AN: Hey everyone! So, this is my first multi-chapter fic and my first Twilight fic. I was writing an assignment from my Creative Writing class a little over a week ago and what I came out with sounded like a pretty good idea for a fanfic. The assignment was a 1-2 page story based on a song; I chose "Nobody Puts Baby In a Corner" by Fall Out Boy, hence the title of the fic. What I came up with was simple, but had instant potential for something more. So I had the awesome Oriana de la Rose take a look at it and apparently she saw something good there as well. I couldn't stop writing once I started. Please read and be sure to let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: I own nothing except a decently large collection of books. Everything you recognize is this story belongs to Stephenie Meyer.
Prologue (Three Years in the Past)
I pulled my hood further over my face, trying to stay warm. My mother was insane for thinking that I would be warm in a strapless cocktail dress in almost freezing weather.
Of course, now I looked ridiculous with a black hoodie thrown over the pale blue dress.
I hurried through the almost empty streets, cursing the lack of taxis. My family's house was only a few blocks away, but it always took forever. With the cold and potential rain, I knew it would take even longer.
"Of all the nights to be shipped out of the house with nothing more than a fucking cell phone," I muttered as the cold rain started.
I sensed something behind me and the hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention. But when I turned around, all I saw was a guy around my age smoking a joint. I shrugged it off and kept moving. I had just rounded the corner when I felt a pair of arms wrap around me, one hand covering my mouth before I could scream.
"Don't struggle and we won't have any problems," a low, slimy voice rang through my ears.
Ignoring everything I ever learned, I went with my first instinct: trying to bite his hand and wriggle out of his grip. But he just held on tighter.
"Feisty bitch," he said.
I managed to get my teeth into one of his fingers, but that only caused him to swear more and throw me against a wall. My head hit pretty hard and I crumpled to the ground. The man stood over me, a smile creeping across his face as he studied me. I tried to curl into a ball in response to his eyes raking over my body, but I couldn't move.
"Well, this sure should make things easier," he said, his voice dripping with malice. "You can't fight if you can't move."
The man ran his hands down my sides with too much pressure. My whole body twitched when he reached my stomach and I realized that it was only shock keeping my body from moving. When his hands started to get too low and move under my skirt, I tried to push him away, but his grip on me only tightened and his breathing grew heavier. I was disgusted and repulsed and completely unable to get away from him. So I did the only thing I could do at that moment.
I screamed at the top of my lungs.
It took a few seconds for him to realize what I was doing before he clamped a hand over my mouth. "Bitch," he seethed. "You're only making it worse for yourself."
I tried to continue screaming, but it was muffled enough that nothing would come of it. The noises soon simmered to whimpers as I cringed at the feel of his hands on me. I tried to retreat into myself and think of anything else.
All of a sudden, the man's weight was gone. He was being pulled across the alley and away from me. I moved so that I was sitting with my back against the wall. I could see someone holding my assailant against the wall and punching him while saying something, but my head was spinning and I couldn't focus on much.
"Hey," I heard. A hand was lightly tapping my face. "Hey, you alright?"
I mumbled something incoherent and tried to swat the hand away. The voice chuckled.
"Well, at least you're alive," he said. "Come on, let's get you into better light." He slid his hands behind my back and under my knees and picked me up like I was a toddler. His arms were warm and comforting and I found myself inadvertently curling into his embrace.
Much too soon, he was setting me down on a bench under a nearby light post. He knelt in front of me and I finally got a good look at him.
"You're that guy," I whispered, unable to get any more volume to my voice. "The one smoking earlier."
"Ah, she speaks," he said. His voice was a rising and falling symphony compared to my almost-rapist. "Since your vocal cords finally reattached to your brain, do you think you could tell me if you're okay?"
"If almost getting raped and having a massive goose egg on the back of my head counts as being okay, then yeah. I'm just fine," I replied sarcastically. He laughed again. I sighed. "Sorry, I should be showing you more gratitude. You probably just saved my life."
I took a good look at his face now that I was trying not to be a bitch. His bright green eyes were the first things I noticed. They held a mixture of concern, amusement, and confusion. Not wanting to drown in them, I moved my gaze. His hair was an odd bronze color and was grown out to the point that it stuck out in all directions. It looked soft, but a bit greasy at the same time. He cheekbones were well defined and he had a perfectly chiseled jaw. He was perfection personified.
