My Sweet Thing
Chapter One: Bronze & Frenchie
Sliding into the backseat of the car, I placed my bag onto the floor and turned to my father who was on the phone. The driver was in the front of the vehicle, ready to go, but wouldn't move until my father gave him the go ahead.
It was rather infuriating. I was already running twenty minutes late but I had to wait for my father to tell the driver to get a move on. Yes, my father paid the man and yes, he technically was his boss but that didn't mean I was chopped liver.
"Yes, I understand, I am on my way right now," Charlie said, nodding towards the driver. And with that the car set in motion.
I couldn't help but sigh. Was the waiting really necessary? By the time it took the driver to leave our estate, Charlie would have been ready to give him the go ahead anyway. All that was pointless in my opinion.
"Absolutely, that's not a problem, of course." Charlie hung up the phone and slipped it into his suit pocket, turning to smile at me. "I know you're late, Bella, but I need to make a stop somewhere first."
Groaning, I looked at him in protest. "Why can't you drop me off first? You know how pissy Rose gets when I'm late."
"I know, Bella, but I need to meet these people. You just sit in the car," he replied, trying to placate me and failing.
"Ugh, must I go?" I whined, looking at my father again. I was going to bring out my Bambi eyes if I was unsuccessful.
"Yes. It won't be so bad. Just stay in the car and I'll be back within ten minutes."
"I don't see why I have to go."
"Because this is the only time I could arrange to meet these people. Bella, I'm trying to buy them out, I need to work on their schedules, not ours." He paused. "I know, I know you'll be late to whatever this thing Miss Hale is throwing, but I'm sure she can catch you up on what you missed."
"Oh, she'll catch me up alright when she screams at me for not making it on time to her birthday party."
Charlie sighed and shook his head. "We're not going to argue about this, Bella. This deal is very important to me and the company. If I lose this then I'm losing a very profitable bit of land. Give me six months and I'll have state of the art apartments built on that site, much better than what currently occupies it."
"Are you just thinking about the money?" I asked, frowning out the window.
My father was successful and driven, but sometimes it felt like he cared more about how many zeros were on the end of a cheque rather than the lives of those he bulldozed over to secure a deal. Take for example the exact piece of land we were on our way to view. It was a trailer park and known for its bad reputation. He was throwing money at the residents to clear up and move on so he could sell apartments and make a profit. What he should have been doing was buying the land and making affordable housing for the residents already living there. They had needs, too, and he was trampling over them. My opinions didn't matter though, we we're never going to agree on some issues.
"Of course not, I'm going to make this community a better place. You just wait and see. This is the exact project Swan Construction stands for, why your great grandfather built the business. We take the ugly ducklings of the property world and turn them into swans, elegant and sleek homes perfect for families."
"Whatever you say," I muttered, rolling my eyes out of his view.
All of that bull about ugly ducklings and elegant swans was my father's way of covering up his conscience. He knew that he was screwing people over yet didn't want to admit that. It would mar his perfect reputation.
The drive to the trailer park was uneventful; I listened to my iPod while my father was busy running over numbers and writing cheques. Eventually he was going to meet someone he couldn't buy out and I hoped to God I was there when that happened just so I could see his face.
The car came to a slow stop outside one trailer and my father quickly exited the vehicle, giving me a soft smile on his way out. The driver immediately stepped out also and stood by the car, no doubt watching over me and trying to watch over my father at the same time.
Sitting in the stuffy vehicle was boring. I wanted to get out and stretch my legs. I had never ventured onto the trailer park and after today, there was an unlikely chance I would be back on it before my father totalled it. Therefore, then seemed like the best opportunity to get out and explore.
Pushing open the door, I slid round on the seat and placed one foot out on the concrete. Securing my step, I exited the car and shut the door behind me, feeling the hot humid air tuck round me as if I was wrapped in a blanket. The thin straps of my dress left my arms bare and out in the harsh sun, which was exactly what I wanted. I would get a slight tan and also keep rather cool should the wind pick up. My driver on the other hand, who was dressed in a black suit, and not being able to take his jacket off, was going to cook.
