A/N: I don't own Twilight. Any similarities or references belong to their own persons.
"How do you possibly become the popular girl in high school with a name like Regina?" Tanya asks, before shoving popcorn in her mouth whilst simultaneously keeping her eyes glued to her TV as Mean Girls plays out.
"Or Gretchen," Irina chimes in.
"It's not like Irina is any better."
"It's not like I was popular kid either, Tanya."
"Please you totally could've been."
I roll my eyes at them and try to focus on the movie, even though I could most likely recite every line, without hesitation. I shift and rest my head in Char's lap as she begins to play through my hair and make tiny little braids.
It's been two days since my date with Edward and I haven't called him since. Not because I don't want to, but because I need to give him the time to decide if that's what he wants. Edward Cullen is not a child. Nor is he a vulnerable weakling.
I had the chance to see him in the boardroom while he was working the A&F case. I had never seen a man so driven and cunning. It's not just at work. He's like that everywhere, all the time. The last time I'd seen Edward, he'd been so vulnerable it was hard to believe that it was the same man.
I liked it though. How could I not? He's so powerful and strong had trusted me enough to let his wall down.
I liked being trusted.
"Aaron Samuels is hot." I say approvingly looking at the screen.
"So is Edward Cullen."
I snort and don't reply knowing that they're all waiting for my retort.
"What?" I ask at their waiting faces. "It's true."
Tanya looks up from her phone and looks at me, curious. "Does his family know he spent the night with you?"
I roll my eyes at her. "He didn't have much of a choice what with it being in the papers."
I'm not born into the life of high society, but sometimes I happen to appear on page six when I'm out with the Denali family. A few years ago they just used to call me "the a petite brunette" but I eventually was bumped up to "Isabella Swan."
Throughout the years they've started keeping track of me too. With my new career and all the success I have had, they feature me alone from time to time. It's not like I often do things warranting a page six spread.
After the ball, we took up more than half a page.
Innocent Isabella out with bad boy Cullen.
Isabella Swan decides to let loose with new boy toy, spending the night in a ritzy suite at the plaza.
What does Riley Carmichael think?
Is our lovely Swan getting played?
The sentences float around my head and make me feel ill to my stomach. I've always hated being on page six.
"They brought up Riley in that article, didn't they?"
I nod in confirmation.
I nod, agreeing.
Riley was my boyfriend during college. We'd met during an event hosted by Carmen. Riley was rich. So rich he made the Denali's look poor. With that kind of wealth came an immense amount of press, attention and responsibility. I couldn't handle always being in the limelight. He couldn't handle me not being the trophy girlfriend he needed.
We were set to fail before we'd even begun.
"Whatever," I shrug.
"Do you think his family even knows about page six?" Irina asks.
"Please," Tanya scoffs. "Did you see the short ones face when she walked into the ballroom? She probably gets their electronic notifications."
Kate makes a face. She doesn't like page six either.
"You're awfully quiet Katie."
"I'm trying to watch the movie you've all seem to forgotten."
"Are you sure you're not just thinking about Garrett?" Charlotte asks, wiggling her eyebrows up and down.
Kate flushes and I gape at her. She's not one to blush. Her skin tone even out quickly and she throws her head back turning her eyes back to the movie. "Don't be ridiculous, Char."
Irina grins. "You've got a crush," she sings repeatedly, drawing out the words.
"I do not." Kate snaps.
"Prove it," I challenge.
"And how do you propose I do that?"
I shrug. "Take out one of those thousand phone numbers you keep handy and call someone out on a date."
"An overnight date."
Kate bristles. "I'm on my period."
"No you're not. Our schedules are in sync! You had it last week." Tanya announces in triumph. "You haven't turned down a random one night stand in years! You do like him."
Kate bites her lip to hide a tell-tale smile and continues to watch the movie quietly, her pride getting in the way of her gushing about feelings like the rest of us do. Being nice, we all continue to watch the movie pretending not to notice how her eyes light up whenever her phone receives a new message.
dress casual, I'll pick you up at seven xx
The third date is often talked about in books, magazines and tv shows. It is described as the date when you know whether or not you will get the get go to hook up with your date. It's the turning point from a casual fling to possibly something more.
Edward Cullen will not sleep with me on the third date.
Not because I have some sort of personal vendetta against him, or because I find him unattractive (if that's even possible), but because I don't think that either of us are ready for that at this point.
So, fuck you Cosmo and Teen Vogue. I am not putting out on the third date.
I decide to truly dress casual and wear a sweater over leggings with a scarf. It doesn't get anymore casual than that, unless I wore sweatpants and a hoodie. I'm relieved that casual is the dress code for tonight. Most guys so badly want the third date pass that they go all out on flowers, a fancy car and a five star restaurant. Not realizing that money doesn't buy love. Most guys don't get past the third date with me.
And no guy has ever gotten the third date pass, in fact I don't think I've ever even had a guy sleep at my apartment until one month of being in a relationship. What can I say? I have high standards.
"B? Your boy toy's here."
I try to ignore the twinge of annoyance that I feel when I hear Charlotte call Edward my boy toy. She's joking and I know it.
I walk out and make my way towards the door, slipping my shoes and jacket on as I go. "You look great," Charlotte tells me. "I want to hear all about it tonight, wait no. Tomorrow."
I roll my eyes at her. "He's not sleeping over, Char."
"I know." Charlotte assures me. "But Peter will."
"Who's Peter?" I ask confused.
I shake my head at her stubborn nature and wave goodbye, making my way to the building entrance where Edward waits. He greets me with a kiss on a cheek and a simple 'you look gorgeous'.
