Title: The Perfect Fit
Pen name: edwardsisobel
Disclaimer: Twilight and its characters belong to S. Meyer, the ideas for this one-shot belong to me so that I can make them do what I want.
To see the rest of the entries in this contest, please visit the FML C2: http://www . fanfiction . net/community/FML_Contest_Fics/77195/ (remove spaces for link to work)
Thank you so much to my wonderful beta, beans827, you rock bb!
cinderbella alice_in_wonderland Today, I went to my step-sister's for a family dinner. Her husband was really drunk and proceeded to openly hit on me in front of most of my family.
alice_in_wonderland cinderbella The wolf? wtf??? What did you do?
cinderbella alice_in_wonderland I nonchalantly ignored his advances. Later, my step-mom said it would not have happened if I didn't dress like a skank. FML!
alice_in_wonderland cinderbella No way!! You are not a skank!! What did your Dad say to the evil step mommy (ESM)?
cinderbella alice_in_wonderland Sigh! ESM did not say anything in front of the Chief as usual. She waits until he's out of the room and he never believes me when I tell him what she's really like…
alice_in_wonderland cinderbella You need to get out of there, Cinders. How will you ever meet the PC of your dreams stuck out in the woods, where the big bad wolf is stalking you…
cinderbella alice_in_wonderland Dream on…I'm stuck here until I finish college. I promised my Dad since he is footing the bill.
alice_in_wonderland cinderbella Don't worry, little cindergirl. I will think of a way to save you from your ESM and the big bad wolf. At least we get to meet at the ball next week…yeah!
cinderbella alice_in_wonderland Oh Alice, ESM has cut my allowance again. I don't even have enough to get gas tomorrow to get to school and back. Watch out for that rabbit hole..... g'nite sweet Alice. mwah mwah.
Fuck my life.
Thank God for Alice. She was the one bright spot in my otherwise very dull and boring existence. I had met Alice online about six months ago when I was trolling through some online fairy tale sites. She had made some really quirky comments and we had gotten to talking and then tweeting. I am a sucker for old fairy tales and, in fact, they are the basis of my thesis for my English Literature course that I am taking at Peninsular College in Port Angeles.
I live in Forks, Washington, known to all and sundry, as the wettest place in the U.S of A. I live with my Dad and his new wife Sue, aka Evil Step-Mom and her son, Seth from her previous marriage. Seth is pretty cool but my step-sister, Leah, took an instant disliking to me. However, when she had found out that I had dated Jake, her now husband, in high school for a short while, her cattiness has grown by leaps and bounds.
I had always had great ideas while in high school about leaving this dead-end town and moving to someplace warm to attend college, like California. However, a few hiccups along the way ended those dreams. I had taken a part-time job to fund my big move, but most of that had dwindled when my sweet but kooky mother lost job after job as well as man after man, and needed money all the time to help pay her rent and put food on her table. I suspect that a lot of it goes towards booze and cigarettes which she never seems to have a shortage of. I began to dread the irregular phone calls. She rarely called to find out about my life. She was more concerned with her current boyfriend or lack of one, and, always at the end of the call, there was the plea for some money to help her out. She always promises to pay me back, but so far I have seen not a cent.
Recently married and on a cop's salary, my Dad couldn't afford to foot the bill for tuition at a good school and accommodation as well. On top of all that, I had missed out on applying for a scholarship during my senior year, as I had been in the hospital for a few months after a van had hit my truck. So, here I was at 21, still living at home with my Dad and driving up to Port Angeles everyday to attend college.
I didn't really have too many friends in town. I was pretty quiet and shy in school and when I was stuck in the hospital, my one true friend, Angela, was the only one who visited me regularly. She had since pursued her dream and was now attending college in California. Now that she had hooked up with Ben, a boy she had met in college, I didn't hear from her so much.
Jake and I had dated for a very short time in our junior year, but I realized pretty quickly that he was super clingy and a little bit of a stalker. He was the son of my Dad's best friend, Billy Black, and he seemed to think he had the right to tell me what to do, who I should see, and what I should wear. I probably would have continued to date him regardless, except he was the world's worst kisser. It was kind of slobbery, like a dog licking and drooling all over your face. Yuk! Needless to say, after our first make-out session in my truck and his stalker tendencies, I ended it pretty quickly. When I told Alice about him, she started calling him the Big Bad Wolf and the name stuck.
After a year or so, he seemed to back off, and I lived my life reasonably stalker free. That was until he started dating and then married Leah. I often wondered if he only dated her as a way to get closer to me. He was always hugging me for longer than was appropriate at family gatherings, and, last year at Christmas, he surprised me under the mistletoe for another dog-drool kiss. Last night took the cake though. Normally he was just creepy when no one else was around, but after a few drinks at dinner, he became really obnoxious. He kept feeling me up while I was sitting next to him at the table, in front of everyone. Leah already hated me, but the sight of her venomous eyes glaring at me from the other side of Jake was enough to scare me shitless.
I had hoped Sue would back me up since it was blatantly obvious what was going on, or so I thought anyway. But, as had become more and more common since she had married my Dad almost a year ago, she took Leah's side and embarrassed me completely when my Dad left the room for a few minutes. How on earth could she even think that I was dressed skankily to attract Jake? I was wearing well worn jeans, a t-shirt and a hoodie with my chucks. Most of my body was hidden under a pile of shapeless clothes. How did she get skanky out of that?
