Chapter Nine: Awkwardness


It's been three weeks since Edward and I started chatting via Facebook, three weeks of complete and utter lunacy. Why is it lunacy, you may ask?

Because I think maybe I'm in love with this man...and I've never even heard his voice, or seen his face.

We've chatted about everything, from the unimportant, lighter topics of 'what's your favorite color' to 'what's your favorite movie' to the heavier ones, such as one night when he questioned me about the death of my mother. That night was hard one. The urge to talk to him on the phone was overwhelming, especially after I broke down in tears, barely able to type. He begged me for my number, apologizing over and over for unintentionally bringing up such a sensitive subject.

And I refused.

I refused to give him my number. Why? Because I'm chicken shit. I like this man, hell, I possibly even love this man, yet I know nothing about him, not really. What if my feelings are all one-sided? What if it's just me? Does he feel the same feelings for me as I do him? And if he doesn't, can I take that sort of rejection, considering I've never felt for any man what I feel for Edward Platt?

Sure, he's been the flirting, but I constantly tell myself that this is normal. Men flirt, especially men like him, who not only think about sex constantly (which most men do), but write about it on a daily basis.

It's this fear, this fear of the sudden rush of emotions I feel for this man, which has brought me here, to the fanciest restaurant in Forks, Georgia.

The Olive Garden.

The restaurant is packed. People line the sidewalks and sit on the benches outside with their plastic pagers, waiting for them to light up like tiny little blue UFO's so they can stuff themselves with bowls of salad and baskets full of bread sticks. I shift uncomfortably on the sidewalk, glancing down at the simple, floral dress and ballet flats I threw on hours earlier. Rose had shook her head in disgust at my inability to become excited over the date. Hell, I hadn't even put on any makeup...not really. Just a swipe or two of mascara, some lip gloss, and a dab of perfume. It's not as though I'm going out with someone I don't know.

I'm going out with my boss. Doctor Jacob Black.

Dr. Black's sudden invitation for endless soup and salad was a shocker. Jacob has never, not once in the years I've worked with him, shown any inkling of attraction towards me. Usually his time is spent mocking me; making fun of my clumsiness and the awkwardness I felt with being around other people in general.

Something changed the past couple of days. Jacob looks at me differently. His eyes linger on me longer than necessary. He laughs a little too loudly at my inappropriateness towards the patients.

Yesterday I arrived at work ten minutes late. There were still creases on my face from sleeping, I may or may not brushed my teeth with a toothbrush and mouthful of mouthwash while praying for my life as Rose drove us to work, and my hair looked like a rooster had been nesting in it.

Apparently Dr. Black has a 'thing' for chicks who have the whole 'homeless' look going on. He walked into the break room during lunch with so much swag that I nearly choked on my chicken salad sandwich. Eric eyed him critically as he picked through his house salad he'd ordered from the restaurant next door, flinging bits of olive from the salad and onto the plastic lid of the container. Dr. Black eased down in the metal chair beside me, flashing me a wolfish grin as I stared blankly into his dark eyes, suddenly feeling shy, as though I didn't even know the man.

He threw his arm around the back of my chair, causing his thumb to 'accidentally' brush against my bare arm. I dropped my head and studied the soggy sandwich in my hands, occasionally shooting Eric the death glare when I'd hear his knowing snicker from nearby.

"Bella," Dr. Black murmured, as though he hadn't watched me spill coffee on myself and fuck up people's charts for the past four hours.

"Dr. Black," I respond, trying like hell to ignore the fact that he's wearing his geeky, thick, black glasses.

Those glasses make me so hot.

I take a bite of the sandwich and momentarily wonder what he's like in bed. Is he the sweet, gentle lover, or the dominating male figure I've been dying for?

Don't judge me. You do it too. It's a proven fact that a woman knows within a minute of meeting a man whether or not she'd sleep with him, and I've known Dr. Black a whole hell of a lot longer than a minute.

Okay, it might not technically be a proven fact, but still. I thought about that shit.

A lot.

It's the glasses.

"So, what are your plans tonight, Isabella?" Dr. Black asks, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear and completely invading my personal space.

"Um, probably sitting around the house reading fanfiction and rearranging my furniture?" It comes out like a question, although I'm not so sure why.

"That's a shame...pretty girl like yourself..."

Holy mother... Is Dr. Black hitting on me?

My soggy sandwich decides to break in half at that very moment, just as I have it poised near my mouth to take a bite. A huge chunk of juicy chicken salad falls from the wet bread, landing between my boobs, trailing down my body, and landing with a sick plopping sound on my lap.

"Shit, let me get that," Dr. Black mumbles.

He comes at me with a wadded-up excuse for a napkin. I watch as his hand hovers over my crotch, where said chicken salad has landed. I jerk to attention as his hand descends, jumping out of the chair so fast that his hand smacks against my cooter in the process.

Oh, my God. He just cooter-punched me.

"Oh, my God! You just cooter-punched me!" I holler.

Eric is laughing so hard he has tears pouring down his cheeks. His carefully applied eyeliner runs in watery trails down his blush-laden face. I glare at him, yanking the napkin from Dr. Black's limp hand as I clean the chicken salad from my scrub pants.

Dr. Black is mumbling and cursing himself below his breath. He grabs a washcloth from a drawer near the break room sink and holds it under the faucet. He comes at me again with the rag, but I throw up my hands in self-defense. He eventually pauses and sheepishly hands me the wash cloth.

