Disclaimer: All characters mentioned are property of Stephenie Meyer. No profit was made from this story.
The night was going so well. I had met a guy and even though he was slightly on the weird side, he wasn't creepy. Perhaps, it was a little on the creepy side when he commented on me being a virgin, but hey, it could have been worse. Besides, he was just talking about my first time in a club.
Not my actual first time.
Not that I've actually had a first time, regardless.
But Edward was so nice. I giggled internally. Edward. Such an old-fashioned name but on him, it was perfect. How else could we explain that for a man of our generation, he knew Beethoven, Debussy and Vivaldi? Vivaldi! He didn't make any stupid jokes in reference to a certain part of female anatomy! Deep inside him, there was an old soul.
Strangely enough, being around him brought out a whole new side of me, a side I didn't even know I had. I was confident, assertive, and even reassuring. I gave him advice on dealing with his parents. Unbelievable! If this was me on any other day without him, I was sure I would just stare at the ground and tell him that 'no matter what you do, you'll turn out okay'.
That was my father's perpetual advice for me. Anything I asked him, be it for my school, my social life, feminine hygiene products, his advice was always that.
No wonder I turned out the way I did.
But Edward certainly had a way with me. Being around him made me feel that somehow, I really was going to turn out okay. I wouldn't have to rely on Alice to make friends for me and I was capable of having my own social life. So it was only natural that I wanted to leave an impression on him. I wanted him to ask for my number. I wanted to see him again and everything was going so well, until he came around.
No one really knew his full name but everyone knew him as James. Rumor had it that he was a third-year student who, in wanting to leave behind a legacy, had a school-known bet of bedding the most virgins. Seriously! When I had first heard of this James character, I wondered to myself, asking if any woman was going to actually allow such degradation. They had to know of the bet; everyone did. I brought this up with Alice and she told me that certain women were able to overlook the bet and sleep with him if he were, you know, good-looking, which he was, unfortunately.
He was certainly not my type but I supposed most women would call him a "stud".
"Bella, babe! How you doin'?" I heard him call out and immediately, I turned to face him. The alcohol in his breath was detectable, even from a distance. Good Lord, he was so drunk. He must be halfway out of his mind by now.
"Go away!" I told him, more confident that I felt. James would do this around twice a week; hang out the girls' dorms for the chance of hooking up. He had approached me several times before but I wasn't stupid. I wasn't going to lose my virginity to a lowlife like him.
"Aw, come on, babe!" He started coming towards us and I saw that Edward had casually moved himself so that he now stood in front of me. Touched by his chivalry and bolstered by a courage I didn't know I had, I reached for his hand, intending to lead him into the dormitories, if only to get rid of James.
"Don't call me babe!"
"Don't act like you don't want me. All of you are whores, especially you virgins!" He slurred drunkenly. I felt a deep crimson coloring my cheeks but I ignored him. He was just a drunk. What did he actually know about women?
"Show some respect to the lady!" Edward shouted at James instead. The expression on his face indicated one of utmost shock. It was as if he had never heard such vile talk in his entire life before. This certainly was new.
"And whatcha you going to do 'bout it?" James sauntered towards us. Well, stumbled was more like it, but even drunk, he still looked as intimidating as ever.
"My mother raised me to be a proper gentleman. You will apologize to her" He gestured towards me.
James raised his fists, taking the boxing stance. "I'm going to kick your ass, you punk!"
"Stand back, Bella." He gently pushed me back and I could see doubt in his eyes. He didn't look too confident of winning a fight against James, even with the latter drunk.
"You don't have to do this, Edward," I assured him and truly, he didn't really have to challenge James to a fight in my honor. Just the way he stood up for me spoke volumes of his character.
"It's the principle of the matter, Bella."He nodded and turned towards James. His hands were also balled into fists and he had them raised in front of him. He threw the first punch but he missed, and that was when James swung a fist and hit Edward squarely on his eye.
"Stop it, James, stop it!" I yelled. I wanted to step in to pull them apart but within seconds, their fight had escalated to include more than just punches. There were scratching and hair pulling, mostly from Edward. Well, he may have been raised a gentleman but I didn't think he was raised a fighter as well.
Edward had managed to leave several scratch marks on James but it only served to make him even angrier. With a sweep of his feet under Edward's, he had Edward sprawled on his back on the ground and he started raining blows on his face.
