Alice can’t remember a time when Edward didn’t wear his navy blue sweatshirt. As they grew up, their mother tried to secretly replace it every time Edward grew out of his old one. He knew every time. He would always end up using the new one anyway, when he could no longer fit his arm though the space for the head of the old one.
It was a security blanket; Edward never did like change. Alice always thought it was a replacement for his favorite childhood teddy bear even though the idea turned his face bright red. So of course, she had to tease him about it incessantly.
He wore it all day, every single day. She wasn’t entirely sure if he even took it off to shower. And God forbid somebody else wore the hoodie! He’d nearly have an anxiety attack right on the spot! So of course, she wore it every chance she got. What are little sisters for, right? Every time he took it back, he’d whine that he was cold and it smelled like her perfume and she probably stained it and the pockets! Oh the pockets! They were filled with her junk! How dare she? Every time she’d simply roll her eyes and walk away which would infuriate him even more.
So you can understand why Alice was stunned when she saw Edward hand his sweatshirt to Bella Swan. She scurried over to hear what was going on.
“You’re sure you don’t mind?” Bella asked, glancing timidly at the hoodie in her arms.
“Of course not, I don’t want you to be cold,” Edward replied, smiling warmly.
“Really, I don’t want to lose it or anything, and I’ll be okay! It’s not that cold.” Bella was finally getting him to talk to her; she didn’t want that to stop because she somehow damaged his property. Which knowing herself, would most likely happen.
“Come on, you were just shivering! Don’t worry about it. I’ll see you later, I gotta go to class.” He smiled again and walked away as she put it on. Bella looked around to see if anyone was watching, and nobody was. She rubbed the sleeve against her cheek, and it was incredibly soft thanks to thorough use and many cycles through the washing machine. And, a plus, it smelled just like him. Cue the girly sigh. Bella walked into her English class and sat next to her friend Jasper.
“Edward? What are you doing here-” Jasper cut himself off when he saw the lengthy brunette hair that definitely did not belong to Edward Cullen. On the other hand, the navy blue sweatshirt most definitely was his though. “Bella? What are you doing wearing that?” Jasper said frantically. Jasper had known Edward for a long, long time. He knew how harshly he reacted when it came to that thing. He actually feared for Bella’s life at this point.
Bella simply stared up at him, obviously puzzled at his reaction. She blinked twice slowly and intelligently said, “Huh?” Jasper repeated the question, in the same frenzied tone. “Oh. I was cold, so Edward let me wear his sweatshirt for the day.” Now it was Jasper’s turn to stare at Bella blankly. A million questions ran through his mind, but he could articulate none. Edward willingly did what!? Does not compute. Jasper was confused.
The rest of the hour passed quickly. As the bell rang Bella shot Jasper one more puzzled look before heading to trig. She took her seat next to Jessica Stanley, the school gossip. Bella glanced at the jacket, then at Jessica. Oh no. She just knew what Jessica was going to think, and without question, spread. Damn it! Jessica Stanley spotted the navy blue sweatshirt and her heart automatically started beating faster, she’d recognize that jacket Cullen. Sigh.
“Hi Jessica,” said the voice that was definitely not Edward Cullen’s. She looked up to see the dull brown eyes of that new girl, Bella Swan. That new girl Bella Swan who was wearing Edward Cullen’s infamous hoodie. That new girl Bella Swan who was totally dating Edward Cullen! Jessica tapped Bella’s shoulder, and the sweatshirt, consequentially. (Oh my God, I touched Edward Cullen’s jacket. Mmm. So soft. Ohmygodohmygodohmygod!)
“Spill,” she said bluntly. Bella’s cheeks were tinted a bright red color. Jessica figured that meant the story must be good!
“I was cold, so Edward let me wear it.” Could this girl be any more unexciting?
“Huh?” Yes. Yes she could. Bella didn’t even realize what this meant! She didn’t even comprehend how huge this was!
