That time I wrote a story based entirely around a title . . .



Emmett will never learn.

I shake my head, watching my best friend, Dr. McCarty, flirt with one of the ditzy pharmacy techs at the precise moment Dr. Hale walks by, her nose stuck in a book. It's not unusual to see her like this, she's trying to get published. It's better than her nose being stuck in the air the way so many of the other ladies behave around here.

I don't know why Emmett's playing these games; he fell for her months ago. She isn't letting him in her pants yet, and it's driving him berserk. I'm sure she's not a virgin. She's just making him work for it, and I love it. Girls usually flock to him. He deserves to sweat it out occasionally.

He gives me a nod as I grab a tray, moving through the cafeteria line. While I'm waiting for my Cobb salad, I check my phone. Big surprise: another missed call from the good doctor. If she wasn't drop dead gorgeous and her voice wasn't so goddamn enticing on all these messages, I'd have given up on the hopes of this elusive date weeks ago.

"Hey, Bella. Phone tag, you're it," I say, chuckling. "Sorry I missed your call again, surgery went long. Looking forward to Thursday. Call me if anything changes, though. See ya."

"Whaddup, McSteamy?" Emmett hip-checks me as I move forward to pay for my meal. "Buy me lunch?"

I roll my eyes, waving my debit card. "For both," I say to the cashier, whipping my head toward Emmett. "And would you stop calling me that, for God's sake?"

He snorts while we make our way toward the tables. "Thanks, man. I'll getcha next week," he promises, taking a seat. "How'd surgery go?"

"Routine discectomy at L4-5. Girl was dragging her left leg behind her yesterday. Today when she wakes up she'll be good as new."

"Except for recovering from the knife wound you left in her back."

"Well, yes, except for that." I pour ranch dressing over my salad and grab my fork. "Who are you in for today?"

"Intensive care all week," he answers, dropping his slice of pizza and wiping his mouth with a napkin. "Gimme a few more days, and I know I'll have Rosie eating out of my hand. I've got like, seven of her patients on my caseload. She's calling me all the time, answering my pages." He chugs his Monster Energy drink and covers his mouth to belch. "It's a thing of beauty."

I tip my head while stirring Stevia into my iced tea. "You do know she's only calling you back because you're the hospitalist on call, and her patients' lives are in your hands when she's away, right?"

He blows me off with a wave. "Semantics. I showed her the best night of her life on New Year's Eve, and we've had some pretty intense moments since then."

"Emmett¸ helping her crack a guy's chest open in the ER last month doesn't count. And what? You've maybe had coffee twice since then?"

"Hey, why're you busting my balls over this?" he argues, widening his arms. "Rosie's got a good thing going in me, she just doesn't know it yet."

"And do you plan to show her your good thing while fawning all over Jessie from the pharmacy and Nurse Ratched?" I wiggle my thumb over my shoulder.

"Irina's cool, you just have to know how to smooth talk her. That's why they call me McDreamy."

"No one calls you that." I shovel a chunk of turkey and some hard-boiled egg into my mouth.

"Untrue." He leans forward, looking like he's ready to drop some top-secret information at my feet. "Girls all over this place drool when they see you and me together. We need to be working this angle. Find some twins or something. You're getting rusty. Who's the latest chick, anyway?"

"Dr. Isabella Swan. She's doing her fellowship up in Urology under Dr. Whitlock."

"Aww, man. You know that won't last." Emmett dips his pizza crust in my ranch, while I lean back, looking on, dumb-founded. "Is she hot?"

"Extremely," I snap, snatching away my cup of dressing. "And we haven't even managed a first date. I'm hardly concerned about it lasting at this point."

He waves his fingers at a table of nurses, and they instantly oooh and ahhh, batting their lashes. "Dude, she looks at dicks all day. How're you gonna compete with that?"

I rub my fingers across my forehead, suddenly stricken with a headache after spending ten minutes with my idiot friend and roommate. "How you graduated top of your class at Harvard is still a mystery to me."

Through a mouthful of pizza, he grins. "Because I fuckin' rock. Your life would be a mess without me."

"My life would have less female drama without you, definitely."

"Hey, I've set you up on plenty of dates with decent girls."

I guffaw and guzzle my tea. "Decent is a strong word."

