Disclaimer: I'm not Stephenie Meyer, I just like to mess with characters she created and make them do asinine things.
Thanks to Lisa for pre-reading and to Bridget, my lovely lovable beta.
Thanks to everyone who left reviews and added it to their alerts. The reaction to this little fic caught me off guard.
Chapter 2: Squealing Bella and Emo Alice
As I walked away from Edward, I resisted the urge to turn around to catch a glimpse of his face. I knew if I did I'd totally give myself away by the smile that was plastered on mine. The moment I turned the corner out of the lunch room—and his vision—I started off running toward the nearest bathroom.
"Oh, my God!" Throwing my bag into the corner, I jumped up and down, squealing the entire time. "He asked me out! He asked me out!" I stopped and stared at myself in the mirror and saw a crazed woman, but frankly, I didn't care and started jumping up and down again. "Yes! Yes! Yes!"
The door to the stall behind me opened up, but I couldn't see anyone. A voice startled me and I turned around quickly, almost knocking myself to the ground in the process.
"Please tell me you're not having some kind of orgasmic experience here in the bathroom all by yourself." It was no wonder I hadn't seen anyone when the door opened. I was considered a giant next to Mary Alice Brandon. The top of her black spiky-haired head barely reached my shoulder. Her face was blank and emotionless as she spoke. The clothes she wore were all the same color and matched her dark hair. She always seemed so unhappy, never cracking a smile from what I saw.
"No, sorry, I'm just excited." Mary Alice made her way over to the sink and washed her hands. At least she had good hygiene. I hated it when other girls used a stall, did who knows what, and then walked out without washing their hands. She dug a lipstick out of the pocket of her trench coat and reapplied it to her half-stained lips. The color was a dark, deep burgundy. "Do you wear any other color besides black?"
She pointed to her lips. "Yeah, I like to expand my horizons now and then."
"Emo much, Mary Alice?"
"Just Alice, thank you, Isabella."
"Just Bella, thank you, Alice. What's your damage? You haven't like tried to kill yourself once a month or something, have you?" I asked out of curiosity.
"Of course not." She rolled her eyes at me. "That would be stupid."
"Then why all the black and sourpuss?" Alice probably thought I was a pest. "There's an entire rainbow of colors out there."
"I know, I have some of them in my closet," she said with a slight smile. "I choose not to wear them. Black fits my mood much better."
"I know we're not really friends, but you can talk to me if you want," I offered tentatively, knowing more than likely she'd turn me down. "No pressure."
She cocked her head to the side quizzically and stared at me. "Things just haven't been going right for me lately. My parents are being assholes. I don't know what I want to do with my life because even if you go to college and get a degree, there's no guarantee that you'll find a job with it. And to top it off, I found out my now ex-boyfriend had been cheating on me during most of our relationship."
"Ah, all that black matches the black cloud that's been hanging over you."
Her eyes grew big in shock at my statement. "Exactly."
"Your parents are probably worried about you," I explained. "Take the basic courses at the Community College until you figure out what you want to do. Ditch the emo girl look because it's not the true you and then go out and find a new guy or at least open your heart up again to the possibility. Not all guys are jerks."
"Is that why you're so excited about this date you've been asked out on?"
"Yes, I am very excited!" Alice probably thought I was overly enthusiastic about my date, but I had good reason to be excited. I had liked Edward for a while now but always assumed that he was with Angie Weber. If Edward wasn't with Emmett, he was with Angie. Not that my observation meant much because Emmett was Edward's brother, so I knew the two of them weren't together in more than a brotherly fashion. Once I saw Edward and Angie holding hands in the hallway and grew jealous. The next day I tried to control myself when I saw him walking down the hallway with one of his arms draped around her shoulders. If the two of them were indeed a couple, they had a bit of an odd relationship. I never saw them kiss or hug on campus. Not once. But they were always together, talking and laughing, in close contact with one another. Maybe they didn't like overly dramatic PDAs? Or maybe my overactive imagination was working overtime and they weren't a couple? Could I really have a chance with Edward? I needed to get up the nerve and find out!
