Title: Sticks and Stones
Which fairytale inspired you: The Three Little Pigs
Rating & Any Needed Warning: Rated M for language and sexually explicit content
Word Count: 8388
Pairing: Edward and Bella
Summary: Three friends, a nightclub, a challenge. Edward is led on a wild goose chase as he hunts for the girl who disappeared without a word.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognisable characters are the property of Stephanie Meyer.
I slid my heels on, one at a time, using the wall for support. Snatching up my keys, I walked to the door of my apartment, glancing at myself in the wall mirror one last time as I passed. My black dress was skin tight, clinging to each and every curve I had, while only just hitting the tops of my thighs. The vivid red of my heels added much needed colour to my chosen outfit.
Tonight I'm going to Dusk, one of New York's most prestigious clubs, with Alice and Rosalie. It wasn't optional, apparently, but after the week I've had, I wouldn't have said no anyway. I locked the door behind me, my heels clacking against the stone stairs with each step. Walking through the door to my apartment building, I climbed into the cab which idled by the curb.
"About time, B." Alice chided, complete with a roll of her eyes.
"You only just got here, I saw the cab pull up."
"Where to, ladies?" The driver asked, watching us in the rear view mirror.
"Dusk nightclub, please." Rose requested from her seat in the middle. The driver nodded, pressing his foot on the accelerator. Soon we were navigating the roads which were teaming with traffic, everybody making the most of their Friday night.
"I've been waiting for this all week. I intend on waking up tomorrow with a killer hangover and a hot man in my bed." Rose informed us, a determined expression on her face.
"It's about time one of us got laid." Alice huffed, her exasperation evident in her tone. I hummed my agreement, remembering the disaster last time I'd thought having a one night stand was a good idea. His name was Jake and in my vodka induced state, I had agreed to go back to his place. We were half way to his bedroom, our hands and lips all over each other, when his girlfriend walked through the door, screeching like a banshee.
Honest to God, if I had known he had a girlfriend then I wouldn't have gone anywhere near him. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's somebody who cheats. The whole situation sobered me up extremely quickly and I jumped away from Jake, apologising to the angry girl as I sprinted out of the apartment, never looking back.
That was seven months ago. Seven long, busy months.
"If this club doesn't have anything to offer then that's it. I'm becoming a nun." I declared, crossing my arms stubbornly across my chest.
"I'll be right there with you, B." Alice agreed. "We would be the sexiest nuns ever." Her smile was sad, as though she was genuinely contemplating this life changing decision.
"We will have no nun talk." Rose ordered, smacking Alice on the arm while she narrowed her eyes at her. "Don't you dare give up hope, yet."
"Rose is right. We are young, smart and sexy. We will get laid and it will be the best sex ever." She may not have spelled it out to us, but we knew Alice well enough to know that this was a challenge. The prize was obvious and the stakes were high. Her motivational speech had me bouncing in my seat, itching to succeed.
"We know the plan." My friends nodded in response. Our plan was basic, occasionally subject to change, and worked without fail. Our end goal varied, but the steps we took to get there were the same. It involved a lot of vodka and a lot of dancing.
"Assuming we don't go home together tonight, we're meeting for lunch at Mango. Be there at twelve, no exceptions and don't be late." Alice meant business and if we dared to ignore her demands, we would never hear the end of it. The last thing you need when you are hungover is Alice screeching at you about tardiness and disrespect.
"Twelve, got it. If, for one reason or another, the plan fails, then we can go back to mine." I told them as the cab came to a stop outside the club. We handed the driver several bills before clambering out with as much grace as we could, considering our short dresses and high heels.
I groaned at the sight of the queue and Alice giggled, grabbing my wrist as I started to make my way to the end.
"Tonight, we're in luck." She declared with a smug grin, tugging both myself and Rose in the direction of the bouncer. "We're on the list."
"What? No." Rose hissed, following Alice despite her scepticism.
"Yes." Alice trilled in response. I just let her lead the way, knowing not to doubt her, whether it seemed likely or not.
As we approached the guy on the door his eyes raked over us. There was a smirk on his face as he kept his eyes fixed on us, ignoring the line of people in front of him. I felt uncomfortable under the gaze of the onlookers, far too sober to appreciate their attention. During the day I was a shy, quiet girl but it was at night that I came into my element. I shed my insecurities and let loose.
"Hey gorgeous." Alice greeted, her tone more friendly than flirtatious.
"Ladies, what can I do for you this fine evening?" He inquired, puffing his chest out ever so slightly.
"I'm Alice Brandon." She told him, nodding towards a clipboard in his beefy hand. He raised his eyebrows at her straight-to-the-point attitude but glanced at his sheet of paper anyway. With a nod and a smile he ushered us inside the club, causing those waiting to murmur their irritation.
