DISCLAIMER: I do not own Twilight or the characters. Sadly that genius belongs to the lovely Stephenie Meyer. I only own this one-shot. Enjoy!
The shrill sound of my phone ringing disrupted a very vivid, and very salacious daydream involving a bartender I met several weeks back. It had been the highlight of my night. I hate bars, the obnoxiously loud music, the ridiculously overpriced drinks, and the claustrophobia of so many bodies pressing against each other in a tiny space. I absolutely loathe them. But, my best friend, Alice, insisted that we go for her birthday, and like the good friend I am, I stifled my opinion and went to celebrate with her. And when I walked to the counter to buy a celebratory round of shots my jaw dropped. First, at the gorgeous bartender, then at the price. Ten drinks isn't cheap.
He was handsome to the point that it was painful just to look at him. He wore a tight black button up shirt, the sleeves rolled to his elbows, and the shirt doing little to disguise a very fit abdomen, but leaving oh-so-much to the imagination. His jaw was sharp and defined and so smooth, almost lickable. I was convinced that his hair was the sexiest part of him. It was wild, a brownish-bronze hue that glinted in the light and refused to stay any which way. It practically screamed sex hair and I instantly imagined myself running my hands through it, or tugging on it with my legs wrapped around him, either or. But then he looked at me. I was stunned by the intensity in his eyes. They were dark green, and staring directly into mine with an unnamed emotion. And then he smirked, the corner of his lips lifting up just slightly.
In an effort to avoid making a bigger fool of myself I grabbed the tray with our round of shots and hurried out of there without waiting for change. Hell, a man that good looking deserved an obscene tip just for making my night a bit more livable and for repeatedly starring in my erotic fantasies thereafter.
The phone rang again, this time disrupting my reverie. I groaned and picked it up to see who was calling, already knowing the answer. It was the most annoying ring in the world which meant it could only be one of the most annoying calls. A wrong number. I had been getting them for months now and fully expected the conversation as I answered the call.
"This is Bella," I greeted cheerfully, a bit too sugary.
There was a pause on the other end and I mentally counted to three and smiled victoriously when the person on the other end cleared their throat to speak. "Um, I'm looking for Edward?"
"Sorry, sweetie," I cooed into the phone. "But you can't really see anyone through the phone. Perhaps you should try a window."
That made her snap, as it usually did. "Whatever. Is he there or not?"
"Hmm…" I tapped my chin thoughtfully even though she could not see the gesture. "Nope, never heard of an Edward. Wrong number, sweetie."
I disconnected the call before she got the bright idea to start calling me names. Then I picked up my day planner and added another tally mark. Visually impaired on the other end just landed herself at number thirty four. Whoever the hell this Edward was, he was certainly not ashamed to not only give out the wrong number, but to do so repeatedly to the same wrong number. I couldn't decide if that was ballsy or just plain irritating and resolved that should I ever meet him I would demand a reimbursement of my cell phone bill for my pain and suffering.
Alice and I sat on Rosalie's sofa while she paced back and forth in front of us ranting and raving about her newest beau, Everett, or Emerson, or something. She went through them too quickly for me to every really pay attention to the details. And judging by the pissed off look on her face, it was time for this one to bite the dust, too. His name was insignificant in context.
Alice suggested that we go to the bar to drown her sorrows. I automatically glared at her in protest. I may be single but that did not necessarily imply that I had a clear social calendar. Nor did it mean that I in any way, shape, or form enjoy their booze therapy. It was either suffer through the bar drunk enough to ignore my disdain and suffer a hangover, or suffer through the bar sober enough to realize why I never wanted to go back again.
In the end, I sent them off together promising to meet them there in my own car so that I would be able to leave earlier and they could stay and party the night away. They both looked suspicious but left quietly. I got in my car and went home, turning my cell phone off and locking the door in case they tried any funny business.
By the next morning I had five new voicemails. One from Alice yelling at me, two from Alice and Rose bitching at me, and two random calls looking for an Edward. I rolled my eyes, deleted them all, and added two more tally marks to my day planner. My lips pursed. This whole wrong number thing was getting a bit ridiculous.
An idea occurred to me then and I began to work out the details and plan as I went through my morning routine. I was on autopilot as I brushed out my long, mahogany hair and brushed my teeth. My thoughts swirled around figuring out this Edward's phone number and exacting my revenge. A devious smile lit my lips as I stared at my reflection. Today would be a good day.
