A/N: Greetings dear readers! I've been an active reader in the Twilight fandom for quite some time now but this is my first foray into writing my own stuff. I hope you enjoy this fluffy little one shot and a small intro to my writing.
Thanks to FanpireMama (her fic, Serendipity is AWESOME) and ldskbell for the beta help!
P.S. Be sure to read past the first line-it can be a little jarring. ;)
First Time Caller
"Oh yeah baby, mmm I'm so close. Make me come," I uttered out as believably as I was able.
I rolled my eyes at the grunting and moaning coming from the other side of the call; rolling my desk chair back and lazily turning a few times. I was so bored.
It was a typical Tuesday night for me. Sitting at home with a small mountain of notebooks and worn novels piled up on my desk, five different windows open on my laptop with various online sources for my thesis paper, and my Bluetooth headset attached to my ear as I talked yet another faceless loser through his orgasm. That's me. Bella Swan. U-Dub graduate student by day, kinky phone sex operator by night.
I honestly have no idea how I got here. I struggled to make my way through undergrad-working two part time jobs on top of my full course load to make ends meet, but even with those and my scholarships my school loans piled up at an alarming rate. Halfway through my junior year, I was desperate. My grades were slipping. I barely slept. I was running constantly from my apartment to class, to my job at the campus deli, to the library, and then to the local hangout where I bartended before collapsing into bed; only to do the whole routine again the next day.
After the fourth time I slept through our traditional breakfast meeting, my best friend and former roommate, Alice, finally put her foot down.
"Bells, I can't just sit by and watch you run yourself into the ground," she'd said while sitting across the booth from me in our favorite greasy diner, concern lacing her high, lilting voice and apparent in her vibrant blue eyes.
Alice and I had been assigned to the same dorm freshman year. I tripped over her stack of designer shoeboxes upon entering the room; she took one look at my worn jeans and sneakers and informed me that I was way too cute to dress like a hobo. We'd been inseparable ever since.
"Look, I know you can't NOT work, but there has to be another way for you to earn enough to get by," she'd insisted.
At the time, I really didn't see any other way. I really didn't want to take a break before heading to grad school and work in some crappy, low paying receptionist job where I'd basically be the office bitch. I wanted to get my masters and go to work in a publishing firm. It was my goal, my dream; it killed me to even think about postponing it.
"Look, Alice, I know you're worried, but this is just how it has to be for awhile. Can we just enjoy our fat-filled breakfast now?"
We dug in, me chewing quietly and staring out the window into the dreary Seattle morning, and Alice flipping through the latest issue of Cosmo.
"Oh, Bella, that's it!" Her fork clattered loudly onto the table as she practically jumped up from her seat; her tiny body practically vibrating with excitement from the short spikes of her inky black hair to the tips of her pedicured toes.
"What's it Alice? What are you talking about?"
"I know how you can make money without having to work such long hours!" She threw the magazine down facing me. It was on one of the pages in the back of the issue that was filled with ads for sex toys and breast enhancements.
"What am I looking for here? Are you suggesting I submit my body for medical experiments? Free boob job to test out the latest implants or something?"
"No! Like I'd even suggest that, your boobs are perfect. Here, this one," she pointed to a small ad for a singles chat line: Red Hot Dateline. Call Today, All the hottest local singles are waiting… followed by an 800 number.
"You're kidding, right?" I looked up at her skeptically.
"No, it's perfect! This girl in my biology lab does it. I heard her talking about it the other day."
"Phone sex?" I blurted loudly before remembering we were in the middle of a busy diner. I blushed about five shades of red before burying my face in my hands.
"It'd be so easy! Tanya said you go to work for one of these companies as like, an erotic performer or something like that. You sit at home, they connect you with the calls, you talk sexy to them and bam, you're done. No commute, no running your ass ragged all day. You can probably even do your homework or whatever while you're working."
"You're crazy. I couldn't do that."
"Bells, you'd be great at it. With your voice? It's all smooth and seductive, guys would be chatting you up all night!"
"What would I even say? It's not like I'm that well versed in dirty talk you know."
Truth be told, at the time I'd only slept with one guy-my high school boyfriend, Jake. We broke up when I moved from my small hometown of Forks to the big city of Seattle for school. In all honesty, it was for the best. Jake had been like one big puppy, but there'd never really been any passion between us. I'd only slept with him because it felt like the thing to do at the time. We'd dated for over a year. We'd known each other our whole lives. Why not?
Alice refused to let the subject drop; hounding me for weeks to at least look into it. She bought me porn and sent me links for smut stories online to "research". She even gave Tanya my number and told her I wanted information on how to get into the "business".
Then, one day in the middle of March, I broke. I'd dropped to a B- in two classes, the lowest grades I'd EVER earned. I barely spoke to anyone; my mom had left me six messages that I still hadn't managed to return and I never hung out or went out anywhere. I was a walking zombie. I was on my break at the deli when a call came in that my dad, Charlie, the chief of police back in Forks, had been shot while on a domestic dispute call. Luckily it ended up being no more than a flesh wound, but I was shaken all the same. Neither job would let me take time off as it was spring break and they were short handed already. I quit. Right then and there.
