THREE

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"Hell yes," Ed hoots at the top of his lungs. "Honor student right here!"

"Ah, shit," Rose drawls coyly, nudging me again and again.

Is that really my name on the list? I feel like Elle Woods.

For a moment I think about mom's influence on the decision, but mom hardly cares about me to put in any effort to sell out the sponsor.

"Wow! Congrats, Bella!"

"'Gratulations, Swan!"

"Wow, that's amazing, Bella!"

It's too much. I'm suddenly drowning in all of these nice compliments, and I mumble back a halfhearted thanks to each one.

"I told you you're going to make it," Ed says in my ear so only I can hear.

Rolling my eyes, I gut him in the stomach. His stomach is hard as rock, though, so I only hurt myself.

The pervert in me grins, and I poke his stomach.

He grabs my wrist just as I try to do it the third time, and we end up awkwardly hugging each other because he's shying away and I'm not.

"What are you doing?" he laughs.

It's the perfect opportunity to tease him, but he takes a step away. Benji appears from beside us, followed by Jasper.

Ed pats me on the waist. I stick my tongue out at him.

Benji winks, and I wink back. He hides a smirk with the back of his hand, eyes averted to the ground.

My poor brother is clueless.

I hope he never finds outs.

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Benji doesn't object – no, far from it – when I push him into the backseats of my car after second period.

We hear the tardy bell but hardly react to it.

Kissing me back, in between moans, he says, "Your car's too tiny for this."

"I know. I'm getting a new car." My breath picks up as his finger finds my pussy.

"That's good." He leaves a wet kiss on my bare breast. "Goddamn. You're so wet, and I've barely touched you."

"I was wet all first period."

He snickers. "Such a little slut."

I stop kissing him. "If you want me to make you feel good, then don't call me that."

Benji brushes the hair off my face. "'Kay."

He dives forward, eager to kiss me again, but I resist.

His finger traces my bottom lip. "What's wrong, baby?"

I don't answer.

He sighs and looks me in the eye. "Talk, Bella."

"Apologize."

He smirks, eyes droopy, and pecks me. "Sorry, babe."

I frown.

"What? I said I'm sorry."

He did but it's not enough.

It should be enough. No, an apology is unnecessary in the first place.

His chest is flexing and hard because he's trying to hold his weight off me; it's like a metal surface wrapped up in a soft cushion. His neck is slightly sweaty, tastes salty under my tongue, and he's got sexy abs. He's some shades tanner than I am, and I've never seen prettier eyes on anyone.

"Fine," I sigh and straddle him, to which he groans in satisfaction and starts rubbing himself all over me.

"Condom?" he whispers.

"The glove compartment."

It's only a matter of time before we're naked and sweating and fogging up the windows and reeking of sex.

And it feels so, so good when I come.

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"Hey, girl! What are you going to wear tomorrow? For the induction ceremony?"

"Bella, isn't your birthday, like, really soon?"

"What are you going to do for your birthday?"

"You should rent out that bar."

I wish they'd all just shut up. I feel dizzy, nauseated even.

"Hey, Bella." Benji gives me a meaningful, smirking look as he sits down across from me; he's the last to join our lunch group.

Rosalie kicks me from under the table, and I'm not surprised. The girl has a sixth sense, I swear. She's going to be pissed that I haven't told her about what happened last night – or earlier today, for that matter.

I keep a straight face. "Hi, Benji."

His eyes never move away from me; he's undressing me with those eyes, like always. "Do anything fun last night?"

"Uh huh." I stick a baby carrot in my mouth and suck. He groans. "Earlier today too."

His eyes darken – glaze over.

I smile sweetly. "You?"

He just laughs and shakes his head. He does that but I know he loves that shit. He loves the fact that I'm supposed to be off-limits and that all of this is a secret. I think he gets off it half the time.

From beside me, Edward is having a hard time suppressing a smile. He masks the chuckle with a cough and leans in my ear. "You are…"

"I'm what?" I whisper back, grinning wider and wider.

