Non-Canon Awards; the Fandom Crossover Contest
Pen Name: AnneValkyria
Word Count: 11,901
Summary: The petite brunette with the soulful brown eyes showed up a few weeks ago. She comes in every day; writing, reading or people watching. Who is she and why can’t I keep my eyes off of her?
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters or situations belong to the respective creators
Take my hand
“That’s the last of it,” I said to Jake and threw my bag into the covered truck bed. I closed the tailgate and faced the two-story house, my home for the last three years. It looked the same as it had when I moved from Phoenix my junior year; wooden sidings with white, peeling paint, dark grey roof shingles covered in moss or black algae and drafty, black window frames.
I had expected to feel nostalgic. After all, this place held many memories, both good and bad. But as I took in the house for the last time I merely felt a sense of completion. That part of my life was over, and it was time for me to move on, and since Charlie passed away six months ago there wasn’t anything left that tied me to Forks. Any hope of the Cullens returning died a long time ago, and with it the part of me that had still been in love with Edward.
“It’s the end of an era, huh Bells?” Jake murmured thickly, his usual sunny smile nowhere to be seen. He came up to me and threw his beefy arm over my shoulders, pulling me against his hard chest. “You can still change your mind, you know.”
“Sure, sure,” I nodded, peering up at him. “And where do you suggest I live? The sale of the house went through a week ago. As of today I’m officially homeless.”
“You can always stay in our spare room. Rachel and Rebecca…”
“Bawhahahaha,” I guffawed loudly. “You’re joking, right?”
The incredulous look he gave me showed that he was completely serious. “No. What…I…?”
“Awww, Honey, it’s a good thing you’re hot,” I mocked, before deciding to take pity on him and explain. “What, dear Jake, do you think your wife would feel about your ex-girlfriend moving in with you?” I asked, giving him my best bitch brow.
Eighteen months after Edward left I had agreed to give Jake a chance. I hadn’t been in love with him, but I did love him and hoped that would be enough. Maybe it had, maybe it hadn’t, I would never know.
Two months into our relationship Jake imprinted on a girl named Malaii. He met her at the scrapyard of all places, while scouring the place for spare parts to my old truck.
He had cried when he told me, but I merely hugged him and told him that I was happy for him. I meant it too, and tried hard to ignore the little voice inside of my head. ‘I told you that you weren’t good enough. Edward didn’t want you, what made you think Jake would, that anyone would?‘
Taking a deep breath I did my best to shake off the memories. Jake and his wife had been married for four months and had a baby on the way. I was happy for them and the bright future they had ahead of them. But it was time for me to see to my own future.
With the surprisingly large check I got for the house I had enough money to take me where I was going, even after I used some of it to buy a newly restored patriot blue’75 Chevy truck, fully equipped with a flatbed tent meant to withstand both rain and snow. With what was left, combined with the money I had saved from working at Newton’s and the Diner I had enough to get me through the first couple of months while looking for a job.
“So where are you going?” Jake asked dejectedly, finally realizing that no matter how many times he tried, I wouldn’t be persuaded to stay.
I smiled and returned his bone crushing hug, “I’m not sure. I’ll know when I get there.”
*three weeks later*
“Order up!” I called absentmindedly. “Green eggs with Moonrock Hash and Interplanetary Pickles!”
My eyes kept drifting between the door to the CrashDown and the empty corner table. The breakfast rush was almost over and only a few regulars lingered, sipping on their third or fourth cup of coffee, reluctant to leave the air-conditioned café for the dry heat outside.
She’d been coming around the same time every morning, for two weeks. Sitting at the same table, ordering the same breakfast. No one knew who she was, she just showed up one day, seemingly from out of nowhere.
She wasn’t even all that interesting, really. I hadn’t noticed the red streaks in her dark chocolate hair. I hadn’t been paying attention to her tight jeans and how they seemed to be painted on her shapely legs, giving them the illusion of going on for days, or their snugly fit around her peach-shaped ass. Scowling, annoyed, pissed, both at the mystery woman and myself, I wiped the cutting board and scraped grease off the grill, preparing for the impending lunch rush in a couple of hours.
‘She’s not coming. Whatever. So what if she doesn’t show up? She probably took off, after realizing there was nothing to do here. Who cares, anyway? Not me. Nope.‘
“Hey, Guerin!” Patty rasped, pulling me from my thoughts.
Patty always reminded me of those cliché TV waitresses. Her dry, frizzy hair was dyed red and teased into resembling a haystack, the antenna diadem included in the women’s uniform sat crookedly on the back of her head. The goo most women put on their faces was caked into the wrinkles around her small, thin-lipped mouth, and the lids of her beady eyes were heavy with bright blue gunk. She looked seconds away from bursting through the pale blue waitress uniform and had given up trying to tie the alien-head shaped apron around her nonexistent waist about six months ago. She even called the customers things like ‘Tuts’ and ‘Hun’.
Biting back my gut reaction to snap ‘WHAT?’ because I was busy dammit, I plastered on the fakest smile I could muster. “Yes, Patty? Anything I can do for you, Sweetheart?” I drawled, the words dripping with sarcasm.
“Well, Michael,” she croaked, her voice ruined by too many cigarettes and too much whiskey. “You can explain why you waste good food on something no one ordered!” her voice broke and she started coughing up phlegm.
‘Gross! Wait, what?‘ “That can’t be right. Of course someone ordered this, why else would I make it?” I stared at her as if she’d suddenly grown a second head which, this being Roswell and all, wasn’t that unlikely.
“Damn if I know,” Patty wheezed, while doing her best to hack up a lung. “I’m taking a break.” She waddled away to the back room.
I threw my hands in the air, “Well, isn’t this just fucking perfect? Can this day get any worse?” I grabbed the plate to throw the whole thing in the trash when the bell above the door chimed, and in walked the girl I absolutely hadn’t been thinking about since my shift ended yesterday.
She looked flushed, with bright red splashes darkening her pale cheeks, continuing along her throat and disappearing underneath the ripped collar of her band tee, in which she practically drowned. The backpack she brought with her wherever she went was hanging from the crook of her elbow, slowly pulling the shirt down from her shoulder, teasing me with creamy, pale, naked skin.
‘Naked skin? Shit, no bra! She’s not wearing a bra.‘
My eyes immediately zeroed in on the curve of her breasts. I could even make out the outline of her nipples through the thin cotton.
Her breath came out in shallow puffs of air as she panted, struggling to fill her lungs with oxygen. A few strands had escaped the messy pile on top of her head, sticking to the glistening skin on the back of her neck. I was dying to lick that spot behind her ear, to see if she tasted as sweet as she looked. Everything about her suggested she had been running, from the sweat beads on her forehead, down to the way she folded herself over the table closest to the door while she tried to get her breathing under control.
My legs twitched with the urge to go over there, check if she was okay. To see if she needed anything, a glass of water, mouth to mouth….
‘Pull yourself together, Guerin,‘ I mentally slapped myself over the head.
My past experience with women consisted of my girlfriend dumping me for a guy she met at band camp and a Skin that used to be the president of the Michael-for-King fan club. With my luck she was the newest agent sent out by the Special Unit. The smartest thing was to just stay the hell away from her.
