Title: The Half-Blind Date
Picture No.: #1
Beta: The Chimaera's Mane
Word Count: 7,899
Summary: Written for the 'Devil's in the Details' contest. Bella's a free woman, and Peter's a free man. Oh, and look, there's a free bathroom stall… But Fate gives them more than a mile-high minute. P/B. Lem/Lang. BPOV. AH. O/S.
Disclaimer: I own nada…zilch…zero…nil…nought…nothing…bugger-all…sweet FA… (You get the idea.) Everything belongs to Stephenie Meyer – I just borrow her best characters and fiddle with their fangs, or lack thereof (:
I did it – finally, completely, and irrevocably did it.
I dumped Edward Cullen.
And on the phone, of all fucking things.
I am bad-ass.
I let out a huge breath of air, before snickering to myself and sinking back, as best I can, into the hard plastic seat I'm sat in waiting for my flight home.
Home – God, it feels good to think that, to say that even…and not home L.A. but home Forks.
Forks had been where I shipped myself off to when my mom remarried and blah, blah, blah… I don't know how many times I've told that story, but the gist of it is I stayed with my father, met Edward Cullen, got caught in his pretty sparkly net, and jumped ship with him and his family as soon as I was of age.
They're wealthy, beautiful and perfect…and I didn't realise how much I hate them until I found myself looking in the mirror a week previous and wondering whether to take Carlisle up on his offer of giving me the name of a top plastic surgeon.
I'm twenty-one. I don't need that shit.
Bad-ass Bella, that's what I am. And Bad-ass Bella likes her tits and ass just the way they are, fuck you very much.
The ability to use curses freely, especially without a jumped-up matriarch spitting flames at me, is the most liberating thing I've ever felt – I urge you to try it.
Fuckity, fuckity, fuck.
My cell rings.
"Hello? Bad-ass Bella, speaking."
Angela – the girl I had called once I'd had my early-life crisis and who had welcomed me back with open arms despite the arrogant swagger I'd sported as I had swung out of town hanging onto the arm of a ginger douche.
"Let's try that again. Hello? Bella, speaking. Who, incidentally, is also bad-ass."
"Bella, are you getting a little too acquainted with the airport bars?"
"No, I'm just on a high – a natural one. I dumped Edward. On the phone. While he's at work."
Silence. Absolute, utter silence.
"I'm still here…I just…wow."
She suddenly screams. "Oh, my God, Bella! That's great!"
I nod, pretty pleased with myself too.
"I'm so glad for you!" She sighs happily. "So? Seen any cute guys yet?"
Uh-oh. Bad-ass Bella's not all that bad-ass.
"I have to…find cute guys?"
A thought strikes me. "What if I'm a lesbian now?"
"You did not just ask me that."
"Well, come on. Very long relationship, very bad experience – what if meat just doesn't cut it anymore?"
"Look around you. Find a girl."
Urgh. Orange skank, eleven o'clock. Hanging all over some really hot guy too – ooh, stubbly…
"Huh? Oh, yeah. Got one. My guess? Seventy-five percent man-made. Shame he can't see that."
"Mr Tall, Hot and Stubbly."
"So…you're telling me you looked for a girl and found a hot guy, who you're currently drooling over?"
I check. No drool.
"I don't think you'll be hankering for…uh, girly-bits."
"'Girly-bits – seriously?"
"Look, my father was strict, okay? Ben's only just got me to say 'crap'."
"I love that man."
"Which reminds me why I called." There's a pause. "He proposed! We're getting married!"
I jump up from my seat, in front of everyone, and fist-pump the air. "Fuck, yeah!"
An old lady looks up from her flight pamphlet, startled, and tuts.
"Shit. Uh…I mean, darn. Sorry."
I sit back down and hear Angela snickering into my ear. "Bella, you are bad-ass."
"Say it again."
I sigh. "Thanks. It's good to hear."
"Welcome. Anyway, we're going to have a party to celebrate in a week or so. Ben's arranged it all – apparently he already invited some people who're flying in to visit, like his uncle and stuff."
"Ew. No. Old uncle."
"Well, Ben did tell me that he invited this guy he–"
A tinny voice suddenly rings out in the buzzing terminal and I curse and fly out of my chair, cutting Angela off. "I'm so sorry! My flight's just been called! I'll call you as soon as I can."
"I'm going to come pick you up. I'll see you outside."
"Wow. Thank you, Angela."
"It's fine. Go be bad-ass and, for the love of God, flirt or something."
She hangs up.
I take her advice and hurry on, throwing my single tiny duffel bag – my only luggage, containing everything that's actually mine – over my shoulder.
Flirt or something…
I swing my hips all the way onto the plane.
But I think the 'come hither' effect's minimised by the fact I'm wearing worn jeans and a faded band t-shirt that's too big for me.
And because I also catch one of my long dark curls on the buckle of the duffel bag strap and have to blink back tears as I untangle it.
