This is the long awaited, first of probably many, One Shot.
I cannot thank Angelnlove52 enough, she was absolutely invaluable during the long editing process. Another thank you to my besty Ash for reading through this after me and Angel couldn't any more. I love you bitch and this is for you! Thanks to TwilightCullenLvr9 as well, don't have too much fun out in the real world!
As per most things I write, this is part truth. If you want to know more, PM me. I'm pretty happy to tell everyone about my drama filled existence.
It's currently eight p.m. on Christmas Eve and my freakishly short best friend and I are getting ready to go to the biggest and best (and probably the only) party in our tiny home town of Forks, Washington. I sit in front of Alice's vanity picking at my nails, trying my best not to look bored as said short person fluffs my hair into the most atrocious mass of curls ever seen on a human head.
"Honestly, Alice," I complain, barely managing to keep the whine out of my voice. "I don't see why you have to poof my hair up so much. I'm going to have the most horrible time trying to run a brush through it tomorrow! Give it a rest with the hairspray, would you? Jesus."
I see her meticulously spiky hairdo before my most annoying of friends pokes her head around the side of the cascading waterfall that is now my hair. She sticks her tongue out at me, but continues to primp, that smart assed little bitch.
"Bella," she says reasonably, disappearing from my view in the mirror to adjust a few curls in the back. "If you have trouble brushing your hair tomorrow, it won't be because of this brilliant hairstyle. Will it?"
My imagination runs wild, which it quite often does, and all of a sudden I'm not in front of Alice's mirror any more. I disappear down the proverbial rabbit hole, which to my delight, contains a verified sex god with long talented fingers and Edward's gorgeous face. I sigh with pleasure as said fingers pull apart the mass of curls Alice has spent forever perfecting.
A tug that isn't a part of my imagination focuses my eyes back on the mirror in front of me where Alice is watching me with a weird look on her face. I scowl at her, annoyed that she destroyed my fantasy. She just wiggles her eyebrows suggestively and makes kissy faces at me in the mirror. I stick my tongue out at her like a juvenile.
"Alice, I swear, if you fuck with my chances of getting with Mr. Hot Stuff, I'm going to empty your wardrobe and hire one of those tree shredders," I threaten. I hear a gasp and pain shoots through my head. Damn vindictive hussy. "Ouch! Jesus! Be fucking careful back there bitch!" A menacing chuckle comes from behind me.
I suppose I should explain my friendship with Alice a bit. We are crude bitches-pervy, mouthy, bitches that don't take shit from anyone. Don't say I didn't warn you. We can bitch a never ending fountain of word vomit at each other and still manage to smile and shrug it off. Alice is the best friend I could ever have, my sister from another mister. So, when I call her a bitch, I mean it. She just shrugs it off and accepts it, only to reply with, "Shut your face, you fucking hypocrite!" And of course she's right, it's our claim to fame.
We both grin and continue our conversation about the hottest of all hotties, Edward "Hot Stuff" Cullen. Women swoon and turn into dripping messes just hearing his sex-god of a name. When you come face to face with the legend himself, it's hard to remember you're a human being and not some animal just wanting to hump his muscular, fuck hot leg.
Alice and I discuss the specifics of what exactly makes Sir Lickable so irresistible; the hot, toned body, intense green eyes, or the smirk that makes ladies underwear take a long relaxing vacation (you won't need them with him around) but none of that is what draws me to him most. Edward is so much more than what is on the outside. He's smart, talented, and most importantly, understands our crazy warped sense of humor. I'm ripped from my reverie by a loud boom from downstairs, the door bangs open and the sounds of people entering fill the otherwise vacated house. We are rewarded with the clicking of what must be at least seven inches of stilettos and a sarcastic voice coming up the stairs.
"Hey bitches! Where the fuck are you hiding? Don't make me come looking, you know it won't end well." The voice slowly advances. Alice's eyes meet mine in the mirror, smirking.
"My room, Barbie," she yells down the stairs.
If Alice and I are bitches, then Rosalie Hale is the Queen of Bitchland and we all bow down at her feet, hoping to get approval from the mightiest of all bitches to ever walk the face of the Earth.
She sweeps into the room like the royalty she considers herself to be and I smirk to myself as I survey the perfect blonde, imagining the scenes we would cause later. Rosalie can be as feral and foul mouthed as anyone I know, but it just sounds worse coming through her perfectly glossed and colored-in lips. Going on looks alone, Rose would be any man's dream come true, but as soon as she opens her mouth, she becomes their worst nightmare. Yes, men fear the brutality and smarts that erupt with her no shit personality. If she catches you staring, she calls you out, if she thinks you are out of line, you'd be the first to know along with everyone within a mile radius. She is heinously vicious to anyone but her closest friends.
Tonight will be no different.
She is impeccably dressed in bright red stilettos (seven inch, as I guessed), black frilled mini skirt, which would only constitute as slightly more than a belt, and a bright red halter with long flowing ties hanging down her very bare back. I knew this because as soon as she realized I was checking her out, she did a catwalk strut, complete with a three point pose and matching model-esq twirl.
"Like what you see, hoe-bag?" She smirks cheekily at me. I raise my eyebrows and lick my lips, pouting suggestively and making Rose laugh. "Good. If the girls can't keep their eyes off me, it's going to be a very good night."
Alice claps quickly, jumps up, and declares my hair complete. I mentally high five myself and stand, stretching. My God that was the longest hour of my life. At five-foot-six, I'm a good head taller than Alice but a whole torso shorter than Rose (especially with her in her fuck me heels). I decided on wearing my black, knee high lace-up boots (making me a couple of inches taller—four inches to be exact) with my mid-thigh length black tennis skirt and a white collared button up shirt, paired with a black waistcoat.
Black takes up a good portion of my wardrobe, though Alice is trying desperately to get me into colors. Vomit. What can I say? Black goes with everything! Not only that, but it's sexy, and very slenderizing!
Alice chose something typically Alice, bright! She is wearing a canary yellow, off the shoulder top, matched with a pair of very short black shorts, and black with yellow polka dot heels. With her short spiky hair she looks like she could outshine Big Bird. At least she looks good in that color, I could never pull it off. I'm sure I'd look horribly pasty behind the brightness. I would probably blind myself and become even more clumsy than usual. I mean, the only reason I'm getting away with the heels tonight is because they're attached to boots, which are attached to my legs. One thing I've learned; support is the biggest scientific discovery of the century. This theory applies to push up bras as well.
I down the Cosmo Alice made me and gesture to the girls that we should have another. I make my way, very carefully, down the stairs and into the kitchen to find most of the necessities already lined up on the bench, and measure the correct amounts into our glasses. As I pour the last of the mixture in, I feel two large warm hands on my shoulders and turn to find Emmett smiling down at me. I grin back and find myself enveloped in one of his trademark bear hugs.
Emmett is the biggest guy I've ever seen but he's also the most gentle, like a giant teddy bear. He and Rosalie have been together since the beginning of high school, and are now engaged to be married. Besides us girls, Emmett is the only one who can keep any kind of control over Rosalie's bitchiness levels. Being Rose's fiancé means he is nearly as perfectly dressed as she is, sporting baggy grey sweat pants, a light grey waistcoat with nothing underneath, and a zip-up matching jacket. It is the perfect look for Emmett, casual but showing off his rippling assets, just the way he likes it.
"Hey dudette!" he booms, putting me down. "Ready to have some fun?" He grins even wider and nudges me, winking suggestively. I groan.
Damn, bitches can't keep their fucking big mouths closed!
I pick up my drink and take a large gulp. Emmett just laughs, wrapping his arm around Rosalie as she walks in and dips her backwards. He kisses her dramatically, probably dribbling all over her face in the process but Rose just giggles, pretending to fight him off before finally giving into his charming personality. It is a well rehearsed scene and it gets a laugh out of us no matter how often they perform it.
Alice skips into the kitchen, picks up her glass, and hands us our handbags. Emmett reaches out and tries to ruffle her hair but she ducks away toward me and raises her glass. I grab Emmett a beer and raise my own glass.
"To a fantabulous night. May we all get very, very lucky." Alice winks obviously at us, eliciting a chuckle out of Emmett and another groan from me.
We raise, clink, and drink.
Emmett slams his beer down in two quick gulps, belches massively, and looks extremely proud of himself. I forgot I was still ingesting my own drink and snort causing my Cosmopolitan to almost come spurting out of my tear ducts! I choke and explode into a massive coughing fit that ends with tears streaming down my face. Shit! I curse my inability to even drink without screwing it up.
