Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyers owns all things Twilight – I just like to get them dirty
Special thanks to Carrie ZM for waving the beta wand on this bad bitch.
Shout outs and many thanks to Heather Maven and Robsmyyummy Cabanaboy
for pre-reading and putting their pervy seal of approval on this chapter.
It's all fun and games until you wake up on your bathroom floor with a massive hangover, your panties missing and third-degree stubble burns on your chin and lady bits. Run DMC's 'Mary, Mary' blares from my cell phone, and I know Mary Alice is calling for a full briefing on my evening. I can't go there right now – especially with her. I can barely process the events myself.
While Rev Run loudly contemplates why Mary is buggin', I scrub my hands over my face and feel the lovely tile crease mark across my cheek. I briefly consider crawling to the sink and pulling myself up to the mirror to survey the damage. I think better of it knowing I probably look a fright.
Instead, I start up the shower, strip down, and hop in. The steam surrounds me and burns the sensitive skin on my back, no doubt irritated by the roughness of the felt and the fuck. I run the tip of my finger over my lips to feel the delicious sting as the memories from last night come back full force.
His question weighs heavy on my mind and my heart. Where does this leave us? Closing my eyes, I can still see the look on his face as I answered his question with a shrug. The truth is that I have no idea. Walking into that bar last night, I can honestly say that I had no clue what to expect. Five years is a long time, but not a single day goes by where I don't think of him in some way or wonder what might have been.
They say that you always remember your first love, which is probably true. Most of the folks who make up this "they" are probably rational people who were able to move on with their life after their first love. Not me. Even five years later, it's still him.
It will always be him.
Forty-five minutes and two Advil's later, I hear the crunch of gravel and the beeping of a car horn. I peek out the door to see Rose fluffing her hair and inspecting her nonexistent crow's feet in her rear view mirror. As per usual, she's dressed to the nines looking like a million bucks even though she's driving a McCarty tow truck. Meanwhile, I look like a train wreck – like one of those people who get dragged out of their house on an episode of Cops. I make the mistake of pausing to fish my sunglasses out of my purse when Rose lays her hand on the horn.
"Move your ass, Swan!" she yells out the window. "I left Em alone with Mags – God knows what she'll talk him into. Let's go!"
Ahh, still the same ol' Rose. It's nice to see that some things never change.
Pulling myself into the cab of the truck, I don't even have the door closed before she throws it in reverse, and we are kicking up rocks as we turn onto Division Street. We barely hit the highway before she goes all To Catch a Predator on me.
"Rough night, pal?"
I don't even have to look at her. I can feel her quirked brow and smug smirk which makes me want to smack her and yet simultaneously tell her everything.
"You could say that," I reply coyly, trying my hardest to focus on the blur of trees whizzing by.
I hear a snort, then turn to see her stifling a giggle.
"Well, I guess you could say that, but you really don't have to because your chin looks like Emmett's after he polishes off a bag of flaming hot Cheetos."
I pull my compact out in an instant, ready to retouch. As I meticulously pat my chin, I mentally pen a strongly worded letter to the makers of said dual foundation and pressed powder compact. All day coverage my ass.
She taps her fingers impatiently on the steering wheel, but says nothing. Maybe I'm still drunk or maybe I just want someone else's perspective. For whatever reason, I decide to tell her everything.
"I went and saw Edward last night."
Rose kills the engine as we arrive at their place in Sappho.
"So let me get this straight. You go there on whim, defile the pool table-" She ignores my groan and continues her line of questioning. "He asks you where this leaves you and you… shrug?" I confirm with a nod and a stink-eye. She sees my stink-eye and raises me a bitch brow. "What did he do after you shrugged? Was he pissed?"
"I don't think he was pissed, per se." I wring my hands nervously as I remember how quickly he covered the hurt with a mask of indifference. "We just got dressed and he walked me home." The corners of my mouth turn up when I think of how easily we fell in step, holding hands in comfortable silence. It's like no time has passed. "Then he kissed me goodnight on Charlie's front porch."
