Story Name: Bring it On: All or Nothing
Word Count (not including header/author's note): 8,842
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I inhale and let the warm aroma of coffee filter through my nose, curling around my tongue and making my mouth water.
My phone goes off, the vibrations alerting me of my daily wake up call. But I'm already awake, hair curled and face done.
Today is going to be a great day. No, this week is going to be a great week.
"Come on, captain!" my mother calls. She's nearly as anxious to get a start on today as I am. We've both been waiting for this week for a very long time. "Your coffee's ready, and the bus leaves in an hour, so we need to get going, sunshine."
I roll my eyes and grab my stuffed duffel bag, slinging it over my shoulder. It's heavy, but nothing is weighing me down today. Nothing.
My mother chatters inanely as I toss my duffel onto a kitchen chair and grab my steaming thermos of black coffee. I sip my daily addiction as she prattles on, asking me for the billionth time if I'm prepared for this week, which, of course I am.
This week means everything to me.
"You packed all the ribbons? And your spanx? And the extra-durable hairspray I picked up? And the Vaseline? And why are you wearing sweats, Bella? Don't you want to make a good first impression?"
"Yes, Coach, everything is packed. It's why my duffel weighs as much as I do." She finally cracks a smile. "And I'm not wearing sweats. It's a Juicy Couture hoodie and pants. It's designer loungewear." I smile, knowing that I've got her.
She nods and pulls her wavy chestnut hair back with a large butterfly clip. "What's Kate wearing?"
"Same in blue," I shrug.
Yes, we planned coordinating outfits for this auspicious day, and I'm only slightly ashamed to admit that to my mother. She smiles warmly; she's always had a soft spot for my buoyant best friend.
"Okay, baby, take your coffee for the road. Let's get a move on."
The bus is sticky and hot and sweaty. I can feel my makeup caking and crackling in the oppressive Arizona heat. And it's a nearly seven-hour drive.
Ugh. Kate and my mom lead a sing a long, while I concentrate on reworking formations and how the hell we're going to get a front base for our final basket toss. We're missing a girl this week, and it's put a serious crimp in my plans. Not that I fault Tia for not being here. She's the maid of honor in her sister's wedding; there was no getting around it. Okay, that's a lie. I'm totally holding it against her. Who plans a wedding the same week as Nationals anyway? I know who—a no good, never could be good enough to make the squad bitch, who wants to fuck us over, that's who. But that can't stop us. This week is do or die. For me, at least.
Cranking up the volume on my ipod, I hum We Are The Champions as I scribble down our altered plans. We're going to need serious rehearsal time before our first performance tomorrow if we want to come out on top.
Which we do. Obviously.
Los Angeles in July is a welcome break from the scorching desert in which we've been rehearsing for the past month. I take the thirty minutes we have to get ready before rehearsal to myself and wander down to the boardwalk with my clipboard to get a better look at the ocean. It smells like salt and sunscreen, and I can't help but smile as I remove my flip-flops and dig my toes into the sand. I find the perfect spot to sit and lean back, letting the cool sea breeze wash over my face.
I do this for all of ten seconds before I cross my legs and revisit my notes, messy from writing and rewriting on our bumpy journey.
I'm perfectly content, fully concentrating on my reworked plans, when something crashes into my shoulder. It's sharp and painful and hits me with a force that knocks me backwards and sends my clipboard flying out of my hand.
Brushing the sand off, a dull pain spreads down my arm. That's going to leave a mark, and I'm pissed.
"What the…" I look around for the culprit and see a dark blue frisbee lying a few feet away. "Fucking hell," I mutter as I hear someone jogging through the sand. They've come to retrieve their weapon, and I can't wait to give them a piece of my mind.
As my eyes shift upwards, I see a blurry shadow loping towards me. Soon, the shadow covers me, blocking the sun from my view. I start my tirade, complaining about how my mom is going to kill me—which she is—and how I'm going to have to buy another crap load of concealer to get rid of the bruise that's already forming on my arm—which I will—when I'm interrupted by the shadow.
"I'm really sorry," he interrupts. "It was a complete accident, and my friends feel terrible."
His voice is as delicious as my favorite Jamba Juice smoothie and twice as sweet. I use my good arm and lift my hand over my eyes as a visor to take in what may be the prettiest boy I've ever seen. And I've seen a lot of pretty boys in my day.
I'm encompassed by green—his eyes—and gold—the tips of his beach blown hair, which are, coincidentally, my school colors. He's clearly been sent to me from the school mascot gods to help me get motivated. It's obviously a sign.
He startles me, reaching for my waist and helps me to standing. His hands are warm and strong against the thin fabric of my tank top. "Are you okay?" he asks, his eyes narrowing and discerning the situation for himself.
I nod as he bends over to grab the frisbee, giving me a view of his perfect board short clad ass. My first instinct is to touch it, but I refrain, because how weird would that be? I'm so unfocused that I don't even see him reaching for my clipboard until he looks it over and grins, distracting me with his bright white teeth.
"You would be a cheerleader."
I frown and snatch the clipboard from his hands. "What's that supposed to mean?"
He chuckles softly and shakes his head, muttering, "Nothing," under his breath quietly. "I really am sorry. Are you going to be okay?"
