Disclaimer: Twilight character names belong to Stephenie Meyer. All characterizations, plot lines, backgrounds and details belong to the respective author. No copying or reproduction of this work is permitted without express written authorization. ©2012 chartwilightmom. All rights reserved worldwide.
A/N: So this is my gift to Widdle Wombat for the 5th FAGE. We had a 5k word cap on this, so it was tougher than I thought to keep my words under. Thanks to FAGE and Vampiremama for allowing me to play in your sandbox again. Super thanks to Mandy Kaur for beta'ing this and humoring me on my comma issues. And hugs to Beegurl13 for the awesome banner she made me, which can be found on my blog and facebook page. Widdle Wombat, hope you enjoy!
FAGEY McFAGEINGTON THE 5th
Title: The Reverse Nightingale Effect
Written for: Widdle Wombat
Written By: chartwilightmom
Summary/Prompt used: A dark and stormy highway in the dead of night and her tire blows...
If you would like to see all the stories that are a part of this exchange visit the facebook group: Fanficaholics Anon: Where Obsession Never Sleeps or add the C2 to get all the stories direct to your inbox.
Ok, I can do this.
The thought steels in my head as I drive the car and the rain begins to fall, creating a water storm against my windshield.
Wow, that is a shit ton of rain.
I flick on the wipers, attempting to push the drenching water from the glass, the darkness outside sounding me like a cold, wet blanket.
Reaching to turn up the heat, I start pushing a few buttons; a moment later I swear I see a flash of something dart in front of my car.
"What the…" my words trail off as I look quickly to the right, trying to figure out if it had been my vision or the late night or the rain that caused me to see things.
"Damn it!" I curse.
Of course, a dark and stormy highway in the dead of night and my tire blows.
I know that one of my tires is blown, so I turn the wheel before pressing on the brake and turning the key in the ignition, the thought of whatever I saw long gone. Grabbing my jacket from the passenger seat, I throw it over my head as cover, not bothering to put my arms through.
When I open the door, I am pelted with water, and I exit quickly. Walking along towards the back of the car, I immediately find the rear driver's side tire blown, all the way down to the rim.
"Just great!" The sound of thunder rolls through the sky, a sigh of Mother Nature agreeing with me. Or she is laughing at me.
I hate what I have to do now, especially in this: change a tire. Not the best skill I have. I pop the trunk and spend a few minutes searching for the spare and the hardware that I need. The rain is coming down harder, soaking my jacket and my legs completely wet.
A noise to my right startles me, drawing my attention to the dark wooded area on the side of the road, my eyes attempting to focus through the sheets of rain.
Another noise, louder this time. My curiosity gets the better of me as I step away from the car, just the one step to bring myself closer to the sound.
"Anyone there?" I ask the darkness.
Yeah, like the murderer always answer his victims.
Another noise, this time louder and nothing that I can identify. Fear is fills my body and instead of waiting to see what, I turn and head back to the drivers side of my car.
There is a growling behind me as I reach the door, a spike of terror surging through my blood as I start grabbing for the handle. Instinct takes over as I feel a presence behind me and my body starts to curl inward, hiding my head underneath my arms, attempts to seek shelter against my car door.
Seconds tick by before a hand grabs my arm and swirls me around.
"Hey, Miss. Are you alright?"
I look up to find a shaggy blond haired, rugged man dressed in dark clothes, drenched from rain, looking at me with concern in his blue eyes.
"Bella?" My name falls from his lips, his voice shocked and concerned with flashes of rage in it. "What the hell are you doing here?"
He grips both my arms, pulling me closer, protectiveness radiating from him.
"CUT!" the director yells from behind the camera.
The lights all around us come on full force, giving the outside scene set enough light to feel as though we are in the middle of the day instead of ten o'clock at night. Sounds of the crew surround us, the simulated rain stopping instantly.
The illusion of the TV show is gone, replaced by the awkwardness of coming face to face with my cousin for the first time in four years.