I spare her the details on the knee-weakening kiss he planted on me before heading to the dimly lit street. I can't decide if it is the kiss or the parting words whispered against my ear that has my head spinning. It won't take you long to figure out what you already know. I'll see you soon.
"That must have been some kiss," Rose says, studying me intently and snapping me out of my reverie.
"It was," I admit, flushing slightly.
"You two…" She clucks her tongue as she removes her seatbelt. "You've both wasted years." She pauses a moment and looks back at me. "Was it still there?"
"Was what still there?" I ask with a tinge of annoyance in my voice, not particularly enjoying the heaping helping of real talk that Rosalie is serving up.
"The connection. You know, the pull."
Rose believes that there are two types of connections in life and love. In her opinion, people are either drawn to someone or pulled to someone. I recall explaining to her that those are synonyms and therefore mean the same thing. The details on the difference are foggy to me, especially in light of my late-night activities.
"I'm sorry. Can you enlighten me on your theory with the synonyms again?"
She huffs, blowing her bangs out of her face like she is annoyed. I don't buy it for a second, she lives for this shit.
"I realize they are synonyms, but in this instance they mean something very different."
I gum my lips to prevent myself from making a snide remark and having to hitchhike back to Forks, but she's too quick. It's like she sees it on the tip of my tongue as her eyes narrow.
"The concept is fairly easy, Bella. The draw is a choice, the pull is not."
I chew on this for a moment, because that makes perfect sense to me. My connection to Edward, then and now, is still as powerful as ever. Stronger somehow, even through the time and distance.
"I remember when Emmett first introduced me to you guys, it was crazy. You'd think you two had been together for years, not weeks. I mean," she looks at me seriously, seemingly at a loss for words. "I don't understand why you fight it."
The words are hard to hear, but the fact that she's right is even harder to bear. I do fight it. The urge to resist our connection is nearly as strong as the pull itself sometimes.
"Me neither," I mutter under my breath as my feet hit the pavement, and I slam the door behind me.
Time changes everything and nothing. The house looks exactly the same from the outside. It actually belongs to Emmett's dad who recently moved to Florida to take up residence with wife number three. Emmett now runs his father's automotive business, while Rose stays home with little Maggie who just turned one.
"He's so excited to see you," Rose says, slipping off her shoes near the entry as Emmett comes barreling down the hallway holding a giggling Mags upside down.
"Missed you, Bells!" he tells me, releasing me from a bone-crushing hug before turning to his female doppelganger. "Can you say 'hi' to Bella?" Shy, she twists to cover her face against her dad. "Uh oh, looks like smiles aren't free today."
"No worries, Maggie. I'm shy, too."
I step a little closer to her when she peeks at me from under her bangs and smiles. All the while, Emmett is studying me through squinted eyes.
"What the hell happened to your face?"
Rose pushes Maggie in the swing on the other side of the yard while I sit, nursing a beer, and giving Em a super watered down version of my sordid tryst. Although, he and I are the very best of friends and have been for many years now, he's not classified to receive the down and dirty details from last night. I can belch, fart, and curse like a sailor in front of him, but the thought of telling him I banged Edward on a pool table is too much. So I keep it simple like Dragnet, just the facts, ma'am.
"So do you think I am a total idiot?" I ask, fiddling with the label on my beer bottle careful not to meet his surely judging eyes.
"Nah Bells," I look up to see him with his arms across his chest looking at me sympathetically. "I'm actually not surprised."
He shakes his head and pokes at the steak on the grill before continuing. "I mean, yeah. You're an idiot for the way you handled it." And great, here comes the 'I told you so' speech he's been writing in his head for five years now. "You didn't even give him a chance to explain."
"I know," I whisper, properly abashed.
"Did you tell him why you're back?"
I shake my head. "No, I didn't tell him about the job interview."
He tilts his head and snorts as if to say 'of course you didn't'.
"I just kind of wanted to see him, you know." I scrunch my nose and shut my eyes in frustration before adding. "Again."
"And ya' did, so now what?"