After returning to campus the next week once, I'd been reassured that Charlie was safe and on the mend, I put a call into Tanya.
So, here I am, three years later; twenty-four years old, single, and still working the phone lines like a street corner.
Yawning as soundlessly as possible, I stretched my arms above my head and kicked my feet up to rest on the desk in front of me. There was no way I was getting anywhere on my thesis tonight.
The call wound down with a few "You're the best baby"s and some fake, satisfied moans on my part, and a promise to call back next week on his. It hadn't taken as long as I had anticipated to build up a routine and a comfort zone.
The first few calls I'd taken, I'd been insanely nervous. I was shy and introverted by nature. No matter how many times Alice had tried to boost my confidence and convince me otherwise, I'd always thought of myself as plain. Average. Brown hair, brown eyes, average height at 5'4", hell, even my shoe size was average. I was slim, but that was more due to having lanky genes than anything. I'd curved out a little in college, but nothing notable whatsoever. Until my sophomore year, I'd been flat as a pancake and mistaken for a boy on more than one occasion when I'd piled my long hair up under a hat.
I made Alice stay with me in my apartment and coach me through the first few evenings I worked. I'd put the calls on speaker and she'd help by writing out appropriate remarks for me to say. What a pal.
After a couple weeks I figured out that the key to the job was to not think like myself. It was acting. These guys knew nothing about me; they didn't want to know anything about me. They just wanted a female voice on the other end while they fantasized and popped one off. Once I figured that out, it was easier. I still blushed like a schoolgirl at some of the comments that came out of my mouth, but I wasn't Bella on those calls. I was Isabella, sultry sex goddess.
I came up with my own persona, it was almost like writing fiction. I could do that. I kept it as close to 'me' as possible, seeing as I'm a terrible liar and would never be able to pull it off if I was pretending to be a statuesque blonde with double D boobs and a name like Bambi. I was able to separate Isabella from Bella enough to have confidence on the calls without squirming too much.
After awhile I built up a comfort level and found that I was actually pretty decent at the whole thing. I even gained a few regular callers over the last couple years. Like Mike, the corporate lawyer who liked baby talk, or Tyler, the CPA who wanted me to call him 'Daddy' and tell him what a bad girl I'd been, or Eric who liked to role play. Last week I'd been Padme to his Anakin and he wanted me to ride his light saber.
You'd think with such a sexual job I'd have gained more of an actual sex life. So not the case. In fact, the regularity of the sex talk in my life had quite the opposite effect. It's not like I ever got aroused on those calls or did anything. I tried to think as little as possible about what the guys on the other end of the phone were doing and tuned their grunting and moaning out as best as possible most of the time.
I really just didn't have an interest in dating or partying. It wasn't my scene, despite how often Alice and Rose, our most recent addition, tried to coax me out with them. Besides, they had their dream guys-Jasper and Emmett. Both ridiculously attractive and perfect for each of them. No one needed sad little Bella tagging along as the fifth wheel.
And here comes the pity party. Gah, I even irritate myself sometimes.
I stood up and stretched before padding into the kitchen of my apartment to dig for leftovers.
It's not like I don't want a guy in my life. A boyfriend, a lover, a husband. Eventually. I just didn't see the rush. I had goals, priorities. I had a list! I enjoyed my free time now that I had more of it. I liked hanging out with my friends, even when they were all coupled up. I liked curling up with a book. I liked knitting.
Yes. I knit.
In fact, knitting had become my second source of income when hit the scene and I found that I could actually make a few bucks off of selling socks, mittens, hats, and scarves amongst other things. It was calming and I could do it while taking my work calls. It's not like the guys jerking off would ever know I was really knitting and pearling instead of pinching my nipples or rubbing my clit. No harm, no foul.
Jackpot, I thought as I nudged the milk jug to the side and found a leftover carton of Kung Pao Chicken from our movie marathon the other night. Nothing like some spicy chicken and asian noodles to spice up an otherwise dull evening.
It was relatively early yet-about eight o'clock. I usually took calls until about 1am if it was going well. I'd already had two tonight and figured I'd probably be in for at least a couple more before clocking out.
I popped a cold Diet Coke and grabbed my plate from the microwave before plopping down on the couch and digging in. This was definitely a perk of the job-I could be as lazy as I wanted to be while still bringing in as much as I had in my old jobs. With my relatively steady trickle of income from my knitting I probably even squeaked past what I used to be making. No more stupid uniforms like the neon green apron and visor I'd had at the deli. No short skirts and low cut tops like I wore at the bar to try and rake in a few extra tips. It felt so good to cuddle up in my oversized hoodie with no one to impress.
My phone sang out from my desk across the room:
Roxanne, you don't have to put on the red light. Roxanne, you don't have to sell your body to the night.
Work. At least I could have a sense of humor about it, right?
I snatched up my headset before answering. "Hello?"
"Hey, Bella," Angela, one of the more regular operators responded cheerfully, "I've got another one calling in if you're up for it."
"Sure thing, Ang, anyone I've had before?"
"I don't think so, didn't sound familiar to me at least."
"Ok, I'll take him," I sighed and waited for her to connect the call.
"Hey," a deep, scratchy and gruff voice came through the line.
"Hey, hot stuff, how are you tonight?"
