No One Special

 

  1. Chapter 1

 

NO ONE SPECIAL by Mathisson

 

Bella Swan had always been treated poorly by men early in her life and so she had just accepted that all men were going to treat her this way. One particular event happened that really left an impression on her and set the tone for her outlook on life from then on.

 

I’m rating this M for a reason. Lemons are a part of life and they’re a part of this story. Also, in a few chapters, there will be an assault that I’ll warn you about, but again, this is fiction so read at your own risk. The following was just a little teaser and trust me, there will be fluff.

 

As always, SM owns all that is Twilight, I just like to make pretty things with it and Dollybigmomma polishes it bright and shiny.

 

Chapter 1

 

Seattle was a great place to live, if you liked cold, green, and wet. And I did. At twenty-seven years old, I still liked to jump in puddles occasionally, get myself good and cold, and then warm up with a big steaming cup of hot chocolate. I guess in some ways I was still a kid at heart. But that was something few people knew about me, except maybe my best friend, Alice.

 

Alice Cullen was a force of nature, a real sweetheart, and someone I looked up to, which helped since she was also my boss. I loved her dearly and I also loved my job. Alice designed her own clothing and I was her executive assistant. She hired me straight out of college and roped me into her crazy, wonderful world, encouraging me to reach outside myself like I never had before. I was most definitely a creature of habit and refused to step out of my comfort zone if I didn’t have to.

 

I was a fairly simple person with simple tastes in most everything. I loved to cook and bake, even though I had no one to cook for. Still, it was a comfort thing. I suppose you could say I needed a lot of comfort because I eventually needed to do something to counteract my culinary efforts. With the help of a dear friend, I discovered the joy that was running my freshman year of college. With his support and encouragement, it became second nature to me. It, too, was simple, no one judged me, and I could get lost in my thoughts. When I was stressed about something, that was what I learned to turn to first and running had never failed me. That was more than I could say about some other things in my life.

 

To say my high school years were rough was like saying the Pope was a religious man. Being a teenager was hard enough, but when you added into the mix my serious weight and self-image problems, as well as one particularly nasty prick, it made for my own personal hell on earth and left me with lasting issues to this day.

 

The day they announced my name and I walked across the stage as I graduated from NYU was really the beginning of my life. I had been told that I was attractive, exceptionally so according to many, with long, wavy brown hair, doe-like brown eyes, and tits any model would kill for, all natural in my case. I was barely five-foot-two and now weighed one hundred pounds even. To say I was petite would be fairly accurate. But when I looked in the mirror, I still saw the shy, depressed, pudgy girl that no guy would talk to. Due to the circumstances of my adolescent and teen years, I had become resigned early on to the likelihood that I was destined to be alone. I didn’t trust men, with the exception of a meager few. I just always knew that any man who could make me drool, sigh, or pant would be way out of my league. Unfortunately, all the men I had encountered thus far that fell into that group seemed to agree with me.

 

Alice had just recently gotten engaged to a wonderful man named Jasper Whitlock. He came from a good old southern family with good old-fashioned southern values, and a shit load of money. Not that she needed any of his, as her family was rolling in it as well. Part of my job was to help plan this monstrous event of a wedding that boasted over five hundred guests so far. This would be pure hell for me as I liked to blend into the shadows, but Alice had asked me to be her maid of honor and that put me up front and right of center. Damn it.

 

I had met Alice’s parents briefly and they were lovely people, and soon I would get to meet the rest of their family, including Alice’s two older brothers, Emmett and Edward. Alice assured me that they would love me, but I highly doubted it. I had seen pictures and heard all the glowing stories about them, so I knew they were amazing. They were both also gorgeous, invoking that if-they’re-hot-they’re-way-out-of-my-league rule again.

 

No, there was nothing to even worry about there because I, Bella Swan, was no one special.

 

So there ya go, just a little peek. So, much more is going to be happening and I hope I’ve intrigued you enough to keep reading!

 

  1. Chapter 2

 

So, I’m seriously excited about this story. If you’re reading it for the second time, you will want to go back and re-read chapter one and then continue with us as we repost. Dollybigmomma has spent many hours polishing and cleaning it up, so we both hope you enjoy this new and improved offering.

 

Steph is still the woman and owns the original Twilight characters, but this plot is mine.

 

Chapter 2

 

Every morning at five o’clock, my alarm clock went off and I began my day. My first order of business was my three-block trek to the gym. Today was Friday and I always wore blue on Friday; again, creature of habit. I laced up my running shoes and made my bed before I grabbed my bag and began my day. It was raining today, not surprising for Seattle. I didn’t rush as I was going to be sweaty in just a few minutes anyway.

 

I lived in a high-rise apartment in the heart of the city. It was close to my work, my gym, and my favorite coffee shop. My building had three towers, divided by how much rent you could afford. I was lucky enough to afford the middle. I locked my front door and headed for the elevator. My neighbor, Tom, was waiting for the elevator and I quickly joined him.

 

“Morning, Bella,” he smiled turning slightly and looking over his shoulder. He was a really nice-looking guy. However, he had an even nicer-looking girlfriend.

 

“Morning, Tom, how’s Jane?” Jane really was a sweet girl, and a bit of a screamer. I knew this firsthand because our bedrooms shared a common wall.

 

“She’s good, thanks for asking.” The smile on his face said it all, not to mention the sounds I had heard last night.

 

The elevator opened and we both stepped inside. Leaving this early in the morning had the advantage of very few people using the elevator and so the ride down was quick. I made my way through the double glass doors of my building and headed north toward my gym.

 

Once inside, I placed my bag in my rented locker, placed my earphones in my ears, and grabbed my favorite treadmill. I liked to run while looking out the window at the skyline. My goal for Friday was one and a half miles in twelve minutes. The best part of running was being able to lose myself in my music and my breathing. I didn’t have to think or prove anything to anyone while I was running. No one was able to judge me while I ran. The sweat running down my back and chest was my body’s way of telling me I did a good job. I moved on to circuit training and then hit the shower.

 

By the time I finished getting ready for work, the gym had gotten very busy, my cue to exit. Dressed in my black slacks and blue cashmere sweater, I headed to my favorite coffee shop. The air was crisp as it was mid-September and the rain had stopped for now. I managed to leave my jacket at work yesterday and I was paying for it now. My steps quickened as I headed for my coffee shop, my third home as I fondly called it. Samson and Delilah’s was my neighborhood coffee and pastry shop. Named for its elderly owners, it was a hot spot for the locals. Delilah always had my coffee ready before I was even in the door.

 

“Good morning, Bella,” Delilah’s warm voice greeted me as I walked in.

 

“Good morning, Delilah, it’s getting cold out,” I rubbed my hands together and blew a warm breath into them.

 

Delilah handed me my cup of coffee and grabbed my hand. Her grasp was so warm, soft, and welcoming. I would never get tired of her friendly touch.

 

“Don’t forget to take Alice her coffee, too; you know how she gets.” We both giggled at her remark.

 

I took both cups of coffee and made my way out of the shop. The chill of the air seemed colder since being inside the warm shop. It was only three blocks to my office, but the wind was picking up and chilling me to the bone. The sounds of the city were like a lullaby for me. It was as if I had been born to be right where I was.

 

I quickened my pace as I neared the double set of rotating doors to my building. The hall outside the elevator was quite crowded as I made my way past, opting for the stairs. The sounds of the security guards directing people and the clack of heels on the marble floors filled the large entry space. I pushed open the door to the stairs and made my way up the four flights of stairs. I actually preferred the stairs, as I not only avoided the congestion, but I also got a little extra leg work in.

 

Once on my floor, I made my way down the long hallway to my office. Alice had decorated the space with warm earth tones. She made sure she obtained the best furnishings she could find; hell, this place was nicer than my apartment. My office was just outside of hers as she preferred. Surprisingly enough, I had my own window and bathroom. My large mahogany desk held my computer and sat in the middle of the room. The window went from floor to ceiling behind my desk. On the right hand wall was a leather couch and on the left was an enormous cabinet that housed a large flat-screen TV I had never used.

 

I placed my coffee and purse on my desk and switched my computer on. I then retrieved all the messages off the voicemail and organized them according to importance.

 

Today was going to be a very stressful day, as Alice was having her engagement party this evening and some of her family would be dropping by. I had been helping her make the arrangements for the party, even though it really wasn’t business-related. Alice was my very best friend in Seattle and I would do anything for her. She had been dating the very handsome Jasper Whitlock since she was in college. Like Alice, Jasper came from money, lots of it. I had never met any of Alice’s family besides her parents, so I was a bit nervous to meet her brothers. My goal today was to ease as much of her stress as I could.

 

I grabbed the coffee and paperwork and headed next door to Alice’s office. It was enormous and rightfully so. Her mahogany desk was twice the size of mine and she had two computer screens atop it. On the left hand side of the room was where her couch and entertainment center was placed. On the right was a huge cabinet that housed all of her fabric samples. She had two dress mannequins, one that was dressed in a gorgeous navy blue dress she had been working intently on for days. The other had a couple of measuring tapes strewn across it. I made my way to the oversized credenza behind her desk to place my cup of coffee down.

 

“Good morning, gorgeous,” I spoke as I crossed the floor.

 

Alice was already bouncing in her high-backed chair. Her fingers were flying across her computer keys as she raised her eyes to meet mine. “Good morning back at ya, babe,” a rather large smile appeared on her face.

 

I placed her coffee on her desk as I arranged her messages to the left of her cup. I stood facing her, ready with folders in my hand.

 

“Bella, I need the…” Before she could finish her sentence I handed her the file she wanted. “Thank you.”

 

She opened the file and began to type feverishly on her keyboard. “Bella, remember my brother is coming by today. I expect him any minute now,” she continued to type as she spoke.

 

“Yes, Ma’am, I remember. However, I didn’t get him any coffee as I didn’t know his preference.”

 

“No worries, Bella, neither do I,” she replied with a smile.

 

At that same moment, the sound of a clearing throat resonated from the office door, “Black, no sugar.”

 

I spun around to find the most beautiful man I had ever seen standing in the doorway. Now, I was accustomed to having attractive men in this office, as models were a vital part of fashion. But this man was…oh, my god…breathtaking. He made me gasp. I guessed him to stand a little over six feet tall and approximately one hundred-ninety pounds. He was wearing dark jeans with Doc Martin leather loafers. His cream-colored t-shirt was peeking out over his dark green button-down shirt. His black wool coat looked like it was from Prada and made for him. His hair was a dark auburn with what appeared to be copper highlights; however, these were God-given and not from a bottle. His eyes were surrounded by the thickest lashes I had ever seen on a man, and the vivid green in his eyes was the finishing touch in his perfect face. He was completely beautiful, and so obviously far out of my league it didn’t even register, but a girl could enjoy the view after all.

 

“EDWARD!” Alice screamed as she shot up and crossed the room so fast she appeared to be a blur. Alice leaped into the handsome man’s arms and rocked side to side as they hugged.

 

“It’s so good to see you, I’ve missed you!” I detected the slightest tears in her voice.

 

“I’ve missed you, too, little sis,” he replied, his voice was velvet and smooth.

 

Once they released from their embrace and Alice was back on her feet, she took his large hand in hers and led him across the room. He was looking at Alice the entire way as they closed in on me.

 

“Edward, I want you to meet my very best friend and the best employee I’ve ever had, Bella Swan,” Alice touched my right arm as she spoke.

 

I smiled and extended my right hand out as I spoke, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Edward.”

 

Edward released his gaze from Alice and moved his eyes to me. He then took my hand in his and instead of shaking it; he lowered his face down and kissed the back of my hand. His eyes never left mine as his perfect lips touched my skin. “No, I believe the pleasure is all mine.” That fucking velvet voice and those eyes, ugh! I was then embraced by the smell of his cologne, Armani Geo…good looks and he had taste. I could not tell you how long we held each other’s gaze. I tried to release his hand, but he only gripped mine firmer.

 

“Well, Bella, this is my older brother, Edward,” Alice was smiling her famous “gotcha” smile. He let my hand go very slowly and cautiously, sliding his long fingers down mine, causing me to have to hide a shiver.

 

I walked over to my cup of coffee, lifting it off the desk. “Black, no sugar,” I said to Edward, handing him my cup.

 

“Thank you, but you said you didn’t get me a cup this morning,” he winked as he took the cup from me

 

“Yes, well, I promise I haven’t touched it. Besides, I can make myself a new one.” I had to remain professional. He might have been the most amazing man I had ever met, but he was still Alice’s brother.

 

I decided it was time to give them some privacy to talk. I gathered up my files and the mail and began to make my exit. “I’ll leave you two alone to catch up. Alice, you do have one meeting over lunch today, but other than that, you’re all clear.”

 

I made my way around Alice and Edward and had almost reached the door. “Oh, Bella,” Alice said getting my attention. I turned around to face her, my long hair whipping around my shoulders. “Remember, you promised I could dress you up for tonight,” she reminded me, bouncing and wringing her little hands.

 

“I didn’t forget. I’ll see you later. Again, Edward, it was a pleasure to meet you.” With that, I made my way out of the room and closed the door. I stopped by my desk and grabbed the spare pair of clean panties I kept hidden in the back of the bottom drawer and headed to the ladies’ room.

 

After having met Edward, I needed them…badly.

 

  1. Chapter 3

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 3

 

Again, SM owns it all except for my plot, and Dollybigmomma is my editorial janitor.

 

Once I was back in my office, I closed the door and leaned my back against it. My hand felt like it was still on fire from Edward’s touch. I brought my hand up to my face, his cologne still lingered. Armani Geo had been voted the number one men’s fragrance in GQ magazine for the past five years, so I knew it well.

 

I collected myself and began to respond to my waiting emails. I decided to just let Alice spend as much time as possible catching up with her brother, business could wait. I had nearly completed all the work I had for the day when Alice paged me to her office. I rose out of my chair and made my way over there. Once I opened my office door, I was again confronted with the smell of his cologne. I had to get a hold of myself, it was just a smell.

 

“Bella, Edward and I are headed out for lunch. Care to join us?” Alice asked as Edward was helping her with her coat.

 

“No thank you, Alice, I have a ton of work to do if I ever intend to make it to your party this evening. But thank you just the same.”

 

“Okay, we’ll be at Constantine’s if you need us. I’ll see you later to help you get ready,” Alice grinned, heading for the elevator.

 

“It was a pleasure to meet you, Bella. I look forward to seeing you this evening,” Edward smiled and nodded while placing his Ray-Bans back on his face.

 

“Likewise, Edward, see you this evening and have a good lunch,” I waved as the elevator door closed.

 

True to her word, Alice returned two and a half hours later. Having her brother back in town was definitely a good thing for her as she skipped down the hall.

 

“Bella, we need to start getting you ready,” Alice said as she laid her purse on her desk.

 

“Okay, where do you want to begin?” I asked as I sat in one of her chairs.

 

“Well, I thought I’d send you across the hall to have Heidi do your hair and makeup, and then have you come back to me so that I can put you in the dress I made for you.”

 

So without reservations, I made my way across the hall to Heidi’s office for hair and makeup. One hour and fifteen minutes later, I made my way back into Alice’s office. Heidi had really done up my eyes and made them smoky. My hair was in a simple French twist with my long bangs off to the side. “Okay, Alice, I’m ready.” I really was looking forward to seeing what Alice had designed for me. Alice’s designs were amazing and I had no doubt my dress would be breathtaking.

 

“Close your eyes, Bella.” I did as she requested and waited. I could hear the rustle of fabric and the sound of something being moved. Finally, when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, Alice told me to open my eyes. To my utter astonishment, Alice was holding the navy blue dress she had been working on last week. It was by far my favorite dress she had ever made. It was cocktail-length with a Grecian bodice that looked like it would frame a generous bust and highlight a tiny waist. The skirt was designed to hug my curves yet move fluidly. It was made of the finest silk and was absolutely stunning. I prayed this dress would fit me. As Alice helped me slide it over my head, I couldn’t help but start to doubt I’d do the dress any justice. To my surprise, however, it fit me perfectly.

 

“You’re surprised, aren’t you, Bella?” Alice asked standing with her hands on her hips.

 

“I never doubted you for a second,” I lied with a smile.

 

“So, Bella, what did you think of my brother?” Alice fished as she was inspecting the hem of my dress.

 

“I found him to be very nice and it seems his presence was a good thing for you as you were very happy when you came back from lunch.” Oh, and Alice, he was bloody gorgeous, I swooned to myself.

 

“Well, he gave me some very good news at lunch. It seems he’s accepted a position locally at Virginia Mason hospital. Did I tell you he was a doctor?” she asked as she zipped me up.

 

“Oh, that’s wonderful news, and no, we really didn’t talk about him very much, remember?” Great, fuck-hot and a doctor…not only was he out of my league, I wasn’t even playing in the same arena.

 

Alice handed me a clutch purse and a matching pair of heels which I slipped on. “Okay, you’re all set and you look amazing. I’ll see you at the hotel in a few. It’s going to be an epic night; I can just feel it,” she said before heading out to get ready herself.

 

Alice’s parents were throwing her and Jasper a very lavish engagement party at the Four Seasons hotel. Since I was her maid of honor, I was expected to attend. Alice had arranged for a car to drive me to and from the party so she wouldn’t have to worry about me and I could enjoy the open bar.

 

I arrived a few minutes early and quickly found my way to the large ballroom. Once inside, I made my way toward Alice and Jasper who were talking with her parents. I passed a waiter who was serving champagne and grabbed a glass for something to hold on to as I continued on my way over to them. Just before I arrived, Alice turned to face me and her face lit up.

 

“Oh, Mom, Dad, you remember Bella,” Alice extended her hand as to invite me to join them.

 

“Of course we remember Bella. Edward couldn’t stop talking about you by the way,” Esme grinned. Edward spoke about me?

 

“This is such a lovely party,” I said, trying not to sound too shocked. I knew they had money, but it still surprised me how much.

 

The conversation continued with Carlisle discussing Edward’s recent decision to move to Seattle. I tried not to appear too eager at the mention of his name, but he was so handsome and captivating I couldn’t help myself. After several minutes of listening to them, I excused myself to allow other guests to visit with the happy couple. I made my way over to the windows that overlooked the Seattle skyline. The city was so pretty at night and I was so lost in thought that I failed to notice the person who was suddenly standing next to me.

 

“Are you enjoying yourself this evening, Bella?” a velvet voice spoke into my right ear and I instantly smelled his cologne.

 

“Um, yes, thank you, and this view is breathtaking,” I continued to gaze across the city, trying not to drool on the man standing next to me and looking at me intently now. I was certain that wasn’t good party etiquette.

 

“Oh, I agree, and the city isn’t bad, either,” Edward spoke as he drew closer to my ear. I could feel his breath on my bare neck.

 

Holy shit, was Edward flirting with me?

 

“Dr. Cullen, you, Sir, need to see an optometrist and soon,” I said as I met his gaze.

 

“Isabella, it’s you who obviously needs your vision checked.” Edward looked up and spotted someone across the room, and so I figured he would excuse himself, but he reached for my hand instead. “Come, there’s someone I want you to meet.”

 

I followed Edward across the dance floor to a group of men standing near one of the many bars around the room. As we approached, all but one of the men walked away. The remaining man had his back to us, and as we approached, he turned around and I nearly dropped my glass when I saw who was standing in front of me.

 

“Hey, man, long time no see. I want to introduce you to someone,” Edward spoke as he extended his hand to the one man I had never wanted to ever see again. “Bella, this is one of my oldest friends from college…”

 

But I finished the name before he even finished his introduction. “Mike Newton,” I snarled, the name leaving my mouth covered in disgust.

 

“You two have met then? That’s great,” Edward said smiling.

 

“Yeah, this guy and I go way back to college. Edward and I are like two peas in a pod. We were almost fraternity brothers,” Mike said proudly, his arm was now around Edward and the smiles on both of their faces were huge. “Yeah, we did some pretty crazy shit back in the day, didn’t we, Cullen? But I’m sorry; I don’t think we’ve ever met as I’d certainly remember someone as hot as you,” Mike replied studying my face quickly before allowing his eyes to molest my body. I felt like a suddenly needed a shower.

 

“Really, Mike, you don’t remember me?” I crossed my arms, covering my chest from his leering gaze.

 

Mike shook his head no while looking confused at my demeanor and took another drink of his beer. Edward’s eyes danced between Mike and me, full of curiosity at our exchange.

 

“Well, I certainly remember you, Mike Newton, and what was it you said, Dr. Cullen? You two are just like two peas in a pod? Well, that’s unfortunate. Mike, I’ll give you a hint of how you know me and then you can share the whole story with your best buddy here. It’s a real doozy.”

 

I hadn’t had to think of this day in so long and feel the pain I had felt back then. But here I stood in front of the man who had made my life a living hell. Making things even worse was the fact that Edward was apparently just like him.

 

“Remember back to senior prom. Think, Mike, think really hard,” venom dripped from my words.

 

“Fuck, babe, senior prom was like what, five, six years ago? I don’t think I was even sober for it.” He never made eye contact with me as he continued to drink his beer and chuckle. Bastard.

 

“Really?” I asked incredulously. “You’re fucking unbelievable,” I hissed rolling my eyes. I took two steps toward him as I lowered my voice. “First, you ass-muncher, I’m not “hot” as you so eloquently just referred to me, as that would indicate I’m fuckable, and to you, I’m not. You made your opinion on that perfectly clear on the day in question. And second, it was May 16th, 2003, in the hallway off the gym at Forks high school. I came looking for you, my supposed ‘date’ for said prom. I found you; just moments after Jessica Stanley had given you a congratulatory blowjob. You told me just how attractive you actually found me and that I should be glad you even asked me to prom. You said I was nothing but plain, ugly, and definitely short-bus SPECIAL!” The last few words I emphasized by jabbing my index fingernail into his chest while clinching my teeth together.

 

With those words and all the courage I could muster, I turned on my heels and walked away. Luckily for me, the room was very crowded, but I was small so I was able to quickly maneuver my way through to the door without Edward or Mike catching up to me.

 

After all these years and countless hours sitting through endless torturous counseling sessions, the stunt he had pulled still hurt, and his hateful words still stung like hell, like he had just said them. Suddenly, Edward Cullen didn’t smell so good and his gorgeous looks seemed to fade. I guess it was true what they said about being judged according to the company you kept.

 

What a fucking pity.

 

  1. Chapter 4

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 4

 

Holy cow, you really like it!

 

I was shocked at the amount of people who have saved this story to favorites, thank you!

 

This chapter just seemed to keep going and going. It’s personal because a part of it was 100% true. In my summary, you’ll find out what part really happened to me. I have to be honest; this chapter will not be the end of the drama. I’m sorry, but the story is already written.

 

Again, I own nine complete pairs of medical scrubs, but SM owns these characters. The plot, as heartfelt as it is, is all mine, and Dollybigmomma bandaged the all boo-boos.

 

As I stormed out of the ballroom, I was no longer paying attention and plowed into what could have best been described as a solid brick wall. Two rather large hands grabbed my shoulders as my champagne spilled all over the giant I had just collided with.

 

“Hey, beautiful, careful there, are you alright?” a very husky voice boomed above my head.

 

I was stunned and slowly lifted my head to find a very handsome man staring down at me. His eyes were dark and his high cheekbones glowed, his skin was tan, and he was simply beautiful. His smile was so bright you could read a book by it. He looked like he could have been a model.

 

“Oh, my god!” I exclaimed as I realized I had just ruined his shirt and blazer. Not only was he handsome, he also had great taste in clothes. What was it with the men and their ability to dress well in this city?

 

“I’m so very sorry, I…I…wasn’t watching where I was going and…” I began looking around for a napkin or something to help clean him up as he was brushing his hand down his ruined shirt and blazer.

 

“Hey, don’t worry about it. According to my personal shopper, this was so last season anyway, so no harm done,” he replied chuckling.

 

“No, please, let me pay to at least try to have it dry-cleaned, and if not, I’ll replace it,” I promised looking directly at him and his oh-so-beautiful face.

 

“No, really, it’s not a big deal.” A smile began to spread on his face as he finally made eye contact with me.

 

“No, I insist. Here, let me give you my contact information and I want you to send me the dry-cleaning bill.” I opened my clutch to retrieve my Blackberry to send him an email or text, whichever he preferred, only to discover that I had left my phone at the office in my big purse.

 

“Ugh, can this night get any worse? I’m sorry; I left my phone back at my office. Do you have a pen and paper so I can give you my number?”

 

He reached into his inside jacket pocket and retrieved his phone. “I’ll let you pay for my dry-cleaning it if you’ll answer a few questions for me,” a smirk appeared across his lips as his eyes never left mine. What had I gotten myself into now?

 

The man I had doused with my drink was standing there patiently waiting for my answer. I simply nodded and waited for his questions. I had already planned on giving him my address and phone number; what else could he possibly want to know?

 

“First, what’s your name?” he asked as he folded his massive arms across his chest.

 

“Oh, I’m sorry, my name is Bella.”

 

“Bella, huh? I was right, beautiful. Okay, second question, why isn’t your boyfriend or husband keeping you safe tonight?” Unfolding his arms, he leaned toward me, appearing anxious for my answer.

 

“I’m not married, never have been, and I’ve never had a boyfriend.” Until that moment, it had never bothered me to be alone. I wasn’t sure if I had started to get my hopes up with Dr. Cullen or what, but it pissed me off at that moment.

 

“Hmm, well, beautiful single Bella, my name is Dr. Jacob Black and I’d very much like to take you to dinner sometime. But more importantly, I’d like to make sure you get home safely tonight. Would you do me the honor?” he asked turning to his side and extending his left arm for me to take.

 

Suddenly, Mike’s words came rushing back to me…plain, ugly, and a nobody…

 

“Although that’s a rather tempting offer, it’s not a very good idea.” I knew my place, men didn’t want me, never had, never would. “Now, if you please, Dr. Black, your phone so that you can send me a bill,” I said holding out my hand for his phone. Dr. Black placed his phone in my palm and I quickly entered my information and then handed it back. “I’m sorry again for my clumsiness, now if you’ll excuse me.”

 

I found the car waiting for me and made my way back to my apartment. I removed my dress and hung it up with care. Although the dress was beautiful, it did nothing to change who I was. With that realization, I ran into the bathroom and began to vomit the contents of my stomach into my toilet. Once I was finished, I removed the rest of my clothing and slid into my shower. I let the hot water fall down my body, hoping it would take away the remnants of the awful evening.

 

I began to remember how Edward’s breath felt on the back of my neck as he spoke sweetly into my ear. The more I thought about it, the more disgusted I became and I began to violently scrub at the skin everywhere he had touched. Suddenly, the memory I had tried to forget from long ago came barreling back to me.

 

Flashback…

 

High school had been a hard time for me. Although I had the best GPA in our senior class, I also weighed the most. I was constantly picked on as the fat girl and had been the butt of more cruel jokes and pranks than I cared to remember. There was a particular clique of popular kids that loved to torment me the most, and unfortunately for me, I had the biggest crush on one of them, Mike Newton.

 

Three weeks before senior prom, Mike had called my house and asked me to prom. I was stupid enough to actually hope that just maybe Mike could have liked me despite the opinions of his cronies. My mom and I shopped for two weeks to find the perfect dress for me, which in my size wasn’t easy to find. We had also made appointments to have my hair, nails, and makeup done. When it was all said and done, I was feeling pretty good about how I looked when Mike picked me up that night in his dad’s SUV.

 

Right before prom started, I found the gym teacher who was one of the chaperons and had gotten her to let me into the girl’s locker room to get my glasses out of my locker at the back of the room. I had been changing after gym class the day before and had to hurry or I would have been late to class, forgetting to grab them in my haste. I always changed in the very back corner away from the other girls.

 

I was about to leave the locker room when I dropped my glasses on the floor. When I stooped down to grab them, my foot accidentally kicked them under the lockers. I was forced to get down on my hands and knees to retrieve them. Once I was on the floor and nearly touching them, I noticed a metal grate on the wall that was partially hidden by the lockers. Judging from the smell, I was fairly certain it was the vent for the athletic equipment storage room. I had just gotten my glasses in my hand when I heard a voice coming through the grate. I recognized it as Mike Newton’s voice and it sounded like he wasn’t alone. He was supposed to be waiting for me in the gym so I decided to listen to see if he said anything about me.

 

“Jesus, Jessica, can you hurry the fuck up already and get this zipper down? I’ve earned this with the performance I’ve done tonight. She’ll be back any minute and I don’t want to blow it before I get what I need from her.”

 

“It’s your own damn fault for loosing that stupid bet to Crowley so fuck you, Mike, you can suck your own dick.”

 

“Ouch, baby, don’t be like that. I did try to win the race, but don’t worry; as soon as I’m done fucking Bella Swan and get the pictures to show Chief Swan, I’m all yours.”

 

“Oh, god, Mike, how can you even think of sticking your dick in that pig? She’s so fucking fat you’ll probably get sucked up into one of her fat rolls.”

 

“Jess, stop worrying, will you? She’s none the wiser and the funniest part is she thinks I actually like her. Not only will this be the best prank of senior year, but after I fuck Bella and get the pictures to prove it, I’ll work on Chief Swan and he’ll have to give me my keys back or everyone will know what a slut his daughter is. Then you and I’ll get to spend the rest of our senior year together enjoying the back seat of my car. Now get over here and let’s finish what we started.”

 

I got to my feet and stormed out of the locker room. I rounded the corner just as Jessica Stanley was leaving. Apparently, Mike was a two-pump chump.

 

“Mike!” I called stalking in his direction. He was too stupid and arrogant to notice I was about to take him down.

 

“Hey, baby, you ready to boogie at prom?”

 

“Fuck you, Newton!” I hissed as I punched him square in the face. Blood spurted from his nose, spattering the front of my dress. He was knocked on his ass, looking up at me like I was the devil incarnate. “Stay the fuck away from me, you sorry bastard! I know what you were planning and you deserve to rot in hell. You disgust me!”

 

“Well, you should just be glad I asked you out at all, nobody else sure as hell was going to, you fat cow! You’re plain and ugly, and you’re a nobody!” he spat at me through the blood running down his face. “The only thing special about you is the fact that you should be riding the short bus with the rest of the freaks!”

 

I turned and ran from the school that night and spent the final two weeks of my senior year counting the days until I could get away from Mike Newton and his cronies. It couldn’t come fast enough for me.

 

End flashback.

 

I had no idea how long I sat in the shower as the water was now ice cold. I shut it off and slipped on my terry-cloth robe, making my way to my bed where I collapsed and allowed my tears to flow freely until I finally succumbed to a fitful, emotionally-drained slumber.

 

I only left my bed Saturday and Sunday long enough to use the bathroom. Sometime in the early hours of Monday, I came to the realization that I had to continue on with my life as if nothing had happened. I refused to ruin Alice’s wedding with my own personal bullshit. If Edward Cullen was anything like Mike Newton, then he was a schmuck. And while he was the best man, in the grand scheme of things, I would only have very minimal contact with him, maybe thirty minutes tops. After all, that was what Patron, salt, and limes were made for.

 

Since I had missed my runs over the weekend, I decided to just run until I couldn’t anymore and then head over to the free weights. Nothing felt better than hefting my own body weight and hearing the racks clang as I forcibly hoisted the bars.

 

As I made my way to work, I decided I’d try to call my old friend from high school, Angela Webber. Angela and I had been thick as thieves since we were five. Her dad was the mayor, where my dad was the Chief of Police. We had gone our separate ways when she received a full ride to UW and I received a full ride to NYU. Last time I had heard from her, she was working as an executive assistant at a major law firm in Los Angeles and hating every minute of it. It had been far too long and I was really missing her. I decided against stopping for coffee today and just hurried to work.

 

As I looked around the office, I found my purse and retrieved my Blackberry. I scanned over the missed calls and didn’t even bother with the text messages. Once behind my desk, I started my morning routine, a creature of habit after all.

 

I had just finished responding to all of my emails when I noticed a delivery man approaching the office door. The arrangement of flowers he was carrying was so large that I couldn’t even see his face.

 

“Hello, can I help you?” I said as I got up out of my chair.

 

“Yes, Ma’am, I have a delivery for… “

 

“No problem,” I didn’t let him finish as I took the clipboard from under his arm and signed for the delivery. I knew who they were for. Jasper was constantly sending Alice gifts. I had to admit this was the biggest bouquet of flowers he had sent so far. I had him set the flowers in the middle of Alice’s desk so she could see them as soon as she entered her office. I took a moment to admire the arrangement of red and white roses, lilies and gardenias, and beautiful purple flowers I had no idea of their name. The redolence from the flowers was quickly filling the room and I couldn’t help myself from leaning in on one of the roses and inhaling the sweet fragrance.

 

I reminded myself to back off the buds. The only flowers I was ever going to get would be at my funeral and only because Alice would send them. I made my way back to my desk, refusing to allow any more tears to fall.

 

I hadn’t even noticed that Alice had made it in until her chipper sing-song voice broke the silence in my office. “Bella, can you come to my office, please?”

 

I made my way into her office, silently vowing to myself that I would not make her aware of the events that had happened at her party. Alice had been so amazing to me for the past few years and she only deserved the best. As I sat in my chair facing her, I plastered on my best fake smile.

 

“Good morning, sunshine,” Alice said still using her sing-song voice.

 

“Morning, gorgeous,” I said with my fake smile.

 

“Bella, did you not get any coffee this morning?”

 

“No, Alice, I didn’t, why do you ask?” I questioned, my brows furrowed together.

 

“Well, did you even bother to the check the card attached to that mammoth-sized flower arrangement?”

 

“No, I didn’t, you know you’re the only one who gets gifts around here so what’s the point?”

 

“Well, Miss Hiss, why don’t you get over your shitty attitude and read the card; it was addressed to you.”

 

My head shot up, staring at her in disbelief. What the fuck? I practically jumped out of my seat to retrieve the card from the arrangement. Sure enough, Alice was right; the name on the outside of the card was mine. It wasn’t your standard flower store card, either. No, this was someone’s personal stationary. The envelope was made of heavy, good-quality cardstock. My name was very elegantly scribed across the front. I turned the envelope over to find a wax seal over the closure. This was high-end; whoever sent this did a lot of writing as wax seals were very sophisticated. I broke the seal and retrieved the notecard that lay inside. I gasped as I read and reread the enclosed letter.

 

My dearest Bella,

 

I’m so very sorry.

 

There are not words to express how truly sorry I am. I hope you’ll give me an opportunity to convey these words in person. You must know I still have no idea why you became so upset Friday evening. If I did something wrong, please tell me so that I can do everything in my power to rectify the situation. I want you to know that I’d never intentionally hurt you or cause you pain. Please, Bella, allow me the opportunity to make things right between us. I’d love nothing more than to take you to lunch this week. Please call me, Bella. My personal cell number is 555-2314.

 

With deepest apologies,

 

Dr. Edward Cullen

 

“So, what did my dear brother have to say? And don’t try and deny that they’re from him. Between his constant questions about you and all the phone calls this weekend, he drove me fucking nuts. And besides, I’d recognize his handwriting anywhere. Spill it, Bella. What’s going on between you guys?”

 

It was too much, it couldn’t be true. Edward Cullen was first and foremost, breathtakingly gorgeous and so fucking far from being anyone who would ever want anything with someone like me. Second, he was Mike Newton’s best friend and therefore had to be a complete ass by association. Third, he was completely wonderful and charming, and he smelled so fucking good. And with that final thought, I began to cry, not just sobbing, but full on body-jerking crying, slumping my body to the floor.

 

With the note still in my hand, I felt Alice’s warm arms surround me, rocking us back and forth.

 

“Shhh, Bella, it’s okay, it’s okay…”

 

When I couldn’t cry any more, Alice finally released me and began rubbing my back while kissing my forehead. I couldn’t move; I wanted nothing more than to run back to my bed and climb under the covers until this whole thing went away. With Alice’s help, I made my way back to my chair. Moments later, Alice handed me a box of tissues and a cup of tea. We sat in silence as I sipped the tea and dried my tears.

 

“Bella,” Alice said softly and I looked up at her, “Do you want to talk about it?”

 

Alice was the best, well, the only person I could talk to and so I did. I told her the entire story, from my disastrous prom experience, to the party, to my meltdown in the shower. She never interrupted and she refilled my tea twice. Once I finished, she crossed the room and hugged me again. This brought on a whole new round of crying for both of us this time.

 

“Bella, I need you to listen to me, okay?” Alice’s voice was barely above a whisper. I simply nodded. “You need to understand that what that dickhead did to you was so wrong. I know you’re thinking that my brother is just like him since they’re friends, but you have to understand something. When he met Mike Newton, Edward was a senior in college nearing graduation. Mike was trying to pledge Edward’s fraternity and Edward took him under his wing.

 

“Mike wasn’t accepted to the fraternity, but he kept hanging around Edward, declaring them best friends. Edward and his friends just kind of tolerated Mike, but they felt sorry for him so they let him stay. Edward actually graduated early so he was really only around Mike for a few months.

 

“For whatever reason, Mike has kept in touch with my family since then. Please believe me when I say that my brother is nothing like Mike. I can tell you that Edward would rather cut off his hand than hurt you. I’ve never seen him as upset as he was Friday night when you left the party and he couldn’t find you. Bella, I know my brother likes you and he’d kill me if he knew I told you this, but you need to know that he thinks this is all his fault and right now he’s waiting, desperate for you to call him. Please, for me, call him; listen to what he has to say.”

 

What Alice said did bring new light to the situation. I had jumped to a conclusion about Edward and it would only be fair to clear the air. “Fine, Alice, I’ll call him, and maybe go to lunch with him. After all, I could always use more friends,” I smiled at her with the first genuine smile of the day.

 

“Good, now can we actually get some real work done? I’ve been thinking that I want to hire another person to help out around here. I really want someone who can answer the phones, sort the mail, and make appointments while you work more with me, the models, and the photographers. I placed an ad and I got several resumes, including one from Jane downstairs, but the one that really stuck out the most was from someone I’ve already had a phone interview with and I’m having a second in-person interview with her this afternoon. She says she knows you, an Angela Webber?”

 

I jumped out of my seat. “Are you serious? Angela is one of my best friends from back home. She’s amazing, but she lives in LA and works for a law firm.”

 

“Well, if you’d ever bother to call her, you’d know that her mother had twins last year and Angela came back home to help out. She’s now decided to stick around and accept my offer. Our meeting this afternoon is just a formality. I love her already and she starts tomorrow,” Alice stated with a smirk.

 

“Oh, my gosh, Alice, you’re amazing!”

 

“I know. Oh, and I was asked this weekend to help with a little fundraising event at Virginia Mason hospital that I’ll need your help with as well which starts tomorrow so if you have nothing else for me, go call my brother.”

 

I took the flowers to my office and sat them on my coffee table. I sat behind my desk as I dialed his number. It was only lunch and he was only trying to apologize, nothing more I reminded myself.

 

“Bella, thank you for calling me, I’m so sorry,” his velvet voice had so much sadness in it

 

“Um, no, Edward, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions and acted the way I did.”

 

“No, I’m sure it was totally justified when it comes to Mike Newton,” he said sounding very serious.

 

“Thank you for the flowers, they’re unbelievably beautiful, although completely unnecessary,” I said as I gazed at the flowers on my table.

 

“Bella, there’s no gift big enough to express my regret for what happened. I’m so sorry. Mike gave me a very condensed version of what you mentioned, skewed I’m sure to make himself seem less of a douche, but I have to admit in the end that I still wanted to hit him.”

 

“I’m sure. Alice told me a little about how you and Newton met so it cleared up a lot. Believe me; he’s not worth your bruised knuckles.”

 

“Agreed. So, would you consider going to lunch with me?”

 

“Of course, it’d be my pleasure to meet you for lunch. Since my schedule is a little more flexible than yours, you name the date and time.” I wanted to give him the ability to conveniently forget, he was a doctor after all and I was certain he would meet Nurse Goodbody long before he remembered to have lunch with me.

 

“Excellent, let’s say noon at Constantine’s? I look forward to it; see you in a few hours, Bella,” he actually sounded happy.

 

“Noon it is, I’ll meet you there.”

 

It’s only an apology…it’s only an apology…

 

A/N

 

Truth time. I actually had a boy I was very interested in tell me I was plain, ugly, and no one special. He was the quarterback of the football team my senior year and I was crushed. However, at my 10-year class reunion, he did not remembering being ugly to me, and I turned him down for a date.

 

Next chapter was one of my favorites, you’ll see why…

 

  1. Chapter 5

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Thank you to each of you who have added me to your favorites list. Dollybigmomma made it all pretty just for you.

 

Chapter 5

 

I made my way downtown, reaching the all-too-familiar glass doors of Constantine’s fifteen minutes early. Alice and I came here quite often and had entertained many clients here. I was greeted at the door by Alex Paninio, who flashed me a quite devilish smile. Alex was one of the sweetest and most gorgeous men I knew. His parents were full-blooded Italians and owned Constantine’s, one of the best upscale Italian restaurants in the city. I adored him and his family and considered Alex a very good friend. I had lost count of how many times we’d joked about being a couple. Like Edward, Alex was devastatingly handsome. He was tall, broad-shouldered, and muscular with deep hazel eyes, a wide, perfect white smile and dark, beautifully thick hair. His rich olive skin had always been the finishing touch to his exotic good looks in my opinion.

 

“Well, well, well, I already know who you’re here to see and he’s been waiting for fifteen minutes already. Should I be jealous, is he my competition?” Alex’s head cocked with a mischievous grin adorning his masculine face. He extended his arm and led me to where Edward was waiting. As soon as I neared the table, Edward rose from his chair, a huge smile appearing on his face. He moved to slide my chair in before Alex could, shooting my friend a look I couldn’t discern. “Thank you for coming,” Edward whispered in my ear. His warm breath grazed my neck and I closed my eyes and held my breath, reminding myself he was only apologizing and I needed to remember that.

 

“Bella, it’s so nice to see you again. I wanted to tell you in person that I’m really sorry for Mike’s actions the other night. I’m sure I don’t know the whole story, but I hope someday you’ll tell me. I truly am sorry for whatever it was that made you leave so upset,” his words sounded so sincere.

 

“Edward, you have nothing to be sorry for. The rift between Mike and I is just that, between Mike and I, and besides, it’s in the past.” I wanted to believe what I was telling him.

 

“Well, it is what it is. I hope you’ll trust me enough someday to fill me in on the finer points. Whatever it is, it seemed major,” he said with a concerned look on his face. “Well, on to more pleasant topics. So, Bella, tell me about yourself. What are your likes and dislikes?” Edward’s face changed from serious and somber to playful and curious as he mercifully changed the subject.

 

“There’s not much to tell. You already know what I do and who I work with, there really isn’t much more,” I sighed, wishing there really was something more interesting for me to share about myself.

 

I was having a hard time making eye contact with him. His eyes were bottomless orbs of green and gold that shimmered in the light like deep still water. His lashes were so beautiful, it was as if he wore “man-scara” they were so dark and lush. His lips were absolutely perfect in shape and size, and his teeth were every orthodontist’s wet dream. They were seriously straight and so white you could read from their glow. However, the most eye-catching area of his face was where his jaw met his lower ear. I knew this sounded crazy, but he had the most masculine jaw I had ever seen and at this moment, I wanted nothing more than to nuzzle my face into it and maybe nibble on it just a bit. Again, I had to make myself stop my drool-worthy thoughts and remind myself that he was trying to be my friend.

 

“Okay, if I turned your iPod on right now, what song would be playing?” He lifted his water glass to his lips as he took a drink. This man radiated sex, watching him swallow made my panties wet.

 

“Umm, well, bear in mind that I run almost every morning and so my iPod is ready for me to start running With that in mind, AC/DC’s Thunderstruck will play right now, but I’d switch back and forth between that song and Live Your Dreams by Althena Cage; it just depends on how tired I am.” My taste in music was quite eclectic, but that wasn’t his question.

 

“So you’re a runner? How long have you done that?”

 

“Well, I began it originally to appease a college friend of mine who was encouraging me to shed some weight. He helped me to take small steps from running for fifteen seconds to a month later of running for twenty minutes straight.” I hadn’t thought of Ben in years, I wondered what he was doing now.

 

“Shed a few pounds? I find that hard to believe, you look incredible.” And cue the blushing.

 

“Yes, well, truth be told, I’ve had to work very hard to get where I’m at now. I won’t tell you how much I lost, but that’s probably the main factor as to why Mike didn’t recognize me.” One hundred twenty pounds, I had lost an entire person. No one but me knew the real number.

 

“What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?” he asked as his index finger slowly circled the rim of the glass of water he was holding. Again, my brain totally went to the gutter thinking of other things he could circle with that finger.

 

“That’s too easy, my cup of overpriced coffee every morning.” It really was insane what they charged for coffee these days.

 

We continued to ask questions back and forth until our food arrived. He asked me about my hopes and dreams for the future as we tucked in. I had my usual steamed salmon with broccoli and he had chicken ziti. He offered to let me try his pasta, but I politely declined.

 

“Bella, I need to tell you something and I’m not sure how you’re going to react.” He placed both of his arms flatly on the table, interlacing his long fingers. He leaned his entire body towards me, his eyes locked with mine. His deep green pools were so vast and deep, I was hopelessly captured, unable to move.

 

“From the first moment I laid eyes on you in Alice’s office, I…” His statement was interrupted by the sound of his cell phone ringing. “I’m so sorry, Bella, it’s the hospital; I have to take this,” he stated while glancing at his caller ID.

 

“Oh, of course, it’s your job, I understand.”

 

I made every effort to avoid listening to what he was saying. I knew this had to be important if they were calling him. Margo, our waitress, cleared our plates and refilled our water glasses while winking at me. If only she knew she had more of a chance with Dr. Cullen than I did.

 

“Bella, I’m so sorry, I have to get to the hospital. There’s a major trauma coming in and they need me.”

 

“Oh, well, thank you for inviting me to lunch and I hope everything is okay,” I said as I reached for my purse to pay for my lunch.

 

Edward grabbed my hand holding my wallet. “Bella, this conversation is far from over; I have many more questions to ask you,” he smiled as he began to stand. He leaned over and kissed my cheek. “I’ll be calling you as soon as I can to set up another date,” he whispered into my ear.

 

DATE? What the hell?

 

I was still stunned after Edward bid me a good afternoon before heading out for the hospital, so I didn’t even register someone sitting down beside me. “So, was your lunch satisfactory?” Alex questioned.

 

I hadn’t even realized he had made it to the table. I was still in utter shock at the totally innocent and absolutely wonderful kiss I had just received. I could still feel Edward’s warm breath on my face and smell the wonderfully masculine spiciness of his cologne.

 

“Bella, are you okay?” Alex placed his hand on my shoulder as he spoke.

 

“OH! Yes, it…it was very good. Alex, can I get the check, please?”

 

“No need, he already took care of it, and Maggie said he left her a two hundred dollar tip. You better hang on to that one, else I just might consider switching teams,” Alex grinned as he leaned closer to me. “So tell me, Bella, what’s the story with you and Dr. Cullen?”

 

“Sorry, Alex, there’s no story there. Dr. Cullen is my boss’s older brother and he just wanted to apologize for a recent event that happened.”

 

“Okay, listen, Bella, men don’t take women, especially beautiful women such as yourself, to an upscale restaurant for lunch just to apologize,” he gestured with air quotes on the word apologize. “They send flowers and chocolates for that. This, my dear Bella, is a man who’s very interested in impressing you.”

 

“Alex, you’re out of your fucking mind,” I hissed, my voice trembling with anger at his teasing. He didn’t realize it, but he was twisting that invisible knife just the same.

 

“Not at all, Bella. You don’t seem to understand the effect you have on people, those of the male persuasion to be specific. You have such a wonderful soul, Isabella, and your beauty is what the best dreams are made of,” his warm hand was now covering mine. “You know, if I was free to marry a non-Italian woman, Mr. Cullen wouldn’t stand a chance.” And with that he lifted my hand, kissing my knuckles as he rose from the table and disappeared to the back.

 

As I made my way out of the restaurant, I tried hard to digest what Alex had said to me. He was one of the sweetest and dearest men I knew, but this time he was wrong. Lunch had been just an apology, an olive branch extended by one very handsome Dr. Cullen, most likely in deference to my friendship with his sister. I now had closure on the whole Mike Newton fiasco and Edward and I could now at least be friends. I reminded myself that the Edward Cullens of this world did not find girls like me beautiful or intelligent. We were simply there, easy to ignore, easy to forget, no one special.

 

By the time I got back to the office, it was nearly two hours later. I knew Alice was going to grill me about what had happened at lunch. I was going to have to work extra hard to convince her that nothing had seriously happened. My internal mantra was interrupted by the sound of raucous laughter echoing from Alice’s office. I stopped long enough in my office to drop off my purse. As I entered the office, I was surprised to see my best friend, Angela, sitting on Alice’s leather couch. They both hand a large glass of red wine and were seated barefoot with feet tucked under their bodies.

