The "Ho Hey" Contest
Story Title: Where I Belong
Pen name: LendMeYourHrt
Word Count: 5,800
Summary: Bella and Edward were always the best of friends, but he was not the only man in her life. Would she believe the lies she tells herself or will it be too little too late?
"Edward!" I call out.
The house is quiet and all I can hear is the branches swaying in the wind. I pull open what seems like my thousandth door. He is still nowhere to be found.
"You have to come out sometime! I know that you are going to be hungry eventually," I laugh.
There is no movement. Giving up I walk into his room and pull a cigarette out of the pack from inside his pocket jacket. Putting it to my lips I walk over to the window and slide it open, the wind swirling around me. I reach down, patting my pockets for my lighter.
"Shit," I mutter, realizing I had lost mine somewhere along the way.
Seconds later I hear the click of a lighter, Edward's hands coming around the tip of it, hiding the flame from the wind.
The smile on his face is indescribable.
"I win," he smiles.
I roll my eyes.
"Were seventeen Edward, aren't we a little old for hide n seek?"
He takes a step forward, putting the flame to the tip of the cigarette.
"I'll never be too old to play with you Isabella," he smiles.
Something around us shift and the smile drops from his face, his eyes stare into mine. My heart instantly begins to race as he leans into me. I instinctively lean back, too far apparently, because next thing I know is I am falling backwards, the room leaving my vision and Edward screaming my name.
When my body hits the ground I scream out in pain. Somehow the cigarette is still between my fingers but it is no longer lit or whole.
I remain lying on the gravel, wondering if I can move. Within seconds I suddenly break out into laughter. I hear Edward's feet crunching on top of the gravel and his form soon becomes visible over me.
"Holy shit Swan!" he calls out and his gets to his knees beside me.
He only ever called me Swan when he is mad at me.
"Just help me up!" I say between anger and laughter.
He puts his hands under my arm pits and that's when he notices the blood.
"Oh holy shit," he shouts. "We need to get you to a hospital."
"I'm fine," I mutter.
Before I have time to get myself out of his grip I am being thrown in the back seat of his car.
"Why can't I sit in the front seat?!" I call out as I watch him walk to the driver's seat.
Edward throws the car in reverse. The sounds of screeching tires reached my ears. Once we get onto the main highway I start to get fucking irritated at his blatant lack of attention.
I let out a loud sigh, getting up from my seat. I squeeze between the two front seats, falling onto the passenger seat.
"Jesus fucking Christ!" he screams as my foot hits him in the side of the face.
I can't help but laugh.
"Sorry," I say as I try to straighten myself upright.
"You're going to fuck up your arm already more than it is."
"Relax," I state.
I lean over, sliding my hand into the breast pocket of his jacket.
"Since I didn't get my last one," I say, holding the cigarette between my fingers. "Who knows, it might be my last."
Edward gives me an un-amused look.
I light it and put it to my lips, it instantly calming me. I don't know how long we are in the car for, but I can feel Edward's eyes on me even though they seem to be focused on the road ahead.
"Are we going to talk about what happened?" he asks.
My heart races.
"The fact that I fell out your bedroom window and possibly broke my arm? What else is there to say?"
I know that's not what he was talking about. But to be honest, I couldn't even explain my actions. When the car comes to a stop I glance out the window, seeing the hospital in the foreground.
"Listen," I say closing my eyes.
As I go to open my mouth I can feel my saliva become thick, my body breaking out in a sweat. "Can we talk about this later? My arm really fucking hurts."
Edwards eyes instantly drop, an unfamiliar expression coming across his face. He unbuckles his seatbelt and makes his way over to my side, helping me out of the car.
"It better not be fucking broken Swan," he states, a crooked smile coming across his face.
When I come out of the exam room I hold up my new bright pink cast.
"Only you would be smiling with a cast on," Edward laughs.
He picks my arm up in his hands delicately. When he gets to my fingertips I drop my eyes to the floor.
"I'll have to draw something on it. Lots of prime space for me to display my artwork."
I look up at him again. Any distress that was once on his face is gone and back is Edward Cullen. My best friend. My brother from another mother.
When we make it back outside my eyes instantly shift to the two figures coming at me. I feel Edward go rigid beside me. I can't look over at him even if I wanted to.