"I don't know. I mean, yes, I handled the break-up horribly. We chatted about it briefly and buried it," I say, thinking about our toast to being 'young and dumb'. "Or, at least I think we did. Either way, if I get the job and come back, which is still a big 'if' at this point, I just want to know that he and I can be… civil."
"Yes, civil. I don't want to move to a town where I already have a sworn enemy." I try to say this with conviction in hopes that he doesn't recognize how truly transparent I am.
"Right." He draws out the word. "Well, given the rash on your face, I'd say you guys are long past civil."
"Emmett!" Rose yells across the lawn. "That flame is too high, you're burning the steaks."
Grabbing the spatula, he turns and points it at her. "Don't tell me my business, devil woman! I know how to cook a steak."
He turns to me, poking his thumb in her direction. "You hear this one?" Shaking his head, he closes the grill top and tries to stealthily turn down the gas. My giggle lets him know he's busted, but my full on belly laugh lets him know I've read his apron which says 'Rosalie and Emmett Cookin' Since 2004'.
Domesticity looks good on my friend. I can tell he is as happy and relaxed in his new life as a husband and father as ever before . I think back to the moments of domestic bliss with Edward which mainly consisted of eating Hot Pockets, drinking beer, and watching him play video games for hours on end. That's before things got physical.
I remember everything about that first summer when things were so innocent and simple. Isn't that always true of the beginning? Talking all day and night about nothing in particular, learning each other's likes and dislikes, and reveling in each piece of common ground you find. It's the best feeling in the world as you fall deeper and deeper with every look and touch and word of affirmation. I can't even count the number of times I've wished that Edward and I could go back to that getting-to-know you stage. The phase just before the passion and intimacy take over and reason takes a back seat.
"You need to tell him," Em interrupts my thoughts, waving the greasy spatula in my direction. "About the job and how you may be coming back." I bite my lip and nod slightly. "How'd the interview go by the way?"
I sigh heavily because I honestly don't know. "It went fine I guess. It was super informal."
"It's the Peninsula Daily News, Bells, not the New York Times."
I laugh. "Uh yeah, I know. The Times wouldn't even give me an interview."
Sure, it's a rinky-dink paper in comparison, but there's just one perk that the Times can't offer me and that's proximity to Edward.
"So are you going to tell him or not?"
"Maybe if I get it, I don't know." I try to shrug him off with my indifference, but when I look at him seems disappointed. "What? What's with the face?"
"No face." He defends himself, holding his hands up in surrender. "I just think maybe the universe is telling you something."
"The universe?" I deadpan. "As in karma or kismet?" I joke, half expecting Emmett to laugh and do his Darth Vader impression saying 'It is your destiny', but he doesn't. Instead, he looks at me sadly for a few beats, and I start to fidget uncomfortably.
"Why'd you break-up with him in the first place?"
Shamefully in the wake of the break-up, I'm embarrassed to say that I avoided Em and Rose like the plague. Listening to reason or anyone defending Edward was not high on my priority list at the time. The truth is that Em and I have never discussed the break-up. For the past five years, we've each upheld the unspoken pact that we do not discuss Edward in any capacity. Well, until today that is.
I give him the same spiel I gave Edward last night about the joyride. Of course, Em sides with Edward saying that nothing happened, although he wasn't there at the time and can't possibly know that for sure. If I'm honest with myself, I know it's not the joyride that had me running. It's the words I play in my head over and over again years later. 'I thought about it. I seriously considered it. But I didn't.'
"I'm going to go grab another beer, you want one?" I don't even look back or wait to hear his answer before I slide the door open, then shut it quickly behind me practically sprinting to the garage.
I can't seem to stop the flashbacks from the school year between our first and second summer from coming in rapid succession. First, it's the teary goodbye on my dad's front porch with whispered promises of calling and writing and maybe a visit in the spring. Next, it's memories of me in my dorm room, reading and re-reading the page long letters and emails full of declarations of love and hopeful plans for the future. And finally, it's the Wednesday and Sunday night phone calls that I remember living for at the time.
