Hello again all. Here is some more of POTF that I originally wrote for the Fandoms for ME Fundraiser. Thank you to everyone who donated for this worthy cause.
Lets see what Shyward and Awkwardella got up to next...
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Taking the Plunge
Of course, I never actually got to make that call. My mother came bustling back through the door singing to herself and I dropped the phone, startled, before it even had chance to connect.
Then she hovered over me like a hawk. She seemed intensely interested in what I thought of "the nice young man" from earlier. I squirmed under her scrutiny.
If only she knew what I thought.
I knew she would be keen and encouraging, but I needed to do this on my own if I was to succeed at all. She did drop several hints about how "hunky" he was and "if she was twenty years younger" and so on. It was beyond embarrassing. My only saving grace was the arrival of some customers in the shop which enabled me to make my exit.
I stomped off to the tiny kitchen to make coffee while I considered what to do next. If I was to stand any chance of privacy whilst calling Edward I would have to escape. But to where? I didn't fancy braving the coffee shop. More risk of being "joined" by James the Creep from across the road who seemed to have this uncanny knack of showing up there when I was getting coffee. It was as if he watched my every move. So what was I to do? Wait until I got home, hours later, or seize the moment? I could sit in my car and call him, but knowing my luck Mum would follow me out there too.
Nope the only place I wouldn't be disturbed was most likely the loo. I knew the longer I waited the more my bravery would diminish. It was time to take this bull by the horns. I glanced through the doorway, noticing that Mum was still busy with a customer, and stalked out the back door. The staff loo was housed in one of the outbuildings attached to the shop. It wasn't quite an outside toilet but not far from it.
I leant against the wall, took a deep breath and fished the piece of paper out of my jeans with a shaky hand. Thankfully it was still intact. I unfurled it slowly, re-reading the words as my heart rate picked up.
Could I really do this?
If you want to get caught in the dark again, call me any time.
Oh, I wanted to be right back there in the dark with him, tasting his soft, warm minty lips, feeling his hands all over me. I managed to wrestle myself from my erotic daydream and fished my phone from my pocket. The digits were still on the screen from my failed attempt earlier but I still clutched the paper in my hand, like a lucky talisman. I pressed the green symbol on my screen to make the call, hoping my hands would stop shaking as I was at risk of dropping the phone.
I hastily put the toilet seat down to make sure it didn't end up in there. Part of the shaking was nerves, part of it due to the cold. I inwardly scolded myself for not grabbing my jacket.
I had to pull myself from my reverie as I heard the ringing tone in my ear.
What if he didn't answer?
After the fifth ring I started to get a little anxious. I could always leave him a message but I would most probably end up sounding like a bumbling idiot. Of course there was the likelihood that if I did end up speaking to him I'd sound like that anyway.
My thoughts were suddenly interrupted by strange noises in my ear. As the call connected, there was a muffled, rustling sound and panting.
Bloody hell! What on earth had I interrupted?
I almost dropped the phone in horror as various scenarios raced through my head. My instinct to cut the call off and bolt flared.
Then he spoke...
I swallowed the boulder sized lump in my throat and forced out a squeaky response.
"Hi...um who is this?" He sounded rather curt and abrupt.
Had he forgotten me already?
I realised he had no idea who I was and I had just interrupted him in the act of...well goodness knew what.
Time to take the plunge.
"Hi...it's Bella, from the furniture place." The one who nearly had sex with you in the storeroom. I added silently, cringing.
"Oh..um...hi there Bella, how are you?" I thought I detected a hint of warmth in his voice but wasn't overly sure.
"I'm well, thank you. And yourself?" I enquired, politely.
"I'm good thanks," he replied.
Jeez this was like pulling teeth. There was a huge uncomfortable silence. One of us was going to have to say something. Just as I was contemplating talking about the weather, inspiration hit me.
"So was everything alright with your mother's stuff, the tables?"
"Yes, all was well thank you," he answered, politely.
Well, that one died a death.
I was just wracking my brains for another conversation starter when he suddenly spoke. His voice was soft and he spoke rapidly but I could just about make out the words.
"So..um...Bella...would you...would you like to gettogetheragainsometime?"
Oh thank goodness!
I felt all my residual tension evaporate as my body slumped against the wall in relief. This was really happening.
Holy crap Bella – give the guy an answer!
I managed to snap out of my trance and blurt out a quick "Yes" into the phone.
"Pardon me?" Edward inquired politely.
"Yes, Edward. Yes, I would love to," I finally managed to get my squeaky voice under control.
