AN: This is not beta'd please excuse my errors. I am currently looking for a beta please let me know if you'd be interested.
FGB for kezcullen
I was nervous. Scratch that, I was positively freaking the fuck out. As I glanced in the mirror again I felt my shoulders sag in defeat. This was as good as it was going to get. I had a feeling I was over dressing but I didn't want to show up looking like a bum either. I also had no casual clothes that didn't scream 'Nerd Alert!' or that I was still stuck in 80's prep wear.
The khaki slacks were a bit stiff from Esme's starching and the wine colored button down seemed a tad too small but since I usually wore a blazer over it I never noticed. I felt stiff. I felt like cardboard. I should have been wearing a pair of jeans that had those cool rips and stuff in them and a shirt with those swirls over it and a few badass skulls. But alas here I am, looking like fucking Steve Urkel minus the suspenders and I knew I was going to fuck stand out at this party. I was a fucking loser all the way down to my black rimmed glasses.
I could hear my family roaming around the house and thought about how I was going to sneak out of here undetected. I shuddered to think about what they would say if they saw me dressed like this.
Jessica had said that it was going to be a fun party. That it was sorta dressy and not totally casual. She said that everyone was going to make a good impression since it was the last party of the year. I felt aggravated already.
Jessica Stanley had never paid much attention to me before. She was attractive and she was pretty smart considering the people she hung around but I honestly wondered why I was…seeing her? Were we dating? Friends who kissed? We technically only kissed once and it went no further than lips. It was awkward on my end because I had no idea what to do. I just…stood there and let her kiss me. I could feel her mouth open and pulled away because honestly I couldn't handle the embarrassment of trying to French kiss her and fail at it. It just felt…weird. Anyway, I couldn't figure out why she showed such interest in me after practically acting like I was vapor the entire year. Some little part of my wanted to just be ignorant until I got bit in the ass, the other part of me that couldn't stop thinking was screaming at me that something was wrong. That she was playing some kind of game that I was sure to lose.
When I finally noticed the time I felt sick to my stomach. I was not popular. I was never invited to parties. I had no clue what going to do when I got there. I didn't drink outside of my house and usually only with Jasper and Alice did I feel safe enough to get wasted. I could feel the sweat starting to dampen my skin and decided to make a break for my car before I chickened out altogether.
By the grace of God I didn't see any of my family members on the way to the garage and managed to quietly make it out of the drive without alerting anyone. At least I hoped so. My phone stayed blissfully silent and when I arrived at a house in Port Angeles I was praying Mom would call me back. Call me with a reason to leave before I ever arrived. It was wishful thinking though when I saw Jessica flying off the porch to my driver's side window. She looked seven sheets to the wind already. Slurring her words she opened my door and stumbled around me, her curly hair frizzing in the humid weather. I smiled nervously and tried to figure out what she was talking about as she let me up to the house. The party seemed to be in full swing with people littering the porch and pouring out the front door. We pushed and shoved out way inside where Jessica found her group and began talking again as if she never left. I stood awkwardly with my hands in my pockets watching the whole thing go down. A few of her friends from school looked at me once in a while with blank faces and I tried not to squirm under their gaze. Eventually Lauren cut Jessica off by taking my arm and leading me toward the kitchen.
"Jessica is so rude, I bet you want a drink. Here we got a keg, and some liquor with mixers. What's your poison sugar?"
The words coming out of her mouth seemed extremely practiced and not really something that someone just said. It was like there was an invisible camera recording her and she was saying her lines.
"I'll just have a coke if that's cool, I have to drive back home tonight."
She looked irritated for a flash but covered it up with a smile.
"Well the party is going to be going on all night so there's no harm in just one drink. I'll fix you up hold tight."
I watched her move around the kitchen and pour something into a red cup only to top it all off with coke. When she handed it to me I swear she was leering at me.
"Go ahead try it."
I took a sip and my face froze when the need to grimace took over. It was awful. I smiled and nodded at her and she seemed pleased.
"See, I make a mean rum and coke. I know what I'm doing with this kind of stuff."
Instead of finding her cool, like she intended, I felt sorry that her life at the age of seventeen and been wasted on shitty bartending. She couldn't make a decent drink if she poured water into a glass.
"So you're here with Jess right? Are ya'll dating now or something?"
I didn't miss the nonchalant way she checked her nails and then fluffed her hair. She was fishing. While I might be a social retard who played too many video games and never made friends I wasn't a complete idiot. I knew when someone was fishing for info. Lauren was dangerous, that much I knew.
"I'm not really sure what's going on with me and Jess right now. I think we're just seeing where this goes really."
I hoped that was diplomatic enough for her but I wasn't sure. She looked slightly disappointed but we were back at their group of friends and Jessica had latched back onto my arm.
"You took too long! I missed you!"
Her slurred words were really turning me off from her at this point and I wanted desperately to just look at my phone and tell them all my mom said I had to be home.
The next few hours were filled with me pretending to drink and dumping most of my drink into Jessica's cup and Jessica making sexual comments about us to her friends. I had, had enough around 12:30 and just wanted to be home, in my bed, watching a movie, and falling asleep.
"Hey Jess, I think I'm going to head home…"
I was cut off by her face dropping onto my shoulder. She turned her head too quickly and almost hit me in the face. Her mouth started to suck on my neck and I had to pull back from how rough she was being.
"Come with me, Eddie."
I cringed and followed her. I had to follow her. She had a death grip on my wrist and I was scared of what a drunk girl could to do me in a crowded party that seemed to moving into some sort of debauched porno scene. Everyone was making out and dry humping around us. A few small groups of three or four were still drinking and laughing paying no mind to the writhing bodies around them. Some got up and moved off to secluded places where they could do God knows what to each other.
Jessica led me upstairs to a bedroom that looked like it belonged to the owners of this house. The décor and bed linens screamed adult. I felt sick all of a sudden and sweat started to break out over my neck and chest.
"Jessica I don't think we're supposed to be in here."
"Don't worry silly, I locked the door."
Jessica pushed me down onto the bed and straddled my waist. My cock came to life the minute she started grinding down on me but my head was disgusted and wanted to get the fuck out of this place. She had a mixture of beer and morning breath.
As I was trying to get up and move Jessica gently off me, she ripped my shirt open and cackled like a fucking witch. I froze suddenly feeling like this was very very wrong and I had been tricked into a situation that was going to fuck me. Without a moments hesitation Jessica pulled her shirt off to reveal a hot pink push up bra. The closet door banged open and we both turned to see what had made the noise. Lauren and Tanya popped out and started taking pictures. Jessica screamed and I pushed her off me so fast she hit the floor still screaming and wailing.
I bolted. I fumbled with the lock on the door before running down the stairs and out to my car. My hands fumbled in my pockets for my keys but came up with only change and my cell phone. I banged my fists on the driver's side window and turned back to the house wondering where I could have dropped them. Looking back down into my car I saw them hanging from the ignition.
Fuck, Fuck double fuck shit fuck ass fuck FUCK.
I surveyed my options at this time. I could call a cab and pay almost two hundred dollars to get back to Forks where I would still have to come back later for my car. I could call Jasper or Emmett to get my spare and come unlock me but I'd have to spend two hours waiting for them to arrive. I could call a tow company to unlock my car…yeah fifty bucks was better than two hundred on a cab and I could drive home with no one the wiser about what happened.
