|Majik's World of Fan Fic
|Twilight: New Year, Same Bella
|Page 1 of 1|
|Author:||HammondGirl [ Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:35 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Twilight: New Year, Same Bella|
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. Or Edward – Or Robert – Damn it.
A/N’s: This story is for a great cause, though it’s long overdue! We have the power to kick cancer’s butt, and this silly little story – which was supposed to be a one-shot, but took on a life of its own – is my (small) contribution to the Support Stacie Author Auction. Jen – this one is for you.
New Year, Same Bella
Chapter 1: Time Flies When You're Flinging Fish
The sound of my breath rising and falling in an even tempo was almost relaxing enough to lull me back to sleep, but my annoyingly accurate internal alarm clock made that impossible. If I hadn’t insisted on staying home last night and going to bed before midnight, I knew I’d still be asleep in my warm, comfy bed.
Unfortunately, I knew that I had to get up, so I flung the warm material off of my body and swung my feet over the edge of the bed. When my bare toes met the frigid hardwood floor, I curled them under to keep them warm and walked awkwardly to the tiled bathroom, which always managed to be a few degrees cooler than the rest of my apartment. Placing my hands on either side of my free-standing sink, I leaned forward and took a hard look at myself in the mirror; the dark circles under my eyes negated the fact that I’d gone to bed earlier than usual last night.
A shiver ran down my spine when a draft of cold air swept past my body, and I looked longingly over toward the tub that sat in the middle of the small room. Though the space was small and my flimsy shower curtain had a hard time containing steam, a shower would undoubtedly warm me up, but in an effort to save time, I’d showered and chosen what to wear last night so that I wouldn’t have to scramble to do either task this morning. Walking out into the main room of my loft toward my chest of drawers, I glanced at the glowing red letters on my digital alarm clock and found that my early preparations hadn’t helped; I was already running late – at five o’clock in the morning.
Trying not panic, I threw on my blue jeans and a long-sleeved tee, then layered on my favorite navy blue cable-knit sweater before pulling on a pair of thick, woolen socks. My heavy winter coat was draped over the edge of a small snowman that sat amidst the Christmas decorations piled by the front door, but my keys were nowhere to be found. After scanning every surface in my apartment with my eyes, I starting digging around and found them wedged between two couch cushions. With a quick glance at my wristwatch, I stepped out onto my porch landing and looked down at Mrs. Cope’s tidy little backyard.
The loft I rented from her sat directly above her garage, a separate building that was adjacent to her one-story bungalow style home; it wasn’t much, but the rent was cheap, and it was home. Checking carefully for patches of ice, I made my way downstairs and dialed the combination of the padlock keeping the garage doors shut against the brisk wind. Once I backed my old, beat-up pickup truck carefully out of its space, I hopped out and locked the doors once again.
When I turned right onto Pike Street, the famous Public Market Center sign illuminated the foggy morning sky, giving it an eerie red glow. The big white clock buzzed with electricity, and the two large red hands rimmed in neon stared down at me in accusation as they pointed out the fact that I was already fifteen minutes late. There were only a few cars parked on my left, so I spotted Jake’s bike quickly; it sat propped up by its kickstand between two yellow posts that indicated it wasn’t a suitable place to park. I smirked and pulled into the only empty spot left, two spaces away from him.
Jake, one of my oldest friends, had been asking me to come by one morning to watch what he referred to as a “modern marvel” in action for the last few months, and I figured today was as good a day as any to begin my number one New Year’s resolution: Spend more time with friends and less cooped up in my tiny apartment… alone.
After I shoved my purse under the driver’s seat and pocketed my keys and cell phone, I stepped out of the warm comfort the cab of my truck provided. The bitter wind whipped around my face as I walked toward the Pike Place Fish Market, so I shrugged the lapel of my coat up closer to me. Even though I’d be outside for more than half of the morning, I hoped that the roof over the open air market would keep the majority of the biting wind at bay while we worked. The only advantage I foresaw the cold offering this morning was to keep the stink of fish somewhat down.
A large sign that read “We pack fish to go in airline-approved boxes” hung above the main counter. Behind it, Jake leaned over with a smile and a Starbucks cup. From where I stood, I could see that he wasn’t dressed warmly enough to battle Seattle’s brutal weather. Over his light gray hoodie, two black straps that said “Grundens” in big block letters hung over his shoulders, holding up a pair of bright orange overalls. Although I knew they were designed to keep moisture out, I wasn’t so sure they would keep the cold January wind from nipping at his skin.
Jake motioned that I walk around the counter with a nod of his head as he said, “Good morning.”
As I joined him I said, “Good would have been ten-thirty,” then bit back a smile as I took in his appearance: His orange overalls were haphazardly tucked into a large pair of gray wellies, and the beanie adorning his head left the tips of his scraggly black hair sticking out at a weird angle around his collar. Though he looked ridiculous, I couldn’t deny that I was happy to see him, and even happier that he had a cup of hot coffee for me.
Jake ran his large hand over the scruff he’d neglected to shave off this morning as I took the lid off of my breakfast blend. I savored its aroma while glancing around at my surroundings: Various pictures and articles hung above the large counter we stood behind. Shipping supplies were stacked neatly next to rolls of butcher paper and several industrial looking kitchen scales. In front of the glass display only the employees had access to, the various spices and rubs offered were lined along a low shelf, and a large wooden bin filled with ice sat about ten feet away, allowing the customers an up close look at today’s fresh catch.
“So what are you going to make me do today?” I asked after I’d taken a good look around. “I hope I’m not in charge of gutting an octopus or anything gross like that.”
As if on cue, an older man wheeled a big stack of crates packed down with various fish around the corner. “Morning, Jake,” he said as he pushed his cart toward us. A few guys wearing overalls that matched Jake’s came around the counter just in time to hear the man – who I later learned was their boss – ask, “Is this your girlfriend?”
“Yeah,” Jake smugly replied. I sputtered, pulling my scalding hot coffee away from my face while Jake chuckled. Several of his co-workers laughed too as they began unloading fish from large bins. I bit my lip in annoyance at Jake’s pompous smirk. My nostrils flared, and I was about to let him have a piece of my mind when Jake said, “What? You’re a girl, and you’re my friend. It’s not like I was lying, Bells.”
Narrowing my eyes, I knew I was only seconds away from either smacking him upside the head or throwing my coffee in his face. Before I got a chance to decide which act of revenge I was going to go with, I spotted something bright orange fast approaching Jake from the corner of my eye. Sneaking up behind him so that he didn’t have time to react, the prankster pulled Jake’s beanie down over his eyes while shoving a fistful of ice down his overalls. Everyone within a fifty-foot vicinity laughed, and with a satisfied grin firmly planted on my lips, I thanked my new friend.
“Oh, it was my pleasure,” he replied as he ducked out of Jake’s grasp. “You must be Bella. It’s nice to meet you.” He extended his hand and said, “I’m Seth.”
“It’s very nice to meet you, Seth,” I replied in a flirtatious manner, taking his offered hand. From the corner of my eye, I saw Jake bend down to shake loose the ice that had traveled down one of his rubber boots. When he glanced back up to find my hand still within Seth’s, he clenched his fists at his sides. A bit smug with Jake’s reaction, I allowed Seth to show me around and introduce me to all of their co-workers, who were already busy arranging the day’s fresh catch within the iced down bins.
Hanging out behind the counter of the Pike Place Fish Company during the morning rush was an experience I’d not soon forget. The empty space that I’d arrived to was hardly recognizable. People milled around the well-organized display in front of the counter, and by nine a.m., the whole market was abuzz with customers even though it was the first of January. I thought it was an unusual time of day for so many people to be up and about after spending the previous evening ringing in the New Year. The sights and smells of the fish market were strong enough as it was; I couldn’t imagine being subjected to them after spending the night binge-drinking.
If any of Jake’s fellow fishmongers were hung-over, they didn’t show it. For the most part, they were an upbeat group of guys. They told a variety of lame fish-themed jokes to the customers throughout the morning, and I couldn’t help but laugh along at some of the ridiculous punch lines. I had to bite back a smile a time or two when I overheard them tell the raunchier versions of the same jokes amongst themselves. All in all, I was glad to be fulfilling my main resolution, and was having a blast doing so. It was also nice knowing that I was making a little extra money this morning. My loft was in desperate need of a new radiator that I’d hate to burden Mrs. Cope with the cost of; she spent the majority of her retirement money on her beloved cats.
