Here it goes...

Following Her Lead

EPOV

I can't believe that my best friend would betray me this way. I sat at the bar of the club a couple blocks from my house and tried my best to get drunk. I stared at the gin in my hand and numbly downed it. How could he do this to me? It was the number one rule of the guy code: best friends sisters are off limits, period. But no, the bastard was sleeping with my sister. I'd come home from work early to find my sister who was visiting making out with my best friend on my couch. Then Jasper had said he was sorry but he couldn't help it and he was in love with my sister. I'd punched him in the face once, but the sight of Alice crying and begging me to stop had cut me off cold and I'd stormed out.

That was how I'd ended up here, in this shit hole of a club. While I was sitting there brooding, suddenly I felt someone grab my hand. I started to jerk it away when a beautiful, panicked, very feminine face came into view. I was going to ask her what the hell she was doing when she spoke, quickly and quietly. "Follow my lead." I stared at her, wondering what her problem was. "Please," she begged. "See that guy over there?" Glancing at the guy in question, I gave a nod "He keeps bothering me and maybe if he thinks I have a boyfriend, he'll leave me alone. This is all I'm asking you for, just pretend for a few minutes and I'll pay for all of your drinks tonight and leave you alone." She looked extremely panicked now. I took a longer glance at the man, not really interested in what she'd offered. I could easily pay for my own drinks and I didn't necessarily want her to leave me alone, but I'd been raised protecting my sisters and their friends. No man should take advantage of a woman.

As I didn't respond right away and the man came closer and closer, the look on her face was fearful. Her wide brown eyes and trembling mouth struck something deep within me. It didn't matter who this girl was, I needed to protect her. I wrapped my arm around her shoulders and leaned in, meaning to whisper my protection, but I was caught in her eyes. Brown was an extremely underrated color. I smiled at her, hopefully giving reassurance. Our noses brushed as she whispered, "Thank you," to me.

Taking the opening, I leaned forward, brushing my lips against her ear as I whispered "My . pleasure" to her. I smiled as I felt her shudder. Pulling back, I saw her cheeks turn a brilliant, sexy shade of red and she gave an embarrassed giggle, still smiling at me. My smile faded, as I focused on her lips, her pink tongue darting out to moisten them, I leaned forward slowly, entranced by the beauty in front of me. I'd almost forgotten about the guy messing with her when he spoke. "Bella!" I pulled from her slowly, furious at whoever had ruined my chance at kissing this girl. Whose name was Bella, a beautiful, Italian name. I turned my eyes upon the man, studying him. What was a big guy like this doing messing with a girl as small and precious as Bella?

"What do you want?" Her body had already tensed up.

He blatantly ignored her, forcing me to grit my teeth to refrain from punishing him for his lack of manners. "Hi, I'm Jacob Black, Bella's.." he hesitated, glancing at Bella as though gauging what her reaction would be, "boyfriend, I don't know what she told you, but she's using you, man." I stared at him. Who the hell did he think he was kidding?

"Edward, Edward Cullen," I took great satisfaction in his pale face. Hell yeah, he knew my name. Sometimes being well known was a curse, but in situations like these it was a blessing. I noticed the horror on Bella's face and squeezed her hand in reassurance "And if you're Bella's boyfriend then what is she doing here with me? And what are you doing here with," I trailed off, I'd been raised too well to call her what she was, but that didn't mean I couldn't imply it.

Before I could say anything more, his companion leaned forward exposing a large portion of cleavage. An hour ago, I might have been inclined to look. It would give me something to get my mind of off my best friends betrayal, but with the brown eyes beauty sitting next to me, it was easy to ignore. "Hello there," she whispered in a disgustingly sweet voice. "I'm Lauren."

As I grimaced at her, Jacob had turned to Bella. "Bella, why don't we go outside?" The question wasn't what pissed me off. It was the fact that he forcibly grabbed her and tried to yank her out of my grip.

"Jake, stop. " Bella tried to pull away from him. "We have nothing to talk about." When he wouldn't let her go, all of my pretenses of being tolerant disappeared and I let it show in my face.

"The lady said no. I suggest you take your hand off of her or I will remove it." I was dead serious, this asshole needed someone to take him down a notch and it was going to be me if he kept touching Bella.

