Damn! I feel like I haven't posted anything ALL year! *snickers* Sorry, I've been waiting to use that one! Anywho!
So this if my very first One Shot and I hope you like it! I gotta thank a few ladies: Kimberly, Marita, and Christag for pre-reading this little ditty! And another round of thanks to Christag for the banner! I saw it up for adoption and like a vulture I wanted it and stared at it for almost an hour with no plan to relent until I came up with a fic for it! I know some of you can relate, so let's shout out all the banner/manip makers who probably inspire a ton of stories everyday without realizing it!
And of course kisses and ass smacks to my Beta Bridgette. (But you know how I do with going back in and adding/removing ish ... so almost mistakes are on this girl *points to self*)
**The Way We Were**
Full Summary: He was her first true love. Her first best friend. Everything he did, and everything he said was perfect. It was the right thing, just at the wrong time. The result—two broken hearts. While hiding out at the reception of her brother's wedding, alongside a nosey barman, and several shots, Bella takes a trip down memory lane . . . However, he's not the only one listening, and someone lurking in the background wants nothing more than for things to return to the way they were.
"So, we've been talking for a while, but I forgot to ask—you here for the bride or groom?"
"Both." I chuckle and slam back another shot. My plan is to be as drunk as possible before the actual reception starts. I've chosen to hide out in the bar of the hotel in the hopes of not being forced into more pictures with him. Seeing his face, his smile, his ease and non-resentment makes me loathe myself that much more.
"Let me guess, the groom is your ex?"
"God no!" I look at him aghast and start toying with the charm on necklace. "The groom is my twin brother."
"Oh. Then the bride?"
I giggle. "No, the bride is my best friend, actually."
He sighs, clearly perplexed at not figuring out my 'story' yet. "Got it!" He snaps, his grey eyes twinkling a little. "You screwed the best man?"
I scowl at him and demand another shot. "I still know my name and you're not two people yet, James. You're sleeping on the job."
"Just this one more for now, you need to take it easy anyway." Pouring me another shot, he hums. "So tell me. Did you screw the best man last night, and in turn he banged one of the bridesmaids this morning?"
"I wish." I snort. This makes bartender James, aka my new best friend, give me that 'now you're really cut off' look. "No . . . I mean I wish I screwed the best man. Recently that is. But no . . ." I sigh. "Sadly it's been—" I look down at my fingers and attempt to count. "Four!" I stick out all five fingers, then realizing my mistake I bend my thumb down. "Four years! It's been four years since I screwed that fine specimen of a man. Four, very, very, very sad years."
"Ah … so the best man is an ex. Is he the ex? You know, the 'one that got away' and all that Jazz?"
"All that Jazz, indeed," I sigh.
"I don't believe that." He leans against the bar, giving me his undivided attention. I'm actually the only one in here, lest for a random old lady playing on a slot machine in the corner. Everyone else is outside for cocktail hour, humming and hawing and reveling in each other's company.
"Well, it's the truth! I'm a horrible person." I sniff. Then wail out, "I broke his heearrrttt!
"Oh my God." James groans. "Get it together, or no more vodka."
It's miraculous, how quick I sober up.
"Now." He looks intrigued again. "You broke his heart." He taps his chin. "Did you cheat on him?"
"Is he here with someone else?"
I shrug and look down. "I don't think so."
"But you're not sure—meaning you didn't ask."
Sucking down some of the water he replaced in front of me, I level him with as stern a glare as I can with the alcohol catching up to me. "Didn't I just tell you I broke his heart? Of course I didn't ask. It's none of my business."
"Okay," he concedes putting his hands up to show surrender. "Wanna tell me about him?"
I shrug again. "He's perfect. There's not much more to say than that."
"Oh, I'm sure you can elaborate."
"And I am sure you've already heard it all." I try and dissuade him but he looks at me expectantly. "Okay, fine …" I huff. "Edward Masen was, is my first real love. We met junior year in high school. I was the new girl and a pure spoiled brat that didn't want to be there and leave all her old friends behind. He was my next door neighbor and made it his life mission to make me enjoy life in a way I hadn't before."
"Wow—you fell in love with the boy next door. How 'American Cliché' dream' of you."
"Do you want to hear the story or not?" I snap. Gesturing with his hands, he tells me to go ahead. And I mimic zipping my lips so he knows he needs to shut it! "The day I met him was the day we moved . . ."
"Dad!" I whined, pleaded, and stomped my foot. "Tanya's mom said she would let me stay with them to at least finish out the school year. This so isn't fair!"
