This was what my brain spewed out and I chose to give to the Sexual Assault Awareness Compilation. Both AnIllicitWriter and Yellowglue created amazing banners for me, and I lost my WC virginity writing this piece. Also, my loves Aleighy and Rhythm_Junkie pre-read and pushed me to make this better (longer) than I'd originally planned.
Disclaimer: This story does not in any way intend to make light of a situation that in a real life setting could be very serious. This is a work of fiction, written with an open heart.
Edward keeps bananas in the apartment. Although he's promised to never eat them in front of me, sometimes I get a whiff. A whiff is almost worst than a real banana because then I must figure out where it's coming from and destroy it before my gag reflex kicks in. I am the banana hunter with a really disgusting sound track.
Usually, it's a peel in the garbage can, which can be easily disposed of in the dumpster outside. But every now and then it's the tiniest fleck of banana on an unspecified dish in the sink. Edward always wonders why we go through so much dish soap. I drown the dishes in it before I can touch them.
"Die banana, die!"
I've never failed at a hunt. If I do, it won't be funky fruit I'll be after, it'll be an Edward.
I just don't like bananas. I don't like how they're clustered together like swollen fingers, or how they bruise easier than my Great-Grandma. Their smell is horrendous; even in candy form I can't stomach it. But the worst part about them is their texture: sticky and mushy and tacky. Ugh, it gives me the heeby jeebies just thinking about it.
And do you know what part of the male anatomy resembles a banana a great deal? I'll put you out of your misery like the good hunter I am and tell you it's the same part that starts out mushy, then gets all swollen and emits a substance that's sticky and tacky.
My phobia of bananas has lead me directly to a destined path of chastity. I'm scared of erections.
My poor Edward is so good to me. I have to sit behind him if he needs to be touched, and his hand has to cover mine, so I'm not the one in charge, and I never, ever let anything touch me when he finishes.
He says it's all about balance.
I haven't worn make up, heels, hose, or hairspray since junior high, but I'm high maintenance in bed. Edward requires fancy man lotions and hair goop, but can get so deep into my lady business and its subsequent wetness fabrication, that I don't remember my name and he needs another shower.
"He did it again."
Work ended just a few minutes ago.
"Did what?" Edward must be distracted by his newest music find; otherwise he'd know what I meant without asking.
I put my hand at my own crotchal region and slowly raise my index finger up to full salute.
"Oh Jesus, Bella, I'm sorry."
"Yeah, me too. I try to avoid talking to him directly, but he's my boss!"
Mike Newton has an erection problem. It's not just me that's witnessed them either. Angela Weber, Eric Yorkie, and Jessica Stanley have all seen it as often as I have. Maybe it's a circulation problem, but whatever the reason, all too often when he's standing, he standing at attention.
Wether in the break room, eating his daily bruised banana, or at the copier printing out department wide memos, it doesn't matter who's around: Mike's aroused.
I've worked the same job, doing advertising for the Newton's, since I graduated from college. Do I actually enjoy using my creative writing degree to create print ads for fishing poles? Not really, but, like everything else in my life, it's comfortable and doesn't need to be changed; yet.
Jessica, Eric, Angela, and Mike are people I've known most of my life, though I don't recall Mike's problem starting up until he worked in the same office building as all of us post-puberty.
I kiss Edward's cheek and walk straight back outside to sit in my truck.
Her name is Gussy. She's big and red, and beat to shit, but she can handle just about anything. She's my security blanket on wheels and my zen getaway all in one rusty shell.
Edward knows that any situation that stresses me out, particularly a run-in with Mike, means I need at least an hour with Gussy.
I start out in the drivers' seat, buckled in, but with the door open. That way I'm safe, but won't get too stuffy either.
I rub my hair back and forth on the old, cloth headrest and squeeze the steering wheel so tight that my fingertips go numb for a second.
Mike and that damn banana always cause some sort of sanity leakage in my brain. Psychologically, I think it's called a trigger response.
I like to blame the 1980s for the beginning of the end of my relationship with bananas.
My mother was determined that all parenting tasks would be split, equally, between her and my father. The feeding of their only daughter was no exception, and even though the only thing my father could cook was fried fish and canned spaghetti, he got breakfast and lunch duty every other week.
After he'd burned eggs, toast, and pop-tarts, he'd settled on the banana. It was the perfect food in his mind: delicious, nutritious, and came individually wrapped with no cooking necessary.