With the slam of the car door he turned sharply to me, opening his mouth to speak. "Miss Swan, I have instructions to keep you by the car," he said, looking almost lost that I would dare get out the vehicle.
"I want to take a walk. Are you going to tell me I can't?" Yes, I was being a bitch but I really didn't want the hired help stalking me.
"Oh, eh no, Miss Swan, but perhaps I should-"
"You should stay with the car in case my father comes back," I replied, cutting him off. He was at a loss for words so I made my getaway, slipping round the back of one trailer and past another.
Before I knew it I was a little bit lost. Each trailer led onto another and there were just so many, I had forgotten which direction I had come in. I didn't worry too much about it; all I had to do was scream and the driver would come find me. I wandered round, looking at all the different types of trailers.
Some were spotless, completely clean and not a thing was out of place around them; others had trash out, rusty garden chairs in the spotted lawn out front their doors, and smashed windows. It really was such a contrast to see.
Hearing the sound of a TV, I moved towards it, hoping to at least see one person about. So far the place seemed like a ghost town, and for one o'clock in the afternoon that was very surprising. It wasn't like many of the folks here had jobs; they were all unemployed and living off the state, or so I'd heard.
Peeking round the corner of one of the trailers, I saw two guys sitting in very similar rusty patio furniture I had seen several trailers back, both with cans of diet coke in their hands and watching a small and rickety TV that was sitting on an empty crate of beer. SpongeBob SquarePants was playing on the TV and the guys both had an innocent smile to them as they watched it.
One was particularly big, wearing a scruffy white T-shirt with what looked like ketchup stained down the front. It was either ketchup or blood. It was hoping for the former. Along the big guy's arms were swirling tattoos disappearing under the ripped sleeves. They showed intricate patterns and designs woven into one another. I wasn't close enough to get a good look at them but they looked very fancy. None of this 'I heart mom' tattoo rubbish. No, this guy had some proper artwork on his body.
The other guy looked much younger than Tank with the tattoos. He looked more about my age, with a strong jaw and messed up bed hair. In the sun it looked rather bronze-coloured, giving him a very unique look. Unlike Tank, Bronze was thin, tall and rather lanky-looking. He didn't appear to be very muscled, but was slightly toned. He was dressed in jeans and a shirt, all the buttons undone up the front.
For trailer trash, which I assumed these guys were, they fitted the bill rather accurately. They had the rumpled look and the white trash theme going on what with the rusty patio furniture and the junk around the front of the trailer. I was half expecting to see one of those plastic flamingos placed on the lawn. Sadly, none of them were in sight.
Bronze suddenly got up, grabbing an old football off the grass and tossed it in the air. He was pretending to throw it and run with it through blockers, just like he was playing football. Tank was giving him tips on how best to avoid them. Honestly, I felt like I was watching monkeys use tools for the first time, what with the way they were acting. It was so alien to see.
"Hey, who's that?" Tank asked, nodding in my direction. Fuck, I was caught. "Girly, come on out! There's not need to hide!" he yelled.
I had no choice but to step out from behind the trailer. If they asked what I was doing, I was going to lie and say I got lost looking for my father. That was best. Technically, it wasn't a complete lie. I was lost and I did need to look for my father...I was just leaving out the part that I was watching them as if they were on show at the zoo.
I stepped out and began walking past them, smiling a little at Tank who was watching me carefully. Before I could walk successfully past their trailer, Bronze came and stood right in front of me. Being this close allowed me to see how good looking he was, but also how much bigger he was. He was very intimidating, and I felt completely out of my depth.
"Someday I'm gonna make you my sweet thing, not overtly – but surreptitiously," Bronze said, smiling at me. Tank started laughing and shook his head.
"Leave her alone, Ed," he called, taking a drink from his can.
"Pardon?" I asked, not entirely sure I had caught what he said. Sweet thing? What?
"I'm Edward," Bronze said, grinning at me.
"Bella," I replied, glancing round. For some reason, I felt like another five or six guys were suddenly going to appear out of nowhere and attack me. Maybe it wasn't such a smart idea to leave the driver.