“Hey, Bells,” Jake called out from the main display. “Why don’t you come out from the protection of that counter and help me over here?”
I’d been lying low for the past hour, simply watching Jake and his co-workers toss fish back and forth from the main display to the counter for customers to purchase, yet secretly wanting to join in the fun. Being faced with the possibility of making a complete ass out of myself while failing to throw the fish far enough to make it to the main counter, or worse yet, not catching one thrown at me, was not something I’d signed up for. “Are you sure?” I asked as I walked around the corner, hesitating at its edge.
“Of course I’m sure,” he said as I took an uneasy step toward the display. When I reached him, he handed me a pair of hideous brown rubber gloves that went up well past my elbows. “Besides,” he continued once I’d pulled them on, “you said you wanted to help out. This is helping out.”
When I was all set, Jake placed a small silver salmon in my hands and let me toss it to Seth, who waited behind the counter. With every throw, the guys made a silly sound announcing that a fish was flying through the air. When they made sure to belt out their signature chant as Seth caught my fish, I smiled in victory.
Jake patted me on the back and said, “See, there’s nothing to it. I’ll be right back, okay?” I nodded at him, still elated that my fish made it all the way to Seth, who gave me a small wink before picking up a whole King Crab to snap its claws at a little girl who’d just walked up to the counter with her family. I laughed and watched him interact with her for a few minutes. When the small girl’s family left, Seth caught my eye and mimed throwing the salmon he held in his hands at me. I bit my lip, but nodded in permission and swallowed my fear; after all, it was just a fish…
Before I was completely prepared, he flung the salmon up in the air. As it flew at me face first, I saw that the fish’s mouth was slightly open. Though I held my arms out in front of me, I panicked and closed my eyes for a split-second. When I opened them, the fish fell just short of its mark, skidding to a halt on the icy display, knocking a few cubes off the end and onto the matted floor I was standing on. Seth laughed at my expression just as Jake came around the counter, and I quickly placed the salmon where it belonged before he could make fun of me.
Turing away from Jake as he joined Seth, I used the back of my gloved hand to rub my forehead and brush the few tendrils of hair that had fallen loose from my braid. I also needed a few moments for the blush I felt climbing up my cheeks to subside. After I’d pushed a particularly annoying strand of hair free from my vision, I lowered my hand and looked over toward the café adjacent from the Fish Market, where the hottest guy I’d ever laid eyes on stood looking at me. My cheeks instantly heated up – again.
I stared openly at him for a few seconds, too intrigued by him to drop my gaze. He did the same until a beautiful, petite brunette carrying a cup of coffee and a small white bag exited the café, walked eagerly up to my mystery guy, then looped her arm loosely within his. Dropping my eyes at the same moment he did, I realized I was still wearing horrendous gloves and probably looked a mess, but when I snuck a glance back toward the café, I found his eyes back on mine while his companion stirred creamer into her coffee at a nearby table.
“Hey, Bella,” I heard Jake call out, breaking the spell the mystery man had entranced me with. Jake shouted, “Think fast!” as I turned, and I came face-to-face with a large gray creature of the sea being hurtled through the air toward me. I shrieked in terror, afraid it would hit me in the face, and took an impulsive step back. Unfortunately, the ice that had fallen to the mat during my previous failed attempt at catching a fish was still right behind me. My boot caught on its slick surface, and as I fell to the floor, landing on my ass with a loud “oomph,” I realized that my assailant was none other than a stuffed plush Hammerhead shark.
Jake was at my side in a matter of seconds. He tried to hide the amusement in his voice as he asked, “Are you okay, Bella?” He failed. “You should have seen your face!” he exclaimed as he hauled me to my feet.
“Damn it, Jake!” I yelled. Realizing that we were being watched, I lowered my voice and growled, “You can be such a shit sometimes, you know that?”
He laughed and picked up the stuffed animal that lay at our feet and lunged at me with it. Without a moment’s hesitation, I peeled my gloves off and flung them at him. “Ouch,” he said as one of the rubber hands slapped his cheek. “That hurt.”
“Good,” I replied. “It hurt when I fell on my ass, too.” I made a show of rubbing my sore butt, even though the only part of me wounded was my pride; he didn’t have to know that.
Jake flashed me his signature grin, thinking that he could get away with murder because of it. “Come on, Bells,” he mockingly plead. “Forgive me?”
“You’re so annoying,” I told him. “I might forgive you later, when I’ve washed the stink of fish off of my skin. But for right now, you’re on probation. That was a real shit thing to do,” I said, shoving his chest playfully with my hands.
He grinned again and said, “Deal. How about dinner tomorrow?”
I rolled my eyes in his not-so-subtle attempt into goading me into not only forgiving him, but to agreeing to a date. “We’ve had this discussion many times, Jake. We’re friends. That’s it.”
“What?” he asked, feigning innocence. “Friends don’t eat dinner together?”
“Ugh, you know what I mean,” I said, shoving on his chest once again. “What time is it?” I asked, taking a step back; he’d gotten a bit too close for comfort and I didn’t want to blur the lines of our friendship in his mind anymore than they already were.
He took a step toward me and picked up my wrist, looking down at my watch with a smirk. “It’s 10:25.”
Pulling my wrist from his grasp, I took yet another step back. “Well, I’ve been here for nearly five hours, so I’m gonna head out.”
Once again, he closed the distance I’d put between us. “And what are you going to do for the rest of the day?”
My eyes widened when I noticed that his playful demeanor had vanished. “Sleep.”
“So what about dinner tomorrow?” he asked.
Looking up at his face, I felt very small next to him. “I’ll let you know, okay? I’d better go. Tell the guys I said thanks. Bye, Jake.” With that, I turned on my heel and high-tailed it to where I’d parked my truck. I had the distinct feeling that Jake’s intentions to stay “just friends” no longer existed.
A/N's: My sincere thanks go out to VivaViva for her mad beta skills & to Little Miss Whitlock for all of her advice. I owe these girls my sanity!
|Author:||HammondGirl [ Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:21 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Twilight: New Year, Same Bella|
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. Or Edward – Or Robert – Damn it.
Chapter 2: My Good Samaritan
Taking a deep breath, I couldn’t help but hurry past Jake’s bike and the two sedans that separated me from my escape. As I reached the hood of my truck, I palmed its edge on my way to my door, but stopped dead in my tracks instead of continuing on. I took a step back with my hand still planted on the hood of my truck and looked down to confirm what I’d seen from the corner of my eye; my mystery man was crouched down on his heels as he examined my front passenger tire. As I tentatively turned to approach him, he looked up, his face lit in surprised recognition as I stepped off of the curb. “You have a flat,” he said in a deep voice that I knew I could lose myself in.
Shifting my focus from his body to my tire, I bent down to inspect the damage and saw an old, rusty nail sticking out of its left side, next to where the slack rubber pooled against the pavement. I furrowed my brows in frustration because I desperately wanted to flee from Jake. Then I remembered that I wasn’t alone. “So, do you look at the entire parking lot checking for flat tires like a Good- Samaritan-type of thing?” I asked.
I turned my head and looked at him, only to find his gaze firmly locked onto my own. He immediately turned his head and muttered something under his breath as he stood. Bringing my left hand up to my mouth, I bit the tip of my ring finger, a nervous tic of mine, and stood up as well.
Turning his head to face me again he asked, “Do you have a spare? I can help you change this if you want.” My hand fell away from my face as I watched him speak. When I realized that I was staring at his mouth, I shifted my gaze up to his eyes. He smiled and raised an eyebrow. “Spare tire?” he asked again, clearing my head.
I nodded once before I walked past him to peer down into the bed of my truck. When I saw that it was empty, I gnashed my teeth and said, “Crap.” I felt him step closer to me as he gazed down over my head. “I took out my spare tire and jack two days ago to help my landlady move her Christmas decorations,” I said. “She had to get a small storage unit when I moved into the apartment above her garage.” I wasn’t sure why I divulged this information to him, but as I turned toward him, I lost all train of coherent thought. He was less than six inches away from my body, and as I looked up into his eyes, my lips parted and I took a shaky breath when I found them trained once again so intently on my face.
