FAGEY McFAGEINGTON THE 5th
Title: I'd Snow You Anywhere
Written for: Shahula
Written By: Artemis Leaena
Rating: R/M for language.
Summary/Prompt used: For four years, Edward has watched and fallen in love from afar with the beautiful brunette that shares his flights home, but he's never had the courage to approach her. When Destiny steps in and offers him a helping hand, will he take it? Will he know what to do? (Prompt: Couple has close encounters and missed connections in airport.)
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Disclaimer: The Twilight Saga & all associated characters are the copyrighted creation & property of Stephenie Meyer. Any other publicly recognized characters, brands, quotes or "catch phrases" are the sole trademarked &/or copyrighted property of their respective creators. No copyright or trademark infringement is purposely intended with this story. The plot & any original characters of this story are the property of Artemis Leaena. This work may not be reposted, reproduced, or translated without the permission of the author. Prompt for story belongs to Shahula.
I'd Snow You Anywhere
As I shimmied my way down the narrow aisle on my way to my seat, I searched every face I passed. I was on a mission, seeking one face in particular. My goal: a heart-shaped, peaches-and-cream complexioned, chestnut-hair-topped face, to be precise. Aside from the first class and other privileged passengers, I was amongst the first to board and so didn't have many people to filter through. My eyes would be trained unwaveringly on the entrance, however, once I got settled in my twentieth row seat.
Almost forty-five minutes later, I was leaning dejectedly against the window and attempting – in vain – not to wallow in the sadness trying to envelope me. She hadn't come. For the first time in the almost four years that our paths had been crossing, my brunette mystery goddess wasn't sharing the first leg of my flight home with me.
My obsession had begun – as I said – almost four years ago when I'd been accosted by a carry-on bag falling from the still open compartment above me. When I'd looked up to give the luggage's owner an ass-chewing, I'd nearly swallowed my tongue. Blinking down at me were the loveliest pair of burnt umber orbs I had ever seen, and the most angelic voice was pouring out of perfect pink lips. Even though my brain didn't register a single word she'd said, I knew she was apologizing, and I'd dumbly nodded and smiled at her. I was captivated from that moment on.
She'd been on every flight from Boston to Minneapolis and back again since that day – even sharing any connecting flights out of O'Hare with me – except for today. No, today was a direct flight, and she wasn't on it.
Despite how long I'd been obsessing over her, I hadn't managed to learn much about my siren except that she attended MIT, lived in Seattle, and had a younger sister named Alice who was, according to my angel, dating a "complete douche nozzle" named Riley. But it wasn't enough. I needed to know more.
What was her name? How old was she? Did she have a boyfriend? Did she like dogs? Did she eat her pizza crust edge first? The last wasn't exactly a deal breaker, but I wondered about it all the same. I'd overheard her talking to fellow passengers the few times I'd been lucky enough to sit near her, and I'd eavesdropped on phone conversations she would have as we'd traveled to our respective connecting gates, but I remained woefully ignorant about her.
Was it possible to love someone you knew so little about, whom you'd never spoken to? I liked to think it was. Otherwise, I was just some creepy stalker dude, living in his own fantasy world, and dooming himself to dying alone – surrounded by hundreds of cats. At least that's what Jasper, my best friend and roommate, predicted would happen if I didn't find my balls and approach my mystery girl. He didn't understand how I could be the most extroverted, life-of-the-party, gregarious guy on the planet until I had to talk one-on-one with a woman. I had to admit, I didn't have a damn clue either.
All I knew for certain was that if I didn't make a move soon, I'd lose any chance of making the woman I'd been dreaming about, excluding all other women for, and giving my heart to from a distance mine forever. I'd been lucky enough to sit across the aisle from her on our flight out of Minneapolis after the Thanksgiving break, and I'd overheard her mentioning she was graduating this year. What if she didn't return for grad school? What if she chose to go somewhere else or get a job? What were her plans? I knew my opportunities were rapidly dwindling, but fear stayed me. What if she wasn't interested? Or worse, what if she was interested but wouldn't do anything about it because she didn't plan on coming back to the east coast and didn't want to do a long distance relationship?
