Chapter One was beta'd by sweetishbubble and Angelz1114577
Hold Me Down
I pull on crimson skinnys and pair them with a charcoal tank top. Grabbing my ID and two cigarettes, I place one stick behind my ear and the other between my lips. I pull on my cool-as-fuck sling-back heels, stuff my phone in my back pocket, and hightail it outta my apartment. I'm late. Like, really fucking late.
San Francisco in the spring is warm and dry, a welcomed change from the chilly fogginess and peek-a-boo sunlight that every other season alternates between. Tonight is cloudless. Just black sky.
My phone vibrates against my left ass cheek and my eyes roll. It's Jake. I don't even have to look at the damned thing to know. I don't bother to pick it up, but I do ask some guy leaning against the front of my building for a light. He obliges, a small nod of his scruffy chin before he flicks his lighter. A quick thanks, and I'm back on track, my heels clicking against the sidewalk.
I scurry my way to my shitty car. She's seriously due to make her final drive to a scrap yard, but she's tenacious, sputtering to life when I'm on the verge of believing she won't.
Taking a long cigarette rip, I look around, scanning for any nosey eyes. Once I'm certain no one's around, I reach inside my exhaust and pull out my car key.
It's Thursday. Thursday is a sacred night for my boys and me. We meet up every week and drink, laugh, shoot the shit. Tonight is a different kind of Thursday. Edward is bringing someone. It's different because bringing someone to hang out on a Thursday night means this someone really is someone.
I get to our spot in pretty good time. I stick my car key down my bra for safekeeping; I'm not a purse kind of girl.
The Dive Bar is our spot and has been for quite some time.
Walking through the door is difficult because entering the building means facing reality. So I pace it instead and encourage myself: I can do this. He does not have to make me crazy every time. I can be nice to his chick. I can be nice for him.
My phone vibrates again, irritating me thoroughly.
"I'm out front," I say, knowing it's Jake.
Jake's intolerant tone makes me anxious.
"Yeah-hey, can you come out here? Don't let folks know I'm here. Just, can you come out?" I stammer and bite on my thumbnail.
"Jesus… yeah, alright."
My arms fold, and I nod my head as I give myself a mental pep talk: You and Edward, you guys are just friends now. You have to get over it. Be cool tonight. Give him a shot at being happy. You fucking love him.
I pull at the top of my hair and convince myself that I can be who I need to be tonight.
I look up and see Jake walking out.
Jacob Black. One fourth of the team.
"Hey, thanks, you know?" I bite my lip and give him a small hug.
"Yeah. What's going on?" he asks, his hands digging into the front pockets of his jeans. He leans against the wall and stares at me with pulled brows.
"Oh, just flipping out, per usual…" I lick my lips and run a hand through my hair to busy myself "…how's she looking?"
Jake shrugs and looks up into the sky. His eyes wander around until his dark eyes land back on me. He's stalling, and it must be worse than I think.
"She looks… sweet, Bells. She looks really sweet."
I can't help but roll my eyes. I don't mean for it to be mean. It just happens.
As we walk inside, I nudge Jake's arm with my shoulder because I'm a wuss and I'm scared. He looks down and smiles.
"Hey," he says in my ear, "you got your boys."
He wraps an arm around my tight shoulders and leads the way.
I see him immediately; Edward Cullen with his green eyes that send a surge of electricity through me. He's wearing a plain grey t-shirt and my favorite dark wash jeans. He meets my eyes and nods. I give him a small wave and put on a brave face.
Jasper stands beside him and claps his hands as we approach.
"The fuck?" I ask.
"Oh, just applauding your fashionably late entrance."
He smirks and ruffles my hair. A chuckle slips from my lips, and I lightly punch his arm.
I look at Edward who stares down at me with a small smile. I move closer to him and reach my hand out to grasp the front of his shirt. His hand reaches out to me, landing on my waist.
"You're late," he says into my ear. He leans back to get a good look at me.
I nod yes then shake my head in apology.