“I’m sorry to say that my jack won’t fit, or else we could just use mine to prop your truck up and get this tire off already,” he said, taking a step back and looking down at my flat.
“Don’t worry about it,” I reassured him, taking my cell phone out of my pocket and turning it over in my hand. “My Dad made sure I was a member of Triple A for situations like this when I moved out here last year,” I said, still unsure why I was volunteering so much about my life. “Anyway, thanks for pointing out my flat tire—” I paused, fishing for his name.
“Edward,” he supplied as the smile that started out on his full, supple lips spread to his eyes.
“—Edward,” I replied, liking the way his name sounded as I said it. “Thanks again for the whole ‘Good Samaritan’ thing,” I said before I could stop myself, sure that my embarrassment from earlier was making its reappearance on my face.
He smiled and said, “Well, since you seem to have labeled me as one, why don’t I continue with my role a bit more. Can I offer you a ride back to your apartment to pick up your jack and spare? That way you don’t have to wait around for Triple A to show up—” he paused, using the trick I’d used earlier on me this time.
“Bella,” I supplied with a smile.
“—Bella,” he said with a nod of his head, as though he were testing it out just as I had with his name. “What do you say?”
Though the part of me that was a cop’s daughter screamed at me to refuse, the part of me that was completely captivated by the hot guy asking to help me out smiled and said, “That would be great. Let me just grab my purse from my truck.” I took my keys out of my jeans pocket and unlocked the passenger side door. As I leaned over and pulled my purse out from underneath my front seat, I reminded the cop’s daughter that I’d been raised right, and that my pepper spray was tucked into the side pocket of my purse. I shut my door, nudging it with my hip to make sure it was closed, then looked over at Edward and couldn’t help but smile. He was polite… and cute… and talking to me. What could possibly happen?
Nothing, I thought, silencing my inner voice. Besides, I continued, he’s probably married to that perfect little brunette, and they live in the perfect little house with their two perfect little children.
“So, where are you parked?” I asked. He nodded toward the sleek silver sports car behind my back, and I felt my face heat up. The fact that he was parked right next to me meant that he’d seen my tire as he was about to get into his car. So much for Mr. Good Samaritan…
“Right,” I mumbled, walking around the front of his car. “So you didn’t check the whole parking lot?” I asked, hoping the he mistook the waver in my voice for a crack at humor rather than a sign of my humiliation. When he smirked and unlocked his passenger side door, I opened it and sat down. As he opened his door and slid into his seat, I said, “I take that as a no?” Edward chuckled as he shook his head, and I stole a glance at his ring finger on his left hand; it was bare. When I checked the backseat for Cheerios and a car seat as he shifted into reverse, I found it empty as well.
“Where’s this garage apartment of yours?” He backed cautiously out of his parking spot, taking extra care to check for pedestrians walking behind his car as he did so. When he shifted into drive, I nodded up toward First Avenue and told him to take a left toward West Queen Anne.
Mrs. Cope’s neighborhood ran parallel along Kinnear Park, where the houses were nestled among the hills of the area. Her house sat about ten feet higher than street level on the right side of the street, so I directed Edward to the next block and had him turn into the alley, where her garage and my apartment was. He turned at the entrance, just before a large telephone pole marked the edge of our rear neighbor’s property and where three of my other neighbor’s trash cans were lined up. “Which one is yours?” he asked, nodding toward the homes on the left side of the alleyway.
“The third one in,” I informed him as he eased past the first house. “It’s the large white-washed building with a padlock on the double doors.” He began to pass it, but I realized that he had done so on purpose when he shifted into reverse, placed his arm across the back of my headrest, and twisted his body around to guide his car backward into the driveway.
When he shifted into park, he kept his hand up on my headrest and his face directed toward mine. “So this is where you live?” he asked, breaking through the haze I’d let myself get wrapped up in again.
He lowered his arm and shut off the engine, and I couldn’t seem to find my voice for a moment. I nodded and crossed my left arm over my chest, pointing out of the side window up toward my small apartment. “Yeah,” I said after swallowing thickly. “Just up there.”
Edward chuckled and blinked, drawing his gaze down to where I’d rested my hands in my lap. He licked his lips then looked back up to my face as he reached to his side and opened his door. “Where’s your spare?”
“Oh,” I said, beyond embarrassed that I’d sat there gaping instead of getting out of the car. I turned from him and opened my door as I said, “It’s in the garage.” I hoped that when he saw my face as he rose from his seat and followed me, he’d think the bloom in my cheeks was a result of the biting January wind and not due to my utter embarrassment.
With my back to Edward, I dialed in the combination of the padlock and swung the heavy garage door open. My jack and spare sat along the far wall, just where I’d left them. Edward brushed past me and turned once he reached the wall. “Is this jack strong enough to lift your truck?” he asked as he bent down to retrieve it.
“It’s the one my Dad always uses when I have a flat,” I replied with a shrug. “I’ve never had a problem with it.”
He nodded and began to walk back toward his car as I neared my spare tire. “I’ll get that,” he called over his shoulder, setting down the jack to unlock the trunk of his car. I watched him bend down to pick it up again once he opened his trunk and felt guilty; I knew how heavy it was, so I figured I’d save him the trouble of having to move the tire as well. I maneuvered it away from the wall and pointed it in the direction of Edward’s car, thinking I would just roll it toward him.
After two spins, I realized that I was on the highest part of a slope, and that rolling a tire that weighed at least thirty pounds toward Edward or his car was not such a great idea. It began picking up speed and I rushed behind it, desperately trying to slow its decent with my hands. “Oh, shit,” I said as it rolled out of my grasp. I swore again under my breath before I shouted, “Edward, watch out!”
He’d just set the jack inside of his trunk and turned toward the sound of my voice before he figured out what I was warning him about. I watched in horror as the runaway tire hit the back of his legs before toppling over and spinning like a coin on the asphalt. Edward lunged forward upon its impact, but quickly righted himself against his car before turning to look at me.
“Oh my God, are you alright?” I asked, running up to him. “I’m so sorry,” I said as I bent down to stop the tire from spinning, and then started brushing dirt from his jeans before I realized what I was doing. Mortified, I stood and mumbled, “Sorry,” again. It had been humiliating enough to have the tire get loose from my grasp in the first place, but I couldn’t believe that I’d actually touched him in such a personal manner. When I glanced up at Edward’s amused expression, my embarrassment increased tenfold.
He looked down at his feet, and while the corners of his mouth turned up and he let out a soft laugh, I watched his long eyelashes dust his cheeks. “I’m fine, Bella,” he said with a slight laugh as he looked back at me. “Why don’t you close up the garage while I put the tire in the trunk? Do you think you can manage that without knocking me over?”
With a flustered laugh I said, “Maybe.” Edward chuckled and bent down to pick up the tire at his feet, and I turned around to close the garage doors and clasp the padlock shut around the two metal disks holding them closed. The wind picked up then, and I struggled for a moment until the lock closed with a small click. When I was sure it was secure, I turned while I brushed a loose strand of hair from where it was tickling my nose, and found Edward closing his trunk.
While I walked around to the passenger side, I noticed him wipe his hands against each other before he opened his door so I glanced down at my own. A few smudges of tire grease coated my left palm while my right only had one black spot. Edward slid into the driver’s seat of his nice, clean car. I didn’t want to wipe my grubby paws all over it, so I did the only thing I could: with a look of disgust on my face, I sucked in a breath and wiped my hands along the sides of my dark wash jeans, hoping he wouldn’t notice, then I climbed in next to him.
“Everything alright?” Edward asked. I bit my lip and turned to face him, and couldn’t help but smile.
When he returned my smile with one of his own, I looked down at my lap. “Thanks for doing this, Edward. You really didn’t have to.”
“Sure I did. I take my job as the parking lot Good Samaritan very seriously,” he replied. I laughed as he started the car, and brought my finger up to my mouth to calm my nerves. “What would the damsel in distress say to lunch?”
Smiling into my hand before I dropped it back to my lap, I turned and said, “Lunch sounds great. I’m starving, actually.” Edward smiled as he shifted into drive.
The city blurred around me as Edward weaved in and out of traffic, headed back in the general direction of the market. “Do you like—” he began, and I turned toward him. Instead of continuing though, his lips formed a small smile.