I wipe my tears, trying to be careful of the make-up job Alice had done on me, drink the rest of my drink with a grimace, and make my way outside to have a cigarette, which would hopefully take a bit of the burn away. Alice yells at me to keep an eye out for the taxi. I wave over my shoulder dismissively. Rose joins me shortly, asking to borrow my lighter. We inhale the sweet, sweet nicotine in silence until Alice bounces out with Emmett in tow.
"Holy shit, tar suckers! My delicate lungs are failing!" She chokes herself and staggers as she came closer to us.
"Pussy," Rose responds tartly, picking at her nails.
Alice sticks her tongue out, unperturbed and turns to me, tilting her head a tad to one side. She looks so much like the bird whose color she is wearing that I can't help but laugh loudly and obnoxiously; snorting almost. I double over, clutching my stomach, laughing hysterically and try to mime a bird. Rosalie looks at me like I've gone mad, which I probably have, but Alice cracks a smirk, that girl just understands me so well.
I take deep breaths and by the time I am calm again, we were finished killing our lungs and the taxi pulls to the curb. Alice, all business-like, orders Emmett in the front and the girls in the back, mainly so she could fix my make-up I'm sure, and then we were off. Edward 'I'm hotter than a Greek God" Cullen's house was near the river, if you could call it that. The property is surrounded in forest and is easily the most luxurious house in the whole town. The annual Christmas Eve party also happened to be the place to be and everyone in town would be there.
With my face spritzed and feeling a light tingle from the Cosmos, I get out of the taxi and behold the wonder that is the Cullen home. It is a dark night but the house is brightly lit, all the windows open to create a large space, almost like a dance floor. Music echoes around the clearing, bouncing off the surrounding trees and people are everywhere, the sounds of laughter and flirtation mingles with the pounding bass. I straighten my outfit and wait for the girls and Emmett before heading up the stairs and into the brightly lit living area. I weave my way through the people to where I know the drinks are set up, everyone trailing me, stopping occasionally to say 'hi' to people we knew.
I squeeze through a doorway into the kitchen, coming face to face with a warm, solid, black clad chest. I look up into the deep emerald green eyes that can only belong to one person.
"Hey Edward," I mutter, trying to sound normal but I can feel my palms tingle where my hands meet his chest. I quickly pull them away, realizing I am flexing my fingers and feeling the muscles underneath thin fabric of his black band shirt. "Uh, how you doing?"
Edward flashes me his trademark grin – lips pulling up to one side crookedly - and picks up my hand, kisses the palm, and looks into my eyes from underneath long lashes. We have been flirting shamelessly for months now and I know this is going to come to a crescendo very soon - hopefully tonight.
"Bella," he murmurs softly against the skin of my hand and my knees almost give out. I stare entranced into his emotion filled green eyes, wondering what he is thinking. He glances over my shoulder as if noticing for the first time the rest of the people in his house. He lowers our hands but doesn't let go of my fingers, twirling one of my rings and looking amused. I glance around and spot Alice, bouncing in place and grinning like a maniac. I groan.
"Alice, piss off, will you?" I hiss at her, pissed she has ruined the moment. Her expression turns innocent. Yeah right bitch, innocent my perky ass.
"But Bella," she smiles sweetly. "I need a drink; I'm just so darn thirsty?" She grabs her throat and squeezes, choking herself.
"Fine!" I throw my hands in the air and turn to survey the kitchen area, mumbling to myself. "Fucking bitches can't do anything for themselves."
There are buckets set up on every spare piece of bench, filled with ice, beer, soft drinks, mixers, and alcoholic beverages. I find a bowl with what looks like fruit punch but I'm not game enough to have any of that, god knows how long it had been there or what had been done to it. After realizing there wasn't much in the way of drinks for us, I enlisted Edwards' help to find a blender and some fresh ice so I could whip up a batch of strawberry daiquiris - my specialty.
I glance from the bright red drink to my white shirt in dismay, knowing this would spell disaster with a capital D. I'm going to spill this on me sometime tonight. That or someone else will spill something on me. I shrug to myself and hand Alice two glasses; one for her and one for Rose. Alice smiles brilliantly at me.
"Thanks, skank-hoe. Don't have too much fun now." She winks as she walks away to find Rose and Emmett, leaving me alone with Mr. 'fuck-me' Cullen - finally.
Edward smiles down at me, grasps my hand again and leads me toward the front veranda. I wave to Alice who is stationed in the exact right spot to scope out anyone who walks into the house, like a predator searching for prey. I wouldn't want to get caught in her sights if I was some hot male. Shaking my head at my best friends' antics, I follow Edward down the front stairs and around the side of the house.
He drops my hand, moving to stand a short distance from me. Now I know what you're thinking, 'wow, Bella's so easy' but I'll have you know Edward and I have been circling each other for the last couple of months and trust me, I made him work for it but there is only so much eye fuckery, innocent touching, and shameless banter a girl can take. I know tonight will be the night — tonight has to be the night. I can't hold out any longer or I will go insane.
He sighs and I can see his hand go up to tangle in his messy bronze hair. I put my hands on his arm, ignoring the incessant tingles created by even that innocent a touch and turn him toward me. I can see half his face in the dim light; his eyes are downcast and mournful. I hate seeing him like this.
"Edward," I say gently, taking his face in my hands and making him look at me. "What's wrong?" His eyes search my face and he reaches out a hand to push a stray curl back behind my ear.
"Bella," he replies in a low rough voice. Just him saying my name in that voice dripping with sexual tension sends warmth flowing through my already overheated body. His arm wraps around my waist and he pulls me closer to him, running his nose along my cheek bone. "I can't stand it anymore." His grip tightens and I gasp when I felt his erection press against my abdomen. The hardness I feel only aides in producing an over abundance of wetness in my nether regions. I'd been privy to the feel of him against my body before, but each time left me wanting him more — hoping for more. I slide my hands down his muscular shoulders, reveling in the sparks we create together.
"I know," I whisper so softly that I'm not even sure he heard me. He leans down slowly, inch by inch and I feel his warm, alcohol laced breath hit my face. "Edward," I almost moan as his lips touch mine in the first of what I hope will be many kisses. His lips are soft and yet firm, taking from me what has been his all along. He has one hand on my lower back pulling me in and the other around the back of my neck. I lean into him, arching my back so he can feel me as readily as I feel him. I reach up to tangle my fingers in his unruly hair and pull him closer as the tingles shoot through my whole body.
We are completely wrapped around each other, absorbed and entangled in a passionate embrace. His teeth nibble lightly on my bottom lip and I instantly open myself to him. His tongue eases into my mouth teasing me with his slow yet urgent pace. He tastes of bourbon and cigarettes but there is a sweet underlying taste I can only describe as Edward. It is literally on the tip of my tongue; sweet and cool like ice. I feel my back being press against the side of the house and tug gently on his hair as the kiss intensifies. His tongue plunges into my mouth and his hands become more insistent, his fingers dig into my back in an almost painful way.
He is taking me for his, plundering my mouth, possessing my mind, body and soul and I don't want it to end. I want to stay fused to this divine man, to feel the electricity pulse through me caused by his merest touch. The way he can make me smile even when I feel like a piece of shit on the bottom of his shoe, his quick grin and, as I am discovering, his magical fingers. Sigh, And just like that, I've turned into a pile of mush.
We reluctantly break away, gasping for breath. Not wanting to pull away, our foreheads lean against each other. The sweetness of his breath washes across my face and I want nothing more that to pull his lips back to mine and continue where we left off.
Finally, Edward lifts his head and his eyes meet mine. I feel my face flush with heat and pull my bottom lip between my teeth, chewing nervously. What if he thinks I'm a shitty kisser? He groans and pulls away from me, pacing and running his hand through his hair.
"Edward?" I ask trying not to over react. It could be nothing, Bella. I pull myself off the wall and take a wobbly step toward him wanting to see his eyes to gauge his mood. He stops his pacing and turns toward me with a sheepish grin, holding his hand out to me. I don't need to think as I take it. He pulls me into him and fingers my bottom lip.
"This," he says softly, his eyes trained on my lips. "Drives me insane, Bella." Finally, his eyes move up to meet my gaze. "No. It's not just that, is it? It's you, Bella. You drive me so crazy and you don't even realize you're doing it, do you?" He is almost talking to himself, his face moving closer to mine ever so slowly.
"Sorry," I whisper, entranced by the intensity in his eyes which are clear and bright; excited. I know something big is going to happen between us tonight, but I never thought I would get this kind of major insight into Edward Cullen. As far as I know, not many people know much about the mysterious man standing in front of me. He kept mostly to himself, until Alice stuck her big fat nose into his business. Our business.
