"The Indies First Time Writer Challenge" One-Shot Contest
The Cullen Is Right
Staring Edward, Jasper, Carlisle, Esme, Alice, Rosalie, Emmett and Bella
Rated MA for suggestive sexual content
Word Count: 3,478
Disclaimer: Neither I nor anything affiliated with me owns anything close to Twilight or anything with Bob Barker's name or image on it. My dog, Jake, however is neutered. Twilight and its character names belong to Stephanie Meyers.
Summary: AU, AH, OOC, MA for sexual themes, no violence, drugs or Jacob. The Cullens' Game Show meets Bella.
The Cullen Is Right
Or…Plinko My Ass.
Why does 4 A.M. have to come so early? Rose kept me up too late again. I pushed the beeping torture device off my nightstand, and then reached through the sheets, but they were empty. I shrugged a little and put my head back under my pillow. That's nothing new, Rose rarely stayed, something about having her own king size bed with crispy clean sheets and no one to snore in her ear. Even I couldn't dispute that. I didn't have anyone to make me crispy sheets except my cleaning lady, Jessica, and that woman scared me through her plastic smile so that I would fear the consequences to ask her for anything above and beyond her job description.
By 6 A.M. I was already feeling my eyes resemble normalcy as the steam from my Chai Tea Latte was bringing me back to life. Pulling into the drive of the epic CBS Studios flipped the stage lights on inside of me every time. My driver slowed down near the corner. I put the black window down just enough so I could stick my hand out and they could see my face. That line never ceased to humble me. What a bunch of adoring die-hards to be up at this ungodly hour, looking dressed in their best, after driving in from who knows how far, just so they could stand in line and get a chance to meet one of the Cullens. It was the least I could do to toss the poor ladies a wink. "Aahhh! Look! Oh My God!" my desired response came from the crowd. I smiled and put the window back up. I grinned into my cup. That has got to be one of the best ways to start your day. I'd never tire of that.
I looked to the person to the left of me in the row of make-up chairs and raised my cup. ''Morning."
"Yep.'Morning." was the reply.
I leaned back and let Angela do her magic on me. Bless her heart, the sweet little gal never made a comment about the road-kill our family looked like at dawn. She was always able to remove every trace of the night before and make me look like I was ready to do it all over again in just a matter of minutes. I kissed her on the cheek as she smiled sheepishly and moved onto the next chair.
"Alright everyone, minutes." I spoke into my stage mic headset.
I heard the audience roar a little and smiled to myself. I stood in the shadow stage left and looked out onto the crowd. Yep, all filled in and looking rather sharp this lovely morning. How I could think it was a lovely morning after such a rumpus night with Vikki was only to the blessed hands of Angela's credit. I swear that poor girl must never sleep. She was here bright and early, ready and waiting for me on the massage table when I came in.
"Good morning, Mr. Cullen. Let's get you ready to start a new day." I crawled up and fell asleep face down in the table and let her magic hands do her work. She was the shyest gal I had ever known. How she'd even managed the words from her mouth for a greeting was a feat, but hell, I knew she was an angel as soon as she began to touch me. I'd have to remember to think of something nice for her later.
The music was cued and the audience roaring, my teleprompter started to roll.
"Good morning! How do you want to start your day?!"
The audience responded with another roar.
"I'm Jasper Cullen and here's everybody's favorite breakfast, Carliiiiiisle Cullen!"
I chuckled into my mic a little and crooned our line.
"Let's play The Cullen Is Right!" The applause was deafening for a moment. Then Carlisle spoke into his mic. I zoned out a little to his welcome monologue as he explained the rules of the game. I was too busy staring back stage. From where my booth was positioned I could see just enough to make eye contact with my earthly angel. I shifted in my seat a little. No one should have such superpowers to make me twitch with just an innocent look. Without missing a beat I went to the first name on the list and called up the first pawn, er, I mean contestant onto the stage.
The bouncy lady trotted swiftly up the stairs. Her big head of curls was flowing about. I quickly reread her name tag.
"Good morning, Polly. Welcome to The Cullen is Right! How do you want to start your day?!"