"Are you going to let us in on your secret?" Rose questioned as we made a beeline for the bar, dodging the throngs of people.
"I went to school with one of the barmen here so I pulled a few strings, reminded him of a few favours owed and he got us on the list." She explained, her voice straining to be heard over the noise that pulsated around us.
"You're quite something, Ali." I told her gratefully. I, like most other people, hate queuing for clubs. It wastes valuable time and it's extremely tedious.
We claimed three free stools at the bar. Step one of the plan was vodka shots. The first one was always the best. The burn, as it slides down my throat is satisfying and nothing beats the initial buzz as the alcohol takes effect.
"Alice, hey!" A voice called and we looked up in unison, immediately spotting the handsome man behind the bar who was soon stood right in front of us. Alice grinned up at him while I gave him a small smile in acknowledgement. I watched Rosalie drink in the sight of the well built barman, licking her lips appreciatively. There was a gleam in her eye that I recognised.
"Emmett!" My friend squeaked in excitement, leaning over to wrap her arms around him. He returned the hug, chuckling at her enthusiasm. "It's so good to see you!" She gushed, sinking back into her seat once she had released him.
"You too, Ali Bear." His voice was loud and deep, easily audible despite the music and chattering that filled the air.
"This is Bella," She rested her hand on my forearm, swivelling in her chair slightly to face me.
"Hi." I held my hand out and he engulfed it in his, shaking my hand with less force than I had been expecting.
"Hey Bella. I'm Emmett." His energy was infectious, the corners of my lips turning up in response to his smile.
"It's nice to meet you, Emmett."
"Likewise." His attention shifted to Rosalie as Alice introduced her. He winked at her, grasping her delicate, manicured hand for longer than necessary.
Once everyone knew each other, Emmett lined up three shot glasses in front of us, splashing vodka haphazardly into each one.
"Are you not joining us?" Rose enquired, a sculpted eyebrow raised for emphasis.
"Maybe later, for now I've got work to do. Those are on me, girls." He moved further down the bar, serving another group of girls.
"Where have you been hiding him, Ali?" Rose's eyes were fixed on him, watching his every move like a hawk. Alice elbowed her, bringing her attention back to us.
"I haven't seen him in years. I heard from a friend that he was moving into town so I dropped him a line. He's all yours, sweetie."
"You two seem to get on really well." I commented and Rose nodded absent-mindedly in agreement.
"We always have, we just lost touch when we left for college. You know how it goes, I'm sure."
"That I do. If Rose has her way, I think we will be seeing a lot more of him in the future. Isn't that right, Rose?" She shot me a sideways glance, her silent attempt to quieten my subtle teasing.
"If anybody has any objections to me taking him home with me tonight then speak now or forever hold your peace."
Neither myself nor Alice said anything.
"Time for shots, we're behind on the plan." Alice reached for hers, holding it between her thumb and forefinger and waiting for us to follow suit. When each of us had our vodka shot in hand, we spoke in unison.
"Love you lots like vodka shots!" It was a tradition we had started on our first night out together and it had stuck with us ever since. It was our pinch of luck on nights such as this.
I had a grin plastered on my face as I slammed the glass down on the bar, licking my lips to catch the drop of liquid there. Alice's nose wrinkled and although it was barely noticeable, I knew to look out for it. By the second shot she wouldn't be feeling the burn or tasting the strong alcohol on her tongue.
"Let's show them what we do best!" Rose ordered, sliding from here stool and landing steadily on her feet. Alice and I joined her as she made her way onto the packed dance floor, squeezing carefully through the sweaty and gyrating bodies until she discovered a gap suitable for the three of us.
My hips swung in time to the music, synchronising the movement with my friends. I looked up, realising we were in the direct view of the bar. No doubt Rose had planned it that way, but I wasn't about to object. We didn't try to draw attention, as many of the girls I could see were doing. We preferred a subtle approach, keeping to ourselves and keeping our dancing simple and unobtrusive. There is a difference between a night club and a lap dancing bar that some people just hadn't grasped.
We smiled and laughed with each other as we continued to follow the beat. I closed my eyes, allowing myself to get lost in the moment and let my inhibitions and stress go. This was my night. I was still Bella, but I didn't feel like it. I felt like somebody different, somebody more at home in a place like this.
It had taken a few years, but Alice and Rose had slowly knocked my defensive wall down, piece by piece, and taught me how to live. I could describe the original Bella as a recluse, but that didn't quite cover it. I was a social failure. In those days I spent all my time in my flat, only books to keep me company. I had a few friends, although they were more like acquaintances, and my wardrobe looked like a cat had vomited in it.
As I reflected on those times, I was unwaveringly grateful that Alice and Rosalie had found me, taking the time to peel away my layers and transform me into the person I was today, the one that had hidden away for years. There were still certain things I wanted to change about myself, however, these could wait.
