Overpass by Purelyamuse
Summary: "Sometimes I think all the people I love will eventually leave me. Just disappear." "Maybe . . . I don't know . . . maybe we don't need lots of people. Maybe we just need one. And that's enough."
Disclaimer: I am not Stephenie Meyer. I do not own Twilight. I do, however, live in AZ and know someone who has a friend who's best friends with her. So . . .
Playlist: Interstate Love Song by Stone Temple Pilots, Trapped in a Box by No Doubt
Heavy traffic flows beneath me. The concrete overpass seems to rumble with the whoosh of wind, but I know I'm safe. He taught me that. My fingers close around the chain links that encase me. Though, when I'm here, I feel free. As my windblown hair tickles my lips and the heat of the day warms my skin, the memories of my youth take residence in my mind. And I can't stop it. Nor do I want to. Because I miss him. It's been more than ten years, but I still miss him. And I probably always will.
"Why don't you just ask him out? You know you want to." I push my hips away from the counter, leaning on it, snatching a cracker with a perfectly sized piece of cut cheese from the snack platter.
"Because he should. It's indecent." I laugh at Alice. That's just dumb. "I don't know. My brothers always told me to wait for him to make the move but then stop him if he made the wrong move."
"Who's making wrong moves?" a low voice says behind me. I'm not used to hearing low voices here in the middle of the day, not since all three of Alice's brothers were lost in a car crash two years ago.
"No one. No one's making any moves." She's using her I'm-pathetic-unless-I-have-a-man voice. It's getting old, but I play along anyway. That's what best friends do.
"That's the problem," I say, turning slightly to catch the stranger's eyes. Who the heck is this boy in Alice's house?
"That's a blessing. She's crazy. Imagine her with a boyfriend. Her neurotic self would implode."
"You, shut up," Alice says, pointing between the two of us—me and mystery boy. Whoever he is, he's cute. Eyes the color of grass and crazy messed up hair—a burnt red, the shade of leaves turned in the fall.
"I'm not shutting up," he says. "Besides, looks like you've got a lesbian lover right here. You don't need a man."
"See, Alice, I've been telling you for years. Let's just kiss and see if we're gay. Then all of this boy nonsense could go away. You never know."
"I like her," he blurts with a grin. I like him, too. Whoever he is.
"No, you don't. You used to yell at us all the time. Especially her. You can't stand her." Alice gives her best glare.
"No, you can't."
I'm so confused. I know this guy?
"Well, who is her?" he asks, staring at me, trying to place my face, I guess. I have no clue who this guy is, but he makes me laugh, and I like how he picks on Alice like her brothers used to. I miss them and their hyper boy energy.
"Who do you think it is?" Alice asks exasperated. Apparently, he should know. And I should know. But neither of us does. But I'm not stupid enough to give myself away.
"I don't know," he says, with a mocking tone. "I can't keep track of all million of your friends." He leaves my side in favor of the fridge and opens the orange juice, dumping it straight into his mouth. I should be disgusted. Alice is, but there's something so inherently masculine about that behavior I find attractive.
"Gross, Edward," she says.
"Edward? Edward Masen, Edward?" My voice is high in my shock. No way.
"Yeah," he says, smiling around the lip of the orange juice jug and taking another swig.
I stand up straight, tilting my head to take him in. "Your face cleared up. And you got taller. You look different. Less gangly. And your nose isn't so big."
"Aren't you delightful? Don't tell me you're the new best friend and I'll be spending all my time here in this crap hole with you pointing out my blackheads."
"I practically live here," I say. "Get used to it."
"Well, I do live here. And your boobs shrunk. So there."
Does he really know who I am? And wait . . . when did Alice's cousin move in, and why didn't she tell me?
"I only complimented you," I say, looking down at my breasts. They grew. Honestly, they did. I just don't feel comfortable putting them on display like many girls. I wear bigger shirts. Mens' shirts. It's the style anyway. Sort of. Some girls do it. A massive Billabong shirt is awesome. And he's one to talk. He's wearing one. Blue with a silver swirl around the logo. I want it. Maybe I'll steal it. I know where he lives, after all. How long's he staying? And why is he here?
"Backhanded compliments are not compliments," he instructs.
"Fine. I meant to say you're cuter than you were the last time I saw you."
He sets down the jug on the counter, looking me square in the eye. "Which was when . . ."
"I saw you last. You ready, Alice? That movie starts soon."
"Yeah, let me grab my bag." Alice exits the kitchen, leaving us staring at each other.
"You have no idea who I am, do you?" I ask.
