The "AwkWard" Contest
Story Title: Inhale Her
Pen name: YogaGal
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Twilight - I'm just trying to make it as awkward as possible.
To see other entries in the "AwkWard" contest, please visit the C2:
A/N: Special spanks to my beta Gallathea who helped sparkle this shiz up. And a brand new set of anal beads to HunterHunting for the preread. ILY both more than Edward loves his inhaler.
How the frick do these things get so dusty?
I grabbed another wet wipe and began cleaning the products on the top shelf, making sure I got each one. Pulling the last one off, I absentmindedly wiped it down, stroking it clean as I wondered for the eightieth time that day how the hell I ended up in this job.
My cousin Lauren had somehow convinced me that she had found the perfect retail position for me, and they would hire me immediately, no questions asked. That should have been the first red flag. But at that point, I was desperate for anything. I had needed a part time gig to last me through the summer before I started teaching English at the local high school. Having gotten the job right out of college, I was more than willing to move to the small town of Forks once hired. Despite being a college grad with a job on the horizon, I was still dirt poor and needed some sort of job with bosses who wouldn't mind me bailing once the summer ended.
And, so, that was how I found myself in my current position. I was in no place to quit; I had rent to pay and expenses from the move to deal with. Instead, I did my best to greet customers as cheerfully as possible while choking back the bile that wanted to escape my throat. I grimaced upon hearing the bell over the door chime as someone entered.
I tried to put on a smile and smoothed out the black polo shirt I had to wear as part of my uniform. Our store logo was emblazoned across the chest in bright purple and pink lettering. I turned around to see two men staring at one of the racks of magazines. The taller of the two had a huge smile on his face as he thumbed through one of the more popular magazines. He laughed out loud and clapped his friend on the back when he saw something he liked. The other guy, however, did not laugh. Instead, he hunched his shoulders even further and pulled his black-framed glasses off to clean them. He looked around nervously as his head twitched slightly. I wondered how long he'd last here before running back out to the safety of his car. Taking a deep breath, I figured I might as well do my job and see if they needed any help.
"Hello, gentlemen. Welcome to Amazing, the adult superstore for all your amazing needs."
I rolled my eyes, grimacing. I absolutely hated the fact that I had to say that damn catchphrase each time somebody walked through the door. The large man turned towards me with a huge grin and barrelled over, dragging his poor friend with him.
"Hey there," he boomed, his loud voice echoing across the store.
"Hello," I repeated. "Can I help you two with anything today?"
I braced myself for the obnoxious comeback, which happened more often than not. It was usually a smartass customer thinking he was unique using some lame line to hit on me. Apparently, working in an adult entertainment store made me appear easy. I was pleasantly surprised that despite his potentially douche-like appearance, the boisterous man in front of remained relatively polite.
"Yes, please. We're looking for some, um...stuff for our friend's bachelor party."
He looked around as he spoke, taking in our inventory. His friend still hadn't looked up, preferring to stare at the floor instead of the life-size cutout of Jesse Jane propped up next to him.
"Okay. Do you have anything in mind? Were you looking for videos or naughty favors or something?" I asked, shocked at how blasé I had become over the whole porn thing in the last month.
The tall guy scratched the back of his neck, deep in thought.
"Hm, you know, I'm not really sure."
"Well, why don't you look around and holler if you have any questions, okay?"
"Sounds good..." he trailed off and peered at my chest.
I was about to slap him before I realized he was looking at my name tag.
"Bella. My name is Bella."
"Great. Thanks, Bella. I'm Emmett, and this sad sack over here is Edward."
He playfully jostled the guy standing next to him. Unfortunately, poor Edward's balance must have been off, and he went flying right into Jesse Jane. He toppled into her, snapping the cardboard cut out in two. I barely heard him cursing under his breath while Emmett laughed up a storm. He quickly righted himself up, and held out the two pieces of the porn star towards me, looking bashful. I finally was able to get a look at him and was surprised at how cute he was. Despite the fact that his face was half covered by the large framed glasses and messy hair, I could see bright green eyes and a chiseled jaw hidden beneath a five o'clock shadow. He was kind of sexy in a total nerdy way.