My mind shifts back to when I first met the enigmatic Mr. Cullen.
I was shopping with Alice, chatting away as we walked through the mall balancing bags like a circus juggler. Whatever I had been saying died on my lips when I saw him; tall, lean, burnished copper hair, and with a flash of his bright malachite eyes I was lost. He was standing at a register, trying not to look like a deer caught in headlights as Jessica Stanley talked her head off about something that I can guarantee was boring as hell. Alice followed my gaze.
"Ooh, hottie in distress," she giggled, nudging me. "Should we go rescue him?" My mouth opened and closed like a fish gasping for air. "Ah, Bella? Are you okay?"
When I couldn't answer, Alice shook her head bemused and started moving toward them. I finally found my legs and charged into action, almost running after my vertically challenged friend. I caught up just as she said hello to Jessica.
"Alice, Bella," Jess said somewhat reluctantly, laying a hand on his arm possessively. "This is Edward Cullen, he just moved into that big house near the creek, you know the one?" Edward grimaced in distaste and turned toward us, subtly telling Jessica to back the fuck off.
I nodded and turned my face toward Edward. He's so tall, I thought. My eyes worked their way up from his black jean clad legs, skipping the bulge at his crutch so my eyes wouldn't bug out of my head or get permanently stuck in that spot. My gaze traced his broad shoulders and I could have sworn I was dribbling as my eyes finally moved to his face. His eyes were a pleasant clear green that day, reflecting his emotions. They lightened further as they ran over me in almost the same way I had just done to him. When his eyes met mine again, he smirked and I felt my cheeks heat up in a blush.
"Hello," I said quietly. His hand reached out toward me and I looked warily at it before reaching out my own hand and placing it in his. "I'm Bella." A spark jumped between us and he looked down at our touching hands, frowning slightly.
"Hello, Bella." He smirked again before greeting Alice, his eyes flicked in her direction for a mere second, returning to scrutinize me again, sparkling and reminding me of the vibrancy of spring time and new growth; of a world coming to life after the harsh cold of winter.
From then on, Alice always makes sure we are thrown together at any chance. From the beginning she saw the way we looked at each other, she heard how we spoke to one another, and she figured we would be perfect for each other. Of course, she was so completely right. She has a sixth sense for these things, it's kind of freaky.
It probably didn't help that I couldn't stop talking about him. It was all 'Edward this,' and 'Edward that.' I'm sure I have been driving Alice as mad as I have myself, and she wasn't nearly as excited about the party as I was. We both felt things were going to change tonight. No matter what, something would happen, one way or the other.
I am flung back to the present as Edward laughs and, shakes me gently.
"You lost yourself then didn't you?" he chuckles. "What were you thinking about?"
I smile up at him. "You, of course." I mean, what else is there?
"Of course." Edward smiles at my response, taking my hand, much as he did that first day, and drags me back to the party. For some reason, I completely forgot there was even a party going on, but as soon as the noise hit me, I swung back into action.
"Alice?" I ask Edward. His head swings around, scanning the room over the top of everyone's heads. He gestures off to the right, near the music and pulls me through the crowd.
It didn't surprise me to find Alice digging through Edward's expansive collection of music and piling them up next to Seth who volunteered to DJ for the night. Seth was looking around with a panicked expression that subsides as soon as he sees Edward and I heading toward them. I give Seth an apologetic look and drag Alice away from the stack of music and back to the kitchen, leaving Edward talking quietly with Seth.
"Ouch, bitch!" Alice cries, slapping my hand away. "What's your bloody problem? Has Eddy not given you a bit yet?"
"Don't touch the fucking music you damn control freak! Poor Seth looked like he was going to have an aneurism," I yell at her. I take a breath to calm myself. "Besides, it's supposed to be fun-time not obsess-over-everything-time."
"Says you," she mutters, grabbing a clean plastic cup off the bench.
I grin and poke her in the side. "Bout time someone else had a go anyway. Oh, by the way, you have once again interrupted my fun-time with 'tall-lean-and-handsome' over there, you owe me big time." The disappointment was impossible to hide from my voice. We were finally getting somewhere — progressing to the motherland before the shit eating pixie breaks us apart.
I grab my own cup and scour the kitchen for some bourbon and coke, after tasting it on Edward I had a craving for it. I lean against the counter, sipping my drink when I spot Leah Clearwater, Seth's older sister and wave her over. She has a sour look on her face which she explains loudly as she approaches us.
"Fucking, drunk dickheads," she almost screams, elbowing Eric Yorkie out of the way. He stumbles, turning and scowling at her but makes no retort. Alice and I are in stitches by the time she makes it to us. "Something fucking funny, bitches?"
Leah has one of the foulest mouths I have ever heard, some of the random shit that spouts from her mouth is just wrong. She is also Rosalie's arch nemesis. Alice and I love her to bits.
Alice's face straightens and she replies sweetly, "No mistress." That brings a smirk to Leah's face.
"Where is Queen Bitch-a-lee anyway? Far away I hope?" Alice looks at me and we both shrug. I can guess what she and Emmett are doing, where is another matter. Leah grimaces. "Well, I'm DD tonight so we probably won't be staying that long. I'm going to do the rounds, catch you guys later."
We wave to Leah and turn to go out the back door; a cigarette is long overdue and Alice is bursting at the seams to know what happened between Edward and I. The sooner I tell her, the sooner she will leave us the hell alone! As we step out into the cool night air, I pull my crushed packet of Peter Stuyvesants out of my handbag and light up, inhaling the soothing smoke.
Alice pokes me. "Sooo, tell me the goss?" I sigh and relay everything that happened at the side of the house. Alice ooh's and ahh's in all the right spots and finally nods approvingly. "Good," she says. "Take it to the next level, baby!"
I grin like an idiot unable to help myself. "Now we just have to find you a little something, something," I wink at her, nudging her with my shoulder playfully and her eyes light up.
"Scope it!" Alice jumps up and down like an energizer bunny in her excitement.
I glance out over the backyard, taking note of the groups of people sitting around. The shed light is on and smoke is pouring out of the cracks under the door. Everyone knows what is going on down there but it isn't my cup of tea. The pool lights are all on and the patio is surrounded with twinkling fairy lights. It feels like I am having an epileptic fit looking at them and Alice looks like she's in pixy heaven.
Alice is scrutinizing the darkened recesses of the backyard. Her eyes light up and she moves off with the stalk of a big hunting cat. I follow her predatory look over to a group of people sitting around a bonfire, playing guitars and bongo drums. There is even a girl with a fiddle. The tune coming from the vicinity is folksy and makes you want to do the river dance around the bonfire like an idiot. Or maybe that's just me.
Alice reaches the group and pounces on a seat next to one of the guitarists. As I get closer I can make out his blonde wavy hair and the serious look about him. I chuckle, thinking of how Alice would soon wipe that look clean off his face, poor guy.
Alice introduces herself and his expression visibly changes immediately into something close to wonder as Alice turns on the charm. She touches his shoulder and laughs loudly, waving me over.
"Bella," she practically purrs. "This is Jasper Whitlock, he's from Texas. Isn't his accent just the cutest?"
Jasper blushes and holds his hand out to me, speaking in a soft even tempered tone. "Bella, pleased to meet you darlin'."
I have to admit, the accent is kind of charming. My eyebrows raise and I wink at Alice before making some lame excuse to leave them in relative privacy. I pass the goddamn smoke shed and decide I better stick my head in because I know that is where Jake will be and I know he won't emerge until his eyes are closed to almost nothing and he probably won't remember seeing me.
With a giant sigh, I open the door and wave my hand around, trying to clear out a bit of smoke so I can see who is inside. A chorus of protests greet me and I smirk to myself as I wave the door back and forth until the air clears enough for me to see the corners of the bare shed with only one long bench covered in paraphernalia running the length of the far wall. Embry, Quill, Sam, Paul, Jared, and Jacob are all crowded around it on tall bar stools.
"Oh, hey Bells," Jake mumbles, getting up lazily and throwing one arm around me in a slack embrace. "What'd you wave the door for huh?"
"'Cause I couldn't see a damn thing in here you freakin' hopeless stoner! Were you even going to come out and say hello to the world?" I punch him in the arm, probably hurting myself more than him. Jake rubs his arm sleepily as the other boys greet me, all looking just as smashed as Jake. "How long have you guys been in here?"
They mumble an answer to me but due to their stoner-isms, mumbles, and the fact that they all answer at once, I can't understand a goddamn thing. This, coupled with the fact that their eyes were tiny red slits in their faces, probably means they have been in here for hours, wasting away the party in a purple haze.
