A/N: Thank you so much to AngelGoddess1981 for betaing this for me. Bethaboo wanted to be surprised, and she stepped up and was completely awesome.
This was written for my fuckawesome beta, Bethaboo, in honor of her birthday. She does so much for me, all the time, and I wouldn't be half the writer I am without her encouragment and support. I don't know how many times I typed out ims to her while writing this to run something by her, only to remember that I couldn't; I really do mean it when I say I don't think I could do this without her.
Babs, you wanted E/B fluff set in Fenway Park, so I hope you enjoy! Happy birthday!
Disclaimer: I am not Stephanie Meyer, and therefore do not own Twilight or the characters.
"Swan, how much do you love me?"
I snorted into the phone receiver, garnering a laugh from the deep, smooth voice on the other end of the phone. I couldn't help but join in the amused laughter.
"Oh, Edward, you know I love you and your pasty ass to bits. What reason do I have to love you today?" I asked, teasing. My words were truer than I'd like to admit, but considering he had no idea that I had loved him as more than a friend, I covered my honesty with humor.
"Well, Bella, I suppose that depends on whether or not you have plans for tonight," Edward replied.
"Actually, no. I was going to go out with Alice later, but Jasper's sick, and she wanted to stay home and take care of him."
"My sister is such a sucker," he said, and I could envision the way he shook his head and smiled wryly.
"Well, yes, but I can't be too mad at her…after all, I get to kick back, watch the Red Sox game, and drink a beer or two. What's up, though? Did you want to come over and watch it with me?"
Edward Cullen and I met in class at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. It was a course on genocide, which we both were taking to fulfill a core requirement. I was taking the class as a sophomore; he was a junior. We sat next to each other in the small class, and would often catch lunch together afterwards. We both needed a bit of good company and conversation after such a depressing class.
After the semester ended, we kept in touch, and would try to have lunch or dinner together at least once a week. That summer, I stayed to work and take a couple classes. His family lived in Cambridge, as his mother, Esme, worked for Harvard's admissions office. His father, Carlisle, was an attending surgeon at the Massachusetts General Hospital. When the spring semester ended, Edward simply left the dorms, and stayed with his parents and sister, Alice.
The apartment I subleted for the summer wasn't far from their home, so Edward and his parents would frequently invite me over for dinner. Alice, who was actually my age, but was going to the Rhode Island School of Design. She was working on a degree in textiles, and minoring in printmaking. She hoped to design new and unique fabrics that would revolutionize the fashion industry. As different as we were, Alice and I became friends.
I had thought Edward the most handsome man I had ever seen from the moment I laid eyes on him. That never changed. As I got to know him, I realized that he was also one of the most intelligent people I had ever met. Oddly enough, he was also one of the kindest and most generous. I think I realized that I was in love with him before the summer had ended. Of course, I knew that I would never be enough for someone like him.
My older brother, Emmett, moved to Cambridge the following fall so that he could get his Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Despite the rivalry between Harvard and MIT, Edward welcomed Emmett into our circle of friends. Alice began dating Jasper Whitlock, a sculpture major at RISD, and the two of them would come up to Cambridge every other weekend to visit since Providence was only an hour away by train.
Eventually, we all graduated, but everyone stayed in the area. Even though our parents lived on the west coast, Emmett and I had both fallen in love with Boston and couldn't bear to leave. He worked for MIT doing research. Alice and Jasper even moved up so they could be closer to us. Edward attended Harvard Law School after he graduated, and I was still working towards my PhD in Comparative Literature. Edward liked to tease me because I wanted to become a professor, and I couldn't really complain. I liked academia. If I could be an eternal student, I would be, but I was willing to settle for sculpting the minds of students.
Edward and I remained close friends, though it killed me whenever we went out together to a local bar- because he would invariably end up being hit on by swarms of girls- even though it could have been possible I was his date, not his friend. Apparently, I wasn't the only person who could see that Edward clearly deserved someone better than me. It broke my heart a little every day, but I would much rather be friends with Edward than not have him in my life.
That being said, I was not looking forward to watching Edward get hit on by a bunch of floozies today. We had discovered our mutual love of baseball one day when his dad was watching the game, and I started yelling at some of Manny Ramirez's more outrageous antics years ago, and he jokingly asked me to marry him on the spot.