"Damn, Edward. I can't take you anywhere, can I?" chortled Emmett, completely amused by the scene in front of him.
I was about to reach for the broken porn star when I realized I still had a wet wipe in one hand and a gigantic, dusty dildo in the other. I hastily rubbed up and down the damn thing, cleaning it off, so I could relieve Edward of the hoochtastic cardboard. All of a sudden, I started hearing a horrible wheezing sound. It sounded like a balloon dying and was painful to listen to. I looked up and saw Edward completely red-faced, hyperventilating.
"Dust...in...air..." he gasped out. "Asthma..."
"Oh no, he's having an asthma attack!" I shouted, as if it wasn't painfully clear.
"No shit!" cried Emmett as he hovered over Edward, not having a clue what to do.
"Inhaler..." wheezed Edward, as his hands pried at the top button of the shirt he was wearing. "In...coat...pocket..."
Emmett just stood there looking like an idiot, so I ran over, flinging the dildo up in the air, and went straight for Edward's coat pocket. I rifled in there briefly before triumphantly pulling out his inhaler. He grabbed it from me and took two puffs, his breath slowly restoring itself.
"This standard size?" Emmett asked, breaking through my adrenaline haze.
"Huh?" I asked, having no clue what the hell he was referring to.
I looked behind me to see that Emmett had caught the dildo I had tossed and was turning it every which way, carefully inspecting it. I wearily reverted back to saleswoman mode.
"That right there is the average size. We also keep in stock a large, extra large, and, um...jumbo."
"Jumbo? All right, now we're talking. I need to compare that bad boy to my..."
"Emmett!" wheezed Edward, and I guessed that if he had been able to, he would have shouted.
"What?" Emmett shrugged. "I'm just saying..."
Edward shook his head, burying his face in his hands. Something within me wanted to go over and rub his back, but that would be awfully weird, considering we had just met. Although, I had already wiggled my hand around in his pocket...
Instead, I offered him a water bottle from the mini fridge up front, apologizing for the Pirates of Penzass label on it. Edward took it from me with a slightly shaky hand and an utterance of thanks. I gave him some space and went back to straightening things up while Emmett continued to peruse the store. Every so often, Emmett would shout out, exclaiming over something he found.
"What about this one, Eddie? Do you think Jasper's seen Shaving Ryan's Privates? I know he digs those historical flicks..."
Edward occasionally responded with a groan or an exasperated sigh, but didn't speak much.
"What about a blow-up doll?" shouted Emmett from across the store. "Do you think Alice would mind sharing the bed with somebody else?"
"Dude! That's my sister," Edward grumbled, and I had to stifle a laugh.
"What about this?" Emmett called out, holding something up. "I mean, not for Jasper, of course. But maybe Rosie would like a new necklace?"
I watched as Emmett fingered the beads in his hand for a few seconds before I shouted out to him.
"Those are anal beads, Emmett. They go up your—" Before I was able to even finish my sentence, Emmett had dropped the beads and was already off to look at something else.
It was quiet for another few minutes until Emmett came hulking back over.
"Eddie, think fast!" he called out and tossed Edward something.
I couldn't quite tell what it was at first, but it was something flesh colored.
"What the hell is this?" asked Edward, inspecting it.
Oh. I noticed what it was.
"It's a pocket pussy!" exclaimed Emmett with glee.
Edward twitched once more, and his hands flung the JackOff into the air, where it ended up landing behind him with a dull thud. Edward began wiping his hands on his pants, cursing Emmett under his breath again. I had to admit, this was turning into one of the more interesting days I had ever experienced since beginning my time at Amazing Superstore.
