Bella's eyes find themselves focused immediately on a figure standing in the kitchen when Edward pushes open the door to his shared apartment. The man standing inside walks to meet them in the entryway, messy blonde waves curling around his ears and tickling the base of his neck. His deep brown eyes crinkle a bit at the corners when he smiles. He's wearing worn blue Levi's, a rust-colored long-sleeved Henley with bright white stitching along all the seams and the collar, sleeves shoved up his defined forearms, a strong brown leather belt with a bronze buckle that matched the brown leather of his boots. His wrist sported a rugged bronze watch on a thick leather cuff.
"Hey man, I was hoping you would be here. I wanted to introduce you to my girl, but I didn't think we would catch you before you left for the range." Edward guided Bella inside and shut the door behind them.
"Nah, I thought I would sit it out tonight. For some reason, I just felt like I should stay home," Jasper explained with a shrug of his broad shoulders and a tinge of confusion in his drawling voice.
"Huh… alright, well I'm glad either way. Jazz, this is my beautiful girlfriend, Bella Swan. Baby, this is Jasper Whitlock, one of my two best friends and roommates," Edward seemed so proud to show her off and call her his girlfriend.
"It's great to meet ya, little lady. Eddie here ain't stopped talk'n bout'cha," Jasper offered his hand for her to shake. It was then that Edward noticed the star-struck look on Bella's face. She was just standing there loosely grasping Jasper's hand and staring at him blankly. Edward glanced at Jasper's face, relieved to see honest confusion at Bella's behavior, and not the same dazed stare.
Bella suddenly snapped out of her fog of Déjà vu, jerking her hand back and looking around at the apartment strangely.
"Umm can you guys just hang on one second?" She requested nervously. "You're single, right?" She asked of Jasper offhandedly as she pulled out her iPhone. Edward knew the look on his face could only be described as incredulous and he was really fucking concerned about the longevity of his brand new relationship. Bella hits a name from her favorite contacts page and raises the screen to her ear, chewing at her nails tensely as she waits for someone to answer. A female voice suddenly comes on the line, cheerfully talking a mile a minute. Bella tries several times to break into the one-sided conversation, getting more and more anxious before finally raising her voice to a yell.
"Pixie! Code Red!" The silence is deafening as Bella took a deep breath before swiftly spilling her message. "Ali, do you remember when we were kids and we would pretend we were princesses and I told you we would each find our Prince Charming one day, and you did your amazing 'stare into the beyond - see the future shit' and said it wasn't you that would find your perfect man, that I'd be the one to find him for you?" Bella glanced nervously at the rooms other occupants, who were looking more and more confused as rapid talking and excited squeals emitted from the iPhone receiver. Bella's responses were equally rapid. "Yep. His best friend. Yes. No. Nope! Not telling. Because the first time you hear his name is going to be in his own voice and you'll thank me for it later. I love you too, bitch. Yep, dropping a pin to your cell." She said the last part in a raised voice, as she pulled the screen away from her face and fired off a text before bringing the speaker back to her ear. "See you in 30. Bring Ro, I have a feeling hers is here too. There's a pair of shoes by the door only a mammoth could fill," she takes a quick peek at Edward's average-sized sneaker-clad feet, then Jasper in similarly sized boots, "and I saw comic books on the bookcase… DC. Look ya skinny bitch, these are not the first graphic novels I've seen and, I shit you not, them bitches are in plastic sleeves. I know, I'm in the effin twilight zone!" Bella looked around the room one more time. "No, no girl stuff anywhere that I can see. I know. Love you, too. Bye." She disconnects the call and slowly turns to face the men. "So umm… that probably seemed weird." She blushes and fidgets awkwardly. When they don't say anything, she speaks again. "Well I doubt I can make it much weirder so I'll just ask… who's supporting the DC Comics Universe and rocking the clown shoes?" Edward sputters for a moment before responding.
"Uhh.." Edward clears his throat, "that would be our other roommate, Emmett. He's pretty tall…" When he drifted off and didn't say anything more, Bella prodded again.
"Tall, single and into blondes?"She asks in a reaching tone. Edward gives Jasper a seriously confused look.
"Ok, yeah, I'm gonna go with very very weird," he states frankly. Bella feels her cheeks heat, pressing her hands to her face in embarrassment.
"Oh God, I know. You probably think I'm crazy, I don't know how Ali has dealt with this her whole life. Even I think it's crazy!" Bella walks over to the couch and plops down, hiding her face in her knees. She can hear Edward and Jasper rapidly whispering back and forth before someone sits next to her. She peeks up through her fingers to see Edward's concerned form beside her on the couch and Jasper perched against the wall just past the coffee table, looking pensive.
"Bella, baby, can you please explain? We really don't understand what just happened." She can tell he is trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. She takes a deep breath to settle herself.
