Contest entry for the Meet the Mate contest

Pen Name: RobzBeanie
Title: Stripped
Summary: He catches my eye from the first moment I see him, the way he oozes sex. I have no idea what I'm going to do with him when I get him home.
Pairing: Bella/Edward
Beta: moosals
Rating: M

Chapter 1: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

"Please tell me you're not planning to wear that," Alice groans as she steps through my open front door. I close the door behind her, frowning as I look down at my outfit. I'm wearing the same light gray slacks and navy silk button-down blouse that I wore to work today.

"What's wrong with it? We're only going out to dinner."

"We're also going out after dinner; I told you that already. That is not club attire." Alice is wearing dark wash skinny jeans and a shimmery silver top that I'd never be caught dead in. I personally find her look a bit too '20-something' for a 34-year-old wife and mother of two, but I know better than to complain.

"And I'm not a club person, Alice. Look," I begin, running my hand through my hair, "It's been a long week. I'd really just like to go home and go to bed after we eat dinner."

Alice just stares at me, looking aghast. "We're celebrating your 35th birthday, Bella! You cannot just 'go home and go to bed' by eight o'clock." She shakes her head, looking incredibly put out with me.

"Fine," I acquiesce. "We can go out… for a little while. But I'm not changing."

Alice pouts but relents. I grab my purse and keys, locking the front door behind us as we make our way to Alice's Mercedes.

Fifteen minutes later, we're pulling up outside my favorite restaurant in Seattle. My friends and coworkers at the investment firm, Jessica and Angela, are waiting near the hostess stand. I notice immediately that both of them have changed out of the clothes I saw them wearing at the office today. I give them each a quick hug, before we're led to our table.

As we take our seats, Alice's phone beeps with an incoming text and she pulls it out of her purse, swiping the screen. "Lauren's on her way; she got held up at work."

"See? She'll be wearing her work clothes, too," I point out gleefully.

"No, she's running late because she went home to change," Alice replies, sticking her tongue out at me.

We decide to order a bottle of wine while we wait for Lauren. Alice and I have been friends with her since college; we all attended U-Dub and lived on the same floor in the dorms.

When Lauren arrives, I stand up to hug her, trying not to roll my eyes at the short, tight low-cut dress she's wearing. While I love her to death, Lauren has always been much more… free with her sexuality. She and I are the only single ones out of our little group.

After Angela has complained at length that she had to hire a babysitter for tonight — her husband, Ben, is out bowling with the guys — the conversation devolves into the married women complaining about their respective husbands. It's times like these when I'm happy to be single. I mean, sure I'd like to get married and have a family one day, but if that never happens for me, I'm ok with it.

My priority in life has always been my career, to make something of myself. My dad left when I was only two, and my mom, who'd never gone to college, worked minimum wage jobs in our small hometown of Forks, Washington, barely able to make ends meet. She'd always planned to be a housewife and had nothing to fall back on after the divorce. I resolved early on that that wasn't going to be me.

And I've been successful beyond my wildest dreams. I parlayed my Economics degree to a job at one of the major investment firms in Seattle, making Vice President two years ago. All of my hard work has paid off, but it hasn't left me much time for dating.

"So, Bella," Lauren asks, "How did that blind date turn out last month?"

"Ugh," I groan. "The guy had halitosis. It's too bad, because he looked good on paper."

"Maybe you need to lower your standards," Jessica giggles, already tipsy. She's always been a lightweight when she drinks.

"And date a guy with bad breath?" I ask in horror.

"No, no… I mean you don't have to restrict yourself to guys who make as much money as you do."

"That is not one of my requirements," I protest. "But I do need a guy who's serious about his career; otherwise, I have no idea what we'd have in common."

"When was the last time you got laid, anyway?" Alice asks.

"You know when."

"Oh my God, seriously? Jacob was the last? That was two years ago!"

"I got promoted right after Jacob and I broke up," I defend myself. "I've been too busy to date."

"Who said anything about dating?" Lauren snorts. "A random hook-up can give you all the fun with none of the hassle. Your lady parts have probably shriveled up by now."

"Or maybe grown cobwebs," Alice adds with a giggle. I glare at both of them.