Once I was woken to the idea of them being platonic friends, I started to stalk Edward at school. I became all consumed with finding out if they were together or not. Frankly, I was surprised he hadn't turned around and told me to stop following him. No, seriously. I was lucky that I didn't have a restraining order slapped on my ass yet. I must've been channeling my father, the chief of police, because Edward, Emmett, and Angie never seemed to notice me. I hung back far enough so they shouldn't be able to see me but was close enough to over hear their conversations and catch their body language.
I shook my head in frustration. I couldn't believe I'd become a damned stalker. If I started taking pictures of him and hanging them up in my room, lighting candles, I was seriously seeking psychiatric help on my own.
As I continued to observe Edward and Angie together, I remained confused about their relationship. Were they together? It was killing me! On numerous occasions I had tried to talk to Edward during Chemistry and steer the conversation toward more personal matters. He always changed the subject or never gave too much away about himself. I never understood why because I wanted to know everything about him.
On Wednesday morning, during my sleuthing, I had parked myself in front of a computer in the library. Edward was sitting at another computer nearby talking to Angie about his tutoring schedule. I thought it was kind and thoughtful of Edward to take the time out to help his fellow students.
"Hey, Ang, whatcha doing for your birthday?" he asked her.
"Um, my parents said they were going to take me out to dinner in Port A, but that was two weeks ago and they haven't mentioned it since." She spit out the words nervously.
"I want to do something for you, but I don't know what." Edward pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose with his pointer finger. It was so unexplainable to me, but I'd be damned if I didn't find that move of his sexy as hell. "I mean, if your parents are already taking you to dinner, I don't know if you want me to take you too."
Crap, I must've jumped the gun about their relationship. They were together!
"You don't have to do anything for me, Edward." Angie shifted in her seat and sorted through a stack of papers. I noted that their body language was different. He was more composed while she was nervous.
"Why can't I do something for my best friend on her birthday?"
Best friends! That was it! That was why they were always together but never overly affectionate with one another. She was the female version of Emmett, minus the dirty mouth, smart ass attitude, and fun partying ways. Wait, if you took away all those attributes, she was nothing like Emmett at all. She was his best friend who happened to be a female.
My newfound knowledge unnerved me. Edward wasn't with Angie, and I was sure he wasn't dating anyone else. But what did he think of me? We had known each other for years but weren't exactly friends. We were more like acquaintances.
So I continued to stalk him like the pervy creep I had turned into. Seriously, I was this close to calling the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation for myself.
It was that day, outside of the boys' bathroom, that luck was on my side. I had walked out of the girl's bathroom, which was right next door, and pulled out my water bottle to fill it at the water fountain. My ears perked up when I heard the distinctive voices of Edward and Emmett from the boys' bathroom. I always thought it was weird that the bathrooms didn't have doors, but rather a short curved corridor like at the mall, but hell, now I thanked whatever nut job that designed this school.
"Oh, for the love of God, would you ask her out already?" Emmett was chiding him. "Get her out of your system."
"I can't, Em." Edward's voice sounded so defeated.
"Why the hell not, Chicken Shitward?"
"I am not spending the last few weeks of my high school career being humiliated because I asked Bella Swan out."
Hold the freakin' utility belt Batman! Did I hear that right?
"How do you know she'd say no?" Go ahead Emmett, encourage your brother and show me that you're not always a jackass. "Have you ever tried?"
"Are you insane?" Edward's tone was different now. I wasn't used to hearing him sounding so defensive.
"I'm not insane, but I'm ready to smash your head against the sink, little brother."
"Emmett, have you ever liked a girl that you knew was so far out of your league and you knew you never had a shot in hell with her?"
Why in the world would he think that?
"Um, yeah." Emmett's short response and lack of a follow up smart ass remark was not his usual style. "I think at one point, most guys go through the same thing, E."
"Then you should understand where I'm coming from. If I ask Bella out on a date, my freakin' world tells me that there's a ninety-nine point nine percent chance of her laughing in my face. I'd rather end our relationship as kinda, sorta friends leaving high school than having to figure out how to avoid my own lab partner for the next month."
I didn't want to be just Edward's lab partner. And I most certainly didn't want to be just kinda, sorta friends with him. It wasn't enough. I wanted to be his world.
