Thanks to all my reviewers! and here they are: real men play clarinet (the first one XD), Lukimba, Mykaiella Apoy, xXxDance LoverxXx, the dancing phantom, movieandbookgirl, Crazily Sane Pancake, edwardrocksmysocks, caww, booksickle, Slave to my Pen, XBeetle of DestinyXx, nocturnal-nightmare, dollegirl, italiangirlinamessedupworld, Jasmine2121, SinkFish, sailor-ahiru, schmexybella1 (Lve you, Schmex!), and holly4davidt
I'm terribly sorry this took so long to get out. I was planning on posting this the very next day!... but then everything happened at once! I moved, then my house didn't have internet for a while, I had to deal with writer's block, my laptop had numerous problems, and I had to leave town a couple times, once for the death of a friend, and then again a few days later for said friends funeral, followed afterward by even more computer problems AND still I had writer's block!! THEN I went to work at camp for several weeks and had my mom's stepdad die as well... and then I had MORE computer troubles!! But I'm updating now, and I'll be working like crazy to make the wait up to you guys!
This chapter is dedicated to caww for pointing out how Bella forgot to call Grant back and tell him how everything went last chapter. Thanks for that!
Disclaimer: Twilight is not mine, because if it were, then I would say so, but since I haven't, then it isn't, but if it were, then I would. Indeed. -nods head for emphasis-
Please read, review, and ENJOY!
"Why are you always trying to dress me up, Alice?" I whined as she forcibly stripped me and threw me into the shower. I didn't know she had that much strength in her tiny little body.
"Because you don't know how to to it yourself, Izzy!" she chided in that eternally cheerful voice of hers, throwing some strawberry scented body wash at me.
"It's 'Bella,'" I mumbled to myself, rubbing the new bruise I was sure to have on my stomach from not being able to either dodge or catch the bottle.
She ignored my comment and just continued with her tossing of bath supplies: shampoo, conditioner, special moisturizing soap, a loofa... (I didn't know why she didn't just put them in the shower to begin with!) all the while talking to me until I was dizzy.
"Really, Izzy. If you're so intent on proving me wrong, you've got to pull out all the stops! And proper bath care is just stop one! Then we have after-bath care, hair, make-up, fashion, hygiene-"
"I know about personal hygiene Alice," I said, slightly ticked off at her, but using her products nonetheless. I knew that I could definitely use the help.
"I'm not talking about brushing your teeth or using deodorant or anything like that! I'm talking about stuff to do during the date!"
"I don't know what you're talking about Alice and-"
"Like being able to subtly take breath mints after you eat or check your teeth without anyone noticing or-"
"AND," I interrupted her interruption, "I don't care. I've met new guys before tonight, you know."
"I know you have, but you were never trying to prove me wrong before. You'll need all the help you can get with that," she smirked. I frowned. It's like she was reading my mind.
"And why are you trying to help me accomplish this goal? Oh, damn!" My distraction had caused me to nik myself with my razor.
"I'm helping because it's fun!" she said, handing me a small wad of toilet paper to hold against the small wound. "And it won't make a difference anyway." Her cheerful attitude was seriously wearing me down.
I ignored her ranting for the rest of my shower, but gratefully accepted the towel she threw at me when I climbed out, and not-so-gratefully sat down for her "pampering" to begin. This included but was not limited to: a mani/pedi, facial, blow drying and styling my hair, make-up, and a neck massage. The massage was my favorite part-well, more like the it was the only part that was enjoyable and didn't involve pain of some sort. She didn't even continue her incessant talking during the massage, which made it all the more relaxing.
It took much too long for her to make me what she deemed presentable, but when she was finished, I was actually confident about myself for once. I thought I looked very pretty in my simple, yet classy, outfit of a flowy white skirt and deep blue blouse. I wasn't accustomed to thinking of myself as attractive, but with Alice's ministrations, I might have to get used to it. I was very appreciative of her all the sudden.
