Attention Hard readers: I'm getting back into Hard this coming week, and I'm SO excited to get writing again. We are finally moved and settling in to the new place, so I should have more time. For now, this is a little something I dreamed up on vacation last month. I hope you like it.
I let myself in the front door after realizing no one will hear me knock, and my senses are immediately overwhelmed. Some hip, new rap song blasts from the stereo in the corner so loudly that I can feel the bass thump in my chest. I inhale beer, booze and cologne with every breath, nearly gagging over the taste of the latter. The room is dimly lit, so my eyes strain to make out the figures around me, but I eventually recognize them all. The prettiest of the pretty people at the University of Washington are here. Why am I again?
And then I see him. He's leaning against a wall in the hallway between the dim living room and the brightly fluorescent-lit kitchen, and the glow from behind his head makes him seem almost otherworldly. His sandy brown hair shines – I love that he grew it out some this summer – and he's wearing the best of the new pairs of jeans I helped him pick out when we all went shopping for new college clothes. I itch to make my way over to his side and say hello, but I take a cautious glance around the room first. Before I can take a step closer, I'm grabbed from behind, pulled into a bear hug and feel lips graze my neck. Cringing, I twist gently from the long fingers grasping my waist.
"Hey babe! I'm so glad you decided to come after all. This party is gonna be great," Edward yells over the music. "Let me grab you a beer!"
I duck my head and nod as he walks off toward the keg in the kitchen, only glancing back in his direction after I'm sure Edward won't turn around and see me.
He's looking at me as he takes a sip from his red plastic cup, and I duck my head again, caught off guard by his gaze. I shift uncomfortably in my red flats and tug down on my short denim skirt. I hate skirts. What the fuck was I thinking with this outfit? When I find the courage to look up, he's talking to some girl I don't recognize, but before I can analyze her appearance too much, Edward returns with a beer.
"Thanks, sweetie." I take the beer from him and sip slowly.
"No problem. Like I said, this party is gonna be the best. Ever." As he speaks, he tosses his arm over my shoulders and pulls me toward the hallway. My palms prickle with sweat, but I try to keep the tension out of my shoulders so Edward won't notice.
"Riley! Look who decided to show up after all," Edward calls out.
He turns from the girl – I've now decided she's a total skank – and grins, looking me up and down with a piercing blue gaze.
"Well, well, well. I guess the party can start now." He's teasing, and I can't help but blush a bit.
"Right? I'm totally the kind of party girl they needed around here." I roll my eyes, taking note that the girl he was chatting up has lost interest and wandered into the kitchen.
"Exactly. And look at you wearing a skirt. It's almost a day to commemorate with those legs on display."
His voice is smooth, and I close my eyes briefly, letting it wash over me, but then Edward squeezes me closer to him, kissing my forehead.
"Don't let Ri get to you. He's just jealous his legs don't look that good." He lets me go as I giggle at his words and moves to lean against the wall next to Riley. Then the three of us just stand there for a minute, an awkward triangle of beer and stares.
I drain my cup, shake it at them both and head toward the keg. It's going to be a long night.
After mingling with the crowd and making small talk with a few people I recognize from class, I find Edward in a corner of the kitchen. As I pull up a folding chair next to him, I follow his gaze and realize he's been watching Riley, who is talking in the opposite corner with the same girl as earlier. Guess she didn't lose interest after all, I think with a huff.
"You think he's into her?" I ask Edward, trying to sound casual.
"Nah. I mean, I guess he could be, but I doubt it." Edward doesn't break his stare but continues to explain his rationale. "See how she's leaning toward him, but he's just standing against the wall? And he's holding his beer with the hand closest to her so there's no chance of touching her arm in a flirty gesture? Nope. Not interested."
"Guess you've got it all figured out then." I giggle nervously, kind of weirded out at how well Edward has read Riley. Has he read me that easily in the past? God, I hope not.
He finally looks over at me, and I try to hold his gaze.
"He's not as bad of a guy as he used to be, B. I know you always had a thing for him back in high school, but he was too much of a player. I think he's different now. He's … I dunno. Nicer, I guess."
"Hmm. Yeah maybe," I whisper and glance up just in time to see skank girl toss her hair and walk away from Riley. Edward must have been right. I try to hide a satisfied smirk, take Edward's empty cup and make a return trip to the keg.
