Chapter 1: Chapter One
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...
Chapter 2: Chapter Twp
The tinkling of the bell above to door had at one point been what Edward considered a pleasing sound, it's gentle chime interrupting the flutter of turning pages and whirring espresso machines. But now, after 17 minutes and 23 seconds of jerking his head up to look at the entrance to the store over and over and over, Edward was beginning to loathe the evil little bell that had turned him into a tall, desperate version of Pavlov's dog. His plan to arrive at their meeting place early had been borne out of his desire to not risk Bella being the one kept waiting for his arrival, better him than her. Worst plan ever for his sanity, he was certain. This time, when the bell sung out, Edward had kept his head buried in the book he'd been staring blindly into, letting himself have a bit of a sulk. His ire lasted about 3 seconds before he lifted his gaze to settle on the figure stepping out of the afternoon sun and into his favorite bookstore.
She was… perfect. There was no other word in Edward's vast vocabulary that better fit the absolute vision that was Bella Swan. Her long hair flowed in shiny loose ringlets over her shoulders, clothed in a sweet sheer cream-colored top paired with pale gray loose-knit open sweater. Her firm thighs were wrapped in a pair of tight, black leggings that ended brown calf-high boots with no heel. She raised her head to take in the room and their eyes met, brown touching green. Edward felt his hands moving to close the book he wasn't reading and place it gently back on the self next to him without any conscious thought, but his eyes never left hers. His legs are next, taking a step unprompted, then another and another.
But, Bella moved too, until suddenly the space between was gone and they were in front of each other. The way his eyes stared into hers reminded Bella of a line from that poem by Atticus, "he looked at her the way she needed to be looked at, like the whole world could crumble and he wouldn't blink". A heart-melting smile spread across his handsome face, and Bella couldn't help but blush furiously, her gaze lowering to the floor even as she felt her lips lift in a small grin. She felt his fingers on her chin as strongly as a jolt from an electric fence, but the pressure he used lifting her gaze to meet his once more, was immeasurably gentle.
"I thought your picture was the most captivating sight that ever existed, but you are even more stunning in person, Bella." Edward reached down and took her small hand in his, leading her deeper into the store. Bella acquiesced without a thought, trusting him implicitly as if her entire being recognized his importance in her life. Her body hummed at the contact from just his hand on hers.
Hours went by like minutes as they explored the store and its treasures. They orbited each other while browsing the shelves, brushing a hand against a hand, a hip, a neck. Always close, even if their attention appeared, on the surface, to be elsewhere. She'd barely glanced at the cafe in the corner before Edward was leading her toward the line. They shared sips of sweet, warm drinks and stories of the things they did to pass the years that brought them to this moment; here with each other.
Brushes turned into hidden caresses and then clenching hands holding tightly, refusing to let go of the other. Edward started quietly collecting the books she paged through a bit too long, glanced back at one too many times. Bella pretended not to notice. She pretended she wasn't already half in love with him as her heart swelled bigger and bigger, pressing against her lungs and making it hard to breathe. Every time she caught his gorgeous green eyes giving her that look, the one that says he wanted to keep her, she melted a little more.
Edward caught her gazing longingly at him several times too. The complete satisfaction he felt every time he made an effort to care for her and she responded favorably with a pleased smile gracing her pouty lips, was almost overwhelming. She was everything he had ever imagined and more, things he'd never even thought to imagine.
At one point, Edward looked up from the table of autobiographies he was perusing to find her staring ardently back and forth between his bicep and chest, clearly outlined beneath his thin sweater. The blush that blazed across her cheeks when Bella realized she had been caught ogling him was immensely sexy. Edward couldn't help but pull her close, lowering his face to whisper against her neck.
"Damn, baby. That sweet blush has me completely wrecked." Bella shivered at the feel of his warm breath on her skin, her belly aching deeply at his murmured words. "I wonder what I have to do to see that blush again…" Edward glanced around for only a couple seconds before inspiration struck. His face curled in a mischievous grin as he looked down at her. "Think I can talk you into playing a game with me?"
"What kind of game?" Bella questioned, biting her lip in a gesture of nervousness.
"A naughty game." Edward teased, as he drug her over to the erotic novel section. He snatched two random books from the shelf, passing one to his date before opening his own to a random page. "We take turns reading raunchy lines from these books, until someone caves from embarrassment. One who lasts the longest wins. What do you think?" Bella held the smut book to her chest in shock for a moment before laughing delightedly.
"I'm in!" Bella exclaimed, opening her own paperback. It seemed like her plot line involved a scoundrel pirate and a mouthy damsel who had found herself lost at sea. "I'll go first." She declared, moving to stand close to him to avoid being needlessly overheard. Letting the natural tone of her voice dip a bit to set the mood, Bella chose a couple lines to read and began.
"His voice is deep and smooth as silk. He runs a hand up her side, his fingertips grazing the side of her breast and then running back down to her bare thigh."
Already, Edward's breathing had labored a bit. Bella could feel the change as his back pressed ever so slightly against her back as she read. She glanced up to see that the tips of his ears had reddened a bit. Adorable. He cleared his throat before lifting his own book, deep voice causing his chest to rumble deliciously.
"He reached up and grabbed her ponytail, giving it a gentle tug. Tilting her face up, he slowly began kissing her neck, working his way up to the sensitive spot right behind her ear."
Bella knew she was blushing fiercely, but she refused to give up so quickly. She kept her eyes firmly on the pages in front of her, flipping swiftly and stopping at random.
"She couldn't help but moan as she felt his lips leave wet trails on her skin. He moved to her ear, licking and tugging on the lobe with his teeth."
