Friends to Lovers Contest
Pen name: TiramiSue84
Title: Sweet B
Summary: Some people are so dense; they lose sight of the forest for the trees. Well, how was I supposed to know that everything I've ever wanted has been right in front of me all along?
Beta: Regina S. (EBS), Bigblueboat
Prompt used: 30 (The One with the Nap Partners)
Word count: 9407
It's Friday night, and while my peers are out to get shitfaced and lucky, I'm faced with a rather tough decision: to order some food and do some much needed cleaning around the apartment while it's delivered, before jerking off and calling it a night, or to just jerk off and hit it, leaving the chores for another day?
Yeah, college life sure is sweet.
I'm usually not all that lame, but working on top of studying, term papers and exams really have been leaving me beat, and I need to refill my batteries.
Deciding that I wasn't a complete bum, I order a pizza and then get going. I stuff an armful of dirty clothes into the washer before working on the mess in the kitchen: washing and then towel drying a good couple of days worth of dirty plates and utensils, wiping down the counters and taking down the trash.
I can't be bothered with vacuuming, and the roomie is on bathroom duty. So I leave those alone. I do, however, change the sheets and bedding and collect some more stray clothes from my bedroom floor to refill my laundry hamper with.
Grabbing a beer from the fridge to reward myself for my mad skills and proficiency, I down half of it in three gulps. Seeing as getting the chores done has only taken me a good thirty minutes, I'm debating whether to get a quick shower in as well, when there is a knock on the door.
Expecting it to be the delivery guy with my food, I'm quick to grab my wallet from the coffee table as I make over to the front door. Upon opening it, the smile I carry from anticipating the greasy goodness widens instantly due to the sight I'm met with.
Casually leaning against the door frame with a shit-eating grin on her face stands one of my favorite people in the whole world. "Sweet B! What a nice surprise." Bending down a little, I kiss her cheek in greeting.
"I hoped you would think so. Thing is, I didn't feel social enough to go to that frat party with Jess, but not anti-social enough to spend the whole evening alone in my room. That's why I picked up some chinese and beer in hopes you would fall for the bribery and take in this sorry-ass girl for a few hours."
Rolling my eyes at her antics, I step aside to let her in. "You never have to bribe me to spend time with you, you know that."
"I do." She smiles at me. "You don't mind that I just showed up here, do ya? I mean, if you've already booked yourself a hot date with someone else, I'll just leave the beer with you for another time and be on my way again."
"Oh no, you don't. First off, there is no hot date—well, there wasn't until now." It was her turn to roll her eyes then. "My plan for tonight consisted of pizza and sleep. That's it." No need to tell her about the self-loving part. "And even if I had had plans, I'd have canceled them in a heartbeat because I'd always much rather spent my time with you."
"God, you're such a fucking sweet talker, Edward. You should make use of these powers on some of the girls around campus just dying for you to pay them attention."
"Now, why would I do that?"
"Oh, I don't know. To get out, meet a nice girl, perhaps. Get laid. I heard some of these girls are so smart, they even know how to tie their shoelaces!" She mock-gasped.
"So cheeky." I reach out to pinch one of her cheeks, but she is quick to slap my hand away. "And who said I'm not getting laid?"
The look on her face is too comical; all wide-eyed and caught off guard. "What? You met someone? When? How long have you been dating? Do I know her, and if not, when do I get to meet her? Is it a fling or something serious?"
"Jesus, calm down, will ya." Realizing that she was still dressed for outside, I take the bags and six-pack from her.
"Whatever, jackass. I'm just surprised. That's all." Her gaze travels down to where her fingers are fumbling with the buttons on her black coat. "I just thought we were close enough to share important things like having a girlfriend with each other."
Well, that went downhill quickly. "Hey now! We've known each other for three years, and you've been my best friend ever since. Of course we are that close. Hell, you know shit about me not even my own brother knows, and that's saying something. You are the first person I'd tell about having met someone I fell for. I never said I did, though. Did I?"
It's the truth; ever since that fateful day on campus when that group of dudebro assholes got a bit too boisterous as they shoved and mock-wrestled each other. Walking by, Sweet B tripped and then knocked right into good ol' Pete's back when she tried to avoid getting pulled into the middle of their idiocracy. After making sure she was okay—and having a few not-so-kind words with jackasses—we got to talking, and we hit it off right away. All three of us.
Being a transfer and therefore new on campus, Peter and I took her under our wing, showed her around and introduced her to our friends. The thing about Bella is that she's a conniving little shit, a swindler. Upon meeting her, you are tricked to believe that she is this pretty, shy little thing; those big brown eyes set in that heart-shaped face of hers, and the petite frame she likes to cover in her standard uniform tights or leggings under a skirt or dress, it all makes her seem a little younger than she is and bestows this air of innocence on her. Coupled with her initial shyness when she's met with new people, and the fact that she's one year my junior… everything together kind of awakened this certain kind of protectiveness over her in me. Not that I ever thought her naive or helpless or anything—she's not. But once she gets to talking, there's just no stopping her, and you realize that she's really a smart-mouthed little firecracker. A sweet and rather cute one at that, but smart-mouthed no less.
"I guess not." She shrugged and then turned to drop her coat and purse on a nearby chair. "It's just that... That would really hurt, okay?"
