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Sideline Collision

Chapter Text

This was my house. My stadium. My people. It was my name they were chanting. "Cullen, Cullen, Cullen." The word reverberated through my head as I stood in the tunnel, ready to make my entrance. I held my helmet in my hands, wanting them to see me as I ran in to lead them to victory. This was the moment I'd waited for all my life, or so it seemed anyway. The Seminoles would be partying in Tallahassee tonight, while the Gators cried their way home to Gainesville.

I'd served my time. I'd sat on the bench last year while Christian Ponder led us to a 6-3 start before he tore his rotator cuff in his right shoulder and was sidelined for the remainder of his senior year. I'd come in and won our final 3 games and the team was mine now. We were 11-0, with on the Gators standing in the way of our trip to the BCS championship game. Well, them and Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game, but I'd already beaten them once this year and I would again. They didn't have an answer for me.

I wanted it all. The Heisman, which was nearly a lock from the way the pundits talked about it, the championship, that crystal trophy and all the glory. I could taste it as I shifted anxiously, waiting to hear the signal to lead the way out of the tunnel. When we won tonight, I was going to go out and bask in the adulation of my fans and maybe even select one lucky lady to have the honor of admiring me solo. I hadn't gotten laid in a few weeks; I was too wound up about the championship, but tonight I deserved to unwind. And there were more than a few girls that were willing to help the starting quarterback of the Florida State Seminoles unwind. I was a god on this campus.

The banner was unfurled, waiting for us to run through it. I heard the band start up and the opening notes of the Seminole chop start. The stadium was rocking. I could feel the electricity. Chief Osceola and Renegade were pacing the field, ready to kick off the game, the spear flaming in the Chief's hand, ready to be planted. Our house. My house. I was more than ready. I was born for this.

Coach Fisher looked at me and gave me the nod. I nodded back and gestured to my men. We ran out of the tunnel, nearly deafened by the screams as we appeared on the field. I ran past the cheerleaders, flashing a smile at the blond I banged a couple months ago. She might be worthy of a repeat visit; she had a mouth like a Hoover vacuum and a body that didn't quit.

I headed toward the middle of the field, taking in the crowd. I didn't think I'd ever seen it more packed. There were easily around 100,000 people in attendance today, most of them in garnet and gold, chanting and chopping away as the band played on. I tried to soak it all in; my first home game against the Gators. There was nothing like this rivalry and the fans were feeling it today.

My trademark smirk in place, I surveyed the Gators on their sidelines. Some of them looked pretty wary. They were a young but improving team. After losses to LSU and Bama earlier in the year, they'd reeled off five straight wins. There was a buzz about them, as if they could win this game. Not gonna happen. Not when Edward Cullen was on this field.

I raised my right arm in a wave in the general direction that my parents would be sitting with my brother, Emmett. I sure as shit couldn't see them but maybe they could see me. I craned my neck and brought my arm down when something slammed into me, hard. What the fuck?

"What the fuck?" A quick inventory of my arm assured me that I was alright, but still, what fucking moron had dared to crash into my throwing arm? I looked down a bit and saw the red hat of one of the Marching Chiefs, our band. Seriously? Some band fucker ran into me? Did he know who he was fucking with?

"Watch the throwing arm, dickhead. Are you fucking blind, man?" I snarled, barely resisting the urge to shove the fucker and run over him to get to the bench.

"First of all, I'm not a man. Second of all, if anyone's a dickhead that's not watching where they're going, it's you. Third, you broke my reed!"

Holy shit, it was a girl. It was hard to tell under the hat and the crappy costume that made everyone look like a sexless mannequin. I focused in and saw snapping brown eyes in a heart-shaped face. I could barely make out some brown hair poking out from underneath her stupid military cap. Her cheeks were flushed, whether from embarrassment at her clumsiness or her proximity to me I couldn't be sure, but it was likely the latter. I had that effect on women. She might have been cute, were she not wearing a ridiculous costume and nearly injuring me, that is.

"Easy mistake," I told her, raking my eyes over her body, not that I could fucking tell what she was packing underneath there. She could be an A-cup or a D-cup and I wouldn't know the difference. Somehow, her cheeks got redder and her eyes narrowed. This one had some fire. Maybe I should catch up with her later, if she didn't have a boy body underneath that band uniform.

"And you're the one who crashed into me. I don't know what your reed is, but if you want to get together later and talk about it, maybe we can both be satisfied." I gave her my best smile and was rewarded with her stupid instrument jabbing me in the fucking gut. "What the hell?"

"This reed cost $30 and you will be replacing it. That will satisfy me. I don't really give a damn about your satisfaction."

What a bitch! Did she know who she was talking to? "Listen, honey…"

"I'm not your honey," she snapped. Fuck, if looks could kill, the Gators would be rejoicing on their sidelines right about now. "You owe me a new reed."

What was with this bitch and her stupid reed? "Isn't that like a piece of grass you blow into to make sounds in your ridiculous instrument?" I asked sarcastically. Yes, I fucking knew what a reed was but I wasn't about to tell her that. This chick was annoying.

She rolled her eyes and blew out a breath. "Yeah, that's what it is," she replied sarcastically.

I smirked and bent over, picking a piece of grass out of the field and holding it out to her. "Here you go, then. Consider me all paid up. Now, I've got a game to go play and don't need to waste my time with a band geek."

I pushed past her and vaguely heard her still yelling something about me being an asshole and owing her thirty dollars but I had more important shit to concentrate on right now. I shouted "Bill me," over my shoulder, laughing hard as I jogged over to the sideline.

"Cullen! What the hell were you doing talking to some band member? Do I need to give you time to work on your social life? I'm sure that Whitlock would be happy to start in your place if you've got nothing better to do than flirt with girls."

I hadn't been fucking flirting. I didn't flirt with band losers, no matter how cute they possibly were. "No, Coach, I wasn't flirting. She ran into me and broke her stupid reed." Coach Fisher stared at me like I'd grown a second head and I realized how fucking stupid it was to tell him what I'd been doing. "Sorry, Coach, won't happen again."

"It better not. If you're ready to concentrate?" I nodded quickly, mentally shooting a death glare over at Reed Girl. She had Coach pissed off at me on the biggest game of my life. "I want to start big, really stick it to them on the first play from scrimmage. If it's open, I want you to send Garrett on the skinny post down the right side. Newton's in at corner for Clearwater today and he's a step slower."

Coach was right; I'd be going after Newton all day thanks to Clearwater's high ankle sprain. I watched anxiously as they kicked the ball to us. Crowley returned it to the 27 and I took the field, once again basking in the cheers. I smirked as a sign in the stands caught my eye. Hey, 7, I'll take you to heaven. I chuckled and called the boys into the huddle.

"Skinny post, right side, Garrett on three." We broke the huddle and I lined up behind center. The noise from the stands faded away and I felt the buzz move through my body. "Blue 72, Blue 72, hut, hut, hike," I called, my eyes scanning the defense as I felt the ball hit my hands. They'd anticipated a run to start the game, and there were eight in the box, which meant there were only three defenders to account for after I released the ball. Of course, I had heat coming straight up the middle in the form of their best lineman, Eric Yorkie.

Their safety bit on my play fake. I feinted left and then threw right, barely glancing that way but seeing that Garrett had the separation we needed from Newton. I let the ball fly, dodging Yorkie and standing, holding my breath as Garrett plucked my pass out of the air and streaked down the sidelines untouched for a touchdown. One play, 73 yards. Yeah, today was my fucking day alright, minus a certain brown-eyed band loser. She wasn't worth thinking about though. Hopefully her grass was holding up as she played my fucking song.

My teammates clapped me on the shoulder as I made my way over to Coach Fisher. The crowd was absolutely going nuts and I couldn't keep the smile off my face. That was all for me…well, us really, but me in particular. I smirked and sat next to my offensive coordinator, Coach Clapp, and went over some plays for the next possession.

The defense held them to two first downs and no points, so I was back on the field only a couple of minutes later, taking us on a long, clock-killing drive made up of runs and short passes. We scored a TD on a slant, when James juked his corner and ran right down the middle of the field. It was 14-0 and the rout was on.

The game was enough of a blowout that I sat out the entire fourth quarter, watching Whitlock lead us down for one final scoring drive. When the final whistle blew, it was us 56, them 13. Complete and total domination. I was grinning ear to ear when I finally got into the locker room, having had to endure a postgame lecture from the Coach about not focusing before the game. Why he thought I was so fucking focused on band pussy was beyond me. There was way better pussy to be had and I'd soon be making my selection from the finest babes that Tallahassee had to offer.

"Hey Cullen, see you at The Moon later?" Whitlock called as he and a group of guys left the locker room. The Moon was a club that was sure to be loaded on a Saturday night. Plenty of hot women gyrating on the dance floor. Yeah, I'd be able to find what I was looking for there.

"Yeah, be there in about an hour." I shrugged out of my jersey and pads, stripping down before heading into the shower. I slung a towel around my waist and threw my sweaty clothes into the laundry hamper, grateful that I didn't have to deal with them. I heard the door open behind me and assumed the last of my teammates had left the room. I hung my pads in my locker and turned to go to the shower when I walked right into someone that was standing directly in front of me.

"What the fuck?" I pulled back and damned if it wasn't another fucking band geek, though what in the hell he was doing in my locker room was beyond me.

"Is that all you can say?" a peevish voice replied and I started when I realized it was the same chick from before. Reed Girl.

I glared down at her. "Well, I could fucking say what the fuck are you doing in my locker room, you little stalker? Is that better?"

She glared right back at me, tilting her head up to look me in the eye. Damn she was short. Maybe 5'2 or 5'3. I was at least a foot taller than she was.

"I came to get my money."

"Sweetheart, I don't owe you a dime. Now if you'd be so kind as to get the fuck out of my way, I'd like to go take a shower."

She placed her hand on my chest and I looked at it in surprise, her soft fingers against my sweaty skin sent a burning pulse through my body. She jerked her hand away from me as if she'd felt it too but surely that wasn't possible. She probably just realized she was practically groping a hot, nearly naked man in an empty locker room. Then again, maybe that's why she was really here.

I grinned at her as she blushed and fluttered her hands nervously. Suddenly she wasn't such a spitfire. A shame, really. I'd rather enjoyed her attitude problem, for some perverse reason.

She straightened her shoulders, which was rather hilarious in her ridiculous almost military-looking uniform and looked me dead in the eyes. "I'm not your sweetheart. What I am is the injured party in our collision, caused solely by you. As such, you should make reparations for the damages."

What, was she fucking pre-law? Reparations? The injured party? "It was me that could have been injured, sweetheart," I replied sarcastically. "And I assure you that I'm worth a lot more than you are."

Her nostrils flared and she shoved me back against the lockers. I stumbled and caught myself. Holy shit, Band Geek had a temper. I gaped at her in surprise.

"How dare you think you're more important than me, just because you're the big fucking quarterback? You can't judge a person's worth like that. You don't know shit about me, Edward Cullen."

So she did know who I was, not that I expected anything less. "Sweetheart, take a poll around campus and see if anyone in their right mind would say you bring more value to this school than I do. Whatever fucking instrument you play surely isn't as important as what I do."

"Yeah, standing behind a bunch of guys and flinging a football around makes you oh so much better than the rest of us," she sniped.

I reached out and grabbed her stupid hat, tossing it into the laundry basket halfway across the locker room. "I didn't say it made me better than you; I said it made me more important than you." I turned back to look at her and saw that she'd had long brown hair tucked inside the ridiculous hat. It spilled down her shoulders and she was surprisingly pretty. Too bad she had such an ugly, combative personality.

"You said you were worth more," she shouted, attempting to shove me again but I wasn't surprised this time and she couldn't budge me. I rather liked her hands on my chest, though.

"To the school, I am. I bring in millions of dollars, baby. They aren't coming to see you toot your little horn."

"I play the oboe!" she yelled and I laughed, because really, who gave a flying fuck?

"Fine, then. Nobody is coming to hear your mad oboe playing skills, Reed Girl. I doubt that anyone could pick out the damn oboe amongst all the rest of the instruments, whereas, they can surely pick me out of a crowd."

"Yeah, because you have the biggest head." She smiled in triumph and her whole face lit up with it. I stared at her for a few moments before the insult sank in.

"I have the biggest something, sweetheart, but it isn't my head." I grinned at her, letting that one land.

Her eyes flew to my dick, which made it harden underneath my towel. Her mouth opened in a little 'o' of surprise and I thought about shoving my dick in there. She had a pretty mouth and it would be a very satisfactory way to shut her the fuck up.

"How do you know? Are you gay? Do your teammates know that you're checking them out?" Yeah, she really needed to work on shutting the fuck up. Maybe there was a way.

"This is how I know." I whipped my towel off and dropped it at my feet. Her face turned bright red and she started to breathe heavily. "And I am most certainly not gay, as you can see. Unless you're actually a guy. From the neck down, it's impossible to fucking tell."

Her eyes flashed and I watched with interest as her fingers came up and started unbuttoning her jacket. She tossed it off and I could see she did have breasts, though they were still obscured by an entirely too big white shirt. I shrugged at her and she let out a small scream but her fingers started working the buttons of her shirt. Well this just certainly got a fuckload more interesting. She was wearing a plain white bra, but her chest was actually really fucking nice, two perfect handfuls if I was an accurate judge, and I sure as hell was.

She took her shirt completely off and tossed it on top of her jacket, still watching me with eyes snapping with temper. She was really fucking hot. Who knew Reed Girl had such a slamming body underneath her uniform? She was thin, but not as skinny as the cheerleading chicks. There was some meat there, but just the right amount to make her soft but not flabby. I wanted to reach out and touch her but I wasn't sure if she'd let me without biting my head off. I was too worried about both my heads to attempt it. No, it was best to keep on challenging her out of them.

"Water bra?" I asked, though clearly it wasn't.

She reached behind her and undid it. I watched with interest as the bra fell forward and she tugged it off and added it to her growing pile of clothes. Her breasts were magnificent, perky with pink nipples that just begged to be bitten. I leaned back against the locker, putting my hands behind my back so I didn't try to touch her. Not yet.

"Great tits," I told her, acting as if I had no interest in them whatsoever. As if that could ever be the case.

"Thank you," she replied, tilting her head and waiting for whatever I was going to do next. I wish I fucking knew. I was hard as a rock and I wanted to fuck her but she was probably just taunting me with her sexy body, only to sue me for sexual harassment or some fucking thing. Well, we'd just wait and see.

"Of course, you could just be a man with really great tits," I told her. She bit her lip and then, to my complete and utter joy, off came her shoes and the white band pants. She was wearing cotton bikini underwear, not quite what I was used to with the chicks I banged but somehow it managed to look good on her. She was short but she had great legs, tanned and toned, maybe from all those hours of marching around wearing a thirty pound costume. It had to be a workout. I wanted to feel those legs wrapped around me as I buried my cock inside her.

"So?" she asked.

"So what?" My eyes were on that little scrap of clothing, the only thing left from having her completely bare in front of me. It looked like she might be shaved and I really needed to find out.

"So, how are you going to talk me out of my panties?" she asked.

I looked at her in surprise and she had a slight smile on her face. Her hands were on her hips and she actually started tapping her right foot as if impatient for my answer.

"Well, I don't usually have to talk a girl out of them. Generally, they come flying off along with the rest of her clothes." It was nothing but the truth, after all.

She hooked her thumbs in them but didn't pull them down. Fuck. Alright then. "You could still have a cock hidden in there somewhere." Not really, but hey, I was a desperate man at this point.

Reed Girl let out a little giggle but my ingenuity was rewarded with her slowly tugging her panties down her legs and kicking them off. Holy hell, she was bare. I felt myself starting to salivate at the sight of her and holding on to my locker was getting more difficult by the second. Still, I could play it cool.

"Okay, you are a girl," I told her approvingly and she laughed loudly at that.

"Thank you so much for confirming that. Now, perhaps we could talk about my reed?"

Damn her obsession with that stupid thing. "I'd much rather talk about my rod."

She giggled and took a step toward me, her eyes on my cock. "Well, we could talk about it but I think using it would be a much better idea, don't you?" She was blushing, but her words were sexy as hell and I didn't think I was going to get more of an invitation than that so I took a step toward her as well.

"I prefer using it," I told her, running my hand up and down my length. She watched me unabashedly and her tongue darted out to wet her lips. I groaned and moved my hand a little faster. I really hoped I didn't fucking come before I got to touch her, but I was so turned on it was a definite possibility.

She reached toward me and I held my breath as her hand joined mine on my cock. Fuck, this was hot. Who knew Reed Girl would be so fucking exciting? Her fingers couldn't fit all the way around me, but she knew what she was doing, moving her hand in perfect time with mine, squeezing gently as she ran her thumb over the tip and moved back down my length.

"Fuck, that feels good," I told her, letting my hand fall away and having her work my cock. I wondered if she ran her hands over her fucking oboe like this. Pornographic marching band…it was a novel concept and a sure crowd pleaser. I was definitely pleased.

I reached toward her and brushed my fingers over her pussy. Fuck, she was wet and just as turned on as I was. She gasped and opened her legs for me. I stroked her clit, pressing my middle finger against her and moving it in circles. Her hips thrust toward mine and her grip on my cock tightened and I groaned loudly at the way she felt. I wanted to fuck her, right against my locker. I pushed her against the one next to it and she grunted but kept working my cock as I moved my fingers down and slid two inside of her.

She was wet and hot and tight as hell, squeezing my fingers. I opened my locker with my left hand, still working her with my right as I groped for my wallet. I found it eventually and pulled it out. Her eyes widened when I flipped it open and took my hand away from her pussy to pull out a condom. I believed in being prepared, though I'd never been a fucking boy scout. I bet Reed Girl was a girl scout at some point, though. She seemed the type.

I held it up and raised an eyebrow. Her eyes were still wide but fuck, what did she think I'd want to do when she stripped off her clothes in my locker room? She nodded slowly and I smiled, ripping open the packet and sliding it over my length expertly. I closed my locker and moved her back in front of it, because it had to be my locker we fucked against. It just did.

"Are you ready for this?" I asked, running my fingers over her clit again. I didn't really need her to answer, because she was wet as hell, but she nodded anyway. I lifted her a little and she wrapped her legs around me. I pressed my cock against her entrance and pushed slowly inside and holy fuck if she didn't have the tightest pussy I'd ever encountered. I groaned as I filled her and she let out a loud moan.

"Now that's much more pleasant to hear coming out of your mouth," I told her.

Her eyes narrowed and she tightened her legs around my waist and contracted her pussy, which very nearly made me blow my load right fucking there. Holy hell, where'd she learn that little move?

"Don't think just because I'm letting you fuck me that I'm going to forget about what you owe me," she threatened.

I chuckled and gripped her hips as I rolled mine, letting her feel me flex inside her. She gasped and I finally captured her sexy lips with mine. I wasn't usually much for kissing, but damned if Reed Girl didn't have lips that were made to be sucked on. I did just that, drawing her lower lip into my mouth and biting gently as I began to thrust in and out of her. Her hips met mine thrust for thrust as she arched herself away from the lockers and used her feet and legs to help draw me deeper inside her.

My tongue met hers and they tangled together as if we'd kissed a billion times instead of just once. It was really fucking weird how good it felt to kiss her. I tore my lips away from hers and kissed her neck, licking it with my tongue and scraping my teeth along her soft skin as she moaned her approval. Her hands found my hair and she tugged on my hair.

"Is this enough of a payment?" I asked as I thrust harder. I lifted her a bit more and sucked her right nipple into my mouth, groaning at the taste of the perfect bud. I flicked it with my tongue and she grasped both sides of my head, holding me to her chest as I bit and sucked on her nipple. Her pussy tightened on my cock again and I knew it wasn't going to be long before I came.

I returned to her lips as I began to truly pound into her pussy, thrusting as fast as I could. She gasped and grabbed my shoulders as she bounced up and down from the force of my thrusts. It probably hurt her but she didn't seem to mind and I sure as fuck didn't. Her head fall back against the lockers and I sucked on her neck again, hard. She screamed and tightened around me, her legs clenching around my hips and her nails digging into my shoulders. She looked and sounded fucking awesome when she came and I couldn't hold out with her pussy gripping my cock so tightly. I came hard, my fingers digging into her hips as I let myself go.

She unwound her legs and I pulled back and slid out of her. I went to find a paper towel to wrap the condom in, tossing it in the trash before returning to her. She was already half dressed when I came around the corner, her pants and bra were already on and she was pulling her white shirt over her shoulders.

"Leaving so soon?" I asked, trying to mask my disappointment. I mean, I'd gotten what I wanted, hadn't I? Who cared if she left? I had places to go and people to see.

She turned to look at me as she began buttoning up her shirt. "What, did you want some cuddle time? You don't strike me as that type of guy, Cullen."

I sure as hell wasn't. "So you got what you wanted out of me and now you're taking off? I'm wounded, Reed Girl." I said all this with a smirk, to show that I was completely joking. Sure, the sex had been hot, but I could get hot sex anywhere. There was nothing that special about her.

"But I didn't. I came to get money for my reed." She cast a glance at my locker, where my wallet lay inside.

Unbelievable. "Seriously, you're still on that?"

"Of course I am. Did you think you were going to fuck me into forgetting?"

"It was a pretty good fuck," I told her. She was so fucking strange, but for some reason I felt my smile growing.

"It was a pretty good reed," she told me, putting her stupid jacket on. "Where's my hat?" I walked over and plucked it out of the laundry bin and handed it to her.

"Thank you." She gave me a bright smile and reached into her jacket pocket. "That's for you."

I looked at the paper and saw the name Bella and her number. That was more fucking like it. I knew she wanted me again. And I could be man enough to admit that I wouldn't mind another go-round with her. She was different from the girls I usually hooked up with.

"So you want me again, huh?" I couldn't resist teasing her.

She giggled and began to back toward the door. "I guess you'll have to call and find out."

"I will, Bella." She blushed at the mention of her name and gave me a little wave as her butt hit the door.

"You'll have to have my replacement reed before you get in my pants again." Those were her parting words as she walked out of the door.

Her obsession with her reed was fucking comical. We both knew what she really wanted from me. I smirked as I reached into my locker and got out my cell. I'd give her a little thrill by calling her already and giving her shit about her reed. I punched the number on my phone and tapped my fingers on the locker as I waited for her to answer.

"You've reached Masen's Music. Our hours of operation are…" Holy fuck, she'd given me the number to a music store. I balled up the paper she'd given me and was ready to toss it in the trash along with my used condom but something stopped me. I wanted to see her again and if I had to buy her a fucking reed in order to make it happen, well then that's what I'd do. I wasn't done with Reed Girl yet and she was about to see that Edward Cullen always won the game.

Chapter Text

"Edward, honey, did you hear me?" I shook my head and tried to focus on my mother's smiling face. We always got together for brunch the morning after a game before they headed back to Jacksonville for the week. I was having a hard time focusing on anything this morning, the piece of paper in my pocket felt like it was a burning a hole in my leg. Why the fuck had she left me the number to the music store?

"Sorry, Mom, what was it?" She asked some damn thing about my classes and I gave the typical "I'm doing well" answer that she was looking for. My brother shot me a knowing grin from across the table.

"I don't think Edward was doing homework last night, Ma. Did you get wasted? Did you get any pu…"

"Emmett Matthew Cullen, if you finish that thought, I'll march you back into that bathroom and wash your mouth out with soap!" I laughed at the stunned expression on my brother's face as my mom railed at him.

"I was just going to ask if he got any perfume, for his loving mother." Emmett grunted as my mother's hand connected with the back of his head.

"I know very well what you were going to ask. Your brother's night isn't your concern." She glared at him before smiling back at me. "Have you met any good girls, dear?"

Good girls? I'd met plenty of good girls. Some of them were good at giving head, some of them were good at riding my cock, others were just good with their hands but somehow I didn't think that my mother would approve of that answer. Reed Girl's face entered my mind and I shoved thoughts of her aside yet again.

"Nobody special, Mom. I really did go home after the game, just chilled in my room." I hadn't felt like going to The Moon. I'd played video games and tried to figure out what in the hell was wrong with Reed Girl. Nobody walked away from me like that, nobody. And she left me a fucking number to her stupid fucking music store. Did she really think I was going to go buy her stupid reed?

"Well, you will someday, dear. Carlisle, how's your omelette?" I pushed my food around my plate and tried to work up an appetite.

Emmett leaned across the table now that Mom wasn't paying attention to him. "Did you seriously go home after a game like that? You're no brother of mine, kid. I was legend at this school. The girls are still thinking about me. In fact, I'm pretty sure I hear one screaming my name right now." My mother smacked him again and he winced.

"Sorry, Ma, but it's true."

"This is your influence, you know," she told my dad, who grinned unrepentantly.

"It got me you, didn't it?" She melted then and the two of them started reminiscing about how they met right on this very campus. Fucking kill me now.

"I've gotta get going. I have a calc test tomorrow." I pushed back from the table and gave my mother a quick hug and shook hands with Dad. "I'll see you on Friday?" The ACC title game was being played in Jacksonville, so I was going home again.

"Okay, son. Work on your five-step drop this week." I rolled my eyes at Dad's advice, smacked Emmett on the back and got the hell out of the restaurant. Thank God I'd driven myself. I slid into my silver Mercedes and smiled as she purred to life. She was the only girl in my life and that was just fine by me.

I didn't actually have a test today so I just drove around town, blaring the latest Eminem CD and giving the occasional nod and smile at whatever hot chick happened to be walking by. One gave me the come hither wave but I found myself driving past her when the light turned green. I made a right onto Evergreen and came to stop in front of a little shopping center. There, the second store on the left was Masen's Music.

I sat in my car for a minute, tapping on the steering wheel. Yeah, I might have looked up the fucking address to the store last night when I was in my room. Right after I'd tried to look up Bella in the school directory. There were a shit ton of Isabella's at this school and I had no idea which one was my Reed Girl and I wasn't about to fucking call each one of the bitches to find out. So that meant I had to drag my ass to this fucking music store and see if they knew how to get a hold of her.

Reed Girl sure knew how to play my ass, and it pissed me right the fuck off. I should just let her sit at home in her dorm room, anxiously waiting for a call from the music store that her stupid fucking reed had been purchased. A call that never came because she'd given me the wrong number, thinking she'd be all cute and funny and shit. But if I did that, I wouldn't get to mess with her again and she was kinda fun to fight with. It would be fun to get the best of her yet again, and then maybe I'd be nice to her and let her get my best again. She'd love another bang and maybe this time we could do it on a nice bed, so that I could maneuver her around and have her begging me to make her come. Yeah, she'd beg this time, I'd see to it.

Damn it, my cock was fucking hard now. Ugh, unsexy things. Emmett's back hair, Grandma's knee highs, Mom and Dad doing it in Westcott fountain…yeah, that did the trick. I got out of the car and went into Masen's Music. The dork behind the counter looked up and narrowed his eyes at me. That's right, dipshit, Edward Cullen is here. You're welcome.

"Can I help you?" I walked over to the scrawny kid and leaned against the counter.

"Yeah, I think so. I'm supposed to buy a reed for this girl or something. I guess she plays the oboe or…"

"Bella?" His whole face fucking brightened and the way he said her name pissed me right the fuck off, like he was caressing it or some perverted thing. What the fuck was his problem?

"Yeah, that's it, Bella." I wondered if I would ever stop calling her Reed Girl, which made me wonder why the hell I was wondering that. It wasn't like I'd be calling her after this anyway. One more and done. Two was my limit. She was going to get the honor of fucking me in her room like most other girls did and then I was outta there.

"Yes, she called. You must be," he glanced down at the paper next to the register. "Edward Cullen." I waited but there was no hint of recognition at my name. What the fuck was wrong with this guy? Did he live in a cave? I looked at his nametag and smirked.

"That's right, Jacob. Now perhaps you could tell me what kind of reed I need to buy?" I would like to not waste my whole fucking day in a music store, thank you very much.

He smiled and came around the counter. He was about half a head shorter than me and looked like he weighed about a hundred pounds. His longish black hair hit his shoulders. Pansy.

"Bella prefers the Duste' Bass Oboe Reed, the best on the market." He ran his hands over various reeds before plucking one from the shelves. I wondered what the fuck he did with those reeds when he was alone in the store, because caressing them seemed a bit fucking weird to me. "It costs $30.50, or you can get three for $27.45."

"Thirty bucks for that little fucking piece of wood?" He winced at the irritation in my voice.

"Sir, you can't possibly put a price on the sounds that will come out of Bella's lips when she puts her mouth to this fine reed."

What the hell did he just say? Did he just talk about Reed Girl's fucking lips and the sounds that they made? I fucking knew the sounds that they made and he damn well was never going to know. That fucking nerd had a crush on my Reed Girl. Fuck that shit.

"Oh, I know all about the sounds Bella makes. I'll take three." I raised an eyebrow and smirked at the asshole just to get my message across. His tan skin suddenly looked a little pale and he edged away from me, carrying the reeds back to the counter like the good little service person he was. Fucking wimp. Like Reed Girl would ever give him the time of day? She had better taste than that, as proven last night in my locker room.

He rang up my purchases and quietly told me I owed him $92.73 with tax. I tossed him my platinum card and he handled me the receipt to sign. I reached for the reeds and he pulled them away from me.

"Um, I believe I purchased those, so perhaps you could put them in a bag and fucking give them to me? Isn't that what one does when somebody buys something from them?" I glared at little Jacob and he paled even further.

"Well, Bella said…"

"Bella said what?" I snapped.

He gulped. "Bella said that when you came in and bought the reed, to just keep it here and call her to tell her that you'd purchased it."

Oh she did, did she? She just fucking thought I'd buy her damn reed and walk away, just like that? She didn't know me very well.

"I'm not leaving my purchase with you. I don't know shit about you. Maybe you'll pocket them and pretend I never came in."

He huffed and crossed his arms. "I would not! I would never do something like that to Bella."

There it was again. Bella. The way he said her name just pissed me the hell off.

"Call her."


"Call her right now and tell her that I'm here and I won't release the reeds to you." I snatched them out of his hand while he stared at me as if I'd asked him to solve the fucking quadratic equation or something.


"But what? You have her number right?" And that pissed me off too, the fact that she'd give this simplistic loser her phone number but she gives me the number to the damn music store. What the hell was wrong with this girl?

"Yes, I have her number."

"So give her a call. Or give it to me and I'll call her." He glared at me but picked up the handset and dialed a number. I caught a 7, 3 and 9 but his fingers moved too fast to pick out her actual number.

"Hi, Bella, it's Jacob over at Masen's Music." He actually smiled when she answered the phone. He looked like a lovesick 13-year old. I wondered if I could get away with punching him, but he was the type of loser that would call the cops and report my ass and then I might get suspended. Fuck that.

"Oh, yes. He came in and bought your reed. Three of them actually!" He eyed me warily as he fucking revealed that I'd gotten her more than one. Jackass. What if it was a fucking present for my damn girlfriend or something? He really needed to be taught some manners. "Yes, well, there's a problem with that. He's got the reeds and he won't leave them here. He doesn't trust me." He added that last part haughtily, sounding like I'd insulted his fucking mother or something. Whatever, loser, you're not gonna lay eyes on Reed Girl again before I do.

"I don't know. I told him that's what you wanted but he said he won't do it."

"Just give me the damn phone, Jacob." I held out a hand and waited for him to give it to me.

"He wants to talk to you. Are you sure? Okay." He reluctantly handed me the phone. I glared at him as I brought it to my ear.

"Hey, Reed Girl, how are you?"

She sighed into the phone and I grinned. She was already exasperated with me. Fanfuckingtastic.

"I'd be a lot better if you'd just leave the reeds at the store and let me come get them when I have time."

I chuckled and turned my back to that douche, Jacob, leaning against the counter. "Well, that's one option, but we both know you'd rather I deliver them in person. You know you want to see me again."

There was a quick laugh on the other end of the line that went straight to my cock. Reed Girl had a perfect laugh; it was all breathy and sexy and shit. "If I wanted to see you again, I would have given you my actual number."

I smirked and crossed my legs. "You wanted to present a challenge. It's cool, Reed Girl, I can respect that."

"I don't think you know a whole lot about respect, Cullen."

I laughed. "Why don't you teach me, Bella?" I said her name the way Jacob had, like a caress and heard her gasp quietly. Maybe that loser was on to something.

"I don't have time to teach you half of what you need to learn."

"Oh, I'm pretty quick."

She laughed. "Don't I know it?" Oh, hell no, she didn't go there.

"I didn't hear you complaining when you were screaming against my locker last night."

"It was fun. Aren't you the fuck 'em and leave 'em type? I figured I'd do you a favor and not even pretend to be expecting a call from you." That irritated me, even if it was true. She didn't know shit about me.

"You don't know me, Reed Girl. You don't know me at all."

"Nor do I want to. So if you'd just leave the reeds at the store, we can part amicably."

Bull fucking shit. No way was I just walking away now. "Nope, that's not gonna fly. What's going to happen is you're going to tell me where you live and I'm going to come over right now and deliver your reed to you. We'll see what happens from there."

She laughed. "Nothing happens from there."

We both know that's not true, Reed Girl. I'll have you naked within five minutes. "Then why are you afraid to let me come over? You don't think you can control yourself around me again, do you?"

"I know I can."

"Well then?"

"Why do you have to be such a pain in the ass?"

"I haven't even started to be a pain in your ass, Bella, but I'm more than willing to oblige. Are you in to anal, because I have to tell you…"

"Gross Edward! I'm certainly not letting you come over if you're going to try that!" I laughed at her reaction. She was so damn easy. Well, not easy in the way I wanted, but we'd get there soon enough. She was warming to the idea, and I could warm her up even further if I just got her address.

"You're the one that brought up my being a pain in the ass. I was just willing to accommodate you." I heard Jacob start coughing behind me. That's right, lover boy, I am talking about fucking your dream girl in the ass. Why don't you go stroke some more reeds while I go stroke Reed Girl?

"I really think it would be better if you left the reeds there."

"And I really think that I'm going to make sure that my purchase gets into your hot little hands in person. I can't have you accosting me on the field before the championship game yelling about your reed again, now can I?"

She took a minute before answering. "You're not going to give in, are you?"

"Do I seem like the type to give up to you?"

She sighed. "No."


"Fountain Crest Apartments over on Market Street. Apartment 432."

That was more like it. "I'll be there in fifteen." I turned around and nearly laughed out loud at the expression on Jacob's face. He looked like I'd kicked him in the gut. I handed him the phone and he brought it to his ear.

"Bella? Are you sure you want him to bring it to you? I could call someone maybe…oh, okay." His face fell at whatever she said. "I'll see you soon, then? Okay. Bye." He put the phone back on the receiver and glared at me.

"You should be nicer to your customers, bud. You never know when I might need more reeds for my Reed Girl." He angrily punched a button on the register. "See you around. I've got somewhere way more interesting to be." I pulled my sunglasses out of my shirt pocket and grinned at him as I strolled out the door. Message fucking received. He'd never sniff around my Reed Girl again if he knew what was good for him.

I placed the reeds on my passenger seat and started the car. I was feeling mighty fine as I made my way to Reed Girl's apartment. I knew I hadn't seen the last of her. Edward Cullen always gets what he wants and for now, I wanted her. Once more would do it.

Chapter Text

I pulled up in front of Reed Girl's apartment complex and shut off my engine. One glance in the mirror confirmed that I looked good enough for her to eat, so I got out, grabbed the reeds and shut the door, patting my baby on her hood before heading into the apartment complex.

Some geeky looking chick was waiting at the elevator, staring at me with her mouth wide open. I raised a brow and strolled past her to the stairs. I didn't need her slobbering all over me before I got the chance to fuck Reed Girl. Nothing more needed to get in the way of us hooking up again, and slobber from some pimply faced nerd could give her the wrong idea.

I hit the fourth floor and apartment 432 was just ahead on my right. I walked to it and knocked on the red door, putting on my best smile in preparation for her to see me again. She seemed the type to peek through the peep hole, even though she knew I was coming over. I waited for a minute and still nothing so I rang the bell. Maybe she was primping in the bathroom. Shit, she could even be in the shower. And with that thought, my cock was hard again. Maybe I should take her in there and then in her bed. Wet Reed Girl would be sexy as fuck. Wet in more ways than one, naturally.

Still no answer. She hadn't struck me as the high maintenance type, but what the fuck did I know? I'd really spent less than an hour with her and all of that was arguing and fucking. So awesome. I'd give her another five minutes and knock again. Surely that would be enough time.

I leaned against the wall and closed my eyes, her face immediately filling my mind. She really was pretty, even when she was being a bitch like she'd been about her reed. Those snapping brown eyes and pouty lips made me want to bite her. Hopefully she was still pissed about me not leaving her precious reeds with the virtuoso pervert back at the music store. Virtuoso, ha! More like virtuous. No way that dweeb ever got laid.

Five minutes had passed so I rang the bell again. The blinds were closed so I couldn't see shit in the apartment, but I didn't hear anything. What the fuck? Was she even here? Was this even her place? She was fucking with me again, I just knew it. She couldn't make anything simple, even delivery of her own stupid reeds. Well fuck that, I didn't need her shit.

Who did she think she was? Who did she think I was? I was Edward fucking Cullen, not some loser like that assmunch back at the music store who would gladly sit at her feet and wait for whatever fucking table scraps she tossed his way. I could have any fucking girl at this school and I certainly didn't need her bullshit.

I took one of the reeds out of its case, looked at it for a minute and then broke the fucker and tossed it on her welcome mat. $30 down the drain, but I didn't fucking care. I'd take the other two back to the damn store and shove them up little Jacob's nostrils and then have him call her crying. Then I'd find the first hot girl I saw and fuck the shit out of her and fuck Reed Girl right out of my head.

I turned to leave just as the elevator opened and two girls came out, laughing. Neither one of them was Reed Girl but they were both pretty fucking hot, especially the tall blonde. She laughed at something the short one with black hair said and tossed her head. The smile on her face froze at the sight of me and her eyes narrowed. What the fuck was that all about? I didn't know that girl. I'd have remembered if we fucked. At least I think I would have.

She said something to the little one and they headed my way.

"You're Edward Cullen," Blondie said coolly, her eyes raking over me. She had really weird eyes, almost a purplish color. She was hot. And it was about time somebody fucking recognized me.

"Yeah, I am." I gave her and her friend my best smile but was met with blank stares. What the hell?

"What in the hell are you doing at our apartment?" Blondie took out some keys and slid one into the lock, twisting it and opening the door.

"I'm here to see Bella, but she's not answering the door."

Blondie shook her head. "Bella's at work." At work? She was at fucking work? Why hadn't she told me that? Because she wanted to waste my fucking time again, of course. What the hell was her problem?

"Well, if you'll let her know that I stopped by…" I was done with this bitch and I wasn't leaving her reeds with her roommates.

"No, I won't do that," Blondie snapped, putting her hands on her slim waist. What was her problem? Maybe all the crazy bitches were rooming together. Shorty was silent but Blondie and Reed Girl clearly had some fucking issues.

"Why not?"

"Because you're an asshole."

Naturally, I was an asshole. She was the one being a hostile bitch to a guy she didn't even know, but I was the asshole. Spare me from the fucking dramatics.

"Excuse me, but do I even know you? Did I fuck you or something? Because I think I'd remember that." I gave her my most charming smile and her mouth dropped open. Nope, I didn't recognize that look on her either, so clearly I hadn't let her suck my cock.

Her finger shot out and jabbed me in the chest. "You most certainly have never had the pleasure of fucking me, Edward Cullen. If you had, you'd remember."

Maybe she and Reed Girl were sisters. They acted very much alike. "Well then, why are you acting like I ran over your fucking dog?"

The little one giggled but didn't say anything. Blondie stepped inside and continued to glare at me. "Because you're one and the same."

What the hell did that even mean? "I'm not sure what the hell you mean, but I can tell you, there is no other me. I'm an original."

She laughed hollowly. "No, you're a carbon copy of your asshole brother. Be sure to tell him that Rose said to drop dead." And with that she was gone, shutting the door in my face. Fucking Emmett fucks this girl over and I'm the one that gets shit for it? Damn him.

Another laugh alerted me to the fact that Blondie had shut the door on her friend as well. "Are you going to lay into my ass, too?"

Shorty shrugged. "I don't know. Are you going to treat Bella the way your brother treated Rose?"

How the fuck did I answer that? "I don't know how he treated her."

She raised an eyebrow. "Don't you?"

Okay, so I did but I didn't need to be called on it. "I'm not my brother."

She laughed. "By all accounts, you're worse."

I smirked. "Or so much better, depending on how you look at it."

Shorty shook her head and reached for the door. "Why are you here?"

"Because Reed Girl, I mean Bella, told me to deliver her stupid reeds to her here."

"I can take them for you."

I tightened my grip on them and shook my head. "No. I'm not giving them to her now. She's dicking me around."

Shorty laughed. "Is she now? Well, I'm sure you dicked her around already."

"I gave her exactly what she wanted."

"And clearly she doesn't want it again or she would have told you when she gets off work."

"Well, clearly she doesn't want her reeds that fucking badly then." I turned to go and Shorty reached out and grabbed my arm. "What?"

She studied me with a titled head, her gray eyes assessing me. "Interesting. You may be just what she needs."

I rolled my eyes and snatched my arm away. "If what she needs is a good lay, then yes, I'm exactly that. But she's being a fucking pain about it and I don't need her shit."

Shorty laughed. "Yeah, I really think you do. Tell me, are you friends with Jasper Whitlock?"

What the fuck? What did Jasper have to do with anything? "He's my back up. We get along, even though he wants my fucking job. Not that he's good enough to take it."

Her face scrunched up in irritation. "That's not true. Jasper's great. He's thrown ten touchdowns in relief!"

I laughed and leaned against the wall. What was with this girl? "Yes, against the second and third string after I already decimated their starters. Why the hell do you want to know about Jasper?"

Her cheeks colored and I laughed. "You want Whitlock?" I looked her over more closely. She wasn't scorching hot like the bitchy blonde but she was decent looking. She had a small body but good curves. She might stand a chance with Jasper; I didn't really know what he was into other than pussy.

"Well, he's cute and I'd like to meet him. Maybe you could arrange that?" She looked at me hopefully and it was actually kind of fucking cute. This was the first time anybody had ever asked me to set them up with my teammates. Maybe I should be fucking insulted that she didn't want me, but since she was Reed Girl's roommate, there was probably some rule about not fucking the same guy or some damn thing. She'd want me otherwise, no doubt about it.

"And if I arrange that, what do I get in return?" I wasn't doing this shit out of the goodness of my heart. Shorty hadn't been as hostile as her pal, but she hadn't been exactly friendly either.


"What?" Was she going to help me with Reed Girl? I didn't need fucking help with her. I was done.

"You bring Jasper to a party that I'm at and I'll make sure Bella's there. She'll have to talk to you."

"Maybe I don't want to talk to her anymore." I was over this shit.

Shortly laughed. "Yes, you do. You wouldn't still be here if you didn't."

That was…well, I don't know what that was but it wasn't true. "Maybe I just wanted to find out why your friend was such a royal bitch."

Those gray eyes narrowed and she hissed at me. "Don't you call my friend a bitch. You don't know her and you don't know what your brother did to her."

I held up my hands. Damn, Shorty had a temper. "You're right, I don't. But I didn't do dick to her and she treated me like shit on her shoe. That's not exactly fair either, is it?"

"Maybe not. It depends on what kind of a dick you are to Bella."

"I'm not trying to be a dick to Bella!" I threw up my hands in frustration. "I'm trying to give her the fucking reeds she demanded I buy and maybe see her one more time. Is that so fucking wrong? I haven't led her on in any fucking way."

Shorty sighed. "Alright. I don't know what the deal is with you two. I don't know if I want to know, but I do know that I want to meet Jasper. So, I'll help you see her again, if that's what you want."

Did I want to see her? Yes, yes I did, if only to throw her ridiculous behavior back in her face and then maybe break her other two reeds. I watched Shorty as I fished my phone out of my pants.

"If I do this, you'll make sure she's there?"

Shorty nodded eagerly.

"And you'll let me into her room? I need to do something." I was leaving the broken reed on her pillow, delivering her a little message.

Shorty nodded more slowly this time.

I scrolled through my phone until I found Jasper's number. I hit it and put the phone on speaker.

"Hello?" he rasped into the phone. Fucker was still asleep. Then again, it was only one. Shorty gasped at the sound of his voice. Jeez.

"Whit, it's Edward."

"Cullen? What time is it?"

"One in the afternoon, you douche."

"Ugh, too early. What do you want?"

"I want to know whose party we're going to this week."

"What? You're fucking calling me this early to ask me where we're partying?"

"You heard me. What's planned?" God, he was such a fucking moron wastoid. No way was he fit to take over my team in two years.

"Um, shit, I don't know. I think Newton's having a party on Wednesday night."

"You going?"

"Yeah, I think so. It's in three fucking days, how can I be sure?"

You can be sure because I fucking tell you to be, jackass. "We're going."

"Oh, we are, are we? You skipped out on us last night." He sounded all pissy girlish about it too.

"I had shit crop up."

He laughed. "I just bet you did."

Whatever, douche. "Wednesday night at Newton's. We're going." I hung up before he could say anything else and turned to Shorty. "Well?"

She pushed open the door and gestured at me to enter. I bent down and picked up the broken reed and followed her inside. "This is Bella's room." She pointed to the door immediately on the left and I walked in with her just behind me.

Her room was pretty neat and not cluttered with a shitload of girly things like most chick's rooms I was in. It smelled good, though. Sort of flowery but not overpowering. She had stacks of sheet music on her desk next to her computer. There was picture of her and two older people, likely her parents, on her night stand. Her bed was only haphazardly made, the comforter pulled up and a bit lumpy over the sheets. I liked that she wasn't that concerned with it.

I noticed her music case sitting on the floor of her closet and went to pick it up. I opened the latch and sure enough, there was her precious oboe inside. It gave me an idea.

Shorty was standing in the doorway watching me, like I was going to fucking steal something. Well, I was actually, but I was going to ask first.

"Where does Bella work?"

"Strozier Library. Why?"

Strozier? Voted the best place to meet girls by Playboy magazine? That fucking Strozier? I didn't fucking like that one bit.

"Because I don't want to wait until Wednesday to see her." I couldn't explain it, even to myself, but I wanted to see her today.

"Oh." Shorty shrugged. "Well she works until six on Sundays." Good to know.

"I'm taking this with me." I picked up the oboe case.

"What? You are not!" She reached toward me and I laughed and held the thing up at my shoulder level. She couldn't reach it even there.

"Relax, Shorty. I'm not going to keep it permanently. I just want to let her know that I don't appreciate being dicked around. Look, I'll even leave her reeds here as a sign of good faith." I put them on her pillow next to the broken one.

"You'll give it back? Because I'll call the cops if you don't."

"Look, Shorty…"

"My name is Alice," she interrupted.

More fucking names to remember. "Okay, Alice. I'm just going to show her that I can play the game even better than she can. I'll give it back…eventually."

"Eventually?" she asked tightly.

"I presume she'll come to get it, once she knows I have it." Shorty laughed and nodded. "Okay, then. If for some reason she doesn't, I'll bring it to the party on Wednesday." No way was Reed Girl going to resist my challenge though.

"She's going to kill me."

"Do you want Whitlock or not?" Who knew that idiot would be a bargaining chip for me?

"Yes," she sighed.

"Alright, then. Give me your number so I can tell you where Newton lives and all that crap." She took my phone and programmed her number in. I laughed when I saw she put it under Shorty.

"I doubt you can remember the name of girls you've screwed, let alone girls you didn't."

I grinned and patted her shoulder. "Good call, Shorty. I'll talk to you soon."

"You better come through, Cullen."

I turned to face her. "I always keep my word. See you Wednesday."

I left, carrying my new possession, and ran down the stairs. Suddenly I had a fuckton of energy. Too bad I couldn't expend it the way I fucking wanted to, but Reed Girl was stubborn. She was about to find out I was just as stubborn as she was.

I drove over to the library, which was fucking crowded because it was Sunday afternoon. I had to park a mile away and jog in, carrying her oboe with me. I went to the reference desk and asked for Bella.

"She's over in bibliographies."

"And that is?" Like I fucking knew?

The nerd behind the counter pointed to the second floor. "Over to your left." I thanked him and made my way upstairs. I didn't do the library. Anything I needed could be found on my computer, but whatever. It was kinda cool in here. It smelled like paper and leather.

I cut past some busy tables and computers and found the bibliography section. There, behind a desk, looking studious and wearing a cute ass pair of glasses, was my Reed Girl. My cock instantly reacted at the sight of her. Hot damn, but I had to have her again. And she really, really needed to be wearing those fucking glasses when I did. Hot librarian fantasies had never been my cup of tea but it was clear I'd been missing out.

I strode to the desk and stopped in front of her. She was totally absorbed in whatever she was reading and didn't notice me so I cleared my throat. She looked up in surprise and then did a double take when she saw it was me.

"Edward? What are you doing here?"

I smirked and leaned against the counter. "I believe this is a library, is it not? Maybe I came to learn."

She shook her head. "I've never seen you here before."

"It's a big library. Maybe you should take me on a tour." I raised an eyebrow and Reed Girl laughed.

"I don't think so. I could point you to the anatomy and physiology section; maybe that would suit your needs."

She was awesome. "I'm more into hands on learning than book learning. Why don't you show me to a quiet corner and I'll show you just what I mean?"

Her eyes sparked. "I'm not allowed to leave the desk."

That was a fucking lie, but okay. "Well, I could bend you over it and…"

"Edward!" A loud shhh came from somewhere behind the books and Reed Girl blushed. "What are you doing here?"

"Well, I was hoping for some music lessons."

She rolled her big brown eyes and pushed her glasses back, as they'd been slipping down her nose. "I don't teach music lessons."

"I thought maybe you'd make a special case just for me. After all, we have a history."

"Ancient history." Yeah, hours ago.

I chuckled. "History is doomed to repeat itself. Haven't you learned anything?"

"You don't have an instrument."

I grinned and raised my-well, her, case. "Sure I do."

Her eyes flew between the case and me. "Where did you get that?"

I smiled. "Where do you think?"

"Give it back, Edward!" She reached for it and I yanked it back. Another loud shhh came from another direction. Damn, these library dorks were touchy.

"I'm afraid I can't do that. You made me waste much of my day on a pointless errand. Now it's your turn. You know where to find me, if you want it. Perhaps you can come and show me how you blow?"

Her face was flushed with anger and her eyes were burning into me. It was really fucking sexy.

"I'll blow you off, Cullen."

I laughed at the double meaning in that statement. "You can try, Reed Girl. I'll be awaiting my private lesson."

"Why are you doing this?" Her hands were on her hips and her breasts were pushing out nicely against her blue button down. She looked very edible right now.

"Why are you being so difficult?" She opened her mouth to answer and then shrugged. "There you go, then." I slid a piece of paper over to her. "That's my actual number. Unlike some people, I don't play games."

She looked at her oboe in my right hand and raised an eyebrow. "Don't you?"

Good point. "Only when my hand is forced. I look forward to your call." I gave her my best smile and turned and made my way back through the stacks. She'd come to me this time. No more chasing on my part. She'd won the first round, but I'd won the second. Now she could stop being so stubborn and we could both win the tie-breaker.

Chapter Text

Two hours. She'd gotten off work two hours ago and had yet to call me. What the hell was her problem? She'd had enough time to get home and confirm that I had her precious oboe, and to yell at Shorty for letting me take it, but she still hadn't called. What in the hell was I going to do with this stupid fucking instrument if she didn't come to get it?

Maybe that bitchy Blondie wasn't letting her call me. She'd love to cockblock me thanks to my jackass of a brother. Speaking of which, what the fuck had he done? I grabbed my non-ringing iPhone and scrolled to his number, hitting it and leaning back against my headboard.

"How're they hanging bro? Still blue ballin' it or did you get some play after brunch?"

I rolled my eyes at his ridiculous greeting. "Don't you worry about me or my balls, dickhead. I do just fine, thank you very much."

He laughed. "Sure didn't seem that way this morning. Your mind was a million miles away. Don't tell me some girl got under your skin. What have I always told you? No distractions. Get in, get out and get gone."

He'd only told me it about a billion times. I think I had it down by now. "There's no girl." Not unless you count a pain in the ass girl who is obsessed with pissing me the hell off.

"Good. You've got all the time in the world to sample the best the campus has to offer. And there is some very fine ass there, bro. Very fine indeed."

That was the opening I needed. "Yeah, speaking of that, I met a girl that doesn't remember you quite as fondly as you would have had us all believe this morning. If she's screaming your name, it's in a fucking voodoo ritual or something."

Emmett barked out a laugh. "Really? Surely she's mistaking me from some other Emmett. Who's this girl?"


"Naturally. I don't do ugly."


"Just like I like 'em."

"Tall, with a killer body."

"Sounds good to me."

"Bitchy attitude from hell."

"That could be any one of a hundred girls, bro. You'll have to be more specific."

Here we go. "Her name is Rose."

There was a long pause on the other end of the line. So long that I thought my phone went dead but no, I was still connected. "Em?"

"Did you say Rose? As in Rosalie Hale?" He sounded all panicked and shit. What did he do to her?

"I don't know her last name; all I know is that she told me to tell you to drop dead, after she chewed my ass out for simply breathing the same air as her. She's got purplish eyes, fantastic breasts and long legs that would look good wrapped around…"

"You shut the fuck up right now!" I held the phone away from my ear as he screamed on the other end. What the hell?

"Why are you screaming at me? I just asked who the hell this girl was that yelled at me because of something you did and you're freaking the fuck out."

"Did you hit on her? Did you fucking touch her? If you touched her, I swear to God I will break every single finger on your throwing hand, and then your arm for good measure."

Holy shit, he was dead serious. I could hear it in his voice. "I didn't fucking touch her, you asshole. I screwed her roommate. Calm the hell down and tell me why you're threatening bodily violence on your own brother over a chick. Did you not just finish telling me to hit it and move the hell on? You don't sound like you've moved."

He blew out a breath. "She's nobody."

I laughed at his stupid ass. Like I was going to buy that? "If she's nobody, you wouldn't be screaming so loud I could fucking hear you without the phone. What the hell did you do?"

"I didn't do anything. Just let it go."

"Like hell I will. You'll tell me or I'll go back over to her place and get her to. She was looking awfully good this morning and with a little charm I might…" I broke off and waited for him to lose his shit again.

"Damn it, Edward, I told you to stay the fuck away from her. She's off limits, okay? You don't want my sloppy seconds anyway, do you?" There was desperation in his voice. Man, this girl got under his skin even worse than Reed Girl got under mine. I mean, she was hot, but with her attitude I didn't get it at all.

"I just want to know what you did. I have some unfinished business with her roommate and I'll likely see her again. I'd like to escape with my dick intact to use another day. Now tell me what happened." Unfinished business that could be finished if Reed Girl would just bring her fine ass to my room to retrieve her stupid instrument.

"I don't know, man. I mean, you've seen her. She's the hottest chick on the fucking planet, right?" I'd seen hotter, hell, I'd had hotter, but I wasn't going to interrupt him now that he was finally talking. "I met her last year at a party. We hit it off, in and out of the sheets. Before I knew what I was doing, I was taking her out to dinner and seeing girly flicks and all sorts of shit that goes against the code. You know what I mean?"

Holy shit, my brother had cared about her. He'd never given a shit about anyone in the entire nineteen years that I'd known him. "So, you liked her. What'd you do to fuck it up?"

"Liked her? LIKED HER?" Damn it, he was yelling again. "I more than liked her, you idiot. I loved that girl. She got under my skin and she fucking bewitched me! All of a sudden, she was all I could think about. Before I knew it, she was talking about shit like meeting each other's parents and I just fucking panicked."

I sighed. Bad things happened when Emmett panicked. "Did you tell her you needed to cool off?" I still couldn't figure out why she was so bitchy. So he dumped her ass, even though he loved her. My brother was a grade A moron. Everybody who knew him knew it.

"Uh, no."

Shit. "You didn't."

"What else was I supposed to do?"

"Um, put on your big boy pants and fucking talk to her, maybe?"

"Look who's talking. When have you ever sat down and told a chick you need to cool off?"

He had a point, but then again, I hadn't fallen in love with one either. Nor would I be that stupid. "I never dated anybody long enough to do so, just like you fucking told me not to, jackass."

"Well, now you know I know what I speak of!" he shouted. I was going to go deaf if he didn't cut that shit out.

"So you fucked around on her?"

"Well, not exactly," he muttered.

"What then?"

"I made her think I fucked around on her." Moron. "She walked into a party we were supposed to meet at and saw this chick on my lap kissing me. I didn't actually fuck her, but Rosie didn't know that."

Rosie? She didn't look like a Rosie to me. Not even a Rose. More like Ball Busting Bertha. "What did she do?"

He sighed. "She yanked the chick off my lap by her hair and punched her in the face." Wow. I kinda wished I'd been there.

"And what did she do to you?"

"Called me all sorts of names, threw a cup of beer on me and punched me in the face, too. She was glorious." His voice had taken on some dreamy tone that absolutely did not match his words. How was getting punched in the face by a girl glorious? He'd been hit far too many times on the field, clearly. "She stormed out. She changed her phone number after I called her a bunch of times and I never got past her RA in her dorm to see her. That was that."

"So, she hates your ass. And because you were too much of a pussy to actually tell her that you were freaking out, she thinks you cheated on her even though you didn't."

"No, I couldn't have cheated on her if I tried. I didn't even fuck another girl for like two months after."

Two months? That was eons when it came to Emmett. He was way worse than I was. "Well, you'll be happy to know that she hasn't forgotten you."

"Fuck you, bro. I hate that I hurt her. And you said you boned her roommate? So you know where she lives then?" All of a sudden he was eager. Great.

"Yes, but I'm not telling you. What does it matter anyway? You're two hours away. And I don't need you screwing things up further. Her roommate is giving me enough grief without you piling on and making things a billion times worse."

"You'll tell me, little bro. Don't make me hurt you."

"You won't hurt me." I was sort of confident about that, so long as I didn't bone his precious Blondie. And I didn't want to. I wanted her stubborn ass roommate, and that was all. Why everybody had to complicate what could be really good sex was beyond me. Now, even my brother was getting in the way of me sticking it to Reed Girl again.

"Maybe not, but I will tell Mom you're into some girl if you don't help me out."

Oh, hell no. She'd badger me to death and want to meet her and shit. No, no, a billion times no.

"Look, I won't tell you where she lives, but I can tell you where she'll be on Wednesday night." At least I hoped so. I'd have to call Shorty and make sure she brought both of her insane roommates. Why did Jasper have to get the normal, agreeable one of the bunch? He was such a douche.

"Wednesday night? How do you know where she'll be? Are you after her?" His voice was all high pitched and girly again. Jesus Christ, what happened to my supposed stud brother?

"Would you calm the hell down? I invited her roommate to a party, because I'm trying to fuck her other roommate and she wants to fuck my teammate. I'll tell her to bring Blondie along and you can do your best to get her to talk to you. But don't you bring me into it. You come on your own and when she hands you your ass on a platter, you leave on your own. I had nothing to do with it other than to tell you about a party I was going to."

"Since when do you invite girls to a party in order to try to fuck one? And didn't you already fuck her?" I didn't answer. "Well, well, little bro, it sounds to me like you might like this girl."

He didn't know shit. "Really? You're going to give me shit now, Mr. I Looooved Her?"

"Fuck off."

"Are you coming on Wednesday or not?"

"Fuck, yes, I'll blow off work and drive over. If things don't work out the way I want them to, I might need to crash in your room."

With any luck, I'd be spending the night with Reed Girl. "Whatever. See you on Wednesday." I hung up on his stupid ass and dialed Shorty.


"Hey, Shorty, it's Edward."

"Oh, hi, Sarah! Just let me go to my room." Sarah? Fucking girls. I heard the door close and then Shorty hissed at me. "Well, you truly pissed her off. She's not even talking to me."

"Does that mean she's not coming on Wednesday night? Because our deal's off if…"

"She'll be there! She can't stay mad at me for long." I wondered how Shorty pulled off that particular trick because it was clear that Reed Girl could hold a grudge.

"Well, she better be. And could you try to bring Blondie with you guys?"

"Why? You're not after Rose now, too, are you?"

I rolled my eyes. "No, I'm not. There's somebody that wants to see her or some damn thing. Just make her come." When did I become a fucking matchmaker? This was ridiculous.

"I can't make Rose do anything. I'll tell her about it and if she comes, she comes."

"Fine!" If she didn't, I'd have to give my brother her address. "I'll text you the info on Wednesday then."

"Great. I can't wait to meet Jasper!"

The girl had no taste but at least she was somewhat pleasant, unlike the other two. "Right. See you later."

"Bye, Edward! Oops, I mean Sarah! No, Bella, it's not…"

Hell, Reed Girl heard her. "Give me that phone!" And another person was shouting.

"Really, Bella, it's Sarah!"

"Alice, hand me that phone now."

I grinned at the irritation in her voice. "Let her have it, Shorty."

"You're an idiot," she hissed. There were a few seconds of scuffling and then I heard breathing in the phone.

"Reed Girl! How are you?"

"How am I? I'm a bit pissed off actually. Wanna know why?"

I grinned. What was it about this girl that amused me so? "Some jerk harass you in the library? Forget to turn in his book on time? I can kick his ass for you if you like."

"Oh, a jerk harassed me in the library alright, but I doubt you could kick his ass. You wouldn't want to mar your pretty face."

I laughed. "So you admit my face is pretty then? I knew you were hot for me, Reed Girl."

"I'm not the one who's chasing the other one all over town, am I?" I frowned at that. She was right. Why the hell wasn't she chasing me? And more importantly, why was I still bothering with her? I reached over and pulled her stupid oboe case onto my bed.

"You're the one who tracked me down first. I'm just trying to return the favor. How did you like your reeds?"

There was silence for a good minute. "I liked the two that were whole, but I have a bit of a problem with the broken one."

"I figured I'd save you the time and break it for you. We both know you'll run into something, or someone, soon and snap one in two."

"You ran into me!"

I chuckled. "No, you ran into me. Then I fucked the hell out of you. Remember that part? It was fun."

She sighed. "I couldn't forget if I tried. You won't let me."

"You don't want to forget. You dreamed about it last night, didn't you? Did you touch yourself and think of me?"

She said nothing and my cock got hard as I thought about her playing with that tight pussy and screaming my name. We might just have to give that a try when she got her ass over here.

"You know what I thought about, Edward?" Her voice was all breathy and hot and shit. My hand drifted down to my pants and I palmed my cock through my jeans.

"What did you think about, Bella?" I verbally caressed her name again and heard her take a sharp breath. If I didn't like calling her Reed Girl so much, I might actually use her name more often. It seemed to get her going.

"I dreamed about wrapping my wet lips around that hard head."

"Oh yeah, baby, you could definitely do that." I unzipped my jeans and grabbed my cock and started working it.

"Can I, Edward? Can I wrap my firm lips around it and blow it with my talented mouth?"

Fuck, she was good at this. My cock was throbbing. She might make me come in a matter of seconds. "You sure can, baby. Anytime you want."

"I want, Edward. I want it right now."

"It's all yours, baby. Just come and get it. Show me what those lips can do."

"You want to see what they can do, Edward? You want to experience it first hand?"

"Fuck, yes. More than anything!" I was so close. I fisted my cock and pumped it harder.

"Then bring me my fucking oboe and I'll show you just how talented I am!" she shouted.

Wait, what? "Were you fucking talking about blowing on your damn instrument?"

She laughed. "Yes, Edward. That's the only thing my mouth is going to be wrapped around anytime soon."

Son of a fucking bitch. She'd played me again. My cock deflated and I sat up and glared at her damn oboe case. "Well, apparently your mouth won't be wrapped around that, because I have it. Maybe if you blow me, you can blow it again."

"Are you attempting to extort me to get back my oboe?" she demanded.

"You are pre-law, aren't you?" I laughed at her. "I'm offering a trade."

"Well, I don't accept the terms of your transaction."

"Well, then I guess I got myself an oboe."

She paused and I could hear her breathing heavily. "Alright, then I guess I'll have to call the police and report my property stolen."

"Go for it, sweetheart. The cops all know and love me. I'll just tell them we're having a lovers' spat and you're trying to get me in trouble."

"We're not lovers."

"But we could be, if you'd stop being annoying."

"If I'm so annoying, why do you want to fuck me again?" That was a damn good question.

"I don't know. I do know that I want you. And you want me. So why not have a little fun with one another?"

"I don't have fun. Not that kind anyway."

"Maybe it's time you started."

She sighed. "I'll think about it."

"Good." This was an improvement. "Now are you going to come get your oboe?"

She laughed. "No, you can bring it to me."

"So you can leave and sic Blondie on me again? I don't think so."

"Well, then, I guess I'll get it when I see you next."

What the hell? "Don't you need it for practice?"

"Not really. I already called Jacob and he said he'd give me one on loan."

Jacob. Fucking Jacob. That god damn cockblocking nerd was getting in my way again. I needed to beat his ass. "But don't you want your oboe?"

"You'll give it back."

"How do you know?"

"Because you want to see me again. So, I'll see you when you decide to return it. Goodnight, Edward."

And just like that, she was gone. How the fuck had she managed to turn the tables on me again? And more importantly, how was I going to get her back? Wednesday night, it was on.

Chapter Text

"Dude, what is your fucking problem?"

I glanced over at Jasper who was staring at me as if I'd grown another head. What was my problem? What his damn problem?

"What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about the fact that you're primping in front of the mirror like a chick. Who the hell are you trying to impress tonight?"

I wasn't trying to impress anybody. Sure, I wanted to look good. I wanted to let Reed Girl see just what she was missing, but that was it. I gave up on trying to get my hair to lay down and tossed my comb down on the counter.

"Nobody. Can't a guy look good? I realize it takes quite a bit of work for you but some of us are just naturally gifted that way."

He rolled his eyes. "You got a text."

I ran over to my phone while he gaped at me. What the fuck was his issue?

We'll all be there. Don't ask me how I did it, but Rose agreed to come. Are you sure Jasper will be there?

Way to be Shorty. But stop doubting my ass.

He's douching up my room as we speak. We're leaving as soon as…Shit, I could tell her my brother was coming. She'd tell Rose and it would be off.

We're leaving as soon as our friend gets here. He was sort of my friend, sometimes. When he wasn't being a giant asshole and screaming at me over some girl who tried to castrate me for no good reason of course.

I laughed at her response. Jasper's not a douche. He's hot!

Whatever you say, Shorty. We're not going to argue the merits of the wastoid. Does Reed Girl know I'm going to be there?

"Who in the hell are you talking to? Why are you grinning like that?"

"Jeez, Jasper, what's your problem? Are you jealous? Want me all to yourself?" And I was not grinning. I looked in my mirror and frowned. Well, now I wasn't grinning. Why did he have to ruin my good mood? I looked awesome. Dark green button-down to match my eyes, black jeans and my black leather jacket; Reed Girl wouldn't know what hit her.

Of course not. She wouldn't come then. She looks hot, though. You're going to die when you see her.

Like hell I was. But I was looking forward to seeing her let loose. Thus far I'd only seen her naked, which of course was the best way to see her and I planned on repeating that as soon as she stopped pretending to resist me, in her ridiculous band uniform, and in her stuffy librarian wear. Of course, she'd been kinda hot in the library. I wouldn't have minded checking her out at all.

"You're an asshole," Jasper replied sullenly.

"Seriously, don't go gay on me. I've got enough shit on my plate without having to deal with you."

He threw my pillow at me. "Like I'd ever want you? I just don't get why you're being so secretive."

Was he pouting? He was pouting. Time for some girl talk, apparently. "I'm not being secretive. There's this chick that's gonna be there and she's giving me a hard time. I just want to show her what she's missing."

"So, you do like a girl. Well, that's a first!"

"I don't like her. I just want her." There was a very distinct difference.

Jasper eyed me skeptically. "Well, I'm just saying I've never seen you make any kind of effort for a girl. I can't wait to meet her."

Like hell. "You stay away from her. You're meeting her roommate."

"I'm doing what now?" He cocked an eyebrow at me and sat up on his elbows. Oops.

"Her roommate has the hots for you or something."

"So? Lots of chicks have the hots for me."

I turned and glared at him. First, he wasn't that good looking. Second, he wasn't going to fuck up my night. "This one is cool and you will be nice to her. If you're not interested, you chat for awhile and then move on. If you are, fine, but don't dick her over." Shorty was a decent girl and I didn't need all three of them pissed at my ass. Right now I had one of them on my side and I intended to keep her that way.

"You pimped me out? What the fuck, Edward?" He crossed his arms and glared right back at me.

"I did no such thing. She wants to meet you. That's it. Whether you hook up or not has nothing to do with me."

"What's she look like?"

Naturally. "Tiny. Black hair, grey eyes, tight little body. I don't think you'll have an issue with her."

Jasper pursed his lips. "What's in it for me?"

Motherfucker. I should have waited until he was high to tell him. He was far more agreeable then. "You meet a cute girl."

"I can do that anytime." He could, sadly. I don't know what they saw in him but he got nearly as many girls as I did. Of course, I was more discriminating in my tastes though.

"Fine. If you're nice to her, I'll enter the draft after my junior year, barring injury. If you're a dick, I stay for my senior year and you get only one year as starting QB, provided of course someone better than you doesn't come along in between, which is always a possibility."

Leaving after junior year was always my plan anyway, but he didn't need to know that.

Jasper grinned and nodded. "Deal. I'll be nice to her."

"You better. Shorty's also getting Em's ex to come along so he'll owe her too. And he'll beat your ass if you fuck that up." That was a sure thing.

Jasper held up his hands in a sign of surrender. "I'm cool. What's her name? It obviously isn't Shorty."

Shit, what was her name. Something with an A. Amber, Amy, Amanda, Allie…that was it. "Alice."

"Alice," he repeated slowly. Of course it was fucking over his head. Druggie. "That's a weird name. I'll call her Ali."

"Okay, Jasper. You'd know all about weird names." He scowled but couldn't argue. "You'll call her whatever she wants you to call her and you'll like it."

"I can't wait to see whoever this chick is. You're sure putting forth a lot of effort. Pimping me out, dragging your brother into it…"

"I didn't drag him in. He forced his way in. He's all hung up on this evil blonde they're roommates with. Why I don't know."

"Whatever. This is not your usual style."

I knew that. I didn't need it pointed out to me. "Shut the fuck up."

"Hey Bromance, ready to go claim our women?" Emmett burst into the room.

"Do you even know what that term means? And what in the hell are you wearing?" He was in some black muscle shirt that looked like it was cutting off circulation to his bulging arms.

"Rosie likes her men buff."

"I'm sure she also likes them not to be world class idiots. 0 for 2 with you," I replied. He reached over and ruffled my fucking hair after I'd just gotten it as close to perfect as I could. Asshole. I never should have mentioned Blondie to him.

"Let's go do this thing. We have women to win."

"I don't want to win her, I just want…"

"Yeah, yeah, I know. You just need to fuck her. Again. Which means you're going back for more. Which you never do. You want her bro, admit it and move the hell on."

It wasn't worth the breath it would take to drive it into either of their pea brains. I fixed my hair as best I could and grabbed my keys. "Let's go."

The ride to Newton's was filled with Emmett rhapsodizing about seeing Rose again and Jasper, asshole, smoking up in the backseat of my fucking car. Had I not had other priorities tonight, I would have kicked his ass out of the vehicle for that one. To say I was a bit pissed off by the time we got there would be understating things a bit.

Newton and a few other seniors on the team rented this shithole house off Tennessee Street. It wasn't good for much except it had a nice outdoor area that allowed for a lot of partygoers. I parked on the street and turned to face the two morons that were already killing my own buzz at seeing Reed Girl again.

"Listen, assholes. I don't care what you two do with your girls. Just don't piss them off because they'll both come gunning for my innocent ass. All I want is to spend some quality time with Reed Girl. If you get in the way of that, I will leave your stupid selves here and I'll tell Mom that it was you that broke the hot tub." Emmett started to sputter in protest. "And I'll tell Coach to drug test you." I pointed at Jasper. His eyes were red and he just chortled at that news. Fuck up.

I opened my car and breathed some fresh air. I was going to have to get it detailed now. Jasper was such a douche.

I walked away from the two irritants and headed into Newton's. Music was blaring, liquor was flowing and the girls were every fucking where. Except not the girl I wanted, from what I could tell. A shit ton of the cheerleaders were there, along with pretty much every hot piece of ass I'd hit since I'd been at this school. Great. Whose fucking idea was it to meet Reed Girl here? Shorty was a pain in the ass.

"Hi, Edward," a voice purred in my ear. I vaguely recognized it and turned my head to see Hoover the cheerleader. Whatever her name was. She had a hell of a mouth and that's about all I remembered.

What the hell was her name? Tara? Tammy? Whatever, I'd just go with something tried and true. "Hey." Better safe than sorry. She put her arms around me and I quickly ducked out of that shit. The last thing I fucking needed was for Reed Girl to see Hoover wrapped around me the instant she walked inside.

"I need to get a drink. See you later?" I smirked and she smiled and licked her lips. They were mighty fine lips. I'd been thinking about giving her another go at a blow job before Reed Girl came along.

"I'll be waiting." You'll be waiting a fucking long time. I pushed through the bodies and headed into the kitchen. The keg was there and I needed something to tide me over until Reed Girl got here. Where the hell were they anyway?

"Chug, chug, chug." There was my idiot brother, beer bonging in the living room. Oh yeah, Blondie would be all over his ass when she got here.

Jasper was sitting on the couch, strumming some guitar that he got God knows where. His high was making him extra mellow. He'd probably fall asleep on poor Shorty. I grabbed a beer and glared at the kid sitting in the only recliner that had a view of the doorway. He hurriedly grabbed his cup and got out of my way.

A pair of girls walked and stood directly in front of me and started grinding all up on one another to the beat of the music. They may as well have been wearing a neon sign that said fuck us, please. I rolled my eyes and took a swig of my beer. Emmett came in, belching loudly and shoved Jasper over so he could sit down.

"Damn, junior, looks like you're doing pretty well." His eyes were on the show taking place in front of me, as the blonde ran her hands up the redhead's torso, getting in a little boob grope. I craned my neck to try to see past them. Where the hell was Reed Girl?

I grunted and didn't say anything. Redhead took my acknowledgment of her presence as a sign that I appreciated the show and swayed in front of me. "Hi, Edward."

"Hi," I muttered, reaching in my pocket for my phone. Shorty better be on her way. I didn't have a text and Red was still standing there watching me with predatory blue eyes. "What?" As if I didn't know. She wanted me. Duh. I was going to be otherwise occupied if Reed Girl ever got her fine ass here.

"I'm Vicky," she told me with a ridiculous giggle, like her name was something funny. "This is my friend Katie. We've both been dying to meet you." She reached out and ran her finger over my left arm. I jerked it away.

"Well, now you have and you can move on." Emmett guffawed loudly and Jasper shook his head and continued to strum.

"What?" she asked, her eyes widening in disbelief. Some people clearly had issues with taking a hint.

"I said, you've met me, now you can get out of my way. I'm waiting for someone."

She grabbed her friend's arm and walked off muttering something about "dick and gay." Whatever comforted her, I guess.

"Excuse me, little brother, but did you just throw two perfectly fine pussies away? Pussies that were panting for you?"

I shrugged and looked at my phone again. Where the hell were they?

Emmett took my phone. "Hey, I'm talking to you. Is this girl really that good? Because you know, you could bang those two and then get your Reed Girl. That would be epic."

Right. Reed Girl would settle for being sloppy thirds. She'd hand me my ass and I'd never get another shot at her. "They had fake tits." That was a good reason and made as much sense as anything else that was going through my head.

"So, man, that's awesome. You can do anything you want to those puppies and they don't move. Haven't you ever slid your dick between…" he broke off and all humor fled as he focused on the doorway. There was his Rose and she put the bitches I'd just blown off to shame. Seriously, if I didn't know what a viper hid beneath the surface, I would have gone for her. She was wearing a red shirt that did nothing to hide her very real, very fine tits and a tiny black skirt that made her legs go on for miles. A pair of red heels and a feline smile screamed of sex.

"Fuck me," Emmett muttered. She hadn't seen him yet. I knew this because she was still smiling. I kind of feared for all of us when she noticed him.

"Rosie!" he shouted, waving his arms like a madman. Very subtle, dickhead. She froze and her smile went from fuck me to fuck you just like that. She slowly walked toward us, her eyes narrowed and shooting fire right in my brother's direction. He, idiotically, just smiled like he'd won the lottery.

"What are you doing here?" she asked, her voice dripping with disdain. I tried to look behind her but she was standing right in my way, her Amazon height making it difficult to see around her. She probably did it on fucking purpose so I couldn't see Reed Girl.

"My brother told me he met you and…" that was all I heard before I felt like my left cheek was knocked off.

"What the fuck?" I grabbed it and stared up at the blonde glaring down at me. "What was that for?"

"That was for helping your asshole brother find me."

"Damn it, all I did was ask what the fuck he did to turn you into a shrieking harpy and he freaked out like a chick and demanded to come see you. I didn't do dick." Fuck, the entire side of my face hurt.

She raised her fist to come at me again and I stood, ready to block that shit. Emmett grabbed her arm from behind and she whirled on him, landing a left right into his jaw. He just grinned stupidly at her.

"You do still care. Damn, I missed you, Rosie. Let's go talk."

Rose yanked her arm away from him. I noticed Shorty come rushing in, gaping at the scene before her.

"What did you do?" she hissed at me. Jesus, why was it all on me? All I fucking wanted was Reed Girl. Where the hell was she anyway?

Rose yanked her arm away from Emmett and walked up to a surprised looking Garrett Jenkins, one of my starting wide receivers. "Hey," she purred, stroking a finger along his jaw. He watched her warily, perhaps wondering if he was taking the next punch.

"Um, hi." He glanced at Emmett who was turning red. Fuck, he was gonna blow.

"You're hot. Want to fuck?" Rose asked. Garrett let out a strangled noise and looked between her and Emmett. I could sympathize. Every part of his body was no doubt screaming yes but his brain was yelling danger.

Emmett shouted, "Like hell he does!" and the next thing we knew, Blondie was thrown over his shoulder and she was screaming and pounding on his back as he carried her outside. Good God. I shifted my jaw. Nothing seemed to be broken but it hurt like a bitch.

"Where's Reed Girl?" I demanded of Shorty, who was watching me suspiciously. God damn, a little trust please.

"In the kitchen getting a beer. Why is your brother here and where's he taking Rose?"

I rolled my eyes. "He's here because he wouldn't leave me the fuck alone after I asked him why she tried to kill me when we met. Had you told me the story, I might not have had to ask myself." I didn't know where they were going and I didn't give a damn either. Reed Girl was in the kitchen and that's where I needed to be.

"How could you, Edward? I told you that he really hurt her and…"

"And you wanted to meet Jasper, didn't you? He's right here." I had to nip that shit in the bud. I didn't need a lecture. I needed Reed Girl. That was it.

Shorty stopped mid-rant and smiled sweetly in Jasper's direction. He watched her through his bloodshot eyes and smiled and patted the couch next to him. "Hi there. You must be Ali."

Damn him. I told him her name. She just grinned and nodded. "I am. It's very nice to meet you."

"Well, it's nice to meet you too, sugar. My boy says you're a cool girl. Is that true?"

She simpered and scooted closer to him. I was done with this shit. I needed fucking ice for my jaw anyway.

I turned and went into the kitchen, stopping when I got in the doorway. There she was and hot damn. Could this girl look anymore different from the band geek I'd met a few days ago? She was in some black dress that tied behind her head, leaving her arms completely bare and her breasts on beautiful display. The dress was longer than Blondie's skirt was but still showed quite a bit of perfect toned leg. I remembered those legs. I wanted them wrapped around me. Her hair was curled, she wore some light make up, and she looked hot as hell.

She saw me and smirked, tipping her cup toward me before resuming her conversation with Newton. What the fuck was he doing talking to my Reed Girl? I stomped over to the fridge and grabbed some ice out of the freezer, wrapping it in a paper towel and holding it to my jaw. Reed Girl laughed at something Newton said and I felt my blood start to boil. This night was not going the way it was supposed to.

"Hey, Newton." He looked over at me, his face a bit annoyed at the interruption but he knew better than to piss me off by ignoring me.

"What's up, Cullen?"

"Get out," I told him.

"Excuse me? Are you trying to kick me out of my kitchen?" Was he hard of hearing?

"You heard me. She and I need some privacy. Go."

"Bella and I were having a conversation and she doesn't seem like she wants to talk to you." How the fuck did he know? She hadn't said a word; she was just watching me with a smile on her sexy lips.

I stepped closer to him and Newton shrank back. He'd always been a fucking pussy. "I said, we need some privacy. Are you going to go or do I need to make you?"

He glanced at Reed Girl and shrugged. "Yeah, man, whatever. I'll see you later."

She laughed and the sound went straight to my cock. "Maybe you will."

Like hell he would. I glared at him until he left the room. Finally, we were alone. "Hi, Reed Girl." She was trapped between me and the wall and I saw her eyes glance toward the doorway. Surely she wouldn't try to run from me, would she? She was better than that.

"Hello. I guess I have Alice to blame for me being at the same party as you?"

I grinned. At least someone besides me was getting blamed for something. "Yeah, she sold you out for a shot at Whitlock."

She tossed her head back and laughed. I wanted to touch her and had to ball my hands into fists so I didn't. Not yet. I had to make her want me first. It wouldn't take long.

"That figures. She's been talking about him for the past couple of days. I should have known."

"She's a schemer, much like her friend."

Reed Girl smirked and took a sip of her beer. "You're the one with the schemes. I'm the one who outsmarts you."

I could have taken that as an insult but I wouldn't. I liked her quick mind. "You try, yet here you are, alone with me."

"Because you scared your teammate away."

"Newton's a douche. You don't want him."

She tilted her head. "You don't know anything about my wants."

I grinned. That was a challenge. "Oh, don't I?"

"No, you don't," she said definitively.

"I know that right now, you want nothing more than for me to press you up against the wall and kiss you until you're breathless." Her eyes were dark and I saw her take a deep breath at my words. Hell yes. "Then you want me to run my hands over every inch of you, undressing you slowly, taking my time this time." Her eyes fluttered. "Then you want me to kiss my way down your body, until I've got my face buried in your sweet pussy while you scream my name." She chugged her cup of beer, breathing heavily now. She was so mine. "Last, you want my cock sliding in and out of you, filling you in a way you've only been filled once before."

"Mmmm," she murmured, her voice sounding strangled. She inched past me and reached for the keg. I took her cup and poured her beer myself.

"How does that sound, Bella?" There it was again, a little breathless noise when I said her name. That was so damn hot.

"It sounds like you've given it a lot of thought," she replied shakily.

Endless amounts. "You've been on my mind a lot since Saturday."

"Why?" she asked, watching me. I was getting to her, I could tell.

"What do you mean, why?"

She gestured out toward the living room. "I mean, you could have any girl in this place, except for Rose and Alice. Why me?"

I opened my mouth to answer her but had no idea what to say. I couldn't figure out why I wanted her, I just knew I did. "I don't know. There's just something about you, I guess." I smiled and gave in to the urge, running my fingers along her neck. "I like you."

She jerked away from my touch like I'd burned her. "You don't like me. You don't even know me."

"Sure I do. Your name is Bella. You play the oboe. You have a fairly neat room and you're pre-law, or you should be."

She snorted. "Other than the neat room, that guy that you just kicked out of the kitchen could have told you the rest of that, plus a few other things. And we only talked for five minutes."

Rage flew through me at the thought of Newton knowing she had a neat room. If he ever had cause to know that, I'd break his arm.

"So tell me more, then."

"Since when do you care? I'm just another notch in your belt, right?"

What was with this girl? "No. If you were another notch in my belt, I'd have forgotten all about you on Saturday night."

"Which tells me all I need to know about you," she replied, snippily.

"You don't know me any more than I know you."

"Your reputation precedes you."

"Then why did you fuck me in the first place?" I demanded. She was really starting to piss me off. Why did she always do this? Make shit a billion times more complicated than it needed to be. She wanted me, I could tell. I wanted her. It was really just that fucking simple.

She shrugged and took another big gulp of beer. "The opportunity presented itself and I took it. Call it simple curiosity to see if you lived up to your reputation."

"I did." There was no question of that.

She laughed again and shook her head. "You don't lack in confidence, do you? You were adequate."

Adequate? That word had never been applied to me in my lifetime. "I was better than that and you know it."

"If you were, wouldn't I be sitting on this counter with my legs wide open begging you to give it to me again, big boy?" she asked sarcastically.

"You would, if you didn't have such a stick up your ass." She moved to fill her cup again. This time she could do it her damn self.

"Whatever you need to tell yourself to make yourself feel better, Edward."

Screw this. Screw her. She was right. I could have any girl at this party and I didn't need her crap. "I could have made you feel worlds better, Reed Girl. Have fun." I grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and left her behind. Let her do whatever the fuck she wanted. Let her do Newton…no, she better not fucking do Newton.

I peered outside but didn't see my brother or Blondie anywhere. Jasper and Shorty were still on the couch. He was smiling and showing her how to strum the guitar. She looked incredibly happy. At least somebody was. I sat back in my chair and closed my eyes. I don't know how long I sat there but my mind wouldn't stop going over and over my conversation with Reed Girl. Why was she fighting me? So I didn't know her. I wanted to. Didn't that count for something?

A warm body slid onto my lap and I opened my eyes. Red from earlier was grinning up at me. Seriously?

"Hey, sexy. Thought I'd give you another chance."

All I wanted to do was go the fuck home, but God knew where my brother was and Jasper appeared to actually be having a good time with Shorty. "Another chance for what?"

"For whatever you want." Her voice was filled with promise.

I heard a laugh from across the room and looked up to see Reed Girl shaking her head at something Newton said. Her eyes were on me and her smile didn't reach her eyes. I smirked. Unaffected my ass. She wanted me.

"Where's your friend?"

"Outside talking to some people. You want me to get her?" I pondered that for a minute. If Reed Girl saw two chicks all over me, would it make her want me more or piss her off? She took another swig of beer and pushed away from Newton to go back in the kitchen.

"We don't need her. I can take care of you all by myself." Red tried to suck on my earlobe as she talked into it and I couldn't do it. I stood and she fell into the chair by herself.

"I'll be back," I muttered as I followed Reed Girl into the kitchen. She was in there pounding more beer. Either she was wasted or she had a hollow leg.

"What're you doin here?" she slurred. That answered that question. She was fucked up, swaying on her feet as she got more beer.

"I came to check on you. I figured if you were actually enjoying Newton's company, you must be drunk."

"What do you care? You said I have an ass stick."

I laughed. She was really fucking cute when she was drunk. "A stick up your ass, you mean."

"Whatever. I don't." She hiccupped and nearly fell over. I caught her arm and steadied her.

"You don't all the time. Just around me."

"Have to," she muttered.

This was interesting. She was opening up. I needed to get her drunk more often. "Why do you have to?"

"Because you'll just jerk me around like you do them." She gestured out the doorway.

"Maybe I won't." I didn't want to. She was different. She was beautiful, funny, and smart and she called me on my shit.

"Sure," she replied.

"What will it take to prove it to you?" I was feeling desperate and I hated it.

She giggled. "Like you could do what it took. Like you'd take me out and get to know me. Edward Cullen. As if." She swayed again and would have gone down had I not caught her.

"Come on, I'm taking you home."

"Oh yeah, take advantage of the drunk girl. Alice will take me. Alice!"

I rolled my eyes and picked her sexy, drunk ass up. "Alice is having a good time with Jasper and Blondie is probably burying my brother in the woods. It's me or a cab, and I'm not putting your drunk ass in a cab."

"You taking care of me, Edward Cullen?" she slurred.

"It appears I am." How did this even happen? I carried her out to my car and strapped her in the front seat.

"Damn, it smells in here. What were you smoking?"

I grimaced as I started the car. "I wasn't. Jasper was. He's a total pothead."

"Alice will fix that," Reed Girl muttered, leaning against the window and closing her eyes.

I drove down the street and I could have sworn that I saw my brother's naked form running toward Newton's house. That had to be a hallucination, right? Oh well, not my problem. I'd deal with his stupid ass later.

I had her home in fifteen minutes. She was sleeping so I picked her up and carried her to her front door. "Bella, wake up."

"I love the way you say my name," she murmured, her lips pressed to my neck. Damn it. Drunk, sexy Reed Girl was tempting.

"I know you do, Bella. You need to wake up and open your door." She handed me her bag and I opened it, putting her down but bracing her against me as I fit the keys in the lock. "In we go."

I steered her into the apartment and pointed her to her room. "Head to bed."

"Aren't you coming?"

My cock said yes but my head said no. "No. You're drunk."

She giggled and fell against the wall. I grabbed her waist and pulled her against me. "I thought drunk girls were easier for you."

"They are. Surprisingly, I don't want it to be easy with you. If I sleep with you now, you'll never talk to me again."

"Since when do you care if I talk to you?" she asked.

"Since day one, Bella."

She gasped and shook her head. "You're unexpected, backterquart. What am I going to do with you?"

I grinned and steered her into her room. "I can think of a bunch of things."

"I just bet you can." She fell onto her bed and opened her arms to me. She was a drunk, sexy mess and I had to walk away from her. "Do them, Edward."

"Not tonight, Reed Girl." I pulled her shoes off and threw a blanket that was on the edge of her bed over her.

"When then? You may not get another chance."

No, I might not. In the sober light of day, she might go back to hating me or resisting me. Why did I want it that way? Because I was clearly an idiot like my brother.

"I'll take my chances. You probably won't remember this anyway."

"I member everything." Her eyes were closed and I sighed. Sure.

"Well then, remember this. I could have taken you, but I didn't. Instead, I want to take you out. Dinner, tomorrow night. What do you say, Reed Girl? Do you want to go out on a date with me?" What in the hell did I just do? Maybe she hadn't heard me. Maybe I hadn't actually said something so unlike me.

Her eyes opened and she focused on me. "You're asking me out?"

"It appears I am." I couldn't quite believe it myself, but there it was.


"Because, as you pointed out, I don't know you. I want to. What do you say?"

"Okay, if you're for serious."

"Deadly. I'll see you at seven. Try to remember."

"I will. Night, night." She waved and closed her eyes.

"Goodnight, Reed Girl." I had a date for the first time since high school. How had that happened? What in the hell was I going to do with a sober Reed Girl tomorrow night?

Chapter Text

What in the hell had I done? An hour later, I still couldn't wrap my head around it. I was lying on my bed, staring up at the ceiling trying to figure out where it all had gone wrong. I'd had her. I'd had her alone and willing and I'd walked away. Sure, she'd been drunk but it's not like I hadn't hooked up with drunk chicks before. What was wrong with me? Or, more importantly, what was her deal? Why couldn't I get her out of my mind?

And now we were going on a date. A date. I didn't do dates. I barely dated in high school. Sure, we went out in groups to the beach and movies and hooked up and partied and shit, but to do the whole picking up a girl and taking her to dinner and crap? It wasn't my style. I'd sucked it up for dances but that was about it. What in the hell was I going to do with Reed Girl tomorrow night, beyond the obvious, trying to get into her pants? Or preferably her skirt, because I damn well wanted to see those sexy legs again. Not that she would let me score on the first date, which meant there'd be more. Damn it.

She'd done it again, somehow. She'd managed to get the upper hand despite being drunk. There was clearly something wrong with me. Maybe I was getting the flu. I was off my game.

What to do? I couldn't take her to a movie. That wouldn't give me any time to get to know her, like I'd claimed I wanted to when I'd foolishly asked her out. Did I want to know her? I mean, I guess I did. In the biblical sense and beyond. She was a pretty cool chick and she made me laugh. So yeah, getting to know her should be okay. I could do it.

So, no movie. Dinner then. Did I take her someplace fancy? Would that be me lording my status over her or something ridiculous? Knowing her, it would be. Damn it, why did this have to be so fucking hard? I should be back in her bed right now making her scream my name. We'd both feel a lot better if that was the case. It would be so easy and I was good at it. Dating wasn't my thing.

Maybe she wouldn't remember and it'd be a moot point anyway. God knew it was easy for her to not give me any kind of credit for being a decent guy, so she probably blocked everything out after our argument in the kitchen. Maybe she'd think that cocksucker Newton took her home. If he ever did, I'd kick his ass and get him benched.

That was it. She wouldn't remember and I was off the hook. I didn't have to waste any time wondering what we should do and how I could fill hours of time with her with our clothes on. Why did the thought of her forgetting bug me? Because I wanted her to see me as a real guy, not the asshole she seemed to think I was. I could be decent. I could treat a girl right if I wanted to. I just hadn't met anybody that I wanted to do that for. What was so wrong with having a little fun in the meantime? Why was she judging me for that?

Ugh. I was wasting far too much time thinking about her. I should have gone back to the party. It was still fairly early and I didn't have class until ten. But if I went to the party, I'd have girls all over my ass and I didn't want to deal with that. Plus, Shorty would go running to Reed Girl and Blondie would probably bury me next to my brother. Maybe I shouldn't have left him there. Oh, well. He'd live, maybe. And if he didn't, more inheritance for me.

What if she forgot? I didn't want her to forget me. Maybe I should call Shorty. She'll make her keep her date with me. For some reason, she was on my side. Well, I knew the reason. She wanted all up on Jasper's junk. That was unfathomable, really, but to each their own. But did I want to tell her? If I did, I was stuck. Maybe I could just show up and give Reed Girl her oboe. If she remembered we had a date, we'd go. If she didn't, I'd walk away with my dignity intact and my dick unsatisfied. Damn it. I wanted my dick to be satisfied and right now, Reed Girl was what it wanted. Couldn't be happy with one of the thousands of girls on this campus that would gladly do me, could I? Maybe I had a concussion. Something was jarred loose in my brain.

Maybe I should just…the thought was lost as my door was flung open and my brother stormed in wrapped in what looked like a giant blanket. Or was that a bedspread? What the fuck?

"You fucking left me man!" And he was screaming again. Blondie should have offed him. Not only would I inherit more, but I'd still have my hearing.

"I didn't leave you! You left with her! I had to take Reed Girl home." I sat up as my brother flung himself down on my bed. "And why in the hell are you wearing that?"

He stood and dropped it, revealing that he was, indeed, naked as the day he was born. "Jesus. I didn't need to see that." So I hadn't been hallucinating when I'd seen him running down the street naked. Maybe that was a good thing. I didn't want to be having hallucinations about naked Emmett. Naked Reed Girl, on the other hand…

"Uh, yes you did. Everybody else did. I needed to find something to wear and none of those fuckers was big enough for me to fit into their shit. So I stole Newton's comforter." Ha! Newton lost his girl, well not his girl, MY girl, and his bedding. Served him right. Douchenozzle.

"Well, put your damn clothes on and tell me what the hell happened." Jasper walked in, then, grinning widely. He'd obviously taken another hit or two since I'd seen him last. His eyes were bloodshot and dilated. Jackass. He was oblivious to my naked brother, that or he just didn't give a damn. He dropped down onto my bed next to me. I clearly should have locked my door when I got home.

"What happened? Rosie happened!" Emmett was clearly worked up, stomping around my room with his dick flapping in the breeze.

"Put on some fucking clothes or I'll get you kicked out of my room, jackass."

"You'll do no such thing!" he roared. He went to his overnight bag and pulled on a pair of boxers. "Happy now, prude? Jeez, you'd think you'd never seen a cock before. Or are you just sad because yours doesn't measure up?"

Right, I had penis envy. "I more than measure up, not-so-big brother. Now will you calm the hell down and tell me what the hell happened that left you in this state? And how did you get home?"

"We made some freshman bring us," Jasper replied, giggling as he stared at his hands. What in the hell that was all about I didn't want to know. "I could have gotten a ride with Ali but Rose wasn't about to let him get in the same car as her."

Emmett scowled and plopped down on my bed next to Jasper. This was not the kind of company I'd planned on having in my bed tonight. Damn it. Maybe I should go crawl into bed with Reed Girl. We didn't even have to do anything, but she'd be a hell of a lot better to share a bed with than these two morons.

"If she just would have given me the chance to explain," Emmett whined. Jesus, my 250 lb brother was whining like a child. Is this what chicks do to you? Is this what Reed Girl was trying to do to me? No way, no how.

"Explain what? That you were scared and acted like a moron? How do you think that would go over?" I demanded. It sucked that we had to waste time on him when I needed to figure out what to do about Reed Girl but nakedness outweighed a date. I think. It would for him anyway.

"Well, of course I knew she'd be pissed! Rosie's always pissed about something." That didn't remotely surprise me. "But I thought once she beat on me a little, she'd hear me out and I could show her that I regretted it and that I wanted her back."

Jasper laughed. "Idiot. I don't even know her but even I know that she's not chill. How long did you date her?"

Emmett scowled at him. "Four months or so? I don't know. Too long via the rules." Him and his stupid rules. They'd done nothing but get me judged by Reed Girl. She thought I was a dick? She should meet my stupid ass brother. Then again, she'd had her ear filled with stories about that douche and probably was using it against me as well. Damn him. Why couldn't he have gone to Miami? Then his reputation wouldn't have preceded me.

"Rules. Girls don't follow rules." Jasper laughed uproariously at his own statement. What the fuck?

"How high are you? And did you do that around Shorty?"

"Nah. I toked up again after she left. Rose yanked her away from me." He pouted but then smiled. "She's a cool chick. You were right about her. Thanks, Eddie." He patted my arm while I stared at him. "Oh, I need to call her in a bit. Remind me."

Because it was my job to make sure that he kept in touch with Shorty. Then again, she was my link to Reed Girl. "Fine." I turned back to my brother. "So are you going to tell us what went down? And is that a cut on your lip?"

He reached up and touched his bottom lip, grunting. "Yeah, she got in a few more swings once I put her down." Shocker. My jaw still fucking hurt. "I carried her down the street and into the yard of that house with the for sale sign on it. I figured we needed a little privacy, you know?"

He was too dumb to live. "Privacy? As in you thought she'd want you after all this time?" How in the hell were we related? I'd have to ask Mom if he was adopted. That would explain quite a lot.

"Hell, yeah. Rosie is very passionate. Once she got over being mad at me, she'd throw me down and have her way with me."

"What porno do you live in? Life does not work that way." I should know. Reed Girl had been plenty mad at me since we met and other than that first time, I wasn't getting laid. No, I just got verbally slapped and cockblocked. At least my brother had gotten the same thing, along with some physical violence. Asshole.

"My porn collection is vast and if you can't trust porn, what can you trust?" he asked, looking offended at my question. Jeez.

There was no use arguing with him on that ridiculousness of that statement. "So, what happened?"

"So, I get Rosie alone, put her on her feet and she socks me in the jaw again, this time with her right. She packs a punch, doesn't she?" The moron was actually grinning proudly about that fact as he bragged about his ex hitting hard.

"Yes, asshole, I remember it well." I touched my jaw and winced. That was going to fucking bruise. I'd be on ABC with a damn bruise on my face on Saturday night.

"Wuss. Anyway, she socked me pretty good in the mouth and then she went for my balls, but I knew better and covered that shit up right away." Too bad she hadn't sucker punched him in the nads. He deserved it.

"Shit balls!" Jasper shouted, still laughing like a loon. Dear God. Why did I hang out with him again? Oh yeah, because Shorty had bad taste and I needed his stupid ass.

"Anyway," my brother said, eyeing Jasper, "she hit me in the mouth again since my hands were down. I grabbed her wrists and then I kissed her."

"You kissed a spitting mad woman who hit you twice and tried to junk punch you? You're dumber than I thought."

He glared at me. "It was hot! She's so hot when she's mad. You just don't know, little brother."

"You're right, I don't. Get on with it." I wanted him to shut up so I could think about Reed Girl some more. I needed to figure this shit out before tomorrow night.

"So, I'm kissing her and she opens her mouth a little, then she bites my lip. Hard. I think that's the blood," he murmurs, touching his lip and looking a little bewildered. Like he was surprised she didn't want to kiss him? And they said I was clueless about girls? Really?

"Love bite," Jasper nods sagely. "Hey, do you have any food in here?"

"No, go to your own room." He sighed at my response and hugged my pillow to him. Fucking wastoid.

"If you two are through acting like an old married couple, I'd like to continue with my story." I shot Emmett a look and he continued. "I let her go and she slapped me." He looked offended now, the dipshit. "She started screaming about the nerve I had, showing up after what I'd done. I had to grab her wrists again so she wouldn't beat on me anymore. I begged her to listen and she just struggled and yelled for awhile. Finally, she calmed down."

You mean she realized that fighting you would be futile and then she got smart. Just like Reed Girl does. Do they train women in this skill or are they just born knowing?

"So, then I talk. And I tell her everything, man. I tell her that I never stopped loving her and that I freaked out and tried to drive her away by making her think I was fucking around, but that I could never do that because she was the only girl I ever wanted. I was super romantic and she was eating it up, I could tell." Right, like he could tell anything.

"Eating," Jasper said. "Do you have any food?"

"Jesus Christ." I reached into my nightstand and grabbed the Snickers I had stashed there. Yeah, occasionally I had candy at night. Fuck the nutritionist.

"Thank you," he told me fervently, clutching the candy to him like it was going to run away if he let go of it. Then again, who knew what his high ass saw? Maybe it had legs.

Emmett watched as Jasper looked at the candy. "Do you need help opening that?"

"Nuh uh!" he hugged it to himself again.

