Antithesis Chapter 1: Everyone Can Say What They Want To Say
Dedication: To jadedandboring. Let there be no doubt that I adore you and all you do for me. I am writing a pairing that makes me a little nauseous. You are an incredible woman and a wonderful friend. I love you.
"An' I don't give a damn
'Bout my reputation
The world's in trouble
There's no communication
An' everyone can say
What they want to say
It never gets better anyway
So why should I care
'Bout a bad reputation anyway,"
~Bad Reputation, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
"Tell me again why I'm here?" Edward Cullen grumbled, looking over at his best friend and roommate, Jasper Whitlock.
Jasper gave him a somewhat sardonic look and wordlessly set the drink he'd just retrieved from the bar in front of the other man's face. Edward arched an eyebrow. Scotch on the rocks, and not the cheap stuff either.
Well, Jasper sure knew how to make him feel better.
Edward took a long drink and tried to relax. It wasn't so much that he was on edge, he was just generally irritated. Many found bars and clubs relaxing or exciting, but that wasn't the case for him. No, Edward had too many statistics running through his head. He volunteered often at the rape crisis hotline, and could count on the fingers and toes of every person in the club how many times the wavering voice on the other end of the phone started their tale with, "I was at this bar..."
Date rape statistics notwithstanding, Edward simply didn't jive with the concept behind clubs. He wasn't much for the frantically-paced dancing, and he certainly couldn't fathom picking up a woman here. Seriously, where was the logic in approaching a person based on the one thing in you had in common being that you depended on a social lubricant to-
"Edward, for chrissakes. I can hear the wheels in your head spinning from here," Jasper complained, rolling his eyes. "Stop analyzing all the people who, heaven forbid, have a good time surrounded by really loud music and copious quantities of alcohol." He shifted in his seat, looking piqued. "No one's asking you to hit on anyone."
The blond-haired man shook his head mournfully. "You know what the sad thing is? You wouldn't even have to try to pick up any one of these ladies." Grinning at his friend, Jasper leaned over, pinching Edward's cheek. "Too g'damned pretty for your own good, that's what you are."
Edward slapped Jasper's hand away. "You're the one who wanted me to come out here," he reminded mildly.
"So I did," Jasper conceded. "All right, let's conduct a social experiment." He craned his neck, looking around the place with an effortless air of nonchalance. "How about a bet? I bet you can charm the hell out of that leggy blonde over there." Before Edward could protest, he raised his free hand in a placating motion. "Edward, I'm not telling you to try to get into her pants. I'm just talking about getting through a conversation without getting the brush-off most of these other pricks are going to get tonight."
Arching an eyebrow, Edward rolled his head as if he had a neck ache, looking at the blonde Jasper had indicated. Tall and slim, no one could deny that she was drop-dead gorgeous. He'd have had no trouble believing she was a model. Of course, Edward was not without his biases. In his experience extraordinarily beautiful women tended to be spoiled - an attribute he utterly deplored. "Blonds are not at all my type, but you know that."
Jasper snorted. "No one's your type, you persnickety asshole. Again, you're not trying to get her into bed. It's a bet, Einstein. The object is to get her not to ignore you." His eyes roamed over to where the blonde stood and lingered.
Edward watched his friend closely, his eyes narrowing as Jasper's lips pursed in a small, private smile. Edward chanced another look and noticed that the blonde had a shorter, pretty friend with hair as black as the devil's soul. He had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing. "What you mean is that you have your eye on the little one, and you want me to run interference on her Amazonian friend."
The expression on his friend's face said it all. Then Edward focused, noticing a tattoo on the raven-haired woman's exposed arm. Even from his vantage point, across the room, he could see it was a snake tattoo, drawn as if wrapped around her upper, right arm. Funny... in recent months, Jasper had spoken more than once of the girl who delivered sandwiches to his office - a short, beautiful girl with a wicked sense of humor and a snake tattoo that absolutely drove him wild.
Leaning forward with both arms on the table, Edward looked at Jasper straight on. "Tell me you're not stalking this chick."
"Jesus," Jasper spat, glaring at the other man. "You know better than that. I like this club. I came here a couple weeks ago with Peter and Charlotte and again last week." He took a quick sip of his drink, his glare fading away to a guilty grimace. "Is it my fault that she happened to be here both times?"