Two days later, finally the weekend, I was sprawled out on my sofa enjoying the coffee that Alice had brought over while she rummaged through my notes. At times she laughed, other times she merely shook her head, and at a select few she merely wrinkled her nose in disgust. I snorted to myself imagining which ones she was reading.
She held up a stack of index cards. "You do realize that this is both extreme and ridiculous, right?" I nodded in response. "Do you honestly expect to find this guy by randomly calling people?"
This made me sit up straighter. Obviously she had not seen the beauty of my scheming.
"First, they are not random. There are only forty nine numbers in that pile, not ten million. I'm working under the assumption that Edward," I couldn't help but snarl at his name, "is giving these girls his number with only one digit off like a lot of guys do. Which would imply that my phone number and his have a single digit difference. The key is selecting which of those it is and by process of elimination excluding the rest. I'm working backwards, starting with the last digit in my phone number and eliminating my own number for obvious reasons. And I'm assuming the same basic two digit prefix in the numbers."
"And you made an index card for every single possibility," Alice surmised. I smiled brightly in response. "And then made notes about the person that answered the phone," she continued with a laugh in her voice.
"Well," I stalled. "The first couple numbers were no big deal, just a simple 'sorry, wrong number', but after one guy told me I had a sweet voice and asked to be my Edward," I visibly shuddered, "let's just say I decided to have some fun along the way."
She shook her head at me. My brand of humor is hard to accept at times. "And how do you know that when you get the right number Edward won't lie? He's going to see an unfamiliar number calling him. Or what if more than one of these belongs to an Edward?"
Damn Alice and her logic. "If I don't find him through this then I give up and change my phone number."
She pursed her lips and nodded thoughtfully as she considered my answer. "And what happens if you do find him? Obviously he has to be gorgeous if he has this many woman trying to get hold of him."
This time I glared at her. Again, her and her damned logic. "I'm not going to meet the guy, Alice. I just want to know which number to redirect his calls to."
She howled in laughter. We both did. It almost made me wish that I could meet this guy to see the look on his face when he realized that his number would no longer be safe when he gave out mine.
My phone rang shrilly next to me on the sofa. Alice's eyes widened and we both stifled our laughter as I answered it and automatically switched to speakerphone.
"This is Bella."
I looked to Alice and began ticking down my fingers. Three, two, one…
"Um, is Edward there?" Alice snorted at my accuracy in timing.
"No, sorry, sweetie. You must have the wrong number."
"Really?" Her tone turned skeptical, probably in response to the overly sweet and innocent tone in mine. "Are you sure?"
Alice muffled her laughter with a pillow. "Sweetie, I'm as sure as my ass is white that he isn't here but I'll go ahead and pass along the message that you're looking for him as soon as I find him." You and thirty six others.
I hung up and Alice flopped down next to me on the sofa laughing her petite little butt off. "Is it always like that?"
"Only when I decide to screw with them," I answered.
"Alright." She lifted her coffee cup in toast to mine. "Let's find this Edward."
Ten calls later I was irritated. It should not be so difficult to find someone when your phone and theirs is only separated by one stupid little number. Still, I soldiered on. There was a method to my madness and I would stick to it.
Four calls later and I was ready to bash in the male skull to see if there was actually a brain inside it. Who the hell obscenely flirts with a woman who has obviously called a wrong number looking for a different person? Cavemen, that's who. Did I sound like the kind of woman that would be interested in phone sex? Ew. Disinfect my ear now.
By the time that there were thirty noted cards in my already dialed pile I was more than just frustrated. I was downright hostile and foaming at the mouth. I dared the next number to be Edward, just dared it to be. And when an elderly woman answered I only barely reigned in my temper enough to realize that it wasn't her fault that this asshole of a man was making my life hell.
Alice suggested I give it a break for the day. She was probably right. We went through the completed cards and set aside the few with generally obscene or obnoxious men. They might be fun to mess with later. From a blocked number. And with Rose handy to put them in line. Oh the glee that will bring me.