“What?” I asked as he kept glancing over from the corner of his eye. His smile deepened and he pointed to the side of his nose. My eyes widened and I really hoped that my suspicions were incorrect. Sure enough though, when I hastily lowered his visor and peered up at my reflection in the small mirror there, I found a small black smudge on the left side of my nose.
My hands flew to cup my mouth and nose in horror. I turned my head toward the side window and rubbed furiously at the spot. When I glanced in the mirror from the corner of my eye a moment later, the smudge was gone, but my whole face was red. Edward chuckled from my left at my failed attempt at subtlety, but unfortunately, there wasn’t a hole placed conveniently at my feet for me to disappear into.
I kept my left hand up on my face and readjusted myself in my seat as Edward pulled into a parking space; I hadn’t realized that we were already at the restaurant. “Is this okay?” he asked, shifting into park. I glanced out of the windshield up at the small hand-painted sign that read, “Boat & Net.”
“It’s a mom and pop kind of place,” Edward began, “but it’s still kind of early and I didn’t know what else was open around here.”
“No, this is fine.” I finally lowered my hand from my nose as I faced him. “I’ve never been here before, but I’ve heard Jake talk about this place a time or two,” I said, reaching for the handle and opening my door.
We stepped out of the car at the same time, but I reached back in to retrieve my purse from the floorboard as Edward closed his door and walked up to the sidewalk to wait for me. When I closed my door and made my way over to where he stood, I noticed that he was shuffling his weight from foot to foot and had one hand shoved into his jeans pocket while the other rubbed the back of his neck.
“Is it okay that, uh,” he muttered, lowering his hand and gesturing between us. “Will this Jake guy get mad that I’m bringing his girlfriend out to lunch?” he asked awkwardly.
“Jake is not my boyfriend,” I replied in a hurry. Edward relaxed his stance, so I continued. “He’s just a friend. He’s been nagging me to come watch him at the fish market for forever, so that’s why I was there.” And probably why I stink right now, I tacked on internally.
Edward smirked and walked up to the door, holding it open for me. I brushed past him, taking a second to sniff my arm, and luckily found that somehow I hadn’t ended up smelling like fish. Lowering my arm as Edward stepped through the door behind me, I looked around the restaurant. The interior of Boat & Net was definitely on the small side, but it was nice enough. Twenty or so tables sat in rows behind the condiment area, which faced the long counter where you ordered. A brightly lit menu hung just above the counter and I quickly scanned the specials highlighted there as Edward and I approached it.
There were no employees behind the cream Formica counter I set my purse down on, so I took the opportunity to question Edward. “So you didn’t let me ask you if your wife would be upset that I’m eating lunch with her husband earlier. Will she be mad that you’re changing my tire, too?” I asked coyly. Unless he rarely wore his ring, I hadn’t gotten the impression that Edward was married or in a relationship to speak of, but I was curious about the brunette that had wrapped her arm around his at the market.
I looked over at him first with my eyes, but let my head follow a moment later. Edward’s lips curved up into a sly smile at my clever attempt to fish for information, but before he could answer, a waitress emerged from the kitchen to take our order. Despite the fact that he’d already done more than enough for me, and despite my arguments, Edward paid for our food. With no choice in the matter, I conceded defeat and turned to find a table. It was an easy quest; we were the restaurant’s only patrons.
Edward waited at the counter for our food as I shrugged out of my jacket and placed it across the back of my chair. It was unusually warm inside the small room, so I pulled my sweater up over my head and placed it on top of my jacket before I sat down. Our food was ready a moment later, and Edward carried the tray to our table. He placed his coat across the back of his chair and had just sat down when I stood. He glanced up at me with a questioning look.
“I need some ketchup and cocktail sauce. What about you?” I asked with a smile. “What’s your poison?”
He rose from his seat and said, “I’ll help.” I cocked my eyebrow at him. “We need straws and a ton of napkins. The food here is greasy, but it tastes good,” he explained.
I’d chosen the table that sat just behind the right hand corner of the condiment bar, so I could have managed just fine. Either he was trying to keep up his new role of Good Samaritan, or he was trying to flirt with me. I was hoping for… Well, if I was being honest with myself, I was hoping for both.
Facing the ketchup dispenser, it suddenly occurred to me that he hadn’t answered my question earlier. Just as I turned toward him to inquire about his answer, Edward said, “By the way, no one is going to be mad that I’m taking you out to lunch. Now, if I hadn’t have offered to change your tire or take you to lunch, I’d be mad at myself. But that’s another story.”
I blushed at his admission as I scooped some cocktail sauce into a small white paper cup before I stole a glance in his direction. He’d had his jacket on all morning, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the sleeves of his light blue button down shirt were rolled up to his elbows.
“The girl you saw at the market is my sister, Alice. Who you didn’t see was her boyfriend, Jasper. Well, shit… I guess he’s her fiancé, now,” he said with a smile. “They wanted me to meet them at the market this morning so that they could tell me they’re getting married.”
“That’s so cool,” I said. “Did he propose last night on New Year’s Eve?” I asked, picking up another small paper cup and positioning it underneath the ketchup dispenser. I pushed down on the pump once, and nothing happened. When I pushed down on it again, though, it made a disturbing noise then spewed ketchup all over my t-shirt. Hunching my shoulders over, I took a step back as my mouth fell open in shock.
Realizing that I had an audience, I turned to find Edward biting back a smile. As I placed the empty paper cup onto the counter, he said, “I’ll get this. Why don’t you go clean up in the bathroom?”
Without a word in response, I turned on my heel and ran toward the entrance, where I’d seen the restrooms. Once inside, I peered into the mirror to assess the damage. Ketchup was all over the left side of my chest. My hands were somehow free of the sticky red stuff, so I pushed the sleeves of my t-shirt up over my elbows so that I wouldn’t get them wet when I turned on the water.
When I turned the knob, water trickled from the spout, so I turned it further to the right for more water pressure and leaned down to scoop it into my hands. Instead of spraying down like gravity intended, it blew out at an awkward angle and hit my ketchup-stained shirt and splashed up into my face. The below-freezing temperature of the water made me take an involuntary gasp of air.
Blinking my eyes in shock, I took a step back and hunched over as water dripped from my face to the floor. The water still sprayed from the spout at a strange angle, so while trying to avoid getting splashed again as much as humanly possible, I side-stepped the stream and turned the knob until it stopped. Praying that there was an actual paper towel dispenser instead of just a hand dryer, I turned to the wall on my right and found that I was in luck. After I wiped off my face, I scrubbed furiously at my shirt but my effort was for naught. Although I knew there was no way I’d get the entire stain out, I’d hoped for at least something not as noticeable as what I ended up with.
Looking up at the mirror, I noticed that remnants of the mascara I’d thought I’d removed last night had found its way down my face. When I looked down at my shirt, though, I found that a smudge of mascara was the least of my problems; my ketchup stain didn’t seem like such a big deal any longer either.
Laundry day had been yesterday, but when I went to grab my white t-shirt bra this morning, it was nowhere to be found. So I figured that since I was layering my thick, navy blue sweater over my white long sleeved tee, wearing my plaid forest green bra would be no big deal. Throwing a bit of water onto a white t-shirt was an entirely different story; my bra was clearly visible, and I had not brought my sweater into the bathroom with me. After all, I’d been in a hurry.
Crossing my arms over my chest and gathering up as much of the see-through material in my fist as possible, I bit my lip and left the privacy of the bathroom. Edward sat waiting patiently for me at our table, his food untouched. With a meek smile, I grabbed my sweater and sat down, hoping that the table would cover where my bra showed through. I let go of my shirt and hunched down to cover more of myself, but when my head popped through the hole of my sweater, I found Edward’s eyes glued to my chest.
|Author:||HammondGirl [ Mon Dec 07, 2009 5:22 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Twilight: New Year, Same Bella|
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. Or Edward – Or Robert – Damn it.
Chapter 3: Oh Fudge
“Sorry about that,” I said, quickly pulling my sweater down the rest of the way as I sat up. Edward’s eyes snapped up to meet mine, and I could have sworn I noticed a slight pink tinge to his cheeks. “I’m always doing stuff like that,” I said, jerking my thumb over my shoulder in the direction of the condiment counter. “So, are you hungry?”