Running a hand over his eyes, Edward filled in the blanks for himself. Jasper was right, he was no stalker. It was probably the truth that he'd run into the girl when he was out with Peter and Charlotte, but a blissfully married couple did not a good wingman make. Hence why he'd been trying to get Edward here.
And really, if Jasper was so enamored with the girl that he'd gone to even these lengths, the least Edward could do was distract the friend for a few minutes. With a long suffering sigh, he put his hand up, signaling a waitress. "Fine, Whitlock. Have it your way. Consider my A-game officially brought."
Edward tapped a finger against his chin, thinking. He looked up at the waitress and tilted his head in the direction of the bar. "See the two women over there at the bar? The polar opposites?"
The waitress looked and nodded. They stood out.
"To the tall one, a Cosmo courtesy of me. And to the vertically challenged but equally lovely one..." he looked at Jasper, waiting for him to fill in the blanks.
Jasper smirked. "Whiskey extra sour," he said decisively.
Edward handed over payment along with a generous tip and waited. A few minutes later their drinks were delivered. The waitress pointed at them, and Edward had to stop himself from rolling his eyes, instead putting on his most charming smile as he gave the girls a short wave.
The two women conferred, the raven-haired one gesticulating at the much calmer blonde. They were arguing. It was clear the blonde won as she began striding in their direction, the smaller one trailing cautiously after her.
Great. Edward tried to keep the exasperated expression off his face. If Jasper had just struck out with the object of his affections, he certainly didn't want to be in the position of having to play nice to the Amazon. This was one of the hundreds of reasons why he hated this game.
"Hi there," the blonde said, coming over to their table and flashing a sweet smile that could have easily lit the room. Edward tilted his head slightly, distracted by an observation that flitted through his mind. This woman was Aphrodite personified - he would have to be blind not to acknowledge this. She had a body any woman in this club would have wished for, but unlike most of the others, she wasn't flaunting what she had so much as accentuating it. Her ample breasts were not spilling out of her top. In fact, she was showing only a tasteful amount of skin at her arms and her neck. "Which one of you fine gentleman ordered the Cosmo?"
"Uh, that would be this guy," Jasper used his thumb to point at Edward. "No one ever accused me of being a gentleman." His eyes went behind her to where her friend stood and he smiled.
Reminding himself that Jasper was his best friend and he owed him much, Edward slipped back into the character he was playing. "I'm-" he began but was cut off by the splash of sticky pink that drenched his face. "What the fuck!" he sputtered.
"Rosalie," the small one protested, her voice more exasperated than surprised.
Still smiling like a Miss America pageant contestant, Rose set her now empty glass on the table and crossed her arms. "Let me tell you in how many different ways this drink is a colossally bad idea. First off, the whole concept of buying a girl a drink is archaic and demeaning. Really? You think my affections can or should be bought with a $7 well drink? Secondly, nice stereotype asshole. Of course, a pretty pink cosmo because I'm a little girl who can't handle real liquor?" She picked up his scotch on the rocks and shot it back in one gulp without flinching.
When she set his glass down, the smile was gone. She was full on glaring. The woman had a bitch face that made his testicles want to crawl back up into his body. "For the record, I like whiskey. Gentleman Jack if they have it. Beam Black if they don't. And last, if you were going to go the cliche 'buy the girl a drink' route you could have at least gone for the good stuff instead of just something straight off the rail, you tactless prick. So good job, Ace. Not only did you fail to pick me up but you've insulted me. Threefold."
She turned away, about to make an epic exit when she stopped, looking thoughtful as she glanced back at him again. "By the by, a Cosmo was created by the gay community of Provincetown, Massachusetts. Is that a coincidence?"
This time she made it about five steps away before Edward called out to her. "Oh, uh...Princess?"
At his side, Jasper's eyes went wide - impressive, as he'd already been gaping at the tough girl display - and he leaned over to hiss, "Dude. You're gonna get slapped..."
It was a good possibility. As it was, the woman's back went stiff at his words. Slowly, she walked back to him, her eyes glaring and dangerous. "You are just all kinds of stupid, aren't you?"
Affecting an unconcerned air, Edward put his hands behind his head and propped his feet up on the chair in front of him. "Mission accomplished, Briar Rose." From the way her nose twitched at the nickname, Edward could tell it annoyed her. He tried to keep the smug smile off his face. "It got you over here, didn't it?"
