A/N: I wrote this for the Blue-Collarward Contest, and for some crazy reason it won.
HUGE thanks to everyone who read all those great one-shots and voted. This was a blast to write in one of the most intense and crazy writing sessions I've ever been a part of. It was huge fun to write a different sort of Edward from Beardward. Thank you to Zephyrsky who cheered me on, and EXTRA EXTRA HUGEMONGUS THANKS to AngryBadgerGirl for kicking my ass and beta'ing the crap out of this. No way I could have written or finished this on time without them, much less have it not suck.
Also, special thanks to the ladies at the TwiGirlsNextDoor blog for hosting and staying awake late waiting for my submission.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight, or Bella and Edward. Not even the storage shed. I just like to write naughty things about them.
Flag Me Down
Crap. Now I'm going to be late.
I sighed heavily as I brought my car to a stop. The city of Seattle has two seasons. The rainy season, and the construction season. And since today is a gloriously beautiful 75-degree July day, guess what season it is now?
I was already running late. I slept through my alarm for 30 minutes, then had to rush around trying to look professional in my Target-exclusive wardrobe. I was lucky to snag a job teaching summer school at the alternative high school, and there was a possibility I could get hired full-time in the fall. I was desperate to impress the faculty and principal. My freshly printed diploma meant I was capable of not only teaching the material, but handling the often troubled and difficult teens that attended the school. I approached it like I did everything else: with planning and determination. So far, it was still working.
I groaned in frustration as the long line of cars passed in the opposite direction. The road leading to the school was a narrow one, with only one lane in each direction. Up ahead, I could see a long line of bright orange cones angling towards the center line. I could only just make out the shape of a tall man in a vest and hard hat wielding a double-sided sign, the orange of his gear matching the cones. I could see that the sign read 'STOP' on one side, and 'SLOW' on the other as he waved the oncoming traffic on.
I rolled down the window in an effort to get some fresh air. My badly battered and very used car had no air-conditioning, and the morning was already warm. I wrinkled my nose against the smell of exhaust, but the breeze felt good. I propped my arm on the edge of the window, wiggling my fingers in the air as the oncoming traffic slowed and finally stopped. My traffic in my lane crawled intermittently, inching forward little by little.
As I approached the work site, I rolled my eyes in disgust. There was probably 200 feet of lane blocked off for one work truck and four guys standing in a shallow hole on the side of the road. Well, seven guys if you counted the two men working the traffic signs. I snorted and leaned my head against the headrest, squinting my eyes in an effort to will the line of cars ahead of me to move faster.
There wasn't a single woman on the crew, either.
Then again, what woman in her right mind would want to work with a bunch of sweaty, hairy guys? I thought to myself that we all have our construction worker fantasies, but I was certain the reality wasn't even close to sexy.
Then my eyes landed on the tall guy directing traffic. I could get a much better look at him now that my car had gotten closer. He was easily over six feet tall, his frame long and lanky. His dark, heavy-duty denim jeans hung low on his hips, clinging to his muscular legs just enough until they ended at his large work boots. A black t-shirt clung to his upper body and was frayed slightly at the sleeves. Even the ugly orange safety vest only seemed to highlight how muscled his chest was. One long, well-defined arm extended out, his gloved hand wrapped around the pole of the sign he waved. The other arm swung in a wide loop in front of him, his bicep flexing as he waved each car past him.
I just might have been wrong about reality.
I only looked for a second. And then I looked for another second longer. I had to because his face abruptly turned from where he looked down at the line of cars and instead, looked dead at me. I couldn't tell what color his eyes were, but he had a spectacular jaw, highlighted with just the right amount of stubble. I took another second to look at his full lips. His hard hat covered his hair, but what I could see looked dark. I couldn't really tell, though, since it was matted to his forehead with sweat.
I meant to look away, honest.
His eyes met mine and widened. He leaned into the sign a bit more as one corner of his mouth curled up in a lazy smirk. His free hand moved with an arrogant grace to the front of his hat where he mimed tipping it as I passed.
I stepped on the gas as I felt my cheeks flame, and closed the distance that had somehow opened up between me and the car ahead. It was a good three of four car-length's worth of space, and a I have no idea how I managed to fall behind since I clearly needed to get to work. I stole one last glance in my rear-view mirror and could swear I saw Mr. Hot Flagger laughing. At me.
He probably had women ogling him all day while he stood there and wasted taxpayer money but I was willing to bet he also loved every smug minute of it. I huffed and sighed as I finally navigated to work, barely getting there on time. I managed to get through the day without further incident.
The road was open in both directions by the time I was on my commute home. A few bright orange traffic cones and a "Road Construction Ahead" sign still teetered on the shoulder. Two men were loading some equipment into the back of a county truck. I eyed them as I passed, but they were mostly hidden by the large vehicle.
I shuffled into my quiet apartment, juggling an armload of notebooks and papers and my favorite teriyaki dish from Nikko's. I'd spend tonight grading assignments, lesson planning for tomorrow, and watching Dancing With the Stars, while chatting over Google Chat with Alice and Rose, my college roommates. Clearly, I didn't have much of a life. Not yet. I was a planner. I had planned my education, and now I was planning my career, planning my personal life would come later.
