Friday, December 6, 2013

The Other Way : Eleven

That Word Out Of Your Mouth Is Positively Sinful


“It’s not my greenhouse.” I hedged, withering underneath Edward’s eyes, even though nearly everyone was looking at me. He held the seed pod up between two fingers, eyes on fire, gesturing with it. The broken horn made it look lopsided and he was scowling just as crookedly.

“Do you know what this is?” he asked me, voice acerbic.

“Yes, Alice told me.”

“I’m sure she didn’t tell you nearly enough,” he snapped, glancing at Alice with narrowed eyes and she gave him a dirty face, which meant he was probably right.

“It’s a medicine. But it can kill you,” I informed him, sure that he already knew, wondering if I was really talking about the seed or something else entirely. Esme quirked her eyes at the unassuming seed pod, suspicious and skeptical, which meant that Alice had told me more than she had anyone else.

“This doesn’t concern you.” Edward leaned across the table and growled at me, venomous as a snake with lethal accuracy, still brandishing the seed. I tried not to flinch and swallowed stubbornly.

“She misses it. She wants to go back.”

Alice’s eyebrows wrenched together and she stared hard at me, eyes gone as soft and watery as the baby deer tattooed on her forearm. I couldn’t tell if she was happy about what I was doing, or terrified that I was going to continue. She glanced at Edward, wary and silent. I finally worked up the courage to meet his fiery glare again, starting to suspect that he wasn’t an easy opponent to go head-to-head with, and sure enough, he looked as though he wanted to jump across the table at me.

He grimaced and tossed the Devil Claw at me, the other horn snapping as it bounced across the table and rolled to a stop in front of my plate. “You have no idea what you’re talking about,” he spat. “I don’t expect a girl in a dress like that could even begin to understand this.”

“Edward!” Esme gasped and Alice straight up slapped him across the ear, her eyes wide. He winced, clutching his face for a moment before dropping his hand, eyes never fully leaving me. Jasper’s brows furrowed together and he glanced at me cautiously before rounding on Edward.

“I don’t know what you’re implying, exactly, but I don’t like the tone of your voice.”

“I’m not implying anything,” Edward growled. They glared at each other for a fragile minute, copper to silver, before Alice shattered the standoff.

“Edward, is something wrong?” She chanced a hand placed gently on his elbow and he flung her off with his face twisted.

“You’re damn right there is,” he snapped and stood suddenly, nearly toppling his chair. I could feel his eyes on me, but I kept mine firmly on the table, not sure that I could stand to meet his gaze which was burning two molten spots into my neck. “But we can’t talk about it now.” *

He stalked toward the exits, shoulders tensed, leaving a heavy, suffocating silence in his wake.

I found him half an hour later at the very end of the doomed boat dock, his jacket discarded across the railing and his shirt sleeves rolled up. He was leaning on his elbows, hair tossed by the wind, and stained eerily silver in the moonlight.

“Can I ask what the fuck that was all about?” I stomped up to him, as much as one can stomp in sandals, and stopped in a huff of silk, my own hair gone wild in the breeze. Edward squinted at me and straightened, gripping the railing with both hands. There was a letter etched onto each finger but I couldn’t read what it said. There was also a peony blooming on his elbow, a building spanning his forearm, metal rings tugged tight between his teeth  . . .  and I hated that he was so good at distracting me.  

“I’m sorry.” He hung his head, chin to his chest and sighed heavily. His hair looked like he’d stuck his fork in an electrical socket this morning, standing on end before falling across his face.  He was too pretty to be mad at, but I was going to try my best.  

“For what?” I snarled at him, mimicking his own behavior at the table. “Fo treating Alice like a child? Or, maybe you’re sorry for the comment about my dress?”

“The first one, yes. The last one I’m not sorry for.”

“Of course you aren’t.” I snapped at him, resisting the urge to cross my arms over my chest, knowing it would just make my meager cleavage all the more appealing.

“It is a rather becoming costume.” His eyes fell to my plunging neckline barely obscured with silk and the lip rings disappeared, again. He sucked on them intently as he stared, eventually meeting my eyes but only after he’d taken a good and thorough look. I was mostly positive that he was thinking about what was underneath the dress and I scowled up at him, trying my best to stand as tall as possible.

“You seem to enjoy toying me. Like a dog with a squirrel. If I don’t die from injury, I’ll give in from shock?”

“I didn’t mean for it to sound quite as harsh as it came out,” he sighed. “My mouth gets the better of me. A lot.”

Don’t talk to me about your mouth, dude.

“How’s your ear?” I quipped, intentionally backhanded, and he glanced at me with a flash of anger that rapidly faded away.

“Again, I’m sorry. I’m not used to this . . . feeling. It’s new for me.”

“What feeling?”

“I shouldn’t even be having this conversation with you.” He turned away and shook his head to himself, tracing the edges of his teeth with his tongue and he spoke to the ocean instead of to me. “I can’t help but want you. Every time I see you, it’s just there.”

“That’s awful Pavlovian of you,” I hissed, wishing I had a bell to shake at him just to see if he would drool. He finally turned to look at me, still gripping the railing, half of his shadowed face smirking in my direction.

That word out of your mouth is positively sinful.” He sounded as though he was rolling a chocolate around in his mouth, an indulgence melting slow and rich on his tongue.

“You really are the dog.” I rolled my eyes, thankful he couldn’t see my cheeks go up in flames.

His eyebrow arched. “Are you the squirrel?”

“No. I’m the bell.”


Fate stepped into to solidify my point, the sudden flash of the lights turning on for the evening momentarily blinding both of us, bathing the dock in a golden pool that was hard to see beyond. Edward’s hair went up in a flame of gold like a penny set on fire and I blinked until his face came back into focus. He released the railing, looking reluctant to do so and produced a pack of cigarettes without looking at me. He seemed to be purposefully avoiding it, actually, tonguing his lip rings and watching his fingers intently as an excuse. I finally got a chance to decipher the letters gracing each knuckle as he moved to light the cigarette, right hand cupped around the lighter, the left perching the cigarette between his lips.

Open Eyes. In a soft, spiraled script.  

“Give that to me.” I gestured toward the smoldering cigarette and he jerked it away in defense.

“I’m not gonna just let you chuck it off into the water,” he grumbled.

“I wasn’t going to do that.” I darted forward and plucked it from his fingers, tucking it between my lips before he could protest. “I was going to smoke it,” I exhaled my words, turning them into smoke and watching them vanish into the air. I took a couple more drags before I relinquished my prize, treating myself to a few dizzying lungfuls and feeling instantly better.

The nicotine sauntered right up to my lavender high, still wafting in off the water, and invited it to bed for the evening.

“You don’t sleep with him.” Edward was shaking his head at me as I handed the cigarette back, sounding thoroughly convinced and I wondered if those knuckles alluded to something more. I tried not to panic but my head was reeling and I wasn’t sure if it was the tobacco, the ocean, him, or all three.

“How in the world could you ever know that?” I rolled my eyes, unable to conjure up anything but defiance.

“Because I can feel it on you.” He leaned in close, smelling of salt and lemons and smoke. “The tension. You’re practically humming.”

*Tiny Vessels / Death Cab for Cutie

All I see / are dark grey clouds
In the distance / moving closer with every hour
So when you ask / is something wrong? I think
You're damn right there is / but we can't talk about it now

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