A/N: I know I'm late this morning. Sorry guys, it's been a hectic one.
Anyway, I'm so glad you guys enjoyed that little outtake from Sue's POV. I hope it explained Charlie a bit better as well.
Betad by the lovely Michelle Renker Rhodes.
Most characters belong to S. Meyer.
Chapter 24 – Adrenaline
Ever since we were young girls, Angie and I have always loved riding the bus.
If the bus isn't loaded to the max, we take seats by a window so that we can see the way neighborhoods change from block to block: well-off to poor, residential to business, white to black to Latin to mixed all around. The houses change; the music changes; the cars change; the entire vibe changes, and we love watching that.
We sneak peeks inside vehicles to see what the passengers are doing: staring straight ahead, talking on their phones, fiddling with radios, even picking their noses.
We comment on everything we see. Like right now, there are two guys walking hand in hand, talking and smiling at each other with so much love it warms my toes despite the cold, November Saturday morning.
"Ay, Bendito, pero que chuleria!" Angie exclaims. "Now why can't I find someone to look at me like that?"
I gaze at them while one reaches up and ruffles the other ones hair and just…sigh.
"Yeah, yeah," Angie says. When I look at her, she rolls her eyes at me. "We all know you found your Papi Chulo."
I don't argue because yeah, I did, and my papito is so friggin' chulo indeed. I think of what it feels like to be in his hard, strong embrace…what it feels like to grind against that hard, thick cock…what it will feel like buried deep inside me…
My nether region tingles.
"You're totally imagining fucking Papi Chulo right now, aren't you?" Angie grins wickedly.
I shove her shoulder hard, feeling my face flame. "How do you know?" I choke.
She laughs like a hyena. "Because you're drooling again!"
Anyway, Angie and I also tend to listen in on other people's conversations on the bus, but hey, it's not our fault if they carry on loud enough for anyone within a one mile radius to hear.
Like now, for example, there's this discussion going on between two older ladies seated right behind us. They're talking in heated, fast Spanish. A couple of times, I've got to lean in and quietly ask Angie for clarification because her Spanish is way better than mine. But I'm catching the gist of the convo.
Once we're off the bus, we break out into fits of laughter so fierce we're holding our stomachs.
"Aye, Bendito!" Angie howls, "Oh my God, I'm laughing, but that is so gonna be you and me when we're old doñitas complaining about our men, 'cept I gotta find me a man before I can actually bitch about him."
I'm laughing so hard I can't speak at first, but once the chortles die down, I throw an arm around her as we walk down the breezy streets headed toward the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where I'll be auditioning in a few.
"Angie, don't worry. No matter what…you'll always find something to bitch about."
She shoves me hard and we're pushing each other and more laughing in the street when my phone beeps with a new message. I quickly pull it out of my bag, and when I read it, my body warms all over.
Good luck, Baby. Am I supposed to say "Break a leg here?"
I chuckle at his lack of knowledge when it comes to the performing arts' scene.
Break a leg works fine. Thanks. You at work?
Yeah. For a few hours already.
I sigh. Yeah. His mornings start a lot earlier than mine do – as he once reminded me so eloquently.
Is Mel home?
I would've brought her with me today, so she wouldn't have had to be home alone while Edward went to work, but these auditions always work differently. I wasn't sure if they would've allowed her entry.
No. Rose picked her up from our place a couple of hours ago. She's going to drop her off at home and then we'll come meet you. Want to go to the movies tonight?
I sigh, and I'm about to suggest staying home. Movies are expensive, what with tickets and snacks, and if I suggest paying, he balks.
I won't hurt his pride, but I can buy the popcorn and drinks at least, can't I?
Sure. Sounds good. Text you when I'm done.
Hey. You'll do great, Bella. I know it.
Thanks, Edward. Can't wait to see you.
Can't wait to see you either.
When I put the phone back in my bag, Angie starts making all these kissy kissy sounds right by my ear. I shove her again, and she laughs.
