A Cowboy, A Superhero and Bella's Prince Charming
[Twilight; Canon couples; AH/AU; Rated M for Language and Adult Themes]
"Do you think the universe fights for souls to be together? Some things are too strange and strong to be coincidence." - Emery Allen
Warned by fate as tender children that their soulmates were out there somewhere waiting for them; Bella, Alice and Rosalie struggle to navigate college and dating until one special night, when everything suddenly falls into place…
Little Bella Swan had always been a dreamer, her adorable brunette head high in the clouds and her imagination always lost in the land of fairy tales. Princesses and castles, woodland creatures and enchanting magic, good triumphing over evil, she loved all of it. But nothing appeared more in her romanticized eight-year-old daydreams than her handsome Prince Charming. Every princess in the storybooks always got their very own Prince Charming, and Bella was definitely going to be a princess when she grew up. For sure!
Her best friends since the first day of Kindergarten, Alice Brandon and Rosalie Hale, had rather different interests. Alice loved stories about the Wild West and pioneer times. Anytime it was Alice's turn to pick their activity, she always chose cowgirls, horses, outlaws and gun fights. Rose, on the other hand, was most happy when pretending to be a beautiful damsel in distress, waiting and hoping for a superhero to come save her from the wicked villain. The cherub-faced girl read comic books constantly, getting lost in the graphic prints of Superman or Batman when she could convince Paul, the older boy next door, to buy them for her so her mother wouldn't complain.
Since today was Bella's day to choose an afternoon pastime, the girls were dressed in fancy pastel dresses and sparkly plastic jewelry while they enjoyed a nice tea party in her pretty purple bedroom. Tiaras were perched on their innocent heads as they sipped imaginary tea from tiny plastic tea cups and chatted about their day. That morning, they had attended the birthday party of their second grade classmate, Jessica.
"Can you believe Jess said that when she grows up she is going to move to LA to be a model and marry a super rich actor? No way!" Rose gossiped like she heard her mother doing in her book club on Wednesdays after she picked Rose up from school. Rose didn't know why it was called a book club since she never heard them talking about books or saw them looking at any books either.
"I heard Lauren Mallory say that she was going to marry a police officer like her daddy one day," Alice added benignly while nibbling on one of the cookies they snuck from the kitchen when Bella's father was engrossed in watching the football game playing on the TV in the living room.
"Well I don't care who they marry as long as I get my Prince Charming," Bella declared with conviction, her little hand steadying her tiara that had begun sliding to the side down her chocolate brown hair. "I just know that we will all grow up to be beautiful princesses and we will each find our own handsome princes to marry."
"Not me," Rose opposed politely with a shake of her blonde ringlets. "I'm going to marry Superman when I grow up. He's so strong and handsome. Someday, he's going to come rescue me from danger, and keep me safe forever and ever."
"And I'm going to marry a hunky, gun-slinging, horseback-riding cowboy when I grow up," Alice affirmed, her green eyes sparkling with delight. Then, the raven-haired little pixie got a far-off look in her eyes for a few minutes, before snapping back into reality and stating fervently that it was Bella who was going to be the one to introduce Alice to her true love one day. "It's totally going to happen. Bella will meet her Prince Charming and they will find my Cowboy for me, then Superman will come save Rose and we will all live happily ever after. I just know!"
13 Years Later…
"Whoa! Careful there Eddie-boy! Wouldn't want to mess up that pretty face."
Edward looked up and felt his heart leap into his throat at the realization that he was mere centimeters from slamming face-first into a campus announcement board. Had it not been for Emmett's perfectly timed intervention, namely grabbing Edward by the neck of his collared shirt and hauling him backwards bodily, this day would have been much more mortifying.
"Shit, Emmett. Thanks, man!" Edward exclaimed, releasing the breath he had been unconsciously holding in a long gust.
"No sweat, mi amigo. What had you so blitzed that you almost made a fool of yourself in front of those sweet little hunnies outside the coffee shop?" The behemoth of a man questioned, as they resumed their journey across campus for their last class of the day, the only class Edward happened to share with his jovial roomate. Edward ran a hand across the back of his neck in embarrassment.
"Uhh, I was distracted by this photo I scrolled by on my Instagram feed," he admitted.