But then a knock sounded on the door and all positive thoughts I had flew out the window. I was just my usual stuttering, blushing, awkward self. I felt unworthy of the company of the brother whom Alice had spoken so fondly of. She was right, and there was no way this would work out. And then I saw him.
He walked into the living room with Alice at his heels, though I only had eyes for him: his messy hair, bright eyes, and the firmness of his body drew me in and held me prisoner. I couldn't move. Now I knew how right Alice was. I wasn't meant to be with this handsome man. He was in a class above me. I wasn't worthy.
Then he spoke, and his smooth, deep voice broke my trance.
"You must be Izzy, It's good to finally meet you." He held out his hand, and I put my small one in his much larger one. His grip was firm, I noted, but also gentle, showing that he had a soft side underneath his sexy muscles. All of this was very pleasing to the eye, but nowhere near pleasing enough for me to allow yet another person to call me that horrendous name.
"It's actually Bella. And it's good to meet you, too!" My enthusiasm was all too evident, and I did my best to reign it in after that. "I've heard a lot about you from Alice."
"Oh, no... what did she tell you?" he joked, elbowing his sister in her in the side.
"Only the bad stuff; no worries E," she said in a nonchalant voice.
"Oh, of course. I guess that means I'll have to do my best to impress you and prove my sister wrong." His eyes scorched at me.
"She didn't say anything bad. You have nothing to prove," I breathed. "Not that she believes such a feat possible, anyway," I muttered to myself, but he managed to overhear.
"I guess I'll just have to do my best to impress you just for the hell of it, then." I didn't get to see his eyes this time because I was too busy blushing and looking at my shoes.
Alice laughed. "Look at her! Her cheeks match the red of my skirt!"
"Ah, Alice, don't embarrass her," E teased, but I could tell he found the sight amusing as well.
That reminded me...
"Why do you like being called 'E'? Why don't you go by your real name?"
"Hmm... I don't know," his face looked thoughtful and I found it very cute. "Alice here somehow couldn't string her words together well enough to say my full name when we were really little, and the name just stuck from there, I guess. I don't mind being called my birth name, but-"
"NOOO! Your name is 'E' so just deal with it!" Alice said, bouncing with a big smile plastered on her face.
"She just has to have her way with the stupid nicknames, doesn't she?" I asked, hoping that E knew a way around it.
"She does. I've had almost all my life to get used to it though; you've only had a week."
"Very true. Although I'd rather not go through the rest of my life being called Izzy..." I shuddered at the thought and E chuckled.
"Sorry, I wish I was brave enough to stand up to Alice for you, but her tiny size only helps make her viciousness more efficient."
"Hey, now... you say that like it's a bad thing!" Alice came up and patted her brother on the head, just barely being able to reach. He put his hand on her head and muffed her hair up, causing her to squeal and run from the room.
"The hair," he whispered into my ear conspiratorially. "It's the only sure-fire way to get her to leave you alone for any period of time."
I laughed in response. "Got it; threaten the hair and then I can actually have privacy while showering," I muttered, remembering her attack on me that afternoon.
"Shower, eh?" he said, smirking and making me blush. I hadn't been on a date in so long that I forgot how one tiny thing could send a male's mind straight into the gutter.
"Yes, with your sister." He shuddered at my response, and I knew that visual had been successfully thrown out of his mind. I giggled at my accomplishment.
He playfully glared at me, showing that he knew I said that on purpose, and I just let a triumphant smile stay on my face. When our little staring match ended, he took my hand, guiding me into the living room and onto the couch to sit down.
"So, Alice tells me that you're a book editor," he said after a moment of silence, and I couldn't help but giggle. "What are you laughing at?"
"I'm sorry," I breathed out between chuckles. "But that was just too incredibly generic as far as small talk goes!"
He paused a moment before joining me in my amusement. "Yeah, it was... sorry about that..."
"What are you sorry for?" Alice demanded, coming bursting back into the room, hair once again neatly arranged on her head.
"I'm sorry that I don't have an original mind when it comes to making small talk," he said, glancing at my smile and breaking out into a big grin of his own.
"Very true," Alice agreed. "He's not much of a conversationalist."