He just inhales and exhales loudly through his nose. "No words."

Laughing, I nudge him. "What, tell me!"

He's laughing too, back to talking low in my ear; I can feel his breath. "I think you're enjoying the suspense a bit too much."

I study Jasper, who's sitting across from me, but he barely notices because he obviously can't keep his eyes off Alice Brandon on the other side of the room. God knows what he sees in that girl; she's such a brat.

"It's hardly suspenseful." I raise my voice. "Hey, Jas!"

No response.

"Deaf," I say. "See?"

"I guess for the moment…"

"Bella."

"Yes, Lauren?" I sigh, looking at her.

"You should throw a pool party."

"For what?"

"For your birthday, silly."

Rosalie snorts impolitely, twirling a French fry in between her fingers, and Lauren glares.

"It's Bella's birthday party, honey," Rose points out in a slow drawl, "not yours. She shouldn't have to do anything."

Lauren rolls her eyes, annoyed. "So?"

"Sure." I nod. "Pool party works as long as you bring your own booze."

The table groans.

"What?" I snap. "I'm turning seventeen, not twenty-one. Besides, my mom would kill me."

"What about mom?" Jasper says suddenly.

Benji lifts an eyebrow. "You gonna invite me, Bella?"

Rose's eyes are flying between us two.

"Yeah," I breathe and look at Ed. "You too."

Ed tips an imaginary hat. "I'm honored, birthday girl."

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I make it back home around midnight, and mom's not pleased. She never shouts, though.

She has reading glasses on, a fashion magazine sitting on her bony thighs, and is sipping her night tea by our tea table. "You're late."

I quietly slip into my indoor slippers. "Things came up."

"What things?"

"Just things."

She goes back to reading, but the air of disapproval is ridiculously obvious.

Jasper greets me at the foyer, coffee in hand and glasses on his nose.

I smirk a little. "Pulling an all-nighter, bro?"

"You know it." He bends his back to the side, stretching. "What were you doing so late?"

Your best friend. "Just. I don't know."

"Bella, you must be tired. You should go to bed," mom cuts in, voice sharp.

Jasper watches mom and me over the rim of his mug, knowing.

He follows me up the stairs and tickles my side.

I giggle, squirming. "Stop!"

He bumps his elbow to mine. "Sneak into my room later, if you want to."

"Why," I sigh, "you need someone to write the essay for you?"

He shrugs, but again, knows.

Sometimes, I think he's sorry that he gets all the attention.

Good.

"Okay. See you in fifteen," I tell him.

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"Hey, daddy," I whisper into the phone, "did I wake you?"

"No, sweetie," he groans. There's shuffling. "I was just taking a nap."

Nap?

I check the time; it's one in the morning. I hope Jasper is still awake.

"How's business going?" I ask.

"'s fine."

He's short with me. He must be tired.

"I just wanted to ask you something."

"Sure."

"Can I have some friends over for my birthday?"

"Whatever you want. Do you need a caterer? Party planner?"

Money, money, money. "Nah, I think I can handle it. I just wanted permission; mom doesn't want to talk about it, I think."

"I see, I see. Well, you have my approval. Have fun."

I smile, a little sleepy. "Thanks."

"You'll have your car by the time I come back."

Money, money, money. "Thank you."

"It's red."

I hate red. "My favorite color."

"I know. Now I have to get back to work."

"Right. Okay, bye."

"Bye, sleep tight."

"Wait, dad?"

"Hmm?"

I look down. "Miss you."

He chuckles. "Miss you too."

"Okay, bye."

I speak last.

He hangs up first.

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Alice is poison. She's messing with my brother, and I don't like it.

Jasper won't make it to the induction ceremony because Alice doesn't want to go and would rather be somewhere else.

I have no idea how she has that control over him; just a little shake of her head and a meek pout work miracles for her, apparently, because Jasper was pretty set on coming before she went all whiny.