He ignored me. "She's my girlfriend, she's coming with me." He yanked on her arm and when Bella gasped in pain, that was the final straw. I stood up, ready to kick the ass of this man who dared hurt this brown eyed angel.

"Get your hands off of her." With a few inches height to hold over him, I reveled in the fact that I could glare down at him and he was forced to look up to meet my eyes.

"Look, mate," He seemed intimidated now and struggled to talk his way out of it. "This bitch is mine, she thinks if she plays hard to get I'll buy her something." I heard Bella gasped and I gritted my teeth at the instinct to defend her honor. It will happen soon, I reassure myself. "But I'm tired of her games, I'm sure you know how it is."

I stepped towards him. "Yeah, I know how it is. Some asshole like you tries to strong arm a girl who doesn't want anything to do with you. Your ego can't take the fact that she doesn't want you so you have to force her." I could see Jacobs face turning a deep red with the insult. "Why don't you take that," I gave another disgusted look at Lauren, "and leave. Bella doesn't want you, she's made that clear." Just walk away, I silently told him. As much as I would love a chance to pound this jerks face in, I didn't want to scare Bella.

"She's mine, you fucker." He started towards her, but I placed myself between them, wrapping my arm around Bella, loving the feel of her softness underneath my arm and I felt like a pervert almost. It felt like I was taking advantage of the situation.

"Watch your language in front of the ladies." I warned him, menacingly.

"Get your goddamn hands off of her," the idiot snarled and I watched his fist pull back. Bracing myself to block it, I watched almost in slow motion as his foot slid out from under him, slipping on the dirty floor and his fist flew wildly hitting Bella. I saw red. With blurring vision, I made sure Bella was out of the way and in no serious damage before I attacked the bastard. I wasn't usually an angry man but I took pleasure in beating the fuckers face in. I threw the last punch as hard as I could, watching him slam backwards into the table. I took immense satisfaction as I surveyed the bloody mass of his face.

I quickly looked away from my handiwork to find Bella and make sure that she was alright. She reached my side in time to hear the bartender reached us. "I'm afraid that I'm going to have to ask you to leave. I can't condone fighting in my bar." I gave him a silent nod first, which he returned. Yeah, I'd noticed that he'd only come over once he'd seen Jacob taken down. He too, must have seen the bastard harassing her, and while he couldn't act without risk of losing his job, he wasn't going to stop someone else from defending her.

"No problem, sir. I understand completely. You can bill any costs acquired here." I gave him my business card, knowing Alice, my secretary slash sister, would take care of everything.

The bartenders eyes went wide, stuttering he managed, "Mr. Cullen, I apologize..."

"It's fine, sir, we'll be leaving now,"I indicated Bella and myself in a single gesture. "They...I can't make any promises for them, though."I threw a disgusted look to Jacob and the girl he was with. The chick was holding her shirt from her body and yelling at him, ignoring his bloody face. "Is there anyway I can get something with water in it though?" I really needed to check out Bella's face. That son-of-a-bitch had punched her. I held Bella's hand and gently led her out of the bar towards the park. Having a park next to a bar was a fucked set up, but I ignored that concept for now, concentrating on Bella. I pressed her shoulders until she sat upon the bench. Quietly I dabbed a handkerchief in the water and dabbed the cut on her face. When she made a pained sound, I wished desperately that I could pound that guys face in again.

"I'm sorry I couldn't stop him in time before he hit you. Son of a bitch was wearing a ring, excuse my language." I gritted my teeth, trying to control my anger at him as the white cloth came away red with blood.

"It's okay with me if you call him that." she said with a soft laugh. "It's not your fault though, I'm sorry for getting you involved."

"Don't you dare apologize, no woman should have to deal with someone like that alone. A man should know that no means no. A little antiseptic cream and you should be set," I added, studying the cut on her face. I heard her gasp in what I thought was pain until I saw her teared up eyes looking at my hands. I offhandedly glanced down and saw the cuts on my knuckles. "Trust me, pounding that jerk's face in was well worth some minor discomforts. He needed someone to teach him a lesson." That was completely true. That bastard should never hurt another girl again. I cradled her face in my hands, treasuring her. "It's okay, he should leave you alone now." He'd damn well better. Because if he didn't, that fucker was going to pay.

