The Last to Know
By kyla713 & ericastwilight
AN: This is a collab written with kyla713 for the Fandom4LLS compilation. We had fun writing this one. Enjoy!
Summary: Have you ever woken up hung over, in bed with your best friend? No? Neither have Bella and Edward. Written for Fandom4LLS. Rated M for language.
It should've been like any other morning. There was the pounding headache, the fierce dragon breath that often plagued Edward's mouth after drinking all night and the fleeting memories of the evening before. Yes, it should've been like all the mornings since he started his vacation late Friday afternoon. Except that it was Monday and there was something tucked warm against his crotch.
Without opening his eyes, Edward thought back to the night before. There was a lot of celebrating during the party thrown by him and his sister, Alice, for their parent's twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Everyone was in attendance. His cousin, Emmett, with his wife, Rosalie, his Uncle Davis and Aunt Ruby, his best friends, Jasper and Bella Swan, and his dad's best friend, Charlie Swan.
He remembered his first trip to the bar, and even his fifth. After that, everything became fuzzy. Bella had stuck like glue to Edward all evening, which he appreciated since he was generally antisocial and even worse with women. His one and only actual relationship was a testament to that.
Which made him think, how the hell am I in bed with a woman? Thankfully, it was quite obvious that he was clinging to a woman, since his hand was filled with a nice, soft breast. Had Emmett pushed Edward into get laid as he had often threatened?
Edward seriously hoped he hadn't. It was some sort of unwritten rule that he'd forged, never to flaunt his dates in front of his best friend. Not that he had many. He could count the number of women he'd even dated on one hand. However, they never developed into anything substantial as a relationship, as it seemed that any potential date material Edward would bring around seemed to take an instant dislike to Bella.
And with him, if they couldn't get along with his best friend, then it was time to send them packing. It often seemed that Bella had the same affliction, attracting the worst damn people. A few assholes in particular came to mind, Edward thought bitterly. He shifted silently, trying to ignore the throbbing in his head that beat to one of Queen's Greatest Hits.
"Ow. Ow! Edward," the warm body beside Edward grumbled. "I think my head is currently serving as the bass drum for Metallica."
Edward immediately tensed because he recognized that voice. It was one that was almost as familiar to him as his own, even at that hour of the morning. He'd even heard it complain about him being a bed hog on more than one occasion, as had the scent of her hair surrounding his face as he curled up against her back in that small twin bed at home.
But not while on vacation with their families, and never without any clothing between them. His head pounded with his movement as he slowly began lifting his hand from her breast, resting it on her shoulder instead. He had a feeling that Bella was unaware at that moment of where his hand was, as he knew they'd never survive the embarrassment if she did. "Uh...Bella?"
Bella groaned and pulled the blankets tighter to her chest. "Quit yelling. What part of 'bass drum' did you not understand?" Surprised to find her remarkably articulate, Edward assumed she wasn't as hung over as he felt. Then again, the memory of a shot glass contest between them came to mind. Bella was a lightweight like he was.
Edward's breaths were coming in short bursts as he stared at his hand on her shoulder in surprise. "I'm not yelling." If he was, his head would've exploded. "But I think you need to wake up, considering where your ass is and the fact that I am wearing a ring." Even though they'd been in that position many times, it did not diminish Edward's reaction to her proximity.
Bella's eyes flew open, despite their protest against the light coming into the room, and she froze. She scooted herself a couple inches away from him, turning her head slowly to look at him and bringing her hand to her mouth in shock. Her best friend was lying beside her bare-chested, as she didn't dare look any lower, and was indeed wearing a plain, silver band around a very significant finger. She closed her eyes, bringing her other hand up in front of her and took a deep breath before opening them again. "Oh no, no, no. How... what... how?"
"Three questions I'm currently asking as well," Edward replied, rolling onto his back and driving his hands into his hair. "What did we do last night?"
Before Bella could even begin to formulate a response, if there was one, her door burst open and a frantic looking Jasper appeared in the room. "Bella, what's the..." he trailed off, his features shifting from concern, to confusion, to anger in the blink of an eye. "What the hell are you doing in bed with my sister?"
Bella sat up quickly with wide eyes, pulling the sheet up more to shield herself from her already enraged brother. "Jasper, haven't you ever heard of knocking?" Bella knew it made her a bit of hypocrite, considering she had the same reaction when she found him and Alice in a similar situation the previous year. But her brother was in her room while she was naked, so she felt the right to be angry at his intrusion.
Jasper's gaze remained locked on Edward, who had slid up the bed as well. However, the sheet fell across his lap, making it obvious that he was in fact half-naked, at least from where Jasper stood. That alone wouldn't have raised an eyebrow, since Edward often slept shirtless, but the scratches and love bites along his torso might have been a cause of concern.
