"…and there you have it. Simple, easy, and delicious barbeque glazed ribs. The full list of ingredients is in the description below if you wanna check it out, and be sure to hit that like button and subscribe to be told when I make a new video. See you guys in the next one, and stay wicked."
"Aaaand, cut," Alice lowered the camera. "That was great, Bella. You're a natural at this."
"Thanks," I took a deep breath. Though I've uploaded quite a number of videos on my YouTube channel already, I still can't completely shake the nervous energy that wells up inside me every time the camera's on me.
"I want to do my video next, but that's just too tempting to just leave on the counter," Alice eyed the plate she was filming just seconds ago. "Dinner first?"
"Sure," I chuckled. "Dinner first."
"God, you really know how to make sauce, Bella," Alice moaned after taking her last bite of my barbeque ribs. "If you sell this by the bottle, you'll be a millionaire!"
I laughed as smudges of my apparently great sauce ended up on her cheeks and fingers. Alice is normally as dainty and prim as any proper lady, but if you put any grilled slab of meat in front of her, she scarfs the thing down with the finesse of a wolf.
"I think you better use a bib or something next time if you're going to keep eating like that," I suggested though my own face and fingers were covered in the sticky liquid. "You might get some on your blouse."
"Oh shit. You're right," she looked at the silk top she was wearing. "Better not get any stains, especially since I plan on using this for when we shoot my video."
"What're you going to do, anyway?"
"A haul for the stuff I got last weekend," her eyes suddenly brightened. "OMG, I totally forgot that I got you some clothes, too! Wait here. I'll go grab them really quick."
"Al, I don't need any new clothes," I grumbled in my seat as Alice hurriedly washed her hands and face before running to her bedroom. "Really. What I have now is fine!"
"Oh can it, Bella," she called. "You'll love these. And you're a YouTuber now! You're pretty on your own, but actually putting some effort in the way you dress will make a world of difference for your aesthetic. Gotta give your viewers a bit of eye candy to look at."
I knew I should trust Alice since she was the one with the successful fashion and beauty channel, but her idea of stylish just wasn't the same as mine. Actually, I didn't have a clue of what 'stylish' was exactly. In my book, comfort always came first.
"I do have eye candy in my videos: the food," I argued as Alice returned with a bag labelled something I couldn't read. "People watch my videos for the recipes, not for my clothes. That's what you're for," I reminded.
"Yeah, but image is everything," Alice plopped back down in her seat. "Do you know how bad it would look if a beauty guru such as myself would continue let her own cousin dress in the same ratty shirts she wears in practically all her videos?"
"I highly doubt your subscribers would care if your cousin, who runs a cooking channel, mind you, wears the simple clothes I've been using for years."
"It's not about the simplicity of it, Bella. I mean, half your closet consists of crap that's either torn, stained, or has some kind of hole in it."
I opened my mouth to say something, but honestly, I couldn't think of a decent rebuttal to that.
"Seriously, Bells. I promise I didn't get you anything provocative or…you know, anti-Bella," she giggled. "Look at this. Isn't it cute? It'll go great with your complexion."
"It's nice," I conceded because the blue V-neck she held up was. "Not so sure about the neckline, though."
"Your boobs will pull this off just fine," she insisted, dropping the garment back into the bag. "Oh, and I know how much you love hoodies, so I got you a couple with all these adorable doodles, plus some shirts, shorts – "
"How much clothes did you buy?" I asked. It sounded like she raided a dozen stores just for the things she intended for me. "And holy crap, how much did you spend?"
The look gave Alice was a cross between amused and slightly insulted. "I bought enough. And money is totally no issue. You know Daddy's okay with me using the credit card as long as I stay out of trouble."
Well, that was true. Unlike my parents, Alice's were loaded. Heck, they were paying for my college tuition at Cornell and the apartment we were sharing, and despite that, they still had enough dough to travel the world like what they were doing right now.
"How is he, by the way?" I asked as we began clearing the table. "He and your mom were somewhere in Europe last time you guys Skyped, right?"
"Yeah," Alice sighed. "I think they're in Thailand now or somewhere…I don't really know. I haven't contacted them in a while, and I'm not going to start anytime soon. Their nagging can be draining."
"They're still trying to convince you to enrol in college?"
"Yes!" she all but flung the dishes into the dishwasher. "They don't get that I don't want to go! The classes, the exams…university is just so stifling. I'm a free bird, man. I'm not about that school life. And besides, I have YouTube."
Though she had more than a hundred thousand subscribers with PiXieDust, the beauty channel she's been running since high school, Alice's parents still held the old-fashioned notion that the only path to success was higher education. They reacted horribly when they found out that Alice had roped me into the YouTube scene, thinking that I was quitting school to be a video creator full-time.
They only calmed down after I told them that I was only doing it for fun and for some extra cash. Of course, that cash was pretty non-existent when I first started ForksintheKitchen, but after about three months of constant uploads and nearly a thousand subscribers, the revenue was growing.
"Let's not talk about them anymore," Alice waved her hand dismissively. "Can you help me set-up the camera? I wanna film now."
"Sure," I smiled at her, and did just that. Minutes later, the fairy lights in the living room were lit, the tripod was set, and Alice was in the perfect spot to show off her purchases.