"Stop it!" I yelled once more, rushing to smash my hand into James' face in the effort of distracting him. But he was stronger and he simply shoved me towards the sidewalk. I landed on my arms, and while they were protected by Edward's jacket, it still hurt. James went back to hitting Edward and I could see that he wasn't going to last much longer without any intervention. His entire face was bloodied and he had his hands in front of his face, trying to stop the blows but it was to no avail.
"Please, just please, somebody help us!" I cried out. Thankfully, a group of college guys walked past the dormitories and heard my cries. I recognized Mike in the group. "Mike, you gotta stop them!"
Immediately, Mike and his group of friends ran towards James and Edward and started pulling them apart. James tried to kick and punched his way out of the stranglehold Mike had on him but it was fruitless. I supposed Mike's grip was too strong for him to break.
"Edward!" I ran towards him, helping him as he struggled to sit up. "Are you all right?"
"He's a steady fighter for someone who's supposedly drunk!" He spat some blood out and I immediately reached for the handkerchief I had in my pocket. I knew it wasn't going to help much but I started to wipe off some of the blood on his face. The smell was starting to get to me and the nausea was setting in but I held my ground. I needed to help Edward in his time of need.
"I'm so sorry," I apologized profusely. "You didn't have to do that."
He shrugged though it looked like the action pained him. I saw that one of Mike's friends had called the campus security and they were dragging James away. Well, I hoped they give him hell for what he did. Jail time would be best too.
"Bella, you need any help?" Mike asked as he jogged towards me.
"Yea, could you um…" The nausea was really beginning to bother me. "Could you um, help me bring Edward to the nurse's office?"
"Sure, sure." He helped me to my feet and later, helped Edward to his with help from another buddy. Well, the night was certainly turning out fine. I was about to puke my guts out and Edward looked like he had just been through a wood chipper. Just fine indeed.
"Now, dear, just put this under your nose and go sit over there," the nurse told me as she handed me a small towel. I resented her tone; it sounded utterly patronizing. But seeing as how she was going to be treating Edward, I kept my mouth shut. It would be horrible if she were to neglect him as payback for me mouthing off at her.
But come on, I may be sensitive to blood, but I wasn't some moron.
I went quietly to a corner of the office as I watched Nurse Cope fussed over Edward. I felt terrible for putting Edward in this position. The only reason he was laying here, bloodied and bruised, was because of me. If he hadn't defended me against James, if he hadn't send me back to my dorm, if he hadn't even dance with me at the club…
"Ahhh!" I was pulled out of my deprecating doldrums by Edward's cry of pain. Nurse Cope was trying to clean the blood off his face but apparently, she was using too much force. "Good Lord, woman!"
"You will not use the Lord's name in vain, young man!" Nurse Cope reprimanded him as I saw her try to clean the blood off again, presumable with less force this time.
Edward huffed as he laid on the make-shift bed, holding a cold compress on his head. Even after going through what was probably the trashing of his life, he still looked good. His hair looked even more tousled and the crumpled look of his shirt gave him the whole "after-sex" look. Minus, you know, all the blood.
"I'm really sorry again, Edward," I apologized for what seemed to be the umpteenth time. I still held the small towel against my nose, fearing that the smell of the blood would send me hurling and Nurse Cope would have another patient to tend to.
"Pfft," was all I heard coming from him and I supposed he was just tired of listening to me apologize again. "Really, Bella, it's all right. I've accepted all 20 of your apologies."
"But you got hurt because of me," I implored for him to see my reasoning.
"And if it had been any other woman, I would have done the same as well…"
Ah, and the truth was out. He didn't defend me sorely because of me; he did it because he was raised to. How ridiculous it was of me to think that he must have endured such a beating because he actually liked me.
"Though, if it had been any other woman, I think I would have dodged those blows, don't you think?" I heard him say and when I stood to see his face, now cleaned, I saw a sheepish smile on his lips. It must have heard though, since I could see several cuts on his lips.
Wait, did I just hear him say what I thought he said?
"Ha, if it were any other woman," I replied more calmly than I felt. "You wouldn't have to defend her. She'd kick James' ass."
"Nah, I prefer someone who fights worse than me," I wasn't offended though since he was smiling to show that he was joking. "That way, I won't look so bad."
Nurse Cope did a strange tsk-tsking sound with her tongue. It looked like she wasn't approving of how little Edward valued his looks. Well, if I were her, I'd value his looks too.
"All the same, I thank you, kind sir," I adopted a posh accent in the hopes of dispersing the tension that had appeared out of nowhere. It really did put a damper on things when you had an audience in the room. "Your chivalry is greatly appreciated."
