A/N: So, uh...y'all remember when I said I entered the Twi-High Anonymous challenge? Well...I'm a winner O_o
I'm totally shocked and completely blown away. I came in 2nd place in the open vote and was 1st place for judge's vote.
You can see the read the other fab stories here: http:/www(DOT)fanfiction(DOT)net/u/2165753/Twi-High_Anonymous_Challenge
This story wouldn't have been possible without the bang up beta job done by the fabulous FarDareisMai2 and PerfectlyPersuasive. Any mistakes left in here, are all my baked ass's fault *giggles* And a special big thanks to HunterHunting for pre-reading and doing a little beta work of her own. I heart you all so much. If by some weird random chance you haven't read the stories these 3 ladies write, then go do so asap - all 3 of them can be found in my favorites!
Disclaimer: I don't own these guys - they belong solely to S. Meyer. I just enjoy getting them high.
The hair on the nape of his neck is finer than the rest of it. I chew on the end of my pencil as I contemplate what color it actually is. It's certainly not regular old brown, but it doesn't quite register as red to me either.
Auburn? That sounds too girly - like it came off the side of a Clairol box. His hair is definitely all natural. Copper? Bronze? Now it just sounds like I'm describing a handful of change.
I lean forward in my chair a few more inches so I can inspect further. Before I'm able to decipher if perhaps it's some shade of cinnamon, my concentration is broken.
I vaguely register somebody calling my name, and for a brief second I wonder if it's him. I blink and notice he's twisted around in his seat; two perfect orbs in the most beautiful shade of green are now staring at me, a smirk playing on his lips. I want to stop staring back at him, but his eyes are hypnotizing.
Hmm…are they simply green, though? Perhaps emerald? Pine or Jade?
This time my name is called more forcefully and pulls me out of my hazy thoughts instantly.
It's now painfully clear that the voice belongs to Mr. Banner. I can feel the telltale prickle of embarrassment begin to heat up my cheeks. My eyes fly to the board, taking in the numbers that are written there, wondering if I can figure out what the heck Mr. Banner just asked me without having to make him repeat his question.
"Um…I…uh…" I stall for time, and miraculously the bell rings, saving me from my misery.
Mr. Banner gives me a pointed look and I shrink in my seat, embarrassed beyond all belief. The beautiful boy in front of me gives me an amused look, before he grabs his worn backpack from off the floor and heads out the door. I watch as he has to stop and pull his slouching pants back up around his skinny waist before finally walking out the door.
Mr. Banner's voice breaks me free from my daydreaming haze once more.
"Yes?" I look up at him and try my best to look like the picture perfect version of innocence.
"Please try and stay focused while in my class, okay?" he asks with a raised eyebrow.
I nod as I scramble to gather all my books and make it to my next class on time. Focus isn't my problem. I am focused, just not on science. Instead, for the past few weeks all I've managed to focus on has been Edward Cullen.
Quiet, smart, unassuming Edward Cullen.
Oh, and have I forgotten to mention how incredibly fuckhot he is? Yeah, there's that. In addition to his perfect hair, he has those piercing green eyes that just bore into you, even when he's not staring at you, they're just that good. His skin is flawless and compliments his perfect bone structure. It's amazing he's slipped under Calvin Klein's radar. It's also amazing that you never hear of any girl getting between him and his Calvin's, either. For all his fuckhotness, Edward Cullen remains perpetually single. I can't figure out why. From everything I can tell, he is perfect, and I'm relatively certain that he's straight. Otherwise, I'm certain one of the queens from the theater club would have already scooped him up ages ago. I can ask him if he's dating anyone, but that requires me to actually talk to him, something that hasn't exactly come up yet.
It's not like we haven't exchanged words; a friendly "here," when he passes back a test in class, or there's that time he asked if I had an extra pencil. I'm just working my way up to saying something...significant. It's really not my fault. Those damn eyes of his make me forget my words. So I usually just smile and look away quickly, kicking myself for not having had the guts to say something brilliant.
I think about all of this as I rush to my next class, which is clear across campus. Daydreaming about Edward Cullen definitely slows me down, and I make it to the door of my classroom with only a couple of seconds to spare. I use them to catch my breath, wiping away the thin sheen of sweat that has gathered from my upper lip. Just as I'm about to walk in, somebody jostles me from behind, and I turn to see who it is.