Still bad-ass though.
The old lady – the one who tutted – is my seat-buddy apparently.
This could be construed as both bad and good luck – bad because I didn't get the hot guy, but good because I didn't get the skank.
Win some, lose some.
I get peanuts and juice, plug in my battered old-generation iPod and turn it to The Boomtown Rats, and I'm set. Until, about half an hour into the journey, a bony finger begins poking my arm.
I crack an eyelid and find wrinkled baby-blues glaring back at me.
"Don't 'ma'am' me. Get up. I need to use the facilities."
Why couldn't I get the window seat? At least I would have put it to good use – I wouldn't keep tutting at every cloud that we pass.
Of course, I don't actually know that she does this – since I can hear fuck-all with the cabin pressure, let alone my music, anyway – but I imagine so. I see an old lady very discontent with life…and her allocated seating partner.
"Move, girl. I have a weak bladder."
I'm up, like a shot.
I hit the businessman in front of me on the head with my iPod by accident in my rush to get out of the old bint's way, apologise to him profusely, and watch as the old woman waddles down the aisle towards the bathrooms and glares at a few innocent onlookers like they're judging her for being old and needing to pee.
I don't bother sitting down just yet, stretching my legs for a second or two while there's no traffic in the aisle and tapping my fingertips on the businessman's headrest along to 'She's So Modern'–
I shiver. Straight. Away.
Damn. A low Southern drawl should do it for any sane hot-blooded woman.
I am both female and hot-blooded. My sanity is in question. Two out of three isn't bad.
I turn…and have to tip my head back to look up at him.
Him. Him. Mr Stubble.
It has to be said, that stubble is even better close-up.
Dark blue eyes, strong jaw, lightly tanned skin, short and messy dirty-blonde hair, tall, and ripped…
Muscles. Me want.
Cave-Bella comes out in full-force. Where's a good knocking-out club when you need one?
Oh, and his jeans are tiiight…
A bony finger jabs me from behind.
"Fuck," I hiss.
Mr Stubble finds this amusing – Christ, his smile is gorgeous–
"Girl! Are you going to stand there all day? You're in the way!"
Bloody, old bint–
I turn and smile brightly, slightly too over-zealous in my sweeping gesture for her sit down to be sincere.
She scowls as she slides in.
Suddenly, there's hot breath on my neck. "You've forgotten 'bout me, sugar."
I try to suppress my shiver, and fail spectacularly.
How am I meant to forget about him, anyway?
I've said it out-loud. I turn to see his wide grin.
"You're not." He winks.
He fucking winks.
Flirt or something…
I smirk, trying to give him a smouldering look as I slide into my seat and sit down. He stands still for a moment, slightly dazed-looking, and I internally cheer.
Bad-ass Bella is actually bad-ass – take that, hot guy.
"Excuse me, sir. You're blocking the aisle."
The stewardess is all sweetness and smiles, and she actually looks sincere – Mr Stubble is hot enough to earn that privilege.
He comes out of his daze, shoots her a smile, gives me an obvious once over, and then leans down and growls, "See you later."
Mm-hmm. In one of those naughty dreams that Edward never let me act on – like the doctor one, or the foreign exchange student one…
Damn. I had been well and truly under the thumb.
I smirk, looking back over my shoulder to see Mr Stubble looking back at me over his as the stewardess chases his ass with a trolley – under the thumb no more…
I've dozed off – I know it, but I can't wake up.
I'm drowning in a sea of perfect pale skin and shining white teeth – the Cullens surround me like sharks… Angela appears, floating beside me in my old yellow raincoat that my mom destroyed years ago in a fit of 'fashion fever'… She has a harpoon… I eye it with interest, before taking it and firing at random into the swirl of faces… It hits Edward's left canine, rebounds, and heads straight for me–
"Wake up! Wake up!"
I groan. "Mom?"
"I am most certainly not your mother! I need to use the facilities again."
The dull stabbing pain in my face increases until I fully come around.
Bint. Poking my arm not enough for her? I can't believe she's actually been poking my face.
I'll get her back for it later.
I yawn and stand up, moving aside so the old lady can get past while I stretch. The plane's quiet, dark, and I wonder what the time is.
I don't own a watch. Well, I did, but it wasn't mine – every thing Edward gave me and Alice dressed me up in is officially dumped outside our apartment in L.A. in a big pile waiting for Edward to come home from work to.
It is a giant 'fuck you' sundry masterpiece, if I do say so myself. I even have it as the background on my cell.
My bladder suddenly clenches.
I hobble my way up the plane with sleep-crippled legs, taking care to find Mr Stubble, who is settled in a window-seat near the back, and also finding the Skank, who is sleeping all over the poor unsuspecting guy she got sat next to. Really don't envy him.
I slide into the free toilet stall. I can hear the old bint cursing in the only other one.
When I'm done, I wash my hands and then give myself a minute to just look in the mirror.
