Story Name: Embrace
Penname: evilgiraffe82
Rating: M
Genre: Romance
Pairing: Bella and Edward
Total Word Count: 5086
Summary: "Why would anyone want this? Why would anyone want me?" Bella thinks she's got nothing to attract anyone, even herself. With a new friend to tell her like it is, will she realise that she's wrong? An entry for the Curvaceous and Bodacious Contest.

Thank you to Domysticated, my muse, beta, and superawesome friend. Thanks also to Never, who tells it like it is. You two can take all the credit for the best bits of this story.

Disclaimer - you know Stephenie Meyer owns, right?

There are hundreds of euphemisms for the word "fat": big-boned, fuller figured, plus size. They all mean the same thing. They all mean fat, and they all mean me.

I've spent my youth, my life eating tasteless crackers and zero-calorie breadsticks; hating food and getting bigger all the same. I know the calorific content of everything I eat and work out meals based on numbers. My colleagues laugh at the tiny portions I have for my lunches, and I know that as soon as I've left the room they must be commenting on the giant platefuls I surely consume as soon as I get home. How else would I still be this size? If only it was that simple. I eat the bare minimum allotted to me by whichever diet I'm following this year, and I go to the gym three times a week. It makes no real difference – sure, I'm fairly fit, but the evidence of that is buried under the wobbling layer of shame that covers me. I'm unattractive, whale-like. Fat. I can practically hear the judgements as I walk down the street.

No wonder I'm single, and likely to remain this way. Losing my virginity was a pity fuck from a friend – when we were fourteen we'd said if we made it to twenty-one without popping the cherry we'd take care of each other, so to speak. He lost his at fifteen, so at least when he took mine for me he'd had six years to practice. Six years of screwing around for him, and six years of rejection for me.

I suppose there are worse ways to lose it. I loved Jake then, and I still love him now, he's still my best friend, but I wish it had happened in a more meaningful way, with someone who had chosen to do it. He was so kind, it almost made it worse – he let me keep the lights off and pretended not to notice when I sucked in my belly whenever his eyes or hands strayed lower than my neck. If he'd wanted to do it, if anyone had wanted to do it, I might not have had to deal with the awkwardness afterwards. With the tears of shame as soon as he'd gone.

It was never going to happen. Why would anyone want this? Why would anyone want me?


"Look at her. I mean, look." Alice is incredulous. "Having a body like that should be illegal."

It's alright for Alice to talk like that – Alice is gorgeous. I look at her delicate frame and elegant fingers and try to repress a sigh. The woman we're watching is stunningly beautiful: tall, blonde, thin, and perfect. In other words, she's everything I'm not. I'm shorter than average, fat, and ordinary. So very ordinary. Sitting here, on the steps outside our main campus building, I know no-one will look at me twice. No-one will look at me once, except to sneer. At least I can make other people feel good about themselves.

Alice is still twittering about this bombshell, who in the meantime has settled down at the other end of the steps. It's obvious that Alice has no real insecurity about herself – if it were up to me I'd turn my head and look away, sure in the knowledge that I could only ever come second to someone like her. There's no need to highlight just how superior this woman is.

"Yes, Alice, she's gorgeous. So are you. Can we go now?" I try not to sound bitter, but some trace of the emotion is left in my tone.

"And you, Bella." She actually looks serious. I snort, and look away. She doesn't let it go. "I mean it, and I'm not having this argument again. Fine, you're not stick thin, but who cares? I'd kill for tits like yours."

I care, that's who.

I smile, but I know it looks fake. Yes, I've got big tits, but is that surprising? The rest of me is big too.

Alice's expression is sad, and I can tell she has an idea of what I'm thinking. She leans into my side, resting her head on my shoulder, and there's a moment of peace where I feel her sigh before she stands up suddenly, holding out her hand.

"Come on. Let's go introduce ourselves."

"To her? Alice, seriously, what? Why would she want to talk to us?"

What I really mean is: why would she want to talk to me? Alice has always made friends easily, her easy, open manner and irrepressible enthusiasm burning away any initial mistrust or reluctance. I'm more reticent, shy, not wanting to overstep invisible social boundaries. She's still waiting, and I give in. I ignore her outstretched hand, and lumber to my feet. If I let her help me up, we'd end up with her on the floor, and me exactly where I was before. She may be an irresistible force, but I'm an immovable object.