"Yeah, shit, sorry."
He nods too and pulls me to him. My heart jumps and the idea of him letting go becomes an unwelcome inevitability. The smell of his cologne mixed with his natural scent and cigarette smoke remind me of better days. Intimate times. But as it is, the hug ends and we take a few steps away from each other.
"So, where is…"
I hope somebody will say her name for me.
"Kate's in the bathroom. Let's get you a drink," Jasper says as he puts an arm around me.
He leads me to the bar.
"Is it a shot kind of night, Bells?" Jasper asks, his hand in the air to flag down the bartender.
"Yeah. Fuck yeah."
I can't stand still as I keep an eye out for Kate.
"She ain't got a whole lot on you, Bella," Jasper assures, aware of me scouting for the girl who got my guy.
We take our shots and head back to our spot. I lose my footing for a moment, because there she is.
Adorable. That's how I'll describe her. She's got a sweet little pout and hazel doll eyes. Her hair is adorable too: French braids around the front with the rest of it flowing loosely behind. Her outfit? Adorable. A strapless summer dress with flats.
I must be glaring daggers or something, because I feel Jasper tap me with his foot.
"Alrighty, folks! Drink up. I got first round, and it's a shot kind of a night my friends, because our Bell of the Ball has gotten us off to a late start," Jasper announces as he passes shots of tequila around.
Jake pulls out a seat for me, and I sit facing Edward and Kate. She looks wide-eyed at the shot in front of her and turns to Edward. I watch her as she eats his ear with her lips. I hate how he leans into her, his arm wrapping around her neck as he listens carefully.
He chuckles and flags a waiter down.
He orders a Coke for her. Kate laughs and rests her forehead on Edward's shoulder, embarrassed. He kisses her head. It's all so fucking sweet.
I feel Jake kick my chair, and I snap my head to him.
"Retract claws, kitty," he whispers. "You'd better get right, 'cause your heart is a neon sign on your sleeve, blinking and shit."
Taking a deep breath, I nod.
When the Coke arrives, we toast to twenty years of good times and several more to come.
Kate plugs her nose and takes a sip. She coughs and her hand flies to cover her mouth. She grabs desperately for the Coke.
"Jesus Christ," I practically hiss with a disapproving shake of my head. I down my shot, the way it is meant to be done. Jasper, who has taken the seat beside me winks with a sly smirk.
"Wow," Kate chokes out as she lightly pounds on her chest, "that was not very tasty."
Then, she giggles. Like, Snow White giggles. Like, Cinderella giggles. I half expect some birds and mice to come dancing around the table. Who is this girl?
Not me. That's who this girl is. She is not me. And Edward, for the first time, wants someone who is not me. The tequila sits at the pit of my stomach and begins to grow tentacles that spread through my entire body. I love the warm feeling that engulfs my insides. It makes me brave. It makes me sad. It makes me mean.
"N'other round?" I ask, my finger twirling in a circle.
I don't wait for a yes and make my way to the bar. My fingers tap impatiently. It's a busy night.
I straighten up as I feel a humming through my body. I close my eyes and wait for him to approach me. When I feel his fingers low on my back, I turn to face him.
"Need help?" Edward asks.
"Hah. You know better than anyone."
Brave. Today I am tequila brave. I watch him as he drops his head.
"Not tonight, Bells. Please?"
He searches my eyes and lifts his pretty brows.
"Not tonight what? I'm fucking ecstatic for you and your new girl."
I shrug and lightly kick the toe of his shoes with my foot. I try to be cool. I hear him sigh.
"Alright, thanks." He smiles and points toward the shots. "How 'bout we take one, just you and me?"
I pick up a glass and hold it up.
"To being… "
I search for something to cheers to.
"Fucking ecstatic?" Edward offers. I laugh and tap his glass with my own.
He orders only one replacement shot.
"Kate's good with the one," he explains.
"So, Kate, she's adorable," I say, hoping he doesn't catch the hint of disdain in my voice. Or maybe I do.