 

“BELLA!” Angela shouted as she attempted to get up from the couch. The combination of her obvious alcohol intake and the fact she must have forgotten her legs were under her caused her to fall back into the couch and another round of giggles began between the girls.

 

“Bella, I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of our team and my new second BFF,” Alice announced, nearly falling off the couch as her sweeping introduction almost toppled her over face first into the floor. Alice was just as drunk as Angela and I had to admit they were quite a pair. I considered pulling out my phone and recording this for later embarrassment opportunities.

 

“Ladies, it isn’t even four o’clock in the afternoon and you’re two sheets to the wind.” I examined the three empty merlot bottles on the coffee table before tossing them into the trash.

 

“So how was lunch, are you still carrying your v-card?” Alice slurred. Just…ew! That was her brother she was asking about!

 

“It was lunch at Constantine’s, Alice, not the no-tell motel.”

 

“Wait, you still have your v-card? Please tell me you’re kidding, Bells,” Angela interrupted slurring just as bad as Alice.

 

“Not that it’s anyone’s business, but yes, I still have my v-card and I have no plans of giving it up anytime soon. Some of us have standards you know.”

 

“Just giving you shit, Bella, I’m still carrying mine, too,” Angela confessed with a relaxed smile.

 

“Oh, shit!” Alice exclaimed as she retrieved her ringing cell phone. “Hello, my very sexy man,” Alice sang into the phone drawing out her words. “Yes, babe, I’m drunk, but so is Angela. She’s my new bestie, you’ll love her. Yes…yes, I understand…yes, I’ll…I love you, too, Jazzinator. Bye, baby.”

 

Alice closed her phone, tossing it to the couch. “Okay, so Jasper is stuck at the hospital with some sort of major trauma and he won’t be home tonight until late. He said to tell everyone hello. Now, back to your date with my brother; spill it, Swan.”

 

I spent the next hour trying to explain that nothing had happened and that I felt we had become at least friends. I elected to leave out the part of Alex giving his opinion on Edward. For the next several hours, we sat and talked about everything and it was so wonderful to have Angela back in my life. By this time, the girls had done some major sobering up and so after we consumed an entire pizza, we chose to call it a night.

 

“OH, SHIT! I nearly forgot, I’ve taken on a charity project at the hospital and I’m going to need both of your help with it. I’m going to need our photography guy for a photo shoot and Heidi and Gianna for hair and makeup. We’re putting together a calendar that’ll be sold and all the proceeds will go to the Crisis Center for Women. It’s an organization that helps battered and abused women get back on their feet. We have this huge ball every year, but this year I volunteered our services to make this calendar.”

 

“That sounds great, Alice. What do you need us to do?” I asked and Angela nodded eager to help.

 

“Angela, tomorrow I need for you to go over to Virginia Mason and interview all of our model candidates. Bella, I’ll need to use your eye for detail as well as your graphic design skills to finish this on time. We’ll do the photo shoot here on Friday and then we’ll have a little over four weeks to get it together in time for the unveiling at the ball.”

 

This was obviously important to Alice and thus important to me. I’d do anything to help my BFF.

 

“Alice, what kind of calendar are we going to be making?” I questioned her as I slung my purse over my shoulder, handing Angela hers.

 

“Hot Docs of Virginia Mason, even my dad has volunteered, as well as all the doctors on his team,” she stated casually as she pressed the buttons on the elevator.

 

Oh, shit…

 

Today had certainly been interesting to say the least. As I crawled into my bed later that night, my cell alerted me to a text message.

 

Good night and sweet dreams – E

 

I went to sleep that night with a huge smile on my face.

 

  1. Chapter 6

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 6

 

Wow, I’m overwhelmed with the reviews and the favorites last chapter received. Thank you! Dollybigmomma made it pretty so watch those fingerprints!

 

Friday had finally arrived and brought with it the photo shoot for the calendar. Alice hadn’t really thrown around any names of who would be participating, although Angela had sent me a text message the night before that she had a story to share with me about one of the interviews she had done.

 

One of the many jobs I had assigned myself was getting refreshments ready for the staff and the models. Delilah had been a huge help with setting up coffee and pastries. Sampson had called me twice this morning to say Delilah was adding things she felt we would enjoy. I made a point of stopping by the cafe and getting some extra coffee to get my staff going.

 

Upon entering the office, I was accosted by Alice as she ripped the coffee from my hands. “Oh, my god, Bella, you have no idea how bad I need this!” I doubted very seriously she would even taste the coffee as fast as she was slurping it down.

 

She then disappeared as quickly as she had appeared. Angela rounded the corner just as the cloud of smoke from Alice dispersed. “Oh, gosh, Bella, I have to talk to you before everyone arrives.” From the look on her face and the excitement in her voice, this was going to be big.

 

“What’s got you so excited this morning?” I questioned giggling as I handed her a cup of coffee.

 

“Okay, so you know how I had to go over to Virginia Mason Hospital and get the models to complete the information and sign the wavers, right?” She was holding a stack of papers in her left hand and her coffee in the right. Her eyes were bright with excitement and she was practically bouncing. I simply smiled and nodded my head in agreement. “Well, everyone was so nice and took the time to answer the questionnaire, no problem. Anyway, I was almost done when I went to see the last doctor-” she started but was interrupted by hurricane Alice.

 

“Okay, everybody, we have a shit ton of people coming and we have so much to do and…” She was talking so fast that her words were blurring together. I had to get control of an out-of-control situation.

 

“ALICE!” I grasped her shoulders and brought my face to within inches of hers, getting her attention. “Sweetheart, I know you’re excited, but you’re at a ten and I need you at a three, can we turn it down, please?”

 

“UGH! Okay, I can try that, but Bella, I just want this to be perfect and it’s so important that we knock this one out of the ballpark.”

 

“Alice, stop, this is me you’re talking to. You know I won’t let this be anything but perfect,” I reassured her.

 

Alice smiled and gave me the biggest hug she had ever given me. “You’re right, it’ll be perfect.” I felt her instantly relax.

 

We had the photographer set up his equipment across the hall from our offices. Heidi and Gianna had their space set up as well. Alice had three leather couches brought in to accommodate the waiting models. Angela and I had a table set up at the back of the room so that we could control the music and keep the flow moving smoothly. We had done this many times for our runway preshow and I expected this to be similar. Samson and Delilah had just finished setting up the refreshments, and by the looks of things you would have thought we were feeding a high school football team, not a handful of health-conscious doctors. Now all we needed was our models.

 

As if on cue, the door opened and in walked Esme Cullen and a beautiful blonde woman. I must have misunderstood Alice or simply assumed it would be all male models in this calendar, but the woman with Esme was breathtaking. I smiled and acknowledged the ladies as they entered the room.

 

“Rosalie, Mom, oh, I’m so glad you were able to make it,” Alice embraced her mother and kissed her cheek.

 

“Alice, dear, we wouldn’t miss this for the world.” Esme was a genuine person and there just weren’t enough genuine people in this world.

 

“Rosalie, I want to introduce you to Angela and Bella,” Alice gestured in our direction.

 

Esme crossed the room towards us, her smile was warm and kindness radiated off her. You couldn’t help but want to be around her.

 

“Bella,” her voice was as warm and welcoming as the rest of her. Her arms were wrapped around me before I even had time to react. “I was so sorry to hear that you weren’t able to enjoy Alice’s engagement party. I was very much looking forward to spending more time with the woman who’s stolen our Edward’s heart.”

 

I couldn’t respond. I knew I was just hearing things. I had no idea what this sweet lady was smoking, but she needed to share that shit.

 

Before I could correct her, the door flew open. Jasper walked in followed by a gorgeous man I knew to be Emmett from pictures Alice had of him. He bellowed, “Honey, I’m home!” as he embraced Rosalie.

 

“Emmett, Rosalie, I want you to meet someone,” Esme stated as she pulled away from our embrace, “This is Bella. Dear, this is my son, Emmett, and his wife, Rosalie. You would’ve gotten to meet them at Alice’s engagement party had my son been able to hold onto you for a few more moments,” Esme smiled apologetically.

 

Before I could get a single word out, I found myself in a tight bear hug. Emmett had me wrapped so tight I was unable to breathe. I realized that my feet were no longer touching the floor. I felt certain I’d pass out at any moment.

 

“Emmett, put her down now, you big fucking oaf!” Okay, Rosalie officially scared the shit out of me.

 

“Sorry, Bella, but I’ve waited all week to meet you. She’s really pretty, isn’t she, Mom?” Obviously, it was time for an optometrist appointment for Emmett as well as Edward. “Bella, please tell me you have some music planned for when it’s my turn,” Emmett asked, grasping my right shoulder. His touch was extremely gentle considering his massive size. His dark curly hair and dimples caused me to wonder if he was the milkman’s kid.

 

“Not to worry, Emmett, or do you prefer Dr. Cullen? I was under the impression all the models were physicians.”

 

“You can call me Emmett; since we have three Dr. Cullen’s in the family, it gets really confusing at the hospital.”

 

“Well then, Emmett, you have nothing to worry about as I have a huge amount of music to choose from, you just let me know if you like anything in particular and I’ll take care of it.”

 

We continued to talk back and forth and before I realized it, we had been talking for half an hour. Angela had been waiting patiently for my conversation with Emmett to end. She placed her hand on my shoulder to get my attention while shoving her clipboard in my direction with the model’s information sheets. Our plans were to give a little bit of personal information about each model, kind of like the centerfold in Playboy magazine, except our shit would be the truth, and unfortunately, our models wouldn’t be naked. I had planned on going over the information and confirming what was okay to print with each model before their photo shoot.

 

“Oh, my, god!” Angela gasped in a whispered voice.

 

I looked at her face to find her staring at the door. I quickly followed her open-mouthed gaze to find three of the most handsome men standing at the door.

 

“That’s him, the guy that knocked me off my feet. Oh, Bella, he’s so fucking hot.”

 

My eyes quickly found the source of Angela’s lust-filled rambling. My jaw dropped open.

 

Could it really be him?

 

  1. Chapter 7

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 7

 

As I took in the men standing by the door, there in front stood the only man I had ever trusted besides my father. It had been far too many years since I had seen or spoken to him. His eyes met mine and a huge smile covered his face.

 

I had met Ben Cheney in my freshman year at NYU when he was a senior. He never tried to be anything other than my friend and he spent countless hours helping me during a very dark time. He encouraged me to take up running and not to give up. He even helped me to find my therapist that I saw for several years. I knew he had planned on going to medical school and by his appearance, he had done just that. Standing beside him was Edward Cullen and Jacob Black, though I never acknowledged them.

 

Ben took three steps across the room before I launched myself into his arms. He spun me around while holding me tight. “Oh, my gosh, Bella, I’ve missed you so much!”

 

“Oh, Bennie, I’ve missed you, too,” I cried planting a huge kiss on him.

 

When we finally broke apart, Ben quickly led me to the corner of the room where we could talk. He held my arms at a distance as his eyes trailed up and down my body. “Damn, girl, you look amazing, are you still running?”

 

“Thank you, Bennie, and yes, I’m still running nearly every day.”

 

“Well, it shows and I’m fucking proud of you, Bella. Wait,” his expression was as if he had just had a sudden realization, “Bella, Bella Swan…oh, my god, I never realized it when he told me your name, I mean what are the odds?” It was as if he was thinking out loud.

 

“Ben, what the fuck are you babbling about?”

 

“Oh, shit, Bella, I’m sorry, it’s just when Edward was telling me about you, I never put two and two together. He was definitely right, you’re breathtakingly beautiful. But then again, you always were.”

 

“Wait, Dr. Cullen was talking about me to you?” I made it a point to lower my voice.

 

“Yes, why does that surprise you?”

 

“I don’t understand why he’d say that about me. And Esme…she said…” It was at that point I joined Ben, speaking my thoughts.

 

“Because he’s completely smitten by you, but you know this since he’s your…”

 

“No, Ben, I don’t understand a fucking thing about Edward Cullen and his whole family is talking in riddles, and I’m about to have a panic attack because they keep saying things, and…and I don’t get it…” My breathing had picked up and I could feel the tears starting to brew.

 

“Slow your roll, sweetheart, take a deep breath,” his words and hands on my shoulders were very soothing, but I needed answers.

 

“Ben, how do you know Dr. Cullen?” I was going to get some answers and Ben was going to give them to me.

 

“Okay, Bella, calm down. Edward and I went to med school together and we just clicked from day one. He’s one of my best friends and his family is like an extended part of my family. We now both work with his dad over at Virginia Mason. He told me he met this beautiful girl and that he’s pulling out all the stops to get her attention. He said she took his breath away and that he could see his future children in her eyes.”

 

It was at that point I knew he was talking about someone else and a huge wave of understanding washed over me. Some beautiful girl out there was going to be wined and dined by one very handsome Dr. Cullen, lucky bitch. My intuition was right; we would only ever be friends. I was probably the one female friend he would introduce her to as I was the one least likely to be any competition.

 

“Still not seeing what’s really in that mirror are you, sunshine?”

 

“Ben, come on, Edward is fucking gorgeous and rich and educated and obviously experienced…”

 

“Okay, stop right there. Do you still trust me?”

 

“Yes, Ben, of course I do.”

 

“How much do you trust me, Bella?”

 

“I trust you with everything.”

 

“Then trust me and follow my lead.”

 

“Ben, wait, before you do anything…are you seeing anyone?”

 

“Nope, I haven’t dated anyone since Lauren.”

 

“Great, because there’s someone I want you to meet. She’s just like me, except pretty, her name is Angela.”

 

“Wait, Angela from this office is your friend?”

 

“Yes, and she really likes you, a lot.”

 

I turned my attention to Angela, who was still standing at the back of the room. I smiled and motioned for her to join us. She tossed her clipboard down on the table and began to walk over. I just knew Angela and Ben would be perfect together and they each deserved to be happy.

 

“Angela, this is one of my dearest friends, Dr. Ben Cheney. Ben, this is my best girlfriend, Angela Webber.”

 

Once their eyes met, I felt like I was invading their silent conversation. Ben grabbed her hand and placed a gentle kiss on her knuckles. Angela smiled sweetly and I knew that was all she wrote.

 

“Angela, I’d love nothing more than for you to join me for dinner as I want to know as much about you as possible. But first I have to help out a couple of friends. Would you bear with me as I open some eyes?” Angela simply nodded and then gazed deeper into his eyes. “Thank you, now you, my dear Bella, follow my lead. First, we’re going to pretend that we’re about to have a romantic moment, then you’ll see how possessive he is over you.”

 

“It’s true, Bella, he indicated that he’s taken on his information form and he’s been watching you the entire time you and Ben have been talking.”

 

They were out of their minds. I reminded myself I was not someone Edward would ever notice, and despite all the flowery compliments everyone was throwing at me here, I knew damn well that Edward was still out of my league.

 

“Told you, sweetness. Now first I want you to pretend to find what I’m saying funny, then you need to lean into me and I’m going to take your face into my hands and at that point, I want you to lower your face and pretend to be interested. I guarantee you he’ll be over her in three seconds to remind me you belong to him.”

 

I did just as Ben had asked, but to be honest, I really didn’t think anything was going to happen. Just as Ben had my face in his hands, he leaned his face into my neck and whispered into my ear, “Three, two, one…”

 

I felt the electricity in the air; even with my eyes closed, I knew he was standing beside me.

 

“Ben,” his voice was like velvet, but it had an edge to it. I opened my eyes as I felt his arm attempting to separate Ben’s hands from my face. He never actually touched Ben, just placed the side of his body between Ben and me. “Bella, I’m sorry to interrupt, but I really need a word with Dr. Cheney.” The way he said my name made me nearly melt. Edward placed his hand on Ben’s neck as if to show force. Ben began to chuckle.

 

“Of course, Dr. Cullen. Ben, it’s so good to see you again.”

 

“Wait, you two know each other?” Edward questioned. His body appeared to relax slightly and he removed his hand from Ben’s neck, but he kept a hand on his shoulder just the same.

 

“Yes,” Ben chuckled. “Bella and I went to NYU together for a year, the year before you and I met at med school. I was just telling her how I knew you and how you’d been talking about this beautiful girl you met.”

 

As I turned to walk away, I felt Edward place his hand on my back. “Bella, I also want to ask you…”

 

“Bella, it’s time! Everyone is finally here and we need to get started,” Alice interrupted.

 

I took a deep breath and tried to steel myself for what was to come. All of these men were exceptionally gorgeous and just the thought of seeing them in various poses and states of undress already had me salivating. The thought of Edward as such especially had me salivating, in more than one area. I just hoped I could remain professional for this and not embarrass myself too badly.

 

Yeah, drooling was so not attractive

 

  1. Chapter 8

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 8

 

I excused myself from Edward and made my way over to where Angela and Tyler were standing. Tyler had been with us for many years. He was in his mid-fifties and had an eye for detail. I made certain everyone was in place and then gathered all of the men together. I wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page and that all of the guys knew what they were getting into. I took a deep cleansing breath and reminded myself that I was a professional and that in this room, I was working, regardless of whether or not a certain physician was present.

 

“Thank you all very much for taking time away from your very busy lives and helping us out today. In a few minutes, we’re going to get a group picture with lab coats and ties on, please. Then we’ll start the individual photo shoots and try to process each of you as quickly as possible. First, I have to make sure the information we obtained from you is suitable for publishing, so before you begin your individual session, I’ll ask for your approval. Now as a group, I need to ask if anyone has a problem with being photographed shirtless, shoeless, or commando.” I was glad that no one objected and so we began.

 

We got all of them together and did the group photo first. Carlisle had made a deal with Alice that if she did that for him, he would let her use his team. It was a win-win situation. We placed Carlisle in the center and his sons to the left and right of him. I had to admit it was a sight to behold, even with their shirts still on. Several times I found myself looking directly at Edward. The last glance I took, he caught me and smiled his panty-dropping smile and winked at me. I surprisingly blushed.

 

The first individual up was Emmett. I asked him again if he had any issues with being shirtless, shoeless, and going commando. He responded by saying he could make it interesting and go naked if I wanted him to.

 

“Okay, Emmett, I know you were concerned about music and from the short time we’ve been around each other, I think I’ve found your style.”

 

“Okay, Bells, I’m ready, hit me with it.”

 

Alice and Angela had taken the information they received from the doctors and used some of it to devise added props. Emmett was All-American in football so we decided to use a ball cap with the bill turned backwards and have him holding a football. The first pose we did with each of them was just in their dress shirt and slacks, nothing too exciting. Then we had them unbutton their dress shirt. Next came the shirt off and we had them change into blue jeans and forego underwear. I decided it was safe to go a little risque and have them unbutton the top button on their jeans for the final shot. Emmett did really well and he seemed to be a natural. The first song I played for him was I Know You Want Me by Pitbull. When the music started to play, Emmett came alive. Now I was not going to lie, Emmett shirtless was way hot. However, I was extremely careful in my drooling, reminding myself of his very scary wife also eyeing him appreciatively at that moment.

 

“Emmett, if you don’t like something I play, just tell me and I’ll change it until it’s right, okay?”

 

“Bella, you may not know me very well, but ya know ya want me,” he winked and I rolled my eyes.

 

When I instructed Emmett to remove his shirt, I was surprised to see a tattoo on his left bicep. It was a fairly intricate tribal band with a caduceus in the middle. It made sense as he was a doctor. It was finally time to shoot Emmett’s last pose and so I instructed him to unbutton the top button of his jeans. He did as I asked, but I noticed he just wasn’t hitting the mark with the camera. I wanted to have at least one picture that women would gasp about. I instructed Tyler to give me a minute and I made my way over to Emmett.

 

“Emmett, we need just one last shot and I need for you to look into that camera and give me your best set of bedroom eyes.”

 

We tried several more times, but something was still missing. I had an idea so I instructed Tyler to stop again.

 

“Rose, can you come here for a moment?” Rose moved across the room and stood beside me. “Rose, I need you to give Emmett your most seductive smile, inspire him to give us something worth seeing in this calendar.”

 

I turned my head in the opposite direction and waited for a few moments. When I was certain I wouldn’t interrupt anything too personal, I turned back.

 

“Thank you, Rose. Now, Emmett, I want you to picture in your mind what you want to do to Rose, close your eyes, and when I tell you to open them, I want you to look directly into the camera and pretend it’s your wife.”

 

Emmett nodded his head and closed his eyes. With the body this man had, muscles to spare and a small amount of happy trail hair, not to mention the well-defined “V” showing deliciously above his jeans, I knew we could get something smoking hot with the right motivation.

 

“One, two, three…”

 

Emmett’s eyes slowly opened and Tyler snapped the shot. It was a touchdown. Holly hell, that man was hot. I discretely fanned myself and took a minute to go wipe the drool off my chin and settle my libido.

 

Next up was Ben. I had to have a little fun with him and so I went to my computer and selected Too Sexy by Right Said Fred. When the music started up, I had to turn my back to him so that he wouldn’t see me giggling. However, I quickly learned that the joke was on me as all the models were up dancing around. Tyler just kept shooting random shots as the men kept dancing. I would swear all of them had been Chippendale dancers at one point, even Carlisle. God, that man could move. I was going to make sure to get copies of those to set as my revolving background on my laptop. I figured I might as well have something worthy of being perpetually horny over.

 

Ben was big into riding motorcycles so we had a helmet and leather jacket as his props. As he took his shirt off, I noticed he had the exact same tattoo as Emmett. When it can time for his final shot, he requested Angela to come to the front. He whispered something into her ear and then winked. I gave him the same instructions and counted to three. Once again, it worked and we got the shot, and I got to watch as my best friend about had an orgasm just standing there staring at Ben.

 

Next up was Edward. I made my way over to him with his information sheet in hand. I quickly scanned over it and noticed he had indicated he was “in a committed relationship” and snickered to myself. I wondered if he was keeping her a secret from his friends and family since they seemed to be delusional about him having eyes for me.

 

“Hey, Edward, can you look over this and make sure it’s correct and let me know if there’s anything you don’t want published?”

 

He took the paper and scanned it. “Everything looks correct and I have no problem with you using any of it,” he stated while handing the paper back to me.

 

“Okay, then let’s get started.”

 

I had let the music playlist take over and Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake was playing through the speakers. I decided I had no idea what type of music he would be comfortable with so I let it play. Edward indicated he was a musician and so we were using a guitar for his prop.

 

When I turned around to face Edward again, I noticed Emmett playing with the music. “Sorry, Bella, I think this is more Edward’s mood today.” The chagrin on Edward’s face made me very nervous.

 

I should have known. My Pony by Ginuwine began to play. Fuck My. Life.

 

I was doing just fine considering the lyrics to the song, until Edward unbuttoned his shirt. I had never seen a chest so bloody perfect in my life. It was evident he worked out, not as much as Emmett, but he was very well-defined nonetheless and entirely edible. I took my time just drinking him in, from his perfect pecks to his six-pack abs, and that was where I should have stopped. Why didn’t I just stop? Fuck me running, I had to allow my eyes to drift a few inches lower to that goddamn “V” that was just as defined as those damn pecks. I could feel his eyes boring into me, but I couldn’t help myself as I ogled the outline of the dragon hiding in his pants and it made me start drooling again. I was so blown away that even my uterus gasped.

 

“Bella!” Tyler shouted in my direction, removing me from ogling Edward’s crotch. Tyler made his way toward me, “I need a new memory stick; the ones I brought are all full, sorry for the delay,” he apologized and said he would be right back.

 

I took it upon myself to grab a bottle of water and headed toward Edward. Once I was standing before him, I handed him the bottle. “Sorry, it’ll just be a moment, um…technical difficulties,” I tried to smile.

 

I watched as he opened the water bottle and tipped it to his mouth and drank half the bottle. I found myself watching his Adams’ apple bobbing up and down, fighting the urge the whole time to reach up on my tiptoes and lick the water droplet that had escaped the corner of his mouth. I tried to discretely squeeze my thighs together while praying my nipples didn’t poke through the front of my shirt.

 

When he was finished with his drink, he lowered the bottle and winked at me. “No problem, and thank you for the water, it’s really hot under these lights. Do you mind if I go ahead and remove my shirt?”

 

Holy shit…

 

“I think that’d be just fine since Tyler won’t be long.”

 

Edward smiled his crooked smile and began to remove his shirt. I tried my best not to look at him, really I did, but I failed, really badly. I shifted my eyes back to him as he was handing me his shirt, his left side facing me as he grabbed his water off the floor and finished the bottle. I took his shirt from him and the empty bottle. I was just about to return to my seat in the back of the room when he turned so that his right side was facing me. There on his left bicep was a tribal tattoo much like Emmett and Ben’s, with one very HUGE difference. In the center, instead of a caduceus was the head of a lion. I froze as my mind went back to the last time I had spent time with my Nana Swan. It was the summer of my freshman year at NYU and she had invited Angela and me over for a visit.

 

Flashback…

 

“Bella, Angela, I’m so happy to see you!”

 

“Hey, Nana,” I said giving her a hug with Angela following soon after.

 

“Come on in and sit with an old woman for a while.”

 

We made our way into her living room where she had a teapot and three cups on the coffee table. I sat closest to Nana and Angela sat in the adjacent chair. We spent over an hour just drinking tea and telling Nana about our first year of college.

 

“How would you girls like your fortunes read?”

 

I knew Nana dabbled in this sort of thing and that some of our family thought she could see the future. However, my mother had not allowed me to participate before. I figured it was just pictures on cards, so what could it hurt to humor her?

 

“Sure, Nana, that sounds great.”

 

Nana had me shuffle the deck and cut it, then pick different cards from the top when she moved the decks. She lined up the cards and slowly turned them over one by one.

 

“This first one tells me you’ll have a long life. This one tells me you’ll meet danger in the future. But this, this one is, well…” Her face became pensive and she closed her eyes. “Bella, this card and my vision tells me that the man who’s destined to be your soul mate is being marked, perhaps as we speak, and he takes the mark of a lion, the king of the jungle, and of your heart.”

 

End of Flashback

 

“Dr. Cullen, um, I’m sorry to be nosy, but can I ask you about your tattoo?”

 

“Bella, it’s Edward, and you, love, can ask me anything.”

 

“Uh, yes, well, what year did you get your tattoo?”

 

“My first year of med school, actually. Ben, Emmett, and even Carlisle got one. I was last to go and was supposed to get the same caduceus in the center, but right before I sat in the chair, the lion head just called to me. It doesn’t offend you, does it?”

 

“No, no, it’s just…never mind, it’s very nice.”

 

I quickly turned and made my way back to where Angela and Alice were standing. It had to just be a coincidence, but the timing was nearly the same. I looked up to see Angela and Alice giving me a concerned look.

 

“Bella, are you okay? You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Angela questioned with concern in her eyes

 

“Edward’s tattoo, look closely,” I said barely above a whisper.

 

“Yeah, so what?” Angela asked her eyes fixed on the tattoo.

 

“Nana Swan.” Those two words changed her entire face.

 

“Oh. My. God.” she annunciated each word.

 

“It gets weirder, Angela, the time line is the same.”

 

“Holy shit, Bella, do you know what this means?” she replied excitedly.

 

“Not one fucking thing, read his app, he’s in a committed relationship; he has a girlfriend.”

 

I closed my eyes as I placed my palms down on the table in front of me. I lowered my head and let out a long breath. I raised my head back up and squared my shoulders. The sooner we got this photo shoot over with, the sooner I could get this project finished. I reminded myself I had a job to do and I needed to get on with it.

 

I also reminded myself, rather harshly, that silly superstitions and wishful thinking weren’t going to change a goddamn thing.

 

  1. Chapter 9

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 9

 

With my head back in the game, I returned back to my computer and didn’t even look as I selected the next song to be played. We still had to get the final shot for Edward, Dr. Cullen I reminded myself. I really needed to remember to stay professional here. Yeah by Usher began to play and I turned my attention back to Dr. Cullen. Tyler had returned and indicated he was ready. In my best professional voice, I began to speak.

 

“Okay, sorry again for the delay, Dr. Cullen. We need just one last shot.” I didn’t give him an opportunity to correct me. “If you could, just focus on giving us that last sensual look, Sir.” I stepped toward the camera, thus turning my back to Edward. I considered Edward a friend and if he had a secret to keep about a new girl in his life, I had no problem helping him out.

 

“If you really want that kind of shot, you’re going to have to help me out here, Bella.”

 

I turned around to see he was now sitting in a leather chair, his elbows on his thighs.

 

“Certainly, Dr. Cullen, how can I help you?” I turned my full attention to him. He smiled his crooked grin and then dropped his eyes to the floor. It was as if time suddenly stood still and everything began moving in slow motion. I waited patiently for his response, and that was when he raised his head back up and the smile faded from his lips and his eyes were suddenly smoldering. The flash of the lights and the clicking of a camera brought my attention away from Edward’s face.

 

“Perfect, Bella, best one yet,” Tyler added.

 

I smiled quickly at Tyler and turned back to Edward, “Thank you, Dr. Cullen, that’ll be all.”

 

“Not quite, Bella.” Edward stood from the chair and made his way towards me. “You said you’d help me,” he spoke as he stood directly in front of me.

 

“Is there something you need?” I questioned handing him his shirt.

 

“Yes, my mother is planning on having a celebration dinner of sorts this evening and I’d like you to accompany me, if you’re free?” His velvet voice was so soothing yet stimulating at the same time.

 

“I’m sorry, Dr. Cullen, but I already have plans for this evening,” I replied as he took the shirt from my hands, his fingers brushing against mine. His long fingers were so warm they left a left a trail of fire on my skin. I was trying to remain his friend and perhaps give him an excuse to see his new girlfriend. The look in his eyes at my response left me bewildered, and I couldn’t for the life of me figure it out.

 

“Excuse me, please,” he said barely above a whisper as he left the room.

 

The shoot continued as Dr. Black was next. If I had ran into him without his shirt on in the hotel, I could safely say I wouldn’t have bolted as quickly that night. He was just as toned as Emmett and his richly-tanned skin helped to accent his torso.

 

“So, we meet again, Ms. Swan is it?”

 

“Bella is just fine, Dr. Black,” I tried to give him a warm smile.

 

“It’s Jacob, and you still owe me for my clothes and bolting on me,” he chuckled.

 

“Well, Jacob, you never sent me a bill,” I began to giggle in return.

 

“Bella, I don’t want your money. As I said before, my clothes were last season or some shit,” he gestured with his hands at what he was wearing. “My tailor is still after me to update.”

 

“Alright, then what do you want?”

 

“So, you know the girl who was playing with my hair earlier?” he motioned to his dark short hair.

 

“Yes, that’s Gianna and she wasn’t playing with it, she’s a stylist, she was getting you ready,” I said smirking.

 

“Do you know if she’s single?”

 

“Yeah, Jacob, I do believe she’s single.”

 

The smile that appeared on his face was enough to make me giggle like a schoolgirl. Who knew so many people around me would get a chance at possible happiness here today?

 

The shoot continued and was surprisingly a lot of fun. The biggest surprise was our last subject, when Dr. Carlisle Cullen had his turn behind the camera. His boys didn’t have anything on him. Let’s just say it was a total shock he and Esme only had three kids. Why she ever let him out of her sight was a mystery to me. For a man of his maturity, he was seriously hot.

 

Once the shoot was complete and Tyler had given me the memory cards, I thanked him and tried to hand him his check, but he refused it and instructed me to donate the money to the charity. I gave him a big hug and thanked him. Jasper had cleaned up the food and instructed a messenger to take the leftovers to a local shelter.

 

I made my way back to my office and placed the memory cards on my desk. My mind wandered back to my flashback from earlier. Nana Swan had never lied to me, but tarot card reading was another issue. I allowed myself to consider for just one moment the possibility that Ben and Esme could be right. But just as quickly, I reminded myself that he and I were just as good as being from two different planets and I was only setting myself up for embarrassment and heartache. I was pulled from my rambling thoughts by laughter coming from Alice’s office. I made my way back there to see what was so funny.

 

“Bella, there you are,” Esme’s voice sounded almost excited. “Will you be riding with Edward this evening?”

 

“I’m sorry, riding to where?”

 

“Oh, don’t you play coy with me, young lady, I saw how you two were eyeing each other up,” Esme’s left hand rested on her hip while her right pointer finger gestured up and down my body.

 

I couldn’t tell you why I reacted to what Esme said the way I did. Was it years of denying any feelings I’d ever had for boys I thought to be attractive? Was it the combination of confusion and flashbacks I’d had all day? Whatever the cause, my life would never be the same. I felt it the minute it happened; absolute and complete loss of all control. Out of nowhere, I began to violently shake, followed by body-wrenching, emotionally-charged bawling that had me completely overwrought.

 

I slammed my fists as hard as I could onto Alice’s mahogany desk. “STOP IT!” I shouted. “If you care about me in the slightest, please just FUCKING STOP IT!”

 

My crying momentarily subsided and I tried to get the words out. I could feel the anguish and torment building in my chest, the fear I felt if I didn’t let it out nearly strangling the last breath left in me.

 

“Don’t you people understand? Can’t you see? Edward is my friend, that’s FUCKING all! You need to listen to me when I say that. But when he’s near me, I can’t think or breathe,” I croaked between sobs. “I feel him before…before I even see him enter the room,” I couldn’t hold off the tears as I spoke.

 

“I…I…I can’t even look into his eyes,” I stammered. “I can’t even get past his…his chin, he’s so beautiful and…and…and so FUCKING…” My crying became harder and it became very difficult to get the words out. “Please…please,” I took a deep breath, “You have to stop, I’m begging you,” I finally finished, collapsing into a sobbing mess for a moment against Alice’s desk. Everyone sat stunned as I struggled to stop my breakdown.

 

I composed myself somewhat and took his information page off Alice’s desk. I walked over to where Alice, Esme, Jasper, Angela, and Ben sat around the coffee table. I slammed the page down hard on the table, causing the women to jump in their seats. “He has a girlfriend and it isn’t me. We never even discussed relationships. Lunch the other day was just an apology and nothing more.” With those words, I stormed to my office and collapsed in my chair and began to sob in earnest.

 

I could hear the sounds of the others in the next room, sniffling as I continued to let my tears fall. I didn’t care anymore. Edward could be pissed at me all he wanted for letting the cat out of the bag.

 

I felt two sets of hands engulf me as I continued to sob into my arms. The set to my left made circles on my back and felt warm and tender. The set to my right felt strong and comforting. I felt the set to my left leave and the strong set to my right griped tighter and drew me to a hard chest. I felt myself being picked up from my chair where they carried me back to Alice’s office and we settled onto the couch, the strong arms never releasing me. I knew this chest, as I had cried many times into it, and I welcomed its familiar comforting smell. I kept my head buried until my tears stopped and the crushing feeling in my chest subsided.

 

“All done?” Ben’s voice vibrated softly above my head.

 

I slowly removed my face from his chest and began to prepare myself for the aftermath of my breakdown. I would need to apologize to Esme for my outburst and for using such vulgar language around her. Angela handed me a tissue as she appeared on her knees before me, rubbing circles on my thighs. Esme sat facing me to my left, concern written all over her face.

 

“Bella, please tell me this had nothing to do with a certain Mike Newton?” Ben questioned.

 

I turned back to face him, “Ben, I’ve never lied to you before, why would I start now?”

 

Ben knew the entire…well, now I was lying to myself, only I knew the whole story surrounding Mike Newton. Ben had helped me to hold my head up high and at least believe in myself long enough to get through the pain he found me in. He was my best friend for so long, I trusted him completely.

 

“Sweetheart, when will you believe me?”

 

I couldn’t answer him, I knew what he meant by it. I had allowed Mike’s words to solidify in my mind and rule my life and I felt powerless to change it. I had come to feel he was right, I wasn’t anyone of any worth.

 

“Let me get this straight, Edward took you to lunch, sent you flowers, and wrote you this long-ass letter. And you think he just wants to be friends?”

 

I couldn’t even answer him and only nodded as the tears began again.

 

“Alright, I think I finally get what the problem is here.” He removed his arms from around me and got his cell phone out of his jacket pocket. “Bella, I’m going need a favor…non-negotiable, you owe me big.” I knew what this meant, and I didn’t even try to argue.

 

“Okay, everyone stay quiet, I’m putting this on speakerphone. Bella needs to hear this for herself.”

 

He quickly dialed his phone and we waited as it rang three times. The voice on the other end was unmistakable.

 

“Dr. Cullen,” Edward answered quietly.

 

“Hey, Edward, it’s Ben.”

 

“Oh, hey, Ben.” He didn’t seem happy.

 

“Listen, do you have a minute?”

 

“Seems like that’s all I’ve got these days, time on my hands,” Edward sighed.

 

“Well, this is going to get personal, but I’ve got to ask anyway.”

 

“Whatever, Ben, you know everything about me…ask away.”

 

“What’s the deal with you and Bella? I mean I know what you’ve told me, but after what I’ve recently been told, well, man, I’ve got questions.”

 

“Bella, well… “

 

“Hold up, Edward, you have to understand that Bella’s like my little sister and I’m cool with you dating her.”

 

“Ben, did something happen to Bella? Is she hurt? Where is she?” Edward sounded like he was starting to panic.

 

“Slow down, Edward, Bella’s fine.”

 

“Okay, so what’s this about?”

 

“Well, this is going to sound crazy, but are you and Bella dating?”

 

“Well, that depends on who you ask…”

 

“I’m asking you.”

 

“Then yes, I like her, a lot, but I asked her to dinner and she said she had other plans, so I don’t think she shares my feelings. I mean, did you see her reaction to my tattoo? Man, you have the same one and she didn’t react to yours.”

 

It was at this point that my head shot up and my heart started to race. He liked me? Didn’t share his feelings? Shit, that fucking tattoo…

 

“Edward, did you guys even discuss relationships?”

 

“Well, if you’re asking if I passed her a note like back in grade school, check yes or no if you like me, then no. We’re not in grade school, Ben.”

 

“You’re such a dumbass, Cullen. You just assumed Bella understood ‘I’m sorry’ as meaning ‘Will you be my girlfriend.’ What the fuck, man?”

 

“Not exactly, I planned on talking to her tonight after dinner, not like that’ll happen now.”

 

“Edward, what would it be worth to you if I could guarantee that Bella would be having dinner with you this evening?”

 

“Seriously? Name your price.”

 

“My price would be your word that you’ll not fuck this up. If, and I do mean if, you ever hurt her, I’ll kick your skinny ass.”

 

“Deal, but how can you guarantee she’ll go out with me tonight?”

 

“Because MY girlfriend is best friends with your possible girlfriend and she gave me some interesting information today,” Ben looked directly at Angela when he said the word girlfriend as he winked at her. Angela stood and walked across the room to Alice’s desk and scribbled something on a piece of paper before returning to Ben and handing him the paper. Ben took one look at the paper and a huge smile spread across his face.

 

“Girlfriend? When did this happen and who is she?”

 

“Unlike you, I actually made sure the girl I like knows I like her. Oh, and Edward, there’s nothing wrong with a note with yes or no checked on it. That’s how Angela said yes.”

 

“Angela, huh…she’s the girl who works with Bella and Alice, right?”

 

“Yep, so you’ll pick Bella up at the office?”

 

“Yes, if you’re sure she’ll go.”

 

“Just have your scrawny ass at her office at five o’clock.”

 

With that, the call ended and Ben put his phone away. I knew better than to argue as I had given him my word. Still not believing what I had just heard, I turned my attention to Esme. “Esme, I apologize for yelling the way I did. It was very disrespectful and I’m so sorry.”

 

Esme placed her hand over mine with a smile, “Just give him a chance, for me?”

 

Like I said, I had no other choice.

 

AN: Now that you’ve read this chapter, go to YouTube and search for “Men of Twilight 1.” The music is “You Know you want me” by pitbull and you’ll understand how I was inspired. Thanks so much for reading!

 

  1. Chapter 10

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 10

 

WOW! The amount of positive email I’ve gotten for this story has blown me away. You guy are just so awesome. Okay, so here we go, I own my Rob Pattinson autographed picture, but SM still owns the rest and Dollybigmomma made it all pretty just for you.

 

My inner voice was shouting at me to cancel dinner and go home where I belonged. How in the world was I ever going to survive sitting at the same table as Edward Cullen? This was so dangerous on so many levels and I feared that I would allow myself to become too attached. Edward deserved everything that I wasn’t. I had no idea how relationships even worked. Why would someone like Edward want someone as pathetically challenged as me? The sound of Ben’s voice removed me from my mental scolding.

 

“Bella, I’m so proud of you,” Ben smiled as he placed his arm around my shoulder. He was a very handsome man and he and Angela would have beautiful babies. I would never dare hope for any man to want to have babies with me. Mutants would be more like it were I ever to procreate. “Everything will be fine. Remember, the heart wants what the heart wants.”

 

With that phrase, he rose from the couch and gently took Angela’s hand and walked toward the door. I would do this for him, I owed him so much and he had always been truthful with me, at least until now.

 

I glanced around the room to find Esme looking at me with a smile on her face that wasn’t reflected in her eyes. She rose from her chair and made her way to the chair next to where I was currently seated. I lowered my eyes to my hands that rested in my lap. I was so embarrassed by my previous outburst. Who in their right mind cried over a man they had only just met a couple of times? Esme had to think me insane.

 

She placed her warm hands over the top of mine. In a soft warm voice, she spoke. “Bella, I need to ask you a question and I need you to be truthful.” I couldn’t speak for fear of another outburst so I simply nodded. “Sweetheart, why do you feel you’re not good enough for my son?”

 

She began to rub circles on the back of my hand as a traitor tear fell down my face and landed on my forearm. I swallowed a couple of times and took several deep breaths before I could muster up the courage to answer.

 

“Because I’m no one special,” I responded barely above a whisper. I had told myself that a million times over in the past six years and now I believed it with every fiber of my being.

 

“Oh, Bella, who told you that?” her voice had just the hint of an edge.

 

For the past six years, I had owned that statement; ingrained it into my psyche. I had avoided eye contact with men and some women as well. I had lived in my protective shell I’d created and therefore never allowed myself to feel any pain, or any joy for that matter. Something inside me at that moment decided that the blame for that statement should not belong to me alone. It happened so fast that I didn’t even realize the words had escaped my lips.

 

“Mike Newton.”

 

The look on Esme’s face as she appeared to recognize the name I had just blurted out was one of disbelief and confusion. “Edward’s friend?” Again, I was unable to answer as the pain in my chest returned, her words echoing in my head. I simply nodded. “Hmm,” was all she said as she rose to her feet. I watched as she grabbed her jacket, then she hugged and kissed everyone in the room before making her way back to me. She engulfed me into a hug and whispered into my left ear, “He was wrong, you know, you are someone special, Bella, and in time you’ll see that for yourself.”

 

I tried very hard to get lost in my work that afternoon. It would have worked if I hadn’t been reviewing the photos from the morning. It was hard not to think about someone when you were staring at their naked chest and tattoo. Ugh, that goddamn tattoo…

 

Why did he have to be so perfect? A quick knock at my door tore me from my drooling. I watched as the door slowly opened and revealed the perfect man himself. The smell of his cologne quickly overtook me and I cursed Armani to the deepest depths of hell under my breath. The smile that enveloped his beautiful face took my breath away. It was contagious and I couldn’t stop the smile that took shape on my own face. He made his way into my office and stood in front of my desk, one hand hidden in his jeans pocket and the other planted on the surface of my desk. His eyes gleamed in the light from the lamp atop my desk and I was lost.

 

His gaze completely immobilized me; I couldn’t look away even if I had wanted to. His silky masculine voice was like a warm blanket on a cold night. “Bella, I’d like very much if we could clear a few things up, if that’s amenable to you.” His eyes never left mine and I was still locked in his gaze.

 

“Sure.” Smooth, Swan, real smooth…

 

He chuckled silently and turned to sit down on my couch. Even doing something as routine as sitting down, he did it in such a fluid motion it was mesmerizing to behold. I would swear I didn’t even hear the fabric on the couch move as he sat down.

 

“First, Bella, I owe you an apology.” Huh? He leaned forward; resting his forearms on his thighs as he slowly returned his eyes back to mine. “I’ve been a pompous ass to you recently and for that I’m truly sorry.” His eyes left mine as he began to twist his fingers together. I wasn’t certain where he was going with this, but I was going along for the ride.

 

“See, my entire life I’ve pretty much gotten everything I ever wanted and not had to work very hard for it. When I was young and I wanted a new toy, I asked for it and I always got it. When I was in high school, I wanted to date the most popular girl, so I did. When I went to college, I wanted to join my fraternity, so I did. No one has ever questioned me or told me no for that matter. Until now, until you.”

 

I wasn’t surprised by his admission of always getting his way all his life. Beautiful people usually did and didn’t have to work very hard for it. I was, however, floored by his last statement, until me?

 

I continued to remain seated and allowed him to finish.

 

“See, Bella…um, when…ugh, shit. God, this is so pathetic, this isn’t me, I don’t have a hard time talking to girls…”

 

His head was now resting in his hands, his face flush with his palms. I watched as he dealt with his inner monologue; this I wasn’t expecting.

 

“Okay, so when I first saw you in Alice’s office that first day, I was floored, totally knocked off my feet. I couldn’t believe how absolutely beautiful you were. When I left that afternoon with Alice, I begged her to get you to come to lunch. Hell, I even tried to bribe her with a shopping spree. That night, I went home and told my mom about how I’d finally met the woman I was going to have children with. Yeah, I know, scares the shit out of you, right? But, no, you were all I could think about and…and…”

 

It was like he was having a conversation with himself. God, did I know what that was like. The cool, confident, and sexy man that had walked into my office was long gone and a rambling, fumbling idiot had taken his place. “…and then the shit that happened at Alice’s party, I…I…I couldn’t find you after you ripped Mike a new one. I thought, shit, I’ve got to find her and make her see that…that he isn’t me and I’m me….and…and then I saw you talking to Jacob Black and I was like, fuck that…she’s fucking mine…”

 

WHAT? Did I miss something here? She’s fucking mine?

 

At this point, I was trying not to have a panic attack as I watched him rise from the couch and begin to pace back and forth across the room like a crazy person. This shit didn’t happen to me, I was the one who was supposed to have the meltdowns in this office. This couldn’t be for real.

 

He continued to rant as I just sat there dumbfounded, “…and so the next day I began tell everyone you and I were together so none of those guys would go after you, and then I called Alice to make sure you were at work to receive the flowers. OH, HELL! And the flowers…” He suddenly stopped all movement and slammed his hands palms down on my desk, causing me to jump. “Those flowers, I hand-selected each and every stem and then I drove them over and paid a kid to deliver them to you while I waited downstairs in the lobby…and…and you made me wait for over two hours before you finally called me! No one has ever made me wait…on anything, ever!”

 

His face was now unreadable and I could feel his labored breathing drifting across my face.

 

“Then at lunch, as you walked into the restaurant I had to control the monster that was going wild in my chest as I watched that Alex guy with you and wanted to snap his neck, not to mention how it felt to watch man after man undress you with their eyes as you made your way to me. You continued to surprise me when you didn’t have half of your buttons on your blouse undone as you sat across from me. You never tried to be seductive or slutty, not one time. I’m so not used to that…”

 

I didn’t have words. I had never been in this position in my entire life. I was clueless as to how to respond. I simply kept quiet and let him continue.

 

“Finally, today when I walked into the room and there you were looking more beautiful than you’ve ever looked, I couldn’t stop looking at you, but you…you never made an attempt to look at me. Then when Ben had your face in his hands and he was touching you and…and…and…I lost it, Bella.”

 

His hand was combing through his hair, his eyes now looking to the floor as he made his way back to the couch.

 

“I tried to flirt with you and turn up my charm, but you…you just kept calling me Dr. Cullen and remaining professional. Ugh, then when I asked you to dinner and you said you had other plans, I…I…ugh, Bella, I’ve never been turned down by a woman, not until you.”

 

You could have knocked me over with a feather at this point. Had the desk I was sitting at right this moment caught fire, I would have just burned right along with it. I was completely clueless about how to respond to him. He was going to need a response soon as I was certain he was running out of steam.

 

“So this afternoon, I tried to look at all the angles of this situation and I have a few theories. First, that you already have a boyfriend that you’re madly in love with. Second, you’re a hardcore lesbian, which I’m seriously curious about, and lastly, you just don’t return my feelings.”

 

And there it was. For the first time in my life, a guy had poured his heart out to me. In the past, I had always felt the guy was always in control of the relationship, i.e. expected to say and do things first, but perhaps that was all only in the movies. Could Mike Newton have been wrong about me? Or could Edward and Mike have been conspiring together in the “let’s destroy Bella’s life” plan? I didn’t think Mike would have been able to convince Alice and Esme to help him, though, and then there was Ben. Ben had always been in my corner. No, I really didn’t believe this was a trick. It didn’t really make a lot of sense, either, but Ben’s words kept ringing in my mind, that the heart wanted what the heart wanted. Could Edward see me differently than all the men I had been exposed to? Could this be my first relationship? Could Edward be my someone special? It was time to put my big girl panties on and come clean with Edward as he had with me.