We didn't really have a regular "type" with our clientele. What amazed me when I first started working here was how varied the customer base truly was. For some reason, I was anticipating dealing with creepy guys with greasy comb-overs, pale skin, and questionable stains on their clothes. And while I did get some of those people, the majority were regular, run of the mill folk - dads swinging by in their minivans after dropping their kids off at school, a gaggle of college-aged girls giggling over the selection of vibes and dildos, and even couples in their sixties looking to spice up their sex lives.
As I contemplated our clientele base, I failed to realize what had been happening to Edward, but a strangled cry pulled me from my thoughts. I looked over to see Edward wringing his hands, unshed tears swimming in his eyes. I walked over and noticed that his hands had swelled to almost twice their previous size and were covered in a raised, red rash. He was rocking back and forth, emitting a horrible sob-like noise.
"Edward?" I asked, wondering if I could help.
"I'm f-f-f-fine," he stuttered. "It's just an allergic reaction. Do you happen to have a washroom I could use?"
At this point Emmett made his way over and stared at Edward, his mouth flapping open and shut.
"What the fuck, dude? What happened?"
"The, um, thing you threw at me?" Edward got out through "It was made of latex, and I'm extremely allergic to latex."
"Dude!" boomed Emmett, even though we were all standing within two feet of him. "You're allergic to vag! That's insane."
"No," muttered Edward as his face flushed bright red. "I'm not allergic to v-v-v-vagina. Just latex, you idiot."
"Whatever, dude," laughed Emmett. "You're totally allergic to poon. I mean, I've never seen you with a chick, and now this..."
"It's a serious allergy, you ass," hissed Edward.
"In that case dude, you should see if Bella here has any of those sheepskin condoms in stock. Do they still even make sheepskin? I mean, yeah, I realize sheep still have skin, but do they make rubbers out of it?"
Emmett walked off laughing at himself and shaking his head. Edward turned to me, the expression on his face absolutely heartbreaking.
"There's an employee bathroom right through the back doors there, and we don't allow customers to use it," I prattled on. "But, I'd say these are extenuating circumstances and you should be fine. Just don't, um...touch anything, please."
There was no way I was going to get in trouble with my dick of a boss Mike for allowing Edward to use the bathroom. Edward scurried off, wringing his hands in front of him the entire way. I went back to straightening things up and had even helped Emmett choose a few items to purchase when Edward returned. Emmett was at the register buying his things when Edward walked up to him. His hands were still slightly swollen and tinged with red, but they didn't look nearly as bad as they had before.
"Better?" I asked as I rang up a copy of the August issue of ButtMan Magazine.
Edward shrugged but declined to answer. Instead, his eyes darted to the counter as he looked over the various products we had placed there. His hand shot out and grabbed a white tube, and he squirted some of it on his hands before I had a chance to stop him.
"Um...what are you doing?"
"Oh," he said, ducking his head down and refusing to look at me. "I thought these were samples and were okay to try."
"They are, but..."
Before I was able to explain what he just used, Edward started shaking his hands again as Emmett grabbed the tube and read off the label.
"Astroglide Warming Lube. Turn up the heat with this powerful lubricant. Nice, man, you just slathered your hands in warming lube. You're ready to make some pussy tingle!"
"Fuck, fuck, fuck," cried Edward softly, wiping his hands on his shirt, leaving streaks of lube all over it. "I thought it was lotion, and my hands were chapped from having washed them eighty times to get the latex off. Fuck."
When he said the last "fuck," he looked up at me, his gaze piercing despite the slight twitch of his eye. I won't lie; it was kind of hot. I didn't have time to try and make some googly eyes back at him, though, since he kept flapping his hands and muttering, "Fuck, it burns," over and over again. I grabbed a few of the wet wipes I had been using to clean the dildos and waved one in front of him. Edward eagerly grabbed it from me and thoroughly wiped his hands, his eyelids fluttering closed as, I assumed, the pain subsided. I rifled through my purse, which was stashed behind the counter, and pulled out a tube of hand cream that I thought might help. I tentatively held it out to him, hoping he'd accept it.
"Thanks," whispered Edward in a defeated voice.