"I dare you to ask Bella out."
"Jesus, Em, we're not in fourth grade anymore."
"No, we're not in fucking fourth grade anymore." Hearing silence, I backed away toward the girls' bathroom just in case they were headed out and in my direction. "We're adults and sometimes we have to man up and do shit we don't want to do. Learn from our mistakes and shit."
"Where is my brother and what have you done with him, you alien freak of nature?"
"Shut it. I dare you to ask Bella out. If you don't, you have to shave your head. If you ask her out then… I… mmm, what do I have to do?" Edward didn't say a word, but I heard his laughter echoing from the bathroom. "What is it?"
"You have to take and complete five ballet lessons."
It took all I had not to burst out laughing at the thought of Emmett—all six foot five inches of him—taking ballet lessons. Edward had to work up the courage to ask me out. Not only would I most definitely say yes, but his brother would have to suck it up and put on a leotard. At least, I hoped that's what a male dancer had to wear. I'd be damned if I didn't want to see that too!
"Five ballet lessons?"
"You want me to shave my head!"
"Okay, okay, that should all be beginner stuff, right?"
"Right." Edward paused and after I heard what came from his mouth I imagined a thoughtful look on his face. "Although, I'm trying to imagine you in a recital."
"Oh, no!" I could imagine Emmett's face at the mention of him actually appearing in a recital. The word 'horrified' would cover it. "I think five lessons versus a shaved head is more even. Not that it matters 'cause you're so going to be bald, geek boy!"
Edward was probably nervous because he was still quiet. "Come on man, get her out of your system and ask her out. I don't think you'll be the laughing stock of the entire school. Bella isn't like that. If she says no, at least you will be able to get on with your life. I don't think she'll make fun of you for asking her out."
"Aw man, that's like, half the fun!"
"Emmett!" I heard a bang and wondered if one of them kicked or punched something. "This is going to be hard enough as it is. Please, no sabotage."
"Okay, Chicken Shitward, no sabotage. Is it a deal?"
"I can't believe I'm agreeing to this." Edward sounded defeated again.
"You have nothing to lose." Emmett started laughing and choked out his following words. "Except your hair." I heard Edward growl and Emmett's continued laughter. "I'll give you two weeks from today to work up the courage to ask Bella out."
Edward would not be losing his hair if I had anything to say about it. No the fuck way!
"Fine." Edward agreed to the bet but didn't sound very happy about it. "We have a deal."
Hearing a shuffling of footsteps, I backed my way into the girls' bathroom and waited for them to leave. I only heard one set of footsteps walk away. Holding my breath, I dared to quickly glance around the corner and spotted Edward with his back to me. His shoulders were slumped and his head was raised to the ceiling.
"Stupid, stupid idea," he mumbled. "She's going to laugh at me and I'm going to end up bald."
Oh, no you aren't, damn it!
Shaking my head, I brought myself back to the present. "So, Alice, what are you doing after school today?"
"Um, nothing," she said with a shrug of her shoulders. "Why?"
"Why don't you come over to my place and we can talk more about this?" She stared at me suspiciously, her eyes almost closed into slits. "We gotta get you back on the man bandwagon! How will I ever find out if I know someone that would be good for you if I don't get to know you more?"
"I don't really know if I'm up for dating someone yet." Her voice was so sad when she spoke.
"What about making friends?"
Alice cracked the slightest of smiles. "I might be able to manage that."
Walking over to where my back pack landed, I picked it up and dug out a notebook from it. I wrote down my address and handed it to her. "If you can find a way to come over, that's where I live. I have to take the bus home."
Examining the paper, Alice folded it and placed it into one of her many pockets. "Why don't I just drive you?"
Later that day, I learned that Alice owned the yellow Porsche that I had started to see appear in the school's parking lot. It was sweet. On the ride to my house, my thoughts turned back to Edward and the last two weeks that led up to today. I tried talking to him in Chemistry but he was more nervous than usual. I could see that he was going to have a hard time growing a pair and asking me out. God, what the hell was it with boys? If it wasn't for the stupid bet, I'd gather the courage to ask him out. For the last two weeks I had tried to encourage Edward to talk to me. Otherwise, he'd be bald and Emmett would be laughing his ass off at Edward's expense. I liked Edward's hair and didn't want him to have to shave it all off.