"Whatever. Anyway, I lay it all on the line and she's listening. I can tell my words are getting through. She calls me a dumbass and I take it, because yeah, I was. I asked her if she was dating anybody and she told me it wasn't any of my business. I told her like hell it wasn't. She's mine. She got pissed then, let me tell you." He grinned. Sadomasochistic bastard. "Her eyes got all dark and sexy and she told me that she was nobody's. So I said, then you aren't dating anyone. Good."

He laughed, delighted with himself. I had to admit, that one wasn't half bad. It sounded like something I would say to Reed Girl. Maybe he really was my brother after all.

"Then, I don't know, her eyes changed. I couldn't read them, ya know? But her voice gets all breathy and she tells me how she couldn't date anybody after me. Nobody measured up." Then again, maybe he was adopted. Fucking idiot.

"And you bought that?"

"Is that so hard to believe? I'm awesome. Everybody knows it. I'm legend around here. Don't you forget it."

I rolled my eyes. "Right. You're the man, Emmett." Sarcasm dripped from my voice but he ignored it.

"I tell her, 'baby, I'm the only one for you' and she smiles and nods. So, I think I'm in, right? I mean, I explained myself, told her I was a jerk, we could move ahead. That's how it goes, isn't it?"

"That is how it goes," Jasper agreed around a mouthful of chocolate. He looked like a deranged clown with chocolate smeared on his lips. What in the hell was he doing to the candy? No, I didn't want to know.

"Exactly. He gets it!" And he has all of two brain cells left. Aspire higher, brother. "So, she asks me to release her wrists and I do, still ready to defend myself if I need to." At least he'd been on his guard, a little. I was keeping my mouth shut, though. I wanted his damn story to be over.

"She puts her hands on my chest and pushes me against the fence. I was all excited. I'd seen that in one of my pornos just last week!" And we were back to his porn life. Granted, both of us did kind of live in a porno whenever we wanted, but at least I recognized reality. And danger, especially when it was staring me in the face.

"She ran her hands over my chest, which she totally used to love to do, and when I bent to try to kiss her she held a finger to my lips and said 'All in good time, Emmett. I need to see you first. It's been so long since I got to touch this sexy body. Let me touch you.' So, I'm cool with that, naturally. She pulls off my shirt and she's touching me all over and I'm getting hard as a rock, you know?"

"Things I do not want to hear about, my brother's boners are near the top of the list."

"Whatever. You'd have gotten turned on too. Then she undoes my jeans and I kicked off my shoes and let her take them off. I wasn't wearing underwear, because I knew I'd be seeing her later. So there I am, in all my glory, and she's looking at me and licking her lips. She tells me to turn around so she can see my ass, which she's always loved. So I turn and I'm standing there waiting for her to grab it or reach around and touch my cock and nothing. I say her name and turn around and she was across the yard. She yelled, 'that's what you get, asshole' and then she ran off, with my clothes. I waited there for a few minutes, sure she'd come back, but she didn't. I had no choice but to run back to the party. She and his Alice were already gone," he told me mournfully.

"Yeah, she came in and took my guitar and threw it across the room. I was just teaching Ali how to play." Jasper pouted.

"It wasn't your guitar," I pointed out.

He immediately brightened. "Oh yeah. Cool. Anyway, she screamed at Ali that they were going home and I barely had time to get her number before they were gone. Oh, remind me to call her, will you?"

"Yes, brain dead one, I already said I would."

"I lost my Rosie," Emmett said sadly.

"You lost her a long time ago," I pointed out. Why he just couldn't move the hell on was beyond me.

"I have to have her, Edward. She's my world. I've never stopped thinking about her. I've looked for her every time I've come back to this campus. She's unlisted. But you know where she lives. I can go there, right now, and make her listen to me."

"You are not going there right now. She's not going to be in any mood to talk to you tonight. You need to give her time to calm down."

"How long? And then what do I do?" He was asking me like I knew? What the hell.

"Romance her," Jasper suggested. We both turned to look at him. He'd managed to get the chocolate off his face at least.

"Romance her? How?"

"You know, bury her in candy and flowers and hearts and rainbows. Rainbows are pretty." He looked dazed again. Such a burn out. "Get her a kitten. Girls like that stuff." He nodded sagely.

"How do you know?" I asked. He wasn't exactly the settling down type.

"I dated Maria all through high school. Every time I screwed up, I bought her stuff and she forgave me."

I didn't think Rose would be that easy. "I can do that!" Emmett exclaimed. I really hoped Blondie wouldn't take her rage out on a defenseless kitten. "Where's the nearest animal shelter?"

"Emmet, it's midnight. They're not open. And I really don't think you should give Rose anything living right now. Work up to the puppies and kittens. Do the other shit first."

Emmett frowned but nodded. "Alright. That makes sense. I don't know if she'd like a kitten. She didn't have any pets growing up. Ask Ali if she wants a kitten," he told Jasper.

"Okay. I need to call her. Remind me to do that." I didn't even say a word. It wasn't worth it.

"So, how'd it go with your girl? Obviously not too well since you're here." Emmett was focused on me now. I didn't know if I wanted him to be. Sure, I had earlier, but he clearly knew dick about women so what was the point?

"She was drunk so I took her home."

"And?" he asked, like he knew there was more.

"And she asked me to go to bed with her but I didn't because she was wasted and she'd have killed me if I did."

"So, wait a minute, you could have gotten laid but you didn't? What happened to my brother?"

Like I knew? That's what I'd been asking myself all fucking night. "If I slept with her last night, she'd never forgive me. She'd be worse than Blondie was to you. I don't want her to hate me."

"A ha!" he shouted. "You love her!"

Love? Who the hell said anything about love? "I do not! I don't even know her! I can't love someone I don't know!"

"Sure you can. Help me out here, Jasper."

"You can." He nodded emphatically. "I love Ali."

"Oh, like hell you do. You've known her for a couple hours," I told him. Clearly I'd overestimated the amount of brain cells left in his head. It was obviously zero.

"We had a spiritual connection. Bone deep. I know because I felt it and she told me." Shorty had obviously worked some magic on his dumb ass. Or she'd laced his weed with something even stronger. That must be it.

"Jasper, do you know anything about her? What's her last name?" I demanded.

He looked blank. "Uh, I think it's a guy's name. David? James? What's it matter? One day it'll be Whitlock."

And now he was marrying himself off. I was surrounded by crazy people. "You're nuts. Both of you. Just go away. You can't help me."

"Help you with what?" Emmett asked. Jasper hugged my pillow again. Maybe he thought it was his future wife.

"Reed Girl! Obviously! I don't know what it is about her but she's making me break all of your precious rules. Do you know that I asked her out tonight?"

"You asked her out? Like on a date? How did that happen?" Emmett was grinning at me.

"Bone deep." Jasper nodded. Fucking hell.

"I don't know. One minute she was yelling at me in the kitchen that I couldn't possibly like her since I didn't know a thing about her and the next I was putting her in bed and asking her out. She wouldn't think much of Jasper's insta-love with her roommate, that's for sure."

"When you know, you know," he told me calmly, hugging the pillow.

"It doesn't matter anyway. She's drunk and she probably won't remember."

"Do you want her to?" Emmett asked. Did I? I'd asked myself that a thousand times.

"I don't know. I want her and the only way I can have her is if I get to know her. So I guess so? But I don't know how to date. I don't know where to take her. I don't know shit."

"Take her to the place where they're doing the thing," Jasper suggested.

And that was helpful how? "What the fuck are you talking about?"

"You know!" He gestured around the room as if the answer to his babbling was floating in the air somewhere. What the fuck?

"No, I have no idea." I looked at my brother who was also clueless. Not that that was a surprise. Even if Jasper had made sense Emmett probably would have looked like that.

"I have to call Ali. She'll know what I mean." He took out his phone and handed it to me. "Call her please."

What the ever living hell? I scrolled through his contacts. "I don't see her in your phone."

"She's under W," he told me.

"For Whitlock?" I asked sarcastically as I moved to the W's. No way. "Wife?"

"Yeah, baby!" Jasper started on one of his ridiculous laughing jags. I hit the damn number and waited for Shorty to answer.

"Hi, Jaspy! You made it home okay, baby?"

Jaspy? Holy hell. "Hey, Shorty, it's Edward. Baby told me to call you."

He snickered in the background. "Give her kisses!"

"I'll do no such thing. Freak."

"Edward! I was surprised to see Bella in bed alone when I got home. Did you actually behave yourself?"

What was I, some pervert who took advantage of inebriated women? I could get them just as easily when they were sober, thank you very much.

"Yes, I put her to bed and declined her drunken invitation to join her. Thanks for your faith in me, Shorty."

"I have faith in you or you wouldn't have gotten within ten feet of her tonight. What happened?"

"I don't know. She yelled at me and said I didn't know her and then she got trashed and I brought her home."

Shortly let out a tinkling laugh. "Sounds like a fun night."

"Not nearly as fun as yours, Mrs. Whitlock. What did you drug him with?"

"I'll have you know he's on a natural Alice high. He won't come down from this one!"

Great. "Well the high he's on now is not natural. He's molesting my pillow as we speak."

She sighed. "I'll work on it. Rome wasn't built in a day. My Jaspy needs some guidance." Jaspy. That killed me.

"That he does."

"Why are you calling me instead of him, Edward?"

"He said you'd know what he meant."

"Meant about what?"

I sighed. Here we go. If I was going to tell her, then I was fully committed. "Somehow, and I have no idea how it happened, but I asked Reed Girl to go on a date with me tomorrow night. Well, tonight I guess."

"Oh my God! You asked her out?" She was shrieking into the phone and I had to hold it away from my ear.

"Yes, I asked her out. I said I liked her and she said I knew nothing about her and the only way I'll know anything about her is if I spend time with her, so I asked her out."

"Well, good."

"Is it? She's drunk and she probably won't remember."

"I will and I'll tell her she has a date with you."

Yep, I was right. I was stuck now. "So what do I do with her?"

She laughed. "What do you want to do with her?"

"That's a stupid question," I told her.

"True. Well, you won't be doing that."

No shit. I was resolved to the fact that I wasn't getting laid on the first date. Reed Girl would keep me at arm's length. But at least I'd be in her vicinity. "I know. Jasper says to take her to the place where they're doing the thing. Somehow, you are supposed to know what that means."

She giggled. "Isn't he just the cutest? I do know what it means. It means there's a symphony orchestra playing an outdoor concert outside Westcott tomorrow evening. Bella wants to go and she was going to make us meet her there. Now, it seems, you can take her instead."

An orchestra? Kill me dead. "But…"

"No buts! It's perfect. You want a chance to get to know her, right? What better way to prove that you're interested than to take her to something you know she'll enjoy? It's outdoors, on the grass. You can bring a blanket and have a picnic! She'll love it."

Well, if Reed Girl would love it, I could do it. "You'll remind her that we have a date?" I sounded like such a moron asking that question.

"I will! I'll get her ready for it. This is going to be fun."

"Ask her about Rosie!" my brother hollered, like I wasn't sitting three feet away from him.

Shorty heard too. "Well, she didn't kill me, but it was a close call. She threw his clothes out the window on the way home and then she locked herself in her room."

"She's locked in her room and she chucked your clothes out the window," I told him.

"But does she like kittens?" he asked. So dumb.

"Your Jaspy told Emmett to buy her a kitten and some rainbows. Emmett wants to know if she'd like a kitten."

Alice laughed. "She likes animals, but we're not supposed to have them in our apartment complex. And I don't know that she'd want one from him anyway."

"No kittens allowed in their apartment."

"Who gives a damn? Does she like them or not?" he asked. I nodded and shushed him.

"Do you think the moron has a chance to get her back?" Emmett leaned so close to me he was practically sitting on my lap. I shoved him off and put the phone on speaker.

"I don't know. It's not that far a leap from love to hate and back again. Rose is a very passionate person."

"She is," Emmett agreed. "I love that about her."

"It'll take a lot of time and a lot of dedication."

"I'm getting her a kitten. I'll pay any fines you get."

Alice laughed. "Well, this'll be interesting to watch, on both counts. You Cullen boys are pretty clueless, aren't you?"

"Don't compare me to his dumb ass, please. I, at least, would not have gotten naked and let her leave my bare ass standing there."

"Oh yeah? If Bella turned on the sexy charm? I bet you'd be putty in her hand."

"I'd be hard in her hand, Shorty."

"Ew! Enough of you boys. I'll deal with you tomorrow. Give me to my man."

I handed the phone to Jasper. He stared at it in confusion. "How do I get it back to regular talk?"

Dear God. "Why do you like him again?"

Alice just laughed and said he was sexy. I put the phone back off speaker. "You sure she'll be ready for me tomorrow?"

"She'll be ready. Are you?"

"I honestly don't know."

"Good. It's about time you were unsure of something. See you tomorrow, Edward."

I handed Jasper the phone and tuned out his cooing into it. Tomorrow. An orchestra on the quad. I'd be as far out of my element as I could get. But I'd be with Reed Girl. Maybe it was worth it.

Chapter Text

My morning classes dragged and all I could think about was what I had to do for this date with Reed Girl. I needed a blanket, which should be easy enough. And picnic shit. What did people eat on picnics? Sandwiches. Potato salad. Shit like that. Okay, I'd go to Publix on my way to get her and have all that shit made at the deli. Did I bring her flowers? No, that was overkill. I'd give her back her oboe. That seemed like a good first date present.

I went back to my dorm after my last class of the day. Maybe I could get some fucking sleep finally. Between my brother's snoring and my own busy mind, I hadn't slept for shit. What was I going to talk to her about? I had to ask her a fuckton of questions to prove that I wanted to know her, or some crap like that. Whatever made her happy.

I pushed open my door and was nearly strangled to death by a balloon that tangled around my neck. "What the fuck is this?" I batted it away and looked around my room in disbelief. There were balloons everywhere. Not the cheap ones either. Those foil ones. They had fucking rainbows on them. God damn it. "Emmett, what the hell did you do?" There were roses on my desk and a big ass teddy bear on my bed wearing a jersey with Emmett's old number 45 on it. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move. What the fuck?

He poked his head out of my bedroom. "There you are! We have to get going."

Why in the hell was he still here? "Why aren't you on your way home? And what do you mean, we have to get going? I'm not going anywhere with you."

"I can't leave until I speak to Rosie." He said this like it made perfect sense to him, which of course it did. "And I have to give her the kittens."

Kittens? Oh, God, he was actually taking Jasper's advice. "Listen, Em, I don't think…"

"I know Rosie," he interrupted, coming out of my bathroom and pulling on a red shirt. "I have to go big to get her back. This is just the start. When you take it to her, tell her that I love her and I won't live without her any longer."

When I did what now? "Excuse me? When did I become your fucking errand boy? I'm not delivering shit." I punched a balloon out of my way.

Emmett's blue eyes narrowed and he took a step toward me. I held my ground. We weren't teenagers anymore. "You won't tell me where she lives, so yes, you will fucking deliver it or I'll call mom right now and tell her you have a date tonight."

Fuck. He knew if he set her on me, she'd hound me until the end of time. "Don't you have a job you should be going to?"

Emmett snorted and grabbed his wallet off my desk. "I fucking sell cars, dude. And they hired me because I'm Emmett Cullen. I hardly think they'll fire me for missing a couple of days. If they do, I'll get another job. It's not like it's my life's work or anything."

Well, that was true. "What is your life's work?"

"Making Rosie mine again," he replied, perfectly seriously. Jesus fucking Christ. Something moved again and a little ball of fur streaked from under my bed toward the bathroom.

"What the fuck did you do? Is that a damn kitten in my fucking room?"

Emmett scooped up the little gray thing. "This is Rainbow. Over there by the teddy bear is Emmett Junior." I looked at my bed and sure as shit, there was a black and white kitten curled into the bear.

"What the fuck is it doing on my bed, Emmett?" I started to stomp over to yank it off and Emmett grabbed it before I could. There was a fucking pile of fur on my damn pillow.

"Well, he needed a nap before he goes to his new home."

I stared at my idiot brother who was cuddling two fucking kittens to his giant chest. "You seriously are giving those to Rose? Their lives are in your hands if she kills them."

"My Rosie couldn't hurt a fly." Tell that to my fucking jaw. "She'll love them and then she'll fall in love with me again."

His logic failed to make sense to me but I wasn't going to argue with him. I needed to get these things out of my room before they infested it with fleas and more cat hair. Before I could say anything more, Jasper appeared in my doorway holding two black kittens to his chest.

"Alright. This looks good, man." He assessed the balloons with far too much interest. "Can I have one?"

"What for?" Emmett asked, grabbing his keys.

"It's pretty." Jasper stared at the shiny silver balloon.

"Damn it, are you high again? We have a game in two days, you douche." Maybe he wouldn't be playing but what if I got hurt? Jackass.

He frowned. "I don't do anything on Friday and Saturday. Today is Thursday, right?"

Of course he couldn't be sure what day it was. "What in the hell do you have kittens for?"

Jasper beamed at me. "This is Jimmy and this is Hendrix. One is for Ali and the other is for me. They're soul mates just like we are."

Soul mates. Lovely. Like he even knew what his soul mate looked like. "You can't have a fucking kitten in the dorms."

"I can if I want to! Jimmy will know when he needs to hide." Jasper nuzzled his stupid kitten and I just didn't have it in me to deal with their shit any further.

"Let's just get this shit over with. I'd like to get my room back to normal." Emmett gathered his balloons and thrust the roses into my arms. He held both kittens in one hand. Jasper had the teddy bear and was hugging it to him just like he was my pillow last night. What a fucking weirdo. His kittens were secured onto the arms of each bear.

"He's awesome. I'm calling him Bob." Jasper patted it on the head.

"You do know that's not yours, right?"

"I know, but he deserves a name." He looked very serious about this name business and I just let it go. The sooner I got rid of these freaks, the better.

Whatever. I followed the morons out of my room and locked the door. We went down to the parking lot and put all the shit in the back of Emmett's Explorer. I hoped to God nobody saw me carrying three dozen red and white roses. That would set tongues wagging and probably get back to Reed Girl and she'd think I was two timing her even though we weren't together or anything. Damn my stupid brother. I made Jasper take the flowers, which he sat in between himself and the stupid bear; his kittens were climbing all over the back seat.

Emmett handed me his two and the gray one immediately climbed onto my shoulder and rested against my neck. It was purring and tickling the shit out of me. The black and white one curled up on my leg.

"I think Rainbow is in love with you," Emmett told me as he started the car.

Jesus. "Well, hopefully she'll live to see me another day. I'm telling you, if Blondie kills these things; their death is on your hands."

"She won't kill them. My Rosie is all heart." All right hook, he should say. I looked behind me and saw Jasper playing with the bear, entertaining himself and the kittens who were trying to attack it.

"How in the hell are your cats soul mates anyway? Aren't they brother and sister?"

Jasper looked at me and grinned. "Incest is best." So fucking gross. "No, man, they were in separate cages next to one another, looking at each other longingly like I do with Ali."

"You've known Shorty for five minutes; you probably don't even know what she looks like."

"She looks like an angel." His eyes were dreamy and he grabbed one of the balloons. "She's prettier than all the colors in the sky." Why was I even engaging him? His brain was totally fried.

"So, direct me to their place," Emmett cut in.

"You're not really going to go up there, are you?" I didn't need to be covered in my brother's carnage before my date tonight.

"No, you and Jasper are. I'll wait in the car. This is only step one. She can't see me yet."

"Did you even get all the shit that cats need? I can't just dump kittens on them and leave them to shit all over their apartment. That's not going to win any of us any points." Why did I have to be the smart one in this group?

"Oh yeah, it's in the back. We got the boxes and food and some dishes and collars. Though I should get them personalized ones. Well, that can be part of the next gift." He was grinning, excited over yet another thing to buy Rose that she probably didn't want.

"You better not think I'm going to be your fucking errand boy, delivering shit to Blondie and facing her fists and mouth." There was no way in hell I was doing that, not even to get a glimpse of Reed Girl.

"You'll do what I tell you to do and you'll like it." His blue eyes snapped at me and I glared right back at him.

"Wife! Are you home?" I turned around and there was Jasper on his phone. At least he was able to use it this time. Maybe he wasn't as high as he was last night. "Do you like Jimmy Hendrix? Because one of them is yours. You choose." He patted each of the kittens on the head. Then again, maybe he was. "You'll see, Ali cat. Hehehe Cat! That's what you'll see."

I rolled my eyes. "Yeah, he's here. You don't like him, do you? He didn't even get you Jimmy or Hendrix." Another pause. "I can't tell you! It's a surprise. Are you there? Yeah, he's here." Then I was being hit in the head as he thrust his phone at me.

I took it and smacked his hand away. The kitten dug its nails into me and I bit back a curse. Shorty'd get pissed if I greeted her by saying fuck. "Hey, Shorty."

"What is he going on about?" she asked, sounding exasperated.

"You're going to have a very tough marriage if someone constantly needs to be interpreting his babble to you."

"I'll handle him, don't you worry about it." Well, that sounded ominous. Better him than me. "What is it he's trying to say?"

"He wants to know if you, or either of your roommates, are home. The two morons have some presents for you guys and before we even get there, I want it on the record that I had nothing to do with this and I tried to put a stop to it." I'm not getting my ass kicked over their stupidity. I had a hard enough time with Reed Girl without adding Shorty and Blondie to the mix.

"Bella and I are home. Rose isn't." Thank God. I wouldn't have a kitten launched at my head. But Reed Girl was there?

"Does she know that we have a date?" I asked. She had to, right?

"Yes, she knows." I waited and nothing.

"What does that mean? Is she pissed? Excited? Resigned? Why are you clamming up on me now, Shorty?"

"I don't know what she is. She remembered on her own and when I asked her about it, she said that she had a date with you and didn't know what to do about it. I told her to go. She said she was. She's been in her room since. You're not picking her up already, are you?"

"Fuck, no. I have to get the stuff and change." I glared at the cat hair I saw on my shirt and tried to brush it off. Fucking cats.

"What are you getting for dinner?"

I scowled. "I don't know, shit from Publix. Subs or something. What does she like to eat?"

Shortly hummed in the line. "That'll work. Get her a turkey sub. She'll eat anything on it but peppers."

Shorty was a wonder. "Thank you."

"You got me Jasper. I'm helping you get Bella, provided you treat her right and don't just try to get into her pants."

"Yeah, yeah, I know." There was a loud pop and Jasper shrieked, or one of the cats did. I didn't fucking know. I did know that eight sets of claws were currently impaling my fucking skin.

"Ow! What the fuck did you do?" I asked.

"Jimmy popped it! Pretty Ali died!" Jasper was holding the silver shreds of one of the balloons. I pried the cats off my legs and shoulder and held them to my chest, trying to calm them down. Their fur was all puffed up and they were shivering. His kittens were nowhere to be seen, probably hiding from all the noise.

"What is going on?" Alice demanded, sounding frantic. "Why is Jasper yelling?"

"Because he's a dumbass and I have no idea what you like him. Of course it fucking popped, you moron."

"Edward, get off the damn phone. You'll see her soon enough," Emmett was yelling and reaching underneath the seat. Guess he found the damn kittens.

"Shorty, we're on our way. Just be there and remember I had nothing to do with this."

"Jeez. Fine, I'll be here. This better not be bad and Jasper better be in one piece when you bring him to me."

"I'm not going to touch a hair on his high head, Shorty. See you soon." I shut his phone and threw it at him. "I will beat your ass if you ever pop a fucking balloon with a car full of cats again, you douche."

"Jimmy did it!" he cried. Seriously, he looked like he was about to fucking cry.

"Well, you don't hold cat claws up to a fucking balloon. They're sharp, something I can personally attest to as I fucking bleed out from the goddamn wounds that have been inflicted on me." The gray kitten climbed back between my neck and my shoulder.

"Just stop your yapping and tell me where the fuck to go!" Emmett exclaimed. "Before Jasper pops all the damn balloons." He reached between his legs and brought one of the black kittens up and handed it back to Jasper, who cuddled it to him.

"Take a right on Main." I directed him to Reed Girl's apartment as Jasper crooned to his kittens in the backseat. The two I was holding were sleeping now, the gray one still on my shoulder and the other one against my now fur covered fucking shirt. I couldn't wait to get home and change. I also needed to see if I needed a blood transfusion. What a nice start to my date. Hopefully it wasn't a sign of things to come.

"Left. Then straight ahead. Here we are." Emmett parked and looked at me expectantly. "What? Your girl isn't home, so you can haul your own shit up."

He got out of the car and went around to grab his balloons and roses. Jasper came out with the bear and his stupid cats. I still had the other two for some unfathomable reason. "Why don't you carry these? I'll take the flowers." Emmett switched with me. I felt marginally less stupid carrying roses and balloons. Then again, I was praying that nobody I knew saw me. We got to the elevator without incident and rode up. The doors opened.

"Edward Cullen?" Fuck. I turned and saw some girl that I vaguely recognized staring at me. Did I fuck her? Shit.

"Hi, how's it going?" I tried to sound like I wasn't holding ridiculous rainbow balloons and roses. Emmett stopped next to me and that damn gray kitten climbed out of his hands and plopped down on my shoulder again. What the fuck?

"Dude, Rainbow is totally in love with you."

"Shut up."

"Um, wow. That's a lot of…wow," the random girl said. "Do you have a girlfriend now or something?"

I opened my mouth to deny such a ridiculous statement but Jasper beat me to it. "He does. Her name is Reed."

The girl did a double take as the kitten batted at my ear. Why the fuck was my damn life so out of control all of a sudden? Girls! "I didn't know you swung that way. I guess that explains the rainbows."

Emmett started laughing his ass off. "She thinks you're into dudes!"

"Reed Girl! And HER name is Bella. Bella's my girlfriend." Shit, had I just said that?

"Oh, really?" Oh, shit. I looked over and sure enough, Reed Girl was standing in her doorway watching me with some unreadable expression.

"Yes. No. Fuck. I don't know." I marched past the girl that I was pretty sure I fucked at a party last spring and hurried over to do damage control before Reed Girl shut me out.

"See you later, Bella," the blonde girl said. Crap, they knew each other. I was fucked.

"Bye, Tricia." Her eyes were on me as I reached her. Why was she so damn hot? She was pretty, sure, but there were countless girls that were pretty too. Something about her got to me. I couldn't figure it out.

"Hi, Reed Girl."

"Hi, boyfriend." I winced. Why had I said that? It was all Jasper's fucking fault. "That's quite a collection you have there." She tilted her head and leaned against the door.

"They're not for you!" My brother and Jasper were behind me now, laughing like loons. Assholes. "I mean, you can have them if you want, but my dickhead brother got all this shit for Blondie."

"Shit?" she asked. The kitten batted at my ear and I scowled.

"Would you get this damn thing off me?"

"Dude, I can't help it if Rainbow's in love with you. She's got lousy taste. Hi, I'm Emmett. My brother didn't see fit to introduce me so I'll have to do it myself." He held out his hand, which was easy to do since I was holding his fucking flowers and balloons. If I could kick his ass, I would.

"She's young and doesn't know any better. I'm Bella." She shook his hand and grinned at him. She never fucking smiled at me that way. What the hell? And girls did love me. It was not shocker that a pussy was after me. They usually were.

"Hi, Reed! I'm marrying Ali!" There was Jasper, grinning at my girl and getting a grin back. I got suspicious looks, they got smiles. How fair was that? Hadn't I kept my hands off her last night? I should be given something.

"I heard. And you have kittens and a bear. All in all a very good day for you."

"Jimmy, Hendrix and Bob." Jasper introduced them all, holding them forward for her to pat, which she seemed to understand because she did.

"Very cute. Do you want to take them to her?"

"Yes, please!" He was past her quickly, calling "wife" loudly. Shorty ran toward him shrieking about cute kittens and Jaspy's. This sucked.

"So, um, can you show me Rosie's room? I want to put these in there," Emmett asked.

Reed Girl eyed him for a moment and then pointed down the hallway. "Her room's on the right. Don't go through anything and be out in less than five minutes or I'm coming in after you."

Emmett reached for the flowers and I snagged a white one before he took it and the balloons away. He laughed and I held it out to Bella who took it in her left hand and sniffed it delicately. She looked like a painting standing in the doorway holding the flower. And what kind of a gay thought was that? Hanging out with those two clearly was diminishing my own brain cells.

"So, this is Rainbow?" Reed Girl held her hand out to the kitten who sniffed it before burrowing against me again. What the fuck was with this thing?

"Yes. Don't blame me for the gay name. Emmett did it." I set the kitten on the floor next to her and she darted inside.

She laughed. "I think it's cute." Of course she did. She couldn't be reasonable about things, ever. "Thanks for the flower."

"It was the least I could do. You can have the kitten if you want it. I doubt Rose needs two."

Reed Girl snickered. "So you're going to take your brother's presents for another girl and give them to me? You really know how to impress a lady, Cullen."

"I impressed you plenty the day I met you."

Her smirk appeared. I wanted to kiss it right off her face. "I think you were the one impressed. You're the one who can't walk away."

I raised a brow and leaned on the opposite doorjamb. "You didn't want me to last night."

Her cheeks colored and I found it fascinating. I reached out and touched one and she jerked in surprise. Her skin was incredibly soft. I wanted to touch all of it.

"Maybe I had beer goggles," she suggested with a smile.

"You're not drunk now, are you?" She shook her head. "And you're going out with me later, aren't you?"

"I suppose. I did say yes, after all. It would be rude to pull out now."

Oh no, she wasn't getting away with that. "Here's your out, if you want it." Big brown eyes stared at me, confusion and maybe some hurt in her expression.

"Do you want out?" she asked softly.

"Am I standing here in front of you covered in cat fur? I think I'm in, Reed Girl."

She laughed. "Rose is not going to like fur all over her stuff."

"That's Emmett's problem. I told him that he's responsible for their lives." Reed Girl jumped when Rainbow rubbed against her ankle. She bent down and picked her up and nuzzled her. Now I was jealous of the stupid cat.

"I won't let Rose hurt you, will I, cutie?" Damned if that wastoid Jasper wasn't right. Reed Girl was loving all over the kitten. She batted at Reed Girl's hair. I had to admit it was kind of cute, if you were into kittens, which I wasn't.

Emmett came out of Rose's room and I moved aside so he could squeeze through the door. "I need to go get their litter and shit. Crap. I mean, stuff." He grinned at Reed Girl as he jogged toward the elevator.

"Idiot," I muttered.

She laughed. "He's got his work cut out for him, but he seems to get the grand gesture anyway."

"You girls go for that?"

"It depends on who's doing the gesturing, really."

That was interesting. "What if it was me?"

She giggled. "I think half the student body would keel over and die if you made a grand gesture for a girl."

I scowled at her. "I can make gestures."

"So can I." She flicked me off and laughed at my expression. "I'm kidding, mostly. While it wasn't exactly a grand gesture, I do thank you for taking care of me last night. I probably didn't deserve it after the way I acted, but you brought me home and you didn't take me up on my stupid suggestion."

That was more like it. A little appreciation was all I needed. "It wasn't a stupid suggestion and believe me, if you make it again, I'll have you naked and screaming before you can think about changing your mind."

Reed Girl gasped and her cheeks flushed again. I reached out to touch the kitten and brushed her cheek as well. She was breathing a little heavier and that blush was amazing. Who knew she got embarrassed? She held her own so well, I never would have guessed. I liked it.

"Nice move, bro." I grunted as Emmett elbowed me aside and carried the cat stuff in.

Reed Girl laughed again as the kitten abandoned her and crawled on my arm. "She really does have a thing for you."

"Yeah, well, she's staying here." I scowled at the kitten and she meowed and curled up on my shoulder again.

"Hey, she could be your team mascot."

I laughed. "Renegade is about a billion times bigger than her. I think we'll stick with him."

She stepped closer to me and stroked the kitten. A couple inches closer and she'd be right where I wanted her. The kitten inched back and Bella moved forward again. Our bodies were flush now and I put a hand on her waist to keep her from moving away. This kitten rocked. Maybe I should keep her.

"She's going to be super sad when you leave without her."

My eyes met hers and I smiled. "I'll be back to pick you up and I'll see her then."

She smiled back and her fingers hit my neck as she petted the kitten. Fuck, I wanted her. "That probably won't be enough for her."

"Well, maybe you'll let me come over and play with the kitty again after tonight." She bit her lip. We both knew I wasn't talking about the kitten on my shoulder.

"You think you'll want to come after tonight?" she asked.

"I'll always want to come, Reed Girl." She shook her head and I grinned. "And yes, I'll want to come OVER after tonight as well, so long as you don't sting me too badly with your acid tongue tonight, of course."

"You can only hope to experience my tongue tonight, Cullen."

I chuckled. "I surely do."

"We'll see. Are you going to tell me where we're going?"

"No. It's a surprise."

She eyed me suspiciously. "Will I like it?"

"You'll be with me. What's not to like?"

She smirked. "I can think of a few things. Did you screw Tricia?"

Fuck. "Who's Tricia?"

"The girl you informed I was your girlfriend. I was loaning her some notes for our Lit class."

"I don't know any Tricia's."

She laughed. "That's because you don't remember any girl's name."

"I remember yours, Bella."

She didn't laugh this time. She really loved it when I said her name. An excellent weapon I'd be sure to take advantage of whenever possible.

"Mmm hmmm, well will run into any of your nameless women wherever we are? I need to know if I'm going to get my eyes clawed out."

"Like I'd ever let that happen? But no, it's not likely that we'll run into anybody you need to worry about. Contrary to popular belief, I haven't fucked half the campus." We were more likely to run into that douchefuck Jacob than any girl I'd banged. He better hope he wasn't there tonight.

"Just a quarter of them?" She raised an eyebrow.

"Not quite. Is it a problem for you?"


"My, uh, romantic history?"

She laughed. "Is there anything romantic about your history?"

It was a valid question. "No, I suppose not. But you brought it up."

"I just wanted to know if you had sex with my friend who now thinks you're my boyfriend. It might make class a little awkward."

"Oh." I didn't answer and she nodded, taking that for confirmation I guess.

"Why did you say that, anyway?"

Crap. Play stupid. "What?"

"That I was your girlfriend."

"Uh, well, Jasper said I had a girlfriend named Reed and she thought I was gay and I just burst out with the fact that you were a girl and not a boy. I don't know. Did it bug you?"

She shrugged. "Not really. It's just not an accurate portrayal of what we are."

"What is? We've had sex and now I'm taking you out on a date."

"A first date though. That doesn't make you my boyfriend."

"Well, maybe we're just doing everything backwards so this would be one more thing."

She chuckled and shook her head. "You don't want a girlfriend."

How did she know? "You don't know what I want."

"Do you?"

"No. That's what I'm trying to figure out." I stepped toward her and put my fingers under her chin, tracing along her jaw. "I want you. I wouldn't be here if I didn't. And you want me back, or I wouldn't be here if you didn't. Let's chalk it up to that for now and see where tonight takes us."

She stared at me and licked her lips. I started to lower my lips toward hers. Finally, I was going to kiss her again. There was a god.

"Let's get out of here, bro. I want to be clear of this place before Rosie comes back. Oops." The big oaf stopped when he saw how close Reed Girl and I were to kissing. "Sorry." I rolled my eyes and she stepped back and smiled.

"That's okay. I need to get ready. I have a date tonight and since it's a mystery, I have no idea what to wear."

I grinned at her. "As little as possible." She smacked my arm and reached up to take the sleeping kitten off my shoulder. She meowed but seemed to still be sleeping. "Seriously, wear pants and bring a jacket. It'll probably be cool tonight."

She nodded. "Okay. See you at seven?"

"Yes." She took the kitten and her rose and stepped into the hallway. I watched her as she shut the door.

My brother slapped me on the back. "She's a cool chick. I like her. Don't fuck it up."

Don't fuck it up. That would be the goal for the night. Don't fuck up and I just might get to play with that kitty again.

Chapter Text

This wasn't going to be so bad. The food was in a cooler in the trunk, along with the blanket. I had Reed Girl's oboe and another rose, pink this time, next to me on the front seat. She'd liked the first one, so I figured a second would be a good idea. I sat in her parking lot and took a deep breath. Where were these nerves coming from? I was Edward fucking Cullen and I didn't get nervous, not before a game and not when it came to a girl.

Annoyed, I grabbed the oboe and the flower and got out of the car. I strolled over and stabbed the elevator button. See? Was that so fucking hard? I just had to get to her door, get her and go. I looked hot as hell in my jeans, black button down and black leather jacket. It got cool in the evenings so the jacket would serve more than its original purpose of making me look good. I'd have to make sure Reed Girl brought a jacket. Then again, maybe not. I could keep her warm myself.

The elevator opened, thankfully this time not to a girl that I'd maybe hooked up with in the past. I walked to Bella's door and ran a hand through my hair before I rang the bell. The door opened and I held the flower out only to be met with bare skin, which wouldn't have been bad at all if it were bare female skin but no, I was looking at a grinning Jasper who was wearing nothing but some ridiculous boxer shorts with smiley faces all over them and cowboy boots. Holy shit.

"Oh, Edward, you shouldn't have!" He reached for the rose and I punched him in the shoulder. "Ow! That's not very nice you know." He was pouting again. What a moody motherfucker he was.

"It's not for you, douche. Why are you answering the door anyway?"

He smiled dreamily. "Ali was….uh…what do you call it?"

"Naked," I supplied. He was more fucked up than I thought if he couldn't manage that word.

He scowled. "No. I mean, yes, but that's not what she said. Disposed of?" His eyes widened and he turned frantically toward the living room. "You're not thrown away, are you wife?"

"Otherwise disposed," she shouted from her bedroom. Jesus Christ.

"Yeah, that's what she is." He nodded. "I haven't seen Reed because I was disposed of too, in the best possible way."

I shoved past his stupid ass and knocked on Bella's door. "Reed Girl, are you ready?"

"Just a minute," came a muffled response.

I sighed and turned back to Jasper who was still standing in the hallway with the door wide open.

"You might want to shut that before one of the billion kittens runs away."

He gasped in horror and quickly closed the door. "Jimmy! Hendrix! Where are you?"

"They're in here," came from Shorty's bedroom.

"Oh, good." Jasper looked incredibly relieved. "You can sit somewhere."

He looked around blankly and I stifled another irritated response and walked to the living room. No sooner had I sat down on the couch than a little gray puffball zoomed into the room and flew up the couch next to me. I caught her just before she launched herself on my jacket. "Hi, Rainbow." She purred and tried to climb me again but I firmly pushed her into the couch and petted her to keep her still. What was with this fucking thing and her attachment to me?

"My cats don't do that," Jasper pouted. Shocker. Too bad, I'd like to see them crawl up his bare chest and scratch the shit out of him.

"Would you either put on some clothes or go back into the bedroom? I don't want to be blinded by your pasty white skin."

He stomped off muttering about me being an asshole. The kitten continued to struggle and I finally let her go and up she came. At least I could brush the fur off the leather easily enough. She greeted me with some kind of headbutt to my jaw before settling down. "You are weird." But it felt kind of good that some living thing liked me that much, even if it was just a cat. I reached up to stroke her absently.

"Okay, I'm…" the words died off when I turned to look at Reed Girl, who had come out of her room. She was staring at me and I wondered what the fuck was wrong.


"Nothing. It's just quite the picture." A grin stole over her face and her brown eyes twinkled. "I figured you'd have nothing to do with those kittens once you delivered them."

I shrugged and took her in. Like me, she was in jeans. Unlike me, she had on some form-fitting red tank top underneath her button down and it was unbuttoned which left some pretty skin to devour with my eyes and hopefully my lips later. Unlike pasty boy, she had peachy skin that just begged to be touched.

"She's not so bad once you get used to her."

The grin turned into a smirk. "I was thinking the same thing about you."

I got up off the green couch and walked over to her. "Progress. Next thing you know, you'll actually like me."

"I wouldn't go that far," she replied.

"We'll see about that." I handed her the rose, which made her smile, then the oboe, which made her gasp and hug it to her sexy chest.

"My oboe! Now I can get rid of that one Jacob loaned me. It's not bad but it's not mine, you know?"

Fucking Jacob. "I'll be happy to return it for you."

She snorted and put the oboe in her room, closing the door before going to the kitchen and putting the rose in a vase with the white one I'd given her earlier. She'd kept it. That was a good sign, right?

"So you can torment him again?" She was smiling but she sounded annoyed. Why was she so confusing? Was she pissed at me or not?

"I don't like that kid," was my reply.

She laughed. "First, he's older than you, so I don't think you can call him a kid." Whatever, he was a scrawny little fuck, so he was a kid. "Second, you don't know him, so why don't you like him?"

Because he likes you. "He's annoying," was my actual response. Him liking her shouldn't matter and if she didn't know, she didn't need to know.

She rolled her eyes. "Whatever you say. Are we ready to go?"

"Yeah." I reached up to pluck Rainbow off my shoulder but she dug in and cried. Bella came over and gently pried her claws off my leather. I sighed and brushed at my shoulder, wiping her fur off.

"She is so attached to you."

I grinned, remembering our conversation earlier about pussies and Bella laughed. "Oh no, not again. Rose hasn't come home yet."

So there could still be dead kittens when we got home. I frowned at the thought of that. Rainbow was kind of annoying but she was also cute and didn't need to die. "Can we put her in your room?"

Reed Girl's lips twitched and she carried the kitten to her room. "I've already got a litter box and food set up in there just in case. She'll be fine." She closed the door to keep Rainbow from darting back out.

Good. Not that I cared or whatever, but she didn't deserve to die at the hands of Blondie. "Grab a jacket," I told her. She looked curious but complied, pulling a brown suede one out of the closet. I walked behind her and took it from her, holding it out for her to put on. She stared at me. "What?"

"You're actually helping me into my coat?"

What was I, an untrained baboon? "Yes, I do have manners you know."

She giggled as she slipped on her jacket and pulled her hair out of the collar. It smacked me in the face and I got a whiff of coconut. Fuck, she smelled good. "No, I didn't know."

"There's a lot you don't know about me, Reed Girl."

She turned and smiled. "Well, I guess I'm going to start finding out tonight, aren't I?"

Yes, she would. I opened the door for her. "I guess you are." She exited before me and turned around to lock the door. I waited and walked with her to the elevator.

"Thank God I get to leave. The sounds coming from Alice's room were unholy."

I cringed as I pushed the button for the elevator. "I really don't want to know what Shorty sounds like when she's having sex."

Reed Girl laughed. "It wasn't Alice making the sounds." Gross.

"That's even worse! What does she see in that guy?" We got in the elevator and Reed Girl pressed the button this time.

"Well, he is hot." I shot her a look of disbelief. "He is! That blond hair, a little too long, those blue eyes, that body…"

I growled and thought about going back up to punch Jasper. Reed Girl lost it in a fit of giggles. "You were saying that to piss me off."

After she calmed, we stepped out of the elevator and she gave me a smirk. "Who's to say?"

"You are," I muttered. I took her to my car and opened the door for her again. She got that shell-shocked look again and I sighed. "Manners, remember?" I had to actively remember all the shit my dad did for my mom when they went out, but I was doing it and I wasn't an idiot, despite sharing genes with my brother. Clearly he got the recessive, stupid ones.

"Thanks, Edward."

I looked at her curiously as I got in and started the car. "For what?"

She took a breath. "I know this isn't your usual style and I think it's cool that you're trying this for me. I don't know quite why you are, but I wanted you to know I appreciated it."

Well, that was more serious than just about anything she'd ever said to me. I didn't quite know what to do with it so I decided to joke it away. "You're just glad to get away from the newlyweds."

Her smile faded and she nodded. "Sure, that's it."

Crap, I'd fucked up already. I reached over and touched her hand which jerked underneath mine but she didn't yank it away, thankfully. "I'm doing it because you're different from the other girls." I prayed she wouldn't ask me how or why, because I didn't know how to say it, nor did I really want to know.

She smiled. "Okay. I like to be different."

I laughed and released her hand, putting the car in reverse. "You are, trust me."

Reed Girl smirked. "We'll work toward that. Are you going to tell me where we're going?"

She'd know in about five minutes anyway. "That concert thing over on the quad."

I heard a gasp and glanced over at her. She was staring at me with her mouth open. I bit back the comment that wanted to come about putting something in that pretty mouth as long as she was asking for it. "What?"

"You're taking me to see the Wandering Woodwinds?" What the fuck did she just say? What kind of fucked up name was that? I just nodded and tried to keep my reaction to that ridiculous fucking name off my face. "I was dying to see them!" She bounced excitedly and I cursed her fucking jacket that was blocking me from getting a look at her perky tits.

"Yeah, I figured it was something you'd like." She beamed at me and I tried to put aside my irritation at the band name. This was going to suck no matter what, but if she was happy with me it would be all good.

I pulled up in front of Strozier and Reed Girl actually waited for me to open the door for her. She was learning. I went to the trunk and grabbed the cooler and blanket. Her face lit up when she saw it. "Food, too?"

I rolled my eyes. "Did you think I was going to make you starve?"

She shrugged. "I've seen some of those skinny girls you've hooked up with."

That was news. "You have? When?" I followed behind her as she led the way behind the library to the quad. The Wandering Whatsits were already set up and tuning their instruments or whatever the hell that noise was. Give me some rock and roll any day.

We paused at a clearing about twenty yards from the band and I set the cooler down to spread the blanket. Reed Girl was watching me and when I had the blanket spread, she sat down and I plopped down next to her. "Well?"

"Remember Ziggy's party last April? Over on Stevens?"

I vaguely remembered that and nodded.

"We got there just as you were leaving with some girl." I racked my brain and couldn't remember what girl I'd gone home with that night. "Black hair, really tiny, maybe some Spanish?" Ahh yeah, that girl. What was her name? Kara?

"I remember. You were there?" I reached into the cooler and brought out her sub. She smiled when she opened it and saw her turkey.

"This is great! Thanks!" I nodded and brought out some two water bottles as well. "I was there." She looked down and fiddled with her sandwich wrapper. "Alice said hi and you glanced at us, smirked, and moved on."

Huh. I really didn't remember that. "I didn't see you."

She laughed. It wasn't a happy one. "No, you didn't. You never saw me until you broke my reed."

"You broke your reed." I wondered at her tone. "When else could I have seen you?"

She shrugged. "We had bio together freshman year."

We did? Where the fuck was I? How had I not seen her? "There were hundreds of people in that class."

She laughed. "I know. What a joke that was. You didn't even have to go to class since they let you retake the tests."

I grinned and nudged her leg with my foot. "Yeah, you maybe. I had to go to class or I could have gotten benched."

She smiled. "There are some benefits to being invisible."

Invisible? What the fuck? "You're not invisible!" I shouted it and several heads turned our way.

Reed Girl pushed her hair back and leveled me with her gaze. "That's not what you said the day we met."

Fuck. Must that shit come back to haunt me now? "I just said…"

"That you were more important," she finished for me. "Anyway, I'm not feeling bad about myself or anything. I like being able to go places and blend in if I want to. You stand out. Even here, people are looking at you." I glanced around and sure enough there were several people staring and pointing me out to their friends or whatever. "You don't even notice it anymore, do you?"

She finally started eating her sandwich as she waited for me to reply. "I guess you get used to it. Fuck, Bella," she started at my use of her name and I grinned. "Look, I've been known since I was, I don't know, twelve? When it became clear that I could throw the ball and I won the little league championship and then state three times over. It's just my life."

She swallowed and took a sip of her water. "I know. I don't envy you that, honestly. I'm glad I can skip class and nobody will notice." She grinned.

"Quite the rebel aren't you Miss…" I broke off when I realized I didn't know her last name.

"Swan," she supplied, smirking at me.

Swan? It was somehow fitting. "Swan," I repeated. I opened my own sub.

"That has to be a first for you, knowing a first and last name," she teased.

I swallowed my roast beef and glared at her. "I was trying to get to know you, like I told you I wanted to. If you'd rather I sit here and say nothing, I can do that."

She looked contrite and I bit back a grin. I had her figured out now. "You're right, I'm sorry."

"So is that it? That party and class?" Where else had I missed her? How had I missed her? Maybe she wore that ridiculous band uniform to class. That shit would make me look away.

"Well, on the field a zillion times." I snorted at her over exaggeration. "I've seen you at the bars a few times." She wasn't looking at me as she confessed this.

"Why, Reed Girl, have you been stalking me?" Wouldn't that be interesting?

She looked up quickly and her eyes were wide. "Of course not! I just happened to be in the same place as you a few times."

I grinned. "Seems like more than a few, Stalker."

"Ugh, forget I said anything." She turned her back on me and concentrated on her food. I didn't like that shit at all and I tugged on her hair.

"I was just kidding, Reed Girl."

She turned to look at me again. "Anyway, you were with a different girl each time, except for class. Then you were surrounded by them."

Fuck. Of course I was. "They sat by me, not the other way around."

She giggled. "I doubt you minded the attention."

No, I most certainly didn't. "You paid some attention yourself, apparently."

She shrugged. "I saw you."

And I hadn't seen her. That explained why she was so pissed at me much of the time. I tugged on her hair again. "You had a crush on me."

Her cheeks colored and her eyes flashed. "I thought you were hot, sure. Everybody does. That isn't news." I grinned. "But I also thought you were a conceited prick." I stopped grinning and she turned to face me, sitting cross-legged, her knees touching mine. "And you can be, but that's not all you are."

I didn't know what to say to that. "I'm confident."

She laughed. "Whatever you want to call it. You've also got a pretty decent guy lurking inside you. A guy who is kind to a tiny kitten and who doesn't take advantage of a drunk girl, even after she's been a bitch to him."

Rainbow was my new hero. "I'm hardly going to go around kicking kittens and puppies, Bella. I'm not that much of an ass."

"I know. If you were, I wouldn't be here." She smiled at me and I reached out to touch her hair. It was glinting in the final rays of sunlight.

"I'm sorry I didn't notice you earlier," I told her and I realized it was entirely true. I was pissed at myself for not knowing her for a year.

She chuckled. "It's okay. You noticed me now."

"I was a blind idiot." She was beautiful, this girl. Her brown hair showed hints of red in the sun. Her eyes danced when she smiled and she just had something about her, something I couldn't define but I liked it. I liked her. What the fuck had happened to me?

"Well, you're not blind anymore." Her lips twitched as she waited.

"But I am still an idiot?" I asked, grinning at her.

"That remains to be seen."

"Well, keep on watching me, Stalker Swan."

Reed Girl's mouth dropped open and this time I wasn't leaving it empty. I stuffed her sub in her mouth and she took a bite and laughed. "Jerk."

"Just trying to make sure you're fed before the show." She took her sub from me and dug in. "And Bella?" She paused when I said her name. "I like girls who eat."

She snorted. "Good thing because I'm not stopping. Did you get dessert?"

I had actually. Chocolate cake and two forks. "Well, let's not go that far. I can't have you getting fat." I waited and she smacked my leg. I joined in her laughter. "Yeah, I got dessert. You can eat it off me later." A guy could hope.

That suggestion was met with an eyeroll. "Keep dreaming, Cullen."

"I will, Swan." We finished our food and I threw the wrappers and bottles in the cooler, pulling out two more water bottles for us along with the cake. Beer would have been better but I couldn't drink it out in public on campus. Next time, maybe.

"So, tell me about yourself." Reed Girl eyed me with surprise. We'd been through this. "Where are you from?"

"Jacksonville," she replied, which had me start in surprise.

"My town? Where'd you go to school?"

"Forks High." Forks High? There was no Forks High.

"Why are you making places up? Come on, we both know I destroyed your high school in football. Did you want me way back then?"

She threw back her head and laughed loudly. People were staring at us now for another reason entirely. I didn't care though. "What?"

"Ego, Cullen. Forks High is in Washington. It's where my dad lives. Mom lives in Jacksonville. I moved in with him before freshman year when my mom met a guy and wanted to travel with him." She didn't sound bitter about this, but it kind of annoyed me. Why'd her mother dump her off like that?

"That sucks."

She shrugged. "It was good to get that time with my dad, but by the time it was time to apply to colleges, I knew I didn't want to stay there. I could get in-state tuition here since Mom lives here and that's what I did."

"So you moved across the country and came here knowing nobody?" That was pretty cool, I thought.

"Yeah, though it's a small world. I ran into some guy that I went to junior high in Phoenix with at the first party I went to."

I laughed. "I run into people I know everywhere I go."

"You could have played anywhere. Why FSU? Just because your Dad and brother did?"

"You knew my dad went here?"

"Carlisle Cullen, starting QB in 1980 through 1982. He was a Heisman finalist too, wasn't he?"

Holy shit. She knew football. That was fucking hot. "Uh, yeah, he was. Finished in third place his senior year."

"And he went on to med school instead of the NFL. People were surprised."

I couldn't be more surprised at her knowledge if I tried. "They kept it really quiet, but Dad actually tore a muscle in his shoulder. If it happened now, they probably could have fixed it, but back then they didn't know how."

She looked sad at that. "And then Emmett hurt his knee right before he would have been drafted."

"Yeah. He's selling cars now and rehabbing. I think he still thinks he can make a team someday."

She studied me. "Do you?"

"The longer it takes, the harder it is. He was awesome though. Maybe he can make it, sign for league minimum and work his way up. He wants it, nearly as bad as he wants Blondie."

She grinned at that. "Do you think he'll get it?"

"I don't know. I hope so, for his sake. All he's doing these days is selling cars and fucking around."

She watched me. "Do you ever wonder what you'll do if something happens to you?"

I raised a brow. "Are you trying to curse me?"

Her eyes widened and she shook her head. "No! Of course not!"

I laughed and put my hand on her knee. She didn't knock it away so I took that as a good sign. "If I got injured, I'd stay in school and get my MBA and probably go into advertising. I think that's something I'd be good at."

She nodded. "I can see that."

I smirked. "Did you just give me a compliment?"

"Don't let it go to your head. Advertising is about pretenses and appearances. You've got that covered in spades."

"You wound me, Reed Girl." I grinned to let her know I was kidding. I loved the way she zinged me. Nobody else dared. "I can promise you that if I get injured, I won't be here a couple years from now, begging you to give me a second chance."

She raised an eyebrow and I cursed that slip of the tongue. "Not that you've given me the first, or that we'll even be anything beyond what….fuck." I didn't even try. I had no idea what in the hell I was saying and Reed Girl was laughing so hard she looked like she was going to cry.

"Are you alright?" I asked her, squeezing her knee to try to calm her the hell down.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Just, the look on your face!" And she was off on another fit of giggles. I sighed and let her laugh it out.

"Are you calm now?"

"Yes." She grinned sheepishly. "That was just…"

"I don't know what that was," I interrupted her.

She giggled again. "You want me."

I grinned. "You knew that already. But you want me, too."

She didn't say anything and I grinned. "Can't deny it, can you?"

"Time will tell, Cullen."

"I've got plenty of time, Reed Girl." And for some unknown reason, I wanted to spend it with her. "So, you never told me, what is your major? Pre-law like I said?"

She shook her head and shrugged. "It's something I'm considering, but so is Marine Biology and Journalism. I've got a lot of interests."

"Yeah, like me." She smacked my leg and I laughed. "Couldn't resist. Those are all cool, though. I thought about taking marine bio but it conflicted with my schedule."

Her eyes shone. "I think it would be so cool, you know? I mean, there's not a huge market for it but the thought of working with dolphins or whales…it'd just be the best thing I can think of. So many people hate their jobs but how could you hate working with animals all day long?"

She had a point. "That's why I play football. I love it. I want to make my living off it and if I couldn't it would kill me."

"Exactly! You get it. Law school would be more practical, for sure, and I'm great at arguing with people," I snorted at that and she stuck her tongue out at me.

"Don't be teasing me with that tongue of yours," I told her. She rolled her eyes and stuck it out again. I toyed with kissing her but I really didn't want to get my ass handed to me publicly when things were actually going pretty well.

"Anyway, what I was saying is that while I'm great at arguing with people, I don't think I'd be good at arguing in front of a jury and having to be professional. I'd just rather say something about this guy being a dick and clearly guilty and stuff. You know?"

I chuckled at the image of an outraged Reed Girl going off in front of the jury. "Yeah, I could see where you'd have issues with that."

She grinned. "I don't just lay down for anyone."

Fuck. She knew what she was saying. Her lips twitched and her eyes were laughing at me. "I'm sure you don't, Reed Girl. But you will lay down for me, one of these days."

"You wish." She was still smiling though.

"I know." Before she could react, I was leaning over her and her body was pressed to the blanket.

"Edward," she hissed. "We're in public! There are people watching!"

My face was about three inches from hers and all I could think about was kissing her. "So?"

Her hands came to my chest and I braced for her to push me off but instead they gripped my jacket. "So, if you kiss me publicly, people are going to talk."

"People talk about me all the time. What do I care?" I just wanted her. Who gave a fuck if anybody knew? Good, let them know who she belonged to, at least for now.

Her eyes were wide and I moved closer to her by another inch. So close. The music started but I didn't give a damn about that either.

"It might make a couple of your harem girls angry. Girls might think you're with me." There was an edge to her voice. Desperation? Jealousy? I didn't know. I didn't care.

"I am with you." She blinked in surprise. "And I don't care about any other girls at the moment. Just you." It was true. Scary as fuck, but true. She fascinated me.

"At the moment?" she asked. Fuck, I just wanted to kiss her, not talk this shit to death.

"For starters." I watched her and saw her relax a bit at my words.

"Fuck it. Good enough." Then she yanked on my jacket and her lips were on mine and fucking finally I was kissing her. She tasted salty from her sub and sweet in some indefinable way that was just her I guess. Her lips opened to mine and my tongue slipped through and her taste overpowered me then. I lowered my body to hers and she moaned against my lips. Her arms wrapped around me and she shifted her legs to either side of mine, bent at the knees.

I thrust against her and heard that moan again. I was so fucking hard I thought I was going to burst through my jeans. Damn it, why the fuck were we on a crowded lawn instead of a private bed? I wanted to rip her clothes off and take her right here.

"Get a room!" a voice to my right said. Bella pulled her lips away and I thought about getting up and punching the motherfucker who ruined my moment right in the face. Her eyes fluttered open and she blushed and released me.

"Wrong time, wrong place."

I didn't move, not yet. She felt too good underneath me. "Wrong guy?"

She licked her lips and assessed me for a good minute. I think I was starting to sweat. "No. I don't think so."

"Good." I got up then and pulled her to a sitting position. While I was standing, I looked to the right and met the eyes of the prick that dared interrupt us. I glared at him and he shrank back from my gaze. Damn right, fucker.

"Watch the fucking show. If I catch you looking over here again, even if we're naked and she's screaming my name, you won't be able to see for at least a week. Understood?" He nodded and turned his head away quickly.

Reed Girl tugged on my hand and I sat back down next to her. "Was that really necessary?"

"Yes." She shook her head and sighed. "What am I going to do with you?"

"I can think of about a hundred things," I told her, giving her my sexiest smile.

"All of them involving being naked. Yeah, I know," she said dryly.

"We weren't naked a few seconds ago and I liked that. We could do it again."

She laughed and rested her head against my shoulder. I tried to remember the last time I'd had a girl do that. I wasn't a cuddler as a rule. "We'll pencil it in for another time."

"Pencil? No, I want that it in fucking ink, notarized."

She giggled harder. "I don't know where to find a notary this time of night."

"I'll make that fucker that interrupted us sign it." I slid my arm around her and she came closer to my side.

"Don't scare the poor guy anymore than you already have. We couldn't have done much more of that anyway."

"Speak for yourself," I muttered.

She looked up at me. "Believe me; I wasn't planning on that even happening tonight. Be happy with what you got."

Of fucking course. I had to work for it. "Do you have a list or a timetable so I know exactly when we'll be getting naked again?"

She started to pull away but I tightened my arm around her. "I'm just kidding. It's cool. We'll take it as it goes." And I'll die of blue balls. Perhaps they can bury me right at this very spot, in commemoration of our first date and my first unrelieved hard-on.

"Yeah?" she asked quietly. Did she honestly think I was going to walk away?

I released her and put my hand under her chin, forcing her to look at me. The light from the lamppost lit her face. "I said I was in this, whatever it is. Why won't you believe me?"

She bit her lip and I blew out a puff of air in frustration. "Tell me, Bella, is it always going to come down to my past? What do I have to do to show you that you're different that I'm not already doing? We're out on a date, which I don't do. I brought you a kitten, which yes, was for Rose but we both know you're keeping her and I actually like the damn thing, which is a first. And flowers. I kissed you in public, which I also don't do. I talked to you and asked you shit about your life, which I could give two shits about with other girls. Do I need to wear your fucking name on my back in my game on Saturday?" That, I would not do. Never.

She snorted. "No. Listen, Edward, I can't help it. It's called self-preservation. Your reputation sucks. That's your fault, not mine. I'm trying to look beyond it, but when you say shit about wanting to know how long until you can get me naked again, that just makes me think you're only after one thing, regardless of the fact that you're going about it differently for once. How am I not supposed to think that you're just going to walk away if we do have sex again?"

Was I? I didn't know but I did know the thought of not seeing Reed Girl and fighting with her and making her laugh made me feel like shit. "Life doesn't come with guarantees, Reed Girl. You either take a chance or you don't. I like you. I like this." I gestured around us. "And I sure as hell didn't think I would. I want to do this again. Don't sleep with me if that's what you need to believe that it's different with you." What the fuck had I just said? No, no, take it back. Maybe she didn't hear.

Her eyes were huge. "Did you just say don't sleep with you?"

Fuck. "Uh, I guess."

She laughed. "Why would you say that?"

"I don't know!" I tugged on my hair in frustration and she reached up and grabbed my hand, pulling it out of my hair and linking her fingers with mine. I stared at our hands. Had I ever held a girls hand before? I honestly couldn't remember. Maybe for a school dance picture pose or something.

"Edward, I don't not want to sleep with you." It took me a second to work through the double negative in that sentence and then I grinned at her. "But, I don't want to sleep with you and have you go running to the next girl once you've conquered me."

"Who am I, Genghis Khan? I'm not a fucking conqueror, Bella." I scowled at her.

"Tell that to the girls that you leave behind."

Ugh, them again. "All the girls I slept with knew the score."

She nodded. "Yes, maybe they do. I did and then you went and changed the game on me. It's fucking with my head."

I sighed. "Do you think it's not fucking with mine? I don't know what in the hell I'm doing with kittens and flowers and picnics and sissy music, but here I am. I don't know this game any better than you do."

She watched me for a minute and then touched my cheek. "I don't want to let you hurt me."

"I don't want to hurt you and it's the first time I've ever cared enough to say that."

"Okay." She smiled. "How about we just see what happens? I'm not going to give you a timeline for nakedness because I have no idea when we'll be there. But I'm also not going to use sex as some kind of weapon to keep you coming after me."

It seemed reasonable to me. "I'm not just here for sex, Reed Girl. I can get that anywhere, and I'm not saying that to piss you off. You know it's true."

She nodded. "I do."

"Enough heavy stuff." I had a lot of thinking to do, to try to figure out exactly what it was about her that made me not want to run away screaming when we were talking about shit like taking time to get to know one another stuff. "I did bring you here to hear your concert."

She kissed my cheek and I felt warm inside. "Thank you for that."

"You're welcome." She shivered a little and I decided I may as well try something else new. I spread my legs and gestured to her to get between them.

She raised an eyebrow. "If you're asking for a blowjob, the answer is no."

I burst out laughing. "Damn, you read me so well, Reed Girl. I really wanted a public blowjob to top off our night." She snorted. "I was telling you to sit here. You're cold, right? Lean up against me."

She eyed me warily but did as I asked, leaning against my chest. Her coconut scent hit me and I closed my eyes and breathed into her hair. "See, this isn't so bad, is it?" She shook her head and relaxed into me. I wrapped my arms around her.

"No. But you're hard."

I laughed again. "Get used to it. I'm clearly going to have to. That's what you do to me."

She giggled and wiggled her tight little ass against my groin. "I like it."

"Of course you do, cocktease." I whispered that word in her ear and she shivered. Maybe I wasn't the only one that would be suffering. I kissed her earlobe and heard a light moan. This might not be so bad after all.

"I haven't even begun to tease your cock," she replied.

I wanted to cry at that but laughed instead. "It goes both ways, Reed Girl." I nibbled her ear then and her hands fell on my knees and squeezed.

"You're going to kill me, aren't you?" she asked softly.

"Turnabouts fair play." I kissed the side of her neck. "They'll bury us together."

"I'd rather live."

I slid my hands underneath her jacket and stroked the side of her breasts. "Me too." A nip at the neck, another soft moan and then her ass rubbed against my cock once more. I slid my hands out of her jacket and around her waist. "Truce."

She laughed. "Sounds good to me." I held her and she relaxed against me once again. We listened to the band, which despite their ridiculous name, wasn't all that bad. The music made me want to go to sleep but Reed Girl's warm, sexy body against mine wasn't about to let that happen.

When the show was over we stood and packed up our stuff. I held her hand on the way back to the car and while we drove home. It was weird but a good weird, if that made any sense. I walked her to her door and she unlocked it but didn't open it, turning to face me.

"I had a surprisingly good time tonight, Edward."

I grinned. "I know what you mean."

She looked nervous but she took a step toward me and I bent forward to kiss her waiting lips. Nothing like the kiss on the quad, this was short and sweet, how goodnight kisses probably should be according to movies and TV and shit. "Thanks. I'll see you later."

Shit. Later when? I hadn't asked her out again. I needed to do that. "Uh, hey, are you coming to the game?" Stupid fucking question, she was in the band.

She laughed. "Yes, I'll be there."

"Good." Right. I wanted her there. "Well, there's going to be a celebration party at my parent's house after. Can you go?"

"A celebration party? You haven't won yet." I smirked at that and she shook her head. "Right, who am I talking to? A party could be fun."

This would be weird. Would she be my date at my party? How did I deal with that? Crap. More things to think about. I hid my confusion with a smile. "Great. If you need a ride or something, I can meet you after the game and you can ride with me and Emmett."

She smiled. "That sounds good. Why don't you text me details and I'll let you know if I need a ride."

"Cool." Wait. "I still don't have your phone number."

She giggled and held a hand out. I gave her my phone and she programmed herself in. I looked at it and smiled. "Reed Girl."

"I'm getting used to it."

"Me too, Bella."

She smiled. "I like that, too."

I grinned. "I know." I had to go. We had an early bus ride to Jacksonville. "I guess I'll see you…" I broke off as the front door opened and a scary looking blonde glared out at me.

"You! You tell your baboon of a brother that he's paying for every god damn vet bill I have for the rest of my life!" Well, at least she wasn't killing the kittens, or throwing them at me. "What in the world possessed him to get me a kitten? And did I hear that you got one for Bella?"

I opened my mouth to deny that bullshit but Bella interrupted me. "Well, technically Emmett got you two but I thought one was enough and I really kind of like Rainbow so…"

"Rainbow? What the fuck? Fine, you keep that one! I don't want it. But Emmett's paying for both of them! And give him this!" Before I could dodge it, there were rose petals all over me. Bella was laughing and I was standing there covered in damn flowers. What a way to end my fucking night.

"Blondie, I swear to God I've never hit a girl in my life but if you fucking throw anymore shit at me, I might make a damn exception. Keep your kitten and your bear and your balloons. I am not fucking taking them back." I brushed the fucking flowers off my clothes.

She huffed but seemed to not be throwing anymore. "For your information, your friend has the bear and the balloons. When I popped the first one, he came running into my bedroom, half naked mind you, and took them all away from me, blathering about his wife and Bob. What the fuck is wrong with that guy?"

Well, we were in agreement on something. "He's a druggie. Bob is the bear and Shorty is his wife. Don't ask me. He's got a hard-on for those balloons because they're shiny or some shit."

She laughed and then frowned. "I don't like him and I don't like you either."

I rolled my eyes. "Well considering all you've done is bitch at and punch me, I can't say I'm fond of you either. But my dumbfuck brother loves you for some unfathomable reason." She took a step toward me and I held out a hand but Bella stepped between us.

"Back off, Rose. He didn't do anything to you." Holy shit, she was defending me. Mark this down as a first.

"Oh, Bella, haven't I taught you anything? You're falling for this shit? Can't you see he's just like…"

"Rose, I will make up my mind what he's like. It has nothing to do with you. And I met Emmet today. He may have done something stupid but he seems pretty determined to make it up to you. He didn't cheat on you, so half of what you're mad at isn't even real. Maybe you need to lighten up."

Blondie stared at Reed Girl and then at me and then back at Bella again. "Lighten up? Bella, what did he do to you? I know he's hot and probably a good fuck but that's all he is!"

How the fuck did she know? Before I could ask, Bella was talking again. "I don't know what he is, Rose, but I do know there's more to him than that. Just like there's more to Emmett than that. You wouldn't have dated him for four months if that was the case." Blondie opened her mouth but then closed it again. "Exactly. Now go. I would like to say goodnight to my date in private."

Blondie turned on her heel and shut the door without another word. "Wow. That was different."

Reed Girl shrugged. "She did exactly what you accused me of. I'm trying to keep an open mind. She should, too."

I felt a surprising surge of happiness. "Thank you."

"You're still walking a thin line, Cullen."

I grinned at her. "I have excellent balance, Reed Girl."

"I bet you do."

I bent and kissed her again, just a brush of my lips against hers. "I'll see you on Saturday, after the game." That seemed too far off, but I would be busy as fuck tomorrow. "Can I call you tomorrow night?"

She smiled. "Yeah, you have my number."

"And you have mine."

She eyed me. "I thought I did, but now I'm not so sure. Guess I'll find out."

I grinned. "Guess you will. Goodnight, Reed Girl."

"Goodnight, Edward." I watched her open and close her door. I heard the locks click into place and turned to leave. Date number one hadn't been so bad. I'd survived and she seemed to like me better now than she had before. I hadn't fucked it up. Reed Girl, aka Bella Swan, would be waiting a long time if she thought I was going to. Saturday night. Should be interesting.

Chapter Text

The bus ride over to Jacksonville was long, loud and annoying. Practice wasn't too bad. We ran through real game scenarios and then hit some more tape on VA Tech. They were known for their defense and special teams, which was normally good enough for them to win but they were going up against me. Their quarterback wasn't anywhere near my league. They asked him not to lose the game, they didn't ask him to win it, and I knew that this week that wouldn't be enough.

I let myself into my hotel room and plopped on the bed. I'd showered at the stadium. A bunch of the team was going to dinner at The Press Box but I wasn't in the mood. The cheerleaders would be tagging along and Hoover was getting desperate for some more time with me. I didn't have any interest in a repeat performance and the last thing I needed was for shit to get back to Reed Girl, especially when I wasn't doing anything wrong for once.

It royally sucked that I wasn't allowed to just stay at home while we were here but Coach insisted that we stay in the hotel the night before the game. Tomorrow night we could do what we wanted, so long as we won and were around for the bus ride home on Sunday morning. Tomorrow night would be epic. My folks were going to clear out and let us have the house. Maybe I'd get a chance to get Reed Girl in my bedroom.

She'd been on my mind a lot since last night. The way she'd stood up for me with Blondie had definitely been a turn on. I'd had to jerk off in the shower when I got back to my room. It would have been much better if I was fucking Reed Girl but I'd said I would take it at her pace and I was going to, even if her pace sucked.

I took out my phone and located her number. I told her I'd call and surprisingly I wanted to talk to her. I kind of missed her. How great was it that she'd programmed Reed Girl into my phone? She was different, cooler than any other girl I'd ever met. I hit dial and waited.


I smiled when I heard her sexy voice on the line. Finally she wasn't fucking with me anymore. "Hey, Reed Girl."

I heard her take a breath. "Hi, Edward. How's Jacksonville?"

I groaned. "Boring as fuck. I'm stuck in a hotel room all alone."

She laughed. "Poor baby. I'm stuck in an apartment with a roommate who's pouting over her boyfriend being gone for the weekend and another who isn't talking to me."

Of course Blondie was still being a bitch. "Are you saying you're not pouting over me being gone for the weekend as well?"

"Are you saying you're my boyfriend and I should be?"

Fuck, she had me. "Uhhh…"

Another throaty laugh went over the line and straight to my cock. "Relax, Edward. I was just kidding. Besides, I'll be seeing you tomorrow, won't I?"

Right, tomorrow. Reed Girl at my house. Reed Girl watching me play. That was really a fucking turn on. Maybe she'd watch me play and then play with me.


Shit. My mind wandered. "Yeah, of course you will."

She chuckled. "Good. So are you ready for the game?"

I smirked. Like that was even a question. "Of course. Are you ready to play my song, over and over again?"

Another giggle. "Yes, I think I can manage. It's the same four notes. Not the hardest thing I've ever had to play."

"No, that would be me." I grinned and waited for it.

She snorted. "You wish, Cullen."

I palmed my cock through my jeans. "I really, really do, Reed Girl."

"Oh, hey, I should tell you something." Her voice wasn't amused anymore. Shit, had I fucked up by referencing my cock? She should be used to that shit by now.

"What?" Was she canceling on me just because I'd made a sexual comment? I made them all the time to her.

"'ere in the paper," she mumbled.

"What? I'm in the paper?" That was not news. I was always in the paper.

"The student paper. FSView. Not you. We. Us. Together. From last night." She over enunciated each word because apparently I was slow for not picking up on her fucking mumbles.

The student paper? We had a student paper? And it was called FSView? How fucking lame was that? I vaguely remembered something about a paper but I certainly hadn't ever seen one. "So, we're in the paper? What did they say?"

I crossed my ankles and waited for her to answer. She was taking an absurdly long time.

"Not a lot really. Just that Edward Cullen and an unidentified female were seen at the Wandering Woodwinds concert last night."

Was that all? Was she pissed about being unidentified? Mystifying. "Okay, so?"

"So, there are pictures."

Pictures? What pictures? "Of what?"

"Us," she hissed impatiently.

"Well, duh, Reed Girl, but what of? Us eating? Holding hands?" That shit might get me some ribbing but who gave a fuck?

"Well, there's one of you poised over me looking like you're about to eat me alive." I had to grin. That was probably hot as hell. "And another of me leaning against you with your arms around me." Alright, that was more pansyish but my rep could survive that.


"Okay? You're okay with it?"

What, did she want us to sue the student newspaper for posting pictures of a not-so-private moment? "Why wouldn't I be? I mean, it's rude as fuck that they took pictures of us but it kinda comes with the territory." If she couldn't handle that, we might have a problem. I was news, no matter what I was doing. Or apparently who.

"Oh, well, I thought you might be pissed off."

I sat up and ran a hand through my hair. "Why would I be?"

She blew out a breath. "Because people might think we're together or something."

I rolled my eyes. "Reed Girl, we've been through this. We are together or something. We're figuring it out. Part of figuring it out is us going places and doing shit, right?"

She laughed. "Doing shit? You are a romantic, Edward."

I snickered. "That I am, baby. Anyway, we're going to be seen together. Yeah, it sucks that someone violated our date like that, but I'm not sorry we went and I really don't care who knows we're dating." There, I could call us dating, right? Maybe we weren't boyfriend and girlfriend but we were something. Who needed a label anyway?

"Okay, I just thought you might be annoyed." She paused. "You don't read the student paper?"

I shook my head even though she couldn't see me. "No. If I want to read about myself, there are more prestigious places to go." ESPN and Sports Illustrated, thank you very much.

She snorted. "You're such a snob."

"I prefer to call it having discriminating tastes."

More giggles floated through the line. "Yeah, you're the king of good taste."

If you only knew, baby. "I'd like to take a good taste of you. You can let me know if I'm the king or not, but I have no doubts."

A gasp. I grinned. "You're so sure of yourself, aren't you?"

"I know my strengths and weaknesses."

"Do you acknowledge having any weaknesses? That surprises me."

She killed me. "They're few and far between but I have some."

"And those would be?"

Shit, she wanted me to talk about my weaknesses? I'd give her a couple maybe. "I have a bit of a temper." Though I didn't consider that much of a weakness. I used it to get my way more often than not.

"A bit?" she asked.

"Hey, I didn't haul off and hit Blondie last night. Or that douche that interrupted us."

She laughed. "But you wanted to hit him."

Well, yeah. But I was smarter than that. "He deserved it. We were having a good time. Kissing is definitely not a weakness of mine." But it made you weak didn't it, Reed Girl?

She made a humming noise. "No, I'd have to agree with you there."

"See? You'll have to let me show you more of my talents."

"I'm sure I'll see some tomorrow night." Tomorrow? Hell yeah! "On the field, that is." Damn.

"Uh, yeah, but you've seen that before."

"Maybe, but it'll be different now that I know you." I got that. It was going to be different for me knowing she was watching. I wanted to blow her mind. And maybe get blown. That wasn't too much to ask, now was it?

"Yeah, same. I love that you'll be watching me."

She laughed. "I've been watching you for a long time."

My grin spread wider. "I know you have."

"Ugh, not like that, you jerk. I meant, play football."

"That too."

"You're incorrigible."

"Yeah, but you like me that way." She totally did, too. I could hear it in her voice.

"I'm gonna go before your head gets any bigger."

"It's already rather big, but you know. You saw it that one time." I couldn't help myself.

"Keep talking and I won't be seeing it again anytime soon," she threatened.

I felt myself break out in a cold sweat at the very idea. "Okay, I'll be good."

"I'm counting on it," she purred. Wait, what? "Goodnight, Edward."

It wasn't fair, but I suppose she deserved the last shot after I'd taken so many. "Goodnight, Reed Girl."

I hung up and immediately missed her. It was weird. I'd never talked to a girl on the phone for hours like some of those pussy guys did. I called, told them when I'd see them for fucking and then I was done. But I liked talking to her. She challenged me. I still didn't get why she was so worked up about the picture thing though. Shouldn't she want to lay claim to me? Did she have some other guy on the line she didn't want to scare off with the obviously superior competition?

I grabbed my phone again and pulled up my contacts. I wanted to see what she was freaking out about. Our team has a special guy, a liaison of sorts, who we called with various shit that we needed taken care of. I highlighted Felix and called him.

"Cullen, please don't tell me you got arrested the night before the biggest game of your life."

Nice greeting, douchebag. Had I ever gotten in trouble? No, I knew what was on the line. "Relax, Felix. I'm not in any trouble."

"Good. My heart about fucking stopped. I've got enough guys on the team to monitor without having problems with you. What is it? A girl who refuses to leave after you fucked her?"

Wasn't he just uber smart? "No, you know I don't bring chicks back to my room." It was true. If I fucked anybody on the road, I went to their place. Then I could be done with them whenever I was ready.

"Then what do you need?" Trust the ex-cop to be a pain in the ass.

"I need you to get me a copy of the student paper from today."

There was a long pause. "What? Why in the hell do you need that?"

Why did I have to explain myself? "I just do."

"Not good enough, Cullen."

Fuck! "Alright. There's some pictures of me and a girl in there and I need to see them."

"Christ! A sex scandal? You do know the votes are still coming in for the Heisman, don't you? Did you bang the president's daughter?"

I rolled my eyes. "Right, Felix. The student fucking newspaper is running sex pictures of me and the president of the university's daughter. It's the hottest copy in years. What in the hell is wrong with you?"

He sniffed. "Sorry. I have to assume the worst when it comes to some of you. If you knew half the shit that I get your teammates out of…"

"Yeah, Felix, you're the man. Can you get someone to fax over a copy of the paper or what?" I should have just called Shorty. She would have done it with less hysterics. But then Reed Girl might have found out.

"Yeah, I'm on it. I'll have something for you in a few."

"Thank you." I got off the phone with him and then ordered some fucking room service. I was hungry after all the talking I'd done.

There was a knock on my door about fifteen minutes later. I opened the door to Felix. He was in his late thirties and built like one of our linebackers. He grinned and thrust some papers at me. "She's hot."

"Yeah, she is." I took them but didn't look, not until I was alone.

"Enjoy," he told me, turning and walking away just that abruptly. What the hell ever.

I closed my door and looked at the paper. Felix had kindly put the pictures of me and Bella on the top. I wasn't sure where and how he got photo quality copies that quickly but that was why he was on the payroll I guess.

The first picture was of me pinning Bella to the ground and she was right, I was eying her hungrily. But then, so was she. Her hands were in my shirt and I knew we were kissing about five seconds after the picture ran. Perhaps they hadn't wanted to run that picture for fear of sending the female student body into a frenzy.

The second picture….oh. No wonder she didn't want me to see it. I sank down on my bed and stared. There she was, in my arms, which was no big deal. The big deal was the look on my face. I looked…what the hell was that? Smitten? That word had never applied to me in all of my life but there was a silly smile on my face and my eyes were on her. Bella was staring ahead at the musicians but she was smiling softly and her eyes looked unfocused, glazed or dreamy or something. Our fingers were linked and I was holding her close. We looked like a couple in l…no, that was a dangerous thought. Like. Like a couple that liked one another a whole lot.

A couple. Was I one half of a couple now? After one date? That was fucking ridiculous. No, it was the novelty of the moment. Having Reed Girl kiss me and actually enjoy my company. I was just surprised. That was what that was. Yeah.

I tucked the pictures in my bag. I needed to eat and then go to bed. The game was obviously weighing on me and making me see things. Tomorrow night I'd have my perspective back again. Tomorrow night, with Bella. Fuck. What was going on?


This was badass. I was in Alltel Stadium playing in front of my people. My city. The place was loaded and Nole fans outnumbered the Hokies at least four to one. I liked that. I liked my odds. I wondered where Reed Girl was. I'd missed the band's opening number thanks to Coach making me run through plays another time.

I was warming up my arm, tossing passes to Garrett, when Jasper jogged up next to me. "You ready, man?"

I glanced at him. For once, his eyes were a clear blue. "I am. Are you?"

He nodded. "Yeah. Try to give me some playing time, will you? National TV exposure couldn't hurt."

No, it couldn't. "Be ready by the mid-third quarter," I told him.

He laughed. "Yeah? You think you'll have it put away that quickly?"

I smirked. "Yes. As long as our defense does their job and lets me on the field."

He shook his head. "Only you would think you could score that much on the best defense in the country."

"Hey, dude, if you don't think you can, then you're not fit to take over my team in a year. There's no point in stepping on that field if you don't think you can dominate."

He looked properly chastised. "Okay, you're right."

"Of course I am." I handed him the ball and watched him lob a pass to Garrett. "Hey, have you talked to Shorty today?"

"Yeah, why?"

I didn't really know. "I was just wondering if things were different with you when you weren't high."

He laughed. "What, like I magically won't like her anymore? No, man, it doesn't work that way."

How did it work? "How can you be so into her so fast? You don't even know her last name."

Jasper shrugged. "When you know, you know. Who says there has to be any kind of time limit? Sometimes you just click with someone. And it's Brandon."

I laughed. "Well that is a boy's name." He looked blank so I explained. "When I asked you if you knew her last name before, you could only remember that it was a boy's name. Then you said it didn't matter because one day it would be Whitlock."

He grinned. "And so it will."

Fuck. Really? "You really think you're going to marry that girl?"

"No, man." Oh, thank God. "I know I am." Jeez. "She's the one for me." He laughed. "One day I'll even stop smoking weed because she hates it." His eyes twinkled. "Not yet, though. I need to make her work for it a little." I didn't know if he was as dumb as a box of rocks or smarter than he seemed. I feared it was the latter though.

"How do you know? I mean, is it a feeling?"

Jasper handed me the ball back and I let it fly. "Tell me something, Edward. Can you get her out of your mind?" I didn't want to answer that. "Do you know her last name?" Yes, it was Swan. "Do you see her at night when you close your eyes?" Yeah, but that was just cause I wanted her. "Are you thinking and talking about her now instead of focusing on the biggest game you've ever played?" Fuck. He smirked. "Yeah, I thought so. Unlike me, you'll fight it for awhile, but it's nice to see that you're actually into a girl for once."

It wasn't nice. It was awful. She was here, somewhere, and I couldn't see her. I wanted to get just a glimpse before I took the field. I looked at where the band was seated but couldn't make her out, of course. Those ridiculous fucking hats made it impossible to know who was who.

"This sucks," I muttered.

Jasper laughed. "Only if you're not on the same page and from what I've seen, that's not the case. You'll see her later. Time to kick some ass now."

Right. I had a game to win. Then I'd see about the girl. I ignored the surge of adrenaline that went through me with that thought. It was the game that caused it. It had to be.


They won the toss and elected to play defense first. I loved it. Most teams preferred to take the ball in the second half but not me. I wanted to start the beat down on play number one. They kicked off and it was a touchback so we got the ball at the twenty. Eighty yards to pay dirt.

I got behind my line and barked out orders. They were in a basic four three defense but I saw the corners inching up. The blitz was on. I wouldn't have time to throw a bomb on this first play, but that was okay. I called a slant pass to Garrett. James would go long. Eric would be a decoy and a possible check down if the safety went with G. I barked my cadence and the ball hit my hand. I took a three step drop and saw Garrett make his cut. I threw the ball straight ahead and he caught it and zipped up the field. They caught him around midfield. Hell yeah, a thirty yard pickup.

My next play was a quick out to James on the sideline. It was a play the Patriots made famous. Nobody did it as well as Brady and Welker. Well, except maybe for me and Hunter. He zipped around the corner and was in the end zone before half the defense even turned around to run after him. We kicked the extra point as I made my way over to our grinning coach.

"Nice start, son." It was. I wondered what Bella thought. I sat on the bench and Jasper came over next to me.

"Hell of a drive. You made it look almost too easy."

I shrugged. "It was easy." I knew their defense. I'd studied it over and over. I knew the plays they were going to run almost as soon as they did.

Our defense held and I got the ball on the eighteen this time. I lured them in with short passes to the back, as well as handoffs. Then I sent Garrett long and he out leaped Hawkins in the end zone for another TD. Two possessions, two touchdowns.

It was 24-3 at halftime and I stopped as I made my way into the locker room. The band was on the field and I tried to find her. Was she excited? Proud of me? The fucking tuba players were blocking my view and I had to give up and go in. After the game.

Coach had his say and we jogged back out onto the field. The band had already cleared out, unfortunately. I started warming up again when a booming voice came over the loud speaker. "Ladies and gentleman, we have a special announcement. Would you please direct your attention to the Jumbotron?"

What was that about? I kept throwing but did angle myself so I could see what was going on. Probably some lame contest. All of a sudden, there were pink hearts in place of football stats, which I'm sorry, was just fucking wrong. Then a rainbow shot across the screen and my heart dropped. Oh, fuck, no. It couldn't be.

But it was. The next thing I knew, my brother's grinning face filled the screen. He was dressed up in a suit and clutching some roses. He also, ridiculously, had a giant red heart on his sleeve. Jasper came up to me, his jaw hanging open. "Holy shit."

"Rosie, I hope you're home watching this. I was a fool. You know it and I know it. But I would never cheat on you. How could you believe my lie? There's nobody better than you in the whole wide world. I had the best, I would never settle for anything else. So here I am, wearing my heart on my sleeve," he gestured to it, "And showing the world that I belong to you. Even if you decide not to forgive me, I'm done. You're the only girl I'll ever want. I won't give up on you. I'll do anything you want if you only give me one more chance. Be my girl. Be my wife. Whatever you want, because you are my life. I love you."

"What the ever living fuck is going on?" I asked nobody in particular.

"I think he just proposed to her," Jasper said. "Or did he not? I guess he said he'll do whatever she wants." He nodded slowly. "Girls like that."

"He does know she isn't here, right? Did he somehow get the network to show that? What if she's not watching?"

"Ali is. She'll show Rose. Damn, that's awesome. I'm going to have to think of something like that when I propose."

Dear God. "You already call her wife; I doubt you'll need to do something so ridiculous." And public. Jesus. I was mortified to be related to him. The crowd was cheering though. I wondered what the fuck my parents were thinking right about now. And Reed Girl. Dear God, did she expect me to do something like that? It would be a cold day in hell before I made a public spectacle out of myself the way he did. A fucking heart on his sleeve. Jeez.

I shook my head and tried to focus. I had a game to win. This romance shit was not me. I just wanted to make out with Reed Girl and maybe get a blow job. Let those two jackasses worry about marriage. Marriage for crying out loud. Such fucking morons.


I was true to my word, well, almost. Jasper got the ball with three minutes to go in the third quarter. We were up 38-10. Even he couldn't fuck up a four touchdown lead. And he didn't. He actually got a TD of his own and we finished with a 45-20 win. We were going to the National Championship game at the Sugar Bowl! I did it.

After a mini-celebration with my team, I did the interview route and pretended like I didn't know for sure I was going to win the Heisman. Then I went to my locker and sent Reed Girl a quick text telling here to meet me at the entrance to the south of the locker room. I took a shower and put on my jeans and a dark blue t-shirt that hugged my body. I needed to look good at my victory party, didn't I?

I grabbed my phone and wallet and made my way out of the locker room. More press was there, cornering my teammates, shouting questions at me. I felt a buzz or something coming from my left and turned and there she was. Reed Girl was leaning against the wall wearing a burgundy blouse and a black skirt. Sexy brown curls spilled down over her shoulders. I smiled at her attempt to support me.

"Wearing my colors?" I asked once I got past all the bodies in between us.

She smiled. "I figured it was the least I could do."

"The very least. Don't I get a kiss for winning?"

She laughed. "I thought it was a kiss for luck?"

"Yeah, but I didn't see you before the game, so you owe me." She looked so fucking good. I wondered how fast I could ditch my own party.

She glanced over at the press that was still loitering around. "There're lots of cameras."

"So? We've already been caught once." She frowned and I resigned myself to waiting until later. "Okay, let's go."

I started to walk toward the exit and she caught my arm. "Edward?"

"Yeah?" The next thing I knew, I was pushed up against the wall and my head was pulled down toward hers. Her lips were on mine. I kissed her back hard and gripped her waist. She strained against me, her perfect breasts against my chest.

We kissed for awhile before we finally broke apart and I stared down at her. "Wow."

She smiled. "To the victor go the spoils."

"How many spoils do I get?" I needed to know since my cock was already throbbing.

She shrugged. "I guess we'll both find out later."

Fuck yeah. This night was going to be epic. I loved winning on and off the field. I held my hand out and she linked her fingers with mine. "Let's go find out then."

Chapter Text

Reed Girl and I made our way through the crowds, which was no easy feat since they were pawing at me and trying to give me high fives and shit, but eventually we got through and arrived where Emmett was waiting with his Explorer. I saw that Jasper was in the front seat so I opened the back and ushered her in, sliding in beside her. I wanted to be annoyed that the wastoid was there but Reed Girl's bare leg was pressed up against me so I didn't really care.

"Nice game, bro!" Emmett crowed as he peeled away from the curb. "Hey, Bella! Did you have fun watching your man play?"

She made a little noise. Interesting. I was really kind of anxious to hear what she had to say to that. "Um, well, yeah, he was great," she stammered. I laughed and slid my arm around her. She looked uncertainly up at me and I grinned at her. I knew Emmett had freaked her out a little but it didn't bug me for some reason.

"Hi, Reed!" Jasper waved, grinning from the front seat. Fuck, he was already high. Shorty better get on with her fixing of him pronto. She waved and said hello back.

"Forget my awesomeness for a minute." Reed Girl snorted and elbowed me in the side. "What the fuck was that shit on the Jumbotron?" I demanded.

Jasper started laughing. "Yeah, where's the heart on your sleeve? I wanna hold it!" Of course the stoned jackass wanted my brother's heart. He probably wanted to hug the thing like he did my pillow and that stupid fucking bear.

"Wasn't it great? Do you think Rosie saw it, Bella?" he asked, peering at her through the rearview mirror anxiously.

"Uh, I don't know, "she replied. "She's not exactly talking to me right now, so…"

"What did you do?" Emmett asked. That pissed me right off.

"She didn't fucking do anything other than defend me to your nutso ex." He glared at me. "Who, by the way, threw rose petals all over my ass when I dropped Reed Girl off on Thursday night."

"She popped the pretty Ali balloon!" Jasper shouted suddenly, scaring all of us. Reed Girl looked at me and I rolled my eyes. There was no explanation for the shit that Jasper thought and shared when he was fucked up. He patted Emmett's arm. "Don't worry. I saved the rest of them and Bob."

"Who the fuck is Bob?" Emmett asked, completely baffled.

I sighed. "The bear."

"So the only thing she kept was the kittens?"

"Kitten. Rainbow is Bella's now." And he better not make a fucking stink about it.

"I hope you don't mind, Emmett. She's cute and Rose wasn't too thrilled about having one kitten, let alone two so…"

"It's cool," he told her with a smile. "Emmett Junior was the important one. She'll think of me every time she calls his name."

Huh. I wondered if Reed Girl thought about me when she saw Rainbow. That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.

"She cuddled Emmett Junior," Jasper supplied suddenly.

"What?" Em asked.

"When I went in her room and started taking pretty, shiny Ali & Bob back, she grabbed him like she was afraid I was taking him too."

Emmett shouted in triumph. "See! I'm getting to her. Oh, I hope she saw my video!"

"If she didn't, every other chick in the state did. You're such a dumbass," I told him. "What if she won't take you back? Everybody's seen you make an ass of yourself for her and what girl would want to go out with you after you declared them all nothing compared to her?"

Reed Girl pulled away from me and I frowned at her. "What?"

"I thought it was incredibly romantic. I mean, Rose isn't going to forgive him easily but the fact that he put himself out there in public like that was pretty amazing. I don't know a girl that wouldn't be at least somewhat flattered by that. And if he doesn't want any other girls, then it's really not a big deal."

Shit. I'd fucked up by mentioning other chicks. And we were going to a party at which there would undoubtedly be other chicks that wanted to bang me. This wasn't good.

"Okay, I get it, but would you want to be proposed to that way? Is that what you did?" I asked him.

Emmett nodded. "Well, I mean, it's not my official proposal, because I don't have a ring or anything, but if she says she'll marry me I'll get her a ring at the next possible moment and get it done."

He was fucking insane. "You two have been broken up for what, a year?" Emmett nodded. "Well don't you think maybe you should spend some time together again before you fucking propose?"

"I know what I want and that's my Rosie. We can spend the rest of our lives together, the sooner the better. I've been without her for too long, man."

Reed Girl let out some girlish sigh thing. "I hope she gives you a shot, Emmett."

"Thank you! See, bro, your girl gets it." She definitely got something and it wasn't me because she was sitting in her own seat now which really fucking bothered me. I didn't say anything and Emmett turned into the liquor store. "Come on, Jasper, I need help."

Jasper woke up from whatever daze he was in and turned to look at me and Reed Girl in the back seat. "Why aren't you cuddling? I want to cuddle with Ali. Why isn't she here?" Good fucking question. I wanted Reed Girl in my arms. It was crazy but true.

"She's at home babysitting the kittens," she told him.

"Oh yeah!" he brightened right up. "I have a family now. I miss them."

Reed Girl giggled. "I bet you do."

"Come on, Jasper, we need to get the liquor before the store closes." He heaved a sigh but got out to help my brother. It was immediately silent when they got out of the car.

I ran my hand through my hair and turned to face her. "Did I piss you off?"

She shook her head. "No, not exactly."

Not exactly, which meant that I partially did. "What did I say that was wrong? Don't you think he's crazy to propose when they haven't even seen each other in a year?"

She frowned. "Sure, it was a bit crazy but it was just how against it you were. I don't know. You made it sound like he should have women lined up to go through for if and when he didn't get Rose back."

Yep, I knew it. "I just meant that he shouldn't burn all his bridges for a girl that hit him and stole his clothes the last time he saw her."

"I get it," she replied.

Did she though? Because she wasn't really meeting my eyes and it was kind of fucking driving me nuts. "Are you going to stay pissed at me all night?

"I'm not," she told me, finally looking at me.

"You pulled away from me," I pointed out. It really fucking bothered me.

She sighed. "I did. I didn't like the way you talked about having other women lined up. I wonder how long your list is."

And there it fucking was. "I don't have a list, Reed Girl. As you recall, I don't really know any girl's names at school. So if I have a list, you're the only one on it. Did I freak out over the pictures in the paper?" She shook her head. "Did I kiss you with God knows how many cameras were on us after the game?"

"No." What? I stared at her and she grinned. "I kissed you."

I laughed. "Good point. You should do it again."

She looked around. "There aren't any cameras."

"Exactly," I told her. She licked her lips and I felt my cock getting hard, but I needed to say something. "Bella, it's not that I think my brother is crazy to want Blondie, even if she's been nothing but a bitch to me since I met her. I just thought that wasn't the best way to go about it. She could break his heart, you know, and everybody would know after what he did. My brother's an idiot, but he's still my brother, you know?"

She smiled then. "Yes, I do know. But Rose is my friend and he hurt her pretty badly. He really does need to work hard to show her that he's committed to being with her. What better way than to tell the world?"

I didn't really have an answer to that; I just hoped she knew that wasn't my style. "Well, I suppose they'll figure it out without us. Sorry if I pissed you off." Fuck, did I just apologize?

Reed Girl laughed. "Yes. I know Rose will make up her own mind. And you have nothing to apologize for. I was just…" she broke off and shrugged.


"Nothing." Crap. I hated when someone told me nothing when it was obviously something. She took my left hand and raised my arm, sliding back under it. I immediately felt better now that she was back with me. Whatever it was, I guess she was over it.

"So, about that kissing thing…"

She tilted her head up so I bent to brush her lips with mine. God damn, it felt good to kiss her. I ran my tongue along her lips and she opened to me, our tongues moving together. Finally.

"Hey Eddie, they didn't have any…well, hello!" Emmett chortled as we broke apart.

Jasper got in and took in Bella and I wrapped around one another. "Cuddles! I need to call my wife." He pouted as he struggled to put on his seat belt. Emmett popped the trunk and loaded in a crapload of bottles.

"Fuck yeah, you do. You need to find out if Rosie saw."

Jasper took out his phone and thrust it back at me. Apparently he forgot how to use a phone again. I found "wife" and hit it for him. "Speaker," Emmett demanded. I rolled my eyes and turned on speaker phone as Emmett got in and started the car.

"Jaspy, baby, do you know what I'm doing right now?" Shorty's voice was all breathless and Reed Girl let out a loud shriek. "Bella?" Was it wrong to be turned on right now? Because I totally was, hearing a clearly playing with herself Shorty call my girl's name.

"Uh, yeah, Al, it's me, Edward, Emmett and Jasper," she quickly told her.

"Shit, I should have known. Nice stunt tonight, Emmett."

"You saw?" he asked, his voice high pitched.

"Who didn't?"

"What did she say? What did she do?" he asked.

"Watch the road, dickhead, you can't see her," I snapped, because he was going to fucking crash and kill us all. I was not about to die before fucking Reed Girl again.

"She didn't say much. She more or less just stared at the TV for ages and then she picked up the kitten and went to her room after she said, 'What the fuck?' about twenty times."

Emmett's face fell. Shit. See, this is why you didn't make an ass out of yourself over a girl in public. "Shorty, did she seem pissed off?" I asked.

"What are you doing?" Jasper suddenly asked. Man, he was fucking gone if he hadn't picked up on that one.

"Uh, nothing baby. No, she didn't seem pissed. More like stunned. I don't think she knew what to do, honestly." Who could blame her? It wasn't every girl who got randomly proposed to over a Jumbotron by a guy she'd been broken up with for months. My brother was such a fucking moron.

"Well, that's good, right? That she took Emmett Junior into her room and didn't seem mad?" He was looking for a lifeline. Shit, this sucked. Tonight was supposed to be an epic party at which I might get some action with Reed Girl, not having to deal with my brother sulking over an angry ex.

"I think it's good, Emmett. Just give her some time," she advised.

"Did you see me play, Ali?" Jasper piped up. "What are you doing?"

Good God. "You idiot, stop asking her that," I hissed at him.

"Yeah, I saw you play, Jasper. You looked great." I wouldn't go that far. He was adequate.

"You liked it? I miss my family. I wish you were here," he babbled.

She giggled. Bella looked amazed. "This is how they are when he's high," I told her.

"I wish I was there too, Jaspy. You come home to me tomorrow and we'll celebrate your victory."

"Okay!" He was very happy with this idea, not that that was a shocker. Why he should fucking get laid when I'd done all the hard work was beyond me. I tried not to pout over that one. "So what are you doing?" he asked again.

"Jaspy, we'll talk about that tomorrow," she replied, sounding exasperated. I couldn't blame her.

"No, wife, I need to know if you're missing me. Are you playing with the kitties?" That did it. I fucking lost it and Reed Girl and Emmett did along with me. I could even hear Shorty laughing on the line.

"Yes, Jaspy, I was playing with the kitty." Reed Girl was holding on to me as we rolled with laughter.

"I wanna play with them," he complained. Fresh giggles erupted from Reed Girl. She was so fucking gorgeous when she laughed.

"When you get home, Jasper. I have to go, now." Shorty's voice was strangled. I didn't know if she was laughing or dying of mortification or what.

"Give the kitty a nice pet for him," Emmett called, pounding on the steering wheel.

"Shut up, Emmett," she responded hotly. "I love you, Jaspy. See you tomorrow."

"Love you, too," he replied dreamily. "Don't pet too hard, they don't like that."

"No they don't," she agreed, laughing as she hung up. Reed Girl was wiping tears from her eyes.

"That was….wow," she managed.

"Yeah, it's an experience," I told her.

"What are you all laughing at?" he asked, looking clueless and fried.

"Your dumb ass," I told him.

Reed Girl elbowed me again. "Be nice."

Why the fuck should I? He was such a burnout. I leaned down and whispered in her ear. "It wouldn't matter how stoned I was, if I called and you were playing with your kitty, I'd know exactly what you were talking about and I'd help talk you through it until you were purring with satisfaction."

Her jaw dropped and she blinked several times. "Uh, I, that's…yeah," she squeaked. I had a feeling she was blushing but it was too dark to tell. I nipped her earlobe and she shivered against me.

