CHAPTER ONE

I don't believe that people truly realize the amount of work that goes into the birth of a relationship. You look around and see the people in your life, but have you ever stopped to think about how much work went into the relationships that you hold so dearly?

Friends. You may have known them all your life, gone to school with them, or met them at your first job but, over the course of time, a friendship was born. Parents. For the most part, they are responsible for molding you into the very person you have become. Whether they were good parents, not so good parents, or parents who were taken from us too soon, your relationship with a parent can affect the course of your entire life. And then, undeniably, there are the relationships we form with that one perfect person who is supposed to get who we are as a human being even when we can't figure our own selves out.

I was lucky enough to have a great relationship once. A man who loved me and made my whole world brighter. I had a one true love, but because things don't always work out the way that we want them to, my whole world was instantly darker when he was taken from me. With the loss of my mother when I was five years old, then the loss of my father when I began high school, after James had passed I had no choice but to believe that I was cursed.

It wasn't until three years after the passing of my husband, James, that another man would come into my life and free me from the restrictions that I had set for myself. Out of the most incredibly wild circumstances a relationship was formed and I haD no choice but to believe that destiny was responsible for pairing us up.

And for the record, I was not a fan of destiny. Destiny nearly ruined my life or so I believed when it decided to pair me up with one of god's most vile creatures. For a time, it seemed that I truly was cursed, but as destiny always knows best, it was because of destiny that I found love again.

So here's how destiny started...or so this is how I heard how it all began.

"Absolutely not!" Jessica stated determinedly. "You have no idea what you're asking for. Sure, Bella is a hot piece of ass and, yes, she is probably the only woman in this state that you haven't fucked...well me of course... thank god for small favors. I can't even imagine the STD train you would bring me."

"Mostly, I just...spin a wheel and whatever it lands on, that is the parting gift I leave with the woman." Edward jested.

"So gross." Jessica quivered.

"Michael, would you please talk some sense into your wife? She places Bella up on this pedestal and forgets that she is just like every other woman. She has needs, urges, and dirty fantasies and, for one night, I could be the guy to remove that positively pointy stick from her ass...maybe even replace it with something better." Edward boasted.

"Why exactly are you friends with this moron again?" Jessica snapped at her husband.

"Please...just leave me out of this. You both don't want to know what I really think." Michael held his hands up in surrender and walked back toward the kitchen for another glass of wine.

"Of course we want to know what you think, baby." Jessica crooned. "I know that your intelligent enough to...always see things my way."

Edward rolled his eyes and flopped down on the couch, picking back up the XBOX controller.

"Yeah, Michael...why don't you try to not sissy out on us and tell us what you really think." Edward pushed.

Michael finished pouring his wine and sighed. He tentatively walked back over toward the couch, afraid that this would not end well for him. On one side was his wife, whom he loved and adored, but sometimes she could be a little...insistent. Yes, insistent was a nice way of putting it. And then there was his best friend from work, Edward. Edward...well let's just say that it was a good thing Michael was already married when they met or else his relationship with Edward would have been rather different. Michael cringed just thinking of all the ways Edward would have pushed him into doing some rather questionable things with questionable women.

To each their own, that's what Michael always thought when he would see the countless women his best friend would go through.

"Come on, pussy face. Just say it already." Edward remarked.

"Don't call him that." Jessica snapped.

"Does he eat your pussy?" Edward asked, and Jessica narrowed her eyes disapprovingly. "Then...he's a pussy face."

"All right! Would you both just shut up?" Michael spat.

The room went quiet and Edward set the game controller back down, waiting to hear what his friend was about to say.

"First of all...I think you should respect Jessica's wishes on her friend Bella. Bella...has gone through a lot and she doesn't need some guy fixing her plumbing right now, so to speak." Michael started.

"Are you kidding me? You're siding with your wife?" Edward snapped, offended.

"Secondly." Michael stated louder. "Jessica...don't you think that Edward just may be the best guy you could think of to be blessed with a Bella Special?"

Jessica was just about to say something, but then she imagined what life would be like if Edward had been blessed with a Bella Special. A smile formed on her lips and she bit into her bottom lip.

