Boys on Boards Contest
Title: Skate and Destroy
Characters: Bella and Edward
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. I still harbor a fascination with skater boys that stems from my preteen years. The title of this story Skate and Destroy comes from the Thrasher magazine motto and the song by The Faction of the same name. I'll likely continue this after the contest—just one or two more chapters to wrap it up.
Word Count: 3857
Summary: Edward wanders into Bella's neighbor's yard and discovers an empty pool. Is this meeting an accident or premeditated?
Skate and Destroy
The night is sticky, the humidity thick despite the fact that my window is wide open and both fans are on. My tank top is damp and I brush a cool washcloth over my face once again, my mother's trick for keeping cool. After tossing and turning three more times, I slip on a pair of cotton shorts before tiptoeing down the hallway.
My parents' door is closed in spite of the heat, and though I don't want to think about what that means, I hear nothing but the whir of fan blades spinning throughout the house. Satisfied, I sneak down the stairs, skipping the third one down and exit through the sliding door in the kitchen, out the side yard into the adjoining yard.
The night is quiet and still, nothing disturbing the heat wave that has overtaken our area. I don't bother with a flashlight as I know the route so well. Besides, there is an almost full moon out, incandescent and yellow, no clouds obstructing its light. I can almost believe that Jake will be waiting for me on the back porch, or if he isn't, I can stealthily knock on his window without waking his dad.
The heat must be playing tricks with my hearing because I hear a familiar sound coming from Jake's backyard. Wheels on concrete, then silence as a board catches air then wheels pounding back down, heeding the call of gravity.
The night is long and I must be more tired than I originally thought. In the side yard, I lift the upside down flowerpot and snag a smoke and the lighter, Jake's Zippo, left behind for my use.
As I turn the corner, I realize that my ears are correct. Only instead of deep russet skin and jean shorts and long dark hair flying through the air and streaming down towards the bottom of the empty pool, I see a blur of black—lit up only by the moon—a flash of brown hair and the palest arms I have ever seen. Likely because of the humidity, this skater boy's skin seems luminescent itself, almost as if he is…shimmering?
"Hey," the stranger nods as he skates off the upper lip of the pool and flips up his board gracefully into his left hand. Hey, as if he isn't trespassing on private property, or even wondering if I am.
I raise one of my eyebrows at him in response and sit down on the top of the back porch steps to light my smoke. He shakes his head slightly, then joins me on the step, eyebrows furrowed slightly.
As he gets closer, I realize his hair is actually in between brown and red.
"I'm not sharing," I say.
"I wasn't asking you to."
"You make a habit of skating in other people's yards?"
"You make a habit of smoking in them?"
"This is my friend's house."
"Was," he smirks. Smirks, as if someone losing his house is a funny thing. "I believe it's bank-owned now."
"They're trying to get it back," I mumble, uncertain why I feel the need to defend Jake, or the need to explain anything to this stranger at all."
"How do you know it's not already too late?"
I finish my smoke in silence. Smirky Skater Boy eyes me in the same silence until he shrugs his shoulders and skates down into the pool again.
Despite myself, I admire his smooth lines as he perfectly executes a series of moves that Jake would be excited to see. I replace Jake's lighter under the clay pot and find my way back to my stifling room.
The night is sultry. Dark, damp and damning.
For some reason, I dream about him and it annoys me. It's a blue-tinted dream and his features are sharp though everything else in the picture is not. The smirk is the same, though his words not in the realm of arrogant asshole that was the reality of our nighttime meeting. What would he know about Jake and his parents' struggle to pay for their mortgage over the last year? Though his clothes were worn down to perfection, I still noticed the high-end brand of his jeans, the expensive new shoes. Old school Vans that weren't even made anymore, so likely special-ordered. And vintage Tony Hawk board that he used as if it isn't worth as much as it is. I know; I have one that was my dad's back in the day.
In my dream, we're in a meadow. Yeah, a meadow. It reminds me of the valley floor just beyond Yosemite Falls where I went on vacation with my parents last year. Except, instead of being surrounded by gushing waters and vertical inclines of rock wall in the semi-distance, we're surrounded by trees. Large moss-covered decaying trees. There are various shades of green and brown surrounding us, including the bright jade color of his eyes. These hues are muted by the cerulean tint of my dream, making the blue of the meadow flowers stand out in further contrast. Skater boy and I are talking, but I have no idea what we are saying, just that we are leaning into each other as we speak. He lifts one of his hands to my face and gently grazes my cheek with the back of it. Even in my dreams I can almost feel the tingle and the coolness along the left side of my face. I look up and that's when I see the beauty of his dark green eyes, with flecks of warm amber.
