The Best I Ever Had
"Yes, Mom," I say into the phone as I pull off my scarf. I've been standing just inside the entrance of the bar for twenty minutes. In that time, I've said about ten sentences, mostly consisting of 'yes mom' and one 'really mom?' for variety, waiting for a lull in the conversation so I can hang up and get a much needed drink. I have a lot of affection but a low tolerance for my mother, so listening to her drone on about her new boyfriend and how he could be "the One"—and if by "the One", she means "husband", it is actually the Fourth—is less than an ideal way to spend my time. By the time I get off the phone, I'm mentally exhausted and emotionally cynical. Um, more cynical.
I walk into the actual bar and see that Edward's the only one there, nursing a beer, his long legs braced around a bar stool. I take a little longer than I should to hang my coat on the rack near the front, but that may be because I keep missing the hook—which may be because I am still staring at Edward.
"Hey." I take the seat next to him and he motions to the bartender, tapping the lip of his beer bottle with his index finger to signal for one more. He's smooth in that way that can't be taught or learned, and I can't be bothered to deny that I've always found it attractive.
"What's up?" he asks me, left eyebrow arched. Always found that attractive, too.
I look at him. Does he know that I was staring at him a few seconds ago? That I'm thinking about how good he looks? That I may be picturing him shirtless right now?
"What do you mean?"
"Well, let me explain. In America and many other parts of the English speaking world, 'what's up' is a phrase used most commonly by the younger generation that signals greeting or—"
"Shut up. And nothing's up with me," I tell him. It's almost not a lie.
He elbows me gently. "Ask me what's up."
"Alright, I'll bite."
"I know you will," he says, tapping a spot on his collarbone covered by his shirt where I may have left a tiny hickey.
I roll my eyes and say with exaggerated excitement, "What's up, Edward?"
He grins that half smile that charmed the pants off me—literally—two nights ago. "This chick I hooked up with said I was the best she ever had."
I would roll my eyes again, but I'm afraid that I've done it so much today, they might get stuck. "Kiss my ass, Cullen."
He smirks. "I did." It's true, he did. "It was very nice."
I can't help but fall into his trap. "My ass or the kiss?"
"Both. It was a nice ass, which made it a nice kiss."
"Well, thank you."
"Do you have anything you want to tell me about my ass?"
It looks really good in those jeans. "No."
"Liar, liar, sexy little pants on fire."
Sexy little pants? I look at him strangely. He has never called anything I've ever worn 'sexy'. Then again, before two days ago, we'd never fallen into bed with each other either, so maybe this is a new world where all the old rules are off.
"They're leggings," I correct him.
He snorts. "I'm a guy. Things that cover your legs: pants." He contemplates this for a moment. "Or nothing at all, which is how I'd prefer it."
I snort indelicately. "It's winter—I have to resist the temptation to wrap myself up in flannel on a daily basis. Leggings are an achievement for me."
He shrugs. "Leggings, cheggings—"
"Jeggings," I correct him.
"Yeah, what the fuck are jeggings?"
He looks confused for a second. "Aren't those just jeans?"
"No, they're really tight—and sort of stretchy."
"Again, aren't those just jeans?"
I shake my head. "Don't bother, you wouldn't get it."
He nods. "You're right. I wouldn't. Because I don't have a vagina, and therefore do not understand terms like that. Of course, you know that, as of two nights ago."
"Are you saying that before two nights ago, it's feasible that I could have thought you had a vagina?"
He frowns. "Yeah, I didn't think that comment through."
"Welcome to a concept called thinking before you speak."
"You should talk. I'm pretty sure you weren't doing that when you told Alice and my sister," he says, making a disgusted face, "about Sunday night. Why'd you do that anyway? You never talk about stuff like that."
I shrug. "I don't know. Temporary stupidity, I guess."
He grins and gently pokes me in the ribs, making me squirm. "Is it because it was so good that you just had to tell someone about it?"
It is, but I'm not about to tell him that. "You know, I've always known you were a smug bastard but you've reached new levels today."
He smiles, and for once, it's not a smirk. It's sweet, which throws me off. He swivels my bar stool so I'm facing him, leans in close to me and looks me right in the eyes as he says like it's a matter of fact, "Bella, I've seen you naked. Of course I'm going to be smug."
I freeze, even as my blood heats up. I'm part shocked, part aroused, and completely confused.
Since when does Edward talk about me naked?
Since he's seen me naked, I suppose.
I try to shake it off and playfully slap him like I normally would if he had made any other comment. But he didn't. He made this comment, and it feels anything but normal. I can still smell his cologne and the barley barely on his breath; all these things I've never noticed before that now I can't stop thinking about.
It's such a warring feeling. One part of me is inevitably pleased with the compliments and attention—what girl wouldn't be?—and another is absolutely loathing how uneasy I feel around Edward. It's Edward. My best friend. He's supposed to be easy—not like that, of course. Although, if I take into account how quickly we fell into bed together on Sunday, he is kind of easy. But if he's easy, it means I am too, so I'm going to ignore that.
