Author's Chapter Notes:
Welcome to the first chapter of BTG! This is my second fanfic and it's a far cry from my other one...I'm so excited about getting this out to y'all!
Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight...we just like to have fun with it :P
Chapter One: A Mile High
"Isabella! Are you even listening to me?" No was the simple answer to that question. You would think that when a person has their earphones in, those around them would be wise enough not to talk. Not my mother.
I turned to her with a roll of my eyes as I plucked the ear bud from my ear. The sound of the airplane's engine roared around me before Renee's voice even registered.
There had been a time, a long time ago, when we got on well. Mother and daughter, always out and having a laugh. That was before all the madness with my career began. The second Renee announced herself as my manager, things started going downhill.
She became closed off from my father, from me, and from all her friends. The small town of Forks where I grew up became a place she despised and it wasn't long before she was hightailing it out of there. At the time, she talked me into leaving with her, telling me she could make my dreams come true and we could crack the business together.
I suppose she was partially right. I would never have had the same chances in Forks as I did in big cities like New York, Chicago and LA. I guess my dad Charlie, realised the same thing. In the past two years we had moved from Forks to Chicago, to Detroit, to Miami and finally to New York.
Our relationship was strained at best and it was at times like this, when Renee was showing her true self-centred and self-obsessed nature, that I missed Charlie the most. I had always been my daddy's little girl, and I wasn't ashamed of it. He got me more than any other person and understood when I needed to do things on my own. A tactic Renee had yet to learn.
"Isabella?" And what was with the Isabella? Sure, she had named me that, but I hadn't been Isabella for a very long time...until she took me away from Forks, that is. I despised my birth name, introducing myself as Bella everywhere I went. The only time I was "Isabella" was when Renee was doing the introductions.
"I want you to stop listening to that damned music and get some sleep! We have a long couple of days in front of us and I don't want you screwing it up." I fought the tears that were pricking at the back of my eyes at her words. It had been a long time since I had received encouragement or compliments from my own mother, but I guess I still wasn't used to the detached, business-like tone she used with me.
"I'm thirsty..." Without waiting for an answer, I stood from my seat and stretched my legs. It still amazed me that we could afford first class, but any time I asked about something to do with our finances, Renee would scream at me for being ungrateful.
There was only one other person in their seat in our section of the plane, a massive guy who was snoring his head off on the opposite side of the plane. I briefly wondered how he even fit in his seat, before I asked myself why I even cared.
I noticed the seat beside him had a bag and a jacket on it, as did the seat behind, telling me I wasn't the only one wanting a walk. I left Renee with her head in a pile of paperwork and headed in the direction of the bar, the only part of the flight-attendant's speech that had actually caught my attention.
I popped my head through the navy curtain and noticed with some sense of relief that there was no one else there. Guess our first class companions were at the toilet or in the games suite. Yeah, I rolled my eyes at that, too. What plane needs a game suite?
"What can I get for you, miss?" The young man behind the bar looked at me kindly as I sat on one of the empty stools.
"Just a club soda and lime, thanks." I smiled gratefully as he turned his attention to mixing my drink, before resting my head on my arms on the top of the bar.
I was only nineteen. Legal to drink in hundreds of countries throughout the world and even some states in America too, but unfortunately I couldn't sit there and drown my sorrows legally and pass out drunk so that I didn't have to listen to Renee for the remainder of our trip. Oh yeah, I was supposed to be sleeping.
I heard the barman set the glass down in front of me and mumbled thanks in return, not bothering to look up at him. A warm chuckle to my right interrupted my thoughts and stupor as I raised my head to find the source of the rich timbre.
If it had been quiet enough, I swear we would have both heard the sound of my jaw hitting the top of the bar. Sitting only two stools away from me was one of the hottest guys on the planet. Not only that, he was also the number one bachelor in nearly every prominent magazine's list. A player, drinker, and womaniser who had been hauled over the coals by his last recording studio for his extra-curricular activities.
Dazzling green eyes, a five o'clock shadow, dark bruises under his eyes and the prefect definition of "sex-hair" completed the Adonis like creature facing me. My eyes raked over his lean arms leaning on the bar, the way his t-shirt clung perfectly to his chest, abs that had featured in thousands of wet dreams across the world, and the chiselled jaw that led my eyes to the lips even I had fantasized about.
