Chapter: 1. Happy Hour
Genre: Twilight - Romance / Humor
Characters: Jasper & Bella
Post Word Count: 5000
Summary: "After a long week, Bella waits for friends at a local bar. When a mysterious stranger approaches her, will it become a truly happy hour? AH, Jasper/Bella, one-shot."
This is a little story I threw together back in June for the birthday of my dear ficwife, Legna989. It's not much... but it was the best I could do.
AccioBourbon, americnxidiot, and Touchstone all humored me and helped with ideas and pre-reads in the absence of Legna, who is also my beta :)
I was sitting on a rickety stool in a smoky bar when I saw him.
Work had been long and irritating today. Well, the whole week had been irritating, really, but today had taken the proverbial buttercream-covered cake. Parents angry that Sally and Johnny had “Needs Improvement” on their report cards; kids hyper because recess had been held indoors all week thanks to the shitty Forks weather; principals snippy because the school year was almost over and they wouldn’t have anyone to harass them for the summer. I’d even had to stay late to talk to Jess Newton because little Mikey Jr. insisted on calling me “Bella,” in class, like his mom and dad did.
Because of the unexpected parent-teacher conference, I was running late to meet friends at the bar. I hadn’t even had time to go home and change. I tugged at the hem of my sundress, which was riding uncomfortably high because I kept sliding off the slightly tipped stool. I would have switched stools but it was Happy Hour and there weren’t any free for an exchange. This had to be the only establishment in all of Forks that still allowed smoking indoors. None of us understood how they got away with it, but my friends always insisted that we come here anyway. They said that there was something unique about the caliber of guy that would come here. I agreed. Unfortunately, I also felt that “unique,” in this case, meant “excruciatingly bad.”
Which was why, when I saw the messy blond head enter the bar, I almost fell off my rickety stool.
I’m short, but I like ‘em tall, and this guy was tall. Tall and thin. But not too thin. I stretched up on my seat to get a better look at him as he walked further into the bar. There were too many people between us and my view was annoyingly obstructed. He stopped about ten feet into the bar to speak to someone and just as he did, the big guy who had been getting drinks next to me stepped away and I had a clear view of Mr. Tall, Blond, and... yes, definitely Handsome.
He was standing with one hand in his pocket, pushing the edge of his button-down shirt up to his waist. The button-down was a solid light blue and I would have put money on it matching the color of his eyes. The button-down covered a dark grey shirt, and where his hand was in his pocket, both the button-down and t-shirt were hitched up above his wrist, exposing a thin slice of skin just above the waist of his dark jeans. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled up above his elbows and the combination of the bare forearm and tiny span of bare flesh... I could feel my heart rate accelerating and I didn’t think it was from the second-hand nicotine I was suddenly sucking down much more quickly.
He turned his head back toward the entrance to the bar and his hair, dark blond and nearly shoulder length, swung gently across his collar. A sudden image of my pink fingernails tangled through it flashed in my mind and I had to shake my head to send the image away. Much more of that and I’d have to remove myself from this place before my friends even got here, lest I do anything embarrassing like throw myself at Mr. TB&H.
The bar began to grow uncomfortably warm and I slipped off my thin cardigan. I bunched it in my lap before continuing the silent perusal of Mr. TB&H. He was still talking to his friend, making small gestures with his free hand. I could see the muscles of that forearm flexing with his movements and more unbidden thoughts, these slightly more creative than my hands in his hair, came to mind.
My surreptitious stalking suddenly made me uncomfortable, and I turned back to face the bar. I took a sip of my white wine and checked the time on my cell phone. I’d gotten here a few minutes early but my friends were now officially late. The two of them couldn’t be trusted to get dressed in anything less than a fortnight so I wasn’t surprised.
When I turned my head slightly to take another peek at Mr. TB&H, I was saddened to see he was no longer talking to his friend. I glanced around but didn’t see him anywhere. I was surprised at the disappointment that tugged at the corners of my mouth. It’s not like he was the only cute guy here. Although, on second glance, maybe he was.
Facing the bar again, I ran my fingers along a couple of deep grooves in the pocked wood. I wondered what kind of Coyote Ugly dance had made these marks.