"Look, there might've been an issue here or there," he concedes, knowing full well some of the head cases he's sent my way. "But, hey, we all want a freak in the street and a freak in the bed, right?" He holds up his hand to high-five me—which I leave hanging—but he gets distracted and instead waves at the approaching hottie.

"It's a lady in the street and a freak in the bed, Luda." I roll my eyes.

"Hi, Dr. McCarty," one of the EMS girls croons, squeezing his arm as she passes us. "Thanks for helping out with that code earlier." She winks over her shoulder, hips swishing, continuing on her way.

He pats his chest. "Baby, that's what I'm here for!" We could all fall into his dimples, he grins so hard for her.

Meanwhile, I continue to inhale my salad. I have to get back on the floor in ten minutes.

"So tell me more about Dr. Dick. How'd you meet, again?"

I grin, thinking back to Christmas Eve when we consulted on an emergency case. "I was called in when she did an MRI for one of her patients, who was probably days away from kidney and intestinal failure. I went in, fixed the massive compressions in his thoracic spine, and Dr. Swan took over from there."

"And the patient?" he questions, brownie crumbs spewing.

"In perfect health, last time I checked." I stab a sliver of ham before finishing my thought. "I worked with her a few weeks ago, too. She and I swapped numbers and have played tag ever since."

"And the junk thing? You'd really be okay with that?"

"Emmett, she's a urologist." I pound my fist on the table, but not enough to alarm the place. "We all have specialties. Hers is working on dicks, yours is being one."

"Look, I'm just sayin' . . . my girl handling shafts all day? Helping out with erectile dysfunction and shit?" He shakes his head. "Nahh, buddy. Mine's the only one she should be stroking."

"Well, if she's test driving them, then yes, it'll become an issue. For now, she's not my girl, and we just need to have our first date. We've had a dozen run-ins in the halls. She flirts, definitely lets me know she's interested. I've turned on the charm . . . it's like a month of foreplay without having a meaningful conversation. I'm ready to see what she's all about. All we've done for weeks is schedule and reschedule because something always comes up."

"Exactly." He points his drink at me with a wide-eyed nod. "Dicks."


I show up to our breakfast date twenty minutes early, hoping to grab my favorite spot.

"Hey Dr. Cullen," an interns calls out as I pass by with the hostess. Then another table of paramedics gives me a nod. I'm always running into associates here at Great Eggspectations since it's down the street from the hospital.

When Bella walks through the door, she unravels her scarf, searching me out with her eyes.

I stand from the booth and wave, getting a sexy smile in response.

"Hey, glad you could make it." She doesn't shy away from the hug I offer. "I'm proud of us. We finally made this happen."

Her hands drag down my upper arms, and I swear I feel her give them a squeeze. Maybe the month of foreplay is getting to her, too. "Our voicemails were about to get into a serious relationship," she says with a laugh. "It's time we tried to catch up."

Once she's tucked into her seat, her cell goes off, playing the theme from Twilight Zone. It makes me chuckle, but she just glances at the screen and stashes it in her pocket. I settle myself across from her just as a server approaches our table.

"The chefs are trying out a new menu item, so we're giving free samples to our customers today." She places two plates down for us. "Quiche Lorraine with pancetta, hope you enjoy. And I'll give you a few minutes to look over the menu."

Bella smiles at the waitress while I answer. "Great, thanks very much."

"Nice choice, Dr. Cullen," Bella says, impressed. "Free food on our first time out." She raises her fork. "Shall we?"

I clink my fork with hers and toast, "To a long overdue date."

"I'll eat to that," she adds, taking a bite. "Mmmm, this is fantastic."

"Tell me about it," I agree and reach for my water. "Have you ever eaten here before?"

"No. I'm not usually a breakfast person."

My stomach sinks, hearing that I've probably lost a few points for suggesting this place and time. "I'm sorry, we could've chosen somewhere else."

"Oh, no, it's not that I don't like breakfast food," she reassures, taking another forkful of quiche. "I just meant I don't usually have time for breakfast and"—she cringes—"I don't make it a priority."

"I know what you mean." I nod. "If I have time to grab a granola bar in the mornings, it's a lot. We tell our patients until we're blue in the face about starting the day with a decent breakfast, yet we rarely practice what we preach or follow through."

"HA!" Someone shouts behind us.

"It's not always easy, but I try to remember to take care of myself." I finish my thought.

"Understatement of the motherfucking century!" The same female voice bellows once more.