My rambling thoughts were interrupted by the crackling of the speaker above my head. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We'll be starting our final approach into Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in the next few minutes."
What the … had we been in the air for four and a half hours already? I flipped open my window shade, but all I could see was the sun glinting down on a carpet of blackish clouds.
"You'll notice that I've turned on the 'Fasten Seatbelt' signs, and I would ask that flight attendants please take their seats, as well. We've arrived to quite a nasty snowstorm, folks, and it's going to get a little bumpy, but we'll get you on the ground safe and sound."
As if on cue, the plane began to shake violently and lurched forward, a symphony of gasps and swallowed screams accompanying the rocky motion. I swiftly clicked my belt buckle into place, tugging on it several times to double check the connection, and snapped the blind shut. If I was going to plummet to my death, I didn't care to watch.
Twenty-five very tense minutes later, our tires were touching down on the runway, and the captain was once again chawing away at us via the intercom – albeit in a much more chipper and stress-free voice.
"Welcome to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Local time is ten-oh-seven, and it is thirty degrees Fahrenheit. I've got some bad news for you folks looking to travel on from here. Due to the heavy snowfall and increasing winds, the FAA has just grounded all flights – we were the last allowed to land. The good news is, they're anticipating the storm passing within the next few hours, so hopefully you won't be stranded here for long."
His spiel, thanking us for choosing their airline, hope we enjoyed our flight, blah-blah-blabbity-blah, was drowned out by the collective groaning and bitching of pissed off passengers. I was among them, although I kept my bitching and moaning in my head. There was no sense having a toddler-esque temper tantrum when there was nothing we could do about the situation except suck it up and deal. Besides, I'd already been whining in my head for the better part of the morning, so why stop now?
I patiently waited my turn to deplane, in no real hurry to spend the next who-knew-how-long in a crowded terminal – especially since my girl wasn't here with me. When it was finally my turn, I grabbed my carry-on and trudged up the aisle, grunting out a cursory response to the way-too-perky flight attendants manning the exit, and made my way into airport Hell.
Ten hours. Ten … fucking … hours. That's how long this blizzard had been raging on. Out the giant plate-glass windows, was a world of brilliant white illuminated by various colored lights and framed by inky blackness. There was nothing to see, nowhere to go, and nothing to do.
I'd called my parents shortly after disembarking to let them know about my change in plans, and then had promptly shut my phone off to conserve its power. I didn't know how long I was going to be stuck in the Ice Queen's version of Narnia, and I wanted my phone to be available for emergencies. That was also why I was avoiding booting up my laptop. Although I knew it would provide me with a few hours of entertainment, I didn't want to be stuck with a dead battery.
Eventually, I gave up trying to find a way to amuse myself and claimed an empty corner near my projected departure gate, curling up to try and sleep with my computer backpack as a pillow and coat as a blanket. It was far from comfortable, but at least I knew I wouldn't get robbed while I was passed out. My eyes were closed, my hand wrapped in one of the shoulder straps of my bag, and my brain was just drifting into that hazy pre-unconscious zone when I heard it. It was a voice that had haunted my every thought – waking and dreaming – for so long. A voice I would know anywhere.
"No, Alice, I don't think you should sleep with him! If Riley doesn't respect the fact that you're not ready for that, then he isn't worth trying to keep around in the first place." She paused, probably listening to whatever her little sister was saying. "Yeah, and the bastard dumped me a week after I let him in my pants. That's my point."
She was angry, but she also sounded lost and defeated. Her voice simultaneously caught on a quiet sob and growled. It was an odd sound that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and goosebumps to shoot up my arms.
I sat up slowly and scanned the immediate area. She had to be close by, she was too clear and speaking too low for her not to be, and she was. She was no more than ten feet down from me, leaning her head back against the glass wall, lightly banging her skull against the thick support several times before sliding down its surface. She looked so small, destroyed. I wanted to wrap her in my arms, comfort her, take the pain away. I needed to make her smile. But I didn't want to disturb her. No one liked their suffering being witnessed, especially by a stranger.
