Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or characters, no income being made, only fulfilling a creative whim.
Mickey's was crowded as I knew it would be. What had I expected? It was Friday night and it was a mixed crowd. Although there was a large number of college kids packing the bar.
I showed up at Bella's right at six with a bouquet of Gerber daisies. Yes, I stopped by The Enchanted Cottage again. Stefan, yup you guessed it, he and I were now on a first name basis, he also was the owner of the shop. This time I did follow his advice and opted for the daisies. They were bright and reminded me of sunshine which in turn reminded me of Bella. Fuck me, I was whipped. Is that possible after one date? One thing was for sure, Bella made me feel things I'd never felt before. I had never had as many sleepless nights as I had since she came into my life. What did that say?
Bella loved the daisies so much that she was brave enough to kiss me on the cheek. It took every ounce of control to not pull her in closer and just fucking kiss the shit out of her. A sweet kiss on the cheek had my dick throbbing. This was not a good sign. Don't get me wrong I was happy she did, but if a chaste kiss as that had me raging what the fuck was going to happen once we shared a real kiss. I managed to calm the beast in my pants before I totally embarrassed myself and horrified Bella.
She looked fucking hot tonight. But then again I thought she did every time I saw her. Slim fitting jeans and a pale pink V-neck sweater that hugged her body and accentuated her firm tits had me begging to sneak a peek underneath. And on her feet she had a pair of black wedges that gave her a little bit more height. I still towered over her which was such a turn on. I didn't miss the way she had given me the once over when I picked up at her house. In fact, that beautiful face of hers flushed again. Fuck I loved that. I had chosen a pair of faded blue button fly jeans, a black polo and a pair of black Diesel sneakers. Her reaction confirmed that I had made the right decision. Normally I didn't give a shit what I wore. Let me back up. It's not that I dressed like a bum; I just never really put much thought into it, until Bella. Already I could hear Emmett busting my balls over being pussy whipped. How many times had I busted on his? Too many and payback was coming, my brother was going to be all over this shit. For some reason it didn't really bother me.
"Bella, I'll be right back. I'm going to check to see how much longer before our table is ready." She nodded while she sipped her Jack and Coke. It still surprised me that was her drink of choice. I guess I expected her to be more into wine or maybe Cosmopolitan's or the variety of "Tini" drinks that was the rage.
Mickey's was still old school. I knew Mickey and he was cheap bastard therefore they didn't hand out pagers to let you know when your table was ready.
I walked up to the hostess and asked when she thought we'd have a table. She told me it would be no more than ten minutes; they were getting the table cleared as we spoke. I was relieved; I had hoped to get to the 9:15 showing. If that didn't work there was one more showing of the film at 10:30. I wasn't entirely sure if Bella would be interested in going, but at least I had a plan in the event we couldn't make the earlier show.
Walking back over to Bella she looked a bit timid sitting at the bar alone surrounded by a throng of people. She caught my eye as I made my way across the room and she flashed me a tremulous smile that barely reached her eyes. Those beautiful chocolate brown eyes which tagged me like a laser. I wondered why she seemed a little fearful. Had someone tried to hit on her while I was gone, which by the way wasn't more than a couple of minutes.
"Bella, are you okay?" I sat down next to her and grabbed my beer I had left on the bar.
Fuck. Her tone was flat, void of any emotion.
"Did someone bother you while I was gone?"
She clearly was upset by something. I scanned around the room hoping I could determine what may have caused her to be distressed. I didn't notice anything.
"Are you sure? You seem upset."
Her eyes locked with mine as she fingered her hair from her face.
"Everything is fine Edward, really."
I didn't want to push her, if she said she was fine then I was going to take her word for it.
"Cullen, party of two your table is ready!"
I grabbed Bella's hand and ushered her through the bar to the hostess station to be seated. Her hand felt a little clammy, clearly something happened. Gently tugging her along, the hostess led us to our table. The dining room was nearly as packed as the bar. I pulled Bella's chair out for her, as she sat down I allowed my fingers to graze her cheek. Was that taking liberties? How the fuck did I know? I was doing what was coming naturally to me; which was all new to me. Now does that make sense?
"So what do you think of this place?"
I wanted Bella to feel comfortable again. Perhaps starting a conversation before our server came would relax her.
Fuck, not good. What the hell happened? I didn't want to scare her but Christ I wanted to shake her just to get some kind of reaction out of her.
"Is it not what you expected?"
She fidgeted in her seat before she answered while she worried her lower lip. I had not known her for very long, but when she did that she was definitely nervous.
"Not at all, it's certainly different from Rain."
That was an understatement.
"Uh, yeah you definitely could say that."
