Song rec for chapter: Aerosmith's - I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing
In Camden it's hard to find a great place to go out on New Year's Eve, it's even harder to find a nice place, so instead I've opted for taking Bella out to a bar. As classless as it sounds, I have my reasoning. Bella doesn't want to go far, meaning that traveling to Portland or anywhere else that's at all interesting is out. Also, we're still testing the waters, feeling each other out, so to speak; therefore taking things slow and going to a bar seems like a good idea for a date.
I dress in a button down and khakis, nothing too dressy, but enough to get into a club if Bella's feeling it. I've asked her out tonight in an attempt to cheer her up a little. In my opinion, she needs some fun in her life. A little of the right kind of excitement won't hurt.
We've had a great week together, seeing each other off and on. She kept Charlie a priority though, and I truly respect that.
Tonight, however, is about her. She's in need of some Bella time, and I don't blame her one bit. A little relaxation, fun and some good conversation seem perfect for her.
I arrive at her front door promptly at eight. Bella wanted to make sure she and Charlie had a nice New Year's Eve dinner together before going out, and I could understand that completely.
The lights are out and I wonder if she's forgotten about our plans. I haven't had a chance to talk with her since yesterday.
My hand reaches up to knock, wanting to get out of the bitterly cold wind as fast as possible, but it's to no avail. The door swings open, only to reveal a gorgeous woman dressed casually but beautifully in what she tells me is some old thing, when I compliment her. I try to believe her because I know a little about the financial state she and her father are currently in, but it's difficult because she looks stunning.
Not dressed in anything crazy: a simple, blue plaid, blouse with a black belt and black skinny jeans, but that's just Bella, she can make anything look amazing.
Her long, brown hair is dangling down her back in soft waves, something that she doesn't often gift me the sight of and I'm grateful. Very grateful; because dammit she looks beautiful. And then her long, lean legs are accented by some outstanding heels, black ones that, in my opinion, would look great next to my bed. I shake my head at that thought because we're supposed to be taking it slow and if we aren't careful we could lose something amazing for the second time, and I definitely don't want that.
"Hey, there," I finally say, licking my suddenly dry lips. I don't know why I'm so fucking nervous, I can't explain it. It's not like I haven't been in this house before, even going out with her, but for whatever reason, it's like a first date all over again.
She smiles a cute, flirty smile at me and winks, probably because I've made it abundantly clear that I've been staring at her.
"How are you?" she asks, waving me inside and shutting the door behind us.
"I'm fine," I tell her. "Glad to be here now, though," I add with a grin.
She blushes back and my heart picks up. That fucker just won't quit when she's around.
We don't hang around her place for long; Bella doesn't want to disturb her dad. She tells me that he knows perfectly well we won't be home until late, but he needs his rest and leaving on a quiet note is for the best.
"Yeah, is this okay for wherever we're going?"
I take advantage of my free pass to ogle her some more and let my eyes fall over every curve and valley that her beautiful body has to offer.
"For a bar? Yeah, it's great," I tell her with a smile.
"Sweet, let me just grab my jacket."
Bella slides on her puffy, black coat then we quietly leave. We hop in my car and I drive on down to Cuzzy's; it's a local joint with good food, great drinks and a relaxed atmosphere. We can play darts or pool and just hang out until midnight.
I rest my hand on the shifter as we roll down the road and she's quick to slip her hand underneath mine. I can't help but smile as I make my way down the snow covered roads. I take it slow, I'm not in rush, I've got everything I'm excited about tonight in the seat next to me and that's pretty fucking awesome, considering everything.
When we finally reach the little haunt I notice the parking lot is unusually crowded, probably thanks to it being such a big night tonight, though I really didn't think there would be this many people.
I hold her hand as we cross the ice and enter the smoky little joint. We squeeze in behind the people that are pushed up against the door, and then as we snake our way through the crowd, we finally make our way to the bar.
The familiar laid back rock music is playing over the voices that are trying to be heard.
"Hey, man," I greet Mike Newton, the bartender. I know him from high school and by the looks of it, he hasn't moved on much. He was a tool back then and now it looks as though he's a tool slinging liquor.
Bella snuggles into my side as I get us two beers, but doesn't say anything to our old classmate. I don't blame her. Mike's a waste of breath. He was a druggie back in the day.
"Thanks," she says in my ear. She's nice and close and fuck, she smells the same. Just like the first day in the car on the way back home, her perfume, lotion or whatever it is, she smells like she did then…back when things were normal.