 

“Edward?”

 

His face found mine as he reclined back into the couch. This had the potential to either make me or break me, but it was time for me to at least try.

 

“Thank you for your kind words. I feel it’s only fair that I answer your questions and address some misconceptions we seem to have between us.” I gathered up my courage as I opened up my chest to expose my heart.

 

“Okay, well, first, there’s no boyfriend, and no, I’m not a lesbian, sorry to disappoint. Second, I had no idea you were trying to impress me.

 

“As far as the flowers go, I’m sorry I didn’t respond sooner. The truth was I thought they were from Jasper, intended for Alice as that’s a regular thing he does. As for lunch, I just thought you were being nice. I never saw any man looking at me the way you described.

 

“Today I had to avoid eye contact with you because, well, because…” Here goes nothing… “Oh, hell, it’s not like this is a huge surprise to you, you already know how great you look, and…and that FUCKING tattoo…and Nana Swan and her tarot cards, and the lion…”

 

I finally stopped and took a deep breath. “Edward, I’ve never been here before, I’ve never had to have this kind of conversation and I’m not sure how bad I’m doing here…”

 

I could hear the bombs going off and smell the stench of my dying courage. This was crazy; what the hell was I doing here? I would have no one to blame but myself when he started to laugh in my face when I admitted to him that I was so attracted to him.

 

“Wait, you don’t have a boyfriend?”

 

“No.”

 

“You’re not in any kind of relationship?”

 

“No.”

 

“But you just said you find me attractive.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Then you do share my feelings?”

 

Oh, shit…

 

“Before I answer you and you get all caveman and shit, you have to hear me out.”

 

“I’m listening.”

 

“You need to understand some pretty major things about me. First, I’ve never had a boyfriend, ever. Second, I’ve never even kissed anyone before or done ANY of the things that follow the kissing. I’m in no hurry to chuck my v-card, either. You also need to understand that no matter how beautiful your eyes are or how gorgeous your jaw line is, I’m not ready to jump into your bed. I don’t have a fucking clue how to be anyone’s girlfriend. I overthink everything and I keep the majority of my emotions hidden inside. So now this is your golden opportunity to walk out that door and forget you ever said one word to me while we can still be friends.”

 

I had to remind myself to breathe while I waited for him to bolt out the door any second, but he didn’t move. What the hell?

 

“Hmm, just so we’re clear, you haven’t been intentionally brushing me off?” he asked seriously.

 

I shook my head no, still waiting for him to run.

 

“You’ve never been kissed? Or rounded any bases?”

 

I was still shaking my head no.

 

“And now you’re waiting to see if I’ll get up and leave the room? Well, I hope you enjoy disappointment. So, will you join me at my parents’ for dinner?”

 

It was nearly seven o’clock when we finally began making our way to his parked car. Only a few people remained on the floor as we made our way to the elevators. Once we reached the garage, he directed me to his car and opened the passenger door for me. The ride to his parent’s house was a little over twenty minutes as they lived north of the city. Once we finally arrived, I was shocked at the massiveness of it. It was hard to believe only two people lived in this house that looked like it should have been located in the countryside of England instead of Seattle. The house was lit up with extensive outdoor lighting and there must have been fifteen cars in the circle drive.

 

Edward again assumed the role of perfect gentleman and opened my door for me. Once inside, I was nearly knocked to the ground by Alice and Esme. Esme instructed all the men to find something to do as the women headed into the kitchen.

 

“So, when’s the wedding?” Alice questioned as she popped a carrot onto her mouth.

 

“Give me a break, Alice, we only talked.”

 

“For two fucking hours?” she shouted spitting carrots.

 

“Yes, we only talked, and NOTHING happened.”

 

Esme saved the day by changing the subject to wedding plans for Alice. Rosalie insisted that she and I would need to get together for lunch this week and begin planning Alice’s bachelorette party. Alice reminded us that she had chosen to have a couples shower as it was now trendy to do so.

 

Dinner was surprisingly calm considering the past few hours. All of the doctors from the photo shoot were there and they made several references to who worked out more. When dinner was finished, I tried to get Esme to allow me to help in the cleanup, but she refused. She told me this was the first of many meals I would share with them and I would have time later to help.

 

Slowly, everyone began to leave except for the Cullen family. We made our way to the family room and each took a seat.

 

“I almost forgot, isn’t tonight the season opener for the Seahawks?” Emmett announced.

 

“Yep, I made sure everyone got their tickets before then,” Edward replied.

 

“Think Hasselbeck can do it this year?” Carlisle questioned.

 

“He has as good a shot as anyone, he had seventeen touchdowns and passed for over three thousand yards last season,” I offered.

 

“Holy shit, you speak football?” Emmett questioned in awe.

 

“Oh, thank you, God,” Edward chuckled looking to the ceiling.

 

I began to remember Sundays with my dad watching the game from our living room. He saved for nearly two years to afford the big screen television. My dad was the best at explaining sports to me. It was a special time that he and I shared and fostered my love of sports.

 

“Are you kidding? I love football and hockey, and I can at least understand baseball and basketball,” I added.

 

Alice and Esme high-fived each other as Rosalie fist-bumped Jasper. I looked questioningly at Alice.

 

“I told you fuckers she was perfect.”

 

“Bella, can I speak with you privately?” Edward asked.

 

“Um, sure.”

 

We made our way to the veranda just beyond the huge French doors at the end of the room. Once we were outside, we walked past where they were doing some renovations and made our way to a bench that sat along the pool. The pool and its surrounding area looked like it had been torn out of a magazine. Tiny LED lights illuminated the entire area. Edward gestured for me to sit down and then he joined me.

 

“Are you warm enough?” Edward asked concerned.

 

“Yes, thank you,” I smiled at him.

 

“Bella, I have so many questions to ask you. I want to know everything about you. You have to know I feel so drawn to you, like you have this incredibly strong magnet inside you and it’s just pulling me. I want to spend as much time with you as you’ll allow.”

 

Things had changed between us this evening. I wasn’t as nervous as I had been since meeting him. I still felt the same pull as he described, but this was different, it was comfortable.

 

“I wanted to ask you if you’d go out with me sometime. I’m so happy to hear that you like football, would you like to join us on Sunday? I have season tickets and I have an extra, would you be interested?”

 

“You know, I think that would be really nice,” I smiled as I answered him, finally able to really look into his eyes.

 

“Excellent, um, since my entire family will be at the game, can we go out after? Just you and me?”

 

“As in a date?” I playfully questioned.

 

“Yes, I really want to take you out.”

 

“Then yes, I’d really enjoy that.”

 

“Can I ask you a question that’s been plaguing me since this afternoon?” Edward questioned as he brushed his index finger over my cheek.

 

“Of course.”

 

“What’s the deal with my tattoo? I mean you didn’t even blink at anyone else’s.”

 

Wow, bring on the straightjackets because he was going to think I was crazy.

 

“Okay, but I want you to know that after I tell you about this, please feel free to run away screaming.”

 

“Now I really want to know.”

 

I spent the next fifteen minutes telling him the entire story of mine and Angela’s visit with my Nana Swan. When I was finished, I closed my eyes and waited.

 

“So, Bella, do you believe it’s possible that she could’ve been right?”

 

I had asked myself that same question all afternoon. Could this all have been destined to happen?

 

So there you have it. The cards are on the table as we head for our first official date!

 

Some story rec’s from Dollybigmomma: The Firm by LoveRob. Edward is a reclusive but gorgeous senior partner of his law firm and Bella is the new associate council. Sparks fly as the no-fraternization policy looms overhead. Also check out her recently-completed story, Life is So Unfair. Professor Cullen meets a gorgeous brunette the weekend before class starts, but doesn’t catch her name. Imagine his surprise when she shows up in his class the following Monday. Professor/student relationships are forbidden…right? And you must have been living under a rock if you’ve not read Better Than Pie by Savannavansmutsmut. Emmett is just too cute as Edward’s innocent but mischievous Down syndrome brother who wins lonely Edward a wife from an online auction. Humor and chemistry ensue! Also check out her story, Mistaken Bondage. The Cullens are an insane bunch, and crazy Dom Edward has never been so hot!

 

  1. Chapter 11

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 11

 

Okay, once again, you guys blow me away. The amount of people saving this to favorites is unreal. I hope you continue to stay with me as I have so many things planned for them.

 

Mrs. Meyer still owns all things Twilight and Dollybigmomma is the beta peanut butter to my writer jelly 🙂

 

Sunday was the one day where I allowed myself to just relax. It was the one day I didn’t head to the gym. It was the only day I stayed in bed until after the sun came up. However, this particular Sunday, I found myself staring at my ceiling, contemplating heading to the gym, the sun not due up for hours. Today was my date with Edward. Nervous was a state I had passed yesterday after the umpteenth text I received from Edward telling me either he was thinking about me or couldn’t wait to see me today.

 

Terrified was where I found myself at the present. What the fuck had I allowed myself to agree to? Here I was, twenty-seven years old and had never been on a single date. I had no idea what to expect. Edward had apologized over and over for not being able to attend dinner last night due to being at the hospital. It had been one of the many wedding meetings that Alice had planned. When we arrived, Jasper handed me an envelope with my name scripted on the front. I tried to hide it away in my purse, but Alice demanded that I read it.

 

My dearest beautiful Bella,

 

I’m so sorry that I can’t be there escorting you tonight. Know that I’m thinking of you as you read this. I promise to make it up to you tomorrow. Enjoy your time with my family. I’ll collect you promptly at ten o’clock in the morning.

 

Thinking of you,

 

Yours always,

 

Edward Cullen

 

I refused to read anything into it. His letter was sweet and unexpected, but it had to be just Edward being a gentleman. That was my favorite thing about him, well, that and his jaw line. At this point, I still couldn’t make it past his jaw when I looked at him without worry of having a heart attack.

 

Dinner was a success and Alice was able to finalize many of the ideas she’d had for the wedding. When it came time for dessert, I had decided to skip it and simply enjoy being with my friends. However, a small piece of tiramisu was placed in front of me. When I reminded our waiter that I didn’t order any dessert, I was informed that it was ordered in advance and he was told to insist I try it. I hadn’t had any desserts in five years as I was terrified I’d gain all my weight back. I chose to have one taste and then give away the rest of the dessert. It was by far the most wonderful thing I had ever tasted. I then offered it to anyone else at the table and without hesitation, Emmett grabbed it up. When it was time to pay, everyone got a bill except for me. When I questioned the waiter, he stated my dinner had already been taken care of. I tried to leave him a sizable tip, but was quickly told that had also been taken care of.

 

When I arrived home, I realized I had left my phone on vibrate in my purse. I had five missed calls, all from Edward. He had left me a voicemail message asking me to call him when I got home regardless of the time so that he would know I was safe. I dialed what I thought was his number and a silky voice answered on the second ring.

 

“Hello, beautiful.”

 

Oh, my god, I had dialed a wrong number.

 

“I’m sorry, I was trying to reach Edward Cullen,” I answered apologetically.

 

“It’s me, Bella, do I sound off to you?” he chuckled.

 

“Oh, I’m sorry. Okay, so I got your message and I’m just calling to let you know that I made it home just fine.”

 

“Glad to hear it. How was dinner?”

 

“Um, it was nice. Your sister made several final decisions so it was productive.” I couldn’t have sounded like a bigger idiot.

 

“That’s major, so how was the tiramisu?”

 

“Umm, how did you know about that?”

 

“Because I called ahead and ordered it for you. Just because I wasn’t able to be with you doesn’t excuse me from taking care of you.”

 

Breathe in, breath out I reminded myself, he was just being a gentleman.

 

“That was very thoughtful of you and completely unnecessary, but thank you,” I said grateful. Was that the best I could come up with? I really was a moron.

 

“You’re very welcome. I’m just sorry I couldn’t enjoy it with you, although you didn’t answer my question, how was it?”

 

“I’m sorry, it was really great. I did share it, though, with Emmett.”

 

“Did you share willingly or did he commandeered it like he always does?” he chuckled.

 

I heard the faint sounds of a pager and then Edward sighed. I knew he was working and I hoped I wasn’t keeping him from anything. Maybe calling was a bad idea, but he did ask me to, but still, I could have just sent him a text, but he told me to call. I was confusing even to myself.

 

“I’m sorry, beautiful, that’s the hospital and I have to let you go. I’ll be at your door at ten o’clock in the morning. We always do a form of tailgating. Sweet dreams and I’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

“Gosh, Edward, I’m so sorry, I’m keeping you from working. Um, thank you again for, um, dinner and have a safe night.”

 

“You need to quit being sorry as I always have time for you. Goodnight, my Bella.”

 

“Goodnight, Edward.”

 

My Bella?

 

I knew sleep was not going to come easily for me tonight and so I chose to seek help from modern medicine. I popped two sleep aids into my mouth and climbed into bed. That night, I dreamed of Edward and Mike. They were both behind the gym with Jessica Stanley. Edward stood in front of her with his cock in her mouth while Mike fucked her from behind. As they each continued to pound into her, they exchanged derogatory comments about me. I woke several times in the night, panting and in a cold sweat.

 

So here I was staring at the ceiling again, trying to calm down. I tried desperately to remind myself that it had only been a dream. I made myself stay in bed until the sun began to rise. I made my way into the bathroom and began to fill the bathtub with hot water. Maybe if I soaked for a while, it would relax me just a little. After I had shaved and washed and conditioned my hair, I closed my eyes and tried to relax. When the water turned cool, I climbed out and headed for the kitchen to make some coffee. With a mug of hot coffee in hand, I made my way to my couch. I still had several hours before Edward was due to pick me up. Curling up with my legs tucked under my body, my mind began to wander.

 

How did this whole date thing work? Were there rules you had to follow? Was I expected to stay with him at all times? What if he tried to hold my hand or place his arm around me? In the movies, there was always a kiss at the end of the date. Oh, god, what if he tried to kiss me? I didn’t know how to kiss, what if I really sucked at kissing? What if he expected something more? What if he wanted to…oh, god…have sex? I couldn’t do this, I had to call and cancel. Ugh, but I couldn’t, I had promised Ben I would try this.

 

Tears began to stream down my face as my heart was pounding in my chest. I tried to take deep breaths, but my body was shaking so badly that I had to put the cup of coffee down on the table. I had no idea how to proceed and I just knew this day would end badly. After several minutes of trying to collect myself, I glanced at the clock and decided to get dressed. I was even clueless as to the proper attire for this date. I decided that it was just best to be myself and chose my Seahawks t-shirt that I always wore on Sundays when my dad and I would watch the game together, along with a pair of skinny jeans. I chose to pull my hair up in a ponytail and grabbed my Seahawks ball cap. I had never watched a professional game in person so I tried to concentrate on that aspect instead of the actual date. True to his word, Edward knocked on my door a few minutes before ten o’clock.

 

“Hi,” he greeted me with a smile. He was also wearing jeans and a Seahawks t-shirt similar to mine along with a zip-up hoodie.

 

“Hi,” I responded back to him.

 

“Are you ready?” he questioned with a smile.

 

“Yes, just let me grab my jacket.” And with that, we headed to his car.

 

We arrived at the stadium less than a half hour later. Edward had told me we would be tailgating and so I was puzzled when we passed the tailgater’s parking lot, but I didn’t question. When we made it to the season ticket holder’s parking lot, we pulled into the valet area and Edward made his way to my door, nearly knocking down the attendant helping me out of the car.

 

“I’ll take it from here,” he spoke through clenched teeth at the attendant who was staring at my boobs.

 

I felt Edward’s hand in the small of my back and my heart rate increased significantly. I tried very hard to just think about being at my first professional game, but the fucker was wearing his Armani cologne again. Edward was greeted by several people as we made our way to the elevators. Once inside, he lowered his hand from my back and then laced his hand in mine, giving me a big squeeze. When I looked up into his face, I was met with the biggest smile I had ever seen.

 

“Bella, I’m so glad you agreed to come with me today and I hope you’re having as great a time as I am.” His voice was filled with genuine joy and it made me smile back at him.

 

“I can assure you I’m having a lot of fun, though I should mention to you that this is the first professional game I’ve ever attended.”

 

“Seriously? First ever? Gosh, Bella, if I’d known that earlier, I would’ve arranged for you to meet some of the players. Well, there’s always next weekend.”

 

Next weekend?

 

The elevator doors opened to reveal a foyer area that was as nice as any hotel I had ever been to. Two very large men stood at the far end blocking a set of glass doors. Edward led me towards the two men, and as we came closer, they addressed Edward.

 

“Ah, Dr. Cullen, good to see you made it this year,” the man on the right said.

 

“Riley, good to see you, man, how’s your beautiful wife?”

 

“She’s great, Dr. Cullen, we’re expecting our first baby any day now. Speaking of beautiful, who’s this you have with you?”

 

My subconscious mind didn’t miss a beat as I slowly turned around to see who the beautiful person was standing behind us that he had referred to.

 

“This beautiful woman is Bella Swan. Bella, this is Riley and Alex, they’re security for the sky boxes.”

 

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Swan. If you need anything, please let us or one of the stewards know right away.”

 

I simply smiled and nodded my head.

 

As we made our way through the double doors, I was surprised to see three bar areas with high-top tables and chairs in the center. Each had linen tablecloths and candles in the center. On the far wall appeared to be an open area to view the actual field. Edward began leading me to the right toward suite number four. I remembered he had said he had season tickets so I figured he was either taking a short cut or we were going to meet more people.

 

Edward opened the door and I was shocked at what I saw. The room was huge; on the left side was another bar with several bar stools. On the right was the biggest flat screen TV I had ever seen hanging on the wall, surrounded with leather couches. Directly in front of me was a wall that appeared to open into the stadium. You could clearly see the other side of the stadium. At the rim of the open area was a half wall of clear glass that had a number of reclining chairs. The room was buzzing with noise as Edward’s entire family was there already. Before I could even blink, I felt the wind being knocked out of me by Emmett’s giant arms hugging me.

 

“Humph,” was all I could muster.

 

“I swear to god, Emmett, if you break her I’ll kick your ass,” Edward hissed while trying to pry Emmett’s arms from around me.

 

“Aw, little bro, I don’t think she’s that fragile,” Emmett chuckled.

 

“Bella!” This time the hug was from Esme and it was a gentle one.

 

“Hello, Esme,” I replied hugging her back.

 

“Isn’t this so wonderful, Jazz? Everything is just perfect today,” Alice came to stand beside me with Jasper in tow.

 

“Bella, what would you like to drink?” Carlisle’s gentle voice caught me off guard as he placed his hand on my shoulder.

 

“Oh, um, I’m good, thank you.” I had a general idea how much drinks cost at these games and I decided to wait until at least half time before ordering anything. I had a hundred dollars on me, but Edward had mentioned we would be going to dinner after and so I needed to save some money for that.

 

“Well, if you change your mind, there are several bars around so just let them know what you want.”

 

“Come on, Bella, let’s go sit and talk.” Alice grabbed me by the arm and led me to the open area on the far wall.

 

The chairs were so comfortable and I was pleasantly surprised at how great a view they overlooked. I was a little disappointed that this was more than likely a temporary spot as again, I wondered where Edward’s tickets would place us.

 

“So, you and my brother are dating?”

 

“Um, no, uh, he just said he had an extra ticket and asked if I’d like to come.” The butterflies in my stomach were in a full frenzy and I was convinced my heart was going to pop out of my chest.

 

I needed to change the subject, not only for my own personal health, but also to avoid any more of Alice’s ridiculous questions. “Hey, Alice, do you happen to know where Edward’s seats are?”

 

“What do you mean? You’re sitting in them.”

 

“No, this is a sky box.”

 

“Bella, Edward owns this sky box. Didn’t he tell you that?”

 

Now the panic was hitting me full force. Corporations owned sky boxes, not individual people, unless…oh, holy shit…Edward had to have been fucking loaded to afford this. I could feel my head spinning and my breathing began to increase. I had to get a grip. This was wilder than I thought, he was fucking gorgeous, and a bloody doctor, and richer than…than…oh, god…

 

I closed my eyes tight and tried to forget everything around me. I opened my eyes and noticed some kids on the field; they were running around trying to win some contest. I watched as they tried to throw water balloons into a piece of plywood that was painted to look like a goal post. I was not certain how long I was lost in thought when I noticed everyone except for Edward had taken a seat. I felt him before I saw him as the air was full of static electricity. He sat down in the chair next to me with a beer in his hand.

 

“Are you sure you don’t want something to drink?”

 

Before I could respond, the calm of the room was interrupted by the shrill of a woman’s voice.

 

“EDDIEKINS!”

 

I spun around in my chair just in time to see Ms. Sex on Legs walk in. She was very beautiful, long curly blonde hair, a body to die for, and legs that went on for miles. She was wearing what appeared at one time to have been a child’s Seahawks t-shirt. The shirt was slit down the front to show off the twins. It was tied in a knot just under her surgically-enhanced assets. Her stomach was flat and perfect. Her skirt started where her pelvic bone began and ended just below her ass cheeks. One could definitely tell she was a waxer. Her boots were what caught my attention, they were at least four inch stiletto heels and ended at her knees, and they were Chanel. Ms. Sex on Legs made her way over to Edward, the twins leading the way, no bra, and she appeared to be cold, just saying.

 

“I’m so sorry, Bella, give me a moment to deal with this.”

 

“Edward,” Carlisle warned.

 

“I’ve got it, Dad,” Edward sighed as his hands quickly found their way to his jean pockets.

 

I tried really hard not to look at her, but it was like trying not to look at a traffic accident, you just couldn’t look away. This had to be the girl he was seeing. It made perfect sense, she looked like a Playboy centerfold and he was just, well, fuck, he was just perfect, too. I did glance down at her very lovely Chanel boots and noticed they were most definitely last season’s, and they really did need a good cleaning. What idiot spent three grand on boots and then didn’t take care of them?

 

“Bella, honey, I know what you’re thinking, but…”

 

“Really, Alice, you knew I was thinking about how she was destroying those Chanel boots?”

 

“Pfff, like she cares, Edward should be the one who’s pissed, he bought them,” Rosalie spoke with distain in her voice.

 

Before I could react to that statement, my cell began to ring. I checked the caller ID and found it to be my mother calling. Renee and I always made time to talk on Sundays as she worked nights as a nurse. I sprang from my chair, pointed to my cell, and mouthed to Edward as I passed him, “I needed to take this.” He responded with a smile and a wink. I made my way out to the hall before I answered the phone.

 

“Hey, Mom.”

 

“Hey, sweetheart, how are you? Are you watching the game?”

 

“Funny you should mention that, as I’m actually here.”

 

“Really, wow, not all by yourself I hope.”

 

“No, actually, Alice’s brother had an extra ticket and invited me.”

 

“Really, so you’re on a date? Oh, my god, I want details! Wait, no, I want pictures!”

 

“Sorry, Mom, but he was only being nice to me because I’m Alice’s friend. Actually, I think he’s talking to his girlfriend right now, only he doesn’t look very happy.”

 

I was sitting at one of the high-top tables and had a clear view of the two of them. He was avoiding eye contact with her and still had his hands in his pocket. She was rocking back and forth on her heels and twirling a piece of hair. I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong with this picture. I continued my conversation with my mom and filled her in on the calendar, leaving out my meltdown over the tattoo. She encouraged me to go back to the game and made me promise to call her when I got home tonight.

 

During the time I had been on the phone with my mother, Edward and Ms. Sex had moved closer to me and they were now blocking the door back into the suite. I decided it would be better for me to wait until they were finished with their conversation. I noticed that several older men had taken seats at the tables around me. I decided to walk over to the glass wall and look to see if the game had started yet. To my surprise, the introductions were being made and the 49ers were taking the field. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning watching what was taking place on the field below me. I had watched hundreds of game with my dad, but this was so surreal.

 

Lost in the moment, I temporarily forgot all about what was going on around me. My attention to the happenings on the football field was broken by a sultry British voice behind me.

 

“Hello.”

 

  1. Chapter 12

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 12

 

If Mrs. Meyer’s version of Edward in her head was as hot as mine, she’d have smoke coming out her ears. Dollybigmomma helps me with my kindling, just saying’…

 

I slowly turned around to find a tall slender man standing behind me. He was wearing a Seahawks ball cap and Ray-Bans. The little bit of hair that was sticking out of the cap was dark brown. He had a smile that was contagious.

 

“Hello,” I replied back.

 

“Mind if I join you?”

 

“Oh, I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to hog the whole window.” I stepped to the right a few steps and returned my eyes to the field.

 

“My I ask your name?”

 

I looked to my right, but I saw no one else standing there. I then turned back to the very handsome British man. “Are you speaking to me?”

 

“Why yes, yes, I am.”

 

I took a second to really look at him. His face seemed so familiar, where did I know him from? My brain went into overdrive and then it hit me, but it couldn’t be…

 

“My name is Isabella, but my friends call me Bella.”

 

The smile quickly left his face and his eyes turned away from me. “Bloody hell, you know who I am, don’t you?”

 

“Well, I wasn’t certain, but you just confirmed it for me.”

 

“So can you at least not start screaming and drawing attention to us? I’ll give you an autograph if it’ll help. But can I have your real name now?”

 

He removed his sunglasses to reveal his very beautiful blue eyes, the dark circles now present, and his face looked very pale.

 

“I’m not going to start screaming, and why in the hell would I want your autograph? And my name really is Bella.”

 

“Well, it seems every female I meet wants me to sign something.”

 

“Well, Mr. Pattinson, I can assure you that I’m a female, but I don’t want you to sign anything.”

 

“So you know my name, but do you know what I do?”

 

“Um, yes, you play that broody vampire in those movies everyone is raving about, am I right?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“So…?”

 

“You’re certain you don’t want to jump up and down and beg me to sign something?”

 

“Mr. Pattinson…”

 

“Please, Bella, call me Rob.”

 

“Okay, Rob, did you write the books?”

 

“Um, no, no I didn’t.”

 

“Then I’ll pass on the autograph.”

 

“Can we grab a pint? I’d really like to get to know you a little better, you fascinate me.”

 

“Well, how about we talk while I’m waiting.”

 

We made our way over to one of the tall tables. The bartender placed a tall glass of amber liquid in front of him and he drank half of it in one gulp.

 

“So what is it exactly you’re waiting on, if I may ask?”

 

“Do you see that couple that’s blocking that door?”

 

I directed his attention to Ms. Sex and Edward.

 

“Oh, you mean the tart and the git who keeps shooting me daggers?”

 

I hadn’t noticed Edward ever look up from the floor and Ms. Sex now had her attention on one of the security men.

 

“He isn’t your boyfriend is he?”

 

“No, but I think he’s hers.”

 

“Who, the strawberry tart? No, he doesn’t seem to be involved with her, but he does seem to fancy you.”

 

“No, there’s where you’re wrong, he’s just a really nice guy. We’re just friends and his sister is one of my best friends.”

 

“Isabella, I see how he’s watching you, he definitely likes you.”

 

“Watching me? His eyes haven’t left the floor in twenty minutes.”

 

Rob’s eyes turned in my direction as his facial features began to change into that of humor. His body began to shake with chuckles as he lit up a cigarette, taking a deep drag and tilting his head back while releasing the smoke into the air.

 

“Bella, look at his body language, he hasn’t looked at her the entire time they’ve been talking. He appears to care less as to anything she’s had to say. As for the way he looks at you, that’s a whole different story.”

 

I took a few moments to really look at Edward and Ms. Sex. Edward’s hands remained in his jean pockets while his eyes remained glaring at the floor. Despite what Rob was telling me, it still felt like they belonged together, they just fit. As I continued to watch them, Edward did look my way, a smile appearing on his face and he winked at me, followed by mouthing “I’m sorry” at me. I returned his smile, trying to reassure him it wasn’t a big deal, he owed me no apology.

 

“Bella, can I ask you a question?” Rob’s voice interrupted breaking my silent conversation with Edward.

 

“Of course, Rob.”

 

“Can I get your number? I’d like to take you out sometime.”

 

Before I could answer him, he grabbed my phone and began pressing buttons. I could hear the faint sound of a vibrating noise and realized he had called his phone from mine.

 

“There, now I have your number and you have mine. When you get tired of that bloke and his tart, ring me up.”

 

With that, he rose from his seat and with a quick peck to my cheek and a stroke of his hand down my neck, he left the room. Edward was now standing alone in the doorway looking a bit distraught. As I made eye contact, he made his way over to my table.

 

“Bella, I’m so sorry,” he began to run his finger through his hair. A nervous habit I was beginning to recognize.

 

“No need to apologize, she really was very pretty, you’re, um, girlfriend, I’m sorry, I don’t know her name.”

 

I wanted him to know I wasn’t offended that she was here. I could catch a cab and he could continue on with her.

 

“You’re wrong, Bella, on all accounts, that was not my girlfriend. Her name is Tanya and I really do owe you an apology. I should’ve let my dad handle her.”

 

Not his girlfriend? Why did she need handling? It was none of my business.

 

“Can we discuss this later? I’d really like to get back to the game and just enjoying my time with you,” he requested.

 

“Sure, I’d like that.”

 

And with that we rose from the table and made our way back into the suite. We spent the next four hours cheering and laughing with his family. The only other interruption was when one of the security guards came in and requested a moment with Edward, but he wasn’t gone more than a minute. It was the most fun I’d had in a very long time.

 

When the game ended and the Seahawks had won, we made our way out of the suite.

 

“Goodnight, Bella, Edward,” Esme said as she hugged each of us.

 

“See you in the morning!” Alice shouted as she got into her car.

 

Edward and I made our way to his car that the valet had brought around. As soon as I had my seatbelt firmly fastened, Edward began to pull away. Once we cleared the heavy traffic from the field, he began to speak.

 

“So, Bella, I’d like to take you back to my apartment so that we could have some privacy while we have dinner and get to know each other, but only if you’re comfortable with that. I’m happy to take you to any restaurant if you’d prefer being in public.”

 

I didn’t understand why he would be worried about going to his apartment. It wasn’t like I expected anything to happen, this was my boss’s brother and I trusted him. He had his pick of any girl in the world and I was certain it would never be me, so dinner and conversation I could handle.

 

“Your apartment is fine, and thank you for the game, it was really a great time.”

 

“I’m glad you enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun as well.”

 

The ride to his apartment was filled with small talk. We talked about different places in the city and places we had visited. We discussed his family and the closeness he felt to them. When we arrived in his parking garage, I noticed it was only two blocks from where I lived. As we made our way to the elevators, Edward took my hand in his, lacing his fingers with mine.

 

“Is this okay?” he squeezed my fingers to direct his meaning.

 

His hand was so warm and his skin so soft. His thumb began rubbing circles across the knuckle of my thumb. A strange and warm sensation began to cover my entire body. I was unable to respond with anything more than a nod.

 

When we finally reached his door, he let go of my hand to use his keys, allowing me to go in ahead of him.

 

“Make yourself at home. It’s not much as it’s only temporary. I just can’t live at my parent’s house anymore.”

 

I made my way down the long entry hall. He had nothing on the walls and very little furniture.

 

“Temporary? But I thought you just accepted a job at Virginia Mason?” I asked questioningly.

 

“Oh, yes, it’s temporary because I’ve hired an architect to design a home for me. It’s time I settled down and established some roots.”

 

That made sense, he was a doctor and Tanya was gorgeous, she would make a good trophy wife for him. I could just imagine their children. They would be seriously beautiful.

 

I made my way over to his large balcony window that overlooked downtown Seattle. The sun had just begun to set and I was reminded of the last time I’d had this kind of view, the night of Alice’s engagement party. Yeah, that went over so well…

 

“Well, I’m glad to hear you’re staying. I can imagine Esme and Carlisle are excited to have all of their children in the same city again.”

 

I felt two strong hands grab my shoulders and squeeze gently. My heart began to race as I could feel his breath on my right cheek. Slowly, his arms engulfed me in a gentle hug, his chin resting on my right shoulder, and I could feel his entire body against my back.

 

I couldn’t say how long we stood there looking out the window, with Edward wrapped around me. I lost all sense of everything around me. I closed my eyes and waited to hear the sounds of my alarm clock because this simply had to be a dream.

 

“That’s not all they’re happy about,” his voice was so soft, and as he spoke, he brushed his lips along my jaw and up to the shell of my ear.

 

I was once again frozen where I stood. I had no idea why he was doing this. Ben was the first real guy friend I had ever had and he never did anything like this to me. I was now ready to go into full panic mode.

 

“Come, let’s sit and talk for a minute. We need to clear a few things up.”

 

Edward released his hold on me. When I turned to face him, he grabbed my hand and led me to a nearby leather sofa. Once we were both seated, he turned his body to face me.

 

“So, I’ve been thinking a lot about what you said the other day in your office and I’ve come to some decisions that I’d like to share with you.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“First, I have to clear something up. Um…Tanya…”

 

“Tanya? Oh, the pretty lady from the game, your girlfriend…”

 

“Yes, Tanya, and she’s NOT my girlfriend, didn’t I tell you that earlier?”

 

“I’m sorry, you two just look like you belong together.”

 

“That’s not a road I ever want to travel down again. Yes, we did date a while back, but I had to break things off when she began lying to me. Bella, honesty is very important to me. I have a hard time with people who can’t tell me the truth.”

 

“I can understand that.”

 

“No, Bella, it’s a huge deal with me. I cannot tolerate dishonesty.” Shit, what had she lied about? Edward must have sensed my curiosity.

 

“Tanya took it upon herself to lie about little things. Like this one time, I gave her my credit card to go pick up dinner for us and she took that as an open invitation to go shopping the next day. When I asked her about it, she told me the charges weren’t hers.

 

“The thing is, Bella, I didn’t care if she went shopping. Hell, she dragged me shopping plenty of times. It was the lie she told me that was the deal-breaker.”

 

“I can understand your frustrations, but what if she told you she was sorry?”

 

“It doesn’t matter. Besides, that wasn’t the first time she’d gotten caught in a lie, but it was the last as I ended things with her that night.”

 

“Okay, so honesty is important to you, I get it. Do you think that I’ve been dishonest with you?”

 

“I’m not sure. Um, what you said about your relationships, or rather lack thereof; it just makes me wonder and I can’t quite wrap my head around it. I mean you’re a beautiful and intelligent woman, you have to have had men asking you out all this time.”

 

“Well, I’m sorry you feel that way, but it’s the truth. There’s never been anyone. Ever.”

 

I was on the edge of getting really pissed at him at this point. Who the fuck was he to question my life?

 

“Bella, if you say it’s the truth then I believe you,” his words quickly cut off my mental rambling.

 

“So, can I ask you about the guy you were talking to at the game?” I had to think for a minute before I remembered he was talking about Rob.

 

“Sure, what do you want to know?”

 

“Well, I overheard him say that he wanted to take you out sometime, are you considering it?”

 

Was he for real? This was Rob Pattinson we were talking about. Hell no, I was not considering it.

 

“Listen, Bella, before you answer, let me say something. I have no right to ask you that question and I know I have no claim on you whatsoever, but I want to have one. I want the entire world to know you’re with me.”

 

Okay, waiting again on the alarm clock…

 

“Bella, please, say something.”

 

Say something? How was I supposed to respond to that? He wanted me? But I was plain, I was me, and he was fuck-hot and that didn’t work together…and…and…

 

“Edward, I…I…oh, fuck! Okay, first, I haven’t a fucking clue how to be someone’s girlfriend…and…and as said girlfriends go, I’m certain you’ll expect certain things like kissing and…and…oh, god…blowjobs. Shit, Edward, I haven’t even kissed a fucking guy yet and, ugh, what if I really suck at it? I mean kissing and sex…and I don’t have a clue…”

 

“Bella,” his voice was gentle as he reached out and placed his hand on my knee, causing my meltdown to stop, “Being my girlfriend has nothing to do with blowjobs or sex. Not that I’m opposed to either, but I’m glad you have no experience with those things, do you want to know why?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“I’m glad because if you’ll allow me to, I’d be honored to be all of your firsts. Bella, I don’t take this lightly, I’m glad you’ve waited. I’d like to think you were waiting for me.”

 

The look in his eyes was pure honesty. Could it be true that he really wanted this?

 

“You have to know that I really don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know how many times a day to call you or, or not to call you. I can honestly say that I’m not ready to have sex any time soon. But…”

 

I was out of gas. Did I want to be Edward’s girlfriend? Could I do this?

 

“Bella, there are no rules in dating; you just have to want to be with me. Do you even want that? Because I can tell you I want that really bad.”

 

“No expectations?” I questioned.

 

“Nope,” he replied.

 

“You understand I may not be ready for sex for many more years.”

 

“I’m aware, it’s not an issue.”

 

“Okay, so how do I do this? How do I… “

 

My words were cut off by the ringing of my phone. “Hot Vampire” appeared on the screen.

 

“You start by telling that British git you’re taken; or I could do it for you,” his smile now appearing.

 

I chose to hit ignore and sent Rob to voicemail.

 

Oh, my god, I had a boyfriend.

 

Oh, my gosh, this chapter really wrote itself, as in I just couldn’t stop. I battled about putting in Robert Pattinson and I hope you stay with me on this one. He does reappear. Mike is also far from gone, trust me. Thank you to everyone who is still reading!

 

  1. Chapter 13

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 13

 

Ever had one of those mornings where you woke up before your alarm and actually felt rested? As I curled deeper into my cocoon of warms covers and endless softness, my dream from the previous night was still fresh in my mind. If I just kept my eyes closed, maybe I could get back to it. Last night’s dream was one that I’d be filing away as daydream material for future use.

 

I was dating Dr. Edward Cullen.

 

The sound of my alarm failed to remove the smile from my face. Yes, this dream was going in the books. I silenced my annoying alarm and flung my covers back. “Back to the real world,” I thought aloud. With my bed made and my bag slung over my shoulder, I made my way to my living room. Quickly pulling my Blackberry off the charger and grabbing my keys, I headed out to start my day. My first order of business was a good workout.

 

Quickly stashing my bag in my locker, I made my way over to my favorite treadmill. The TV closest to me had one of the major news networks flashing its daily dose of doom and gloom; this reason alone was why I chose to stay locked in books. Placing my ear buds in, I selected my “Monday Morning” workout playlist. I then selected my warm-up speed as the guitar riff began in my ear, the loud strains of Thunderstruck by AC/CD shouting in my ear as my speed increased.

 

The memory of lunch with Edward came running to my mind. “What’s on your iPod right now?” he had asked. I had to smile at the memory of his face. Thanks to my wonderful dream last night, I was able to reach my target heart rate in no time.

 

After my successful workout, I made my way to the dressing room. I was thankful that my gym provided private shower suites. I retrieved my toiletries from my locker and made my way into the shower area. The gym had the best water pressure on the planet and I always looked forward to my hot showers. The sight of my hand reaching for my shampoo bottle sent me back to a flashback of sorts…

 

I was sitting on a leather sofa beside Edward, laughing and talking. Edward was holding my hand, playing with my fingers, slowly caressing each one before lacing our hands together and bringing them to his lips. His eyes fixed on mine as he tenderly kissed each tip…

 

I couldn’t help but giggle. If there was one thing I was allowed to do, it was dream.

 

“Bella!” the sweet sound of Delilah’s voice greeted me when I opened the door. The smell of fresh coffee and sugar overtook me as the familiar ringing of the doorbell sounded above me. Her smile was genuine and comforting. Samson had his back to me this morning, finishing whatever task he had begun before my arrival.

 

“Good morning, Ms. Delilah, Mr. Samson.” My coffee was already waiting on the counter as usual. God, how I loved these two, it was beautiful to see someone have a love that had withstood the test of time and the amount of time they spent together. The way they moved in sync with each other, the small touches they shared, the way he would take her hand and dance when a particular song came on the radio, it was just awe-inspiring. I couldn’t remember ever seeing them cross with each other. I wanted that, all of it, the good and the bad.

 

Before I could thank them for my coffee, my Blackberry began to ring. I did not even bother to check the caller ID; only one person would call me this early in the morning.

 

“Tell Alice it’s too early to be so demanding,” Samson said with a smile.

 

I returned the smile and held up one finger as if to indicate for him to wait and listen. “Hey, Samson says it’s too early for you to be so demanding,” I chuckled as I reached for my cup of coffee.

 

“Good morning, beautiful, um, who the hell is Samson and what’s he doing with MY girlfriend this early in the morning.”

 

My hand stopped in mid-air, my breathing hitched and my heart stopped as I recognized the husky deep voice on the phone. I could feel the heat rising from my chest to my throat and finally resting in my face. Closing my eyes, I tried to calm my heart back down. When I opened my eyes again, both Samson and Delilah’s eyes were fixed on my shocked face, looks of concern now plastered on their faces.

 

“Good…good morning, Edward. Um, Samson owns the coffee shop I go to for coffee every day. You’ve had it, the first day at Alice’s office, remember?”

 

I looked at Samson and Delilah, who now had knowing smiles on their faces. Delilah blew me a kiss and Samson winked at me. I grabbed my tray of coffee and made my way to the door.

 

“Ah, yes, I remember. Didn’t he also deliver to the calendar shoot?” he asked with a hint of relief in his voice.

 

“Yes, that was him, and his wife, Delilah.”

 

“Well, I guess he’s okay then, but I’m keeping my eye on him,” Edward sounded serious.

 

“Whatever, Edward, he’s like seventy-five and hopelessly in love with his wife.” I chuckled at the thought of anything happening between Samson and me. Just…ew!

 

“Yeah, well, anyway, I know you work out in the morning so I was taking a chance that you were finished and I wanted to catch you before you got to the office. I, um, spoke with my family last night after I dropped you off at your apartment and I just wanted to warn you, actually prepare you, for what’s facing you when you get there.”

 

The dream had been real. The realization hit me like a ton of bricks. The hand holding, his kisses on my fingertips, it was all real. His girlfriend was what he had called me, which was what we had decided last night.

 

“What do you mean? What’s waiting for me?” I tried to hide the panic in my voice, but I was pretty certain he could hear it.

 

“Well, I told my mom, who then called Alice, who just happened to behaving drinks with Emmett and Rosalie, and she told them about us. Well, just be prepared to have a lot of questions asked.” It was actually quite funny to hear the uneasiness in his voice; I had always been exposed to confident Edward, so this was surreal.

 

“You really spoke with your mom about this? I mean, um, about us?”

 

“Yeah, why wouldn’t I? Bella, you have to understand, there are no secrets in my family.”

 

“Well, I guess that’s okay, I mean that you’re close and all.”

 

I did find this hard to believe, only because I didn’t divulge anything to anyone. No one except for me knew the entire truth about anything in my life and I planned to keep to that way, Edward included. I continued my way to my office, taking the stairs as usual.

 

“Okay, I’m now in my office so I’m going to let you go now.”

 

I wasn’t certain how to end the call; bye, see ya later, miss ya?

 

“Okay, well, I wish I could take you to lunch today, but I’m afraid I have several meetings lined up, although I’m fairly certain my mom and sisters have plans for you.”

 

“Actually, I’m pretty sure I’ll be eating at my desk as I have to make a huge dent in getting the calendar together.”

 

“Okay, beautiful, enjoy your day and don’t spend too much time staring at my picture, give my partners a chance.”

 

I decided to have a little fun with him.

 

“Actually, I don’t think any of your pictures turned out so, um, I’ll be looking at Dr. Black a lot today.”

 

“Not if I have my say about it,” his voice was low and husky.

 

“Just kidding, Dr. Cullen, I’m just kidding.”

 

“You know, Ms. Swan, I quite enjoy the way my name rolls off those pretty lips of yours.”

 

“Yes, well, um, I have to get to work now. I’ll talk to you later perhaps?”

 

“Yes, you will, bye, sweetheart.”

 

“Bye, Dr. Cullen.”

 

I placed my Blackberry on my desk and turned on my computer. The first order of the day was to figure out this whole girlfriend role. I did the only thing I knew to do; I Googled it.

 

I typed in, how to be a good girlfriend.

 

I was shocked at the amount of information that was listed. I chose an article from a popular website.

 

Here’s how to make your guy insanely happy by being a good girlfriend and make your guy’s friends jealous that they don’t have you.

 

Step 1: Involve him in conversations about things that interest you both. Avoid talking his ear off about a one-sided topic. Yes, that Coach bag was adorable, but he probably doesn’t care.

 

Step 2: Be independent without clinging, stalking, or sending an overabundance of emails/texts. This creeps men out and makes you look needy.

 

Step 3: Appreciate him in all ways. Do not look to change him.

 

Step 4: He doesn’t have to like your friends. He does have to be polite to them. Don’t yell at him for not liking them.

 

Step 5: Have realistic expectations. Guys live on budgets, too, so unless your guy is rich, expensive restaurants and gifts will be the exception, not the rule.

 

Step 6: Marriage – you should care who you’re marrying, it’s not a race. Don’t bring it up until you really know him well enough to say you want to marry him.

 

Step 7: Be straightforward and avoid head games.

 

Step 8: Let him spend time enjoying the activities that he likes. See action movies with him or let him play his video games a fair amount of the time.

 

Step 9: Be honest, loyal, and respectful.

 

Step 10: If you’re ending it, do so in person when possible. Phone is your other choice. Email/text messages/instant messenger or Facebook are not acceptable methods.

 

The list didn’t sound too difficult and so with my newfound information, I set off for Alice’s office.

 

Edward was right; there perched on Alice’s couch was Esme, Rosalie, and Angela. Alice was seated behind her desk talking away on the phone. I crossed the room, handing Alice her coffee and messages and then made my way to an empty chair. Once Alice was off the phone, I took in a deep breath and waited for the Spanish Inquisition to begin.

 

“Good morning, Bella,” Esme’s voice broke the silence.

 

“Good morning, Mrs. Cullen, how are you this morning?”

 

“I’d be completely perfect if you’d just call me Esme.” Her smile and was heartfelt and made its way to her eyes.

 

“My apologies, Esme.”

 

I scanned the room, taking each woman in. The Cullen women were beyond beautiful. Wars had been started over women not half as beautiful. What was I here for again?

 

“Well, it seems a celebration lunch is in order today, am I correct, Bella?” Esme spoke as she opened her phone; it appeared she was reading a message.

 

“I’m sorry, celebrating what?”

 

“If my rather lengthy conversation with Edward was correct, then we have a lot to celebrate.”

 

I scanned the room again, every eye was on me. The look of complete and utter bliss was etched on each of their faces. You would have thought I was holding the key to the Prada spring line. I wondered briefly just what Edward had shared with each of them. Did I really want to know? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

 

“Esme, you’re far too kind. But I feel I must decline as I have a mountain of work sitting on my desk. Can we plan for another day?”

 

I wasn’t lying, I had so many photos to wade through and pick out only the best, and then I had to separate them into…

 

“I’m sorry, dear. That wasn’t a request to join us for lunch, it was a statement. Twelve thirty at the 321 Club. I’ll expect you to arrive with Alice.” With those words, she rose from the couch with Rosalie in tow and exited the room.

 

Note to self…don’t fuck with Esme Cullen.

 

  1. Chapter 14

 

Mrs. Meyer owns it all, I just enjoy playing, and Dollybigmomma makes it all pretty.

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 14

 

Much to my surprise, Alice didn’t grill me about my evening with her brother. I was able to leave the room and actually get several stacks of pictures waded through. I reluctantly decided to leave the Cullen men to another day and started with Dr. Black. Well, reluctance was a relative term, anyone having seen Dr. Black’s bare chest would understand how much of a problem this wasn’t.

 

Edward had texted me a number of times and each time it made me smile.

 

I miss you, sweet girl -E

 

I understand you’re having lunch with my mom? So much for lunch at your desk ; ) -E

 

Can we have dinner together? -E

 

Can’t stop thinking about you, beautiful. I miss you -E

 

At twelve fifteen, I found myself standing outside the 321 Club. Esme pulled up directly behind us so I waited patiently. She approached the entrance, the doorman greeting her with a smile as he opened the door, “Ah, Mrs. Cullen, how lovely to see you this afternoon. How are you?”

 

“Hello, George, I’m wonderful as I have my daughters joining me for lunch.”

 

“Yes, yes, will Dr. Cullen be joining you this afternoon?” George’s white-gloved hand took Esme’s, assisting her through the glass entry doors.

 

“Not today, George. I want my daughters all to myself today,” she spoke with a chuckle.

 

“Very well, Mrs. Cullen, you ladies enjoy your lunch.”

 

Everyone responded in unison, “Thank you, George.”

 

Upon entering the restaurant, the hostess area was crammed full with waiting patrons. I internally cringed at the thought of how long the wait would be, my guess being forty-five minutes to an hour. To my utter shock, a man in a suit came out of the crowd and began escorting us to the back of the restaurant. I didn’t see Esme check with the hostess so I wasn’t certain if she had made reservation, but I chose not to ask. We were seated at a large round table that sat on a balcony overlooking a beautiful a rose garden. The ornate fountain bubbled below, with foam cascading on the surface. Men in white shirts pulled our chairs out for us and wine was already being poured.