I hadn't always thought that Sue Clearwater was evil. When my Dad first started seeing her socially, she seemed very nice and I was genuinely happy for them when they announced they were to get married. My Dad had been alone a long time since Renee, my flighty mother, had upped and left him with me all those years ago. Sue had always been gracious to me, and I had even felt that maybe she might become more a true mother to me than my own, who I had seen only intermittently over the years.
However, within a few weeks of their wedding, Sue seemed to decide that Charlie, my Dad, doted on me too much which took away from their time together. The strain between us escalated when Leah married Jake in the fall. Leah had convinced Sue that I was a husband-thieving whore and wanted to get my hands back on Jake. Hah! Leah was welcome to him. Unfortunately, Sue also had gained access to Charlie's check book, and now she was the one who wrote checks for my tuition and gave me my allowance; only when she wanted to, that is.
The long hours driving to and from college, and keeping up with my workload, precluded me from finding a part-time job. As a consequence, I was reduced to wearing whatever clothes still fit me out of my wardrobe, and whatever clothes Leah deemed ugly enough to pass on to me. Sue then decided to start a new business and it became my responsibility to cook and clean the household, including doing Leah and Jake's dirty laundry which she dropped by every day. You see, a self-fulfilling prophecy – my twitter name was now my real life hell – I was Cinder-fucking-ella alright and now I couldn't even go to the ball to meet Alice. Sue had cut the rest of my allowance off after my supposed 'antics' at dinner, and then, told my father that I had been slacking off with my studying. He had frowned at me and suggested that I get caught up this weekend. There was no way I could get to Seattle this weekend, let alone be able to afford a ball gown for the night.
Alice had been all aflutter for weeks helping her mother plan a fancy dress benefit for the hospital where her father was senior cardiologist and she had chosen the theme which was close to our hearts – "Fairy Tales, Myths and Legends". The benefit just happened to be on Alice's birthday and she had asked me to come so that we could finally meet. I happily agreed when Alice said that I could stay with her and her boyfriend for the night, because that meant that I only had to get there and buy a dress. Now our plans were in ruins and I knew that she had been upset when she had signed off twitter without saying goodnight.
Seriously, my fucking life sucked. I lay my head down on the pillow and shed a few tears, as I had been really looking forward to meeting Alice in person, finally. She had become my best friend in such a short space of time. She was a little firecracker. She had barged her way into my life via the net and had gotten me out of my shell. We talked about everything and anything including my complete lack of a sex life. After Jake's sloppy kisses, I told her about dating Mike Newton for a while in my senior year but that his hands were clammy and again, after just a few dates and one creepy kiss behind the science lab, I had broken it off with him too. I hadn't really met anyone in college. I basically drove there, went to class and then drove home and finished all the house work. Like I said, my life was the epitome of boring.
Alice had not logged in to Twitter since I had told her I was not going to the ball and I really missed her. On Friday, two days later, I finally received a tweet from her but it was short and sweet and cryptic.
alice_in_wonderland cinderbella Your fairy godmother is working on it and you WILL go to the ball, little Cinders. Do not open the box until it says to. Don't argue!
Just then there was a knock on the door and since I was the only one home, I ran down the stairs to find a UPS guy on my doorstep. "Are you Cinderbella?" he asked with a smirk on his face. I blushed, my face turning bright as I nodded. "Here you go then," as he placed a white box in my arms and then took off down the path chuckling to himself the whole way.
I closed the door and placed the box onto the kitchen table. Taped to the top of the box was a white envelope with the words 'Only to be opened by Cinderbella' hand printed on the front. I chuckled and shook my head at Alice's antics. That girl sure knew how to bring a smile to my face. Sue was due home soon so I grabbed the box and took it up to my room to open it in private.
Once inside my room, I placed the box onto my bed and climbed on after it. I separated the envelope from the box and cautiously turned it over. I slipped my nail under the flap and pulled out the piece of embellished paper inside. In beautiful script, it read:
You are going to the ball. You will not argue as you are Alice's birthday present and she will be very upset if you are not there.
1. After lunch tomorrow you will need to primp and pamper yourself
2. At exactly 5pm you will open the box
3. You will wear what is in the box (with a smile on your face because it will make Alice happy…)
4. At 5.30pm sharp your pumpkin will arrive
5. At 9pm your best friend Alice, will meet you at the ball and if you are lucky Prince Charming just might be there too!
Kisses from your fairy godmother (fgm)
cinderbella alice_in_wonderland Dearest fgm, I will be there, no matter what. Can't wait to see you! And, who knows, maybe my PC too!
The temptation to look in the box was great, but for Alice, I resisted temptation all day. By late Friday night I was just about to lift the edge and take a peek when my computer beeped. I went over to check who was tweeting me after 10 when my cheeks reddened. How the hell did she know?
alice_in_wonderland cinderbella Cinders, do not touch the box…
Amazingly I slept very well that night, and after studying for a while and doing some laundry, I finally had the chance to get ready to go to the ball. Sue and Charlie and Seth had been invited to a day out at Billy Black's house. It was fortuitous that they would not return until later tonight and I would be gone. I would worry about the consequences of breaking the rules on Sunday when I got back. Even better, the security company that Jake and Leah worked for had been engaged for a function out of town and they had left early this morning.