This plan was awesome except at that moment Jessica ran out of the house looking for me. I dodged down behind my car and prayed she didn't walk over here but since God was obviously ignoring me tonight she did. She walked up to the car and looked around but gave up when she didn't see me straddling the hood. Clearly this girl was retarded.
Still hunched against my tire I looked up a tow company and called. A gruff voice answered me and I told them my situation. He patched me through to the two drunk driver and I held my breath waiting.
"Harry's Lock and Tow, Bella speaking."
I froze. It was a girl…I mean, she was a girl. A young sounding girl…
"Um, I locked my keys in my car and I really need to get them out."
"Where ya at?"
I rattled off the street names and told her I would wave her down when she drove by.
About twenty minutes later a huge tow truck pulled up and I waved my arm still trying to hide behind the car.
The girl I spoke to hopped out of the car wearing one of those mechanic pullover thingy's. Her hair was up in a messy knot on her head and I couldn't make out her face over the head lights. When she got close enough my breath froze. She had thick black lines around her eyes and it seemed that was all. Her face was pale and creamy and just stunning. There were numerous piercings in her ears and one on her left eyebrow and a sexy as fuck ring on her lip. She slid a slim jim out of from behind the trucks bench seat and started to fish for my lock through the window. I heard the soft thump and she opened my door with a flourish. I began thanking her but she just looked at my car with a confused look on her face.
"Shouldn't your interior lights come on?"
I turned and sure enough my lights were not on. Sliding into the driver's seat I tried to crank the car but it stalled.
"No, FUCK. No…no no no. Don't do this to me."
I glanced over at the house and saw Jessica on the porch. She started for us and I got out of the car quickly.
"Look that girl is nuts please just…tell her you're towing my car. I'll pay extra please just keep her away from me."
Tow girl, Bella must have understood the terror on my face because she nodded at the huge cab of her tow truck and I thankfully slide inside and kept my head down.
"Where is he? I just saw him!"
"Are you fucking retarded? The guy who owns this car. Are you stealing it?"
"No, I tow cars. I got a call, to tow this car. So I'm here to get it back to impound."
Bella spoke to Jessica as if she were a small child.
"I'm calling the cops you can't steal this car."
"Okay call them. Tell em Bella is towing a 2010 Volvo to impound. They know me by name."
I didn't hear anything else but saw Jessica back on the porch so I breathed a sigh of relief.
Bella's head startled me when I saw it pop up on the window. I rolled it down still staying low to the bench seat.
"You really want me to tow you or just jump your battery?"
"Um, could you tow me? I swear I'll pay for it I just…I can't face those people right now."
Something in her face softened and she nodded. After about twenty minutes and her maneuvering the tow truck the Volvo was finally loaded up and strapped down. Bella hopped in the driver's seat and started off down the road.
"You can sit in the seat now we're two blocks away."
I sat up stiffly and rested my head against the window.
"Had a rough night there sailor?"
I glanced at her and took in her profile in the passing street lights.
"You could say that. I'm Edward by the way."
"Well Edward that didn't seem like your scene at all."
She glanced over at me and her eyes raked down my bare chest. I quickly pulled my shirt together like some kind of wronged woman.
Her giggle was infectious and soon I was laughing at myself.
"I don't know why I went there. I guess I thought maybe someone might really like me enough to invite me. They only invited me there to…"
Her grip on the steering wheel tightened and her jaw ticked.
"Did they hurt you? That girl? I mean, she didn't seem violent…are you okay?"
"She took me by surprise. Nothing really happened she just ripped my shirt then her friends were there taking my picture and I ran for it. I'm such a coward. Running from three girls."
She shook her head.
"Hey, that was shitty, what they did. Those kinds of girls…they never learn. They live the rest of their life hoping some rich fucker will marry them so they can live in a mansion and have affairs with the pool boys."
I laughed and we carried on in comfortable conversation about lighter things. I found out she went to school in Port Angeles and that she worked for the towing company because the owner was a friend of her dad's. I felt myself relaxing with her, being able to tell her anything.
"So my brother, Jasper, just gets out of the pool, naked as the day he was born and runs up to Alice and hugs her. She doesn't notice for a minute but by the time she does the entire party is watching and she starts screaming bloody murder…"
The both of us dissolve into laughter and I felt like it would be funnier if she knew what Jasper looks like in comparison to Alice. Then I thought about how much funnier it would be when she finally saw them. Then I thought that I was a dumbass for thinking so much about shit that would never happen. This trip didn't make us bffs.
"Sounds like they're lots of fun. So this is Forks huh?"
I hadn't even noticed that we were in front of my house, much less in Forks, until she cut the engine. Two hours seemed to just fly by. I watched as Bella backed my car back down and hooked it up to the trucks battery.
"Give it a few minutes then we'll crank it and you'll be good to go."
I felt my mouth go dry at the thought of her leaving. Was it appropriate for me to ask her for her number? I could feel a gnawing in the pit of my stomach at the thought of her turning me down; telling me I wasn't her type or something.
"Okay, crank it up."
I turned the key and my car hummed to life. I smiled weakly at her.
"You'll want to let it run for a few minutes just to charge it up. Taking it on a long drive will help too. Just about a half hour or so of run time should juice that battery up to where it needs to be and check all your setting, make sure you don't have anything left on that will kill it before morning."
"Thanks for everything. What do I owe you?"
She looked at me for a moment before pulling a battered notebook out of her leg pocket.
"Sixty bucks ought to do it."
I was confused. It was at least fifty for unlocking my car. The tow all the way to Forks should have run me at least a hundred.
"Look sixty bucks and we'll call it all even alright sailor?" Her eyes told me she was being compassionate and I felt like a dickwad for accepting. I pulled three crisp twenty's from my wallet and handed them to her. She smiled and tucked the money town her wife beater where I could only assume a stellar bra was holding up the most perfect tits I'd ever seen.
"I'm up here darlin'"
I coughed and looked up at her sheepishly but she just smiled and shook her head.
"Here, this is my number if you ever need a tow. Takes you straight to me instead of dispatch."
I nodded and took the ripped piece of paper, holding it like it was worth millions.
"See ya later sweet cheeks."
I watched the tow truck rumble off toward Port Angeles and felt like I just made a huge fucking mistake in letter her go.
Bella. Bella Bella Bella Bella oh sweet Jesus Bella was the only thought I had all weekend.
Creamy skin, piercings, and that thick eyeliner. Fucking perfection if I ever saw it. She was so down to earth in the tow truck. Talking to me like a normal fucking person. From her outward appearance you would expect her to be all quiet and brooding, only saying something snarky or rude but she was…amazing.
Time seemed to slow down and speed up all at the same time. Summer was in full swing and I was usually glad to have all day to spend working on my website but honestly I felt like I was swimming in circles or something. I felt like, there was something I should have been doing but wasn't.
My family had noticed my moods and commented on them often. I ignored it like I ignored everything else. The only thing that could make me feel better was thinking about Bella and the amazing conversation we had.
The summer flew by at a boring rate. I did work for some companies around town to make some money. Mostly it was system tweaking and softwear repair. I also installed the Newton's new cash register system. Fancy touch screen, ooooo ahhhhh. I rolled my eyes when Mrs. Newton squealed as the monitor came on for the first time. I inwardly squealed when she told Mike he was going to have to re-inventory the entire store for the new system.
Summer days were balmy and lazy. I filled my days with Netflix and online gaming. A few camping trips here and there and before I knew it school was a week away.