My lips formed the words of the song, my voice lost in the sea of people. I shimmied and swayed, brushing my hair from my face.
After three songs, we returned to Emmett, placing our order of three more shots. This time, Rose slid a hand into the top of her dress, retrieving the money to pay for our drinks before returning the remaining cash to her safe place. Emmett had been transfixed, his jaw hanging open. Rose knew exactly what she was doing and she was enjoying the effect she was having on our attentive barman.
"Put your tongue away, Emmett." Alice chirped with a playful roll of her smoky eyes. He blinked a couple of times before he took the money from Rose's outstretched hand, grinning at her like he had won the lottery. Not yet, I thought. She would make him work for it, she always did.
We followed the same routine, throwing our shots back and slamming the glass down. We giggled at ourselves as our feet hit the floor, our balance not quite as good as it had been earlier.
The next step in the plan was about to be executed.
A man in his mid thirties, wearing a Hawaiian print shirt and light blue jeans that were at least an inch too short for him, approached us, his eyes on Rosalie.
"Hey sweet cheeks, come dance with me." This was NCT number one. A "No chance, thanks". The type of guy that usually looked out of place in somewhere like this, yet insisted on going after every girl in sight.
"Sorry, I'm a little busy right now. Maybe you could find someone else?" It wasn't a question. She answered him without hesitation, her steps barely faltering. He looked put out as he watched us walk away and I wondered if he had really expected her to agree or whether he had been clinging onto a glimmer of false hope.
Out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of the next NCT. He was clearly drunk and on his own mission as he stumbled towards us. I pushed against Alice's back, urging her to move a little faster in the hopes of avoiding him. Unfortunately, he caught up and I made the mistake of meeting his gaze, only for a second but that was all it took.
"Hel- hello gorgeous. Let me boy... buy... you a glass... of drink." I mustered a frustrated smile, which probably came out as more of a grimace, and shook my head.
"Maybe later." I told him, "Thanks anyway." He nodded enthusiastically and I darted away before he could say anything.
Alice stopped and I bumped straight into her with a startled squeak.
"Wha-" I didn't finish, the answer was right in front of me. Well, in front of Alice.
I couldn't hear what he said but there was a sneer on his face in response to Ali's words. I didn't like the way he was looking at her.
"Excuse me, coming through. Oh Alice! How are you sweetie?" I pushed passed her and positioned myself in front of the third NCT. Relief and understanding dawned on her face and she lost the defensive stance she had taken on. "Come dance with me." I urged, grabbing her arm and pulling her along after me, completely ignoring the sleaze, who still hadn't moved.
"What an idiot." I grumbled, mostly to myself.
"They're everywhere, these days." Alice commented, smiling at my irritation. It took a lot to take the smile from her face. It's one of the things I love about her, she's consistently happy, whether she means to be or not.
"Sometimes, I get the urge to smack people."
"Luckily for them, you stifle that urge well. Maybe you should take up kick boxing." She suggested. "Oh! We could all do it. That would be so much fun." Dear, oh dear. Hopefully she would have forgotten about this by the morning.
"There you are." Rose sighed, a hand on her hip. "I thought I'd lost you."
"No, we wouldn't leave you Rosie Posie."
"Bella was rescuing me from one of the less friendly gentlemen." I giggled at her way of phrasing it, she made it sound almost pleasant.
"Well, somebody has to." I grinned, nudging Alice playfully and causing her to shrug with a nod.
Half an hour later, we were leaving the dance floor. We had turned down several more men, and even one woman, while dancing. The alcohol was beginning to wear off and we couldn't have that, it was just unacceptable.
Emmett had just left to go on his break when we returned to the bar, and we requested six shots from the older, less attractive barman. We downed two shots each in succession, preparing ourselves for the next part of the plan.
I swivelled in my chair, leaning back onto my elbows which were resting on the surface of the bar. My eyes searched through the faces in the crowd, looking for any potential one night standees. I grumbled when I couldn't find anybody.
I looked round when I heard the familiar booming voice close by, locating Emmett's bulky form immediately. He was stood beside Rose, who had a smirk on her face. Within minutes she was hopping down from her seat and taking Emmett's hand, allowing him to lead her into the crowd of people. She turned to wink at us and I smiled in response.
Once I lost sight of my blonde best friend, I turned to my shorter, dark haired friend. She was clearly distracted, her eyes directed down the bar from us. I looked around her as subtly as I could, seeing a handsome blonde man with a frown on his face as he swirled the contents of his glass. He hadn't seen Alice, but as she wriggled onto the floor, steadying herself my grabbing onto me, I knew he would be aware of her soon enough.