"You know, Jas, I'm trying to figure out the answer to that question myself at this moment," Edward said hoarsely, swallowing the lump in his throat.
"Well, you need to think up something quick, because I'm about two seconds away from leaping over that bed and pounding your face."
"Jasper, cut the shit," Bella interjected, rolling her eyes. "And will you please get out of my room?"
"What's going on in here? Whoa!" Alice exclaimed, stopping dead in her tracks at the sight of Edward and Bella sitting side by side in bed, obviously making an effort to cover all their essentials. "Jasper, why don't we go back to our room?"
"No, I'm not going anywhere, and what the fuck is that?" Jasper yelled, very uncharacteristically, pointing to Bella's hand where it clung to the sheet. Bella had hoped he hadn't seen the ring, but considering the color of his face, it was obvious that he had.
"Are you trying to wake the dead, man?" Emmett grumbled as he entered the room as well and then his eyes followed Jasper's gaze, subsequently widening. "Oh shit! The ring was for Bella!"
"What!" Jasper yelled, turning his attention abruptly to Emmett. "You knew about this?"
Emmett shook his head. "Hell no! I thought Edward was just drunk and talking crazy about rings, being in love for like forever and shit. Wait a minute, so that was you guys making all that noise last night?"
Edward's first thought was, what noise?The next was along the lines of the fact that he very well could have forgotten what should've been a memorable night with his best girl.
"You figured out who it was, Em?" Rosalie's voice came from outside the room a second before she entered as well. "The bitch has to be sore, and not only her lady bits, by the way she was screaming."
Emmett grinned and wiggled his eyebrows. "Let's not forget the guy groaning and grunting all night long."
"Oh great, the gang's all here," Edward groaned, rubbing his eyes with his fingers. Hearing Rosalie and Emmett's descriptions was not making the situation any easier for anyone. In fact, Jasper had already inched his way toward them, ready to pounce.
"Will everyone shut the hell up?" Bella hissed as she held her head in her hands, forgetting about the sheet that kept her modesty intact. Edward quickly lifted it and held it in place. There were a few snickers amongst the onlookers, even an "aw" or two.
However, it was Jasper's reaction that seemed to matter most. "Will you get your hands off my sister's ti – I mean, chest?"
"Yeah, Edward, drop the sheet," Emmett replied with a laugh. "Considering I'm the only one that hasn't seen them, I'd love a peek."
Edward leveled Emmett with a lethal glare, and then he looked at Bella in question. "When the hell did my sister and Rosalie get a look at what's under the sheet?"
Bella rolled her eyes, snatching it from him. "If you must know, the bitches had me stripping and changing in front of them while we went out shopping for bikinis for our trip."
Edward groaned, remembering the green bikini Bella had worn the day before. Teeny tiny bits of fabric, held up with nothing but thin strings. He hated the blasted thing, since he hadn't been the only one that noticed her sun-bathing.
Rosalie cleared her throat and laughed. "I think we scared her, especially when I told her she had a nice rack." Bella's face tinged pink, which only increased the thrum behind her eyes.
"Not as fantastic as her ass," Alice quipped, beaming from behind Jasper.
"Stop talking about my sister's body!" Jasper said, throwing his hands in the air.
Edward turned his head to look at Bella, attempting to ignore the insanity around them. "So, you don't think we… you know. Do you?"
Bella's eyebrow rose at his whispered words, glancing at him briefly in the corner of her eye and speaking to him with her lips barely moving. "If my bruised and whisker-burned thighs are any indication, then yeah, I'm pretty sure we did."
Whisker-burned thighs? That would mean...Edward had never done that with anyone else and he couldn't even remember! Damn. Then again, if he did that, maybe she reciprocated. Edward braved a look beneath the sheet, noticing a hickey on the inside of his thigh. He choked, coughed to cover it up and dropped the sheet quickly. Well, it was a damn crying shame he'd forgotten how he'd gotten that.
"Well, this certainly puts a new spin on the term 'Ship of Dreams', now doesn't it?" Alice chirped in, far too cheerily considering the time and the situation, earning her a glare from nearly every occupant in the room. "What?"
"I don't see the 'dreaminess' here, babe," Jasper quipped back at her.
"Oh, don't be such a douche. It's obvious, isn't it?" Emmett groaned with a roll of his eyes. "A drunk man speaks a sober man's thoughts, and he finally grew the balls to go after the girl he's been lusting over since he was, what, twelve."
Edward's hands came up over his face as it began turning yet another shade of red. "Emmett, shut up."