"We're here!" Emmett announced. "Time to get my drink on." He and Jasper got out. I opened my door and held a hand out to Reed Girl. She took it and slid out on my side. I didn't release her hand when she was out. There were people already lined up outside my house.

"Garrett, Newton, Eric, help them carry the shit in," I called as I led Reed Girl up the house. My parents had stayed downtown. They didn't mind if we threw a party, they just wanted to disavow any knowledge of it should the cops come. Not that they would. We'd pretty much always had free rein in this town.

I unlocked the door while she gaped at the house. "This place is amazing," she told me. Yeah, it really kinda was. I had a whole suite on the third floor, Emmett actually lived in the guest house and my parent's room was tucked away on the ground floor.

"Thanks." I flipped on the lights and pulled her into the living room. People streamed in around us as I steered her to the loveseat. "This cool?" I asked. She nodded and sat, looking dazed. "Do you want something to drink?" Check my shit out; I was being a good host. I hope she appreciated it.

"Kegs are in the kitchen, liquor's on the bar!" Emmett shouted before the stereo started blaring some dance music.

"Um, maybe a screwdriver?" she asked. "Or beer. It doesn't matter."

"I'll happily screw you," I told her. She shook her head and laughed. "Stay here." I flipped on SportsCenter as I went to the bar to get her drink. I went light on the vodka. I wanted her to stay semi-sober so we could have a little fun. I was interested to see what spoils she had for me.

"Hi, Edward," a voice cooed as a body pressed up against me from behind. Her arms were around my waist and her hands were…what the fuck! I put the drinks down and quickly disengaged the claws from my fucking cock. Who in the hell thought that was okay?

I whirled around and there was Hoover, smiling at me flirtatiously, still wearing her cheerleading outfit for some unknown reason. Motherfucking son of a bitch, who invited her?

"What the fuck are you doing here?" I demanded.

"Carrie told us about the party. I wouldn't miss it for the world. Why don't you show me your bedroom?" she asked.

"I don't know who the fuck Carrie is but I didn't invite her."

"Sure you do, she's Eric's girlfriend." Fucker. I was going to kick his ass for telling the fucking cheerleaders about the party, girlfriend or not.

"Whatever," I muttered, turning around to pick up our drinks.

"So, how about that tour?" she asked, running her finger along my arm.

"Get Emmett to give you one. I'm busy." I walked away from her and back into the living room. Reed Girl was just where I'd left her, but she wasn't alone. Fucking Newton. He never learned. He was sitting in my fucking seat talking to my girl. She wasn't smiling, but she was listening to whatever it was he was saying. I marched up to them and stopped in front of his stupid ass. He ignored me and kept right on talking, telling her about his best bench press. What a fucking tool.

"Newton!" I yelled. He jumped about a mile. Reed Girl was smiling now. Damn right she was.

"Oh, hi, Cullen. Great game."

"Yeah. Nice missed tackle in the fourth quarter," I told him. He scowled and Reed Girl hid her mouth behind her hand, trying not to laugh at his stupid ass. "Get out of my seat."

"Well, hey, you kicked me out of my kitchen so…" he broke off at the look on my face and gulped. "Never mind."

"Damn fucking right."

"Hey, I didn't know she was your girlfriend," he protested as he stood up, holding his hands up in a gesture of surrender.

"Well, now you do," I told him, glaring after him as he walked off. I turned to see Reed Girl watching me with a raised eyebrow. "What? Did you want to hear him talk about his non-existent workout prowess?" I handed her the drink and she smiled as she took a sip. I dropped down next to her and threw my arm along the back of the couch, sort of around her but not.

"No, I can't say that it was stimulating conversation," she replied with a giggle.

I laughed and dropped my arm fully around her. "I can stimulate you if you like."

"I'm sure you'd like nothing more," she replied coolly.

That went without saying. If any girl was going to see my bedroom, it would be her, not Hoover. "You know that's true."

She laughed. "You didn't even notice, did you?"

Notice what? "What?"

She shook her head. "Nothing, it's not a big deal."

I narrowed my eyes at her. "What is with you and not telling me shit tonight? First in the car and then now. Since when do you mince words?"

She rolled her eyes. "That shit in the car was nothing, just me being stupid."

I highly doubted that. "And now?"

Reed Girl smirked. "Fine. Mike just called me your girlfriend and not only did you not freak out about it, you agreed with him."

I did? Nah. Did I? "So?" I asked, because I had nothing better to say.

"So, I just thought that was interesting and very unlike you."

It was, but I wasn't about to admit that. "I thought we'd just established that you don't actually know the real me yet. Maybe you're meeting him." Maybe I was too. Who the fuck knew? It was all so confusing.

"Could be," she replied, her lips twitching. I toyed with her hair and she leaned into my hand. "There are a lot of people here."

"Yeah, I know." I looked around the crowded living room. There were more people out in the yard. "Em invited some people we went to high school with and of course a lot of the team is here." I saw Shelly Jessup watching me from across the room and quickly averted my eyes. We'd gone to prom together senior year. Damn it, why the fuck were these people all here? This party had seemed like a good idea a couple of weeks ago. Now I really just wanted to kick everybody out and hang with Reed Girl.

"And the cheerleaders," she muttered. I followed her gaze and saw Hoover gaping at us. Fuck. She better not come over here. I shot her a glare and ran my thumb over Reed Girl's neck.

"I didn't invite them, either. One of them is dating Yorkie and he told them I guess."

She just shrugged. "Not a big deal. Hey, look." She pointed at the TV and there I was.

"Turn the stereo off!" I shouted. Someone quickly complied and I turned up the TV. Highlights of the game came on and I smiled as I relived the moments. James' TD, Garrett's great catch in the end zone, me eluding several would-be sacks. People were cheering as they watched and Garrett and James both preened over their highlights.

They cut back to the SportsCenter anchors. "Cullen went 27 for 30 for 352 yards and four touchdowns. He didn't even get touched. He's clearly the frontrunner for the Heisman."

The other reporter smirked. "Oh, he didn't get sacked on the field, but that brings us to the play of the night." The film kicked on and Reed Girl gasped next to me as they showed her pushing me into the wall and kissing the life out of me.

"Holy shit!" someone yelled out. There were gasps and some clapping and hooting as on-screen Reed Girl and I made out. It was kind of fascinating to watch. We were fucking hot together if I did say so myself.

They cut back to the anchors who were laughing. "Now that's the kind of tackle I want to experience."

"That's what I call winning." His partner replied. "That's it for SportsCenter. Stay tuned for College GameDay Wrap Up."

The room was silent and all eyes were on me and Reed Girl. I turned to see how she was taking it. I couldn't read her expression; she was just watching the room, her eyes moving over everyone.

"Uh, Reed Girl, are you okay?" I asked quietly.

She finally met my gaze. "Yeah, I'm fine. That was unexpected." That was one word for it. Slightly more exposure than the tiny school newspaper to be sure. "Are you mad?" she asked, watching me anxiously.

Mad? No. There was a funny feeling in my stomach that I couldn't quite define, but I wasn't mad. "No, why would I be?"

She smirked. "Uh, maybe because in the car you were just ranting about your brother declaring himself in a very public way and more people probably saw us than saw his non-proposal proposal to Rose."

That was very true. Did it bother me? I glanced around the room and saw that all eyes were still on us. Hoover was glaring at Reed Girl like she was trying to bore into her skull and kill her. I tightened my arm around her and pulled her closer to me, needing to shield her from the hostility I saw on some of the girl's faces. That shit was fucked up. It's not like they had a chance with me before she came along, maybe for a fuck but not to be my girlfriend or whatever.

I looked back at Reed Girl. Her pretty brown eyes were focused on me and she seemed unconcerned with the rest of the room. Fuck it. If she didn't care, neither did I. "Fuck them all," I told her, licking my lips and raising a brow suggestively.

She laughed. "That's not exactly the best statement coming from you."

I smirked. "You know what I mean. I really don't give a shit what they think." I was Edward Cullen and I could do what and who I wanted. I wanted Reed Girl and now they all fucking knew that. So they could all just back the fuck off and leave us alone. Hell, I'd effectively claimed her as mine in front of the nation, so at least now all the motherfuckers like Newton knew who she belonged to.

"Yeah?" she challenged.

Was she daring me? I'd take it. "Yeah," I told her before hauling her to me and fusing my mouth with hers. She squeaked in surprise before melting into me, her arms wrapping around my neck. I gripped her waist and held her to me. I heard more chattering and cheering and it pissed me off. I broke our kiss and glared at them. "There, you saw it live and in person. Now hopefully you have better fucking things to do than watch me make out with my girl." Reed Girl laughed and I kissed her again.

Someone turned the stereo back on at a decent level and people finally started drinking and being normal again. I held Reed Girl close to me and played with her fingers. "So, do you want a tour of the house?" I asked. Yeah, it was a non subtle way of trying to get her alone but I didn't give a damn. All these people were pissing me off.

She smiled. "Sure, I…" she broke off and started rummaging through her purse. I heard something that sounded like the Cops theme song. "One second," she told me apologetically. She got her phone out and answered quickly. "Dad?"

Dad? What the fuck was he doing calling so late? Wait, she said he lived in Washington, it wasn't that late there.

Reed Girl grimaced. "Yes, that was me kissing Edward Cullen on TV." Oh. Shit. Parents. Crap. Mine were going to see that shit in the morning if they hadn't already. I was so fucked. It was one thing for the world to know I had a maybe girlfriend; it was another thing for my mother to know. I'd never hear the end of it.

"Yes, I know, Dad, but he just won a really big game and I wanted to kiss him." Hell yeah she did. "My boyfriend?" She looked at me but I sure as shit didn't know what to say. I gave her a shrug and a nod at the same time. Let her interpret that how she wanted. "Sort of? We're still figuring it out." She laughed. "Just because people kiss doesn't mean that they're necessarily together, Dad." Her eyes narrowed. "Oh yeah? What about that time I caught you kissing Sue Clearwater at the Christmas party? Did you two ever make it official?" What the fuck?

Reed Girl laughed. "Well, then, you can't say anything, can you?" She smiled at me and I felt myself smiling back. "No, I'm at a party right now." A pause. "Yes, he's here." Asking about me, naturally. "No, you can't talk to him." Damn right he couldn't. Fuck that noise. I didn't do parents. Then again, I didn't do any of this other stuff either. What in the hell was going on? She giggled. "No, he can't get you Super Bowl tickets, Dad. He's in college, not in the NFL yet." I laughed at that and drained my beer.

"I'm gonna go get another drink. You need more?" I asked quietly. Reed Girl nodded and I left her to go get our drinks. I felt several pairs of eyes on me but ignored them as I got my beer and headed to the liquor to mix hers.

"I miss my wife!" I heard a mournful voice beside me and rolled my eyes. Sure enough, there was Jasper, his eyes even more bloodshot since he'd obviously smoked up again.

"I swear to God, if you fucking lit up in this house you'll never see your wife again because I will have killed you."

"You wouldn't kill your best friend," he informed me before chugging an entire cup of beer.

"When the fuck did you become my best friend?" I asked him.

"Today!" he told me brightly. "Our girlfriends are best friends and so are we now." He tried to put his arm around me and I shrugged it off. "Come on, Edward, think about it. We both have kitties," he practically yelled that and I looked around to make sure nobody heard that shit. I didn't have a cat, Reed Girl did, damn it. "We both play quarterback, we're both hated by Emmett's girl, I've been in your bed, you gave me candy…" he kept babbling, listing all these random things that he decided made us friends.

"Jeez, alright, we're friends. You don't need to go announcing it," I interrupted. Better to just agree and shut him up.

He grinned and tried to hug me. I ducked away. "What the fuck is with you hugging things when you're high?" I demanded, shoving him when he came at me again.

"I like to cuddle. Wife's not here and neither are Jimmy and Hendrix." Fuck, he was pouting. I looked around for something to give him to hug. Anything was better than me.

"What about the bear? Did you leave that with Shorty?"

His face lit up. "I brought Bob with me! Ali said to take it to hold instead of her while we were gone. It's in my bag in the car."

"Well, off you go then. Go get your bear." Fucking weirdo. He ran off like someone lit his ass on fire. I quickly mixed Reed Girl's drink and headed back to the living room before he came back and tried to drag me into a threesome with him and fucking Bob.

I stopped short when I hit the living room. Hoover was standing in front of Reed Girl, one hand on her hip, the other holding her drink. I didn't know what she was saying but I knew my girl looked mighty pissed off. I hurried toward them but before I could get there, Hoover dumped the contents of her cup on my Reed Girl. Oh, fuck no.

I set our glasses down and rushed to her. "Bella, are you okay?" I demanded, pushing Hoover aside to get to her. She shrieked in outrage but I ignored her.

"I'm fine, Edward. Help me up." I pulled her to her feet. The drink had been something fruity and red. It was a good thing she was wearing a reddish shirt. I didn't think it would stain but I knew she had to be cold.

Reed Girl hip-checked me and stood in front of Hoover who was smirking at her. "You're pathetic, you know that?" Hoover glared at her and I tensed, ready to step in front of Reed Girl if necessary. "What, did he fuck you once?" Reed Girl asked. Oh crap, like we needed to discuss this?

"So?" Hoover asked, sounding bored.

"Has he taken you out since then? Has he even spoken to you?" I knew the answer to that but wisely stayed quiet while Hoover just stared at Reed Girl. She turned to me. "When did you fuck her?"

Christ. Why were we having this discussion? "I don't know, at the beginning of the year."

"So, months ago." She turned back to her. "And you're still chasing after him hoping what? That he'll fuck you and forget you again? How much of a hint do you need? Get a clue." She turned to me. "Edward, do you have anything I can wear?"

I nodded and held my hand out to her. She twined her fingers with mine and didn't spare Hoover another glance. I did, though. "There's cleaner underneath the sink in the kitchen. You better fucking scrub this couch clean and be gone by the time I get back down here. I don't want to see you again, do you understand me?"

Her blue eyes welled with tears and she nodded. "Good. Get busy."

Reed Girl tugged on my hand and I led her out of the living room and up the stairs. We walked in silence up both flights and then got into my room. I wasn't remotely elated that we were here, though. This was not like I hoped things would go tonight for sure. She stood in the center of my room and glanced around as I went to my closet.

What to give her? I had t-shirts and button downs which would be fine but maybe that wasn't enough. I reached in my closet and grabbed the jersey I'd worn in the first game I played last year. I handed it to her. "Will this do?" She looked at the jersey and then back up at me, nodding. "Okay. There's a bathroom in there if you want to clean up or something." She started to walk there and I stopped her. "Bella, I'm sorry that happened. I didn't invite her."

She laughed. "It doesn't really matter, does it? She'd have turned up some other place we were and said what she did."

"What did she say?" I asked, because I was an idiot, clearly.

Reed Girl shrugged. "Nothing I didn't expect. Just that I should give up because you'd lose interest in me the instant you got me in bed and that you needed a girl that understood you like she did."

Understood me? What the fuck? "Bella, she doesn't know…" she silenced me with a finger to my lip.

"I know she doesn't. I'm not going to lie and say that she didn't make me mad, but you didn't do anything wrong, at least not to me."

"What does that mean?" I asked.

She rolled her eyes. "I mean, she obviously feels more for you than you do for her. That's not really your fault, but you could have treated her better than you did. Just because you think that girls know the score doesn't mean that they don't think they might be the exception to the rule. They might be the one that could change you."

Change me? "Are we talking about her or you?" I asked, because I honestly wasn't sure.

She glared at me. "We're talking about her. I'm not trying to change you, but you are changing by all appearances. I guess that pisses her off. She probably won't be the only one."

With that, she left to go change in the bathroom. I sat on my bed and tried to figure out what her words meant. Was I changing? Well, I didn't care that had a maybe girlfriend, in fact, I sort of liked it. I didn't care that everybody had seen me kissing her. I did very much care that Hoover had attacked her for no reason other than the fact that I actually liked her. She deserved better than that.

The bathroom door opened and I started talking. "Listen, Bella, I truly am sorry. If you want, I can take you back to your hotel or you can stay in my room and I'll crash in the guest room. I can kick everybody out and I swear that I'll make damn sure she never comes near you again. I know I've been a dick to some girls but I don't think I'm one to you, at least I'm trying not to be because I really do like you. I think I want you to be my girlfriend even though I don't know how to have one and I'll probably fuck it up every five minutes but I am willing to try if you…"

"Edward, shut up and look at me," she demanded. Fuck. She was going to tell me she never wanted to see me again and I'd be stuck with crazy bitches like Hoover instead of cool chicks like Reed Girl.

I glanced up and nearly swallowed my tongue when I saw her standing in the doorway in my jersey and what appeared to be nothing else, because all I saw was a lot of bare leg. "Reed Girl?" I managed.

She walked across the room and stood in front of me. She was easily the hottest thing I'd ever seen. She put her hands on my shoulders and I looked up at her, holding on to the side of the bed. This could be a trick. She could be deliberately setting me up to slam me back down. She was good at that shit.

"I know you haven't been a dick to me, at least not once we truly started talking." I had to laugh at that. "I like you, too, and I think I want to be your girlfriend, even though I'll have to deal with crazy bitches like Tanya now and then."

"Who's Tanya?" I asked, which set her off into gales of laughter. What the fuck?

"That girl from downstairs who threw her drink on me. What did you think her name was?"

I shrugged because I honestly hadn't had a clue. "If I tell you what I call her, will you be pissed?" I asked, because it certainly wasn't the most flattering of names.

Reed Girl grinned. "I don't think I'm likely to defend her honor right now, Edward. What do you call her?"

That was a good point. "Hoover," I told her, waiting. Her lips twitched and then she threw back her head and laughed. It was fucking beautiful to watch her face light up and her hair cascade down her back.

"And now she has to clean the couch. Fitting."

I grinned because it really kind of was. "That's not why I called her that, though."

She shook her head. "I know." Of course she did.

"So, um…" I ran my hands down her sides and she shivered. "Did you want me to take you to the hotel or…" Please let her say no.


"Yeah?" I asked, holding my breath.

Sparking brown eyes met mine as she crouched and straddled me on the bed. "Shut up and kiss me." Done and done.

Chapter Text

Holy shit, this was actually happening. I had a nearly naked Reed Girl on top of me on my bed and her lips were hard and hot on mine. I ran my hands down her back and cupped her ass. Fuck me; there was nothing underneath my jersey. I moaned and pulled her to me, thrusting against her pussy. So close, I was so fucking close. I tore my lips from hers and move down to kiss her neck. Her head was thrown back and I nibbled and sucked on her flesh. My eyes crossed as she put her hands on my shoulders for leverage and pressed her hips to mine.

"Edward," she gasped as I licked at the curve of her neck.

"Yeah, baby?" I managed to grunt as her pussy moved against me. Fuck. If I wasn't inside her soon I was going to come in my jeans. When was the last time I'd dry humped a girl? I didn't have a clue.

"Are we really doing this?" she asked.

What was she talking about? "Feels pretty fucking real to me, Reed Girl," I told her as I thrust against her again. I was embarrassingly close to begging her to let me have her. Yet another thing I'd never done in my life but seemed to be more than willing to do now that she came along. What in the hell was going on with me?

She laughed and it was sexy as hell. "Not this. I mean this." She pointed to herself and back at me. "You and me."

Well duh. "Didn't I just ask you to be my girlfriend?" Seriously, less talking, more fucking. I knew better than to say that to her, but damn it, I needed to be inside her.

She laughed again. "No, you said you kinda wanted me to be your girlfriend and I think there might have been a maybe thrown in there for good measure."

Damn it. So we'd define it then. I released her sexy ass and took her face in my hands. Warm brown eyes studied me closely. "Reed Girl, er, Bella, I want you to be my girlfriend. Will you?"

She smiled brightly before kissing the life out of me. Hell, if that was going to be her response I could ask her to be my girlfriend every couple of minutes. "Yes," she murmured when we came up for air. "I'll be your girlfriend."

"Does that mean we can have sex now?" I demanded before I could stop myself. But really, I needed to know. It seemed if I was going to have a girlfriend, I should damn well get the benefits of having one and from what I could tell, sex would be the number one reason for being in some kind of relationship.

Reed Girl giggled and shook her head. Fuck. She must have seen the irritation on my face because she kissed me again. "I'm not saying no, I'm saying not right at this moment. There's something I kind of want to do first."

Like what? Suck my cock? I wouldn't protest. Let me eat her pussy? Absofuckinglutely. She could have all the foreplay she wanted so long as I got to touch, taste and fuck her until she screamed. "What do you want to do, Reed Girl?" I asked, touching her bare leg and sliding my hand underneath my jersey.

She slid off my lap and I frowned at her. "Where are you going?"

She bit her lip and eyed me. "I was kind of hoping we could go downstairs and get another drink."

That would require her to put on more clothes which would be a travesty of epic proportions. "Baby, I can go get you something if you…"

Reed Girl shook her head. "I don't think you get it. I want to go down with you and I want them to see me in this." She gestured at my jersey. "It's probably silly but I kind of want to show them that they can't run me off."

She wanted to lay claim to me. How fucking hot was that? Hell, I'd done it just a little bit ago so I couldn't blame her. "Okay, I get it." I couldn't contain my smile. "On one condition though."

She raised an eyebrow. "What condition?"

"You can put back on your skirt but leave the underwear off," I told her with a smirk.

She smirked back at me. "Deal." I watched as she walked into the bathroom and retrieved her skirt. She came back out without it on and smiled at me as she slowly pulled it up under my jersey. Watching a girl get dressed had never been fucking hot before but it was when it was Reed Girl and she was wearing my jersey.

I tried to ignore my aching cock as I stood and held a hand out to her. She laced her fingers with mine and smiled up at me. "Thanks for letting me be childish."

I laughed. "Fuck that, you're not being childish. You're showing a roomful of women how hot your guy is. Who could blame you?"

Reed Girl giggled and rose up on her tiptoes to kiss me. I may have taken that opportunity to grab her ass again. "Trust you to have an interesting perspective on it," she told me when she pulled away.

"It is what it is, Reed Girl. If you happen to want to mount me on the living room couch, just to show them how much I really belong to you, I won't utter a word of complaint."

She shook her head, her eyes twinkling. "You're such a caring boyfriend."

I grinned. "That's me, baby." We got to my doorway and I stopped. "Uh, we are coming back up here pretty quickly right?"

Reed Girl laughed. "Yep. I'm not remotely done with you." Hell yes. "But I don't know if we're having sex already." Hell no. "We'll just have to see if you can make me want to, though."

What, like that would be hard? "Oh, you'll want me, Reed Girl."

She shrugged and pulled me out of the bedroom. We'd just see about that. Challenge accepted, Reed Girl. I'll have you begging for my cock before the night is over. We made our way downstairs and I saw that the party had only gotten bigger in our absence. There were wall to wall people and quite a few eyes were on us already when we reached the last few steps.

I glanced at Reed Girl when I felt her hand tense in mine. She squared her shoulders and raised her head, her eyes flashing with determination. It was sexy but also kind of sad that she felt she had to brace herself before facing this bunch of losers. I couldn't say I was sorry for my past, because I'd had a lot of fucking fun, but I was sorry that it was affecting her. She didn't deserve heat for getting me. She was incredible and she deserved me. They didn't. If they couldn't accept that, fuck them.

"Hi, Edward!" a voice called. I glanced to my right and saw Heather Thompson from high school smiling at me.

I gave her a nod and pulled Reed Girl in front of me. "Heather, this is my girlfriend Bella. Bella, this is Heather. We went to high school together." I nearly added the fact that I'd never fucked her but I figured that would just get me in trouble.

"Hi!" she chirped brightly at Reed Girl, who smiled and said hello back. "I can't believe Edward has a girlfriend. Never thought I'd see the day."

I smirked and put my hand on Reed Girl's hip. She laughed. "I didn't either, but here I am."

"Yes you are." Heather looked around the room. "There are a lot of girls that would kill to be in your place. Good luck!" And she was off with a wave. Reed Girl turned to look at me and I shook my head.

"No, I never slept with her."

She laughed. "Thanks for sharing, but that wasn't what I was wondering."

"What then?" I asked as I steered her to the liquor.

"You knew her name."

I rolled my eyes. "Well of course I do. I grew up with a bunch of these people. You tend to learn people's names after twelve years or so."

She laughed. "Most people don't take quite that long."

I mixed her screwdriver and handed it to her. "I'm not most people."

"Don't I know it?" I took her hand and pulled her back into the living room. Newton was sitting on our couch making out with some girl I thankfully hadn't seen before.

"Newton," I said. That was all it took for him to stand up and lead his chick away. I studied the couch and sighed. Hoover had obviously tried to clean the cushion but she'd sucked at it. Mom was going to be pissed, though that's what she got for having a white couch anyway. Reed Girl was eying the couch and scowling, probably reliving getting a drink dumped on her. I yanked the cushion off the couch and threw it behind me, causing her to laugh. I sat and patted my lap with a grin. She chuckled and sat on me. I kissed her neck and she curled into me.

"Thanks," she murmured.

"For what?" I asked as I put my hand on her bare knee, hooking a couple fingers underneath her skirt and stroking her silky skin.

"For making me laugh when I least expect to," was her response. Well, hell, I could keep right on doing that.

"Not a problem, baby."

I don't know how long we sat there, but it was kind of nice having her in my arms. Several people came up to talk to us and get introduced to Reed Girl. Garrett, James, Marcus and his girlfriend all stopped by to say hi. The guys were actually cool to her and the girls were tolerable. Reed Girl was her typical charming and sexy self and I got more than one jealous look from my teammates. That's right, fuckers, she's mine. She was wearing my name and everything. It was really hot and I kept tracing the letters of my name on her back. Not that I was thinking of marriage and shit like my sap of a brother and stoner boy, but it was kinda like I was marking my territory. I'd never wanted to do that before.

Eric and his stupid girlfriend came over. "Hey Cullen, great party," he told me, swaying on his feet. He was smashed and I fought not to punch him in the face for inviting Hoover to my house.

"Yeah," I muttered. Eric's girlfriend gave Reed Girl a bitchy look. She seemed not to be bothered by it but I was. "What's your fucking problem?" I asked her.

"You made my friend cry," she told me, but kept her glare on my girl.

"Your friend threw her drink on my girlfriend. She's lucky all I did was make her clean it up, which she did a half assed job of anyway," I replied. It was amazing how easy the word girlfriend was to say now.

"She's in love with you! The least you could have done was not thrown your new girl in her face!" she told me hotly.

What the ever living fuck was she talking about? Love? We fucked once! "Look, whoever you are, I don't know what to tell you but your friend was nothing but…" I broke off when Reed Girl placed a hand over my mouth. "What?" I mumbled. She shook her head.

"He wasn't throwing me in her face, since he didn't know she'd even be here. Did he invite her?" The girl glared at my Reed Girl but didn't answer. "I'm sorry your friend got hurt but the truth of the matter is that they hooked up a long time ago and nothing has happened since. It seems to me that she's trying to hold on to something that she never had. If you're any kind of friend to her, you'll help her move on instead of encouraging her to go after someone who's made it clear he's not interested."

Fuck she was awesome. Bitchy cheerleader chick opened her mouth but had no response. She made an angry noise and pulled an apologetic looking Eric away.

"Yorkie!" I called. He looked over his shoulder and I shot him a look. "We'll be talking later." He paled and nodded. I wasn't going to kick his ass but I was damn well going to make sure that he kept his chick and her friends the hell away from my girl.

Reed Girl touched my cheek. "Are you okay? You're not going to hit him are you?"

I laughed and kissed her palm. "No, I'm not going to hit him." Her eyes darkened so I kissed her palm again. "Are we done down here?" I asked anxiously. I'd done my time, hadn't I? Every girl in the place had seen the two of us by now, her in my jersey and sitting on my lap. I hadn't stopped touching and kissing her even when my teammates were talking to us. I probably looked like a pussy whipped motherfucker but as long as I was getting Reed Girl's pussy, I was okay with that.

She grinned. "Yeah, I think we are." Before she could say another word I stood with her in my arms, making sure to cover her ass so nobody could see what was for my eyes only. She was laughing as I carried her through the crowd. People were staring at me like I'd grown another head or something but I didn't give a shit. I just looked at her smiling face and grinned back at her.

"Cuddles!" I heard a voice shout and sighed as Jasper patted my back and then Reed Girl's head. He was holding Bob the bear and looked high as a kite.

"More than cuddles, hopefully," I replied. Reed Girl giggled as I carried her away from him and up the stairs.

"You're putting on a hell of a show," she told me.

I got what she meant but honestly this wasn't a show anymore. Some of it had been but not now. I was just really fucking anxious to be alone with her. "It's not a show," I told her as we reached the second floor.

She bit her lip. "Really?"

"Really," I assured her as we made the climb to the top floor. "I just want to be alone with my girlfriend for awhile, if that's okay." A smile lit up her face so I had a feeling it was. I carried her into my room and sat her on my bed before I shut and locked the door. I didn't need my brother or anybody else barging in on my alone time with Reed Girl. With my luck, Jasper and his fucking bear would come in for cuddles if I didn't lock it.

I turned and Reed Girl was kneeling on the bed, watching me. This was weird. It felt like it was all momentous or some shit when really it was just making out and hopefully sex, right? She smiled and gestured to me to come toward her, so of course I did quickly. I leaned forward and placed my arms on either side of her. She ran her fingers over my jaw before kissing me lightly and pulling back just when I was about to deepen it. I frowned at her and she bit her lip.

"This is weird."

Weird? That was fucking insulting. "What's weird about it?"

She shrugged. "It was easier to sleep with you when I didn't know you. I wasn't nervous at all then."

Oh. I got it. Maybe she had that same weird feeling I had when I watched her from the doorway. There was nothing to be nervous about, though. I was good at the physical part, of that I was sure. We didn't need to make this complicated. "It doesn't have to be weird. Just, you know, do what we did before."

Reed Girl's whole face lit up. "So we should fight over you breaking my reed and you should challenge me out of my clothes?"

I grinned and leaned forward until she was forced to fall back on the bed. "You broke your reed." She opened her mouth to protest and I kissed her hard. She was gasping for air by time I broke our kiss. "And I'd rather take them off myself. I missed out on that last time."

Big brown eyes smiled up at me as she licked her lips. "Well, far be it from me to deprive you of that a second time out."

I chuckled. "Now who's the caring one?" I started kissing her before she could reply and lowered my body down on top of her. It felt good to have her beneath me, her hands on my back, pulling me to her as she pushed her body into mine. I couldn't just kiss her and thank fuck I didn't have to limit myself to just that. I moved my hands along her perfect curves and rolled us onto our sides so I could get a good handful of her tits.

She moaned and arched into me as I felt her up, squeezing those perky boobs above my shirt before I slid my hands down and under the material to feel hot, warm, soft skin. Fuck she felt good. I grabbed her tits again and moaned myself when I felt how hard her nipples were. I had to taste them.

"R…Bella, fuck, I need to touch you," I managed. I probably shouldn't call her Reed Girl while we were in bed together. She reached down and started to lift my shirt off her and I said a silent thank you to God or whoever the fuck was allowing this to happen. Then I brushed her fingers aside and did it myself, watching as each inch of her body was revealed. "You look hot as shit in my clothes, but you look even better out of them," I told her. She laughed as I lifted the jersey over her head and tossed it aside.

"I like wearing your jersey." I liked her half naked body lying in my bed. Fuck, had she been this hot the first time? No wonder I couldn't get her out of my head.

"Keep it." She could have anything she wanted so long as she let me take it off her at the end of the day.

Reed Girl grinned. "Yeah?"

"Mmmm hmmm," I murmured as my lips closed around her left nipple. I was done talking about clothes. Clothes were completely overrated. She shouldn't wear them whenever she was with me. This much I knew. Reed Girl moaned and tugged on my hair as I nibbled and sucked on her. So fucking hot. I slid my hand down her stomach and rubbed her pussy through her skirt as she writhed against me.

"Edward," she gasped as my fingers teased her. She was so hot that I could feel her through the material. She reached down my back and tugged on my t-shirt. I reluctantly stopped touching her and sucking on her nipple to help her pull it off me. Her fingers traced the contours of my chest and she licked her lips as she checked me out. I loved the way she looked at me.

"Like what you see, baby?"

She laughed. "Maybe a little bit."

I smirked as I slid my hand under her skirt and touched her pussy at last. She was so fucking wet. "Your body's telling me it's more than a little bit, Bella." I stroked her clit and watched her bite her lip to keep from crying out. "You don't have to be quiet, baby."

"There's a whole party of people downstairs, Edward," she muttered.

"And not one of them will come up here if they value their life. Plus the stereo's on. Nobody can hear." I rolled her clit between my fingers and she let loose a little cry. That was more fucking like it. My cock needed to be buried inside her soon. I tugged her skirt off and there she was, naked on my bed at last, just as she was meant to be. This hadn't been the bed I planned to take her on but I'd get her into my dorm room when we got home. And her room. And maybe on the field. Fuck…I'd love to do her on the Seminole head. I doubted she'd let me but I was totally going to add that to the spank bank.

I sat up and watched her face as I pushed her legs further apart and started to finger her pussy again, gently touching her clit and rubbing circles over it. She pressed her head back against my pillow and thrust herself at me so I picked up my pace. I moved my fingers down her slit and pushed one inside her. Hell yes. So fucking hot and tight. I bent forward, my eyes on hers as I ran my tongue over her clit.

"Fuck!" she cried and I grinned as I sucked and nibbled on her while I fucked her with one of my fingers. I was good at this shit; of course, I'd made it a point to learn how to pleasure a girl, but I rarely took the time to do it anymore. I'd clearly been missing out because watching Reed Girl thrash around on my bed and tasting and feeling her was one of the hottest things I'd ever seen in my life.

I pushed a second finger inside her and swirled her clit with my tongue as I slid my fingers in and out of her. I tried not to focus on how fucking tight she was because I was damn well not going to come in my fucking jeans; in or on Reed Girl was the only option for that. I grazed her clit with my teeth and she yelled my name. Fuck yes, I could get used to the sound of that. I did it again and curled my fingers inside her, making her hips come off the bed as she came, clenching on my fingers, growing wetter still. I licked and sucked as she convulsed against me. So fucking hot. I'd been right, she had screamed tonight just like I told her she would. And that was without my cock pounding into her. When she came down, I kissed my way back up her body, nipping at her sexy stomach on my way back up to her. She looked a little dazed but kissed me back when my lips met hers. I had to smile at the effect I'd had on her.

The only thing standing between my cock and her pussy was my jeans and boxers. I thrust against her as I kissed her, her tongue meeting mine despite where mine had just been. That was hot too. Everything about this girl was.

She ran her hands down my back and squeezed my ass, which only made me push into harder. "Fuck, Bella," I murmured as I kissed my way along her jaw.

She laughed. "I thought that's what you were working toward."

I nipped her neck and made her shriek and squirm, which made my cock ache even more. "I think I've earned it." I looked down at her amused face. She was so fucking gorgeous. How had I not seen her before?

"Earned it, have you? I only came once." Fuck. How many times did I need to get her off before I did? My face must have fallen because she dissolved in giggles and touched my face. "I'm just kidding, Edward. This has been a pretty big day for you. You're headed to the national championship game, you solidified your Heisman win, you didn't freak out over being seen kissing me on national TV, you asked me to be your girlfriend…are you sure you can handle anymore? I don't want your brain to short circuit."

This girl would be the death of me. I smirked at her. "I think I can handle anything you can throw at me, Reed Girl."

She laughed and pushed at my chest. I rolled over and she rolled on top of me. "You think so, Cullen?" She sat up and flicked at the button on my jeans.

"I know so, Bella." I bucked my hips up toward her and watched her eyes darken. She undid my jeans and tugged them off, along with my boxers. There was something beyond sexy about watching her undress me. She smiled at me as threw my clothes on the floor and straddled me again. Her right hand wrapped around my cock and she pumped it. I fucking twitched in her hand I was so turned on.

"I bet I could make you come without even touching you," she told me. Fuck. That was incredibly hot but I didn't want to test that theory today. I needed her to touch me, to taste me, to fuck me. Whatever she wanted.

"Please, don't," I begged. Yeah, I had no fucking shame when it came to this girl. I was fucked but I didn't care as long as I got fucked by her.

"Well, since you said please." I watched as she moved down my legs and bent forward. Holy shit! Was she? Fuck yes, those beautiful lips of hers wrapped around my cock and I was in pure heaven. Her tongue flicked over my head and I bucked toward her mouth. She pulled back and grinned at me. "Do you have a condom?"

That was a dumb question. I groped for my nightstand and got it open as she licked the underside of my cock. Christ. If I didn't hurry I would come before I got the chance to be inside her again. My fingers closed around a condom and I grabbed it and tossed it on my stomach. She laughed and kissed my head before picking it up and ripping it open. She kept her eyes on mine as she rolled it down my length. Holy crap. Think unsexy thoughts. My ninth grade English teacher who smelled like moth balls. Dad's head nurse who could have played a witch in any horror movie. Perfect, capable fingers moving down my cock and a tight, wet pussy inches away from me. Fuck.

"You with me, Cullen? I was really hoping you'd make me scream."

"I already did," I told her, gripping her waist as she hovered over me.

"Eh, that wasn't my best scream." She grinned at me as she slowly, torturously lowered herself down onto my cock. Fuck, she was squeezing the hell out of me and I wanted to come so bad but there was no way in hell I was doing that before she came again. Finally I was all the way inside her and it felt like pure fucking heaven.

"Seems to me you're the one in control here, so if you don't come again, it's on you," I managed. She laughed and I felt it vibrate on my cock. Damn that was awesome.

"Oh, I fully intend to come again," she told me as she began to ride me, moving her hips slowly. She was so fucking sexy, touching her breasts as she moved on top of me. I gripped her waist tighter and pulled her onto me a little more forcefully as I thrust up to meet her. She gasped and licked her lips. "Oh yeah, that feels about right."

Damn right it did. I did it again and she threw back her head and began bouncing up and down on my cock faster. Holy shit, what a sight. She pulled on her nipples as she moved up and down, our bodies slapping together. I flexed my muscles as I thrust up to meet her.

I moved my right hand over to her pussy, pinching her clit at the same time as she did so with her nipples. "Shit!" she shouted and began to ride me faster. Sexiest thing ever. I flicked her clit back and forth quickly because I knew I wasn't going to last much longer, not with the sight of her gorgeous body riding me. I pinched it again and thrust upward, angling myself a little and there it was. She yelled my name and came. It was so fucking tight that I thought my dick might snap off but instead I erupted inside her, coming harder than I ever had in my life.

"Holy shit," I managed when she collapsed on top of me. I was pretty sure I'd blacked out for a minute or two. She was unmoving on top of me. "Reed Girl, are you okay?" She sort of nodded and kissed my chest. I ran my hands down her back. Her skin, hell, my skin was slick with sweat. This was the best workout ever. I needed to make it part of my daily regimen.

She eventually lifted her head and moved off of me. I might have sort of whimpered when my dick slid out of her. I couldn't help it though; it was awesome being inside her. She laughed lightly as she lay next to me. I slid an arm around her and pulled her against me.

"You definitely screamed louder that time," I told her.

She giggled and rested her head on my shoulder. "That's because I'm damn good."

I couldn't argue with her. "That you are, Reed Girl." We lay there for a couple minutes but then the condom started to feel gross so I released her and sat up, taking it off and heading to the bathroom to clean up. When I came out, she had my jersey back on and she was looking around on the floor. "What are you doing?"

She picked up her skirt and looked up at me. "I didn't know if you wanted me to go or…" she broke off and shrugged.

That was just stupid. "What the fuck? You think I'd kick you out now that I got laid?"

She raised an eyebrow. "Wouldn't you?"

Well, sure, with other girls but not her. "Not with you," I replied truthfully.

A smile broke over her face. "So you want me to sleep with you?"

I walked over to her and took her skirt out of her hands and threw it back on the floor. "I don't know how much sleep we'll get, but yeah."

She laughed as I steered her back toward the bed. "You haven't had enough of me yet?"

I tumbled both of us onto my mattress. "I'm just getting started with you, Reed Girl." I meant it in more than one way, too. It was weird as hell but it felt good.

"I'm glad to hear that, Cullen." I kissed her and she started to take off my jersey but I stilled her. "Jersey on this time."

"Sexy," she purred, kissing me again. Yeah, she was, especially wearing my name and number.

"You look nearly as hot as I do in it," I told her, which made her laugh her ass off as I intended.

"You have such a healthy ego."

"I'm healthy in a lot of ways. Let me prove it to you."

She grinned and kissed me hard. "I'll give you a shot, I suppose."

"One is all I need," I reassured her.

"Well, if that's all you can manage…" she broke off as I kissed her and rubbed my already hardening cock against her pussy.

"I can manage plenty, Reed Girl."

"So I see." She reached between us and squeezed my dick.

"Fuck me," I groaned.

She laughed. "I just did. It's your turn now."

She was the best. "Mine," I told her. "Just like you are." She was my girl now and I was going to do my damndest to keep her around. There was nobody like her.

Reed Girl's smile fell and her eyes stared into mine. "Yours."

I was wrong. Declaring herself mine was the hottest thing she'd ever said or done. I kissed her and reached for another condom. I got it out and ripped it open, breaking our kiss to put it on before I slid inside her. My eyes stayed on hers as I started to move slowly in and out of her. This time was different. I didn't want to make her scream and it wasn't a challenge or a race or anything else. I just wanted to keep that look, whatever it was, on her face. It was…important.

My fingers ended up tangled with hers, which was another first for me. I'd never held hands with a girl while I fucked her. I squeezed her hands lightly and she answered with pressure of her own. She sighed and kissed me softly as our hips moved slowly together. Our kisses got a little more heated as our bodies moved a little faster.

Her legs wrapped around my waist, taking me deeper. She made sexy little noises as I kissed her cheeks, her neck. Her thumbs moved lazily over the backs of mine, just feather light touches that I could feel all the way through my body. I nipped her ear. "You're so fucking beautiful." The words were in my head and out of my lips before I could think about what I was saying. Her eyes flew to mine and she smiled right before my lips captured hers again.

Our movements sped up, our hips coming together faster, her legs gripping my hips as I thrust into her. I could feel my balls tightening and knew it wouldn't be long. "I'm going to come soon," I told her, swirling my hips.

She moaned. "Me too. Do that again." I did and then I pulled out and thrust into her hard. She bit her lip so I did it again. "Yes!" Once more and she came around me, thank God.

I let myself go and it was her name that I said as I did. "Bella." Her eyes flew open and met mine as we both came together. I felt all warm and weird inside. I didn't understand it but I knew I'd never felt it before. I pulled out of her and kissed her once before hurrying to the bathroom. I got rid of the condom and stared at myself I the mirror. Did I look different? No. Same hot guy I always was. Why did I feel like this? What was it?

"Edward?" she called from the bedroom. Right. Whatever this was, I would figure it out later. I didn't want her to think I wanted her to leave again.

I came out of the bathroom and joined her in bed, wrapping my arms around her.

"Are you okay?" she asked, staring at me.

"Yes, I'm fine, baby." I kissed her cheek. "Just tired or something. You were right. It was a big day for me."

"Okay," she said softly, looking down.

Shit. I tilted her head up to look at me. "And this was the best part of it."

She smiled and her eyes lit up with it. She really was stunning. "Really? Even better than winning the game?"

Surprisingly, or not, the answer was yes. "Yeah."

"Sex over football?" she asked.

"Sex with you over football," I corrected.

She laughed. "I'm flattered."

I kissed her and tried to ignore whatever the hell that weird feeling was that wouldn't go away. Maybe I was coming down with something. "You should be. I've never said that before."

She smiled brightly. "You've never had a girlfriend before either."

That was for damn sure. "Nope." I rubbed at my stomach and closed my eyes. I just needed to sleep it off. "I kind of like it." I think I did, anyway. The weird thing didn't hurt, just felt kind of fluttery.

"Me too, Edward," she replied softly. I opened my eyes and saw that hers were closed, her head resting on my pillow. I brushed a strand of hair off her cheek and pulled her closer, ignoring that flopping in my stomach. Whatever it was, it'd be gone in the morning.

Chapter Text

So this was why I never shared my bed with a girl before. Waking up to a nearly naked Reed Girl might have been fun were I not dangling halfway off my fucking bed. I pushed myself up and saw that even though she was probably about half my size, she was easily taking up three fourths of the bed-laying at a 45 degree angle, her head on my pillow, her leg tossed over mine. Her face was partially covered by her hair and her nose was scrunched up like she smelled something bad. It was actually kind of cute except for the bed hogging of course.

I rolled over and planted my feet, stifling a curse at just how fucking close I'd been to hitting that floor while I was asleep. Reed Girl, as if she sensed that she had even more room, let out a little sigh and moved into the spot I'd just vacated. We were going to have to work on her sleeping issues if we were going to spend the night together again, which we damn well were going to do if I had anything to say about it.

Twice last night, then again at about four in the morning when I'd woken to her lips moving over my chest. My girl had some fucking stamina, let me tell you. I couldn't be happier about it either. My clock said it was nine and I knew my parents would be getting home soon if they weren't already. Though I wanted to wake her and take her again, I left her sleeping while I got in the shower. I cleaned up and pulled on a fresh pair of boxers, jeans and a t-shirt. Reed Girl hadn't moved from my abandoned position, so I left her and wandered downstairs to see the damage. Hopefully my moron of a brother had cleaned up, or made some of the freshman do it.

I got to the bottom of the stairs and headed into the living room, as that was where the majority of the partygoers had been. The cushion I'd thrown behind the couch was back where it belonged but thankfully the stain was the only damage I could see. There were three trash bags sitting by the front door, filled to the brim with plastic cups and bottles. Good, those fuckers had cleaned up. The bar looked like it needed wiping down, but the liquor was put away so all was good there. No bodies were strewn around, so it looked like everybody had taken off. Awesome.

I wandered into the kitchen and nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw my mother sitting at the table, drinking a cup of coffee and scanning the newspaper. Her eyes met mine and she raised an eyebrow. What the hell did that mean?

"Hi, Mom."

"Good morning, dear. Did you have a good time last night?"

Fuck yes I did. Three times over, thank you very much. Not that I was about to tell her that. "Uh, yeah, it was great."

"I'm sure it was."

There was something in her tone that made me nervous. "Sorry about the couch cushion."

She glanced at me and then back at the paper. "That's what you're sorry for?"

Crap, what was she getting at? She put down the section she was looking at and picked up another, opening it wide. There, right on the front page was a picture of me celebrating my victory with the team. Smaller and to the right of it was a picture of me and Reed Girl kissing outside the locker room. God damn it, the paper was running that shit too? Not that I hadn't expected her to see it, but did she have to have a copy?

She eyed me and didn't say a word, keeping the picture pointed at me almost accusingly. What the fuck? I thought she'd be glad I had a girlfriend. She was always asking me about damn girls for crying out loud. "I'm sorry I got caught kissing my girlfriend?" I asked. Was that what she wanted?

Mom glared at me. "Why would you be sorry for kissing your girlfriend?"

Fuck if I knew. She seemed like she wanted me to be sorry for it. "I'm not?" I ran a hand through my hair, completely baffled as to what her damn issue was. "What is it you want me to apologize for?"

She set the paper down and stood, holding the rest of it in her hand. She walked over and smacked me with it. "What the hell, Mom?"

"Why is it that I have to find out that my son, that both my sons, have girlfriends or fiancées through the media?" she yelled.

Fuck. This was all Emmett's damn fault for his stupid Jumbotron proposal. She whacked me with the paper again and I ducked and moved away from her. "I didn't have a girlfriend until last night!" I protested. It was the fucking truth after all. "Hit Emmett, he's the one who proposed to a girl who won't even talk to him."

"Oh, you can bet I'll be talking to your brother when he wakes up. He was proposing to a girl, right? Because he's in my bed with some guy and they have a teddy bear between them."

Ha, that was priceless. I grabbed Emmett's phone from the counter. "I have to get a picture of that. I'll be right back and explain everything, okay?" She glared but didn't come after me with the paper again so I thought I was safe. I dashed down the hall and peeked into my parent's bedroom and damn if Mom wasn't telling the truth. Emmett was lying on my dad's side of the bed; his arms wrapped around the neck of Bob the bear. Jasper was even worse, lying with his head across the bear's legs, right next to my brother's crotch. I laughed quietly as I snapped several pictures and emailed them to myself. Shorty and Blondie would have a field day when they saw that shit and I knew Reed Girl would love it.

I went back to the kitchen and Mom had resumed her seat. "Thanks." I set his phone down and sat across from her. "What do you want to know?"

"How about, who's this girl you're all over in this picture?" she asked.

Of course she had to start with me instead of my dumbfuck brother. "Her name is Bella Swan. We only met a week ago but we've been hanging out and talking and stuff and last night we made it official."

"Bella," she repeated, smiling. "She's very pretty."

"She's fucking beautiful," I corrected. That got me a light swat with the rolled up paper but my mom didn't look pissed. No, just as I feared, she looked thrilled.

"Watch your language," she scolded. She tolerated anything but the f word but we all constantly slipped. "Yes, she's beautiful. Tell me about her."

Right. "She's my age, a sophomore. Her parents are divorced. Her mom lives here and her dad's in Washington. He's a cop. She went to school there and then came down here to get out of the cold I guess." I was actually kind of fucking impressed that I remembered that shit. It was a good thing, too, or my mom would have kicked my ass if all I could tell her was that she was awesome in bed. "She's in the band. We met when she crashed into me on the field before last week's game."

Mom laughed. "That's a fun way to meet. It makes for a good story when people ask."

Who would be asking? "Right."

"Is she here?" Mom asked. Fuck. I could try to lie and sneak her out but Mom would know. She always knew.

"Yeah. She's sleeping." Mom nodded and didn't get all pissed off about that, not that she wasn't used to it. Em had been sneaking girls in and out since he was fifteen and well, so had I. We'd been caught more times than I cared to think about.

"Good, I can't wait to meet her." That wasn't remotely shocking. "Tell me what in the hell that was about with your brother?"

"I'm surprised you didn't hunt him down at the game and ask him," I muttered.

"I tried. He was already gone and he didn't answer his phone. Tell me," she demanded.

I shrugged. "Rose is actually one of Bella's roommates. I guess they dated last year and it got serious and Emmett got stupid, like usual."

She narrowed her eyes. "What did he do?"

How much to tell? "He, uh, pushed her away and wasn't nice about it. I ran into her when I went to Reed, uh, Bella's apartment and she laid into my ass about what a jerk my brother and I both were so I called Emmett to ask what he did."

"What did you call Bella? Reed?" Mom made a face. Damn it.

"Reed Girl, that's what I called her when she yelled at me for breaking her reed after the game."

"Hmm, I see. Carry on."

Damn it, was I a chick? Why I was sitting around discussing relationship stuff with my mom? Reed Girl needed to get her fine ass down here pronto and save me from the inquisition. "When I called him, he freaked out and threatened to break my arm if I touched Rose." Just thinking about that pissed me off. "He came out and tried to talk to her at a party but it didn't go well." I smirked as I remembered his naked ass jogging up the street. "So, Jasper, the idiot that's in bed with your son, told him he should get her kittens and rainbows, so he did."

"He bought her a kitten?" my mother asked, her voice filled with as much disbelief as mine had been when I discovered the same thing.

"Two. And Jasper got two for Shorty." At her questioning look, I knew I had to clarify. "Alice, Bella's other roommate and now Jasper's girlfriend."

She laughed. "Convenient."

No, it sucked ass. "Not really. He named the cats Emmett Junior and Rainbow. Rose kept Emmett and I gave Rainbow to Bella." I muttered the last part but I knew she heard because she gasped and clapped her hands. Jeez.

"He also got her balloons and flowers, which she popped and beheaded respectively. She threw the damn things all over me when I brought Bella home from our date." Mom thought that was funny as hell because she threw back her head and guffawed loudly. "Nice, Mom, I just tell you Blondie threw shit at me and you think it's funny."

"It is. I'm picturing you covered in petals and it's quite a sight," she giggled. "Sounds like Emmett has his work cut out for him."

"Yeah. Blondie is a scary bitch," I told her, which earned me another whack with the paper on my cheek. "Ow! Damn, Mom, what was that for?"

"Edward, I don't want to ever hear you call a woman a bitch again. I don't care what she does to you, that is not appropriate."

Fucking hell. Blondie was a bitch who'd done nothing but be hateful to me the minute she laid eyes on me. "She punched me in the mouth for no reason."

"I don't care. And I doubt it was with no reason."

Of course Mom was already on her side. "It was because I brought your idiot son to the party so he could try to get her back."

Mom held up a hand. "Maybe hitting you was wrong, but you still don't call girls names. I'd hoped that having a girlfriend would make you respect women more. I see I was mistaken."

What in the hell? Had she been storing this up for years? Maybe we should return to the girlfriend thing since that seemed to make her happy. "I respect Bella."

"Good. That's a start at least."

I smiled at her. "I've always respected you."

She laughed. "No, you've always used your charm on me to get your way and I've always seen through it. You were just too cute to say no to when you were younger."

She didn't say no to me now but I wasn't going to point that out. "I'm sorry I called Blondie a bitch."

Mom shook her head. "Sure you are. Baby steps," she murmured. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to hear that or what in the hell it meant, so I didn't say anything. "Are you hungry? Does Bella like pancakes?"

Crap. "I don't know, we haven't had breakfast together before."

Mom chuckled and stood up. "Well, go wipe down the bar and use this cleaner on the cushion. How did it get so covered?"

I groaned. "Uhhh…"

"I'm clumsy and I tripped, spilling it all over me and the couch. I'm so sorry, Mrs. Cullen." Both of us whirled and there was Reed Girl in the doorway, her hair wet from a shower, still in my jersey though she'd put her skirt on before coming downstairs. She looked fucking amazing and I was really sorry my mom was home. I had a feeling I couldn't talk her into going back upstairs for another fuck with my parents in the house.

My mother practically shoved me on the way to get to Reed Girl. "That's quite alright, dear. This house has seen its fair share of mishaps with three men having the run of the place." She folded her into a hug. Reed Girl's eyes widened but she hugged my mom back. I shrugged apologetically. I knew that shit was going to happen. She was too damn excited that I had a girl in my life to do anything else.

"I'm so glad to meet you, Bella." Mom pulled back and beamed at her. "Please, call me Esme. Mrs. Cullen is my monster-in-law." I snickered at that. Mom and Grandma had hated each other from day one according to Dad.

"Esme," Reed Girl repeated, laughing. "It's nice to meet you, too." Her cheeks were a healthy shade of pink so I walked over to her and put my arm around her in support. She didn't need to be embarrassed. Mom might be a pain in the ass about my manners and how I talked about women, apparently, but she didn't give a shit that Bella spent the night. She was too happy that I had a girlfriend to be bothered.

Mom's smile could have lit the fucking stadium she looked so pleased when she saw me touching Reed Girl. "So, Bella, do you like pancakes?"

Reed Girl smiled. "I do. Can I help with them?"

"Please, no, sit down. You just woke up and could use some recovery time I imagine." I couldn't help it, that shit made me laugh. Reed Girl blushed harder and my mother threw one hand over her mouth and smacked me with the other. "I didn't mean it like that!" she exclaimed.

"I'll just…could you give me that cleaner? I'll clean the cushion," Reed Girl stammered, all cute and shit.

"Oh dear, you will not. Edward will do it. It was his party, after all. Please, take a seat. You can keep me company while I cook."

Reed Girl's eyes were pleading with me and I wasn't going to leave her alone in my mother's clutches. Inspiration struck. "First she needs to go see Emmett and Jasper." She raised a brow and I steered her out of the kitchen. "They're in bed together with that stupid bear."

"You're kidding!"

"Oh yes, it's quite a sight. Show her, Edward." Mom nudged us out of the kitchen and I took Reed Girl's hand and led her down the hallway.

She peeked in and started laughing right away. It looked like they'd moved closer together. "I wonder if I take the bear if they'll hug each other," I muttered. Bella giggled harder and I tugged her out of the room. "Sorry about my mom," I whispered. "She's kind of excited that I have a girlfriend."

Reed Girl laughed. "I can see that. She seems really nice."

Nice wasn't the word for her. "Nice to you, maybe. I've been hit with the newspaper several times over for not telling her I had a girlfriend and Emmett not telling her about Blondie and me calling Blondie a bitch…" Reed Girl glared at me so I shut up.

"You called Rose a bitch?"

Damn it all to hell. "Uh, yeah, but I already apologized for it. You have to admit she has been one to me, right?"

Reed Girl hesitated. "She's…difficult, but she's been hurt very badly and it was by your brother. It wasn't right to blame you for that but she had no one else to blame."

What the fuck ever. I wasn't going to argue about it anymore. I'd just get in more trouble if I did. "Fine. Why'd you tell my mom that you spilled the drink?"

She shrugged. "Do you really want to tell her the whole sordid story? I don't think she'd be very happy about your past coming back to haunt me like that."

I frowned. "I'm really fucking sorry, Bella."

She reached up and touched my cheek. "It's okay. I handled it, hopefully. I knew this wasn't going to be easy but I'm here." I kissed her and she wrapped her arms around me. I pushed her against the wall and lost myself in her. That damn feeling from last night was back and it was starting to scare the shit out of me because I only felt it when I was with her.

A chuckle caused us to break apart and I saw my dad and mom standing in the kitchen doorway watching us. Reed Girl was blushing again but I grinned. "Dad, this is Bella. Bella, this is my dad, Carlisle."

She pulled away from me and walked down the hall. "It's nice to meet you, Dr. Cullen."

Dad turned to Mom. "Did she Mrs. Cullen you?"

Mom laughed. "Yes, and I told her not to call me that ever again. You can call him Carlisle, honey."

"Sorry, this is…" Reed Girl broke off and Mom laughed.

"Please, don't be embarrassed. We couldn't be happier to have you here, trust me. Can I take you up on that offer of help? With four men in the house, we better make more than just pancakes." Mom winked at me as she pulled Reed Girl into the kitchen. I started to follow but Dad slapped the cleaner into my hands.

"Come on, son; let your Mom have her moment." Damn it. I followed him into the living room and he picked up the cushion. "That's one fine piece of ass you've got there."

What the fuck? I turned on him, fist clenched and he laughed and held up his hands. "I was just checking."

Checking? Checking what? How the fuck fast he could piss me off? It didn't take long, that was for damn sure. "What in the hell were you checking?"

"To see if she mattered. I'm glad that she does."

"That's fucked up, Dad. You shouldn't talk about my girl like that."

He smirked. "You've never cared before."

It was true. He'd made comments about other chicks I banged and I'd laugh and smile along with him. But Reed Girl was different. He couldn't do that shit. "She's different."

"So I see. I'm glad. It was about time you settled down."

Settled down? What the fuck? "We just started dating; we're not getting married or anything, jeez." I sprayed the fuck out of the pillow with whatever the hell the cleaner was. It foamed up. According to the bottle, I needed to wait five minutes to start scrubbing.

Dad chuckled. "I know, but it's good to see that someone matters to you."

"You make it sound like I was an unfeeling asshole."

He smiled. "No, I was an unfeeling asshole until your mom came along. You were an unfeeling dick."

"Looks like we've got both sides covered then," I muttered while he laughed. "What the hell, Dad? You've never had a problem with me before."

"I don't have a problem with you, Edward. You're just like me when I was your age."

I snorted. "Whatever, you still have an ego, Dad."

He grinned. "Well of course I do, look at me." I joined in his laughter and he clapped a hand on my shoulder. "I'm not here to lecture you for doing exactly what I did when I was young, but I will tell you that when the right girl comes along, you need to hold on to her. Whether that's Bella or someone else."

I rolled my eyes. "We just started dating, I don't know if she's the right girl or not." Though I couldn't imagine someone else as cool as she was.

His blue eyes twinkled. "Don't you?" I glared at him and he held up a hand. "I won't say another word. Just remember what I said. Scrub."

I attacked the hell out of the cushion with the cloth he handed me. It quickly turned red and the stain on the cushion got lighter and lighter. "Not bad," I muttered.

He laughed. "A couple more treatments and it'll be alright. I told her that a white couch was a stupid idea but she had to have it once you two were out of the house."

"Emmett's not out of the house," I pointed out and he shook his head.

"I know. Though if he marries that girl that he proposed to last night, hopefully he'll move out."

I laughed. "Good luck with that. Blondie is a real…" I broke off before I said the forbidden word. With my luck, Mom and Reed Girl would hear and both hand my ass to me. "Piece of work."

He snickered. "As if my sons would settle for anything less? Come on, let's go save your girl from your mother."

We walked into the kitchen and Dad wrapped his arms around Mom's waist from behind at the same time as I did Reed Girl. "What did I tell you?" Mom asked, laughing. Reed Girl was giggling as well. "Just like his dad."

Maybe that wasn't such a bad thing, as he'd said. I kissed her cheek and snagged a piece of bacon while she batted at my hands. "What?" I demanded as I crunched the bacon. She made it just like I liked, crispy but not burned. I hated chewy bacon.

"Nothing. Your mom was just telling me some stories about when they were at school."

I groaned. "Poor baby. They love to tell those stories."

"Hey, we were legends," Dad protested. Mom pushed him away and handed him a plate full of pancakes.

"I was the legend for taming you," she said, smacking his ass. God. Reed Girl laughed.

"See, you don't need to worry about PDA in front of these two," I told her.

"Go wake up your brother and his friend," Mom told me.

"Should we wake him up the old fashioned way, son?" Dad asked, a gleam in his eye. Oh, hell yeah. I didn't even respond, I just went to the freezer and grabbed a handful of ice.

"I get Jasper, you get Emmett."

"Not cool, Em will come up swinging," Dad argued.

"Are you too old to dodge him, old man?" I challenged. That got a piece of ice tossed at me. Mom shooed us out of the kitchen. I could hear her telling Bella that Dad used to wake us up by throwing ice down our shirts when we were younger. It was not a pleasant way to wake up, but it was effective.

We crept into their room and I waited for Dad to get in position on Em's side of the bed. I held up three fingers and counted them down. On one, we both lifted shirts and dumped ice. My hand was fucking cold and Jasper yelped as I jumped back. Dad got out of the way just as a giant fist came flying his way. "Fuckers!" Emmett shouted.

"If you think that was bad, wait until Mom gets a hold of you," I told him as he hopped out of bed and shook the ice out of his shirt. Jasper had rolled over like an idiot and mashed the ice up against his chest. He finally got up and glared at me with bloodshot eyes.

"What the hell was that for?"

"Breakfast, douches. Dad, this is Jasper. Jasper, Dad."

My father shook his hand, grinning. "That's a typical welcome in this family, I'm afraid. What's with the bear?" he asked.

Jasper frowned and picked it up. "It's my girlfriend's," was all he said. Dad shrugged. I wasn't about to explain about his stoner ass needs for shit to hold on to.

"Come on, Mom and Bella have breakfast ready," I told them. Emmett was sulking and didn't look happy but too fucking bad. It was his turn. I hurried into the dining room and found Reed Girl already seated. I plopped down next to her. "Everything okay, baby?"

She laughed. "Yeah, it's good. Your mom's really smart."

I didn't know what that was all about but at least Mom hadn't scared her away. "Good. After breakfast, we'll head to the hotel and get your stuff, then head home." I was snagging one of our cars. No way was I riding a bus home. Once on the way over was enough.

"Okay," she said.

"I'll drive you," Em offered as he threw himself into the chair across from me. Mom came in carrying a pitcher of orange juice and the rolled up newspaper. I didn't bother to hide a grin when she smacked him on the top of his head. "What the hell, Ma?" That got him another whack. Reed Girl was giggling and Jasper looked like he had no clue what in the hell was going on. Not that I was remotely surprised by that.

"Don't you even pretend you don't know why I'm mad at you. Who the hell is Rosie and what did you do that made you feel the need to apologize and propose all in one breath?"

"She's the girl of my dreams, Mom." He hunched his shoulders but she didn't hit him again, sitting next to him and keeping the paper within reach. "Things got really serious last year and I freaked out and pretended like I cheated on her so she'd push me away."

"You did what?" Oooh, Mom had the death voice going on right now. Dad was shaking his head. Reed Girl was watching wide eyed.

"I know it was stupid, Mom, but I thought I was too young and had too much fun ahead to tie myself to one girl. She was talking about meeting her parents and shit." That earned him another smack and I laughed and put my hand on Reed Girl's bare knee under the table. She was looking between Em and my parents and her face was a little pale. What was that about?

"What's wrong?" I whispered to her. She shook her head. Fuck, another thing she wasn't going to share with me. I hated that shit.

"This Rose is your roommate, Bella?" my mom asked. Reed Girl nodded. "What did he do to her?"

Reed Girl looked supremely uncomfortable. "I didn't really know her then. We met in January in our Oceanography class."

"But she talked about him, yes?"

"Uh, yeah, a little bit. She wasn't very fond of him."

I laughed at her attempts to downplay it. "She already knows that she hit me for bringing him to the party and threw his flowers all over me."

"Dick," Emmett hissed, which got him smacked again. "Mom!"

"Have you spoken to this girl since you broke her heart, Emmett?"

He shrugged. "Yeah, at the party but she ran away from me." He didn't bother to mention his stupidity in getting naked and having to run after her sans clothing. "Then I got her the flowers, balloons and kittens."

"Dumbass," my mother told him. "What if she didn't want kittens? You don't give girls live animals unless they tell you they want them."

"Hey! Jasper gave Alice two and she loved them."

"Hendrix and Marley, I'm renaming Jimmy," Jasper piped up, in his usual random way. Everybody stared at him and then carried on like he hadn't spoken.

"And Rose likes Emmett Junior! She kept him! Bella took Rainbow," Emmett pointed out. "The kittens were a hit!"

"You're lucky," she told him before smiling over at Reed Girl. "I love that Edward gave you a kitten. Is Rainbow a boy or a girl?"

"Hey! I got that kitten in the first place and…" Emmett broke off when she raised the paper.

Reed Girl smiled. "The kitten is really Edward's; I'm just taking care of her." I opened my mouth to protest but thought better of it. "She's in love with your son and very cute. All gray with a little white patch on her neck."

"Why is it okay that Edward gave Bella a kitten but not okay that I gave Rose one?" Emmett demanded, unable to leave it alone.

Mom turned on him. "Because they've begun dating and it's wonderful that he likes her that much. You're giving gifts and proposing to a girl that hates your guts! Just what made you think it was okay for you to propose to a girl that I've never even heard of? Am I supposed to meet her at the wedding, if, of course, she even bothers to marry you?"

Emmett shifted guiltily. "Well, no, but…"

"You're on my list, Emmett, and the only way off it is if you make things right with your girl and bring her home to meet me. I'd like to actually know my future daughter-in-law." She finished her rant by smiling at Reed Girl and I felt my stomach flip. What was that shit about? Nobody said anything about marriage. Well, my stupid ass brother did, but not me.

"I'm marrying Ali," Jasper informed my mother around a mouthful of bacon. Fuck, was that moron still high?

"Really? Have you bought her a ring?" she asked. I groaned and shook my head. Reed Girl squeezed my fingers under the table.

"No, but we share custody of our kittens and I call her wife. We have an agreement," he informed her proudly.

Mom just looked at him. "Well, that's nice dear," she managed when he said nothing else.

"So, Son, are you going to call Rose and see if she saw your video?" Dad asked.

"Yeah, that's why I'm driving these guys back to school. I'm going to make Rosie talk to me once and for all. I can handle fists and rants but I can't handle her not talking to me," Emmett replied, pouting and pushing his food around his plate. You could tell that he was really fucked up over her if he wasn't eating.

"Good," Mom said, then turned back to Reed Girl. "What about you, dear? Are you coming to New York with us this week?" I choked on my pancakes and quickly chugged some water. Were we to that stage? We'd just started going out and Mom wanted her to come to the awards ceremonies with us? Did I want that?

"Uhhh, what?" she asked.

"Edward's nominations, dearest. They'll announce it on ESPN tonight but he's nominated for the Heisman and he's already been nominated for the Maxwell and the Davey O'Brien. We have to fly up to New York on Wednesday night. We can get you a ticket if you like."

Reed Girl looked at me and I shrugged. It was up to her. I wasn't sure what the hell I wanted. "Um, that's kind of you, Esme, but I have a test on Thursday and band practice all week. I'll have to watch it on TV."

I felt a pang at that and I wasn't sure if I was relieved or disappointed. "Are you sure you can't come, sweetheart? Maybe you could ask your professor to reschedule? I'm sure the band could do without you for a couple of days."

Reed Girl laughed. "This professor is a stickler so I don't think they'll make an exception for me, since I'm not getting the award. I'll definitely watch though."

"If you're sure," Mom told her, looking extremely disappointed.

"I am, but I can't thank you enough for the offer."

"Well, next year you're coming," was my mother's reply. Jesus. She'd have us married off if I didn't watch her closely.

Reed Girl glanced at me. "Right, thanks."

"You don't even know if he'll be nominated for anything next year," Emmett said. I smirked at that one and he rolled his eyes. "You never know, dickhead, you could get injured."

"Don't say that!" Mom commanded. "Don't even put that out there in the universe, Emmett. One of you getting injured was bad enough. I couldn't stand it again."

"I'll be fine, Ma. And I'll be nominated again, you have my word." I grinned at Reed Girl who just laughed and shook her head.

"How do you put up with the ego?" she asked my mom, who laughed.

"I've had twenty-five years of experience with it," she said, pointing at my Dad.

He caught her hand and kissed it. "And it was worth every moment, wasn't it?" he asked.

She laughed. "They're not so hard to deal with. It's the women that are terrible."

Oh crap. "What women?" Reed Girl asked.

"All of the women, my dear. Do you know how many female friends I've lost over the years due to these three? There were several that were after Carlisle, of course," she made a face as my father laughed. "Imagine finding out your supposed friends faked illnesses in an attempt to get naked in front of your husband."

"That's terrible!" Reed Girl exclaimed.

"Ha, worse is when you find them hitting on your underage sons." She raised an eyebrow at Emmett and then at me.

"You're kidding?" Bella asked.

"I wish I was. Those tramps from the Garden Club took every opportunity they could to have their meetings over here. I caught Sheila Gibson coming out of Emmett's room all rumpled and Mary Jenkins giving Edward a rub down after he got done working out one day." Mom used finger quotes when she said "rub down" and I winced.

"I wasn't underage and Sheila was hot!" Emmett protested. He got whacked for that.

"She was married, still is actually," Dad pointed out.

"Well, it's not like I came on to her. Plus, so was Edward's chick!"

Damn him. Reed Girl was gaping at me and I tried to smile. "Uh, nothing much happened." Though rub down had been accurate description. Still, I hadn't had sex with her.

Mom shook her head. "You were sixteen!" she shouted before turning back to Reed Girl. "So yeah, it's worse when it's your kids. I could trust Carlisle not to step out of line." She smiled reassuringly at Reed Girl. "My boys may have been players, all three of them," she added witheringly. Dad just grinned and shrugged. "But once they meet the right girl, they settle down. That doesn't mean other women respect it."

"Oh, she already knows that," Emmett cracked up. "I can't believe you didn't deck that chick for throwing her drink on you," he told Reed Girl. Fucking asshole.

Mom's eyes narrowed. "So, you didn't spill the drink?"

Reed Girl bit her lip and shook her head. "No, but it's okay. I handled it."

I nodded proudly. "She really did. Told her off, told her friend off and didn't even call any names or anything. She was fucking perfect."

"Edward," Mom warned, but she was too far away to get me with the paper so I was safe.

"Sorry, Mom, but she was. And before you ask, I already apologized to Bella for that shit happening to her. She didn't deserve it and I'll do my best to make sure it doesn't happen again."

"You'd better," she warned.

"Can we go now?" Emmett demanded.

"Yes, let's," I agreed. I wanted to get out of here before Mom asked Reed Girl anything more.

"Just a minute. What are you doing for Christmas, dear?"

Reed Girl swallowed. "I spend the first half with my Dad and then I'll be back the day after Christmas for a week before heading to school."

Mom beamed. "Good! You'll have to come over and exchange presents with us then!"

Presents? Fuck me, what in the hell was I supposed to get a girl for Christmas? Did the kitten that I didn't really give her count? "Um, that would be nice, thanks," Reed Girl said, looking at me again. I didn't have any help to give her though. I was too busy trying to figure out what in the hell I was doing with a girlfriend on a holiday. And wasn't fucking Valentine's Day in a couple months too? When was her birthday? Fuck, three days I had to come up with shit? What was I doing?

Fuck this, I'll just ask Mom what to give her. She'll have it all figured out. She'll probably have twenty five things for her anyway, so maybe I could just put my name on something she picked out. Hell yeah, that would work. I smiled and brushed a finger over her cheek when I saw that she was looking nervous. "That'll be great, Mom. We've got to head out now."

"Yes, alright." We all stood and Mom hugged and kissed Emmett first. "You go get your girl, do whatever it takes to make up for being an ass to her and tell her that was NOT your real proposal. You'll do it right, I'll damn well see to that."

"Yes, Ma," he said, frowning.

"Jasper, it was lovely meeting you."

"And you, ma'm." Where in the hell did that Southern accent come from? He was so fucking weird. He tipped an imaginary hat at her to top it off. Mom wisely ignored him.

She hugged Reed Girl. "I'm so thrilled to meet you. Don't let my son get away with anything and if he tries, give me a call." She then whispered something in her ear before pulling away. "You have what it takes, I know you do." Reed Girl's cheeks heated and she nodded.

Mom then wrapped me in a hug and I got the whisper. "Don't you dare drive that girl away. She's beautiful and smart and perfect for you. I will kick your ass if you pull a move like your brother did, do you understand me?" I nodded. Damn, Mom was scary when you had a girlfriend. I'd never seen this side of her before. "Good." She kissed my cheek. "I'll see you on Wednesday night in New York."

"Okay." I shook Dad's hand.

He grinned at me as he put an arm around my girl. "It was lovely meeting you, Bella. I hope to see a lot more of you around here."

She smiled and said, "Hopefully." Hopefully not. She didn't need to deal with Mom's crazy and Dad's thinking she was hot. I'd keep her to myself, thank you very much. I pulled her back to my side and he just laughed at me.

We had to get out of here. I ran upstairs and grabbed my shit and Reed Girl's shirt and bra, though I did toy with keeping it as a souvenir. Still, Mom would probably find it and I didn't want that. I stuffed it all in my bag and hurried back down to see Mom hugging her again. Jeez. "Come back soon," she told her. I tugged her from my mother's arms and led her outside where Jasper and Emmett were already in the car.

"Ready to get back to normal, baby?" I asked her as I helped her into the Explorer.

She laughed and curled into me when I slid into the seat. "I don't know if there could ever be normal with you, but I'm ready for whatever's coming next." I really fucking liked that answer. I had no idea what was ahead but I knew I wanted Reed Girl at my side when I faced it.

"Let's go home."

Chapter Text

"We're here!" Emmett shouted when he pulled up in the girls' apartment complex. Jasper jolted awake. He'd conked out from the minute we left my house. Reed Girl had fallen asleep not too long after, with her head on my shoulder. I'd held her close and thought about all the shit that had transpired in the past twenty-four hours. I was going to the national championship game, I had a girlfriend, I'd gotten laid three times, my parents had met and liked said girlfriend, I was going to New York to win the Heisman…that was a lot of fucking shit right there. And the most fucked up part about it was that I wasn't nervous about any of it. The football thing was never an issue. I was as at home on the field as I was anywhere. But having a girlfriend? It should scare the shit out of me but it didn't. Something was definitely wrong with me. I'd have to see the team doctor to see if I had the flu or something. It was the only thing that made sense. I was too lethargic to freak out.

"Baby, you awake?"

Reed Girl nodded and sat up. The left side of her face was red and had a line on it from my shirt. I laughed and rubbed at the little bit of drool in the corner of her mouth. "I think there's a little drool right there."

Her eyes widened and she wiped at her face. "Oh, God, I'm so sorry!"

I smirked at her. "It's okay. I'm used to girls drooling over me." That got me narrowed eyes and twitching lips. She was trying not to laugh. "You know it's true."

She shook her head and pulled open the door. "If you want to come upstairs for awhile, you better stop talking about what other girls do to you."

Hmm, that was a valid point. I got out of the car after her and pulled her against me. "I was just joking, baby. Yours is the only drool I want on me." I wanted it on my cock instead of my shoulder, but beggars couldn't be choosers and maybe I'd get the drool in more interesting places when we got upstairs.

"You have issues," she told me but she was smiling so I went ahead and kissed her. She melted right into me. Fuck yeah. She couldn't stay mad at me if she tried.

"Let's go," my brother had Bella's bag and Jasper had his and of course Bob the bear. "It's time for me to get my girl back."

I snickered as we followed behind them. "Are you going to tell her about the threesome you had?"

Emmett whirled around, gaping at me. "Where did you hear about that?"

Holy shit, had my brother had a threesome? And if he had, why was he so fucking pale? Oh, hell no! "Shit, dude, did you do a guy, guy, girl threesome?" Reed Girl was giggling away and Jasper actually seemed focused on the conversation as well.

"I did not," he spluttered, but the panic in his eyes said he did.

"That's fucked up, Em. Did you cross swords?" Reed Girl smacked me but continued to laugh.

Emmett was getting pissed. His chest was heaving and his face was red. "Where did you hear about it?" I just smirked because I damn well wasn't going to tell him that I had no idea what was going on. "Was it Garrett? We swore to never…" he broke off at the expression on my face. Garrett, my wide receiver? He and my brother? Dear God. I was never going to compliment him on his hands again. Not when they might have been on my brother's…anything.

"Uh, I think Edward was talking about you and Jasper and the bear in bed together," Reed Girl volunteered weakly when Emmett took a step toward me. I had loosened my grip on her, prepared to step in front of her if he charged.

Jasper cleared his throat and glared at us. "Nothing happened. Bob is pure."

Of course he fucking was. He was a stuffed animal. What a fucking weirdo.

"Okay," Reed Girl stepped away from me and held out a hand toward my brother. "I think we're stuck in a major moment of awkward so we should just pretend this never happened and move on."

I'd need a lobotomy to forget this conversation, but I knew it was in my best interest not to bring it up again for awhile. "I'm not saying a word," I told Emmett, who was glaring at me.

Jasper shrugged. "I'll forget the next time I smoke up." Fucker. At least he was honest.

"And you know I won't say anything," Reed Girl told him. "Now do you want to continue this terribly uncomfortable moment or do you want to go see Rose?" I bet something was terribly uncomfortable when he and Garrett…fucking gross.

"Wait. I just have to know one thing." I had to be sure.

Emmett eyed me warily. "What?"

"There was a girl there, right?" He swung at me but I ducked. "I'm just checking."

"Yes, of course there was, you moron. I'm not gay!"

"Well, I knew you weren't gay but you could have been bi and that's okay if you are. You're my brother and I love you anyway." I smiled when he swung at me again.

"Edward! Enough!" Reed Girl pushed me away from Emmett. "You're not making things better."

I couldn't help it. "But baby, he had a threesome with another guy."

She raised an eyebrow. "Do you really want past sexual exploits to come out now? Are you sure you'd like everything you heard?"

What did that mean? Granted, I didn't want to discuss my past anymore than we already had but the way she said it had me fucking nervous. Had she? No. "You didn't…" she just smirked when I broke off and turned on her heel.

"I'm going to my apartment. Those that are coming better shut their mouths and be in the elevator." She pressed the button and it opened immediately. We all filed in silently. I saw her lips twitching when she felt my eyes on her but she still didn't say anything.

This fucking sucked. Now I wasn't going to think of anything else than what she'd implied. Had two guys banged her at the same time? I didn't like that mental picture at all. Not a word was uttered as the door opened and we all filed out and walked to her apartment.

Reed Girl smiled at my brother. "Good luck, Emmett."

"Thanks, Bella," he said gratefully. "If she gets pissed at you for letting me in, well, I'm sorry. I'll be happy to beat my asshole of a brother for you if he steps out of line to pay you back."

She giggled. "I just might have to take you up on that."

Whatever. She could have the two guys she'd let tag team her beat my ass instead. No, fuck that, I'd beat their asses. Ass…had she gone there? Fuck, I really needed to know but I also didn't want to. This was all so confusing. What was wrong with me?

Reed Girl opened the door and stepped inside. "I'm home and I brought…"

She didn't get anymore out before Jasper burst past her. "Ali! Wife! I missed you!" A bedroom door opened and out came Shorty. She bounded into his arms and Bob got smashed in between them. Yet another fucking threesome. Great.

"Jaspy! Hi, baby! I missed you, too." Then they were kissing as if there were no tomorrow.

A door to the right slammed and we all looked up to see Blondie standing in the doorway, her eyes narrowed on all of us. Fuck. Here we go.

"Rosie," my brother breathed, staring at her, some weird ass expression on his face that reminded me of his stupid rainbows and kittens and whatnot.

"Emmett," she said stiffly.

Well, this was fucking weird. I started to comment on it but Reed Girl threw her hand over my mouth. "Why don't we go in my room?"

Now that was a spectacular fucking idea if ever there were one. "Okay," I mumbled beneath her hand. We didn't get to move though before my brother walked over and planted himself within Blondie's reach. It was on. She's going to level him with one punch I bet.

"Nobody move," Shorty hissed. She was still wrapped around Jasper and their kittens had joined the party, winding between his legs. I hoped they tripped him. It would be funny as hell.

"Did you see me on TV?" Emmett asked nervously, shifting from one foot to the other. Dude, what was his fucking problem? He was probably afraid she was going to hit him.

"Yes," she replied, crossing her arms. That was disappointing. She might not hit him now. Of course, she could be lulling him into complacency. Or maybe she was going to go for the dick. Blondie fought dirty.

"What did you think?" he asked.

"What am I supposed to think?" she asked. Her eyes were pretty fucking red and she had bags underneath them. She looked like shit.

"That I love you and want to be with you forever." Holy fucking shit. He said it. To her face. What the fuck had happened to my brother? Maybe Garrett's dick had turned him into a chick. Reed Girl shifted closer to me and I wrapped my arms around her waist, pulling her into me.

"Why should I believe that when the last time I saw you there was some whore in your lap sucking on your neck?"

Emmett held up his hands. "Was I kissing her back, Rosie? Was I even touching her?"

She shrugged. "I don't know; I was a little busy seeing red and kicking both your asses."

Emmett laughed. "Yes, and you were gorgeous doing it." He reached out a hand toward her and I waited for her to rip his arm off and beat him with it. "I haven't been able to get you out of my mind since."

She knocked his hand away just before it touched her face. Well, it was sort of a hit. "You had a funny way of showing it."

"At first I just stayed away to try to forget you. By the time I figured out that it wouldn't work, that you were all I wanted, you were gone. You moved. You changed your number. Nobody would tell me where you were."

"I didn't want to talk to you," she told him.

"Do you want to talk to me now?" he asked.

She eyed him. "Did you mean what you said on TV?"

"Every word," he agreed.

Blondie stepped out of the hallway and gestured toward her room. "Then we can talk. Just talk." She glared over at us. "Show's over. Go fuck or something." My brother walked into her room, grinning happily, and she followed him and shut the door.

That was a great fucking idea. I tugged Reed Girl toward her room and she giggled as I opened the door. The instant I had it cracked open a streak of gray fur ran out. Rainbow was alive. I was surprisingly happy to see that. Reed Girl picked her up and carried her into the bedroom. I got her bag out of the doorway and put it down for her before flinging myself on her bed. I rested my head on her pillow and grinned up at her. "I thought Blondie had a pretty good suggestion."

She snickered and put Rainbow down, before bending over to pour her some food. Her jeans strained across her ass nicely. She was so fucking hot. "Why don't you come join me over here?" I patted the bed and before she could move, Rainbow hopped on the pillow and curled up next to my face, purring away as she head butted me again. Jesus. "What is with this fucking cat?"

"You wanted pussy, you got it," Reed Girl told me. She sat on the edge of her bed and I reached over and pulled her into my arms.

"That was not the pussy I was referring to." I kissed her and then something fucking hurt on the left side of my face. "What the fuck, Rainbow? Did you just bite me?"

Reed Girl giggled and peered over at the side of my face. "I think she got you with her claws. She's jealous. Isn't that cute?"

Cute my fucking ass. How could something that weighed like two pounds hurt like that? I glared over at Rainbow who ignored me and burrowed into my neck. I glanced back at Reed Girl who was wiggling around. "What?" She shook her head and the next thing I knew a fucking flash blinded my eyes.

"Say cheese."

I grabbed for the camera but she moved too fast and frankly I was afraid of pissing off the stupid cat again. "I'm sorry, but it's just so cute. You're so big and muscular and she's so tiny. The two of you make a gorgeous pair."

I smirked at that. "The two of us make a gorgeous pair. Now get over here and let me show you."

She took some more pictures before setting her phone aside. "I'll come join you but I'm not having sex with you with her in here. Cat claws hurt." Like I didn't fucking know that? But still.

"You could put her in the living room."

Reed Girl frowned and shook her head. "She's been without me for over a day, that wouldn't be very nice. And she hasn't seen you in several days."

Like that fucking mattered? "Come on, baby, it's been hours."

She giggled. "Fine, I'll put her out for a bit." She came over to the side of the bed and reached for Rainbow. She hissed and swiped at her and Reed Girl jerked her hand back. "Sorry, I think she wants to be with you."

What the fuck? I sat up and picked up Rainbow who came into my hands without protest. I lifted her in front of my face. "Listen here, cat. I haven't gotten laid in hours and your mother over there has planted all sorts of terrible ideas of threesomes in my head. I need to get them out and the only way to do that is to fuck them out of there. I can't do that with you in here because you're weird and possessive. Now, are you going to let me get laid or do we have a problem?"

Yellow/brown eyes stared into my face and then she meowed. I was going to take that as a no. "Okay, you go play and I'll see you later." I took her to the doorway opened it, setting her outside. She immediately tried to run back in but I blocked her with my foot. "I said no." I pushed her back gently and closed the door. Reed Girl was sitting on her bed laughing her ass off. "What?"

"You just had a conversation with her like she was a child or something, though you shouldn't say things like that to a child." She giggled harder. "You probably would though, I could totally see it."

I would if the child was being a fucking cockblocker like the cat was. I heard scratching behind me and a mournful cry. "Jesus, is she fucking crying?"

Reed Girl laughed some more. "She loves you."

"Yeah, yeah. All pussy does." That got me a pillow tossed at my head. I grinned and caught it. Then I smacked her with it as she shrieked and laughed. I crawled on top of her and rubbed myself against her. "I think this pussy lo…" wait, we weren't going there. "Wants me, doesn't it?"

Reed Girl's eyes darkened. "Maybe."

"Hmmm, just maybe?" I thrust again and she let out a little moan. "That doesn't sound like a maybe to me, Bella."

"That's because…" an earsplitting screech rang out. "Oh my God, is she hurt?" Reed Girl shoved me off her and had the door open before I could even blink. The next thing I felt was little tiny feet pressing against my back. I sighed and lay there with my head on my arms. It wasn't happening right now, I could fucking tell. Rainbow curled up in the small of my back and I heard the camera going again.

"You really fucking love this, don't you?" I muttered.

"Yes. You're so cute with her."

"I'm always cute," I told her, though of course that was just the tip of the iceberg with me.

"That you are." She came back and lay down next to me. I peered at her. She was grinning and looked really fucking gorgeous. I just…shit. I had to ask.

"Um, Bella?"

Her grin widened when I said her name. "Yes, Edward?"

"Did you really have a threesome?"

She giggled and leaned closer to me. "Did I say that I did?"

I thought about it. "No, but you implied that there were things I might not want to hear and that pretty much tops the list."

She smirked. "Why?"

Why? That was a stupid question. "Because if you were with two guys at once, that would be…I don't know." I couldn't describe it but I really didn't fucking like it.

"But if you were with two girls that would be okay?" she asked. There was an edge to her voice. Fuck, I had to tread lightly now.

"I haven't been with two girls." I'd thought about it, but never bothered. I preferred one on one time, even if girls doing shit to each other was hot as hell. But I could just watch porn for that.

"What if I was with a guy and a girl?" Oh fuck, the image. If the guy was me, it might be okay. Maybe. My dick was getting hard and it was uncomfortable with it pressed into the bed.

"Um, it would still bother me some but not as much."

She shook her head. "So it's okay if I eat a girl out while a guy bangs me."

"Jesus, Bella, are you trying to kill me?" I pushed myself off the bed and the kitten jumped off my back, though she shot me a pretty angry fucking look. "Blame her, Rainbow. She did it." I turned over and the cat climbed up in my lap. Jeez.

"I'm just trying to get a picture what is and is not acceptable for me to have done in my past from the guy who's done everyone." Fuck, she sounded pissed off.

Damn it. "I haven't done everyone and you know it. Fuck, Bella." I didn't know what to say here. "I know you have a past. I don't have a problem with it." Unless she boned two guys at once. Maybe if we did anal I could get over it. "I'd be a fucking hypocrite if I wanted you to be a virgin or something." Not that I would mind if I was the first guy to fuck her. Not at all. But I wasn't an idiot. "You're too good at stuff to be a virgin anyway."

Her lips twitched and I knew I was getting closer to forgiveness. Fuck it. "It's just an image I can't get out of my head. You with two guys. I just hate it and I don't know why exactly…"

She laughed and put her hand on my leg. "I've never had a threesome, Edward. Nor do I ever want to." She raised an eyebrow to see if I got her message.

"Fine by me, I don't like to share."

She giggled. "Now that I can believe."

I pulled her up against my side and she cuddled into me. "You know, you were pretty quick to mention that eating out another girl thing…" that got me a punch in the gut but I laughed. She hit like a girl.

"I haven't done that either," she told me primly.

"I have. I'm good at it." Like she didn't know.

She hummed and reached over to pet Rainbow. If only she were petting something else. "You could use some practice."

Um, what? "What the fuck do you…" I stopped when she started shaking with laughter. "Just for that, I won't do it for you tonight."

Reed Girl smiled up at me. "Oh really? Because I was thinking once you played with that kitty for awhile, you could play with mine. She's a very heavy sleeper. But if you'd rather…"

"Not another word." I kissed her hard. "Two tired kitties coming up. Get me that string thingy."

Reed Girl laughed and grabbed the cat toy. "Have at it." Oh I would. Both these girls would be exhausted once I got done with them. Rainbow was off me and zooming around the room chasing the toy as I swung it for her.

"Get ready, baby, you're next." Reed Girl smiled as she watched us play. I had to admit, Rainbow flying through the air was kind of fun. "Are you as flexible as she is? Because we can try…" She hit me again and I laughed. I was having fun with my girls. Who would have thought it?


My professor was fucking late and I was annoyed. Econ was already boring as shit and I'd had to leave Reed Girl's place super fucking early just to get back to my dorm to shower, change and leave again. At least I'd stolen my brother's car to cut down on travel time. I hadn't heard a peep out of Blondie's room since he disappeared in there, although I'd been a bit more occupied with the sounds Reed Girl was making throughout the night. Blondie could have hacked him into a million pieces and I probably wouldn't have noticed.

Fuck this. The fifteen minute rule was in effect. He wasn't going to show. I pushed out of my seat. I was one of the only idiots who waited this long anyway. The shit I had to do because of being on the football team was ridiculous. Everybody else skipped class. It was a bit after ten and I knew Reed Girl had Psychology now. It was the building right next door so I parked my ass on a bench between our two buildings. I should have driven her over this morning, but she wanted to sleep in while I got ready. Was that too whipped, to want to drive her to class? I just didn't fucking know.

There weren't a lot of people out, since most were in the middle of class, so I just enjoyed being left the fuck alone for awhile. Usually if I sat anywhere some asshole would come over and try to talk football with me, or a girl would come over to hit on me. Not that I usually minded the latter before, but it was different now. I skimmed through my Risk Management notes and tried not to fall asleep. Reed Girl and I had been up kind of late last night. I wondered if we could do that again tonight. I liked this whole regular sex thing. I also liked being with her. It was weird but I missed her when she wasn't around.

People started to stream out of the Psych building so I shoved my notes in my backpack and stood. Of course everybody started staring and talking and a few girls headed in my direction. I did my best to keep from looking at them; hopefully they'd get the hint.

"Hi, Edward," one tittered.

"Hey," I muttered, still looking for Reed Girl. Where was she?

"What are you doing here? Did you maybe want to go get a coffee or…" she trailed off suggestively.

I rolled my eyes. "I'm here to see my girlfriend, actually. Maybe we could both join you? Where are you going?" Hmmm, she didn't much care for that. She stomped back to her friends, her hair flying. I laughed.

There she was. Reed Girl came out of the doorway looking pissed. I didn't think it was at me since I'd left her pretty fucking satisfied this morning, but who the hell knew? Before she could see me, some guy came up behind her and grabbed her arm. What the fuck? I pushed my way through the bodies and made my way over to my girl and the asshole who thought he was allowed to touch her. He'd be lucky if I didn't do more than break his fucking hand.

"Get your hands off me, Jason. I'm not your girlfriend anymore."

Girlfriend? She dated this fucker? That stopped me in my tracks and I tried to conceal myself behind the pillar they were standing near. Neither of them saw me so I took him in. He was about three inches shorter than me, thinner, blue eyes and light brown hair. He wasn't anything special.

"Now that you're with Cullen you're too good for me, right? I knew you wanted him."

Well, of course she did. Was this guy a moron or something?

"So what if I did? You're the one who broke up with me, remember? Something about wanting to play the field." Well, that cleared it up, he was a moron. A brain dead one. Why would he want anybody other than Reed Girl? She looked hot as shit today in tight black jeans and a long-sleeved blue shirt that showed off all her curves.

"So you decided to hook up the biggest player of them all? That makes a lot of sense, Bella."

I wanted to punch that smug look off his face. "Who I hook up with is none of your business." She jerked her arm away from him which was a good thing because I didn't want to hurt her when I killed him.

"I'm sorry, Bella. I'm just worried about you. And I miss you. I made a mistake. Can't you forgive me?"

Fuck that. I wasn't even going to allow her to ponder it. I walked out from my hiding place and slid my arm around her waist. She tensed for a second but then relaxed into me. "Edward. What are you doing here?"

"My prof never showed up for class so I decided to wait for you, see if you wanted to get lunch or something." Wherever we could go that this asshole who thought he deserved another shot with my girl was not.

"That sounds good."

Douche who wanted to die cleared his throat sarcastically. "Do you have a fucking problem?" I asked him. His eyes widened a little. "If you're choking, I'd be happy to help you with that." Not that I would help him to stop choking, oh no. But I'd help him to keep on doing so.

"I'm fine," he muttered through clenched teeth. "I'm Jason Sturgis."

I shot him a look that told him I really didn't give a good damn who he was. "Right. I'd introduce myself but we both know you know who I am."

Reed Girl laughed and grinned at me. "You're such an egotistical asshole."

I smiled back. "You like me that way, baby." I slid my hand from around her waist down to her ass, slowly, being very deliberate about the movement. Jason the Jackass saw it and winced.

"So, Jerry, you have a problem with me? Because I couldn't help but overhear you trying to warn my woman away from me."

He gulped but didn't back down. I'd give him points for having balls. But he was stupid. "It's Jason. And I don't want to see her get hurt."

"Did you give a damn about her feelings when you dumped her?" I demanded. Reed Girl put her arm around me and squeezed my waist. I was taking that as a go-ahead. If she wanted to silence me she'd put her hand over my mouth like she usually did.

"Of course I did. I hated hurting her. I doubt you'll give a damn when you break her heart."

That flutter in my stomach started up again. Fucking hell. I'd have to talk to doc after practice tonight. "You don't know shit about what I feel for her. Mind your own fucking business."

He opened his mouth to say something but Reed Girl cut him off. "Jason, just leave me alone. My heart isn't your concern anymore."

He turned to go and I clapped a hand on his shoulder, holding him in place as I leaned close to his ear. "If I ever see your fucking hand on her again, you won't be able to use it for the foreseeable future. Do you understand me?" He nodded so I released him and raised my voice. "Good. Thanks for being a fucktard and breaking up with Bella. It probably would have taken me a few extra minutes to take her away from you if you were still in the picture."

He walked away quickly without looking back and I turned back to my girl who was gaping at me. "What?"

She shook her head. "Did you just tell him that you would have stolen me from him if we were still together?"

I grinned and pulled her to me by her belt loops. "Yes, baby. It may have taken me awhile to see you, but once I did, I would have made you mine and not given a damn about anybody standing in my way."

She put her arms around my neck and smiled up at me. "Somehow you manage to say the sweetest things that aren't really that sweet at all."

I laughed and kissed her nose. "It's a talent. One of my many."

She snickered and kissed me. Bodies were still brushing by us and I heard more than one person bitching about PDA and being in the doorway but I didn't give a damn. I was kissing my girl and that was all that mattered. And she was mine. That prick Jason better not even look at her again. We broke apart and I took her hand in mine to lead her to the car.

"So you really dated that loser?" I asked curiously.

Reed Girl laughed. "Just for awhile. He's in my class and he sat by me, we got to talking and he asked me out." She shrugged. "He's a nice enough guy. At least he was until he decided he needed to spread his wings."

Asshole. "Did it hurt your feelings?"

She shook her head. "Not really. I was pissed that I slept with him but that's about it." Okay, now he really needed to die. He'd seen my girl naked.

"Did he suck in bed?" I asked, because he looked like he did.

She giggled. "He was okay. Nothing special."

"So you upgraded in every way then." She laughed again. "You're lucky. Of course, now I'll ruin you for all other men." I was joking but it left a weird taste in my mouth, saying that. I didn't like the thought of her with other men after me. It was weird. I never cared before.

Reed Girl turned to face me when we reached Emmett's car. I pressed her back against the passenger side door and kissed her hard. She hummed when we came up for air. "Maybe I'll ruin you for all other women, Cullen." She smiled and I tried to smile back but I couldn't. I had a feeling she just might be right. I needed to figure out how I felt about that. I was in some real trouble. She kissed me again and I sank into it. Well, some trouble was worth it, right?

Chapter Text

"You're perfectly healthy."

I narrowed my eyes at Doctor Carver. Clearly he was a fucking hack. "How can you say there's nothing wrong with me?"

He folded his arms and peered at me over his ridiculous fucking glasses. "Because it's true. You don't have any aches and pains, do you?" I shook my head impatiently. "Your heart's healthy, blood work came back negative, and your reflexes are fine. There's nothing wrong with you."

Then why did I feel so fucking weird all the damn time? "I told you I keep getting this weird feeling in my stomach. You should x-ray me or something." We had all this fucking equipment, why he wasn't using it to make sure I didn't have some scary medical issue was beyond me.

"It sounds like stress. With everything that's going on, that makes perfect sense. You've got the Heisman ceremony coming up and the game. It's no wonder you're nervous."

Nervous? Edward Cullen didn't do nervous. Where'd this fucking moron get his medical license, UF? "I'm not nervous." That was the fucking point. I wasn't nervous about anything, not even my relationship with Reed Girl. "That's the thing. I'm too calm about certain things that I shouldn't be calm about."

He stared at me like I'd grown another head. "You're too calm? How is that a medical problem?"

"I get this weird fluttery feeling in my stomach and I don't know why!" I threw up my hands. "How can there be nothing wrong with me?"

He muttered something that I couldn't hear but I had a feeling it wasn't flattering. "It sounds like a mental issue rather than a physical one. Maybe you should talk to a psychiatrist."

Really? This douchetard wanted me to see a fucking shrink? "What the fuck? You think I'm crazy?"

He held up a hand. "No, I don't think you're crazy. I think you're stressed and it's manifesting by that fluttering feeling you claim to have. It could be nothing but maybe you're on the verge of a full on panic attack."

This guy was a fucking moron. I pushed myself off the examination table and grabbed up my shit. "I'm not panicking, that's the fucking problem. You clearly don't get it." Fuck that, I'd talk to my dad. He, at least, knew shit about medicine and I knew he went to a real college. I bet Dr. Carver went to some med school in Mexico or something. Even UF was too good for him.

"I can refer you to a good…" he broke off when he saw the look on my face. "Well, it's here if you need it. Come see me if you start feeling worse."

Right. Like I'd bother. He'd probably amputate my throwing arm when I got a headache or some shit like that. Asshole. I stormed out of his office and headed out of the stadium. Practice was over and I needed to get home and pack my shit for New York. I started toward the parking lot but stopped when I heard music coming from the practice field. Hell yes, the band was still here. I reversed my direction and made my way through the tunnel over to the baseball field. There they were.

I leaned against the fence as the band leader guy directed them to march this way and that. They were working on something that sounded familiar. I tried to see if I could find Reed Girl through the mass of bodies but it was impossible. I had no idea where the oboe players stood. They launched into a halfway decent version "We Are the Champions" and I smiled. Maybe they were planning on playing that after we won the national title. That would be pretty damn cool.

The band leader yammered about some shit and finally called a wrap to practice. I left my spot at the fence and looked for Reed Girl as the band geeks all headed toward the opposite fence to grab their cases and put their instruments away. I saw a very hot ass and knew who it belonged to so I headed in that direction.

"Oh my God, that's Edward Cullen. Hi, Edward!" some annoying chick with a high pitched voice called to me. I ignored her and kept my eyes on Reed Girl, who must have heard the chick yipping about me because she stood up and whirled around, her face turning red when her eyes landed on me. What the fuck was that all about?

I smirked and headed toward her. She turned around and said something to some girl with glasses next to her and shoved an instrument case into her hands before turning around and giving me a smile. It didn't quite reach her eyes and I wondered if she was pissed at me again. For what I couldn't begin to guess. "Edward, what are you doing here? I thought practice ended an hour ago."

