Disclaimer: The author does not own any publicly recognizable entities herein. No copyright infringement is intended.

This is my first attempt at writing fanfiction. NGL...a little nervous, but what the hell. Here we go!

~~RESTORATION~~

It's Monday morning and my hand is still pushing open the door to the front office when I see Alice waiting to pounce. Ugh, can't I just have my morning Pepsi before being forced to deal with her? I don't drink coffee, but I need my caffeine regardless, and I cannot deal with her before I have that sweet synthetic energy coursing through my veins. Another long and restless night has me running late because I took extra time with my makeup this morning to hide the luggage under my eyes.

"C'mon Bella, just do me this favor. The poor guy was locked up and surrounded by dick for almost a year! It's just sex, and God knows you need to get laid."

Alice and I have been coworkers for a little over a year, and one thing I have learned is that she is persistent by nature. It's just who she is and I love her for it, but she's been pestering me ever since her brother came home from his government hosted vacation.

"Keep your voice down! The last thing I need is our boss overhearing this conversation," I whisper-shouted, dragging her down the hall away from our boss's office.

"He's not in yet. And don't try to change the subject, because I only speak the truth. You promised me you would think about it, Bella! We both know you need to get the D. Besides, you already told me you don't have any plans for Friday night."

Who am I kidding? Alice is giant pain in the ass. And given everything I know about her, I don't know why I'm surprised she is trying to line up some pussy for her brother.

"Fine! OK, I will go out with your brother. On one condition. We make it a double date, with you and Jasper. And I'm not fucking him." I honestly don't know why I even tried to resist her in the first place. We both knew I was going to cave.

"Yes, yes, yes!" she squeals, jumping around throwing fist pumps in the air. "Just let him touch your boobs. It's been so long that's probably all it will take anyway. For either of you."

I give her the dirtiest look I can muster, but it only makes her laugh more. She is right about one thing, though, it has been a long time since I saw a dick up close and personal. I have to say, if it weren't for the whole "don't drop the soap" thing, I might be a little jealous of Edward.

"You're a nut," I say, shaking my head at her. "I'm not making any promises, Alice. And let me just say that you trying to get your brother laid, is a little weird. Even for you."

"What-ever, hooker. This is just as much for you as it is for him. You need to get back on that horse. I'll call Edward right now and let him know to buy some condoms."

"Yeah, yeah...wait, what? Alice, don't you dare!" I call after her, but she's already gone, cackling all the way to her desk. She's seriously lucky I love her so much.

A couple of months after I started working here, my douchebag of an ex, Garrett, broke up with me. Alice and I were already lunch buddies by then, so when I told her about how he had done me wrong she invited me to hang out. Since I have roommates, we usually ended up at her place, and that's where I met her boyfriend, Jasper. Not at all what I would have expected Alice's boyfriend to be like, but they complement each other nicely. He's mellow, she's hyper. No one can calm her down like he does. I swear it's his super power.

After a while, she started with little hints here and there about her brother. She thought we would hit it off since according to her we have so much in common. The commonality being our mutual love of the ganja. I roll my eyes every time she tries to use that logic on me, especially since I don't really smoke that much anymore. To be fair, I know she worries about me. Ever since Garrett and I broke up, for the third and final time, I've been in a rut. A deep, dark, man hating, depressing rut. Bastard cheated on me, then lied to my face when I asked him point blank if there was someone else. School and work were taking up too much of his time according to him. He didn't think it was fair to me that he didn't have enough time for a relationship. The pathetic part is I probably would have left the door open for him to come back again if not for my friend Angela. She works at the video store in town and saw him renting movies with Kate Denali. The day after he broke up with me.

Asshole.

I later found out he had been sleeping with her for almost the entire span of our relationship. I will never understand what happened between us. Or why I let him walk all over me. I'm not ugly. People tell me I am pretty, and when I look in the mirror I don't shrink back from my own reflection. I'm not a prude. I love to have sex, and we did it a lot. I'm not kidding, we fucked like bunnies. There wasn't anything he wanted to do I wasn't at least willing to try. Except for bareback. He wanted to go without condoms, and I wouldn't. Thank God for that. I guess maybe I knew deep down that something wasn't right, and now thinking about the other places he was sticking his dick makes my skin crawl.

Asshole.

So, maybe Alice isn't completely misguided in her matchmaking attempt. I really do need to get laid A.S.A.P. That's probably what I miss the most about having a man, and probably why I kept going back to an obviously fucked up situation. Sex on a regular basis is a wonderful thing, and I will never take it for granted ever again. Regardless, I need to do something to get out of this rut. I'm reminded of something my dad used to tell me. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again the same way, expecting different results. Whatever I'm doing isn't working, so maybe it's time to try a new approach. I've never been on a blind date before, but is this a really a blind date?

