A/N: I'm so so so sorry that I haven't updated in forever. I've had a rough year, but in the end brought a handsome little boy into the world to join my family! I hope y'all read continue to read and review, even though it has been so long.
Anywho, thank you to my beta Tanya! Xoxo. This chapter was a mess, because it was my first time writing in, oh forever.
Turn of Events
Alice drove a tiny, two-door Ford Probe that for some insane reason we decided to cram ourselves into for our night out. Forks was an extremely small town that didn't offer a whole lot to the local teens. We all cruised Main Street, driving up to one end and flipping around just to drive back down to the other. When I was younger, I thought the ritual was absurd.
Why would someone want to drive around in circles?
After 'cruising' with my sister and Edward a few times, I quickly learned it wasn't about that. It was all about the music you could sing and dance to and, of course, the company you keep.
We swung by Jasper's house and picked up him and Emmett. Emmett shoved Edward and Jasper into the already cramped back seat with me. "Get in back, skinny-ass boys, you know I can't fit in there," Emmett hollered, folding himself into the passenger seat and knocking his head on the roof of the car.
Emmett pulled the lever on the side, and sent the seat flying back into Jasper's legs, which caused a delicious domino effect. Jasper slammed into Edward, who effectively smashed into me.
I'm not going to lie; having his body pressed against mine sent chills up my spine and a tingling sensation through my entire body I thoroughly enjoyed.
I bit my lip and shifted a little so I could see his face. Edward turned, giving me an apologetic, lopsided grin. I quickly diverted my eyes, and took a deep breath in. If I was going to stay strong this evening, I was going to have to keep my head on straight. Edward Cullen's sly grin and gorgeous body were not going to weaken the wall I had worked so hard to build. We may have shared the same feelings, but he was still too old for me.
"So Ali-Cat, what are we doing tonight?" Jasper shouted over the radio. Alice reached over and turned it down as the distinct clinking sound drowned out her giggles.
Emmett began emptying out his jacket with three large bottles of what appeared to be Vodka, Hot Damn, and Jack. "Ohhhh yeah! This is where it's at!" he howled.
At the sight of the alcohol, I immediately tensed up. My parents' inebriated state when they drank terrified me. I always vowed I'd stay away from it and wouldn't let myself end up like them. I'd had the opportunity to drink several times at my friend's house, and parties, but stayed strong and turned them down repeatedly.
However, tonight was different. I didn't know if I could say no to anyone in this car. If it was just Ali and I, it wouldn't have been an issue.
Edward felt me tense up, and nudged me with his shoulder. "What's wrong?" he whispered into my ear.
I swallowed hard as his minty breath washed over my face. "Nothing," I lied. Edward frowned and turned his attention back toward Emmett. It wasn't that I didn't want to tell him, I just didn't want to announce it to the entire car full of people.
I bit my lip and stared out the window. I ignored the rest of the conversation, contemplating what I was going to do. I was pretty sure someone was going to try to pressure me into drinking tonight, and I didn't have a clue how I was going to react.
A bright flash from the front of the car shocked me and brought my attention back to the present. I blinked rapidly, trying to figure what in the world was happening. Edward's arm wrapped around my shoulders and he gave them a gentle squeeze.
"That was an awful picture, Bella. You looked like you were a million miles away." Emmett said as he shook his head. He was pressing buttons on a small, black digital camera that I recognized as my own.
"Let's try that again, Belly baby, smile like you actually want to be here," he bellowed, lifting the camera once more.
My eyebrows knit together, ready to shout at Emmett for the stupid nickname, until I felt an electric current coursing through my stomach. I looked down to find Edward tickling my side. The joy that pierced through me delayed my giggling reaction. Once the laugh finally escaped my lips, Edward glanced over at me and we locked eyes.
The flash went off again, and Emmett let out a gusty laugh. "Now there is a picture!" He continued to chuckle until I ripped the camera from his large paws and turned it on him. I returned the favor by taking numerous pictures, the flash blinding us all.
"Cut it out, guys! I'm trying to drive here!" Alice shouted over everyone.
