Title of One-Shot: The Frog Prince

AH or AU: AH

POV: Edward

Rating: M/NC-17

Word Count: 5490

Summary or Description: Rosalie Hale was a Goddess on campus. Edward Cullen was the slouching slob trying to please his father. Their worlds never intersect, until they are partnered in anatomy class – an unlikely pairing that brings unexpected magic to both their worlds.

This one-shot is being posted in participation with the above mentioned contest hosted by FilthyRoseward & Co. Please see the contest profile for full details. http: / / w w w . fanfiction. net/u/2529769/

The Frog Prince by candytwi


*The Frog Prince*

I'd never seen anyone look as pissed off as Rosalie Hale the day she had to partner me in anatomy class. We were both student medics, though she was senior elite and I was, well - not. In any case, she shot Dr Cope a look of pure poison as she was steered to the desk where I was sitting, or rather, slouching.

She slammed her bag on the lab table and pulled a face as if I stank or something. I probably did, by her standards anyway. Rosalie smelled gorgeous; I'd bet she took two or three showers a day in a luxurious bathroom, dousing her immaculate body in French perfume afterwards. Her skin shone, her hair and teeth dazzled. Her clothes were obviously understated designer labels; even a slob like me could tell you that.

I could definitely tell you she had a body you'd have to be dead not to get the hots for, oh, and a bossy, detached confidence that made fuck-ups like me dribble at the thought of being taken in hand and sorted out.

The entire room turned to stare at us. Rosalie's girl buddies rolled their eyes in sympathy at her plight; her male groupies, of whom there were many, looked ready to rip my balls off if I so much as breathed on her, the Goddess.

I coped as well as I usually manage to; I hunched into a ball, retreated beneath my beanie and oversized plaid shirt and was rendered incapable of uttering a word.

Rosalie fumed then scaped her chair about a foot away from me.

We were supposed to be drawing and labelling the dissected limb that was lying out in front of us. We had scored a hand and forearm, a middle aged woman's by the look of it. You could still make out the depression on her ring finger where the wedding band had been.

I hated dissection, worse when the subject was female. After three years at med school you'd think I would have gotten over the memories of mom in the accident, and not see her in every female patient, alive or dead. Dad said it would all fall into place when I qualified and could practice in the real world. Of course he believed that; being a doctor was his vocation, he had a true calling for it. I'd kind of chosen it by default. After I'd gone off the rails it seemed like my best come-back option, certainly the one that convinced dad and my step mum Esme that they didn't have another crazy in the family. Alice was already too much for them to handle, and my late teens episode had freaked the crap out of them. We were both adopted, me when I was an abandoned newborn and mom and dad still lived in England; Alice when she was twelve, after mom died and dad had married Esme.

Rosalie's dad was a doctor too, eminent surgeon, the whole cliché. She was acing her grades and probably had a vocation too, apart from being one of those golden people who excels at totally everything.

She shot me another disgusted glance.

"Are you drawing or shall I?" she enquired frostily. She gestured at the notepad that was squashed under my elbow, and the half chewed pencil in my mouth.

I dragged the notebook free. The paper crackled when my sweaty forearm unstuck itself. I ripped off the first crumpled page, trying to ignore Rosalie's exasperated sigh.

I focussed my attention on drawing. I can draw OK, it's one of my few real skills, and I soon produced an accurate outline sketch. I was a little distracted by Rosalie's foot tapping on the polished linoleum. She wasn't annoying me, I totally understood her irritation at being stuck with the loser emo dork, but the tapping was bouncing her leg a little, which was making the couple of inches of bare thigh above her knee quiver ever so slightly.

Rosalie's skin was tanned, smooth and firm, so the quiver was very subtle, but it was enough to make me imagine the tremor running all the way up her leg and maybe setting off a sub-tremor in her panties. Who knows, maybe the wave of irritation I was provoking in her could, given long enough, cause a little friction between her legs and maybe she would subliminally associate my presence with a tiny case of the hots.