"You could say that. Let's do it up fan style, and hit up Lansdowne Street. You wear some of your cutesy Sox gear, and it'll be just like we were in Fenway," Edward said with an odd enthusiasm.
"You seem awfully excited for just going to the bars," I said, wondering if there was something I was missing. He'd been studying for the bar recently, and I was momentarily paranoid that he had already taken the test, and I had missed it, until I remembered that it wasn't for another month.
"Whatever, Swan. Beckett's finally off the DL, and he's pitching tonight. I know how much you love your sweet little manwhore, Josh."
"I know. I'm so excited. Hopefully he's coming back with more confidence than he had before he got injured, though. I swear that man frets more than a Jewish mother at the first sign of trouble."
"Now, now, Bella. You know that's a horrible stereotype, right? I mean, really."
"And you know my mother is Jewish, so I'm allowed to say crap like that," I retorted.
Edward huffed into the phone's receiver, and I snickered at how amusing his annoyance always was. "Fine. Put on your gear, and meet me in front of Unos in Kenmore at 6:45. We'll walk to Lansdowne from there."
"Yes, sir," I said, complete with a mock salute that he would never see.
It was already 5:15, and I had just come back from a run when he called, so I hopped into the shower, and got ready. As per his request, I donned my favorite Sox jersey and hat, and headed out the door.
I decided not to ride my bike over to Kenmore as I normally would have, due to the high likelihood there was that I would be drinking. We were, after all, heading to a bar, and though I wasn't sure you could get charged with a DUI while on a bicycle, I knew that it was a really bad idea. I assumed Edward had the same thought, and would be riding the T with me on my way home.
I spotted Edward right where he said he would be, and waved as I crossed the street. I was early myself, and was impressed that he was clearly excited if he was this early. While he wasn't always habitually late, he wasn't always the most prompt person either. I couldn't remember the last time he beat me to a rendezvous. He smiled back at me when he spotted me, and I laughed at the fact that of the two of us, I was the one wearing a hat. He took perverse pride in his hair, and while the messy look admittedly looked rather sexy, I frequently called him a girl for his vanity.
I used to think it was styled to look like that, until I went to mess it up one day, and it felt like silk under my fingers instead of sticky product.
As soon as I stood in front of him, he pulled me into a hug, and I giggled as I felt him bouncing slightly.
"What the hell has you so damn excited?" I asked, unable to curb my curiosity at his strange behavior.
"You know, Bella, I've never figured out how you manage to look hot while wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a hat. I mean, I'm wearing the same thing minus the hat, and can't touch the level of hotness."
I beg to differ on that last part, I mused. He looked like sex on a stick with the twinkling green eyes and contagious smile. As much as I hated to admit it, the hair that looked like he'd just gone three rounds in bed didn't hurt, either. Nonetheless, his inquiry begged the question of why he was asking me to answer for my entire gender.
Still, I took the bait. "What can I say, Cullen. You lack the breasts that make this shirt look good. It might also be that they cut the girl shirts to flatter said assets."
"You have a good point," he conceded. "Who are you wearing?" Edward asked, half-heartedly leaning forward as if he would take the time to look for himself without actually doing so.
"Who do you think? Petunia," I stated. It really was obvious. Dustin Pedroia was far and away my favorite Red Sox player. I adored Josh Beckett, and would jump Ellsbury in a heartbeat, but I thought that Pedroia was the unofficial heart of the team. He played his hardest every game, and even though he was tiny for a ball player, he was incredibly talented. He was also a hilarious little shit that improved morale on a daily basis, but that was just a bonus, as far as I was concerned.
As for the nickname, when he first joined the team, Emmett grossly mispronounced his last name, and it came out Petunia instead of Pedroia, and well, the more we saw him play, the more we thought that the nickname was priceless.
"How about you?" I asked, realizing that I didn't know whose shirt he'd be wearing.
"Your boyfriend's," he replied. I arched an eyebrow, actually uncertain if he was referring to Beckett or Ellsbury. "Beckett. He's on the mound, so I figured that I should probably support him."
I smiled and shook my head. We had been heading down the street and over the bridge towards the park, when I realized that I had no idea where exactly we were headed.
