I dabbed some glue on the back, and stuck it carefully into place, grabbing the gold gel pen out of my pencil case and writing a caption on the black card:
"I think of you as… extended family"- Mason Roberts
I swallowed hard, trying to be rid of the lump in my throat as I read his words over and over again. Perhaps the constant reminder would stop me from pining after him for much longer…
Oh, who was I kidding? I was slowly but surely falling in love with my best friend; who saw me as a little sister. How stupid, and clichéd, and utterly heartbreaking.
Chapter 2- Coffee Bean Pictures
"I hear you're dating a junior?" Jessica Stanley asked, twisting in her seat as soon as I took my own seat behind her that afternoon in Spanish.
I lifted my eyes and met hers. They were hopeful; wanting a 'no' so that she could make her move. So I lied. "Uh… yeah. What's it to you?"
She shrugged. "It just seems… a little below you to date a younger girl when you can have someone like… well, someone like me." Her attempts at subtlety sickened me.
"Why is dating a younger girl a bad thing?" I said through gritted teeth.
Jessica laughed. "You mean you haven't noticed? They haven't lived as long so, obviously, they don't know as much as us older girls do. They're naive and shallow and" – she lowered her voice to a whisper – "almost always virgins."
I kept my cool by quirking one of my eyebrows rather than slowly and torturously plucking hers out. On second thought, Jessica Stanley's eyebrows were probably drawn on anyway. "Look, Jane is very mature for her age, and she's much less naive and shallow than you, Jessica. She's a very good friend of mine and she knows much more than you do about everything. Maybe if you stopped trying to find someone to replace your vulgar boyfriend, Newton, then you'd realise that I'm not interested and move on. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like you to leave me alone."
She glared at me, but reluctantly turned in her seat just as Mrs Goff came in.
I blew out a sigh of relief and turned to the seat next to me, surprised to find that it was still empty. As Mrs Goff started the lesson, I subtly opened a new text message under the table and wrote:
Where are u man? Skiving isn't recommended ;)
A moment later, I got a delivery report telling me that Edward's phone was off. Well what the fuck was with that?
I sighed and sat back in my chair, pretending to listen to Mrs Goff's explanation of describing things in Spanish. Really, my mind was occupied by the beautiful dark-haired girl who had saved me from Jessica's wrath. Why would she do that? Why did she care so much about saving me from being flirted with mercilessly? She didn't consider me unable to get rid of Jessica by myself, did she?
Perhaps she was just being protective of me, as I would be of her if a guy was going to make a move on her. I remembered wanting to hit that Seth kid in her class when I overheard him saying how pretty he thought she was in the corridor one day. But I had only wanted to hit him because… he might have been nasty to Jane; might have hurt her.
Yeah, keep telling yourself that, a voice in my head said sarcastically.
Well, why else would I want to hit the shit out of a kid for commenting about my friend? I shot back at it.
You like her, like her, it argued.
I had no response to that; I knew that I 'liked her, liked her'. I just kept denying it. Why? There were numerous reasons, the first being that she was Edward's sister and almost like a sister to me. That would almost be incest. And incest was bad. Like, worse than bad. Other reasons included things like- she was too good for me, she would never feel that way in return, I would end up hurting her and our friendship would be ruined… the usual shit.
My phone vibrated in my hand then, and I looked down to see the delivery report telling me that my message had been delivered. I waited for his reply; it didn't take long.
At hospital with Bella. Dude, she's threatening to rip my balls off and – I swear to God – she means it :S
You mean she's freaking having the kid? Like now? Jeez. Good luck Daddy ;)
Yeah like now :S Thanks. I really need it right now. Bella's scaring the heck outta me :S I'll text u later…
I slipped my phone back into my pocket with a smile, knowing that by 'later' he meant when his kid had been born. It was strange to think that the wriggly alien-like thing that had been occupying Bella's stomach for the past nine months was going to be a real person very soon. A real person we could actually meet, and talk to, and hold. A real person that would – one day – be able to talk and walk and… everything.
The rest of Spanish was slow and boring. Usually Spanish was a bit of a lark. I guessed that only went to prove what a difference Edward made to the class. At least, for me. Finally, the bell rang and I bolted for the car park, eager to get home and start the weekend.