After she left I looked woefully over the stack of eighteen remaining cards. I had to hand it to Edward. He was good. The average man only changed the last digit in their number and it was usually only off by one or two. Enough to thwart unwanted calls but not enough to discourage someone that seriously wanted to find you. Edward, obviously, had either changed the number further back or given them an entirely wrong number altogether. I grimaced at the thought. I didn't really want to change my phone number to avoid receiving calls from his flock of women.
I fanned out the remaining cards and studied them carefully, willing the right one to stand out in any way. I was only mildly disappointed at the lack of blinking neon sign saying "pick me."
On a whim I shrugged and plucked one from the pile to inspect. My number ended in 1858. This number ended in 7858. My eyes widened. How very clever of Mr. Edward. He gave them a number close enough to his and separated by a digit that could easily be misinterpreted by sloppy penmanship should he ever be confronted about it. I hadn't even dialed it yet but I was certain that this was his number.
My fingers reached for my phone and then snapped back hesitantly. Now that I was almost entirely certain I had figured it out, did I really want to call for confirmation? As Alice had adeptly pointed out, this guy had flocks of woman asking for his number. He had to be good looking, suave, flirtatious. Everything I am not. And admitting that I had found him out was certain to be a less than friendly conversation.
Then again, what did I really have to lose besides my phone number? This habit of his of giving out my phone number had to stop before I went insane. It wasn't like I was going to meet the guy. Just give him a piece of my mind and tell him to choose a new bad number. Preferably a disconnected one.
My fingers had dialed the number and pressed send before I could talk myself back out of it again and I waited with my breath held and my pulse thundering in my ear while it rang.
His voice, even though it was a bit gruff and sounded like he had just woken up, was the smoothest voice I had ever heard. Deep and smooth and doing strange things to my bones. I felt like jelly.
"Hello?" he repeated.
"Yes, um, hi," I answered timidly. Then I slapped my forehead. Forceful, Bella, be forceful. "Edward, I presume?"
There was a rustling sound in the background. I guessed it would be his sheets and absently wondered if he slept in the nude.
"Um, yea, this is Edward. And you are…?"
"Oh that's not important," I replied in a dismissive tone. "I just have one thing to tell you, Edward. Stop giving out my phone number. I'm tired of deflecting your flock of females."
There was a long pause on the other end of the line and the conversation was bordering on uncomfortable. I counted to ten in my head. Strike that, this was officially very uncomfortable.
"So, that's about it then. In the future please use a different number if you aren't going to give out your own."
I hung up and let out a breath of relief. That had gone smoothly and much better than expected. He barely spoke up. Probably ashamed of himself as he very well should be. So long as he didn't give out my number again I was inclined to forgive him just because he had a sexy voice. I poured myself a celebratory glass of wine and drew a bubble bath to relax in. Mission accomplished.
Half an hour later I was blissfully relaxed and visualizing my favorite sexy bartender unbuttoning his shirt as he stalked across the bathroom towards me. The swells of my breasts played peek-a-boo in the bubbles as I watched him undress and slide in the tub across from me. He drew one foot into his hands and pressed his thumbs into the arch of my foot. A moan escaped my mouth at the contact and the sensation of his hands on me. He dropped my foot and pulled me flush against him as he kissed me, his tongue tracing my lips.
And my phone rang. That same shrill ring of an unknown number.
For the love of… Why me?
My hand grabbed the phone before I could remember to wipe the water off it first. "No, this is not Edward's phone number. No I do not have it. And no I don't really care who you are or what you think of me," I snarled into the phone before hanging up. Bitch totally killed my bartender fantasy.
The phone rang again a few seconds later. I glared at it for a few rings before I finally reached for it. "What?"
There was a deep, husky laugh on the other end. "Is that how you always answer my calls?"
Oh. My. God. Edward was calling me. And I was naked in the tub. Damn it.
"No," I admitted with a small groan. "And what the hell are you calling me for?"
"I didn't get your name." This was met by dead silence on my end. I could almost hear the imaginary crickets chirping in the background. "And I want to apologize."
I let out a breath of air that I hadn't realized I had been holding and laughed. "Apology accepted so long as it never happens again."
He laughed a bit with me. "I think I can manage that..." his voice trailed off uneasily. Fishing for my name, I realized. I bit the inside of my cheek to stop the grin that threatened to take over my face.
"See that you do, Edward. Have a good night."