Edward gave me a soft smile and nodded. “Are you?”
“I didn’t get a chance to eat this morning,” I replied as I dipped a french-fry in some ketchup. “By the time I woke up, I was already running late, so I had to get moving. The fact that my radiator just hasn’t been cutting lately and that my bed was nice and warm didn’t help anything.”
“I hate running late, but I don’t think I could have gotten out of your bed, either,” Edward said.
I choked on my fry.
Realizing how his seemingly innocent comment sounded to my ears, Edward’s entire face turned red; it was a nice change, considering how many times my cheeks had changed colors throughout the day.
“I meant… Uh…” he stammered. I chewed on my lower lip to rein in the smile threatening to erupt on my face. “I just meant that I would have hated getting out of your warm bed,” he said, and I could no longer contain my grin.
Edward mouthed the word “shit” then took a quick breath before he said, “It was pretty cold this morning. I didn’t want to leave my house, either, but Alice would have killed me if I were late. She was practically busting at the seams when I showed up.”
“Has she been dating her fiancé a long time?” I asked, changing the subject; though I had to admit – I liked the idea of Edward wanting to be in my bed.
“Fiancé,” Edward repeated. “That’s going to take some getting used to,” he said with a smile. “They’ve actually been dating since high school, so at least I know who my little sister is getting involved with. I’ve actually known Jasper for years; I brought him home for dinner one night, he sat next to Alice, and that was that.”
“Wow,” I said. “So, does she know when she wants the wedding to take place, or is it too soon to tell?”
“Alice?” he asked, a bright smile replacing his wary expression. “Knowing my baby sister, she’s had her and Jasper’s wedding planned for quite some time.”
I’d never longed for a sibling, but as Edward spoke of his sister, I sensed their connection and desired something similar. Luckily, lunch passed without further incident and we soon found ourselves back at the market, which was as busy as it had been earlier. Much to our surprise, the car parked just three spaces away from my incapacitated truck backed out just as we pulled onto Pike Street. Edward slid into the parking spot, and we were both glad that we wouldn’t have to lug either my heavy jack or tire very far.
Edward opened the jack case on the ground next to the flat tire, and I squatted down next to him. With the tire iron he’d retrieved from the case, he loosened five of the six lug nuts with little to no trouble, but on the sixth, he grunted with effort and stood up to push harder. The wheel lug finally came free from its death grip, but I had to admit, I wouldn’t have minded watching the chords in Edward’s neck tighten with strain again.
Once he had the wheel lugs loosened, Edward removed the jack from its case and positioned it behind the tire until it was directly beneath the jack point. My jack was easy enough to handle and I’d used it a time or two before, so once he maneuvered it into position, I stood up and turned the metal hand crank until it pushed against the truck’s frame. It took a bit more elbow grease to raise my truck high enough up until the flat tire was off of the ground, but I figured Edward had already done more than his required share of good deeds for the day.
Of course, once I had the tire off of the ground, he stepped in front of me and removed the lug nuts, placing them next to my feet before he pried the flat tire off of the wheel. “You don’t have to do this, you know,” I said as he propped it up against the fender.
Edward smiled and said, “Sure I do. What else is a Good Samaritan for?”
When he picked up my spare and positioned it over the wheel studs, I felt horrible; I knew that it was the hardest part of what we were doing. I squatted down to help align the holes of the spare with the wheel studs when my foot slipped forward and I kicked the pile of lug nuts, scattering them around. “Oh fudge!” I squeaked, scrambling to retrieve all six of them.
Edward had already managed to align the tire properly, and it was hanging from the wheel studs, so he bent down to help me pick up the lug nuts. “Did you just say, ‘Oh fudge’? As in how Ralphie from A Christmas Story said ‘Oh fudge’?”
Closing just my left eye, I bit my lip and cringed in embarrassment, something I thought I’d had enough of today. “Yes,” I whispered.
Edward let out a full-blown belly laugh, and I couldn’t help but relax. “I love that movie,” he said, finding the last wheel lug hiding behind the flat. “I watch it every year when that one channel shows it for twenty-four hours straight.”
“Me, too!” I exclaimed. “I love that movie. My best friend and I tend to quote our favorite lines back and forth to each other throughout the year.”
“Really?” he asked. “Alice and I do the same thing,” Edward said as we both tightened the lug nuts by hand. Once they were snug and we couldn’t tighten them any further, I cranked the jack back down and pulled it out from underneath the truck. Edward used the tire iron to tighten down the lugs completely.
“Thanks so much for helping me with this, Edward,” I said as I placed the jack back into the black case. “And thank you for taking me to lunch.” Subconsciously, I pulled the left side of my jacket closer to the right and Edward chuckled.
Hiding my grin, I bent down and stowed my tire iron inside of the jack case, and then placed it in the bed of my pickup while Edward did the same with the flat. “I think you can get that fixed,” he said, dusting his hands together. “It looks like its just one nail that caused the damage.”
With my hands resting lightly on the edge of my truck, I looked up at Edward’s face. I resisted the urge to thank him again by biting my lower lip. Taking a step closer to me, Edward continued. “And it’s me who should be thanking you. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do this afternoon, but it’s turned out to be quite the adventure because of you. Wouldn’t you say so?”
Despite the cool January air, I suddenly felt very warm. Taking a step away from him, my back butted up against the passenger side mirror by the door. “Adventure, that’s my middle name,” I joked, trying to break the sudden tension between us. “Thanks again,” I started to say, but Edward’s hypnotic gaze turned into a sly smile as he stepped toward me, effectively rendering me mute.
“Stop saying thank you already. It was my pleasure. It was really nice meeting you, Bella the Adventurer,” he said, extending his hand.
Slipping my right hand within his, I relaxed and smiled. “It was really nice to meet you, too, Edward the Good Samaritan.”
He chuckled again then seemed to realize that he still held my hand, because he released it and hastily dug his car keys out of his pocket. I took it as my cue that our little adventure had come to an end, as I knew it would, but I was still slightly disappointed. “Thanks again, Edward,” I said, and before he could protest I continued. “There aren’t many of you Good Samaritans left in the world anymore.”
Instead of letting him have the last word, I turned and began to walk around the front of my truck to leave. Of course, when my foot made contact with the curb, I toppled forward. I braced myself on the hood before I went down, though. When I glanced back, I was relieved to see Edward was already making his way around my tailgate where he couldn’t have seen my less-than-graceful save.
Once I was home, I smiled as I unlocked the garage and pulled the double doors open. After I parked my truck in its designated spot, I walked over to the dryer to retrieve the load I’d left in there overnight, hoping that my white bra had somehow managed to get tossed in with. Unfortunately, when I pulled my jeans and ratty old black t-shirts out and piled them into an empty basket, I didn’t see it.
After locking up the garage, I placed the basket on my hip and made my way upstairs. I fished my keys out of my pocket and walked into my cold apartment, glad to finally be home. After I set the laundry basket down by the side of my bed, I sank down onto the mattress and began to peel off my jacket. Letting it fall back onto the bed behind me, I crossed my arms and pulled my sweater up and over my head. When I looked down and saw the ketchup stain, which was now blissfully dry and not see-through, I sighed.
The New Year was certainly off to an unusual start…
I stood and toed off my shoes and thick socks and padded barefoot to my bathroom, where I took that hot shower I’d longed for this morning to wash away all of the weird things that had happened this morning: Jake’s advances, the stuffed fish that I’d allowed myself to panic over, and the tire that I’d rolled toward Edward. And who could forget the crowning moment of today’s humiliation starring me, the ketchup dispenser, and my bra?
Steam billowed out of my bathroom in clouds once my shower was over and I was glad to find that it had somehow cleared my head. From the laundry basket, I plucked out a pair of yoga pants and an old t-shirt, but decided on my favorite long-sleeved shirt instead. It was too cold in my apartment to run around in just a simple tee, and my favorite shirt, though thin, was lined in soft fleece.
After I’d dressed, the chill in my apartment still somehow managed to find my exposed ears. Just as I began to pull the sides of the towel covering my wet hair down to protect them, I noticed the small red light of the answering machine blinking, indicating I had a new message. Sitting on the edge of my bed, I pressed play and listened to a robotic voice inform me that my missed call had come an hour earlier, around the time I’d decided to douse myself in ketchup.