As requested by Alice, I waxed, I plucked my eyebrows and moisturized everywhere. At exactly 5pm, I tentatively opened the box and gasped in surprise. On the top was folded the most exquisite white lacy boy shorts and matching bra. I quickly changed out of my utilitarian white cotton panties and sports bra and into the beautiful lacy ones. Too pretty for me to be the only ones to see them! Next was a suspender belt and gossamer thin pale stockings. After fussing around for a few minutes with the clips, I lifted the next layer and my eyes bugged out of my head.
Inside the box was a white satin ball gown, cut in a crossover at the front with stiffened sleeves that cupped the slopes of my shoulders, and fell in a straight line from beneath the bodice. The dress literally sparkled with a smattering of Swarovski crystals sown randomly into the material. To the side of the dress, in a clear box, was a pair of delicate white satin shoes also dotted with random crystals. Underneath all that was another longer flat box with two crystal hair combs. There was a note in the bottom telling me to leave my hair long at the back, and to take the heaviness off my face with the two hair combs, pulling my hair to a point just above my ears. I dressed and pulled my hair up as requested, I didn't recognize myself. I sparkled everywhere.
I heard the sound of a car moving up the street and panicked that Dad and Sue were returning early from La Push. I tugged the curtain across in my window to look out. Sitting at the curb was a long white limo; the formally-garbed driver was walking to my door. I grabbed my overnight bag before making my way down the stairs. I opened the door and the taciturn driver drawled that I must be Cinderbella and that my pumpkin awaited me. I was overwhelmed with Alice's generosity, unsure how I would ever pay her back. I remembered the note. I had to be gracious. It was Alice's birthday.
I followed the driver to the car and he opened the door for me. Once I was seated, he told me that there was a TV with a DVD player that I could watch on the ride and also champagne was on ice for me. I am sure my mouth must have dropped, because finally, he smiled at me and wished me a pleasant journey. The three and a half hours to Seattle flew by. After watching 2 DVDs, I was pleasantly buzzed from the half bottle of champagne. Before I knew it, the limo was pulling up at the steps of the Seattle Art Museum. My mouth suddenly became dry and my hands started shaking.
Oh my God. What the hell was I doing here in this getup? I would make a fool of myself for sure. I was wearing white for Christ's sake. I was sure to spill something and I was guaranteed to fall over at some point in the night. Alice would be embarrassed by me and I would spoil her party. The chauffeur came around to the door and opened it for me. The steps were deserted and I wondered if we had come to the wrong place. When I asked him, he replied that no, the party had started an hour ago, but that Alice had wanted to have finished her hostess duties before I had arrived, so that she could spend some time with me. I was touched by her thoughtful gesture, but still feeling nervous entering the ball on my own, an hour later than everyone else.
I made my way up the steps to the entrance and just stood there for a few minutes, letting my eyes acclimate to the bright lights, as well as the noise and the flurry of activity in the foyer of the museum in front of me. When my eyes could make out individual people and not just a blur, I couldn't help but focus on someone standing across the room in a pool of light and all alone. He wore a black brocade coat with winking diamonds sown into the plush padded material and black straight military pants. He stood a little stiffly like he was uncomfortable in the crowd. Just then, he lifted his hand and brushed at his mop of unruly bronze hair as if trying to tame it. He failed and it flopped in glorious disarray over his black diamond-studded mask. I couldn't take my eyes off him as he shimmered in the light. Something was drawing me towards him. He was Prince Charming personified and suddenly I believed in love at first sight.
My little sister, Alice, would pay for dragging me to this ball for a very long time. First she had made me wear a sparkling coat and then introduced me to every available, stuck-up, money-grubbing, plastic woman in Seattle and its surrounding areas. I know it was her birthday and the ball was for a good cause but seriously, she was killing me here. I had no idea why, all of a sudden, she thought I would be interested in these plastic Barbie Doll women. I may have gone through a stage in college where I had taken out a procession of vacuous blondes but that time was long over. I am pretty sure even she knew that I was just sowing my wild oats, so to speak, before I had to grow up and get a real job.
Just then, I spotted Mom and Dad to the side of the dance floor talking to Dad's receptionist from his practice who was dressed as Snow White. I made my way quickly over to them and asked my Dad if I could steal Terri away for a dance. He readily agreed and I turned to Terri to ask if her husband, the Prince, wouldn't mind relinquishing her for a little while. She laughed and said that her darling husband had come as Happy the Dwarf rather than the Prince, and had taken one look at the couples dancing and was probably hiding somewhere.
I swept her onto the dance floor and felt myself relax for the first time since I had walked in the front door. Terri was in her mid-thirties, was pretty in an understated way and had worked for my Dad for the last ten years. She was almost like a part of the family. She and Mom plotted all the time to get Dad to relax and take more time off work and she would always warn us if Dad was on the warpath, especially when we were a few years younger and getting into scrapes at college. My worst offense was to wake up one morning after a big night with one of aforementioned vacuous blonds who turned out to be the Dean's daughter, Tanya Denali. While I was in my Dad's waiting room, Terri had advised me to call said blond and request a date before going in. That way, I could tell my Dad that it wasn't a one night stand and I would not be lying. It worked and Dad had calmed down significantly. Unfortunately, it took me way too many weeks to shake off the Dean's clingy daughter. It was about that time that I decided that, while I would certainly not be celibate, I would be a little bit more discriminating who I spent my time with.