As he stood to inspect the back of my head, I got a good look at the rest of his body. Despite the cold night, he was only wearing a thin black T-shirt and jeans. I could see a few tattoos along his arms: a tribal design, a few Chinese symbols, and a nautical star. His shirt pulled up a tiny bit and I could see the bottom of what looked to be very well defined abs. But I couldn't dwell on it for long since he came back down to my level at that moment.
"You must've hit your head pretty hard," he said. "That's one impressive bump. You might have a concussion."
"Wouldn't be the first time," I said, shrugging it off. He raised an eyebrow, clearly confused. "I'm not the most graceful person in the world."
"Could've fooled me with the way you were walking earlier," he teased. I glared at him, needing to get across that I wasn't amused. He just smiled. "I'm sorry. You're sure you're okay, though, right?"
"Yes, yes, I'm fine," I said, already sick of that question.
"Well, I guess I should get going then," he said, hesitantly standing up.
"Wait," I said, not sure what was possessing me. For some reason, I felt the sudden need to be near him even though my parent's house was less than a black away. "At least let me buy you dinner as a thank you," I continued, making up an excuse to stay near him.
He smiled. "Only if I can know your name," he probed. I couldn't help but smile as well, but a blush crept across my face.
"Isabella," I said quietly as a reflex. But I quickly amended that mistake. "Please don't call me that though. My parents insist on it, but I hate it. It's just Bella."
"Edward," he replied. "No abbreviations. Just Edward." He smirked as I rolled my eyes. Of course he would be the type to tease mercilessly. He held out his hand to help me up. "Now I would be happy to go to dinner with you."
I took his hand and stood up, feeling skeptical of his intentions. "You're going to keep asking me if I'm okay and making sure I don't fall over, aren't you?"
"It'll be worse if you keep that attitude," he advised with a smirk. I sighed in frustration, leading him to burst out laughing at my dejected expression.
What in the world was I thinking?
I walked with my hand less than an inch from Bella's lower back, guiding her along but only to keep her from falling. I had a feeling she would protest if I used even one more ounce of chivalry.
Chivalry? This night was getting weirder and weirder.
Two hours earlier, I got off my shift at Twilight, the tattoo parlor I ran with my brother's girlfriend, Rosalie.
"You know you don't need to stay until the last needle is cleaned," she told me as she cleaned the front desk area. "You and I run this joint. We're allowed to leave early from time to time."
"Practice what you preach," I threw at her while I sterilized the last few needles.
"Touché," she said with a laugh.
We both finished cleaning before gathering our things and parting ways. She was headed back to her dormitory and I was going… nowhere.
I hated staying at my apartment for longer than I needed to. I spent most of my time at Twilight, ignoring my own fucked up life by immersing myself in the art. I learned a lot about the world by dealing with the people that came in and what they decided to get etched into their skin.
I decided that it was a good night to just stay outside and smoke. Nothing wrong with that. People could complain all they want about secondhand smoke, but it really didn't matter to me.
Then I saw Bella. Even without knowing anything about her, I could tell she was special. I even felt bad for smoking around her and corrupting the air in her vicinity.
I saw her before she saw me. The numerous light posts and lack of a crowd made it hard to ignore her. The light played off her pale skin like it would off a jewel, almost sparkling. Her dark mahogany hair was done in wide curls and pinned up, but it had started to go a little frizzy from the humidity.
But her outfit confused me. I could tell she was wearing a dress from the light blue fabric around her thighs, but she was wearing a black hoodie over it all. Generally, girls in that area tended to be a little more fashion conscious. Even Rosalie spent over an hour getting herself ready every day when she knew she was just going to spend all day getting grease and oil stains on her hands.
Looking back at the girl's face, I saw that she looked worried. She looked behind her as if she felt she was being followed. She turned back around, not seeing anything. A man dressed in all black slunk out from behind one of the trees and slowly crept behind her.
I took a drag from my cigarette and watched as the man continued in the girl's direction. If she needed help, someone else who happened to be closer was sure to come to her aid. She didn't need me breathing smoke into her perfect lungs.
But for some reason, I felt a pull in that direction. Like I knew something was going to happen, but couldn't quite place it. I felt like I needed to help her.
I heard a scream coming from a few alleyways down and I reacted instantly. I threw the cigarette butt down and ran toward where the sound had come from. As I turned the corner, I saw a small piece of the light blue fabric from her dress and I knew it was her. I pulled the scumbag off her and shoved him into a wall.
"If you know what's good for you," I started, throwing a punch at his face, "you will leave right now. You will never come near her again. I have friends who will make sure that you never do anything like this ever again." I punctuated each pause with another punch to his face. I stepped back and dropped him.