"A photo of a girl?" Emmett prodded with a mischievous grin, spinning around to walk backward through the throngs of students. The well-built man did not possess a clumsy or awkward bone in his entire bulky body. Edward's silence did nothing to hide the truth from his friend, his bright red face answered the question, no words needed. "Ho ho ho! Let's see her, my man," Emmett held out a beefy hand for his friend's phone. Edward relented immediately, knowing resistance was futile. Emmett turned to face forward and gave the phone a good hard look, his smile growing wide at the image on the screen. This girl was very beautiful, that was undeniable. But the appeal wasn't in the way her wavy, chocolate brown hair that tickled her waist, the front wrapped up in two cute little space buns. It wasn't all the sun-kissed, shimmering skin, or the glittering rhinestones adorning her soft cheeks. No, it was her vibrant smile. She was blissful, her eyes closed as her body moved to the music at what was obviously a festival of some kind. She looked seriously attractive in her teal camo cargo pants with fishnet stockings peaking out above her waistline, a black tube-style bralette, and a black paisley bandana tied loosely around her throat. He tapped the the username of the original poster to pull up their profile. It seemed to belong to a student at the same university, but the photo was very obviously not a portrait of the account owner. "She's smokin', bro, nice eye. How do you know this Angela chick who posted the pic?"
"We had a class together last semester. That's not her in the picture, though." Edward seemed to deflate a bit. Emmett refused to allow that shit. Life was full of infinite opportunities, as far as he was concerned.
"So leave a comment," Emmett suggested. "You gotta open a dialogue, dude. Otherwise, you'll never get a girl. I mean, chances are she is a student here, too."
"You make it sound like I'm a 21 year old virgin. I've dated before!"
"Losing your V-card to the girl you took to prom in high school and that month in sophomore year when you were hooking up with the cute emo girl from the campus bookstore is not actually equivalent to the term dating," Emmett ruled.
"Hey! I wasn't trying to just hook up with her, I thought I wanted to date her, but she was completely against me doing anything chivalrous or even nice for her. I didn't find out that she was only interested in sex until after I had already spent the night once. When I texted her the next day, she called me clingy and said I was too much work, but that we could sleep together again as long as it was no-strings. I gave it a shot, and I love sex as much as the next guy, but I'm just not looking for that. Besides, I don't see you dating anyone."
"Though I'm happy to flirt with a yummy snack anyday, I've yet to find the right girl. However, that doesn't mean I'm avoiding relationships. I'm just not in any rush. Plus, I don't need all that romance and chivalry crap you do. If I, at any point, found a cute girl who was honest, had a bomb sense of humor, was laid-back, good with kids, could down a beer, had a dirty mind and an even dirtier mouth, ate pizza and tacos and would let me grab her butt all the time, I'd marry her yesterday." He threw his friend a wink as Edward burst into laughter the candid description of Emmett's dream woman.
"I don't know if I have a list of preferred attributes in mind, although I do seem to find brunette's very attractive. I guess I just want a girl who appreciates all the little things I'd enjoy doing to keep them happy. I grew up wanting a relationship like my parents have, my father is completely devoted and indulgent towards my mother and she's entirely besotted with him for it. I don't think I would ever feel fulfilled if I settled for something different. I want to cherish someone and have them adore the attention and return it out of love, not a relationship that is one-sided."
"So try again with this girl. Maybe she likes all that old fashioned, wine and dine shit you get off on," Emmett suggested, holding up the phone again.
"I have no idea what I would even write if I left a comment," Edward protested, climbing the few steps in front of the building in which their class was held. They were still a bit early to go inside, even with his almost assault of the announcement board.
"I gotchu, fam," the jolly giant assured, before tapping out a comment and passing it to Edward to approve and post. He read the comment twice, just to be sure he hadn't stroked out the first time.
"Em, I can't post that," he said with a shake of his head, pushing the offending phone back toward his loony roomate.
"Yes you can, it's not offensive or embarrassing. It's attention grabbing without being creepy. Plus, if it gets ignored, it's no biggie because the question easily could have been intended as rhetorical. I know what I'm doing when it comes to stuff like this. Now, hurry up so we can talk about some less touchy-feely shit." Edward considered Emmett's statement for a moment, before impulsively deciding to do something reckless, for once.
"Fuck it." One tap of his finger and it was done. He felt elated for about five seconds before the panic set in, and with it a healthy wave of nausea. Emmett was right there to calm his nerves.
"Don't worry, bro. Everything is going to be fine. I just know."
"Oooh, Bella, look at the mega-hottie that commented on the festival selfie Angela posted of you! You should let me dress you more often, I told you that outfit looked fuckhot!" Alice squealed. She and Bella were seated in front of the Java Bean with their friend Angela, waiting for Rose to join them. Bella, Alice and Rose had met in front of this coffee shop after the first day of classes every semester of college since their first. Other than the addition of Angela, this semester being the beginning of their final year of undergrad did nothing to deter their tradition of chugging way too much sugar-loaded liquid caffeine and complaining about their heavy course loads. And, as usual, Rose was running late. Bella ran a sun-kissed hand through her long brown curls, trying to get them to behave in the warm summer breeze. Whatever Alice was squawking about had the tiny girl practically bouncing in excitement. Turning her iPhone to let Bella see the screen, Alice pointed to the comment in question. Under a candid photo of Bella dancing in the sun with a radiant smile on her face, was a message from someone named Edward Cullen:
'Fuck me, please say this girl is single! Stunning!'