He reaches for my arm, and I flinch, knowing the red welt will be sensitive. But, somehow, I'm soothed under his touch. His eyes get very serious as he inspects the skin, examining the area by brushing his thumb lightly over my injured flesh. They're rough and callused, and I briefly wonder if he plays guitar. How hot would that be? His touch burns slightly, but it's a good kind of burn, like his fingertips are spreading a wildfire.
He's close enough that I can take my own inventory, too. He smells like sunscreen, the overwhelming scent of coconut invading my senses. I stare at his face while he's occupied, his bushy eyebrows and straight nose, and blonde tipped eyelashes. From this distance, I can see his hair isn't gold; it's, well, I can't even describe the color. It's like he started off with brown hair with red highlights and then spending too much time in the sun wove the perfect golden hue within it. I've seen models and actresses pay good money for their hair colors that never turns out as well as it looks on this boy.
Finally, after what seems like ages, he steps back. He moves his hand to cover his stomach and awkwardly fidgets with the Frisbee, tensing and releasing his long fingers over the curved edge of the toy. It brings my attention to the waistband of his board shorts, which are perfectly low on his hips. I mentally beg for him to put his arm back down.
"So, are you staying in Santa Monica for the competition?" he asks, bringing his free hand to the back of his neck.
I'm about to answer when a loud voice interrupts, calling out across the sand.
"Edward! We need to go!"
He cranes his neck around to shout back at the miniature bikini-clad brunette, who's bouncing from foot to foot impatiently.
"Oh, come on, Char, we have time!"
"Tick-tock, tick-tock, Edward!" she snaps back, clearly annoyed that his attention is elsewhere.
I have a feeling she might be his girlfriend. And that sucks. Not that I want him to be my boyfriend. But, I'm going to be here all week, and I wouldn't mind having his pretty surfer hands do some more exploring.
Oh my God, Bella. Stop, just stop there. You need to be focused on one thing and one thing only this week. And that is winning this competition.
He turns back to me and shrugs apologetically. "I have to go, but can I at least get your name, since you know mine?" He kicks at the sand before staring into my eyes and repeating it. "Edward."
"You live in Santa Monica?" I ask, going against my gut. It's flipping and flopping waiting for the answer.
"Yeah." He shrugs again, and he looks cool doing it. "For the time being. So, maybe I'll see you around, then?"
I bite my lip and nod. I hate that I'm being such a girl, but I can't help but check out his ass as he jogs back towards his friends. As he's half way to them, I remember something.
"Bella!" I shout out, causing him to stop in his tracks and turn towards me. "My name is Bella."
Edward pauses and smiles. I want to take a snapshot of that smile and get off to it later.
And in the shower after our afternoon practice, I do. Twice.
That night, we're given free time. Our first performance is in the morning—our slot is at 11:35AM, so our curfew is at 11PM. That will give the team a full nine hours to sleep, according to my mother. She's lying; it'll only give us six hours. If I know my mother, which I do, she'll have us up at five, ready to go over every last move in detail. With another two hours allotted for showering, hair, and makeup.
Most of the girls head out to explore the promenade, but I decide to beat my mother at her own game and go to bed early. I've been up since six this morning anyway. But at 9:45, I'm still antsy, restless and worked up. I consider getting off again, but I'm sharing the room with Kate. And although we're close, we're not that close.
"What's the matter with you?" she asks, not even looking up from her magazine.
Kate is completely zen. Her blonde hair is plaited into a long braid, which she's curled under and pinned up, making her look like a Scandinavian milkmaid. She's also changed my wavy brown hair into two French braid pigtails. She says I look like Molly Sims in Fired Up. I kind of think I look like a dorkier Joey Potter.
I shrug her off, dismissing her with a quick wave of my hand and head out to the balcony of our hotel room, which overlooks the boardwalk and beach. It's significantly cooler since the sun has gone down, and I wrap my arms around my waist, as if that'll provide the extra warmth my thin tank top won't.
The beach has nearly emptied out by now, just a few people walking amongst the breaking waves. I look closer, admiring the peaceful scene, letting it calm my frayed nerves. A couple walks slowly, their small dog in tow; excited chatter and small bright lights surround the pier, the giant carousel lit up in brilliant shades of red, green, purple, and blue; and holy shit…frisbee guy jogs past my room, his tan skin glistening under the streetlamps.
Without conscious thought, I slide my feet into my flip-flops and head towards the door.
"Whoa there, B! Where do you—"
I cut her off. I don't have time to explain. I just know I need to see him again.
"If my mom comes by, tell her I wasn't feeling well and needed some fresh air."
Kate looks skeptical, but she nods, acquiescing with my seemingly ridiculous request. She knows me better than anyone; I should be reviewing our routines and counting out ribbons, but instead, I'm heading out the door.
Once outside, I realize that I'm a bit of a fool. I don't know where he is or where he's gone. Disheartened, I slip my flip-flops off and walk through the cool sand, letting the grains slide between my toes as I head towards the still-lively pier.
A cool wind swirls around my body, and I wrap my arms around my waist tightly.
"I was wondering when you'd look out your window," his Jamba Juice voice croons from behind me.