It was eight pm and I was sat on my bed trying to explain the concept of 'making babies' to Kenzie. She had refused to leave the room until I told her and, unfortunately, I was incapable of moving her without having her run shrieking to Mum. It was in times like these that Mum's preference for Mackenzie got really frustrating.
"Yes, I know that they give each other a big hug but how does that make a baby?" she wailed, confused at my less-than-detailed explanation.
I sighed and pinched the bridge of my nose. "Look-" But, luckily, I was interrupted by my phone ringing obnoxiously with Edward's tone. "I have to get this, Kenz," I told her, grabbing my phone and answering it instantly. "Hey, man."
"Hey, Mason." He sounded exhausted.
Like the good friend I was, I laughed. "You sound full of energy."
"If I were in the same room as you, Roberts, I would hit you," he told me, but there was humour in his tone.
"So how'd it go, Daddy?" I asked, lying back on my bed. Mackenzie scowled at me and stormed out of the room. I thanked my lucky stars. "How are they?"
Edward blew out a long breath. "I don't even… I can't… there aren't really words. He's… amazing. So tiny, though. You should see his fingernails! He's got my stupid, messy hair, but I think he looks a lot like Bella. She thinks he's gonna have my eyes, but I'm not too sure. He weighs seven and a half pounds, which the midwife said was around about perfect."
I beamed at the description of my best friend's kid. "Congrats, man, I'm so pleased for you." Then, I grinned. "So are you doing the big reveal yet?"
Edward hesitated, and then said, "Not really. Not the full name without Bella. But, Bella agreed that I should ask you…" he trailed off.
I sat up, my brow furrowing. "Ask me what?"
He sighed, and I could almost see him running a hand through his messy bronze-coloured hair. Then he blurted, "Can we use your name?"
I was stunned into silence for a moment. "Let me get this straight," I said slowly, "you want to call your son Mason?"
Edward laughed. "No. A middle name. We agreed that… well, we owe a lot to you. Without you…" He didn't finish the thought, and neither did I. We both knew that Edward and Bella would have found their happily ever after whatever happened. But things could have been very different. Especially for Bella. "Besides, what's wrong with the name Mason?"
I shook the memories from my mind, not wanting to remember the lowest point in one of my best friends' life. "There's nothing wrong with the name Mason as such," I answered Edward's question after a slight pause. "It just… seems kinda strange…"
"I know," he agreed. "His other middle…" he trailed off. "Oops. Forget I said that."
There was a slight pause and then Edward sighed. "I guess I should go; I have to call my Mum."
"You called me before her?" My surprise was transparent in my voice.
"Yeah… I… I just know that Mum will cry and I have a feeling that it's going to be hard to escape Alice without giving a name…"
I laughed. "Knowing Alice, I'd bet that you're right."
Edward said his goodbyes, and I said congratulations again before I arranged to drop in and see the baby at Edward's house on Sunday.
After I had hung up, I looked around my tiny little box room and noticed the photo on the floor. I crossed the room and bent down to pick it up; my wall was so full of photos now that they were overlapping- I would have to start on the ceiling soon. I turned the photo over in my hand and smiled when I realised that it was the most recent photo I had stuck up. Esme had taken it a few weeks back and it was of Edward, Bella, Alice, Jane and I all sat on Edward and Bella's bed, laughing like lunatics. My eyes passed over my best friend and his girlfriend and sister, and settled on the newest addition to the Cullen family. Her mousy brown wavy hair curled round her face in the most perfect of ways and her startling green eyes shone as she giggled. She was so pretty. Beautiful, in fact. My feelings were starting to confuse me. Whenever I looked at Jane, I got the same feelings in my chest that I used to get when I looked at Bella… just a lot… stronger.
I sighed and stuck it back on the wall, in its space next to the photo of Jane and I sat on the stairs. Then I stepped back and looked at the wall as a whole. It was a little embarrassing to see that there were a lot of photos of her on my wall now; it showed just how obsessed I was.
But an obsession wasn't always a bad thing… was it?
Mum cornered me the next morning as I was pulling my shoes on. "Mason?"
I knew why she had gotten up so early before she said another word; I could tell from the tone of her voice that she wanted a favour. I sighed and straightened up to look at her. "Yes?"