“That’s Edward Cullen’s jacket!” Jessica blurted out. Bella gave her a sarcastic look, which was clearly stating that yes, she knew it was Edward’s hoodie; good for you for knowing that too! “He’s crazy about that thing! He never, under any circumstances, lets anyone wear it. I mean, he never even takes it off! I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw him not wearing it. And I’ve been going to school with him since, like, forever.”
“Oh I’m sure it’s not that big of a deal.” Not. Fair. Jessica was so jealous. Bella didn’t even realize what this meant!
“Oh it is, Bella. It is.” Bella brushed off Jessica’s dramatics. She was being well, Jessica. Jessica just couldn’t wait to tell Lauren about this!
“Lauren, you’ll never guess what I saw today!”
“Tyler, you won’t believe this!”
“Dude, you know how that freaky Cullen guy never takes off his sweatshirt? Well, you’ll never guess who’s wearing it today.”
“Eric, have you heard anything about Edward Cullen lately? You haven’t? Oh well it’s all over the school!”
“You know Edward Cullen? Yeah, that one with the sweatshirt. Speaking of that, I heard stuff about him and that new girl…”
“I heard they’re going out! I know, I thought he was gay too! I think everyone did though, he just so wasn’t interested in anyone! Anyway, that sweatshirt thing? Well, I must say she must be pretty damn special for him to give it to her…”
“They are pretty cute together, don’t you think?”
“Apparently they’ve been going out for months and guess what? I heard he’s thinking of proposing! No, it’s not just a rumor! I heard it from Jackie, who heard it from Stacy who heard it from Ben who heard it from Angela who heard it from Eric who heard it from Dylan, who heard it from Tyler who heard it from Lauren who heard it from Jessica who talked to Bella herself! See! I told you it’s legitimate! And you didn’t believe me!”
Alice was confused. No, confused didn’t even begin to cover it. She was mystified, baffled and perplexed all put together. Not once all day had Edward complained about how he was cold. Or even mentioned the fact that someone other than him was wearing it.
“So,” Alice said trying to be subtle, “how’s your day going?”
Edward raised his eyebrow at her, “Fine.”
“Anything interesting happen today?”
“Really? Nothing at all?” Edward stayed silent. She sighed, exasperated. This whole subtle thing never worked. She put her hands on his shoulders, stopping him mid stride. “Not even Bella Swan wearing your sweatshirt? That’s pretty interesting, don’t ya think?” Edward blinked. Then blinked again.
“Uh…” he said. “Yeah, that’s… um, out of the ordinary.” Alice started bouncing slightly in excitement. Uh oh.
“Ah! That’s so cute! Do you like her? Oh I see that blush! That’s a yes! Hm. I’ll ask her if she likes you later. But I’m sure she does, I mean all the girls like you. Ah! I’m so excited! You guys are so cute together! I knew it the moment you handed her that sweatshirt that you were meant to be-”
“Alice!” Edward interrupted her as he dragged her down the hallway to a secluded area, which really wasn’t hard to do since everyone was in the cafeteria. He lowered his voice to a hard whisper. “Don’t. Do. Anything.” He walked down the hall to get away from her, and headed to biology early.
Edward couldn’t believe the reaction people were having to him simply lending his jacket to Bella. Did all these people really have nothing better to do than gossip about sweatshirts? Or was he really that shockingly neurotic? Well he did always feel anxious when he wasn’t wearing it and he really despised anyone else wearing it usually.
And he had to admit- at least to himself- that he really did like Bella. He noticed her on her first day, she looked so beautiful and sweet and innocent and timid, in complete contrast to all the other insipid girls in Forks who blindly threw themselves at him just because of his looks. She was just so… fascinating. He sat next to her in biology (he was lucky enough to be able to call himself her lab partner) and just watched her. In a non-creepy way, of course. He watched her doodle. He watched her hair fall around her as a barrier. He even watched her blush when she realized he was staring. Needless to say, he stopped watching then. But today, when she walked into the classroom, he was filled with a strange sense of satisfaction seeing her in his hoodie. He finally understood when the cheerleaders wore the football players’ jackets. It was like somehow marking her as his. Back off, Mike Newton!
