I wrote this for the TwiGirlsNextDoor School's Out For Summer contest and am shocked I won one of the two judges' choice awards as well as second in the public vote. I guess people like Elvis and the 70's. MaggieMay14 beta'd this beast right after starting a new job, which means she loves me… she really loves me.
Check out all the entries in the contest by visiting twigirlsnextdoor (dot) com
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. This is just a little bunny that hopped into my mind when I saw the contest.
The burning August air was thick with humidity and rain, the drops pouring so hard against the windshield that we could barely see twenty feet in front of us, but we continued on. My faded baseball jersey clung to my overheated body and I kept brushing the loose hairs from my ponytail back from my sweaty forehead with my shaky hand. I found myself desperately wishing there was air conditioning in the well-used camper truck we were currently traveling in.
Most of the vehicles back in Arizona, where I had lived with my mother until I was twelve, had air conditioning, but it was out of necessity. The stifling dry heat of the Arizona desert made it difficult at best to drive in without air. However, it wasn't needed as much in Washington State, which was why Bruce, or Mr. Whitlock, didn't get it when he bought the camper truck six years earlier. If he was still alive, god rest his soul, I knew he would approve of how Jasper and I were currently using his precious truck. Hell, Bruce probably would have come with us.
I sighed quietly as the thoughts of Bruce hit me. It seemed like death was all around us these days.
Jasper turned the volume on the radio up as the cab of the truck remained silent, except for the sounds of the heavily falling rain and the static filled transmission. We were currently tuned into a country radio station from somewhere near Bozeman, Montana, which was the last town we passed through.
"Elvis Presley's death deprives our country of a part of itself. He was unique and irreplaceable. More than 20 years ago, he burst upon the scene with an impact that was unprecedented and will probably never be equaled. His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture. His following was immense, and he was a symbol to people the world over of the vitality, rebelliousness, and good humor of his country. "
I couldn't stop the tears that poured down my face as Jasper reached across the beat up leather seat and entwined his fingers in mine, squeezing tightly in a display of support, as random food wrappers fell onto the floor with disregard.
"That was President Jimmy Carter expressing his condolences on the passing of a true American icon. Elvis, you and your memorable music, will be forever missed," the radio announcer stated solemnly as the soft strains of 'Are You Lonesome Tonight?' filled the humid truck and Jasper reached up to brush more stray tears from my reddened cheeks.
Jasper Whitlock had been my first friend when I stepped foot in dreary and rain soaked town of Forks, Washington. He lived across the street from my father, and when he saw me get out of my dad's Chevy Impala clutching my worn out baseball glove, he immediately ran across the road and began talking to me about Roberto Clemente and how he watched Hank Aaron hit his 600th home run on TV. It was unexpected, but then almost everything Jasper did was.
From then on we were inseparable, with Jazz being like the older brother I always wanted, even though he was only four months older than me.
When I was teased about being a tomboy, Jasper defended me to his friends and we showed them how I could throw a fastball better than anyone else on the baseball team. When no one asked me to our freshman dance, Jasper took me and then introduced me to my first boyfriend, Jacob Black. When Jacob pressured me to round the bases with him and I refused, it was Jasper who punched him like Rocky and set him straight that I wasn't the kind of girl Jacob thought I was.
And when Jasper's dad, Bruce, died earlier in the year from an unexpected heart attack, it was through me that Jasper ended up seeking solace. We consoled each other, got drunk on his dad's left over whiskey and ended up having sex. It was pleasant… a means to an end. Jasper needed to be comforted and I had to admit that it was nice to lose my virginity to someone I trusted. It would have been nice to have feelings of love involved in it, but as I thought about it now, with him clutching my hand and helping me cope with such a difficult time, I was content about it. He was my rock and I was his.
"I was thinking we should stop in Billings. What do you think, Bells?"
"What?" I replied as Jasper squeezed my hand again, pulling me from my thoughts, and I looked across the truck at him. "You want to stop?"
"Yeah, in Billings. We need to get some gas and I think both of us could use a good night's sleep, plus you are starting to smell funky. It's not like either of us slept last night, right?" I thought back to the last twenty-four hours, and he was right, I hadn't slept a wink since we heard the news.
Jasper and I had been together in his mother's basement, listening to the radio and taking hits from his bong, when they interrupted Bohemian Rhapsody to tell us about unexpected Elvis' death. We looked at each other, both of us high as kites, and decided the most logical thing to do was road trip to Memphis for the funeral of one of our idols.
Bruce had introduced Jasper and I to the music of Elvis shortly after I moved to Forks, and along with my father, Charlie, they helped us appreciate his music to the point where we idolized him. Even though the music of the Doobie Brothers, Bread and Elton John usually filled the airwaves, Jasper and I loved Elvis.