"Alright," I decide. "Time to get out there and enjoy the party, you antisocial apes."
I haul Jake out first, pulling him by his arm and for once thanking the powers that be for the fact he is too stoned to fight me back. I shove him through the door and turn back to grab Quill and Embry next, one in each hand. They hardly seem to notice until they are out in the fresh air. I enter for the third time and Sam is up, ordering Paul and Jared to their feet. He is always the first one to recover and help me straighten the others out, even if he is as smashed as they are. He seems to keep his head a bit more than they do.
The boys huddle outside the shed watching as I slam the door closed and snap the lock shut. I put the key in my pocket and turn back to the grumbling group of boys. I raise my eyebrow daring them to question me. They know I will let them back in when they straighten out. One of them will come find me eventually and I will open the door for them. They continue to grumble but don't object, these boys have known me for a long time and they know they can't fight me over this.
I leave the stoner group huddled by the shed door and head inside. I notice Alice sucking face with the Southern honey, Jasper, and marvel at how quick she makes a move. I glance around the backyard once more, saying a quick 'hi' to Angela and Ben curled up on a bench next to the door, and stroll slowly back into the kitchen for another drink. I am finally starting to feel the effects of the alcohol and decide to make a mental list of things to do before I get too pissed to remember.
- Get another drink, quick!
- Toilet (this is becoming more insistent)
- Find Edward… and maybe Rose and Em, no one has seen them since we got here.
I make a move to check the first item off the list. Edward is at the kitchen bench so I immediately head for him—two birds, one stone as the saying goes. Edward sees me coming and his eyes twinkle, his conversation with Jessica Stanley coming to a halt. I scowl at the back of her head as she giggles and touches his chest flirtatiously. Edward leans away from her touch but there is a small smile on his face as he watches me stalk over to officially stake my claim.
He turns to me, completely ignoring Jess, good boy! My arms make their way around his neck and his come around my waist, pulling me to him. I lift my face to his, kissing him so everyone who is watching, namely Jessica, will know, without a shadow of a doubt, that he is mine.
"Hey you," he says when our lips part, his voice barely containing his laughter.
"Hey baby," I reply just as softly. I smirk knowing Jessica is behind me with her mouth hanging open. I can't resist but to look. I turn to her, just to rub it in a little more. "Oh, hey Jess. How 'bout this party hey?" I stay wrapped around Edward but I make sure my voice is friendly. Jess has a harder time trying to disguise her reaction.
"Bella," she says shortly and turns on her heel, stalking away.
Jess and I have not always been rivals. She had been the first to befriend me when I moved to Forks, closely followed and outshined by Alice. I think somewhere along the line she became bitter about the friendship between Alice, Rose and I but it's not my fault she doesn't have enough balls to keep Rosalie off of her back. Edward is just another thing we compete over.
Not anymore, I have officially just won this round. Honestly though, she never had a chance. Edward was never interested in her, they are barely friends. So even if I hadn't been in the picture, she never would have gotten him.
I sigh and turn back to the handsome, chunk of man-meat who, I suppose, is now my boyfriend. He smiles down at me, not at all disappointed in my show of jealousy. In fact, he looks a bit mischievous himself with his twinkling eyes and one side of his mouth turned up in that famous crooked smile. He hands me a drink, what it is I don't care, and leads me out of the kitchen and up the stairs to the second floor. I follow him down the hall to the last door on the right, which he opens for me and gestures me inside. I have never been up here so I'm not sure where we are going but I have spent enough time with Edward to trust him.
It is dark in the room, the only light filters through the open door from the hallway. All I can see is a large four-poster bed, the old kind with the curtains draped around it. Immediately my over-active imagination flares and I see myself locked in innumerable – and probably unrealistic – sexual positions with the amazingly desirable man behind me. The sliver of light fades as Edward closes the door behind us – cementing my fantasies - only for him to turn on a lamp next to the door. The room is illuminated and I gasp in shock.
The bed straight across from the doorway really is magnificent, but it wasn't that that made me gasp. The whole left wall, next to the doorway is covered in curtains and with the press of a button the curtains pull back the curtains to reveal full length windows opening onto the backyard. I can see the stoner gang still gathered at the shed, Alice and Jasper and Angela and Ben had taken over the bonfire seats but were too absorbed in their pairs to notice the others, and the group in the pool had doubled. It looked like people were having a blast down there. I turn at the sound of Edward's voice.
"Bella," he gestures to a door next to the hallway door. "You may use my bathroom if you wish."
"Oh my god." I grin. "You're a mind reader."
"Indeed, I am," he replies with such a straight face I have to look twice.
I shake my head, amused, and brush passed him to the bathroom. I gasp anew at the bathroom. It has a large claw-footed bath tub, a roman bath style shower and the biggest vanity I have ever seen, with a double sink and mirrors. I turn back to Edward and raise an eyebrow.
"My mother," he explains, shifting from one foot to the other. "She's optimistic."
"And why would you say that, Mr. Cullen?" I ask, abandoning the luxurious bathroom to wrap my arms around him and smother his face in butterfly kisses.
"Well, now," he chuckles. "I'm not sure. It seems to have slipped my mind." His hands sit perfectly on my waist as he kisses me. His deliciously addictive taste taking over all my sense and all coherent thought flies out of my head as our tongues battle languidly and our hands wonder over every piece of bare flesh they can reach. Just when I think he might lose a little of that control he's been holding so tightly, he pulls back. I only just manage to hold in my frustrated sigh.
What is it with this man that turns me into an obsessive drooling mess?
He kisses me once more chastely, chuckling at my stunned mullet expression, and pushes me gently in the direction of the bathroom.
I do my business, wash my hands and check my reflection in the mirror. I am flushed from the excitement of the night. I glance at my watch and realize it is eleven; Christmas is only an hour away. I sigh and check my phone, knowing my mother probably already called confirming her flight details for tonight. Sure enough, there is a message from her telling me Dad will pick her up in little over three hours and she can't wait to see me. We are spending Christmas together in Forks as a family for the first time since my childhood.
Just as I put my phone back in my handbag, it chimes, telling me I have a picture message. I open it, reading it is from Tanya. She had called me earlier in the day to tell me she would be here but I had yet to see her. The picture opens and I scream, in shock. The door bursts open and my scream turns into uncontrollable laughter. My phone falls from numb fingers, hitting the ground seconds before my knees give out, the rest of my body follows.
Edward is at my side in seconds trying to figure out what happened. I am laughing too hard to be able to talk and it takes him a few moments to figure out that I am actually laughing, not crying. I gasp for breath and pick up my phone to read the message and start laughing again. I scroll back up and hand the phone to Edward. His eyes widen as he sees the picture.
"It's from Tanya, she's somewhere around here, I think. Scroll down," I gasp.
I watch Edward's eyes move side to side as he read the text Tanya sent with the picture. It says something like;
OMG Bells, check out the tiny dick! Looks like a TicTac = James = Tic-tic-tickity-tac, itty bitty tickity-tac
The picture attached is of what looks like a penis and it is indeed an itty bitty penis. It is possibly the smallest penis I have ever seen, and I had once watched a ten minute smallest penis competition with Emmett and Rose. Don't. Ask.
Edward's face cracks and he loses his composure. In seconds, we are both rolling on his bathroom floor laughing. I pick my phone back up off the floor, quickly typing a reply to Tanya, telling her where we are and a few minutes later there is a quick knock on the bedroom door. We still and creep toward the door, opening it a crack to see Tanya glancing nervously up and down the hallway.
"Let me in, fucking hell!" she whispers furiously. I giggle as Edward opens the door to let her in, closing it quickly behind her. I jump up and grab her, shaking her as I giggle insanely. "You got my message then?"
I nod, unable to stop the stupid giggling and she continues, spewing words so fast I can hardly keep up with her.
"Holy shit! I cannot believe this. Never, ever has anything like this happened to me! Normally guys with small dicks have small egos because, you know, they don't have enough junk to make them have big egos, right? So guys with small dicks fucking stay the hell away from me! Right, Edward? Oh, I suppose you wouldn't know would you?" She smirks at Edward, not waiting for him to answer before continuing.
"So, James, right? He's so awesome and funny and hot and he liked me, right? And you would think he would be stacked in the down south gear, right? But, no! Like, he thought I was going to take that well? Whatever! Smallest fucking dick I've ever seen."
I am still giggling, and shaking my head. "How the hell did you get a picture of it?" Edward asked, sounding genuinely curious of the answer.
"Men will do anything if you show them a little," she grins, evil little minx. "No offence, Edward. Come on Bella, let's get a drink!"
