Challenge Number/Title: 4
The Fall Factor
Date Posted: February –5th, 2013
Content Descriptors: Fluff.
Character Pairing: E/B
"Come with me."
"Not a chance."
My whole body jerks as Emmett punches me in the upper arm. "Come with me."
"Are you going to keep punching me if I don't come with you?"
I rub my arm, glaring at my computer monitor. I really don't want an Emmett sized bruise on my bicep. "Fine. Gimme a second."
Satisfied, Emmett goes back to his own cubicle. It's twelve-thirty on a Wednesday, and after weeks of deliberation, Emmett has decided that today is the day he's going to sign up for a membership at Newton's Fitness and Rock.
Weeks spent lurking at the office window has obviously sent him insane.
I, on the other hand, have more important things to spend forty dollars a month on.
Plus, I'm sweaty and awkward at the very best of times; I don't need to pay to embarrass myself in front of Bella. Yeah, I totally know her name. For a brief moment, just two-point-five seconds, I was cool enough to voluntarily do something nice for her. The only problem was that the minute she spoke to me, my brain completely checked out and I just stood there staring at her like a creep. To make matters worse, the second time she spoke to me I just about choked to death on an iced tea.
What can I say? I'm just that smooth.
Anyway, I figure accompanying Emmett and lurking at her work is only a shade more stalkerish than staring at her from across the street. Plus, I bet they have air-conditioning.
Stepping into the hot afternoon sun, I shove my sunglasses on and roll the sleeves of my shirt up, hoping to abate the sweat-fest that's currently going on inside my clothing.
Emmett and I are half way across the street before either of us notice two girls outside, a bucket of soapy water between them, sponges and window cleaning thingies in hand.
It's like someone reached inside of my head and pulled out every dirty fantasy I've ever had.
The only thing missing was a shitty soundtrack. A car horn blasts from my right, tearing me away from my fantasy come to life, and I turn to see Emmett's wide eyes taking in the scene. I'm torn between feeling bad for the two of them, since it's about two million degrees outside, and being unable to unglue my eyes from the curve of Bella's thighs.
"Jesus," Emmett whispers.
I'm so busy covertly checking out Bella and her gym shorts that I don't notice the owner step out of the front door until his shoulder collides with mine.
He ignores me, his massive deltoid muscles glistening in the sunlight as he breezes straight past. Have I mentioned he's kind of a dick wad?
"You missed a spot," he says casually, pointing to the top of the front window before strutting off.
See? Dick wad.
The cool air from inside of the gym hits me, and it's like every cell in my body sighs with relief.
"Hey, guys. Welcome to Newton's."
It's the blonde one, the one Emmett has a thing for. I can practically feel the awkward roll off Emmett as he steps up to the counter.
"Yeah…hi…um, I'm Emmett—"
"Nice to meet you, Emmett." She's talking to him like he's a three-year-old; that's not a good sign. But then he's speaking so quietly I'm surprised she can actually hear what he's saying.
Not wanting to crowd the painfully weird moment, I settle on flipping through the class schedule.
Does Bella take a class? Which one, I wonder.
My phone vibrates in my pocket, and I pull it out, grimacing at the screen as my mom's number flashes across it. My thumb hovers over the answer button, and I really do think about answering and dealing with the guilt she'll lay on me about not answering the ten other times she's called, but in the end I don't, because I'm not that stupid. And because Bella is cleaning the top of the front window and her shirt is riding up and God could I be any more of a pervert?
If my mom could only see me now. Her son the peeping tom.
Stuffing the flyer back into its stand, I turn to see the blonde standing behind the desk as Emmett fills out the paper work.
"You signing up too, Edward?"
I shake my head vigorously. "No, no, it's not really my thing. I'm not really the athletic type."
She smiles. "Nonsense. We have classes for all skill levels, and we can totally give you a plan that's easy to follow. Plus, we're offering half price memberships this week only."
Fear rises in my throat. She's like a fucking bug zapper. All pretty and blonde and perky with her lovely smile and blue eyes, and you kind of want to do what she says even though you KNOW it's going to hurt.
"I don't know… I…uh…" My hand finds its way into my hair, a nervous habit I got from my Dad.
As she rounds the corner, her name tag comes into view, and "Rosalie" hands me a clipboard with the sign-up sheet attached.
"Twenty dollars a month, no cancellation fees, no hidden costs."
My mouth opens to object, but no sound comes out.
"Plus," she says quietly, leaning in conspiratorially. "The rock classes are included in the membership price."
I blink at her once, and her face softens, her lips curving into a sly grin. "The lovely Bella is one of our full time rock climbing instructors."
My brain screams at me to stop as I reach out a shaking hand to take the clipboard from Rosalie's hands.
"Don't forget your account information at the bottom for the direct debit," she says, stepping back and smiling proudly at me. "All done, Emmett?"
"I'm going to fucking kill you," I hiss at Emmett as we make our way out of Newton's with two temporary membership cards in hand.
No way," he whispers back. "She totally digs me. This is so worth it."
Both Emmett and I turn at the sound of Bella's voice. She's got the empty bucket sitting on her hip and her arms slung over it to keep it steady.
"Oh, hey, you signed up?" she says, pointing to the paper in my hand. "That's awesome!"
I feel a blush creep up the back of my neck. "Yeah." My voice cracks a little around the word, but I push through it. "Rosalie can be pretty persuasive."
She smiles, and it's like her features light up, the emotion behind the movement flooding her face, making her whole demeanor brighter. Her perfect pink lips stretch wide, and the blush in my neck recedes as the blood in my body begins to pool somewhere entirely different.
"That she is. So are you just going to do the gym, or am I going to get you up on my wall?"
I hold the appointment card up. "I don't know. I have an appointment for an assessment on Thursday with someone called Jasper."
My heart stops dead in my chest as she reaches out and squeezes my arm gently. "Don't worry, Jasper is really great. He'll go easy on you."
I smile timidly in reply, stuffing the card in my back pocket.
"Well, I'd better get back to work," Bella says.
The skin beneath my shirt sleeve tingles from her touch, and even though I know it's all in my head, it's like I can feel the outline of her slim fingers burned into my arm.
"Nice to see you, Edward. Make sure you come say hi when you're around."
Flashing me another smile, she turns to leave, giving me one last look at her spectacular thighs in her shorts.
"Yeah – uh - beeya."
For fucks sake.
"Did you just say beeya?"
I nod, wanting to crawl inside of myself until I disappear completely. "I went to say bye and see ya, and they came out at the same time."
Emmett snorts. "Sucks to be you."
When we get back to work and settle into the stifling office, I find three messages from my mom on my voice mail. Taking a deep breath, I pick up the receiver and begin to dial – only to hang up mid-way through.
I love my mom; don't get me wrong. But there's only so much meddling a guy can take, and lately my mom's matchmaking schemes seem to have hit an all time high. As I put the phone down, I figure I'll pick up a cake from her favorite bakery over on Fifth Street, let her berate me for not returning her calls for a little while, and she'll be just fine. I just really don't need to hear about Maggie's sister's daughter who's single, really pretty, and would love to meet me. I just don't.
Picking up the appointment card for my fitness assessment, I turn it over a few times, debating whether or not to just call up and cancel.
On one hand, I probably could stand to be a little fitter. But on the other, I'm about as coordinated as a baby giraffe.
In the end, it's the memory of Bella's smile, the one that seems to be etched into the back of my eyelids and playing on repeat every time I close my eyes, that steels my determination to turn up to the appointment.
Thank you to Krystal, my gif-loving beta.