Edward didn't think he could adore this girl more. The way she shivered when he'd read the salacious phrases, the way she boldly recited her own, even while her blush spread down her chest and under her shirt. He picked a more risque passage, and backed her into a cubby in the wall, surrounded by tall shelves and books upon books. He pulled Bella as closely as he dared, humming the words right next to her ear, surrounding her with his warmth.
"She moans in earnest this time, arching her back and pressing her backside against the thick, heavy member straining painfully against his trousers." Bella gasped, her body heating uncontrollably. She hid her face in Edward's shoulder, gripping his forearms tightly, having dropped her trashy romance somewhere between the words thick and heavy. "You're so fucking adorable, how is it possible that you're single? You seem like the kind of girl who gets pursued by the football star in high school and ends up blissfully happy with 2.5 kids. Don't get me wrong, I am so beyond grateful it's not even funny, but I kind of feel like this is all an amazing dream. There is no way I could actually be this lucky." Edward used the change of subject as a way of ending the game while he was ahead. He took her hand in his, leading her to the register by the door. The cashier reached under the counter and passed him a bag on their way by. Bella tried and failed not to seem overly impressed. Edward smirked as he led her out through the door. He smiled a bit at the sound of the tinkling bell that he had ignored entirely since the second he laid eyes on Bella hours before.
"I don't think I'm quite the catch you think I am. I didn't date much in high school to be honest. Guys didn't really scramble to date the daughter of the Chief of Police. Plus, I didn't meet many guys who caught my interest in any real way. According to my friends, I am a hopeless romantic with a shockingly dirty mind and way too high standards, a naive princess waiting for a prince," admitted Bella with a roll of her eyes. "I've had a couple short 'relationships' if you could even call them that. But, nothing even remotely serious ever developed, it always felt forced or like I was settling for less than I needed to truly be happy. Is it so wrong for a girl to want to be treated like a lady in public, completely and utterly ravaged in private, and thoroughly wooed for the rest of her life? Is that too much to ask?"
"No, baby, it's not too much to ask. Maybe you were just asking the wrong person to give you what you need," Edward said with a shrug, wrapping his arm around her shoulder and leading her through the parking lot towards a shiny silver Volvo.
"Are you saying you can give me what I need?" Bella questioned, her voice and smile both taking a naughty turn.
"To truly be happy? What do you think?" His grin turned crooked and cocky in a way that Bella loved.
"Well, that depends. Are you a perfect gentleman all the time?" She asked coyly with a smirk tugging at her perfect lips. Edward pulled her to his chest tightly, pressing her against the car and brushing his cheek against hers as her breathed her in deeply. His hands gripped her hips tightly, one sneaking down to almost grope the curve of her ass.
"You make it very difficult to behave myself at all, honestly," he growled into the night. "You have no idea how tempting you are, Bella. You're the innocent girl-next-door who doesn't even realize how fucking delicious she is. Sweet enough to bring home to your parents, and sexy enough to tear it up in the bedroom. You're the girl every guy wants to corrupt. But even more, you're the girl I'm desperate to keep for myself, protected and adored forever."
"I think on the surface, you're that perfect gentleman, but underneath, you're all sexy crooked grins, wandering hands and a seriously dangerous voice." Bella teased, leaning up so that her sweet mouth was close enough to his that he was easily in range of stealing a kiss if her felt so inclined. Lucky for all involved, a kiss was exactly where both their thoughts were circling. Edward lowered his face and pressed his lips to her, wasting no time at all before diving deeply and drawing a groan from her throat. Bella wrapped her arms around his neck, gripping tightly like she was desperate to keep hold of him. But, he wasn't going anywhere, because Edward was lost in the feel and taste of his dream girl, his Bella. He forced himself to pull back, leaving a last couple wet kisses against her pouty lips before reaching down and opening the passenger door for her.
"I'm not ready to let you go, yet. It's still pretty early, do you want to come back to my apartment? We could order take-out since we haven't had dinner yet. I'd really like to introduce you to my roommates. Emmett is probably still at the gym working out but we might be able to catch Jasper before he heads to the shooting range."
"Shooting range?" Bella questioned as Edward guided her inside the car with a hand on the small of her back. He quickly rounded the front bumper and opened his own door to climb behind the wheel. Bella tried to pretend she wasn't checking him out the whole time.
"Yeah, you know, like the whole guns and ammo type deal. It's not my thing, but Jasper loves that stuff. He's a 'good ol' Texas boy' as he'd describe himself," Edward attempted a southern accent which made Bella giggle. "Really though, he's just true to his roots. He loves guns, his momma and his horse."
"He'd probably make my friend, Alice, swoon. She loves the whole southern gentleman vibe. When we were kids she was obsessed with the Wild West and cowboys. You know how they have those Old Time Photo places at amusement parks and fairs where you can dress up in costumes and pose for souvenir pictures? There was a permanent carnival in the town over from ours that we used to visit all the time in the summers. No matter what, Alice insisted we have a Western-themed photo taken every time we went. The number of sepia-toned pictures I have of Alice, Rose and I dressed as saloon girls while holding fake pistols and bottles of whiskey is astounding… and embarrassing."
"Oh I would love to see those!" Edward said with a laugh.
"Not a chance, I'd like to keep whatever this is between us going at least a bit longer and those pictures definitely won't help," Bella joked. When she looked over at Edward, she was surprised to find him frowning and looking pensive as he navigated the route to his apartment. "Hey, are you ok?" She asked, reaching out to take his free hand in hers.
"What? Oh, yeah. I'm fine. I just didn't like the way that sounded for some reason," Edward explained somewhat vaguely.
"The way what sounded?" Bella pushed gently. Edward pulled into a parking lot in front of a very modern looking apartment building about 10 minutes from her own place and parked the car before turning to look her in the eyes.