"Good," he responded shortly.
Great. A man of few words.
"Not a big talker, huh, baby? That's ok, you just relax and let me do the talking then."
"Mm," he grunted.
Geez, who was this guy? A caveman?
"What's your name there, tough guy?"
"Ruben," he answered with a thick Scottish brogue, "Ruben McCock."
Wait a minute.
"Goddamn it, Emmett!" I shouted into the phone as his familiar laugh burst out on the other end.
This was not the first time he'd pranked me while on call. Ever since he found out what I did as sideline, he'd taken every opportunity he could to torture me, calling in with stupid fake names like Phil Atio, Holden McGroin, and my personal favorite: Rection, Hugh G. Rection. That man needed to stop watching The Simpsons reruns. If I didn't love the big oaf so much I'd hate him for it, but Emmett was nothing but a big teddybear at heart.
"You've got problems, dude. I'm going to have to tell Rose that you're straying from her to make pervy calls to sex lines!"
"Oh come on, Bells, I can't help it! It's just too good to pass up," he managed, still trying to reign in his guffawing.
"You're sick Emmett. One of these times I'm just going to keep going. Then you'll be stuck trying to explain to Rose why you're hiding out in the basement rubbing one out with the phone attached to your ear."
"Mm don't tease me, baby."
"Get off the phone you pervert and stop calling in while I'm working!" I disconnected with a disgusted snort before he could say another word and rolled my eyes to the ceiling. Why oh why do I have to have such weirdo friends?
No more than two minutes later another call came through.
"Done already, Bella? That's gotta be a record," Angela teased.
"Emmett." That was all I needed to say. "Got another one?"
"Yeah, sounds like he's a rookie. He seemed a little out of his element when I was taking his info, like he was uncomfortable. Nice voice though, I think you'll enjoy."
I liked when Angela and I both worked the same nights. She was good at passing me the calls that didn't seem like they'd get too out there. I trusted her judgment and she hadn't let me down with a single creepster yet. Emmett excluded.
"Thanks, Ang, pass him my way."
I scooped up the latest socks I was knitting on my way back to the couch. May as well do something productive.
Clearing my throat quickly, I slipped back into 'Sexy Isabella' as the call clicked in.
"Hello?" A man's voice tentatively inquired.
"Hey, sexy, how are you doing tonight?" I crooned back to him.
"Uh, hmm" he cleared his voice, couching slightly, "I'm good, I guess."
Angela was right. He was definitely uncomfortable. And his voice was completely sexy. I'd never been turned on by a man's voice before. No matter how many calls I'd taken, they all pretty much sounded the same to me-just a bit of a change in pitch or accent. But this one. Ung. I felt like I'd just been caressed from head to toe with velvet, his voice a smooth baritone despite his discomfort.
"This your first time, baby?"
"Um, yeah. I mean, I've never done it before. This, that is. Uh, on the phone, not like I haven't done IT before. I mean, I've had sex of course, just not uh, this. So, yes. It's my first time calling. I guess," he rambled out, tripping all over his words.
This could take awhile, I thought as I settled back into the pillows and cast on my yarn.
"No need to be nervous, sweetie," I tried to assure him in my most calming tone. "We can do this any way you want. You just tell me what you like and what you don't, sound good?"
"Uh yeah, I guess."
"How about you start off by telling me your name, baby?"
"Edward huh? You don't hear that one every day."
"Yeah. My mom, she was really into Jane Austen and Romantic literature around the time I was born."
"Nothing wrong with the classics." Austen had always been a favorite of mine as well. I couldn't tell you how many times I'd read Sense & Sensibility. My anthology was cracked so many times on the spine that it would probably give out the next time I picked it up for a re-read.
"How about you tell me a little bit about yourself. What do you look like? You sound really sexy," I poured it on thick. Knit one, pearl two.
"Uh, thanks? Um, look like, huh? Um, I'm tall I guess, six-foot-two. I've got green eyes. I'm in decent shape, I guess. I mean, I keep pretty active. And uh, my hair, it's like this reddish brown I suppose, I don't really know how to describe it. Not really long but not super short either. It pretty much just goes everywhere, it, well it's a mess actually."
"Mmm, that sounds hot. I love a man with hair I can grab onto," I smoldered.
He let out a bit of a baffled breath.
"What is it?"
"Uh, nothing," he laughed uncomfortably.
It was obvious he wasn't going to be taking the reins on this one. He was going to need a little push.
"Don't you want to know what I look like, baby?" I asked, putting a sexy little pout to my voice.
"Oh, sure, of course," he stammered out.
"I'm five-foot-six," I lied seamlessly; this part was easy. It was a character description and nothing more.
"Long, wavy dark hair, just waiting for you to run your fingers through it and grab a handful. Deep, brown eyes, smooth, tan skin so soft that it feels like silk under your fingertips," I rolled my eyes at that part; no one wanted to hear that in all reality I was pasty as a ghost and practically translucent.
"Soft, supple curves, just aching for your touch, baby," I oozed out the rest of the description and swore silently as I dropped a stitch and had to back up a few steps. "That sound good to you, baby?"
"What? Oh, yeah, sure."
"Something wrong? You more of a blonde type?"