"Hey, Bells," drawls the blond boy behind me as he drapes an arm across my shoulder.
"Oh. Hey, Jasper," I reply while playfully shoving him off of me.
By some weird twist of school scheduling fate, Jasper Whitlock and I are the only seniors in this photography class. That fact right there cemented our friendship, but we actually kind of click, too. Plus, it doesn't hurt that we both sneak off together to grab a smoke when kooky Mrs. Cope lets us go outside to take pictures. We make it in, just as Mrs. Cope starts prattling on about some group assignment. Thankfully we only have to work in pairs and Jasper gives me a knowing nod, meaning we better be together so he doesn't have to deal with any of the sophomore freaks. I nod right back at him, even though I know I'm going to get the evil eye from at least four of them now. There's a gaggle of them harboring a thing for Jasper. Since he pretty much ignores them, yet hangs out with me, I'm the target of their jealousy and ire. I turn my head, and see one of them glaring at me in a way that tells me she's watched way too many episodes of Gossip Girl. I actually cower under her stare. Rolling my eyes, I whisper loud enough so only Jasper can hear.
"Your groupies look like they want to skin me alive. Maybe you should just toss them a bone." I can't help giggling at my lame humor.
Jasper smirks, then makes things ten times worse by draping his arm over my shoulder again. I pinch his side, causing him to yelp and step back. I can't help laughing some more as I watch him rub his ribs, pouting his lips at me. I grab his hand and drag him towards the back of the classroom. We can have more privacy and discuss this assignment without being stared at to death.
While Jasper grabs his notebook from his bag, I take a minute to size him up. Normally I think of Jasper as the brother I never had, and he treats me like one of the guys, but I try and see what all the fuss is about. His messy blond hair falls in his face, covering his icy blue eyes. He's really nice to look at, and I can see why the Freshman Barbies get their panties in a twist over him. He's also friendly and easy to talk too. From our discussions in class, I know he's got good taste in music and movies as well. But for all he's got going for him, Jasper Whitlock is no Edward Cullen.
I snort, which of course grabs Jasper's attention.
"What's with the ladylike noises, Swan?"
"Nothing. Let's just figure this project out. How about you do this part here…" and soon we're focusing on the assignment, my snort forgotten.
As class ends, Jasper leans over and gets my attention.
"Hey, you should come to Aro's tomorrow. We're just gonna hang and stuff, but I think the guys will get a kick out of you."
"Aro?" I ask, while I mentally flip through our yearbook. I'm pretty sure I'd remember a kid with a name like that. Maybe he's new?
"Yeah. Zachary Aronstein? We just call him Aro, saves time. So…you down?"
I'm pretty sure my Saturday is free, but I don't rush to fill Jasper in on that sad fact. Instead, I pretend to think about it for a second, but when I actually do think about it, I remember that I promised I'd make dinner for my dad.
"I dunno, maybe one or two? I can come pick you up on my way."
"Yeah, sure. Why not? I just need to be back by six. I…uh, I have dinner plans."
There. That makes it sound like I actually have a life.
"Sounds good, see you tomorrow."
I scrawl my address on a scrap of paper and flick it at Jasper, who catches it with ease. As I leave the classroom, careful to avoid the Barbie Brigade, I find myself wondering what Edward Cullen has planned for this weekend.
Jasper calls it "The Hood," and to be honest, it makes it sound cooler than it is. He's been talking it up the entire ride over, and I'm expecting something completely kick ass. As I look at the old garage in the back of Aro's house, I'm pretty sure kickass has never been uttered in the same sentence as this place. The old, dilapidated garage with blackened out windows stands before me, almost begging me to make fun of it. I keep my mouth shut, for Jasper's sake. He's looking at me expectantly and I give him a smile, which seems to satisfy him, because he grabs my arm and pulls me in, shouting as we go.
"Hey, motherfuckers! We're here, and I've got a girl with me, so y'all better be decent!"
"Who'd you bring, your mother?" snorts somebody and I stifle a giggle, while Jasper flips the bird at the offending person.
We walk further in and I allow my eyes to adjust to the low lighting. It's dimly lit, with two lava lamps and a couple strings of colorful Christmas lights making up the only light in the space. The walls are covered in a mixture of old movie posters and various quotes written in marker. A funky, old tapestry covers the ceiling and I have to admit that clearly some thought must have gone into the décor of this place. I just can't tell what they were thinking.