That afternoon Alice opened up more to me. She had been really devastated when she learned that Tyler had cheated on her during most of their relationship. Alice loved to go into thrift stores to find bargains and good finds. She liked most music but enjoyed alternative rock and country the most. I also learned that she was originally from Mississippi and longed for a good southern-style meal.
"I have to introduce you to Jasper."
She nearly choked on the water in her glass. "Whitlock? Jasper Whitlock?"
"One and the same."
"Isn't he your ex?"
I shrugged non-chalantly. "Jasper and I did date. So? We parted on good terms and we're still friends. We realized we weren't compatible, but since we're still friends, people thought we dated for a lot longer than we did. He's a good guy. The best there is."
"I can't meet him." She shook her head back and forth and set the glass on my nightstand. "I can't talk to him."
"No, I just can't."
"Shut up, mother!"
"Why can't you talk to Jasper?" I asked before something dawned on me. "Wait, do you have a crush on him?"
"Not really a crush, but I've always thought he was cute." She paused and ground her head into her hands. "I embarrassed myself in front of him and an entire class of guys in ninth grade."
I slapped my hands together in anticipation of an embarrassing story that didn't involve me in the starring role. "Oh, do tell!" Alice glared up at me with a scowl on her face. "Drop the deets, girlie!"
She straightened up and rolled her eyes at me before continuing. "In ninth grade I took a drafting class as an elective. There were only four girls in the class and the rest were all guys. Even the teacher was a guy. One of the guys was teasing me about something and taped a piece of paper up on the wall. He didn't put it high enough, and I was able to remove it."
"How is that embarrassing?"
"Oh, I haven't gotten to the good part yet." Alice took a sip of water before continuing. "He made a comment about me reaching the offending piece of paper and I meant to say 'I'm taller than you thought' which is stupid because I'm so short, but what came out was 'I'm tighter than you thought'. I was mortified. Everyone was laughing at me. My nickname for the rest of the year was 'Tight'."
Unable to help myself, I started laughing at Alice's confession. "I'm sorry, I know you were probably embarrassed as hell over that. Jasper was in the class?"
"Yes," she said, wringing her hands together. "He was one of the twenty-odd guys who heard me make a fool out of myself."
"Honey, if he even remembers that, I'm sure he doesn't care." I knew she wasn't convinced. "I think you two might hit it off if given a chance."
"Oh, no, I'd be too embarrassed."
It was funny to learn how a silly incident from four years ago still affected Alice. From her exterior personality, it didn't seem like something so small would still bother her. My cell phone beeped and I picked it up.
It was Jasper. Smiling idiotically to myself, I quickly texted him back.
Low on minutes. Call me on my bedroom phone.
Yeah, I lied. Grabbing both our glasses, I made a hasty retreat toward the door. "I'll be right back with some more water."
Halfway down the stairs I heard my phone ring. "Alice! Can you answer that please? I don't have an answering machine."
Not wanting Alice to kill me, especially over something so small such as talking to Jasper over the phone for a minute or two, I didn't waste any time getting back upstairs. I refilled our glasses with ice and water and then high tailed it back to my room.
When I reentered Alice was still sitting on my bed with the phone to her ear. "Oh, hold on, here she is now." She removed the phone from her ear and passed it to me. "Before I kill her."
I stuck my tongue out at her. "Drama queen."
Laughing, I put the phone to my ear. "You there, J?"
"Yeah," he said. "Since when have you been friends with Mary Alice Brandon?"
"She goes by Alice and um, since like, earlier today." Alice was watching me from her position on my bed. She was frozen in place. I mouthed the word "relax" to her, but it didn't seem to help. "What's up?"
"I found that movie that you wanted to see. Want me to bring it over?"
"Oh, yeah, bring it over, will ya?" Alice's eyes grew as big as saucers and she crossed her hands back and forth in front of her while she mouthed the word "no" over and over again. "Alice, you want to stay and watch a movie with me and Jasper?" Alice didn't answer, but fell back against my bed with her arm covering her face.
