A/N: This was my Christmas Cracker story for the Twi Girls Next Door's exchange. OliveOil submitted a cute little picture of a 50's Edward and Bella (http : / / i1185. photobucket. com/ albums /z356 /fanfolio /TwiGirls /Contests /ChristmasCrackers 2011 ). Remove the spaces to see my inspiration!
I had a lot of fun stepping outside my box and writing these two's story.
"Stupid, stupid Newt." Bella mumbled to herself as she made her way down the street towards her house, and to add insult to injury of finding him in the backseat with Suzy Peppers he hadn't even blinked an eye when she stormed away declaring she could walk home.
"Who does that?" She demanded of the imaginary person beside her. She made it a point to never talk to herself, but she considered today an extreme circumstance and tomorrow she would pretend this never happened. Of course, not the part where she found her steady necking with someone that wasn't her. For the first time she found herself relieved that she had never been privileged enough to make it to the back seat of Mike's beat up Newport. If he regularly had girls like Suzy back there she perished to think what she could have caught.
Not that she was that kind of girl, but it would be nice to at least be considered as a possible option considering he'd pinned her nearly six months ago. She had ignored Alice's warning that he was no good in favor of her father's opinion and instincts, which had never led her astray until now.
She however had no qualms telling the Chief what she discovered today. Ally and Rosie were always complaining that they couldn't get their parents to listen to them for anything, but that was one thing she'd give her father he was always willing to listen and trust her. She was sure Mike would take offense to her selling him up the river, but she could care less.
She knew he had already asked her father for permission to propose after graduation and that was SO not happening anymore. Although, she wasn't sure what she was going to do now, Eric had been hinting at wanting to take her off Mike's hands for months. However, she heard from Ally that he was going steady with Jessica now, not that she had some deep seeded need to get married as soon as she graduated, but she'd simply always imagined it was the way her life would be.
Graduation, marriage, her own home, and then kids. Although, the delay on the last one honestly made her feel a little relieved she wasn't sure she was ready to be a mother. If she were being honest she wasn't sure she even really wanted that, despite knowing it was a woman's duty.
Lost in her own thoughts and contemplations Bella didn't seem to notice she'd walked past her turn towards home or the fact that the sky around her had darkened to a terrifying gray even for Forks. In fact the only thing she did notice before the rain descended upon her head was a large thunder clap that shook her to her core.
The word didn't come near to describing how she felt as she looked around her surroundings. She had lived in Forks all of her life so she knew it like the back of her hand, but the new industrial district past her home always confused her a little, and the biggest problem was she wasn't sure how she'd ended up here. She spun around squinting through the rain holding her hooks on top of her head as she tried to walk against the rain.
Beside her there was a splash that seemed to intentionally just miss her and caused her to jump as she searched for the source, hoping maybe Rosie had heard about Newt and sent Emmett out in search of her, but she instead found an unfamiliar figure on the bike.
She shook her head at the voice, her father would have her head for even stopping to consider it, but he inched the bike closer and she couldn't help the gasp that escaped her lips.
Edward Cullen. He was a myth of sorts around here, all the girls found him to be the swooniest with his kooky colored hair and his dark green eyes. He never paid any high school girls any mind though. He attended his classes and never said a word. Even when teachers called on him he just gave them a look and they moved along. At least when he deemed to show up, most days he just worked at the factory.
"Dolly, I'm not waiting all day, get on before you catch your death."
The next thunder clap caused her to jump towards his bike. She knew her father would have her head, but it had to be safer than walking home in the rain.
He took her books and looked at her taking a deep breath "Swing your leg over and hold on."
She followed his instructions with a squeak as she wrapped her arms around his waist and held on for all she was worth.
The rain smacking her in the face while he drove caused her to bury her face in his back. Inhaling she couldn't help the smile on her face. He smelled like leather, rain and something woodsy she couldn't put her finger on. Like she'd always imagined a boy would. Mike smelled like some musky aftershave that made her gag a little in the morning when he picked her up.
Before she realized it the rumbling noises of the motorcycle under her had ceased, as she lifted her head from his back she couldn't help but return his smile.
"Come on, Dolly, let's get you inside and all warmed up by the fire. I'll get you home when this lets up or my Pops gets home."
She nodded silently as she slung her leg back over smoothing out the light pink material of her dress as she followed him into the house wishing she had worn something sturdier as she shivered standing awkwardly by the door as she watched him disappear down the hall.
"Dolly, wrap yourself in this..." He handed her a warm woolen blanket. "I'll start the fire up."
"You know that's not my name, right?" Her voice was barely a whisper as she looked at him nervously.
"Of course not, but you realize you're a doll, right?"
His words caused her to blush as she shook her head. Mike never said things like that. He pointed out girls who used more paint on their faces or wore pedal pushers or went to the salon and let them color her hair. He'd once even asked why she didn't want to be less plain.