I don't even really remember my life without Edward being a part of it. We spent the better part of grade school and middle school arguing over whether Star Trek or Star Wars was better. Then in high school, we moved on to whether Angela or Ben was the hotter half of their (very popular, very PDA-filled) relationship. I insisted on Angela, but Edward always said Ben had more peers swooning over him.
Riley went to the same school as Edward and I all our lives. However, he wasn't exactly part of our group of friends. Riley always went for the older girls, usually the ones in short skirts with a lot of makeup that you were pretty sure were slutty. He was a total player if the rumor mill was to be believed.
Toward the end of senior year, the people that were going to the same schools all started talking more often, excited to have a bond beyond graduation. Riley and I (along with several others because it's so close to home) declared the University of Washington early on, but Edward didn't choose it as his school until much later. He had been accepted to several universities on the East coast, so when he chose UW, I was excited but cautious. We had a long conversation the night after he announced his choice about how I didn't want to hold him back from greatness or whatever, but he stood firm. He was going to the same school as me, and that was final.
So, Edward, Riley and I gradually hung out more and more together over the summer, planning and prepping for how awesome college was going to be. We went clothes and dorm supply shopping together, and our parents moved us all up in a caravan, got us settled and said their goodbyes. It's only been about three weeks, but we all love it.
And now, here we are. Our first keg party. I'm well on my way to a good buzz, drinking my third beer as I try to find Edward to return his own full cup. I finally find him and Riley standing in the hallway, heads bent together talking. It looks like they might be arguing about something, but I'm not sure. I weave somewhat unsteadily toward them through the crowd, and right as I reach the hallway, I stumble and nearly lose my beer, but Riley catches me by the arm just before I fall.
"Easy there, Bella. Have you had too much to drink already?" His hand on my elbow feels like fire and ice at the same time, and it takes all of my concentration to respond.
"Yes, I mean, no! I've had a few. I might be buzzed." I giggle as I trail off, wanting to bask in how good his hand feels, but I can feel Edward's eyes on me, so I gently pull my arm from his grasp.
"Are you two okay? You looked like you were having a discussion that was way too serious for a party." I glance at Edward, trying to interpret the look of irritation on his face.
Riley clears his throat and glances at Edward. "Of course. We're fine. We were just talking about that bio class you and I have together. There are some projects coming up, and I was telling Edward that you and I are lab partners."
"Oh yeah. We should work on that one project soon. I think it's due in two weeks, right?" From the corner of my eye, I can see Edward's face grimace, his lips pressed into a thin line, so I change the subject. "But, hey, we can talk about that Monday. You guys are too sober. Let's go do a shot!" I grab Edward by the hand, expecting Riley to follow, and drag him in to the kitchen counter, which is lined with bottles.
"Tequila or vodka?" I call over my shoulder.
"Depends," Edward replies. "Are there limes and salt or lemons and sugar?"
"Umm … looks like all of the above."
"Lemon drops it is!" Riley squeezes in between Edward and me, wasting no time in unscrewing a bottle of cheap vodka and pouring three shots. I distribute lemon slices to each of us before I grab the sugar and Edward's wrist, lick it and sprinkle on a pile, then do the same with Riley's and my own. I glance up before toasting them, and they are both staring at my lips. Riley is even licking his own. I try not to blush, but I can't help but feel butterflies in my stomach knowing I caused them to react that way.
They both snap out of their trance and clink glasses with me before we all lick sugar, swallow the vodka and suck on the lemons.
"Ahh," Edward says. "Those are so good. Another!"
We repeat the process twice, once with Riley prepping the shots, and then with Edward doing it. I'm pretty sure watching them lick my wrist and then each other's has made me horny. I can't stop looking at their lips and then licking my own. Maybe I need to slow down.
"Enough. I want to be drunk, not wasted," I say, before turning to weave back through the living room. I notice a small loveseat empty in one corner and plop down right in the middle of it, then immediately feel the cushions give on either side of me. Edward and Riley have followed me, and we're now all nice and cozy on a seat made for only two.
"So. Any hot girls in any of your classes so far?" I try to make small talk while the vodka buzz settles in.
Edward snickers and takes a swallow of beer. "Please. They're all either total hippies that didn't want to leave the Northwest, or they're spoiled daddy's girls from the East pretending to rough it out here. There are no nice, normal girls like you."
