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A/N: So Moflo sent me a story idea. Angel in the Centerfold. Sounds like fun, eh? Obviously I thought so. So this is for her. I hope you enjoy it!
Disclaimer: And I'm STILL not SM.
It couldn’t be her. It just couldn’t be.
Edward Cullen blinked at his laptop screen, staring at the photo on the screen. He rubbed his eyes and tried to shake the idea that had settled into his head. The girl in the photo looked like Bella Swan and yet it didn’t.
It couldn’t be her. It was a girl, a woman, who bore a strong resemblance, but it couldn’t be her. It had been over a decade since he’d seen Bella Swan, after all. She was probably married with a kid, her backside pleasingly plump with leftover baby weight. Or maybe she was a business woman in crisp power suits. Or, more likely, she was what she’d always been--a pretty girl in simple jeans and shirts, her brown hair falling straight and long down her back.
Edward had been seventeen and living in the tiny town of Forks when he met Bella. With a solid decade of distance, he could admit he had an instant crush on her. Several of the other boys did, but it was different for him, he thought. It was a legitimate crush if there was such a thing.
In a town as small as Forks, new people were a commodity. He knew from experience having moved there only three years before. His family moved frequently for his mother’s job, but each new place was a different experience.
In Forks, where everyone knew everyone else, everyone was curious about Bella. The boldest of the girls offered friendship and the bolder boys asked her out. They weren’t really interested in her. That much was obvious. Edward overheard the boys talking behind her back, wondering how far she would go and if this big city girl--she was from Phoenix after all--had more experience than the long list of country bumpkins they’d been with. The girls gossiped because they knew her mother had left her father--Forks’s chief-of-police--when she was just a baby and if her mother had raised her, what was Bella capable of?
Being the new kid at Forks High was like throwing a food pellet into a koi pond. The other fish fell all over themselves trying to get at her.
Edward’s curiosity-turned-crush was different from that. For one thing, it didn’t exist at first. Maybe it was that he wondered what the other kids had said when it was him, his elder brother, Emmett, and his sister, Alice, walking down the halls the first week they were there. Not all of the speculation about Bella was bad or lewd, of course, but, self-conscious little twerp that he was back then, he could imagine what their first impression of him had been. The idea left him with a foul taste in his mouth, and so conversations about Bella had instantaneously annoyed him on her behalf.
But, as Forks was indeed a know-everyone kind of town, she was in his sphere and on his radar. He couldn’t help but get to know her a little bit. She was his lab partner in Biology, and they passed in the hall several times a day. As the days turned into weeks, his curiosity was piqued.
She was just different. Not in the way some people are unique from anyone and everyone else. It was more personal than that. For Edward, there were all the other kids, and then there was her. She stood out for him. The novelty of her wore off and she was assimilated into the everyday crowd of Forks High, but for Edward, she only became a brighter star in his sky.
Even a decade later, Edward didn’t understand why he thought it was so adorable that, most days, she wore an oversized, man’s jacket. The way she drowned in it was cute, and it stoked his curiosity. Why a man’s jacket? Whose? And why did she only rarely take it off?
One day, in Biology, she got his attention and pointed surreptitiously to a girl at the table near them. Despite the cold-as-always weather, she was wearing a skirt as short as dress-code regulations allowed. “You see how her skin is kind of mottled red?” she whispered.
Her breath, warm on his ear, made him shiver. He nodded.
“What’s happening is, her blood is moving closer to the surface, trying to protect her because her body thinks she’s freezing.” She looked at him, her eyebrow arched. “Why would you want to be so cold all the time?”
They were never friends--not really. They were friendly with each other whenever their circles had to collide, but they were never in the same circle.
“You could ask her out, you know,” his sister said more than once when she caught him glancing across the cafeteria at her.
But back then, Edward wasn’t the most confident of people. Maybe it was the glasses and the nasty case of acne. Maybe it was all the moving around that had him so unsure of himself and his ability to even talk to a girl he actually liked. Maybe it was because he felt different than his peers.
Then again, that was part of the reason he was curious about Bella.
He’d noticed, for instance, that when the conversation turned to sex--and with high school kids, sex was never far from their minds--her cheeks got as red hot as his usually did, and she looked not disgusted but at least shy.
How did all these other kids talk about sex so boldly? Why were they so aware of their sexuality? Was Edward wrong because he had no experience and, more than that, he wasn’t so eager for experience? Maybe eager wasn’t the right word. He’d thought about it. He wondered what it would be like, but it wasn’t as easy as the other kids made it seem. It wasn’t easy to talk about it, let alone do any of those things.
Somehow, when he looked at Bella and saw the way her bashfulness seemed to match his, he didn’t feel like as much of a freak.
When Alice pressed him, he shut her down. “What’s the point?” he’d asked. “We’re just going to be gone again.”
They moved to Alaska shortly before his senior year, and he’d never spoken to Bella again. When he thought about her he remembered her quiet prettiness, the small smile that tugged at one corner of her mouth or the other, the randomness of their interactions. Just like when they were in high school, she stuck out in his memories for no firm reason that he could pin down. She was the biggest crush of his childhood, and when he looked at girls--women, now--it often crossed his mind that there were so few like Bella. What was wrong with innocent and sweet?
But the more Edward looked at the picture on his computer, the more he realized he wasn’t seeing things.
The sweet, innocent teenage girl of his memories had grown up. She was there in front of him, laying down with her head tilted back, looking at the camera with big bedroom eyes and a smile that dared him to come closer. Every curve of her body was on display, her most intimate parts covered with naughty lingerie. White silky undies and a garter belt. Her hair was wild about her face. She was wearing makeup and she was wearing it well--dark around the eyes in that way that made women look deliciously wicked. Ruby red lips that begged to be kissed.
Ruby red lips that he couldn’t help but imagine wrapped around his cock.
Edward slammed his laptop shut, his heart pounding erratically, and his dick gone hard in his pants. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to banish the image from his head.
She had a tattoo along her side that disappeared into her panties, and he couldn’t stop thinking about it.
How? How had the girl in the over-sized men’s jacket, the girl who blushed at the mention of sex, the good girl in his head that stood in stark contrast to the over-sexualized vixens that pervaded society, become this?
The internet generation’s answer to girly magazines were the teasing photos on social media sites like tumblr. The post that had come across Edward’s dashboard was all Bella, the proverbial angel in the centerfold.
A/N: Thank you to jfka06, barburella and songster.
So. What are we thinking? This fic will begin in earnest when Foolish Hearts is done… no more than two weeks, I expect.