"I like to think of myself as a more physical being, rather than just an intellectual one," he smirked over at me, causing me to blush and look away. I could hear their quiet chortling at my reaction.
The rest of the day went much the same: Alice and E making sibling jokes until E chased her off for a much too brief span of time in which we could talk, and then Alice would return. The cycle continued on and on throughout the day. I really wished I could be mad at Alice for interrupting us so much, but I soon figured out how impossible it was to be upset with her. It's like trying to hate a flower because it wanted to smell pretty for you; she was only doing her best to keep us from sinking into an awkward silence (which would be my fault, being that I was too shy and nervous to say much to him) and to keep her brother "on his best behavior" for me, which I found touching. Alice was just being kind, as was her nature.
It was roughly 9:30 that night when E left to go home, and despite my less-than-outgoing conduct, he asked me for my number, which I willingly gave him, of course. I was just surprised that he was still interested in seeing me again after witnessing my not-so-graceful conduct all night.
I went to bed with a smile on my face of what could come, but I have to admit that the smile held a hint of a smirk, thinking that Alice might be wrong after all...
- - - - -
I awoke the next morning to the ringing of the alarm clock on my phone. It was time to get up for work, so I quickly opened and closed my phone, automatically letting it snooze. I needed another few minutes to bask in the glory of my wonderful dream.
It was the end of the night and E was heading home, but instead of smiling that beautiful smile of his and asking for my number, he pulled me to him and kissed me. Then the cliche fireworks exploded in our lips and bells rang and then said bells turned into my alarm clock. Stupid alarm.
It was going off again, and I hadn't even realized the full ten minutes had passed. I opened my phone and pressed the "end" button, turning off the ringing and got in the shower. Afterwards, I stood in front of my closet trying to figure out what to wear when my alarm went off yet again, despite the fact I had turned it off.
I marched over to the damn phone and discovered that it was actually a call coming through and looked at the caller ID.
"Hello!" I said brightly. Then...
"Why didn't you call me last night??" came the anxious voice of Grant.
"Was I supposed to?" I asked, frantically looking for shoes to wear.
"Of course! I wanted to know how your big night with E went!"
"E?" I questioned.
"Yeah, E. The boy you're trying to seduce to prove your roommate isn't perfect. Did the night go so badly that you forgot about him already?"
"GRAAAAAAAANT!" I yelled at him, coming to a sudden realization.
He just chuckled at me and I could see his smirk from three states away. He knew me well enough to know what he did wrong, and to thoroughly enjoy it.
"You woke me up early on a Sunday?! I thought it was my alarm clock going off for work!!"
"I know. I'm just impatient to hear the details! You made me wait a long time before hearing back from you when I went through the effort to find your perfect apartment, and I didn't want a repeat of that incident!"
"I told you I was sorry for that. I just forgot."
"And I was just preventing you from forgetting this time," he said as if that settled the matter.
"Fine... you sound like a girl, wanting to hear all the gory details," I teased.
"This isn't about being a girl, it's about feeling like a protective big brother who doesn't want you to try to get with someone who's a prick, you understand me, Little Missy?" he asked, and his tone was so serious that I almost laughed.
"I understand. But I'm going back to bed. I'll call you later."
"I love you, Grant. Now BYE." I hung up on him and he only tried calling me back once before letting me get back to sleep. I was proud; it was a personal best for him.
A couple hours later I crawled out of bed and hopped in the shower again; I wasn't used to the heat that was expelled during this time of the year and I felt all stuffy in my room. I emerged from my second shower of the day feeling, and probably looking, like a drowned rat. I made it simple and just threw on a robe before heading straight to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. As I passed the living room I heard a chuckle and giggle, and decided to ignore Alice and her boyfriend until I had caffeine in my system. I poured myself a mug and downed it all at once, then poured another cup (this one to savor).
I headed back to the living room to greet them. I was shocked to see that it was E there, and not Alice's Jazzy. I quickly tried to smooth my wet hair down and straighten my clothes, somehow managing not to spill my coffee in the process.