The woman just blinked at him. Edward took that as a sign he should continue. "Now, listen closely because I'm only going to say this once." He looked at her in all seriousness. "I'm sorry. I certainly didn't mean to offend you." He signaled the waitress. "I took a chance because, as luck would have it, the Cosmo is my drink of choice." He looked over at Jasper. "My dirty little secret," he acknowledged, and his best friend grinned. "But I wasn't the only one who ordered a drink." He looked at the raven-haired woman and smiled. "What's the word, my fair lady? Was my comrade's choice in beverage insulting?"
With a wicked grin, the shorter woman raised her glass to her lips. Her tongue darted out and she licked the sugar off the rim, her eyes on Jasper the whole time. Then she took a long drink. "Just my flavor."
Leaning forward, Jasper raised his glass to her and took a drink of his own.
The waitress appeared then, looking wary. Edward looked first at Rose. "For clarification, this is to apologize for any offense I committed, not any attempt to woo you or anything like that," he said with a wink before looking up at the waitress. "I," he emphasized, "will have a Cosmo if you please. Two more whiskey sours for my friends over here and for this lady," he nodded at Rose, "Gentleman Jack. Straight up."
As the waitress left to retrieve their drinks, Edward looked back to the leggy blonde. He pushed the spare chair in front of him back with his foot. "What do you say, Princess? Hows about we start over?"
Rosalie was irritated.
She was pissed off that her best friend, Alice, was obviously enjoying her time with the scruffy blond man. Jasper. What kind of a name was that? Who named their child after a stone, after all? But Jasper, beyond having a quick tongue and a fucking gorgeous smile, was - despite his earlier claim - quite a gentleman. Save for offering her a napkin, he hadn't tried to get handsy at all with Alice, leaving Rosalie no window to drag her friend out of the club for her own protection.
She was annoyed because if she was stuck with Jasper Whitlock, then she was also stuck with Edward Cullen. The man was attractive, she wasn't going to even try to deny that. She had the strangest urge to touch his hair, despite the fact it was entirely possible that it stood on end like that because it was dirty. He was charming if you could overlook the cocky way his lips quirked when she snickered at something clever he'd said.
But mainly Rosalie was irritated at herself - because no matter how many times she did that precocious little hair toss, or stretched, affording him a fantastic view of her body, Edward never looked anywhere but her eyes, and he seemed...apathetic to her comely charms. As much as it annoyed her when anyone - male or female - mooned over her, she was quickly discovering that the opposite was doubly true.
"So," Edward began, looking over at her after Alice and Jasper excused themselves for a dance, "what do you do?"
"I kick ass and take names," Rosalie said bluntly, skewering an olive out of Alice's abandoned drink – she'd moved on to martini's at that point.
"I'm sure you do," Edward said, his voice annoyingly patronizing. "In what arena, I mean."
Rosalie resisted the urge to growl at him. "I know what you meant. That's literally my job - kicking ass and taking names. I teach kickboxing."
Edward's eyebrows shot up, and Rosalie couldn't keep the pleased expression off her face. She thoroughly enjoyed the fact that she could have men two and three times her size on the ground sobbing. He nodded approvingly. "I like a lady who can take care of herself," Edward said. He grinned. "It makes my job easier."
"Jesus, you're an asshole," Rosalie sneered, abruptly furious with the man in front of her. "You're one of those pricks who thinks women are his responsibility." In her heart of hearts, Rosalie knew she was overreacting. Edward, just making harmless small talk, had hit upon a sore spot on her psyche.
"Easy, Princess. It's just a refreshing surprise, that's all. Pardon my stereotype but you have to admit that a lot of girls who look like you wouldn't know how to defend themselves if their lives depended on it.
"God. I am so out of here," Rosalie spat, standing and scanning the room to figure out where Alice went.
When a restraining hand wrapped around her wrist she recoiled, yanking her hand back, "Get the fuck off of me," she snarled, pushing him backward.
They glared at each other for a moment, and Edward sighed, his hands up as he sat back. "Princess, will you chill out a second and listen to me? Look, I'm not going to turn up the charm," he said with a huff. "I find all that shit a little more than ridiculous anyway, so let me be straightforward with you."
Wrapping her arms around herself, Rosalie nodded. "Please."
"I'm not interested in you," Edward said bluntly.
Rosalie had to try to keep her grimace off her face. There was no reason that fact should sting so much.