A jostling from my right knocked me out of my pondering. I caught myself on the edge of the bar and saved my wine before it fell. The hem of my skirt slid up further and I pulled it down as I turned to lay into whoever had just nearly sent me tumbling to the ground.
But all thoughts of rebuke evaporated like rain on a radiator when I was abruptly face to face with Mr. Tall, Blond, and Handsome himself.
The first thing I noticed was that I’d been right about his eyes. They were the same light blue as his shirt.
The second thing I noticed was that his hand – his large, warm hand – was gripping my upper arm. How I hadn’t noticed his touch before was beyond me. Now that I knew it was there, my upper arm was the only part of my body I was even sure existed. I could feel my triceps flexing under his palm as I tightened my hold on the bar. The tips of his fingers curled against my bicep and I was glad I went to the gym twice a week. I never knew the skin of my arm was so sensitive but I was certain I could feel calluses on his palm as his hand slid slowly down my arm to grip my elbow. Was I imagining that his fingers were caressing my skin? I had to be.
“Easy there, I’ve got you.”
My eyes froze open at the sound of his voice... his voice. It sent shock waves of shivery delight straight through me and my toes curled inside my Mary Janes. I blinked rapidly as I tried to regain some sense and, as the world returned to normal, I finally registered the look on his face. He was half-grinning, an eyebrow bent in amusement.
“You okay? I think you almost went ass over teakettle there.”
Ass over teakettle? Who the hell was this guy?
“Yeah, I’m uh, no, I’m fine. I just slipped. This stool is wobbly.” I shifted my hips to demonstrate my stool’s imperfect cant and nearly toppled off it again. Mr. TB&H’s huge hand – and it was huge, I could see his fingertips overlapping his thumb where he was gripping my arm – again saved me from an embarrassing spill.
He chuckled and it was a warm rich sound that reminded me of... Christmas. Christmas bells and ivory candles and satin.... What the hell? I shook my head again, the random visions vanishing in a haze of cigarette smoke.
“Maybe we should get you a new stool before you do some damage to that pretty face of yours.”
I felt the heat rise from my chest to my neck at his words. Was he... flirting with me? No, it couldn’t be. I wanted to look around to see if my friends were somewhere with Ashton Kutcher and a video camera but I couldn’t tear my eyes from his. Bright, clear blue, they sparkled, actually fucking sparkled, in the dim lights of the bar.
“Um, no, I’m okay. It must be the wine.” I started to lift my glass to show him but remembered just in time how my last show-and-tell had gone and quickly withdrew my hand before I ended up spilling it down the front of his blue button-down. On second thought....
“Are you going to be okay if I let go now?” He squeezed my arm gently and when I nodded jerkily like the spaz I had become in the past five minutes, he winked and unwrapped his fingers from my skin. I watched in fascination as long red marks where his fingers had been slowly faded until nothing was left but pale pink.
I looked up to find that he was leaning forward against the bar, hailing the bartender. Keeping a tight hold on the bar in front me and cognizant of the unsafe stool beneath me, I leaned back just slightly in my seat and glanced at him.
From this angle, I could finally take in the back view of him. His long hair covered his collar entirely but didn’t reach past his shoulders. The way he was leaning forward, his straining back was tantalizing through the thin fabric of his shirts. I watched as he shifted forward slightly and a ripple went through the muscles below his shoulder blades. Holy.... I tore my eyes away to continue my inspection downward knowing, even in my Mr. TB&H-induced stupor, that I didn’t have long before he’d have his drink and be on his way, back to his friends or some other girl. Some other girl. I narrowed my eyes at the thought of Mr. TB&H cavorting with some other girl, her long fingernails raking down the muscles of....
I had to get a grip.
On him, preferably.
His shirt was untucked all the way around and the tail of it came to rest halfway down his ass. Whoever had picked out his jeans – and I hoped it was him or his mother because it certainly wouldn’t do if he had some other girl picking out his clothing for him – had known how the pockets on the back of his jeans would certainly accentuate, uh, some of his finer features. And fine they were.
The deep Christmas bells ripped me from my assessment and blood flooded my face when I realized I’d been caught. Caught staring at the perfect ass of the perfect-looking man standing beside me.