Tanya grabs me by the arm, her manicured nails digging in as she drags me out of Edward's bedroom. I look back at him longingly. I swear I've almost had enough of all these goddamn bitches! Edward strolls slowly behind us, smirking at me as I am dragged back downstairs to the kitchen. Rosalie and Emmett are banging back shots on the kitchen bench and I am forced into the lineup. I see the lemon and salt and shudder knowing that only tequila would need those ingredients.
"Rose, Tanya, I don't really"- I start. Rose cuts me off with a raised hand. What the queen says goes.
"You, Bella my dear, will have two rounds for your insolence," she says haughtily handing me a shot and passing the bowl of lemons and salt. Rosalie immediately lines up another shot for me and Tanya and one for Emmett as well when he complains loudly enough. I take the first shot, cough, and ask Rose for a beer to wash it down with. Rose shakes her head at me and points to the other shot. I sigh and throw back the second as well. As soon as the second shot glass hits the counter, empty, Rose has a beer open and heading toward me.
"Thanks, your Holiness," I gasp, drinking.
"No problem, my little peon," she shoots back sweetly. We grin at each other sarcastically.
"I hate you, bitch," I growl at her, turning away.
"Likewise," she calls as I step out the back door looking for Alice. My eyes land on the damn stoners and decide I should probably let them back into their cage again, how ironic. I stroll over to Jacob, who actually looks awake for the first time in weeks.
"Bella!" he calls. "Holy shit! Where the hell have you been? We're dying here!"
He is jittering like a crack head and when I look around I realize the whole group is inching slowly closer toward the shed. I sigh and pull the key out, opening the lock for the losers.
"Bella." Jake clapped me on the back, seeming to forget I was the one who locked them out in the first place. "You're a life saver."
"You won't be saying that one day when I have to check you into rehab," I mumble under my breath. Jake laughs, apparently having heard me despite my efforts.
"Don't worry, Bells," he chuckles, hugging me. "I've already enrolled you in Alcoholics Anonymous in Port Angeles."
I try to punch him but seeing as he is newly sober, he dodges me easily before disappearing into the shed with the rest of the loser crew. Honestly, sometimes I don't know why I am friends with them. Then I remember that it's all Dads' fault. He and Billy Black, Jacob's dad, are inseparable.
I shake my head and make my way over to the bonfire where Alice is still fused to Jasper. I stand next to them and clear my throat. Nothing happens. I cough; still nothing. Finally, I take both of their shoulders and shake them mercilessly.
"Oh my God guys!" I yell. "I leave you alone for an hour and you can't keep your dirty fucking hands off each other! Jesus! And Jasper! I thought you were such a genuinely nice guy but obviously she has corrupted you already!" Alice giggles but poor Jasper doesn't know how to take it. He stares at me, shocked by my seemingly sudden outburst.
"Holy shit, bitch face," Alice exclaims. "You're fucking premenstrual, aren't you? Talk about a crazy broad! Sorry Jazzy-poo."
"You did not just call this sweet Southern man a piece of shit, did you? Run while you can, Jasper! Quick, I'll cover you!" I cry, pretending to fend his tiny assailant off. Jasper chuckles at that one. "Alice, get off your ass, Rose has the tequila."
Alice is up like a jackrabbit, bounding away still attached to Jasper and dragging him behind her. Alice and tequila go together like strawberries and cream, or me and Edward. I quickly follow them inside to watch the ensuing pandemonium and hoping that Edward will be in there somewhere.
Alice is up on the counter already, with the bottle of tequila and Rose is protesting and shooting me evil looks; I will pay for this later. Then again; I glance at Jasper who seems to be frozen in shock as Alice pulls her shirt up and provocatively places a lemon wedge in her mouth, never taking her eyes off the poor stunned Texan.
Edward appears behind me from who knows where, just like he really is reading my mind. I turn and look at him suspiciously but he just smirks at me, wrapping his arms around my waist and kissing the top of my head. I twist my fingers between his, turning back around to rest against his lean body and watch Alice bait and set her trap.
She is laying flat on the counter by this time and I am left thanking god she decided to wear shorts. She must have seen this in her future tonight. Jasper still seems rooted in place so Rosalie pushes him out of the way and pulls the top of Alice's shirt down savagely, licking a line down her chest and pouring the salt. Rose takes a step back, shoving Jasper to the forefront, and pours the tequila in Alice's navel.
Jasper hesitates but locks eyes with Alice and I'm very sure she is giving him no choice in the matter whatsoever. Jasper's tongue flicks out to the line of salt before moving down to slurp up the tequila and finally, he gently lifts Alice's head with a hand at the back of her neck and takes the lemon from her mouth. He chews before spitting it into the sink with a grimace and returns his lips to Alice's with a vengeance.
A cheer goes up from around the counter and I reminisce on the earlier scene in our kitchen with Rose and Emmett and wonder if Alice and Jasper are going to act like them from now on. I shudder in disgust before remembering I had a pair of warm arms wrapped around me.
"Are you cold, love?" Edward leans down to whisper in my ear. I shake my head, chuckling and realizing that maybe Edward and I would be as vomit inducing as the other couples surrounding us, knowing my luck, probably. "Are you going to do that for me?"
I turn to face him, looking up into his dancing green eyes. He grins cheekily at me and I smirk back, nodding. His smile broadens and he pushes me gently toward the bench. I poke Alice in the ribs.
"Move over, slut face," I hiss. "Give another bitch a go, will you?" Alice turns and sniggers at me, wiggling her eyebrows.
"Oh. Hello Edward. How are you and Bella doing?" she chuckles as she moves her ass onto a stool. I climb up into her spot before remembering I am the one wearing a skirt.
"Goddamn it! Alice, guard my vagina will you?" I growl, holding onto my skirt. Alice giggles madly, moving into a better location. "Thank you muchly. Okay, Rose. Hit it!"
Before Rosalie can move to place the ingredients in their respective places, Edward was there, salt in hand.
"Thanks, Rosalie," he says gruffly. "I think I can handle this."
Rose scowls but acquiesces, handing Edward the tequila and sliding the bowl of lemon wedges into my reach. I grab a slice and put it in my mouth, watching as Edward's tongue met my skin. I shudder, the strip of skin his tongue touched, burns and gooseflesh break out over my arms. He shakes some salt out, chuckling, and I feel the wetness of the tequila going into my belly button.
I hold myself extremely still when I see Edward's head raise above my breasts to lick the salt, sending another shock like lightning through me. His tongue swirls around in my navel, making me giggle around the lemon, before he sucks up the tequila and moves back to my mouth. I wonder why we have to do this at every party when Edward's mouth finally comes down on mine. All thoughts leave my now very occupied mind.
Our tongues mingle and somehow, the lemon doesn't seem to be an obstacle. In fact, it adds to the intensity of the kiss; tequila and lemon juice adding to Edwards own unique taste. I'm not as disgusted as I should be, sucking the liquid into my mouth, sharing the shot with him. I think it is the first time tequila has had any kind of deliciousness to it and if I had it my way, I would only ever drink it like this.
I can only imagine we are as immersed in our moment as Alice and Jasper had been theirs. Edward's tongue duels mine, his scent fills my nostrils, his hands grip the back of my neck with exquisite pressure and when we part, I open my eyes and his green ones are there, mirroring my expression of wonder. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Shit! I'm turning into a fucking Power Puff Girl!
"Want to get out of here?" Edward asks, still so close to me that his lips almost whisper against mine. I nod dumbly.
"But I really want a fucking cigarette," I whisper back, not trusting myself to be able to speak louder without my voice trembling. "I haven't had one in ages and I'm freaking dying."
"Who's the mind reader now?" he asks playfully, chuckling and taking my hand to help me down off the counter.
We exit the front door and sit on the porch swing. I pull my cigarettes out of my handbag and offer one to Edward. He flashes his trademark grin, making my heart jump in my chest, and takes one lighting it up. I follow his lead and we sit quietly for a bit, smoking and drinking in the night air as Edward swings us gently back and forth.
"Bella?" Edward says softly, turning and looking at me intensely. I almost forget to breathe and mentally curse my inability to do anything. I settle for nodding. Edward runs a hand through his hair nervously and I automatically prepare myself for the worst. "Bella, I only came to Forks for a short stay to… I'm not sure, find myself. That's what my mother would say anyway."
"What?" I am stunned and yet not. I know someone like Edward 'too hot for Forks' Cullen would never have permanently moved to this backward little town. "You're leaving?"
