Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight.
~Fifty Cent Balls And Dollar Kisses~
Huge buckets of gratitude go out to Steph (EdwardsBloodType) for all her encouragement and friendship. You make me smile on a daily basis! Hugs to Maplestyle and my fic wife Gothic Temptress for your pre-reading skills and friendship. And last but certainly not least...can't forget Vican...she made me the kick-ass banner! Love you!
A late summer festival brings first love to the midway! An angst free one shot written specifically written for The Fandom for Preemies.
How the hell do I find myself in these predicaments?
This one isn't too hard to figure out. It started fifteen years ago when my mother decided to name me William Edward Cullen after both my grandfathers.
"They were both strong Irish men, and you will be too," is her response every time I complain about my name. Why can't I be a John or a Tyler or even a Billy? No. I had to be a Liam. Liam is Irish. Liam is strong. Liam is mature. Liam is stupid unless you are a fifty year old actor.
So I start Kindergarten with Mrs. Canterino as my teacher. She doesn't believe in nicknames. Or fun.
Kindergarten for the mature sect.
The day my mother fills out the paperwork she must have the last name first, first name last thing wrong. Because for three weeks Mrs. Canterino calls me Edward. The art and the Phys Ed teachers call me Edward. My classmates call out to Edward to join them on the playground. Everyone is looking and calling for some poor kid named Edward. Then they just quit calling him altogether, and dub me weird. I am very confused.
She continues to call, I continue to look for this Edward kid. She looks right at me and I turn around and look for him, but I don't remember any Edward in my class. She puts me in the hall for disrespecting her. She calls my mother and demands I be checked for Attention Deficit Disorder because something is clearly wrong.
"Mrs. Cullen, I don't understand. I look directly at him and he blatantly ignores my instructions. I have never met such an unresponsive child. He definitely is not mature enough for this class. I suggest you have him tested and maybe consider waiting another year before enrolling him again. Maybe that way Edward will have the development level needed to attend. "
"Wait," my mother says, confused. "Who the hell is Edward?"
Mrs. Canterino obviously feels the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, so I am tested. The results say that I am gifted. However, they also have my name listed as Edward William Cullen.
Now who needs to be tested?
So instead of fighting city hall, so to speak, I become Edward. At least for school purposes. Not Ed or Eddie or E. Just plain gifted child Edward. Remember? No nicknames. The gifted title was something I can do without, but that's what leads me to why I am here...freezing my ass off while sitting on the bench of a dunk tank at my town's fall apple festival. Yeah, I live in Washington. Washington means apples. Ohio has corn, New York has Broadway, California has…fake boobies. We had Golden Delicious and Granny Smiths. That title is what led me to her.
I need ten hours a year of community service for the Advanced Placement program I have been in since the sixth grade. Every year I score within the top five percent of students in my state for achievement tests, Vice President of the Mathletes, Build Team for Robotics, English Festival, Future Engineers of America and I can do an Quadratic formula at the drop of a hat.
Yes, basically I'm a nerd.
My only saving grace is that I play baseball and drums. If you are going to be a 'band fag', as the student body lovingly refers to us, better to play drums than the oboe. At least I can remind them that Tommy Lee used to play in his high school marching band before he started rocking out with Motley Crue and making sex tapes with Pamela Anderson. That usually shuts them up pretty quick.
The Band Booster organization is sponsoring this dunking booth. So in my genius mind I figure, why not kill those proverbial two birds with one stone? It's giving me a couple hours credit towards my band trip fund and some of my necessary community hours rolled into one nice little soaking, dripping, freezing ball of fun.
My buddies throw down dollar after dollar to dunk my ass. My teachers come by along with a few neighbors. Some cute girls meander by and some… not so cute. Then she shows up. At least I think it's her. I have to take my contacts out for fear of losing them in my watery hell so my vision is a little off. But I swear it is her.
I watched her all summer.
She played for the Cyclones, a tri county girls softball league that used the field down from ours at the local baseball park. Sometimes her game times would cross over mine and I stood back watching her play, under the excuse of getting a hot dog and a slushie from the concession stand, of course. Play being a broad word in this circumstance. She tries, but to be honest she just, well…she sucks. She can't hit to save her life and she certainly can't throw worth a shit.
