My very first foster family took me to an amusement park right after I got placed with them. Thought it would help us bond as a family. It was one of the few good days I remembered from this whole experience…before the Cullens anyway. My foster dad held my hand as we waited in line and kept telling me how much I was going to love the rollercoaster. I was scared shitless. I remember looking up at the mess of steel and screws, wondering what it could possibly feel like at the very top.
We'd boarded the rollercoaster car and I was just tall enough to ride it. My foster dad said, "Made it by a smidge, sport. You're lucky." Lucky. I was an eight year old kid who thought he was about to die. I didn't consider myself lucky, but I didn't say a word. Never let on that I was terrified. And as the car clunked and clinked up the rickety tower, up to the top, I gripped so tightly onto the bar in front of me that I thought I was going to turn Hulk and break the damn thing. For the complete second half, I refused to open my eyes.
Just as we reached the peak, there was a moment where everything fell silent. Lingering just for that tiniest second on the edge of the fall. I told myself to open my eyes.
Excitement. Fear. Anticipation creeping up so thick in my throat that it was hard to swallow. And instead of screaming my little punk head off, I smiled. Who would have thought something so scary would be so worth it?
I feel it again now. The fear. The excitement. The anticipation. Because somewhere between 2nd and 3rd period, I decide that I like Bella. In a hearts and flowers and chocolates kind of way. I'm at the very peak of something new and now I have to decide if I'm going to open my eyes again.
During lunch, I sit outside on her bench in the courtyard. It's become our normal spot, but today I'm alone. She has a follow up appointment with Carlisle to assess her recovery and I'm thankful for the time with my thoughts.
Once the bell rings, I hurry inside and catch up with Jasper. He notices I'm acting strange and doesn't spare my feelings.
"Are you on drugs?" He asks.
"No. Of course not." I shake my head as we head to class.
"Well you've been acting strange the past few days."
I take a deep breath and shrug. "I'm going to ask Bella out…on a date."
He cocks his eyebrow. "Do you know how?"
"To date or ask?"
I punch his shoulder. "I've been out on a date before, asshole."
"Yeah, but not with anyone like her."
"You think I should ask Charlie?" We stop at our lockers and grab some books before continuing on. Alice spots us from the end of the hallway and waves as she slips into her class.
"Ask Charlie out on a date? I don't really think you're his type."
"No. I mean ask him about Bella. I don't want him to think I'm just some jerk trying to manipulate her or get laid or just…you know. I want to do this the right way."
"You really think that's a good idea?" He stops right before we walk into class.
"I don't know."
I think about it for the rest of the school day. And then it spills over into my drive home and through dinner. Before I know it, I'm staring up at my ceiling that night still going over everything in my head. I know that it's not the 1800s anymore and he's not even her father, but I feel like it would go a long way with him. I've never even met fathers before, except in passing at a football game or at the diner.
So I get up at 5:30, at least two hours before I would ever think about opening my eyes. I get dressed and head down to the coffee shop because I know he'll be there. It's his routine. Everyone knows it. Charlie sits at the coffee shop every morning at 6:15, reading his paper and drinking his morning cup. He stays until about seven before he heads back home.
His car is parked outside when I pull up. I'm not sure what I'm going to say to him or what I'm going to do. I'm hoping that will come later.
Hopefully I work well under pressure.
When I step inside the shop, there are a few people scattered at the tables, talking about their day in front of their steaming coffee. Charlie sits in the corner reading his paper, just like I expected.
I buy a cup of coffee and take a deep breath as I walk towards him. He doesn't flinch, doesn't even look up until I'm standing right beside him.
"Good morning, Charlie." I nod.
"Edward. Not used to seeing you here so early."
"I was hoping I could talk to you actually."
He stares at me for a moment and slowly brings his coffee cup up to his lips. "Sit."
I slid into the seat next to him and stare down at my hands. Now what?
"I would like to take Bella out on a date," I finally say.
"What?" He asks.
"A date. And out of respect for you, I wanted to ask you first...if that was okay." I swallow hard. Bastard makes me nervous.
He folds his newspaper and leans back in the chair. "I knew this was going to happen. I knew when you started hanging around." He sighs. "I don't think that's a good idea, Edward."
"Because I have no idea what's going to happen with her. I don't know how long she's going to be here, I don't know if she's going to fully recover from her accident, there are so many I don't knows. And you're you." Despite his words, I know he's not trying to be rude, but it still pisses me off.
"I get it, Charlie. Bella and me. Alice. Emmett. We're the broken ones. The damaged. The left behind. The forgotten. And I won't disagree with you on that, but sometimes love is the only thing we have. It's something for the rest of us, sir. And that's who we are. The rest." I stand. "And if you don't think she deserves that, then to Hell with you. I'm going to give it to her anyway."
I start to walk away, but he stops me.
"Edward!" He stands and folds his paper under his arm. "I've got to get to the station, do you think you could take Bella to school for me?"
Even though he wasn't directly saying it, I knew he was telling me it was okay. It was okay to ask her out. He was giving me my chance.
"Sure." I nod as he passes and heads toward the door, shaking his head and mumbling something about "regretting this later."
I allow myself to smile. Who would have known? Edward Masen does his best work in the morning.
Even though it's early, I drive right to Charlie's house and sit out on the porch smoking a cigarette. I check my watch every now and then, trying to decide when it's acceptable to knock.
A half hour before school starts, I figure it's okay. Bella answers the door, pulling her hair up into a ponytail.
"Hi," she says, surprised.
"Hey. Charlie asked me if I could take you to school today. He had to head to the station."
She stops. "He did?"
"Oh. Okay, I'm almost ready. Come on in."
I step inside and follow her up to her room. Charlie's bought her a new bedspread and there's a single poster on the wall. Her closet is open a little and I can tell they've done some more shopping.
"New clothes?" I ask.
"Yeah. It's going to get cold soon, so Charlie insisted on getting me some winter clothes." She smiles.
"How long have you been here now?"
"Just about three months, I think." She pulls on a vest and searches for her bag. "I had a good meeting with Carlisle yesterday. Said everything looked good."
"Any developments on the brain?"
"Uh, no. Nope." She shakes her head. "Guess you're stuck with me."
"I don't mind."
When she's ready, we pile into my car and start towards school. It's strange to me, how easily she seems to have fallen into this new life. Like it really did belong to her. Like she wanted it to belong to her. Maybe that was what was always wrong with me. It was like a bad drug, my body and my heart were always rejecting every new family. I never wanted it to belong to me because I never believed it could. I wish I were more like her. That I had that kind of faith or courage. Whatever it is, Bella has it.
We pull into school and after I park, I don't get out right away. Bella stares at me, pondering my delay.
"What's going on?" She asks.
"I wanted to talk to you about something. Well ask you something, really."
"If this is about the paper, I'm not writing the conclusion, that was your job." She narrows her eyes at me and I can't help but laugh.
"Actually, I wanted to ask you out."
"Out. Yeah like on a date. Out."
Her smile is momentary. Kind of like when you're thinking about your Christmas present the moment before you open it. It fades just as quickly and something close to sadness takes over.
"I can't," she says.
"No. You can. I already talked to Charlie and..."
"No, Edward," she interrupts. "I'm sorry, I just...I just can't."
Before I can respond, she slips out of the car and runs into school and I'm left with nothing but the sight of her walking away.
A/N: If she won't go out with him, I sure as hell will. *nods*