If the bananas were fresh, and more green than yellow, I could stomach about one a week. The rest I mushed inside the peel and hid in my Mother's rose garden. She still doesn't understand why the roses haven't looked the same since I left the house.
I might have been able to deal with the daily banana business better if my Dad hadn't left them out on the counter, and served them to me, until they were practically black and had gnats lined up to take microscopic bites of them.
On those days I got a two for one deal. He'd shoo away the bugs and, with his bare hands, squeeze the sickeningly sweet guts of the bananas into a bowl.
While I watched, with my hand over my mouth to keep from puking, he squished and mashed the banana between his fingers until he was satisfied that it was a more liquid than solid substance.
"RAWR!" He came at me with those hands covered in brown slime and I screamed bloody murder and hid in my room until he was in the shower. He still thinks it was my favorite game to play with him: Banana Monster. I was, without a doubt, scared for life.
While I hid in my closet, he finished his two required meals of the day by mixing a large glop of peanut butter in with the bananas and setting out a loaf of bread. If I had the concoction on one slice of bread, it was breakfast, and if I put it between two then, Ta Da!, I had lunch.
I learned very quickly to go ahead and make the disgusting sandwiches, because if my mother found the bowl in the fridge when she got home from work, she'd put it on crackers for my snack too.
I cringe, shaking the memory loose, and press my cheek into the wheel, accidentally honking the horn and startling myself all over again.
When I get my breathing under control, I walk back to the tailgate and drop it down, swinging my legs at whatever speed matches my thoughts once I hoist myself up.
Gussy has been my safe place since the day my Dad bought her off his old friend Billy Black. From that day on I could get away from the Banana Monster, and if it was called for, I could "eat" my banana in the privacy of my truck on my way to school.
I know that Edward will come and pull me out of here soon, especially since I honked at myself. Before I leave though, I always have to lay down in the back bed. It's kind of a "Fivel Goes West" moment for me. I know that it's the same sky that's always been there, just like the bucktoothed mice in my favorite childhood movie.
When I come back in Edward asks me the same thing he does each time I come out of hiding.
"Are you all gussied up now?"
I fluff my hair for him, and settle in to draft a few work ideas I was plotting, before my anxiety got the better of me, letting Edward "Sing it Out" with My Chemical Romance for the both of us.
It's been a long day at work.
The summer fishing season is about to begin, and the Newtons need new advertising for their annual fishing contest.
The "Nautically Newton" contest gives away a different grand prize every year, and this year it's a getaway to historical Pennsylvania, just in time for Independence Day.
Do you know what I discovered during my research? Pennsylvania was the first place in America to serve bananas, which were as small as a finger and wrapped in tinfoil. I still don't understand what that had to do with the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but the mental image forces me to spend my lunch break dry-heaving in the toilet.
When I get home, I open the freezer to sneak a couple of bites of ice cream and it's like a banana morgue in there. There are semi-frozen, half black, misshapen bananas on every shelf.
The smell is taking over my kitchen. I hold my nose and run to the den to sniff there. The smell is in my den. The mysterious bananas have staged a military coup and have overthrown my Glade plugins!
Two rooms in my safe, banana-less haven of a house are infected with the most putridly sweet smell I have even inhaled. This isn't like the time Edward left a banana behind the fruit bowl on accident and it all but melted into the countertop before we found it. This is like the bananas have crawled inside my nostrils and are singing "Boom Chaka Lakaka!" loudly into my brain.
Have I mentioned I'm terrified of Carmen Miranda?
Edward comes running, naked but for a towel, from the bathroom just as I'm about to bolt back out to my truck.
"I know, Bella, I know." He wraps me in a hug, but I can still sense a hint of banana on his hands and pull away from him as gently as I can.
Instead of waiting for him to explain, I grab his hand and pull him outside with me. He's a handsome man, and there isn't an old biddy on this street that wouldn't mind seeing him half naked.
Once we're safe inside Gussy, with Edward's hands hanging out the window, I let him tell me where the disgusting bounty in our freezer came from.
"We have new neighbors," He says. "They're a young couple, about our age too!" He's trying to butter me up, I know it, but in my mind the butter is peanut butter banana mash.
"Their names are Jasper and Alice, and they saw you outside working on your roses last weekend when they moved in."
I look out the window at my pink and coral tinted roses. I still haven't told my Mom that the secret to growing them is banana peels.
"They have a whole row of banana trees in their backyard…"
I gasp. I know I've interrupted him, but the thought of having to live with a never-ending supply of bananas is horrifying.
"…And they brought two, big paper bags full as a gift. They want to hang out sometime."