She smiled at me, running her skinny fingers through her short black hair and rubbing her blue eyes – my blue eyes. "Well, you see, the other day when I went… um… grocery shopping, I accidentally knocked over a stack of baked bean cans and…"
I rolled my eyes at my mother's tendency to make a story longer than it needed to be. "Just spit it out Mum."
"Well, I met a guy and I agreed to go out with him tonight and I…"
"Let me guess," I interrupted again, but I was grinning at her this time, "you want me to babysit Kenz?"
She smiled sheepishly. "Please?"
I laughed at her expression; it was almost as though she were the child and I the parent. "Sure, Mum. I'll do it."
"Thank you, Mason." She sounded relieved. But then she glanced at the clock. "You should get going…"
I nodded. "I'll see you later. Don't spend all day in the bathroom!" I teased as I pulled open the door.
She poked her tongue out at me and then waved before turning and heading back upstairs to bed, instantly putting out my fresh good mood as though she had poured water over a fire. Thanks to my lousy Saturday job as a barista in a coffee shop, I had to be out of bed at an ungodly hour on a weekend. But it paid well and it was a pretty good job all in all so I couldn't really complain.
I tucked my hands in my jacket pocket as I walked down the road and thought about the last time Mum had been on a date. She had been really excited, as she always was before meeting these men she had deemed 'perfect' after a few conversations online, and spent all day pampering and beautifying herself for the one date. She had come home in tears because the bastard hadn't even bothered to turn up. That had happened more than once, and on the other occasions, when the guys had managed to get the guts up to meet her, she had also been disappointed. There had only been one guy that had gotten a second date and it turned out that he was stealing money out of her purse so he was ditched straight away, thank God.
I frowned, not looking forward to another night of comforting Mum again; I had done enough of that to last a lifetime; Mum and I got on really well. We were more like good friends than mother and son, though that was probably something to do with the sixteen-year age gap.
Mum had grown up in Portland in Oregon, and everything had been great for her, until she had just turned sixteen. Just a week after her sixteenth birthday, she had been assaulted and raped, and then left for dead. Her best friend, and next-door neighbour at the time, Ryan, had found her taken her home. She recovered, slowly, but her assaulters weren't caught. A few months later, she found out that she was pregnant. Her whole family persuaded her to have an abortion, to get rid of the kid because of the memories that would be associated with it. But she couldn't do it. When her parents found out that she was keeping the baby, they were livid – they believed in old-fashioned morals and were afraid of what people would say when they found out that their teenage daughter had thrown away her education for a rape baby. They kicked her out and she ran to Ryan and he took her in. As soon as he graduated that year, they ran away together, to Forks.
In November, she had the baby – me – and everything was fine. Mum re-took her last two years of school and Ryan acted as a father-figure for me. Mum had always called him her hero. A few years later, when they both had steady jobs and a good income, Mum married Ryan and then they had Mackenzie. We were a perfect little family.
But then, when Mackenzie was two and I was twelve, Ryan was killed in a car accident; the other driver was drunk. Mum didn't take it well. She didn't move on for almost four years, and then she only dated people that websites claimed would be a 'perfect' match for her family, because she didn't want to put Mackenzie and I through any more hurt.
Of course, none of the matches had been perfect. All of them had been as imperfect as they could possibly get, which left me with little hope for any man my mother dated; she didn't seem to be attracted to the best types. Although I supposed that I should hold more hope for this guy, since she had met him while she was shopping, and not online. At least, that way, he couldn't pretend to be someone he wasn't when he was hidden behind a shield of a computer.
I pushed the thoughts about Mum from my mind as I came into work then, plastering a smile on my face instead for the early Saturday rush that was due to start in about ten minutes. I shot a grin at Tash, who scowled back at me as I ducked under the counter to grab my apron and name tag. No sooner had I put both of those on, the first of the steady stream of customers came in.
The morning was steady, but not busy. People popped in and out but there were never too many waiting at once. Eventually, at about lunchtime when people went to places that sold food as well as coffee, the Flying Bean was empty. I was kind of disappointed when it got empty on these Saturdays. The girls I worked with alternated days so when Lucy was working, it was great. We put bets on what coffees people were going to order and how long they'd stay and loads of other stuff and generally had a laugh. Tash, though, was a moody cow. She had short black hair and thickly-black-rimmed eyes and spent most of her time moaning about her shitty life to her equally-emo boyfriend on the iPhone that her rich Daddy had bought her. You know the type.