Bella turned her head to look at him with wide eyes. "Twelve?"
"Oh yeah," Rosalie said in realization, waving her finger with the memory. "That was the year Bella went to that summer camp and came back with boobs. And Edward's eyes were just right there all that night."
"When they weren't on her ass," Alice added with a smirk at Edward.
"I am not listening to you people until you stop talking about my sister's body!" Jasper exclaimed, pressing the heels of his palms roughly into his eyes. That was not something he wanted to picture; his best friend's eyes or hands anywhere on his sister. For crying out loud, he thought, the last time he'd seen her naked, she was five and running in the sprinklers in the yard.
And before that moment, he was certain that Edward had never seen her naked. Apparently, he was wrong. He should've known those sleepovers were a clever disguise to corrupt his sweet, innocent sister.
"All this time, and you never said anything?" Bella asked Edward, nearly oblivious to the chaos around them. "And it took me getting boobs?"
"I'm a guy, Bella. Best friend or not, I still have a dick and I was just beginning to go through puberty. Nice boobs equals instant hard-on," Edward replied in exasperation.
Rosalie laughed and pointed at Edward. "That was your first hard-on, wasn't it?" Edward's face heated and he looked at down at his hands on his lap. Was it that obvious?
"Aw!" Alice cried out, clapping her hands. "How cute! My nerdy brother was a late bloomer."
"Oh, so that was the reason for the pillow on your lap all night. I thought that was a hint or something that I could lay my head there," Bella said thoughtfully, while her face tinged from the tip of her roots to the chest that everyone commented on. "Good thing I didn't. Damn, I didn't make it any easier on you, did I?"
Edward's eyes narrowed, remembering how Bella sat beside him all night while they watched scary movies. How her perky little breasts cushioned his arm almost lovingly. The smell of her long hair that teased his nose all night, and how every time something scary came on the screen, she held him tighter.
"Hey, Edward," Alice said loudly, bringing him back to the present. "You might want to consider grabbing a pillow right about now." Edward realized a little too late, causing Jasper to advert his eyes, groaning. He grabbed a pillow and thrust it over his lap.
Bella couldn't help but see Edward's predicament and had to wonder how the hell that thing fit inside her. No wonder she was sore. "All right," she whispered, her eyes still fixed on Edward's lap. "You mean to tell me after all these years...you cared about me?"
"Will you stop looking at my junk, woman!" Edward hissed, adding a bit of pressure. The innocent, but hungry look in her eyes was not helping his situation.
"It's not like I haven't seen it before! Obviously, I did a lot more than look at it last night!" she spat, and ignoring Jasper's "Hey!" from across the room. "Don't avoid the question. Have you cared for me all this time?"
"For the love of God," Emmett cursed out loud. "Will you stop using the word 'care'!"
"It's love, baby," Alice said with a wide, teasing grin. "And you're one to talk, B."
"What are you talking about?" Edward asked his sister, thankful for the distraction.
Bella's eyes widened and she shook her head frantically. "Don't, Alice! Don't you dare!"
"Dare what?" Jasper asked. "Is this something I should know?"
Alice shrugged and thought it would be best that everything be out in the open. It was time for honesty. "Bella made me pinky swear on her eleventh birthday not to tell you or Edward that she liked him."
"Eleven?" Edward exclaimed with wide eyes, looking over at Bella. She refused to meet his eyes and he felt a small satisfied smile touch his lips. "Well, it seems I haven't been the only one keeping secrets, and you've been doing it longer!"
She blushed, averting her eyes more and shrugged. "You were always nice to me, not like Mike and that ass, Jacob."
Edward growled, remembering how much he loathed Mike, who had always made fun of Bella. Then suddenly, Bella spouted boobs in the seventh grade and Mike was all over her. It was the first time Edward felt helpless. Someone who looked like Bella did, would've never gone out with someone like him. Not that she ever seemed shallow or mean like the other kids in their class. However, he was a geek and it wasn't until his junior year in high school that he outgrew his awkwardness.
It felt good for Edward to know that she liked him before he lost his braces, his face cleared up and he was taller than average. She liked him for him.
Bella sighed softly and whispered, "Say something, please."
Edward shook his head. "All this time that we wasted," he replied hoarsely. "Did you give my first kiss because you wanted to, or because Charlotte humiliated me that night after our first dance in high school?"
"It wasn't easy watching you with her," she said softly. "Ugh...I only went to the dance with Mike because you hadn't asked me."
"I wanted to, but I didn't ask because your brother would've killed me," Edward said thoughtfully.
"Hey, don't blame me!" Jasper hissed. "You were the one that told me about what Mike did to her that night."