I hung up again and hoped to hell that he had a sense of humor. I let out a girlish squeal and hopped out of the tub. Just as I finished wrapping the towel around me the phone rang again.
"I'm not sure what's worse, you harassing me or your flock of females calling every day."
"You know," there was a smooth, baritone drawl in his voice. "I only said that I think I can manage to avoid giving out your number. I never actually promised that I wouldn't." He let that little tidbit hang there for a moment while I gaped. "I might need some motivation to make good on that."
"Motivation?" I asked flatly.
"We can start with your name," he shot back.
This time my senses kicked in. "You know what? Never mind, go ahead and keep giving out my number. It won't be in service much longer anyway so you won't have to worry about me getting all your annoying phone calls."
I was grinning like the Cheshire Cat as I thought about all the different ways he might react to that one. There was no way in hell I would change my number but he didn't need to know that.
"Wouldn't it be easier to just give me your name? You already know my name and phone number. I already know your number so it's only fair that I know your name as well." His voice was smooth and convincing. Deadly, very deadly.
"But it isn't really my fault that I know your name. After all, I get your phone calls all the time."
"And my number?"
Shit. Busted. "Not my fault. You forced me to find you."
He laughed again in to the phone. "Just give me your name and I'll let that go for awhile."
I bit my lip as I considered this. What harm would it do to tell him my name? He didn't really know me anyway. And if he turned out to be a creepy stalker then I could always change my phone number later. Possibly my name if absolutely necessary. Still, he was fun to play with.
"I think the fact that I've fielded thirty seven calls from your flock makes us even, Edward." I just had to tack on his name to flaunt that I knew it. "But thanks for asking."
I grinned and hung up again as I started running for my bedroom. I threw the towel off my now dry body and slipped into my pajamas just as the phone started ringing again. I was going to have to program his number into my phone to avoid that ringtone apparently.
"Miss me already, Edward?"
"Of course," he answered smoothly. "Although I might miss you more if I knew more about you. Like your name."
I pressed the pillow to my mouth to stop myself from laughing like crazy. No wonder he had a flock. This guy was a smooth-talker. I felt a little sorry for all the women he led astray. Then laughed even harder because he tried so hard to evade them only to have my crazy ass find him as a result. Oh the sweet, sweet irony.
"You really want to know? I'll tell you all about me."
And I did. It was strangely comfortable telling this absolute stranger about my life. It was therapeutic to talk to someone that could have an unbiased opinion about the complicated family dynamic I had at home. It was refreshing to have someone encourage me to pursue my master's degree even though everyone else around me thought that it would be pointless and a waste of my time and financial resources. After all, I already had a stable job, why bother? And it was definitely a boost to the ego to have a man with a voice that seductive tell me that my last boyfriend was an idiot to ever let me go.
In turn he told me about himself. He told me about how he had finished his degree young and started at his father's accounting firm only to discover that that line of work didn't fit him at all and he had given it up entirely for something much more carefree until he could decide what to do with himself. He told me how his parents loved him unconditionally and supported him in any choice he made even though he felt like he was disappointing them. He told me that girls were constantly throwing themselves at him and rather than discarding hundreds of napkins with phone numbers each night he had started to give out my number. At this point I had laughed and asked if he was a stripper, at which he scoffed and said something about private shows only. That led to me blushing and sitting quietly, wondering if I could get a private show. Or a privates show.
After a few hours of talking and being warmly snuggled in my bed under the blankets I finally said good night to Edward. I gave him a half-hearted threat should he decide to give out my number again and he begged one last time for my name. I smiled as I said no and hung up. At least he would have a reason to call me again.
He growled into the phone the next morning when he called. "I'm going to start calling you something hideous and outdated if you don't just tell me your name already."
I laughed in response. "I'm sure Gertrude or Millie will fit perfectly with whatever mental image you've conjured for me."
He groaned in frustration. "At least give me a hint?"
I grinned devilishly even though he couldn't see it. "But being difficult is better. Baiting you is beneficial to my bodily health." Let him solve that riddle.
"Sometimes you make no sense, sweetheart," he replied after a long moment.
Well, that wiped the smirk right off my face. "B it is then." I could already hear the smile in his voice. "At least tell me how many letters I have to work with."
"Four." I snapped automatically.
"Now, would that be four letters to spell your name or four letters in the spelling of your name?"