That night we figured out that between the two of us we had a few hundred dollars in savings and his dad's old Dodge Camper Truck, so we gathered up everything we could and packed it in the truck, told Charlie we were going away for a few days, not that he would notice much with the hours he kept at work, and we hit the open road.
"Yeah, I guess I should call my old man from a pay phone and let him know we're still kicking," I added as Jasper pointed to a sign on the side of the road signaling that we were fifteen miles from Billings.
"Stellar," he said simply as he his fingers began tapping out an unknown melody on the steering wheel. "I need something to eat and to smoke some of that primo weed that Mike scored for us before we left."
I nodded my head slowly and let the music relax me, eager for the truck to stop so I could get out and stretch my legs. My jean shorts were feeling extremely uncomfortable in the stifling heat and I couldn't wait until we reached a campground and had settled in for a few hours. I just wanted to chill.
We stopped at a small diner just outside of Billings and the pounding rain had finally subsided. Inside, we had some sandwiches and Cokes as Jasper flirted shamelessly with our sixty-year-old waitress, Rhonda. It was thanks to her that we learned there was a KOA campground a few miles away that we could park at for the night. Sure, we had discussed just pulling over and parking wherever we could, but Jasper wanted to stay somewhere safe, so the local KOA it was.
However, as we made our way out of the diner, we saw a couple at the side of the road. The dude was sitting on their bags looking burnt out and the girl, a tiny little thing who looked a bit punk with her short black hair and leather jacket. She looked uncomfortable and hot while sticking her thumb out, trying to catch a ride to wherever they were heading.
"Check it out," Jasper said with a nudge of his elbow as I shrugged my shoulders apathetically. "They look about our age, Bells."
"So, don't be such a square." Jasper stared intently at the girl, his eyes only leaving her ass to check out her tits and when I punched him in the gut, he doubled over and coughed.
"Get bent, asshole."
"Fuck Bells, that was bogus!"
When Jasper righted himself, he gave me a wink and a grimace before he walked over to talk to the couple, leaving me pissed off as I jumped back into the boiling hot cab of the truck to be pissed at him.
Five excruciatingly slow minutes later, he walked up to the truck with the two people and was smiling from ear to ear. "Edward, toss your stuff in the back and jump up front."
The short haired girl climbed in the drivers' side and squeezed beside me as Jasper climbed in to drive, followed by this other guy, apparently named Edward, at the passenger side.
"This is not fucking cool, dude."
"Bummer for ya," Jasper said, his sly grin staying in place as he turned on the truck and looked across the bench seat at the four of us squeezed in tight. I felt like we were sardines packed in a boiling hot sauna. The only relief was that the humidity wasn't nearly as bad as it had been earlier in the day since the rain had stopped and the day was slowly fading to night.
"Here's the skinny - Bella, this is Edward and Alice. They are a brother and sister from Great Falls who are hitch-hiking to Graceland. Far out huh?"
"Crazy," I replied sarcastically as I rolled my eyes and the girl beside me could sense my frustration. "Can we go?"
"We don't want to be any trouble for you and your girl," the boy, Edward, said sweetly and I glanced up to get a better look at him. Sure, he was buff, but he had this freaky hair that was kinda red, but not really, and it was a little on the long side and all over the place. His eyes were deep green, like I imagined the lawn at Graceland looked like, and he smiled big at me, making me blush. Not cool.
"Bella, is it?" asked Alice as I nodded silently. "We don't mean to cause any problems for you and your boyfriend. He was just wicked enough to offer us a ride, and we couldn't refuse."
"Oh... he's not my boyfriend," I said quickly, not showing any sort of hesitance. Jasper and I would never be more than what we were now. "He's my best friend," I clarified as I noticed Alice's eyes widen and she turned to smile seductively at Jasper for a moment.
"Groovy," she stated as she adjusted her black tube top, the leather jacket apparently tossed into the back of the truck, and I could hear Edward groan loudly beside me. "We just want a ride, but if things are gonna get heavy, Edward and I could catch a lift with someone else."
"It's just with four of us shoved in this hot, sticky truck it is gonna be rough."
"We'll figure it out, Bells," Jasper said happily as he pulled out his favorite 'Keep on Truckin Hat' from behind his seat and slid it over his greasy mane of blonde hair. I swore I heard Alice gasp and the entire scene made me want to hurl. "Let's get on to the campground and figure it out, dig it?" I groaned and Jasper gave me his usual convincing smile and off we went into the night.
