Boyfriend. She just called me her boyfriend.
It's almost like a new secret name; only it is not a secret. She just introduced me to another person as her boyfriend... officially. My heart leaps for joy. I'll do my utmost to not embarrass her.
I easily fall into the routine of being polite and social, especially since Bella said the Denali girl is her friend. I didn't know that; it's a surprise. But there's just still so much I don't know when it comes to Bella; there's no use mulling over it now.
"Pleased to meet you," I say, because it is the appropriate thing to say, even though it's not entirely true. My memories of Tanya Denali aren't very pleasant. So yes, we've met before. "...again," I add to let her know that I remember her. I also offer a handshake.
Her reaction is unexpected and confusing. She doesn't take my hand but curses at me instead.
"Hot damn!" she blurts out.
"I beg your pardon?" Have I messed up already? What did I do wrong?
I cast an anxious glance at Bella. She's smiling. It can't be that bad then.
"What Tanya is trying to say, if I may translate for you, is that she is pleased to meet you, too, and she thinks that you, uhm... have matured nicely."
I must have looked somewhat quizzical, because Bella adds, "In Tanya speak, you know, 'hot damn' means that you're easy on the eye or something along those lines."
Okay, I get it... it was a joke.
But then Tanya says, "No kidding, dude!"
No joke? Okay. I don't want to appear rude, so I return the sentiment, using her very language code to be on the safe side.
"Thank you, and... hot damn back at you."
I'm pretty sure that, by common standards, she passes for an attractive woman. Many men like big breasts, and hers are enormous. Judging by the way she's showing them off, she must be very proud of them. Tanya seems to go to great effort with her outer appearance, so she probably likes to hear that people acknowledge the result.
As if to prove this to be true, she finally shakes my hand and beams at me, "Oh really? Well, I'm trying, haha. Thank you so much!"
"That's such a sweet thing of you to say, Edward," Bella also approves.
I smile at her, happy that I did this to her liking. "I'm just being polite, that's all."
"...the fuck?" Tanya gasps and drops her arms. Her breasts immediately move down a few inches and wiggle dangerously. I briefly wonder if it hurts, considering how big they are.
Bella bursts into giggles next to me.
"What is it?" I demand to know.
I'm not sure what's going on, but it appears I have unintentionally offended Tanya? I get the notion that, technically speaking, I kind of took back my 'hot damn' comment by admitting that I was just being polite. Maybe that wasn't the smartest thing to do. On the other hand, being polite is the opposite of being offensive. I keep forgetting that, even though politeness is what people expect and appreciate when you meet them for the first time, they don't want to be reminded of that.
Bella snorts, "Oh my... that is just... priceless...!"
I give a small chuckle myself, much to my own surprise. Normally, I would become very uneasy at how much confusing this entire conversation is, but Bella's outburst is so wonderful to watch that I can't bring myself to regret whatever funny thing I might have just said. I love light-hearted Bella; I want to see her that way all day.
"Ha, ha," Tanya deadpans, "this is so not funny!"
But she is laughing, too. I can see her shoulders shaking as she turns to me.
"Dude, you certainly know how to give a lady a good time!"
Ah well... apparently, I do. They are having a lot of fun. Bella is still wiping her eyes and grinning when Tanya punches her playfully.
"Congrats, Swan, you scored a rare specimen here. An honest man - if that isn't refreshing..."
"I know," Bella says and squeezes my hand. She looks at me so lovingly that my breath catches in my chest for a moment.
"Eddie, you're the bomb. I really like you," Tanya declares surprisingly.
"You do?" I blurt, unbelieving.
She doesn't even really know me, yet she seems genuine. I really wanted Bella's friend to like me, but now I'm kind of shocked at how easy this was. She flashes her teeth at me with a wide grin, and for a moment I'm distracted by the bit of smeared lipstick on one of her front teeth. I realize only then that I'm looking at her mouth. My eyes have actually left the safe spot a while ago, and I didn't even notice.
Focusing on that small lipstick mark, I ask, "Why?"
"What, why? Why I like you?"
"Because you're gorgeous, for starters. I mean, totally hot damn, ok? And you don't even know it, which is double hot fucking damn in my book. And second, because you made my new BFF Bella here finally pull that stick out of her ass, which was about fucking time, if you ask me. And last but not least, it's nice to meet a man who doesn't lose ninety percent of his brain capacity at the sight of my girls, for a change. I could come up with more, if you want me to, but you already look like my cousin before going all Boston Legal, so I'd better stop."