My feet halt, and I turn around to see frisbee boy staring at me with a cocky grin.
"I was getting a little tired, you know?" He pauses and comes closer, approaching slowly, and I bite my lip in anticipation. "I've been jogging back and forth behind your hotel for over an hour now."
"You probably needed the workout," I joke, internally thrilled that he sought me out first, melting away my brief embarrassment.
"Oh, you think so?"
He laughs, taking off his shirt and wiping the sweat from his brow. He's wearing gym shorts now, but they're equally as low as his board shorts were, showing off his toned set of abs.
I nod, momentarily stunned speechless.
His feet are only inches away from mine now, and his arms slide around my waist as he leans in and whispers in my ear.
"I can think of much better ways to work out, Bella."
I don't know what I'm doing, but as his slightly stubbled cheek brushes against my smooth one, I let my instincts take over. My arms slide around his neck, resting gently on his broad shoulders.
"I'm going to get in so much trouble for doing this," I whisper to no one in particular. His glowing green eyes widen momentarily before returning to normal, flicking down to my lips occasionally.
I lick them, tasting the salt air. He groans and leans his forehead against mine.
"You have no idea."
His voice sounds in pain, and I want to take it away. My head tilts up and my lips press against his chastely. The moment is perfect and I never want it to end. I don't think Edward wants it to, either, though, because his hands stay firmly placed on my hips, his mouth not yet parting with mine.
I try and inhale through my nose, not willing to break, but end up gasping softly, causing my mouth to open slightly.
It's the chance we've both been waiting for.
Soon, the gentle tenderness is gone, replaced with passion and fervor. Tongues collide as our hands wrap tighter around each other, not wandering, simply holding our bodies close.
Exhilarated, my fingers twine into his hair, pulling him as close as he can get. Guiding me, he brings us both down to the ground. I feel something soft under my back and realize that he must have laid his shirt on the sand. It's kind of sweet, in a sleazy way.
He hovers over me and hitches my leg around his waist as we continue to make out, our skin basking in the iridescent glow of the full moon above us. And that's all it is. A really great make out. No further expectations taint our union, just kisses being given and received. Finally, our kisses slow and he rolls to his back, still grinning. I rest my cheek on his bare chest and listen to the calming rhythm of his heartbeat. It centers me, ridding me of my previous agitation.
"Tell me something no one else know about you, Bella," he breathes quietly.
"I kiss strangers on beaches all the time."
He kisses the top of my head, and I can feel him smiling.
For what seems like hours, we lie there in the dark solace of the beach, telling each other secrets. I learn about his parents' divorce and how his douchebag father left his mother in financial ruin. And how he's petrified about paying for college. He learns how much I love cheer, how my team is like my family, and how I'm determined to come in first at Nationals.
Finally, my eyes start to droop. I wonder what time it is.
He trails his hand down my back and mutters quietly, "Bella, you should get back to your room and get some sleep."
I don't want to move and disturb this moment. I'm afraid I'll never get it back, and I really hate that. I groan in protest but allow him to help me to standing anyway.
He leans in and kisses me again, his hands finally wandering low to the small of my back. As our lips meet, the world stills, and I'm happy.
When I get back to my room, Kate bolts up in bed and glares at me. She points at the clock, which reads 2:00AM. How did that happen?
"You have a lot of explaining to do. Where the hell have you been? I've had to lie to your mom at least five times tonight!"
I want to keep him to myself, but I can't. He's not some dirty secret; he's just beautiful and sweet and strong. For the next hour, I gush about the perfect boy I met at the beach to my best friend. By the time I'm finished, it's almost three in the morning. I should really just stay up the next two hours, but my body craves sleep and I crash hard, smiling as I taste hints of salt and coconut on my lips.
I can't believe the dark circles under my eyes. My dark eyes have a rim of red around the iris, which I guess is what happens when you get two hours of sleep before a major competition. It serves me right, I know. But despite the ugly raccoon eyes I'm sporting, I can't stop grinning.
Every so often, Kate sends a smirk my way. She knows the source of my excellent mood. My mother should be suspicious, but she's not, too busy nitpicking over every tiniest misstep.
As I continue staring, Kate passes me some heavy-duty concealer, which I also use to cover up the nasty looking bruise on my shoulder.
"So, are you going to see him again?" she drops nonchalantly but totally and obviously prying.
I stare at her through the mirror, frowning slightly. "I want to, but…if it was just last night…" I sigh.
"Oh, B," she giggles. "You're so fucked. I've never seen you like this before."
She spins me around and finishes applying my heavy makeup, caking it on layer after layer.
"It was perfect, Kate. I can't even explain it properly. He was like some mystical magical being purposefully created for me."
"Well," she continues, pausing to tell me to look over her shoulder so she can apply my mascara, "I hope for both our sakes he shows up again. And soon. Plus, I'd kind of like to see his surfer bod for myself. Any chance he has any surfer friends who want a piece of this?"
She sticks out her tongue, and I shove her shoulder playfully.
"Hey!" she scolds, waving the spiky mascara brush in front of my nose. "Not while I have the wand in my hand!"
After being properly admonished, I let her finish applying the goopy black substance to my already lengthy lashes. She finishes quickly, sending me off to get into my uniform so she can do my hair.
