Challenge Number/Title: #8 / Talk My Ear Off
Date Posted: 3/7/13
Content Descriptors: Angst/Romance
Character Pairing: Edward and Bella
#8 – Talk My Ear off - Using the above picture as inspiration, write your entry based around a conversation taking place. Your entry should be mostly dialogue. Narrative is allowed but should not be the focus of the entry. There must be at least two people talking in this conversation.
Bright Light, Dark Room
"Here you are, Mr. Cullen." I smirk as I hand him his freshly-made coffee. He had barely reached the counter when I thrust it at him. I move to type in the order to his tab.
My heart stops as I hear the words "thank you." mumbled from his pouty lips. My head snaps up, green eyes meet mine and I can't help the surprised look that's stuck to my face. Valentines Day was yesterday. He had his hands on me last night. He spoke to me last night. He used my name last night. Now, he's thanking me?
I'm on my break in the afternoon and I still can't believe he said thank you this morning. Two words I never thought I'd hear from someone so cold and cruel. The wind blows and I pull my hood on, fingers clicking through the photo's I've been taking.
I pull my camera back up to my eyes, scanning the streets, clicking sporadically at the movement around me. My lens catches a glimpse of messy hair coming out of the shop and I slide it back to focus quickly.
Mr. Cullen…with a new coffee in his hands. I didn't notice him in there when I left five minutes ago. Did he sneak past me?
He's on the phone, I keep my camera up but strain to listen to his words.
"I know, I'll be there." Is he talking to his girlfriend from last night?
"I promise, this time I will." Click. I take a photo of his profile, strong and defined.
"You know I care, I care so fucking much." His voice is pained and low. He drinks long sips of his coffee. Click. Click. His face. Click. His hair. Click. His jaw. Click.
"I'm sorry." More coffee.
"Yes, I'll see you soon. Love you too, Mom." He hangs up and drinks a bit more. I click a few more pictures, caught up in the way the cloudy day makes everything feel bluer than normal.
I feel a bump on my shoulder and jump, the person keeps walking. I flip around to see where they were coming from, even though they're obviously gone.
"Do people always run into you this much?" That voice. I turn around to see him standing only a few feet behind me.
"Um, yes?" I'm taken off guard by him. I'm not used to words coming out of his mouth that are remotely nice. Last night still has me off and this mornings "thank you" still has me shaky.
"You're not sure?"
"No?" My mind can't stop focusing on him speaking.
"How was your Valentines?" he asks, a smile pulling at his lips.
"Great. How was yours?" My voice is low and unsure, testing the waters.
"It ended better than it started."
My eyebrows scrunch together. "What does that mean?"
"What do you think it means?" he asks, in full smirk mode.
"I truly have no idea."
He says nothing back.
I panic. "Well, I'm just going to head back to work?"
"Why do you keep asking me questions you already know the answer to?"
"I don't know." I truly don't.
"You shouldn't waste questions on silly things like that." He shifts on his feet, bringing him slightly closer to me.
"Oh? What should I waste them on?"
"What do you qualify as interesting? A new Dior suit? Gold cuff links? Burberry ties?" My voice is laced with sarcasm.
"Those are all very interesting but I don't appreciate being judged by someone who thinks they know me."
"I do know you. You're the asshole who comes in here everyday wanting everyone to wait on him hand and foot. You expect people to know you when in reality you're a nobody."
"Is that what you think?" His hand grabs his chest, faking the hurt he feels from my comments.
"So you'd rather waste your questions on irrelevant things like attire? Wouldn't you want to actually get to know someone before judging them?"
"Why would I do that? Why would I want to know about someone who treats everyone like dirt? I don't need to ask about you to know exactly what type of person you are." I'm not even thinking before speaking. Words are flowing out of my mouth like word vomit. I can't stop.
"That's not true." I hate how sad he sounds.
"You're a fucking liar, you know that? Are you bipolar or something? You're flip-flopping around like it's your job," I snap, not knowing what to do with him at this point.
"You confuse me."
"Well you give me whiplash. With how you've treated me, you're lucky I'm at work or you'd have severe hot coffee stains all over your expensive suits."
"Huh, so this is what it feels like." Hands pull at his hair as he looks everywhere but at me.
"When you're focused on something you really don't let it go, do you?" The slight smirk is back. Green eyes are weighing heavily on me.
"No. I don't." I'm persistent.
"Why is that?"
"I don't know." Because of my mom.
"Do you always focus on things this intently?" The way he asks implies more than I'm willing to answer.
"Sometimes, it depends on what it is."
"What does it depend on?" He pushes, not wanting to let up.
"Um, the person, the situation, my mood at the time?"
"Why do you twist your ring on your finger while you talk? Are you nervous?" He nods at my fingers, twisting the ring on my thumb.
My head shakes slightly, he won't stop with the questions. "Anxious."
"I make you anxious?"
"You make me a lot of things."
"You ask a lot of questions."
"Do you like questions?"
"I just don't get why you're asking so many."
"What if I had a purpose?"
"Do you want me to?"
"Are you a lawyer or something? I feel like I'm some criminal being cross-examined and if I answer incorrectly, I'll be handcuffed and escorted out of here."
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I am."
"Yes. Carlisle Cullen is my father."
My eyes widen, Carlisle is a well-known laywer in Seattle. "Really?"