The air around us was heavy and filled with unfamiliar tension, a stark contrast to how it usually was, and it makes me uncomfortable. The fact is, for the very first time, it feels like she's putting a wall between us, doesn't help matters at all.
"Sweet B," I start and move over to where she is standing, my free arm going around her shoulders. "I can't exactly promise to never hurt you. As much as I want to do it, I'm a guy, and guys screw up—intentionally or not. What I can promise, however, is not to hurt you over something like that. I meant it when I said you'd be the first one I turn to when I find the girl that weasels her way into my head and heart."
When she turns to face me, there is a smile on her face, but then again there isn't. Not really. I can't explain or identify it, for I have never seen that particular look before. There's something there that keeps the usual vibrance from spreading fully.
And whatever that something was, I want it gone; it doesn't belong with her—or us.
"On my honor, you have my word. I'll let you call my mom and tell her what I've been hiding under my mattress since I was thirteen, should I ever break it."
She lets her forehead drop to my chest. "Dammit, Edward, that's all you're giving me? Knowing Esme, she was well aware of the filth you've been hiding under there. Also, gross. I sure hope it's not the same mags ever since."
I pull a face at her. "Can we please stop mentioning my mother and the filth under my mattress in the same sentence? That's just wrong."
The chuckle she emits lets me hope we were getting back on the right track.
"We are good, right?"
Her hands tighten the hold they have on the back of my shirt as she nods her head. "Of course. You're not getting rid of me that easily."
"I don't ever want to get rid of you, B. Now let's stop with all the sappy business so you can focus on bossing me around. Wanna eat here or in the kitch—ow!"
Though I expected my comment to earn me some kind of bodily harm, it doesn't hurt any less when the little minx actually attacks. "Must you always be so mean to me?" I mock a pout, jutting out my bottom lip for full effect, as I rub the throbbing spot under my ribs she had just pinched forcefully.
"Only if you deserve it—which you do most of the time," she says with a small smirk. "Now move that flat ass of yours and get to work."
There's my Sweet B again. Well, a glimpse of her usual self, that is, but it's a start. Beggars can't be choosers, right? So I move my 'flat ass' and grab plates, cutlery and glasses from the kitchen to set the living room table with. Bella, meanwhile, has already moved the extra seating-slash-footrest back to its place in our oversized couch and is now spreading out the pillows and blankets she stole from my bed, turning the whole thing into a 'nest'.
"Some people need popcorn to watch a movie, I need a nest," she told me when I learned about her little quirk on the first movie night we had shortly after we met. I guess over time, I adapted that little habit of hers because, really, it's the best way to watch a movie.
Actually, it was B's favorite way to do anything, really: watching movies or TV, eating, studying, working on her laptop, twiddling with her phone. I've lost count on all the times I found her lounging in that spot right there. She would live on that couch if we'd let her. Peter and I have a bet going on whether she'll end up in a job she can work from home just so that she can spend her day nestled into cushions, or not. Not that Sweet B is lazy or anything, just one for the coziness, I think. She's an ambitious student I have yet to see fall behind on her coursework, who also works a few evenings a week waiting tables in a diner just a few blocks away from here—one of the many reason's she spends more nights here than in her own apartment.
"Can we watch a movie or something?" Sitting down on the edge of the gray over-the-top monstrosity also known as couch—a gift from my parents—she crosses her slender legs to first unzip and then take off her boot. Switching legs, her eyes, once again, remain fixed on the movements of her hands.
The doorbell rings. It's then that I remember that there's a pizza waiting with my name on it. "Yeah, sure. Your pick," I call over my shoulder as I scurry toward the door.
It's thirty minutes into The Avengers that I realize I was sorely mistaken when I thought we'd left whatever the heaviness earlier was behind us, leaning against the many cushions, blanket spread over our legs and a plethora of food between us—same as usual. However, Sweet B has yet to say a word. She just sits there, eating and taking the occasional swig from her beer, staring at the screen.
Someone else might fall for that show she's putting on, pretending to follow the storyline, but I know she's not. If she were, I'd have heard her loud, endearingly-obnoxious laughter by now, but all she's giving me are hollow chuckles.
It makes me anxious.
If my suspicions are right and it's the conversation from earlier she's mulling over, then there must be something bothering her. What I don't get is why she's keeping it to herself. Shouldn't we talk about it? Because right now it feels like what I took as a simple misunderstanding is really much more than that, something graver and deeper rooted, and that bothers me.
I mean, it doesn't even make sense! It wasn't even a solid argument. Come to think of it, I don't think we ever even had one of those before. Sure, we bicker around every now and then, but that's about it. And it's more in a sibling kind of way, where you tease the other just because you can. Or to make a point.
In no way did I say anything inappropriate to take offense in nor was I unreasonable. I think.
Or is that it? Am I the one thinking things over too much and blowing them out of proportion? Am I overreacting? Paranoid?
Fuck. Dammit! This shit is messing with my head!
Maybe I should just grow a pair and ask her what's up. I'm just not all that convinced that going straight for the jugular is the right approach here, so what I need is an opener. Something light to ease us into… that.
Jesus fucking Christ, Edward! Get a grip.
I do find my way in a few moments later when I see her reach blindly for the carton of fried noodles. A disaster bound to happen.