Appropriately enough, the Twilight Zone song sounds again.

Bella's facial expression must mirror mine: confusion, mild embarrassment for the loudmouth, and a general feeling of 'what in the ever-loving fuck?'

After she silences her phone, I reach for the pepper. A second later, Bella straightens in her seat and places her fork down, her eyes bugging out.

"Did you seriously just say that with a straight face?"

My head twists to the right, realizing the same person now standing at our table is the one who just made the commotion. Holy hell. It's Tanya Denali, nymphomaniac and one of the per diem respiratory therapists I went out with in the fall. Her makeup is more caked-on than usual, and she clearly just reapplied her lipstick, because her mouth is a glossy blood red. Although I'm stunned into silence momentarily, Bella gives me a kick under the table to get me going. "I beg your pardon?"

"Just telling it like it is, Dr. Cullen." At least Tanya has the decency to keep her voice down at this point. "Oh, he'll give you a smooth ride for a while, sister," she directs toward Bella, who looks frightened, "but he'll keep on moving, and definitely not follow through, like he said. He'll get his nut . . . you'll be lucky if you get yours, though."

"Tanya," I growl as kindly as possible, "if you have a problem with me, I'd appreciate it if you called me later, and we can discuss it then."

"So you can lead me on again?" She grins evilly. "No thanks, sugar, but here . . . a little souvenir to remember me by"—she tosses something on the table—"you know, since you can't follow through."

I chance a look at Bella, who's now beet red and poking at the melted strands of Swiss in her breakfast. And again the Twilight Zone theme plays. Bella's nostrils flare, and this time I see her set her phone to silent mode.

"Tanya—" I start but she raises her hand to stop me, puckers her lips to the air, and stomps away from our booth.

When I glance down at the table, my jaw drops.

Bella leans forward, examining. "Is that? Are—are those panties on your quiche?"

I open my mouth to speak, but I have no words. All I can do is shake my head and look up to meet her gaze.

She furrows her brow, twisting her lips to the side of her mouth. "Well, she seemed sane." Tapping her fork to her plate, she tilts her head down and whispers. "You okay?"

"I—I'm mortified and so sorry." I sit back against the bench of our booth. Did the last three minutes really just happen? All I want is for the ground to swallow me at the moment, but instead I clap once. "So, this was fun, and I totally understand if you want to get out of here."

Pulling the fork from her mouth, she chews while her gaze darts around the room. "Can we go when I'm done eating my breakfast?" She covers her mouth while speaking. "We haven't even ordered yet, and I've wanted to see you for weeks now." Curling her finger toward me, she leans in again to whisper. "It may seem odd, but it'll take a lot more than skanky spotted undies and the ladies who love them to scare me off. Hang on." She raises her hand, leaning out of the booth to get the attention of our waitress. "Hi, 'scuse me?"

Aside from Bella's generous reaction, I'm shell-shocked, completely worthless it would seem . . . meanwhile I still can't believe that there's a leopard-print, silky thong sitting on my breakfast. Is this a fucking Saturday Night Live sketch?

Our server slides up to our table.

"Yeah, hi . . . we're almost ready to order, I think, but in the meantime, could you bring my friend a new piece of quiche? We umm"—Bella points her palm to my plate—"we've been spotted."



"So, y'all just sat there with that ho's panties on the poor boy's quiche?" Alice shrieks, her southern accent getting stronger with every syllable. "How's she just gonna desecrate a breakfast soufflé like that?"

I shake my head, giggling, transcribing my dictations. Clearly Alice is more horrified that food had been abused, rather than whatsherface dropping her drawers on my date's plate.

But I wouldn't expect anything less from sweet Alice. She's fifty-seven going on nineteen, the head nurse in our office, and the Urology Department's very own Paula Deen, bringing us mouth-watering new dishes she tries out over the weekends. According to Alice, if the recipe doesn't require at least a stick of butter or a cup of wine, it's not worth making. And yet, she's one-hundred-two pounds soaking wet. Personally, I think she's just trying to fatten up Dr. Whitlock. He's a widower, the head of the Urology Department, and a man of few words, but he loves when there are treats in the break room every Monday morning. I've even seen him sneak Alice a wink every once in a while.

They're probably buttering each other's biscuits on the regular.

"Didn't I tell you that Denali was trouble?" Garrett whispers at the nurse's station. "She's the hospital's bicycle." He gives me his best bitch brow, as only Garrett can, and I snort, pulling my earbud out, tired of doing my notes.

