Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns everything Twilight. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: Hi there. This is my first story so please let me know what you think!
Thank you to the lovelies Angelz1114577 & mcc101180 from PTB for their beta skills!
My most recent heartbreak left me sitting at a bar by myself on a Friday night. How pathetic is my life. This whole impromptu girls' night out was such a load of bull. All I wanted to do was drink so I wouldn't have to think about how he had never been anything more than a friend to me, a good friend. How silly of me to think that he might have had feelings for me.
Well, isn't that sad?
Less than an hour ago, he went on and on about this girl named Jessica and how much he likes her, and wants to date her, and marry her, and have babies with her… Well, he didn't actually say he wanted to marry her. Ugh! How easily I misjudged his friendship for something more!
"Hi, what would you be having tonight?" A soft, husky voice interrupted my mental rambling. My eyes traveled from my small girly hands to his large long-fingered ones which were resting on the countertop of the bar. Continuing their quest over the beauty that was standing in front of me, my eyes took in every detail. Forearm muscles flexing as they held his weight on the counter. Sleeves of a white button down shirt rolled up to his elbows. A skinny black tie hanging loosely from his shirt's collar. A chiseled jaw with a day's worth of stubble on it. Ocean-deep green eyes with arched eyebrows above them, waiting for my answer.
Shit! I am supposed to speak now!
My brain was searching for words as he moved away from the bar and ran a hand through his hair. Oh God, his hair. It wasa dreamily chaotic mix of red, gold and brown. As he stood in front of me, no longer leaning against the countertop, I could truly appreciate how tall he was, easily over six feet. He stuck his hands in his pockets as he balanced on his feet. My eyes roamed to his waist and the black pants clinging to it. The mere sight of him left me with burning and tingling ears, a heart pounding itself out of my chest, and a stomach in knots. I tried to swallow down the sudden parchedness of my mouth, but it's on in vain. Yet still words escaped me. Maybe I was having an aneurysm.
The god-like man standing in front of me cleared his throat which brought my attention back to his face, his male model face. "Would you like something to drink?" he asked me again in his low husky voice. I was pretty sure I was drooling.
"Um… yeah… I… Hi…" I stammered like a moron.
Great! Now he is going to think I have some kind of mental retardation.
"I'll just have a beer, thanks," I said, embarrassed and looking down. Once he turned around and left, I breathed out in relief, still shocked by the effect this stranger had on me. Luckily, when he returned, he only placed the glass in front of me with a nod and left, giving me no time to embarrass myself any further.
Angela Webber, my one and only girlfriend, arrived soon afterward and started drinking with me. What I liked the most about Angela was that she never asked me what was wrong; she knew I would spill when I was ready. She wasn't into drama, or gossiping, which was probably why she was my only girlfriend
After a couple of hours, I was officially intoxicated, and my afternoon with Mike was indisputably forgotten.
"I think your friend has had more than enough," bartender hottie told Angela.
Wait, is he referring to me?
"Oh! Just when I was starting to like you!" I told him a little louder than I meant to and grabbed him by his tie. "Why don't you bring me another shot, baby?"
Okay, so I was a slutty drunk, sue me.
"Bella, please let's go," Angela begged, but I wasn't paying any attention to her. I was still holding the bartender by his tie, and he was definitely not complaining. He had a gorgeous lopsided grin plastered on his face, and if we were in a movie, his teeth would have sparkled with a bling-bling sound effect.
"So, tell me something interesting about your life." I sat back on my stool, releasing his tie. I was clearly drunk enough to be able to talk to him, but not so drunk that I couldn't make sense. It was a fine line between the two.
"My life is pretty boring. What about yours?" he asked, dodging my question.
"I'm just a student…" I sipped from my drink with a shrug. "Oh I love this song! Dance with me?"
Okay, so maybe I wasn't making that much sense.
"I'm sorry. I can't."
"Puh-lease! Don't be silly. Everybody can dance!"