My hair's rumpled but fine, as are my clothes, but there's a big pink mark on my face where the old lady was poking me. I glare at it.
I reach forward for the tap, wanting to splash some cold water on my face to see if it even might go down, and the plane jerks. I rock forwards too fast, my fingers try to grasp and slip, and the tap flies on full-force.
I just barely manage to hold in my instinctive squeal as the water rushes from the tap, splashes out of the sink and all over my top. My hands scrabble, the tap shuts off, and I look down to see that my old faded band shirt actually goes a little see-through when wet.
The sliding bathroom door opens with a definitive snap.
Why did I not close that?
Two blue orbs meet my startled gaze…and then slowly drift down my person to linger on my dripping chest.
Why did I wear a black bra today?
I have so many questions and fuck-all answers.
And it's Mr Stubble staring at me, not the Bint – though I could see lesbianism going well for her.
I refocus my eyes on his and find they're practically black.
"Damn, woman – invite me in."
My brain freezes momentarily…before a single memory creeps in.
Flirt or something…
I am Bad-ass Bella. I am not the woman whom Edward would continuously turn down because he was 'too tired from work' or 'just wasn't feeling up to it.' I am a single woman with a see-through shirt and a black bra who a hot guy wants to maul.
He rushes in. I must have said it out-loud.
I really don't care.
He locks the door behind him without turning around, devouring me with dark and hungry eyes. I feel my panties dampen.
Suddenly he's lifting me up, and then I'm sat on the sink's sturdy metal edge.
My heartbeat's pounding in my ears and I can hear my own heavy breathing.
He hasn't taken his hands off me.
He leans forwards, one hand brushing away the hair from my neck and the other gripping my waist. His voice is a long, low growl in my ear.
"Christ, you smell good."
I moan. My hands come up and immediately tangle in Mr Stubble's dirty-blonde hair.
I know what I want.
With a self-confidence that only breaking up with the world's biggest controlling asshole can give you…I hitch my right leg over his hip and draw him closer.
The first touch of his hot lower body against mine is brilliant, spark-creating, but when he gets the message and wrenches me to him fully…
God, I'm about ready to have my first orgasm here and now.
Every muscle beneath his light blue button-up is pressed against me…and they slowly become visible as the water from my t-shirt saturates his.
I'm pretty sure what rolls out of my throat is a purr.
Mr Stubble growls.
He like purr. Me like growl.
Cave-Bella makes a reappearance.
And then suddenly his teeth are on my neck and his hands are freely roaming my chest…and I just need to feel him.
I grasp his shoulders and score his back with my nails as I drag my fingertips down. He makes the sexiest noise in the back of his throat, and…oh…
He's found my right nipple, and he means business – twisting and rolling…and pinching…
And suddenly we're going far too slow, and we're not nearly naked enough.
I'm ready. I'm panting. I'm practically dripping, for fuck's sake…
I grab his head and smash his mouth to mine – the sensation's far more pleasant than the word makes it seem, but the violent intent's there and he immediately takes it to fuel his own.
My t-shirt flies off over my head and lands on the floor with a wet slap; my bra straps get pulled off my arms but the whole thing stays on beneath my now-free breasts; his shirt opens beneath my tugging hands and a couple of buttons ricochet around the tiny bathroom; his fly falls open beneath my insistent fingers; my fly falls open beneath his insistent fingers…
"Fuuuck," I groan, tensing around the two invading fingers he's pushed past my panties and right into my pussy. "Yesss…"
He growls against my ear, biting the lobe and sending chills racing up and down my spine. "You're so wet… Oh, fuck… And so tiiight… Yes, yes…take those fingers…"
They curl, they caress, and I can feel every inch of them rubbing me exactly the right way – especially the work-hardened tips…working me…working me…
I stifle my cry, biting my bottom lip as another finger joins the other two and spreads me wide open for him. He sucks my lips into his mouth, and we meet – for a kiss, of all fucking things while he's got his fingers deep within my pussy.
But I like it. It's soft. It's sweet. It's contrasting so deliciously with the rough thrusting of his fingers…
I can feel myself clicking up that slope, ready to fall over the other side into bliss…and then it's gone. The entire slope's gone. He's gone.
Where the fuck are his fucking fingers?
And then I'm being moved, my panties are being lowered, and I look down in the kiss that hasn't stopped to get my first glimpse of him.
Oh, his dick's just as beautiful as the rest of him.
No, wait. Fuck that. Not beautiful. Edward's was prissy and beautiful. Mr Stubble's is long and thick and hard, and I tremble at the sight of it.
"Fuck, yeah…" I breathe against his mouth, before he smiles the filthiest and most fucking gorgeous smile I've ever seen.
And I can't help but be Bad-ass Bella and put him in his place.
I grip his cock firmly in my hand, and the smile drops immediately – only to be replaced with the most twisted expression of pleasure and pain I've ever seen.