"What is this place?" I ask, looking up at the cheesy neon sign that reads New Moon. "This isn't the bar you usually drag me to."

"This is a special place for your birthday," Alice smiles, opening the car door as the other three girls get out of Angela's car to join us.

Shaking my head, I follow Alice to the entrance of the club. The huge, grumpy-looking bouncer steps aside to allow us in, and Alice insists on paying the ten-dollar cover charge since it's my birthday.

"What the hell is this place?" I ask again as we walk further into the club. Instead of the usual bar and dance floor, there is a raised stage along one wall, with dozens of small round tables placed around the room. The sound system is blaring out dance music from our college days.

And then I see a waiter walk by wearing tight jeans… and nothing else. "You brought me to a male strip club, Alice?" I screech, turning to walk back out.

I don't get very far before she grabs my arm and practically drags me to a table right in front of the stage, with a 'Reserved' sign sitting on top. She shows a nearby waiter her ID and encourages me to take a seat as she orders a round of drinks for the table.

"I can't believe you brought me to a male strip club."

"You need to live a little, Bella! Let your hair down, let loose… whatever," she shrugs.

"Did you see the bulge in that waiter's jeans?" Lauren asks, fanning herself.

"He probably stuffed them with socks," I mutter.

"God, you are such a spoil sport!" she complains and I just shake my head.

Our waiter returns with five brightly colored drinks on a tray, showing bright white teeth as he smiles while he sets the glasses on the table in front of each of us. I can't help staring at his jeans… definitely stuffed.

"What are we drinking?" Angela asks. "This has to be my only one, since I'm driving."

"Sex on the beach," Alice replies with a smile.

Ten minutes later, the emcee, who introduces himself as T.J., takes the stage, announcing the start of tonight's show. He asks the audience to scream, and the piercing sound is nearly deafening. A half dozen guys, all fully dressed, with masks covering the upper half of their faces, take the stage to the pulsing music.

It's like a car crash. I cannot look away from the stage as the men gyrate to the music. One piece at a time, their clothing comes off until they're in nothing but black g-strings.

Holy… I think it'd be too obvious if they stuffed socks in those.

All six guys are hot, and all six are very talented dancers, if I'm being honest. They put on a good show.

But one guy stands out to me above the rest. I'm not really sure what it is about him. He's tall, but rather thin, though he has a six-pack. I can only see the bottom half of his face, but his jaw is sharp and chiseled. His hair looks like it's mostly brown, though under the lights, I can see bits of red and blond. If I had to put a name to the color, I'd call it bronze.

Angela sees where my eyes are directed and smiles. "He's pretty hot."

"He's ok," I shrug — lying my ass off.

I take a sip of my second drink, then look up, noticing Alice and Jessica having some sort of conversation with their eyes.

"I need to use the ladies room," Jessica says, standing up suddenly.

I turn my eyes back to the stage, watching him as the guys stand with their backs to us, shaking their tail feathers. Goddamn, he has a nice round ass for a thin guy.

About 10 minutes after Jessica returns, the dancers go on a short break. We take the opportunity to order another round of drinks.

When the six guys come back, they're dressed in black pants, white shirts and red ties. They each carry a small wooden chair, which they arrange in a semi-circle in the middle of the stage. And then one by one, they step into the audience, choosing seemingly random women to sit in the chairs while the crowd whoops and hollers.

He is the last of the six to choose someone, and to my horror, he walks straight to our table, holding out his hand to… me!

A/N: Back with a new fic, as promised! This one is just for fun, so please don't take it too seriously. Moosals has fun tossing out theories as she pre-reads new batches of chapters, so I hope you guys will too!

My banner that moosals made: i71 dot photobucket dot com /albums/i135/Thecommitted/Banners/stripped_banner dot jpg

Chapter titles are 80s song titles, because 80s music ruled! I'm off to Denver this weekend to see Duran Duran in concert, so you may see a few of their song titles pop up on various chapters.

Two more chapters taken from the contest entry will be posted this week, and then there will be a break of 3-4 weeks since I'll be on vacation for the next two weeks. I have 49,000 words pre-written, and I'd like to get it closer to the end before I start posting the rest. Once I pick it up again, the story will be updated several times per week with short chapters that fit the pace of the story.