She grinned at me suggestively and replied, "Oh Daddy Cullen I don't think I can tell you on national TV, but if you let me win, maybe I can tell you after the show."
"Well Polly, aren't you an ambitious young lady. Let's get you started. Alice, show Polly what we have today." Jasper rambled on the description for this round. I couldn't believe he made that breakfast comment. I appreciated his humor as much as the rest of the country, but I knew Edward was going to have a fit about his slip on national television and professionalism or some such rant.
I turned my attention back to Alice as she displayed the pickle of a decision between her and the prize.
"So what do you say, Polly? Is the card Alice that is holding correct, or do you think the card under the prize is right?"
Polly bounced a little again and began following the invisible tennis ball match between the prize and the audience. The crowd began to call out suggestions to her and her indecision grew.
"Polly, now if you choose correctly, you get a chance to go on to the bonus round at the end of the show, if you choose wrong, you'll have to tell America, The Cullen is Right."
She settled on Alice as her final decision.
"Alice lets see that card." Flipping it to reveal the correct answer in Polly's favor, the audience erupted in approval. Polly began bouncing again, picking me up in a squeeze of a hug, and making Emmet a little nervous from stage right. That boy just liked tackling people-male or female.
I congratulated Polly and she gave me a wink as she was escorted back stage. Jasper led us out to commercial as Angela came out to adjust my make-up.
Alice trotted off victoriously and Edward was snapping directions from the pit. "Let's hear it for this beautiful audience today." said Edward from his mic in the shadows.
I gave them a wink.
I needed to distract the audience from the crewmen pulling wires above their heads for the next set. I was watching the audience as Carlisle flirted with them-damn my dad was good at that. I remember watching him as a boy trying to copy his mannerisms on my reflection. Dad and I always had a pretty easy time with women, so I guess I learned pretty well. I scanned out on the audience and that's when it hit me, like the air had been sucked right from my lungs. I suddenly knew what was meant when they say "breathtaking". Honestly, when I saw her in line this morning, I thought she was a dream induced from my lack of sleep. Now I had seen beautiful women, this is Hollywood, land of plastic perfection, but this, this, was my star. She was smiling and clapping along carelessly as I quickly made my way to Jasper and scratched out the switch on his call list.
"Alright bro, I know that look, where is she?" asked Jasper teasingly.
"Just an adjustment." I quickly replied.
"Yeah. An adjustment in your pants." He continued.
"Jaz, a little professionalism. For the show." I pretended my authority for a moment. His face fell a little. We both knew that breakfast comment earlier was funny as hell, but I couldn't let him pop off like that or he'd get carried away. And now, this pale beauty in the blue blouse was already getting me carried away with last minute changes, but I wasn't going to let him know that. I liked things planned out and run by the book. But I couldn't let this slide. She needed to be under the lights. And I needed to take that chance to see more of her.
"Ten seconds everybody." I snapped into the mic.
The audience erupted again as Jasper brought us back from commercial and quickly called up the next contestant. A tea kettle squeal and flailing arms came running down the aisle and up the steps. Carlisle took a precautionary step back. I had picked this contestant out just for Emmett knowing he would work him over just for the ratings.
"Good morning, Jack." Carlisle crooned at him for kicks. Jack was fanning himself trying to calm his squealing.
"How would you like to start your day?"
"Oh my gawd. Oh my gawd!" was all Jack could reply.
"Well, Jack, what would you say to starting your day playing a round of Plinko with Emmett?!" Carlisle continued to tease. Cue the set reveal and Emmett standing against the Plinko board in a 'frisk me' pose. His back was to the camera, body tan and slick accenting his little 'boy shorts'. The ladies in the audience responded with audible groans of approval at the sight of my bulky brother. I looked at Jack and thought we might lose him right there, but Carlisle was a pro.
"Jack? Jack, stay with me buddy. Do you think you can do this?"
Jack nodded his head, let out an affirmative squeak and pulled his fingers up to cover his mouth.
"Alright Emmett, lets show Jack what you've got, so Jack can decide…if The Cullen is Right!"