Edward shrugged and Bella remembered how Mike wouldn't look her in the eye the following school day after the dance. He was even sporting a monster black eye. "It was you that hit him?" she asked Jasper. "You're the one that gave him the black eye."
Jasper snorted. "I wish," he growled. "Edward got to him first after we overheard him talking about you to that punk, Tyler."
"You hit him?" Bella asked as she looked up to meet Edward's darkened gaze.
He nodded. "I didn't like him talking about you," he replied. "And after you told me that he was a jerk to you after you told him to stop, I knew I had to prevent him from spreading rumors. I told your brother because Mike was way bigger than I was back then." He smiled shyly and tucked a wayward lock of hair behind her ear. "If it hadn't been for Jasper, Mike would've totally kicked my ass."
"I'm glad you were my first kiss," she said with a shake of her head. "But if I had known, I totally could've avoided the whole James situation." She moaned and fell back against the bed. "I mean the boy takes my virginity and then refuses to talk to me after he gets back from vacation."
A low growl escaped Edward as tugged the blanket back as it shifted with the movement of her body, uncovering his hip. "Well, he didn't deserve you anyway."
Bella narrowed her eyes as she sat back up and gazed at him speculatively. "You wouldn't have had anything to do with that, too, would you?"
Edward shook his head and looked right at her. "No, your brother found out, and then he enlisted Emmett's help. And I don't know what happened after that, I wasn't there."
Bella pursed her lips and watched him, waiting for the moment his tell-tale sign would appear. As if on cue, his hand rose to run through his hair. "Oh God, you are such a damn liar! Why would you do that, Edward?"
"You're asking me this now? Honestly, Bella?" Edward replied, his voice heavy in sarcasm. "And while we're on the subject of exes. May I ask you why you would encourage my relationship with Irina, the man-eater?"
"Because Jasper begged me to! He insisted you needed a girlfriend. Gold-digger was more like it," Bella yelled back, and then balled her fists at her chest and began muttering under her breath. "Oh God, I hated her. She was always so perfect and so pretty, flawless skin, massive boobs. Always managed to talk her way out of everything, even when she was caught red-handed."
Edward watched as Bella's expression contorted into a sneer as she spoke, ending her rant with her arms crossed tightly on her chest and her eyes locked on the ceiling. Had she been jealous? He'd never seen her react to anything quite like that before, and he turned his eyes to Jasper. "You do realize she tried hitting on my father, right?"
"Go Uncle Carlisle!" Emmett announced, gaining all eyes on him. "I mean no, no. Very bad."
Rosalie smacked his arm, fixing him with a glare which Emmett matched with his own. Everyone always hit him whenever he opened his mouth. They acted as if they hadn't thought the same thing a time or two. People didn't call his Uncle Carlisle 'Dr. Love' at the hospital for nothing.
"Well, you were a virgin at eighteen, man. Had to do something for ya," Jasper retorted, waving his arms out in his own defense.
"Okay, this should really bother me to be hearing this, but that is so cute, Edward!" Alice chimed in, her hands folded at her chest. "My little brother really wasa late bloomer. Were you saving it for Bella?"
Jasper winced. "Alice, it does bother me to hear things like that about my little sister. Way too much information I don't need."
"But you banging my sister is just fine?" Edward pointed out, folding his arms over his chest.
"That's different. If you hadn't been okay with me dating Alice, I would have stepped back." Jasper ignored the huff from Alice, and knew he'd pay for that later. "But you said you were," Jasper replied in his own defense. "And this is my little sister, it's my job to protect her."
Bella sat up abruptly, glaring at her brother. "Oh, so I need protecting from Edward, now? He's not good enough to be my boyfriend, but Mike, Jacob and James were? And not to mention, he's been your best friend since we were kids. So apparently, he's good enough for that, too."
"The girl makes an excellent point, Jas," Rosalie replied, shaking her head at him.
"Okay, so how about we all look at the very big picture here? We're out here in the middle of the ocean on vacation on a cruise, where nothing is supposed to occur except fun and relaxation. Bella and Edward get married, and apparently do unmentionable things that I can't even think about right now. And I'm the only one that seems really surprised by this," Jasper retorted with a raised brow.
"Actually, we were," Edward said, gesturing his hand between himself and Bella, and Jasper leveled a look at them.
Alice raised her hand and exclaimed, "Nope. I saw this coming for years. If not here, it would've happened in Vegas in November."
Emmett with two arms in the air decided to add his two cents. "I'm not surprised, considering Edward was always so protective her. Not in the big brother kind of way, but in the 'I'm so fucking jealous' kind of way."
Edward groaned and shook his head. "I was not jealous!" Even as the words left his mouth, Edward knew they were a lie.
