Kikikinz presents the Bring Out Your Cheesy Love/Break Up Song Contest
Song and Artist: When A Man Loves A Woman by Michael Bolton
Contest details and entries can be viewed at www(.)fanfiction(.)net/u/2202317/
A/N: SM owns it all. I own an 11 year old basset hound that is not a big fan of the 8" of snow that fell last night. Thanks to TillyWhitlock, Kerry Hale and Beegurl13 for assuring me I wasn't going to embarrass myself with this little bit of fun and to coldplaywhore for being an awesome beta and the peas to my carrots.
I put my luggage in the trunk of the rental car, slammed it shut and then panicked for a split second when I couldn't find the keys to unlock the car so I could get in out of the rain. Because of course it was raining. I was in Washington, after all. Once I managed to get my act together and get in the car, I stopped and took a few relaxing breaths, willing myself to calm down. My palms were sweaty, my heart was racing and I had a stupid fucking grin on my face that had been there since I left for the airport at 4:30 this morning. I was nervous. Laughing partly out of nerves and partly out of frustration, I pulled out of the airport parking lot and hit the road towards Forks. Once I saw her, assuming I was able, I knew everything would align, the sun would come out and birds would start singing. There would probably be a rainbow, a deer would come up and start eating out of her hand or some shit. Yeah, because that's just how things worked when she was around. Life was perfect.
I thought about all the years we spent together, or not really together, but still together in our own way. I know that made no sense, but it was how we worked. She made high school memorable for me and I assumed she knew I was there when she needed me. The times we talked, laughed and hung out together were some of my favorite memories. Like the time when the power went out and I stayed with her until her parents got home. There was also the time it snowed three feet and nobody could get anywhere, so we hung out for days since we lived across the street from each other. Then there was the time she broke up with her boyfriend and I stayed up with her for 36 hours straight because every time she was alone she'd start crying again.
I paused for a minute, thinking just how pathetic those experiences sounded, but then I remembered how awesome they were. I had her to myself and she was free from all the games. She didn't have to pretend to be somebody she wasn't. She didn't have to care about what she was wearing or if she talked to the right people. I didn't remember the circumstances that led us to being together, but what I did remember was the way her nose crinkled when she laughed and the two freckles on her cheek that seemed just slightly darker than the rest. The way she snorted when she truly laughed, not the laugh that she had when she was "on". That is what I remembered and that is what I loved about her.
All those memories were what brought me to Forks today. For this weekend. I was so nervous that my hands were beating on the steering wheel as I drove while my left leg bounced along in rhythm to whatever song happened to be playing on the stereo. Then I realized what song it was...
So I put my hands up
They're playing my song,
And the butterflies fly away
Noddin' my head like yeah
Moving my hips like yeah,
Oh Hell the fuck no.
As I passed the sign that said 'Welcome to Forks, Washington', I felt that same grin creep across my face. Seven years. Seven long years had passed since I first planned the events for tonight. I pumped my fist into the air with an emphatic 'YES!' before I realized exactly where I was...alone...in my car...driving through the middle of town. I quickly looked around, relieved that nobody witnessed me lose my cool. Then I chuckled, since when did the opinions of the fine people of Forks matter to me?
A few miles later, I finally pulled into the familiar driveway that led to the white two-story house where I grew up and that grin grew into a full-fledged smile. The grass was evenly mowed, the flower beds were all filled in and flowers were blooming. There wasn't a leaf out of place. It looked like a Folgers commercial and I felt like Peter coming home for Christmas. Except it was summer, and they knew I was coming. But, yeah, still...
I didn't see either of my parents' cars, figuring that dad must still be at the hospital. I wasn't sure where mom was. Volunteering somewhere I was sure or church maybe? I took the time alone to look around, the sights and sounds and even the smells triggering vivid memories to flash through my mind like I was watching my childhood on fast forward. Pictures everywhere documented the life of a family with three kids; birthdays, Christmases, proms, the time Alice and Emmett were brought home from a summer Parks and Recreation program in handcuffs. Even then I was in a different circle, opting to go to a science camp instead. I shuddered at the picture of me from seventh grade and made a mental note to take that particular atrocity with me when I went back to Chicago. I will never understand why parents thought it was okay to glamorize the awkward years. I mean, who wants to be reminded that they had toothpicks for legs and hair that looked freakishly like Bob Ross. Not to mention the horizontal striped shirts tucked in to my socks and the jorts. Shudder.
I hauled my overstuffed suitcase up the stairs, cursing the airlines for charging for each checked bag. I reached second floor landing and turned the corner, the wheels of my suitcase playing a steady rhythm as they rolled along the well-worn hardwood floors. As I approached the closed door of my old bedroom, I felt the nervousness fade and excitement started to take over. There was something about coming home that created a sense of security and when I opened the door and stepped inside, I knew then that everything was going to work out exactly like it should.
It felt so strange being back in my old bedroom, the ghosts of my past looming at me from all angles, though I shouldn't call them ghosts really, since my past didn't haunt me per se. I'd admit to sometimes wishing I knew then what I knew now, but what can you do; I survived. Though if I was ever completely honest with myself, I always knew that my life would end up like it has; that all the frustration, yelling and tears, mostly hers but admittedly some of my own, would be completely worth it in the long run. My belief and my faith in the future was what made it tolerable. I just knew it would end up the way it was meant to be. All it took was a little planning… and a fuckload of patience.
Thinking about what I had planned for tonight reminded me that I had one important phone call to make. I glanced at the clock beside my bed and exhaled when I realized that it was not too late. I pulled out the folded piece of paper from my wallet and dialed the number, feeling both a little nauseous and a little relieved at the same time. I couldn't risk having it keyed into my phone, I didn't want to drum up any suspicions. When I heard a voice on the other end of the line, I walked into my closet and shut the door. Okay, so maybe that was overkill, but I hadn't made it this far to have my plans discovered now. Once I was done confirming the evenings' events, I opened the door and peeked into my room, which was still empty. Excellent.