"You would?" He was still asking but I could almost hear the smile in his voice.
"I would." I was actually smiling into the phone like a fool. My cheeks were glowing.
I had a date. My mind was racing. When was the last time I went on a proper date? Not in years.
Edward was speaking again. Wake up, Bella, time to come back down to earth. I shook my head from side to side to clear my thoughts.
"I'm sorry, Edward, could you repeat that?"
"Umm I know its short notice but I was wondering...would you be free later today, this evening? We could go for dinner or something."
Hmm, well this was awkward. It was time to admit to the fact I was a pathetic loser with no Saturday night plans other than a hot bath and a good book. Actually this was how I spent every Saturday night that I could remember if I was honest. So I could lie and claim I was busy, but I was way too old to start playing games. Dating was a minefield to me, something I was clueless about. It would be better if I was honest.
I swallowed hard.
"Actually, I am free this evening, Edward. I am working here until around six then I need to go home and shower and-"
I stopped myself abruptly. He didn't need to hear all the humdrum details. This was one of my issues, my rambling. Jake used to call it "wittering" and was forever castigating me over it.
I heard Edward's nervous chuckle.
"That's okay. Um...I can pick you up, if you let me know where. Or I could meet you somewhere?"
I mulled over the options. If he came to my place we ran the risk of him being scrutinized and interrogated by my eager housemates. Bad idea, poor Edward would be terrified. I shuddered inwardly at the concept. No, it would be best if I made my own way.
"How about you meet me at the shop, Edward? Then we can go from there?"
Edward agreed, and we decided upon eight o'clock. He then ended the call rather abruptly. Had I offended him wanting to meet here? I tried to squash down the idea he might be having regrets so early.
I stowed my phone back in my pocket and unlocked the door. It wasn't a moment too soon as my mother came barrelling down the corridor, an uncomfortable expression on her face.
"There you are, Bella. Here, mind the shop a minute – I'm bursting!"
I stepped aside to let her use the facilities, thankful to escape back to my hidey hole.
The rest of the afternoon dragged. The rain was persistent and its drip drip dripping on the window felt like Chinese water torture. I finished all the paperwork – even the filing was up to date - there was nothing left for me to do.
I glanced up at the clock. It was just after four. I didn't exactly have set hours here but I usually stayed to help close up the shop, being in no rush to go back to brooding in my rented room. Today I was anxious to be home. For starters I had to figure out what on earth I was going to wear. I tried to do a mental run through of my wardrobe contents. I knew I had at least one passable dress but wasn't entirely sure if it would be suitable.
I checked the time again. Maybe I could nip to the shops and pick up something? I detested clothes shopping at the best of times but surely I could survive a lightning dash?
I knew I needed to be careful though, if my mother got wind of this she would be insufferable. I felt the need to hug this little secret to myself for a little while. It was still so new.
The shop was quiet as I popped my head around the door, catching my mother's eye. She was tidying up the counter, well, shuffling around bits of paper. I wasn't entirely sure any actual tidying was taking place. My mother was such a fidgeter; she never could stand still.
"Come to keep me company?" She smiled warmly. She had been making tentative attempts to coax me out of my shell since the breakup; I knew she worried about me closing in on myself. Damn. She looked so hopeful there was no way I could really back out. There went my plans. I could insist on darting out, claiming an urgent errand or something but I shouldn't. We needed this time.
The next hour sped by and before I knew it we were closing up. The rain had thankfully eased a little, back to light drizzle. It was starting to get dark outside so I hastened to my car, eager to escape the cluster of estate agents leaving their offices across the road. It would be just my luck to run into James the Creep.
The traffic was heavy due to the exodus from the recently closed shops and as usual the number of cars on the road was multiplied by the rain. By the time I got home I was anxious and more than a little cranky. I was met with frantic scene. My flatmates were both heading out on dates and the flat was a swirl of last minute preparations. I barely had time for a hello before both girls were out the door. I just hoped there was enough hot water left for a shower.
To my immense relief there was. Wrapped in a towel, I trudged back to my bedroom to rifle through my meagre wardrobe. To my relief I managed to find my favourite and reasonably smart black jeans and a deep purple scoop necked tee shirt which wasn't too crumpled. D
Then there was the underwear dilemma. I didn't own much in the way of sexy lingerie. And this was a first date despite our little fumble earlier so did it really matter what I wore underneath? I settled for one of my few matching sets in plain black. It would have to do.