So I sit here, atop my watery perch and watch her plunk down cash in exchange for balls knowing full well that I will stay dry for at least this round.
Yeah, balls were two for a dollar. Don't think for a minute that my buddies would let me forget that. She tries hard. Her teammates egg her on.
"Come on Bella. Hit the damn target and dunk him. You know you want him wet." There are lots of snickers and I feel my face heat up.
Wait a minute. Was that a sexually laced comment? Could you repeat that please?
She throws the first one and I swear she almost decapitated the police officer standing there innocently minding his own business. The second one sails over my head as I watch it fly into the seating area behind me. Another one hits the lemon shake stand causing some of the cups and stuff to topple over. Then her last ball actually hits the cage that surrounds me.
"God Bless her," my Grandmother would have said in her thick Irish accent.
As I start to tell her, '"Nice try," the look that comes over her is scary to say the least. I can see the determination gleaming in her brown eyes even while I am half blind. She looks up at me again and smiles the biggest brightest smile I have ever seen as she tosses the balls aside. She runs full speed towards the tank jumping up to pound the bulls eye with her fist… effectively dumping my ass. As I gasp and come up for air, she reaches her hand over the net, hands me my towel, and grins proudly.
"Hi. I'm Bella. It's nice to meet you. Wet looks good on you." Immediately after she says those words her hand shoots up to cover her mouth. Her face flushes after what she says rings in her ears, and she is now the one red in the face.
Her eyes are as big as silver dollars when she sputters, "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean that. Well you do look good, not that part… just the wet part. Oh my God. I'm so sorry. Nevermind." She turns and runs back to her giggling gaggle of girlfriends with her face still buried in her hands.
I hear her scream to her group, "Just shut up, okay?"
It was now my life's mission to get to know this girl.
If it wasn't so God damn cold maybe my dick would have come out to say hello but right now it's tucked up so tight I'd be surprised if I saw it again before Christmas. She saunters away without another word to join her giggling friends and leaves me high and dry.
Well, not really, you know what I mean.
I finish my shift and quickly change, leaving to look for my buddies. Someone has to know her story. I have never seen her before this summer and I know she doesn't go to my school.
She's quite a mystery.
As I am walking through the crowded festival, I notice her working at the lemon shake stand, which she tried to demolish earlier. I stand back and observe her slicing and squishing the lemons in the little press thingy. She drops the lemon into the cup, adds sugar and water, and shakes. Jesus. The girl can shake a lemon like no other. Her hair is falling slightly into her face and she uses her forearm to push it back obviously trying not to get lemon juice in her eyes. Apparently she has already made that mistake and learned from it.
The best part?
She has on a tight white shirt with two strategically placed lemons that say, "Shaken. Not stirred. "
Just call me James Bond, baby.
Suddenly I am very thirsty. Like a man on the Sahara thirsty. I can barely form the words, "One, please," as I hand over my two dollars to her blonde co-worker. She looks up at the same time I order and in her shock to see me there, accidentally knocks over a shit load of already made drinks. She mumbles something to herself about being stupid and tries to clean up the mess.
Foolishly, I chuckle at her. She growls at me and continues to talk to herself. Finally, after what seems like days, she hands me my drink. However, I don't mind the wait because the view is sweet even though she is clearly embarrassed and totally sticky.
I reach my hand over to take my lemon decorated cup simply saying, "Hi. I'm Edward. Sticky looks good on you."
And yes, that is most definitely a sexually laced comment.
I back away awkwardly bumping into a lady with a stroller. My drink sloshes at the sides of the cup deciding if it wants to spill over, so I take a quick sip trying to avoid a lemony sugar catastrophe. She giggles and I wave. Not the "back of the station wagon leaving Grandma's house" wave just the, "one handed I'm too cool for words" wave.
Then I turn and run straight into some ginormous biker dude, spilling lemon shake all over his black leather vest. I am stunned for a moment while he decides if he wants to crack my skull open.
Please God. Let it be quick…and painless.
"Fuck. Shit. Fuuucckkkkk. Dude, I'm so sorry. I wasn't paying attention. My bad. I'm really sorry. Let me get you some napkins." As I turn back to her stand to get some napkins she is laughing so hard she snorts. Literally snorts…like Miss Piggy. She shrugs her shoulders with an embarrassed blush and hands me a wet towel and a stack of napkins as I proceed to try to help Scary Mr. Biker Dude clean up.