"Did you hear about the Chief Swan? His daughter is moving from Port Angeles to live with him. Apparently Renee just remarried. He's some kind of millionair and he's taking her on some trip around Europe. Or that's what Tammy Mallory said. I guess she used to be friends with Renee. Anyway, the daughter is coming to live with him now. She's attending the highschool with you."
I heard my mother prattle on and on about town gossip. My eyes never leaving the manual in front of me as I spooned cereal in my mouth.
"Well, what's her name? Maybe she'll be in some of my classes. Is she in our grade?"
Alice daintily sipped on her coffee and inspected her nails as she feigned interest in what my mom had to say.
"Her name's Isabella. You'll have to tell me all about her when you meet her!"
The conversation went on and on and finally changed to back to school supplies. I swear my mother and Alice could go on forever about dirt. I sighed and shut the manual because while it would be awesome to build a mini EMP, I would have to drive to Seattle to get parts for it.
Like always my thoughts jumped to Bella, and how I wished like hell I had the balls to call her.
The first day of school dawned bright and early. Senior year! Yay! Not.
Ever since my sophomore year I always skipped that whole, 'since it's a new year I have to dress up on the first day so people can grade how well my summer went and how cool I am by the hip clothes I'm wearing' thing. Honestly, this was the easiest day of the year. You went to school, got your schedule, received a shit load of syllabus' and chilled. I'd done my summer reading. I'd excelled in all my classes. I was going to be Valedictorian this year, I already knew it. I had above a 4.0 and I wasn't about to start buying into the whole popularity bullshit now.
Just one more year and I could start fresh in college. Just one more year, that was my mantra. The hallways were packed with my peers all wearing the newest fashions and talking animatedly about their summer activities. I rolled my eyes at a few of the girls talking loudly about the parties they went to in Seattle and Port Angeles. Their desperate attempt at seeming cool was borderline pathetic.
"So Eddie how was your summer?"
Jessica's nasally voice was piercing and I momentarily lost my momentum and nearly stumbled. I hadn't spoken to her since I fled the party and I was not prepared for this. The malicious tone of her voice told me she had not forgotten what happened. Before I knew what was happening I was turning to look at her. I felt myself jump at how close she was standing to me. I could see how her mascara was clumped around the corners of her eyes and how the blush on her cheeks didn't really blend that well with her skin. Every pore on her nose and forehead was suddenly noticeable at the near proximity.
"It was uh, good, yours?"
Without answering me she pulled us between a set of lockers and proceeded to look around. She seemed nervous, anxious even.
"Look, I'm sorry about what happened at Tyler's party. I got drunk and I…well I'm sorry and I kinda told everyone that we… you know, were together over the summer so um, could you maybe help me out?"
The words she said and her tone of voice didn't match. The words themselves were pitiful and desperate; her voice however seemed annoyed and irritated.
Pre-Bella me would have gone along with this idea whole heartedly. I would have nodded, held Jessica's hand and done whatever she told me to because that Edward wanted to be popular. He wanted to sit at the jock table with the cheerleaders and be apart of jokes about people…people like him. He felt disgusted at himself. Post-Bella Edward, well he was a different matter. Something about just having met that girl once showed him that it was possible for him to be something better.
"Edward? Earth to Eddie, c'mon we're going to miss announcements. We'll sit together and if anyone asks us anything just let me do the talking okay?"
I was about to open my mouth when I caught sight of a pale arm and brown hair.
"What's going on? Oh you're Jessica, that desperate drunk girl right? I'm Bella. Hey Edward!"
I felt my entire body freeze and then relax. She was here. She was here. Bella Swan, star of all my recent wet dreams and the tormentor of every waking thought I had was standing here and talking to me. Suddenly, I wished I had dressed up.
"Right! Jessica, anyway we're going to go, we have some stuff to do before class. He's so feisty, I mean, I feel like he just can't get enough but at the same time, I just, I need it too you know."
Bella grabbed my arm and led me away smiling sweetly at Jessica as we turned the corner.
"Sorry if you're not cool with that, I could see the fear radiating off you and then you just seemed to be pissed so I figured I'd do something before you did something you'd regret later."
I looked down at her with confusion and awe.
"What are you doing here?
She looked around the hallway before stopping at a row of lockers and digging a folded up paper from her back pocket.
"My dad lives here. Um, you know how I said I moved from Arizona last year? Well, my dad wanted me to go to this private school in Port Angeles. Let's just say that didn't work out so well, so now I'm here where my dad can 'keep an eye on me.'"
I noticed that her lip ring was gone but a small pucker was just under the line of her bottom lip and the same was on her eyebrow.
"They're clear studs to keep the hole from closing in. I can't wear 'facial jewelry' at this school."
I nodded stupidly and watched her dial in her locker combination before chucking in most of the books that were in her bag. She pulled out a notebook and a pen and pencil before shutting the door and looking at me expectantly.
"Where's your locker? Oh, what classes do you have? This is my list."
I took the paper she handed to me and smiled when I noticed we had almost every class together except gym for last period.
"We have them all together except I have a free period my last period and you have gym."
She nodded approvingly and then frowned.
"Look, about what happened back there with Jessica, I'm sorry I know I implied some things but I didn't know how else to get her to leave you alone and I know that you-"
I shook my head and cut her off.
"I appreciate it. Truth be told she scares me to death and I don't mind her thinking that we…I mean that you…that I…um, well I mean, I wouldn't use this as a way of…but you're, I think you're…I like you."
Sweet mother of God and all that is holy. I've met this girl once and despite the fact that I've thought of nothing but her since she's only known me for a whopping two hours and now…I've told her I like her after seeing her again and for less than ten minutes.
"I like you too Edward. More than I should after only knowing you for a few hours."
She giggled a little then and it seemed so strange to see this girl make that noise. I looked down at her clothing and felt something inside me flutter. She had on a denim skirt with black leggings that reached her knees underneath. A red and black flannel shirt was buttoned just below her breasts and tied at the waist, under that was a thin white wife beater and I could clearly see the outline of a black bra underneath. She wore bright purple ballet flats that had been scuffed and were falling apart at the seams. She looked like a punk wet dream come true.
"Um, can I walk you to class?"
She took my hand again and I led us to Homeroom where Bella sat down right next to me and not once did she let go.
"So I need to go to Seattle for some things wanna go?" I had planned to come off nonchalant. I wanted to seem cool, like I didn't care if she wanted to go or not. I debated on asking her or telling her. I mean, girls liked it when guys did stuff like that right?
Hey we're going to Seattle this weekend.
I just wasn't that guy. So, I had planned on asking nicely, however when the time came, all that careful planning and talking to myself last night didn't do me a bit of good. In fact all it did was help drive home how stupid I was.
As it happened, it was now 3:15 on a Friday and I was asking Bella to go to Seattle with me. What seemed like a perfectly good sentence in my head come out something like: "SoIneedtogo…to…Seattleforsomethings….wannago?"
I resisted the urge to shake my head at myself and cry.
"Sure. What time and who's driving?"
I blew out a breath and thanked whatever god I needed to that Bella Swan understood, 'nerve wracked nerd lingo' before thinking.
"Um, I was going to leave around seven in the morning. I mean, it's a two and halfish hour drive and um, I figured we'd get some breakfast or something and uh, there's a place I wanna go that opens at ten but it's only open until like one so um, but there's also a few bookstores I wanted to hit and a music store. And there's this Japanese place that has great sushi I was thinking we could get lunch or an early dinner at and then…"
She chuckled and put her hand on my chest, letting her palm flatten out over my left pectoral. I immediately felt the heat in my face as her hand pressed into my muscle and she stepped closer to me grinning.