So I reached under the desk for a sheet of paper and my pot of coffee beans. Whenever a coffee bean was dropped on the floor, or whatever, Lucy or I saved it and put it in our little pot. Then, when we were particularly bored, we used them to make pictures.
I blocked out Tash's monotone whining as I spread out my beans and got to work. I was concentrating so hard on my picture that I didn't hear the bell ring when the door opened and a customer came in.
"What's that?" a too-familiar voice asked.
I jumped and scattered the beans everywhere before looking up to meet that pair of gorgeous green eyes. I was rendered speechless until the dark but dainty brows above the eyes raised slightly, questioning me. "Um…" I stuttered, "it was… just a picture."
Jane rolled her eyes. "I could see that, Mason."
I shrugged. "It was a tree, I guess. I dunno. I get bored."
Jane looked around, twirling a strand of wavy brown hair around her first finger. "I don't blame you." She smiled at me then. "I didn't know that you worked here."
I shrugged again. "Yeah. I've been working here for about six months now." I leant against the counter, pretending to be cool or something stupid like that, but I hadn't factored in the sheet of paper and it slid along the desk, making me slip slightly. I steadied myself and tried to look like I had meant to do that.
It didn't wash; Jane giggled.
I cleared my throat. "So… what can I get for you, little lady?"
"This is a coffee shop, right?" She looked down the list of confusingly-named coffees.
Her eyes returned to me. "So why don't you just sell coffee?"
I laughed. "Okay. See this? The 'Simply Smooth'?"
"That's a white coffee," I told her.
Jane's brow furrowed slightly before she said, "Well, why don't you just call it a white coffee then?"
"That's something you'll have to ask the manager, Jane." I tried to keep the smile from my face so that it wouldn't look like I was mocking her but, of course, that failed. Just like everything else I was doing today.
"I'll have one of those, please." She bit her lip, suddenly nervous, and then said, so quietly that I almost didn't hear her, "Will you sit with me?"
I blinked. "What?"
"I'll buy you a coffee? Just… take a break. I'm alone and you're bored…" She trailed off.
I grinned. "Sure, of course I'll sit with you. But you don't have to buy it; I get it free." I winked at her.
Jane watched silently as I made her white coffee (or 'Simply Smooth') and my hot chocolate (or 'Chocolate Heaven') and then followed me to the table in the back corner.
"Why here?" she asked as I sat down.
I pointed to the gap between the sit-in tables and the serving desk as I replied, "Because I can see when customers come in. Plus, this is my favourite table."
She sat gingerly opposite me, still very nervous though I couldn't work out why. Jane was funny like that. She could be laughing and joking with me one minute, like the day before as I had stolen her chips, and then the next… getting a word out of her was harder than persuading Mackenzie to eat anything green. And that was pretty damn hard. "Why?" she wondered as she took the mug off of me, curling her slim fingers around the mug and tapping her long nails against the china.
I thought about my answer for a second. "Because it's out of the way while still being in sight. It's kind of on the periphery of everything but it's also right there, you know?"
She nodded thoughtfully and then took a sip of her coffee. She smiled at me when she saw me staring and said, "Nice coffee."
"It all depends on the beans."
"Well then… these are some damn good beans."
"You bet your bottom dollar they are." I couldn't help the huge grin that lit up my face whenever Jane was around. It was almost… almost natural in a way. I changed the subject. "So, I guess you heard from Edward, huh?"
She sighed. "Yes."
I raised my eyebrows, asking her what was with her irritated tone without actually asking her.
She sighed again; more exasperated this time. "It's just… that's all anyone's talking about. We're going to visit them this afternoon and I thought I'd come here for a quick break from it all and it's practically the first thing out of your mouth too…"
"Actually, the first thing out of my mouth was…"
"Alright smart arse," she cut me off with a – pretty good – faux British accent, before continuing with her rant. "I'm just a little fed up with hearing 'oh, I wonder what the baby's name will be' and 'oh, I wonder how Edward, Bella and the baby are now' and 'I bet it's the cutest kid in the world'… blah, blah, blah." She waved a hand in the air to emphasise her point.
"Not into babies, huh Jane?" I teased.
"Not into Bella," she muttered before taking another sip of her coffee.