 

“Mrs. Cullen, it’s so good to see you and your lovely family today,” the man in the suit spoke as he placed a menu into Esme’s hands.

 

“Thank you, John,” Esme replied sweetly.

 

“It’s a pleasure to see you again, Ms. Rosalie,” he nodded as he placed a menu in her hands, “And Ms. Alice, it’s lovely to see you as well.”

 

Finally, he made his way over to my chair and extended a menu to me. I smiled politely and opened the menu and began to read.

 

“John, this is Bella.” I tore my attention from my menu to look at Esme.

 

“Edward’s Bella?” he questioned with a smile.

 

“Yes, John, Edward’s Bella.”

 

“Well, Ms. Bella, Edward was correct; you’re quite breathtaking.”

 

Come again…?

 

I couldn’t respond so I simply smiled. Upon further reading of the menu in my hand, I noticed there were no prices for the items. I remembered a quote I’d once heard, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. I made a quick mental tally of the available credit on my Visa card and decided I had better stick with a small salad and water. Once I gave the waiter my request and handed him my menu, Esme began to speak.

 

“Bella, we need to set up a time for you to have your measurements done for you dress for the Gala.”

 

“Oh, well, um, I wasn’t aware I was going to be there. I mean aren’t tickets very expensive and hard to come by?”

 

“Why wouldn’t you be there? You’ll be attending with Edward, of course. As far as tickets, you needn’t worry. Besides, you’ll be helping not only with the calendar, but I’ll need your help with the silent auction as well.”

 

“Well, then I’ll be glad to assist.” I was not going to argue with her. If I thought Rosalie was scary, she had nothing on Esme.

 

“Wonderful! Now, Bella, I need you to put your thinking cap on and come up with some really good auction items. You need to be aware that the foundation ladies have a little competition every year to see whose items bring in the most money and I’m very proud to say that our family has won the past three years.”

 

Oh, great, no bloody pressure here…

 

“I’ll see what I can do, Esme.”

 

The delivery of plates cut off any additional conversation as it seemed we were all hungry. Well, they were. I was busy doing my usual internal panic when my Blackberry vibrated.

 

John tells me you look beautiful – E

 

I tried to be discreet when I responded.

 

Yes, well, John needs an eye exam -B

 

Nope, sweetheart, I have 20/20 vision and I agree with him -E

 

You’re very kind, Dr. Cullen -B

 

How was lunch with the family? -E

 

Before I even had a chance to respond, I felt my Blackberry being ripped from my hand by Alice. She quickly dialed a familiar number as I waited to see who she had called.

 

“Eww, Edward, that was just wrong. Does Bella even like that?”

 

OH, SHIT!

 

“Whatever! Stop texting Bella so she can finish her lunch, you big ass.”

 

She didn’t even wait for an answer as she ended the call and turned my phone off. Bitch!

 

“Alice, why did you do that?” Rosalie questioned. She had been quiet most of the time we were here and I had almost forgotten she was at the table.

 

“Because he has to learn that he can’t have her all to himself. Rosalie, you know how Edward gets and Bella needs to eat; she’s too damn skinny as it is,” Alice’s hand wrapped around my bicep trying to emphasize her point.

 

“I’m not skinny, Alice.” My weight had been a big focus since college. I worked my ass off, literally, and I would do anything to keep my weight down.

 

“Bella’s fine, Alice, leave her alone,” Esme quickly defended me. “Besides, she should enjoy looking great now as that can all change once she and Edward have children.”

 

Have children? I had never thought about even the remote possibility of having children. I would need a husband first and that wasn’t even a possibility, was it? No, I reminded myself, it wasn’t.

 

I decided to change the subject quickly, no reason to talk about something that wasn’t going to happen. I remembered Rosalie had wanted to discuss Alice’s upcoming bachelorette party. I decided now was the perfect time for that discussion.

 

“Rosalie, can we discuss Alice’s bachelorette party?”

 

“Oh, yes, we should. What did you have in mind, Bella?” Rosalie asked now distracted and the subject of my weight and children was quickly forgotten.

 

“Well, since we both know how Alice is, I think that in order to save all of us much irritation and lost sleep, we should just ask her what she wants us to do.”

 

Everyone looked at me and then burst out laughing. I was right, Alice was a control freak and she wouldn’t be happy if she wasn’t in control of every aspect of this entire wedding. So why not let her be in control of this as well?

 

“So, what’s it going to be, Alice-zilla?”

 

Before Alice could respond, the waiter placed a dessert plate in front of me. It appeared to be a dark chocolate brownie with mint ice cream atop, hot fudge was drizzled over the top, and it was finished with a mountain of whipped cream. My reaction was quick and un-planned as I asked the waiter to please take it away.

 

“Bella, honey, you didn’t even try it,” Esme’s voice was barely a whisper.

 

I closed my eyes and deliberated on the best way to approach this. I didn’t want to appear ungrateful or rude, but on the same token, I knew my personal demons. Dessert was not my friend; it was a vice, a crutch, one I refused to use. Taking a deep breath, I settled my shoulders and prepared to address Esme.

 

“Esme, I don’t mean to seem disrespectful or rude, but I don’t eat dessert of any kind, ever. I just can’t.”

 

I tried to convey to her that I wasn’t being ungrateful; I wanted her to like me. This was the one thing in my life I had to stand firm on, though.

 

“Bella, that’s probably a wise choice, and I’m willing to bet it’s the reason you have such beautiful skin.”

 

Alright, it was official, Edward’s mommy rocked.

 

Alice took the silence that followed as an open mic for her to share her plans for her party. She decided she wanted an all-day spa treatment followed by dinner at her favorite restaurant, concluding with drinks at her favorite dance club. With lunch completed, we all parted ways and Alice and I made our way back to the office. I sat down at my desk when I remembered Alice had shut off my Blackberry.

 

I had just powered it up when it began to ring. The caller ID indicated it was Robert Pattinson. My curiosity got the best of me and I answered.

 

“Hello, my favorite vampire.”

 

“Well, hello to my favorite non-fan.” His voice was a combination of joy and seduction and I internally rolled my eyes. I was quite certain that most women would have had wet panties at this point, but I wasn’t affected.

 

“What’s up? How’s the movie coming?”

 

“Actually, shooting is going splendidly, and the reason for my call is to ask you to join me for dinner this weekend.”

 

Shit, shit, and double shit.

 

“Oh, um, well, you see…do you remember the guy I was waiting on at the game?”

 

“Yes, the dagger-shooting git?”

 

“He’s not a git, but yes, him. He and I have decided to try being in a relationship.”

 

“Oh, bloody fucking hell, when did this happen?”

 

“Last night.”

 

“Well, I guess congratulations are in order then. Does he know how lucky a git he is?”

 

“Robert, he has a name so be nice.”

 

“I’m sorry, please forgive my rudeness. What’s his name?”

 

“Edward Cullen.” I truly did like the way his name sounded. It was a strong name.

 

“Edward Cullen? Dr. Edward Cullen? Please tell me you aren’t dating the Dr. Edward Anthony Cullen.”

 

“Well, I don’t know his middle name, but he is a doctor.”

 

I heard Robert take in a deep breath and he began to chuckle, “Well, love, you might want to Google your new boyfriend. Go ahead, I’ll wait.”

 

Now I was a little frightened. Was he a convicted murder? Was he married? Oh, god, was he really a woman? I turned to my computer and quickly began typing in his name. With everything I had learned previously, it would not come close to the truth. My eyes grew huge as I began to read the screen.

 

  1. EDWARD ANTHONY CULLEN, MD, WAS RECENTLY HONORED BY THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, RECEIVING ITS MOST PRESTEGOUS AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE. HIS RECENT INVENTION OF THE ESME CLAMP HAS CHANGED FOREVER THE WAY CARDIOLOGISTS PERFORM BYPASS SURGERY. THE CLAMP IS CUSTOM-MADE TO THE SURGEON’S HANDS AND DECREASES THE TIME OF THE PROCEDURE BY HALF. DR. EDWARD CULLEN IS FROM A LONG LINE OF CARDIOLOGISTS. HIS FATHER IS DR. CARLISLE A. CULLEN, MD, AND HIS GRANDFATHER WAS DR. ANTHONY E. CULLEN, MD. DR. EDWARD CULLEN DEVELOPED THIS CLAMP WHILE STILL ATTENDING MEDICAL SCHOOL. WITH THE POPULARITY OF THIS CLAMP AND A LONG PATENT REMAINING IN EFFECT FOR THE NEXT SEVENTY YEARS, IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT DR. CULLEN IS CURRENTLY ON FORBES’ LIST OF THE TOP THREE PERCENT OF THE WEALTHIEST MEN IN THE WORLD. ALTHOUGH DR. CULLEN IS A MUCH SOUGHT-AFTER SURGEON, HE HAS RECENTLY CHOSEN TO RETURN TO SEATTLE TO PRACTICE ALONGSIDE HIS FATHER AND BROTHER.

 

At the end of the article was a picture of Edward and his father. Edward was accepting a plaque from a bald man.

 

“Holy shit.” With all the words in the English language, you would have thought I could have picked a few better ones.

 

“Yes, my love, you’ve bagged yourself quite a catch,” Robert’s voice almost sounded sad.

 

“Well, it’s not like I knew any of this beforehand.”

 

“No one was accusing you of being a gold-digger, Bella.”

 

“Not yet, anyway.”

 

“Listen, I’ll be honest with you. I’m a lot jealous that he was quicker than me at asking you out. But I’ve learned that until there’s a ring on the finger, there’s always hope. I still want us to be friends. It’s nice to talk to a girl that doesn’t shake and scream hysterically when I walk into a room.”

 

“Okay, um, I’d really like to be friends. I could always scream at you like a banshee if you ever need it.” I was really glad he wanted to be friends.

 

“Nope, I just want you screaming my name…sorry, sorry. That was rude even for me. God, Bella, I owe you one for that.”

 

As shocking as his admission was, I was instantly taken back to a conversation that I’d had earlier in the day. The idea hit me and I couldn’t contain my excitement.

 

“Hey, it’s okay. But I think I’ll take you up on owing me one because I need a favor, a fucking huge one.”

 

It took nearly twenty minutes to explain my plan to him. God, I begged, please don’t let this blow up in my face.

 

AN: First, the Esme clamp is purely fictional, as well as the 321 Club. Second, the next chapter is the Gala and I’m so excited about it. Thank you to everyone who has added me to their favorites and for all the amazing reviews!

 

  1. Chapter 15

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 15

 

This is my second favorite chapter, so I hope you enjoy.

 

Four weeks later…

 

The office had never been a busier place, not even during the weeks prior to Alice getting ready for fashion week in New York. I had been pulling major late nights trying to make this calendar a huge success. I’d had several meetings with Esme and Alice about our part of the silent auction. Esme wanted this year to be different. She wanted more theatrics, more lighting and music.

 

I contacted the local high school to see if they had any theatrical students that were interested in doing some community service. We ended up having about twenty students that needed some hours that were required for graduation. They were more than thrilled to be able to help out. Once our photographer, Tyler, heard of their involvement, he held several meetings with them and supplied them with additional photographs. He swore them to secrecy as to the extent of what they were doing. Although I trusted Tyler, I feared pissing off Esme. Tyler assured me it would be exactly what Esme had in mind.

 

Edward and I spoke on the phone every day and he even joined me at the gym on several mornings. I was not going to lie, a sweaty Edward was hot. He and Jasper joined us for lunch several times in the past month and I was finding it very easy to be around him.

 

The past two Sundays, he had insisted I join him at the Seahawks games. Watching my favorite team with the Cullen’s was almost as fun as watching with my dad. I often wished we could have enjoyed just one more game together. Edward never brought up my family and I never volunteered any information.

 

I did find it odd that each time we attended the games he ended up having a private conversation with the security guards after taking a phone call. I never questioned it as he always hugged me when he returned. Another thing I didn’t question was Edward’s physical contact with me. We held hands and hugged and he would kiss my forehead and cheek, but that was it. I think he could tell I wasn’t ready to have my first kiss yet. I most definitely wasn’t ready for anything more physical.

 

True to Esme’s words, one Thursday morning a very polished woman arrived at the office with gowns and a tape measure in tow. Paulette was very pleasant and very nosey. She tried to get as much information about the Gala and who would be attending as she could. Carlisle and Edward happened to stop by that particular morning and Paulette made a point of blatantly flirting with both of them. I held in my giggles as Edward repeatedly removed her hands from his arm and then would make a point of moving as close to me as possible.

 

I wasn’t sure what her problem was, but after having laid eyes on Edward, Paulette became extremely clumsy with her pins. I was poked more than once, and I was positively certain the apologies she was giving were far less than heartfelt. After the last poke drew blood, I seriously thought Esme would throttle her.

 

Esme wasn’t amused when Paulette made Carlisle her next target. Big mistake, as the look Esme shot her could have melted steel. Apparently, she hadn’t gotten the memo about not fucking with Esme Cullen.Paulette might have been polished and poised, but she was also very frightened of Esme and quickly finished her measurements, being certain not to stab me again. Esme made a point of calling Saks and requested a new consultant, preferably a male. Edward, however, didn’t like that idea, or the fact that I found his dislike funny.

 

“Bella, I make no apologies when protecting what’s mine,” he whispered in my ear.

 

My meeting with the administration board at Virginia Mason went better than I had expected. It was my responsibility to cover all of the legal avenues. I was so grateful we had Angela on board who had provided all of the consent forms as well as the privacy statements that all of the staff had signed. I insisted Angela attend the meeting on the chance the board had any questions. I was so nervous about this meeting I neglected to even discuss it with Edward.

 

As our taxi pulled up to the entrance, I grabbed my bag and handed some cash to the driver. We made our way to the receptionist desk to have Aro Volturi paged. The young lady behind the desk was very pretty and looked to be in her early-twenties. She appeared to be talking on the phone while filing her nails. Angela and I stood there for several minutes while she ignored us, carrying on with her phone call. Even drumming my nails on the counter did nothing to get her attention. I didn’t want to appear rude, but the conversation did have a personal nature to it, making her behavior highly unprofessional.

 

“No, he did not! Oh, my god, he so did not!” Her nasally valley-girl voice was enough to make dogs howl.

 

I cleared my throat again to make certain she was aware we were still standing there. If looks could kill, the one she finally flashed at me was certain to stop my heart.

 

“Hold on a sec, Tiffany,” she spoke into the phone. “Can I help you?” her tone was rude and snippy.

 

“Yes, you can page Aro Volturi,” I requested, managing to keep my attitude in check. With my luck, this was his daughter doing daddy a favor.

 

“And you are…?” It wasn’t a question really.

 

“I’m his ten o’clock.”

 

The blonde whose name tag read “LAUREN” began typing something into her computer. “You may have a seat, he’ll be here shortly.” The snippiness had increased and I really had to work hard to hold my tongue and remain professional.

 

“Thank you, Lauren.”

 

I took a seat in the beautiful waiting area beside Angela. I took out my Blackberry and without thinking, I sent Edward a text.

 

Wow, for such a beautiful hospital, your reception staff sucks -B

 

I answered two emails while I awaited a response.

 

Are you here? Is something wrong? -E

 

Shit, I should have told him about my meeting.

 

NO! I’m fine; I’m here with Angela for a meeting with Aro Volturi -B

 

I was telling Angela about my text to Edward when the receptionist, Lauren, resumed her conversation.

 

“Oh, my god, I know…no, I know, he came in earlier with his dad.” Her words caught my attention and it was nearly impossible to ignore her.

 

“Wait, Bree, I almost forgot to tell you, this morning when I came in…okay, well, you’ll never guess who said hello to me.” I tried to ignore her and concentrate on reading my email. “Shut up, no, Dr. Edward ‘fuck me hard’ Cullen.”

 

With my Blackberry soon forgotten, the bitch had my full attention. “Bree, I know he likes me…yes, I know he’s supposed to have a girlfriend, but I’ve never seen her. I mean if I was dating someone like Dr. Cullen, I’d be like permanently attached to his dick.”

 

I really wanted to say something, but my mind was drawing a blank on how to respond. How did you respond to something so ridiculously crass? Shooting a glare at Lauren, I noticed she was staring down the hall behind me and practically drooling. Before I could turn around to see what she was looking at, a pair of strong arms surrounded me as a soft set of lips kissed my neck. “Hey, beautiful.”

 

The smell of Armani quickly filled the air as a smile covered my face. “Mmm, hey, handsome,” I cooed leaning into his embrace.

 

I noticed that Ben had done the same to Angela, except she had turned her face and was kissing him. I was happy that Angela was at that stage with Ben and I didn’t feel uncomfortable. Turning around and facing Edward, I took a moment to simply look at him. I had never seen him in a hospital environment and this was nice. His white lab coat was pristine with his name embroidered on the left side, and his black dress slacks and gray dress shirt with his matching tie made him look positively sinful.

 

“Bella, why didn’t you tell me you’d be here? I could’ve driven you here myself,” he said, his hands now holding both of mine.

 

“I’m really sorry, I completely forgot. I’ve just been so keyed up and this is really the final thing I need to do. Anyway, you know I don’t like to bug you while you’re working.” I moved in closer to whisper in his ear, “Besides, I don’t want to ruin Lauren’s fantasy that you like her,” I nodded toward the desk. Edward glanced behind me and I felt him cringe. “She was just telling her friend on the phone that if she were dating you, she’d be permanently attached to your dick.”

 

He returned his eyes back to me, his mouth dropping open. “Please tell me you’re kidding.”

 

“Sorry, Angela can back me on this one.” I began to chuckle at the look on his face. This really was funny.

 

“Not in this lifetime,” he growled, his tone was serious and the look in his eyes was intense. I chanced a look back at Lauren and couldn’t help myself as I waved to her while placing a kiss on Edward’s cheek. Suck that, bitch

 

Edward and Ben escorted us to Dr. Volturi’s office. Once we arrived, we met with Gianna, who was the head of administration. Carlisle was also there as we allowed them to review the completed calendar. I literally held my breath as I painstakingly watched each and every picture being reviewed. We had gone to great lengths to keep the pictures hidden until the reveal at the Gala. We had received several offers of large amounts of money for certain pictures to be leaked. I had plans for them. Just when I thought I’d pass out from lack of oxygen, the last calendar page was closed.

 

“Ms. Swan,” Dr. Volturi began, “My compliments to your photographer, and I must say your eye for photographic selection is also exceptional. Well done.”

 

And with that, we were all systems go for the Gala.

 

  1. Chapter 16

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 16

 

Night of the Gala…

 

All the hard work over the past month came down to this night. All of the planning and secrecy would finally be revealed. I had done my part and now Alice would take over and do all the talking. As I placed my lip gloss inside my clutch, I breathed a sigh of relief. Esme had insisted we all get ready at their house. Alice had been MIA today and I was getting a little nervous. I made my way down the stairs to join the rest of the group.

 

For the last few years, I had dealt with beautiful models and so I was accustomed to strikingly beautiful people. However, one look at Edward and I completely lost any and all control of my body. I actually dropped my clutch and was unable to fathom a thought of how to pick it up. Emmett saved the day and handed it back to me, redirecting my attention. Oddly enough to me, Edward didn’t seem to fair much better as he stuttered his words. “W…wow, Bella, you look…oh, god…um, well…”

 

Luckily for the both of us, Carlisle stepped in. “Bella, you look very nice this evening.” I looked at him and was reminded exactly where Edward had gotten his killer good looks from. “Thank you, Carlisle, and must say that you look very dashing this evening as well.”

 

Edward’s soft rich voice once again sent shivers down my spine. “Bella, you look amazing.” His hand lifted mine as he gently laid a kiss to my knuckles, effectively turning me into pile of goo.

 

Once we were all seated in the limo, I glanced around, looking for Jasper and Alice. Edward seemed to understand my inquisitiveness and informed me they would join us at the Gala. As we made our way into downtown Seattle, I couldn’t help but feel like this night was going to change my life. Edward gently grasped my hand and interlaced our fingers. Once we had exited the limo, I began to look around for Alice. I wanted to see if she needed any help. Jasper managed to find me and asked me if he could have a word with me in private.

 

“Bella, we’ve got a tiny little issue,” Jasper whispered into my ear even though we were in a closed room.

 

“Okay,” I responded.

 

“Well, Alice has…” Jasper began to pinch the bridge of his nose.

 

“Alice has what? Talk to me, Jasper. What’s going on?”

 

“Damn it, she has laryngitis. She can’t talk.” His eyes were boring into mine as the panic began to set in.

 

“Oh,” was all I could say. I knew what this meant for me. I would need to deliver Alice’s presentation. I turned abruptly and exited the room. The crowd outside was noisy with people talking and glasses clinking. I made my way over to where the Cullen’s were standing.

 

“Edward, can I please have a moment with you?” I took him to the room I had just exited from and told him what Jasper had told me.

 

“Bella, you’ll do fine, I believe in you.” Hearing those words from him sparked something deep inside me, he believed in me.

 

I knew what Alice had planned to say, I knew every single detail, and now it was time to deliver it. Dr. Volturi was currently standing at the podium, but I really didn’t have a clue what he was trying to say until I heard him announce my name. I arose from my chair and made my way to the front. I hadn’t realized how many people were in attendance. I took a deep breath and glanced back at Edward who winked at me.

 

“Thank you, Dr. Volturi. Good evening, ladies and gentleman. My name is Isabella Swan and I’m going to be filling in for Alice Cullen who isn’t feeling well this evening. I want to thank each and every one of you who took time out from your busy schedules to help support such a wonderful cause. Before we get to the main event of the evening, I’d like to thank a few people who, without their generosity, many things would not have happened for tonight.

 

“First, to Alice Cullen who brought me on board and supplied us with a place to shoot the pictures. Second, to Samson and Delilah Mastoni who own the coffee shop on 4th and Gander. Samson delivered a number of pastries and coffee to our office so our models wouldn’t starve. Next, to Dr. Carlisle Cullen who graciously allowed his team of physicians the opportunity to participate in this event. Tyler Crowley, our amazing photographer, who’s photographed some of the most famous people known today. He, along with Samson and Delilah, refused to allow us to pay them and insisted we donate that money. The theater students at Forks Prep Academy who’ve also volunteered their time to not only assist with the lightening and sound, but I’m told they have, with the help of Tyler Crowley, made a video presentation for tonight. Please join me in a round of applause for all their help.”

 

The room burst into appreciative applause. I took a moment to draw a deep breath and another shot of courage from Edward as he smiled at me warmly and nodded.

 

“Now, when I started this project, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. I found that as much as this money raised tonight will benefit those women in need, it’s opened a whole new world for me. I was surprised the very first day of shooting to reconnect with a dear old friend. I’m happy to say that my old friend found a new someone special that day as well. During the photo shoot, we tried to make each model as comfortable as possible, and in doing that, we were able to get what we feel is a great end product. My goal was to get at least one shot that was the ‘gasp’ shot. You know the one, when you look at it, it takes your breath away. I can assure you that with the amount of cold showers that were taken in the past month, we did just that,” I smiled as chuckles sounded around the room.

 

“Some funny things also happened. When we first sent out the call for the desire to do this calendar, we received over seventy applications. I can honestly say I’m glad I was not responsible for narrowing that list down to twelve. Once we made the final list, we made it a point of keeping this a highly-kept secret. Three days after we finished shooting, I began to receive emails and voicemails from different women offering cold hard cash for just a peek. I want to share a couple of those with you this evening.”

 

I turned my body to face the large video screen that descended from the ceiling. The lights dimmed as the letters appeared on the screen.

 

“This was the first email I received and it really got me to thinking. As you can see, I’ve blocked out the names and have made a deal with these ladies. They’ve agreed to give the five hundred dollars to the charity and I’ve agreed not to let Mrs. Cullen know their names.” The crowded erupted into laughter as I began to read aloud the email.

 

To: Isabella Swan

 

From: (BLACKED OUT)

 

SUBJECT: SEXY DR. CARLISLE CULLEN

 

Dear Ma’am,

 

The ladies of (BLACKED OUT) would like to discuss what could be a profitable situation for you. We have learned that you have been put in charge of selecting the photos that will appear in the Virginia Mason “Hot Doc” calendar. We would like to have copies of any pictures of Dr. Carlisle Cullen that make it to the cutting room floor. We have pooled our money together and can offer you five hundred dollars. We are not sure if you’re aware of whom he is. He is the current Chief of Staff for Cardiology and is married to Esme Cullen. He has two sons who are also physicians, and one daughter whom we’re certain you’re aware of. The ladies here just can’t figure out why Esme lets him get dressed every day or how they only have three children. We would also like to place our orders for twelve calendars now, please.

 

Sincerely,

 

(BLACKED OUT)

 

“Now, I also received voicemail messages and have made the same deals with them. I’ll share with you a comment that was made during the photo shoot regarding Dr. Cullen and his sons.” I leaned my elbows on the podium and looked directly at Carlisle. “I quote, ‘His sons ain’t got nothing on Dr. Cullen.'” Again, laughter and applause erupted and Carlisle winked at me.

 

“You should also know that Esme Cullen is just as involved in this charity as the rest of us. She, as well as some of the other wives, worked tireless hours putting together the silent auction out in the foyer. I’ve been told that it was a heated race between Mrs. Cullen and Mrs. Denali to offer the best auction-worthy things for tonight. I’ve also been told that Mrs. Denali’s daughter, Tanya Denali, has just made a challenge and placed a new item up for auction. Mrs. Denali has also added a second item to her entry as a challenge. Can I please have Mrs. Denali and Tanya come up to the podium and announce to us what they’ve added?”

 

I glanced at Esme who had a questioning look about her face. I smiled a Cheshire cat smile and winked at her. The Denali ladies took the stage and began to speak.

 

“Thank you, Iserella. All of you are aware of who I am so I’ll get directly to the point. My beautiful daughter, Tanya, has offered to auction off a date with herself to the highest bidder. I have very generously decided to offer a one-week stay in our lovely home in Venice, Italy as well.” You could hear the “oohs and aahs” around the room, and her speech was followed by applause. I took my place once again behind the podium.

 

“Thank you again, Mrs. Denali.” I wanted to mispronounce her name horribly like she had spitefully done to mine, but I chose to be a lady and the bigger person. “Well, that’s really something. But you know, I’ve become very close to the Cullen’s this past month and I’d venture to say I consider them family.” I removed the microphone from the holder and began to walk across the stage. “That being said, I feel it’s my duty to help out my family. Ladies, I accept your challenge.”

 

I made my way to the corner of the stage and retrieved a large manila envelope, waving it above my head. “In this envelope is a copy of every last picture taken during the photo shoot. That’s right, ladies, every drop of sweat running down those well-defined chest, every rippling muscle, and let’s not forget those very prestigious “V’s” and happy trails that we know are so drool-worthy. That’s right, the neon sign to the Promised Land.” I could feel the sweat running down my back as I flashed back to the memory of Edward’s chest. Oh, god, I loved my job.

 

“I offer up my measly little envelope of half-naked beefcake pictures to run against your house in Italy. Oh, and the winner of said photos gets to decide which final doctor’s photo gets recreated here tonight…in person.” I made my way back to the table where I took a quick drink of water.

 

“Oh, I nearly forgot, Tanya needs a date. Well, why not make this interesting? Instead of bothering with the silent auction for Tanya, why don’t we just get on with it? Dr. Volturi, can you help me with this?”

 

Dr. Volturi made his way to the stage as several of the theater students surrounded the crowed to assist with keeping up with the auction. It turned out Dr. Volturi knew a thing or two about being an auctioneer. Tanya took her place and I noticed her eyes were glued to Edward. Bitch, please…

 

The opening bid was one hundred dollars. Two young men at the back began to have a bidding war and the bid was quickly seventy-five hundred dollars. “Going once, going twice, one date with Ms. Denali sold for seventy-five hundred dollars to Dr. Marshall,” Dr. Volturi shouted as the crowd applauded.

 

“Okay, my turn. GENTLEMAN!” As I shouted the word, a number of very large men clad in black suits surrounded the stage. I made my way to the back of the stage.

 

“Can we kill the house lights, please?” I opened a side door and grabbed the hand of the person waiting. “You know my mother taught me to always have a Plan B.” I made my way back to the podium, using the glow from the candles on the tables to light the way.

 

“Are you all ready to see my Plan B?”

 

  1. Chapter 17

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 17

 

BELLA

 

A blue spotlight cast down and the distinct smell of a fog machine enveloped the area I was standing in. The sounds of Tag Team’s Whoomp, There it Is! filled the room as the stage lighting flashed along to the beat. There beside me stood one very handsome Robert Pattinson dressed in Armani. The room went nuts.

 

I couldn’t help but smile and laugh. I glanced at the Cullen table to find Emmett with his index finger touching his nose with one hand and his other hand extended out pointing at me.Yep, I rocked this bitch.

 

After what felt like forever, the crowd finally began to settle. Rob had his arm around my waist and placed a kiss to my cheek. “For those of you who don’t know who this is; this is a very good friend of mine, Mr. Robert Pattinson.” Again, the room went wild.

 

“Thank you so much for having me,” Rob’s posh British accent resounded in the room. “You know, Isabella, I’ve actually been listening to you go on and on about how wonderful all these people have been to organize this event, but I haven’t heard anyone sing your praises, yet. I want to share with all of you how I came to know this exquisite creature standing beside me. I had some very rare free time on my hands and attended a Seahawks game. Ms. Swan was talking on her cell phone when I first noticed her. She then made her way over to a large window and was engrossed in the game being played on the field. When I approached her, she literally took my breath away.

 

“When I realized she knew who I was, I was quite alarmed that she would begin screaming and demanding my autograph, but she didn’t. She floored me by asking me if I had written the book my current movie is based on, to which I admitted I had not. She then proceeded to advise me that in that case, she wanted nothing from me. Much to my amazement, she was treating me like any normal average bloke. I even forced her to take my number. I remember calling her and asking her out to dinner shortly after that first meeting and she broke my heart by telling me she had just begun a new relationship with some yank. Well, my advice to that yank, whoever he may be, is to hold on tight to her, I know I’ll be waiting to catch her if you don’t.”

 

My eyes immediately went to Edward’s to find him glaring at Rob. “Offer noted then, Mr. Pattinson, thank you for that,” I grinned and winked at him. I knew he had to only be playing it up to the crowd. “Okay, why don’t you tell everyone what exactly the winner of this particular auction will receive?” I had banked on this being my ace in the hole. I wanted, no, needed this to be the hit of the Gala for Esme.

 

“Of course, love. The winner tonight will get to attend with me as my guest the premier of my next movie. Also, I understand the lucky young lady will have an Alice Cullen original gown to wear on the red carpet.”

 

“Dr. Volturi, can we please begin the auction?” I handed the microphone to Dr. Volturi. As he began, I was floored by the opening bid from the back of the room.

 

“Five thousand dollars!”

 

“Fifty-five hundred!”

 

This went on for close to twenty minutes when the final warning was issued, “Sold for two hundred seventy-five thousand dollars.” I couldn’t speak. I wanted to jump up and down like a thirteen-year-old girl. I reminded myself there were still a few more items left in our presentation and I needed to focus. Once Rob was escorted away with his bodyguards, I began to speak again.

 

“Thank you so much. Wow, well, as exciting as that was, it’s about to get really good. I’m about to announce the names of all the physicians who are pictured in this year’s Hot Doc calendar. In addition, each of them has agreed to participate with Esme Cullen and place up for auction the first dance of the evening. Can the following men please come to the stage? Dr. Carlisle Cullen, Dr. Edward Cullen, Dr. Emmett Cullen, Dr. Jasper Whitlock, Dr. Jacob Black, Dr. Ben Cheney, Dr. Riley Chambers, Dr. Patrick Jamison, Dr. Sam Uley, Dr. Alex Volturi, Dr. Paul Vine, and Dr. Mitchell Laurent.”

 

The crowd was on their feet as each man lined up on stage. Once they were lined up behind me and the crowd had settled down, I asked Esme to join me and she took over the microphone.

 

“Good evening, before we begin, I to want to thank Isabella for all of her hard work. She’s been an inspiration with her tireless efforts and endless energy. She’s certainly become an important member of our family.” Esme’s words touched a deep spot in my heart as I knew she said them with truth and conviction.

 

“Now, as Isabella mentioned earlier, we’ve been actively running a silent auction in the foyer and now that it’s closed, we have the twelve highest bidders and they’ll be able to each chose from the remaining men who they want to have a dance with. The highest bidder gets to choose first and so on down the line.”

 

“Before we announce the winners of that particular auction, has the young lady who won Isabella’s envelope had an opportunity to review the photos?” Esme began to search the crowd looking for the young lady.

 

Once she was located and her choice had been given to the theater students, we began to award the winners their dance partners. To be honest, I started to pray that Tanya didn’t get to dance with Edward. As it turned out, the top twelve names on the list were mostly older women who were on the board for the women’s shelter. Now it was time to reveal all my hard work.

 

“And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for.” As the theater students moved a large easel with a black drape covering the picture, I began to hold my breath, would it be Edward?

 

I didn’t have to wait long as the drape was quickly removed to reveal a very sex shirtless picture of one Dr. Jasper Whitlock, and holy shit did he look good. All those hours he obviously spent in the gym made for one hot doc. I glanced at Alice who was as shocked as I was. The look on Jasper’s face was almost as priceless. He was definitely surprised, too.

 

“Okay, Dr. Whitlock, take your place on the stage and lose the shirt.” The whistles and catcalls from the women in the room had Jasper blushing as he struck the same pose he had in the photograph. I grinned at him as he rolled his eyes and smiled amid the flashes of camera phones around the room.

 

“Okay, the final event of the evening has arrived. I’m told that the students and Mr. Crowley have put together a DVD of the final product as well as a few surprises. So, without further adieux…”

 

The lights dimmed as the screen illuminated. At first, it reminded me of the beginning of the films you would see in school where you would hear the buzzing sound and then see the timed number flashing backwards down to one. The first picture was of all of them in their lab jackets; ironically, it had been the first actual photo we took. Then it quickly changed into different scenes from that day, and not only of the calendar shots, but also casual shots of the crew as they worked, the doctors as they danced, and even several of me.

 

Two stood out to me, Ben holding my face as Edward had the look of absolute anger. I was nearly shocked to see his eyes so full of rage. The second was of me actually touching Edward’s tattoo. I hadn’t even realized I had done it. The look of sheer desire on Edward’s face and the look of complete denial on mine were unmistakable. Had that only been a month ago? The last twelve photos were the actual final choices for the calendar and I found myself gasping at many of them. As odd as that seemed, as I had looked at those very pictures for weeks, somehow seeing them on that screen gave them a different angle. Once the DVD was over, I tried to again focus. I found myself actually leaning on the podium with my head down. After several minutes, I raised my head back up and began to fan myself with my notes. I said the only thing that came to mind.

 

“Dear, God, I love my job.”

 

All in all, the Gala had been a huge success. I watched as Edward danced with the elderly lady who had chosen him in the auction and smiled at him when he kissed her cheek. Once the song had ended, he quickly grabbed my hand and held me close as we danced in silence. Being wrapped in Edward’s arms had quickly become my favorite place in the world. The feel of his hands on my back and the smell of his neck did things to me I had yet to understand. After several dances, Edward released his hold on me and led me over to one of the balcony doors. Once outside, I found the railing lined with tea candles. Edward pulled me in once again and I found my face buried in his neck.

 

“Bella?” Edward’s hushed voice broke the spell.

 

“Hmm?”

 

“What Robert said earlier about wanting to date you, was…was that true? Would you rather be with him?” Edward’s voice sounded almost broken and defeated.

 

“Edward, why on earth would you think that?” I took a half step back so that I could see his face.

 

“Because, well, he’s famous and he’s…I guess he’s good looking, and he has an accent.” Edward’s gaze was now to his feet. He looked like a sad little boy who had just lost his best friend.

 

“Edward.”

 

I wanted him to hear me. I wanted to assure him that I was serious about us. I had only feelings of friendship for Rob.

 

“Edward, please, look at me.”

 

When his eyes finally met mine, they were glassy and I could almost see the beginnings of unshed tears.

 

“Edward, Mr. Pattinson is only a friend. He’ll always be only a friend.”

 

“Bella…ugh.”

 

“Do you know that when I first met you, I couldn’t even look in your eyes?” He looked at me and shook his head. “It’s true, I was so enamored with your masculine jaw that I had fantasies of actually licking it, your jaw, Edward.” I ran my fingers across his smooth face to bring his attention fully to me.

 

“When I’d try to look into your eyes, I nearly had a heart attack.”

 

“But, Bella…I…”

 

“No, Edward, you listen to me. I’m exactly where I want to be. I don’t want red carpets, five-star restaurants, and paparazzi. I want movie nights, greasy takeout food, and sweet text messages. Now, if you could speak Italian…”

 

I was trying to lighten the moment and make Edward laugh at the last statement, but in truth, it was a quality I had always desired in a man. Italian was such a beautiful language and I dreamed of visiting Italy one day.

 

“Really, Bella, Italian?” His eyes changed and he now appeared…happy?

 

“Yes, Edward, Italian. I don’t care if the words spoken are saying for me to put dirt on a plate and eat it. I’d still find it romantic and I’m certain I’d think they were telling me, oh, something like…my soul belongs to you…or something completely cheesy like that.”

 

Suddenly, I was tightly wrapped in Edward’s arms again and I could feel his lips on the shell of my ear.

 

“Il mio cuore e tua, mi hai proprio.”

 

I gasped. Edward spoke Italian. Before I had time to process this, Edward had my face between his hands.

 

“Ho aspettato a lungo per fare questo.”

 

With those words, Edward’s lips covered mine. They were warm and soft and absolutely perfect. His lips carefully made several brushes against mine. There was no panic or hesitation. I wasn’t worried that I’d screw this up. I wasn’t worried about being good enough. I just kissed him back and god was it worth the wait.

 

AN: I know, I know, no tongue. I wanted this to be perfect for Bella. I couldn’t just go from virginal to porn star. Remember, this is a slow burn for her. We’ll get there and the scene I have chosen is so…HOT! Next chapter is the bachelorette party, and oh, it’s good!

 

Italian translation:

 

Il mio cuore e tua, mi hai proprio-My heart is yours, you own me.

 

Ho aspettato a lungo per fare questo – I’ve waited a long time to do this.

 

  1. Chapter 18

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 18

 

THANK YOU! The reviews have made my day.

 

I had actually fooled myself into thinking that after the Gala, things would slow down. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The first Monday back, it was “Operation Perfect Wedding.” Alice became more of a drill sergeant than a fashion designer. I was presented with daily lists of tasks to complete. I spent more time on the fax machine than I did behind my computer. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any crazier, Alice burst into the office and announced that we would be changing the bridal party colors as Bree Tanner had chosen the exact same shade as Alice and it was now my understanding that “we” didn’t like Bree Tanner, though I had no fucking clue who she was.

 

After three weeks of this never-ending madness, I had just about reached my breaking point when Alice informed me she would be choosing my undergarments for me. I had plans of having dinner with Edward that evening and so when I arrived, I stormed into his apartment, snatching the glass of amber-colored liquid from his hand and downing it. He poured himself another glass only to have me snatch that one away as well.

 

“Bella, is something bothering you?” Edward’s concerned voice broke me from my anger.

 

I took a deep breath, “Oh, nothing much, just your psycho fucking sister; she’s about to drive me insane. She’s already driven me to drink.”

 

He began to chuckle and attempted to pour another glass. “What did my sister do this time?”

 

I wasn’t amused; he really didn’t understand that this wasn’t the time to be passive. Did he seriously want an answer? Too late, he was getting one.

 

“For your fucking information, she’s taken it upon herself to dictate to me what underwear I’ll be covering my pink canoe with.” Not only was I pissed at Alice, but Edward was on my last good nerve. Edward, being the brilliant man he was, decided to laugh at my choice of words.

 

“Oh, my god, Bella, pink canoe? What are we, twelve?” he was laughing as he spoke.

 

I couldn’t respond. I watched as he continued to find humor in my misery. Men really were clueless.

 

“Would you feel better if I used other more colorful words, or perhaps I should use medical terminology?” Steam was pouring out of my ears and I could feel myself reaching dangerous levels. Edward noticed my stature and stopped his laughing.

 

“Babe, I’m sorry. You’re clearly upset and I’m being a jerk. It’s your body, you can call it whatever you want.” With that he crossed the room and secured me in a tight hug.

 

He really was a great guy. Damn it, he was wearing that damned Armani cologne again, fucker.

 

“No, I’m sorry, Edward. I must be PMSing.”

 

I leaned more into him and took a slow deep inhale. His smell was so calming and I could sniff him forever. He interrupted my aroma therapy, trying to distract me by kissing me. It had been nearly a month since that first kiss and we had yet to progress to anything more than chaste pecks. Not that I was complaining. I was still trying to get past the YouTube instruction videos on French kissing.

 

“If I could just get her focus off this wedding for five minutes…” Suddenly, I had a huge idea, but I would need Edward’s help.

 

“Edward, what if I made a huge dinner for your entire family? It would be nothing fancy, just very casual and free of wedding talk. That way we could just let loose and have fun for a couple of hours. What do you think?”

 

“I think you’re right. But why do you need my help?”

 

“I need to use your kitchen and dining room, silly.”

 

“Bella, you don’t even have to ask. What’s mine is yours.”

 

So the plan was in motion for the entire family to have dinner at Edward’s condo. Esme insisted on helping, but I planned on doing most of the work. I decided on making my homemade meatballs and spaghetti. Esme said she would be making the bread. I arrived at Edward’s house early on Saturday morning to begin making the meatballs and sauce. Edward had to step in and out most of the day, but tried several times to steal a meatball. Once dinner was ready and everyone settled around the table, the room became very quiet.

 

“Okay everyone, Bella spent the entire day cooking this sauce and I’ve had to refrain from taste testing, so dig in.” Edward began passing plates around as everyone began to laugh.

 

I was very nervous as I watched everyone eating. Did I burn the sauce? Did it taste okay?

 

“Edward, I swear to god if you don’t marry Bella, I will. My god, this is good,” Emmett moaned after wiping his face.

 

Everyone began to laugh at Emmett’s comments, except for me. Marriage wasn’t ever a subject I approached, even as a daydream. Was this on the table? No! Edward could have anyone. As quickly as the idea had come into mind, I tossed it out even quicker.

 

After dinner, all the guys decided to clean up, leaving the women to talk in the living room. We had told Alice earlier that this was a wedding-free zone and she had reluctantly agreed. As we sat on the couch and drank our glasses of wine, the men finally joined us. Edward came to sit beside me and placed his hand on my leg between my thighs. He began to slowly stroke his thumb back and forth over my jean inseam. This was new; until now, he had never touched me like this. Before I had time to contemplate this any further, I felt his cell phone vibrate in his pocket. When he retrieved it, I noticed the display read NEWTON. Edward pressed the ignore button before returning it to his pocket. Emmett glanced at Edward and made a questionable look.

 

“What’s up with that, Bro?”

 

“Nothing,” Edward replied as he removed his hand from my leg.

 

“You have to talk to him sometime…” Emmett began.

 

“Can it, Emmett.”

 

Edward’s tone was off. I had never witnessed Edward agitated.

 

“I’m just saying, man.”

 

“Why are you upset over getting a phone call from Mike?” I asked keeping my tone low and my head down.

 

“Because I know what he wants and I’m tired of him asking,” Edward’s tone was clearly getting worse.

 

“What does he want?” Did I really care what he wanted? Not really, but it was out there so we were going to go with it.

 

Edward let out a long sigh. “He wants what he’s wanted for months now.”

 

“Edward’s extra season pass,” Emmett filled in the blank. “Ever since Edward’s owned that skybox, he’s allowed Newton to use his extra pass. Since you came along, though, he’s been putting it to better use. It seems Newton’s been quite persistent and has been hounding him for it. The little leach has even showed up at the games and security has stopped him and turned him away. From what I’ve heard, he likes to bring chicks into the box to impress them so he can enjoy having them show their appreciation, usually on their knees while he’s watching the game. Dude’s a fucking pervert if you ask me,” Emmett frowned.

 

It now made sense. At every single game, Edward had gotten a phone call that he avoided and security always approached him and wanted to talk to him privately. Mike Newton, I should have known.

 

“Edward, I wish you would’ve said something about this sooner. I’d totally understand if you wanted to take Mike instead. It really isn’t a big deal; he’s your friend after all.”

 

“Well, Emmett, since you opened this can of worms, you might want to help out here,” Edward sighed. He was now leaning toward the coffee table with his forearms resting on his thighs, his eyes burning holes in his brother.

 

“Okay, Bella, seriously, think about it; take the hot girlfriend or take the annoying, leachy, waste of skin who is also a lecherous prick. I fail to see the comparison here.”

 

“No, Emmett, it’s total bullshit for Edward to change his entire life just because of me. Had I know this was something he and Mike did together, I never would’ve accepted the invitation.”

 

“It isn’t bullshit, Bella, and yes, having a girlfriend changes everything.”

 

Emmett’s words didn’t settle well with me. What else had Edward given up to be with me? I didn’t want to be an interruption in his routine. I began to think that maybe I was spending too much time with him and this was causing him to neglect his friends. I quickly decided to back away from spending so much time with him, starting with football games, no more using the extra pass. I was sure I texted him too much, too, so I would stop texting. Maybe if I only saw him every other Friday, it would be enough.

 

“Edward, this Thursday is a scheduled game and I think you should take Mike instead. I have the extra pass in my purse and I’ll leave it here when I leave tonight,” I began to rise from the couch to get my purse.

 

“But Bella…”

 

“Oh, that’s a great idea!” Alice’s shrill squeal interrupted Edward’s rebuttal. “How about the guys go to the game and the girls go out to dinner and drinks, like a guys’ and girls’ night out?” Alice was bouncing in her seat.

 

“We’ll invite Angela and Ben to come along. Oh, my gosh, this is going to be so much fun.”

 

Edward was frowning, but he reluctantly agreed. I could do this; I could back away and not smother him, allow him to live his life like he always had.

 

Thursday came far too fast for my liking and I found myself sitting in El Rancho Mexican restaurant in downtown Seattle. As promised, Alice had invited Angela and Ben, although Ben was currently with the guys at the game. I would be the first to admit dinner with my girls was a lot of fun. Since this was a huge step out of my comfort zone, I decided to let loose and was currently nursing my second margarita. We spent most of the time discussing our guys and the cute things we loved about them. Somehow, Alice got us on the subject of body waxing and at this point, I checked out of the conversation. Unfortunately for me, Alice brought me right back in.

 

“Bella, are you a sphinx or a full Brazilian?”

 

“I’m sorry?”

 

“Do you go bare or do you have a landing strip? Does Edward have a preference?”

 

“What the fuck are you talking about? Have a preference for what? And what does a landing strip have to do with anything?”

 

“Oh, my god, Bella, I know he’s my brother, but you can tell us.”

 

“Alice, I’d love to just know what the hell you’re talking about.”

 

“When you go for bikini waxing, does Edward prefer you to go bare or does he like a little strip left?”

 

I couldn’t speak. I could only sit there and stare wide-eyed at the entire table. How exactly was I going to answer her?

 

“Alice, there isn’t enough alcohol in the free world for me to answer that.” And I was on to my third margarita…

 

I could honestly say that mine and Alice’s ideas of getting drinks were on two completely different sides of the spectrum.

 

After we paid our bill at the restaurant, we made our way to a trendy nightclub called Risers. It had three levels and was known for having the best martinis in town. Once we entered the bar, Alice made her way to the second floor. The music was good and the lights changed with the music. Once we gave our orders to the waitress, Rosalie was the first to speak.

 

“Okay, Bella, let me get this out in the open and ask the question everyone is dying to know. Why aren’t you and Edward fucking?” Her expression was serious.

 

“Why would you ask that? Why do you assume we aren’t?”

 

“Are you?”

 

To be honest, I wasn’t ready to be intimate with him yet. Did I want that to be made common knowledge, though? Hell no.

 

“No.” Simple and to the point.

 

“But you’re doing other things, right?” Alice added her two cents in.

 

“No.”

 

“Not even…”

 

Alice’s round of interrogation was interrupted by a voice I thought only dogs could hear.

 

“Well, if it isn’t Isabella Swan.”

 

I turned to my left to witness firsthand the source of the noise. Tanya Denali stood dressed in what I was sure was a junior-size dress. It was silver sequined and the lights of the dance floor twinkled off it. It would have looked really good on her if it had been her size. Beside her stood a red-headed, fake-breasted woman wearing the same dress. Who did that?

 

“Tanya Denali,” I replied slightly slurred, thank you, Mr. Tequila.

 

“I heard a ghastly rumor that YOU and Edward were…dating.” She made the word dating come out of her mouth like bad cheese.

 

“That’s correct, Tanya. Edward and I are together.”

 

“Yeah, right,” she began to snicker and whispered something into the redhead’s ear.