The last part he says more like a question, because the glare I give him for even thinking that I'd spend time with banana dealers is lethal.
"I shoved them all in the freezer as soon as they left to kill the smell. I just didn't want to throw them away in front of them."
He looks like a puppy who's been kicked.
"Let me go get the garbage bags. And some pants."
The weird old lady, Ms. Jane, is eyeballing Edward from her front porch swing across the street. She wears a cloak all the time, even when it's hot, and has beady little eyes that follow you wherever you go outside.
I groan loudly and shake my head, trying to dislodge the smell with no use. I know it would be completely unKosher to throw out the fruit these new neighbors have brought us. There aren't many young couples that live in these townhouses, and it'd be nice to hang out with someone that didn't work with me on the weekends.
"No. We needs friends in the neighborhood worse than I hate bananas."
Edward looks at me strangely and then nods slowly, like I might change my mind and run away screaming at any moment.
"You know it's true, Edward, we've got Jess and Angie from work, or your sisters."
Esme and Rose are lovely people, truly, but if my Edward is his own special brand of glossed Emo-chicken, then you can imagine the work that his sisters put into their goth-rockabilly costumes that they parade around in every day. I feel like Sarah Plain and Tall when they're around.
Edward's shoulders relax just a little bit and he takes my hand to lead me back into the house.
When he shuts the front door, he loosens the towel from around his waist, which relaxes me a little more as well, so I just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind.
" The politically correct thing to do would be to make something with what they gave us and take it back over there."
He drops his towel. I smirk and stalk toward to kitchen to inspect the fruit cemetery in my freezer again.
When he wraps himself around me from behind, the mix between the cold air of the freezer and his drippydrop, freshly washed body have me thinking the garbage bags would be a better idea. Then we'd have time to do other things that are quite nice to do in bed with no bananas involved.
I take a deep breath of the cold air in front of me and lean my head back into Edward's chest.
"Not now, my towel-less wonder God, I have to go to the medical supply store before I go grocery shopping."
Remaining perfectly nude just to taunt me, Edward threw out the most misshapen, blackened bananas while I jotted down a short grocery list.
I fill my handheld basket to the brim with the supplies I need to insulate me from the bananas during my day of baking. This isn't how I planned to spend my free time on my only day off this week, but at least it's a break in the routine of cleaning and then having dinner with friends from work.
So far I've found surgical masks, latex-free plastic gloves, and those paper hats that make doctors look like wannabe sailors.
I'm having trouble locating the shoe protectors though, and when I ask the sales ladies where they are, they lead me, cautiously, to the section of the store marked "expectant parents".
"Are you and your… partner expecting a baby, dear?" The eldest of the two women asks me.
I know that if I simply tell the truth that I'll probably be kicked out of the store for harassment or something, so I make up a wee fib on the spot.
"Oh, no, no, no. You see, I'm making homemade bread for the elderly shut-ins in my neighborhood because they are… Jewish! And they really prefer to have homemade challah for their Shabbat meals every Friday."
They look at me like maybe I'vee lost my ever loving mind, and I continue my story.
"I'm allergic to gluten though. You know, the stuff in the flour? I can't touch it or I could have a fatal allergic reaction. I've tried making them the gluten free kind, but it just isn't the same."
With concerned eyebrows they nod their heads, just a hair from simultaneously.
"Oh dear!" The younger of the two brushes what appear to be cookie crumbs off her hands, and then reaches for mine before thinking better of it.
Pointing the way instead, she takes me to a rack of full-body coveralls: all blue, and all humungous.
"We only carry Men's sizes, I'm afraid, since it's usually expectant fathers' who buy them, but I think one of these will do the trick."
The smallest suit they have is an XXL, and the corresponding shoe protectors are as giant as ogre feet.
"Thanks so much, ladies, for all your help. I'll be sure to tell Mrs. Moskowitz who it was who helped me make her bread wishes possible."
They both fidget strangely with their hands before giving me strained smiles as I back out the shop with my baking uniform in tow.
The grocery store is next, and I decide, since these edibles will be gifts, to hit up Whole Foods and get the fancy shit.
I only know how to make three basic things with bananas: bread, pie, and pudding. I realize as I review my mental grocery list that there are far too many food items I've alienated from my cooking simply because they remind me of bananas.
Once I think I've remembered everything, I pull my list out of my right back pocket to check. I like to test myself to see how long I can go before I have to whip it out again. My hand writing looks more and more like my Mother's the older I get, and there are things written down on my paper that I haven't willingly added to the cart since it was her I went grocery shopping with.