As I am handing him a napkin and swiping at his vest simultaneously, he looks at me and says, "That your girl?" He motions his head towards the stand. I look back at her and smile, more to myself than her.
"Not yet," I answer him. He grabs the wet towel from my hand and hands it back to Bella and teasingly says,
"He's a good kid. You should go out with him."
I blush. She blushes harder. I chuckle. She giggles louder. I smile. She smiles back.
Jesus, I have to get out of here before I lose all the control my fifteen-year-old body can muster. I continue walking around the festival searching for anyone who can give me some information on Bella. I run into my best friend's sister and as nonchalantly as I can, I ask her if she knows her. Being the daughter of the town's gossip machine, I know if anyone has the scoop it will be her.
"Ohhh, you're talking about Bella Swan. Yeah, I don't know her well. She used to go to Catholic school but her dad got laid off and now they can't afford the tuition so she's going to be a freshman this year with me."
Catholic school. Uniforms. Plaid, short skirt, uniforms. Sweet Mary Mother of God!
I realize she is still talking when I hear her say, "I know she's going to be in the AP program and she signed up to do all ten hours of her community hours this week. You know, get everything out of the way. She's in band too. Plays the flute." For someone who claims to not know her well, she sure does know enough. Thank god for gossip.
Suddenly, I feel the desperate need to talk to someone regarding the community service hours that just opened up on my schedule. Eventually, I find my buddies, blow some of my grass cutting money on stupid shit, drink my weight in lemon shakes, and finally call my mom for a ride at ten o'clock.
The next day after making a phone call, I find myself on the schedule to work my remaining community service hours and pick up some extra cash at the pizza concession which is, thank the lord in heaven, conveniently located right across from the lemon shake stand.
Score one for the Irish boy.
I show up for work at four as instructed. I am given a crash course on preparation and presentation and a tee -shirt with a smiling pepperoni pizza on it.
Yeah, it was cheesy.
At five o'clock I watch her walk over to the lemon aid stand in her insanely tight lemon tee-shirt and tiny denim shorts that don't leave a lot to the imagination.
Did I mention that after the sun goes down it gets quite nipply? I mean nippy. Nippy, not nipply. Well, that too. I'm going to give myself an aneurysm.
She moves in slow motion…like one of those really bad 80's videos they used to show on MTV. You know, the ones with the hot chick's hair blowing in the wind. Only, Bella's hair is pulled back into a pony tail and she has on one of those half hat visors. She is laughing and talking to the blonde girl she is working with. Bella is the most beautiful thing my fifteen year old eyes have ever seen. Without warning, I have a boner you can hang a hat on.
This is something new. Of course, I have woken up with my share of morning wood and I've thrown my own sheets in the washer before my mom realized they were crusty, but I have never had my body react to a girl the way it was right now. I don't know if I should be mortified or proud as hell.
I decide proud is the way to go.
A kid from the football team is standing behind me in the pizza booth and makes a simple comment about how hot she is. Before I realize I am even speaking aloud I tell him in a growl, "She's mine."
Wow Cullen. Possessive much?
"Yeah, well you better tell your dick to stand down or she's going to run away screaming."
"Shut the fuck up. Why are you looking at my dick, pervert?"
"How could I not look at it, Cullen? You almost poked that little kid's eye out," he says gesturing to the toddler standing in front of me patiently waiting for his slice of pizza. I have conveniently forgotten about him because of Bella's distractingly tight tee shirt and her, um…body temperature reactions. Yeah, that's a nice way to say her nipples were standing at attention...and attention they were getting.
"Sorry, little dude, here ya go," I say to the kid waiting. His mother hands me the money but don't ask me what she looks like or how much she gives me. I have no idea. All I can see is Bella standing in the booth across the aisle from me. And she's amazing.
Not helping the boner situation. At all.
She waves and I wave back, adding a smile for good measure. The evening is busy and time is flying. Before I realize it, the clock strikes nine and my shift is over. I glance across the aisle for the hundredth time tonight and see Bella watching me. I battle with myself to ask her if she wants to have a slice of pizza with me, which is probably the most unoriginal thing I can think of at the moment.