"You know what...you are absolutely right." Jessica laughed. "Edward, I will go ahead and set you up on that date but...as your...slimy self slithers into the restaurant, please remember that you asked for it."

"Wait...what's a Bella Special?" Edward narrowed his eyes.

"Bella Special?" Jessica acted innocently, "Of course Bella is special."

Jessica rubbed Edward's shoulder and stood up from the couch. She quickly went over to retrieve her cell phone to place the call.

"Mike...what are you not telling me? I thought we were bros? Bros before..."

"Dude, that's my wife. Wife always trumps...bros." Michael shook his head and sat down next to Edward, picking up the game controller. "But just remember bro...you asked for it."

"Come on. Just fucking tell me already." Edward complained, "Is she...frigid or...for god sakes, does she...have a jungle rather than a ski slope?"

"Edward." Michael sighed and looked over to his best friend, "I hate to break this to you but...you won't ever make it past the date to find out."

Michael started laughing as he thought of all the ways Bella was going to wreak his friend. Edward worked on Michael for a solid two hours before Michael would finally break and divulge what he was in for. Jessica, unfortunately, had the difficult task of getting Bella to even agree to the date but in the end, of course, Bella said yes because life was short and sometimes a little fun was good for the old soul.

"You see...my dear good...bro, Bella is the ultimate dater hater. She doesn't want to date. Not now. Not ever. So when people like Jessica call her and try to fix her up, Bella will go out of her way to ruin the date as best as she can." Michael began.

"Why...would she do that?" Edward inquired.

"To teach people like Jessica a lesson." Michael replied, "Do. Not. Set. Her. Up."

"Isn't she a little young to be so...prudish. I mean every girl needs a little penis pounding every once in a while...oh shit, is she a carpet muncher?"

Michael rolled his eyes and wondered again how he ever became friends with this man in the first place.

"No. She's not a lesbian. She just...doesn't want anything and, contrary to what you may think, not every woman is dying for a...penis pounding. But getting back to the topic, since Bella doesn't want to date, she takes the time on the date to have a free meal and have fun...at your expense. The last guy she was set up with somehow caught on fire or something." Michael scratched his head, trying to remember the details.

Edward furrowed his brow and looked over at his friend like he was crazy.

"Hey, Jess...Marco was the one that caught on fire, right?" Michael called out to his wife.

"No. Marco was the one with the third degree burns. Jesse was the one that caught on fire." She corrected him.

"I thought Jesse was the STD/pregnancy scare." Michael replied.

"Ugh...you can't ever keep them straight. Brad was the STD pregnancy scare. Jesse caught on fire. Marco had third degree burns, and, well, I think we both remember what happened to Nathan." Jessica smirked.

Michael instantly covered his privates and cringed. "Yeah...car door. Ouch."

"Who the fuck did you two set me up with? The antichrist?" Edward exclaimed.

"Awe, Edward." Jessica pouted. "Not man enough for my friend? Thought so."

Jessica practically cackled back toward her purse.

"I can...always cancel if you'd like. Seeing how I am...such a good friend." Jessica pulled out her phone and held it up.

Edward knew what she was trying to do. She had challenged him and he was going to look like a pussy if he didn't go through with this. He looked over to Michael, who was still invested in his game but managed to have a little smirk on his face, and then looked back at Jessica, who stood superior.

"I know what you guys are trying to do. But, I'm not going to fall for it." Edward puffed up his chest. "Because I'm a man and I'm sure an hour with me, your little friend will be putty in my bed."

"No, Edward, we aren't trying to do anything." Jessica sighed happily, "But since you seem...masochistic, I will give you one warning. If at any time Bella decides to leave...say to the bathroom or to make a call...that's code for ditching you with the check."

"Don't worry, Jessica, I will be the perfect gentleman that night...but, in the morning, bitchs gotsta go." Edward picked up his jacket and swung it over his shoulder.

"Until next time, stay beautiful, peeps." Edward winked at Michael and Jessica before sauntering out the front door.

Both Michael and Jessica stared at each other for a few seconds before bursting out in laughter.

"He is so...fucked." Jessica sang.