So, back to the subject of planning, I was most definitely a planner, but that doesn't mean I didn't like the occasional surprise every now and then. No risk, no reward, right? A surprise is what triggered all of this and I survived. In fact, that day convinced me to make the best of the rest of my time in Forks, which I did before I came into my own in college. Since then, I had graduated from law school, taken and passed the bar exam, moved to Chicago from Seattle after accepting an associate position with one of the top firms in the city and was now home to witness my best friend get married.
I didn't bother unpacking, since I was only going to be in Forks for a few days, but I placed my luggage down on my bed and took my laptop out of its bag, sighing in frustration once I realized that my desk was covered in stuff. Technically I had not started work yet and wasn't set to begin for another two weeks, but I had some client files left over from my clerking during the summer that I wanted to check on. I walked over to try and clear a space when I saw the familiar newspaper clipping on top of all the piles of clutter. I picked up the fragile piece of paper and smiled.
"She looks lovely in that picture."
The soft soothing voice broke me from my trance. I shook my head a few times to get my bearings and looked back to where my mom was standing in the doorway holding an unmarked box, but I already knew what was inside, or I hoped I did. I was a pretty firm believer that my planning would pay off.
"I thought you might want a copy," my mom said as she looked down at the newspaper clipping in my hand. "Obviously I knew you would know all about it, but I didn't know if you saw it when it was printed."
"Yeah, I have a copy already, but thanks for this. I'd like to have another one. Is that for me?" I asked, gesturing towards the box, all the while trying to hide the excitement in my voice. Nobody knew about my plans because there was no way they'd let me get away with it if they knew what I was up to. I mean, it wasn't like it was a bad thing or I was mental, but I could hear the protests now. No, it was definitely better if I kept my idea to myself. For now.
"It is," she replied with a bit of hesitation in her voice. "I met the UPS man getting out of his truck when I got home. What is it?" she asked, but just shook my head. I wasn't telling.
"Just a wedding present for Bella," I said, taking the box from her hands. "It was last minute and when I ordered it, I had it sent here since I knew I was going to be here anyway. One less thing for me to have to remember to pack, right? Well, that and I didn't want to risk the airline losing it." I took the box out of her hands and relief flooded through my body as I realized that everything was now perfect and all systems were go. All I had to do now was wait until it got dark. Oh, and wait for Bella to be alone since I knew that Alice and Rosalie had decided that all day today be dedicated 'girl time' as they called it. Like they needed it, they lived together in Seattle for fucks sake, but it gave me the time I needed to get everything arranged, so it was all good.
I turned back to the engagement announcement, staring at the picture of the most incredible woman I had ever known. Even a grainy newsprint photo couldn't diminish how beautiful Bella was, couldn't hide the sparkle in her eyes, the warmth in her smile. Everything about her was perfect. It always had been and I couldn't imagine life without her.
"I commented to your father just the other day that I'd never seen a picture that showed as much love between two people as that one," mom said, gently taking the picture from my hands and moving it under the light to get a better look. She sighed, she loved Bella almost as much as I did.
"It is a pretty amazing shot. She looked almost ethereal and I think it's the best picture I've ever seen of her. Though, I still wish I hadn't listened to you two and had worn my contacts instead of glasses in the engagement photo."
That's right. Bella Swan was getting married. To me. In two days.
"I don't believe you for a second, Edward. You wear those glasses all the time." I smirked, pushing the aforementioned glasses back up my nose before stifling a cough, I knew what the glasses did to Bella. I'd be a fool not to wear them as often as I could. I'd even worn them in my sleep a night or two, just to be prepared.
While my mom was looking at the photo, I continued to clean off my desk, shuffling through piles of college brochures and old exams and various odds and ends of 18 years of crap. Why did she keep all this stuff?
As if she could read my mind, mom chimed in, "I learned a long time ago to never mess with your things, Edward. I thought you were going to have a heart attack when I moved your Star Wars poster with the glowing light sabers," she chuckled at the memory while I scowled at her. If she only knew I used that poster to communicate with Bella almost every night – then she might have understood the absolute tragedy of her actions. On instinct, I looked over to make sure that my old lava lamp was still on my windowsill and let out a big sigh of relief when I saw that it was. Now, I just hoped that it still worked.
I snapped out of my reverie when my mom kissed me on the cheek. "I'm glad you're home, Edward. Your father and I can't wait until Bella is officially part of our family, though she always has been. I need to go start dinner, you should unpack and rest for a bit. It should be ready in an hour or so." She pressed the palm of her hand against my cheek before turning and walking out of the room, closing my bedroom door behind her.
She was right though, Bella had always been a part of our lives. Saturday was only semantics.
I turned back to my desk to try and clear off a space and when I finally achieved some semblance of order, I grabbed my laptop, opened it and then booted it up. I signed into chat with my old user name and was pleased to find that my account was still active. It had been months since I had logged in, having gone the way of texts and skype more often than IM, but tonight was all about reliving old times and making more memories if things worked out the way I hoped they would.
By the time I got everything situated, it was time for dinner. I went downstairs and caught up with my parents, but my mind kept drifting and they knew it. After the fifth or sixth time of asking them to repeat what they were talking about, they finally told me to leave them to clean up.
"Edward, just go. You've obviously got something on your mind and you won't be any help to us as long as you're distracted. Go, get out of here." I said goodnight to my dad and kissed my mom on the cheek, mumbling some excuse about jet lag and the time difference. It was all a big bunch of shit because I really just couldn't wait to get back to my room.