Man up, Cullen. Grow a pair. You could always buy a set of balls if you can't find yours. The dunking booth has them two for a dollar.
"You almost done over there?" I call across the aisle hoping she is going to say yes. We have been having one -word -answer conversations all day. "You ladies sure have been busy," I yell across the crowd.
"Yeah," she answers back.
"Pizza looks good," she yells across the aisle.
"Mmmhmm," I answer shaking my head looking down at a slice.
"Sure is hot in here with the ovens," I say as I wipe my forehead with the bottom of my t-shirt, showing a little skin. I have to admit. That move was strategic on my part.
"I'm sure it is," she says while shaking her head and eying me suspiciously. I hold up a piece of pizza, wordlessly asking her if she wants a slice. She shakes her head yes, holds up a lemon shake glass and silently asks me in return if I would like a drink.
So then armed with fresh pizza and cold lemon shakes, we make our way to the grass to sit under a big tree. The sun has just settled on the horizon leaving an eerie orangey, yellow, red glow in the late summer sky. It is beautiful but nothing compared to the girl that sits on the grass next to me. The lights from the various games and food vendors lights the midway in a rainbow of neon colors. There's a cacophony of voices inthe air as the carnival workers try to seduce their prey into setting down their hard earned cash.
"Hey, I'm sorry about making you spill all those drink yesterday. I didn't mean to startle you." I say, as she is making herself comfortable on the hard ground.
"It's no big deal… I just didn't expect to see you so soon after the 'wet' remarks and I hope you know I didn't mean to make you feel awkward… everything just came out all wrong. My teammates have been teasing me about you all summer and um…I would see you at the ball field and all the sudden it was like someone flipped a switch and I would forget how to play, not that I'm all that good to begin with, but you make me a little nervous and my mom signed me up thinking I could make a few friends before I started high school since I'm no longer going to St. Rose 'cus my dad got laid off and we can't really afford the tuition so I'm coming to public school…"
Did she just say that all in one sentence?
As her thoughts finally settle, and my brain has the chance to wrap around her words I realize what she has unknowingly confessed. She has been watching me at the fields too. I smile at the thought. I suddenly become really nervous wondering if she has seen me play from the concession stand like I'd watched her. If I had this knowledge beforehand … things could have been a lot different this summer.
I take my time answering her questions. I tell her I understand about the whole money situation sharing with her the fact that my mom had lost her job when they closed the car dealership she worked at. We talk about baseball and how different it is from softball. I tell her how I would watch in amazement at the way those girls throw the ball underhand with that crazy pitch. We talk about her coming to a new school and how she is nervous about starting band camp. I assure her that if she wants, I'll stick by her until she gets the feel of things. Then I promise to take her on a tour of the high school before actual classes start so she'll have an idea of where things are. As the hours go by, we talk about TV and movies, music and books. We make fun of people walking down the midway and how silly these girls look carrying four foot high stuffed gorillas. She confesses that even if they do look silly she thinks the gorillas are cute. Before we realize it, people start to turn off their lights booth by booth and the midway grows dark.
"Wow. It's eleven o'clock already. I have to call my mom for a ride. Can we drop you at your house?" I ask her with a shaky breath, not knowing if she'll be receptive of my offer.
"No, that's okay. But thanks for asking. The owner of the lemon stand lives down the street from me. That's how I got the job. I'm friends with her two kids. She comes every night to collect the deposit and pick up her daughter. She's the blonde that works the booth with me. She'll drop me off."
I stand up and stretch. I reach down to offer her a hand up and she places her hand in mine. To my surprise, she doesn't let go, and she doesn't seem like she wants to. Inside, my stomach does something funky. Not like having the squirts funky, but like…funky funky…. We walk that way to throw out our trash unable to look at each other's faces, but I can see in my peripheral vision that she wears a smile the whole time. I escort her back to the lemonade stand still possessively holding onto her hand to make sure her ride is there. I notice some lady there securing the money box, so I assume she is Bella's ride. When I hear her co-worker call her "Mom," I know she'll be okay.
"Well, my rides here," she says in a small voice.
"I'll see you tomorrow?" I ask, unsure of my place.