The poor guy couldn't have had a worse day, and I felt bad for him. It didn't help that he kept glancing up at me with his big, green eyes. I doubted he had any clue how nerdishly sexy he was, but I figured this wasn't the time or the place to clue him in to that. I finished ringing Emmett up and handed him his purchases in our standard black, plastic bag. Emmett waved goodbye and headed for the exit, while Edward idled for a moment. He lifted his head up, and I could see a small smile start to show.
"Here," he said, offering me back the tube of cream. "Thank you."
I took it from his grasp, our fingers touching slightly, and I gasped at the tingle I felt. It was most likely residue from the warming lube, but I almost hoped it was something else.
A week later, I was doing everything in my power to avoid my cousin Lauren's demands that we go out for a girls' night out. Unfortunately, she was insistent, and when she showed up on my doorstep, decked out in what looked like the latest hoochwear from Forever 21, I knew I had no choice but to comply. However, I would not wear the barely there mini skirt or the super sheer top she tossed at me. My worn in jeans, v-neck shirt from Old Navy, and comfy boots would have to suffice. I could tell from Lauren's pout the entire drive to the bar that she was less than pleased.
We pulled up in front of some bar with a rope at the door and a line down the street.
"What is this place?" I asked Lauren, wondering where the hell she had taken me.
"It's only the hottest new club in Port Angeles," she said, as if I should have already known.
I rolled my eyes as she hopped out of the car, handing off her keys to the valet. We walked up to the front of the line - or rather, I walked while Lauren sashayed. She put her perfectly manicured hand on the bouncer's bulky shoulder and leaned in, whispering something. The guy looked her up and down, and Lauren winked at him. I fought back the urge to puke right there. He then scanned me over, turning back to Lauren with a raised eyebrow. She whispered something else, and he cocked his head towards the bar, motioning for us to go in. Lauren grabbed my hand and sauntered through the entrance. I followed, mostly against my will, to the sound of shouts and complaints behind us.
The place was loud, the bass of whatever crappy music they were playing thumping, causing the floor to shake. It was also crowded, and people had no problem sliding all up in my personal space just to get by. I started to head to the bar to get a drink when Lauren spotted somebody she knew.
"I'm just going to go dance for a bit, Bella," she said, her body already weirdly convulsing to the music. "Go grab yourself a drink and try to loosen up!"
With a loud rallying cry, she made her way onto the dance floor, getting completely engulfed by the massive crowd. I checked my phone and wondered how long we'd have to stay here, cursing myself for not thinking ahead and driving myself. I made my way up to the bar and did my best to await the bartender's attention patiently. I flung my hand out each time he passed, to no avail. Frustrated, I let out a groan, wondering if I'd ever get a drink. Just as I thought I got his attention, somebody clapped me on the shoulder, spinning me around.
"Pussy Pal!" I blinked a few times until Emmett's face came into clear focus.
"Emmett?" I asked, just to make sure, although I doubt there could have been any mistaking the Neanderthal in front of me for someone else.
"In the flesh, baby. How's it going, Bella? Sell any sparkly dildos today?" he laughed.
I rolled my eyes and - as discreetly as possible - looked around to see if perhaps Edward was out with him, despite not being to picture him in a place like this at all.
"No, Emmett. No sparkly dildos today. Just a butt plug and a bunch of porn."
Emmett's eyes bugged out for a second before he started laughing, clapping me on the shoulder again. I stumbled as I tried to steady myself.
"You're a funny one, Bella. Whatcha doing here?"
"Trying to get a drink, but no luck," I explained with a shrug.
Emmett pushed by me and went right up to the bar. With his booming voice and meaty hands, he demanded the attention of the bartender and got it almost immediately.
"What do you want?" he asked.
"Gin and tonic, please," I replied, pleased that Emmett had come along right at the opportune time.
I went to pay, but before I could, Emmett had already taken care of it.
"Oh, thanks. You really didn't have to do that."
"My pleasure, Bella. I figure I owed ya after all that drama Eddie pulled in your store the other day."