"I already said I'd go. I just wanted to know what time to be ready. Are you going to drive me in your fast little car?"
Her words were whispered and I felt myself stiffen as she talked about my car.
I leaned down to her ear and breathed, "I'd drive you anywhere, Bella."
I don't know where the moment of bravery and suaveness came from but I liked it. I felt myself blush even harder but I didn't care. I had left Bella speechless. She just sucked in a breath quickly before nodding and closing her locker.
"I'll pick you at up seven then?"
She nodded again and I grinned. Before my moment of courage left me I leaned down and kissed her cheek. Her soft flesh was heated and she smelled amazing.
"Tomorrow morning then."
I glanced back at her quickly; a smile on my face when I realized she looked stunned but…pleased. The moment I got into my car and the adrenaline had worn off, I felt shaky and weird.
Tomorrow was going to be a long day.
It was a quarter to seven. I had two steaming cups of Chai tea sitting in my cup holders and I was nervous.
There were so many things that could go wrong today. So many things that could happen. I wasn't sure what Bella's feelings for me were but I was feeling so much for her that the thought of rejection of any kind was terrifying. I looked down at my khaki pants and button down shirt. I felt like this was a date but, was it? Was I dressed too nicely? Wouldn't a pair of jeans and a t-shirt been good enough? Quickly, I rolled up the sleeves and un-tucked my shirt. I ran a hand through my hair and pulled at it a little in the front.
Now it looked like I cared enough to dress up kinda but I was still a guy. Or it looked like I was incapable of dressing myself properly. Or that I was a slob. Oh God, I'm going to die. What were the chances of me being able to call her and cancel before she noticed I was sitting in her driveway?
I jumped when I heard a tap on my window. Bella stood with her eyebrows quirked. I fumbled with the door locks for a moment before finally managing to hit them. I never noticed how many buttons were on the door handle before. Jesus, do I really need all those buttons? There are all the window buttons and the lock buttons, window lock buttons, mirror buttons…
"Hey? You okay?"
"Huh? Yeah, just uh, never realized how many buttons there were over here that's all…"
I was still looking down at the buttons and not moving. What the hell was wrong with me?
"Okay, well are you ready to go?"
'Oh, yeah, um, I got you a tea. It's Chai, there's creamer and sugar in the bag at your feet. I wasn't sure how you took it."
I heard her rummaging around in the paper bag and then paper ripping as she dumped an ungodly amount of sugar into the steaming cup. The drive started out silent and about thirty minutes in it was like we couldn't shut up.
I learned that Bella loved music and reading. They went hand in hand for her. She liked to make playlists that complimented whatever she was reading at the time and then just relax in her room. Her parents were divorced and her mom had moved to Seattle with her when she was five.
There she met a boy next door who was really into cars. I felt a tinge of jealously flare through me at the way she spoke about Jacob. They had been best friends since they were eight and he was the reason she had worked at the garage in Seattle. She had an interest in cars but they way she spoke it didn't seem like she was a grease monkey by any means. She enjoyed being able to change a tire and jump a battery. She laughed when she told me about how she started towing cars. How she had no idea what she was doing the first night she went out with Jacob's father Billy and how it took her a while to learn the whole process.
It was refreshing to listen to someone admit they had trouble learning something difficult for them. She was obviously good at it now and I wouldn't have been surprised if she had claimed to be a natural. Bella was full of surprises that made me want to know more about her.
We made it to Seattle without any problems. I talked music with her most of the way and while we didn't have much in common I liked that she stuck to her guns about what she did like. She owned her own tastes and while she was pretty random in her song choices I couldn't say there was one song I didn't like. With more than one of her selections I found myself trying to remember the title or artist hoping to be able to get it off iTunes later that night. We took turns hooking up our iPods to my car's system and hitting shuffle.
It was by far the best day I'd ever had with anyone.
The morning flew by and she never once made me feel weird or nerdy for the places we went to and the things I bought. I took her to Zach's, an electronics store that always had the coolest stuff. I easily spent five hundred dollars there and while I grimaced as the total popped up I knew that this stuff would keep me busy for a good six months. When Bella asked me what was with all the hardware I swallowed heavily and explained how I was interested in robotics and how machines worked. She just nodded and poked around in the basket until she came up with some questionably looking parts and proceeded to wiggle her eyebrows suggestively.
"Would you make me something? I'm thinking along the lines of something that goes 'bvrrrrrrrrr'"
We both started to laugh and the sales guy who was stocking some things at the end of the isle chuckled. I felt myself flush knowing someone else was listening to our conversation.
I rubbed the back of my neck and shook my head before we checked out and left for the bookstore.
The bookstore had to be by far my favorite moment with Bella. Her eyes got all wide and soft and she just sorta melted into the smell of old books and coffee. Her face was serene and a small smile played on her face the entire time we were there. I kept a good track on where she was and glanced at a few of the novels she had picked up to inspect and thumb through. Mostly they were classics, books I had read and books I knew Rosalie had gushed about their movie versions. Then she spent almost a half and hour in the poetry section. When she read something that she liked she would put her hand over her throat and her eyes would shine. When she wasn't very interested one eyebrow would arch and she would snort before closing the book dismissively and shelving it.
I learned so much about her in such a short time. I mean, maybe it was the creepy stalkerish way I would watch her or how I was greedy for anything about her but still, I was learning and who knows. Maybe I would build her something that went 'bvrrrrrr.' Although I'd have to help her use it…and cue the inappropriate boner in a bookstore while my face burned like a solar flare erupted on the surface.
I adjusted my glasses and looked down at the robotics book in my hand. Then I looked down at the end of the isle were I knew the self help books were and suddenly, a slim arm was slipping into the crook of my elbow and I was successfully distracted.
"Are you going to make that?" Bella's voice was full of awe and…excitement?
I looked down at the page and my brow furrowed. It was a small robotic dog, complete with wagging tale and an integrated computer and remote. It would sit, roll over, jump, and fetch certain things. I glanced down at the component list and figured if we hurried I could make it back to Zach's and get what little I needed left to finish it. It would take a while but I could do it.
"Um, well I can…I mean, we could go back to Zach's and…"
"Oh, no, I just, you were looking at it, I thought you might be making it that's all. I'm done and I'm starving, are you ready to go?"
I nodded and took the book up to the counter. I felt sorta silly checking out because I had wanted to look at the new self help books they had in. I put my books down on the counter and Bella set hers aside to pay after I did. Just as I was getting my wallet out to pay I felt Bella tip tow up next to me and press a kiss to my cheek. I froze and the girl behind the register snatched the card out of my hand before totaling up my purchase and ringing me up. Bella smiled sweetly as she handed the girl cash for her books and then told her to keep the change.
As we walked out of the store I asked her, "What was that all about?"
"She was looking at you like she was going to eat you. I was standing right there. I mean my arm was around your arm and we were obviously together. What a ho…"
The grin that stretched across my face actually hurt a little.
Self help books be damned.
Friday morning came around bright and early. I was eager to get to school and talk to Bella before homeroom just like every day this week. I was happily confused about what was going on with us. Since Saturday's adventure in Seattle we had gotten closer. We talked through emails and at school all the time. I still hadn't texted her or called her. I think it was bothering her because she would always mention to me how I could text her whenever and it was cool because her texts were unlimited.