And the fact that he didn't know I was cast as a last minute extra on his TV show might add a bit to the situation.
"Hi, Jasper," I say shyly. "Surprise."
Jasper Whitlock is my one and only first cousin, only four years older than me, the only son of my Aunt Charlotte, sister to my mother Renee. We grew up together in the same small town of Forks, a few houses apart. We were close, our relationship more that of siblings than cousins. After graduating high school, he left for L.A. to become an actor. The moment he left town I envied him, my spirit wanting more than what our little town had to offer. But every time he came home for a visit, he would warn me to stay away from Hollywood, that acting was not a place for someone like me, someone pure and naive.
Please, I'm not that innocent, nor stupid.
Once I graduated high school, I moved to Seattle and attended acting school, learning everything that I could about the craft. I started small, working on stage productions and commercials before venturing to Canada where Hollywood has a second home for TV shows.
We lost touch over the years. I started keeping track of Jasper's personal life through his mother and my aunt Charlotte, as well as the internet. Jasper's schedule kept him on set and on location most of the time, leaving little or no time to come home. I know that he is surprised to see me on his set, as well as how much I have grown up.
At least I hope he sees me as grown up.
He is staring at me, mouth gaping just a bit as he struggles to find words.
The director interrupts the moment with his own demands. "Jasper, what the hell man? You ruined the scene!" We both turn to see a slightly angry Emmett McCarty standing beside us.
Jasper finally releases me before turning to speak to Emmett. "Sorry, Emmett. I was just surprised to see her."
"Wait, you know her?"
"Yeah, this is Bella Swan, my cousin."
"You mean Isabella Dwyer," I correct him.
"What the fuck, you have a stage name?" Jasper questions me, anger and frustration lacing his words.
Well, there goes my hope that he thinks of me more than just a little kid.
"Jasper, I'm twenty-three. I'm old enough to make decisions for myself."
"No, you are not. I told you to stay out of Hollywood. You…"
Emmett interrupts Jasper's tirade. "Hold on, save the brotherly act for another time. We have to reset and start the scene over. We are on a time schedule here. Is there going to be a problem with you working with her, Jasper?"
Looking to Jasper, I plead with my eyes for him to say no. This isn't my first acting job, but I worked hard to get cast as an extra on his show. I don't want to miss this chance.
He huffs, sighing in resignation before gritting out an answer. "No."
"Reset. We will pick up the scene right after Jack approaches Bree," Emmett shouts out to the crew as he walks away from us.
The noise level rises around us as the crew sets the scene back up.
"Hey, is everything all right?" A deep, gruff voice asks from behind me.
"Everything is fine," Jasper answers over my shoulder.
I turn to see Edward Masen, Jasper's co-star on their hit TV show, Paranormal. The show has been in production for the past three years with a cult following, a combination of creepy monsters and an unending 'end-of-the-world' scenarios.
Ah, Edward Masen.
A fine specimen of a man, and one hell of an actor that I have had my eye on ever since Jasper got this job and they were cast together. His acting resume reads almost as diverse as Jasper's, each having roles in opposite shows until cast together as brothers, Jack and Riley Browning.
If I am being honest, he is a major reason I put my name in the ring and auditioned for this show, ever inch of my mind and body crawling with anticipation to meet him. I knew once Jasper saw me on set, he would never let me in front of the camera, let alone near Edward. Since I was a last minute add, I was able to keep my head down when he was near as the scene was set up, keeping a low profile until our characters met on camera.
Here's my chance, don't blow it.
Jasper clears his throat, bringing my attention back to him. "After filming today, we are going to have a nice, long talk."
I don't get to answer him before he stalks off. I look towards Edward, and he gives me a shrug of his shoulders, apparently unsure as to how to deal with the two of us, just before it is announced that the scene is reset.
An hour later, we are wrapped for the day, and I am wrapped in a towel trying to warm up while sitting in a chair off stage, my body cold from being constantly rained on while the camera was rolling.