The server approached our table and took our drink orders. Since I was driving I was done with alcohol so I ordered a club soda with lime. Bella had another Jack and coke. I wondered if she was a light weight or if she could hold her liquor. I guess I would find out.
Bella was enjoying her cocktail when I heard a familiar voice from behind me.
Fuck. My. Life.
It couldn't be. Oh yes it could asshole. I had met Tanya here and the rest was history. We ended up here most nights when I hooked up with her. What the fuck was I thinking coming here? Certainly not believing I could run into her again. I had a hunch that it was Tanya that Bella had seen that had changed her attitude. Jesus Christ!
I turned my head and there she was, standing, staring not at me, but at Bella. Fuck this sucks!
Pushing my chair back I got up, no way was I going to be seated while she stood over me. I also felt the strong need to protect Bella from Tanya's claws. There was no doubt she was in bitch mode. I could see it in her eyes.
"Tanya, hey…what a surprise."
Tanya laughed which was forced and more like a cackle than real laughter.
"Oh come on Edward. Seriously how could you be surprised? After all how many times did we come here before we went back to my place for the evening?"
I didn't want to turn around but I could only imagine that Bella wanted to crawl under the table. Tanya was doing this on purpose. Right now I had wished she had thrown something at me the night I broke it off. Perhaps Tanya would have relieved herself of any aggression towards me. Anything was better than Bella having to suffer her condescending tone. I had a feeling she was only beginning with this shit storm.
"Well Edward? Are you not going to introduce me to the new flavor of the week?"
She took the knife and not only stabbed me in the back but she turned it. Fucking cunt! Well I'll be damned if she was going to affect me. If I let her get to me then she would definitely get to Bella, even worse than she already had.
"Bella, this is Tanya."
Bella's face was white. Shit, I hated that she was put in this position.
Well dickhead this is all on you!
I heard the scrape of Bella's chair as she pushed it away from the table to rise and stand up. My girl had guts. My girl? She walked over to Tanya and extended her hand towards her. Tanya looked at her like she had three heads. God I loved it!
"It's nice to meet you Tanya."
Tanya took Bella's hand tentatively while she sized Bella up. Just what was she thinking? What did Bella have that she didn't? Christ the list was fucking long. Tanya's facial expression said it all. You didn't need someone to paint you a picture. She was fucking green with jealousy. And it wasn't a good look on her. If I wasn't so fucking pissed at her I would be laughing right now. Tanya Denali actually looked insecure.
But just as that thought entered my head, it was gone as Tanya opened her mouth again.
"Well, so this is the piece of ass you dumped me for." Her tone was dripping in sarcasm, like venom.
I heard Bella's soft gasp at Tanya's words. I cringed. What a great impression I was making. Second fucking date with a girl I really care for. And fuck me this happens.
"Tanya, I think you probably had a little too much to drink. Why don't you go find whomever it is you came here with and head home."
We were becoming a spectator sport. People at the tables in the vicinity were being treated to a dinner show.
"Oh please Edward. As if you ever cared how drunk I was before as long as you could fuck me."
Now that did it. I gently grabbed Tanya by the elbow, after asking Bella if she would give me a moment, and ushered her out of the dining room.
As soon as we were out in the reception area I let her have it.
"What the fuck Tanya!"
I didn't give a shit that I was right up into her face. I didn't give a shit who heard us. What I did give a shit about was the fact she made Bella feel cheap and tawdry. It was bad enough that Bella had already spotted her. She knew that Tanya and I had a history, if you want to even call it that. But for her to start spewing the crap that was coming of her mouth just pushed me over the edge.
"What's wrong Edward? Your precious fresh meat can't handle the truth about you?"
"Fuck you Tanya! So you're still pissed I broke it off. Well get over yourself. Like I told you that night, I never led you on. I never promised you anything than what it was between us. You had your fun, if you expected anything more that was something you totally made up in your head."
You could say my voice was elevated. The hostess had to come over and ask me to either lower my voice or take this discussion outside. Well frankly I had enough of Tanya's bullshit. I said what I wanted and was done. Tanya could just go piss up a rope as far as I was concerned. I gave her one more glare and walked back to the dining room hoping Bella was still at our table.
Bella looked so alone and out of place as I caught sight of her. She was chewing on her lip again, and her index finger was picking away at her thumb. Yeah, she was far from being okay over the Tanya incident.
Sitting down, I pulled my chair a little closer to Bella. "Bella, I'm so sorry. I didn't realize she was here. Answer me honestly. Your attitude changed when I came back from checking on our table. Was it because you had seen Tanya?"
