groaned.
Rosalie smiled. "Thank God for little miracles."
There must be something about fucking red lights.
Here we were, another two weeks had gone by since our last traffic signal experience and we still couldn't get away from them. I think we hit every single one…everywhere we went.
It had only been a few weeks on the road and thankfully we hadn't all killed each other yet. But today, I was seriously contemplating putting Emmett out of his misery.
We pulled up to an unusually long red light in the middle of some town, city, whatever - they were all blurring together at this point. Emmett was messing with the CD player, trying to find another rap song to drive the rest of us insane with, when a tricked out, fire engine red, Mitsubishi Eclipse pulled up beside us, base thumping, doors rattling, and three teenage boys with their hats turned sideways perched inside.
I looked over to my best friend. He had that look, and I knew what was coming.
"Oh no they didn't," Emmett swayed his head like some drag queen.
"Uh, Em, I don't think they were personally challenging you," I tried to explain, but it was no use.
"Doesn't matter. They're disrespecting my boy Fifty by playing it in that sub-par system that little foreign car has," he retorted.
Just then I saw Emmett reach down and flip a small switch underneath the stereo. Then he found the song he wanted and turned up the volume.
I braced myself for Fifty Cent's song A Little Bit.
Emmett's system in this truck was his own personal secret baby. An illegitimate child with speakers. He had thousands of dollars tied up in amps, speakers, woofers, tweeters, and who the hell knows what else.
A southern gentleman with a base fetish.
He leaned back in the driver's seat, threw his arm out the open window, then smirked down at the teenage boys next to him as he bobbed his head. They stared back, open mouthed and shocked at the level of music throbbing in the truck's speakers.
"That's right, bitches," Emmett taunted, "diesel and base most certainly do go together."
The light turned green and we peeled out, leaving the little boys dejected and in a cloud of black smoke from the custom microchip doing it's duty in the truck's engine. Emmett was proud as a peacock. All the rest of us could do was shake our heads at his obsession.
A few minutes later, however, his ego took a hit, just like one of the truck tires.
Somehow we must have run over something sharp, and the front tire had blown out completely. Luckily we always carried two spares - one for the truck and one for the trailer - in case of just such an emergency. Emmett eased the truck over to an emergency pull off down the road a bit and we all exited the vehicle to survey the damage.
"Fucking tire," Emmett cursed as he knelt down and began to loosen the lug nuts. Jasper was standing over him, handing him the necessary tools.
A few minutes went by and the offending tire was almost free when Jasper decided to make an observation.
"You know, people just don't care anymore like they used to," he whined.
"Yeah," Emmett joined in the bitch fest. "People used to stop and offer to lend a hand if they saw another guy was in trouble along the road. Now nobody gives a shit. They just keep speeding down the highway in their own little bubble."
"Bastards," Jasper confirmed.
I looked at Rosalie. Her face confirmed my internal thoughts.
"You know," I chimed in, "I bet if it were just Rose and I here along the road someone would stop to help."
Both guys stopped what they were doing to stare at me.
"She's right," Rosalie agreed. "I bet we could get someone to stop and help us if you two macho men weren't here doing all the work."
"Okay, we'll take that bet," Emmett announced.
"Wait, what?" Jasper was confused.
"They think they can get someone to stop, and I happen to think people are too self-absorbed to care about stopping no matter who's trying to change the tire. So we're going to take that bet. Besides, Bella and Rosie know how to change a tire themselves anyway," he reasoned.
"Well, then what are the terms of this bet?" Jasper asked.
Emmett spoke up immediately, grinning from ear to ear. "If we win, and nobody stops to help, then both of the girls have to moon the car of our choosing at any point along the trip. Vise versa if they win."
"Done. Rose and I will take that tire iron, thank you," I declared as I held out my hand. "Now go hide in the bushes or something."
(Song suggestion: Go Girl by Pittbull)
The boys turned around and sauntered over to wait in the bushes, hidden from view but close enough should be need help. I turned to Rosalie and raised my eyebrow. She smirked and nodded. Both of us had been wearing cotton shorts, to which we promptly rolled the waistbands to make them hike up our thighs. I pushed the long sleeves shirt, then took the hem and tied it in a knot at my waist, exposing my midriff. Rosalie's tank top was already tight enough to not need tweaking. As the final touch, both of us let our hair down to flow around our shoulders.