When I pull myself out of my head, Edward's already turned away and taken a sip of his beer, his lips wrapped around its lip, making me think of when they were on my lips. I have to shake out of this stupor I've worked myself into, so when I manage to tear my eyes away, I turn and face outward, towards the rest of the bar. I see two girls in the corner eyeing him.
And if things between Edward and I weren't already different, if there wasn't already this sort of B.C./A.D—Before Coitus/After Doing-it—divide, this would cement it. The hot welling of something sharp stabs me when I see those girls look at him, look at me, wonder are they together? and realize no they're not, he's available. It's immediately recognizable, even if I can't exactly name it.
I push that feeling down and take a long sip of my beer—I'm very good at doing that. The fighting my feelings part, not the drinking beer part, though I'm no slouch in that department either. But I know what I have to do, and I refuse to let this stupid gnawing in the pit of my stomach ruin the best friendship I've ever had. Edward's flirting and teasing is harmless; this feeling is not. It's toxic and ugly, and within a few moments, I've convinced myself that I don't want to hang out with him tonight because I'm tired and ready to fall into bed.
Things are different, but if I don't act like they are, then they don't have to be. Everything doesn't have to be ruined.
"Edward," I hiss. He turns to me and frowns as I slip my scarf around my neck.
I nod. "Getting tired." Tired of hearing my own thoughts, which seem to have been in constant disarray for the past few days.
He takes a big chug to finish the rest of his beer. "I'll come with you."
"No!" I say a little too loudly, a little quickly. He looks alarmed. I dart my eyes to the corner with the two girls. "An eight and a nine, northwest," I tell him, using this ridiculous code that Emmett and Jasper made up so they could check out girls.
"What?" he asks, scrunching up his face in confusion.
I should have known Edward wouldn't understand. So instead, I make it obvious, jerking my chin in their direction, knowing they're still watching us. "Girls." He looks at me blankly. "Looking at you." His brow furrows. I huff. "Those girls are looking at you. Go talk to them."
"But I thought we were hanging out tonight," he says.
I shrug as I slide of my stool. "Don't worry, we can hang out anytime." I begin to wind my scarf around my neck as he jumps off his stool, and in his attempt to help me, he winds up completely palming my boob by accident. I think.
His eyes grow, wide and he looks like a little boy who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar—I suppose breasts are the adult male equivalent of a cookie jar. For a moment, all those frantic feelings disappear and are replaced by Edward and I just being the way we always are, the only way I know how to be.
"Did you just touch my boob?"
"I might have?" he says, somehow looking smug and guilty at the same time. I don't know how he does that. It's a rare and irritating gift. "I can't say I regret tit, though."
I narrow my eyes at him. "Really, Edward?"
He gleefully replies, "You're the breast, Bella."
I throw my arms in the air in frustration. "Now I'm really leaving."
As I walk to the entrance and pull on my coat, he calls loudly from the back of the bar, "Thanks for the mammaries!"
I say goodbye to him with one very expressive finger, but I'm laughing to myself as I step out into the cold. For a moment, I feel so good that we're back to us that I consider going back inside. But in the end, I decide to end things on a high note instead of messing it up again with my thoughts and feelings. I walk quickly down the street to my house before I can change my mind and fall asleep before any of my thoughts can catch up with me.
I make my decision as I head back to the table. When you lean forward to take your drink from me, I hold it away. You roll your eyes and reach across me, and I dip my head so your lips wind up on mine.
You and me.
And it doesn't feel odd or strange. It's soft, surprising. It's sexy, and it feels natural. Normal, even.
When I pull away slightly, I brace myself. But you don't slap me. You don't look disgusted or terrified. Best of all, you don't ask me, 'what was that?'
Because I don't really know what it was, but it was something and you feel it, too.
You're looking at me like you always do and it makes me feel like it always does, like I'm a cross between Superman and an annoying dog all at once. You're the only one who takes all my shit and gives back just as good. I kind of love that.
But you're also looking at me with something else—want. It's a mix of lust and like and awe, and I recognize it because that's exactly what I'm feeling. I kind of love that, too.
When I lean down to kiss you a second time, it's without all the worry of before. Now there's a feeling that I can't name or describe, that's brand new but feels like it could have been around this whole time and I never knew it. And since I can't describe it—or maybe even if I could—the only thing I can do, the only thing I want to do, is show you.
And that's as angsty as it gets, folks. I think everyone's figured out the part in italics by now, right? I'm going to aim to update on Tuesday, but it may be Thursday.
americnxdiot fixes stuff and leaves Edward notes about her hatred for jeggings. In other words, she's fantastic.
And you guys: why are you so awesome? (No, really, tell me. I want reasons.)