He had enough sense to scamper off, whimpering the entire way, as I watched him. A sick sense of pride filled me for protecting this girl. Then I remembered she was still suffering behind me as I stood there, basking in unearned glory.
I turned to find her trying to balance herself against the wall. She looked a bit dizzy, and she was probably at least a little nauseous. I knelt in front of her and gently tapped her face with my hand.
"Hey," I said quietly. "Hey, you alright?" One of her hands came up to swat mine away as she mumbled. I chuckled at her lack of coherence. "Well, at least you're alive," he said. "Come on, let's get you into better light."
I slid my arms under her and picked her up, not seeing any other way to move her at that moment. I felt some sort of spark as I touched her skin, but I ignored it. It was probably just some static or something. I was surprised when she curled into my arms though.
Even more surprising, however, was my reaction. I found myself smiling down at her innocent form. I knew nothing about her, not even her name, but all I could focus on was that sense of connection I kept feeling.
I wanted nothing more than to never let her go.
But remembering why she was in my arms distracted me enough to get her situated on a bench before checking her over again.
She finally spoke as I knelt in front of her. "You're that guy," she whispered. Her voice was a little raspy, as if the bastard had tried to choke her. "The one smoking earlier."
"Ah, she speaks," I said, trying to keep the tone light. I hoped it would help her more than staying serious. "Since your vocal cords finally reattached to your brain, do you think you could tell me if you're okay?" I remembered something Rosalie told me when she first started dating Emmett: Don't always take control. Let the girl state her opinion. It's not 1920 anymore; girls can think for themselves.
"If almost getting raped and having a massive goose egg on the back of my head counts as being okay, then yeah. I'm just fine," she said, looking like I was insane. Well, that's one thing I learned. She was definitely sarcastic. I couldn't help but laugh again at her initial reaction. She sighed. "Sorry, I should be showing you more gratitude. You probably just saved my life." Her sudden shift in mood confused me a bit; I was getting out of touch with the world since the only people I really ever saw were Rosalie and Emmett.
The girl finally looked at me. She was even more beautiful up close than she was from afar. Her chocolate brown eyes seemed surprised by how close I had gotten to her, but didn't indicate that she would push me away. Her features were delicate, but fit her perfectly. Her lips drew me in almost as much as her eyes and I had to move in order to keep from leaning in to kiss her.
I stood up and checked the back of her head. Sure enough, there was a lump forming from where she must have hit her head. I touched the area around it and found no blood. She wouldn't need to go to the hospital, but I still felt concerned about her condition.
"You must've hit your head pretty hard," I said. "That's one impressive bump. You might have a concussion."
"Wouldn't be the first time," she said with a shrug. I raised an eyebrow, not seeing what she was getting at. "I'm not the most graceful person in the world."
"Could've fooled me with the way you were walking earlier," I joked. She glared at me, but I had to smile. Keeping the tone light and teasing seemed to keep her on the testy, sarcastic side. "I'm sorry. You're sure you're okay, though, right?"
"Yes, yes, I'm fine," she responded, exasperated.
"Well, I guess I should get going then," I said slowly as I stood up again. I didn't want to leave her there alone, but I didn't want to overstay my welcome either.
"Wait," she said as I turned away. I looked back at her to see her looking hesitant and biting her lip. "At least let me buy you dinner as a thank you," she continued.
I smiled, figuring that she probably just made that up. Maybe she felt the same connection I did. "Only if I can know your name," I said. I couldn't deal with not knowing more about her, so I figured that was a fair deal.
"Isabella," she answered quietly with a smile, but she continued, almost sounding scared. "Please don't call me that though. My parents insist on it, but I hate it. It's just Bella."
"Edward," I replied. "No abbreviations. Just Edward." She rolled her eyes in response to my smirk. The teasing was starting to come naturally while I was around her. I held my hand out to help her up. "Now I would be happy to go to dinner with you."
She took my hand, but I could sense her hesitation. "You're going to keep asking me if I'm okay and making sure I don't fall over, aren't you?"
"It'll be worse if you keep that attitude," I answered. I could tell that she was frustrated with my attitude, but her exasperated sigh had me laughing uncontrollably.
Now I found myself walking with this girl to a restaurant when I barely knew her. What happened to three years of distancing myself from everything?
I wanted to get to know her. More than I'd wanted anything in a long time. I decided to take a risk and find out more about her.
"So, Bella," I started. "What brings you out tonight in a cocktail dress and a hoodie?"
