Stephenie Meyer owns Bella and Edward and their frustrating lack of communication tendencies. CandraJade owns the premise of this story. All other details belong to TwiliteAddict and RosaBella75.
Summary: Bella finds herself in dire financial need and takes drastic action -- she offers her virginity up for auction. Will this desperate plan to save her college education actually turn out to be a second chance at love? This story was made possible by the generous contribution of CandraJade to the Support Stacie Auction.
The Face I Can't Forget
May be the face I can't forget
The trace of pleasure or regret
May be my treasure or the price I have to pay...
"She" by Elvis Costello
Chapter 1 – Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
Alice had that look of resolve on her face and her hands firmly placed on her hips. Obviously she was not on board with my latest fund-raising scheme.
"No fucking way, Bella!" she practically shouted.
I cringed. It had taken me a few days to gather the courage to tell my roommate and closest friend about my desperate plan to pay my looming second semester college tuition – not to mention room and board expenses. I had eliminated all other options and if I wanted to stay enrolled in Seattle University, or any college for that matter, I had no other choice.
But Alice would not relent, "Put your virginity up for auction? Sold to the highest bidder like some prize broodmare or something! That's just…so wrong!"
In the face of her harsh assault on my last ditch effort, I tried to appear confident, but I could feel the sting of tears forming in my eyes.
Alice's apparent fury melted as she read my emotions as usual and pulled me into a tight hug. "We'll find another way to keep you here, Bella. Don't cry."
Feeling a surge of determination, I pulled away to defend my decision. "Come on Alice, you and every girl I've spoken to have said the first time sucks. So I may as well kill two birds with one stone: get the awkward, messy, and most likely painful event over with and make some tax-free money to pay for school," I said in the most matter-of-fact tone I could muster.
Alice looked skeptical.
"What?" I shrugged.
"You will always remember your first time, Bella. Don't you want it to be special?"
My throat tightened and my resolve waivered just a bit. Of course I wanted it to be special. Didn't every girl fantasize about the fairytale first time – a romantic interlude with the one true love of her life? But seriously, how often did that happen in reality? I had to be practical! In just three weeks my tuition was due and sadly my virginity was the only thing of value I had to offer.
But I only had myself to blame for the dire situation I was in.
Charlie and I had scrimped and saved to build up a sizable college fund. Charlie was even willing to supplement my unmet expenses by dipping into his retirement fund. Knowing his meager public service pension would barely support his needs as it was, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I invested my whole college fund with an investment company I found online – without Charlie's knowledge. Three months later, the company's site was gone and so was my money – along with my future.
The thought of telling Charlie about my major fuck-up was almost as frightening as the thought of being trapped in Forks for the rest of my life. Forks was a dying logging town, a parasite sucking the life out of the forest that sustained it – doomed to extinction. I would not go back – even if it took sacrificing my virginity to the highest anonymous bidder to prevent it.
I needed Alice to understand I could better handle looking myself in the mirror having whored myself out before I would be 'that girl' who couldn't make it in the big wide world, returning home with her tail tucked between her legs. Besides, my first time was bound to be at very best non-earth shattering and at worst painful and embarrassing no matter whom it was with. I might as well secure my future; in doing so I would at least have something to offer the world someday by virtue of a first class education.
In effort to end the conversation, I stated resolutely, "I'm doing it Alice. There's nothing you can say that will change my mind. There just isn't enough time for any other solution."
Cornish University was by no means a hotbed of social activity. Most students were of the introverted-type, focused on their dream of making it in the performing arts. As an artist, this 'dream' was precisely the dangling carrot that kept so many striving toward its illusive promise for more. No one wanted to admit only a fraction of us would actually make a living doing what we studied so hard for all these years. In reality, the odds were better stacked that the majority of Cornish's graduates would end up, if lucky, music or drama teachers struggling to keep their programs funded -- or at worst, in retail sales.
As I worked on my latest composition in our small dorm room, Emmett surfed the web. My brother by adoption and roommate, Emmett, managed to squeak out a partial drama scholarship, but his highest aspiration was to star in commercials for Red Bull or some other product that featured very curvy women in their ads. At least he was somewhat realistic in his goals.
"Dude! Check it out!! I found that blog site with girls willing to sell their virginity to the highest bidder! We should sign you up; at least she can't turn you down – guaranteed pussy!" he crowed sticking his hand out for a fist bump.