I pulled her to me and she came willingly, wrapping her arms around my waist. I kissed her first and foremost, because I hadn't been able to do that since early this morning. She moaned and melted into me. I broke the kiss off before I could forget we were standing amidst a shitload of band geeks. "I had to see the doctor about some shit." I managed to say it without sneering, which was quite an accomplishment as far as I was concerned.

Reed Girl immediately looked worried. "Are you okay? Did you hurt yourself today? What hurts?" She ran her hands over me which was fucking hot but I reluctantly stilled her, taking both hands in mine.

"You can't feel me up here, baby, there are too many people watching."

She looked around and saw all the eyes on us and blushed again. It was too fucking cute. "What's wrong? Why'd you have to see the doctor?"

Like I was going to tell her that I might be on the verge of a panic attack. Just what every girl wanted, a psycho boyfriend. "Just a check up, baby. He declared me perfectly healthy." Because he was an incompetent fucking hack.

She looked relieved, which was really kind of nice. Nobody ever worried about me before, other than my mother of course. "That's good," she breathed.

I kissed her nose and smiled at her. "I was heading to my car when I heard the music so I decided to come see my girl do her thing."

Bella seemed to go a little pale at my words. "And did you?"

What the fuck was up with her? She was being kind of weird. "Not really. I couldn't find you with everybody else there. You need to do something to stand out."

Reed Girl laughed and this time her face lit up with it. "I'll see what I can do."

"Good." I noticed the herd around us was finally thinning out though there were still quite a few onlookers, including Four Eyes that Bella had been talking to. "Do you want to go back to my place and get something to eat?" I asked her with a suggestive smile. I wanted to eat something but it wasn't food. Well, not just food. I was actually fucking hungry too.

"I don't know…" Reed Girl looked at her friend and then back at me. "Give me a second?"

"Sure," I shrugged. She walked over to Four Eyes and chatted with her a few minutes while I stood there and pretended not to notice all the looks being aimed in my direction. Was it such a novelty having me in their midst? Not that I would ever deign to be here if it weren't for Reed Girl. Four Eyes tried to hand the music case back to Reed Girl but she shook her head, brown hair flying. The girl shrugged and put her backpack on, carrying a case in each hand.

Reed Girl shouldered her own bag and came back over to me. "Where's your instrument?" I asked.

She laughed and it sounded weird, nervous or something. "I asked Angela to take it for me. I'll get it from her tomorrow."

"Did you get a new case?" I asked, because it hit me that the case she'd given to Four Eyes was smaller than the one I'd stolen from her. Reed Girl made a strangled noise and suddenly I knew what it was. "You still have that oboe that assmunch from the music store loaned you? Why?" I demanded.

"I just haven't had a chance to return it," she murmured, not looking at me.

I didn't like that shit at all so I stopped and tilted her face up to mine. "Is there something that I need to know? You don't like that guy do you?" It was fucking unfathomable. And it made me feel sick. Maybe I should go back in and have Doctor Douche run his fucking tests again. I had a feeling I might not pass with flying colors now. It felt like I couldn't breathe.

Reed Girl's hands came up to cup my face and she stared into my eyes. "No, Edward, of course I don't like Jacob." Some of the pressure that had been building in my chest eased at her words and the look on her face when she said them. "Things have just been crazy and all my free time has been spent with you, which is much better than going to some stupid music store, right?"

She had a good point there. Still, she was keeping something from me. I just wasn't sure what it was. "Are you sure there's not something I should know?"

Her eyes widened a little and she shook her head. The street light illuminated her and she looked incredibly fucking beautiful. "I swear, there's nothing going on with Jacob. There wouldn't be even if you weren't in the picture, okay?"

That was too crazy to even contemplate, really. Like anybody would cheat on me with a loser like him? No, I'd just let all of the doctor's crazy talk fuck with my head and I'd freaked out a little. I needed to rein that shit in before the game. Whatever the hell was going on with me had better die down by then.

I studied her for a minute and she returned my gaze before standing on her toes and kissing the life out of me. I pulled her closer and forgot all about panic attacks, band geeks and scrawny music store fuckers and just let my girl take it all away. My hands moved down her back to squeeze her ass and she laughed as she pulled away. "How about we save that for when we get to your room?"

That made sense. I took her hand in mine and led her to my car, opening the door for her and helping her in before heading around to my side. After I got in and started it up, I took her hand back in mine because she was there and I needed to touch her.

"Have you talked to your brother at all?" Reed Girl asked as I pulled out of the lot.

As if that asshole could be bothered with me now that he was with Blondie. "Not a word. You're more likely to have seen him than I am." He'd taken the keys I'd left out last night, so he had his car back. That much I knew.

She laughed. "I've only seen Rose once and she looked a lot better than she had on Sunday when we got home. I think they were going out to dinner tonight."

I frowned because it hit me that I'd yet to take Reed Girl anywhere fancy. "We should do that."

"Do what?" she asked.

I pulled into my front spot in the dorm lot and shut off the car. "Go out to dinner or some shit," I told her.

Reed Girl laughed that delighted laugh that she let loose every time I said something ridiculous. "Such a romantic, Cullen."

Damn it. "You know what I mean. I should take you out somewhere nice," I muttered. I'd never wanted to do that shit in my life but I kind of liked the idea of dressing up and I really liked the idea of Reed Girl in a sexy dress.

She laughed and kissed me. "Well, we can go out to dinner or some shit when you get back." She pushed open the door and was out before I could go around and open it for her. Damn it.

I took her hand and led her inside. Her jaw dropped as she looked around the common room. A bunch of my teammates were gathered around watching TV and playing video games. "Jeez," she muttered.

"What?" I gave a nod to Marcus and avoided Garrett's outstretched hand. I still didn't know exactly where that thing had been but I wasn't touching him. I led Bella down the hall to the elevator.

"This isn't a dorm; this is like the Playboy Mansion."

I snickered as I pulled her into the elevator. "There are way too few girls in here for it to be the Playboy Mansion. Playgirl maybe." I hit the button for the third floor and we were there quickly. I led her down the hall and stopped to open my room.

Reed Girl shook her head as she took it in. "This is like a hotel or something."

I laughed and threw my backpack in the desk chair. "It's pretty cool I guess. I had to share last year which kind of sucked, but now that I'm the starting quarterback I get my own room and my own bed." I grinned when I saw her eying it.

"It's bigger than my bed!" She sat on it and glanced about the room. "Oh my God, you have your own bathroom?"

I laughed as she ran in to inspect it. "That is so uncool. I had to share my dorm room with three other girls and our bathroom was shared with eight of us. Two bathroom stalls and two showers, certainly no tub." She came out and glared at me. She was so fucking hot when she was annoyed. "You have a bathtub."

I laughed at her outrage. "Yeah, so? It's not like I use it or anything."

She sniffed and sat back on the bed, her ponytail swishing with her movement. "I'd use it."

"Can I watch?" I asked. She flipped me off and I laughed as I opened up my nightstand drawer and got out some delivery papers. "What do you want to eat? We can go down to the caf but they don't have too much this time of night."

"Pizza or Chinese, I guess. I'm not picky." She was too busy checking out my room to be bothered. "It doesn't even look like anybody lives in here. Where's all your stuff?"

I shrugged. So I kept shit neat. "In drawers and shit." That started her rifling through my drawers. I laughed as I dialed. "Is there anything you won't eat on pizza?" I asked.

"Anchovies and peppers," she replied. Her hand came out of my nightstand with my handy box of condoms. She rolled her eyes when I shrugged. I ordered a supreme without peppers or mushrooms since I couldn't stand those and sat back and watched her go through my shit. It should have bothered me, but as usual when it came to her, it totally didn't. Maybe she brainwashed me. Or maybe her hot body just distracted me from other shit.

"Are you sure you're a nineteen year old boy?" she demanded. She was poking through my closet now.

"Yes. Now why don't you come over here and let me prove it?"

Reed Girl laughed and stroked my Peyton Manning jersey. "You like the Colts?" she asked.

I shrugged. "I'm not a fan of the team, but Peyton gave me that." Her eyes widened and she pulled it out, seeing his signature on the eight in his number.

"You've met Peyton Manning?"

"Yeah, I went to his quarterback camp one year. Not that I needed to, but it was pretty cool."

She laughed and put the jersey back before coming over and finally joining me on my bed. I wrapped an arm around her.

"So you learned nothing from Peyton Manning?"

I kissed her neck. "I have skills, baby." She poked my side and I laughed. "It's not like he teaches that much, really. He has a lot of quarterback coach types there. I learned a thing or two, but I've always been good."

Reed Girl rested her head on my shoulder. "You're lucky."

That was random. "How do you mean?"

"You've always known what you wanted to do and you're talented enough to do it. I wish I knew what I wanted to do."

I thought about that for a minute. "You'll figure it out. You could do anything you wanted."

She nodded against my shoulder. "Sometimes that anything thing is daunting."

"So is knowing what you want for so long, believe it or not." She sat up and looked at me. "Playing football initially wasn't my idea, it just was. Grandpa played, Dad played, and Emmett played, so I had to play. I was good at it and I grew to love it, but there were times when I wondered if I was just doing what they wanted me to do."

"Kinda like being pushed into the family business," she suggested.

I laughed. "In a way. Thankfully I do want it and have for a long time. It's been years since I wanted to be anything else."

Reed Girl smiled at me. "What else did you want to be?"

I smirked. "A rock star, although my musical skills are lacking. Or a famous astronaut."

She giggled. "So you always wanted to be famous."

That was…true. "Some people are just meant to shine, Reed Girl." That earned me a light kick to my shin. I laughed and rolled over, pinning her to the bed. "You know you like it."

She snickered. "I don't know why I like you."

I grinned at her. "Yes you do." I punctuated that statement with a thrust of my hips which made her eyes roll back in her head. "Exactly."

"How much time before…" she was cut off by the sound of my phone ringing. Fuck.

"Food's here." I answered the phone and told them I'd be right down. "Stay here, baby, I'll be right back."

"Okay, I'm going to call Alice to ask her to check on Rainbow for me."

"Great." That was good. Maybe I should get some cat crap and have it here for when Bella stayed. She'd probably feel better if she could have the kitten here with us when she stayed over. I was pondering that as I got the food and came back to my room. Reed Girl was sitting on the bed with the paper plates she'd found in my food stash area.

"Making yourself at home, I see."

Her cheeks flushed at my comment. "I'm sorry. I saw them before when I was…" she broke off and looked down. "That was so rude, I've just never been in these rooms before and it's so clean and nice in here. You should have kicked me out for being nosy."

I would have if it was anybody else. Reed Girl doing it didn't even bother me. Doctor Moron had missed something; there was no doubt about it. I clearly had a virus. Or a brain tumor. "I've had Jasper in my room more times than I care to think about. You're a breath of fresh air, believe me."

"Still, it was rude."

I put the box on the bed and opened it, handing her a slice of pizza and grabbing one for myself. "Bella, I'd like for you to be comfortable here." I sat down and toyed with telling her what had been on my mind. "I can get stuff for Rainbow if you want to bring her over with you sometimes or something."

She made a funny gasping noise and I looked over to find her staring at me. "Really? You'd let me bring her over?"

I shrugged. "She's already been in here and she's sorta fun sometimes." She threw her arms around me and I hugged her back. "But she goes in the bathroom when we're having sex. That's the rule."

Reed Girl laughed and gave me a smacking kiss on my cheek. "I promise. It'd be me she went after anyway."

I smirked because that was probably true. "And you thought other women were going to be tough to get past. It's your own kitten who has her claws out for you."

Reed Girl shook her head. "Only you would charm females of other species."

I just grinned as I tore into my food. We were silent for a bit while we ate. I was proud to see my girl polish off three slices of pizza. She didn't pull that "I don't eat" crap that other girls tried. I ate four and put the other one in my mini-fridge for later. Or for Jasper to eat later. Somehow or other my leftovers tended to disappear before I ate them. I really needed to find out how the fuck he got into my room so often.

I flipped on the TV and we watched some sitcom that she claimed to love. It actually made me laugh a couple of times, so I guess it wasn't that bad. It was kinda cool kicking back with her in my room. She curled into my side, her hand on my stomach, tracing lazy circles while she watched and laughed. When the program was over she sat up and bit her lip.


"Would it be weird if I took a shower? You had one after practice but I feel kinda grimy from marching around for a couple hours."

Reed Girl in my shower? Duh. "That depends," I replied. May as well work this to my advantage.

She raised an eyebrow. "That depends on what?"

"On whether or not I get to join you."

She thought about it for a moment. "But you already had a shower."

"Not with you, I didn't." And I'd imagined it a time or two, generally while I was in there jerking off thinking about her.

"If you take a shower with me, it'll take longer," she pointed out.

I traced a finger down her arm. "Well, I'm already clean, so really we'll only have to focus on cleaning you."

She smirked. "Somehow I don't think cleaning me is going to be your focus."

Well, not entirely. "Cleaning, kissing, touching, fucking…it all works."

She laughed. "Are you going to bring a condom into the shower with us?"

Damn it. "Are you on birth control?"

Reed Girl was quiet for a moment before nodding. "Yeah."

"Are you sure about that? Took you long enough to answer." I wasn't taking a chance of knocking her up. We had too much ahead of us to worry about a fucking baby.

"Of course I'm sure about it, I just don't know about having unprotected sex with you."

Well, that fucking sucked. I got it, but that didn't mean it didn't fucking suck that she thought I was diseased or some damn thing. "I've been tested multiple times for multiple shit and I have nothing." I turned back to the TV. "Enjoy your shower. Anything you need should be in there. You can wear one of my shirts or something if you want."

"Edward," she said softly, putting her hand on my knee. I wouldn't look at her. I couldn't. Once again my fucking past rears its ugly head. "Edward, please look at me."

I glanced at her and saw big brown eyes welling with tears. "Fuck, don't cry. It's fine." Now what did I fucking do? Hug her? Apologize for her insulting me?

"I didn't mean to upset you," she said quietly.

"I know you didn't. I'll be okay. Just take your shower. I'll be here when you're done."

She stood and held a hand out to me. "Come and join me."

I looked away from her again. Part of me wanted to go, badly, but I wasn't going to. "The mood's kinda ruined, Bella."

"Do you want me to go home?" she asked softly.

Jesus. Girls were fucking complicated. "No, I don't want you to go home." She looked sad as hell when I risked another look at her. "It's all good. I'm tired. Go ahead and shower and we'll go to bed."

She sighed and went to my closet, grabbing a gray football t-shirt. I kept my eyes on the TV as she went into the bathroom. The water came on and I tried not to think about her naked just behind the door. The fact that she didn't trust me kept me from going in there. I flipped to Pawn Stars on the History Channel and leaned back against the headboard.

A creaking sound from the bathroom made me look over. "Edward?" Reed Girl stood there naked, backlit from the doorway. Fuck, was she trying to kill me?

"What?" It came out like a croak but it came out all the same.

"I need you to help me with something."

Fuck. Sometimes the knob stuck and the water was scalding. I got off the bed and tried not to look at my naked girlfriend. "Is the hot water stuck again?" I groaned when my arm brushed up against her breast as I walked past her. I stuck my hand under the water but it was fine. "No, the water's okay. What do you need?"

"You," she replied, pushing me against the wall, pressing her perfect body against me and kissing me hard. "I'm sorry. It was an automatic reaction. I've never had unprotected sex before and I freaked out a little bit."

It was hard to think; hard to focus when she was naked and looking at me like that. "I never have either, Bella. I know I got around but damn…I'm not that stupid. Do you know how many girls would be more than willing to get knocked up in order to try to trap me?" I closed my eyes. Must not look at her. My hands were on her bare waist and somehow I couldn't pry them away. "I've never trusted a girl enough to even think about it."

She kissed me again and fuck, I was throbbing and the room was getting hot and steamy. "I didn't think about it like that, Edward. I'm sorry I upset you."

I kept my eyes closed. "It's fine. Maybe we'll get there another time. I'm just gonna go…" Her fingers dug into my arms.

"Don't. Shower with me." I opened my eyes and looked into hers. They were watching me anxiously. "Touch me." She kissed me softly. "Take me."

Jesus. "Reed Girl, I don't have the strength to resist you. You have to let me out right now."

"I want you here." Her hands were pulling up my t-shirt. I didn't stop her as she tugged it over my head and threw it to the side. "Stay." Her fingers were on my jeans and I let her unzip me.

"I don't want you doing this because you feel guilty or some shit, Bella. I'm a big boy and I can take rejection." Not that I'd ever fucking had to until she came into my life.

My jeans were moving down over my hips and my boxers were going along with them. Reed Girl bent and pulled them over my legs, tugging them and my socks off too. "I wouldn't do that, Edward. I want you, that 's been the truth for…" she broke off and smiled wryly. "A long time. The water's hot and so am I. Are you going to join me?"

She stepped into the shower and the water was hitting her in the chest and moving down her body. She was wet and naked and she wanted me with her. Hot wasn't remotely a good enough description for my girl. Fucked up or not, I couldn't resist. I got into the water behind her and she turned around, reaching her arms around me, her breasts flattening against my chest. She pulled my head down to hers and kissed me deeply, her tongue sliding into my mouth and tangling with mine.

I ran my hands down her back, the shower spray hitting them as I stroked her soft skin. She tugged on my hair and pulled us back into the spray, so it was hitting both of us. Her lips were as hot as the water coursing down our bodies. I slid my hands over the curve of her ass and she moaned into my mouth. "Edward," she murmured as our kiss finally broke. "Touch me."

"I am, baby." I didn't know where to touch. I didn't have enough hands to touch her everywhere that I wanted to.

"Here." She took my hand and moved it to her pussy. Fuck, she was the perfect woman. No dicking around. She told me what she wanted and where she wanted it. I stroked her clit and she cried out, her head falling back, the water turning her hair nearly black.

I kissed her neck as I rolled her clit with two fingers. I had to taste her. I licked along her skin and bent my head to her breast, sucking her left nipple into my mouth. She made sexy noises, pushing herself against me. Her hand found my cock and she began rubbing smoothly up and down it. Fuck, that felt good. So much sensation with the water, her beautiful body, her fantastic hand, and the sounds she made. If I wasn't careful, I was going to come without being inside her and after all the bullshit earlier, I really wanted to be inside her when I came.

"Bella, fuck," I grunted as she rubbed my cock with the perfect amount of pressure. She was amazing.

"Mmm, that would be the goal, Edward."

Yes, that it was. I slipped a finger inside her and she was so tight and hot and fuck. I was not going to last. "I have to have you now."

"Take me," she told me, her head falling back in surrender. Jesus. I turned her toward the side, pressing her against the wall. I'd never had sex in the shower before and I was pretty damn excited about it. I wasn't sure how to work it but I'd seen plenty of shower scene pornos in my day.

I reached underneath her ass and gripped her thighs as I lifted her, pressing her into the wall. Her eyes met mine and she nodded as I rubbed my cock along her slit. She was so wet. I lifted her higher and moaned as I pushed the head of my cock inside her. I'd never felt anything better. It was such a good burn. She was so tight and I pushed further inside her.

I held her gaze as I slid home, entering her fully. "Like that?" I asked, straining. I had to remember to hold her up. She wasn't heavy but she felt so fucking awesome that I was afraid I'd forget myself and drop her.

"God, yes." She kissed me and pushed her hips toward me, gripping me tight with her thighs. Fuck. I started to move in and out of her. The water was hitting the side of our bodies as we moved together. The tile was probably cold but she didn't complain. "More," she murmured as I kissed along her jaw, nipping on the skin.

I thrust harder and faster, raising her legs higher, hooking them in the crook of my arms. Somehow she managed to spread them wider and holy fuck, I sank deeper inside her. So fucking good. "Bella, damn," I growled.

"Yes, Edward, so close," she gasped. She pulled my hair and I jerked inside her, hitting some spot I hadn't hit before. She cried out as I did so and suddenly she was coming, so tight around me I thought she might break my dick off, but it felt awesome at the same time, that pressure on my cock. I could barely move. I pulled back a little and drove and grinded into her. She was yelling my name and coming and suddenly I was coming too. Hold her up, hold her up, I reminded myself as I emptied inside her. Fuck. So good.

When I could focus again, I lowered my arms and set Reed Girl on the ground. She was smiling at me and I felt myself smiling back. "Thanks for, you know, trusting me," I told her, feeling awkward all of a sudden. There was something in the way she looked at me that made me want to do something like quote poetry or sonnets or some weird shit. I didn't get it.

"Thank you for trusting me, too. I'd never try to trap you, you know?"

I brushed her wet hair out of her eyes. "I know." And I did. She was too cool a chick and too good a person to try shit like that. I kissed her softly, trying to tell her without words that what we did meant a lot to me. When we broke apart, I reached for my soap and started running it over her body. Reed Girl looked surprised and shivered at my touch. "I promised to clean you, too." I soaped her up and rinsed her off, steering her into the water which was starting to get cold. "Did you want to wash your hair?"

"Just some conditioner so it won't tangle, please," she requested. I squirted some into my hand and ran it through her hair. She really fucking liked that, I could tell. She was making these little humming noises as I combed my fingers through her silky locks. I helped her rinse it all out and then we turned off the water. I grabbed a towel and dried her off before toweling off myself and draping it around my waist. Reed Girl pulled on my t-shirt and looked fucking hot in it, as always.

I toyed with putting on some boxers but what the fuck, we were going to bed anyway. I dropped the towel and pulled back the covers. Reed Girl crawled in beside me and I pulled her close. We watched some more Pawn Stars and just chilled for bit. She had her hair wrapped in a towel for awhile and then she got up to brush it out. She looked so pretty, no makeup, wet hair and just my t-shirt. "You're beautiful," I blurted without thinking.

She did a double take and then broke into a breathtaking smile. "Like this?" I nodded mutely and she grinned even wider. "Thank you." She got back into bed and gave me a hug that made me feel warm and good and shit. The flutters were back again and I pondered calling Doctor Do Nothing but I didn't want to alarm Reed Girl.

"This is our last night together for awhile, huh?" she asked. Damn it, she was right. I wouldn't be home until late Sunday, assuming I won on Saturday night, which meant I wouldn't see her until Monday. Fuck.

"Yeah, I guess." That sucked. Maybe…no. She said no already. "It's too bad you can't come to New York with me," I told her.

She sat up and looked at me in surprise. "I didn't think you wanted me there."

Did I? I did, I guess. I mean, I didn't want to not see her for six fucking days, that much I knew. I was just surprised when my mom invited her because she'd been my girlfriend for less than a day at that point. She still hadn't been my girlfriend for very fucking long.

"It's not that I didn't want you there, I was just surprised when Mom asked you. It was a little fast, you know?" She nodded. "Uh, so did you lie when you said you couldn't come?"

She smiled. "No, I really do have a test this week."

"Right. Okay then." I ignored the little twist in my gut over the fact that she wouldn't be there. "But you'll watch?"

"Of course I will. It's not every day my boyfriend wins the Heisman."

I grinned at her. "I'm damn glad to hear that."

She giggled. "Well, I didn't want to tell you but I'm totally a Heisman groupie. I hook up with the favorite right before the awards and then dump him."

I tickled her side as she giggled and thrashed. "I thought I recognized you."

She was breathless when I stopped tickling her. "That's really why I can't go; I don't want to clue in next year's winner."

I smirked at her. "Next year's winner is going to be me."

She giggled. "So you keep saying."

"Yep. I guess you're going to have to stick with me through the next Heisman ceremony then." Wait. What did I just say? Her jaw dropped open and she stared at me for awhile. I had no idea why the hell I'd just said that. A year from now? I wanted her to date me a year from now? Where the hell had that come from?

"Maybe I will," she murmured when she finally found her voice.

I had nothing to say still so I just gave her a tight smile. "Ready for bed?"

Her eyes were burning into me like she was trying to see what was going on in my brain. Good fucking luck to her. I didn't have a god damn clue what was going on in there. If she could figure it out, maybe she could clue my stupid ass in. "Okay," she agreed.

I turned out the light and then the TV. She rested her head against my shoulder and I kissed the top of her head. "Goodnight, Bella."

"Goodnight, Edward." I lay there for a long time, holding her, my stomach churning. Nothing wrong with me, my ass. I was talking to Dad when I got to New York. He could tell me what was wrong with me and I would fix it before the game. I had to.

Chapter Text

"Dad, can I talk to you for a minute?"

My father eyed me suspiciously but nodded. "Go ahead, son."

Right, with Mom in the room going through my clothes and picking out what I'm wearing to the awards ceremonies on Thursday and Saturday? I didn't fucking think so.

"Alone," I told him, shooting a glance toward my mother, who was bitching about my ties.

Dad's blue eyes regarded me warily. I could only wonder what was going on in that head of his. "Esme, why don't you run out and get Edward a new tie?" he suggested.

My mother sighed and turned away from the closet where she'd insisted on hanging all my shit. Like I didn't know how to fucking take care of my stuff. "I guess I'd better. I thought I told you to bring the gray suit?"

"I did." What the fuck? Was she colorblind?

"That's charcoal. I meant the lighter gray suit."

I rolled my eyes. "Well excuse me for not being able to read your mind through the fuc…" I broke off at the look on her face. Oops. I nearly slipped. "Phone."

"Uh huh." Her glare was hot and I shrank back away from it. "I'll take care of it. I have shopping to do anyway," she informed us, grabbing her purse. She tossed a smile at my father over her shoulder. "Go ahead and have your man talk. Carlisle." That was all she said but Dad nodded quickly. What the hell was that? Before I could comment, she turned to me. "What's Bella's favorite color?"

Ahhh. Fuck. "Blue, I think." She wore a lot of blue and it looked fucking awesome on her.

Mom sighed. "Useless. Fine. I'll take care of it."

"You're getting something for Bella?"

"We're in New York City, Edward. Of course I'm going to buy some Christmas presents here." She spoke as if I was a little kid or something.

"Well, I was just thinking that maybe you could get her something from m…"

"Oh no," Dad muttered.

What? Oh shit. Mom marched back from the doorway and started jabbing at me, looking highly pissed off. "Edward Anthony Cullen, don't you for one minute think that I'm going to pick out your present for your girlfriend for you. This is your first holiday together and it's up to you to find something meaningful for her."

Meaningful? Fuck me. I didn't do meaningful. "Mom, I don't think…"

"No, you clearly don't." Well, that was just fucking wrong. She poked at my chest again. "Here's what I will do for you. I'll take you out on Friday and we'll look for something together, but you're picking it out and I'm not going to give you any input."

Then what was the fucking point of her going with me? "Why are you going then?"

"So I can veto your stupid ideas."

"Isn't that giving input?" I demanded. She'd never been crazy until I got a girlfriend. I didn't understand why the fuck everything was changing now.

"No, it's keeping you from buying her a t-shirt that says I love New York or something lame. You're picking it out; I'm just approving or disapproving."

It seemed to me like she was doing a lot of fucking disapproving. "Fine."

Dad breathed a sigh of relief and steered Mom away from me. "Have a good time, dear. We'll get something to eat here."

"Okay." Mom kissed Dad and shook her head at me before heading out the door. I breathed a sigh of relief when she did.

"Has she always been crazy or is this a new development?" Maybe he needed to diagnose her, too.

"She's not crazy. She's just excited that you have a girl in your life that she actually likes. She's going a little overboard but she can't help it." Dad walked back and sank into the seat next to the TV. "So, what did you want to talk about?"

Right. I needed some answers. I sighed and sat on the bed, facing him, running my hand through my hair.

"She's not pregnant, is she?" Dad asked, watching me closely.

Pregnant? What? Mom? Fuck, was that even possible? She was forty-eight. Crap. Women were having babies at older ages all the time now. "I certainly hope not, although that might explain the mood swings."

"She's having mood swings?" Dad asked. Suddenly he was standing up and pacing around the room. "Has she taken a test?"

How the fuck would I know? "You'd know better than I would."

"Why would I know? She hasn't discussed it with me. Has she seen a doctor?" He was hard to keep up with, back and forth. It was annoying as hell. Why was he reacting like this?

"I don't know."

"How can you not know? Is she late?"

"Late for what?" She just left. She didn't have an appointment for shopping, did she? Maybe she did in one of the nicer stores. What the fuck did I know?

"Her period, son! Is it late?"

Fucking gross. "How would I know? You're the one married to her. I don't want to know about Mom's periods. What's wrong with you?" He was freaking me the fuck out. And there was one thing I was going to make damn clear. "I'm not changing any diapers. If you two are having another kid, that's your issue." They'd look like grandparents at the poor kid's graduation. People might think I was its dad. That was so wrong.

"Wait." Dad stopped pacing and held up a hand. "You're not talking about Bella?"

Bella? What the hell did she have to do with…oh. Jeez. "No! Mom's not pregnant?"

Dad let out a relieved laugh and sank back into his chair. "Of course not. You scared the shit out of me. I thought you knocked up your girlfriend by the way you were acting."

Holy crap. That was enough to make me sick to my stomach. "No, Dad. God. Way to jump to conclusions, though."

Dad smirked. "Are you telling me you're not having sex with her? I know you, son. It's not the first time I've worried about you getting some girl in trouble."

"Whatever. I'm careful." Images of me and Reed Girl in the shower flashed in my eyes and I swallowed. "Mostly. Bella's on the pill and we use condoms."

"That's good. Nothing's failsafe but abstinence." That was not a fucking option, thank you very much. He chuckled at the expression on my face. "Yeah, I know better than to suggest that. So, if your girl's not pregnant, what's wrong?"

Right. Time to focus on my problem. "I'm dying."

Dad was out of his chair again, this time staring into my eyes and pressing his hands to the side of my head. "What do you mean? What's wrong? What did they find?" he demanded.

I batted his hands away. "Nothing! That's the problem. You need to x-ray me and figure out what's wrong."

"What feels wrong? What hurts? Does this hurt?" He was poking at my abdomen and squeezing my sides and shit.

"Stop it, Dad. Nothing hurts. It's probably a tumor."

He took a deep breath and sat on the bed next to me. "Explain, Edward. Tell me what makes you think you're dying and what the doctor said. You have seen the doctor, right?"

"Of course I have. He found nothing. He's a moron! A fucking hack."

"What do you mean, he found nothing? What are your symptoms? Do you have headaches?" He was back to probing at my head and looking into my eyes. If he got any closer we'd be making out. Maybe I shouldn't have announced that I was dying right away. I should have weaned him into it or some shit. He was all panicked now. Thank God I hadn't said anything in front of my mother. She might have the paramedics up here already.

"No, I don't have headaches. I have flutters."

"Flutters?" His face was deeply concerned. I knew it. I was fucking dying.

"Yes. In my stomach. They just randomly come and I feel weird and I'm too fucking calm over all of this shit."

"Flutters?" he asked again. "Like nerves?"

Oh, fuck, not that shit again. Now I was the one up and pacing back and forth. "I'm not nervous! That's part of the fucking problem. Don't you see?"

"No, I don't see. Take me through it, step by step."

"Fine. It started on Saturday night." I smiled when I thought about what I'd been doing at the moment I first felt it. "I was with Bella. We were having sex and I looked at her and felt these weird flutters in my stomach."

"Jesus Christ," he muttered, closing his eyes and rubbing his forehead.

"What?" I asked, my palms sweating. He knew already. He knew what was wrong, I could see it.

Sharp blue eyes focused on me. "Nothing. Go on."

"Right. Well, I felt it again when we were at breakfast with you guys, then in Bella's room, then in front of her class and again last night when we were in my room. It's getting more frequent. I don't know what to do about it."

"So, let me see if I have this straight. You started having these feelings on Saturday, with Bella?" I nodded. "And every other time you've had it, she's been there?"

"Yes." What was it? Was I allergic to her? She didn't wear perfume but maybe her soap was setting me off or something. "Is it allergies?" I asked.

Dad laughed, long and hard. He was pounding on the bed and his face was red. What the fuck? It wasn't funny. Something was wrong with me and my father was laughing. "Why are you laughing at me?"

"Because you're a moron. And because you scared the life out of me. I think I can feel my hair turning gray."

I'm a moron? His son has shit wrong with him and he just laughs and calls me names and I'm the fucking moron? "You hair was already turning gray." I smiled when that shot hit home. Really, just a bit at the temples but he was a vain motherfucker just like I was, so he wasn't too thrilled that I pointed it out. He deserved it though.

"That's because I have two idiots for sons." He sighed and ran his hand through his hair. "Sit down, Edward."

Well, I sure as hell wasn't sitting next to him after he called me names, so I took the seat he'd vacated when he'd heard I was dying. "Fine," I muttered. "Are you going to tell me what's wrong with me, or not?"

He smiled. "No, I actually don't have enough time in the world to do that."

Asshole. "Dad. Seriously?" Maybe I should have told him with Mom in the room. She, at least, would have had some fucking concern for her youngest child.

He laughed again, because he was clearly a terrible person who didn't give a fuck about me. How had I missed that all these years? Maybe he wasn't my real father. Maybe someone cool like Joe Montana was.

"Alright, Edward. Here's what I can tell you. There's nothing physically wrong with you. I'm assuming your doctor ran some tests when you went to see him." He paused, chuckling. "You really went to see the doctor for this?"

He was still laughing. And now he thought I was mental, too. What the fuck? "Of course I did. Something's wrong with me so I went to the doctor. Isn't that what I'm supposed to do?"

Dad nodded, his eyes twinkling. "Of course. Did you, uh, mention Bella to him?"

Why the fuck would I talk about Reed Girl to the doctor? "No, why would I? I just told him that I'd been having the fluttering and that I was too fucking calm about having a girlfriend. He said that it was just nerves over the Heisman and the game. As if I get fucking nervous."

"You mentioned the girlfriend part?"

Did I? "I don't know. What does she have to do with anything? The point is, he didn't bother scanning my head to look for a tumor or anything. He just tried to pass me off to a fucking psychiatrist."

"You may need one," he muttered under his breath.

"What? You think I'm crazy?"

"Crazy in something, that's for sure." He was grinning madly. Maybe he was the fucking crazy one. Maybe it ran in our family. Shit, would I end up in a padded cell one of these days, next door to my nutty Dad? Emmett was already half crazy and Mom was out of control lately. I was fucked.

"I'm not crazy!" I shouted, probably sounding it but damn it, he was trying my patience. "I can't believe that you're sitting there fucking laughing at me when I could be dying."

That set him off again. Fuck this noise. I was leaving. Wait. It was my room. Oh well. "I'm out of here."

He caught my arm before I could get away and I yanked it away angrily. "Edward, sit down." I glared at him and he held up a hand. "I'll stop laughing, I promise."

"Some fucking father you are," I muttered, but I sat down anyway.

The humor in his eyes turned steely at that one. "I've never been anything but a good father to you, Edward. Maybe I could have handled this with a little more grace but first you had me thinking your girlfriend was pregnant and then that you were dying. Once I knew neither of those was true, I may have been a little giddy, relieved and yes, amused. One day, you will laugh over this, too. I swear it."

Like hell. "Will you just tell me what's wrong with me?" I had no energy left to be pissed off or upset anymore. I just needed to know so I could get on with my life, however little there may be left of it.

"No, I don't think I will."

"What?" I shouted, standing again. Yeah, I was fucking wrong. I had plenty of energy now. He was fucking with me again.

"Edward, calm the fuck down," he ordered. "The reason I'm not going to tell you exactly what's wrong with you is because you need to figure it out for yourself. Nothing is physically wrong. You're not dying. You're not crazy, though I may be after having this conversation with you. Now, sit down and think for a minute."

I wasn't dying. I wasn't crazy. That was good. I could live with both of those things. I sat and my father smiled. "Thank you. Now, think about what you told me. What was the common denominator every time you felt your fluttery feeling?"

Reed Girl was. "Bella was there."

"Yes, exactly. And when you felt it, you were…uh…"

Fucking and other good stuff. "Having sex, kissing, holding her, I guess. You know. Physical stuff." Which was why I thought I had something wrong with me. Duh.

Dad beamed at me. "Exactly. So what do you think that means?"

This was so frustrating. "I told you what I thought. Now you say I'm not dying, so what? Am I allergic to her?"

That set him the fuck off again. "Damn it, Dad, why are you laughing?"

"Because, son, you're just as clueless as I was when your mother barged into my life. And she thought I was thick-headed. You take the cake."

Man, he was pissing me the fuck off. "So far you've called me a moron, an idiot and now dumb. Any other insults you'd like to hurl while I'm freaking out?"

"You're being those things, so I'm calling you them. Now, shut up and think for a minute. I just compared you and Bella to myself and your mother. Why do you think that is?"

Fucking hell. "Because they're both beautiful and they got us to settle down." There, that was a good guess, right?

"Yes, they both did that. And why did they do that?"

Like I knew what made my dad stop fucking around? Fuck it, I just needed to focus on Reed Girl and what I thought of her. "They're cool chicks who won't take shit from us."

"Very true. What else?" he prompted.

Christ. "I don't know! She makes me laugh, like all the fucking time. I don't mind it when she's rifling through my shit. She's smart and keeps me on my toes. I like being around her and it made me feel bad that she's not coming to the awards show on Saturday. She's sexy as hell and I feel good when I'm with her." Which would make it really fucking suck if I was allergic to her.

"And what do you think that all adds up to, Edward? You're a straight A student, so you can't be this obtuse." He shook his head. "It's a wonder your mother didn't brain me with a brick back in the day."

Fuck. "It's…she's…I don't know, special?"

He sighed. "Yes, she is. As is your mother. And how do I feel about her?"

"Well, you love her." Oh. Fuck no. It couldn't be. "You think I love Bella?" Jesus Christ. I was going to die for real now. My heart was pounding. No. It wasn't fucking possible.

"Ding, ding, ding. Give the boy a prize. Welcome to the club, son. You're well and truly done." And he was back to grinning and laughing like a loon.

"But…I can't. It's not…how?" I babbled, holding my head in my hands. No. No way. I barely knew her. I liked what I knew, but I didn't love what I knew. I couldn't. I didn't do love. Edward Cullen was not falling in love, not now, maybe not ever.

"You can and I think you know it, or else you wouldn't look pale as death. I could believe you were dying if you told me that now."

He didn't have to sound so fucking gleeful about it. "I hate you."

He laughed. "No, you don't. You love me and you love Bella. Why are you so afraid of it?"

"Why?" I yelled. "Because I'm nineteen years old. I don't need to be in love. I have my whole life ahead of me."

He shook his head. "I was barely older than that when I fell in love with your mother. It's not a death sentence, Edward."

"It feels like it."

"Why? Nobody says you have to get married tomorrow." Married? Holy fuck. I couldn't breathe. "Edward, calm down. So much for you not getting nervous."

"How can I not be? Everything's changing." Love. No. I didn't want it. "I'm not doing it."

"You're not doing what? Being in love?"

"Yes. I refuse to." I could do anything I set my mind to, damn it.

Dad laughed and laid a hand on my shoulder. "Well, I wish you luck with that. You asked for my diagnosis and now you've got it. If you don't like it, that's too bad. But it's not going to go away."

Sure it would. "It will. I'll be away from her for five days. That should be enough time."

Dad smirked. "And what will you do when you get back to school? Are you going to avoid her?"

What? "Of course the fuck not. I already said I'd…fuck."

"Exactly. You don't want to stay away from her, even knowing that you love her."

"Would you stop saying that?" I asked. God, he was annoying. So smug and all-knowing and comfortable in his stupid relationship with my mother.

"Maybe if I say it enough, you'll finally accept it."

"I don't want to."

He chuckled. "I know you don't, but it's going to be there whether you accept it or not."

"Mind over matter. I don't want to love her so I won't."

"But you won't stay away from her?"

The thought of that made me even sicker. "No."

"Well, that kind of says it all, doesn't it?"

I sighed and buried my head in my hands. "Fuck this. Why can't I just be with Reed Girl and avoid all this feeling shit? It sucks."

"It doesn't, Edward. The fact that you feel for her is what makes it so much fun to be around her. Don't you get that?"

Maybe. I didn't know. "I don't like it."

He laughed again. "I don't blame you. Love's a pain in the ass sometimes. But at the end of the day, when the girl you love is in your arms, there's nothing better."

I liked having Reed Girl in my arms. "I don't want to deal with this right now." I had shit on my mind. I had to give a fucking national speech in a few days. I didn't need to be freaking out over some love that I may or may not feel. My dad didn't have to be right.

"There's no stopwatch clocking you on this one, Edward. You need time to wrap your head around it. I get that. Nobody said you have to tell Bella now."

Tell her? "I'm not fucking telling her! Jesus!" She'd either laugh at me or run or something. Or maybe look at me, those big brown eyes shining with pity over me and my pathetic feelings.

Dad snickered. "Okay. Baby steps. But I can tell you, when you do tell her, it'll be amazing."

"Not if she runs away, it won't." It wasn't going to happen. If I loved her, and I wasn't saying I did, then I'd keep it to myself. It would either go away or she'd say it herself and then all would be well. That was the fucking plan.

Dad shook his head. "She's not going to run, Edward. I may not know Bella well, but I know that much."

"We'll see. I have a headache."

He chuckled and got off my bed. "Take two aspirin and call me in the morning."

"Ha ha," I muttered.

Dad ruffled my hair, which was fucking annoying. I wasn't five. "Take some time, get some rest and just relax, Edward. There are far worse things than falling in love."

"Says you."

He chuckled. "I'm going to get some dinner. Are you coming?"

Like I could eat now? "No."

"Okay. Call me if you need anything. And Edward?"

I looked up at him. He was smiling sympathetically now. It was about fucking time. "I'm happy for you. Bella seems like a wonderful girl."

She was. Too wonderful, apparently. She tricked me into falling in love with her by being awesome. "Thanks," I managed.

He walked to the door. "Don't do anything dumb, Edward. Just clear your head and let things happen."

Right, like it was that fucking easy. He left and I threw myself on my bed. Love. I pulled out my phone and turned it on. My wallpaper was a picture of Reed Girl, grinning at me, her hair spread over my pillow, taken just this morning. I felt the fluttering start again. Fuck. I should call her but I was afraid I'd say something stupid, either tell her I loved her or ruin shit before she loved me. No. I'd talk to her later. I set my phone aside. Maybe it wasn't love. Maybe it would go away. No point in saying anything now because if it did, that would hurt her, which was the last thing I wanted to do.

Push it aside and sleep. That's what I needed to do. Maybe the flutters would be gone tomorrow. Life would be a lot easier if they did. The pang I felt at the thought wasn't anything major. Just hunger. I'd deal with it all later.


"What's wrong with this?" I asked, holding up the red dress and watching my mother's lips pucker up like she'd just sucked on a lemon.

"You're not buying her a dress the size of a postage stamp."

Damn it. What was wrong with getting her a dress? Sure, it was a little short but she'd look fucking hot in it. "Buy her a dress; take her out to a fancy dinner, what's wrong with that?"

She rolled her eyes. "It's fine for a date, but not for a Christmas present. She's not going to look at the dress over the years and think about how that was the first gift you ever gave her."

"Technically the first gift I gave her was a kitten…" I broke off at the look on her face. "Okay, fine." I shoved the dress back on the rack. We'd been to a billion stores and nothing I picked out had passed my mother's inspection. I was tired, annoyed and I just wanted to get back to my room.

I hadn't talked to Reed Girl since I'd arrived in New York, beyond a few texts. Thursday had been insane with interviews and then the awards. I'd won the Maxwell, the Walter Camp and the Davey O'Brien awards last night. A clean sweep. She'd texted me her congratulations and I'd texted her back just before collapsing in bed. I wanted to call her. I thought about it all the fucking time. But I couldn't do it. I was…fuck. I was afraid, something else I'd never been before she came along. She brought fear, rejection and fucking love into my life. She was changing everything and it scared the shit out of me. Now, here I was, tromping into another store with my mother trying to find the perfect gift for her. It was ridiculous. I was buying the next fucking thing I saw and that was that.

I walked right into a display case and steadied myself. "I'll just get…" I broke off when I saw what I was looking at. Engagement rings? What the fuck? "What are we doing here?" I demanded.

My mother giggled. "It's Tiffany's, Edward. I thought maybe you'd like to get her something here."

"I'm not getting engaged!" I shouted loud enough that the whole store was fucking staring at me. Holy shit. I took some deep breaths, trying to get myself under control.

Mom rubbed the back of my neck. "I didn't think you were, Edward. I thought maybe you could get her a pendant or a bracelet or something."

Right. Marriage was off the motherfucking table. I wasn't getting married now or maybe ever. "I feel sick."

Mom's face was full of concern. Unlike my fucking father, she cared when I was in distress. "This can be the last store before we go back to the hotel." She felt my forehead. "You don't feel warm."

"It's my stomach." It was always my fucking stomach these days.

"We'll get you some medicine and you can lie down for awhile before dinner. If you're not up to it, we'll order you some soup or something," she soothed.

"Okay." She steered me away from all those sparkling diamond rings, thank fucking God. Of course, I didn't feel much better when I saw the diamond heart pendant at the next case. "No," I muttered.

Mom's lips twitched. "How about something like that?" She pointed to a plain silver bracelet. That was kind of boring.

"Just a chain? It's kind of plain, isn't it?" I may not want to buy her hearts and engagement rings but surely I could do better than a chain link bracelet.

Mom laughed. "You buy charms to put on it." She pointed at another case filled with tons of the little fucking things. "You can personalize it to things that she likes or are special to you."

I winced at all the damn heart charms. Hearts and fucking love everywhere I looked in here. There was a little cat one. "I want the cat," I told her. Rainbow should be on there. A salesperson came up and started cooing all over me. I ignored that shit as I focused on the little pieces. She took the cat out and set it down in front of me.

"We'd like the platinum bracelet there," Mom told the woman. She smiled brightly and selected it from the case, setting it next to the cat charm.

"Do you have any rainbows or something?" I asked, irritated because I couldn't see any.

"Well, no, I don't think so. The only enamel pieces are our signature blue…"

She yammered and I tuned her out. I'd find a fucking rainbow somewhere else. "Do you have an oboe?"

She went to the next case and pulled out a charm. "It's a flute, not an oboe, but…"

"No. I'll find one." I was trying to think. "One of those B's, the silvery one."

"In the heart or the circle?" she asked.

I heard Mom laughing under her breath. Fuck it. I was done fighting it. "The heart." What else? "Do you have numbers?"


"I need a seven." That would represent me. It was my football number and it made me think of Reed Girl wearing nothing but my jersey. So fucking hot. She added a seven to the pile. "What about that?" I pointed to a little book. Reed Girl enjoyed reading and it represented school, right? She held it out and I nodded. "That works."

I turned and studied the rest. Reed Girl was thinking about going into Oceanography because she liked sea creatures. "The dolphin." I pointed it out. "And a palm tree." I turned to my mother. "Is that enough? I'll find her an oboe and rainbow online."

Mom laughed. "If you're happy with it."

I studied the bracelet. The saleslady attached the charms. It could use some color, beyond whatever fucking rainbow I found. "What about that package thing?" It was a little blue gift box. That should remind her of her first present from me, right? Fuck, I was thinking like my mom now. Enough.

"That's our number one Tiffany charm…" she was off, yammering again.

"Yes, that. Done," I interrupted. She boxed the thing up and started entering in a lot of fucking numbers. "Holy shit. Mom?"

My mother just laughed. "It's your first present for her. You're allowed to splurge."

I handed over my credit card and closed my eyes without looking at the price. It wasn't like it was really my money, anyway. "Is there anything else I can get you?" she asked.

"Fu…" Mom cuffed me in the back of the head. "No, thanks." I signed the slip quickly.

She handed me a bag with the blue box and I took it. "She'll like it, right?" The flutters were back again. Fucking hell. I hadn't noticed them because I'd been so focused on getting what she'd like.

"She'll love it because you picked it out and selected things that mean something to her."

Right. It wasn't so bad, really. And I was done. "Can we go now?"

She laughed and linked her arm with mine. "You're just getting started," she murmured mysteriously.

Kill me now. "Mom, really, I can't shop anymore."

She laughed. "That wasn't what I meant. Yes, we're done. Let's go."

Thank God.


This was so fucking boring. I was sitting in the front row, my family somewhere behind me, and Chris Fowler was droning on and on about my stats. I slid my phone out of my coat and used the running back from Bama's arm to block the camera's view of me.

I'm bored out of my mind.

I sent the text to Reed Girl. I'd finally bit the bullet and called her last night, but she'd been short with me. Probably pissed off that I'd been so quiet since I left. It was all my Dad's fucking fault. If he hadn't thrown the love idea at me, I could have had hot hotel phone sex with her. Asshole.

They're talking about you. How can you be bored? I thought hearing people sing your praises was the best thing in the world to you.

I smiled. She didn't seem pissed off. She seemed like her usual snarky self.

Even I can get tired of hearing about my greatness. It takes a long time, though. Perhaps if they hadn't left me for last I'd be more interested. Like anybody cares what the losers stats were?

I swore I could practically hear her giggle.

I'm sure their families, friends and teammates beg to differ. It can't all be about you.

I couldn't contain my grin.

Of course it can. They could fill more than an hour with just me if they wanted to. How great do I look on TV, by the way? Mom made me get this new suit since I brought the wrong one. Did you know that charcoal and gray are two entirely different colors?

My phone vibrated with her response.

Like I should stroke your ego? Yes, I know they're different colors. Only boys don't know that.

I bit my tongue to keep from laughing.

Baby, you can stroke something, but I'd prefer it not be my ego.

Just thinking about her soft, capable hands had me hard.

Keep on imagining it, Cullen. That'll help get you through that downtime in your hotel without me. I hope you haven't damaged your grip with all the handshaking you've been doing.

She wasn't kidding. Before this damn thing started, I'd met like a billion Heisman winners, all the ESPN College GameDay guys, and a bunch of sponsor types. It was ridiculous.

My right hand might be a little tired but I bet you could talk me through it.

On the big screen, Coach Fisher was talking about how I was a leader on and off the field. Blah blah blah.

You mean I'm actually going to hear your voice tonight? That would be a novel concept.

Oops, I was in some trouble apparently.

Hey, you blew me off last night. And before that I was busy. I can't wait to get home.

And to see if things changed when I was around her, now that I knew I might be in love with her or something.

Sorry. I promise I won't blow you tonight. I mean, blow you off.

Fuck. I hid the laugh behind a cough. Thank God they were finally done and going to commercial before the big announcement.

You're cruel, Reed Girl. How could you taunt me like that right before I'm about to win the most prestigious award in college football?

I was doing my best to will my cock to behave. I had a feeling my mother would kill me if I had a hard on when I went up to the podium.

We both know that no matter what I say, nothing will deflate you...or your ego. It's almost time. Good luck!

She was right. I needed to put my phone away.

Thanks, baby. I'll talk to you as soon as I can get away from the old timers.

I slid my phone back into my pocket. Hopefully nobody saw what I was doing. Mom would kill me. Emmett would laugh his ass off. He'd finally arrived this morning, the douche. He couldn't tear himself away from Blondie until it was absolutely necessary, apparently.

The older blonde lady that was announcing the awards walked to the podium to a round of applause. She yapped for a few minutes about the trustees and shit nobody cared about before she got to the good stuff. "And the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner is Edward Cullen," she spat out really quickly, without a dramatic pause or anything. I jerked in surprise at how abrupt she was and shook hands with my fellow nominees who were clapping me on the back and shit.

I shook hands with Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke, fellow Nole winners, as I walked up to get my trophy. I thanked Mannish Blondie, even though she fucked up my announcement. I took the award, which was fucking heavy and sat it on the podium next to me. I did it. Not that there'd been any doubt, but now that it was here, I was really relieved.

I smiled at the crowd and looked for my family. Dad was beaming proudly and Mom was wiping tears from her eyes. Emmett was whooping loudly, as usual not caring about the formality of the situation. And Reed Girl was biting her lip and practically fucking glowing. She was…what the fuck? She was here? I felt my jaw drop and her smile stretched across her face as she gave me a little wave. She looked hot as fuck in a red and gray dress that showed off her sexy body to perfection. Gray. Of course. I laughed with delight and waited for the applause to die down before speaking.

"Thank you, to the voters and the board of trustees. I am honored to be a part of such an illustrious group." I tried to focus on the words that I'd had in my head for weeks. My eyes met Reed Girl's and that fluttering feeling burst through me again. This time, though, it felt good. She was here, supporting me. That meant more than I could say.

"I think I can speak for all the past winners and nominees when I say that we couldn't get here alone. I have to thank my teammates for getting me here. My line for protecting me, my receivers for making some amazing catches that made me look better than I was." Laughter rang through the crowd. "My running backs for taking a huge part of the load each and every game, my tight ends for blocking for me and bailing me out numerous times and the defense for getting me back on the field so I could run up my numbers." More laughter made me grin. Reed Girl was giggling away.

"Thanks to Coach Fisher, for giving me the team last year when Christian went down with injury. He's pushed me to get better and work harder than I ever have in my life." I focused on my family. "My parents have gone to every one of my games since I was a little kid, cheering me on through good times and bad. They've always been there, which makes them pretty spectacular. My brother taught me more than I can say about the game and life." Emmett hollered again. Mom was crying harder and Dad was holding her and smiling at me.

That was all I'd planned to say, but now I had something to add. "And last I'd like to thank my girl, Bella, who keeps me humble." I smirked as she held a hand over her mouth, her eyes shining with laughter. "She'd be happy to tell you that that's not an easy task. She's amazing and I'm really glad she's here." I held the trophy up. "Thank you all!"

Then I was surrounded by past winners, giving me congratulations and smacking my back and all that bullshit. I cut Andre Ware off when I caught sight of my brother plowing through the crowd. He wrapped me in a bone-crushing hug. "Way to go, little bro!" he shouted. Then he pushed past me and started goofing around with Eddie George and Barry Sanders. I rolled my eyes and got hugs from both my parents. They were talking but all I could see was my girl standing behind them, a bright smile on her face. She was fucking gorgeous.

Dad released me and led Mom off to talk to the old timers. Reed Girl stood in front of me. "Surprise!" she told me.

"All those texts and you were sitting just five rows behind me."

She laughed. "I was afraid you'd turn around on a commercial break and see me, but fortunately you were too busy texting me to look for me."

I held a hand out and she took it. "When?" I asked.

She smiled. "Your mom called and gave me the hard press to come again when you were flying up. I had my test and practice yesterday but I told her I could come this morning, so she arranged it." She bit her lip again. "Since you said you wanted me to come…"

I cut her off with a kiss. I couldn't hold back any longer. She was so beautiful and perfect and she was here. The fluttering was back full force and it felt kind of good when I was kissing her. She pulled back and smiled at me. "I think you approve."

Without a doubt. "I think I love you." Oh, fuck, what did I say?

Chapter Text

She smiled. "Your mom called and gave me the hard press to come again when you were flying up. I had my test and practice yesterday but I told her I could come this morning, so she arranged it." She bit her lip again. "Since you said you wanted me to come…"

I cut her off with a kiss. I couldn't hold back any longer. She was so beautiful and perfect and she was here. The fluttering was back full force and it felt kind of good when I was kissing her. She pulled back and smiled at me. "I think you approve."

Without a doubt. "I think I love you." Oh, fuck, what did I say?

Reed Girl's eyes went really wide and she said nothing for at least a year. Or a minute. What the fuck ever. It was a long ass time during which my heart was trying to beat its way out of my fucking chest and I was sweating profusely. Thank fucking God I'd already done my TV appearance. I probably had pit stains at this point. I had no idea what was going on around us, all I saw was her and that look that I couldn't quite read in her eyes.

"Did you just say that you think you love me?" she asked, her voice a little bit higher than usual. Was that disbelief? Anger? I didn't fucking know. Damn her and her mysterious ways.

This was it. Lie or own it? It wasn't like she'd misheard. Could I play it off as something else? I think I dove you? That might be worse than love. I think I shove you? Sure, Cullen, then you're an abusive fuckhead. Great idea. Screw it. "Yes."

Her eyes narrowed then. Fuck. She was mad. I knew that look well enough. What the fuck was there to be mad about? I just told her I loved her. That shouldn't piss her off. Most girls would be swooning at my feet right about now. Or picking out fucking china patterns or some ridiculous shit like that. Reed Girl, of course, was glaring at me, because she made no fucking sense.

"Tell you what, Cullen." Fuck, she last named me. This wasn't good. "You let me know when you figure it out." Then she patted my arm and walked away. What the fuck just happened here? She strolled over to Eric fucking Crouch and started chattering away. He was grinning at her and staring down her fucking dress. Asshole. I growled and bunched a fist as I stepped toward them.

"Edward, are you ready to head to dinner?" My mother's hand on my arm stopped me in my tracks. Dinner? Like I could think about fucking food right now? My girlfriend had just walked away from me and was flirting with a fucking Cornhusker. What kind of lame ass team name was that anyway?

"I'm not hungry."

Mom stepped in front of me and started patting at my cheeks. "Are you still sick? Maybe we should get you back to the hotel."

No, I wasn't sick. Well, I was, but it wasn't that kind of sick. It was a worse, incurable kind. Death would have been fucking easier. "I'm not sick." I glared over her shoulder as Crouch laughed and wrote his number down for Reed Girl. That motherfucker was going down. "I'm going to kill him."

"Kill who?" Mom turned and followed my gaze. "Why? He's just signing an autograph for Bella's father. He asked her to get them from the Heisman winners."

Oh. So it wasn't his fucking number. Well, it still might be. He seemed mighty delighted by my girl. If he eyed her tits one more time I was going to husk some fucking cornhusker ass. "She's flirting with him."

Mom laughed. "She is not. Bella only has eyes for you."

And that was utter bullshit. I told her I loved her and she walked away. Some eyes those were. "She does not."

"She does, too. I see the way the girl looks at you."

What the fuck ever. "I told her I loved her and she walked away."

Mom gasped and shook her head. "No, Edward, she did not."

"She sure as fuck did!" I nearly yelled. Mom's eyes narrowed she raised a hand. Shit. "I didn't mean to say fu…it."

"I think you misinterpreted. Tell me what happened." Of course Mom was on Reed Girl's side. That just fucking figured.

What was happening right now is fucking Crouch had his hand on my girl's silky bare shoulder and I swore his thumb was caressing her. I was going to rip it off and stuff it up his nose. It wasn't like he fucking needed it. NFL washout.

"Edward, what did you say?"

I sighed and tried to look away from the fucknugget that was hitting on my girl. There were others around her now, and she was laughing and so were they and they all wanted her just as badly as I did. Jason White? Another fucking flameout. Bo Jackson? That wasn't fucking cool. He was a badass. He'd better step off or I'd beat him down. He was old. I could take him. Probably. Mom squeezed my arm and I turned my attention back to her.

"I told you. I told her I thought I loved her."

Mom tilted her head. "Wait a minute. You told her loved her or that you thought you loved her?"

Was there a fucking difference? Either way, I put my heart out there and she threw it back at me. "She said something about thinking that she surprised me and I said that I thought I loved her. I didn't mean to say it, it just came out. Then she repeated what I said and asked if I was for real. I said yes. She told me to tell her when I figured it out and she called me Cullen and walked away. She fucking blew me off."

Mom laughed. Fucking great. Of course my other parent had to laugh at me. Maybe I was adopted. Maybe Joe Montana knocked up a supermodel and she had to give me away to keep her career. This made far more sense than the people who claimed to birth me laughing at my fucking pain.

"Let me ask you something, Edward." Oh great, here we fucking go. Was she taking lessons in parenting from Dad? Why were they asking me things, instead of just helping me the fuck out? "If Bella said she thought she loved you to you, how would you respond?"

Just the idea of that made my head feel light. And the flutters were back again. Motherfucking love flutters. I hated them. "I don't know. I'd probably say I loved her, too, and then take her to bed." Yes, I did just say that to my own mother. Adoptive mother, maybe, but mother just the same. I was fucking crazy. Genetics had been absorbed from them even though they weren't my birth parents. They infected me with the crazy.

"Really? If she said she thought she loved you, you'd take that extra step and tell her that you definitely loved her? You'd put your heart on the line like that?"

How the hell did I know? "Yes. No. Maybe. God, this is so confusing!" I threw up my hands. Reed Girl was flirting with Archie Griffin now and I was pretty sure Crouch was staring at her ass. I was going to maim and blind him.

"Calm down, Edward. Don't bring God into this." That was for fucking sure. He'd abandoned me just like my real family. "Seriously, would you be willing to take that extra step, say that you for sure loved her, when she only said she thought she loved you? Be honest now."

God. It would just be a lot fucking easier if she said it like she was supposed to. But I did know what my mom meant. "Probably not."

She snorted. My mother seriously snorted. I was in an alternate universe where nothing made sense. And my girlfriend was smiling at Barry Sanders and Andre Ware. Maybe she was going to run off with them and have that threesome after all. Jesus fucking Christ, I was going to be sick.

"Edward, if Bella, or any girl for that matter, told you they thought they loved you, you'd run in the other direction before they finished the sentence."

That was unfuckingtrue. "I would not!" Mom raised an eyebrow. "Not if Reed Girl did it." Probably not. It would depend really. "I want her to say it. Why can't she just say it so we can be done with this love shit and get back to the good stuff?"

Mom's lips twitched. "And just what would the good stuff be?"

Like I was about to fucking tell her? "Um, you know, hanging out and stuff." Preferably naked.

Mom laughed. "The good stuff only gets better once you love one another." Bullshit. Love hurt and sucked and tied you all up in knots and made you sick. Reed Girl must not love me because she was having a high fucking time with Tim Brown. Fuck Notre Dame. We played them next year. I was going to beat them by sixty just because I fucking could.

"Well, I wouldn't know since my supposed girlfriend is flirting with anything with a dick while my mom is standing here laughing at me." This time she did smack me right upside my head. "Ow!"

"You will not talk about her like that. And you will come to dinner and be nice to her and show her you love her and then tell her without the damn I think in front of it. She's not giving you her heart when you didn't really give her yours. Say it, without qualification, and I promise you she won't walk away from you."

Why the fuck should I? "How do you know?" Reed Girl laughed at something Charlie Ward said and put her hand on his arm. Fucking figures. Even my fellow Noles were out to take my girl away. Fuck that. She was mine. If she didn't love me now, she sure as fuck would love me before I was done with her. I wasn't the only one that was going to suffer.

"Because that girl got on a plane and came here to be with you on the most important night of your life." That was…true. "Because she keeps glancing over here when you're not looking." Bullshit. I hadn't seen her looking. "Her smile doesn't reach her eyes and her body is angled toward you." Maybe it was. Or maybe she was just showing Crouch some more tit. He better fucking stop looking.

"I suggest you stop pouting and go get your girl. We have dinner reservations. You will stop scowling and you'll be on your best behavior at dinner. Am I clear?" She was glaring at me and pointing like some kind of military general giving fucking orders. What did I say? Sir, yes, sir?

"Okay, Mom." She pointed at Reed Girl, like I wasn't fucking aware where she was and who she was with. I cut through the crowd and elbowed Crouch the fuck out of my way. Maybe I should get one of those ridiculous ear of corn things those people fucking wore and shove it up his ass. That would be fun.

Reed Girl's shoulders tensed but she kept right on talking to Marcus Allen. "Thanks, so much. My dad's a huge fan."

"What about you?" he asked, flashing a killer smile. Fuck. I was going to have to punch Marcus Allen in the teeth and I actually liked Marcus Allen.

Reed Girl giggled and shook her head. Before she could answer, I cut in. "You were a bit before her time, wasn't he, baby?"

She glared up at me. "My dad saw to my football education. You were awesome."

Marcus grinned at her. "Now there's a girl after my own heart." Emphasis on the girl, you old pervert.

"Bella, we have a dinner reservation."

She smiled charmingly at Marcus. "Thank you so much for signing this. He's going to be thrilled." She put her little notepad in her purse and turned to me, her smile fading. "Let's go." And I was fucked. In the wrong way. This day had gone from the best to the worst in no time flat thanks to my big fucking mouth.


"So, Rosie won't let me touch her, yet, but she's giving me a shot." Emmett finished his long winded story about how Blondie wouldn't put out. It was fucking enthralling. Reed Girl was eating and smiling politely and talking to everybody but me.

"That's great, son," Dad told him, smiling as he dug into his fucking steak. Of course he could eat with no fucking problem. He didn't have a knife sticking in his heart. Stupid Dad and his stupid love advice.

"What are you going to do? You can't see her that often if you stay at home." Mom sounded ever hopeful that loser boy would be moving out. Yeah, good luck with that.

"I'm going to get a place in Tally. I already talked to Coach and he's going to give me a strength training position on the team and let me work out with them and stuff. I'm going to try to be ready for the draft in April. If nobody wants to take a shot at me, I'll walk on somewhere this summer."

"That's fabulous, honey!" Mom beamed at him, thrilled. She was just happy to get her guest house back.

"That's a pretty big change for a girl that won't even let you touch her," I muttered. Reed Girl glared at me and I shrank back in my seat. There was apparently another girl who wasn't going to let a Cullen touch her. Fucking hell.

"Rosie's worth it. And it'd be hard to date her if I live a couple hours away." Emmett shrugged. "I'd rather be paid to train you wimpy losers than sell cars all day."

Just what I needed, my brother around all the fucking time. "You're not living with me," I warned darkly.

"Only until I find an apartment."

"What? I don't fuc…" I broke off at the look on my mother's face. "Mom, I only have one bed."

"Emmett can sleep on the floor. Or you can crash at Bella's or something," she suggested.

Reed Girl said nothing and I suspected that I wasn't welcome. Well, fucking fine. I could find somewhere to sleep if she didn't want me. Why did that make my stomach hurt?

"Bella, I thought that was you!" We all turned to face that motherfucker Crouch, who was grinning at my girl like he had a right to. Oh, fuck no. I slid an arm around Reed Girl who glanced at me in surprise before turning back to him.

"Hi, Eric. It's good to see you again."

He kept his eyes on her. Yep, they fucking had to go. I had two forks. One for each eye. "A bunch of us are going out to a club and I thought I'd see if you wanted to go." He didn't bother to include me in said invitation, I noticed. My hand on her neck balled into a fist and she put her left hand on my leg, squeezing lightly. Oh, now she fucking touched me? When she wanted me to back off? Well, fuck that noise.

"Listen here, Crowder, I don't think…"

"Thanks anyway, Eric, but Edward and I haven't had time to celebrate his win properly. I'm sure you understand."

I gaped at her. Properly? Did that mean what I think it meant? Cause I knew how I wanted to celebrate and it required my hotel room and a lot less clothes.

His smile dimmed and his eyes finally met mine. "Of course. Congratulations, Edward. Welcome to the club."

Like he and I were even on the same plane? He wasn't fit to carry my jock. "Thanks." I kept my voice flat and cool as Reed Girl continued to stroke my thigh. What the fuck was going on here? I was getting turned on and I was really fucking confused. She'd been icing me out since she rejected my half-assed love declaration and now she was feeling me up under the fucking table. I guess she really didn't want me to kick his ass in the middle of a fancy restaurant. Well, this was one way to keep me in my seat.

"Bella, I hope to see you again sometime." When, fucker? She's not going to be in the fucking cowfields of Nebraska anytime soon if I have anything to say about it.

"It was nice meeting you," she replied, which sounded like a dismissal to me. He took the fucking hint and finally walked away.

Emmett was laughing, the prick. "Why didn't you kick his ass?" he asked me.

"Because your brother knows better," my father supplied smoothly, his blue eyes boring into me. What the fuck? "The last thing he needs is to get into a fight with someone on the weekend he wins the Heisman. It's not only about being the best player, it's also about sportsmanship and class."

I barely resisted rolling my eyes. Reed Girl's hand was still on my leg and I put mine on top of hers, keeping it there in case she thought it was okay to tug it away now that the prick who'd been hitting on her in front of me wasn't here anymore.

"He was just being nice, Emmett," Reed Girl told him, blushing a little.

"Nice my ass. His eyes have been all over your body since the moment he saw you," I told her. "The only reason he's not bleeding right now is because you'd be even more pissed at me if I kicked his ass."

"You're pissed at him?" Emmett boomed. "Why?"

"I'm not pissed at him." But her tone said otherwise. She glared at my brother and he smiled sheepishly.

"If you say so. It was only a matter of time until he fucked up. Ow!" he yelled when Mom smacked him. "Sorry."

"You stay out of your brother's business. You have girl problems of your own to attend to."

"I'm doing it! I took her out to a movie and a fancy dinner and bought her ice cream when she had cramps. Cramps, Mom! You know what that means?" he demanded.

I snickered. "It means before you know it you'll be buying her tampons." Reed Girl tried to tug her hand away from me but I held tight. She sighed and twined her fingers with mine. Fucking good.

"I'm not buying tampons!" he yelled. Seriously, half the fucking restaurant turned in our direction. Emmett turned bright red. "I'm not," he muttered. Then his shoulders slumped. "Okay, maybe I would if she asked me to, but it would suck."

"I'm sure she appreciates that you'd do something like that for her," Reed Girl assured Emmett. Great. That meant she fucking expected me to buy her tampons. I'd make Jasper do it. Of course he'd probably get Q-tips instead, because he was a fucking burnout.

"I hope so. I really love her," my idiot brother said.

Reed Girl smiled at him. "Just keep telling her that and eventually she'll believe you. Rose is a tough girl on the outside but on the inside she's pretty sweet."

I snorted and got a kick in the ankle from her. "What? Damn."

"That's very good advice, Bella." My mom was staring me down for some fucking reason. What the hell? "I'm sure she loves him, she just needs some time to trust that his feelings are real. Without qualifications."

Seriously, what the fuck was my mother's problem? She was over enunciating and looking at me when we were supposed to be talking about my brother.

"I don't have any qualifications," Emmett responded.

"That's for sure." He threw his roll at me and got whacked again.

"You boys drive me crazy."

"What the f…hell did I do?" I demanded.

"Nothing, absolutely nothing, as always," she replied, sounding frustrated.

"Good." I glanced at Reed Girl who appeared to be done with her dinner. "Are you ready to take off?"

She bit her lip and then met my eyes for the first time since she'd stomped on my heart. "Sure." I stood and pulled her up, keeping her hand in mine.

We said our goodbyes to my parents and then took a quiet cab ride back to the hotel. The closer we got, the more uncomfortable I felt. What the fuck did I do with her now? Did she have a room? Was she coming to mine? I got out of the cab and helped her out, paying the driver. Here we were.

"So, um…" I broke off, not sure what the fuck to say.

"My bags are in your room. Your mom let me in," she told me. Well, that answered that, at least.

"Cool. Let's go up, then." We took the elevator and got out. I opened the door and Reed Girl went in ahead of me.

"I'm just going to use the restroom," she told me, hurrying in before I could say anything. Fucking fabulous. We were more awkward with each other than we'd ever been. Thanks, Dad. I took off my suit jacket and threw it over the couch, then loosened my tie and kicked off my shoes. I turned on the TV, completely unsure of what my next move was.

Reed Girl came out as I was debating sitting on the bed or the couch and we stood and stared at one another. She was so fucking beautiful. I sighed and sat on the edge of the bed. She walked over and sat next to me. "Hi," she murmured, which made me laugh.

"Hi, yourself."

"Did you want me to get my own room? I can," she suggested nervously.

Fuck. "No, of course not. Unless you want your own room."

"Why would I want that?" she asked, finally meeting my eyes again.

Was she serious? "Uh, maybe because you've avoided me for the entire fucking night?"

"I have not. I was sitting right next to you at dinner." But she wasn't looking at me again. It infuriated me.

"You were sitting next to me because my mother put you there like the little fucking matchmaker she is." Reed Girl looked up and frowned at me. "You walked away from me. I said…" I broke off because I sure as fuck wasn't saying it again. "I said what I said and you walked away and had a mighty fine time with all the men in the room who weren't named Cullen."

She stood and glared down at me. "Excuse me? Are you accusing me of something?"

"I'm not accusing you of anything. I'm flat out saying that you were chatting up every man in the room and they were eating it up with a fucking spoon!" I shouted.

"I was getting autographs for my dad!" she yelled back.

"Did any of those autographs come with some digits?" I asked. Her cheeks flushed and I fucking knew it! Crouch was a dead man. "I'm going to kill that fucking bastard." I was on my feet then and headed toward the door. Reed Girl grabbed my arm. "Let me go," I demanded through clenched teeth.

"No! What does it matter if someone gave me their number? I'm not going to use it," she told me, tugging on my arm.

I closed my eyes and tried to think past the red haze of anger. "Why not?"

"What do you mean, why not? I'm with you and I don't want to be with anyone else."

Then why, damn it, why had she walked away? "You walked away from me." I turned and looked at her. "I put my heart on the line and you made a snarky comment and walked away."

She sighed and let go of me. "What was I supposed to say, Edward?"

"Oh, I don't know, how about I love you, too? What's so fucking hard about that?" I demanded.

"Why would I say I love you, too, when you didn't say you loved me in the first place?"

Was she serious? "I most certainly fucking did."

"You said you thought you loved me. That's not the same thing. What if you changed your mind tomorrow? Or a week from now? Why should I put my heart out there when you didn't?" she asked angrily.

"Excuse me? I fucking said it, and do you know how hard that was for me to do? I've been freaking out for days and then you were here and it just came out and you fucking walked away!"

"I'm sorry, okay! I didn't know what to do!"

"Do you think I did? Do you think I'm not fucking terrified right now? I don't want this. I never wanted this. You just barged into my life and changed every fucking thing. Now I'm shopping for Christmas presents and making space for fucking kittens and letting you paw through my stuff and dealing with flutters in my stomach, thinking I might be dying for fuck's sake, and you just walk the hell away when I actually open up?"

Reed Girl was staring at me, breathing heavily, her chest heaving and looking rather fucking hot if I was telling the truth. If I wasn't pissed at her; I might be getting her naked. Fucking feelings, fucking everything awesome and good up.

"God, Edward, do you think I expected this to happen? I walked into this, eyes wide open, thinking I knew just the sort of person you were. I figured we'd have a good time, and yes, I was determined to be more to you than just one of your typical fuck 'em and forget 'em girls, but I never expected to fall for you. Or, my God, to have you fall for me. So yeah, I don't know what to say or do either."

With that, some of the knots in my stomach finally started to loosen. "You fell for me?"

"What do you think, dumbass? I'm here, aren't I?" She crossed her arms over her chest but her lips twitched. About fucking time she admitted it.

I put my hands on her waist and pulled her closer to me. "So you love me."

"I didn't say that." But she was smiling.

I smiled back at her. "But you do."

"Maybe I just think I do."

I was never going to live that shit down. Fucking qualifications. Yeah, Mom, I get it now. "Maybe you know you do."

She shrugged and said nothing. Of course it was going to have to be to me. Fuck my life. Alright, I could man up and do this shit. "Maybe I know I do."

Her eyes narrowed. "Maybe?"

God, she was a giant pain in my ass. And for some crazy reason, I didn't mind. It must be love. "I know I do."

Her lips twitched again. "You know you do what?"

Christ. She was going to make me say it. I better get some awesome fucking sex out of this deal or she'd never hear it again. "I know I love you."

The next thing I knew, she had my tie in her hands and yanked my lips down to hers in the hottest fucking kiss I'd ever had pleasure to experience. Her lips were hard and hungry on mine and her sexy body was pressed against me like she'd never get close enough. "Fuck," I managed when I could breathe again.

Her busy fingers were unknotting my tie and then undoing the buttons my shirt. "I know I love you, too. You wouldn't piss me off so badly if I didn't."

"You must love me a hell of a lot," I told her, laughing as she pushed my shirt open and started sucking on my neck. Fuck, I was burning up for her. My hands were on her zipper and tugging it down.

"I could say the same to you," she told me as my shirt slid down my shoulders and got tossed across the room. She went to work on the pants. "I thought you were going to kill poor Marcus Allen."

"I was." My lips were on her neck, tasting her soft skin, nipping gently as I pushed her dress down her body. Fuck me, she was in a black strapless bra and hell yes, matching underwear. "Fuck, baby, you're hot."

"He's old enough to be my father." My pants were down and I kicked them off. She stepped out of her shoes and dress, leaving her only in that sexy ass underwear.

"Didn't stop him from wanting what was mine."

"Yours, huh?" I steered her toward the bed, grabbing her ass and squeezing.

"All mine. Why don't we call that ratfuck Crouch and let him hear just whose name you're about to be screaming?"

Reed Girl laughed breathlessly as we fell onto the bed. I couldn't stop touching her everywhere. And kissing her. I wanted every inch of her body. "We have better things to do than call some has-been."

I snickered and pinned her to the bed, grinning down at her. She was beyond awesome. It wasn't any wonder that I loved this girl. "Yeah, we really fucking do." I thrust against her and watched her eyes darken. She looked amazing, spread out on the bed, ready for me. "I want you. Even when I was pissed off at you, I still fucking wanted you."

She giggled. "I feel the same way, which infuriates me all the more. I shouldn't want you when you're being an asshole."

I unclasped her bra, letting her perky tits spring free. God I loved those things. I had my hands on them immediately. "You should always want me. That's like a love rule or something."

Bella's laugh rolled through me. "There are love rules?"

I kissed her neck and nodded against her skin. "I think so. My father said some shit about it but I really wasn't listening because I didn't want to be in love with you."

She put a hand on my chest and stopped me from putting my lips on her bitable nipple. "You talked to your dad about it?"

"I had to." I scowled, remembering just how fucking well that conversation had gone. "I thought I was dying."

Her face was pretty fucking priceless. She looked confused and turned on and angry all at the same time. Why I should find that attractive I had no idea. More of her weird affect on me. "Dying? Why would you think you were dying?"

"Baby, do we really have to discuss this now?"


Damn it. "Because I felt these fluttery feelings when I thought about you or was around you so I thought I was dying. Or allergic to you." And it sounded fucking ridiculous now that I knew what it was, but who would have thought I would fall in love? Certainly not me.

"Allergic to me?" She giggled again. "You are a dumb jock, aren't you?"

I scowled at her. More fucking name calling. "I'm not dumb. Just…"

"Dumb," she finished, laughing.

"Well, you love me, so you must be pretty dumb, too."

She smiled and brushed a hand through my hair. "Maybe. At the very least I'm crazy to take you on." Her smile was soft and the look in her eyes was…everything.

"Let's be crazy together."

"Okay." Then I kissed her and moved my hands down her sexy body. I peeled her underwear off and she was naked and ready and right there. My boxers came off and we kissed and touched each other, lips moving slowly, tasting one another. It felt familiar and new all at the same time. Maybe this is what Dad meant about it being better. I knew I never felt closer to anybody than I did Bella. When I sucked her nipple into my mouth, she let out a soft moan and her hands held me to her. When I kissed my way down her belly, she opened for me, her eyes warm and full of emotion as I licked her until she came. And when I slipped inside her, she smiled and told me she loved me again. Those words, in that moment, fuck. I don't know. I would have done anything she asked, including buying her fucking tampons. I was well and truly fucked, and for the first time since this whole love business started, I actually kind of liked it.

Chapter Text

"Are you sure we can't just spend the night at my place?" I asked, stopping the car outside her apartment building. I really didn't want to deal with Blondie or Shorty tonight. It had been a long fucking day of interviews and travel and I really just wanted to chill with my girl for awhile instead of dealing with people.

"Yes, I'm sure," she replied, pushing her door open before I went around and opened it for her.

"Damn it, Reed Girl, I was going to do that," I complained when I got out of the car. I grabbed our bags from the trunk while she laughed at me. She was always fucking laughing at me. I was going to get a complex soon. "What?"

"You're grumpy," she observed.

I glared at her. "I'm grumpy because I'm trying to be a fucking gentleman and you won't let me," I complained.

She pushed me against the car and planted a hard, hot kiss on my lips. Well then. I dropped the bags and grabbed her ass, making her giggle as she pulled away from me. "Maybe I don't want you to be a fucking gentleman."

I grinned at her because she was awesome. "As long as you let me have the fucking, I'll happily lose the gentleman."

She giggled and kissed me again before grabbing her own bag. Jeez, she wasn't kidding about the gentleman thing. "I could be less of a gentleman back in the privacy of my room than here," I pointed out hopefully.

Reed Girl shook her head as we got in the elevator. "I haven't seen Rainbow in a couple of days and it's been even longer since she's seen you." Alright, maybe it had been awhile since I'd seen her but surely that was no big thing. She was just a fucking kitten. She probably didn't notice or care as long as someone fed her and played with her now and then.

I knew better than to argue with girl logic when it came to shit like that, though, so I said nothing as she opened the door. "We're home!" she called and damned if Rainbow didn't come flying out of nowhere to rub against my shoe. She was crying and carrying on and Reed Girl shot me a look so I dropped my bag and scooped the crazy kitten up.

"I told you," she said as Rainbow purred so hard it felt like I had a fucking vibrator in my hand.

"You're weird," I told her for the billionth fucking time. She didn't care, though. She struggled in my hand so I sighed and plopped her on my shoulder. Sure enough, she headbutted me a few times before curling into my neck. "What is with this thing, seriously?"

"She loves you," Reed Girl said with a smile. "I have no idea why."

I laughed and pinched her ass. "Sure you do. You love me too, after all." It was getting easier to say that shit, especially when it made her whole face light up.

"Yeah, but I probably got a contact high from Jasper or something," she murmured. I tickled her and she started shrieking with laughter. I tried to steer her into her room before…

"Well, howdy there," a male voice drawled. Damn it. I looked up and there was Jasper standing in the hallway wearing…what the fuck?

"Why are you wearing a cowboy hat and boots and not much else?" He had on boxers with some cartoon character on them. Was that Shaggy from Scooby Doo? That was really fitting, if so.

"I'm embracing my southern roots," he drawled in a horrible southern accent.

Southern roots? "You're from Miami, fucker."

"Can't get much more southern than that, can you?" he asked before doing some ridiculous shuffling dance.

Reed Girl was laughing her ass off as she threw her bag into her room. "How are you, Jasper?"

He grinned and strolled into the living room. "I'm good, Reed. How are you? I saw you on TV."

"Did you?" she asked. "I'm good, thanks."

"You looked good. You, too," he told me before he struck some ridiculous pose, one leg in the air, his arms flailing as he fell on his ass.

"What in the hell are you doing?" I demanded, just as Shorty came out of her room. She was wearing my fucking jersey for some reason.

"He's doing the Heisman," she said, giggling madly. "He can't keep his balance in the boots. I gave them to him as a present. It's the first time he's worn them."

I exchanged glances with Reed Girl. "Um, Alice, are you okay? Why are you wearing Edward's jersey?"

"Right as rain, Belly." Belly? Hell to the fuck no. She giggled and sat on the floor where Jasper was still sprawled. "I was a little tense about my test and Jaspy gave me something special to calm me down."

Great. "Shorty, you're letting him turn you into a druggie?" I demanded.

"Hey, man, she needed to chill a bit so I hooked her up. She just had a little. No big," Jasper muttered. "She feels good now, don't you, wife?" He stroked her thigh and I started to get a little worried they were going to forget we were standing here.

"So good, Jaspy."

"That doesn't explain why she's wearing Edward's jersey," Reed Girl commented. "Did you get that from my room?"

"Nah, I got it from his," Jasper said, pointing at me, I assumed, although he was off by about ten feet. "I missed my best friend so I wore that to be close to him. Ali stole it when I took it off."

Gross. Weird and fucked up and gross. It was hot when Reed Girl wore my shit but it was all sorts of wrong when Jasper did. "Stay the fuck out of my room," I ordered, which only made him laugh. "How in the hell do you get in there anyway?"

"I have my ways," he replied mysteriously. "How was the apple?"

Apple? "What apple?" I asked. Did he eat fruit in my room? Was I going to find a bunch of rotting fruit when I got home? I was going to kick his fucking ass.

"The big one," he replied. "Big, shiny apple."

"I think he means New York," Reed Girl deciphered. She was staring at Jasper like he was some kind of science experiment gone awry. I couldn't blame her.

"Yes! Big, shiny apple award. Where is it?" he asked, looking around. He tried to stand but the ridiculous boots slipped on the tile and he fell again, landing on top of Shorty who just kept laughing.

"The Heisman? My parents took it. I wasn't bringing it here." Was he fucking pouting? It looked like he was.

"I wanted to play with it," he muttered.

"It weighs twenty-five pounds. The only thing it'd be good for would be braining you, which wouldn't do any good as you have no brains left anyway," I told him.

"No brains? You better go see the wizard, Jaspy." Both of them started laughing like loons and I looked at Reed Girl who was giggling. What the fuck?

"Wizard of Oz reference, I think," she clarified.

"She won't do that for me," Jasper said suddenly, pointing randomly again.

"Who won't do what for you?" Reed Girl asked. Even Shorty, who apparently knew the way his ridiculous mind worked, seemed clueless.

"You know, sit on me."

Jeez. "I don't want to hear about your sex problems," I told him.

He stared at me blankly. "She scratched me."

"Again, I have zero interest in your sex life. Can we go to bed?" I asked Reed Girl.

"Not wife! Rainbow!"'

"What the fuck are you talking about? What did you do to Rainbow?" I was going to kick his ass from here to his fucking southern home in Miami if he hurt her.

"Nothing! She won't sit on me! Scratches, see?" he pointed at his shoulder.

Oh. I got it. "She wouldn't sit on your shoulder?" Good for Rainbow. I petted her and she purred harder again.

"Yeah," he pouted. "No fair. Mine won't either, not even when we smoke up."

Wait a fucking minute. "Did you try to drug this cat?" I demanded.

"No, she's mean." She was not mean. Rainbow fucking rocked compared to his stupid cats. "She won't come in the room with us." Good for her.

"She has taste," I informed him.

"She scratched me," he whined again, holding out his finger for some odd reason. Shorty leaned over and kissed it. "Thank you, wife. Where's the shiny apple?" he asked again.

Fuck this noise. I wasn't dealing with his drug induced babble. "Jasper, we have practice in two days. If you're high, I'm going to tell coach and get you kicked off the team."

"Hey!" he cried. "Don't do an intention on me. I don't have a problem."

"Intention?" What the fuck was he talking about?

"Intervention, I think," Reed Girl translated.

"Thanks, baby. It's not an intervention or an intention. It's an order. And Shorty, I expected better of you. You're supposed to be influencing him, not the other way around."

"It's a really major test," she whined. Reed Girl walked over to her and pulled her to her feet.

"You'll ace it just like you always do, Al. Now go sleep it off." She tried to help Jasper up but he refused. "A little help, please?" she asked me.

Fine. I held out a hand which Jasper immediately took, which was really fucking weird if you asked me. Did he have a crush on me or something, wearing my fucking jersey while I was gone and shit? I yanked him to his feet and he crashed into me, wrapping his arms around my waist. "What the fuck?" I yelled, trying to push him off, but the fucker had a good grip. Rainbow hissed at his stupid ass, which would have been funny had I not been worried about claws.

"Glad you won, friend!" he said. He released me, thank fucking God and patted my cheek. Rainbow swiped at him but missed, which was really too fucking bad. "Where's the shiny?"

Oh Christ. "I told you, my parents have it. You'd probably break into my room and trade it for some weed and buttons or something ridiculous."

"Benjamin," he said nodding.

What the fuck? "I'm not giving you money." He started laughing again and I pushed him toward Shorty. "Go to bed."

"I don't want to. I want to talk about the apple. Who did you see?"

"We're not going to talk about the apple. You know who misses you?" I asked, inspiration striking.

"Who? You?"

Not in this lifetime. "Bob."

He gasped. "Pretty wife, where's Bob?"

"My room," she answered, rubbing at her red eyes.

"Bye. Glad you won the apple!" he shouted, before heading toward her room, sliding along the way in his stupid boots.

"Me too," Shorty told us before disappearing after him.

I shot Reed Girl a look and she laughed and took my hand. "We should go to bed, too."

"We should find you new roommates."

She giggled. "Mine weren't so bad, until they started hanging out with your best friend and brother." She shut the door and I collapsed on the bed. Rainbow head butted me again but didn't get down.

Best friend my fucking ass. "Jasper might molest her or something," I told Reed Girl. I didn't trust him with my cat. Her cat. Our cat. Whatever the fuck she was. Damn it, why did I care?

Reed Girl laughed and sat down next to me. She gave Rainbow a kiss. "He's not going to hurt you, is he? You'd kick his ass," she crooned. She held out her hand and Rainbow batted at her fingers. "Daddy will protect you."

Daddy? I stared at her in horror and she collapsed on the bed in a fit of giggles. "That's not fucking funny, Reed Girl."

"I think it is," she managed when she calmed down. "You're being all protective and Dad-like about her."

I was not. That was fucked up. "I'm not going to be able to get it up if you mention shit like that," I complained. Reed Girl laughed and stood, smiling at me as she whipped off her shirt. Well, maybe I could.

"That's okay, I'm tired anyway."

"Bella," I whined, making her laugh harder.

"It's not like we haven't had sex already today."

"That was hours ago. We've traveled half the country in that time."

Reed Girl smirked as she wiggled out of her jeans. "We need to work on your geography skills."

"I'm great with geography. I know just what spots on your body will make you scream, what path to travel with my tongue to make you moan and just where to explore to make you come."

"Holy shit. You're like a sexual savant, aren't you?" she asked. "You can just whip those out at the drop of a hat."

I grinned at her. "I can whip something else out at the drop of your bra, if you'd be so kind."

She snickered and reached behind her. "You do know you're going to have to remove your other girl if we do this."

I glanced over at Rainbow, who was eying me as if she knew she was about to be ousted. "Go without a complaint and you can sleep across my neck tonight," I promised her.

Reed Girl laughed her ass off. "You're still trying to bargain with a kitten."

"So?" My girl was wearing nothing but panties now and I was salivating to touch her.

"So, she's just going to do what she wants and she sleeps across your neck every night," she reminded me patiently.

"But I won't bitch about it or try to move her," I pointed out.

"You lie," she said with a giggle, but she came over and gently pried Rainbow off my shoulder. She cried out and Reed Girl handed her to me. "You put her out. I'm not doing it. I already feel like a bad mom for kicking her out after we just got back."

I held Rainbow in front of me and looked her in the eye. "Listen, Rainbow. I'll make a deal with you. If you go quietly and behave, I'll take you home with me tomorrow." I glanced at Reed Girl. "You work, right?" She nodded. "There you go, then. Just you and me, together. Your dream come true according to some people." Reed Girl giggled. Rainbow let out a pitiful cry. "I'm taking that as agreement."

I hurried over to the door and opened it and set her down outside, closing it before she could scoot back inside. She started meowing immediately. "Our agreement will be null and void if you don't quiet down. I'll hurry, I promise."

Reed Girl laughed and I turned and saw her sprawled across her bed, naked. I kicked off my shoes and whipped off my shirt. "You know, it's not remotely sexy that you're promising the cat you'll hurry up and do me."

She had a point so I grinned at her as I undid my jeans and pulled them off. "Yeah, but you said you were tired, so I'm just being considerate."

"Considerate my ass," she snorted.

"I consider your ass all the time. It's on my mind ninety percent of the day."

She shook her head and crooked a finger at me. "Shut up and come do me so our cat can get her way."

"Taking care of two pussies in one shot. That'll be a first for me," I joked as I crawled over her.

She gripped my cock and I groaned. "You better focus on just one right now, Cullen."

"I promise that I am, baby." I rubbed against her and she released me. I slipped inside her and we both moaned. "My favorite pussy, right here."

"Show me," she challenged. So I did, fucking her hard and fast and making her come in near record time. I followed quickly.

Reed Girl smacked my ass when we recovered. "Now go let her in." A promise was a promise. I got up and pulled on my boxers. Rainbow streaked in the second I opened the door, yelling as she hopped on the bed. Reed Girl pulled on my shirt and got under the covers. I climbed in next to her and Rainbow immediately draped herself across my neck. Bella chuckled and stroked her head.

"This feels weird." Rainbow's purr vibrated on my neck.

"You promised not to complain," Reed Girl reminded me, laying her head on my chest.

"As you pointed out, I'm a liar."

She bit my chest lightly. "Behave or we'll both sink our claws into you."

"Alright, alright." This was actually pretty nice. I could get used to it. "Goodnight, Reed Girl."

She giggled and raised her head, kissing me softly. "Goodnight, Edward. I love you."

Fuck, would I ever tire of the way hearing that made me feel? "I love you, too." She settled back against me and I closed my eyes. I had a girl I loved and a cat, two things I never really thought I'd have but I was enjoying the hell out of it. Life was fucking crazy.


The knock on my bedroom door had me scrambling. "Hide!" I hissed to Rainbow, who just stared at me like I'd asked her to do my fucking econ homework. I picked her up and started to stash her in the bathroom when the door opened.

"Hey, man, did you…kitty!" Jasper shrieked.

Jesus fucking Christ. "Close the door and shut the hell up. What's wrong with you? Do you think I want everybody knowing there's a fucking kitten in my room?" I'd never hear the end of that shit. It was one thing to have her over if Reed Girl was here. They'd think I was whipped as fuck but it would be a lot less awkward than seeing her here with me on our own. It wasn't like she was mine, exactly. I was just taking care of her temporarily. A deal was a deal, even if it was made with a cat.

"Who cares?" Jasper reached for Rainbow and she hissed and raced up my arm, plopping on my shoulder and giving him the evil eye.

"What the fuck did you do to her, anyway?" I asked. God only knew what his unholy attachment to Bob the bear translated to for real animals.

He screwed up his face as he threw himself on my bed. Fucker. "I think I tried to paint her toenails? I did Ali's and our cats are boys so I think I decided to make her pretty."

Christ. "Stay the fuck away from her." Rainbow obviously agreed with me, as I got a headbutt from her right after I said that.

"No problem. I'm covered in scratches. That shit hurts."

I rolled my eyes and sat at my desk chair, because I was not sharing my bed with that fucker. "Perhaps if you wore some fucking clothes now and then, you wouldn't get scratched."

Jasper smiled lazily. "It's a lot more fun to wear nothing at all."

"In that case, why the fuck did you steal my jersey?"

"I needed to wear it for the Heisman ceremony I think? I don't know, man, I get confused."

"You get baked, moron. Are you actually sober right now?"

"Yeah, Ali reamed my ass because she felt like shit this morning and she said it's my fault." He scrubbed at his face. "She won't let me come over tonight."

I snickered. "That's what you get for drugging your girlfriend."

"She wanted them! Well, not at first, maybe. Fuck, I don't know. All I know is I'm in trouble. I sent her some flowers but she hasn't called me to say anything yet."

Fuckhead. "Are flowers the typical go to gift after you get your girl high?" I asked.

"I don't know. They're actually for our anniversary tomorrow."

Seriously? "You've known her for like three weeks. You're already celebrating anniversaries?" I demanded. Fuck. Was I supposed to be doing shit like that? I'd said the fucking L word, so that should be enough.

"Yeah, man, girls like that shit. I made her a card for our two week and she went nuts."

Oh hell no. "Made it? Like with paper and pens and shit?"

He grinned. "And glitter. Girls love glitter." Jesus Christ. "I wrote her a poem, too." He sat up and held his hand over his heart. "Roses are red and weed is green. I am your Jaspy and you are my queen." He looked all proud of himself for that shit. "She ate it up, man."

Did Reed Girl expect shit like that? I was drawing the fucking line at glitter and poems. Flowers I could fucking do. Jewelry, sure. Slutty clothes, absofuckinglutely. But I was not, under any circumstances, writing her a poem with glitter. If that ever fucking happened, I would be forced to kill myself. End of story.

I felt sick again. This love shit was complicated. Was I fucking up already because I hadn't given her anything since our date? I had the bracelet ready to go but that was for Christmas. Fuck. No. Reed Girl was cooler than all the rest of the girls out there. She didn't need to be bought and bribed and shit.

"What else have you given her?" I asked, just because I was curious, not because I was worried or any fucking thing.

"The kittens, Bob, flowers a few times, my favorite shirt, a mixed CD, candy, my phone," he babbled while I stared at him in horror. All those fucking things?

"Why in the hell did you give her your phone?"

"Well, I didn't give it to her, really, but I let her go through it and delete all chicks from it except my mom and my grandma."

Holy shit. "Did you do that while you were high?"

He shrugged and opened my nightstand, taking out one of my Snickers. "Probably. Who knows? Doesn't matter. She's the only girl I want to talk to anyway."

Well, yeah, but still. That was some fucked up shit. I couldn't wrap my head around it. "Make yourself at home, why don't you?"

He grinned and opened the candy. "Thanks. Your room is way cooler than mine."

I shook my head. "You'll have this room, someday, if you're actually fit to take over my team."

Jasper waved a hand. "It's in the bag, baby."

"First, don't ever call me baby. Ever. I'm getting a bit worried about your fucking familiarity with my room and my clothes. If I ever wake up and find you standing over me, I will kill you." He just rolled his eyes and chowed on my candy, completely unconcerned. "Second, you've got one more year to get your shit together or whoever comes after you is going to win the job and you'll be a permanent backup. Do you want that?"

"Look, I figure I've got two years to fuck off. One and half down, half to go. Next season, I'll get serious. It's not like I'm unseating you anyway, so why not have a little fun while I'm waiting? I'm not hurting anyone."

"Except Shorty. And my cat." I held my hand up and Rainbow rubbed her head against it, purring.

"Ali's fine. She'll forgive me. She loves me. And I didn't hurt your cat. She's just psycho."

"She is not," I defended her. "She's got discriminating tastes, unlike some people."

"She's not a people," he told me, which was fucking true if wrong verbally.

"She's got a bigger brain than you do."

"Whatever. Where's Emmett?"

"He's home, packing his shit. He's moving here so he can win Blondie back."

"Good. It's pretty cool, all of us hooked up with roommates like that."

Says him. It would be a lot fucking cooler if he was nowhere near the places I needed to be. "It's something, alright."

"So what are you giving Bella for Christmas?" he asked.

I was happy that I actually had an answer to that fucking question. "I got her a bracelet in New York with charms and shit. You?"

He frowned. "I don't know yet. It's our first Christmas so it has to be good."

"I'm surprised you're not buying her a wedding dress or some fucking thing."

He laughed. "She's got that all picked out." Jesus Christ. Did girls really do that shit? Did Reed Girl? Fuck, I was going to be sick. "She has the ring picked out, too. It'll make it easy when the time comes."

I had a flash of all those shiny rings in the display case at Tiffany's. Horror washed over me. "Fuck, do all girls do that?"

Jasper shrugged. "Ali does. It's cool, man. I don't have to worry about that shit. She'll tell me when it's time to propose and I'll get the ring and do it. No muss, no fuss. It's awesome to have a girl who knows what she wants."

Reed Girl knew what she wanted. She wanted me and set out to get me, didn't she? She turned me all around and made me love her and now I was talking about wedding rings. Fuck this noise, too. I needed to get out of here. I needed to go see her and see if she was secretly plotting our fucking wedding. I loved her, but that shit was not happening.

I picked Rainbow off my shoulder and put her down. She sent me a look and trotted over to her litter box that I'd stashed in the corner. "I've gotta go, which means you've gotta go. You're not allowed in here when I'm not around, particularly when the cat's here."

Jasper sighed but got off my bed. "Fine. I'm going to go call Ali."

"Good luck with that." He strode out and I grabbed my keys. I was going to see Reed Girl and nip this poem and wedding shit in the bud.


She was sitting at the reference desk, her gaze down as she read. There was a little smile on her face and I stopped and watched her from across the room. Her lips moved as she either read something out loud or just mouthed the words. She smiled and shook her head before turning the page. The knots that had been in my stomach with all of Jasper's crazy talk loosened just from looking at her. She was so fucking beautiful.

While I stood there, some guy walked up to her and she nodded and answered his question, still smiling. The guy was pretty tall and he grinned at her and said something which made the smile fade. My eyes narrowed as he reached out took her book from her, flipping it over to see what she was reading before handing it back. When he handed it back to her, his hand touched hers and I saw red.

Before I knew what I was doing, I strode across the library. "No, thanks," she was telling him.

"You must get off soon. Come on, beautiful. It'll be a blast."

"I have plans with my boyfriend," she told him coldly. I mentally applauded her.

"What he doesn't know…" he started.

"Will hurt you," I finished, hipchecking him the fuck out of my way as I stood in front of my girl. He was nearly my height but I had about thirty pounds of muscle on him.

Bella's eyes widened and her cheeks flushed. "Edward, hi. What are you doing here?"

"I came to surprise you, baby," I responded, touching her cheek before turning to the fucker that thought he could touch her. "Do you have someplace to be? Where was it you were inviting my girlfriend?" I asked.

"Uh, I guess I do. If you change your mind, uh, never mind," he stopped when he saw the expression on my face. "Bye." He took off, which was a good fucking thing. I'd probably get banned from the library if I beat the shit out of him in the periodicals section. But damn would it be fun.

Fucking hell. She needed to quit this fucking job pronto. "Do you get hit on here often?" I asked, turning back to my girl.

She bit her lip and shrugged. "It happens now and then. Nothing I can't handle."

Well, maybe I was the one that couldn't handle it. "I don't fucking like it."

She laughed and closed her book. "Well, I don't fucking like that every female within five feet of you starts ovulating but I deal with it. So will you."

Fuck. She had a point, which really fucking sucked. "I should have hit him."

She shook her head. "No, you shouldn't have. I don't need to lose my job because my boyfriend went all caveman over a guy asking me out."

"He touched you, too," I reminded her, touching her hand where he had. "That's not allowed."

Reed Girl turned her hand over and squeezed mine. "It was harmless and I was handling it. You know I'm not interested in anyone else."

Yeah, I fucking knew, but it churned me all up when I saw someone touching her. So fucking sue me. "I know."

"Well, then. What are you doing here?"

I shrugged. "Jasper was in my room yapping and driving me nuts and I just had to get away. I wanted to come see you. Is that okay?"