Trying to look busy I started slamming with pots and pans, keeping my eyes on anything and everything except for the girl now seated at her usual table. I didn’t see her smile at Agnes, another waitress, as she ordered her breakfast and I almost missed Agnes striding up to the counter and calling out her order. “Green eggs with Moonrock Hash and Interplanetary Pickles!”
I scratched my eyebrow, both confused and embarrassed. The plate I had made, the one no one ordered… Had I made it for her?
‘Of course you did, idiot. She orders the same thing every morning.’
“Shut up!” I hissed under my breath, grabbed the plate and held my hand over the food, hoping I could reheat it. “Please don’t burn or blow up. Please don’t burn or blow up.” I chanted. “Yes!” I cheered and fist pumped the air when a mouthwatering steam rose from the plate.
“Order up!” I called to Agnes and ignored her questioning sneer. I shrugged, causing her to scowl. None of the waitresses at the CrashDown liked me, and I was more than okay with that.
The bell chimed again and Kyle Valenti strode in. Looking even more like a slimy asshole than he did in High School. Since he was in the know – along with his dad, the Sheriff, Max’s girlfriend Liz and Maria, my ex – we liked him a little better than we used to, but he still looked like a slimy asshole to me.
His shifty eyes landed on the girl I did my best to ignore, and I narrowed mine, feeling a strange possessive anger spike inside of me.
But of course he did. A syrupy smile spread over his too pretty face as he reached her table. “Bella, I hoped I’d run into you here. Mind if I join you?” he gestured to the chair in front of her. She agreed with a smile and a small nod.
Bella? They knew each other? Kyle I’m-so-perfect-it’s-sickening Valenti knew my mystery woman?
Red hot jealousy bubbled inside of me as I watched them laugh together, until I couldn’t hold it back anymore.
As I hurried to the CrashDown to make it in time for breakfast, I kept changing my mind on whether it was a good idea to show up there looking like I did, or not.
My phone had run out of battery during the night, causing me to oversleep. When I got to the campsites communal showers all but the last one, which only ran cold water, was occupied. By then I was already late so I pinned my hair up in a messy bun and poured a couple of bottles of lukewarm water over my body. As soon as I felt somewhat clean I had gone through the clothes to find something to wear, making a mental note to drag my ass to the laundromat a.s.a.p., and kicked the tire of the truck when I realized I only had Charlie’s old Iron Maiden t-shirt, which I used to sleep in when I lived in Forks, and a pair of ratty old sweats left. No panties, no bra.
“Fuck!” I shouted, glad I had parked my truck far away from the other campers, or they would’ve gotten both an ear- and eyeful that morning. I stepped into my sweats and pulled the shirt over my head. It felt strange and a little uncomfortable to go commando, but I what other choice did I have? When I had shoved everything I needed, including charger and dead cellphone, into my backpack I took off for the café, hoping to get there before they stopped serving breakfast.
By some small miracle I manage to run the whole way without falling and breaking my neck, despite the inner debate to hide until I wasn’t sweating like a pig, and wore some fucking panties.
But a part of me, the part that refused to leave Roswell even though the original plan had been to stay a couple of days then move on, needed to go to the café every day and stay until closing time.
The first time I had stepped into the CrashDown I had fallen in love with the alien-themed diner. From the wood-veneer floors and the UFO patterns on the orange walls, to the gorgeous and funny mural next to the waitress station. The uniforms, light blue dresses for the women and grey t-shirts for the men. My favorite part were the dishes and drinks named after space and alien related-things, and the fact that every single item on that menu was delicious. I was halfway through it by now, and hoped to try everything on the menu at least once before taking off.
Stumbling through the door, I leaned on the nearest table, my lungs burning from lack of air. To my relief the breakfast menu was still on the wall, written on the blackboard in white chalk. I shuffled over to my usual corner, my eyes on my feet so I wouldn’t be caught staring on the incredibly hot, but grumpy cook. After giving my usual order to the chipper waitress I placed my bag on an empty chair, grabbed my notebooks and spread them out on in front of me. I plugged the charger into the outlet but didn’t start my phone, deciding that any messages could wait until I’d had some food.
I was dead set on ignoring the strange pull I felt coming from the kitchen area, refusing to spend another day staring at my grumpy cook while imagining how the rest of him, the parts hidden by the counter, looked. I most certainly wouldn’t admire his broad shoulders, his bulging biceps or the way the t-shirt stretched over his muscular torso.
All of ten seconds I kept my promise, and then I heard a loud whoop. My eyes darted in his direction before I could stop myself. I sighed dreamily, watching him. His hair was mostly covered by a dark bandana, except for a few locks that curled around his ears. It was the color of espresso with a few drops of milk, just the way I liked it. I hadn’t been close enough to see his eye-color, but I imagined they were brown like mine, probably a shade darker or lighter and much more interesting. I loved picturing his ass and legs. Did he wear baggy pants or regular jeans? Did he use a belt or let them ride low on his hips? Would his butt be round and firm, or was he flat-assed?
Was he quiet or loud? Would he be rough, gentle, or somewhere in between?
My pulse quickened and I was moments away from having a Sallygasm, but mine would’ve been real.
The fantasies made everything worse. For all I knew he could have tentacles instead of legs. Would that be disgusting? Yes! Would I care? No, probably not.
Considering I was two for two when it came to dating the supernatural, it wouldn’t surprise me at all. My attraction alone suggested that my grumpy cook wasn’t entirely human.
Kyle Valenti strode in just as my breakfast arrived, distracting me from my thoughts and theories. We had run into each other a few times during my two weeks in Roswell. He seemed to be a real sweetheart and reminded me of a younger Jake, despite Kyle being several years older.
“Hey Bella, I hoped I’d run into you here. Mind if I join you?” he gestured to the chair opposite mine.
My mouth was full with eggs and golden hash browns, so I settled for a smile and a small nod instead.
Chewing quickly, I swallowed the bite down with a large gulp from my Meteor Shower Malt. Once making sure I didn’t have anything stuck between my teeth I gave him a sheepish smile and collected my things to make room for him.
“Sorry. Please, do,” I grinned and gestured to the empty chair and waited as he sat down. “I always have time for a fellow Cop Kid.”
It hadn’t taken us long to figure out that we had several things in common, coming from small towns, fathers in law enforcement, and growing up with a single parent.
He had asked me out early on, but there had been no hard feelings when I had turned him down as nicely as possible. I wanted to feel like I could wake up one morning, decide that it was time to move on and just take off, without having to worry about the ones I left behind. It felt too much like littering, and Charlie taught me better than that.
Kyle was attractive, with his athletic build and boyish good looks. He seemed so normal. He was funny, nice, and most of all, human. Sadly, I had never been much for normal, or humans for that matter.
“So, what are you writing?” he asked, nodding to the stack of books and pencils. “Seems a bit much for a diary.”
“Diary?” I chortled. “Hardly. I’m thinking of writing my memoirs.” ‘Although it might fit better in the fantasy genre.’
“Memoirs? Aren’t you a little young for that?