"Holy shit babe!" Mike says as he reaches us and gives a glance over at my arm. "You really need to be more careful." He pauses. "Do I even want to ask how you broke your arm?"
I go to protest but my mind shifts.
"Wait, how did you even know I was here?" I ask.
"I called….your father. I didn't know he would show up," Edward speaks.
I see Mike's eyes shift to Edward's and it instantly becomes uncomfortable.
"I'm fine really," I assure him. "Plus now I get out of P.E. for six weeks which is a huge fucking plus in my book."
"Isabella, don't use that language," I hear my father say.
I almost forgot he was here due to the staring death match.
Everyone falls silent simultaneously.
"Well I think I've had enough excitement for one day," I state.
"I'll take you home," I hear Edward say, his fingers playing delicately with the hem on the back of my shirt.
"I've got it Cullen," Mike says, his tone somewhat distasteful.
Once again I stand awkwardly between them. A situation that I have no one to blame for but myself for.
"Come on Isabella," I hear my dad say. I take a few steps towards the car, my father and Mike out in front of me. I turn around, Edward still planted where I left him.
I jog back up and put my good arm around him, feeling the muscles in his back go rigid. After a second I feel his arm come around me. I inhale, his scent moving all around me.
"Thank you," I whisper into his ear. "I don't know what I would be without you."
He is silent for a moment. I slide myself out of his grip and walk the rest of the length to my father's car.
Eight years later
I open my eyes, wondering why my brain decided to replay that memory in my head today. Pushing the covers off of me I sit up and stretch. I silently curse under my breath that it's only Wednesday, so ready for this week to be over with.
I groan at the coldness of the hardwood underneath my feet. Walking into the bathroom I turn on the shower, allowing the room to fill with steam.
Stripping out of my nightie I step inside, letting the warm spray run over my face, hoping it will awaken me. After a few minutes I hear the click of the shower door open, a pair of hands running against my hipbones.
"Looks like someone is going to be late," he whispers in my ear.
I step backwards, allowing him to get some of the water.
"I know," I state, squirting some shampoo into my hand. "Edward is going to kill me."
Mike never liked the fact that Edward and I went into business together.
"Just call in sick," he says, putting his lips to my neck. "I'll call off all my meetings."
"I can't," I say. "Were having some new talents come in for demo today."
Mike leans back, all skin contact gone.
"I should really get going," I say, washing my hair and stepping out before he has time to protest.
I get dressed quickly, opting to stop at Starbucks instead of drinking my coffee here. The good thing about being late is the commute. I fly down the traffic free highway, reaching the office in record time.
Pulling open the door I immediately spot Edward, his back is to me. I can tell by the way his shoulders are tensed that he's not happy. He is talking to what I assume is the new band, all of them looking at Edward like he is God.
I tiptoe to my desk, setting my purse underneath. Turning on my iMac I click through my inbox before I see a cup being held out in front of me.
"You are a godsend," I say, taking it from his hands.
He takes a sip from his as he stares at me.
"Did you get a haircut, it looks really nice," I say before putting my own to my lips.
"Stop trying to kiss ass," he states. "And I know that you were late."
"Fuck you," I say quietly. "I own half this company. I don't need to explain shit to you."
I pick up my "CS Records" notepad and quickly draw a hand flipping the bird.
"That's mature Swan," he says rolling his eyes. "Now fix the buttons on your shirt. And you may be my partner in this business but I'm always on top."
I'm still mad to this day that he insisted his initial be first. But I have to admit, if it wasn't for Edward's guidance and love of music I wouldn't be here.
Shimmying into the corner I fix my uneven buttons before standing up and grabbing my coffee. Edward is already conversing with the band. When I walk in everyone except for Edward stops talking.
I smile and walk over to them.
"It's a pleasure to meet you," I say, holding my hand out to each member.
Most of the meetings around here consist of Edward talking and me listening. Edward was very much the technical side of the business and me the promotional.
I hear my phone buzz and I gasp, not realizing that it had slid between my legs. Edward shoots me a daggered look. I silently tell him to fuck off with my eyes.
"Woah, you two must be married" one of the boys says.
Edward and I both look over at him.
"And why would you say that?" Edward wonders.
"Just with that look I can tell she has you by the balls."
I hold back laughter.
"Little do you know," I hear Edward say just above a whisper.