“Oh, er, yes. Just, uh, looking for my friends.”
“Did you find them back there?” His sparkly eyes threw sparkly jabs at me and amusement made the Christmas bells ring as if angels had been told a naughty joke.
I leaned forward so my elbows were firmly on the bar and he was firmly out of my line of sight. “No, they’re not here yet,” I muttered. What the hell was wrong with me?
“Well, that’s too bad. What if I keep you company until they arrive?”
I was glad I had been examining how little of my wine was left because I was sure that just then I looked like a surprised cartoon, bugged-out eyes and all. I haphazardly picked up my glass, sloshing a little bit of the wine onto my wrist, and downed the rest of the glass in one gulp.
“Looks like you spilled some there. Let me get that for you.”
As I sat there, perched on my stool of death, the tall, blond confusion next to me picked up my tiny hand in his monstrous one and raised it to his lips. All of the blood that had previously been occupying my cheeks fled south and pooled somewhere around my middle as this stranger – stranger! my brain shouted at me – opened his mouth slightly and very gently, very slowly, kissed the spilled wine off my hand. I felt my eyes roll back in my head at the same time as I felt his tongue brush against the skin of my wrist. Very gently, very slowly, he cleaned up the drops of wine. Aside from the fact that I wasn’t sure I any had control of my body, it was all I could do to keep myself from vaulting over the bar and finding an entire bottle of wine. If I poured the entire thing over me, would he....
“There, all clean now.”
Glittering blue stars met me when I opened my eyes. They twinkled in amusement and... something else... something that made me squirm on my perilous perch.
Confusing urges to either flee the bar in a storm of mortification or fling myself at this stranger in a gale of unhindered lust ran through me. I raked my eyes quickly down his chest and wondered how long it would take me to unbutton those three, four, five buttons. Would he be able to stop me before I had my hands on the hard chest that was obvious even through two layers of shirts and the constant fog of the bar and my brain?
I stuttered out a thank you as I withdrew my hand to my chest and was surprised when fingers that were not my own were brushing the front of my dress. I looked down to see that he had not released my hand when I pulled back. In fact, he seemed to be gripping it more tightly, less gently now, except for his index finger, which was extended and softly, delicately – for such a large, long finger – running along the neckline of my dress. I watched, mouth agape, I’m sure, as a finger tipped with a slightly chewed nail drew along the edge, touching both skin and cotton, running from my breastbone up to my collarbone.
The sound of my gasp hit my ears before I felt my lungs release it.
Slowly I raked my eyes up the extended hand, forearm, broad shoulder... until I finally reached those devil eyes, glinting mercilessly at me, making me mute and addled. All of those years of school had prepared me to handle twenty-two ornery, hyper, maddening six-year-olds, but nothing had taught me how to face the onslaught of hot and heavy that Mr. TB&H was raining down on me right now.
The delicate skin of my chest was aflame and I glanced down quickly to see the fingertip with the imperfect nail had curved into the fabric and was pulling it slowly away from my body.
“On second thought,” he drawled, leaning closer, his head tipped as if in contemplation, his eyes blue flames dangerously close to setting my parched skin alight, “I have a better idea.”
He released my wrist and quickly – before I could even register what he was doing – slid both hands around my waist. Gripping me tightly, he lifted me from the stool and set me on the ground. I caught my sweater just before it fell from my lap and quickly steadied myself against the bar. The moment my feet had touched the dirty floor, I had realized there was no way my legs would hold me right now. Mr. TB&H had effectively reduced me to a boneless, single-celled organism whose only purpose on this vast planet was to possess the ridiculously captivating person in front of me. I wanted to wrap all of my single-celled organism bits around him and suck him into me until I absorbed....
What the fuck?
I barely noted he was speaking to the bartender until he placed my credit card in my hand. I’d used it to open up a tab in preparation for my girls. Where the hell were they, anyway?
I stood looking up at him, his left hand still on my waist, his right cupping my left elbow, no longer sure that I was even in the bar. Maybe I had gone home after work and taken a nap... maybe I had contracted malaria from one of the kids at school and was lying somewhere in a hospital, delirious with ridiculous images of blond he-men.