"Where are you staying?"
"Jasper, you don't need to treat me like a little sister. I've been here for a few months."
"What?" He stops his anger, his emotions replaced by pure shock and I can see him trying to regroup his thoughts before speaking again. "Fine. Just let me know where you are staying and I can bring some pizza over and help you pack."
I smile sweetly at him, knowing that I'll be giving him a very good reason to leave me alone after I leave the set.
"We are staying at the Pine Valley motel off route 5, room 114." I stand and pull my towel around me, moving to walk away.
"We?" he yells after me.
Turning as I walk backwards, I smile smugly at Jasper, "Yeah, Alice is my roommate. You remember her don't you, Jasper? See in a few hours."
I can't contain the smile on my face for the fact that I have an ace in my pocket for when Jasper comes over: Alice Brandon.
Alice is my best friend and the weirdest girl on the face of the planet that I know. We met as sophomores in high school and have been joined at the hip ever since; her wild and hectic energy a balance to my 'nose-stuck-in-a-book' persona. During our senior year, on the last visit that Jasper graced us with, she seduced him and fucked his brains out.
The noises alone coming from the inside of her house were enough to scare me, so I asked Alice to keep the details to herself. I can only assume that she is a freak in the bed and that Jasper learned this the hard way. Let's just say that Jasper cringes anytime I mention her name.
Guess Jasper didn't want to be tied down, according to Alice, that is.
A few hours later, I am showered and relaxed, the heat cranked in our two-bedroom hotel room, finally warm after the soaking I received on set. Dressed comfortably in a cami and some boy shorts, I curl up on the couch, opening my most recent book and pickup from where I left off, loosing myself into the world of zombies.
I am lost as to how much time has gone by or how many zombies have died at the hands of the heroes when there is a knock at the door.
A good story will do that.
I peak through the peephole to see Edward standing on the other side, holding a pizza box and a six-pack of beer. For the addicts of the show, and I include myself in that lot, we know that Jasper and Edward are actually good friends off camera, having been photographed frequently hanging out.
Trying to tone down the smile on my face that I get to see Edward again so soon, I take a deep breath before opening the door.
He looks better up close than I imaged, the camera not doing justice to his sculpted face. His trademark bronze hair is messed up, stark contrasts to his character's neat and tame look. Edward looks relaxed in a plan grey t-shirt, dark washed blue jeans, and a simple leather coat.
Oh, most definitely better this way.
"Jesus fuck," he mumbles when I open the door. He is looking frantically at me, his eyes moving from head to toe, and it takes everything I have learned in my acting classes not to smile and be smug about my appearance.
Don't smile. Don't smile. Don't smile.
"Since Jasper lacks manners and didn't introduce us before, hi, I'm Bella." I reach out to shake his hand, happy when the shock leaves his face and his warm hand envelops mine.
"Edward, Edward Masen," he stutters out.
"I know who you are, Edward." I look behind him. "Where's Jasper?"
"Oh, um, he's parking the car."
"I'll bet." If I know Jasper, he is probably hiding in his car, pulling together any strength he has to come face-to-face with Alice again.
"Come on in." I stand aside and open the door all the way, giving Edward room to enter. My eyes drift to his firm packed backside as he passes by.
He moves to the tiny kitchen, placing the box and beer on the counter. "So, who is Alice?"
"What did Jasper tell you?"
"Nothing much, just lots of talking to himself. Should I be scared?"
"Of Alice? Pff, not unless you are blond, have blue eyes, and your name is Jasper."
"Oh this sounds good." He takes a seat at the bar while I lean closer and whisper, the pizza box separating us, the atmosphere settling between us like we are the best of friends getting ready to gossip.
"Here's the short and sweet. Alice seduced him back when we were eighteen. The noises coming from her house that night were like something out of a horror flick. Guess Jasper doesn't like her brand of freak. Jasper ran for the airport the next morning, tail between his legs, and hasn't come back home since. Well, at least that I am aware of."
