A/N: As always, thanks to my beta Bridget for putting up with my craziness. This story was originally thought up when I saw a "Write What You Know" contest. I joked with two online buddies (Betty & Liz) that my entry would be boring and dumb. I've been a school bus driver since 1997. I'd have to have Edward as a driver and Bella as the monitor on his bus that he falls in love with. Their response? "Do it! Yes!" With a lot of internet provoking and prodding on their parts, I decided to start writing. Guess what? I couldn't even enter the contest because they wanted completed fics.
DRIFTING INTO YOUR LANE
Edward, a school bus driver, gets assigned a new monitor for his run. Drifting through life, he grows to like Bella, but she never stays in one place for long. By the end of the school year, can Edward convince her to stay, or will she drift away?
Rated M for language.
Chapter 1: The Wheels on the Bus
"The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round."
I'm going to kill someone, kill someone, kill someone, kill someone, kill someone.
"The wheels on the bus go round and round, all through the town!"
I'm going to throw out that damn tape of yours, damn tape yours, damn tape of yours…
"The people on the bus go up and down, up and down, up and down."
Are they having sex on a damn bus? In a children's song! How perverted am I?
"The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep."
I swear I'm gonna kill her for bringing this tape again, tape again, tape again….
"The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish, swish, swish, swish."
A knife slicing through the air right before it lands in Jessica's heart goes swish, swish, swish, swish, swish, swish…
"The babies on the bus go waa, waa, waa, waa, waa, waa."
The only baby on this bus is me but with good cause!
It was the first day of school, and things had already started off on the wrong foot. My new monitor, who I had never even met, had been a no show, so I was left with Jessica. Again. Kill. Me. Now. She was on my bus with me last year, and she drove me up a fucking wall. The kids I transported were autistic, but she insisted on playing little kiddie music over and over again on our hour long ride with them, although none of them fit in that age bracket. I was going bat shit crazy, and it was just the first day.
If my new monitor didn't show up this afternoon, I planned on killing both her and Jessica. She also better have a damn good excuse as to where the hell she was this morning.
Oh, God, even nasally her voice grated on my nerves.
"Yes, Jessica?" I glanced back in the rearview mirror to see Jessica staring intently at me from the second seat. Poor Brandon had to sit right near her every morning for the entire ride. Poor kid. If he could talk, I was sure he'd tell her to shut the fuck up.
"After we drop off the kids, can we stop at the bagel place?"
Sure, so I can drive off and leave your ass behind. "Yeah, sounds good."
Outwardly I smiled, but on the inside, I was banging my head against the steering wheel. Stopping for a bagel meant I had to spend another five minutes in the presence of Jessica Stanley. I already spent over four hours a day with the woman. Another five minutes wouldn't push me over the edge, would it? What could I kill her with? I was on a damn school bus, there had to be something. Think, Masen, think! What were you supposed to check on your pre-trip? Shit, all that stuff was automatic to me after all these years.
Emergency reflectors? No, not heavy enough.
The first aid kit? No, it might knock her out, but it wouldn't kill her.
Maybe she'd walk into one of the mirrors outside and knock her own ass out. She was that fucking stupid and clumsy.
The fire extinguisher! Blunt force trauma to her head! Yes!
The sound of a car horn behind me brought me out of my homicidal daze. Driving through the now green light, I made a right hand turn onto the road to get to Tyson's school. I didn't know how the hell my boss thought setting up my run this way was actually going to work this year. Tyson's school started at eight o'clock while Brandon, Xavier, and David's school started at eight forty-five. Their schools were only eleven minutes apart. We were going to be sitting in the second school's parking lot for at least a half an hour. No matter what the weather, we were not supposed to idle our buses for more than five minutes. We were in frickin' New York state and experienced cold, sometimes downright freezing, winters. What the hell was I supposed to do then? I asked my boss that exact question, and he replied with, "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it." Literal translation? "I don't give a fuck."
That was my boss. The ever loyal, kind hearted, charismatic, charitable, and loving Aro Douglas. If you believe that version of Aro, I have an island to sell you. Reaching for my trusty travel mug, I took a quick swig of coffee to wash down the taste of puke from my mouth. That's what thinking of my boss did to me.