We talk together for a few minutes in the corner, chatting about the day, getting the nervousness under control. It feels so good.
"So what do you wanna do?" I ask, sliding an arm around her waist.
She shrugs, snuggling in even closer, it makes me feel good. "I've never been here before, you tell me," she answers coyly.
I tilt my head to the side in question.
"You've never been here before?"
"Well, then, let me show you around, Ms. Swan."
Three beers in and my back's to the wall, not to keep my balance though, no I can handle far more than three measly beers; it's actually to keep from touching her. I'm watching Bella take a shot on the pool table and loving the very amazing view I have of her ass.
She turns and winks at me before sending the ball hurdling for the pocket. Everything about her screams sexy and all I want to do with a little liquor flowing through my veins is touch, grab, press, and feel her. So back against the wall is the safest place to be.
She makes the shot and grins like a fool before turning to find her next victim on the green felt course.
I just smile and shake my head. It's really a shame that we wasted so much time apart. I've missed nights like this. The relaxing good ol' times where you can simply kick back and have a beer with the girl you love.
I take a deep breath at my inner rambling thoughts and try to lose the thought of love. It flusters me but just as I'm about to refocus my attention back on Bella and her pool skills, someone is tugging on my shirt.
"Edward? Edward Cullen?" I hear a voice that I vaguely remember.
I open my eyes, I didn't even realize I had closed them, and I see a familiar face standing in front of me.
My eyebrows scrunch together. "Alice?"
Her hair is blonde now, streaked with lavender, and she's a good clip heavier than I remember, but she still looks like the girl I used to know.
"Hey, bud, how's it going?" she asks cheerily. By the looks of her eyes she's had a few.
I smile down at her. "Good, just enjoying the finer things that Camden has to offer," I tell her.
"Me too," she says, holding up her beer. "So who are you here with?"
I glance over at Bella who is still trying to make her shot.
"Is that Bella Swan?" she asks with a slight edge to her voice. I don't like it. Not one fucking bit.
"Yeah," I confirm, because Bella hasn't changed a lot since high school, she looks the same, so it would be hard for someone to not know it was her.
"Oh. So you guys are still together?" she questions as her eyebrows dip together.
I take a breath in through my nostrils trying to calm myself. For whatever reason a large amount of anger is beginning to bubble up inside me. Four years' worth to be exact. "We've reconnected over the years."
It's the truth and it's simple.
"Hey, Edward, who're you chatting with?" Bella asks sweetly, coming around to my side. It's probably my turn and I've been ignoring the game. Not cool. Bella deserves more of my attention than this girl.
I turn to her beautiful face and look into her eyes, smiling at how good it feels to have her close. "It's Alison Brandon, you remember her, right?"
I watch as Bella carefully takes in the girl standing in front of us.
"Yes," Bella replies quietly. I can tell that she doesn't want her here, probably for the same fucking reason I'm getting so pissed with her presence. High school may have been four years ago, but after the last two weeks, what happened back then is far from water under the bridge.
"Hi, Bella, long time no see! How have you been?" Alice asks her brightly, bouncing back and forth on her tip-toes.
I watch as Bella collects herself. "I've been wonderful. I'm at North Western getting my degree in Psychology and I've been able to meet back up with a very special friend recently."
Bella's response is far more than collected, it's delicate and calm.
"That's great," Alice offers with a fake smile; I can tell just by how forced it looks. "You always had a knack for landing a guy."
Alice's passive-aggressive comment makes my blood boil. But Bella is still cool when I turn and check on her.
"Actually, funny that you ran into us. I've been thinking for the past few days how great it would be to see you again," Bella begins, ever so sweetly. I'm surprised by her words, but I choose not to comment. Bella is more grown up than me and my glaring at Alice, wishing her head would burst into flames, is the way I'm dealing with the situation.
"Yeah, I was thinking about how wonderful it would be to thank you," Bella tells her.
I can't keep my eyebrows from dipping together.
"I just wanted to tell you how great my summer after high school was because of you. How spectacular it was to lose someone so close to me, someone I loved, because of your filthy mouth. But most of all I wanted you to know that none of that matters now. I always knew that you liked him," Bella glares at Alice with nod in my direction, "I just never thought you'd sink so low as to tell him I was cheating on him."
Alice's lips form a snide grin; her eyes fix themselves on Bella the best they can manage with the alcohol floating through her veins. "Bella, sweetheart, I did him a favor. Edward was better off without you. He needed to see how great he was by himself and he couldn't see that with your legs spread, clouding his vision. I'm sure he's moved on, several hundred times."