Jesus, even looking like shit he looked fucking hot. I blushed dangerously hot as I realised I had been blatantly ogling the man in front of me, and sent a silent prayer in thanks that I hadn't started drooling in my virtually comatose state. Edward fucking Cullen was sitting at a bar beside me, on a practically empty first class flight to Los Angeles. How the fuck had I not noticed this earlier?
"Bad day?" I fought the stupid damn whimper that nearly left me at the sound of his honey voice. Is that what liquid sex felt like? It sure came damn close, anyway. "Scotch on the rocks, mate." My mouth salivated at his British accent and I had to remind myself that I was supposed to be answering a question.
"In the grand scheme of things probably not...it's just one of those days you know?" I blushed even deeper at my attempt at conversation. I had just asked Edward Cullen if he knew what I was talking about. How many shitty days with oppressive mothers does he fucking have? I mentally slapped my forehead and focused back on the cool glass on the bar in front of me.
"Well, here's to shit days and people you would like nothing more than to say fuck off to." I whipped my head round to see him holding his glass up in a toast and looking at me expectantly. Truth was, my brain couldn't get past the fact that he had just cursed, and it was one of the sexiest things I had ever heard.
"Cheers!" Somehow, I managed to scrape my brain off the floor and mumble an answer. His eyes closed lightly as his drink slid down his throat and of course, I used the extra few seconds to watch him.
I licked my lips, my mouth suddenly too dry, as I watched his Adam's apple bob when he swallowed. His hand raked through his glorious hair as his other set his tumbler back on the bar and I watched it in fascination, wanting nothing more than to do it myself.
When he turned back to look at me, I quickly diverted my attention to my own glass and focused myself on not dribbling or choking, knowing his eyes were still trained on me as I drank up. There really was no use in trying to battle my blush; Edward Cullen was looking at me, of course I was going to fucking blush.
"Am I making you uncomfortable?" No, just turned on.
"No, yeah...I don't know..." He chuckled as I sighed in exasperation at myself. You'd think I would try to act at least semi-normal in the company of one of the sexiest guys on the planet, but there I was, a stuttering, blushing idiot, as usual.
"I'll take that as a yes." His brow furrowed momentarily and I chastised myself for making him annoyed. He was only being polite after all, he didn't have to be talking to me at all.
"I'm sorry." He raised his hand between us and with a flick, dismissed my apology before downing the rest of his scotch.
"Why?" At my look of confusion, he continued. "Why are you uncomfortable?" Because merely talking to you is making me wet. Shit, did I just think that? What the fuck was this guy doing to me?
"Because, I mean..." I waved my hand at the length of his body, taking a gulp of my drink for the need of something else to concentrate on.
He chuckled again and I briefly wondered if I was really that funny, because he had done nothing but laugh at me since he sat down. "I think I need more than that." He copied my hand movement with a smile, his eyes not moving from mine.
"Because you're Edward Cullen. The mere mention of your name has women all over the planet dropping into sugar induced comas!" Fuck, I did not just say that. I slapped my hand over my mouth, mortified as his face stayed eerily free of emotion. "That's my cue to leave." I placed my empty glass back on the bar and spun on my stool until I was facing the other way.
As my feet slid down onto the floor, a cool hand wound around my elbow, halting me and my breath in their tracks. Oh. My. God. Edward Cullen was touching me. I nearly melted onto the fucking floor at the zap I felt across my skin. When I turned to look at him, his eyes were focused on where he had touched me. Had he felt that too? Stupid static shock.
I waited until he looked back up to me, all my breath leaving me in a whoosh at the smile that was gracing his lips. It wasn't his cocky smirk, or his arrogant tight-lipped smile or even a grimace, but a genuine "lips half turned up" smile. I blushed again, of course, and smiled back nervously, wondering why he was suddenly happy and still touching me.
"How about we start again?" He arched his eyebrow as he waited for my answer, but I completely forgot the question as I imagined licking it.
Who the fuck wants to lick an eyebrow? He made everything fucking sexy. The way his eyebrow pulled his eye up made him look sexily out of proportion, and I had to hold myself back from launching myself at him and running my fingers over the lines that had appeared on his forehead. I was so fucking far-gone it was ridiculous. I nodded infinitesimally, knowing I had a fifty percent chance of answering correctly.