"Could you be any slower?" she snarked.

"Probably," I mumbled.

I abandoned my musings on the state of Rosalie's panties and finished off the drawing. I turned it to her so we could start the labelling.

"Oh." She sounded surprised. "It's good."

I shrugged.

Rosalie started rattling off the names of the muscles and bones. I wrote quickly. Half way through she took the pencil off me, rubbed out a misspelling and re-wrote it correctly. Her hand felt like silk as it brushed mine; expensive silk, to be exact. As she wrote, she put a forefinger in her mouth, an absent-minded gesture that began to set off a quiver in my own underwear.

I groaned inwardly. I did not want to sport a boner while sitting next to Rosalie Hale. There was probably a med school by-law that would order my immediate castration.

But, as is the nature of these things, the more I tried not to think of her finger sliding against her tongue or her smooth thighs rubbing together, the more aroused I became. I pulled my chair firmly under the bench and leaned further over the drawing.

"Have you got cramps or something?" she snapped.

More irritation, which was a nuisance, because now that was making me hot too.

I could hardly entertain a fantasy of super-being Rosalie Hale being interested in me, but ideas of her slapping me were adding fuel to the fire.

Rosalie finished labelling the rest of the drawing then stuck her hand in the air, desperate for us to receive our grade so she could get the hell out of there.

Unfortunately, she'd raised the hand closest to me. In my hunched posture, my eye was dead level with her perfectly round, taut left breast as it bounced slightly in the aftermath of her jiggling on the seat to catch Dr Cole's attention.

I curled ever more protectively over my weeping boner as Dr Cope walked across to check our work. She put a hand on my shoulder as she leaned over the bench. It was a habit Cope had with every male student, but I wished she hadn't given in to it today. I was about ready to go off at anything by that stage. The squeeze she gave my neck didn't help matters at all.

"Very nice drawing as usual, Edward," she said, ticking all the labels with her free hand. "Perfect score, you two," she added.

Rosalie smiled in genuine pleasure. Wow, the girl really likes to achieve. I guess that's how super-beings are wired.

She got up to leave. I was still the hunchback in the beanie.

"Are you coming to Main bar tonight?" she suddenly asked.

I tilted my face to look up at her without risking straightening in my seat. I'm sure my expression read 'confused.'

"It's a seniors' night," she said. "You should come along."

I continued with the speechless stare.

"You're a sad case, aren't you, Cullen?" she remarked. "I mean, do you, like, socialise, at all? Since what's her name broke up with you?" I didn't answer.

"If you come along I'll buy you a drink for the A grade we just scored. Eight o'clock."

Rosalie left the room with her gal pals and groupies in tow. I waited until the room emptied before gathering my books and bag and walking stiffly to the nearest bathroom.

I stood in one of the stalls, morosely jerking off, and thinking how depressing it was when your dick seemed to have nothing whatsoever to do with your brain. I mean, I barely knew Rosalie, but here I was, fantasy mating with her after less than thirty minutes in her close proximity.

After I cleaned up and trudged off to my next lecture, I mused on the strange vagaries of biology. Maybe this was some natural balance occurring; loser boy sperm seeking perfect goddess egg. Or maybe this damn med school was finally sending me loony.

I almost didn't bother going to Main bar. I couldn't seem to find the will to go home and get changed. In the end I went because Rosalie had been so directive about it. It seemed easier to follow orders than to come up with an alternative plan for the evening.

It was nine o'clock when I walked into the crowded bar. I saw her right away. I couldn't fail to; the whole room and everyone in it seemed to group and revolve around her. I skulked off to buy a beer. I sure as hell wasn't game to walk up to Rosalie and assume she was serious about the offer of that drink. The notion was ludicrous; after all, she lived on Planet Hale, next door to Venus, and I was on orbit to deep space fuck knows where.

