Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.


Sunday, October 4, 2009
around 9AM

"Dude. Dude. Dude. Dude. Dude."

Jasper's annoying voice fills the room. I want to punch the shit out of him, but that requires energy that I don't have.

"Dude, wake up. Dude." He flicks my cheek. "Wake up."

I keep my eyes closed and flip him off. "Get out of my room."

"You're on the couch."

Oh. Right. I must've passed out when I got home from work, after eating two bowls of Captain Crunch. But still. "Get out of my living room."

"ACL. Bella's show. Debauchery. Let's do this." He sings the last part, producing high notes that I've never heard come out of him before. Or any other human being, for that matter.

Slowly sitting up, I squint at him. He's only wearing a suede vest, his jorts, and one sneaker. His face is stupid and his smile is stupid and I realize why he's being more annoying than usual. "How are you already drunk?"

He laughs, reaching for the pipe on the coffee table. "Not already. More like still."

"Still?"

"I didn't sleep last night."

"What'd you end up doing?"

"Alice."

"You mean you sat on the couch all night and cried while you jacked off to Alice's picture."

"Hey, fuck you. That was one time and I wasn't crying." He takes a hit, deliberately blowing smoke in my face. "And I'm being serious. She's in my bed right now. I got drunk and walked to her house."

"You walked? That's gotta be over two hours. You're full of terrible ideas lately."

"Two hours and ten minutes, according to Google Maps. But it took me almost three because I had to stop and piss a few times."

I don't have to ask to know he whipped out his dick in public and pissed. "I'm surprised you didn't get arrested."

"I almost did. Alice threatened to call the cops when I showed up."

"Wow. You two are so functional."

He shrugs. At least he owns his dysfunctionality.

"So you somehow convinced her not to call the cops and to come back here with you?"

"I guess so. Our conversation is a bit hazy since I'm still drunk and have been awake for almost twenty-four hours."

"How are you going to survive today?"

His alertness right now makes me skeptical. I'm not taking care of his punk ass later. I have other things to worry about, like making sure Bella doesn't hate me.

"Shrooms?" he offers.

"Uh… pass. I kind of have to be somewhat coherent when I see Bella later."

"I can respect that, bro."

...

I spot Bella's car down the street from Angela's, but that doesn't mean she's inside hanging out. I tell Jasper and Alice to head in and that if Bella is here, I'll meet them inside. And if she's not, I'll catch up with them later.

I pull out my phone and send her a text.

Already at Zilker?

It takes her a few minutes to reply, and I think about calling her. But she finally responds.

Yeah.

Yeah? That's it? I mean, my question didn't exactly require a detailed response, but what the fuck?

Okayyyy, well... Can I see you before the show?

Sure.

She's really not giving me much to work with here.

When?

Band's setting up at 11:30. And I'm going to make you help us.

Lol, that's fine. Where do you wanna meet?

Right side of the Austin Ventures stage at 11. I'm not waiting for your ass, so be there on time.

I make it to the stage around 10:45. I spot Eric, who nods at me, then points a few yards away.

And then I see Bella.

Her back is to me. She's wearing a dress I've never seen before and boots. My eyes linger on her legs before moving up to her ass. Her hair is down and wavy and she looks so fucking good. l stay where I am, but send her a text to let her know I'm here.

Nice ass.

I watch her. She checks her phone, then turns around. When we make eye contact, she spins back to the girl she was talking to. She says something, and the girl laughs. She's probably telling her I have a small dick or something equally demeaning. I can't say I don't deserve that, though.

Bella makes her way toward me. I swallow thickly, unsure how to start this conversation.

"Hi," I offer, smiling hesitantly.

She doesn't smile back. "Hi."

"How do you do?"

She quirks an eyebrow, but doesn't say anything.

"That was… I was just trying to make you laugh. Okay. Sorry." I shake my head. "How's it goin'?"

"I'm… good," she answers slowly, looking at me strangely. "How are… you?"

"Jasper and Alice are back together," I blurt out. I have no idea why. My thoughts are all jumbled and I'm a fuckhead.

Her eyes widen at the news. "Really? Wow. I hope that works out for them."

"Me too," I say, realizing I actually mean it. Mostly because I'm tired of Jasper's I'm a heartbroken crybaby attitude.

"So…"

"So," I repeat.

She stares at the sky, but I'm staring at her.