Holding up a hand, Edward began to tick off on his fingers. "You're loud. You're bossy. You're blond. All of these things add up to not my type. I don't want to get in your pants – it seems like more trouble than it's worth considering they are painted on your ass." He had noticed. Rosalie felt smug until he smirked at her. "Not enough room for me to maneuver if you get what I'm saying."
She made a face at him, moderately disgusted... especially at the fact she wanted to smile. "Obviously any charm you had you got on sale."
"The point, Princess, of all this," he gestured between the two of them, "is not what I want. It's what he wants," he nodded at his friend and Alice out on the dance floor. Then his voice got a little lower, unerringly earnest. "I know you don't know him, but he's a little gaga over your friend. I know," he said with a laugh, "he likes to talk like he has this rough exterior but the truth of the matter is that if he and she hit it off, he will be, hands down, the sweetest guy you've ever met. So you stay here, say whatever you want to me, and let them see if they spark. I will continue to drink pink," he raised his Cosmo with a sardonic grin, "if it's any consolation."
At that Rosalie couldn't stop the upward quirk of her lips. She sat again. "One condition."
Edward raised an eyebrow. "Only one?"
In one smooth motion, she raised a foot, resting it on his chair between his legs so the long heel was pointed right at his good parts. "You call me Princess again and those girly drinks are going to be a lot more appropriate given that you will be without your testicles."
To her utter irritation he had the nerve to laugh, not looking nearly as nervous as she would have liked. "Fair enough, Rosalie."
Sighing in defeat - this man was obviously unflappable - Rosalie dropped her foot, leaning resignedly back in her chair. Her anger cooled, and she thought over their conversation. "You care about him a lot, don't you?" she observed.
"Jasper?" Edward clarified. Rosalie nodded. "Yes, he's important to me."
Edward went on to tell her how they'd met in college. He'd been working toward a Master of Science in Sports Science, and Jasper was on the UDub football team.
Rosalie snorted. "So your friendship was built over foot massages?"
"Ankle mostly," Edward returned, grinning. "And don't knock it." He leaned across the table, waggling his eyebrows in a way that was entirely too sexy for Rosalie's own good. "I give the best massages you'll ever experience, I guarantee you that."
A thrill shot through Rosalie's body. She was hyper-aware of the way her tits suddenly began to strain against the material of her bra. Traitor body.
Somehow they managed not to kill each other before Alice and Jasper came back to the table. Shortly thereafter, the boys walked the girls to a waiting cab.
Edward opened Rosalie's door for her, bowing grandly - and a little drunkenly - as he did so. "M'lady," he said, somewhat sarcastically, and she couldn't help the smile that pulled at the edges of her mouth.
As she stepped to the side of the car, Rosalie felt a rush of heat between her and the green-eyed man. She swayed on her feet, imagining what her body would feel like pressed against the hard lines of his. She shook her head slightly, trying to rid herself of the vision.
Acting on impulse, Rosalie leaned over the door, her lips at his neck. She felt smugly satisfied when he gasped and felt emboldened enough that her tongue darted out. She licked a line up below his chin and hummed in pleasure, tasting remnants of the sweet-sour of the alcohol she'd splashed on him earlier that evening . "Mmmm." Backing up, she looked him straight in the eye, trying not to smirk at his shocked expression. "You know," she said, smacking her lips, "Cosmo doesn't taste half bad after all." She flashed him her sweetest smile before ducking into the car, glad to be out of the light because she felt her cheeks begin to flame.
Outside the car, Edward barked out a short laugh. He peered inside, offering her a devastatingly handsome grin. "Goodnight, Briar Rose," he said before he shut the door.
The instant the cab pulled away from the club, Alice let out a happy squeal. She sighed in contentment, her head lolling slightly on the seat. "Oh, my god, Rose. I think I'm in love."
Rosalie had to smile. Maybe Alice was being a little ridiculous, but it was nice to see her so happy.
Abruptly, Alice's eyes went wide and she looked over at Rosalie, a flash of intuition crossing her face. "Wait... did something happen between you and Edward?"
Rosalie turned, staring out the window to hide her grimace. She'd hoped that Alice hadn't caught her spontaneous tongue bath. She scoffed, affecting a derisive tone. "Edward is an asshole."
She was relieved when Alice didn't press the issue.
A/N: Thank you so much to TwilightMundi for beta work. This is going to be a short story. Perhaps 5 chapters. I'm not putting it on a posting schedule because I'm writing when it strikes me.
Thanks so much for reading!