I sipped the beer and sank into a mindless daze, suddenly punctuated by the memory of having to complete a history of medicine paper for the next day. Shit. I sank my beer - could have done with three of those - and headed out of the bar. The library would be open for another couple of hours. If I floored it, I'd just about get the research done then I would have to pull another three hours back home to write everything up.

"Rose says, can you wait a minute?"

A girl I vaguely recognised was tapping my arm. Tanya; one of Rosalie's 'Bosom Buddies' as some of the guys dubbed them. Tanya was staring at me uncomprehendingly, no doubt wondering what Rosalie was thinking by even giving me the time of day. I stopped and waited. Tanya looked around at Rosalie, frowning as Rosalie mouthed something, then she led me out of the bar, sighing heavily.

"Where are we going?" I asked.

"Our study room," she replied disdainfully. "Don't ask me why."

I was startled. On campus, study rooms were the domain of rich students only. I'd never even been in that wing of the faculty before.

Rosalie's study room wasn't quite as glamorous as I expected but it was pretty nice. It had armchairs, two quality timber desks, a rug and a huge framed abstract painting that I noticed was really good. Tanya gestured for me to sit in one of the desk chairs then sat herself down in an armchair. We didn't speak while we waited for Rosalie to appear ten minutes later. She was with another of her 'besties', Lauren.

"You've got to be kidding," said Lauren when she saw me.

"No," said Rosalie. "I think you girls have been missing something. Hi, Edward."


"Edward, do me a favour - take off that beanie and the shirt."

My heart stuttered. What the fuck?

Rosalie laughed at my expression.

"Don't be nervous," she said. "Nothing weird. I just want to show the girls something."

I stood up and peeled the shirt off. I noticed it didn't smell too good. Oddly, I felt more reluctant about removing the beanie but dragged it off anyway.

Rosalie stepped towards me and started doing something with my hair. It felt pretty good, her fingers combing over my scalp and all, too fucking good actually. I focussed on her friends' hostile expressions to distract myself.

"Turn around," Rosalie told me. I did so and she grabbed handfuls of my baggy t-shirt on both sides and pulled it to stretch tight across my body.

"See?" she said.

"Oh - yeah," said Lauren suddenly.

"And that's quite a jaw line," Tanya observed.

Rosalie turned me around to face her. She was staring at me intently.

"What?" I said at last.

"Edward, you're handsome. In fact, with a makeover, you could be downright devastating."

Devastating? Me?

"Ooh - makeover!" Lauren exclaimed, clapping her hands together.

"Are you game?" Rosalie asked me.

"But why?" I protested. "I mean, why would you bother?"

"Because I need a date for the seniors' ball and there are about six guys who think I'm going to pick them, they expect they're in with a chance because, well, since Emmett–"

I opened my mouth to say something then shut it again. I remembered now, the gossip filtering down from Mount Olympus that the God and Goddess had broken up. In fact, I think it was the God who had done the dumping.

"I feel like shocking some people," said Rosalie. "Would you help me do that, Edward?"

Oh yeah, like I was going to refuse Rosalie Hale anything. I knew my evolution theory well enough to be more than aware of my position on the food chain.

"How much time would it take?" I asked. "Only I have to write a paper tonight."

Great - the Dork speaks. Screw the history paper!.

Rosalie smiled, actually dimpled at me.

"It's not till Saturday, day after tomorrow," she said. "Are you free then?"

"Yes, sure." I guess I can cancel my mid morning shuffle to the coffee shop and the afternoon strumming depressing songs on my guitar. "Yeah, Saturday's fine."

"Good, write down your address and someone will pick you up at nine. We have a lot to do."

She did the finger touching the mouth thing again as she worked it out. "We'll aim to get to the ball around ten-thirty, a nice late entrance. Well meet my parents for dinner beforehand."

Fuck. Dinner with the Hales; the thought alone was enough to give me a nose bleed.

"You can go now, Edward. We girls have some planning to do, and you have your paper to write."