"When you said 'whatever this is between us' it felt… wrong. I know it's only been about a week, but Bella I'm crazy about you. I really don't like that we aren't sure what we are to each other or that you feel like I'm going to lose interest. I think of you as my girlfriend, and maybe that's jumping the gun a lot, but it's how I feel. I just don't know how you feel."
"Edward, are you asking me to be your girlfriend?" Bella bit her lip anxiously. He met her brown eyes with his green and held her gaze for a few moments before he cupped each cheek with his large hands and leaned in to kiss her sweetly. To Bella's great relief, the kiss quickly grew deeper. Edward pulled from her lips and pressed his forehead against hers.
"Please be mine, sweet girl," He whispered into the silence between their gasping breaths.
"You know I already am," her chocolate eyes were glassy with unshed tears and so full of sincerity, begging him to believe her words. Edward pressed a few more soft kisses against her lips before pulling her into a tight hug.
"Come on, let's go inside and see if anyone is home, maybe we can watch a movie and cuddle on the couch for a while if your not ready to head home yet." He pulled away and opened his door to climb out, but Bella stayed put, knowing Edward would like to get her door for her. Those little chivalrous tokens of his affection made them both immeasurably happy. While he walked around to her side of the car, she pulled out her phone and sent a quick text to her girls.
"Telling your besties about your new official girlfriend status?" Edward teased as he offered her his hand with a wide grin.
"You act like you're not going to find a way to tell your roommates the first chance you get?" Bella shot back with a smirk and a raised eyebrow.
"Touché," Edward admitted as he held her close and led her into the building and up the stairs. "So wait, didn't you say before that you met Rosalie and Alice in Kindergarten? I can't believe you guys still hang out. I don't think I'm truly friends with anyone I met in elementary school," Edward commented.
"We came here for college together, actually," Bella explained. "We each got apartments in different buildings in the same complex last year because our parents all said they were willing to cover the rent rather than continue to shell out for crappy and cramped student housing, and after talking it over, we decided the best way for us to remain best friends long term would be for us to not live together. We still wanted to be close enough to see each other any time we wanted though." Edward nodded in understanding.
"I can imagine three girls living together would be tricky, regardless of how long you've been friends. So how did you actually become friends at five years old, argue over who got the first turn with the yellow crayon?" Edward asked, jokingly. Bella loved that he seemed so curious about her life. He treated her like a treasured new book he couldn't wait to read word by word.
"Alice came up to me on the first day of school and told me that I was going to be her best friend forever, then said we had to go find our other best friend forever so she wouldn't get lonely. It was Rosalie she was talking about, although I didn't know that at the time. I asked her how she knew there was another best friend out there waiting for us. And she said 'I just know'."
To be continued...
Chapter 3: Chapter Three
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...
Chapter 4: Chapter Four
When Bella reached the car, Alice was laying across the hood, staring at the sky, her smooth belly, peachy pale legs, and tiny feet bare. She was dressed exactly as Rose had described, her gray linen bralette and bloomers accented by cream-colored lace appliques and sweet little ruffles. The large, chunky-knit sweater was also in cream, and looked amazing against Alice's tan skin. Bella climbed up to lie beside her lifelong best friend, careful not to dent the hood too badly. "Ali-cat?" She whispered the childhood nickname she had chosen once upon a time, worried by the anxious look on her friend's face.
Alice blinked a couple of times before turning her head to face Bella. "I've waited so long for this moment. I didn't want to spend too much time imagining what he would be like, because I didn't think that would be fair to him, to build him up into this imaginary being he could never live up too. But, that didn't keep me from dreaming about the day we would finally meet. And now that it's here, I don't know what to think, what to do, how to act. When you called, I just grabbed my car keys and phone and ran. I don't have my purse, I'm wearing my fucking pajamas, I didn't even put on shoes! He's going to think I'm a hopeless mess."
"You're exquisite. He's going to adore you, the confident put-together parts and the messy parts." Bella assured her oldest friend. "Besides, it's chilly as fuck out right now and you're wearing practically nothing, you skank. So let's get inside were it's warm and there are cute boys to flirt with, really really cute," Bella leaned in to nudge Alice's shoulder in jest.
"How do we always get ourselves into such crazy situations?" Alice asked with a giggle.
"Sixteen years of friendship and I still have no idea." Bella admitted with a happy laugh. But, the quiet took over again, and Bella was content just to be there for her always steadfast comrade. Long minutes passed that way for the two women, their sides pressed together, the car engine cooling under their bodies as they lay.
"I've never even been on a date before, let alone had a boyfriend. I knew my cowboy would be here someday, so I waited for him. I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm going to mess this up and then I'll be alone forever, if he even wants me to begin with," Alice whispered her fears into the dark night. Bella sat up and pulled her tiny friend with her, then she hugged Alice fiercely.
"This is going to be one of the most amazing moments of your life. You're about to meet the one reason why you could never settle. You know he was made for you. You've known for, like, thirteen years. There is no reason to be afraid or start doubting yourself now. Your 'knowing things' thing has never been wrong before. Trust yourself," Bella implored, knowing how important this was to Alice. Bella had no idea why she felt so sure that Jasper was the one for her best friend, she just knows.
Their eyes met the second Bella pushed open the door to enter the apartment, like magnets with no hope of avoiding each other. Jasper was standing by the coffee table chatting with Edward and Rosalie. It was obvious he had been mid-sentence, his mouth now hung wide open, one hand outstretched in forgotten gesture as he stared unblinkingly at the small figure equally frozen behind Bella. The surplus friend quickly moved out of their way, depositing a small pink duffel bag on the table by the door. Alice had yet to meet either man in the room, but she had no trouble knowing immediately that the blonde Adonis matching her awestruck gaze was not her friend's new boyfriend, but the mystery man she, herself, had dreamed of meeting for most of her life.