It was cruel and unusual punishment in my eyes. No one ups and moves from the town they grew up in, had friends in and planned to go to college in, halfway through their junior year of high school. I was fine, well not fine, but I was willing to deal with completing senior year here. But moving half way through the school year? Not so much.
"Tanya's mother would have let you run amok. No!"
"Jessica's mom offered as well. So did Angela's. And Lauren's. And so many of my other friends that you've known since the womb who agree it's complete crap for you to make me move!"
"Yeah!? Well do these same friends agree that it's complete crap that your mother sold the house? That she left me for your precious friend Angela's father, Phil? That, as of right now, we are a complete laughing stock of that town?"
I gasped. My brown eyes, widening at the same brown ones glaring at me. "What?"
"Jesus Christ, Dad!" My twin brother, Riley, snapped at him. "You know she didn't know. Was it worth telling her like that?"
I shook my head slowly, trying to get my bearings. "This . . . that . . . there's no way."
"So what? You think I up and decided I wanted to divorce your mother after twenty years of marriage? That I wanted to uproot my kids and leave the only home they've ever known behind? You think I wanted that? Or do you think I wanted, no needed, to move away from the God damn embarrassment and shame and spare you two the same because you are all I have left?"
I was in full tears at that point watching as my father, a man of few words and even less emotions struggled to keep his composure.
"It's okay." I looked at my brother giving him a small smile, but a request to keep his distance. He was even less of an emotional person than my dad. Me and my mother were the basket cases of the family. My mother—the selfish bitch that caused all of this. "Excuse me." I looked at him, then my dad, and gave him a shoulder squeeze in apology. I ducked out the side door, and immediately searched for my mother's name in the contacts on my cell phone. I was shocked she picked up.
"Is it true?"
"Now, Bella . . ."
"Answer me!" I screamed into the phone. A part of me already knowing it was. I overheard the fights, knew something was up. But I rationalized it was two people growing apart. Falling out of love. Never had I thought my mother would …
"Sweetheart." Her voice was soft, almost pleading but I didn't want to hear any of it.
"You broke our family apart, mom! God, how could you be so selfish!"
"You can't help who you fall for," she argued back gently. "I never meant to hurt anyone. Phil never meant to either."
"Phil's a fucking pastor. His indiscretions are between him and his God. I'm talking about you right now!"
"I didn't want you and Ri to leave. But Charlie insisted on taking you away."
"And thank fucking God for that! Would you have preferred we stay in town and watch you and Phil flaunting your affair in everyone's face? My God, poor Angela."
"Her and her mother moved away as well."
"Well congratu-fucking-lations, mom! You managed to run two families out of town." I was pushing it with talking to her the way I was, but the situation didn't call for decorum.
"I think it's best if we talk later. You're obviously still upset."
"You're damn right I am. And you know what … let's not bother talking at all. It's clear Riley and I are not your priorities, any more than dad was. He'll take care of us—you can go on being a whore." I heard her gasp over the phone just as I clicked 'end' on the call, and continued holding onto the button in order to turn my phone off.
"That was kinda brutal."
I did a complete 360 degree turn with my body trying to find the source of the voice. Snickering coming from above my head caught my attention. When I looked up, I saw a boy, about my age, sitting on the edge of his roof with no shirt on. I wanted to be polite and greet him, but I was too busy seething at the fact he was eavesdropping on my talk with my mom—mortified as well.
"Has anyone ever told you it's rude to listen in on people's phone calls?"
He snorted at me, swinging his legs off the roof and dropping on the balls of his feet with a thud.
"Eavesdropping involves intent. What I did was overhear your phone call, well your side of it at least, because you, pretty girl, were so damn loud."
"Doesn't seem like much of a charmer to me," James interrupts.
"We were seventeen," I defend. "And he called me 'pretty girl'. It doesn't get more charming than that."
"I suppose you're right. So—" he smiles, pouring me a drink. I beam at am, pleased with myself that I earned another one somehow. "Tell me what happened next."
I snort around the glass. "My brother Riley came out to see if I was okay. Apparently, I was very loud and he and my dad heard me from all the way inside."
"Turns out Mister I'm-nosey-but-I'm-gonna-pawn-that-off-on-you was some sort of local football star. And my brother recognized his face from pictures in the coaches office, when he and my dad went to talk to them about him trying out for the team even though the season already started. He totally fan-girled." I snicker.
"Hell no! My brother made me hate football."
"Who hates football?" James asks, scrunching up his nose.
"Well there goes your queen of 'American Cliché' title. Unless, of course, you tell me you two started dating right away and you were also a cheerleader."
I don't answer. Instead, I hang my head in shame. I also don't bother looking up when I hear my chuckling because I know I might start doing the same. That part of the story always gets the one or two reactions—a round of 'awwws' or laughter from people who say they only thought that shit happened on TV.