I liked the way we were together. I was comfortable with her. She never judged me or made fun of me maliciously. We teased each other but it was fun and I always knew she was doing it out of a sense of friendship and not to be hateful. I could be myself with her. She found the things I did to be amazing and interesting not boring and nerdy. She liked that I was smart. She was always mentioning how brilliant I was and how I was going to make it big one day and she was going to brag to all her friends about how she went to school with me later on in life.
I would laugh and then secretly think that she wouldn't have to do that because I wanted us to be together then. I wanted to be together with her forever. I could see us together ten, fifteen, twenty years down the line. I wanted to face the world with her. I wanted to argue and fight and love and cry and kiss her. I wanted all of that. Deep down in my heart I knew that no matter what happened between Bella and I, she would always be the best to me. I would forever compare any woman I met to her and none would ever measure up.
"Knock Knock? You look lost."
Her soft laugh brought me out of my thoughts and suddenly she stopped to grab my shoulder.
"Hey, what's wrong?"
I shook my head and looked down at my shoes. I felt bereft at knowing that my imaginary future wasn't real. All those thoughts and wants weren't ever going to happen because Bella was…Bella and I was a freak who knew more than most.
"Nothing, just thinking."
"Well, you look like someone ran over your dog. Are you sure you're alright? You can tell me, I wont tell anyone else, I swear."
Her face was so soft and concerned I felt a small swell of affection and hope. She cared about me. Did she like me? Like I liked her?
"It's nothing. It's just been a bad morning. I missed you yesterday morning."
My teethe grit together when I realized how that sounded. But before I could internally body slam myself I felt her arms wind around my waist and squeeze me. I think she even sniffed my chest before she pulled back.
"I know, I missed you too but my dad was being weird and wanted to talk to me, which was so gay."
I laughed at her as she made a baby voice and rolled her eyes. I tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and we both stopped to look at one another. I was going to kiss her. I could feel myself leaning in to press my lips to hers when I heard a bang and I squeal.
"Isabella Swan! What brings you to my side of the tracks girl?" Mike Newton strolled up wearing his ratty varsity letter jacket and a pair or jeans with rips in the knees. I felt my fists ball up as she stopped a few steps in front of us. He had been out since Tuesday, away on some outdoor school thing where most of the jocks and cheerleaders left to have massive orgies in the woods when the chaperones weren't looking. They were supposed to be learning about how to survive in the wilderness. It was a glorified camp out with cabins and showers. In a few weeks another group would go and I had no idea if I was signing up for that one or the last group to go. On one hand I could wait until the end and go when it was probably warm and sunny or I could go on the next one and get it over with. I wondered which one Bella was going on.
"Ouch Bella, hate your reputation much? No one talks to Edweird. He's retarded. What would Chief Swan say about his daughter dating a retard?"
I felt Bella stiffen beside me and I opened my mouth to tell him to go away but Bella grabbed my hand and took a step forward.
"Listen to me you little shit, I know all about you and your inability to hold it on your own. So fuck with me or Cullen again and I tell the whole goddamn school how you shit your pants after hitting a deer and that's why daddy bought you that Sierra. Do, not fuck, with me Newton. I will end you starting with your truck. How long do you think it would take me to have that on blocks Edward? Ten minutes? I think I can do it ten or fifteen with a tire iron. And that tan paint job? Really? Mike I feel you're more of a green man myself. Lime green, you know like the runs that were in your other cars seats when I came out to tow it. Did you have something else to say to me or Edward? I didn't think so, now shoo."
She dismissed him by flicking her hair over her shoulder and wrapping her arms around my waist one more time. I felt her nuzzle her face into my shoulder and her fingers scratch into my lower back. It felt fantastic. I looked at Newton and the shit eating smile on my face wouldn't go away. He looked pale and his eyes were wide. He backed away a few steps before turning and jogging back to his truck. I saw him glace down at his tires and then he ran for the building.
"You're dad's Chief Swan?"
She nodded and giggled into my chest.
"Wanna know the worst part? When cars like that hit stuff we have to document the scene for insurance purposes. I have pictures of the driver seat fucking soaked in piss and shit. The funniest part is the picture of Mike sitting on the tail gate with a towel wrapped around his waist and his pants full of shit on the ground by him."
I laughed loudly and hugged her to me before kissing her forehead. She froze beneath me and I sucked in a breath. Had I got too far?
She looked up at me and stretched up on her tip tows before kissing my chin and running her hands down my back one more. We untangled ourselves and walked into class together leaving me more confused that when I got to school.
Bella obviously liked me. She obviously had feelings for me and she knew I had them for her but what were we? Friends? Dating? Boyfriend Girlfriend? Really comfortable friends who kissed each other sometimes and hugged? Jesus I was feeling faint and dizzy now.
Last period rolled around and I felt myself wound up tight. My muscles were tight my eyes were throbbing with a headache and my stomach was in knots. I had been worrying myself into a migraine all day.
"Hey E? Wait up!"
I stopped at the sound of Bella's voice and turned to see her skipping toward me. She grabbed my hand and swung us forward toward the parking lot.
She pulled a pen from her purse and grabbed my arm, sliding the sleeve up and writing her number on it. The black pen felt cold and ticklish on my skin before she blew on the skin and slid my sleeve back down.
"Call me tomorrow kay?"
I nodded and she skipped off to her truck. I moved my sleeve up and traced the numbers. She had drawn a little heart at the end.
I was so calling her tomorrow.
"Whatcha dooooin?" Bella's voice was obviously bored. I laughed and laid back against my pillows.
"I'm calling you silly. You asked me to." Suddenly that didn't seem like the smartest thing to say and I tried to back peddle.
"I mean, I've been wanting to call you it's just that I…and I mean, I just…"
Her laugh relaxed me and I took a soothing breathing.
"That's not fair, I worry about saying the wrong thing to you all the time. My sister freaks out all the time if I say the simplest thing. I'm convinced it's all apart of a woman's master plan to just screw with the male mind."
She giggled and told me about her day so far. Granted it was only ten o clock in the morning Bella's father had them up at the light of day to go fishing and she entertained me with a hilarious rendition of their trip. I laughed so hard I had tears leaking out of my eyes throughout the entire thing.
"So what have you been up to?"
I sighed and giggled a little before thinking of what to tell her. Honestly always seemed to work with Bella no matter how shy I was about my hobbies.
"I worked on a few models and got some things together. I've just been tinkering here and there really."
She sighed and hummed a little. There was short pause in the conversation where I felt like I had killed the previously good mood but then she surprised me yet again.
"I'm sooooo bored. Will you entertain me? Please? I'm dying. I've cleaned the house, fished with Charlie, done my homework and we don't have anything but the basic three channels on TV. I'm seriously going to die of boredom if you don't rescue me."
"Um, what do you want to do? I mean, this is Forks Bella, there's nothing to do."
"Will you teach me how to build stuff? It always looks so cool in those books and if I can figure out stuff in the garage I could like help you right? Please?"
"Um, okay I guess, I mean, if you want to, its boring stuff though…"
"Awesome! Gimme your address and I'll be right over."
I felt panicked for a moment and automatically rattled off my address to her. She squealed and promised to be here as soon as possible before hanging up.
I stared at the phone for a moment before scrambling off my bed and tearing through my room. I picked up all my dirty clothes and straightened up my work space before showering in less than three minutes and dressed myself in jeans and t shirt after rejecting my khaki's and a button down. No one wears those kinds of clothes on a Saturday when they're staying home.