The next morning I found myself drowning in the same traffic jam as the day before. It was a never-ending cycle of 'hurry up and wait'.
Stop and go.
Stop and go.
But at least I woke up on time. I'd set my alarm fifteen minutes earlier, just in case the construction was causing problems again. I mentally patted myself on the back while I leaned my elbow against the open window of my car door. I tried to look blasé as I idly gazed over to see the workers ahead.
I wondered if the same people would be at this tiny construction site with the completely over-the-top wide berth of open space made for them. How did you tell theses dudes apart anyway? As the line of cars surged forward again, I definitely recognized one figure. Cocky McLickableBiceps stood at his post, in the exact same pose as yesterday. He seemed so confident...nonchalant...like he his ego just wouldn't permit him to be more interested in his surroundings.
Probably a total player. Seriously. Player McMuscularThighs.
I shook my head to get myself to stop even thinking about this guy as I passed him. My eyes slid back when he did a double take, staring in the window of my car as I passed. He grinned quickly again. Waving as I tried to ignore him.
The roadwork continued for the rest of the week, inching slowly up the street as they completed whatever the hell they were working on. On Wednesday, I chastised myself for even looking for him as I sat and waited my turn. Unfortunately, I had a tendency to talk out loud to myself in moments like that and I was in the middle of my self-tirade as I approached the place he stood, only to see that he was watching me intently as I came nearer, breaking out into a laughing grin as I flushed in mortification. Thank God he couldn't hear me. Once again, as I passed, he raised his hand to his hat and smirked at me. I made a show of ignoring him.
Whatever, asshole. You take your bitable jaw elsewhere.
Thursday was completely different. I still waited in line for way longer than had to be completely necessary for whatever they were doing to this road. I still commanded myself not to pay any attention to whoever might be wielding the flag.
I was successful. It was easy to ignore the short, stocky woman that turned the flag back and forth with a bored expression.
It was also easy to see the lean, tall, familiar frame standing at the opposite end, directing the opposing traffic. He watched intently at the line of cars, a frown on his face. As I steered around the heavy machinery on the road, his body shifted, relaxing back into his typical stance.
Typical? Like I knew this?
Once again, he gave me that lazy smirk, tipping his hat and flexing his hard muscles as he moved.
Friday, I had an early staff meeting before classes started, and thankfully, I was at work before the construction crew arrived, so I sailed right through.
Mr. Smirky McKissableLips will just have to work his charms on some other chick trying to get to work while stuck in traffic for a stupid, unnecessary repair project.
I was in a bad mood for the rest of the day.
Saturday, I googled the county road maintenance reports trying to figure out what they were doing and how long the project was supposed to go. The Department of Transportation website was no help, except to say that the project was expected to last several weeks.
I reset my alarm for 15 minutes earlier Sunday night.
On Monday, I awoke in a good mood. I was feeling confident and organized, dressing in my favorite work outfit and had my bag packed for the day in no time. I even had an extra few minutes to stop at Starbucks for a latte. Hopping back into my car, I turned on my radio, pleased to find some decent morning music. I drove merrily on my way, singing and dancing in my seat on my commute.
I cheered in mid-song as I approached the construction zone. There was only four or five cars ahead of me today, and they were already moving steadily through the passing lane. I lightly tapped the gas pedal to try to close the gap between me and the car in front of me, just to make sure I made it through the zone.
Long-Legged McGee was there, of course. He was watching the line of cars intently, waving them through. Suddenly, he broke out in a huge grin that lit up his whole face. I watched in an awed sort of dismay as he brought his hand-held radio to his mouth and then quickly flipped the sign to 'STOP' just as I approached him.
I had to step hard on the brakes. I wasn't going that fast, really, but I wasn't expecting to have to stop. Hottie McSwagger sauntered to the middle of the lane with his clearly phallic symbol of a sign, blocking me further.
As if I was going to jet into oncoming traffic?
My eyes snapped to his as if they were magnets. He stared right at me through my windshield, and when my eyes met his, he grinned again. I looked away quickly, hoping he didn't see my cheeks burn. A fleeting thought, wondering if he had stopped me on purpose, flitted through my brain. I was sure it was just to irritate me.
I left early, for Christ's sake! Now, I'm going to be late...again.
I could feel his intensely dark-looking eyes boring through the glass at me, and I pretended to be occupied with the radio, the dash controls, the coffee receipts in the center console. When the gravitational pull of his stare pulled me back to his eyes again, he smirked and waved, his head cocked to one side, before he flipped the sign around, and waved me through with a slight bow. I rolled my eyes in an over-exaggerated gesture and tried to ignore his laughing, as well as how devastatingly handsome the wide grin made his face look.
The next day, I once again found myself stopped at the front of the line, inches from his dark-washed, muscular-thigh enhancing, button fly jeans. This time, I could swear he was spying into my car window. His eyes flicked from me to the stack of books I had on my passenger seat—some were for my students, some for me. His eyebrow rose as he pursed his lips in contemplation, his usual smirk still in place as he nodded and cocked his head in approval.
Really? Read a lot of 150 year old American Lit, do you, Abs of Steel?
