When you smile, I melt inside
I'm not worthy of a minute of your time
I really wish it was only me and you
I'm jealous of everybody in the room
Please don't look at me with those eyes
I dread the thought of our very first kiss
A target that I'm probably gonna miss
Let's go, don't wait, this night's almost over
Honest, let's make this night last forever
Forever and ever, let's make this last forever
~Blink 182, First Date
"Yeah, Mom, I'm going out with him tonight to a bar and grill he knows of, called Eclipse." I paused to put the phone on speaker and pulled my dress off its hanger.
"Did you get something new to wear?" My mom asked, as though she had ESP.
"Yes, I went and got something new." I giggled. "I couldn't help myself!" I threw the dress on the bed and went to stand in front of the bathroom counter, setting the phone down.
"He must be special. You hate clothes shopping. What does it look like? Ooh, will you take a selfie and send it to me?" she rattled off breathlessly.
I groaned. "The art of selfies eludes me, Mom. I suck at it. Maybe I'll get someone to take a picture of the both of us; two birds, one stone." I pulled some makeup towards me, debating on what to do.
"Oh, perfect idea, Bells! Ooh! Ooh! Do a cat eye. It's the one makeup look you're good at. Leave your lips bare, just some gloss. What color is your dress?" Typical Renee, unable to focus on one subject. I laughed.
"You're going to give yourself an aneurysm. It's red, sleeveless. Boat neck, shows off my collarbones." I picked up my eyeliner.
"Red? Good pick! You wear too many neutrals. You're gonna knock him dead, I just know it. I'm so thrilled for you, sweetie."
"Me too, Mom. I'm really excited about Edward." Just saying his name out loud made my heart pound. "I'm going to work on my makeup. Tell Dad I said hi and love you."
"I love you, Bella. I'll tell Charlie what you said. I think even he's getting pumped over your date."
"Ok, sure he is. I'll call you later, Mom."
The place was busy when I reached the door. Edward had offered to pick me up, but I couldn't let him. I didn't think I was ready for him to come to my place just yet. The exterior of the building was stone, with plenty of windows. There was outdoor seating with white lights strung around the overhang.
I saw him just inside the second set of doors, speaking to the hostess. I just stared for a second, absorbing the sight of Edward in dark slacks and a white button down, its sleeves rolled up to the elbows. He turned and opened the door when he saw me. The smile he had for me was huge and bright.
"You look stunning," he said, bringing my knuckles to his lips. I shivered. Every time Edward touched me it felt like a streak of lightning racing from the contact point.
"Thank you," I responded shyly. I wasn't really used to compliments. Well, except for Mike, who's just creepy.
"I was just speaking with the hostess, and she has assured me there's a spot opening up that's somewhat private."
I looked over the main floor, tables and chairs set up around the room. A long bar on the far wall. What one would expect, basically. "So. . . What is it that's special about this place, exactly?"
Edward leaned in close to whisper in my ear. "Honestly, Bella, I don't know." His breath tickled my ear, sending more shivers down my spine. He ran a fingertip over my exposed collarbone. The warmth spread down to my belly, pooling in between my legs. "It's been talked about endlessly since it opened, but I'm not sure what's so interesting. The food is superb, and they have local bands on the weekends." He looked around. "And they are packed for a Wednesday."
I could only hum in some sort of agreement. I couldn't focus on anything he said when his mere presence was turning me on. Lucky for me, the hostess came to seat us. True to her word to Edward, she sat us in a corner booth near a partition.
"My sister is dying to meet you," he said while he looked over the menu, running his hands through his hair and putting it into even more disarray.
I looked up, surprised. "She is?"
"I have to admit," he said as his emerald eyes met mine, "that I've talked about you so much that she's curious."
"You-you've talked about me. To your sister." For some reason, this was vitally important to me. And scary. "What, uh, what have you said?"
He laughed. "Don't worry, good things. Alice thinks you two could be great friends. Of course, she loves to shop, and I remember you saying the other day that you hate the mall."
I sat back to look at him fully-purely for my own benefit. The man was gorgeous. "I like to shop on the waterfront, but I strongly dislike clothes shopping. I did, however, buy this dress specifically for tonight." I fingered the material.
His eyes lit up. "It was definitely worth it. You truly look fantastic."