"You like that?" I murmur lowly, tipping my head forwards to bite at his neck as his head falls back and his eyes roll.
He doesn't answer with words – there's only a groan and a shallow thrust of the hips.
I grip him harder, circling the head with my thumb. "You like that?"
"Yesss… Oh, God…sugar, please…"
That voice…that drawl… It does me in.
I spread my knees as wide apart as I can, grip his ass, and bring him towards me.
The back of my head hits the mirror straight away as I throw it back with my eyes clenched shut.
Mr Stubble groans in agreement, before his hands grip my waist and he thrusts his entire cock inside me in one go.
I'm being split in half. I'm being reborn. I'm possibly going to Purgatory riding a giant cock, and I just can't care less.
"Yes, yes, yes…"
He's everywhere. His hips are slamming against mine. His fingertips are digging into my spine. He's inside me. His tongue's inside my mouth, playing with mine…
God, he tastes good… Like smoke and salt. Like a real man. Like–
Fuck, that slope's before me again.
I'm begging – I know I am – but I just can't be fucked to stop and control myself. My head's slamming against the mirror, my pussy's being punished by this stranger's massive dick, I can feel his heavy balls slapping my ass with his each thrust, and I have never imagined anything more perfect than this right here…right…now…
His mouth disappears from mine and wetness suddenly coats my nipple, before I feel the blunt gnash of teeth and the teasing swirl of tongue over the sensitive little–
My lip's being punished by my teeth once more as I feel it…I feel it…I feel…
In one ultimate moment, my entire body is made of sensation and all I can see are colours…especially blue… A nice dark blue…
Numbness coats me… I hear a far-away growling roar… I feel so warm…so, so warm…
And then, with a gasp, my stupor breaks.
I look up into the face of Mr Stubble, who's panting and cursing like I've never seen anyone pant and curse before.
My hand goes up of its own volition to stroke his cheek. He nuzzles his face against my hand. His stubble's scratchy in a nice way…tickling my palm…and–
He pulls out of me.
I simultaneously thank God that I'm on the Pill and gasp at the after-shocks that immediately shudder through my body at the action.
"Could've warned me," I breathe.
He chuckles breathily, but says nothing.
I look up into his face once more.
What do you say to someone who's just fucked you like that? 'Thank you'?
The decision is taken from me as the 'seatbelt' light pings on above the door.
I look at him pointedly. He gets the message.
After dressing as best he can with 'I've just had rough sex in a small space' hair and a few top buttons missing off his shirt, he flips the lock and gives me a long look before slipping out of the stall altogether.
I remember to flip the lock back.
Without thinking about the fantastic romp I've just had, I clean myself up and pull on my clothes. By some miracle, my t-shirt isn't see-through anymore.
I check my reflection – looking fiiiine…if not a little well-sexed…
I flip the lock open and leave. I limp the whole way back to my seat, my insides feeling ten-times larger in the pleasantest kind of way.
Thank you, Mr Stubble's large and useful cock.
I feel his eyes burn into the back of my head as I sit down. I smirk but don't turn.
The Bint's asleep. Joy. I decide to hide the dentures sitting on the fold-down table in front of her.
Forks looms on the very distant horizon as we begin our descent, the Bint's dentures are safely hidden in the sleeping businessman's slightly open black attaché case, which is settled on his lap, and I can feel Mr Stubble's gaze still trained on me.
I finally allow myself to feel around the haze that he created and think about what happened in the bathroom – shit…and I still ache…
Well, that's what you get for only sleeping with one man – that man being one with a small dick.
A wave of…something – some unnameable emotion – hits me.
Mr Stubble's my second, and although his notch is one I'll gladly carve into my bedpost…I feel like I've done something wrong. And it's nothing to do with Edward, but something to do with myself…
It's not disgust, but it's close.
Shit. What was I thinking?
Obviously 'hooray, sexy man, take me now,' but seriously…
No. Never. I may now be Bad-ass Bella, and I may now want casual sexual relationships instead of long arduous ones…but I will never be the girl who has sex with strangers without a second thought, especially in public places.
Except I already am that girl.
What the hell will Angela think of me? What the hell does he think of me?
He can't have any respect for me after that. Shit. That's the issue here – not that I've done something without properly thinking, but the fact that I've done something that's made someone think ill of me.
I'm an honest person, and that – no matter how fucking amazing – was not honest.
Shit, double shit, and fuckity, fuckity, fuck.
I feel bad enough. I take the dentures out of the case and put them back on the fold-out table.
Avoiding the crush at airports is hard enough, but avoiding the crush and a person you fucked on the plane and refuse to look at/talk to…
Shit. That's difficult.
And 'shit' is officially my new favourite word.
I thank sweet baby Jesus that I only have my duffel bag and don't need to stand like a lost lamb at the baggage carousel. At least it puts some floor space between me and Mr Stubble.
I call Angela.
She picks up. "Outside."
She hangs up.