I looked at the clock and realized that if she had left when she said she was she was going to be here any second.
Bounding down the stairs I realized my family was going to be here to see her and suddenly I was freaking out for a whole new reason. I was not ashamed of Bella at all. I was actually very proud of her. She was smart, sweet and beautiful. It was my family that I was scared shitless of. They would badger her, tell her things about me and make me feel stupid. They knew I never entertained anyone, especially girls. I would need a way to get Bella in the house and un-noticed.
"Edward what on earth are you doing?"
My mom stood on the doorway between the foyer and the kitchen, looking at me like I was going about to set the house on fire.
"Um, look, a friend of mine is coming over right now and I need you guys to…be nice okay? Please don't embarrass me." I begged.
I heard Emmett shouting in the den and Alice screeching in time with him. They were probably playing with the Wii or something. If they stayed there they wouldn't even know Bella was here. Dad was, of course, at the hospital and my mother was standing right in front of me. Before I could orchestrate anything my mother began speaking at the same time the doorbell rang. I felt my stomach heave and I swallowed hard in reflex.
"Okay, that's her so please just, um, don't embarrass me."
My mother's eyes lit up and I knew the moment I said girl she was thinking about wedding dresses and wedding dates. She was probably working out the time frame of Prom and any other dances we had coming up. I shut my eyes tightly for a moment before turning to answer the door.
The heavy black shellacked door opened and there stood my happiness wearing black cargo pants and a black and red hoodie with a cartoonish devil on the front. A black canvas bag was thrown over her shoulder and I could see her laptop peeking out of it along with some books. Her hair was pulled up in a pony tail with several small braids here and there. Some of the hair around her face had come loose and I saw that she had to piercings in today. I smiled widely at her and gestured her inside, kissing her cheek as she passed me.
I turned and smiled at my mother before noticing her expression. Her hand was closed over her chest and her mouth was hanging open a little. I frowned when I saw her face and stood next to Bella, throwing my arm around her shoulder.
"Mom, this is Bella, Bella this is my mother Esme."
Bella smiled sweetly and held out her hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you Mrs. Cullen."
My mother was always the picture of composure and grace. She prided herself on her manners but today she just gaped at Bella and looked from her to me rapidly before taking a deep breath. Bella pursed her lips and let her hand drop before looking down at her combat boots. I felt the anger swell up in me and ran my tongue over my teeth before softly stroking Bella's exposed neck and whispering for her to go upstairs to my room. I explained where it was and told her to just go inside and make herself at home.
Bella smiled sadly and turned to my mother once again.
"It was nice meeting you."
I bit my tongue and glared at my mother. Once I heard my door close upstairs I pulled my mother into the kitchen and placed my hands on my hips.
"Well, it seems Bella has more manners than you do today. What was that all about?"
Suddenly I didn't feel like the shy nerdy kid I usually did. I felt grown up and agitated. I felt bigger…different.
"What are you doing with a girl like that Edward? Oh my God, are you doing drugs? Are you…Edward, what…"
I recoiled from her and looked at her with a mix of confusion and exasperation. Her face was a mix of panic and fear. I was horrified that she would even think Bella was a drug dealer.
"Bella happens to be Chief Swan's daughter. She's the first nice person I've meet since we've been here mother. She came in here and was polite and nice to you and you just coldly ignored her. What is wrong with you?"
"Edward I don't care if she's Pastor Webber's daughter, girls like that are trouble Edward. She's not like you baby. She's…I don't want you associating with children like that. I think she should leave."
My eyes went wide and I felt anger burning in my stomach. Of all the people in the world I had never expected to ever feel this for my mother.
"Mom, Bella is an amazingly smart and passionate person. She's sweet and kind and she's only ever helped me. She may not look like the Suzy homemaker girls that you want me to 'associate' with but she gets me. I'm sorry she doesn't look like a Rosalie Hale and but honestly Rose is a bitch and you look past it because she looks like a cardboard cut out of a Target commercial. Bella has never looked down on me or made me feel inferior for being smart. She's amazing and I hate that you are being prejudiced against her after only seeing her for less than a minute. You raised me to not be like this mom. You raised me to see past outward appearances and now you're acting like…God, I can't even deal with this right now. I'm going to check on Bella and you know what if you want her to leave you can ask her to leave yourself."
I turned abruptly on my heel and stormed upstairs. I felt angry and just….pissed off. How could my own mother treat Bella like that?
Bella sat on the edge of my bed. Her bag sat in her lap and she stared down at her hands.
"She doesn't like me does she?"
I stopped in the middle of my room and didn't know what to say. I could lie and tell her that my mother was having an off day but honestly it was the truth. My mom didn't like Bella and it wasn't because of who she was but because of what she looked like.
"Bella, she doesn't know you. She's just…I don't even know what's wrong with her. I am so sorry for the way she treated you just then. You do not deserve that at all."
I watched her, unsure of what I should do. Her head was down and I couldn't see her eyes but I saw the way her tears dropped down into her bag and soaked into the material.
"Oh Bella, c'mere. I am so so sorry."
I sat down beside her and scooped her up into my arms. Her butt rested in my lap and I curled an arm around her knees and supported her back with the other, cradling her close to me and rocking her.
"I'm sorry Edward. I should have changed before I came over. I wasn't thinking, I just wanted to get here fast and I should have dressed nicer or taken the piercings out or something. I'm sorry. She hates me now and I messed this all up. God, you, I mean, she wont..."
I had never, ever seen Bella cry. She was so strong all the time, standing up to Jessica and Mike. Making jokes about people who looked at her strangely in Seattle. Holding her head up high in school when someone whispered things about her. We never talked about it because I thought she was tough like she acted. But it was all an act. She cared. At least she cared that my mother was being a heinous bitch to her.
"God, I'm sorry. I'm like snotting all over your shirt."
She pulled back and started to wipe at my shoulder and chest. I looked down at her and searched her face. She had dark streaks running down her cheeks and her eyes were red and puffy. Black smudges framed her eyes and her nose was bright red and shiny.
I leaned down slowly and kissed her softly. My lips pressed to hers faintly before I pulled away and did it again. I kissed the corner of her mouth, her lips, her nose, her cheeks, her eyes, her forehead and then I pressed her into my chest before taking a deep breath.
"Be my girlfriend?"
It was not how I had planned on this working out. I had wanted it to happen at a happy and light moment. I wanted to take her out to a real dinner and romance her but the words were right there at the forefront of my brain.
"Edward your mom hates me and I just…"
"I get it if you don't want to go out with me but don't say no because of my mom please? Say no because you don't like me like that but not because of my mom."
I kept my eyes shut and I was still holding her tightly. If she did say no I was going to have the memory of holding her for the rest of my life.
"Of course I'll be your girlfriend Edward I just don't want to cause you any problems."
I smiled into her hair like a little kid and shyly pulled back to look at her. I knew my face was a mess of gooey happiness and finally she was smiling shyly back at me.
"Oh God, I look like shit. You just asked me to be your girlfriend and I look like a hot mess." She groaned and buried her face into my chest. I laughed and rolled us back onto the bed.
We laid back and Bella wiped her face with the sleeves of her sweatshirt. I chuckled at her when her face was smudged in black before getting her a wet washcloth to scrub her face with. She looked so much better without all that black shit around her eyes. She was beautiful on her own. Rosy cheeks and pale skin, bright eyes and long lashes. I sighed at the sight of her.