Cheeky bastard. "I don't think I like you very much right now, Edward."
"It isn't my fault that you're being exceptionally stubborn, beautiful."
I gasped and quickly regained control of myself. It wasn't the first time he had called me that particular endearment, but to hear it while trying to figure out my name, and him not knowing how close it was unnerved me slightly. It was definitely irrational.
"Alright," he continued, completely nonchalant. "Barb. Brit. Bree. Bunny."
"Bunny?" I snorted.
"I can keep this up all day, Benny."
I rolled my eyes. "You swear that you won't give my number out any more?"
"Have any of my wayward 'flock' tried calling you today?" he countered.
"Not yet," I relented. "The day is still young."
"I won't give out your number if I get your name."
I paused and bit my lip. Now or never. "Bella. My name is Bella. Well, actually it's Isabella but everyone just calls me Bella." Now I was officially rambling.
"Bella. Beautiful. Fits you perfectly." His voice was a deep murmur in the phone and for some inexplicable reason, it made me blush.
Edward and I continued texting and talking to each other sporadically over the week. And for one full week I did not receive a single annoying call from his flock. It was like my own little slice of heaven.
He had asked me to meet him in person on Sunday. I was hesitant to agree. It wasn't that I didn't want to meet him, per se; more that I was terrified of him and his reaction. I had no idea what this man would look like but he had to be gorgeous. Alice's words from the weekend before echoed through my mind. What could I possibly offer him? Brown hair, brown eyes, pale skin. Nothing to distinguish me from the crowd.
By Friday his voice sounded oddly pleading when he called. He was rushed on his way in to work and he wanted an answer from me. My mind was reeling and I couldn't think. My first instinct was to politely decline as I had the last two nights when he asked. So I was forced to strike a deal with the devil as the next words left his mouth.
"Meet me or I swear I'll give the flock your number again."
I held back my snort at the term he picked up from me. I doubt he even realized he was calling them that. And then I was forced to think about how much I enjoyed not having to answer calls from women wanting to talk to the incredible man that I talked to daily. I was surprisingly jealous at the thought of him getting close enough to them to give them a phone number, even if it was a wrong one, and even if that wrong number happened to be mine. Then again, I could always redirect them to some of the creepers on the index cards that I still had.
"Alright. Coffee on Sunday morning?"
We agreed to meet at nine on Sunday inside a coffee shop near campus. Which also happened to be conveniently near my apartment. I originally debated walking over before deciding against it. Edward seemed like the gentleman type that would either walk me to my car, walk me all the way home, or insist on driving me home. If this didn't go well then I wanted to escape knowing that he would not be able to track me down. Short of stalking me, but no need to digress down that tangent.
At eight thirty I was seated in the corner of the shop with the two large, plushy armchairs and sipping my caramel latte. My worn and weary copy of Emma was open and ready to distract me. The coffee warmed the slight chill that had set in my bones and I felt my lips curve into a smile as I lost myself in the gentle cadence of the novel.
Warm hands around my shoulders caused my eyes to widen and my shoulders to tense. Warm, moist breath on my neck made me want to shiver. "You're early," Edward's velvety voice whispered into my ear. He kissed softly just below my ear and I felt my face flame into a deep blush.
"Hot date," I replied casually. "Had to be early to see him come in. If he isn't as good looking as he claims I reserve the right to walk out before he sees me," I teased.
Edward chuckled in my ear. "In that case you should probably keep a closer eye on the people coming in. Never know who is going to sneak up on you when you're lost in your little world over here, Bella."
A thrill went through me when I heard him say my name. He released my shoulders and moved to step around to face me just as I put my book down and began to stand. The result was… less than ideal. My face was inches from his crotch when I blinked and I quickly scooted back into my chair and buried my face in my hands to hide my furious blush while he laughed.
"At least buy me a cup of coffee first," he teased. At my groan of humiliation I felt his fingers wrap around my wrists as he gently pried my hands free. "No more hiding, Bella." His words were soft but the meaning was clear.
I allowed him to pull my hands down and opened my eyes. And then I gasped. Standing in front of me was the hot bartender from Alice's birthday. My mouth went dry and the only thing I could think about was the first time Edward called me back and interrupted my bath time with the bartender. My cheeks flamed again in recognition of the memory and I dropped my eyes. Unfortunately my gaze landed on his crotch and I settled for squeezing them shut instead.