"B, what's the first rule in this household?"
She gives me that what-the-fuck-are-you-on kind of look I know too well—the one I suspect she learned from my mom, since it looks just like hers—and already, I'm having difficulties keeping a straight face.
"House rule number one."
Her reply, of course, is a snarky as ever. "Don't open your mouth unless you expect something to get thrown in it? No running around the apartment naked while the roomie is at home? And if you come home finding the other running around naked, sneaking a peek mustn't last longer than three seconds? What is it?"
"Hilarious. Are you getting cheeky with me again?" I try to suppress the smug grin as best as I can, but as my lips start twitching, I know I fail. "I meant the one where you have to do my laundry for soiling Esme's good linen with food…"
"Get out, you asshat! First of all, that is hardly a rule. I offered to clean them the first time that happened. And all the times after that, you just took advantage of me."
"Uh huh. So, what you're saying is, it's my fault you're such a messy eater."
"I'm not a messy eater! I'm just… a bit clumsy and uncoordinated." And in true Bella fashion—as she gesticulates wildly defending herself—the box of lo mein is knocked over, and a good amount of the greasy noodles tumble onto the gray bedding.
I lose it then and finally burst out laughing. Of course, I was just teasing her about that nonsense, non-existent rule. Yes, she's known for decorating blankets and shirts—mainly mine, since she always ends up grabbing my stuff for nesting or when she is cold—with globs of sauce or grease. However, she's the one who insisted to make up for her clumsiness by putting whatever she messed up in the washer. Hell, I'm the one who tries to talk her out of it, but does she ever listen? No.
And though I'm openly enjoying my triumph right now, I'm secretly waiting for Sweet B to follow her usual routine whenever she's either embarrassed by her clumsiness or annoyed by me for teasing her about. Most of the time, it's both. First, she gives me the stink eye and calls me a few names—all the while turning beet red. Next, she turns away from me, or whoever caught her and her two left feet in action, to grumble and pout for a good ten seconds, only to then chime in on the laughter herself. Her ability to laugh about herself… it's one of the things I absolutely love about her.
It takes me a few seconds to realize that she has done neither so far. As I turn my head to look at her, still chuckling and grinning from ear to ear, she's picking up the last few bits of the spilled food with her fingers. Even as she maneuvers her plate, beer and a couple of other cartons of food while scooting around on the seating to put them all on the coffee table up front, I fully expect her to start her little game any second now. But she's not.
I wipe off any last traces of triumph the second as she pushes the blanket away and scrambles to find her boots.
"B… what? What are you doing?"
"I got to…"
"What?" The urge to dive across the sofa to get to her at once is strong, but I don't. I can't. She seems so on edge, I'm afraid any sudden movement on my part would scare, and ultimately, drive her away even further. So, my eyes remain on her back as I cram the remaining food into the pizza carton and all but throw everything I got in my hands on the table. The unmistakable clanking sound of glass bursting accompanies my leap up from the sofa.
"I have to…" She's so agitated, losing her balance twice as she stands on one foot to get the first shoe on.
"What?" As I move toward her, I try to recall each and every conversation we've had over the last few weeks, hoping to find a trace, a hint, to get me on track. There is nothing, though. Not once did she mention any problems with classes, work or an argument she's had. Things with her parents are fine; she told me so not even two days ago, and though B's roommate, Jessica, can get a bit nosey and annoying at times, I know they get along.
There aren't supposed to be any secrets between us—B made both Peter and me swear. But from the way she's been acting, I feel there is something she's hiding. And something bad at that.
"I need to…"
Even though I stand right before her now, she doesn't look up but continues to struggle with her boot. Not meeting my eye seems to have become a new thing to do.
"What? What is it, Sweet B?"
A part of her black tights gets jammed in the zipper, and she's pushing and pulling on it frantically. "I can't… I..."
The few inches of air between us are closed in a heartbeat upon me hearing her jittery, shaky voice. Pulling her into my arms and holding her tight, I hope it's what she needs. "What? Just tell me."
Minutes tick by without her doing anything; she leans against my body stiff and motionless, her own arms limply hanging down at her sides.
"Bella, please. You're scaring me." Letting my hands glide over her back, I try to calm her down as much as myself. Not only because I'm so thrown out of loop here, but also due to turn my thoughts have taken. Scenario after motherfucking scenario of vile things that could have happened to a girl like her.
I don't know if my caresses actually worked or if it's my own tension she feels that cause her to finally wrap her arm around me as well. I can't exactly say that I care, either. All that counts is that she does.
Dropping my head, I let my lips brush over her hair and place a kiss there. "Whatever it is, just tell me, alright? I'm here. No matter what, I'm here. But I can't help you unless you tell me what's going on. Baby, please."
She pulls back then, slowly, and I'm finally able to see her face again. Her watery eyes and the quivering chin almost make me wish I don't. To see her so shaken and lost makes me really uneasy. No, that's not what it is… it's more painful than that. Yeah, that. It pains me to see her like that.
"It's nothing, really, I'm just being cranky and sensitive." Bringing one hand up, she dabs under her eyes and cheeks at tears that have not fallen, yet. "I had trouble sleeping these past few days, and on top of one of my profs rescheduling the deadline for an assignment last minute to an earlier date, it's also that time of the month. I'm sorry for being stupid and ruining your night. I think I'll just go home."