That jog down memory lane has me flying down the aisles. If I think back hard enough I can catch most of the ingredients my mother used when it was her turn to deal with the black bananas.
A dozen boxes of banana pudding plop into my basket, along with enough whipping cream to induce a heart-attack.
No wonder Charlie was such a plumper. I think to myself. He had to eat all the pies and pudding Mom made by himself!
With that in mind, I reign in my daydreamed recipe and opt for whole wheat flour and walnuts for my breads. I find organic Nilla wafers and deep dish frozen pie crusts and then I'm done. We've got a dozen eggs and a carton of whites at home, and a butt-ton of dead bananas waiting to be reincarnated.
The next morning I'm up at dawn to tackle my task. I figure the earlier I start the sooner I can be done.
The armor I bought at the medical place muffles my hearing though, and Edward stumbles from our bed hours before we are normally awake to make sure I'm all right.
"What the hell are you wearing, Bella?" He rubs his eyes, like he might be dreaming me in this get up.
I wave to him with my rubberized hand and sip my coffee.
"This is to keep the bananas from touching me. I thought it was pretty clever, actually." I smile to myself, crinkling the mask that hangs below my chin into an odd Santa beard.
Edward just looks at me for a minute, unable to think of anything to say when it's not truly even morning yet.
"Just… let me know if you need any help or something. I'm going back to bed."
I watch his rear as he shuffles away.
I wait my turn for the bathroom so I can pee one last time before I start cooking. When I see myself in the mirror Edward mumbles from under his pillow.
"What? I can't hear your with this hat thing on!" I poke my head into the bedroom as he sits up halfway in the covers.
"I said, you look like I Love Lucy 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. If I have nightmares about licorice squid monsters, I'm blaming you."
"You just go shut your trash can lid, Oscar the Grouch." I laugh, and blow him a kiss through my mask.
Now it's time to head back to ground zero.
I'm afraid to eat a real breakfast, knowing what I'll be doing all morning, so when I take the heaping helping of bananas out to thaw, I plop a scoop of ice cream into my second cup of coffee.
The way I rationalize it is that it's extra calcium, just like having milk with my cereal, except I won't dare touch things that require chewing right now.
The bread is up to bat first.
The most mushing and squishing is found in the directions for this particular recipe, so I desperately want it over with as fast as possible. I'm making a quadruple batch, and have to wear a clothespin on my nose, over the surgical mask, when I mash the 12 half-thawed bananas so I don't upchuck coffee into my mixing bowl.
I add the flour, the eggs, the baking soda, and the vanilla and slam the bread pans into the oven, holding my breath because this is just all too much all the sudden.
The heat from the pre-heated oven force feeds a whiff, a big bad whiff, into my lungs, and I huff and puff trying to escape it.
"Oh Shit!" I forgot to put in the sugar.
Clanging the baking rack entirely too loud, I pull it out and tump a ¼ cup of sugar into each dish, hoping the overly ripened fruit will be sweet enough as it is.
Edward comes stumbling from the bedroom again, his covers wrapped around him like a shawl.
"What happened? Why are you shitting?"
I laugh, because I am seriously close to shitting. This is disgusting and I'm only a third of the way done.
"I forgot the sugar?" I smile sweetly, but remember too late that he can't even see my mouth.
He shakes his head and gives me another Oscar the Grouch look, before stomping to the front door to bring in the morning paper.
If bananas and I are polar opposites, then Edward and his paper are drawn to each other like magnets. Sure, he could read the whole thing online, but he languishes with the thin, crispy foldedness of the daily news, delivered like it has been for decades, every morning.
I don't mind taking a break at all, and while I'm too terrified I'll burn the glop in the oven if I leave the kitchen, I can at least disrobe from the neck up and watch Edward for a while from my perch at the counter top.
His purposefully pale skin seems almost flush when backlit by the repetitive pattern of black and white ink. His bottom lip pushes out when he's really engrossed in something, making me want to bite it back into reality. Stressful news stories make his palms sweat, and when he removes his fingers to brush his bangs from his face, they leave a streak of grey on his nose, forehead, cheekbone.
Today, I decide to help him out with his facial faux-pas and slide up next to him at his stool.
"You have ink on your cheek." It takes no effort at all to pull the blue suit up and away from my body enough to wipe his face with it. "I'm sorry I woke you up."
He just looks at me, with the sleepiest puppy dog eyes, and I pull his head into my chest, giggling when his heavy breaths suck and pull at my germophobe gear.