"Good luck, Bells." She called to me over her shoulder, her hips swaying ever so slightly while she walked towards him, staring straight at the stranger. She had a confidence I never would and I admired her for it. She always went after what she wanted, letting nothing and nobody get in her way. She was ambitious, beautiful, energetic and contagious. The perfect best friend.
I waited a couple of minutes, building up my courage, giving myself an internal pep talk. If Rosalie and Alice could do it, then so could I. I had done it before, and I would do it again. Just as I took a deep breath, ready to take action, somebody spoke to my right. A man. Not just any man, a man with a beautiful voice.
"You may as well have asked for a whole glass instead of ordering so many shots." I saw knees and feet as he took Alice's recently vacated seat. He was wearing black slacks and shoes. After a moment of deliberation, I lifted my head to meet his gaze.
I moaned. Out loud. Crap.
I couldn't help it. Men in white shirts, skinny black ties and all the rest turned me on. He wasn't smirking, like I thought he would be. He did look amused though. One eyebrow was raised, questioning, his eyes glinting.
"I'll remember that for next time." I answered, pretending nothing had happened. To my relief he played along somewhat reluctantly, it seemed.
"I'm Edward." He smiled, turning his body to face me. There was a dusting of stubble on his jaw and his eyes looked tired. He had come here straight from work.
"Ali." I lied. I didn't like to use my real name and I was usually more prepared but this was the first thing that came to mind.
"It's nice to meet you, Ali. Can I get you a drink?" He offered, nodding to the barman. I watched as he rolled up his sleeves, exposing his strong, lightly tanned forearms. The sort I wanted wrapped around me. His long fingers moved to his tie, working the knot, loosening it and unbuttoning the top button of his shirt. I would happily undo the rest for him. Anything, to see what he was hiding underneath his clothes.
He cleared his throat and my eyes snapped to his. The corners of his lips twitched and I looked away. I had been caught staring.
"Jack on the rocks, please." I chanced a peek up, seeing the barman in front of us. I also noticed that Alice and her mystery man had disappeared.
"No, thank you." I smiled shyly at him, mentally kicking myself for returning to the nervous teenager I had been not so long ago.
"Where's Emmett?" I heard him ask.
"With Rose, dancing." I answered, looking up. It was then that I realised he wasn't talking to me. His head was cocked to the side but he didn't say anything, instead turning back and thanking the other man who nodded to him and retreated further down the bar.
"So, you know Em?" He inquired, taking a sip of his drink.
"Barely. He is a friend of a friend. We only just met. How do you know him?"
"We live in the same apartment building, on the same floor. He helped me move in and I guess we just became friends. These things happen."
"He seems nice." Edward knocked his drink back, licking his lips. I wanted to lick his lips too.
"Yeah, he's a good guy." Edward's eyes didn't meet mine when I pulled my gaze from his mouth. He was looking lower. It didn't escape my attention that from his height he probably had a good view down my dress but for some reason that didn't bother me.
"Have I got a stain on my dress?" I asked, watching a slight blush colour his cheeks as he gulped, shaking his head. He didn't seem the type to get embarrassed.
"Good, I really like this dress."
"So do I." We stared at each other and I held my breath. Waiting, but I didn't know what for. We didn't move, we didn't speak.
Our bubble burst when a loud mouthed blonde crashed into it, releasing all the sexual tension.
"Hello you, how about you let me show you a good time." She purred, running her talons down his arm, leaning forward to press her cleavage in his face.
"I'm not interested, sorry." He arched his body away from her, his face scrunching up in the most adorable way. She moved her hand to claw at his scalp, her lips going to his ear.
"Come on baby, you'll have the time of your life." I think I saw him shudder. Maybe I should have stepped in and saved the guy but I didn't.
"I'm gay." He stated simply and the girl huffed, turning away without another word.
There was silence between us, but it wasn't the same as before.
"I'm not." He mumbled, drawing patterns on the bar with his finger.
"Not what?" I asked for clarification.
"I'm not gay."
"Okay." I wanted to say something, I just wasn't sure what. A few more seconds of silence and I couldn't stand it anymore.
I rested my hand on his leg, just above his knee, using it as leverage to get off the stool.
"Dance with me, Edward." I told him, walking away. I hoped he would follow. My fingers were crossed. Would he follow? Was I wrong about him?
I'd taken seven steps when a hand gripped my wrist, pulling me back. I stumbled, falling straight into Edward. My hands were pressed against his chest and his gripped my waist, stopping me from falling. He took a step forward, his body as close to mine as it could be without actually touching.
"Oops." I whispered to nobody in particular.
"Sorry." His warm breath tickled the top of my head as he spoke.
"That's okay." I took a step back and he released me from his hold. His eyes burned into mine, pulling me into their depths. I could easily get lost in those eyes and that alone frightened me.
