Hello all. I bet you all thought I had abandoned this story completely but fear not I've just been ridiculously busy over the last couple of months. I can't promise the next update will be immediate but I am going to try as hard as I can not to keep you waiting as long next time. Thanks for all the lovely reviews and words of encouragement I received since the last chapter. Some of them were anonymous so I can't respond to them but thanks all the same!
On another exciting note, my story mad about the boy was nominated in the twifanfictionrecs top ten stories completed in February. Sadly, I didn't make the top ten but I really appreciate those who took the time to vote. It means a lot:)
Okay, enough talking, on with the next chapter!
"So have you made any progress with your girl since we last spoke?" Jasper asked.
It had only been a few days since my last encounter with Bella but I was still struggling to get her out of my mind.
"He only went and kissed her!" Emmett interrupted before I had a chance to answer.
Jaspers expression brightened before he looked at me questioningly. "Why aren't you happy? I thought you'd be celebrating."
The kiss was great, it was what followed after that had left me feeling confused and I told Jasper as much.
"Afterwards she blew me off. When I tried to talk to her about it she just shut down and refused to talk about it. I don't know what to do next, I'm running out of ideas." I admitted disheartened.
"Give her time. You said that she's been through a lot. I know it's hard but you need to be patient." Jasper suggested, which was a lot easier said than done.
"I know but it's killing me to keep my distance. Besides that, I don't know when I'm going to see her again," I wallowed, while Jasper tried to remain positive.
"I have a feeling it will be sooner than you think," he speculated ,but I think he was only trying to make me feel better.
I didn't share his optimism. Realistically my day with Bella had been a one off and there was little chance of repeating it again any time soon. Now that was a depressing thought.
I actually felt sorry for Emmett because not only did he have to put up with me moping over Bella, but Jasper was also clearly missing Alice while she was away on an assignment in Paris.
He was like a lost puppy without her and although he was seeing her next week, instead of being happy at the prospect of seeing his girlfriend, he seemed nervous. When I questioned him about his odd mood he admitted that he was anxious because he was planning on asking Alice to marry him while he was there and was worried she would turn him down.
Like that was going to happen. I couldn't imagine Alice turning him down and once I assured Jasper of that fact he visibly relaxed.
As expected, I got the call from Alice a week later to reveal the happy news of her engagement.
"Were having a party on next Friday to celebrate. You'll be there right?" she asked hopefully.
"I'd lover to Ali. I have a few things on in the day but I will try my best to get out of it. Otherwise I might be a little late," I warned her.
"I don't care how late you are just so long as you get there. I haven't seen you in so long," she complained.
"I'll be there as soon as I can," I reassured her.
"Good, and you can bring your mystery lady along with you if you'd like. I would love to meet her." I could hear the hope in her voice and I hated to disappoint her.
"It's not like that Ali. It's only early stages. We're not even together," I explained.
"Okay, fine, keep her to yourself, but please try and make it. I would love to see you. Plus you don't know who else is going to be there," she said a little too merrily.
"Alice!" I sighed, knowing where she was going with this.
Alice was constantly telling me that I needed to meet someone and was forever trying to set me with girls. I know she meant well but it was still a little irritating how she felt the need to meddle in my love life.
"Edward, there's no harm in keeping your options open. You might meet someone at the party that you like even more than your mystery girl,"
"I doubt that," I muttered unconvinced.
"We'll see," Alice said sneakily. She was definitely up to something.
The remainder of the week passed much faster than I would have liked as I tried to enjoy what little free time I had left before getting back to business next week.
The day before I got text from Jasper making sure I was coming to the party.
Alice says you're tied up tomorrow. You're not going to miss the party are you?
Trust me it's in you're best interest if you make it. I promise it will be worth your while;)
What are you up to? I typed back to Jaspers cryptic message.
Just trust me okay? Have I ever let you down before?
There's always a first! I replied.
With a little negotiating Emmett managed to reschedule most of my appointments for the beginning of next week meaning we arrived at the party much earlier than either of us expected. Perhaps I was being paranoid, but there was something in the way Jasper had spoke that made me think it was important that we got to the party on time.
While it was still early the room was already pretty packed and as we made our way inside I could see that Alice and Jasper were surrounded by people congratulating them on their good news.
Seeing that it would be some time before they were free I decided to hang fire until they were able to talk and headed to the bar instead. After grabbing our drinks Emmett and I found a quiet place in the corner of the room where we could watch the party from a far.