"I'm Edward." He unwound his fingers from my arm and held his hand out to me in greeting. I placed my fingers against his, happy that I was still touching him.
"Bella," I answered quietly. He smiled again and I couldn't help but smile back. He looked so different when he smiled. Like the weight of the world wasn't on his shoulders for just a few seconds. "Si, lo sei. Bella. Bello." He waved his hand as he said both, acting as if it meant the same thing. I guess it kind of did.
Edward Cullen was speaking another language. Oh. My. God. How the hell I managed to stay standing I will never know. He just called me beautiful. I decided not to let on that I could actually understand him, and settled on what I hoped was my best "bewildered" look. My grandmother was Italian and was adamant until the day she died that her grandchildren spoke Italian in her home. I never really thought it would come in handy. I sent a silent prayer of thanks to wherever she was residing.
"So Bella, what, may I ask, is taking you from the Big Apple to the entertainment capital of the world?" His hand dropped from mine and I swear I nearly pouted as he rested it on his thigh. What I wouldn't give to be his hand. Fuck, I had to concentrate; I had nearly missed every question he had asked me.
"Business." I deliberately kept it vague and smiled when he arched his eyebrow at me again.
"That's all I'm getting?"
"Well, you have to learn to ask the right questions..." I trailed off. Was I flirting? Where the hell had that come from? He knew it too, because that fucking eyebrow was becoming more and more arched every time I spoke.
"I didn't realise this was a game."
"It's not. But it is a girl's prerogative to be mysterious." What the fuck was I talking about? I'd tell this man anything he wanted to know just so I could continue listening to his voice.
"That you are, Miss Bella; that you are. I can't seem to read you at all..." He looked annoyed by his own assessment before thanking the barman for his unasked refill.
"Years of disappointment and rejection. You learn to hide your emotions pretty well after a while." I shrugged, watching intently as my glass was filled up before me.
It seemed my filter was gone too. He really didn't need to know that much information. When I looked back round he was watching me with a frown, but he didn't look annoyed or frustrated. I didn't know what he was thinking until he held his glass up between us again.
"I'll drink to that." I chinked my glass against his and watched as he downed his in one.
"You might want to slow up on the Jack there; you need to get through swarms of screaming fans and masses of paparazzi when you land."
"I don't know what you're talking about. I'm just Edward, remember?" He smirked at me and I blushed. This guy could get anything he wanted through the way he looked and he knew it too.
No wonder he was such a womanizer, I suddenly didn't blame any woman he came across. None of us were that resilient. One look and even I was under his spell, whether he wanted me to be or not.
"Okay, just Edward. What are you going to Los Angeles for? Clearly it's not home..."
"Touché." He smiled, knowing I had obviously picked up on his accent. Not that that was needed, everyone knew Edward Cullen's back-story. Born and raised in London, where his family still stayed. "Business of course." I rolled my eyes as he chuckled at me.
"Touché, Mr Cullen..." I took a sip of my club soda and noticed with interest that Edward's eyes were on my lips as I did so.
Feeling ridiculously brave, I picked my slice of lime from the side of my glass and raised it to my lips. Edward's eyes widened slightly as I placed my glass back on the countertop and slid the lime between my parted lips. I sucked it lightly, keeping my eyes on the wall behind the bar, suddenly feeling ridiculous for even trying to make an impact. This was Edward fucking Cullen. Why was I even bothering?
I heard him gulp loudly as I put the lime on my napkin and licked the juice from my fingers. Was it working? My eyes flew to his of their own accord and my heart stopped at the look he was giving me. His eyes were narrowed and the green forest had turned almost black. Fuck, that was sexy. I groaned quietly when he licked his lips, causing him to look back to my eyes.
"Bella..." My name fell as a quiet whisper from his lips and it had never sounded better.
"Isabella!" Shit, that wasn't quite the same. I groaned again, this time out of sheer frustration. Edward's eyes snapped to a spot over my shoulder and I watched as all his previous emotions drained out of him. He just looked impassive as I turned to my mother.