Perfect opportunity. Terri and Alice had been working together to help plan this little shindig with Mom. Terri might know what Alice is up to!
"So Terri, do you have the inside scoop on what Alice's plan is with throwing all these plastics my way tonight? It is driving me crazy. If she doesn't stop soon, I am going to leave."
"Oh, Edward, honey, you can't go. Carlisle and Esme have been so worried about you working such long hours for so long. They are so happy tonight to see you out socializing."
Here comes the guilt trip! But what did I have to feel guilty about? Dad used to work these kinds of hours and more when he was younger. Pot calling the kettle black, much?
"Terri, you know I have to put in the hours; even more than the others in the program. They all think that I got in because of my Dad and can't wait for me to slip-up. I've given up telling people that Carlisle didn't even know that I got a job here in the Case Management Team using my middle name. No one believes it for a second. This job is important to me. I didn't slog away getting my double major in Business and Hospital Administration for nothing."
"I know it is important, honey, but you have to slow down a little. Putting in a seventy hour work week for a few weeks is okay, but that has been your average work week for the last year. When was the last time you even went on a date?"
Oh God, when was my last date? In fact, worse than that, when did I last get laid?
"Oh…um…shit, months ago I guess."
Terri nodded knowingly at me, "Ah ha! Now you have your answer. Alice is so happy with Jasper. She just wants to spread the joy around. She's worried about you and she just wants to see you happy."
It was true; there was never a more perfect couple than Alice and Jasper.
In fact, Alice and Jasper were a big part of the reason that I stopped playing the field at the end of college. Just being around them and watching their devotion to each was incredible. I had such good role models for finding the perfect match surrounding me that I had no trouble seeing myself in a long term relationship. My Mom and Dad were still hopelessly in love after 30 years of marriage. My big brother Emmett, the plastic surgeon, had been happily married for 3 years now and his beautiful wife Rose was expecting their first child in six months time.
And then there was Alice and Jasper. Jasper had been my best friend throughout high school and was a fixture at our house for years. In all that time, I had had no idea that he had fallen in love with my little sister the first day he had come over to hang out. It wasn't until he was going to leave for college that he got up the nerve to ask if I would mind if he asked Alice out on a date. I just started laughing when he asked me and he looked really upset until I explained to him that Alice had a crush on him for the last 5 years. Now, in less than three months time, he would officially become my brother.
But right there was my problem. I hadn't met anyone who affected me like that. This soul mate business was harder than it looked. I would be happy to settle down but not with someone who wasn't the perfect fit for me. In all of my 27 years, I had not met one woman who had that sparkle I was looking for. The one, that at first glance, would see into my soul and love me as deeply and passionately as I would her. Until then, I would wait.
I looked down into Terri's eyes to see her grinning at me. "What's so funny?" I groused at her.
Still grinning, she laughed, "Oh, Edward, you should see your face. I could actually see the gears turning right then. Don't worry, honey. One fine day you will meet her and you will just know. Who knows, it might be tonight?" I just rolled my eyes at her and laughed.
When the musical piece ended, I walked Terri back to my parents, bowed over her hand and thanked her for the dance. I was thirsty after the dancing so I made my way over to the bar. There was a huge line so I waited under an air conditioning vent and away from the crowd to cool down. This fitted coat was so hot.
Just then, I felt a prickling sensation running down my spine and a sudden urge to turn, as if pulled by an invisible string through my stomach. I pivoted warily, thinking my long hours at work were finally getting to me, when light spilling through the front entrance drew my eyes. I blinked in surprise; an angel had surely dropped down from the heavens and was standing on the steps leading into the foyer. The light behind her created a halo effect around her slim form and she literally sparkled in the light of the chandeliers above.
My breath caught at the sight of the vision perched daintily on the steps as if frozen in time. She was dressed all in white satin and her long chocolate brown hair was caught up at the side of her ethereal face in sparkling clips. I swallowed, as my mouth had become suddenly dry. I scraped my unruly hair out of my eyes so that I could see her better and suddenly I knew. It was her. She was the one I had been waiting for. Was it possible to fall in love at first sight?
It was strange, even though he was across the room, I knew with absolute certainty that he was watching me and could see right through me, clear to my soul. It was like something tangible connected us; a connection that was immediate and physical. We stood there unmoving, just watching each other and it felt like there was no one in the room with us, just our souls conversing in their own private language.
I had taken a few steps down the stairs, unconsciously drawn towards him, when a sudden shift in the people in the foyer blocked him from my view. I was shuffling around trying to find him in the crowd when thin pale arms wrapped around me from the side and Alice in Wonderland was squealing in my ear.
"Cinderbella, you're finally here! You have no idea how long I have wanted to meet you. You're beautiful, Bella! I just knew that dress would be perfect on you. You have to come and meet my family and Jasper." And without getting the chance of uttering a single word, Alice dragged me through the milling crowd and finally made our way over to a table off to the side of the dance floor to meet her family.