We talked and joked around for a few more minutes. I showed her the stuff I was working on briefly because I was still a little worried I would sound like a total geek if I got caught up in explaining stuff to her. I always got carried away when it came to robotics and computers.
After about a few hours it was as if the incident with my mother had never happened. Of course that's when things got all screwed up again.
I heard the soft knock on my door and was about to call out for whoever it was to go away but the door opened slowly and my mother popped her head inside.
I saw the way her face was arranged carefully and knew that she had not changed her opinion of Bella and that she had convinced herself that she was not wrong about her earlier behavior.
"Edward, dinner is going to be ready in about an hour and you need to get cleaned up. I'm afraid your guest is going to have to leave soon."
I grit my teeth and looked over at Bella whose head was bowed and her shoulders were slumped in.
"Fine then. I'll show my girlfriend out but I won't be coming to dinner. Happy now?"
I got up stalked toward the door. My mother backed up and I shut the door in her face.
"Edward you shouldn't be like that. She just…I means he had a right to not like me. I look…like a Montel Williams special on out of control street kids." Her fake laugh had my anger coiling in my stomach.
"Don't you ever put yourself down like that. You're beautiful and…fuck you're smart and funny and you're goddamn amazing! Don't let this bug you. She's being stupid. She'll come around and if she doesn't screw her. I like you. I want to be with you and if she can't handle that then fuck her!"
Bella' wide eyes were trained on my mouth and she took in a stuttered breath.
"Edward you know you just cussed like five times when you said that? I've never heard you cuss once before…and wow. I mean, it was kinda hot."
I blew out a deep breath.
"It was like, three times and I who gives a shit. I don't cuss because… I don't know, I just don't but sometimes I do and why are we talking about this?"
I shook my head and she grabbed her bag before getting up and kissing me. It was still surprising and amazing that she was kissing me even after we had kissed for like an hour earlier. I hoped that it always felt this good to kiss her.
"I'll just…sneak out and see you at school Monday kay?"
I pursed my lips but nodded anyway. I was going to find a way to sneak over to her house tomorrow. My mother be damned.
"I'll call you later okay?"
We hugged and walked quietly to the front door. I watched her drive off and turned to find my mother. I was out for blood now.
I found her sitting in the living room with Alice, Jasper and Emmett. They were watching TV and my mother was still sitting with that stick up her ass look on her face.
"I'm happy for once, I am freakin' happy and you have to ruin it! I like her. She's amazing but you can't stand it can you? You can't stand that I'm happy. She looks a little different, she acts different, but you know what? She's the only person in four years that has ever stuck up for me at school. She has always been there to help me and she has done it without asking for anything in return. What is wrong with you? You're not acting like my mother. You're ruining the single good thing I have with someone I really care about and all that this is doing is making me really dislike you right now."
Every person in the room was gaping at me with eyes wide and mouth slack. I breathed in raggedly and waited for her to apologize. She didn't.
"Edward, I am your mother I will be treated with respect and I'm only going to say this once. She is not allowed back in this house. She is trouble. Do you even know why she's here? Because she got into trouble in Seattle and her mother couldn't handle her anymore. She sent her here to live with her father in hopes he would be able to straighten her out. She's involved with a lot of things that you don't need to be messing with. I'm looking out for you. I'm trying to protect you!"
"And who is your ironclad source mom?"
I tapped my foot and braced my hands on my hips waiting to hear her out. Bella never did tell me about why she was here in detail only that she was living with her father now and that she had been living with her mother in Seattle.
"Jessica's mother Sarah Beth told me earlier on the phone. I called Lauren's mother but she said that Jessica knew more about Bella than Lauren did."
I laughed coldly and shook my head.
"Mom, I know you think Jessica shit's sunshine but did her mother also tell you about how Jessica tried to get me drunk and have sex with her in Port Angeles over the summer? Did she tell you about the trips to the health clinic in PA that she has to take Jessica to because she had gonorrhea and didn't want anyone in Forks to know about it? Probably not, because Jessica is a whore and has been after me for months for some reason. She told half the school that we were dating without talking to me for weeks after the part in PA and the only reason I got out of that was because, ding ding ding, Bella! Bella stood up for me when Jessica was trying to make me look like an asshole!"
My mom sat, horrified at what I was telling her so I kept on rolling.
"Okay, try this out for size. A few days ago, Mike Newton, who hates me by the way and has been calling me Edweird since freshman year, came over to tell Bella not to hang out with me. You know what she did? She stood up for me. She took my side and she risked her reputation at school for me. Tell me mother, how many people do I have over the house? Emmett was popular since his freshman year and so was Alice. They both have had tons of people over at the house. They party all the time. They go places, have friends. Me? How many people have come over to see me mom? How often to I go out with 'friends'? Never. Should that tell you anything? I never speak up. I do my homework. I get good grades. You brag to all your friends about how smart I am but the minute someone who looks a little different is my friend I'm incapable of taking care of myself. I'm apparently not smart enough to know who is trying to hurt me or not."
Emmett and Alice were finally getting what this was all about and while Alice looked on with pride Emmett watched me with amusement.
"Edward, I will not budge from this decision. I can't control what you do at school but she does not step foot back in my house again. She is not the kind of person I want you hanging around. She obviously doesn't care about her appearance and she looks like one of those…those punk gothic kids who takes drugs and listens to that god awful screaming music. I will not have you throwing your life away for someone like that. You can make other friends. You need someone who can keep up with you honey, someone who understands how smart you are…"
"So now Bella's stupid? I…I cannot even deal with you right now. I cannot fathom how obtuse and prejudice you are being right now. Bella is the sweetest girl I have ever met. She's honest and nice. She doesn't listen to heavy metal, she's intelligent, she likes the classics, she enjoys reading. She doesn't make me feel different. She makes me feel…God, she makes me feel amazing. You know that before today all we'd done is hold hands? I kissed her on the cheek a few times but in all that time she hasn't pressured me to do anything. She doesn't do drugs, she doesn't listen to loud music, she doesn't even drink. She's a good girl but you can't see past your issues to find that out. I will not ban Bella from my home. It's my home too! I've done everything you've ever asked me to do and I have dealt with being closed off and quiet but I'm tired of it. I want to be with her because she makes me happy and feel normal."
Mom just sat there looking at me with a pained expression. I wasn't getting through to her. Huffing, I turned and ran upstairs quickly and slammed my door shut. I stomped around my room for a while and then sat down at my work station. I scattered tools everywhere and dug parts out messily. I got up and turned on my radio and cranked the volume until I couldn't hear the TV downstairs any longer. Once satisfied that my emotions were clear to the rest of the house I plopped down at my desk and got to work. I hastily flipped open the book that had taken up a permanent residence on my raised stand and scrutinized the little robopuppy before I set to work making it a reality.
My mother never really ever anticipated Bella. We dated through the rest of my senior year and while we had our short breaks and fights we were insanely in love with each other.
I became a fan of grand gestures in my own way and was constantly surprising Bella.
We'd been dating for over six months and still hadn't uttered an I love you but I wanted to. So many nights of heavy petting and kissing had led me to almost stutter out those words but I chickened out every time. It wasn't that I didn't love Bella. God, I loved her more than anything in my life but I couldn't help but wonder if saying it during those times would be taken the wrong way.
So, in the only way I knew how to throw out those words without making it look trite and meaningless, I made a website.