Once I was back upstairs, I sat back down at my desk and scrolled down my list of contacts, smiling at some of the names...cringing at others. RunningBare? Really, Jacob? I chuckled to myself as some of our past antics replayed in my head, still wishing years later that Bella had been able to actively take part in more of them, but our situation in High School was what had worked for us, though I'm sure psychologists all across the country would have had a field day with it. It was blissful and maddening all at the same time and I know she still felt guilty from time to time for some of it, but she was totally worth the sacrifice. Though I would hardly consider it a sacrifice on my part and more of a test of endurance. She's the one that had to balance two lives...I just had to wait until she figured out what she wanted in life. Me? I had it figured out from the moment I first laid eyes on her when she moved across the street when we were twelve. I was perfectly content to be there for her when her 'friends' weren't looking, to endure the fact that she pretended not to know me when we were at school, or anywhere in public for that matter. Sure my own friends had issue with it, but I knew what Bella was like when it was just the two of us, and I had no regrets about all the years I spent waiting for her to come around.
I found Bella's old user name and rolled my eyes. Bella Good. God we were just so ridiculously dorky. I looked out the window and saw Rosalie's car still in the driveway, so I knew it wasn't time to start. Could time move any slower? Finally, after what seemed like forever, I heard voices outside and walked over to the window and peered out. I started to laugh when they looked over and saw me watching. Rosalie simply rolled her eyes while Alice gestured dramatically with her pointing and head shaking and overly exaggerated attempts to mouth 'hands off Edward'. I understood the whole tradition of not seeing the bride on the wedding day, but we weren't getting married for two more days and if my little sister thought she was going to keep me away from my fiancee then she was clearly delusional.
However, I decided to play along.
I nodded and sighed dramatically, winking as I saw Bella stifle a laugh. Satisfied with the apparent acceptance of my 48 hours of forced celibacy, Alice hugged Bella tightly, got in her car and drove off. As she drove past my window, she honked and mouthed 'No' again and nodded her head towards the Swan house. I may have acknowledged her reminder with a smile and a specific gesture of my own. Poor Jasper certainly had his hands full with that one. As much as I adored my sister, I didn't envy him one bit.
I tried to stay calm, cool and collected as I sat down at my desk and woke up my sleeping laptop, but my shaking hands betrayed me. I leaned over and plugged in the ancient lava lamp, paranoid at first that it seemed to take too long to start warming up. Eventually though, I felt warmth from the base and I sat back, waiting for the ooze inside to start moving. Once the lava was flowing, I moved it to the middle of my window sill, turned off the lights in my bedroom and waited. Turn them on. Turn them on. Turn them on. I held my breath as I waited some more. I knew Bella was back inside her parents house, but I had no reason to believe that she had gone straight to her room. The room that was directly across the street and in line with mine.
Then I saw it; movement behind the thin curtains and I continued to mentally will Bella to understand what I was trying to do. Come on Bella, turn them on. Turn them on. Turn them on. Then the sight I'd been waiting to see since I took the exit ramp into Forks, became a reality. The twinkle of white Christmas lights around her window frame. Those lights became my beacon during high school and when those lights were on, Bella was mine. I lived for those lights then, just as I lived for them now.
I had my phone next to me in case the next part of my plan failed, but really really hoped Bella knew what I wanted next. Again, I was not disappointed. When I looked at my old contacts list, I saw 'Bella Good is online', so I immediately clicked on her user name and started typing.
RightSaidEd: Can I come over?
Bella Good: You know I can't have boys in my room after dinner. I'd get grounded for sure and I have plans this weekend.
RightSaidEd: Plans? You mean like a date?
Bella Good: Mhm. Something like that.
RightSaidEd: Anybody I know?
Bella Good: Just this guy I know. He's been after me for years.
RightSaidEd: Lucky guy.
Bella Good: Lucky me.
RightSaidEd: Well, if I can't come over. You need to sneak out.
Bella Good: Seriously?
RightSaidEd: Yes, seriously. I'll meet you at the park at 9:00.
I quickly logged off before she could ask anymore questions and unplugged my lamp. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the strand of Christmas lights start flashing and I knew she was trying to get me to get back online. Not gonna happen. I also knew it was driving her nuts not knowing what was going on and I could almost hear her frustration. I loved it.
I opened the door to my room and looked down the hall. I grabbed the box off my bed and my jacket out of the closet. Mom and Dad were still in the kitchen finishing up with the post-dinner clean up and they both looked up as I walked in.
"I'm going to go see Jasper for a little while. Apparently, Alice has been bombarding him with wedding ideas after she left Bella's this afternoon and he needs to be talked off the ledge." Jasper had recently proposed, and Alice went from zero to two hundred miles per hour in a matter of days. The poor guy had started to walk around with a constant deer in the headlights look on his face.
"Okay dear. Do you have your key? We'll probably be in bed when you get back." I nodded, trying to be an adult and not let my face betray my repulsion at the thoughts of my parents in bed. As far as I was concerned, my parents were the modern day Ozzie and Harriet with their pristine twin beds and ironed pajamas and high necked nightgowns. Sex and my parents did. not. happen. In my mind, Alice, Emmett and I sprouted in the back yard like Cabbage Patch Kids.
I opened the door and as I pulled it closed behind me, I heard "tell Bella to come over for breakfast tomorrow." I cringed and raised my hand up in acknowledgment, frustrated because I'd been caught, while chuckling in resignation. Maybe I wasn't as stealthy as I had thought. I got into the car and drove around the corner to Triangle Park, parked my car on the side of the road and walked over to the picnic shelter to wait for Bella.
While I was waiting, I checked my phone looking for texts or calls from Jasper. No news was good news, so that meant the next phase was a go. I only had to wait a few more minutes before I heard the sound of footsteps on the gravel behind me. I turned around on the table and watched as the love of my life walked across the park towards me. I hopped off the table and grabbed her hands, trying to contain my excitement but grinning like the Cheshire cat. Right away she knew something was up.