At the table, there were 3 stunningly attractive men who quickly stood on our arrival and one stunning blond woman, who quite frankly, rather intimidated me with her statuesque beauty. Alice literally dragged me first to a gorgeous blond Adonis, dressed as The Mad Hatter, who towered over her and was smiling down at her indulgently.
"Bella, this is Jasper, my fiancé and love of my life," she declared. "Jasper, this is Bella, the best friend a girl could ever have."
I blushed fiercely at Alice's words but had no time to recover before she dragged me to the dark haired giant of a man next to Jasper, dressed as a giant, whose face split into a big grin with enormous dimples at Alice's declarations. She introduced him as Emmett, her oldest brother and I realized exuberance must run in the family when Emmett grabbed me up in a bone crushing bear hug. "Ah, the famous Cinderbella. We finally get to meet you. My sister here talks non-stop about you."
I was saved from asphyxiation by the blond drawling, "Emmett, you big oaf, put poor Bella down before you squish her to death! Alice will be very upset with you if you break her birthday present before she gets the chance to play." I smiled gratefully at the blond over Emmett's broad shoulders and marvelled that this jolly giant was a well respected plastic surgeon; I would have thought a doctor would have been much more serious. Alice introduced the blond, who was covered from head to toe in a shimmering pale gold powder and dressed in a flowing Grecian tunic carrying a miniature harp, as Rose, Emmett's wife.
Finally, I turned to the remaining man at the table and my eyes widened in appreciation of the mature elegance of the man before me, dressed in courtly attire and wearing a gold crown on his impeccably styled blond hair. His hands reached out to clasp mine and I was struck dumb when he leaned over to kiss my cheek and murmur how happy he was to finally meet me, having heard such good things from his daughter. Oh my God, I was totally crushing on Alice's father, Carlisle Cullen! I blushed and stuttered out how pleased I was to meet Alice and her family.
I stood at Alice's side while she asked where everyone else was and her father informed her that her brother had dragged her mother out to dance in an attempt to avoid a confrontation with an old girlfriend. Alice rolled her eyes and laughed. Alice drew me away from the table then to get a drink from the bar and we happily spent the twenty minute wait catching up and planning the morning before I had to return to my real life later in the afternoon.
The whole time, I was scanning the crowd for my Prince Charming who seemed to have disappeared. I felt a twinge in the region of my heart which was stupid. I had only seen the man across a crowded room and now I was upset because I might never get to meet him? I valiantly plastered a smile on my face for Alice but she must have sensed my distraction as she asked if I was on the prowl for my Prince Charming. I blushed and Alice giggled. After an hour of Alice's exuberant chatter, Jasper found us seated on a bench overlooking a wall of Impressionistic Art.
"Alice, my love, I have been looking everywhere for you. Please come and dance with me, at least once tonight, hmm?"
I shooed Alice away with the promise of making my way back to the Cullen table shortly. She danced off into Jasper's arms and he bore her away from me with a contented smile. It was getting a little stuffy in here with the crush of people and I sought out a window where I could get a breath of fresh air. As I made my way to the back of a room, I spied a curtained doorway and found when I pushed on the handle; it opened out to a shadowed balcony.
I stepped through the door in relief and had only taken a few steps in the dark when I reached the railing. The air was crisp but not overly cold and I breathed in deeply. I wasn't used to crowds and I was feeling a little overwhelmed. I knew that I would have to go back in soon, but I just needed a few more minutes of solitude. I was actually feeling a little down, having found my dream man as soon as I walked in the door and then promptly lost him. Was I always destined to walk alone? I sighed loudly and murmured, "One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul, and yet no one ever comes to sit by it."
I was startled to hear a deep velvety voice behind me, "Passers-by see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way."
I couldn't believe it; one minute my dream woman was there and the next she wasn't. A crowd had passed in front of us and, by the time the way was clear, she had disappeared from the stairs. I searched the room frantically, damning the crowd and the number of woman wearing white tonight. I started towards where I had seen her last and was almost to the edge of the dance floor when my ass was pinched -- hard. I whirled around thinking it was Emmett playing a joke on me and came face to face with the Dean's daughter, Tanya, with a predatory smile on her face. I hadn't seen her in a couple of years and that suited me fine. When we had dated all those years ago, I was less than impressed with her aggressive behavior and why she thought I liked her talons clawing at me when we were having sex, I had no idea.
I looked around and spotted my family at a table close by and used the excuse of a promised dance with my mother to untangle myself from Tanya's clutches. Mom readily agreed and I waltzed her away to the other side of the dance floor. My Mom grinned slyly, "Well, sweetheart, I'm glad all those ballroom dancing lessons I paid for came in handy for something." I blushed furiously and admitted that I enjoyed dancing, just not with an ex-girlfriend. The entire time we whirled around the floor my eyes scanned the crowd for the woman who had captured my heart with just a look.
After several dances, my Mom begged me to take her back to the table as her feet were killing her. We navigated the dance floor and took the long way around to avoid any further run-ins with Tanya. Everyone else was at the table when we returned with the exception of Alice who my father informed me had grabbed her friend as soon as she had arrived and taken her someplace quiet to catch up. I was jealous. Oh, to find a quiet place and get away from the oppressiveness of the crowd right now. I figured the beautiful woman I had seen had left, and I felt unbelievably sad not to have at least spoken to her.