"So what's a girl like you doing out here?" he asked, looking me over quickly, taking in my appearance.
"My father is here on business," I answered, carefully looking round for the quickest exit if I needed it.
"Your father…" Tank muttered. "Wait, your father wouldn't happen to be that Swan dude, who's forcing us from our homes, would he?" Tank asked, getting up quickly and walking over. I didn't know if he was going to hit me or was genuinely curious.
"Eh...yeah. I guess that's him."
Tank looked surprised and started chuckling. "You might not want to broadcast that, darling. The wrong folk hear you say that and you're dead meat." He nodded his head to reaffirm his point and I couldn't help but swallow nervously. "Anyhow, I gotta go. Nice watching the Toons with you, Ed, see you later." Clapping Bronze on the back, Tank headed off in the other direction, leaving the two of us alone.
Now I felt like prey before the predator, about to be slaughtered. I was completely defenceless, lost in some god-awful trailer park with some guy that probably had a gun tucked in the back of his jeans.
"You want to watch some Toons?" he asked, taking a seat back in the patio furniture.
"Toons?" I asked, unfamiliar with that word.
"Yeah, some cartoons." He pointed at the other seat for me and I shook my head.
"Thank you for the offer but I really should get going, before my father worries. Have a good day," I quickly rushed out.
"Wait!" he called, the sound of him getting out of the chair also hitting my ears. "What age are you, Bella?"
"Seventeen," I replied, looking over my shoulder ever so slightly at him.
"You go to Hopkins?"
"I'm sorry?" I turned back around and looked at Bronze, Edward, standing by the TV. He looked innocent and nonthreatening, so why was I running from him?
"Do you go to Hopkins? You know, the private school? You one of those Princesses?"
"I'm no princess," I replied, shaking my head. "But yes, I do go to Hopkins. Do you?" Immediately after I asked I felt like smacking myself in the head. Of course he didn't go to Hopkins; he lived in a trailer park. Where was he going to find $43,000 a year for the tuition?
"Yeah actually, I do," he replied, smirking at me.
I chuckled and shook my head. "So where do you really go?"
His head moved backwards and he frowned at me, the smirk not having left his face though. It was as though I had offended him. "I really do go to Hopkins, or well, I will when the new school term starts up."
"Uh huh, yeah, of course," I replied dismissively, checking my watch. I had left the car fifteen minutes ago; it was about time I got my ass back there.
"You don't believe me," Bronze said, glaring all of a sudden. "I mean, why would a poor pauper like myself go to that prestigious school with all the elitists. Surely Princesses like yourself wouldn't be mixing with hillbillies like me. No, of course, I'm lying, I don't attend Hopkins. I didn't pay $230.19 for the red blazer, and I didn't pay $67.99 for the special black pants, or $58.97 for the crisp white shirt, or hell, my favourite, $41.90 for the red tie. No, I didn't buy those things, because of course, I'm lying. I'm nothing but white trailer trash, too poor to be mixing with the likes of you. Forgive me for even sharing the same air as you. See you around Princess." And just like that, Bronze stormed away into his trailer.
Immediately I was filled with shame. Every price he just listed was exactly correct, even to the cent. He had to be a Hopkins student to know that as the uniform prices. I wanted to go over and apologise but knew that would be the wrong thing to do. I had judged him and been rude when he had been nothing but rather nice to me – in an unusual way, yes, but at least he was nice. I, on the other hand, was very rude. Hell, he invited me, a complete stranger, to watch Toons with him. That was rather sweet, in a weird way.
"Bella? What the hell are you doing?" Charlie called, striding over to me. "Do you know how worried I've been? I thought some hooligan took you. Don't ever do that again, you hear me? Next time you just stay in the car. And if you must stretch your legs, stretch them around the vehicle. Don't dive off into the middle of nowhere like that again." Grabbing my arm, Charlie pulled me away from the trailers, away from Bronze, and back to the car.
"Okay, Dad, I'm sorry. It won't happen again. How did the deal go?"
"Excellent. There are only nineteen more residents I need to convince and then my plans can go ahead."