"What are you up to, Edward? And don't say nothing because I'm pretty familiar with your quirks. You're bouncing around like Jack Russell and while its endearing, it frightens me just a little. Oh, and mom and dad say 'hi'."
I laughed before sitting back down on the picnic table, patting the space beside me as a signal for her to sit down and join me. She was breathtaking. Her hair in two braids, a plain white v-neck t-shirt and low slung jeans. There wasn't an ounce of pretension in her body and she made me a better person just by association. "Yeah, Esme and Carlisle didn't believe me either when I said I was going to go see Jasper." Though technically, I was going to see him in a few minutes, just not the way I had implied. "They want you to come over and see them in the morning."
"I think I can fit them into my schedule," Bella joked as she leaned on my shoulder. I inhaled deeply, breathing her in. How I ended up being the one lucky enough to spend the rest of my life with her was anybody's guess, but I was determined to spend the rest of our days proving just how much I loved her, and tonight, I was going to show her where it all began. For me anyway.
We sat there for a few minutes, enjoying the surprisingly clear night sky. She pointed out a few constellations and I corrected her when she was wrong, only to have her joke that she was just testing me. It was fun, but when I finally I couldn't stand it anymore and reached underneath my seat and grabbed the box I had hidden. I put it in her lap and she just looked at me.
"Shhhh, Bella. You can't open it. Yet. Since the night you agreed to marry me, I've wanted to give you this gift. However, there's a story behind it, and I can't let you open the box until you hear the entire story." She looked at me, her forehead crinkled in confusion but her eyes sparkled. "I have a few surprises up my sleeve beautiful," I said with a grin, leaning over to place a soft kiss on her lips, "I have to make sure you'll keep me around." I winked, stood up and grabbed her hand as I led her to my car.
I opened the passenger door and waited patiently as Bella sat down and buckled her seat belt. Once she was settled, I handed her the box with a reminder not to peek and then reached into the back pocket of my jeans and pulled out a blindfold. She quirked an eyebrow at me as I squatted down to eye level with her and dangled it in front of her face. "Trust me," I whispered as she closed her eyes and nodded. I reached in the car and gently tied the silk scarf I had 'borrowed' from Bella's room the last weekend I had visited her in Seattle.
"So that's where my scarf went," she winked at me before looking around. "Though I'm not sure there's enough room in the car to recreate the last time we used it. Are you feeling creative, Edward?" she purred trying to be seductive, but not really succeeding. Still, her message was perfectly clear.
Growling in response, I looked at her pointedly and tried to control my urges. Focus, Cullen.
She gasped softly as the soft fabric touched her skin and I felt my body start to respond to her sounds, her smell, her existence. I reminded myself that there was plenty of time for playing later and that good things come to those who wait.
Cue immature laughing here.
I kissed her again before I stood up, taking her bottom lip in my teeth and tugging gently. Hey, if I was going to have to practice self-control for the next however many minutes, the least I could do was make sure I didn't suffer alone. She whimpered and leaned into the kiss as I pulled away and whispered "later, I promise," laughing as she stuck her bottom lip out in protest.
I walked over to the driver's side door, readjusting myself and making a mental run-through of the checklist I had looked over so many times I could recite it in my sleep. I turned the key in the ignition and as the engine roared to life, I grabbed Bella's hand and squeezed it tightly.
"Are you ready?"
"So ready," she purred back, the double entendre not wasted on me.
I backed out of the parking lot a little faster than I should have in reaction to her words. At least I knew that I would probably never get a ticket in Forks again, since the police chief would be my father-in-law in two days. I laughed at the idea of Charlie Swan writing me a ticket now and actually thought about trying to get caught one time just to see what would happen.
"What are you laughing at and where are you taking me," Bella asked. I knew she trusted me with her life, as I did her with mine, but I also knew she couldn't stand to be left in the dark, pun intended.
"Nothing and you'll see in a bit," I replied composing myself. I turned right out of the parking lot and drove around town for about fifteen minutes trying to throw Bella off of our course. I could almost see the wheels spinning in her head as she tried to picture in her mind where we were going. Forks wasn't that big and once you'd lived here for more than a week, you had all the roads memorized. I had actually passed our destination four or five times before finally slowing down and easing into the parking lot and pulling into a space right by the front door.
God that sign hasn't changed. The Rs all had wheels on the end of their legs? Legs? Is that what you'd call them? Who cares, anyway, the R's all had roller skates on them and the k was 'shooting the duck'. I laughed again as I remembered how cool you were if you could do that and how many hours I spent trying to learn how. I spent more time falling on my ass than I did on my feet. Apparently it didn't take much to entertain us when we were younger, which was good considering where we lived. I just hoped Bella would remember all the time we spent here...even if it wasn't together. If she didn't remember me being here on the day in question, my plan was pretty much shot to hell.
I opened Bella's door and took the box off her lap and sat it on the top of the car before reaching down to help her stand. The last thing I needed was for her to bump her head or get scratched on the corner of the door. I didn't have enough fingers to count the number of women that would swarm down on me like killer bees if something happened to Bella before the wedding. Then I froze. Knowing her the way I did, was roller skating really the best idea? I then looked over at my bride to be, in her blindfold, confused as could be and I knew I'd marry her wherever, whenever and however. She could be on crutches in the Forks Urgent Care center and I would find it just as wonderful there as I would find it on Saturday in the church we grew up in. All I wanted… all I needed was her. The rest was insignificant.