The two of us walk hand in hand around the city, just talking. Talking about his day, talking about work and our upcoming projects. Both of us staying far away from anything related to family.
"Aro's distributing new projects tomorrow," he tells me.
I nod. I know this. I've been keeping my eye on the Fashion Week project for weeks and it just so happens to be one of the projects that he will be distributing tomorrow. Although I know I want this project more than anyone, I also know that I am new and that Chelsea, Aro's niece, wants it almost as bad.
"Is there any project in particular you're keeping your eye on?"
He shakes his head. "I know that it seems odd, but I'm just hoping to do good enough on whatever he gives me so that I can maybe convince him to let me switch out of this division."
My heart sinks. "You want a new job?"
Edward shakes his head, no. "I don't want a new job, I just want to switch out of the Fashion division."
"It's the most active marketing division right now." I point out, even though he knows this.
He nods. "But it isn't me. I want to move to either sports marketing or commercial projects."
I smile encouraging at him, as if it doesn't break my heart that I won't get to see him at work everyday if he gets his transfer approved. As though he can read my mind, he wraps an arm around my shoulder and kisses my temple. "That's not for a little while though," he reassures.
During our conversation, I had stopped looking at where we were going and just started following Edward. Looking around, I realize we're in Central Park. Edward leads me towards a huge oak tree and brings me to the side facing the lake. On the floor there is a blanket with a huge picnic basket set up.
I look up at him brightly. "We're having a picnic?"
Suddenly he looks unsure and wraps his hand around the back of his neck. "Is that okay? I can just cancel and book us at a restaurant if you-"
"No! No, it's perfect. Thank you."
He smiles at me and the two of us sit down, making ourselves comfortable. I sit cross-legged on the blanket while he prefers to rest against the tree trunk. I open the picnic basket and peer inside. I can feel his eyes on my face, measuring my every reaction. I pull out a bottle of wine, two wine glasses and two set plates with a cover over them.
"Allow me," he whispers.
I sit back and let him uncover both plates and smile happily when I see the garlic bread and chicken Alfredo on the plates.
"This is my favourite meal."
"And your favourite wine." I glance up at him, shocked. "What? I asked Tanya." He smirks, and then frowns. "She didn't know your favourite desert though, so I got strawberry shortcake. Is that okay?
"That is perfect." I lean over and kiss his cheek before picking my plate up and taking a bite out of the garlic bread, followed by a moan. "This is delicious, where did you get this?"
"I made it," he tells me.
My jaw drops. "Edward Cullen, I think I love you."
He laughs and winks at me but I can't help imagining what it would be like to say those words to each other on a daily basis and mean them.
It would've been ladylike of me to take my time eating and make sure that I appreciate every bite. While I did appreciate everything I ate, there was nothing slow or ladylike about it. I finish my food fast, much to Edward's amusement and soon I find myself sitting between his legs, my head resting on his chest. Both of us looking up at the stars that we rarely have the chance to see in our wonderful city.
"Is Peter gone?" I ask when I walk into the kitchen and see Charlotte's sleepy form hastily making a coffee.
"Pity, I wanted to know who he was."
"Can we talk about this in bed?" Charlotte whines. I grin and nod walking eagerly towards her room and slipping into her bed allowing myself to get comfortable.
Charlotte yawns. "Peter's one of my ex boyfriends that moved to New York recently, we ran into each other last week and everything just clicked. It was like I never left."
"Why did you guys break up?"
"Because I was coming to NYU. As much as we loved each other, we knew we wouldn't be able to survive a long distance relationship so we opted to end things on a happy note and have no bad memories of each other."
I think back to Char during freshman year. "Huh, you didn't seem sad though."
She shrugs. "I wasn't really. I'd always had Peter to look after me and I never really got to live without him. Breaking up was like getting my freedom."
"And now you're back together?"
She nods. "He was always my person, he always will be. I guess, high school was just not the right time for us. But now seems to be the perfect time. We're both at really good places in our lives and want the same things."
She seems happy so I smile at her, happy that she's happy. Yet something about this story doesn't sit right with me.
"How come you didn't tell me about him?" I ask in a small voice.
Charlotte sighs and wraps her arms around me. "Leaving him was freedom, but it doesn't mean it didn't hurt to think about. Talking about it meant reminiscing and missing him, I didn't want to hurt."
It's understandable, so I nod and run my fingers through her hair. "I've missed you lately. We haven't been spending much time together since we both started working."
"I know. It's kind of sad really, it makes me scared."
"Scared of what?" I ask.
"For the past few years, the five of us have been inseparable, there wasn't a single moment of my day when I wasn't with you or talking to you. It hasn't even been six months, and all of that has changed. I think this is the first time the two of us are talking alone since we've both started working."
I want to argue, but I know she's right so I keep playing with her hair and let her continue.
"It's only been six months, Bella. What's going to happen in a few years when we all move out of this building and start building our own lives with our own little families? I don't want to lose you girls. You're my sisters. You're my family."
"Hey, hey, hey Char, come here." I pull her closer to me and kiss her forehead. "You have nothing to worry about Char, it's you and me. We are a family. Okay?"
"Promise. The bonds we've made are forever and always."
A/N: There it is! The third date! I hope you all liked it, I really struggled with writing this chapter because I wasn't sure what to do with the third date exactly.
I also really wanted to expand more on Charlotte and Bella's bond as well as kind of go more into detail about the girls' love lives as well.
For those of you waiting for an epic Cullen family battle, you will get it eventually, but not right not. The next few episodes will be dedicated more to Bella and Edward as a couple as well as them at work.
As always Reviews are amazing to get! Thanks for all your support and patience.