As I make my way out of the airport, I see him. Mr Stubble.
"Shit. Fuck. Shit. Fuck."
Mothers clamp their hands down on their children's ears all around me. I can't care less.
I duck and run, making a beeline for the big glass exit doors as I see a twinkle of recognition light his eye as he looks my way.
God, he looks gorgeous–
Narrowly avoiding a PMS-ing woman with a latte in her hand, I turn and swivel my way out of the mad-house and towards a long line of cars.
Angela's standing there, leaning against the hood of a battered silver pick-up. She looks gorgeous, exactly as I remember with long, soft, dark hair and a tall, slim build, but now she has more curves and her confidence seems to shine through…
But I can't stop to reminisce. There's a man I've had more-than-casual sex with and he's trying to catch up to me.
I give the universal signal for 'get me the fuck outta here' – a double arm-wave with an urgent expression – and leg it towards her.
She expertly reads the signal, dashes around the car and gets in before throwing the door open on the passenger's side for me. I leap in, nearly slamming the door on my bag.
"GO, GO, G–!"
She's already peeling out of there before I can finish my panicked cry.
As we leave, I crane my head and see Mr Stubble – he's looking gorgeous in the late-afternoon light as he dashes out of the glass doors and watches the speeding truck disappear around the corner and out of view.
"I hope I haven't just done something illegal – like assisted a criminal, or something." Angela smirks.
"I feel like one," I grumble.
I do. And when I've finished she looks shell-shocked.
"I said flirt! Not f…" She trails off.
I nod, watching the road fly by beneath us.
"So…it was…good though?"
I turn to look at her like she's crazy. Which she is. Since the first thing I told her was that it was beyond good.
"Don't give me that look. I just mean…you know…well…Ben and I tried out some different things but it was always kind of…uncomfortable."
"It was rough, it was sexy, and it was perfect."
"Right. I understand."
"You liked it and you want to do it again, but you think it diminished you as a person and he sees you as less now."
I look over at her curiously. "Yeah?"
"But…how do you know he thinks of you like that? He might have wanted more to do with you."
I sigh and lean my cheek on my closed fist. "He might have, but it doesn't matter. We've gotten off on the wrong foot."
I crack a smile. "Good one."
Angela looks over at me thoughtfully for a second, before turning her eyes back on the road and patting my hand.
"You look good though, Bella. It did you good to have that with that stranger today. It doesn't have to happen again, with him or anyone else, and it doesn't have to ever come up again – it was just an experience you needed."
I nod, determined. "You're right."
"I know." She smirks. "Ben tells me that all the time."
"So! Tell me how he proposed."
And as she rattles off and tells me how they're going to shop for a ring together, I close off the fantastic memory of Mr Stubble and his wonderpeen with the final thought that if he was as determined to talk to me as he had looked…he'd find me one way or another.
When I had first called Angela, after finding her old cell number on a torn piece of paper in the bottom of an old rucksack, she had told me her parents had died in a traffic collision and that they had left her their house.
But I never thought that the Webers' reasonably formidable-looking off-white house could look so beautiful by just being properly lived in. Ben had moved in with Angela a while back, and filling the house with love had done it some good.
There are even sunflowers on a table on the porch.
In dreary fucking Forks.
It's like a big 'fuck you' to the weather, and an even bigger one to the strict Mr and Mrs Weber.
Angela leads me up to the front door…and I'm suddenly encased in a pair of long arms.
Ben. Wow. He looks good.
I wink over his shoulder at Angela. She nods – she knows he's looking fiiine.
I hug him back. "Good to see you again."
"Your old man's been asking after you."
I stiffen, pull back, and look up into his dark almond-shaped eyes.
"How is he?"
Ben smiles. "He's good, Bella."
I let out an internal and external sigh of relief. I haven't called my dad yet. I was going to surprise him. But then, knowing Forks the way I do…he probably already knows I'm back.
Ben seems to read my mind and nods in answer of my silent question.
I note how his gawkiness hasn't entirely receded, but that he's grown into his skin – just like Angela.
He's even got a couple of inches on her now.
Nice one, Cheney.
"Now." He grins, letting me go. "I've got to go pick up this guy from my dad's site in Seattle. He's going to be helping with the new building – drawing up plans and stuff – and needs a place to stay for a while. See you later, Bella."
He kisses Angela on the cheek, whispers something in her ear that makes her blush, and takes off in the pick-up.
I tighten my grip on the strap of my duffel bag and give Angela a devilish smile. "So…what made you blush?"
I'm full, I'm tired, and I'm sleepy. Angela's cooking is fucking magnificent.
After a call from Ben saying that he was going to take a bit longer than he thought, Angela had made just us two dinner and we had eaten while she told me all about what was going on in Forks.
Nothing is going on in Forks. Nothing has changed.
While the teeny tiny L.A. part of my brain that still exists had huffed in disgust, the Forks part of me – the me part of me – had rejoiced.