I carefully guided her to the front door of the building where Jasper was waiting for us. He opened the door and followed us in, nodding in my direction, but not saying a word. I didn't think his being there would make Bella remember, but I also didn't want his voice to be my big reveal. He opened the inner door and once we were all inside the rink, he made his way to the lighting and sound booth. I continued to guide Bella to where a padded bench rested up against the wall. I sat her down and put the box in her lap and whispered, "Don't move. I need to go take care of something, but I'll be right back. When I get back, you can take off your blindfold."
Just as I moved to stand up, she grabbed my arm and moved her other hand along my face until she reached my ear. She tugged on it gently until she had me leaned down to her level, "or I could leave it on..." I groaned and she laughed evilly. She could turn me into putty with six little words.
"We'll discuss that must-do in a few minutes, but I really do have to go take care of something first," I said as I saw Jasper give me the thumbs up signal from the window upstairs. I heard the soft hum of the audio system being turned on, but Bella didn't seem to notice. Then again, working here for three years during High School did have me attuned to the inner workings of the rink. I knew way too much about this place.
I reached behind her head and pulled on the ends of the scarf until it fell away from her brown eyes. She blinked a few times as her eyes adjusted to the lights, then looked at me in confusion.
Deep breaths, Cullen. You knew she didn't know the whole story...you just didn't know what it would feel like when it was time to tell her.
"So, Bella. Remember that summer when you babysat for the Weber twins...."
"Yeah, um, can I have a snowcone? Rasperry and Lemon swirl and like… soon?" I cringed when I heard Lauren's nasally voice from the other side of the counter. Really? Now? I hated it when they were here...not really singling me out, but definitely reminding me that they were who they were and I was who I was.
"Actually, Lauren, my shift is over. Ben is right over there taking orders." I turned away from her, not wanting to be rude and risk opening up a can of worms, especially considering what was coming. I needed to blend in today; The only eyes I wanted on me were brown, beautiful and Bella's.
"Come on Eddie," she huffed, "it's not like you have anything better to do. What? Worried about being late for a date..."
My heart stopped dead in my chest.
"...with your online 'girlfriend' " she continued, with the air quotes.
What does she know? I knew I hadn't said anything and I knew Bella hadn't. She would have warned me.
"I'm sorry, Lauren, really. I just need to go relieve Jasper for a minute in the booth so he can go pick up Alice. You know she hates it when he's late." God, her entire existence repulsed me to the point where she needed to leave before I threw up on her. It was all I could do to hide the retching.
She looked at me with a confused look...like I wasn't supposed to know Alice existed even though she was my sister
"Jasper told me...he said..."
"Never mind, Edward. Can I just have my snow cone? It's really not that difficult an order."
My heart was pounding in my chest as I made her snow cone. Raspberry and Lemon. Shaved ice. Double cone so her fingers wouldn't get sticky. I handed it to her, grabbed her money, gave her the change and thanked her for the tip she didn't leave. Typical.
I washed my hands at the sink behind the snack bar, sighing in relief when I took off my apron and clocking out. My shift was over and I was no longer stuck watching Bella skate by every few minutes. Subtle smiles and glances, but never the acknowledgment that was enough and yet not enough at the same time. It was two long hours of torture, though I will admit that the limbo contest was pretty amusing. How low can you go?
I'd spent the past hour planning just how I was going to get her alone. Surely Angela and Garrett could be trusted for a few minutes, right? Then I remembered how they caused a soup can avalanche at the grocery store just last week and that their sitter met Mrs. Weber in the driveway and quit that afternoon. No. My plan would have to wait until after Bella was done for the day. I just had to make sure I gave her a reason to stay after the kids were gone. I looked up at the clock and knew she had the kids for another 20 minutes or so, which meant that I need to think quick and I needed to convince Jasper to help me out. That will be fun, I thought with a growl. To say that Jasper and I had different views about Bella was quite the understatement. Still, if I was going to pull this off, I needed his help.
I grabbed my wallet out of my locker and made my way around the edge of the rink to the sound booth. I punched in the code to unlock the door and walked up the few stairs to the room that overlooked the entire rink. I saw basically the entire population of Forks High skating in sync around the rink. The resemblance to a herd of wildebeests was uncanny...but then, there wasn't much to do during the summer which is how the Roll-R-Rink managed to stay in business after all these years.
"Don't even ask me what I think you're going to ask me dude. You know how I feel." Jasper didn't even look up from the sound system before he started giving me grief about Bella.
"How do you know what I want man? For all you know, I was coming up here to see if you needed a break."
"Because I've been sitting up here watching you moon over her like a lost puppy. Honestly, Edward, its bordering on pathetic. I don't know how you can let her treat you like she does and still have feelings for her. She totally uses you, man. Why can't you see it?"
"You don't know her the way I do, Jasper. The Bella you see at school and even downstairs is not the same Bella I see. She'll come around, I know it. I can feel it. She just doesn't know how I feel...which is why I need you to do me a favor. I'm going to tell her how I feel and then you can get off your fucking high-horse and be happy for me."
I handed Jasper a CD I had ripped with Percy Sledge's version of When A Man Loves A Woman. Besides the obvious, that song held a special meaning for the two of us. We first learned about counting beats and rhythm on the living room floor of the Swans' house one day not long after she had moved to Forks. We spent hours upon hours after that listening to Charlie's old records, followed by Carlisle's. It became the foundation our friendship and we still drop everything to call the other if we hear a particular song or hear a new group that we think the other will like. However, that song, well, that was our song. She just didn't know the additional pull it had for me.
"She's playing you for a fool Edward, and you're the last one to know. We all see it. She pretends she doesn't fucking know you Monday through Friday. Her 'friends' think all you are to her is her across the street neighbor. Yet the second she looks your way, you drop everything and turn your back on your best friend." Jasper slammed his hand on the counter in frustration and I could feel the anger radiating from him.