"Which bar are we hitting up? You know I refuse to go into Game On, so will it be the Cask and Flagon, or Boston Beer Works?" I asked. I may have been a bit of a snob when it came to the sports bars I entered. I refused to set foot in any bar where every male in the place thought it was okay to grab my ass (or worse, my chest).
"Follow me," he said, grabbing my hand and pulling me along without answering my question. Asshole.
I didn't really protest, knowing that when Edward got something in his head, there was no stopping him. He clearly didn't want me to know what he was up to, so I might as well just let him surprise me. When he turned the corner at Game On, though, I stopped in my tracks.
"I thought I said no Game On, asshat."
"Bella, we're not going to Game On. I'm not in the mood to watch other guys groping you all night, and I wouldn't put you in that position to begin with. Trust me, you're going to like where we're heading."
He tugged on my hand, and pulled me across the street to Fenway Park. "Uh… you do realize you need tickets to go in there, right? I mean, they generally arrest people who try to sneak in."
"Thank you, Swan, I wasn't aware of that," he retorted.
For a moment I thought he'd say something else, but I realized there was no "but" to his statement.
When he joined the nearest line, I simply shook my head. When he proceeded to wait in said line, I started tapping my foot on the pavement. When we reached the front of the line, and he pulled out a pair of tickets from his pocket, my eyes widened. When he tugged me into the stadium, I think it finally hit me that he was actually taking me to the game.
My eyes were wide as we emerged into the stands. This was Fenway fucking Park, after all, and everything about it had a bit of magic to it. He continued tugging me along, and when I finally tore my eyes from the field, I looked over at Edward. He had a huge grin on his face, and was watching me intently. Clearly, he was enjoying the look of awe I was sure to be sporting.
"Surprise," he said, still grinning foolishly at me.
"How? What? Are you kidding? I still am expecting someone to come running up to us because we're not supposed to be here. How did this happen?"
We finally reached our seats, which were right beside third base, about two rows from the field. I looked from the field to Edward, and I could feel that my eyes were wide and eyebrows both raised. My mouth was also hanging open slightly, but I decided there was nothing that could be done to prevent myself from continuing to look dumbfounded.
Finally, he decided to put me out of my misery and speak. "You look like a six-year-old being taken to Disney World for the first time." I nodded for him to continue, finally managing to close my damn mouth. "Well, my advisor has season tickets—these seats, to be exact—and couldn't come to tonight's game. Well, he had to go out of town unexpectedly for some family emergency, and asked me if I could watch his dog for the next few days. As thanks, he offered me these tickets, and of course I accepted. I mean, these are great seats. I actually was supposed to take your brother, as an early birthday present, but he ended up canceling on me at the last minute. I couldn't let the ticket go to waste, so I figured I'd see if you wanted to come along."
"But you didn't see if I wanted to come along. You sort of tricked me into coming," I pointed out, before realizing that I was in Fenway Park about to see the Red Sox play, and I was totally missing the point. "Really, though, thank you so much! I can't believe that. These seats are awesome!"
"I'm glad you're happy. I thought the surprise would be worth it, but I am sorry that I tricked you," he said, still smiling, and not seeming sorry at all.
"I guess you're forgiven, just this once. Seriously, you could probably tell me that my dissertation is going to be rejected, and I wouldn't really mind right now."
Edward laughed. "You'd think you were a Fenway virgin with the way you're carrying on."
I felt my cheeks warm, and knew that I was now blushing. I forced a quiet chuckle and a smile on my face, but I knew the damage was already done.
"Wait…Swan, you have been to a game before, right?"
"Edward, you've known me for what, seven years? In all that time, have I ever called you up to gloat about the fact that I was going to a game? I mean, you have to know I would have done that."
"You're one of the biggest Sox fans that I know! How could you not have been to a game before?"
"Uh, poor college student?" I stated, pointing at myself. "I don't have the funds for the tickets; Fenway isn't exactly a cheap park."
"Still, between your dad and Phil, I'm shocked that you haven't made it to a game when they were visiting or anything," he said.
"Well, I have been to Safeco Field in Seattle. Charlie's a Mariners fan, and he's taken me to a couple games. I really liked the sport, but never really took to the team, much to Charlie's displeasure. One of the games he took me to was against the Sox, and I think I made him cry when I found myself cheering for the Sox. There was something about Jason Varitek tapping his cleats with the bat after every pitch that made me take notice.