I shoved the remainder of my clothes back in the wardrobe. Now I knew what I was wearing I could relax for a few. I switched on my small television and lost myself in some crappy dating show. It was cringe worthy but excellent escapism to calm my mounting nerves. I settled back on my bed and got comfortable.
I awoke with a start. What the? Oh hell. My TV programme had finished and there was some sort of period drama on. I scrabbled around for my watch.
Seven forty. Oh bloody hell! Twenty minutes to get myself dressed and ready and the drive to the shop took at least ten minutes. I threw on my assembled outfit, dragged a brush through my hair which had dried all crinkly. Damn! Damn! Damn! Uttering curse words I pulled on my long black boots and dashed out the door, grabbing my wallet and keys on the way.
It was only as I pulled away in my car I realised I had forgotten my coat. Oh well. At least the rain had stopped. I parked at the back of the shop and glanced around for Edward. Hopefully he would be here soon as it was getting dark. I really didn't want to be hanging around here alone at night – maybe this wasn't such a good idea. I then realised what I had done.
I was here, alone, meeting a relative stranger and no one knew where I was or what I was doing. Great one, Bella. Way to be reckless. If Edward turned out to be an axe murderer someone would find my body. Eventually.
I took a deep breath and stepped out of the car. At least if the evening was a total disaster I had my own transport to get home. I walked around toward the front of the shop, popped my head around the corner, and there he was. I nearly turned tail and ran.
He was leaning against the doorway, slightly hunched like before. I could make out a leather jacket on his tall frame. Yum. I swallowed nervously and stepped into sight. I could see him glancing up and down the street nervously. As his head turned and he spotted me, his tense features breaking into a warm smile.
"Hello..." he murmured, shyly, turning to face me.
I got a proper look at him. He seemed to stand taller, straighter than before. Illuminated by the street lamp he almost glowed. Was this godlike creature really here for me? I had never felt more inadequate in my wrinkled clothes and fuzzy hair, my cheeks flushed from rushing. I managed to get my breathing under control and squeak out a brief greeting.
I managed to hold Edward's gaze, although I felt like squirming as he scrutinised me. Maybe he hadn't realised my scruffy appearance earlier was the way I always looked. I could only hope he wasn't too disappointed.
There was an awkward pause. Was this the moment where he made his excuses? At least no one else would know my shame. He seemed to shake himself out of his momentary freeze and offered his hand to me.
Okay so we were really doing this. I took his slightly sweaty hand and let him lead me away. We didn't have far to walk, just across the street to his silver car. I blinked at it, slightly confused. Maybe it was a trick of the light but it seemed to be gleaming. I was sure it had looked quite grubby earlier; quite a match for Edward's dishevelled appearance at the time.
I couldn't help but feel slightly inferior. Edward had gone to all this trouble, clearly making an effort. He smiled politely as he opened the passenger door of the car, gesturing for me to sit. I was a little taken aback; no one had ever done this for me. I sat down cautiously on the leather upholstery as Edward walked around the car and got into his seat. I surveyed my surroundings. This was very swish indeed.
Edward started the car and away we went, without a word. I couldn't help but wonder where we were headed. I glanced out the window as the streets sped by. Boy he drove fast. It looked as though we were leaving town behind us. I sneaked a glance over at Edward. His face seemed determined, a man on a mission as he concentrated on his driving.
Obviously he didn't plan on speaking any time soon. This one was down to me.
"So...um...where are we going?" I asked, hesitantly.
Edward frowned, running his fingers through his hair nervously.
"I am so sorry Bella, I should have explained. Please excuse me."
Could it be he was just as nervous as I was?
"I thought we'd go to this pub I know. It's a little out of town but quiet and relaxing. We could talk more. I hope that's okay with you?"
I thought that may have been the longest sentence I had heard him utter. His voice really was lovely. And the pub sounded perfect. I hated crowded, noisy bars, and fancy restaurants intimidated me. I breathed a little sigh of relief. I realised I hadn't actually answered him. We really were a pair of bumbling fools.
I looked over at Edward with what I hoped was a reassuring smile.
"That sounds perfect, Edward."
The relief on his face was almost comical. His hunched, tensed posture seemed to relax immediately. He went from nervous silence to almost verbal diarrhoea.
"That's great...please forgive me it's been awhile since I took anyone out and I wanted to find somewhere we could both relax and get to know each other, but I should have asked you first and well I am just rubbish at this..."
He hung his head sheepishly once he came to the end of his mini rant. I couldn't help myself. He looked so adorable. I reached over and gently placed my hand over his. I felt the tingle immediately, and by the look on his face, so did he.