"You sure kept me waiting long enough," Alice complained flirtatiously, glancing down at her cherry red polished toes and throwing in a lip bite for good measure before peeking back up at him from under her lashes and swaying her body the tiniest bit to get his attention on her bare abdomen and legs. This wasn't a drill, ladies, this was the big leagues! Alice may not have any dating experience to speak of, but thirteen years is plenty of time to perfect being flirty and seductive in preparation for the day you meet the man you plan to spend your life with. Seeing this absolute hunk standing before her in a perfectly form-fitting pair of faded wranglers just solidified every feeling or touch of intuition she'd ever had about her future soulmate. This was him.
"My apologies, ma'am," Jasper drawled in good-natured appeasement, a wide grin showing perfect white teeth to compliment his tanned skin. He lowered his arm and took a full step forward before stopping with a look down at his feet, like he hadn't realized he was going to move until he already had. He looked up at her again, his wide brown eyes settling on her face before traveling the length of her body down to the floor and back up again until he reached her smirking pout. He blushed and coughed into his fist, clearing his throat before taking another two steps toward Alice. He reached out a hand in greeting, taking her delicate fingers in his and pulling her toward him just a little, like he couldn't help himself. "Jasper Whitlock, pleased to meet ya, miss," he hummed deeply in his most charming southern drawl, lifting her hand to his lips for a barely-there kiss. And that was all it took for Alice to melt into a puddle of goo right there in the doorway. The breathy little sigh she released was insanely attractive to Jasper. He decided then and there that he wanted her to only ever make that sound for him.
"Alice Brandon," she offered with a warm smile, her blue eyes bright with excitement. Jasper led her into the living room, guiding her to sit on the side of the couch closest to his chair, as the rest of the couch was already occupied and there wasn't room for them both. They dropped hands but kept their eyes focused on each other.
"Beer anyone?" Edward asked to the room at large, interrupting the tension clouding the room. He was unsurprised to receive nods all around. "Hey, babe, hang onto this for me," Edward mumbled as he dropped his phone into Bella's lap and stood from his place next to her. She didn't pay it any attention until she looked up from the damage her picking fingers were doing to a loose thread on her jeans to see the whole room staring at her.
"What?" Bella wasn't sure what she'd done to garner this much attention.
"You know what that's about, right?" Rose gestured to the cell phone that had slid down her lap and onto the cushion beside her thigh.
"I've yet to see 'em leave it lyin' around or ask anyone to hold it an' this'll be our third year livin' together," Jasper offered some insider knowledge for thought.
"But, maybe it just fell out of his pocket and he didn't notice," reasoned Bella, leaning a bit more toward the arm of the couch and away from the offending device.
"If that's the case, it'll be locked. But, we all saw him specifically leave it with you," Jasper shrugged, moving his eyes meaningfully between the girlfriend and the iPhone. Bella didn't look even remotely convinced.
"The screen is black. Even if it was unlocked when he left, it's going to be locked now," she tried one last time to save herself from being that girl. The one that snoops on her boyfriend. Her brand new hour-fresh boyfriend.
"For some reason, I don't think that's gonna be a problem," Jasper chuckled, and Bella finally caved. She reached out and pressed one delicate finger to the home button, yanking it back quickly as if she was concerned about being burned. The phone glowed to life and sure enough, the lock entry had been manually disabled. They all stared for a moment before Bella turned to the room looking panicked.
"What does this mean?" she wailed, tugging on her long chocolate locks.
"I think the intention is pretty damn transparent, he's saying loud and fucking clear that he has nothing to hide from you and he won't use any of us to help him hide anything in the future." It was Alice who translated the wordless gesture, but Bella smiled just as wide as if Edward himself had declared the words aloud to the room. He definitely earned the aggressive kiss he received upon his return to the living room with beer.
"I think you should both change into pajamas to match me. Solidarity, sisters!" Alice exclaimed in her best James Charles - Makeup Guru impression with a happy little clap of her hands.
"Regardless of what you are implying, I did not, in fact, come to this apartment full of beautiful men with the intention of spending the night. So alas, no jammies to change into, unfortunately," Bella shrugged dramatically, rather pleased that she seemed to avoid the spontaneous pajama party.
"And you jerked me out of my place so fast I barely grabbed my phone," Rose pointed a delicate manicured finger in Alice's direction, one eyebrow raised in accusation, earning a chuckle out of the stoic Jasper at the reminder of Alice's apparent hurry to meet him. "Oh, that reminds me, I was planning on eating at home but that didn't work out. So while Ali was busy breaking all kinds of traffic laws and endangering our lives, I ordered a few pizzas. Luckily, I was able to pull up Bella's texts in Ali's phone and get the address. They should be delivered here in less than half an hour."
"Awesome! I'm starving!" Bella's stomach growled in agreement.
"But, we still don't have anything to change into. Sorry, Ali," Rosalie snarked with a cute little head tilt.
"I'd be happy to loan you anything you want to wear if it gets you to stay with me longer," Edward whispered in Bella's ear, giving the lobe a soft nip. Bella shivered in his arms and blushed hotly, but didn't dare open her mouth, afraid of how quickly she might agree to this delicious man's every whim.
"As it happens, our most recent 'oops-we're-drunk' sleepover was at my apartment after the last Thirsty Thursday at Flanigan's. Which means that it was my turn to repack our 'oops-we're-drunk' overnight bag with the perfect pajamas for each of you, and I already had it back in my car ready for a night just like this. How lucky is that?!" Alice announced with a smug smile and a bounce of excitement. Bella groaned and Rose turned her nose up, tipping back her drink in the process.
