Glow : Edward's a nerd who prefers his own company until a pretty girl crashes into his universe. AH Fluff. FGB One-Shot for MissRyss
Disclaimer : Twilight and everything related to it belong to SM.
There's an unwritten rule in this house that we don't judge each other's taste in music, movies or tv shows providing said objects of entertainment do not infringe on our personal space. To be honest, we are all guilty of breaking this rule but for the most part we try to be discreet about it.
I was trying to catch a quick nap, when the unmistakable wail of that Katy Perry girl began to pound through the walls. I tensed up (who wouldn't?) and jumped out of bed to confront Alice and demand she turn it down. Admittedly, I was a bit cranky. Staying up half the previous night re-watching Lost Season One had seemed a good idea at the time but after four hours of calculus problems, I was feeling the effects.
I stomped out to Alice's room, ready to pound on the door, when the music quietened and my fist froze mid-air. I didn't know she had company! She normally cleared it with me first, ever since the bathroom incident in sixth grade, so hearing another female voice was somewhat of a surprise.
I considered shouting through the door. Or going back to my room and sending her a text reminding her of the rules. But as a seventeen year old boy who didn't get out much, let alone interact with girls who weren't related to me, I wound up eavesdropping on their conversation.
"Be serious," the girl said. "You need to ace this test to pull your GPA up."
"Bella, Bella," Alice replied, with the all the solemnity of a woman five times her age. "The muses have called to me. I cannot ignore them."
"Will the muses tell you the answers in biology tomorrow?" Sarcasm dripped from her voice.
"Please. Once they see my portfolio, every art school in the country will be begging me to attend."
"Not if you flunk biology."
I'd had this argument countless times with my younger sister but I'd never known a friend of hers to care about anything important before. Maybe this girl wasn't so bad.
Before they could hear me, I tip-toed back to my room. People already thought I was freak. I had no desire to add he-who-lurks-outside-his-sister's-bedroom to the equation.
Sleep had evaded me, so I began to organise my sock drawer. Then my t-shirts. And finally my..uh...unmentionables. When Alice's door creaked, I froze, anxious in the one space I could be at peace in, until the two sets of footsteps padded out of earshot. I went to the window to watch the girl go. The wind whipped her long brown hair around her face so I couldn't get a good look at her but she seemed pretty enough. She was wearing a t-shirt with writing I couldn't make out (though I could tell it fit her very nicely ) and I watched her drive away in a noisy red truck, thinking how it wouldn't be intolerable if she were to return.
Alice knocked on my door while I was dusting my bookshelves. I could tell she was itching to say something about my choice of cleaning implement (feather dusters may not be masculine but in my experience, they do the most thorough job) but she kept her mouth zipped for once.
"Just so you know, I'm having some friends over tonight," she said, leafing through some pages on my desk.
"Don't you have a big test tomorrow?" I took the sheets from her and shuffled them into a pile.
"I've been studying, like, all day. It's important to maintain a healthy work-life balance. "
"I hope it's not a physics test you have tomorrow," I replied. "Because your definition of balance seems to be a little skewed."
"Whatever." Alice folded her arms. "I'm just getting pizza and watching dvds with some girls from school. No biggie."
"Warning received, Alice. I'll stay out of your way."
"You know that's not what I meant," she said with a sigh. "I just don't want to make you uncomfortable."
"Don't worry about me." I faked a smile. "Have fun."
"Thanks." She lingered, intently looking at framed posters she'd seen a million times before. I turned my attention back to the bookshelf and when I looked again, she was gone.
I decided it was time to take that nap.
I slept for hours, and when I woke, I couldn't find it in me to get out of bed. It was starting to get dark outside, the covers were warm and the sheets still crisp. I had missed dinner. There was no reason I could think of for me to get up. So I just lay there, thinking about nothing until I couldn't stand it anymore. Then I checked my emails etc on my phone and went in for a shower.
My life was so mundane, there were times I found it hard to bear. I took pleasure in the little things – good books and well-crafted tv shows with the gift of taking a person away from it all. At least I, unlike the millions of mindless drones out there, had an appreciation for quality things in life. Even the like-minded people in the forums I frequented had some ridiculous opinions sometimes. As much as I enjoyed having a safe place to share my enthusiasm and hobbies, encountering some troll who claimed Heroes was a superior show to Battlestar Galactica was almost as maddening as that time Alice though Jeff Buckley wrote Hallelujah.