“Before we leave, maybe I should know your name....”
My brain had the sense to yell to me You’re leaving? But what about your friends? And who the hell is this guy? Hello? Anyone home? but I managed to tune it out before I could react – intelligently or otherwise – to any of its questions.
“Bella,” I whispered.
“Bella,” he repeated, nodding, his hand tightening on my waist. “Jasper,” he said, and I finally had a name to pair with the Christmas bells and sparkle and man who was assaulting every sensibility I’d ever had.
“Jasper,” I said. The word vibrated down my throat and past my lungs before it fused itself somewhere Grandma Swan would have been embarrassed to discuss.
“Let’s get out of here.”
Before I could react, I was halfway across the bar. He was holding one of my hands in his – although “holding” was maybe not the proper term. Engulfing, possibly, or swallowing... his huge hand ate mine for lunch and I wondered if I would ever see it again. I realized I didn’t care.
“But I’m meeting friends,” I mumbled.
He paused near the door, head tilted to look down at me. “You can see your friends later.”
I was vaguely aware of the awe I felt for his utter certainty that I would ditch my friends for someone I had just met and more than a little turned on by the thinly veiled dominance.
We walked quickly across the parking lot. The day’s earlier rain had let up but the temperature was rapidly cooling as evening fell. I struggled to slip on my sweater as we kept walking and Mr. TB&H – Jasper – stopped when he saw what I was trying to do.
He reached behind me to catch the edge of the sweater that I hadn’t been able to get around me. I held out my arm like one of the kids in my class as he carefully slipped my hand through the armhole. He drew the front of the sweater together and with those long, strong fingers, deftly fastened the buttons. Something deep in me wanted to cry out that he was going the wrong way – off not on! – but I reined it in, saving myself from further humiliation.
When he had slipped the last button home, he pulled the bottom of the sweater straight. “Perfect,” he said. “Ready to go?”
I was opening my mouth to question him when he turned around and stepped away from me. I frowned at his back before pausing to take in the details I’d noticed before, even more impressive now that he was stretched to his full height. It was like my eyes had gone on vacation to a luxurious spa; I had no control over them – they were going to get their money’s worth out of that Deluxe package on which they’d splurged, regardless of what I wanted them to do.
Before I could become lost in the new ridiculousness that was my one-track mind, he turned back to me holding something confusing.
I leaned to the side and peered around him. I balked at the sight of the sleek black motorcycle that clearly explained the helmet he was holding.
My dad was a cop and I had been taught since Day One that motorcycles – and the men who rode them – were to be avoided if I valued my freedom.
“I'm not dressed...." I plucked at my skirt.
“Believe me, you are dressed just fine. Here, let me help.” He stepped closer, almost as close as he had been in the bar. The heat from his body was easy to feel in the cool air.
“Do you always carry two helmets?” I asked as I inched myself toward the broad expanse of his chest and the warmth I knew it held.
“You never know when you’re going to need it.” A raised hand that I watched carefully accompanied his words. Goose bumps broke out along my skin at the light touch against my collarbone as he slowly captured my hair and pulled all of it back behind my head. As he swept it up and twisted it around, my brain again tried to break through the rapidly hardening wall between it and whatever was controlling my actions. He knows how to put up your hair! How many times has he done this?!
He gently slid the helmet over my head, careful to squish my nose and ears as little as possible.
I stood silently by as he pulled on his own helmet. With Mr. TB&H outside of a two-foot radius of my body, I started to regain some of the rationality that had so swiftly departed in the bar. Was I really leaving with this stranger? Going somewhere unknown on a motorcycle? I had never done anything like this, not even in college! I was the levelheaded one, the boring one. The one who was mostly likely to stay home on a Saturday night, reading or watching TCM. My girlfriends didn’t even know where was I. I had to call them or they’d think I’d been kidnapped. Was I really going to do this?
As he swung his right leg over the motorcycle and turned to look at me – arm extended, visor flipped up – I realized that there wasn’t even any sense in asking myself ridiculous questions anymore. Those sparkly blue eyes, and the man to whom they belonged, owned me. From the tip of my Mary Janes up to the top of my shiny, new helmet.