Bella smacked his arm, holding the side of her head with the other. "Stop yelling!" The "hot poker in her eye feeling" she'd had since she awoke started to throb.
"I'd like to point out," Rosalie started, glaring at Jasper as he turned his lethal gaze toward her. She returned it with one of her own. "The man can't keep his eyes off her and every time he wasn't looking, Bella was."
Edward's lips twitched into a smile, even if it hurt like a bitch. "Really?" he asked, watching as Bella bit her soft bottom lip. Lips that he had kissed as her husband, and he wanted to again. Soon. Bella blushed and her bare shoulder rose and fell gently. Their gaze remained on the other, as the tension fizzled to something warmer, sweeter. However, their little bubble popped as Jasper cried out in frustration again, averting their eyes quickly.
"How did you two even manage this in the middle of the ocean? This is more like a bad hangover morning in Vegas type of thing," Jasper continued, pressing his fingertips to his temple with his eyes pinched closed. "Is this marriage even legal?"
Bella and Edward slowly turned their gazes to each other again with identical befuddled looks, until her hand came up to cover her mouth with a gasp. "We were at the table with the captain last night."
Edward's eyes widened and then he pinched the bridge of his nose as more flashes of memory began coming to him. "And I distinctly remember a chapel, and it definitely wasn't for Christmas or Easter. That's about the only time you'll find me in a church."
"And there's the fact that Bella came to my room last night asking to borrow a dress," Alice added, holding up a single finger.
"Where the hell was I?" Jasper asked in surprise.
Alice smiled, patting his cheek gently. "Passed out already, sweetie. I love you, but even I can drink you under the table. It's pretty embarrassing, actually."
"And she borrowed heels and a pair of earrings from me," Rosalie said casually with a shrug. "Said she had a hot date after dinner."
"Well, you have the old and the borrowed covered." Alice giggled, ticking the two items off on her fingers. "It's bad luck if you didn't have something new or blue, though."
"Her bra and underwear were blue," Edward spoke out without thinking, turning his head quickly toward Bella at her sharp intake of breath. He instantly regretted it as his hangover made its presence known again, and his hands rose to cradle his head.
"I thought you didn't remember anything from last night," Bella hissed, but the deepened color of her cheeks indicated that Edward was right.
"I didn't think I did, either," Edward whispered hoarsely back to her. "But the image came to mind when Alice said the word blue." Now it would be hard to forget since it seemed permanently etched in his mind.
Bella groaned, covering her face with her hand. "If you're all just going to stand there anyway, will one of you please make yourselves useful and grab me a shirt or something?"
Edward held the pillow securely to him and leaned over the side of the bed, reaching for his discarded shirt on the floor, scanning it for his boxers as well. They were across the room, on top of the fake palm tree in the corner. He had a vague recollection of Bella tossing them behind her before she fell to her knees.
Internally, he groaned and willed his hard-on down again. He sighed heavily and sat up to hand her his rumpled white button-down. "At least one of us will be covered."
"You've got a pillow and a sheet covering your important assets," Bella replied, taking the shirt from his hand and gazing at her own. "Well, our rings are new."
"That doesn't count!" Alice snipped, shaking her head. Jasper wanted to roar at the top of his lungs; why were they discussing the finer points of a wedding, if it was a farce?
"Why not?" Bella asked, awkwardly sliding her arms into the sleeves of the shirt while still holding the sheet to her chest.
"Because everyone gets a new ring on their wedding day," Rosalie replied, exchanging a nod with Alice.
"Not if it's a family heirloom," Edward interjected. He thought for a moment at the ring his grandmother had given him to one day give his wife. It was obviously something he couldn't carry around with him all the time, but he wished it what was on Bella's finger. Not that he'd share that with anyone, especially considering that Jasper was looking more murderous by the second.
"And then it would be something old again, and that's obviously not the case here," Rosalie retorted, pointing to Edward's hand with a brand new silver band on it.
Jasper sighed, running his hand roughly over his face. "Why does this matter again? They aren't actually married, so this is kind of a moot point."
Bella brought her gaze up from where she was buttoning the shirt to look at her brother. "Not 'actually' married? What's that supposed to mean? You can't just will something like this away."
Jasper shook his head. "Bella, come on. You were both drunk and not in the right frame of mind to be making a life altering decision like this. You need witnesses and it should be done with family and friends around. I'm sure that's enough grounds to have it annulled. I mean, you're not going to want to stay married when you get home, right?"
Edward glanced over at Bella nervously, and then it was his turn to blush and lower his eyes, worrying over her reply.