I rubbed my eyes once more before browsing the pictures. I could feel Edward's body lean into mine as I stopped on the picture of us. "You should smile more often, you know, happiness looks good on you." He pointed at the screen. "Oh, and I want a copy of that picture."
I looked up from under my lashes with a shy smile, and he gave me a wink. My insides melted, and my heart stopped beating. I knew I probably should have said something, but it would have come out like muddled goo.
I glanced into the rearview mirror to see Alice's eyes trained on us, and an evil smirk playing on her lips. "Oh, I'll make sure you get a copy, Eddie," she said with a wink of her own. I narrowed my eyes and gave her a death glare. A look a sister should know and respect.
Alice's phone chirped, breaking our silent conversation in the mirror. I leaned my head against the headrest, trying to figure out how in the hell I was going to get through tonight. My decision was made for me when Alice shouted that we weren't going to be cruising tonight because there was a party being held at Jackson's barn.
Great, even more inebriated people to deal with.
It didn't take long to drive out of town and find the party. Vehicles were pulled into a large circle around the barn and field, with their headlights shining for light. I slid my camera into my purse and under Alice's seat. She had started to open her door when Emmett reached over and pulled it shut.
"Oh no, we have to prepare," he said with an eyebrow wiggle I quickly understood he owned and used often.
"What's your poison Belly baby?" he asked with a chuckle.
"I, uhh – I'm not much of a drinker, Emmett. I'll just take one of those Cokes if that's okay?" I was a loser and knew it, but I was terrified.
"What?" Emmett's voice boomed, and the others began to question me as well.
Alice was out of her door in a flash, heaving the lever to her seat forward and pulling me out of the car. "Excuse us, we'll be right back," she said, yanking my arm and tugging me into the open field.
"What is wrong with you? You're in high school," she growled, "and supposed to be having the time of your life. These guys are great and we all just want to have fun, you are being such a damn sourpuss right now, Isabella." Alice's hands fell to her hips and she began tapping her foot obnoxiously on the ground.
A pose I'd seen my mother do a million times.
"I…I haven't ever drank before, Alice," I stuttered out embarrassingly.
"Why? Haven't you had opportunities? Now is the time if you are going to…"
I cut her off with my hand, "No Ali, I've had plenty of opportunities. It's just that, well…you know how dad and mom are. I don't want to end up like them," I explained, crossing my arms over my chest.
Alice pouted for a second before sighing, "Bella, you have to understand that a few drinks here or there aren't going to turn you into mom and dad. They drink daily, starting in the morning and not stopping until they are passed out in a drunken stupor. You are smart, and as long as you use this brain up here," she tapped on my head, "you'll be just fine. This is a recreational thing that all kids do. The only thing that is going to hurt you is the hella hang over you will have in the morning, but have no fear…your big sister has a cure. I'll wake up with you tomorrow and take care of you."
Hesitant, I nodded my head to agree. This was going to be a one-time thing. I wouldn't follow in their footsteps. We turned to go back to the car, but saw Edward standing in the shadows not so far away. I gulped, wondering how much of our story he had heard. I was so embarrassed of my parents, and didn't want to let anyone in on our family's weakness.
Edward stretched his arms over his body, allowing his shirt to ride up and give me a perfect stomach shot. "We are taking my truck from now on. That was just ridiculous trying to cram us all into that piece of junk." He smirked at Alice as she walked by, hitting him the gut along the way.
He cursed and rubbed his stomach before coming over to my frozen body. My feet were planted, and my eyes were still open wide. "I wasn't trying to eavesdrop or anything, I just wanted to make sure that you were okay. Are you?"
"Oh, uh…yeah. I just…God, you must think I'm a fool." I shoved my face into my hands and sighed. He reached over and tugged at my wrists until I was looking at him.
"I don't think you're a fool, Bella. In fact, the opposite if you haven't noticed. I'm going to admit something you can't ever tell Alice, but she is right, you know. Letting loose and having fun isn't going to turn you into an alcoholic. Besides, we'll all watch out for you, you'll have nothing to worry about."