"It's okay, Edward. I am new at this too. I haven't been on a date in a long time."
He blinked at me incredulously before, to my immense relief, he turned his eyes back to the road.
We were back to silence again. All or nothing with us, it seemed.
A few minutes passed and we turned down a narrow lane. I needed to convince my inner cynic that we weren't heading into the dark so he could murder and bury me in the woods. I was just starting to get a little concerned when I saw the bright lights and pub sign up ahead.
Edward found a parking space easily and was at my door, opening it while I was still fumbling with the seatbelt. He took my hand and helped me to my feet. I managed to scramble almost gracefully out of the car, not hitting my head in the process. He didn't let go of my hand, as he locked the car before leading me up the path to the door, opening that for me too, of course.
We stepped inside and the place just blew me away. There was a roaring real fire, comfy sofas; this was more like a home than a pub, truly. Edward led me to a seat near the fire and turned to get us drinks.
"What would you like?" he asked politely.
Knowing I had to drive later so could have at least one drink I chose a glass of the local cider. While Edward was at the bar, I fidgeted in my seat, fiddling with my phone, wondering if I should send a text so someone knew where I was. Before I could make a decision either way, Edward reappeared with our drinks.
He sat down next to me, sprawling comfortably with his long legs stretched out in front of the fire, looking perfectly content. Oh, this was interesting! It was the first time I had seen him truly relax. I felt the edge of his thigh brush mine. I tensed slightly, but it was in a good way. He was just so close, all warm man and he smelled absolutely delicious. Some of it was surely cologne but the rest, I just couldn't describe. I had to resist the urge to sniff him like a Bisto kid.
He shifted slightly in his seat, angling towards me with a shy smile.
"So, what do you think?" He gestured to our surroundings.
"I like it," I replied eagerly, nodding. "This place is charming, Edward." I couldn't help but smile.
His answering grin was dazzling.
I could feel my cheeks growing flushed. Some of it may be due to the warmth from the fire. Edward shrugged off his jacket, discarding it next to him. Now we were in the light I could really get a look, well, more of an ogle. He was gorgeous! His sharp jaw line was freshly shaven, and his green eyes were startling. I hadn't noticed them before. I was transfixed. He was lean but not skinny, his white tee fitting him snugly, hinting at a muscular torso underneath. I really needed to stop staring so leaned forward to take a sip of my drink.
Edward launched into a tale of how he and his friend found the pub by mistake one night. They had wandered in expecting hostile locals but loved the place on sight. I agreed; it was a real find.
For a Saturday night, it wasn't overly busy. A cluster of locals were grouped around the bar, and through an archway I could see a few people eating in the adjoining restaurant.
"Are you hungry?" Edward asked. "They do really good food here."
Before I had chance to answer, my stomach growled loudly. I turned beet red with embarrassment. It had been a long time since my makeshift lunch of cup a soup and biscuits earlier.
I glanced over at Edward, who was chuckling quietly to himself.
"I'll take that as a yes then?"
He rose, gracefully and ambled across to pick up some menus from a nearby table. I couldn't resist another shameless ogle, especially when he leant across to pick them up. My mouth was watering and not just at the thought of food.
I needed to snap out of my Edward-trance and quickly as he was back by my side, handing me a menu. I tried not to jump as his warm fingers brushed mine accidentally. Part of me was hoping for a dark room again. I felt a little intimidated by his presence now.
Pretending to study the menu, I tried to get my scattered wits together. I could do this, I told myself sternly. This handsome, sweet guy was by my side and seemed to want my company. Once I had my mini meltdown under control I read the contents in more detail. This was right up my street. Home cooked dishes with no fancy ingredients. I settled on good old fashioned fish and chips and glanced up at Edward. Big mistake. He was watching me intently and once I caught him in the act he looked away. I thought I detected the hint of a blush on his pale cheeks. Aha, maybe it wasn't just me?
"Have you decided what you'd like?" Edward turned back toward me, smiling. "The fish and chips is really good here" he enthused.
I couldn't help but grin.
"That's exactly what I chose!" I blurted out.
"Really?" he chuckled.
"Really," I confirmed, nodding with a shy smile. I felt my tension start to loosen a little. Maybe, just maybe this was going to be okay.
As the evening passed, things got easier. Our conversation flowed - we started with food - then things just grew from there. Edward and I had remarkably similar tastes, both preferring simple things rather than the elaborate.