I ended up talking to Edward for a few minutes once when he called Alice's apartment and she was in the shower. She'd already filled me in on the details of her brother's incarceration. One more thing she and I have in common. My father spent time in prison for dealing drugs and stealing cars, so I don't judge. I have firsthand knowledge that once a convict does not mean always a convict. My dad cleaned up his act and left that life behind a long time ago, and from what I've heard, the experience seems to have been eye opening for Edward too. Apparently, joyriding and the thrill of stealing cars isn't worth the time that comes with being convicted of grand theft auto. Plus, I'm no angel myself, so it would be hypocritical of me to hold that against him. It also doesn't hurt that I'm a sucker for a guy who's a little rough around the edges.

~~Restoration~~

It's almost break time when an instant message from Alice pops up on my computer screen.

Just got off the phone with E. Wants to know if the drive-in is OK?

The drive-in? Whose idea was that?

All HIS!

Is he gonna pin me too? Before he tries to cop a feel?

Please! Like you haven't been pinned to the backseat before...hahaha

I'm flipping you off right now.

Give him my number and tell him to call me with the details.

OK, but let's all meet at my place. We can drink before we go and make the boys drive.

Why do I feel like this night is gonna be trouble?

Jasper and I will take his truck so you two can be alone to get freaky and steam up the windows!

Shut up, whore. LOL

But that's probably a good idea. :P

~~Restoration~~

After a long ass day at work, the only thing I want to do is chill out on my couch with some Chinese take-out and watch last night's episode of Once Upon a Time. I'm just about to press play, when my phone rings. Once...twice...three times and I'm ready to let it go to voice mail when I remember Edward is supposed to call me tonight.

"Shit...I bet that's him." I mumble, answering the phone without looking at the caller ID.

"Hello."

"Hi...Bella? It's Edward."

"Hey, how are you?"

"Well, that depends on whether or not you think I am a total loser for letting my sister ask you out for me." He says.

The straightforwardness of his response catches me by surprise, but I like it.

"No, I don't think you are a total loser. I did tell her it was kind of weird that she was so...invested in your love life, though."

"Does it surprise you? I mean this is Alice we're talking about." He points out with a deep laugh that makes me smile.

"No, not surprised. I actually thought it was kind of sweet." I say.

"Sweet, huh? I can live with that."

"What are you up to tonight?" I can hear Foo Fighters playing in the background. Nice.

"My buddy Emmett is here. We just finished lifting weights, and I planned on calling you after he left, but our workout ran longer than usual and I didn't want to call too late. I'm not keeping you from anything am I?" He asks.

"Well, I was just about to spend some quality time with Captain Guyliner." Dinner is going to need reheating matter what, so I don't bother mentioning I was about to eat before he called.

"Don't tell me you too? My sister is obsessed with that guy." He says.

"Who do you think got her Hooked?" I ask.

"Oh God", he says with a groan. "That was really bad, Bella."

"Yeah, I know, but you are so busted!" I can't help but laugh.

"What are you talking about?"

"How would you even know who I was talking about unless you watch it too?" I accuse.

"Emma is hot!" He blurts out.

"She is, but Killian...mmmm, I'm a sucker for a bad boy."

"Is the guyliner a deal breaker?"

"No, I suppose not." I sigh. "Wouldn't want you looking prettier than me."

"From what I've seen, I don't think that's possible," He whispers.

"What was that?" I ask.

"I just meant that I've seen some pictures of you."

"Oh, you have, have you? You know, I'm surprised we haven't run into each other at Alice's place now that you're home," I wonder why that is.

"Yeah, since I'm staying with my parents I spend most of my time with them and working on my car."

"They missed you a lot. I'm sure Esme is thrilled to have you so close."

"You could say that." We both chuckle, because it is clearly an understatement. "I'm doing my best to stay out of trouble, and staying here makes it easier. For now at least."

"You have a lot of people in your corner, Edward. Don't forget that."

"I know; I'm very lucky. Not everyone is as forgiving, or understanding as my family is with me." He's quiet for a moment before speaks again. "Are you really OK with my past?"

For the first time tonight he seems unsure of himself, and it sounds out of place. The doubtful tone of his voice doesn't match up with our playful banter.

"That depends. Are you done with that shit?" It's blunt, but I'm hoping it will lighten the mood.

He lets out a deep sigh, and it's strange but I feel like I can hear the honesty in his voice when he speaks again.

"I just want to get back to where I was before I got caught up in all this bullshit."

"Then that's all I need to know. For now." He's not the only one who wants a fresh start.

"You're pretty awesome, Bella."

"You are not the first person to tell me that." I say.

"That doesn't surprise me at all, but on that note, I will let you get back to your evening with the Captain. And, I'm really looking forward to Friday night."

"Me too, and I'm happy you called."

"Goodnight Bella."

"Goodnight Edward."