"No, you're not," I say as I sneak one of my hands under hers, and let them rest on her cheek. "I want you to stay. And don't call yourself stupid. You're not. Wanna know what's really stupid? Calling yourself stupid. So stop that. And you haven't ruined anything, so there's no need to apologize either, okay?"
Though her explanation sounds reasonable, I can't help but feel that it's not all there is to it. "Please stay. At least for a little bit. If you still want to leave later on, I'll walk you."
Her fingertips tickle the back of my hand as they move down to hold on to my wrist. "Okay."
I'm sure the smile accompanying her nod is meant to be reassuring, but it's not. Knowing her, she's embarrassed and wants me to drop the topic, but I can't. Not yet.
"But, B, we are good, right?"
"And you would tell if there's something bothering you, yea?"
I see her gaze dropping to my shoulder. "Sure."
"So, there's nothing on your mind, nothing you want to talk about?"
She hesitates a tick too long, but then she shakes her head. And the second she does, there's is this nagging sensation in the back of my head.
In all honestly, I may not always be the first to put two and two together, but I'm not completely ignorant or blind. "Is it me? Is it something I said or did?"
Almost instantly, B's lips start to tremble again. "No. I—" This time, tears do fall from her sad eyes. One. Two. Three. She tries to turn her head away and out of my grasp, but I don't let her.
I don't know where the thought is coming from, but my lips put it into words and let them slip through them on their own accord. "Is it something I didn't say or do, then?"
And just like that, my Sweet B starts crying for real. Tears that silently roll down cheeks are replaced by those that fall in quick succession, and she starts sobbing.
"B…" I pull her back into my arms because it's the only thing I can think of to do. Even as we remain standing just like that for what feels like hours, I am none the wiser. I just… I cannot think seeing—feeling her breaking down like this. And my helplessness, my inaptitude to come up with whatever it is B needs to calm down… In a way, it breaks me, too.
So, I just continue to hold her close and whisper in her ear or kiss her head. "Tell me what you need, Sweet B. You need to tell me what I have to do because I'm too dumb to figure it out myself."
I can feel her moving her head from side to side, but whether that's an attempt to communicate with me, or just her wiping her nose on my shirt I couldn't say. Letting my head rest on top of hers, my eyes fall on a different kind comfort, one I haven't thought about yet. Moving her hands up and around my neck, I place my own on her upper thighs and pick her up.
B weighs fucking nothing, and with her holding equally as tightly onto me as I to her, I crawl back on the sofa and settle into the corner. With her straddling my thighs and her head tucked into my neck, I let her let it all out. "It's okay, baby. It's okay. I'm here. Always. No matter what."
Her sobs and shivers never subside, while her every heave and shake reverberates within my chest. Wrapping the stained blanket around her shoulders, I scoot down on the seating while grabbing a couple pillows, before laying down on my back with B on top of me.
"It's okay, Sweet B. Take your time, I'm here. Just know that, no matter what, I love you. Whatever's going on, and whatever's gonna happen, you're my best friend and always will be. I love you." As honest and sincere my words are, I first and foremost mean for them to soothe B.
Instead, she starts crying even harder.
It's another Saturday, and it's been three awful, never-ending weeks since I've last seen Sweet B. Not because of a lack of trying, but due to something or another always having gotten in the way.
First, there was the matter of both our schedules clashing. Then, that weekend, B had to drive home for her parents' wedding anniversary. While there, she managed to catch a bad cold which made her stay with them well into the following week. Of course, once back in town, she had double her usual workload to make up for all the classes she had missed. Then there were the two coffee dates we agreed upon that had to be cancelled last minute.
And even though everything since that disastrous evening in my apartment pretty much sucked balls, it at least gave me time to think things through. It took some time, but I finally figured out what was weighing down on Bella so much, what made her lose it the way she did.
Well, to be perfectly honest, it was Peter who ass-kicked me into the right direction. Kind of.
When he returned to the apartment on Sunday, he found me sullen and brooding over everything that went down Friday night and B's quick departure the morning after. It was quite comical how shocked and embarrassed she looked waking up, realizing she was still snuggled into my arms—as if that had never happened before. She accepted the cup of coffee I made her but left quickly after. Too soon for my liking, seeing as the big, pink elephant still resided in my living room. And though she replied to the texts I sent her, they were all one-worded nothings. So, I was left rehashing and dissecting every single second of that night. I didn't find much to work with—or that made sense to me—and in my desperation, put my hope into the very limited wisdom of good old Pete, and confided in him. And what did the jackass do after I poured my heart out and told him how worried I was?
He fucking laughed. Laughed right into my face for a good five minutes, only to slap me up the back of my head once he'd calmed down enough to breathe again. What followed—after making me swear that Sweet B was fine—was another five minute long tirade about how much of a moron I was. Not much of what he spewed in my direction made sense, but apparently I was 'as thick and oblivious as a brick'.
Always having my back, my ass! Asshole.
There was one thing, that really made me think. "There are more differences between guys and girls then just the obvious," he said. "It's also in the way they think and act. Think about that bro. "With a punch to my shoulder he disappeared into his room. Dickface.