The food was absolutely delicious and I found myself clearing my plate. I didn't even stop to consider the dainty female "couldn't eat another thing" act. That simply wasn't me. Luckily for me I didn't have to watch my weight at the moment. I hadn't had an appetite at all recently and had dropped quite a few pounds. I chose not to have a dessert though, as I felt pleasantly full and a little sleepy. I opted for a coffee instead, to help me stay awake. Falling asleep on my date would really not be the best impression to make.
The longer I spent in Edward's company, the more I enjoyed being with him. He was charming, polite and sweet. His initial shyness was becoming less apparent. When I glanced at my watch, I was surprised to see it was already well past ten. We lingered over our drinks, enjoying the warmth from the fire. I was becoming more and more comfortable and didn't want to move.
We had to move eventually. Edward stood, offering his hand, smiling at my sleepy stance. With a gentle pull, he helped me to my feet, glancing around for my coat. I remembered at that point I had forgotten to bring one.
"Where is your jacket?" Edward asked, looking concerned. "Did you leave it in the car?"
"I um...forgot to bring one," I admitted sheepishly. "I was in a bit of a hurry earlier."
"It's chilly out...here," he mumbled, handing me his. "Take mine...I can't have you catching cold."
I inwardly swooned at the romanticism of his gesture. I slipped his jacket on, which of course was far too big. But the scent was...wow...concentrated Edward. Absolutely delicious. We walked back to the car in relative silence, Edward stayed close to my side throughout, even taking my arm when I stumbled over a pothole. He insisted on opening my door again. While he walked around the car I ducked my head and inhaled deeply. I wanted to commit his delicious scent to memory.
The drive home was tense. Conversation seemed more difficult away from the warm cosy environment of the pub, so we stayed mostly quiet. There was something about being in a dark space with Edward, my fingers were itching to reach across and touch him. In the end I almost sat on my hands to restrain myself. All too soon, Edward pulled up outside the shop.
"Where is your car, Bella?" he asked, looking around anxiously.
"It's around the back," I explained, pointing to the lane that led around to the back of the shop.
Edward immediately pulled away from the kerb and turned the car down the lane, muttering to himself "no way...not walking down there in the dark" as he drove. He pulled into the small parking area, next to my rusty old car. Luckily it was dark so he couldn't see quite what a heap it was. He was out of his seat in a flash, insistent on escorting me.
I fumbled with my keys, nervously, as I awaited the polite brush off. Edward reached for my hand, startling me slightly as he plucked the keys from my grasp, opening my door for me.
Had I mistaken his behaviour this evening for politeness?
I decided to avoid the potential for embarrassment and ducked inside the car hastily. I glanced up at Edward; he was peering down at me with a tense expression on his face. He dropped to his knees, leaning in. I froze. He was right there.
All my doubts were extinguished as his lips touched mine. My fingers grabbed at his hair as my lips parted, allowing him in. Our kisses soon grew heated; our breathing accelerated. Just like before, I couldn't get enough of him. I felt his tongue sweep along my lower lip and I was lost. I leaned back in my seat, pulling him on top of me, drowning in his scent as I grabbed eagerly at this gorgeous man.
My mind raced, wondering just how far this could go. I wanted him right here right now but the rational part of my brain started to take over. This was not the time, or the place. And I was not a slut. I felt our kisses slow in momentum and Edward gently pulled back, resting his forehead against mine as we both tried to calm our breathing. I rested my hands on his shoulders, not wanting to let go of him. Edward gently planted a soft kiss on my lips before clambering rather awkwardly to his feet, shivering slightly from the cold. I felt awful – I had his coat. I tried to shrug out of it immediately but he shook his head.
"Keep it, Bella. I want you warm," he insisted.
Again, I felt myself swoon inside. With one final kiss and a whispered "I'll call you" Edward turned away and clambered into his car. I could resist watching him one last time. He seemed to wait. I realised, he was going to sit there until he knew I was on my way.
I turned the key and started the car, pulling away. I turned the radio up loud, smiling to myself. Of course I watched Edward in my rear view mirror until he took an alternative turn and disappeared from my view. Soon I was home. I flung myself down on my bed, keeping Edward's jacket on for now. I wasn't going to sleep with it on. Honestly. But I could cuddle it for awhile as I reflected on the day's events.
This was certainly one Saturday I wouldn't forget.
Thank you so much for reading. Also thanks to TwiLucy-UK and SweetLovinCullen for prereading and to my Betas annetteinoz and EMCxo.
In case you were wondering, this will be a short story, 10 chapters at the most and will update fairly infrequently until FMLW is finished.