"What do you expect, Jasper? The guy has a bee tattooed on his ass, for crying out loud," Emmett laughed, rolling his eyes.
All eyes shot to Edward, including Bella's, and he pinched his eyes closed. "This is not happening."
"Well, it was supposed to be the letter 'B,'" Emmett continued with a snicker, and Edward opened his eyes with a tensed jaw, mouthing "don't you fucking dare" at him. "But the dumbass got drunk and lost a bet, and I had some fun. So now there's a cute little bumblebee pollinating a flower immortalized on his ass."
"Oh, he's been pollinating a blossoming flower all right," Rosalie snickered under her breath.
Alice giggled and tried to cover up her laughter. "It's a good thing his stinger won't fall off." Jasper leveled his fiancée with another lethal glare, while Edward wanted to sink under the covers and die.
"A tattoo? Seriously?" Bella asked, leaning backward to look behind him. Acutely aware of where her eyes were, Edward tugged the sheet again to attempt to wrap it around his back to shield it from her view. "Now you're modest? You're my husband."
His heart ached at how much he enjoyed the way she called him "my husband" just a little too much. "If you'd even want to stay married to me," Edward replied with a sigh, looking down to his lap again. "Having a crush on someone and loving them are very different things."
"Is that what you feel? Just infatuation?" she whispered softly, and once again, the bubble enclosed around them. She had to know, because if he didn't feel the same, there was no way she'd stay married to him.
"Bella, I've loved you every single day since I was twelve years old. I tell you that all the time," Edward murmured back, never lifting his eyes.
Bella's brow tightened and she slowly shook her head. "If that's the way you want to put it, then so do I."
"No, you don't. 'Love ya' is not the same as 'I love you', at all." Edward could hear the embarrassing emotion creeping up in his voice, yet even with the room full of people around them at that moment, he couldn't find the strength to rein it in, either. "I always said 'I love you' before you went home at night, because it was the only way I could and still keep a shred of dignity. And every time, you would call back 'love ya' over your shoulder while you were walking away. Not once did you turn around and say even that directly tome. And each one just—"
Bella's hand rose to rest at the base of her throat as she watched his fist thrust firmly against his chest and twist. The pain was so clear in his dark green eyes and she hated the fact that she'd been the cause of it. Her breath stilled as her gaze shifted between each occupant of the room, with varying expressions from Alice's teary, sympathetic eyes to Jasper's blank, unreadable stare. She felt more exposed in that moment than she ever had before in her life, and her arms tightened around herself protectively.
"It hurt too much. I couldn't look at you and say it, knowing I wouldn't hear it back in the same way. And you've always been able to read me so damn well and I was afraid of losing you, if you heard or saw too much in my statement. I had to keep it vague and aloof for my own dignity and sanity."
"So you love him? Like love him?" Jasper asked. Several curses filled the tension filled room, all aimed at Jasper. "What?" He shrugged his shoulders and waved his arms in frustration. "I'm having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I did not know that one of my best friends has been in love with my sister for a damn decade." Jasper pointed accusatory finger toward the still shy and embarrassed couple on the bed. "How could you not tell me? After all this time!"
Bella and Edward both shrugged, not knowing what to say to him, when they were still oblivious as to what to say to each other.
Jasper growled. "I can't believe I'm the last to know! Does everyone know?"
Alice gave him a smile and nodded. "Even mom and dad."
Edward groaned and shook his head. "No wonder Mom kept asking if I thought Bella was beautiful." He blushed and smiled at Bella, who fidgeted nervously. "I thought she was trying to set me up with someone that looked like you."
Amused and embarrassed, Bella gave him a small smile. "I'm pretty sure my Dad knows, too." Edward's eyes widened comically. "He kept comparing my dates with you."
Edward's chest puffed up and he couldn't help the smug grin that pulled the corners of his mouth. "I think you might be right." He shook his head, remembering all the instances where Charlie asked him to take care of his daughter.
"I really am the last to know," Jasper said with a roll of his eyes. "And it might explain why your rooms are side by side."
Alice shook her head and grinned. "I told my mom it wasn't exactly subtle. She even made sure you two always sat together for dinner."
Edward looked at everyone in the room, except for Bella. There were things that needed to be said and it was best that they'd be alone. First, he had to make something clear to Jasper.
"Jasper," he started, clearing his throat once. "I've always watched out for your sister, haven't I?"
Nervously, Jasper looked at Bella, then to his best friend. Well, best friend before he started trading fluids with his sister. He shuddered and clenched his eyes shut for a second. After taking a deep breath, he allowed his mind to be filled with memories.