It was so obvious to me. Being alone was infinitely preferable to enduring the mindless babbling of the general public.
I re-made me bed, got dressed in some well-ironed sleep pants and spotless white t-shirt, and tried not to let the noise downstairs get under my skin. Alice's friends had arrived while I was asleep and the din of giggling girls and odour of burnt popcorn drifted upwards, taunting my sense of calm.
I wasn't quite cantankerous enough to storm down and ask them to keep it down.
Nor was I brave enough. The thought of confronting a group Alice's , shall we say, colourful friends was a daunting one indeed. I wondered if the girl from earlier was there.
Bella. What a sweet name. It would be nice for Alice to make more friends like her. Most of them had a rather distorted sense of taste and priorities but seemed different.
Feeling a little pathetic, I tried to recall the details of when I spied her earlier. I was not so naive as to realise I needed to interact more with people of my own age and who existed outside of the internet, but well, tolerable people were just so hard to find. Pleasant memories of the way her t-shirt fitted across her chest and curved around her waist made me close my eyes, until a short knock on the door pulled me from my reverie.
I jumped up, ready to be annoyed by Alice, when the door creaked open and there stood the object of my thoughts.
"Sorry to bother you," she said. "The door was open and Alice sent me upstairs to get money for the pizza guy but I couldn't find anything in her room and I was just wondering if maybe you knew where to look?" Her words tumbled from her lips in a surprisingly husky voice. I couldn't find my voice and I knew the way I stared was making her nervous.
"Did you check the bedside locker?" Hey, I never claimed to be smooth.
"That's where she said to look. All I found was some change."
"Ali probably forgot. You know how scatterbrained she can be." I took a couple of bills from my desk. "Here, take this. I'll get her to pay me back later."
Bella had to walk into the room to take the money from me. I simply couldn't approach her.
"Wow," she said, looking around. The way her eyes took in everything made me feel exposed and heat flared on the back of my neck. "You are so organised. "
"I like to be neat," I blurted, unable to disguise my defensiveness.
"I can tell." She flashed me a smile. It was dazzling. "I mean, most teenage boys rooms resemble a cesspit but this is something else."
I shrugged, unsure of what else to. Her cheeks turned pink and puffed out with a nervous sounding chuckle.
"Not that I'm an expert on boy's bedrooms or anything. Did I just imply that I was?"
"No!" I didn't know why I shouted. "I uh, knew what you meant. "
"Cool bookshelves," she commented, running her finger along one like she was checking for dust. Since when did that action become a sexy one?
"Thanks." My shelves were designed in a very specific fashion. Each one was custom measured to accommodate each of my favourite book series (my comics were, of course, in plastic covers in filing cabinet) and then placed on the wall in order of size. Old friends like Harry, Legolas, Daenerys and Aslan sit there were others would keep photographs.
"Like, I have a basic old bookcase from Ikea and the shelves are kinda lopsided because I put it together myself. I would kill for something as awesome as this." Bella looked around again, this time pausing on my record collection (again custom built) and ipod dock. "What do you do with new stuff though?"
I chose against telling her I don't forsee discovering any series that would match the ones on my wall. Such comments had gone down poorly in the past.
"I have a lot on my e-reader. And everything else goes on the shelves in my dad's office."
"Cool." That word again. It wasn't one I was used to hear applying to me.
I became acutely aware of the situation then.
There was a girl in my bedroom.
One who wasn't related to me.
One who was pretty and smart and looked mouth-wateringly hot in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.
This was where I should have mustered my inner charmer and made the most of the situation. Perhaps, try out concepts like flirting and paying compliments and cracking jokes – which up to this point I had not found the opportunity to do in real life.
Instead, I got awkward.
Of course I did.
"So, uh, is there anything else I can help you with?" I asked, like a trainee sales assistant. Not that I have anything against retail staff. I greatly appreciate the work they do. But channelling one while I tried to converse with a girl was not exactly a rock star move.
"Give me refuge?" she asked, looking up at me through her eyelashes in that way girls do to make them impossible to refuse.
"From my sister?" I counter-questioned, raising my eyebrows.
"From the Kardashians," she replied, her face deadly serious. "Alice and the girls are having a K-Dash marathon and I can't take it anymore! We have been watching Kim's Fairytale Wedding Special for almost an hour and half and we're not even half way done. It goes on for FOUR WHOLE HOURS."
