Summary: The gang skips school, enjoying the snow and one another. The day helps remind Bella why she loves Edward so much, quirks and all. (AH, BPOV)
Warnings: Very mild language and some suggestive dialogue
Special Thanks: Thank you so much to GinnyW31 and sshg316 for putting the gift exchange together. It was a lot of hard work to manage so many people and they did it brilliantly. Thanks to my AMAZING beta Kyra4 who put up with my last minute finishing touches and made sure the story made sense. She's wonderful. Thanks to AlexaRZ and Ambersunshyne who kept me sane throughout the process. These ladies rock. And thanks to VivaViva who wrote my own amazing exchange fic called "Twelve Reasons." You should all check it out!
This is for you, kARLITALUNA!
Hope you like your fic.
She was at it again.
I tried to ignore her.
"Psst! Bella!" she whispered, undeterred by my obvious choice to disregard her.
I continued to write, listening to a dry Mr. Mason drone on and on about inconsequential matters of the English language in which nobody, save for perhaps the pixie and myself, was even remotely interested. Yet, ironically, we were not even paying attention.
"Bella, Bella, Bella!"
"What?!" I finally hissed, jerking my head to the right and glaring at her exceedingly chipper face.
"Oh good! You were listening to me," she noted, giggling obnoxiously.
Rolling my eyes, I looked back down to my notebook, scribbling the name that made my heart beat faster and my face turn warm with, as he called it, "my beautiful flush."
"If you would stop writing my brother's name in hearts for one minute, I could tell you what I want and then I'd leave you alone. Choice is yours, Bella, but I will keep this up if you don't listen to me."
I heeded her warning.
I turned slowly in my seat, conscious of the rambling teacher in the front yet giving my best friend my full attention.
Smiling, she chirped, "Thank you, Bella! So glad you finally decided to acknowledge my presence."
"What do you want?"
"Geez, such hostility from you."
"You burned my favorite sweatshirt! Literally charred the thing and you expect me to still be talking to you? Think again, clothes thief."
I turned back to my paper, moving to the bottom half of the page, away from my love's gorgeous name, and hastily drew a caricature of my best friend wearing the same tacky shirt she criticized Lauren Mallory for wearing yesterday.
Undeterred, she defended, "You shouldn't leave things around my house if you don't wish to lose them---"
"I hardly think leaving it on the back of your brother's chair in his room counts as leaving it around your house."
"---but that's neither here nor there. The point is that we should bail on the rest of today's classes."
I stopped writing, turning toward her warily, eyeing her with suspicion. The pixie didn't normally suggest such behavior, unlike her older brother, Emmett. She was up to something.
Checking the front to see if Mr. Mason had noticed our conversation, I began, "First off, the clothing thing is an issue. You are not to burn any more of my clothes, particularly ones I leave in my boyfriend's room. Capiche?"
She nodded, though I spotted her right hand twisting two fingers together.
"And really, Alice, burning? Who burns clothes anymore? It's not like the sweatshirt was covered in grime."
"It had holes in the sleeves and the insignia for the Arizona Wildcats. Emmett agreed with my decision to burn the thing. Duh."
Glaring, I went on, "Second, Alice, I would like to know why we should skip the rest of class. Do you foresee something happening, or what? Have one of your feelings?"
"As a matter of fact, yes. Something tells me that there is a good chance for a mishap involving Tyler after school. It's weird, but I just see something happening with his van. We're better off just ditching."
The last time she got one of her "feelings" and suggested we do something with the gang, I spent a week without my right eyebrow. Edward found it cute and made sure Alice paid for an eyebrow pencil.
"Let's say for a moment I'm considering your harebrained scheme," I murmured, adding devil horns to the Alice caricature.
"Not a scheme, but continue."
"What's in it for me? What exactly would we be doing today?" I asked, eyeing her suspiciously.
"For one, you'll get to spend time with me---"
I cut her off, "Not a compelling argument."
After a low huff, she continued, "Fine. You'll get to spend time with me while being wrapped around Edward."
"Much better," I told her, eager to feel his arms around me. "So what are we doing, then?"