I felt my eyes narrow and my breathing speed up. A claw of fear tightens around my chest, turning my stomach and making it hard to breathe. Wiping my suddenly hot, clammy, and shaky hands on my skirt, I turn my eyes to the ground. My resolve hardens and I glare at the dirt like it could change what is happening. I felt Edward reach out and take my hand, lifting my chin to search my face. I avoid his eyes, not wanting him to see the hurt there. "Bella, I don't want to."
My anger flares and my eyes flash up to his, glinting with anger and indignation. How dare he come here and turn my life upside down with his stupid charming smile and perfectly hideous sense of humor. I lift my chin in defiance, my back straightens, my lips set in a tight thin line of fury, and my eyes are unforgiving.
"Of course." My voice drips with sarcasm, my natural defense to pain. "So now that you've 'found yourself' you're out of here, right?" I stand abruptly, shaking and not trusting myself to be able to sit close to this handsome, infuriating man and not slap the stupid smirk off his face.
"Typical," I sneer at him, backing away. "Have a nice life, Edward."
"Bella, wait," he pleads, his smirk disappearing into an expression of horror and fear. He stands, reaching out his long fingers to try and catch me. I take another step back, evading his intoxicating touch; I want my head to be clear for this. He thinks he can just come here and sweep me off my fucking feet and then walk away? I don't think so.
I can't take a goodbye… not from him, not after tonight. I just can't. I turn and storm down the front steps into the darkness refusing to wait and hear him talk. I don't stop to see if he is following. Stumbling down the winding driveway, I begin berating my stupid heart for causing this shooting pain and scolding my brain for not warning me about the possibility of this happening. I pull my phone out to call Alice. Come on, Alice. Pick up! Finally I get a mumbled 'hello' and start yelling into the mouthpiece.
"Alice, I'm leaving. Are you coming or staying?" I am on the verge of tears, my voice betrays me-I can barely understand myself, I can't imagine what Alice must be thinking. She mumbles a reply that I don't really listen to; I'm trying too hard to hold myself together enough to tell her I will wait at the road. I hang up hoping she understands me and keep walking.
My brain races with spiteful, cruel ideas on how I can get back at him for ripping my fucking heart out. The one time I actually take a chance and I get hung, drawn, and quartered. Awesome! I wrap my arms around my stomach, trying to stop my insides from falling out onto the dirt driveway. I feel like I am literally falling to pieces.
Memories of Edward flash through my mind. The first day I saw him, the time Alice harassed him until he finally agreed to join us for dinner, the look on his face when Alice and I gave him a Dobro guitar for his birthday. Our laughter echoes through my head as I remember the day he finally allowed me to explore his CD collection and I teased him for owning a copy of Hanson's first album. He argued with me that the lyrics were ingenious and preached about the talent it took to be that young and successful.
Tears stream down my face as I realize the house I had spent the majority of my time at in the last few months, is going to be empty and vacant, the person who makes me smile the most will be gone. I stagger to a halt, and scrub furiously at my face to stop the stubborn tears from falling to no avail. Sighing, I lift my face to the dark night sky, breathing deeply of the cool refreshing air, I steady myself and continue walking.
A beat up old hatchback is parked off to the side at end of the driveway. I squint through the dark, noticing two people in the front seat. The closer I get, the more I realize they are fighting, screaming at each other, their voices get louder as I approach. I hear the tenor of a male voice and the high pitched, panicked tone of a female. I start walking faster, heading closer to the car. The interior light is on and I can see a strawberry blonde in the passenger seat holding up her hands as the blonde man in the driver's seat slaps her, which causes me to walk faster.
I finally recognize James' car and shortly after, I realize its Tanya in the passenger seat. Their yelling increases the closer I get and I am able to see James raise his hand and hit her again. I'm still too far away to do anything. He brings his other hand to Tanya's throat and throws her up against the passenger side door so hard I can hear the crack of the glass breaking. I am running as fast as I can by this stage, I'm so close. Close enough to see Tanya slump down in the passenger seat, stunned and shaking. I freeze the second James turns toward me.
Our eyes meet but it wasn't the James I knew. Sure I never really liked him, but I knew him. This person was a complete stranger. James is always so confident and sure of himself, cocky even, but now it is like a barrier has been broken down and the real James is showing through, and he is pissed off. His eyes hold a feral light and shine like cats' in the dark, open wide enough to show white all around the irises and for a moment I am so scared of him that my legs just stop working.
I stumble to a standstill, my eyes lock on James' crazy stare. As I watch, he smiles. It is the most terrifying thing I have ever seen; all teeth flashing in the dark, seeming to be wider than is possible. He moves slowly, deliberately, holding up his hand and jiggling his keys at me. Our next movements are in sync and I don't even realize I am moving until I arrive at the window next to James, banging and screaming at him to stop. I have no idea whether he has been drinking or not but there is no way in hell I am letting him drive off with my friend in his car, not like this.
"James!" I scream, banging my open hand on his window. "Stop, please!"
James puts the key in the ignition and starts the car, turning to me and grinning manically through the closed window and locked door.
"Fuck off, Bella," he spits at me and slams the car into drive, not even waiting for me to jump out the way. His tires scream and the car spins a tight circle around me on the gravel. Both of my hands are on the doorframe, trying to keep the car at arms' length, when it finally straightens. The tires spin on the gravel for a few seconds, spitting stones and dirt everywhere, until it finally takes off from underneath my grasp.
I stand and watch the taillights disappear onto the road. I take my bag off my shoulder and try to open it but I am shaking so much I drop it on the road. I fall down beside it, crying again now and searching frantically for my phone when it suddenly starts ringing, lighting up in the darkness. I fumble with it, trying to see through my tears.
"Hello?" I gasp.
"Bella?" Alice's voice comes through. "Where the hell are you? What's wrong?"
"I'm at the end of the driveway," I gasp quickly, my senses coming back to me. "Shit Alice, call the cops! James just beat Tanya in his car and he's taken off with her and I think he's drunk and he nearly knocked her out and ran me over, Alice. Hurry!"
"Holy, fucking shit!" I hear her say. "Okay, Bella. I'll be there soon. We're on it, okay? Just hang in there. I love you. Bye."
"Hurry," I repeat and hang up. I clutch my phone tightly in my fist and stand, hugging myself and trying not to shake.
The seconds tick by like hours and I start to fidget. Finally, I open my phone and scroll through looking for Tanya's number. I dial and get no response. Next I try James, with the same result. With nothing else to do, I keep trying both numbers until I hear steps behind me. I whirl and shriek in surprise.
"Bella," says a familiar voice. "Where are you?"
I take a few deep, calming breaths before replying. "Here, Alice."
Alice emerges from the shadows followed closely by Jasper. She runs towards me, wrapping me in her tiny embrace. I immediately burst into fresh tears and begin blubbering out what happened. Alice rubs my back and murmurs soothing words, like the good friend she is, and eventually I calm down. Alice pulls back and takes my handbag, rummaging through it and hands me a clean tissue and my crushed packet of cigarettes. I give Alice a watery smile and dab at my eyes.
"I called the cops," a voice I would know anywhere says from behind us. I turn to see Edward. Awesome. I roll my eyes to myself and try to look as though I have some dignity left. I straighten my posture, square my shoulders, and hold my head high.
"Good," I say shortly, turning back to Alice.
"Bella," Edward begins. "Please, just let me explain."
"Why, Edward? So you can feel better about yourself for leaving? I don't think so," I retort, starting to get worked up again.
"Hold on a sec," Alice busts in. "Leaving? What the hell, Edward?"
"No, no!" Edward runs a hand through his hair in frustration.
Good, I think silently.
"I'm not leaving, that's what I'm trying to tell you! I was going to, but Bella, you made me change my mind. I don't want to go now."
"You don't?" I ask, hopeful but trying not to be. It would be just like me to get my hopes up again only to have them crushed like a bug. Edward takes a few steps forward, holding his hand out to me like he has done so many times before. His eyes are dark with sorrow while they burn into mine, I can't help but see the honesty and desperation in them.
I suddenly feel ashamed of my over-reaction. Edward had been trying to tell me something when I stormed off and like the stupid bitch I am, I had walked away. He could have done the same, but he didn't. He had come to help me when he didn't have to and that just made me realize all the more, what a fool I had been.
Edward's expression of horror and pleading triggers a memory. An image of Edward on a very different day, flashes through my mind.
Edward; crumpled on the floor with splintered pieces of wood surrounding him and the most devastated look I have ever seen painted on his face. I walk through his front door to find him hugging the shattered wood to his chest. When I squat next to him I notice the walnut pieces he holds are the exact shade of his favorite guitar. I gasp and automatically wrap my arms around him, murmuring softly in his ear.