"Okay." He finally composes himself. "So what went wrong? Caught him in the locker room with the captain?"
"Jeez." I give him a look of sympathy. "You really have heard it all, huh?"
"You can't even imagine," he answers solemnly but with a wide grin. I notice him glance over my shoulder but when I turn to look he grabs my attention again. "What happened after?"
"After you brother turned into a groupie."
I laugh. "Edward's sister, Victoria, came out to bitch at him. I guess the reason he was out, and on the roof was because something was up with their satellite dish and they sent him to fix it."
"Satellite dish? Wow, I feel like I just transported back ten years."
"It was a small town," I grumble. "Technology was a few years behind."
"Sounds like good times."
"It was." I smile at the memories.
Moving to a small town was, originally, a death sentence to me. I was seventeen and very few things mattered in my life. My friends and popularity being at the top of the food chain. But Edward, his sister, and their friends didn't hold that against me. Yeah, they teased me sometimes but it was good hearted. And when I went back 'home' a couple months later, I'd never felt more left out with the people I had 'known' all my life. It was insane some of the shit we did—short of rolling in the mud—to entertain ourselves. But I wouldn't change any of it for the world. I could have had it now, had it forever but I threw it all away.
"So what happened after his sister came out to bitch at him?" he asks impatiently.
I roll my eyes. "He climbed back on the roof and fixed the dish. Then they went inside their house, while me and my brother went back in ours to finish cleaning and unpacking."
"Boo! That's not what I expected."
I know what he expected. "The sex didn't come for another few weeks. I had to at least pretend to have boundaries."
"Good girl." He reaches out his fist for me to bump with my own. "Okay." He rubs his hands together. "At some point something went wrong since you're here sulking and hiding from him. Wanna jump to the end?"
I shake my head no and go back to playing with my necklace.
"Alright fine. Tell me about prom." My head snaps up at that. "What? I'm assuming you went to prom together?"
"Yes," I answer him tightly through my teeth. "But I just said I didn't want to jump to the end."
"Oh!" He grimaces. "Well that sucks."
Senior prom was supposed to be one of the best nights of our lives. In typical fashion, me and my group of friends spent weeks planning everything down to the last detail. No stone was left unturned. From nail colors all the way down to the cover stories we were all giving our parents in order to stay out all night. It unfortunately, turned into the worst night of my life.
"I think I'm starting to figure out what might have gone wrong."
"Oh?" I give him a look of challenge. "This isn't your run of the mill break-up."
"No, but I've heard it all—remember?"
"You have three more guesses."
"I have to go back at one point," I remind him, fanning my hand over my dress.
"True. Okay. Can I have one guess now?"
"You can have all three now if you want."
"That won't be necessary." He puts up a hand to silence me. Then brings his chin to rest in between his thumb and pointer finger. "So we've established the break up didn't involve cheating."
"Is that a guess?"
"No, no! Simply an observation."
"You're right," I confirm, throwing him a bone. "There was no cheating."
"But you broke his heart."
"And did he break yours?"
"Yeah." I frown and look back down at my glass. "Shattered it actually."
"Edward. Please don't do this."
"Don't do what?" He barked, standing at his full height above me—towering over me menacingly. "This is what you wanted, isn't it?"
"No!" I pleaded, grabbing onto his shirt. "No, I swear. I love you. You know I love you."
"Just not enough right?"
"Don't say that!"
"Let go of me." He grabbed my hands, pulling his shirt free from my grasp. "I just tried handing you everything and you spit it back in my face. This … this is over. We graduate in two weeks—let's just cut ties now like you've planned all along."
"Are you still heartbroken?"
I look up at James, blinking to keep the tears inside. "Can I have some water instead?"
After drinking greedily from the glass, I set it back on the bar top and look at him blankly. "Any new guesses?"
"I think I figured it out."
"We'll see. Alright, I got the beginning and a pretty good idea of the end. The first end, that is. Because it's clear this isn't over. What about the middle? What good can you tell me about the middle?"
I smirk and look down, having no intentions of detailing out my thoughts to him, but letting myself get swept away by them.
Edward wasn't the first guy I had sex with, but even now, in my early twenties I can say he was the best. It's not even about the technique—'cause you only know so much back then—but just the way he took care of me. Like our first time, only a few short weeks after we met.
It was ironically after a football game. Riley's first—which he actually got to start—and mine as well, where I got to dress in cheer uniform, but didn't actually get on the field yet.
My dad had just taken a security job a few towns over while he waited for his police credentials to transfer and the deal about us staying in the house alone was that we had to check in with Elizabeth Masen. The resident mom to everyone in town—also known as Edward's mother and the woman who gave us all way too much trust.