"You still look ridiculous." He mumbles.
I push his face back up in front of mine and kiss his pouty lip.
"That's okay. You should be proud! This is the most effort I've put into an outfit since we met."
I yelp when he swats at my hiney, and cackle when he misses entirely, unable to judge the distance of my body's curves through my shapeless jumper.
There are still two dozen more bananas to deal with when the bread comes out of the oven.
Edward finishes his paper and leaves to go run. He wears all black, because anything else would go against his emo ethos, so he can only run in the mornings.
I decide the banana cream pies will be next, and honestly they're much less vomit inducing than the bread dough. The crusts have to blind bake, so I fill them with dry pinto beans to weigh down the bottoms.
God forbid I should mess something up, because I won't be going back to the store for these kind of rations any time soon.
While the outsides of the pies brown, I add sugar to an ungodly amount of whipping cream and fill both my kitchen-aide, set to medium, and my largest metal mixing bowl.
I'm double timing the cream, Mrs. Paul Bunyan verses the Mighty Mixer, and it peaks, firm and shiny, just as the crusts' buzzer rings.
"I am actually a pretty good baker." I announce to the dewy-skinned, droopy bananas.
With a fork, I quickly arrange and press a few bananas into the bottom of each pie plate, using the "The Faster They Run Out the Sooner I'm Done" philosophy.
The meringue takes quite a bit longer than the whipped cream did, but still turns out luscious and smooth.
I dollop half the cream into another bowl with three boxes of pudding and whisk it all together lightly, folding yellow over white, over yellow, until everything in one homogenous butter colored mass.
Divvied up into the three crusts, the pies are kinda beautiful, and I take the time to swirl the meringue into decorative mountains on top of each one.
I press my face to the oven door like those maniac women in the old Mervyn's commercials. My chant is "golden golden golden", instead of "open open open", but it's the same concept in my minds' eye.
The mountains brown perfectly, and though the end of my nose is a little on the burned side, I am tickled to death that the pies I pull out of the oven are my own creation.
The smell of the crust and the lightly sweetened cream slip through my closed off nostrils, and the aroma makes me light headed. I haven't had a stitch of real, hunger-reducing food yet today, and I remove my soiled gloves from my sweaty hands and revel in the cool water washing over them as I soap them up in the sink.
Even the scent of my mango hand soap is making me hungry, and so I risk a blemish on my bowl of wondrously whipped cream and swipe my finger through it.
The dollop is bigger than my mouth and I lick it off my lips ravenously just as Edward comes in, sweating and google-eyed at my sneaky snack. I am starving like Marvin in a bad episode of South Park.
"Mmmm… Can I taste some too?" He waltzes into the kitchen without even so much as wiping his hands as he reaches for the bowl.
"Uh uh uh!" I scootch the bowl behind my back protectively.
"You have to at least wash you hands, Edward. Do you really want to spread your sweaty germs all over the neighbor's food?" I make an icky face at him and he huffs over to the sink.
"With soap!" I holler, and I sound just like my mother, yelling at Charlie to wash the hoodlum-juice off his hands before dinner.
"You've been dealing with the scum of the city all day, Charlie: with soap."
I peck Edward on the cheek as his finger dips deep into the fluffy dairy delightfulness and bite my lips when he licks all but one smidgen of the cream off his lips.
"You saving that for later?" I move so I'm right in front of him, my crunchy clothes getting dangerously close to his damp running shirt.
"Uh huh." He breathes his sweet breath back into my mouth and kisses me, making sure not one part of our bodies touches but our lips.
When he pulls away to go shower, the exhaustion of being on my feet all morning overcomes me. My watch tells me it's past noon and my stomach growls, angry with emptiness.
Glancing around the kitchen, I try to spy something small and quickly edible, but my eyes land instead on the pile of mostly melted bananas and I decide I better wait until I'm completely done to eat.
I'm not taking off this spacesuit when there's still so very much mushy brown gunk in my kitchen.
Last but not least in the least, I try to work some kind of magic on the rest of the not-so-fresh fruits, and make them into a giant pan of banana pudding. It'll be enough to feed the whole neighborhood when I'm done, which I'll happily do if it means those other people will be banana buddies with Alice and Jasper.
I'm frantically famished by the time I fill the pan normally reserve for roasting my Thanksgiving turkey with layers of cream, cookies, and banana studded pudding. My mind is hazy from lack of nourishment, and in a moment of low blood sugar induced fear, I fill my favorite red-bird adorned coffee mug with banana pudding.
