Stephenie Meyer owns the Twilight Characters.
I was walking across campus when something flew past my head, missing me by mere centimeters. I could hear it rush past and looked down to see a Frisbee lying on the ground in front of me. I turned to see a large guy without a shirt running toward me. He had a perfect six-pack and dark hair sticking out from beneath his ball cap.
"Are you okay?" he asked. "Did it hit you?"
"No," I said awkwardly, "I mean, no it didn't hit me."
He smiled and I saw two very deep dimples. He was so cute, but too macho for me. I usually went for the sensitive guy, not the jock. I smiled in return and tried to walk around him.
"Hey, let me make it up to you," he offered quickly.
"No, its okay," I said and tried to speed up a bit. You would think college life would be filled with meeting new guys, but in reality I only met people who knew my roommates. I had no idea why I was turning down such a cute guy.
"Come on, at least meet me at the student center tonight for a game of pool," he begged with his dimples showing.
It made me laugh and I nodded quickly as I continued walking. He yelled after me and said to be there around eight. I was crazy to just hook up with a stranger, but something told me this guy was different. I didn't even know his name and realized I hadn't given him mine. It would be tangle free if I decided not to show.
I walked into class to find my roommate Jessica waiting for me. I sat down and pulled out my laptop before she captured my attention. "I hate Mike," she stated adamantly.
Mike and Jessica had been together for two years, but she hated him for at least one of them. They fought constantly but couldn't seem to move on past their relationship. I wasn't in the mood to hear about another brawl so I nodded and focused on my computer.
"Do you want to do something tonight?" Jess asked.
I instantly had an idea so I turned to her and looked enthusiastic. "Let's go to the student center tonight and play pool," I suggested.
Her mood lifted quickly and she nodded in agreement. I was now getting a bit excited for the evening. It didn't feel like a date, just people hanging out together. It had been a while since I had been in a real relationship. I had grown tired of guys constantly trying to hook up without any commitment at all. Maybe I was going for the wrong type and this muscle guy is what I'm looking for.
Jess and I showed up a little after eight. I tried not to act like I was looking for anyone and felt a sense of relief when I heard someone call out for the girl in the blue shirt. I automatically looked down to see I was wearing a dark blue shirt and then glanced around the large cavernous area.
I saw him waving a pool cue and I waved back a bit embarrassed. "Come on, Jess," I said and pulled her toward the pool tables.
When we arrived at the table where the big guy was waiting he blurted out, "What's your name?"
"I'm Bella and this is Jessica," I said, and tried to keep from noticing how Jess was glaring at me. I didn't want her to know this was planned, but it was pretty obvious right now.
"Hello Ladies, I'm Emmett Cullen, you may have heard of me," he said with an adorable dimple laden smile.
"Are you famous?" Jessica asked.
Emmett wiggled his eyebrows and said, "You could say that."
I wasn't falling for his macho routine but Jess was pulled right in. She stared as she tried to attach him to anything remotely familiar. I pulled the pool stick from his hand and rolled my eyes at him. "I'm sure the female members of the freshman class know you very well, but we're juniors," I stated, and attempted to break.
He laughed loudly and I couldn't help but smile. He was a genuinely happy guy and it was infectious. Jessica walked over to a bench and sat with a huff. Emmett looked at the table and said, "You're holding the stick incorrectly, here let me show you." He purposefully wrapped his arms around my shoulders and placed my fingers in the right position. "Try again," he urged.
His shoulders devoured my small frame and I felt tiny in his wake. I attempted to break again and this time the balls flew in all directions. I smiled with pride and he quickly picked me up, making me feel like a child. "You did it," he announced, as I struggled for him to put me down.
Jessica laughed and I gave her a warning glance before turning back to Emmett. "Don't pick me up, it is humiliating," I stated honestly.
He looked a bit flustered and finally said, "Sorry, it's a habit I guess."
I chuckled at his response and asked, "You pick up people by habit?"
"I'm the oldest," he confided. "I kind of just take care of everyone."
I nodded and said, "I'm an only child, so I'm not used to anyone taking care of me."
He smiled, sending my heart racing. "Okay, no lifting, I promise."
It was a deal I never thought I would find myself making, but I extended my hand for his to shake. He held my hand tightly, a bit too tightly, due to his large muscles. I tried to act nonchalant as I pulled my hand back and nodded at the table. Emmett took the cue and I didn't get it back until he sunk five balls.
We hung out at the student center until after ten and then Emmett suggested we head to a small club and listen to some music. Jessica headed back home, but I was enjoying his company so I agreed to go with him. He walked me to a large jeep with a high lift kit. I wasn't exactly sure how to climb into the thing.
"Um, I guess you'll have to lift me," I said, and he laughed with delight. His big arms picked me up bridal style and deposited me into the seat. I made a mental note never to wear a skirt around him.
We drove only a few blocks from campus and entered a loud dark club. Several people called out his name as if he was a regular. We found a small booth and he scooted in right next to me, basically trapping me in the seat.
"Do you come here a lot?" I asked right into his ear.