 

Now this was where I should have just excused myself from the table and placed my tipsy ass into a cab and marched myself home, but did I do that? Unfortunately, no. I had let the stop sign from my brain to my mouth have the rest of the night off.

 

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” My eyes slanted and my anger began to boil.

 

“Look at yourself. What do you have to offer him? Don’t you think he deserves to have someone like…me; someone who looks good by his side.” She made her point by doing her best Vanna White impression, posing and pointing out the twins, which I had to say were quite impressive. I would have hated to see the bill from her plastic surgeon for those puppies.

 

Again, I should have shut the hell up, but something inside me snapped. Who the fuck did she think she was? I suddenly had so much rage in me that if I didn’t let it out, it was going to consume me. All the mean things that Mike Newton had said to me and about me only gave more fuel to the fire.

 

“Let me fucking tell you something. If Edward wanted to be with someone like you, totally fake from head to toe, right down to the personality, he would buy himself a Barbie doll. That way she wouldn’t open up her mouth and lie to him. Unlike you, Tanya, I’m with Edward because of who he is, not what he has. “

 

“Don’t you doubt for one fucking minute that if I really wanted Edward back, I could snap my fingers and have him right back where he belongs. You need to remember your place!” she spat at me hatefully.

 

“My place? Fuck you, Tanya. Face the facts, you bubble-boobed, bottled-blond bitch. Unlike you, I don’t need a guy’s dick to suck. If Edward ever wanted to be with you, then he could have you. Unlike you, I never want to be with a guy who doesn’t want to be with me. God, you make me fucking sick with your fucking fake-ass everything. Nothing about you is real. I’d bet you even shit plastic. And fuck, what the hell is it with that stupid fucking undersized dress you have on? The disco era was over decades ago…”

 

Before I could get any further, a warm strong hand was grasping my shoulder. I tried to shake it off, but it grasped tighter.

 

“Bella, you need to come dance with me, now.” I didn’t need to turn around to see who was talking to me. I rose from my chair as he took my hand and led me to the dance floor. Brittney Spear’s Break the Ice was blaring from the speakers as my feet landed on the dance floor. His hands found their way to my hips as he slid behind me. I was instantly taken back to when I first decided to lose the weight and get into shape. Ben would take me to dance clubs in New York and dance for hours. It was an amazing workout and I learned how to dance. I raised my hands above my head as Britney sang and everything faded away. I continued to dance as Ben turned me to face him.

 

“You okay?” Ben had always been able to calm me, but this was different. I simply nodded my head.

 

“You know, Edward heard every word she said to you. I’m proud of you, Bella.”

 

I turned back around as the music changed into Pussycat Dolls’ song, Buttons. I closed my eyes and lost myself again in the words. I felt Ben close the distance between us as he began to grind into my ass. His hands grasped firmer into my hips and I thought for a second that I felt his lips on my right shoulder. Ben would never have done that so I turned around to come face-to-face with the most beautiful green eyes I had ever seen. At some point, Edward had traded places with Ben.

 

No words were spoken as he closed the space between us again. His right hand found its way to my ass and his left was suddenly buried deep in my hair. Before I could even think, his lips crashed into mine. This wasn’t like any other time he had kissed me. He wasn’t gentle or slow; no, this time it was full of passion and want. I couldn’t think or breathe. He broke the kiss long enough to take a deep breath and part my lips with his tongue. I whimpered as his tongue brushed against mine, bringing it into his mouth. He began sucking my tongue, gently at first then with purpose. I was lost. Just when I thought I’d pass out from lack of oxygen, he broke the kiss, his lips now traveling to my ear where he began to nibble and suck. Once again, my breathing was in short gasps. He continued his assault on my neck until he made his way to a very sensitive spot behind my ear and I nearly came unglued.

 

“Oh, god,” it came out as a low cry.

 

I felt him remain on that spot and he sucked, hard. Edward slowly released his lock on my neck and placed his forehead against mine. We both were panting quickly.

 

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to leave a mark, but…fuck…Bella, you just don’t know what you do to me.”

 

Edward shifted his hips slightly as we ground together, causing me to come out of my daze somewhat and notice a new development between us. For the first time ever, I felt Edward’s erection. It was huge and I was suddenly frozen.

 

AN: Bella is slowly coming into her own. I know you’re expecting lemons, but we just aren’t there yet. I promise they’re in the future. Just give Bella a little more time. Thanks for reading!

 

  1. Chapter 19

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Mrs. Meyer owns all that is Twilight. Dollybigmomma beta’d this and insists I hand you a tissue…just saying.

 

Chapter 19

 

Monday morning found me once again making my way to the office, the past weekend’s events still very fresh on my mind. I was grateful that Edward hadn’t continued his assault on my neck after he realized I had noticed his erection. As he delivered me to my front door, he placed a single kiss to my forehead and told me he would call me on Sunday. When he did call, I declined his invitation for dinner and chose to stay home in my pajamas. Yes, I was avoiding him and I knew it wouldn’t be much longer before he confronted me about it.

 

As I made my way into my office, I was able to pick out voices coming from Alice’s office. I could clearly make out Rosalie, Alice, and Angela. “Fuck,” I mumbled to myself. With coffee in hand, I entered her office.

 

“Good morning, Rocky,” Rosalie greeted me.

 

I simply rolled my eyes as I sat down. I knew this was coming; I was just not certain how severe this would be.

 

“Isabella, you failed to answer my question the other night,” Alice questioned from her desk.

 

I knew what she was in reference to. I had just hoped my outburst towards Tanya had created enough of a diversion, but guess not.

 

“Whatever do you mean?” I questioned blankly.

 

“Cut the shit, Swan, Sphinx or Brazilian?” Alice’s words were laced with frustration.

 

So here was one of those times when a truthful answer was just the way to go. Tanya I could take with one hand tied behind my back. However, Alice could totally kick my ass.

 

“Neither, Alice, I fail to see the point.” There, honesty, that should tame the beast, at least I hoped.

 

“Are you fucking with me? You’re going to sit there and tell me you have a full bush growing down there?”

 

“I’m not certain why this is such valued information, but yes, you could say that.”

 

“And Edward is okay with that? I mean are you okay with him carpet munching with all that shit in the way?”

 

I had been asked some strange-assed questions in my life, but I was pretty certain none of them had ever been this strange. I could feel the heat from the embarrassment creeping up my chest, heading for my face. Son of a bitch!

 

“Okay, first of all, I’ve had no reason to remove my…bush…as you’ve so eloquently stated. That being said, Edward doesn’t know and so no, he doesn’t have a problem with it.”

 

Alice began to laugh as Rosalie began to shake her head.

 

“You guys have been together like, what, a month, almost two, and you’re trying to tell me he hasn’t gone down on you yet? I mean especially after the other night on the dance floor?”

 

The dance floor…how could I have expected them not to have caught that. The more I allowed myself to think back to that night, the more embarrassed I became. I couldn’t believe I had caused him to have an erection, or maybe it was Tanya. To any avail, he’d gotten one and he had pressed it into my hip.

 

“Alice, for the record, nothing has happened sexually between your brother and me.”

 

Alice looked as if I had just told her the Easter bunny was real and sitting on her desk. Rosalie just sat there shaking her head and chuckling.

 

“Feeling up?” Alice asked surprised.

 

“Nope.”

 

“Hand job?”

 

“Nope.”

 

“Dry humping?”

 

“Nope.”

 

“Groping?”

 

“Nope, nothing, Alice. As a matter of a fact, that hot-ass kiss on the dance floor was the first time our tongues had ever touched.”

 

Yeah, let her chew on that for a minute.

 

“Told you they weren’t fucking,” Rosalie finally ended her chuckling and added to the conversation.

 

“I don’t get it, why the hell not?”

 

Why did it always come back to this? I never could understand the fascination over having sex. I mean I couldn’t even look at myself naked, much less have someone else see me. I was told the feeling was amazing, but the embarrassment would be so much greater. This was where I got my term “naked-worthy.” It was a term I had selected to describe the one person who would get to know the true me, the one man who would know all my fears and joys, the one man I would give my whole heart to, the one man that, well, just didn’t exist.

 

“Because he isn’t naked-worthy,” I replied with conviction.

 

“Naked-worthy? What the fuck is that, Swan?”

 

So I told them; hoping for that Hallmark moment where we would laugh and hug and they would tell me that someday my prince would come. Yeah, that was the Disney channel; these girls were HBO Late-Night material.

 

“Listen, Swan, you aren’t fooling anybody with these bullshit excuses about getting naked in front of him. I don’t know how long it’s been for you since the last time you had a man between your thighs, but I can tell you that the Cullen men are very talented in that department. I mean Emmett’s tongue alone should have a patient on it,” Rose said with a look that I would swear to god meant she was about to have an orgasm right there on the couch just thinking about Emmett. As I took in what she was saying, it kind of pissed me off. Who was she to tell me that my fear of being naked was unjustified, and by her words, a lie?

 

“Not that I owe you a fucking explanation about my sexual history, but as it stands right now, I’m still a virgin. Frankly, at this point in time, I don’t give a flying fuck how talented the Cullen men are in that regard since I’m not ready for that and this is a fact Edward is very aware and respectful of.”

 

I watched as Rosalie’s eyes became large saucers and her mouth began to open and close as if she was trying to get a sentence out. I knew Rosalie was a tough girl and as I had stated before, she was a little scary. However, the more I was exposed to her, the more of her courage I seemed to find in myself.

 

“You’re a fucking virgin? Swan, that’s like, like, finding a fucking unicorn. Holy shit! And Edward knows this? And he’s willing to wait? Oh, hell…wow, just…wow.”

 

For the first time in her life, I think Rosalie was speechless.

 

~*NOS*~

 

Several weeks had passed since the conversation on the topic of my virginity. Wedding plans were still in full swing and it was getting down to the wire. However, Alice’s major shower was quickly approaching. Esme and I had been actively planning the couples’ shower she had requested. I had insisted that Edward spend time with his friends as I was so busy with his mother.

 

One particular planning session, Esme surprised me by requesting I meet her at a local tile shop. She had told me she was helping a client select tile and fixtures for their new home and wanted my opinion. To be honest, I really wasn’t comfortable doing this, but I wanted to help her so I gave her my ideas. Esme didn’t let me stop there and continued to ask me about different parts of the house and what I felt was the most important to me. Apparently, this home was going to be quite large and spacious. Whoever it belonged to was very lucky.

 

“Honestly, Esme, I feel the kitchen is the heart of the home. If I were to design a kitchen, it’d be one of the biggest and best-appointed areas of the house.”

 

I continued to describe in detail what I thought each room should look like, describing in succulent detail my dream master bath and bedroom. Esme smiled and continued to take notes. I was honored that she even asked my opinion, although I was certain she was simply being nice.

 

The shower was now only four weeks away and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. The guest list was nearly two hundred people and Alice had requested it be held at the Cullen’s house. Esme felt certain that everything would fall into place. I had invited Angela over for a little girl’s night in as Ben and Edward had planned to go to a local sports bar with a few of their colleagues. Angela and I took the opportunity to stroll down memory lane. I managed to get enough wine in me to pull out a box I had sealed when I left home for college. It was funny how large amounts of wine could give you the courage to open something that picked at old wounds you thought had healed. In my case, they were large gaping wounds that might never heal completely.

 

The box contained old mementoes, yearbooks, CD cases, and VHS tapes I hadn’t thought about in years. Then there were the pictures. Pictures I hadn’t seen in a long time and had worked so hard to forget. As I sat in the middle of my bedroom floor with Angela and yet another bottle of wine, I made my way to the bottom of the box. I had always kept a journal all during high school. But I had only placed one in this box.

 

Opening the leather-bound book was like opening that wound that had scabbed over. It was blank inside; I remembered telling myself that this journal would be a new beginning for me and that my future was still to be written. Three items I had placed between the crisp white pages so long ago stood out like a beacon; a square of blood-stained dark blue satin fabric, which was covering the last two pictures to be placed in the box. The first picture was of me and my dad standing outside our house the day I left for college. The last day I ever saw him alive. It reminded me that he had been the only man I could ever trust. The second picture was one my mom took before I left the house that night, still hopeful and innocent. In all my two-hundred- twenty-pound glory, I was proudly wearing my blue satin prom dress. The square of blood-stained blue fabric was the last remnant of my ruined dress I had left, a reminder to never let myself be taken in by any man ever again, a reminder of the last time I had ever let a man make me cry over him.

 

There were no tears tonight, only affirmations that I was healing. I covered the box and placed it back in my closet, keeping the square of fabric and the picture out. I wanted to introduce the only man I had ever trusted to the one I was trying so hard to trust now. Angela was too drunk to go home so we texted Edward and Ben and told them we would be sleeping together tonight. That, of course, brought on a new level of texting as they wanted to come over and watch. In Edward’s final text of the night, he asked if he could come over in the morning if he brought breakfast. I told him that wasn’t necessary and that he was always invited to come over. He responded with a very sweet text.

 

Goodnight, my sweet girl.

 

For some reason, I tossed and turned most of the night. Angela seemed dead to the world. The next morning, I awoke feeling fine, quite surprised that I did not have a hangover. Angela was already gone, as her note indicated that Ben had asked her out to breakfast and she had not wanted to wake me. I showered and dressed and then made a pot of coffee. I was in the middle of answering emails when someone began knocking on my door. It was no surprise to find Edward waiting patiently on the other side of the door. He was dressed in jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt.

 

“Good morning,” his voice was still raspy with sleep as he moved inside past me into the living room.

 

“Good morning to you. Can I interest you in a cup of coffee?”

 

I closed the door behind him as he made his way to my couch. The hairs on the back of my neck began to stand up as I turned to join him.

 

“Thanks, that’d be nice.”

 

I made my way into the kitchen and filled a cup up for him. I could sense something was off. Maybe he’d had too much to drink last night as well. Maybe he had been called into work. Maybe I was imagining things. When I returned, Edward was seated with his forearms resting on his thighs. His left hand was in his hair as his eyes stared blankly at the floor. Something was definitely wrong.

 

“Edward, is everything okay?”

 

His eyes remained glued to the floor, his body frozen, his eyes not even blinking. I began to worry that something bad had happened. Surely if someone had died, Alice would have called.

 

“Remember when I told you that honesty was important to me?” His body still had not changed.

 

“Yes,” I replied, my voice low and calm.

 

“Then why would you lie to me if you knew how important it was? Why, Bella?”

 

I literally couldn’t breathe. I hadn’t lied to him about anything. His eyes finally found mine and they were cold and hurt.

 

“Edward, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’ve never lied… “

 

My words were interrupted by the slam of Edward’s hand on my wooden table. His face was full of anger, the skin around his eyes now red with rage. “DON’T YOU FUCKING LIE TO ME, BELLA!”

 

I was so taken aback by his sudden outburst that I couldn’t respond. My heart was beating so fast I was certain it would leap from my chest. At that moment, I was too frightened to respond to him. I could feel my whole body shaking frantically.

 

“I had drinks with Mike last night and he told me everything, Bella, everything!”

 

I remained silent. I was terrified and my shaking only intensified. I could feel the traitor tears begin to form and I was powerless to stop them. Edward’s gaze left mine and returned to the floor. He was silent for a few minutes and I was able to get my breathing under control. This was not my Edward sitting in front of me.

 

“Last night we were about to enter a bar and there was this wedding reception going on next door. When the limo pulled up and the bride and groom crawled out, we started talking about the big moments in our lives that required a tux.” His face looked pale and cold, as if this was a painful memory.

 

“Ben began to laugh that his first time wearing a tux was at his high school prom and that he hoped the next time he wore one, it would include Angela and a white dress. Mike began to tell the story of attending your high school prom, with you.” His voice cracked a little with the last two words.

 

“I guess he’d been drinking for a while because he began talking about his date in detail. I reminded him that he was talking about my girlfriend, but that didn’t seem to bother him.” His eyes closed and he began to run his entire hand up and down his face. He was again silent for a few minutes as if trying to find the right words or forget his current memory.

 

“Why did you lie to me, Bella?” he asked, his voice now a whisper. “I wouldn’t have cared that you’d been with Mike or anyone else, but why did you lie about it?”

 

His words hurt and confused me. I hadn’t lied to him about anything. I had to know what Mike had told him. I took a deep breath and gathered all the courage I could muster before I spoke.

 

“Edward, tell me exactly what Mike told you,” I managed, my voice shaky.

 

Edward took a deep breath as he leaned back and rested his head on the back of the couch, closing his eyes. “He told me everything, Bella; how you were one of the most beautiful, popular, but easiest girls in his class and how all the guys liked what you would do for them. He said how he was shocked that you agreed to go to prom with him since you preferred more experienced guys. He told me how you were obsessed with looking so perfect all the time and insisted that his tux had to match your red dress perfectly for prom. He said that once you were crowned prom queen that you started flirting with other guys at the dance and that once you guys had sex a couple of times, you broke things off with him and broke his heart, just like you did with all the others. Just like you’ll do with me.”

 

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This had to be a bad dream. I looked around the room as I waited for the dream to be over.

 

“I just can’t believe I thought you were different, but you’re just like Tanya.”

 

His words echoed over and over in my head as my fear was quickly becoming something new, anger. I was now so pissed that I was again shaking. That no good son of a bitch. Mike Newton still continued to ruin my fucking life even now. I should have walked away and cooled off. I should have directed my anger at the person who truly deserved it, but that wasn’t going to happen just yet. First, I was going to deal with Edward.

 

“Let’s get some things straight, Dr. Cullen,” I hissed low, my words laced with hurt, pain, and rage, “I can’t believe you have the FUCKING audacity to come into my home and accuse me of lying to you, while you take the word of your FUCKING so-called friend without question. HOW FUCKING DARE YOU! Who the hell are you to accuse me of lying? Why are you taking Mike’s word as the god’s-honest truth without any regard for what I’ve told you? I’ve never lied to you!” I seethed.

 

“I told you that I knew Mike from high school and that he did some very hurtful things to me. But this, this far outweighs any of that. PROM QUEEN? Are you kidding me?” I rose from the chair and crossed the room to my kitchen island, the pictures and the square of fabric lying in the middle. Quickly grabbing them, I stormed back into the living room. With all the force I could muster, I slammed them down on the table in front of Edward.

 

“Tell me, Edward, does she look like a FUCKING PROM QUEEN to you?”

 

Edward lifted the pictures and began looking at them. Both pictures were from a time when I was huge and had tried to blend into the shadows. I remembered that I always wore black and always wore large shirts that covered most of me. Most days I had on two shirts just to hide better. In the picture with my dad, I had on jeans and two shirts. My hair was pulled back in my standard ponytail and I had on no makeup.

 

I picked up the piece of stained fabric and threw it at Edward. “My dress was blue, not red. But in truth, Mike wouldn’t have seen the blue because he was too busy bleeding so much red all over me from the broken nose I gave him to notice it. Did Mike not tell you how fat I was back then? I mean let’s face it, high school kids always pick the fat girl as prom queen, right? And teenage boys just love to get it on with the class fat ass as they so lovingly call her. Oh, wait, this is real life, not some cheesy after-school special on the fucking Hallmark channel about acceptance!”

 

Edward continued to stare at the pictures, the cloth now in his other hand.

 

“I’m NOTHING like Tanya! FUCK YOU for even thinking that! Tanya lied to you. Mike lied to you. But not everyone lies to you, Edward. Not everyone is fake and dishonest with an agenda. I’ve been nothing but honest with you and you fucking spit in my face for it.”

 

I began to realize again that the only man that had ever truly cared anything about me had died. My daddy was the only man who would love me for me, unconditionally.

 

“But you, Dr. Cullen, you just automatically expect people to take advantage of you and what you have. I’ve only ever asked for one thing from you, trust, and you can’t even give me that.”

 

I made my way across the room and opened the door. This was it, I was done.

 

“You don’t trust me to tell you the truth and I just can’t…I won’t be in a relationship without it. You need to leave now, I can’t do this.”

 

Edward slowly rose from the couch and made his way towards the door. He stopped when he was just outside and started to open his mouth, but I stopped him.

 

“Just…stop. There’s nothing you could say right now that would change this. This is goodbye, Edward.”

 

I didn’t wait for him to respond as I slammed the door and locked it, ending my first relationship and possibly my career.

 

That’s correct, my Bella does the breaking up. I hope you guys stay with me as it’ll be rocky for a minute.

 

  1. Chapter 20

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 20

 

I can’t say enough good things about everyone who is reading, reviewing, and saving to favorites. I know that my M rating hasn’t been earned yet except for language, but please be patient.

 

Mrs. Meyer still owns everything Twilight, and Dollybigmomma polishes my literary pearl

 

I turned and headed for my bedroom. I was going to do the one thing that made my life easier, go for a run. As I opened my drawer to take out my sports bra, my cell began ringing. I knew this could be Edward calling or even worse, it could be Alice calling to fire me. I was wrong on both counts.

 

“Hello?”

 

“Well, hello to you, too, beautiful. Did I catch you at a bad time? Did I interrupt some major shagging?” Rob’s warm British accent filled my ears. I closed my eyes as the tears began to fall.

 

“No…No…I…I…” I stammered, unable to even speak at this point.

 

“Bella, love, where are you? Is Edward alright? Do you need help?” The concern in his voice was almost painful.

 

“I…I…I…” was all I could get out.

 

“Bella, love, hold on for me. Are you at home?”

 

“Um…yes,” I managed.

 

“Okay, splendid. Are you hurt?”

 

“No.”

 

“Thank god. Now, is Edward there?”

 

“No…” I sobbed.

 

“Shhh, darling, I’m on my way. Don’t move; I’m on my way.”

 

True to his word, Rob was pounding on my front door a few minutes later. When I opened the door, he quickly looked me over and the encircled me in his warm arms. He helped me to sit on my couch as he held me and let me ruin his shirt. When I finally calmed down some, he loosened his grip on my shoulders.

 

“Mind telling me what has you so upset?”

 

“I broke up with the git.”

 

His arms pulled me tightly to his body again as he placed kisses on the top of my head. He continued to rub his hands up and down my back as he let me collect my thoughts. I couldn’t tell you how long we sat on my couch. It didn’t really matter. He was being my friend and that was what I needed. His next statement shocked me to my core.

 

“Bella, love, I need you to go pack a bag. You’re coming to New York with me. I just finished filming and I’m headed there this afternoon for a few weeks before I fly to Ireland for my next movie. No excuses now, you need to get out of town for a few days. Give me your phone.”

 

I didn’t hesitate or argue. I was too tired to fight him. I handed him my phone and set off to pack. When I returned to the living room, he was in a deep conversation on my phone.

 

“Alice, she’s a mess and that blockhead you call a brother is the culprit. I’m taking her away for a few days and that’s the end of it. I have her phone and she won’t be using it until she returns. Thank you, Alice…yes, I’ll tell her, good day.”

 

When he was finished, he powered down my phone and pocketed it.

 

“Ready?”

 

“Yes,” I said heavily.

 

“Alice says she’s sorry and to take all the time you need.”

 

I simply nodded my head.

 

He grabbed my bag and slung it over his shoulder while extending his hand out for me to take. I grasped his hand as if a lifeline. Maybe he was right; maybe I just needed to clear my head. New York would be good. I had only good memories there.

 

We made our way to the parking garage and Rob opened the door of his Audi. I had an instant flashback of a conversation between Emmett and Edward as to what car was better between Audi and Aston Martin. Edward had said Aston Martin, thus the reason he bought one. I guess I would never be able to give my opinion of the Audi to him, not that he would have believed me anyway. I bid Edward a silent goodbye as my last though as the airplane took off.

 

Traveling with a celebrity was interesting to say the least. Before we got off the plane, Rob handed me a pair of Dolce and Gabana sunglasses while he changed into a blonde wig and a ball cap. As soon as we were off the private plane, we were quickly shuffled to a large black SUV. I never did understand the fascination with those.

 

Once his two bodyguards had our luggage loaded, we made our way to his penthouse. It was no surprise to me when we pulled into the main garage of his building that he had a private enclosed garage of his own. His penthouse was located on the south side of Central Park. Living in New York all those years ago, I knew you had to have major money to even get in the door here.

 

Once inside the penthouse, he showed me to his guest bedroom and told me to make myself comfortable. The first night there, we did not talk about what had happened. Instead, he ordered take-out or take-away as he called it, and we watched movies, including ones he had stared in. He explained to me that this was the first time he had watched them as he had a hard time seeing himself on screen. Once the last movie was over, I turned to him before speaking.

 

“I can totally understand why you don’t watch yourself because you really suck.” I tried to hold in my laughter, but it didn’t work. “It’s a good thing you’re so good looking because your acting skills are shit.”

 

Before I could utter another word, he pounced on me and began to tickle me. I laughed until I cried, and when he finally let me up, I hugged him tightly and told him thank you. He simply smiled and hugged me back. It felt so good to laugh, I mean really laugh. I was glad he had taken my cell phone before we left. I wondered if Edward had tried to contact me, but somehow I doubted it.

 

Being in New York again was giving me what I truly needed. Time. I needed time to really think. I was able to walk around Central Park and take in the sights and smells. I found myself people watching on more than one occasion. In this huge city, I felt at ease. I felt like life wasn’t quite so bad. I felt free from Mike Newton.

 

It was Wednesday afternoon while I was watching two men playing Frisbee that the thought hit me. I needed to move back to New York. Why not? I knew the city, I felt I could get a job pretty easily, and I had enough money saved to tide me over for a while. I’d wait until after Alice returned from her honeymoon and then return to the city. That still left me with two events where I would have to be in the same room with him. I told myself I could handle being in the same room for one more hour tops. Yes, this I could do for Alice. I had plans of returning to Seattle on Saturday and so I would start getting ready to pack up my life, readying myself for my new life.

 

I returned to Rob’s penthouse happier than when I left. I was looking forward to telling him my decision. Little did I know that he had his own plans for me.

 

“Hey, did you miss me?” He was sitting in the same position that I had left him in a few hours ago.

 

“Of course, though I think it’s time we talked,” he said and pointed the remote at the TV, turning it off.

 

“Okay, but I have something I have to tell you that can’t wait,” I said excitedly.

 

“Okay then, out with it.”

 

“I’ve decided to move back to New York, after Alice returns from her honeymoon that is.”

 

Rob turned so that his body was completely facing me. He took my hands in his as he began to speak.

 

“Isabella, do you know why I brought you here with me?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Do you really? Because I don’t think you do.” He licked his lips and let my hands go. With his elbow resting on the back of the couch and his head resting in his hand, he continued.

 

“I brought you here for Edward, not for you.” I looked at him utterly shocked. “Does this really surprise you, Isabella? It shouldn’t.” He leaned forward, grabbing his beer from the coffee table and taking a long drink. “As you know, I’m an actor; I could play Edward Cullen with my eyes closed. See, Edward is, well, he’s essentially a typical man. Being as I’m one as well, I know how he thinks.” He returned the bottle to the table as he reclined back into the couch. “I can tell you with conviction that right about now, he’s using all of his willpower to try not to think about you. I can assure you that once he left your flat, he called either his best friend or his brother, or maybe even both, and requested to have a word with them.” Like Edward, Rob had this habit of playing with his hair.

 

“Once he admitted his mistake with you to whoever would listen and they told him he was bloody mental for jumping to conclusions, he began to plan ways to apologize,” he said with a cheeky smirk.

 

“That, my love, is where I intervened. You see, had you stayed in Seattle, he would’ve bombarded you with flowers, phone calls, and promises of his eternal devotion. However, that would not have taught him a lesson. He needs time to wallow and feel real pain, think good and hard about what he’s done. He needs time to feel what it’ll be like not to have you around anymore.”

 

I started to argue that Edward’s efforts to apologize would have done no good, but Rob cut me off.

 

“You, my dear, would’ve caved after day three of his arsenal of flowers and apologies and forgiven him unconditionally. Again, that’s not what he needs.” His face began to change into one of amusement. “Trust me, Isabella, when he finally lays eyes on you, he’ll forget all the reasons why he was angry in the first place. He’ll finally admit to himself what I’m certain he’s been denying since he laid eyes on you.”

 

Now I was confused. “What could Edward Cullen possibly want from me that he couldn’t just go out and buy?” I hadn’t meant to speak my question out loud, but now it was out there.

 

“Oh, my sweet Isabella, there’s where you’re wrong. There is something you cannot buy. Trust me, I know, I’ve tried for years. He’s in love with you, pet; he has been since the Gala or maybe even before.”

 

“Oh, my god, Rob, you’re so full of shit. Edward isn’t in love with me! We haven’t been together or even known each other that long,” I threw my hands up in the air in frustration.

 

“Think what you may, but I know what I’m talking about. I’d venture to say that you’re in love with him, too,” his voice was a hushed whisper and he looked down with a frown as he said the last part.

 

As his words sank in, I began to feel an odd sensation brewing in my stomach. It felt like a thousand butterflies swirling around. Why would he say such ludicrous things about Edward and me?

 

“Tell me, Bella, why is the thought of Edward Cullen actually being in love with you enough to render you speechless?”

 

The silence that fell after that was deafening. I raised my head and looked Rob square in the face. Then I told him the entire story, from high school to the engagement party. Once my mouth opened, I couldn’t stop the words from pouring out. It was like the flood gates to my soul had opened and there was nothing to stop it. Forty-five minutes later, I was startled out of my trance by a sudden flash. Rob had his Blackberry out and was hurriedly pressing buttons.

 

“Um, what are you doing?”

 

“I’m proving to you once and for all that Mike Newton is a bloody liar and you should stop letting him win.”

 

I wanted to ask him what he meant, what was Mike winning? Then it hit me.

 

“Bella, do you know who Jackson Rathbone and Taylor Lautner are?”

 

“Um, yes, don’t they play parts in your movies?”

 

“Very good, and do you know who Kellan Lutz and Daniel Ratcliff are?

 

“Yes.”

 

“Do you think any of them are attractive?” he asked as he continued to press buttons on his Blackberry.

 

“I’m sorry, but what does any of this have to do with Mike Newton?”

 

“Answer the question, Isabella. Do you find them attractive?”

 

“Well, yes, but…”

 

“Would you be surprised to know they all think you’re beautiful?” His fingers were now still and his eyes were locked on mine.

 

“Yes, I’d be shocked, more like floored, not like they’ve ever seen me…” My ranting was interrupted by him shoving his Blackberry into my hands.

 

“Start reading, my dear Isabella. I sent a number of my friends your picture and those are their responses.”

 

I held the phone in my trembling hands. The words on the screen were clear as day. I took several moments to re-read the responses. The truth in their words was untainted. Rob had only sent an ordinary picture with the caption, “What do you think?” They had no reason to lie, they didn’t have to say anything positive, nor did they know or owe me anything.

 

God, tell me she has a twin sister, man! -JR

 

Is she the reason you jetted out of here, dude? Nice! -KL

 

Are you dating her? If not, is she busy next month for the premiere? -TL

 

Please tell me she’s British. She’s very pretty, mate, well done! -DR

 

She’s so lovely, dear, when can we meet her? -MOM

 

The last response bothered me the most. He had sent my picture to his mother. Moms told the truth.

 

“Thank you, Rob,” I sighed and handed his phone back to him.

 

“No thanks are needed; you just needed to see the truth.”

 

I did understand what he was trying to tell me. I didn’t totally agree with him, but I did understand. Ironically, all those years of therapy and all it took was an overpaid actor to open my eyes. The question that now remained was…was I in love with Edward? I had never been in love before. Had someone written a “Love for Dummies” guide? More importantly, was I too late? Had Edward tired and moved on? If so, I would have to face that and live with it. If Edward was in love with me, then why hadn’t he told me?

 

“Rob, why do you say Edward’s in love with me?” Rob was again playing with his phone.

 

“Well, let me ask you this. How long did he wait to try and get you into bed?” he asked, his eyes never leaving his phone, his fingers moving frantically.

 

“He, um, never tried. He knew I’m a virgin and he let me decide.”

 

“How long were you two dating again?”

 

“Five weeks.”

 

“Five weeks and he never tried anything; no feeling you up, no hand under your shirt, no grinding on you while making out?”

 

“No, we never really made out. It wasn’t like that, he was always a gentleman.”

 

“Gentleman or not, if he didn’t try to get you into bed with an ass and legs like yours, he’s either a pouf or he’s in love.”

 

I was afraid to ask any more questions. Rob had been very honest with me and for some odd reason, I felt like I could trust him.

 

“So, Isabella, let’s talk about your impending move to New York. Not that I’d mind having you here when I pop into town, but why? I mean if you’re thinking that you can move across the country to avoid Edward, think again. Edward’s a man of means and he can jump on a plane and be here any time if he really wants to be. Don’t think for one minute that he can’t find you if he really wants to. Furthermore, he’d be a bloody idiot of he didn’t.”

 

Once again, Rob was right. Edward could do all of those things. But maybe he wouldn’t. I mean he talked about building a house and settling down; his family was there, he would never move.

 

The rest of the week was just hanging out. On Friday night, I began to pack up. Rob and I were going to head to the airport together. He would be catching a flight to Ireland and I would be heading back to Seattle, back to my life, for now.

 

“Isabella, I need a favor.”

 

“Sure, Rob.”

 

“I parked my car at the airport in Seattle and I want you to drive it while I’m away.”

 

“Are you fucking kidding? That’s like an eighty thousand dollar car? Are you insane?”

 

“No, I want you to drive it. Don’t you have some shower thing you’re going to be attending and a wedding soon?”

 

“Yes, but…”

 

“No buts, Isabella, drive the bloody car. Oh, and Isabella, do me one more little favor.”

 

“Sure, why not.”

 

“Wear a tight, short red dress to the shower, with three-inch heels to top it off.”

 

“Ugh, why?”

 

“Just trust me, wear the bloody red dress.”

 

Rob had arranged for my first-class return flight back to Seattle, against my many protests. When we finally arrived at the airport, he informed me that he wanted me to call him the minute I landed, even though he would be in the air on his way to Ireland. The last thing Rob did prior to getting on his plane was to give me a long hug and my phone back. The first-class seat was very comfortable and I had to admit it was so much better than coach. I sat by myself on the flight and closed the window shade. I placed my iPod on shuffle and settled in. The stewardess made several attempts to get me something to drink, but I simply wasn’t interested.

 

Once I got off the plane, I actually imagined Edward standing at the end of the gateway waiting for me. Sadly, he wasn’t. I made my way to the valet parking and retrieved Rob’s car. I would be the first to admit it was a lot of fun to drive.

 

I parked his car in my assigned spot in the garage. That was a first for sure. I made my way up to my apartment. Once I finally reached my floor, I discovered two half-dead flower arrangements sitting outside my door. In addition, there were several notes from different florists in the area telling me they had more arrangements to deliver. Rob had been right.

 

Once inside my apartment, I began to relive the events leading to my abrupt departure. I held tightly to the doorknob as I remembered the last words I had spoken to Edward.

 

Sleep was nonexistent that weekend and Monday morning brought on an entirely new feeling of dread. Would he be waiting at my office? Would Alice be waiting with my final paycheck? Would Rosalie be waiting to kick my ass? I had to do this; I had to face the music. With my head held high, I walked into Alice’s office.

 

“Good morning,” I said, trying to keep my voice as normal as possible.

 

I glanced around the room to find Angela on the couch talking on her phone as Alice typed frantically on her keyboard. Alice finished typing and Angela ended her call, both racing to embrace me in a tight hug.

 

“Oh, my god, Bella, are you okay? Do you need chocolate or tequila?” Alice spoke so fast I nearly missed her question.

 

“Neither, Alice, just please, let him be off limits, I just can’t talk about him yet.”

 

Alice simply nodded her head in understanding and headed back to her desk. I decided to go back to my office and see how much work was waiting for me. It was just before lunch when Angela popped her head in.

 

“Bella, can we talk?” I stopped typing the response email that I was working on and motioned for her to have a seat. “Okay, so I know you don’t want to talk about what happened, but I have to get a few things off my chest.”

 

She looked so nervous and I began to worry that something bad had happened while I was away. Truth be told, I would miss Angela so much when I moved to New York. We had just reconnected and I hated that we would be losing each other again.

 

“So, Bella, you’re my best friend and I have to tell you something before I go insane.”

 

“Is everything okay?”

 

“Oh, my god, Bella, everything is so perfect, but I feel so bad because I know how unhappy the two of you are and…”

 

“Wait, you said everything was perfect, as in you and Ben?”

 

“Um, yeah…oh, shit, Bella, Ben told me he loved me and then, and then we made love. I gave him my virginity. I’m so happy right now and I feel so guilty because you aren’t, and I wouldn’t feel this happy if you hadn’t known Ben and…oh, Bella, he’s just a mess, a big fucking mess, and…” Angela rambled.

 

“Wait, did you just say you lost your virginity?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“To a man you love?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Then why do you feel guilty?”

 

“Because you deserve to be happy, too, Bella, you both do. Shit, okay, so I know you don’t want to talk about him, but you just have to know what happened. I told Ben that my loyalty was with you and…”

 

What the hell?

 

“Okay, Angie, honey, start from the beginning. Who’s a mess, why do you need to be loyal, and what do I need to know?”

 

She looked so sad as she continued to play with the hem of her skirt. The look on her face was as if she was having a fierce battle within herself. She took a deep breath before she began.

 

“After you broke up with him, he called Ben and asked if he could come over and talk. When he got there, I went to excuse myself to the bedroom to give them some privacy. Bella, I’ve never seen Edward look so broken and sad in my entire life. When I tried to leave the room, Edward stopped me and asked me to stay and listen. We all sat around the island and Edward began to talk about Mike and all that was said. Ben told Edward that everything you’d told him was the truth and that Mike was lying and couldn’t be trusted. Edward admitted that he’d done the wrong thing by yelling and accusing you of what Mike had said without asking you about it first. Then he laid his head on the bar and kept saying over and over that he’d fucked this up so bad and that you were gone. I’d never seen a man cry so pitifully.”

 

Once again, Rob had been correct; Edward had called a close friend.

 

“So then Edward asked if I’d call you and make sure you were okay, but when I tried, your phone went to voicemail. I told Edward I’d stop by your house later in the day to make sure you were okay. Then he told Ben that he’d gladly give all the money he had if he could just get you back and that he’d never forgive himself for doing something so stupid.”

 

That feeling of dread made its way into my chest again as I thought about just calling Edward and talking to him about everything.

 

“Then he got a phone call from Emmett and he said he needed to go. Apparently, there was a very sick kid that needed a heart transplant and so he, Carlisle, and Emmett headed to Kentucky to help with the transplant and he’s been there since then. Esme said they’re in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone service and the family won’t let them operate in a larger city. Alice made them promise to try to be back for the couple’s shower and Edward gave her his word.”

 

So much for calling him…

 

“Bella, promise me you’ll talk to him when he gets back. I just know you guys can work it out.”

 

I had so much to think about. I at least needed to talk to Edward so I could have closure to this whole mess. I couldn’t even think about leaving for New York until we cleared the air and could at least be friends. I knew for certain that I couldn’t stay here and watch him get involved with another girl, but I also knew I couldn’t be in a relationship without trust.

 

“I promise to talk with him, Angela, you have my word. Now tell me more about this great sex you’re having.”

 

Next chapter is the couple’s shower and the return of our handsome doctors. Will Bella and E/dward talk? Will they get back together or is New York in her future?

 

  1. Chapter 21

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 21

 

Thank you so much to everyone who continues to read and review. Thank you also to everyone who has this story on alert. I know everyone wants to see our Bella and Edward take a huge roll in the hay. Trust me, I know, but please bear in mind that Bella just discovered herself and broke up with him. It’s coming, I promise.

 

Now, I feel the need to give out a warning for this chapter, it’s heavy and there’s some violence and an attempted sexual assault. I do not condone violence of any kind, but it just so happens that it does occur in our everyday lives. That being said, if violence offends you, skip this chapter and send me a message and I’ll give you the cliff notes of what happens. I do hope you’ll continue to read, however, as this chapter is a major turning point.

 

As always, Dollybigmomma rocks the words pretty, Ms. Stephanie owns the characters, I just wanted to play with them for a minute.

 

Three weeks later…

 

It had been three weeks since my abrupt trip to New York. Three weeks without Edward, with not a single word, email, or text. The past three weeks had been absolutely crazy with nonstop shower plans. One would think this was the actual wedding. I began to lose count of how many phone calls I received from Esme daily. I mailed out more money than I had ever seen. I was impressed with Esme’s detailed planning skills as she continued to work on her current project. She had dropped off a large binder full of different swatch samples, paint chips, and beautiful pictures of furniture. She asked for each of our opinions as to our favorites from the collection. I was the last to go through it and I had to admit, Esme had amazing taste. One particular picture was of the most beautiful sleigh bed, and for twelve thousand dollars it had better be beautiful.

 

Sunday, the day of the shower, had finally arrived. I awoke early as usual and began to do some final confirmations. I called Esme to make certain all the vendors had arrived and everything was going according to plan. She had apologized for the fact that Mike Newton had been invited to the shower and had confirmed his invitation. That was fine with me. Earlier in the week, I had snuck away and followed Rob’s advice. I bought a short, tight red dress with a low scooped back, a tiny little matching bra and thong set, and a pair of killer stiletto heels. I took it one step further and headed to the spa and had a body wax, got my hair trimmed, had a mani/pedi done in blood red to match my dress, and I bought new makeup and jewelry. If nothing else came of all this, Mike Newton would at least get to see what he would never have, regardless of his lies to the contrary, all wrapped up in a hot little red dress that he would most certainly remember correctly this time.

 

The shower was scheduled to start at five thirty and we had RSVP’s for nearly two hundred guests. Esme had assured me we would have plenty of room. Alice had been very insistent on having a couple’s shower so that the men could be included. Jasper was upset until he found out he could register for a PS3; after that, he was on board.

 

Everything was going according to schedule, until the photographer called stating that he was having car trouble. I was already en route and told Esme that I would pick him up on my way. I still had Rob’s car so it wasn’t a big deal. Once I had the photographer, I managed to maneuver through traffic and arrived only twenty minutes late. The photographer kept apologizing, but assured me he had a way home.

 

When we walked in, the shower was well underway and I wasn’t certain who was having more fun, the guys or the girls. I began to look around for Edward, but I didn’t see him. I quickly found Esme and Alice who excitedly informed me that the guys had returned just a few hours ago from Kentucky, so it looked like he would be here. The look on Alice’s face when she took in my dress was priceless.

 

“My god, Bella, you look hot. You trying to impress someone?” she clicked her tongue after she finished speaking.

 

“First, thank you, and to let you in on one little detail that you can’t tell from there…Brazilian all the way, baby,” I giggled while watching her eyes grow wide as I turned and walked away.

 

Since I was co-hosting, I had a job to do so finding Edward was not a priority right now. I made my way over to the gift table and began setting up chairs for Alice and Jasper to open their gifts. Once that was done, I made a pass through the house to thank everyone for coming. At this point, I still hadn’t laid eyes on Edward. I located Carlisle in the dining room, discussing the surgery he had just completed with his sons. I smiled as I listened to the pride in his voice as he spoke. It wasn’t long before I needed to get Alice and Jasper to start opening their gifts.

 

When Rob called me after he had arrived in Ireland, he questioned how things were between Edward and myself. I told him everything and that I still intended to move to New York. He insisted I stay at his penthouse for as long as I needed. I gladly accepted and told him how grateful I was.

 

Once I was finally able to wrangle Jasper and Alice into sitting down, I took my spot beside Alice with my laptop at the ready as they began to open gifts. I made it a point to keep accurate, detailed information on each gift they received. I had the addresses of the entire guest list already plugged into my program so all we had to do was point and click and a thank you note would be created. I was just grateful I wasn’t going to have to sign them all.

 

Opening gifts took nearly an hour and I couldn’t wait for this to be over. I wanted to find Edward and talk with him. As the cleanup of the wrapping paper was still underway, I managed to look up to see Mike Newton standing in the corner with a very devious smile on his face. I glanced about the room hoping to find Edward, but I had no luck. When I looked back in the direction where Mike had stood, he was now gone.

 

The party had wound down considerably and I made it a point to collect my things and begin looking for Edward. After my third pass through the house with no luck, I decided maybe he had left or was avoiding me so I decided to just go. I had placed my purse and laptop near the back door and made my way to the back of the house to retrieve it. I had just knelt down to grab my purse when I felt a strong hand on my shoulder. I quickly looked up, hoping to find a set of beautiful green eyes, only to find Mike.

 

“Hey, Bella, great party, huh?”

 

“Yes, Mike, it was very nice. But if you’ll excuse me…”

 

“Wait, Bella…listen, I know I messed things up between you and Edward…”

 

“Messed things up? Are you fucking kidding me? You lied to him! You…you…”

 

“Wait, wait, I know and I’m sorry, but I want to make it up to the both of you. Just listen to what I have to say. I’m going to tell him the truth, with you in the room, Bella, I swear, no more games. Please, just come with me. Edward’s waiting for us both, he said he needed some peace and quiet away from everyone and was headed out to the pool house for a break. He really misses you, Bella.”

 

A very large part of me wanted to tell him to kiss my ass. An even bigger part of me said he couldn’t be trusted, but in the end, I decided if Edward was willing to hear him out, then I would, too. Besides, if Edward was waiting, then I needed to talk with him. So I left my purse and laptop and followed Mike outside to the pool house.

 

The Cullen’s pool house was more like, well, a real house. It even had a fireplace and a small kitchen. The pool area always reminded me of a tropical garden with the vast amount of flowers and foliage highlighted by the low lights that illuminated it. We passed the bench that Edward and I had shared when we had our first actual discussion and deep inside, I hoped we could sit on that bench again soon.

 

The surface around the pool was made from cobblestone and added to the feel of the garden. However, it didn’t make walking in three-inch stilettos very easy. I noticed that the area beside the pool house along the chimney for the fireplace was in disarray. Esme had told me they were in the process of adding in a large fire pit area, but her idea of a fire pit and mine were totally different. Hers had benches that were covered in thick cushions and a pit that was made of slate and was big enough to roast a whole boar.

 

I was thinking so hard on the plans for the fire pit that I nearly forgot about Mike walking beside me. In the distance, I could hear the sounds of an impending thunderstorm and I hoped it would hold off until I was able to get to Rob’s car. Suddenly, a close flash of lightning lit up the sky just as we were about to walk beside the chimney. It distracted me enough that I didn’t register my feet leaving the ground.

 

I suddenly found myself pressed against the hard surface of the stones that made up the chimney. Mike had one of his hands clamped around my neck and the other over my mouth as my feet dangled off the ground. I could feel the slate rock cutting into my back and the unmistakable feeling of blood running down my neck. Mike was so close to me that I could feel his breath on my face. I was so startled that I hadn’t been able to react. I began trying to kick out him, but he was quick to secure my feet with his leg, kicking my shins hard enough to nearly break them to make me stop flailing.

 

“You stupid fucking whore!” Mike roared into my face. I had yet to open my eyes and I feared what was waiting on the other side of my closed eyelids. “You actually thought Edward was waiting for you?” he laughed through clinched teeth. I opened my eyes to find Mike’s nearly black with hate boring into mine. “You should’ve stayed away. You’ve made things very hard for me and I don’t like it when people get in my way.” I had no idea what he was talking about.

 

“You’ve cost me so much. Prom night, do you remember, after you saw me with Jessica? Well, she dumped me; she fucking dumped me because of you, you and your nasty fat ass. And your fucking dad busting me for such bullshit, my dad beat my ass bloody that night he got home and found his precious car impounded!” Spit was now covering my face from the way he was spewing his words at me. My heart was beating so fast and I began to pray that someone would come looking for me, anyone.

 

I began to remember the story that had been rumored around town. Apparently, Mike and Tyler Crowley had been drag racing one night and my dad busted them. Mike made the mistake of getting in my dad’s face and Charlie had arrested him and impounded the car. Since Mike wasn’t the registered owner, he wasn’t able to get it out of impound before his father found out. When his father returned, he’d had to tell his dad what had happened. I later found out that Mike had planned to drug me and place me in different sexual positions with him and his buddies. He had planned to take pictures and show them to my dad, essentially blackmailing him onto releasing the car so the pictures wouldn’t end up going public. My busting his nose before the prom had even gotten started had derailed his plans.

 

“Then you cost me my skybox privileges, do you have any idea how much pussy I’ve had in that fucking skybox? I’ve had to do without anything good since you showed up, only getting other guys’ leftovers!” With those words, he began to slam my head repeatedly into the slate.

 

“Your precious Edward wouldn’t help me get into Sigma Chi Epsilon, but Tanya sure helped me get into his bank account. Why should Edward get everything, the girls, money? Did you know I introduced them?”

 

He began to loosen his grip on my throat and I could feel my body sliding down the slate. As my feet hit the ground, I tried my best to just stay conscious. I knew I was bleeding and my head was pounding.