Aerosol clouds the small bathroom, but I welcome the sticky feeling on my skin. I smile at us in the mirror, my perma-grin making a swift reappearance. Our hair is curled and arranged into high ponytail perfection, and our green and gold crop tops and skirts are starched, stiff and ready to be shown. I feel alive. My heart belongs on the mat; it's where I'm home. I can't wait to win this motherfucker.
"Girls!" my mother, now in completely coach mode, calls from the hallway, knocking swiftly on our latched door. "Let's get down to the competition! We're going on in thirty minutes, and I want to check out the competition!"
I roll my eyes, knowing the routine. Although, there's definitely a huge part of me that likes scoping out the other schools, too, so I'm not too slow to head outside.
"You look beautiful, Bella," she says, wrapping an arm around my bare waist. "Excited?"
I nod and lean into her side. My mom may be kind of a pain, but she's my pain, and I love her.
Together, we all head down and out to the beach, where an entire cheer arena has been set up overnight. The team lingers back, not wanting to go into the holding tent until the team before us goes on. Often, teams will try and psych each other out, and we want to eliminate the possibility of that as much as possible. Unfortunately, we learned that lesson last year at Regionals.
As we stand back to look at the rather laughable competition currently on the map, my mom goes and checks in with the judges, letting them know we're all there. She comes back in a flurry, saying they're running ahead of schedule and we need to head into the tent now.
My pre-performance anxiety sets in, but in the best way possible, sending adrenaline through my veins. The next team to go on waits at the mat entrance, a cloud of blue and white, and I have to say, their uniforms are pretty adorable. The girls have halter tops instead of plain tanks like ours, and their skirts aren't pleated, sort of swooshing as they walk. Also, they have boys. Boys in shorts and t-shirts, looking just as excited as the girls. It makes me smile to see a co-ed team, although I know they'll be difficult competition. Judges favor the co-ed teams, usually. This only amps me up more, and I start bouncing from foot to foot, my bright white tennies squeaking with each movement.
"Ladies and gentleman," the announcer begins, welcoming the next team to the floor. "Put your hands together for the Santa Monica Vikings, led by—"
"Okay, girls, we're on next!" my mother shouts, clapping her hands excitedly. "You are all amazing. We've worked incredibly hard to get here…"
I zone out a little, focusing on my own slow inhale and exhale as Coach continues to give us our pep-talk. When the music starts out on the floor, she quiets down and herds us towards the tent entrance to watch.
A mix of Lady Gaga, Metallica, and bad techno fills the beach, and I laugh at the pretentiousness of their music choice. Metallica? Really?
I have to admit, though, they're good. No, they're really good. Their lifts are incredible. They stick every landing, and their unison is impeccable. My stomach churns with nerves, my eyes darting from face to face, trying to take in what's clearly our biggest competition.
And then, I stop. The world freezes and my breath catches as his face comes into view as he pulls out of a double back handspring. His moves are as flawless as he is. I'm not sure why I'm so surprised really. I continue to follow his every movement, his strong lines and effortless stunting.
"B?" Kate waves her hand in front of my face. I don't think I've blinked since I spotted him. "What's—"
"He…he's a cheerleader," I choke out, anger swelling up inside me.
"What?" she whisper-yells, getting in my face and blocking my view.
I'm furious, stunned into silence. How dare he? I fume.
"That's your surfer?"
Kate looks like she wants to giggle, but she holds it back.
"Oh, B, he's cute."
"I know," I snap.
She's silent for the rest of the routine, but she grabs my hand in hers, preparing to walk out together as co-captains. Occasionally, she'll squeeze my hand, trying to calm me down, but it doesn't work. I let my anger simmer and fuel my determination.
The team finishes and heads towards the exit as the announcer welcomes us, the North Phoenix Mustangs to the floor.
I take my opening position, plastering my smile on for the judges. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the traitor, his goldeney-bronze locks glinting under the bright midday sun. A few teammates high five him, and suddenly the skank from the beach yesterday has her arms around his neck and her lips against his. He pulls away with a smirk.
I am livid.
My smile widens to the point of pain as the music starts. Each of my moves is precise, each lift, flawless. I have never wanted to beat anyone so badly.
The music ends, and I can tell the judges are impressed. As they should be. My mother wants us to go for a celebratory Jamba Juice, but all that does is remind me that I'm furious with that lying Jamba Juice sounding son of a bitch, Edward. I tell her I'm not feeling well and need to go back to the room to rest. She looks worried, but nods in acceptance, telling me to rest up for the judges announcements tonight.
I stomp back to the hotel. I feel like a drama queen, but I don't particularly care. I feel lied to, betrayed.
My arms push through the doors, needing to put my energy to use, and I spot him, leaning against the wall, smiling at me as if nothing is the matter. As he locks eyes with mine, his smile falters. I brush past him and head towards the elevator, and I can feel him follow behind me. It's itchy, and I want him gone. My fingers press the button repeatedly, needing the doors to take me to my room before he can reach me, but they don't. Of course.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you," he apologizes, brushing his thumb against the concealed mark on my shoulder, which is starting to peek through.