I sighed, but didn't otherwise respond for a few moments before saying, "So Alice didn't manage to get the name off of Edward then?"
"Nope. Bella's probably picked out an awful name anyway to be honest. She told Alice that she liked the name Renesmee once." She made a face. "It's a good thing that the kid's a boy because, really what is that all about?"
"Er… well, call me stupid, but it sounds like both of their Mums' names combined to make…"
Jane glared at me. "Do you make a joke out of everything?"
"Most things," I admitted. "Edward said that they were hoping to be back today?"
Jane nodded and drew circles on the tabletop with her finger. "Yeah. I think they got the all-clear this morning, as long as Bella stays in bed for, like, ages." She pulled another face; Jane had an extraordinary variety of irritated expressions. "So I'm gonna be up all night, and everyone will be making a fuss over the kid and stuff."
I hesitated and then said slowly, "Do you have an aversion to kids in general? Or just… Bella?"
Jane shrugged. "Mostly Bella. I mean, I don't hate her. She just irritates me some and…"
I held up a hand to stop her excuses. "Don't."
Jane had the decency to look a little sheepish, even though I wasn't having a go at her. I understood why she didn't like Bella… sort of. Okay, that was a lie. I had no idea why Jane disliked Bella so much.
I took a deep breath before continuing. "I have to babysit Kenzie tonight and, if you want to get out of the house, you can come and stay with me."
Jane's whole face lit up and she nearly dropped her coffee in excitement. "Really?" she exclaimed after setting her coffee down.
I laughed. "Sure."
"Awesome!" She opened her mouth to say something else, but then the bell rang and a customer came in.
"Mason!" Tash called in her annoying nasal voice.
"Bitch," I muttered to Jane. Then I grinned and winked at her. "Come round at seven thirty. I'll see you then."
Her eyes shone as she nodded and waved me off.
I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face as I headed over to the counter to take the customer's coffee order. Suddenly, the whole babysitting gig wasn't looking too bad after all.
Hey guys! How much did we miss Mason, really? :D Well there's a little bit of what's going on in his head ;) And if you're not liking Jane too much right now (what with her not liking Bella) then don't worry 'cos we're heading back into her POV next chapter (I think) and so it'll be explained then ;)
BTW- I'm gonna be sticking with the title I think but thanks so much for the suggestions! :)
Okay, I have a few things to say this time.
Firstly, if you read any of my other fics or those pesky A/Ns, then you'll know that I'm taking part in the 'Fandom Gives Back' auction as are many BRILLIANT fanfic authors. I'm not going to post the same message because I don't want to get on your nerves but if you want to know more, see chapter 2 of the outtake story. Basically, I'm selling you guys any outtake you want from any story- and all of the money goes to a charity for children with cancer. There's one up for bid, or you can now BUY them for $5. That way you'll definitely get the one that you want without having to wait. BUT there is only one day left that they're available and, after that, these outtakes won't necessarily be written. So I'll shut up about this now but there's links and more information on my profile as well as examples as to what you might want to read about :)
Secondly, three friends and I are starting up a brand new rec site! We decided that not enough is being done for those amazing fics out there that have like no reviews. The link to the site is on my profile and you can find out more there but the first recs will be posted on Wednesday. So if you're looking for a new read and are up for supporting the underdogs of fanfiction then check it out :D
Thirdly, moonlight studio is holding a one-shot contest based on lyrics and she needs more entries. I know that lots of people like entering and don't always know about these things so if you're wanting a contest to try your hand at then check out the link on my profile :)
And I do believe that's it :)
OH! I am seeing Eclipse TOMORROW EVENING (Saturday 3rd July) so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE no spoilers or ANYTHING until after that- if it's awesome, GREAT, but I want to work that out for myself ;) But, just for the record, I'm beyond stupidly excited ;) I'm just gutted that after Eclipse there is nothing until November 2011! How will I live?
Now, I'm starting up a new thing. I tried it with 'Victim of a Teenage Nobody' and I think it was fairly successful. I'm gonna offer PREVIEWS for REVIEWS :) So if you review, I'll reply with a sneak peek of the next chapter… unless you tell me you don't want one :L They might be a little delayed what with me going to see Britain's Got Talent live tomorrow afternoon and then Eclipse in the evening (!) but they will come :)
And now that really is it :L Sorry about the long A/N :S
Please review! :D