I love the fact that nothing changes in this sleepy, rain-sodden town.
It is perfect. It is beautiful. It is so un-Cullenesque it is fucking marvellous.
I even love the rain beating down on the roof.
I lie, spread, on the bed in the guest bedroom, on top of the pale lavender duvet, just watching the rain lash at the window. It's dark and homey and warm. I'm safe. I drift off into sleep just as I hear the pick-up return up the gravelly driveway…
His stubble scratches my cheek… I purr… He growls… His warmth envelops me… I can feel his fingers climbing my inner thigh and–
I crack an eyelid to find a fuzzy black-and-white cat climbing my uncovered leg like I'm some kind of personal cat jungle gym.
"Shoo," I breathe.
His little sparkly cat eyes look up at me.
Oh, yeah, you better look ashamed, cat. Those legs are reserved for…
No one. Not him. No matter how amazing his dick is.
"Fuck. Why can't he leave me alone?"
The cat looks back at me with a cocked head as he pads up my thigh and then pushes away the duvet from my stomach to nuzzle its face in the warmth there.
I sigh. Fucking cats. No boundaries.
Relenting, I pet its head. It purrs.
It reminds me of my own purr for Mr Stubble…
"Bella?" Angela's voice suddenly sounds from behind the closed bedroom door.
She opens the door and pokes her head around, smiling. "Good morning. Ben's uncle just got here. He's hungry. Want something too?"
I nod and smile. "Thanks. Be down in a minute."
She leaves and my stomach immediately growls.
It doesn't take me long to remove the cat from my person long enough to pull on some grey sweatpants over my short-shorts and brush my hair up into a messy ponytail.
The cat immediately leaps into my arms once I'm done.
Looks like I've already got a fan.
It snuggles down into my arms as I carry it downstairs and I wonder how difficult it's going to be to eat breakfast with a cat Velcroed to me.
That is, until I almost drop the fucking thing.
Dark blue eyes gaze up at me from the kitchen table and I wonder whether God hates me or if he just enjoys fucking with me.
The old, lanky, white-haired man sat next to the gorgeous one looks up at me like I'm Satan himself. "You kiss your mother with that mouth?"
"No, because I know where my mother puts hers," I shoot back numbly.
His wrinkled dark eyes widen…before they narrow and he glares at me, while taking up the spoon for his cereal and eating with angry determination.
I look back at Mr Stubble – who's looking particularly fine in a soft-looking green t-shirt and dark jeans, with bare feet and mussed hair – and he shoots me an understanding look.
Yeah. Old people and I don't mix so well.
No. No understanding looks. No breakfast meetings. I had sex with him – plane sex – and people who have plane sex together should forget it ever happened.
And why the fuck is he here anyway? Why the hell haven't I asked that questionsooner?
But a part of me already knows. He must be the guy Ben had to pick up. By some fucking ridiculous twist of fate, the guy I chose to have a one-time mile-high stand with happens to be the one that's staying in the same house I will be staying in for the foreseeable future.
I scowl at him like it's somehow his fault. Perhaps it is. Yes, I quite like the idea of shifting the blame all onto the gorgeous man at Ben and Angela's kitchen table.
He smirks that devilish, panty-melting smirk. "You're stuck with me, Bella."
I did not give him my name–
Ben comes striding in, he beams when he sees me. "Hey, Bella! Have you met my uncle, George?"
The old man scowls in confirmation.
Ben nods, completely unconcerned. "Okay. What about Peter here? He's working with my dad for a while. I was telling him all about you on the way over."
I smile, nice and wide and sarcastic. "Gee, thanks, Ben."
He doesn't get the hint and smiles right back, a twinkle in his eye. "I'm sure you two will get on."
And then Angela comes through the back door at that moment, stepping into the fucked up scenario with a distinguishing eye. She immediately looks to me. And then Mr S–Peter.
"Bella? Can I…uh, talk to you for a second?"
I follow her out of the back door like my ass is on fire. I'm clinging to the cat for dear life.
She rushes me down to the bottom of their backyard and corners me against the bushes.
"No," she breathes.
I grimace and nod. At least she understands the horrific situatio–
She lets out a squeal. She jumps up and down. She grins.
"What. The. Fuck?"
"He's so hot, Bella! I'm so proud of you!"
I gape at her. "Don't you see how utterly shit this all is?"
She stops celebrating. "What?"
"I fucked him, I ran from him, and now he's here!" I hissed.
"Well, when you put it that way–"
"What! There is no other way!"
She smiles innocently. "But you can get to know him now, can't you?"
"No. No. No. Nonononononononononono… Wrong foot, remember? He thinks I'm a slut?"
She shakes her head like my panic over this is completely insane.
"No, he doesn't. Ben introduced me to Peter this morning and he said he was anxious to meet you again."
"For a fuck!"
I try and calm my accelerated breathing, but I'm just too panicked…and I think I'm petting the cat too hard.