When I pressed play, Jake’s voice rang out, filling my silent apartment. “8:30 tomorrow night. I’m thinking Italian.”
His so-called “offer” was promptly deleted. I was sure he thought his invitation was quaint, but I knew better. The way he’d proposed our date – which I knew that’s what he considered it to be – was given as more of a directive than request to join him. Though a polite phone call to decline him was in order, I knew that if I called him now, an argument would surely ensue. I was in no mood to debate the lines of our friendship at the moment; I’d only be forced to replace my chain-link fence with a brick wall, and that wasn’t something I was ready to do if I was being honest with myself.
Rubbing my hands over my face, I decided to put Jake and his message out of my mind. My bare toes were starting to go numb, so I swung my legs up and onto my bed, surrounding myself with blankets in the only warm spot in my apartment – my bed. A book I’d been reading off and on over the last six weeks sat next to the answering machine, practically begging me to get lost within its pages. I shifted the towel to cover my ears once more and read for what seemed like hours before my eyes started to close and I fell into a peaceful sleep.
My dreams were filled with images of Edward’s broad back and the way his arms strained against the fabric of his coat as he threw the spare tire down to the ground and pushed my body up against my truck. He was leaning down to kiss me, and just before his lips made contact, I heard a loud knocking sound.
My eyes popped open when I realized that the knock came from my front door. It was dark all around me, the only light in the apartment coming from the pile of Christmas lights by the front door; though I’d taken them down from the wall, I’d forgotten they were still plugged in and set to turn on every evening by a timer.
I tried to get up, but realized that somehow, I’d managed to entangle myself within my blankets. After I’d freed myself for the most part, I sat up and could feel that my hair was a wild mess. It would be no easy feat to rake through; I knew better than to fall asleep when it was still wet and wrapped up in a towel, but in my defense, it had been an accident.
A small lamp sat on my nightstand, and as I turned the small knob along the base of it with my left hand, I haphazardly covered my eyes with my right. While I blinked away the spots that clouded my vision, another knock landed against my front door. “Coming!” I shouted, quickly disentangling my feet from my blankets. As they met the cold hardwood floor, I gasped and hopped toward the door.
I knew that I was a mess in my thin shirt and yoga pants, and that my hair was surely sticking out at several odd angles, but more than likely, the person freezing outside on my front porch was Mrs. Cope. She’d locked herself out more than once, so I kept a spare key in my kitchen, but sometimes, on cold evenings such as tonight, she made a pot of tea and brought it up to share. I was hoping for the latter; I really enjoyed her company, and I’d certainly had an unusual day that I knew she’d be interested in hearing about.
Halfway to the door, though, a sudden thought popped into my head: What if it wasn’t Mrs. Cope who standing on the other side of my front door? What if Jake had come over because I hadn’t called him back yet?
Glancing back at the big digital letters on the clock sitting on my nightstand, I realized that it wasn’t very likely that Jake was here. It was after ten o’clock, and he knew that I wasn’t one for staying up very late, or for having guests pop over unexpectedly. Furrowing my brow at this train of thought, I couldn’t help but wonder why Mrs. Cope would come over this late, either; she normally came by to visit after dinner time, which was certainly earlier than 10:30 at night.
The person outside shuffled their weight, but before they had the opportunity to knock on the door again, I cracked it open just enough to see who it was.
|Author:||HammondGirl [ Mon Dec 07, 2009 6:06 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Twilight: New Year, Same Bella|
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. Or Edward – Or Robert – Damn it.
Chapter 4: 1st Day of the New Year
“Edward?” I asked. “What… How…” I mumbled, pulling the door open a bit wider. “I mean, what are you doing here?”
With a grin, Edward raised a white, square rectangular box that said “Pagliacci Pizza” in big, green block letters. “Just thought you’d be hungry after today. I know I am,” he explained with a nervous smile.
Because I’d left the door wide open, a cold blast of air blew past me into my apartment, carrying the pizza’s heavenly smell right along with it. Realizing I’d left him out there shivering in the cold night air, I said, “Come in,” while I stepped aside. “You must be freezing.”
Seeking what little warmth my home offered, Edward walked past me, but stopped once he was about ten feet in front of me. With a soft click, I closed the door behind me and watched as he took in the details of my small apartment. Following his gaze, my eyes first found my couch, whose cushions were still askew from my search for keys this morning. In the small kitchen area that sat next to what served as my living room, my gaze lingered on the pile of dirty dishes stacked next to my sink, before they finally came to rest on Edward.
The cut of his jacket was definitely tailored, and something about its stitching reminded me of the craftsmanship of the leather seats in his sports car. He obviously made more money than I could possibly fathom, but I hadn’t really thought about it until just now. It suddenly struck me that we hadn’t discussed much about ourselves earlier in the day; I had no idea what his last name was, let alone what he did for a living. Worse yet, I wasn’t sure that he realized that I didn’t work in a smelly fish market. I had the overwhelming urge to share my entire life story with him, and in exchange, I was eager to listen to his…
As Edward turned to face me, though, and brought his hypnotizing eyes up to meet my own, talking was the last thing on my mind. “Where do you want to do this?” he asked, breaking the silence that had fallen between us since he’d walked in.
Wait, I thought to myself, did he just ask me where I wanted to…
“Right—” I began to say, but backed up a second. “Wait… Do what?” I asked before I realized what my question would sound like aloud.
You really shouldn’t speak before you think, I scolded myself. My cheeks went up in flames, and I couldn’t help but wonder how it was possible to be so embarrassed so many times in just one day. What has this man done to me? I idly asked myself.
Edward indicated the pizza box still in his hand. “Eat?” he asked with a sheepish grin.
“Right…” I said again, only this time, it was a statement in it of itself, not the start of an option as to where I’d like to…
Think before you speak, Bella, I reminded myself. Hardly trusting myself just yet, I nodded toward the sofa table and couch lining the right wall of my untidy apartment; I didn’t have a table, and though I’d never really wanted one, I did just then. It would have been a more reasonable place to offer Edward to sit and eat, and my stupid Christmas decorations probably wouldn’t be blocking the entire left side of the floor, as they were now.
I really should have taken those down to the garage last week, I thought to myself as Edward made his way over to the couch while I followed quickly behind him. But I had to admit, the soft glow emanating from the strand of white Christmas lights piled next to the door was oddly comforting. Perhaps I’d restring them instead of stowing them downstairs for another year; they were just decorative enough to not be viewed as cheap, and I couldn’t help but be grateful that my electricity bill hadn’t been any higher this month because of them.
Edward placed the pizza box on top of the sofa table as I righted the couch cushions. As he sat, I said, “I’ll just go get us a couple of plates.” Stepping past him, I walked the few feet that separated the couch from the kitchen and retrieved two paper plates and a few napkins from the cabinets that hung next to the sink, then placed them down on top of the counter. Opening the fridge, I peered in to see what I could offer Edward to drink. “Would you like a soda?” I asked him after I was sure that I had a few.
“A soda sounds good,” he replied.
Gathering my supplies in my hands, I made my way back over to the couch and sat to his right. After a few awkward moments where we handed our plates and slices of pizza to each other, we both relaxed and began to eat. Edward must have been as ravenous as I was; we were mostly quiet as we ate, though my mind was running a mile a minute, thinking about how Edward was here, in my apartment. I was allowing my imagination to get the best of me, picturing the look on his face as Edward threw his pizza down, turned his body toward mine, and captured my unsuspecting lips in a searing kiss…
When we’d both finished our meal, I leaned up to place my empty plate on top of the pizza box. Leaning back into my place on the couch, I realized how close we’d actually been sitting next to each other. Our thighs were practically touching, and when Edward reached up to fish his phone from his pocket, I could have sworn that his finger grazed my leg. Of course, I couldn’t be sure, but I certainly wanted to believe that it had.
Hoping to distract myself from getting too carried away by my fantasies, I peered down at the glowing screen of Edward’s phone. “What time is it?”
“Almost 11:30,” he replied, holding his phone up to show me. I couldn’t believe that it had gotten so late already. Biting my lip, I nodded and watched as Edward fumbled with his phone, turning it over and over in his hand.