"Not a clue. Should I?"
"Yes, Edward. You should." We fought over the tire swing at their grandmother's house by the lake every summer until I was twelve. I'm not sure how old he was then.
"You're not going to tell me, are you?"
"Nope. You'll figure it out."
"You ready to take us?" Alice asks Edward when she returns with her massive purse full of candy and soda. She's particular about what she likes and always packs enough to share.
"Esmom's not driving?" No way.
"Not today. No." His voice is lower, like he's trying to be extra mature.
"You took Carlisle's driving test? And you passed?" I highly doubt that. There are only a few of our friends who are allowed to drive us around.
"I'm an excellent driver." He pulls his keys from his pocket and clacks them together with his fingers.
"Fine. Shot gun!" I squeal.
We drive while Alice chatters about Jasper. Will he or won't he call? No one knows. School starts soon. Hopefully then we'll know more. And then I can stop hearing about it, and she can start telling some of her other girlfriends. They're technically my girlfriends, too, but I don't particularly like them. I wouldn't hang out with them if it weren't for Alice's need to be popular. So I hang in there for her. And they put up with me.
We get to the theater, and Edward leans over me to open my door. I laugh at his pseudo-manners and step out of the car. Alice is by my side, putting on lip gloss. We're going to be in a dark room for two hours. It's ridiculous in my opinion. Edward ducks his head to say goodbye, and I wave. He's full on grinning at me. His smile lights up his face, somehow matching the fiery red of his hair.
I shut the door on that too-cute smile, and he rolls down the window, yelling, "Your ass filled out. Have fun, Bella," before peeling out.
My ass filled what? And Bella? He knows my name?
The tires squeal as he rounds the corner out of view. I cover my wide smile with my hand.
Carlisle and Esme would kill him if they knew he drove like an idiot. But I won't tell because I can't wait to get back in the car with him.
This could be bad.
"I'm back, Dad," I say out of courtesy more than anything else.
He sits at the kitchen table, not looking up from the mound of paperwork in front of him. His specialty hardware store keeps him busy nonstop. He grunts in response. He never cares where I go or what I do, nor does he care if I'm home.
A quiet place.
A lonely place.
A place devoid of affection and emotional intimacy.
In other words, the exact opposite of Alice's home.
To say my dad and I have a strained relationship is putting it lightly. When I was nine and Mom left, he tried for a while. He took me to movies, to the park, out to eat, but those efforts petered out quickly. Our conversation was stifled; even I knew that at my young age. He was never much involved. Mom had been in charge of everything, of me. But I guess she got tired. And gave up. I don't know. What I do know is I was left behind with someone who didn't know what to do with me.
As the years wore on, it got worse. And our feelings went unspoken. Everything goes unspoken. Even the fact that he can barely look at me. I am the spitting image of my mother.
I brush my teeth, staring at her in the mirror, wondering why she ever left. I try not to think about it often because I don't imagine I'll ever understand why she did what she did. And when we do see each other or speak, it's a non-issue because all we talk about is her and her new life, devoid of me.
"Goodnight," I say, before heading to my room. This time, I get nothing.
I suspect Dad and I will never have a close relationship, and while I wish it were better, I do have Alice and her family. I'm lucky in that way. They keep me sane and emotionally sound. Sort of.
But Alice and her parents . . . they're all I've got, especially now that Riley's gone, he and his brothers. No other close friends. No other close relatives. I stay distant from everyone else. I have to. To keep my heart safe.
I slip my hand under my pillow and try to doze off. The sooner I sleep, the sooner I can get up and leave this house and head back to Alice's. Where I am somebody. Where I am noticed.
Author's Note: Overpass began as an entry for a contest, which had a 10,000 word count limit. This makes me laugh so hard now when I think about it.
Overpass Odds and Ends (pics and playlist) has a place on my blog already. I will post Mondays and Thursdays. I will not get to reply to every review, but I will reply to some. I hope. You can catch me on Twitter if you'd like. Thank you in advance for reading! I adore you all! And I missed you. I'm looking forward to sharing this journey with you. I hope you enjoy it.
My music guru, MsJaxTeller, is to blame for all of your new favorite tunes listed in this story. My prereaders, _ss77_, modernsafari1, and cejsmom, are such fun, skilled, and thoughtful ladies, and I adore them. My beta, Perry Maxwell, not only has the skill of a technical writing ninja, but she also demands that I dig deep, make it better, make it believable, and make her feel. And, dammit, I hope I made her proud! Thanks, ladies. I owe you.