Edward was two years younger than Jasper and Alice, but mature for his age, due to his intelligence and his zero-tolerance for bullshit. It was his fierce loyalty to Bella that made them fast friends. Jasper still remembered the first time he came to him after getting a black eye from that hellion Jacob Black. All in the name of Bella's honor.
"Jasp-per?" A timid voice said from behind him. Jasper turned to see Edward run toward him, sporting a purple eye and holding his wrist gingerly. The gangly twelve-year old ran his bruised hand through his blondish-red hair and winced. "I n-need your help."
Jasper recognized the look in his eyes, defiance with a little guilt thrown in. Eying his baby sister's best friend, he knew he couldn't say no—she would raise hell if he did. "All right," he said slowly. "What do you need?"
Edward looked to the left and to the right, checking to make sure no one would overhear their conversation. The last thing he needed was the other rez boys coming after him. "I need you to check the body."
Jasper cocked an eyebrow in question, causing Edward to stumble through an explanation.
"I didn't mean to hit him so hard!" he said slightly out of breath, pulling out his inhaler. After using that blasted thing, he sighed and continued. "It's his fault! He asked Bella to play tag with him and Bella got bored watching me and my friends play checkers, so she went. Except," Edward leaned in closer and whispered, "It wasn't regular tag." Blushing, Edward bit his lip, a habit Jasper noticed he picked up from Bella. "He touched her where he shouldn't have."
Jasper growled, clenching his fists. "Where's Bella?"
"She stomped on his foot and kicked his shin," Edward said and stood up straighter. "She ran home, but I thought he deserved more."
Jasper sighed and knew he'd have to talk to his sister once he arrived home. Without their mother around for guidance, Jasper and his dad were left to talk about "girl issues" with her. It was often a mortifying experience.
"Show me," Jasper said, trying to keep calm. There was no reason to freak out the kid with his anger. Edward nodded and ran toward a bush that lined Ms. Cope's side yard a little over a block away. Sure enough, as Jasper jogged up behind Edward, the thirteen-year old boy from the rez was sprawled on the grass with a bloody nose and the start of an impressive black eye.
Jasper kept his grin to himself, placing a gentle hand on Edward's shoulder. "He'll be okay," he said. "I'll get him back to his dad."
Edward nodded and massaged his fingers. "You won't tell my dad, will you?"
Jasper shook his head and he threw Jacob over his shoulder. Damn, he thought, the punk had to have fifteen to twenty pounds over Edward. He ruffled the kid's disheveled hair and smiled. "You did good," he said and looked over his shoulder toward Edward's house. "Can you tell your mom, though? Maybe she can talk to Bella."
Edward looked thoughtful as if he understood that Bella needed a woman to talk to. He nodded and scratched his head. "I think you should know," he said nervously, toeing the ground with his scuffed shoe. "I'll always watch over her."
Jasper smiled and nodded. "Good. Next time, though," Jasper laughed, as if he knew there would be a next time. "Don't tuck in your thumb and over extend your elbow."
Edward's eyes widened and he nodded hard. "I won't. Can you please tell Bella to call me?"
"Sure thing, Edward," he said. "You better get home and don't forget to tell your mom. And put some ice on that eye and hand."
Edward ran toward his house, but stopped in his tracks, almost stumbling over his big feet. He turned on his heels and sprinted toward Jasper again. "One more thing," he said breathlessly. "I'll never hurt Bella. Ever." There was so much conviction in his statement that Jasper believed him.
Jasper smiled and adjusted Jacob on his shoulder. "Better not."
Jasper sighed and looked over at his best friend. There were times before that incident that, in retrospect, led Jasper to believe that Bella and Edward loved each other from the first time they met in the third grade, when Edward's family moved into town. The pair had been inseparable since Bella shared her ball with the new boy in her class.
"Well, damn," Jasper said, looking thoroughly confused and irritated. "Now that I think back, it's so fucking obvious. You got so violent over her."
"See, I told you." Alice giggled, rising up on her toes to kiss his cheek and then turned her attention back to Edward and Bella. "So, you guys are going to stay married, aren't you? I mean, it'll happen someday anyway, so why waste the time getting an annulment?"
"I can sum that up for you in two words, Alice. Charlie Swan," Bella replied pointedly.
"But I thought your dad liked me," Edward said with a tightened brow. "Would he really think it's such a horrible thing? I mean, you're a grown woman, I'm not a complete loser. We didn't do anything until after we were married, so it's not like I got you pregnant or anything."
"He does like you, Edward. And I'm sure, under any other circumstances, he would be thrilled to have you as his son-in-law," Bella groaned with her hand fisted in her hair. "But his little girl, his only daughter, got drunk and eloped with her best friend. Married by a cruise ship captain, with God knows who for witnesses, since there wasn't a single friend or family member there, because ninety percent of them are in this room right now. And to top it all off, I'm busted the next morning by my brother, naked and in bed with said best friend. I really don't think it will matter that you didn't get me pregnant."