To give him some credit, there was sense in what he said. I mean, although I'm more than aware of the fact that Sweet B is indeed a girl—woman, come to think of it—I tend to treat her like one of the guys half of the time. So, what if I've just gotten so comfortable with her that I from time to time forget to treat her how a woman should be treated. Could she have taken offense from me overlooking her womanhood and got upset because of it?
It makes sense, doesn't it? Women are complex and complicated human beings after all…
When B texted me last night to ask if we could meet up today, I knew I had to come up with a plan to make for my unintended neglect. In fact, I've been working on it ever since and can hardly wait for my Sweet B to see it. Just thinking about her reaction upon seeing it makes me kind of nervous. It's a good thing she should be here any minute now.
And just as I'm done rearranging a few things, the screen of my phone lights up. Checking it, my heart plummets into my stomach when I see B's name on the display. I might go a bit insane if she was to cancel on me.
"Open the door, jackass!"
I cover my sigh of relief with a cough. "What, where are you?"
"Right at your door! Been standing here for ten minutes, dumbass. Way to make a girl wait."
"Oh shit, sorry. Didn't hear the doorbell ring over the music." Grabbing the remote from my nightstand, I turn off the noise at once.
"I would say! C'mon, it's cold."
"Coming." Hitting the end call button, I rush down the hallway.
Pulling the front door open, I'm met with my scowling and very drenched best friend. "What the hell happened to you?"
"Got caught up in the rainstorm that's raging outside, obviously. Can I come in now?"
"Shit. Yes, of course, sorry." Rainstorm? Guess I really had the music playing a bit too loud. Letting her step inside, I realize that she's not only soaked to the bones, she's also shivering. "Maybe you should take a shower to warm up."
"You just want me to drop my clothes."
"Always. Now c'mon, let me get you some clothes to wear, and then shoo into the bathroom with you. Just wait here for a minute, okay?"
"Um, okay?" She probably thinks I am an ass who doesn't want her to get his carpet wet—even though she should know better—when in reality, I just don't want to spoil her surprise.
I try to be extra quick grabbing her one of my sweat pants and a shirt, but apparently, I'm not quick enough.
"What the hell happened to your living room?!"
Stepping out, I close the door to my room just in time she rounds the corner. "Seriously, what did you do in there?"
"I'll tell you everything after your shower. Here." Pushing towels and clothes into her hands, I steer her one door over into the bathroom. "Just drop your stuff right here, and I'll put them in the dryer for you."
"Ugh, rub it in why don't you, show-off!" Sending another scowl my way, B disappears behind the door.
If there's one thing Sweet B is jealous of where I am concerned, it's the luxury of having my own washer and dryer—another gift from my parents, which I only got because mom wanted newer models for back home. And it's not like they're not at B's disposal to use whenever she needs to do her laundry. Seriously, if the apartment had an additional room, and since she's practically living here anyway, we would have let her move in a long time ago.
Letting her have some privacy, I try to fix the mess I created in the living room as best as I can. When that's done, I grab Sweet B's clothes from where she dropped them in front of the bathroom door, and put them in the dryer, just like I promised. I don't even think about the things the wet bundle in my arm could contain until I open the door to the machine, and my gaze falls on something I'm sure I wasn't meant to see. Something, a certain someone tried to hide by wrapping her dress around it.
I can't deny that I get a bit excited at the sight. I mean, it's her underwear— the stuff she's wearing underneath the clothes she let's the world see her in! It's like a sexy secret I was accidentally let in on. Shit.
Even though she is my best friend and somewhat like the sister I never had, I would be a filthy liar if I claimed to never having noticed—and appreciated—the swell of her ample breasts or the curves of her hips and ass. Which are all currently on full display in my shower… Fuck.
Surprised by that last thought, I decide it's best to distance myself from anything soft and lacy and just push the pile of her clothes into the machine and, without further ado, start it. Leaving the small laundry room, I check my room one last time before strolling into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee.
Bella joins me a few minutes later, the legs of my pants rolled up to over her knees and the bottom of the shirt knotted at the side. "I see you've cleaned up. Honestly, though, did you have a wrestling match with yourself before I got here or what? I mean, it's cool! Some people talk to themselves. You roundhouse kick thin air. We all have our little quirks."
The cheeky grin she sends my way makes me want to pinch her cheeks. "Sweet B, shut up!"
Pushing myself up from the counter I lean against, I grab her hand and pull her with me back in the direction of my room. Once in front of it, I step behind her and cover her eyes with my hands.
"What the hell? Is that really necessary?"
"Yes, it is. Now shush." Opening the door, I walk us both inside. "Alright, you ready?"
"For what? Edward, what have you done?" She's pushing at my hands with her own, and I let her.
I can't see her face, but I know from the gasp that escapes her lips that she's opened her eyes.
"Wha…what have you done? Edward, that's… Wow."
It's not much, really. "I actually meant to build us a fort in the living room, but that didn't exactly work out the way I wanted it to. Hence, the chaos you found there. So, I had to come up with something else." Though I really want to see her face, I somehow don't dare to, yet. Instead, I do the next best thing and wrap my arms around her from behind.
