Close To The Pin
Disclaimer: All Twilight related characters belong to S. Meyer.
Summary: Edward is an easy-going caddy at Pebble Beach. When he's assigned to caddy for stone-faced pro golfer Isabella Swan, his life gets flipped upside down. Will they form an unlikely team or will she fire him before the weekend is over? E/B AH AU
Chapter Song – Michicant, Bon Iver
Most of my friends didn't believe me when I said how little I noticed the rich people at the golf club. Especially since we're talking about rich, rich people, not just rich people. They thought I was lying or covering for them, but really I didn't notice.
It was a self-preservation thing.
If I did notice, I'd be envious of the cars and clothes and girlfriends. I'd admire the thousands of dollars worth of brand new Callaway clubs and golf bags that traversed the course each day. I'd daydream about the houses they owned along the coastline with three stories, four car garages, private beaches and putting greens. That certainly wasn't the kind of guy that I was.
I was more of an apartment in Pacific Grove, chowder on Cannery Row, weekend skim boarding on the very public beach kind of guy.
Instead, I focused on the miles of rolling, pruned green grass that spanned over the black rocky cliffs of the California coast. I admired the turquoise water as it crashed against the cliffs below. I looked for the dolphins riding the waves from the kelp forests to the shore. I watched the cypress trees sway back and forth as the swift coastal breeze beat against them until they were practically driftwood.
I admired all of this gladly and without a second thought and yet my friends still didn't believe me. It all came down to the same phrase…
"But it's Pebble Beach, Edward."
Yes. It was Pebble Beach, the overpriced, ridiculously beautiful, overly snobby golf club that had been around for over a century. It attracted golfers from all over the world and dared them to try to score par on the near impossible course.
Maybe I wanted to see more in people than their bank accounts and wallets. I wanted to watch them golf and observe their skill. I wanted to see how the breath always left their lungs when they gazed out over the water on a clear, sunny day. In most cases, these reactions wiped every snobby, pretentious air off the guests' bodies and left them clean, humble and happy.
Most, not all.
Eventually, my friends would stop asking about the Ferraris in the parking lot or the Chanel bags in the lost and found and let me buy them dinner at the lodge, but the questions would always come back every now and then.
They would resurface on weekends like this, when the LPGA was taking over the whole property for a tournament. Spectators were filing in by the busload to secure a spot on the 18th green to see the winning putt. The hubbub floated above the crowd and buzzed over their heads like flies in the sun.
Who's playing? Anyone famous? Is Tiger Woods going to be there?
No matter the event, I did my work and I did it gladly. So now I was driving around the course, checking to make sure the ball-washers were filled, the cleat brushes were presentable and the tee boxes were free of stray twigs and leaves. To be honest, this was some of my favorite work. The sun was shining, the grass was brilliantly green and there was no one on the course.
I was a simple man, I had simple pleasures and I appreciated true beauty.
Call me a sap if you wanted, but I called myself a golfer.
A true lover of the game and all it entailed.
That's why I still worked here - part time caddy, part time bartender, part time groundskeeper – and they kept me on. I worked hard, never complained, and did a damn good job.
I pulled the cart over on the cart path and looked to my right where the spray from the sea was wafting slowly over the green. A hundred feet below, a mass of brown-green kelp bobbed up and down in the surf. I could see the slick, black bodies of the sea otters smacking shells against their bellies. The sky was clear today, traces of fog burning off early in the morning. From here you could see Carmel Beach and it's pristine white sand. There weren't many people out this early but I could see a few specks in the distance walking their dogs or taking a morning stroll. The wind whistled past my ears, stinging my cheeks and lips with the briny air.
I loved this place. It was no secret and that's what I told my friends when their nagging finally worked under my skin.
"Wardooooo!" A familiar voice bellowed my absurd nickname from behind me, and I halted my morose train of thought. I tore my eyes from the beach across the bay and looked behind me to see Emmett McCarty's golf cart barreling towards mine. He screeched to a stop beside me and waggled an eyebrow. "Are you finished?"
"I did one through nine. If you did ten through eighteen then we're finished." I answered, eyeing his smug grin skeptically. Emmett was never the first to finish his work.
His smile faltered. "Right, about that–"
"Emmett, you had one job this morning," I groaned, flipping the key to my cart to power it back on.
He grinned and threw up his hands in a pathetic shrug. "There were these girls walking on the tenth and they needed directions. I showed them the way then I felt stupid going back."
I groaned loudly. "Fine, let's go." I zoomed off before he could say a word and I heard his cackling laughter as he followed behind.
"I'd go with the seven."
It took me a moment before I registered his voice. I was staring intently at a cypress tree that gripped tightly to the edge of the cliff. For some reason I felt akin to it.
"What?" I said finally, shaking my head. The sun was bright and hot on my skin and the heat was making my thoughts stray.
"Go with the seven," he said again.
I glanced quickly from where we were standing in the fairway to the flat plateau of the green a couple hundred yards away. I shielded my eyes from the sun as I squinted at the flickering, checkered flag that marked the hole. "Iron?"
Jake shot me a look that I knew all too well. It was his, "Seriously, Bella?" look and I hated it.
"Seven iron," I repeated affirmatively, taking the club from his hands and inspecting the lie of my ball again. It didn't seem like the club would be enough. There were still too many yards to the pin.
Frankly, arguing about this seven iron was the least of my worries. I'd been fighting with Jake this whole trip and I'd stopped trusting his judgment on the fifth hole. That was a bad way to think about your caddy and an even worse way to think about your boyfriend.