"That's cheating," a deep voice from the bushes boomed.
"You said we had to get someone to stop and help us, you never said how," I yelled back.
I crouched down with Rosalie and we both began shimmying the destroyed tire off. Not ten seconds later, the first car slowed to a stop in front of us.
"Need some help there, ladies?" a thirty-something guy with a dark mustache called from the window of his Honda Civic.
"No thanks, we've got this," Rosalie said as she smiled overtop of me. I stifled a giggle.
A few seconds after he pulled out, another car took it's place. This time it was a mini van full of kids, and apparently "Dad" had to convince his wife that his reason for stopping was purely out of the goodness of his heart.
"But dear," we heard him mutter to his wife before he got out of the van, "if it were us you'd want someone to stop and help, right? I'm just doing the Christian thing here," he finished his speech as he shut the door, then began walking toward us.
"You girls look like you could use a hand," he said in what I'm sure was supposed to be a low sexy voice. And the guy wasn't too bad looking - maybe late twenties, short but muscular, brown hair, blue eyes and a hint of stubble.
Just then one of the kids from the van leaned out the window. "Daddy! I gotta go to the bathroom," he screamed.
Rosalie snickered and turned away.
I managed to keep a straight face and looked up at the now red-faced guy. "Um, thanks for stopping, but we've got everything under control here."
"Right. Well, just wanted to, um, do my, uh Christian duty and everything," he stammered as he walked back to the rowdy bunch and a pissed off wife in the minivan.
When he finally drove away, I knew Rosalie would have something to say.
"You know, it's too bad he couldn't keep his dick in his pants or covered long enough not to procreate so much. Or at least not marry the girl. He wasn't too bad of a specimen," she concluded just as we were shoving the new tire in place.
"Yeah," I agreed as my eyes glazed over, "but I bet he's going to be nothing compared to what comes out of that…" I said as I pointed to the very large bus that pulled in next, because written on the side in big, bold letters was "Altoona Curve, AAA Minor League Baseball Team".
"A bus…" I stammered, "a bus…full of hot, young men in their prime…"
I think I might have started panting.
The bus doors swung open and three of the players came bounding out.
"Rosalie Whitlock, is that you?" one of the strapping young men called.
I turned to look questioningly at her, to which she replied, "What? Like I've said before, ESPN has it's perks. Plus I went through this whole baseball phase and I sort of, um, helped out some of the up and coming players," she said in a matter-of-fact albeit whispered tone.
"What, like fucking Bull Durham?" I asked.
"Something like that," she smirked as she stood up and extended her arms toward the lead baseball boy. "Marcus, you devil! Still traveling around with the Curve I see. Thought you got called up last year."
Marcus gave her a big hug, lifting her off the ground and against his young, hard body. "I did, but the shoulder was acting up a bit, so they bumped me back down until I heal up some. Say, do you need some help with that tire?" Just then another six or seven - I lost track because of the degree of magnificence of every one of their bodies - very hot, very fit men stumbled off of the bus.
Ha, haha, Hahahah…
"Yes," Rose replied, "as a matter of fact we do."
As soon as Marcus bent down to retighten the lug nuts, she shot a glare into the bushes that told Jasper and Emmett they better keep their distance if they didn't want to suffer her wrath.
"Here, Miss Rosalie. You can use my shirt to wipe off your hands," one of the other players said as he peeled his shirt off and handing it to her, exposing his young, rock hard body. He smirked, and so did Rose and she mercilessly cleaned her grimy hands on the white fabric.
"You can use mine if you'd like, beautiful," another player - this one with stark blond hair, pale gray eyes and the face of a Roman God - said as he walked toward me, not removing his shirt but holding the front hem out in an offering. I smiled and walked right up to him, exuding New Bella confidence. I grabbed the shirt and began wringing my hands through it, then grazed up and down his - ohmyfuckinggod - chiseled six pack abs with my fingertips as I straightened it back out.
"Thank you, um…"
"Aro. My name is Aro."