"Good for you." I slipped into the backseats and strapped myself in. Finally it was time to go to Rosalie's.
Arriving at her house, I was relieved to see she had a drink in her hand and was actually still smiling. That meant one of two things. One, she was tipsy and therefore in a good mood, or two, she had just gotten laid. Seeing how Jasper's car wasn't present out front meant it had to be number one. There was no way Rose would have had sex with anyone other than her long-time friends with benefits partner Jasper Whitlock.
They were both only children and therefore were free to do what they wanted with the endless amounts of money their parents both had. They grew up as best friends, partners in crime, and the minute they both hit puberty they somehow fell into bed together; that had been going at it ever since. There were no commitments, though. Jasper was a free spirit and Rose liked to hold all the cards and be in control. If the two of them ever did date, they would no doubt kill each other.
So Jasper's absence at Rose's party meant she had to be drunk, or high.
Walking up the lawn, I wandered over and gave my best friend a hug, thankfully receiving one in return and not an icy death glare for being late.
"Happy birthday!" I said, smiling brightly at her.
"Thanks! And because I'm in a good mood and I know you've bought me a killer present I won't bitch you out for being late. You can put it on the table inside by the way. Is Jasper with you?" Rose asked, glancing over my shoulder.
"No, I haven't seen him today."
"Oh, well I guess we just need to start without him." Rose entwined her fingers with mine and led me up to the house. I saw the table she previously mentioned and placed the gift down before turning back to her. Guests were mingling throughout, drinking and eating, chatting happily and pretending like they gave a damn about one another.
Dragging me along the landing, Rose pushed open her bedroom door and let go of my hand. She shut the door behind us as I got comfortable on the bed. I loved Rose's bed; it was the comfiest bed ever. Seriously, you could fall asleep in minutes from lying on that beauty.
"Don't get too comfortable, I have a gift for us."
"For us?" I asked, looking at her curiously.
"Yeah. Jamie hooked me up with some really good stuff at discount prices because I'm the birthday girl today. I bought more than usual but figured it wouldn't really matter, we'll use it eventually," Rose replied, pulling out a block of something.
"Please tell me that's not what I think it is," I begged, feeling all the hairs on my body stand on end.
"Oh relax Bella, its fine. Don't get your panties in a twist."
"Rose, that's a fucking kilo of coke! Where the fuck did you get that?"
"I told you, Jamie. Now stop your fucking bitching. I'm going to measure some of this out in the bathroom. If someone comes looking for me just tell them I'm fixing my makeup, unless it's Jasper. He can come in."
Walking across the room, the kilo in one hand, Rose entered her bathroom and locked the door behind her, leaving me alone on the bed. It would have been so good to nod off but I knew Rose would kill me when she came back out. For that reason alone, I got my ass off of the bed and sat myself down on the rug, next to the large coffee table she had by the window. If she was going to be doing lines she was going to be doing them on here, like always.
What had to be at least ten minutes later Rose emerged with three tiny bags of coke. She must have left the remainder of the kilo in a bathroom drawer or something. Walking over, her heels clicking against the wooden floor until she hit the rug, Rose settled herself down next to me and began drawing the lines out using some credit cards she took from her purse, which was surprisingly laying next to us.
I was so bored of this crap but knew she enjoyed it so for today I was going to go along with it. Normally, I let her and Jasper do it to their hearts content, but seeing as it was her birthday, I had to at least make an effort.
The sound of whistling coming up the hall alerted us to someone else's presence but we both knew who it was before he even walked in the room. The sound of Rose's door open was no surprise to us. Hell, Rose didn't even turn round to see who it was; she kept trying to lay out the coke.
"What shit are we doing today?" Jasper asked, smiling brightly at me.
"Just in time," Rose said, smirking and nodding at the lines on the table.
"Ah yeah, my second love." He rubbed his hands together and came over, looking practically giddy.
"What's your first love?" I asked curiously. Jasper knelt over the coffee table, accepted the plastic tampon tube from Rose and leant forward.
"Sex, of course," he replied before snorting his line. I rolled my eyes as Rose licked her lips at his answer. "So, who do I need to thank for this fine quality of coke?" Jasper asked, sitting back across the floor.