I glared at him with my best bitch face. He leaned back, resting his weight on one leg as he grinned in response. I could see the muscular outlines of his chest as he suppressed a chuckle. I cursed myself for reacting at all. He was obviously trying to get some kind of reaction from me, and it was making me crazy. I didn't know whether to be flattered or disgusted.
On Wednesday, it happened again. By then, I knew he was deliberately stopping me. He never approached my car, except to survey whatever was occupying my passenger seat. He just stood there, with the sign firmly grasped in his large, obviously capable hand. His eyes—still a mystery of color—were fixed on me.
I grumbled my frustrations at this singled-out behavior. Part of me wanted to roll down my window and confront him and ask him what his problem was. I was way too chicken, though, to risk a direct confrontation. Knowing my luck, he would flex a bicep just as I was working up an epically witty retort and I'd just end up drooling. He didn't need that kind of encouragement.
A movement caught my eye and I saw him looking at me quizzically, and I groaned, realizing I had been gesticulating to my thoughts, flexing my arm and shaking my head. Mortified, I rolled my eyes again, noting his expression shift from confused to...something else. His eyes widened and his mouth parted slightly, still not looking away. It was almost hungry looking.
I sighed in frustration, not sure what to make of his behavior, and leaned back in my seat. When he finally flipped the sign around, he wore his signature cocky smirk.
I flipped him off.
Of course, this only made his cocky smile go from lazy, self-satisfied, and smug to Smirk 2.0.
I found myself feeling irritated, yet, grudgingly amused. His confidence was as endearing as it was annoying. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why he seemed to find me so fascinating. From his obvious interests in the contents of my school supplies, he knew I was a book nerd. I'm sure he had far more interesting options available to him—probably ones that weren't so irritated with him for making them late to work every damn morning.
On Thursday, the road was nearly empty as I traveled to work. I accelerated minutely, when I saw him in his usual post, conversing with another workman with the sign held lazily behind him. I had hoped I could slip through the lane before he realized it was me and stopped me again.
Of course, my typical 'Bella luck' prevailed, and right on cue, he looked up and straighted his lanky frame. I considered just powering through the lane, before he could completely turn the sign, but I was a cop's daughter (and a chicken) so my foot was already on the brake.
I glared at him again as I stopped just shy of his size thirteen work boots. Of course, he was smiling, looking like an advertisement for men's work clothes. He had perfect teeth, framed by perfect lips. I was dreaming about those lips at that point. In fact, I'd dreamt about them just the night before. These unnecessary traffic stops had become part of my routine, and now they were part of my night as well. But I wasn't about to let him turn me into some swoony airhead, so I stopped squirming in my seat and fixed my now signature glare on him, and flipped him off again.
That's right, see how not impressed I am, Hot Stuff?
I should have known better. His whole face lit up and one leather-glove clad hand reached inside his vest and pulled out something. My mouth went dry as he stretched up to attach something to the 'SLOW' side of the sign, making his shirt pull up and exposing a triangle of lean, hard abdominals, complete with the beginning of a happy trail.
I looked away when he righted himself, definitely not wanting him to see me checking him out. with a slow grin, he radioed his counterpart and flipped the sign around just as my finger did its customary flipping of its own.
But this time, his flip trumped mine. Bastard.
Under the black block letters was a strip of paper with slightly slanted, bold capital letters. Three words expressed a very egotistical, crass reply to my silent FUCK YOU:
YOU WISH, BABY
My jaw dropped open at the audacity, and I stomped on the gas, quickly removing my foot so I didn't flatten any of his crew. After all, it wasn't their fault their flagger was such a cocky asshole.
Flippant flipping flagger fuckalicious...grrr.
On Friday, there was no early morning meeting, and even though I planned on going well before my usual time anyway, I dawdled over the morning crossword puzzle for too long and ended up leaving at my normal time anyway.
This time, I saw it coming, the stance shift, the sign swinging around, and before I could stop myself, and not set myself up for further mortification, my middle finger was extended. I tried to drop my hand before he could see.
This time, the note was on the 'STOP' side, facing me as I sat there for the duration of the extremely long line of cars zooming past.
OKAY BABY, YOU WIN! 206-555-3825
He stood there with that smirk, standing just far enough a way that I was pretty sure the car behind me couldn't read the taped note.
Without thinking, I plucked a Starbucks receipt from my center console and jotted down the number. Of course, I wasn't going to do anything with it. I don't even know why I wrote it down. Habit? Curiosity? Ammunition?
I drove away, once again pretending like I wasn't even aware of his ruggedly masculine perfection. When I arrived at work, I shoved the receipt into the glove compartment and vowed to throw it away soon.
My weekend was as uneventful as they normally were. I called both my parents, and went out for coffee with my neighbor, Angela.
"His fucking phone number? Are you shitting me?" She asked, when I relayed the story of Smirky Bastard the Hot Flagger Guy to her. For a preacher's kid, Angela had a foul mouth. "Did you keep it?"
My blush gave me away, and she laughed loudly, making everyone at Starbucks look over at us.
"I did write it down, there's no way I'm calling him. No way. I don't even know why I did. He's a cocky prick who probably hits on anything with two X chromosomes." I replied, in a whisper after everyone went back to their coffee-drinking business.