I waved him off and told him it was no big deal, and I swore I heard him mutter under his breath, "Eddie thought you were a big deal."
Emmett didn't seem to be going anywhere, so I tried to make polite conversation while we stood there.
"So, what are you up to tonight?"
Something I said must have reminded him of something, and he grabbed my hand, pulling me behind him. I did my best to hold on tight to my drink, but some of it sloshed out of the cup.
"Where are we going?" I shouted, but as Emmett dragged me farther from the bar, the music got louder, drowning out anything I was saying.
Finally, he led me to an area roped off to the side.
"Ta da!" he exclaimed, waving his hand with a flourish, as if he was revealing a Price is Right showcase.
I looked around and saw a velvet booth and a few chairs surrounding a table. Sitting on one end of the booth was a handsome man with wavy blond hair and piercing blue eyes. Next to him was...Edward.
"Hey," I said awkwardly, feeling weird for having crashed their party.
"Jasper, this here's the girl we were telling you about, Bella."
Oh. They were talking about me? I shyly waved at Jasper and said hi, then turned to look at Edward. He was avoiding my gaze, so I just said hello in his general direction.
"Please, take a seat, join us," instructed Emmett as he shoved me towards the empty seat next to Edward.
I plopped down, drink in hand, and quickly tossed back at least half the glass. It burned a bit going down, but warmed me up and gave me some courage.
"How...how are you doing, Edward? Are your hands doing better?"
I mentally slapped myself for asking such a stupid question. Who wants to talk about the allergic reaction they got to a latex vag? I steeled myself for Edward's response and hoped he'd be somewhat kind.
"Um, yeah. Er...um...Thanks for asking."
I finished the rest of my drink, and - emboldened by the liquor quickly taking effect - I slid a bit closer to Edward, my thigh bumping into his leg.
"Oh, shit!" he blurted out as his beer tumbled across the table.
Jasper jumped up right in time, avoiding the stream of beer that had been headed his way. Emmett tossed a few napkins on the table and then nudged Jasper.
"We'll go get some paper towels, and I'll spring for another beer for you, Ed. Bella, can I get you another drink?"
I nodded at Emmett, giving him a weak smile. He and Jasper left Edward and me alone in the dark booth.
We both started to talk at the same time, but Edward held a hand up, motioning for me to continue.
"Edward, I... I'm sorry I brought up the other day. I just wanted to see how you were doing."
I took a chance and placed my hand on his upper thigh. I thought I heard a squeak come from Edward before he began to speak.
"Bella, I... I have no idea what I'm doing here."
His breathing started to pick up, and I didn't want him to have another asthma attack, so I cut to the chase, leaning forward to kiss him. My lips landed on his, but instead of him kissing me back, as I had hoped, he just sat there, unmoving. His hand came up to his leg, however, clamping down around mine. It was clammy and sweaty. Finally, after what seemed like forever, Edward finally started returning my kiss. He turned his face slightly to get a better angle, and his glasses bopped into my nose. I leaned back slightly, silently asking if I could remove them. He nodded and then closed his eyes before leaning back in for another kiss.
I met him halfway this time, and while he squished my hand on his thigh, his tongue clumsily probed my mouth. It wasn't the best kiss ever, but it was still incredibly sweet. I knew there was a stud underneath all the anxiety and asthma, and I wanted to be the one to help find him. Before I could try anymore, Emmett and Jasper came back. A few catcalls on their part were all Edward needed to rip himself away from me.
"Sorry," he mumbled.
I took my other hand and placed it over his own, which was still clenched with mine, and gave it a squeeze.
Another round of drinks and a quick peck on the cheek later, I made my goodbyes and shot off in search of Lauren. The night had turned out better than expected. I had only a few more short weeks until I had to start up at school, so despite wanting to see Edward again, I didn't have much time. Between planning lessons and working at Amazing, I had barely enough energy to come home and make dinner for myself, let alone go out. Yet, the memory of our kisses had me itching for a way to contact him.