Emmett walked up the stairs, gyrating his hips at the audience, looking back over his shoulder to wink at Jack. The round continued just as I planned with all the right suggestions and responses from the crowd. Even though Emmett equated to playful gym socks to me, I knew how easy it was for him to work over the viewers with his bod. Poor Jack didn't stand a chance.
"Emmett, Carlisle. The Cullen is Right." Jack seemed so sure of his answer.
The audience let out a sympathetic 'aww' as the card was flipped to show that Jack has lost.
"That's okay," said Jack. "This was still the best good morning and best way to start my day that I could imagine!" He reassured Carlisle and the audience.
We cut to commercial and my stomach grew a little tight. I shouldn't be this anxious, but I knew who was next and I couldn't wait. I was almost as excited as poor Jack.
I thought Edward was going to razz me for that breakfast comment, but after calling him out on the last minute switch and after the racy show that Emmett put on, my remarks were practically off the radar.
I watched the finger cues, 'three, two, one' and announced the show back on and into the third round.
"Please welcome the next contestant to The Cullen is Right, Bella!"
The audience roared their applause and at that moment, I think everyone in the building was magnetically pulled to watching her come up to the stage. The shade of her blouse was striking against her skin and I could instantly see why Edward had switched her in. Carlisle almost had to rouse himself from where ever it was his thoughts were to get his words out.
"Good Morning, Bella. How do you want to start your day?"
She smiled at him and leaned in, "Good Morning Mr. Cullen." She said a little hesitantly. "Please," he insisted, "Call me Carlisle." He smirked and leaned in response back to her. Did he? He did! That flirt just sniffed her. My dad was such a perv! And here I thought I was bold on national TV. I had nothing on that man and I knew it when she blushed. She liked it.
Carlisle waved his hand out towards the set directing to move along with it, never taking his eyes off Bella's. I looked back stage and everyone there had gathered and was staring gapingly at her, too. On stage, the reveal pulled back, and it wasn't until the audience cheered at the sight of Rosalie and Esme in school girl prep uniforms that everyone snapped back to attention. I think I heard Bella gasp, "Oh my." under her breath.
Carlisle lit up at the sight of my mom in her short plaid skirt. God they loved each other so much it was disgusting growing up with them. Now that I had my Alice, and Emmett was with Rose, we understood better and granted them more moments without complaining. We had seen Edward on the playing field with women, but knew he was yet to find the mark for his spotlight. I wished it for him. He had periods of crabbiness watching all of us that would bring on tantrums with a 'fan-girl of the day'. That's when we had to bring in Angela for more hours. We knew she was working him over before the show trying to revitalize the poor bastard. He thought we didn't notice. But when I saw his face when he saw her face looking at Rose and Mom, I knew he knew, she was the one, if you know what I mean. Bella's face had lit up like Christmas morning at the sight of the overly competitive women and I could see her smirk creep wide as if to say, 'game on'.
There was so much unspoken action going on on that stage.
Damn if it wasn't a hot mess though. Mom was giving Bella looks, Bella was gaining confidence by the moment, and Rosalie was looking at Bella, and then glaring back at mom for some reason. Carlisle was grinning back and forth between mom and Bella and I could see backstage that Emmett was doing the genetically identical back and forth between Rosalie and Bella. But Edward, he just looked like a puppy crouched to pounce ownership on a toy.
The round continued on quite fiercely with so much sexual tension we weren't sure if we would need to break away for commercial and do a retake from all the suggestiveness they were creating on what would normally be our friendly tease of a game show.
The round finished and Bella weighed her decision to make the choice.
"Which Cullen is Right, Bella? Who do you think it's going to be?" Carlisle said.
"I'm not sure who to trust right now Mr. Cullen."
"Bella, please, call me Carlisle. I'm not the only Mr. Cullen here today." He said with a wink.
She made a quick glance backstage at Edward and Emmett. And sure enough that's when she practically ignited. Her eyes opened wide, then came down in a glare and a grin. The most wicked little grin.
"Carlisle" she said with a smile. "You're absolutely right. How could I possibly choose between those two lovely Cullen Women? I mean, Rosalie is beautiful and extremely persuasive. Right?!" She said then turning to the audience, raising her hands coaxing their approval.