"No, no. You sound…great. Uh, hot."
"So, Edward," I purred, scratching an itch on my calf with my other foot. "What had you calling in this evening?"
"Well, uh, I don't know honestly. I guess, uh, I just felt like talking. To someone."
"Just talk?" I asked flirtatiously.
"Yeah. I mean I didn't really call for, uh, you know."
"Oh?" I asked curiously, "What were you hoping for then?"
"I don't…I just…ugh. This was stupid, I'm sorry. I should just go-"
"No, wait!" I interrupted, surprising myself. I'd thrown my knitting down in my lap and reached up to the headset like I could hold him there. There was something about his voice; I wasn't ready to let him go yet.
"How about we start over? I'm Isabella," I toned the sex down in my voice a little for the time being. No need to scare him off entirely when he was obviously uncomfortable with that side of it.
"Isabella," he said softly, like he was testing out how it would sound rolling off his tongue. It sounded damn good.
"Yeah, my mom had some romantic notions of her own when I was born," I explained as I resumed my knitting.
"So, if you didn't call tonight for, you know," I teased, just slightly, "what did you have in mind when you picked up the phone?"
He sighed heavily and didn't answer right away. "Beats me," he finally said on a bit of a strangled laugh. "Isabella?"
"Do you mind if we… I mean, can we… Would it be ok if we just…talked? For awhile?"
I raised my brow to myself and finished out my row of stitches. This was definitely not a regular call.
"Sure. We can do that."
"Ok, good. That's good," he blew out a breath.
"Relax," I laughed a little as I said it. The guy just sounded like he was wound so tight he might just snap.
He laughed quietly in return, genuinely this time, and I don't think I'd ever heard a more beautiful sound in the entire world.
"Yeah, I can do that."
"So, let's talk," I started. "What do you do?"
"I'm a doctor," he responded, sounding more comfortable already.
"Doctor huh? What kind of doctor exactly?"
"Well, I'm in the ER right now. Eventually I'd like to move into surgery, I think."
"A real, live Dr. McDreamy?" I joked.
"Sure, you could say that, I guess. Although, the reality of it doesn't even come close to the glamorous drama of Seattle Grace."
"Aaw, there you go, spoiling my dreams of steamy hookups behind the curtain and make out sessions between patients."
"Sorry to be the one to wreck it for you."
"That's ok, I shall endure," I sighed overdramatically.
"So what do you do, Isabella, when you're not moonlighting for lonely souls?"
Warning. Do NOT share any personal details, Bella, no matter how adorable the guy sounds.
"Uh," I fished around for a minute.
His question threw me off. No one ever asked me about myself other than my looks and what I was wearing. Now I had to come up with something on the spot. Which was bad. I'd never pull off a lie with no time to rehearse it.
"Stripper?" I said, blurting the first and possibly most believable thing out.
"Why do I not believe you?" Damn. So much for that.
"I don't know, why don't you?" I tried to play it off.
"I don't think so. Try again."
"Nope, not that either. God, you're a terrible liar."
"Nurse?" I squeaked out, groping once again for a plausible cover.
"Oh, really? What hospital?" He asked curiously.
"Virginia Mason," I said confidently, naming the hospital I'd been taken to on more than one occasion due to my debilitating clumsiness.
"Is that so? Then I've probably seen you around."
"We've probably passed each other, in the halls? Since I work there too…" he trailed off knowingly.
"Uh, no. You haven't. Because I don't work there."
"I knew it. How about you try the truth Isabella?"
What are you doing, Bella? I tried to shake myself off. You know you're not supposed to get personal with your callers. No "real" details. No attachments. Just wham, bam, thanks for the call man. But no, I couldn't stick to my normal rules. Not with Edward. Because nothing about Edward was normal it seemed. I found myself giving in.
"I'm a student," I relented.
"Like in high school?" He sounded slightly panicked.
"No! God, no. As in grad student."
"Oh, whew. I was worried about robbing the cradle there for a second. So, grad school. What area of study?"
I shook my head to myself in disgust as I divulged even more. "English."
"Ah, a cunning linguist are you?"
"On occasion," I flirted back.
"So how does an English student get into the world of Adult Phone Conversations?"
"It pays the bills," I waved it off coquettishly.
I couldn't believe how easy it was to flirt with this man. Not even as Isabella, though. Isabella had a huskier quality, a deeper tone to her. No, I was flirting as Bella, in MY voice. I'd never been able to flirt with a guy in my own voice.
"Well, I know you're in Seattle, seeing as this is a local service and all. Have you always lived here?"
I hesitated at that. Telling him about what I went to school for was one thing, getting into history and actual details was entirely another.
He could obviously sense my unease because he jumped in. "Look, Isabella, I know that you probably don't actually talk about yourself to any of the men who call in here. I don't blame you. I just, I had a completely shit day and needed to talk to someone who doesn't know me; who wouldn't ask all sorts of questions. Where I could just forget about everything for a while, I guess. And talking to you, just the sound of your voice, I don't know. It's very soothing. To me," he clarified. "I suppose what I'm saying is that I'd like to talk with you, if that's ok. I won't ask anything creepy or inappropriate, I promise."