I suspect that we thought we were being mature for deciding to not be 'official' during the school year. Although, I know that in my mind I considered us 'unofficially-official'. Looking back, I think that was our way of not holding the other back while still staking our claim. It occurs to me that it may have led to our near undoing after the first nine months when our diligence to staying in constant contact waned, and our academic and social calendars demanded more of our time and attention. My stomach hurts thinking about those tense phone calls leading up to our reunion. I can still hear Edward's clipped tone and my defensive one in return.
I'll never forget the day I came back to Forks as much as I'd like to. I close my eyes as the memory becomes more vivid. In my mind, I'm that nineteen year-old girl again, excitedly waiting to reunite with her boyfriend after a year of being apart. Emmett is manning the grill, while Rose is passing out jello shots to guests as the party is in full swing. I check my watch for the hundredth time, worried because Edward was due back in town two hours ago. I consider calling Carlisle and Esme to see if he stopped in for a visit first. Just then, I see him coming around the side of the house laughing and chatting with a beautiful blonde girl who can't help but beam back at him. I feel my chest constricting because while they aren't touching, he graces her with a smile that I haven't heard in his voice in weeks.
Tears threaten to spill over when he finally sees me. His expression is unreadable to me. It's cold and indifferent and a far cry from the boy I gave myself to the summer before. The blonde notices he has fallen back and pulls on his arm seemingly excited to arrive with him at her side. The fact that he makes no move to remove her hand or refuse her possible advance is all I can take.
I push and shove my way through the yard up to the house, needing to be anywhere but here. I slip into the first open door I see and close it tightly behind me as the first choking sob rips through my body. Covering my mouth to quiet the cries, I mentally berate myself for ever buying into the notion that love is enough to sustain any amount of time or distance. I can almost hear Renee's 'I told you so' all the way from Jacksonville.
I hear heavy footsteps nearing the garage, and I scurry over to the far wall by Em's dad's prized 1949 Mercury Eight Coupe. I wipe my eyes and make sure I am presentable in the event that Rose or Em come to check on me. Laughter filters in from the nearby window, and I must be a glutton for punishment because I can't seem to stop myself from looking for Edward. Instead, I spot blondie giggling and chatting animatedly with a group of guys. Edward doesn't seem to be among them. When the door to the garage creaks open and closes just as softly, I know why.
It's amazing how quickly inconsolable sadness can turn to pure rage. He approaches me slowly, though I refuse to look at him.
"Bella," he whispers, and I detect a hint of the reverence in his voice that I've become accustomed to hearing for the past year.
I don't answer. And I don't turn around. I don't even draw a breath. I stay perfectly still staring daggers at his new reason to smile.
"Bella, look at me." I flinch when I feel his fingers brushing down my arms as he steps closer. "We need to talk."
I clear my throat and shake my head, ready to unleash my first line of passive-aggressive artillery. "We don't," I say, nailing myself to the cross in a textbook Renee move. The old 'I'll hurt so you can be happy' song and dance. "She's lovely, Edward." I turn to him so he can read both the sincerity and pain plain on my face beneath my tight lipped smile and teary eyes. "I understand."
His brow furrows as I tiptoe around him, making a quick and hopefully graceful exit, until he wraps his arms around me and turns us to face the window of the car door.
"It's not what you think," he murmurs against my hair. "The Volvo broke down a couple of days ago. She lives in Seabrook and offered me a ride home."
"What did you offer her in return?" I fire back tersely. He's quiet for several moments. His silence confirms my fear as I swallow thickly. "That's what I thought."
His grip tightens as I try to walk away, and he places his lips to my ear. "I didn't do anything." His eyes meet mine in the reflection for the first time. "I thought about it." He pauses, gauging my reaction as his words sink in. "I seriously considered it." The honesty in his confession makes my stomach lurch. "But I didn't."