"Yet, it's just you he makes a point of stopping every fucking day." Angela pointed out. "You should at least roll down your damned window and flirt with him a little. Take a fucking chance, Bella. It might be fun."
"Uh huh," I shook my head violently. "No way. He's probably some creepy stalker type. I'll end up in that ditch they're digging."
"Or. you could have insanely fucking hot sex with a gorgeous guy in the back of the utility truck." Angela grinned at me. "You did notice that you called him Hottie at least six times in the course of telling me that story, right?"
"Shut up. No. Not gonna do it."
"Doooo it" Angela strung out the word and gave me a wicked grin. She probably would have the guts to do something like that, not me, though.
I finally managed to change the subject and went on about my weekend.
Monday, to my relief, I was early enough to not get stopped. I did see him, he stood on the side of the road as I passed by, and I could feel my face flaming as I remembered the steamy dream I had about him the night before. The crew was in the process of setting up the new work site, as the projects marched steadily up the street. This week it was just a block off my school parking lot. I turned quickly into the lot, hurrying inside before I was tempted to stand on the grassy border and watch him.
At lunch I had to go out to my car. I was missing a textbook I needed to teach my afternoon class, and I was fairly certain I had left it in the trunk the week before. I couldn't help but look at the construction crew on the road. traffic was flowing, and the equipment was parked on the shoulder. I sighed as I realized they must have been at lunch, too.
After wrestling with the sticky lock of my trunk I finally opened it. The box I had neatly stacked my extra school supplies and papers had somehow managed to split open and its contents jumbled across the worn fabric inside. I grumbled in frustration and bent over the trunk opening, trying to tidy the mess and find the book I needed.
"You hurt my feelings, you know." A deep, velvety voice startled me out of my preoccupied search.
I yelped and jumped in surprise, hitting my head on the lid of the trunk and whirling around.
He leaned casually against my car. He was missing the fluorescent orange vest, and there was a weathered Mariners baseball cap in place of the hard hat, but everything else about him was immediately recognizable.
He was looking at me with a pouty expression, as if I just kicked his puppy. I wasn't totally fooled. A hint of mischievous humor showed in his deep emerald-colored eyes, and I could tell he was playing this up for all it was worth.
Of course, since I was still rubbing my head where I hit it, my shot at appearing cool and collected was completely shot.
"I-I'm sorry?" It came out in a questioning squeak.
He folded his arms over his chest, making his biceps strain the sleeves of his dark blue t-shirt.
"I was really hoping you'd call me this weekend. I'm wounded that you didn't." The pout became even more pronounced, along with the wicked twinkle in his eyes.
I rolled my eyes and tried to salvage some cool. "I didn't even think that was a real number," I replied with a 'whatever' shrug, even though my heart was pounding in my chest. "Why in the world would I have called you?"
"You never know. It might have been fun."
"So, you think we'd have a good time together?" I was feeling bolder, pushing against his arrogant attitude.
His soft-looking lips curled into a lopsided smile as he pushed himself off my car and took a step closer.
"I do," He responded in a low voice. "I'm not used to being disappointed, you know. And neither are the women I'm with." He said the last but as he bent slightly closer to me, as if he were imparting a not-so-closely guarded secret.
I rolled my eyes again and turned back to the contents of my trunk. I finally spotted the book I was looking for and grabbed it quickly, slamming the lid closed before turning back to him.
"Well, most people start with a name, when they want to get to know someone." I retorted. "Though, somehow I think maybe you're not so interested in actually getting to know me."
Stupid, shallow, hot flagger guy.
In a moment of awesome that will probably never, ever happen to me again, I whirled around, hair flying, and stalked away in irritation. I have no idea his response, because I didn't want to demean myself by turning back to look. By the time I was back in the building and could look through the tinted windows, he was nowhere in sight.
I couldn't get my mind off him the rest of the day, which pissed me off to no end, because I was sure that was exactly what he wanted. Angela, and even Alice and Rose would be lining up cheering for me to have a little fun, but even though I was slightly, secretly thrilled, at some kind of illicit random encounter, I really had no desire to become a notch in someones well-worn bedpost.
I drove to work the next day intent, once again, on completely ignoring this guy, no matter what he did. Maybe my flounce-in-a-huff taught him a lesson. Or at least some manners.
As I approached the construction zone, now right exactly in front of the school's parking lot, my heart sped up as my stomach dropped in trepidation. Of course he was in his usual place, waving cars through. His stance was different though. He still stood casually, still made the same waving motion with his free arm, but he looked less like he was posing, and a little more...normal.
As expected, he straighted up when he spotted my car and radioed his partner and flipped the sign around. Resigned, I slumped back in my seat and slowed to a stop. I didn't look at him, studying my fingernails intently.
I looked up at a flicker of movement at my window, looking up in surprise. Cocky Swagger McHotGuy was standing right there, sign still held, facing the line of cars, but he stared in my window with an intent expression. He cocked his head to one side when I met his liquid jade gaze and made an exaggerated pleading face while miming rolling a window down.
I rolled my eyes and sighed in exasperation as I shook my head, and he pressed his hand to his heart like I was wounding him deeply.
With another eye roll, I slowly lowered my window halfway and gave him a tolerant look, and trying not to be dazzled by the force of his eyes.