I honestly feel like I will die of starvation if I don't eat this mound of hatred. The pudding is so heavy that the space where my serving came from has already filled back in by itself in the pan. I cringe and set the cup back down, but my brain screams at me to just eat already and I inhale the dessert before I can think about what I've done.
Gasping for breath, I rip off all my hospital grade coverings, leaving them in a haphazard pile on the kitchen floor, and run to the bathroom to brush my teeth. When I taste blood, I know I should stop, but I keep rinsing with water until the sugar from my forbidden fruit starts to percolate through my brain.
Slowly, with a clearer head, I stand up and wipe my face with the washrag Edward left on the counter when he shaved. It smells like him and it soothes me. I'm still dizzy when I turn to leave the bathroom, and I know for sure in that moment, that I could have very well blacked out on Alice's front porch steps if I hadn't eaten some pudding.
My normal lunch of miso soup and a veggie wrap requires far more preparation than I care to put into anything else for the day, but it's necessary. I eat slowly, appreciating the life sustaining force of my food, and even the lifesaving properties of those nasty bananas.
Piling everything into cloth grocery bags, I haul my haul to Alice's house and leave it on the front steps with a note that says:
"Welcome to the neighborhood!
As the only non-geezers within a ten mile radius, I think we could be friends. Come by anytime, and we'll fix you all some dinner.
Thanks, Bella Cullen"
I drag my sore body back home and crawl into bed next to Edward who's already asleep. I need a nap.
Late in the morning the following Saturday, Alice knocks on the door. Edward has gone running, so it's just me at home and I'm happy to have the company.
"Knock, Knock." She says when I open the door. She gives me a look that begs me to play along, so I do.
"Orange who?" I ask, hoping so freaking much that there are no more unwanted bananas coming our way.
"Orange you glad I didn't bring bananas?" She rolls her eyes and wrinkles her nose a little.
"I'm no sick of the things I could go the rest of my life without eating one."
My heart smiles on the inside; I have a comrade in the Banana Wars.
When I welcome her in the house and she thrusts a large, steamy cup of the best smelling coffee I've ever sniffed into my hands.
"I can't cook to save my life, or Jasper's for that matter, and I've eaten more plain bananas than you can even imagine."
I doubt that very seriously, but I still feel sorry for her.
"What are you doing with them now then?" I can't stomach another marathon baking session, but I'll pass them out in our building if she needs me to.
"Now they're just falling off the tree like dead birds! I go outside to walk around and step in a banana bomb every three steps."
I can't help the involuntary gag that escapes my being, and Alice chuckles.
"Really though, Bella, everything you made for us was so good. Maybe you can come over some time and teach me to make those recipes? I'm a fantastic sous chef."
"Sure." I say before I can think of a reason not to. I will voluntarily have unprotected, public exposure to bananas if it means I can spend more time getting to know Alice.
"Yay!" She does a little victory dance in her seat and I giggle as I take the last swig of her delicious coffee.
"But only if you tell me where you get your coffee. This is the best I've tasted and I've scoured the regular grocery and Whole Foods for something better."
She gives me a devious grin, leans in close to me, and whispers, "The liquor store."
I am shocked and my mouth falls open. Coffee from the liquor store. Who would've thought?
"I didn't even know there was a coffee section there!"
She nods and finishes her cup.
"Next weekend then maybe? I can walk over and help you carry stuff, or you can text me a grocery list. Is that your phone?"
'Yeah, let me see yours too." We effortlessly add each other to the others life line and even hug, lightly, before she walks back home.
"She's magic." I say just to myself, dipping my finger into the mug she left behind to get the final drop of her potion before I wash it.
That night I'm still jacked up on Alice juice and fall into a strange sleep. In my dream, I'm walking through my old high school in my band uniform, complete with my ridiculous hat, when a familiar voice yells my name.
It's Mike Newton, only he doesn't have a face or a body. He's just a giant pair of tented pants, moving toward me rapidly.
Suddenly there is music behind me, and Jessica, Angela, Eric, and Edward are all there in full band nerd glory too.
Then the dancing begins. The Mike Crotch is undulating at me and my friends and Edward are doing weird, angry arm movements.
When my mouth opens and I start singing, I really should be surprised at what comes out, but dream-Me is so overwhelmed she doesn't get the humor.
"Uh Huh, this my shit! All the girls stomp your feet like this. A few times I've been around that track so it's not just gonna happen like that cuz I ain't no Holla Back Girl!"