"Stop looking at me like that," she whispers.

"Like what?" I ask. But I know.

I'm staring at her like I'm sorry. Like she's my best friend. Like maybe I want more. And I'm not sure how to say any of that, so I keep my eyes on her, because maybe she'll figure it out if she looks hard enough.

Eric comes over and gives Bella a thirty minute warning before they need to set up. I ask her if she wants to grab a quick beer. She hesitates, but says yes. We walk in silence to the nearest tent selling alcohol. I buy her beer without asking, and carry both to a nearby empty picnic table. She sits down first, and I sit next to her, straddling the bench.

"Thanks," she murmurs, sipping her beer.

I nod, taking a lengthy gulp of foam.

She brings a hand up to spin one of her earrings. I smile. She's nervous. She shouldn't be—not around me—but I kind of like that I can affect her this way.

"Do you wanna see Wilco later?" she asks, dropping her hand.

"Uh… their target demographic is forty-year-old dads. So I'll pass."

She laughs, shoving my shoulder, which causes some of the beer in my cup to spill over onto my jeans. She doesn't apologize, just says, "Jesus. I forgot how big of a dick you can be."

"You mean you forgot how big of a dick I have?"

Her laughter ends, replaced with a scoff.

"Was that joke too soon?" I question.

"I mean, I thought you came here to apologize, not to talk about the size of your dick. Forgive me if I'm a little annoyed."

I breathe out through my nose. Surprisingly enough, I'm not talking about my dick because I want to. It's because I don't know what else to say or do. I should apologize, sure, but what am I supposed to tell her? I'm sorry I'm such a shitty friend and a stupid dick? I should have figured this out before I got here.

"Bella…" I begin, running a hand through my hair. "I'm sorry I'm such a shitty friend and a stupid dick."

"Wow," she laughs, slowly clapping. "That was a great apology."

I groan, tipping my head back. "You know I'm awful at this. I've never had to apologize to someone before."

"Just so you know, you sound really conceited right now. Who's never had to apologize before?"

"What I mean is, I've never had to apologize to someone and actually mean it. I fucking care about you a lot, Bella. And I'm sure you don't believe me, but I really do. I feel like such a douche for making you feel like… I don't know. Like all I wanted was to hook up with you? And maybe that's what I thought I wanted, but I guess I've never actually had feelings for someone before."

She looks down at her lap. I gently squeeze her thigh, trying to get her look at me again.

"It's always kinda been you, Bella. I guess it took me a while to realize you could be more than my best friend. And I'm sorry for that, okay? I seriously am."

She still hasn't looked up, focused on playing with the elastic band around her wrist. I force myself to keep my gaze on her. Because now that I've stopped talking, I'm fucking on edge. I have no idea how she's going to respond to what I've just said.

"You're a liar, Cullen," she says quietly. "You're not awful at apologizing."

"That's… a good thing, right?"

She breathes out a laugh, finally looking at me. "It's a great fucking thing."

"So you forgive me for being a shithead?"

"Well, that depends. Did Jasper tell you to say all of that?"

"No. Definitely not. Jasper wanted me to take you on a hot-air balloon ride, and like, confess my love to you via aerial banner."

"So that was all you?" she asks, scooting closer.

I swallow, staring at her mouth. "Yeah."

Without another word, she leans forward, closing the distance. Her mouth is on mine, and my hands are around her waist, pulling her closer. I kiss her, so fucking hard. Thoughts of getting her alone are running through my mind, but then she pulls away.

"I'm sorry, too," she breathes out. "For… everything. You know. All of that Ben stuff was pretty awkward and shitty."

I keep myself from saying that he's pretty awkward and shitty. No need to ruin the moment.

"It's okay." I kiss her nose. "So are we good?"

"Until the next time you piss me off, yes."

I bark out a laugh. "Fair enough. So you wanna do this? For real?"

"Yeah, why not? We can try it out, and if it doesn't work, we can go back to being friends."

Placing my fingers under her jaw, I gently run my thumb over her chin. "I don't know if I could ever be just your friend again, Bella."

The smile on her face grows wider, and she tilts her head down, kissing my thumb.

"Was that a test?" I ask.

"Maybe."

"Did I pass?"

She wraps her arms around my neck. Her chest presses against mine, and she kisses a trail from my neck to my mouth.

With her lips hovering over mine, she says, "Definitely."

...