"What's hanging?" Edward asked as he sat beside me at the picnic table at our campsite, and leaned back on his elbows. It was extremely dark, the oversized trees hiding the moon that would give us light. I looked down at the bright orange fire that Jasper was stoking with a stick he had found out in the woods while walking with Alice earlier and took a deep breath.
Ever since we had arrived and parked the truck, Alice and Jazz had been joined at the hip. They were like fucking Shirley and the Big Ragu, so I wanted to avoid them as much as I could. Of course this meant I could either hide out in the camper like a pansy or spend time with Edward. After an hour of hiding, I gave up and grabbed a blanket to wrap around me as went to sit outside.
"Nothing. You?" I replied as Edward continued to look as cool as a cucumber. Hell, he was practically The Fonz he was so damn cool. I couldn't help but notice that he hadn't said much since we had picked them up outside the diner, but considering his sister never shut up, I could see why he was quiet. I watched with envy as he took a puff of the joint he had between his fingers and Jasper sat down in a lawn chair across from us.
"Hey man, don't bogart that smoke. Pass it around!" Jasper called out as Edward handed the smoke to me first, winking as my fingers grasped the joint and touched his lightly in the process.
"You cool?" he asked with his eyebrow quirked and a sexy grin on his face.
I couldn't help but think of my dad as I looked at Edward, his smile wide and his eyes narrowed from the effects of the drugs. If Charlie knew the amount of weed I had smoked in my short lifetime, he would freak out. Being the Chief of Police, he hoped I would put up a good front for the fine people of Forks, but I couldn't help myself. Everyone needed a release from the real world and pot was my only real vice.
"Yeah she's cool, now pass the J," Jasper added impatiently as I took a hit and handed it to Jasper. I held the smoke in as long as I could and I saw Edward smile at me from the corner of my eye.
"Nothing," he replied as he held up his hands in defense. I noticed that his fingers were a bit calloused and had random colored stains on them, but before I got a chance to ask him why, something I was genuinely curious about, I was interrupted by Alice.
"Whose guitar is in the camper?"
"Jasper's. He's really good," I chimed in.
"Jazzie, why don't you play us something on your guitar," Alice asked as she sat down beside him in the spare lawn chair we had brought for me, and she practically pawed at him. Jasper got up and made his way into the camper to get his guitar and when he was back, he and Alice began talking back and forth about what songs he should play.
"Dude, we are tripping to Graceland, you should play Elvis," Edward said as he broke out into laughter and Jasper nodded his head slowly.
"Awesome," Jasper said with quiet enthusiasm as he stared at Alice and began to play a mellow version of Jailhouse Rock – one of my favorite songs.
The entire scene was a bit sad, with all of us singing along softly to Jasper playing his acoustic guitar, but it was also surreal. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be taking a road trip to Graceland for Elvis' funeral, and picking up a brother and sister hitch hiking duo to join our adventure. However, I felt I needed to do it. I had to pay my respects to the King of Rock and Roll for myself, my dad and most of all Bruce.
"That was all right, man," Edward said slowly, practically punctuating every word. When I looked over at him, like truly paid attention, I had to admit he was a total hunk. He even smelled good considering he was hitch-hiking and probably hadn't showered in a few days. "So, where are you guys from?"
"Forks, Washington," Jasper piped up, not giving me a chance to respond - and I really wanted to. I wanted to know more about Edward and have him know more about me, no matter how irrational it seemed. "It's this bitchin' little town near the western coast. We just graduated high school in June."
"Oh really? Cool beans. Edward just graduated too. I don't graduate until next year though," Alice said happily as she hung on every word Jasper uttered. He then went on to tell them all about our dad's and how much time we spent together.
"Our dad's even took us to opening day for the Mariners'," I explained softly, as Jasper smiled huge, most likely remembering how awesome the entire day was. "It was fucking killer. One of those once in a lifetime moments that you will remember forever, ya dig?"
"Didn't they lose 7-0 to the Angels?"
"You watched?" I said, my voice cracking as I looked at Edward, interested in what he had to say. I don't know what it was about this intriguing boy that piqued my curiosity, but I found myself interested in what he had to say a little more than I should have been.
"Yeah, I watched. I'm a huge fan. I was excited that Seattle finally got a franchise. Like… how did Montreal get one before Seattle? That was just bogue! What do Canadians know about baseball? It's the American pastime."
"Bella can throw an awesome fastball," Jasper exclaimed as I felt myself blush bright red. I hadn't played baseball since sophomore year of high school, but I had broken a few records back in the day, not that it was much of a challenge to me.
"Righteous. That's really sweet, Bella." I blushed again, harder this time, and the sound of Edward saying my name just sounded so… hip.