Shrugging, she said, "We'll just see what happens. I thought we could drive into Port Angeles, do some shopping, and maybe hit a movie. They're playing old movies at the cinema!"
"Goodie. Shopping. Fun."
"You have to get a prom dress sometime, Bella," she muttered, right as the bell rang.
We exited the class together, each eager to meet our significant others. When we spotted blond and bronze exiting an AP calculus class, we sprinted forward, unable to contain our grins. Something about being near him just called out to me, like the sirens of Homer's Odyssey. Unlike Odysseus, however, I've never been able to resist Edward's velvety voice. He's my siren call.
"Hello there, love," he laughed, clutching me after I jumped into his arms. A shiver ripped through me, just like always, whenever I heard him speak for the first time each day.
I can admit it. I, Bella Swan, am head over heels in love with Edward Cullen.
When I pulled back, he leaned down to plant a chaste, though lingering, kiss against my lips. I licked my lips once he let them go, tasting his flavor of honey and…Edward.
I spotted Alice whispering to Jasper and I jumped at the opportunity to fill Edward in before she managed to sink her claws into him.
"Alice wants us to skip class today," I told him, wrapping my arms around his waist. "She said something about one of her feelings and a van and a whole bunch of other things. I just keyed in on her saying something about spending time with you."
He sighed, looking over my shoulder toward his sister before peering down at me again. Those emerald eyes always had a way of making my knees weak.
You fall in love and suddenly you become a sap.
I rolled my eyes at my inner dialogue.
"I guess if the pixie wants to go, we should go. She's bound to turn into a troll if we don't give her what she wants."
"My sentiments exactly," I agreed, taking his hand and turning toward my wide-eyed best friend.
"I resent that," she growled, pushing past me and walking toward the courtyard. "When have my visions ever steered us wrong?"
"How about the time when you told me you thought something bad would happen if I wore a sports bra to gym? I listened to you, decided to forego the sports bra, and my pink one ended up snapping right when I tried to throw a discus. I ended up tripping over it and falling face first into the sand pit," I reminded her
"Okay, that was bad," she murmured, still walking hand-in-hand with Jasper.
Edward went on, "Or how about the time you had the feeling that Esme should give Mrs. Cope that really expensive Swiss chocolate as a Christmas gift? You said it was the perfect present. She ended up being allergic and swelled up like a balloon."
"Yeah, that was bad, too," she agreed. "But in my defense, she never would have learned to avoid Swiss chocolate without me!"
"Or the time---"
"All right, I get it. So I've been wrong a few times. My visions and feelings are subjective, you know. It's not like everything happens exactly as I see it in my head."
Edward and I exchanged smirks as Rosalie and Emmett met us wearing matching scarves. Emmett looked ridiculous bundled up in his knit cap, huge gloves, and snow boots, but he definitely seemed warm.
"Howdy! How is the snow treating you all?" he asked, his dimples pink from the cold.
"Alice thinks we should skip today," Jasper told the couple, his southern drawl emphasized by the tightening of his lips. He must really be cold from the snow.
Without a second though, Emmett pulled Rosalie close to him and joyfully said, "Cool! Let's go."
Five minutes later, we were speeding to Port Angeles in Edward's Volvo. I rode shotgun, holding his hand and rubbing his knuckles, while Rosalie, Alice, and Jasper sat in the back. Emmett had the genius idea of riding in the trunk, so we would all fit in one car. He volunteered for the job; before any of us even brought it up, and Rosalie told us, "let the idiot ride back there if he wants. It's his nuts that are probably going to get hit by the jack."
An hour later, we were all seated in our favorite coffee shop, snuggling close to the faux fireplace and making idle chat.
Edward handed me my hot chocolate as I sat down, pulling me close and burying his face in my neck.
"Here, baby," I said, pouring salt into coffee. "Just the way you like it."
He chuckled, giving me a kiss on the cheek.
When I moved from Arizona to live with my dad, Charlie, two years ago, I thought my life essentially ended. My heart was in the right place, and I certainly loved my father, but I didn't want to move to the perpetually dreary town of Forks. It wasn't until I spotted my Edward, pouring salt into his coffee at the diner my first night there; that I realized life may not be so bad in Forks. My gorgeous Adonis has had me wrapped around his finger ever since, even if he does have a weird diet.