"Fine, Ali, do what you want. But don't come crying to me when he pulls a hump-and-dump on your stupid ass."
She gasped, the very air she drew in strangling her, and swiped furiously at the tears streaming from her eyes in reaction to whatever her sister was saying.
"I am not bitter, I'm–"
Her mouth popped open, and her eyes bulged in disbelieving incredulity, as she ripped the phone away from her ear, looked at the screen, put it back to ear, then looked at it again.
"Fuck," she growled as she snapped the phone shut, the device dangling precariously from the hand now hanging limply between her knees.
"Just … fucking … perfect."
Each word was punctuated with the thud of her head against the glass behind her, the tousled locks of her ponytail cushioning each blow and serving as a pillow when she was done abusing herself. Her lids slid closed, fat droplets oozing out from between the creases to roll down her cheeks, and she was still save the rise and fall of her chest as she breathed deeply.
I didn't know what creepy stalker dude protocol was in this situation, but I needed to do something. Simply standing here staring at her, wishing I could hold her, wasn't an option. It was time to stop hiding in the proverbial shadows, step up and be a man, grab the bull by the horns, and other such trite, cliché phrases that basically mean to stop being a pussy.
Moving with a new determination, I went back to my luggage and fished out the little pack of travel tissues I always carried with me, thankful now that I was anal retentive – Jasper's assessment of my need to carry a mountain of incidental supplies with me when I traveled – enough to have them. Either she was well and truly buried in thought, or I was a better ninja than I believed, because my quietly asked "Did she hang up on you?" as I held the plastic rectangle out to her was met with a blood curdling scream.
Jumping back, I threw my hands up in surrender and frantically whipped my head around, expecting airport security to spring up and tackle me, as I babbled incoherent apologies. Several seconds passed in which whatever curiosity we garnered from our fellow hostages quickly waned, their prying eyes returning to their former mundane activities, and our breathing slowed from frightened, gasping, drags to normal.
"It's fine, really, there's no need to apologize. Hey," she hollered, startling me out of my ramble. "Enough, okay?"
I sucked both of my lips into my mouth and nodded, stepping forward stiffly to offer her the tissues once again. She smiled up at me tremulously and took the package, ignoring the convenient resealable oval on top and tearing open one of the end flaps. Had it been anyone else who had done so, I would have lectured them on how the entire pack was compromised and contaminated now, but not her. First I had to talk to her, get to know her, get her to fall in love with me, then I'd show her my crazy – she wouldn't run away if she was in love with me, right? Damn it, she was talking, and I wasn't paying attention.
"… everywhere else was so noisy, and I thought you were asleep."
"No, it's … um …" I cleared my throat, and shoved my hands in my front pockets as I dove head-first into her chocolate pools "… it's fine. I wasn't really sleeping."
One of her shapely brows shot up, as did one corner of her mouth, and I wanted to smack myself for admitting that. Why didn't I just tell her everything while I was at it? I quickly tried to back-pedal.
"I mean, I was sleeping. Or I was trying to sleep, anyway. As you said, everywhere else was really loud, and I was bored out of my damn mind, so I went to lie down to rest my eyes. I didn't mean to eavesdrop. I'm sorry. I'll just grab my stuff and go."
Spinning away from her shocked, wide-eyed countenance, I jogged over to my makeshift palette, swiping my stuff up haphazardly.
"Do you have siblings?"
Her hollow and simple but pleading tone acted as a magnet, forcing my body to pivot and gravitate toward her. Too bad I was in the process of swinging my bag up onto my shoulder at the time. I wasn't known for my coordination and grace, and the sack skewed a bit too high, nailing me in the back of the head.
"Mother–" I cut myself off with a hiss, not wanting to swear in front of her – anymore than I already had, anyway. Through the haze of blinding pain curtaining my vision – I think the corner of my laptop got me – I saw her scramble to her feet and rush over to me.
"Oh, my gosh! Are you alright?"
Heat suffused my side where she stood. She was close enough to bathe me in her presence but far enough away to still be "safe." A gentle hand reached up to skim the base of my skull where my own fingers were currently rubbing while the other gripped my bicep. I tried not to, but her touch felt so good, was better than I had dreamed, and a moan slipped out of me. She jerked back, releasing me completely and offering up her own litany of apologies for further injuring me.