"Yeah," she responds. "I work again four to nine. I am here every night this week four to nine except on Friday, then I work six to eleven. That's okay, though. At least I'll already be down here for the fireworks. "
"The fireworks here are the best. Every year they get bigger. We could watch them together if you like. I finish up at nine on Friday, but I don't mind hanging around to wait for you to get off." As soon as I say it I realize the sexual implication. I can feel my face flame up while she giggles at me and looks down to hide her embarrassment.
"I didn't mean it that way…you know the way it sounded…about you getting off…I meant work…when you quit working," I sputter out. Yeah, I'm an asshole with a sudden stuttering problem. Thank God, she doesn't make a big deal of my obvious lack of verbal control.
"I would love to watch the fireworks with you. A couple of my friends from St. Rose will be here. Maybe we can all watch them together?" she asks with hopeful eyes. "Thanks for sharing your dinner with me, Edward. Have a good night." She's suddenly shy and looking at me through her lashes.
"Can I uh…call you?" I ask her quietly. She nods with a smile, reaching across the counter to grab and pen and quickly jots down her phone number. By the exchange digits, I can tell she's in the neighborhood right over the river from my house. I squeeze her hand before dropping it, as I walk away from her towards my mom's waiting car. I make sure to enter her number in my phone before I lose it, because that would just be tragic. I turn around when I hear a high pitch squeal only to see her laughing and twirling in circles. If I wouldn't look like a ballerina, I'd be doing the same thing.
"Was that Bella Swan you were talking to?" my mom asks as I get into the car. I turn and look at her in disbelief. How the hell does everyone know this girl besides me?
"Yeah, that's her. She's going to be a freshman this year. How do you know her?"
"Her father was a master mechanic at the dealership. I tried to talk to you about her a couple of years ago but you were too interested in Sponge Bob and your X-box." She smirks while I roll my eyes at her.
"Well things have changed, Mom. I'm not a little boy anymore. I'm going to be a sophomore, you know."
"Yes, I know." She answers with a wry smile on her face. She reaches over and rubs my arm in the way only a Mom can do to let me know she has my back. I'm a mama's boy, I admit it. It's not easy for us since my Dad left to follow his dream and the internet whore he met on a chat room to California. We struggle. A lot. Especially now since Mom's not working, but she never lets me forget how much she loves me and how I'm always first in her mind. I know it's been hard on her. She pretends like everything is okay but more often than not I catch her crying while she blames it on the onion she supposedly just cut.
When we get home, we sit around the small table in our kitchen and share some storebrand Oreo knock-offs and a glass of milk before we both announce it's been a long day and make our way to our bedrooms. That night I go to sleep dreaming of sweet Bella and the not so sweet things I'd like to do to her.
All of a sudden I'm a closet perv.
The next morning I wake up with a jolt and sit up straight in bed. I'm breathing hard trying to remember the dream I was having. It doesn't take long to come back to me. My sticky sweat pants an obvious reminder. After I have composed myself enough to be seen by my mom, I jump into the shower and throw my sheets into the washer.
With extra detergent. And fabric softener. And maybe a shit load of bleach too. Good thing they are white.
The next day goes by much like the day before. I sell pizza. She sells lemon shakes. I tell my customers that her booth has the best lemonade at the fair if they are thirsty. The owner/manager at my booth just gives me dirty looks reminding me that he sells Pepsi here but I don't care. I just want to see her shake the glasses.
Jesus. I am a lemonade pushing pervert.
For the last five minutes, I have been staring at the clock waiting for it to hit nine. By the look on Bella's face she's doing the same thing. I'd spoken with her this morning and we chatted for about an hour, our conversation flowing easily. We made plans to walk around tonight and get something to eat.
At exactly nine, I whip off my pepperoni t-shirt, (thinking ahead, slick sucker that I am, I have another one on underneath it) and stumble out of the booth. She disappears into the restroom to remove her lemon shirt since she believes it to be a little risqué. I tell her she looks fine but to be honest, I'm glad she changes. I don't like the idea of anyone else ogling her, uhm… lemons.
Yeah, I'm turning into that.
We order our sausage sandwiches and a large fry to share and make our way back to sit under our tree. It has quickly become our spot of sorts. At eleven as the midway goes dark and the last stragglers leave the festival, I escort her again, hand in hand back to the lemonade stand and secure her with her ride. I squeeze her hand and she hugs me.