It yowls, leaps from my arms, and runs for cover.
I wrap my arms around myself instead and look down at my feet, finally realising that they're bare and cold and wet…
"Why does it matter?" Angela asks me.
I look up and sigh. I have obviously been screaming at a human-shaped brick wall.
She shakes her head at me. "Fine. If you're so adamant that everything is that bad, then just go in there and take him to one side. Tell him it won't happen again, if that's what he's looking for."
Bad-ass Bella reappears from the dark recesses of my mind. She doesn't think it's a bad idea either.
"Done." I smile.
Angela's return smile is a little bit more…secretive than I was hoping for, but I just ignore it.
I stride back up to the house and into the kitchen. Ben and George have left, and Peter is all alone.
He turns in his chair to watch me as I come around the table and take up the seat opposite him. I just barely resist the urge to fold my hands on the table in a business-like manner to match my tone.
His eyebrow is up, cocked in curiosity. "All ears, sugar."
I shake off the frisson the endearment and the drawl creates, and I smile coolly.
Bad-ass… Bad-ass… Bad-ass…
"You're not gettin' any of this."
Okay. Too bad-ass. I have, nor never will be, street. I feel like a fucking idiot…but he can't know that.
His lips twitch, like he's fighting a smile. "Uh-huh."
I wait. He says nothing else.
"So…we've got an understanding?"
He tips his head to the side in a frustratingly attractive way, eyeing me beneath pieces of his tousled dirty-blonde hair and smirking.
"What makes you think I want more?"
Oh. Fuck. Well, it's one thing to think he doesn't, but to hear it is another.
I have to actually swallow back a little hurt, before I shoot him a tight smile and stand. "I didn't say that. You obviously don't. I was just making sure we were clear."
I leave before my stomach can tighten any more painfully. I need to get out of here.
I dress quickly, throwing on some jeans, sneakers, a bra and an old hooded sweatshirt that's far too tight across the chest.
I pass Angela on the stairs and make a split-second decision. "I'm going to Charlie's. I'll be back later."
She gapes at me. "What? Wait! What happened?"
I don't look back at her. "I was right."
She calls out after me as I jog out of the house and down the road, but I don't turn. Charlie's isn't too far, and as I speed-walk there it gives me time to think.
Time to think about why it actually matters that Mr Stubble doesn't want more. I'd like to think it was because he is hot and him turning me down is a big blow…but it's more to do with the fact that I want more and now I can't have any.
Shit. All it took was one moment of panic, seeing him there at the table, and now I know that he's out of my league.
If I had just kept my head and pretended like nothing had happened, I would be oblivious.
I knock tentatively, trying to ignore the way everything looks just as it did when I left – right down to the chip in the empty terracotta flowerpot I knocked over in my haste on my way out.
The door opens. A far older man than I remember greets me with a greying moustache.
Our reunion is sweet – sweeter than I had thought considering how emotionally retarded we used to be, but it seems absence makes emotional retards less so.
He hugs me one last time as he sees me to the door. "You promise to come back as soon as you can, Bells."
"Tomorrow." I smile. "I'll come over and take you out for breakfast."
His eyes crinkle as he smiles broadly, before he kisses me lightly on the head. "See you later, Bella."
I lean up and kiss his cheek. "I'm still sorry. I love you."
I walk down the drive and into the night, heading back for Angela's.
But when I get there, slipping up the drive in the shadows, I hear slightly raised voices.
The light's on in the lounge and the curtains are pulled back. I peek in.
Angela's towering over Peter, who's sat in one of the red armchairs that circle the coffee table. Ben's sat opposite, not looking too happy either.
What the fuck? Maybe I shouldn't have left.
Angela's growling something at him, but I can't quite hear what she's saying…and then I'm flying back from the window in shock as a pair of large shiny eyes pop up in front of me.
On my ass in the gravel, I can see the cat looking down at me through the window. It noses at the bottom of the pane…and it lifts it bit by bit. The cat shimmies out underneath and leaps at me. The night's cool and my body appreciates Velcro-cat's warmth as it curls up in my arms.
I sneak up to the window to see Angela taking calming breaths.
Angela cuts Peter off with a snort. "No. No. No. You were supposed to make things better."
What. The. Fuck?
Ben chips in. "Yeah, Peter. We didn't set it up for you to hurt her."
I numbly close the window and make my way into the house…up the stairs…into bed…
My friends arranged for me to have a quickie on an airplane. I feel cheap. And sick.
Did they pay him?
I fall, lax, onto the bed. A curled-up cat stuck to my stomach.
Edward… Edward… Edward everywhere… Peter… Peter… Peter everywhere–
The voice is low and deep and soft, and it wakes me straight away from my fitful sleep.
Fuck. And if my ears don't deceive me the voice is also Southern.
"Angela wanted me to tell you breakfast is ready."
Retreating footfalls announce his departure from outside my door.