She smiled. "Of course it's okay. I'm glad you're here. Is he still in trouble with Alice?"

Who the fuck knew? "Probably. He said she hadn't called him yet and he sent her flowers."

Reed Girl giggled. "Yeah, I saw those before I left for work. Are those because he's in trouble or because it's their three week anniversary?"

Oh fuck. My heart fell. She wanted that shit, didn't she? "Uh, the anniversary, I think. Do you want that?"

"Huh? Do I want what?" she asked

I was sweating. Jeez. "You know, flowers and shit."

Reed Girl tilted her head and eyed me. "Why? What did you do?"

Crap. "Do? I didn't do anything! Isn't that the problem?" Shit, I should have called my fucking dad about this before I came to see her. Maybe I'd fucked up this relationship stuff already.

"I don't know what the problem is," she said slowly. "Why don't you tell me?"

Christ. I massaged my aching head. This love shit was fucked up. Why did people do it? I knew I should have turned it off when I was away from her. "I didn't give you flowers or stupid poems about weed for our one week anniversary. Am I supposed to? Are you pissed that I didn't?"

Reed Girl stared at me for a full minute before throwing back her head and laughing. Great, she was fucking laughing at me yet again. I should be used to this shit by now, I suppose, but it still fucking sucked. At least she didn't appear to be pissed, though maybe that was coming. Girls changed moods as often as they changed fucking shoes, which from what I could tell was a whole fucking lot.

"I take it you're not pissed?" I asked, though I was starting to get pissed since she was laughing like a loon in the middle of the fucking library. And she was worried about me making her lose her job? This was all fucking her.

She shook her head and wiped tears from her eyes. "No. Why would you think that I wanted that?"

How the hell did I know? Jasper got me all freaked out about poems and glitter and presents and weddings. It was his fucking fault. "Because Shorty likes it and you're her friend. I didn't know if I fucked up by not giving you a present on Saturday." I stuffed my hands in my pockets. "I had one for you, but it's supposed to be for Christmas."

Reed Girl stood and came around the desk. She glanced around before she stood on her tiptoes and gave me a kiss. Well, that was more fucking like it. "Edward, you told me you loved me on Saturday. That's the best present you could ever give me." Well, how about that fucking shit? I got something right and I hadn't even meant to.

"Yeah?" I asked, reaching for her but she dodged out of my way.

"Yeah. And I'm not Alice and I don't expect you to buy me things. Do you know what I want from you, Edward?"

This was dangerous fucking territory. Wedding bells echoed in my head. "What?" I asked nervously, running a hand through my hair.

"Exactly what you've given me. Spending time with me, being faithful, making me laugh and giving me mind-blowing orgasms." I grinned at her. Why had I been worried? My girl was fucking awesome and better than every other girl in the entire world. I don't know why I forgot that. Jasper and his stupid fucking glitter, sending me into scary mental places. That asshole.

"I can give you that, so long as there's no glitter involved."

"What?" she asked laughing. "Why would there be glitter involved?"

I shook my head. "Nothing. Jasper gave Alice some stupid card with glitter and a poem. It freaked me the fuck out."

Reed Girl laughed so hard I was afraid she was going to fall down. "Shhh, we're in a library, young lady," I scolded, which only made her laugh harder. She was so fucking cute.

"You're not going to write me a poem?" she asked, when she could finally speak again.

I smirked. "No, absolutely not."

"What about a dirty poem?" she asked, pouting a little.

Well now, there was a fucking idea. I could top Jasper's stupid weed thing for sure. "Roses are red, your eyes are brown, I like it best when you open your mouth and go down?" I suggested.

She was back to laughing. She was going to get fired if we weren't careful. I steered her over into the stacks so at least the whole library couldn't see her losing her shit. "You, oh my God!" she gasped, trying to get air. I rubbed her back and held on to her in case she was going to fall over from all the laughter.

"Sexual savant, I knew it," she said, shaking her head when she calmed down. "I love your poetry, Edward, really I do." She kissed me again and this time I pushed her against the shelf and kissed her back, hard. She moaned and rubbed herself against me.

"Fuck, baby, let me have you," I begged, suddenly desperate to be inside her.

"I can't. I could get fired," she protested, though she wasn't really protesting, seeing as her hand was rubbing my cock through my jeans.

"Get fired. I'll get you a job with the athletic department," I promised. What? I could and it would get her the fuck out of this library with all its horny patrons. "Come on, I'll help you stack some books somewhere. Somewhere private." She was wearing a skirt; it would be so fucking easy.

Her cheeks were flushed and her lips were swollen and her breathing was heavy. "Meet me in the dead languages section, on the third floor," she told me. Hell to the fucking yes.

"Why do I have to meet you?"

"So I can go back to the desk for a few minutes and look like I'm not going to fuck my boyfriend in the stacks."

Oh right, that made sense. "Okay." I kissed her and walked away, trying to look like I was leaving the library before I ducked upstairs. Dead languages. Well, they're about to wake the fuck up if I have my say. I found them and moved to the very back. It was dead up here. Thank God.

It took her forever to get to me. Okay, maybe five minutes, but it felt like forever. The sexy look on her face had me salivating before she even finished walking down the aisle. "Sorry, I had to…" I cut her off with a kiss and pressed her against the wall. She moaned and kissed me back, reaching between us to unzip my pants. Hell fucking yes. I reached under her skirt and found, hello, bare skin.

"Baby, you don't wear underwear to work?" I asked. I wasn't sure if that was hot as fuck or if it pissed me off. A little bit of both, actually.

Reed Girl laughed and freed me from my jeans. "Keep your voice down. I stopped to take them off. That's what took me a few more minutes."

I grinned and lifted her, pushing her against the wall. Those long, perfect legs of her wrapped around me. "Did I ever mention that you're the most amazing girl in the world?"

She laughed which quickly turned to a moan as I filled her. "No, I don't think you have."

"Well, you are. Did you ever think about fucking in here, Bella?" I asked, as I started thrusting in and out of her.

"Not until just recently."

I grinned at her. "How recently?"

"Uh, oh yeah, like that," she moaned as I angled a little higher inside her. "Just these past few weeks."

Damn right. "Since you met me."

"Fuck! Yes," she admitted. I nibbled on her neck as I pounded into her.

"I've wanted to fuck you in here since I came in with your oboe and you were wearing those sexy little glasses," I told her, flexing my ass. "You were like a naughty librarian come to life and now here we are."

"Um, yes, right here. I can't believe I'm doing this."

I chuckled and kissed her. "You can't tell me you're not loving it, baby. I can feel how wet you are."

"I do! Jesus. I am so getting fired."

"Then we'll have more time for this. Just think of all the places we could fuck, Reed Girl. On my field," that had her moaning and me contemplating ways to break into the stadium pretty much immediately. "We could break into the Ringling place and fuck on the trapeze."

She laughed. "You're crazy."

"Crazy about you." That made her smile so I kissed her again. "I'll take you anywhere I can get you."

"Me too." She reached between us and started fingering her clit. So fucking hot. I fucked her harder and faster. She let out these sexy, muted cries that were incredibly hot.

"Love it when you touch yourself," I told her.

"It feels so good. You feel good," she murmured. She was getting close, I could tell. Her words were slower and her eyes were getting unfocused. I shifted again and angled into her and she gasped. Yeah, there it fucking was. I did it again and she opened her mouth. I swallowed her cries as she came, tightening around me, making it hard to move inside her. I thrust hard three more times and let myself go, filling her.

"Holy shit," she managed when we broke apart. "That was worth getting fired for."

I laughed as I lowered her to the floor, straightening her skirt before tucking myself inside my jeans. "You know, I didn't come here to do this."

She grinned. "Well, I'm glad you came."

I snickered. "I'm glad you came, too."

She hit me lightly and I pulled her in for another kiss. "When do you get off?"

Reed Girl grinned. "I just did."

Walked right into that. "When do you want to get off again?"

She giggled. "Ten."

That was only about an hour from now. "I'll wait then."

"Oh yeah? Gonna study some dead languages until then?" she asked, taking my hand.

"Nah, I thought I'd look at dirty pictures in the art section."

She laughed and nipped my chin. "You do that. Get some ideas for later."

Perfection. She was utter fucking perfection. "I will. Love you."

She flashed a grin as she released my hand. "I love you, too." She hurried away from me and I wandered toward those dirty pictures. Jasper could keep his fucking glitter and poems. My girl and I would stick to dirty pictures and library sex. Clearly we were the winners in this whole relationship thing. No surprise there.

Chapter Text

My muscles felt like jelly after a three hour practice. Seriously, what the fuck was Coach thinking working us this hard on a Friday? I had a fucking date tonight and I fully anticipated getting laid afterward so I didn't appreciate the fact that my right arm wanted to fall off. Maybe Reed Girl could do all the work. I smiled as I pictured her fantastic tits bouncing while she rode my cock. Fuck yes.

I pushed the door open to the locker room and made my way to my locker.

"Cullen, party at Kat's tonight, you coming?" James called from across the room.

"Nah, I have plans."

"Plans that involve that hot chick you've been hanging with?" he asked with a smirk.

Obviously. I wasn't going to answer him, though, so I flipped him off and grabbed my cell from my locker. There was a message from Reed Girl that I didn't bother to listen to before dialing her. She better not be canceling and her fucking womanly issues better be gone. It had been nearly a week since I'd gotten laid, which wasn't that long generally speaking but it was forever when your girlfriend was sexy as hell and you shared a damn bed with her and couldn't touch her and shit. The only saving grace had been that she hadn't asked me to buy fucking tampons. I had nightmares about that shit.

"Hello." I smiled when her sexy voice filled the line.

"Hey, Reed Girl. I saw that you called."

She laughed. "Why do I bother to leave you messages when you don't listen to them?"

Hey, I couldn't help it if I'd rather talk to her than not. Which was yet another crazy change in my world. I didn't fucking chat on the phone with girls. I fired off the occasional text telling them when we could meet to fuck and that was about it. But then again, none of those girls were my Reed Girl. She was fun to talk to.

"You just want to hear my sexy voice," I told her, grinning.

"No, it's obviously the other way around since you're calling me."

Damn it, she had me. "True. What's up?" Please do not fucking say you're still ragging. I will die.

"I wanted to tell you that I got off work early and I'm ready so you can come over whenever."

Fuck yes. Yet another reason why my girl was better than all the rest. There was none of that bullshit waiting around stuff with her. She was ready to go with minimal fuss and she always looked hot as hell.

I glanced at the clock and saw it was already after six. "I need to grab a shower and change and I'll be there right after."

"Okay, I'm looking forward to it."

"Me too, baby. I'm looking forward to after dinner, too."

Her laugh filled the line. "And why is that, Edward? Were you going to take me for an ice cream?"

I snickered. She so loved to fuck with me. "Not exactly, but my plan does involve tongue and licking."

She let out a little gasp. "Whose tongue are we talking about?"

"Hopefully both of ours, if you're done supporting Alabama." She was going to kick my ass if she got that reference.

"What does that mean?" she demanded. "You know I'm a Nole through and through."

She was so fucking cute. I laughed my ass off. "Yes, baby, I know. Think about their nickname."

There was a pause and then she started laughing, too. "Crimson Tide? You are so fucking crude. I have no idea why I like you."

"Yes you do," I reminded her, still grinning as I grabbed a clean towel and started wiping off some of the sweat that was dripping into my eyes. "So, should I practice some vocal exercises?"

"You better watch it or you'll have to practice your grip instead," she warned me, but I could hear the amusement in her tone.

"I've already got that perfected," I pointed out, because damn, did I. Every fucking morning I woke with a raging hard on pressed against that tight ass of hers and she'd only deigned to help me out on two occasions. The rest was all me. It fucking sucked.

"I've no doubt you do. It just so happens that my brief relationship with The Tide is over."

Fuck yes. Roll Tide, roll the fuck away from my girl's pussy. "Awesome." Best news ever.

She giggled. "Poor baby, you suffer so. However did you get through life before I came along?"

I knew better than to answer that question honestly. "It was a lonely existence."

Reed Girl snorted. "Sure. You can sell that one to someone else because I'm not buying it. Are you coming over or what?"

"Oh, yeah, I'm coming tonight," I told her, making her laugh again.

"Maybe. Depends on how you behave at dinner. I'm not easy, you know?"

No, nothing about her was easy but she sure was fucking fun. "Sounds like a challenge, Reed Girl."

"Maybe. We'll see if you can rise to it, Cullen."

I chuckled. "We both know I can do that."

"Yeah, yeah, instead of talking about it, get your sexy ass over here and show me."

She was incredible. Was it any wonder she got me to love her? "Okay, baby, see you shortly."

"Okay. I love you."

"Love you, too," I replied automatically before disconnecting. I was getting good at saying that. I whipped my shirt off and turned around to head to the shower and found about twenty pairs of disbelieving eyes on me. "What?" I demanded. Seriously, what the fuck was with them?

"Did Edward Cullen just say he loved a girl?" Eric's eyes were bulging right out of his head.

Fucking hell. God damn it. I got so wrapped up in her, each and every time, that I fucking forgot where I was and just how many ears I had around me.

"Don't you worry about what I said, Yorkie. You worry about how you're going to get away from Claiborne." He was a bad ass corner for LSU and would likely be draped all over Eric for the whole game.

Eric fucking smirked at me. "I never thought I'd see the day that Cullen was pussy whipped by a band geek."

I had him pinned to the locker before he finished his sentence. Around us, there were gasps and shouts but I tuned it out and focused on him. "If you ever fucking call my girl a geek, or even talk about her again, I'll break your face."

He went a little pale but his eyes darted to the people gathered around us and he licked his lips. "Hey, I didn't say she wasn't a hot geek. When you're done with her…" that was as far as he got before my fist plowed into his nose. It made a satisfying crunching sound and blood spurted while he screamed and threw his hands over his face. I took that as an invitation and punched him in the gut before arms wrapped around mine and pulled me back.

"What the fuck is going on here?" Fucking hell, of course Coach came running.

"Yorkie's got a big fucking mouth just like his ugly slut of a girlfriend," I replied, glaring at him as my teammates held me back. He just whimpered and cowered against the locker, blood leaking between his fingers. "I'm sure she'd love to hear the end of that fucking sentence and I'll make damn sure she does if you even think about Bella again." Rage was coursing through me and all I wanted to do was pound on him a little longer.

"Break it the fuck up!" Coach shouted, pushing through my teammates and coming to stand between me and the asshole that was lucky to still be breathing, though I supposed he wasn't breathing comfortably now. Fucking prick.

"Yorkie, go see the doctor. Hayes, Meyer, you help him get there. Cullen, in my office now!" His face was red as hell and I knew I was in for it but I didn't give a flying fuck. What could he do to me? I yanked my arm loose from Marcus and James and gave Yorkie another death look as the guys took him in to visit the doctor. Wussy fucker. I wasn't going to throw to him once in the national championship game. He could just plant his ass on the bench as far as I was concerned. I flung open the door to Coach's office and threw myself down in the seat just as he came in.

"Would you mind telling me why you just assaulted one of your wide receivers?" he demanded, glaring at me as he leaned against his desk.

"I didn't assault him, I punched him in his fucking face," I told him. The next thing I knew, Coach reached over and took my right hand in his, hissing when he saw my knuckles.

"That's your fucking throwing hand you moron! What in the hell was worth risking your god damn career over?"

My girl, asshole. I wasn't going to tell him that, though. "My hand is fine. I'm not risking my career." My knuckles were a little swollen but Jesus, we had like three weeks before the game. I'd be fine.

He glared at me and stomped out of his office. What the fuck? Was I supposed to leave? I started to stand when the door opened and he came in and threw an ice pack at me. I rolled my eyes and put it over my perfectly fine fucking hand. "It doesn't even hurt. I'll be ready to throw Monday."

"You won't be if I suspend your ass."

Oh really? As if he'd fucking bench me? I was Edward fucking Cullen, the best quarterback this school had ever seen, thank you very much. I didn't get benched. If I fucked Coach's wife and daughter he wouldn't bench me and we both knew it. He wanted the damn championship and he wasn't getting it without me. I just raised an eyebrow at him and he grunted.

"Just tell me why the fuck you hit him." Damn right, I win.

"He was running his mouth about shit that doesn't concern him." I smirked. "I gave him a warning and he decided he needed to prove what a fucking man he was and started to say more shit. I hit him. End of story."

Coach shook his head. "That's not even half of the story. What the hell is going on with you lately? You've been distracted since the Gator game."

Fuck this noise. That was utter bullshit. "I have not been distracted! I've lit it up on the field, every fucking day!"

"Yes, you physically have been in the game but I don't think you have been mentally. You're doing the bare minimum in practice, hurrying off to God knows where, loafing it…"

"Fuck you! I'm not distracted or loafing it! If you think that Bella is causing me to lose focus…"

Coach grinned triumphantly. "I should have fucking figured it was a girl. Yorkie disrespected your girl and you punched him. Since when do you get all worked up over a woman?"

Damn it. The fucker tricked me. I pointed at him. "You did that on fucking purpose. We both know I haven't done the bare minimum or anything else. I'm the last one off the fucking field."

Coach chuckled. "Yes, we do know, but you weren't going to tell me why you were going around punching teammates and I needed to know if I had a real problem on my hands or if it was a woman. It's always a damn woman."

"She's not a damn woman. She's my woman and Yorkie opened his fat fucking mouth about wanting to bang her so I kicked his ass. What the fuck is wrong with that?"

He sighed. "Nothing, as long as the press doesn't get wind of it. The last thing I need to see is the papers talking about splintering on my team right before the national championship game. Or the talking heads bleating about favoritism when I don't suspend your stupid ass for fighting."

See? I knew he wouldn't suspend me. "Nobody will say a damn thing." I would make sure of that.

"Even so, Cullen, you're the leader of this team. You can't go around punching your teammates for being assholes or that's all you'll be doing. And I highly doubt that Yorkie's the only guy on the team that wants to bang your girl."

I gaped at him in astonishment and he laughed. "What? I've seen her picture and I know what horny pricks you all are. And I also know damn well you can't sit there and tell me you haven't made a derogatory comment about girls they were banging either."

I shrugged. That was fucking different. That was before. "Bella's not like the other girls. I can't, no, I won't fucking listen to them talk about her like that. She's mine."

Coach laughed. "I'll be damned. You're in love with her. I mean, I knew things were different with this one because you actually kept her around after she polished your knob, but damn."

I growled at him. "Watch it." I wasn't adverse to punching Coach either.

He held up a hand in peace. "Calm down there, Rocky. I won't suspend your ass for hitting Yorkie but I damn well will for hitting me." I just grinned at him and he chuckled. "For a quarter maybe."

"The first snap, more like."

"You're an asshole, Cullen, but you're a talented one. Keep yourself out of trouble and don't hit another teammate. You're running wind sprints every morning until vacation, at the break of dawn." Fucking hell, I hated wind sprints. "I'll see you here bright and early."

Figuring I was dismissed, I got to my feet and started to head out. "Oh, and Cullen?" I turned to look at him. "I'm happy for you. I was bullshitting about your work ethic. You look even sharper if that's possible. If that girl is responsible for it, she's definitely worth keeping around."

I didn't know if Reed Girl made me a better football player but I damn well knew she made me a happier one. "She's not going anywhere."

"Good. Hit the showers."

Damn right. I had a date that I was going to be late for. Fucking Yorkie. He was lucky to be alive.


"Hello, beautiful." I held out the red rose I'd stopped off to get on my way to her place. See? I could do that girly shit that burnout Jasper did without it being a big fucking thing involving mixed CD's and glitter.

Reed Girl smiled and stood on her tiptoes to kiss me. "Thank you."

I looked her over and smiled. "I should be the one thanking you for that dress you're almost wearing." Fuck, she was hot. She was in some dark green dress that showed off her body to perfection.

She laughed. "I'm fully wearing it, for now."

"But not for later."

"We'll see, Mr. Romance. Where are we going anyway?"

I started to answer but a gray ball of fluff came screeching to the front door. Reed Girl giggled as she started pawing at my pant leg. I sighed and picked up Rainbow. "The Governor's Club. And you're not invited," I told Rainbow, who responded by putting her paw on my cheek.

"I think she's pleading with you," Reed Girl observed.

"Sorry, Rainbow, I don't think you could pass for a Seeing Eye cat and that's about the only way you'd get in." She let out a pitiful meow and tried to climb on my shoulder. "When we get back," I promised her, setting her down. I swear she fucking glared at me if that was possible. Did cat's glare? I was getting the evil eye. She was going to make me pay, I just knew it.

Reed Girl snickered and handed me a bag of something from the side table. "Give her a t-r-e-a-t."

"Why the fuck are you spelling treat?" I demanded. I got my answer when Rainbow went positively ape shit and started climbing up my fucking leg. "Jesus Christ." I pried her off and quickly opened the package and gave her a whole handful.

"That's why I spell it," my all too amused girlfriend told me as she set the rose in the vase by the front door that was filled with Jasper's latest bouquet for Alice. Probably another ridiculous anniversary gift, though knowing him he'd fucked up again too. "Let's go before she finishes." I hurriedly shut the door behind us.

"She's crazy," I told Reed Girl as I led us to the car.

"She likes her treats. Not that you had to give her half a bag."

"I wanted to get away without needing a blood transfusion." For once she let me and I opened the door for her.

She grinned as she slid into the seat, flashing a whole lot of sexy leg. I didn't know if I was going to be able to get through dinner without attacking her. Six whole days without sex. Seriously, there had to be a way to shorten that gross thing. Was there a shot? I didn't know if I dared broach the subject with Reed Girl, though. She'd kick my ass for whining about it again.

When I got in the car and started driving Reed Girl cleared her throat. I glanced over at her. "What?"

"I was wondering if I could ask you something," she said. There was a weird look on her face. A look that made me really fucking nervous.

"Uh, maybe?" I managed, making her laugh.

"It's not that kind of question," she said quickly.

"What kind of question?" I asked, wanting clarification. If this was a girls of the past question, it was going to suck. I thought we'd covered that shit well enough.

"Not a sex question," she responded, laughing. "There are some things I just don't want to know. It's more of a favor."

Thank God. "Okay. Ask." As long as said favor didn't involve shopping for tampons, we'd be okay.

"Well, you know I'm going to visit my dad next week for the first part of vacation."

I fought not to scowl at this information. Yes, I knew it but that didn't mean I liked the fact that she'd be all the way across the fucking country for a week. The best part about her mother living in Jacksonville was that we'd be able to hang over break. "Yeah."

"Well, I can't really take Rainbow with me on the plane." I glanced at her and she bit her lip and sent me this imploring fucking look with those beautiful brown eyes of hers. Fuck. Now I knew what was coming.

"You want me to take her home with me?" It was one thing to hang out with her alone for a day or something, or with Reed Girl, but a whole fucking week?

"Well, yeah, I was hoping you could. Alice has her two and Rose has hers and I really don't want to be apart from her for three weeks anyway."

"What about your mother?" I asked. All avenues needed to be explored before I agreed like the pussy whipped motherfucker I was. Yes, I was going to take the fucking cat home with me. Christ, I'd never live that shit down if anybody found out about it.

"I could leave her with my mom," she said, making me breathe a sigh of relief. "But she'd probably forget to feed her or lose her or something," she finished.

"What? How hard is it to remember to feed a fucking cat?" Was her mother fucking mental?

"About as hard as it is to remember to feed a goldfish, which died about two days after I left her last time. And a gerbil, who I found dead after a two week vacation. And it's better if I don't mention the puppy I had for less than a month."

I stared at her horrified. I didn't want to know what happened to the puppy, at all. "She forgot to feed a fucking gerbil?"

Reed Girl shook her head. "No, she overfed him."

Jesus Christ. I didn't want Rainbow anywhere near that animal killer. "Fine, I'll take her." It wouldn't be so bad. Mom would probably like her. She could sleep with my parents.

"She'll love having you all to herself at last," Reed Girl said, kissing my cheek. "Thank you."

"Maybe she'll take to my mother and sleep with her," I said, pulling into the parking lot.

She chuckled. "You're delusional."

Yeah, I fucking was. That cat would be plastered to my neck every time I laid down no doubt. "I hope this goes into the positive column for you putting out tonight," I told her as I opened her door.

She shook her head. "Oh no, that's just you taking responsibility for your cat parental duties."

I scowled at her and she grinned as she took my left hand. "You know, technically Emmett's the one that got her so he should be the one responsible for her."

She snorted. "You keep telling yourself that." I held the door for her. "When is he going to move out by the way?"

Fucker. He was still taking up residence in my fucking room. "I'm hauling his ass out to find an apartment tomorrow. He's already bitching about being away from Blondie but I don't give a shit." It was infuriating. I'd been kicked out of my room because Blondie wouldn't let him sleep with her. So every damn night he was with her until the asscrack of dawn and I had to stay at Reed Girl's place because eventually he'd take over my room. He had no fucking qualms about getting into bed with me if I stayed home, either. At least I had my hot girlfriend to sleep with instead of my disgusting fucking brother, but I did miss my room.

I looked up as we got to the hostess' podium thing and I heard a gasp. Fuck this noise. Hoover worked here? Since when? Not that I'd ever talked to her to find out what she did when she wasn't on her knees, but damn it, of all fucking people, why her?

Reed Girl squeezed my hand and I forced a smile. "Hey, H…" Crap, what was her name again? "Tanya." Hell yes, I got it.

"Edward," she said coolly, completely ignoring my girl.

"Uh, reservation for two, Cullen." Like she didn't fucking know who I was. But she was just kind of staring at me with her fucking crazy eyes and I was getting a little nervous.

She looked in her book thing and smirked at me. "I'm afraid that I don't see a reservation in your name. Someone must have lost it."

Lost it my fucking ass. I took a step toward her but Reed Girl held on to my hand. "I'm sure it's a simple oversight, isn't it Tanya? Maybe you could look again, or just give us a table anyway."

"We're full," she told my girl haughtily.

"Really? You're too full for the Heisman trophy winner? I'll be sure to compliment the manager on the business you guys are doing." Reed Girl's voice was perfectly pleasant but her eyes were shooting fire. She was really fucking hot when she was pissed off. I wanted to fuck her now instead of later. "Let's go to the Capital Grille, baby. I'm sure they have room for us, and for the free advertising they'll get when you mention them as your favorite restaurant in your next interview with the Democrat. Your manager won't be at all bothered by that, will he, Tanya?"

My girl was a fucking genius. I grinned at her. "Yeah, they're looking to do a big profile on me before the championship game. I'll be sure to mention it, a lot."

"What do I care?" Hoover demanded.

"You don't, right now, but you probably will when he or she finds out that we came here first and were turned away due to someone losing our reservation." Reed Girl actually used air quotes when she said the word losing. She was so fucking awesome. Was it wrong that I was hoping she'd just haul off and hit Hoover? I had no doubt who'd win in that fight. Reed Girl all the way.

Hoover glared at her before slamming her book shut. "Wait here."

My girl grinned at me as Hoover stomped away. "Well, so far the ambience leaves a lot to be desired."

I snickered and bent to kiss her. "True, but my date is first class all the way." My lips met hers and I groaned as she moved into me and pressed her perfect body against mine.

I got caught up in her and didn't surface until I heard a loud throat clearing and a muttered, "Get a fucking room, why don't you?"

We broke apart and I made no bones about grinning at Hoover. "We have one. Do we have a table, too?"

Reed Girl giggled as Hoover fumed and grabbed a couple of menus. She didn't bother to tell us to follow her but I took my girl's hand and followed Hoover past several empty tables, lying bitch, and raised an eyebrow when she attempted to sit us right next to the doorway to the kitchen. "We'll take that table," I said, pointing to an empty one over by the window. "Unless of course it's being used by the invisible people that apparently took my reservation."

She huffed and led us to the table I requested. "Your waiter will be right with you," she sniped, shoving the menu into my hands and nearly smacking Reed Girl with hers. My girl had good reflexes though and grabbed it before it could hit her in the face. Hoover glared at us before marching off.

"I don't know if I should actually eat anything here," my girl said, glancing at the menu warily.

True, the witch might try to poison us. "I'll make sure it's safe," I assured her. Money talked, after all. "What are you having?"

"The chicken sounds good."

I saw the words organic and Brussels sprouts and made a face which made her laugh. "It sounds pretentious," I told her.

"You're the one that picked this place."

"Because they have steak. I'm getting the filet."

She eyed the menu and smiled. "That sounds good, actually. I'll get that, too."

Another fucking thing I loved about my girl. She wasn't afraid to order like a real person. I'd been to a shitton of fancy dinners over the years with my parents and their stupid committees and shit and the women there only ate a few leaves of lettuce and declared themselves done. It was ridiculous.

Our waiter appeared and took a good look at my girl which annoyed the fuck out of me. "What would you like to drink?"

"Water for me," I said through gritted teeth. I could probably get away with ordering champagne or something but most everybody knew I was underage.

"Me too," Reed Girl said, smiling at me and ignoring the dick who was eye fondling her.

Shit, I couldn't be a prick to him because I needed something from him. "We're ready to order." He took out his pad and actually paid fucking attention to me, which was smart because I was the one who'd be tipping his stupid ass. "We both want the filet."

"Excellent choice. How would you like it cooked?"

"Medium," Reed Girl told him.

"Same for me." I motioned him toward me and he bent forward. "I'll double your tip if you make sure that nothing happens to our food."

He blinked. "Why would anything happen to your food?"

Reed Girl touched his arm and he turned to her. She sent him a blinding smile. "I'm afraid your hostess isn't very fond of me."

He rolled his eyes, obviously knowing Hoover well. "Gotcha. I'll take care of it."

"Thanks." I was glad I hadn't kicked his ass for checking out my girl. After all, the guy clearly had taste.

He went off to take care of our food and I smiled at my girl. "So what do you do for fun in Forks, Washington in anyway?"

She laughed, her brown eyes twinkling in the candlelight. "Not a lot, really. Dad will drag me out to fish with him at least once and I'll probably pop into Seattle, visit a few friends. It's pretty quiet."

Fishing? It sounded pretty boring but I wasn't going to say so. "I'm sure you'll have a good time seeing your dad."

"Generally, yeah. But he'll invite his deputies over for Christmas dinner which will kind of suck."

"Why?" I asked, handing her a piece of bread that our waiter put down in front of us. She thanked me and began to butter it.

She made a little face. "One of his deputies is my ex."

What? My girl was spending Christmas with her ex-boyfriend? "You dated a cop?" was all I could think of to ask that wouldn't make me sound like a jealous asshole. Even though I was. I hated any fucker that had ever touched her.

"He wasn't a cop then. It was in high school."

"Oh." I didn't know what to say. It was weird, because as much as she got confronted with my past on a pretty much daily basis, she knew those girls didn't mean a thing to me. But she'd had a boyfriend before me. Several of them, really? Did she love him? Did she love them? Why did it bother me?

"I can hear you thinking over there," she said, reaching across the table and taking my right hand. "What's wrong?" Her fingers brushed across my scraped knuckle and she pulled my hand toward her face. "What happened to your hand? Did you hurt it in practice?"

"Not really." She raised an eyebrow and I sighed. "I got into a fight with Eric after practice. Actually, calling it a fight would be wrong. I punched him. He didn't touch me." Because he was a fucking wuss.

"Why did you fight with Eric?"

I shrugged. "He said something stupid. I handled it."

"I see." She started to tug her hand away and I sighed and held tight.

Clearly I wasn't going to get away with that answer. Maybe she and Coach were related. Neither would let me brush it off. "He called you a band geek and when I told him never to do that again or I'd kick his ass, he said he'd be happy to bang you when I was done with you. That's when I hit him and broke his nose."

Reed Girl's lips twitched and she let loose one of her sexy laughs. "You were defending my honor?"

I jerked a shoulder. "I guess."

"And you weren't going to tell me about it?"

"I didn't want you to get pissed off at me." Not when I was finally going to get laid again. Plus, my grandmother could beat up Yorkie. It wasn't really anything to brag about.

"That's hot as hell."

It was? I blinked, surprised that she looked like she was about to crawl over the table and into my lap. Which I definitely would have no problem with. "What? You're not mad?"

"One, you kicked a teammate's ass for me. Two, you weren't going to tell me about it which makes it even more chivalrous. Of course I'm not mad. I'm anything but mad." Her bare foot rubbed against my cock under the table and I groaned.

"Fuck, baby, save that for later." I was likely to bust a nut right at the table if her foot kept touching me.

"Then, too," she promised in a breathy, sexy voice that had me aching.

"Don't make me haul you to the restroom."

Her eyes twinkled with delight. "Can we? And can we make sure Tanya hears?"

I laughed and kissed her hand. "You are without a doubt the coolest woman on the planet."

"Don't you forget it," she said, giggling. She squeezed my hand. "And you have nothing to worry about with Riley."

Riley? Oh, the fucking ex. "Yeah?" I asked. My stomach tightened at the idea of him.

"Yeah. That's been over for a long time and all I'll be thinking about on Christmas is how much I can't wait to get back to Jacksonville to see my handsome boyfriend and our kitten."

I smiled at her. Damn she made me feel good. "If I called you and wanted some alone time on the phone, would you sneak away from Riley and spend some quality time with me?"

"Christmas phone sex? Sounds positively sacrilegious. I'm in."

"I love you." I couldn't help it, I did. Why had I honestly thought I could turn it off? It wasn't possible, not with her.

"I love you, too." She kissed my swollen knuckles. "And I love that you defended me, even though it's not necessary as none of your teammates are likely Heisman winners." I snickered and she grinned at me. "And I love that you're jealous of me spending time with my ex even though you have nothing to worry about."

"It's just…" I broke off when our food appeared and the waiter reassured me that it hadn't been tampered with. He could be lying but since he liked my girl I had a feeling he wasn't.

"It's just what?" Reed Girl asked as she cut into her steak.

God, did I want to talk about this? It was so pussyish. But those gorgeous eyes of hers were steady on mine and she was the one person that I could say pretty much anything to, since she loved me and all. "Did you love him?" I blurted out. Real fucking smooth, Cullen.

She chewed thoughtfully for a moment while I started freaking out. She had. She was going to go home and of course he'd want her back because only a moron wouldn't want her and she'd stay in Washington and I'd never see her again.


"No?" Really? Or was she just saying that to make me feel better?

"No," she repeated. "I mean, I thought I did, but now I know that I didn't."

That was fucking confusing. "How do you know?"

"Because I love you and it's way different from how I felt for Riley. I liked him, we got along and had a lot of fun, but I definitely wasn't in love with him. It didn't feel like this. I guess it was high school love or whatever."

Huh. High school love. What if we had college love? Was there something beyond that? What if she started loving someone else before I stopped loving her? Could I stop loving her? Why was I thinking about all this ridiculous shit? She was turning me into a fucking girl.

"Hi, Bella, I thought that was you."

I looked over and saw some nerdy girl smiling at her with an equally nerdy skinny guy standing next to her. Damn, he was shorter than she was. "Hi, Angela. Hi, Ben." My girl grinned at them. "This is Edward. Edward, this is Angela and Ben. They're in the Marching Chiefs with me."

"Hey," I said, giving them a nod and smile.

"Nice to meet you," the girl said. Angela. Oh yeah, she was Four Eyes. I remembered her from the field.

"You too," I said between bites. May as well eat while my girl chatted with her friends. No more thoughts about love and college love and forever love. That shit was freaky.

"We won't keep you. I just wanted to tell you that we'll be there to cheer you on Sunday night."

"Uh, thanks." My girl was blushing. What the fuck was going on?

"Cheer you on at what?" I asked. Had I missed something?

"Her concert," Ben told me.

I looked at Bella in confusion. What the fuck? "What concert?"

"The Christmas Concert the University Concert Band puts on. Bella's performing," Angela told me.

What the hell? Why didn't she tell me she had some concert? "Cool. Are you performing, too?"

Angela blushed. "No, I didn't make it. You have to try out."

Like I cared. "You play with her for the Chiefs, though, right? I've seen you with her. You play oboe, too?"

Her eyes widened. "Oh, no, we don't…"

"Thanks, Ang," Reed Girl interrupted quickly. "I'll see you there. Take care, guys."

Angela looked shocked at how quickly my girl dismissed her but she smiled and Ben put an arm around her. "Okay. We should let you get back to your dinner. I'll see you later." What in the hell was going on?

They left and I shot my girl a look. "What the fuck was that?"

"What?" she asked, her eyes on her retreating friends.

"Why in the hell didn't you tell me you had a concert? Now I look like an asshole boyfriend to your friends."

She turned back to me and smiled. "I didn't figure you'd be interested in it and I didn't want you to feel like you had to go."

That pissed me off. "You flew to New York to go to my awards ceremony and you didn't think I'd drive across campus to go to something of yours? That's fucked up, Bella."

She shook her head. "That was a big deal; of course I was going to be there. This is just a Christmas concert."

"Which means it'll be music I actually know instead of that snoozy shit I had to listen to on our picnic." I didn't know why I was arguing about going to some boring concert I had no interest in but it pissed me off that she hadn't invited me.

Reed Girl laughed. "Yes, it's mostly music you know."

"Is there a reason you don't want me there?" I demanded. It really fucking annoyed me that I didn't know about this thing. What reason would she have given for me not being able to see her on Sunday? Would she have lied?

"Of course not." She touched my hand. "I really didn't want you to feel obligated."

"I'm your boyfriend. I do have obligations. It's part of the fucking deal," I muttered, taking my hand away.

Reed Girl stood and took the chair next to me, putting her hand on my leg. Okay, I wasn't going to pull away from that. "Edward, I'm sorry I didn't tell you about it. And I very much want you there."

She was pleading with her eyes for me not to be a dick about it. And I didn't want to be. I wanted our date to be awesome, despite Hoover and band geeks. "Okay, then I'll be there."

She threw her arms around me and kissed me hard. "Thank you. I really did want you there." I held her close and breathed her in.

"I'll go anywhere with you, baby."

She smiled. "How about you go home with me, now?"

Hell yes. "I'd love to." The waiter appeared a few minutes later and I gave him my card. He brought it back and I gave him the promised hefty tip. I pulled Bella to her feet and we made our way to the front of the restaurant. Hoover, happily, was nowhere to be seen.

"Oh, Edward!" I heard a sickeningly sweet, high voice call. I turned and there she was, running toward me with a bottle in her hand. She pointed it in my direction and before I could do more than say "What the…" the bottles contents were all over me and Reed Girl. The bitch had shaken up a bottle of champagne and aimed it at us.

"You fucking…" I started, dripping wet and pissed as hell. Next to me, Reed Girl giggled and pushed her drenched hair out of her face.

"What are you laughing at?" Hoover asked her, smiling triumphantly.

"I'm laughing at the fact that you're probably about to be fired." She gestured to where a very angry looking bald man stood glowering at Hoover, who began to look more than a little nervous. "And I'm laughing at the fact that I'm going to take him home and lick every last ounce of champagne off his gorgeous body." She punctuated her statement by licking my neck and making me groan. Fucking hell, she was phenomenal. I wasn't at all mad anymore.

"I intend to return the favor, baby." I licked a drop off her cheek and she grinned at me.

Hoover howled and stepped toward us. I stood in front of my girl but it wasn't necessary as the manager shouted her name and stopped her in her tracks. "Tanya! I would like a word with you immediately! If you take one more step toward them, I'll be forced to call the police." He turned to me. "Mr. Cullen, I apologize. This will be handled, I can assure you."

Like I cared? Right now I just wanted to get the fuck out of here and make Reed Girl make good on her promise to lick me clean. "I'm sure you will. No hard feelings." Something was very hard, but it wasn't my feelings.

"Let's go home, Bella. We have some vocal exercises to do."

"I have mad oral skills," she murmured as we walked outside. We were going to fuck up my leather interior with our wet clothes, but I didn't give a shit.

"I know you do. I can't wait to experience them."

"Then get your ass in gear and get me home. Let's go get clean, and then get dirty again."

Yeah, I really fucking loved this woman. Nobody could ever compare to her. Most girls would be a tad bit angry if an ex conquest threw champagne all over them. My girl? She got horny. College love, real love, forever love…I was pretty sure there was no difference, at least not when it came to us.

Chapter Text

"What in the hell happened to you?" Blondie demanded, shooting me the evil eye as she took in our drenched appearances. Of course she fucking thought I did something. Suddenly her eyes went wide and she grabbed Reed Girl's arm. "Tell me you didn't fuck in Westcott Fountain. Bella, I told you it's not a good idea and…"

Reed Girl cut her off with a laugh. "Like I'd do that after you cut your foot open the last time we got in there? Please."

And now my mind was filled with images of fucking my girl in a fountain. And yeah, maybe a few of her cavorting with Blondie in one as well. What exactly had they been doing swimming in a fucking fountain?

Rainbow darted out of the bedroom screeching. Rather than argue with her this time, I scooped her up and sat her on my shoulder. She gave me the requisite head butt and purr as she curled into me. Crazy fucking cat.

"Then what happened? It's not raining," Shorty pointed out from her perch on the couch, where she was currently wrapped around Jasper. My jackass brother was there, too. Apparently they were all watching a movie.

"Champagne," Bella informed them, smiling at me.

"You drink champagne, you don't wear it," Jasper declared, like we really fucking needed that information.

"First of all, we don't need to take advice from you on what to wear," I told him, glaring at the tie-dye shirt with a giant mushroom on it that he was sporting. I'd prefer champagne to a shirt that said 'You weren't there but I saw you anyway. It mushed have been something I ate.' "Way to advertise your drug problem, Dickwad."

"It's not a problem, it's a preference. And I'm not high right now."

"Damn right you're not," Shorty muttered, glaring at him. That had Jasper shrinking back a little.

"So, who'd you piss off that threw champagne all over Bella?" Blondie asked, shooting daggers at me with her eyes. I really fucking loved that she was back together with my brother, the one who'd dicked her over, yet I still got her hate when I hadn't done anything to her. She was fucking crazy, too. It seemed like every girl was except for my Reed Girl. It really sucked that I was getting blamed for shit that was beyond my control. It wasn't my fault that Hoover was the craziest of them all.

"It was that girl I told you about. Tanya," Reed Girl said, sliding her hand into mine and giving me a squeeze. "Edward didn't do anything, he just took me out to dinner and she happened to work there. First she pretended to lose our reservation, then she tried to seat us next to the bathroom and she capped the night by spraying both of us with a bottle of champagne."

"You couldn't keep your dick in your pants, could you?" Blondie hissed, jabbing me in the chest.

What the fuck? "Excuse me? I haven't had anything to do with that girl in months. It's not my fucking fault that she's batshit." Rainbow hissed when Blondie jabbed at me again. Damn right Rainbow was on my side. I reached up to pat her and she rubbed her head against my hand.

"You could have not fucked her in the first place. I swear you Cullens are all…"

"Rose," Reed Girl interrupted, glaring at her. "None of us were exactly virginal before we hooked up and we all knew that going in. You need to let this shit go or you're just wasting Emmett's time and leading him on which doesn't make you any better than they are in your eyes, does it? Are you just messing with his head so you can hurt him like he did you? Because if you are, you're really not the person that I know and love."

Blondie looked like Reed Girl had belted her one and my brother was dead pale. That was some fucked up shit, if she was doing that. "Rosie?" Emmett asked, standing and walking slowly over to where we stood.

She turned to look at him and oh fuck, she had tears in her eyes. Fuck this noise. I didn't do tears. I stepped back and looked for an escape. Reed Girl's bedroom was just a few feet away. I started to edge that way but my girl stood firmly in place, still holding my hand. She shot me a look that told me in no uncertain terms that I wasn't going anywhere. Damn it all to hell.

"Are you doing that, Rose? Is this all just a way to get even?" He stared at her and she avoided his gaze. This was so fucked up. Why were watching this shit? We had champagne licking to get to, not relationship drama. I'd already successfully avoided that tonight when my girl didn't have a fit over Hoover's bitchiness, I certainly didn't want to deal with other people's for fucks sake.

"Am I wasting my time here? Why are you treating my brother like that?" I gaped at Emmett in disbelief. I was pretty sure he'd never given a shit about how anybody talked about me before. "He didn't do anything to you. I did. And I thought we were working on it but if you think we're both just assholes or whatever, then I'd like you to tell me before I actually finish moving here. I'm doing that for you."

"I know," she murmured softly. She took a deep breath and then looked up finally. "I don't know what I'm doing. I'm not trying to punish you. I try to forgive and forget but I can't."

"You're scared," Reed Girl informed her. "I get it." Her dark eyes met mine when I turned to look at her and she smiled. "You're afraid he'll revert back to that guy he used to be and not want you anymore. Or maybe you're scared that he won't and it'll still end and hurt all the more because you can't call him a cheating asshole this time. Life is full of risks, Rose. You have to decide what you want and go for it. Don't stay in this limbo that you're in right now."

It sounded an awful lot like Reed Girl was talking about us instead of my idiot brother and Blondie. Was she scared, too? Did the thought of losing me freak her out like it fucking did me when I thought about her and some other guy? Didn't she know that there wasn't another girl that could compare to her?

"And," Reed Girl added, her tone hardening. "I'm not going to tolerate you attacking Edward like that, regardless of what's going on with you and his brother. He tried to be polite to Tanya and she wasn't having it." She grinned at me then. "So maybe we both got a little inflammatory when she refused to seat us, but it's on both of us, not just him."

"You're right," Blondie said suddenly. "I'm sorry for being such a bitch to you," she told me. "I just don't want to see Bella get hurt. I love her."

"I love her, too." Blondie looked shocked when I said that, which fucking pissed me off. "Why is that such a fucking surprise to you? You know her. She's gorgeous, smart, funny and cool as hell. If you could have seen her handle Hoover tonight, you'd be impressed. I didn't want to love her and I tried not to but I couldn't make it go away and now I don't want to."

All eyes were on me by the time I'd finished my rant but I didn't really give a damn. "Can we go now?" I demanded, turning to my girl who looked amused. I'd had enough bullshit today to last me a fucking lifetime. I just wanted to finish what Reed Girl had started in the restaurant. Was that too much to fucking ask?

"Yeah. I think we need to take a shower," Reed Girl said suggestively, licking her lips. Fuck yes.

I leaned toward her and whispered in her ear. "A tongue bath followed by a shower, right?"

Her eyes twinkled as she laughed. "Naturally."

"And that's our cue to leave," Blondie supplied dryly. She looked at my brother. "Can we talk?" I actually kind of felt sorry for the bastard. He looked like he'd been kicked in the junk but he nodded. She turned back to me. "I'm sorry. I'll try to be less of a bitch from now on but if you hurt her I will come after you."

That wasn't going to be a problem. "Bring it, Blondie."

She smirked and then gave Reed Girl a hug. "It takes balls to put me in my place. Thanks for that." She released her and held out a hand to my brother. He looked momentarily surprised but took it. "Just tell me one thing, did you punch the bitch?" she asked my girl.

Reed Girl laughed and shook her head. "No, but I rubbed in the fact that I'd be licking the champagne off Edward's body when we got home and her manager saw so I'm pretty sure she got fired."

Blondie laughed. "Not bad, but what's it going to take for you to slug her? We both know you could fuck her up with the moves your dad has taught you."

Moves? My girl had fucking moves? "I won't touch her unless she touches me. Or him," Reed Girl added darkly. Fuck, that was hot. Now I kind of wanted Hoover to try to touch me, but not to succeed since I didn't want her germs all over me. I didn't want her taking a swing at Reed Girl even if my girl could defend herself.

"Fair enough." Blondie turned to my brother. "Let's go talk. No more holding back. I promise."

"Okay, Rosie. Later, Eddie." My brother and Blondie walked into her room hand in hand. Well, one way or another I was probably going to get my room back soon. Hopefully Emmett would get what he wanted.

"Being high would have made that conversation a lot more fun," Jasper pointed out, making Shorty laugh and smack him.

"Come on, let's take a shower," Reed Girl said, pulling me toward the bathroom.

"Wait a second." I didn't want to delay our time a second longer but I had to distract Rainbow or we'd never get to fuck. I released her hand and took Rainbow into the bedroom. I grabbed the treats and she started freaking out again so I quickly got her off my shoulder and sat her on the bed, pouring a whole pile of them for her and running out of the bedroom while she started gorging herself. I shut the door behind me and Reed Girl laughed as I rushed us into the bathroom.

"She's going to get fat if you keep feeding her like that."

I pushed her up against the door and she giggled as I ran my tongue along her neck. "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do," I told her as I pressed my body to hers.

She cupped my face in her hands and smiled at me. "I'm sorry Rose attacked you like that. You didn't deserve it."

I ran my hands over her arms. "Maybe not but you called her on it and on the way she's treating my brother which was pretty awesome." Her words came back to me. "Are you afraid that I'm going to do what my brother did?"

Her eyes flashed with some emotion I couldn't read. "I don't think you'll cheat on me, or pretend to like Emmett did. I like to think that we're beyond that and if you wanted out, you'd tell me like a real man would." Huh. Well I suppose that was some kind of a compliment. "Do I worry about you deciding to end it one day? Sort of." She paused and made a face. "I guess worry is the wrong word. I have thought about it."

I didn't really know how to feel about that fact. "So you think we're just college love?" I asked eventually.

Her eyes widened. "What is college love?"

Oh hell. Why were talking about this? It was time for some fun. "I don't know. You said you had high school love with that Riley guy." Just saying his name made my stomach turn. I really fucking hated that guy even though he'd done nothing but have the good taste to want my girl. The fact that she'd wanted him back was my issue. No, the fact that she'd loved him in any form was the issue.

"Edward," she said my name and then she kissed me softly. It felt really fucking good, like I was warm all over. "I don't know how to explain it to you, but I'll try, okay? High school love is just really exciting. Everything is new, all those feelings you've never had before kind of take over. I think you tend to see all the good and not see any of the bad, or you overlook it because it's your first and so exciting."

So he excited her. Yeah, this made me feel better. Right. She ran her fingers through my hair. It felt awesome. "I see your flaws. Hell, I walked right into this knowing who you were and wanting you anyway. It's still exciting, God, is it, but it's scary, too, because I'll know what I'm missing if it ends. But I'd rather be with you and risk it than walk away."

"I've never had high school love," I told her. "What if that's what I'm feeling now and it ends?"

"I know you haven't," she said with a little laugh. "And if it does, we'll deal with it. Life's full of risks, Cullen. We both decided we were going to take one here. Do you regret it?"

Hell no. "Of course not! I just don't want to lose you."

"Then don't," she advised, before kissing me hard and pushing me back against the wall. Her fingers got busy on my shirt buttons and I decided not to talk about relationship shit anymore. I'd much rather have one than talk about having one, or worse, not having one at all.

I reached behind her to unzip her dress and she chuckled as she brushed the shirt off my shoulders. "No zipper. You just peel it off." Fuck me. I did as she advised and brought it over her head, revealing a low cut green bra that matched and tiny panties.

"I fucking love your underwear," I told her before releasing her breasts. She got busy on my pants but let out a moan as I flicked her nipple with my tongue. "Tastes good," I murmured against her skin. It did, too. I could taste the champagne and the sweet and salty taste on her skin just hit all my senses.

"Shower, now," she demanded as I reached into her panties and fingered her clit.

"Your wish is my command." That made her laugh as I turned the water on. I looked back to see her sliding out of her panties and groaned. She smiled and ran her tongue across my collarbone as she undid my pants and I helped her, sliding them and my boxers off and kicking them across the room.

"You're sticky," she told me, scraping my skin with her teeth. Fuck. My fingers dove into her hair and I held her in place while her hot little tongue and teeth cleaned me off, just like she'd promised. She was going to be stickier soon because I might shoot my load all over her stomach if she kept it up.

"Get in, baby," I steered her to the shower and helped her step in, getting in behind her and closing the curtain behind us. She started to move under the spray but I stopped her. "Wait, I haven't cleaned you off completely yet." I licked her neck and smiled against her skin as she moaned and tilted it to let me dip lower.

I licked my way down to her breasts, cupping and lifting them so I could move from nipple to nipple easily. Reed Girl was moaning and pushing them into my hands and tongue. "Mmm…" She tasted so good. I was pretty sure I was addicted to her body at this point. I slid my hand down and found her wet and ready for me. "Did you get champagne anywhere else, baby?"

Her eyes, which had been closed, flashed open and I could see the lust in them. Finally I got to take her again. "I'm not sure, but maybe you should keep exploring."

I chuckled as I cupped her ass and pulled her against me. "Well, I could take my time and explore, or I could go straight to where you and I want me the most, now that you're rooting for the right team again."

She laughed. "You're lucky I don't slug you for that comment and the one earlier."

"You wanna show me the moves your dad taught you, baby?" That would be so sexy, seeing my girl throw some punches.

"Not in the shower and certainly not while we're naked," she replied, laughing.

"I don't know, naked shower boxing could be the next big thing. We'll set that aside for now, though." I had more important things to do. I sank to my knees in front of her and my girl, being shameless and awesome, put one leg up on the side of the tub, opening herself wide for me.

"Fuck, you're amazing," I told her before leaning forward and flicking her clit with my tongue. God, I missed this. I missed the sounds she made when I sped up my tongue and slid two fingers inside her. I missed the way her body responded to me when I sucked her clit into my mouth and nibbled gently, the way she pushed her pussy toward my face and invited me to take it all. I loved the fucking way she came, tightening on my fingers, pulling my hair and getting even wetter as she called out my name in a throaty, sexy ass voice.

When she came down, I stood and lifted her, plunging inside her as she still shuddered from orgasm. "So fucking sexy, Bella," I grunted as I took her. This time was going to be rough and fast, since it'd been nearly a week since I last fucked her. I'd go for finesse later. Reed Girl's legs were tight around my ass as she gripped me and met me thrust for thrust. The water slid down our bodies as we came together, Reed Girl's face buried in my neck as I held her against the wall.

"Thank you for tonight," she murmured, pulling back and smiling at me as her legs loosened their death grip on me. I helped her find her footing again and held her against me for another minute.

"I'm sorry it turned out to be such a fucking crazy night," I told her. I'd wanted to get it right but of course everything had been fucked up, from Hoover to the news about her ex and the concert to Blondie being a bitch.

"If all our crazy nights end like this, I think we should have more of them." She started soaping me up with some rinse she kept in the shower. It smelled a little fucking girly for my taste but when your naked girlfriend is running her hands over your body, it really doesn't matter what in the hell she's rubbing on you, at least that's the way I figured it.

"How about we keep the crazy, but do without the drama, especially our own?" I suggested.

Reed Girl laughed and kissed me. "I could go for that."

"I could go for you," I responded, kissing her hard and moving my hands over her body, cleaning her as thoroughly as she cleaned me. I didn't think I'd ever get enough of her, and that was just fine with me.


"This looks pretty good," my brother murmured, taking in the apartment I'd dragged him to after the four we looked at prior had also looked pretty good but not been quite right. If he didn't fucking pick this one and move his stupid ass into it pronto, I was going to kill him and let whatever tenants weren't picky as fuck deal with his corpse.

"I like it. It's shiny," Jasper announced, like his fucking opinion mattered. I wasn't even sure why he was here but I was sure that he was high as a fucking kite because Shorty wasn't around to stop his stupid ass and he was taking advantage of it.

"They're all shiny, you douche." His fascination for shit that shined and glittered was downright disturbing. If he wasn't banging Shorty each and every night, and believe me, you could hear when those two were fucking, I'd assume he was gay. Now he was checking out fixtures and pipes like he was some kind of plumber or something. And when he got in front of a fucking mirror he could stand there for hours if we let him, watching every little movement of his fingers like it was the most fascinating thing in the fucking world.

"It seems quiet."

What was so fucking wrong with that? I wanted some damn quiet right about now, let me tell you. "You're not in college anymore. You're getting this place for yourself and maybe Blondie if things are cool there." I assumed they were, since we were still looking at places today, but what the fuck did I know? I didn't really care, so long as he got the hell out of my room. Sharing space with three girls, four kittens and Jasper was getting on my last nerve.

"They're good. We really talked and this time she completely let me in, told me everything about how she felt and that she never stopped loving me even though she tried to. She wasn't playing a game with me; she's just scared to let me be close to her again. We're working on it."

I swear to God, if he spouted the words "couple's therapy" or "counselor" I was going to lose my shit. Since when did we discuss feelings? I didn't like the way things were changing. Except for Reed Girl. I was glad she was there, but that was it.

"We made out and it was just like old times, though she won't let me have sex with her yet," Emmett told us. I groaned.

"She will," Jasper declared, finally coming out of the fucking kitchen where he'd been staring at the oven knobs for some unknown reason. "Talking is the key, sex is the lock. Turn it and open the door to heaven, where it's shiny and perfect and bright."

I had no fucking words for the shit that guy spewed. My brother looked equally baffled. "Why did you bring him?" I demanded.

Emmett shrugged. "He wanted to come."

"Unlock it and come," Jasper babbled. "What are you getting Reed?"

What in the hell was he talking about now? "What do you mean? I already got her Christmas present and you know what it is." Of course his pea brain probably forgot seconds after we discussed it.

"Shiny wrist," he said. I was actually shocked that he remembered it, although bracelet was apparently too big a word for him to manage when he was stoned. "I mean for the thing tomorrow."

Thing tomorrow? "Her concert?"

He nodded vigorously, like he was in a fucking mosh pit or something. "Yes. Wife says we're getting her flowers. It's accustomed."

Where was Shorty when I needed her to translate his idiocy? I was supposed to get her a present? And what the fuck? Why did Jasper of all people know about it when I didn't? "You guys were invited?"

"Yeah, Rose is making me wear a suit." Emmett made a face and I was seriously pissed off. They got invited and I had to hear about it from some band geek?

"Why the fuck didn't she invite me?" I yelled, pacing around the empty apartment. "I don't fucking get it. You two losers get to go, her roommates are going, but her boyfriend can't?"

"Bella didn't invite me, Rose said I had to go," Emmett answered, shrugging. "I have no idea why she didn't invite you."

"I know." We both turned to Jasper, although I doubted anything that came out of his mouth was going to be useful to me in any way. "There are two reeds," he continued. "One you can see and one you can't."

What the ever living fuck did that mean? "Are you saying there are two Bella's?" Fuck, did my girl have multiple personalities?

"No, two reeds. One you play with and one you don't." He shot me a look like I was a dumb ass which was just great.

Now I was even more confused than I'd been before. "I have no idea what you're saying."

"That's the plan," he told me calmly. Fuck this noise. I took a step toward him to beat his ass and Emmett grabbed me and held me back.

"She's probably just afraid to have you see her in that environment, man. You gotta admit, band is not your thing. You see her as the sexy girl that dresses in skimpy shorts…" I glared at him for looking at my girl's bedroom attire and he laughed, completely unconcerned that I was going to kick his ass. "And even though you've seen her in her uniform before, you've never seen her play. Maybe she's afraid you'll think she's a loser or a geek or something."

Unlike the shit Jasper spouted off, what my brother said made sense. "And I have to get her a present?" I demanded. Damn it, I thought I was done with this shopping shit until Valentine's Day. And I had plans for skimpy lingerie for that particular present. Mom wasn't around to veto me on that one, thank you very much.

"A shiny one," Jasper suggested.

"I'll give you a shiny. A shiny black eye."

Emmett snickered and slung an arm around me. "Perk up, Eddie. I decided to take this place, so you'll get your room back in time for next semester."

"Thank fucking God. Can we get out of here now? Apparently I have shopping to do." Kill me fucking now.

"Music. Give her music. Music is love in song." And then Jasper started singing some bullshit about the hills being alive with the sound of music.

"What the fuck?" I demanded.

"Jasper, knock it off," my brother advised. "It's not a bad idea, though," he said, turning to me. "You know what music she likes?"

Yeah, I knew what my girl liked. "I'm not making her a mix CD." Jasper had already done that shit, for one thing, and I didn't want to be anything like him. Then I had it. "Take me to the Apple store." I was going to get my girl a new iPod and load it up with music she liked. Kickass. I was an awesome boyfriend.

"Good plan. Let's go, Jasper."

"Can't we leave him here?" I asked.

"You think I want to leave him in my new apartment? He'd probably burn it down."

Good point. And that was unacceptable when I was finally going to get my fucking room back. Whatever. I had shit to do now. I was going to show Reed Girl that I had no issues with her musical side. She had nothing to be ashamed of. I'd love her no matter what.


I made my way into the Ruby Diamond Concert Hall at Westcott and fiddled with my tie one last time. Reed Girl had to come over alone because of rehearsal beforehand, so I'd been left to get here on my own since I wasn't about to ride with Jasper or my brother and their girlfriends.

It was set up kind of like a movie theater, with rows of seats, though they were in kind of a half moon shape instead of straight rows. I'd come early so I could get a good seat but I had to admit that I paused outside by the fountain and imagined my girl swimming in it and us fucking it thanks to that little slip by Blondie the other night. I really needed to ask her about that shit. Of course, if I was going to fuck her somewhere out in the open, I'd rather it be in my stadium, but the fountain could be fun. Anywhere was with Reed Girl.

I had a dozen roses and the iPod touch I'd gotten her and spent all day putting music on. I'd hooked her up with classic rock like the Beatles and Stones and Mom had come through with some classical crap that I'd put on there too, along with some Usher and stuff like that she liked today. I even made her a sex songs playlist for our future use, because I was smart like that.

"Edward!" I heard a female voice calling. I tensed for a moment but then saw Shorty waving her arms. Damn it. She and Jasper had five seats saved, so I made my way over to them. At least they were near the front so I could get a good view of Reed Girl. "We thought we'd sit together. Oh, did you get Bella flowers? That's so sweet!"

"Yeah. Didn't you?" Jasper said he was getting her flowers, the asshole.

"No, we got her a bear," Shorty giggled as Jasper held out a white bear that had an oboe in its arms.

Of course he got her a fucking bear. She'd be lucky if he actually let her have it. "Are you sober?" I asked him. His eyes weren't red and Shorty was here so it was a good bet he was.

"Sadly, yes." He looked like his tie was about to strangle him as he pulled on it. I kind of couldn't blame him for the sentiment this time. Getting through a Christmas concert without some help was going to suck for all of us.

"What in the hell were talking about yesterday in Emmett's apartment about two reeds?" I asked. Now that he was sober, maybe he could clarify.

Shorty elbowed him and Jasper coughed and shrugged. "I don't know. You know how I am when I'm high."

"You're a fucking prick," I told him, getting a look from some old lady who was seated two rows in front of me wearing all these jewels and shit like she was at the fucking fancy opera house in New York. Snooty bitch. I glared back at her and she huffed and turned around.

"So, when's Emmett moving into his place?" Shorty asked. I talked to her for a few and scooted over when my brother and Blondie came in. She gave me a tight smile but at least kept the glaring to a minimum. I sat next to Emmett and as far away from Jasper as I could get since I wanted to kick his ass. Either he knew something he wasn't going to tell me or he was a wastoid and useless. Asshole.

Some guy in a long black tux came out and started yammering about the music we were going to hear. I opened my program thingy and smiled when I saw my girl's name listed as lead oboe player. All the main Christmas songs were going to be played; ending with…I did a double take. "Holy shit!"

"Jeez, Edward, show some class will ya?" my brother said, probably because Blondie smacked him when I opened my mouth.

"Bella's singing?" I demanded. Well, that explained why she'd freaked out about me being here. It said, right on my program in black and white, that Reed Girl was singing "Silent Night" in the finale. Was she afraid I'd judge her? I was fucking proud as shit that my girl was the only person singing in this thing. Vocals by Isabella Swan. How about that?

"Yeah, she was in chorus for years," Blondie informed me.

"Is that why she was all freaked out about me coming?" I asked, leaning across my brother.

Blondie and Shorty exchanged a look. "Yes," Shorty answered. "She was nervous about singing in front of the crowd and add you in…"

"I'd support her even if she was terrible." Which obviously she wasn't, since she was the only singer in the whole thing.

"We can be insecure sometimes, is all," Shorty said. Blondie snorted but said nothing else. Emmett looked thoroughly bored and Jasper was playing with his bear. Fucking shocker there.

Insecure? My girl? Well, I'd do what I could to make her feel good about herself. I'd never seen my girl have an insecure moment, but she covered that shit pretty well. She'd played me like her damn oboe from minute one so maybe I just couldn't see how vulnerable she was when it came to me. At least we were on a level playing field there because there was no girl that had the power over me that Reed Girl did.

The band came out and took their seats and I felt a burst of pride when I saw my girl sit down. She was wearing a black skirt and garnet blazer. She was easily the most beautiful woman on the stage and I was pretty sure the guy that sat next to her was checking out her legs. I was going to have to ram his oboe up his ass after I congratulated my girl on being incredible.

Tux dude started waving around his little stick thingy and the band played "Oh Holy Night" or something like that. It sounded good. I tried to pick Bella's playing out of the crowd but I really had no idea what a fucking oboe sounded like on its own, let alone mixed in with a billion other instruments. I should have her play for me sometime.

They played several more songs and I was surprisingly not bored, because I actually knew them. As we got closer and closer to the finale, I felt myself getting nervous. My stomach tightened up and my palms were sweating for her. It was weird, because I damn well didn't freak out over my games, but I was nervous for her, probably because she made such a big deal out of it by not inviting me.

I glanced over and saw that Jasper appeared to be sleeping. Shorty was paying attention and Em and Blondie were wrapped around one another. I was going to kick Jasper's ass if he slept through her solo, but I trusted Shorty would wake him in time.

They finished the "Drummer Boy" song and my girl stood and set her oboe on the chair. This was it. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Shorty shake Jasper awake and he made some snorting noise. Good. Bastard better not sleep though my girl's moment.

She smiled at the lead guy and he leaned into the microphone. "Silent Night, featuring Isabella Swan on vocals. She's our first chair oboe and plays two other instruments as well as singing with the chorus. Ms. Swan."

She played other instruments? Before I could wonder more about that, she opened her mouth and started singing and I was fucking blown away. My girl had a beautiful voice, soft and sexy and beautiful. I could see that her cheeks were a little red and her eyes seemed wide and I smiled at her in encouragement. She was amazing. Even my brother looked impressed and he hadn't batted an eye over my Heisman win really.

Reed Girl was clearly a musical genius. She could probably play every instrument up there because she was awesome. As the last notes faded, I stood and clapped and so did everyone around me. Reed Girl's eyes were shining bright and she smiled and basked in the applause she so richly deserved.

I hurried up on the stage and grabbed her into my arms as soon as the crowd started streaming out of the building. "You were awesome, baby!"

She laughed as I picked her up and twirled her around. "Really? I was so scared. I don't usually do solos but Dr. Banner heard me singing one day and sort of pushed me to do it."

"Is that why you didn't want me here? Don't you know I'm proud of you?" I asked. Yeah, I was still a little fucking hurt by that.

"Not exactly. I just don't want…" she broke off as her friends started grabbing at her. I reluctantly let them hug her and give her congratulations.

"Let's go get something to eat. I'm starving," Shorty suggested.

"Sounds good to me. Not much is going to be open though so…"

"Denny's!" Jasper screeched. Of course he wanted stoner food.

"That works for me, I'm famished," Reed Girl agreed. I'd rather take her someplace good but if she wanted Denny's, that's what she'd get.

"We'll meet you there," I told them. My girl put her oboe in its case and gathered up her stuff. I took the case from her and handed her the flowers and the iPod.

"You got me a present?" she asked, sounding surprised.

"It's tradition, right? You have a big show and I give you flowers and well, I wanted to give you the music to show that I can be part of this. I don't want you to shut me out because you're embarrassed or whatever. You should be proud that you're so talented. What else can you play?"

She bit her lip. "Uh, piano, flute, some guitar," she muttered.

"That's amazing, baby. I really am proud of you." She was looking away from me so I pulled her face to mine. "You believe me, don't you?"

"Of course."

"Please don't make me hear about the next one from someone else, okay?"

"Okay," she murmured. I kissed her softly and she melted into me. "I love you, Edward. Never forget that."

Like I would? It made me feel like I'd won the National Championship every time she said it. "I love you, too. Let's go to Denny's." I'd show her, every day, that her stuff was just as important as mine was. She deserved that.

A/N So, Bella can sing! What else can she do? I bet Cocky would like to know! Apparently Jasper does but in true Jasper fashion, he can't articulate it when he's high and he's not allowed to when he's sober. Issues, issues! Speaking of Jasper, he won favorite Jasper in the Eclipse Awards! Thank you! He makes me laugh and I truly love that you guys enjoy him like I do!

More FSU truths in this chapter. I did go swimming in Westcott fountain, but sadly, I did not have sex in there. And while I did cavort with my roommate, it wasn't in the way that Edward allowed himself to imagine. And she cut her foot open on a light inside the fountain so we spent time in the emergency room, ending our cavorting before it could get interesting, if it was headed that way, which it likely wasn't. hehe

Also, I own that shirt that I let Jasper wear, even though I've honestly never done a drug in my life. It was pretty; blue and purple and gray, and I thought it was damn funny so I wore it proudly. I also wore it the first day at my new school a couple of years later when I happened to be wearing contact lenses for the first time and I also managed to get a piece of cat fur in my eye. Yes, I have allergies despite having cats, so I went to class with red dripping eyes wearing a drug shirt. Great first impression. My teacher was a fellow Nole though (this was in IL) so I think he got it and me.  See you soon with more!

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Sideline Collision Chapter 20

“Just get in there, would you?”  Yes, I was trying to reason with a fucking kitten and it wasn’t working.  I could only imagine that Reed Girl would be in fits of laughter if she could see us right now.  She’d known.  When she’d given me that fucking cat carrier, that fucking neon pink cat carrier, no less; she’d known that Rainbow wouldn’t go in it.  I had failed to notice that my girl hadn’t had her in the carrier when she brought her to my room.  Oh no.  Rainbow the Princess was carried in, of fucking course.

I’d been distracted by Reed Girl’s hot body so I hadn’t even reacted properly to the fact that she expected me to carry a fucking hot pink cat carrier out of my dorm room.  No, I’d been too busy getting her naked to question a damn thing.  And she’d let me, with that wicked glint in her brown eyes that I’d mistaken for lust for me.  No, she’d been fucking amused at the hell she was knowingly unleashing on me.

You would think that maneuvering a light ass kitten into a cat carrier wouldn’t be difficult, but it really fucking is.  Somehow Rainbow managed to spread her body and latch on to the damn thing with all four of her feet and no amount of pushing and pleading was getting her to go the fuck into the thing.  I turned it on its side and attempted to drop her in, but she clung to me and fucking sliced my arm in several fucking places, so that didn’t work either. 

I threw treats and toys in the thing and she just stood there looking at me like I was a fucking dumbass, which clearly I was because I couldn’t get the fucking cat in there to save my life.  Bribery wasn’t working, force wasn’t working, what the fuck was I supposed to do?

“I don’t understand why you won’t go in there.  I put a fucking towel in there for you to lie on, didn’t I?  Do I have to go fucking buy you a fur so you’ll be more comfortable?”  She meowed at me, which I took to be a yes because she was fucking spoiled as hell and probably did expect to be treated like a queen.

“Haven’t I been good to you so far?  Did I push you off me every time you climbed on me when I came in the room?  No, I did not.”  Because it was fucking easier just to let her do what she wanted since she started screeching when I didn’t and the last thing I needed was for my teammates to come running and finding me with a fucking cat.  “Didn’t I let you sleep on me without complaint?”  Okay, maybe I complained, but she didn’t know what the fuck I was saying, except that she probably did because she was crafty like that.

“The car’s packed.  We’re ready to go.  All that’s left is to get you in that thing and then hide it in my gym bag since I’m not about to be seen carrying a fucking pink cat carrier and then we’re off.  Don’t you want to go home with me?  My mom will probably spoil the shit out of you.  You’ll like it.”

Rainbow blinked at me and I pointed to the carrier.  “Go.  Prove you’re superior to a dog, who would definitely go where I told them to fucking go.”  She yawned and stuck her foot out and started licking it.  What the fuck was up with that anyway?  Immediately after I’d last attempted to get her into the stupid fucking thing, she’d started cleaning herself and given me a look like she was pissed off at me for mussing her stupid fur, which wouldn’t have been mussed in the first fucking place if she’d just do what she was supposed to do and get in the damn cat carrier.

“Do you want me to leave you here?”  Great, now I was turning into my fucking father and just like I knew when he said that shit to me when I was a kid, Rainbow knew that I wasn’t going to leave her in my room for a couple weeks.  I didn’t want her to die, even if she was a pain in the ass.

It was far too fucking early to call Reed Girl up in Washington, though I should wake her gorgeous ass up and yell at her for leaving me with cat sitting duty.  I’d thought things were going well enough so far.  She’d left on Tuesday and I already missed the hell out of her.  I wouldn’t admit it to her, but it was kind of nice to have Rainbow around to talk to and goof around with to distract myself.  Of course, it wasn’t the same at night not having her warm, sexy body wrapped around me.  I was already sleeping for shit and I still had six days to go without her.  Assuming of course that I could convince her to crash at my house when she got back to Jacksonville.  Mom and Dad wouldn’t give a damn and I wanted her back in my bed where she belonged.

“Will you please get in the carrier?” I pleaded, giving her the look that never failed to get any female to do whatever the fuck I wanted.  Even Mom and Reed Girl were helpless against the pouty little boy look I’d perfected. 

Apparently it didn’t work on fucking cats, though.  Fuck this noise. I scooped Rainbow up and she hopped onto my shoulder.  Most of my teammates had taken off after practice last night and the parking lot was pretty fucking empty when I loaded up the car this morning.  I’d take my fucking chances and just blame it on Reed Girl if anybody saw me.

I picked up her stupid, useless, ridiculous pink carrier and peeked out of my door.  All clear.  I hurried down the hallway and ran down the stairs.  Rainbow headbutted me a couple of times, purring away because she’d gotten her fucking way like always.  Of course she was fucking happy now.

The parking lot appeared to be all clear so I pushed open the exit door and motored to my car.

“Yo, Cullen!  What the fuck is that?”

Damn it.  Just five feet from victory.  I turned and saw Marcus and Eric standing at Marcus’ truck a couple slots down.  Fucking hell.

“What the fuck is what?” I asked, opening my trunk and tossing the fucking carrier in there.  I wasn’t even sure why I’d bothered to bring it.  It wasn’t like she was going to deign to get into it for the ride home either.  Crazy ass cat.

“That cat on your shoulder.”  Marcus, who was actually a cool guy, came over and held out a hand to Rainbow.  She sniffed him and then leaned into me, giving him the go-ahead to touch her I guess because he started scratching her neck and her purr doubled in noise.

I braced myself as Eric came over.  He better not be dumb enough to utter a fucking word.  His nose had healed, though you could see where it had broken.  He had a nice dent there now as a reminder of what mouthing off will bring you.

“She’s my girlfriend’s.  I’m watching her while she’s visiting her dad.”  I waited to be called pussy whipped or whatever.  I knew I had that shit coming.

Marcus chuckled.  “Been there, done that, though my girl has a dog and a plant.  The plant I killed but the dog I kept alive.  She still got pissed though.”

I relaxed and laughed with him.  “Yeah, well, technically I gave her the thing so it’s apparently my responsibility to take care of her when she’s not around.” 

Rainbow headbutted me again and Marcus grinned.  “Seems like she likes you.”

“Yeah, I guess.”  It wasn’t so bad.  Eric was eying me but didn’t say anything.  “Do you have something to say?” I demanded.  I’d have no problem breaking his nose again and Coach couldn’t punish me for it while I was on vacation.  Knowing him, though, he’d probably come to Jacksonville and give me hell if I did it.



Marcus patted Rainbow one more time and clapped my non-cat covered shoulder.  “Alright, man, see you in a couple weeks.  Keep this arm sharp.”

“Will do.  Have a good Christmas.”

“You too.”

They headed back to the truck and I opened my door and got in.  “Are you going to stay there the whole ride home?” I asked, like Rainbow was going to answer me.  She purred some more and snuggled deeper into my neck.  “I guess fucking so.  Well, here we go then.”


You get some really fucking weird looks when you pass people on the highway with a kitten on your shoulder.  I knew I should have tinted my windows.  Rainbow refused to get the fuck down and I knew better than to try to pull her off my shoulder while I was driving so I looked ridiculous to everybody that noticed her but hopefully nobody got a fucking picture of me at least.

We pulled up in front of my house and she stayed put while I grabbed both of our shit.  At least she didn’t make a run for it like some moron animals would have.  I walked into the house and before I could hit the stairs my mom descended upon us.

“There she is!  Aren’t you a pretty a kitty?  Yes you are.”  Jesus Christ.  Rainbow, ever the fucking attention hound, stood and stretched into my mom’s waiting arms.  She hugged her to her and cooed at her like she was a fucking baby.  Thank God she wasn’t.  Though let me tell you, cat’s came with a lot of crap just like kids did.  Food and treats and toys and a goddamn hairbrush for some reason.  At least I’d asked Mom to pick up a litter box and dishes for her.  I wasn’t dragging that shit from Tally, too.

“It’s good to see you, too, Mom,” I muttered sarcastically. 

She shot me an identical look to the one that Rainbow was giving me for daring to interrupt her getting attention or whatever the fuck her problem was.  Jeez.  And why was she getting all up on my mom like she did on me?  Did we have some kind of Cullen gene that appealed to her?  Were we fucking cat whisperers? 

“You know I’m happy to see you even if you’re not nearly as cute as she is.”  Mom lifted Rainbow and peppered her with her kisses.  Jesus Christ.  What was with women and baby animals?  They got crazy around them.  “Why don’t you go put your stuff in your room and then you can come back and tell me all about finals and Bella.”

Somehow I had the feeling she wasn’t overly worried about my fucking grades but whatever.  I shouldered my bag and the bag of Rainbow’s crap and started to head upstairs.  I didn’t get more than five steps up before Rainbow let out a pitiful cry.  Mom laughed and put her down and she immediately came racing after me.  It was pretty comical watching that little body race up the steps. 

“She’s really attached to you isn’t she?” Mom asked. 

I rolled my eyes and picked her up because I knew damn well if I let her walk she’d run through my feet and trip my ass.  The last thing I needed was to fall down the fucking stairs and break my arm due to a fucking kitten tripping me.  That shit was funny as hell when she took down Jasper, but it would suck if it was me.  She’d tripped his druggie ass on Tuesday night when he’d shown up in my room randomly.  There were times when Rainbow really rocked.  I put her on my shoulder and heard the distinctive click of the camera.  “Mom!”

“That’s just the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.”  She started snapping more and I turned away and hauled ass up the stairs.  She’d use those fucking photos to taunt me for the rest of my life, I just knew it.

“You’re more trouble than you’re worth,” I told Rainbow as I headed into my room.  She headbutted my jaw, no doubt disagreeing with me.  I deposited our shit on the bed and showed her the spot in the corner that Mom had set up her litter box.  She hopped right in because for some reason, the instant she got around a clean box, she felt the need to dirty it.  Fucking gross.  I went back to the bed and grabbed her kibble and poured her a bowl of that and got her some water from my sink.

“There, you’re all set,” I told her as she started covering her crap.  At least she fucking cleaned up after herself, though I’d have to clean the damn box this week.  That was going to suck royally.  I unpacked my shit and sat on my bed and of course Rainbow immediately joined me.  “Don’t you want to go get spoiled by my mother for awhile?” I asked as she climbed onto my lap and pressed her little claws into my jeans.  She then sat down on my lap.  “Guess not.”  I glanced at my clock.  It was after eleven so it was after eight in Washington.  I was calling and waking Reed Girl up.  I wanted to hear her voice. 

“Hello,” she answered, sounding groggy and sexy with her sleeping voice.  Fuck, I loved how raspy she was in the morning.  It made me hard every morning, well, harder really.

“We made it to Jacksonville,” I told her.

Giggles filled the line.  “Oh yeah?  How did that go?”

Evil woman.  Laughing over my inability to control a two pound kitten.  Well, I’d fix her. 

“It was great.  She walked right into her box and slept the whole drive.”

Reed Girl gasped on the other end of the line.  “No fucking way!  How’d you get her into that thing?”

I smirked.  I knew she’d set my ass up.  “We both know she loves me best.  She did exactly what I asked her to do.”

“But…but she had a fit when I tried to put her in her carrier.  She fought me like she was a fucking tiger or something.” 

She sounded completely pissed off.  It was really fucking hot.  “What can I say?  I have the magic touch.  I bet you miss it right about now, don’t you baby?” I asked. 

“Humph,” she muttered.

I laughed.  “You’re so fucking easy, Reed Girl.  And you set me up with that stupid pink carrier.  You knew exactly what was going to fucking happen when I tried to get her in there.”

“Asshole!  I don’t miss your touch or anything else now,” she told me.

“Were you pouting over the idea that I could get her to do what I wanted?”   She was so fucking cute.  “No worries, baby, she’s just as stubborn with me as she is you.”

She laughed, good humor restored.  “Did she ride on your shoulder the whole way home?”

I snorted.  “What do you think?  Mom already took a dozen pictures of that shit, too.  I’ll never live it down.”

“I could have sent her some.”  She could have, too.  Rainbow and I were her favorite camera targets.  As if she knew we were talking about her, Rainbow rolled over in my lap.  I rubbed her belly and she started wrestling with me.  That shit was fun, except that she’d get me with her claws now and then.  I liked how playful she was though.

“I’m sure she’ll take more while we’re here.  How’s the cold and rain?”

Reed Girl sighed.  “Quiet.  Too quiet.  But some friends are coming back today and tomorrow so maybe we can liven it up a little.”

I didn’t know what that meant but I admit that I didn’t like the sound of it.  “Yeah?  You gonna throw a party?” I asked.  Rainbow nibbled on my fingers and thumped my palm with her back feet. 

“Eh, I don’t know.  All the bars are an hour away in Port Angeles so maybe we’ll head there and get a room or something.”

“Who’s we?” I wondered aloud before I could stop myself.

“Mary, Lauren, Jean, probably a few other people.”  I noticed she didn’t say Riley which made me feel marginally better.  I had no idea who those people were but they sounded like they were all chicks which worked for me.  “What about you?”

I shrugged.  “We usually do a bonfire on the beach one night, hopefully we’ll have one when you’re back.  I’ve gotta call some people and tell them I’m home.  There’ll be shit to do.”

“I bet,” she said softly.  I wondered if it bugged her like it bugged me that we were partying without each other. 

“Hey, I miss you,” I told her, just in case she hadn’t fucking clued in by me calling and texting her every couple hours like a pussy whipped asshole.

“I miss you, too,” she replied, sounding happier at my admission.  I hated hearing her sound down.  “I swear I don’t like sleeping with my head on my pillow anymore.  Your chest is a much better pillow.”

I snickered.  “Yeah, sleeping on something rock hard has to feel good for you.”

“Doughy,” she replied, making me choke.

“There is nothing doughy about me, baby.”  That wasn’t even remotely funny, although she was laughing her ass off of course.  The woman laughed at me constantly but it didn’t really annoy me.  Well, not often.

“There’s certainly nothing doughy about parts of you,” she said, making me groan.  My cock was getting ready to stand at attention and that was just wrong when Rainbow was in my lap.

“You can’t say shit like that when I have a kitten in my lap,” I reminded her, making her giggle.

“You’re in for a long week, Cullen.”

“So are you,” I reminded her, trying not to sulk.

“Well, I do happen to have my old vibrator stashed in a basket of old stuffed animals.”

First off, that was hot as shit.  Second, it was hilarious that she kept it in with teddy bears and stuffed dogs.  “Baby, that’s awesome.  Are you going to use it for me?”

She made a humming noise that reminded me of when her beautiful lips were wrapped around my cock.  Fuck.  I picked up Rainbow and put her back on my shoulder.  I didn’t want her to think she’d found a wonderful new toy when my dick started straining against my zipper.  She let out a little squeak before headbutting me and laying back down. 

“That was going to be one of your Christmas presents,” she told me, her voice all silky and sexy and shit.

“Merry fucking Christmas to me!  I love it, baby.”

She laughed.  “I thought you might.  I’ll see what I can do.  Maybe if I get a little drunk, I’ll give you a call.”  Fuck yes.  “Are you drinking tonight?”

If only.  “Nah, I can’t take a chance that some dipshit will have a camera.”  There were a lot of fucking Gators in this town and they’d love to see me get busted before the Championship game.  “My body is a temple, at least until January eighth.  Want to worship it?” I asked, grinning as I waited for her reaction.

“I believe I already did a good job of that on Tuesday,” she reminded me.

“That was two whole days ago.”  How in the hell was I going to survive another week without her?  It had sucked when she’d had her stupid girl troubles but at least I’d still been with her and we’d still kissed and touched and she’d gotten me off a couple times. 

I heard the telltale sign of her yawning.  “I know.  I’ll call you tonight when I get home and I’ll worship you with my words, okay?”

I couldn’t contain my grin at that idea.  “Sounds like a plan.  I suppose you’d like to go back to sleep.”

“Mmm, sort of, but I want to keep talking to you, too.”

“Call me when you get up.”

“I don’t want to interrupt if you’re out with your friends or anything.”

I rolled my eyes.  Like I gave a shit.  “I’d rather talk to you than them any day.  Call me.”

“Mmm, okay.  I love you.”

I smiled.  “Love you, too.”  I disconnected and leaned back against my pillows.  Rainbow inched down and lay across my chest.  “I miss her, you know?”  She made a noise that I took as agreement and I petted her and closed my eyes.  Maybe I could dream about her until I got to talk to her again.  Seemed like a good plan to me.


I definitely had major issues.  Here I was, at a bonfire with a shitton of people I went to high school with, many of whom worshipped the ground I walked on, and I was feeling guilty that Reed Girl wasn’t here and also that Rainbow had cried when I’d left her with my mom.  I found myself looking at the sand and thinking what fun she’d have if I brought her with me and that was just fucking insane.  Maybe she’d given me cat scratch fever or some shit.  What were the symptoms?  Guilt probably.  She’d have loved this shit, though.  The beach would be one giant litter box to her.  Fuck, I had problems.

“Hey, Cullen, want a beer?”  Rodney held one aloft and I shook my head.  I hadn’t been kidding about not drinking until the game came and went.  I wasn’t doing anything to jeopardize my playing status.  Coach had given me a warning before I left and I figured since he’d let me walk on the whole punching Eric thing, I’d better not do anything to make him regret it.

“Toss me a bottle of water, will you?”  He made a face but did so.  I snagged it out of the air and stared into the fire.  Reed Girl was probably getting ready to go out right now.  I’d talked to her while I’d been on my way to the beach and she’d told me to have fun.  She hadn’t sounded remotely jealous or nervous about me being out without her which made her not only awesome but made me feel weird because I was definitely feeling a little nervous about her seeing her old friends.  Or her old boyfriend if I was being honest.

“Hey, handsome.”  I glanced over at the cooing voice coming from my left and tried to figure out who the fuck she was.  She looked familiar but damned if I could think of her name.

“Hi, you…” I broke off and shrugged.  It wasn’t going to come to me and I didn’t give a fuck who she was.  I was fairly confident I’d fucked her but where and when I couldn’t say.

She pouted and twirled a lock of blonde hair around her finger.  “You don’t remember me?  I’m Ellie, Katie’s cousin.”  Ellie?  What the hell?  Who was Katie?

“Sorry, can’t say that I do.” 

“We met at the Green Cove Springs game.  Katie was dating Quil at the time.”

Quil.  At least that was a fucking name I recognized.  He’d been one of my linemen.  “Oh yeah.  How’s Quil?”  I didn’t even know where he’d ended up.  South Carolina maybe?

“I don’t know.”  She shrugged and leaned toward me, batting her eyes.  “They broke up.”

Like I gave a shit.  “That’s too bad.”

“Right.  Well, we went out to eat after the game and then you took me home.”

And I could tell by the way she said took her home she meant fucked her.  I vaguely remembered now. I think I’d done her in the backseat of Emmett’s Mustang.  “Cool.  Well, good to see you again Elfie.”  I started to get to my feet and she reached out and grabbed my arm.  I yanked it away and shot her a look.  “What?”

“It’s Ellie,” she corrected, glaring at me.

“Ellie, okay.  Good seeing you again, Ellie.  Gotta go.”  Seriously, I didn’t need to be revisited by the Ghosts of Fucks Past tonight.  I just wanted to chill and hang with my friends to kill time until I talked to my girl.  And yes, that made me a pussy whipped motherfucker and I was quite alright with that.

“You never called me,” she complained, getting to her feet.

Was she serious?  “What?”

“You said you’d call and you never did.”

“That was like two years ago.  Aren’t you over it by now?” 

Her mouth dropped open and I realized that I was kind of being a dick and if Reed Girl was here she probably would have covered my mouth by now but damn.  Why in the hell was she on me about shit that happened years ago? 

“I thought you liked me.”

Christ.  Was she that fucking naïve?  The only reason I might have called her was because she was obviously an easy lay who fucked me within an hour of meeting me.  Why in the hell she thought we were more than that was fucking baffling.

Shit.  She had tears in her eyes.  What the fuck?  Where was Reed Girl when I needed her?  She could probably say the right thing, make the girl not hate me and become friends with her because she was fucking amazing like that.  I had nothing.

I ran my hand through my hair and tried to think of what to say that wouldn’t be rude.  This was not my forte.  Alright, I have to do this.  I totally can.  Reed Girl makes it look easy. 

“Look, I was a jerk back then and I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings.”  There.  That was fucking good, right?  We could be done and I could go talk to some fucking dudes that weren’t going to cry over me not calling them.

She blinked a few times and thank fuck the tears didn’t fall.  “Katie told me I was stupid to believe you.”

Katie should fucking know.  We’d hooked up before she started dating Quil, after all.  And maybe once when they were dating.  It hardly fucking mattered now.  “Well, she’s a smart girl, your cousin.”

“Yeah.  Well, I’m not mad or anything.  Shit happens, right?” 

Why was she looking at me like that?  I knew that fucking look.  She couldn’t possibly want me now, could she?  What was wrong with this chick?  If I did that to Reed Girl, she sure as fuck wouldn’t be willing to sleep with me again.  She’d…well, she’d do what she did.  Twist me all up and make me fall in love with her.  This girl wasn’t my Reed Girl, though.  “Right, well, I need to go talk to Carter but it was good running into you and everything.  Take care.”

I started to walk away and she grabbed my arm.  “Maybe you could give me another ride?” she suggested, batting her eyes and rubbing her tits against me. 

What the fuck?  I yanked my arm away.  So much for being nice.  Chicks took nice and turned it around into interest or some damn thing.  “Listen, I have a girlfriend, so you’re going to have to find another ride.”  Yeah I air quoted the fuck out of that word.

“Fine!  Who knew Edward Cullen would be so uptight?” she demanded, throwing up her arms.  And there it fucking was.  She didn’t want me because she’d been harboring feelings for me all these years, she wanted me because I was Edward Cullen, Heisman Trophy winner and future first round NFL draft pick.  She probably had a condom with holes in it just waiting for me.  Crazy bitch.

Reed Girl would probably pop me if she heard what I was about to say but I didn’t give a damn.  I’d tried to be nice and it had backfired.  She had it coming.  “Even if I were the type to cheat on my girlfriend, which obviously I’m not, you weren’t even a good enough fuck for me to remember your name.  Why you’d think I’d want you is beyond me.”  She flinched liked I’d smacked her and I turned and walked away.

“Damn, that was brutal,” Sam said, punching me in the arm.  “Vintage Cullen.”

Yeah, I was a pro at being an asshole.  It didn’t make me feel good, but she’d pissed me off.  “What the fuck are you up to these days?” I asked him.

“Community college and working as a lifeguard right here.”  He gestured to the water.  “Girls in bikinis all day long.  It’s the fucking life.”

I laughed.  “For you, maybe.”

“Hey, we can’t all win the Heisman.  Where’s that fine girl that was congratulating you on that?  From what you said to that girl back there, she’s still in the picture.”

“Yeah, man, she’s visiting her dad.  She’ll be back next week.  If we have another party, I’ll bring her.”

“Awesome.  I want to meet the girl that tamed the beast.”

I shook my head.  “I wasn’t that fucking bad.”

Sam snorted.  “Tell that to a guy whose little sister you didn’t fuck.”

Oh shit.  “Uhh.”

He laughed at the expression on my face.  “You weren’t the only one.” He shuddered.  “I don’t want to think about that.  How’s school?”

So I shot the shit with Sam for a few and Carter and Brian and Matty came over and we talked for a bit.  It was weird.  I used to play football with these guys and see them every weekend but now we really didn’t have that much in common.  They weren’t good enough to play so they were working and just going to school and shit.

“And that ninety-nine yard bomb you threw against NC State!”  Carter slapped my back and looked at me like I was fucking Joe Montana in the flesh.  “A perfect fake, you just standing in the end zone, cool as shit, the pocket collapsing around to you and you throw to a wide open Jenkins for the touchdown.  Most amazing play I’ve ever seen man!”

“Yeah, it was cool.”  They kept yammering and I found myself yawning.  Seriously, I was getting tired of hearing about myself.  I hung for awhile longer and then I was done.  “Gotta go.  I’ll see you guys later.”

“Okay.  Call if you want to hang,” Brian called, reminding me very much of that girl I’d blown off earlier.  Odd.  I almost missed Jasper and all his weirdness.  My friends felt like fans now or something.  I couldn’t put my finger on it but I didn’t like it.

The girl who’d wanted to fuck me earlier shot me a look as I walked by and I kept my expression blank.  If I smirked at her like I wanted to, she’d probably take that to mean I wanted to fuck her.  What was it with me and the crazy chicks?  Thank God I had Reed Girl.


The ride home was uneventful and I pushed open the door.  Mom was in the living room reading a book and she smiled at me when I came in.  “You’re home early.”

It was like midnight, but yeah, it was pretty early I guess.  “It was boring.” 

She smiled and had some look on her face that I didn’t get.  “Your kitten is in your bedroom.  I shut her up there after I caught her digging in my plant.”  She gestured to the hallway where her potted palm thing sat.  There was dirt all over the fucking floor.  “I thought you could clean it up tomorrow.”

I rolled my eyes and got the dust pan and broom that were already leaning against the wall.  As if she’d be okay with me leaving it like that.  “Sorry.  She’s never been around plants before.”

“What about curtains?” Mom asked, gesturing to one of the patio doors.  Sure enough, the curtain was hanging halfway off.

“What the f…hell?” I asked.  How had she managed that?

“I don’t think she was pleased about you leaving her.  She did let me hold her for awhile but then she wanted to explore.  The next thing I knew, fabric was ripping and I had dirt all over my floor.”

Thankfully Mom sounded more amused than anything.  “Uh, sorry.  I didn’t know.”

She laughed.  “That’s what kittens do.”

Yeah.  God only knew what havoc she’d wreaked in my room, unsupervised.  I threw out the dirt.  “I’ll fix the curtain tomorrow.”

“I’m sure you will.”  She kissed me on the cheek.  “I think it’s sweet that you’re taking care of her, even if she is a bit of a troublemaker.”

“Yeah, well…Reed Girl asked me to.”

Mom’s grin flashed.  “I know.  I’m going to turn in.  Tell Bella I said hi.”

How did she know I was going to be talking to her?  “I will.  Night, Mom.”

“Goodnight, Edward.”

I took the stairs two at a time and threw open my door.  Rainbow fucking launched herself at me and I caught her before she could latch onto my shirt and likely some skin.  “What the fuck did you do?” I asked her.  She meowed and struggled in my arms.  Of course.  I put her on my shoulder and got the headbutt. 

I glanced around my room but I didn’t see anything.  Except for a shoe that was in the middle of the room.  “How did that get there?”  I picked it up and saw that the laces had been chewed as fuck.  “Shoes?  Really?  I wasn’t gone that fucking long, you little terror.”

She headbutted me again and purred in my ear.  “Yeah, yeah, I sort of missed you, too.  I wish you’d been there when that girl started hitting on me.  You would have scratched the shit out of her, wouldn’t you?”

She obviously agreed with that because she hit me with her head again.  “Damn right.” I kicked off my shoes and sat on the bed.  It was only nine in Washington so I sent Reed Girl a text.

I’m home.  Going to shower and then go to bed.  Call me when you get in.  Hope you’re having fun.

She’d told me that they were going to Port Angeles or something like that to go to some bars and clubs when we’d talked earlier.

“I’m taking a shower and you’re not coming,” I informed Rainbow, putting her on the bed and standing to take off my clothes.  “I hate it when you look at me while I’m naked.”  It was fucking weird.  I didn’t know what was going on in that crazy head of hers.  So I kept my jeans on and grabbed some clean boxers.  “It’s not a bath so you won’t like it.”  For whatever reason, the crazy cat liked to get on the side of the tub when Reed Girl was taking a bath and batting at the water.  That was all fun and good until she fucking fell in, which I knew she would one of these days.  She’d cut my girl to shreds when it happened too.  Reed Girl just laughed about it, though.  Whatever, it was her skin.  God, I missed her skin.  It was so soft and sweet and tasty.

I hurried through my shower, just in case Rainbow decided to get destructive again.  She was standing by the bathroom door when I opened it and I pushed her over with my foot.  She hopped at me and I laughed as I threw myself on the bed.  I did not understand her fucking fascination with feet but one of her favorite pastimes was attacking mine whenever I moved them underneath the covers.  We played like that for a little while until she calmed the fuck down some.  Then I turned off my light and she took her spot on my neck. 

“One more day down,” I told her, closing my eyes.  My phone was right next to my head and the ringer was all the way up so I’d hear my girl when she called. 


I woke to the blaring of my phone.  “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones was playing right in my ear. I’d thought it an appropriate ring tone for my girl because God knew she had me running hot and I suspected she could make a dead man come if she wanted to.  Which was fucking gross. 

“Hello,” I answered groggily.

“Hey, sexy boyfriend.”  She was hammered, I could already tell.  I glanced at my alarm clock and saw it was five in the morning.

“Hi, beautiful girlfriend.  Feeling no pain right now are you?” I asked.  Rainbow stood up, stretched and then lay back down.

“No, I feel really good.  Kind of like I do when you’re inside me.  All bubbly and tingly and excited.”

Jesus Christ.  This hadn’t been a good idea.  And at the same time I loved it.  Sweet torture.  Reed Girl was amazing at it. 

“Are you home baby?”

“Mmm, yes.  Home, alone, naked in bed, without you.  I don’t like it.” 

She sounded like she was pouting.  She was fucking irresistible when she pouted.  “I don’t like it either, sexy.”

“But you have a girl in bed with you.  How’s my kitty?” she asked, giggling over the word.

“I wish I knew, baby.  Rainbow’s fine, though.  In her usual spot.”

“I wanna be in my usual spot.”  I wanted that too, so very much that I felt like a pussy, and not the Rainbow kind.

“Me too, gorgeous.  Did you have fun tonight?”

“Yeah, it was good I guess.  I liked seeing my friends again, but I feel like I don’t know them that well now, you know?  It was good to catch up, but different.”

I knew exactly what she meant.  “I thought the same thing.  I don’t feel like we have that much in common anymore.”

“Yeah.  And boy, did they want to know about you.  Everybody’s jealous of my hot boyfriend.”

I laughed, loving it.  “Is that so?  Did you tell them just how hot I am?”

“Nooooooo.”  She stretched the word out endlessly.  She was so fucking cute when she was drunk.  I couldn’t stand it.  “That’s just for me.  And I’m just for you, you know?”

Damn right she was.  “I do.  You’re all mine.”

“I told him that,” she told me. 

“Good.”  Wait, what?  I sat up and Rainbow started to fall.  I caught her and placed her back on the bed.  She glared at me and turned two circles and sat down.  I didn’t have time for her attitude though.

“You told who that?” I asked.  Who the fuck was he?

“Fucking Riley.  Such a stick in the mud cop guy now.  Cut me off and took my fake ID away.”  Riley.  I felt sick.  That fucker had been around her while she was drunk.

“What was Riley doing there?” I asked, trying to keep my voice calm. 

“He was out scamming girls or something, flashing his badge around.  I don’t know.  He’s boring.  You’re not.  I want you to do things to me.”

Jesus.  I couldn’t focus when she said shit like that.  “I will, baby, believe me.  But tell me what happened with Riley?”

“I did.  He cut me off and brought me home.”

I saw red.  “He drove you home?”

“Yeah, all of us even though Jeannie was sober and could have.”

“Were you alone with him?” I asked.  I didn’t know what was going on but my heart was pounding and I felt like punching someone.

“No, Mary was passed out in the back,” she told me.  Well, that didn’t make me feel better.

“Did he touch you?”

“Ewwwwww, no.  Well, he walked me to the door and held my arm I guess.  I told him he was boring now and came inside and got naked and called you.  You’re not boring.”

“I try not to be.”  Okay.  Nothing happened.  She was home and he was a cop.  I doubted he’d tried to feel up his bosses’ daughter, even though she was incredibly sexy and drunk.  Damn it.

“Never boring.  I never know what you’ll say or do, you know?  I think I do, and then you don’t do it.  Like when we met.  Who knew you’d want me again?”  How could I not?  “I just wanted to be different from the rest of them.  Wanted you to remember me.  You do, don’t you?” she crooned, sort of singing into the phone.

“I remember everything about you,” I assured her.  God I wanted to be with her right now.  Not even to fuck her, either. I wanted to get her water and aspirin and make sure she didn’t feel like shit in the morning.

“That’s good, because I love you and you love me.  I hope you never stop.  I just wanted you, Edward.  There’s nothing wrong with that, right?”

She was babbling and I hadn’t a clue what she was talking about.  “No.  I’m glad you wanted me, baby.”

“I did it all for loveeeeeee,” she sang.  Christ.  She and Jasper should get together and do duets.

“And I do love you.”

“For always?  No matter what?” she asked.

“Yes.”  Unless you cheat on me or something.  “So long as you’re only my girl.”

