So here we go.
Different voices, different story, same crazy kids.
ElleCC graciously agreed to beta this goofiness.
I own what Stephenie doesn't.
I opened my eyes and watched the sunrays creep along the wall over Jasper's bed as they furtively illuminated the Lao Tzu quote he'd written on the wall in pencil. His scribblings were all around the walls, his notebooks and even on his clothes: strange things he'd read or thought or heard and wanted to remember. Some were stacks of syllables with notes attached, others were funny things one of us had said, many were phrases of one philosopher or another. This one read:
"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."
The summer dawn's fog hung low at the window, while the strange platinum light filled the room. I loved this time of day, even though I rarely saw it. I usually slept late while the boy next to me was one of the first to wake; now I watched him sleep, his face relaxed and young, lips parted and moving, as if reading the subtitled text of his dreams.
Someone closed a door somewhere in the house, and I was instantly alert, sliding from the bed on socked feet and padding to my own room; not that I really needed to feel guilty, Dad had relaxed a lot since Emmett came home from the hospital, like he didn't care anymore that Jasper and I were too close for his comfort –as long as we were home and healthy, nothing else mattered.
Comfort was no longer about whether your daughter –who you assumed was no longer a virgin, though you never extended the courtesy of asking, thank you very much, Dr. Cullen- was going to get knocked up, but more about the fact that she was alive; and alive I was, and virginal, though I planned to solve that little issue today.
Today I was seventeen, and I was going to lose my precious hymen –though I doubted there could be much of it left, with all the grinding Jazz and I had done over the last year, even though we'd mostly tried to keep a barrier of fabric between us, not that the lace and silk I wore could be considered much of a hindrance, but he insisted, and I was good with it, because he did very nice things with his fingers, but now I was done with waiting.
I'm usually good with waiting. I can wait weeks for grades on papers to come back, and months for medical test results, and even years for the bright yellow Porsche I would own someday; I knew there was a cool girl out there who would be my best friend soon and that the band would be famous and that Jasper would marry me wearing his cowboy boots, and I could be patient for all of it, but today, two things were going to happen: my twin brother was going to snap out of the self-induced martyrdom-punishment emo-bullshit he'd subjected us to over the past three weeks –even if it meant someone was going to kick his ass- and I was going to get laid.
I threw on a bathrobe and slipped downstairs to make coffee, but the warm smell wafted from the kitchen already, greeting me like family. Twin was there, and I grinned at him, and held up my index finger. He mirrored mine, and we raised two, then three, and both said, "Happy Birthday!" at the same time, the way that we did every year since we learned how to talk.
He hugged me, and passed me a mug of coffee, and handed me a brown paper bag wrapped package girded by scotch tape.
"I forgot your licorice," he said, as I tore the package, and I wrinkled my nose at him. He always bought me black licorice as a joke for every holiday, because no one else would eat it, and when you're the youngest and littlest, you learned to enjoy the candy that everyone else liked the least, except for the Christmas he'd gotten some salty leather things shaped like cats that came from Finland - they were just nasty, and I couldn't eat any of them after the first one I'd gagged one down just to be polite, while he laughed his head off at me. Once there was this really good chocolate from Sweden that had licorice caramel in the middle but Emmett ate it all.
The paper gave way to a shiny silver harmonica, with a face that was etched with the words M. Hohner Blues Harp. I grinned at him, and hugged him, and blew softly through it, playing a scale, and he helped me find the opening notes to "Man with a Harmonica," otherwise known as the opening of every spaghetti western in existence. Then I ran back to my room and grabbed my present for him.
He opened it, giving me a confused look at the remote controlled toy dump truck, and then rolled his eyes when he saw that it was a Volvo, like his car, but the real gift was inside: a vintage silk Hermes piano tie, utter cheesy cliché and Edward all over.
"You're up early," he said, really meaning, "Where's Jasper?"
"You have to talk to him, Twin," I said, frustrated.
My brother nodded, eyes dull, staring into his cup.
"Jazz does that, you know. He looks for things in the bottom of a mug of something," I sighed, tired of trying to mend the rift between them.
He glared and set the cup down.
"Just try, Edward. Please? For me?"
He nodded, still silent.
I began to get annoyed with him, and started feeling obnoxious, and I really wanted the iPhone that Dad and Esme were giving both of us – Em and Rose and Jazz already got theirs on their respective birthdays this year, and I was done with waiting for mine, so I grabbed the harmonica and marched through the house, picking out the notes to Happy Birthday as loud as I could, over and over until Rose opened the door to her loft room and threw a present at me, and then slammed her door closed.
I rubbed my lip where I had bruised it against the harmonica when the box hit my head, and then opened the gift, a lime green corset with matching hot pants, the cutest things ever, with teal ribbons lacing up the back of both, and I ran back upstairs and bounced on Rose's bed until she told me to fuck off.
By then everybody was awake, and Edward and I got our iPhones, and Emmett gave us both squishy ear-buds that felt better than the ones that came with the phones, and Jasper gave me a rare edition Alice in Wonderland by an illustrator I love. Dad and Esme went to work, and Emmett chased me around the house with the dump truck until I stepped backwards on it and fell, spraining my wrist, so all three guys went to the drugstore in the Jeep to get a compression wrap.