"That's why I didn't even give the incident a second thought. I felt terrible for Edward. Granted, it would've been more comforting to know that he didn't stoop so low as to be with her, but—"

Garrett squirts some hand sanitizer on his palm. "Honey, please, even I've been on that ride."

Alice and I snap our heads so quickly toward him, we'll probably both end up with whiplash.


Garrett holds up his hands in surrender. "In my defense, my head wasn't exactly in the best state. I was still getting over Samuel taking off with that sailor from Fleet Week, it had been a shitty few days with my insane neighbors who fight all the damn time, and I needed a release something awful. I made my way over to Beacon Hill and . . ." he trails off, sighing. "Best way to get over someone is to get under somebody else, ladies."

"Oh, Garrett," Alice chastises.

"But you're supposed to be under a man!" I can't stop laughing, and Garrett smacks my shoulder.

"Young lady, I know where I'm supposed to be. Like I said, wasn't my finest hour"—he shudders—"I won't ever do it again, but, yes, I've been with Tanya. She pulled some kind of Jedi mind trick, and it's only a matter of time before it happens to all of you, too." He waves his spirit fingers at us, like he's putting a spell over our office.

"Well, I can assure you I won't be switching teams any time soon, and definitely not for her." I call out after him before he disappears into exam room three. I slump forward on my stack of patient files. "I should call him. He looked so humiliated." I take out my phone and scroll through my contacts.

"Do you want to see him again and just try for a do-over?"

I run my hands through my hair, pulling it back with a ponytail holder. "I'd like to, but I need to change my number before I do. I swear; Jake won't relent!"

"Uh oh," Alice waves her hands, motioning for the scoop. "Talk to Momma Alice. What's his problem now?"

I stand, removing my stethoscope and trading it for my backpack in the filing cabinet. "Same as always. He wants to see the cat, then when he comes over he's all weepy and breaks into a chorus of 'Hard Habit to Break' by Chicago."

She shakes her head. "Bless his heart. I love their Greatest Hits album."

"Alice, I'm not kidding. If Jake screws up this next attempt at a relationship, I may lose my mind."

"Maybe you should slip him Tanya's number."

I slam the cabinet shut, swinging around to my brilliant friend. "I so love the way you think."

I grab my phone and send a quick text to Edward:

Still suffering from PTSD? Post Thong Stress Disorder? ;) Meet me at JP Licks & we'll lick your wounds together, womp womp. LOL. Maybe tomorrow evening? Let me know.


Spotting Edward crossing Charles Street about twenty paces ahead of me, I run to catch up. When I reach him, I grasp his fingers, giving them a tug.

"Hey, you."

"Hey," he says, doing a double take. "Just finishing for the night?"

"Umm, actually, I'm coming from my house. I was supposed to—" I cut myself off, not ready to expose Edward to the level of residual crazy I deal with from my last relationship. "I got done earlier. How'd your day go?"

"Uhh, busy. Several consultations, post-ops"—he holds the door open for me—"the usual. And now ice cream in twelve-degree-weather." He smiles shyly, getting ready to speak again, but I cut him off.

The playful punch I land on his shoulder helps to break the ice a bit more. "Look at us, finding time for each other only thirty-six hours later! It's gonna be pretty hard to beat this record."

Edward leans against the back wall, his thousand-mile-away stare aimed at the menu of flavors. I shift my weight, bummed, feeling like he's not at all in the mood.

"Bella, I really am sorry for yesterday morning. I've been sick about it." Dropping his chin, he stuffs his hands in the pockets of his Harvard hoodie.

I shake my head. "Seriously, you don't have to keep apologizing. We all have skeletons, right?" We inch forward in line before I turn back to him. "Some are just spottier than others." I maneuver my face to force his gaze to meet mine. "McSteamy"—I wink and jerk my head toward the counter—"let's order and get out of here."

"Really? The nickname?"

"Hey." I lift my hands in surrender. "So I've heard . . . but I'm thinking it fits."

He sighs. I laugh.

And I think we may have gotten past PantyGate.