Looking over I notice Aro and his buddy Marcus Volterra. I smile in acknowledgement when Aro and Marcus wave hello. They're sitting across from the couch in a couple of orange, plastic chairs, flicking Uno cards at each other. I try and make myself comfy on a dusty, beat up couch and pray that the stains I'm sitting on are just juice or something equally normal. Jasper heads off in the direction of a mini-fridge, scrounging around for something to drink. I make another sweep of the space with my eyes and notice somebody sitting in a recliner in the far corner, but a shadow covers his face, so I can't see who it is. I vaguely nod in the recliner's direction to be polite. As I settle in, I notice that Aro and Marcus are engaged in a heated debate, and I shift towards them, listening in.
"Dude, I just don't buy it," I hear Aro argue passionately. "Clerks is far superior to Chasing Amy. There's just no comparison. We see the introduction of two of the funniest fucks ever – Jay and Silent Bob. Clerks is their debut, bro. Also, you get to hear the word 'fuck' be used in all its various forms…noun, verb, swear, adjective…" he trails off with a dreamy smile.
"I dunno, man," counters Marcus. "The whole black and white aspect just seems like he's trying too hard, like he's trying to be all avant garde and shit. On the other hand, Chasing Amy has Joey Lauren Adams, and you know she's hot. It also launched the career of one Mr. Ben Affleck. And hello…it has lesbians! Don't forget the lesbians!"
Now Marcus' face turns all starry eyed and dreamy. I try my best to stifle a laugh at their argument, but it unfortunately still comes out, only in the form of a loud snort. Both boys stop their conversation and turn to stare at me. Aro looks amused, but Marcus seems a bit put out, like my laughter offends him somehow.
"What?" Aro asks, his tone a slightly challenging one.
I hear Jasper step over so he's standing behind me, and I hope that I am not about to overstay my welcome with what I'm about to say.
"Actually, I was just thinking that both of you are wrong. Dogma was really Kevin Smith's time to shine. Not only did he manage to snag some killer A-list actors, but he managed to skewer the Catholic Church while making me laugh my ass off in the process. It takes balls to come out swinging with both fists like that against the Church. Oh, and having Alanis Morissette play God was just inspired."
I pause, noticing the wide-eyed, slack jawed look that both Marcus and Aro are sporting.
"Plus," I add with a smirk, "Matt Damon is hot."
It's silent for almost a minute, before Jasper smacks me on the shoulder and whistles through his teeth.
"Way to bring it, Swan!" he says approvingly.
The other guys nod in agreement, both still stricken with momentary muteness. From the dark corner of the room I hear somebody clap slowly and see the shape in the chair start to move forward into the light. A shock passes through me as I take in who's sitting there.
I immediately turn bright red as my cheeks begin to burn in embarrassment. I pray that the dim lighting hides my tell tale sign and do my best to look anywhere than at him.
"Bella Swan," he says thickly, and the way he pronounces my name sounds like he is savoring each syllable.
"Who knew you were so well versed on Kevin Smith."
He gets up from his seat and slowly walks over, plopping himself down on the couch next to me. He pulls his leg up under him so his knee brushes against my thigh. My skin tingles at the contact between us, despite the layers of jean separating our bodies. I try not to stare at the space where we're touching and instead do my best to look at his face. Of course, the moment I take in the piercing green eyes, his full, pouty lips and the smattering of lickable stubble across his cheeks and jaw, I turn into a pile of mush.
"Um, yeah…" I finally manage to spit out.
I need to get myself together if I'm going to be able to blurt out more than one word syllables at him. I wrack my brain, trying to think of something both intelligent and interesting to say, but come up blank. Thankfully, Jasper acts as my savior as he plops down next to me on the couch.
"Yup, our Bella is a little movie aficionado."
Jasper has a weird 'proud papa' look to him right now, and I pray he doesn't say anything that will embarrass me. I feel an arm wrap around my shoulder and Jasper pulls me into his chest. Before I can stop him, I feel knuckles grinding into my hair as he gives me a noogie. I use the only defense I have at my disposal and begin tickling the crap out of him, knowing just how sensitive his skin is. The most inane secrets tend to be spilled while working in the dark room, and I intend to exploit this one to the fullest degree. Underneath my quick fingers Jasper is writhing and gasping for air as his face turns red.
"Not fair, Swan!" he shouts out, and I know the second he calls me by my last name that he's not going to let me get away with this.