"Well, his chivalry is about to be sorely tested again," Nurse Cope interrupted. She helped Edward to a sitting position and then began to lecture him on his "schedule" for the next few days. "I can't prescribe you anything stronger, but here's some aspirin. Take it for the night and in the morning, go get some proper meds from your doctor. You may also have a concussion so make sure somebody wakes you up every two hours tonight. And one more thing, it would be wise if you stayed out of fights for the next few weeks. Give your wounds some time to heal."
"Well, Bella better stay out of trouble for the next few weeks then," he winked at me and in spite of myself, I smiled.
Nurse Cope snorted softly. Well, I could understand why. I was always coming into her office for a fall, a sprain, a bruised shin, etc. The woman might as well be my personal physician.
"Come on." I went towards Edward and helped him up. Having hurt his back in the fight, he had to lean most of his weight on me as he hobbled towards the door. I handed Nurse Cope her small towel back and thanked her for her help. She waved us out and soon; it was just Edward and I in that tiny hallway.
"I should walk you back to your car," I said as we walked slowly down the hallway.
"I should walk you back to your dorm," Edward countered.
"Really, Edward!" I was surprised he would even think of that at such a moment. "You need to get back home and you need help getting into your car so we're going to your car."
He must have seen reason because he allowed me to steer us to the parking lot. It wasn't far but I made sure we walked slow enough so as not to exert Edward. It was a weird feeling, walking Edward back to his car. Of course, it wasn't cool at all that he was injured but having his arm around my shoulder felt so perfect. Okay, so maybe it wasn't like those trashy romance novels because I was pretty sure none of the heroes would lose a fight in them but this still felt pretty good.
We reached his car and I unlocked the door before helping him into the seat. I was about to back out of the car when I saw that he was having trouble buckling his seat belt so I leaned back in to help. I heard a hinge in his breathing and his entire body seemed to stiffen. I was feeling it too; being so close to him. I could smell the sweetness of his cologne mixed in with the strong scent of antiseptic solution and it was a nice smell. I liked it.
"Well, there you go." I finished with his seat belt and leaned out of the car. "Are you sure you can drive?"
"If I can't, I'll pull over and I'll call my dad to pick me up," he assured me.
"Oh, that's good then." I felt relieved. "Still, could you call me when you get back? I'd feel better if I knew you got home safe."
"Is that a subtle way of giving me your number?" His voice was soft now, almost as if he was unsure. For some reason, I was delighted. Not for obvious reasons but his different behaviors were telling me a story: that Edward was a layered person. He appeared shy at first and he was shy now, but deep down, he was an honorable, kind, loyal person; a gentleman. It made me breathless just thinking of how wonderful it would be if I had the privilege someday to find out what other layers he had.
"Only if you want it…"
"Yes!" I was surprised at the speed with which he answered me. But suddenly, his bravado seemed to dissipate. "I mean, sure," he added quietly.
I smiled. Inspired by his courage, I reached in for his palm and I asked for a pen. I wrote down my number on his palm and hoped that he'd keep it, or at least, keep it until he could key it into his cell phone.
"Thank you for everything," he whispered into my ear just as I was about to let go of his wrist.
I nodded, not sure of what to say. We stared at each other in silence before I remembered that he had to get home quickly. "Drive safe," I said as I closed the car door.
He merely winked and once he started the engine, he pulled out of the parking lot and drove into the night. Smiling to myself, I couldn't find it within me to be mad at Alice. Sure, there was no guarantee that Edward was going to call me back but I got to meet him anyway. For some reason, I now believed that out there somewhere, there was a good guy just waiting for me. Not one of those jerks like James, or guys who prowled nightclubs for girls so that they can get laid; no, out there was a guy like Edward who was nice, kind and caring towards women.
Edward, Edward, Edward…
Man, I was turning into one of those heroines in the trashy romance novels. Ladies whose every thought was on their leading man. No! I couldn't. No, I would wait patiently for Edward to call back and if he didn't, I'd talk to Alice to talk to her friend, Jasper who will in turn, talk to Edward for me. Whoever said a woman couldn't take control of the situation?
Jasper! Alice! I haven't heard from her since the club. Alice!
Well, guess somebody else got lucky tonight too.
If interested, below is the list of music I listened to while writing this piece.
Good Girls Go Bad by Cobra Starship
Marching Bands of Manhattan by Death Cab for Cutie
Be Somebody by Kings of Leon
Digital Love by Daft Punk
Clair De Lune by Debussy
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