Only, I don't think that Skater boy's eyes are really green.
I reach towards the back of my closet for this dark blue peasant top my mom bought me last year. She found it at a thrift store and I've never worn it because though it is second hand, it actually is made by some fancy designer, which seems like such a contrast to the bohemian look of the shirt. Today, however, I shrug that off and revel in the softness of the material. I throw on my jean shorts for good measure and grab a bucket and sponge and housecleaner.
The shorts are a save from last year when Jake decided that I needed to learn how to skate. His dad had just lost his job and his mom was at the clinic for her latest infusion of chemo. Even though I can't walk a flat surface without tripping, who was I to say no? Though he insisted I wear knee pads and a helmet, I still managed to rip up my favorite pair of jeans, up almost the entire left side. So, now they're my favorite pair of shorts, and they're much better than the jean shorts that Jake and his friends like to wear.
Jake insists on skating in what amounts to jean short capris and nothing else. Usually he is barefoot as well. Yeah, I know it's not usual skatewear, and I often snort at how ridiculous he looks. But, he's his own person, or wolf, or whatever. Yeah. Have I mentioned that my best friend is a werewolf? Okay, technically a shapeshifter not a werewolf, but still.
Sometime around a year and a half or so ago, Jake started getting really good at throwing tricks even though he was going through a crazy growth spurt. He stopped wearing safety gear and never seemed to hurt himself. I found out on a night of a full moon…the night of our first and last kiss that we never ever talk about. Suffice it to say that the night ended with me in the E.R. with three partially fractured fingers. It turns out that you can't really punch a werewolf if you're human.
I carefully balance myself as I climb up the ladder to the treehouse and carry up the cleaning supplies. Jake and I haven't been up here in at least a year so it's likely musty and moldy inside. It's already hot inside since I slept until midday after my late night smoke with the skater boy. Okay, not with him since he just watched me smoke in silence and I watched him skate. I open the door and leave it open, then hold my breath as I walk across to open the window of the little house.
My dad and Jake's dad built this house when we were six, shortly after Jake came to live with them. They went a little overboard, as I was clumsy even then, and built a platform to pull up onto, a door that opens and closes, and a real window inside. Our moms made purple curtains to decorate the window, my favorite color at the time.
I push aside the faded curtain on both sides, so I can see clearly inside the tree house. At least that's what I tell myself. The view from the window is Jake's backyard—I can see perfectly when or if Skater Boy decides to return. What made him decide to go there last night in the first place? The house has been empty for weeks. Why now?
After I scrub down all the surfaces of the treehouse, including the floors and the table and wooden chairs, I haul the cleaning supplies back down and return with a book and a lemonade bottle. It's so hot that I don't feel like eating or bringing food up the ladder, choosing to wait until dinnertime instead.
I'm halfway through the novel when there is a knock on the platform and then on the door.
"Come in, Mom," I say, figuring she must be home from work. When the knocking persists, I get up and glance out the window on my way to the door. The pool is still empty, no one defying gravity in its depths, and the sky is slightly darker. The summer days are long so we are nowhere near twilight, but the bright yellow sunshine of the day is melting into a dimmer, duskier orange.
"Mom?" I say as I open the door, knowing Jake would just walk right in.
It's not my mom. It's Skater Boy. He's wearing a faded black hoodie over his head, even in this heat, and sunglasses.
"Hi," he says. "Can I come in?"
"How did you know—"
"I've been waiting for you to answer the front door," he interrupts, starting to walk in to the treehouse before pausing. "Then I thought you might be in the backyard."
"Oh. Come in." Did he check Jake's yard first? He steps in as soon as I invite him, and shucks his hoodie and shades just as I'm about to ask him how he can stand to wear it. His amber colored eyes bore into me. I was right; they aren't green, but they are still beautiful. The day is as sultry as the night, especially here in the treehouse.
"That color suits you," he says, gesturing to my peasant top, the color of my dream. My dream about him.
I blush, of course. "Thank you." He steps back towards the now closed door as I fidget with my hair and pull it up into a ponytail. The gesture must disturb him because it's so silent in here, just like last night, and his eyebrows are furrowed as if it must smell in here, even though I have just scrubbed the whole place clean. Must be the scent of the cleanser. Unless, well, I must not smell all that great either after all that physical work in this heat.
"I, ah, I came to apologize," he says quickly, after several moments have passed.