"Is, um, she going to be there to watch the movie?"
"Yeah, I think she's going to stay for the movie, J."
"Okay, cool, I'll be over in a few minutes."
I counted myself among the lucky when Alice didn't immediately lung for my neck with her bare hands as soon as I hung up with Jasper. "He'll be over in a few minutes."
Alice jumped from my bed faster than I had ever seen anyone move before. "I've got to go."
I ran to my door and blocked it. "Oh, no you don't! You're not going anywhere! Stay and at least say hello to Jasper."
Alice turned and glanced out my window. "Fuck, where are trees with good sturdy branches when I need one?"
"Visiting another sap," I said. "Jasper is a nice guy, Alice. Just meet him again. If he should say anything stupid I give you permission to slap him. Hell, I'll slap him myself."
"Do you promise?"
I held up my hand with only my middle finger raised. "Scouts honor."
Alice crossed her arms in front of her chest. "Bitch, I'm sure that's not the Scout salute."
"Do I look like a fucking Boy Scout to you?"
"Only post-sex change."
Downstairs I heard footsteps on the porch, followed by a knock and the creaking of the door opening. "Bella? Where are you?"
"In my room!" I yelled down to him. "We'll be right down!"
Alice freaked. I mean, like, frozen in place and shit. I calmed her down and knew she really had a crush on my boy J. Alice washed her face and used some of my make up for a more natural look before we went downstairs. Jasper was never big on over done make up or hair. I wished I had something for Alice to change into, but I hoped that Jasper would overlook Alice's dark clothing and would catch a glimpse of the Alice I saw today.
I went down the stairs first, and Alice followed right behind me. When Jasper heard us, he came out of the living room to greet us and smiled up toward us. He had a great smile. Sometimes it killed me that we were only friends, but then I was reminded of Edward's green eyes, reddish brown hair, fucktastic smile, and shy but smart ass sense of humor. Not to mention his lips. Damn, if they didn't feel wonderful against mine, I didn't know what would.
When I reached the bottom of the stairs, he opened his arms and embraced me in a tight hug. "He asked me out today!" I whispered in his ear. Of course I had to tell Jasper about Edward. We told each other everything.
"No shit?" He released me from his grasp. "Good luck with that and keep me updated. Let me know if I have to break any of his bones."
"I really don't think you'll have to resort to that!"
Jasper released me from his grasp, and I heard Alice clear her throat behind me. "Oh, hey, Alice, what's up?" Jasper asked with his Texas drawl in full effect.
"Considering my height, everything."
"Cute." He smiled at Alice and they both blushed. Jasper blushed? Wait, what the fuck was going on? Maybe I was correct about Jasper and Alice getting along!
As it turned out, Alice didn't need much convincing to stay for the movie. Actually, she asked what Jasper brought over and instigated going into the living room. Being that we were comfortable with each other, Jasper frequently put his arm around the back of the couch or around my shoulders. I was used to it and didn't find it to be uncomfortable at all. What I found peculiar was when halfway through the movie I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Jasper had placed his other arm around Alice's shoulders while she was chewing the hell out of her bottom lip.
I excused myself to the kitchen for more liquid refreshment and decided to give the two of them a minute alone. I wondered where Edward would take me on our date Saturday night. Not that it mattered much—I just wanted to spend time alone with him. In the last two weeks I had tried repeatedly to get him to open up and talk to me. As the deadline to ask me out drew nearer, I was more and more nervous about Edward losing his lovely head of hair. I had to do something, but what?
I used my knowledge of Edward's tutoring schedule to my benefit. Okay, so I also had a small talk with Angie. I made her pinky swear not to squeal to Edward about anything that I was going to tell her. After she agreed to the terms, I confessed that I knew about Edward and Emmett's bet and that I wanted to help Edward win. I never told her why, but I guessed that she knew my reasoning. If she didn't, she'd know soon enough.