"After the game, I started following the team a little more. I read about the rivalry with the Yankees, and thought it was really interesting. When I actually moved to Boston for school, I was able to watch the games on TV, and started to really follow them. I like to think that it's kismet that I moved to Boston and we won the World Series."
"Well, obviously that was all you," Edward said. "Joking aside, I can't believe I never realized that you hadn't actually been to a game here. And I feel like more of an ass knowing that I've been to games a few times a year and never thought to take you."
"You didn't know, and I didn't really broadcast it. Besides, I'm here now and the game is about to start!"
"Well, before it begins, do you want to grab a couple of beers and something to eat? They have amazing sausage here."
"Ooh! A Fenway Frank!" I exclaimed, clapping my hands together slightly.
"Six year old," Edward muttered, shaking his head with a broad smile on his face.
After we grabbed a hot dog and a couple cups of Sam Adams Summer Ale, we went back to our seats. I had teased him when he first suggested that we each get two beers…and then I saw the line, and realized that was absolutely the way to do it. You could end up spending half the game inside waiting for beer, or you could be outside enjoying the game. Clearly, I knew which one I was going to pick.
Beckett took the mound, and I was ecstatic that the time off had seemed to calm the boy down. He was throwing the ball really well, and was varying his pitches nicely. His curveball looked particularly nasty today. It was a good Josh day, and good Josh days were a beautiful thing to behold.
We were playing the Tampa Bay Rays, and while not the Yankees, they were a solid team, which promised that the game would be a good one. James Shields was on the mound for the Rays, and was known as "Big Game James" to Rays' fans. Of course, here in Boston, we generally thought he was more of a "Douche Bag James," and loved to hate him. The fact that he seemed to not be in top form today was just a bonus.
I was completely engrossed in the magic that was watching a game in Fenway. The constant roar of fans as they cheered, the vendors who pedaled their wares down each aisle, and the way everyone seemed to know when to jump to their feet in excitement all combined to create an experience like no other. It was intoxicating, and for about two innings, I lost myself to the magic of Fenway, not quite forgetting that Edward was beside me.
It was the bottom of the fourth that the Sox finally started doing some serious damage against Shields. Scutaro had gotten a 1 out single, and Shields walked Ellsbury. When Petunia stepped up to the plate, I had a good feeling about what was going to happen. He fouled off a couple of nice pitches, but when Shields threw a low fastball, Pedroia seized the opportunity, and sent a laser out towards the Green Monster. He missed the home run by only a couple feet, but managed to get a 2 RBI triple. After that hit, Ortiz grounded out to second, and Youkilis struck out, stranding Pedroia at third. As much as I wanted to be angry that they couldn't make anything else happen in the inning, I was too excited that we were on the board.
After finally getting on the board, I couldn't help but relax a bit. I was smiling widely as the Sox to the field when I noticed Edward watching me with a small smile on his lips and a gleam in his eye.
"What?" I asked.
"Your smile is just so infectious. I don't know the last time I've seen you so excited and happy," he replied.
"It's just so incredible here. I know I wasn't your first choice of companion today, but I really appreciate you bringing me. This is one of the best nights."
"You're welcome. I'm glad I could be here to share your first game with you."
"Me, too. I don't think it would be quite as awesome if it were with anyone else. You're my best friend, Edward." I admitted. I saw something flash in his eyes, but I couldn't grasp what the fleeting emotion was before he smiled and hugged me.
The score remained 2-0 Boston until the sixth inning, when J.D. Drew hit an unexpected solo home run. I think I stood there for a solid thirty seconds with my mouth hanging open before I shook myself out of my stupor. We manufactured two more runs in the inning, and I knew that Shields wouldn't be coming back for the seventh. After the inning was over, Edward and I decided we were still hungry and decided to grab a sausage and some ice cream.
"I don't know how to describe it. The sausages are just better here," Edward said.
"For some reason, I tend to doubt that."
"Whatever. It's part of the experience, which is what's important. You can't come to a game without getting a sausage with sautéed onions. They're surprisingly delicious, and a Fenway classic. Why would anyone want to eat pizza or clam chowder at a ball park?"