"Okaaay," I drag out, uncertain as to what he's referring to.
"About your friend," he gestures his head towards Jake's house. "I made some rude comments and I wasn't raised like that."
"You don't know him," I shrug, as if his apology doesn't matter, but it does.
"Well, I'm sorry anyway. It was awfully rude. I'm sure you're…upset that he isn't your neighbor anymore. And I brought you this." He pulls out a wrapped sandwich from the pocket of his hoodie and hands it to me. I place it next to my book and unwrap it carefully, suddenly hungry. It's a cream cheese, tomato, lettuce and sprouts sandwich from Ida's café. I'm shocked. Perplexed. Maybe even a little suspicious.
"How did you know this was my favorite?"
He shrugs. "I didn't. I hope it's okay?"
"Are you vegetarian too?" I ask, before taking a bite.
He laughs at my question for some reason. "Uh, yeah."
"Well, thanks for the sandwich. You want half?"
"No, thank you. I'm Edward Cullen, by the way."
I tell him about the glory days of the tree house, when Jake and I would spend hours playing board games and building Lego castles. He tells me about his adopted siblings and their own Lego adventures.
"Is Cullen your real last name then?" He stares at me for a moment, long enough for me to backpedal. "I mean…are you adopted as well? Jake is…and he kept his last name because of his heritage."
"Um, yeah. Jake is Quileute and his adopted parents are Pomo and Chumash." What I don't tell him is that Jake was in the foster system for quite a bit because they wanted him specifically to be adopted by Native American parents, even if they were from a different tribe.
"Quileute," he says slowly.
"No, I know," he shakes his head slowly as if contemplating something, then continues. "My last name is Masen. Edward Anthony Masen Cullen." He smiles then, the left side of his lips higher than the other, and I can't help but smile back.
We talk until the sun sets, watching the sky transform from dim orange to a more muted lavender and pink. Even though he's sitting in the shade of the curtains, the colors dance across Edward's face, reminiscent of my last night's dream, only instead of cornflower blue, Skater Boy is tinted in the faded pink of the twilight sky.
I never know what's going to happen on the night of a full moon. Because of that, I usually spend those nights at home. If my dad is on the late shift, my mom and I will watch sitcoms or movies until we drift off to sleep. Never something in the scary-horror-suspense genre.
In truth, nothing ever really happens on the night of a full moon, except for the night I broke my fingers. Well, nothing happens that I know about anyway.
This night is no different, except I have the urge to go to Jake's backyard to see if Skater Boy is there. I'm still uncertain as to why he prefers to skate there instead of at the local skate park, but maybe he prefers to skate alone.
When I hear the sound of wheels on concrete, I excuse myself from the dinner table and head on over. The heat of the day has dissipated early, a much needed break in the heatwave. Clouds have come in with the breeze, lining up so that they are indistinguishable from one another, just one long stream of greyness on the horizon.
I pop open Jake's gate with a loud clang, not needing to be quiet since it's not the middle of the night. As I turn the corner, I realize that there is the more than one skater in the pool as there are several sounds of wheels. Sure enough, there is a girl sitting on the edge, wild, wavy red hair vibrant despite the greyness of the day. She gives me a smug smile as two skaters fly up opposite ends of the pool on their boards and glide back down. The one with long black dreadlocks seems to do a 900 or more, but it doesn't seem possible, yet his hair whips around so quickly that I can't count the rotations. The other one—wearing a leather jacket even though the evening is still warm—rides the upper lip of the pool, glances right at me with a quick smile then skates back down the side.
Sooner than I would think possible, they are both out of the pool and have tossed their boards over towards the grass and are walking towards me. No one is breathing, including me. The only sound I can hear is the spinning of the wheels before they are muffled.
"Um, are you friends of Edward's?" I manage to say.
"No," says a voice behind me. Skater Boy.
"We've got dibs," the girl says, licking her lips.
"The hell you do," Edward snarls back.
Then out of nowhere, Jake and his friends are between all of us. "Run, Bella," he says. I'm not sure what to do or what is happening now so I go on instinct and listen to Jake. Only as I run back towards the gate, I trip on somebody's board and am falling quickly. There are sounds of shredding clothes, snarling, shouting, growling and the world has turned upside down. Am I dreaming? I land with a sharp thud on the ground and notice blood oozing from my forearm and bone sticking out.
Suddenly Skater Boy is by my side, holding my arm carefully but all I smell is metallic blood, red oozing everywhere, and then everything is black.
Everything is fuzzy.
My mom is holding my hand. My good hand.