"Sounds messed up." His voice is quiet, raspy, putting thoughts into my head what his voice would sound like moaning my name.
"You don't know Alice," I say softly.
Before I can explain more, there is another knock at the door.
"I'll get it!" Alice screams from behind the closed door of her room. A second later, her door flies open and she is at the front door. She takes a deep breath, runs her hands along her simple tight t-shirt and shorts, and calms herself before opening it, giving her best performance of a rational woman that she can.
"Nice to see you again, Jasper." The words leave Alice's mouth smooth and confident. If I weren't the one that went through acting school with her and didn't know her addiction to Jasper, I would have thought that she had gone mental.
Alice, normally, is on full tilt, bouncing from one side of the room to the other, words and thoughts leaving her mind a mile a minute. But I know her; she is doing this to show Jasper that she can be 'normal'.
Yeah, whatever that is.
Jasper looks at her like she has two heads. He has his hands in front of him, almost in a protective stance, relaxing for a moment, his eyes leaving Alice as he peers past her and into the hotel room, his gaze landing on Edward and I in the kitchen.
"What the fuck, Bella? Don't you own any clothes?" he yells, stalking past Alice, who can't take her eyes off of him.
"Yes, Jasper. I own clothes; what the hell do you think I am wearing?" My hands move up and down my body, indicating the cloth attached to my body.
After a brief lecture of dressing appropriately, especially with guests present, I relent and go to my room where I pull on some yoga pants and a t-shirt. When I return, Alice is running around in the small space between the kitchen and the table, setting out plates and dishing out the pizza before buzzing back for the beer.
The four of us sit in silence as we eat and drink, my eyes darting back and forth between Jasper and Alice. Alice doing everything she can to hide her smile as she watches Jasper, her eyes glued to him and every motion that he makes. Jasper is looking anywhere but in her direction.
Wonder when the bomb will drop?
"So, you two have been here for a few months?" Edward asks, breaking the awkwardness. I focus my attention on him, thoughts of Alice and Jasper gone once I see his green eyes.
"Yeah, we have been auditioning for everything available," I explain. "Since we arrived, Alice got a commercial and I was an extra on some teenage show. Nothing much, but we saved enough before coming and plan to be here for a little while."
"No. Now that you have gotten a job, you can return home," Jasper says, interrupting my conversation with Edward, his words sting, attempts at trying to send me packing bringing my frustration level with him to a breaking point.
"Jasper, home is Seattle, not Forks. I left just like you did after high school. I can get acting jobs there, and I have been. You can't stop me from being in this industry. You aren't my big brother, and I don't need you to protect me. Hell, you haven't even been around me for the past four years!" My anger gets the best of me as I jerk up from the table and storm off to my room, slamming the door behind me.
I pace my room, trying to breath and calm down. In all my years, I don't think I have ever gotten that mad at Jasper, or even raised my voice to him in anger. But him pushing me to leave, just when I get a break, even though it is a small one, is not his decision to make.
The next morning on set, I am called into the writer's room. I find myself in a chair on the opposite side of the table of the head writer, director, and the executive producer, waiting to see if they need me for anything additional.
"Isabella, we would like to expand your part for this episode only. Are you interested?"
It is the 'only' that gives the plot away.
"So, how do I get killed off?"
An hour later I find myself in wardrobe, sitting on the couch with a revised script in my hand. My role has been expanded from the lady in trouble at the opening scene to a love interest of Edward's character, Riley. For some reason the director thought Riley could use a little love in his life. The script was already written and the cast and crew had just spent the last few days doing table reads and rehearsals when the actress I replaced got sick. It was explained to me that they would be adding one extra day to the schedule, fitting in my role in between the original parts of the episode. Not wanting to ruin this chance, I quickly scan over the words, finding my sections and re-reading the lines trying to commit them to memory.
"You need to go back into that room and say no."