I wanted to grab her back to me, put her fingers back in my hair, her palm to rest on my arm again. Emptiness invaded me, her touch being instantly missed and yearned for. Instead, I grinned sheepishly and tried to assure her that she hadn't hurt me. I delighted in the way the crease between her brow smoothed, her cheeks raised, filled, bloomed with color as her lips spread and turned upward in a generous, blinding smile.
"Oh, and no, I don't have any siblings."
"Aren't you lucky," she huffed as she turned and went back over to the window wall, sliding down beside her belongings. When she was seated with her knees to her chest once again, she turned her shining eyes to me, the humor of a few moments ago melted away entirely. "I've got a younger sister, Alice, who is way too smart for her own good in some ways but woefully ignorant in all the ones that count."
Her head dropped to her knees, my heart sank into my stomach, and gravity pulled my soul into orbit around hers. Not knowing what else to do, I shuffled over and dropped down beside her, crossing my legs so that one knee touched her hip and the other her ankle as I faced her. "I take it Alice hung up on you when she didn't like your advice?"
She flinched, and for a moment, I thought I'd pushed too far, made our contact too intimate. Or perhaps I'd overstepped myself, proven just how creeptastic I was in my eavesdropping. "I'm sorry," I said in a rush. "I didn't mean to … um … I know it was rude of me to listen … crap!" I slapped my hand on my face, dragging it down, and mentally castigated myself. "I'll just … yeah." I scooted back, preparing to get up and leave again, but her hand clamped down on mine. I glanced up and saw that she had turned her head, laying her cheek on her knee, and was smiling up at me.
"It's okay … uh …" her little button nose scrunched up, and I swear it was the most adorable thing I'd ever seen in my life. "I'm sorry, but I don't know your name."
"Oh, right." I chuckled and grinned nervously. "I'm … uh … I'm Edward Cullen."
"Hi, Edward, I'm Bella Swan." She squeezed my hand in lieu of a shake, and we sat there grinning goofily at each other for a moment, then she shook her head, still smiling but sadly now. "No, she didn't like what I had to say, but she didn't hang up." She reached down to retrieve her phone, flipping it open and pressing the power button to show me it had died.
I didn't even think about preserving my battery, I just reached into my pocket and got my phone, holding it out to her. "Do you want to use mine? It's got an almost full battery."
Her bottom lip disappeared between her teeth, her tongue following after, peeking out to rub and soothe along the flesh she'd just assaulted as her eyes flicked between my face and iPhone.
"You wouldn't mind?" She hedged, indecision clearly written all over her face.
If it meant she wouldn't be upset anymore, I'd let her drain every ounce of power from my phone, my computer, my body. "No. Not at all."
She eagerly took the phone from me and quickly dialed her sister after I showed her how to power it on. That pouty bottom lip was sucked into her mouth – how I wanted it in mine – as she waited for Alice to pick up, only to have it pop out and turn down into a frown. "Voice mail," she mouthed at me. "Alice, it's Bella, I didn't hang up on you, my phone died. I'm using a friend's …" she had let go of my hand to make her call, but at that point, her fingers wrapped themselves around mine, and she smiled warmly at me "… right now, though, so I don't know when I'll be able to call again. Just please, honey, don't do anything you'll regret. I love you and will hopefully see you soon."
A similar message was left on her parent's land line – minus the part about regret – and her hand stayed cocooned in mine the entire time. Was it possible that she felt the spiking energy swirling around us, too? Had Bella – had her parents psychically known they had just birthed the most exquisite being into creation and had named her thusly so the world would know it, too? – been watching, wanting, dreaming of me all this time as well? Had she been equally afraid of approaching me? Was destiny giving us a helping hand with this snow storm?
Whether it was fate, kismet, divine intervention, whatever, I didn't know. All I knew was that my dream girl finally had a name, and she had shared it with me. Over the course of the next several hours, she shared a lot more with me, as we got to know each other better.