"Yeah, when he puts her down. I get it. That really makes me want to hang with you. Can't you just trust me on this? Help me out man, and if it doesn't work, I'll never ask you to help me win Bella over ever again. Come on Jasper...think about how you'd feel if I told you I thought Alice was all wrong for you."
"Fine. But this is the last time Edward. If this doesn't work today, I'm washing my hands of it. You're on your own."I nodded and went over my plans with Jasper, ignoring the look of disgust that he wore and the unsolicited commentary that he continued to mutter under his breath. He'd see, all he had to do was let me tell Bella how I felt and he'd finally see it. That was the whole problem. She just didn't know how I felt.
I jumped when the alarm on my phone started to go off. I had fifteen minutes to convince Bella to stay. I headed towards the door to make my way downstairs when I tripped over Jasper's own skates. Skates. Perfect. I now knew what I had to do and this just might work. I picked myself up off the floor, ignored Jasper's look of utter contempt and headed down the shag-carpeted stairs. It was showtime.
I opened the door to the stairwell and looked to my left, towards the rental counter and started to panic a bit when I didn't see her. I looked at my watch again to check the time, but there was no way that I could have missed them leaving was there? The sound of shouting and laughter from the rink grabbed my attention and I turned just in time to see Bella sprint across the rink in her tennis shoes...chasing a small gremlin of some sort. I know I shouldn't have been happy about that, but seeing that just made me realize that my plan was infallible.
Bella finally caught up with Angela, I think it was Angela...it looked like it had long hair, but it was fighting Bella so much that I couldn't be sure. Anyway, Bella finally caught up with one of the Weber 'angels' and started carrying it back towards the benches like a sack of flour. Miraculously, the other one had stayed seated, but as soon as Bella let them know it was time to go, they both started acting like a couple of baboons. I stood back and watched for just a second, somewhat overwhelmed by the scene in front of me and suddenly not so sure I wanted to have kids. Ever.
Finally, when I saw her literally being pulled in two opposite directions, I knew it was time for me to step in. I couldn't handle watching her struggle anymore as she tried to wrangle Thing 1 and Thing 2. Surely I could handle helping her get shoes on two kids so they would be ready when their mom came to pick them up. How hard could it be, right?
"Need some help," I asked, laughing because that might have been the most obvious question ever. Still, she hesitated in her answer, but that was ok. I understood.
"You're all done with work?" she asked as she continued to look around nervously. Sensing her distraction, one child broke free from her grasp and I reached out and grabbed the back of its hoodie, stopping just in the nick of time. Who cares if I choked it a little. Holy fuck, these children were undoubtedly the spawn of Satan, but I gave it everything I had as I tried to hold on to what she needed.
Finally realizing that it was okay to accept help, Bella nodded and smiled and that made everything worth it.
"Yup, all done. I'm just hanging out for a few minutes until I head home. I'm trying to figure out why you all spend as much time here as you do. Besides the excellent food service, of course," I quipped back. Once Bella was convinced nobody was watching us interact, she melded back in to the at ease girl I knew and had come to love. All I had to do was keep her like this for ten more minutes and then the song would start and I would tell her how I felt and she would see me in a whole new light. It was simple really.
The door to the rink opened and both kids bolted, "Mommy! Mommy!". I grabbed one by the belt loop and waited until Bella had the other. We calmly walked Angela and Garrett over to Mrs. Weber and I stood back as Bella filled her in on their morning adventures, a smile never leaving her face.
Once the Webers exited the building, I could see relief flood her face. "Why do you put up with that?" I asked. "I thought my job was tough! Good God, Bella. You do that willingly?"
"Yeah, well they pay obscenely well and honestly, the kids aren't that bad." I looked at her, cocking my eyebrow in question. "Well, when they're asleep," she laughed. "Come on Edward, I'll buy you a snow cone to repay you. You look a little shell-shocked."
"Actually Bella, the thought of eating a snow cone right now nauseates me just a little. A little insider information," I whispered, looking around exaggeratedly and leaning closer to Bella. Fuck yeah, I was a genius. "Don't eat here unless I'm working. I'm pretty sure Eric has his own recipe for the special sauce they use on the pizza."
"Ewwww. Edward, that's just nasty," she shivered. "Seriously. Ewww. Ok, so no snow cones. Well, what can I do to repay you. Really. You didn't have to help me like that. Especially now that I know you were off duty."
"Well," I looked around a bit just to make sure that we were still incognito. "You can skate to the next song with me. I know the next Couples' Skate is coming up and it will be dark and nobody will see us. I want to test out my new skates anyway." I held my breath as I could see her considering my proposition, relieved when I saw her set her shoulders and a look of determination set on her face.
"Okay, Edward. You know what, I don't care if anybody sees us or not. You helped me. They didn't," she replied as she purposely looked out over the rink where her 'friends' were all skating and laughing and not really paying us any attention at all.Could it be that she was finally seeing the light? Did I dare get my hopes up?
"Let me go get my skates back from Eric. Wait... He doesn't do anything to the skates does he? Is that why you have your own skates? You really have your own skates?" She bit back a laugh but I could still see the sparkle in her eyes and I was thrilled that it was because of me.
"Yes, I have my own skates and they're fucking awesome Bella. Don't lie. You know you're jealous of my awesome skills." I tried to maintain a straight face, but I couldn't hold it in and started laughing. When Bella joined in, I felt like I had died and gone to heaven.
"Go get your skates Roller Boy and I'll meet you on the bench in a few minutes." She punched me in the arm and walked back towards the counter. I felt like I was floating on air.