I look up from the script to see Jasper standing in the door of the trailer, anger visible from the red color filling his face.
"Not going to happen."
I don't intend on giving up this opportunity, and I certainly don't want to give up on getting to know Edward more.
Oh the possibilities.
"You are just as stubborn as Alice."
"I didn't hear you complaining last night," I jab right back at him.
The color drains from his face, and I can see his mind working, no doubt his memories filtering and running like a movie on repeat. I didn't leave my room after storming away from the table, but I wasn't deaf when I heard Alice and Jasper in her room a few hours later.
He lets out a muffled laugh before speaking. "Fine. Be stubborn." I hope for his sake that he sees that I am determined and that nothing he can say will keep me away from acting.
Over the next week, the hours are long on set, the pace of a TV show more work than I even thought it would be. Edward and I spend time together, running lines and getting to know each other.
I thought I knew as much about Edward as I could, but I was wrong. He is intelligent, giving up a full ride to Stanford in order to start his acting career.
The tension between us is thick, each moment together is a new layer lapped on, making it hard for me to breathe when he is near. Everything in my body sings when I am around him, being close to him in every way is becoming a need.
On set, our characters interact, and when the cameras aren't rolling, we are together, talking, laughing, and connecting in ways I didn't know I would with him.
It is the last day of shooting, and Edward and I have our big scene. My character, Bree, has quickly fallen for him in what the writer refers to as the 'reverse nightingale effect'. Since the guys rescued me on the road, I have been by their side, while they try to hunt down what was out there that night. 'Riley' has a soft spot for 'Bree' but fights off giving into his desires.
"So where will you go from here?"
"I don't know," he says, shrugging. "To the next town, the next state. Where ever the next monster is."
"And I guess there isn't anything I could say to get you to stay."
He laughs. "Stay. I don't think we would fit the cookie cutter relationship, Bree."
"I never said that we were a greeting card, Riley. I just want to see where we could go."
"Well, that's not possible."
I stand and stare at him, the look of pain etched on his face. The moment is stressful; the tears that I have held at bay finally falling.
He closes the space between us, taking me into his arms and dropping his head to kiss me. For a moment I forget that there are cameras rolling, that our characters are supposed to have this one passionate moment, closure between them.
Bree and Riley who?
Edward is all feels when he kisses me; soft, warm lips, firm, muscular arms holding me close, and his heartbeat strong between us. His hands are warm, burning through the thin dress that I am wearing; large and cradling my back and neck, as if they were always made to be there. My hands find the hair on base of his neck, my nails scrapping lightly before my head tilts, giving him everything I can.
Moans, groans, lips, and tongues; in what should be an 'on-screen kiss' borders soft-core porn.
When the kiss ends, I look at Edward, wanting to do nothing more than kiss him again before dragging him to his trailer and making it rock.
On instinct, the words fall from my mouth, the line blurred between my own emotions and my characters.
"For everything." He simply kisses me three more times before letting go and walking away.
"And that's a wrap!" Emmett yells from behind the camera.
And just like that, our intense scene is over.
The show is wrapped, and I am no longer a living character for it, having been killed by the monster that I saw during that first shoot. We all clean up and move to the large sound stage for a little party.
With a small plate of food in my hand, I sit in a director's chair and take in the scene around me. The crew is eating, chatting with each other about the hard work from the week. The vibe of the room is happy.
Alice is sitting quietly beside me, her foot bouncing, and the real her itching to break free. I don't know what exactly has happened between her and Jasper, other than the animalistic sounds they'd emitted from behind closed doors, but for her to suppress her real nature, she must be in love with Jasper.
Before I can speak, Jasper comes over and offers his hand to Alice, whose smile doesn't reach her eyes. I know that she is on the verge of breaking, something I don't want to witness or see her put herself through.
"Alice, it's ok." Jasper is sincere in his words, and I can see that he sees that she is holding back, hiding the pain of suppressing her true nature.