"Wow. I wonder why someone would choose to be a courtroom shark."
He scoffs at my comment, "Wow, your insults know no bounds do they?"
I don't know what to say. Am I really being that harsh? I feel my lips pout as I contemplate his words.
"Did you know that in all the time we've spent out here, not once have you asked me about myself? I suppose it's because you seem to have me all figured out. An arrogant court-room shark who likes expensive suits and insulting people – oh, and who lies and is semi bi-polar. Can't forget that."
I feel the blush coat my cheeks, embarrassment from the way he repeated my words about him. They sound worse when he says them out loud. "Whatever. It's not like you would have answered me truthfully had I asked."
"We've been out here for almost half an hour and in all that time, you've repeatedly called me names and made assumptions. You've wasted time you could have used to ask me about myself." His tone is sarcastic and mocking. It makes my face heat up in annoyance. He makes it sound like I was too stupid to ask him about himself.
"Like you would have answered me," I snort and look down at my camera, absentmindedly zooming in and out on the ground. "You never spoke to me like a human being until last night." I look up at him. "Everything from your mouth with regard to me has been rude and demanding."
He opens his mouth to speak but I don't let him.
"No. I'm not finished. You talk about me judging you before knowing you? Isn't that a bit hypocritical, Mr. Cullen? Have you not treated me like someone beneath your social stature? And don't look at me like that."
"Like you think my being upset is cute. I'm not being cute, Mr. Cullen. I'm pissed off."
"You're about as intimidating as a hissing kitten."
"Don't fucking mock me!" I huff, angry at his dismissal of my feelings. "Didn't you ask the Wizard for a heart, Tin Man? Because if you did you'd understand that it's not okay to make fun of someone when they're clearly upset! Maybe if you focused more on the people around you and less on being a pompous asshole you'd realize that!"
"Do you always squint so hard when you're frustrated?"
"You've got quite the mouth on you." His eyes flicker to my lips. I hadn't realized I was swearing so much but now I don't want to stop.
"Does that shock you? That this "kitten" has a nasty bite?"
"I haven't decided yet. I admit your claws do seem a bit sharp, but I have a very rough exterior, kitten. You might have to dig deeper."
"Birdy?" Paul's voice comes from behind me, snapping me out of the bubble Mr. Cullen and I seem to be in.
"Oh, hello Mr. Cullen." A nod passes between the two men. "Just wanted to talk to you, baby. " I hear Edward snort and watch him turn his head as if he's not listening to us. "I'll guess I'll see you inside?" Paul looks at both of us before heading back inside the shop.
"Hmph. What is it with you baristas and sounding so unsure of yourselves? If he's going to see you later, why does he say it like a question?" Mr. Cullen grumbles under his breath, more words I can't understand leave his lips.
"What? No arrogance? No judgment? Are you sure you're Mr. Cullen? You seem to be off your game today. And what was with the snorting when Paul was talking to me?"
"It's very interesting to me that you'd find him attractive enough to date."
"Who said I was dating him?"
"Baby?" he smirks. My breath hitches for a second thinking he's calling me that. He's just referencing Paul. "Take it as a compliment."
"Why are you so infuriating? Everything from your mouth drips with disdain. It's a wonder you have a girlfriend, I can't even believe you found a girl who can be around you for extended amounts of time!"
"She doesn't challenge me all the damned time."
"Why? Is she too busy spreading her legs for you or shoving you against walls for make-out sessions in public places?"
"I don't think that's any of your business."
"Does anyone ever fight back?"
"Yes. Still, I'm not used to being challenged."
"Maybe it should happen more often, then."
"Maybe, I agree."
"Maybe, you should."
"Do you like being challenged?" he questions. My eyes are locked on his. I can't break away.
"Not particularly. Though, you seem to love doing it to me every fucking day."
"Is that what you think of me, Bella?" My name falls from his lips and I'm not prepared. It hits me hard, deep inside. I hate the voice inside me begging to hear him say it again. "That I come here to challenge you everyday? That you're the reason I'm being difficult? That you're the source of all this?"
"No." My voice is small and quiet.
"Good, because you're not." Soft emerald turns to dark jade. Intimidating and intense, as always. "And for the record? I didn't choose to be a courtroom shark. I chose to respectfully follow in the honorable footsteps of my father, Carlisle Cullen. You'd know that if you had asked. But, you already know me, right?" He stares intently at me and I feel my body shiver as ice cold green pierces through me. I can't say anything because I don't know what to say. I feel horrible for the words I said but I can't bring myself to take them back.
He leans in so close, as close as he was last night when I couldn't breathe at his proximity. "Goodbye, Bella."
His cool breath touches my neck and tickles up my face as he moves away slowly before turning and walking down the side walk, away from me. I take a deep breath and then another. I look around me, finding myself alone. I swear I smell alcohol but I haven't had a drink today.
Stephenie owns Twilight.
Mauigirl60: thank you for your help with this chapter – you're always so quick to get my ch's back & you always make them pretty!
Amy, ain't nobody got time for that!
You totally need to head over to TypoKween's ffnet page & read her challenge..and her epic fic The Slowest Burn.
This challenge really kicked my ass. I can't seem to be 100% happy with any version of it but I didn't want to delay posting any longer. This is a challenge and I want to try and post each week, even when it's difficult.
p.s. I'd totally love it if you left a review.