His words should ease my mind in theory, instead, they enrage me and I unleash the crazy. Jabbing my finger in his chest, I blame him for our undoing, calling him out for pushing me away. He tries to get a word in edgewise between my shrieks and accusations while practically ripping his hair out from the roots in frustration. His fury is rolling off of him in waves. My throat hurts, hoarse from all the crying and yelling. Just as I open my mouth to continue my verbal assault, he beats me to the punch, placing his lips on mine in a hard, angry kiss. Our mouths clash brutally, the kiss speaking louder than our heated words mere minutes ago. The door handle painfully digs into my lower back as he forcefully pushes me up against the car.
Gone are the timid hands and tender touches of last summer. The sweet, soft swipes of fingertips give way to rough clawing, tearing at the flesh. His chest heaves as we pull away, and his hand cups my chin forcing me to face him. Our eyes lock fiercely, and his hand slips ever so slightly, brushing my throat, making its way down my chest. He tilts his head, and I part my lips thinking he's going to kiss me again. Instead, he speaks through gritted teeth.
"Get in the car."
He guides me onto his lap while his mouth finds my chest, licking and tugging at the tightening tips with his tongue and teeth. My fingers find his hair, fisting it in clumps and pulling in time with my hips as they grind over his growing erection.
His mouth spews absolute filth against my skin when his hand skims the near soaked fabric of my panties. I cry out when his fingers penetrate me, punctuating his point with his ministrations and his words that 'no one pleases this pussy' like him. It's such a sharp contrast to last summer when our love making was filled with caring coos and whispered promises of forever.
He strips me bare and orders me to show him. Make him see. Prove that the time and distance changed nothing about the way I feel about him. So I show him. I match every ounce of passion with my kiss. I make him moan, marking him with my nails and teeth. His pleasure barely masks the pain. I guide him inside of me, freely giving him what he already owns. He never moves. I give. He takes.
Panting and teetering near the edge, I beg him. I want his hands to roam over my body. I need to feel his desperation in each and every thrust. I ache for the pain, so I am reminded with every twinge, every wince that I am his everything in every sense of the word. It's his turn to show me.
I cage him in with my arms resting on either side of his head as he impatiently pulls me down his length. He buries himself deep inside of me roughly, and his teeth settle into the soft flesh at the base of my neck. He groans a guttural 'fuck' before I feel him still inside of me, just before his body jerks and his features tighten.
The madman retreats and the tenderness returns as he softens. Sensual, sweet murmurs of 'I love you' and 'I've missed you' are sealed with gentle kisses and tight hugs. The rest of our summer nights are spent in a similar fashion. We fight and fuck, claim and cling to each other, yet rarely communicate. It's what's to be expected from a stubborn boy and an insecure girl.
Hindsight is always 20/20. Looking back, I know now for sure that we were indeed just young and dumb.
"Check the shitter," I hear Emmett yell to Rose from the house, interrupting my trip down memory lane.
By the time I get back to the deck, Rose has the table set and Mags strapped into a high chair while Em pulls the corn off the grill.
"Did ya' at least give us a courtesy flush?" He jerks his chin at me and wags his brows before turning to Maggie. "Bella made a stinky."
Five minutes and a game of pick up my sippy cup later, Emmett places the platter of steaks at the head of the table. He looks eerily reminiscent of Clark W. Griswold presenting the turkey at Christmas dinner.
Conversation ceases as we fill our faces. Rose to this day eats her food like a critic. She slowly cuts and inspects it before placing a tiny bit in her mouth.
"Did you remember to season the meat?" She arches a brow, daring him to question her palate.
He places the pads of his thumb and middle finger together. "Rose. One does not simply season the meat."
"You forgot didn't you?"
His silence speaks volumes when he shoves a forkful in his mouth, managing to pout and chew at the same time.
"So when do you fly out?" Rose asks, pointing her fork in my direction.
I prepare myself, expecting them to go all good cop/bad cop on me, interrogating me further on whether or not I intend to see Edward before I leave. Thankfully, the conversation steers in a different direction as Rose and Em begin reminiscing about my summers in Forks. They bring up the good times like skinny dipping in the community pool, bonfires at the beach, and our weekend camping trips. They skim over the rough periods like the barbeque and the handful of parties where Edward and I weren't speaking to each other. We laugh and joke for hours over dessert and coffee and a couple more beers. And for the first time in a long time, I feel truly at home.
