The "AwkWard" Contest
Story Title: It Just Happened That Way
Pen name: queenofgrey & bananapancakes7 (collab)
Disclaimer: Rated M for secondhand embarrassment & horrible sex
To see other entries in the "AwkWard" contest, please visit the C2:

The evening sky was growing pinker by the second and so were the apples of my cheeks. They started out white, the color of the crisp linen hanging on Edward's mother's clothes line, and flushed carnation pink at the mention of kisses. Edward's hand curled around mine and tugged me from the porch; my cheeks turned rosy as we neared the tree house that wound around the branches of the ancient oak across the yard. He let me climb up first, his hands ushering and aiding, and when I cleared the too-small doorway and my breathing turned quick and anticipatory as he, too, climbed inside, they flushed brighter – magenta.

Edward cleared his throat and sat in the corner as I stood, bent over in the home of our smaller, simpler youth, and felt intensely awkward.

"So, uh, you're really okay with this?" he asked, patting the floor in front of him. I eyed it warily and continued to stand, my palms running across the time-battered wooden ceiling. I chewed my lip as I thought of what was to come and my cheeks turned candy apple red at the thought of his lips on mine, the feel of a tongue foreign from my own brushing against the insides of my cheeks. I smiled demurely and nodded, my heart beating like a kick drum against my ribs. "'Cause if you're not sure, I don't want to—"

I sat, then, and scooted across the floor to him until my knobby knees touched his bruised ones and his mouth hung agape. I wiped my sweating palms across the back of my T-shirt before settling them into my lap, my thumbs fumbling together, twiddling, and I eyed him. There were definitely worse looking boys to give your first kiss. I had my heart set on him and his lips since I figured out that cooties weren't real, and that kissing actually looked like fun. He was my best friend – had been for as long as I could recall – and there just wasn't another option; it had to be him, because I was too scared to consider anyone else. Edward, with his wide eyes and shallow breathing, and the way he bent his back so he was tilted toward me, looked like he had his heart set on my lips, too. It had made perfect sense.

"We can't go into high school at a disadvantage," I told him, nodding sternly, and he nodded, too. "You're my best friend. I'd rather mess it up with you, instead of, say, some hot senior football player who takes interest in the bookish freshman that I'll be."

"This is the time for us to reinvent ourselves, Bell. You don't have to be bookish."

"I am, though," I snorted, pulling a book from my back pocket and thumbing through the pages to cement my point. He took it from my hands and set it aside, his index fingers returning to hook mine and hold them. I twisted my hands until his were no longer upon mine and poked at his chest. "And you are, too. I mean, what other thirteen-year-old uses terms like reinvent ourselves? There's no smooth brain going on there."

"Yeah, smooth brain; you really are bookish. I'll bet your future football boyfriend thinks that's a compliment." He laughed, his hands coming back to mine. I laughed with him, knowing that a wrinkly brain was best, and let his fingers curl around mine. He scooted closer, his knees pressing hard against mine, and I straightened out my legs to fit them on either side of him as he knelt between them. "So, do we just go for it?" he asked quietly, his words close enough to feel, and I shrugged. His gaze flickered from my eyes to my lips and back again, and I watched as his pink tongue pushed out and snaked across his bottom lip. I was transfixed and terribly afraid, but I leaned closer anyway. He licked his lips once more, his eyes widening further, and he whispered, "On the count of three?"

"Yeah, that'll work," I sighed, leaning so close to him that I could feel the heat coming from his lips as he breathed. I let my eyelids flutter closed, my hands holding a death grip on his, and I began our countdown to our very first kiss. "One, two—"

His mouth collided with mine, pushy lips and clanging teeth, and I couldn't tell if I was being tongue-bathed or if I was being kissed, but when I opened my eyes, Edward was there and I pressed my hands hard against his chest.

"What?" he asked, his eyes wild and his mouth panting.

"You tried to drown me in saliva," I cried, disgusted. The back of my hand wiped away the remnants of our amateurish kiss and I leaned over to transfer the offending liquid to the material of his jeans. He looked down at it and scoffed, and I held up a hand to stop him. "Try it again, but this time, less licking. I'm not an ice cream cone."

"Sorry," he said, staring down at the place where his knee met my thigh. "I was just excited, I guess."

"Well, calm down, mister, and concentrate." I palmed his cheeks with my hands and guided us back to the place we'd been before everything had gone awry. "I've read about this before at least a hundred times. Just go slow."

His bottom lip brushed against mine and I couldn't fight the chill that coursed through me, despite the balmy summer night, and my hands fell to settle upon his shoulders. I hoisted myself up as our lips came together and pulled apart over and over, his tongue locked away behind plush lips and quiet whimpers, and I leaned as close to him as I could, his body leaning back against the side of the tree house to hold us up. Simple and light turned fierce and needy – curious, above all – and his hands roamed my back as I licked at his lips. When his fingers slipped beneath the hem of my t-shirt, just barely touching my back, I pressed myself harder against his mouth and he gasped, shuddered against me, before he pulled away.

"Did you just—" I half-asked after a moment of staring at his reddened lips, his closed eyes. He did not open either of them – not a gaze, not a word – and I gasped as I fought to fend off an ill-timed giggle. "Oh, god, Edward, it's—don't—It's okay—"

The clunking sounds of Emmett's heavy boots infiltrated the awkward bumbling that had come from my lips and moments later, he appeared in the doorway of the tree house, his heavy frame causing the wooden planks to creak as he balanced upon them, too large to crawl inside. He eyed us – Edward, mostly – then broke out into thunderous laughter, our bruised lips giving us away. I avoided his stare, his wide, teasing grin, and picked up the discarded book, my eyes settling on the pages, but seeing no words.