She whispered her thanks and I smiled at her. It turned to a frown as she stood up and started to walk away. I reached for her just as she turned. "I... I'd better go. Thank you, thank you for everything. Oh, I uh, I can pay for whatever bill he sends you. It was my fault." Oh hell no, I was not letting her get away like that. I'd finally met the girl I could imagine spending the rest of my life with. I wasn't letting her go without learning more about her.

I grabbed her shoulders to stop her from leaving. First thing to deal with. "Wait. You're not going to pay for the bill, I'm the one that got in a fight. Jeez, I haven't gotten into a fight since I was a teenager." That much was true, I'd thought that I'd grown up since then but apparently not. Now to address the second issue. "And I haven't been this nervous since I was a teenager, either." Hell, another true fact. Me, the millionaire businessman who created his own empire from scratch and my palms were sweaty from talking to this girl. I absentmindedly scratched the hair on my face, I really needed to shave, she probably thought I was unemployed, I certainly looked it. I'd just closed a deal and hadn't slept or shaved in a few days, trying to finish the last minute details. Well, I might as well go for it. "What I'm trying to say, trying to ask I mean... will you go out with me?" Endless minutes of silence. Or at least that was what it seemed like in my head. She kept staring at me and I wondered what she was thinking. The look on her face was not friendly at all. "What?" I asked her desperately.

"Is this some sort of pity date?"

"What?" I was dumbfounded.

"Are you asking me out because you feel bad for me?"

This girls mind already confused me. " A pity date? Is that even a real thing? Why the hell would I ask someone on a pity date? Pardon my french." She giggled, as I stared at her, confused. Why would you ask someone you didn't actually like out on a date?

"You really want to date me?" What was this girl thinking?

I rolled my eyes at her, exasperated. ""No, I asked you because I don't want to date you! Of course, I want to date you, you're beautiful and smart and I want to get to know you better, brown eyes." She did have the most amazing and beautiful brown eyes. Everyone always said that brown eyes were plain, but as I stared into her eyes, the most expressive eyes I'd ever seen, I couldn't fathom why.

"I'm Isabella Swan, but everyone calls me Bella. I'm 22 going on 40 and an only child. I've always wanted a big, slobbering dog, but never have gotten one because I seem to kill everything I touch, even a cactus that my mom sent me from Arizona. I'm currently single," I grinned at that, "and despite recent claims, haven't been in a real relationship in almost two years. Is that enough?"

I laughed loudly, throwing my head back. She was amazing. "Well, that's a start. How about we work on it some more at dinner?"

"Dinner?"

"Yeah, I know this great Italian place down the street, you do like Italian, right?" I knew Bella was a common name, but it was originally Italian so I went for it.

She gave me a breathtaking smile, "Yeah, Italian's great. Where's this restaurant at?"

I grasped her hand, feeling better than I'd had in years. Now, standing here hand in hand with a girl I'd only met minutes ago, I could understand why Jasper was with Alice. When you were in love, nothing could stop it. It was brilliant, blazing. "I'll show you. Just follow my lead."

Years Later

"Edward! Come quick, Nessie just talked!" I heard my wife's voice yell out from the nursery. I hurried up from my office to the nursery. I stopped in the doorway, my breath yanked out of my lungs as I stared at my beautiful wife cradling our exquisite daughter. I was forced to blink back tears at how lucky I was. I had the most amazing, brilliant, loving wife on earth and we had been blessed with a beautiful daughter.

Unaware of my internal thankfulness, she turned to me, Nessie snuggled up to her breast and grinning happily at her. Bella's face was animated and happy. She was blinking back tears of joy. "Edward," she whispered. "She said 'Mama'!" Her voice broke on the last word and she hurried into my arms, cradling Renesmee in between us. I looked down into my daughters sleepy face.

"Hello, sweety, can you say your mommy's name? Hmm?" I tickled her belly and she giggled.

"Mama gago.!" I laughed, pulling her upward to give her a raspberry.

"Dada!" My eyes jerked up to Bella's, a grin on my face.

The tears that Bella had been withholding now dripped down her face. She got up on her tiptoes and kissed me, her arms cradling our daughter, tangled with mine. As she pulled back, she whispered ,"Have I mentioned how much I love you lately?"

I leaned in closer for another kiss. "Yes, you have. But I'll always love hearing it just as much as I love you."

And there I stood, my wildest dreams all true and I was so thankful for the day I found the guts to ask the brown eyed beauty to follow me and take a chance.

Does it live up to the first one? What do you guys think?