He had removed his work glove and extended his hand towards me.
"I'm Edward, what's your name?" He spoke softly, his face serious even if he did still have a slight glint in his eyes. I gave him a disbelieving look, trying to convey oh really, with my eyes.
"Come on," he pleaded, his smirk coming back, though not quite to it's usual arrogant power. "I'm trying to follow the rules here."
I snorted a laugh, looking back to my lap as I shook my head. I lowered my window the rest of the way and offered my hand.
"Bella. It's nice to meet you, Edward."
It was hard to resist a laugh at the sudden jubilant expression that covered his handsome face. He took my hand in his, they were large, with long graceful fingers that would have seemed more appropriate on a concert pianist. The rough callouses on his fingers and palm spoke to his hard-labor vocation and capability.
He opened his mouth to speak again, but was interrupted by a loud squawking noise from the radio hanging from his hip. He pulled his hand from mine and tipped his hat again, just like he had that first day.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, too, Bella." My name rolled around his tongue like he was tasting it, and I had to remind myself to breathe.
He flipped the sign back to 'SLOW' and I carefully, and somewhat shakily, pressed the gas pedal and drove on to work.
At lunch, I found myself again at my car. The day was beautiful and I wanted to eat outside, and the teacher's lot was the only place I could go where no students would be. I sat cross-legged on the cool grass as I opened my lunch and closed my eyes to soak in the warmth of the day.
"May I join you?"
My eyes flew open at the oh-so-familiar voice. He—Edward—stood a few feet from me, baseball hat in his hand, running his hand through messy, somewhat flattened, copper-colored hair.
"Um, sure." I said, pulling my few belongings closer, as if I had to make room for him on the large patch of grass I was sitting on. He sank to the ground, stretching out his long legs in front of him and opened his large black lunchbox. He regarded me with a hint of the cocky smirk I was used to from him.
"So, ready to call me and have the time of your life?" he asked with a purr...and a wink.
Was this guy for real?
I stared at him, dropping my sandwich in my lap in exasperation.
"If you're just going to be a jerk, again, you can eat here by yourself." I started packing everything back into my lunch bag, As I started to get to my feet, he reached out a hand.
"No, shit, please. I'm sorry. I am a jerk. I was trying to be funny, and I blew it. Stay." He gave me a pleading look. "Or, I'll go." He offered.
I sat back down and sighed.
We were quiet for a few moments, before he slowly started talking. He told me some stories about his job, his crew, drivers on the road. He asked a few questions about the school, seemingly interested in why I was teaching in the middle of July. All in all, once he stopped being a jerk, it was a pleasant half hour.
As he stood up to return to work, he hesitated and turned back to me. "See you tomorrow?"
"Yeah, sure." I looked at him sternly. "As long as you're nice."
"Nice." He snorted, but grinned broadly and waved as he moved away.
The next day was the mostly the same. He stopped me again in the morning, this time greeting me by name through my open window. He was still devastatingly gorgeous in his work clothes and the cocky grin was well in place, but it was more endearing now than irritating.
At lunch we chatted more about incidental topics. He stepped closer to me as we both readied to go back to work, close enough I could feel the warmth of his body. I wanted to reach out and touch him, and he seemed to lean in, but caught himself and straighted, giving me that lopsided grin again before waving and calling out, "See you tomorrow!"
By Thursday, I could actually admit to myself that I was looking forward to seeing Edward again. We chatted both in the line of traffic and again at lunch.
That Friday morning, he had a somber expression. I rolled down the window as he strode over to me, leaning his arm on the roof of the car as he spoke.
"I have to be at another site this afternoon." He frowned. "I'll miss our lunch date." He looked genuinely upset by this, and my stomach flip-flopped at the idea of not seeing him later.
"Oh." It was all I could manage.
"Um, I know we started off on the wrong foot, but this job is almost done and I'd really like to see you again. Can I...I don't suppose I could have your number, could I?"
I almost laughed at the confused expression on his face. I was sure his ego was a little fragile, and I didn't want to offend him at what was probably the first time he'd ever actually had to ask for a woman's number before.
"Sure," I smiled, resisting laughing again at the relief that spread over his face. He pulled a cell phone from his pocket, and punched in the numbers as I recited them, cursing softly when the gloves made him mess up.
It was time to let the traffic through then, and with a wave I continued my drive to work. I was quiet all day, bummed that I wasn't going to see him at lunch. I kept looking at my phone, wondering if he'd call or text during the day, but it stayed silent. I was distracted and my students took advantage of it, and the day went from bad to worse. The assistant director of the program had to step in to help me reign in the rowdier kids. I mortified me not to be able to manage my own classroom, and I fretted about my job.
Finally, the last bell rang and I finished up for the day. I didn't want to think about work at all this weekend, so I stayed until I was completely prepped for the next week. Consequently, I was the last person to leave the building.
As I walked briskly across the empty parking lot, my heart sank. My car sat in its spot, with not just one, but two flat tires. I had a spare in the trunk, but with two tires out of commission that was hardly any help. Fighting back tears at my frustration over what had to be one my shittiest days in a long time, I pulled my phone out and called my Dad.
"Hey, this is Charlie Swan, you know the drill..." I heard the outgoing message of his answering machine tell me.
