A/N: So… this is what happens when I tell my group, "I passed by a cupcake supply shop, and there was this big, buff guy standing there." It just got out of control and, long story short, I'm writing my first Emmett/Bella fic. What?
Peer pressure, man. Peer pressure!
Come join my Facebook group if you want to get in on the peer pressuring.
"I'm sorry. This is probably the wrong thing to say during a job interview, but has anyone ever told you that you shouldn't play poker?"
Bella wrinkled her nose as she looked at the man on the other side of her desk, but she had to smile. "I have heard that before. No poker face. It's a curse."
"Nothing wrong with honesty," her applicant, one Emmett McCarty, said.
"No, I'm blatantly stereotyping." Bella shook her head. "That's not okay."
Emmett had a nice smile. It was one of those full-of-teeth smiles, and yet neither intimidating nor goofy looking. It suited him, and it matched the light in his blue eyes. "Why don't you ask the question you want to ask?" His tone was almost teasing. "That way you can satisfy your curiosity, and I know you're going to reject my application for something other than how I look."
Bella felt her cheeks heat. For some strange reason, her first impulse was to argue. Emmett McCarty just wasn't the kind of guy anyone would expect to see in a bakery supply shop at all. Especially not one like this one, with its hot pink and dark purple walls and frills everywhere. It wasn't just that he was a man. He was an Incredible Hulk-sized man, all ridiculously broad shoulders and a full foot taller than Bella. He was handsome on top of it, with a head full of dark curls and a perfect dimple on one cheek.
"Okay, I'll bite," Bella said with a sigh. "How the hell does a guy like you know this much about cupcake making?"
He did know his stuff. He'd conversed with her easily about piping tips, colored liners, best batter consistency tips and tricks.
"You don't think it's because I really like eating cupcakes?" he asked. She gave him a look, and he chuckled. "Okay, well…" He rubbed the back of his head in an absent gesture. "I guess the first thing you need know is that my mom has some seriously bad luck. She got knocked up with me at sixteen, right? You've heard this part of the story, I'm sure. Guy gets off scot-free, girl stays behind to figure out how to raise a kid.
"But, Mom pulled it together. We made a good team, my mom and I, and it was fine." His grin got even wider. "I was a bit of a handful, but Mom was up for the challenge." He waved his hand, seemingly aware that he was getting off point. "So anyway, about ten years ago, my mom decides it's safe to try to love again. She rolls the dice, and, long story short, it comes up snake eyes. Mom gets a broken heart, but we got my baby sister, Mary Alice, out of the bargain."
At his sister's name, Emmett's smile got impossibly gentle. It was clear he adored his little sister. Bella's heart warmed.
"When Alice was five, she was really into YouTube." Emmett rolled his eyes. "I know, but I had school and the odd jobs I did for the neighbors. We, my mom and I, checked her search history all the time to make sure she wasn't getting into anything bad. It was all innocent stuff. She was fascinated by these videos that showed how to make clothes and jewelry."
"And cupcakes?" Bella suggested, seeing where this was going.
Emmett nodded. "She kept bugging Mom to try some of it. It looked simple to her, of course. We didn't have a sewing machine or the collection of beads to get into the jewelry. The cupcakes seemed the easiest. But even that was still complicated, right? Because Alice didn't want the out-of-the-box cupcakes. She wanted everything done by hand, and then to figure out how to do that really fancy piping.
"Mom… My mom is great, okay? She's a great mom, but there's only one of her. She was more working two jobs. She didn't have time to figure out fancy cupcake swirls. Like anyone knew what the heck a piping tip was at that point or that someone would think to make their own frosting. That stuff comes out of a can."
"But you did," Bella said, her smile almost as wide as his now.
He shrugged. "I did it for Alice on a whim. It wasn't as easy as it looked, and that, well… I guess it kind of pissed me off. So I had to keep at it until I conquered the damn thing."
"And here you are," Bella finished. "That was a very personal story. I'm sorry I made you tell it."
"Ah." He waved a hand. "It's not a big deal. I don't have much of a filter, so I'm an open book." His grin came back in full force. "Except at poker. I'm good at poker."
Bella smirked. "Well, we can't all be that talented." She eyed him. "You've seen the uniform, right?"
"I think your pink, frilly apron would be just darling on me," he said, and she couldn't believe he kept a straight face.
"I hate the damn things. That's why I became the boss; so I could stop wearing them." She drummed her fingers on the desk and nodded. "Okay, Emmett. Can you start on Friday?"
"Seriously?" he asked, his eyebrows arching.
"They accuse me of being serious, yeah."
"That's great, Ms. Swan. Really great. You have no idea what this means to me."
"Who could refuse a story like that? I bet it plays well with the girls."
That earned another modest shrug. "Maybe it would. I wouldn't know."
"Oh." Well, that explained a lot. "Ah, okay. So, Friday?" She offered her hand to shake.
He took it. His grip was firm and warm. "Friday."
Thanks to Mina (that banner though, damn), to Jess and Ausha (Especially for the cupcake lingo...my frosting comes from cans. Actually, let's be honest, I buy my cupcakes, frosting and all), MoH, Packeh, Betsy, and Eleanor.
... Okay, so, I'm nervous. What do we think so far?