"Thanks," I grumble.

Everything is a little awkward and weird after that, if things weren't awkward and weird enough before. I'm cleaning my crotch, Eric is silently laughing as he wipes tears from his face, and Dr. Black is shifting where he stands, gazing at me shyly like a little boy on the playground about to ask the pigtailed blonde to be his girlfriend.'

Uh oh.

"Bella, I was wondering," he begins, and I know I'm fucked. "Would you like to go out tonight? Maybe dinner and a movie?"

Eric coughs so loudly that my gaze breaks from Dr. Black's nervous grin to Eric's fire-engine-red face. I dart around Dr. Black, slapping Eric on the back as hard as I can, knowing that this is exactly NOT what you want to do when someone possibly has something lodged in his throat.

Hey, if he were truly choking, he wouldn't be making so much damn noise.

"Oh, I don't know," I respond, once Eric catches his breath. "Isn't that breaking some sort of, uh, Doctor/Nurse code or something? No fraternizing?"

"Bella, you know there's no such thing," he tsks, gathering his nerves and shit to shoot me a breezy smile. "So, what do you say? You don't have any plans, I don't have any plans, there's that Magic Mike movie playing at the old theater..."

Magic Mike? This man is seriously taking me to watch Channing Tatum dance around in thong? While on a date?

The word 'yes' is out of my mouth before Eric even catches his breath.

That's what brings me here.

To the Olive Garden.

I've got my phone in hand as I plop down on a bench. I pull up my notepad app and label it 'Reasons Why I Shouldn't Date Dr. Black.' I quickly type in reason number one.

1) he suggested meeting me at the restaurant instead of picking me up at my house.

I'm unsure why he didn't want to pick me up at my house. Maybe he doesn't want to see where his most irresponsible nurse dwells after hours, or maybe he wants to avoid Rose, the most nosey person in town. Either way, he is unknowingly having points deducted from his ass.

2) he's 'taking' me (I actually took myself) to The Olive Garden instead of driving me to Atlanta to a nicer restaurant.

Okay, I told Edward that I'm not a vain person, and I'm not. Not really. However, if you want to win a girl's heart take her somewhere nice on the first date.

Nicer than Olive Garden.

Not that there's anything wrong with the Olive Garden. It is a fuckawesome restaurant.

But still...

3) he's already twenty minutes late.

"Dr. Black, Dr. Black, Dr. Black," I chide aloud, causing the woman sitting beside me on the bench to cast me a perplexed expression. "If you weren't so hot in those geek glasses...and so feasible...touchable... and! Why can't Edward be here? Why? Why?"

I look at the woman sitting beside me as I utter my last 'why.' Her eyes widen and she has the whole 'this girl is touched' look going on. Luckily enough for her, the pager in her hand goes off, giving her a good excuse to abandon the crazy young woman sitting beside her on the bench.

I heave a massive sigh once I'm alone. My eyes dart around at the lingering crowd outside the restaurant. Happy couples, young and old, some with children, some without stand near me, laughing and talking quietly among themselves. A sharp stab of jealousy rushes through me and I wish that were me. I wish I were one of the happy couples, laughing and talking, or possibly running my fingers through my child's hair as I gaze wistfully down at him or her.

I'm young, but I'm not getting any younger. I want to find him. I want to find my soul mate, just as my grandparents found one another, just as my parents found one another. I want it all. I want first dates and young romance. I want church bells and a swollen belly. I want faces smeared with peanut butter and time outs in the corner. Are these dreams possible? Are they possible with someone like Jacob Black?

Tears begin to prick my eyes, but they're forgotten as the familiar sound of my Facebook Messenger alert goes off on the phone in my hands. I take a deep breath and glance down, smiling as I see 'TonyMazen69' on the screen. Swiping my finger across the screen, I read the message.

Hey, beautiful. Just wanted to check in and see how your night is going. Doing anything exciting? - TonyMazen69

Should I tell him the truth? Should I tell him I'm on a date? I gnaw on my bottom lip, only questioning myself about it for a moment. Of course I should tell him. We're friends. We're not in a relationship. It's not like I'm cheating on him.

So why does it feel like I am?

Dr. Black asked me on a date. - SwanLake

There's a long pause, and when I say long, I'm talking five minutes. I begin to worry that he's not going to respond, when I see his name pop up again.

And you accepted? - TonyMazen69

Yes. Is that wrong? - SwanLake

Why would it be wrong? - TonyMazen69

Because it feels wrong. It feels so very wrong. - SwanLake

Why? - TonyMazen69

Because I wish it were you I were sitting here waiting on. I wish it were you taking me to dinner and a movie. I wish he were you, but he's not. - SwanLake

Too late to back out now. I've put myself out there and thrown him another bone. Another lengthy pause, and then...

Baby, if it were me, I wouldn't keep you waiting. I need to talk to you, and I mean REALLY talk to you. Tonight. How do you feel about...Skype? - TonyMazen69

Shameless Hoodfabulous Fanfiction Confession: Sometimes I beg for my readers to vote for I am now. 'Fanfiction Addicts and Review Whores' is up for fic of the week at TLS! Thank you insanemum for rec'ing me!

I would flove your vote!

Check out the Dirty Talkin' Edward contest (author search that name). Jonesn and I teamed up for a collab that may or may not be in the contest. There's some good stories posted! Check it out!

I wonder what's going through Edward's head right about now?

Reviews = lurve.