I have no idea what she's saying, or how this is supposed to explain why she likes me. For a moment, I feel the overwhelming urge to cover my ears with my hands and hide in that soothing hum of my own blood, like I did when I was a child... before I learned how to just shut off other people's verbiage with my mind.
Maybe it's because I have Bella with me, I don't know, but that moment passes quickly. I find that I'm fine, despite all the confusion. Tanya's odd way of speaking makes me feel light-headed, but not in a bad way. I just wish was able to keep up...
"I'm sorry, but I think I lost you after the 'double hot fucking damn'," I say.
"Tanya is trying to be funny," Bella assures me, "that's just her, don't worry. I'll explain everything to you later."
It never bothered me much if people were making jokes at my expense; I'm somewhat used to it and learned to let the ridicule drip off of me. But this is different. I can see that Tanya isn't making fun of me but rather with me; her way of being funny is obviously supposed to give us a good time. If anything, she's making fun of herself.
That's new. And interesting...
"She is funny," I say, finally recognizing this weird bubbly feeling inside of me as amusement.
Before I avert my gaze again, I see Tanya squinting her eyes at me.
"Are you just being polite again? Because really, Eddie, I don't think I can take much more of that politeness of yours."
This time, she can't fool me. "That's a trick question, right?"
My response totally cracks them both up, and it is contagious; I can't contain my own laughter. Bella covers her mouth with her hand, chortling hysterically into her palm. Tanya throws both arms up in the air and guffaws.
"Oh my God, I love this guy!" she hollers. "I want to hug the shit out of him right fucking now!"
The sudden tinge of panic I feel at her words must show on my face, because Bella quickly interjects,
"Uh no, Tanya... enough, ok?"
"Don't worry," Tanya backs down after taking a few deep breaths to steady herself. "I can keep my hands to myself. Plus, Bella here would probably stab me in the eye if I touched that hot chassis of yours, so you're safe... for now!"
I'm not sure, but I think she just winked at me.
"Tanya!" This time, Bella sounds actually a little concerned.
"It's okay," I say. "She's just kidding again." I think? I really hope so.
"You've got that right," Tanya laughs. "Okay, why don't you guys go and enjoy your impromptu date before lunch break is over? And take your time; I have everything here under control. Today is pretty uneventful anyway."
"Are you sure?" Bella asks. "I mean, I could -"
"Uh-uh, no back talk! I don't want to see you again here within the next hour, minimum. Shall I go in the back and fetch you your coat, or are you capable of getting it yourself? Seriously, I'm starting to worry..." She gestures to my and Bella's still joined hands. "Do we need a doctor to separate those surgically?"
"That's really sweet of you. Thanks!" Bella lets go of me and gives Tanya a hug. "I'll go and get changed; I'll be back in a second," she tells me and runs off, leaving me standing here.
I think I will just keep staring at Tanya's lipstick-smeared perma-grin; I'm getting used to looking at her mouth instead of looking past her. It works just fine, even better than the shoulder spot. I'm sure she doesn't even notice that I'm not really making eye-contact. I'm good at this; she clearly thinks I'm just plainly facing her.
However, I should probably make conversation. Because staring at someone without talking to them is rude. Fortunately, Tanya gives me a cue.
"So, did you plan anything for your date?"
"Yes," I answer, relieved. "I want to take Bella to Volturi's and buy a wrest."
She raises her brows. "Oh really? How romantic!"
"You think so?" I haven't looked at it that way.
"Gosh, no! I don't even know what the hell a wrest is!"
"Okay." She was joking again. Irony... I really should have figured it out by now. I guess she doesn't really want to know about the wrest either, so I don't bother to explain. "Actually, I think I should make sure Bella gets something to eat."
She snorts and shakes her head. "You don't have any sense of humor that you know about, do you?"
"I'm getting there, don't worry." I assure her. "I'm pretty smart."
"I bet you are, Edward. You're probably one of the smartest guys I ever met. And I'm not kidding now, just so you know."
I notice, for the first time, it's 'Edward', not 'Eddie' or 'dude'. And I understand. She calls me by my real name to let me know that she means what she's saying. I'm surprised. I wouldn't have trusted her to be so subtle.
"I think, you're pretty smart, too," I say, disarmed by her sincerity. "And I'm not being polite now, just so you know."
She nods her head a few times. Solemnly. Silently.
"I've got lipstick on my teeth, haven't I?"