"Now, Edward. Just because they're all cliché doesn't mean they aren't hot." Riley chuckles. "Although, you're right. None of them have anything on our Bella." He throws his arm across the back of the loveseat behind me, casually brushing my hair and neck, and I grow hot from both his words and actions.
"Whatever, guys. What about that one girl in our dorm? Rosalie? Rose? She's so hot, right?"
"Yeah sure. So hot and so taken. Her boyfriend, Emmett, is on the football team," Edward explains.
"Oh, I had no idea. Well … I'm sure there are lots of normal girls here. I mean, look at that girl over there. She's cute." I point discreetly across the room while they exchange a strange glance across my line of vision.
Just then, Edward's cell rings in his pocket, he digs it out and jumps up to answer it.
"Alice," he says. "Be back in a bit, guys."
As he heads for the front door, I roll my eyes at Riley. Alice is Edward's younger sister. She looks up to Edward (a little too much in my only child opinion) and calls him every time something tragic happens in her life. I'm sure she got the wrong color manicure or her boyfriend Jasper called her cheerleading friends snobs or something else desperately important.
"Well, he'll be awhile. Let's go grab another beer." I grab Riley's hand and pull him off the couch, tugging him behind me toward the kitchen again.
"Hey, don't you think you should slow down a bit?" As I glance over my shoulder, I notice a hint of concern in Riley's eyes. "I mean, I don't want to be the one holding your hair while you puke later. Just saying."
"Don't you worry. If you're in my dorm room later, it won't be to hold my hair back." Fuck. Me. Did I just say that out loud? Maybe I have had a bit too much to drink. "I mean, I was just saying that … shit." My head is too fuzzy to find my way out of this one.
"I'm pretty sure I know what you were saying, Bella." I had dropped Riley's hand after we arrived in the kitchen, but now he reaches for mine again and squeezes it slightly. I swallow hard and turn to the keg, pulling my hand from his to pour us some beer and calm my heart rate.
"We could get out of here, you know. Just you and me," he whispers.
Wait. What is he saying? Surely he doesn't mean what I think he means. I mean, I'm not even sure what I want him to mean, but … oh fuck. I know exactly what he means. I pause, pretending to stir the foam on top of my beer with my finger to buy myself some time before turning back around. What the fuck do I do? What about Edward? Riley is essentially offering up the one thing I've fantasized about for years now, but I know it would hurt Edward in the process. Shit.
"Stop it, Bella. You over think everything." Riley has stepped up behind me, and I can feel his chest at my back, his lips tickling my ear as he speaks. "Just … stop. Come with me. Please."
He reaches around me to set my beer on the counter next to his own, and when he grabs my hand, I don't hesitate. I turn around, take a deep breath and follow him. We wind back through the living room, and when I think we're heading toward the front door, I nearly lose my resolve.
"Wait. Riley, I don't know about this." I tug his hand until he turns toward me and search his face, my heart pounding frantically in my chest.
"Bella, I've wanted this for so long. Don't tell me you haven't," he pleads. "Just come upstairs with me. We can stop any time you want." He heads for the stairs, and I follow. I mean, even Edward says Riley has changed. Maybe now is the time to find out for sure.
After trying a few doors along the hall, we find an empty bedroom, and Riley wastes no time. He turns to me, pulls me flush against him, and kisses me - really kisses me. It's smooth but a little rough, easy yet so hard, long but way too short. It's so good. I let my tongue tangle with his and lose myself in the moment.
Riley pulls away from my mouth only to begin trailing kisses up and down the right side of my neck, and I moan. He's making me tingle all over, and I grip his hips sharply, pulling him as close to me as possible.
"Fuck, Bella. You have no idea." Riley groans as he lets one hand slide underneath my shirt hem. His fingertips trail across my abdomen, circling my belly button before gently drifting upward. "No idea how long I've imagined this."
"Me too?" I squeak out. It comes out like a question. I sound like a moron so I clear my throat and concentrate. "I want this. I do. I want you … fuck."
Riley's lips are otherwise occupied at my neck, but he mumbles something affirmative and continues. After only a few seconds, my shirt and bra are on the floor and I'm arching my back, thrusting my chest into his hands while panting in sharp rapid breaths.
"Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck, Riley. That feels amazing."