I wasn't disrespectful and ballsy enough to sneak into Edward's room, but I sure as hell had him come to mine knowing no one would be home. Riley was off somewhere, and at the time we weren't sure of the exact location but we couldn't find it in ourselves to be overly concerned. Wherever he was he was mercifully out of my way.
Edward had just slipped out of the shower, and I was making an attempt to get out of my uniform when he snuck up behind me.
"I'm so happy you moved here," he whispered gruffly in my ear.
"Oh yeah?" I purred. I knew the sings, and my whorish pussy knew what was about to go down. "Why's that?"
"Mmm," he hummed, pulling the tip of my earlobe into his mouth. "I was starting to think my dick was broken."
I chuckled and rolled my eyes. "So romantic, Edward."
He laughed and brought his arms around my waist. "I'm being serious, though. For a long while I kept telling everyone I was too busy, had too much going on to worry about girls. But the minute you came …"
"I managed to piss off half of the student body?" I added, teasingly. My first few days had been a little rough but that quickly evaporated when certain girls saw how little their cattiness was going to affect me. I wasn't going to fight anyone for Edward but I sure as hell wasn't going to back down from him for anyone either.
"I want you," he murmured.
"What do you want from me?" I asked, turning around in his arms.
"Everything." He popped a kiss on the side of my lips. "But for now I'll settle on you being my girlfriend, and letting me make love to you."
I smiled at his words, reaching my arms around his neck to bring our mouths together.
I didn't have the true concept of it down at the time—something that would be our undoing.
"I gotta go to the bathroom," I blurt out making James jump. "And then I really have to get back."
"I've been supplying you with enough water. It's about time."
"You!" I growl. No wonder I stopped feeling drunk ages ago. He was jipping me. That doesn't mean I don't still feel a little tipsy as I sway my way to the bathroom.
When I get to the bathroom and finish handling my business, I take a moment to stare at myself in the mirror while I wash my hands and fix my hair. My eyes are a little puffy from the crying earlier, but I can always attribute that to the fact I'm deliriously happy my brother married my best friend and almost sister-in-law from years back.
As I laid in the hotel bed, staring at my left hand, I felt nothing but sheer panic. What the hell was he thinking?
"You do like it, right?"
I drop my hand and loll my head to see Edward standing at the foot of the bed with a wide but nervous smile.
"It's beautiful," I croaked out. "But . . ."
"I mean, obviously I'll get you a bigger one in a few years, but—" My rapid head shaking makes him stop whatever he was going to say. "What?"
"Edward," I sighed, patting the space next to me for him to sit or lie down. He obliged but from the look on his face, I could tell he knew it wasn't going to be good. "Baby," I started, grabbing onto his hands. "I love you—you know that, but . . . I can't marry you."
"What?" he snapped, eyes forming into small lines, jaw tight. "What do you mean you can't marry me?"
"Sweetie, we're eighteen. That's—"
"That didn't stop you from saying yes."
"You proposed to me in front of all our friends right after prom," I reminded him slowly. "There was no way I could have said no."
"Yes you could have. You're saying no now, right?"
"I'm not—" I tried to reach for his hands but he pulled them away. "I'm not saying no as in it's something I would never consider. I'm just saying . . ."
"What are you saying? Other than you don't want to marry me. Is this about your mom?"
"Are you . . . is this . . ." I struggled to gather my words in order. "This has nothing to do with my mom. Despite her being a fucked up person for what she did, she didn't taint my thoughts about marriage. To the right person."
"Oh, so I'm not the right person?"
I inhaled through my nose trying to tamp down my aggravation at his sudden need to take what I was trying to say and throw it back in my face in a different context.
"Edward," I said his name carefully, hoping to reason with him. "We're eighteen."
"Yeah, I got that. Legal adults. Go ahead."
"Be that as it may, in just a few weeks, we're graduating high school and then leaving for college. Different colleges," I add.
"Wait." He chuckles darkly, moving even further away from me and resting his hands on his hips. "What do you mean different?"
I rub at my eyes. "We talked about this already," I bite a little tiredly. "I've had a scholarship for school back home since I was a sophomore, you know that."
"Home." He laughs again. No traces of humor. "Silly me. I thought this was your home now. I thought being with me, that was your home."
I frown, realizing my slip up. "It is. It's just … I can't afford school here. And I already have a free ride—that's been the plan all along. You knew this since day one."
"Yeah, well plans change! For some people that is." He looks away blinking rapidly.
When he turns his attention back to me, the look on his face—the resignation, I see it.