Oh Mike Newton. Don’t even get him started on that guy. He followed Bella around like a lost puppy. He didn’t get that she was just not interested.
“Hey Bella!” Mike said when he saw Bella and zoomed over to her desk to talk to her before Edward could even properly acknowledge her presence. “Wait, why are you wearing Cullen’s jacket?”
“She wanted to, Newton. Got a problem?” Edward said, liking the upper hand. He let Mike come to his own conclusions about why she wanted to, exactly. Mike glared at him and walked back to his desk to sulk. Bella groaned and put her head down on the desk.
“Ugh. Thanks for getting rid of him. He cannot take a hint. At all.” Edward smirked. She was so cute when she was annoyed. Especially at Newton.
“Anytime. Enjoying the jacket?” Edward asked. He hoped she was. Oh no! He hoped he remembered to wash it! If he didn’t she probably thought it smelled and that therefore he smelled and nobody likes smelly-
“It’s great! Thanks for lending it to me.” Bella said, cutting off his inner monologue. “Do you want it back yet?”
“No no no! You keep it for as long as you want! I don’t even need it today, I’m pretty warm.” Bella smiled. She loved his sweatshirt. It was like having a little piece of him with her all day. She couldn’t believe the effect this little incident was having on her day. She swore it was like her day taken straight out of a bad teen movie! Sometimes the smallest things could set off gossip in this small school. If she wore someone else’s hoodie back in Phoenix, nobody would even notice, much less talk about it. Bella was slowly learning that people in such small towns probably just needed the entertainment, badly.
Alice was bouncing in her seat. Despite Edward’s demand, she was going to question Bella anyway. And this was her only time to do it. English class. All they ever did was talk in that class anyway, and she sat right next to her. She was so excited. She knew from Bella’s first day that they’d be good together. And as soon as she saw Edward hand the sweatshirt to Bella, she knew Edward was hers. They were meant to be. She could tell these sorts of things.
“Hey, Alice,” Bella said as she took her seat to the right of Alice. She still had the jacket on. It was so huge, the hoodie swallowed her alive, yet it still looked like it belonged on her somehow. Alice watched her as she absently stroked her cheek with the sleeve. Edward always did that; she didn’t think he even realized it.
All day, Alice would see him in the halls, and each time it would take her a moment to realize it was him at all. The hoodie was such a part of him, she’d see the same blue shade anywhere and immediately think he was nearby. Edward without his sweatshirt just simply didn’t make sense but Edward with Bella most definitely did.
“So how’s your day?” Alice asked staring pointedly at a particular piece of clothing. Bella eyed the sweatshirt.
“Good, how’s yours?” Bella was just not good at being nonchalant.
“Let’s cut to the chase! What are you going to do about Edward?” Alice asked bluntly.
“Do?” Bella gulped. “Do what? Since when was I supposed to do anything?”
“Ah I see. Playing hard to get. That works too.”
“What? I’m not playing anything!” This continued for the rest of the hour, both of the girls too stubborn to give in. Bella was actually relieved- for the first time in probably forever- to go to gym. Bella walked into the locker room and changed into her gym clothes. She took off Edward’s sweatshirt for the first time in hours.
She was cold.
Bella was in a daze throughout gym, but snapped out of it when she heard her name paired with loud giggles when she walked back into the hallway at the end of the hour.
“Bella!” She turned toward the yell. It was Lauren. “How did you,” she sneered, “get Edward to give you this?” Lauren said pointing at Edward’s hoodie in Bella’s hands. She draped it across her arm and repeated what she told the rest of the world. “You and I both know that’s complete crap. He wouldn’t give this up for nothing. You did something, I’m sure.” Bella felt the tears begin to well up in her eyes at the innuendo lacing her tone. How dare Lauren imply that she was a slut? But then she caught herself. Who did this girl think she was?