"I know you," he murmured. I looked up at him then. His eyes were studying me intently, that same vivid green shining intensely. "I've seen you before."
It took more effort than it should have to keep the grimace off my face. He probably remembered me incoherent and gaping like a fish out of water. Not the best first impression. Then again, he didn't seem to know where he knew me from. That wasn't exactly flattering either. I knew I wasn't memorable, but it still stung.
"Um, yea," I offered lamely. "I've seen you at the bar before."
He nodded slowly while I died a slow and painful death under his scrutiny. "So, we've officially met now," I continued. Anything to break the silence. "Nice to meet you, Edward." I stuck my hand out to shake his. His brows furrowed together as he stared at my hand and then glanced back up at me with that piercing stare of his.
Most awkward and humiliating first date ever. Hands down.
I took a deep breath and tried to salvage what was left of my dignity as I gathered my book and drink in my hands and stood to leave. It didn't seem like I was quite measuring up to what Edward had expected and I was going to ignore the fact that he was the hot bartender so that my fantasies could live on uninterrupted. They really were too good to give up just because the guy was a jerk about the type of girls he took an interest in.
I mumbled a quick 'nice to meet you' over my shoulder as I turned to leave. And then I felt his warm hand close over my wrist again to still me.
"It was just over three weeks ago on a Thursday night. You were there celebrating something with some friends and you came over and ordered a round of ten shots of…" At this he politely paused and cocked his head to the side and stared at me. He winked and smirked that sexy little smirk of his. "Ten shots of screaming orgasms." My face was going to be permanently stained red. "And if my memory serves me, everyone at that table was screaming loudly after."
"Well, that little walk down memory lane was fun but I'm going to get going now." I turned again and yanked my arm free, desperate to get out of there and away from the humiliation. I could only imagine what he thought of me ordering such a ridiculous drink. At least I didn't ask for his phone number like all his flock.
His long strides easily caught up with me once I was in the parking lot. "I apologize for making you uncomfortable."
"No need," I told him dismissively. I kept my eyes ahead of me and refused to look at him.
"And I would apologize in advance for making you uncomfortable again."
I paused in my steps as I processed that. In advance? Before I had time to think I felt his lips on mine. They were warm and soft and felt so good. It took a slow second for me to think about kissing him back but by the time I did he was already pulling back. How very disappointing.
"But I won't apologize for kissing you. I've wanted to do that ever since I saw your beautiful face that night. And I've wanted to kiss you ever since you hung up on me and refused to tell me your name."
He wanted to kiss me? Me? Plain ole Bella Swan? Well, who was I to question his judgment?
I grabbed his shirt just as he turned to leave and pulled him to me. He gave me a questioning look before I smirked right back at him and kissed him, showing him with my lips what I was too afraid to admit with words. We fought against each other for control, tongue meeting tongue, teeth mashing together, book and coffee forgotten as my arms wrapped around his neck and my hands dug into his hair as I always imagined. He felt good. He tasted even better.
After a moment, or maybe twenty, the fevered intensity of our kiss diminished and I relinquished control to him. He peppered my mouth and neck with soft, tender kisses before pulling back to stare into my eyes. His forehead rested against mine and he hummed in satisfaction. I probably did, too. His hands slid down my arms to take my hands in his own, frowning slightly when he realized that they were empty. He bent down and picked up my book and now empty coffee.
"Can I get you another coffee?"
I nodded and followed him back inside, purposefully ignoring the gawking barista who had probably just witnessed one seriously hot make-out session in the parking lots minutes before. Edward ordered our drinks and led me back to the chairs I had previously claimed.
He looked up at me and smiled that sexy little half smile of his. "So, Bella. How long is going to take to get you to tell me your address?"
I smiled coyly at him. "That depends." He raised his eyebrow in expectation. "How quickly do you think you can make a screaming orgasm?"
I left him gaping while I got up to retrieve our drinks. He was standing and waiting by the door before I ever made it back to my chair. He practically crooned as he coaxed me outside and to his car. Inside I let out a girly squeal. Playing with Edward was definitely going to be more fun than fantasizing about my hot bartender. I had a new favorite game and no more annoying flock calls to interrupt me. Let the play time begin.