We manage to finish our ice cream with my cell going off three times during the meal. This is because fucking Jake didn't show up when he said he would. I waited until seven, then left my apartment. I'm not sitting around and wasting my life away just for him to show up when he pleases, to spend time with his damn cat. I wish he'd find a place to live where pets are permitted. Ursula barely tolerates me as it is. I can't stand the amount of fur that she sheds all over every inch of my home, so if she went away, there'd be no love lost for either of us, I'm sure.

"You live around here, right?" he asks, pulling his hood over his head while I put on my mittens.

"I do, just a couple blocks away."

"Can I walk you home?"

I smile, my gaze transfixed on his swirled olive green and hazel eyes. They're the definition of bedroom eyes. The kind that turn your knees to jelly with one piercing glance. The kind that don't have to do much begging at all. The kind that have me hoping for a third, fourth, and twelfth date. "That'd be great, thanks."

I take his invitation to prolong our evening as a positive sign. Yesterday's outrageous scene aside, I feel like he's the type of guy who'd keep me laughing by day and curling my toes by night. We've worked together a couple of times, have passing hall conversations almost daily, and of course, our specialty is voicemail round robin.

I really like him, and I feel like he's digging me, too. Our schedules don't make life easy but—

"Mother of Crimminy!" I hiss, Twilight Zone interrupting my thoughts.

He laughs out loud but snatches me back from colliding with a kid zipping by on a skateboard.

"So, can I ask who keeps calling you from another dimension?"

Disgusted, I answer. "That would be my ex. I mean, we broke up several months ago, but he still comes around to visit his cat." We cross the street and turn right, heading toward Myrtle. "I wish he'd just take her and go."

"So why doesn't he?"

I roll my eyes. "It's a long story. There's still a small part of me that feels badly for him; kinda like if the guy didn't have bad luck, he wouldn't have any luck at all." I pull my hat further down to cover my ears better. The bitter wind tonight is unforgiving. "He had a great job as a financial advisor, but had a Jerry Maguire moment and decided not to work for the machine anymore; so he walked away."


"Admirable, right?" I point at the upcoming green door. "This is me. Anyway, so I was like, okay, cool, what's your plan now? His response? I think I'll take a painting class, maybe do some hot yoga."

"For now, or?" he questions as we start up the steps.

"Oh, forever! Or at least it had been until he realized that he wasn't a very good painter and had no chance of making a career of it. He got shot down by a bunch of galleries and promoters. Then he got depressed."


"He started having panic attacks. Couldn't leave where he was, so I'd have to come get him." I shake my head. "But then he ended up breaking up with me, because he knew I was too inundated with work to constantly be at his beck and call. His issues, most of them self-made, were just exhausting." I wrestle my keys from my jacket, giving us access to my cozy two-bedroom apartment. "Whenever he'd be around, he'd get mad, then he'd get sad." I toss the keys on my counter and peel off my jacket and hat. "He'd suck the oxygen from the room."

Edward makes a face. "Now that's a vivid description. So—"

The fucking Twilight Zone cuts him off this time. I growl, silence it, and collapse into my futon. "You were saying?" I question.

"Yeah, so where is he now?"

I point over my shoulder. "Around the block, wanting to come spend a few minutes with his cat."

"Oh, snap!" Edward laughs, pausing from unzipping his jacket. "Should I get going?"

My sad smile emerges, hating that Jake is interrupting my life yet again, hating myself more for not being an über bitch and kicking him and his catty feline to the curb for good. "I want you to stay for me, but I understand if you don't want to be exposed to the ex."

Edward walks over to the couch, lowering himself until we're shoulder to shoulder. "I'd like to stay." His silky, deep voice sends a surge of heat throughout my body. "I've been having a good time tonight, despite my shitty attitude when we first met up."

I pat his knee. "It wasn't so shitty. You were still getting over the cameo of your former psycho hose beast."

His eyes pinch shut as he chuckles and I join him. Once the laughter dies down a few seconds later, we're staring at each other; the silence is palpable, only the hum of the refrigerator soundtracks the moment.

The scruff that runs from his jawline down his neck has been teasing me for days. I want to drag my famished mouth across it, let it scratch at my cheeks, my shoulders, my thighs.

We seem to be on the same page, both leaning closer, studying each other. My mouth is suddenly dry. I lick my lips just as his Adam's apple rises and falls in slow motion. The first taste of his lips is already intoxicating, but we brush and pull in gentle strokes, taking our time.

Until we don't.

His tongue slips into my mouth, and I unsuccessfully attempt to stifle my responding groan. His left hand comes up, pressing against my cheek while his thumb swipes across my temple. We swap gasps and unrelenting sighs.