“If he went by those requirements, Lauren, I’m sure we would have given it to you a long time ago,” Bella said calmly and confidently. Lauren turned bright red and snatched the sweatshirt from Bella’s hands.
“A mousy, boring girl like you doesn’t deserve this!” Lauren declared, only succeeding in showing how insecure she truly was. Just then, a hand shot out and grabbed the sweatshirt, startling both of the girls.
“I think I make the decisions concerning my own property, thank you very much,” Edward said. “And I don’t lend it to mousy, boring girls. That’s why I’ve never let you wear it.” Edward smirked. Bella stifled a giggle. Lauren huffed, obviously offended, and scurried away. Edward turned to Bella, an apology stirring in his eyes.
“Bella, I’m so sorry about that. I didn’t realize you’d get harassed about wearing that. I mean, it’s just an item of clothing, why are people getting so worked up about it?”
“They have nothing better to do, I guess.” Bella sighed.
“God, I hate this town.” At this, Bella burst into laughter. After the day she had, gossip, catty fights; she really needed a good laugh. Edward looked confused at first- he didn’t think it was that funny- but eventually joined in. When they finally caught their breath, Bella said,
“Thanks, by the way. For lending it to me. I… I really enjoyed it,” Bella whispered, blushing and smiling shyly. Edward broke out into her favorite lopsided grin at the mere thought of her enjoying anything relating to him.
Oh boy, he was in deep. Yet, he didn’t care.
Edward, sporting his sweatshirt for the first time since the morning, offered to walk Bella to her truck. They walked very close together, their hands bumping into each other. Each time they touched- whether the contact was accidental or not was still up for debate- they felt a tiny zzzt of electricity. Finally Edward had enough and grabbed her hand. He thought he could even pass out. Bella almost did. She stumbled a bit, but with the support of his hand, she stayed upright.
He hummed, “This is nice.” Understatement of the century.
“Yeah.” Suddenly, Edward realized he was hot. Really hot. He was never hot in his sweatshirt. Did it have to do with Bella somehow? He wondered. He didn’t feel anxious all day. Maybe, just maybe, with Bella in his life, especially like this, pleasantly holding hands, he didn’t need the sweatshirt anymore. Maybe… Bella filled the hole somehow. (It was an insignificant hole, but a hole nonetheless!) He thought about it.
Nah. Sounds like it came straight out of a bad teen movie.
“Y’know,” she said, jokingly, “this is way too comfortable to give up. It’s so cozy and soft I might just sleep in it tonight.”
“I wear it all the time. I’m too used to it. I’m not that aware of how cozy it is, really.” Bella chuckled
She turned to him and grabbed the portion of the sleeve that protruded past his arm and lifted it to his face (he was still wearing the sweatshirt, so this was a very awkward movement). She rubbed the fabric along his cheek. He took a step closer so there was barely an inch between them. “You see now?” she whispered. Her heart was racing.
Bella shivered. Damn the cold. She didn’t even realize they were in the parking lot already.
Edward looked down at her grinning brightly. He took off his sweatshirt for the second time that day (a new record!) and handed it to her. She looked up at him. They came to an unspoken understanding, in a way. She took it without a word. She glanced at him, asking the silent question, you’re sure you don’t mind? He simply smiled in response.
He started at her unabashedly, moved closer and took her hands in his. He bent down and whispered in her ear, “You have no idea how much I love seeing you wear that.” Edward didn’t know how much Bella loved hearing that. They leaned closer until their lips touched in a chaste kiss.
“Fireworks,” is what ran through both of their minds at that moment.
When they pulled away, both wearing massive grins, Edward said, “You know what? What the hell. Keep the sweatshirt.”
He didn’t need it anymore. He had Bella.
And he didn't care how cheesy that sounded.