It's not that I didn't like my job. Actually, I didn't mind the job itself. I had grown to hate the people that ran the place and most of my fellow co-workers. When I first started, a few weeks after I turned twenty-one and was able to apply for a CDL permit, the bus company was run by its vice president, Charlotte McBride. While she was a stern and overbearing woman, she was fair and didn't call her employees names behind their backs as soon as they walked away. An old friend, who quit two years after I started to move on to greener pastures, had suggested the job to earn some good money. Charlotte was flexible and understanding of my schedule with college. I would inform her of my schedule for the semester and she'd work with me, giving me enough hours to be able to afford to live and take a class or two. The one thing I always liked about Charlotte was her fairness. If you stayed on her good side by doing your job, doing it right, and not pissing her off, then she was fair to you. Everyone knew that you did not want to piss off Charlotte McBride. Unfortunately, she was an older woman with many health problems and died about a year and a half after I had started. By now, I often imagined Charlotte not rolling, but spinning—very fast, may I add—in her grave at how the bus company was being run. It was a shadow of its former self.
It didn't take a genius to know that the owner and president, Caius Douglas, didn't really want to run day by day operations of the business. And that was when his stepson, Aro, took over the reigns at the bus company and I started officially calling my job "The Hell Hole." The ringtone on my phone for my job was a clip of "Take This Job and Shove It."
Aro, otherwise dubbed as "Assholio" by the nickname king and my best friend Emmett, was not management material. He was the farthest thing from it. If you weren't a new driver or didn't kiss his ass, you didn't get extra work. Two years ago he switched every single employee around—drivers and monitors—and pissed everyone off. No one was happy with the run they were on. No one liked that they had been separated from a person they had worked with for years. No one received a raise that year. And yet, oddly enough, no one left.
I had to admit it, I had become like my fellow employees. None of them would admit it either, but we were all drifting through life. Driving a freakin' school bus shouldn't be a damn career, not in my opinion anyway. I felt stuck to some degree. I didn't know what I even wanted to do with my life anymore. I was comfortable getting up and going to work every morning, making fun of my co-workers and their gossip mill, going back home, and doing it the next day. When Aro initiated the big switch, he put me on a run that meant driving an hour away and it seriously killed my time between bus runs. There was slim to little chance that I could schedule a class between ten-thirty and twelve thirty, have time to grab something for lunch, and still remain sane. I found myself too damn tired to be motivated enough to take night classes.
I was tired of drifting, but I didn't know what to do about it.
Yawning, I put on my right blinker and entered the road to Tyson's school. It was only the first day of the school year, I was having homicidal thoughts involving Jessica, and I knew Tyson was going be a handful. He didn't want to keep his seat belt on and Jessica had to get him off the floor twice during the ride. The lovely child also spit on the window, tore a page out of his book, and slapped Jessica. While Jessica was a pain in the ass, I felt a little bad that she had gotten slapped by Tyson.
Entering the parking lot, I pulled up behind the other buses and waited to let Tyson out. I told his teacher what he had done on the ride, and she seemed overly surprised. When he reached out and pinched her I held back saying, "Bitch, I told you so!" right to her face. Secretly, I was glad that my time was spent behind the wheel and I didn't have much direct contact with him. If I did, I would be tempted to wear a cup. There was little doubt in my mind a kid like that would quickly go for the groin area.
I tried to drive as slowly as possible to our next destination, but it was harder than it sounded. Keeping up with traffic was more my speed, and I pulled the bus into the empty parking lot of Brandon and David's school a half an hour early. Xavier had to be taken to a building next door, but his schedule was the same as Brandon and David's and more buses lined up at this building, so it made sense to come and wait here first.
Turning off the bus, I got up from my seat and stretched my legs. Brandon undid his seatbelt and stood next to me. I never understood why, but the kid seemed to like me. He would stand next to me, smiling the entire time, imitating my movements as I stood on the steps and stretched my calves. "Brandon, how are you doing big guy?" I asked, but knew I would never receive a verbal response. He laughed at my words and raised his hand in my direction. I reached out, held my palm out toward him, and he slapped his palm against my own. Like he did almost every day last year, he grabbed onto my hand and played with it, tracing the lines in my palm and twisting my fingers. "We're going to be waiting here for a bit longer than last year, Brandon." He responded by emitting a noise that I had heard a million times before, but I didn't know what it meant.
The good thing about having to sit at the school was that once the bus was off, the music also stopped. I didn't want to scar these poor kids for life by killing Jessica in front of them. To pass the time, I continued a one side conversation with Brandon. Xavier would interrupt, saying something totally random and out of the blue in his stilted way of talking, and I'd try to engage in conversation with him. Jessica sat with David, who spoke very little, playing with his not usual for his age stuffed animals.