I chatted with Jasper for a while before excusing myself to get another drink. No one else wanted one so when I had waited at the bar for what seemed like forever, I grabbed the beer off the counter and found a deserted balcony, through a curtained alcove at the rear of the room. The air was cool and crisp and a relief after the stuffiness of the function. Finally, I could breathe and stood there for long moments just taking in the peace and quiet of the night air. My solitude was shattered after a while when I heard the handle on the door behind me rattle, I stepped sideways and plastered myself to the ivy covered wall, in case it was Tanya in search of me.
The door opened tentatively and I held my breath when a slim form with long brown hair and a sparkling white dress slipped through and made her way to the railing. I could hardly believe my good fortune. After searching the crowd with no success, my dream girl had come to me of her own accord. She took deep gulping breaths and then heaved a huge sigh before uttering the saddest quote I knew from Vincent Van Gogh. Why would this vision of loveliness be lonely? It was incomprehensible to me. I knew the rest of the quote and before I realized it, I had finished it for her.
The woman gasped and swung around to face me and then I was truly lost. From afar, she had captured my interest, but up close and in the moonlight, I was mesmerized. Her face was heart-shaped and her skin a pale luminous white. Her long brown hair had been drawn up at the side, but hung like chocolate-colored silk down her back, well past her waist. But, it was her eyes that caught me in their depths. They were brown but not a flat lifeless brown; they were a deep chocolate brown, like dark and bottomless pools you could get lost in and never want to leave. I opened my mouth to say something when the vision moved closer to me and put her fingers over my lips.
"Shh," she whispered, "This is where Prince Charming sees Cinderella and sweeps her off her feet into a waltz and into her heart. They don't need to talk, they just know."
My heart faltered at her words. She was right. I did know. I pressed a kiss into her fingertips and then bowed over her hand, wordlessly reaching out to twine her fingers into mine. With my other hand, I grasped her around her waist and steered us toward the opposite end of the narrow balcony and the second door I had spotted earlier. When I opened the door, we came out into a gallery immediately next to the foyer where the ball was being held. The music filtered through the walls and the lights were mostly extinguished, bar several spotlights, highlighting the artwork, scattered throughout the room. I swept her up into my arms and we circled the floor silently. After a few fumbles and my toes being squished a few times, I lifted her higher into my arms and placed her feet on top of mine before hugging her closer into my chest. I slowed my pace and we circled the darkened room, all the while gazing into each others eyes.
"You're not going to run off on me at midnight, are you? Not without telling me your name, or I will have to search all the land to find the girl of my dreams."
She laughed into my chest, which sent tingles shooting through my body, and she shook her head. "Bella," she said. "My name is Bella. I'm sorry about your toes and forcing you to dance with me like that. It just seemed too perfect, me being Cinderella and you, Prince Charming. I couldn't resist. If you want to go back to the party now, that's okay."
"I'm Edward. You didn't force me to dance, Bella. I was just about to ask you when you shushed me. I have been looking for you all night, ever since I saw a beautiful girl standing alone on the stairs. "
I watched as Bella's beautiful pale skin turned a lovely rose shade, and, as she opened her mouth to protest, I copied her actions from earlier and pressed the tips of my fingers gently against her parted lips. "It's true, Bella. I am Prince Charming and as you know, he took one look at Cinderella and fell in love, dancing with her all night in his arms."
She chuckled and shook her head at me. "Don't laugh Bella; I think it very well might be true," I said in a huff.
"Edward, you don't even know me. Don't be silly. There is no such thing as love at first sight and it's not very nice of you to tease me, you know."
"Okay, maybe I don't love you yet, but I will. I can't explain it. Something happened to me when I saw you on the stairs. Somehow I knew you were meant for me. Didn't you feel it too?" I am sure Bella thought I was playing with her, but surprisingly, I meant every word I was saying. I couldn't explain it. Whatever drew me to her was strong. It wasn't lust for her body, although I did feel that. It wasn't loneliness seeking solace, although I had felt lonely before meeting her. There was something tangible between us, an undercurrent that connected us and made my heart beat faster, an urge to get to know her, in every way possible.
Bella looked up at me and whispered that she felt it too as soon as she had walked into the room. I could wait no longer to take possession of her sweetness and with trembling fingers traced the outline of her parted lips. I groaned at the softness of her mouth against my skin and replaced my fingers with my lips, unable to refrain from just a little taste. I slowed to a stop in the dim light in the far reaches of the room and deepened the kiss, tangling my tongue with hers. Bella gasped into my mouth and her hands reached up into my hair, pulling me closer. Time seemed to slow with each pass of my tongue on hers, the music from next door dimmed and everything around us receded into the distance.
I was surrounded by Bella, her scent, her taste, her little moans captured by my mouth and yet I wanted more. More Bella! I manoeuvred us over to a little padded alcove, I had spied behind her, and as I sank down onto the cushion, I pulled Bella onto my lap. I wrapped my arms tightly around her before my lips descended once more and reclaimed hers. Bella was pressed up against me and I was overwhelmed by the feel of her breasts pushing into my chest and her warmth surrounding my now insistent erection. Her kisses were like drinking the sweetest nectar and she smelled just as sweet with the scent of strawberries in her hair and her perfume, which was not overpowering, simply the tantalizing waft of freesia teasing my nose.