Sometime around midnight, both our stomachs had started to growl, and I'd volunteered to hunt and gather. I'd ran around the terminal trying to find something still open at that late hour and had stumbled across a little cantina getting ready to close its gate. The kindly old man had taken pity on me and had sold me a couple of chicken salad sandwiches, apples, and bottles of water before closing up. Bella had laughed at the little victory dance I'd done upon returning with my bounty, and we'd slipped back into comfortable conversation.
I didn't know what time it had been, but at some point we'd gotten too tired to remain upright – but not so exhausted that we stopped talking – and had lain down, Bella with her back to the wall, and me facing her. When we had passed out, there had been a good six inches of space between us, and Bella's hand had been idly tracing over the lettering on my t-shirt. When I awoke at a little after nine, however, that same hand was fisted in the back of my shirt, its owner's body pressed against mine, and sweet smelling mahogany hair was tickling my chin and nose.
It was heaven, the culmination of every daydream and fantasy I'd had over the past four years. It was Hell, the sweetest torture in that I ached to draw her closer but knew that I had no right to do so. Moving as little as possible so as not to disturb the slumbering beauty clinging to me, I angled my head so I could look down on her.
Violet shaded lids pulsed and rolled as she dreamt, long, dark lashes fluttering at the movement. Cheeks, flushed with heat from snuggling under our coats and into my chest, called to my fingers to caress them. Rose smudged lips parted, moving on silent words, and giving life to a breathy, whispered "Finally found … my Edward." And a heart exploded, ballooning to twelve times its original size, and beating faster than a hummingbird's. I wanted to shout, dance, crush her to me and kiss her until we were both dizzy.
Eventually she stirred, hugging herself tighter to me and breathing deeply with her nose pressed into my chest, then turning stiff as a board. Her eyes flew up to mine, wide, uncertain, full of questions I wish I could answer, before she let go and slid back, putting a "respectable" distance back between us.
Not wanting her to see my disappointment in her actions, I sat up and turned slightly away, groaning as I stretched my back and neck muscles out. Delightful company notwithstanding, that had been the worst night's sleep of my life, and my neck protested loudly as I rolled it from side to side. When I'd gotten my expression under control again, and worked out all the kinks I was going to be able to, I angled my head to take in the sight of her again.
She nodded as she sat up, working out some of her own stiffness. "Yeah, I just need to … um …" she looked around shiftily and gestured wildly with her hands "… I have to go to the … uh …."
Understanding finally dawned on my sleepy brain as she added a little bouncing movement with her hips to her arm dance, and my own bladder chimed in on the matter. "Oh, right. Yeah … um … why don't you go first, and I'll watch our stuff. Then I'll go, and we can find something to eat. Okay?"
She nodded and hurriedly scrambled to her feet, almost running in the direction of the lavatories once she was upright. When she returned, I took my turn attending to as much of my morning routine as I could in a public restroom, and felt slightly less disgusting after cleaning up a bit in the sink. We ended up settling on Burger King for breakfast, but only because Bella had insisted on paying, and I wasn't going to have her spending a fortune on me at Starbucks – no matter how delicious their breakfast sandwiches or how addictive their coffee.
After eating and teasing each other mercilessly about the various indentations and creases in our faces from our lumpy "pillows," we spent the rest of our morning wandering around our little corner of the world. We journeyed into specialty boutiques, book shops, shared a dish of ice cream, played with the gadgets in a few electronics stores, & had a wonderful lunch at a little Italian Bistro where we went dutch-treat.
Our afternoon was spent in the airport, people watching, and sitting together, her head leaning on my shoulder, on some padded benches as we read the books we'd bought earlier, played twenty questions, and watched the snow fall. Later in the evening, Bella allowed me to buy her supper at Wolfgang Puck's. It was like we were on a first date. A first date that lasted all day and all night, but that didn't end in a goodnight kiss and a parting of the ways.
We found ourselves back in the same corner we'd occupied the night before. We were sprawled out facing each other, sharing stories of our time at school, talking about where we wanted to end up in life, and which of the many coffee shops we'd seen today would be our breakfast destination in the morning. Eyes were trying to close, questions and responses were spaced further apart, and voices were turning to murmurs and quiet whispers as the night grew longer.