 

“Tanya and I had this whole thing figured out, how she’d distract him and I’d befriend him and earn his trust, and then once we had his money, we’d disappear together.” His grip began to loosen further and I was able to take a couple of deep breaths. I had to get away from him before things got any worse.

 

“He never knew all those times he was away on business that I was fucking her in his bed! HA! Then you show up at that fucking party and suddenly he’s all Bella this and Bella that. Then he gives me some shit story about Tanya betraying him when I asked him why he dumped her for you.

 

“Now you’ve come back and little Eddie’s all emo about winning you back. That shit can’t happen. No, you need to go back to wherever you came from, do you understand me?” With his last four words, he slammed my head again repeatedly into the stone.

 

I didn’t respond; I was trying too hard to form a plan of escape.

 

Still holding me against the wall with arm, Mike grabbed the front of my dress with the other and jerked it down as he began to rub himself against my body. “You know, Bella, you really do look nothing like you did when we first met. No, now I’d be a fool not to fuck you hard, and this time I’m sure I’ll actually enjoy it. Edward was so goddamn smug, bragging that you’re still a virgin. Well, for once I’ll finally have something Edward can’t and I’m going to enjoy taking it from the both of you.”

 

His words were echoing in my head. Mike Newton planned to rape me. He had taken so much from me and I had sat back and allowed him to do it. Something inside me snapped and I could feel the rage building and climbing up into my chest. This was the last straw. He had taken enough from me.

 

Mike had pinned me to the wall with his shoulder as his other hand moved down to open his pants, freeing himself. He shoved his knee between my thighs and then grabbed the hem of my dress and hiked it up, leaving me exposed except for my underwear. His rough fingers began clawing beneath my thong, trying to grab hold of it to rip it off of me, scratching, bruising, and finally exposing my bare intimate flesh in the process as he succeeded. He was momentarily distracted with trying to take me and I took the opportunity and quickly raised my hands to his face, digging my freshly-manicured fingernails into the flesh around his eyes. When he leaned back slightly trying to get loose, I raised my knee and planted it firmly into his stomach. Mike was quick to recover and began to throw punches back, landing blows to my face, chest, and ribs as he tried to pin me once again.

 

I was so full of anger that I couldn’t even feel the pain and I began to scratch, punch, and slap him like a mad woman. Finally, I was able to sway him enough that I could free myself from his grasp. The rain began to fall in buckets and it made landing my punches quite difficult, but with one final sharp right hook, I landed one to his jaw that sent him staggering to the ground. I now had the upper hand as Mike lay groaning in the mud.

 

I should have cut my losses and headed for the house, but I didn’t. Instead, I decided to give back just a little bit of the pain that Mike had given me so long ago. I began to kick him repeatedly, gouging him with my stiletto heels between every blow. Each kick, stomp, and gouge was full of my hurt, anguish, and pure rage.

 

“You sorry motherfucker! Do you have any idea what you’ve put me through? You made me question everything about myself all these years. You made me doubt every compliment Edward ever gave me, every compliment anyone ever gave me. You tried to humiliate me and told me I was no one special!” I stopped kicking him and knelt down beside him. “That’s where you’re wrong!” I spit in his face and then landed one final ball-shattering kick to his groin.

 

Pulling my dress back into place, I chose that moment to run. I knew that Mike would most likely call the police and press charges against me. I didn’t care at that moment, I was finally free. I made it almost to the pool when I slipped on the stones, falling harshly and causing sharp pains to shoot through my knees and hands. I could see Mike getting up and coming after me so I quickly got back up and ran in through the back door, slamming it shut behind me and locking it. I quickly looked around to find the kitchen empty. I grabbed my purse and laptop and ran out the side door and into the driveway. Once inside the car, I locked the doors and shoved the key into the ignition, getting the hell out of there.

 

Drenched, battered, and bordering on shock, I shook violently all the way home.

 

  1. Chapter 22

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Are you all still with me after that chapter? Some may question why Bella didn’t do more that night and find someone to help her. Fear and panic can mess with reason and logic, but have faith in our girl. She’s a fighter, as you saw.

 

SM still owns the whole enchilada, I just like to serve them on my fiesta platter, and Dollybigmomma brings the beta salsa!

 

Chapter 22

 

Once I parked the car and made my way up to my apartment, I began to feel the pains in my body. I could feel a large lump forming on the back of my head and there was blood in my hair from where my scalp had been split. I dropped my purse and laptop and staggered into my bedroom to inventory the damage. My hair was streaked with dried blood and I could see the beginning of bruising forming on my face, neck, and chest. I stripped off my clothes and saw that I was covered in bruises, scratches, and several cuts, some of the deeper than others. I couldn’t let Mike get away with this.

 

I searched my purse for my phone, but it wasn’t there. Now what? I decided to send a text to the one person I could count on. As I waited for my computer to boot up, I went into my bathroom and found some painkillers. I made my way back to my computer and began to type.

 

911 – I need you to come to my apartment now, please don’t bring Ben and don’t tell anyone -B

 

Angela arrived a few minutes later and took one look at me and began to cry. I explained everything that had happened and she insisted I call the police. I told her I had lost my phone, hence the computer text. Angela made the call to the police and waited with me for them to arrive. Once they completed the report and took pictures of my injuries, they advised me to go to the ER, which I declined as Mike hadn’t succeeded in his attempted rape and my breathing was fine. I made Angela swear not to tell Ben. She told me she would be staying with me tonight and I didn’t argue.

 

Morning arrived along with the most severe pain I had ever experienced. Angela again tried to get me to go to the ER, but again I refused. Once out of the shower, I noticed the bruises I was covered in had blackened. Angela helped me bandage the cuts and I decided that I would just wear a turtleneck to cover the darkest bruises on my neck and layer on makeup to cover the ones on my face. I just wanted a little time to get my thoughts together before I let anyone know what had happened.

 

I assured Angela that I wouldn’t hide from Edward and that I would make it a point to talk to him and tell him everything, but I just needed a chance to get my head around what had happened. She offered to let me call him on her phone, but this was something I needed to do in person. I threw on the first turtleneck I came across and headed into the office. Angela insisted on driving and again I didn’t argue.

 

Walking into the office that morning, I felt a change in the air. I entered the office with my purse in hand to find Rosalie and Esme sitting on the couch and Alice in one of the chairs. The room was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. Oh fuck, I was so getting fired for last night. I couldn’t place the look on Alice’s face as she scanned my body from head to toe. I shot a look at Rosalie and Esme who were also staring at Alice.

 

“Bella, what day is it?” Alice spoke with panic in her voice.

 

“It’s Monday,” I responded slowly.

 

“Then why are you wearing black? You always wear blue on Monday. Bella, what the hell is wrong?”

 

I had to give it to Alice, she was observant. I wasn’t going to lie. I needed to get my thoughts together so I gingerly took a seat on the open end of the couch, trying to hide my wincing.

 

“Bella, you’re wearing a full turtleneck. Mom, Bella hates turtlenecks, she always wears the mock ones and…and today is blue Monday!” Alice was going into full panic mode.

 

I turned to address her and tell her the whole story when Rosalie let out a shriek, “Oh, my god, Bella, what the hell happened to your neck?”

 

Before I could react, Rosalie was beside me and pulling down my collar. I did nothing to stop her.

 

“Holy fuck, Bella!” Rosalie yelled as she continued to pull down my collar. “What the fuck happened? Who did this shit to you?”

 

Esme was now off the couch as well as Alice. Before I could even blink, they had my hair lifted and began pulling up my shirt, exploring my entire torso. Alice grabbed my pant legs and pulled them up, revealing the scratches and bruises from Mike’s kicks to my shins. I flinched when Rosalie licked her finger and wiped away the makeup I had spread thickly on my face, and Esme gasped when she lifted my shirt behind me and looked at my back. Suddenly, I heard her dialing her cell phone.

 

“Carlisle, whatever you’re doing at this moment, drop it immediately and get to Alice’s office now. Bella’s hurt badly and I want you to look at her. No, Edward doesn’t know and don’t you tell him. Get here now,” Esme’s voice was pained and yet laden with concern.

 

“Bella, sweetheart, can you tell us what happened?” Esme’s voice was full of emotion as she made her way to me. She knelt down in front of me and began to rub the backs of my hands.

 

I told them everything. I told them how I fought back and that the police were contacted. I also admitted that I was certain that Mike would file charges against me.

 

“Alice, dear, go and pull up the security tapes from last night.”

 

Alice made her way over to her computer and began typing away. Once she was finished, Rosalie and Esme joined her behind her desk as they watched the altercation, collectively gasping as Mike tried to rape me. I had no idea they even had that kind of surveillance equipped at the house.

 

“Alice, make a copy of that for the police,” Esme spoke, never taking her eyes away from the monitor.

 

After several minutes, they each made their way back to the couch and each placed a hand on me. “Bella, why didn’t you tell us last night?”

 

“Because I wasn’t really thinking, I just wanted to get away.”

 

It was the truth. I just wanted everything to be normal again. I wanted today to be filled with wedding madness, not police reports.

 

“Listen, sweetheart, everything is going to be okay. We have the tape that we’ll give to the police and I’m about to make a few phone calls and clear everything up. Do you trust me?”

 

“Of course I trust you, Esme, but the tape also shows me kicking the shit out of Mike Newton and I guarantee you he’ll press charges.”

 

“Don’t be so sure, child.”

 

Esme rose from the couch and made her way over to the armchair. She picked up the receiver from the telephone and also hit the button for the speakerphone. The phone rang two times and the voice I had longed to hear was filling the room.

 

“Good morning, Alice,” Edward’s velvet voice seemed tired and sad.

 

“Good morning, dear, it’s your mother.”

 

“Sorry, Mom, good morning.”

 

“Edward, what are your plans for today? Where are you right now?” Esme looked directly into my eyes as she spoke.

 

“Well, I’m just finishing up answering some email from when I was away and the second I’m done, I’m headed over to Alice’s office to beg Bella to take me back.”

 

My eyes grew huge; he was going to beg me?

 

“Well, before you do that, there’s something you need to hear.”

 

“If it’s anything negative about Bella then I don’t want to hear it.”

 

“No, it isn’t anything negative, but I need you to remain silent while I explain. Can you do that, Edward?”

 

“Yeah, I guess.”

 

“No, Edward, you’re about to hear some facts that are going to be hard not to react to and if you can’t remain silent then I’ll have to hang up.”

 

“Mom, nothing that anyone can ever say about her will change how I feel about her ever again. I was a complete idiot to ever deny my feelings for her. You want to hear something totally crazy?” his voice was almost childlike with a hint of determination.

 

“Of course, dear.”

 

“While I was in Kentucky, I found myself with my hands deep inside this baby’s chest. I spent sixteen hours fixing a defect in this little guy’s heart when it suddenly hit me that I couldn’t do anything to fix my own broken heart. All the money I have, all the property I own, all the knowledge I have, it’s all worthless, it won’t help get her back. I also realized that I love her, Mom.”

 

“I know you do, dear.”

 

Holy shit, I couldn’t be hearing…that he loved me? I could feel the tears start and my chest was getting tight. I tried taking deep breaths, but my ribs were really hurting at his point and I was starting to feel dizzy. I was beginning to believe that having Carlisle coming was a good thing.

 

“No, Mom, I don’t think you understand. I can’t do anything without thinking about her. I smell her in my car and it takes my breath away. I’d gladly give up everything just to see her smile at me again. Last night when I saw her pull up in his car, I just couldn’t stand the thought that she’d already moved on. I had this plan of dropping to my knees and begging her to just talk to me, but when I saw her get out of his car, well, I became this huge chicken and left the party.”

 

He thought I had moved on. I was nearly gasping as I listened to his admission of his true feelings. I sat wide-eyed with my hand over my mouth as I looked directly into Rosalie’s beautiful blue eyes which were rimmed with tears.

 

“Son, I do know what you mean, that’s exactly how I feel for your father. And I do think you’re on the right track of begging Bella for forgiveness, it’ll do you good. Just ask your father,” Esme chuckled slightly as she winked at me.

 

“Now, Son, are you ready to hear what I have to share with you? Can you hold your tongue?”

 

“Mom, you have my word I’ll be silent, please continue.”

 

“Good, then I’m about to call your friend, Mike Newton.”

 

My breath caught in my throat. Would Edward believe me or Mike this time?

 

  1. Chapter 23

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Mrs. Meyer gives us these fun characters to dance with, and Dollybigmomma is beta DJ.

 

Chapter 23

 

As Esme set up the three-way call, the phone made a clicking sound followed by a dial tone and the sounds of quick dialing. Three rings sounded before Mike’s voice pierced the silence.

 

“Talk to me,” Mike’s so uncouth phrase resounded.

 

“Good morning, Mike, this is Esme Cullen.”

 

“Oh, good morning, Mrs. C, um, is everything okay?” His voice sounded surprised and a little shaky.

 

“I was just calling to chat with you if you don’t mind?” Esme’s voice was calm and dripping with sweetness.

 

“Sure, Mrs. C, I always have time for you.”

 

“That’s very nice of you, Mike. I wanted to say thank you for attending the shower last night. I know you were invited, but I was rather surprised you came.”

 

“Yeah, well, Edward and I are best buds so…anyway, I knew he was away, so I thought I’d…”

 

“Oh, no, dear, I’m glad you came, it gives me a reason to call you. Listen, Mike, I wanted to ask you a few questions about some things that have been bugging me for a while. Would that be okay?”

 

“Sure, um, anything wrong?” Mike’s voice sounded like he’d reverted to early puberty.

 

“Well, several months ago, I had a conversation with Edward’s girlfriend, Bella, and she made a comment that you once told her she was no one special. Do you recall this conversation?”

 

“Gosh, Mrs. C, Bella and I didn’t really hang around the same crowd. I mean, I didn’t have much contact with her.”

 

“Really? Well, that’s surprising to hear considering you told Edward that you took Bella to your senior prom and that shortly after she was crowned prom queen, you two slipped off and had sex.”

 

“Um, well…”

 

“Mike, let’s get something clear from the beginning. I do not tolerate dishonesty. You’ve not been truthful with either me or my son now, have you?”

 

“I, um…”

 

“You must further understand that I’m very protective of my children. Just so you know, I consider Bella to be one of my children so be very careful how you answer my remaining questions.”

 

“Y…yes, Ma’am.”

 

“I took it upon myself to do a little research and what I found was quite shocking, Mike. I made a few phone calls recently and I found out who was prom queen your senior year as well as some other very interesting details. Should I continue?”

 

` “I…I…”

 

“Yes, well, Mike, according to your school’s records, the prom queen that particular year was a Jessica Stanley and the prom king was Alex Chambers. Furthermore, you were listed as attending alone. There was no record that Bella attended. I questioned a little further and found out that our Bella was class valedictorian, but she refused to deliver the traditional speech or even walk at graduation. I find that very disturbing, Mike, who does that?”

 

“Well, you see…”

 

“No, Mike, I wasn’t finished. A person who studies that hard and achieves such an honor doesn’t walk away from it for no good reason. Furthermore, she earned a full scholarship to NYU which would’ve been announced at that graduation for all to hear and her parents to be publicly proud for her had she been there. She and her family missed out on that. I took it upon myself to contact Bella’s mother. I asked her if she could remember what color her daughter’s prom dress was. She told me the entire story of what you tried to do and of the true color of the dress, which was blue, not red as you told Edward.

 

“She also further confirmed the story of Bella’s refusal to walk at graduation. In fact, she told me how Bella packed up and moved to New York a week before graduation to escape the trauma you and your clique of friends constantly subjected her to. She unfortunately also told me of the sudden death of Bella’s father.”

 

I lowered my head as Esme began to speak of my father. I wanted so badly to be able to call him, to tell him of what Mike had done. Charlie would have had him behind bars before the stiletto marks had stopped bleeding.

 

“Now that we both know the truth, I’d like to know about last night. I know what occurred after the shower, Mike. I have excellent security tapes and I’ll be turning them over to the police. Oh, and you should know our system has audio. I’ve heard and seen everything you said to Bella and your confession regarding my son.”

 

My head shot back up. Esme had Mike by the balls and she had just twisted them.

 

“Are…are you going to tell Edward?” Mike’s voice sounded as if he was sobbing.

 

“No, Mike, you just did,” Esme laughed darkly as she delivered the final blow.

 

“What?”

 

“You fucking bastard!” Edward roared.

 

“Dude, it’s not…”

 

“Save it, Mike! My god, you were supposed to be my friend. I fucking trusted you and you fucking lied to me. You stole from me!”

 

“Edward,” Esme quickly interrupted, “Sweetheart, there’s more. You need to come to Alice’s office now,” her voice was quick and conveyed urgency.

 

“I’m in the stairwell now, Mom.” With that, the phone went dead and Carlisle came bounding through the door.

 

Before I could even blink, Carlisle was sitting beside me. His touch was very gentle, but it still caused me pain in my chest and my head was killing me.

 

“Bella, are you having any trouble taking a deep breath?”

 

“Not much, it really just hurts in general.”

 

“I understand. I’d really like to take you to the hospital and at least get some x-rays.”

 

I didn’t really want to go, but I knew as soon as I looked around the room that I would be outnumbered. Before I could respond, Edward barged through the door. I hadn’t laid eyes on him in nearly a month. He was more beautiful than I remembered. His worried green eyes locked with mine and it was all I could do not to launch myself at him. His facial expression was of need and anxiety. I wanted to go to him, throw my arms around him and take away his anxiety. The silence in the room was ended with Esme’s soft voice.

 

“Edward, dear, come over here, I need you to see something.”

 

Edward’s eyes left mine for a brief moment only to return with a hint of uncertainty. Carlisle continued to check me over. Edward seemed to finally realize that Carlisle was doing an exam on me and began to cross the room towards me.

 

“Edward, your father is attending to Bella. I need you to come over here and see this,” Esme’s voice was still gentle, but it had a very authoritative undertone.

 

I watched with apprehension as Edward took a seat in Alice’s chair. I watched his face as he reviewed the security tapes. I held my breath as I watched his face change from anxious to full-on rage. Esme placed her arms around his shoulders while leaning down and whispering something into his ear. I watched him for several minutes as his faced was lowered and his fingers pinched the bridge of his nose, trembling with his anger. Esme continued to whisper into his ear and he began nodding his head.

 

“Alright, Bella, I really don’t think anything is broken, but I really want to take you for x-rays to make sure there are no hairline fractures we need to keep an eye on.”

 

Before I could answer, Edward appeared beside Carlisle, kneeling directly in front of me. His face looked so sad and lost. Carlisle slowly rose from the seat beside me and walked over to join Esme. Slowly, one by one, everyone left the room, leaving only Edward and myself. My eyes never left his as I waited to see what he would do next. His earlier admission of his love for me was still at the forefront of my mind, as well as Esme’s words that begging was good once in a while, so let the begging begin.

 

“Bella,” his eyes left mine as they found the floor, “I want to tell you that I’m sorry for the way I treated you, but saying I’m sorry just isn’t enough.” He began to play with his fingers as he tried to find his words.

 

“When you asked me to leave your apartment, I felt like my entire world had come to an end. I tried to call you, but your voicemail picked up. Angela promised me that you were safe, though she wouldn’t tell me where you were. Right before I got on the plane to Kentucky, my phone rang and I thought it was you, but it was that actor, Rob Peterson, or whoever. He told me you were safe and that things would work out if they were meant to be. I asked him to let me talk to you, but he told me it wasn’t a good idea.”

 

I almost began to chuckle. It was so funny to see this man mispronounce Rob’s name, he was jealous.

 

“My mom said you heard the entire conversation I had with her before she called dickhead,” his face contorted a bit when he slammed Mike. “It’s all true, Bella, every damn word of it. I should’ve told you so long ago. I should’ve told Mike to go fuck himself. I should’ve stayed at the fucking party and been there for you.” His voice cracked with emotion as I watched a single tear fall down his cheek.

 

I reached my trembling hand out and caught the falling tear with the side of my index finger. I closed my eyes as I leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on his forehead. The wonderful smell of his hair engulfed me when I took in a breath. I slowly returned to my position, ready to let him continue to grovel.

 

“I love you, Bella,” his words were almost a whisper. “I know I don’t deserve a second chance. I don’t deserve for you to even be my friend anymore. I want to have the chance to make things up to you, though. Am I too late? Are you and Rob…together?” His voice became this husky grumble.

 

I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted my life back. I wanted a life with this man that sat perched on his knees in front of me. I wanted him to take me in his arms and never let me go. I wanted my happily ever after, and here it was.

 

“Edward,” my voice was shaky and raspy, as if I had just gotten out of bed. His eyes locked with mine, my words all but lost as I searched his face. I needed to say something; it was time to start living. “Rob and I are just friends. Nothing happened while I was in New York. He made me realize that I really am special. He made me see that I was giving Mike too much power over me. His issues are just that, his issues, I don’t own them anymore.”

 

Being able to truly believe what I was telling Edward felt as if a ton had been lifted off my chest. I finally felt free, not only to love Edward, but more importantly, myself.

 

“I love you, too, Edward.”

 

The look on his face when I returned his words was one I’d cherish forever. Edward was my first true love, my only love.

 

Edward reached out to wrap his arms around me, but I winced in pain and he quickly released me.

 

“Shit, I’m so sorry, I got so caught up that I forgot…”

 

“It’s okay. It just really fucking hurts.”

 

“Please, let me take you to the hospital?”

 

I wasn’t going to argue. I nodded my head as he rose to his feet and extended his hand out to help me up. The drive to the hospital was quiet. The only noise in the car was the sound of Edward repeatedly kissing the back of my left hand.

 

When we reached the hospital, Carlisle and Esme were already there. Edward came around to my side of the car and helped me out. I was grateful for the help as I was hurting pretty badly by this point. He held my hand the entire time we walked into the entrance. Edward guided me past the receptionist desk and directly into the x-ray suite. Carlisle instructed me to remove any metal I had on as he handed me a hospital gown to put on. Esme stayed behind to help me change my clothes.

 

When I removed my jeans, Esme gasped at the scratches and bruises on my legs and around my panties from Mike’s hands. “Oh, Bella, he almost…” she said as a whispered sob.

 

“It’s okay, Esme, he didn’t, I’m fine,” I comforted her. It really had not sunk in just yet what I had almost endured. I realized then that this could have ended so much worse.

 

Once I was ready, Edward came back in the room wearing hospital scrubs. The x-ray technician made several apologies for the sizeable discomfort I was in. Minutes later, Esme returned to help me get dressed again. When Edward returned with Carlisle by his side, he was still wearing his scrubs and the sight now left parts of me a little wet. Carlisle explained to me that it was as he suspected, nothing was broken, just severely bruised. He told me he was going to prescribe me something stronger than ibuprofen. Again, I was outnumbered and wasn’t going to argue.

 

Carlisle informed me that a detective was waiting to ask me some questions regarding the attack last night.

 

“Great, I knew he was going to press charges.” I actually never meant for those words to be said out loud.

 

“He’d be an idiot if he tried. I’ve already contacted my attorney and he’s ready to take any measures we need. Bella, he isn’t going to hurt us anymore.” With those words, Edward closed the distance and placed a gentle kiss on my lips. It had been so long since my lips had touched his and just like the first time, my lips were on fire.

 

“But, Edward, the tape clearly shows me kicking the shit out of him, I could go to jail.”

 

“If that were to happen, I’d have you bailed out in ten seconds. Besides, the tape also clearly shows he admitted to stealing money from me. I already have someone looking into that.”

 

“Bella, are you ready to speak with the detectives?” Carlisle questioned.

 

“As ready as I’ll ever be.”

 

Edward continued to place gentle kisses on my lips, forehead, and each cheek. I was completely lost in our exchange. Before I was ready, the door opened and a tall, dark-skinned man walked into the room.

 

“Ms. Swan. I presume?” the detective extended his hand out for me to shake.

 

“Yes, but please call me Bella.” I tried to smile at him, but I was certain he could feel my body trembling.

 

“Detective Sam Uley, Ma’am.” His name sounded so familiar, but I just couldn’t place it. “I’m sorry to disturb you at a time like this, but unfortunately, the DA wants this case wrapped up a.s.a.p.”

 

“No, it’s fine,” I replied. Maybe he would take pity on me and give me a ten-minute head start on my escape.

 

“Bella, Dr. Cullen gave me a copy of the security tape and I’ve just finished reviewing it.”

 

Oh, god, he knew what I had done. Shit, shit, shit…

 

“Then you have a job to do, Detective, I understand,” my voice was very weak as I tried to hold back the tears.

 

“Yes, Ma’am, I do. Actually, we’ll be turning this case over to the Feds as soon as possible. Mr. Newton is looking at possibly ten years in federal prison for what he did to Dr. Cullen.”

 

What?

 

“What about me, how long am I looking at?” I had to know. The thought of being away from Edward terrified me more than the thought of going to prison. Would he wait for me?

 

“I’m not certain what you mean, Bella,” Detective Uley’s face look confused.

 

“You said you saw the tapes. Then you would’ve seen what I did to Mike.”

 

Sam’s face began to change. He took a step forward before he began to speak. “Bella, what I saw and what the DA saw was the daughter of one of the most respected police chief’s this state ever had defending herself against a monster who was trying to do her harm. Your dad helped so many people and we find it an honor to finally give him something back. Mike will receive the maximum sentence.”

 

I smiled as I shook Sam’s hand. It was truly over.

 

Edward insisted that he take me home to rest. I was slowly learning to let him win the small battles. He helped me into the car as we bid goodbye to Carlisle and Esme. Once we made our way to Edward’s condo, he helped me out of the car and into the front door. He handed me a t-shirt and a pair of boxers for me to change into. I emerged from the bathroom to find Edward lying on his bed in a pair of pajama pant and his torso bare. I quickly checked to make sure I wasn’t drooling.

 

His eyes took in my exposed injuries as he patted the mattress beside him and I made my way over to his bed. He pulled the sheets back for me and after I crawled in, he wrapped his entire body around me, carefully avoid my ribs. I closed my eyes as I took in my surroundings. I was exactly where I wanted to be.

 

“I missed you so much. Please don’t ever leave me again,” Edward’s voice was soft as his lips brushed the shell of my ear.

 

“I missed you, too. Can we just stay like this forever?”

 

“That’s my plan. I’m never letting you go again.”

 

“Good, cause I’m never leaving.”

 

I tried to scoot closer to him. I wanted to crawl inside him and never emerge. I placed my hand on his bicep over his tattoo, tracing the head of the lion over and over. I was finally home.

 

“I love you, my Bella. Always.”

 

“I love you, too, my Edward.”

 

Still with me?

 

This was the chapter I had in my mind for so very long, like a year! We still have the wedding to go, which is the next chapter, as well as a little surprise for you. Thank you for hanging in there!

 

  1. Chapter 24

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 24

 

Thank you so much for all of the encouragement I’ve received, you guys are amazing! Dollybigmomma has made it pretty, but Stephenie owns the rest, lucky bitch!

 

It was morning, I think, or maybe I just didn’t care. I was so warm and comfortable that I didn’t even want to move. I began to slowly open my eyes to find a small piece of light trying to make its way into the room. I closed my eyes again as I snuggled further down into the bed, not ready to give up this little slice of heaven.

 

The events of yesterday began to slowly creep into the forefront of my mind. The last thing I remembered was lying down beside Edward. A smile began to form on my face as I thought about him. I wondered if I tried to move whether my ribs and back would protest in pain. I decided to remain in the position I was currently in and remain pain-free for the moment. No bed had ever felt so soft to me before, or maybe it was the feeling of finally being free of Mike and his chains of pain. What felt like ten minutes later, I decided that I really needed to get up and at least go to the bathroom and maybe even take some more pain medicine.

 

I tried counting to three to psych myself into getting up, but I never made it to three. In my state of warm-bed bliss, I somehow managed to miss the rather large arm that was currently encircling me, not to forget the large warm hand that had encased my right breast. I closed my eyes as tightly as I could get them and held my breath for dear life. This was bad. Obviously, I wasn’t in my own bed. No, I was most definitely still in bed with Edward. How would I ever explain this one to Rose and Alice? No way in hell would they ever believe that nothing had happened. Hell, at this point, I wasn’t even certain of that fact myself.

 

I told myself to stay calm. Obviously, he must have still been asleep. I just had to sneak out of bed and get the hell out of here without waking him. Problem one, though, was that his hand was under my shirt and his grip on my breast was fairly firm. I could almost feel my nipple sticking between two of his fingers. I reminded myself that I was a smart girl and I could figure this shit out. I was class valedictorian for heaven sakes. I would just move my body parallel to the bed and slip myself from under his hand.

 

I tried to slide my left leg until it was straight, which did no good as his right leg had mine trapped. Plan B would be to fling his hand off and run. That would most likely have worked, in the perfect world of my imagination, that is.

 

Edward began to stir in his sleep. His arm that was currently caging me to his very warm chest gripped me just a little tighter while his hand began to massage my breast, gently rolling my nipple between his fingers. I had to admit that was the best feeling I had experienced yet, just saying. I couldn’t help but close my eyes, enjoying the movement of his hand on my breast. The next few events, however, caused me to open my eyes quite quickly and nearly cash in the V-card.

 

Edward continued to stir in his sleep and began to place hot wet kisses on my neck and shoulder. Again, he tightened up his hold and began to increase the pressure on my nipple. Suddenly, I was made very aware of a very large and stiff appendage that was making its presence known to my backside as he began shifting it against me.

 

“Mmm,” came from deep inside Edward’s chest. His kisses continued as he now began to gently squeeze my breast and pull on my very erect nipple as he worked his erection a little faster and harder against me. The combination of all his actions was causing my panties to become seriously wet. My eyes now fully open, panic began to fill my chest.

 

“Ed…Edward?” I sounded like a thirteen-year-old boy in puberty.

 

“Yes?” Edward had now moved his mouth to my ear and was nibbling and sucking my lobe and kissing behind my ear.

 

“Um…are…are you a…awake?” My body was now trembling as he began to lower his hand down my stomach.

 

“Mmm,” he responded not breaking his suction on my earlobe.

 

“E…Edward?” I squeaked as his hand slipped beneath the waistband of my shorts.

 

“Bella?” all movements stopped.

 

I couldn’t move. I just knew my heart was going to leap from my chest at any minute.

 

“Shit, baby, oh, my god, I’m so sorry.” He removed himself from my side entirely. I slowly turned to face him, my ribs crying in protest.

 

“Bella, I…I…shit…shit. That was…fuck, I don’t know what that was.”

 

I cringed in pain as I sat up against his headboard. “That, Edward, was called groping,” I teased and began to giggle at the astonished look on his face. We sat there for a few seconds staring at each other before he began to laugh with me. Edward slowly joined me back under the covers and took my hand in his. We sat in silence for a few minutes, neither of us looking at the other, Edward tracing circles on the back of my knuckles.

 

“Bella, I’m truly sorry for molesting you in my sleep.”

 

“Jesus Christ, Edward, you didn’t fucking molest me,” I turned my head so that I could see him, smiling so he knew I wasn’t mad.

 

“Still, it wasn’t very gentlemanly of me after what you’ve been through and I’m truly sorry.”

 

“Well, Edward, that sucks because I’m not, I was actually beginning to enjoy it.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Yes, really.”

 

“Well, in that case, babe, just so you know, you have great tits.”

 

We both began to laugh as I laid my head on his shoulder. I closed my eyes and let out a long sigh.

 

Edward and I were enjoying watching the early morning news and working on our second pot of coffee when his cell phone began to ring. He let out a few low grumbles as he crawled out of bed to grab it. I decided to snuggle down further and just enjoy his wonderful bed.

 

“Dr. Cullen,” he answered in a professional tone. “Yes,” he began to run his hand through his hair nervously. “Seriously?” he shouted. “Fuck you, where the fuck do you get off pulling that bullshit…You’re a cocksucking liar!” Edward yelled into the phone and I was pretty certain I knew who he was yelling at. “No, that’s where you’re wrong, motherfucker, I believe her,” his beautiful green eyes were now boring into mine as he began to crawl back under the covers with me.

 

“Let me just stop you right there. I fully intend to make very certain that my associates find every penny you stole from me. Furthermore, I plan attend each and every one of your hearings and watch you try to lie your way out. Lastly, I fully intend to spend the rest of my life convincing Bella that she can trust me.”

 

I didn’t have to ask who was on the phone, my question was why? Mike knew Edward had been made aware of everything that had happened so why in the world would he call him now?

 

I watched as Edward continued to listen to Mike and he rolled his eyes more than once. Finally, Edward looked at me with this determined look and then proceeded to end the call with Mike. Edward tossed his phone to the end of the bed as he scooted closer to me, his left hand gliding smoothly over my face. His touch was so soft and warm, as if I was a fine piece of china.

 

He then very slowly and cautiously began to pepper my face with feather-like kisses. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to just enjoy this moment. He moved his hand from my face to my shoulder, then on to my back where he dove under my shirt and began to drag his fingers up and down my skin, his eyes never leaving my face.

 

“I don’t think I have to tell you who that was on the phone.”

 

“I have a pretty good idea, but why would he call you?”

 

“Believe it or not, he wanted me to come and post bail for him. He still stands behind his original story.”

 

To be honest, I really wasn’t surprised. Sometimes when people told lies so much, they started to believe them. A small part of me actually felt bad for Mike. However, the remainder of me hoped he got everything he deserved. Preferably a cellmate named Bubba who thought he had a pretty ass.

 

We both began to chuckle as we continued to gaze into each other’s eyes. After a few minutes, we just continued to look at each other. It was then that I began to hope for a long and healthy life with Edward. Looking deep into his eyes, I could almost see holidays with his family and school plays and recitals, and damn it, I wanted it all and I wanted it bad.

 

“Bella?” his voice was just above a whisper.

 

“Yes?”

 

I waited for him to say something, but he surprised me by covering my lips with his. Lord, I could have just died happy from kissing him. His lips were so warm and soft, and the way they caressed mine with each kiss completely melted me. He slowly moved us to where I was now on my back and he was hovering over me. His kisses quickened as his tongue glided over my bottom lip. I gasped when he took my lower lip and began to suck gently and then nibbled before releasing it. A deep moan escaped his throat as his tongue began to explore my mouth. His kisses became filled with passion and desire, his tongue now dominating mine.

 

I became so lost in his kiss that I could no longer think or rationalize. He broke the connection of our lips long enough to begin to trail hungry wet kisses down my jaw and neck. The feel of his lips and tongue nipping and sucking along my neck was causing my entire body to overheat.

 

When his mouth landed on the crook of my neck where my shoulder and neck met, it caused me to vocalize such a sound that at first I wasn’t certain where it came from. My loud moan was enough of a distraction for Edward to stop kissing my neck and let out a groan of his own. It was several minutes before he removed his face from my neck, only to place his forehead to mine.

 

“Bella, you have no idea what you mean to me.”

 

Before I could respond, his phone began to ring again. With much reserve, he pulled himself away from me and reached for it off the table.

 

“Dr. Cullen,” his voice again professional.

 

“Yes, yes, she’s right here.” His eyes found mine and they looked puzzled. “No trouble at all, just a moment.” He removed the phone from his ear as he handed it to me. “It’s Angela, she says it urgent.”

 

“Hello?”

 

“Bella,” Angela’s voice was quivering.

 

“Angela? What’s wrong?”

 

“I’m so sorry to call you when you’re not feeling well, but…” her sobbing increased as she tried to speak.

 

“Hey, Angela, it’s okay. Please, tell me what’s wrong.” I looked to Edward whose face was now full of concern.

 

“Ben, Bella. It’s Ben, he…he…” her sobs had now developed into full-blown wailing.

 

“Angela, I need you to calm down and take some deep breaths so that I can understand you.”

 

Edward leaned further beside me as he tried to listen to the conversation. After several moments of listening to her cry and take deep breaths, she began again.

 

“I’m so sorry to call you, Bella, but I just don’t know anyone else.”

 

“Angie, it’s fine, just please continue.”

 

“Okay, um, I was at the hospital and I wanted to surprise Ben with lunch and so I found out from the nurses that he was already in the cafeteria. I made my way there and when I reached the door, I noticed him sitting beside…beside…” her voice again began to crack with tears. “He was sitting with another girl, a beautiful girl who had her hands on his shoulder and around his neck.”

 

As I listened to Angela tell me her encounter, I became very angry. This didn’t sound like the Ben I knew. He had always been loyal and chivalrous. There had to be more to the story. This just didn’t sound like Ben at all.

 

“Angela, honey, maybe she was just a colleague.”

 

“A colleague that had her hands all over him?”

 

She had a point there, but still, this didn’t sound like something Ben would ever do to her.

 

“She was dressed like a club whore. Her skirt was so short that you could practically see her non-existent underwear. When she moved to hug him, her shirt, if you could even call it that, rode up to reveal the ugliest tramp stamp I’ve ever seen.”

 

“Tramp stamp?” I repeated.

 

“Yes, it was a dragon tattoo on her lower back.”

 

Shit! Only one person I knew had that exact tattoo on her backside. And if Ben was messing around with that bitch again, well, I guess Edward was going to be bailing me out of jail after all.

 

“Angela, do you trust me?”

 

“Yes, of course, why?”

 

“Just hold tight, I’m almost certain this is all just a misunderstanding so don’t do anything rash until you hear from me, okay?”

 

“But Bella…”

 

“Just trust me, please?”

 

I disconnected the phone and turned to Edward. “Ugh!” I exclaimed in anger.

 

“Is everything alright?”

 

“No. Well, I’m not certain, but I’m about to find out.”

 

I scrolled through Edward’s contacts until I located Ben’s number. Pressing the send button, I waited as the phone began to ring.

 

“Hey, Edward, how’s Bella?”

 

“Bella’s fine, Benny, but word on the streets is that you took extra stupid pills this morning. Care to explain why Lauren Skank-o-Maximum Mallory was hanging all up in your nuts today?”

 

“Oh, fuck me. How did you hear that?”

 

“Oh, let’s just say that a very beautiful brunette with big blue eyes decided to surprise her wonderful boyfriend with lunch today only to find him getting felt up by the dragon lady.”

 

“Bella, please tell me you’re kidding me right now. Tell me Angela didn’t see her touching me.”

 

“So it’s true?”

 

“What’s true?”

 

“Listen up, fuck stick. Don’t think for one moment that I won’t march over there and rip your fucking balls off and shove them down your goddamn throat. Angela is my best friend and damn it…Lauren fucking Mallory? Are you kidding me, Benny?”

 

“Listen, Bella, it isn’t the way you think it is. Lauren showed up as I was waiting to talk to Angela’s dad. She Googled me and found out where I was living now and showed up hoping to get back together. I swear to you, I ended up leaving her at the table after I said some not-so-nice things to her. Oh, god, I’d never hurt Angela like that, you’ve got to believe me, Bella.”

 

“Ben, why were you waiting to talk to her father?”

 

“I’d called him and told him I needed to talk to him about something very important. He was going to be at the hospital visiting a sick member of his church so I met him in the cafeteria. Bella, I asked Angela’s dad for permission to marry her.”

 

“Really? Oh, my god, Ben, that’s wonderful!”

 

“Yeah, I love Angela more than life itself. But now, oh god, she must think the worst.”

 

“Listen, Benny, I told her not to worry and that everything will be okay. Just talk to her and tell her the truth about what happened.”

 

“God, Bella, I hope you’re right. She’s my…she’s everything.”

 

“I know, Benny, I know.”

 

  1. Chapter 25

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Steph still reigns supreme in the Twilight realm, and Dollybigmomma makes my words worthy of royal approval.

 

Chapter 25

 

The day of Alice’s wedding had finally arrived. Today had been a whirlwind of activity. All the months of planning had come down to this one day, just a few hours, really. Now, I found myself wrapped in Edward’s tight embrace as we danced to Etta James’ classic song, At Last. With my eyes closed, my temple resting on his jaw, I never wanted this moment to end. The feel of his warm hand on the small of my back, the warm feel of his breath as it caressed my ear and neck, it was amazing. I silently prayed he wouldn’t notice my goose bumps that were quickly forming as a result. The smell of him, undeniably Edward, it was my comfort and my undoing.

 

We continued to sway to the music as I thought back over everything that had happened. So much had changed since my first encounter with Edward, some for good, some bad, but nothing I would change. Etta James had such a sultry, strong voice. As the song drew to a close, Edward’s grip on my waist increased and I knew I would be staying right here, right where I belonged.

 

As the next song began, my thoughts drifted to the events leading up to this moment.

 

The early-morning wake-up visit I’d received by Alice-zilla herself started the day off with a shove. You would have thought that on the day of her wedding, she would have been all nerves and frazzled, but not our Alice, or rather Sergeant Alice as she was now fondly referred to. The sun hadn’t even come out yet when she made her appearance in my room unwelcome by jumping on the bed. If I hadn’t been such a good friend, I wouldn’t have stopped myself from ruining her wedding day with a nice bruise for her wedding pictures.

 

Alice insisted that the entire bridal party stay at the hotel the night before. She had booked the bridesmaids on one floor and the groomsman on another. She even went so far as to hire security to patrol the halls to discourage any fraternization between the guys and the girls; her rational was that if she wasn’t getting any, neither was anyone else. This still was a bridge that Edward and I hadn’t crossed. We’d had many heavy make-out sessions, but nothing below the waist.

 

I was feeling closer to being ready and had even done some extensive research. I read every article I could get my hands on and even went as far as renting some how-to DVDs on different aspects of the act. The last thing I wanted was to stumble my way through things the first time. I now understood the mechanics, but putting that knowledge to work was another story.

 

Edward never pushed, he was always gentle with his touching, and he never made me feel bad for asking him to stop. That brought us back to tonight.

 

Once Sergeant Alice had everyone awake and sitting in styling chairs, she made us go over the itinerary a multitude of times. I tried to be patient and understanding, but let’s be honest; she was starting to piss me off. Once we were all dressed, polished, plucked, and rehearsed to the inth degree, we finally made our way in the limo and to church. Everyone say hallelujah.

 

The church the Cullen family attended was beyond words, it was simply breathtaking. It truly resembled what a castle would have looked like in medieval times. The double sets of wooden doors at the entrance were adorned with cascading sprays of white roses, tiger lilies, and baby’s breath, as well as the secondary doors inside the entry. Once inside the church, you got a true feeling of being sent back in time.

 

The authentic hand-carved wooden benches parted in the center, guiding you to the stone alter. The wooden beams overhead ran the length of the room, and the stone arches made their way nearly to the ceiling. The entire room was made of hand-hewn stone. Along the walls were torches that resembled the ones used during that time period, only these were modernized and ran on electricity, not whale oil. The entire altar was splashed with white roses and the room smelled like a florist’s shop. A white satin runner was waiting to be laid down right before Alice’s wedding march.

 

As we made our way into the bridal waiting area, I managed to get a glimpse of the amount of guests that had shown up. I knew nearly five hundred people had been invited and the final headcount had been nearly five hundred fifty. As I took a moment to look over the endless sea of people, I knew one thing beyond a shadow of a doubt; I never wanted a wedding this big and grand.

 

Alice was a true vision. Everything about her was flawless, her skin, her dress, everything. Finally, in true Alice form, she ordered us to line up and made us repeat once again the itinerary. Alice wanted all of her bridesmaids to walk alone to the altar and then have the groomsmen escort them out of the room after the ceremony was complete. One by one, the bridesmaids made their way to the altar and it was now my turn to go. I turned to my left and mouthed to a waiting Alice that I loved her. With a deep breath, I put one foot in front of the other and made my way to the altar. When I was halfway there, I chanced a look in Edward’s direction. God, he was beautiful. I couldn’t help myself but to smile. So much love and pure happiness was written across his face and he was mine.

 

The doors closed as I took my place at the top of the steps beneath the altar. The guests rose as the organist began the classic notes played at so many weddings. When the doors opened again and Alice, Carlisle, and Esme finally came into view, a very loud and unmistakable gasp resounded from none other than Jasper. I quickly looked in his direction to find him absolutely captivated at the sight before him. The look of absolute, undying, uncontrollable love encompassed his entire face. I felt like a voyeur just watching the two as they gazed at each other. When I finally was able to move my eyes, I found Edward once again. What I found when I looked at him both frightened yet thrilled me. Edward had the same look focused on me. It was then I knew the decision I had made last week was the right one.

 

I could not tell you if Alice and Jasper exchanged traditional vows or if they wrote their own. Once Alice handed me her flowers and joined Jasper, my attention was again on Edward. When I found his eyes again, the entire church seemed to vanish. Nothing was said between us, nothing was needed.

 

“It is my pleasure to present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Jasper Whitlock.”

 

The applause from the guests was like a firm shove that caused me to stumble back into reality. With a smile, I handed Alice her flowers back and watched as she and Jasper made their way down the aisle. I raised the hem of my dress as Edward extended his hand to help me down the stairs and I once again found myself lost in his eyes. With my hand wrapped around his arm, we made our way back down the aisle to join the happy couple.

 

Once we excited the church, we were supposed to wait for the remainder of the bridal party to join us. However, Edward grabbed me around the waist and lifted me off the ground. I was quickly carried down the steps and around the corner of the church where I found myself pressed tightly between a stone wall and Edward’s hard body. His mouth devoured mine, his hands encased around my face. The kiss was like none we had ever shared, it was raw and wild and fucking wonderful. Needing desperately to catch my breath, I gave Edward a firm nudge against his chest. Both of us were panting as our foreheads rested against one another. Again, no words were said and we made our way back to the bridal party. We traveled silently to the hotel, and once the happy couple was announced, it was time for my speech.

 

“Alice has been a very good friend of mine for years now and I couldn’t ask for anything more in a friend than what her loving personality naturally provides. Beautiful, smart, ambitious, generous, driven, and loving are just the tip of the iceberg for Alice. She’s extremely organized and a wonderful leader. She’s focused and stable. This is the Alice I love, the one I know best. The one that no matter what happens in life, I can turn to for support and understanding, for an open ear or a shoulder to cry on. She’ll always be there for me and I’ll always be here for her.

 

“She’s been with me through good times and bad. We’ve danced on tables, shopped, gossiped, laughed, and cried together. She’s an amazing listener and a wonderful support. I’ve never seen Alice so happy as when she’s with you, Jasper. You’re handsome and generous with your love for Alice, and I couldn’t ask for anything more for her. Alice is a true friend and Jasper is a wonderful man, and I believe their union will bring many blessings to all who know them. I hope that God will favor them all the days of their lives, and that those days will be spent in perfect happiness together. To Alice and Jasper, may your joy last forever.” My words were from my heart and I truly did hope they would be together forever.

 

My mind returned to the present as the music continued. When You Say Nothing At All was being sungand I slowly opened my eyes to watch as Alice and Jasper danced together. The dance floor was filled with swaying couples. My eyes closed again as I felt Edward’s lips brush against my temple. I chanced a glance to his face and quickly surrendered to his loving gaze. I was hopelessly in love with this wonderful man. I again lowered my head to rest my cheek on his chest, and as the music continued, Edward began to sing the words and my heart was definitely listening.

 

It was finally time to say goodbye to the happy couple. I refused to stand in the group of ladies waiting for the tossing of the bouquet. Edward didn’t seem to care as he again whisked me away for a quick make-out session. In the end, Angela caught the bouquet and Ben caught the garter. Go figure, as they had been engaged for months now.

 

As we watched the taillights of the limo disappear into the night, Edward’s arms wrapped tightly around my waist, his face lying nicely in the crook of my neck. He place quick kisses up and down my neck from the back of my ear to my collarbone. I closed my eyes and just enjoyed it.

 

“Are you ready to go home, babe?” Edward’s deep voice softly asked in my ear.

 

“Not quite, I have a surprise for you.” His kisses stopped as he began to release his grip.

 

“Ooh, I love surprises.”

 

“Good, follow me.”

 

I grabbed his hand and led him back inside the hotel and to the elevator doors. I had rented the penthouse suite for Edward and myself. The hotel manager had agreed to help me in preparing the room for what I hoped would be a memorable evening.

 

As we made our way up to the penthouse, Edward and I continued as we had the entire evening in enjoying each other. When the elevator finally arrived on the penthouse floor, I pulled away from him and removed the card key from my bra. I quickly swiped the card and opened the door. Once inside, I watched as Edward took in the room. It was huge and covered in red rose petals. The lights were turned down low and the bath was full with bubbles and more rose petals. An ice bucket was filled with champagne and two flutes stood beside it. The bed was turned back and more rose petals were scattered across it. Edward made his way over to the bed and picked up a hand full of petals.

 

“Bella, is this…”

 

“Is this what, Edward?”

 

His back was still to me. I had decided that tonight would be the night I would make Edward naked-worthy. I loved him so much, I trusted him completely, and I wanted so badly to share this special moment in my life with him.

 

“Bella, I…I…”

 

“I’m ready, Edward. You’ve been so patient with me and I couldn’t be more positive about this.”

 

I began to walk closer to him. I wanted to be with him in every way humanly possible. As I closed the distance between us, Edward quickly turned around. The look on his face was unreadable, his eyes were closed and he began to pinch the bridge of his nose.