"I really hate to do that to a friend, but can't say I didn't warn him." Michael shrugged.

As the week went by and Saturday came closer and closer, Edward seemed to let Jessica and Michael's words get the better of him. He had been plagued with nightmares of car doors, fires, and STD's. Would Bella be the one to ruin him? He told himself over and over again that he was a man, a strong manly man, and no chick was going to get the best of him. But as Saturday night approached and his date was just a few hours away, he couldn't handle it any longer, and went straight to his friend's office one last time to try to get the true story of this Bella girl.

He had seen Bella only once before. Michael and Edward had gone down to the local pub and eatery that Jessica was having her girl's night out at when they ran into them. It was only a few moments but, when Edward's eyes landed on the smooth perfect curves of Bella's body in that tight black dress, his radar was instantly turned on.

The way her long brown wavy hair fell down her back. Her deep brown eyes that seemed to glitter when she smiled. This was definitely Edward's next perfect conquest.

"So...terrified?" Michael smirked when he saw the state his best friend was in.

"No." Edward scoffed. "Well...shit, wouldn't you be? I mean, what's this girl's deal? Who tries to ruin dates just for the fun of it? Doesn't she want to meet "the one"?"

"That's an awful lot of questions, my friend." Michael laughed.

Edward huffed and took a seat in the chair in front of Michael's desk. Michael, in a moment of weakness gave in and shared with Edward just a few more things he had learned about the wonderful world of dating Isabella Swan.

"All right." He sighed, "I guess it wouldn't be very...brosome of me to send you off without giving you the upper hand. However, once again, I will tell you that Isabella Swan is not going to put out. I don't say this to challenge you or to make you feel like less of a man but she really, honestly is not looking for a fuck buddy, she is not looking for a husband, or a serious commitment. So...my advice before you put yourself through this, call Jessica and cancel."

Edward sat back in the chair with both feet perched up on the edge of Michael's desk and thought over that for a moment. He still couldn't imagine any woman in the great state of New York to not want to find love. Hell, isn't that why women came flocking to New York City?

After a short deliberation he finally looked at Michael and waved him on, "Tell me...tell me her schemes."

Michael shook his head at his head-strong friend. Even a bat to the forehead wouldn't get the message though his friend's incredibly thick skull. Michael wasn't quite sure why Edward was so determined on going out after every warning he and Jessica had given, but he had to believe that some good could come from this.

"Okay." He sighed, "I guess for starters...she may...try and make you look like the villain. She will have the wait staff believing that you are the worst human being on the face of the planet. It's a great way to get everyone on her side so that when she ditches you at the end of the date, everyone will feel sorry for her and look at you like the jerk she'll make you out to be. If I were you, I would start with a huge bouquet of flowers. A statement piece that no waiter or waitress could erase from their minds."

"Got it. Big, flashy, waste of money flowers." Edward pulled his legs off the desk and continued to intently listen to his friend.

"Next...make sure that if the table has a romantic candle set on it, then blow out the candle or move it to another table. I'm not saying that Bella purposely set Jesse on fire, but, somehow the candle spilled onto the table and set the tablecloth on fire, and I guess Jesse had his elbows on the table so he caught on fire as well."

"What kind of man goes to a fancy restaurant and sets his elbows on the table?" Edward replied, disgusted.

"That's exactly what Bella said." Michael shook his head dubiously. "Anyway, she could try to pull the STD scare on you, but I doubt it. She usually doesn't go back to a classic. Plus, it's a lot of work on her part and I heard her telling Jessica once that the time it took to attach all the herpes and mouth sores was a waste of time for the payoff."

Edward creased his brow while Michael continued to plow on.

"Oh...and, whatever you do, don't give her liquor. She's like a gremlin or something. Liquor always makes her act completely outrageous, and not in a good way. Also, don't let her leave the table; Jessica wasn't lying when she said that that is always code for her sticking you with the check and never returning. If you can, I suggest you get a table directly facing the bathroom so that, if she does go, she won't be able escape unless she...does something crazy like climb out the bathroom window."

"Table next to the bathroom...got it." Edward shook his head and grumbled, "Never worked so hard to get laid."