I took a sip of my own drink, letting the warm liquid soothe my cold body and ease my chills. When I pulled back, he laughed aloud, staring at my face with amusement. Before I could question him, he leaned forward and licked the tip of my nose.
I bit my tongue to keep from shoving it down his throat.
"Not that I didn't enjoy that, but why did you feel the need to lick me?"
"You had some whip cream on your nose. It was very good, babe."
"Whip cream often is," I laughed, taking another mouthful, conscious to avoid the thick cream.
Edward's lips were on my ear, taking my lobe between his teeth, before he whispered, "I meant your skin, love. The whip cream was just a bonus."
Have mercy, how I loved this man.
I was just about to show him how much I appreciated his cleaning skills when a loud laugh interrupted our moment.
"Can't you two keep your hands to yourselves for five minutes?" howled Emmett, his loud guffaws earning glares from the older patrons. Rosalie smacked him in the back of the head before they called security on his noisy ass.
"And you're still doing that salt thing?" he asked Edward, rubbing the spot Rosalie clearly didn't hit hard enough. "Man, I thought you only did that cause---"
"Oh! Look!" interrupted Alice, her hands splayed on the window facing the shops. "There is a sale going on. Let's go check it out!"
Ten minutes later, much to my dismay, I found myself dressed up in a very skimpy Santa costume, staring at myself in the mirror. It was supposed to be some kind of lingerie, but it looked absolutely ridiculous on me. The sheer, red dress hung mid thigh, revealing red boy shorts and bra beneath; lined with white fur around the straps and hemline. I looked like Mrs. Claus' slutty younger sister.
"I'm not coming out," I told Alice.
"Come on, Bella! You've got to at least show us what it looks like."
She got it into her thick head I would somehow be modeling this in front of her, Rosalie, and the boys. Yeah, I would agree to that the day Jessica Stanley admits to stuffing her bra with paper towels.
"I look like a hooker."
"I'm sure you're a hot hooker," griped Emmett. "Like in Pretty Woman. I mean---ow!"
Thank you, Rosalie.
"Will you at least let me see, Bella?" asked a voice of pure velvet. He only speaks low like that when he desperately wants to get his way.
Stupid, wonderful, sexy boyfriend.
"I look awful," I warned, feeling self-conscious and a bit insecure.
He sighed, "Why don't you let me be the judge?"
After a few moments of consideration, and incessant picking at non-existent lint on the red dress, I unlocked the door and gave Edward enough room to slide through. The second his sinewy body was through, I slammed it shut and twisted the lock, double-checking to make sure Emmett couldn't barrel through somehow.
When I turned around, I found Edward's gaze moving up and down my torso, lifting from my legs to my belly to my breasts. If anyone else had been looking at me the way he was, I would have probably thrown up from the attention. Instead, I blushed and bit my lip, curious to his opinion.
"How d-do I look?" I choked out.
Without warning, he yanked me to him, crashing his lips to mine and grasping at the thin material. My head was swimming with desire as my hands moved to his hair, pulling at his bronze locks. He groaned into my mouth, bunching up the material around my waist.
When we broke apart for air, he started kissing along my neck, his hands groping me through the lacy material.
"So I take it you like it?" I giggled, overjoyed by his reaction.
He growled in response, clutching me even tighter to him and moved his kisses to my ear.
"You look so damn sexy, Bella. I don't think you see yourself clearly, darling. How could you ever think you look awful in this?"
Shrugging, rubbing my hands on his chest, I whispered, "I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl."
"You're also sexy outside of those jeans and t-shirts. Gah, and your blush practically matches this thing. Mind getting it for me for Christmas?"
"I don't really think it's your color," I teased.
Smirking at me, pulling the straps back up to my shoulder, he said, "I don't have to try it on to know it looks far better on you than me."
He started kissing me again, leaving me lightheaded and dizzy. I hopped up, wrapping my legs around his waist, just as a loud knock sounded on the door.