"Well thank you, Aro. That was very thoughtful of you," I cooed.
"Yes, very thoughtful," Rosalie said while looking through her lashes at Marcus.
Ten minutes and several newly acquired cell phone numbers later, the tire was changed and the team was back on the bus and pulling out onto the highway. Rosalie and I walked around the truck toward the now grumbling bushes.
Emmett just stomped back to the truck trailed by a snickering Rosalie. "Not only did we get a car to stop, but we got a whole fucking bus load of baseball players to help us! Priceless," she exclaimed.
Jasper strode right up to me, stopping within inches. He was definitely in my personal bubble. I looked up into his hazel eyes as he stared back into mine. He had one eyebrow raised and a piqued expression on his face. Without breaking eye contact, he licked his lips, then brought his hand to the front of my shirt. His fingers grazed my exposed stomach every so slightly before settling on the knotted fabric and slowly pulling it loose.
"I won't be able to sit still next to you for the rest of the trip if you keep your shirt tied up like that, sweetheart. You're way too tempting," he nearly whispered.
Then he took a step around me and sauntered back to the truck without looking back.
Um…whoa. That was…yeah. Breathe.
Moments later we were back on the road and I was determined to find the perfect car for the boys to moon. Cruising down the freeway, I spotted my target. It was a purple PT cruiser that just happened to have a pink bumper sticker that read "my boyfriend is hotter than Robert Pattinson"…and it was full of guys.
I flew forward from my seat in the back and pointed over top of the boys at the purple PT. "That one! That's the one you have to moon!"
Rosalie lunged over to get a better look, then started howling. Emmett and Jasper looked at each other, then looked back at me from the front seat.
"Well I can't do it now, I'm driving," Emmett copped out.
"Ha, ha! That leaves you, Jazz," Rosalie bellowed.
Jasper scrunched his brow before putting on a determined look. "Do it, Emmett. I'm going to get this shit over with. Besides, I'll be showing them my best side anyway," he said, now directed at me and gave me a wink.
Emmett chuckled then pulled into the passing lane. He slowed to match the speed of the little cruiser next to us, then honked the horn. Jasper knelt on the seat, undid his buckle, and pulled his jeans down to show his perfect white ass as he pressed it against the window glass.
Jasper hung his head and shook it, becoming red-faced. The rest of us were red-face from lack of oxygen, that's how hard we were laughing. I managed to peek out the window at the PT cruiser to see all four of it's occupants pointing, waving, bouncing in their seats and otherwise ogling Jasper's shapely ass. They started honking their horn and rolled down their windows.
Jasper pulled up his jeans and sat down, unable to face his audience. But I was facing them, and I almost didn't believe what happened next.
One of the guys in the back seat had his window rolled down and was kneeling on his seat…his pants all the way down around his ankles. And through the window, flapping in the breeze, was his proud rig and tackle.
I started to hit Rosalie next to me, unable to form words or take my eyes off of the piece of manhood on display. But the fact that it was on display wasn't what had me so tongue tied.
"Tattoo…tatooo…" I stammered, unable to form any more of a coherent sentence.
Around his pretentiously shaven pubic area was a tattoo…of an elephant…with a very conspicuous 3D truck.
"OH. MY. GOD. Is that an elephant with a dick truck?" Rosalie exclaimed.
"WHAT?!" the boys screamed in unison as they both turned to look.
I just sat there with my mouth open, staring at the trunk of the wild beast blowing in the wind - pun intended.
What the fuck?! I have now officially seen everything.
Jasper broke our stunned silence with a revelation. "I'll never watch Dumbo again."
Two days later, we finally arrived at our next location - somewhere in Nebraska for a smaller, middle of the week rodeo. Every little bit of money earned helped us all in the standings, so we tried to hit every one we could if it was it was more or less along our route. Emmett had the entire trip planned like some kind of neurotic savant, complete with little red dots marking all of our little stops along well worn maps of each state we canvassed.
We each made our trips and each one of us actually came away with at least one win. Climbing the standings was becoming easier, and we were all pretty well off as far as qualifying for the NFR went. I was sitting in ninth now, Jasper was still winning his events and Emmett was in the top five. Soon we'd be able to head back closer to home to finish out the rodeo season in the west.