"So…have you spoken to Charlie this week?"
I shake my head, glaring straight ahead. "He called me a couple of times, but I've been busy."
Angie sighs. "You know he just wants the best for you."
I stop and look at her. "Don't even tell me you're defending him!" I cross my arms against my chest. "Angie, he treated Edward really shitty last week when we went for dinner. And that crap he pulled…he hurt Mel. I'm sorry, but he went a bit too far this time, and until he's ready to see what he's doing…" I shake my head. "I can't."
Angie sighs. "Your dad's always been a nut job when it comes to you, B; you know this."
"Except when it came to Eli," I sneer. "He's got on fucking blinders when it comes to Eli."
"That's cuz ese mamao has always known how to talk a good talk. He's always known exactly what to say and do to get on your pop's good side. Hey, maybe you should take those blinders off of him."
"Angie," I shudder, "I could never tell Charlie about all that."
"Not all of it, Nena. Duh, we don't want the poor man going into cardiac arrest," she rolls her eyes. "But just enough to get your father to see Eli for the maricon, hijo e puta, lame cricka he really is," she says softly – which is kinda strange considering all the really, really bad curse words she just spewed.
"I shouldn't have to explain anything to Charlie, Angie! I'm a grown woman for god's sakes!"
"Yeah, I guess you're right."
We start walking again, though with less enthusiasm than we had before, eyes on the grey, concrete squares that make up the pavement.
"Not to beat the subject to death, but how are things going at work with Edward and your Dad and Eli?"
I sigh. "Edward doesn't like to talk about it, but as far as I know, Dad's not on-site this week. As for Eli, you know he's never been the type to get dirty," I scowl. "He's never liked to hang out at the sites any more than necessary. Besides, he's got his dancers to train."
Angie wraps her arms around my shoulder, and we walk on. "Girl, I'm glad you dropped him, as your man and as your choreographer."
"Yeah, so am I."
There's this big, murky room inside the Academy where all the tryouts are gathered, stretching and doing last-minute warm-ups.
"Nervous?" Angie asks while I'm stretched out limb to limb over the hardwood floor.
I shake my head. The nerves don't usually act up until my name is called, and then they disappear once I start moving. Everything disappears when I start moving.
I stretch my body forward, my legs open in a full split, and then I bend down so low my nose touches the floor. Then I straighten my back for ten beats with my legs still split apart, folding my torso backwards so far I'm almost parallel to my leg.
"You need me to do anything?"
"Just…" - I breathe through my stretching – "watch my legs and make sure they're steady."
"Okay," Angie agrees quickly. She's feeling more uptight than I am; I can tell. I don't usually bring her to try-outs, but it's the first one I'm attending without an agent or a choreographer.
"Number twenty-two, Swan! Swan!"
"Bellita, that's you!" Angie hisses, shaking me in case I've forgotten my surname.
A guy sporting black tights, a blue-tooth receiver around his ear and a clipboard held possessively in his hands darts his eyes around the room. When his eyes find me, he puts one hand on his waist.
"Well then, Honey, shake that ass and come on!"
He rushes off without waiting.
There are four members to the judging panel today: two men and two women.
The man at the far left has a bald spot at the very top of his head and thick, wide-rimmed glasses. He holds my portfolio in his hands, studying it with practiced boredom. My eyes dart quickly to the curtains off-stage where Angie stands watching and waiting. She grins and gives me two thumbs-up.
"Yes." I stand perfectly straight, shoulders arched, arms and hands in front of me, feet in first position.
"Who represents you, Isabella?" the bald man asks, eyes still on my portfolio.
"I'm between agents at the moment."
His eyes shoot up to me. "Between agents?"
"Yes." It's in the portfolio, dumb-ass.
His beady eyes narrow, and though my heart trips in my chest, I keep my chin held high, my shoulders straight, posture perfect, chomping at the bit to go.