I follow Alice unwillingly, trying not to notice that the beautiful blonde is in total darkness when my shadow falls on her. Alice is bubbly and cheerful, and I give a small wave, barely saying a word. Alice find out that the woman's name is Rosalie – it figures that her name would be as beautiful as she is – and works out that they grew up in the same town and have got some sort of convoluted friendship network connection, between friends of friends of school friends and siblings.

They are soon deeply involved in a companionable chatter about mutual acquaintances, until Rosalie has to go to a class. They arrange to meet up again and go for coffee, and I'm tacitly included, despite barely joining in the conversation and not recognising any of the people they mention.


After several weeks of getting to know Rosalie, I get brave enough to relax in her presence. She doesn't flaunt her superiority, but I'm so well used to being outshone that I feel it keenly anyway. I manage to hold my own when we talk about work, however. My brain is my only asset, so I cultivate it. The three of us start to develop a routine of watching movies together on a Sunday night – anything from romantic comedies to drama to action. We lust after the Hollywood stars together, and Rose bemoans our situation in a small city without a chance of any A-listers ever coming here.

"Why aren't there any men like that round here? It's so unfair!" she sighs dramatically one night after two hours spent drooling over the latest guy to make it big in Hollywood.

I grimace, and look at the floor. "At least if there were any you'd have a chance of getting one. I wouldn't have a hope in hell."

"What? Why not?" She sounds genuinely surprised, and it's this, more than anything else, that makes me look at her, really look at her.

"Oh come on, Rose, it's not that hard. You're gorgeous, and I'm... I'm just not. Most of the time I'm fine with it but, really, I would kill to look like you. Or like Alice. Or pretty much anyone else, to be honest."

"You think so? Have you ever actually looked at yourself, Bella?" Her pretty face is twisted into something approaching scornful, and her tone is angry, exasperated.

"Of course I fucking have. Every time I look in the mirror I can see the fat girl looking back. Forgive me if I try not to dwell on it." My answer is acidic and spiteful, and Rosalie's eyes narrow as she listens.

"You and all your troubles. My heart bleeds for you, it really does. What, exactly, is wrong with you? You have a good life. Yes, you're probably bigger than average, but you've got the tits and ass to go with it that so many girls – me included, by the way – would love to have. You've got a pretty face and a fun personality, and are so clever it scares me. Whenever we talk about college you're fucking intimidating. Do you even realise?"

I gape at her, astonished by the sudden outburst. "Yeah, ok, but it's not a recipe for happiness, is it? Tits and cleverness? Great."

It only fires her up more. "Oh right, and you think being ten, fifty, a hundred pounds lighter would make a difference to how happy you are, do you?"

I'm shouting now, her scorn tapping into the reserves of self-loathing that I've built up over the years. "Yes it fucking would! I hate this body, Rose! How would you have any idea how I feel? You're perfect! All men want you, and I'm willing to bet you didn't need to beg a friend to help you lose your fucking virginity!"

This time, she goes quiet, and her icy tones are far more menacing than before. "You think you know how I feel? You think looking the way I do makes me happy? You think you know me? I lost my virginity at fourteen to a complete loser who practically raped me, and then bragged about it to all his friends. I got a reputation as a slut within twenty-four hours. Go on, tell me how yours was worse. You did it when you were old enough to know what you were doing. You did it with a friend, right? A good guy, who looked after you, right? It may not have been all flowers and candles and romance, but at least there was trust and safety, right?" She glares at me with every question. "Mine was pain and fear and shame. So don't you dare try and tell me that you know better, that you think being thin and blonde is somehow a golden ticket to the good life. It's not that fucking simple, and you know it."

She pauses for breath, while I'm still reeling. "And another thing. You're not some sort of hideous monster, Bella. You're beautiful, all rounded curves and perfect skin. If you stopped dressing in such shapeless crap you might even begin to notice."

Alice has been watching us both, open-mouthed. "Ok. Stop now. You're both gorgeous. Kiss and make up, and I'll take you both out shopping tomorrow."

"Shopping for what?" we reply, in unison.

"You heard the woman, Bella. Shopping for something that isn't shapeless crap, and then we're hitting the town and looking for A-list worthy males. Sound good?" She puts her hands on her hips and nods emphatically. "So be friends again, or it won't be fun."