We spent the next hour shooting the shit about baseball while Alice seemed a bit like a fourth wheel, but she added a thought in here or there. She didn't seem too excited about the fact that I was a girl who knew more about baseball than I did about Jaclyn Smith or Cover Girl makeup, but that was just a fact of life growing up with Charlie, Bruce & Jasper.
As the fire died down, only faint embers left burning and giving off very little heat, we all gathered up our stuff to head into the camper. There was a bed, although the mattress was flat as hell, above the top of the cab that fit two people, so Jasper and I claimed that. Edward decided to sleep in the cab and Alice sprawled out on the dinette that folded down into a single bed.
It worked for us. Well, it did on the first night.
The next morning, with the sun hidden behind some early morning clouds, we all showered quickly in the KOA bathrooms and ate some dry cereal that Jasper & I had brought. I watched with a bit too much attention as Edward slid out of the truck cab and stretched, adjusting himself and scratching at his crotch. I would have been just as uncomfortable if I had slept in my jeans, but luckily I had the good sense to pack shorts to sleep in.
We were all eager to get on the road to Memphis, so we decided that since it was still supposed to be ridiculously hot we would split up the job of driving instead of all four of us being crammed in the cab of the truck. Sure, we weren't supposed to be traveling in the back of the camper, but it was worth the risk. There was no way in hell I was getting shoved between Alice and Edward's sweaty bodies for the next ten hours. I would probably have died of heat stroke or something.
Edward hadn't slept well in the cab, so he asked to take the second shift driving and Alice jumped at the chance to have some alone time with Jasper, so I was in the back with Edward. I grabbed my notebook and wrote down my thoughts about our journey while Edward snored loudly from the top bunk. The ride wasn't easy; there were bumps and stops along the way, but somehow we managed to make it five hours before our first stop in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Edward groggily woke up and I laughed as I heard his stomach grumble. Then the doors flew open and there stood Alice and Jasper, him with his arm slung over her shoulder.
"What's happening, kids?" Jasper asked as I jumped from the back of the camper and Edward followed, stretching as he pulled a rough looking Doors t-shirt over his head.
"Where are we?" he asked as he rubbed at his eyes and squinted at the bright sunlight that was streaming down on us.
"Welcome to Rapid City, South Dakota. Home of… well I don't know what it's home of, but it's three hundred miles closer to Memphis than we were this morning," Jasper said with his hands outstretched. "Let's get some food and trade off on the driving. Alice and I want to spend some time alone together because she is one stone cold fox." Alice giggled at his random comment and I just rolled my eyes, knowing that this was just the way Jasper was when he liked someone, and Edward let out a groan of disapproval.
Our lunch was quiet, eating greasy hamburgers at a small dive just off the highway, so I was relieved to get back on the road. Edward took the wheel and I did the navigating, though he didn't say much to me for the first hour we drove along the I-90.
"We have like several days left on this trip, so you shouldn't be so..." I fell silent, unsure of the right words to say to Edward and not wanting to piss him off. Though we were far from being friends, we weren't enemies either. However, it was like he woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.
"Are you going to finish that sentence, Bella?"
"I just think you should be less of a bummer. You're depressing me." Edward laughed and pulled the truck to the left to pass an elderly woman driving a beat up Ford Fairlane.
"Last I checked Bella, this wasn't a happy trip. We're traveling to Graceland to say farewell to Elvis... my idol. The entire trip is a bummer, so get used to it."
"I just thought you should be less of an asshole, maybe then I might like you more, catch my drift?"
"Does that mean you like me a little bit?"
"Not at all. If Alice and Jasper weren't in the back of the camper feeling each other up, I'd probably be there with them, just so I could get away from you," I remarked as I realized just how hot I was and pulled off my Mariners baseball jersey, leaving me in a tank top. I heard a low growl from Edward, but he didn't speak again, so I ignored him and looked out the window, remembering baseball stats and happier times as we drove on.
We stopped for the night just north of Omaha, after grabbing a quick bite to eat in Sioux City and deciding to keep going. It was already the 18th and we were behind our schedule, mainly because Jasper and I had intended to drive more, rather than stop frequently like Alice had insisted on.
Jasper and I could have existed on junk food we bought at gas stations along the way, but Alice asserted we had to have sit down meals. Other than immediately latching onto my best friend, that was the second strike against her.
Once we had settled in for the night, I found myself unable to sleep. Jasper and Alice were curled up on the bunk in the camper, whispering and giggling, which was really bogus, because it was keeping me awake. When I finally decided I'd had enough, I grabbed my blanket and padded quietly out of the truck, closing the door as silently as I could, sat down in the nearby lawn chair with my blanket around me and stared up at the stars.