"It is Legal Seafood's clam chowder, which is by definition incredible, but I agree. Soup and baseball are not a natural pairing."
"Exactly my point, Swan."
We got in line, when I heard a booming laugh behind me that sounded strangely familiar. I turned around and spotted my brother, Emmett, laughing with his new girlfriend, Rosalie. She was absolutely gorgeous, brilliant, and extremely intimidating. What really struck me at the moment wasn't that they were at the game together, but that Emmett was at the game at all, considering Edward said he couldn't make it. I looked at Edward, who hadn't seemed to notice my brother yet, and just smiled at me.
"Emmett!" I yelled. I easily caught his attention, and he walked over to where Edward and I were standing. I glanced at Edward, and rather than looking shocked and happy to see Emmett, his eyes were wide, and he seemed to be panicking. What the hell was going on?
"Hey there, Bells, Edward! I didn't expect to see you both here! Isn't this game awesome?" Emmett asked.
"Yeah, it really is," I replied.
"Hey, isn't this your first game in Fenway, too? Is it incredible, or what?" Emmett asked.
"It's so amazing. No lie. I thought you were busy working on some project tonight?" I said.
"Uh, no. Rose's friend got food poisoning and couldn't make the game, so she asked if I wanted to come with her. I didn't know I was coming until about six tonight, but I was lucky I didn't already have plans."
"Yeah, Edward had an extra ticket, too. Looks like we're just lucky bastards, eh?" I asked. I didn't know why Edward had lied to me, and said that he was going to take Emmett to the game before, but when I looked at him for an explanation, his face was a blank mask. Clearly he had gotten his panic under control.
"Damn right, we are. I'm glad he's convinced you to get sausage. They're beyond good, Bells." Emmett said.
"That's what I keep hearing. Apparently, I've been living under the misconception that hot dogs were the preferred food at baseball games. I don't know how you all let me live in such ignorance for so long."
"Well, Bella, it looks like we're both sausage virgins," Rose stated, causing, Edward, Emmett, and I all to snicker. "Oh come on, you guys. What are you, thirteen? I expected it from Emmett, but not from you, Bella," she admonished.
It just made me laugh harder before responding. "I'm sorry Rose, but you walked right into that, and you forget, I've had Emmett's sense of humor around me my entire life. It was bound to rub off a bit."
"That's what she said," Emmett chimed in, causing Edward to laugh harder.
"I'm sorry. It's true, though. I don't think you can spend a year hanging out with Emmett without thinking about how any sentence could be dirty," Edward explained.
"Wait a second, Rosalie. I thought Emmett said you were a vegetarian?" I asked, sure that Emmett was griping about being forced to eat felafel for dinner because she was a vegetarian, before calling me after the meal to praise the mighty chick pea.
"I eat meat socially," Rose replied.
I bit the inside of my cheek to prevent laughing, just as Edward grabbed my hand and squeezed it tightly, likely trying to keep his own laughter at bay. I squeezed it back.
"I'm sorry... I don't know what that means?" I said.
"It means that I try to eat vegetarian whenever possible, but if a social situation arises in which it's more appropriate for me to eat meat, I will."
That's what she said, I mentally added.
"That's what she said," I heard murmured quietly from beside me, and I chuckled as I looked at Edward. He wasn't normally the one to crack that particular joke. I don't know if I'd ever been more proud of him than I was at that moment. I mentally wiped a proud tear from my eye.
I glanced at Emmett, and he wasn't even trying to hold in his laughter. I shook my head at him.
"You all are impossible," Rose stated with a huff. If she was expecting contrition, she wasn't about to get it. We all burst out laughing.
"I actually think that's a cool philosophy. I can appreciate your willingness to eat meat at times, even if you prefer not to do so on an everyday basis," I said, trying to hold back my giggles as I did so.
"Thank you, Bella. I knew there was a reason I liked you," Rose said with a smile. "You boys are still both jackasses."
I caught Rose's eye, and we both joined the guys in laughter. Maybe she wasn't as bad as I had thought. I guess she had to be a pretty cool chick if Emmett cared about her.