~~Restoration~~

The next day during lunch with Alice, I find out more about this "setup". It turns out Alice and Esme have been talking me up to Edward since before he came home two months ago. I really should have known. After all, Esme is the master of well meaning, motherly manipulation, and Alice is the apple that didn't fall far from the tree.

"So what you are telling me is that you and your mother have been planning this since before he was even released?"

"No, we didn't have it planned...per say."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"I might have mentioned to him that I have a gorgeous best friend."

"And…"

"Esme is the one who told him you were single and ready to mingle."

"Oh God." This isn't happening. Please tell me this isn't happening.

"It was Carlisle who told Edward you were a hottie and sent him a picture of you at the lake."

"He what?"

"Oh, don't you even dare! You're always flirting with him...calling him Doctor Daddy, and telling my mom you want to be her sister wife."

"Oh. My. God, and Edward said he was worried about what I thought of him. This is so embarrassing."

"I really don't know why you are so surprised, Bella. You know all about my parents lack of boundaries when it come to the people they love.

She's right. Carlisle and Esme adore me. They've introduced me as their daughter on more than one occasion. Which is fine with me since I have a less than desirable relationship with my own mother. Renee isn't a bad mom, just an absent one, so it's been nice getting to know the Cullens. Besides, I do know their hearts were in the right place.

"What picture did he send him?"

"From my birthday weekend."

"That bikini made my boobs look big."

"Mm-hmm, that's what Edward said too."

With the glare I'm throwing at her, she's lucky looks don't kill.

~~Restoration~~

Thursday morning I see a truck pull into the parking lot from the window by my desk. A few minutes later, I'm in the computer room collecting the invoices I printed when I hear Alice's voice carry over the sounds of the servers and printers. Does she even realize how loud she is when she talks to Rose up at the front desk? I shake my head and as I am walking back to my desk, I recognize the other voice and it is definitely not Rose.

Oh shit! He's here. Edward is here. OK Bella, be cool, don't get all weird. He's just a guy.

The intercom buzzing on my desk phone breaks me from that train of thought, thank goodness. Marcus needs me in his office to go over some problems with an order, which of course requires me to walk right past the front desk to get there.

Right past Edward.

What the hell is he doing here? I'm not mad, but we talked last night and he didn't mention anything about coming into the office today. I swear to God if Alice had something to do with this, and didn't give me a heads up I am going to murder her!

Making sure I don't trip and make a fool of myself, I move towards the front desk, but I can't make out what's being said.

Neither one of them notices me walk up, so I clear my throat. When he turns around we come face to face to for the first time. If I was a cartoon my eyes would be bugging out, my heart jumping out of my chest, and I would be picking my tongue up off the floor.

Edward is my own personal walking wet dream wrapped in a blanket of tattoos and then kissed by the gods. The man is fucking hot. Alice showed me pictures of him before his incarceration, but they don't do this man standing before me justice.

All I have to say is thank God I listened to Alice and bought the new set of matching bra and panties. Looks like homeboy might be getting a peek after all. Damn, I really do need the D.

It sounds so insufficient but the only thing my brain can come up with to say is…

"Hey." Must not sound too lame, because in return I'm given a smile that quickly turns into a wicked sexy smirk.

"Hey yourself."

And then we're standing here, trying to look at each other like we're not both thinking about last night's conversation.

After one too many drinks the night before, I was definitely feeling the liquid courage when Edward called me. The conversation started with what I was wearing, or rather wasn't wearing since he called just as I was getting into the bath. His voice dropped a few octaves after hearing that, and the conversation took a whole other turn. Being out of the dating game for a year did not hinder Edward's game at all. He's got a rasp to his voice that he can turn on at the drop of a dime.

Alice clears her throat, and both Edward and I snap out of our memories. I know I'm blushing, and from the look of Edward's fidgeting I'd guess he's feeling it too.

"Edward brought us lunch today, Bella." Alice says, smirking.

He's still looking at me and I swear that smile must be embedded in the Cullen family genes. I've seen Carlisle use it on Esme, and even Jasper is powerless against it when Alice flashes one his way.

"Esme made extra lasagna last night. She said it was your favorite." Edward says.

"She's not wrong. Did she rope you into delivering it also?" I manage to ask.

"Oh no, I volunteered for the job." Still staring at me, he licks his lips, and there is no way he is still talking about lasagna.

"Well, I'm going to take this back to the break room. You two finish undressing each other with your eyes." Alices says.

She thinks I didn't hear that, but I did. I'll get her back later. Right now I'm focusing on the butterflies in my stomach, and the way my body feels flushed all of a sudden.

Edward flashes me that grin again and jerks his head toward the door.

"I guess I better let you get back to work."

Work? Right! Work. Shit! Marcus needed me in shipping!

"Yeah. Well, I'm glad you stopped by."