I don't let up and soon he's calling out for a truce and I relent, watching him warily for any sighs of retaliation.
"Wow," says Aro, reminding me he and Marcus are still in the room. "I think that's the most action that couch has ever seen."
I blush eight different shades of red as Jasper lets out a loud laugh, high-fiving Marcus. I chance a look at Edward and he has a strange scowl on his face that I can't quite understand. I look over at Jasper to see if he has a clue as to Edward's quick change in mood, but he's already staring back at Edward, the two of them engaged in some sort of silent conversation. I can feel the tension in the room kick up a notch, and it's making me slightly uncomfortable. I'm about to get up to grab a soda or something before Jasper breaks the silence.
"I could sure use a smoke right about now, anyone else?"
Before I'm able to say that I'll join him, Edward is up and out of the door, with Jasper hot on his heels. I figure they need some alone time after that weird moment, so I leave them be, and pick up an old newspaper from the table, trying to occupy myself in their absence. Aro and Marcus continue debating movies, and I work my way through half of a crossword puzzle before Edward and Jasper return. They both have smiles on their faces, and as Edward heads to the mini-fridge, he affectionately slaps Jasper on the back. I shake my head in disbelief. I swear I don't understand boys. Aro notices that the two of them are back and digs around for an old corduroy pouch that he holds up for everyone to see.
My eyebrows crinkle in confusion, as I thought the boys just went out for a smoke break, but when he pulls out a bag of weed and a glass pipe, comprehension sets in. He hands it off to Marcus who packs the bowl and lights up, cloaking the room in a haze of skunky smoke, making my eyes water a bit. After a couple puffs, he hands it to Aro who inhales slowly, with his eyes closed, as if he's savoring some rare vintage of wine or something.
"Do you smoke?" asks Aro, passing the pipe in my direction.
"Um…" I answer too slowly.
"Have you ever smoked?" Marcus asks me incredulously, his eyes already glassy.
"Yeah," I mumble, shrugging my shoulders.
What I don't tell them is that the one time I did smoke, I'm not quite sure it was actually marijuana. It was in ninth grade and I was sleeping over Lauren Mallory's house. She said she had taken some from her brother and we huddled over some weird metal pipe, taking turns. I remember coughing a whole hell of a lot, but I don't think I felt any differently. So I'm not really sure if I can count that.
But, these boys don't need to know any of that, and I'm not going to look stupid in front of Edward Cullen and share that story. So, instead I graciously accept the bowl that is passed my way, cursing Lauren Mallory and her stupid, fake weed. I grab it the wrong way and the heated glass stings my skin for a second until I shift it around, holding the narrow part up to my lips. I decide I'll only smoke a little, because if this is the real stuff, which I suspect it is, who the hell knows what I'll end up doing.
I flick the lighter on and the orange flame blazes bright, warming up the tip of my nose slightly. I gingerly wrap my lips around the opening, and bring the lighter down towards it, inhaling quickly. The stuff inside starts to burn and crackle and with no warning my lungs are filled with a sweet, pungent smoke that causes me to erupt in a fit of coughs. I hold out the pipe in front of me, in hopes that somebody takes it before I drop it and it shatters all over the floor. Thankfully, a hand grabs the pipe from me and I'm left to try and infuse my lungs with fresh air.
Finally I'm able to breathe without coughing, and I take a minute to compose myself. I bring the sleeve of my hoodie up and wipe my eyes that are currently burning with pinpricks of tears attempting to escape. My mouth starts to feel a little dry, but before I can ask for something to drink, somebody shoves a can of Mountain Dew in front of my face. I look up and see a set of bloodshot, green eyes staring me in the face.
"Rough pull?" he asks sincerely.
I simply nod, because I sure as hell don't trust my words right about now. I grab the soda from him and take a few sips, grateful that it was already open. While I take a third sip it dawns on me that this might be Edward's soda. That his lips might have already touched the rim that I just had my own lips on. My eyes bug out, and as discreetly as possible, I flick my tongue out to lick the rim, despite knowing how creepishly stalkery that is.