That was six holes ago and my lead was slowly dwindling. Not that it was Jake's fault. Not all his fault anyway. My head wasn't in the game either. The fight we'd had last night had me all twisted in knots.
"Why am I even here, Bella? You know this is never going to go anywhere!" he shouted, throwing his hands in the air as he paced the foot of our bed in the hotel.
"What? You have to be joking." I shot back, eyes wide.
"You think I am but I'm not. Think about it. Why are you with me? I'm only playing a part. It makes you look like a regular woman in her mid-twenties if you have a doting boyfriend at your side, and here I am. It's an even bigger bonus that I'm on the course with you each day. Like we're some sort of team."
I stared back at him with my mouth hanging open. "Jake..."
He didn't stop pacing. "It was fun at first but now it's just getting ridiculous. We've never been a team and you know it. You play your part and I play mine."
I glared at him. "How dare you! We've been together for three years and you still think that?"
"I know that, Bella."
He was right. It seemed like everyone else was right about me except for me. I'd gotten so locked up in this game that I'd lost sight of true values in life. People, love, happiness. They meant nothing unless I was on the leader board. They meant nothing if I got the ten grand prize and not the ten million.
I'd been on the cover of Sports Illustrated and had my own Wheaties box. It wasn't as exciting as everyone made it out to be. Getting recognized in grocery stores and magazine stands was more of an annoyance than anything. It only isolated me more from my peers. Not that my quiet, focused attitude didn't do that already. I was "stuck up." I wasn't shy or determined. No. I was a snobby bitch who needed to win to be happy.
I justified my life by saying that it was probably like that for most professional athletes. Right?
I sighed heavily and walked away from Jake and back to my ball where it sat alone in the infinite sea of manicured, close-clipped grass. Most of the time I felt like the stupid little dimpled ball was my only true companion for the day.
I suspect a lot of athletes felt that way too.
My feet spread out to match the width of my shoulders and I felt comforted as my cleats sunk into the sod. I gripped the club lightly in my hands and settled it down beside the ball. The ridged surface of the face of the club reflected the sun into my eyes and I welcomed the flash of pain. A dull reminder of reality.
At that moment I knew the seven iron wasn't enough to get me to the pin and suddenly I didn't care. I swung back and through the ball in one, fluid motion. I watched as the club lifted the ball into the air and propelled it over the fairway to the edge of the green where it bounced, spun back and rolled into the bunker that waited there.
Normally, I would have felt the sour anger eating away at my insides. I would have bitten my tongue and tried my best not to lash out at Jake for making a bullshit judgment call that could have cost me the tournament.
But not today.
Today we both knew this was about more than a round of golf.
I ripped the glove off my right hand and shoved it into the pocket of my Bermuda shorts. I felt Jake approaching behind me and heard the rhythmic clattering of my clubs on his back. I held out my seven iron and felt him lift it from my fingers.
He felt guilty. I knew it but I didn't care. This was about so much more than golf now. This was about the false security I felt when he was around. It was about how I felt that having a boyfriend made me more of a human than I would be without one. Mostly it was about how I didn't know who I was anymore and he wasn't helping.
I turned to face him and our eyes met. A long time ago looking into his dark, almost black eyes used to make me happy. Having him on the course with me used to make golf fun. Now nothing did.
"You're fired." I said evenly. No hint of anger, no hint of remorse. Just words. It was all business.
Hurt flickered over his face for just a moment before he nodded and lifted the bag off of his shoulder to hand to me. "I'll call the clubhouse to arrange a substitute caddy for the day," he said stoically. "You'll have to hire one tomorrow though."
His business-like tone made me wonder if he'd been anticipating this all day. I nodded and slung my bag over my shoulders. "Thanks."
Jake cleared his throat and we stood facing each other for another beat. On the course during a tournament wasn't the most ideal place to break up with one's boyfriend, but what was I supposed to do? Hugging wasn't really my thing and the television crews would pick up anything overly emotional. Instead, he lifted his hand and waved. "See ya Bells." Jake turned and walked away but my name off his lips – that name – reminded me of more than our past. It reminded me of my past and it hit me like a ton of bricks on my chest.
Bells, the mousy, bookish girl from Forks, Washington. She lived in a rickety, white house with her dad Charlie, the local Chief of Police. She spent the weekends at the reservation with her best friend Jake and his gang. They dove off cliffs into the surf, drank beer on the beach and told ghost stories in the dark.
No golf. No money. No fame.
That was a long time ago.
The applause that surrounded me reminded me of where I was and what I had to do. My partner had finished her play and the gallery was moving along the fairway to the green. I lifted my sand wedge out of my bag and walked towards the bunker at the foot of the green.
I looked down into the pit of freshly combed sand and eyed the tiny white ball in the center.
"It's just you and me now," I muttered, propping my bag on the grass.
The sun blazed on the back of my neck as I lined up my shot and the only thought in my head was, if I made it close to the pin I'd still only have a bogey.
A/N: Well helloooo there! So this is random, right? I want to welcome all of you to Caddyward and ProBella's story. I hope you enjoy it. It won't be long, only seven chapters and I'll update every day for a week. It will be a fun little love story in one of my favorite places on earth. To see some images of Pebble Beach, you can visit my profile.
I want to thank Debb24601 for going golfing that one day and Abinar for riffing with me on what the Brit Pack would do if they golfed. Those ideas will come into play later. :)
A big thanks, as always to my pre-reader Dom and my beta Aussiegirl101. I would never be able to do this without you.
See y'all next week!