“Awww,” I cooed. “You’re too sweet, but I’m not that young.”
He shook his head furiously, “Oh no, don’t trick me into discussing age with a woman. I’m not stupid.”
“Chicken!” I giggled and stuck my tongue out at him.
“Lived an interesting life, have you?”
If you only knew…. “You can say that…” Instead of teasing him for the change of subject I shrugged, “If Justin Bieber can, why can’t I?”
“Well, good luck with that.”
“Thanks,” I took a bite out of my food. It had cooled during the conversation, but still tasted awesome.
“Any thoughts on how much longer you’ll stay in Roswell?”
“You trying to get rid of me?” I fake-pouted, and placed a hand over my heart, “I’m hurt.”
He rolled his eyes at me, “Don’t be stupid. I like having you here, it’s refreshing. But seriously…”
Focusing all my attention on cutting my eggs into small pieces, while doing my best not to glance at my grumpy cook, I took longer than necessary to answer. “I’m not sure… A week, tops.”
“Would you mind if we exchanged phone numbers?” He looked hopeful. “I’d like to keep in touch, if that’s okay.”
“Um…” I hesitated. Did I want that? I had a hard enough time remembering to check in with Jake, did I really need more obligations? I bit my lip, blushing when I heard him awkwardly clearing his throat, feeling both ashamed and embarrassed. I shoved a forkful of food into my mouth. When I was done chewing I opened my mouth to once again turn him down nicely.
“Sure, why not,” I surprised myself by saying, but seeing his face lit up told me I had made the right choice. “My cell is out of juice, but I can give you my number. You can text me yours later.” I held out my hand.
Just as I wrapped my fingers around his phone the saltshaker shattered into a thousand tiny pieces.
Barely sparing a glance at the pile of glass and salt on the table, I calmly entered my number into his cell. Exploding saltshakers wasn’t even close to the weirdest thing I had seen in my life. Dating a boy that thirsted for your blood, watching your childhood best friend turn into a giant wolf right in front of you and being hunted by a crazed, vindictive vampire trumped pretty much anything.
I noticed Kyle sending an accusing glare towards the kitchen.
Well that answered my question, didn’t it? Whatever my grumpy cook was, it wasn’t human.
Another week passed by and the girl, whom I now knew as Bella, kept coming in to the café every day.
My friend Max had called me early that morning, asking if I wanted to join him and his sister, Isabel, for lunch at the CrashDown, even though it was my day off. Watching him make goo-goo eyes at one of the waitresses, his girlfriend of almost five years, was the last thing I wanted to spend my free day doing. I still agreed to join them. Very reluctantly.
I couldn’t let them know how eager I really was for the chance to watch Bella, covertly of course.
She sat nibbling on a pen, writing something down, then back to nibbling.
What I wouldn’t give to be that pen. I stifled a groan, neither wanting, nor needing the questions my newfound obsession would bring up.
Maxwell was as oblivious as ever, only having eyes for Liz, but Isabel wasn’t as easily fooled.
She sat with her back to Bella’s table, but turned her head, following my gaze to see what I was staring at. “Who’s that?”
“Nobody,” I muttered and took a bite out of my Will Smith Innocent Bystander Burger.
“Why don’t I believe you?” she cocked her head, eyeing me with mild curiosity.
“I don’t care what you believe,” I scowled.
“Hmm,” she pursed her lips and tapped her scary long fingernails against the counter. “She’s been in here a lot lately, hasn’t she? Should we be worried?”
‘No. Yes. No. Maybe.’ “I don’t know,” I frowned and went to pour Hot Sauce over my fries, only to realize that the bottle was empty. “What the…? Great, just great!” Isabel grabbed it before I threw it against the wall.
“Calm down, Michael,” she hissed. “What has gotten in to you?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she had that look in her eyes, as if she was going to continue pressuring me until she got whatever answer she wanted, but the door opened and Kyle walked in, giving me the out I needed. “Ask Valenti, he’s the one who’s been hanging out with her.”
The short relief disappeared and any gratitude I had felt towards him with it. It didn’t matter if she were a Skin or a Special Unit agent using him to get to us, I still didn’t want him – or anyone else – anywhere near her, and it had nothing to do with protecting our secret. ‘I’m so fucked.’
Isabel waved at him and after a quick nod to Bella he strutted over to the counter. “Hey, guys. What’s up?”
Isabel didn’t waste any time on small talk. “So Kyle, what’s the story with Plain Jane over there?”
He glanced at the table where Bella sat and I wanted to grab him, shake him and yell ‘Stop looking at her, she’s mine.’ I clenched my fists until my knuckles turned white.
“Well,” he started, still ogling her. “Her name is Isabella, but she prefers Bella. She’s twenty years old. She likes to read, write and take long walks on the beach. She got married right out of High School, but divorced him three months later when she found out he was broke and is now looking for a rich husband to support her lifelong drug habit.”
My mouth dropped open and I gaped at him. That didn’t sound like how I had pictured my mystery woman. At All.
“Her dream is to be on the cover of Playboy or Rolling Stone and her favorite animal is the Pet Rock.”
Isabel smacked his shoulder. “You’re full of shit, Valenti.”
“Yes,” he agreed, unapologetic.
I almost sagged with relief.
“Was there any truth in that little story?” she asked, annoyed.
“Well, what is it then?” she huffed impatiently.
“If you want to know anything about Bella, I suggest you ask her,” he glared at us one by one. “I’m not your errand boy.” With those parting words he turned around and stomped off.
“That went well,” Isabel dipped her fries in some ketchup.
“You think?” I asked skeptically.
“You should go talk to her,” Isabel suggested while munching on some fries.
“And say what, exactly? ‘Hi, are you by any chance a part of some secret Government branch of alien hunters, or perhaps a Skin, a shapeshifter? If you’re just an incredibly hot, normal human girl wanna come back to my place and I can prove to you how ‘outta this world’ I really am.’” I chucked and rolled my eyes, more frustrated than amused. “Something like that?”
She looked at me as if I was crazy. “Ooooor….‘Hi, my name is Michael. I’m an asshole, but I’ve been looking at you, and I hear you’ve been looking at me too. Wanna do something later?’”
“I’m not gonna have this conversation with you, Isabel,” I raised an eyebrow when her words caught up with my brain. “Wait…She’s been looking at me, too?”
She rolled her eyes. “That’s what I said, wasn’t it?”
“You’re lying,” I narrowed my eyes suspiciously, “I would have noticed…”
“Please,” she scoffed. “When you’re not busy drooling over her you pretend like she doesn’t exist… and that’s when she takes the opportunity to undress you with her eyes. It’s disgusting, really,” she screwed up her face and shuddered exaggeratedly.
My gaze trailed back to Bella. I wanted to go over there, but I couldn’t just walk up to her and introduce myself, I needed an excuse.
The perfect one presented itself when my eyes landed on two full bottles of hot sauce next to her hand.
After convincing myself that I only wanted to find out if she was a danger to me or my friends, I got up from my seat without sparing a glance at Isabel and practically sprinted the short distance to Bella’s table. She looked up at me questioningly,” Um…Hi?”