“I was always yours.  You just didn’t know it.  Neither did I, really.  I thought it was just temporary.  That’s why I did it.  It’s not though, is it?  It’s real.”

I had no idea what in the fuck she was talking about but I knew I needed to reassure her.  “Of course it’s real, Reed Girl.”

“Reed Girl!”  She started giggling madly.  “You have no idea how much I fucking love that.”

“Good, I love it, too.”

“I love you,” she told me.  Despite the fact that she was confusing me and giving me a headache, I had to smile.

“I love you, too, baby.  I think you need to go to sleep now.”

“Yes, sleep now so I can talk to you in the morning.  I miss you.  I need a new ID.  Riley took mine.  I’m getting it back tomorrow after I talk to you.”

I laughed at the mess of her thoughts even though hearing Riley’s name was making me insane.  “Yes, you call me first thing when you wake up, okay, baby?  Drink some water before you go to sleep.  And take something for the headache.”

“I don’t have a headache.  I feel good.  Parts of me ache.  You want to know what ones?” she giggled into the phone.

“Probably the girl version of what’s aching on me right now, sexy girl.  You’re going to have to make up for this soon.”

“I will.  I want you.”

I laughed.  “I want you, too, baby.”  I was aching in more places than my cock. 

“I’m tired,” she complained.

“I bet.  Take some medicine even though your head doesn’t hurt and go to bed, Bella.”

“Okay.  Goodnight, sexy man.  Love you.”

“Love you, too.”  I disconnected and lay down; trying to process the drunken babble she’d spewed at me.  She missed me as much as I missed her.  Her ex was lurking around probably following her while she went out and got drunk, just waiting for his moment.  I didn’t like it.  I didn’t like it at all.

Rainbow climbed back on me and put her paw on my mouth.  I moved it and she settled down against my neck.  The only thing missing was Reed Girl. “I miss her.”  Riley got to see her, got to touch her as he helped her to the door.  My girl.  Fuck this noise.  I couldn’t do it. “I’m going to Washington.”



Chapter Text

Sideline Collision Chapter 21

Rainbow and I went back to sleep for a few more hours after Reed Girl called and I woke to the smell of bacon wafting into my room.  Fucking awesome.  You had to love Mom.  Of course, thinking about Mom reminded me of the fact that I was going to have to tell her that I was going to Washington, which might piss her off since I’d miss Christmas and dump a demon kitten on her all at the same time.  I was fucked.

“You’re coming down with me.  She thinks you’re cute, even though you fucked up the living room,” I told Rainbow.  “So don’t do anything to piss her off while I try to charm her into not being mad at me.”

Rainbow headbutted me.  “I’m taking that as capitulation.  Just think of how much fun you’ll have being spoiled by her while I’m gone.”  It was a good fucking thing she had no idea what I was saying because she’d probably throw an epic shit fit if she knew I was going to abandon her.  It was her own fucking fault, though.  I couldn’t take her on a plane with her riding on my shoulder, now could I?  Nor did I fucking want to.  I was bound to be recognized at the airport.

I fed Rainbow and took a shower and got ready while she was chowing down.  I scooped her up when I came out of the bathroom and carried her downstairs with me.  “Smells great, Ma.”

My mother turned away from the stove to smile at me.  “See, Carlisle, isn’t it the cutest thing?”

What the fuck was she talking about?  My dad looked up from the toaster and rolled his eyes.  “Yes, dear.  Nice pussy, son.”

Oh, Jeez.  “Yeah, yeah.”  I stole a piece of toast from him and grinned when he reached for me and Rainbow hissed at him.  Fucking awesome.  “She doesn’t like anybody fucking with me.”  Mom whacked me upside the head from behind.  “Ow!  Damn it, Rainbow, where were you on that one?”

“Language!” she reminded me.

Rainbow was still eying my father, glaring at him really.  “What in the hell did I do to piss her off?” he demanded.

It hit me and I started laughing.  “You kind of look like Jasper.  She hates him.  Probably thinks you’re him or his dad or something.”  Beware blond men of the world.  I wonder if Riley’s blond.  Maybe I can sic Rainbow on him.

“I do not look like that kid.”  My father looked quite irritated by the suggestion.  “Nor would I ever father someone who can’t string together a coherent sentence.”

“Yes, dear, you’re nothing like him,” Mom soothed.  “Let’s eat while it’s hot.”

We sat at the table and yes, Rainbow stayed on my fucking shoulder.  “Does she ever get down?” Dad asked.

“Yeah, if I play with her or something.  This is her favorite place though.”

“She’s fine where she is.  I don’t need any more damage to this house,” Mom put in.

I cringed a little.  I was so fucked.  There was no way she’d want to watch her for me.  Maybe if I told her it was for love.  And what kind of gay fucking thing would that be to say?  It sounded like something Jasper would spout off about while he was high.  Fuck me, I was losing it.

“When’s Em coming home?”  I thought he’d left before me because he hadn’t slept in my room Wednesday night, but there was no way he was here because the smell of bacon would have his ass planted in his seat if he was around.

“He’s not.  He went to Rose’s for Christmas.  He’s trying to make up for not wanting to meet her parents before.”  Mom sipped her coffee.  Huh.  Well was it a good or bad thing that I wanted to do the same?  Em was at his girlfriend’s, so why couldn’t I go to mine?  Then again, having no kids home at Christmas might send her over the fucking edge.  You never knew with Mom.

  1. Staying here while she was there, along with Riley, was not acceptable.

“Are you going to play with your food or are you going to eat it?” Dad wondered. 

Fuck this noise.  I was going to do what I wanted to do and they’d be fine with it.  “I want to go to Washington,” I blurted suddenly.  They both looked at me and I quickly shoved some bacon into my mouth.

“Did something happen with you and Bella?” Mom wondered.

What?  “No.  I just want to go see her.”


Why?  What the fuck?  Dad knew why.  “Because I love her and I miss her and things suck without her.”

Mom’s smile could have lit the fucking stadium, I swear.  “Well, I’m glad to hear that but you know it is Christmas and…”

“Emmett’s not here!  Are we having Christmas without him?”

I knew better.  “Well, no, I was going to wait until he and Rose and Bella got here on the twenty-sixth.”  Mom raised an eyebrow.  “Alright, point made.  And how are you planning on getting that one on a plane?” 

“Getting what on the plane?  I probably need a jacket or something but I have one.”

Mom laughed.  “No, I was referring to the ball of fur that is trying to steal your bacon.”

Sure enough, Rainbow had climbed onto the table and was about to pounce on my plate.  I grabbed her before she could make a huge fucking mess and ruin my meal.  “I can’t take her.  She won’t get in her carrier.”  That was my story and I was sticking to it.

“I’m not watching that thing.  She’ll probably slash my throat,” Dad muttered.  “Didn’t do a damn thing to her and I’m getting blamed for that high kid’s actions.  What did he do to her anyway?”

“He tried to paint her toenails and drug her or something.  Don’t ask me, he’s insane.”  I waved a hand.  “She’ll be fine, once I leave.  You can just leave her in my room and go in and feed her now and then.”

“I don’t think so,” Mom informed me.  “Either you both go or neither of you goes.”

Fuck.  “Mom…”

“I have an idea.”  Mom stood and headed for the living room.  “You look up flight times and I’ll be right back.  Don’t make a reservation until we know if this will work, though.”

If what would work? Where the fuck was she going?  “Where are you…” she was gone before I could finish the sentence.  “What the fuck just happened?”

Dad snorted and helped himself to more bacon.  “Your mother’s going to find a way for you to go to Washington, I imagine.”

“Really?  She seems like she’s trying to find a way for me not to go.”  I glared at Rainbow.  “This is your fault.  If you hadn’t dug in the damn dirt and pulled down the curtain, she would have watched you without a problem.  I hope you know that.”  She wasn’t listening to me, toying with some stupid flowers Mom had sitting in the center of the table.

Dad snickered.  “You’re going to be a fascinating father one day.”

I felt the blood draining from my face.  “Don’t even joke about that shit.  I haven’t recovered from the last time you brought that up.”

“Hey, I’m just making sure you’re careful,” he reminded me. 

I snatched the last piece of bacon before he could and laughed at the look on his face when Rainbow swiped at him for reaching toward my plate.  She really was a funny fucking thing.  “We’re covered, Dad.  The truth is I’m glad I found Bella.  You should have seen this chick at the beach last night.  I swear I could see the crazy in her eyes.  If I’d have given her the ride she wanted, you totally would have been a grandpa in nine months.”

Dad cringed.  “Don’t call me that.”

Ha.  Take that, Pops.  “Then don’t keep talking about me becoming a father.  If I do, you become a grandfather.”  Then we’re all fucked, and not in a good way.  Not that being stuck with Reed Girl was a bad thing, mind you.  If anybody was going to have my kid, I’d want it to be her.  Someday.  Way in the distant future.  Like when I’m thirty or something.  Not now. 

“Okay, enough of that.”  Dad looked a little pale.  Fucking awesome.  That’ll teach him to fuck with me.  “You better go look up flight times.  Knowing your mother, she’ll figure something out with the cat.”

I wondered what she was doing.  Hopefully she wasn’t trying to find a place to board her while I was gone.  Reed Girl would be fucking pissed if I left Rainbow in a cage for days and I shuddered to think what Rainbow would do to me when she got out.  I wasn’t sure which one of them would be worse to face, if I was being honest.

“You guys are really cool with me going?”  I’d expected them to at least put up a token fight.  Maybe they couldn’t because of my whipped brother.  Maybe his idiot ass was good for something after all.

Dad smirked and pushed his plate aside.  “It would be kind of hypocritical if we didn’t support you.  I wasn’t home for two days before I was headed up to Georgia to spend the holidays with your mom.”  He rolled his eyes.  “I’m pretty sure that’s why my mother hates her to this day.  Fortunately your mom gets it and wants to be nothing like your grandmother.”

Damn.  The Cullen men were all pussy whipped motherfuckers apparently.  I guess at least I was in good company.  And I was kind of glad Grandma was a major bitch to my mother and Mom wanted to be nothing like her.  I never could figure out why they’d barely talked to one another all these years.

“Mom rocks.”  I toyed with the crust of my toast and Rainbow batted at it.  I held it aloft and she jumped trying to get the thing.  “Her ex is hanging around,” I told Dad.

“Who’s ex?  Your mother’s?”  He looked like he was about to charge out of the house.  What the fuck?

“Mom has an ex?  I was talking about Bella.”

“Of course she has an ex.  Do you think her dating life started and ended with me?”

Well, I kind of wanted to think that.  I most certainly didn’t want to think about my mom dating anyone, not even my father.  “Yes.”

He laughed.  “No.  She dated this douche for a couple of years in high school and part of college.  And even after we got together there were always bastards sniffing around.  Your mother is a beautiful woman.  She got propositioned by some guy in the grocery store just the other day.”

Fucking gross.  “Dad!  I don’t want to hear that shit.”  And now I was wondering who else was hitting on Reed Girl besides her asshole ex.  Not that I was worried about it or anything.  She loved me and she certainly wasn’t going to find better than she already had in me, but it was the principle of the thing.

Dad laughed.  “Well, that’s what happens when you fall in love with phenomenal women like we did, son.  And now you see why I couldn’t bear to be separated from her for any length of time either.”

Fucking hell.  “I’m going to look up flight times.”

He smirked.  “You do that, son.  Take the bread thief with you.”  Rainbow was currently nibbling on my crust.  Weirdo.  I took it away from her and scooped her up.

“Let’s go.  You better not ruin this trip for me.”  Now I was picturing men coming on to my girl right and left.  My drunk girl.  Not fucking acceptable.  I carried Rainbow upstairs and booted up my computer.

It was only nine my time and there were several flights to Seattle.  Of fucking course all of them ran through Atlanta, so I’d probably have to switch planes, but at least there were straight flights from there.  And there were first class tickets available, thank fucking God.  I wouldn’t travel any other way.

Mom came in as I was perusing seats.  She was carrying some navy blue bag with mesh.  “Let’s try this, why don’t we?  Bella told me she likes getting in backpacks and such.”  Sure enough, she plopped the bag on the bed and Rainbow hopped right in.  Mom beamed at me.  “See?  She just needs to think it’s a regular bag.”

Fuck.  “Are you sure you won’t…”

“I’m sure.  That cat would be miserable without you and she’d make me miserable as well.  Plus I bet Bella wants to see her too.”  She had a point there.  Reed Girl would probably be thrilled if I brought Rainbow.  “What are the ticket choices?”

I showed her my options.  “Go for noon since it’s the same plane the whole way.  Here.”  She handed me her credit card.  “Merry Christmas.”

“I could pay…”

“Go see your girl on us.  We’ll call and get you a car since you’re too young to reserve one on your own.  And you’d probably better have hotel reservations, just in case.  I’m not sure how Bella’s father would feel about you staying with her.”

What?  Fuck that noise.  “Why can’t I stay with her?  You don’t have a problem with her staying here.”  Mom would probably build Reed Girl a fucking wing if she wanted it, she was that happy that I had a girlfriend.

Mom laughed.  “Because I long ago gave up the idea of either of my son’s having a virtue to protect.  Fathers and daughters aren’t quite the same.  Your dad was banished to our basement anytime he visited me and my dad slept with his door open just in case either of us got any ideas of sneaking out.”

Fuck.  “I don’t even know if her stupid little town has a hotel.”

Mom shook her head.  “I’ll take care of it.  It’s another reservation you couldn’t make anyway.  You get the tickets and pack.”  She zipped Rainbow in her carrier and the kitten let out a little cry. 

“She’s pissed now,” I told Mom, who chuckled. 

“She’ll be more pissed if you leave her behind.  Just keep her close.” 

Like I had any fucking choice?  “Fine.  Thanks Mom.” 

She ruffled my hair and kissed the top of my head.  “Go get your girl, Edward.”  That’s exactly what I was going to do.


This was embarrassing as hell.  It felt like everybody in the airport was staring at me and not for the regular reasons like being hot and an awesome quarterback.  Oh no, all eyes were on fucking Rainbow.  She fucking meowed her way through check-in and I was sorely tempted to check her like baggage but the airline would probably lose her and then I’d be fucked for life.  And not in the good way.  Reed Girl would never speak to me again.  That was not acceptable.

I shouldered her stupid bag and pulled my hood down lower.  I was wearing my gray hoodie and a leather jacket, trying to hide myself a little bit but it obviously wasn’t working since Rainbow was acting like she’d been stabbed or some fucking thing.  She’d been fine in the car when she was on my lap but now that I was mobile and she wasn’t in her spot, she was pissed off.

I got to the fucking scanner thingy and handed my ID over.  “You need to put your bag on the conveyer belt.”

Fuck.  “There’s a kitten in there.”  Like they didn’t fucking know that from her howling.  “Is that going to hurt her?”  Even if she was being a spoiled brat right now, I didn’t want her getting radioactive or some fucking thing.

The male guard laughed.  “No, it’s just like getting an x-ray.” 

Right.  I put Rainbow on the thing and watched her get sucked into the machine, her screeching getting louder because that shit probably scared the hell out of her.  I hurried through the scanner and took my keys and wallet back.  I pulled my shoes on and waited impatiently while they looked at my fucking cat on the TV.  What the fuck?  Did they think Rainbow was a terrorist?  Of course, she probably could take down a plane full of people if she wanted.  She was crazy like that.

At fucking last the belt moved and out she came.  I grabbed the bag.  “Stop yelling.  You’re embarrassing me.  When we sit, I swear to God I’ll pet you, okay?”  She actually stopped screeching when I talked so I kept it up.  “I know you hate being cooped up and I don’t blame you but if you would just go to sleep like a normal animal, you’d be fine and you’d wake up and we’d be with Reed Girl.  Don’t you want to see her?”

A little meow greeted my question as I made a beeline into my terminal.  I sat in the back and unzipped the top of the carrier and let my fingers dangle in.  She immediately started rubbing up against me and purring.  “You’re so fucking weird.”

A lady across from me laughed.  I glanced over.  She looked to be in her forties which meant she probably wasn’t going to hit on me, though I never could be sure.  “Your kitten is adorable.”

I cringed.  “She’s not mine, she’s my girlfriend’s.”  Rainbow’s little teeth started nibbling on my fingers.  “We’re going to see her.”  I felt the need to justify my having a kitten sitting on my lap in her navy blue mesh carrier thing.

“That’s wonderful.  I’m sure she’ll be thrilled.” 

Right.  She damn well better be.  That reminded me.  She’d be awake soon and probably call.  I couldn’t answer her from the airport and I didn’t want her to worry when she didn’t hear from me for the billion hours it fucking took to fly across country.  I got out my phone.

Hey baby, won’t be around for awhile.  Running some errands and I’m probably going to see a movie.  Call you when I can.  Take some more aspirin, you probably need it.  Love you.

There.  That should take care of that.  I put my phone away and pushed Rainbow down when she tried to climb my hand.  “Stop.  You can’t get out.”

The lady laughed again.  “How old is she?”

Christ.  Like I fucking knew.  Well, I guess I did since we’d been dating for a month and Rainbow was two months old when I gave her to Reed Girl.  “Like three months, I think?  Give or take a week or two.  She hates being in her carrier.” 

I really had no fucking clue what I was going to do when I stashed her underneath the seat if she started screeching.  We were fortunate to be staying on the same plane instead of having to change over in Atlanta.  Maybe I could take her out during the layover. 

“Well, who can blame her?  It’s no fun being all cooped up when you want to explore and play with your daddy.”

Daddy?  Fuck, I hated it when Reed Girl called me that, I certainly hated it when some stranger did.  “Uh, no.  I’m not her father.”

The lady laughed.  “I don’t know if she agrees with you.”

Probably not, but I’d already established that Rainbow was insane.  “Yeah, well.”  Thankfully before I could say anymore, they started boarding and because I was first class, I got to go first.  “Don’t yell.”  I zipped the top again and carried her up to the flight attendant.  She scanned my ticket and my body, giving me one of those smiles that made me roll my eyes. 

Rainbow let out a pitiful cry as we stepped aboard and I found my seat, 3D.  I was by the window.  “Now, be good.  Just sleep.”  I put her under the seat and she started wailing.  Fuck me. 

The lady I’d been talking to slipped into the seat next to me. “Do you think she’s going to do that the whole flight?”

“Probably.  She likes to ride on my shoulder and she can’t so…” I broke off and shrugged. 

“Who says she can’t?  You’re wearing that huge gray sweatshirt.  Hurry up and put her on your shoulder under your shirt.  I’ll block for you.”

This chick was crazy, crazy like a fox.  I nodded and she stood as I bent and unzipped the carrier.  I scooped Rainbow up and shoved her underneath my hoodie, on my right shoulder so she’d be closest to the wall.  She immediately stopped crying and headbutted me several times.  I kept my face turned like I was looking out the window as she settled and snuggled into me.

“Thanks.  You’re kind of a genius.”

The woman laughed.  “I have three of my own, though I’ve never tried to travel with them.  Make sure the carrier is completely stashed.”  I shoved it back a little with my foot.  “You think she’ll stay there?”

“Yeah, there’s no place she likes better.”  Crazy fucking cat.  “We’re staying on this plane to Seattle so I won’t have to move her until it’s time to deplane.”

She laughed.  “I’m sorry I’ll miss that, but glad she’s happy now.  It’s probably good for all of us that she’s right where she is.”

That was a fucking understatement.  “You don’t know the half of it.  Thanks again.”

She smiled.  “Happy to help.” 

I settled in and leaned my head against the window.  “You just sleep and be good,” I whispered to Rainbow.  Hopefully she would.


I don’t know how, but we fucking did it.  Rainbow stayed quiet and happy underneath my hoodie and curled into my neck.  I was going to have to wear this thing on the flight home, though I’d have Reed Girl with me to deal with her too.  I guess we would most definitely not be joining the Mile High Club on the flight home, not that I wasn’t already a member, thank you Hawaiian Air stewardess.  But I’d much rather Reed Girl be my Mile High memory than whatever her name was.

The seat next to me had been empty for the flight from Atlanta to Seattle, which rocked.  I couldn’t sleep for fear that Rainbow would decide to go exploring, but at least I could spread out and be comfortable.  As soon as we touched down, I unzipped her carrier and slipped her in.  She gave a squeak of protest but I whispered to her that I’d let her out as soon as we got to the car. 

I could feel the change in the air the instant we stepped onto the gangplank to head into the airport.  It was cold as fuck.  I hated the fucking cold but it was a good excuse to keep my girl close, now wasn’t it?  Not that I needed one, of course, but still.  I hoped to fuck her father would let her stay with me in my hotel.  The Forks Inn.  Who the fuck knew what that was going to be like?

I kept my head down and headed to baggage claim.  While I was waiting, I took out my phone and saw that I’d missed a couple of calls and a text from my girl.

You weren’t kidding about the aspirin.  I don’t think I’m going to get my ID back today.  I don’t know if I ever want it back again.  What errands are you running?  What movie are you seeing?  Call me when you can.  Love you.

I couldn’t call her until I was out of the airport unless I wanted her alerted to where I was.  It was loud as fuck in here and they were on the speaker every three minutes or so announcing baggage here and white courtesy phones there.  My bag finally came out after just about everybody around me got theirs.  I hoisted it and Rainbow and went over to Hertz to get my car.  That took longer than it should have and I was afraid I’d have to sign my name in blood the way they went on and on about insurance and letting other people drive the car and all that bullshit.  It was a fucking Camry, not a Mercedes like my baby.  I could buy them a damn replacement car if I fucked it up.

After what felt like a billion fucking years, I arrived at my rental and tossed my bag in the backseat and set Rainbow on the front.  She’d been fairly quiet but I knew better than to try to keep her cooped up now that it was just the two of us.  She practically flew out of the fucking carrier and up to my shoulder.  “You were a good girl.”  I got a headbutt in reward for complimenting her and I gave her a few pets because she hadn’t gotten us thrown off the fucking plane.  “Let’s call Reed Girl.”

I dialed her as I started the car.  It was cold as balls in here and I needed the fucking heat on before I did anything.  “Hello.”

I had to grin at the raspiness of her voice.  “You still in bed, baby?”

“Maybe.  I had to get up for awhile to go have lunch with my dad at work but now I’m back in bed and not moving until dinner.”

Lunch with her dad at work meant she’d probably seen the douchebag.  “Did you get your ID back?”

She groaned.  “Yes, though he was a total dick about it.  He threatened to tell my dad I had one so I threatened to tell my dad about the fact that he deflowered me.  He figured that the fake ID was probably less disturbing than my dad knowing we fucked, so he handed it over.”

I was proud of her for standing up for herself but I cringed at the idea that he’d fucked her, even though logically I knew it.  That didn’t mean I wanted to hear about it anymore than her fucking dad did.

“Well, I’m glad you got it back.”  Hopefully she’d feel up to going out tomorrow or something.  I wanted to experience my drunk girl live and in person. 

“Me too.  I hate Riley.”

Good.  Though there was something in her tone that had me tensing.  “Did he do something besides take your ID?”

“Not exactly.  It’s going to make you mad if I tell you this but I feel like if I don’t, I’m lying and I don’t want to do that either.” 

Fuck.  “What?” I demanded.  I wanted to peel out of the parking lot and get to her but I knew I had to wait.  It was a three and a half hour drive no matter what I did and I had to take a ferry of all things. 

“He joked, but didn’t really joke, if you know what I mean, about reliving the experience in order to get my license back.”

And it was a good fucking thing I wasn’t driving yet.  “What?” I yelled.  Rainbow stood and hit me with her head again. 

“I told him to fuck off and he did give it back, without payment, but yeah, it really pissed me off.”

It really pissed me off, too.  What kind of trouble would I get into if I hit a cop?  Pretty bad trouble, no doubt about it.  Unless of course I got Bella’s father on my side by telling him that Riley was trying to extort sex from his daughter.  That would require a lot of explaining of a lot of things and might lead to discussions of me fucking his daughter, though, so he might let me rot in jail next to Riley.  Fucking hell.  Where was my brother when I needed him?  He was totally stupid enough to kick a cop’s ass for me.

“Edward, are you there?”

I took a deep breath and tried to let the anger go.  I’d be with her in a few hours and that fucker wouldn’t get anywhere near her.  “Yeah.  You’re right, I am pissed off but you handled it well enough it sounds like.”

She sniffed.  “If I didn’t have a headache, I would have kicked his ass.  If he says anything like it again, I will.  He wouldn’t dare at dinner though and I don’t plan on seeing him until then.”  Dinner with that fucker.  That would be lots of fun. 

“That’s good, baby.”

“So what have you been up to all day?  I missed you.”  She sounded like she was pouting and it made me smile again. 

“Taking care of a last minute Christmas present for you.”  Hopefully one she’d like very much.

“Oh yeah?  What is it?”  She sounded like she had more energy all of a sudden and I laughed.

“You’ll find out soon enough.  I’ve gotta go but I’ll talk to you in a bit, okay?”

“Secrets, huh?  I’ll get it out of you before Christmas.”

Damn right she would.  Within four hours.  “I don’t doubt you can, which is why I’m going before you figure it out.  I’ll talk to you later, baby.  Get some more sleep, okay?”

“Yeah, I think I will.  I’ve got a couple hours before I have to see about dinner.”

Dinner with me if I got there on time.  “Sweet dreams, Reed Girl.  Call me when you get up.”

“I will.  I love you.”

“I love you, too.  Bye, baby.”  I disconnected and hurried to program the GPS for Forks.  Mom had finagled her address at some point so I had everything I needed to know. 

I grabbed my bag and pulled out some treats for Rainbow, who immediately went apeshit when I dumped them on the passenger seat.  She was off my shoulder in a flash.  “Good girl.  Let’s go get your mom.  How do you feel about fucking up a policeman?  He can’t throw you in jail.  You’re small enough to walk right through the bars.”  She ignored me as she chowed down her food.  “I’ll never make you get off my shoulder again if you at least scratch him.  A bite would be optimal though.”

Enough time wasting.  I had a girl to get to.


Rainbow loved the hell out of the ferry.  I’d put her back in my hoodie but she kept sticking her face out into the wind as I stood by the rail and looked out at the water.  It was weird but the closer I got to Reed Girl, the more I missed her.  It was like she was close but really far away.

We got off the ferry and drove a fucking long ass time through forest and shit.  Rainbow was quite content perched on my left shoulder looking out at the scenery, not there was anything to fucking see.  Narrow roads and lots of trees.  Who the fuck lived out here and why?  Thank God my Reed Girl had returned to civilization and gone to school in Florida.  I’d go crazy living in the forest with nothing to do all day.  I was really glad it wasn’t snowing even though it felt fucking cold enough for it.  That would make it take all the longer to get to her.  The closer I got, the more anxious I got.

After what felt like years, we were finally in Forks.  It was like six so hopefully Reed Girl hadn’t eaten yet.  I wanted to take her out but I wasn’t sure she’d want to or what she and her dad were doing.  Keeping my visit a surprise had seemed like a good idea at the time but now that I was nearly there, I was nervous.

Who lived in this sleepy little town?  There was pretty much nothing here.  Or I guess one of everything instead of five or ten.  One bank.  One diner.  One high school.  I’d go crazy here.  The GPS directed me to turn right on Conifer Dr. and I sat up straighter.  This was it.  I didn’t have to look at the numbers on the houses, the gray one with the police cruiser in front of it appeared to be the one.  Yeah, there was the old red truck that Reed Girl seemed to have some ridiculous affection for.  Just looking at it made me shudder.  When I got in the NFL, I’d damn well be buying her a much better vehicle.  No way was my girl driving around in a death trap.

I parked behind the cruiser and debated how to go about this.  Now that I was here, I didn’t know what to do.  She’d texted me about an hour ago that she was up and going to get a shower and make dinner and she’d call me after.  I was fucking starving so hopefully she had enough for me or I’d have to go to that restaurant I’d passed a mile or so back. 

“Let’s do this,” I told Rainbow.  She stayed on my shoulder as I got out of the car and took out my phone.  Reed Girl answered on the second ring.

“Hi! I was going to call you right after we got done eating.”

Shit.  “Am I interrupting?”

“No, I’m still finishing the sauce for the spaghetti.”  Awesome.  I made it in time.

“Feeling better?”

“Yeah, much.  I just needed to sleep the day away I guess.”  Hopefully she had some energy to spare now.

“So, did you want to know more about your Christmas present?” I asked, feeling the grin stretch across my face.

“You know I do!  What did you get me?”

“Why don’t you go outside and take a look?”

“What?  Something’s here?  How did you manage that?  I didn’t hear the door.”  I heard her fiddling with locks.  “I hope you didn’t go overboard.  I don’ think…” her voice faded off as the door opened and she looked down for the non-existent package.

 Reed Girl was wearing a blue sweatshirt and sweats and her hair was pulled back and she looked fucking beautiful.  She glanced and caught sight of me standing in her driveway.  She let out a scream and ran toward me.  I opened my arms and she flew into them.  Fuck yes.  I closed my eyes and breathed her in as she burrowed into me.  Rainbow smacked her head and made her laugh.

“What are you doing here?”  She pulled back and the smile on her face was breathtaking.  “What are both of you doing here?” she added as she lifted a hand to Rainbow who gave her a headbutt of her own.

“We both missed you.” 

“I missed you too, so much.  I felt like an idiot for wanting to come home already.  I can’t believe you’re here.”

I laughed and hugged her to me.  “Me either.  It’s fucking cold as balls.”  She laughed and stood on her tiptoes and gave me a smacking kiss.  I tightened my grip on her and slipped my tongue into her mouth and just enjoyed tasting and holding my girl again.  I felt a billion times better already now that she was in my arms.  “That’s exactly how I wanted to be warmed up.”

She giggled and kissed me again.  “There’s something to be said for winter.”

Not much, but I could allow that keeping her attached to me for days on end to keep warm wouldn’t be a bad thing.

“How long are you here for?”

“Until you go home.  We’ll go together.”

Her face was positively radiant.  “And how did you get this one on the plane?”

I chuckled.  “Mom got her this mesh carrier that she mistook for a backpack.  We might have to work to get her back in there, but I actually snuck her into my shirt on the plane and she slept on my shoulder the whole way.”

Reed Girl laughed and petted Rainbow who was purring away.  “Trust you to find a way to get him to break the rules.”

“She was yelling.  It was awful.  I was afraid we’d get kicked off and be unable to come at all.”

“I’m glad you came.”

I grinned and she smacked me.  “Don’t start.  My dad and his guns are right inside.”

Fuck, that was right.  “You might be worth getting shot for.”

She smirked.  “Only might be?  You know damn well I am.”

I couldn’t deny it.  “Yeah, you are.”

She smiled.  “Are you ready to go in and meet him?  I don’t think we can stand out here for the next three days.  I’d worry about your balls falling off.”

I grinned and took her hand.  “That would be a travesty.  He’s not going to kill me, is he?”

She shook her head.  “A Heisman trophy winner in Charlie Swan’s house?  I’ll be lucky if he doesn’t give you my room and relegate me to the couch.” 

Fuck, Mom was right.  He wouldn’t let us sleep together.  “I got a room at the Forks Inn, actually.  You think you could stay with me?”

Reed Girl snorted.  Damn it.  “I don’t think so, unless I sneak out.”

“Sneaking out is sexy.”  I kissed her neck and she moaned and shivered a little.  I wasn’t sure if it was from my kiss or from being cold.  I steeled myself.  It was time.  “Let’s go and meet your dad.”

Reed Girl laughed and took my hand.  “It’ll be pretty painless, I promise.”

Right.  Meeting the parent.  This was fucked up.  Reed Girl was the only girl in the universe I’d do this shit for.  More changes.  Hopefully I’d survive this one, too. 

Chapter Text

Sideline Collision Chapter 22

“Wait.”  Reed Girl stopped and stared at me as I bent and put Rainbow in the grass.  “She has to go.  She does this little wiggle thing.”  I’d learned that fucking shit the hard way when she’d started wailing on the ride over and I had to pull over and let her go.  We both watched as she padded in the grass looking rather put out and crying.  “Don’t bitch at me.  You have to go, so go.”

I was pretty sure she was glaring at me but she did her business and then reared up on my leg.  “Yeah, yeah.”  I scooped her back onto my shoulder as my girl laughed her ass off.  “What?”

“You two can communicate with each other now?  Maybe I should go away more often.”

I growled and pulled her to me.  “Don’t even think about it.”

She smiled and kissed me lightly.  “I won’t.  Who knows how long you can hide her in your clothes to get to me?  Better not to risk it.”

Speaking of risks…”Let’s get this shit done.”  Reed Girl twined her fingers with mine and we went inside.  The house was, well, not much if I was being fucking honest.  It was pretty small from what I could tell.  Reed Girl tugged me past a kitchen that had a little round table and down the hallway toward where a TV was blaring.  I recognized the SportsCenter tone and grinned a little as we entered the living room.

“Hey, Bells, is dinner…” the voice broke off when her father turned and saw me standing in the doorway.  “Holy shit!  What are you doing here?”

Uh, was that a fucking good thing or a bad thing?  Reed Girl’s dad stood and he was about six inches shorter than I was.  He had the same color hair and eyes as my girl but that was about the end of the similarities, thank fucking God.  He had an epic mustache that belonged in some bad seventies porn and a bit of a gut spilling over his blue cop pants. 

Fuck, I had to say something.  “I decided to surprise Bella with a visit.  I hope that’s okay.”

“Of course it’s okay!  Of course.”  He practically vaulted over his recliner to get to me.  I took a step back as Reed Girl giggled and tugged me forward.

“Dad, this is Edward.  Edward, this is my father, Charlie Swan.”

My hand was in both of his and he was pumping my arm enthusiastically.  I guess I didn’t have to fucking worry about him hating me on sight.  Reed Girl was right.  The dude was fucking in love with me.

“Nice to meet you.”  It’d be a lot fucking nicer if he’d let go of my hand, but I wasn’t about to make a scene.

“This is a great surprise.  I’m sure Bells is thrilled.  Are you hungry?  Bella, is he hungry?”  He kind of leaned into me like he was trying to see if he could tell I was hungry by being closer to me.  That or he wanted to fuck me.  Maybe Cullen’s were cat and Swan whisperers.  This was fucking weird.

Rainbow saved me by batting at the mustache.  Reed Girl’s potentially gay dad jumped back in surprise.  “What is this?”

“This is my kitten that I told you about, Dad.  Her name is Rainbow.”  She nudged me and smiled.  “I’m going to go cook the noodles.  You and my dad take a seat.”

“Okay.”  Please, God, let him sit back in his chair and not next to me.  I sat on the couch and breathed a sigh of relief when her dad sat down in his rightful place. 

Rainbow finally climbed off my shoulder and took a flying leap onto Charlie’s chair.  He laughed as she climbed on his stomach and went back at the mustache.  “Playful little thing isn’t she?” he asked, kind of pushing her back onto his paunch and petting her.

“You don’t know the half of it,” I told him, relieved that she was distracting him from his weirdness with me.  “She slept most of the way here, so she’ll probably be crazy tonight.”  I wondered if I could get away with leaving her here with Reed Girl but I wasn’t sure I wanted that.  I’d be lonely enough in the hotel without my girl.  I should take Rainbow with me.  I had to go to that little grocery store and buy her some crap since she didn’t like going in the grass like a normal animal.

“So, Edward, are you ready for the game?”  He leaned toward me and Rainbow abandoned him to come back to me, sitting on my knee and watching him intently.  That’s right, Rainbow.  If he makes a move on me, I expect you take him down. 

“Uh, yeah.  Well, I mean, we have a week or so off but I’ll be back to it soon.  I’ve got game tape to watch over the break.”  I’d get to it at some fucking point.

“Did you bring it?  We could watch together!”

I don’t fucking think so.  “Afraid not.”  I shrugged and tried to look apologetic but I really wasn’t.  This dude was fucking weird.

“Oh, that’s too bad.  You know I played a little ball in high school.”

Bet you were just awesome at it too, fatso.  “Really?  What position?”

His cheeks actually turned red like Reed Girl’s did when I got her all turned on.  Jesus fucking Christ, this was weird.  This was why I didn’t do parents.  And I didn’t do them literally either, thank you very much Charlie.

“Well, I was a back-up receiver and I kicked, too.”  Back-up receiver?  Were they a team of midgets?  I did my best not to laugh at Charlie for being a kicker.  It was hard, but even though he might be mentally undressing me as we spoke, I didn’t think he’d appreciate it if I laughed at him.

“That’s cool.”  It so wasn’t but I couldn’t say so.  Censoring myself fucking sucked.

Charlie leaned toward me again and Rainbow put her paw right on his stache.  What was with that fucking thing?  “You know, there’s a game on the NFL Network right now.”  That’s right.  Thursday night football.  Fucking A.  “We don’t get that here but we could go down to the Lodge and I could show you off, I mean around,” he correct himself quickly.  What the fuck?

“Oh, well, that’s great but I mean Bella’s cooking and…”

“The Lodge has food!” he interrupted.

Fucking weirdo.  “Yeah, I’m sure, but after I have to get stuff for Rainbow and check into the hotel.”

“You’re not staying here?”  He looked so fucking disappointed about the fact that I was a lot disturbed.  Damn right I wasn’t staying here now, even if he’d let me sleep with Reed Girl.  I was really fucking scared that he might offer me his bed, with him in it.  The look in his eye was similar to Hoover’s and other fucking chicks that wanted me.

“No, Bella didn’t think you’d be comfortable with that.”  I was both blaming my girl and reminding him that I was here for her, thank you very fucking much.

“Oh, well, yeah, I guess not.”  Fuck.  I was going to have to find a way to get her alone since her dad was likely to be all up my ass if I stayed here.  And no, not in that fucking way, even if he wanted it.  I would only go so far for Reed Girl and doing her dad was never happening.

“Maybe we can all go another day.  I’m here until Bella goes home.”

He brightened at that.  Fucking weirdo.  “That’s great.  I’ll call the guys.  I’m sure there’s a bowl game we could all watch or something.”

“Right.  Or the games this weekend.”

He beamed.  “I can’t wait to watch a football game with a real football player.  What’s the Heisman Trophy like?  Is it really heavy?  Where are you keeping it?”

This dude was way fucking worse than my friends.  “It’s like twenty-five pounds.  My parents have it in the trophy room.  We’re kind of a sports family.”

“That’s right!  I read about your dad playing back in my day.  I wasn’t that into college ball since I didn’t go but I’m getting into it now.”

He was so fucking excited.  It was crazy.  “Awesome.”  Fuck this noise.  I handed him Rainbow and he looked a bit confused as I stood.  “I’m going to grab my phone.  I have to let my parents know I got in alright.”  And I have to get the fuck away from your hero worship.  I mean, I guess it was a good thing the guy was so into me but it was making me fucking uncomfortable.

“Oh, that’s a good idea.  Tell them we’ll take good care of you.”  That’s what I was afraid of. 

“Will do.”  I walked down the hallway and ducked into the kitchen.  My girl was just pouring the noodles into the plastic thingy in the sink.  I wrapped my arms around her waist and kissed her neck.  “Don’t leave me alone with him again.”

She giggled.  “Why not?  I thought he’d like you.”

I rolled my eyes.  “He does like me.  I think he might be in love with me.” 

She turned in my arms and grinned up at me.  “It’s just a man crush, baby.  He’s been talking nonstop about you since I got home.  Telling me how your stats compare to the all time greats and wondering if you’ll get drafted to his beloved Seahawks.” 

Dear God, I hoped not.  “Are you sure it’s just a crush?”  How do you tell your girlfriend her dad might be gay?  “He was disappointed that I’m not staying here.”

Reed Girl chuckled.  “Yes, I’m sure.  Dad doesn’t know I know it but he’s been hooking up with my old high school English teacher for years.”

Thank fucking God.  Wait.  “Your teacher isn’t a man, is he?”

She started laughing so hard I was afraid she was going to fall over so I gripped her waist as she collapsed against my chest.  “Holy shit, he did a number on you didn’t he?  I didn’t have time to tell him to dial down the fan boy around you, though I thought you’d eat that shit up, what with your ego and all.”

Ego?  “What ego?”  She smacked my chest and I smirked at her.  “Baby, I don’t mind if people want to admire me.  After all, there are many things for them to admire.”  That got me another smack.  “But your dad was all up in my face.  I thought I was going to have to sic Rainbow on him.”

She shook her head.  “You’re crazy.”  Whatever, she didn’t fucking see how he was with me.  “Now, how about you grab me some plates and we’ll eat.”  Thank fuck.  I was still fucking starving.  She pointed to the cabinet I presumed I was supposed to open so I did so and grabbed three plates.  She dished up the noodles and had me put on the sauce and carry them to the little table.  I guess the three of us could fit but I wasn’t sure how in the hell they did a big Christmas dinner here.

“How do you serve the entire police department at this little table?”

Reed Girl chuckled.  “The entire police department is six people and they kind of rotate in.  But we eat in the living room, especially because there will be football on.” 

“And will that prick be here?”

She sighed and went to the fridge, grabbing a beer for her dad I guess and sodas for the two of us.  “Yes.  You’re not going to do anything you’re going to regret, are you?”

I smirked.  “I doubt I’ll regret it.”

“Yes, you will if it gets you suspended.  It’s all good, Edward.  I handled it.”

Ha.  The fucker still wanted her.  How could he not?  Maybe I couldn’t hit him but I could make it clear just who she belonged to.  And since her father was obviously crazy about me, he probably wouldn’t protest if I felt the need to feel her up at dinner.  Just fucking saying.

“I won’t get suspended,” I assured her.  Maybe my brother and Rose could come up.  I should call him.  I’d pay his bail if he’d beat the crap out of Riley. 

“Dad, dinner’s ready.”  Fuck.  I still had to go outside.  I hurried out the door before he could come in.  I grabbed some of Rainbow’s shit so that she’d have something to occupy her while we ate.  I fired off a text to my parents and that was that.  I walked back into the kitchen and saw that I was somehow sitting between Charlie and Reed Girl.  She shrugged and smiled when I looked at her.  Fucking hell.

“Do you have a bowl so I can feed the terror?”  Rainbow was sitting on my chair for some fucking reason, as if I was gonna hold her while I ate.  I didn’t fucking think so.  Reed Girl got a bowl and I poured some of her kibble into it and she immediately hopped down and started chowing down.

I sat and did my best to ignore Reed Girl’s dad’s eyes on me as I ate.  “This is awesome, baby.”

She smiled and put her left hand on my knee under the table.  “I’m glad you like it.  I should probably cook for us more often.”

Hell yeah she should, when it was this fucking good.  “I’ll buy the groceries if you cook them,” I promised, making her laugh.

Charlie sighed.  “I have to admit, I miss your cooking quite a bit when you’re not here.”

My girl blushed just like her dad had earlier.  “Come on, Dad, are you telling me Mrs. Cope doesn’t take care of you?”

He spluttered and coughed on his spaghetti.  Fuck.  What was I supposed to do?  I couldn’t let him die. I smacked him on the back a few times as he choked and reached for his beer.  “How did you know about that?” he managed when he could finally fucking speak.

“Come on, Dad, it was obvious.  I lived in this town for years.  Did you think I wouldn’t figure out what your overnights were for?  It’s not like crime runs rampant here.”

This was heading into supremely uncomfortable potential territory, though I was relieved that Charlie wasn’t denying banging this Mrs. Cope person.  Maybe he wasn’t in love with me, beyond my football prowess that is.  Of course he loved the fact that his daughter was dating a football star.  I guess I could understand why he wanted to show me off to his friends.

“Well, Bells, I do have to be on call at all times and…”

Reed Girl held up a hand.  “No, no.  We’ve said too much already.  I’m just glad you’re being fed, okay?”

He looked relieved and I sure as fuck was.  “Yeah, well, yours is still the best.”  He took another forkful.  “Don’t tell her I said that, though.”

My girl laughed.  “I won’t.”  I felt a tug on my jeans and sighed and bent to pick up Rainbow.  At least she didn’t fucking try to climb my leg anymore.  That shit hurt like a bitch.  I sat her on my shoulder and got the headbutt before she curled into me.

“That’s the damndest thing I’ve ever seen,” Charlie said.  “Does she always sit on you like that?”

“Yeah, she loves him,” Reed Girl answered for me.  “She may technically be mine but as far as she’s concerned, she’s his and vice versa.  I’m an interloper, aren’t I, Rainbow?”  She held out a finger and got batted while she giggled. 

“She’s yours,” I reminded her, just as Rainbow leaned into me.  Both Reed Girl and Charlie laughed at my ass.  “Whatever, she’s a baby.  She doesn’t know anything.”

My girl smirked at me.  “She knows she loves you.”

“Yeah, well you love me, too,” I reminded her with a grin.  Charlie made some kind of choking noise.  Oops.  Fuck.  “Uh…”

“I do,” Reed Girl agreed, sending her dad a look. 

I glanced at him and he was smiling a mile wide.  What the fuck?  “I guess you know your line,” he murmured.  Reed Girl glared at him.  What the fuck did that mean?  Her line?  I do?  Oh Christ.  Fuck all this noise.

“I have to go!”  I stood and Rainbow shrieked and dug her claws into me but I couldn’t even fucking care because I had to get the fuck away from these two and their “I do’s.”  That shit was not happening.  Not now anyway.

“Edward…” Reed Girl started but I just shook my head and backed away from her. 

“I have to hit the store and check into the hotel and stuff.”

“I can come with you,” she offered but I was already heading down the hallway, Rainbow holding on for dear life.

“We got it.  We’ll see you tomorrow.”  I opened the door and jogged to the car.  Fucking snow was starting to fall. Fucking fabulous.  Why was I here again?  Yeah, I missed my girl but I didn’t know about her fucking father and his shotgun wedding ideas.  Fuck.

“It’s not that I don’t love her,” I told Rainbow, who was crying, probably over our abrupt exit.  “But we’ve been together a fucking month.  I don’t want to think about mar…the M word, for at least a few years.  What if her dad forces me to marry her tomorrow?  He’s got a gun and he’s the head man in this town.  He could force me.  I kind of wish he was gay.  Maybe he wouldn’t be all gung ho for me to marry his daughter.” 

I pulled into the grocery store parking lot and thought about prying her off my shoulder but it wasn’t fucking worth it.  “Let’s go.”

I stormed in the store and grabbed kitty litter and a pan to put it in.  I had her food but I grabbed some more of her stupid fucking treats because if we ran out of those, I was a dead man.  I also got a bag of chips and soda and some fucking Snickers, too.  If I was going to be holed up in a hotel for three days, avoiding Reed Girl and her crazy father, I was going to need sustenance.

The clerk kept staring at me but I slapped my money down and ignored him.  I didn’t fucking care.  Things were too fucked up to worry about a damn kitten on a person’s shoulder.  As far as I was concerned, Rainbow was the sanest of us all right the fuck about now.  I took our shit and drove to the hotel.  Rainbow stayed perched in her spot while I checked in, getting more weird ass looks but I didn’t fucking care.

The room was okay with a queen sized bed, a TV, a phone, a dresser; not luxurious but it wasn’t the shack I’d feared either.  I set up Rainbow’s shit and she immediately hopped in the litter.  “Yeah, go ahead and befoul it.  I’m taking a shower.”

I was tired as fuck.  It had been a long ass day and I just wanted to sleep and go back to normal, pre-meeting Reed Girl’s father and hearing the wedding bells start.  No.  I wasn’t thinking about that shit anymore.  I washed my hair and cleaned up and pulled on boxers and a t-shirt.

“I hope you’re ready to go to bed even though you slept all fucking day because…” I broke off when I got in the bedroom and saw Reed Girl laying on the bed with Rainbow curled into her side.  “What are you doing here?”

“I went to school with the night manager and I got him to give me a key,” she replied, looking all calm and cool and gorgeous on my bed.  A part of me wanted to bury myself inside her and take what I’d been missing for the past few days.  Another part wanted her to go back to her freaky father and let me fucking relax in peace for awhile.

“I’m glad to see they have such security here,” I muttered.  I threw myself down on the bed and Rainbow immediately abandoned Reed Girl to take her spot on my neck.  I have to admit that it sort of made me feel good.

My eyes were closed but I could feel Reed Girl looking at me.  “What?”

“Do you want to talk about the fact that you just ran out of my house like someone had set you on fire when my father made a comment that freaked you out?”

Fucking hell.  “If I wanted to talk about it, I probably would have stayed.”

“He was just kidding, Edward.”

Ha.  “Bullshit.  Once he stopped hitting on me, he decided to make me part of the family.  He’s probably polishing up his shotguns really good so they look nice in the wedding photos.”

Reed Girl giggled and I peeked out at her.  She was lying on her side, still wearing her sweats and looking fucking beautiful.  It was annoying as hell that she looked so good and fuckable when I wasn’t going to be able to fuck her anytime soon.  Maybe ever.  My dick had gone into hiding at the mention of “I do.”

“It’s not funny,” I told her angrily.

“Yes, it is.  Do you honestly think I’m thinking about marriage at this point in our relationship?”

I shrugged my shoulders which made Rainbow protest.  “How do I fucking know?  Shorty already has her wedding planned according to Jasper, maybe you do, too.  Maybe you lured me here so your dad could force me to marry you.”  Even I knew I was being fucking crazy right now but I couldn’t stop myself.

“How the hell did I lure you here?  You came on your own.  I had no idea you were coming.” 

Fuck.  She was pissed off, I could tell by her tone.  And the look in her eyes.  “You could have known, when you called me last night all drunk and sexy and talking about running into your ex.  You had to know I’d come running.”

“Excuse me?  I called because you told me to and because I missed you and I was hoping you’d get me off over the phone.”  Fuck me.  Apparently my dick did not go into hiding at the bad words uttered in her kitchen because it was making its presence known now.

“You were too drunk.”  And I was too focused on the fact that Riley had been around her while she was drunk and horny. 

“I most certainly was not.  You just got rid of me because you freaked out over Riley, which is silly because you know I wouldn’t do anything with him.”

“Of course you wouldn’t, but he might still try shit with you.  If you were drunk enough…” I broke off because I couldn’t finish the thought.  It made me sick to think about it.

“Make up your mind, Edward.  Either I’m planning my wedding to you or I’m going to cheat on you.  Which is it exactly?”  She poked me in the chest and I sighed and caught her hand in mine.

“I didn’t say you were doing either of those things.  It’s just…shit’s fucked up, you know?  I came here to see you and it was supposed to be so awesome but then your dad was weird and maybe gay and then he was marrying us off and it freaked me out.”

“Well, if you’d stayed, you would have heard me yell at him that I was only nineteen and I wasn’t about to get married anytime soon, regardless of the fact that I love you.” 

I stared into her pretty brown eyes and tried to see if she was telling the truth.  “Yeah?”

“Yeah, dumbass.  My parents got married at nineteen and where are they now?  We both have lives to start before we think about marriage.  You have to graduate and go to the NFL.  I have to figure out what in the hell I want to do for a living.  You’ll be God knows where and I’ll be wherever I can find a job, if we’re even still together then.”

I was starting to feel better until she added that last part.  “Why don’t you think we’ll be together?”

She sighed and shook her head.  “You just freaked out and ran away at the thought of marrying me.  Why should I think that you’re thinking longer term than next month or next year?”

I didn’t fucking know.  All I knew was when I thought about my future, she was in it. “Because you’re there.”

Reed Girl raised an eyebrow.  “What in the hell does that mean?”

Fucking hell.  I hated this talk.  Stupid fucking Charlie.  This was all his fault.  “It means, when I think about things that are in the future, like me getting drafted and shit, you’re there.”  She’d be my hot ass girlfriend sitting by my side while we waited in the green room with all the cameras on me.  Males all over the world would be fucking jealous as hell.

“You do?”  She scooted a bit closer to me on the bed.  She was propped up on her side and her mouth was only a few inches from mine.

“Of course I do.  I fucking love you.  I don’t expect that to just go away.”  I didn’t want it to anymore.

“Well, I fucking love you too and I hope you know that I wouldn’t force you to marry me or whatever the hell you thought that was back at my house.  My dad got a little excited at the thought of having a son-in-law in the NFL but I, for one, am not thinking about that right now.”

I guess I couldn’t blame Charlie for wanting to be related to me.  I understood that.  “But do you see me in your future, too?”  Damn it, why the fuck did that have to come out of my mouth?  I didn’t want to know.

My girl smiled and stroked my cheek.  “I haven’t let myself think that far ahead because I was afraid of a reaction just like this or worse from you.”  I frowned at that.  “But I hoped we’d be together into the future, sure.  I’m not going to walk away from you unless you walk first.  Or if you cheat on me, though I’ll hurt you before I walk away then.”

I had to laugh, despite the walking away talk making my stomach roll.  “You know I’m not going to cheat on you.”

“Damn right you’re not.  I’d fuck you up if you did.”

“Tough girl, aren’t you?”

“You don’t know the half of it, Cullen.”

“That sounds like a challenge, baby.  You wanna take me on?”

She smirked and before I knew it, she was straddling me.  Hell fucking yes, we do have liftoff.  “I most certainly do, but I can’t kick your ass now.  You might get injured before your big game.”

“We can’t have that, now can we?”  I jerked my hips and watched her eyes get darker and her lips fall open.  “Maybe you could take me on in an entirely different way that doesn’t involve kicking my ass for now,” I suggested.

“Maybe I could.”  She boosted herself off me and I pouted.  

“Fuck, do you have to leave?”  It fucking figured that my dick would finally start working only to have her leave.

She smiled as she bent over me and lifted Rainbow off my neck.  “I told my dad that I had to make things right with you and since he messed it up, he wasn’t allowed to get pissed about it.  It’s snowing out so it’s safer if I stay off the roads.”

I wasn’t about to point out that she lived about a mile away from the hotel.  Fuck no.  The roads were fucking treacherous as far as I was concerned.  “I think it’s definitely better if you stay, for safety’s sake.” 

She giggled as she grabbed a bag of treats off the dresser and carried Rainbow into the bathroom.  “Nice haul from the grocery store.”

“I thought maybe I’d have to hide out here for the next few days,” I admitted when she shut the door and came back toward the bed.  She stood at the foot of it and just grinned at me.

“Maybe it’ll snow six feet and we’ll be stuck in here.”

“I guess I might be persuaded to share my food with you, then.” 

She smirked. “Big of you.”

“I’m very big,” I reminded her, making her laugh harder.

“How might I persuade you?” she asked, toying with the bottom of her sweatshirt.

“You could start by taking that sweatshirt off.”  I swear, that was the worst thing about fucking winter.  My girl wore way too many clothes.  I missed her little tank tops and short shorts that left very little to the imagination, not that I had to imagine since I got her naked as often as humanly possible, but still.

“I don’t know.  You kind of hurt my feelings by running away at the thought of marrying me.  I’m not sure that I should reward you now.”  She stuck her lip out in a pretty pout and I sat up and reached for her.

“I would have come back.  Eventually.”  That made her laugh and I grinned at her.  “It’s not like my mom didn’t freak you out when you met,” I reminded her.

“She was a little much,” my girl admitted.  “But I didn’t run away.”

“Well, my mom is less scary than your dad is.”  I drew her around the side of the bed and she stood in between my legs.

“Ha!  I’d imagine your mother is way further into planning our wedding than my poor father is.”

Fuck.  That was probably true.  But too scary to contemplate.  “Can we stop talking about that before I lose the ability to get hard?” I asked.

She giggled and ran her hands through my hair.  It felt fucking amazing.  “I suppose, since you came all this way, that I’m willing to forget your regrettable actions.”

“Awesome.”  I started tugging on her sweatshirt but she batted my hands away.  “What?”

“But, you’re going to have to give my dad a chance to apologize for scaring you off.  He feels bad and wants to see you again.”

“I just bet he does.”  She laughed and flicked my nose.  “Alright, I’ll endure your father hitting on me for a couple more days if I can have you now.”

“He’s not hitting on you.  I’m the only Swan that gets to do that.”

I smiled at her and snuck my hands underneath her sweatshirt, finding something soft and silky underneath.  It wasn’t the skin I’d anticipated, though. “You’re the only person that gets to do that, baby.”

Her smile got wider.  “Now for that, you get a reward.”  And without further ado, she whipped her sweatshirt off and there, thank fuck, was some lacy lingerie.  It was red and her perfect tits were practically spilling out of the thing. 

“Fuck me,” I muttered, running my hands over the soft material, cupping the lace over her tits.

“That’s what I’m trying to do,” she said with a giggle. 

“I’ll hang out with your dad as much as you want,” I promised her recklessly as I pulled her sweat pants off.  I had to see it all, not that there was much to see.  It cut off mid-thigh and left her long, sexy legs bare as she kicked the pants aside.  “Where have you been hiding this?”

She laughed.  “Another Christmas present.  I figured since you gave me an amazing one today by showing up, I’d share this with you.”

“I love Christmas,” I told her as I took her in.  Fucking beautiful.  “You’re so sexy.  Beautiful.  You’re fucking perfect, baby.”

She blushed, which went well with her red outfit.  “I’m glad you think so.  Now how about you unwrap your present?”

Hell yes.  “With pleasure.”  I tossed my own shirt off and pulled her to me, tumbling her onto the bed.  She laughed as I rolled us over and pinned her to the mattress.  “You know, it’s hard to want to take off this pretty packaging, you look so damn good in it.”

I propped myself up and looked down at her.  Her hair was tumbled over the pillow and her eyes were bright.  She was always so fucking sexy when she was turned on.  I sat back and traced a finger along her inner thigh, making her gasp.  “Edward, please.”

“Please what?” I asked as I inched her outfit up.  She wasn’t wearing anything underneath it.  Fucking awesome. 

“It’s been too long.”  I brushed my fingers over her pussy and she moaned and pressed into my hand. 

“Yes, it has.”  I stroked her clit and watched as she began to writhe and moan.  She was wet and ready and God knew I was.

“Please.  You can take your time later.  Right now, I need you to fuck me.”

Holy fuck, was it any wonder I was crazy about this woman?  If her dad did force me to marry her, I probably wouldn’t get it annulled when I got home.  I just wanted her.  I yanked off my boxers and sat for a second, torn between wanting to keep her looking exactly like this with her sexy outfit on or to have her completely naked.  Neither were bad options as far as I was fucking concerned.

“Now, Edward!” 

Well, then.  If she was going to be all fucking demanding about it.  I pushed her legs further apart and bent forward and thrust inside her.  “I like it when you’re bossy, baby,” I told her as I fucked her hard and fast.  She was right.  We could worry about taking our time later.  I had all night thanks to my girl standing up to her father.  That was fucking hot too.  I kind of wished I’d stuck around to see it, but then I might not be here inside her now, where it was perfect and warm and wet and tight and just fucking incredible.

“Yeah?  Well turn over.”  Hmm, okay then.  I rolled us, holding on to her because the bed was kind of fucking small and I didn’t want her to fall.  She was over me then and I was still inside her and she began to ride me wearing that sexy lingerie and I reached up to tug the straps down so I could see her tits bounce with her movement.  Yes.  There was nothing better.

I leaned forward and sucked on one of her rosy nipples while she rode my cock.  The taste of her was intoxicating.  Her skin was sweet and salty and her nipple was hard.  I bit it gently and loved the sound of her moaning.  She felt so fucking good.  I knew I wasn’t going to last long but thank fuck we had all night.  This was way better than sharing a bed in her house.  The Forks Inn rocked.  It was definitely a five star hotel now.

My hands found her firm little ass and I squeezed it and pulled her to me as I thrust to meet her.  I sucked on her neck and kissed her pouty lips, swallowing her moans as our movements became more erratic.  I could feel her clenching around me, thank fuck because I was ready to explode.  I rubbed her clit and she threw back her head and came and it was fucking beautiful.  I thrust into her a few more times, though it was hard to move with the way she tightened around me and before I knew it I was coming and she was tugging on my hair and holding me to her.

“Holy shit,” I managed when I could see and think again.

She laughed and hugged me.  “Merry Christmas, Edward.”

“Damn right it is.  Merry Christmas, Bella.”

She kissed me softly before climbing off me.  I missed her instantly as she walked to the bathroom.  I sank back on the bed and seconds later I heard a cry and then Rainbow was burrowing into my neck.  Fuck.  I was naked.  I quickly threw the covers over myself as Reed Girl came out of the bathroom and laughed at me. 

“She’s seen you naked before.”

“It’s weird and I don’t like it,” I told her.  I didn’t take baths with the fucking cat like she did.  Crazy.

Reed Girl got into bed and flipped off the light before putting her head on my shoulder.  Rainbow shifted and settled in between us.  “I missed this,” she murmured. 

I tightened my arm around her.  "Me too.  This is how it should always be."  Me, my girl and our crazy cat just fit together in bed.  It was weird but I loved it.

“Next year we’ll have to plan our vacation together,” I told her.  Fuck.  What did I just say?  It came out before I could stop myself from saying it.  But it was true.  I didn’t want to be apart from her again.

“Yeah?  We can do that.  We’ll figure it out when the time comes.”  I couldn’t see her face but I could hear the happiness in her voice.

That was a good plan.  Just take it as it comes.  Reed Girl was mine and she wasn’t going anywhere.  I’d make damn sure that a certain ex boyfriend of hers knew that before we left town, too.









Chapter Text

Sideline Collision Chapter 23

“Do I have to?” I asked as we pulled up in front of Reed Girl’s house.

“Yes, you promised you’d give him a chance to apologize,” she reminded me.  She was out of the car before I could talk her into going back to our hotel and already waiting at the trunk.  Wasn’t it enough that I’d gone to the fucking grocery store with her and helped her get all the fucking food we’d be having for dinner tomorrow?  The whole time I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that her douche of an ex was going to be on hand eating the food that I was piling in the cart.  That was some fucked up shit right there.

Rainbow meowed as I got out of the car and I scowled at her.  “Don’t blame me.  Blame your mother.  I don’t know what you’re bitching about.  It’s not you he’s fascinated by.  Then again, maybe that’s your fucking problem.  You’ve met someone who doesn’t cater to your every whim.”  She headbutted me as Reed Girl laughed at both our asses.

“Come on, it won’t be so bad,” she assured me as I popped the trunk and started lifting armloads of fucking food.  “We’ll stay here for a bit and then we’ll head out to meet my friends in Port Angeles.”

That was true.  She’d called her girls and arranged to meet at the bar they’d gotten served at the other night.  No thanks to her cocksucker ex, she had her ID back.  I wasn’t drinking, but I was damn well going to have a good time with my inebriated girl this time.  She wouldn’t be thousands of miles away, thank fuck for that.

We headed toward the house and the front door opened.  Charlie came down and held out a hand.  “Can I help with anything?”

Right.  I could do this.  I handed him one of the bags and he smiled tentatively.  “Thanks.”  See, I could be fucking polite, even without Reed Girl’s lecture this morning.  I wasn’t the one who got all up in people’s space and made them worry about being molested and honestly, her dad’s moustache was totally child molesterish.  Put him in a trench coat and he could totally star in one of those Public Service Announcements about Stranger Danger.  Yeah, I knew he was a cop.  Still.

He led the way into the kitchen and I put the stuff on the counter as Reed Girl started organizing the fucking refrigerator.  Charlie cleared his throat and shifted from foot to foot.  “Can I speak to you for a minute, son?”

Son?  Were the shotguns out?  Fuck, I knew I shouldn’t have come back here.  Reed Girl and I were perfectly fine fucking the day away in the hotel.  “Uh, sure.”  Reed Girl sent me a reassuring nod and smile as I followed her father out of the kitchen and into the living room.  We sat and Rainbow got off my shoulder and joined Charlie in his recliner.  He chuckled and petted her when she tried to play with the stache again.

“I just wanted to apologize if I came on a bit strong yesterday.  I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable.”

He looked really fucking uncomfortable saying it and I figured I better do something to make it right for Reed Girl’s sake.  “It’s okay.  I’m not used to parents.”

“What?” he asked, looking confused.  Of course he was.  Why the fuck had I added that last part?

“Er, well, Bella’s my first girlfriend and I’m not used to meeting a girl’s parents, so I guess I freaked out a little.”

“Well, that’s understandable.  It’s always nerve-wracking meeting your girl’s father.  I remember when I met Renee’s parents I threw up beforehand.” 

Fucking gross.  Still, it was kind of nice of him to reassure me like that after I ran away from him.  “Yeah, well I can’t say I expected you to be as welcoming as you were.”  So welcoming that you were all up on me and made me wonder if you were gay, not that I’m going to admit that to you.  It might damage our little truce, such as it was.

Charlie laughed.  “I think most fathers would be excited to have their daughter dating a football star, but I admit to jumping the gun when I said what I said at dinner.  I didn’t mean to scare you off.”

“It’s cool.”  I sat back and Rainbow deserted Charlie to come join me again, curling into my neck after a couple more headbutts.  I was pretty sure she knew we’d be deserting her here and going out tonight.  “I shouldn’t have run off like that.  It was rude.” Reed Girl told me so.  “Sorry about that.”

He chuckled and waved a hand.  “I probably would’ve done the same were the situation reversed.  For what it’s worth, I’m glad you two aren’t to that point yet.  My Bells is a smart, talented girl and I’d like to see her do what her mother and I didn’t do; go to college and make a life for herself before marriage and kids and all that.” 

Kids?  Fuck that noise.  No way in hell, not for at least a decade.  “Bella’s very smart and she’s an amazing musician.  She blew me away when she sang at her concert.”

His face lit up and I had to smile at him because it was clear that he was just as proud of my girl, well, his girl too, I guess, as I was.  “She’s always had an ear for music.  We put her in piano lessons at five and it just took off from there.  Have you seen her in marching band yet?  She had to learn…”

“He’s seen me, Dad.”  Reed Girl breezed in smiling nervously as she sat on the couch next to me.  Damn, was she that worried that I’d run again?  “How is everything?”

“Good,” her dad said quickly, which I echoed. 

She nudged me and I wrapped an arm around her.  We’d talked about it in the room and I was going to make an effort to be nice to her dad, especially after she told me how he’d treated Riley at first.

“Do you know what Dad did when Riley came over to pick me up for our first date?”

Like I fucking wanted to hear about that bullshit?  “No.”

“He wore his uniform and made sure his gun was clearly in sight when he told him that he’d better not bring me home a minute late or his deputies would be out looking for me and he’d be arrested for violating the town’s curfew, like we even have one of those.”  She threw up her hands and stormed around the room looking all hot and fuckable wearing only my t-shirt.

“Maybe your dad’s not so bad,” I allowed, since that was fucking funny.  Too bad he didn’t shoot the little prick.

“He practically begged you to stay over,” she said, like I didn’t remember that fucking shit.  I’d been worried about my ass at the time and didn’t know that he was just in fan love with me and not in gay love.  Some people walked a fine line.  Like Jasper.  I still worried that fucker was going to slip into my bed one of these nights if Reed Girl and I were apart. 

“I know and I said I was sorry for thinking he was gay and running away.”

She snorted.  “To me, not to him.”

“Fine, I’ll apologize to him.  But I’m not telling him I thought he was gay.”

She laughed and tackled me to the bed.  “I think that’s probably a good thing.”

It was a good thing.  Even better was the fact that we’d fucked for the fourth the time right after.  We had to make up for lost time after all.  And I was determined to show her that I could be cool with her dad, since he obviously liked me, maybe a bit too much, but I’d prefer that to guns and threats of being arrested any day.  She didn’t know what I was going to do, but I had a feeling it’d have her attacking the shit out of me at first opportunity.

“So, Charlie, I was thinking that since I sort of fu…ruined dinner last night, maybe I could make up for it and take you and Bella out to The Lodge for an early dinner.”  His eyes got really wide and I could feel Reed Girl practically vibrating with excitement thought neither said anything.  “Uh, we’re planning on going out later tonight so if that’s okay…”

“I’d love to!” Charlie practically shouted, making Rainbow jump and hiss at him.  “When were you thinking?” 

I glanced at Reed Girl who was fucking beaming.  “Four?” she suggested.  Holy fuck, that was early.  “It’s an hour ride into Port Angeles.”  I guess that made sense, even if eating at four was fucking insane.  Oh well, it would actually be like eating at seven since I was still on Eastern Time.  Bring on the blue plate special.

“Great.  I’m going to go make some calls about…something.”  Charlie was up and heading toward the stairs.  “You two go explore or whatever.”

“Dad, is it okay if we leave Rainbow here tonight?  I don’t want her in the hotel room alone.”

“That’s fine.”  He waved a hand dismissively.  “I’m going to go get ready.”  Ready?  It was like one in the afternoon.   And what the fuck was I complaining for?  Less time with Charlie wasn’t a bad thing, even if I’d made his life by inviting him to dinner.

He was gone and Reed Girl threw her arms around me.  Rainbow growled and swatted at her arm, making my girl laugh.  “I can’t believe you did that!  He’s so excited to show you off.”

Fucking hell.  “Is he calling the entire town and having them come down to that place to check me out?”

She giggled.  “More than likely.”  Before I could complain about it, she kissed me hard.  “Seriously, thank you for doing that.  He’s really excited that you’re here and I know you think it’s weird but wouldn’t you be the same way if someone famous came knocking at your door?  Joe Montana maybe?”

She knew my weakness but I wasn’t admitting it.  “I know a lot of famous people.”

Reed Girl just raised a brow and put her hand on my knee.  “Come on, Edward.  You know if Joe Montana came over, you’d call everybody you knew and you’d ask him to throw the football for you.  I bet you’d ask for an autograph, too.”

“I would not.  I’d give him mine.”  She poked me and made me laugh.  “Okay, maybe I understand, but I promise you I wouldn’t come on nearly as strong as he did.  But he’s not a bad guy and I’m glad he doesn’t hate me.”

“Me too.  You’re the first guy I’ve brought home that he’s ever liked.”  Damn right.  Charlie was weird but he had some good fucking taste.

“Does he still hate Riley?”

She shrugged.  “Not really.  He got used to him since we dated for a long time and they work together now.  He’s definitely nicer to him than he was when we dated.  I’m pretty sure he never asked him over to dinner.”

Fucking right.  As it should be.  “Well, of course he can’t resist my charms.”

She chuckled.  “What charms?”  I shot her a look and made her laugh some more.  “He can’t resist your football skills.  I’m the one that’s helpless to your charms.”

“Oh yeah?”  I had her pinned to the couch in a matter of seconds and she laughed and slid her arms around me.  “How about I show you just how charming I can be?”

She chuckled and smacked my ass.  “My dad is right upstairs and though he might love you now, I don’t know that he’d keep on loving you if you defiled his only daughter on his precious couch.”

My girl had a point.  I grinned and pushed up, pulling her up with me.  “How about we go back to the hotel and get ready?  We only have three hours after all.”

She grinned.  “You’re on.  Let me get some clothes.”

“Sexy ones,” I called as she darted upstairs.  Rainbow, who had curled up in Charlie’s chair, meowed at me. 

“Sorry, you don’t get to go.  But we’ll see you in the morning.”  She was going to be pissed.  “Whatever anger you have inside you over us leaving you behind, unleash on Riley tomorrow.  Do you hear me?  Riley.  I hate him which means you have to hate him.  Be good and I’ll never make you go in a cat carrier again.”  After Sunday, that was.  I held out my hand to her and she rubbed her cheek or whatever the cat equivalent of it was against me.  “Okay, deal.”

“What deal?” Reed Girl asked as she came back in the room.

“Nothing.  Ready to go?”  I wasn’t going to tell her that I was bribing our cat to take out her ex-boyfriend.  It was humiliating that I couldn’t.  Fucking off the field behavioral rules.

“Yes.  Come on, baby.”  She scooped up Rainbow who immediately got back on my shoulder.  “We’ll bring her back over when we get Dad for dinner.”  We headed out the door and Reed Girl grinned at me.  “Did you know there’s a Honeymoon Suite at The Forks Inn?”

What the fuck?  “What?” I demanded, trying to control the urge to run again.

She giggled and took my hand.  “It has a hot tub, well one of those big bathtubs with jets anyway.  I was just thinking that if someone were to upgrade his room…”

“Done.”  I could stay in the honeymoon room if it meant I got sex, especially hot tub sex.  My visit was getting infinitely better and tonight I’d have a drunk, sexy girlfriend to take advantage of.  Forks wasn’t that awful after all.


“See, that wasn’t so bad was it?” 

I shot Reed Girl a look as her father practically skipped into his house.  I still wasn’t one hundred percent sure on this not being gay thing, Mrs. Cope aside.  She could be super mannish and he could be in denial.  How the fuck did I know?  I’d need to see if Reed Girl had any old yearbooks I could look at.  It would be kind of fun to see what my girl looked like in high school.

“Depends on your definition of bad.  I don’t think I’ll ever feel more on display than I did tonight, at least not until the combine.”

“The combine?” she asked, fiddling with her phone.

“Yeah, it’s this thing in Indianapolis where all the potential draftees go to show off their skills, get weighed and measured and shit.  You have to stand around in nothing but shorts and get poked and prodded in front of a room full of people.”  Not that I was fucking worried about it, mind you.  I looked damn good naked and I knew Reed Girl thought so when she looked up and narrowed her eyes at me.

“Do they televise it?”

Ha, fuck yes; she was pissed off that I’d be eye candy for anyone to see.  “Yeah, on NFL Network.”

“Awesome.  All those half naked men?  I’m there.”  I glared at her and made her giggle.  “What?”

“You already have the best, baby, so no need to watch.  Plus, the linemen are not necessarily a pretty sight.”

She laughed again.  “Good point.  Still, I think I should come to support you, hold your hand through those tough tests.”

I snickered and backed out of the driveway.  “Don’t think I don’t see through you.  Now where am I going?”

“Actually, we’re ditching PA.  Cindy’s home from college and her parents are out, so there’s a party at her place.  Take a right at the end of the street.”

A party?  More of her high school friends.  Definitely some of them would know that cock she dated.  This was a good thing.  I followed my girl’s directions and pulled up in front of a yellow two story house.  There were quite a few cars here already even though it wasn’t even seven yet.  Maybe it was a Forks tradition.  I was fucking tired anyway.  Nothing like meeting half the town when you’re supposed to be at dinner with your girl and her father.

Charlie had been rather hilarious, talking about me like I was his best friend and bragging about my football prowess.  Reed Girl had kept me calm, as it were, by stroking my cock underneath the table.  Needless to say, getting worked up over him being a crazy fan wasn’t the first thing on my mind.  Reed Girl’s methods of distraction were awesome.

“You know, we could go back to the new room and finish what you started under the table at The Lodge,” I suggested as Reed Girl laughed and opened her door.

“All in good time, Edward.  Dad got to show you off.  Now it’s my turn.”

I rolled my eyes as I got out of the car.  At least it was going to be people my age instead of parent and grandparent types, I supposed.  “I’m not a piece of meat,” I told her as she started toward the door.

She stopped and waited for me to catch up to her.  “You’re not really upset, are you?  We could go back to the hotel, no problem.”  Her big brown eyes looked worried and I slipped my arms around her.

“Of course not, baby.  Dinner was kind of weird but your dad got a kick out of it which was the whole fucking point.  I want to have a good time with you, meet some of your friends and then take your drunk, sexy ass back to the room and have my way with you.”

She kissed me and pinched my ass, making me jump.  “I like that plan.  And for what it’s worth?  You’re the most prime hunk of meat I’ve ever seen.”

I gaped after her as she laughed her way up to the front door.  The woman never failed to surprise me.  She was awesome.  I jogged after her and gripped her thighs.  “You’re going to pay for that,” I murmured, nipping her ear and making her shiver.

“I look forward to it,” she said breathlessly.  The door opened and some chick shrieked and yanked my girl away from me and into a hug.

“Bella!  I can’t believe I’m finally seeing you!  Where were you yesterday?”

My girl laughed as she disentangled herself from the redhead’s grasp.  “Hung over and I got a surprise when my boyfriend showed up unexpectedly.  Edward, this is Cindy Johnson.  Cin, this is Edward Cullen.”

The girl’s light blue eyes widened and she shook her head.  “Damn, Bella, you always get the hottest guys.”

Well of course she did…what?  What the fuck did that mean?  There was no way that Riley was anywhere near as good looking as I was, was there?

Reed Girl laughed.  “He doesn’t need the ego boost.  How have you been?”

They started yammering while I stood there freezing my ass off because Washington sucked.  Was Riley hot?  I mean, I knew he was probably decent because my girl was beautiful and obviously didn’t settle for second best, though that Jerry guy in her psych class wasn’t all that.  I assumed Riley was on his level but the shit that chick said had me wondering now.

“Hey, Cin, can we come inside?  Edward’s not used to this weather.”

No shit.  I was freezing in just a leather jacket and jeans. 

“Oh, God, I’m sorry.  Yeah, come in.  Beer’s in the fridge, liquor’s on the counter, have at it.  Tell me all about Florida.  You’re so tan!  I’m jealous!”

My girl wasn’t that tan.  She had a light golden color but compared to these pasty ass Washingtonians I guess she was.  We went into the kitchen and I headed toward the liquor.

“What do you want to drink, baby?” 

“Vodka cranberry?  Thanks, Edward.”  I smiled at her as I made her drink and grabbed a soda for myself.

“Don’t you want something more fun to drink?” that girl asked. 

I laughed and handed my girl her vodka cranberry.  “I can’t risk it before the game.”

“Oh, God, you won’t get in trouble here.  There’s a cop coming to this party and he’s surely not going to bust you.”

There was?  I looked at Reed Girl whose eyes widened.  “Riley’s coming?  He took away my ID the other night; why in the hell would he come to a party here?”

Red shrugged.  “I ran into him at the grocery store and he saw me stocking up on party favors and asked.  I told him if he didn’t bust it, he could come.  He’s off today so he said he’d probably come by.” 

“Great.  He was a total dick the other night,” my girl informed her, making her laugh.

“Can you blame him?  You broke his heart.”

She did?  What?  Reed Girl looked uncomfortable.  “I did not.”

Red snorted.  “Sure.  You weren’t here to see him moping around for months.”

“Can we maybe…” Reed Girl started but broke off when some other people wandered in to the kitchen.  “Jeanie!  Mary!  Get over here and meet Edward.”

Two more brunettes were grinning at me and checking me out and I flashed a smile as I looped my arm around my girl’s waist.  She leaned into me and I said hello and made polite chatter for a couple minutes before asking Red where the bathroom was.  She directed me down the hall and I left my girl to her girls and nodded at a couple of dudes that were in the living room.  I did my business and headed back to the kitchen but stopped just outside the door when I heard my girl raise her voice.

“Jesus, Cin, did you have to say that shit about Riley right in front of Edward?”

“What was so wrong with what I said?  You did dump Riley and break his heart.”

“Yes, because we weren’t working out anymore and I was going away to school.  Riley knew that we weren’t going to do the long distance thing and I don’t want Edward thinking I’m some kind of heartless bitch that left him reeling.  What happened with Riley has nothing to do with us.”

I sure as fuck hoped not.  “You’d have to be a mad woman to ever break up with that one.  He’s just as hot as Riley, maybe hotter, and he’s going to be rich.” 

Just as hot?  What the fuck was that bullshit?  Was this guy a fucking model?  I was really starting to get pissed off.  And now I knew that he’d been hurt when she ended it, so that meant he was definitely still into her.  Fucker.  She was mine now and I wasn’t letting her go.

“That’s not why I’m with him.  You don’t know shit about it.”

Why was she with me?  Apparently her ex was just as good looking as I was, according to these girls.  Then again, maybe they weren’t seeing me properly.  I shrugged out of my jacket and tossed it in an open bedroom.  There was no way cop boy had a better body than I did.  I was a world class athlete, thank you very fucking much.  I rolled up the sleeves of my button down to show off my forearms.

“He makes me laugh.”  I heard my girl say that and I smiled.  I did make her laugh, all the fucking time.  Though often it was at me rather than with me.  “He’s so sweet, but only with me and our kitten.”  Jesus.  I had to cut her off before she started telling stories about me and Rainbow.  I took a step forward.

“But how is he in bed?”

Well now, no reason to go in and interrupt a girl moment, was there?

Reed Girl laughed.  “None of your business.”  Damn it, elaborate woman.  “But I have no complaints.”

Of course she didn’t.  Seemed like a good time for an entrance but I stopped when they started again.  “Better than Riley?”  Or, I could wait another minute.

“What are you doing, man?”  I nearly jumped out of my skin at the voice behind me.  I turned and looked down at some short Asian dude with black hair.

“Nothing.  I don’t really know anybody here so I was just trying to decide where to go.”  Fucker, interrupting my ease dropping at exactly the wrong fucking time.

“Oh, well I’m Ken.”  I don’t care, Ken.  Go the fuck away.

“Edward Cullen.”

“Yeah, everybody in town’s talking about you.”  Jeez, already?  Then again, word was probably back to that fucker Riley.  Let him deal with the fact that I was here to see my girl.

“Small town, I guess.”

“The smallest,” he replied cheerfully.  “I saw you and Bella on ESPN after your game.  Pretty awesome. Most of the guys here had a thing for her at one time or another.”

Of course they fucking did.  I had to fight down the urge to grab her and take her back to the hotel and hide her from every motherfucker with a cock in this town.

“Is that so?”

“Oh yeah.  None of us had a chance with her when Riley set his sights on her though.”

I was already fucking sick of hearing about that fucker.  What was so damn special about him anyway?  “Why is that?”  I couldn’t keep the irritation out of my voice when I asked.

“Riley was the man.”  Ken shrugged. “Homecoming King, starting forward on the basketball team, track star.  Well, you know the type I’m sure.”  Yes, I knew the fucking type.  I was the fucking type.  Seemed like my girl had a preference when it came to boyfriends. 

“Anyway, nobody stood a chance with her once he got with her so we had to admire from afar.  She looks even better now, too, if you don’t mind my saying so.”

Did I mind? I didn’t fucking know.  My mind was whirling and I wanted to disfigure Riley’s pretty face so nobody would compare the two of us again but I knew I fucking couldn’t.

“Yeah, my girl’s amazing.”  And I wanted to be next to her.  “I’m gonna go find her now.  It was cool meeting you.”  He was saying something but I ignored him as I went into the kitchen.  Reed Girl’s smile lit her face when she saw me.

“Edward!  Where have you been?”  She hurried over to put her arms around me.  I studied her face.  She had a  slight flush to her cheeks but her eyes were clear so far. 

“I was talking to Ken in the living room.”

“Oh, Ken’s here?  I’ll have to go say hi.  He was my Bio partner in high school.”  Bet he just loved that, sporting a woody underneath the lab table while sitting next to my girl.  I didn’t blame him for wanting her but I sure as fuck blamed him for interrupting my eavesdropping.  I was sure I was better in bed than that tool but it would have been good to hear my girl confirm it.

I touched her cheek and she smiled up at me so I bent to give her a kiss.  I was pretty sure I heard several sighs around us but I ignored them and just enjoyed the feeling of my girl melting into me. 

“Mmm, what was that for?” she asked when we broke apart.

“Just because you’re beautiful.”  She was, too.  No wonder they all wanted her.  The rest of the girls were okay but they couldn’t hold a fucking candle to my girl.

“Well, thank you.  Wanna go in the living room for awhile?” 

“Sure, do you need another drink?”

“Yes, thanks.”  I made her another vodka cranberry and we walked hand in hand to the living room.  She sat next to me and I held her close.  She leaned against my chest and put her hand on my knee. 

It was interesting to sit back and watch the way that people flocked to my girl.  I guess this was my first time really being in her world and it was easy to see that she was popular and well liked.  Person after person came up and talked to her and introduced themselves to me, not that I remembered who any of them were by the time they wandered away and somebody new took their place.

I left her to it and went to get her another drink.  When I came back in the living room, there was someone sitting in my place and Reed Girl was glaring at him as she stood up.  Riley.  It had to fucking be.  He was blond, sort of.  His hair was kind of streaky with blond and brown.  Hopefully it was enough blond that it would piss Rainbow off.  He had blue eyes and was tall and pretty fucking muscular, especially compared to Charlie.

He said something to her and she shook her head and took a step but he reached out and grabbed her arm.  Fuck that noise.  I was across the room like a shot.  “Here’s your drink, baby.”  My eyes were on his hand and he quickly let her go.  She reached for me and I tucked her into my side.  “Who the fuck are you?”

I knew, of course, but I damn well wasn’t going to act like he was even on my fucking radar.  And he wasn’t as good looking as I was.  I wasn’t sure what those girls were smoking, but he wasn’t.  He might be better looking than the rest of these losers, but he wasn’t on my level.  They must have lower standards here, because the selection was so limited.  They just didn’t know any better.

He stood and I frowned when I realized we were just about the same height.  I had like an inch on him.  I was more muscular though.  “I’m Riley Biers.”

“Hello, Ronnie.  I’m Edward.”  Reed Girl giggled into my chest.  She knew exactly what I was fucking doing.

“It’s Riley, but I don’t expect you to remember it, having met so many people tonight.  Just ask around, though.  Anybody in town can tell you who I am.”

Really, fucker?  Do you honestly think that makes you impressive?  Do you think you can remotely compare to me?  “In a town of three thousand people?  You must be quite the man, Robbie.”

He laughed. “We take what we can get.”

I met his eyes and smirked.  “Some of us take it all.”  I made sure he saw me brush my fingers along Reed Girl’s hip.  His hands tightened into fists.  Interesting.  If he hit me first, I could absolutely fight back and claim self defense or hell, maybe even police brutality.  Bring it, asshole.  I dare you.

“Some of us already had it.”  Oh no, he fucking didn’t.  I was going to have to kick his ass now.

Before I could say a word, Reed Girl whirled on him.  “What the fuck did you just say?”

“I didn’t mean anything by it.”  He held up his hands and flashed what he probably thought was a charming smile.

“Like hell you didn’t.  You don’t want to play this game, Riley.  I promise, you’ll lose.”  Fuck, my girl was hot when she was mad, especially when she was mad at someone other than me.

“I don’t see why we can’t be mature about this.  I’m sure Edward knows we dated.”

“Actually I can’t say she’s ever felt the need to mention you, have you, beautiful?”

So it was a fucking lie but I wasn’t about to let him think he was that fucking important that we’d even spoken about him.  He was nothing but a distant memory as far as she was concerned.

“The past is the past,” she said, smiling at me.  “I’m pretty focused on the present.”

“You would be,” he muttered.

“What does that fucking mean?” I demanded.  He was not going to insult my girl.  If I had to go to jail, so fucking be it.  Coach would still probably let me play.

“Nothing.”  He smiled at my girl and she sneered in response.  “I’m really glad I got to spend some time with you the other night.”

I snickered as my girl sputtered with outrage.  Did he really think he could make me think they’d done anything together?  “Baby, is this the prick that took your ID?  Pretty fucking hypocritical showing up at a party full of underage drinkers after confiscating their ID’s a couple nights ago.”

“I’m not working tonight and I did give her a warning first.  And the opportunity to keep her card.”  His smile was that of a predator and I wanted to knock that look off his face.  That’s what he wanted, though.  A chance to put me away and take his shot at my girl.

“Clearly she’d rather go to jail than take your opportunity.”  I looked him up and down and laughed. “I can see why.”  Hit me, please hit me.  I will fucking take you down.

“Alright, enough of the pissing contest.  He’s not worth it, baby.”  My girl reached up and stroked my face.  “Let’s just hang out a little longer and then we can go back to the room.”

I glanced at Riley and saw that he looked royally pissed.  I smiled down at her.  “Anything you want, sexy.”

“Right now I want one more drink.”  She took my hand and pulled me into the kitchen with her.  I moved to walk to the bar area but she threw her arms around me.  “I’m sorry.  He’s such an asshole.  You know that nothing happened, right?”

“Of course I do.”  I stroked her back.  “I’m not worried about him, baby.  I’m just surprised you went out with such a fucking prick.”

She giggled and peered up at me.  “Really?”

I grinned at the mischievous expression on her face.  She should always be smiling.  Fucking beautiful.  “Are you implying that I’m anything like that guy?”

She bit her lip and tilted her head so I poked her in her nose.  “Yes and no.  You both have egos but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t keep chasing after a girl that dumped you like he does and make an ass out of yourself in front of her new boyfriend.”

I didn’t know about that.  I had a feeling I would make an ass out of myself for Reed Girl.  She was the only one, though.  “I can’t blame the guy for wanting you.  I can blame him for being a prick and being disrespectful to you, though.  I want to hit him.”

She shook her head.  “I know you do, but you can’t and if anybody gets to hit him, it’s going to be me.”

I snickered.  “Going to finally show me your moves, champ?”

“I’d rather show you those in the hot tub.”

Fuck me.  I grabbed the bottle of vodka and cranberry juice.  “Why don’t we take your drink to go?”  I tossed fifty bucks on the counter to pay for my thievery.

She laughed and kissed me.  “Sounds good to me.  I’m going to use the restroom and then we can get the hell out of here.”

I walked her to the bathroom just in case her prick of an ex decided to try to corner her again.  He came up to me a minute later.  “Private party?” he asked, looking at the stuff in my arms.

“My favorite kind.”

“Enjoy it while it lasts.”

“What does that mean?” I asked as the door opened.  My girl came out and glared at Riley.

“It means she’ll get tired of you one day, too.”

Just the thought of that made me sick.  “No, I won’t.  Edward knows how to keep me satisfied, unlike some people.”  She turned and smiled at me.  “Ready to go, handsome?”

“Yeah.”  I followed her down the hallway.

“I got there first,” Riley muttered, only loud enough for me to hear since my girl was in front of me.  Fuck I wanted to hit him, but I couldn’t.  No, I could only take the best shot I had.

I turned and smiled at him.  “Being there last is what matters, and I’m the one that will be.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have way better things to do than talk to you.”  With that, I turned and got my jacket and my girl.  He wasn’t part of her world anymore and I’d reiterate that fact again tomorrow if he tried anything.

Chapter Text

Sideline Collision Chapter 24

“Thank God that’s over.”  Reed Girl flung herself on the bed as I shed my jacket and shoes.  It was cold as fuck out there.  I hoped to God I didn’t get drafted to one of these cold ass cities.  I’d deal, but damn, it would suck. 

“They’re your friends baby.”  And your motherfucking asshole exes.  That guy was lucky to be alive after the shit he spewed at the party.

“Former friends.  Things have changed.”  She sat up as I grabbed a glass from the bar and poured her a drink.  “You know, you can have something to drink too.  No prying eyes here.”

She had a point.  I got the other glass and mixed a drink for myself.  I wasn’t going to get drunk, but one wouldn’t hurt.  I handed her hers and sat on the bed next to her.  She immediately leaned into me and I slipped an arm around her waist. 

“I’m sorry that Riley was such a jerk.  He wasn’t like that before.”

Maybe he wasn’t.  She’d probably ruined him for all other women.  I more than got that.  It didn’t mean I didn’t still want to punch him in his smug, not nearly as handsome as mine, face.  “Did you really break his heart?”  Fuck, why did I ask that?  It’d been on my mind since I heard that chick mention it, though.

Reed Girl sighed and sat up, turning sideways so her knees pressed into my thighs.  “I don’t think so.  I think I pricked his pride more than anything.  I ended it, he didn’t.  He was quite the player before I came along and I guess he figured he’d always call the shots when it came to us.”

I knew I didn’t call the shots.  When the fuck had I let a girl control my life?  When Reed Girl walked into my locker room, that’s when.  Fucking crazy.

“But he was in love with you, right?  I mean, he was the high school love.”  Fucking hell, why was I just spewing the shit that was in my head at her?

Reed Girl put her hand on my thigh and squeezed.  “Yeah, I guess he was.  But it wasn’t like everything was sunshine and rainbows when I ended it.  We were fighting a lot.  He was getting plenty of attention from other girls and though I could never prove he was cheating, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was.”  Then he was a motherfucking moron on top of being an asshole, because there wasn’t anybody better than Reed Girl, not in this town and not anywhere else either.

“We hooked up last Christmas when I came home.”  What?  She shrugged.  “I was bored.  There’s not much to do here as you can tell.”  So she did him?  Fucking hell.  “It was stupid of me and I sort of had to end it all over again but clearly he thought we’d just pick back up this time as well.  He wanted me to come back after college and settle in and I guess be with him.”

Be with him?  As in….fuck no.  “He wanted to marry you?  Did he propose?”  I was freaking the fuck out at the idea of anyone proposing to my girl, regardless of the fact that she obviously said no.  She was mine, damn it.  If anybody was going to marry her, it would be me.  Someday.  In a few years or something.  Not now.  Fucking asshole.  Did he have a ring?  Was he waiting to spring it on her the instant I fucked up?  I wasn’t going to allow it.

“Edward, calm down.”  She was stroking my cheek and practically in my fucking lap she was leaning so close.  I reached out and pulled her all the way on me and buried my face in her hair.  There.  That was better.  Mine.

“He didn’t propose.”  She ran her fingers through my hair.  “He just assumed that we’d get married and he’d become the chief one day when my dad retired.  Though Riley talks a big game, he’s a small town boy at heart and he’s just got that mentality.  I don’t.”

Right.  My girl wanted more.  And she didn’t want marriage right now.  She’d assured me of that yesterday.  She’d have more with me.  “I fucking hate that guy.”

She laughed and kissed the back of my head.  “So do I, these days.  He’s clearly feeling threatened and lashing out.”

“I’ll threaten the hell out of him,” I vowed, leaning back so I could look at her beautiful face.  “If he talks about you like that again, I’m going to hit him.  Fuck the consequences.”

She shook her head.  “No.  Your game is too important.  I won’t have you getting hurt, even if it’s from punching him in his fat face.  I’m not letting anything get in the way of you winning your national championship, Edward.  Nothing matters more than that right now.”

Her complete determination that nothing interfere with my game was really fucking awesome.  “Baby, you don’t have to worry about that.  Even if I hit him, I can play.”

She laughed and kissed my nose.  “Unlike your teammate, he would hit you back, probably with his nightstick, and he’d press charges.  I’m not letting you risk it.  If he steps out of line tomorrow, I’ll hit him.  Or we’ll tell Dad and he’ll shoot him for insulting you.  He probably won’t care what he says to me.”

“Bullshit.”  But the picture I had of Charlie chasing a running Riley from the house with a shotgun was fucking awesome.  “He’d kick his ass if he heard what he’d said about you tonight.”

She smirked.  “True, but he’d kick mine too for not being a virgin.”  I raised an eyebrow at her and she giggled.  “Back then, I mean.  I think he knows that we’re not playing canasta over here.”

“He’s probably hoping I’ll knock you up so his grandson can be a future pro prospect.”  Reed Girl stared at me and I realized what I’d said.  “Uh, not that I want to now or anything…”

She cut me off with a smacking kiss.  “I don’t doubt that Dad would be thrilled to have your genes in our family, but I’d rather not imagine that right before we get in that hot tub.”

The woman was sheer fucking perfection and all mine.  “I love you.”

She laughed and got off my lap, tugging me to my feet.  “I love you, too.  Now let’s get naked and wet.”

“I bet you’re already wet.”  After all, she’d been on my lap.  I was fucking hard, despite the subject matter.

“Hmm, why don’t you hurry up and find out?”

The tub was actually right in the center of our room so I flipped it on and let the water start before turning back to my girl.  She was in some soft red sweater that looked familiar.  “Hey, where did you get that?”

“Your mom bought it for me in New York.  Why?”

Damn it.  “I picked that out and she said it wasn’t an appropriate Christmas present for you.”

Reed Girl giggled.  “Well, I like it.”

Naturally.  Fucking mom.  What in the hell else did she buy her?  And why was I thinking about my mom when I should be getting my girl naked?  That was just fucking wrong.  “Me too.  I think we should take it off, though, so it doesn’t get wet or anything.”

She laughed and held her arms up obediently.  I grinned as I pulled the sweater over her head.  It made this crackling noise and her hair kind of poofed out which made me laugh while she scowled and patted at it.  While she was doing that, I unhooked her jeans and lowered the zipper. 

“I believe I’m supposed to check and see if you’re wet.”  That stopped her hair worries and I slid my fingers into her underwear.  Hell fucking yes.  “It seems you are, baby.”

“Well, how could I not be when you were being all sexy and territorial back at the party?” she asked, her face getting a little flushed as I fingered her. 

“You liked that, did you?”  I removed my hand and tugged her jeans down.  She kicked out of them and I yanked off the heavy socks she was wearing.  Her hands got busy with my hoodie after I stood back up.

“What’s not to like?  If it weren’t for your game, I’d have wanted you to hit him and I probably would have mounted you right in the living room.”

Fuck me.  I helped her toss my hoodie aside and ripped off my t-shirt while she got to work on my jeans.  Her bra came off as I kicked them off and seconds later we were completely naked.

“I really fucking love that you like when I defend your honor.  Did he ever do that for you?”

I hoped the hell not.  I helped her into the water and then sat next to her, pushing the button to turn on the jets.  It felt amazing and I felt a little of the Riley induced tension leaking out of me. 

“No.  Riley was always all bark and no bite.”  No wonder the douchenozzle hadn’t hit me.  Reed Girl turned to me and smiled.  “I like a guy with a little bite.”

“You found the right guy then, baby.”  I nibbled at her neck and made her shriek and wiggle.  Water flew but I didn’t give a flying fuck.

“Stop it!  You’re making a mess.”  But she was laughing and trying to tickle me.

“Who fucking cares?  That’s what we have a billion towels for.”  Seriously, there were tons of them.  It was like they thought the honeymooners were going to have a fucking orgy for ten or twelve people.  I don’t fucking think so. 

Suddenly I remembered what she’d said when we were heading into the party.  “Hey, baby, can you grab the soap?”  She was closest to the stuff, so she didn’t question me.  She pushed away from the side and leaned way over to get the soap, her perfect little ass poking out of the water.  I gave it a smack and she yelled and turned to hit me.  I laughed and pulled her close, rubbing her ass.

“What was that for, asshole?”

“Prime meat,” I reminded her, making her giggle again.  “Since your prime rump was on display there, I had to take a shot at it.”

“It is pretty prime, but you won’t get your hands on it again if you smack me there.”  Her lips poked out in a cute little pout that I absolutely had to have.  She moaned and melted into me and I squeezed her ass just to show her I could.  “Dick,” she said, laughing when we broke apart.

“Yes, but I’m your dick.”

“I don’t want you to be my dick, I just want yours.”  She snickered at the look on my face and gave me a push so that I was sitting on the bench thingy.  “Okay, I want you to be my dick as well.”

I laughed as I sat and pulled her onto my lap.  Damn right she did.  “Only yours, Reed Girl.”  She rubbed herself against me and I groaned.  “Fuck baby, I need you.”  I did, too.  Ever since Riley had spilled his filth about having had her first, I just wanted to take her and drive him out of her mind forever.

“Hey.”  She took my face between her hands and stared into my eyes.  “I’m yours.  Nobody else’s.”  And with that, she lowered herself down and took me inside of her.  Fuck, it felt good. 

“You’re mine.”  She nodded as she began to ride me, using my shoulders as leverage, her awesome tits bouncing right in front of my face. 

“All yours,” she agreed.  I grabbed her hips and pulled her to me.  Water was sloshing, the jets were shooting and it felt incredible but I wanted more.  I lifted her off me and she protested.  “Like this.”  I stood and guided her to put her hands against the side of the tub.  “Position yourself in front of a jet.” 

She smirked at me over her shoulder as she kneeled on the bench and let out a little moan when the water hit the right spot.  “Jesus.”

“No.  Edward.”  She laughed but stopped when I slid back inside her, burying myself deep so that her tight ass was pressed up against me. 

“Holy shit!  Yes, just like that!” 

I nibbled on the back of her neck before pulling out and slamming back into her.  Her knuckles went white on the side of the tub and I held her hips as I started fucking her hard.

“Edward…God…I’m not…” she broke off and screamed as she came around me.  It was so fucking tight I almost felt like I couldn’t move, but I held on and fucked her a few more seconds before I lost it and let myself go.  She was gasping and shaking when I got my senses back so I pulled her away from the jet and sat back down with her on my lap.

“That was intense.”  Yeah, it was.  I’d needed to claim her.  She turned in my arms and burrowed into my neck.  “Thank you for being here.  I can’t imagine how terrible it would have been without you.”

“You never have to be without me,” I promised, stroking her back. 

She kissed the side of my neck and said nothing, just relaxing into me.  Maybe she believed me, maybe she didn’t.  I knew my reputation with girls made her hesitate but I meant it.  She was my girl and there was nobody else I could see myself with now that I had her.  Unlike that moron she’d dated before me, I appreciated her.  I’d show her that, somehow.


“Merry Christmas, handsome.”  I woke to warm lips and a hot naked body, which made for a Merry Christmas indeed.  Before I could pin her to the bed, Reed Girl hopped out of bed and shook her head.  “Oh no, it’s present time and then we have to get around and go to Dad’s.  I have lots of cooking to do.”

“I think we should have Christmas sex before Christmas presents.”

She laughed and thrust a box into my hands.  I smirked at her.  “It’s awfully hard to focus on a present when you’re naked.”

She shook her head and pulled on my hoodie.  Fuck.  That backfired.  I ripped into the pretty red box and Reed Girl sat on the bed bouncing in her excitement.  What the fuck did she get me that had her so excited?  Maybe it was more lingerie and she was going to model it for me.  The red number she wore the other night was awesome.  I wouldn’t complain.  I flipped open the box and there was something red and silky in there but it wasn’t lingerie.  It was a jersey.  I pulled it out and nearly had a fucking heart attack.

“Joe Montana, baby?”  It was a 49ers jersey, number sixteen, old school and holy fuck!  “It’s autographed?  How in the hell did you get this?”  It had to have cost nearly as much as her fucking bracelet.  No way was I letting her spend that kind of money on me.

