Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight
This story is inspired by the song One Week by Barenaked Ladies, both in lyrics and in tone.
A few months ago BohemianBuffalo tweeted a request for a fic based on this song and I agreed there was definitely a story or two in the song, so I said I'd do it.
Hope you like it! Here it is...
The first thing you should know about me is that I laugh at really inappropriate times. There might be—I mean—there probably are more important things you should know about me, but the first thing I want you to know is how I laugh at the wrong time. People have a hard time understanding this. I can't explain it to them. They'll never get it. I'm not proud of it. I'm really not.
Let me just... I'll give you an example:
I laughed when Alice told me she was pregnant. To my benefit, a part of me thought she was joking, but then the thought fell through my mind, Who would joke about something like that? Especially at sixteen. I say that it fell through my mind because it fell out right after. I was hoping it was a joke. That was why I kept laughing. Not because I truly thought it was a joke anymore, but at that point, it was hope. Maybe sixteen was exactly the right age for a joke like that.
She started looking at me with a glare that only made me laugh harder. I couldn't help it. That's what I do when I'm uncomfortable. Shoot me.
"Really sensitive, Edward. Really nice." Her eyes teared up all shiny. It hurt my chest, and I got my laugh under control.
"How am I going to tell Mom and Dad something like this?" She started twirling the ends of her hair at the nape of her neck. Her hair's so short that there isn't much to twirl so it kept falling from her fingers and she'd pick it up again. Still, a nervous twirling hair habit beats a nervous laughing habit any minute of the day.
She was peering at me with rounded eyes like she was looking for answers, like I had them. As if any second now I might say, Let me just check the back pocket of my brain and give it to you straight.
Her eyes are blue with brown flecks in them. There are enough brown flecks that people call them hazel, including our mom. But they're not hazel. They're blue with brown flecks. Hazel is just easier to say.
"Wait, wait. You're really pregnant? With a baby?"
She folded her arms and pursed her lips at me. "No, an iguana. What do you think?"
"How? I mean, why?"
"Oh, I don't know." She threw her arms up at her side like she wanted to emphasize how frustrated she was. She didn't have to. It was apparent in her voice. "I thought it'd be fun? A challenge? I was bored?" She collapsed to my bed, bouncing a little on the mattress. "Fuck." She covered her face.
My hand shot to my forehead and I paced back and forth a few times. "Jasper?"
"What're you, I mean, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to -um- like, have it?" I started panicking. And I wasn't panicking one-hundred percent for Alice. Part of it was for me, because this was back in January when Bella and I had just started having sex, and with Alice's announcement, I was thinking things like, What if this were Bella? What if... oh shit. And Alice's pregnancy became real to me. Much more real than before when I was laughing.
And then she just started crying. I mean really bawling, the works, shoulders shaking and snot and all that. I hadn't seen her cry that much since our uncle's funeral. Back then I hadn't known what to do. I think I ended up squeezing her hand or something.
After watching her cry over her pregnancy for a little while on my bed, I sat next to her, pulled her up, and put my arm around her. I patted her shoulder a few times. She fell to my chest, and started crying even harder. I was a little worried she'd get snot on my shirt, but I didn't tell her that. No way. So, there I was, trying to comfort her, and she was getting worse? I thought I must really suck at this. Bringing my other arm around her, I patted her back—a few more pats than I'd given her shoulder. In between her gasps for breath, I told her it would be okay because I thought she needed to hear it, but even I didn't believe it. I'd already thought about the fact that she could have a baby to deal with her whole senior year. How could it have been okay?
I mean, her biggest problem up until that point was whether or not her lipstick matched her nails.
Hold on, before you start judging me or anything, I know this because she asked me about it a lot. And I'd learned not to say it looked okay, or it went together fine, because then I'd get a lesson on the difference between looking okay, going together, and matching. Matching is exact.
I'd say her grades were another problem, but they weren't really. Not because she got A's all the time, but because she didn't really care.
Anyway, so I was patting her back and telling her it would be okay, and then I thought I'd cheer her up.
"Hey," I said, letting go of her and giving her a little nudge with my shoulder so she'd sit up straight. "It's not like someone died, right?"
Her eyes went squinty again.
"No, I'm saying it could be worse." I don't know why I said that about someone dying. Probably because my uncle's funeral was still on my mind; it had only been five months back.
Speaking of the funeral, that was another time I'd laughed. Everyone was so sad. My mom told me later that my laughing wasn't so bad, she could've let that go, but when I started telling people jokes just to get them to laugh, that was when I went too far.
I told her I didn't get it. Who wouldn't want to laugh when all they were feeling was depressed? My uncle, he would've wanted everyone to laugh. I know this for sure. He was the biggest prankster of all. He used to freak my grandma out by taking off his clothes at night and laying them on his floor by his bed like a body lying there. My mom told me that even his shoes were there at the end of his pants. Once when we were visiting him out in Vegas, my sister and I had to share the pull-out bed in his living room. Well, just when we were about to fall asleep, there was this bang from underneath that made the mattress jump. I was eleven and she was ten and neither of us wanted to check under the bed. About an hour later I finally said I'd check, and all I did was peek over my side of the bed and this doll's head came rolling out. We both screamed. Yeah, I girl-screamed. And then we laughed, all three of us. I couldn't believe Uncle Marcus was patient enough to wait under there for an hour just to scare us.