The waitress appeared to take our orders, and I couldn't help but notice how she stared at Edward as he spoke. I couldn't blame a bitch, but it was rude with me right there. Edward, however, completely ignored her.
When we had both ordered, Edward reached across the table and grasped my hand, linking our fingers together. His thumb stroked back and forth across my knuckles, and I felt that electric charge running the course of his touch. "Bella. I would love for you to meet my family. At least my sister, if the parents would make you nervous."
"I-I think I would like that." I bit my lip. "It's just that. . ." I trailed off, unsure how to articulate what I was worried about.
"You're afraid of. . . what, exactly?" he asked patiently. "Alice will love you. You're very alike, except that she's exuberant and loud." He flashed a quick, crooked grin. "You are quite amazing. I have no doubt you two would be friends. We could meet in a public place, maybe a coffee shop."
I took a deep breath. "That's a good idea," I said shyly. "I don't. . . I don't have a large number of friends and acquaintances. I have two very good friends, and of course my parents."
"You mentioned your college roommate, Angela, the other day. Did you say where she lives?" Edward sat back as our food arrived, releasing my fingers.
"She went back to our hometown, Forks." I looked down at my dish, and when I looked back up, Edward was frozen with his glass halfway to his mouth.
He set it down. "You didn't say Forks at lunch." His face was unreadable.
I frowned, confused. "No, I don't believe I did. Why?" Had I put my foot in my mouth?
"That's my hometown. I graduated from Forks High School."
My eyebrows rose up. "No kidding? I did too. You must have been in a class ahead of mine, since we never ran into each other." I didn't add that I never ran in a group, was never a popular kid. Angela was my only friend in high school, which was actually okay. She was quiet like me, shy, and never felt the need to fill the silence with pointless chatter. We were inseparable even through college.
He smiled again. "I am older than you, so that must be so. My father is a surgeon at the hospital there." He started on his dinner.
"Well, my father is the chief of police," I laughed. Small town chief that never had much to do but play solitaire.
"I was never, ah, involved with the police. I don't suppose I've met your father." He grinned.
"Well, I should hope not," I laughed.
"What a small world," he mused.
"My, um, my only serious boyfriend lived in La Push on the res. Have you ever been out there?"
He nodded. "Sure, to First Beach. Alice and I spent some time there over summer break. Was your ex Quileute?"
"Yes." I fidgeted with my glass. "He was a year older than me, and extremely tall." I huffed a laugh. "I guess 17 year old me was flattered that someone like that wanted to date me." I took a bite to calm my nerves, chewing slowly. Edward never pushed me to continue, but ate quietly as he watched me. "Honestly, he wanted to control me. It took awhile for me to figure it out. I lied to everyone, including myself. I insisted that he was a great guy, but he constantly told me what I should and shouldn't be doing." Once I'd started, the words flowed freely. "I should be more outgoing, more sexy. I should wear makeup, wear my hair different. I tried for a good year, until I was heading off to college. I finally told my dad about Paul, and he went with me to the res when I broke up with him."
Edward reached his arm across the table to take my hand in both of his, stroking my knuckles. "Everyone makes those mistakes, especially at that age. I'm glad you came clean to your dad."
"I'm sure you've never had a relationship like that. There's nothing about you that anyone could complain about." I was teasing, but I saw a shadow flicker across his face before he composed himself again.
"I've had my share of bad breakups." With that declaration, I decided not to push him for answers.
We settled into silence as we finished. It was just as comfortable as the lunch date we'd had on Saturday. When we were finished and Edward had paid, he took my elbow as we headed outside into the cooling air.
Walking across the parking lot with him, I wondered what to do next. I was always awkward at the end of a first date. Did you kiss, or not? What if he didn't want to kiss me but I leaned in awkwardly?
He smoothly erased my worries by lifting my hand and turning it over, kissing my palm. Between the tingling and the soft, wet feel of his lips, it was all I could do not to jump him in the parking lot.
"I'll call you about meeting up with Alice," he said in his deep velvet voice. He released my hand and I fumbled to unlock my ancient, faded red truck. Sliding in, I turned my head in his direction to thank him. His face was suddenly there, and I closed my eyes. Edward very carefully kissed my forehead, then retreated and closed my door. He waved, and I tried to remember how to drive.