"Hello, my lovelies! It's Alice here for another pixie haul. I have a ton of things to show guys today, starting with this fabulous top I got for my cousin Bella…"
People usually assume that as a Fine Arts major, I live and breathe for painting. While that has some degree of truth, digital media is really my interest and forte ever since I discovered Photoshop.
Another reason why I prefer working with a computer rather than a paintbrush is also because a laptop is a hell of a lot more convenient to carry around than giant canvasses. Unfortunately, I have to keep realizing that fact every time I have to buy painting supplies.
"Ugh," I grunted as I dropped my backpack, my laptop bag, and the three canvasses I lugged around campus today to the floor of my bedroom. It was nearly six-thirty PM, I barely had any sleep, and I was tired.
At least it's Friday, I thought to myself as I booted my desktop. Time to relax and troll the Internet.
YouTube and my e-mail were the first tabs I opened. I'm not the type of creator who constantly checks on comments, likes, and favorites, but I do occasionally check responses, especially the day after uploading. I had been up until five-thirty this morning editing and posting the barbecue ribs video, and I was anxious to see what my viewers thought.
Apparently, they liked it a lot since the traffic was massive, and the number of comments it generated was a hundred percent higher than my usual average.
"Whoa," I muttered to myself, blinking in surprise. "Something's up."
There just had to be. Maybe Alice promoted the video in her channel, but she's always done that and my videos never got this much attention.
"I'll get to the bottom of this," I said as I scrolled through each comment. For the most part, they were compliments and suggestions, but there was one particular comment that got my attention thanks to the thousand thumbs-up's it received.
CULLEngage (8 hours ago)
this looks so good. wish I didn't burn water so I can actually try this. haha. great job +ForksintheKitchen
It was a pretty standard response, but when I noticed the poster's username, the reason why it was so popular suddenly became clear.
CULLEngage commented on my video.
Anyone and everyone who hangs around YouTube knows who Edward Cullen, or CULLEngage, is. With over thirty million subscribers, he was the number one most subscribed YouTuber, and basically, the king of gaming. The let's play's he releases cover everything from horror to Internet flash games.
He's extremely good-looking, too; I'm not ashamed to admit that I, together with a multitude of fangirls, have a crush on him. Add that to his success, humor, and charisma, and you've got yourself a winning combination.
What was he doing commenting on a random cooking video, though?
And an even bigger question: do I reply? And if I do, what should I say?
Totally clueless as I stared at my screen, I whipped my phone out and did what any girl in my situation would do.
"Alice? I think I need some help."
"I can't believe it," Alice giggled. She clapped happily on the chair she pulled up next to mine. "Edward Cullen likes your video!"
"I can't believe it, either," I said. "How did he even find it?"
"Is he subscribed to you?"
"Uh…I don't think so?"
"Let's check," she started clicking links on my computer. "Huh. Well, he is now."
My eyes widened as I stared at the name she made my pointer hover over. CULLEngage was listed under my roster of subscribers. "How can…holy shit."
"Holy shit indeed."
"How am I supposed to respond to his comment, though? Do I even need to respond?"
Alice stared at me, appalled. "Are you kidding? Of course you do! You reply to every other comment you get. Why should CULLEngage be any different?"
I took a deep breath. "Okay, I get what you're saying. You're right. What am I supposed to say, though?"
"Hmm…" Alice returned to the video to post a comment. "How about something like…" she paused to type.
+CULLEngage i'd be happy to cook it again for you :D
"Al, I can't use that!"
"Why not? He studies at Cornell, too, so it's not like he has to cross state lines or something."
"Well…" I struggled to think of a good negation. "Well, what if he agrees?"
"Then he'll get his cute butt over here so you can cook him some barbeque ribs."
I groaned, burying my face in my hands.
"What's wrong?" Alice sounded genuinely confused. "I don't see where the problem is. You like him, right?"
"Yeah, but so does every person on the planet who's seen him," I told her. "It just…that feels a little too forward. And it's Edward Cullen. The guy probably has a larger subscriber count than the population of a small country."
"So? That isn't relevant. He's just a person, Bella," Alice reminded me with a nudge. "A really hot person, I might add. A really hot person who wants to taste your cooking. Take a chance! If he doesn't reply or rejects the offer, then that's that. But if he says he wants to take you up on it, then jump on the opportunity! You're just going to let him sample your dish – something I do every time you make a video. It's not like you're going to marry him."
Once again, Alice's simple logic left me argument-less. I could see her point; why am I making such a big deal out of this? The chances of him replying are slim to none, anyway.
Before I could change my mind or lose my nerve, I grabbed the mouse and pressed the 'post' button quickly. The reply Alice typed showed within seconds.
Oh my God, I thought as the reality of what I just did sunk in. What have I done?
I didn't open my YouTube account or my e-mail for the rest of the day.
I was just so nervous, and my brain was working hard to overthink the whole scenario. Part of me was happy I basically asked him out to dinner, but another was regretting it big time.
What on earth did I get myself into?
As hard as I tried to resist peeking into my inbox, though, my resistance eventually weakened sometime around two in the morning. I swiftly clicked the link to the barbecue ribs video, scrolled down the comments, and immediately saw what I was scared and eager to read at the same time.
CULLEngage (4 hours ago)
+ForksintheKitchen it's a date :)
And along with that comment, was a private message asking me where and when I was available.