I find my mom and she drives me home with a grin on her face. Apparently she has witnessed our exchange. She doesn't say anything and I'm really thankful for that. I just feel like I need the quiet to sort these feelings out. I'm hardly awake when I hear my fucking doorbell ringing. Grumbling and rolling off the bed, I wonder where the hell my mom is. I hear the water running, notifying me that she's showering. When I take a look through the small window, I can see my best friend on the other side. I barely have time to turn the dead bolt latch before he's barreling his way through the door.
"Jesus, dick. Can't you wait till I get the fucking door open all the way? What the fuck do you want at…at…at…what time is it anyway?" I frustratingly ask him.
"It's about nine thirty. And there's no waiting today man. We have a conversation ahead of us." He smirks and I want to punch him. "I saw you last night smiling like a fool at a little brunette that looks an awful lot like Bella Swan."
"How do you know her?" I ask in disbelief.
Not another one. How the fuck did I miss this girl?
"She goes to my grandmother's church and I see her there on holidays and stuff. I don't know her well just enough to know who she is. She's really cute but you know how I prefer blondes. What's to eat? I'm fucking starving."
"You live next door dude. Can't you fucking eat before you come over?" We have been best friends, even though he is a year older than me, since he moved into the house next to ours about eight years ago. It's not easy for them either. His mom moved him and his sister back here to her hometown, shortly after their father was killed at work in an industrial accident. I don't think he likes being alone, so I tolerate him coming over at nine in the morning to fuck with me.
"There's cereal there and you know where the milk is." I realize at that point that I'm standing here talking to him in my boxers. I run to grab a pair of shorts as I hear him open the refrigerator.
"So, have you kissed her yet?" he yells to me as he pours himself a bowl of generic Rice Krispies.
"No. I just met her two days ago."
"Well man, you need to get all up on that if you know what I mean."
I walk into the kitchen looking at him like he has three fucking heads. I'm trying, for one, to figure out when he became a "gangsta" and then wondering when he became the Love Guru.
"You are a dick. D-I-C-K, dick." I spell it for him. Just for good measure.
"No, I'm not a dick. I have a dick and you my friend, have a mangina. Give me one good reason why you haven't kissed her yet and I'll leave it alone. One Reason." I sit and think about his question. To tell the truth, it wouldn't be my first kiss. That belonged to Marianne McNeal in the sixth grade but I have a feeling that this may be my first kiss that actually means something. And this thought makes me nervous as fuck.
"I really like her and enjoy the time we spend together. I hugged her last night and it just felt right, you know? I don't want to screw this up and make her uncomfortable. She went to a Catholic school for Christ sake." He looks up at me seeming to understand.
"Don't use the Lords name in vain, douchebag," he says as he slurps the remaining milk from his bowl. He twirls his hand in front of me urging me to continue.
"Anyway, I don't know, I just want to take things slow and see what happens. She could be yanking my chain for all I know. I've never done this before. I don't know what the hell to do. I friended her on Facebook last night and we talk on the phone. So just leave it alone. Do you think you can do that?"
He looks at me and simply says, "No." At least he is honest.
We play X-box and eat my poor mother out of house and home before she drops me off at the festival later that afternoon.
"Be a gentleman, Edward. I know her father." My mom warns me as I close the door.
Serving pizza is to say the least, hot and greasy. I stink of sauce, pepperoni, green peppers and cheese. We are busier tonight than the last few and I know from coming to past festivals that tomorrow will be the craziest of them all because people come from all the surrounding communities to view the fireworks. Bella and I both finish at nine and after quickly changing and cleaning up, make our way, hand in hand, through the crowds of people to gather our dinner. Finally settling on meatball sandwiches with homemade apple dumplings for desert, I begin to sit under our tree to start our ritual of people watching when she stops me.
"I brought a blanket," she says as she hands me her sandwich and reaches into her over stuffed backpack, pulling until the soft material unfolds itself. "I was getting chilly sitting in the grass. I hope you don't mind." I notice tonight she sits a little closer to me. She smells like fresh deodorant and lemons. Her words come easier and more animated and at one point and she pokes me in the eye as her hands wave wildly while she tells me a story about her best friend.