"Jamie. He hooked me up."
"Ah, of course. Happy birthday, darling," Jasper said, holding his arms out for Rose. She slipped across the floor and snuggled into his touch, embracing him tightly and kissing him softly on the lips.
"I thought you'd never remember."
"How could I forget my love's birthday? That's just not possible." He kissed her again and whispered something into her ear. I was exceedingly glad that I couldn't hear what it was he said. Knowing Jasper, it would be crude and sexual.
"Oh, while I have you both here, you can help me pick my underwear for tonight," Rose said, standing up and going over to her bedside table.
"Tonight? What's happening tonight? Are you getting all dressed up for me, darling?" Jasper asked, smirking.
"No, I have a date."
"A date. Now, which one, the green or the red one?" Rose held up two matching panty sets and watched for our reactions. The dark green was very conservative and the bright red was very provocative. I knew that even with our opinions Rose was still going to pick the red one. She had to. She needed to show off her body and herself, exerting power over people.
"The green one, the red one is too...in your face," Jasper answered, nodding at his choice.
"I'm going for 'in your face'. I want this guy to fuck me, why do I need to be shy about it?" Rose asked, throwing the green one to the side.
"Oh, well go with the red one then, I don't know." Jasper flopped back on the floor sighing. "I still don't see why you need to go on a date with some guy. He won't have anything I don't have."
"Aww, is Jasper jealous?" Rose mocked, snickering away to herself as she changed out of her party dress and into the red set.
"Yeah actually, I am."
"Pfft, you have nothing to worry about. You'll still always be my number one fuck, don't stress. He's just going to help me out with a little something and then I never have to see or speak to him again."
"I promise. Now, how do I look?" Lifting his head up from the floor Jasper eyed Rose in the red lacy thong and matching bra. He groaned loudly and dropped his head back down again.
"I'm not happy about this. I'm not happy."
"I'll take that as I look smoking hot. Bella?" Rose turned to me, eyebrows raised.
"You look amazing."
And she did. She filled out the bra and her tiny waist made the throng look like a scrap of material. Whoever she was going on a date with was surely one lucky bastard.
"Right, with that settled, let's finish these lines and head back down to the party," she said, stripping out of the underwear set again. Rather than put back on the underwear she was previously wearing she just threw her dress on and winked at Jasper. He was practically panting on the floor.
"Sometimes I feel like a leaf in the wind; I have zero control over where I will land when it comes to you," he muttered, shaking his head at her.
"That's because you're my bitch. Now, come on, sniff up and let's go." Rose leaned down to the coffee table, snorted her lines and headed for the door, Jasper quick on her heels.
With the two of them out the room, I used Rose's credit card to manoeuvre the powder back into the small bag. She would never know I didn't take it. Nodding to myself in pride, I got up off the floor and headed after my friends. No doubt this was bound to be a party never to be forgotten.
By Monday morning everyone was in agreement with me, no one would ever forget Rose's party. It was crazy. Once the parents buggered off and left us all alone, things took off. Jamie brought out the rest of his stock, we had fun raiding Dr. Hale's liquor cabinet and spent the remainder of the weekend having one big bash before school started up again.
It was clear many students still had hangovers or were coming down from a weekend of fixes by the time we all entered homeroom. There was hardly a perky face in sight, except for maybe one. Right at the back of the room sat a familiar face, one I really never thought I'd see again.
Bronze was dressed immaculately in the uniform and looked like the ideal pupil. The only thing out of place on him was the old fashioned headphones plugged into a cassette player. I hadn't seen one of those in years. Hell, I hadn't seen anyone act the way Bronze did in front of people. There he was, in a crowded classroom, without a care in the world, swinging his head back and forth to the music and lost in his own little world. It was so refreshing to see.
"Who the fuck is that?" I heard Rose asked venomously, pulling me into a seat. "Looks like a fucking retard."
I rolled my eyes and ignored her; no doubt by lunch she'd know all she needed to about Bronze.