She groaned, trying to pull the sweatshirt down further. "Believe me, it wasn't my choice to wear this stupid pastel thing, but my mother forced me into it," she grumbled. "She just loves throwing me into situations I can't handle."
"And what could be out of your comfort zone that would include a cocktail dress?" I probed.
"Blind dates," she continued. "My mom is convinced that I'll never be married if I don't find a guy within the next five years, so she's starting early."
Her shoulders slumped forward as she walked. She looked disgusted at the idea of being forced to marry. Frankly, I didn't blame her. I didn't think there were still families like that.
"Can't you just walk away?" I suggested. "Just live on your own and not worry about your parents running your life?"
Bella smiled sadly up at me. "That's not how it works Edward." She started to continue, but she caught sight of the restaurant. "We're here." She took my hand and pulled me into a small hole-in-the-wall place. It looked like a place that a girl like her would never be caught dead in.
"Bella! I thought you were going to be out tonight!" a deep voice said as we entered the dimly lit building. A tall Native American boy walked up and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her out of my grip.
"Jake," Bella wheezed. "Jake, can't… breathe…."
"Oh, sorry Bells," he laughed, letting her go. Then he finally caught sight of me. "And who is this behind you?" Jake, as she called him, pushed Bella gently to the side and smiled at me. "Jacob Black, at your service." He held out his hand for me to shake, but I was too shocked to move. I'd never gotten hit on by a guy before.
Bella laughed at my expression and pulled Jacob away from him, much to his dismay. "Jake, this is Edward. He saved me from some creep who tried to get in my pants in the alleyway by the liquor store."
Jake turned his gaze back to me, but this time his expression was one of gratitude and amazement than of lust. "Thank you, man. Seriously, I don't know how much it means to me and all the guys here that she's okay."
"Uh, you're welcome, I guess," I stammered. "There was just something that told me I needed to do it, so…." I shrugged. Bella rolled her eyes at my lack of a logical reason, but smiled.
"Either way, all food you eat tonight is on the house," Jake assured me.
"Jake, you know I can't stand it when you-" Bella started before Jake gently put a hand over her mouth.
"I don't want to hear it Bells." Jake sent a wink over Bella's head to me and led us to a booth in the back.
Bella shooed Jake off after ordering her usual and letting me order a personal pan pizza. We were finally alone again.
I could tell that Bella was much more comfortable in this environment than out on the streets. She probably spent a lot of her time in here after bad dates or just to run away from her parents. From the way Jake reacted, she spent enough time here to get to know most of the staff.
"Sorry about Jake," she said once he left. "He's not the most subtle person in the world. He makes his sexuality known early in case there's a chance."
"Well, I hope he realizes that I'm not exactly batting on the same team," I answered with a nervous chuckle.
She tried to hide her bubbling laughter, but it didn't work. "I think you made it pretty clear." Her eyes were twinkling in her amusement and I found myself unable to look away.
I took a few seconds to get my composure back before I looked back at Edward. "Thank you, Edward. I really do believe that you saved my life back there."
"Seriously, don't mention it," he said quickly. It really seemed like he wanted to avoid the subject. His eyes looked pained. "It's over, that's what matters."
"Edward… I can't just ignore this," I insisted. As much as it hurt to see him like that – and I had no idea why – I needed him to see my side of it.
"Bella, I don't normally do this," he said. "I probably wouldn't have done it… but there was this thing that kind of pulled me to you. Something huge that I couldn't ignore."
"Well, whatever it is, I'm grateful," I said. "Even if I do have to go back to my parents' house later." I grimaced and focused on the table. I hoped he wouldn't ask any more about my home life, but I had a feeling that I would still answer him.
"I'm afraid I'm not used to this stuff, Bella," he said, running a hand through his messy, bronze hair. "I've been alone long enough that I don't know how to interact with people anymore."
"Well, you could've fooled me," I said honestly. "Promise me that you won't just blow this off. I need you to know how much this means to me."
Edward looked into my eyes again, and I felt myself drowning into his gaze. Then he reverted back to his teasing self and smirked. "Only if you promise to learn self-defense in case this happens again and I'm not there to help you."
I smiled. "Deal." His smirk turned into a genuine smile.
I had a feeling this wasn't going to be the last time I saw Edward. I hoped it wasn't going to be the last time.
AN: Thank you so much for reading. If you liked it, be sure to press the wonderful review button. I have no idea when I'll get to update again, but more reviews might help the next chapter come out sooner rather than later. *hint hint*