Her smile fades, a few tears fall down her face before she warps her arms around Jasper, holding him close. "You crazy, sweet girl. Come on, let's get a drink."
Yeah, they are going to be just fine.
As they walk away, Edward approaches me, taking the spot in the chair that Alice vacated.
"You were great this week," he says, smiling while looking at me.
A slight blush breaks out on my face, the heat warming me. "Thanks, you were too."
"Will you head back to the States?"
"I don't really know," I answer honestly. "I won't be able to stay around here much longer, especially since my character was killed."
He laughs and drops his gaze to his hands, his fingers laced, lost in his own thoughts. After a moment or two, he speaks, "I'm sorry about that. It's a hazard of the show."
"I knew what I was getting myself into. I'm a big girl, I can handle it."
"Yeah, doesn't mean I have to like it."
He sighs deeply before getting up and walking away, disappearing beyond the crew and out of the building. His words sit in my head, spinning all forms of meaning.
I make it back to the hotel room, confused and unsure of…anything. Right now, everything should be clear; the show is wrapped, I have to look for new auditions to go on, find more work, Jasper and I have reconnected, and God only knows what is going on with him and Alice now. I even had my moment with Edward, finding out what he finally tastes like.
But being here alone just feels so wrong, like the closure I should feel isn't there. Thinking back, my mind immediately gravitates to that kiss on set. Being in Edward's arms, his lips against mine, his scent surrounding me, his tongue dancing with mine, in that moment everything was right, perfect. When I add in the combination of a week of getting to know each other, the long talks, the common interest, the accidental touches, I feel the loss that I won't ever get any of that back again.
I find myself sitting in a numb state on the couch when there is a knock at the door.
"Bella," my name whispers from his lips, a sigh rather. "Stay."
Looking at Edward, I can see a frantic look on his face, a flush to his cheeks as if he ran all the way from the set. His hair is standing up in a million directions, tracks evident in his, now that I know, of so soft hair. "Excuse me?"
"Stay." He steps in through the thresh hold and collects me into his embrace.
He is warm, his heart pounding in his chest, beating fast against my own, the beats making their way through the layers of clothes that separate us. My arms instinctively weave around and clasping together on his lower back.
"Stay, don't leave. I want whatever you will give me. This past week has been heaven and hell all rolled up into one. Every moment with you, getting to know you, has been wonderful. But when I want to lean in and kiss you, feel your lips on mine, I remember that you will leave soon.
"Then today, our lines, they felt like sand paper leaving my mouth. I don't want to be sorry; I don't want to walk away from you."
"Stay?" I don't mean for the word to come out like a question, but it does. I understand everything that he just told me, I hear him loud and clear. Friendship isn't what's he's looking for; he wants more…and I realize that I do, too.
Leaning down, the word escapes his mouth before he kisses me, every time he gives into the need for air, he repeats it.
I don't know how we manage to make it to the couch, or when the door was shut behind him, or when we started removing our clothes. But I am glad.
The feel of Edward, his smooth skin, stretching along his firm muscles, each tendon can be felt under my fingertips as I explore each new exposed area. His mouth is on me, everywhere. My body responds, arching while my skin becomes heated, the desire surging through my blood.
Finally bare of all of our clothing, nothing but his socks on his feet and a condom on his cock, Edward rests me on the couch before lying on top of me, pulling my legs to wrap around his waist and thrusting into me for the first time.
"Stay," he repeats, a mantra as he builds a rhythm between us. My hips move, adding to his motions, the most sensitive part of my sex rubbing against his skin.
"Yes," I whimper, both answering to his request and encouraging him as he brings me closer to release. Then there is that one moment, when white lights flash behind my eyelids, sensations bursting through my body as I reach my peak and rippling through, allowing me to discover more intimacy with Edward than the act itself. I moan, calling out Edward's name just as his thrusts become more frantic, stronger, before he finally stills.
My world spins on the right axis, no more confusion, no closure needed, only hope for the future.