Exasperated, I completely ignored his extended hand, "Emmett! I am NOT going to bid on some girl's virginity! I know it galls you that I'm not a man-whore you can live vicariously through, but tough shit, man!"
Before he moved on to some other crazy-ass thing on the information highway to hell, he added in a persuasive tone, "Too bad really. She's kinda cute."
I have to admit, curiosity got the best of me, Emmett was just too familiar with how to push my buttons, and I glanced at the screen. What I saw all but stopped my heart beating in my chest. It was a Glamour Shot, and probably not terribly recognizable to the casual observer, but I'd know the curve of that cheek anywhere. It was the face I couldn't forget…it was Bella!
She hadn't changed since I last saw her at our graduation from Forks High School. Her skin was still perfect, her hair a luxurious brown with soulful eyes to match. Eyes so deep, even on a computer monitor, they pulled me into reverie and transported me back to the last time I really looked into them – it was the first and last time I tried to win her heart....
Since my junior year, when she moved to Forks, I had carried a torch for her. Admiring her from afar, painstakingly learning her likes and dislikes, I planned the day I would ask her out.
But the days became weeks, and the weeks became months. Admiration quietly morphed into love. I built a whole life around her in my mind, and my hesitation to ask her out transformed into a paralyzing fear. The reality of rejection threatened to destroy the happily-ever-after I had pathetically created in my imagination.
But when senior year arrived, I couldn't push aside the fact time was running out. I would be left with nothing but 'what ifs' after graduation if I didn't summon the will to act soon. Bella had applied to several universities and made it clear to her friends she would not be returning to this 'po-dunk' town.
Mustering all the courage I had, I chose to express my feelings in the written word. I thoughtfully selected Sonnet 116 by our favorite writer, Shakespeare.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Bella, love is a constant guide to us as we move through life, but we can't really see its true value even if we could quantify love somehow. Love doesn't vary with time; it stays constant even until death. If I am wrong about love, then I never felt anything worthwhile…and nobody has been in love. So are my feelings for you.
Folding the note carefully, I slipped it into her locker and waited across the hall to monitor her reaction as the final bell rang. The narrow corridor filled with the noise of chatting students and clanging lockers. I watched through the crowd as Bella opened her locker flanked by her constant companions, Lauren and Jessica.
When she opened the door, the note plunked onto the floor. Much to my horror, Lauren and Jessica pounced and tore into it like it was an unexpected Christmas present. I held my breath as my declaration of devotion to Bella suddenly became the object of amusement and public derision as the two girls doubled over in wild fits of laughter.
"Oh, this is deep! What geek wrote this?" howled Lauren, between gasps.
"Oh my God, Bella," Jessica chimed in, "some superfreak has a serious crush on you!"
"Yeah," Bella laughed along, "how lame is that?"
Then she crumpled the note and threw it in her locker before slamming the door – both on her locker and on my hopes. Too humiliated to say anything to her, I retreated back into the comfortable safety of my empty, blissful musings, rigidly maintaining a perfect mask of indifference and accepting the fantasy was all of Bella I would ever have…
"Yo, hey, virginboy!" Emmett's jeering snapped me mercifully back to reality. "You givin' this auction some thought?"
"No," I lied.
With shrug and a quick click he closed out of the screen. "I've gotta get to class. See ya at the bar later?"
"Yeah, I'll be there," I mumbled distractedly as I watched him fling his backpack over his shoulder and head out the door.
As soon as the door clicked behind him, I logged back on to the site and read the details Bella had posted under the screen name 'RareCherry'.
Cringing, I glossed past the basics: details on her height, measurements, and even glowing GPA. My stomach turned at the thought of my personal embodiment of perfection offering herself for purchase.
Once the shock of what she was doing began to wane, I became very interested in the last line of her posting -- the reason why.
She lacked the funds to stay in college.
Her desire to complete her education had pushed her into this desperate action?
Not if I had anything to say about it!
It only took me three seconds to decide on the course I would take…
AN: Whoa! What do you think our hero (no, he's not the bad guy here either!) is going to do? Good news! You don't need to wait long to find out. This story is completely written and a new chapter will post every Friday!!!
I won't hold the story hostage for reviews, but they sure are a nice way to let us know you are there and reading...and wanting more!!
So Alert, Fave -- whatever you need to do to find out what happens (hint: it will include some lemon action...). So please do not continue if under age 18. Thank you.