"Thank you." She whispered glancing at him quickly hoping her words came off as sincerely as she intended them to.
"Sit, please." He motioned for her to take a place on the foot stool he'd moved in front of the fire. "I know it's not the most comfortable of chairs, but it's the closest to the fire."
She nodded as she perched on the edge of the stool, the blanket wrapped around her shoulders as he disappeared, again. She rubbed her hands together, holding them closer to the fire to remove the chill from the rain that seemed to have sunk down to her bones. He wasn't a big talker she was learning, not that this should surprise her, but after rescuing her she thought maybe he would have more to say to her.
"It's tea. Likely not very good, but I think it's how my Moms does it."
"Thank you. You are much too kind."
"I don't think anyone has ever accused me of that." He shook his head as he shrugged off his leather jacket tossing it on the floor by the fire to dry. "What were you doing out alone in a storm like that?"
"It was stupid really. I just decided to walk home instead of-"
"And your half-wit Toad let you walk alone."
"It's Newt and he can't let me do anything."
"I think Toad is more fitting from my own interactions. However, I am never to correct a lady, and I do believe Newts are cold blooded as well, so I apologize for my inaccuracy."
Bella laughed at his statement, not the polite giggle she pulled out for the inane jokes that seemed to fly around the lunch room, but a genuine head back laugh as she looks at him. "I see you know him well."
"Only from minimal observations." He leaned against the mantel studying her a ghost of a smile playing on his lips. "What could have been so important he left his girl stranded?"
"Peppers and his back seat."
She hoped the words didn't sound as bitter as they felt leaving her mouth.
"Oh, Dolly, you don't deserve anything like that. He doesn't deserve you."
"He doesn't have me anymore." The words leave her mouth and she realizes despite his idiocy they do hurt. She had spent far too much time imagining a future with him to have it all fall to pieces in an instant.
"Good for you. Too many girls around here would stand for it looking at what little Toad is getting ready to inherit."
"I don't know whether to be insulted for all the girls around me or to feel complimented."
"It was intended as a compliment. You should take it as such. Drink up."
His crooked smile as he sunk onto the floor his legs splayed out in front of him seemed to be all the encouragement she needed to take a few slow sips of her tea.
"You don't give yourself enough credit, this tea is quite wonderful."
"Dandy. I'll be sure to add it to my resume."
The fact that he managed to earn another laugh from her made him grin. She felt her eyes widen as she took in his face, she'd never seen him smile like this. It reached his eyes and made them crinkle at the corners. .
"You don't smile often enough."
"And you don't laugh often enough."
Bella sipped her tea as she studied him wondering just how he knew if she didn't laugh enough. "Thank you for rescuing me. You didn't have to."
"You deserved to be rescued. No one should be left to walk alone in a storm like that. Sorry I couldn't get you all the way home, but my Pops will have my head if he caught me out riding all over town with you on the back of my bike."
"Mine too. He'd probably have my head if he knew I got on the back of your bike, at all. He calls them death traps on wheels."
"Well, I do believe your secret is safe between you, me, and the rain drops."
"I don't know I think the rain drops are as gossipy as the church folks."
He laughed at the ridiculous joke as they both watched the fire before them, sneaking glances at one another covertly.
"You should go to school, Bella. Get out of this god forsaken town and make something of yourself."
"My Mom was a house wife-"
"I hear she was wonderful, Bella, but you're something special. The kind of special that shouldn't be contained by a town like Forks or expectations of being typical."
She sipped her tea contemplating his words as she shook her head her pony tail bobbing. "You don't even know me, Edward."
Her words seemed to pull a strangled laugh from his throat. "Don't I? You're nearly impossible not to notice in this town. You stand out above the rest. You always have a kind word, you're loyal, smart, funny."
"Not even a little. You heard the rain drop joke."
"At least it's not the same knock-knock jokes everyone around here seems to tell."
She could feel the blush warming her cheeks as he spoke. "None of those things mean I could make it outside of Forks. I've never known anything else."
"I got your story at Christmas. The one set in Victorian England with the family being separated on the holiday."
When she didn't think it was possible for her blush to spread more she felt her face grow hotter.
"Ooh. I forgot she passed those around for critiques. You were very kind to my silliness. I didn't know you were the one who got it."
"Isn't that the point of anonymous critiques? And I wasn't kind, I was honest. It was one of the best things I have ever read. You had such depth and emotion, Bella, you have so much talent. It would be a shame to see you waste it here."
"My Dad would never support me going to school, Edward. There are expectations, and I can't very well leave him to fend for himself."
"You know as well as I do that there would be more than enough widows and church biddies who would be willing to step up in your absence to help him out."
"That doesn't change how he'll feel about it. There are certain expectations of me, Edward."