Loud noises and crying.
Open reduction surgery.
No Jake or Edward.
I awake from the anesthesia to a dark hospital room with my mom by my side. "How are you feeling, Sweetie?" she says.
"Okay," I croak. I'm completely disoriented. I remember breaking my wrist, but nothing else. Oh, blood. I remember my blood dripping on the concrete next to my head. And I remember the coolness of Edward's hand against my face. Then nothing.
"What happened?" I ask, even though I know that it's pointless. My mom knows even less than I do.
"Shhh, Bella. You just had surgery. Get some sleep, Sweetie." I close my eyes and dream of cerulean and lavender tinted wildflowers scattered through an empty meadow under a grey-white sky. Everything is eerily still.
The next day it pours. Water comes down in the proverbial buckets, washing away the humidity and my blood down the pool's large drain. I'm stuck indoors as I don't want to get my cast wet. I stare out the window and watch the patterns the drops make on the pane, until I see a blur of black in my driveway. Skater Boy.
He doesn't have time to knock before I open the door wide open.
"Bella, are you okay?" I stare at him, hair plastered to the side of his face from the rain, though his clothes are mostly dry, including his suspenders that are hanging off his black jeans. "Who wears suspenders these days?" I wonder, though admittedly he's not actually really wearing them.
"Come in," I say and gesture towards the warmth of the house.
"Are you sure I'm welcome?" he asks humorlessly. I have no idea what happened between him and Jake after I blacked out. Was Jake pissed because he'd been using his pool? Who were those other skaters?
"Of course. I invited you in, didn't I?"
"I suppose you did," he murmurs with a half-smile.
We sit down in the living room, and I resist the urge to run my hand through his wet hair as he keeps doing repeatedly.
"What happened yesterday?" I ask him.
He shrugs his shoulder noncommittally. "Maybe you should ask Jake that."
And I will as soon as he answers my calls, but I'm still trying to figure out what I remember. I thought I had heard growling. Did Jake phase in front of them? I didn't think he would just to protect his property. But maybe that's why Edward isn't answering me. Maybe he's too freaked out about my supernatural friend.
"Can I sign this?" he taps my blue cast with his long fingers.
"Sure. You'll be the first."
"Your first," he smiles.
"Uh, yeah." I toss him a sharpie and even though I'm way off—hey, I had to throw with my non-dominant hand—he catches it smoothly.
He lightly holds onto my hand as he starts to draw on the rough texture of the cast, closer towards my elbow. "Oh. You're so cold! Do you want to go closer to the fire? Or do you want a towel?"
I watch his face intently as he continues to draw, mesmerized by the sharp angle of his jaw, the sparkle in his dark amber eyes.
"There," he says as he caps the pen. He looks up quickly towards the front window and stands up. "I need to go."
"You just got here," I protest.
"I know, I'm sorry. But I'll be back."
"Did you skate here? It's raining too hard. I can give you a ride." I start to get up but he shakes his head.
"I'll be fine. Besides, can you really drive with that thing?"
"I'll be back later." Before I can say anything else, he is up and out the door.
I look down at my cast to see what he's written on there. He's covered more of my cast than I originally thought. On one side, near my elbow, he's written 'Skate and Destroy' in the classic font. When I turn my palm up to the other half of my cast, I find that he's drawn a picture of the rising sun over the horizon, complete with shading. Below the sun is a heart with initials: IS + EMC. It's simple, and cheesy, but endearing just the same. Then I realize that I never told him that my full name is Isabella. How did he know?
Less than a minute later, there is knocking at my door. He's back.
I open the door, but instead of Skater Boy's smirk greeting me, Jake walks in quickly. "Jake," I say, happy to see him and throwing my arms awkwardly around him, being careful not to hit him with my cast. "Are you okay? What happened yesterday?"
"I'm fine," he says when I let go. I look him over and he doesn't look injured in any way. Edward looked fine too. Maybe there wasn't a physical fight. Maybe everyone cleared out after I broke my wrist. Suddenly, he freezes. "Wait here," he whispers urgently. He runs up the stairs and then back down and through the kitchen before coming back to me in the living room. I've just managed to close the front door and sit down in the time he does his lap.
"Who's been here?" he asks, nostrils flaring.
"What do you mean?" I ask, confused. "Just Edward. He was here earlier."
"What do you mean 'Just Edward'?" he roars, now. He takes a few deep breaths then continues more calmly. "He was here? Today?"
"Yes. What's the big—"
"Isabella Swan, please don't tell me you just invited a vampire into your house?"