It was getting pretty late and we were all very tired. So we decided to put the horses up in some empty stalls at the fairgrounds where today's rodeo was held and headed to a cheap motel - we had no other choice in this very rural town. They only had one room available and fortunately it did have two double beds so no one had to sleep on the floor.
Normally Emmett and I had no problem sharing a sleeping space, but Rosalie refused to sleep next to her brother. Therefore, she ended up with Emmett and I was to sleep next to Jasper. We were all so close, I really didn't think anything of it, though Emmett had a disgruntled look on his face when Rosalie announced the sleeping arrangements. I just shrugged and went with it. I trusted them, after all.
It was a warm, muggy night. The clouds hung low, dark and full of moisture. You could see small flashes of lightning in the distance, carrying with them the hope for some kind of relief from this suffocating pressure.
The rest of my friends were all settling into bed. Rosalie was setting ground rules for Emmett when I informed her of his cover stealing habit, which Emmett was vehemently denying. Jasper was just coming out of the bathroom, fresh from his shower, clad in a pair of low slung khaki shorts that left the top of his baby blue pinstripe boxers exposed.
I looked up at him as he strode toward me. I sat on the edge of the bed as he past me to put his toothbrush and razor away in his suitcase.
I couldn't take it. The air was too close in here. All at once I just felt jittery in my legs and arms. I knew I was scowling and fidgeting, and I couldn't help it. I was restless, I was tired, but knew I wouldn't be able to sleep well in this heat.
The scrawny motel manager was gracious enough to supply us with a fan since an air conditioner seemed to be too technical of a devise for his taste. The window was open, the dingy curtains blowing into the room with the air from the fan.
Finally I relented to my squirming, got up and made a beeline for the door. "I need to head out for a walk. I'll be right back," I announced to no one in particular as I grabbed one of the old metal keys and strode out the door.
Once outside I took a deep breath. It was like inhaling pure moisture. Even in the tank top and the rolled down pair of Emmett's boxers that I stole last year felt like too much clothing. I huffed, wiped the sweat from my forehead and walked down to a bench that was in front of the lobby and next to a Pepsi machine. It was giving off the only light since the check-in office had long since closed.
I leaned back and pressed my head against the cool white cinder block wall behind me. Even with my eyes closed I could still make out the small flashes of lightning that were in the distance. I was still feeling restless, though, and I couldn't get my head to center around a single thought. It wasn't that I was experiencing any one particular emotion or having a dilemma of any kind. Things just didn't feel right tonight and I couldn't place it.
I must have been lost within myself, because I didn't feel anyone approaching until a rough finger wiped a bead of sweat from my temple. My eyes flickered open to see Jasper in front of me, now sporting a black tank top.
"Is something wrong, sweetheart?" he asked.
I closed my eyed and shook my head infinitesimally. "No, just don't think I can sleep in his heat."
He nodded toward the approaching storm. "Looks like we'll get some relief soon. That storm looks like it's going to pack some heavy rain with it by the sight of those clouds."
"I hope so. I love the rain. Though I'm not much for the lightning and thunder that accompanies it."
"How can you love the rain and hail from Texas?"
I flashed a small smile. "I don't know. Don't get me wrong, I love Texas and everything, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in a place where you could smell wet ferns all the time, you know? Like that fresh smell that the rain brings when it washes everything clean. Maybe Seattle, or somewhere nearby."
Jasper sat down next to me and leaned back, mimicking my position. "I could see that. I just always thought you'd stay in Midland forever."
I didn't even ponder that for a moment before I answered. "I never really thought about leaving Midland. Never had a reason to," I murmured. Then I realized what I said and how it could be construed. Somewhere tonight the filter between my brain and my mouth had dissolved and whatever I was thinking had just come spewing from my mouth.
(Song suggestion: Forever Dream by Iron & Wine)
Jasper sat silently for a moment before a loud crack of thunder made us both jump and sit up straight. Without a word, he slipped his arm behind my back and pulled me by the waist so that I was up against him. I didn't resist - I turned and leaned into him, placing my head on his chest and moving my hands to encircle him. His free hand lifted to brush the stray hair from my loose bun back behind my ears. Jasper holding me felt good…right…and finally my jitters began to subside as his soothing presence enveloped me.