The doors open, and I bristle inside, hoping to get rid of him. Naturally, he follows.
"Bella," he whines. "Come on, talk to me."
I've heard enough. I snap.
"You want me to talk to you? You want me to talk to you?" I take a steadying breath and just go off. "We talked for hours last night, and you let me gush about cheerleading for how many of them and you thought that it wasn't necessary to tell me that you're on my biggest rival's team? Or maybe that we spent hours making out and you forgot to tell me you have a girlfriend?"
The elevator dings, interrupting his rebuttal. He follows me down the hall, and I really want to turn around and kick him in the balls. Instead, I book it straight to my room. I jam the key card into the slot and push open the door, ready to slam it in his face, but he's too strong. He squeezes his shoulders in, wriggles through, and slams the door behind him.
His eyes are on fire, burning into me as he breathes hard.
"I didn't tell you I cheered because it's not important. I got into it to spite my dad because he doesn't think it's a real sport. And I don't have a girlfriend."
I scoff. "Little thing, brunette, big rack? I saw her kiss you."
He stalks towards me, forcing me to take small steps backwards until my knees are pressed against the scratchy hotel comforter. "Charlotte? She's been my best friend since we were eight. And the only reason she kissed me was because I asked her to do it."
My fists clench by my sides. "You asked her to do it?"
He smirks and wraps his arms around my waist again. "I wanted to see if it would make you jealous. Looks like it worked."
"I'm not jealous," I seethe.
"Oh really?" His voice is a challenge, one he knows I can't resist.
"Really." I'm panting, my temperature rising with my increased agitation.
Unable to stand the heat building between us anymore, I attack him, my hands pushing his shirt up over his head and throwing it to the ground. His hands follow a similar path, going straight for the side zipper of my uniform top, shimmying it over my shoulders to release my bare breasts.
The smirk returns as he pushes me back, forcing me to sprawl out on the comforter. His hands creep under my short pleated skirt and yank the black spandex shorts down my thighs. He pulls my tennies off before disposing of the useless black lycra, letting it fall in the heap of blue and white and green and gold polyester.
His shoes are kicked off as well, and soon, he's on top of me. My arms grasp at his firm shoulders as his teeth scrape against the skin just below my ear. A moan escapes from my lips, and I know I'm being too loud. It's embarrassing, but I can't stop.
Edward pulls back and looks me in the eye. I know what he's silently asking for. I don't want to do it, yet there's nothing I want more. My chin tucks into my chest, half nodding. And then, he's inside me.
"Fuck," he groans, bringing his mouth back to my neck. My eyes roll back slightly, staring up at the headboard, which is now banging into the wall as he slides in and out of me with resounding force.
I wrap my legs around his waist, digging my heels into the dimples of his back in a silent challenge. I feel his muscles tense underneath mine, and his hands fall from my chest to my still skirt-clad hips. They grip tightly as his force increases, grunting with each one of his pounding thrusts. His hipbones bang into the backs of my thighs, and I know I'm going to have at least four more bruises to cover up tomorrow. Such a pain in my ass.
"I hate you," I cry out, digging my fingers into the comforter. They want to knot themselves in his hair and tug, but even in my red haze I know it's too pretty to pull out.
Our chests slide against each other, a sweaty concoction of sunscreen and melting makeup and residual hairspray. It's sticky and messy and I love it.
I climax, clenching my eyes shut as every muscle in my body contracts, like it's the best workout of my entire life. I'm silent, biting my lip, and focus on his pants and moans to intensify every sensation.
When my eyes snap back open, his are already on me, a deep sea of green cutting through my skin. He's close; I can see the restraint and tension in the muscles of his neck. Suddenly, he pushes himself off me, standing vertically. I push myself up on my elbows, wondering where the fuck he is possibly going, then feel warm wetness spread over my stomach.
He came on me.
Exhausted, he flops down on bed, breathing hard. "Had…no…condom…sorry."
I lay there in shock, breathing just as intensely. "Can you…grab me a washcloth…from…the bathroom?" My voice sounds timid all of a sudden, and I hate it.
He sits up and peers over me, seemingly taking inventory. "Bella, are you okay?"
"I'm fine," I mumble softly.
"Shit." He whispers a bunch of other expletives and jogs to the bathroom. I hear the sink running and before I know it, he's back, wiping my stomach clean.
"I'm sorry," he apologizes again. But I'm too tired to be mad. I haven't slept enough for my level of activity today. And to be honest, he's being the same sweet boy from last night again. And I'm too easily appeased.
"Stay and nap?"
He looks skeptical, but once he sees my face, nods and reaches for his shorts, pulling them back up before crawling across the comforter to lean against a pillow. Sleepily, I rifle through my duffel for a wife beater and a pair of underwear. I change quickly and resume our position from the beach, my head placed over his thumping heart. Once again, it does that neat trick of centering me.
"I didn't mean to upset you, Bella. I…really like you. I guess it threw me? I'm usually way smoother than this." He laughs, but he doesn't sound all that amused.
My hand creeps up his stomach and finds his hand. His fingers lace with mine, and I sigh happily.
"Don't know why, but I really like you too, Edward."
I feel him kiss the top of my head again and am asleep within seconds.