"Oh my gosh," she gasps. "Are you okay?" Her fingers dance across my eye. Sheinspects it closely and that gives me the opportunity to notice that her eyes have speckles of green and gold intermingled with the brown. She brings her finger to her lips and gently kisses it before pressing it to my non-life threatening injury.
"I'm so sorry, Edward." I can feel her breath on my cheek, her finger still lingering.
"Never apologize for touching me, Bella." I hear her breath catch and I know what I'm about to do. I want to kiss her so badly it's like my lips have a mind of their own. I bend my head and lower myself to her and right before I kiss her… she giggles. It starts soft and by the time I realize that I have officially been shut out, she's laughing hysterically.
"You really know how to ruin my mojo, Bella. I didn't realize my kissing you was a laughing matter." I turn my head to see what has successfully grabbed her attention at such a pivotal point in our young relationship. There, right in front of me, I see my best friend gyrating his hips like an Elvis impersonator. He makes smooching noises and puckers and blows kisses at us. I look over to Bella. She's laughing so hard there are tears rolling down her face. She's blushing so badly I can practically feel the heat radiating from her cheeks. He turns around so we can see his back...his crossed arms over his front, his hands rubbing up and down his back so it appears that he's not alone.
"Do you know him?" she squeaks out between her laughs.
"Yeah, that's my ex-best friend," I say with a warning tone in my voice, loud enough for him to hear.
He struts his way over to us and asks me, "Aren't you going to introduce me, Edward?" I look between him and Bella, knowing he's not going to leave unless I give in.
"Bella, this is my best friend," I pause dramatically, thinking, before introducing him. "This is Dick. I say with a chuckle. Dick, this is Bella." I practically growl at him while my eyes narrow, telling him silently to get the fuck away from me before I kill him.
I catch him so off guard with the introduction he just laughs mumbling, "Good one, Edward." As he walks off ,knowing he's been burned at his own game.
Finally, Bella's laughs die down and she turns to me and says, "He looks really familiar to me. I think he goes to my Grandmas church. I didn't know his name was Dick."
I chuckle to myself and lean in for a kiss. I'm nervous and I really want to get this right. And I don't want her to laugh at me again. I brush my lips over hers, softly a few times liking the way they tickle against her mouth. She parts her lips ever so slightly and I tilt my head to avoid bumping noses. Her breath is warm and sweet. I suck her top lip into my mouth, while she takes my bottom. It's quick and pretty chaste, but amazing at the same time. We finish with a few sweet pecks and then she pulls away blushing.
Bella and I continue our routine the rest of the week. We cuddle up in her blanket under our tree eating our fair food and people watching. She sits between my knees and reaches around to share her fries with me. I eagerly take the fry then demand a kiss before I share my fried dough.
Hey, dont judge me. I'm an only child. Sharing is not my forte.
It's finally Friday and the energy is pulsing in the air. The game hosts are yelling with a little more enthusiasm, the winners cheer a little louder. I look over to the lemon stand realizing that she's not starting until six tonight. Before too long I've gone onto pizza auto pilot dishing out slices and accepting payment without really paying too much attention.
"What can I get ya?" I ask the next person in line before I hear the laugh that is starting to bore its way into my memory. I look up to see Bella staring at me over the display case. I reach out to grab her hand over the glass. Her hair is down falling over her shoulders and I notice she has on a little makeup.
"Wow. You look pretty. Why're you so dressed up? "
"She shakes her head and blushes. "I'm not working the lemon shake stand tonight. I'm volunteering over at the kissing both tonight until eleven."
The minute those words fall from her lips I feel all the air escape from my lungs. We've only actually had a handful of proper kisses and now she's going to go sell them?
"You're doing what?" I ask with a squeak. My voice shaking and I wonder why she hasn't brought this up in any of the conversations we've had over the last week.
"I'm working the kissing booth, Edward. My friends from St. Rose are going to be there too. We agreed a while ago to do it together. My friend's twin brother wouldn't let her do it by herself, so he's going to be there. Girls may want to buy a kiss, too."
All I can manage to say is, "Ohhh, okay," while my mind wonders to a place it really shouldn't involving some dude slapping down a hundred dollar bill and throwing her over his shoulder. She stands on her tiptoes before she turns to leave and leans in to kiss me on the cheek.