In actual fact, it takes a while to be friends again, properly. We skirt around each other warily for a while, until it takes too much effort, and we realise that we do get on quite well once we both let our guard down. I let Alice dress me up in clothes that apparently accentuate my curves – I feel exposed and uncomfortable in low necklines, wrap dresses, and chunky necklaces, but she assures me that I look nice. It doesn't really sink in until Jake says it. He's my best friend, and I value his opinion above that of almost anyone else. If he says something, it might just be true.

It's been a while since we've seen each other, and it's the first time that he's seen me dressed this way. He looks me up and down and raises his eyebrows, grinning as he speaks. "Looking good, Bells."

"Really?" I look down at myself, twisting my fingers together before glancing up at him, begging for reassurance.

"Really. You're bringing sexy back."

I snort. "Are you kidding me, Jake? You think quoting Justin Timberlake will make me feel good?"

He grins. "He's right. How would you like me to say it?"

"Something a bit more... classy?"

He rolls his eyes. "Fine. You look amazing. I never realised you were quite so..."


"Don't be stupid. I was going to say feminine. You look like a woman, Bella. Like some sort of fertility goddess or something – not because you look pregnant, because you don't – but because you look like you could be so easily. It taps into the bit of my brain that is just about sex, and tells me I want it."

"So that'd be most of your brain, then?" I cover up my surprise with sarcasm and humour, and Jake laughs.

"Well, yes, I guess so. I mean it, Bells. You're stunning. Bringing sexy back, just like I said."

"Really?" I look down at myself, then back up at him, still unsure.

"Yes." His simple answer draws a smile out of me, and he laughs, pulling me into a hug and squeezing until I can't help but laugh with him and hug him back.


With Jake's say-so and the tacit encouragement of Alice and Rosalie, it finally starts to sink in. I start to believe that maybe I'm not fat, ugly, or an abomination of the human race. I'm big, curvy, and sexual. I begin to feel comfortable in these new clothes and my new, more confident persona. I start to smile more, start to walk with my head high, start to laugh when out in public. I even let Alice talk me into buying some high heeled boots, and I strut a little, feeling silly at first but then getting to enjoy it.

One day, I tell Alice about what Jake said, and she thinks it's brilliant. "We are SO having a party, and having 'bringing sexy back' as the theme."

Rose agrees, and before we know it we are in town and Alice is playing dress-up. Again. We choose a figure-hugging red dress for Rosalie which sweeps down to the floor. It has an open back and she's breathtaking, even with her hair bundled into a messy ponytail.

"Yes." Alice and I speak in unison when she comes out of the dressing room and gives a twirl. The dress shows off her height and her slim figure, and I know that she will turn heads.

With Rose sorted, they both turn to me. Rose finds a pair of killer heels, and Alice unearths a corset. It's deep red, with black lace frills. It looks dangerous, intimidating.

"Are you sure?" I'm doubtful – aren't corsets just for nineteenth-century English women? Or whores?

"Certain." Alice laughs and helps me into it, tying the laces tighter than is entirely comfortable, so it forces my back straight. She doesn't let me look in the mirror, but swiftly strips me out of it again. "Yes, this is it. You're getting it, and I'm not letting you see what you look like until you're completely dressed up."

When we're getting ready for the party, the nerves kick in again and Alice has to repeatedly reassure me that I look good while she puts make-up on me, ties laces, and generally orders me around. Rose comes in, made up to perfection, the red shoes and the red dress making her dominate the room. She whistles quietly.

"Good God, Bella. We are going to wipe the floor tonight. There won't be a single man there without a hard-on."

Alice grins. "You can look at yourself now."

I get up, wobbling slightly on the stiletto heels, and look in the mirror. I think my jaw actually drops. I don't just look good, I look astonishing. My breasts are round and creamy, and look like they're on a shelf just waiting to be stroked. My waist is smaller than I dreamed possible, flaring out into wide hips. The heels make my legs look long, but I keep coming back to the corset. I've never looked so good. Or perhaps, I've never realised I could look so good.

"Shit. Thanks, Alice." I glance over at Rose and grin at her. "Hard-ons, you say? Bring it on."