"Please tell me you have something in that bag that won't make me have to endure a raging full body blush for the rest of the evening?" Bella begged through the hands she was using to hide her face, imagining all the embarrassingly revealing things the evil pixie could have chosen for her.
"Oh relax, Bells. Contrary to what your constant complaining suggests, clothing can be comfortable and cute at the same time. Let the fashion fairy work her magic." Alice dug into the hot pink mini duffel and pulled out a bubblegum pink racer-back tank and a pair of gray ruffled fleece shorts covered in tiny white polar bears. Bella holds the tank up to examine the front, and chuckles at the words 'never too old for fairytales' written there. Pretty perfect.
"What exactly is your plan for me, oh mighty fashion fairy? Since, you know as well as I that the best thing to wear to sleep, in my opinion, is nothing at all," Rosalie teased with a naughty grin.
"Oh, don't worry, I am acutely aware that you consider your birthday suit the most flattering outfit in your wardrobe. I've seen you modeling it on way, way too many occasions," Alice assured.
"Ditto," Bella added. "Luckily, seeing you naked is akin to seeing one of the seven wonders of the world. So there's that."
"Aww, thanks, B." Rose reaches out for the fabric in Alice's hand. She unfolds it to find a super soft, lightweight fitted mid-thigh length sleep shirt in all black. On the front are the words 'I'd rather be naked' in large white letters. "Alright alright, I bow to your expert judgement, this shirt was meant for me."
"I'm appalled that you ever doubted me, honestly," Alice said with a wink in Jasper's direction.
"What will I wear on the bottom?" Rose questioned.
"I assumed any pants or shorts I brought for you would end up in a ball in the corner of the room after the first hour, so I thought the easiest thing would be for you to just wear your panties since the shirt is so long," Alice explained easily.
"That would work... if I were wearing any panties," the blonde bombshell said with a shit-eating grin and a twinkle in her eye.
"Boo, you whore!" Alice exclaimed with a huge smile, pulling a pair of black cotton hipster panties from the bag and tossing them at Rose's laughing face. She flipped them over and laughed even more at the true fashion fairy that was her friend. They read 'pants are dumb' in white letters across the butt.
"So wait, Ro, you said you were planning to eat at home? But, I thought you said at lunch today that had a date tonight? I just assumed that would include dinner," Bella asked.
"No dice. It was a disaster. Tonight was just further proof that my milkshake only brings fucking morons to the yard," Rose insisted with a roll of her eyes. Edward barely kept from spewing beer in response to her frank statement. Rose continued, unfazed.
"It was our first date and before we had even ordered drinks, he asked me what my favorite sexual position was. Then, without waiting for any sort of a response, he proceeded to inform me that the best position was called the Crouching Tiger because he could just lay back and let the chick do the work. Then! He asked if I wanted to join him in a hands-on demonstration. I swear that's what I get for agreeing to a date with a guy I met on Tinder."
"I have no idea what the Crouching Tiger even is…" Bella's face showed her honest confusion. She looked toward Alice who shrugged.
"Don't look at me. I have zero sexual experience, that's why I do hot yoga."
"And pole dancing lessons," Bella continued supportively.
"And, as messed up as it is, gymnastics as a kid didn't hurt," added Rose, offhandedly.
"You've lost us, girls," admitted Edward in obvious confusion, though he was sincerely entertained by the conversation so far.
"Well, the way I see it. If I wanted to stick to my decision to stay a virgin, I should bring something else to the bedroom for when I finally meet Mr. Right. With only being able to obtain a theoretical understanding of any naughty skills, the next best thing I felt was to keep myself in great shape and to be, uh, you know... nice and bendy, since that seemed to be something most guys found appealing." Alice was mumbling by the end of her explanation, flushed pink in the cheeks at her admission of such salacious forethought. Edward barked out a little laugh at her confession until he saw the look in his best friend's eyes. Jasper had that frantic, what-the-fuck look that probably stemmed from hearing the words 'decision to stay a virgin' in the voice of the girl he was obviously interested in dating. Jasper widened his eyes comically before nodding discreetly towards Alice. Being such close friends, Edward knew immediately that Jasper was asking him to help get more information.
"Alright, then. If you don't mind me asking, why did you specifically make a decision to maintain your virginity? Are you planning to wait until you're married?" Edward questioned casually.
"Well, no, I'm definitely not planning to wait until I am married, just until I'm with the right guy. You've surely been told by now that I have a reputation for being a bit...umm... Bella, what was the word you told me to use instead of weird?" Alice sighed, turning to look at the brunette snuggling on the couch. Her change in position meant she couldn't see the intense look of relief on Jasper's face. It was almost enough to make Edward laugh again.
"Quirky," offered Bella, encouragingly.
"Right, quirky," Alice repeated with an eye roll. "The short version is that I have very strong intuitions about things, I have always listened to my gut, and it has yet to fail me. Sometimes the feelings I get don't make sense until the specific moment occurs where everything falls into place. Other times, I very clearly understand in ways that logic says I shouldn't. But either way, I listen. My gut has been telling me for a long time that there is someone important waiting for me, and my virginity is not mine to give away, it belongs to him," Alice explained as best she could, sneaking a glance in Jasper's direction as the word him left her mouth.
"Fuuuuck…" Jasper groaned, his head falling back to rest against the top of the recliner. Alice giggled, the sound ringing through the room like a bell.
"Anyways, the TLDR: of it is that my crazy voodoo intuition urged me to keep my legs closed until I met my soulmate," Alice stated matter-of-factly.