While she's there she whispers, "I hope you have some money in your pockets. If not, I guess I can give you credit." Bella turns and walks away leaving me with my mouth gaping open, I assume, looking like the goldfish in the little bowls you can win if you get the ball on the plate. The kissing booth is conveniently, or not, depending on your view of things, located within eye shot of my booth. The glittering sign taunts me while it advertises, "Kisses $1.00."
This is rather fortunate for me, and unfortunate to all the customers I proceed to ignore while I stare at Bella as she deals out sweet chaste kisses to the sticky cheeks of toddlers and Grandfathers and everything in between. Each one of them is equally enamored by her charms. I wait on a couple of people before something catches my eye.
I gasp as I see Bella jump up from her chair as she wraps her hands tightly around the neck of the man in front of her. She lays a very sweet kiss on his lips and I begin to wonder who the fuck this cradle robber is before I see her mouth the words, "I love you, Daddy." I feel suddenly more at ease knowing her father has taken up permanent residence at the side of her the booth that is now my personal reminder of hell on earth.
Over dramatic are we? Why, yes we are. Fuck you very much.
We are so crazy busy, before I take a breather, I realize that I have worked until ten thirty. The fireworks start in a half hour and I'm not going to miss my chance at the booth with Bella. I shake the hands of the guys I work with and quickly run out towards the restrooms to clean up. The crowd is starting to travel like a cattle herd, towards the bridge that separate the neighborhoods of our small towns so they can stake prime location for viewing the festivities.
I reach into my pocket palming the twenty dollar bill that I had put there earlier. Thank God I won't have to hit my buddies up for some cash. I run up to the booth waiting patiently for the kid before me, while silently praying to God that he would hurry the fuck up. He can't choose between Bella and her friend so I make the decision for him. I slap my twenty down on the counter, reaching over and pulling Bella from her chair. I guide her up by her arms and without warning kiss her like there's no tomorrow. And this time it isn't chaste, or sweet and there's definitely no giggling. And there's even a little bit of tongue. The kiss is possession and desire and…lust.
In the background, the fireworks start bringing the festival to a close for the year. We finish our monumental kiss and hurry, walking hand in hand over to sit under our tree. Bella claims her favorite position comfortably between my bent knees with her back resting against my chest. Our entwined fingers rest on the top of my knees while we "Ooohh," and "Aaah," along with the crowd as the sky lights up with colorful explosions.
I rest my chin on her shoulder and when she turns to look at me I kiss her sweetly letting her know that even though the fireworks signify the end of the festival they equally represent the beginning of us. I see her friends from the booth walking towards us. They sit down and she introduces them as Rose, her best friend, and Rose's twin brother, Jasper. The three of us are bullshitting about nothing when I see two more figures walking towards us. When they stop, I can instantly see the look in my best friend's eye. It's like he's seeing the sun for the first time as he lays eyes on Rose. For some reason I notice Jasper looking at his little sister with a huge smile on his lips.
Emmett has been staying clear of me since his kissing display but I know him well enough to see the pleading look in his eye silently begging me to introduce him to Rose.
What are friends for?
"Emmett, Alice. This is Rose and Jasper, Bella's classmates from St. Rose. Oh, and this is Bella if you didn't know already. Bella, this ass is my best friend Emmett and his little sister, Alice. She's going to be a freshman with you in the fall."
Everyone sits and the conversation starts again with people taking over each other with the fireworks setting the backdrop. The finale starts and the loud demanding booms echo and reverberate off the metal booths causing our insides to tremble.
Bella curls up a little closer to my chest. "The loud booms give me butterflies," she says.
"I thought I was the one that gives you butterflies?" I cockily say to her. "You continue to kill my mojo, you know? First you throw fifty cent balls at me then you laugh when I try to kiss you, and now you're getting butterflies from fireworks when they should be coming from me. You do know I still have about fifteen dollar's worth of kisses to collect on."
"Only fifteen?" she asks me with a grin.
I smirk and lean in. "Fifteen," kiss…"fourteen," kiss…"thirteen," kiss…
My wise Irish grandma always told me that when life gives you lemons, you'd better make lemonade with them. But I bet my grandma never imagined Bella would be the one to shake them up for me.