"How long have you been here?" I asked him nervously, very aware of how non-chic I looked at that instant.
"A while. I'm an early riser, you know."
"No, I didn't know," I said faintly.
"I was here long enough to hear you get into that little spat with your lover over the phone," he grinned.
"Grant's not my lover!" I exclaimed quickly, before catching on that he was just teasing me. I added, "I only want his mind, his girlfriend can have his body to do with as she pleases."
"Sounds kinky. Do you watch when this happens?" Alice chipped in.
"Oh, no. I wouldn't want to be blinded. Grant's always been really pale skinned."
E laughed at my comment. "Go get ready, pretty Bella. I'm taking you out and away from this hellacious pixie for the day. Then we can really get to know each other," he winked.
I blushed and tried not to run to my room, barely succeeding. Alice joined me shortly after and together we hurriedly battled through my messy hair, picked out something casual (yet still flattering) for me to wear, and applied light make-up. I was incredibly grateful for her, yet again.
It was only fifteen minutes later when E offered me his hand and led me out my door and down to his car, which was a very shiny silver and extremely catchy. It suited him perfectly with his casual refinement, and bold edge. He helped me in and then we were speeding away, much faster than the speed limit, to a little diner in the heart of the city.
It was called Eric's Diner, and it was the most amazing place I'd ever been! It was fashioned like it belonged in a western, with an old-time stove in the corner and horse bits and other memorabilia hanging on the walls... and rap music blasting throughout, which just brought a smile to my lips- this place was a contradiction among itself, and it was great!
The menu looked like it was catered to a bunch of hippies, having sprouts and avocados on all the sandwiches, and a variety of healthy, yet yummy soups available. And instead of cups for the drinks, they used little jam jars, given to the owner by the community, rather than having them just tossed out. It was amazing, and very Californian. This might just have been my new favorite restaurant. I hoped I'd remember where it was at, or that maybe E would want to take me here often. I really wanted the latter, actually.
(AN: this is an actual diner in Fremont, which is roughly an hour outside of San Francisco; I used to eat here with my WonderTwin all the time, and they really DO use the jars!! Anybody in the Bay wanting directions of where it's at, just PM me XD)
As I was busy enjoying my tomato and turkey (with sprouts and avocados, of course) in pita bread, E was chowing down on his side salad, having already finished his own sandwich, smiling at me all the while. It put me on edge a tad.
"What are you smiling at?" I asked him nervously, wondering if I had food on my face or something along those lines. I was starting to wish that I had let Alice finish speaking when she was going to tell me how to check for these things inconspicuously.
"You, of course. You eat so slow!" he teased, stealing a piece of my sandwich.
"Hey!" I said, swatting his hand playfully, but he had already devoured the bite. "I think you just eat monstrously fast. It's not my fault you consume everything like a garbage disposal!" Boys... I thought. They all eat the say exact way!
"No, Alice eats just as fast as me. You're the one who eats at a strange pace."
"She only eats like that because she had to battle you for food when you were little! If she didn't eat as fast as possible, there'd be nothing left for seconds!"
"Touche," he said, tipping his jar of lemonade to me. "Smart and beautiful. I'll have to thank Alice for taking the advice of someone older and smarter than her and accepting you as her roommate."
I laughed, remembering that conversation over the phone when I first called.
That night I went to bed feeling good about myself. I had a wonderful date with someone who was kind, smart, gorgeous, and could make me laugh. And this amazing person thought I was smart and beautiful.
I didn't think life could get any better.
Alice really was wrong about her brother. We fit together like we were meant to be.
Once again... I'm terribly sorry about taking so long to update... my computer works! yay! and lets hope it stays that way -crosses fingers-
Sorry this was shorter than last chapter, but I was anxious to get it out to y'all!
I bet you guys were starting to think I had given up on this story, but of COURSE I haven't!! I have many many many ideas for this all plotted out already, and now I won't let anything stand in my way! I already have chapter 3 halfway finished, but I'm going to update my other stories before posting another chapter here most likely...
Talk to you soon!
Grace, the unGraceful