My back-up crew echos the last line and then we all start dancing West Side Story-style at the Mike-Pants and the closer we get, the more the britches deflate.
We are conquering the erection monster!
When I realize the power I have, that I'm in control of this dream, I move straight to the banana portion of the chorus because this shit with Mike is truly bananas.
Why have I put up with it for so long? Why do I still even have that job?
"This shit is bananas! B A N A N A S!" I yell at the pants as loud as I can and startle my self awake.
Edward is laughing at me from under his pillow and I yank it off his head and beam at him.
"That is my new favorite song." I say proudly. I know I talk in my sleep, so singing isn't that far off the mark.
He snuggles into my tummy with his bed-head and his giggles jiggle my belly and I giggle too, until we fall back down in a pile of silly.
"Supah Ka-Wah-Ee." I whisper it in his ear before I bite the lobe, and he smacks my rear.
It's going to be a fantastic day.
He has ruined everything again.
Mike's eating an orange instead of a banana, peeling it slowly as the problem in his pants bobs slightly in my direction.
I dry heave all the way to the bathroom to rinse my face and when I inspect myself in the dingy mirror, a child stares back at me. My naked face, wet and flushed with embarrassment looks exactly like the pint-size me I wanted so much to outgrow when I was little.
I swipe the water off the tip of my nose and wrinkle my forehead to add years to my reflection but it doesn't help. I have the same hair, the same complexion, and the same phobias that I've had for as long as I can remember being me.
I haven't changed at all. In fact, I've worked, tirelessly, since the day I left the unwanted sameness of my parents house to create a life for myself that rarely changes.
The people in my life are good people for the most part, but my fears have kept me from opening myself up for too long. The fresh presence of Alice and Jasper in my life have been like a salve for my old wounds.
And the dream was trying to tell me something, right? I'm in control here, not Mike or his pants, or any one banana grown in any corner of the universe.
By the time Edward gets home I'm wading through a sea of orange peels. I've eaten half a dozen of them, and made a gallon of fresh orange juice. I turn off the blender, where I'm creating some kind of popsicle base, to explain my insanity.
"Mike was eating an orange today!" I don't give him time to respond.
" And I just wasn't going to stop eating oranges because he ruined them for me. They are lovely fruits, God Dammit!"
Edward doesn't really understand, but brushes my hair back anyway, freeing the small dew drops of orange that have gotten lost in the tangled, citrus strewn forrest of my hair.
"Do you need to go spend some time with Gussy?" It's an innocent question, and a situation I've been fighting since I got home from my orange expedition.
"No! I do not! I'm so tired of being a baby about everything, Edward! I'm a grown woman, for God's sake, and I can eat whatever I damn well please."
He backs up, and just stands there quietly as I bend over, clasping my hands on my knees to regain some kind of composure.
"I want to try something," I admit to the floor. "I need you to go to the store for me. It might take all night, but we're gonna do it!"
I stand up and kiss him firmly on the cheek before pulling a grocery list out of my juice-dampened pocket and shoving it into his.
"Are you ready to try?"
"No… Just…keep reading the paper a little longer."
Edward is nestled between my open knees, the outer edges of his newspaper tickling the tendons inside the bends of my legs.
The story he's reading is ridiculous: some fashion layout for a local college student, and I am busy giggling my nerves away in my birthday suit.
My legs are topsy-turvy like a see-saw. When Edward reads the right side, he unconsciously, or maybe quite intentionally, leans into my left leg, stretching it until I groan and he rights himself again.
My right leg is a mirror to it's pantsless partner, a teeter totter, falling sideways while I laugh like a little girl, waiting for Edward to finish his sentence and sit straight again.
Then, the most obvious and yet mood altering thing happens. Edward leans forward, to more accuratley express this lady's love of the tube top as a summer accessory, and his newspaper is suddenly damp in the middle.
I blush, madly, and try to close my legs but he stops me, letting all the want for him that has gathered at my center since he began reading, seep through.
"You're like silly puddy."
"What?" I feel dizzy. I need the paper to be removed so we can move forward with our plan. Yes, the paper had been on his grocery list, but there are other things coming.
"I can stretch you and pull you and when I press you into my paper, you leave a perfect impression."
He pulls my legs down, so they make a scissor-like barrier on either side of him to prove his point, then slowly, using only the heels of his hands on the tops of my feet, puts them back as they were; open, shaky, and revealing far too much for there to still be so much talking.
"Are you ready now?" He asks again. The shift has come and gone, the little girl giggles have hung up their apron and punched their time card for the day.