After he died I got this tattoo on the inside of my arm. It was the exact tattoo he'd had on his shoulder-blade: a rifle, the barrel turning into a snake and rounding back toward its stock end with an open mouth. The tattoo was the result of his time in Desert Storm in the nineties. He said he wasn't, and never would be, the same after that. My mom and her brother were always really close, so she liked the idea of me getting a copy of his tattoo to memorialize him with. She even came with me to the tattoo guy to give her parental consent. I hadn't told my mom where I'd planned on getting it, though. When she saw it on my forearm instead of my shoulder-blade, to say she was pissed would be an understatement.
She got over it. Sort of. The way moms get over stuff. She brings it up every once in a while, calling it that thing on my arm, but the subject doesn't hang around too long the way it used to.
So if you think that I don't miss my uncle just because I laughed at his funeral, you're wrong.
By the way, that day two months ago with Alice, I did end up cheering her up. Well, I didn't, exactly; Harrison Ford did. I put the movie on, though. I can take that much credit. It was violent, which I guess made her feel tough or like a fighter. She was able to tell our parents about her pregnancy after dinner. I didn't laugh. I was there, sitting in the living room, not laughing. I expected it. I was ready for it.
When they started talking about whether or not she'd have the baby, I went into the kitchen, into the freezer for ice cream. I could hear about the final answer later; I didn't need to be part of the conversation. It freaked me out, and at some point I was sure to laugh. Ice cream was definitely the safer option.
So, the reason I want you to know about my laughing in uncomfortable situations problem is because I've been dealing with it recently with my girlfriend. And if I had just started right off with that story, you'd probably have taken her side, and thought I was just some asshole whose story wasn't worth hearing. Maybe you'll end up thinking that anyway, but I'll give this a shot.
Bella's hurt that I fucked things up when I met her parents.
But here's the thing: I knew I would. I knew it. And I told her. I explained to her that the reason I didn't want to meet her parents was that I'd fuck it up.
And that takes me back to the week before all this happened with her parents. Before I agreed to meet her parents, Bella hadn't really talked to me for days. And get this, she was pissed at me for not wanting to meet her parents, and here she is, upset all over again because I met them. There's no winning with girls sometimes.
Let's go back in time two weeks, when she first asked me to meet them. Well, the truth is, that wasn't the first time she'd asked me, but it was the time she was really adamant about it, like in an almost ultimatum-type way. It wasn't exactly, "Meet my parents or I'll break up with you." It was more, "Meet my parents or my parents won't let me see you anymore."
We were on my bed fooling around. I remember how her mouth felt on mine, driving me crazy. I remember when I paused to catch my breath and looked down at her and how she stood out in her white shirt and pale skin just like a glow against the dark blue of my comforter. It didn't matter that a second ago we were translating Much Ado About Nothing—because that's what you do with Shakespeare, right? Translate it. Our school books were gone, crashed to the floor getting their pages all bent up. And who really knows how it started, the making out. We might've just accidentally touched fingers or looked at each other or maybe she said something Shakespearean again. But there we were, all over each other on my bed. We did that a lot, and it usually led to sex, but not this time. She kissed me so bad I was panting. And then, too abruptly, she pulled away.
Right now, sitting on my bed where she once sat, just thinking about the way she kisses, I grasp the chain I'm wearing and swing it back and forth so that it scrapes at the back of my neck. And I think about things I might've done differently that day she asked me to meet her parents, and while I can think of a few things, none of them end with any different result from where I am right now. Without her.
When her lips let go of mine, she looked down at me lying there flat on my back and said, "Will you come to dinner with me tonight?"
Except for times when she's angry or upset, Bella has this almost constant smile on her lips when she talks. It's like she can't help it. And when she asks a question, or sometimes when her inflection rises at the end of a sentence like just then when she asked me to dinner, her eyebrows raise up a little. It's right at the end. Her own question mark. It makes me want to touch her eyebrows. There have been times I couldn't help but just stare at her when she talked. Watching her could light me on fire. But I wouldn't hear a thing she said. This frustrated her, which would make the smile go away, which would make me snap out of it.
Listen to me, she'd say.
I can't help it, I'd say. You mesmerize me. It was nothing but the truth, and her smile came back.
On the bed as her eyebrows rose, she lifted her hands into her hair, pulling it and pulling it up into a ponytail, and when she sat like that with her hands working her hair, it pushed her chest out which made me want to cup her boobs. She dropped her hair letting it fall over her shoulders, and I took her fingers instead.
"Sure. Where do you want to go? And are you hungry right now or...?" I reached up to pull her face back to mine so we could kiss some more, but she put her hand on my chest and backed away. She didn't really have to back away. I was still lying down and she was sitting up, so we weren't even that close as it was. But that backing away told me something. I had no idea what it was telling me, but it told me enough to sit up and stop trying to kiss her.