Our position gave us a clear view of the entrance and ever time the door went I cast a quick glance to see whomever had entered. I would be lying if I said I hadn't considered the possibility that Bella would make an appearance this evening. Her and Alice worked together, but I had no idea how close they were. I imagined a few people from Alice's workplace would be here, but I tried not to get my hopes up in thinking that Bella could be one of them.
As more time passed, I shook off my foolish hopes and I had just given up hope of seeing Bella tonight when who should walk in.
She looked beautiful the last time I saw her but outside of her usual work clothes she was even more spectacular. Clearly, I wasn't alone in my admiration and I watched angrily as several men openly stared as Bella and the woman besides her walked across the room towards Alice and Jasper.
Evidently, they knew each other pretty well judging by Alice's enthusiastic response, but when Bella stepped aside to greet Jasper I felt an overwhelming and completely unnecessary jealously run through me when he hugged her.
When Bella's friend went to the bar Emmett quickly followed suit, promising to get his round in while I stared across the room like some love struck teenager. I couldn't quite believe she was here. I was determined to go over, but nerves flooded me as I watched my friends from a far. Some time later when Jasper and Alice started circulating the room again I caught Jaspers eye and signalled him across.
"Surprise" he said smugly.
"You knew it was Bella all along?" I accused, a bit put out that he had kept this from me.
"I had my suspicions, but I didn't know for sure until you confirmed it," he answered.
"You could have told me." I said grumpily as I noticed Bella making her way over to the bar. As expected, on her own she attracted a lot of attention and I tried to keep my expression impassive.
"Hey isn't that your girl? Dude you're hopeless." Emmett voice interrupted.
"Shut it, Emmett," I snapped, taking my anger out on him as I watched another guy approached her.
Emmett picked up on the source of my annoyance instantly.
"What are you still doing standing here? Go get your girl. And while you're at it, find out if her friend is single!" he ordered as I started making my way over to Bella.
The closer I got the more irritated I became as I watched one guy lingering around her. I couldn't hear what he said but if Bella's defensive stance was anything to go by, it was obvious he was making her uncomfortable.
"Maybe I could buy you a drink?" I heard him offer when I was with in earshot.
"I'm fine getting my own, thanks," Bella replied obviously getting fed up with this creep, but he didn't get the message.
"Really, it's okay, I don't mind," he persisted.
"She said she doesn't want a drink from you." I snapped when I was finally besides them.
The look on Bella's face was priceless when she turned to face me. Surprised didn't cover it.
"W-w-what are you doing here, are you stalking me?" she accused, and I couldn't help chuckling at her confused expression.
"I could ask you the same question," I replied smiling.
"I asked first," she retaliated, but before I could respond Alice came bouncing towards us.
"Edward, you made it," she screeched, practically throwing herself at me. On instinct I lifted her tiny body with ease and spun her around in the air.
"I- I cant believe you made it," she beamed from ear to ear when I put her down.
"You insult me, Ali. How could you think I would miss the engagement party of two of my closest friends?" I feigned hurt.
"How long have you been here?"
"A while," I paused for a moment looking across at Bella's curious gaze. "But when I spotted Bella hiding at the bar, I couldn't resist coming over to speak with her again."
"I was not hiding," she denied but neither Alice or I were convinced.
"So you guys already know each other?" Alice asked innocently. Judging by her cat-that-got-the-cream grin I knew I was in for her questioning later.
"Yes, Alice, Bella and I have met. In fact, I think you could say that we are old friends," I said, smiling as I thought back to our prior meetings.
"Of course, how silly of me. Now that you mention it, I remember hearings a few whispers about that!" Alice exclaimed, arching a eyebrow knowingly at Bella. A beautiful blush lit up Bella's cheeks but as much I loved seeing her blush, I could see Alice's probing gaze was making her uncomfortable so I quickly explained.
"Jasper and I have been friends since we were kids. Ali has been like a sister to me since the two of them got together. In fact, I think I can take the credit for getting the two of them together. If it wasn't for my encouragement, then I don't think Jasper would have ever worked up the courage to talk to you," I proudly stated.
"You got me there Cullen, and don't think I have forgotten about it, either. I will pay you back!" she declared, before sending a thoughtful look at Bella again.
"If you are such close friends, then how come we'd never met before last month?" Bella asked suspiciously.