 

“Um, Bella, shit, this is going to come out all wrong.”

 

My heart sank. He didn’t want this.

 

“Bella, can you…shit, I have to show you something.”

 

“Edward, is everything okay?”

 

I felt as if my world was crashing. Had I misunderstood the past months? He had told me he loved me.

 

“Bella, I need you to come with me. I have to do this, please, just come with me.” His eyes were avoiding me as he made his way to the door.

 

This could not be good.

 

I know, I know, a flipping cliffhanger, but at least you got a little lemon zest. Thank you in advance for reviewing.

 

  1. Chapter 26

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 26

 

Thank you guys so much for all your encouragement. I’ve had more fun with this story. Prince Charming Syndrome and Practice Makes Perfect are a couple of my other stories you might enjoy, I hope you check them out!

 

Mrs. Meyer filled the Twilight pool, I’m just splashing in it happily, and Dollybigmomma is my beta lifeguard.

 

The hum of the engine was the only noise as we drove into the Seattle darkness. I began to run different scenarios of possible reasons for his abrupt and odd behavior. My first thought was that I had misunderstood his actions earlier in the evening, but how could I have mistaken his passionate kissing? Maybe he had begun to see someone else. A dozen other scenarios ran through my mind before I finally came to a conclusion. Maybe he just really wasn’t into me anymore.

 

I needed to formulate a plan. First, if he was planning on ending things with me, there would be no tears. Second, no fighting or yelling, I would remain calm. I could still move to New York as Alice was now married. There was no need to worry about Angela as she was engaged to Ben. If New York was back on the table, I would just call Rob in the morning and confirm everything with him. I began to do a mental inventory of all the items in my apartment I would either keep, sell, or donate.

 

I was so engrossed in my mental packing that I failed to realize we had pulled into a long driveway and he had parked the car. The only light now visible was from the lights that were illuminating an enormous house that stood before us. I turned to look at Edward whose eyes were fixed on the house. His hands still remained on the steering wheel. I turned my head again to look at the house, hoping to see movement or some sort of familiarity, but sadly there was none. In reality, we had more than likely only been sitting here for fifteen or twenty seconds, but the silence made it seem so much longer. Just as I was about to lose my mind, Edward broke the silence.

 

“Bella, there are so many things I feel I need to tell you,” his eyes were still locked on the home. “I hadn’t planned on doing this tonight; I wanted to wait until the time was right, but I fear that time may never come.”

 

My heart began to pound and I could feel my stomach began to churn. I was certain my breathing was erratic and I tried to calm myself, to no avail.

 

“I guess I should start at the beginning. Please, just let me get this out…while I still have the courage.”

 

“Of course,” I replied, my voice calm and unwavering, which was a shock to me.

 

“See, Bella, that very first day in Alice’s office…” His voice was shaky and he lowered his gaze to his white knuckles that still remained gripping his steering wheel fiercely. “When I first stepped into her office that day, seeing you for the first time, it was…ugh. Bella, when I first laid eyes on you, it took my breath away. It still does, and when I’m not with you, I literally cannot breathe. When I sat down to lunch with my sister that day, instead of catching up on her life, I questioned her as to whether or not you were in a relationship, and if you were, I was prepared to intervene.”

 

He lowered his hands from the steering wheel and turned his entire body to face mine. “How crazy does that sound? How insane was that? When she told me you were single, I made it a point to tell all of my colleagues that we were dating. I did it so on the off chance one of them made a play for you at the engagement party; I could set them straight that you were mine. When I was finished with lunch, I met up with my mother and told her about my intentions toward you.”

 

I couldn’t have responded at this moment if my life depended on it.

 

“I told my parents that I had finally found the girl I was going to marry. I began to plan the entire thing, but then Mike had to nearly ruin it. Then the next day when you touched my tattoo and told me the story of your Nana, I…I…consulted a psychic, you know, one of those shops downtown. Anyway, I told the lady the entire story about the tattoo and your Nana. She told me it was destiny and sometimes fate had a way of nudging people in the right direction when they tried to fight it. That was when I really began to believe I had to do everything to win your heart.”

 

Edward reached across the center console and gently grasped my hand. His face had now turned from terrified to warm and content.

 

“When the whole Mike thing happened, I thought for certain Rob would steal you away, yet deep inside I kept hoping.” His eyes now dropped and stared blankly at our hands. It was as if he was remembering a fond memory. “When you forgave me for being such an ass, I knew…” His empty hand began to run back and forth in his hair. He again had that far-off look on his face. I chose to let him continue and not interrupt.

 

“Tonight as I stood at the end of the aisle watching my sister make her way to Jasper…ugh, goddamn it. I was so goddamn jealous. I wanted to shove Jasper out of the way and tell my sister to go back. I wanted it to be us, Bella. I wanted that to be our wedding and this to be our wedding night.”

 

His eyes were now locked with mine as I let out a gasp.

 

“When you opened the door of the hotel room, I knew you were telling me that you were ready, but I couldn’t let you do that, not like this. I want to give you everything, everything you deserve.”

 

My mouth was now dry. I began to understand, he did want me.

 

“Bella, do you trust me?”

 

I couldn’t get my voice to work so I simply smiled and nodded. He returned the smile and exited the car. He made his way around and opened my door for me, extending his hand to assist me. We began to walk in the direction of the house. Perhaps this was a friend of his. As we got closer to the door, I thought I heard the sound of jingling keys. As we took the three brick steps up to the porch, he indeed had a key out and began to unlock the massive front door. The smell of fresh paint and new wood welcomed us into the massive foyer. Edward allowed me to venture into the middle of the entryway before he closed the wooden door. The fixture that bathed the room in warm light was made from wrought iron and looked as if it housed a massive bowl. The walls appeared to have just been painted and reminded me of the fleshy part of a cooked mushroom. The hardwood floors were mostly covered with plastic sheets to insure their safety as several walls still had painters’ tape on them.

 

“It isn’t quite finished, well, not this area at least,” Edward began to walk down the hall. “Follow me, please.”

 

We continued until we entered a room that was still cloaked in darkness. Edward made his way over to a wall on his left and began to turn on lights. What was revealed caused me to once again gasp. It was my kitchen, every last detail I had pictured in my head, from the massive island to the double ovens and even the breakfast nook. I couldn’t help myself as I allowed my fingers to caress the beautiful granite countertop of the island. The cold stone called to me, and I began to imagine Sunday breakfasts with pancakes and the entire family laughing and eating. I then turned my attention to Edward who was watching me and fumbling with the key in his hand.

 

“Edward, I don’t understand. Why did you bring me here?”

 

He took in a deep breath and made his way across the room toward me, placing an arm on each side of me and resting his palms on the counter. His entire body molded to mine and I couldn’t have moved if I had wanted to.

 

“Bella, it’s all for you, it was always for you,” his eyes closed and his forehead rested against mine.

 

“Please understand, I wanted to do this so differently, with candles and champagne…”

 

“But, Edward, we had that at the hotel. I don’t understand.”

 

“Yes, but I didn’t have this.”

 

He removed his body from mine and made his way over to what looked to be an area for a home computer or perhaps just a bookcase. He opened one of the drawers and took something out then shut the drawer again and made his way back to me.

 

“The day after the photo shoot, I hired my mom to design this house. I told her I was building it for my future family, for you. She’s been secretly having you pick out everything to go in this house, our house.”

 

I began to look around the room and it suddenly hit me that he was correct. The tile I chose, the light fixtures, the paint, everything, I had chosen it all, but why?

 

“Bella, this house, my cars, my bank accounts, none of it means anything if I can’t share it with you.”

 

Oh, my god…

 

“Tonight, when you showed me that you were ready to be with me, well, I wanted to just throw you down and make you scream my name over and over, but you deserve so much more. I love you, my Bella.”

 

He raised my hand to his lips and placed a feather-light kiss on the back of my knuckles. My tears began to fall as I felt him shift his position. My eyes locked with his as he lowered himself down on one knee. “Bella, I can’t promise you that I’ll be a perfect husband and father. I won’t even begin to lie and say we won’t have fights and differences of opinion. I can’t promise I’ll pick up my clothes off the floor or put the lid down on the toilet. But what I can promise you is that I’ll love you with everything I am until I stop drawing breath. I’ll hold your hand every day for the rest of our lives and kiss you goodnight. Make my life complete, Bella, marry me.”

 

It was as if time had stopped and I wasn’t even certain that I was still breathing. He had done all of this for me, for us. He wanted to have a life with me, have children and grandchildren. Kneeling before me was my happily ever after, waiting for my answer.

 

I was no longer in control of my movements as I found myself eye level with Edward, my long maid of honor dress restricting me from straddling him. Our eyes locked as I placed my trembling hand on the side of his face, tracing his cheek with my thumb.

 

“Yes.”

 

  1. Chapter 27

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Here’s the chapter you’ve all been waiting for. SM might not have her characters dancing between the sheets, but my version of them love to tango and Dollybigmomma sticks the beta rose between their teeth.

 

CHAPTER 27

 

Edward wasted no time in closing the distance between our bodies as he rose from the floor and quickly spun us in circles around my kitchen, peppering my face with full-on kisses.

 

“You said yes! Oh, my god, Bella, you…oh, god, I love you.”

 

His lips were now firmly planted on mine, his kisses full of passion and pure love while our hands explored each other’s bodies. A cold sensation began to creep up my legs to my butt and I began to realize that Edward had placed me on my countertop. His lips had become so urgent on my neck that I was certain I would have a hickey. Not that I gave a shit at the present time. I again closed my eyes and just faded away into the wonderful world of Edward’s lips. I felt and heard as Edward began to unzip my dress, his movement causing me to abruptly stop his attack on my neck.

 

“Edward, please stop.”

 

My heart was pounding, my breathing extremely erratic.

 

“Baby, why?”

 

“Because I plan to feed our future children at this bar.”

 

Edward began to chuckle and move back slowly.

 

“Alright, Mrs. Cullen, would you like to see your ring?”

 

Shit, I had completely forgotten about that. “Yes, I would, Mr. Cullen.” Hey, two could play at his game

 

Edward assisted me off the counter and began to lead me around this incredible house he had built for us. He showed me the living room that had a huge fireplace on one wall and a wall full of doors that led to the garden and pool. The dining room was large enough to hold quite a long table and I began to imagine Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners with our family.

 

When he finished showing me the downstairs, we made our way up the stairs where he showed me the four bedrooms as well as a study that had bookshelves on three walls. Finally, he led me to a set of double doors at the end of the hall. Once inside, the sight before me took my breath away. Edward began to tell me that he’d had the builder finish this room first because he wanted to be able to have Esme decorate this room first. Much to my shock, the master bedroom was large enough to have a sitting area, complete with a fireplace that separated the bedroom from the very large master bathroom. Nestled against the far wall was the sleigh bed I had fallen in love with.

 

“Edward Anthony Cullen, tell me that isn’t the overpriced bed I saw…”

 

“Yes, Bella, it is. However, I don’t see thousands of dollars sitting here, I see you and I making love night after night. I see the beautiful babies that’ll be conceived in this very bed. I see endless breakfasts in bed served to my beautiful wife. I see that same beautiful wife breastfeeding those children we conceived in this bed. You can’t put a price on any of that.”

 

There was no way in hell could I argue with that. Edward grasped my hand and led me to the couch that was facing the fireplace and instructed me to sit beside him. He reached into his pocket and retrieved a small black box.

 

“Here, Mrs. Cullen, this belongs to you.”

 

Edward opened the box and took out the most beautiful engagement ring I had ever laid eyes on. It was a simple emerald cut diamond that was set in platinum and had diamonds all around the band. It was simple yet elegant, just like something I would have chosen for myself. Edward placed the ring on the third finger of my left hand. No words were spoken as he pushed buttons on a remote and the fire in the fireplace came to life.

 

“Tell me something about yourself that no one else knows,” Edward questioned as he spun the ring around my finger. I decided to tell him the one thing people always wanted to know, but I had refused to share.

 

“One hundred twenty pounds; that was how much weight I lost after high school. Your turn, tell me something no one else knows.”

 

“I haven’t had sex since my senior prom.”

 

This astonished me. “But didn’t you date Tanya?”

 

“Yes, but Tanya was more like eye candy than substance; besides, I didn’t love her.”

 

Well, shit.

 

“I lost my virginity to my prom date. Her name was Kristen and at the time, I thought I was madly in love with her.”

 

I placed my head in the crook of Edward’s shoulder. I had always assumed he’d had many women. I could not express how much better this made me feel.

 

We sat on the couch just watching the flames from the fireplace flicker. Edward continued to spin the ring on my finger and I continued to just savor the moment. Ever so slowly, I raised my head and looked at him. He raised my chin and began to kiss me, slow and sensual at first, then with more urgency and desire. His tongue slid across my bottom lip and I parted my lips slightly, allowing him to slide his tongue into my mouth. My tongue quickly joined and it slowly became a game of dominance.

 

Ever so slowly, he moved us from the couch to that overpriced bed. He slowly lowered us until he was hovering over me. The room was vacant of light with the exception of the fireplace. The warm glow of the fire did wonders for his already perfect features. He continued to place soft kisses against my lips. The realization hit me that this was the man I would share my life and my bed with for the rest of my life.

 

“God, you’re beautiful.”

 

He didn’t allow me to respond before he again captured my lips with his. This time the kiss wasn’t gentle, it was heated and needy. His left hand began to travel down my side and came to rest on my hip. Before I could even take a breath, he flipped us over so that I was now hovering over him. For a brief second, I worried that I might be too heavy for him.

 

His hands were now firmly buried in my hair as he raised my neck so that he could devour it. It felt so good that I couldn’t think and my breathing was very erratic. He alternated from hot wet kisses to nips with his teeth to long and slow licks from my shoulder to my earlobe, which he took between his teeth and sucked. When he appeared to be finished with both sides of my neck, his hands began to travel down my back, and slowly he began to unzip my dress. This time I didn’t stop him. With my dress open, he began to slowly run his fingers up and down my bare back. A low husky chuckle rumbled from deep inside his chest as I felt his lips turn up into a smile. Alice had designed the dress with a built-in bra so I didn’t have to wear one and he now noticed.

 

“Fuck, had I known, I wouldn’t have made it through the ceremony.”

 

With more urgency, he flipped us again and my back was now flat against the mattress. He sat back against his heels and began to slowly pull my dress down. I lifted my hips to help in his efforts. I really thought I would be afraid for him to see me naked, but I wasn’t. At this point, he’d only had a glimpse of my bare breasts, but I still wasn’t worried. As he continued to remove my dress, revealing more and more of my body, it became apparent that Edward was acting like a small child at Christmas opening a gift. Finally, the dress was now lying somewhere on the floor and Edward had returned to his position above me, resuming his mission of covering my skin with his gentle kisses. His left hand traveled from my face down my neck and landing securely on my right breast where he began to caress it with his warm hand, paying special attention to my very erect peak.

 

His lips left my neck and made their way to my unattended breast, surrounding my other nipple. Never in my life had I felt anything this amazing and I found it impossible to hold back the words that seemed to spill from my mouth.

 

“Oh, yes, baby, please don’t stop.”

 

His sucking increased and he slowly released my nipple with a pop. Wasting no time, he quickly enveloped my other nipple and repeated the process. Returning his attention to my neck and collarbone, I was able to actually form a thought and decided he was wearing far too many clothes for my liking. I maneuvered my hands to the buttons of his dress shirt and began to try to unbutton them. After several failed attempts, my frustration overtook me.

 

“Own or rental?” I whispered into his ear.

 

“Um, what?”

 

“Your fucking shirt, do you own it or did you rent it?”

 

“Own.”

 

“Thank fucking god.”

 

As hard as I could, I began to rip the shirt open, buttons flying across the room. Edward caught on quickly and assisted with the last two as well as his cuffs. I then directed my attention to his belt, slowly unbuckling it while kissing him firmly. I began to remember the first time I saw Edward shirtless at the calendar shoot. As a huge smile reached my face, I placed my hands on his chest and took control, flipping us once again. I was going to fulfill my fantasy of kissing and licking every square inch of his chest. I paid extra attention to his defined “V” now, licking and nibbling the ridge that had captivated me before.

 

Spending time so near to the Promised Land had me wanting more, so I decided to remove his dress pants. However, Edward had other plans and quickly flipped us again, this time holding my face between his hands and staring deeply into my eyes.

 

“Bella,” his husky voice broke the silence, “Are you sure you want to continue? Tell me now to stop and I will.”

 

I chose not to answer him in words, but by grabbing his face and kissing him with everything I had in me.

 

“Bella, you have to tell me if I hurt you, okay? Promise me.”

 

“I promise.”

 

Edward again sat back against his heels and slowly placed his fingers under the edge of my panties, sliding them down my hips and then my thighs. His eyes never left mine as he tossed them to the floor. I watched as he quickly removed his dress pants and boxers, and then he took my left foot into his hand and began to slowly kiss his way to my knee. Watching his lips caress the inside of my knee as his tongue quickly yet softly brushed across my skin was the single most erotic thing I had ever witnessed. His eyes never left mine as he continued his way up my body. When he reached my hip, he kissed from hipbone to hipbone, back and forth, stopping to place the point of his tongue below my belly button. Holy shit.

 

Closing his eyes, he began to kiss further down below my belly button. I nearly lost my mind when he kissed my clit. My back arched and I closed my eyes as his tongue began to circle, the hot and wet feel of his mouth on me was nearly enough to send me over the edge. He placed his arms under my pelvis, bringing them up over my hips, his hands resting on my breasts, and he began to knead as his mouth continued its slow torture. God, this man was going to kill me.

 

He flattened his tongue against me, licking firmly from my entrance to my clit. After several passes, he used the tip of his tongue to probe between my lips, pushing deep inside me. This was enough to send me over the edge to my first orgasm. My breathing had been so erratic and most of the words coming from my mouth were garbled and made no sense at all. But in that moment, my words were very clear.

 

“OH, my GOD!”

 

Edward continued his attention to my clit long after my orgasm was finished. He finally made his way up my body, continuing to kiss every inch of my skin. When he reached my breasts, he again sucked and licked my nipples. He slowly kissed his way to my neck, again nipping at my earlobes.

 

“I love you, my sweet girl.”

 

His words made me smile as I grabbed his face and kissed him. “I love you, too.”

 

Edward rested his hips against mine and I felt every inch of him. Suddenly, I silently began to worry that he wouldn’t fit he was so large. He placed his forehead against mine as he reached between us, taking himself in his hand.

 

“Bella, do we need a condom?”

 

After the morning I woke up to Edward feeling me up in my sleep, I had made an appointment with Ben and had him prescribe me birth control. I wanted to be ready when the situation presented itself. However, I never in my wildest dreams thought that this would be the situation.

 

“Um, no, Ben put me on the pill a few months ago.”

 

I hadn’t consulted him on my decision in this and honestly, I was a little frightened of his reaction.

 

“That’s fine, for now.”

 

He slowly ran the head of his penis up and down my entrance, and this was nearly enough to set off my second orgasm. He began to kiss my face again, continuing to slowly trace the head of his cock between my lips.

 

“Babe, I’m so sorry, but you know this may hurt. I wish I didn’t have to hurt you.”

 

“Edward, it’s okay, I want this. I want you.”

 

He never stopped kissing me as he slowly began to push against me. At first I felt pressure, but then he backed away and ran the head up and down the outside of my entrance. Again he slowly began to push forward, a little firmer this time. He met the resistance of my barrier, and the sudden stop in his kisses told me he felt it, too.

 

“I love you so much, Bella.”

 

With his words, he quickly plunged himself completely inside me. The pain as my barrier broke and the pressure of his intrusion lasted only a few moments and Edward waited patiently for me to advise him to continue. The first several strokes were uncomfortable, but then Edward tilted my pelvis up and changed the angle. Oh, my god…

 

My body reacted to this new sensation on its own, my pelvis now meeting every one of his thrusts. Edward was gentle and took his time. I lost count of how many times he told me he loved me. I found that he enjoyed having my hands in the hair at the back of his neck, and he found that spot on my neck that caused me to find my second orgasm. There were four in total that night and into the morning.

 

So, am I forgiven yet?

 

Only a few of chapters left, and even a few surprises.

 

Thank you in advance for reading and please check out my other stories!

 

  1. Chapter 28

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 28

 

Hey, lovelies!

 

So, here’s the thing, I’ve been debating what direction to take this fiction in. I had both written out and both would eventually end in the same fashion. One had a bit more angst and I wasn’t certain that was a good approach. The second was a little more fluffy.

 

Anyway, after much stressing and a swift kick in the ass by one of you, thank you by the way, I’ve finally decided!

 

So, here we go,

 

I own my plot, Steph has the rest, and Dollybigmomma makes it all pretty.

 

The flicker from the fire danced on the tray ceiling. I watched as it continued to dance from one side to the other. I had no idea what time it was, early I’d assumed, as it didn’t appear as if the sun was out yet. I wanted so badly to stop time and stay right here. The feel of Edward’s chest cradled against my bare back, the feel of his breathing as it cascaded across my neck and shoulders, I wasn’t ready to give this up. Yes, I wanted so badly to stop time. I couldn’t help but smile as I began to remember the events of last night. I glanced at my left hand, my beautiful engagement ring glistening back at me. I couldn’t help myself as I sighed and sank further into the soft bed.

 

The sounds of a cell phone ringing roused me from my sleep. It felt as if I had just closed my eyes, only now the sun was definitely up.

 

“Dr. Cullen.”

 

Good god, I though his voice was sexy before, but listening to the sleepiness in his voice was causing a sudden increase in the wetness in certain areas of my anatomy.

 

“Yes, really? No shit, um, yes, I think she’s awake. Yeah, hold on a sec.”

 

I felt Edward as he gently brushed his hand up and down my arm. “Babe, are you awake?”

 

“Yes,” I answered as I turned my entire body in his direction.

 

“Babe, it’s Angela, she says it’s urgent.”

 

I smiled as I took the phone from his hand. Edward began to place gentle kisses up and down my arm.

 

“Hey, Angela.”

 

I tried very hard not to let Edward’s soft, warm lips distract me as I tried to listen to Angela.

 

“Bella, I’m so sorry to bug you, but I had to reach you. Why are you with Edward this early in the morning?”

 

I couldn’t help but giggle like a schoolgirl as Edward continued to kiss any bit of exposed skin he could find.

 

“Um…well, I kind of spent the night with him last night.” Why the hell should I have been worried what she thought? I was fucking engaged to him.

 

“Oh, my god, did you… you know…”

 

“Angela, honey, I love you, but why did you call me again?”

 

“Oh, shit, yeah. I, um, won’t be into the office next week because Ben and I are going away on urgent business.”

 

“What kind of urgent business?”

 

“The kind where you fly off to get married in Vegas because you’re pregnant.”

 

“Holy fucking shit!”

 

Edward was trying his best to distract me, and to be honest, it was working, until the magic words left Angela’s mouth.

 

“How the fuck did this happen?”

 

Edward continued to place kisses along my shoulder, his long fingers moving my hair to the side to gain access to more of my neck, every so often nipping my skin with his teeth.

 

“Well, Bella, if we have to review…”

 

“Just a sec, Angie.”

 

I wanted nothing more than for Edward to continue what he was doing, but he was making things very hard for me to concentrate.

 

“Babe, I love what you’re doing; however, this is really important,” I placed my hand over the microphone on his cell phone as I adjusted myself to sit up in bed. “Okay, Angela Diane Webber, how in the hell did you get pregnant on accident by a goddamn gynecologist.”

 

Edward began to laugh hysterically at my question as he continued to run his fingers up and down my arm.

 

“I never said it was an accident. The point I’m trying to convey is that we’re headed to Vegas and we’re going to get married, and in about seven months, I’m going to have a baby. I love you, Bella, but I’ve got to run. I’ll call you later.”

 

With that, the phone indicated the call had terminated and that was that. My best friend in the world was pregnant and headed for Vegas to get married, and my other best friend was on her honeymoon, probably trying to get pregnant.

 

“Babe,” Edward’s husky voice whispered into my ear, “Is everything okay?”

 

Was it? Was everything OKAY?

 

“I don’t know; it all just feels really weird right now. Angela is pregnant and running off to get married and Alice is on her honeymoon…”

 

Edward stopped running his fingers up and down my arm as he drew my entire body closer to him. “Well, that means I now only have two women in my life who aren’t expecting. Bella, I have no problem getting you pregnant if that’s what you’re trying to tell me,” he said kissing up to my shoulder. “Furthermore, if you want to join Ben and Angela in Vegas and get married today, I’ll call the airlines right now.”

 

I was about to roll my eyes at Edward for his offer of trying to knock me up when his words hit me. “Edward, what do you mean only two women in your life aren’t pregnant?” I rose up on my elbow, looking him square in the face.

 

“I mean that only you and my mother aren’t pregnant right now.”

 

Holy shit…

 

“You mean Alice…?”

 

“Yes, my sweet girl, my sister is about six weeks along.”

 

I tried to remember if I had seen her drinking at the wedding, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember.

 

“Enough about them, let’s talk about this.”

 

Edward took my left hand in his and began twirling my ring around my finger. I couldn’t help but smile as the memory of his proposal flashed in my mind.

 

“What about it?” I jokingly questioned.

 

“Well, I’d like to set a date and get back to what we were doing last night.”

 

Oh, last night…was making love with Edward. He was so patient and loving, I had been concerned that it was going to be awkward and painful, but it was neither. Honestly, I was a little worried if we did it again so soon that his cock would fall off.

 

“Do you want to hear something funny?” I chuckled.

 

“Okay…”

 

“Well, when you told me that you needed to be honest with me and you drove me over here; I thought you were going to break up with me. I’d mentally handed in my resignation to Alice and was ready to call Rob to come get me.”

 

Edward’s body was suddenly hovering over mine, his lips covering mine in a heated kiss as his hands buried into my hair. I could feel his erection growing rapidly against my thigh. Edward’s hands began to move from my hair to my hips. Slowly, the kiss became feather light against my lips and face.

 

“I want you to move in with me, here, now, today.”

 

He began to kiss my neck and shoulder. Thinking at this point was impossible.

 

“Edward…”

 

“Hmm?”

 

“Um, oh god, that feels good…”

 

“I want you in this bed every night,” his hand was now cupping my naked breast.

 

“Edward…mmm…”

 

“I want you to stop that goddamn pill today.”

 

“N-no.”

 

Suddenly, he stopped.

 

“No to which part, Isabella?” His face was now even with mine, his eyes searching mine, looking for an answer.

 

“No to all three, Edward.”

 

His face turned sullen. I knew he wouldn’t like my answer, but we needed to talk about things. Edward was a man who was used to getting what he wanted, when he wanted it. Things were different now. He wasn’t always going to get his way.

 

“Did you change your mind?” His voice was barely above a whisper, the sadness dripping from his words.

 

“No, Edward, I still want to marry you. I just want to clear a few things up.”

 

“Please continue.”

 

“First, I don’t want to go running off to Vegas. I want to have a real wedding, in a church with flowers and the whole shebang.”

 

I almost chuckled as I thought about the scene in My Cousin Vinnie, Marisa Tomei’s character talking about getting married. However, this was a serious conversation I was having with Edward, so I figured I had better save the humor for later.

 

“I also want a reception afterward. However, you can’t expect to have a wedding that’s anything like your sister’s was. My mother is a single woman who works at a small community hospital. One hundred thousand dollar weddings are not in our budget.”

 

“Bella, babe, I wouldn’t hear of having your mother spend a single dime on our wedding. I had my attorney, Jenks, add your name to my accounts…”

 

“WHAT?”

 

Had I heard him correctly? I didn’t want his money. No, no, this was all wrong.

 

“Seriously? You…oh god…UGH!”

 

I was angry and embarrassed as I flung the covers back and began to find my clothing from last night. This was all wrong. How could he think this was okay? I had taken care of myself since college. I prided myself on being independent and self-reliant. I quickly threw on my dress from last night and as I gathered my shoes, I noticed Edward was still in the bed. The fear in his eyes was almost heartbreaking. He began to run his hands through his hair as he always did when he was nervous.

 

“Bella,” his back was now toward me, his head hung forward, “I didn’t mean to upset you. I just thought we both wanted the same thing. I’m sorry I was wrong. I’ll take you home.” His head hug even lower as he began to dress himself.

 

“Edward, please…”

 

“No, Bella, it’s fine, you don’t need to explain. I’ll just take you…”

 

“Edward Anthony Cullen, don’t you dare do this! I won’t apologize for not wanting to take your money. I want to be your wife because I love you, not your fucking gold card!”

 

Edward finally looked up at me, his eyes slightly red. He needed to understand that I wanted him, not what he could give me.

 

“Bella, you need to understand that as your husband, it’s my job to take care of you. Whether it’s escorting you to dinner, bringing you a cup of coffee, or helping you give birth to our children. Once I make that vow to you, everything I have is yours. Besides, I don’t have a gold card, it’s black, actually.”

 

“Babe, we have to compromise about this,” I sighed. I knew I had to give on something here, but I didn’t want a fucking three-ring circus like Alice’s wedding had been. “I don’t want anything elaborate. I certainly don’t want the entire city in attendance. Can we just have, say, a one-hundred guest limit and keep it low-key?”

 

“I can agree to that,” he began to walk towards me. “Can you just allow me to take care of the financing of it?” He was like an animal as he slowly made his way closer to where I stood. He was being primal and I was certain to lose this battle, or at least my clothing.

 

“Yes, I…can agree to that, with some hard spending limits.”

 

“Moving in with me, today?”

 

“Edward, I love you. I love you more than words. But I’m not moving in with you before we’re married.”

 

“Can I ask why? I mean we’ve been intimate. Did I do something wrong last night?”

 

“No, my love, you’re utterly perfect. But I want the next time I come across that threshold downstairs to be as your wife. I want to be carried across as Mrs. Edward Cullen. Secondly, I’ll stop taking my birth control after we actually get married.” I pointed my finger at him, making my point clear, “We will not try to get pregnant until after I’ve been carried across that very threshold.”

 

“But I still get to kiss you and hold you, correct?”

 

“Oh, yes, I insist.”

 

“Good.”

 

He was finally inches from me when he placed his hands on either side of my face. “I love you, my Bella.”

 

Monday dawned and I went about my usual routine. Once inside my office, I made my way to my computer and opened my email. I could see that Alice had already sent a good number to me and I couldn’t help but chuckle. My cell phone began to ring and I looked down at the screen, noticing it was Edward calling me. I smiled as I reached for the phone. As I was about to answer it, my office door flung open and in marched Esme with none other than my mother in tow.

 

“Isabella Marie Swan, you have some explaining to do,” Esme growled and it was obvious she was pissed.

 

This could not be good.

 

I know, I know…

 

You won’t have to wait long, I just had to give you a little taste

 

  1. Chapter 29

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 29

 

I was blown away with your reviews and I just wanted to say thanks! I still don’t own a damn thing, but Dollybigmomma makes me look like a literary Donald Trump!

 

I sat staring at a very angry Esme and Renee. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what I needed to explain. I hadn’t changed anything. I was certain that Edward had told his parents and my mother that we were now engaged. My cell continued to vibrate and I chose to just let it be. I would call him back later once I had dealt with our mothers.

 

“Esme, I’m not certain what I’ve done that would cause you to be so…” I didn’t get to finish as she began to rip me a new asshole.

 

“You need to remember who you’re dealing with, Isabella Marie Swan. I received a very disturbing phone call from my son last night. My son who just poured his heart out to you and you took little time to stomp it to bits!”

 

What the fuck?

 

I was so taken aback by her choice of words and her harsh tone that I chose to let her get it all out before trying to answer her.

 

“Tell me, Isabella, are you too good to live in a home that MY son had built for you? Are you so much better than the rest of our family that you would spit in MY family’s face just because we have money and yet feel ashamed of yours because they don’t? You listen to me, young lady, we’ve worked very hard to earn every dime we have and we don’t need some heartlessly insensitive girl making MY son think he has to feel bad about it!”

 

I couldn’t have responded to her if I had wanted to. I had no words. I blinked several times. I had no clue where this was coming from. Why would Edward tell her these things? Surely it had to have been him, as she had just said he had called her.

 

“You must think that you’re too good for my son, too good to share a home with him. Well guess what, sweetheart, you’re NOT!”

 

At this point, I didn’t know whether to shit or go home. I had watched Esme go off on Mike Newton and now I knew exactly how he had felt. I, however, didn’t deserve any of it. I glanced down at the desk as my cell began to ring again, Edward.

 

“Bella, why would you say those horrible things to Edward? He’s been nothing but good to you and he loves you so much,” my mother’s words took over for Esme as she was breathing heavily at this point.

 

“Mom, I don’t know where this is coming from. I-I…Edward asked me to marry him and I agreed, but…”

 

Esme took a deep breath as she began to berate me again. “Isabella, you told him you didn’t want to live with him. How do you plan to marry him if you don’t plan on living with him in that million dollar home he built for you?”

 

“But, I…”

 

The tears began to fall. Esme had it all wrong and she was never going to listen to me. Edward had filled her with all the wrong information, but why?

 

Esme continued muttering in her anger as I sat at my desk with tears running down my cheeks. I was now pissed at Edward. He had lied to his mother and had caused this to occur. I glanced down at my hand, my beautiful diamond ring glistening in the light. It now felt heavy and all wrong. I quietly removed the ring from my finger that was hidden under my desk. My cell phone began to vibrate again, Edward.

 

I raised my face to once again look at the angry faces of my mother and Esme. I knew nothing I could say right now would change anything. I felt alone and empty. Slowly, anger began to surface.

 

“…I just can believe you’d say such mean things to him, Bella. I mean when Esme called me and told me what Edward had told her, well, I just couldn’t believe it. I mean, when a man tells you he loves you and wants to marry you…”

 

Finally, my anger had reached the surface. I was alone in this, no Angela or Alice. No one was coming to my rescue this time. Edward continued to call.

 

I was not certain what had caused the following to happen, perhaps it was Esme going on and on about how I had basically bedded her precious son and then told him I didn’t want him. Or that I was embarrassing my family by insisting that my poor mother pay for my wedding. No, I think it was when Esme made the comment that my actions were that of a gold-digger, just like Tanya.

 

“REALLY? Just like fucking TANYA?”

 

I stood up from my chair with such force that it was sent flying backwards into my credenza, causing damage I was certain. I picked up my vibrating cell phone that I was certain was still Edward trying to call and flung it across the room, sending it crashing through the flat screen television on the opposite wall.

 

“I’m NOTHING like that bitch!”

 

I grabbed my purse and flung it over my shoulder. I had to get out of here. I had to get far away from all of this.

 

“Edward said this and Edward said that. Well, did he tell you what he said to me while he was FUCKING my brains out? DID HE? Taking my goddamn VIRGINITY!” I was beyond pissed now. “Did he describe to you what it felt like to be buried inside me? DID HE? Fucking answer me! No, he damned well didn’t! No, not your precious fucking perfect SON!” I shot at Esme before I turned to my mother.

 

“Guess what, Mom?” Tears were now running steadily down my face, my heart pounding in my chest. “Edward fucking lied to you. I never said any of that shit to him.”

 

I then turned my attention back to Esme. “For the record, I told him I didn’t want to live together until I was his wife, and as far as the house and his money, I told him I didn’t want access to it at all because I’m NOT a goddamn gold-digger as you accuse, but I conceded because he insisted. I love Edward, and until this very moment, I wanted nothing more than to marry him.”

 

I stepped around the desk and stood face to face with Esme. I never would have guessed she would have turned on me like she had.

 

“Give this back to him,” I placed my engagement ring in her hand as I turned and walked out, “And tell Alice I quit.”

 

I couldn’t exit that room fast enough. I never imagined when I woke up a few hours ago that I would be dealing with a situation like this. I couldn’t say that I even remembered going down the stairs or leaving my building for that matter. I finally found myself standing outside of my gym locker with my clothes in my hand, my towel still damp from my shower just hours ago. I tossed my purse inside and undressed quickly. I knew that getting on that treadmill would help to clear things up. As I made my way toward the machines, I wasn’t concentrating on anything except for getting to my favorite treadmill. I hadn’t made it ten steps when I ran into something solid.

 

“Hey…watch out there,” the solid object spoke.

 

I glanced up to find Dr. Black smiling down at me.

 

“Oh, hey, Bella, how are you today?”

 

I couldn’t stop the tears that began to roll down my cheeks. I had so many emotions bottled up that my current meltdown was inevitable. Poor Dr. Black wrapped his large arms around my shaking frame and began to sway back and forth.

 

“Shhh, it’s alright, I’ve got you.”

 

Hearing his gentle voice only caused me to sob harder. I had no control at this point and I allowed the hurt to engulf me. I wasn’t even aware that Dr. Black had moved me until I realized I was practically sitting on his lap against the wall. He continued to hold me as he allowed me to cry. Time seemed to pass without my noticing and as the last of my hiccups disappeared, I slowly removed my face from his chest. His shirt now wet with my tears.

 

“I-I’m so sorry.”

 

“Oh, no, none of that.”

 

“I-I-I…”

 

“Take your time, Bella. Do I need to call Edward for you?”

 

I couldn’t answer him; I could only shake my head no.

 

“Okay.”

 

He just sat with me and kept rubbing my back slowly, waiting for the next meltdown to commence.

 

“I’m sorry. You didn’t deserve to see that.”

 

“Bella, please, tell me what’s wrong. I can’t help to fix this if I don’t know what’s happening. You don’t want me to call Edward so I’m assuming he’s the cause of your tears, am I right?”

 

“He…he lied to me.” Saying those words out loud made them all too real.

 

“I see. Well, Bella, that doesn’t sound like Edward. I’m certain there’s an explanation for what’s happened.”

 

Now I was angry. Was the entire fucking planet team Edward today?

 

“Sure there is,” I threw my hands into the air, “Dr. Cullen always gets his way.” I began to stand up. “He just takes whatever he wants and when he’s finished, he tells lies on you and sends his mother to clean up his mess.”

 

I again began to make my way to my treadmill. Dr. Black quickly reached out and grabbed my wrist. “Wait a second. Are you truly pissed at him?”

 

“He’s on my short list today, along with my mother and his mother.”

 

He began to chuckle, pulling my hand to follow him.

 

“If you need to clear your head and you’re really pissed, then you need boxing gloves.”

 

He led me down a long hallway and two flights of stairs. This was a part of my gym I had never ventured into. This was the main floor that looked directly onto the street. It housed mostly weight benches and punching bags. Dr. Black led me over to one of the open bags and began searching for a set of boxing gloves for me.

 

“When I was in med school, a fellow student introduced me to my first session on the punching bag. It beats the hell out of saying something you’ll regret later and makes things a little clearer when you get out all of that pent-up aggression.”

 

He helped to tape up my knuckles and helped me to fit my hands into the tight gloves. He also put on a pair and began to show me how to make punches that counted. I looked around and noticed the sidewalk was full of people making their way around the city. I never liked being this close to the windows and having strangers watching me.

 

The music overhead changed and I had to chuckle as the angry guitar of a Rob Zombie song started. Shit, I needed to call Rob later. I hoped I could still crash at his apartment. As the drums kicked in, I decided, what the hell, and I began punching the bag to Dragula.

 

Dr. Black was right. The more I thought, the harder I punched.

 

Esme’s red face saying I was just like Tanya had me punching hard. My mother’s pinched face, asking how I could embarrass her, had me punching harder. Mike’s face as he said I was no one special flashed in my mind and incensed me the most and I let fly with all I had.

 

The more memories I had, the harder I punched. Strings of my hair began to fall in my face. I could feel the sweat flying from my hair and down back.

 

Edward’s face flashed as he said, “I get it, Bella,” and it had me punching with everything I had left.

 

With one last punch, I had completely exhausted myself. I had purged every bad memory that had come to mind. I hugged the bag as I began to slide to the floor. Dr. Black was right; this was exactly what I had needed.

 

I began to try to stand. I knew what I needed to do. I pushed myself off the bag and glanced over to where I remembered Dr. Black was last standing. I smiled as I began to walk in his direction. He was still punching the hell out of the bag in front of him. He, too, was covered in sweat. He must have seen me from the corner of his eye as he reached out to still the swinging bag and looked in my direction. He smiled at me and then the look of pure panic covered his face.

 

“BELLA, LOOK OUT!”

 

I could hear the sound of a roaring engine, the sound of shattering glass, and then nothing, no sound and no light.

 

EDWARD

 

Bella had said yes. I was going to marry the girl of my dreams. Bella was like no other girl I had ever met. She never threw herself at me and she didn’t take any of my antics. I was spoiled, it was true, but she would have none of it. I had wanted her to just drop everything and move in with me. I had built her the house she dreamed of and I wanted her in my bed every night. I wanted to take care of her and keep her safe. But Bella being my Bella, she reminded me she was still able to think for herself.

 

So with total elation, I happily slid my Grandmother Elizabeth’s Henry Winston engagement ring on her finger. I knew that if Bella ever found out the true value of that ring, she would kill me for giving it to her. I couldn’t give two shits about the money in my bank account. Honestly, after Bella’s reaction, it was clear as day that she didn’t, either. I wanted to shout from the rooftops that I was the luckiest son of a bitch on the planet. I was about to marry my girl.

 

I wanted to talk to someone, to have someone else share my happiness, and so I went with the first person who came to mind; my mom. I quickly hit the buttons for my Bluetooth and waited as the phone began to ring. I noticed that there was a tremendous amount of static, but I figured it was just lousy cell reception this area was notorious for.

 

(The following conversation between Edward and Esme will be written as one part. The underlined bits was what Esme actually heard, thus causing the confusion)

 

“Hello?”

 

“Hi, Mom.”

 

“Oh, hello, sweetheart. How are you?”

 

“I couldn’t be better. Bella agreed to marry me.”

 

“I’m so sorry, sweetheart.”

 

“She gave in, Mom, no reason to be sorry.”

 

“It’ll work out, honey. Maybe she just needs more time. I can’t believe this.”

 

“No, we’re fine, really, andshe refused to move in with me right then, not before we’re married.”

 

“I…gosh, Son, I don’t know what to say.”

 

“She’s stubborn; I have to work on making her let me pay for everything for our wedding. She wantsnothing but me, Mom, nothing to do with my money.”

 

“Edward, are you sure?”

 

“Yes, andI’ll give her all the time to adjust she wants. She justhates feeling embarrassed for her family’s lack of money. I think she’s worried we’ll think badly of her if she just helps herself to my accounts for anything.”

 

“Edward, wait and let’s talk about this with your father.”

 

“She hates the idea of moving into the house before the wedding, but she’s the first girl who doesn’t give into my every whim and I love her all the more for it. She doesn’t take my crap and I like it.”

 

Just before I made it to my building, my phone died and our call was disconnected. I would have to call my mother back when I got inside. As I made my way in, I noticed that a storm had blown up. Just as I closed my door, my lights began to flicker and then they went out. So much for calling my mother back.

 

I made my way into the hospital the next morning. I decided I would call Bella once I got to the hospital and could charge my phone. As I rounded the corner, I noticed my father standing in the hall talking with Dr. Black. I walked slowly toward them so as not to interrupt their conversation.

 

“Edward,” my father called to me.

 

I smiled at him and quickened my steps.

 

“Hey, Dad, how are you? You look tired.”

 

“I am tired. I was here late last night and then early this morning. You look happy.”

 

“Good morning, Jacob,” I acknowledged. “I’m more than happy. Did mom tell you my news?”

 

“No, Son, she was already asleep when I got home and still asleep when I left.”

 

“Bella agreed to marry me.”

 

“Well, congratulations, Son. I’m happy for you,” my father’s face began to light up.

 

“Hey, Edward, congratulations!” Jacob offered.

 

“Thank you.”

 

“Well, gentlemen, I’m off. It was a long night and I’m anxious to get to the gym. I’ll see you both later. Again, congratulations, man. Bella’s a great girl,” Jacob stated as he turned and walked down the hall.

 

I asked my father if he could meet me in thirty minutes for coffee and he agreed.

 

I made it to my office and quickly plugged in my phone charger. I knew Bella should be in her office by now and I desperately wanted to hear her voice. Her phone rang several times before going to voice mail. I thought nothing of it as maybe she was running behind this morning. I checked the computer for some labs and then tried to call her again. Forty minutes and umpteen calls later, I was worried. I tried to call her office only to have Jessica tell me my mother was currently in her office. I left her a message to call me as soon as my mother left. I figured my mother was gushing over my proposal and felt it best to give them time to squeal.

 

I was about to call Bella again when my father poked his head into my office. “Edward, I need your help. There was a bus accident downtown and they’re bringing the most critical to us.”

 

“Of course, Dad, I’m right behind you.”

 

I made my way to the ER entrance with my father. A nurse was waiting with gloves and yellow gowns. I could hear the sirens in the distance and I began to mentally prepare myself for what was to come. We had cleared two trauma rooms and two O-R suites. I began to think about the people that were in the back of that ambulance. Little did they know that when they awoke this morning, their whole life was about to change. I silently thanked god that I would have Bella’s warm arms to hold me tonight. The ear-piercing sound of the arriving ambulance brought me out of my Bella dream. As the doors flew open, I made my way to the second ambulance as my dad was already climbing into the back of the first. I was met by the paramedic as she began to give her report.

 

“I have a twenty-seven-year-old female. MVA crashed through a store-front window. BP was ninety-eight over sixty, pulse fifty-nine. Her pupils are reactive. She hasn’t regained consciousness. Witnesses say the guy in the first ambulance took most of the hit. She has a deep laceration on her head and contusions on her torso.”

 

The driver of the ambulance began to help remove the stretcher from the back of the ambulance. I was concerned that my patient hadn’t regained consciousness. She wouldn’t be able to tell me anything. I was going to have to read what her body was telling me. I glanced over at my father who was giving instructions to one of the residents. I turned my attention back to my patient when my whole world came crashing down.

 

Bella.

 

“CARLISLE!” I shouted at my father.

 

“Bella…baby, oh god. Wake up, baby…” I began to stroke her face. What was I supposed to do again?

 

“Edward, what…” Carlisle was finally by my side, “Oh, god, Bella.”

 

“Dad, you have to fix her! Please, Dad! I-I-I can’t fucking lose her. I can’t, you can’t let her die. PLEASE, DAD!”

 

I had no control as the tears fell down my face. I watched helplessly as my father began to examine my Bella. I sank to my knees in the parking lot and bawled like a baby. My whole world was lying on that stretcher. She had to live.

 

I couldn’t tell you how long I cried in that parking lot. I only knew that when I could actually breathe, I did the only thing I knew to do.

 

“Mom, I need you. I need you now. Bella’s been hurt really bad and I need you.”

 

I began to convulse with tears again as I dropped my phone to the ground.

 

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll review!

 

I know you want to kill me, but have a little faith. I promise to update soon!

 

  1. Chapter 30

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 30

 

Nicolleio, this chapter’s for you, I hope you forgive me.

 

SM still owns all, I’m just playing and Dollybigmomma is just beta’ing…

 

They always said when you were about to die that your entire life flashed before your eyes. I wasn’t certain if I was already dead or just headed in that direction. The last thing I remembered was walking toward Dr. Black. Now I found myself sitting in my father’s old fishing boat. The sun was warm and I could feel the heat across my face. The light breeze helped to keep the temperature down. I closed my eyes and tilted my head back and just enjoyed it.

 

“Hello, sweetheart.”

 

Hearing the sweet sound of my father’s voice confirmed my suspicion. I was dead.

 

“Hi, Daddy,” I opened my eyes and gazed upon him.

 

There he sat like a beacon, his dark hair and eyes brightly shining. He looked exactly the way I remembered him. He was wearing his favorite fishing hat, the one he was buried in, as well as his fishing vest.

 

“We need to talk, princess.”

 

I felt the tears as they trailed down my face. I had missed his term of endearment for me. He was the only man I ever trusted.

 

“I understand you’re getting married soon.” His eyes were fixed on his fishing pole that was cast into the clear blue water.

 

“I don’t think so, Daddy. He…” I couldn’t finish, Edward had told his mother untruths about me.

 

“Oh, I think I said it correctly the first time. He loves you and you love him. That’s saying a lot.”

 

I remained silent. It didn’t really matter at this point as I was certainly dead.

 

“Bella, sometimes people do and say things that they later regret. Sometimes they act before they really think.”

 

My dad began to reel in his line and recast it. He was quiet for a few minutes. The thing about my dad was that he didn’t say much, but he always meant every word he said.

 

“I need you to promise me a few things. Can you do that, princess?”

 

“Of course, Daddy, anything.”

 

“First, listen to what Esme has to say to you, and then forgive her.”

 

He recast his line and placed his pole down against the boat.

 

“Second, you need to promise me that you’ll marry Edward and continue to make him happy. He loves you almost as much as I do. Let him take care of you, and you know what I’m getting at.”