I hung up. There was no point in leaving a message, and my dad exactly tech-savvy. He didn't even own a cell phone. I called Angela, I called my boss and two of my co-workers. I even called Jake, my ex-boyfriend. All to no avail, because it was a Friday, and they all probably had lives.
I sat down in my car with tears of frustration running down my cheeks, debating whether to start walking or wait for someone to call me back.
Then my eyes landed on the glove compartment.
I lunged forward, tugging the door open and fumbling inside for the slip of paper. Hastily, and with shaking fingers I dialed the number.
Please, please, Edward, now would be the time not to have been a jerk and have this really be your number.
On the third ring, his voice slid through the phone and wrapped around me. "Bella?" He sounded confused, and anxious.
"Edward," I breathed, "Um, I was hoping you could maybe...give me a ride home. Two flat tires, and I can't reach anyone and I'm stuck here and..." I was babbling incoherently into the phone, my bad day catching up with me.
"You called me..." His voice broke through my hysteria, still sounding surprised. "Yeah, of course I'll come, I'll be right there." I heard some shuffling in the background. Then he spoke again, his voice more concerned and forceful. "Just stay there. Okay, Bella? In your car. Don't get out until I get there, okay? I'll be there in less than ten minutes."
"Okay." The phone clicked off after I answered and I shut the door to my car leaning against the window pane.
Six minutes later I looked up when I heard the creak of a large vehicle and a short squeal of tires. A big utility truck with the county logo on the side tore into the parking lot and swung around quickly to pull into the parking spot a few places away. I was just reaching for the latch when he strode to my door and yanked it open and pulled me to his chest.
"Thank God." I felt his voice more than I heard it, even though I could barely focus on anything beside the fact that I was pressed into the hard planes of his chest.
"Are you okay, Bella?" He pulled away from me and looked at me intently, brushing a dried tear from my face anxiously.
I nodded. "Yeah, just a bad day. Thanks for coming, though," I sniffled.
He ushered me to his truck, opening the door before hoisting me, rather forcefully, in. He walked quickly to the other side and got into the drivers seat.
"I have to take the truck back to dispatch, I hope you don't mind." He glanced at me as he backed up and pulled out of the parking lot.
"No, no, whatever," I assured him, just grateful that something was going right.
He grinned at me. "Just don't get me in trouble." He winked naughtily. "I'm not supposed to have non-county workers in the truck, much less at dispatch."
"Your secret is safe with me." I flirted back.
He was still grinning, obviously pleased with something.
"What are you so happy about?" I asked at the next stoplight.
He grinned even wider, letting his eyes pass over my frame before turning his attention back to the road.
"You called me." He said.
The full meaning of his words sank in and I blushed deeply. Obviously, even to him now, I had kept his number.
I looked out the window to hide my embarrassment.
"Yeah, I guess I did."
We were silent as he drove through town. I recovered most of my poise with a few cleansing breaths. Edward drove with confidence, still exuding some combination of smug bastard cocky 'I knew I was right' with little boy pleased at accomplishing something.
His velvet voice broke the silence as we pulled into the fenced lot behind the county buildings.
"I still think we'd be good together, Bella."
Even though I snorted at the repetition of his arrogant words from before, I noted the softer, more intense tone of his voice.
"I'd like to take you out. Tomorrow maybe. Dinner?"
I looked at him in surprise, he had that same anxious, confused expression he had worn when he asked for my number earlier in the morning.
"Okay. That'd be nice. Sure." I said,
He grinned widely again, parking the truck between two other large vehicles.
"Good!" He nodded like he had just made an important decision before cracking open the door. "I have to take a few things into the storage shed. Walk with me?"
"Sneaking me in?" I grinned at him.
"Sure am." He gave me his signature lopsided smile that I was quickly falling harder and harder for.
Smug bastard, even still.
I hopped down from the van, meeting him at the back of the truck. He swatted away my hands when I tried to grab a few of the cones he was pulling from the back.
"Stop that!" He said as he hefted a large stack of them in one arm, wrapping the other around my shoulders and pulling me close to him and walking towards a large building.
The inside of the locked room was dim, lit only by a single light bulb hanging from a wire from the ceiling. Metal racks lined the walls, piled high with signs and tools. Cones stacked to the ceiling in one corner of the concrete floor. He released me as we walked inside, and I looked around as he set down the stack of cones he brought in.
"Stay here, okay? Just have one more batch of shit..stuff..to bring in." He gestured towards the door.
"You're not going to lock me up in here, are you?" I asked him, only half joking.
He grinned widely and winked, walking out without answering. The door bounced against the door jam, the extended deadbolt preventing it from closing completely. I couldn't help but smile after him.
I wandered around the small room, unable to hold still. He was back in a few minutes, quickly dropping whatever he was carrying with a loud clatter. Before I could turn around to look at him he was behind me, running his hands down my arms and pulling me back against him again.
I could feel the rough stubble of his cheek as he nuzzled my hair, right near my ear.
"Thank you for calling me, Bella. I was worried when I heard how anxious you sounded." His voice was gravelly in my ear and I shivered at the feel of it.
"I tried to call my dad, and some friends, but no one was answering." I sighed as leaned against him.