It was basic, with a black background, red links and pictures of us on the homepage from some outing that we had gone on with Alice and Jasper. I was leaning against the Volvo, my back pressed against the passenger side door while Bella faced me, her body flush against mine, my arms wound tightly around her. She turned back to look at Alice the moment her name was called but I was still watching her face. The wind whipped around her in the photo but I knew that look on my face said it all. I loved her. I smiled softly as she laughed at Alice and screeched when the flash went off. I kissed her and told her she was beautiful and that she was my whole world.
Beneath the photo I wrote her a note and linked the image on the screen.
'Do you remember what I said when Alice took this photo? I said, 'You are beautiful, Bella. You are my whole world.' And then I kissed you. I had so much more I wanted to say but I'm chicken and I want you to know that I mean the words I say because I mean them and not because it's what I think you want to hear so…'
After clicking on the image the words I love you flashed on the screen surrounded by the few photo's of us and bursting hearts. It was corny and stupid and utterly ostentatious but I felt proud of that website. So when I flagged her down at her car after school and handed her a scrap of paper with a web link and a password I was confident she would love it.
All night I worried when I didn't get a phone call. All night I feared that by using the site name www . eclbs4e . com had thrown her off and she didn't know what it was because she hadn't taken the time to go. Or maybe I didn't stress enough that she needed to go there. God, what if she didn't love me back and it was too much? What if she thought I was a loser for saying it that way? Or what if my actually not saying the words were wrong?
I was wrong, she showed up in tears around seven and clung to me like a vine. She kissed me and hugged me and told me how much she loved me back. It was amazing and ever since I had been the biggest fan of grand gestures; which led me to proposing our third year of college.
I had all my ducks lined up in a row and I was driving to my storage unit to get the key element to this plan. The robo puppy that I had built Bella had never seen the light of day after that night I had built him. I stayed up all night after my mother had basically turned her back on my happiness. The rift between us never healed but we were civil to each other at least.
I dug through box after box and finally spotted the old blue cardboard box that held the purple and white dog. I pulled him out and located the remote taped to his stomach. I powered him up, delighted that he still had juice in him after being locked in here for over four years. He was nearly dead but he still worked and I made a fist pump before tucking him under my arm, grabbing his charger, and locking everything up.
Twenty minutes later I was at our apartment, stealthily sneaking into the apartment with the puppy wrapped in a jacket and 'mission impossible-ing' it into the makeshift office we had.
I was proud of our three bedroom apartment. I worked hard to provide the lifestyle that Bella and I had. I worked summers with a company that designed, built, and sold machines to automotive companies. We made the parts that made the parts to the cars and put them together. It paid insanely good money but I was already searching out a way to profit from my own work instead of selling my ideas to a company that took the credit for it.
Living in a nice apartment and being able to afford the bills on two new cars and paying my tuition as well as Bella's up in full was nice. Bella worked at a local paper, editing and writing. She didn't know it but I kept a scrap book of her articles tucked away in the office closet.
The office was mostly my space. I had my workstation set up there and all my drafting tools. It was cluttered and messy and Bella couldn't function in there. She preferred to sit on the terrace during the summers and work at the kitchen table during the winter months.
I plugged up the charger at the closest outlet by the closet door and chuckled when I plugged in the dog. The charger went…well it went where a thermometer should go, lets leave it at that. Hey, I was seventeen when I built the thing! I'm a guy, it's funny!
I cursed when it yipped, forgetting that feature when I made it but thankfully Bella didn't come in to investigate. I'm sure she was used to strange noises coming from in here anyway.
With my plans air tight and exactly how I wanted them I went to find my soon to be fiancé and snuggle.
I made us a dinner of finger foods and pasta salad. I spread out the white fuzzy matt and set up the champagne along with the basket of food. Sure we were in our living room but hell, presentation is everything right?
Bella walked in looking frazzled and I greeted her soundly with a breath taking kiss. I sent her to the bedroom where I had laid out her favorite pajamas and told her to sing into the tub I had waiting for her.
I heard her squeal when she got into the bathroom and smiled to myself. Tons of that lavender bubble bath, two dozen lavender scented candles and three bouquets of purple irises were littered around the bathroom.
About an hour later Bella emerged wearing her ratty sweats, my old track shirt and her hair up in a damp twist on her head. She also pilfered my thick wool socks and had them bunched around her skinny little ankles.
I patted the spot next to me where I had the gas fire roaring in front of us.
"What's the occasion?"
She sat down next to me and scooted until she was flush against my side. If I rolled over she would be beneath me. I shrugged and opened the basket pulling out two glass flutes and some paper plates.
"Can't I do something nice for my girlfriend?"
I saw her eyes dim as she licked her lips and looked down at her lap. Oh, this was going to be so good. I knew that it bothered her that everyone else was already engaged and planning weddings. I also knew that while Bella always loved when I went overboard on surprising her that this was going to be the perfect low key way to ask her to marry me.
I poured us champagne and doled out food. We laughed and talked about our day, the past, our friends; my siblings and then finally I cleared the plates away and laid back against the overstuffed pillows before pulling her over to lay on my chest. I stroked her hair and smiled up at the ceiling for a while.
"Oh I almost forgot…" I leaned back and snagged the remote off the coffee table and clicked the power button. I heard the yip from behind the couch and pushed the steering buttons exactly as I had practiced earlier to make the puppy walk out from behind the couch, around the coffee table and right next to where I had planned on Bella being.
I heard her giggling on my chest and I smiled wider.
"What in the world…Oh my God, Edward is that…"
"Yep. I'm surprised you remembered it. It was forever ago." I laughed as she laughed and then robopuppy came to a stop right next to Bella's face. She stopped laughing and I leaned in next to her ear.
"Go ahead, scratch his chin."
She reached forward to scratch his chin and I hit the button to release his jaw. A small box fell out from his mouth and Bella caught it deftly before turning her eyes to me.
I took the box from her hand and opened it. The diamonds threw rainbow lights all over the apartment and I heard Bella whimper a soft cry. I looked up and saw her eyes shining with tears.
"Bella, will you make me the happiest man in the world and be my wife?"
She blinked and tears slid down her face as she nodded quickly before bowling me over with a hug.
"Yes! Yes! I want to marry you! I love you so fucking much!"
That was the happiest day of my life, well second happiest, okay third happiest. Bella and I got married two weeks after that day in a small civil ceremony and two years later my number one happiest day ever was the day our daughter was born.
I knew the moment she was born that she was going to be as smart as her father and as sassy as her mother. The birth of Hailey Alice Cullen was the final straw for my mother. She broke down crying, begging Bella to forgive her for her previous treatment and her harsh words. Bella took it all gracefully and I think a big part of her was just glad to have earned the respect of my mother. I however was not so forgiving. It took until Hailey was about two for me to finally lay my resentment to rest.
I teased Bella relentlessly about how we met and she admitted to her desire to send Jessica a thank you card. We lived well and our daughter wanted for nothing growing up. I started my own business and Bella worked hard with local magazines and papers, helping them revamp their styles. She had a knack and an eye for what the current look was.
I had comes to terms with my intelligence somewhere between graduating high school and starting college. I owned my brains and it helped when Bella would stress how hot it made her when I went all geeky nerd on her. It drove her crazy when we made love while I wore my glasses despite how uncomfortable it was when they started slipping off and into her face.
My life was perfect and I knew that it was because I was lucky enough to take a chance on life and let myself be who I really was. I was lucky enough to learn early on the biggest lesson in life and it didn't come from a book.
Be who you are and the ones that matter will accept you and love you for you. Be someone you aren't and you'll spend the rest of you life trying to achieve the impossible.