"Yeah, she's… she's sweet. Simple."
He says simple, like simple is perfect. Like simple is all it takes.
"Good, good. God, yeah, that's… great. Simple."
I repeat the word, like it will help me process it. Help me swallow it. Maybe… be it a little?
"I'm glad for you, you know? Simple is good; it's really good for you," I continue, not knowing what I'm hoping my words will convince him of. That I'm okay? That I don't need him? That I don't ache because we aren't together anymore?
He looks at me like he's evaluating me. He wants to believe me.
We take the shots back to the table. He takes his seat next to Kate, I sit between my anchors, Jasper to my right, Jacob to my left. They will hold me down. They will get me through tonight.
As the evening lingers on, I do my best to focus on this Thursday as though it were any Thursday. I want stories from my pals. I make myself interested in hearing the dirty on their conquests. I just want to forget about the pretty girl with my pretty guy.
Edward and Kate spend a majority of the night whispering in each other's ear. They giggle and flirt like teenagers.
When I see him nuzzle her neck with his nose, I have to get out of there. I order another shot of tequila, shoot it down, and tell Jake and Jasper that I will be right back.
My back leans against the brick wall. The fresh air is soothing. I close my eyes and will the sadness away.
I feel almost okay, when I feel it. Humming. He's here.
I open my eyes to see Edward. He stands in front of me-tall, beautiful...worried.
"Too much tequila?" he asks, stepping closer.
I shake my head.
He reaches out his hand, tucks my hair behind my ear, and pulls out my emergency cigarette. Reaching into his pocket, he pulls out a lighter.
"Can we share?" he asks.
I nod and watch the stick between his lips. He inhales and I envy the smoke and how it gets to wade inside of him. He brings the cigarette to my lips, and I pull at it, resisting the urge to lick the tips of his fingers. He watches me as I let the smoke spill out. Lifting the side of his lips, he puts the cigarette back to his mouth. Lucky stick.
"I fucking hate this," I blurt out. Word vomit. I look away as he hangs his head low, the cigarette dangling from his lips. He exhales and squints his eyes to look at me through the curtain of smoke.
"I don't know what to say," he whispers.
Say you forgive me. Say that you know that I can do better and that you're willing to really let me try. Say you love me so fucking much that you could throw away that pretty little thing in there and be with me again.
I don't say any of that. I just move closer to him, and he doesn't step back. We are so close that he has to take the cigarette out of his mouth to keep it from burning me. I move closer. He still doesn't back away, but keeps his eyes down, focused on his feet. I can tell that he knows he should do something, because his breathing slows, and I can see the hesitation in him.
"Edward," I whisper pleadingly. Desperately.
He meets my eyes.
"Don't." He shakes his head. He knows me.
I ignore him and stand to my tiptoes. I reach for his neck and pull him down to rest my forehead against his. His eyes close and he shakes his head. But I pull his jaw toward me and gently kiss his lips.
"Stop, Bells," he warns, pulling away.
I refuse. Tequila brave. I hold his jaw and pull him in again, my kiss needier than ever.
"Bella..." I feel powerful as his warning loses its resistance.
I wrap my arms around his neck and cling him to me, satisfying the ache that had been living in me for months now.
He kisses me back, hard and strong, pushing and pulling in a way that told me it wasn't over. I let myself sink into him.
Then it all stops. He shoves me away, and I fall back against the wall.
"Stop. Fuck!" he yells, frustrated as he runs the back of his hand over his mouth, the other through his hair. "Don't make me that guy. I'm not that guy. I don't fucking cheat on nice girls who want to be with me!"
He throws the burning cigarette on the floor and slams his hands against the wall on either side of me.
"This…" he gestures between himself and me "…this is over. I can't… I can't do it anymore. All the fucking bullshit!"
He backs away as he wipes his palm on his face.
He walks back into the bar. I slide down the wall and grab the cigarette that is nearly out. I put it to my lips, tasting him. Him. I think back to the beginning.