After we had our sausages, I was forced to admit that it was vastly superior to the Fenway Frank that I had consumed earlier. Rosalie even enjoyed it. Edward, of course was smug that I had agreed with him. Before we went back to our seats, we decided to get some ice cream, since the line was shockingly short. When I saw that they sold it in little helmets with the Boston "B" on it, I knew I had to have that. Edward decided to do the same, siting a desire to have a matched set. Apparently this wasn't the first time he had paid extra for a silly helmet.
I hadn't forgotten that Emmett was never supposed to come to this game. By the time Emmett said he agreed to go to the game with Rose, Edward had already called me to come with him forty five minutes prior. I still couldn't figure out why he would lie to me. Why wouldn't he just tell me that he wanted to take me? If I was his first choice of companion for the game, why couldn't he have just told me that? I would have been thrilled, and touched... unless he thought I would read too much into his action.
I didn't even want to consider that he might have realized that I have feelings for him. There was nothing I could do if that was the case, and the more I thought about it, the more I thought that he probably had. It wasn't like I was terribly subtle. I refused to let myself worry about how he was going to tell me that he couldn't be so close to me because he was afraid of my feelings for him. This was my first game at Fenway, and so far, it had been incredible. I wouldn't let anything taint the experience.
Beckett didn't return in the eighth inning. I was momentarily terrified that they'd put in Okajima, Delcarmen, or Ramirez in to pitch. I swear to god, every time they take the mound, I get an ulcer. It's not a good thing. I was fretting, and Edward was trying to calm me down. I don't know who he thought he was trying to convince that any of those three would manage to keep the Rays in check...it certainly wasn't me.
My fears were mercifully unfounded when I saw number 51 emerge from the bull pen.
"Daniel Bard, I want to lick you!" I heard myself yelling loudly. The guy standing next to me, who had introduced himself as Doug from Easthampton, MA, looked at me and started laughing. I felt mildly embarrassed, until I looked over at Edward who looked like someone had just kicked his puppy.
"I thought you liked Bard," I said.
"You want to lick him? Is he your type?" Edward asked.
I raised an eyebrow, not really understanding where this was coming from. "Well, I also want to molest Ellsbury and Beckett, but there's something about Bard and his scruff that I want to lick. That, and he has one hell of a fine ass."
"You like guys with scruff?" Edward asked. I wasn't sure if it was too noisy to hear my complete statements, but considering I didn't have any problem hearing him, I decided not to repeat myself again.
"I like scruff, yes, but I also think he's one hell of a pitcher. He's been throwing really well. I mean, clearly he's not ready to be the next Papelbon, but he's getting closer."
"And that's what makes you want to lick him?"
I rolled my eyes, and simply said, "Yes." I really didn't think having a circular discussion was going to make either of us happy. I didn't know if my disinterest in playing along was what caused the scowl to appear on his face, but I didn't really care. Bard was pitching, and it was a sight to behold.
I'd like to say that he struck out all three batters in nine pitches, but the first batter fought like hell before he struck out, and the second Ray's hitter hit a long pop-up that was mercifully caught by Ellsbury. The third batter grounded out to end the inning after getting a full count and about eight foul balls.
I'd also like to tell you that we got more insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, but we didn't. It was actually a rather short inning. Surprisingly, Bard actually pitched the ninth. I was anticipating seeing Papelbon come out, as he was our normal closer, but since it wasn't a save opportunity, they let Bard close it out. He managed to walk the first batter, but struck out the second. The third hit into a double play, ending the game neatly.
We left the park, and walked to the T station. I was still riding the high of a good ballgame and the excitement that came with being part of the crowd at Fenway. "It's like an entirely different world in there!" I blurted, not actually planning on speaking out loud before the words popped from my mouth.
Edward laughed. "Yeah, there's nothing quite like being in Fenway," he said.
"It's almost like being back in the '20s. They have the people selling popcorn, peanuts, and hot dogs."
"And beer and ice cream. You technically never have to leave your seat if you don't want to," he interjected.
"Exactly! If said hot dog didn't cost you $5, I'd think it was a magical time machine."
"Yeah, it's not cheap, by any means, but it's worth it for the experience."
"I completely agree. It was really amazing."
"I'm glad you enjoyed it."
"Thank you so much for taking me," I said.
"Thank you for coming."