 

“Daddy, I promise to forgive Esme, but I can’t marry someone who doesn’t want me, he lied…”

 

“Bella, look over to your left.”

 

My father pointed to the grassy area that surrounded the pond. The sun was extremely bright and I could barely make out what he was talking about. I shielded my face with my hand as I focused on what he was pointing at.

 

In the clearing beside the lake were five children and a dog. The tallest two were girls with dark brown hair. They had on white dresses with pink sashes tied in the middle. They had matching pink ribbons in their hair. The next child was a boy, his auburn hair the same shade as Edward’s. The last two children looked the same size, but had different faces, another set of twins, fraternal ones it looked like. One of them had Edward’s hair and the other had mine, and they were holding tightly to the tallest girls’ hands. They had the same dresses and ribbons. A large yellow lab was barking loudly and running in circles around them. They stood looking directly at us, waving excitedly.

 

“You have to marry him. Those are my grandbabies and you can’t make them by yourself.”

 

I continued to stare at the children. They were absolutely beautiful.

 

“Lillian and Charlotte are your oldest. Lilly is just like you in most every way. Encourage her, Bella. Depending on her choices in life, she could be destined to change the world. Charley also looks just like you, but she has Edward’s temperament, Emmett’s sense of humor, and Alice’s personality, a Cullen through and through. Good luck with that one.”

 

He reeled in his line and cast out again. “Masen is your son. Word of advice on him; let Edward buy him the dog, he has four sisters, he’ll need another boy in the house.

 

“Elizabeth and Eleanor are the babies. Nothing will ever keep Lizzy down, and Ellie is just as feisty. They’ll be keeping you on your toes while they’re busy trying to keep up with the older ones.”

 

I felt my dad take my hand in his. I turned my face in his direction. “It’s time for you to go back. You have a long life ahead of you. Don’t waste a single second of it.”

 

I enveloped my father in a hug, the tears again running down my face.

 

“Daddy, please don’t leave me again. I’ve missed you so much.”

 

“Oh, my sweet princess, I’ll always be with you. Just look for me in the faces of my grandbabies.”

 

I clung tighter to my father. I didn’t want to let go. I didn’t want to go back to the hurt. I wanted to stay here, safe and warm.

 

“Goodbye, my princess. Know that you are someone special, you always have been. Remember your promise. Oh, and tell your mother to sell the damn house already. She needs to get a life.”

 

And then he was gone.

 

EDWARD

 

I sat in the hard plastic chairs and watched the double doors that led to the ER. My father had forbidden me to go beyond those doors. I knew I would have been useless at this point anyway. Bella was my entire world. My life just didn’t work without her.

 

I closed my eyes and began to remember the first time I laid eyes on her, her tiny hand and how warm and soft it felt when I took it in mine. I remembered the amazing smell of her skin as I kissed the back of her hand, the breathtaking sight of her as she walked across the room at my sister’s engagement party. The feel of her fingers as she traced my tattoo during the photo shoot. The way she blew everyone out of the water at the auction, even getting Robert Pattinson to auction off a date. I was convinced that night that she would choose him. I knew how much he wanted her. I remembered how she stood up to me when I accused her of lying because of Mike’s story. I could still remember the absolute emptiness I felt when I lost her the first time. That hurt was unbearable and my biggest fear right now was that my father would come through those doors and tell me he couldn’t save her.

 

When my mother first arrived and found me outside the ER doors, she cradled me like she did when I was very small. She knew what I needed. I was shocked to see Renee with her. I guess my father must have filled her in on Bella’s condition. Once I was able to speak again, I confirmed to Renee that I had indeed asked Bella for her hand. I replayed the entire evening with her minus the details of the many rounds of lovemaking we had shared. Some things a mother just didn’t need to know.

 

I wanted to have Renee’s help in convincing Bella to let me take care of her. I told her she raised a very strong-willed woman and informed her that although Bella loved the house I had built for her, she refused to move in with me until after the wedding. I told her that Bella was exactly what I needed, that she didn’t let me have my way all the time. She made me work for things. I noticed that several times during our conversation, my mom and Renee would look at each other very strangely, like they were sharing a secret.

 

Suddenly, the double doors opened and my father walked out. His face looked tired.

 

“Dad?” I muttered.

 

“She’s going to be okay, Edward. She’s still not awake, but her CT looks good.”

 

I felt my body relax. She was going to be okay. We were going to be okay.

 

“I want to see her.”

 

“Of course, Edward, let them get her into a room first.”

 

“Dad, not just any room…”

 

“Son, please, do you think I’d let my daughter be placed in just any room? She’s going to have a nasty scar on her head.”

 

“I don’t give a shit, Dad. She’ll always be beautiful to me. I’ll get the best plastic surgeon in the country if that’s what she wants. She’s alive and that’s what matters.”

 

My heart was alive again.

 

“Edward, why don’t you go clean yourself up? You’ll want to look your best when you see her.”

 

My mother was right. I only wanted the best for my Bella.

 

“Okay, I’ll be right back.”

 

BELLA

 

My whole body hurt. I felt like I had been hit by a bus. I slowly opened my eyes and tried to remember what had happened. The encounter with my dad had only been a dream. I felt a warm squeeze on my left hand. Looking down, I found Esme and my mom. Esme looked as if she had been crying and my mother was quietly talking on the phone.

 

“Bella,” Esme spoke.

 

“What happened?” My voice was raspy and my head hurt.

 

“You were in an accident. But don’t worry, dear, you’re just fine. Bella, I need to apologize to you.”

 

Suddenly, Charlie’s words came rushing back to me. Listen to Esme, and then forgive her.

 

“I was wrong. I-I said such horrid things to you. I was so wrong. Edward never said those things.”

 

“It’s okay, I forgive you.”

 

“Bella,” my mother’s voice interrupted. “Oh, god, I was so worried. I’m just so glad you’re alive and everything is okay.” She was hovering, she was good at that.

 

“Bella,” Esme didn’t look at me this time, “I need to ask a huge favor of you.”

 

“Of course.”

 

“Please put my son’s ring back on your finger before he comes back. I never told him about our fight.”

 

I simply nodded my head.

 

“Okay, but you owe me. You have to help me keep the reins tight on Alice when she finds out I’m marrying her brother.”

 

Esme placed the ring back on my finger as we both began to chuckle. Not a second later, in walked Edward.

 

“Hello, beautiful.”

 

Renee and Esme took that moment to decide to leave us alone. As Esme was kissing my cheek, she silently thanked me. Renee was next to kiss my cheek and then Edward’s. Just as she was about to exit the door, I called her attention.

 

“Oh, Mom?”

 

She turned and looked over her shoulder, “Yes, princess?”

 

“Daddy said to sell the damn house already and get a life.”

 

Her face turned as white as the sheet I was under. She didn’t say anything back as she just continued out the door.

 

“What was that about?” Edward questioned.

 

“Nothing much. Hey, do you have any idea how beautiful our babies are going to be?”

 

I got so many responses and I just couldn’t hold out on you.

 

Nicolleio, are we friends again?

 

  1. Chapter 31

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 31

 

A big thank you to everyone who is reading and reviewing. I never really expected anyone to actually read my words and find them interesting. We’re getting close to the end and I have to say I have so enjoyed writing this. Stephanie owns the characters, I just control the strings, and Dollybigmomma choreographs the dance!

 

One week. Seven long and boring days I’d had to spend in the hospital. I was fairly certain that if I had been anyone else, that time would probably have been shorter. However, between Edward and Carlisle, I didn’t stand a chance. They made certain that I was never alone during my stay. Finally, on the morning of the last day, Carlisle entered my room and announced that he felt comfortable enough to allow me to go home. When the words first left his mouth, I was elated. However, it quickly hit me that I would be returning to my empty apartment, alone. The realization of this fact in the past had never bothered me. In fact, I had preferred it that way. Now, sitting on the edge of my hospital bed with my hairbrush in hand, I was suddenly nervous.

 

Edward had left not more than ten minutes prior to my current mental meltdown and for that I was grateful. For as much as I truly loved him, I was still afraid to show him how much I needed him. Honestly, I was afraid to admit to myself how much I really needed him. It wasn’t even a week ago that I had told him rather boldly that I wanted to maintain separate quarters until after our wedding. This moronic decision was made from pride and definitely not from my heart. I needed to stop that. Edward was soon to be my husband. I needed another opinion. Weighing my current options, there was Alice. Not a good choice as she was his sister. I knew I would tend to side with my brother if I had one. Esme was out, not only because of the family connection, but also because of the recent confrontation. True, I had accepted her apology and forgiven her as my conscious had instructed me. Forgetting was going to take a little longer. So I did what every normal girl in my situation would do. I phoned my mom.

 

“Hi, Bella.”

 

What was it about just hearing the sound of your mother’s calm voice that seemed to make all the bad stuff just fade away?

 

“Hey, Mom,” my voice sounded more like a six-year-old that had lost her Barbie doll than a grown woman.

 

“Uh oh, tell me all about it.”

 

I could only imagine her sitting on her living room sofa with her cup of tea in hand. If I had actually been there, she would have made me wait until she made me one to match.

 

“I need your advice,” my voice was quiet, for reasons that eluded me.

 

“Alright.”

 

“Well, see…” I began to stumble over my own tongue. How did one explain to their mother that they wanted to move into their fiance’s house after one refused, then make the entire situation not appear like you were some whiny, crying, co-dependent toddler.

 

This conversation could not have been that difficult. I mean really, I had already admitted that I had slept with Edward. Thinking of that, I really needed to apologize to Esme for my poor choice of words that day. Some things mothers just shouldn’t have to hear. So I took a deep breath and told my mother about my current fear. I told her how I didn’t want to go back to an empty apartment and that I wanted to wake up beside Edward every morning that I possibly could. I told her that I didn’t want to appear needy or indifferent. When my rant was over and I felt the weight lifted off my shoulders, I asked my mother one simple question.

 

“So, Mom, how do I tell him all of that?”

 

Then, as if the heavens above heard my question, my mother answered me simply and directly, “Exactly as you just told me.”

 

Okay, so maybe I asked the wrong person.

 

“Bella, he’s going to be your husband very soon. He’ll see you at your very worst and your very best. He’ll be the one person who knows every minute detail about you. If you think for one moment that this is going to be the toughest obstacle in your relationship, then you’re sadly mistaken.”

 

“But, Mom, what about the stigma about living together?”

 

“Oh, Bella, this isn’t 1940. People don’t care about what you do behind closed doors. You’re a grown woman and can make your own choices. What do you want?”

 

My mother was right. Life didn’t come in a pretty little mold. There was no rule book that said how long you must know a person in order to love them. No guide book that said you must perform certain rituals before taking lifelong oaths. Life was about living. Making choices and living with them. I had made my choice to be with Edward, to be his partner in life.

 

Twenty minutes later, I was all packed and ready to leave. Edward came back into my room looking freshly showered and so gorgeous. The smile that graced his face was all I needed to know that all was truly right in the world. Standing in the middle of the room in jeans and a button-up shirt was my future. Edward Cullen had chosen me. I wanted to start my life with him as soon as possible and today seemed like a perfect time.

 

“Hey, handsome.”

 

“Are you ready, beautiful?”

 

“Almost, I really want to talk to you for a moment.”

 

I could instantly see that my words had caused him to worry just a little. His smile was still there, but not quite reaching his eyes. I had to correct that.

 

“Is everything okay?”

 

“Yes, most definitely, but I’d like to talk about a few things with you, if that’s alright.”

 

“Babe, you can tell me anything. But honestly, you’re worrying me a little right now.”

 

I sat back down on my bed and patted the mattress beside me. I wanted to take away his worry as he always did for me. His eyes never left mine as I told him everything, my hopes, fears, and finally, my need to be near him.

 

“So do you remember the morning after you proposed when we were lying in bed together?”

 

“Yes, I seem to remember trying to have a repeat performance of the previous nights’ events.”

 

I closed my eyes and began to have pleasant memories of our night together. His soft touches, his kisses, and the way he spoke softly as he made sweet love to me.

 

“Um, yes, well…” I blushed, shaking my head of those thoughts, “Okay, Edward, do you remember our discussion about you wanting to wake up with me every morning?”

 

“Yes, I remember that you wanted to maintain your apartment. Isabella, please tell me what’s going on. Have you changed your mind about us?”

 

‘Yes, Edward, I have changed my mind about us.”

 

I watched as his face fell and his eyes began to dull. I had to stop this, he was misunderstanding me. I watched as he took in a deep breath and began to rise to his feet.

 

“I see, can I ask what… “

 

“Edward,” I practically shouted his name as I grabbed his forearm, “I want it all.”

 

“I’m sorry, you want it all?”

 

“Yes, Edward. I want to wake to your beautiful face every morning. I want to argue with you over your underwear on the bathroom floor. I want to pick out Christmas cards together. I want to have the same phone number and the same address as you. I want it, Edward. I want it all and I want it now.”

 

I never saw him drop back to the mattress. It wasn’t until I felt the mattress against my back that I even realized I was lying down. Edward’s lips were everywhere. I couldn’t keep up, so I simply lay back and enjoyed the ride.

 

When I was finally allowed to leave the hospital, I told Edward that I had to stop and see Jacob. Edward had told me that he had required surgery to remove his spleen as a result of the accident. I was later informed that the bus driver had suffered a massive heart attack and had died before the bus hit the building. He left behind a wife and six grandchildren. I had Edward express our condolences to his widow.

 

Edward rolled me in a wheelchair to Jacob’s room. Jacob was propped up against several pillows, his left arm in a cast. Sitting in the chair beside him was Heidi, her hand placed delicately in his. Jacob looked so tired and unnaturally pale, with his eyes half open and the oxygen tubing strapped under his nostrils.

 

Edward had informed me that Jacob had wrapped his body around mine and took the blunt of the impact. He had various bumps and bruises and had to be sedated for the first twenty-four hours. In other words, he and I both were lucky to be alive. I owed him my life.

 

“Bella,” his raspy voice called out.

 

I watched as Heidi rose and adjusted his pillow then placed several kisses on his forehead. Slowly, she began to run her fingers lovingly through his black hair.

 

“Hey, Jacob.”

 

“How are you?”

 

“I’m good, thanks to you,” my voice trembled with emotion.

 

“No thanks are necessary.”

 

I watched as Heidi’s fingers continued to make irregular patterns through Jacob’s hair. It was then I noticed a sparkle. Sitting on Heidi’s left hand was a diamond ring, an engagement ring.

 

“Oh, my gosh, Heidi, is that what I think it is?”

 

The smile that now encompassed her face was enough to make the entire world take notice. She quickly stopped rubbing Jacob’s scalp and held out her hand to me. It was beautiful to say the least.

 

“Jacob proposed last night.”

 

“Congratulations to you both,” Edward’s husky voice sounded from behind me.

 

I looked down at my own left hand to find my own ring. I closed my eyes as I relived the memory of taking it off and handing it back to Esme. I had to confront her about that. Edward needed to know about that conversation. I refused to let any secrets fester between us.

 

We quickly said our goodbyes as Jacob really needed his rest. Edward insisted on pushing my wheelchair out to his car. The ride home was a comfortable silence. I watched the buildings go by as Edward’s thumb rubbed circles on my fingers.

 

We made our way up the elevator much to Edward’s huffing as I refused to allow him to carry me up to his condo. As the sun made its descent into the horizon, I laid on Edward’s massive bed, his body wrapped securely around mine. We laid there in silence, only the quiet sounds of Edward’s lips making contact with the top of my head.

 

“It’s so good to be home,” I whispered as I closed my eyes and let sleep take me.

 

I’m sorry this was so dang short. I wanted to have the Esme and Bella talk, but I just couldn’t transition it in good enough. Thank you for continuing to read and review.

 

  1. Chapter 32

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 32

 

Hello, lovelies!

 

This story is winding down and I’m so sad to say that. It’s my goal to have the end posted soon!

 

Thank you to all who have taken time to read my ramblings and I hope you take a chance and read my other stories. Dollybigmomma is slowly but surely going through all of them making them pretty, so please give them a read!

 

As ya’ll know, Stephanie is the lucky ass bitch to own these characters; I just own my version…

 

“One hundred guests, period.”

 

To say that Alice was simply happy when she learned that Edward and I were getting married would have been a lie. She was crazy. She immediately went into overdrive with wedding plans. Alice had been back barely two weeks at this point and she was driving me insane.

 

“Ugh, Bella! You seem to forget whom you’re marrying,” Alice huffed as her arms crossed defiantly over her chest.

 

“No, Alice, you seem to forget whom I’m marrying.”

 

This had been an ongoing argument between us. Alice and Esme felt that this should be a five-star event. I, however, wanted it to be simple yet elegant, with just the most immediately intimate of our friends and family.

 

“No, Bella, you’re about to marry one of the…”

 

I had heard all of this before. Edward was the richest, Edward was the most eligible, Edward was this or the Cullen’s were that. I was sick to death at this point.

 

“FINE!”

 

I pressed the button to engage the speakerphone and began to dial Edward’s cell. It rang twice before he answered. “Yes, Alice,” his tone was exhausted.

 

“Right answer, wrong girl,” I clipped into the phone.

 

“Hey, beautiful.” Oh god, what his voice did to me…

 

“So, handsome, I was just having a conversation with your sister and for the hundredth time this week, she’s insistent on five hundred guests.”

 

“Do you want five hundred guests, Bella?”

 

“You know I don’t.”

 

“Then, my Bella, what do YOU want.”

 

“Well, I’m so glad you asked. I want two first-class tickets to Vegas, for today.”

 

I could hear Edward begin to chuckle as I watched Alice’s eyes become the size of saucers.

 

“Done. Meet me in the lobby of your building in twenty.”

 

“NO! OKAY! Okay, you win, Bella, damn it. Ugh! Fuck it, you win.”

 

“Thank you, sweetheart. I love you,” I purred.

 

“Offer still stands, babe,” Edward promised.

 

“I’ll see you at home, Edward.”

 

I quickly ended the call and faced a very angry Alice and a very giggly Angela.

 

“One hundred people, including the family,” I pointed to her and then went back to work.

 

Things had just seemed to fall into place after I was released from the hospital. Of course, Alice wasn’t happy that she wasn’t the first to know about our engagement. Edward had to remind her that “our” and not “hers” was the key word here. I moved my things into Edward’s condo, which was easier than I ever imagined. Edward never pressured me about which bedroom I’d sleep in, although I knew he was silently praying I would chose his, which I did. The part that did surprise me was that Edward suggested we wait until after the wedding to have sex again. In all honesty, I was more than willing to be with him again, but I didn’t try to argue.

 

The first Saturday after my release from the hospital was the day Esme and I chose to have our talk. We wanted somewhere secluded and private. My old apartment won out. When I had decided to move in with Edward, I had expressed my worry about my lease on my apartment. Edward questioned me about the owner’s name and information and then told me not to worry. When I arrived, I didn’t even recognize the place. The furnishings were all very modern and very masculine. Esme was already there and noticed my confusion. She informed me that Edward never did anything halfway and that when he had spoken to my landlord about ending my lease, the landlord had become rude. Edward got upset and did some digging around only to discover the building was in foreclosure. Edward contacted him again, paid him what was due on the building, and then began renovating the entire building.

 

Esme had prepared us both a pot of tea and so I joined her on the couch. We spoke briefly for a few minutes about very mundane things. When the conversation began to stale, I addressed the large elephant in the room.

 

“Um, Esme…”

 

“Yes, Bella, I know.”

 

“No, Esme. I can’t keep this to myself. It isn’t fair to him or me.”

 

“You’re right. It isn’t fair to anyone and I could never ask you to be dishonest with him. I spoke with Carlisle and he agrees; Edward needs to know what happened.”

 

The last thing I wanted to do was hurt him. I feared that he would be unable to forgive me once he learned what had happened. However, I refused to keep this a secret any longer.

 

“Bella, I need to tell you exactly why I reacted the way I did. I need you to understand where I was coming from that morning.”

 

Esme was right. I did need to see her side of this. I needed to understand how she went from protecting me to crucifying me.

 

“As you know, Edward is my second child. When I had Emmett, it was the easiest pregnancy any woman could’ve wished for. Edward, however, was not so much. When we first found out that we were pregnant, Carlisle had just accepted the position he has now at Virginia Mason. I was taking care of a very rambunctious toddler and now I had a new baby on the way.

 

“Having only had one pregnancy that, as I said, was ideal, I was terrified when things began to happen. First, I was constantly sick. So sick in fact that Carlisle had to give me IV fluids several times to keep me hydrated. I had terrible headaches and the dizziness was so bad I had to struggle to get my head off the pillow. Once I hit my second trimester, things began to get slightly better. I was able to go several weeks without needing any IV fluids and was able to get around better. However, at the end of my seventh month, I was sound asleep when I was abruptly awoken by the worst pain I’d ever had. I shot up out of bed to discover my water had broken. I was terrified. Carlisle called for an ambulance and I began to fear the worst.”

 

Esme rose from her seat and began to walk toward the large living room window. Her eyes were fixed on the building that faced mine and she looked as though she was seeing things all over again. I wanted to go to her and at least try to comfort her, but something told me to stay in my seat.

 

“The doctors were able to hold off the delivery for three days. However, on the fourth day, the pain returned and Edward was born. He was so tiny, Bella…”

 

One lonely tear made its way down her flawless face.

 

“They wouldn’t let me hold him,” she stammered between sobs. “I could only…”

 

The tears continued now for both of us. I could not imagine the pain she had been through.

 

“I begged Carlisle to save him. I refused to leave his incubator for even a second. Carlisle had a specialist from New York come and look at him. He told me Edward could be blind or mentally challenged, or he might not ever walk, but I didn’t care, he was my son.”

 

I couldn’t take it any longer; I rose from my seat and wrapped my arms around Esme. Several minutes passed as we both sobbed.

 

“I knew the doctors were wrong, I knew Edward was stronger than that.”

 

Esme patted my arm and removed herself from my embrace. She made her way back to the couch where she again took her seat and began to sip her tea, trying to compose herself.

 

“When we finally took him home, I was terrified. I had no medical training and Carlisle would have to return to work. But I was determined to take care of my son, no matter what. They’d told me his lungs were not developed fully, that he would never be athletic and that he would always have issues with asthma. They said he would be sick more often than most children and he was, until he was about two. You see, it was about that time that we found out that Alice was on her way. Thankfully, that pregnancy was much like my first.”

 

I had to smile a little at the thought of anything associated with Alice being normal.

 

“During the first two year of Edward’s life, I was extremely overprotective. I didn’t let him go outside and play like I did Emmett. The doctors were correct, Edward was sick a lot in those first two years and that was when he and I got to be so close. My mother was living with us at the time and she took care of Emmett most of the time. I spent nearly every waking moment with Edward. We read a lot, did lots of quiet things, stuff that didn’t require too much physical activity.”

 

It was funny to me how things never seemed to change as Edward still had a passion for books. He was always reading at home.

 

“When Emmett started kindergarten, Edward was almost three. Edward began to notice that Emmett was going outside and playing with other children. Edward wanted to be just like Emmett, so I finally let him. It was so hard for me to let him fall the first time. I remember watching from our front porch and feeling the air rush out of me when I saw him go down.”

 

Esme began to smooth out imaginary wrinkles on her pants.

 

“When I rushed out to get him, he stood back up before I got there. He looked up at me with those big green eyes of his and told me,” Esme began to chuckle, “‘It’s okay, Mommy, I not hurt.'” She sighed deeply, smiling softly at the memory.

 

“Slowly, he began to want to do more independent things. He saw things his older brother was doing and he wanted to do them, too. When Alice was born, I felt overwhelmed. I remember one morning I was sleeping so soundly. I’m not certain what caused me to wake up, but when I did, the house was silent. When you’re a mother, Bella, you’ll quickly find that silence and children usually only mean two things; one, that they’re asleep, or two, they’re doing something they shouldn’t.”

 

The thought of me being a mother, of having Edward’s children, brought out a smile I couldn’t control.

 

“Anyway, I dashed out of bedroom to find Emmett quietly reading a book and Edward changing Alice’s diaper. It was at that moment when I knew Edward was going to beat the odds. That’s not to say I stopped babying him or worrying. No, I still do that.”

 

Oh, sister, you have no idea…

 

“When Emmett began to play sports, Edward wanted to be right there with him. I tried to get him to sit back and watch with me, but you could tell he wanted to get out there and run with the big kids. One night I was talking to Carlisle about my concerns and he reminded me that Edward had done each and every thing that the specialist had told me he’d never do. He was healthy, he didn’t have any vision problems, he didn’t have a single asthma attack, and he was so smart he was reading books before he was three. He was always asking questions about how thing worked and he held that knowledge. So I decided to let him just be a normal kid.”

 

Esme then turned to me and smiled. “When he made the varsity football team, I nearly fainted, and when he told us he was the quarterback, I did.

 

“When he graduated Valedictorian, I was beyond ecstatic. When he told us he wanted to be a pediatrician, I was so proud. He said he wanted a world where children could just be happy.”

 

The far-off look returned to her eyes.

 

“When he first announced to us that he had invented the Esme clamp, I was so proud. I watched as my son, who was born far too soon and was never expected to thrive, was now making tools to help doctors save other children so that they could. I watched as he spoke to rooms full of doctors that had years more experience and they hung on every word my son said. I watched as his father would throw out his chest as he would call Edward and ask his opinion on a patient.

 

“I also watched as that horrid girl, Tanya, tried to use my son, but then I saw the sparkle in his eyes when he first told me of you.”

 

Esme then turned to me, tears again running down her face; the palm of her warm had cupping my right cheek. “I knew from the first moment I laid eyes on you that you were made just for him, you came to him broken and he began to help fix you, just like he does those children.” Her hand then dropped and she began to stare at her lap. “Bella, I’m so sorry I ever doubted you.”

 

She didn’t look up at me. I didn’t interrupt her. This was the part of the conversation I needed to hear.

 

“When Edward called me that night, there was a lot of static on the line so talking wasn’t easy. I was so focused on what I was hearing that I…well, I just heard bits and pieces of what he was saying. His voice was distorted by the interference and he sounded upset, which I later learned wasn’t the case. I didn’t wait to hear the whole story; I just jumped to the conclusion that you had obviously pulled the wool over not only my eyes, but my baby’s, too.

 

“I threw my common since out the window and went into full momma-bear mode and didn’t stop to think, I mean really think. I ran over in my head what I believed I had heard and made the decision to make you pay. I wanted to hurt you, Bella. I wanted to hurt you like you…like I thought you had hurt my son. So I called your mother and demanded she fly out…”

 

I began to remember how she had treated Mike Newton when she discovered what he and Tanya had done. I remembered the fear I felt even though she was defending me at the time. I wondered if I would have that kind of passion when it came to my children.

 

“I can’t take it back, Bella. For the first time ever in my life, I wish I could take it back. When I found out what was really said, I cried into your mother’s chest. I couldn’t even be honest with my son. I couldn’t tell him that I had driven the love of his life away. So I again panicked and rushed to your room. I slipped the ring back on your finger and I silently prayed you wouldn’t remember my behavior.”

 

I, too, wished I hadn’t remembered, that way I wouldn’t have to have this awful conversation with the man I loved.

 

“You’re right, Bella. He deserves to know. However, I need to be the one to tell him. If he’s going to be angry with anyone, it needs to be me. You’ve done nothing wrong.”

 

She was wrong there. I needed to tell him that I was guilty of doing the thing I always did, run. I wasn’t going to do that this time.

 

“No, Esme, we’ll do this together.”

 

As we entered Edward’s condo that evening, I knew in the back of my mind this could be the end. Edward had every right to be angry and hurt. He had every right to call off the wedding and never see me again. I hoped he wouldn’t.

 

Edward was sitting on the couch with a book in hand. When he noticed us enter the room, his face lit up in a huge smile. He rose and first greeted his mother with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. However, he saved the best for me, as he wrapped his strong arms around me. I buried my face in his chest and closed my eyes. This could be the very last time I ever felt his love for me. When we finally pulled back, he placed a sweet kiss to my lips.

 

Esme wasted no time as she called his name. “Edward, Son, we need to talk.”

 

For the next twenty minutes, I listened as she told him the entire story. When she neared the part of sneaking into the room and replacing my ring on my finger, I began to have pain in my chest. It was the same pain I had felt when I had broken up with him and went to New York. As I continued to listen, the tears began to fall. When Esme was finished, I anxiously awaited to hear my fate.

 

Since meeting Edward, I had learned that he usually did things I didn’t expect. First, I never expected him to even give me a second glance. I thought he was too far out of my league. Second, I never dreamed someone so wonderful could be friends with someone so vile as Mike Newton. Third, he courted me, with flowers and letters. Fourth, he loved me, unconditionally. So why was it such a shock to me when I finally heard his response?

 

“I already know, Mom, and she still loves me enough to still want to marry me.”

 

Well, didn’t see that one coming did ya?

 

Again, thank you for continuing to read and review.

 

  1. Chapter 33

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 33

 

I want to thank everyone who is adding this to their favorites, wow!

 

This is technically the last chapter; however, there’s an epilogue. Dollybigmomma made it pretty for you all so remember her in your reviews. I so hate saying this as everyone knows my name isn’t Stephanie…Sorry, Edward and Bella, I don’t own ya.

 

Breathe in, breathe out. I had to continuously tell myself that for the past two days. My heart was now beating so fast that I thought it would break through my chest. I watched as people busied themselves around me. The hotel room I currently stood in was full of people, all here with the same purpose, my wedding. After all the fighting with Alice and meetings with caterers, florists, and photographers, it all came down to this one day. Honestly, I felt as if I was dreaming, I never for one second thought I would ever be standing here in this white gown, getting ready to marry the man of my dreams.

 

Esme and my mother stood over in the corner giggling about something; turned out they had become the best of friends. Honestly, they acted more like schoolgirls than grown women. I could barely make out what they were even saying; however, it roughly sounded like, “Just think, we’re standing in the very room where our grandchild could be conceived tonight.” What they didn’t realize was that Edward and I had planned to go to our house tonight; the hotel was only a front as we wanted to be left alone.

 

Alice was sitting on a chaise with her feet propped up on pillows. She was eight months pregnant and on bed rest. However, this did nothing to stop her from shouting out orders. Turned out I missed the part of her wedding where she was drinking non-alcoholic beverages. Yep, Alice had been knocked up before she got married.

 

Things seemed to be running smoothly when Heidi entered the room. “Bella, um, we…have a small problem.”

 

Oh, shit…

 

“Heidi, as long as you don’t tell me Edward’s changed his mind, we have no problem.”

 

“Oh gosh, no, Bella. Actually, Edward keeps insisting we get this show on the road.”

 

I had to smile at her words. He was just as ready as I was to have this day behind us. He had offered several more times to just jump on a plane and seek out Elvis, and on more than one occasion, I almost took him up on it.

 

“No, the problem is that…Angela’s water broke and Ben is with her. They need to do a C-section and… “

 

I didn’t let her finish. “Oh god, Heidi, tell me, is Angela okay?”

 

“Calm down, Bella.”

 

“To hell with calm, tell Edward to get over there, Angela needs him more than I do right now.”

 

“Slow your roll, sister. Everything’s fine. Angela just has narrow hips and that huge baby couldn’t get past them. Edward already called in a pediatrician he trusts and everything’s going well, except that Ben can’t be here to walk you down the aisle.”

 

I couldn’t have given a shit less that Ben wouldn’t walk me down the aisle. I could walk by myself. I just wanted Angela and the baby to be okay. We all knew she was due any day, but yesterday when she had her exam, the doctor told her she wasn’t even dilated any.

 

The last thing I wanted right now was any confrontation with Alice. I mean she was tough to handle on any normal day, but this was not a normal day and she was very pregnant.

 

“Heidi, I need my phone.”

 

Heidi located my purse and quickly handed me my phone. I scanned through my contact list until I located the number I needed. I reached down and raised the hem of my dress and made my way over to the window. The phone rang three times before he answered.

 

“Hello, beautiful.”

 

“Well, hello yourself,” I chuckled.

 

“Aren’t you getting married today?”

 

“Why, yes I am. Are you attending?

 

“Yes, I most certainly am.”

 

“Good, are you wearing a tux or just a nice suit?”

 

“Well, my date insisted that I wear a tux.”

 

“Date, huh? I didn’t think you did that kind of thing.”

 

“Yes, well, we can’t all be as lucky as Edward Cullen. But she’s great. Even you’d approve.”

 

“It sounds serious.”

 

“Maybe…”

 

“Anyway, I need a huge favor.”

 

“For you, anything.”

 

Here I stood staring at the massive wooden doors. I was ready. I was ready to start the rest of my life. Standing on the other side of these two doors stood my whole world. Last night as we rehearsed, I told Ben that I was sorry about one thing, my dad not being here.

 

Ben, being the wonderful man that he was, reminded me that my dad was very much here. I had to smile as he was so right. I was truly blessed, I had two wonderful parents. Turned out it was my mother who had taken Edward aside and told him about the confrontation at my office. She had informed him that I would try and run and that perhaps the bus was divine intervention, albeit painful as hell. She told him that in the end, she knew I had enough faith that I would do the right thing and tell him about it. Edward later told me that he was angry at first, but the thought of not having me by his side took the anger away quickly.

 

The sound of the wedding march brought me out of my mental ramblings. I turned to my right and smiled at my “escort” for the march. When I found out that Angela had gone into surgery, I could think of only one other person who had earned the right to give me away, Robert Pattinson. Turned out his date was none other than Kristen Stewart, his current leading lady. They were on a quick break from filming their latest installment. When I had originally sent him the invite, I honestly didn’t think he would respond. I was glad I had been wrong.

 

“Are you sure about this? I mean we can just turn around and…”

 

“Rob, I’ve never been more certain about anything in my life.”

 

My smile had to be contagious as he smiled right back at me.

 

I gripped his arm a little tighter as we began to make our way to the front. It was the same church that Alice had married Jasper in. The flowers were significantly simpler and the amount of guests was noticeably less, and it was perfect.

 

Once I found Edward’s face and I was able to lock eyes with him, I never faltered. His face was utter perfection. His green eyes sparkled with love and happiness. Then it hit me, I had done that. I had put that look on his face and the sparkle in his eyes, me. I was the one he slipped into bed with each night, me. I was the one he called beautiful and meant it, me. I was the one who knew that he liked to have the hair at the nape of his neck pulled, me. I was the one he built a house for, me. We were a mere four feet away when Edward mouthed the words I love you. I was the one he was in love with, me.

 

Once we reached the end of the aisle and the priest had instructed everyone to be seated, he asked those famous words every father dreaded. “Who gives this woman to this man?”

 

I turned to look at Rob and then to Edward. Rob, being the funny guy he was, responded, “Don’t look at me, chap, I want to keep her.”

 

Everyone began to chuckle and Edward extended his hand out to Rob. I watched in awe as Rob leaned into Edward and gave him a genuine hug, complete with back slapping.

 

“Take care of her, mate,” Rob instructed.

 

“That’s my plan,” Edward’s voice quivered with emotion.

 

Rob then turned to me, cupping my face in his hands, “Last chance, lass.”

 

I reached up on my tiptoes and placed a kiss to his lips. “Thank you, for everything.”

 

Edward took my hand as we made our way to the altar. I couldn’t tell you what the priest said or if he told any jokes, but I could tell you that my husband’s hand never left mine, and as I placed his ring on his finger, I swear I could feel him sigh in relief. The kiss he gave me then was enough to make me wish we could leave and go straight to our honeymoon.

 

“Ladies and gentleman, it’s my pleasure to introduce to you Dr. and Mrs. Edward Cullen.”

 

The doors flew open as Edward led me into our reception. Ya’ll ready for this? blared from the speakers as the DJ announced us. By the time we made it to the head table, Edward had shed his jacket and had begun to twirl it above his head. Not to be out done, Emmett, who was his best man, began to jump up on the head table and attempted to do a striptease. This was quickly squashed by Esme. I didn’t think I had ever smiled this much in my entire life. Once Emmett was reeled in and Edward helped me into my chair, the clanking of the silverware began, not that I needed to be reminded to kiss my husband.

 

Edward stood behind me as we cut into our wedding cake. Alice had managed to have a section of our cake made just for me. It had no sugar and Edward managed to remove any trace of icing. God, how I loved him.

 

The lights were dimmed as Edward led me to the floor for our first dance as a married couple. With Edward’s arms wrapped around me, I buried my face in the crook of his neck. I felt the slight stubble on the side of his jaw as he placed gentle kisses on my forehead.

 

“I’m so glad you wanted things simple,” his voice was husky and deep.

 

“Really?” I responded shocked.

 

“Oh, yes, my beautiful wife, this was just beyond perfect.”

 

“Say it again, Edward.”

 

“Perfect.”

 

“No, not that part, the part where you called me your wife.”

 

“My beautiful wife.”

 

I had never danced so much in my entire life. My face hurt from smiling so much. I had made it a point not to drink too much as I wanted to enjoy my wedding night. Luckily for me, Edward clued into my plan and didn’t drink very much, either.

 

I had made my rounds of all the guests when I took a seat beside Alice. Even though she hadn’t been able to do anything besides go to the bathroom, there was no mistaking her happiness.

 

“How are you holding up, buttercup?”

 

“We’re great.”

 

I reached over and touched her very large belly. Alice’s blood pressure had been a little elevated over the past few weeks. Her doctor had placed her on bed rest for that reason. Since the wedding was now pretty much behind us, I wanted an opportunity to thank her for all of her hard work. My husband, however, had other ideas. Before I could even open my mouth, my adorable husband caught me around my waist and whisked me out of the chair and out the door, not that I resisted mind you. With a wave and a shout goodbye, we were off.

 

Edward kept his word as he carried me over our threshold. The house had been completely finished for several weeks. However, we had agreed to wait until after the wedding to move in. I hadn’t laid eyes on it since it was finished. You would think I would have asked him to put me down so that I could have a look around; so not going to happen.

 

For the past several months, I had slept beside Edward, the key word being slept. It had been his idea to refrain from having sex again. Honestly, the only time it was ever difficult was usually in the middle of the night. On more than one occasion, I had been woken up by Edward’s roaming hands. I couldn’t be angry with him as he always did this in his sleep.

 

From the moment we hit our staircase, Edward’s lips had been pressed against mine, the feel of his familiar lips brushing against mine in a deliciously slow dance, his tongue mingling with mine in perfect harmony. There was nothing rushed about his kisses. We both knew we had the rest of our lives to be together like this.

 

“Bella.”

 

“Mmm?”

 

“Baby, are you sure?”

 

“Sure about what?” I moved out of his embrace slightly so that I could look at his face.

 

“Well, I know you stopped taking your birth control. And we don’t have condoms in the house. You know how I feel about this. I want to make sure that you’re ready.”

 

I had to giggle. We’d had this very conversation at least twelve times in the past few months. Edward wanted children, badly. I had told him repeatedly that if I had not been ready, I would have stayed on the pill.

 

“Edward, shut up and kiss me.”

 

“Yes, Ma’am.”

 

His lips descended on mine once again. I slowly closed my eyes; I wanted to slow down time, to stay in this moment forever. The feel of his lips as they made their way down my jaw, neck, and lastly the swell of my breasts had me panting. Edward, being the multi-tasking pro he was, began to try to remove my gown. After a number of attempts at opening the back of my dress, a very frustrated Edward growled.

 

“Bella, what the hell? Does this thing have a fucking key?”

 

I couldn’t help myself as I began to laugh. The thing was, Edward wasn’t amused. I gently placed my hand on his face.

 

“Baby, unwrapping your gift is half the fun.”

 

I watched as his eyes became hooded and dark, dancing between my lips and eyes.

 

“Did you choose this dress?”

 

He began to move his hand down my waist, circling behind my back.

 

“Yes?”

 

“If I swear to have it repaired, will you not be mad at what I’m about to do?”

 

“I…”

 

I didn’t get to finish my answer as Edward quickly spun me around and began to rip at the buttons that secured my dress. The satin-covered buttons didn’t stand a chance against a very determined Edward. With my dress now puddled at my feet, I watched as a very surprised Edward Cullen dropped to the edge of the bed.

 

“Oh, Bella…”

 

I wasn’t kidding him when I told him that unwrapping was half the fun. One afternoon, I took off by myself and did a little shopping of my own. I found a cute little boutique that carried all types of wedding and trousseau undergarments. They carried everything from traditional silky long nightgowns to more risque items. I chose to just go for it and had chosen something a little less…innocently bridal.

 

The look on his face spoke volumes. He was speechless. I had chosen a corset top that laced in back. The top of the corset ended just under my breast. It was designed so that it held the girls high and tight. The matching garter belt and sheer stockings finished out the effect. I had decided last minute to forgo the matching thong.

 

“Dear god, Bella,” his voice was husky with want.

 

“Well?” I slowly placed my hands on his shoulders while stepping out of the dress that was still pooled around my heels.

 

“Are you trying…to tell me that you had that on…all day?” he stammered.

 

I began to slowly unbutton his crisp white shirt. “Yes, I have. Do you not like it?”

 

Ever so slowly, his eyes left my bare, hard nipples and began traveling back up to my face. Just when I thought I had him right where I wanted him, he pulled out the panty-dropping smile. If I’d had any on, I would have ripped them off myself.

 

Edward wasted no time as he effortlessly unlaced the cords that held my corset on. Before I could blink, he had my back against the mattress, his pelvis grinding into my exposed core. I could feel his arousal hard against my flesh. His grinding was clouding my thoughts, and I found myself only able to moan. The feel of his warm and wet mouth covering my nipple brought about my first orgasm, the feel of his teeth sliding down the pink pebbled skin sending me over the edge.

 

“Mmm, that’s it, baby,” Edward’s raspy voice was now in my ear as he nipped at my earlobe, my other nipple held firmly between his thumb and index finger.

 

“I want you so badly, Bella,” he moaned between kissing and sucking on both sides of my neck. “Let me love you,” he begged as his hands made their way down my hips, his thumbs circling my hipbones.

 

I couldn’t speak; I was so lost in his touch.

 

His fingers slowly began to move toward where I needed him most, sending shivers over my skin. When his fingers finally found my slick folds, he very gently began to run them up and down the outside edge. As he neared my bundle of nerves, he slowly and gently circled it and then started the process all over. He began to place gentle kisses on my lips as he opened his eyes and began to search mine.

 

“Do you have any idea how much I love you?”

 

“Yes.”

 

It was the truth. I did know how much he loved me. I would never again question why he chose me. I would gladly just let him do it.

 

Even though he might not have meant to, Edward fixed a part of me that I didn’t even know was broken. He made me realize that one person’s opinion of me should not control how I felt. I had allowed myself to be controlled by words. Just by loving me, he had helped me to regain that control back.

 

“Now, let me show you how much I love you.”

 

  1. Chapter 34

 

NO ONE SPECIAL

 

Chapter 34

 

Five years later…

 

Well, the old saying was somewhat cheesy and cliched, but I just had to say it; I never thought my life would have turned out the way it had.

 

I’m sure everyone is dying to know if I got my happily ever after. Well, you can judge for yourself.

 

First, Edward and I could have gone anywhere in the world for our honeymoon. However, it might come as a surprise to know that we spent the entire three weeks locked up in our new home. Mind you the majority of the time we were naked as the day we were born, but that was just details.

 

Edward arranged to have a company deliver food to us that was already made every week. He even turned off his cell phone and pager and we never once opened a single email. We watched movies and played drinking games and christened pretty much every surface in our home. That being said, we now were enjoying the biggest change for us. Exactly thirty-eight weeks after our wedding, Lillian Rose and Charlotte Marie were born. When we first found out we were pregnant, Edward hired a personal trainer and a personal chef. He wanted me to be healthy and not go crazy with worry over my weight. I also met with a counselor and that really helped.

 

I could still remember the first time I saw Edward shirtless. It was at the photo shoot for the charity calendar. As breathtaking as that sight was, it couldn’t hold a candle to watching him for the first time holding our girls. It was a few hours after they were born and I had fallen asleep. I woke to find him with both babies in his arms. I watched as he promised them the world. He swore to them that they would always feel loved and that he would spend the rest of his life keeping his promise. That sight took my breath away.

 

Edward was a natural father. He had no problems sitting down with the girls and having a tea party. I had watched him allow them more than once to dress him up and parade him around. I had lost count how many colors Edward’s nails had been painted courtesy of the twins.

 

Eighteen months after the birth of our girls, we found out we were pregnant again. As wonderful and carefree as the pregnancy with the girls had been, this one was the polar opposite. I was so sick that I had to have IV hydration several times during my first and second trimester, just like Esme had described. Once that passed, we hoped to have a smoother ride, but that was when the headaches started and my blood pressure spiked. Unfortunately, I developed preeclampsia and went on complete bed rest. Esme practically moved in to help with the house and the girls. I had just started my thirty-fifth week when it happened, I began having a seizure. I was rushed into an emergency C-section and delivered a beautiful baby boy, Masen Edward, who was the spitting image of his father.

 

I watched as they handed Masen to Edward and he held his son for the first time. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of the trying pregnancy. For some reason, my uterus refused to quit bleeding and I nearly had to have a hysterectomy, but they managed to finally stop the hemorrhaging and save my uterus. However, the doctors warned that I would probably never be able to have any more children after that and I despaired that the final two beautiful children my father had shown me wouldn’t be coming. At first, I felt as if I had failed Edward. I knew he wanted more children and now I couldn’t give him any more. Edward being Edward, he quickly assured me that he couldn’t have been happier than with the three we had.

 

I guess heaven had other ideas, though, as I was now holding my little mini-me, Ellie, to my breast to nurse while Lizzy slept soundly at my side, her unruly copper newborn hair sticking up everywhere just like her father’s was. Charlie had promised these children to me and it made me smile to think he’d had a hand in making sure they made it. With this pregnancy and C-section, I kept my ovaries but did end up losing my uterus. The doctors suggested since I still had eggs that if we wanted more kids, we could do in vitro with a surrogate. However, Edward and I were content with five kids. That was more than plenty.

 

So, how had I taken to life with Edward and our five children? Quite well, if I did say so myself. The fact still remained that he was handsome beyond measure, he still had an incredible body, and he could kiss and make love like there was no tomorrow. I could still get lost endlessly in his green eyes. But while all of that was true, he could also really piss me off like no one else. I was being totally serious here. I didn’t give a shit how cute he was, when I had to pull my three-year-old’s ass out of the toilet for the fifteenth time because Mr. Sex God couldn’t put the fucking toilet seat down, it was infuriating. Not to mention when he couldn’t seem to get his dirty underwear in the hamper that was literally six inches from where he had tossed them on the bloody floor.

 

It was like this. I once questioned how Brad Pitt could cheat on Jennifer Aniston. I mean she was beautiful and skinny and perfect. Edward actually made me understand. “Babe, you show me someone hot and I’ll show you their significant other who is sick of putting up with their shit.”

 

So needless to say, sometimes I got tired of putting up with his shit. And then he kissed me…just saying.

 

So, about the rest of the story…well, Alice and Jasper had five kids, all boys, and she now had a clothing line for kids. Emmett and Rosalie added to their family as well and it seemed as if five was the magic number all around.

 

Mike Newton actually got what was coming to him. After he spent six months in jail being Big Bubba’s bitch, he found what he thought was the girl of his dreams. Not only did she not turn out not to be a girl, but “she” managed to open up a number of credit accounts in Mike’s name totaling thousands of dollars and then left in the middle of the night.

 

Tanya also thought she had found the “one.” He lavished her with jewelry, cars, and trips. One night, Edward and I received a phone call from Tanya. She was in the county jail. It seems that Mr. Wonderful was a criminal. They had been out that night and he’d had too much to drink. Tanya was driving them home when they were pulled over. When the car came back as stolen, the police investigated further and found a large amount of cocaine under Tanya’s seat. Tanya was arrested and Mr. Wonderful simply walked away, never to be seen again.

 

She called and begged Edward to help her out. She swore she was an innocent victim in this. Edward asked for my opinion and I advised him to have her drug tested. I didn’t even have to tell you that she tested positive for cocaine. Edward told her he would help her get into rehab, but she declined. Last we heard she was serving fifteen years for her crimes.

 

Yeah, karma was a vindictive bitch with a long memory.

 

The last five years had been the most amazing in my life. I had learned that having the ability to buy anything you wanted wasn’t a bad thing. I had learned that food wasn’t my enemy. I learned that nothing felt better than a good hug from someone who loved you. I learned that the saying “out of my league” was utter bullshit. I learned that it was fine for people to have opinions of you, but that you didn’t have to accept them.

 

But the most important thing I learned was that I loved myself, and that I was loved by others. And because I was unique and there was no one else like me, I WAS someone special, just because I was me.

 

I want to thank everyone who took even a minute out of their day to read this story. I hope you take away from this not only a good laugh, but also the truth that we’re all someone special.

 

If you haven’t read my story, Shamrocks and Shenanigans, please do. I’m currently writing the sequel to it called Claddagh and Chaos. If you like mob stories with heart, you’ll love these!