‘Say something. Say something.’ She was even more beautiful up close. My breathing hitched slightly, “Um…Hi.” I squeaked, cleared my throat and tried again. “Is this seat taken?” I nodded at the empty chair in front of her.
She shook her head, looking a little dazed.
I swallowed, “Um… Can I…?” ‘Shit, shit, shit. Isabel was wrong and now I’m making an ass of myself.’
“Oh, yes, of course,” she looked flustered. “Sorry. Please, sit.”
The chair scraped against the floor as I pulled it out and I thought I heard her muttering something like ‘Definitely not tentacles.’ Once seated I reached for one of the bottles of Hot Sauce and poured some over my fries. I chanced at peak at her, she was watching me with big, brown eyes. “I’m Michael.”
She smiled, offering me her slim hand, “Hi, Michael, I’m Bella.”
Michael stared at my hand for so long that I didn’t think he would shake it.
My cheeks burned, I felt embarrassed and oddly enough, disappointed. I wasn’t even a hand-shaker to begin with. I’d always considered handshakes as something old people did and at twenty, going on twenty-one, I wasn’t exactly ancient.
There was just something about him, a matureness that neither of my boyfriends had possessed.
Jake was almost three years younger than me, and Edward… We might technically have been the same age when we met, but he had stopped aging in the early 1900s. As long as I had stayed human I would’ve grown older and died, while he would’ve stayed his perfect 17-year- old self forever.
Michael seemed to have at least one year on me, maybe two, but something in his eyes made him appear older. He was all man. Even his name sounded manly. Michael.
My hand still hung in the air between us, and I felt like an idiot. Just because he wanted to join me at my table didn’t mean he wanted to actually touch me, kiss me, or take me out back and fuck me against the wall…. I pressed my teeth into my bottom lip to keep from whimpering.
At least I knew he didn’t have tentacles. Oh My God that ass…. His dark blue jeans rode low on his hips and hugged his perfect butt in a completely drool-worthy way.
Michael put down the tabasco bottle and reached out for my hand. I held my breath in anticipation of feeling his skin against mine for the first time.
Just as his hand was about to close around mine I saw the glow of a spark in the space between our fingers. I thought I had imagined the whole thing but then he took my hand and an electrical current shot right through me.
I gasped and tried to pull back my arm, but his grip tightened and he stared, wide-eyed, at me.
‘What are you?’ The question teased the tip of my tongue, but I held it in. It was neither the time, nor the place for that discussion.
My blood rushed through my veins, my pulse pounded in my ears. I had to say something, anything, to break the silence, but my mind came up blank.
Edward had taken every opportunity, whether he was aware of it or not, to dazzle me and more often than not I forgot to breathe when I was around him, but I had never had trouble coming up with something to say.
I licked my dry lips and forced out the first thing I could think of,” Um…Static electricity,” I croaked.
Michael looked away and swallowed. “Yeah… Must be.” His gaze returned to me, his jaw moving from side to side. “Wanna get outta here?”
I was completely taken by surprise, but there was no way I would turn him down. “Yeah, sure.” I started collecting my things and shoved them into my backpack.
“Leave it,” he suggested. “You can come back for it tomorrow.” He still hadn’t let go of my hand. I didn’t mind, the electrical current was down to a low humming. It felt oddly comforting.
I didn’t bother asking where we were going as I followed him out of the café. I trusted him, I might be making a terrible mistake, but I had a feeling it was worth the risk.
Maxwell called my name, Liz stared, and Isabel yelled, “You can thank me later,” making it sound more as ‘I told you so’.
I ignored everything except for the girl with her hand tightly gripping mine. The way she trustingly followed me stirred something inside of me. No one – not Maxwell or Isabel, and definitely not Maria – had put their trust in me so completely without questioning every little thing. It was different, being trusted to lead for a change, instead of being expected to blindly follow.
A good different. I met Bella’s gaze and saw nothing but her faith in me. A very good different.
Something strange and new filled my chest. Not like the energy that still coursed through me, no this was something else. It made me feel like I was flying, but grounded me, it burned and soothed me, all at the same time. ‘What the hell is happening to me!? This little slip of a girl takes my hand and it’s all rainbows and kittens?’
“So where do you wanna go?” I asked, trying to shake whatever was going on in my head. “What do you wanna do?” I forced myself to look away from her eyes and wound up staring at her breast. This time she was wearing a bra, I could easily make it out through the fabric of her white tank top.
Her voice seemed to come from far away and it took a few seconds to hear the words. “…from around here, you know? You decide.”
“Huh? What?” I mumbled, confused. Dream visions of her naked body filled my head so it took me another couple of seconds before I caught the meaning of what she’d said. “Oh, yeah, okay. We could, um… go to my apartment, but…” There would be the first place Max would look for me, he was probably already on his way. I just wasn’t ready for him to meet Bella. I didn’t want to share her.
“Well, we can’t go to my apartment, because I don’t have one,” she sucked her lip into her mouth,
“But we could go to my truck.”
It took around twenty minutes on foot from the CrashDown to the camping ground. We walked there in silence. We continued past the other campers and just when I started to think she was bringing me to the woods, hopefully for something more exciting than to kill me and bury my body, we arrived at a blue truck with a tent attached to the flatbed. A copse of trees and the communal bathrooms separated her truck from the rest of the campers.
Anger made me see red and I lashed out at her with protective rage, “You live here? Away from everyone else? Are you insane? Anyone can get to you at any time and you’d be all alone!” My heart clenched with fear, an emotion I wasn’t overly familiar with, making me want to take her home with me where no one could hurt her.
“Hey!” she snapped, all fiery and cute in her fury. “You don’t get to tell me what to do. You’re not my father. We just met for fucks sake. Who do you think you are?”
I wanted to laugh, I wanted to shake her until she realized the potential danger she could be in, and I wanted to kiss her until she forgot everything, except my name. “Has someone ever told you that you have no sense of self–preservation, at all?”
“Yeah, maybe I’ve heard that once or twice,” she grumbled and kicked at a tire.
“Maybe you should learn to listen to them.” I squeezed her hand gently. “I just want you to be careful, okay? You willingly followed me, a complete stranger, without even asking where I was taking you… Do you have any idea what…?” It drove me crazy to think what could’ve happened if she had brought someone with less honorable intentions than I had, and my intentions could hardly be called honorable.
“I know self-defense, you know,” Bella glared at me, and even stomped her foot. She tried to pull back her arm, but I wasn’t ready to lose the feeling her touch gave me yet.
I sighed and rolled my eyes. How did I tell her that humans weren’t always the most dangerous things out there without having to explain what I meant?
I swallowed and looked down at our joined hands and noticed the sun reflecting in something on her wrist. I raised her arm to my face to get a closer look. “What’s this?” It stood out against her already pale skin, with an almost silvery tint and was cold to the tough. “Is that…a bite mark?” I stared in horror at the teeth impressions marring her wrist.
Bella resumed her tugging, but stopped when our eyes met. “It’s a really… long story,” she pulled one shoulder up to her ear, looking uncomfortable.