"Almost as long as the marriage lasted," I quipped, rather lamely, but it raised a slight smile from Bella. "I guess you can wait here until the pizza comes."
"Thank you. I'm Bella, by the way."
"Nice to meet you, Bella. I'm Edward."
"I know. Alice told me about you. She showed me a picture of you guys at some award thing."
"Have you known her long? I don't think I've seen you around here before."
"I just moved to Forks last month to live with my dad."
"How do you like it so far?" Maybe this conversation thing wasn't so hard.
"It's ok, a little dull. I miss my mom a lot." Bella looked at her shoes and I immediately assumed the worst.
"Oh, I'm sorry. What happened to her?"
"She ran away with a baseball player. Did I imply that she was dead, again? I'm sorry, I've been doing that a lot. I got out of two whole weeks of my math homework when I first got here because the teacher thought I was recently bereaved."
I laughed. Couldn't help it. It was loud. Some might call it a guffaw. She was that cute.
"When I was seven, my pet mouse Millie died. I told my teacher that my best friend had passed away and she called my mom to talk about a grief support group."
Bella laughed in a rather adorable way, then. Not being used to making pretty girls shake with laughter, it was somewhat of a proud moment for me. Also, the laughing made her boobs jiggle a little and that only sweetened the situation.
"I'm sorry," she gasped between giggles, "I'm sure it was very traumatising for you. "
"Do you want to know the worst part?"
"Alice's cat ate her."
It wasn't even that funny but both of us broke down laughing and it was a wonderful experience; to share something to joyous and free with someone else. Bella was so vivacious, so open. She wasn't hiding her curiosity or her sense of humour as I would have. She was just being, and she was doing it here in my quiet, pristine room.
In her mirth, Bella mis-stepped and knocked my bedside lamp of the locker. It hit the ground, shattering the bulb and in the darkness, I could practically feel her become tense. Dismissing her apologies, I rushed over to right the mess.
"Leave it," I said as she attempted to pick up the broken shards. "You'll cut yourself."
"I've made such a mess! I'm so sorry. This must be your worst nightmare."
Hardly. I crouched down beside her, taking her hands in mine before she could cut herself on the glass.
"I don't mind," I insisted, almost surprising myself. "Honestly."
Bella exhaled, so close to me her breath ruffled my still damp hair, her eyes went to the ceiling.
"Oh, wow," she said, her voice still all breathy.
"It's lame. They're there since I went through my astronaut phase. I've been meaning to take them down-"
"Edward," she interrupted, "It's amazing."
I follow her gaze to the ceiling where hundreds of glow in the dark stars shine in the darkness. Nine year old me painstakingly arranged them as astronomically correct as possible, though admittedly, I was extremely liberal in my interpretation and that sight has been a constant comfort for me ever since.
To my utter surprise, Bella flopped back on my bed. Her movement lacked grace and it was not intended to be alluring, but even in the dim light, it was possibly the most exciting thing I had ever witnessed. She arranged herself in the middle, her hair a stark contrast on my white pillows and kneeling amongst broken glass, I watched her gaze at the cheap plastic stars.
There were a few quiet moments where I matched the rhythm of her breaths with the rise and all of her chest and her expression dreamy and full of something unknown.
"Why do they make you smile like that?" I asked, unable to suppress my curiosity. She looked at me like she'd forgotten I was there and I regretted pulling her from whatever memory had made her smile like that.
"I was really into the whole space thing when I was a kid," she told me, rolling onto her side. "One summer Renee, my mom, promised to bring me to the space centre down in Houston and it was basically the most exciting thing to ever happen to me. I saved all my allowance and marked down the days in the calendar and made a mix cd for the drive. The week before we were meant to go, her car got repossessed. Turns out, she was skipping the payments to save money for the trip.
She needed the car so I pretended like I didn't care about space anymore. Renee got the car back, took a summer job at a pottery store and that was that. "
"How old were you?" I asked, full of sadness for her. How could she be so matter of fact?
"Eight, I think. Almost nine. My dad was so angry when he found out. He would have brought me. Heck, I think he would have given Renee the money to bring me. But she was too proud to tell him and I was too embarrassed. I didn't fool her though. About a week after we were meant to have gone I came home from the library one day and she had a surprise waiting for me.