I don't even bother to ask mom; she won't go, I know.

"You're early," I say breathlessly, opening the door just as I finish hooking in my earring. I scan the boy in front of me from head to toe: two buttons of his white dress shirt undone, sleeves rolled up, and the bottom hem tucked under the belt and his slacks. "And all decked out, I see."

Ed crosses his arms. The arms flex, goodness. "Ready to go?"

"Um," I laugh, "not even close."

His eyes scan my body this time. "I see. Sweats, really?"

"Still better than lingerie, right?" I whisper-tease, looking over my shoulder to check our privacy.

He puts on a straight face. "Not really. I'm kind of disappointed you're wearing clothes, to be honest."

I sigh, dreamy, and let him in. He smells amazing, like cologne and fresh laundry.

"Oh, Edward, you're such a sweetheart for offering to drive Bella. I really appreciate this."

"My pleasure, Ms. Swan. I have to head over myself." His gaze, on my face, warms. "I'll drive her back safely."

Mom puts on a sweet smile, her blood red lips spreading to show her pearly whites. "Bella, don't keep Edward waiting."

"I know." I rush up the stairs.

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Edward is so fun to watch. He always does the weirdest things, like flirting back when mom flirts with him.

But he's Edward. He flirts with everyone because that's what he does. That's what he's supposed to do. It's in his job description as senator's son.

I was done dressing into my favorite dress five minutes ago, but mom and Ed seem too engrossed in their flirting.

I grab an apple, careful not to mess up my glossed mouth, and stay put against the wall beside them. There, I just watch.

I watch Edward thrusting his hands in his back pockets and rocking on his feet; he's laughing at what mom just said. He's good with the eye-contact too, all smoldering and attentive. Being the flirt he is, he's crinkling his eyes and squaring his shoulders as he does, and it makes me want to know more about him.

Again, what an interesting creature. I wonder if his dad teaches him how to flirt with the young, old, man, and woman as part of training.

And mom's got to stop grabbing her student's biceps like that.

"Oookay," I interrupt, nodding slowly, "time to go."

Mom only now notices my presence and grins up at her favorite student. "I'll see you at school, then."

Edward offers me an arm, and I grab it in earnest with both my hands.

"Oh, and Bella?" mom calls me last-minute. "You're going to have to push that birthday party back a day. We have family visiting that night."

Family. I feel chills down my spine. "Which one?"

She waves me off, looking at me from under her fake lashes. "Our relatives in LA, who else?"

Mom and I stare each other down, long and hard, and my hand around Ed's arm shakes and relaxes.

"Why are they coming here?" I whisper because that's all I can do.

"I invited. We couldn't make it to Jared's wedding." Mom daintily sits herself down and crosses her legs. Her raised eyebrow is daring me. "We have to congratulate him some way."

"But I don't want them to come," I whisper again.

"You have no say."

"Mom. You never told me."

"Shush." Her glare hardens. "You two are going to be late. On you go."

I get angrier as I realize that she's bringing this up now when we have an audience so I won't go screaming.

Her voice drops. "Is there a problem, Isabella Marie?"

My stomach turns, and I'm too terrified and mad to say anything.

"Good." She hum-sighs. "Jared and Kim are expecting a child, by the way. She's six weeks in. Isn't that great?"

Sick to the stomach, I grab Ed by the wrist and haul him to the driveway.

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"Cheese!"

Snap.

I think the camera flash just blinded me.

Annoyed, I shrug out of Edward's arm. "I didn't take you as a selfie person."

He checks the preview on his camera. "It's an important day."

"Thanks, dad." I'm unusually sassy. "Still, it doesn't mean you have to document it."

He shows me the picture. I know I'm not terribly photogenic, so I'm not surprised to see that I don't look spectacular. He looks perfect, though. When is he not perfect?