When I hand Edward his soda back, I notice that he's staring at my lips and I wonder if he caught me. I avert his eyes and try to join in the conversation around us, which wasn't too hard to do. The boys are debating which Dorito flavor reigns supreme, and before I know it, I am head champion of Team Cool Ranch. The bowl gets passed around again, and this time I'm careful, only inhaling a little bit. While it doesn't go down super smoothly, I'm not hacking up half my lung. I'm feeling slightly less nervous around Edward now, and my head feels kinda fuzzy, but the good kind of fuzzy. Then, I giggle because the word fuzzy just sounds really funny. I say the word in my head, over and over again.
Fuzzy, fuzzzzzzzzzy, fuh-zee, fuzzy.
"What's fuzzy, Bells?" Jasper asks, breaking me out of my thoughts, and I realize too late that I've been talking aloud.
Hm, didn't sound loud in my head.
"Erm…uh…my hoodie?" I ask, rather than state, and everyone cracks up at my expense. I can't help laughing along.
"You are baked, Swan," Marcus points out, shaking his head.
I shrug, before flipping my phone open and realizing it's almost six o'clock. I let Jasper know what time it is, since he's driving me back home, and I need to make Charlie dinner. I also probably need to shower first so he doesn't haul me down to the station for being a reckless teen. We say our goodbyes and I swear that Edward's eyes linger on mine for a few more seconds longer than normal. Of course, I might be hallucinating the whole thing, who knows at this point. Jasper cranks up the radio for the drive back and I toy with asking him what Edward's deal is and what they said to each other when they went out for a smoke. I have a hunch that he won't actually tell me though, so I stay quiet, only calling out to say goodbye after he drops me off.
Over the next few weeks I go to 'The Hood' a few more times, and soon I feel like a regular there. The cheesy décor ends up growing on me, and I even bake some cookies for the boys, winning me automatic acceptance, if I didn't already have it before. In fact, I show up regularly with snacks, as I find that my post-smoke munchies just can't be satisfied with stale Doritos and neon green soda. I am a girl, after all, and I have some standards.
Today I've brought one of my favorite treats, and I guard it carefully, knowing that as soon as the boys get a whiff of what I'm carrying, it will be gone in seconds. Everyone's already there when I arrive, and I get cozy on the end of the couch, resting my feet in Jasper's lap. Jasper's going on and on about some chick from the local charter school. He met her at some concert and can't seem to get her out of his mind. Consequently, we all need to know every little detail about her.
"She goes to that school for artsy kids? You know that one? Yeah, anyway, she showed me some of her artwork on her iPhone, and it's hot shit, like pretty fucking cool for a teenager, you know? She's so fucking hot too. She has this awesome spiky black hair and killer golden eyes. I'm not sure if they're contacts or not, but I don't really care. They're awesome. And, I mean, she's short, but not in some weird sort of way. More like, I want to put her in my pocket and take her everywhere with me."
I look over at Edward who's silently snickering throughout Jasper's entire monologue. I raise in eyebrow in question, "have you guys smoked yet?"
I have to figure that Jasper's word vomit has got to be partially weed induced because there's no way somebody would be that googly eyed without being twelve year old girl at a Jonas Brothers concert.
"Shockingly, no. This whole...thing," Edward waves his hand in Jasper's direction and shakes his head in disbelief. "Completely sober."
"But, fabulous idea, Swan!" says Aro and soon we're sitting in a circle, passing a joint around.
Once we're good and stoned, Aro and Jasper start a game of Uno, and Marcus runs out to take a piss. I sit on the couch watching Edward strum his guitar, more enraptured by the way his fingers curl around the neck of the instrument and strum its strings than the actual sounds he's making. Those fingers...I wonder what else they'd be skilled at. Before my mind is able to drift into it's naughty place, my stomach growls out, reminding me it's munchie time. I furtively look around to make sure nobody is paying attention to me. Feeling secure that I'm relatively invisible for the time being, I quietly reach into my bag and grab my snack, moving ever so slighty so as not to arouse suspicion. Seriously. If any of these boys even thought I had something tasty, it would be uglier than a heard of lions attacking a helpless gazelle.
I feel secure enough to take a bigger bite and can't help the moan that escapes my lips. My hand flies up to my mouth, and I pray that nobody heard.
"What. Was. That?"
I look up and see a pair of dark green eyes staring at me with a fierce intensity. I quickly scan the room and see that Marcus has returned and is playing cards with the others. None of them have noticed a thing, yet. I turn my head back, and Edward is still gazing at me, his face unreadable.
"Bella?" he asks again, as if I didn't already hear his melodic voice when he spoke to me the first time.