I crack my eyes open to find Velcro-cat peering up at me inquisitively from where it's lying on my chest in the reasonably bright morning light.
Its eyes say it's time to confront my pimps sitting downstairs at the kitchen table.
I leap up, dress in some jeans and a t-shirt, and wander downstairs.
When I reach the kitchen, my courage suddenly vanishes. I change my mind and barely glance at the four people sitting at the table.
"I'm going to take Charlie out for breakfast."
That's a safe option. Better than facing the fact that they set up a blind date, which was actually only half-blind…and really a blind fuck.
I turn on my heel to leave.
"Bella! Wait!" Angela jumps up and grabs me. "We all wanted to say something – especially Peter."
I sigh and look at the gorgeous sleep-ruffled man. "You can stop being their puppet. It's okay."
He frowns, his brow dipping over his dark blue eyes.
I roll mine. "Don't act all surprised. I heard you all. Last night." George looks up in confusion. "Not you."
He scowls and grumbles, but goes back to his breakfast.
Angela stares at me, looking crestfallen. "Bella…I don't know what to say."
"How about 'sorry for whoring you out'?"
I hug the cat and wait.
Ben raises an eyebrow. "That's a bit strong, don't you think?"
I gape. "No! You paid someone to fuck me on an airplane!"
George spits his cereal out all over the table…before mumbling something about 'getting out for a bit' and leaving this clusterfuck of a situation.
Lucky old bastard. I wish I could.
I sigh and look back at the three people left. Angela's staring at me, open-mouthed, as is Ben, and Peter's looking…slightly ashamed…
"What?" I ask.
"You think we'd do that to you?" Angela suddenly splutters.
"But you did. I heard you all talking about setting it up."
Ben lets out a snort. "Oh, no. That was all Peter."
I feel my eyebrows go up. "What?"
I look to the man in question.
He rubs his thumb along his jaw in a nervous gesture and clears his throat. "I was goin' to introduce myself to you in the terminal but there was a plastic chick all over me an'…well, I met you in the bathroom by accident an' you were all…" He gestures to his chest, before sighing, "You were so…beautiful too, an'…I couldn't help myself."
"I invited you in," I murmur.
"I asked you to." He smiles. "An' then I thought Angela had told you what we had planned when you came in an' told me I couldn't have any more of you. I thought you were just playin'. But then you looked so…"
Angela pushes me into the seat next to him. "Bella, honestly, we never thought this all would happen."
I sigh, sick of all the cloak and dagger shit. "Just explain."
Angela pushes a plate of scrambled eggs towards me, and I tentatively poke at them as she begins.
"When you first called me, I knew I just wanted to give you a push in the right direction. Peter and Ben have been working together for Ben's dad for a while now."
Ben cuts in. "Mainly phoning and e-mailing about the stuff going on in Seattle. I just mentioned you to him one day. He wanted to know more."
I look over at Peter. He smiles as he bashfully looks down at his bacon and eggs.
"Then my dad needed to meet him in person, and you were coming back to Forks around the same time…so Angela and I did a bit of match-making. Crappy match-making it has to be said, but it would have been better if Peter didn't–"
"Basically, I went an' ruined it all by seducin' you on the plane," Peter cut in.
Angela looks at me with wide and honest eyes. "Bella, I promise you we had nothing to do with that. That's why we were arguing last night, because we thought you two should really get to know each other and it all got screwed up." Her eyes got a little sad. "I just want to see you happy. Edward fucked with you so much."
I freeze. As does Ben. And Peter. Even Peter knows Angela Weber does not swear.
We all stare at her.
She rolls her eyes. "Come on! He did!"
"Yeah…but…wow. You said 'fuck'." Ben suddenly smirks.
Angela blushes furiously. "Uh…I've…left something upstairs."
She runs out like her ass is on fire. Ben follows with a wink.
I'm left alone with a table covered in George's half-chewed cereal, a heavy Velcro-cat sleeping in my arms, and a man who I have fucked and who I thought wanted nothing more to do with me.
Scratch that. A man who heard about me over the phone and wanted to know more, and who wanted to meet me so much he agreed to a blind date…and who wanted me so much he risked the wrath of my friends and the possibility of never having more with me to have me…
A warm touch encases my hand, lifting it from Velcro-cat. Fingers lace with mine.
My eyes refocus on Peter to see him smiling at me, his dark blue eyes twinkling. "Have I scared you away yet?"
I shake my head.
His eyebrows rise. "You don't think it was weird wantin' to meet a practical stranger that much?"
I shake my head.
"What if I told you seein' you jump up an' curse in a terminal full of strangers made me want to meet you even more? Or that when you started swingin' your hips, I didn't take my eyes off your ass until you were sittin' in your seat? Or that your inability to make friends with the elderly actually endears me to you?"
I shake my head. I am flattered in the most fucked up way ever.
He smiles. "Good. Can we start again?"
I can only nod.
Author's note:Please, let me know what you think! (: Peace!