He had pulled a classic Bella the klutz move and tripped, falling on the guitar and crushing it. As much as I wanted to laugh, Edward was devastated.
A week later, we gave him the Dobro.
"Who in their right mind would want to leave you, Bella?" Edward asks softly, pulling my focus back to the here and now. "I'm not that stupid."
I nod slowly, holding his eyes, not really knowing what to say. I have never felt very comfortable with compliments. I look Edward over, reading his body language; the ramrod straightness of his posture, his eyebrows bent inward with worry, and his eyes, always so expressive, are so dark they can almost be black. I reach my hand out and place it in his, as always, his face immediately relaxes and he pulls me into a tight hug.
"Thank you, Edward," I say, burying my face in his shirt and inhaling the cool, sweet scent that was his alone. I relax in his embrace, it's like his touch takes away all my worries.
"Alright guys," Alice interrupts again. "Sorry to spoil this vomitous moment, but we are forgetting about James and Tanya. What should we do?"
"What can we do?" Jasper asks. "Bella, do you have any idea where they went?"
I shake my head. "As far as I know, they turned left out of the driveway but town is the other way. He didn't say anything, he just looked at me and he looked…wrong." I shudder at the memory of his face and Edward wraps his arms around me comfortingly.
"Shit," Alice curses.
"I was calling both of their phones until you guys showed up," I offer.
"Okay. You keep calling Tanya and Alice can try James. The only other thing we can do is hope the police pick them up. I gave them a description of his car, as much as I could remember anyway," Edward states.
Brilliant! Patience is not one of my virtues and waiting here, thinking James could have run them into a tree by now, is not something I can do sitting still. I unwrap Edward's arms from my waist and start pacing, dialing Tanya again and again only to reach her voicemail every time. Alice starts up next to me and I can hear her cursing under her breath, something about dickheads and macho ego's.
Amazingly, Tanya picks up. I almost hang up again, thinking it is her voicemail when I realize the voice isn't the same chirpy voice in the recording.
"Tanya?" I almost scream. "Are you okay? Where are you? What's James doing? Can you get away?" I blurt the questions out.
"Bella," Tanya whispers into the phone. "Shut up for Christ's sake. He's stopped just off the one-oh-one, near that little track, you know the one? He thinks I'm unconscious so I have to be quick, he's gone for a piss or something."
"See if you can keep him there, Tanya." My brain is working in overdrive. "Leave the phone connected so I can hear what's going on and we will be there as soon as we can. Hang in there!"
Tanya agrees. When I look up, Edward was already gone.
"Getting the Volvo," Alice whispers in confirmation. Edward driving the Volvo would get us there in no time. Crazy, male drivers. Though I do wonder vaguely how much he had to drink tonight, but I brush it off my mind as I focus on what Tanya is saying.
"I think he's coming back, Bella," Tanya's voice whispers furiously. "I'm scared, I don't know what he's capable of at the moment. Hurry, please."
"It's ok, we'll be there soon," I reassure.
I hear crunching on the driveway and look up to see the familiar headlights of the Volvo. With my phone still glued to my ear, I climb in the front passenger seat and buckle up. Edward watches me as Alice and Jasper take their seats but I stare straight ahead listening to the noise of a car door opening on the other end of the phone.
"Hurry, Edward," I gasp, horrified. "Take the one-oh-one, I'll direct."
Edward's foot hits the gas and the Volvo complies. My eyes fix on the road, flicking from side to side even though I know where James has taken her. Edward is going as fast as humanly possible on the icy roads but I know it still isn't fast enough.
Through the ear still glued to the phone, I hear Tanya scream and the door slam again. There are a lot of muffled sounds in the background but I can still hear Tanya begging him to stop, to let her go. I listen, horror-struck as I hear a thump and more muffled sounds. I can only guess that Tanya has put her phone in her pocket or handbag because of the rustling sound coming through loud and clear.
Tanya isn't protesting anymore and my mind immediately goes to the worst scenarios. I wonder where James is going in the dark without a car as I spot the turn off and direct Edward to the right. He squeals his tires around the corner and slams to a stop right behind the dump that is James' car. I am out and running before the car stops completely, and head straight for the car in front of us, only to confirm they are indeed gone. The key is still in the ignition and the passenger door is open with its window shattered, the interior light illuminating the bush to one side.
I stand dead still, and peer into the forest, listening for any sounds of movement. I hear none, so I raise the phone back to my ear, listening intently. There are still muffled noises coming through from the other end and I estimate they left the car approximately five minutes before we arrived. They couldn't have gone far and if Tanya was unconscious or worse, James would be struggling to carry her through the thick brush. Good, I thought.
Edward appears by my side soundlessly.
"Where?" he asks. I nod into the woods before turning to face him.
"I think he knocked her out and they're on foot so they couldn't have gotten far," I whisper, still straining my ears desperately to hear any sound of their passage; still nothing. "Edward, he could have gone in any direction, how are we going to find them?"
I am bordering on hysterical when I feel a gentle tap on my shoulder. Jasper is standing quietly behind me.
"Uh, my Grandfather used to take me hunting when I was a boy," he says quietly. I am confused as to what he is getting at. "I might be able to track him if I had some light."
"I've got a flashlight in the back of the Volvo, I'll be right back," Edward says from my left, disappearing into the headlights of his car. He is back in seconds, handing Jasper a heavy-duty flashlight. Jasper nods and flicks it on, tracing the bush near the car door.
"This way," he said.
We all follow Jasper into the quiet, dark forest. I allow Alice to follow behind Jasper and Edward sticks close to my back, catching me a few times when I trip over roots and branches. I am trying to go as quietly as possible so if we catch up to James, I would be more able to hear him but all I can hear is my own feet crunching and Jasper mumbling to himself.
I put my ear back to the phone and hear nothing. I double check to make sure the phone call is still connected, it is. James must have stopped. We are taking too long to find them; too much time has passed, time Tanya doesn't have and it doesn't really seem as if we are getting any closer.
The search is slow and I have to bite my lip so I don't scream my frustration to the trees. Eventually though, walking through the dark gets easier and the trail becomes wider. I realize James must have had to carry Tanya from this point onwards and it made his trek through the darkened forest tougher. We speed up, feeling optimistic until suddenly we burst through the trees and into a clearing.
I'm sure it would have looked more inviting in daylight but at the moment it is dark and haunting. Under the moonlight the open area looks black and the trees circling it tower over us disappearing into the black night sky. They sway slightly, looking like a jury called to judge us. I huddle closer to Alice and Jasper, Edward is nowhere to be seen.
The trees don't hold my attention for long, because in the middle of the open meadow, James stands facing us. There is a dark shape crumpled at his feet and when we come into view, he reaches down and shakes it. Tanya stirs and I instantly thank god she is still alive. James grabs her by the hair and pulls her head back; I see the glitter of the pocket knife as he places it to her throat.
"Don't come any closer," James yells, his voice strained and cracking. "I'll slice her fucking throat."
Jasper holds up his hands and makes no move toward him. Alice and I huddle together behind him.
"James," Jasper calls calmly. "What are you doing, buddy?"
"I'm not your fucking fuck-buddy, buddy," James spits. I almost burst out in hysterical laughter at the ridiculousness of his statement. I can't believe I'm thinking about proper grammar at a time like this, I seriously doubt my sanity sometimes.
Tanya is alert now and I can see the whites of her eyes glow in the dark as she takes in the situation. Her scared blue eyes lock on mine and I silently tell her to stay calm and I will get her the hell out of this somehow. James yanks her head back and I hear her gasp; I take an involuntary step forward, and reach my hand out toward them.
"Stop right there, princess," James snarls. "Or would you like to trade places with your friend here?"
I grasp onto what he said and nod furiously. "Yes, James," I say, my voice sounding a lot calmer than I feel. "Take me instead."
I slowly raise my hands and start taking slow, deliberate steps toward the two of them. James' lips pull back off his teeth in an animalistic snarl.
"Fucking bitch," he screams, taking a step backward and dragging Tanya with him. "You fucking think I would do that? Jesus! This stupid whore," he pulls Tanya's head even further back, exposing more of her pale throat. "Took a goddamn photo of my dick and posted in on fucking Facebook, didn't she?"
James is out of control and I have no idea how I am going to get my friend out of this. Tears are streaming down Tanya's face, mascara making black tracks with her tears. Her face looks like one of those sad clown dolls my mother's husband, Phil, use to buy me as a kid. James leans right into Tanya's terrified face.