"Isabella Swan. Weren't you previously represented by Felix Arroyo?"
I feel my perfect posture falter slightly, but then recover.
"Yes, I was."
Baldy's already pronounced frown intensifies. He places my portfolio carefully over the narrow table in front of him, and then steeples his fingers together.
"And…we had an…artistic disagreement, and I decided it would be better to seek other representation."
"You let him go?" His voice drips disbelief.
"Yes, I did."
He looks back down at my portfolio.
"Eli Nuñez is your choreographer."
"No, Sir, not anymore."
This time, he lifts his eyes without actually lifting his head, looking at me through the top rim of his glasses.
"Another artistic disagreement," he smirks.
He draws in a deep breath and darts his eyes to his fellow judges. They move in, whispering furtively to each other while my chest heaves, but I remain in position, like a professional.
Then he brings his gaze back to me.
"Ms. Swan, it's highly unusual for a dancer to drop such…stellar representation as are Felix and his group."
I don't know what the hell he wants me to say to that, so I say nothing at all.
He clears his throat. "I'm sorry, but there must've been some sort of…misunderstanding. We don't usually audition dancers without representation."
"Pero que clase e mierda…" I hear muttered off-stage.
"What? But I don't understand. I was told I could try out."
"I'm sorry, but-"
I'm about to either lunge and choke the balding bastard, or break out into tears right here; I'm not sure which, when the female judge all the way at the other end cranes her neck towards the asshole speaking to me. Once again, they all huddle together while my pulse races, and my heart feels as if it's about to pound right out of my chest.
I glance over at Angie. She looks livid, her curls wild around her head while she taps a foot angrily.
"Voy a fohkeen-" she mouths.
"Tate quieta!" I mouth back, slicing the air under my chin in a cut-it-out gesture and frowning darkly before returning my eyes to the front and center.
The bald-headed fucker shakes his head vehemently, but the woman at the end taps a finger hard against the table, as if she's demanding something. The other two judges simply nod their heads.
When Baldy drops his head, a long, defeated sigh emanates from his paunchy middle.
After a few seconds, he looks back up at me, a clear scowl on his ratty face.
"Very well, Ms. Swan, since you're already here…you might as well go ahead." He waves an impatient hand, gesturing for me to get on with it.
"Thank you," I say through clenched teeth, instead of spitting out all the curse words I really want to hurl his way.
Because now I'm off my game. The entire scene has thrown me. I feel off-center and shaky. I want to ask for a couple of minutes. Maybe someone can go on before me.
But in this business, you're not given a minute to regain your equilibrium, and if I request one, I might as well walk off this stage and just leave.
So the music begins, and I close my eyes for two seconds, my lips moving silently around a quick prayer for balance and strength.
And suddenly Edward's face is behind my eyelids.
I don't even remember beginning, but somehow, I'm in the middle, and I'm spinning and leaping, and feeling the music. The steps aren't just steps; they're a part of me. They're in the air I'm breathing; they're in the blood pounding in my veins.
When the music ends, my back is arched, my arms are splayed wide, and it takes me a second to remember where exactly I am. My chest heaves with energy.
The panel stares at me.
Baldy clears his throat.
"Very well, Ms. Swan. Thank you. We'll be in touch."
"Ese lambebicho," Angie scowls as we make our way out of the building. "He was just being a dick."
I'm listening to her, but my entire body is humming. I'm high-strung and jittery, full of that rush of energy I haven't felt in a long time - even though I'm positive I didn't get the part. The tears stinging my eyes may be from either disappointment or adrenaline making its way through my system. I'm not sure which. Either way, blood rushes wildly through my veins.
"He was right though, Angie. I need an Agent. I'm never going to get anywhere without one."
"You wouldn't call Eli or Felix again, would you?"
"Of course not! I'm not that desperate!"
I don't mean to be so short with Angie. She's my best friend, and she came all the way here with me, but I'm not myself after these auditions – especially this one. I'm positive more went on back there than I'm completely aware of. The problem is that I have no idea what it could be.