After Bella's show, we hang out with Alice and Jasper the rest of the day. They fight a few times, make up even more, but I can't be bothered to give a shit. Nothing can really fuck with the mood I'm in right now.

Everything feels so fucking good and easy. When I look over at Bella and have the urge to kiss her, I can. When my hands travel down her waist and over her ass while we're in the crowd waiting for the Toadies to play, I don't have to second guess if it's okay.

Later on, we catch Arctic Monkeys and Passion Pit, but only stay for half of the closer, which is Pearl Jam. All the beer that was consumed along with the sun have Bella and me feeling pretty beat by nine o'clock. Jasper gives us shit for leaving, but he's a dick, anyway. When I ask Bella if she wants to hang out at Angela's or go back to my place, I'm thankful she chooses the latter.

When we get there, I grab two glasses and a bottle of cheap liquor. We head straight to my room.

Bella pulls off her boots, then sighs. "Fuck. I'm tired."

"Yeah, this weekend's killed me."

I shut my door, fill the glasses with a little whiskey, then pull her dress over her head. I smirk when she's standing there in just a bra and boy shorts.

She sits on the mattress, staring into her glass while I unbutton my pants and pull off my shirt.

"We should probably talk," she says quietly. "I guess."

"Yeah." I sit next to her, but don't tell her I thought we were done talking and already had everything figured out. Because things are good right now and I don't want to fuck this up already.

She eyes me, like she knows exactly what I'm thinking, but doesn't call me on it.

"I just want to make sure we're on the same page," she explains before taking a sip of her drink. "We're not exactly the best at communicating."

She has a fucking point.

But still. I'm not sure where she's going with this, so I wait for her to start.

She exhales. "This isn't just a hookup for me."

"I know. It's not for me either," I say, hoping I sound earnest. "I was serious earlier. I only want you."

She smiles at me. And it kind of fucking kills me to see her looking at me like that.

"I only want you, too. I'm not going to see anyone else."

"Does Ben know this?" I ask, trying to keep my tone even. Maybe I shouldn't bring it up, but I have to know, since we're doing this whole communicating thing.

"We talked last night." She makes a face, shaking her head. "It was weird, but he knows whatever was going on between us is over."

It takes everything I have not to fistpump.

I grin and pull her to straddle me instead. "Good deal."

She pushes her bangs behind her ears, then leans down, bringing her mouth to mine. My hands slide up her back and I deepen the kiss.

"Wait." She stops. "One last thing."

I hold back a groan. "Yeah?"

"Since when does KISS FM play The Beach Boys and Van Morrison?"

I breathe out through my nose, then smile sheepishly. "I wasn't sure you'd heard."

"Of course I did. I always listen to you when I can," she admits softly. "Just because I'm mad, doesn't mean you're not my best friend. I mean, sure, there are times I think you're a fucking idiot and want you to get hit by a mobility scooter, but then you do or say something stellar, and it cancels out all the stupid shit you do."

I feign shock for a second. "A mobility scooter? That's morbid."

"I didn't say I want you to die. Just maybe break your arms or something."

"If I broke my arms, you'd have to take care of me," I tease, squeezing her hip.

"Maybe. But make no mistake, I'd make Jasper wipe your ass."

"You're cruel." I kiss her nose. "And hot." Kiss her lips. "And deranged."

"Shut up," she laughs, fingers running over my beard. "You like it."

"I like you."

Her gaze softens before she buries her face between my shoulder and jaw. She kisses the spot below my ear, then lightly sucks on my neck.

"We should probably make use of Jasper being out of the apartment for a while," she murmurs, smiling against my skin.

I rolls us over. Tell her she's insanely smart, then kiss my way down her body.

And since she finally knows how I feel about her, this time I try showing her without using words.


And they lived happily ever after. Probably.

Okay. So I won't make y'all sit here through an epically long AN, but... yeah. I first have to say that I'm so, so, SO thankful for y'alls patience. I cannot stress that enough. I'm also so appreciative of everyone who has read, reviewed, and pimped this little story. This wouldn't be fun without y'all. Really. I just hope y'all enjoyed the story.

I owe a huge thanks to Kim and Vic. Honestly, this story probably wouldn't be finished without them. Their tremendous help and constant encouragement kept me from pulling this story, deleting my account, and moving out of the country. For real. I love you, idiots.

And I love you guys. Thanks again!