When eight forty-five finally rolled around, the teachers and aides streamed out of the building, searching for their students. I stood outside, searching for any familiar faces from the year before. After Brandon and David's teachers had taken them into school, I drove next door to Xavier's building and dropped him off. I drove down the street and pulled into the parking lot of the mini mall where the bagel place was. We went inside, purchased our items, and went right back out to the bus. I set up my breakfast on the dog house for easy access when I hit the highway. For part of the way, Jessica tried to talk my damn ear off. I think she got the clue when I stopped responding to her asinine topics of conversation. I'd rather hear silence than Jessica Stanley's voice.
When we arrived back at base, I pulled up to the fuel pumps and Jessica left with a simple "See you later" as she walked away. God, I fucking hoped not.
Yo, big man up there, I can't put up with her every day. I'll try to cut down on the hardcore swearing if you help me out a bit!
On the way through the parking lot to my car, I spotted Jasper's ass literally hanging out of an engine of a bus, so I went and caught up with him for a few minutes before going home. Later in the day, I arrived at work about a half an hour earlier than I needed to. My friends and I always did. We sat around the break room and shot the shit, played cards, and occasionally we'd split lunch when we had some extra cash. That last one didn't take place all that often.
"Okay, Emmett, it's your turn," I said, taking another quick glance at my cards.
Yeah, not exactly the type of card game we wanted to play, but we couldn't gamble at work, so poker was out. Today's choice was up to Emmett, and he chose the old classic kiddie game of Go Fish. I think it was because he was a kid at heart himself.
"I'm tired of this shit," Rose said from her place next to Emmett. "Let's go outside."
Alice laughed at Rose. "You're just a sore loser, loser!"
"What happened to the Uno deck?" I asked. "At least that was an adult game."
Everyone threw their cards into the middle of the table and Emmett collected them. "They disappeared like half the shit around here."
"Figures," I said. "I'll meet you guys out there. I have to find out who's going with me this afternoon."
"Have fun talking to Demetri." Emmett laughed and hurried out the door.
Rolling my eyes, I walked away from the table and toward the office. I knew they hated it when people leaned on the counter and stood there, so that's what I did. I was a prick like that, at least, when I needed to be. I could play the role.
"Can I help you, Edward?" Demetri asked from behind his computer screen. His voice sounded a little too happy when he spoke to me.
"Yeah, who's going with me this afternoon?" I asked, hoping to keep my conversation with him as business as possible.
"Your new monitor called earlier and she should be in shortly," he said with an air of cocky self confidence. "Do you want me to send her out to your bus when she comes in?"
"That'd be great, thanks." Turning, I quickly left the area, walked through the break room, and out the back door. I made my way toward where my friends were standing, in front of a row of out of service buses.
"Who's your pal this afternoon?" Emmett asked as I approached. "Do you have Jessica again?"
"No, the new girl is going to be here," I supplied, punching Emmett in the arm. He knew how much I detested Jessica. "Whoever 'I. Swan' is."
"You never bothered to find out what your new monitor's name is?" Rose asked.
Folding my arms across my chest, I stared at Emmett and Rose. "You know, not all of us need to find out every single detail about our monitors because we end up sleeping with them, Rose."
She took a step in my direction and glared at me. "Lower your fucking voice," she growled. "It's already a rumor. If Assholio and Fruit Loops get any solid proof, they'll take Emmett off of my run."
"Sorry, I didn't say it that too loud, did I?"
Alice stepped in front of Rose and calmed her down. "No, Edward, you didn't say it that loud at all." She snapped her fingers in front of Rose. "Down girl, down!"
"Listen here, short stuff, I'm gonna knock you off your block one of these fucking days!"
There were some days when I couldn't tell if these two were joking or not. "Girls, if you're going to fight, please wait until Emmett and I can get you both a nice bikini and a huge vat of Jell-o to wrestle in."
"Oh!" Emmett's eyes were glazed over. "The images you put in my head. Christ man, where can I go to tug one out?"
I pointed to the out of service bus in front of us. "Although, I'll be damned if I'm standing guard and listening to your moans of self pleasure."
Jasper's head popped out of the door. "No fucking or tugging on the buses, damn it! Who do you think has to end up cleaning that shit up? Me!" He pointed a finger at Emmett. "I've already had to clean up your spilt semen once before, I'll be damned if I'm doing it again!"