Bronze's actual name was Edward Cullen, according to the attendance list. His name didn't really suit him so I was still going to call him Bronze. But the minute everyone got his name, they all had their phones out, texting and researching who he was. These sharks didn't want to miss any gossip at all.
Just like I had predicted, by lunch Rose had found out enough about him to start an FBI file on the guy. I wasn't getting involved, just staying out of it. Bronze seemed totally harmless – or at least he was to me – so I wasn't getting mixed up in their screwed up prejudices.
By the end of lunch I was ready to stab myself with a fork. Jasper had just joined us, which briefly stopped Rose's ranting about Bronze being scum of the Earth, and at the same time as his arrival Bronze and another girl entered the lunch room.
"There's that new guy again. He's poor," Rose said, her nose scrunched up.
"There's also a new girl; fresh meat, if you will," Jasper added, smirking and nodding towards the small girl with long black hair standing next to Bronze. "She's in my French class. I'm thinking of inviting her back to mine to maybe practice some good old French, you know, maybe some French kissing or if I'm lucking some soixante-neuf."
"You're disgusting, you know that?" I asked, slapping his arm.
"Yep, but I honestly don't care. I'm still loved by many...and desired by all."
"Will you two shut it, please? Why do we have these poor folk attending our school?" Rose cried, frowning at us.
"Rose, they clearly aren't that poor," Jasper said, his eyes still on Frenchie.
"They are, Jasper. I spoke to the kid that works in the office. Their home address is listed as a trailer in the trailer park. They're white trash!"
Jasper rolled his eyes and shushed her with a finger to her lips.
"They won't bother you, darling, don't worry. Just ignore them. Give it two weeks and the two of them will be running from here with their tails between their legs, trust me."
Rose pursed her lips, but nodded.
I hated everything the two of them had just said. I hated that Jasper was going to go out of his way to fuck Frenchie and then abandon her, and I hated that he was also going to make sure they were both harassed until they left. Bronze and Frenchie hadn't done anything wrong, so why were they being persecuted like that?
Sighing I grabbed my bag and walked off, leaving Rose and Jasper to make out in peace, heading back to my locker.
They were my friends and I loved them, but at times, they drove me crazy. Rose was such a stuck up, it was unreal. She had no thought for others, it was all about her. Jasper was her lap dog, following her around everywhere like an obedient puppy. He was also a dick to every girl in school. Rather than just be happy, he got to fuck Rose. He went after girls that were sweet and innocent and corrupted them for the challenge. He was nothing but an insecure little boy that relied on his penis to make him friends, and I couldn't stand that. But yet, they were all I had and I wasn't going to push them away.
Sighing, I unlocked my locker and rooted around inside for my books. Although I had another twenty minutes until the bell rang, I didn't want to have to hang about waiting on Rose and Jasper. While gathering my books, I heard the sound of someone leaning against the locker next to me. Peeking over the door, I was met with that familiar lazy smile and distinct hair. Bronze was grinning ear to ear at me.
"What's up, Doc?" His boyish smile worked a charm.
"What?" I asked, smiling back at him.
"Bugs Bunny. So, you surprised to see me?"
I couldn't help but blush in embarrassment over the last time I saw him and what I had said to him. "I'm sorry about that."
"Nah, don't worry. It's fine. Anyway, I came over here to tell you something."
"Oh?" I asked, biting my lip. This was the part where he was going to spit in my face for being a rude bitch to him or something.
"Remember the first thing I said to you?" Bronze asked, looking me straight in the eyes.
"Something about being your sweet thing," I replied, remembering I was utterly confused by it.
"Yeah, SpongeBob SquarePants. I said someday I'm gonna make you my sweet thing, not overtly – but surreptitiously. I still intend to do that, and what with us going to the same school now, well, that just makes it all the more easier. I hope you're prepared." His smile grew and he winked.
"For me. See you around, Princess." Patting me on the shoulder, he walked off like nothing had happened, while I was left dazed.
Was I being pursued by one Edward, white trash, hillbilly, pauper, hick, Cullen a.k.a. Bronze? Yes, yes I was. And what was even better, I was excited about it.
Rose was going to kill me if she found out.