We wave at Rose and a smiley Maggie as we pull away, just as it begins to rain.
The ride back to Forks is relatively quiet. I think about Emmett's words earlier in the evening, and while I don't believe the universe is necessarily trying to tell me something, I do think that Edward and I have unfinished business. I want to lay it all out on the table and let the chips fall where they may. I need to tell him everything that I should have five years ago, like the fact that I was a stupid, scared girl whose blazing insecurity led her to make a horrible decision. He needs to know that not a day goes by that I don't think about him. With each passing mile marker, the anticipation grows. I see the neon signs in the bar windows and know I can't wait another moment.
"Can you drop me off here?" I blurt loudly and not the least bit ashamed.
I notice Emmett is wearing a tight-lipped smile as he pulls into the parking lot, looking like he wants to say something.
"What?" I ask, wondering if he is going to give me more food for thought. He shakes his head and his grin widens. "Just spit it out, McCarty."
"Nah, it's nothing." He shrugs. "It's just good to have you home."
"Thanks." I lean over to hug him tightly.
He pats my back with his big mitts. "And stay off the pool table, I play here in a league on Tuesday nights."
The bar is fairly busy for a Sunday night. Thankfully, the Mariner's game is on, so no one notices that Charlie's daughter is back in town.
"What can I get ya'?" The cute, red-haired bartender asks, placing a napkin in front of me.
"Um, is Edward here?"
"You just missed him, honey." She puts her hand on her hip and leans on the bar. "Do you want me to give him a message?"
"No, thanks." I smile sweetly and turn to make my way to Fletcher Street.
Four blocks, two burning lungs, and a soaked outfit later, I make my way up his driveway. I push the wet hair out of my face and rub the mascara from under my eyes, not wanting to scare him with an Alice Cooper special. I'm about to knock when he pulls the door open.
"Hi," I say with an awkward wave.
"You're here." He pulls me in, shutting the door behind me. "And you're drenched. Let me get you a towel." I hear him rifling through drawers, and he comes back with a towel and a t-shirt. "Here, I mean, if you want to change."
I look around the room. Lumber and power tools are spread all over the floor of the hallway and living room.
"Sorry about the mess," he says, motioning to the wall that's been taken down to the studs. "Trying to get this place back together." I can tell he's nervous as he continues. "It's a sturdy house, you know. It's old and a little run down, but it managed to stand up to the constant rain all these years pretty well."
He crosses the room and switches on the light. "It's got a great foundation. I just need to fix a few bad decisions here and there." He laughs pointing at the mauve carpet and the hideous wallpaper.
"It will be amazing when it's put back together." I bite my lip, hoping that maybe we're not just talking about the house anymore.
He nods and looks at me seriously. "Yes, it will."
"You want something to drink?" He asks, walking to the kitchen and opening the fridge. "A beer or something?"
"How about coffee instead?"
"Coffee?" He smirks, quirking a questioning brow.
"Yeah." I sit at the table and pat the seat next to me. "I think we need to figure out where this leaves us."
A/N: Dolls, let's welcome back my boo for real, Carrie ZM *Lay and Carrie do elaborate handshake and end with a chest bump*
Pimpin' ain't easy – that's why we like to Let It WIP…
The Man on Stage by Dazzledin2008 – Mmm mmm mm… This is another hot little number brought to you by the writer of The Mechanic. So far this WIP has it all, a little fluff, a little heartfail, and a whole lot of sexy – it's SOFA KING hot!
My Five Daughters by tea4tulips – Sweet little story about a southern Nanny-ella, catching the eye of a Daddyward of five girls. This one will give you a toothache with all of its sweetness and sass. Check it out, dolls!
Thanks to everyone who has read, reviewed, followed, fav'd, rec'd and lurked this fic!