Angie told me that she'd get Edward in the library that afternoon under whatever false pretenses she could manage. While I figured it was under the guise of tutoring someone, I wasn't one-hundred percent certain, so I stayed back until I was sure no one else was going to show up. I don't know how I managed to do it, but I got him to talk to me. He walked me to my truck and finally opened up about the stupid bet. I tried not to sound overly enthusiastic when he asked me for my help.
Things couldn't have gone better today if we had planned every single little detail. Emmett's idiotic comments made me want to spew my food halfway across the room, but I kept myself in check. You know, 'cause spitting food like that chick in The Exorcist ain't sexy and appealing.
I even surprised myself with how outgoing I appeared to be and hoped he didn't think I was a slut, especially after I kissed him for Christ's sake! He needed to get it through his thick skull that I liked him, and by the time Chemistry rolled around that afternoon, I knew he hadn't. Edward was normally early for class, but not this time. He almost walked in late, running into the classroom and bashfully taking his seat next to me. I wrote my phone number on a piece of paper and slid it across the table toward him. "I mean it. Call me because we're going out Saturday."
Picking up the paper, he glanced at it quickly before slipping it into his back pocket. "Bella, you don't have to do this for me. I'll figure out something with Emmett."
I don't know where my sudden boldness came from, but I leaned toward Edward and took his hand in mine. "I thought you said that you had a crush on me," I whispered so no one else would hear me.
Edward's gaze was transfixed on the lab table. "I do." His voice was trembling nervously as he spoke.
I slid closer and leaned up against him, my chin resting on his shoulder. "Edward, I like you. Deal with it."
In his free hand he gripped a pen which appeared to be in danger of being snapped in half. "I just… I… uh… I…."
He was going to give himself a damn heart attack. "I don't bite, unless you want me to." I daringly moved forward and placed a kiss against his neck. At the same moment he gripped and squeezed my hand that was still in his. "You got the girl; now don't blow it by being an idiot."
"I just didn't think… I… that… I mean, you really like me?" Edward did this nervous laughing, twitchy, stuttering thing that was kind of weird but entirely endearing at the same time. "It makes me nervous that you know how I feel about you." The words flew out of his mouth quickly like word vomit.
"Yes, I do like you and since class is starting I'm going to wait to tell you on Saturday all the reasons why I like you." Mr. Banner made an announcement for us to settle down and started passing out papers. I squeezed Edward's hand and then let it go.
I had the urge to say "So there" and stick my tongue out and give him a raspberry, but I didn't think that'd be as endearing as his nervous laughing, twitchy, stuttering deal he had going on. The test was hard enough as it was, but then I had to deal with Edward's leg bouncing up and down off the leg of his chair. He never did that before. I did that to him. I made him so nervous he couldn't sit still. It was somehow empowering even if I did want to smack him and tell him to knock it the fuck off.
When I walked back into the living room I noticed that Jasper had paused the movie. He was turned toward Alice's direction, sitting closely to her with his arm still around her and they were whispering to one another. I was ready to turn and leave when Alice spotted me and said something to Jasper which caused him to turn in my direction.
I rejoined the soon to be love birds on the couch, and it didn't take me long to notice that Jasper never put his arm back around me. He did have his arm around Alice, though. I didn't pay attention to the rest of the movie. I was too engrossed in being happy for Jasper and Alice and thinking about Edward. I was anxious about seeing him tomorrow and for our date on Saturday. Smiling to myself, I imagined it was Edward sitting next to me on the couch with his arms wrapped around me.
Hey, yo, big guy up there! Make it happen, 'kay? This was as close to a prayer as I ever got. Dear father who art in heaven, hollow by thy name or something…please let Edward be less nervous around me! I really like him and want to give us a shot at something real. Amen and whatnot.
Oh, that have better worked or I was going to be royally pissed!
A/N: Let me embarrass myself by telling you all this:
In the 9th grade I was in a Drafting class that had like twenty guys and four girls. One of the guys that I was kind of friends with, Brice, put something up on the wall in reference to a guy that I had a crush on. I went and managed to remove the offending piece of paper and he said something like, "Damn, I didn't think you'd be able to get that" and I meant to reply with "I'm tall" but instead "I'm tight" was what came out. Very loudly. And the entire class heard. Surprisingly, this did not earn me any dates. And yes, my nickname was "Tight".