"Bella," he said softly. I nodded my head, not trusting myself to keep my internal thoughts from flying out of my lips.
He sighed, and I felt his fingertips start to slowly rub up and down against the exposed skin at my hip. "Bella I have to tell you something. While we're here…alone."
I felt my breath catch in my chest. I didn't know if I could handle what was coming next.
He kissed the top of my head and pulled me even closer to him with his strong arms. "I've had the chance to travel around a lot. I've seen so much, met a lot of different people, done amazing things. I've dared to dream and dream big, and I've always gone for my dreams head first. But, I never dreamed that I'd have somebody like you in my life."
The heavens slowly opened up, and small droplets of rain began to fall down. The rest of the world became silent as only the sounds of the storm and our breathing filled the air. A small flicker of lightning lit up the sky, forcing me to blink out of my stare. My heart was pounding and my breathing was shallow…so was his.
I couldn't say anything, I just waited for him to continue.
He caressed my cheek and lifted my chin so that I had to pull my head away from his chest to look up at him. His hazel eyes were dancing back and forth between my deep brown ones, searching for something. I didn't know what he was looking for, and I didn't know what he'd find either.
"You're so beautiful. I've wanted to tell you for so long, but I couldn't find the words or the right time, but…Bella…"
As low rumble of thunder hid my small moan as his lips softly pressed to mine. His thumb moved slowly across my cheek and his grip on my waist tightened even more. Our lips moved together slowly and softly, breaking only to let out small gasps of air.
His tongue tentatively moved out and stroked across my bottom lip. It was the most sensual feeling I had ever experienced. I was entirely lost within this kiss. I opened my mouth slightly and let my tongue just barely graze his. I felt his warm breath wash over my face as he let out a moan at the sensation.
The rain came down harder and a bolt of lightning crashed around us, causing me to jump away. My frantic eyes met his and suddenly I couldn't look any more. I pulled away and started walking briskly through the rain and into the parking lot, holding my head in my hands.
Oh God, oh God, oh God…what have I done? What does this mean? What about…what about…
And I couldn't believe where my thoughts had taken me.
Now I was more confused than ever. Why was I thinking of my best friend in that kind of way? There was nothing wrong with what Jasper and I were doing, and yet I felt as if I was betraying Emmett somehow.
Jasper caught up to me in the now downpour, grabbing my arm and spinning me around to face him.
"Bella, what's wrong? What did I do?" His voice was dripping with concern, and his twisted blond locks were dripping with rain.
I couldn't look at him. I shook my head. "I don't know, Jasper…I don't know if I can do this. What about…what about Emmett? He promised me and I promised him…" I started to sob as I held up my pinkie ring. Jasper knew what it meant - Emmett had told him - but the look on his face was understanding, not hurt or shocked.
"Sweetheart, listen to me. You didn't do anything wrong. I talked to Emmett before I came to find you out here. His exact words to me were 'you're the only one I would trust with her, Jazz' and he told me to take care of you, and I will, Bella, I promise I will. I'll never stop taking care of you," he said as another roar of thunder escaped the sky.
I was shaking now, from the rain, the thunder and from my sudden internal battle. Jasper reached up and gripped my biceps with both of his hands and bent his head down to look at my face. When he spoke, it was resolved, almost yelling.
"Damn-it, Bella…I'm in love with you, can't you see that?"
I blinked through my tears and the rain streaking down my cheeks. I searched his face and found desperation, need, concern, and…love. It was there, written in his eyes and his features and just everything about him.
He loves me. But, do I…?
I don't know which made my the decision - my heart or my head or my body - or what exactly my decision really was, but I suddenly found myself lunging into him. My lips crashed into his just as the next rip of thunder and lightning crashed around us. My hands tangled in his soaking hair and his were fisting the drenched tank top that was clinging to my body. The rain was driving down onto our faces, making our kiss slick and wet.