"Jesus double hand springing Christ, Isabella," my mother reprimands, putting the back of her cool hand to my sweaty forehead. "Are you still feeling sick?"
"No, I'm ready."
I'm not ready. Not ready at all.
I've spent the past two days sneaking around with Edward. And by sneaking around, I mean grope sessions under the pier and hot, hot sex in the closest lockable room. Kate has covered for me more than once. She thinks it's "cute" that I'm fraternizing with the enemy. She also said our room smelled like sex and coconut when she found us napping the other day and loves seeing me this happy. She's a good best friend.
And Edward is, well, great. Physically, there's something about us, a spark that even if I tried to deny it would still crackle, flaring between us. When we're together, it's either explosive or calm. There is no in between. But it works. And finding creative ways to be together without getting caught has only increased the fire.
My performance hasn't suffered, either. If anything, I'm more energetic, despite getting about eight hours of sleep over the past three days. But during practice times? I'm completely unfocused. All I think about is how long I have until the next time I can get away. Which, right now, is another sixty-seven minutes. Even so, our team and Edward's team have been in close competition. Only two more performances before the champion is announced. I can practically see the giant trophy sitting on our mantle at home already.
My mother taps her foot, counting loudly as we go through our most difficult lift for this afternoon's performance. Kate's our best flyer, and her basket toss is impeccable. She nails her landing and immediately goes into a retake arabesque position, her pose confident and stable.
I work for the remainder of the hour with the rest of the stunters, practicing our combinations and specifically focusing on our aerials. I'm exhausted but exhilarated, and I can feel the sweat drip between my cleavage and under the elastic of my sports bra, trailing down my bare stomach.
"Okay, that's enough practice for today!"
The hoards trail out of the practice room, but I decide to stay and stretch a little bit. I'm way too worked up to just head back to my room. Plus, we got out early, so Edward won't be by for another fifteen minutes.
I stretch out on the mat, my arms and legs reaching as far away from each other as possible. I feel my joints pop and my muscles elongate. They groan and protest, but I know I need to be as stretched out as possible before the performance. No stiff muscles for this girl.
My eyes close, and I steady my breathing, counting through my exhale. As I inhale again, my lips curl into a smile. Mm, coconut. Gently, he takes my left ankle in his hands and pushes it up, helping me stretch my hamstring.
"Harder," I breathe out.
His low chuckle reverberates through the echoing room as he applies more pressure to the stretch, allowing my leg to nearly come into contact with my shoulder, hovering next to my ear. One of his hands slides from my ankle and down my leg, resting at my inner thigh.
"I didn't know you were this flexible."
"Really, Edward? Because you've seen me perform. Multiple times." The insinuation in my voice is clear.
I can feel his eyes trail over the position of my body, so I decide to switch to my next position and stretch my inner thigh. If he sounds impressed now, just wait until he sees what I can do.
We release my leg, but I immediately reposition it to the side, utilizing my turn out. His hands slide over both my inner thighs as I use my own hands to hold onto my ankle, which almost touches the ground.
"Bella," he groans, positioning himself over me to 'help,' aka rub his protruding junk up against the crotch of my shorts.
He doesn't thrust against me, just lets his erection settle between my thighs as we finish extending my left leg and move onto my right. After twenty minutes of feeling him between my thighs with no friction, though, I'm a sloppy wet mess. And after my right leg is sufficiently stretched, I push him backwards, straddling his lap with my newly limbered hips.
We kiss, enjoying a moment of calm, before I start rocking on top of him.
"I missed you," I pant, and I'm surprised at the truth of the words.
Edward seems surprised, too, but he reciprocates quickly, his grip on my waist tightening as I slide up and down his cloth-covered cock. "I missed you, too."
The heat increases as I continue with my swift pace, my arousal too far out of hand to prolong coming for much longer. I lose it quickly, a perfect orgasm shaking my body as I moan into the crook of his neck. My tongue sneaks out for another taste of salt and coconut. I'm addicted.
"Fuck, Bella, I'm coming," he calls out as I'm still riding the vestiges of my own climax, my tongue swiping at his throat. I pull back to watch, though. He looks gorgeous when he comes. His eyes scrunch closed and his jaw opens in a silent moan.
Our movements finally slow, and his grip loosens on my hips.
"Good thing I brought extra shorts with me," he snorts, and I laugh, letting my forehead fall onto his shoulder.
It's then that I see his cheer duffle sitting in the doorway. Another flash of warmth spreads through my body as my eyes flick from the bag to his face and back again.
"You brought a bag with you?"
Edward flushes, and it's not from the heat. "I just thought that I'd spend the time up until the performance tonight with you…and it'd make it easier if I didn't have to go back home to get stuff for after. I just…um…" He pauses and quirks his head to the side, and I see his confident exterior fade away. "I don't have to spend the night if you don't want—"
I cut him off with a kiss. He wants to spend the night? There's no way I'm letting him be ashamed about that.
"I want you to," I say with a grin. His returning smile makes it worth the pain I'll have to endure for kicking Kate out of our room later tonight.
Our respective performances go spectacularly. Maybe it's the three orgasm high I'm riding, but I've never felt more confident and more excited. The judges eliminate two more teams, but both Edward's and my school are in the top three. One more performance to go. I can taste the victory on my tongue, heady and sweet.