The downstairs buzzer and the Twilight Zone music sound simultaneously, yanking us apart. With a heavy sigh he falls back on the couch while I scrub my hands down my face, wishing I could rewind time to when I told Jake he could come by around ten. Wishing even more that I could Marty McFly back to the past and ignore Jake's half-cheesy pick-up lines at the bar over a year ago.

"At the same time? Really?" Edward questions, incredulously. "Why stop there? He should shoot up a flare outside your window . . . maybe pull the fire alarm, too."

I snort, pushing off his knee. "Don't give him any ideas."

"Wait, how do you want me to play this?"

"You have carte blanche to say whatever crosses your mind," I assure Edward with a wave. "Clearly I need a different tack."

Jake is shivering at the door. Even the damn shiver weakens my resolve. He's not an evil guy, but fuck, when can I spit out this crap sandwich already?

"Thanks for letting me come by," he says from behind me while we head back upstairs.

"You can stay for a little while. Of course, you could always take her with you." Nothing wrong with a pipe dream offer. "But I have company right now."

Jake stops short at my entryway. "Oh."

"Jake this is Edward. Edward, Jake."

Edward steps up quickly with an outstretched hand. "Good to meet you."

The three of us stand there like a triad of stupendous awkwardness. I'm sure they make memes for moments like these, but I'm fresh out.

"Umm, Ursula's in her bedroom."

Jake's gaze shifts downward; he mumbles a thank you and heads to the spare room.

"Your bitchy cat has her own bedroom?" Edward whispers.

I close my eyes slowly with a shake of my head. "She needs her space."

Less than two minutes later, while Edward and I lean against the kitchen counter in silence, Jake comes out of the room with the cat in her crate.

"I'll take her for the rest of the weekend. By then my mother will be sneezing, and I'll have to bring her back."

"So I can sneeze, thanks." I roll my eyes.

"Jake, I know it's not any of my business, but if you're looking for a pet-friendly apartment complex, my place takes small animals less than twenty pounds, I think. My neighbors have a Yorkie."

My widened stare seeks out Edward. Say what now? I mean, yes, I'm already thinking ahead to when I can stay at Edward's house—so I suppose that proves I'm reaching a bit—but Jake living there so I can run into him in the hallway every day, too? Aren't we trying to dial down the crazy?

I can't even with my life right now.

"Here's the card of the building manager." Edward passes it along, and I have to physically bite my tongue to stop from yelling at the both of them. "Maybe he can help you out."

"Thanks." Jake steps past us but turns again. "Is this because I couldn't orgasm when we made love, Bella?"

I simply stare because, what?

"Because you know I'm on medication, and that really affects my ability to climax. I just wonder if I'd been on different meds, maybe I could've satisfied you more."

I bury my head in my hands and pray for daylight.



It's been a week since our breakfast and then post-ice cream fiascos. The fact that Bella is still smiling after it all makes me want her even more. Her ex-boyfriend had her diagnosing his lack of orgasm before he decided he'd had enough humiliation. I just froze with my mouth hanging open. Who stands there in front of your hot-as-hell ex-girlfriend—and the new guy she's seeing—asking for medical advice on anti-depressants and how they affect sexual performance?

It was like a train wreck I couldn't look away from. Anyway, we made it through, regrouped, and we're ready to tackle another date together. At least we've kept up with our voicemails, texts, and hallway banter. It worked out today for us to grab lunch in the cafeteria together, too.

"So, we're actually going to attempt dinner on Valentine's Day?"

Laughing and trying not to choke, I put my fork down, trading it for my drink. "I mean, probability's in our favor, right?" I shrug, unscrewing the cap off my Snapple. "We're two for two with nutjobs attempting to ruin our time together. I say we go for the hat trick."

"I like your thinking, Doc. Embrace the suck." Bella raises her hand to high-five me. "Okay, let's go date for date," she starts. "You tell me a bad dating story, and I'll give one right back."

I chuckle, wiping my hands. "All right . . . ladies first."

"Umm, I went on a blind date with a guy who had no eyebrows." She makes the cutest disgusted face ever.

"Did he have some kind of skin condition?"

"Nope, he told me he voluntarily shaves his eyebrows because they creep him out."