I didn't know when it happened, but without any conscious thought, tears were falling from my eyes. I pulled the blanket tighter around me and let out a small sigh as I tried to wipe some of the tears away with the back of my hand. As I thought about it, I realized that this trip was not really what I had been expecting. Leaving Forks, I assumed that Jasper and I would spend quality time together, remembering why we were such great friends to begin with, and this would be like our last hurrah before college, in addition to our grand farewell to a legend. Instead, he was busy making out with some chick he barely knew and I was sitting out in the cool night air wishing I was anywhere but Omaha.
Suddenly, I felt a cool and unexpected hand on my shoulder and I shrieked and jumped from my chair, only to find Edward standing behind me. "Freak me out, Edward!"
"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you," he said timidly as he went and sat on the bench of the picnic table that I had my feet resting on. "What are you doing out here?"
"I didn't really want to hang out in there with Farrah Fawcett and Lee Majors getting all hot and heavy. It was kinda gross," I admitted unabashedly as Edward smiled at me from ear to ear.
"With his hair, you know Jasper is more of a Farrah," Edward said, attempting a joke as I held my blanket firmly in my hands.
"Why are you out here?"
"Couldn't sleep. I was thinking about what you said earlier, about not being an asshole."
"Oh," I replied, unsure of how to respond.
"I'm sorry if I've treated you like shit, I really didn't mean to," Edward said, each of his words sounding sincere, but his body language looking rather tormented. His hand was deep in his thick hair, pulling roughly and he looked pained. I leaned forward and reached up, grasping his hand in mine to pull it loose.
"You don't have to torture yourself. I'm not important."
"Yes, you are. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise." Edward was still holding onto my hand, and when I looked at him straight in the eye, I could sense a shift within him. "I like you and I hate that you think I'm an asshole."
"I don't think you're an asshole. I just preferred the guy at the campfire last night. He was nice and kinda sweet." I mumbled softly at first before repeating myself. "The more I think about it, I just think you are having trouble dealing with death." Edward grunted. "Hasn't anyone in your life ever passed away before?" I had to admit that I wasn't shocked when Edward shook his head in the negative. "Jasper's dad died a few months ago. We were all really close."
"I'm sorry, Bella," Edward said earnestly as his calloused and paint riddled fingers began tracing light circles against my palm. It was both soothing and arousing, yet it left me feeling even more confused about Edward. How did I feel about him? I didn't really think he was an asshole, but was I attracted to him? Okay, so he was a hunk and he intrigued me and I may have wondered if he was a good kisser, but I wasn't sure what all of this meant. I hadn't really felt this way before.
"Its fine now... we're... fine now. If it wasn't for the support Jasper and I gave each other, we would probably be basket cases. Bruce was like my second dad, and he was one of a kind, and he used to tell us... everything happens for a reason."
"Yeah, I guess it does," he replied with a small smile as I noticed him fiddling with his fingers, which brought me back to a question I had the night before and never voiced.
"Why are your fingers so colorful?" I asked without remorse as Edward looked down at his hands briefly before holding onto mine again.
"I live to paint. I'm actually going to be getting my Bachelors in painting at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland in the fall." I couldn't help but smile as Edward spoke, because he sounded so proud of himself in his accomplishments, and I couldn't blame him.
"That is rad. I'm going to the University of Oregon to become a teacher."
"We're going to be in the same city?" I nodded my head lightly as Edward's smile grew briefly. "That's solid! Maybe... you know, if you don't continue to think I'm an asshole, I could come over to your pad one day?"
"Maybe," I replied softly, not wanting to give away the fact that I was literally giddy inside. What the hell was going on with me? I really didn't want my time with Edward to come to an end now that we were getting along like two peas in a pod. "I mean, I think I would like that."
We sat in silence for a few more minutes and I wondered if maybe I had said the wrong thing about Portland. However, then I noticed Edward's head fall forward slightly, so I unwrapped myself from the blanket and went to sit beside him on the bench, nudging him with my shoulder.
"Do you think we will make it to Memphis in time for the funeral?"
"Probably not," I answered honestly as Edward's hand gripped onto my knee for support. "It doesn't mean we won't be able to pay our respects though. We can still make it to Graceland and say our goodbyes. That what is important to me."
"Yeah, I guess so."
Without a word, Edward wrapped his arms around my mid section and buried his head in my neck, hugging me relentlessly. It also fed my confusion about him. He said he liked me, yet he treated me with indifference. He was currently hugging the stuffing out of me and... did Edward just sniff me?
"Are you all good?" I asked as Edward pulled back from me slightly, only to look me in the eyes and then move forward again, this time his lips finding purchase against mine.