"You two banging in there?" asked Emmett. "It's one thing if we get caught skipping class, but I don't think Carlisle and Esme will be as understanding if they get a call from the manager about their youngest son having sex in public. Plus, Bella's dad will totally shoot you, Edward!"
Growling in frustration, Edward gently placed me back on my feet and helped me change back into my clothes. Once I was buttoned up, he told me, "We're buying this and then going for a walk. If I don't get you alone, I'm going to end up killing one of my siblings."
Nine minutes later, Edward and I were making snow angels sans his brothers and sisters.
"I think the last time I did this I was about ten," he said, laughing up to the sky.
"I don't think I've ever done this. I shied away from the cold my first year and last year I spent Christmas with Renee. The snow isn't that bad, I suppose."
Leaning up on his elbow, Edward grinned at me.
"What?" I asked cautiously.
"I love you."
The conviction, the strength at which he said the words, made my eyes soften and my heart melt. Only he could melt something in the freezing snow.
"I love you, too."
He rolled over atop me, pressing me into the white powder and kissing my lips reverently. He kissed me ardently, worshiping my body with his hands and cooing adoring words between caresses.
He bit my neck, making me moan amongst the frosted trees and the snowy ground. Every part of me belonged to Edward Cullen.
He owned me completely.
"I don't know what I would have done if you hadn't moved here," he murmured into my neck, licking a line from my collarbone to my jaw.
"You'd still be putting salt in your coffee," I teased him.
He pulled back at my words, smiling down at my softly. After a moment, he finally replied, "Actually, I probably wouldn't be."
My brow furrowed, confused at his words.
"You've always put salt in your coffee. You've always been the weird eater. The vegetarian."
"I may be a vegetarian, but until I met you, I never put one grain of salt in my coffee."
"I don't understand," I admitted.
Biting his lip, a blush coloring his cheeks, he told me, "The day I saw you in the diner, I thought an angel had been sent. It was like I was just hit by you, your face, your scent, everything. When you came over to grab some ketchup for your fries, I accidentally put the salt in my coffee thinking it was sugar. You thought I was crazy, so I told you that's how I regularly took it. You laughed at my supposed quirk and that gave me the courage to ask you out. After eating at La Bella Italia, we went out for coffee and you immediately poured salt into it. I knew then that you were perfect for me. I found my other half, my mate."
Flabbergasted, I asked, "So you've been drinking salty coffee this whole time when you don't even like it?"
Looking down, blushing harder, he said, "It's not that bad. I've kind of gotten used to it. Besides, it's our thing. I get the coffee and you add the salt."
I was shocked. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It was simultaneously the most idiotic thing I'd ever heard a boy do for a girl and also…the sweetest thing I'd ever heard.
"So our entire relationship has been built on a lie?"
Chuckling, he kissed my cheek.
"You're not mad?"
Quirking my lips, I told him, "I'm not mad at all. As far as I'm concerned, I just saved you from becoming a diabetic."
Laughing, he pulled me tighter to him, pressing his lips to mine yet again.
Our touches said what words never could.
We emerged from the snow an hour later, meeting the rest of Edward's family at the Volvo. Of course Emmett picked on me for my red nose, raw from rubbing against Edward's stubble for over an hour and warned Edward about chapped lips. I noticed Edward got more satisfaction than before when he slammed the trunk door shut on Emmett's grinning face.
Our arrival back at Forks High School was met with sirens and flashing lights. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, I spotted my father standing by my truck, frantically running his hands through his hair.
The six of us made our way to my father, who pulled me into his arms, effectively crushing me to his chest.
"Bells, thank goodness you're all right."
On behalf of all of us, Rosalie asked, "What happened, Chief Swan?"
With his eyes blazing, he grunted, "Some yahoo lost control of his van and smashed it directly into Bella's truck. The tank took quite the beating."
It was then when I noticed the driver side of my truck completely smashed in.
"I told you!" exclaimed Alice, beaming with pride.
I was about to comment when Charlie suddenly cut me off, "Bells, school just let out. If you weren't at your truck, where the hell were you?"
Alice didn't have the foresight to see my two weeks of house arrest.
Salty Coffee is the work of fanfiction. The characters belong to Stephenie Meyer, but the featured story is mine.