I tip my head back, blurting out a guffaw. "And he didn't think he looked even creepier without eyebrows? I can't even picture what that would look like!"

We're laughing uncontrollably, and then it's my turn.

"Let's see. I once went out with a girl who apparently took a colon cleanse before meeting me for dinner. Granted, I didn't know it at the time."

"Oh, God," she leans away, covering her mouth. "Sorry, go on."

"So, dinner was nice. I asked her back to my place for coffee and she agreed. While the pot was brewing, she asked to use the bathroom and then proceeded to shit on my toilet for the next eight hours. I ended up going out to the drug store to buy her Gatorade and some magazines." I shudder. "I fell asleep on my couch waiting for her. I felt bad, but man, the stench in my apartment was unbearable," I say with a groan. "It was during the blizzard last winter. I had my living room and bedroom windows open all night, and it was three degrees outside."

Emmett grabs a chair in the middle of my sentence and sits. "Oh, hell, is this the shit storm story?" We all laugh again. "Are you trying to scare her away?"

I widen my arms. "It wasn't my fault!"

Emmett steals one of my French fries. "Hell, yes it was. You brought that shit-show back to our place."

Bella is still cackling while I try to move onto the next story. "Relax, you weren't even there to deal with the residual smell."

"Ehhh," he scoffs, waving me off. "So Bella, are you, like, massaging balls and getting guys hot during evals and stuff?"

I roll my eyes as Bella looks on with a furrowed brow, her laughter waning. "No, Emmett. I've never—that I can remember-given any of my patients a hand job. Generally, that's frowned upon.

"Yeah, okay. Another question," he says, lowering his voice, "are you just slicing open scrotums when you're treating ball cancer?"

"Ball cancer," she deadpans and then looks at me. "You said he was top of his class at Harvard?"

Nodding, I add, "Summa Cum Laude."

"You got that right that some come loudly!" Emmett whoops and then winks at Bella. "I'm pretty sure they all come loudly when they get a piece of the McDreamy action. Speaking of which . . ." He trails off first distracted by Dr. Hale, but then his gaze fixates elsewhere. "Yo, isn't that the urgent care RN you dated last summer, Ed?"

My eyes dart around the room, my stomach dropping like a lead balloon off a bridge. "Fuck, where?"

"Over there, just got on the line. I thought she worked at Chelsea?"

I spot Kate and immediately sink down in my seat.

Bella laughs. "That bad, huh?"

"Don't look," I hiss. "Don't make eye contact."

"Too late," Emmett announces, smiling like a loon. I swear he probably set this shit up.

I'm hunching over my tray, my hand acting as my shield at my forehead, hoping she doesn't notice me.

"Oh, boy," Bella mumbles, and I meet her worried stare.

I mouth the words "I'm sorry" to which she titters and whispers back, "It's like an epidemic."

"Edward, you're looking good."

Mustering a polite smile, I reply, "Kate."

"Sorry if I'm interrupting. I somehow knew I'd find you here with a girl." Kate flashes a bitchy smirk at Bella, who's still giggling. "Anyway, I came to tell you to stop calling me."

"Pardon me?"

"That's right. I've moved on. I understand you couldn't handle all this"—she grabs her breasts and drags both hands down to her crotch—"but enough with the calls."

Bella's eyes are wide; couldn't be wider than mine, though.

Somehow, I find my voice. "Kate, I can assure you, I haven't called since we stopped seeing each other in August."

"Well, a number from the third floor keeps calling, and there are never any messages left. You're the only guy I know who works on the third floor of main campus. So either take a stand and tell me you want me, or lose my number."

"I'm sorry, you're a nurse in the MGH system," Bella jumps in, shaking her head. "Why does it automatically have to be Dr. Cullen calling you? Couldn't it be any number of other possibilities?"

"Who the fuck are you?"

Bella quirks her brow. "I'm Dr. Cullen's girlfriend, and I promise, he has no reason to be calling you."

"Wait, isn't Leah Clearwater your roommate?" Emmett asks.

"One of them, why?"

"That was me calling her," he emphasizes. "Her mom was one of my patients in the ICU last week, and Leah's the medical power of attorney as well as next of kin," Emmett explains matter-of-factly, like he's suddenly the Neil Degrasse Tyson of logical conclusions and intelligent responses. "Leah was on the floor with me some days and on others, she was out of the building, so I was always trying to track her down. She told me not to leave messages at home because of HIPAA. And the ICU is on the third floor."