Never in the history of Roll-R-Rink had there been a Couples' Skate as important as this one. I fumbled over the combination of my locker in the break room until I opened it and pulled out my new skates. I wasn't lying about that part...though I did already know that they were smooth, fantastic and I fucking glided over the floors. I put them on and wheeled over to the bench where Bella was waiting and held out my hand without thinking...would she take it? I started to move my hand back towards me when she reached out and grabbed it, almost daring me to take it away. I grinned at her, she smirked at me and it felt like we were the only two people in the world as we merged into traffic and started our counter-clockwise route. I tore my eyes away from my partner and looked up to see Jasper in the booth. I nodded my head, giving him the signal that all systems were go, and then I waited.
The lights dimmed and the disco ball suspended above us started to slowly rotate, causing reflected light to move along with us as we glided along the smooth wooden floor. As I heard the music start, I grabbed Bella's hand just a little tighter and smiled at her. My heart was pounding in my chest and I knew if I didn't start talking soon, I was either going to pass out or vomit and neither option would end well. I was going to start as soon as the lyrics started. Hopefully the words would combine with my thoughts and together would create something epic. Hey, no risk, no reward right?
"Hey, Bella, listen. I need to tell...."
Then I heard it.
He played the wrong fucking version. I thought back to our conversation and that sack of shit did exactly what he said he'd do. He played the song, but it was the the wrong fucking version. The version that should have never been recorded, especially by Michael Bolton. Really? Really? The fact that he won a Grammy for that epic piece of shit made my skin crawl.
I immediately shot my eyes back up to the booth, only to see Eric manning the system and Jasper no where to be found. That's right... fucker better be gone. Oh, his ass was mine, and I would find him. I'd sleep out in the rain if that was the way it ought to be.
"Actually, Edward. Would you mind if we finished this another time, or talked later because honestly, Michael Bolton just kind of nauseates me. I mean, the man exudes cheesiness and I just don't think I can stomach it." Bella stumbled a bit on her skates before she looked at me apologetically and honestly, the moment was ruined before it actually began.
"Sure, Bella. Let's go home. Do you need a ride?" She shook her head and mentioned something about how she was supposed to ride home with Lauren but would probably just give Charlie a call and see if he wanted to go eat at the diner. Skating in the dark was one thing, but leaving together was another. We weren't there, yet.
We cut across the rink and I may have knocked some twelve year olds over, but I didn't really notice. All I knew was that I had missed my chance and who knows when I'd get another. We took off our skates and went our separate ways.
Sighing, I finished my recap and turned to see Bella staring at me with her mouth open and tears in her eyes. "I had no idea," she said as I shrugged my shoulders and continued to look at her. "I mean, I remember that day a little bit because of the twins, but I had no clue you felt like that back then."
"Well, now you know, and honestly, it all worked out in the end," I said with a grin. So there were some bumps and turns in the road, but I got the girl in the end. That's all that mattered to me.
I reached under the bench to the skates I had Jasper place earlier. I showed them to Bella and she grinned because yes, I still had the same ones. "Open the box," I told her and I put my skates on trying not to look at her. "Oh my god!" she squealed, pulling out roller skates identical to my own. "I can't believe you did this," she laughed.
"Hey, I knew you were jealous. Don't even try and pretend. I saw you scoping them out as I moved around the rink. I was smooth like butter baby and you know it." At this point we were both in hysterics and I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. She knew how I felt and I knew how she felt and it was golden.
Suddenly the room went black and the disco ball started spinning, just like it had all those years before. I heard the rhythmic melody of the original, Percy Sledge's version of When A Man Loves A Woman, and I grabbed Bella's hand, pulling her out into the middle of the rink. It had been so long since either of us had been on skates, so it took us longer than it should have to get under the disco ball where I wanted to be.
When we finally made it to the center, I looked over and saw Jasper walking towards the exit. I met his glance and nodded my thanks, finally feeling closure for his part in the whole ordeal. I chuckled to myself as he subconsciously ran his fingers through his hair.
"What's so funny Edward," Bella hummed against my chest. We weren't really skating at this point as much as we were just holding each other letting the words, the message and the melody wash over us.
"Remember when Jasper shaved his head right before senior pictures? Well, I may have had something to do with that."
Bella looked at me incredulously until I reminded her that Jasper was the one that fucked up my big plans to begin with. Then she started to giggle. "Totally justified."
"Damn right I was justified," I answered before leaning down and kissing her softly; kissing her gently. Kissing her like I needed her to survive. The song ended and we remained in the center of the rink until it became a little ridiculous. Reluctantly, we skated back to the side and put our shoes back on knowing that we had to head back to reality sooner rather than later. "I need to go shut everything off upstairs. I'll be back in a minute beautiful."
"Do you want me to come with you?" she asked but I just shook my head. I would only be gone two minutes at the most. Besides, I wanted to get her back in the car and possibly have a conversation about the blindfold.
"Its ok baby. I'll be back in just a minute and we'll go." I opened the door to the booth and walked up the stairs grinning like a fucking fool.
I heard the door shut and the click of the lock and I knew who was behind me. Bella. I didn't even have see her or hear her to know she had followed me, we were that connected. Well that, and we were the only two people in the building. I turned around and watched as Bella came towards me. It was sexy as hell until she missed the small step down and almost face-planted on the orange shag carpeting that ensconced this entire room and made it look like a throwback to the 70's. She caught herself on the counter and looked up at me with that crazy grin that makes me weak and said, "hey."
I bit the inside of my cheek trying so hard not to laugh, but the pressure built up and eventually I couldn't breath and I may have snorted. I walked over to where she was laughing herself, and helped her back on her feet. God, I loved this woman.
"As soon as I saw you walk up these stairs and realized where you were going, I knew I wanted to erase how you feel about this place, and about me in this place. You know if I could go back and change the way things were..."