"Don't pretend like I didn't just catch you," he said, his arm reaching in to pluck the book from my clutching fingertips. "You two were totally going at it."

"Emmett, don't be a brute," I scolded, leaning forward to try to wrangle my book back. His fingers curled around it tightly and I tried to pry them off one at a time, but found the whole effort more than fruitless. Still, I tried; deflected, because if he was set on taunting me with literature, he, surely, couldn't tease me about the redness of my lips and the look of shock, or something akin to it, on Edward's face. "Give it back, you beast."

"You hear that, Eddie? The lady wants her virginity back." He roared laughter as I squealed in disgust and batted at his biceps with my palms. "Calm down, little spitfire," Emmett chuckled, his fingers wrapping around my wrists. "I'm just fucking with you two. But, shit, kids, don't ever let me catch you doing that – you know, it."

"We're thirteen, Emmett. I don't think you have to worry about that," Edward spat from the corner of the room and Emmett released my wrists to hold up his hands in defeat. I looked back at Edward and saw that his cheeks were crimson, now, as mine had been before, and there was anger in the color, not anticipation. "What the hell are you doing up here, anyway?"

"Bella's dad's here," Emmett replied, jerking his thumb toward the house. "You're lucky it was me that came up here. Papa Swan would've put a few holes in you, if he caught you like I did. Mind your hands, little brother."

"Tell him I'll be right there," I sighed, cutting through Emmett's taunting. He nodded curtly and hopped down the ladder, his pounding steps causing vibrations in the wooden floor. I waited until the ground was steady, until we were alone, to turn to Edward. He was staring through the makeshift window, his mouth pinched into an unnaturally tight line, and I laughed awkwardly, tried to lighten the mood. "So, that was interesting."

"Interesting isn't quite the word," he muttered, his eyes shifting to meet mine for a mere second. In them, I thought I saw shame and I feared that we had crossed some invisible line with our curiosity and our needy lips, our forced tromp into adulthood. But then, he looked at me and I saw something I couldn't quite place, until his mouth curled into a smile and he said, "Amazing," so low that I could barely hear him. I blushed and toed the wooden floor with my battered shoe before slouching down and sitting beside him. He looked over at me, leaned in and kissed my cheek, and I smiled grandly at the feeling of being alive. "Sorry about the slobber."

"It's okay. At least it was me and not some hot cheerleader." I snorted as I laughed, the thought of my shy, intelligent best friend hooking a cheerleader too much to bear, and he shoved at my arm until I stopped laughing. "Sorry," I said through the remainder of my laughter. We were quiet for a minute, spurts of leftover giggles filling the silence, until I calmed down enough to blurt out the words I didn't even know my mind was forming. "About what Emmett said – maybe we should do that. That way we can screw that up together, too." I covered my mouth after I'd said the words, surprised by my suggestion, and I couldn't bring myself to look over at Edward as I backpedaled. "Not right now, I mean. But, like, you know, later. Like, if by the time we're set to graduate, like, of legal age and all, if we haven't, you know, maybe we should."

"Sex? You're saying you'd have sex with me?" he whispered the words as if they were dirty, which they were, and I brought myself to glance over at his wide eyes and hands tugging at his wild hair. I chewed my lip and nodded, shrugged. "Really?"

"I mean, let's be honest here. That's a life skill that we're going to need," I said while nodding, trying to make sense of it all as I spoke, "and we already know that you're a little quick on the draw. Wouldn't want that to happen with Miss America Cheer Queen or anything, you know?" Edward cringed and I tried not to laugh, but a giggle escaped me, anyway. He covered his face with his hands and I reached over to pat his wrist, wrap my fingers around them and pull them away. "Don't be embarrassed. It's just me."

"Yeah, it's just you and I couldn't hold it together," he sighed, frustration laden in his words, and pulled his hands away from mine. I cringed a bit, not wanting to be thought of in such a general, flippant manner, but let it slide. After all, I had made that happen – at least, in part – and that had to count for something, even if I was just me. "Maybe your idea does have some merit."

"Well, I don't want to force you or anything—"

"Isabella Marie, don't make me come up there," Charlie bellowed from the ground below us. I could practically hear his foot tapping impatiently on the dewy grass, could see the vein in his forehead that always emerged when he got frustrated. I looked over to Edward and rolled my eyes, my feet moving me closer to the entryway as Charlie yelled, "I mean it."

"You wouldn't be forcing me," Edward said, his words hitting the back of my neck as I grabbed the side of the doorway to lower myself down. When I turned to face him, to tell him that I really had to go, his lips met mine and I gasped against them. He took hold of the opportunity, of my open mouth, and slipped his tongue inside. It wasn't the drooling mess that it had previously been and it was actually kind of nice, gentle. He broke away slowly, his lips nipping at my own as he let me go, and I smiled sheepishly as I wiped the corner of my mouth with the back of my hand. "Better?"

"Much better," I told him, nodding. "I'll see you in school tomorrow."

"Peanut butter and Fluff for me, please?"

"I know," I laughed, climbing down the steps. When I reached the bottom, I stared up at him and waved as I walked off with Charlie, who seemed to be particularly grumpy. I let it slide until we reached the cruiser, when I'd had enough of his quiet bumbling words beneath his moustache, and I sighed loudly as he started the engine. "What's wrong with you?"

"Maybe I didn't want to end my weekend watching Edward Cullen shove his tongue into your face," Charlie answered, backing out of the driveway. "When we get home, young lady, there are some birds and some bees that we need to talk about."

However many shades of red are known to man, in that instant, I turned all of them.