I turned and looked at him, and as much as I just wanted to enjoy the awesomeness that was the game we just watched, I couldn't ignore the fact that he had lied about Emmett not being able to come.
"Why did you tell me that Emmett was going to come, but couldn't?"
He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I didn't think you'd come with me if you knew."
"That you had an extra ticket and wanted me to have it? It's not like I put up a fight." Edward was silent for a minute, and a thought occurred to me. "You did just have an extra ticket, right?"
"I had two tickets for the game."
"Did you ever have someone that you were going to bring?"
Edward sighed, and shut his eyes for a moment before he responded. "You're not going to let this go, are you?" I shook my head no. "I got the tickets so I could take you."
"Then why didn't you tell me? Why did you feel the need to lie to me? We've never lied to each other before... why start now?"
He scrubbed his hands over his face. "I lied because I didn't know how you'd react if I said that I got two tickets, and I couldn't think of anyone else I'd rather take. I've had them for a month, and every time I was about to ask you, I'd manage to convince myself that you'd tell me to take someone else."
"Why the hell would I ever say no? You're my best friend, Edward, there's very little I'd refuse you."
"Exactly. You're my best friend, but I don't want to be friends with you, Bella. Every time I ask you to dinner, you turn it into some casual thing or invite the gang along. It's like you're afraid to be alone with me, and I hate it. I had this crazy idea that if I took you to see the Sox play, you'd realize how perfect we were for one another, and I didn't know if I could face you if you didn't want that. I couldn't bring myself to ask you, just to hear you tell me that I shouldn't 'waste my ticket on you,' or whatever other bullshit thing you'd say. Then I waited so damn long to ask you that I didn't know how to explain that I was a giant coward any other way than to lie to you. I'm sorry."
I was frozen, not quite comprehending what he'd just told me, even though I had heard every word. It was sort of like when I first was learning Spanish and knew what each word meant, but not how they fit together. Was he actually saying that he wanted this to be some grand gesture to ask me out?
"Yes," he said. Shit, I must have said that out loud. He scrunched his face up and screwed his eyes shut, almost bracing himself for my reaction. I couldn't decide if it was adorable, or the ugliest face he'd ever made.
I put my hand on his cheek, stroking it softly with my thumb until his face relaxed. He opened one eye tentatively, and I laughed at the familiar gesture. He only did that when he was nervous, but too anxious not to look. Whatever he found in my expression must have eased his mind, and the other eye opened as well.
"I'm not happy you lied to me. I guess I understand why you did, but you have to know that I've been in love with you since I was twenty years old, and could never turn you down." His eyes widened, the green more vibrant than usual, and a bright smile found its way to his lips. "I've always known that you were perfect for me, Edward. I just never thought you could see me like that. You really didn't need to bring me to a game for me to know how wonderful you are."
"Have you really? Because I think I've loved you since the first day you mocked the idiots in our class who thought there was only one genocide."
"You do realize that you just called yourself an idiot, right?" Most schools didn't teach students that there were other instances of racial persecution than the Holocaust, and Edward's fell in that category. Truth be told, I learned about the Armenian genocide from a friend of mine, whose father was Armenian, when I stayed in Phoenix with Renee, and the extra knowledge made me a little cocky in the first week or so of the class.
"Yeah, I know," Edward replied, still grinning widely. "Not many people can make me feel stupid, but you managed to put me in my place. Ever since then, you've kept me on my toes. I love it when you challenge me."
"You're a little twisted, you know."
"You're one to talk," he replied. "Do you really want this? Us?" His expression was so hopeful, and I wondered how he thought that I could ever tell him no.
He leaned forward, and pressed his lips to mine gently, slipping his hands around my waist and pulling me close to him. I ran my hands up along his chest and around his back and neck until I reached the hair on the nape of his neck. He moaned into my mouth as his tongue reached out, skimming my own, and I smiled against his mouth.
"I love you, Bella. Be my girlfriend," he said against my lips.
"I love you, Edward. Yes." I kissed him once more, and drew back. "But only if you keep taking me to Fenway."
He laughed loudly. "In that case, I'll buy us season tickets."
Sure enough, the next year, he did.
A/N: Happy birthday, Bethaboo! Hope you enjoyed it.