"My next plan was to build a makeshift canopy for the bed, but that didn't work out, either. Guess, I'm not craftsman material. " We both have to chuckle at that. "The only thing I managed to get right is this." All I did was pin a few strings of twinkle lights to my walls, the majority of them hidden underneath spare bed sheets and pillowcases for effect. A couple are also attached to the drawn curtains on the far end of my room.
I feel her fingertips brush against my forearm. "But...why?"
Unwinding one arm from around her, I point toward my bed. "To make it more cozy when we watch those. There's also a box filled with cupcakes and doughnuts and ice cream in the freezer. But we can also order some real food later on, if you want."
She drags me with her as she walks over to take a closer look at the second part of my little surprise. "But you hate these!"
"Now, hate is a strong word! But yeah, it's totally accurate when it comes to these schmalzy Grant and Gosling movies. However, I know how much you like them, so we're gonna watch them. I'll suffer in silence this time. I swear."
She spins in my arm to face me. "But why, Edward? You didn't have to do this."
"Because it's the first, annual Sweet B Appreciation Day."
She narrows her eyes. "That's what birthdays are for. Now give me the real reason."
"It's just, I feel like I've been a bit of an ass to you recently, but that was never my intention. You're very special and important to me, and with my very limited abilities, I just wanted to show you that. You like?"
"Like?! Oh, you stupid, dorky man. Really, it's a good thing you're so pretty, for smart you are not." My heart was on the brink of dropping into my belly again hearing her words, but then she took my face in her hands and pulled a little down to her level. "I love it. It's one of the best things anybody has ever done for me. Thank you."
And then she kisses me.
It's just a peck and no different than the ones we exchange on New Year's Eve or birthdays. But for the second that it lasts, it does feel very different. I can't put it into words. It just does. In a way, it's like New Year's Eve, I guess. I mean, no matter how many times you've seen the countdown that rings in the new year and the fireworks that follow, you still get excited and giddy seeing them. And the excitement I get from feeling her sweet, warm lips against mine this time, it wasn't there before.
She plants a second, more lingering one on my cheek. "I know you like me, Edward. I know I'm important to you. You don't need to prove it to me any more than you already do every time we see each other, okay? But I'm really thankful you did this. You're the best."
Then, because she is Sweet B, she pinches my cheek, turns around and leaves my half-embrace. "I'm gonna get those treats you talked about. Pick out a movie, will ya?"
I'm left standing here dazed and confused. What is wrong with me today? First the giddiness, then the reaction to her panties, and now I'm all excited because of the way her lips felt against mine.
"Got them, coffee, too! Let the show begin!" I hear B sing from the hallway.
Pushing my messy thoughts to the back of my mind, I grab the first DVD to watch and put the others aside for later.
Once the disc is in the player and all lights are out except for the twinkle lights, we settle down on my bed. Sitting cross-legged and stuffing our faces with cupcakes, we watch Hugh Grant do the silly things Hugh Grant does on screen. When we are full and the mugs and pastries are pushed aside, we both sit back against the headrest. Since my bed is a lot smaller than the cushioned giant in the living room, there's hardly any room between us. Nothing out of the ordinary, even if we have all the space in the world, we are likely to end up right side by side.
The movie eventually—fortunately—comes to an end, and while B picks out the next torture device, I go to refill our mugs. Upon my return, I find her back on the bed, my blanket thrown over her legs, taming her wild, dark locks into a braid.
"Is your nest cosy enough?"
She accepts the mug I hand her. "Perfectly cozy. You did good."
"Good." Placing my own one on the nightstand, I rejoin her in my bed and get under the cover.
"Ugh, wipe that smug look from your face, will ya?"
"I'm not smug! Just glad I made you happy." And I really am.
"Oh, shut up and stop pretending you did this all just for me. You're just as much of a nester and cuddler as I am!"
"Am not!" Of course I did this for myself as well—for us, but I can't give up the chance to tease her with my denial.
"You are!" She laughs at my huffing. "No need to be embarrassed! Dudes need cuddles, too. Just accept and embrace it!"
"I much rather embrace you. C'mere!" Throwing my arm over her shoulders, I pull her to me. The tingling feeling of her breath hitting the bare skin on my neck along with the infectious sound of her laughter as I hold her tight have me laughing as well. She tries to wiggle herself free, but the more she does, the more I refuse to let her go.
And of course, just like any other time we play this game, Sweet B starts playing dirty. First, it's her fingers finding my armpit to tickle me there and then a pinch to the side. Even though she knows I'll retaliate, and she hates being tickled more than I do, she starts this war every single time. We are a moving pile of flailing limbs, muffled laughter, moans and curses. Really, it's like some wrestling match foreplay, and I'm this close of crying mercy and letting her win when she decides to bring things to a whole new level and on the scale of mean tricks. She bites me.
Right in the tit… Pec! I mean pec.
"What the hell, you little shit!?" While I'm forced to loosen my grip to rub the sore spot, she breaks out in another fit of laughter. "Not cool."
"Maybe not, but… Oh my God, your face! Priceless." She's downright cackling now.
"You think this is funny, huh?" I know she thinks I wouldn't go there to get back at her, but I might do just that. At least, she has to think so. "Let's see how funny you find it when I do it to you…"
"Oh no, you don't. These are mine and a no-touching-zone for you!" She says while covering her breast with her hands. Just like that.