"I know I'm your manager, but I don't expect to have to check up on you every ten minutes!"
"I told you I was getting a drink, Renee." I tried not to sound petulant but her name was definitely spat out, no matter how hard I tried, my growing disgust for my mother's behaviour was hard to hide. Especially when she demanded that I not call her mom.
"And I told you, you need sleep before our meetings. It would be just like you to make a fool of us and ruin it." My eyes watered as she continued to attack me in front of two complete strangers. One of whom was Edward freaking Cullen. As if hearing my thoughts Edward cleared his throat, effectively interrupting Renee's rant. Her eyes flicked to him and I turned on my heel.
"Oh my! Renee Higgins, big fan..." She sidled up to him and I had never wanted to slap my mom so hard in my life before. Something inside me screamed "mine!" as she placed her hand in his.
Not wanting to stick around and listen to my mother flirt with the same guy I had moments before, I turned on my heel. Edward's eyes caught mine, green on brown, as I tried to stealthily wipe away my tears. I was rooted, compelled to stay, staring into his green irises as he tried to tell me something. But the moment Renee laid her hand on his arm, his eyes flew back to her and our moment was over.
I don't know whom I was kidding. There was probably never a "moment" in the first place. I turned again and sidled back through the navy curtain, not bothering to hide my tears, thinking no one would see them anyway.
I trudged back to my seat and sank into it. Pulling the blanket round me, I turned so that I was facing the window and tucked my legs up underneath me on the seat. I pressed play on my iPod, the blaring music obvious before I even put the buds in my ears, and closed my eyes, not caring that more tears leaked out and tracked down my face.
I hoped that seeing my tears would make Renee feel guilty about her actions, but even as I sat there alone, I knew it wouldn't happen. She just didn't seem to care anymore. The money and thought of success appealed to her far more than her own daughter's welfare.
I cried harder, wanting nothing more than to be back at home with my dad, or making this possible life-changing journey with him instead. I missed him more each day and felt guilty for doing so. There were some who didn't have a parent at all; Charlie wasn't dead, he just wasn't with me.
I jumped as something tapped my shoulder but as I turned, expecting it to be Renee, I was surprised to see a tiny girl with black spiky hair looking at me sadly. She must be the other missing passenger, who was with Edward. Shit, that was all I needed. I pulled one bud out of my ear and looked at her, wondering why she was even standing there.
"You looked like you could do with one." She waved a packet in front of my face and I looked at it in confusion.
I read over the blurb on the front and smiled faintly. She was handing me a make-up wipe. In her other hand was a mirror and on the seat beside me, she had placed a packet of tissues. I laughed quietly as my eyes took in all the things she had brought over to me.
She smiled kindly as I plucked a wipe from the packet. I silently mopped my face, getting rid of the mascara streaks on my cheeks with aid of her mirror, before putting the used wipe in the bag of rubbish at my feet. When I pulled a handkerchief out of the other packet, she collected her things.
"Don't mention it!" She smiled once more before turning on her four-inch heels and walking back to her seat.
This time I curled myself up with my back to the window. I flicked through my songs, looking for one to fit my mood, ignoring Renee as she sat back down in the seat in front of me.
When the guitar started to filter through to me, I looked up from the machine in my hands, my eyes immediately settling on familiar green that set my frazzled emotions into a calm numbness. He was looking at me carefully as he stretched his legs out in front of him, probably thankful for the abundance of space you got in a first class booth. No neighbours, plenty of space, privacy if you need it.
I smiled at him faintly, no longer up to anything that took any effort and closed my eyes, knowing that his eyes were still on me, his gaze setting my skin on fire with a pleasant blaze. I blushed and could have sworn I heard him chuckle during the quiet in my song. If I was guessing right, then I could get at least five hours sleep before we arrived.
Five hours of dream-filled sleep. Five hours of Edward-filled dreams. I snuggled deeper into the blanket and let exhaustion finally sweep over me.
How you can speak
Right to my heart
Without saying a word,
You can light up the dark
Try as I may
I could never explain
What I hear when
You don't say a thing."
Author's Chapter End Notes:
So? Should I just stop now? Who knows the song without Googling it?
Please review! And you can follow all the BTG news over on twitter (at) LiveInDakota
See you next week! I hope :P