"Hm?" I mumble, because my mouth is still filled with food, and I can't actually answer properly.
"What do you have there?" he asks, moving closer.
I do my best impression of a wide eyed doe, hopelessly innocent, but it's not enough. Like something stalking it's prey, Edward seamlessly glides up to me and sits next to me. My breath hitches, as he's never been this close before. He leans in so close so that his nose is near my cheek. My heart literally skips a beat or two as I try to figure out what is up. Is he going to kiss me?
Instead, he inhales deeply and licks his lips. Does he not realize that he is so close to causing my girly bits to spontaneously combust?
"Chocolate, nuts and..." he trails off, and somehow, I miraculously find my voice and whisper the remaining item.
Edward gives me an appraising look.
"Salty and sweet, eh? Excellent combo, Bella. Now, gimme!"
He makes for my bag, and I quickly pull it towards me, resulting in Edwards hand grazing my boob. The touch of him that close to me is startling, and I drop the bag immediately.
"Jackpot!" he shouts, causing all the boys to look over.
"What's up?" asks Marcus, as Edward holds up the spoils in victory.
"Nutella and potato chips! Bella was holding out on us," scolds Edward as I huff, crossing my arms across my chest in response.
"Ah, tsk tsk, Bella," chimes in Jasper. "Don't you know that sharing is caring?"
Everyone laughs, and Edward looks especially smug.
I want to smack the smarmy look off Edward's face, but as I give him my best death stare, all I can notice is a small smear of Nutella coating the edge of his lips. Now all I can think about is licking it off. The potential combination of Edward and Nutella is almost too much to handle, and it's not much longer before I excuse myself to go home.
Despite semi-jerky moments like that, I start to become more comfortable with Edward. And really, when there's Nutella on the line, can I really blame him for the way he behaved? I probably would have done the same. Besides our common love for hazelnutty chocolate spread, we find that we share similar tastes in music as well. We're always shoving our iPods at each other, trying to one up the other with a random band or rare song that we're certain the other one doesn't know.
What's strange, though, is that nothing changes at school. Edward and I still have our class together, and I still never say anything to him there. Sure, sometimes we'll smile at each other in passing, or he'll borrow a pencil. But the connection we establish at 'The Hood' seems to stay there, not leaving the smoke filled haze of the old, decrepit shack. I wonder why that is, and can't seem to come up with a good reason. I debate asking Jasper, but don't feel like dealing with the teasing that will surely ensue.
As I drive myself over to 'The Hood,' I struggle to decide whether or not to say something to Edward. Maybe if I broach the subject while we're just hanging out it won't be so awkward. But, what the hell do I say?
Oh, hey, Edward. Looking hot today. So, what's up with the chummy attitude while we're stoned out of minds, but when we're sober, you pretend like I hardly exist?
Yeah, that would go over swimmingly. I roll my eyes at myself, glad nobody else is here to witness this sad display. Walking over to the shack, I hear somebody playing some Phish on a guitar and am glad that I'll at least have some music to distract me from my thoughts. I gingerly open the door, always afraid that if I push too hard it will crumble beneath my fingers. I'm surprised to find only Edward sitting by himself on the couch, picking on his guitar. He must hear me come in because he stops playing and looks up, a smile spreading across his face.
"Hey. Where is everyone?"
Edward looks around like it just occurs to him that he's alone. He shrugs.
"Jasper never showed and Aro's mom called him in a while ago. I think he had to go run errands with her. No clue where Marcus is."
"Hm…so…it's just us?"
Edward doesn't answer, and instead grabs his guitar and starts playing again. After a few chords he looks back at me and nods to the couch.
"Yup. Guess so."
I sit down on the opposite end of the couch, trying to figure out just what to say. Instead of letting my nerves eat me up, I end up closing my eyes and listen to Edward play. His skillful fingers pick out a beautiful song, and soon I find myself humming along.
"If I could, I would, but I don't know how…"
The words and tune are simple, but they speak volumes. Edward riffs at the end, concluding the song beautifully, and I can't help staring at him. He stares right back and grins sheepishly. My cheeks flame up with heat, and soon the air grows way too thick between us. I lick my dry lips and am startled to see Edward slowly swallow, seemingly mesmerized. He breaks the moment first by holding up his pouch.