He sounded so confident as he spoke.
I decided to say screw it and let my guard down a little. If anything, maybe it would help with the awkward moments Edward and I had. Mom always said that when she drank the truth poured out. Maybe I could figure out exactly what I wanted to do about Edward.
We walked over to the rest of the group, and Emmett handed me a Dr. Pepper with a grin. I opened the bottle, and before taking a sip, the strong smell of alcohol hit my nose.
I shrugged and tipped it back.
A few hours later, I found myself perched on the back of an old tailgate next to Edward. The alcohol had turned me into hot mess, and when I realized what was going on, I was leaning heavily against his side. I straightened myself and cleared my throat.
"Sorry," I apologized, my face growing warm.
"Don't be." He tweaked my chin and hopped off the tailgate. "I need a beer. You want something?"
"Nah, I think I've had enough." I hiccupped and covered my mouth in humiliation.
There was a loud chuckle as the tailgate dipped down under the hefty weight of Emmett. "Hey drunken baby girl, how's the Hot Damn treatin' ya?"
My face flushed. "I never should have let you all talk me into this." I began to sway and closed my eyes as my world started to spin. I really didn't want to get sick, but I had a feeling I should have thought about that about two drinks back. Pulling my knees up tight to my chest, I rested my head on them.
"He likes you, you know." Emmett brought me out of my reverie.
"Who?" I questioned, knowing full well we were both thinking of the same person.
"Edward. I've never seen him stare at a girl the way he does you," he said.
I raised my eyebrows, unsure what to say.
"But he'll never do anything about his little crush," Gianna snickered as she sauntered up to the back of the truck. She was wearing a thin, black halter top and tight blue jeans. Her manicured nails combing through her long dark hair. "Don't give her false hope, Emmett."
"Gianna," Emmett warned; my head bounced back and forth between the two of them.
"What do you mean by that?" I hiccupped again, trying to stay upright. She laughed before looking around to make sure no one was in ear shot.
"He can never be with you, because of your sister." She leaned in and whispered loud enough for only Emmett and me to hear.
The back of the truck rose as Emmett leaped off. He grabbed his beer, and shook his head, "This is drama I don't want to be apart of."
I watched his retreating form before I turned my focus back onto Gianna. I swallowed and noticed how dry my mouth had become. I had a bad taste forming from the alcohol, and wasn't sure I was going to make it through this conversation without vomiting.
"Wha –" I swallowed hard again before continuing, "What do you mean because of my sister?"
Gianna hopped up onto the tailgate beside me and tipped back her drink. She swooshed her cup around, glancing into it as she spoke.
"Every relationship Edward has been in, your sister has been there tagging along. Of course they are good friends, but she is like a third wheel. She goes everywhere with them, does everything with them, and after a while, it gets old," Gianna explained. "Don't get me wrong…Edward loves Alice, and I don't know whose fault it is more. I always tell him he should tell her to back off, but every time I see him with a girl, your sister is attached to them like a side car. You can't tell Alice…he told me this strictly in confidence."
She glanced around, making sure nobody was eavesdropping. "He can't be with you, because he is afraid Alice will always be around. Edward doesn't want to come between either of you, but can you see how it would be a huge conflict?"
I was shocked to hear all of this. I knew how troublesome Alice could be sometimes; she was also a determined little thing. When she wanted to, she'd attach onto someone like a leech and drain them until they could no longer handle her anymore. I sighed and shook my head, "Why are you telling me this?"
Gianna sighed and jumped down off of the tailgate. "Because you should know. I see how you look at him, too. I don't want you to set up yourself for heartache. He told me he really likes you. He is just afraid of what being with you will do not only your relationship, but the friendship he has with your sister." She grabbed my arm and gave it a gentle, reassuring squeeze before walking away.
I was trying to process everything when Edward came back up to me. "What was all of that about? Gianna looked like she told you Santa wasn't real," he chuckled.
"No, just a little girl talk." I hopped off the tailgate and swayed as I started to walk away. "I think I need another drink."