"I knew you kept my number." I could feel the grin against my cheek.
"Yeah, yeah," I said, trying not to blush again. "You're irresistible, I guess. But you know that already, don't you?" I rolled my eyes, even though he couldn't see them.
I felt his chest rumble against my back as he growled. "You are too fucking sexy when you roll your eyes like that."
I scoffed at his observation and he spun me around to look at me, backing me against a stack of sandbags in the corner of the room. I gulped as I realized how very, very close he was standing to me. He towered over me, reaching up to pull his baseball cap off, flinging it to the floor so he could lean his forehead against mine and wrapping his long fingers around my wrists.
"You have no idea, do you?" He muttered, his lips inches from mine. "From that first time I saw you drive past the work site, you were the sexiest fucking thing...woman...I had ever laid eyes on."
I laughed softly at his correction, and he pressed his lips to my cheek, so close to the corner of my mouth, making my heart race. A few days ago, this guy irritated the shit out of me, and now I was contemplating making out with him in a dirty tool shed.
"Yeah, shush." He continued. "I was a jerk, I'm sorry."
He was starting to pull away, and I heard a voice in my head that sounded suspiciously like Angela saying. 'Doooo it.'
I bit my lip nervously then, but before I could change my mind, I locked my arms around his shoulders and pressed my lips firmly to his. He grunted in surprise, freezing momentarily before pulling me fully against his body and deepening the kiss.
I knew I shouldn't be encouraging what was likely his irresistible modus operandi, but I was feeling bold and oddly liberated at throwing a little caution to the wind. I slid my hand into his hair and sucked his full lower lip into my mouth, making him groan and sag slightly against me. His hands were travelling up and down my sides, resting on my hips one second, then inching their way up towards my breasts. I released his lip and attacked his neck, nipping and sucking along the muscle line there, tasting his salty, sun-warmed skin.
"God, Bella, fuck." he croaked out. "I want to touch you so bad, but..."
"So touch me, Edward," I murmured into his ear before nipping the lobe.
Instantly, his mouth was devouring mine again, sliding his warm, wet tongue in between my lips and sliding along mine. His large hands moved to my breasts, pressing them together beneath my shirt and grazing my nipples with his thumbs, circling as they hardened to points. His hips thrust against mine and I could feel him.
Clearly, the Stop/Slow sign wasn't the only large staff he was used to wielding.
All I could do was moan and grind my hips against his, my panties rapidly getting damp.
"Bella, Bella." Edward's voice sounded torn and desperate. "I didn't...I wanted..." He took a deep breath, trying to compose himself, bracing his forehead against mine. His rough fingers remained caressing my breasts though, and I was frustrated at the amount of material in between my skin and his.
"I don't want to be that kind of guy to you. You deserve flowers and wooing and at least dinner for fuck's sake." He tried to laugh. "But, Jesus Christ, I have never wanted someone like I want you right now."
I thought about it for one split second. "Are we still on for tomorrow night?" I asked.
His forehead wrinkled with confusion. "Of course we are, why?"
"Then your way tonight. Mine, tomorrow."
My stunning display of lust-induced logic must have made sense to him, too, because he groaned in surrender with a low 'fuck' and attacked my mouth with his again, reaching down to pick me up and guide my legs around his waist, making my long full skirt raise high on my bare thighs as he pressed me harder against the wall of sand-filled burlap. As soon as I was securely held against him his hands returned to my breasts, flicking his thumbs over the hardened peaks.
I growled my own frustration at the lack of direct contact, grabbing the hem of my shirt and yanking it violently over my head. and tossing it to the floor. I wished I had worn a sexier bra than the simple white cotton with lace trim one I had on, but Edward didn't seem to mind as he cursed under his breath and devoured my skin with his heated stare. He grabbed the back of one thigh, fingers so close to where I was really craving those long rough fingers. The other hand reached up and yanked the cups of my bra down until both breasts were exposed, pushed upward by the stiff curved of the wires and fabric. He cupped one, almost reverently, if not for the frenzied atmosphere that was surrounding us, and gently rubbed his stubbly cheek over my sensitive nipple, making me cry out in shock and send a bolt of pleasure straight to my now extremely wet pussy. Immediately, his velvety soft tongue soothed the tender flesh, a startling contrast, making me arch against him and grinding against the extremely hard and large bulge in his jeans.
I tugged at his t-shirt roughly. He released one hand from me at a time while I peeled the soft, sweat-dampened cotton from him. I barely had time to admire his perfectly defined lean muscles, not overly huge, but every line was visible, as was the stunning curve of his bicep as his arm gripped my leg again, pulling me even tighter to him.
"God, Bella, you are so warm, I can feel you." His voice was rough with desire, every word making me crazy. His mouth was moving along my collarbone, and over the curve of my breasts. I was holding his head to me, wanting to feel more. and trying to figure out how to touch more of him in my current position.
I tried to thread my hand through the tangle of our bodies, reaching for the button on his jeans. I definitely wanted to feel what felt so promising inside. When he realized my intentions, Edward caught his breath, pinning my arm between us.
"Fuck Bella," he paused for a second, breathing heavily,"Are you sure you want this? Here? Now? Because I'm not going to be able to stop if you continue that path." Edward punctuated the last part with a nod of his chin towards my hand.