Edward froze at that last statement, lowering his eyes and lifting the pillow and sheet from his lap. He swallowed hard as he clearly noticed the absence of any redness or irritation on his skin that he knew would normally be present and quickly covered himself again, leaning toward Bella's ear. "Uh, you wouldn't happen to be on the pill or something, and just not ever mentioned it to me, would you?"
Bella's gaze cautiously moved over to him, her breath stilled in her chest. "No, why?"
Edward felt the perspiration beading on his forehead and his lips going contrastingly dry, as well as his throat. If her father and her brother weren't already going to kill me, they just might have cause after this, he thought. "I'm allergic to latex."
Bella gasped, covering her mouth abruptly with her hands and feeling tears building in her eyes. She was, too. And from her lack of that kind of discomfort between her legs, she panicked. She slid out of bed quickly and tugged the back of the shirt to make sure her ass was covered. She searched the floor and even the trashcan or bathroom for any trace of a wrapper or anything. Finally making her way back to the nightstand, she hesitantly opened the drawer and closed her eyes. She withdrew the contents and drew in a deep breath before opening them to find the still-sealed box of polyurethane condoms in her hand. "Oh no."
"You brought condoms on vacation?" Jasper exclaimed with wide eyes, looking directly at his sister.
"Why don't you say it a little louder, and maybe Dad will hear you next time," Bella shot back at him sarcastically, tossing the box back into the drawer and slamming it shut. "It's never a bad idea to be prepared, you know. Since, obviously, anything can happen on vacation."
"Oh my goodness! I could be an aunt soon!" Alice cheered giddily with a clap.
"I certainly hope not," Edward responded instantly, earning glares from everyone in the room, including Bella. "Oh, so shoot me because I'd actually prefer to clearly remember my first kid being conceived, rather than the great family tale of 'Mommy and Daddy got drunk one night, and ended up married and in bed together. And nine months later, there you were.' That's nothing that would traumatize the child or anything."
Bella bit her lip and lowered herself to kneel on the edge of the bed. "So, if it happened, then what?"
Rosalie watched as Bella and Edward's eyes met again silently and turned to face the rest of the group. "Okay, that is our cue to get out of here and let them talk."
"No, no. I want to hear the answer to this, so I know whether my dad and I need to grab our rifles when we get home," Jasper replied with his crazed eyes zeroed in on Edward.
"Jasper Francis Swan! This is between the two of them, now go!" Rosalie yelled, pointing sharply toward the door.
"Dude, your middle name is Francis?" Emmett snickered on the way out of the room.
"Shut it," Jasper growled through clenched teeth and then turned his eyes to Rosalie. "Not gonna even ask how you know that."
Rosalie smirked. "Pays to be in with the little sister."
"Bella!" Jasper exclaimed, gaping at her from out in the hallway, turning his head toward a noise down the hall and then grinning back at his sister. "Good luck, here comes Dad." He wiggled his eyebrows and laughed at their terrified expressions. Oh, this was going to be good,he thought as he slammed the door behind him.
"Move!" Bella screamed. Her eyes widened with shock and she fell to the floor while Edward scampered from the bed to grab his pants from across the room. As he began turning from side to side frantically, she shook her head and sighed. "Edward, there's nowhere to run but the porthole. And as much as I would normally pay money to see someone attempt that, I doubt getting your dumb ass stuck inside one will help our situation at all."
I'm going to die, but not before I tell her. Edward crossed the room quickly and fell to his knees on the floor in front of her, taking her face between his hands. "Just in case I don't get another chance to say it, I love you. I always have and I always will. And of course I want babies with you, just not yet, but..." His words trailed off by the sound of footsteps in the hall. Edward realized there wasn't time, he had to at least kiss her once more.
Bella inhaled sharply as his lips met hers and she whimpered softly in response, clasping his face as well as they parted with heaving breaths. "I love you, too."
His hands lowered to her sides to wrap around her as she moved onto his lap to straddle his legs, sealing his lips with hers and encircling his neck with her arms. It occurred to him that aside from that shirt and his pants, there was nothing else between them, and caused him to groan against her lips.
"Bella?" Charlie's voice came from the doorway, followed by a soft knock before he opened the door completely.
Bella broke away from the kiss with Edward, glancing behind him to the shocked expression on her father's face. The situation couldn't have been worse, considering that she was half-naked, on Edward's lap, and his hand was on her ass. She gave her father a little meek wave and whispered, "Hi, Daddy."