"I tried to tell you to not go after the unicorn, but you insisted." Michael replied.

"What about the third degree burns guy? How did that happen? Or the car door guy?" Edward inquired.

"Third degree burns was just soup in the lap and car door is exactly how it sounded. The one guy who actually managed to not get dine and ditched helped Bella into the car...he thought they were going to go back to his place and she "accidentally" slammed the guys dick in the door. It wasn't really her fault if you think about it, what guy pitches a tent before getting into a cab? I mean, eager much?"

"You have been spending way too much time with your wife. "Eager much?" You sound like a Cali girl."

Michael let Edward's comment roll off. "Which reminds me...Bella is horribly clumsy. I don't think half the things that have happened were really intentional, but she just went with the flow. The soup in the lap, Bella was trying to get out of her chair for her dine and ditch, and her foot caught on the leg of the chair and she fell into the waiter who was carrying the soup. So...as much as I can tell you to watch out for this or that, in the end it could be her clumsiness that is the death of you."

A brash knock on the door snapped Michael and Edward out of their scheming.

"Hey ladies, I hate to break up the sewing circle, but did you two idiots forget there was a meeting right now? You think I like coming in on a Saturday?"

Edward rolled his eyes and stood up before his boss could berate him any further.

"Coming...always." He winked.

Michael stood up and followed him out. He gave Edward a brief pat on the back, "It's been nice knowing you, bro."

Michael couldn't wait to hear how the date went. In fact, it had become a little ritual that on nights a Bella Special was going to occur, Jessica and Michael would grab take out and await the phone call. However, tonight there was surely going to be two phone calls coming in; one for Jessica from Bella and, now, one from Michael's best friend, Edward.

"So ,did you get the Chinese?" Jessica greeted her husband.

"And the fried wontons you love, my love." Michael cooed.

"You are just the best." Jessica jumped up and went to help her man with the food. They had it all set up on the television table with the phones set next to the plates and silverware.

"So, was Edward even a little worried?" Jessica wondered. She had been wondering all damn day, hoping for an update.

"Oh yeah! Kinda felt bad for him so...I may have told him some more." He cringed, awaiting the wrath.

"WHAT? Dammit, Michael!" Jessica screeched. "You warned him? Now, where's my fun? I was excited was that the one man in New York City was about to meet his match."

She slammed her fist into the palm of her hand and practically growled.

"He's my best friend and, as much as you want to see him humiliated, I don't want to see him end up in the hospital." Michael tried to defend his actions.

"Oh, for Pete's sake. Only a couple of the guys actually ended up in the hospital." Jessica waved off.

"Look, I only gave him previous incidentals and told him ways he could avoid anything bad happening. You never know, Jess, she could actually end up liking Edward if, for once, she wasn't worried about her scheming."

"You and I both know why she does it and, just for that, I'm going to call Bella and give her the heads up. Two can play this game." Jessica snatched her phone and stormed off toward the bedroom. Michael could tell by how hard the door slammed that he would certainly not be getting any from his wife later on.

When Jessica finally did emerge from the bedroom she had a sense of superiority, which could only mean that Bella and her were able to work out a plan to circumvent all of Michael's hard work. She flounces over to the couch and gave him her little smile before taking her plate of Chinese food.

"Twenty bucks that Bella ruins Edward for all women. By the time my pony is done with him, he will enter the priesthood."

"You're on." Michael replied.

And so they waited for the date to commence. They waited, looking at their cell phones every few minutes, for the first call to come in. As the time passed, they both wondered what was taking so long. Bella's record in the past, on average, had the date ending within forty minutes. Both of them started to wonder if maybe their friends had really hit it off. Could it be?

The light on the cell phone lit up and the ring tone, Party Like A Rock Star began to play.

"Ha!" Michael celebrated. seeing his friend's name come up. Jessica grabbed her phone and furiously began to dial, wondering why Bella hadn't called her yet.

"Hello." Michael answered coolly.

"We have a problem. I need your help...now." Edward's voice wavered and it set Michael's whole body on edge.

"Why isn't she picking up?" Jessica worried. "Michael...Bella's not picking up."