What else was I supposed to do? I guess I could have kissed him back, but while I was trying to rationalize everything in my head, including the fact that like I assumed he was an excellent kisser, Edward had already pulled away and looked seriously disappointed.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that," he replied as my fingers reached up and touched my lips, almost reverently. God, he had soft lips. They were the antithesis of his calloused hands.
I wanted to say something... anything, but Edward's incoherent mumbling didn't give me much of a chance. "I mean, I like you. I get that I've only known you for a little bit, less than 48 hours, but you and I like so many of the same things, you're a girl who gets baseball and Elvis, and you don't take any shit from anyone. I've obviously been a putz and done something I shouldn't have done. Ignore me, I'm high."
The whole time Edward spoke all I could think about was how his lips felt against mine. They were pliant, sweet and practically electric. I could taste a hint of mint and weed, and when he finished talking, I couldn't help myself; I had to have more.
"Omph," groaned Edward as I practically launched myself across the six inches separating us on the bench and found myself straddling his lap, the blanket still draped over my shoulders. I grasped his stubble covered face in my hands and leaned in, kissing Edward softly at first, my lips remembering the initial delicious and tempting taste of him, before I licked his bottom lip with my tongue.
Then he did this half moan half whimper type sound, and it was the most glorious noise I had ever heard. Of course it didn't help matters that I was moving my hips against him, feeling just how excited he was. Edward's hands ran up my back slowly, between the cotton of my tank top and the softness of my blanket, and his fingers practically danced up my neck, where my hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail.
"You are beautiful."
Again, I was stunned into silence.
I didn't want to sound like a moron and tell him he was beautiful too, because that would be lame, so I pushed my lips against his again, this time my tongue desperately searching out his. Edward left one of his hands buried in the hair at the nape of neck as the other slipped down my back to grasp my ass, which only urged me to rock against him again.
"Bella," he breathed out slowly as both of his hands flew to my hips to still me. I could see Edward was struggling to say something else, but the starry night had become covered in clouds and just as he seemed to have words on the tip of his tongue, it began to rain lightly. "Let's get in the truck."
"Yes, let's," I said a little too enthusiastically as Edward pulled the blanket from my shoulders and ushered me towards the front of the truck. We climbed in and Edward leaned up against the locked door as I sat between his legs with the blanket covering both of us. I could practically hear his heart beating in my ear as his hands wrapped around my chest and he pulled me back against him.
As the rain fell gently against the windshield, the truck was encased in darkness as we talked about random shit and held our hands tightly together. Every so often Edward would kiss my neck or the shell of my ear, causing my skin to erupt in flames, but he never did anything too forward. I wanted him too though.
I wanted his hands to caress me and touch me in places only Jasper had seen. I wanted to go back in time and have Edward be my first and only lover, or simply have his confident touch erase the past and love me like no other. "Edward," I whispered with uncertainly as I felt his fingers loosen from my grip and begin to twirl the ends of my hair.
"Just so you know... I really like you too."
"Jeepers Creepers, what is this?" I heard Alice's sleepy voice ask as my eyes squinted and I opened them fully to see Alice standing at the open passenger door, glaring at Edward and me before she turned on her heel, smiling widely. "I knew it would happen. You owe me five bucks, Jazzie."
I wiped the palms of my hands across my eyes and brushed the sleep from them as Edward adjusted himself behind me. "For the record, it's not comfortable sleeping with the door behind you," he said with a groan as he stretched his arms over his head and they hit the roof of the truck with a loud thud.
"You can sleep in the back while Jasper and Alice drive us on the next leg of the trip," I said as I tried to scoot myself out of the seat, but Edward's hands gripped my hips firmly and held me against him.
"Only if you join me," he whispered seductively as his warm breath against my neck made me shiver.
"Give me five minutes in the bathroom and I'm all yours," I replied eagerly as I launched myself out of the truck and grabbed my backpack from the back. I could hear Edward's laughter ringing out in the cool morning air as he climbed from the truck and then greeted Jasper and Alice.
After breakfast, Jasper informed all of us of the itinerary and how if we stuck to the plan we should be at Graceland by sundown. However, I didn't pay any attention to specifics. All I wanted to do was climb into the back of the truck and have my wicked way with a boy who did such crazy things to my insides I was certain that if this ended badly, I would be undone.
Edward discussed directions with Jasper as Alice settled into the cab and adjusted the radio to something local. I stepped into the camper feeling somewhat bold and stripped out of my clothes, keeping my bra and panties on, before I climbed up onto the bed and waited for Edward. When he finally came in, he locked the door behind him, toed off his shoes and shimmied out of his clothes until he was just in a pair of underwear. I had never been so aroused by plain white boxers as I was at that moment.