I tried on my new corset and shorts, and Rose helped me with the laces in the back while we made fun of the ace bandage brigade, and then she went to go hang out with Vicki, and I waited for Jasper to come back, ice on my wrist, fifteen minutes on, fifteen minutes off, and even though this was the best birthday ever, I was getting impatient because I was already seventeen and ten hours old, and I still hadn't had sex yet.
There were times when I really wished I had a dad of my own.
I never really knew Major Whitlock Hale; my father died right when I was six, and he was never on leave enough for me to have much of a lasting impression beyond a black cowboy hat and a scratchy beard that he would rub on my belly and while he blew raspberries on my skin.
Not that Carlisle Cullen wasn't a great stepfather; he let us run free as long as we got good grades and stayed relatively healthy, and I could talk to him about almost everything.
But I couldn't ask him about condoms.
I stood in front of the shelf at the drugstore, completely baffled by the huge selection of little cardboard boxes, imagining a conversation with the good doctor.
Hey, Doc, your daughter turned seventeen today, and it's finally legal for us to have sex now, so would you mind giving me some latex advice? Lubricated or Non? Ribbed for her pleasure or mine? And is Alice allergic to spermicide?
I sighed, and then wished I hadn't, as the woman behind the pharmacy counter turned at the noise. She glanced at me, and I looked away quickly, hoping she wouldn't ask me if I needed help. She didn't, but I could feel her amusement in her posture.
I felt stupid and young; I didn't even know what size to buy. Was I regular, large or extra large? I'd like to think I was at least large, but what if it slid off? If I bought a size too small, it might break, right? Should I buy one box of each, and try them on for fit? What if the regular was too big? What if I really had a small dick?
There are all those help books for girls, like Everything You Need to Know about Becoming a Woman, or My Little Red First Period Book, with cute line drawings of growing boobs and thought bubbles coming out of cartoon fallopian tubes, but there were no books for guys about buying condoms.
"What the fuck do you think you are doing?!" Edward's voice dripped venom, and I spun around, shocked. He was holding a bag of licorice gumdrops in his fist so tightly that his knuckles were white and the candy was straining the bag.
I gawked at him, caught completely off guard by the anger rolling off him so thick you could see it shimmering in the air. This was a drastic change from the walking zombie he'd been since the end of May.
"Are you cheating on my sister?!" His hair was practically standing on end.
"What?!" I breathed, baffled and suddenly furious.
"Boys! Take it outside!" The pharmacist's voice icy voice cut into our heat, and Edward grabbed the front of my t-shirt and pulled me toward the door. I grabbed his wrist and twisted, the first move taught in any basic martial arts class, and by the time we were outside, I was the one dragging him. Once we hit the hot tarmac of the parking lot, I let him go.
"Edward, what the hell are you talking ab-"
The fist with bag of candy hit me between the eyes, sending lightning through my skull and gumdrops flying everywhere. I blinked twice and swung. He jerked back, and I barely grazed his chin.
"You fucking go off and sulk for three weeks-" I began, my voice all over the place, but he lashed out low, and I blocked, wrist against wrist, barely deflecting his hit on my sternum, and then bounced away from his fast left hook. Fucker was quick. I wiped the blood that was flowing down my nose, wondering if he'd broken it.
"-And the first thing you say to me is to fucking accuse me-" I tried to continue. He closed in again, and I clenched my fists tight, and blocked, twisting sideways, leaving him a free hit to my back. He didn't take it, and I spun and looked at him, trying to figure out what the hell was going on in his head.
"Alice is on the pill!" he said, his voice low and ferocious. "So the only reason you'd be buying-" He landed a good one to my ribs while my brain stalled in confusion. I sat down hard from the force of his hit, and looked up at him.
Edward's face was bright red with fury, fists hard and center of balance high in his shoulders but there was a desperation to his stance and a certain misery in his eyes that told me something else, and my anger cooled. He needed this, I realized, and it wasn't about Alice. He needed to fight, to lose himself in the feral patterns of fist and bone and blood, to punish and be punished, and because he was my best friend, I gave it to him.
Just fists, I reminded myself, as I launched up, hard and fast. I popped him in the solar plexus, and he staggered back, gasping, and then we began to dance, the age-old circling of feet and stance, weight shift and eye contact.
"She never told me she was on the pill," I said, surprised and pleased and trying to focus. He took a long step forward, and while I controlled the urge to keep from kicking his kneecap off, he grazed my jaw, taking some skin and jarring my teeth. I swung again, a solid uppercut under his chin. His feet flew out from under him, and he landed flat on his back on the hot asphalt, but with a grunt and a twist he was up again, shaking it off.
I'd slowed him down a little, and was able to block the next punch with ease, forearms shoving his fists away, but he bounced back before I could land a counter.
"So you've not yet-" He frowned, wiping sweat out of his eyes, and I snapped a quick left to his exposed side, but he was faster, and blocked down, jarring my elbow hard against the joint. That shit hurt bad and I spun away, panting and flexing my arm. He was better at this than I gave him credit for, and I loosened my fists.