Woah. Bella's eyes widened as she re-read the comment twice before looking up at her oldest friend. Alice looked like the cat that caught the canary.
Reaching out to tap on his thumbnail, Bella pulled up his profile and enlarged the most recently uploaded photo. He was gorgeous. Completely fucking gorgeous. Literally the hottest man Bella had ever seen. His green eyes we're deep and soulful, surrounded by thick eyelashes and dark eyebrows. His skin was pale and flawless, contrasting beautifully with his wild dark copper hair. His jaw was strong and covered in a light scruff of facial hair. Yummy.
"What does it say?" Angela asked, not quite able to see what's on the screen. Tilting the phone to the side a bit more, their friend was also able to read the shocking flirtation. "Hey, that's Edward! I think his last name is Colin, or Kallen? No, it's Cullen! We had a class together last semester. He's hot like fire and still super nice. We were even in the same study group. I think this is his last year of undergrad, too. Want me to give him your number?" Angela offered happily.
"Is that too desperate?" Bella worried nervously, looking to her friends for reassurance.
"Nah, I'll just reply to his comment since it is technically my post. It will seem like I offered without your prompting, no desperation," Angela reasoned.
"What would you even say?" Bella asked before agreeing to anything rash.
"How about…. 'As it turns out, she IS single. DM me if you're really interested and I'll get you her number'...?" Angela suggested. Bella was undecided. What if this guy wasn't looking for a girlfriend, but a hook up? Bella thought she probably shouldn't get her hopes up either way, as he was obviously way out of her league. Able to easily read the defeat on Bella's heart-shaped face, Alice was quick to nip the brunette's self-deprecating thoughts in the bud.
"Don't overthink this, Bells. I have a good feeling about this guy. He is worth the risk, I just know."
"Hello?" Bella said into the cell phone she had clutched between her ear and shoulder as she tried to reach the last few pieces of damp clothing clinging to the bottom of the washing machine basin.
"Hi… uhh.. Is this Bella?" A deep, honey-smooth voice questioned on the other end of the line. Bella felt her stomach flip at the rich sound.
"Yes," she squeaked, before clearing her throat softly and gathering her wits. "And who is this?"
"My name is Edward. Edward Cullen. I was a classmate of your friend, Angela. She gave me your number, I hope that's ok," he spoke evenly but she could tell he was nervous.
"Well, sure, I guess so. But, why did you want my number?" Bella questioned innocently, her lips curling into a sneaky grin. She wasn't going to make this too easy and end up looking like a desperate hot mess. He likely didn't know that she had seen his comment on the photo of her. She wasn't tagged, so wouldn't have gotten a notification. And what if it turned out the whole thing was a big misunderstanding and he wasn't interested in dating her at all? Bella abandoned the half transferred laundry for the comfort of her cozy couch.
"I don't think want is a strong enough term. Need would be more appropriate," Edward corrected with humor in his tone. Bella barked out a surprised chuckle, her smile growing wide.
"Okay," she laughed. "Why did you need my number, then?"
"Honestly, I saw a picture of you scroll by on my Instafeed and almost walked face-first into a very large sign," he admitted. He chuckled as he listened to Bella lose herself in giggles at his expense.
"Oh my!" She tried poorly to compose herself. But, eventually, her self-conscious nature pushed forward and she began doubting the plausibility of the scenario. "Why in the world would a random picture of me be the reason you didn't see a sign right in front of you? I don't understand," she was whispering by the end.
"Because you're completely gorgeous," Edward supplied his answer simply, as if it was obvious. Bella choked out a disbelieving noise, her head shaking back and forth even though he couldn't see her.
"No, I'm not… I'm just…"
"Stunning, beautiful, exquisite, so damn sexy… do I need to go on?" He asked with an amused tone, she could tell he was smiling.
"No! No. That's ok… you don't need to… sexy? Really? I mean… don't answer that! Oh my god…" Bella's cheeks were beat red as she covered her face with a hand in mortification. It was Edward's turn to laugh this time, the sound rich and inviting. "Oh, shut up," Bella huffed, dramatically. His laugh was amazing.
"I'm sorry. You're just so adorable," He offered. She smiled warmly, already smitten.
"Edward?" She hummed his name. "Why did you call?"
"When I saw the photo Angela posted, I couldn't breathe for a minute. You looked so happy and so fucking beautiful. One of my roommates, Emmett, convinced me to leave a comment, and Angela responded offering me your number if I was seriously interested. Bella, I am so seriously interested. I know we don't know anything about each other, you don't even know what I look like, but I'm hoping you will give me a chance and get to know me enough to consider letting me take you on a date. A real date. Until then, maybe we could text or talk on the phone. Or we could meet for coffee or at the library to study. I just… I needed to see if there could be something here, I don't mean to sound creepy or desperate."