"I hope so, baby. That's the point. Now, keep talking. You're making me so turned on. Jesus." Riley smiles at me, then lowers his mouth to my nipple, sucking before gently nibbling. I respond with a few soft moans and a series of 'fuck's and 'oh my God's, when he stops abruptly.
"Can we get on the bed? I want to feel you underneath me."
With a nod, I let Riley lead me to some stranger's bed, and one last glimmer of doubt tries to make an appearance in my lust-filled mind. Slightly buzzed at a keg party in a stranger's house? Is this really how I want this to happen? But if I don't let it happen, will another chance ever present itself? No. I know this opportunity won't present itself again so I firmly and eagerly hop on the bed, grinning at Riley and telling him to take his shirt off before he joins me.
In just moments, we're both naked. Well, Riley's naked. I still have my skirt on. He pulled my underwear off from under it and never bothered removing the skirt. Fine by me. He's kissing me everywhere, touching me in all the places he can't reach with his kisses, and I'm moaning like a cat in heat. I'm sure it's very attractive. But I want more. I want all of him.
"Hey, do you have a condom?" I ask, rubbing up and down his arm slowly.
"I do. Just a sec." Riley leans over the side of the bed to find his jeans and comes back to hover over me with a foil packet in hand. "You wanna do the honors?"
"No thanks. Just fuck me already." Part of me wants to prolong the foreplay, but the rest of me is afraid if we put it off too long, sex isn't really going to happen.
"Bella, Bella. Somebody's a little impatient," he says with a smirk, tearing open the package and rolling the condom down his length.
As Riley lowers his body closer to my own, I reach down, guiding him to my entrance. I feel the tip of him press against me, rubbing gently from my clit down lower, finally entering me.
"Fuck." I hiss at the contact, closing my eyes with pleasure as he begins to move inside of me.
I raise my hips to meet his own and reach to pull his face down to mine, kissing him with a passion I haven't felt before.
"So amazing. That feels so fucking good, Bella. Jesus." He picks up the pace, reaching a hand down to massage my clit in rhythm with his thrusts. "Do you like that? Does that feel good, baby?"
"Yes. So good. Harder. Fuck me harder. Please, Riley." He begins to pump in earnest, throwing his head back and grunting a bit with the effort.
I feel the pleasure building and know I'm seconds from my release when he speaks again.
"Shit, Bella. I don't think I can last much longer. Fuck … so good."
In a matter of seconds, we fall over the edge together. I shudder and shriek like never before, and he moans and pulses inside of me. Riley collapses on top of me, trying to hold his weight up with trembling biceps, and I wrap my arms around his torso, feeling the rapid tempo of his heartbeat against my own.
"That was incredible. Un-fucking-believable." I ramble, trying to prevent things from becoming awkward in the aftermath, but he just rolls to his back next to me, pulling me over to rest on his chest.
"I know, right? That's been way too long in coming," he whispers, still trying to catch his breath.
After only a split second of silence, the bedroom door handle jiggles. Riley and I freeze and stare at each other for a moment, a look of terror written on both our faces.
"Did you lock the door?" We ask each other at the exact same time.
"Shit," I yell and shove off of Riley, pulling the sheet up around my chest.
"Hey Ri, someone said they saw you come up … wait. Bella? What the fuck?" Edward looks from me to Riley and back again before turning to run back down the hall. Without a second thought, I jump off the bed and grab my shirt from the floor.
"Edward? Edward, wait!" I scream, running after him as I tug the shirt on over my head.
"Fuck! I can't fucking believe this," he's yelling, as he runs down the stairs and out the door onto the front lawn. He stops and hunches over, hands up to his face, and I catch up to him.
"Edward? Edward, I'm so sorry. You have to believe me." Tears have begun to stream down my face as guilt seeps into my gut.
I reach up to touch his shoulder just as he swings around to face me, but he can't make eye contact. He's silently sobbing, and his arms and hands are trembling. Several long seconds tick by, my stomach a swirling pit of despair, and I have to break the silence. I'll die if I don't.
"Please say something, Edward. Anything. I said I'm sorry …" I trail off as he finally, slowly, looks up to meet my gaze.
"You don't understand, Bella. We've been seeing each other for two years." Sobs wrack Edward's entire frame as he tries to get out the final words of his short, heart-wrenching speech. "He said he loved me."
Thanks to MeteorMuse for betaing and to sadtomato for being a total comma slut and for telling me this wasn't complete shit. Xox