Without preamble, Bella shifted, tucking her head under my chin and wrapping her arm around my waist. She sighed and snuggled herself into a comfortable position, her tiny hand once again fisting into the back of my shirt, holding me to her as if she never wanted to let me go. That was fine by me, but I had to be certain. I didn't want to read the situation wrong.
"Bella?" The question was heavy in my tone as I spoke directly into her ear.
She shivered but didn't say anything for the longest time. "I waited for you, you know?" She whispered, some unknown emotion thickening her voice.
"Bella?" I leaned back, trying to catch a glimpse of her face, but she burrowed deeper into the crook of my neck, shaking her head. Brushing the hair back from the side of her face, I cupped her jaw and tried to coax her into looking at me. "I don't understand. What do you mean you waited for me?"
Twin burnt suns shone brightly up at me, a shimmering glaze coating each. My breath caught in my throat, the narrow passage too constricted and dry to allow even air to move through it. Was it possible?
"For four years I've waited for you to talk to me, approach me, even just notice me. But you never did. You never–"
I swooped down and captured her lips with my own, swallowing her breath, her very essence, and damning the conventions that said I had to be a gentleman. My tongue stole into her mouth, open in surprise, to duel with hers. Her flavor electrified my taste buds, shooting sparks of awareness into my every extremity, and I wasn't the only one affected.
The instant my tongue had entreated hers to play, her entire body had come alive. Her hands sheathed themselves in my hair, clenching and pulling on my coppery locks. Her one leg slithered across my thigh, her foot hooking behind my knee to anchor herself to me. And her torso ground and rubbed against mine, the hardened pebbles of her nipples stabbing through our respective thin layers of clothing to taunt and tantalize me with their existence.
As I nibbled and sucked on her lips, teased her tongue, and devoured her mouth, my hands found purchase on her body, one on her ass and the other on the back of her neck, locking her to me, encouraging her movements, and glorying in the feel of her against me. I tore my lips away from her mouth, attaching them to her jaw, nipping my way down her neck, and blazing a trail of kisses up to her ear.
"I noticed you, beautiful angel," I panted. "I've dreamed of you every day, was haunted by you every night, lived and breathed for the next time I would get to see you for the last four years."
She pushed back slightly, just enough that we could look each other in the eye. "Why didn't you talk to me?"
Closing my eyes, I licked my lips, savoring the lingering taste of her I found there as I organized my scattered thoughts. Returning my gaze to her, I attempted to explain and prayed she would understand and not find me overly creepy. Removing my hand from her ass would probably help that, so I moved up to brush the backs of my knuckles across her cheek.
"I think I fell in love with you the first time I heard you speak." She gasped, her eyes growing wide, but she didn't pull away so I pressed on. "I knew I had the first time I heard you laugh. But I was scared."
"Not of me?"
"Of you rejecting me. I'm not exactly smooth when it comes to the ladies."
She giggled and brought one of her hands to rest along my jaw, her fingers playing with my stubble. "I don't care how you are with the rest of the women, but you were perfect with me."
Grinning, I leaned forward and pecked her on the lips. "I'm sorry I made you wait."
She snuggled back into my chest, her arms twining around me again as mine surrounded her. I wanted to kiss her some more, but if I did, there was no way I would stop before we broke a couple dozen public decency laws. Instead, I settled for holding her, running my fingers through her hair, and breathing in her sweet scent as we slept.
We had a lot to talk about in the morning. She was going to be staying in Cambridge for graduate school, and that meant we had a future to plan … together. They say that when a heart finds its other true half, it will always recognize it, no matter the distance or circumstance. Bella was that other half for me, and I would know her anywhere.
A heartfelt thank you belongs to my superb pre-reader, caz12771, for helping me to fight off the word stealing gremlins & for not breathing a word of this fic to anyone, and to Tammygrrrl for using her amazing beta'ing skills to help me make with the smart sounding. I hope you enjoyed this & will leave me some love for it. =) MERRY FAGEMAS, SHAHULA! =D