"Yeah, but your home number came up once, too," Kate says to me with another sneer.

Emmett raises his hand. "Me again, but that was a personal call to her."

"What the fuck ever," she spits, flipping her hand in the air. "Just make sure you lose my number, Edward."

Bella's chair scrapes along the floor before she stands eye to eye with Kate. "Trust me, sweetie, it's lost."

Kate makes no move to leave, so Bella waggles her fingers in her face. "Girl, bye."

Emmett beams at the potential catfight while I bite the insides of my cheeks, so fucking turned on, I don't know how I'm going to make it through the rest of the day without mounting this woman.

"C'mon." Bella holds out her hand, and I leap up like I just got called down to Contestants' Row on The Price is Right. She threads her fingers through mine, and we brush past Kate while Bella practically drags me out of the cafeteria.

"Relax guys, I'll clean up!" Emmett shouts after us.

Bella pushes open the door to the women's locker room and into the private room where staff can make personal phone calls. She twists the lock after the door slams shut and lunges at me, pushing me back against the wall, but hell no. This isn't going down like this.

I twist us around, pressing her back to the wall with fevered kisses. Nothing but lips, licks, sucks, and sighs. My teeth scrape down her neck, and I nuzzle my face into the sweet skin at the v-neck of her blue scrub top. Her hands grip at my hair, and it hurts one second and feels fucking phenomenal the next.

My moans would be embarrassing if she weren't groaning in pleasure right along with me. I grab at her breast, while my thumb flicks at the pebbling nipple showing itself through her top.

"Edward, holy . . . holy shit," she gasps when my hand abandons her breast, and digs down into the front of her pants. I swipe the pads of my fingers across her panties, tapping at her clit.

"Let me get you off," I speak softly against her lips while I pull the soft fabric to the side and slip my fingers through her soaked lips.

"Yessss," she responds with a whisper and a whine. It's desire any way you slice it.

My thumb finds her clit while my index and middle fingers graze through the wetness, entering her. I nibble and suck just below her ear, smiling every time she whimpers under my commanding touch.

One of her hands relinquishes my hair and travels down my chest. My cock is so fucking hard, I've never felt the waist of my scrubs pull so tightly. She grips me through the material, and I almost lose the tempo I've started with her.

I feel her twitch and tighten around my fingers, and my mouth moves back to hers because I can't get enough of her lips.

"Oh, god," she cries against my kiss. "That's—I'm—"

She freezes in my arms, riding the wave of her release. Holding onto me for dear life, she slips her tongue back into my mouth.

When she tugs on my hand, I pull it out before she stuns me by dropping to her knees, yanking down my pants and boxers in the process.

Oh, holy mother, yes.

She swallows most of my cock, and my head lolls back.

"Jesus." I have to brace my hand against the wall, the sensation is so overwhelming.

Watching her work me over is a beautiful sight. I run my fingers through her thick hair while her other hand grips my ass, turning me on more, if that's even possible. I swear I'm so lost in her movements as she strokes and sucks, there's no time to keep my cool before I'm at the brink.

"Fuck, Bella," I pant. "I'm gonna come."

She pops off the edge of my dick, stands and starts jacking me until I'm shooting streams all over her lower stomach and panties. My head falls forward on her shoulder, and we chuckle for a few seconds.

"That was so fucking hot," I growl, licking at her pulse point and placing a soft kiss there. "You're a mess now, though."

She winks, grabs a few tissues to clean her belly, and proceeds to peel off her panties, stuffing them in the pocket of my lab coat.

I need to marry this girl.

"So, we're definitely on for Valentine's dinner tomorrow?" I ask as we both readjust our scrubs, composing ourselves.

She reaches up on her tip toes and pecks me on the lips before unlocking the door. "Sure! I mean, what more could happen?"


A/N: So this was my first venture into entering a contest. It was fun writing under the cover of anonymity. Hope you had a few chuckles. Super huge thanks to LayAtHomeMom for pre-reading and laughing her way through my wacky ideas and to LaMomo, my awesome beta, who's never let me down. Love you, girls!

Thank you so much to the Straight Thru the Heart Contest team for all their hard work in bringing our fandom another fantastic showcase of talent.

Thanks for reading and for those who voted for my fun little ditty. I placed 4th in the public vote and 3rd in the judges' vote!

xo, Jen