I buried my face into the crook of her neck, nibbling my way down to her collarbone to lick it. Bella moaned and her fingers tightened in my hair almost painfully. I wanted to take my time and savour her like a fine wine and conversely, I wanted to devour her on the spot and claim her as my own here and now. The feelings she invoked in me were unfamiliar and yet welcome. I had never felt this way about anyone and I had only known her for an hour. It was like my soul had recognized its mate from the minute I had sensed her on the stairs.
My hands were shaking as I struggled to rein in my passion. I had suddenly remembered that we had just met and, although I was no stranger to a one-nighter, I definitely didn't feel that way about Bella. I didn't know anything about her and I wanted to know everything. Slowly I kissed my way back up her snow white neck and after a quick searing kiss on her lips, I pulled back from her and looked into her eyes. "So, Bella, I take it you like Van Gogh?"
For the next two hours, with Bella in my lap, we talked about everything from our love of painting and music to books and even politics. We talked generally about our families and after I told an amusing story about my college years, no not that one, she confided that her own college life was mundane, stuck as she was at home. I had to hold myself back from blurting out that she could move in with me while she was studying so that she wouldn't have to worry about money, but realized in time, that it might seem a little bit sudden.
Dotted in between topics, we shared passionate kisses that threatened to overwhelm us until Bella pulled away panicking that her friend might be looking for her and worried that she had been gone so long. I promised to wait for her in the same spot, but when she had not returned after twenty minutes, I started to worry myself and made my way back to the party through the door I had seen Bella exit through. Just as I made my way down the darkened hallway in the direction of the foyer, I saw something that made my heart grow cold with fear. Bella was struggling, pressed against the wall by an ape of a man, with short black hair and all muscles, his hands all over her. I saw red and regardless of the thug's size, I started to run towards them, intent of getting Bella out of his clutches. I grabbed at the thug's hair and pulled hard. He jerked his head around and I wrenched him away from Bella. I could hear the sound of material ripping, but was so caught up in trying to subdue the beast that I didn't see where it had come from.
As I jumped on the big guy to hold him down, I heard a god almighty screech echo down the hall, "You fucking bitch! You are all over my husband at home and now, I find you with your tongue down his throat here as well."
I was horrified at the vile words spewing out of the harpy's mouth. I looked up in horror at Bella and the dark haired virago pinning her to the wall. Bella's white face was trained on mine and she whispered, "I'm sorry," before bolting down the hallway and out into the ball. I made to get up to follow her when I was side-swiped by the asshole beneath me. He packed a mean punch and I stumbled to my feet disoriented. When my vision cleared, I was being restrained up by the very angry female security guard who was on the radio requesting the gallery security to attend the fracas. I went to walk past her to find Bella but the lout was on his feet and wrapped his arms around me to prevent me from leaving and no amount of struggling or yelling made him relax his hold.
The gallery security team finally showed up about ten minutes later along with the gallery owner. As soon as he saw me, he rushed over with a very pained expression on his face. "Mr Cullen, are you okay? Have you been attacked?" Neanderthal Goon and Mrs Goon both looked shocked so I smirked a little.
"Yes, Mr Jenks, as a matter of fact I have. I was attacked by these two idiots you have hired as security tonight as I was trying to save a young woman from being accosted by this idiot." Mr Jenks gasped in shock and frowned in disapproval at the now dumbfounded pair. "In fact, I would like to suggest that these two be removed from their jobs immediately. I hope I make myself clear." Jenks nodded again and signalled the gallery security to remove the offenders.
As Jenks scurried off to attend to my demands, I was making my way down the hallway to find Bella, when I tripped over something in the middle of the floor. I looked down and realized I held a white satin shoe covered in sparkling crystals with a broken strap. It was Bella's shoe. I walked through the dwindling crowd looking for her everywhere without success. Dejectedly, I walked back to the table inhabited by my family. Esme rushed to my side immediately. She saw my face and demanded to know where I had been and why I looked like I had been hit by a Mack truck.
I explained that I had gone out for some fresh air and met a beautiful girl, then we had danced and talked and I had, quite possibly, fallen in love with the beautiful girl. But that I had gotten beat up by some idiot security guards when I was trying to save her and then I lost her. Carlisle and Esme has started smiling broadly and I was in a little bit of a huff. Don't they realize how upset I am right now? I quite possibly have lost the love of my life! I held up the prized shoe. "She has left the ball, and all I have left of her is this sparkly shoe. We talked for hours and I, quite simply, forgot to ask her last name, her address or cell number!" Esme chuckled.
"Oh Edward, trust my most sensible, studious, workaholic son to be the one to fall in love at first sight. So, Prince Charming, was it Cinderella by any chance that has won your heart?
"Fuck my life!" I sobbed out loud into Alice's chest, curling around her on the couch in her apartment. How could I feel such pain after spending a few hours with a man, only to have my happiness wrenched away by my evil step-sister and her lecherous husband? The look of horror in his eyes tore at my heart, because I knew without a shadow of a doubt, that he was my soul mate and I had lost him forever.