"Did you have a good time in the bathroom this morning?" Edward asked with a laugh as he climbed up beside me and slid under the thin blanket. He reached his arm out towards me, but I pulled him closer to me, and away from the edge of the bed. The last thing I needed was for either of us to fall out and injure ourselves.
"It was fine," I stammered as Edward wrapped his arms around me and grew silent.
"You aren't dressed," he stammered quietly as I raised an eyebrow in concern. "Why aren't you dressed?"
"You aren't dressed either," I argued as Edward sat up slightly, being mindful not to smack his head on the low hanging roof.
"Yeah but its super warm in here." I just nodded my head in agreement as Edward let me rest my head on his bare chest.
"Edward, can you climb out of your head for one moment, please?" I asked as I felt his body relax as he sighed. "Think about yourself... what do you want more than anything right now?"
"Then have me," I whispered as I turned towards him, attempting to make the first move, only to have his hand grasp my cheek as he kissed me passionately.
Our hands were everywhere, exploring each inch of our heated and desperate bodies. The small confines of the truck camper and the constant movement of the truck made the situation awkward, but to me it was memorable. I would certainly never forget the time Edward first time touched me. When he kissed my breasts and worshipped me, or when I felt his fingers inside of me, urging me on to release as I stroked his cock until he came on my stomach mere moments after I came.
We switched drivers in Springfield, Missouri, with Edward and me taking the last leg of the drive. I was nestled up beside him, my hand on his inner thigh, and we spoke about everything we could think of. I told him about the time Jasper and I had sex, but he didn't seem bothered by it, thank god. We discussed the future, our college dreams, and what we wanted to do when we reached Graceland.
When the truck finally sputtered along Elvis Presley Boulevard in the dark night of August 19th, I heard Edward suck in a breath as we approached the mansion. We slowed and parked in the parking lot of a nearby Piggly Wiggly, which was as close as we could get, but I think Edward and I were both surprised by the sheer number of people still hanging out in front of Graceland.
"It's been several days and I'm just… in awe."
"I didn't expect there to be this many people here," I remarked to Edward as we popped out of the truck and he went to help Jasper and Alice get out of the back. "I would have guessed that most of the people would be gone by now since it's been a few days."
"His passing left a lot of people feeling alone, Bella. Not just the four of us," Edward said sullenly as we waited a few moments for Jazz and Alice to apparently make themselves presentable.
It took us almost ten minutes of walking along the crowded sidewalks before we reached the main gate, but when I looked up at the classic white mansion, the very same place where Elvis took his last breaths, I felt a shiver run through me and goose bumps crop up on my skin. "Are you cold, babe?" Edward questioned as he draped his arm over my shoulder and pulled me flush against him.
"No… it's just… I always wanted to come here and we had been making plans to visit when Bruce died. It's surreal to finally be here, ya know?"
"Let's go closer, alright?" Alice asked as she threaded her fingers through Jasper's and pulled him towards the mansion.
The house was set back from the main road and surrounded by a high stone wall, and some of the people on the sidewalk in front of were crying, some held candles and there was even a few playing guitar and singing softly to some of most memorable Elvis's songs. It was so dreamlike, and I found myself wishing that it was all a dream – that Elvis hadn't died – but that meant I wouldn't have found Edward, and I didn't want that either.
We passed in front of the gates adorned with music notes and stopped, all of us taking a moment to clutch onto the wrought iron as though we were holding onto something so fucking important we couldn't let go.
As more people came to join us, Edward ushered us back in the direction of the grocery store parking lot, but instead of heading to the truck, we stopped and leaned back against the stone wall and sat down, side by side – Alice, Jasper, me and Edward – our shoulders or arms all touching.
"This is so fucking sad," Alice said first, breaking the silence that had fallen between us as we sat for almost five minutes, completely astounded. "I know you probably don't believe me Edward, but I loved his music too." I felt Jasper move beside me and watched from the corner of my eye as he wrapped his arm around Alice's shoulder and she muffled her falling tears against his ragged Grateful Dead t-shirt.
"I know, Ali, I know," Edward said quietly as he pulled a joint from his pocket and looked around for any sign of the fuzz before he lit it and took a long drag. He then passed it down the line, each of us taking a hit as we stared off into the dark Memphis sky. There were stars littered in the darkness and Edward rested his head on my shoulder as we sat there, quiet except for the sounds of those around us.
"Ever since his daughter was born, I always wanted to call a baby girl Marie," I said, completely out of the blue as Jasper quirked his eye brow at me. "I never liked the name Lisa though."
"You wanted kids? I can picture it, but I didn't think you wanted any," Jasper added casually.