"I do know how to dance; it's just that you see, I'm working," he explained, waving his hand at the bar.
I looked around at the place, noticing it was packed. "Right, it's okay," I said to the empty space in front of me because he was gone.
I hadn't realized Angela had also left until I saw her coming back with Jacob.
"You called him? It was supposed to be a girls' night out!" I yelled at Angela as soon as I saw Jacob.
"What? You've been flirting with him the whole night!" Angela said, pointing at the bartender who had just gotten back. He smiled that crooked smile of his again. Did he really just smile? My knees felt wobbly, but it could have been the alcohol.
"Hello to you too, Bella," Jacob grumbled, coming closer.
"You didn't have to come," I countered angrily. But as I tried to stand, my shoe got tangled on the foot rest of the stool, and I stumbled, nearly falling on my face.
"I know when I'm needed," Jacob said as he caught me. "How much do they owe you?" he asked the bartender as he steadied me.
I might have been pouting, with my arms crossed over my chest, annoyed at Angela for calling Jacob to the rescue, as we walked outside. Once we reached Jake's car, I suddenly remembered I needed to pee.
"I need to pee."
"Bella, c'mon! We're about ten minutes from your place."
"I won't make it."
"Are you sure?"
"Okay, go." Jacob said, frustrated. Whatever, he did not need to come. I rushed back into the bar and sped up to the bathroom. On my way back, bartender hottie was standing outside of the bathroom, looking all James Dean-y.
"Listen, um… we turned the place upstairs into a cool spot to hang out. Maybe you want to come by tomorrow with your friends?" hottie bartender stammered, without looking at me. His hands were in his pockets as he talked. I looked at him, possibly drooling again, as he finally turned his eyes to mine when he spoke. "I am Edward, you're Bella." He extended his hand to me. My hand felt so small when surrounded by his. Mental retardation took over me once more, and I was speechless. Someone called him from the bar, so he dropped my hand, turned around and left. I stayed there for a second, wondering if my panties had actually melted.
In the following days, I started stopping regularly by Earl's, the bar where Edward worked, in a pathetic attempt to get to know him. If he thought I was a crazy stalker, he never showed it; he always greeted me with a smile. Even though he was always busy, he would find time to talk to me. Edward was a man of few words, asking me questions about myself more than he shared with me about himself; nevertheless, I was able to learn a couple things about him. And by couple, I mean two, as in there were only two things I really knew about Edward. First, he didn't go to school, and he was very cryptic about it too. Second, he played soccer, and he hoped to play professionally one day.
Despite my limited information on Edward, I was completely drawn to him. I loved talking to him even though I did most of the talking. I could easily come up with excuses to go to Earl's, to take a break from studying, to relax, to see my friends… you see the trend. Tonight was no different. I sat on my usual stool as Edward approached me.
"Hello, Bella," was his usual greeting. He would appear in front of me, behind the bar, with his white shirt's sleeves always rolled up, and he would tap the wood of the counter with his long fingers.
"Hi, I'm waiting for Angela." I was hoping to sound less pathetic tonight by actually having someone coming with me.
"Okay." He smiled. "So, what would you be having tonight?"
"I'll be right back."
"Thanks." I gawked at him as he went to make my drink. He looked tired tonight; his shirt was sticking out in the back, and I could tell he was sweating. I looked around and noticed the place was full and the other bartender wasn't there. My thoughts were interrupted by a guy who sat next to me.
"Hi gorgeous, I'm Phil," the guy said. He was much older than me, maybe in his thirties.
"Hi Phil, I'm not interested." I could be so snappy sometimes.
"Oh, rude. Why don't you let me buy you a drink?"
"No, thanks," I said, standing up. I wanted to move far away from the creep.
"Wait, don't leave. Come on! Just one drink," Phil said, grabbing me by my elbow.
"Please, let go of me. I said I'm not interested," I told him calmly, but he wouldn't let go of my arm.