I begged and pleaded for him to understand. Pathetically asked him not to leave me. I didn't realize that by saying no to his proposal he would take everything away.
That was the end of us.
A few months later, after Riley and Victoria announced they were a couple—we exchanged a few words online. We ran into each other a couple years ago at another mutual friend's wedding, but things were never the same. And through friends and family, pictures and posts, I was able to gather he continued playing football throughout college and never really dated anyone seriously, but it's not a subject we ever discussed amongst the two of us.
The last few months, having to stay in steady contact as we did our best to help work out the wedding details brought us closer than we've been in years. And though I would jump at the chance to pick things up again, to be the way we were. My heart doesn't see that as a possibility.
Splashing some water on my face, I try to snap out of it, and remind myself today shouldn't be about me and my 'what ifs'. It's about my best friend and my brother. My best friend who never once held it against me when I broke her brother's heart. And the brother who stood by me and held my hand when I spent weeks crying over a heartbreak I didn't think I was going to survive. They supported me during that time and I need to be there for them.
When I make my way back out to the bar and James spots me, he greets me with a warm and wide smile.
"You look like a different person. Do I even want to know what you did in that bathroom?"
I let out a bit of a belly laugh. "And here I thought you were a sweet guy and not a perv. But no, same person—just realizing I need to mope later."
"Or you can decide to not mope at all and go after your man."
"The thoughts crossed my mind," I admit. "Trust me. But . . ." I shrug. "Now's not the time. I have to prepare myself in case the ship has sailed you know."
I look at James' lips wide-eyed, praying the words came out of his mouth and that his voice has suddenly changed. But with him looking over my shoulder I know that's not the case.
I shake my head from side to side, to indicate I have no intention of turning around. I'm too busy having a heart attack for that.
"Bella?" I tense at Edward's voice, squeaking out a 'yes?' but still not finding the strength to turn around, I grip onto the chair in front of me. "The ship never sailed. It's still at the dock waiting."
With a nod over my shoulder, James smiles and winks at me then promptly walks off to the other side of the bar as if he has something more pressing to do. I glare at his retreating form.
"I get it now you know?" I hear his voice approaching. "The wanting to wait—the need to be sure."
I nod slowly, letting him know I'm listening.
"I didn't need to wait, but I'm glad you made me. Glad we had the time."
He's right behind me now. I can feel his breath on the back of my neck.
"How much did you hear?" I whimper, when he moves some hair from over my shoulder.
"I heard enough, seen enough to know that maybe, just maybe we've waited long enough."
"Can I have my last guess now?" James walks up, bursting our bubble. I growl at him but he chuckles. "Fair is fair."
"Fine." I wave for him to go ahead.
He grins, smugly. "My guess is that you two were engaged, but then you called it off."
My mouth falls open. "How the heck did you get that from what I said to you? For all you know we just broke up like any other couple in high school."
"That's how." He points to my neck.
On instinct my hand flies to my necklace. The one I've worn for four years and has my two hour long engagement ring on it.
"The entire time you spoke—" he nods at it "—you twirled the ring back and forth. It's obviously an engagement ring of some sort. And you obviously, to some extent, wish you could wear it. Doesn't take a genius to figure out."
I mock bow to him. "You're good."
"I know," he boasts. "And I would have probably figured it out even if this one," he gestures with his thumb to Edward, "hadn't talked my ear off about you last night."
He cackles a little and walks away, making us promise to stop by and say hello to him before we leave. Even throwing in a little comment about how he bartends at a discount if we ever need one for our own wedding.
"Let's worry about this Swan-Masen union, before we start planning the next one," Edward calls out to him laughing.
"Planning the next one, huh?" I tease. "That might be a long while away, Masen."
"That's okay." He smiles, reaching down to link our hands together. "Unlike last time, I'm willing to wait for as long at takes. I just gotta know there's still a chance."
"Oh, somewhere in there I'm sure there is. All we need is a few drinks and a nosey bartender and I'm sure we'll be able to talk a few things out."
His smile widens as he tightens his hold on my hand.
"Shall we, then?" He winks, waving his hands to the bottles of liquor lining the wall.
I know this has to wait, 'cause our twins would kills us if we miss out on any more than we already have but with a giggle, I bring my other hand to rest on his arm. And reassure him, "Even if it's not today—we shall."
The girls liked James- hope you did too!
So what did you think? At this time I can say I don't have any plans to continue, but that's not to say things don't change! We'll have to wait and see!
Thanks again for reading!
Until Next Time
Banner up on my FB: Lolo Eight-Four and my blog (link on my profile) You can also check Christags blog Christagbanners (blogspot) ... she might inspire you as well! :-)