OK, I heard the sarcasm, but she did give me that smile again.

"Day after tomorrow," she added.

I wrote down my address and handed it to her in a daze.

For the next five hours while I worked on the paper, I swear I still wore that 'what the fuck just happened?' expression on my face.

I was in shock the whole of the next day. I was supposed to visit dad but I couldn't face him and Esme fretting about Alice. My sister had flunked out of college and left home to live in a shared house, supporting herself with meagre proceeds earned by a random series of jobs in bars and coffee shops. Since she'd left home there had been the accidental overdose, the mistaken shoplifting and the false alarm pregnancy, so our parents were on constant alert for the next crisis. I loved Alice but she always told me to back the fuck off when I tried to help. Everyone thought she was pretty much a fruit loop but I had crazy intuition; she would find the right track one day. Besides, I was no one to criticise anybody else's screw-ups; I was pretty lost myself, I just covered it up better.

I made the apology call to dad, fielded his questions about my life by talking about medicine then headed off to a bar to write music and drink too many beers.

When Saturday came, I overslept. In my defence I did wake up with the alarm at seven, showered and dressed then passed out on the bed again.

I was woken by the doorbell ringing non-stop for the four minutes it took me to get my hung over head off the pillow, trip over my shoes and make it to the door. I flung it open to find Lauren glaring at me, her finger still pressed firmly on the bell. She gave it a final punch, just to make the point, and walked passed me into my bedsit.

"You live like a pig," she commented, looking around disdainfully.

She appeared so glossy and immaculate standing in the middle of the Mumbai slum that was my two room home, that I almost bailed on the whole day.

Lauren marched out and headed downstairs. I crammed the beanie over my bed hair, grabbed the oversize plaid shirt that stood in as a jacket and ran after her.

Lauren drove a Porsche. Of course she did. Her parents were even wealthier than the Hales. Half way downtown I realised I hadn't had breakfast.

"Can we stop at Starbucks?" I asked her.

"We're already late," she snapped.

I hunched down in the leather upholstery. Hungry, thirsty and hung over as I was, I felt a sudden jolt of excitement at the prospect I would be spending the day with Rosalie Hale. I guess I should have been humiliated at her picking me up as her project, but I really didn't give a shit. Today I was going to see how the other half lived; I'd be Rosalie Hale's escort at the Senior's Ball and maybe catch a grope or a kiss before the night was over; worth a bit of humiliation if you ask me.

I expected we'd head down Rodeo Drive for the shopping but Lauren continued on and set off into the Hills.

Before I could get my bearings, the Porsche was idling outside the gates of the Hale residence and Lauren was pressing the intercom to be let in. The gates swung open and the car slid forward. Even the crunch of gravel under the tyres sounded like money.

A butler opened the door. Fuck me, a butler. He gave me a snarky look. I shrugged as if to say 'go figure', then Lauren was leading me up a wide and very fancy staircase, along a thick carpeted landing towards the rear of the house.

Rosalie didn't have a room, she had a wing. I glimpsed a bedroom, sitting room, study, huge bathroom, exercise room and massive walk-in closet. It was totally, freaking jaw-droppingly awesome.

Lauren elbowed me into the sitting room. I was just deciding whether to sit, stand or freak out when Rosalie walked in. She looked unbelievable. I couldn't remember ever seeing anyone outside a magazine page looking so polished, so put together, so clean. Everything about her shone. She did a double take when she saw me then put her hands on her hips and frowned.

"Bathroom," she ordered. "Terence is arriving any minute."

She glared at Lauren. "You're late."

Lauren rolled her eyes and flicked a thumb at me as the culprit. Just then Terence showed up. He was a very handsome, very gay African-American and it turned out my hair was his mission. After air kissing Rosalie and Lauren he marched me to the bathroom and flung the beanie away like it was infested. He had two girl assistants with him. One of them set out equipment on the marble bench while the other started washing my hair. Terence stood over me the whole time, staring at me like he was trying to work out a puzzle. I guess a top notch Beverley Hills hairdresser didn't get many student slobs in his salon. I wondered briefly if I should be worried about what he would do to me but I figured hair grew back, so what the fuck.