When we walk into the bar's private area that Alice has booked, she abandons us to go and find drinks. Rose and I wander around a little, covertly looking at people and seeing how we measure up. We are the best there, I think, and I say so to Rose. She doesn't hear me, so I have to stretch up on tiptoes to whisper in her ear. I put an arm round her waist to steady myself, and I can see over her shoulder as I speak. There are two guys standing at the bar behind us, and they're watching us. They're wearing dark suits and white shirts – because men always have it so easy when it comes to sexy clothes – and they stand out as being some of the better-looking guys here. Rose raises an eyebrow as I whisper, and an evil grin crosses her face before she puts on her ice queen impression and looks slowly round the room, glancing over these men before circling back to me.

"They'll do," she murmurs back, leaning down so I can hear her. "You want to play with them?"

"Yes," I reply, not entirely sure what she means, and start to head towards the bar, screwing up my courage. She grabs my arm, and stops me.

"Too easy. I said we're going to play with them, not talk to them." She leads me to the dance floor, and we throw ourselves into the music, dancing with abandon until something sexy comes on. She grins again, then starts to move her hips in circles, her whole body weaving and dipping, and I'm copying her as much as I'm able to within the restrictive corset. She pulls me close to her and we turn slightly so she can find the guys she's toying with.

"They're watching. Look." We turn again, and I can see them. Neither of them is paying any attention to their drinks any more, and they're not talking to each other, either. One of them, the taller, less muscular one, catches my eye and swallows slowly, straightening up as he watches me dance with Rose. I hold the eye contact and our dancing gets more and more suggestive, all dips and bends and hands over each other. He's not leaning on the bar any longer, but has pushed away and is completely focussed on us. Rose looks round and notices, then winks at both of the guys before turning back to me, giggling and dragging me away to another part of the dance floor.

We dance normally for a while, and Alice returns to us. We go up to the bar for drinks a couple of times, and keep an eye on our marks. Rose says she wants the blond, more muscular one. It's fine by me – his friend caught my eye more anyway. He's the one who seemed to like our dancing most too. He may be out of my league, looks-wise, but who cares? He clearly likes what he sees, and that's good enough for me. I have a flicker of doubt as my old self rears its head, but it fades as I consider what I look like. I have never looked more feminine, more sexual, more woman than I do right now.

An hour and several drinks later we're back on the dance floor, and I feel a pair of hands settle on my hips. It's him. Rose gives me a questioning look and I give her a tiny thumbs-up in reply. I can do this. I will do this. Rosalie and Alice carry on dancing together, and I glance up and over my shoulder at this guy. He smiles at me, and I briefly smile back before carrying on dancing, rolling my hips under his hands. He gets closer and closer until I'm rubbing my back against his front, and I can hear his quick breathing in my ear. He turns me round, pulls me close and looks down and I'm sure that all he can see is my breasts. They're right there, soft and inviting and I see his Adam's apple bob up and down once again before his lips are on mine, and oh God, this is different. This is no childhood friend doing a favour, this is a real man, and real lust. My hands are under his jacket, and the thin cotton of his shirt is smooth as I slide them up and down and press them into his back, press him closer. He is hard and soft and hot and I want to know what all of him feels like. My hands slide lower, until they're on his ass and it's like they were made to sit there. I pull slightly and his hips buck involuntarily, and I can feel his erection pressing into me. I look up and smile, questioning, and he grins back, all hopeful and wanting.

I let go and walk away, mouthing "see you later" to Alice as I go. I don't look back, just trust that he's behind me, and when I get to the door, he's there. He follows me to a cab, and climbs in the back, letting me give the driver my address. My hand is on his leg for the entire ten-minute journey, and I rub my fingers up and down, over his thigh, along the inside of his knee. His whole body jumps when I trail them a little higher, and I grin to myself. This is me having this effect on this man. Just me. He moves a hand around my waist, slides it up, and it's curious that I can barely feel it – the corset is so restrictive. The sense of disassociation only heightens the sensation when his fingertips make it to the frothy lace over my breasts, the material scratchy on the soft skin, and the warmth of his hands bleeding through. Neither of us speaks until the cab stops, and he pulls a few bills out of his wallet and thrusts them at the driver.

I lead him into the house, and as soon as the door is closed behind us he's on me, and the urgency comes back, full force. He's grinding into me and the hallway is loud with our breathing and it feels good, so good. I push his jacket off his shoulders and fumble with his shirt buttons, tugging the fabric out of his waistband and finally, finally feeling his skin under my hands. He's incredibly hot, like I'm burning him up, like he has a fever just from being close to me. His fingers are running over my back and tangling in the lacing, pulling up my skirt and gripping my ass, and he groans when he realises I'm wearing hold-up stockings. I slide a hand under his waistband and toy with the elastic, running a finger over his hipbone and loving it when his breath hitches and he bucks against me, hard.