"Edward, that's so sweet… and it sounds amazing. I would love all of that. But, what are you hoping to get out of this? Not to be crude, but I don't make casual sex a habit. I want more for myself. If a real relationship is not what you're after…" Bella tried valiantly to protect her heart.
"I'm not looking for a hook-up or something casual. I didn't try to find your instagram or seek you out through social media because I don't want anything about my intentions to seem frivolous or shady. I would ask you out right now but I'm not crazy, and while I know I'm not crazy, you don't know that. It's like Safety:101 that a woman shouldn't get into a car with a man she doesn't know. And when I say I want a real date eventually, I mean it. I want to come to your place to pick you up. I want to knock on your door with flowers and tell you how beautiful you look. I want to open the car door for you and hold your hand. I want to make you feel respected, cherished and wanted. I want to send you sweet texts and surprise you with little gifts for no reason. I want to date you. If we eventually get to a place where we decide we are serious about each other, I want you to be secure in my commitment to you. And that starts now, today, with our first conversation. I don't know how to do casual and I have no interest in learning. I don't mean to make this so heavy when you don't even know if you are attracted to me..."
"I am! I… I am... attracted to you… I mean," Bella started in a loud cry but ended in a whisper.
"You can tell that just from the sound of my voice, sweet girl?" Edward asked gently, but she could tell he was wearing a smug grin, it was obvious in the tone of his voice.
"No. Well, yes... definitely your voice, but that's not what I meant. I've uhh… seen a photo of you, too. My friend Alice saw your comment on Angela's post and well… anyways I didn't think you were actually serious. I certainly never expected that you would call me or want to meet me, especially after Angela confirmed the photo I was looking at was really you. You're just… wow, Edward." She sighed dreamily. Bella heard his deep throaty chuckle through the line and blushed deeply.
"Bella, baby, please let me meet you soon," he all but begged.
"Yes," her response was more breathy moan than spoken word but, thankfully, he didn't comment on it.
"I've got to get to class. Can I call you later tonight? To make plans to get together sometime this week?"
"Yes," Bella acquiesced easily.
"Can I text you today, too?" Edward pushed for more, his voice tinged with warm humor.
"Yes," was again her sighed reply.
"When can I text you? When I'm thinking about you? That would be pretty often…"
"Edward, you can text me anytime you want."
"I'll hold you to that, sweet girl," and Bella could swear her shaking knees would never have held her up in that moment. It was a good thing she was still curled up at the end of the couch. "I'll talk to you again soon, Bella."
Bella said goodbye and heard the call end, but she remained seated in stunned silence. Once she had gathered herself a bit, she saved his number to her contacts. Less than a minute later, her text alert chimed.
Edward - Thank you for giving me a chance, Bella. I can't wait to spoil you rotten. ;)
"Holy fuck…" Bella mumbled in disbelief at the way things had worked out so perfectly. She immediately started a new group chat with Alice and Rose so she could fill them in.
Bella - OMG I'm in love… Edward called… it's like he was plucked out of my dreams. Just hearing him say my name was enough to make me melt…
Alice - EEEEEKK! I told you I had a good feeling about him!
Rose - Yeah yeah yeah, Ali knows ALL. Talk to me when you know the deets about the size of his dick…
A - ROSALIE!
B - Bahahahaaa! I won't be able to talk, I'll be too busy choking on it!
R - That's my girl!
R - 8==D ~~~
A - Put a leash on your vaginas, hoe bags! I want to know what he said!
R - Oh, come on pixie. You're no fun...
B - I swear he could destroy panties everywhere with the sound of his voice alone. I'm going to be such a fucking needy basket case when I actually see him in person. He's so sweet and romantic, too. He said he doesn't know how to do casual and asked if I would be willing to get to know him so that one day I would feel comfortable letting him pick me up at my apartment for a date. He seemed so confident in his ability to make me happy. He said he wants to spoil me. My very own Prince Charming… *sigh*
A - Yay! Adorbs!
R - Well fuck. He got any hot friends? My sex drive is entirely too high for the amount of sex I'm NOT having...
B - Lol!
E - So uhh… hey ladies, it's Edward. I realize you didn't mean to include me in this convo so I thought I should clue you in sooner rather than later :)… I just wanted to tell Bella that I think you are even more adorable now that I've learned you have such a dirty mouth. I can't wait to meet you… Oh btw I can let you know the DEETS any time you like ;).
B - OH MY
R - FUCKING
A - GOD!
B - That did NOT just happen…
E - Oh yeah it did, lol. Every single thing I learn about you makes me want you more. Accidentally adding my number to your girl-talk group chat that is literally about me? Fucking sold. I'm a goner for you, baby. We are going to be so fucking good together. I'm telling you now, I just know!
To be continued...