"Shhhh," I begged and began kissing along the side of her neck. I traced the lines of her collar bone and reveled in the feel of her pulse against my lips. I moved over and kissed her mouth gently, eventually resting my forehead against hers and staring into her eyes. She brought her arms up around my own neck and pulled me towards her until our bodies met and pressed against each other.
"I'm serious Edward. When I think about that day, I cringe..."
I put my finger against her lips to silence her, melting a little as she kissed the tip and then groaning when she took it inside her mouth. My erection strained against the zipper of my shorts and I could almost hear it shouting, 'No! that should be me!' I gathered up what little control I had left over my body and shook my head. "That's a part of our history Bella. I don't want to erase it, forget it, or redo it. Like it or not, that day will always be the day I found the courage to let you know how I felt."
"Oh, that part can stay...I don't have a problem with that. However, I have serious issue with any memory or moment you have about us being tainted by Michael Bolton." She put her hands on her hips and looked at me with a determined look on her face. When Bella made up her mind, that was it. I stared at her in confusion for a bit, because I'm not sure how I was going to change the soundtrack to our past, but then she winked. So I lunged.
We attacked each other with a fiery passion. Our lips and tongues tangled, my hands were in her hair and hers were somehow already underneath the back of my shirt. Not wanting to be outdone, I grabbed the hem of her tiny t-shirt and pulled it up, only tearing my lips from hers when I realized I was starting to strangle her with her clothes.
"Sorry," I mumbled as I finally got it over her head and flung it across the room. I then pulled my own shirt off because I was fucking brilliant like that and didn't want to be apart from her ever again, even for a second.
"S'okay," she promised as she pulled my head back down and took my earlobe in her teeth.
I unhooked her bra quickly and grinned as I heard her chuckle against my ear. There have been so many times that I'd almost given up when it came to those evil contraptions, but today the fates were on my side. Or maybe they just took pity on me. I didn't fucking care. I palmed both of her perfect breasts before I leaned down and kissed first her right nipple, then her left, and sighed. I couldn't remember when I'd felt more content.
I may have been on cloud nine, but I definitely not finished, nor was I a fool. I reached down and fumbled with the buttons on her jeans but stopped when my fingers sent signals to my brain that there were no panties underneath. I stopped breathing and pulled my head back up to look at her. I felt a grin spread across my face and I hoped to God that I didn't look like a creeper.
"Oh," she said blushing as she realized what I was silently asking. "Well, when you said to meet you at the park, I kind of figured since we'd be outside and with all the recent rain and everything all muddy..." she trailed off and shrugged.
"Here I was, trying to plan out something sweet, nostalgic and romantic, and the only thing you were concerned with was getting in my pants," I joked back at her as I finally loosened her jeans enough that the fell to the floor.
"Shut up, Edward." she huffed before removing my belt, shorts and boxer briefs in one swift motion. The girl didn't play around. She jumped up and hitched her legs around my waist and I moved my hands underneath her thighs to keep her from sliding down, because who were we kidding, it could happen.
Once I had a good hold on Bella, I moved both hands to grab a hold of her ass as she reached between us and grabbed my cock, positioning it at her entrance. I was determined to let her set our pace, but the urge, the need, the overwhelming desire to thrust inside her was making a damn good argument. She leaned forward, raising herself up even more before attacking my mouth with a ferocity that both lit me on fire and terrified me that maybe she was part praying mantis. Fuck, she was going to rip my head off after this, wasn't she? Just as I had resigned myself to death, because honestly, it would have been so worth it, she sank down and took me in completely.
I walked backwards and pressed her up against the wall of the room, focusing on the orange carpet on the walls. The fact that it resembled a gaping wound would surely help my stamina, but as I felt her start to move up and down on her own, I realized that resistance was futile. She was moaning and whimpering, her hands fisted in my hair and I hoped to God that she came soon because I was right on the edge and dude, that was not cool.
Her mouth was still exploring mine, when I felt her start to shake. I did a mental fist pump thinking all my worries about endurance were all for nothing when I realized that she was laughing, and the white lights that had started to form behind my eyelids suddenly went dark. I could hear the orgasm that was right about to take the leap run away screaming. Run away! Run away! Run away!
"Not the best thing for my ego, Swan" I grunted as I continued to thrust because I'd be damned if I was going to stop now.
"Sorry. Really, but...I'm...bouncing." she panted back as I pressed her harder against the walls trying to figure out what the fuck was going on. Then I realized that under the carpet must be that egg crate foam shit. Fuck, next time we were going to a hotel. I contemplated moving somewhere else in the room, but that would have taken coherent thought and planning on my part and all I wanted to focus on was how I felt inside her. I could feel her try to get control over her body and holy fuck I felt every muscle in her body contract with her efforts.
Much better response.
I amped up my pace and watched as her eyes closed, her nose crinkled and I knew she was getting closer. Her hands left my hair and grasped my shoulders, giving her the leverage to increase her own motions and I groaned as her hips met mine, thrust for thrust. She arched her back away from the wall and into my body, before I finally succumbed to my own need as I felt her tense up and shake before collapsing against me.
Somehow, I found the strength to move away from the wall and I surveyed the room looking for a place to sit, but there was only the couch and there was no way my naked ass was touching Naugahyde. Oh, and a rolling chair that I wasn't even going to try and attempt to sit on while carrying Bella, that could only end in disaster. Finally I walked over to the counter and sat Bella down, kissing her lips gently and tracing the soft contours of her cheek. "I love you," I whispered.
"I love you more," she answered back. She shifted to get off the counter but hit a button on the sound board in the process. All of a sudden we were inundated with the horrific crooning of some prepubescent wanna be and how he was going to give his 'shawty' everything she wanted.
Shuddering, I reached over and hit the power button that shut off the whole system. I'd let Jasper deal with that later. All I knew was that I loved my girl and she loved me back and that was more than any song could ever represent.