"Dance with me, Edward." I repeated my earlier words, once again turning from him. This time I only made it two steps before I felt his fingers wrap around my wrist again, his fingers overlapping. He didn't tug on my arm as he had before, clearly learning from his previous mistake. I glanced back over my shoulder to find him much closer than I had expected. With another step forward his chest was flush against my back. My attempt to face him was stopped as his strong hands held me still.
His lips were at my neck, grazing the skin in the most delicious way. A small moan escaped me and despite the noise around us, Edward's responding groan told me he had heard it. He pressed himself into me and I felt his hard erection against my ass. I wriggled against him and he growled in my ear, the sound low and incredibly sexy.
"I want you." He nipped at the shell of my ear. "So fucking sexy." I whimpered at his words, grinding my ass against him, causing him to hiss in my ear. "I need you, Ali."
"Please." One word was all it took. He entwined his fingers with mine and pulled me out of the club. The cool air whipped at my skin but I barely noticed. Everything about Edward had my body on fire, burning for more.
He pushed me up against a wall, shadows swallowing us. Finally, his lips met mine in a hungry, frenzied kiss. We moulded to each other, our lips dancing together as my hand wound into his dishevelled hair, holding him to me. His hips rocked into mine, his fingers grasping desperately at my ass as I arched into him.
"Shit." He rested his forehead against mine, our heavy breathing mingling together. "Taxi... we need a taxi." I pressed my lips to his briefly before we ran to the curb, flagging down a cab. He held the door for me as I climbed in, following me moments later. After telling the driver his address, he returned his attention to me, our mouths colliding again.
We reached his building and he flung a handful of notes to the driver, throwing himself out of the cab and into the night. I caught sight of myself in the rear view mirror, my eyes were bright with excitement, my hair was a tousled mess, my lips red and my skin flushed. I had missed this. It had been far too long.
The cab door slammed shut behind me and Edward reached for my hand, his eyes dark with lust.
"Fuck... please... now." He mumbled incoherently, stepping closer to me.
"Come on." I urged, edging him backwards with my hand against his chest. "Quicker."
Inside the apartment building, Edward jabbed at the elevator button, my hand still in his.
The doors slid open soundlessly and we tumbled inside. He pushed me against the wall, feeling behind him for the right button as he kissed and nipped at my jaw. His hands went to my thighs, lifting me up, and I wrapped my legs around his waist.
Within minutes, we were inside his apartment and he was kicking the door shut. I kicked my heels off as he carried me through his apartment, navigating the dark rooms. He lay me down onto what I assumed to be the bed, his weight welcome on top of me. His lips kissed a trail over my heated skin, sucking on the swell of my breast, visible above the top of my dress.
I reached between us to loosen his tie, easing it over his head and tossing it across the room. His hand cupped my breast, eliciting a hum of approval from me.
"What's that?" He asked, his voice muffled against my skin.
"Hmm?" I was in no state to think.
"This." He squeezed and the warm, solid object dug into my soft flesh.
"Phone." I murmured, sliding a hand into my bra to pull out my mobile and the notes that were in there, sliding them under a pillow for safe keeping.
"I wonder what else I will find in that bra of yours." He teased, playing with the straps of my dress. I rolled us over, straddling his waist and reaching behind me for my zip.
"You're about to find out." I told him, sliding the zip down and freeing my upper body from the material. Edward sat up, snaking his arms around me.
"Allow me." He unclasped my bra, slipping it off and throwing it to the floor. His mouth found my pebbled nipple, his tongue swirling around it as he rolled the other between his fingers. My juices were pooling between my legs, dampening my knickers. I removed my dress with difficulty, considering the position we were in, and kicked it away from me before my fingers found the buttons on Edwards shirt, fumbling with them.
His fingers joined mine, making fast work of the buttons. I smoothed my hands over his muscled chest, tracing the planes. He shrugged out of the shirt, dropping it to the bed and bringing his mouth back to mine. Our tongues teased and tasted, moving together.
He ground against me, a growl rumbling from him as I mewled.
"Off." I begged, tugging on his waistband. He did as I wished, unbuckling his belt and slacks before pushing them over his hips, along with his boxer shorts.
"Fuck." I breathed, taking in the sight of his cock. I wanted it in me. I looked up to see him smirking. I knew he would, sooner or later. The remainder of his clothing was soon on the floor and I wrapped my hand around his shaft, stroking up and down twice before licking the tip. His hips jerked and my lips twisted into a smug smile. There was time for a blow job later but right now, I wanted to be fucked.
"Condom?" I asked and he stretched an arm out, pulling open a drawer in his night stand. I removed my underwear while he was occupied, casting it aside. He felt around for a moment before pulling a foil square out, tearing it open with his teeth. I watched as he rolled the rubber over his length, licking my lips as my body trembled with need.