Because, why the hell not? At least, it's something we know we're good at and it's comfortable, familiar. This charged air between us certainly isn't, and it seems that neither of us knows what to do. Edward pulls out his plastic baggie of weed and starts to break off pieces to stuff in his pipe. He looks up, and I see him smirk, almost laughing to himself. I wonder what's so funny, but before I can ask, he pats the cushion next to him.
"Come closer," he says, his voice deep and slightly hoarse.
There's no way I can deny him, and before I even allow myself to think twice, I've scooted closer, my leg brushing up against his. He packs the weed down more and then holds the pipe up to his lips. They wrap around the glass, and I can't help staring at them. They're pink and moist, and I wonder what they taste like. The hiss of Edward's lighter breaks me from my thoughts, and I watch as he lights up, pulling a slow, long hit. He holds the smoke in his lungs for a moment before putting the pipe down on the table. I go to take it, but he fiercely shakes his head.
I furrow my eyebrows in confusion, and before I can figure out what's going on, Edward's hands cup my face and pull me towards him. His cool hands feel rough against my skin, and my mouth opens up, letting out a quiet gasp. Edwards takes the opportunity and closes the gap between us, his lips mere inches from mine. Leaning forward he presses his lips firmly against mine before opening his mouth slowly, exhaling the smoke into my mouth. It's a heady mixture of minty chapstick and skunky weed, and I'm startled for a second. I just sit there, not breathing, not blinking, not thinking.
"Breathe," Edward mumbles against my lips, so I do, inhaling the sweet smoke that just came from him. I hold it in my lungs long enough so that my chest tightens slight before I begrudgingly move slightly away from him, needing to exhale. The smoke billows out of my mouth and I watch it swirl past his face, only inches from mine.
"Thanks… I liked that. It was…" I struggle with the right word, before finally settling on one.
Edward cocks an eyebrow at me and I rush to clarify.
"Different good, I mean."
"Different good," he echoes back to me and nods his head thoughtfully. "Yeah…"
We sit there for a second…a minute…hell it could be an hour that passes by for all I know. I'm just sporting a wicked goofy grin so wide that my jaw actually hurts from smiling so hard. I'm right on the precipice of giggles when Edward whips the pipe back out.
Instead of answering him, I reach for the pipe and bring it to my lips, praying that I can make this happen as effortlessly as Edward. Careful to still my shaky hands, I flick the lighter on and take a long pull, holding the thick smoke before leaning towards Edward, fisting his shirt in my hand to bring him closer. Our lips touch again and I pause, enjoying the feel of it before opening my mouth, allowing the smoke to pour out. Edward inhales quickly, but doesn't pull away. Instead he places his hands on my waist and pulls me closer, so I'm flush up against him. His lips brush against mine in a semi kiss as he turns his head to the side, exhaling through his nose. After the smoke has dissipated, he turns his face back, and I can feel his warm breath against my face. Goosebumps break out in its wake, and I shiver uncontrollably. Edward presses his face against mine so our noses rub up against each other.
"Cold?" he asks, and I just shake my head, reveling in the feel of our skin touching.
We stay like that for a moment, and the only thought passing through my mind is…
Was that our first kiss?
I can't be sure. Was it just some sexy way of passing on the high, or was there something more behind it? My mind starts reeling with speculation, and I decide I need to grow a set and just ask him. I decide to stop letting my shyness rule when it comes to Edward Cullen. With our faces still pressed up against each other, I whisper.
But, before I'm able to say anything, the door to 'The Hood' bursts open and we're bathed in a stream of sunlight, causing us to jump apart.
Ugh. Jasper. That kid has the worst timing. Ever.
"Shut the damn door, asshole," shouts Edward as he runs a hand through his already disheveled hair.
"And, hello to you, too, Mary Sunshine!"
Jasper plops down on the other side of me and plucks the pipe from the table.
"Don't mind if I do."
"No, please, help yourself," grumbles Edward, and I stifle a giggle at the pout that forms on his lips.
Those perfect, pink, oh-so-pillowy soft lips.
Those lips that were pressed up against mine only moments ago.
Those lips, that may or may not have actually been kissing me.
I could get lost staring at those lips.
Unfortunately, Jasper has other ideas.
"Swanster!" he bellows and pulls me to him in a huge bear hug. In a voice so low, I almost don't hear he whispers into my ear.
"You and Cullen, huh? You go girl!"