"OK, but, how can you be sure?" Edward still wasn't convinced about all this. Alice gave him an indulgent little smile.
"I just know."
To be continued...
Chapter 5: Chapter Five
"Ok, but seriously, what is the Crouching Tiger?" Bella wanted to know, before leaning over to take a big bite of cheesy pizza. Edward chuckled as he quickly shut the door after shoving a wad of cash at the pimply teenager openly ogling the girls. He sat next to Bella, grabbing his own slice of pizza before he leaned over and kissed her temple.
"If I'm not mistak'n, the Crouch'n Tiger is accomplished when the man lays flat on 'is back an' the lady… uhh.." clears throat... "squats on 'er tiptoes over 'is johnson an' then.. errr… well, sort'a… bounces," Jasper coughed, blushing deeply by the end of his clarification but showing no more outward signs of discomfort, other than still having his head leaned back and his face aimed toward the ceiling.
"That's so hot," Alice sighed, staring at Jasper dreamily. Her words got him to look up swiftly, his brown eyes melting her blue depths with a smoldering stare.
"That must be a brutal ass and leg workout, I mean I can't imagine being able to hold a squat like that for more than a minute or two, max," Bella wondered.
"It's not a position for the faint of heart, I'll tell you that much, doll. Anyways, if we could get back to my tragic too-short-to-be-called-a-date," Rose drew the conversation back around.
"Well I assume your response was non-violent considering you didn't call us to bail you out of jail," Alice guessed.
"Being violent towards idiots is a waste of energy. Instead, I gleefully informed him that I did not require a demonstration. I told him that I was well aware of the mechanics of that particular position, and I had no intention of ever wasting my efforts performing it with an asshole like him who had no chance of getting any woman off, let alone me. As it turns out, he did not care for my opinion," Rose finished her tale while inspecting her fingernails in an obvious show of nonchalance.
"No kidding?" Edward joked, taking a sip of his beer.
"Nope. He said that it was just was well, because with the way my fat ass jiggles when I walk, he doubted I would be able to last longer than a minute on top before my legs gave out."
"Your ass is perfect," Alice assured her blonde bestie.
"Bitch, I know," Rose sneered confidently, brushing imaginary dirt off her shoulder. "So I informed him that fucking me was a god-damned religious experience, and that I wouldn't let him touch me even if I was desperate. I also told him that he didn't have anything to offer that would get me, or any other woman, to put forth the stamina it takes to bounce up and down fast as fuck, calves on fucking fire, just for his gummy worm dick to slip out every damn stroke because he couldn't handle my mad skills." The entire room dissolved into raucous laughter. Bella was the first to recover the ability to speak.
"So what's your plan now that you are swearing off Tinder dating?" Bella asked Rosalie curiously.
"I don't have one. I don't want to say I'm giving up but honestly, I'm tired of dating guys who look at me and only see a body with no feelings. I'm not saying I'm this serious intellectual who is too good for normal people, and I do want there to be a mutual attraction between me and whoever I'm dating. I just want more than that, though. I don't care about romantic dates or fancy restaurants. I want someone who will eat pizza and drink beer with me instead of expecting me to live off salad and rice cakes. I want someone who will do silly things to make me laugh, like building giant blanket forts and random Tuesday afternoon taco-eating contests. I want someone who will have three hour conversations with me about ridiculous DC fan theories like 'what if Bruce Wayne has really been a patient at Arkham Asylum the whole time and the entire Batman universe is just a giant delusion?' I know I have a type, everyone does. But, I'm not an especially picky person. At least I don't think I am. I seriously don't know what the problem is, I'd wife me." Rose looked so frustrated and worn down while admitting her dating troubles. At this point, Edward and Jasper have had so many silent conversations, Edward thought they might be able to pull off actual telepathy. It was like Rose was describing his roommate, Emmett, perfectly. How is that even possible?
"I wouldn't categorize you as super picky or selective, you just have very little patience for arrogance, jealousy or pretentiousness. But, I would agree that you definitely have a type," Alice said with a pointed look at Rose, before turning to Bella and holding up her hand to tick off fingers as they list qualities. "He has to be tall, like at least 6ft or taller so you will still feel small next to him even when you're wearing heels."
"Dark hair," suggested Bella, "I don't think I've ever seen you date a guy who didn't have brown hair. Plus, you seem to like guys who have a good sense of humor or don't take themselves too seriously. Like, a guy who is laid back enough to keep you from stressing out about things that don't really matter."
"Likes kids," Alice followed, "you've always talked about being a mom someday. You practically melt when you see a hot guy with a baby."
"He would need to be pretty into physical fitness. You spend a large chunk of time at the gym. You'd never be happy with someone who wasn't at all dedicated to keeping in shape," added Bella.
"Your biggest weakness, though, is the whole protector and his damsel-in-distress bit. You know, the type of guy who is always there to rescue you from any trouble or sadness in your life, the ones who rescue kittens from trees and shit."
"I'm telling you now, the man you gals are describing sounds perfect, but he does not exist. Forever alone…" Rose stated with a teasing smile, swiping a fake tear off her cheek and taking a sip of her beer to hide her genuine disappointment.
"Oh, he exists," Jasper said with a humor-filled drawl between bites of pizza. "Go take a peek in that room o'er there. Second door on the right, just past the bathroom."
"What's in there?" Bella asked when Rose looked skeptical. "You guys keep a storage closet of surplus dudes in case you need even teams for Halo night?"