I positioned myself above him, holding his cock at my entrance. I held his intense gaze as I lowered myself onto him, moaning at the sensation. Edward held my waist, guiding me up and down. Each time, he would raise his hips to meet mine.
"More, I need more." I panted. In response he rolled us over, never breaking our connection, and lifted my knee onto his shoulder. I gasped as he thrust into me, going deeper than before. His name fell from my lips as my pleasure increased.
"Harder." I pleaded, rocking to meet his thrusts. His jaw was tensed in concentration, his eyes scrunched shut.
"Shit, you feel so good." He panted, increasing his pace. I could feel my orgasm building, coiling in my stomach. My toes curled as he continued to pound into me, his grunts and my moans piercing the silence. I was close and he knew. He was close and I knew it.
One hand snaked between us, finding my clit and pressing it, releasing the spring inside me and causing my orgasm to rocket through me. My inner walls clenched around him and he groaned, his lips parting. With one more thrust he hit his climax.
"Fuck, Ali... shit, yes." He grunted. It took me a moment to realise he meant me. I was Ali for tonight. The best sex of my life was in the cover of darkness, with my sex god calling my best friend's name. It wasn't his fault, none of it was.
Edward pulled out of me one last time and I missed the feeling of him filling me already. He rolled over onto his back, the bed sheets rustling. I felt guilty for the lie I had told him. For one reason or another it didn't feel right.
I heard him remove the condom and toss it in the trash can from where he lay beside me.
"Goodnight." He whispered into the darkness.
"Goodnight." I answered, curling up on my side. He pulled me to his chest, wrapping an arm around me.
I couldn't regret what had happened between us but there was something about the handsome stranger lying next to me that made me want to tell him the truth. I knew that wasn't an option. This was a one night stand, no strings attached.
Soon he was asleep and I slid from his grasp, snatching up my phone and money from under his pillow. I used my phone as a torch as I hunted for my clothes while regretting having thrown them around haphazardly.
I found my dress and my bra, but my knickers were nowhere in sight. I would have to leave them. They were a casualty of tonight's encounter. I crept out of the room, feeling my way. Once in the hall, I fastened my bra and stepped into my dress, grasping at the zip.
All I needed now were my shoes. As far as I remembered they were somewhere near the door, although I wasn't entirely sure where that was. I returned my money to my bra as I continued to use my mobile as a light, scanning the floor. I sighed in relief as the light hit the bright red of my heels and I picked them up, padding quietly to the door and leaving.
In the dim light of the hall, I put on my heels and called the elevator, wondering how I was going to get home when I had no idea where I was.
Edward's Point of View
I awoke naked and alone, which is never a good combination. Light shone through the window, blinding me as I peeked out through squinted eyes. With a groan, I sat up, stretching my arms out and yawning. My apartment was silent.
Where was she?
After a quick glance around the room I realised her clothes were gone. I ran a hand over her side of the bed, my fingers being met with cool cotton. She had been gone a long time.
I searched the rooms for a note, some way of contacting her, but there was nothing. There was a sinking feeling in my gut. I would never hear from her again. Usually this wouldn't bother me, but there was something different about this girl. I felt a draw to her from the moment I spotted her upon entering the club. She sat at the bar on her own, her hair spilling over her shoulders and her lips pursed. I was intrigued, to say the least.
To clear my thoughts, I climbed into the shower, switching on the water. I tipped my head back, allowing the spray to run over my face.
"With Rose, dancing." He was with her friend. Her friend would know where she is.
I hopped out of the shower, towelling off as quickly as I could. As I rummaged around my room for some clean clothes, I discovered her knickers. The vibrant red of her underwear reminded me of her 'fuck me' heels. I smiled to myself, remembering her.
Dropping the fabric onto my bed, I darted out the door fully dressed, grabbing my wallet and car keys on the way to Emmett's door. My fist pounded on the wood, the sound resonating in the vacant hall. Five minutes later and there was no response.
Please be with Rose.
I called him, my fingers drumming impatiently on his door frame as I waited for him to pick up. I became less and less hopeful with each ring, expecting it to cut to voice mail at any minute. Then what would I do? Try again. I would keep trying until he answered.
If he wasn't with Rose then I was out of options. I had no other link to Ali, no way of finding her. She was a stranger I met at a bar after a long, hard day at work. I knew my need for her was irrational and my current actions were hasty and desperate. Despite all this, I had to find her. There was no explanation, I couldn't begin to understand. It wasn't normal, yet it felt right. Everything with her felt right.
Apparently, in the last twelve hours I have turned into a sappy girl. Just what I need.
"Yeah..." He answered, his voice gruff with sleep and clearly confused.