His mouth ground against mine with an urgency I've never felt before. He needed this just as I did, and the release it brought was still maddening. I was pressed up against him, feeling every minute curve of his body drawn to mine. We pushed and pulled at each other, fighting a battle for dominance that neither of us wanted to win.
The rain was just as warm as his mouth as it enveloped mine, and the heat our bodies were producing was more than enough to take my blood near the boiling point. Nevertheless, my body broke out into goose bumps and I shivered, causing Jasper to pull away panting.
He rested his forehead on mine and clenched his eyes shut as if he was waging war not with me, but with himself. When he opened them, his jaw tensed in a tight line.
"You're shivering, let's get you inside," he said with reluctance. "We need to get out of the rain."
I simply nodded, still not able to form a single sentence, though I wasn't trembling from the temperature; it was his touch, the way he knew exactly where to I needed to be touched and held and squeezed that turned me into a pool of wobbly jell-o.
"Come on," he said as he took my hand in his.
We ran back to the door of our room where I nearly ran into him, he stopped so abruptly. He spun around to face me and pulled me close again, and we were now shielded from the weather by an overhang that ran around the building.
He bent down to whisper in my ear. "Please…please tell me what you're thinking. I have to know before we go through that door."
I looked up at him with big doe eyes. My brain was of no use to me right then, making it even more difficult to get words to come out of my mouth.
"Jazz, I…I don't know what to say. I want you…I want to be with you. But I need to take this slowly. I don't want anyone to get hurt…"
"You mean Edward?"
I shook my head and looked down to the ground.
This time I nodded. "Look, I know what he said to you, but I just need to talk with him on my own first, okay? He's been through so much with me, everything really, and I just…I just…" I stuttered as I fought back tears again.
"It's okay, sweetheart. I'll keep my affections to myself until you've had a chance to talk with him. But really, I wouldn't have even kissed you tonight if he hadn't given me the green light before I even came out here to find you. Trust me, he's going to be okay."
Jasper nodded once, then brushed the hair that was stuck to my face out of my eyes before opening the door.
I stepped in to find both Emmett and Rosalie asleep on their bed. Emmett flopped in his usual face down position and Rosalie was on her side, facing away from him.
We didn't turn on the lights as we walked in, and tried to keep as quiet as possible. I went into the bathroom to change first, then crawled into bed while he got into some drier clothes as well.
I took the far side of the bed, away from Emmett and Rosalie, facing the window. I curled onto my side and drew the blanket up to my shoulders. A few moments later, I felt Jasper lift up the covers and silently slip in beside me. He was still and left some space between us when he finally settled onto his back.
The distance between us unexpectedly made my breathing catch. I felt like he was too far away, like I needed to touch him this instant or I was going to go insane. Panic washed through me at this new insight. I had never felt this way before. I needed his calming touch - now.
As if he could feel me going to pieces next to him, Jasper's fingers begin leisurely exploring the exposed skin on the small of my back where my shirt had ridden up. I instantly let out the breath I didn't know I was holding and relaxed into the bed.
He pulled away for a moment and I felt him readjust so that he was on his side and scooted up closer to me. Then I felt his hand press into my shoulder, nudging me to roll onto my stomach. I complied, then turned my head to face him.
His eyes never left mine as I felt his hand resume it's ministrations underneath my shirt on my back. His touch was feathery light, trailing his way up and down every inch of my bare skin. Tickling, teasing, from my neck to my tailbone - it all felt heavenly. And maybe it was sent from heaven, because this was the exact thing my Father used to do to me when I was little to help me calm down before bed. I never told that to anyone. Jasper just seemed to instinctively know what I needed.
He continued to stroke my back until my eyes closed. The last thing I felt was his hand moving the hair from my face and his lips pressed to my forehead, before I fell into a sound, dreamless sleep.
A/N: Aw, romantic goodness! Finally!
But what about Emmett you ask? And what exactly happened between him and Jasper during their conversation in the hotel room? Well, my friends, that will be in my next outtake (in Alternative Notion) - both a Jasper and another Emmett POV, so keep your eyes peeled for that. I'll also try to update my profile with all the new songs soon, but I figured a new chapter was more important to you first.
Please review and let me know how I'm doing!