I'm a little more than disturbed at Alice's comment. I tried to move on, but my heart was stubborn. I may have slept with a handful of people over the years, but I could never commit. I didn't know it then, but I needed Bella. More than I could ever imagine.
I narrow my eyes and grit my teeth. I'm dying to lay this little bitch out, but I'm trying like hell to hold my tongue and not make a scene.
But Bella stops me, placing a hand lightly on my chest, telling me with one look that she's got this.
"Alice," Bella says, settling her hand on Alice's, "you're right. He needed time on his own to figure out his life. And look at that…we found each other again. By the way, how's that nasty case of the clap? Still lingering? And how about all those big dreams? Going to school, becoming a manager, and getting married? Hmm, did Jaz ever pop that question? No, oh that's right, he didn't. Maybe he's still trying to find himself too?"
Bella didn't wait for a response instead she tugged on my hand and lead the way out of the crowded bar.
We make it back to my house and thankfully everyone is quiet, if not asleep.
Bella didn't feel like sticking around after seeing Alice in Cuzzy's, and you know what? I didn't either. I haven't seen Alice in a while and after all that was revealed to me from Bella, it seems like it was a pretty good thing that I had grown away from my so-called friends back home.
As we enter the hallway, I look into the living room; Rose and her family left a few days ago and the house seems so empty without her.
Now, though, I'm sort of glad that she isn't here to grin and make her comments about how I might be a father next year. I like the idea, but Bella and I are just getting back to being friends. Who knows what the next year will bring?
I lace my fingers through hers after we finish discarding our shoes and coats.
She's shorter now, but I don't care one bit, she's fucking gorgeous regardless and I will tell her that later. For now, I just want her to feel comfortable with me.
We make it up to my room.
"We can hang out here and watch the ball drop," I tell her.
She smiles wide and looks legitimately happy. Two weeks ago, I would've never imagined her here, now it's been twice in that time. I'm getting used to her being here; it feels right, and I may have even set out a few more pictures I had hiding in my bedroom closet.
"That sounds great." She climbs up on the bed and crosses her legs, getting comfortable.
The sight of her sitting on my bed after all these years makes me gulp.
The mantra "we're taking this slow," keeps replaying in my head.
I take my time stretching my arms over my head before settling in next to her.
I hand her the remote because honestly it doesn't matter what comes on the television, tonight my attention is taken.
When she grumbles about nothing being on and I notice we still have an hour before the countdown I step over to the radio and put on my iPod. The trip home made me realize that there were plenty of memories still locked away on it. Maybe some good music will lead to some nice conversation.
The music is decent and at first we both just let the melody surround us, but then the song changes to Aerosmith's 'I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing' - it's our old song...the one that used to mean so much to both of us. And as soon as it comes on I can see her eyes flicker for a brief moment.
So I'm quick to jump to my feet and offer a hand.
"Would you like to dance?" I ask. It's so corny, so ridiculously dorky, but damn does it seem appealing.
Her smile is sweet and she takes my hand in a blink of an eye. "Sure."
I restart the song and then begin to move us around my room together.
All that keeps me going through this is the fact that she's so close…oh, and I think she secretly loves it, too.
She tucks her head under my shoulder while I guide us some more. The song changes, but it doesn't matter, we stay like this…holding each other.
A while passes before Ryan Seacrest announces it's time to countdown to midnight. But no matter what, we don't break apart; she mumbles the numbers into my shoulder, while I hum them out into her hair.
Then when we get to one, she sleepily lifts her head and I lean down to peck her on the lips, whispering, "Happy New Year, Bella."
"Happy New Year, Edward."
When it's over and the celebration is finally transitioning into some old-timey movie, I lead us back to the bed; it's obvious she's exhausted and to be honest, my lids are feeling pretty heavy.
She flops back on the bed adorably and I lean down placing a light kiss on her nose, to which she smiles softly.
I fumble with my phone for a moment, setting the alarm, before pulling off my shirt and stripping down to my boxers then I get in on the other side, pulling the blankets up over us. I wrap my arms around her soft body and bury my nose in her tangled waves. It feels so good to be next to her, holding her and for once my bed doesn't feel nearly as cold or empty as it had before.
As I close my eyes, I hope this new year will bring new and wonderful things for us.
A HUGE thank you to MC who helped and pushed me through this one! Sorry for the delay, RL has been crazy.
What did you think of their realitively quiet NYE's together?
How about the Alice run-in?
And doesn't the last part just make you wanna go Awe?