"It's Edward." I told him, hoping he wasn't too hung over to be of help.
"Edward... you're Edward?" I banged my head against the wall. Once. Twice.
"Yes, Emmett. Where are you?" I questioned as calmly as I could. I took a deep breath, trying to focus. Ali wasn't going to disappear, I had time.
"In bed." He answered and I could hear the pride in his tone. Smug git.
"The woman of my dreams. She's smokin'. You would not believe the things she can do with that mouth of hers." He let out a low whistle and I heard a woman's voice faintly in the background. I really didn't want to know about his sexcapades.
"Sorry baby, it's Edward." He told her, sidetracked from our conversation.
"Edward." He repeated, as if she should know who I am.
"Is that Rose?" I asked, interrupting his discussion with the woman.
"The one and only." He chuckled. "How do you know Rose?"
"I don't." I stated simply, my forehead flush against Emmett's door.
"It's too early for this confusion. I don't speak 'Edward'." He complained.
"Is Ali there?"
"No, what? I don't think so. Probably not."
"What's the address?" He rattled it off from the top of his head, to my surprise. Emmett could barely remember his own address. I chanted it in my head, having no paper to write it down on.
"Wait... why? You're a friend and all, Edward, but I'm not into that threesome shit." I had to laugh at that. He had some strange ideas.
"Bye." I hung up, taking the steps two at a time, deciding it would be quicker than the elevator.
Fifteen minutes later I was outside Rose's door, my finger stabbing at the buzzer. After the fifth time I stopped, listening for any sounds from inside the apartment. It wasn't long before the door was pulled open, revealing a tall, young woman stood wrapped in a crumpled bed sheet. Her hair was slightly more golden than the straw coloured door she stood beside.
"It's Edward, right?" She countered, one manicured eyebrow raised. I nodded and she tilted her head to the side.
"What can I do you for?"
"I'm looking for Ali, is she here?"
"Ali?" She checked.
"No, I haven't seen her."
"Do you know where I can find her? Do you have an address for her?" She looked me up and down, clearly coming to a decision based on what she saw.
"Give me a minute." She left the door open as she retreated into her apartment. This had been easier than I had thought. Looking at Rose, I expected her to make me work for it, but I was grateful that she didn't.
She returned with a scrap of paper in her hand, holding it out for me. I took it eagerly, glancing over the address she had written in an elegant scrawl. There was something about her expression I couldn't decipher, as though she found the situation amusing.
"Don't make me regret that." She warned, nodding to the paper.
"I won't. Thank you."
"Have a nice day, Edward." There was a pleasant smile on her face as she closed the door.
It only took ten minutes to get there and another two to prepare myself as I stood outside the door. This one was brown, reminding me of twigs. It made sense to me, anyway. I tried to think of a plan, what I would say to her, but nothing came to mind. I would have to wing it and hope for the best.
My fist connected with the wood, knocking four times. There was no answer and I knocked again. I heard movement behind the door but it still didn't open.
"Who is it?" I heard a deep voice ask. Why was there a man in Ali's apartment?
"I don't know, I can't see." A woman's voice responded. I would be worried if she could see through wood, to be perfectly honest.
"It's a guy. He looks tired. A bit confused, too."
"Shh. He can probably hear you, Jasper."
"Hello?" The woman called out.
"Hey." Great, now it looked like I was talking to a door.
I heard the chain sliding into place before the door was eased open. A head peeked around the door, a foot lower than I had expected. The girl had dark, spiked hair. A small hand gripped the wood, her mahogany nail polish matching the door.
"Sorry about that." She grinned up at me. "How can I help? It's Edward, right?" Her words were the same as Rose's had been.
"Yeah. I was... erm, I was looking for... Ali?"
"You were?" She asked, her brow furrowing and her lips pursing together in her bewilderment.
"Yes." I didn't know what else to say.
"Well you found her." She edged into view, exposing the silk robe that was tied loosely at her waist and ended mid thigh.
"No." I shook my head. Had Rose given me the wrong address?
"Who gave you this address?" She asked, her curiosity evident.
"You're looking for Bella, not Ali. I'd bet my favourite pair of Louboutins that she knew that."
"No, her name was Ali." I assured her.
"Brown, wavy hair?" I nodded, "About yay high?" She lifted her arm, indicating roughly a foot above her head with her hand. I nodded. "Brown eyes?" I nodded. "Little black dress and red heels?" I sighed, nodding.
"Sweetie, you're looking for Bella. I can't help you, sorry."
"You know where she is, though?"
"You have to tell me. Please." I should have known when Rose gave me an address it was far too easy. No wonder she had looked so amused, she knew what she was doing. She didn't want to be the one to tell me 'no'.
"Why do you want to find her?" She questioned through the gap in the door.