"Did you think I'd just let that slide? Huh? Silly girl," he says patronizing her. He slaps her across the face with a crack and continues talking as if he has forgotten we are here. I take another step closer. "Well, I'm fucking not, stupid slut. I'll fucking show you a fucking."
Just as James is undoing his belt to make good of his words, I see a flicker in the trees behind him. Edward. He hadn't gone bowling into the clearing without looking. Boy has smarts. He had actually looked at the situation and circled the clearing to get the advantage and now is the time to use it.
I take a deliberately large step forward, knowing James would see it. He did, his head whips around to face me, and his eyes narrow, still containing that feral light that scares me so much. The motions of his hands immediately still at his belt buckle. As he faces me I see the blur again, but this time it isn't just a blur. This time, I can actually see Edward as he runs from the cover of the trees and plows James over from the side. The knife flies from his hand and I am in motion, chasing after it.
I scramble on the ground, trying to pick up the knife with shaking hands. By the time I get a good grip on the handle, Alice moves up next to me and Jasper has joined the rolling, brawling mess of limbs that is James and Edward. I hold the handle of the knife in a death grip that makes my knuckles turn white and my hand shakes like we are in the middle of an earthquake.
I stumble forward, trying to decide if I have the balls to use the knife and hoping I wouldn't have to. I steel myself just in case it comes to that. I am so busy watching the tumbling boys that I completely forgot about Tanya. Alice is already heading over to where Tanya collapsed. I edge my way over to them, without taking my eyes off the scuffle. I want to be ready to defend the girls and I will kill that fucker if he manages to get away from the boys because I know he won't run off, he will head straight for us.
Just because I'm a girl, doesn't mean I won't stab him in the ball sack if he comes anywhere near us!
Tanya is curled up in the fetal position, sobbing hysterically. I don't blame her, I would be too. Alice has her tiny arms wrapped around Tanya's sobbing form, rocking her back and forth, silent tears roll down her cheeks as she watches the fight continue. Edward and James are both up circling and glaring at each other.
"Alice," I hiss. "Call the police, tell them where we are."
Alice rips her phone from her pocket and starts dialing. My eyes flick between Edward, Jasper and James. James looks like he has just realized the severity of his situation and frantically scans the ground, his eyes flicking crazily from side to side. My own eyes search the area and find the stick at the same time James lays eyes on it. I see the decision flick across his face and scream.
"Edward, watch out!"
James lungs at Edward just as Jasper launches into action. Edward jumps and grabs at James' legs while Jasper darts forward. James falls with a loud thump to the ground. Jasper seizes the stick and flings it away from the two struggling bodies. I see fists fly but can't be sure whose are whose. Jasper jumps back in the fray, grabbing a pair of arms I am praying are the right ones and yanking. I see a blonde head as Jasper drags James away, locking his arms behind his back. James struggles violently and Edward jumps up, grabbing his legs.
I had just about enough of this brawling, so I tuck the knife carefully into the belt of my skirt, and search the area around me. Intermediately, I find another stick and pick it up, weigh it in my hands and judge it to be just about right. I start circling the struggling boys and come up from behind them. Even though he was outnumbered, James struggles like a demon from hell, giving Edward and Jasper a hard time holding onto him.
Circling slightly to the right and coming at them from the side, I see my opportunity and take it. Lunging in, I swing the branch. Biology lessons from school run through my head as I calculate the best spot to hit without mortally wounding. My makeshift club connects in just the right place, or so I hope, smacking James under the chin with a snap, barely missing Jasper in the process. James' head flings back and he slumps forward, unconscious, in the boys' grasp. I breathe a sigh of relief.
The next ten minutes are a flurry of activity as I shout orders.
"Alice," I yell, knowing we only have a small amount of time to get the hell out of here, "Take care of Tanya. Get her up and moving, we need to get back to the road. Edward, I'll help you carry that dead shit. Jasper, lead the way. Move people!"
I sound like a drill sergeant even to my own ears but I know time is of the essence now. The boys move quickly; Jasper runs over to help Alice get Tanya on her feet, she is still a blubbering mess so Alice has to partially carry her. When Jasper saw her falter, he took Tanya's other arm over his shoulder and half drag/half carries her down the path we created. I grab James' feet and Edward takes him under the arms as we follow Jasper, Alice and Tanya out of that dark, horrible meadow.
If I ever see this place again, it will be too soon.
The walk through the forest takes twice as long with the load we are carrying and when we make it closer to the road, I can see the blue and red lights of the police cruiser flashing. We emerge from the forest and are immediately helped out by the local police. I am more than happy to hand James over to them and they assure me I will not be arrested for knocking him out. Duh!
Everything after that becomes a bit blurry. There are so many things happening at once, it is hard to keep track of them. An ambulance is called for Tanya and James, though James is cuffed for his examination. The paramedics congratulate me on the accuracy of the blow, saying that he is unconscious and will have a nasty bump and concussion but will otherwise be fine. The disappointment I feel when they told me he would live shocks me. I really do want that fucker dead!
Tanya is declared to be in shock and is bundled into the ambulance to have a proper examination at the hospital. They take James as well to hold him in a secure ward until he wakes and can be interrogated. The paramedics also look over Edward and Jasper but say they only have a few minor cuts and bruises and will be fine. I am so relieved I could cry, but that would be ridiculous after everything else we have gone through today. Instead, I settle for holding onto Edward as hard as I can. There is no way in hell I am letting him go tonight.
The police give Edward permission to drive his Volvo to the police station where they can take a proper statement from all of us. Alice and Jasper opt to come with us and we follow the cruiser into town. I am not pleased in the least when they tell us we have to give our statements separately. Something to do with us conspiring, I suppose. I am just glad Charlie isn't here; he is on the way to the airport in Seattle to pick up Mom. Unfortunately, they insist on calling him and of course, he says he will be here shortly, probably breaking every road rule ever written on his way back.
I sigh and recite the whole story, starting with the party and the message that started this whole disastrous thing. It takes little over an hour and when we all emerge it is two a.m. and we are all tired. I call Charlie back and tell him not to hurry; I am staying with Edward tonight and will be home first thing in the morning. He, of course, is not pleased but doesn't object. I can hear my mother badgering him and sigh as he passes the phone over to her. She is hysterical to say the least.
"Mom, calm down. Jesus," I try, but she just keeps on blubbering about how her baby girl is in trouble, blah, blah, blah. We are pulling into Edward's driveway when I finally get her under control and reassure her I will be fine. "Goodbye Mom. I'll see you in the morning, okay? Love you."
I hang up with a sigh, get out of the car, and head wearily into the house. There is still a party going on, not surprisingly and I weave my way through the remaining people to the kitchen, searching for the hard liquor. Now is definitely the right time for a strong assed drink. Edward pushes passed me, reaching to the top of the kitchen cupboard and pulls out a bottle of Old Grandad Bonded.
"Oh, Edward," I gasp. "You shouldn't have."
"We are taking this upstairs, my dear," Edward smirks. "Fancy some?"
"God, yes!" I grab some scotch glasses and an ice bucket before following Edward upstairs. "Alice? Jasper? Are you coming? I don't know about you but I need a drink!"
"Hell to the yes!" Alice squeals, linking her arm with mine and almost skipping up the stairs.
We go straight to Edward's room, the giant one with the massive windows he had shown me earlier, and set up on the small coffee table in the corner. Edward puts some music on, a nice soft piano melody we could all quietly enjoy, and we sit on the floor around the table.
Edward plonks some ice in each glass and pours us all a double dose. We drink in silence for a few minutes, each of us stewing over our own thoughts of the night. I lean against Edward and watch Jasper and Alice. They move around each other comfortably almost like a planet orbiting the sun. He has an arm wrapped around her and his chin resting on her head. Alice is curled up and holding onto him like he can be ripped away from her at any moment.
The events of the night have bonded us in ways that nothing else could. There will always be a deeper understanding between the four of us. Alice is and always will be, the best friend I could ever ask for and I hope she thinks the same of me. Jasper, even though we have only known him for a few short hours, has proven to be reliable in the most dangerous of situations, and Edward. Well, Edward is just brilliant. He keeps his head about him even when my thoughts are so jumbled I can barely remember my own name.
As strange as it sounds, I feel better about myself after tonight. I know that after this, I can deal with almost anything, especially if I have these amazing people around me and I know they feel the same.
My thoughts slow and I slump against Edward, yawning massively. Edward tucks me in closer to his body and strokes my hair soothingly. It isn't long before his and Jasper's quiet conversation lulled me into a thankfully dreamless sleep.
I now I'm going to hide under a rock for a while...
Thanks for reading! Look forward to writing more that will hopefully be easier for us to edit.