"I was waiting," I said, tasting the blood from my nose as I spoke, circling around him, watching his eyes and his fists at the same time, "-until she was seventeen-" he shied left, away from my next throw - "-and legal-" he moved, an obvious fake to left, but his footing was messed up and I blocked it easily, "-out of respect for her dickhead brother!" I struck out and up, a square punch between the eyes, same as he hit me, but he flinched a bit and I caught him solid in the left eye. He dropped hard, and I fought to keep my balance, but my shoe was caught on something and I fell on top of him.
He shoved me off, groaning, and I rolled partially away, panting for breath on the blistering concrete, hoping we were done. My ribs ached and my arm hurt and my brain felt loose in my skull; if Edward learned tiger fighting forms, he'd be lethal.
I wiped my face on my arm and opened my eyes to Emmett's hulking form staring down at me, mouth and eyes wide with laughter. I flipped him the bird.
"Jazz," Edward's voice was filled with pain and confusion. "Dude, I'm stuck."
I tried to roll over, thinking that he wasn't usually that introspective, but my something sticky dragged at my hair. The smell of licorice rose from the asphalt, and I slowly tugged my head out of the melted candy goo on the ground.
Emmett doubled over, huge guffaws that could be heard for miles, which only got louder at the squelched siren approach of Forks' finest.
"Alice is going to kill both of you," he said in between howls.
I lay in the dark at Jasper's side, listening to Joni Mitchell's "Blue" with volume low, trying not to think, not to feel, not to cry, because he would hear me and wake up and then know that this was the worst birthday ever. Not that I expected losing my virginity would be all roses without thorns; even at fourteen, sneaking off to read the stupid romance novels where the handsome knight "teased away the sacred veil of her maidenhood with a gentle thrust," I knew there was supposed to be a little pain. I just didn't expect it to hurt that much, and in the dumb books the gorgeous soldier/lord/vampire never shouts "Oh, shit, hold still!" upon first entry and promptly unloads more spooge than he's dumped in the last nine months of resolved foreplay combined.
And that stuff burns! The books don't say anything about him giving her road-rash on her more delicate bits, and then slathering them with sticky gunk that I'd never noticed was as caustic as lye with wasabi sauce on top. And I tried not to cry, but Jazz knew anyway, and ran me a bath and was sweet and called me beautiful, even though my lip was swollen from where Rosalie threw the box, and he apologized a million times.
I wanted to tell him it was okay, that it was supposed to hurt and be over quick and I wasn't one of those silly girls who wanted the romance story, but I mentally swore at every chick flick and fairytale where the people always had perfect sex and never have morning breath or have their period, and I cursed my oldest brother while I was at it.
I was still pretty pissed at Emmett for bringing my boyfriend home all bruised up with cotton up his nose and Edward with a black eye and gooey candy imbued in both their scalps that took two hours to comb out even after soaking it in conditioner, because I wouldn't let either of them shave their heads, and of course this takes place after they have to cut me out of the hot pants Rosalie laced me into. They'd spent two hours at the drugstore washing the damned gumdrops off the parking lot so that they wouldn't get charged with stealing them in the first place, and I was at home locked in the lace-up shorts like a chastity belt and no way to get out of them to pee. I'd tried to undo them myself, but the ribbon got knotted, and of course I couldn't turn around that far to see what I'm doing, and then when I tried to cut the ribbons, I gouged myself in the back because I couldn't hold the scissors properly with a sprained wrist.
But it's hard to be mad at Emmett, especially when he looked so apologetic and scared of me, and Jasper and Edward were laughing and talking to each other and back to normal, even though they looked like drowned highway hamburger.
I lay in the dark, grinning, trying not to laugh out loud, and then I heard a sigh of relief, and I realized Jasper had been awake this whole time, and he rolled over and suddenly we were both giggling, and then he was kissing me, whisper light butterfly kisses, air and mint and laughter, on my throat and across my breasts and lower, and then lower still.
My hands slid into his curls as his hair tickled my inner thighs, soft and feathery, and everything was breathless and tantalizing but then his mouth shaped to me, slippery lips on slick swollen flesh, warm and wet and shockingly good, and I gasped for air like a fish on land, twisting with need, frantic, and then he moved over me and thrust his tongue in my mouth in warning. He was in, then, pushing past the ache and soothing it with a slow slide, and I felt full and right and very female, and I laughed and wrapped my arms and legs around him and arched to pull him deep, and then I was the one coming too quickly, and I whimpered in protest but my body took over, sucking at his shape, and wave after wave of bliss crashed over my skin, shaking my bones.
"Oh, wow," he whispered, staring wide into my eyes as I contracted around him, and I smiled, limp and languid under his weight. He lurched up and thrust into me three times quickly, and then pulled out with a gasp, body shuddering with each spasm. I caught it on my belly, and then in my palms, because I liked the feel of him in my hands when he came, tip flared and hot and wet and primal.
He rolled over and mopped me up, still wide-eyed, and I was waiting for him to say something clever, but he just grinned and looked extremely pleased with himself, and whispered, "Happy Birthday," and it was.
How old were you that first time?