She stood and did some sort of boogie dance around the room that made my hoodie ride high.  Fucking hot.  “Hey, you’re not the only one that knows famous people.  I asked Tim Brown if he could hook me up at your Heisman ceremony.  He made a call and when Joe heard it was for you, he got an old jersey and signed and sent it.”

Holy fuck.  Joe Montana knew who I was and had signed a game worn jersey for me?  I mean, realistically I knew he probably knew who I was, but still.  This was fucking awesome.  “Baby, it’s amazing.  Thank you.”  I pulled her into my arms and she laughed and hugged me back.

“Really, I feel guilty.  I didn’t have to spend a dime on it.  That’s why I got the lingerie to wear for you instead.”

“You have nothing to feel guilty about, beautiful.  This is the best present anyone’s ever given to me.”  I kissed her and this time she pushed me back on the bed and started moving against me but no.  I laughed as I moved her and sat up.  “Your turn.”

She smacked my ass as I bent to get her box out of my bag and I laughed.  “Hey, you put me off.  You can at least wait for your present.”  Her pout vanished when I put the blue box tied with a white ribbon into her hands. 

“Tiffany’s?” she breathed.  Before I could respond, she had the thing open and was pulling the bracelet out.  “Oh my God, it’s so cute!  Look at the rainbow and the kitten for our Rainbow!  And an oboe?  A book!  Palm tree!  Dolphin!  Your number?  Edward!  I love it.”  She was up and in my arms and kissing me hard.  “Can you help me put it on?” she asked when she’d thanked me breathless.

I laughed and took the thing from her.  “I’ll try.”  Why they made those clasp thingies so fucking small was beyond me, but I managed to secure it around her wrist after some wrangling.  She held it up and twisted it, making it make a little noise as the charms knocked together.

“I’m never going to take it off.  Thank you so much.”

“Better not, baby.”  I really fucking loved that she was wearing something from me, like a symbol of us or something.

“I won’t.”  She kissed me again.  “Come on, sexy, let’s go get a shower.  I think we have just enough time to have sex so long as we’re cleaning as we do.”

“I love it when you multi-task,” I told her, letting her tug me toward the shower.

“You love anything that has to do with sex with me.”

She had a point.  “True, but I also love your efficiency.”

She snickered as she flipped on the water.  “Prepared to be wowed by just how efficient I can be then.”  Fuck yes.  Merry Christmas to us.


“This is going to be fun.”  I shot Reed Girl a disbelieving look as I pulled into her driveway.  “It is.  Just you wait and see.”

Right.  We got out of the car and before we could step onto the walkway the front door opened and Rainbow came tearing out of the house running straight at me.  Reed Girl giggled and bent to pet her but Rainbow was having none of it and reared up on my leg.  Fucking hell.  I sighed and picked her up.  She meowed at me as I put her on my shoulder, then she gave me four headbutts.

“She’s been staring out the window since you two left I think.”  Charlie chuckled as we approached him.  “It’s the damndest thing.  I couldn’t even get her to play with my mustache.”

I laughed as Rainbow curled into me.  I had to admit that I was sort of a little bit glad that she hadn’t slept with Charlie and clearly still preferred me to everyone.  That was as it should be.  “At least she didn’t destroy your house.  We were a little afraid of that.”

“But you left her with me anyway?  Thanks a lot,” Charlie said drily.  “Well, no harm no foul, I guess.  Merry Christmas.”  Reed Girl gave her dad a hug and he shook my hand.  “Come on in out from the cold.  We have some presents to open.”

We went inside and Charlie got on the floor and started passing out presents to himself and Bella.  Rainbow stayed curled up with me.  I was surprised when Charlie handed me a badly wrapped package.  “It’s not much, but I wanted to give you a little something to thank you for dinner yesterday.”

My girl beamed at her father and I thanked him.  What in the hell could he possibly give me?  I hoped it wasn’t something fucking weird.  Since they were both watching, I ripped off the paper and opened the box.  I had to laugh.  “Seahawks hat, huh?”

He smiled and turned a little red when I put the hat on backwards.  “Well, we could use a quarterback and you never know.”

I laughed as Reed Girl nudged me.  Like I wasn’t going to fucking thank him?  I had manners, damn it.  “Thanks, Charlie.  It’s awesome.”

“You’re welcome.”  They started tearing into their presents and I picked up a ribbon and swung it for Rainbow.  She refused to get down, apparently fearing I’d leave her again, but she batted and chewed at it.  Reed Girl started snapping pictures with the new camera Charlie had given her and Charlie was thrilled with the Florida State gear that we supposedly both gave him.  That was apparently one of the cool things about having a girlfriend, she just put your name on stuff and you didn’t have to think of gifts yourself.  That really fucking worked for me.  Maybe I could get her to shop for my family next year.

Reed Girl tossed the turkey in the oven and got busy on some dishes, shooing both of us out of the kitchen when we volunteered to help.  Not that I was sorry about that, mind you.  Charlie and I watched SportsCenter.  It was a bit surreal when the GameDay guys came on and started talking about the championship game, showing clips of me throwing some awesome touchdowns and the LSU defense picking off some passes.

“Cullen could struggle if his receivers can’t get separation from Clayton and Sievers,” that dope Kirk Herbstreit announced.

I sneered at the TV while Charlie laughed.  “Is it weird having them analyze you like that?”

What?  “Not exactly.  It’s just fucked up, you know?  Do they think I haven’t seen cover corners before?  Yeah, LSU’s guy are badass but I’m better than they are and my receivers can and will get separation.  All it takes is for me to throw a check to the back or the tight end and them to break one, and they will fucking break one, and the corners and safeties aren’t going to be able to go man.  We have too many weapons and their linebacker core is weaker than it’s been in previous years.”

Charlie was sort of staring at me the way Reed Girl did when I said something that surprised her.  “What?”  Had I sworn?  Fuck, I had.  Oops.

He shook his head.  “Nothing.  It’s just cool to hear you talk about the game like that.”

Oh.  Well then.  “Can you rewind it to the clip of them versus the Gators?”  Charlie did so.  “Okay, you see when he picks the ball off there?”  He nodded eagerly.  “Well, first of all, if that pansy ass receiver hadn’t cut his route short, it would have been a touchdown.  Rewind again.  There!  See that?  He hitched his step there and he’s supposed to cut in, keep the corner on his back side, but he let him inside.  Easy pickings.  My receivers know better than to do that shit and if they did, they’d never do it again after I kicked their asses for it.  Throw in the fact that I’m a thousand times better than Crawford and you can’t fucking compare us.”

Charlie was grinning hugely.  “That’s great.  Is this what you do to get ready for games?”

“Well sure.  I study tape, pick out weaknesses and exploit them.  Their safety is a hard hitter but he’s slow.  If I can fake him, make him take a few steps in the wrong direction, no way is he catching up to Garrett or Eric or Wendell.”

“Damn right,” Charlie agreed, though I had no idea if he knew much about my team or not.  Still, it was cool that he was supporting me. 

“You know…” before I could finish the thought, the doorbell rang and Reed Girl asked if one of us could get it.  “I’ll get the door.”  Rainbow and I went to the front door and pulled it open and there was the motherfucking prick in all his non-glory.  He was holding fucking flowers and smiling widely until he saw me.

“Well, I knew you were a pussy but this solidifies it.”  What the fuck was he talking about?  Then it hit me.  Rainbow.

I smirked at him.  “You are what you eat and I ate well last night and again this morning.”  Reed Girl would kill me if she heard me say that but the asshole needed to be put in his place and my words struck home.  His jaw clenched and I didn’t bother not to laugh.  “Come on in, Riley.  Did you bring flowers for my girl?  I’m sure she’ll love them.”

He took a step toward me and got right in my face, but I didn’t move.  I just held my ground and glared at him.  “Something to say?”

“Plenty.  You’re nothing but a temporary placeholder until she comes back to me. This is her home and she belongs here.  She’ll see that soon enough and then you’ll only have that thing to keep you warm at night.”  He pointed at Rainbow and before I knew it, a little gray paw shot out and slashed his finger.  She was growling and hissing and her fur puffed up to like five times its normal size.

“What the hell?  It scratched me!”  Riley was sucking on his finger like the little fucking baby he was and I was laughing like a loon.  Fucking hell, Rainbow was awesome.  I was going to give her a buttload of fucking treats for that one.

“I guess we can see who the real pussy is now, can’t we?  I’d recommend you stay the fuck out of my face because I’ll do more than scratch you if you try to fuck with what’s mine.”  I jabbed him in the chest.  “Notice I didn’t say take what’s mine, because you’re not remotely fucking capable of that.”

“We’ll see,” he muttered.  Rainbow let out a weird ass yowl and he jumped.  “Jesus, keep that demon away from me.”

“She’s not a demon.  She’s our kitten and Bella loves her.”  He tried to walk past me and I angled Rainbow toward him.  She took another swipe and got his ear.

“What the fuck?  Keep that thing away from me!”

“Oops.  I’m sorry.  You got a little close to her.  She apparently doesn’t like you.  I wonder why.”  Yeah, my voice was dripping with sarcasm.

“What’s going on out here?”  Reed Girl stood in the doorway of the kitchen wearing an apron.  When the fuck did aprons look hot on a girl?  Apparently when they were on mine.  I really wanted to have her wearing only an apron so I could have my way with her.  Once the dickhead was gone, that was.  He wasn’t allowed to see her naked ever again.  If I could wipe out the part of his brain that remembered what she looked like I definitely would. 

“Rainbow doesn’t seem to like Riley.”  I didn’t even try to keep the glee out of my voice at that turn of events.  Best fucking animal ever.  Rainbow deserved all the awards.  I might give her my Heisman.

Reed Girl sighed.  “Are you okay, Riley?”

“Of course.  Just a little scratch.  She’s tough like you are.”

Reed Girl laughed and shook her head.  “Oh, I think she takes more after her father in this particular case.”  Riley choked on air at her comment and I didn’t even bother to scold her for saying that shit.  Fuck yes, Rainbow was mine, especially when she was kicking Riley’s ass.

“Right, well, these are for you.”  He thrust the damn roses at her and Reed Girl forced a smile.

“Thanks.  I’ll just go put these in water.  Dad’s in the living room,” she informed him, effectively dismissing him.  Riley headed down the hallway but I stopped in front of my girl.  “What did you do?” she asked, narrowing her eyes at me.

Fuck that noise. “I didn’t do anything.  Your cat, who has awesome taste, hates him.  She swiped at him.  I didn’t provoke it.”  I provoked him, maybe, but not her.  He did that on his own.

“What am I going to do with the two of you?”  She held out her hand and Rainbow rubbed against her, purring madly.

“Give us both rewards?”

She laughed and kissed me.  “Go intimidate him some more and we’ll see.”

I grinned at her.  “We’re on it.  By the way, you look fucking hot in that apron.” 

She glanced down at it and laughed.  “Only you would think that.”  Bullshit.  Riley thought so, too, I was sure of it.  It was a good thing I couldn’t read his fucking mind or I’d probably have to kill him.  “But thank you.  You look really hot in that backwards hat.”

“You wear nothing but the apron for me later and I’ll wear nothing but the hat.” 

She laughed and pushed me away.  “We’ll see.  No fighting.”

That fucking sucked.  “Okay, baby.  I love you.”  I said that last part rather loudly, just so the cocksucker would know. 

She laughed and glanced down the hallway but didn’t see him.  “I love you, too,” she practically shouted, winking at me.  “Now let me cook in peace.”

“Absolutely.”  I kissed her again before heading back to the living room.  Riley was sitting in my spot, looking all stiff and annoyed.  Charlie was chattering about some reports about underage drinking last night.

I smirked at Riley.  “Huh, did you know anything about that, Riley?”

“Can’t say that I did, Cullen, but you know kids, always looking for trouble.”

“Some of us even find it.  What’s life without a little trouble, huh, Charlie?”  I dropped down on the other end of the couch and damned if Rainbow didn’t scoot across me so she’d be closer to Riley.  She was still growling lightly.

“Right.  What’s wrong with the cat, Edward?”  Charlie was watching her with interest.

“She doesn’t seem to like Riley.  I can’t imagine why.”  Because she was awesome and I really sort of loved her right now.  I was damn proud of her for attacking him.

Charlie laughed.  “I didn’t think that cat hated anybody.”

“Oh, she hates one of my teammates.  He has a drug problem.”  I shot Riley an innocent look.  “You don’t indulge in drugs, do you, Riley?”

“Of course not!  How dare you imply that?”  Riley was yelling and carrying on a little too hard, if you asked me. 

“I didn’t, I was just asking.  Rainbow’s pretty awesome at ferreting out drugs.  You could use her instead of a dog.  She’s pretty lethal, isn’t she, Riley?”

He glared at both of us.  “I think we’ll stick to the dogs, thank you.”

“Stick to what you know,” I muttered quietly enough for only Riley to hear.

“Better a…” he broke off when voices filled the hallway.

“We’re here!  Hey, Charlie.  Hey, Edward!”  Four of Charlie’s friends that’d I’d met last night piled in.  I had no fucking clue what their names were but I just said hi and let them greet Rainbow, who didn’t hiss or swipe at one of them which was also fucking awesome.  Chew on that shit, Riley.

“Welcome, men.  Pull up a chair.”  They all started chatting about town shit which was boring as hell so I tuned them out and petted Rainbow for a bit.  She deserved some love for all the awesomeness she was rocking today.

Charlie started talking about watching film with me, which was a bit of a fucking exaggeration but I thought it was kind of nice anyway and I remembered my initial idea.  It would make his fucking day and maybe, just maybe, I could take out Riley without throwing a punch.  Fuck yes.

“Hey, Charlie, do you have a football?”

His eyes lit up just like my girls did.  “Of course I do.  Do you want to sign it?”  Riley grunted and I had to resist the urge to laugh.  Fucking awesome.  Suck it, Riley.

“Well, maybe later if you want me to, but I was thinking that I could use a little practice and it’s not too cold outside.  Want to go out and throw the ball around a little?”

I didn’t even finish the suggestion before Charlie was hightailing it out of the room.  His friend laughed.  “I think you just made his day.”  Fuck yeah I did.  “And mine for that matter.  Not every day I get to play football with a Heisman winner.”

“Happy to.  I need to keep the arm in shape.”  Charlie came back in and I got to my feet.  “Teams of three, I’ll be the full time quarterback if there are no objections?”  Of course there weren’t any; that would be fucking ridiculous.  “Let me give the cat to Bella and I’ll meet you out there.”

“Where’s everyone going?” she asked when I came into the kitchen.  I put Rainbow on the counter and she immediately went for the ham Reed Girl had out.  She snatched it away just in time but I yanked a piece and tore it up for her. 

“She deserves whatever she wants today,” I informed my girl, laughing as Rainbow tore into the ham like nobody’s business.  “We’re going to play football.” 

My girl cocked an eyebrow at me.  “Are we?  And just what do you have planned?”

“Nothing.”  I kissed her cheek and jumped out of the way before she could grab me and demand answers.  “Just watch and see.”

“Edward…”  But I was off.  She wouldn’t care anyway.  I wasn’t going to hit him, after all.  Sometimes accidents happened.  It certainly wouldn’t be my fault if something were to happen to Riley while we were playing.

“Okay, do we have teams?” I asked when I got outside.

“Yeah.  Me and Billy and Stoops against Riley, Tom and Jenks.  Just touch football, right?”

Sadly.  The ground was probably too hard for tackle and I didn’t want Reed Girl’s dad getting hurt.  I’d be fucked then, and not in the good way.

“Yep.  And nobody gets to touch the quarterback.”  I grinned at the look of disappointment on Riley’s face.  “My coach would hunt anybody down that injured me.”

“Hey, I’m not going to lay a hand on you!” Charlie promised, which made me laugh considering my first impression of him.

“Nice hat.  You gonna play for our boys?” Billy asked, tugging on the bill behind my head.

I met Riley’s very unamused blue eyes.  “Never say never.  This place is growing on me and Bella loves it here, so it wouldn’t be so bad if we were close by.”

“It’d be the best!”  Charlie was practically dancing in the yard.  It was fucking hilarious.  Riley looked like he wanted to punch me but God knew he was too much of a pussy to do it.

“Okay, who’s up?”  They split into teams and we got started.  I had to bide my time, so I played it straight for the first twenty minutes.  Since they couldn’t touch me, I sent everyone out in running patterns and spread the ball around.  Charlie’s face when he caught the first pass from me was priceless.  He acted like he’d won the Super Bowl.  It felt kind of good to make him so happy.  Also, it felt good to throw again, even if I was throwing pretty short patterns.  The yard wasn’t that fucking big.

It was time.  I gathered Charlie, Billy and the other dude up.  “Charlie, it’s coming your way.  Go about twenty yards and cut in.  Billy, you go over the middle, ten yards up.  You take the other side.”

Riley was covering the right side of the field, so that’s where I was sending Charlie.  I called for the ball and Billy tossed it back and they took off.  Charlie ran down the line, puffing away and cut right like I’d told him to.  Riley cut with him and I threw the ball exactly where I wanted it and it nailed Riley right in the side of the head.  He went down like a stone.

“Oh, shit!  Man down!  Are you okay, Riley?”  Charlie was patting at him and we all jogged up to check on Riley as he lay there looking dazed. 

“I’m so sorry, Riley.”  I tried to sound concerned.  “Maybe you should go to the hospital and get checked out.  You could have a concussion.”

“I’m fine,” he murmured weakly.

“Is everything okay?”  We all turned as Reed Girl came out with Rainbow at her heels.  Rainbow ran right to me while my girl bent over and peered down at Riley.  “That had to hurt.”

“I’m fine.  He doesn’t throw that hard.”  Bull fucking shit I didn’t.  But he was trying to be all manly in front of my girl.  Charlie helped him up and he rubbed at the side of his head.  “Maybe I could get some ice for it.”

“Sure, I’ll get you some.”  Riley fell into step beside my girl.

Fuck, that backfired.  “Go get him, Rainbow,” I murmured to the kitten.   Much to my utter surprise, she ran after them and cut right in front of Riley, running between his legs.  He jerked, trying to stop himself, but toppled over.  My girl, being graceful, managed to get out of the way, thankfully. 

“What is with that fucking cat?”  He kicked at her and that pissed me off.

“Did you just try to kick an innocent animal?” I demanded, scooping her up.  She let out a pitiful cry because she was an amazing little actress and cuddled into me.  Fuck that noise.  He wasn’t kicking my cat.  I could kick his ass fair and square now.

“Really, Riley, that’s not acceptable,” Charlie scolded.  “She didn’t mean to trip you.”

“She did, though.  She doesn’t like me.  He probably told her to do it.”  He pointed at me.

Damn right I did and she listened because she was fucking fantastic.  “Yeah, because cats do things on command.”  Reed Girl shot me a look and I smiled.  “I’d get her to clean her own litter box if that was the case.”  I put Rainbow down and kept an eye on Riley in case he thought about going after her again.

“Whatever.”  Riley pushed himself up.  “I could really use that ice now.” 

“Sure.”  Reed Girl led him toward the kitchen.  “Everybody take off those muddy shoes.  I’m not cleaning up after you.”

There was some good natured grumbling but everybody took off their shoes, Riley included, leaving his by the kitchen door.  I started to follow but Charlie clapped a hand on my shoulder.  “I’ve seen you throw that ball on a laser between three defenders and complete your pass.”

Fuck.  “Yeah?  So?”

“So, I take it you hit your target this time, too?”

Well, it wasn’t like it wasn’t fucking true.  “Yes.  We ran into him last night and he said some things about Bella that I didn’t care for.”

Charlie’s mouth thinned into a straight line.  “I see.  And the cat?”

“Dislikes him, too.  I didn’t think she’d really trip him but she’s done that to Jasper at home so I guess that’s her thing.”

Charlie looked thoughtful.  Rainbow was sniffing all the shoes by the sliding glass door and then she started to walk toward the kitchen.  “Well, I can’t say I cared for him overly much when he was dating my daughter. Seemed like a jerk to me.  I thought he’d changed but apparently he hasn’t.”

“He wants what he can’t have.”

Charlie laughed.  “I’ve seen the way my daughter looks at you.  She never looked at him like that.  And I see how you look at her.  You’re full of her and he’s full of himself.  He doesn’t stand a chance.”  Maybe not but I was damned well going into that kitchen soon.  “What’s the cat doing?”

“I don’t know.”  She was sniffing the grass and came to stop in front of the door.  “I guess she wants to go with Bella.”  But then she turned and sniffed Riley’s shoes.  She climbed on top of the right one and squatted over it and holy shit.  “She’s peeing on his shoe!”

“Well, I’ll be damned.  That’s a funny little kitten you’ve got there.”

“She’s awesome.”  She finished pissing on his shoe and came running over to me.  I swear it looked like she was smiling.  I scooped her up and gave her a kiss right on top of her head.  “Nobody fucks with your little family, do they, Rainbow?”

She meowed and rubbed against my face as Charlie laughed.  “Alright.  Go check on her.  I know you’re dying to.”  I hurried toward the kitchen door.  “And Cullen?”  I glanced over my shoulder at him.  “Nice throw.”  I grinned and opened the door just as my girl’s fist was connecting with Riley’s face.

“What the fuck?” I asked, hurrying in and stepping in front of her just in case he thought about retaliating.

“Riley thought that my putting ice on his head was an open invitation to try to kiss me.”

Fuck that noise.  Riley was going to die.  I took a step toward him but Reed Girl grabbed my waist just as Charlie came in and demanded to know what was going on.  Rainbow was on my shoulder, hissing away.

“He kissed her.” 

“He tried,” Reed Girl corrected.  “I turned my head and he got my cheek, then he got my fist to his face.”

“Riley, I think it’s time for you to go,” Charlie told him.  He smiled at me.  “If you can’t respect my daughter and her boyfriend, you’re not welcome here.  Ever.  Get your shoes and get out.”

A little of the red haze that I was seeing started to fade at the reminder of Rainbow’s sabotage.  Riley looked shocked and I wasn’t sure if it was from the punch or Charlie’s words.  He rubbed at his jaw.  “Charlie, Bella, I’m sorry.  I wasn’t thinking and…”

“No, you weren’t, but you’ll have plenty of time to think on your own.  Please leave.”  My girl was supremely pissed.  I pulled her close and she curled into me.  Riley eyed us and shook his head before heading outside.  I was pretty sure I heard him curse when he likely discovered his shoes but I wasn’t sure and I only had eyes for my girl.  The kitchen cleared out and she hugged me hard.

“So, that happened.”  She laughed at my statement and grinned up at me.

“I can’t believe you threw a ball into his head.”

“Hey, you punched him and Rainbow scratched him, tripped him and pissed on his shoe.”  I wasn’t the only one who’d taken care of the prick.

She started laughing so hard I was afraid she was going to fall over, so I tightened my grip on her.  “She peed on his shoe?  When?”

“When you brought him in to get his ice.”  That made her scowl.  “What the fuck happened?”

“He bitched about how you and Rainbow were out to get him and I just laughed it off and got him ice.  I brushed his hair aside to see if I could see a bump and he took that as an invitation I guess.”  Her eyes were shooting fire.  Thank fuck it wasn’t at me.  “He leaned in and I tried to get completely away but he grabbed me so I just turned my head.”  Fuck.  I really, really needed to hit him.  He wouldn’t be able to walk out under his own power when I got through with him.

“Then I hit him,” she finished, looking proud.

“You have a good right cross, baby.  Remind me not to piss you off.”

She laughed.  “I’ll do that.”

“I’m glad I got to see your mad skills, especially since they weren’t directed at me.”

“I told you I could kick some ass.”

“So you did.”  I brought her hand up and studied it.  Her knuckles were a little red but her skin wasn’t split or anything.  “Now it looks like you need some ice.”  I kissed her hand and she sighed and moved back into my arms.

“I just need you.”  Rainbow put a paw on her head and she laughed.  “And Rainbow.”

“We’re all a pretty awesome team.”

“That we are,” she agreed, laughing.  “I love you, both.”

“We love you, too.”  This Christmas was definitely one for the record books.  We got fucking awesome presents and we all combined to take down Riley.  I couldn’t ask for much more than that.

“I’ll wear the apron later.”  Fucking A, and the day got even better.

“I’ll wear the hat.”  And I kissed her.  Merry fucking Christmas to all and to us, at least, a very good night.

Chapter Text

Sideline Collision Chapter 25

"Happy New Year!" Jasper threw his arms around me as soon as we walked through the front door. I dropped our bags and shoved him off me.

"What the fuck?"

He danced around me and scooped Reed Girl into his arms. Rainbow eyed him warily from her perch on my shoulder while I looked around and tried to figure out what the fuck was going on. The living room had a banner stretched across it wishing us a Happy New Year and of course there were fucking balloons and streamers everywhere. The balloons, not remotely shockingly, were shiny and Jasper's eyes were red. Fucking great.

My girl laughed and hugged him. "Happy New Year to you too, but I think you're a few days early."

Jasper shook his head and kissed her cheek. "No, Reed, this is our New Year. Can I have a kiss?" He pursed his lips at her.

Fuck that noise. "No, you cannot have a kiss." My girl giggled and kissed his cheek, which was marginally more acceptable than his lips. "Put her down, Jackass, and explain this mess."

He sighed but did so, putting his arm around her instead. "Reed likes it, don't you?" She chuckled and nodded. "We won't be here for New Year's Eve, so we're having it here tonight. Wife said so." He lunged for me again and I sidestepped him, laughing when he fell on his ass.

"Looks like you started the party early."

He shrugged and leaned against the wall, not bothering to try to get up. "It's my last night to party. Wife said so again."

So Shorty finally put her foot down? "No more weed?"

He shook his head mournfully. "No. It's time for me to be immature and grow up."

"I think you mean mature," Reed Girl corrected, laughing. "I don't know if I'll be able to recognize you when you're not high."

"I have to give it up for my Lent Resolution. Wife said so."

Wife had done a lot of talking, apparently. Thank fuck for that. "New Year's Resolution, moron. You've been yapping about New Year's since we got here, how the fuck do you forget that?"

His face brightened and he grinned wide. "Oh yeah! Happy New Year! When's the party? Where are my balloons?"

Like I fucking knew when the party was? I wasn't even going to point out his fucking balloons. "Where's Shorty?"

"She went to get…" he paused and shrugged. "Stuff. For the party. I have to smoke up all my weed before midnight."

Jeez, he'd be a fucking mess by the end of the night. I picked up the bags I'd dropped and carried them into Reed Girl's room. I still had to go back to the car and get more. To say my mother went overboard with Christmas would be the fucking understatement of the century. I was pretty sure my girl had gotten a complete new wardrobe and every book ever written. I couldn't complain, though. It was kind of cool as fuck that my parents made her feel like part of the family.

Arms wrapped around my waist and I felt my girl press a kiss to my back. "It looks like we're having a New Year's celebration after all."

Fuck. I hadn't even thought about the fact that I'd be away from her, probably because I hated the idea of it. We were headed to New Orleans tomorrow and the band wasn't coming until a day before the game. I turned and pulled her into my arms. "I'm sorry, baby."

She smiled and shook her head. "Don't be. We'll celebrate tonight and after you win the championship game."

Her complete and utter confidence in me was sexy as fuck. I lifted her off the ground and kissed her. Rainbow smacked the side of my face but I ignored her and felt her hop off my shoulder. "Count on it, sexy girl," I told her as I set her back on the floor.

Rainbow meowed and we glanced over as she crouched in her litter box. "I think she's pissed that I'm stealing your attention away," my girl said with a laugh.

"Too bad." It wasn't like I hadn't spoiled her rotten since the Riley incident. Hadn't she gotten to ride in my hoodie on the plane again? Hadn't we bought her a fuckton of toys, including some ridiculous cat castle thing that was in the back of Emmett's Explorer? Hadn't I laughed when she climbed the Christmas tree and knocked off a bunch of ornaments? Mom had been displeased but since she was Reed Girl's kitten, she hadn't gotten too mad about it. I swear she liked her better than she liked me.

"Jaspy, you were supposed to wait until tonight! Get your sexy ass off the floor and help me get the…oh, you're here!" Shorty grinned at us from the doorway. "Good, even better. I need you to get the food out of my car. Emmett and Rose are picking up the alcohol. After you're done with that, get out of here for awhile so we can get ready and take him with you. I expect you both back here by seven, dressed formally." She glared at Jasper who was scooting around the floor on his ass for some reason.

"Hello to you, too, Ali. How was your Christmas?" Reed Girl, ever unruffled, hugged her friend and took a bag from her.

Shorty laughed. "Sorry, I got all caught up in party planning. Christmas was good. How was yours?"

Reed Girl smiled at me. "Way better than I thought it'd be." Damn right it was.

"I guess so, what with your man coming to surprise you." She frowned at Jasper as he wrapped his arms around her legs. "Would have been nice if mine would have thought of that."

"I don't think. I just do," he told her, licking her knee. Fucking hell. What was wrong with that douche? "I wrote my love for you in the sky."

Shorty giggled and ruffled his hair as Reed Girl and I exchanged confused glances. "He hired a skywriter for you?" I mean, what the fuck? That had to cost a fortune.

She shook her head. "He sent me love poems via email every day."

And that equated to the sky how? Fuck this noise, I didn't even want to know. His brain was broken. I picked up Rainbow who was dancing around my legs and set her on the bed. "I'll go get the rest of your stuff and the food," I offered.

Jasper grabbed my leg as I tried to walk by him. I thought about kicking him but Reed Girl and Shorty would be pissed. "What the fuck, Jasper?"

"I'll help. Get me up." I rolled my eyes and pulled him to his feet.

"After you boys get done with that, go home and change. We're doing this up right," Shorty instructed. Fucking hell. I just wanted to spend the night wrapped around my girl. I was sick of sharing her with everyone. I actually wanted to be back in our hotel room in Forks, away from the rest of the world.

She must have seen something in my face because she stood on her tiptoes and gave me a soft kiss. "I can't wait to get you out of whatever sexy suit you're wearing."

Okay, maybe this New Year's thing wouldn't be so bad after all. "What will you be wearing?" I asked, trying to pull her in but she shook her head and danced away from me.

"You'll have to wait and see."

The look in her eyes made me think that it would be worth the wait. Alright then. "Come on, Jasper, we have shit to do apparently." It didn't matter when we celebrated, she was going to be my girl this year, next year and beyond.


"I can't do it." I looked up to find Jasper in my doorway, as usual just letting himself in. His hair was wild, his eyes were red and his suit was rumpled. He looked like one of the homeless dudes in that movie where Jamie Lee Curtis showed her tits.

"What the fuck can't you do? And why do you insist on letting yourself into my room without invitation?" Unlike him, I looked awesome. I smoothed down my blue tie and pulled on my jacket while he stomped around my room muttering.

"I need you." He stopped right in my face and gave me this sad ass look that might have made me feel bad were he not talking about needing me.

"What the fuck does that mean?" If he was finally giving into his gay tendencies regarding me, he was in for some disappointment.

"I can't not." I just stared at him, fucking clueless and he brought his fist toward my face, making me step back. "I can't knot it." I noticed that he had a fucking tie in his hand and sighed as I yanked it out. He grinned brightly as I put the stupid tie around his neck and straightened his collar. Thank fuck there was nobody around to see me dressing him.

"You're a mess," I informed him as I tied the tie. "Why does your shirt look like you slept in it?"

"I don't know." He shrugged and held up his hands. "My fingers wouldn't work."

I snickered. "Sounds like a personal problem. I feel bad for Shorty."

"Wife! Where is she?"

Great, I'd fucking gotten him on a new train of thought. Never a good thing. "She's at home. We're heading over there in a few minutes. I want to stop off and get flowers for Reed Girl before we get there."

"Flowers have reeds," he said, running his non-working fingers through his hair.

"Stems," I corrected. One last look in the mirror to confirm I looked good and we were taking off.

"Flutes have stems, have you seen Reed's?"

"What the fuck are you babbling about? Champagne flutes? Yeah, we'll probably drink champagne later."

"Bubbles! I like bubbles. And balloons."

I rolled my eyes. "No shit. Let's get the fuck over there before you forget what we're doing."

"Do you have candy?" he asked, looking toward my nightstand.

"No, you ate it all. I'm sure Shorty has candy for you."

"She's sweet like candy," he murmured.

And I didn't need to hear any more of that shit. "Let's go."


We got to the front door and I stopped Jasper before he barged right in. "We're supposed to do this right, remember? Knock on the fucking door."

Since that simple instruction apparently confused him and he did nothing more than stare at me with bloodshot eyes, I went ahead and knocked myself. Shorty opened the door beaming at us, wearing a short black dress and looking all done up for the night.

"Don't you look wonderful? Bella's just about ready. Come in, come in." I couldn't wait to see what my girl was wearing if Shorty looked so fancy.

We walked in and saw candles lit at the dining room table and soft music was playing. Something smelled good, too. "Wow, you've been busy."

Shorty smiled. "We wanted to make tonight special before we send our men off to battle."

"I'll win for you!" Jasper promised, making her laugh. I laughed too, because that fucker wasn't seeing the field unless we were up by a good thirty points in the fourth quarter and even I wasn't planning on winning by that much, unless our defense had a monster game.

"I'm sure you will. Are those for me?"

"What?" His face was completely blank.

I sighed and pulled his arm forward. God he was a burnout. "The flowers, dumbass."

"Oh yeah. Happy Anniversary!" He grinned and gave the daisies to Shorty which made her laugh. I hoped he was right and those were her favorites, otherwise he was going to look like the cheap ass that he really was.

"Happy New Year, Jaspy." She gave him a kiss. "Thank you for the flowers. You got my favorites." Okay, so he'd gotten something right. It was good to know there was a brain cell or two he hadn't fried yet.

"Where are Emmett and Blondie?" I asked. We'd had to drive back separately since we had too much shit to bring to school, including all of Emmett's shit. He was officially moving into his apartment tomorrow. There was one reason to be glad that I had to leave early to go to New Orleans. I didn't have to help his ass move.

"She made him go to his place to change. She's in her room."

Good. She could stay there for all I cared. She was a little nicer to me over Christmas, but that was likely only because my parents were around. She still watched me like she expected me to run out of the room and fuck the first girl I could find at any minute. It pissed me the fuck off.

"Did they get everything they were supposed to?"

Shorty nodded and held out a platter of cheese and crackers. I grinned and took one. It seemed our girls had gone all out to give us a New Year's celebration. We were pretty fucking lucky. Jasper sure seemed to think so. He was stuffing his face. Shorty sighed and took the platter away.

"He was supposed to wait to smoke until after dinner."

I laughed. "Something tells me he had way too much weed for that."

"True." We both watched as Jasper threw himself on the couch.

"Are you really making him clean up? For good?"

Shorty nodded. "It's time and he's really pushing it. He almost got arrested last week hanging out with his friends and getting high. He hid and they didn't rat him out even though they got busted."

Christ. That was all we needed. My backup getting arrested and charged with possession. "Fucking hell."

"Yeah, he called me freaked out and that's when I decided to put my foot down. He said he was going to quit soon anyway but he's risking too much."

"But I feel so good," he complained from the couch. He was holding one of his stupid balloons and making faces at himself. Fucking freak.

"I'll make you feel good, Jaspy."

That got his attention. He peered at her over the back of the couch. "Yeah?"


Fuck this noise. Before I could escape, Reed Girl's door opened and I just about swallowed my tongue. She was in some blue, strapless dress that clung to every curve. Her hair was a mass of curls, some up, some down and her eyes were dark and smoky.

"Holy shit, baby, you look amazing." I walked over and held out the bouquet of flowers I'd gotten for her. The florist swore it was their best one and since it was their most expensive, I assumed that was true. I knew it had roses and some other flowers and my girl's smile when she saw them told me I'd done alright.

"Thank you. So do you." She reached up and tugged on my tie. I leaned in and captured her lips with mine. I felt the tugging on my pants before I heard the meow. Reed Girl laughed and released me. "Thank you for the flowers."

"You're welcome." I couldn't take my eyes off her as I handed them over. I bent to pick up Rainbow and she curled into my shoulder. I took Reed Girl's hand and walked with her to the dining room. She set the flowers in the center of the table.


"You are," I told her, because she was. Fuck, she'd never been more beautiful. I wanted to pull her back into her bedroom and forget about the rest of the night but I knew better.

She laughed lightly and kissed me again. "Where's the mistletoe?" Jasper's annoying voice finally penetrated my head and I stopped kissing her to scowl at him.

"You're mixing up your holidays," my girl informed him.

"Reed's pretty, nearly as pretty as my wife," he told us, which was just fucking wrong. Reed Girl was the most beautiful girl in the world.

"Thank you, Jasper. You look very nice, well put together."

"Wait til he takes the jacket off," I muttered, making her giggle.

"Edward dressed me," he told her proudly.

Fucking hell. "I did not. I tied his stupid tie."

Reed Girl giggled and led me over to the loveseat. "That was very nice of you, handsome."

"Yeah, well…" I sure as fuck wouldn't be doing it again if he was going to go around telling people I dressed him. If I dressed him, he wouldn't look like a fired Wall Street bum.

"I'm ready, let's party!" My brother, of course, had to come into the room loudly, a big grin on his face. At least he was wearing a suit. Em wasn't big on those, but Shorty had clearly gotten to him.

"God, Emmett, must you yell, all the time?" Blondie stood in the hallway in some tight red dress that had my brother drooling immediately. I was pretty sure they weren't fucking yet. She'd stayed in a guest room at my parent's house and Em was walking funny so I suspected a permanent case of blue balls. Thank fuck I wasn't in his shoes. Reed Girl put her hand on my leg and her pinky sort of rubbed my cock. Yes, my girl ruled.

"Yes," he told her. "You're hot, Rosie."

She shook her head. "Thanks, Em." She took his hand and they joined us, sitting next to Shorty and Jasper, who was sort of slouched over the arm of the couch, still holding his stupid fucking balloon. What was his fascination with those things?

"So, how was meeting the parents?" Shorty asked Rose.

She smiled. "They're great."

"Way nicer than her parents, let me tell you," Emmett announced, earning a scowl from his girlfriend. That was my brother, though, a dumbass that said shit without thinking about it first. "What, it's true! Your dad gave me the stink eye every time I came near you."

"That's because you were practically molesting me at every opportunity."

"Well, damn, Rosie, look at you! How could I resist?" His dimples flashed and Blondie's look of irritation melted into a smile.

"Well, thanks. My parents don't trust him, yet, but I'd say that they were coming around by the time we left, especially my mom."

"Naturally," Emmett said with a grin. "All women are putty in my hands."

"Not me, buddy," she reminded him.

"Don't I know it?" my brother muttered.

"Anyway, the Cullens are great. You should see all the presents we got," Blondie told Shorty. "I'm pretty sure Mrs. Cullen is ready to move Bella in permanently."

I snickered as Reed Girl laughed and shook her head. "Esme's amazing."

"I'll say. I can't believe you slept in the same bedroom with each other." Blondie still sounded surprised.

Like I'd fucking let her sleep anywhere else? I didn't think so. "My parents are cool."

"And they know he'd sneak into my room after they went to sleep anyway," Reed Girl said with a laugh.

I nuzzled her neck. "Damn right, baby."

"Speaking of parents, did Edward get to meet Renee?" Shorty asked.

Reed Girl groaned and I laughed. "Yeah, not that Bella didn't try to keep it from happening, though." She thought her mom wouldn't be home when I came to pick her up to take her to my house after she stopped home for a couple of hours, but her mother had apparently been lying in wait so she could meet me. She pulled up right behind me in the driveway and proceeded to devour me with her eyes. I'd been a little worried until Reed Girl came out to save me.

"Mom fangirled over him in a way different way than Dad did."

"Well, I don't know about that…" she elbowed me and dissolved into giggles.

"Edward thought my dad wanted him. My mom definitely does want him." Reed Girl shook her head.

"I'm Swan kryptonite."

"She's not a Swan anymore, not that that stops her," my girl muttered.

"Relax, baby, I only have eyes for you." She smiled at that but I couldn't resist teasing her. "Although your mom did inform me that she likes younger men."

She groaned as the room exploded with laughter. "She does. My stepfather, if I can even call him that, is twenty-six. So wrong."

Ha, what was wrong was that her mom would probably not have let that stop her if I'd given her the go-ahead. I was used to women of all ages wanting me but my girlfriend's mom? It was kind of fucking gross.

"Was she hot?" my idiot brother asked, getting a smack from Rose and a glare from my girl. I knew better than to answer that fucking question, thank you very much. "What? Bella's hot so her mom could be, too."

"You don't ask that, stupid," Blondie informed him.

"Wife's mom's an angel," Jasper supplied. "And my wife is the prettiest angel of them all." I was kind of glad for his dumb ass, because now the girls were melting over his comment and forgetting all about hot mothers. Because, yeah, my girl came from good genes, but I sure as fuck wasn't going to admit that her mom was hot.

"Thanks, Jaspy." Shorty kissed him. Reed Girl touched my cheek, making her bracelet jingle and Rainbow started batting at the charms. "Oh my God, is that your Christmas present from Edward? I can't believe I didn't notice before. Let me see!" Shorty was upon us and exclaiming over the bracelet and each charm. "You did well," she complimented me.

Damn right I did, even if it took the better part of a day and dealing with my mother's special brand of crazy Christmas advice. "It looks great on her," I said, playing with the charms myself. Rainbow moved down my arm and batted at the rainbow charm again and made all of us laugh.

"She loves it," Reed Girl told them.

"She loves anything that dangles," I pointed out.

"Speaking of which, we need to get her stupid castle out of my car," Emmett supplied. "I can't believe Emmett Junior won't play with it."

"He won't play with anything. I think you got a dud cat," I told him, making him scowl. I mean, no cat was ever going to be as awesome as Rainbow was, but theirs hid all day. We never saw the damn thing at my house, whereas Rainbow was right in the middle of everything at all times.

"You know, technically I got Rainbow so…" he broke off when she climbed back up my arm and headbutted me before curling into my neck. "Never mind. She wouldn't come with me now anyway."

I smirked at him and petted her as she meowed her agreement. "They're amazing together, aren't they?" Reed Girl asked, looking at us with her eyes shining. "I wish I had video of them teaming up against Riley. It was beyond fantastic. My dad can't stop talking about it."

I snickered and gave Rainbow another scratch. "He needed to learn the hard way not to fuck with what's ours, didn't he Rainbow?" She headbutted me again.

"I so wish I'd seen it," Shorty said with a sigh.

"I wish you'd kicked his ass," Emmett told me. "For shame, bro, for shame."

"He couldn't!" my girl protested. "And he's smarter than that. Throwing the ball into his head was pure genius." Damn right it was. That was my favorite pass of the whole year.

"Well, you can kick his ass after you win the championship," he suggested.

That was a good point. I grinned. "You up for another visit to Forks, baby?"

She giggled and shook her head. "Maybe over the summer."

"I'll pencil it in," I promised, making her laugh. Coach wouldn't get on me too hard if I delivered a national championship and a promise of another one.

"Well, I'm just glad we're all back together and here to celebrate tonight before the boys go to New Orleans. How about some dinner?" Shorty suggested. I got to my feet and helped Reed Girl up before setting Rainbow on the couch.

"You sit, we'll serve," my girl said, giving me a sweet kiss before going into the kitchen. Fucking sexy. That brought back images of her in the apron and nothing else and I wanted to skip eating and get right to ringing in the New Year in style.

We didn't do a whole lot of talking once dinner was served. They'd gotten steak and potatoes and corn and it was fucking awesome.

"That was great, baby."

She laughed. "We didn't cook it."

"Maybe not, but you guys still thought to do this." I felt horrible that I'd be away from her for the real New Years. "I'm sorry I didn't think of it. Maybe you could come out early?"

She laughed. "And sneak into the football player's hotel? Aren't there eyes watching out for that at all times?"

That was true. More than one player had gotten in trouble with girls on the road and they were pretty strict about that shit. Still. "You're my girl though. Coach will understand that I need you to be happy. He wants me to be happy."

She grinned and kissed my nose. "I'll be there for the game. Unlike you guys, I don't get excused from class for an entire week."

So fucking wrong. "I'll write you a note." I pulled her into my arms as some slow song came over the stereo. A quick glance around the room showed that the others were chatting quietly. Reed Girl wrapped her arms around my neck and we swayed to the music.

"And what might that note say? Please excuse Bella Swan from class for the week. It's her school duty to make sure the quarterback is relaxed and sexually satisfied before the big game." Her eyes were laughing at me.

"You'd be surprised. It might work."

"At this football crazy school? It may. But I think I'd be awful lonely waiting around for you to get done with practice all day long. I have a feeling you're not going to be around much."

It was true. Coach was going to run us into the ground for the week, until giving us a day or two to recuperate before the game. "I'll miss you, though."

She smiled and brushed my hair out of my eyes. "I'll miss you too. How about if I call you right before the clock strikes midnight, so we can spend the New Year together after all?"

I fucking loved it. "Will you stay on the phone with me for an hour until it's the New Year where I am?"

Reed Girl nodded. "Yes."

I leaned in and whispered in her ear. "Will you get off on the phone with me so we can pretend we're ringing in the New Year the right way?"

She let out a choking laugh. "Yes."

"Twice? Once at my midnight and once at yours?"

She pulled back and grinned up at me. "You're insatiable."

I moved my hands down her back and brushed them across her ass. "Is that a yes?"

"Of course."

Fuck yes. "Well, I think this will be the best New Year ever, then."

She smiled. "Not many people get three New Year's, so I think it will be."

"Okay, lovebirds, come over here and have a toast," Shorty ordered. We went into the living room and each took a glass of champagne. Shorty held up her glass and grinned at me. "To deals with the devil."

Reed Girl snickered. "To friends that throw their other friends under the bus to get their man."

"Dicks before chicks, Bella," Shorty said, making us all crack up.

"To second chances," my brother supplied, his eyes on Blondie.

"To humiliating yourself on television to get that second chance," she replied, clinking her glass with his.

"To wife! And shinies. And weed!" Jasper exclaimed, grinning widely.

Fucking moron. My turn. I met Reed Girl's very amused gaze. "To band geeks who don't watch where they're going."

"To arrogant football players who won't take no for an answer," she shot back, laughing.

"You never really said no, baby."

"I implied it by not being here when you were coming over," she said with a cute little pout.

I grinned and pulled her closer. "But you wanted me."

She giggled. "I got you."

"You most certainly did, baby." And I was hers, completely. It was hard to believe just how much she owned me.

"To all of us," Shorty said, interrupting our moment with an indulgent smile. "Coming together, the way it was meant to be."

"To us," we echoed, all toasting one another.

"Happy New Year, guys!" We all drank to that and then Shorty turned on the TV and DVD player. "Since the real ball won't drop for a couple of days, I thought we could have our own countdown, even though it's not really midnight."

Shorty was a wise girl. She knew that at midnight I had every intention of making love to my girl, sans audience.

We all gathered around the TV and I held my girl against me as the crowd started counting down. She turned in my arms as they got to five, four, three, two and at one her lips were on mine. My tongue slipped in her mouth to tangle with hers as her fingers ran through my hair and I gripped her waist tightly.

When we finally came up for air, I noticed that my brother and Blondie were locked in a tight embrace and Jasper and Alice had disappeared. Rainbow was asleep on the back of the chair so I took the opportunity to tug my girl away into her bedroom.

"Happy New Year, baby." She smiled up at me as she pushed my jacket off my shoulders and went to work on my tie.

"Do you have any idea how badly I want to get you out of this suit?"

I grinned and reached behind her to lower the zipper on her dress. "Probably nearly as much as I've wanted to see just what's under the dress." The material fell away and her perfect breasts were on display. "No bra."

"No nothing," she murmured as we pulled the dress down her body.

"Fuck me," I managed. She was absolutely the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen.

"That was the plan." She made quick work of my shirt and pants and I pulled the offending clothes off before pushing her back on her bed.

"I forgot one more toast," I told her as I looked down at her gorgeous face.

"What's that?" she asked, brushing my hair aside.

"To broken reeds."

Something flashed in her eyes but she smiled. "To falling in love despite all odds."

"I do love you," I told her.

"I know. I love you, too." She touched my cheek. "Show me, Edward."

I slipped inside her, making her moan softly. Fuck she felt incredible. "To us, baby. Always."

Her fingers tangled with mine and we started to move together. "To always."

Chapter Text

Sideline Collision Chapter 26

Crawford was coming at me like a fucking freight train. Even though he couldn't hit me, I knew I had to get the ball out quick. A touch was as good as a sack. Garrett was blanketed by Jones and Hunter while Eric was running a lazy fucking crossing pattern that wasn't worthy of my time or effort. I checked down to the back and released the ball right before Crawford touched my arm. Cherry cut and zipped away from Jenkins and picked up the first down. It was pretty fucking cool that we were playing in the Super Dome. In a year and a half, I might just be playing here for real.

"Nice read, Cullen!" Coach called, trotting over. "Yorkie, what the fuck was that half-assed shit? Do I need to bench you for Gibbs?" Eric shook his head, trotting back up to the line.

"Don't worry, Coach, I'm not throwing it to him if he doesn't put a little effort in." Yorkie glared at me but damned if on the next snap he didn't go deep and catch my perfect pass for a touchdown. "That's more like it." Whatever his fucking problem with me, he better put it aside for the game or I'd do more than break his fucking nose.

"Try to make it a little more catchable, next time. I could have pulled a muscle reaching for that," he muttered once we were back in the huddle.

Fuck that noise. I got right in his face and shoved him back. "Excuse me? That pass was perfect. Sorry you had to actually do your job and extend a little effort. If you'd like to sit on the fucking bench, I'd more than happy to accommodate you." His backup, Gibbs, was only a freshman but he was tall and had more talent in his pinky than Yorkie had in his whole body. He was raw, but I could work with him.

"Do we have a problem here?"Coach asked, glaring at Eric. I wanted to laugh but elected not to. I may have smirked though.

Eric glared at me. "No, Coach, I was just telling Cullen to put a little more on the ball next time."

Coach laughed. "A little more and it'd be ten rows up in the stands. The pass was great. You need to run the full pattern and maybe you won't have to strain so hard to catch the ball." Eric looked like he was going to argue but Garrett slapped him on the shoulder and he thought better of it. "Okay, we're done. Hit the showers. Good practice, men. I expect all of you in your rooms by ten tonight and if one of you steps out of line, you're out of the game tomorrow. That goes for all of you."

Why the fuck was he looking at me? I'd been a fucking choir boy since we got to New Orleans. I ate dinner with the team every night and went to my room, alone, where I'd call Reed Girl just to hear her voice. Knowing that she was here, finally, had me itching to get off the field. It fucking sucked that we were having dinner with my family tonight. I wanted to sneak my girl into my room and have a real reunion. A week without her was entirely too fucking long. She better not be planning to spend the summer in Forks or else I was going to have to go up with her. I was as addicted to my girl as Jasper was to his fucking weed.

The guys started heading toward the locker room but Coach waved me over. "Is this thing with Yorkie going to be too much of an issue for you?"

"I don't know. I don't think he'd sabotage the whole team just because he's pissed that I kicked his ass but he's acting like a whiny little bitch so I can't say."

"Is Gibbs ready?" he asked, which I thought was pretty fucking awesome. Coach trusted my take on my guys.

"He can be, if I work with him a bit." Fuck, no alone time before dinner. "Gibbs!" He turned and trotted over to us. "You wanna play tomorrow?"

His brown eyes got really big. "Yeah, man!"

"Let's get to work then." I had a receiver to break in. Yorkie was done. The look on his face when he found out he'd been replaced tomorrow was going to be epic. It almost made it worth missing time with my girl. Only almost though.


I could practically feel my body vibrating with the need to touch her when I walked into the restaurant. Since I had to stay after practice and work with my newest badass receiver, I was running late and they were already seated. The hostess chick's eyes practically popped out of her head at the sight of me and I had to laugh as she stumbled her way to our table since she wouldn't take her eyes off me.

"Let me know if there's anything I can do to, I mean, for you," she offered as I stepped to my seat. I barely noticed her because my girl was there looking beautiful in a dress the color of my jersey. I loved the way Reed Girl showed her team spirit.

"Thanks. Hey, baby." Reed Girl's eyes were snapping with temper at the chick who was hovering over me. It was really fucking hot when she got territorial. I bent to kiss her, hearing a sigh from the hostess behind me.

"Well, really, Edward, you don't need to inhale her at the dinner table!" Fuck. I recognized that voice. I braced myself and turned to face my grandmother. It fucking figured that my grandparents were here.

"Hi, Grandmother. Hi, Grandpa. I'm so glad you could be here." I wasn't, really. Grandpa Cullen was okay but Grandmother and Mom hated each other and made family gatherings not a hell of a lot of fun.

"Well, of course we're here! Have to see our grandson win his championship, don't we? Now do I get a kiss too, or is that only reserved for the flavor of the month?" Reed Girl stiffened and I rubbed her shoulders soothingly before stepping over and brushing my lips over my grandmother's wrinkly old cheek. I fucking hated kissing that old bat especially now that she was insulting my girl.

"She's not a flavor of the month," my mother hissed from her place at the other end of the table from my grandmother. Yeah, we tried to keep them as far apart as we possibly could. "As if you've ever met any girl in Edward's life? You know this is special."

"Yeah, she is." I sent my girl a smile as I shook Grandpa's hand and accepted his congratulations. I sat down next to Reed Girl and put a hand on her leg, squeezing gently. Her hand slipped over mine and she squeezed me back. Good. She didn't need to let my grandmother's inappropriate ramblings bother her.

"How was practice?" Dad asked as I picked up my menu.

"Not bad. Stayed late to get some work in with Gibbs. Yorkie half-assed it in practice today and Coach and I decided to bench him." A glance at the menu told me I was having steak so I put it aside and leaned into Reed Girl. "You look fucking beautiful. Wanna ditch dinner and go back to my room?" I asked quietly.

She laughed lightly and squeezed my hand again. "You don't know how badly I wish we could, but I figure your grandmother might accuse me of corrupting you if we leave together."

I snickered and bit her ear, making her shiver. "She already knows how corrupt I am. Got too much of my mom in me, don't you know?"

"I love your mom. She doesn't take shit from that woman, does she?" she whispered. I laughed and shook my head. "No, seriously, she's been eying me since I got here. I think she thinks I might steal the silverware."

My girl made me laugh like no other. "What would she care if you do? It's not hers. Go ahead, baby, slip that spoon into your purse."

She giggled and smacked my arm. "Cut that out. Troublemaker."

A clearing throat caused me to look up and see that the whole table was looking at us. "Uh, what?"

"Your grandfather asked if you were ready for tomorrow night?" my grandmother responded, sounding all high and mighty. What the fuck was her problem?

"I was born ready," I promised, making everybody but her laugh. Damn, Grandmother could be a hardass with Mom but she was usually pretty cool with me and Em. I shot him a look and he shrugged. Damn, he didn't know why she was being such a bitch either.

"I certainly hope so. It's time that a Cullen won a championship. We've been so close." Yeah, Grandmonster was throwing it in Grandpa, Dad's and Emmett's faces. Their expressions were identically irritated too. You could tell we were fucking family.

Mom sucked in a breath and Dad hurried to speak before she could. "Yes, it'll be nice to have a national championship in the family. Edward really is the best player out of all of us."

"On and off the field," Blondie muttered, and then she let out a little yell. "Ow!"

"Sorry, my foot slipped." Reed Girl shot her a warning look and Blondie huffed and rubbed at her calf.

God, I fucking loved my girl. I kissed the side of her head and slipped my arm around her. "Thanks, beautiful."

"Anytime," she murmured, leaning into me.

"What did that comment mean?" My grandmother's sharp blue eyes were focused on Blondie.

She shifted uncomfortably. "Uh, just that before Bella came along; Edward had quite the rep on campus."

"Well of course he did. He's a Cullen. Just look at him." Grandmother waved her hand. "All of my boys have the ability to pick from the cream of the crop." She sighed and sipped her water. "It's a shame that none of them seem to want to do so," she muttered loudly enough for all of us to hear.

What the fuck did she just say? Before I could be sure, Mom slapped the table, making all of us jump. "That's it. I've tolerated your insults for twenty-five years but I'll be damned if I let you insult these girls. You don't know a thing about them. Either apologize to them or leave."

"Esme," Dad started but she smacked his hand away when he reached for her.

"No, Carlisle. She's been making veiled comments since the girls got here. I won't put up with it."

My grandmother was glaring at Mom. "You're making a scene, not that I expect anything less from you. I didn't mean anything by it. I was just pointing out that they could date senator's daughters and the like."

Fucking hell. I could just see myself with a senator's daughter. I'd be bored out of my mind in the first minute. "We're dating the right girls for us, Grandmother," I told her. Reed Girl was silent next to me and I pulled her a little closer. "Nobody gets me like Bella does. She puts up with a lot from me and I'm lucky that she's willing to deal with it." My girl gave me a grateful smile. It surprised me that she wasn't cutting my grandmother down like she was capable of but I guess she was trying to be polite. I should tell her to fuck that noise and just be herself.

"There's nobody better than Rosie!" Emmett boomed. "And she's a mayor's daughter, so there!"

"Is that so?" Grandmother asked, glaring at all of us before turning to Blondie. "Does he have higher aspirations?"

Blondie shrugged. "You'd have to ask him, but I don't think so. He's got plenty of money and he likes running our town. Everybody knows him and he knows all of them as well. He says that the bigger you get in government, the further away you get from the very people you're supposed to be helping."

Grandmother sniffed. "I see. Well, that's something I guess. And you? What does your father do?"

Reed Girl smiled. "My father is the Chief of Police in Forks, Washington and my mother is a cougar." Ha! There my girl was.

"A what? A BYU grad?" Grandmother sounded scandalized. I almost wished that I could tell her that Bella was indeed a Mormon just to see if she'd have a stroke. Maybe I should tell her I was converting too.

"No, a cougar. She married a guy who's barely older than I am. And she has an eye on your grandson, so watch out." My girl was completely unruffled by how rude my grandmother was, which didn't remotely surprise me. She was so awesome. I needed to get her alone and naked as soon as humanly possible.

"Well, that's just…" Grandmother sputtered, unable to come up with the words. "Inappropriate. What kind of thing is that to say?"

"You asked, so I told you. It's kind of sexist that you only wanted to know about our fathers, isn't it? My mom could be the governor for all you know." Fucking A, my girl was fantastic.

"Not married to a child, she couldn't be!"

"I'd vote for her," Mom put in, grinning at Reed Girl. "Though I might have to beat her up for hitting on my boy."

Reed Girl laughed. "I'd allow that. I nearly had to beat her off him myself."

"Well, really."

"Now, Elizabeth, you just said yourself that the boys are good looking. Of course women of all ages find them attractive." Grandpa patted her hand. "How about we order?" He raised a hand and the waiter came running. Grandpa might not be a pain in the ass like Grandmother was, but he reeked of power and money and was used to people doing his bidding. We all ordered and Grandpa turned to Dad. "Tell me, son, how is your practice going?"

Reed Girl relaxed a little as Dad started talking about medicine. "Is she always like that?" she whispered.

I rubbed her shoulder soothingly. "Yeah, with Mom. We've never had girls around her, so I guess she's on overload right now. Grandmother's very territorial."

"Like a viper," she said softly, making me laugh.

"You wouldn't be the first to call her a snake, I'm sure," I told her.

"Yeah, well. Is Eric really being benched?"

"Looks like it. He's either running lazy routes or accusing me of not putting enough on the ball." Just thinking about it pissed me off. "Coach asked if I thought he'd do it tomorrow. I hope not, but how the fuck do I know? Clearly he's pissed that I kicked his ass and he's trying to fuck with me. I don't know if he'd screw the whole team but why chance it, right?"

I didn't realize my voice was getting louder until I noticed that the whole table was quiet. "What?"

"You beat up one of your teammates? Why?" Grandpa asked.

Fuck. I glanced at Reed Girl who looked to be blushing. "He said something I didn't like and when I warned him to back off, he didn't, so I shut him up. It was no big deal. I didn't even get punished really."

"You can't go around hitting your teammates. You're supposed to be a leader. What kind of message does that send?" Grandpa asked.

I rolled my eyes. "That I won't take any shit from my teammates, that's the message it sends. They don't have to like me, they have to respect me and if they fear me, more's the better."

"Hell yeah!" Emmett stuck his big paw across the table and I laughed and gave him a high five.

"You can't beat respect into people, Edward. What did this boy say?" Grandpa looked ready to launch into a lecture.

"I can guess," Grandmother said, shooting a look at Reed Girl.

"It doesn't matter what he said," Mom cut in, sending another scathing look back at my grandmother. "Edward took care of it and obviously the coach is on his side with this player if they're going to bench him. That's all that matters."

"Who's starting in his place?" Emmett asked.


"He's awesome."

"Yeah, he's ready. I told him to trust his instincts and just run the routes. I'll get him the ball. He'll be runner up for MVP if he plays like he did today."

Reed Girl laughed. "No doubt in your mind who the MVP is going to be, is there, baby?"

I smirked at her. "Do you have any doubt, Reed Girl?"

"In you? Never. Though I won't write off LSU's defense quite as easily as you will."

I smiled. "I'm not writing them off. They're good. I'm better."

"You're a Cullen," Grandmother said, as if that explained it all. "You'll do just fine." Our food came and it was silent for a few minutes as everybody was served and dug in. "You, Rose, is it? What's the situation with you and my grandson?"

Blondie set down her fork, her expression wary. "What do you mean?"

"Did he or did he not propose to you over the Jumbotron like some drunken sports fan?" Her glare was directed Emmett's way now and he shrank back a little bit.

"He…I mean…we…Emmett?" Blondie looked to him for help but she wasn't getting any from my suddenly mute brother. "That was his way of getting my attention after we'd been broken up for awhile. We're not engaged, we're just dating again and working our way back to the point where maybe we'll want to be," she rambled.

"I see." Grandmonster's tone was totally disapproving but at least it wasn't directed at me and my girl. "And his crass way of getting your attention worked? Really?"

Blondie looked annoyed. "I thought it was sweet. Embarrassing, but sweet."

"I'm sure you did." Grandmother's smile was so fake it was fucking ridiculous.

"I'm moving to Tallahassee and working with the team as strength and conditioning coach, rehabbing my knee and getting everything together for the draft," Emmett told her, no doubt trying to take Grandmother's attention off his girlfriend.

"It's good that you have a plan, dear. I hope your rehab goes wonderfully," Grandmother told him, smiling for real this time. She may be evil to the girls, but she loved us boys.

"What is her deal? Does she hate all women or only the ones that encroach on her family?" my girl asked me softly.

"Family, I think." Sharp blue eyes cut our way and I felt a little sick despite my awesome steak.

"And what is the deal with you two? How long have you been together?"

"A little over a month," I told her, smiling at my girl.

"And you're spending holidays together? That's not very long." There was the disapproving voice again.

"What do you…" my mother started, but my dad shook his head and I cut in.

"We wanted to be together. I love Reed Girl and she loves me." That made my mom smile again and my girl's whole face lit up.

"That's the second time you've said that. What does this Reed Girl thing mean?"

I grinned and pushed my plate away since I'd had enough. "It's because of how we met. She plays the oboe in the Marching Chiefs and when she ran into me on the field before a game, she broke her reed."

"You broke it," Reed Girl corrected, as always.

"She showed up in my locker room demanding that I pay her back and…" I broke off because I could hardly tell my grandmother that I'd fucked a girl whose name I didn't even know against my locker. "And I couldn't get her out of my head so I tracked her down, bought her some reeds and took her out."

"Such a great story," my mom said with a sigh.

"Such a bunch of bull, you mean," Grandmother disagreed, leaning forward. "How did you really meet?"

What the fuck? "I just told you."

"That's not possible."

Reed Girl looked like she was about to pass out. She got really pale. "I think I should go use the restroom."

"Are you okay, baby?"

"No, she's not okay. She's a liar."

"Really, Mother, that's enough!" Dad sounded pissed. "You can't go around calling people you don't even know liars."

"But she is one. There is no way they met like he says." Grandmother crossed her withered old arms over her chest.

"I think I know how we met," I told her angrily.

"I think I know about the marching band, don't I? Were any of you ever in band?" We all shook our heads. "Well, if you had been, you'd know that nobody plays the oboe in the marching band because the reeds are too breakable. That girl does not play the oboe in marching band." She pointed at my girl who was breathing heavily and looking like she wanted to crawl under the table.

"Bella?" I didn't know what I was asking. It didn't make sense. That was how we'd met. She'd plowed into me on my field and started screaming about her broken reed. I hadn't imagined that. What the fuck was going on here?

"Edward…I…can we go somewhere to talk about this?"

Oh fuck. It couldn't be true. "Do we need to?"

"Anything you want to say to him, you can say in front of the family that you, undoubtedly, will not be a part of," Grandma interrupted.

Fuck this noise. "Grandmother, why do you have to be such a bitch? Can't you see that she's upset?" Tears were pricking at my girl's eyes and even though there were about a billion questions swirling in my head, I damn well didn't want to see her cry.

"What did you call me?"

I didn't have time for her shit when Reed Girl was upset. "I called you a bitch, because only a bitch would delight in upsetting my girlfriend in front of our entire family." I stood and held out a hand to my girl. "Come on, Bella. We'll go outside and talk."

"Well! I never!"

"That's only because nobody had the balls to say it to you before," I heard my mom telling her as my girl and I walked away from the table and out into the muggy New Orleans night. She released my hand and hugged her arms around herself. Now that we were away from the old bitch, all the questions she'd raised came flying into my head.

"Is she right?" It wasn't the only question I had, but it seemed like a good place to start.

Big, sad brown eyes peered up at me. "Yes." I felt like I was going to puke. How? Why? Why did she lie to me all this time?

"So you pretended that I broke your reed?"

She shook her head and reached for my hand but I stepped back. I couldn't touch her right now. If I touched her, I'd only remember how much I wanted her and I wouldn't be able to focus on the conversation.

"No, you did break it, well, sort of." She took a deep breath and looked right at me. "You know that I had a crush on you before we met. I didn't hide that from you, once we got to talking."

Yeah, I knew she wanted me. That was nothing new. "Yes."

"I knew I could have met you at a party and we could have hooked up. Eventually you'd have noticed me and we'd have gotten together. Once," she added bitterly.

Of course I would have noticed her. She was fucking beautiful. Had I seen her across a room at a party, I would have had to have her and I damn well would have made her mine.

"But I didn't want that, Edward. I didn't want to be another notch in your belt, another nameless, faceless girl that you fucked and forgot. You get that, don't you?"

No. Yes. Maybe. I didn't know. It wasn't possible to forget her. She was my Reed Girl. She was the woman I loved. She was…a lie maybe? I was so fucking confused.

"I couldn't forget you if I tried," was all I could tell her. She was part of me now. I didn't know who I was without her anymore.

She laughed, not the sexy, smoky laugh I was used to, but a hard, bitter laugh that sounded wrong coming from her. "Now you couldn't, no. I made sure of that, didn't I?"

"What did you do?"

"I knew if I wanted to be more to you than just some random girl, I needed to get your attention in an unorthodox way." She took a deep breath and rubbed her arms. Was she cold? I should give her my jacket, shouldn't I? I shrugged it off and put it over her shoulders. She smiled and touched my face. I closed my eyes as her touch burned through me. No. I had to focus. I stepped back and broke contact.

She sighed. "So, I stashed my oboe on the side of the field and when you came out, I gave Angela my flute and grabbed my oboe and walked right into you on purpose." She said the words quickly, almost too quickly.

On purpose. The words kept echoing in my head. She'd planned it all. She'd lied to me and she'd orchestrated our meeting and our entire relationship. I'd fallen right in line and fallen in love and given her everything she'd ever wanted.

"Edward? Do you hate me?"

Hate her? I didn't know if it was possible to hate her. I didn't know what I felt, other than sick. It was the night before the biggest night of my life and I just wanted to go home and throw up and get in bed. Alone.


"But you're mad." I looked at her. Her eyes were wet but her head was held high and she met my gaze head on. That was my girl, alright, not running from the shit she'd done. My girl? Was she? I didn't fucking know.

"I don't know what I am. I don't know why you did this. I don't know why you didn't tell me you did this and why my fucking cunt of a grandmother had to be the one to tell me you lied in front of my whole family."

She winced but nodded. "I did it because I wanted to be with you. I thought, no, I know you're the most beautiful man I've ever seen. Even though we never spoke and even though you never noticed me, I couldn't get you out of my head for over a year. Every guy I went out with paled in comparison to you. I wanted a shot at you and I finally got the balls and took it."

Her words should make me feel good, but honestly, I'd heard that before. It just made her sound like all those other girls that just wanted to be with me because I was hot and rich and talented.

"I thought I was more than that, to you."

"You are, now." She reached for me again and again I stepped away. "I didn't know you, Edward. I wanted to."

"So you arranged it and I fell for it hook, line and sinker. Did you laugh about it? Shorty and Blondie have to know, of course. And Four Eyes. Was it just a game to you?"

"No! Of course not! I wanted to be with you, yes, but it was never about using you or playing a game." No? She was damn good at it, though. Look how quickly I fell for her. Fell for what I thought was her, anyway.

"Edward, I was honest with you about what I thought about you when we started. What I thought about us. I figured we'd have some great sex, have some fun and we'd both move on when one of us, more likely you, got their fill."

I hadn't had my fill by a long shot but I didn't know what the fuck was going on. Were we over? She lied, all this time she lied.

"Then I fell in love with you, which wasn't something I'd planned on." She made a face and shook her head. "I kept trying to prepare myself for the day that you got tired of me and walked away, but no. You fell in love with me, which really wasn't something I ever thought would happen. You have to believe that, Edward. It wasn't a game, it wasn't a joke. I just wanted to meet you and see what we could be. And what we are is so much more than I could have dreamed. So much better. Isn't it?"

It was everything. It was nothing. I was so fucked in the head right now. I felt sick.

"I don't know, Reed…fuck! You're not my Reed Girl. All this time, that nickname has been bullshit." Why that could hurt even more than the rest of it I couldn't say.

"I am your Reed Girl. I'll always be your Reed Girl. Maybe we met under false pretenses, but everything that came out of it was real." She was crying and I felt like a dick, but this was her fault, not mine. Wasn't it? See? I didn't even fucking know.

"Sometimes, when I called you that, or when your broken reed came up, you'd get this look on your face." I understood it now. Fear. She was afraid I'd find out and leave her. Now I knew. Did I make that a reality? She'd lied. She wanted me and she got me and I was a dumbass who didn't know that there were no oboes in marching band. "Is that why you didn't tell me about your concert?" Of course it fucking was. All her little band nerds were there. Hadn't the fucking conductor dude mentioned that she played other instruments?

"Yes. But I was going to tell you after the game. I swear I was."

"That's easy to say now." How did I know that wasn't a lie too?

"I know." She smiled sadly. "I know you probably don't think you have any reason to believe me but I swear it's the truth. Everything since we met has been real."

I closed my eyes and tried to focus but there was too much. My head was pounding, my stomach was rolling and I felt like my heart had cracked in two. "I want to believe you."

She put her hand on my arm and my eyes flashed open. "Then do, Edward. You know what you feel when we're together. This, us, is right. Maybe the way I met you wasn't, but everything since."

I felt the same draw to her I had from the start but I didn't know if it was enough. "I need to go."

Her hand tightened on my arm. "Please, don't run away from me again."

No. I'd promised her that much back in Forks. "I'm not running. I need to go and I need time to think. And then I need to turn off my fucking brain and try to focus on the fucking game that I'm supposed to win in front of millions of people tomorrow." This was so fucked up. How was I supposed to play when I couldn't even think?

"Yes. You need to focus on the game. I never, ever wanted to take that away from you, Edward. Please, forget about this if you can. This is why I wasn't going to tell you until after the game."

"If you'd told me weeks ago, this wouldn't have happened."

She flinched at the heat in my words, but I couldn't help it. "If I'd told you weeks ago, you probably would have walked away from me. You'd have convinced yourself that none of it was real and ended it."

How did she know that? I sure as fuck didn't know what I was doing then or now. "Well, I guess neither one of us will ever know that, since you took the option away."

She bit her lip and nodded. She looked so sad that I wanted to reach out and hold her. But I couldn't. Everything was fucked up. "I'm sorry. I hope you know that I do love you."

The words were on the tip of my tongue but I refused to say them. "I'll talk to you later."

She smiled sadly. "Okay. Kick some ass tomorrow night."

I didn't know how I was going to get through tonight, let alone tomorrow. "I will. Bye Ree…Bella." She wasn't that anymore.

My girl, Bella, huddled further in my jacket. "Bye," she whispered. I didn't have the heart to ask for it back, so I turned and started walking in the direction of my hotel. I glanced back and saw she was standing there, watching me, tears streaming down her cheeks as she hugged my suit jacket. My body wanted to run back to her but I couldn't. Not now. I had a fucking game to focus on. I wasn't going to lose that, too.

Chapter Text

Sideline Collision, BPOV

The size of this class was insane. There had to be three hundred people in here and it was at an ungodly hour of the morning. What had possessed me to sign up for an eight AM biology class that was on the opposite side of campus from my dorm anyway? Stupid pre-requisites.

The girl next to me let out an audible gasp and leaned forward so far I thought she was going to fall out of her chair. "Who is that?" I followed her gaze and very nearly fell out of my chair as well when I caught sight of the guy had gotten her attention. He was…beautiful. There really was no other word for him. Or there were so many words that my brain couldn't begin to focus on one. He had a messy head of hair that seemed to have a mix of brown, red and even some blond strands. It was sexy and looked like he'd just rolled out of bed and he hadn't been alone. Judging by the throng of admirers he had around him, that was likely the case. Who was he? Wasn't he a freshman like the rest of us? It was the first day and he already had a gaggle of girls trailing in his wake.

"That's Edward Cullen," a girl on the other side of swooning girl answered. Edward Cullen. How did I know that name? "He's a quarterback. He's only a freshman but rumor is that he'll be the starter next season when Ponder's gone. He won state three times."

Cullen. That was it. Carlisle Cullen was a quarterback here in the eighties and Emmett Cullen was our best defensive player, a star linebacker.

"His ego's as big as his talent, and his cock from what I hear." I looked over at the blonde girl who was staring at him intently. "My roommate went to school with him. He gets around."

Of course he did. Guys like that always seemed to. My mind flashed back to Riley, my high school boyfriend and big man on campus, well as big as you could be in a small town like Forks. He could and did have every girl he wanted until he set his sights on me. Oh, I'd wanted him back but I didn't make it easy on him. I wasn't going to be a notch in any guy's bedpost. Not Riley Biers or anyone else's. A shiver went through me when Edward smiled at the girl next to him. No, not even Edward Cullen's, no matter how beautiful he might be.


"There he is," I hissed at Alice. We were at Bullwinkle's playing pool when in walked none other than Edward Cullen and what appeared to be four other members of the football team. Yeah, I might have told my roommate about the beautiful boy in Bio. He'd been on my mind a lot during the semester but I'd only seen him that first day. That was because I found out that we were able to take tests at the testing center twice and get our best score. I had an easy A going in that class and I didn't have to be up and out at seven-thirty three days a week, thank you very much. Beautiful Boy wasn't worth hauling myself across campus that early. I glanced up as he walked past me and caught sight of his pine green eyes. Okay, maybe he was worth the trip.

"Say something to him!" she told me. Sure, like it was that easy. You didn't just say hello to guys like Edward Cullen. I may as well just say "Fuck me" and be done with it. No, you had to make him see you, want you, crave you and most importantly, remember you…hello wasn't going to do it.

I bent over the pool table and hoped he was looking my way. Since my body didn't tingle, I didn't think he was. I sighed and took my shot. "It's not that easy, Alice."

"Sure it is. You go up and say, 'Hi, Edward, I'm Bella. I'm in your biology class and I want to have your babies. Want to go practice?'" She snorted when I jabbed her with my stick.

"Like he hasn't heard that before?" I glanced over and saw some redhead rubbing herself all over him. Jesus, did people have no shame? Edward didn't seem to mind, though. His hand was on her ass and he was grinning at something one of his friends was saying. He hadn't come in with that girl and he'd been here for all of ten minutes and already hooked up. It was disheartening to say the least. "Besides, I'd have to get through his hookers first."

Alice followed my gaze and made a face. "You could take her."

I laughed. "I'm not getting in a fight over a guy who wouldn't remember my name the morning after. Come on, Al, let's go." I didn't want to leave already but I couldn't stand to be around him and watch him with someone else. I knew it was ridiculous. He was gorgeous, rich and famous on this campus and of course everyone wanted him. I got that. That didn't mean I needed to see it. I'd find a way to make him notice me, but today wasn't that day.


"Emmett Cullen is a fucking prick," Rose slurred.

We were just getting to the party and she was already wasted. Alice parked Rose's car and we all spilled out of it. We'd met Rose a couple months ago and heard all about her failed romance with the brother of the guy I couldn't get out of my mind. I'd seen Edward plenty of times since then, at bars, once on campus, the last day of Bio that I'd deigned to show up for, on the football field…all for naught. We'd never even exchanged glances. I was starting to wonder if I was invisible but I seemed to get plenty of male attention, just not his.

I didn't let his disinterest stop me from having some fun. I'd gone on dates, hooked up here and there, but there'd been nothing lasting so far. Then again, I was kind of glad for that when Rose told us about Emmett crushing her heart. She'd seen some friend of his at the last party we'd been to and she got blitzed out of her mind and started spewing her hatred right and left.

"Come on, Rose, let's go have a good time." I took her left arm and Alice got the right. We pushed past some people milling on the lawn and got to the front door just as it opened. I gasped when I saw that none other than Edward Cullen was right in front of me with some girl with black hair this time. She was tiny and she was holding on to his arm like he belonged to her. I wanted to physically remove her from his side but I had no right. He wasn't mine. I just wanted him to be.

"Hi!" Alice called as he stepped toward us.

His gorgeous eyes cut our way quickly and he gave us a smirk as he walked past, but he didn't say a word. He looked sexy as hell in jeans and a tight black t-shirt. He took his current conquest down to a pretty silver car and drove off with a squeal of tires. I felt sick thinking about what he and she would be doing very shortly. Why did I have to want him?

"Fuck Edward Cullen," I muttered. I wanted to, desperately, but it was going to be on my terms. I knew that girl wouldn't see him again after tonight. Edward's reputation was well known around campus. I wasn't going to be that girl. When I got my chance, I'd take it and he'd come back for more.

"Yeah, fuck Emmett," Rose agreed loudly. I laughed and helped her inside. We'd have to get her drunk ass home soon. Time to put Edward out of my mind and have some fun.


Was I really going to do this? Yes, yes I was. I was tired of waiting. It'd been over a year since I'd first laid eyes on him and it was time for him to notice me. What I was doing was probably pathetic and he might hate me when he found out but I was determined to make my move now. My break up with Jason had been over a month ago and Edward had been back on my mind since then. Not that he'd ever completely left it. The boy had an impact.

I constantly saw him out on that field in his uniform, looking sexy and commanding as he led us to victory after victory. I saw all the signs, heard all the comments from girls that wanted their shot at him. It should have turned me off, but it didn't. I wanted him and today I was going to take a step toward that happening. It was our last home game of the season and my last shot for God knew how long, unless we had some classes together next semester. But we hadn't shared one since Bio so I wasn't counting on that.

"Hold this," I hissed at Angela, handing her the flute that I played for the Marching Chiefs. I was an oboe player but you couldn't march with oboes, due to the delicacy of the reed. I was banking on Edward not knowing that, though. Angela blinked but took my flute and watched as I grabbed my oboe from where I'd stashed it on the side of the field and made my way toward my conquest.

"Bella? What are you doing with that?" I ignored her and stormed through the bodies in my way. So close, so close. I got near him and stopped and bit my lip, saying a silent apology to my oboe as I slammed into Edward, whose back was turned to me. Just like I'd known it would, my reed snapped in two.

He whirled around and clutched at his arm before glaring down at me. Damn, he was hot when he was mad.

"What the fuck?" he demanded. "Watch the throwing arm, dickhead. Are you fucking blind, man?" he yelled, his gorgeous face contorting with anger.

He thought I was a guy? Was that why he never saw me? What an asshole. "First of all, I'm not a man. Second of all, if anyone's a dickhead that's not watching where they're going, it's you. Third, you broke my reed."

I'm going to hell. But he's so beautiful. I felt my cheeks heating at his proximity. This was the closest we'd ever been and finally he was speaking to me, even if it was to yell at me and mistake me for a guy. Maybe I was pathetic, but I finally had his attention, and those hot green eyes were focused on me.

"Easy mistake," he murmured as his eyes moved over me. Oh really? I felt myself blushing harder and my temper starting to take hold. I did not look like a guy. If he would just open his pretty eyes he'd see that. "And you're the one who crashed into me. I don't know what your reed is, but if you want to get together later and talk about it, maybe we can both be satisfied." He flashed me that smile, the one I'd seen him use in class. Instead of making me melt, it annoyed me and I hit him with my oboe. I wanted my own smile, damn it. One he gave just me, not every girl he wanted to bone. "What the hell?" he asked.

What the hell indeed? I wanted this, didn't I? I wanted him to hit on me and he just had, but it was on his terms. No, we were going to play on my terms. I was the quarterback this time. "This reed cost thirty dollars and you will be replacing it. That will satisfy me. I don't really give a damn about your satisfaction." I will, later, but not now. Now I had to be as much of a player as he was.

"Listen, honey…"

Was he kidding? "I'm not your honey," I told him, cutting him cold. I glared up as his beautiful face. "You owe me a new reed."

His eyes narrowed. "Isn't that like a piece of grass you blow into to make sounds in your ridiculous instrument?"

He was baiting me but I wasn't going to rise to it. "Yeah, that's what it is," I told him, using my most sarcastic and bitchy voice.

He bent over and picked a piece of grass out of the field and held it out to me. "Here you go, then. Consider me all paid up. Now, I've got a game to play and I don't need to waste my time with a band geek."

Okay, that one hit home. He brushed by me and I yelled at his back. "You're an asshole, Edward Cullen. You owe me thirty dollars for my reed!"

I'm pretty sure I heard him call back, "Bill me," but he was too far away and the crowd was getting loud. Oh, I'd bill him alright. It'd be a bill he wasn't likely to forget. And no, I didn't really expect him to pay for my reed. It was my fault it was broken, after all. If he'd been nicer about it, then I probably wouldn't have said a word. But he'd been a dick so I'd been a bitch and yeah. We had an impasse. But I was going to break it. Edward Cullen was going to remember me after today, I was sure of it.


I penned the note and took a deep breath before I pushed into the locker room. I'd waited until most of, hopefully all of, the team was gone. I knew Edward had to do interviews and stuff so he was usually the last one out of the locker room. No, I didn't stalk him, behavior today to the contrary. I just paid attention. There was a difference.

I nearly fainted when I saw him in nothing but a towel, but I made myself walk forward and stand behind him. He turned and jerked back when he found me standing there. God he was beautiful. "What the fuck?" he demanded.

Didn't he have more of a vocabulary than that? "Is that all you can say?"

He glared at me again. "Well, I could fucking say what the fuck are you doing in my locker room, you little stalker? Is that better?"

The stalker thing might be sort of true, but I wasn't going to let him know it. "I came to get my money."

That brought out his smirk. "Sweetheart, I don't owe you a dime. Now if you'd be so kind as to get the fuck out of my way, I'd like to go take a shower."

But that would mean that sexy, sweaty chest would be away from me. I didn't want that. I put a hand on said chest and I felt heat from the tips of my fingers down to my toes. Edward's jaw dropped and I pulled my hand away from the burn. His grin flashed then and his eyes turned hot and predatory. He thought he had me. He was wrong, damn it.

I straightened my shoulders and faced him. "I'm not your sweetheart. What I am is the injured party in our collision, caused solely by you. As such, you should make reparations for the damages." Did I believe the words coming out of my own mouth? No, but they sounded good.

His glare got hotter. I wanted to jump him. "It was me that could have been injured, sweetheart," he responded, emphasizing the word I'd just told him not to call me. "And I assure you that I'm worth a lot more than you are."

Fucking prick. Why did I want him again? I pushed him and he stumbled back, catching himself before he slammed into his locker. He stared at me in shock. Good. It was about time someone surprised him.

"How dare you think you're more important than me, just because you're the big fucking quarterback? You can't judge a person's worth like that. You don't know shit about me, Edward Cullen." You would, if you just opened your eyes. Now I wasn't so sure I wanted him to, but I wasn't backing down.

"Sweetheart, take a poll around campus and see if anyone in their right mind would say you bring more value to this school than I do. Whatever fucking instrument you play surely isn't as important as what I do."

He was infuriating. I wanted to slap him and fuck him, in that order. I had issues. "Yeah, standing behind a bunch of guys and flinging a football around makes you oh so much better than the rest of us," I told him sarcastically.

His hand shot out and grabbed my cap, throwing it across the room. It landed in a pile of dirty laundry. That was lovely. "I didn't say it made me better than you; I said it made me more important than you."

Asshole. "You said you were worth more," I yelled, trying to push him again, only this time he set his feet and didn't move. Damn him to hell. Why did he have to be so sexy, even when he was a complete douche?

"To the school, I am. I bring in millions of dollars, baby. They aren't coming to see you toot your little horn."

"I play the oboe!" I didn't know why it mattered, but I felt the need to clarify, and if he knew anything about flutes…well, I played both so it wasn't a lie, really.

"Fine, then. Nobody is coming to hear your mad oboe playing skills, Reed Girl. I doubt that anyone could pick out the damn oboe amongst all the rest of the instruments, whereas, they can surely pick me out of a crowd."

So, maybe that was true. I wasn't going to give it to him, though. And I had a pretty good comeback if I did say so myself. "Yeah, because you have the biggest head." I couldn't help but grin at him.

"I have the biggest something, sweetheart, but it isn't my head." His response had me floored and yeah, I may have looked at what was barely being covered by that white cotton towel around his waist. Sue me. Just because his personality sucked didn't mean he wasn't pretty and I didn't want to do him. It just meant he needed to be knocked off his high horse along the way.

I couldn't let him win with that one, though. He was looking entirely too smug. "How do you know? Are you gay? Do your teammates know that you're checking them out?"

"This is how I know." His towel came off and yeah, it was impressive and hard, so very hard. I felt my breath catch and my face getting red. I had hoped I'd catch him naked when I came in here, but this wasn't exactly what I had planned. "And I am most certainly not gay, as you can see. Unless you're actually a guy. From the neck down, it's impossible to fucking tell."

Alright, then. He showed me his, I could show him mine. So things weren't like I expected. He was naked and I was about to be. He wouldn't forget this, of that I was fairly certain. I unbuttoned my band jacket and threw it behind me. His eyes were on my chest, which I knew to be one of my better features. He didn't seem impressed, though. He shrugged and I screamed in frustration but I kept going. I wanted this. Maybe not quite this way, but the opportunity had presented itself and I was taking it. If that made me a whore, so be it. I was going to a satisfied one.

I threw my shirt on top of my jacket and waited to see what he'd say or do now. Would he touch me? Would I lose the tiny bit of control I had if he did?

"Water bra?" he asked. That was pathetic; Cullen, but I didn't challenge him on it. He wanted my bra off, he got it. I reached behind my back and undid the clasp. I added the bra to the pile of discarded clothes and waited for his next response. He leaned back against the locker, his hands tucked behind his back, almost as if he was afraid he'd touch me. I wanted him to touch me.

"Great tits," was his response, which was flattering coming from him I supposed.

"Thank you," I told him. He was staring at me hungrily but he wasn't doing anything yet. Was I going to have to jump him? Hadn't I done enough to show him that I wanted him?

"Of course, you could just be a man with really great tits," he responded. I bit my lip to keep from laughing at that ridiculousness. I should make him work harder, I knew I should, but I was vibrating with need for him and his hard cock was pointing right at me. I kicked off my shoes and tugged off my band pants, throwing them on top of the rest of my clothes. I stood there in my simple white bikini briefs. I should have worn something sexier but the pants chafed and I really didn't plan on getting naked with Edward today except for in my wildest fantasies. Today was all about him meeting me, but here we were. The opportunity had presented itself and I wasn't foolish enough to walk away. I didn't know when or if I'd get this chance again. That was up to him. His eyes moved over my body. I had a good one, that much I knew.

"So?" I asked, because I wanted more than just his eyes on me.

"So what?" he asked, focused on my underwear.

"So, how are you going to talk me out of my panties?" I asked, because we had a theme going here after all. He had to give me something if he wanted everything.

His gaze lifted to meet mine and I smiled at him. I put my hands on my hips and tapped my foot, urging him along.

"Well, I don't usually have to talk a girl out of them. Generally, they come flying off along with the rest of her clothes." Of course they did. But I'm not your usual girl, Cullen. You better recognize that.

I slid my thumbs into my underwear and waited for him. "You could still have a cock hidden in there somewhere."

That one made me laugh but I had to give it to him. I pulled my panties slowly down my legs and kicked them off. He sucked in a breath and I knew I had him. His eyes were on my pussy and I felt myself getting wetter from just his gaze. I couldn't wait until I had his hands on me.

"Okay, you are a girl," he admitted. I laughed.

"Thank you so much for confirming that. Now, perhaps we could talk about my reed?" That was the last thing I wanted to talk about, though I was thinking about taking the broken one home and framing it for posterity. It had given its life for what would hopefully be a very good cause.

He scowled. "I'd much rather talk about my rod."

This was it. I laughed and took a step toward him, eying said rod. "Well, we could talk about it but I think using it would be a much better idea, don't you?" I couldn't quite believe my own audacity but I made no apologies for it. I wanted him. Finally he was going to be mine.

"I prefer using it," he agreed, moving his hand up and down his cock. I licked my lips as I watched him, wanting to taste him, to touch him and to feel him inside me. He groaned and started to stroke himself faster.

That was unacceptable. It was so close and he was doing all the touching. I reached out and wrapped my hand around his cock, moving my hand along with his, running my thumb over his head. Edward moaned and it was sexy as hell.

"Fuck, that feels good," he murmured, letting go of his dick and leaving it to me. I continued to touch him, squeezing the base and moving back up to give a little attention to the head before moving back down.

His right hand reached for me and I felt his fingers right where I wanted them, rubbing me. I moaned and shifted, opening my legs for him, letting him feel how wet I was, how badly I wanted him. He rubbed my clit, pressing small circles over my most sensitive area. I thrust my hips toward him and squeezed his dick harder. He pushed me back against the locker next to his and then two of his long, sexy fingers were inside me.

He felt incredible as he pumped his fingers in and out of me. I saw him reach over with his left hand, feeling around for something in his locker. He brought out his wallet and I felt my body fluttering when he released me and pulled out a condom. We were really doing this. It wasn't one of my many fantasies about him. This was real. Edward Cullen wanted to fuck me in his locker room.

He showed me the condom and raised his eyebrow in challenge. I nodded, giving him the go ahead. This was what I wanted. This is what I set out to do. Faster than I planned, but so what? I really hoped I was the only girl he'd had in here. This had to be different for him just like it was for me. He felt the pull between us, didn't he? He ripped the condom open and slid it on his cock easily, like he'd had a lot of practice. Now wasn't the time to think about that though. He slammed his locker shut and grabbed my shoulders, shifting me so I was leaning against it.

"Are you ready for this?" he asked, stroking my pussy again. I nodded, because I wasn't sure I could manage words at the moment. He lifted me up and I wrapped my legs around his waist. Yes, this was just like I imagined, being held up by his strong arms. He slid slowly into me and I threw back my head and moaned as he filled me. He was so thick and hard. This was better than I dreamed.

"Now that's much more pleasant to hear coming out of your mouth," he told me approvingly.

Asshole. Stop talking. You just might ruin it. I tightened my grip on him and flexed my pussy, squeezing him, a little trick I'd learned. He groaned and jerked inside me. That's right, Edward. You'll be begging to have me again after this.

"Don't think just because I'm letting you fuck me that I'm going to forget about what you owe me," I told him. I wanted way more than the reed he thought I wanted.

He laughed and rolled his hips against me. Wow, that felt good. Then he kissed me. Yes. It was better than I imagined. He sucked my lip into his mouth and bit on it as he began moving in and out of me. So good. I angled my back up so that he could go deeper, clutching him with my legs, digging my heels into him.

His tongue tangled with mine and it felt incredible to finally have those lips on mine. Kissing him was better than any fantasy that I'd had. So was fucking him. He kissed his way down my neck, running his teeth over my skin. I moaned and buried my hands in his hair, hair I'd been longing to touch since that first morning in bio.

"Is this enough of a payment?" he asked as his cock moved harder inside me. He shifted me up higher and sucked on my breast. Oh God, his mouth. So good. His tongue flicked my nipple back and forth. I pulled his hair and held his head to my breast as he bit and tugged on my nipple. I was so turned on. It wouldn't be long before I came.

He kissed me again, fucking me harder. I grabbed his shoulders and met each thrust. The locker was cold and hard against my back and he was hot and hard against my front. It was a stimulating mix of sensations. I was about to come and I dropped my head back against the locker, pressing myself toward him. He sucked on my neck, biting me and I lost it, coming hard as I dug my nails into him. He'd marked me and I marked him. He thrust deep inside me and came, holding tightly onto my waist as he lost all control. I did that to him. He did that to me. We did that to each other. Surely he recognized it.

Now what? I wouldn't be that girl that he expected, the one that begged him to spend the night with her, the one he left the next morning and never thought of again. No, he was going to remember Bella Swan. I released my grip on him and he pulled away from me. He walked over to the office to grab a towel or something and I pulled on my underwear, pants and bra. Time to make a memorable exit.

He came back as I was pulling on my shirt. "Leaving so soon?" he asked. There was something in his tone but I didn't want to read too much into it, to assume that he wanted more. He probably didn't, yet. But he would.

I looked at him as I buttoned my shirt. "What, did you want some cuddle time? You don't strike me as that type of guy, Cullen." I can play your game, too. Better than you can.

"So you got what you wanted out of me and now you're taking off? I'm wounded, Reed Girl." His smirk showed he wasn't all that serious or worked up about it. That was fine. I didn't expect him to be. Yet.

"But I didn't. I came to get money for my reed." I looked at his locker, where his wallet was. I wouldn't really take his money, but I wanted him to think I would.

His mouth fell open. "Seriously, you're still on that?"

"Of course I am. Did you think you were going to fuck me into forgetting?" You came close, but I'm not about to tell you that.

"It was a pretty good fuck," he said with a smile. So true, but I'm not stroking your ego. I'd rather stroke other things, another time.

"It was a pretty good reed," I responded, pulling on my jacket. "Where's my hat?" He walked over to get it out of the laundry bin. He was still naked. I wanted to jump him again but I wouldn't give him the satisfaction.

"Thank you." Here we go. Will he use it? I reached into my pocket and handed him the slip of paper I'd written before I went into the locker room. "That's for you."

He glanced at the paper, smiling when he saw my name and what he would assume was my phone number. Silly boy. Too many girls give you their number. What will you do when I give you the wrong one? With a little effort, you can find me. You'll make it, I know you will.

"So you want me again, huh?" He sounded so satisfied, so full of himself. Just wait, Cullen.

I laughed and walked backward toward the door. I wanted to look at him again, just in case he didn't do what I hoped he'd do. "I guess you'll have to call and find out."

"I will, Bella." It was the first time he'd said my name and my cheeks heated.

I waved as my butt hit the door. "You'll have to have my replacement reed before you get in my pants again." I pushed open the door before he could reply. I'd given him a memorable experience and I had a feeling he'd want another one. He was going to see that he'd met his match in me. Edward Cullen was going to be mine.

Chapter Text

The walk back to my hotel was way too fucking crowded with people on the street. A fuckton of them recognized me and wanted pictures and autographs and all that bullshit and I just didn't have it in me to deal with that fucking crap right now. I shut my phone off and I kept my head down and hurried along, ignoring all the calls of my name and the names they called me when they realized I wasn't going to stop and hang out with them. Like I fucking had the energy to deal with people right now?

All I could see was Reed…Bella's tear streaked face. All I could hear were words like lied, reed and love. If she really loved me, why didn't she tell me the truth? As soon as she knew I loved her back, she could have come clean. I would have…what? I didn't fucking know. Would I have understood if the words had come from her instead of the grandmonster?

It was fucked up, that's what it was. I should forget it and forget her and go back to the Edward that I used to be. My stomach rolled at the thought. I didn't want that. I wanted her. I wanted to go back to an hour ago when I was an ignorant asshole who didn't know that there were no oboes in marching band. The fucked up thing was, I never would have figured that shit out without my fucking grandmother's big mouth. Hopefully Mom knocked her old lady dentures out when we left. Technically it wasn't her fault, it was Bella's, but she didn't have to be so fucking obnoxious and gleeful about it, did she? Bitch.

"Hi, there." I would have kept going but the chick that said it had planted herself right in front of me and even though I was an asshole, I wasn't that big of an asshole to knock a girl on her ass. No, I'd just leave one crying in front of a fancy restaurant. Fuck.

I started to walk around whoever it was but she reached out and grabbed my arm. Finally I focused on her. Blonde, stacked, beautiful. She'd give Blondie a run for her money on the hotness scale. Too bad neither of them held a candle to my Bella.

"What?" I asked, pulling my arm away.

"You're Edward Cullen, aren't you?"

No fucking shit, woman. "Yes."

"I'm Kara." She twirled her hair around her finger. I sighed and took a step around her but she took my arm again. "I just wanted to wish you luck."

"Right, thanks." I jerked my arm away again. It felt wrong to have her touching me. It felt wrong to have anybody but Reed Girl, fuck, Bella, touching me.

"A bunch of us are headed to the bars if you'd like to tag along."

Fucking hell. Why wouldn't anybody leave me the fuck alone? "No thanks. Busy day tomorrow."

"Oh, right. I suppose you can't get wasted or anything. Well, maybe we could ditch them and have our own party?"

The fact that I'd hoped to be doing exactly what this girl was offering with my girl made me angry. "I have a girlfriend. Bye." Technically I still did, anyway. I didn't know what the fuck I was doing but I knew I hadn't broken up with her. Just the thought of that made me sicker.

"What she doesn't know…" Fuck this noise. I walked away before she could disrespect my girl by offering to fuck me anyway. Did nobody respect a fucking relationship? Okay, maybe I hadn't given a shit before, but I sure as fuck did now. Maybe that meant something.

I turned into my hotel and ignored the shouts of teammates and whoever the fuck else was calling my name and hurried into the elevator. When the doors opened and my floor was quiet, I was relieved. I was in over two hours before fucking curfew. And alone. It would have been so easy to sneak her up here and no…I wasn't going to think about it.

I got to my room and slid the keycard in the door. What the fuck? Had I left my TV on? It was blaring. I stepped into the room. Fucking hell. "What the fuck are you doing here?"

Jasper looked up from his spot on my fucking bed, where he was laying propped up by several pillows, his stupid fucking bear next to him and a fucking piece of cake on his lap. "Hey, what are you doing back already?"

I yanked off my fucking tie and threw it at him. "It's my fucking room, asshole, what are you doing here?"

He shrugged and brought a giant forkful of cake toward his mouth. "Your room is better than mine. You don't have to share."

"Apparently I fucking do. How did you even get in here?" He just shot me a fucking gross chocolate smile. "Get the fuck out. I'm not in the mood for your shit. Are you high?" Jasper would be fucking stupid enough to get high right before a big game.

"No." He stuck his bottom lip out in a ridiculous fucking pout. "I promised Ali and I would never break a promise to Wife."

"Well, excuse me, but the fucking chocolate and my fucking bed bring back memories of you being baked beyond belief. And you still haven't answered my question. How the fuck did you get into my room?"

"The chick at the front desk was a girl." He shrugged. "It was just that easy."

"I'm telling Shorty."

"She already knows I'm in here."

Of course she did. Fuck this noise. "Well go back to your own fucking room. I want to be alone."

"Reed coming over?" he asked, putting his plate on my fucking nightstand. He probably ordered that shit from room service. If he thought I was paying for his fucking dessert, he had another think coming.

"No, she's not." I unbuttoned my shirt and tossed it aside. "And don't call her that." She wasn't that anymore. Never had been. It was so fucked up.

"Sorry, Reed Girlllllll."

"That either. She's not…it's not…Fuck!" I yelled. I kicked my shoe off and it slammed into the wall. I balled my hand into a fist and drew it back to hit that same wall. I wanted, no, I needed to fucking hit something. Before I could connect, Jasper's grabbed my arm.

"Whoa, man, what's wrong? You can't punch a wall. You need that hand."

Fuck. He was right. I yanked my arm away from him and threw myself on my bed. "Just get out."

"I don't think so." I felt the bed dip and turned to see him sitting next to me looking concerned. "What happened? You didn't dump her, did you?"

"No. Yes. No. I don't fucking know what I did. She lied." She lied and I walked away while she cried. There was a shitty fucking poem.

"Lied about what?" he asked, pushing his fucking bear over next to me. I rolled my eyes and ignored that shit. I didn't want his fucking bear. Part of me wished Rainbow was here though, instead of home with Shorty. Fuck. What were we going do about Rainbow if this was it? She was mine too. Fuck. I couldn't focus on that shit now.

"About everything!" Well, a big thing. "She doesn't play the oboe in the marching band."

"I know," he said.

"Well, of fucking course…what?" I sat up and stared at him. "You fucking knew and didn't tell me?"

"Yeah I did. I told you a bunch of times. I think." He scrunched up his face. "I'm sure I mentioned it."

What the fuck? "When the hell did you mention it?" I vaguely remembered him yammering about two reeds. "When you were high?"

He shrugged. "Probably. Don't know. But I know I told you."