I held back another moment, biting my lower lip and worrying the knitting needles between my fingers. "Ok," I said quietly.
This was stupid. Bad move Bella. But I couldn't NOT talk to him. There was just something about him, about his voice. I don't know if I was just being naïve or what but for some reason I felt like I could trust him completely.
"Ok," he agreed happily. "So, is that question off limits?"
"Well, I was born in a small town north of Seattle. Forks?"
"Sure, I've heard of it."
"Then I moved to Phoenix with my mom when my parents split. Stayed there until she remarried while I was in high school and I moved back to Forks to be with my dad."
"Why didn't you stay with your mom? Didn't like the guy?"
"No, he's great, perfect for her really. He had to travel a lot for his job though and my mom wanted to be with him. She was really miserable having to stay home with me all the time and not being able to be near him, so I said I'd move in with Charlie, uh, my dad."
"That was nice of you."
"It just worked better that way," I shrugged.
"So, no siblings then?"
"Nope, only child. You?"
"No, I have an older brother and a younger sister actually."
"That's cool, you close to them?"
"Yeah, I guess. Not as much lately. I had med school and then my residency. Added to that I was in a relationship until recently, one that my family wasn't entirely thrilled with. With all that we haven't really been in touch a lot in the last few years."
"I'm sorry to hear that," I said honestly.
"Yeah, it's hard with my sister especially. We used to be so close, like we could read each other's thoughts almost. Now I barely know anything about her. She's dating some guy, sounds really serious, like they're steps away from getting engaged and I haven't even met him. I don't even know his name, come to think of it."
"Does she live in Seattle?"
"Yeah, they all do. My whole family. We grew up here, my parents met here."
"Are they still together?"
"Yes, they're…well they're perfect really."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Just the two of them together, they're perfect. They always have been. They've been married over 30 years and still act like newlyweds. They've always just been such a solid team, like nothing could ever come between them. Nothing ever has, as far as I know."
"Hmm. Sounds like a fantasy," I murmured, finding it hard to believe that a love like that could exist.
"I know, it's a bit intimidating actually, growing up with that. I'm happy that I did, you know, but after seeing that, knowing it's possible…it makes it very difficult to settle for anything less."
"Is that why you and your girlfriend broke up?" I questioned lightly.
"I guess so. I feel like we were comfortable, me and Kate. She was a little stuck up, ok a LOT stuck up, but it was easier to stay with her. It was like a habit that I just wouldn't break, even if I knew it was a bad habit. We got along alright to begin with but then when I started my residency she became very clingy and jealous, like she was paranoid that I wasn't actually at the hospital all those hours, and that I was out cheating on her instead. Or I'd come home from a 36 hour shift and she'd want to go dancing, even if I was so tired I couldn't see straight. I just, I never felt it-what I see my parents feel for each other-that passion and devotion to each other, that desire to put the other person above everything else, to race home from work just to see their face. That physical ache when you're not with each other. That sense of awe when you're looking into that person's eyes and just feeling so damn grateful that they love you back. I don't want to settle for less than that."
I reached a hand up to my cheek and noticed that sometime during his rambling I'd teared up and a rogue teardrop had escaped to make its way down my cheek. It all sounded so wonderful, to find a love like that, but from everything I'd seen of love and relationships in my life, I found it hard to imagine. So I swiped the traitorous tear from my face and replied, "What if that doesn't exist?"
"A cynic, Isabella?"
"Maybe I am," I reasoned. "In my experience, which is not extensive by any means mind you, love like that is more suited to fiction. Real life is too complicated for true love. Like Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett, or Jane Eyre and Rochester, Heathcliff and Catherine, Romeo and Juliet. They sure knew how to love."
"Fan of the classics? I suppose I shouldn't be surprised with an English major."
"Yeah, well, they're classics for a reason I suppose."
"What's your favorite?"
"Wuthering Heights," I answered without thinking, "I read it at least once a year."
"You know, for a cynic you're certainly sounding like a hopeless romantic."
"Can't I be both? Just because I appreciate love in books doesn't mean I necessarily believe that it can happen like that in real life. Look at Heathcliff and Catherine. They were horrible to each other really. Say they lived in modern times and fell in love and got married. What if he became a workaholic, completely devoted to his job instead of his wife? What if they had 3 kids and lived in the suburbs and she went crazy trying to juggle soccer practices and carpools and sleepovers by herself while he was at the office all the time? What if their sex life dwindled into nothing because they were both too busy to even think about starting anything? What if-"
"What if despite all the distractions, they still took the time to say 'I love' you to each other every morning and kissed each other good night every night? And saw each other in the children they created together and loved them all the more because of it? What if they wrote each other love notes even if it was scribbled on a post it and stuck to the fridge, or if they danced together in the kitchen even when there was no music? What if…"
He trailed off and I took a moment to catch my breath. Because despite all the fronts I put up, I was, at heart, a complete and utter hopeless romantic. I could picture every scene he just painted for me with his beautiful, velvety voice.
"I think you, sir, are the romantic," I teased, trying to shake off the heaviness of the mood.
"Maybe I just don't want anything less than what I know is possible."
"Well, I wish you luck in your continuing pursuit of true love."
He chuckled, "Thanks. I'll let you know how it turns out."