The shampoo assistant soaped and shaved my stubble while I was at the basin. She patted my head dry and massaged cream onto my face and neck.

"Your skin is to die for," she said. "What do you use?"

Even I knew it would sound naff if I just said 'soap' so I gave her what I hoped was a knowing smirk.

Terence sat me at the bench and got to work while his other assistant gave me a manicure. Fucking manicure - never had one of those, much less the pedicure that came right after. Someone else cutting my toe nails? Decadent.

Terence didn't talk much, maybe because he figured we wouldn't have much in common, plus he was concentrating pretty hard on the cutting. I definitely didn't mention I generally snipped bits off myself. He chopped so much away I was surprised to see my hair still looked thick and unruly, except now it was in a kind of intentional way.

I didn't quite recognise myself in the mirror and I wasn't entirely sure what to make of it.

"Oh my fucking god," Lauren exclaimed when Terence walked me in to the sitting room.

Rosalie stared but didn't comment.

I saw food and coffee on the table and I edged my way towards it. After about a dozen mini bagels, some fruit and coffee I felt pretty good.

Tanya arrived with a uniformed driver carrying a pile of bags and boxes.

"Alright Edward," Rosalie announced. "We've got you three outfits."

"For the ball?" I queried.

She rolled her eyes.

"Dinner with my parents," she ticked off her fingers, "a tux for the ball and something casual to change into tomorrow morning. You are not leaving my house dressed in those," she added, gesturing, rather rudely I thought, to my baggy t-shirt and cargo pants ensemble.

"Tanya, hang these up," she said then turned back to me. "Now, I want you to look relaxed, pampered and confident when we go out. It's almost noon; you've got until four to have a swim and a massage, take a nap too - you look like you need it - and have a nice healthy lunch. Carol and Tony here will take care of you." She introduced two staff who smiled and nodded as they helped Tanya carry the parcels to the walk in closet.

"We're going out for some last minute shopping and to the day spa," Rosalie said. "See you later."

So for the next three or so hours I was like Julia Roberts in 'Pretty Woman', except I didn't even have to deal with nasty shop assistants.

I was worried about getting the hair wet in the pool but Carol reassured me. "The cut makes it easy to style again," she said. "Enjoy your swim. Tony will be here to do your massage and there's a bed made up in the guest room if you need it. I'll serve lunch by the pool in about an hour."

I had definitely died and gone to Beverly Hills heaven. This could be a whole new shallow and indulgent chapter for Edward Cullen.

I still didn't get why Rosalie was taking such an interest in me. The only thing that made sense was she needed a project after being jilted. Maybe I was just a last-minute ring-in for the ball, to piss off her unwanted suitors?

While I swam, lunched and napped I fantasised about getting my arm around Rosalie's curvy waist. God knows what she'd be wearing but it was a certainty she'd be oozing money and class, and drenched in that gorgeous French perfume.

The massage was bloody brilliant. Tony ironed out all my tight muscles and left me pleasantly dozing on the table until I got up enough energy to graze some more food and take that feather-down nap.

I was woken by the noise of the girls arriving back from their 'Legally Blonde' expedition. I was completely disoriented for a minute then Tanya's face appeared as she leaned over me. "Come on Edward, more to do yet."

She threw me a long towelling robe and walked out. I felt like a movie star as I slid it on my butt-naked body and padded after her to Rosalie's sitting room.

"In here," Lauren called from the bedroom. I followed her voice and was met by a barrage of giggles. All three girls were dressed in nothing but lingerie on their perfect Victoria's Secret model bodies. I felt like I'd walked into a 'Pussycat Dolls' video.