“It’s okay, you don’t have to tell me,” I assured her, even though I wanted to shake her and demand answers, however hypocritical that might be.
Still, I couldn’t ask her to come clean when I wasn’t prepared to do it myself.
From the relief in her eyes I knew I had done the right thing by not pushing her. I wanted to hear her story, but I could wait.
Determination crossed her face and she took a tiny step closer to me, then another and another until she couldn’t get any closer. I opened my mouth to ask what she was doing, but my breath caught in my throat and I couldn’t get the words out, and when the heat from her body spread to mine, I didn’t want to.
Bella got up on her tip-toes, my heart beating wildly as her firm breasts pressed against my chest. The kiss was just her lips ghosting over mine and then she took a step back. Looking up at me, her eyes dark, she gasped, “Sorry. But I have been wanting to do that ever since…”
I crushed my mouth against hers, scraping my teeth against her bottom lip, sucking it into my mouth to soothe the small bite. I moaned when she parted her lips, teasing the inside of my bottom lip with the tip of her tongue.
I lost it when she sucked my tongue into her warm, wet mouth.
I grabbed her behind with both hands, hoisting her up against the side of her truck, my fingers slid in beneath her ridiculously short shorts, digging into the soft flesh of her thighs and ass.
Her hands tangled in my hair, pulling hard, making my knees buckle. My dick strained against the button on my fly. Pressing closer, chest flushed against chest, grinding against the spot I desperately wanted to bury myself inside of.
“Fuck, I want you so bad,” I groaned into her mouth, Bella answered by arching her back and wrapping her legs around my hips, meeting my thrusts with her own.
“God,” she moaned, breaking the kiss, gasping for air. “That feels so good.”
Nibbling along her jaw, pressing open mouthed kisses along the curve of her neck, I was drugging myself on her. She tasted better than anything I imagined, like raspberry and vanilla ice cream.
Bella locked her ankles behind my back, tightening her hold on me, leaving my hands free to roam. One disappeared underneath her tank, over her soft stomach, palming her bra covered breast, teasingly pinching her pebbled nipple.
The other continued further up beneath her shorts, cupping her wet and willing mound, tracing her panty clad slit with my fingertip, circling her clit with the pad of my thumb.
“Come for me, Bella,” I growled and was rewarded by the sweetest sound in the world when she threw her head back and cried out my name. I followed soon thereafter, shouting hers.
It was intense, it was quick, it was explosive, and it was the best orgasm I’d ever had.
Sweaty forehead to sweaty forehead, erratically beating heart to erratically beating heart.
I rubbed lazy circles on the small of her back as we both struggled to calm down our erratic breathing.
I waited for her to say something, scared shitless that she regretted what happened.
Bella let out a long, stuttering breath, “Uh…Wow,” she pushed weakly at my chest and it felt like a punch to the gut. “Maybe we should get cleaned up…?”
“Yeah,” I sat her down on the ground and took a step back, immediately missing her touch. “Sooo…” I swallowed loudly. “I should…”
“Oh, do you…?” I felt her eyes on me, but refused to look her way, afraid of what she’d read in mine. “I have some…um… wet wipes in my glove compartment… Do you wanna….um…?”
“Uh, yeah…sure,” Could this be anymore awkward? My boxers were sticking uncomfortably to my skin, but all I could think of was doing a repeat of what just happened….Preferably with less clothing this time.
“Could you get them yourself?” she shoved her hand into her pocket and handed me the keys to her truck. “I…um… need to change…” From the corner of my eye I could see a deep scarlet darkening her cheeks.
“Okay, yeah…” I rolled my eyes at our stupid behavior, while unlocking the door and getting what I needed.
It was a relief to get rid of the drying, sticky mess and I tried, unsuccessfully, to tame my hair, which stood out in every direction thanks to Bella’s fingers.
“Michael?” she called from inside the tent. “I need to ask you something when you’re done.”
Stopping at the back of the truck, stared at the closed tent flap, trying hard not to think about the fact that she was changing and, very possibly, naked at that very moment.
“Isabella Swan, you’re such an idiot…” she ranted. “You should’ve asked this before you let him hump you into oblivion…”
“Um, Bella… You okay in there?” I asked, hesitantly.
“Shit!” she yelled, surprised, obviously not having heard me approach. “Look I… I normally never do this… as in at all… So, I should’ve thought about this earlier…”
“Just spit it out already,” I snapped. I was angry, at her, at myself. I just wanted to get this over with so I could go home and pretend this never happened. Maybe ask for a few days off until she left Roswell for good.
“Do you have a girlfriend?” She blurted out. “That girl you sat with…At the café… If she is… God! I can’t believe I did this…”
“Who? Isabel?” I interrupted her, “No! No, she’s not my girlfriend. She’s a friend… or more like an annoying older sister.” I cleared my throat, choosing my next words carefully. “There was someone… We were together for…awhile… But she left….”
“Yeah, been there,” she chuckled bitterly. “I know the feeling…” She was quiet for a couple of minutes before she asked in a small voice, “So…There’s no one?”
Hope started to swell inside of me. Could this be the reason she pushed me away? “No one,” I smiled.
“Good!” there was a smile in her voice as well. “Oh, I mean…” she stuttered, embarrassed.
“Bella, can you please come out here?” I snickered.
I held my breath when the flaps parted. The first thing I saw were the soles of her converse appear in the tent opening, followed by her bare legs and her ass, temptingly swaying from side to side. I squeezed my eyes shut, willing my hardening dick back down.
When I reopened them I almost groaned aloud from seeing Bella chewing on her bottom lip, while peering at me through her lashes. “Hi,” she whispered, a small grin pulling at the corner of her mouth.
“Hi,” I whispered back, feeling silly, but loving it at the same time.
“No,” I cocked my head. “Boyfriend?”
She giggled softly. “Nope.”
“Good,” I said and brushed my lips against hers, sucking gently on her top lip. “I have to go,” I whispered reluctantly. It was the last thing I wanted, but if Max got sick of waiting for me at home and decided to come look for me I didn’t want him to find me here.
“Oh,” she pouted.
“Come by the CrashDown tomorrow? I’m working, so I’m gonna be there.”
“Of course, I gotta pick up my stuff,” she grinned happily.
“I’ll have your breakfast ready for you,” I promised, reclaiming her lips in a quick kiss and started off towards my apartment.
As I had expected Max waited for me on my porch when I came home. “Been here long?” I unlocked the door, leaving it open, there was no avoiding this talk, whether I wanted to or not.
“Michael, we need to talk about that girl…” he closed the door behind him.
“Bella,” I sneered. “Her name is Bella. If you’re going to discuss her at least call her by her name.”
“Okay, Bella…” he hesitated and I knew what was coming. “You can’t tell her, Michael.”
Boy, did it suck to be right.
I folded my arms across my chest and turned my back to him, “Look, I get that you were meant to be king, Maxwell, but we’re a team here. What gives you the right to make the decisions regarding who can and cannot know about us? Isabel can’t tell her husband, I can’t tell Bella. When you saved Liz’s life did you ever stop to think about how that might affect me, or your sister? You came clean to her without talking to either of us first, so who are you to say that Jesse or Bella can’t know?”