"Nah, that's Emmett's room. Nothing scary or creepy in there. Just go take a look," Edward urged with a chuckle, knowing what Rose finds will blow her mind. The blonde still looked a tad concerned but stood and walked in the direction Jasper suggested, putting her hand on the door knob before looking back to verify she was at the correct room. With another nod from Jasper, she turned the knob and gave the door a push, before taking a look around. Her sudden gasp made Bella and Alice jump to go look as well. The three girls shoved themselves as close together as they could and leaned forward to get a better look while keeping their entire bodies safely in the hall. The bedroom they were checking out very obviously belonged to a man, the clothing on the floor was their first clue, along with the video game controller, comic books and the various empty bottles covering the nightstand, more water than beer. They assumed there was a bed, but they couldn't see it because the area where a bed would likely be, was covered with a giant pillow and blanket fort. The desk held piles of textbooks and a reading lamp with a sombrero perched on top, as well as an empty pizza box. But the best part, in Rose's opinion, were the walls. There were a couple posters hung, one Superman and one with the full Justice League. But, there were also at least ten drawings hung around the room that looked to be made by children. One had To: Emmy-bear Love: Rachel over a crayon drawing of a giant superhero stick-figure wearing a stethoscope standing next to a small figure of a smiling little girl. Bella was the first to comment.
"Looks like the loony bus has picked up a few more riders, all aboard!" She laughed at her own joke as she made her way back to the couch to snuggle in next to Edward. He immediately pulled her into his side, like he'd missed the feel of her. Bella wore a blissful smile as she burrowed her face into his neck, breathing deeply and sighing in contentment. By then, Rose and Alice had closed Emmett's door and come back to join the group.
"Deets! I need deets people!" Rose urged with a twinkle in her eye and a wide smile.
"Emmett McCarty, age 22, height 6'3" I think, blue eyes, brown hair, currently in his senior year of undergrad, earning a Bachelor of Nursing. He wants to specialize in pediatrics because he loves working with kids. Hell, he's a giant kid himself most days, the only difference is that he is driven and responsible as well. He volunteers over at the Children's Hospital every week if he can. He loves anything related to superheroes but prefers DC to Marvel if we are talking specifically graphic novels and not the movies. He participates in Taco Tuesday religiously, practically lives at the gym when he's not studying, and has a weakness for bossy blondes," Edward rattled off stats like this was an episode of the dating game.
"He's also the most hilarious an' laid back fucker I've met in my life, an' as far as I can tell, he don't make a habit of sleepin' around or jumpin' from girl to girl," added Jasper as he slid over to make room for Alice to perch on the over-sized armchair next to him rather than the far end of the couch where she had been before.
"Well, fuck me sideways. Where is he right now?" Rose questioned eagerly, folding her long legs and lowering herself to the carpeted floor, resting her back against the couch and picking up her almost empty beer from the coffee table.
"He should be on 'is way here. Eddie sent'em a text before ya got here tellin' him to cut 'is workout short," Jasper explained. Rose looked relaxed but Bella knew her friend well enough to know she was nervous at the prospect of meeting Emmett, even if she didn't show it. She decided they needed a change of subject.
"Hey, Ali, it occurred to me just now that you've never really gone super boy crazy over the years, so I haven't had a reason to ask before, but what exactly is your relationship strategy going to be now that you are actually considering dating? Which is what I'm assuming is maybe happening here," Bella flailed her arms awkwardly in the couples general direction. Edward was instantly overwhelmed by how endearing he found the action to be.
"Boobs," was Alice's matter-of-fact response. "He's upset? Show him boobs. Pissed off? Lots of boobs. Happy? Yay, more boobs! Boobs are relationship voodoo."
"I can't stress enough how sincerely I approve of this strategy, darlin'," Jasper encouraged with a innocently supportive expression. That was all it took to have them laughing uncontrollably again. When they had somewhat recovered, Alice was quick to reassure her friend sitting on the floor staring somewhat pensively at an empty beer bottle.
"Don't worry about the crappy date, Ro. Everything is going to work out exactly how you wanted when we were kids. A superhero is going to come rescue you and you're going to live happily ever after."
"What makes ya think that, darlin'?" Alice shivered every time he called her that, his deep voice practically growling the word. It really didn't help matters that Jasper was trailing his calloused fingers along the smooth skin of her wrist.
"You'll learn soon enough, my handsome cowboy, that sometimes I just know."
"So, was Bella right before? Do you want to.. ahh… I mean… are we..?"
"Datin'?" Jasper supplied, when Alice seemed to lose her nerve. She glanced up and met his eyes for a moment, before resolutely staring a hole in the ground between their feet. They were tucked into the dim hallway leading to the bedrooms, while Bella and Rose took turns using the half-bath off the kitchen to get changed into their 'perfect pj's'.
"Well, I hardly expect you to commit to a serious relationship or even a date on the spot just because you heard a hard-to-believe tale that involves a half-dressed quirky chick, a decade-old prediction and a stranger's insistence that it was about you. You don't know me and I obviously seem like a basket case with the way I just stormed into you life. You didn't ask for this, for me…" She lost steam in her rambling and the silence seemed to stretch on for an eternity, the air thickening around them. Jasper was staring at her, the corner of his mouth curled the tiniest bit. He took in her sweet, doll-like face, her silky espresso hair, the long dark eyelashes resting delicately on her rosy cheeks. The man was honestly in a state of shock that this stunning creature thought he was someone special, someone she'd been waiting for. Alice lasted as long as she could in the deafening quiet of Jasper's mental appraisal before admitting defeat with a slump of her delicate shoulders.
"Can you just kiss me? Just once, please?" Alice begged in a devastated whisper before he had a chance to shatter her heart completely. The shiny tears appearing in her crystal blue eyes snapped Jasper out of his vigil of admiration.