He stands up abruptly and mumbles something before heading into another room, the entire band following behind him.
Hitting the home button on my phone I see I have a missed text.
Tell Cullen you are all mine on Friday. No excuses.
"He has a name," I mutter to myself.
I go to protest in my own head but realize it's been a long time since Mike and I had some personal time. I open a new text, replying with a quick "ok" before getting myself settled in the work day.
Before I know it it's Friday and before I truly have time to wake up the covers are being ripped off me. Mike is hovered on top of me, his morning surprise pressed against my inner thigh.
"Morning," he purrs into my ear.
Before I have time to respond his tongue is in my mouth. On my neck. On my breasts.
I feel his hand travel under my nightie and abruptly tug's down on my underwear and pushes himself inside of me.
He groans. He moans.
I can do neither.
"Come on baby," he whispers into my ear.
I put my lips on his and his mouth taste wrong.
What is wrong with you Isabella? It's the same mouth you've been kissing for almost nine years.
I know it will only be a few minutes before he's done.
He's never had much…stamina.
I feel him convulse on top of me before his form falls down on me, his mouth kissing my chest one last time. When he slides off he pulls me close, his once hard on now wet being pressed between my legs.
After a few minutes I pull myself away, claiming that I needed to pee. As I sit on the toilet I put my head in my hands.
"You alight?" I hear him say, his naked form now standing over me.
"Yeah, just feeling lightheaded," I state.
He winks at me before turning around and turning the shower on.
"Well, feel better," he shouts over the water. "Because we can't cancel the reservations."
I get up from the toilet and walk over to the shower.
"What reservations?" I ask confused.
He wipes the steam away from the glass.
"That's for me to know and for you to find out," he smiles.
When day turns to night and I am semi informed of what our night will consist of, I choose my strapless red cocktail dress and nude heels. When I make it downstairs I spot Mike in the kitchen. He's wearing his charcoal grey Gucci suit.
"You look nice," I say as I walk towards him.
"Will you help me?" I ask, holding out my necklace to him.
He takes it from my fingers and delicately claps it behind me.
"You look beautiful Isabella," he says, placing a kiss on my exposed shoulder blade.
I look over at the wall length mirror that is fastened across the room.
"We make a damn good couple," he smiles.
I don't respond.
"Well, we better get going. I've never been late before in my life and I'm not starting now."
When we get to the restaurant I immediately know this is the type of place that takes months to get a reservation. Or you know the owner.
Within seconds an older gentleman takes Mike's hand, both of them exchanging words I don't understand. Then he takes my hand, pressing his lips to it. I just smile in return.
When we are being ushered to our table Mike takes my hand, his grip on it firm. When we are seated I realize that we are in a room alone, the hustle and bustle of the restaurant packed away.
"I didn't know that you spoke Italian," I say, putting my now full wine glass to my lips.
He shrugs. Dinner comes quick and I become confused. I didn't even see a menu.
"I hope you don't mind that I took the liberty of just ordering," Mike says are he picks up his fork.
I just nod.
Sometime after dinner and before dessert I hear my phone chime. Pulling it out of my purse I see a missed text from Edward.
Emergency meeting. United flight 158. Meet me at the gate at 11. I have your ticket.
"Bellaaa," I hear Mike say.
I look up, a look of anger on his face.
"Does he have to be around at every moment?"
A fire inside me burns.
"It's just a quick work question," I huff.
Mike takes a drink from his glass, his eyes no longer on me.
I start to type back.
I don't know if I can make it. I'll try my hardest.
"Bella," I hear Mike say and I snap my eyes up at him.
I now notice the plated dessert that has been set in front of me.
What stands out the most is the sugar bird cage surrounding the whole thing. And inside of it something shines.
"Isabella," I hear Mike say.
He pushes his seat back and places his napkin in the empty spot in front of him. I look down at my hands, noticing that they are shaking ever so slightly.
I drop them to my lap, hoping that Mike doesn't notice. When he reaches my side of the table he sticks his hand in the plate, smashing the bird cage, extracting the ring from inside.
And then he drops to one knee.
"Mike," I start to say but he holds his hand up, effectively cutting me off.
"I've wanted to do this for quite some time now," he starts to say. "But I never felt it was the right time. Until tonight."
I look at him confused.
"Seven years ago tonight I made love to you for the first time."