I tangled my fingers in his and let him guide me onto the back of the motorcycle. I tried to pull down my dress to cover my legs but I knew it was pointless. My legs were exposed to mid-thigh and as I wrapped myself tentatively around the back of the near stranger who was abducting me from this fine Forks establishment, he reached down and smoothly ran his hand from my ankle all the way up my leg, stopping just as he reached my hem. I shivered under his touch and tightened my arms around his waist. My chest was pressed against those rippling muscles I’d been admiring earlier and now, up close and personal, I was not disappointed to feel that they were as impressive as they looked.
Without another word, the motorcycle roared to life and we were gone, the bar vanishing rapidly behind us.
I closed my eyes and let myself just feel. I felt the motorcycle rumbling below us, the vibrations coursing deliciously through my body. I felt Jasper’s heat against my chest, my thighs. I felt the cold air whip around us and I used it as an excuse to fasten myself to him like a barnacle against the hull of the shiny, new Titanic.
My hands were locked together in front of him but I relaxed my fingers as we rode. My palms quickly sought out the hard planes of his stomach and flattened against him, the ridges of his abs evident, even hunched over as he was. I tightened my hold and felt his muscles contract under my fingers. I grinned to myself, happy to have elicited a reaction as he had from me.
Eyes still closed, hands still slowly exploring, I was surprised when we came to rest only a few minutes later. The silence of the night was jarring in the sudden absence of the motorcycle’s roar. I sat back abruptly, removing my hands from his chest, remembering admonishments to “keep your hands to yourself” that I was always making to the children. Before I could scoot all the way back, he had gripped my hands in one of his. As he gracefully dismounted with me still on the motorcycle, he held onto my hands, not releasing them until he moved to grasp my waist and lift me effortlessly from the seat. I was amazed at the ease with which he was able to move me around.
We stood next to the motorcycle and as gently as he’d placed the helmet on my head, he removed it. I started to shake out my hair but before I could, one of his hands, long fingers spread, was running through my tangled curls, brushing it out. This time, the traitorous goose bumps were accompanied by an even more traitorous shiver at the gentle caresses against my scalp.
I drew my sweater closer around me and nodded. His grin indicated he didn’t believe that nod for a single second.
He stored the helmets in the motorcycle’s saddlebags and took my hand. We’d parked in front of a dark house and it loomed intimidating and large as we approached. The shaking in my legs – which was from the ride and the chill, right? – slowed me down and Jasper slowed his own gait as he realized his long legs were traveling faster than my shorter ones. He tugged gently at my hand and I followed him up the stone walkway, which was still visible in the fading light.
As we stopped on the front porch, he turned to me. He took a step closer and, before I knew it, had wrapped one arm around my waist and drawn me into his firm chest. His lips burned against mine, hot and passionate, but before I could recover my senses enough to throw myself into it, he pulled back. I gasped for breath, the cool air tickling my throat as I inhaled.
He smirked down at me, all tall, blond, and handsome... and smug. He turned to the door, hands slipping into pockets. My hands twitched at my sides, anxious for the door to be open so I could further immerse myself in this ludicrous situation I’d allowed myself to create.
“Shit,” I heard him mutter.
“What is it?”
He turned to me, handsome face drawn down in a frown. “I forgot my key.”
We stood silently staring at each other before one dark blond eyebrow arched expectantly.
I sighed as I put my hand in my purse and dug around. I pulled out my keys and dropped them into his hand.
“Thanks, babe,” he winked.
“Christ, Jasper, this is why you should keep the house and bike keys on the same key ring.”
The deadbolt clicked open and we stepped into the dark front hall.
“Hey, I was in a rush. My flight was late and I didn’t want to keep you waiting. I know how much you look forward to our little Reunion Game.” Jasper flipped on the light before pulling me back to him, his hands immediately on my ass. I pushed the door closed with my foot as I leaned into his embrace.
“Missed my wife,” he murmured in my ear. “A week is too long to be away. Although, I have to say that the coming home always makes it worth it.”
|Happy Hour On Fanfiction.net|
Happy birthday, bb!
Thanks to LazyJournal and TLYDF for making posting this so simple! You rock, Sam!