Instead, I channeled all of that untapped frustration into planning some kickass lessons for my students. I had packed up all my books and papers, and nervously made my way to Forks High for the teacher work day before the start of the semester. As I made my way into the main office, a shock of messy hair caught my eye. When the person turned around, I couldn't help but stumble over my own two feet.
"Hey, Edward," I said shyly, completely surprised that he was here. "What...what are you doing here?"
Neither of us had mentioned what we did for a living. I assumed they thought I just worked at Amazing; I hadn't felt the need to let them know about my real job. Edward never offered up what he did.
"Bella!" he said in surprise, looking around him as if he was searching for something. "I teach here. AP Bio. What are you doing here?"
I figured a little joking around never hurt, and it might help break the ice between us.
"Oh, special delivery?" I held out the covered box of books and thrust it towards him.
Edward took three steps back, hitting the copying machine with his butt, pressing all sorts of buttons in the process. It started churning out papers at rapid speed while Edward tried to shut it off.
"Oh, jeez. Oh...no. No, Bella. That's um...that's not okay. Not here. I don't want. I don't want your v-v-vagina here!"
My eyes widened and my hand flew up to my open mouth.
"That's not what I meant!" groaned Edward. "I meant, I hope you didn't bring that latex thing. Is this a joke? Did Emmett put you up to this?"
I shook my head quickly. "No, no. I actually work here. I just started this year; I'm teaching English."
Edward looked at me, his pale face quirking up into a half smile.
"Oh," I repeated, looking around nervously.
This wasn't going to end well, and I could already see Edward reaching for his inhaler, his chest heaving up and down. I made my exit as quickly as possible.
"Okay then. I'm sure I'll see you around. You know, like at a faculty meeting or something."
I rushed out of the office, searching the hallways for my room number so I could hide out for a bit. I knew Edward was probably just as mortified as I was. It was exactly my luck that not only did he know of my summer profession, but that we made out as well.
The sad fact was that I actually liked him, and probably would have tried to pursue him if the situation was different. However, I just couldn't see Edward being okay with a workplace romance. I tried to take my mind off of it as I decorated my classroom, stringing up literary quotes across the room.
I was down on my hands and knees, trying to find a dry erase marker that had rolled under my desk when I heard a shuffling of feet and a dry cough behind me. I went to stand up and banged my head on the underside of the desk.
"Ow!" I called out, rubbing the top of my head.
"S-s-sorry," came a voice from behind me, and I would have recognized that stutter anywhere.
"Oh, hey Edward."
I brushed off some stray dust bunnies as I stood up, placing the lost marker on my desk. I'm sure I looked a fright. The air conditioners had been on the fritz and the windows in my classroom were stuck, so I had been working in what felt like a sauna all day. I was flushed, sweaty and down to my tank top, after having gotten rid of my more demure button down shirt earlier.
"Hey, Bella. I just...I just wanted to apologize for before. I didn't mean to say that about your, um...your v-v-vagina," he stuttered once more, and I just wanted to reach out and pinch his cheeks - he was that cute.
However, before I could apologize myself, for my tactless joke from earlier, Edward continued to ramble on, his face growing redder by the second.
"What I mean is that of course I want your v-v-vagina around here. Well, no," he clarified, slapping his forehead. "Not your, you know, just...you. I like that you're working here."
I grinned, excited that Edward was actually happy about me working in the same building as him, despite his roundabout way of sharing that bit of information.
"So, if you want to possibly grab some lunch or something, I can fill you in on the school. Or give you a tour of it. Or, neither of those things. We can just stay here and talk. Although, it's awfully warm. Have you, um, noticed? That it's awfully warm? Because it is...warm, that is."
I decided to put the poor boy out of his misery. I walked over and linked my arm through his.
"I would be delighted to grab a bite with you, Edward. And I promise – no latex, and all talk of pocket pussies ends now."
Edward sputtered for a second, his eyes growing wide, before he broke out into an easy laugh. A wave of calm washed over me as I realized this could be the start of something interesting.