"So, I'm still curious as to what led you to call a sex line," I teased, eager to change the subject.
"Just can't let that one go, can you?" He groaned.
"Nope, that would be entirely too easy."
"Well, like I said before, I've never called into one of these things. I never really saw much point, you know. I don't have a problem getting women, on my own, without paying for it. I mean," he interrupted himself quickly and I heard a soft smack through the line, almost like he'd slapped his palm to his forehead. "God, I didn't mean it like, you…I mean, you seem nice and everything, not like a…"
I held back a chuckle as I provided, "Whore? Prostitute? Harlot? That one's a favorite of mine; sounds more illustrious."
"Yeah…I mean, no! I don't think that of you."
"Hey, Edward?" I decided to cut the guy a break since he seemed set on beating himself up over nothing. "Don't worry about it. I know exactly what my job is. And what it isn't for that fact. You're not going to offend me by bringing it up."
"Of course. I'm sorry, it just wasn't very polite."
I couldn't hold back my laugh at that one. "Polite? Well that's a first."
"What? Don't run into many gentlemen in your line of work?" He teased.
"Gentlemen? I didn't think those types existed."
"Oh, we're out there. Just a very rare species."
"You are that. Rare, I mean. This has definitely been a change of pace from my normal calls."
"Really? And how do your normal calls go?" He inquired playfully.
"Wouldn't you like to know" I responded, slipping back to my sultry voice momentarily.
"Yeah, I would actually."
"I thought that wasn't your kind of thing, Edward."
"It's not. Doesn't mean I'm not curious."
"Ok," I relented, "What do you want to know?"
"Like what would you talk about?"
"Uh, sex typically, seeing as this is technically a phone sex chat line."
"No, I know that, I'm not completely blind to the premise. I mean, how do you go about it?"
"Like my itinerary?"
"Yeah, something like that."
"Well, you heard the intro. It's all about setting the mood. Talking all sultry, lots of 'baby' and 'sexy' name-calling. Then you set it up with visuals, what each other looks like, what each other is wearing, the location; setting the scene, if you will. Then you move onto foreplay-the stripping of the clothes, whispering where you're touching yourself, where you'd touch the other person, what your mouth would be doing if you were both in the same room. After that it's a lot of moaning and panting, like 'oh baby, yes, give it to me, oh, God I need your big cock so badly, I want you to cum all over me, mmm yes, just like that you stud'. Then you let out one big 'oh, God yes I'm cumming' yell. A few 'you're the best baby's and 'I've never cum that hard in my life's before saying 'Thanks for calling, have a nice night' and just like that, you're done," I concluded with a snap of my fingers.
Silence. There was not a single sound on the other end of the line. I took my earpiece out and glanced at the phone to make sure we were still connected. Yup, no problems there. "Edward? You there?"
"Hmm? Uh, yeah," he said, seemingly out of breath.
"Yeah, great, everything's fine. Uh," he cleared his throat before continuing, "I know I told you this really isn't my thing, but I have to admit that if it were, that definitely would have done it for me."
"Oh really?" I asked playfully, biting my lip.
"Yeah, really," he chuckled. "Your callers must not know what hit them."
"Oh, I think most of them are expecting something along those lines. Not all late night dialers have such pure intentions like yourself."
"So, I'm curious about a couple things."
"Ok, first, do you really look like you described earlier?"
"Eh, with some alterations."
"Well, Isabella is five-foot-six where as I am merely five-foot-four. I do have long brown hair and brown eyes, but if you take away all the sexy descriptive words, they're very average. I am also most certainly NOT tan. At all. My friends call me Casper every time they try to talk me into hitting the tanning beds with them. No thank you. Oh, her rack's bigger too."
"Her rack. Isabella has bigger boobs than I can claim to have."
"Is your name not Isabella?"
"What?" It was my turn to ask for clarification.
"You keep saying 'her' like Isabella is another person. Is that not your name?"
"Uh, no, it is. My friends usually call me Bella though. I use Isabella for work-it's easier to deal with if I'm not hearing random men groaning out the same name my friends and family are calling me by."
"Hmm. Very interesting so far. Now, if I had continued on your intended path of seduction with this call and asked what you were wearing, what would you have said?"
"Oh, I don't know, sometimes it's a corset and crotchless panties, sometimes a tank top and mini skirt with nothing underneath, sometimes a sexy lace bra with a thong and thigh high stockings, it depends on the caller. You? You sounded like more of a romantic from the beginning, so it'd probably be more like a silky blue negligee."
"Very interesting indeed, Bella. Now comes the truly important question."
"What are you actually wearing?" He said on a laugh.
I couldn't help but laugh along with him; it was absolutely infectious. "And ruin all your fantasies? I don't know about that."
"Aaw, come on, you can tell me," he urged and I could tell by his voice that he was smirking. I had no concept of what he actually looked like, but I knew that his smirk would be completely sexy and impossible to resist. And I told him so.
"You know, I get the feeling that if we were face to face right now, I'd have a much more difficult time refusing you."
"I don't think you're going to refuse me, Bella," he said confidently, his voice lowering to his own sultry version.
And there went all my defenses.
"You really want to know?"
"Yes, I really want to know."