I had been euphoric when I had left him in our private ballroom to go and find Alice. Alice had been coming out of the gallery amenities and she had taken one look at my face and squealed, "Oh my God, Bella, you're in love!" What could I do but nod my head in total shock at making such an admission. Of course being Alice, she demanded all the details, so I told her all about meeting my dream man, the dancing, and the talking and, let's not forget, the kissing. Edward had the softest lips and the sweetest tongue, and oh my, did he know how to use them. I promised Alice that I would bring him over to meet the family soon and as Alice went in search of Jasper, I spun around and started to retrace my steps to Edward.
That was when everything went pear-shaped. I had just turned down a hallway, when I was grabbed from behind and pressed up against the wall by a heavy-breathing gorilla. I was terrified and even more so when I found out who it was. "Bella," Jake sneered into my neck, "what are you doing with that loser I heard you talking to when you could have a real man like me?" I was repulsed when I felt Jake's erection grind into my ass and struggled to get free. He spun me around and pressed into me, trying to get his tongue into my mouth and I struggled even more frantically.
I was startled when I felt Jake rear back from me suddenly and saw Edward, yelling at him and struggling with him. I was glued to the struggle in front of me, helpless to assist when I was rudely shoved back into the wall again and Leah was screeching at me, insinuating that I had come onto Jake. I lifted terrified eyes to search for Edward and flinched at the look on his face. Disgust intermingled with horror. My heart tore in two and I did what I had to, in order to save my sanity. I ran.
I tripped and almost sprawled onto the ground before righting myself and continuing on. I crept to the door separating the hallway from the foyer and was gratified to see Alice making her way back towards me with Jasper in tow. She was smiling brightly until she came closer and saw my dishevelled form and tear-stained face.
"Oh my God, Bella, are you okay? What happened? Why is your dress torn?"
"Alice, I have to get out of here right now. I will tell you all about it in the car. Please get me out of here," I sobbed disconsolately.
Jasper moved forward then and lifted me into his big, strong arms, hugging me to his chest and making soothing noises. Alice moved in front of us and opened all the doors as we made our way through the service entrance and then into the basement car garage. Jasper took me straight to their car and we zoomed off into the night, while I relayed my story to them. Alice made a quick phone call and explained to her mom everything that had happened and why we had all left. Alice told me that Esme was very concerned about what had happened and promised to get Carlisle onto the gallery owner to deal with Jake and Leah. I was relieved, but also petrified of what would happen when I got home.
Alice tried to console me by saying that maybe I had got it wrong, maybe my dream man had not been disgusted with me, that he might be looking for me right now and that I should expect a phone call any minute. I cried harder then and between sobs, confessed that he wouldn't even know where to look, because he didn't know my last name, where I lived or my cell number.
"Oh Alice, I will never see him again and he is the one, my only. And, I ruined your dress and to top it all off, I lost my fucking crystal shoe!"
Alice tried to contain her laughter, I know she did, but a little chuckle escaped and she peeked at me from under her fringe. What the hell? Didn't she realize how serious this was? I quite possibly have lost the love of my life!
Alice lost control then at the look on my face, chortling, "Oh Bella, I'm so sorry. But it is a little bit priceless that you went to the ball dressed as Cinderella, met your Prince Charming, ran from the ball leaving only a crystal slipper. Just like the fairy tale."
I huffed at her, crossed my arms and glared. "Well, I am so glad you find this so freaking amusing, Alice. It is hardly likely that my Prince Charming will come knocking on my door in Forks, glass slipper in hand, looking for me, is it?"
A loud banging at the door caused Alice and me to jump a foot in the air, looking at each other and squealing in shock.
Jasper chuckled from the kitchen, and shook his head at us, as he moved to open the front door. I heard some low murmuring coming from that direction and Jasper re-entered the room with an enormous grin on his face. "I feel like the fucking fairy godmother," he said mysteriously as he hauled Alice up from the seat beside me and kissed the top of my head. He leaned down and whispered into my ear, "Sometimes we just have to trust in fate, Bella," and dragged Alice out of the room with him, whispering in her ear all the way. Just as they went through the bedroom door, she spun her head around and gave me the biggest smile. What the hell?
Completely distracted by this strange turn of events, I looked down at my crumpled dress and brushed the wrinkles out as best as I could, fidgeting with the tear on the bodice of the dress. The night was completely ruined and I was a little upset with Alice and Jasper's antics since we got home. I jumped in fright when a throat cleared a few feet away from me and I think I stopped breathing at the sight of Edward, my Prince Charming kneeling on the floor in front of me, my satin slipper held in his extended hand towards me.
"I believe this slipper belongs to the beautiful girl who has stolen my heart, the other half of my soul, perfect in every way. Will you take it and see if it is the perfect fit?"
I leaped up from the couch and straight into his arms, and to this day that is where I have stayed. Corny, I know but, we have lived happily ever after.
Today, I went to my step-sister's for a family dinner. Her husband was really drunk and proceeded to openly hit on me in front of most of my family. I nonchalantly ignored his advances. Later, my step-mom said it would not have happened if I didn't dress like a skank. FML