Part of me finds that creepy. It took me a whole year to allow myself to lose my virginity to Mike. I don't know why. It wasn't like I didn't want to. But every time he attempted to talk me into it, it always felt wrong.
"And I want nothing more for you to be by my side for the rest of our lives."
I panic at his words. The rest of our lives.
"Will you marry me?" he asks, his eyes hopeful.
I remain silent for a second, my mind and body in panic mode.
Why wouldn't you marry him? You love him. He loves you.
Just as I go to open my mouth my silenced phone buzzes in my hand. I quickly look down, Edward's name flashing across the screen.
In that moment something shifts. I look up at Mike, who is still kneeled beside me.
"I love you Mike," I say. Because it was true.
"Are you saying no?" he asks. I am shocked that his tone is not of anger, but disappointment. "If you need some time to think about it, I'm not going anywhere."
In that moment I wanted to cry. Two halves of myself at war with each other.
"No," I state, a look of panic across his face. "I mean…yes. Of course I will marry you."
Mike's eyes widen and in seconds his lips are on mine. I can feel tears welling in my eyes and it only takes them a second to fall.
But Mike doesn't seem to notice that they are not tears of joy.
He pulls back and slides the ring onto my finger. It's gorgeous. What every woman imagines their engagement ring would be.
Once the excitement dies down we exit the restaurant, all the servers congratulating us as we leave. When we make it outside a shiver runs down my spine, Mike immediately taking his jacket off and putting it around me.
"Thank you," I say softly.
As we wait for our car I hear my phone buzz again in my pocket.
"I'm afraid I have some bad news," I state.
Mike turns to look at me.
"You're leaving me aren't you…" he states.
I bite my lips and nod.
"Well because I'm in such a good mood and you agreed to marry me I guess I'll let you go."
He smiles and its then that I realize maybe I did make the right choice.
Once we reach the airport Mike pulls up to the curb and puts the car in park.
"I really should get going, I can't miss my flight."
Taking off his seatbelt he gets out of the car and makes it over to my side.
"You really don't have to come in, I'm sure Edward is just inside there."
Mike huffs. I guess I never told him Edward was coming.
"I'd like to walk my fiancé in, is that so bad?"
I shut my mouth. We both walk in hand in hand when I stop dead in my tracks before Edward comes into sight.
"Can you…not mention anything about tonight to Edward."
Mike looks at me confused.
"I'd like to tell him, when the time is right."
I think I hear Mike chuckle.
"You mean break the news to him that the better man won."
I give him a disappointed look.
"You know were just friends right? You've always known that."
"Sometimes you can be so blind Isabella."
Before I have time to respond I see Edward walk towards us. He's dressed casual in jeans, Converse's and an old tshirt.
The Edward I have always known.
"Swan," he says when he reaches us.
I can tell he isn't excited that Mike is present.
"We need to get going," he says handing me my ticket. "Say good bye to your boyfriend."
I see Mike's mouth open. I know exactly what he's going to say. I squeeze his hand in protest.
"I've gotta go," I say.
Mike turns to face me, pressing his lips to mine. It's the most passionate kiss we've shared in years. When we pull back I'm dizzy.
"Here," he says as he hands me his credit card. "Use it to buy yourselves some clothes since we didn't have time to stop off at the house."
I go to protest but he shoves it in my hand.
"I just want to take care of you Isabella, don't deny me of that."
I don't say anything else before walking away.
When I get halfway to Edward I glance down at my left hand, almost forgetting what adorned it.
I slide it off, putting it in the pocket of Mike's jacket in which I am still wearing. When I reach Edward's side he doesn't look at me.
Once we get through security and my "random" strip search we make it to the terminal with only minutes to spare. When we get settled into our seats I stare out the window, watching the world go on around us.
"Are you alright?" I hear Edward speak, his eyes looking from under his reading glasses.
"I'm fine. Why do you ask?"
"Just tired I guess."
"You look nice," he mumbles, diverting his attention on what he was reading. "Sorry I ruined your dinner."
I know he is lying. He'd do anything to make Mike miserable.
"No you're not, so stop acting like you are."
I see a smile break across his face. Grabbing the pillow and blanket from underneath my seat I look over at Edward.
He rolls his eyes.
"Fine," he huffs. Reaching between us he pushes up the arm rest and allows my body to slide against his.