"Well, currently, I am wearing a gray hoodie that is about three sizes too big for me, some ratty old gym shorts from high school, some ridiculously colored cable knit knee high socks that I knit, and a scrunchie. Yes, you heard correctly, an actual scrunchie. Like, from the Eighties. Alice would so kill me if she saw me right now," I added as an afterthought.
He was full out laughing now, none of the restrained chuckles or stilted, breathy laughs from our earlier conversation. "Oh God, there are so many things to take from that, where to even start? Who's Alice?"
"My best friend. She's obsessed with clothes and fashion and thinks it's a major failing on my part that I'm not equally enthralled with designers and spending three hours getting ready to go out for forty-five minutes."
"Sounds like a pistol."
"She is and I love her for it."
"Ok, the other thing I got from that. Knit? You knit? Like old church lady, grandma knitting?"
"No, like hip, urban, twenty-four year old knitting," I insisted. "I make a killing on Etsy."
"And what, may I ask, is Etsy?"
"It's like e-bay but for craft items. People sell things like paintings, sewn pieces, jewelry, pottery, handmade items, you know? I have an online shop where I sell my knitted goodies to all who ask for them as an additional source of income to my glamorous career as a phone line sex goddess."
"I have to say, Bella, that you are full of surprises."
"I'm fairly boring in all reality," I assured him.
"Why don't you let me be the judge of that?"
Edward and I continued to talk for hours. About books, music, my interest in becoming an editor, his work in the ER.
He told me the real reason he'd called tonight. He'd lost his first patient since being on his own within his residency. He told me he'd felt like a failure, like he should have tried harder, done more, that he'd let that man's family and friends down by not doing more to save him.
At that time I'd cursed the fact that we were on the phone and that I couldn't wrap my arms around him and hold him close to comfort him. Instead, I settled for attempting with my voice what my arms weren't able to do. I soothed him, saying there was nothing he could have done, that there would be times when no matter how great a doctor was, it wouldn't always be enough, and that all he could do was his best, then go back tomorrow and continue on.
He'd explained the anxiety he had felt seeing the man, lifeless on the table in front of him. The same age and build as he, himself, was, and that it hit home just how bad he'd let things get with his family; how far away he'd fallen. Again, I could only assure him with my words that his family was still there, that there was still time to reform those connections and the close bonds he'd had with them before.
Before I knew it, my phone display read just after midnight. We'd been at it for over 4 hours.
"Holy shit, Edward," I gasped when I realized the time. "We've been talking for over four hours, this thing's going to cost you a fortune!"
"Best money I've ever spent," he drawled lazily, sounding like a man completely satisfied.
"No, seriously Edward, it's going to be like five hundred dollars. There's no way you're paying that."
"I'm not worried about it, Bella."
"I don't care, I just wouldn't feel right about it. Hell, you didn't even get an orgasm out of it," I joked and he laughed as I'd hoped he would.
"Tell you what. How about you pay me back a little by giving me your real phone number?"
"Done." I gave it to him and we wound down the call, both needing to get to bed, but both reluctant to end this, whatever this was.
"I'll call you tomorrow?"
"I'd like that," I assured him in the understatement of the year.
"Ok, good night Bella."
"Sweet dreams, Edward."
"I have no doubt they will be because of you."
I sighed. Swooned, in all honesty. And before the thought had even crossed my mind, my mouth had opened to say 'I love you'. I stopped myself before it could be voiced, completely stunned by what I'd been about to say.
The silence between us felt awkward; empty for the first time that night, like we were both holding back on saying anymore.
I said good night again and we disconnected.
I fell back against the plush pillows of my bed, where I'd wandered about forty-five minutes earlier when the couch grew uncomfortable.
What the fuck was that Bella? 'I love you'? Were you seriously going to say that to him? Was it not less than 4 hours ago that you were spouting on and on about how you didn't know if you believed that love really existed? Now you're swooning and sighing all over a man you've never even met, never even seen face to face? What if he's hideous? What if there's no spark, no attraction when you see him in person? What if-
What if he's just as gorgeous as his voice? What if every time he touches you it's like electricity flowing through your body? What if it feels like his arms were molded exactly for you when he holds you? What if his kiss knocks you completely off your feet?
I loved Edward. Maybe it was irrational and crazy, but I knew it. I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him. It didn't matter how short our acquaintance was or that I'd never seen him in person. He had come into my life unexpectedly and I was irreversibly altered.
That night I didn't dream in pictures. I dreamt of his voice and awoke feeling more safe and cherished than ever before in my life.
Four days later, I was driving down the highway in my old, rusty Chevy truck; on my way to the Emergency Room. Again. I swear, if I didn't love cooking so much I would have set in place a self-proclaimed ban from the kitchen years ago. As it was, I'd sliced my thumb while cutting up some strawberries for a snack. I'd managed to bind it enough that I couldn't really see the blood, but I was eager to get to the hospital should that situation change and I found myself passing out from the sight of it.
I distracted myself with thoughts of Edward and found myself sighing as I always did when he entered my mind. I'm surprised I was still conscious with how much exhaling had been going on in the last eighty-six hours.
