So most of you have already read this chapter. I'm reposting, as the last one didn't quite meet the prompt criteria. To work around this, I've reworked the chapter to fit Week 8's prompt, and week 6 will come a little later. Does that make sense? Probably not.
Challenge Number/Title: 8 - Talk My Ear Off
The Fall Factor
Date Posted: February 27th, 2013
Content Descriptors: Fluff.
Character Pairing: E/B
Thank you to the lovely MagTwi for checking my climbing references. I'm a totally Gumby.
"I'm just saying, you seemed pretty happy when he showed up," calls Rosalie from the ground, letting the rope slacken a little as I hang from a set of bright green jug holds.
"He's just nice, that's all," I reply, digging my toes in hard and bracing myself under the roof before reaching up and around the overhang for the next hold.
"I don't know why you always pick the hard routes," shouts Alice from beside Rose. "You can make those easy ones without thinking."
"What's the point in that?" I call back, finding the next hold with practiced ease. A little puff of breath rushes from between my lips; the little tendril of dark hair matted to my slick forehead staying put until I wipe my head against my shoulder to move it. A moment later, I bring my knee up, bracing my foot on a solid hold before pushing off and securing the next handhold. Once I'm secure, my other foot follows and I push around the overhang until I'm on flat wall again.
"Looks like Emmett's going to be a regular in my beginner's class," says Rosalie nonchalantly as I set my feet and hands into holds and take a break, leaning back into the harness.
"Really? Somehow I never pegged him for the Pilates type."
Rosalie shrugs. "He's surprisingly flexible for such a big guy."
"Oh yeah? You been checking out his hip circles?" I tease, thrusting my hips a little. A sharp yank on the rope makes me squeak, my fingers digging in hard to keep myself in place. "Ow! Nasty bitch. Don't pretend you weren't checking him out that day."
"In case you forgot; I have a boyfriend."
"Right." I search my next suitable hold. "Chip."
"What kind of a name is Chip?"
Rosalie rolls her eyes. "What kind of a name is Alice?"
Alice pokes her tongue out.
"How is Chip? Still working on coloring between the lines?"
"Don't be a bitch."
Alice mumbles an insincere apology as I laugh.
"Don't think I don't see you detouring past the weights room these days, Bella. Checking to see if your man is there."
"He's not my man."
"What is it about Edward anyway?" asks Alice. "What's the attraction?"
I take a moment to reply, my fingers caressing the next hold, positioning myself comfortably before I rest my weight on them.
"Um. I really don't know. He just seems sweet and kind of adorable."
"Puppies are sweet and adorable."
"Yeah, well, I like puppies. I don't know, Rose. I just think he's nice."
"He's just so awkward."
"Oh, and Emmett the lumberjack-Pilates guy isn't? He tripped over foam mats on his way into the workout room yesterday and then again on his way out."
"He's pretty fucking clumsy, I'll give you that."
"So explain the attraction there then," I counter, grunting quietly as I lunge for a hold.
"Apart from his apparently spectacular downward dog."
Alice, always the smart ass.
Rose pauses, letting the rope slacken for me. "Emmett just seems so… normal."
"And that's bad?"
"No. Just different."
With a final push, I make the top – tapping the last hold with a smile. "Fuck yes! Dirt me."
Still smiling, I relax into the harness as Rosalie lowers me to the floor.
"Jesus, B. You need to lay off the blueberry muffins."
Once on the ground, my wobbly knees buckle beneath me, and I sink to the floor.
"No more chocolate frappes for me."
My arms wobble from exertion as I try to support my weight behind me, but since I picked the hardest route to the top, they're exhausted and I end up lying flat on my back, gazing up the brightly-colored climbing surface as my thighs shake beneath me.
"Normal is okay though, right?" asks Alice. "Like pizza on a Friday night, regular beer, full fat milk kind of normal?"
Crossing her legs, Rosalie sits down beside Alice and I. "Yeah, and it would be nice to date someone who spends less time in front of the mirror than I do."
"And who uses less fake tan."
"And hair product."
They giggle for a moment, their laughter echoing through the empty room. I'm simply too exhausted to even laugh.
"Seriously though, you know Emmett's never going to get the balls to ask you out?"
"Yeah I know. And it's not like Edward will suddenly grow a pair and confess his adoration for you."
"I wouldn't call it adoration."
Alice snorts. "Whatever. He can barely function on a basic level when you're around."
"Uh-huh, and you're Little Miss Chatty Cathy when Jasper is around."
Alice's mouth drops open. "I…I talk to him. Sometimes. And anyway, even if I did talk to him, it's not like it would make a difference."
I poke her leg hard. "For a smart girl, you're incredibly stupid."
Rosalie stretches her long legs out in front of her, her fingers wrapped over the tops of her feet. "So what are you going to do about Edward?"
I shrug. "He does have some major self-esteem issues."
Rose sighs, long and loud. "I think we're going to have to take some initiative."
"I think you're going to have to break up with Chip first. Maybe draw him a picture or something."
Rose doesn't seem too upset as she stands, smiling down the two of us on the floor at her feet. "Maybe there's a breakup pop-up book I can buy him."
Groaning, I take her offered hand and stand, my legs still shaking a little. "You'll still have to sound out the words for him though."
Our laughter is cut short by a group of beginners pushing through the doors, all nervous-eyed and wobbly-kneed as they approach.
I love beginners. The raw skin, blisters and bruised knees, the fear and apprehension that hits them when they realize how high up they really are. If my hands weren't so sore, I'd rub them together with eager anticipation.
I step out of the harness and walk over to the group, who look like a herd of deer in the headlights.
"Okay guys," I say, clapping my hand together. "Partner up and let's get started."
Any mistakes are my own, thank you still to Krystle for her first-run beta before I chopped it up.