Assuming the way Edward was awkwardly shifting in his seat was due to the fact that he was unsure of how to end our long day – the majority of which we’d spent in each other’s company – I took the initiative and spoke up. “Wow,” I began, “I hadn’t realized how late it was. Then again, it’s been an unusual day.” Looking down at my lap, I realized that I hadn’t necessarily helped him out, so I continued. “You must be tired. After all, you were on duty all afternoon, but I think I’m all set. You probably need to get back to helping out all of the other local damsels in distress, huh?” I asked, venturing a sly look at him.
To say I was surprised when I found that he’d turned his upper body toward me and stopped his uncomfortable fidgeting would have been a gross understatement. But what really struck me was how concentrated on my face Edward seemed to be when he replied, “No.” The directness of his answer took me slightly off guard, and he must have read as much in my face, because he continued by saying, “Unless you’d like me to go.”
Gathering my expression into something I hoped resembled nonchalance, I replied, “Of course not,” and stood, collecting our empty paper plates and napkins in the process. “I’m just going to go throw these away and clean up. I’ll be right back.”
Walking swiftly toward the kitchen, I deposited the last wares of our impromptu dinner into the trash can then continued on past my bed and into the bathroom, all the while feeling Edward’s eyes upon my back. The feeling only dissipated once I closed the door with a small click. For the second time today, I leaned down over a sink and splashed my face with ice cold water, only this time it was intentional.
The small hand towel I’d used this morning hung slightly askew on the wall to my right, so after I used it to dry myself off I made sure to hang it back up straight in case Edward happened to come in here. Not that he’d care about how straight my towels were hung up, I thought to myself. He’ll probably rummage around in my drawers, instead. I knew I would, if I was lucky enough to be alone in Edward’s bathroom. Rolling my eyes at how ridiculous I’d let my thoughts become, I glanced up in the mirror. My eyes widened as I took in my reflection, and I leaned forward to make sure that they weren’t simply playing tricks on me.
Sadly, they weren’t.
A small fleck of oregano spice was lodged in between my two of my lower teeth, and I’d definitely smiled at him since I’d finished eating. Unfortunately, that was the lesser of my two general-appearance woes. My hair looked… a bit worse than I’d originally thought. Of course, I knew it didn’t look great – it never really did – because I’d gone to sleep with it wet while wrapped up in a towel, but the rat’s nest sitting atop my head was unexpected, to say the least.
Several minutes later, I emerged from the bathroom with clean teeth and as smooth of a braid I could manage without using heated hair appliances. Edward was still sitting on the couch, waiting patiently for me to return. As I stood there, looking over at him while he studied the mass of Christmas decorations left by my door, I noticed that the kitchen light was on; it sparked an interesting idea. Using the fact that Edward had yet to notice that I’d reemerged to my advantage, I allowed my idea to take precedence over my nerves.
Perhaps if it was a bit darker, Edward would loosen up, I reasoned. Or maybe, just maybe, if I sat down closer to him than I’d been sitting before, I could lean in toward him and see what happens…
Letting myself get wrapped up in the possibilities that might entail if I went through with it, I strode toward the kitchen with purpose. I flicked off the lights, leaving my apartment bathed only in the soft light emanating from the Christmas lights plugged in by the door. Edward turned to look at me when the apartment fell into semi-darkness, his face even more handsome in the glow of white light behind him. A tentative smile began to form on my face as his eyes met mine, when a low hiss filled my ears.
What in the world?
Reluctantly, I pulled my gaze from his to search for the source of the odd sound, which seemed to be getting louder by the second. Suddenly, a loud pop rang out and a bright light alerted my attention to the front door. Edward’s head whipped around just in time to see the Christmas lights explode in a shower of white sparks. Before I’d even had the chance to react, my apartment went dark.
“Are you alright?” I heard Edward ask, registering that his voice came from much closer than where he’d been sitting mere moments ago.
“I think so,” I answered, my voice sounding incredibly meek for some reason. When Edward spoke again, I knew why.
“You must have tripped your breaker when you flipped the light switch,” Edward said, and I knew that he was standing directly in front of me. “Do you have a flashlight?”
I nodded my head, temporarily dumbstruck by his proximity; I could feel the heat generated from his body radiating through my sweatshirt. When I realized that there’d been no way he’d seen me nod, I whispered, “It’s just below the kitchen sink. I’ll get it.”
“Just stay put,” he replied. “I’ve got it, Bella.”
Even though my apartment was unnaturally chilly, I could feel the heat Edward generated leave the moment he stepped away from me. A moment later, a circle of light appeared on the floor next to me. I followed the long plane of Edward’s body with my eyes until my gaze landed on his face. “Where’s the electrical panel for your apartment?”
“I think it’s down in the garage. Let me just grab my coat, and we can go check.” My eyes traveled to the front door and Edward followed my line of sight with the flashlight, but my coat wasn’t where I’d found it this morning. “Hmm,” I said, tapping my lips with my finger, trying to remember where I’d put it when I got home. Finally, I realized that I’d pulled it off while I’d listened to Jake’s obnoxious phone message earlier. Turning on my heel, I made my way to my bed and found my jacket lumped in with my comforter and the towel I’d had wrapped around my hair earlier. “Found it.”
Edward had never removed his coat, and I couldn’t say I blamed him – I really needed to get a new radiator, but the cost was going to put a major dent in my wallet. I could only hope that I didn’t need to hire an electrician to fix whatever was wrong; I couldn’t afford both.
Wrapping myself up in my jacket, I made my over to the front door then stepped out into the chilled night air. Edward paused just inside the door where he leaned down to unplug the Christmas lights. Closing the door behind him, he handed me the flashlight. “Be careful on your way down. It was misting when I got here earlier, so the stairs might be iced over.”
A small smile graced my lips as I nodded and took the flashlight from him before I carefully made my way down the slick stairs. Seeing Edward’s sporty car caused my smile to widen. I liked the way it looked sitting in my driveway, and couldn’t help but hope that I’d see it parked there often.
After dialing in the combination to the padlock keeping the garage doors closed, Edward stepped up behind me to help pull the doors open. Pointing the flashlight toward the back of the garage, we both spotted the electrical panel embedded along the wall just above where my spare tire had rested earlier today. I could feel the warmth of my blush rise through my cheeks as I recalled, in vivid detail no less, the way it rolled down the hill directly into Edward’s backside.
Obviously thinking along the same lines, Edward chuckled as he walked past me and opened the panel door. I walked up and pointed the light inside of the box. “Looks like you’ve just tripped the circuit. Hopefully, it won’t trip again once I flip the switch,” he said as he pushed one of the black fuses to the right. After it popped back into place, I heard the faint hum of electricity from upstairs.
“Sounds like it worked,” Edward said. “You probably just had one too many things plugged in and the breaker tripped to prevent overheating. Do you usually leave things like your hair dryer and coffee pot plugged in all the time?”
Biting my lower lip, I nodded and turned toward him, leaving the flashlight pointed at the wall. Due to the angle of its beam and how it reflected off of the metal panel, Edward’s eyelashes created long shadows which fanned out across his cheeks, making them appear like they were at least a half an inch long; the effect was breathtaking.
“Hey, don’t worry about it. Lots of people leave those kinds of things plugged in. Most of these older buildings were probably just not initially wired as living spaces,” he explained, looking around the interior of the garage.
“I think my apartment used to be Mr. Cope’s workshop before he passed and Mrs. Cope had it remodeled. But I do keep too many things plugged in,” I mumbled, thinking about not only the Christmas lights, but my hair and kitchen appliances that I constantly left plugged in.
“You didn’t do anything wrong, Bella. You don’t have to have your apartment rewired or anything, just unplug stuff when you’re not using it,” he assured me, and I couldn’t help but feel relieved with his words. With any luck, I didn’t have to worry about hiring an electrician anytime soon.
I’d let the flashlight’s beam remain on the wall to let Edward take one more look before he closed the panel and kept it as we made our way back out of the garage. However, he took it from me as we closed the two heavy doors, allowing me to close the combination padlock with a twist of the dial. After making sure the doors were secure one last time, I turned to find Edward poised on the first step, pointing the light at the ground so that I could make my way toward him without tripping.