"Besides," I sigh again, "how is this important? It's not like you're getting inducted, Mr. NHS President."

"This isn't for me, silly. It's for you." He pinches both my cheeks upward. "Come on. Smile, won't ya?"

"Sorry. Smiling takes a lot of effort."

"Maybe, but a lot less than frowning." He watches me in his clever way. "It's not going to be that bad – your relatives visiting. It's just a day. You can throw a party afterward."

"This isn't about my birthday." I shake my head, impatient.

"Mr. Cullen! I need you here!" the club sponsor shouts from the stage. "How do we set up these candles?"

Ed pats my shoulder. "I'll send you the picture." He leans close, his cheek brushing against mine as he whispers. "We can go find some alcohol after this if you're up for it. Let me know."

And he's off.

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He's snuck two bottles of wine.

"Chardonnay, really?" My eyes are wide. "You're so fucking cheap."

He brings in the cold breeze with him as he opens the car door and sits himself again. He still smells good.

"I shoplifted for you. My dad's reputation could be at stake." He leans over my legs and pulls out the opener from his glove compartment, expertly popping open the cork. "That should mean something."

I'm laughing. "Who keeps a corkscrew in a car? Only you, I swear."

"Sorry, but no wine glasses." He tosses his head back and gobbles down some of the wine; his Adam's apple bobs with each swallow, and it's sexy as hell. "Here ya go."

I follow his example. I love the sweet taste.

"So."

"So, what?" I say.

"What was up with you and your mom back at home?"

"None of your business."

"I guess it's sensitive subject." He smirks. "All right, then. I never asked."

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Two bottles of Chardonnay on our drive back home, and I'm tipsy – even though I'm safely seated in the car – and God, I really have to pee.

"You look like you really need to use the restroom." He scowls as I squeeze my thighs together, and his eyes widen. "Fuck, you really do, don't you?"

"Well, yes. Obviously."

Then he's laughing, which is not that surprising. Ed tends to get giggly when he gets drunk, and it's cute.

I slap his shoulder when he makes the sound of water running through his puckered mouth.

"Stop!" I whine. "You think this is funny?"

"Well."

"Never mind. No need to answer," I say, still watching him. "It's not that hard to tell, actually. Did you know your right eye crinkles more than your left when you laugh? Specifically when you're laughing at something you think is genuinely funny. I can always tell whether or not you're faking it. When you fake it, both of your eyes crinkle evenly."

"Really?" He pops down the visor and inspects his handsome face. "I didn't know I do that."

"Eyes on the road!" I shout, hand shooting out to the wheel.

He grabs it just in time. "Shit, that's not good."

"Yeah, please don't kill me."

"No, I meant it sucks that people can read me that easily."

"I don't think a lot of people know about that uneven eye-smile thing."

"You do."

"That's only because I've known you for a long time."

"True."

I roll down the windows because it's getting warmer in the car. A draft of cool air rolls in, and Ed leans to his side of the car, lazy and mussing up his hair.

"Remember when I took you to Homecoming your freshman year?"

I'm caught off guard. "I also remember getting into an accident on our way there."

He's laughing again. "Give me a break. I just got my permit then."

"Yeah." I think. "Remember you took me out on a date because my mom forced you to?"

"I wouldn't say forced." He thinks, too. "Remember when you stomped on my foot?"

"No way. Really?"

"Really," he smirks.

"On purpose?"

"Definitely on purpose."

"When did I ever stomp on your foot?"

He keeps smirking.

I remember a lot of things, actually. I remember when Ed was a few inches shorter than me. He never had serious acne, but he had a rounder face back in middle school and the awkward girl-guy voice.

Now he's eighteen and hot as fuck; he's tan with freckled shoulders, a movie star profile, muscled arms, and a sprinkle of chest hair that just barely peeks out of that dress shirt.

I quickly look off to the side, narrowly stopping myself from thinking about his legs too.

"I can't believe I'm drunk off a Chardonnay," I groan.