“I was in love with Liz, not just trying to get into her pants!” He pressed his lips together and jutted out his chin. “And let’s face it, what do you even know about her? For all you know she could be…”
“Don’t you think I’ve already thought about that?” I gritted my teeth, slowly turning around to face him. “But she’s completely innocent,” as I said the words I knew it was the truth,” and if you spent even five minutes with her, you’d know it too.”
“But you can’t know that for sure,” he insisted. “She could just be a really good actress.”
“When have I ever been quick to trust someone?” It was a rhetorical question, and I answered it myself. “Never, that’s when. But Bella…She’s not a danger to us, I’d bet my life on that.”
“It’s just your hormones talking,” he sounded so sure of himself and I just wanted to punch him.
“Bite me, Maxwell.” I glared at him. “Don’t you dare come in to my home and tell me how I feel. Because, let me tell you something, you have no idea.”
“This isn’t up for discussion, Michael,” he frowned, almighty Max Evans, laying down the law.
“But it should be!” I shouted. “We should all get a say in every decision that involves us. It’s not just about you!”
“You can’t tell her, and that’s final.”
“I wasn’t even going to, dammit.” I slammed my open palm against the wall. “It’s nice to not be looked at as a freak for once, to not be called ‘space boy’, or see fear in the eyes of someone you care about. I’m not gonna risk losing that.”
“Good, as long as we are on the same page…”
“We’re not, Maxwell, not even close.” I pulled my shirt over my head and threw it on the couch, suddenly dead tired “I’m taking a shower. You can show yourself out.”
Two weeks passed and I spent practically every waking moment with Michael. His free time, whether it was a short break or a day off, we spent touching one way or another, just to feel the electrical pulse.
We hadn’t moved past PG since that day against my truck. By a mutual, although unspoken, agreement we had decided to take things slow. By ‘mutual’ I meant that Michael made the decision to move things at a snail’s pace and I was frustrated as hell. Don’t get me wrong, I liked what we were doing, but I couldn’t deny that I was ready to move on to R territory, perhaps even NC-17.
But despite the constant need for cold showers, I was happy, more than happy. Jake had picked up on it the last time we talked, even Kyle, whom I just met, noticed a change. He, somewhat grudgingly, gave his approval, “I know you don’t need it or anything,” he insisted when I scowled, “I’m just saying… He’s been less of an ass lately, and I think you have something to do with that… and that’s a good thing.” He pursed his lip thoughtfully, before adding, “Let me clarify; I still think he’s an ass, just less.”
Michael and I were gradually getting to know each other. The first week had been awkward and a little strange. Neither of us really enjoyed talking about ourselves, he was even worse than me, it had been like pulling teeth. Having secrets that neither of us could, or would, reveal didn’t exactly make things easier. I had a feeling Michael usually was pretty straightforward and hated being forced to censor himself. I on the other hand was used to keeping secrets.
Things got better though and we learned more about each other every day. We talked about books we liked; I had been surprised that his favorite book was Ulysses by James Joyce, he on the other hand guessed my preference for the classics, and continued to impress me by picking Jane Austen as my favorite author. We shared a love for classical rock, but disagreed on other genres. We liked many of the same movies, and promised to give the ones we didn’t a second chance. He was a hockey fan, I was…not. He also liked dirt-bikes, so I told him about the bikes I helped Jake fix and how he taught me to ride. He laughed so hard he fell off his couch at the idea that I ‘helped’. I pouted and insisted that handing him tools totally counted as helping. We agreed to disagree on that.
It wasn’t all sunshine and roses though. We would get into semi-heated arguments, but mostly about little things like who would win the Super Bowl and thing like that. I didn’t care one way or another, but I loved how animated he got when he was passionate about something. Michael pissed me off more than once by bringing up all the dangers of living the way I did, without any means to protect myself.
He was moody, I was stubborn, but somehow it worked.
In the mornings when I stepped in to the café I was greeted with a smile and my regular breakfast. At lunch I got to choose…most of the time. If he didn’t approve of my choice he ‘mysteriously’ messed up my order. Since I loved everything on the menu I never became too upset, I just pretended to be so he would have to make it up to me. When the dinner rush calmed down Michael brought out two portions with his favorite dishes and joined me at the table.
The days he had off we spent hanging around his apartment, rather than going to a restaurant or to the theaters, we rented movies and I cooked. After spending all day surrounded by people, it felt nice to just be the two of us. I didn’t need fancy dinners, or going to theaters where they overcharged for popcorn and candy. I was happy just being with him, and he seemed to feel the same.
I loved how we could talk about almost everything, but there were a few subjects we stayed clear of. Like the B and G-word, as in Boyfriend/Girlfriend, neither of us had approached the F-word, as in Future, or the S-word, as in Secrets.
The last word was the most important one, because before we’d had the conversation about sparkling bite marks and exploding saltshakers, we couldn’t even begin to discuss the possibility of me sticking around indefinitely.
To be honest I was afraid to bring it up, to find out what Michael was, or wasn’t. If I hadn’t been good enough for a vampire, or a shape shifter, how could I be good enough for him?
I could hear Kyle talking, but I hadn’t caught a word he’d said in the last twenty minutes. I needed Michael to distract me from my own thoughts, I needed his touch, his kisses and his smile, but most of all I needed him to be just a normal guy, so I could put my fears to rest.
I rested my elbows on the table and buried my face in my hands. On the inside I was gasping for breath, dizzy and desperately holding onto the table to keep from passing out, while on the outside I calmly sipped my coffee while pretending to listen to Kyle.
Peeking through my fingers I let my eyes wander between Michael and the clock above the Espresso machine, wishing I had the power to make time move faster. It was still half an hour left until his next break, and that was entirely too long. I missed him. He always made me feel…something, and that something would have been great right about then.
“…so what do you think?” Kyle asked expectantly.
“Eh….” I had no idea what he had talked about. ‘How bad can it be Bella,’ I chastised myself, ‘just pick yes or no.’ “Sounds great!” I grinned, picking yes.
His eyes widened and he smiled brightly, “You really think so?”
I nodded eagerly, glad I’d made the right choice. “Absolutely.”
“I’m so happy!” I watched, warily, Kyle wipe away a, hopefully imaginary, tear. “So,” he clasped his hands together, “do you wanna deliver the bad news to Michael, or should I?”
“What?” I gaped at him. ‘What bad news, what the hell did I agree to?‘
“That we’re eloping to Vegas,” he beamed at me. “He’ll be mad at first, of course, but he’ll get over it when we name our firstborn after him.”
“What!?” I shrieked. The place went dead quiet, and I felt the burn of at least thirty pairs of eyes on me. The only pair I cared about burnt a thousand times hotter than the rest. I looked at Michael, who was practically hanging over the small counter separating the kitchen from the rest of the café. His chestnut brown eyes darted between me and Kyle, altering between glaring threateningly at the other man, to giving me a concerned once-over.
I rolled my eyes and gave him a halfhearted smile, hoping he would see that I was fine, even though in many ways I wasn’t.