We spend the rest of the evening walking the promenade, hand in hand. It feels good, like we're a real couple, almost. No one knows us here. In a sea of people, I can only see him. The blanket of anonymity swaddles us, and I relish each time he leans down to kiss my lips softly. I put my phone on silent, not wanting the outside world to interrupt my night of perfection. After all, win or lose, it's my last night here.
Edward picks a restaurant just off the promenade. It has outside tables, which overlook the beach. We sit on the same side of the table, his arm around my shoulders, and share herb crusted halibut. Well, he shares with me because my salmon is too salty, and he doesn't want me to starve. He makes some crude joke about me needing maximum strength and stamina, and then places his fork at my lips. I part my lips and let my tongue pull the flaky white fish into my mouth. It's perfectly delicious, and I can taste the butter its been cooked in. It feels sinful.
By the time we're finished with dinner, I'm as close to him as I can be without actually being on his lap, and I can't wait to get him alone. My fingers brush lightly over the noticeable lump in his shorts, figuring that he must feel similarly.
We rush to get the check and all but run back to my hotel room, carefully avoiding my mom on the way.
Soon, he's on top of me, inside of me, and I love it. I never want to leave this spot. Well, except to clean up in the shower. I'm more than happy to move there. We spend extra time on those hard to reach places, caressing under the hot stream of water until it runs cool.
As I stand in front of the foggy mirror, brushing my hair, naked, he approaches from behind and presses a soft kiss to my shoulder. His arms wrap around my waist, and I sigh.
"This week has been incredible, Bella."
One of his hands runs up my side, making my nipples harden. His other hand reaches between my thighs, his fingers sliding between my slick folds. "You're so beautiful."
He spins me around and presses his lips to mine. Suddenly, I'm lifted into the air and placed back on the bed. Our union is slow, not only because it's late, we're exhausted, and this is round three, but because we want to savor each second we have. I take note of every breath, every smile, every groan. And he's wrong—I'm not the beautiful one; he is.
We climax together, and it's the first time. It's a rare cacophony to hear us moaning one another's names simultaneously, but it feels like it belongs that way. After cleaning up again, our limbs intertwine, and my head finds its favorite spot over his heart, lulling me into a deep slumber.
The next morning, I'm awoken early by the sun streaming through our windows. Edward's hands are wrapped firmly around my waist, and I feel completely at ease. My eyes glance over at the clock. Kate let us sleep in. It's already 9:30, and we'll have to get ready as fast as humanly possible.
"I'm going to miss you," I whisper.
But he doesn't respond; he's still fast asleep, his breaths even and calm. A pang hits my stomach hard as I realize the truth behind my words.
I'm. Leaving. Today.
I'm going to miss him. Badly.
I've already gotten way more involved. This was supposed to be fun, but it's gnawing away at my stomach, thinking about being apart from him for more than a few hours. Panicking, I roll away, gasping for air.
How did I let myself get into this situation?
"Bella," he mumbles, pulling me back towards him in his sleep.
But my anxiety is too overwhelming, and I can't be in his arms right now. He feels me struggle against him, and he wakes up, confused.
"You need to leave now," I breathe out hard, struggling to maintain a semblance of control.
He glances at the clock and groans. "Shit, it's fucking late, isn't it? My coach is so going to have my ass on a platter. You're lucky you're the one person I'm okay with getting me in trouble." He leans in for a kiss, but I spring up from the bed, away from him.
"Edward, this has been an amazing week, but it's over now. I'm leaving today, and you need to leave." My voice wavers, and I pray he doesn't hear it.
He rolls out of bed, sleepily reaching for his clothes. "But Bella, you're being ridiculous. I'm—"
"Seriously, Edward, you need to leave. I can't be unfocused for the performance, and right now, I don't feel focused. I feel…"
He pauses and stares at me. "What do you feel Bella? Because I feel a lot for you."
I feel lost. Confused. Empty. Possibly in love. But I don't tell him any of this.
"Edward, please. Just don't—"
He's angry now. "No, Bella, you need to listen to me. I wanted to talk to you about something last night, but we fell asleep and now you're not giving me the fucking chance. This can be more than—"
I throw my hands in the air. "No it can't! I'm going back to Phoenix. I'm going to be a senior, and a long distance boyfriend isn't really my cup of tea, sorry."
"If you would just—"
The door swings open, revealing a very flustered looking Kate. She looks between us, half clothed and red faced, concerned.
"Okay," she whispers conspiratorially, "I'm not sure what's going on right now, but your mom is about to come up here and check and see if you're ready, B. And I could hear you down the frickin hall." She pauses and turns to Edward. "You, leave. B can see you before we get on the bus, and B, put your uniform on before your mom sees you. Seriously."
Edward looks at me pleadingly, but I can't do it right now. I just can't. This performance is too important to be thinking about him. I just need to cut the cord. He shuffles out with a sad, "Bye."
Kate gives me a look, but I just return with one that blatantly says, "Later." This is not the time, and she knows it.
Minutes after Edward leaves, I'm curled and coiffed and ready to go. My mother comes in, a smile plastered to her face, and I'm reminded that today is what I've been training for my entire life. My dream is coming true.