"Yeah, my brother found the place. He's got great taste in music."
A waitress came over and we both ordered a beer. Emmett turned sideways and placed his arm around the back of the booth directly over my shoulders. I looked into his eyes and he smiled cheerfully. I quickly looked away. His confidence was a bit overwhelming for me.
"What's your major?" he asked.
"English," I replied, "How about you?"
"My undergrad is in accounting, but I'm getting my masters in international business."
"Oh, you're a grad student?" I asked stupidly, pointing out the obvious.
He laughed and shook his head, "I'm not ready to go into the world just yet, so I had to keep my dad off my back somehow. He's a bit of a…overachiever."
"My dad's a cop," I announced and watched for his reaction.
"Shit, that sucks," he replied and then took a swig of his beer.
I couldn't wait to give him the next little bit of information. "Yeah, and I won't be twenty-one until September." I picked up my own beer and took a long drink as he choked on his.
He quickly grabbed it from my hand and sat it on his end of the table. I began to laugh but his face remained serious. "I just assumed you were older," he said.
"Maybe you should ask next time," I replied, and he nodded before looking around nervously.
"Hey, you didn't serve me, the club messed up, not you," I said to ease his mind. He finally relaxed and let his arm fall directly onto my shoulders.
He pulled me closer and said sweetly, "Let's get out of here."
It sounded like he wanted to go somewhere we would be alone, where he could do and say anything without worrying about others seeing. It screamed sex to me and there was no way I was going to sleep with him on the first date.
"I really should get home, I have to work tomorrow." His eyes widened with surprise at the mention of a job. Obviously he didn't need to make his own way in the world.
"Where do you work?" he asked.
"A small art gallery downtown," I said and noticed he didn't ask for more details. He didn't seem like the artistic type and now I was certain of it.
We headed out of the club and got into his car. I wasn't sure I wanted him to know which apartment complex I lived in but he seemed harmless enough. He pulled up front and reached for his door handle. I quickly said, "You don't have to walk me up."
He looked a bit disappointed and then asked, "May I kiss you goodnight?"
I never had a guy ask before and that had to mean something. He had manners and an adorable smile, so I nodded and leaned toward him. He held the back of my head softly and touched his lips to mine very softly before escalating the kiss into something a lot deeper. I finally forced myself to pull away and said, "Goodnight."
"Wait," he frowned. "You're really getting out of the car?"
I'm sure his kissing confused the panties off of plenty of girls, but Bella Swan would not be one of them. I got out of the car and leaned over to say one more time, "Goodnight."
"Hey, can I call you sometime?" he asked. I wasn't sure if he was serious but he got his cell phone and prepared to input my number. I finally relented and waved as I walked away.
He was a nice guy, handsome for sure, but something just didn't jive between us. He seemed too…popular. I was more the nerd type, worried about grades and getting home before curfew. Emmett was most likely a high school jock and partied as much as he worked out.
It wasn't fair to judge him so harshly so I promised myself I would go out with him again if he actually called, just to make sure I wasn't missing something. I was in bed before midnight and woke up early to go for a run before heading downtown for work.
The gallery was very small and only local artists showcased their work. The owner used the place as a tax write off and was never too concerned about making money. I loved the pictures and found entire stories hidden without the barest of outlines.
The bell above the door sounded and I looked up to see a man walk in. He was tall and slightly slumped over; as if he was afraid he would be asked to leave. I turned back to my science text and ignored him. He moved silently from one picture to the next. It was close to an hour when I noticed he wasn't even halfway through. I shut my book and walked over to where he stood.
"Are you an artist?" I asked.
"No," he said quickly, "I just like to look."
"Me too," I smiled, and noticed how he stared a little too intently. "I make up stories for each picture, of course it is completely irrelevant but it makes me feel more connected."
He looked at me with a curious expression and then pointed at a charcoal on the wall close to the front of the shop. "What is the story to that one?"
I walked over to it and he followed behind me. I looked at the drawing and then back at him. "You're not the artist are you?"
He shook his head vigorously and said, "I swear I'm not."
"Okay, see the shadow here by the trees?" I asked.
"Shadow?" he questioned and leaned in closer. There wasn't actually a shadow, but the thick black line made me believe someone was hiding just beyond view.
"The woman thinks she's alone, but he's there watching her," I said adamantly. "I think her heart knows he's there and it comforts her and confounds her at the same time."
"Why?" he asked as he continued to stare.
"Because he's obviously interested in her, but he can't bring himself to come into the open. It gives her hope but also worries her that he'll leave and never return."
He stared for a long moment and then pointed at the rough waves of the sea. "He leaves and never returns. The movement of the water suggests it."
I saw what he meant and it filled me with sadness. I wanted to believe like the woman in the drawing that he would have the courage to come into the open. I felt my eyes fill with tears and turned to speak to the stranger but he had his back to me as he headed to the door.
"Hey," I called out. "Are you ever coming back?"
I didn't mean for it to sound the way it did. I just liked talking about the artwork with him. He gave me a funny smile and then said, "Probably not."