Bella was quiet, too quiet. Was she formulating her thoughts or was she going to give me the silent treatment. God, this night was not at all how I had planned it.
"Yes, I did see her in the bar."
"I'm sorry, if she made you feel uncomfortable. I should have known better."
It was the truth. I should have. But I was so blinded by Bella and these new feelings coursing through me I didn't even give it a thought. It's not like I was spending time thinking about Tanya. I hadn't really thought of her at all. Was I going to have to look over my shoulder every time I took Bella out? I winced at the thought of bumping into any more of my past dalliances. Was it too early in our relationship to discuss my "carefree" lifestyle? And how would I bring that up? 'Oh by the way Bella I've banged a lot of women so let me apologize in advance for my past.' Yeah, right.
"Edward, you know I'm really tired. If you don't mind I'd like to go home."
Did I just hear her right? Fuck me. God damn Tanya for her bitch attitude, while I'm at it damn myself because this was my fault just as much as hers.
"Bella, listen I'm sorry but let's not let this ruin tonight?"
"Well it's too late. I would like to leave before we run into any more of your "girlfriends."
What the fuck!
Did she just quote the word girlfriends? I know Bella was put on the spot. I didn't blame her for being pissed. Maybe I did deserve this. Is it any wonder why I really hadn't done the real dating thing? Well I wasn't about to beg her to stay. If she wanted to go home, fuck I would take her home. I wasn't exactly in the best of moods either. I had only one question I wanted to ask her. Did she want to see me again?
"Okay, Bella. If that's how you feel we'll go."
I threw a fifty on the table, we hadn't even had a chance to order dinner only drinks. So help me God if Tanya pulled another crap move I wasn't sure I could restrain myself from telling her exactly what I thought of her actions tonight.
The drive back to Forks was quiet. And it was awkward. In the corner of my eye I could see Bella fidgeting in her seat, twisting her hair around her finger and biting that lip. I may have not known the girl for very long but I could knew the telltale signs that she had been affected by the encounter at Mickey's. Needless to say tonight was a complete bust. The closer we got home the more apprehensive I was. Was this it? I was a little surprised by her actions tonight. But then everything about her was too new to me. But I did discover that kitty had claws. I had to wonder if we had not been in a public place, would Bella have told Tanya to fuck off. Not in those exact words but close enough. Nonetheless I was proud of her that she held her head high and in front of Tanya remaining poised.
Sick and tired of the silence that was deafening I turned on the stereo. Ryan Farish's Pacific Wind filled the confines of my vehicle. It was a beautiful piece, an electronica genre which I had recently become a fan of. It seemed to always relax me. My hope was that it would do the same for Bella. Giving her a cautionary glance I noticed she wasn't moving around so much, however she was still twisting her hair.
Did I open my mouth? Or just continue to drive and let the music be the only communication between us?
Just then my cell rang.
I quickly looked at the display, thank Christ it was Alice.
"Hey little sister."
I wanted to put Bella at ease immediately that it wasn't Tanya or any other woman that she could construe as a "girlfriend."
"Big brother! It's been a while. I got tired of waiting for you to get off your lazy ass and call me so here I am."
She had that lyrical tone, she reminded me of Tinker Bell. Yeah, Peter Pan's Tinker Bell. What? I loved that story as a kid. I remember telling Dad I was never going to grow up. I suppose if you spoke to Esme, that could be partially true.
"Yeah, here you are. What's up?" I didn't mean to come out sounding annoyed but I know I must have.
"Gee, Edward, so nice to talk to you too. What crawled up your ass and died? Are you having problems with the ladies again?"
"You might say that."
"I did say that, would you say that?"
My sister was a real pisser when she wanted to be, which was nearly all the fucking time.
"Alice, right now is not a good time. Let me call you when I get home. I'll be there in about twenty minutes."
"Okay. Don't forget to call me!"
Did I say that she was a demanding Tinker Bell?
I looked over at Bella who was still staring out the window; she never once looked my way during my short conversation with Alice.
That was it. The silence was just killing me.
"Bella, I apologize that was my sister."
Duh idiot! She gathered that by announcing who it was.
"Edward, you don't owe me any apologizes or explanations."
She was still angry, upset, whatever the fuck she was feeling, it hadn't lessened.
"I might not about my sister calling, but I think I do owe you an explanation regarding Tanya's treatment of you this evening."
"Look, I know what happened at the restaurant was awkward and embarrassing. And…"
I didn't get to finish my thought when Bella interrupted me.
"Edward, please. There's no need. You have a past, I have a past. We all have pasts. I have no claim to you therefore you have no reason to want to clear the air."