"I kind of am too," he admits.

I'm relieved that he's admitting, because he's been eyeing me for a while too.

It must be the alcohol.

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I want to throw up all over again when Ed parks in front of my townhouse.

"This is you," he tells me when I don't move.

He's not the type to force me out, so he waits patiently, relaxing and softly tapping a finger on his belt buckle.

His eyes are on me. "You look gorgeous tonight."

I look at him funny. "You, mister, are clearly drunk."

He sits up a little. "Bella, I wanted to ask you a favor. Assuming my dad gets reelected. Do you want to go to the celebration with me? As my date."

He and Maggie must be really done.

"I'd love to." I shrug. "Who am I to refuse free food?"

He snickers politely and continues to play with his belt, now with the strap too. The strap slips in and out of the loop. Whether he's doing that subconsciously or consciously, I don't know.

I groan finally. "Can you stop that?"

"Stop what?"

"Playing with your belt. It's driving me crazy."

His fingers freeze, and there's a hint of a smirk in his voice. "Okay."

I curse under my breath as I reach for my seatbelt, and then I'm cursing the alcohol. I don't exactly know what I'm saying, but I don't care because I'm just plain bothered right now for no reason.

I'm surprised when he tilts me to him by the shoulder, and he's coming in, colliding me to him and jolting me into a kiss. It's so sudden and random and so strong of a starting kiss – that I freeze up.

His lips are soft, caressing mine with just enough pressure.

I melt into his touch. His lips are so smooth, and the way they move is so suave and confident and perfect.

Just as he cups my chin, I push his chest. "What the fuck was that?"

His lips are cherry red, and his eyes go wide. "Shit."

"Holy shit," I echo him in a whisper.

I'm fumbling like crazy as I try to get the door.

"I got it, I got it," he says frantically under his breath as he does it for me.

I nearly trip on my own foot as I slam the door behind me.

I think I may be in shock. I have nothing to say, but still want to say something.

I turn to him just in time to catch him checking me out. I suddenly forget what I was planning to do.

Since when was Edward Cullen attracted to me like that?

What's more important, since when was I ever attracted to him like that? Because this time, it's him catching me staring at his lips, and all I'm thinking is that his lips are to die for.

I'm looking at those stunning glass-marble eyes and his wide-angular shoulders that are probably fantastic for me to hold onto. He's also one of few guys who's actually taller than me. But since when was he like that?

I'm feeling fucked, because my God, he's gorgeous.

I knew that but I didn't know that. Fuck.

Flustered and thoroughly mind-fucked by this stupidest revelation, I turn away, only to turn back once more. The left corner of his mouth is slightly tipped upward in a small smirk when I plunge through the window and pull him into a second kiss.

He inhales when our mouths merge. I can feel his neck muscles tighten when I touch him there.

And the moment our tongues touch, we moan.

He's so good at this, and we kiss and kiss, our lips making sucking and popping noises. I'm sucking on his tongue, and I'm sure he's hard and I'm wet. I think both of us know, deep down, that we're in deep shit. I wait for him to stop me. Then again, I think he's waiting for me to do the same.

"Get back in the car," he commands me.

And I do, and I'm climbing over his lap – and damn, I'm right because he's hard as rock, all over; I'm so fucking sensitive too, because my bladder's about to explode.

He sweeps my hair off my shoulders and swirls his tongue down my neck. He tells me that he's wanted to do this since, verbatim, "fuck, I don't even know."

I guess I'm not alone in this revelation.

"Shit, shit, shit," I say again, because it feels so good but I'm kind of getting scared now.

"I know."

"God." I grind into him. He guides my hips. "What the fuck are we doing?"

"I don't know."

I know. I don't know. The fuck?

But he shuts me up with his mouth, and I let him.

We're in some deep, deep shit, and I don't even know how it happened.

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A/N: I know it's been a while. So did you like it? Hate it? Let me know!

Sarah