Just as we're about to step outside into the afternoon, fall sunshine, someone calls my name.
"Ms. Swan! Ms. Swan!"
Angie and I both turn around.
One of the women from the judging panel is approaching me quickly.
"What is it?" I frown. "Did I do something wrong?"
"No, Ms. Swan," the woman shakes her head. She holds my gaze, and then pursing her lips, presses something into the palm of my right hand.
I look down at it.
"You need an agent."
"I've…been trying," I tell her, "but everyone I call tells me the same thing: they have no time to-"
She opens her mouth and then closes it again quickly, a wry smile on her face.
"Yes, I'm sure they're all extremely busy. Call this guy." She taps her finger into my hand much the same way she tapped it against the table inside. "He's not very experienced, and he doesn't have many clients, but he works hard for those he does have, and most importantly, he's one of those rare creatures in this industry with actual scruples."
"I'll…give him a call," I murmur, completely puzzled. "Thanks. I'm sorry, but can you please tell me what's-"
"Call him," she repeats urgently and then turns and walks away.
How did it go?
They said they'd call me back.
They're crazy if they don't give it to you.
Thanks, but you may be biased here.
I'm not, and I know I'm no expert, but you're the best dancer I've ever seen. Gotta get back to work, Bella. I'll see you in a few.
I reread our text exchange five times before putting my phone away.
"Man, you are buzzed," Angie says on the bus ride home.
She's right. I can't even sit and focus on the everyday happenings of the people around me. Instead, I stand the whole way home, holding on to the shiny, silver metal pole in the middle of the bus, my mind racing as much as my body.
"What does the card say?" Angie asks.
I look down at it again.
"Ben Cheney: Talent Agent."
"Have you ever heard of him?"
"Why would she give that to you?"
"I have no idea."
When I get home, I take a shower and let the hot water rain down on me. I tilt my head up to the spray, closing my eyes as it pounds over my shoulders and chest and glides down my stomach and legs. I'm not exactly sure how much time has passed when the water starts running cold. I turn the water off and just stand there…waiting for my heart to regulate itself.
In my bedroom, I stare at myself in the mirror. My face is flushed from both hot water and this…energy. I brush back my wet hair and put on a pair of boot-cut yogas and one of the tops I know Edward likes on me, the ones that fall off my shoulder.
But the adrenaline is still pulsing. It's lasting longer than usual. My mind is working hard at trying to make sense of the entire scene before and after the audition, and the energy it's taking to keep it going is seeping into the rest of me.
By the time the doorbell rings, I'm a quaking mess. My heart flutters like agitated little wings on a bird, and I have no idea how I'm going to sit through a movie tonight.
When I open the door, Edward is standing there – by himself.
Edward smirks, cradling my jaw so he can press his mouth to mine.
"Rose took her for a manicure and pedicure or some shit. So now I've got to pick her up in…" – he checks his watch as he walks inside – "a couple of hours. I'm fucking exhausted, Baby, and now I've got to drive into Queens."
He takes his boots off by the door and then walks further in while reaching behind his neck to pull his dirty work hoodie off, which leaves him in a surprisingly clean, white tee shirt. I watch him, my heart palpitating painfully now.
He turns around and walks over to kiss me softly before searching my eyes. "How did it go?"
"I won't know for a couple of days, at least," I respond, trying to keep my voice even.
"Doesn't it usually work that way? Takes 'em a couple of days or something to make up their minds?"
"Yeah," I shrug briskly.
"So it's not a bad thing," he smiles encouragingly.
I nod, my head bobbing up and down too quickly.
His green eyes hold my gaze, and he studies me a bit closer, frowning. "Bella, you okay?"
I nod again. "Yeah, yeah. I'm fine."
He narrows his eyes, searching my eyes, my face, and then pulls me into his arms, wrapping me in his warmth, but with this energy…with this adrenaline…I'm burning.