Taking a small step forward, Edward reaches out and grabs the tip of my fingers with his, giving my hand a small wiggle.

"Me, too. Bella. See you tomorrow."

And then he's gone. It takes me several minutes to collect myself from the puddle of goo I've become on the floor, but eventually I do and make my way to shipping.

~~Restoration~~

When Friday night arrives I am a total wreck. I shouldn't be this nervous but somehow this favor I agreed to do for my best friend has turned into what feels like the most important date of my life.

So when I say I'm feeling nervous, it's in that giddy way where I feel butterflies in my stomach and my palms are sweaty. But, my stupid hair won't flip the way I want it to, and my hands are so shaky, it looks like I put my eyeliner on with a vibrator for fucks sake! Thank God I spend so much time at Alice's that I keep half of my wardrobe in her spare room. I've not only tried on all of my outfits but also some of hers trying to figure out what to wear, but nothing looks right. If I don't hurry up and choose something Alice is going to want to play Bella Barbie and there's no way I am up for that tonight. Or, maybe I should just give in and let her. What I need to do is calm the fuck down, and not be a total spaz, but that seems to be easier said than done at the moment. Finally, I come up with an acceptable outfit after I take one more look through my own clothes. Alice comes to check on me while I'm putting the final touches on my makeup, proving once again she has some weird sixth sense of foresight.

"Here you go, babe. Jasper made this just how you like it. Heavy on the Jack, easy on the Coke."

"Bless that gorgeous man of yours."

She hands me a drink and motions for me to stand up. I am assuming it is so she can give my outfit final approval.

"Is Edward here yet?"

"Yeah he just got here a few minutes ago. He's showing Jasper the new paint job on the Chevelle."

Taking a long drink, I turn around and let Alice give me the once over. I ended up wearing a dark red fitted off the shoulder blouse and my favorite low rise jeans. They make my ass look like a sin, and the bra I'm wearing gives me perfect cleavage. Just enough so I am showing off the girls, but I don't look like I paid for flotation devices.

"Well...let me have it. What do you think? Do I need to change?" I ask.

"No, no need to change. Edward's not gonna know what hit him." Of course she is grinning like the Cheshire Cat.

"OK, so then what is that look for?"

"I'm just wondering how easy that top is to take off in the back seat of his car. Maybe you should have worn a button up. Easy access."

"Oh. My. God, Alice! Stop already!"

I turn to look in the mirror again.

"Relax, and stop fussing already. You look fantastic, and we're in no hurry. There's plenty of time before the movie starts."

Looking at Alice in the mirror, I let out a deep sigh and take another sip from my drink. I can feel the alcohol calming my nerves, giving me a moment to collect myself.

"Edward and I have talked every night this week."

"Yeah, I heard my dad teasing him about it at dinner last night."

"I haven't spent this much time on the phone since I was in high school." I laughed. "It's nice, you know, and I can't remember a time when anyone has ever made me feel like this before."

"These are all good things."

"Even though this started out as a favor you knew we would hit it off like this, didn't you?"

"We both know that was never really what this was." she said. "The truth is I thought you would be great for my brother when I first met you. I've always known Edward is a good person, but when he was caught up in all that bullshit, he wasn't good for anyone. Especially not for my best friend, and you were quite frankly a mess after Garrett left. The timing just wasn't right for either of you."

"And now?" I ask.

"I wouldn't set you up if I didn't think it was going to be something amazing."

"Thank you, Alice. I think you know me better than I know myself sometimes."

"OK enough with the heavy...let's get this show on the road. There are two fine looking men out there waiting for us."

"Yes, ma'am!" I mock salute her and down the rest of my drink. Looking back in the mirror one last time I fix my lipstick and follow her out the door.

~~Restoration~~

AN: This story was originally a contribution for another compilation last year. When I heard about the Fandom for Mental Health Awareness campaign, I decided to get off my butt and finally post this chapter here on FFn, and finish chapter 2 as a contribution for this compilation. The plan is to have the rest written by the time we are allowed to post our stories online. For more info on what this is all about, and where to contribute, please visit this blog: ffmh dot wordpress dot com slash about

I need to thank bornonhalloween and shellshock81 for helping me make this story happen. They are both awesome beta's and prereaders. Born, has been encouraging me to get off my butt to write something for a long time now, and this just seemed like the perfect time to do it. She's my cheerleader, and so generous with her time and advice. Shellshock81 I got to know when she was posting her fic called Try, (if you haven't read it...go now!), and she's awesome in any and every way you can think of. Sometime while fangirling over Jax Teller and Killian Jones together, I mentioned I had this story I wanted to contribute and being the generous person she is, she immediately offered to help. I have no idea how I ever would have whipped this into shape without either of these ladies.

And a super huge thank you to Beffers87 for making me the best banner and manips of Edward ever! I LOVE THEM!

Thanks so much for reading!