It only takes me a second to fall asleep.
When the plane lands and comes to a stop I shoot upright, it taking me a second to get my bearings. Sitting up straight I stretch out and look over at Edward. His eyes are closed, a small smile on his lips.
He was always such a heavy sleeper.
Reaching up I run my fingers right underneath his jaw line, it waking him instantly.
His smile instantly drops from his face.
"Take that jacket off, I'm tired of seeing it," he states before getting up and walking away.
When we make it to the hotel I am beyond exhausted. Edward and I didn't speak much on the ride over but to be honest I was fine with that. I was tired of talking.
When we check in Edward hands me my key. Even though I've know Edward for what seems like my whole life we've never shared a room. Or a bed.
That's not what people with boyfriends do. Or fiancés.
When we reach our respective floor I break off from Edward. When I hear him call my name I turn around to face him.
"We need to go over some things before tomorrow. I'll order room service."
"It's one in the morning Edward," I state.
He doesn't seem to care.
"Your room or mine?" he asks.
"Mine. I'm gonna take a quick shower. Come over when you are ready."
He just nods before slipping into his room. When I get inside mine the room is cold, goosebumps breaking across my skin. I instantly walk into the bathroom, which is bigger than the size of my first apartment. Turning on the shower I take off the jacket, setting it on the countertop. I then strip out of the rest of my clothes, hoping into the shower.
I immediately lean against the wall, replaying everything from tonight in my head.
Did that all really happen?
I don't know how long I've been in here but once my fingers start to prune I decide it's time to get out. Grabbing a robe I realize I have nothing to wear, contemplating putting my dress back on. I cinch the belt on it tight and stick my head out.
I can hear the TV on and I know Edward must be here already.
Stepping out, I round the corner, Edward's form laid out across the bed. He sits up immediately when he spots me. He doesn't say anything for a moment.
"What are you wearing?" he states.
I look down.
"A robe..." I say, confused.
He bolts up from the bed and walks right past me, the door slamming behind him. I remain planted in my spot, wondering what the fuck just happened.
I hear a knock on the door minutes later. Walking over I pull it open, Edward standing in front of me.
"Here," he says, thrusting some clothes into my hand. "It's not appropriate for you to be in that. Were business partners."
I give him my biggest bitchface. Taking them into the bathroom I shove off the robe and pick up the clothes. I can't help but smile. Throwing on his favorite Beatles shirt and sweats I come out, Edward has already chosen to start eating.
"Thanks for waiting," I say slightly irritated.
He doesn't respond. Walking over to the empty chair at the small dining table, I pull it out and slide in.
"Thanks for the clothes," I state.
"No problem," he states, shoving a forkful of salad into his mouth.
I pick slowly at my plate of food. I watch him eat, his attention on the TV. When he finishes he puts his plate back on the tray and looks over at me, then down at my food.
"Not hungry," he states.
I shake my head.
"You must have had a pretty big dinner then."
My stomach drops.
"Edward…." I start to say, but I can't seem to utter the words.
There is silence between us. He pushes his chair back and walks into the bathroom. When he comes back out he has Mike's jacket lying across his arm. My mind and body panics.
His hand dips inside the pocket, retrieving the ring inside.
"I'll save you the trouble of having to tell me. Because I already know," he says, his voice low.
He holds the ring out to me.
"How?" I utter.
"He called me a few weeks ago. I'm not sure why. Asking for permission or some shit."
I can feel my throat becoming tight, tears threatening to fall. I reach up to take it from him but I hear Edward mutter something. I stop mid move.
"Don't marry him," he says, this time at a louder volume.
His eyes find mine.
"What?" I squeak out.
Edward sits down on the edge of the bed, the space between us feels like miles. Edward continues to stare at the ring. I can't move or talk. All I can do is stare.
"This ring is all wrong," he states.
"It's a beautiful ring," I protest.
He finally looks up at me.
"It's not you."
I am surprised by his statement.
"I don't think you're right for him," he says, his voice painful.
I don't know how to respond to that. He stands up again and holds the ring out to me.
"If you love him, you should wear it...proudly."
I squint my eyes at him. I don't move forward.
Why now? After all these years why now?
"No," I say dropping my eyes to my lap. I look down at my outfit and smile. I remember the day he bought this shirt. I look back up at Edward.