"Well yeah, I'd love to have a boy I could teach the history baseball too and show him how to throw a good fastball," I said wistfully as I pushed a tear from my cheek. "But I could also see me having a girl. Don't you think Charlie would shit a brick if he had a granddaughter?" I asked Jasper as he laughed heavily I could only wish that Edward would meet Charlie one day and understand the small inside joke between Jazz and I.
"Oh yeah, she would be the most spoiled girl on the face of the earth."
"Best Elvis concert?" Edward asked curiously as he took another hit of his blunt and changed the topic. "Mine is the one in 1968 simply called Elvis. It really turned his declining career around and put him back on the map. It was off the charts!"
"That's the one that played at Christmastime and he was wearing that black leather jumpsuit right?" Jasper asked as Edward nodded his head. "Yeah, Bella loved that one too."
"It was the black leather... it still does things to me," I declared as Edward leaned in and licked the shell of my ear suggestively.
"Black leather huh? I'll keep that in mind," he whispered under his breath as I let out a small moan of anticipation. Edward in a black leather jumpsuit like Elvis would definitely do things to me... and cause me to do wicked things to him.
"The Aloha from Hawaii concert in 73 was pretty rad too! With the white bejeweled jumpsuit, the gorgeous sideburns and that lei... yeah, I like that one," Alice chimed in, interrupting my thoughts of Edward. "Plus he played Suspicious Minds, which is definitely one of my favorite songs ever."
"We're caught in a trap, I can't walk out, because I love you too much baby," Edward sang gently as Alice clapped her hands excitedly and I leaned to the side and kissed Edward softly on the corner of his mouth.
"Yeah, definitely a rad song."
"You know, I think Elvis would approve of this. The four of us sitting around, smoking up some primo weed and discussing his career," Jasper exclaimed as I pulled a black marker from my small satchel and turned around to begin writing on the brick wall.
Elvis! 8-16-77. The Day The Music Died
I wrote it in all capital letters and on an awkward angle, but I felt a sense of relief as I immortalized my feelings on the wall. Each of my friends took turns writing their own brief, yet memorable, message. "When we come back here one day, I'll look high and low for this," Edward said, looking directly at me, his fingers stroking my cheek, when he spoke. He was so confident about his future, and I was unsure about mine, but knowing he wanted me there with him gave me a small bout of certainty.
"Mom, this is so damn annoying," Aaron said with a roll of his eyes which reminded me so much of his father it was ridiculous.
"Watch your mouth, young man," I replied, trying to sound stern as I elbowed Edward and motioned to Aaron who walked directly in front of us. "You should say something to him. His smart mouth is going to cause problems in the future." Edward watched the wall beside us and shrugged his shoulders as I saw Aaron shove his earphones in his ears and turn on his Discman. Fucking kids.
Edward and I had said for the longest time that we would come back to celebrate Elvis's passing, so here we were, for the twentieth anniversary in 1997. Our eldest, Aaron was 13 and didn't give a shit about Elvis. He preferred to listen to Matchbox Twenty and Third Eye Blind and did his best to frustrate Edward and me. His little sister Marie was 8 and was just excited to be on vacation, even if we were in the humidity of Memphis. She just liked being away from our home in Portland, Oregon.
"What are we looking for?" Marie asked as I took a step back and looked across the street. Things had definitely changed around Memphis now that Graceland was even more like a tourist trap. You had to take a bus across the road to visit the inside of the house, some of his best concert outfits were on display in a museum and you could even step inside his airplane, the Lisa Marie. It was like an Elvis themed Disneyland.
"When your mom and I were here back in 1977, we wrote on the wall and we're looking for it."
"What did you write?" Marie asked excitedly.
"I think I wrote something about it being the day the music died," I replied, not remembering verbatim what I had written twenty years earlier. I could see Aaron messing around with his Discman and ignoring us completely, so I went over and wrapped my arm on his shoulder. "You know, if Elvis hadn't died, neither of you would be here."
"You and dad would have probably met at college," Aaron said dismissively, because he had heard the story dozens of times in his short life
"Not necessarily. Your dad and I were both busy in college and didn't go to the same school. If we hadn't met on our way to Graceland, we probably never would have ended up together."
"Bella, I think I found it," Edward called out as I ushered Aaron towards him and the section of the wall Edward was standing in front of. Sure enough, I looked at the brick wall where my scratchy handwriting was emblazoned for years with my message. Just seeing it made me smile and remember such different times where my world revolved around spending time with Jasper, smoking up and listening to Elvis.
"What did you write, daddy?" questioned Marie as Edward bent down and looked at a nearby section of the wall, pointing for all three of us to look at it. I hadn't seen Edward write anything that night, but now it all made sense as to why he insisted we come back eventually.
Everything happens for a reason.
Edward + Bella Forever. 8-19-1977