"We had this little room, like a laundry room except we didn't have a washer/dryer, with no windows and she had painted it black and filled the whole thing with these little glowing stars. She got a nightlight like the moon and a solar system one of her students had made and a bunch of other stuff like that.
"None of it was exactly scientifically correct, but I didn't tell her that. We just closed the door and lay in dark and I swear, Edward, it was...magical."
The tone of her voice and the happiness on her face made me believe her. Telling this bittersweet story from her childhood made Bella Swan radiate warmth and light and it struck me that there was something very significant about this moment. I'd forgotten, or rather I didn't care to remember, what was truly important in life. It wasn't grades and fads and keeping everything in its place. It was finding the joy in ordinary moments and the sheer delight in the fact that there was a smart, pretty girl lying on my bed and she was positively glowing.
"That's sweet. Are they still up?"
"Who knows?" she replies, with a shrug of her shoulders. "We moved out of that place the following year. Even lost the security deposit over the unauthorised paint job. It was nice while it lasted. That place was my refuge for a long time. I would even pull a sleeping bag in there sometimes." Bella looked me dead in the eye. "Why are yours still up?"
Oh, you know. Nostalgia." I directed my gaze to the ceiling.
"Why are they really still up?" Her voice was quiet and direct.
"You'll think I'm dumb."
"I spend a lot of time in my room," I admitted, heart pounding and cheeks flaming, "And when I turn off the light, the stars remind that there's a whole universe out there. They make me think that I'm a part of it, even when I'm not."
Bella didn't answer right away and I started to wish that universe would swallow me up. She sat up, and I thought she was going to leave, until she scooted over on the bed until she was right in front of me.
"Edward," she said, twining her fingers into my hair. "I'm going to kiss you now."
"Why?" I asked, blinking in disbelief.
"Because I really like you." Her words made grin. "God, you're hot when you smile."
I was positively beaming when she pulled me closer and gave me my first kiss.
Bella's lips were soft and hesitant and she smelled like soap. I closed my eyes in order to make the most of the moment and kissed her back as best I could. It felt good. Kissing was nice. It was soft and warm and exciting and it allowed me to do things I would never otherwise be able to do like put my hands around her tiny waist and marvel at how perfectly it fit them.
She was still half kneeling on the bed and I was half on the floor, so as our kiss deepened we instinctually shifted so that I was leaning over and she was lying back and our legs were tangled, hanging of the side of the bed. Her mouth tasted like more and her hands danced along my back, gripping my shirt when I lost my balance and found myself pressed down on her.
We kissed and kissed, with hot open lips and wandering hands, the plastic stars shining down on us and nothing but little sighs and crinkling fabric interrupting the silence.
Until Alice shouted from downstairs.
"Shit," Bella groaned, pulling away. "I forgot about the pizza."
"Did you get lost up there?" Alice yelled. "You're missing the speeches and the pizza will be here any minute."
"Be down in a sec!" Bella shouted back, her voice curiously high.
Reluctantly, I rolled off her and she began to fix her hair and her clothes. We'd gotten rather rumpled in a fairly short space of time. I liked the way her hair looked, all wild around her delicate features.
"Sorry," she said. "I better go back to the girls."
"I wish you didn't have to."
"Me too. But they're important too, you know? Besides, I've got the pizza money." Bella headed towards the door, so I followed her. I couldn't leave it like this.
"Wait," I said, somewhat redundantly as I circled her wrist at the same time. She turned back to me and I pressed my lips to hers. It was meant to be a quick, gentle goodbye kiss but her arms looped around my neck and she kissed me back hard.
She pulled me closer and I wanted to be nearer and somehow we staggered forward, kissing and breathing, until her back hit the wall and the force knocked off one of my framed posters.
"Now, I really have to go." She panted, lightly pushing against my chest.
I nodded in response, breathing too hard and too overwhelmed to answer.
"Will you come back?" I call, a unhidden note of desperation in my voice.
"Only if you invite me properly," she replied, " Alice has my number." Bella paused, brushed a lock of hair from my forehead and walked away.
I surveyed my room – the crumpled bedding, the shattered lamp and the broken frame – and it didn't bother me in the slightest.
When I caught a glimpse of my reflection as I picked up the frame, I saw that I was kind of glowing too.
thanks for reading, guys. you are the best. thanks again to the lovely, patient missryss for the fantastic prompt.