"Hey, baby, what are you doing over here?" Alice asked sweetly. Jasper stepped out of the bus and stood next to Alice. He hovered over her short frame and she smiled up at him.
"I was fixing some of the seats in the back that got torn and ripped during a trip in the summer," he explained. "I didn't mean to eavesdrop."
Jasper and Alice's relationship was well known around work. Since they didn't directly work with one another, there was nothing Assholio and Fruit Loops could do. Jasper was a mechanic in the garage while Alice was a monitor. There were plenty of employees who had relatives that worked here, but they didn't like people who were involved in a relationship being on the same bus run. They claimed it was a conflict of interest type of deal.
"Oh, Eddie, look at what is standing in front of your buuuusssss." Emmett sang the last word out in a teasing fashion. Turning, I spotted a female with her back against the hood of my van, her gaze trained on the pavement, and her arms crossed over her chest. She was wearing a simple pair of pale blue denim shorts and a dark pink t-shirt that had seen better days. Her dark brown hair was in a pony tail, set high on the back of her head. She was cute. I turned back in the direction of my friends and Emmett whistled until Rose elbowed him in the ribs.
"You sure as hell will be tugging that shit out tonight, jack ass." She practically hissed the last word out. "Don't come looking for me!"
"Aw, Rosie, baby!"
Jasper and I laughed. "Man, you made your grave, now you'll have to tug one out in it," Jasper said. "Enjoy your dark hole of cum. I gotta get back to work before Newton takes a rest from watching porn and decides to hunt me down and watch what I'm doing over my shoulder."
"You should be head mechanic over Newton," I said. "How the hell he got that position, I'll never know."
"He let Fruit Loops take him over an engine block for good measure," Emmett said. "Not a fact, just a theory."
The previously mentioned Demetri Rand, otherwise known as Fruit Loops thanks to Emmett, was as gay as I was straight. Everyone knew he was, but he stayed in the closet out of whatever fear he had. Personally, as long as he didn't hit on me, I didn't care if he was gay and who or what he fucked—as long as he wasn't some sicko that messed with children. I didn't like him because he was a stuck up asshole, plain and simple.
"Edward, pizza at your place Friday?" Jasper asked, effectively changing the conversation.
"Man, I've been on unemployment the last two and a half weeks, I'm broke," I explained. "Maybe in another two weeks?"
Jasper glanced down at Alice quickly before turning to Emmett and me. "Bitch, the only socialization I've had in the last month is with my girlfriend. I'll spring for the pizza and you can get the movie out of RedBox or obtain something for all I care. I need some man time!"
"Maybe you should go talk to Fruit Loops," Emmett said. "He might take you under his wing."
Jasper was full time and made more hours, and thus, more money, than all of us. There were times when we wanted to hang out but didn't have the cash to do so. He was generous and helped out when he could, but I didn't want to let him think that I was taking advantage of him. "Just one pie, Jasper."
"Oh, please, you know we need two," he said with a shake of his head. "Get some good flicks and games."
Jasper leaned down and placed a kiss on Alice's forehead before walking past me and patting me on the shoulder. "You're a good man, Jasper Whitlock," I said as he walked away. "I should get going. Whatshername is probably wondering where her driver is."
"Find out what her name is and if she's good people or not," Alice said. "You know, if we should invite her into our inner circle or keep her at arm's length like Jessica."
"Yeah, Jessica's stacked, but she's one annoying bitch." Emmett received another jab in the ribs from Rose because of his comment.
"Emmett, you're standing next to your… her, ya know?" I reminded him. "Learn to fucking filter yourself."
"Yeah, filter yourself, damn it!" Rose appeared as if she was ready to smack Emmett. "I can't stop you from looking at Jessica's rack, but I don't want to know that you like it!"
Alice, ever exuberant, gave me a hug before walking over to her van and waiting for her driver. I walked with my remaining two friends, Emmett and I both wrapping an arm around Rose for show. Saying good-bye to them, I removed my arm from Rose's waist and they continued into the yard with the big buses. Reaching my vehicle, I stopped in front of the girl who was still standing there patiently. I couldn't help but notice that she was even cuter up close. Actually, she was quite beautiful. "I. Swan I take it?"
She raised her gaze from the pavement, stared at me, and her tongue darted out to lick her lips, but she still didn't speak. Extending my hand in her direction, I decided to introduce myself. "Edward Masen, it's nice to finally meet you."
A/N: Yeah, you know the story if you've read my stuff before. I love reviews. Hit me up.