One minute I could read her as a shy and vulnerable young woman. The next she came off as having confidence and could hold her ground in tough situations. That was Bella wasn't it? She had been dealt a shitty hand of cards losing her parents at such a young age. I was beginning to see that these traits balanced her out. The more I spent time with her. The more she spoke, the more I realized that I couldn't let her go. I wanted her, and not just because I was physically attracted to her. I was drawn to all of her. And I would be damned if I was going to let my past tread on my present and very possibly my future.
Yes, I said future.
"Bella, I disagree. I think I do need to "clear the air" as you put it. I like you. I enjoy being with you. I want to continue seeing you, and I hope you feel the same way."
Finally she turned towards me. I was doing my best to keep my eyes on the road but damn if I didn't want to look into those beautiful eyes of hers.
She began to speak then stopped. This could go either way. She was nervous about telling me she didn't want to see me again. Or she was nervous about telling me she wanted to see me again. It was a crap shoot. I sucked at craps.
"I like you too Edward."
I wanted to pull over at this very moment and just kiss the fucking shit out of her. Instead I opted to keep my hands on the wheel, eyes forward and smiled like a kid who had just been given the keys to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.
"Well Miss Swan, I'm glad to hear that. Now are you sure you want to go home?"
"Yes, I actually have a slight headache."
No doubt from dealing with that bitch.
"You need to eat something. Let's stop at the diner in town?"
"Really Edward I'm fine. I'm not hungry."
She was going to eat something, even if it was that tiny hole in the wall in the center of town. It really wasn't that bad. In fact I loved their cheeseburgers.
"We're stopping at the diner. I haven't eaten, and you sure as hell haven't. All you've had is a couple of Jack and cokes. Not exactly nutritional is it?"
"You're not going to take no for answer are you?"
"Nope" I made sure to pop the "p."
Well Bella may have conceded to grab something to eat at the diner, but my hopes of her having something nourishing to eat fell on deaf ears. She opted for a bagel with cream cheese. I wasn't impressed. But at least it was something in her stomach. I had a greasy cheeseburger that no doubt was going to exact its revenge later, but I didn't give a fuck. I loved them. The conversation was light and nothing too deep. Tonight wasn't the night to delve into my past. I made that sound so ominous. Bella was becoming more important to me with each moment I spent with her. I wanted honesty between us. She had shared with me so I wanted reciprocate. I was going to let her know she was my first real relationship in like forever. And I was going to tell her that I had spent the better part of my adult life in meaningless encounters until her. What? Yeah you heard me right. How the hell did this happen?
Esme was right after all.
"Edward, I'm sorry tonight turned out to be not exactly how you had planned."
We were outside Bella's door; she was tired I could see it in her eyes. Although we didn't see the movie as planned we did spend over two hours at the diner. We discussed everything under the sun except revisit what happened at Mickey's. There would be plenty of time to get into that bullshit. After we left Mickey's I just wanted to get Bella feeling comfortable being with me again. I think I was able to accomplish that feat.
"No, it wasn't at all how I had envisioned tonight going. I'm the one that's sorry. Now really isn't the time, but we need discuss tonight further. You're tired and to be honest so am I."
Those eyes were so expressive. I was jumping the gun but fuck I couldn't wait to see them in the midst of passion. I imagined how they would be blazing with need as I pushed inside her. Her pupils dilated to the point her eyes were more black than brown. Cool down Cullen. I was starting to feel my dick stir to life. Quite frankly, whenever I was near Bella the fucking thing had a mind of its own.
Her eyelashes were long; I loved how they fluttered against her cheeks when she blushed. I had the urge to kiss her. I never had to think about it in the past. But this was the present which was filled with Bella. And hopefully she was going to be a part of my future. Fuck I wanted her so badly. I had to taste her.
My eyes locked on that sweet pink mouth of hers, her intake of breath gave my stomach the strangest sensation, and it had nothing to do with indigestion. There was something else radiating from her as I stepped closer. Fear. She tensed up as I moved towards. Did she think I would hurt her? I suppose my tall frame moving in could be somewhat intimidating. She had nothing to fear from me. Well maybe the fact that I wanted to fucking consume her until I had my fill of her. Satisfy the hunger that had been gnawing my gut since I met this girl.
Gently I stroked the side of her face with the back of my knuckles. Her eyes captured mine with a tell of hesitation. What was she hiding behind those deep soulful eyes of brown? Had someone hurt her? Instantly my heart constricted over images of Bella torn to pieces over a broken heart. If anyone even considered hurting her, my girl… Slow down Cullen. She's not yours yet. No, but after tonight my intentions will be very clear, as soon as I have had a taste of her lips, as soon as my tongue lashes against hers. She will be mine. God help the fucker who tries to take her from me.