"Forget that, Doll, what about you? You love to write I can see it in your pretty brown eyes when we talk about it and I could feel it when I read your story."
She fingered the edge of her empty mug as she sighed, it felt so easy when he put it like that. It made her imagine it was possible to simply follow her heart, learn more about writing, and try her hand at really getting a chance to do it.
"I don't know."
"Think about it."
Suddenly she can feel tingles on her hand as he takes it inside of his own, her eyes shoot up at the warmth as she locks eyes with him, blushing and licking her lips.
"Bella, doll, just consider it. You're too good to be stuck here."
She opens and closes her mouth trying to form words, but the feel of his larger hand around hers seems to be robbing her of all conscious thought.
"Edward, why do you care? Why did you stop for me?"
Edward shook his head as he looked at her. "You are something special, Bella, someone special. The more I see you the more I want to know you. I tried to stay away from you, but today-I just couldn't leave you."
She felt her breath catch in her throat at his words. He was nothing like what she imagined he would be, but she can't help feeling so drawn to him. She found herself wanting this afternoon to go on forever so she could spend more time getting to know the real Edward.
"That might be the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me, but why would you try to stay away from me?"
"It's just the truth anyone who doesn't see how special you are is a blind man. I don't think I'm the kind of guy you need around you."
"You think Newt is better?"
"I think Toad is a cold, blooded idiot."
"Then why not step in?"
"Bella, you are dating the class president. He's the mayor's son and why would anyone leave him for me."
She took a deep breath reaching out and touching his hand softly, it was a bold move. It would send gossip through the town, fortunately no one was here with them.
"You don't see yourself very clearly, Edward."
"I have realistic expectations. People have preconceived notions of who I am."
"So why not break out of those?"
He laced his fingers with hers as he looked into her eyes noticing the golden flecks in her chocolate depths. "How is it you make changing sound so appealing?"
She giggled not moving her hand from his still amazed at the tingles shooting through her. "It's a talent of mine, but probably the same way you made me consider a new path. Although, it doesn't look as appealing now as it did a few minutes ago."
He couldn't help but find the pink that rose on her cheeks attractive. He'd have to be blind not to notice it before in his observations her propensity for blushing, but somehow when he was managing to cause the blush it as een more delicious. He lifted his hand that wasn't holding hers to stroke her cheek gently. "And why is that, Doll?" he whispered.
Bella could feel her cheeks heat more as she looks at him. "I don't know. Nothing, really. I just thought-"
"I'm not interested in keeping you from your dreams, not matter how wonderful I think you are."
"I didn't mean-"
"But I could be interested in helping you reach them. You have so much talent, doll"
She opened her mouth to respond, but the door opened with a thud causing them to jump apart. Bella tucking her hands around her mug in her lap, while Edward leaned back on his hands assuming a casual pose with plenty of room between them.
As Carlisle removed his rain jacket and studied the pair of teenagers in his living room, he couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at his son. It wasn't like him to have a girl over and it surely wasn't like him to have the Chief's daughter over.
The guilty looks on both their faces caused him a moments pause, but it didn't look as if either of them was disheveled or discreetly trying to adjust their clothing the way he remembered from being a teenager himself. "Ms. Swan, it's a pleasure to see you in our home, however unexpected the pleasure is."
She nodded as she looked up. "I'm afraid I got caught in the rain after school. Edward was kind enough to rescue me, but the bike in the rain made me nervous."
"I offered to let her dry off here, until you got home and I could use your car. Newton left her in the rain."
"Left you in the rain? I am sorry, but I am glad Edward's manners were better than that." He offered Edward his keys "It's still coming down pretty hard out there, but you should probably get Ms. Swan home."
"Thank you, Dr. Cullen. I appreciate that."
Bella said softly as she stood folding the blanket and placing it over the footstool after Edward took the mug from her hands. Following Edward out through the rain, glad for the umbrella he had produced from the closet. She whispering her thanks as she climbed into the passenger door he opened for her.
She knew it was only a short drive to her house from the Cullen's and it seemed the moment between them inside the house was lost in the midst of the awkward silence during that short ride.
She whispered reaching for the door, before she could open it she felt his larger hand take hers.
"Doll, what you said back at the house. What I mean is I meant what I said about helping you achieve them, maybe we could have lunch tomorrow?"
Bella climbed out of the car and turned back to face him a real smile lighting her face for the first time since she'd left school that afternoon. "I'd like that a lot, Edward. I mean, if you're sure."
He flashed her his crooked smile reaching over and touching her cheek softly "I always mean what I say, Doll. Now get in the house, before you catch your death."
It made her giggle as she shut his father's door running in the house turning back on the porch to wave back at him, before opening the door and walking inside.
What'd you think? Like it? Hate it? Let me know! :)