She's touching herself. Well, kind of…but she kind of does. Holy shit!
Jesus fucking Christ, Edward, get a grip!
Okay, I really need to sort my thoughts out. The direction they are taking today...it's crazy!
But first, there's some business to attend to. No matter how much of a mess I apparently am, I can't let her win the upper hand, so I pounce. The sudden movement of me pushing myself up into a kneeling position next to her, catch her off guard. Grabbing her wrists to hold them close to her neck with one hand, I slowly lean in. I see her mouth drop open as my free hand sneaks under the hem of the shirt she's wearing, bringing the fabric with it as it moves upward. All the way up to the top of her ribcage. And she lets me.
My lips are a mere breath away from her left breast, when I let my fingertips travel the path of silken skin and soft curves back down again. Digging them into the waistband of her—well, my—sweatpants, I simultaneously pull the material down a bit and jerk my head around.
My lips barely brush against the skin on her hip, when B starts squealing. My intention of going in for a real raspberry is literally knocked out of the way when she pushes me aside to be able to jump off of the bed. What she didn't take into account, however, is that I'm still holding onto the pants...and that her underwear is still in the dryer.
Sweet B's face when she realizes that she's flashing me half her naked butt, now that's what I call priceless!
The sight of the aforementioned butt as well.
We are both stunned into silence for a good minute, but then, "You're a jerk, and I need to pee. Goodbye!" She storms out of room, and I'm left laughing my ass off.
Just when I thought this day couldn't get any more insane, B goes and flashes me the goods. I won't ever let her live that down. What a way to make my day!
Minutes later, as I'm wiping the tears of laughter from my face, I notice that B still hasn't returned from the bathroom. Instantly, my emotions do a one-eighty, and joy is replaced by concern. Did I go too far again? It was neither on purpose nor all alone my fault, but I can see how B could be mortified over this.
Crawling off the bed, I leave my room to ask her if she was all right. I'm right in front of the bathroom door and ready to knock, when I hear her voice.
"I swear, as much as I want to kiss him silly, I also want to slap him silly! I mean, Angela, how is it even possible to be so completely… Yes! Exactly!... I know, I know."
"I don't know how much longer I can do this. I mean… Jesus fucking Christ! It's driving me insane. He is driving me insane! I'm about ready to explode. What? No, not just from that…"
I'm stunned, frozen into place. Initially, because I was confused as to whom she could be talking to, for I neither knew a girl named Angela, nor did I see her take her phone with her. I guess, she must have left her purse in the bathroom when she went in there earlier. But what really made me stay instead of giving her the privacy she deserved—even though my mom taught me eavesdropping was wrong—is the content of her chat.
Even if I'm only able to hear her side of their conversation, I needed to know who the guy was.
"...and it's confusing and it hurts. It hurts, Angela. …Yeah, that's what Peter said, too. It's just… If it were any other guy, I'd have taken my chance long ago. No, if it were any other guy, I'd probably have deemed all the drama not worth it.
"I know, and I do! His friendship...it's everything. He's just too important to me. And I probably would have, but then there are these little glimpses, the things he does and the way he looks at me, and I'm back to hoping."
I'm ready to pound on that door, demanding for her to let me in and tell me the name of the clueless fuck who hurts my girl.
"I just… I love him. So much. ...You are right, but this is Edward we are talking about!"
And then I realize that I am the clueless fuck who hurt my girl. Even more so than I originally thought.
She loves me. She fucking loves me.
I just… How could I have missed that? Why didn't she ever tell me? What does this mean for us? Why didn't I—?
I'm so confused. I don't know anything anymore. There are just too many question spinning around in my head I don't have answers to.
And since answers are exactly what I need, I know what I have to do. "Sweet B."
"Oh fuck!" There's a thud followed by more cursing.
My voice is hoarse. My throat is dry, and my head spins. There's no turning back now, though. "Sweet B, please open the door."
A small eternity must have passed before she finally unlocks the door and opens it. The woman that stands before me is not the cheeky, playful, laughing one from a few minutes ago, but the one I met a few weeks back. The one that refuses to meet my eyes. It makes sense, though, doesn't it?
"What you just said, is it true? Do you mean it?"
"You heard me?" Just like back then, her voice is all shaky again.
I can't decide whether to shake her or pull her into my arms. I'm not even sure she would want me to, to be honest. "Yes. Do you mean it?
But contrary to the other night, she doesn't try to hide her feelings or play a game. She looks up. "What do you think? Do I?"
Her tears, however, they don't hurt me anymore.
They fucking stab me. Each one of them.
This is not how it's supposed to be. Neither of us should be hurting—least of all her.
My eyes never stray from hers as I reach for her hands. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I thought you heard what I said."
"Not everything." And even if I had, I would want to hear the words fall from her lips directed at me.
"Because I'm stupid, all right? Stupid and scared. You and Peter were the first friends I made in this town, so at first, I didn't want the instant crush I had on you to catapult me back to knowing no one. And, honestly, I thought I would get over it over time. But the more time we spent together, the stronger my crush grew.
"And you're such a fucking asshole with your stupid smile and abundance of charm! Every tease, every wink, every hug… Just a certain look from you and I had a hard time breathing. There I was, a supposedly grown-up college student, acting like a teenage fangirl. It was ridiculous! I tried to undo my feelings for you, okay? I did! I tried to distance myself, met new people and even went out on dates.