Jesus Christ, I have gone off the deep end. And guess what? I don't give a rat's ass. This girl, in the short amount of time since we've known each other, owns me. And I fucking love it.
Her lips were mere inches away; her sweet strawberry scent filled my senses. Leaning down I tentatively touched her lips with mine. So soft, so warm and my body wasn't prepared for the jolt of energy that surged through every fiber of my being. This was more than the electric charge that was ever present between us. It was like a merging of two souls. Okay who the fuck is this joker? No joke, it was how I felt. This was just a simple kiss, not a searing open mouthed all-consuming kiss. And it rattled me. She felt it too. I was close enough that I could hear the beat of her heart. I lifted my lips from hers taking in her beauty. She was a vision with her face flushed, her lips slightly parted, her eyes glazed over by what I hoped was the reaction to my kiss. I tilted her chin up and kissed her sweetly on the forehead. I had never in my life kissed a woman on the forehead. Bella Swan made me do things I had never done before. She made me want things I never wanted before and fuck she made me feel things I had never felt before.
"Bella…." I whispered her name against her forehead. I heard her mumble something that sounded like maybe a yes. I loved the effect I had on her. I would have teased her but I didn't want to jeopardize the moment. Nor did I want her to feel intimidated. God knows she did get nervous quite easily.
I kissed her forehead once more before I released her.
"Bella, I want to see you again. I want to spend more time getting to know you. How do you feel about me?"
Even in the dark I could see the light flush of her skin as the moonlight shined down on her striking features. Everything about her was petite. Her nose, mouth, and fuck even her ears were Goddamn adorable.
Fuck me I sound like a pussy!
I held her eyes, not giving her the opportunity to look away. I wanted to see those eyes when she answered me. Her eyes gave so much away.
"Edward, I…" She paused as she looked down at her feet.
I gently grabbed her chin to raise her eyes back to mine. Now was not the time for her to get shy with me. Although we barely knew one another she and I had bonded. I wanted that bond to strengthen, see where the bond would take us.
"I do like you too. But…"
Fuck, there was that word again.
"Bella, but what? You either like me or you don't? By the way you look this moment you seemed to like my kisses? Am I wrong?"
Don't scare her Cullen. This is a whole new ball game with her. She's not like anyone you have ever known. Don't fuck this up.
"Yes, I like you. And you know I liked your kisses. I just wonder what you see in me."
Her cheeks flamed even pinker as her eyes were downcast again.
"Look at me." This time I didn't raise her chin, I wanted her to look at me by her own volition.
Timidly her eyes caught mine and her breath caught in her throat.
"Bella, do you realize what an amazing person you are? To be quite honest I think I'm not good enough for you. But I'm not going to let that stop me from getting to know you. When I look at you I see someone who has had to endure so much pain and hardship at such a young age."
My arms locked around her waist as I inched her closer into my arms. She felt so right, perfect in every way.
"You have a passion for life; I see it in your eyes even if you do get nervous around me."
She was laying against me now, her head on my chest and I felt her giggle.
"Life has been cruel early on and yet you stand here, confident, living on your own. You've not allowed the shitty hand you were dealt with to define you. Do you realize how much I admire you?"
She pulled away but held onto my forearms.
"You admire me?"
Her face was riddled in skepticism. I was beginning to think that perhaps Bella had some self-esteem issues.
"Yes, I admire you. How could I not? Remember what I told you the night of our first date? I admire you for your strength in facing this world alone. But you don't have to be alone anymore. You have me now."
I meant every word. She had me now. I wanted her in my life and I wanted her to want me just as much. We had started something and my gut told me this was just the beginning of something extraordinary.
"I don't know what to say. I'm nothing special Edward. You could have any girl you want."
What was this shit? This girl had no clue how beautiful she was inside and out. By the time I was through with her she would know exactly how special she was.
Before she could say another word I made my intentions loud and clear.
My lips captured hers and I growled into her mouth as I urged it open, she allowed me in. Tongues danced and twirled, her arms reached around my neck and I brought her as close to my body as I could. I broke the kiss for a few seconds only to reposition myself, then feasted on her mouth again. She was addictive. In this moment, in front of her door with the moon shining down on us, something was becoming crystal clear. I was falling in love.
A/N: First let me apologize for the long delay in updating this fic. Real life has thrown me quite a few curve balls over the past month which resulted in the delay. Things are settling down so I will be back to writing. My hope is to update still weekly but at the very least every two weeks. I hope you will hang in there and stick with me as we continue the journey together.
Thank you Jlyn and DennaRose...xoxoxoxo