"I don't want it."
Edward gets up from the bed and puts the ring on the table.
"All I can think about lately is what might have been…" he states.
I get up from the chair so that we are now face to face.
"What does that mean Edward?" I breathe.
"I've been trying to do it right. Tried to be your friend through all this, but I can't do it anymore."
My heart jumps.
"What?" I say, tears blurring my vision.
"I don't know where I went wrong, but I've lost you."
I go to speak but he stops me.
"I've needed to get this out for a long time now."
I remain silent.
"Do you remember that time you fell out of my window and you were bleeding all over the place?"
I nod along with laughter.
"There is something I never told you about that day. When you were sitting in the passenger seat smoking that cigarette like it might be your last, I was falling deeply in love with you."
I think I hear myself gasp.
"And I have, ever since that day."
I feel as though I'm going to pass out. Edward takes a step towards me, his hot breath now on my face.
"I've been living a lonely life, even with you beside me."
Tears fall down my cheek. It only takes a second for his fingertip to brush across my cheek, wiping it away.
"I'm sorry…" he states."I'm sorry for letting things get this far. I should have told you a long time ago. It's not fair of me to do this now."
"Edward…" I say, looking up at him.
The silence is filled with our labored breaths.
"I love him," I admit, because it was true.
Edward's shoulders deflate. He turns around and starts to walk towards to door. I run after him.
"Wait," I say, grabbing his shoulder. "Let me explain."
He turns back around and I can see his eyes are glazed over.
"I love him," I say again. "But I love you more."
Edward continues to stare at me, as though my words have put him in a trance. I walk over to the table, grabbing the ring. I hold it up in front of us.
"You know what?" I say.
"After he asked me to marry him, you know what I thought about?"
He shakes his head.
"You," I state. "That I would lose you. And that frightened me. If I were to lose you that would be like losing my soul. I wouldn't be able to survive."
Edward's hand reaches over, intertwining with mine. We've held hand plenty of times, but this time it was so different.
"Tell me you don't feel that….that you've always felt that," he states.
"I have. I've just been lying to myself all this time."
I look up at him again.
"He doesn't love you like I love you. And he never will."
"I don't know what to do…" I mutter. "I can't break his heart."
"If you don't break his then you will break mine."
Before I have time to protest Edward's lips are on mine. In that moment everything in me goes limp. I don't fight it because I don't want to.
Was this really what I wanted all along?
When he pulls back I can tell that he is trying to gauge my reaction. I instantly stand on my tippy toes, pressing my lips back to his. This time I feel passion and pleasure flow through every part of my body.
When we pull back we are both out of breath.
"I have to say, you do look good in my clothes."
I smile. He puts his arm around my lower back, pulling me into his chest.
"You belong to me, I belong to you."
"We've always belonged to each other. In reality I was never his. My heart always belong to you," I say into his chest.
"You're my sweetheart," I hear him say, his lips pressed to the top of my head.
After a few minutes of silence Edward pulls back and walks over to table. He grabs the jacket and ring off the table. I know what he's going to do.
"Wait!" I call out as he opens the door.
I take the ring from his hand.
"I have to give it back to him," I state.
He huffs, but I can tell he understands. He then proceeds to throw the jacket into the hallway, shutting and locking the door behind him.
He is back over to me in seconds, his hands back on my hips.
"I've dreamt of this moment for almost nine years."
"Is it better than you imagined?" I say with almost laughter.
He shrugs and gives me a quick smile. I smack him on the chest in response. It's in that moment I knew how much I have been lying to myself all this time. Denying that those feelings for him were always there, every waking moment I was with him. Or even when I wasn't.
"I'm sorry it took me this long," he says again.
"You're not the only one who took too long to speak the truth," I admit.
Edward walks me over to the bed and I sit beside him, our hand intertwined. All I can do is stare at it. How can a feeling so foreign feel so right?
His lips are on mine again and after a few minutes I feel things becoming heavy. I put my hand on his chest.
"Not like this," I state.
I didn't want my first time with Edward to be like this. With the ghost of him swirling around us. Edward nods in response. We lay back on the bed, my form curled inside his arm. It's the only moment in almost a decade where I truly feel at home.
"We'll eventually have to change the company to just Cullen records."
All I can do is smile.
"We'll have to see about that," I giggle.