"C'mon! Just one beer."
"No, thanks." I saw Edward coming behind Phil. "No, thanks," I repeated and tried to jerk my arm free.
"She said no." Edward was grabbing the guy's shoulder from behind. Asshole Phil finally let go of me.
"Oh finally you came! I've been waiting for my beer for like an hour!" Phil yelled at Edward.
"I'm sorry, sir. I'll be right back with your drink." Apparently Edward was used to dealing with assholes like Phil.
"That's more like it. And bring one for her too."
It was clear by now that this guy was not giving up, so I just rolled my eyes at Edward when he looked at me hesitantly. Edward went to get the drinks as I stood there, uncomfortable and fidgeting, next to Phil. Earl's was really busy tonight, so when Edward returned with the drinks, he had to leave them and go attend to other people.
Where the hell is the other bartender? I thought, annoyed.
"Here," Phil said, pushing the beer closer to me.
"Gee, thanks!" I mocked sarcastically.
"So what's your name?"
Without answering, I took the beer, drank it all in one gulp and put the glass back on the table. I was tempted to burp in his face, just to piss him off, but I didn't.
"Thanks for the beer." I gave him an obviously fake smile. "Bye."
In an attempt to stay away from creepy Phil, I went upstairs where the private hangout area was. I usually never came here because it was far from the bar, and well, Edward, but tonight it seemed like a good idea. I didn't have too much time to feel pathetic about being here by myself though, because a few minutes later, my gorgeous bartender came in the room.
"Bella, I was looking for you." He ran a hand through his hair as he spoke. "What are you doing in here?"
Edward was standing in front of me, in his usual work ensemble, one hand in his pocket and the other raking his hair.
"Nothing." I shrugged, getting up from the puff chair. "I wanted to get away from that creep."
"Listen, I'm on my five-minute break. Come outside with me?"
My heart swelled with expectation at his words. I really hoped my smile wasn't as big and foolish as it felt when I nodded profusely at him. It might have been though, because he shook his head as he turned around and gestured for me to walk in front of him.
We walked downstairs and through the back door to the patio. He guided me swiftly, through the crowd, his hand barely touching the small of my back. The back patio had a couple of metal benches, and it was surrounded by trees. Once outside, I turned to face him, and he was fishing around in his pants pockets looking for something desperately.
"Do you mind if I light a smoke?" he asked with a cigarette in one hand and a lighter in the other.
"Ugh, I rather you didn't." I sat on the bench with my hands on my knees looking down. Memories of my mom were quickly coming to my head, and I fought hard to push them out.
I was disappointed; my gorgeous bartender wasn't perfect after all.
"Really?" he asked surprised, his voice high-pitched in shock. He had the cigarette already dangling from his lips.
"Oh," He took the cigarette between his fingers and groaned as he paced in front of me. "I really need this one. Do you mind if I just keep it between my lips, unlit?"
I looked at him in disbelief. "Oh just light the damn thing, if you are that desperate."
"Thanks," he said, quickly lighting the cigarette. He inhaled deeply and closed his eyes as he blew the smoke out of the corner of his mouth. He looked so relieved, it was sickening.
"That's disgusting!" in a very, very sexy way.
"I'm sorry. I know, it's a nasty habit."
"Yeah, it is."
"So, Angela isn't coming? Right?"
Was he referring to my lousy attempt of not appearing as the pathetic stalker that I was?
"Busted." I looked down.
"Why do you come here by yourself?"
His question took me by surprised. I glanced up at him and he was still standing in front of me, smoking, staring at me with a frown. His look was so intense it left me tongue-tied. "Um… I don't know… to hang out … with you?"
My jumbled mess of an answer made Edward look down at his shoes while he kicked the gravel around.
Oh God, here we go.
"It's not a nice place for a lady to be hanging out by herself."
"Oh please. Give me a break!"
"I mean, and taking drinks from strangers?"