Michael frowned, but stayed in the kitchen.
“Why don’t we sit at the tables outside for a while, and enjoy the sun?” Kyle suggested.
I raised a bewildered brow. Was he serious? From eloping to ‘enjoying the sun’ in the dry desert heat, he sounded more than a little insane.
“Less chance of people overhearing if someone needed to talk about…anything at all. You probably don’t know this, but there are good listeners out there, and I just happen to be one of them.”
I sucked on the corner of my mouth. “Talk? What make you think I have something to talk about?”
“Because you just looked seconds away from freaking out, that’s why.” His hazel eyes bore into mine, “What’s going on? Does it have anything to do with Michael?”
“No!” I denied quickly, but added, much slower “Not really.”
“Do I need to kick his ass? He’s much bigger than me, but I think I can take him.”
I snickered quietly. “He hasn’t done anything, I promise… It’s me who…” I suddenly remembered all the people inside of the CrashDown, many of whom were still staring at us. “Um, maybe it’s better if we continue this outside… I could keep working on my tan.” I loved the soft golden tone on my skin. Michael claimed I was still as pale as ever. Pfft, men, what did they know?
Kyle guffawed,” Yeah, so you can go from Ivory to Cream?”
“Go to Naraka,” I smiled, all sweet and fake.
“Ooooh, someone’s done their homework,” he mocked, but sounded slightly impressed.
“Hey,” I shrugged, “I didn’t think asking a Buddhist to go to hell would have the same impact.”
After letting Michael know I would be sitting outside for a while and throwing him a kiss, just because I wanted to, I followed behind Kyle and chose a table underneath the green awning.
“So much for working on your tan,” he teased me.
“Shut up,” I muttered and wished I brought my coffee cup. It would’ve given me something to do with my hands. I chewed my lip as I tried to decide what to say. How to give him as much information as possible, without actually giving him any information. “A few years ago I met this boy, who was…special.”
He nodded slowly, as if understanding what I wasn’t saying, “Why do I have a feeling that you don’t mean special, as in Ed.”
My laughter was bordering on hysterical. “You’re not wrong.”
He looked at me as if I was insane, which I probably was.
I awkwardly cleared my throat. “Sorry, you had to be there.”
“Clearly,” he leaned back on his chair. “So…He was special…?”
“Um, yeah…” ‘You don’t know half of it, buddy.’ “Any way… He left me…Because I wasn’t special…”
“Somehow I doubt that,” Kyle muttered.
“Look,” I narrowed my eyes at him, “People who claim they are good listeners don’t usually interrupt the people they’re supposed to be listening too, okay?”
“Sorry, jeez,” he didn’t look sorry and all.
“As I was saying…My non-specialness made him leave,” he opened his mouth as if to interrupt again, but my glare stopped him. “It took me a…while… to get over him, and I had my best friend to help me through it,” I licked my dry lips and took a deep breath, “My best friend whom I thought shared my non-specialness… But it turned out I was wrong, he was special too, just not in the same way… He was in love with me, and I loved him. He told me that there was someone special out there for everyone, and I was his…” I shook my head with a sad smile, “He was both right and wrong. There was someone special out there for him, it just wasn’t me.”
Kyle stared at me, opened and closed his mouth several times, before speaking, “And…you think Guerin is…special, too?” he asked carefully.
“One thing they had in common… they both seemed to have a very peculiar appetite, like, like…” How could I possibly begin to explain Edward’s appetite for blood, preferably mine, or Jake’s appetite, period, without actually explaining it?
“…Putting Tabasco on everything…?” he suggested.
“Exactly,” My heart ached as I realized that Kyle knew about Michael’s specialness and the small hope that maybe, just maybe, Michael was as boring and normal as me, took its last breath and died.
“Bella, I-I…” Kyle had the same don’t-do-anything-stupid look in his eyes that I’d often seen in Jake’s when I had trouble coping after Edward left. “I don’t know what you want me to say, except…”
“I’m not asking for anything. Whatever the truth is, it has to come from Michael, I just… don’t know if I could handle it…”
A smile tugged at the corner of his lips, but his eyes remained serious. “I might not like Guerin that much, or at all really, but I see the way he looks at you…Just talk to him. What do you have to lose?”
I didn’t have to think before answering, “Everything.”
Hours later, when I followed Michael into his apartment, he led me straight to his couch. The very same couch where we had spent hours talking, watching movies and most of all making out.
We hadn’t said a word to each other during the whole thirty minute walk. I could feel myself pulling away from him, both mentally and physically, preparing myself for the pain I was sure would come. From the tightness of his jaw and balled up fist it was obvious he felt it, too.
It was too quiet.
Not the loud kind of silence, but the kind that made you feel completely alone even though you weren’t. My eyes prickled with unshed tears and I forced myself to keep them open. Blinking would make the tears fall and I didn’t want to cry in front of him.
I settle for staring as his lips, remembering how they tasted, how they felt against mine when he kissed me, hard, teasingly, soft, sweet… I wished I could kiss him, one last time, before everything we’d shared would be nothing more than a painful memory.
I had only known him a short time, but already I knew…. Losing him would be worse than anything I’d been through so far.
A single tear escaped my eye and trickled down my cheek.
Before I could wipe it away, his lips where on my skin, kissing the tear away. “Bella, please,” he pleaded, “talk to me. Tell me what’s wrong”
Hearing the worry and hurt in his voice almost killed me and I forced the words out, my heart bleeding, “I know you’re not a vampire or a shapeshifter…” I wanted to forget about the question, pretend that everything was okay and that it wasn’t just a matter of time before he left me.
Because he would leave. He would wake up one morning and realize that he was tired of pretending to be something he wasn’t, or he would meet someone who was his perfect match in every way. He would wake up and realize that I was too boring, too plain, too human, and I would be alone, again.
But I couldn’t forget, I couldn’t pretend like everything was okay, I had to know, before I fell even harder for him. “…So what are you?”
The silence seemed to stretch out forever, but in reality only seconds had passed since Bella asked me her question. My mind flitted briefly to Maxwell’s warning, but pushed it to the back of my mind. When Liz asked him a straight question he spilled the beans without as much as a second thought, now that I was in the same situation, I couldn’t be forced to act any differently. “I’m an Alien/Human hybrid, a clone actually, from the planet Antar somewhere in the Whirlpool Galaxy.” My shoulders sagged, as if a huge weight had been lifted from them. I hadn’t expected to feel so…relieved by having everything out in the open.
There was no surprise in her eyes as she met my gaze. She looked completely calm, “A clone?”
“Yeah…” I hesitated, wondering what was going on in that head of hers. “There was a war on my planet and… Well, I died…. Or the other me did, and the Queen and some other people used that DNA and mixed it together with human DNA…”
“And they just happen to have some human DNA laying around? Lot’s of humans on your planet?” she inquired, shuffling closer to me on the couch.
“Apparently” I smirked, “from abductees.”
“Wait, what?” she gaped. “Alien abductions are real? So all those crazy people who claim they’ve been abducted…”
“Not all, but some, yeah…” I shrugged, it wasn’t if I had any personal experience in that matter.