"What?!" Jasper's voice cracked in his shock and confusion.
"I can survive if a pity kiss is all I'm ever going to get, but I can't live the rest of my miserable fucking life never knowing what your lips feel like pressed against mine. I'd rather die!" Alice admitted with a sob, covering her mouth with a tiny trembling hand.
"Whoa," Jasper pulled her closely, wrapping her up in an attempt to calm her. "I'm sorry, darlin'. I was so caught up in my own head that I made ya worry needlessly." Alice froze, sniffling against his chest, but otherwise was silent.
"I'm pretty sure I didn't meet you just for nothin'," Jasper murmured, his chest rumbling deliciously in her ear. He smelled amazing, like sun and man. "I know that this is my first time boarding… what did Rose call it? The bus to crazy town… But this thing we're doin' here, you an' me. I'm in. I am all in." Alice gasped as she finally met his eyes with her own. They stared at each other for the longest moment, then they were pressing their foreheads together in a movement that looked entirely too natural for a couple that had just met not even hours before.
"I was so worried that you would think I'm insane and want nothing to do with me." She confessed in the quiet of the hallway, her tiny hands clinging desperately to any piece of him they could reach.
"Nothin' is certainly not the thing I want to do with ya." Jasper smirked, heated humor in his eyes. She laughed merrily at his forwardness, letting him tug her closely again. "I don't see how you could ever be anythin' but mine, darlin'," Jasper whispered against the crown of her head, hearing her let out that perfect little sigh again. "Besides, ya look so damn good," he offered with a naughty grin.
"If you think I look good, imagine how I taste," Alice teased, bursting into peels of giggles when he buried his face in her neck, making growling noises while his fingers dug into her sides.
Alice's tinkling, joyful laughter reached Bella's ears as she opened the bathroom door and allowed Rose entry to the room to change. The girls exchanged soft smiles, pleased at their best friend's obvious happiness. Bella looked around for Edward as Rose disappeared behind the closed bathroom door. She paused her gaze on a mop of reddish-brown hair peeking out over the top of the refrigerator door. He stood in what seemed like slow motion, grasping a fresh beer in one hand and twisting off the cap with the other. He froze when he spotted her, the fridge door closing between them. The moments stretched between them while she stood, a deer in the headlights, caught in his heated gaze. He inspected her from head to toe, grunting at the sight of her long bare legs. Edward finally set his beer on the counter and crossed the distance between them, towering over her, chest to chest, both their breaths coming out in rapid pants.
"Please baby, I'm not asking for anything physical if you're not ready for that. We will always go at your pace no matter what. But, I can't watch you walk out that door, not tonight. We can spend our time together however you want: movie marathon, stay up talking and getting to know each other more, sleeping snuggled in each other's arms..." He pulled her into his embrace completely, a smug grin on his face when he heard her soft sigh. He knew he had her, at least he desperately hoped and prayed. Edward leaned down to whisper in her ear, "or I could worship every inch of your delicious skin." He trailed hot, open-mouthed kisses down the column of her neck to her shoulder, loving the feel of her quaking and moaning in his arms.
"I'll stay, but I think we should probably put a hold on any real worshiping until we have a chance to be alone at my place," Bella whispered as his hands grasped her hips tightly, the sensation going right to her center.
"Mmmm, and why is that?" Edward pulled back to softly cup her face in his palms, staring into her wide brown eyes.
"Because I know that once you get your hands on me, I won't be able to control the sounds I make or how loud I am," Bella admitted quietly, a deep red flush spreading down her chest. Edward let out a loud groan and attacked her mouth with his, owning her completely with lips and tongue. They stayed there, learning the delicious feel of each other in the bright light of the kitchen, until they heard the nearby bathroom door open.
A several-inches-closer-to-the-ground blonde head came confidently around the corner and into the room. Rose had lost the towering heels and tight clothes, but she was still like something out of a magazine. Her bouncy, wavy locks were tousled in a more casual way and her newly exposed legs were smooth and toned, ending in cute little bare feet. She headed toward the sort of 'catch-all' table near the entryway where the girls had abandoned their various purses and bags. Just as she was within feet of the front door, it swung open and a giant figure entered with a loud shout.
"What up, dickheads! I'm home now so what the hell was so damn urgent?" Emmett exclaimed buoyantly as he entered his home. Unfortunately, his sudden appearance was enough to startle Rose into losing her balance as she passed, catching her foot on the carpet and sending her careening towards the floor at an awkward angle that was sure to hurt. Large arms reached out to steady her fall, grabbing her waist and pulling her tightly against a very broad and muscular chest. Rose's vision was filled with gorgeous blue eyes surrounded by adorable dimples, tan skin and a head of tightly cropped dark curls. Her mind went blank at the sight of so much gorgeous in one giant man. It took her several moments to remember to breathe, and even longer to recognize her hands sliding up strong forearms and over bulging biceps to rest on Emmett's shoulders of their own volition. "Well, aren't you complete fucking perfection," Emmett declared with conviction and a bit of awe, gripping her tighter in an effort to keep her in his arms as long as possible. They stood frozen, staring at each other for so long that the rest of the room's occupants began to fidget awkwardly at the exchange. It was Alice who finally broke the silence with a tinkling giggle.
"You must be Emmett. I like your superman shirt."
Never bet against Alice, she always just knows.
AN: Ahh, don't kill me! This just felt like the right way for it to end. I have already started writing one or two bonus chapters (epilogue doesn't seem like the right word) with a bit more of Emmett (and the rest of the crew) and if you guys want a Edward/Bella lemon included I've already got that written in my head as well ;). Comment if you are interested and unless everyone is really wanting it to stop here, I will keep working on it. Thanks for reading!