He'd kept his promise and called me the next night, and the next, and the next. We talked for hours about anything and everything. I found myself checking my phone almost constantly, anxiously awaiting his call. Hand to God, I'd found myself giggling. I think I may have even squealed when I saw his number flash on the screen last night.
Pathetic. I shook my head disgustedly at myself but couldn't shake off the massive grin that just thinking of him brought to my face. I was so gone over this guy.
I never brought up the 'L' word. I'd accepted my stance and didn't question it, but still felt apprehensive about vocalizing my feelings to a man I'd never met.
I thought back to our conversation last night. Edward had been so excited when I answered the phone. Apparently he'd spoken with his sister that day. They'd talked for a long time about how things had fallen apart between them and how to fix it. They'd set up a coffee date for later this week to finally get together and really catch up.
I could hear the elation in his voice, the hope he had for truly reconnecting with not only his sister, but the rest of his family as well. The joy in his voice was a far cry from the desolation I remembered from our first conversation when he spoke of them. I really hoped things would work out with them. It was obvious from our chats how much he loved them. It would be such a shame for them not to be there to receive it now that he was so eager to do so.
I finally made it to the hospital. The waiting room was relatively slow for once and I hoped to be out of there as quickly as possible. After filling out the requisite forms, I swear I should just keep a photocopy in my purse for how many times I'd had to do these; I was shown to a small room to wait for the doctor.
Ten minutes later, I was kicking myself for not bringing a book. Why did it always take so damn long to see a doctor in these places?
I settled for reciting sonnets in my head, as was my habit when I had nothing else to entertain me.
I opted for a poem by a Victorian poet-one I'd taken to reciting to myself before falling off to sleep the last few nights. It encompassed exactly what I felt for Edward, the anxiety and anticipation I felt all day long just waiting for the night to come again when I could speak to him.
Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again.
For then the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.
As I was muttering through the third verse, a knock came on the door and it was promptly opened. "Isabella Swan? Let's take a look at your chart here."
That voice. I'd know it anywhere.
My head snapped up and my eyes fell upon the most beautiful sight they'd ever beheld. He hadn't seen me yet. His eyes were still focused on the folder in his hands making it impossible to determine their color. But the rest of him… He was tall, as he'd said. The blue scrubs he wore weren't fitted, but it was easy to see that he was in more than just decent shape. The muscles flexed in his bare forearms as he clicked the pen he held, leading me to his hands. Oh. My. God. His hands. I'd never before been attracted to a mans fingers before, but just seeing them wrapping around the pen in his hand sent a flash through my mind of just what those fingers would be like on my skin.
I pulled my gaze away quickly to take in his face. His jaw was lined lightly with stubble. Not the intentional sort, but the kind that meant he hadn't found time to get near a razor in the last number of hours. What was underneath the stubble was impressive. His jaw was firm and sculpted, his cheeks slightly hollowed as he was pursing his lips at the chart. And to top it all off was a healthy dose of the most unbelievable sex hair I'd ever seen. I understood now why he'd had a hard time describing the color. It was like no shade I'd ever encountered-almost like bronzed metal. It was indeed a mess, as he'd claimed, but in the most beautiful way. It stood in every direction, like he couldn't keep his fingers out of it.
To prove my estimation, he reached up and lightly tugged on a patch of it in the front.
As I took in my first impression of him, the poem continued to run through my mind.
Or, as thou never cam'st in sooth,
Come now, and let me dream it truth.
It was as if he'd appeared straight from my dreams, more perfect than I could have ever anticipated.
He finally looked up and met my unwavering gaze. Green. His eyes were the most vibrant shade of emerald green and I was completely entranced.
He didn't speak, but stared back at me with the same fixed intensity. I don't know how long I sat there frozen, wondering if I really had passed out and this was, in fact, a dream. But then he spoke.
"It's you," he said, no louder than a whisper.
How could he know? I hadn't said a word to him. My brow scrunched in confusion.
"It has to be you," he persisted. "I looked up into your eyes and felt everything fall into place. It's like my heart just said, 'there she is'."
Did I say he was perfect? That didn't even come close. There were no words for what he'd done to me with those few quiet words.
"Edward," I breathed as I slid off the table and stepped across the small room to him.
"Bella," he returned in the same reverent tone as he lifted his hand to cup my cheek so delicately, like he was afraid his hand would pass straight through.
The instant his skin came in contact with my own I felt a thousand volts of electricity hum through my body before fading to an encompassing sense of joy.
I lifted my gaze to meet his eyes and said, "What if I fell in love?"
He smiled a slow, dazzling crooked grin and said, "What if you're not the only one?" Before lowering his face to place a sweet, soft kiss upon my lips.
A/N: Phew. There it is. My first one shot. I hope you liked it! If you did...click your mouse on that little button down there and leave me a review. I have a banner icon on my profile as well.
A little premature self pimpage...I'm working on my first full length fic as well.
Coming soon: Take the Ice
It's a fluffy romance (little angst) B/E story, mostly set in MN. Edward's an NHL hockey player, Bella was a competitive figure skater until she suffered an injury. I hope to start posting soon. I'd like to get more written out to make sure the plot will come together how I want it before I put anything out there.
If it sounds interesting to you...put me on author alert!
Thanks for reading!