"Bella…" – he kisses the crown of my head – "I don't know much about how your dancing career works, but Baby, I've seen you dance, and…you put your heart and soul in it. I can tell you're anxious, but if they don't pick you, then they're fucking blind. Come on, let me take you to dinner, just you and me, and then we can go pick up-"
"Edward, I don't want to go to dinner. I mean, it's…it's not that, Edward. I'm not anxious…about that."
He pulls me away and meets my eyes, his bright and tender though I have no idea what he sees in mine. "Then what is it?" he smiles in confusion.
By now, my heart hammers against my ribs, making my insides hurt. My entire body quivers with this heat and energy throbbing in my veins. I hold Edward's gaze, my eyes darting between his eyes and his mouth and…and…
And I reach up and slide my hands around his neck, pressing my body against his and parting his soft lips with my tongue.
He responds immediately, groaning and gripping my hips, his thumbs brushing my upper thighs. I drag a hand down his solid shoulder, over his firm ribs, under his soft shirt until I find the hard plains of his abs under my fingers and all the while he kisses me and kisses me…his tongue sweet and demanding in my mouth, and I moan because the energy I'm feeling is quickly mutating into something else…raw desire…pure lust.
My fingers tickle their way further down, and he chuckles against my mouth.
"What are you doing?"
I feel the soft hairs under his belly button, the trail that leads under his boxers and then those first bristles that lead to-
Edward sucks in a sharp breath and quickly grabs my wrist.
"Whoa," he breathes.
"Edward, I want you inside me." I try to free my wrist. "Now."
"Bella…" He chuckles. "We've got less than two hours before I have to pick up Mel."
"That should be enough," I breathe, biting his jaw.
"Bella…" He strokes my cheek, tracing my lips, and the way he looks at me, his eyes smoldering with so many emotions…"The first time I make love to you, I want to have all night…all night to show you and tell you how I feel."
My mind understands what he's saying. It probably even agrees somewhere, but this energy…this lust…this aching need…it's clouding absolutely everything. It takes priority. My heart hammers; there's a throbbing between my legs and I feel like I may explode if I don't release it all now.
Yet somewhere deep inside, where my mind understands that ninety rushed minutes isn't enough to love this man the way he deserves to be loved, I know there's something I need to tell him first; some truth, some confession.
But it doesn't matter right now.
All that matters is that I need him inside, deep inside.
So I ignore the small voice, the one somewhere in the back, and I reach down and cup Edward's hard cock, wrapping my fingers around the thick, swollen bulge protruding from his pants.
"Bella…fuck…" he hisses, crashing his mouth to mine and thrusting his hips up and against my palm.
And I know he'll be mine now, despite the voice, despite what's whispering in the back of my mind.
"Bella…Baby, I need a shower first. I just came from work."
"You must always bathe first."
It hits me out of nowhere. The thought. The memory.
I suck in a sharp breath and drop to my knees, pushing it all back, down, down, down; into the deepest recesses of my mind while I fumble with the button on Edward's pants and pull down the zipper. My hands move with eager desperation, pulling down pants and boxers just enough to free him.
His thick cock bobs right in front of my face, long and erect.
"Bella…Bella what are you…oh God…" he hisses when I wrap my mouth around him.
Okay, let me just say one thing: I did NOT cut it here to be a bitch or a tease. I swear I didn't. There's a reason why it had to end here, why the next part needs to be a separate chapter. I promise.
Ay, Bendito, pero que chuleria! – My goodness, how cute!
Donitas – old ladies
Ese mamao – that sucker
Maricon – asshole (not literally. Literally it means something else.)
Hijo e puta – son of a bitch
Lame cricka – pussy sucker
Pero que clase e mierda… – what kind of shit…
Tate quieta - behave
Lambe bicho – cock sucker
So, uhm…yeah, see ya Thursday?
Link to 'Stories by PattyRose' is on my profile page.