"I never stayed away for long, though, did I? And you know why? Because every time, every single time, you and that stupid face of yours pulled me back. Still do.
"I could live with rejection, you know? That was never what I was afraid of. You're a good person with a gentle heart, Edward, but you are also an idiot. What if I had confessed my feelings for you only to have you keep your distance in a moronic attempt to keep me from hurting from what I couldn't have? That would have killed me. You, as a person, are so important to me—your friendship is so important to me, I couldn't risk losing any of it. So I played cool and tried to lock the fucking butterflies you caused away."
I open my mouth, wanting to meet her bared soul with my own, but there is nothing. I'm just standing here, my mouth gone dry and a lump in my throat, feeling like an imbecile. There she is, being so brave and honest, and I can't even find a single word to give back to her. I really am an idiot.
Squeezing her hands, I silently hope for B to squeeze back. I need this gesture to know that we are still okay. She does, and finally I dare to free one of my hands and wipe the tear tracks from her cheeks.
When they are gone, I pick her up and, walking over to the sink, sit her on the counter. Bending down, I then grab her a pack of tissues from the cabinet underneath. Standing between her legs, I try not to stare as she dabs one along the underside of her chin and cleans her nose. She keeps her eyes focused on my thumbs as they brush over her knee caps.
It's only when she continues talking that I look up again. "And then there are things like this, you know. Moments like these."
"No, wait, let me say this, please. We're both affectionate people; touching, hugging, kissing. It always came naturally for us, didn't it?" As to emphasize her point, she lets her fingertips trail along the back of my hands. "I always loved that there was never much of distance between us, but in a way, it also made it harder.
"I'll never hold this against you or say you did it on purpose, Edward, but you also give me hope. I don't know if you even realize that you do it, but you treat me differently than you treat others. You always seem extra attentive, extra sweet, extra gentle with me… All the little things that you do. Hell, all of what you did today!
But most of all, it's the way you look at me. There's always so much affection in your eyes… Maybe it's pretentious of me to ever have thought that, but it makes me feel special."
"You are very special to me, Sweet B." I thought at least that much was clear.
The tips of her fingers trail up higher along my arms. "And you call me Sweet B."
"I do." I can't even remember how or when I started to call her that, but I recollect the bright smile she rewarded me with whenever I did. It was incentive enough for me to use it again and again.
"And the other evening you called me baby. Twice. It's awful that I noticed that and even more so that I just told you about it. I just…"
I lean in closer hanging onto every word that falls from her lips. "What?"
"I don't want anything to change between us. But at the same, as long as there's the hint of a chance that you feel more for me as well, I feel like I should know." Resting the palms against my neck, her hands cease their movement.
"What? Tell me."
"If you do, then I want us to try to be more."
I can see myself telling her that I need time to think and figure my feeling for her out. It's a lot to take in after all.
But I don't.
I don't have to because I already know. Well, maybe not know exactly, but I have a pretty good idea of what it is that's causing my heart to beat so fast still. It's her.
It's her right this moment, sitting there and wearing my clothes. It's in the look in her eyes as she studies mine and the way she caresses my skin.
It's in all the other times before, too. The laughter, the hand-holding, the teasing, her pinching, feeling her body snuggled into mine, the talking, the nesting, the listening,... All of it.
And always her.
The way she looks in all of these moments, I have it memorized.
That part I knew all along, but if, deep down, my feeling for her had changed a while ago as well, but I never acknowledged them. Or I couldn't identify them for what they were. I think it's established by now that I am very dense.
It could be…
Fuck it. I'm done thinking things through.
And so I cup her face in my hands and kiss her. But it's not just a peck, and it lasts longer than a mere second. It's...sweet.
Yeah. A sweet, gentle, lingering kiss. A good one; the kind that makes you smile against the lips you just tasted.
"What are you doing?"
"This is me, trying." My lips brush against hers as I speak. "I do, Sweet B, and I— I really want this, too."
For a while, she doesn't say anything. She just sits there and studies my face, searching my eyes for the last grain of affirmation she needs to see that I'm sincere. Her mouth is still so close. I'm absorbing her every breath and make it my own.
Finally, her lips slowly stretch into a breathtaking smile. "You mean it."
I want to tell her that I'd been such an idiot and reassure her again and again that I get it now, but all I can do is nod and grin in return.
"Good." Her lips brush against mine then, and I have to reclaim them. Now that I know what they taste like and how they feel moving against my own, I can't seem to get enough. To think that I could have had this all for a while, had I just opened my eyes…
I really am as thick as a brick.
Soo, that was my entry for the Friends to Lovers Contest. :)
I had so much fun writing this little piece, and participating in the contest was a great experience.
If you want to find out more about the contest, the hosts, the other participants and their great stories, winners, banners, etc, go check out this blog:
friendstoloverscontest dot tumblr dot com
I'd like to thank my lovely betas for cleaning up after me and my typo-prone and grammar despising self. :)
As for Sweet B and Edward... I feel like there is room for a little bit more of their story, but I can't exactly say yet when that could happen.
Hopefully, soon. :)
Thanks so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed it.