He groans again when I fiddle with his fly, the zip under my fingers straining over his cock and making it difficult to slide down. I manage it, but it's slow, and when I glance up at him, his eyes are fixed on my hands as they move over his groin, close, so close to where he wants them to be. I smile to myself; his eyes snap back to my face before he pulls me closer again, and his voice is like a growl in my ear.

"You're overdressed."

"So help me, then." I turn around and put my hands on the wall, leaning into it to counterbalance the inevitable pull when he undoes the lacing. Nothing happens, and I look over my shoulder, confused. He's just standing there, mouth slightly open and cock straining forwards, and I realise what I must look like, and I have never felt more powerful. This man is helpless, because of me. He is transfixed by my body, and I revel in it. I raise an eyebrow and he staggers forward, pulling at the laces and wrenching the corset away, sliding his hands round to cup my breasts as he kisses and bites and sucks at my shoulders. I push away from the wall, throwing my head back against his chest and reaching awkwardly to hold him, grinding up and down while he kisses my neck and watches his hands on my breasts.

He slides down my body until he's on his knees, stripping us both piece by piece until we're both naked and now there's no going back, no hiding, and I don't want to. He follows me to the bedroom, watches me climb on the bed and lie back, and I watch him watching me, wanting me. He kneels on the end of the bed and looks at me for half a heartbeat and I tell him I want him, and I watch his dick twitch at my words, and I know he's lost.

His hands are shaking but his face is intense as he slides on the condom and hovers over me and now, now I start to feel apprehensive. I don't know what I'm doing any more, my guesswork is no use, and he sees it in my face and he stops, and I can see him quivering with the effort it takes to hold himself back.

"I'm not very experienced," I whisper, and he rests his forehead against mine and smiles.

"You're perfect. Trust me."

And I do, I do trust him, I trust myself. This is what my body is for, and I can do it, and I will. He teases and kisses and strokes me, and I hold him tight and marvel at how hard he is, how good he feels, and I want and I want and I want, and he knows it.

He pushes into me so slowly, so carefully, and it's like I've come home. He pulls back out and pushes back in, my back arches and he's all I've ever wanted and I was made to do this, only this. I tell him I want more and he gives me more and more and more and I lose myself in him, and I shout and shake and he looks like a predator while he watches me. I hold him so tight my arms ache, push my hips up high and his face changes again, suddenly all focus is on himself, moving in me. We move harder and harder until he gasps and shudders and falls down on to me, hips twitching and I hold him close and hook my heels over his knees as he comes down, comes back to himself.

He's still breathing hard when he props himself up on his elbows, and looks at me.

"Hi," he says, and his smile is disarming. "I'm Edward."


I try to hold back the grin when I go round to Alice's, but it's irrepressible and she and Rosalie cheer when I come through the door.

"I told you you were gorgeous. Believe me now?" Alice is smug.

"No." They look shocked, until I continue. "I'm drop dead gorgeous."

There's an awful lot of laughter, and girly hugging, and then they both quiz me for details.

"Was he good? Are you going to see him again?" Rosalie is blunt, as usual, while Alice is perched on the edge of her seat, hands clasped as she waits for my answer.

I grin, feeling like the cat that got the cream. "Yes, he's good. So good we did it twice. And yes, I'm going to see him again."

"I knew the corset was a good idea. We'll have to go out and you can wear it again," Alice says.

"Well..." I hedge.

"What? Don't tell me he broke it?" Indignation is obvious on Rose's face.

"No, no, it's not broken. It works a bit too well, actually. He asked if we could keep it for 'at home' rather than in public – apparently he nearly died when we were dancing. And don't even start on the stockings..."

Alice squeals and launches herself at me, and we fall on the sofa in a giggling heap of limbs.

"So, when are you seeing him again? Have we got time to get another corset? That won't go against his request..."

"You are an evil mastermind, Alice. But we don't have time, no. I'm meeting him again tonight. For dinner, like a proper date, with conversation." I grin. "I can't wait."

A/N Reviews make Bella and Rose do sexy dancing...