"I told you I grew up with my two best friends, Alice and Rose. Alice has always been very perceptive and often notices things others don't. But sometimes she knows things that she just couldn't possibly know. It's like she gets this idea in her head and just knows it is absolute. It's the damnedest thing. But I've known her for my whole life and she has never even once been wrong. She doesn't see things or hear voices or anything crazy, she is very sane, totally gorgeous and so much fun to be around. She and Rose are the most amazing friends. Anyways, Rose and I have just learned to have faith in Alice's oddness over the years. You already heard me say before, but when we were kids, Alice predicted that I would be the one to find her 'true love' or whatever. I haven't thought about it in so long, but now that I think about it she has never really dated, ya know? I don't think I took it seriously at all, until I met Jasper and I just fucking knew! Oh my God, I am crazy! What am I going to do?! I can't pull off the sweet-but-psycho vibe!" She puts her head between her knees again. Edward burst out laughing and looked up at an amused Jasper.
"I have never heard anyone describe your type more accurately in all the time I've known you. Sweet-but-psycho is your weakness, brother." Edward joked goodnaturedly. Jasper chuckled while shaking his head and looking down at his feet.
"Don't I know it," he drawled with a sly grin. Jasper looked at Bella and said, "I dunno how much'a all that I'mma buy into, but is it weird that I'm nervous all 'uh sudden?" He lifted a hand to rub the back of his neck under his chin-length golden curls, a slight grimace on his rugged face.
"Yeah well, all I can say is fucking brace yourself because you have about 22 minutes before you get hit with hurricane Alice." Bella joked with a smile. "By the way you never told me if you or Emmett are actually single." She reminded him.
"Yes, darlin', we're both unattached at the moment, although I get the feelin' that won't be lastin' long." Jasper said, giving her a sexy wink.
"Quit being so damn charming! You've got your own girlfriend being express delivered." Edward joked while pulling Bella into his lap, feeling much more sure in the fact that his girlfriend does not seem to be interested in leaving him for either of his best friends. Speaking of which… "Hey what was all that about Emmett's shoes before?" He nudged Bella playfully. She blushed, mumbling something about knowing a comic-book loving 'glamazon' who's gonna require muscle to keep her out of trouble. Edward and Jasper laughed at her admission, still amazed at the way everything seems to be falling neatly into place despite the sheer unlikelihood of the entire situation.
"Well, Emmett certainly has plenty o' muscle," Jasper advised with a grin.
"You got a picture of these girls, babe?" Edward asked after a few moments of silence. Bella pulled out her phone, scrolling through her Instagram feed for something recent. She stopped on a group of photos from the same festival as the selfie Edward liked so much. Before long, she found a cute photo-collage Angela had put together from shots of just Alice and Rose. Bella loved their festival looks and thought each of her besties were just as 'fuckhot' as Alice had said Bella looked that day. Rose had left her golden hair down in beachy waves and was rocking a glossy black faux-latex bralette that left the tan skin of her arms and abdomen exposed, with low-slung baggy orange, white and black leather motocross pants and shit-kicking black leather boots. Alice was sinful in a white leather top and matching mini skirt. The top had a wide cut out in the front to show the bottom curve of each perky breast. This was matched by cut outs in either side of the supple leather skirt, showcasing her smooth panty-free hips. The cut outs were accented by straps of white leather and chunky black buckles circling the widest part of her hips and wrapping around her ribcage below her breasts. She topped the look off with lace-up knee-high white leather platform boots and a black midway cap perched atop her silky raven hair. Each girl's face sparkled with glitter and rhinestones in intricate patterns under their eyes. Turning the screen to let him take a look, Bella watched Edwards eyes grow large and round before he looked up at Jasper with a wolfish grin. "You are in so much trouble!" Jasper barked a laugh.
"We're all totally fucked," was Edward's swiftly delivered reply, turning his head to give Bella a wide smile. Jasper walked forward and reached out a calloused hand, asking to see the photo, but Edward pulled back with a laugh. "Nope. I'm with Bella on this one. You already know her name. If there is even a chance this thing is for real, you should wait to see what she looks like in person. You won't regret it, I swear." Jasper huffed before dropping himself down into a recliner and resting his hands steepled against his chest, fingertips just barely brushing against a small frustrated frown. After several minutes, he lifted his head to speak.
"You better go on ahead and call Emmett home if the photo is that good. Your lady says she just fuckin' knows."
"You had me worried for a minute there," Edward whispered in Bella's ear as they stood awkwardly huddled between the living room and the kitchen. Edward reached toward her, wrapping his hands around her small waist and pulling her against him, wanting to feel as much of her as he could. "I thought you were staring at Jazz because you were into him or something."
"Mmmm," Bella hummed softly, shivering as he left warm wet kisses around her ear and along the column of her neck. "Not a chance, I already got my Prince Charming. We're going to show everyone that happy endings do exist." She stood on her tiptoes to catch his mouth with hers, raising her arms to wrap around his neck.