Edward continued to smoke as he paced in front of me. I couldn't tell where he was going with this.
"Are you jealous?" I asked with a smile, teasing him.
"No," he said, and as he smoked, his jaw muscles twitched minutely. I couldn't tell if it was a lie or not.
One of the waiters came outside, interrupting us. "Edward, they need you inside."
"I'll be right in." Edward took a last drag of his cigarette and got rid of it in the outdoor ashtray. He grabbed his neck with his hand and looked at me hesitantly.
"You look really tired."
"I am," he said, coming closer as I stood up. "Listen, I appreciate you coming here to hang out with me, it's just that… um… I'd rather if you bring a friend to be with you or something."
"Or," I started, tentatively. "We could meet someplace else." I smiled, hoping he would ask me out.
"I'm sorry; I pretty much work every night."
Ouch… Not exactly what I wanted to hear. Edward started to walk toward the door to go back inside.
"Oh," I followed him, looking down.
"Maybe you can come tomorrow night; it's the one-month anniversary of the place." I was having trouble keeping up with Edward. Did he want me here or not?
"Will you be working?" I asked as he opened the door for me. He was such a gentleman!
"Yeah, but I'll find time for you," he said and smiled, his crooked smile, at me.
As we went back inside, I noticed how Phil, the creepy guy, was looking at us. Edward went straight back to work, and I sat down on a barstool as far away from Phil as I could. Edward brought me a drink and winked at me before he left again, leaving me swooning in my stool.
"Check please!" Phil yelled from the other side of the bar. When Edward gave Phil the check, the asshole started yelling at him again. "What the hell? Are you fucking retarded?"
"What's the problem, sir?" I heard Edward say politely.
"Did you charge me for the beer that little bitch took?"
Oh no he didn't… I was already on my way before he finished his question.
"What the hell is your problem?" I barked, facing Phil.
"Bella, please, don't," Edward pleaded with me, holding one hand out. I noticed immediately his tense pose. The muscles on his perfect jaw line were doing that twitchy thing again, and his knuckles were white and sticking out of the hand he was fiercely gripping the counter with.
"You should pay for that beer. I didn't want it." I pointed a finger at Phil.
"Sir, please." Edward moved between Phil and me. "It was a mistake; I'll check on it. Just leave the lady out of this, please." He looked at me and implored with his look that I didn't say anything else.
What the hell? Why is he being such a coward?
I looked at Edward and rolled my eyes at him before he left.
Seconds later, Edward came back sans check. "Don't worry about it. Everything's on the house."
"That's more like it," Phil said, turned around, and left.
What an asshole…
"I can't believe you!" I was so angry; my voice was louder than expected when I faced Edward.
"Bella, please," he said through his teeth.
"Is that coming out of your pay check?"
"Yes," he sighed.
"Why did you let him get away with it?" I was so frustrated. I just didn't understand.
"Don't you get it?" Edward lost it. "I need this job! He is the customer. I don't want to get fired."
I knew I should have dropped it. Edward was angry and I was frustrated. This was clearly not going to end well. "You could get another job."
"I already have two jobs!" His eyes were getting darker with anger.
Having him yell at me fueled my anger, and I couldn't stop the next few words from coming out of my mouth. "What for? Are you saving to go to school? You could get a scholarship, you know?"
"Don't you get it? I don't have my daddy to count on while I don't have a job!"
"What do you mean by that? Oh please. You know what? Forget it." I turned around, desperate to leave. This night had taken a turn for the worst.
"Bella, wait. I'm sorry," Edward said behind me. I stopped and turned around to face him. "I'm under a lot of stress right now; I shouldn't have taken it out on you."
"It's fine, I just don't understand."
"Listen…" Edward looked behind his shoulder at what was possibly his boss staring at us. "We can't really talk right now, and I still have another hour here. Why don't you go home? We'll talk tomorrow."
"Damn it," I thought I heard him say behind me.
A/N: Thanks for reading! :)