"Besides the fact that Edward is an international superstar with a very busy schedule, the reason you two have never met before is because YOU refused to meet him!" Alice announced, leaving both Bella, and myself in shock.
Damn, if I'd known who Alice had been trying to set me up with I wouldn't have been nearly as dismissive of the idea as I had been.
"Oh," Bella uttered, apparently as stunned by Alice's admission as I was.
Before Alice had chance to tease us any more than she had been, Jasper came over to join us and while we speculated about Emmett's where abouts Bella and Alice spoke in hushed voices besides us.
"Alice!" Bella warned, clearly uncomfortable by whatever Alice was whispering about.
"Everything okay, ladies?" Jasper inquired.
"Fine," they both said in unison, looking sheepish.
Alice and Jasper stayed with us for a while before they left the two of us alone to chat with some of their other guests. If I'm being honest I was happy that I got time to spend with bella, just the two of us and we quickly settled into easy conversation, laughing and joking about things that had happened since our last meeting.
A short while later I caught Emmett eye, who made sure to remind me of my mission for him.
"So I have a slight confession to make," I began apprehensively, nervously running my hand through my hair at the prospect of playing matchmaker for my best friend. Emmett better thank me for this later.
"Go on. Let's hear it," Bella encouraged, though her smile seemed cautious.
"I may have misled you earlier. When I said I first saw you at the bar, that was a little white lie. I actually spotted you a while before that, when you were with your friend. The blonde," I admitted sheepishly. I really did sound like the stalker she had previously accused me of being.
Bella looked worried so I tried to get this over with as quickly as possible.
"Is she your flatmate?"
"Yes," she replied obviously bored of my idle chit chat.
"She's a model, right?" I asked, remembering that Bella had told me that in our first meeting.
Bella nodded back but she had a weird, guarded expression on her face. If I'm honest I was a little worried by her sudden change in attitude.
"So is she single?" I continued.
"Yeah," she looked all out deflated now and for the life of me I couldn't understand why.
"Really?" I repeated, wanting to make sure because as much of a joker Emmett was, when he was serious about someone he fell hard.
"Yes, really," Bella replied, offering me a forced smile before she continued.
"She is a lovely person, she's smart and funny, and kind," she reeled off like it was a movie script, while I stood completely bemused by what she was saying.
"She's perfect girlfriend material." Bella paused before taking a deep breath and saying. "I can ask her if she will pass on her number to you if you'd like."
Shocked didn't even cover my emotions. She wanted to play matchmaker between me and here friend? There had to be some other explanation. I had to be mistaken.
"Why would I want her number?" I asked clearly misunderstanding what she was getting at.
"Because you obviously like her," she murmured, sadly.
It was only then that the penny finally dropped.
"Wait a minute, you don't seriously think I am hitting on your friend, do you?" I had to make sure I was hearing this right.
"Aren't you?" she asked hopefully.
"God, no!" I declared, slightly hurt by her accusation.
The fact that she thought I was interested in Rosalie was absurd. Completely fucking insane. Did she not see he only had eyes for her?
Ridiculous. Absolutely, positively, one hundred percent ridiculous and I was quick to point out the reason for my apparent 'interest' in her friend.
"Emmett is with me. He spotted your friend the moment she walked in here. I wanted to come over to find out if she was single before he got his heart broken. He's pretty smitten already," I explained
"Sorry ,I just assumed," Bella muttered shyly.
"You assumed wrong," I replied taken aback. I tried to keep the accusation out of my tone but I failed to hide my hurt. Most of all I was disappointed. I could see that Bella felt bad but I still felt hurt by her assumptions and I wanted to put her straight on a few things.
"Sure, she's pretty, beautiful even, but she's not my type," I told her.
I debated my next sentence very careful, and in the end I deflected by saying, "I prefer brunettes."
I probably shouldn't have said that but couldn't help myself. I had a strong feeling it wouldn't be my only slip up of the night.
AN: Sorry for the shortness of this chapter. I thought you would like a short update opposed to none at all:) Shortness aside, what do we think of this chapter - loved it? Hated it?
Hopefully the next chapter wont take too long, but in the meantime I suggest checking out this wonderful little story by musegirl the soldier and his princess story. It's listed in march's top ten stories for march over on twifanfictionrecs. Give this incredible story a chance and be sure to leave a lovely review or two. I'm hoping with enough encouragement she may write a sequel or at least add another chapter or two more!