“Is probing real too?” she cocked her head, curiosity almost pushing away the darkness in her eyes.
“I don’t know. I’ll have to ask,” her interruptions were both annoying and endearing, but I wanted to finish my story, so I continued, “Anyway… they mixed our DNA together and sent us to earth, this was around…”
“1947,” she breathed, in awe. “I heard about the crash, hard not to when pretty much every establishment in Roswell is centered around it.”
“Exactly!” I nodded. “We were in some sort of incubation chambers for over twenty years…”
“Yeah, they cloned four of us… The king, his wife, me and my fiancé…”
“You were engaged?!” Bella accused loudly.
“Not me, me…The other me,” I shook my head, trying to clear the confusion.
“What was your name?”
“So Rath was engaged to…?”
“Isabel…” I corrected myself before she could say anything, “not Isabel, Isabel, the other…” I groaned. “Rath was engaged to marry Vilondra.”
“Who is now Isabel? But you said…” She bit her lip.
“There has never been anything between Isabel and me. I don’t think our alien counterparts were in love with each other either… Vilondra was in love with someone else in fact, the man who started the war…” I sighed, “It’s a long story.”
“Okay… And when you were done…cooking…you just, what? Woke up?”
“Yeah… I don’t remember much… None of us do, but it seems like we walked around the desert for days before someone found us… Well, they found Isabel and Max first. I got scared and hid and wasn’t found until one week later… It took three years before we saw each other again.” ‘That’s it, it’s all out there. Now I just have to wait and see if she freaks…’ The relief I felt just minutes earlier started to fade.
“So…” Bella looked away, her face paler than usual, “You’re part human…?”
I squeezed my eyes shut. Of course that would be the most important part of the story. “Yes.”
“No,” she whispered and placed her hand on top of mine, the electricity coursed through us, stronger than ever. “That’s not what I meant… I-I have a story to tell too…”
Unlike Bella I didn’t interrupt her once when she started talking, I just sat quietly, listening carefully as countless emotions battled inside of me. Fear, rage, pain, hopelessness… I experienced every emotion she had felt as if it were my own.
“So you see… The problem isn’t you, it’s me…. I just need some time to think about this, okay… It’s a lot to work through.”
Part of me wanted to say no, to demand that she stayed and worked this out with me, not by herself. After all, what could be better than having me there to answer every question as they popped up? “Yeah, I get that… Want me to walk you home?” It had become a habit since the first time I followed her to her truck… But I hadn’t felt the need to ask before.
Bella shook her head, “No, I-I just need to be alone for a while… You understand, don’t you?”
“Sure,” I said, even though I didn’t, “See you tomorrow. I start working at 1 pm if you want to come by here first.”
“Maybe,” she got to her feet, slowly making her way to my front door. “If not I’ll see you there, alright?”
I hurried up to her before she could leave, claiming her lips in a deep kiss, it ended much too quickly for my liking. I might have pouted “Good night.”
Her smile never met her eyes, “Good night, Michael.”
I stared at the door long after it closed behind her. Of course she’d need time to think, who wouldn’t? It wasn’t every day you found out someone was a human/alien hybrid after all. We had talked it out, and everything would be okay. So why did her ‘good night’ sound so much like ‘good bye’?
The next day I was at the CrashDown an hour before my shift started, hoping to talk to Bella, but her table was empty.
Max and Isabel sat with Liz in one of the booths, they called out for me, but I ignored them, choosing to clock in early instead.
It worried me that Bella was nowhere to be seen. She’d been distant last night after her talk with Kyle, but we fixed things…didn’t we? So where the hell was she?
Timed moved slowly, but I tried to keep busy, and not constantly let my eyes drift back towards the empty table. Around 7 pm, when dark clouds started forming on the evening sky, bringing the threat of rain with them, I relented and called Kyle asking him to check up on Bella, using the bad weather as an excuse.
One hour later, just as I was about to clock out, he entered the café. He didn’t look at me, he didn’t have to. His fists were shoved deep into his pockets, his shoulders sagged and his head hung so low his chin touched his chest. He scraped his foot against the wood-veneer. “Michael…I…I’m sorry.”
Something inside of me broke, “Don’t!” I spat, “Just… don’t.” I grabbed my jacket and all but ran to the back door. I had the handle in my hand just as Maxwell and Isabel caught up to me.
His hand landed heavy on my shoulder and I almost crumbled underneath the added weight. “Michael, stop.”
“Let go of me, Maxwell,” I gritted between my teeth. The lamp in the ceiling blinked ominously.
“You know it’s better this way,” he said soothingly, as if talking to a child. The lightbulb exploded, sending sparks every which way.
“Max, let him go, can’t you see he’s losing it?” Isabel whisper-shouted.
The wind blew the door out of my hand as I stepped out into the back ally, thunder boomed, the lightning cracked its whip, lighting up the sky and the rain came pouring down.
I walked home with leaded steps, with the rain beating down on my hunched back, my hair soaked and water dripping into my eyes.
It hadn’t even hurt half this much when Maria left. I felt empty, lost. There had been something about Bella… There just weren’t enough words to describe how she made me feel during the short amount of time I’d known her. The rain made my eyes sting and I blinked repeatedly, almost falling on top of the girl huddled into a ball on my porch. “Bella?” I asked, wide-eyed, suddenly afraid to blink. “What are…Are you really here?”
I watched her struggle to get to her feet. I wanted to reach out and help her up, but I was scared that she’d disappear if I touched her. She peered up at me through her lashes, her eyes red and puffy. She had been crying. “I’m…so….sorry,” she sobbed. “I thought I could leave… That it was better this way…before you left me…”
My chest felt too tight, and I struggled to talk through the emotions that worked to fill the holes of my battered heart and suddenly I knew, this girl… This crazy, funny, insane, insecure, adorable girl own every last part of it, and whether she broke me or not, she would continue to own me as long as I lived. “Leave you?” I asked incredulously. “Bella, I love you. I’m not going anywhere.”
Tears filled her brown eyes as she looked at me with love shining in them, “Michael, god, I love you too.”
I pulled her into my arms, crushing her to my chest, wisps of her drenched hair brushing against my cheek. “Come one, let’s get you inside. We need to get out of these wet clothes and into a hot shower.”
Bella’s darkened, “Shower with me,” she didn’t phrase it as a question. I didn’t take it as one, just picked her up and carried her into the bathroom.
Much later, after a very long, very hot shower, I laid curled into Michael’s side on the king-size mattress on his bedroom floor. Warm, dry and satisfied. I was exhausted, we both were. My eyes drooped slightly and I pressed a kiss over his heart. “I love you,” I murmured, loving how right it sounded.
“I love you, too,” he murmured back. “What made you change your mind and come back?”
“I just didn’t have the strength to stay away from you anymore,” I whispered, using Edward’s words from years ago.
Michael smiled and brushed my hair behind my ear, and kissed my slightly parted lips, “Good, because I don’t want you to.”
We still had a long way to go, my insecurities wouldn’t disappear in one day. But I trusted him when he told me he loved me, and when it came to the question if he would leave me or not… Well, I guess only time would tell.