I literally could not speak. The day had just jumped ten gears from fantasy to downright surreal.

"You're taking our princess on a date tonight, Cullen," Lauren reminded me. "An important date."

"You need to be relaxed and well behaved," added Tanya. "In the zone. We decided you need to go through a little ritual first."

"A Goddess ritual," smirked Lauren.

Rosalie hadn't said a word. She walked to the armchair opposite the bed, sat down and crossed her legs.

My brain was a road crash of images; Lauren's magnificent, maybe fake but who cares, breasts encased in red lace; Tanya's pink corset and suspenders, and fuck me, fucking hell, Rosalie's black stockings held up by ribboned garters, the sheer silk camisole that showed every contour of her breasts and nipples and the French? maybe French knickers that draped her hips and skimmed her golden thighs.

My head began to swim.

Lauren and Tanya walked over to me, maybe to check if I still had a pulse because I had neither moved nor uttered a sound. They unfastened my robe and peeled it off my shoulders. It dropped to the floor. I was still fucking paralysed, all except my dick, which was now on an independent mission.

"Oh, Edward," Tanya exclaimed. "You're pretty."

"Pretty damn perfect you mean," added Lauren. "And hung. Cullen, you've been holding out on us."

She sidled behind me and began to caress my ass. I sucked in a breath. I still couldn't take my eyes off Rosalie. She uncrossed and recrossed her legs then slowly peeled off the garters and rolled the stockings down.

I heard a whimpering sound and realised it was me. I could feel Lauren's breasts thrusting into my back and the friction of lace against my skin.

Rosalie suddenly spoke.

"Kiss him," she ordered. "I want to see what he looks like when he's kissing."

Tanya took my face in her hands and pulled my mouth to hers. She was expert if a little rough. I felt lust from her but no warmth. I responded as well as I could and imagined it was Rosalie's lips and tongue I was exploring.

"Edward, you're hot," said Rosalie. She smiled at me and waved Tanya back. I grinned at her like a goofy idiot as she stood up from the armchair and beckoned Tanya over to her.

"Would you like to touch these?" she said, indicating her breasts by touching each nipple where it puckered the silk camisole.

The ultimate no-brainer but I was still struggling to speak, maybe on account of watching Tanya's hand slide under Rosalie's camisole to massage aforementioned breasts. My dick was seriously straining to join them now.

"You're quite beautiful, Edward," Rosalie observed. "Beautiful, and big. I like big."

She gave a slightly stoned smile on account of the fondling Tanya was giving her. Lauren was still leaning against my back, breathing heavily.

"Oh god, Rosalie," I groaned. "What do you want me to do?"

She beckoned Lauren over to her.

"Why, Edward?" she said. "Do you wish it was you touching me? Would you like to be inside me right now?"

I staggered slightly and tried my damndest to keep my hands off my dick.

Lauren sank to her knees and slid a hand up Rosalie's thigh. Her fingers disappeared under the hem of the French knickers. I groaned again. It briefly occurred to me I was witnessing every college boys wet dream. Then I started worrying how I was actually going to get some or at least survive this shock encounter with the Goddess. I licked my lips and clenched my fists. My buttocks contracted involuntarily as they readied my body to thrust into Rosalie's at the first opportunity.

"You've made me wet," Rosalie said. "I was right about you; underneath all that grunge you are one very hot boy."

She pushed her gal pals aside and walked over to stand close to me. I could feel the slide of silk against my dick then Rosalie's hand gripped it firmly at the root.

"You can hold on a little bit, can't you?" she asked.

Her steel fingers weren't going to let me cum any time soon so I nodded.

"Lauren, could you take care of the condom?" she added sweetly.

Oh fuck, condom means I'm in with a chance of being in Rosalie Hale. My breath hiccupped as I fought to control myself. She kissed me, running her tongue over and between my parted lips. She stepped back to watch Lauren roll the condom on my throbbing dick.

"Hold tight," she ordered as Lauren grasped me.