"At my house," she said, looking at—I think—the headboard behind me. "With my parents."
By parents, she really meant her mom and her stepdad. Her real dad was still in her life, but Phil had raised her since she was three. So she called her stepdad Dad and her real dad Charlie. It was weird.
I moved my head into her line of vision. "What?" It was one of those "whats" you say when you heard the person, but you thought there might've been the slightest possibility you heard wrong.
"My parents want to meet you."
She hit at my shoulder and laughed a little. "What do you mean again?'"
I rubbed my shoulder to pretend she'd hurt me—maybe get some sympathy because, fuck, if her hitting me hadn't hurt me, the conversation sure would.
A month before, when she first brought up the subject of meeting her parents, I'd asked her why the hell she told them about me. She said, "As soon as I knew I loved you, I couldn't keep you a secret."
Girls and their values.
She shifted on my bed, waiting for my answer.
"I mean, I thought I - we talked about this, right? About how it isn't such a good idea that I meet them yet."
"Why don't you want to meet them?"
"What if they don't like me?" I meant that question. Or what I really meant was: They won't like me. I knew they wouldn't. For one thing—forearm tattoo aside—parents don't understand me and I don't understand them. Especially not girlfriend parents. I'm a seventeen year old guy. I'm the enemy. I'm not even the loyal boyfriend to them. To them, I'm the guy who screws their daughter. Period. The end. No argument. It's the same with my parents and Jasper. And look what happened to him and Alice.
And for another thing, her mom and stepdad are Christians. The kind who go to church. Two days a week.
"They'll love you because I love you," she said, because obviously she was clueless about the relationships between parents and boyfriends. "If you love me, then you'd want to meet them, wouldn't you? Like I've met yours. A lot."
Why did meeting her parents have to be so important? Why did not wanting to meet her parents have to mean I didn't love her? Really, what did one even have to do with the other? She is not her parents. It would have been possible to love her for the rest of my life and never meet them. That was possible.
"That isn't - That's not a fair statement at all." I got up off the bed and went to my dresser to start shuffling through my iPod.
"Well, it has to be."
I turned around. She was off my bed, too. All that was left on our favorite spot was a crinkled up comforter and thrown around pillows. And her lips were not doing that natural smiling thing. She was serious.
"What does that mean? If I say, 'No, I won't meet your parents,' you'll take that as I don't love you?"
"If you don't meet my parents, Edward, if you're going to keep being so freaking stubborn about this, then you can't see me anymore."
She says that, "freaking" instead of "fucking." I kind of like it most of the time. But sometimes, like just then, I wanted to hear her say the actual word.
But she hadn't said it, so I did.
"What the fuck does that mean? What, so I have to meet them right now. Or that's it? Is that your idea of love?"
"No. Not mine. Theirs. They say, and they both agree, that if you don't want to meet them, when I've asked you to several times, that you don't respect me. And I kind of agree with that, too."
I started to talk, but nothing came out. The truth was, I was pissed about that. About what her parents said and how they got her believing it. Parents are so tricky, and that's the thing. I would lose either way. If I didn't meet them, they'd take her away. If I did meet them, and they hated me, they'd take her away.
"Moonshine." Moonshine was something I started calling her to tease her and it stuck. I never said it really seriously, not like when couples call each other Honey or Sweetheart. I hate that. I couldn't do it with a straight face. I always called her Moonshine with this smile and this tone in my voice that told her I was teasing her and loving her at the same time. As I said it then, I stepped toward her with a smile, and she stepped back. She was too serious about this.
"Don't call me that right now."
There were tears gathering up in her eyes, and you know by now what happens when I see things like that. At least, you should.
The laugh was quiet. It almost wasn't there at all.
"Don't start that, Edward. Just be serious for once."
"Okay. But just not tonight. Another night. Next week, maybe. Or ask them how next month sounds."
She shook her head at me.
"I was joking about next month. But next week, how about that?"
"How about..." she stepped closer to me, arms folded, her head cocked to the side. "We don't talk again until the day you're ready to meet them? That very day, you tell me, 'I'll meet your parents tonight.' Then we'll talk. Because otherwise, they won't let me date you. We'll only be able to hang out at school. Is that what you want? Is it that important to you to never meet them?"
"They're not going to like me."
"Stop about that. They'll like you. Just be you." She took my arm and shook it. "The beautiful you. The you that loves me, and they'll like you." She turned to pick up her books.
She stopped and looked up at me.
"All of me loves you. Even the fucked up parts."
A/N: Thank you for reading. This is much different in tone than my other stories so I'd love to know what you think so far. :)
Also I've entered a collaborative three-chapter ficlet I wrote with Thimbles into the Lumineers "Ho Hey" Twi-fic contest. It's titled High Maintenance. If you're interested, check it out along with the other entries. It's a great idea for a contest, and so much fun to see what other stories the song inspires. I tried to add the link here but I'm not stealthy enough for that anymore. Bits of it keep disappearing. If you want the link to the contest profile page just let me know. :)