I bite back a laugh, but can't help the blush that creeps up my neck into my cheeks. I hear a growl and look over at Edward. He looks pissed. I shake Jasper off me and subtly scoot closer to Edward. That seems to placate him, and when my leg ends up brushing against his, I feel the built up tension within him melt. We sit around for a bit, bullshitting about school and talking about some new movie we all want to see. Jasper strums Edward's guitar, and I hum along when I recognize the song. It all seems very normal, yet it's completely the opposite of normal, it's not even funny. Every chance he gets Edward is touching me. It's nothing overt, but it's more than ever before.
When he hands Jasper his guitar, his hand skims the back of my neck, sweeping my hair out of the way. As he leans back, his hand trails my shoulder briefly. While Jasper plays, Edward's hand comes down to the side of his leg so our pinkies are touching. He slowly moves his finger up and down, and the languid touch is deliciously unbearable. I want to grab his hand and thread his fingers through mine, but at the same time I love the teasing contact. I wait around to see if Jasper will leave, but he doesn't. In fact, Edward ends up leaving first. I try and leave with him, but he moves quickly for once and is out of there before I can get myself ready. Jasper and I walk out together, and I leave before I'm entangled in a conversation with Jasper that I don't feel like having right now.
The next morning I find myself in front of my mirror, agonizing over what to wear. I'm never this indecisive, yet I can't help but think that I want to look just a smidge better today. Like that will help make sense of the amazing whateverthefuckitwas that happened yesterday at 'The Hood.' I finally settle on a pair of tight jeans and a blue sweater. I look cute, but it still doesn't help me figure things out.
My first few classes rush by in a blur and finally, it's time for science. I haven't seen Edward yet, so this will be interesting. Do I pretend like nothing happened, or do I say something? My mind is a jumbled mess of crazy, and I can't help it when that jackass Mike Newton pushes me into the class, mumbling about me blocking the door. I mutter back some sort of insult, which earns a reproachful glare from Mr. banner. I figure I better just sit down in my seat and glance at the clock as the second hand grows closer to class time.
Just as the bell rings, Edward slides into his seat, leaving me no chance to talk to him. He does give me a wink, however, and for the next forty-five minutes I go over all the meanings behind what it could mean. Edward's no help, as he seems to somehow pay attention to Mr. Banner, no matter how many times I mentally beg him to turn around and give me some sort of sign. I'm desperate here.
The bell finally rings, and I feel the palms of my hands start to sweat. I wonder if he's going to say anything, or just throw me another wink and head out. I take a second at my desk to collect my things, and when I look up, I notice that he's gone. Dejected, I head towards the door and brighten up immediately when I see him standing there, seemingly waiting for me.
"Hey," he says and without any warning grabs my hand, threading his fingers through mine.
I look at him, and despite the fact that my heart is totally skipping every other beat, he seems to be as cool as a cucumber. Effortlessly, he's rubbing slow circles on the outside of my hand as we walk. We don't say anything, and I'm not sure I could even if I wanted to. Finally we stop, and I realize we're in front of my photography classroom. Realization immediately sinks in.
Edward Cullen just walked me to class.
Before I can dwell on this point further, Edward pulls me close to him, and I stumble as I lean in, breathing in his smell. My eyes close as I inhale the heady mix of woodsy musk and faint cigarette smoke he emits. I feel tentative fingers caress my cheeks, and I look up, immediately lost in his eyes. His lips come down, brushing against mine, and this time, there is no mistaking it for a kiss. My lips meet his eagerly, and I return the kiss, nibbling on his bottom lip before drawing back slightly.
"Get a room!"
I groan, my head falling down to Edward's chest. I can feel the rumble of his laughter and look up just in time to see him receive a high five from Jasper. I roll my eyes, then quickly stand up on my tip toes to kiss Edward on the cheek.
"Going to The Hood after school?" I ask.
"Of course, and I'm bringing you with me. I want to hang out with my girl," he says, as if it's a given.
My girl. Oh. Okay.
I realize he's waiting for a reply, so I spurt out the first thing that comes to my mind while I'm still trying to digest the news of being his girl.
"Fabulous," adds Jasper, and I restrain the urge to smack him. "Leave kissy time till later. For now, we have class."
Edward walks away and our fingers finally part, separating excruciatingly slowly. I'm still not sure when our official status was decided, but apparently I'm his girl. The smile that appears on my face doesn't leave for the rest of the day.