"Yeah." I close my eyes and take a deep breath.
"You have to look at me, the whole time, or it doesn't count."
I sigh heavily, and lazily bring my eyes up to his face. He's kneeling between my legs, peeling a banana. It's not fully ripened; we decided on that part together, so that the smell would be less intense.
When the peel's been tossed into the waste basket by the bed, I can't help but turn my head and grimace.
"Bella, I promise I'll throw it out when we're done. I won't leave it there to fester."
I run my hands through my hair and take a deep breath, calming myself and steadying my nerves for the sensory overload that's about to take place in my bed.
Edward sprawls out, eye level with the most delicate and, at the moment, desperate part of my body. He's so close I can feel his breath cooling the wetness that drenched his newspaper.
"Watch Bella. First bite."
I bite my own lips as he takes the top off the banana with his teeth, chewing it slowly, and smiling when he sees my chest heave.
His right hand moves to grab my thigh. It kneads my skin exactly where when clothed, the seem of my sensible cotton bikini undies sit.
He rubs there, thumbing so close to where I want his hands as he takes the second bite. He eats it too quickly, removing his fingers from my skin as soon as he's finished the morsel.
I moan and look at him grumpily.
"Oh, so now you want me to eat the banana in front of you. I see how it is."
His right hand is back, opening me for his eyes to devour and he nibbles small, insignificant pieces from the fruit he's holding. If his fingers slow down as they move higher and make my legs shake, then his mouth slows down too. Just the same, when he speeds up the mastication, his fingers move quickly, moving me closer to something that cares very little about what Edward's eating as long as he doesn't stop.
He must sense this, because he takes his hand away suddenly and my eyes pop open.
"You have to look at me, Bella. Don't close your eyes, no matter what. That was our deal, right?"
I nod my head and push my eyebrows together, trying to hold his gaze and be still.
He's got one bite left, and as soon as it's in his mouth his fingers are in me. First one, then two, curved and firm like that shape I'm repulsed by, and my body pulses out its tender beat as my mind finally gives up the fight.
"Let me see you."
Edward looks shocked, but I have to see him, naked and ready for me.
On a normal night, when we stumble into an evening of touching and playing, I have to go sit in Gussy after I finish the first time.
Up until tonight I haven't been able to handle the awareness that a part of Edward, so hard and deliciously curved, can push into my most sensitive places.
My mind would be invaded with images of Mike in the break room, eating his damned banana, and the peels flying at me like angry birds, but tonight is different.
I'd eaten a fucking full portion of banana pudding, and I'd just had my mind blown, literally, by Edward's hand as he ate a banana between my legs.
Before the pudding emergency, before our indecent banana incident, I couldn't even touch Edward if he was hard. We had to take a break, me in Gussy and him in a cold shower, so that I could witness the slow change of his cock from lazy to lusty.
"Let me see you please! No Gussy this time, I want this, please come here."
Slowly, he moves his hands to prop himself up on either side of my hips, and pulls his knees forward until he can sit back and let me relish him in full desire.
It's all I can say.
It's what I want.
He leans down over me, matching up our bodies and aligning himself with me in a way I never thought I'd be prepared for.
Nuzzling my boobs, he looks up at me with a silly smile on his face.
"What?" I ask.
"I love to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas!" He keeps singing that ridiculous song into my neck and chest, changing the vowels every few words until nothing he says makes sense, then he pushes into me and shut us both up.
"Oh God." My eyes roll back in my head and he eases into me further.
"You have to watch the whole time, Bella, or it doesn't count."
I open my eyes and glare at him.
"And tomorrow? I'm buying you a new car."
I can't say anything else because he kisses me then.
Banana by osmosis through Edward's tongue is delicious. He kisses me so deeply it permeates even my deepest thoughts, and while I might never willingly choose to eat a banana, I don't give a fuck if he does anymore.
My truck has sentimental value, but the harder I push past the overwhelming lip and tongue invasion of my soul, the more each and every one of my nerve endings is lusted into submission.
I have to say good bye to Gussy eventually though, because my body and my mind are in full agreement with my heart that what we've just experienced is not something you go backward with. Like riding a bicycle, I plan to have Edward as a full-on event every time from now on.
I never had a pacifier as a child, and I don't need a giant rusty cage to trap myself in now. I have better things and thoughts to put in my mouth. I'm sure that even Christopher Robin gave up his Pooh Bear eventually, even just to put him on a shelf.
Her license plate will be mine to keep forever, but after tonight, I've been un-Gussied.