Maybe I'd punch him instead of the fucking wall. "You didn't tell me in any way that a sane, non-high person could ever understand you douche! Why the fuck didn't you tell me when you were sober? When I might have had a chance to understand your stupid ass?"

"I don't know. I get confused." Braid dead moron. "What does it matter anyway?"

I stared at him. "What the fuck do you mean, what does it matter? She lied to me! She set me up and I fell for it. And apparently everybody fucking knew it but me. Some fucking friend you are."

"I'm your best friend," he informed me with a grin. "I tried to tell you but you didn't listen. Anyway, what does it matter?"

Was he serious? "It matters because she's lied to me for weeks. She tricked me into buying her new reeds; she tricked me into calling her, chasing her around town and falling in love with her. It's fucked up."

"She must be an evil genius if she did all that. I think I'll call her Ben." He patted his stupid fucking bear's head.

I didn't even know how to respond to his fucking nonsense. "Ben?" I asked, because I had nothing else.

"Like that guy, from Lost. He made them all do his bidding. He was a badass. Reed's like that now."

"She's not evil, she's just…" I didn't know what she was. "She wanted me and she made it happen I guess."

"And what's so wrong with that?" He leaned back against my pillows again.

What was wrong with it? I didn't know, but it felt fucked up. "It's not that she did it, it's that she didn't tell me she did it and my fucking grandmother of all people had to expose her as a liar at dinner in front of everyone." It still pissed me off that Grandmother had been such a bitch to my girl. There was no reason for it, even if she'd lied.

"Want some cake?" he asked, practically shoving his fork in my face.

Jesus Christ. "No, I don't want your fucking cake. And if there are any crumbs in my bed, you're going to change my fucking sheets yourself."

"Relax, I wouldn't waste the chocolate." I glared at him and he laughed. "I'm jonesing for something and since Ali's in Tally and I'm drug free, sweets it is."

"You're an asshole."

"But I'm your favorite asshole."

"Get out." I didn't really have the energy to make him leave and a part of me was kind of glad he was here, which showed just how entirely fucked up I was over everything. I actually wanted to hang out with Jasper. Well, no, I wanted to hang out with Reed Girl but that really wasn't an option right now so I had to make do with his stupid ass.

"I'm confused," Jasper said suddenly, pulling me from my thoughts.

"Big fucking surprise. You've killed so many brain cells I'm surprised you can put together a coherent sentence." Maybe if he'd put them together when he was high, I wouldn't be feeling like shit and missing my girl and wishing I could go back in time and forget all this bullshit right now.

"Ha ha," he muttered, rolling his eyes. "I mean, what does your grandma have to do with anything?"

I got pissed off just thinking about it. "She was a total bitch to the girls, asking what their parents did and basically telling them that they weren't good enough for us, then she asked how we met and when I told her, she told us all that Bella was a liar. She used to be in band back in the 1800's or whenever the fuck the old crone was a girl, so she knows."

"So what did you do?" he asked, crossing his legs like he was a fucking girl. Fucking weirdo.

"I asked Bella if it was true and she asked if we could go outside so we did and she admitted what she'd done. She said she was going to tell me after the game because she didn't want it to distract me or piss me off beforehand." I laughed bitterly. "So much for that shit."

"Yeah, crappy timing. But what would you have done if she told you earlier?"

That was the fucking question, wasn't it? "I don't know. It would have pissed me off, sure, but I would have gotten over it eventually."

"Then you will now. I mean, when you think about it, it's pretty flattering."

Flattering? Being lied to? Was he fucking high? "You're an idiot."

"Maybe," he said with a grin. "But think about it. She went to the trouble to sneak her instrument on the field and then to run into you so you'd notice her. It's pretty awesome."

"Maybe to you."

"Hey, you forced me to pimp myself out to Wife so you could get Reed Girl at that party. Do you see me bitching? No. I love that my woman knew what she wanted, which was me, and that she went after it, blackmailing you to get to me and dragging her friend into the situation kicking and screaming. It's way cool."

"Yeah but she didn't drag her. Bella wanted me all that time. She would have come to me without Shorty's help."

"You really think so?" He laughed and shook his head. "She played you, no doubt about it, but she was more than willing to walk away from you if you didn't change your asshole ways." I glared at him and he held up his hands. "Those are Wife's words, not mine."

"Just how fucking much did the two of you talk about us?" I demanded. It really fucking pissed me off that they all knew while I was fucking clueless.

"All the time," he said cheerfully. "She planned the stunt with the oboe, and the confrontation. Do you think she really planned on seeing you after the locker room incident? She hoped and she knew she needed to make it difficult for you. All girls make it easy on you and you get bored way fast. You needed a challenge."

She challenged me alright. Every fucking step of the way. "She planned it." That was all I could focus on, really.

"Yeah, she did and it worked! For all of us. Do you realize that if she hadn't run into you on the field, I probably wouldn't have met Wife? And Emmett and Rose wouldn't be back together. Everything happened because it was supposed to. We're a family now."

Christ, him and his ridiculous family shit. "She should have told me."

"She wanted to, but she also didn't want to lose you. Can you blame her? How did you leave things?"

"She was crying." It was all I could see, really. Her face, so fucking sad. She should never be sad. "I told her I wasn't running but I needed time to think about things. It's too much."

"Yeah, the timing does suck. Hey, maybe I can play tomorrow." I did hit him for that one, giving him a light sock to the shoulder as he laughed. "Alright, guess not. Well, let me ask you this. After we win tomorrow night, what do you see happening?"

I closed my eyes and pictured myself hoisting the crystal football trophy aloft as everybody cheered and confetti rained down on the field. I pictured my parents cheering, my mom crying and even my fucking grandmother looking happy. Then I saw Reed Girl flying into my arms, wearing her ugly fucking band uniform and kissing the life out of me. "Shit."

He laughed. "She's there, isn't she?"

"Yeah." Maybe she lied but I knew she loved me. And I loved her, or I wouldn't feel like this. Jasper was right, which was pretty fucking amazing right there. I needed to talk to her. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and turned it back on. I ignored the billion messages waiting for me and called my girl.

"Don't you fucking dare!" I flinched at the voice that was definitely not Bella's. "Whatever you have to say to her, you'll say tomorrow, asshole. I told you what would happen if you dicked her over and sure enough, you did. I've never seen her look so devastated. Fuck you, Edward Cullen."

"Look, Blondie, I need to…"

"You need to leave her the fuck alone. You can talk to her tomorrow, maybe, if you get your head out of your ass. She cried until she made herself sick and now she's in the shower. If you think I'm going to let you upset her all over again, you're out of your damn mind. Fuck off!" And the phone was dead.

"Well, fuck."

Jasper laughed. "I guess you're not going to fix it tonight."

No. But I'd damn well fix it tomorrow. I missed my girl.


I woke up in the morning with a teddy bear in my arms and Jasper snoring away next to me. Fuck. What was it with that guy and sleeping with Cullens? And Bob the bear was no comparison to my girl. I shoved it toward him and got up. I took a piss and grabbed my phone. I immediately dialed Reed Girl but went straight to voicemail. Blondie probably still had her phone. Fucking bitch. I needed to talk to my girl before she went any longer thinking that I wasn't going to forgive her.

Yeah, she should have told me but I saw her point as well. I might have fucked everything up if I knew before I loved her so much it fucking hurt to be without her.

"Reed Girl, I…I need to talk to you. Get your phone back from Blondie and call me back. I love you." Maybe I shouldn't have told her over the phone but I needed to be sure she knew that much. The image I had of her crying in the shower was enough to make me want to go tearing out of my hotel and find her. I'd beat Blondie the fuck out of my way if I had to.

I listened to several angry messages from my mother asking where I was and how I could have left Bella the way I had, one from my father telling me that he was sorry about his mother and that my mother didn't mean it about disowning me if I was stupid enough to break up with Reed Girl over a little white lie, a scathing one from Blondie telling me all the things she was going to do to me when she saw me next and an apology from my brother for his girl's threats. Nothing from the one person I wanted to hear from, though. She'd been true to her word and given me the space I asked for. Why that bothered me now I couldn't say.

"What time is it?" Jasper was sitting up, his hair sticking up in every direction, rubbing at his eyes.

"Eight." We didn't have long before we had to get around. We had a morning practice and meetings. I wasn't going to get a chance to see Reed Girl until just before the game. Hopefully I could find her on the field.

"Oh." He picked up his phone and finally got the fuck out of my bed. "I stayed," he told me unnecessarily.

"No shit, Sherlock." We'd watched The Hangover on TV last night and Coach hadn't given me shit when he found Jasper in my room, probably because the look on my face told him things were pretty fucked up. Shortly after that, I'd fallen asleep and dumbass apparently thought it would be okay to finally live his dream of sleeping with me.

"You might have needed me, and you did need Bob."

Fucking hell. "You better not have taken pictures of that shit." Jasper just smiled and hopped out of my way when I reached for him. "I'll kick your ass."

"No you won't. You love me." He ran across my bed. "Wait. I have a message from Wife." Like that was going to stop me from killing him? I dove across the bed and he ran around to the other side. "Who's the blonde you were chatting up last night?"

"What?" What the fuck was he talking about?

"Wife says there are pictures of you with some blonde girl touching your arm from last night. She's worried that you did something stupid."

If she was worried, that meant Reed Girl was. Fuck! "Some chick stopped me on my way to the hotel last night. She hit on me and I told her to bounce. Where the fuck are the pictures?"

"On the net I guess. Just a second." He sent a text and grinned at me. "Handled."

"What did you say?" Fuck, I needed to find Reed Girl. She probably thought I cheated on her. She'd be done with me then. Like I was fucking capable of being with another girl? She was my everything.

"I told her that the only blonde that went to bed with you last night was me."

Fuck me. Well, it was better than the alternative. And I did have Jasper to vouch for me.

Jasper's phone rang then and he answered it. "Hi, Wife! I miss you. Even if I did sleep with Edward last night, he's no comparison to you. He doesn't fit in my arms as well."

Jesus fucking Christ. "You tell her I didn't do anything. I've already tried to call Reed Girl. Her phone's off or something."

"He blew that girl off and came back to me, I swear, my heart. Oh yeah?" He gave me a thumbs up. "She said Reed doesn't believe anything that Blondie's been saying about you cheating on her."

"Tell her to fucking call me!" I roared. I hated this go-between bullshit. I wanted my girl.

"He wants her to call him." He rolled his eyes. "Why not? Okay, but he's not going to like it. He listened for another minute. "Okay. Talk to you later. Love you." He made kissing noises into the phone like a fucking moron and hung up.

"What am I not going to like?"

"Rose took Reed's phone away and won't give it back to her or let her call you from hers. Reed doesn't want to be a distraction so she said she'll talk to you after the game. She said she's already said what she needs to say and she loves you and is rooting for you. If you love her, you'll win for her." He grinned proudly. "There! I got it right. Wife said to tell you word for word and I did it."

"Congratulations on not being a brain dead fool." Fucking hell, she was distracting me by not being a distraction. "I need to talk to her. Fucking call Blondie and demand that she give Reed Girl the phone."

Jasper's eyes got really wide and he shook his head. "No way. She's scary. She threatened to behead Bob last time she got mad at me."

"Bob is a fucking teddy bear, who gives a flying fuck? You wuss." I dialed Blondie but went straight to voice mail. Fuck this noise. I called my brother. "Tell your goddamn girlfriend to give my girlfriend her fucking phone!" I yelled the instant he answered.

"Whoa, bro, hold your horses. I'm not with her. She took one look at Bella and told me you were a dead asshole and they left. She hasn't called me back since last night."

Fucking hell. "I don't give a shit if she is a girl; I'm kicking her fucking ass when I find her."

"Like hell you are. I'll take you out, little brother. You made this mess; you're just going to have to wait to clean it up."

"I didn't do shit! Reed Girl did it! And I forgive her, okay? I fucking love her and I don't care if she lied about her fucking oboe! I want to tell her that."

"Well, good for you. I guess you're smarter than I am, not letting a good thing go when you see it. Just go get busy. You'll see her after the game, I'm sure of it."

Fuck that. I'd find her before. I'd duck out of the locker room and get to the band as they were leaving the field. "Fine. See you later."

I hung up and pointed at Jasper. "You, get the fuck out of my room and get ready. We've got a damn game to win and I've got a girl to see."

Jasper hooted and grabbed his shoes. "Yes! Go Noles!"

Fucking right. I was going to win this game, just like my girl wanted.


"And they will blitz, so you better release the ball quickly. Line, you block for him. You block for him like he's your mother and there are bloodthirsty wolves coming after her, do you hear me?" Coach droned on and on and I kept staring at the clock. The band was on the field right now. I was sure of it. I needed to get the fuck out of here and find my girl before it was too late.

"Am I boring you, Cullen?" Coach's face was purple again. Fuck.

"No, Coach, I'm ready."

"You better be! Gibbs, you're starting on the right hash!" Silence greeted that announcement and then people started mumbling.

"That's my side!" Eric said suddenly, getting to his feet. "What the hell?"

"And you'll be his back up. After the way you practiced all week? Did you think I was going to reward that behavior? You're lucky you're suited up."

Eric looked like wanted to kill someone, namely me, but he wasn't about to mouth off at Coach any further. "Get in the tunnel," Coach ordered. I was up and out the door before he finished his sentence. I ran down the concrete gangway and stood in the entrance, looking out. Fuck! The majority of the band was in the stands and I couldn't see her anywhere. Not that I could tell who the fuck anybody was with those awful uniforms on.

"No Reed?" Jasper asked, coming up next to me. I pointed in the direction of the retreating band and he shook his head. "That sucks. Well, you'll talk to her after, yeah?"

Yeah, I would. After I kissed the life out of her, that was. I needed her in my arms. I needed her naked and under and over me and I needed to win this game to get it. Was there a better fucking motivation on earth than that?

The band started playing and the crowd got loud. It was time. I'd been waiting for this moment all my life. My teammates were here and ready. My family was here and somewhere out there, my girl was rooting for me. I wouldn't let any of them down.


I never felt more at home than when I was on a football field with the ball in my hand. Well, before Reed Girl came along that was. But I couldn't let myself go there now. LSU had moved through my defense like a knife through soft butter on their first possession and they had the lead. It would be their first and last lead of the game if I had my say about it.

My team huddled around me and I turned to my new wide receiver. No time like the present to find out if he was ready. "Alright, we're going for a spread run. Garrett, Gibbs, you line up on the right. Crowley and Sanders to the left. Sanders you break off and run the slant if there's no separation. Gibbs, you're outside and it's coming your way if you leave that corner in your dust. Break!"

They took their positions and I lined up behind center. "Blue forty-two, blue forty-two, hut, hut, hike." The ball came my way and I dropped back seven steps. I had to give my boys time to run their routes. The line was holding, though the right side was starting to collapse. My tight end came in and hit their defensive end, Daniels. Gibbs made his break and I let the ball fly. Someone knocked into me from the left but it was just a tap and I kept my feet and watched as Gibbs caught it and zipped into the end zone.

The Nole half of the crowd went nuts and the band started playing my song. I smiled as I ran off the field, my eyes on the band. I wish I could see her but I had no idea where the flute players were in relation to everyone else.

"Nice play, Cullen. Way to bail out the defense." Coach slapped me on the back as he turned to scream at the D that they better kick some ass out there. I dropped down next to Jasper and my OC and looked over the playbook.

"We're not going to surprise them with Gibbs next time and the defense is going to need a break." Coach winced when he saw us give up yet another fucking first down. What was their fucking problem? "Work the clock on the next drive, use the backs more. We'll go for the big play after we cross midfield."

I shrugged. Whatever he wanted. If this was going to turn into a shootout, I was going to win. Jasper was better than their quarterback for fuck's sake. We went over a few more plays as the D finally held and gave up a field goal. Now it was time to take the lead for good.

We got the ball at the seventeen after our returner tripped over his own feet. Fucking douche. I did what the coach asked of me, handing off the running back and letting him churn out some tough yards on first and second down, throwing quick outs on third down to pick up the first and doing it all over again. Pretty soon the defense was putting eight in the box, stacking the line and stopping Crowley cold. I gave Garrett the heads up that the ball was coming his way and he ran a beautiful crossing pattern, catching the ball at their thirty-two and zipping into the end zone untouched.

I got another pat on the back and before I even had time to sit, the defense recovered a fumble at the twenty-three. I jogged back on the field and lobbed a pass to Hunter in the very back end of the end zone. He leapt, caught it, and touched both toes down before falling out of bounds. This was more like it. We were up 21-10 with eight minutes to go in the second quarter.

LSU got a good return to their own thirty-eight and went on a drive. I cursed my defense as they gave up first down after first down. Fuckers. They were damn well going to make sure that I had to work my ass off all game, weren't they? It didn't fucking matter, though. Every time I heard the band playing my song, or starting the chop, I thought of the fact that my girl was watching and waiting for me to win so that we could be together again. I wasn't going to let her down.

They scored and I had just under two minutes to go. We started at our own thirty-three after a decent return of our own. Sixty-seven yards? Not a fucking problem.

"Work the sidelines. Gibbs, you catch it, you angle toward the hash, get as many yards as you can but do not let them take you inbounds." We only had one timeout thanks to the defense, so I'd only stop it on first downs and by getting out bounds. I threw a fifteen yard dart to Gibbs that he took another seven before ducking out of bounds. Past midfield already. Fuck yes.

They brought the heat on the next play, blitzing me from the left. Crowley blocked Turgis long enough for me to get the ball to Garrett, who got the first down. I shoved Turgis' fat ass off me and hurried to the line since we didn't get out of bounds. I clocked it and checked the time. 1:12. Not bad. We were at their thirty-two.

I shocked the shit out of them and my coaches probably, by handing the ball off on the next play. But Crowley took it twenty-one yards before getting taken down at the eleven. 48 seconds. Plenty of time. My first pass to Garrett got knocked away by Crawford. Fucker. He made a good play. 41 seconds. I called my cadence and took a three-step drop. My receivers were blanketed. I threw a quick check to the back and he got tackled at the three. I called timeout immediately. 17 seconds. We were not settling for a fucking field goal. I wanted an eleven point lead at halftime.

"Make a hole for me," I ordered the line. "Everybody else get their ass in the end zone except Crowley. You're my decoy. Make it good." The boys lined up and the ball hit my hands. I took two steps back, like I was looking to pass. The defenders broke for their men. Walker opened a spot and I took it, running right through the hole. I extended my arms toward the goal line as the pocket collapsed around me. I felt a hit on my left shoulder and on my right hip bone. It fucking hurt, but I didn't care. I heard the whistle and looked up to see the refs arms extended. Touchdown. Damn fucking right it was. 28-17 at the half. I could live with that.

Walker helped me up and we trotted off the field as our kicker lined up the extra point. "Cullen, are you trying to give me a heart attack? Are you okay?" Coach patted at me and I laughed and stepped back.

"I'm fine. I needed to take a hit like that. They've barely had their hands on me all day."

"Don't do that to me again," he ordered. I just grinned and walked with the rest of my team into the locker room.

Coach immediately started in on the defense while I got my phone out of my locker. I had several texts wishing me luck and then I saw that I had one from Reed Girl.

Got your message. I love you, too. So much more than I can say. Win for me.

Fuck. I am baby. You have to know I'm doing it for you. "Cullen! Put that phone away and get over here."

Fuck that noise. What he was going to do? Bench me if I took a minute to text my girl? I didn't fucking think so.

It's all for you, baby. I can't wait to celebrate with you tonight.

"Cullen!" Fine. Fuck. I hit send and put my phone back in my locker. Asshole. Like I wasn't singlehandedly winning the game with my arm at this point? Why did I have to hear his shit?

"Did you hear from Reed?" Jasper asked when I sat down next to him and pretended to care about the x's and o's that Coach was drawing up. I knew this shit. He knew I knew this shit. Hadn't I just called my own number and gotten a touchdown?

"Yeah, she got my message." I couldn't stop smiling. "She knows that I still love her."

"See, I told you it would all be okay." Jasper nudged me with his shoulder.

"Yeah, well it'd be a lot fucking better if I could get out of here early and go see her on the field." They were no doubt doing one of their fancy marches that she'd been complaining about for the last week.

"I can't believe you pussies are talking about girls when we're trying to win a championship."

I turned and smirked at Eric. "We? I don't believe you've seen the field."

"Don't think I don't know that it was your doing, Cullen!" He swung at me and before I could react, Jasper leaned in front of me and took a shot to the jaw.

"What the…Yorkie!" Coach came barreling over just as Marcus grabbed Eric from behind and shoved him across the room. Jasper moaned and I steadied him so he wouldn't pitch forward onto the floor.

"Are you okay?"

"Damn, that hurt."

"No shit." Coach was screaming at Eric and telling him to take off his gear because he was officially off the team. "I could have avoided the hit without you diving in front of it. Why'd you do that?"

"You're my best friend," he muttered, sitting up and gripping his jaw. "And you need to win for Reed. He might have hurt you."

Fuck that noise. "Not likely, but thanks."

He smiled as best he could with his lip swelling up. "You're welcome."

Coach knelt down and handed Jasper some ice. "See the doctor, let him make sure you're alright." Jasper got up and did so as Coach eyed me. "One of these days, you're going to give me a heart attack."

I laughed and grabbed my helmet and stood up. "Maybe, but I'll give you a championship first. So hang on for thirty more minutes."

He chuckled. "You go deliver. Your backup isn't fit for the field today."

"Count on it."

Of course, after Yorkie threw his fucking bitchfit, I didn't get out of the locker room early which meant I didn't get to see my girl. Yet another reason that fucking asshole had to die. And another reason for me to kick LSU's ass around the field. Nobody fucked with me, especially not my own former teammates. Guess who wouldn't be getting a championship ring if I had anything to say about it? I needed to plant that idea in Coach's head tonight to be sure.

We got a kickass return all the way to their forty-eight. Time to show them that I wasn't playing. Gibbs took off down the sideline at the snap and I threw him a perfect pass right in the right corner of the end zone. He'd burned the corner and the safety and could have sat on the grass and caught it if he wanted. Fuck yes. 35-17.

"Do your fucking part," I challenged Marcus and the D as I trotted past them and sat next to Jasper. He had his helmet on but I could sort of see his swollen lip. "You okay?"

"Yeah. At least I look like I played."

"You can take the snap at the end of the game if the opportunity presents itself." I could afford to be generous. I had everything I wanted in the palm of my hand and he'd helped me with Yorkie and my girl.

"Really? But that's your moment." No, I knew what I wanted my moment to be and that wasn't it. My brother wasn't the only one that could make a fool out of himself on a national stage. I was going to my girl.

The defense had their shit together in the second half, shutting the Tigers down. I milked the clock, letting the running game churn out yards and played small ball, keeping everything in bounds. It was 45-20 when I took the field for my last drive. Seven minutes to go.

We ran and did end arounds and small screen passes down the field. I had it under three minutes to go and we were at their twenty-one. I went back to pass and a huge hole opened up to the left so I ran through and went untouched into the end zone for a touchdown. I thought it would take longer but I didn't care. I tossed the ball to the ref, threw off my helmet and kept right on running. I boosted myself up on the wall and took help from the fans that sat there as I scrambled over the railing.

"Thanks!" I called to the random people as I moved past bodies and found the aisle. I ran up the steps toward the band yelling for her. "Reed Girl! Where are you?" All those stupid fucking white hats and bodies. The band was entirely too fucking big. How was I supposed to…I paused when I saw that one of those white hats had a seven on top of it in bright neon pink. "Reed Girl!"

People were getting in my way, trying to congratulate me or maybe arrest me or something, who fucking knew, but I didn't give a damn. I wanted my girl. I pushed past some bodies and saw that the seven hat was no longer where I'd seen it last. Damn it. Where the fuck did she go? "Bella! Reed Girl!"

I shoved some more bodies out of my way and nearly pushed another aside when I felt a hand on my cheek. I nearly went to my knees because I knew that touch. "Reed Girl."

"Edward, you crazy person, what are you doing?" She was smiling at me and looking ridiculous but fucking cute in her stupid uniform.

I plucked her hat off her head. "I had to get to you. You're the only person I want to celebrate with."

Her eyes welled up with tears and I shook my head. "Don't cry baby. Never again."

"Happy tears," she told me, brushing them away. It was loud and I had to lean close to hear her, not that that was ever a fucking problem when it came to being near my girl. "I'm so sorry that I didn't tell you."

"I don't care about that." I didn't really, but I knew we needed to talk about it some more. "I love you. I should have said that last night."

"I know you do. You won for me, didn't you?"

"All for you." I looked down and saw that she was clutching her…was that an oboe? "Baby, what is that?"

She smiled and held it up between us. "I had to earn my nickname, so I snuck it in and played it instead."

I laughed. "Now who's the crazy one? You're always going to be my Reed Girl, no matter what you play."


"Yeah. Now, shut up and let me kiss you." She dropped her oboe, which was probably a bad thing, and threw her arms around my neck, which never was. I had my lips on hers before she could say anything else and I lifted her and held her as close as I could possibly get her. It wasn't nearly close enough with my uniform and pads and her stupid bulky jacket, but it had to do for now. None of that mattered because I had her in my arms and her lips were warm and perfect on mine.

We broke apart as the roar around us got louder. A glance at the Jumbotron showed that Jasper was on the field and had taken a knee. Huh. Our defense must have gotten the ball back. Who knew? Then the picture changed back to me and Reed Girl clinging to one another and she laughed and tried to duck her head but I wasn't about to allow that. I bent and kissed her again and she forgot all about the cameras and the yelling.

"I love you," I told her when we broke apart.

"I love you." She wiggled out of my arms and bent to pick up the oboe she dropped. She held it up, laughing, her eyes shining bright. "You broke my reed."

I had to laugh. "No, you broke it when you threw it on the ground so you could kiss me."

"You made me break it when you came into the stands like some guy in a cheesy movie and said you had to kiss me."

She cracked my ass up. "I'm going to break more than a reed if I can't get my hands on you again soon."

"Let's get out of here and find something better to break, like a bed." And that, right there, was one of a billion reasons why I'd never find a girl better than she was for me.

"I like the way you think, Reed Girl."

"I like the way you kiss, Champ. Do it again." So I did. I truly felt like a winner now that I had her back in my arms. That mattered more than anything. Though winning my championship was nice, too.

Chapter Text

Sideline Collision Chapter 28

We made our way through the stands, which was really fucking hard with all the people trying to congratulate me and shit, but I kept Reed Girl's hand in mine and pulled her down onto the field.

"Shouldn't I meet you later?" she asked, eying the podium that I was dragging her toward.

"No, we're not separating again." I wasn't going through a night like last night ever again.

She laughed and squeezed my hand. "Until we fly home."

Fuck that noise. "You'll ride with the team, I'll see to it."

"Edward, I don't think…"

"National Champion, Heisman winner, MVP, they'll let me do what the fuck I want."

She laughed. "Did they announce the MVP yet?"

I shrugged, because really? It was a done deal. "Just a formality."

"Cullen!" Coach jogged over to me, his face purple. "What in the hell were you thinking? You can't just take off up into the stands! You could have gotten hurt! We might have needed you to…"

Fuck this noise, too. "Coach, the game was wrapped. I didn't get hurt. I needed to get my girl. We won by thirty. You're a champion. Can we skip all this? Do you want to bench me next year?" Reed Girl was giggling next to me as Coach struggled to respond.

"We have to get up there and get the trophy," he managed when he finally had some words.

"Which is why I'm here now, instead of where I want to be." Which was buried inside my girl making her scream my name. Soon enough, I would make that a reality.

"I don't like you. Get your ass up there."

"You do love me though." He clapped me on the back. "Come on, baby."

"It's your moment," she told me, shaking her head. "I'll just wait right here."

"It's our moment. All of them are now. Come on." She was gaping at me now and I took advantage of her surprise by tugging her along with me. I meant it. I wanted her there. She was a huge part of the game. She'd been in the back of my mind the whole time; knowing she was there waiting for me to win had provided me even more motivation. It was fucked up because whenever I imagined this moment, it was always just me, standing and drinking in the applause and glory, but I didn't want to be alone now. I wanted her there. Always.

We climbed up the steps and Eddie George shook my hand when I made it front and center. "Edward Cullen, MVP." I smirked at my girl as I held the trophy aloft. See? As if there was ever any question. "Would you like to say a few words?"

I leaned into the mike. "I just want to thank all the Seminole fans who made the trip from Tallahassee and all over the country to be here tonight. I'm thrilled that I could help bring the trophy home to where it belongs." The screaming that accompanied my statement made me pause.

"I'm so happy that my family was here to see this and that my girl helped play me to victory. Let's do it again next year. Go Noles!" Reed Girl was laughing as I passed her my MVP trophy and then held the crystal football trophy over my head. Mine, finally. Well, ours I guess. I didn't get to take one home. It'd sit in the case with the other championship trophies from the 90's. I'd make damn sure to add another one, too.

We climbed down the stairs and were immediately accosted by my family. Mom flew into my arms, kissing my cheeks and hugging me. "Edward! That was so great!"

"Yeah, it was a great game," I agreed, patting her back.

She shook her head. "Not the game! You going into the stands and kissing Bella! It was so romantic."

Dad chuckled and pulled me into a half hug when she released me. "And congrats on the game, too."

"Thanks, Dad." Mom was babbling at Reed Girl and they were hugging, which made me smile. Mom really did love her, which was a good fucking thing since I was marrying that girl one day. Yeah, I fucking said it. She was the one for me. Nobody else would do.

"You just had to one up me, didn't you?" Emmett's giant hand whacked me on the back. "I rent out a Jumbotron and you run into the stands after winning the biggest game of your life. Dickhead."

I grinned at him. "I can't help it if I'm better than you at everything."

"Watch it, little bro." He ruffled my hair. "I'll give you points for style, but you'll never be better than me."

Blondie was standing behind him and I glared at her bitch ass. I wasn't going to forgive her for keeping me from my girl anytime soon.

"Where's the old bat?" I asked my mom, who had her arm around Reed Girl.

She rolled her eyes. "They're meeting us at the hotel." Fuck. I forgot about the big fucking party they had planned for after the game if we won, like that was even a fucking question. I shot my girl a look and she laughed and blew me a kiss. She knew exactly what I was thinking, of that I was sure. Whatever. I'd put in a ten minute appearance and then I was taking her to my room and fucking her senseless.

"Edward, I'm sorry about what she said…"

"You don't need to apologize," I told my dad. It wasn't his fault his mom was a bitch any more than it was my fault that Emmett was a dumbass. "She's the one who…oof."

I lost my breath as I was tackled to the ground. "We did it!" Jasper was on top of me grinning like a loon. I shoved his ass off.

"I did it. You got mop up duty."

"Yeah, but still, I got on the field. Thank you!" He threw his arms around me and I endured it for two seconds before pushing him away. He'd earned a tiny fucking hug for calming me down last night and taking a punch from Eric.

"Yeah, well, thanks for listening and that shit with Yorkie." My brother held out his hands and yanked both of us to our feet.

"That's what best friends are for." Jasper danced around me wiggling his ass and I shot my girl a look.

She smiled. "Jasper, have you called Alice yet? I bet she's dying to tell you how sexy you looked on the field."

"Yeah?" He stopped dancing and let out a loud whoop. "I need to call her. See you at the party!" And he was off. Thank fucking God. He wasn't that bad in small doses but tonight I just wanted my girl. As if she could hear what I was thinking, she wrapped her arms around my waist and I hugged her to me.

Mom clapped her hands. "I'm so excited! We'll see you at the party, right?" I nodded. "Bella, do you need a ride?"

"No, she's staying with me." I knew I had interviews and crap but I didn't give a damn. I needed to be with her.

"I'll see you there," she told my mom.

They left and I kept my girl at my side through the interviews with Fox and ESPN. She started to settle into it and smiled and even answered a few questions when they came her way. Chris Fowler appeared to be totally charmed by her, which was a given, though I'd kick his fucking ass if he tried anything. I caught Herbstreit checking her out, too. Fuckers. Since beating the shit out of them live on ESPN probably wasn't a good idea, I instead reminded them of how they'd thought the LSU corners might give me trouble. If by trouble they meant that they could cover my receivers as well as the Grandmonster could, then yeah, real trouble there. Fucking douches.

"Well, that's finally over," Reed Girl said as we walked toward the locker room hand in hand.

"Until next year." I paused when we got to the door and grinned at her. "You coming in, baby?"

She laughed and shook her head. "I think one locker room visit is enough." The door opened and out came a few of my teammates, who all grabbed and congratulated me. "Although, maybe I could go in and congratulate some of the guys." She giggled when I stilled her and pushed her up against the wall.

"You're not checking out my teammates, baby. I can assure you, the best body in there already belongs to you."

"Damn right it does." She squeezed my ass and gave me a smacking kiss. "Now go get cleaned up so we can make a token appearance at this party and then go back to your room."

Fuck yes. I loved this woman. I kissed her again before hurrying into the mostly empty locker room. I waved to teammates as I finally got out of my sweaty uniform and tossed my pads aside. I'd finally get to feel my girl pressed against me without those bulky things in the way. Although we still had her ugly ass uniform to deal with.

I waved to Jenkins as he exited the showers and I entered. He congratulated me on my performance and I complimented the defense although they only deserved it for one half, really. I turned the water on hot and let it wash away the sweat and dirt.

I heard someone rustling around behind me. "Forget something, Jenkins?"

"Yeah, I forgot how much these places smell. Boys are gross." I whirled around and gaped at Reed Girl who was stepping into the shower, her gorgeous body on display. It was hard to look away from her but I had to be sure the room was empty. Thankfully none of my teammates were in here.

"Baby, what are you doing? I thought one locker room visit was enough." It would never be enough, though it'd always be one of my hottest memories, fucking my then nameless girl against my locker. Who knew that she'd end up being the only girl for me a couple months later?

She laughed and ran her hands over my chest. Fuck that felt good. "Your teammate said the coast was clear and I decided I didn't want to wait until later for the makeup sex. There's no way I'm facing your grandmother again without having been fucked thoroughly."

I ran my fingers over the curve of her hip and watched her shiver in response. "She won't say another word against you, I swear." I couldn't hit her, since she was old and a woman and shit, but I bet I could get mom to.

"She can't say anything that hurts me, not anymore." Reed Girl put her arms around my neck and her gorgeous body pressed against mine. Fuck yes. "The only thing that could hurt me is losing you and thankfully you forgave me."

I pushed a wet strand of hair away from her face and met her gaze. "We're good, as long as you're not hiding anything else. You don't have a husband and two kids stashed away somewhere, right?" She laughed and smacked my shoulder. "You're not secretly a former guy, are you?"

"Wellllllll," she trilled, making me laugh. "What? You don't get a body this good without some surgery, just saying." I took a handful of her non-surgically altered ass and squeezed it while she yelped. "No more secrets, I swear!"

"Good." I kissed her softly and she moaned and rubbed herself against me. It had been far too fucking long since I had her sexy body in my hands. Rectifying that was even better than winning my game tonight.

She pulled back and held my face in her hands. "Edward, I'm sorry I lied to you. I should have told you after you told me you loved me. I was just afraid that you'd give up on us."

Sweet girl. I get it now. "Honestly, I was so freaked out over loving you that I might have fucked it up if you had. I can't say I'm glad that I found out the way I did, but I understand why you waited. Just don't do it again."

"I promise." She smiled softly. "So listen, there's another concert in February and I was wondering if you wanted to come see me play?"

I couldn't even begin to express the way it felt when she asked me. I felt myself grinning like a loon. "Yeah, baby, I want to see you play. I'm glad you asked me this time."

She smiled and hugged me. "It wasn't that I didn't want you there last time. I was just terrified that somebody was going to slip. The conductor almost did."

"Yeah." I laughed remembering it. "Did he leave any instruments off the list? Will you be playing the tuba or the triangle?"

She giggled up at me. "No, just the oboe although if I can impress my professor, maybe he'll let me play this piece I've been working on for the piano."

Working on? As in… "Baby, do you write music?"

She nodded and then her eyes got wide. "I wasn't hiding it from you, I swear. I just started tinkering with something and decided to get it down. It's the first thing I've ever written and I don't know if it's any good."

As if my girl could ever be anything less than amazing at something? "I'm sure it's awesome. And even if you can't play it at your concert, you have to play it for me. I want to hear you." She supported me, it was only right that I support her. I wanted to. I was really proud that she was so talented. I should have known, though. My Reed Girl was fucking phenomenal.

"It's about you, us, I guess."

How fucking cool was that? "Oh yeah? So it's sexy then?" I pressed her against the wall and she yelped as the cold tile touched her body.

She nodded. "Yeah, you could say that."

"And obviously super talented." I traced a finger over her soft, wet shoulder and watched her shiver.

"Obviously," she echoed, sounding breathless. I'd never tire of the way she reacted to me. It was no wonder that she came gunning for me, really. Look at what I did to her. And what she did to me. I was hard as a rock and we'd done enough talking as far as I was fucking concerned.

"Gorgeous, of course." I bent to kiss her throat and she moaned and tilted her head back.

"You are," she murmured as I brushed the sides of her breasts and nibbled on her neck.

"You are. You can't even know." Seeing her wet, shaking with need for me, would never get old.

Big brown eyes flashed open and focused on me. "Love. It's about love. I love you."

Just hearing the desperation in her voice when she said it would have convinced me if I didn't already know. "I love you, too, Reed Girl."

My use of her nickname, as always, made her smile. "Show me?" she asked.

I stopped my slow strokes of her body and lifted her. She wrapped her long, sexy legs around me and I rubbed my cock against her wet pussy. "Don't tease me, Champ," she demanded and I grinned as I entered her. Fuck, she felt so good.

"It's been way too long, baby. Let's never be away from each other again."

She laughed and kissed me. "I think we'll have to now and then but we'll make it work."

I knew we would, but I didn't have to like it. "Move in with me." Where did that come from? I thought about it for a second and decided that I didn't care because I liked it. A lot.

She stopped laughing, which was a shame because the vibrations through her pussy were really kind of fucking awesome. "I don't think I can move into the football dorm."

Okay, she might have a point. "We'll get our own place. You, me and Rainbow." I lifted her a bit higher and started moving in and out of her.

"We just had our first fight, more or less, and you want us to move in together?" She gripped my shoulders and started moving with me.


"Can you even move out of the dorm? I have a lease. What about…" I stopped her questions by kissing her and swallowing her protests. She moaned and I pushed her harder into the wall as I fucked her faster.

"Stop talking. We'll figure out that shit later. Do you want to live with me or not?"

"Of course I do," she answered. That was all I needed to hear. I flexed my hips and drove my cock into her hard, making her choke out my name.

This was my fucking night, alright. I got my championship, I got my girl back and now we were moving in together with our crazy kitten and I had everything worth having in the world, not to mention I was fucking my girl in the locker room for the second time in our relationship. Tonight would never be topped.

"Edward!" she called again as she clamped down and came hard around me. I thrust a few more times before I let myself go, filling her. We were both panting as she clung to me. The water was getting fucking cold but I didn't care enough to move until she started shivering again. I pulled out of her and turned the water off before wrapping her in my towel.

"You're not putting that ugly band uniform back on, are you?"

She laughed as I opened my locker and pulled out my jeans and polo. "What else am I going to wear?"

I grinned and went to where we stored the extra jerseys and grabbed one of mine, handing it to her. "You look hot as fuck in my jersey and it'll irritate the hell out of the Grandmonster if she sees you in my clothes."

Reed Girl shook her head and put on her bra before taking the jersey from me. "Well, who am I to deny you anything tonight?" She slipped it on and it was huge on her but she still looked awesome.

"That's right, baby. To the victor go the spoils." Best quote ever.

She giggled as she pulled on her ugly band pants. At least my jersey covered quite a bit of them. "You win a whole lot."

"Then you're going to have to spoil me all the time, aren't you?" I finished dressing and sent her an innocent look that made her laugh harder.

"I already do." She kissed me again and I had to admit it was true. "Let's go celebrate."

"I thought we just did. That was way better than some shitty party."

She shook her head. "No, that was us making up. We're going to celebrate with your family now and alone later."

My girl just totally got me. "I love you, Reed Girl."

"I love you, too, Champ." I fucking loved that she kept calling me that. It was a fitting name, that was for sure.

"We're just going for a few minutes."

"You don't want to bask in it for longer?"

Once upon a time, yeah, I would have. "No, I just want you."

Her beautiful smile lit her face. "I'm all yours. Let's go get this over with then." Damn right. We had a private party to get to.


The music and noise coming out of the hotel ballroom as we approached was loud as fuck and I shot a glance at my girl. "Do we have to go in?"

She nodded. "Like it's so torturous for you to bask in applause and attention? Isn't this one of the reasons you wanted to win?"

Yeah, but I could get attention anytime. I wanted to be alone with her now. Yes, we'd made up and had awesome shower sex but I really needed to hold her and touch her and just be with her for the first time in over a week. "I just want you in my bed."

She laughed and touched my cheek. "And I'll be there soon enough, although did they change the sheets? I don't know that I want to smell Jasper in there." She shrieked as I tickled her. "I'm kidding, I'm kidding!"

"That better be the last fucking time I spend the night with him and not you," I warned, kissing her hard.

"Hey, I'm sure he was way better company than Rose was." I scowled at the mention of her name and Reed Girl sighed. "I know you're pissed at her and so was I but she's just very protective of me and she's never trusted you. It doesn't matter what she thinks, though. I trust you."

"She kept me from making it right last night."

"I know." She ran her fingers through my hair, which felt fucking incredible. "But maybe it was better this way. I'll never forget you vaulting over the wall and coming to look for me."

It was pretty fucking awesome of me. "Maybe. I'm still pissed off at her, though." Reed Girl didn't correct me, just smiled and gave me a kiss. "Alright, let's get this shit done." I took her hand and pushed open the door. Before we even took two steps in, a cheer went up and one of the lineman grabbed me and lifted me in the air.

"We did it!" I accepted man claps on the back and handshakes. My girl sent me a wave and went off to find her bitch of a friend or something while I got inundated with memories of the game we'd just played. "Did you see that hit I laid on Henderson?" "That first pass to Gibbs was a thing of beauty, man. What a throw!" I settled into the compliments but kept my eye out for Reed Girl. She was standing with my mom, laughing and gesturing a lot. She was so fucking beautiful.

"Guess I lost my bed buddy for the night."

Fucking hell. I turned and glared at Jasper. "I am not and never was your bed buddy. I fell asleep and you stayed in my room like some kind of creepy stalker. The only reason I didn't kick your ass is that I was distracted."

He grinned and threw an arm around me, that I immediately shrugged off. "You didn't kick my ass because I'm your best friend."

I rolled my eyes and then studied his. They were red. Holy shit. "Are you high?"

"Not completely but I'm working on it."

Fucking hell. "I'll tell Shorty."

He grinned. "She gave me a special discompassion for tonight."

I was fairly sure that wasn't the right word but Reed Girl wasn't here to interpret for me. "Shorty said you could get baked?"

He nodded happily. "Yes, because I'm a hero and I won."

A hero? That was laying it on a bit thick. Plus, he didn't win. I did. He took a knee. Any fucking moron could do that much. "You're a hero?" In what world?

"I am the windddddd beneath your wings!" he sang loudly, doing his ridiculous shuffle dance. Holy fuck, he brought his cowboy boots. I looked around to see if anybody noticed him being high and insane but thankfully nobody seemed to care. They were all drinking and celebrating anyway.

"Look, I'm glad that Shorty said you could…"I broke off when I saw that the Grandmonster had joined my mom and Reed Girl. Fuck that noise. I wasn't letting that woman upset my girl again. I left Jasper to his weed and pushed my way over to where they were standing. Mom had a sour look on her face but Reed Girl just smiled at me. Thank fuck.

"Edward! What a wonderful game!" The Grandmonster was smiling at me and being nice, which was strange. Maybe she'd been smoking up with Jasper or something. Whatever it took to make her less of a raging bitch was fine by me.

"Thanks, Grandmother," I replied, holding out my hand to Reed Girl. She took it and gave me a reassuring squeeze.

"You played brilliantly, right up to when you took off your helmet and went into the stands." There it was. She was glaring at me now. "Really, Edward, what were you thinking? Wasn't it bad enough that your brother made a public spectacle of this family at your last game without you making an even bigger one? It's all people are talking about."

"Good. Let them talk about it." I smiled down at my girl who was grinning right back at me. "Now the whole world knows that Reed Girl is with me. I staked my claim in the best possible way."

My girl laughed. "I'm not some cow you need to brand."

"You're definitely not a cow, baby, but I like you wearing my brand." I raised her wrist and kissed it right next to the bracelet I'd given her for Christmas, and then I traced the number seven she wore on my jersey. Reed Girl's eyes got darker and she licked her lips as I trailed my fingers across her chest.

"Good Lord, Edward, show some decorum! Is that from Tiffany's?" she demanded, grabbing at my girl. Before Reed Girl could comment, Mom smacked her hand away, causing Grandmonster to gape at her.

"Don't you touch her. It's none of your concern where he bought her present."

Grandmonster puffed up. "It most certainly is. When I see my grandson falling under the spell of some gold digger, it's my duty to rectify it. What will it cost to make you go away?" she demanded, turning to my girl.

Holy fuck. She had not just done that. Where did she think we were, some soap opera?

"I'm sorry, did you just offer to pay me to break up with Edward?" my girl asked, disbelief in her tone.

"How dare you?" my mom started, getting right up in Grandmonster's face. "You couldn't break them up by being an evil monster and nearly ruining his game, so now you're trying to buy her off? Right in front of us?"

"Why pretend that she's anything but what she is? What will it take, girl?"

"What do you think he's worth?" Reed Girl asked. What the fuck was going on here? She better be fucking with the old crone. "Because I promise you, no monetary value that you place on him is worth what he means to me. I love him. I don't know why you can't wrap your head around that, but I do. Maybe you should have your son check you out for some medical condition, because no normal person should act like you do over your grandson's happiness."

Fuck, she was fantastic. I hugged her to me as the Grandmonster turned red. "How dare you talk to me that way?"

"Somebody needs to. Esme tries and you just shit all over her and act like she's not there. She's been married to your son for what, twenty-five years?" Mom nodded. "Well, I think it's pretty safe to say that she's not going anywhere, so maybe you should accept her and move on. I'm not going anywhere either, not unless Edward decides he doesn't want me."

As if that would ever fucking happen. "I will always want you." I turned to my grandmother. "We're moving in together." That news made Mom grin and clap her hands while Grandmonster continued to look scandalized. "And one day, I'm going to marry her." Reed Girl gasped and Mom looked like she was going to pass out she was so excited. "If you want to be invited to our wedding, then you better be nice to Bella and not try to buy her off or scare her off or whatever the fuck you have in mind. I love her and she's not going anywhere. If she tries, I'll find her and bring her right back."

"If you think I'll be giving you the family ring to give to her…"

I cut her off before she could even start that bullshit. "If you think I want that ugly fucking thing, think again. I'll get my girl a real rock when the time is right." I smirked at the dazed look on Reed Girl's face. "What, are you surprised? I don't even want to spend a day without you, let alone a lifetime."

She shook her head. "Yeah, but…"

"No buts, baby, you're stuck with me. You came after me and now you've got me so you'll have to deal with it. Think you can handle that?"

Reed Girl laughed. "You never fail to surprise me. Yes, I can handle it."

"That makes two of us." I kissed her and then turned back to my delighted mom and unhappy grandmother. "Does that answer any questions you may have? If you want to be part of my life, you're going to have to accept that Reed Girl is my life. I don't care that she lied in order to get me. At least she made some effort, unlike some people."

"I just want the best for you," my grandmother told me stiffly.

"She is the best for me and I mean it; one more word toward her that I don't like and you can bounce. We don't need that shit and Reed Girl doesn't deserve it."

"Now, how about we celebrate? I thought winning a championship was really important to this family and Edward did that in impressive fashion tonight." Reed Girl grinned at me and I smiled back. Damn right. Fuck this noise. I was done with drama.

"How about you dance with the MVP?" I asked her.

"Nah, I'd rather dance with the Heisman winner." She laughed as I tickled her and pulled her toward the dance floor.

"How lucky for you that they're one and the same." I pulled her into my arms and we swayed to the music. It was some obnoxious fast song but I didn't give a damn. I wanted to hold her. "You were awesome with the Grandmonster," I told her.

"So were you, though you just about gave her a heart attack when you told her you were going to marry me."

I pulled back far enough to meet her gaze. "I wasn't fucking with her, you know. One day, I will." We had shit to get through first. College and the start of my NFL career, but I was determined that we were doing it together.

"If I say yes," she told me with a grin.

Like that was even a question. "You will. You're the one who wanted me, remember?"

She laughed. "You're never going to let me forget it, are you?"

"Hell no. I'm going to tell everybody how you stalked me and made me yours."

She raised an eyebrow. "Go ahead; I'm not ashamed of it."

"Of course you're not, look at me." She laughed and smacked my chest. "Just telling it like it is, baby."

"How about instead of telling me, you show me? Ready to get out of here?"

About fucking time. "Hell yes." We left the dance floor and headed toward the exit but my brother stepped into our path.

"Dude! I heard you told Grandma to fuck off and Bella threatened to kick her ass."

"Not in so many words…" I started and Reed Girl smacked me again.

"Not in any of those words. I guess maybe Edward came close to a fuck off but he was a lot more polite about it. And I didn't threaten to kick her ass, I just thought about it."

"Awesome!" He pulled both of us into a bear hug.

"Damn it, Em, don't kill us. We want to go celebrate." I'd kill him if he put me out of commission for tonight.

"I just bet you do. But first I need to borrow your girl." Before I could ask what the fuck he was talking about, he'd pulled her away from me. She sent me a shrug and followed him off to wherever.

"What the fuck?"

"He's giving us a minute alone."

Blondie. I should have fucking known. I turned and she was standing right behind me, her arms crossed over her chest, looking uncomfortable.

"I don't want a minute alone with you," I told her, because I honestly didn't know if I could manage to bite my tongue and not tell her exactly what I thought of her. I'd already had to censor myself with the Grandmonster and that was too fucking much for one night.

"I know. But I wanted to say I'm sorry." I stared at her, shocked that she actually said it and looked like she meant it. "I saw what you did, going into the stands after Bella and heard what you said to your grandmother and I was wrong. I shouldn't have refused to let you talk to her last night."

"No, you shouldn't have." I ran a hand through my hair. "You've been waiting for me to fuck up from the get go and then she does and you act like I'm the bad guy. I just wanted to make it right, even though it was her doing."

"I never…" she sighed. "Emmett was the first guy I let myself fall for and he hurt me, badly. We both know that I hated you for your name alone when you and Bella first got together and the truth was, you had an even worse reputation than he did, so I didn't trust you. I know she lied but when I saw her so upset, I just turned it around on you because it was easy to do. She's my friend."

"I know, but she was the wrong one, not me. And all I did was ask for time to think about everything. It kind of came out at the worst possible time, you know?"

"I know, but you didn't see her face when she came back in. She was devastated. And your grandmother was so thrilled with herself and your mom was nearly as upset as Bella and I had to protect her. I know now that I was wrong and I just wanted to say so."

"Okay." I didn't really know what to fucking say to that. "We're good, me and Bella."

"I know." She smiled. "Your mom is pretty much telling everyone that you're engaged to be engaged." I snorted out a laugh. Mom was probably already picking out china patterns. "Look, Edward, it's clear that you're with Bella and you're going to stay that way. I'm with Emmett and I really hope it's going to stay that way as well. We're going to be in each other's lives no matter what, so maybe we could have a truce? I'm sorry I've been such a bitch to you. I can't say that I won't be again, because if you hurt her, I will come after you, but I promise that I'll give you a chance first."

She was right. Like it or not, she was one of my girl's best friends and my brother's girlfriend. We had enough family drama with the Grandmonster and I didn't want more. "Truce." We shook on it just as my brother and Reed Girl returned.

"Everything good?" Emmett asked, beaming at us.

"It is now," I said, my eyes on Reed Girl.

She smiled and took my hand. "Good. Let's get to that private party, okay?"

Damn right. We hurried out of the ballroom and into the elevator. She immediately burrowed into my arms and I held her tight, kissing the top of her head. "Are you okay, baby? What did my brother do to you?"

She laughed. "Nothing. He was just giving you and Rose some time alone. I just wanted to be in your arms."

"They're yours, baby. Always."

"You're mine," she said with a grin. "Always." Damn right I was. And she was mine. Reeds may break, but my Reed Girl and I were invincible.

A/N And so they are! Grandmonster slayed, so to speak, Rose dealt with, a little makeup sex in the locker room, they're moving in together and he's gonna marry her one day, Jaspy's high one last's definitely a party! Two more planned chapters left besides outtakes and both will have some time jumps.

So, not surprisingly, I play fantasy football and for some reason or other, I agreed to another bet with Heather in which I promised her a love poem if she beat my craptastic team, which was not hard. The fact that she keeps getting me to accept bets that I'm clearly going to lose is a testament to said love, but a bet's a bet and I'm finally paying up. Twilover76, this is for you!

Heather, my dearest friend,

I will love you to the bitter end

Of football season and beyond

From here or there or across the pond.

Both our teams are on the rise,

A fact by which we are both surprised.

I love to listen to your love for Luck,

Even if he is too ugly to fuck! (but not for you, hahaha)

I'll admit that he's not totally lame,

Though he needs to throw it more to Wayne!

From tears of defeat to tears of joy,

It seems your Colts have found their boy.

It took some Luck and lots of planning,

But they got it right when they let go of Manning.

Denver doesn't mind and neither do I,

Because his fantasy points are pretty high!

Your team is pretty strong,

But mine is coming along,

So don't declare victory as of yet,

There might be another bet!

Because I can't resist your Lucky Charms,

Even when they cause me harm,

But never fear,

I won't cry Tebow's Tears.

You can laugh and you can scoff,

But I'll see you in the playoffs!

And then I'll get to tell you all over again,

How happy I am that you're my friend.

Love you!

Chapter Text

Sideline Collision Chapter 29
“Are you nervous?”
I looked at Reed Girl in the mirror as I straightened my tie. “Why would I be nervous?”
She shook her head, laughing. “It’s only the biggest day of your career.”
For now. I’d had plenty of big days so far. Two Heismans, two national championships, two MVPs. Fucking right I’d repeated as champion, as promised. It wasn’t my career that had those annoying fucking stomach flutters returning.
“It’s a done deal, baby. I’m going first; it’s just a matter of who picks me.” I hoped like hell it wasn’t going to be Cleveland. Yes, they had the first pick in the draft and yes they needed another quarterback because every single one they picked sucked balls, so I was more than likely fucked. But according to the guys on NFL Network and ESPN, there was some talk of movement expected at the top of the draft. I hoped that was fucking true, for my fucking sake. Cleveland. What the fuck would I do there?
“Cleveland? I hope not. I look terrible in brown and orange.” Reed Girl gestured to herself with a frown. No shit. Nobody looked good in uniforms the color of shit. Not even me. And if I couldn’t make a uniform look good, that uniform should be burned.
“You look good in anything.” Even brown and orange, ugly though they may be. I raked my eyes over her body. My girl had elected to wear a sexy green dress for our return to New York. She spent nearly as much time on ESPN these days as I did, it seemed. I kept her by my side whenever humanly possible. You’d think after a year and a half of living together I’d be sick of having her around. I wasn’t. Not even close.
If I was nervous about anything, it was about being away from her. I was due to graduate in a month with my MBA. Reed Girl had busted ass and was on track to graduate next December, but that meant that we’d spend my first season apart, unless some team like Jacksonville picked me so I could be only a few hours away from her. I hoped those fuckers pulled the trigger, it wasn’t like they had to move up that much to go from three to one. I was a once in a lifetime player and Mel Kiper was already comparing me to Elway, Manning and Marino. It didn’t get any fucking better than that, did it?
She reached up and smoothed down my jacket before running her fingers through my hair. “There. You look hot.” I was wearing a black suit and a green tie that went with my girl’s dress, because according to her and my mother, that was what I should do. I’d long ago figured out that it was easier to let them have their way on shit like this than to argue. They always got their way anyway and I ended up with a headache, so why bother?
I pushed her up against the wall of our hotel room and pressed myself against her. “How hot do I look?”
She laughed and wrapped my tie around her fist, pulling me in closer. “Hot enough to be by my side on your big day.”
I laughed and kissed her hard, because she was fucking awesome and right. She looked good enough to eat. “I’m glad I’m worthy, baby.”
“Always, Champ.” I rubbed against her and she laughed and ducked between my arms. “Oh, no, not again. We don’t have time.” I pouted which made her giggle all the more.
“It’s my big day,” I reminded her, though she was right. We needed to get to Tiffany’s and then to Radio City to sit with the other NFL prospects and wait until my name was called.
“I thought it was our big day,” she said with a little smirk.
“It is.” In more ways than she knew. My big days were hers, her big days were mine. I was there for every concert and show she was a part of and she was at my games playing my song and sporting my number on top of her hat and on her wrist. “And I have something big for you.”
She shook her head as she returned to the mirror to finish fussing with her face, not that she needed to. She was fucking stunning. “I believe you shared that with me in the shower just a bit ago.” Damn right I did. “And I believe you’ll share it with me tonight once we know where you’re going to end up next year.”
I winced at the words “you’re going to end up” both because it was true and because I hated it. “We’re going to end up, you mean. Right?” I didn’t want to look at her face when I asked that so I turned away from her and looked for my wallet. I felt her arms come around me and her breasts push against my back.
“Of course, we. I’m stuck with you, remember? And you’re stuck with me.”
I knew that, of course, and I was going to make sure it stayed that way, but it still felt good to hear it. “Yeah, baby? Even if I end up in Cleveland?”
She squeezed me around the waist. “I’ll be there in an ugly brown jersey cheering my head off.” I smiled at the visual. “Hey.” She released me and came around to stand in front of me. “What brought that on?”
I shrugged and tried to change the subject. “Just being weird, I guess. We should get…”
“Edward Cullen, don’t you even think about stepping out of this room until you tell me what’s wrong.” Fuck. I knew that tone. I’d heard that tone when I’d accidentally-on-purpose gotten Rainbow to rip the shit out of this ugly shirt that my girl fell in love with and she’d been forced to part with the fucking nasty thing. It wasn’t my fault Rainbow listened to me. Who expected a cat to do shit like that?
In other words, that tone meant business and I was going to be in a shitload of trouble if I didn’t tell her what was on my mind. Her brown eyes were narrowed and her hands were on her hips and she looked like she was ready to take me on and win. She fucking would too. The woman owned me.
“It’s the first time we’re going to be apart,” I muttered, shrugging my shoulders again. “I don’t like it.”
Her scowl went away and she reached for me. I couldn’t resist pulling her in close and holding her tight. “It’s only for a few months and you know that I’m going to visit you all the time. And you’re still going to come to our place whenever you can.” I was. She’d talked about maybe moving in with Emmett and Blondie or Jasper and Shorty but we’d both decided for the sake of her sanity, it’d be best to keep our place. I preferred that anyway. The thought of them getting to spend time with her when I couldn’t sort of pissed me off. I better not be sitting in a fucking condo in Cleveland while she was having the time of her life without me in Tally.
“It’s just going to be weird, without you there.”
She touched my cheek as she pulled back and looked up at me. “It’ll be weird for me, too, but we’ll get through it. I’m going to talk to you every night and I left the Chiefs so I can come see you play more easily. You’re going to be so busy you’ll hardly miss me.”
I rolled my eyes and Reed Girl laughed. “Okay, so you’ll miss me and I’ll miss you. But you’ll have Rainbow to keep you company.”
I still wasn’t sure how to feel about that. Part of me was happy and another part of me thought it was fucked up for a single man living on his own to have a cat. What would my new teammates say? “Yeah, about that…”
She shook her head. “Oh no, Cullen, we both know that if you’re gone for more than a couple of days, Rainbow’s going to ruin everything I own until she gets you back.” It was fucking true. I’d gone to a quarterback clinic for two weeks over the summer last year and Rainbow had a shitfit, destroying a couch, peeing on some clothes, screaming at all hours of the night. She was crazy as fuck. When I came home, she refused to leave my side for several days. You’d have thought Reed Girl had been torturing her the entire time I was gone.
“She loves you best and she tolerates me. She won’t tolerate me without you. You’re taking her.” Yeah, I was and mostly I was happy about it. At least I wouldn’t be totally alone. I’d just have to make sure my teammates never came over. I’d either be the pussy that had a pussy or the pussy whose girlfriend ruled him. I was both those fucking things and it was really a lot fucking cooler than I ever thought it would be, but they didn’t need to know that.
“Alright.” I glanced at my watch. “We need to get going if we’re making that stop at Tiffany’s to get your charm.” And the other, much more important thing.
“Edward, you know I don’t need another one.”
“Yes, you do.” We’d picked her up an ice skate to represent New York since I’d taken her skating at the park when I won my second Heisman and now we needed to commemorate this next step in our future.
“You spoil me too much.”
I nuzzled her neck. “Never enough, baby. Let’s go.” My stomach had those stupid fucking flutters again. Was I really going to do this? I hadn’t been sure until just seconds ago that I wanted to do it now. We’d talked about it, of course, but it was always in terms of “later” and not now, but later seemed to be here. I just didn’t feel right, starting my new life and leaving her behind without something tangible to tie us together. More than words, that was. I wanted everyone to fucking know that even though I was wherever the fuck I was, she was mine and I was hers.
“Okay.” She twined her fingers with mine and we headed out to start our future.
“It’s impossible to choose.” I laughed as she bent to examine yet another case. I’d have happily bought her every single one that she cooed over but she wouldn’t let me and replaced each favorite with another favorite. I glanced at the cases toward the front of the store, where I planned to steer her after she chose her charm. It was time.
“There’s the one with the NY that’s cute but so is the apple and…” she babbled on as I leaned over to see what she was looking at. The perfect one caught my eye and my heart started to pound.
“That one,” I interrupted, pointing where the perfect charm waited.
“What one?” she asked, looking confused. I couldn’t blame her. There were a billion of the fucking things in there.
“There, the square one.”
“What is that?” She leaned closer, her hair brushing across the glass case. The instant she saw it she gasped. “Is that a ring?”
Yes. Yes it was. It was clearly the top half of a diamond ring on a flat, square charm. “Yeah.” I was committed now. I was doing this. I felt like I was going to fucking hurl all over the shiny glass, but I’d be damned if I was going to lose my shit. Fuck that noise.
She looked over at me, her beautiful brown eyes wide as hell. “How does that represent New York?” she asked quietly.
I tugged on her arm and pulled her off the case, turning her to face me. I could fucking do this. I was Edward fucking Cullen and she loved me. There was no way she’d say no, so why was I freaking the fuck out inside?
“Because, if you say yes, it’ll be the place where we got engaged.” Vaguely I heard a squeal from the saleswoman who’d been showing Reed Girl the billion charms but I tuned the chick out and focused on my girl who was still staring at me. Had I asked her? Sort of. Fuck. I’d better get it right or I’d never hear the end of it.
“Reed Girl, I love you.” Her lips curved in a smile which made me feel marginally better, even though those fucking flutters were making me sick. “Today, we’re going to find out just where we’re going to start our future and I want to start it together.” I took a deep breath and gave her it all. “I can survive the months without you if I know that at the end of it, you’re going to be mine forever. Will you marry me?”
Holy fuck, I did it. Reed Girl was grinning like a fucking loon and her eyes were shining and shit so apparently I did well enough. The next thing I knew, she was in my arms and kissing me all over my face. “Yes!” she said over and over between kisses. Finally her lips met mine in a searing kiss that made me forget all about rings and audiences and NFL Drafts and made me want to take her right on one of those shiny glass cases.
“Congratulations!” Dimly I heard the salesgirl talking to us and I pulled back with my eyes on my grinning girl. “Would you like to see our engagement rings?”
I smirked and nodded when my girl’s eyes got even bigger. “Yeah. And we’ll take that charm, right baby?”
“Yes.” She put her arms around my waist and burrowed into me. “I was already yours forever, without the ring, you know?”
“I know, but I like being official.”
“Me too.” I bent to kiss her and the flutters were still there but they felt more like the normal ones that I got when I was with her. My fiancé. My wife. Holy fuck.
“Let’s go pick out a ring.”
“Your mom’s going to die,” Reed Girl said gleefully as she studied the sparkling ring on her finger.
She really was. And I was a fucking genius asking my girl the way I had, because she had the ring she wanted and I didn’t have to stress about that shit at all. Jasper was right, that was the way to go. He’d popped the question when Alice told him it was time a few months ago and he’d had the ring she’d put in his name at the fucking store. He’d dragged me with him because it was “what best friends did” and I’d just been thankful that we didn’t have to pick that shit out on our own.
“Actually, Mom’s going to scream and start calling wedding planners. The Grandmonster might die though.” There was a fucking thought. Reed Girl saw the look on my face and elbowed me.
“Not nice.”
“So, neither is she.” Though I had to admit, she’d been better. We’d only seen the old bat twice since I threw down the gauntlet and she’d been decent, I guess. She bit her tongue and didn’t say any of the shit she was probably thinking, at least.
“We’re better than she is,” my girl reminded me as we followed the attendants down to the green room.
“True.” I brushed my lips across her knuckles right above the ring. “Fuck, this looks good on you.”
Reed Girl laughed. “It’s beautiful. And too expensive, but I’m finding it hard to care.” She wiggled her finger and the big rectangular diamond flashed in the light.
I snorted. “Baby, I’m about to become a multi-millionaire. Don’t sweat it.” Plus I’d gotten my trust when I turned twenty-one. Money was hardly an issue.
“I know, it’s just that your grandmother…”
“Won’t say a word if she knows what’s good for her.” The doors opened and I saw my mom pacing in front of our table. “Come on, baby. Let’s go make my mom’s life. And your dad’s. You’d better call him shortly.” Charlie already knew I intended to marry Reed Girl, so I hadn’t asked his permission or any of that shit. Fuck that noise. He’d probably accept for her and fight with my mom over wedding colors or some fucking insanity.
She laughed and squeezed my hand. “I will. Let’s go let your mom scream first, and then my dad can.”
“There you are! I was beginning to worry that you weren’t going to make it!” Mom enveloped me in a hug and held me tight. “I can’t believe this day is here.”
I grinned at my father who was rolling his eyes behind her back. “We had an important stop to make.”
“Oh, that’s right.” Mom released me and turned to Reed Girl. “What charm did you pick out?”
Reed Girl said nothing, holding out her right wrist so Mom could see for herself. Mom pawed through the charms and paused when she got to the right one. “Really?” she yelled, practically tackling my girl to the floor as she hugged her. I caught them both to keep them from falling.
“Yes!” Then they were both jumping up and down creating a hell of a spectacle as Reed Girl showed my mom her ring.
“Oh, it’s gorgeous! Oh my God, how did he propose?” And they were off, chattering away as if I wasn’t even there.
Dad clapped me on the back and pulled me into a half hug. “Congratulations, son. I couldn’t be happier for you.”
“Thanks, Dad.”
Emmett lifted me up from behind and twirled me around like I weighed ten pounds. “You finally did it! Way to go, little bro.”
When he finally put me down, I turned and glared at him. “Finally? It’s not like you’ve manned up yet.”
“Yeah, Emmett.” Blondie elbowed him aside before hugging me. I patted her back and she released me. “You did good, Cullen.”
“Thanks, Blondie.” Mom finally finished with Reed Girl so I pulled her back to me. “Can I have my fiancé back?”
“Fiance!” Mom dabbed at her wet eyes and threw her arms around me again. “I’m so happy! You’re going to be so happy. This is just perfect! When were you thinking of getting married?”
“Mom, we just got engaged and don’t even know where we’ll be living yet. Give us a few.”
Dad laughed and pulled Mom off me. “She’s just excited. She’ll calm down eventually.” He shook his head behind her back and did the crazy symbol. Yeah, we both knew she’d never calm the fuck down.
“Right, but it’s never too early to start thinking about when and where. There’s the club or the summer house in Maine or…” I tuned her out and focused on the Grandmonster who was sitting silently at our designated table, her lips in a thin line. I didn’t know lips could look like that.
“Aren’t you going to congratulate me, Grandmother?” I called obnoxiously. My girl giggled quietly behind me and Mom stopped her wedding planning to turn and look at the Grandmonster. Grandpa patted her back and stood, holding out a hand.
“Congratulations Edward. Welcome to the family, Bella. We’re happy to have you.”
Grandmother just nodded tightly and attempted a smile that looked more like a grimace. What the fuck ever. At least she wasn’t calling my girl a gold digger. “Thanks, Grandpa. Grandmother.”
“Everybody take your seats. We’ll be on the air in two minutes!” some annoying loud chick yelled. It was time. I pulled out a chair for Reed Girl and sat down next to her. She immediately slipped her hand in mine and I ran my thumb over her ring. Just feeling it there calmed me.
“Have you talked to the Browns yet?” Emmett asked.
I shook my head. “Not since yesterday. They told me that if they picked number one, it’d be me, but they haven’t called yet tonight.”
“Maybe they’re talking trades.” Emmett rubbed his hands together. “This is awesome.”
I felt bad that he’d missed out on it. His knee wasn’t going to hold up, so he was staying on at FSU as a coach. Thankfully he loved it.
Everybody in the room sat up a little straighter as the commissioner was announced. “Welcome to the 2014 NFL Draft. The Cleveland Browns are on the clock.”
I put my phone on the table in front of me. This was going to be the longest ten minutes of my entire life.
“They aren’t taking someone else are they?” Mom asked, looking worried.
“Not if they want to keep their fans,” Dad told her, laughing. “I don’t think there’s one mock draft out there that doesn’t have Edward as number one.”
I smirked and whispered, “That’s the way it should be” at my girl who laughed and elbowed me.
“So egotistical.”
“You love that about me.”
“I tolerate that about you.” I raised an eyebrow at her and she shrugged. “Okay, I like it sometimes.”
“Only sometimes?” Before she could answer, my phone rang. Here we fucking go.
“Answer it!” Mom hollered, making the whole room of prospects and their families laugh. I squeezed Reed Girl’s hand and answered the phone.
“Edward, this is Coach Coughlin.” Coughlin? But…no. Really?
“Hi, Coach.” Was that my voice? Yes, thank fuck it hadn’t cracked.
“How would you like to be a New York Giant?” My heart was truly fucking pounding now. The Giants were only two years from winning the Super Bowl and they were stacked. Eli had regressed in the past couple of years, but they still made the playoffs each year. Maybe his shoulder injury was worse than everyone thought. Or maybe someone was fucking with me. No. No way. This was happening.
“I’d love that,” I told him honestly, because holy fuck, was that better than going to Cleveland. A playoff team, New York City, Giant blue…fuck yes.
“Well good, because I’m trading almost my entire draft to get you. Are you ready to take us back to the Super Bowl?”
“Yes, sir.” My mind was reeling, but somehow I was still sitting upright.
“Good. I’m looking forward to seeing you in the office first thing tomorrow.”
“I’ll be there. Thank you, Coach.”
“You can thank me by winning. Get ready to work your ass off, Cullen.”
“I will. Bye.” I sat there dazed as my entire family stared at me.
“Well? Who was it? What did they say?” my brother demanded.
I blinked a few times and then turned to my girl, who looked terrified. “Cleveland?” she asked quietly.
I toyed with fucking with her for a few minutes but it was probably not a good idea to piss my fiancé off within an hour of getting engaged.
“The Giants.”
“Holy shit! That’s awesome!” Emmett shouted. Reed Girl was positively glowing as she threw her arms around me. Our table exploded with questions that I didn’t have the answers to, but before I could say anything else, Roger Goodell stepped back on the stage.
“Hush!” Mom called, sitting forward.
“We have a trade.” Everyone in the room around us started murmuring, wondering what had happened and who’d moved up and what it did to them as a result. “The Cleveland Browns have traded the number one pick to the New York Giants, and with that pick, they select…” he paused for dramatic effect even though anybody with a brain knew what was about to happen. “Edward Cullen, quarterback from Florida State University.”
My table broke out into loud applause and I stood and kissed my girl thoroughly before getting hugs from everyone at the table, including the Grandmonster.
“I’m so proud of you,” Mom murmured.
I laughed. “For getting drafted or getting engaged?” I hadn’t forgotten her reaction to my first championship.
She smiled. “Both.” She started murmuring something about The Plaza and I turned away from her.
I was rather proud of both as well. Reed Girl came back into my arms, hugging me tight. “I love you and I’m so excited to start our futures right here.”
“Technically we’ll be in Jersey but it works,” I told her, kissing her again.
“Get up there so you can hurry up and come back to me so we can celebrate.”
Damn right. I wanted engagement sex. And draft sex. And more engagement sex. “We have a lot of celebrating to do.”
“I’ll take care of you,” she promised, a sexy smile on her face.
Hell yeah. I brushed my hand across her ass before hurrying out onto the stage and putting on the Giant’s cap. Roger shook my hand and said congratulations and we posed as cameras flashed and I held up the number one Giants jersey. I looked over to see my girl and my whole family waiting in the wings, big smiles on their faces. Reed Girl already had a Giants jersey on over her dress, too, looking hot as fuck as always.
As many times as I’d dreamed of this day happening, it had never been this perfect. I was going to play for one of the best teams in the National Football League. I was going to live right outside or hell, maybe even in New York City. And I had the sexiest, most beautiful fiancé in the world. The future was even brighter than the past, which hadn’t exactly sucked. I couldn’t wait to get started.

Chapter Text

Sideline Collision Rainbow Outtake #2
What was this indignity? Why was he trying to put me in the thing like she did? Didn’t he know that it was futile? Nothing could ever separate us, especially not this pink monstrosity.
"Just get in there, would you?"
No, actually, I will not. Holding onto the sides, pushing back against his big strong hands. I’m stronger, though, Daddy. You will not win.
Oh, no, that’s not going to work either. Did he have to make me hurt him? Did he think it was fun for me to do so? I wasn’t going into that thing and that was that. So he had to suffer. I clung to his arm as he yelled.
Daddy put me back on the bed and started throwing things into the pink thing, good things like my treats and my toys. Did he really think that was going to work? He’d give me my treats and toys when I wanted them anyway because that was the way it was. I wasn’t going in there to retrieve them. I was too smart for that.
"I don't understand why you won't go in there. I put a fucking towel in there for you to lie on, didn't I? Do I have to go fucking buy you a fur so you'll be more comfortable?"
Actually, that would be preferable but it would still keep me away from where I belonged, which was with him. I tried to tell him that but he just glared at me.
"Haven't I been good to you so far? Did I push you off me every time you climbed on me when I came in the room? No, I did not."
Well, of course he didn’t. He belonged with me and I belonged with him. We’d established this long ago.
"Didn't I let you sleep on me without complaint?" Liar. He complained. But I ignored it because I’m sweet and understanding and I was where I wanted to be.
"The car's packed. We're ready to go. All that's left is to get you in that thing and then hide it in my gym bag since I'm not about to be seen carrying a fucking pink cat carrier and then we're off. Don't you want to go home with me? My mom will probably spoil the shit out of you. You'll like it."
I’d been ready to go ages ago. It was him that was being difficult. Not me. I was a sweet angel.
He pointed at the pink thing. "Go. Prove you're superior to a dog, who would definitely go where I told them to fucking go.” Because dogs are simpletons. I am much more complex, but you like me that way. I ignored him and began cleaning my foot, which needed grooming because he’d tried to force me into that carrier.
"Do you want me to leave you here?"
As if Daddy could ever do that to me. He loved me and Mommy would be mad, which he would never allow. He was afraid of her.
"Will you please get in the carrier?" He batted his eyes and stuck out his lips. I wasn’t sure what that was all about but I wasn’t getting in that thing. End of story.
He made an angry noise and picked me up, so I ran up to my special place and curled into his neck. See? Was that so hard? We could have been gone hours ago if he hadn’t been so focused on shutting me away from him. Finally we were on the way. He moved us out and threw the ugly pink thing in some dark hole, probably where he was going to stash me, which was even more unacceptable. I heard him say his favorite word and turned to see what was going on. There were two more man people standing there and they started talking while one of them reached toward me. Daddy didn’t seem to have a problem with it so I let him pet me and cuddled into Daddy. They left and we got into the car and I lay down on Daddy’s shoulder. Life was good.
Riding on Daddy’s shoulder was fun. But we were here now and some lady was cooing at me. She was a little weird but she looked like Daddy and she seemed to like me, so she might be okay.
"There she is! Aren't you a pretty kitty? Yes you are." Scratch that, she was clearly a highly intelligent human being. I let her hold me and snuggled into her. She smelled like something yummy.
"It's good to see you, too, Mom,” Daddy said in a sharp tone. Mom? Where was she?
"You know I'm happy to see you even if you're not nearly as cute as she is.” Oh, she was his mom. Did that make her my mom too? She kissed me all over my face and I didn’t care what she was, I just liked her. She understood how important I was.
"Why don't you go put your stuff in your room and then you can come back and tell me all about finals and Bella." Bella. That was Mom’s name. Was she here? She should be here to love on me, too.
Daddy started to walk away from me. He was getting taller and farther away which was not acceptable. I cried and the Mom laughed and put me down, so I ran to him, which was hard because I had to go up, but nothing was keeping us apart.
"She's really attached to you isn't she?" Daddy scooped me up and I cuddled into his neck while the Mom flashed a light at us. Why were people always flashing lights at me? Did they want to make me go blind?
"That's just the cutest thing I've ever seen." Yes, yes I was. Daddy carried us up the things and took me into a room that smelled just like him.
"You're more trouble than you're worth," he said, and I kissed him because we both knew that wasn’t true. I was worth a whole lot. Daddy dropped some things on the bed and then showed me my things! Yay! I had to go and there was a fresh clean place to do so. I hopped in my box and took care of business while he got me food and water. This was the life, right here.
Daddy got up on the bed and I got on his lap and kneaded my paws into his leg to show him how happy I was that we were together. He said something about going to play with the Mom but I was with him where I belonged. He started talking into some box and I relaxed while he petted me. Yes, this was good.
Unacceptable! He left me here in this strange place with the Mom. She was nice but she wasn’t my daddy! He’d fooled me, handing me to her and leaving before I knew what had happened. At first, I wasn’t concerned. I assumed he was getting me something new to play with or something, but no. Days had gone by. It was FOREVER. I let the Mom hold me for awhile but that wasn’t the same as being with Daddy so I struggled and she put me down.
This room was huge. I could hide in a billion places but then he couldn’t find me and he darn well better be looking for me the instant he came back. What were those things? They were high! I could get up on the top and find my Daddy because they were even higher than him. I tested it out and my claws slipped right in. Oh yeah. I could do this. I inched my way up and then some sound happened and I started to slide and the Mom came running over.
“No, pretty girl, you can’t climb the curtains. Edward’s just going to have to fix that when he gets home, isn’t he?”
Yes. Bring him home immediately to do whatever that is and give him back to me! The Mom just made a funny noise and patted my head as she put me back down. “You can explore but no climbing curtains or scratching furniture. You’re cute but now I remember why we don’t have any pets.”
Humph. I sniffed my way around the room. I could smell Daddy and the Mom and someone else. At least they smelled good. No scent of The Smelly One here. At least that was something.
Hey, what was that? A tree! I could climb it and lookout for Daddy up there. I hopped up and something squished under my feet. That felt kinda good. Maybe I should potty in here to teach them a lesson about Daddy leaving me in strange places. I started digging and got ready to squat.
“No, Rainbow!” What? The Mom grabbed me and wagged a finger at my nose. “You got dirt all over my floor. I guess Edward will have plenty of cleaning to do. Come on, let’s put you in his room before you do anymore damage.”
She carried me up and put me back in our room, which was lonely because Daddy wasn’t here. I cried a bit but she shut the door and left me alone. Unacceptable. I grabbed one of Daddy’s shoes and played with the string for a bit but that got boring so I curled up on his pillow and smelled him. It was better than nothing.
Years later I heard someone coming and then I smelled him. Daddy! I hopped off the bed and the door opened and I threw myself at him. Daddy caught me like he always did and I yelled and he put me where I belonged. I gave him bunches of kisses. We must never be apart again.
"What the fuck did you do?" I did nothing. You did it. You abandoned me. You’re lucky I’m forgiving.
Daddy bent us over to pick up the shoe I’d played with since he hadn’t been around to entertain me.
"Shoes? Really? I wasn't gone that fucking long, you little terror." Yes, you were. You were gone forever. I smacked his head and purred and he sighed. "Yeah, yeah, I sort of missed you, too. I wish you'd been there when that girl started hitting on me. You would have scratched the shit out of her, wouldn't you?"
What girl? Yes, I would have. You’re mine! I hit Daddy and kissed him again. He left me again but I could hear him in the other room and then he came back smelling even better and we got into bed and played until it was time to sleep against his neck. This was the way it should be.
Betrayal. I had been betrayed. Everything had been going along nicely but then they tricked me. They made me think there was a cool new bag to play in but no, it was a cage. I was trapped and I was very, very upset.
I kept crying and he ignored me. That was unacceptable. I was getting jostled and all I could see were legs and it was loud and little people kept coming up and trying to touch me. I didn’t like them either. Don’t put me down. Don’t you dare put me down, Daddy. What is this? Where are we going? What’s that noise? It’s loud! Were we at THE LOUD ONE’S house? Was this her family?
No! NO, NO, NO! Where is my Daddy? How am I moving? What’s that sound? I’m screaming but he is not saving me. This makes no sense! Now the thing I’m on jerked and I’m sitting here in the dark and I don’t like that either. Where is he?
Finally I started moving toward the light and there was my daddy! He scooped me up where I belonged, in his hands, well, sort of. I was still in this cage, locked away from him.
"Stop yelling. You're embarrassing me. When we sit, I swear to God I'll pet you, okay?" Pet? That was better. I stopped crying. "I know you hate being cooped up and I don't blame you but if you would just go to sleep like a normal animal, you'd be fine and you'd wake up and we'd be with Reed Girl. Don't you want to see her?" That depended. Could I get out of this infernal thing if I saw her? Because then, yes, I wanted to.
I tried to answer him, quietly this time, and he finally stopped moving and at last the top was open and there was his hand! I rubbed all over Daddy, purring, trying to show him that I was a good girl and I didn’t need to be trapped in this awful prison.
"You're so fucking weird." I was not. It wasn’t weird to want to be with the one you loved and not imprisoned in an evil bag that had looked like a fun place to play. Trickery. Rude. I bit his fingers and then kissed him to let him know that I forgave him. He needed to get me all the way out of here, though.
He started talking to some woman who was not Mom or The Mom so I ignored all that and just concentrated on how good it felt to have him touching me again. Rub, rub, kiss, purr. Let me out, Daddy. Enough of this. I started to climb his hand but he pushed me off. Not fair!
"Stop. You can't get out." Why not? I want out so get me out!
Suddenly his hand was gone and that awful sound was back and I was locked away from him again. NO!
"Don't yell." Why shouldn’t I? Wouldn’t he if he were unjustly imprisoned and locked away from me? Of course he would!
More jostling and he carried me toward something that was making a high pitched noise that hurt my ears. I cried but he ignored me, which was just rude. I had some serious issues with his behavior since Mom left.
I cried again and he stopped moving, sitting down. Finally, we were going to be together again. But then he bent and shoved me down so that I had a view of his shoes. What was this? I would NOT stand for this! I screamed loudly. Some woman started talking to him which meant he wasn’t paying attention to me so I yelled louder. The next thing I knew, the evil cage opened and he grabbed me. Before I knew what was going on, I was on his neck under a warm blanket and all was right with the world again. Why didn’t he just save us both a lot of heartache and put me here in the first place? Silly Daddy. I purred and kissed him. Much better.
Daddy put me back in the evil thing one more time but he got me out quickly and then I was back where I belonged. It was cold in this place so I needed his heat even more. His neck was everything good in my world, it was warm and safe and strong. I rode on it when we were on some moving thing, the wind whipping in my face felt good even though it was cold. I had Daddy to keep me warm though. We got back in the moving thing and finally he stopped it.
"Let's do this,” he said, stepping out with me on his shoulder. He started talking into that box thing.
The next thing I knew, a familiar voice was screaming and Mom was there, hugging Daddy. I smacked her head in case she thought about forgetting me. She pulled back and smiled at us, petting me. “What are both of you doing here?" I gave her a kiss. I had missed her and I knew Daddy had. He was super happy now, though, smiling away and loving on us both. This was my family and I loved them.
Mom and Daddy talked about some stuff that didn’t matter and I purred and loved on them both. "Trust you to find a way to get him to break the rules." I stretched into her hands, happy to be free at last.
They started moving but I had business to attend to. I wiggled and Daddy stopped.
"Wait." Daddy set me down on the crunchy green stuff that felt weird on my feet. "She has to go. She does this little wiggle thing." I cried and tried to find my box but it wasn’t here. "Don't bitch at me. You have to go, so go."
Rude. I went in front of them since I had no secret spot to go, and then ran back to him. "Yeah, yeah." He put me back on his shoulder where I belonged. "What?"
"You two can communicate with each other now? Maybe I should go away more often." Not if it meant I had to urinate publicly and get imprisoned! Never leave me!
They finally took me inside and it was much warmer here. Some guy came over and tried to climb on my daddy, which was my job. I didn’t get mad at him, though, because he had a bug on his face that I needed to catch. I tried to get it but the guy moved, taking the bug away from my reach. Rude! I wanted to play!
Mom walked away and Daddy sat down. Since he was here and I was brave, I hopped over to the man. He laughed and I reached for the bug, trying to get it. He pushed me back onto his belly and petted me, which was fine for now. I would find a way to get that bug. It would require some planning since the man was out to thwart me. Why did he want a bug on his face anyway? I didn’t understand. I was going to catch it and crush it.
The man leaned toward Daddy and that worried me so I left and sat on Daddy’s lap, ready to protect him if the man tried anything. Or the bug did. The bug might crawl off and come try to get my daddy. Sure enough, it did. The man was talking and it moved when he talked. Then he leaned in and I touched it! It felt funny and kind of tickled my paw. But it didn’t smash like it was supposed to. This bug was uncrushable. Strange.
They kept talking about things that had nothing to do with me so I tuned them out and focused on the bug. It moved but it never left its spot above the man’s mouth. Was it attached there some way? Very weird.
Suddenly Daddy grabbed me and held me out to the man. What was this? Was he leaving me again? NO! The man held me so I couldn’t follow, but I could hear Daddy talking to Mom in the other room so I relaxed a little.
“Cute little thing, aren’t you?” Yes, obviously. What isn’t cute is that thing above your lip. I want it. “You must’ve had some long trip with Edward. I can’t believe Edward Cullen is in my house! Wait until I tell the guys. They couldn’t believe it when I showed them the clip of him and Bella on SportsCenter. Wait until they meet him.”
I wasn’t sure what he was talking about but the bug was moving away, taunting me. I reached for it again but the man laughed and held me away from his face. “You like the stache, huh? All girls do.”
What was a stache? The bug? It had a name. THE STACHE. It would be mine.
“I guess we better go see about dinner. Do you eat people food?” The man carried me into another room where Mom was doing things. Where was Daddy? The man set me on a chair.
“Where’s Edward?” Yes, where was he?
“He went out to get Rainbow’s stuff.” Rainbow is me! I am Rainbow! Daddy is getting my stuff. Sure enough he came back in and I could smell my food. Yum, yum, yum, give me some!
"Do you have a bowl so I can feed the terror?" I didn’t know what a terror was but I did know that Mom put food down for me so I hopped down and got to eating. I was starving! It had been a long, trying day filled with trauma. I needed a rest after my dinner.
They all talked while I ate and when I was done I went back to let Daddy know that I needed him to pick me up so I could sleep. He put me on his shoulder so I gave him a kiss and settled back in where I needed to be.
"That's the damndest thing I've ever seen. Does she always sit on you like that?" Was he talking about me? What was so weird about it? This was the best place in the world to be.
"Yeah, she loves him. She may technically be mine but as far as she's concerned, she's his and vice versa. I'm an interloper, aren't I, Rainbow?" Mom held out a hand to me and I smacked at it. I am his.
"She's yours," Daddy said. No. I rubbed against him and they all laughed. "Whatever, she's a baby. She doesn't know anything."
“She knows she loves you." Yes, I love my daddy.
"Yeah, well you love me, too.” And now that I was no longer the focus, I went back to napping.
Daddy stood suddenly and shouted something about having to go and I yelled and the next thing I knew we were back in the moving thing. It made a loud noise and I cried again.
"It's not that I don't love her. But we've been together a fucking month. I don't want to think about mar…the M word, for at least a few years. What if her dad forces me to marry her tomorrow? He's got a gun and he's the head man in this town. He could force me. I kind of wish he was gay. Maybe he wouldn't be all gung ho for me to marry his daughter."
I didn’t know what he was talking about but when the moving thing stopped moving, he took me into some bright place that was filled with lots of smells. He got some things that smelled familiar and then we were back in the moving thing. Finally we were in a room with a bed and I got up there while he went into the next room, making a lot of noise.
The door opened and Mom came in. I yipped at her and she laughed and got on the bed, laying down so that I could cuddle with her. I had my family back and the weird man with the STACHE bug wasn’t here so everything was normal again.
"I hope you're ready to go to bed even though you slept all fucking day because…" Daddy came back and stared at us. "What are you doing here?"
Mom answered him and Dad got on the bed so I lay across his neck where I belonged. Bed time. Thank you very much. I’m exhausted.
They started talking and I tuned them out, only caring when Daddy moved and disturbed my rest. I was sound asleep when Mom moved me, carrying me into another room and throwing down a bunch of treats before closing it. Rude! I hated it when they shut me away while they made noises and had fun without me. It wasn’t fair. I wanted to play too! But no. I had no choice but to wait until they stopped. I ate my treats and tried not to sulk. Mom kept calling Daddy’s name and they were both breathing all heavy and making noises and slapping sounds and probably having a very good time without me. It wasn’t fair.
Finally they stopped carrying on and Mom let me out. I ran to Daddy and got back to his neck. He smelled different, kind of saltier. I didn’t like it but I wanted to be with him so I ignored it. Mom shut off the lights and got in next to us and I had warmth surrounding me. They talked about something called a vacation but I tuned them out and went to sleep. Everything was back as it should be now.
I didn’t like it one bit. They left me here alone with the man and the STACHE. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the man. He was okay, but he wasn’t my daddy or even my mom. Try as I might, I couldn’t catch the STACHE and it upset me. Not as much as being abandoned by my family did, but still. It taunted me and the man wouldn’t let me have it. His belly was good to lay on, cushy and comfortable, but it wasn’t the same as being on Daddy. Daddy made me feel safest.
I kept going to look for him but he didn’t appear. I didn’t feel like sleeping but I had to. If he didn’t return to me, I didn’t know what I’d do. What if they were leaving me with the man and the STACHE forever? It could not be! I would not have it.
Light finally came but still no Daddy and Mom. The man gave me lots of treats and kept trying to get me to play but I wasn’t giving in. I was going to be right here when they came back for me. Finally, after years, the moving thing came and there they were! The man opened the door and I ran right to my daddy, pouncing on his legs. He scooped me up and I gave him kisses before settling in my spot.
We went inside and I stayed with Daddy while Mom and the man ripped into some paper. It looked like fun to play with but I wasn’t leaving my Daddy ever again. He grabbed a ribbon and swung it for me, so I stayed on his shoulder and tried to grab it. Nobody was as fun to play with as Daddy.
They cleaned up the mess and then Mom left. I stayed with Daddy. She’d come back for him and me, that much I knew. They talked and I just enjoyed listening to Daddy and feeling his words rumble through me.
A sound happened and Daddy stood, walking with me down the hallway. Some guy who looked like The Smelly One was standing there with a smile that was too big, holding smelly things that made me want to sneeze.
The guy got right up into Daddy’s face and Daddy’s eyes got very small, I could hardly see the color in them. "Something to say?" Uh oh, that was Daddy’s mad voice. He used it with The Smelly One all the time. Maybe Daddy didn’t like this guy either. I didn’t like him. He upset my Daddy. And now that I could smell him better, he kind of did smell like The Smelly One. He better not try to touch me.
"Plenty. You're nothing but a temporary placeholder until she comes back to me. This is her home and she belongs here. She'll see that soon enough and then you'll only have that thing to keep you warm at night." He put his finger out and I took that as the threat it was, swiping him with my claws and arching my back and making noise so he’d know not to mess with me.
"What the hell? It scratched me!" It? Was he serious? I was not an it! I was going to scratch him again as soon as I could reach him. Daddy was laughing, so he wasn’t mad about it. As long as he didn’t care, I’d be okay.
"I guess we can see who the real pussy is now, can't we? I'd recommend you stay the fuck out of my face because I'll do more than scratch you if you try to fuck with what's mine." Daddy pushed the man. "Notice I didn't say take what's mine, because you're not remotely fucking capable of that."
"We'll see," he said. I growled at him and he jumped. "Jesus, keep that demon away from me."
"She's not a demon. She's our kitten and Bella loves her." The man started to move around us and Daddy moved me closer to him so I reached out and got him again. Thank you, Daddy. You understand my need to punish this man for calling me an it.
"What the fuck? Keep that thing away from me!"
"Oops. I'm sorry. You got a little close to her. She apparently doesn't like you. I wonder why."
"What's going on out here?" Oh, there was Mom. Hopefully I wasn’t going to get in trouble now.
"Rainbow doesn't seem to like Riley." What was a Riley? That guy? No, I didn’t like Riley at all.
Mom turned to that guy. "Are you okay, Riley?"
"Of course. Just a little scratch. She's tough like you are." Tougher than you, new smelly guy.
Mom laughed. "Oh, I think she takes more after her father in this particular case." Father? What was that? Whatever it was had Mom and Dad looking happy so it must be good.
"Right, well, these are for you." He handed her the smellys.
"Thanks. I'll just go put these in water. Dad's in the living room.” He left and Mom turned to Daddy. "What did you do?"
“I didn't do anything. Your cat, who has awesome taste, hates him. She swiped at him. I didn't provoke it." I did have awesome taste. That was true. After all, I loved Daddy. That said it all.
"What am I going to do with the two of you?" She held out her hand and I gave her kisses to show her how innocent I was in the situation. I had been attacked, so I attacked back. Self defense. There was nothing wrong with it.
"Give us both rewards?"
Mom laughed. "Go intimidate him some more and we'll see."
"We're on it. By the way, you look fucking hot in that apron.” I didn’t know what an apron was, but it sounded like Mom was okay with the way I’d handled the attack. Good.
Both Mom and Dad smiled and shouted something about love before Daddy took me back into the room where the man and the new smelly man were sitting. Daddy sat down on the couch and I climbed over him so I could be ready in case New Smelly, Riley, tried anything. I growled at him and he shifted away from me. Darn right.
"Right. What's wrong with the cat, Edward?" The man was staring at me.
"She doesn't seem to like Riley. I can't imagine why." Because Daddy didn’t like him and he tried to attack me. That’s why.
The man laughed and THE STACHE moved. "I didn't think that cat hated anybody."
"Oh, she hates one of my teammates. He has a drug problem." Daddy turned to New Smelly. "You don't indulge in drugs, do you, Riley?"
"Of course not! How dare you imply that?" He started yelling and I prepared to attack but that sound happened again and some more people came into the room. Daddy didn’t seem to mind them so I let them pet me, which made Daddy laugh. Clearly I’d done something right. I loved it when Daddy loved what I did.
They all started talking and Daddy pet me while I kept an eye on New Smelly Riley. I didn’t trust him.
I don’t know what happened but suddenly everybody was up and Daddy carried me into the room where all the good smells were coming from and set me down on the counter.
"Where's everyone going?" Mom asked. I didn’t care because something smelled incredible and I went for it but Mom took it away before I could get it. Daddy, though, grabbed some of it and ripped it up for me. Was it any wonder I loved him best?
"She deserves whatever she wants today.” Well, everyday really, but I was happy to get what I wanted right now so I didn’t argue. "We're going to play football."
Mom gave Daddy a funny look. "Are we? And just what do you have planned?"
"Nothing." He dodged when she tried to grab him. “Just watch and see."
"Edward…" He left but I didn’t mind because I could see him outside and he was just talking to the guys, not leaving me or anything. I was all good and so was whatever I was eating.
“Your daddy is up to something, Rainbow. I wish I knew what he was doing.” What he wasn’t doing was getting me more food, which was a shame. I meowed and she just laughed and petted me. “I suppose it can’t be too bad since my dad is out there.”
Whatever. I wanted more of the good stuff. I cried again and she actually gave me some more. Excellent! Today was turning out to be a great day now that we were back together.
“Oh, hell!” Mom was moving toward the door quickly and I ran after her, hopping off the counter and going outside behind her.
"Is everything okay?" Mom stopped where the New Smelly was on the ground. I ran to Daddy and he scooped me up. "That had to hurt."
"I'm fine. He doesn't throw that hard." The STACHE man got New Smelly Riley up and he rubbed his ugly head. "Maybe I could get some ice for it."
"Sure, I'll get you some." New Smelly walked off with Mom and Daddy didn’t look happy.
"Go get him, Rainbow," Daddy told me, putting me down. Well, since he wanted me to! I ran in front of New Smelly just like I did Old Smelly One, making him stop as I ran through his legs and he fell right over. Mom got out of the way and down he went. I could see that Daddy was smiling again. I did good!
"What is with that fucking cat?" New Smelly tried to kick me but missed as I got out of the way.
"Did you just try to kick an innocent animal?" Dad asked. I cried because it seemed like the time for it, after all, the man tried to attack me and I was so small and he was so big. It wasn’t fair. I pressed into Daddy and he stroked my fur.
"Really, Riley, that's not acceptable," STACHE man said. "She didn't mean to trip you."
"She did, though. She doesn't like me. He probably told her to do it." He pointed at Daddy. He did tell me, but I would have done it on my own anyway because he was mean and smelled funny. And Daddy didn’t like him, so I didn’t either.
"Yeah, because cats do things on command." Mom didn’t look like she believed us. Hehe. "I'd get her to clean her own litter box if that was the case." Daddy put me down and I got ready to strike if necessary.
"Whatever." Smelly got up. "I could really use that ice now."
"Sure." Mom took him toward the door. "Everybody take off those muddy shoes. I'm not cleaning up after you."
The men took off their shoes and Mom and Smelly headed inside. The man with the STACHE started talking to Daddy while I played in the grass. It didn’t seem right that Smelly only got away with falling that one time. Or twice since Daddy knocked him down. I needed to do more. Where were his shoes? I sniffed and sniffed and finally found the ones that smelled like Smelly. Soon enough, they were going to smell like Rainbow. Rainbow pee, that is.
I climbed on one and squatted, doing my business there instead of the green stuff. It tickled anyway. Now Smelly would smell like my litter box when Daddy didn’t clean it fast enough. Ha! Take that, Smelly.
"She's peeing on his shoe!" Daddy sounded very proud of me. Good! I wanted to make him happy.
"Well, I'll be damned. That's a funny little kitten you've got there."
"She's awesome." Yes, I am. I ran to Daddy and he grabbed me and kissed me on top of my head, which he’d never done before. Yeah, I’d done really well. "Nobody fucks with your little family, do they, Rainbow?"
No, they don’t! I told Daddy so and kissed him while the man laughed. "Alright. Go check on her. I know you're dying to." Daddy carried me toward the door. "And Cullen? Nice throw."
We went inside at the same time that Mom hit New Smelly.
"What the fuck?" Daddy ran forward and we got close to Smelly who was glaring at us.
"Riley thought that my putting ice on his head was an open invitation to try to kiss me."
Daddy looked like he was going to hurt someone and Mom grabbed at him. I arched my back and hissed, ready to help Daddy take care of Smelly.
"He kissed her."
"He tried," Mom said. "I turned my head and he got my cheek, then he got my fist to his face."
"Riley, I think it's time for you to go," The Man told him. "If you can't respect my daughter and her boyfriend, you're not welcome here. Ever. Get your shoes and get out."
Smelly rubbed his face "Charlie, Bella, I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking and…"
"No, you weren't, but you'll have plenty of time to think on your own. Please leave." Mom had on her angry voice, the one she used when I broke my treat bag and ate them all. Daddy pulled her against us and we stood united while Smelly left. Mom gave Daddy a hug when the room was empty.
"So, that happened." Mom laughed at Daddy.
"I can't believe you threw a ball into his head."
"Hey, you punched him and Rainbow scratched him, tripped him and pissed on his shoe." I did do all those things. I was the best.
Mom laughed really loudly. "She peed on his shoe? When?"
"When you brought him in to get his ice." Mom made a face. "What the fuck happened?"
"He bitched about how you and Rainbow were out to get him and I just laughed it off and got him ice. I brushed his hair aside to see if I could see a bump and he took that as an invitation I guess." She looked really mad. "He leaned in and I tried to get completely away but he grabbed me so I just turned my head." Daddy growled. I liked it!
"Then I hit him," Mom said.
"You have a good right cross, baby. Remind me not to piss you off."
She laughed. "I'll do that."
"I'm glad I got to see your mad skills, especially since they weren't directed at me."
"I told you I could kick some ass."
"So you did." Daddy looked at Mom’s hand."Now it looks like you need some ice." He kissed it and pulled her close to us again.
"I just need you." And me. I reminded her of that by placing my paw on top of her head. "And Rainbow." Darn right. We were a family and we’d all stick together to take on the Smellys of the world.
"We're all a pretty awesome team."
"That we are," Mom said, smiling. "I love you, both.” Mom was pretty cool and I loved her, too. Not as much as Daddy, but that was okay. I belonged to both of them and we’d taken care of the bad man together. Definitely a good day. Hopefully we’d have more fun like that soon. Maybe they’d help me get THE STACHE. It was worth a shot!