We gear up and hit the stage, ready to perform. Everything is flawless. Ribbons fly as we do our stunts, ponytails bouncing in perfectly formed curls as we nail each move. And as we huddle off to the side, watching the other two teams perform, I know we've won.
The judges call us all to the floor, and we cross arms and hold hands, waiting for the announcement.
"Our runner up, in second place…The Santa Monica Vikings!" The team captains head forward, and I ignore the flash of golden bronze I see out of the corner of my eye. Focus. Winning.
"Which means, our National 2010 Champions are…The North Phoenix Mustangs!"
Kate and I hug each other wildly before running up and bringing the trophy back to our team. I have a smile pulling at my cheeks, but I don't feel the joy coursing through me like I thought it would. My eyes immediately search for his amongst the throngs of people. I only want to share it with him. It burns me that I can't. Or that I won't. And I can't find him anyway. It's probably better that way, though.
"Bella!" My mom squeezes me tightly, and I burry my face into her shoulder. "We did it! I'm so proud of you. Celebratory lunch on the pier! Then, back on the bus." She turns to face the rest of the team. "Check out is in two hours!"
Two hours later, as I hop on the bus, I put in my headphones immediately. I need a distraction, anything to take away this nauseous feeling. My phone vibrates in my lap, and I see Edward's name appear on my screen. I silence it. And just before I close my eyes, I swear I smell faint hints of coconut.
For the next three weeks, I mope. I've never done it before, and my mom doesn't know what to do with me. She thinks it's aftershocks of winning. That I'm disillusioned now that I have nothing more to aspire to; I've reached the top. I let her think that, because I refuse to admit to her I'm wallowing over a boy.
A boy who won't stop calling or texting or emailing.
I refuse each one, deleting voicemails without listening and mail without reading. I'm trying to cut the cord, but he's making it insanely difficult. I don't know why he won't let go either. It's not like LA is getting any closer to Phoenix.
I watch The O.C. on DVD and eat coconut ice cream. Clearly, I'm okay with torturing myself. Then, I go to the gym and run on the treadmill for an hour because I'll be damned if I get out of shape before cheer starts again in the fall.
My sports bra and shorts are on, and I'm ready to head out the door when the buzzer rings, vibrating through the house. I wonder if my mom ordered a package. I'm hoping they're new uniforms.
I open the door, and standing on my front steps, is Edward.
"Uhhh…" My head is empty and racing all at the same time. What is he doing here? How did he get my address? Why did he come visit? Damn, he smells good.
He shoves his hands into his shorts' pockets and grins shyly. "Hey."
"Uhm." Yeah, no, seriously. There's nothing there. My mind is too busy taking a revamped inventory on him. I forgot how much pretty there was. And the Jamba Juice sound seems to have multiplied tenfold.
He stares at me, and I stare at him, and it so awkward and uncomfortable that I'm not really sure what to do with myself.
"So, can I come in?" he asks, raking a hand through his multi-faceted colored hair. "Or are you, um, going somewhere important?" His eyes rake me up and down, and I suddenly wish I were wearing more clothing. My arms wrap around my stomach protectively, even though I know he's seen me naked. This feels different somehow. Like he sees more of me than I want him to.
"I…how did you find me?" I finally ask. It's not what I actually want to ask, but it's the only thing that will come out of my mouth, so it'll do. He's completely knocked me off my game.
His smirk returns, and my eyes flick down to his pouty lips. "Kate was gracious enough to return my calls, unlike some people."
"Did you know they list the numbers of all the team members in a Cheerleading Nationals directory? My coach let me borrow hers."
"No," he interrupts, his voice firm. I bite back a moan, knowing that's the exact voice he uses in bed. "If you had let me explain earlier, maybe we could have avoided me resisting getting on a plane every day for the past three weeks. Maybe we could have been calling and texting and skyping and—"
"Wait, what?" I asked, completely lost.
"My scholarship came through during Nationals. To Arizona State…in Phoenix."
He pauses, waiting for me to catch up. And when I do, I can't control the way I launch into his arms. My arms and legs wrap around his neck and waist respectively, and my lips find his within seconds.
When I pull back, I'm breathless and grinning. "You're living in Phoenix?"
He nods and kisses me again. Three weeks without his kisses have been torturous, and I love making up for lost time.
"I thought I'd stop by and see if a Phoenix native could show me around?"
I slide down, kissing him one more time. "Let me just put some clothes on, and we can go."
He chuckles, lifting me back up and closing the door behind him. "If we go upstairs right now, I hope you know your clothes are coming off," he snickers.
I roll my eyes, but he does…and they do. Who needs to see Phoenix right now? After all, he's going to be here for the next year. We have time.
AN: Yeah, I really enjoyed writing this more than I should have. I'm hoping you all enjoyed it, too. Leave me some love, chickadees. xoxo.
Here was the original prompt—Bella is a co-captain on her high school cheerleading team, when her teams makes it to nationals—she scopes out the competition. A co-ed team from across town that also has co-captains—(enter female character here) and Edward Cullen. How will Bella deal with her dual feelings? She wants to win over the competition and Edward's heart.