"Here." I said, kissing him wildly, biting at his lips. "Now, Edward."
"Fu-u-ck" Edward groaned out as my hand finally wormed in between us, palming his erection through the thick denim of his jeans. I pulled and tugged a couple times, finally freeing the top button. A couple yanks, and the rest fell free. Riding the wave of courage I was still feeling I slipped my hand under the waistband of his boxers and wrapped my hand around him.
Oh. My. God.
Oddly enough, Edward's words as my hand closed around him and started stroking him were similar to my thoughts. He hefted me higher against the wall, his hand sliding higher under my leg, I pouted and complained against his lips as he slipped from my hand.
"Don't make me embarrass myself here, Bella." He smirked against my mouth. I could feel him throb under my leg, emphasizing how turned on he was.
"I don't think that's possible." I panted, clearly undermining my own rules about not encouraging his cockiness.
I felt him tug aside my panties, and moaned loudly as one long roughened finger traced the line of my pussy, hearing it echo around the metal walls. The finger circled my clit once, then slid through my lips, until pressing easily into me.
"Holy shit you are wet. So. Warm. And. Wet. Bella." He gasped into my mouth. All I could manage were incoherent whimpers as he slowly fucked me with his finger. When he slid a second finger alongside the first, my body began to tremble.
"Please, I need you now, Edward. It's okay." Just in case he still needed reassurance about how much I wanted this.
"Oh yes, Bella." He plunged his fingers deep inside me once more before pulling them out and coating every inch of my sensitive skin there with my wetness.
He leaned back, still bracing me against the wall with his legs holding me up. He reached into his back pocket and fished out his wallet, pulling out a gold-foil packet with his teeth and tossing his wallet onto the pile of our shirts on the floor. Ripping the square open, he pulled out the condom, blowing the wrapper away with a quick breath and quickly rolled it down his more than impressive length.
I did an admirable job of not thinking about how adept he was at that maneuver.
He lifted me up by my sides again, positioning himself at my entrance. I could feel the head of his cock brushing against myself and it was a good thing he was holding me because my knees were entirely made of jello. His evergreen eyes implored me to be sure this was what I wanted and seeing no doubt he slowly lowered me down his full length, pressing upward as if he were trying to reach something deep inside me.
He buried his face into my neck as his arms moved to fully support my weight. Our voices were making continuous echos around the building as he filled me.
"More.." I rasped, clutching his arms to hang on. I thrust my hips as best I could against him. Even though he was completely steady on his feet as we started moving together, his hands moving my body up and down as he thrust into me, shallowly at first and deeper and stronger as the intensity built, I could feel him trembling and it thrilled me that he was as affected as I was.
"God Bella, you feel so damned good. Are you close, baby?" His voice was tight, pleading, and so sexy as his whole presence seemed to completely engulf me.
"Uh huh," I moaned, high pitched, nearly a whine as I felt everything coil up inside me. Edward leaned me back against the bank of sand bags, the roughness of the burlap echoing the texture of his hands, and contrasting with the velvety richness of his voice. With each thrust he ground his body against mine, his pubic bone pressing against my clit. He dipped his head and sucked one straining, needy nipple into his mouth and grazed it with his teeth, completing the circuit of pleasure completely.
"Good," he mumbled against my breast. "Because there's no fucking way I can last much longer."
He bit down roughly, followed against by the soft soothing of his tongue and catapulted me headlong in my orgasm. I writhed and shuddered in his strong grasp as I felt his rhythmic thrusts falter and falling against me as he shouted his release against my chest.
We slowed gradually, our slick, sweaty bodies gliding together. The only sound in the room was our ragged panting as we struggled to breathe normally.
Eventually we stilled, and he slipped out of me and set me down on my unsteady feet, still holding me close until my equilibrium returned.
"I, uh, I'm...fucking speechless is what I am," He murmured into my hair. My shoulders shook as I laughed silently against his chest. I pulled back slightly, smoothing my skirt down and watching with amusement as he tried to fix his clothes while holding a condom he had no where to dispose.
He caught my expression and arched an eyebrow, giving me an expectant grin. "You could help a guy out, you know. Maybe I'm a bit of a jerk. Okay, more than a bit. But come on. A little help? Pity? Something?" He whispered with a mildly annoyed laugh. I knew he meant more than his fly.
With my own cocky grin, I reached for his jeans and helped him button up. He was on his own with that condom. Luckily, he managed to find a small trash can in the far corner of the room.
I laughed and shook my head. Looking to one side I tilted my head towards a sign stacked on a nearby rack. Edward glanced over and saw the large black U shape with a bold red circle and slash through it. He nodded with understanding.
"No U-turn?" I asked with a smile.
"Nope. No turning back now, baby," he agreed before pulling me into a warm hug and long, deep kiss.
Thanks to everyone who reviewed on the contest page, I wish I could respond directly.
There have been a few requests to continue with Signward and Late-ella, which I'm amazed you want to hear more. I'm marking this as complete for now, but who knows, maybe at some point I'll add to their adventures. My main focus is, of course, on Some Life in Me, and I already have plotbunnies warming up for after that is done.
Thank you for reading, and leave a note if you wish!