Seeing him waiting there, smiling down at me, I let myself indulge in the fantasy that he really wanted to stay, but the reasonable side of myself argued that he was just fulfilling his role of rescuing me once more, only staying to see if my lights had come back on. When I reached him, he flashed me one more smile before he turned and began making his way up the stairs. I followed diligently behind, until about halfway up, he stopped and turned to face me.
“There’s a patch of ice on the left side of this step,” he said, dropping his gaze from mine to indicate what he was speaking of. My eyes didn’t leave his face, choosing to linger on the way his eyelashes dusted his cheeks. The shadows created from the flashlight earlier weren’t necessarily an exaggeration; his lashes were incredibly long and thick. They fluttered back up as his gaze once again settled on my face.
My lips parted at the same time his did, so I held my tongue, though I wasn’t sure I could form a word to say anything just then; I was wrapped up in everything about him for the millionth time. Edward exhaled, his breath rising in a cloud of steam all around his face, and I suddenly felt unsteady standing there as I watched. My left hand darted out toward the hand railing in an attempt to steady myself.
As his eyes traveled from my steady gaze to my parted lips, the bright motion light set above Mrs. Cope’s patio cut through the darkness, and the hinges of her screen door groaned in protest of being opened in the cold night air. “Oh, Bella, it’s just you. I thought I heard something, or I suppose someone, in this case.”
“It’s just me, Mrs. Cope,” I reassured her. Her sudden appearance had startled more than angered me. As I debated whether or not to introduce Edward to her, I found myself embarrassed that she’d found me outside with a man, especially because it was so late; I’d always considered her more as a grandmother-type figure than as a landlord.
“You gave me a right fright,” she said with a smile. “But I am glad I caught you. When I brought in a load of laundry earlier tonight, I found a pretty white cotton brassiere lying underneath the stairs. It’s far too little to be mine, so I figured it must be yours.”
This is not happening, I thought to myself. She couldn’t possibly be babbling on and on about my “little” bra in front of Edward, the man I’ve perpetually been embarrassing myself in front of all day…
Surely I’m hallucinating, I thought as she continued. “The thing is, Bella, the poor little thing must have still been wet; it was frozen solid by the time I found it. I took it inside and washed it in my sink along with my delicates and then hung it up. It’s just inside,” she said, gesturing behind her through her open door. “Do you want it now?”
My mouth hung open for a few seconds, stuck on my words. Finally, I managed to form my lips together and choke out a reply. “No thank you. I’ll just…” go crawl into a hole and die, I finished internally. “I’ll come get it tomorrow. Good night, Mrs. Cope.”
“Alright, sweetheart,” she said. “Good night, then.” Mrs. Cope eyed Edward warily before retreating back into her house for the night. I let my eyes close in relief and stayed there for a few peaceful moments until I remembered that Edward was standing one step behind me.
As I turned slowly to face him, I could feel my cheeks burning, and the gust of cold wind blew at that exact moment wasn’t the only cause for the sensation. Shivering, I looked down to gather my coat around me and suddenly remembered that I hadn’t put on a bra after my shower; I couldn’t find it earlier, because apparently, it had been frozen solid underneath my feet.
Mrs. Cope’s motion light still lit up the night sky an alarming amount, and I could easily see that my nipples were standing at full attention underneath my very thin shirt. Horror-struck, I looked up at Edward’s face. His eyes quickly left my chest at the same moment the motion light turned off, leaving us once again engulfed in the dark January night.
I didn’t know what to say, other than “Kill me now,” but I just couldn’t bring myself to utter the words. For the millionth time, Edward chose to ignore one of our little awkward moments, turned on his heel, and led me the rest of the way up the stairs.
He opened the door without a word and closed it behind me, but when he stayed in the entranceway, I turned to face him, my jacket closed tightly in my fists. “I’d better be going,” he said, looking down at his feet.
I nodded though he couldn’t see it, and brought my right hand up to my mouth. “Okay,” I began, fishing for what to say next. He looked up at me, so I dropped my hand and mumbled, “Thanks for bringing me dinner.”
“Didn’t I already tell you to stop thanking me?” he asked, bringing his face up.
“Sorry,” I muttered. Unable to meet his gaze, I looked away. “It’s just, you did so much for me today and I feel like I’ve done nothing in return. You’ll just have to settle for my thanks.”
“But you’ve already thanked me.”
With a shrug I said, “I guess I have kind of been on repeat today.” It was true; not only had Edward come to my rescue more than once, I’d definitely embarrassed myself over and over in front of him today. “I hope today’s bad luck isn’t any indication of how my whole year is going to go.”
“I don’t know,” he said. “It hasn’t been all bad, has it?”
I looked up at his face, incredulous. “Have you seen what’s happened to me today?” Edward glanced back toward the digital clock that sat beside my bed; it was one of those that automatically reset itself to the proper time by satellite if the power blinked or went out. I followed his gaze and was shocked to find that it was only two minutes until midnight.
“It wasn’t all bad, Bella,” Edward said, cutting through the silence. When I looked back up at him, I found that he’d taken a step toward me and closed the distance I’d left between us. “I’ve had a great day.”
“Well, I can’t see how since you’ve had to come to my rescue all day long, but it wasn’t your luck I was referring to, it was mine. I wouldn’t want my whole year’s worth of bad luck to rub off on you. You still have a minute or two left, though. Maybe you can escape my curse,” I teased, smiling up at him.
He took another step toward me, and I couldn’t help but take one step back. Unfortunately, my foot landed in the heap of Christmas lights still spiraled there along the floorboards and I stumbled backward. My ass hit the wall behind me and I splayed my hands against it to help balance myself.
Edward stepped forward once more until he stood directly in front of me, our bodies only separated by mere inches. “My luck is good,” he whispered, looking down at my upturned face. “It brought me to you.” He leaned down to close the small distance left between us, and captured my lips in our first kiss.
A/N's: Well, Jen, I hope you enjoyed it! I tried to use the lyrics you provided & thought up this little story while lingering on these lines:
"I want to thank you
for giving me the best day of my life
Oh just to be with you
is having the best day of my life"
I want to thank VivaViva for her mad beta skills, and Little Miss Whitlock for putting up with my constant nagging questions concerning this fic! I'd also like to thank Majik's World of Fan Fic for hosting such an amazing auction & thank the woman herself, Stacie. Let's kick cancer's butt!
|Author:||HammondGirl [ Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:55 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Twilight: New Year, Same Bella|
The winner of "New Year, Same Bella" also won 100 word drabbles for each $10 they spent. Since the winning bid was in the amount of $35, I wrote three 100 word drabbles and one 50+ word drabble. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. Or Edward – Or Robert – Damn it.
I was lost again, my useless feet only leading me further into the dark emptiness. I searched for him in vain, but it was pointless. He was gone, never to return for my heart no matter how loud I screamed out for him. He wouldn’t come back to save me from the source of my destruction: my mind.
But I entered the same cavern each night, hunting for him, reliving the same nightmare over and over again. I burned alive – burned for him – and knew that I’d never again feel his cool touch to comfort me. No one was going to save me.
She was sleeping peacefully now, her breathing steady and even, her body limp and relaxed. I knew that it was time for me to leave, that it wasn’t safe for me to stay. But seeing her like this, seeing her here, in this room, on this bed, where she’d whispered, “Stay,” only a few hours before... But it didn’t matter. I didn’t belong here. She wasn’t mine; not really. And I knew that I wasn’t hers, no matter how much I wanted to be.
The sun began to rise; it was time. I slid out of her grasp, though it pained me to do so, and looked down at her tranquil face. For this, I gave her my love, expecting nothing in return. Because seeing her like this – calm and vulnerable – made it possible for me to live another day.
He came to me while I slept. His fingertips glided over my skin. I whispered, “Stay,” into the darkness. As his lips found mine, I begged, “Please,” into his mouth, and he swallowed my cry.
Next to me, he stirred in his sleep. Soon, he would be awake. Soon, I would be stranded here once again until he returned with my heart.
But I would continue to bare my soul to him. I would offer him everything I had to give. And if he wanted it, if he wanted me, I would let him take his fill over and over. He could have it all.
She looked up at his tan face as he introduced her, watching his mouth form around the word fiancée; his teeth were a shade whiter than normal, something she’d never noticed before. He placed his hand on the small of her back, and in that moment, she knew that it had been wrong to say yes.
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