A knock at the door interrupted their kiss. Jasper all but leapt up from his seat then froze, stiff as a board, staring at the door. Edward went to open it, only to find a voluptuous blonde, alone, frowning on the other side. Rosalie. Her long platinum hair was shiny and smooth, gently curled into beachy tendrils that fell in waves past her shoulders. She was wearing a cropped jean jacket over a loose gray top and bright white skinny jeans, her ensemble ending with grey suede platform booties on her tiny feet and a large brown bag hanging from her arm. She gave him a once over before peaking around the door jam and locking eyes on Bella.
"What the fuck, B? A quick text warning me that we've boarded the bus to crazy town would have been very fucking appreciated." Rose strode confidently into the apartment past a laughing Edward. Bella snorts and responds with a half smile, half grimace. She plops down on the couch with an exasperated sigh.
"Sorry, but my hands were tied since I'm the one driving the loony bus this time." Rose lets out an attractive giggle before gracefully perching on the couch next to her friend. Edward closes the door, not seeing anyone else in the hallway. Realizing that his mystery clairvoyant soulmate is not right outside the door, Jasper relaxes back into his chair, once again the epitome of effortless calm. "Where is she?" Bella questions.
"In the car. I don't know what this is all about, but you sure as shit shook the soda bottle that is Alice and pointed her right in my direction, so thanks for that." Rose snarks with an eye roll.
"Your friend just shows up at your place, visibly agitated, and tells you to get in the car with zero clues about where you're going, and you do it no questions asked?" Edward found this scenario intensely amusing. These girls lived their lives like characters on a romantic comedy sitcom.
"Never bet against Alice!" Both women recited in sync.
"She called twenty minutes ago squawking that she was outside my apartment and I needed to 'get my perfect Beyonce booty into her car right that fucking second'. Luckily, I had just gotten home and hadn't had enough time to get naked." Bella nodded in understanding, before noticing the close attention being paid by the men in the room at the word naked.
"Rose hates wearing clothes," Bella explained easily. Both men nodded, as if that was a completely normal thing to say. But, she saw the look they shared with each other. Bella tried to get back on focus. "So, Alice?"
"Oh right," Rose says, "She drove here like a bat out of hell, chattering so quickly that the only thing I understood the entire way here was something about jazz music, she clearly said 'finally jazz'." Edward and Jasper exchanged what seemed like their hundredth 'this is insane' look in the last hour. "Oh, and something about 'a prince, a cowboy and a superhero'. I have no fucking clue what's happening. Once we finally got here, she rattled off the apartment number and told me to come get you. Now she is down there practically vibrating out of her seat. You wanna explain?"
"My house after Jessica Stanley's 8th birthday party, the three of us were having a tea party, and Alice made a prediction." Bella stated in that cryptic way girls do where they just understand perfectly what the other is trying to explain with the bare minimum of information given. Then she gave a discrete head tilt in Jasper's direction.
Rose's head jerked around and locked on Jasper, all discretion abandoned. She gave him a once over like she was just noticing his presence in the room. Her blue eyes widened and her pouty red lips popped open in a cute little 'o'. She turned back to Bella. "You should go talk to her and bring her up here. I can handle introducing myself."
"I'll go now. She must be freaking out. If she got to your place 20 minutes ago then she must have left as soon as I called. Which means she didn't take her time planning the perfect outfit like she normally would any time she's leaving the house. What is she even wearing?" Bella inquired with concern.
"Literally her pajamas," Rose stated with a laugh. Bella's eyes widened and she pressed a hand to her mouth to stifle her giggles. "I know. I just fucking love that girl. She looks adorable in everything so it's not a big deal at all, but it just shows how frazzled she is right now. I think the only time she has ever left the house in something that could count as pajamas was for the lingerie party during rush freshman year."
"Oh Lord. Just to keep me from being shocked to shit when I get to the car, is she actually wearing lingerie? Because my idea of pajamas is a too big t-shirt. I doubt Ali would agree."
"Pfft… not a chance in hell she even owns a t-shirt. I would describe tonight's ensemble as a touch-of-modest bralette and bloomers. No tits or ass in sight, but barely, and with fully visible legs and abdomen… Oh and a chunky cardigan over the shoulders. Thank goodness she at least had that on, she's probably pacing barefoot by her car, freezing her tits off right now." Rose described. At this point, Jasper is looking at Edward with the most ridiculously comical facial expressions, like a cross between disbelief and desperate anticipation with a touch of nausea thrown in.
"Ok, I'm going to go talk her off the ledge." Bella stood and walked to Edward, kissing him sweetly on the lips before moving to the door.
"So umm…" Edward broke the awkward silence that lingered in Bella's absence. "I'm still gonna go with very very weird. I mean, explain it to me, how does she just know?"
To be continued...