"But Esme, Esme is a whole other ballgame. She is classic and subtle and her beauty is majestic, but her skills of persuasion are so honed that she rarely has to use them this deliberately. I think it takes one to know one, Carlisle. So I'm going to have to say, 'Don't. Mess. With Mama.' Esme is Right."
The audience let out a shocked groan of disapproval. Clearly they were Rosalie fans. Rose was supermodel sex on heals, legs for days, but only we knew she was no match for mama.
"If that's really how you feel, Bella. Esme, let's see that card."
Esme revealed the card and sure enough…Bella had the correct Cullen.
"Well shut my mouth, Bella. Congratulations! You'll be going onto our final round with Polly right after we come back from this break!"
We cut to commercial and…cue normal breathing.
The tension on the show today was so intense. I felt like I needed a shower after that.
Bella was in back signing the final paperwork arrangements for her prizes. I congratulated her on her big win when mom came up.
"I'm really impressed by your performance on the show. Most people get really intimidated by the lights and the crowd and the excitement of the show and lose all their power for discernment. Great act. You should really think about going into show business."
"What act? I was just calling it like I see it Mrs. Cullen."
"Bella, if you can call it like that, then you're a woman I'd like to have in my arsenal anytime. Please, call me Esme." she handed her her card and winked at Carlisle and Polly over her shoulder.
I hugged Jasper goodbye and waited back, watching as Esme leaned in and shook Bella's hand and gave her a kiss on the cheek a little too close to her ear. When I came up, mom winked at me, gave me the double pat on the back and walked off. I weighed the movement between mom and Bella catching any words and signals left in the air.
"Bella, I'm Edward Cullen. I'm the director of the show. I can't tell you how close we were to cutting to commercial. Your performance had everyone captivated. You were really amazing."
"I know who you are Mr. Cullen. I saw you scoping me out in line this morning at the butt crack of dawn. And that was no performance as so many of you seem to think. You all gain the success of your show by how crafty you are at suggesting, but I can clearly see into you Cullens and know exactly which Cullen is right. So I played your little game. And won. I'll just finish these papers, take my prizes, and keep your secrets to myself."
My jaw was agape. I could feel it, but I could barely move it to right it. This woman had captivated me, captured my whole family, and then called us out on it. I couldn't let her walk into my show, into my life, turn it upside down with her little pinkie and then just walk out. Snap out of it, Cullen!
"Bella. If you could so clearly see through us, then tell me, how am I going to be able to come back to work knowing that I will never have another contestant like you in my life?"
I was taking a risk with a line like that. A little cheesy, a little vague, a little suggestive, but if she could really see, she would see me the way I wanted her to.
"Mr. Cullen I've never been on a nationally televised game show before. For that matter, I've never won cash and prizes like this before. But if you think you're never going to find another woman like me, then you are the prize."
Damn right. She could see.
"Bella, will you answer me just one question? You're not going to go after my mom are you?"
"You. Edward. Are the Right Cullen for me."
Emmett and I came home early after dinner. I didn't feel like going out after the show today. Seeing Carlisle and Esme in their trailer with Polly was the topping on the cake. If I was being truthful with myself, I couldn't get over being a little cranky that I didn't win my round today on the show. I prided myself on my fan approval rating and couldn't stand the competition of that perfectly-ordinary, amazingly-wonderful, Bella. She owned everyone on the set. God bless Emmett. He held me close and made me feel like a queen and when the snoring began, I crept out and down the hall. I bumped into Angela on the stairs. She just smiled wearily. I returned the smile without question or word and we went in our separate directions. I reached for the handle and didn't knock. Closing it respectfully behind me, I pulled my nighty over my head and let it drop to the floor. A hand wrapped out around the edge of the covers on the bed and lifted them up. I slid in and nestled up. I heard Carlisle exhale, purr a little mmm, and roll over. She spoke so low, I could barely hear, "That's the first time I've seen you so jealous, Rose. Don't keep me up so late tonight."
How much did you think it was Emmett in the intro instead of Esme?
What about Angela? Just how much service can one girl provide?
Did you recognize my loving tribute to at least one of my fav authors?
And does this milk smell bad to you?