Catching a glimpse of Tanya surreptitiously fingering herself almost did for me but I kept my eye on the prize.

"Oh god," was all I managed to utter.

Rosalie slid those knickers down her legs and stepped out of them in one smooth movement. Then she turned her back to me and leaned over the chair, bracing herself with her hands on the chair arms.

It wasn't the most dignified fuck I've ever managed, shuffling across the room with Lauren still holding my dick but it was worth the humiliation to find myself being guided between Rosalie's silken thighs and into her wet pussy.

Lauren let go and so did I. Six strokes and I was gone. To my surprise and gratitude, Rosalie came seconds after. My fingers had automatically found their way to her clit. She was so hot and swollen it took only a little teasing, added to me filling her with my ecstatic dick, for her to cum, loud and clear. She cried my name. Rosalie Hale actually cried out my name.

Highlight of my fucking miserable year, thank you god!

I literally sank to my knees and buried my hands in my hair. Reality stopped as my brain went into rewind and replay of the last ten minutes of my life. Me and my dick quivered at the memory, the imprint of Rosalie's smooth ass against my thighs, how she'd felt under my fingers when they'd sought out her heat and wetness, the smell of her mixed with her perfume.

"Are you OK?" Lauren asked. I looked up to see the red-encased breasts hovering over me. I felt Tanya's parted legs as she placed her feet on either side of me and leaned against my back, her fingers stroking my shoulders and biceps. Lauren slowly peeled off the used condom and disposed of it, walking back to me with a look of awe.

"Baby," she crooned. "That was hot."

"Where's Rosalie?" I asked.

"She likes to shower," said Lauren. "You know, after."

"Two seconds after?" I protested.

Lauren shrugged, causing her breasts to squeeze and drop an inch from my eye line.

"That's Rosalie," she said by way of explanation. "Don't take it personally."

Tanya put her mouth to my ear.

"She came, Edward," she said. "That's quite something."

"Will she be back?"

I was starting to come down, and feelings of bewilderment and embarrassment were kicking in. I scrambled to my feet, tripping Tanya over in the process.

"Edward!" she exclaimed, slapping my arm. Her expression suddenly changed.

"Umm, firm," she said, looking meaningfully at Lauren. "Want to try?"

"I had something different in mind," said Lauren. She grasped one of my nipples and tweaked it, hard.

"Ow," I wailed. "That hurts."

"It's supposed to, silly," Lauren replied, exasperated. "I can see we'll have to train you."

"We'll keep him au naturel for now," Rosalie interrupted.

I swung around to stare at her. She stood in the doorway, gleaming again, her hair still wet from the shower and a cream-coloured bathrobe belted tight around her curves.

I lurched forward and grabbed her in a clumsy embrace. She let me kiss her once, then pushed me off.

"Go and dress," she said. "We have to leave soon."

I couldn't let go of her. I snuggled my face in her damp neck. "I wish you hadn't showered so quickly," I mumbled.

"I was sweaty," she admonished. "And sticky."


"Ewwww, don't be gross. Come on Edward, let go. What do you want anyway?"

"Cuddle," I said pathetically. "You know, post coital."

Lauren snorted.

Rosalie pushed me away.

"Get a grip or it won't happen again."

My brain rearranged and decoded the sentence she'd just uttered.

"Again? I get to… go again?"

"I don't do one night stands. Once we're seen out together at the ball, we'll be dating, once a week, Saturdays, OK?"

I swallowed. We're dating?

"Yeah, right, totally, where do I sign?"

Rosalie patted me on the cheek.

"Silly," she said. "Now, get dressed in your tux. I want you to do a fitting for that before you get dressed for dinner. You're going to be a knock out."

Maybe it was true; I barely recognised myself in the black tuxedo. The white shirt dazzled, the designer shoes gleamed. If you didn't look too closely, you actually might have mistaken me for one of the shiny people…or even a fairy tale Prince.