"I don't know. I can't explain it." I admitted, my shoulders dropping in defeat. They weren't going to let me find her.
"Just try." She demanded, "You have to try."
"Ever since I woke up, I missed her. I can't get her out of my mind. She is the only person I want to talk to. Since she left, I haven't felt the same. Nothing is the same. She fell into my life and tiptoed back out. She is a walking contradiction, a puzzle I want to solve." I lifted my gaze to meet hers.
Ali looked into my eyes, her stare piercing and inquisitive. She was looking for something and I didn't know what. Her lips pursed as she concentrated. I hoped she would find the answer she was looking so deeply for.
"I shouldn't." She sighed, her expression apologetic.
"Ali?" The deep voice from earlier spoke.
"One second." She held a finger up, turning away from me.
"You should." I heard him tell her and I had the overwhelming urge to hug the man the voice belonged to.
"I know. I do want to, but she left for a reason." Ali reasoned.
"Those feelings he described, you don't want to get in the way of that."
"I know, I see that. I'm just afraid she won't."
"She will thank you for it one day." He promised her and I prayed he was right.
"I hope so." The girl turned back to me with a smile. "I guess it's your lucky day."
I wanted to fist pump the air, but I didn't. I had broken down their defences, even if Ali had taken more persuasion than Rose.
She rattled off the third address of the morning and I committed it to memory.
"Good luck, Edward. You're right for her, I see it." With her words of encouragement I was off again.
I arrived at the third apartment after sprinting up several flights of stairs. I couldn't help but laugh at the bright, brick-red door. It suited her perfectly and it was a colour I would forever associate with her.
I barely hesitated before banging on her vibrant door. Five long minutes later and there was still no answer.
"Bella?" I called, leaning an arm against the door frame. "Bella? It's Edward. Are you in there? Please answer the door. Please?" A door to my right opened and a girl of a similar age to Bella and her friends walked out, nudging her glasses up the bridge of her nose.
"You're not going to get an answer." She informed me, her voice quiet and her smile shy.
"I have to."
"How did you find her?"
"Her friends, Rose and Ali." The girl nodded.
"You're the wolf." She told me as if it were obvious. To me it didn't make any sense. That wasn't the sort of thing you told a stranger in your apartment building.
"The wolf?" I inquired.
"You know, from the fairytale?" At my vacant expression she continued. "It's like the three little pigs. Not like that," She backtracked, seeing the expression on my face and rolling her eyes. "In the story there's the wolf. He goes to the first pigs house and he huffs and he puffs and he blows the straw house down."
"Yeah, I know the story. What about it?" I was growing frustrated and impatient.
"The wolf couldn't blow the third house down, right?" She nodded towards Bella's locked door, shrugging. She made everything so simple, but weren't fairytales supposed to have a happy ending?
"You're saying she isn't going to answer the door?" I checked.
"She isn't in there." The girl told me with a shrug of her shoulders.
"Why are you telling me this?"
"I assume you're Edward?"
"I am, yes. Why?"
"She hasn't stopped talking about you since she came home at four this morning. She won't let you into her apartment, but I will let you into mine." It took me a minute to realise what she was saying. Bella wasn't in her own apartment, she was in the girl's apartment. They had been talking about me. Bella had talked about me.
She held the door open for me.
"She's asleep in the bedroom, tell her I will see her later. I'm Angela, by the way." She waved as she pulled the door closed, leaving a total stranger in her apartment with her friend. I owed a lot to her.
I walked down the hallway until I came to the last door, the only one that was closed.
This was it.
I pushed open the door as quietly as I could and my eyes landed immediately on Bella, curled up beneath the duvet. I crossed the room, sitting on the bed beside her and brushing the stray strands of hair from her face. I stroked her cheek gently with my knuckles, listening to her steady breathing.
"Bella?" I whispered, my fingers tracing her lips. She stirred, her eyes blinking tiredly. Two chocolate pools gazed up at me and I watched as confusion spread across her features.
"You're not here." She croaked, shifting onto her back, her eyebrows knitted together.
"You left, Bella. Why did you leave?"
"I had to. Those are the rules." There was silence for a few seconds. "Are you here?"
"I am." I smiled at her, taking her hand in mine. "I had to find you, Bella."
"You're something else entirely. There is something about you I can't resist. I couldn't let you go." I told her, my voice soft.
"You're wrong about me." She argued, "I'm nothing special."
"Yes, you are. You may not see it, but I do. I need you, Bella."
"I don't understand."
"You don't need to."
Her expression was adorable, her pouting lips begging to be kissed. I leant forward and Bella focused her gaze on my lips. I gave her the chance to stop me, but when she didn't, I pressed my mouth to hers, our lips moving slowly against each other before the kiss became more needy and frenzied.
This was only the beginning of our fairytale.