Though I have written stories before, this is my first foray into fanfiction of any sort.
If some poor soul were to write a book about my dating life, it would probably be a comedy of errors rather than a romance novel. I was sort of a late bloomer and while all my friends in middle school were talking and gossiping about boys, I was still interested in Saturday morning cartoons and fishing with my dad. My first real foray into romance was when I was thirteen at Angela Webber's birthday party. During the game of Spin the Bottle Angela started to hook up with her own crush, Ben, I was forced to endure a slobbery, nauseating kiss with Eric Yorkie. Two weeks later at the end-of-the-year party at the Forks Roller Rink, he grabbed my boob and I gave him a sharp elbow in the solar plexus, just like Daddy had taught me. That was the end of that relationship.
Throughout high school, I had a chronically on-again, off-again relationship with Mike Newton. We would date for a few months, I would adamantly refuse to move past third base and he would break up with me for a girl who would for a couple of months until I let him come crawling back. I was finally ready to give it up to Mike during our senior prom, but before we could do the dirty, my father and chief of police for our small town arrested Mike and a few of his friends. Apparently, Mike and his buddies had attempted to spike the punch with alcohol stolen from Mr. Newton's liquor cabinet, not knowing the principal was standing five feet away. I spent the rest of my prom night listening to a lecture about getting into the car with someone who has been drinking from my father while my date spent his drunk and in the slammer.
When college rolled around, I really thought I would blossom and embrace my inner-swan, so to speak. However, I ended up with Rosalie Hale, the most gorgeous, runway model blonde Amazon you've ever seen, for a roommate. Wherever we went, guys fell at her feet and I usually got stuck being chatted up by their less than handsome, usually creepy best friends. Rose eventually hooked me up with Garrett, one of the frat boys of her sometimes boyfriend Royce King. Things were okay and I ended up losing my V-Card to him, but he ended things before the frat's Spring Break trip to Tijuana this year. In his own words, he didn't think it was fair to leave me at home pining for him while he was pounding other chicks.
After graduation, Rose married Royce and then divorce proceedings began two days later when she found him hooking up with the hotel maid in their honeymoon suite. Fortunately for Rose, Royce was very well off and not smart enough to sign a prenup, so Rose ended up with a nice settlement. The two of us were able to put a nice down payment on a great apartment in Seattle near Queen Anne Hill. While Rose goes to law school, I spend my days in a dead end job as the glorified personal assistant to the ruthless editor of a local women's magazine in an attempt to actually get my foot in the door as a writer.
For a few years, Rose and I were living in a self-glamorized bubble, two single girls in the city working to make it in the men's world, a sort of cross between Sex and the City and Murphy Brown. We were partners in crime, taking the corporate world by storm during the day and living it up at night. To tell the truth, we were both struggling in our chosen occupations and our "nights on the town" were probably better defined as us consuming wine and ice cream while watching reality TV. All of that changed when Emmett McCarty walked into Rose's life.
After her three-day-long failed marriage, Rose said she had sworn off men entirely. Then she met Emmett, a personal trainer for the Seahawks, at a party being held by the law firm she was interning at. According to Rose, it was love at first drunken make out session in the office closet. Soon, the two were constantly joined at the hip and other parts of their anatomy. Rose had gone from happily leading the single-life with me to telling me I would be a lot happier if I found someone to share my life with. I finally gave in after months of begging, which is how I found myself outside Il Bistro at the Pike Street Market one Friday night, terrified of what might happen with the blind date who was waiting inside for me.
All of my attempts at meeting a nice normal regular guy at the bookstore, coffee shop or in the park had wound up as disasters. The first guy stood me up, the second one spent the entire date arguing over the phone with his baby mama, and the third was arrested in the middle of our date on some outstanding warrants. Unbeknownst to me, while I was complaining about the desperate situation that was my love life, Rose was setting me up with an online dating profile on a site she had heard about from her mother. Apparently, the average user on the site ended up engaged within a year of singing up. It took a lot of cajoling on Rose's part, but she finally convinced me to get on board.
The Gold Standard had a pretty pricey monthly membership fee, though Rose was happy to pay it for me using her ex-hubby's money (At least he was good for something, she said). What I most liked and most feared about the site was that no ages or photos were listed or shown. It was nice to talk to people, getting to know the real them without wondering about looks or anything, but at the same time, I was always afraid there was a serial killer on the other end. After a few weeks of chatting, I had agreed to meet a brilliant and funny doctor from the greater Seattle area I had met on the site. Cue my blind date at Il Bistro.
It took me a few minutes to get my courage up and finally I walked inside. I was supposed to know him by the three white roses he would have displayed at the table. He glanced around, wondering if I had been stood up yet again. My eyes finally narrowed in on a table with three white roses and standing beside it was probably the most gorgeous man I had ever seen in my entire life. His hair switched from auburn to copper to gold in the flickers of the candlelight on the table and his verdant green eyes positively glowed. Only after drinking in his perfectly fit body that I realized he was arguing with the man actually sitting at the table. I almost choked on air, realizing the man who was actually my date was the silver-haired gentleman sitting at the table. He had to be at least sixty and though his face was covered with wrinkle-lines, it was unmistakable that he and the young man yelling at him were somehow related.
"I can't believe you're doing this, Dad! It's like cheating on Mom!" the younger man fumed.
"We've been over this, Edward. Your mother and I are separated," the older man replied calmly. "Our therapist recommended that we see other people for the time being. Just as an experiment."
"Your therapist is a quack. I want his name so I can turn him in to the Americna Psychological Association!" the Adonis apparently named Edward ranted. I was a little disappointed it was his father and not the Adonis standing before me I was supposed to be meeting here.
"I know this upsets you, son, but your mother and I have agreed this is what is best for our marriage," the older man replied.
"How is going out with some… some… wanton hussy you met online good for your marriage?" Edward fumed. "What would be good for your marriage is checking out of that hotel room, going back home with Mom where you belong and calling off this whole divorce nonsense!"
I was about to turn on my heel and run out of the restaurant as fast as I could, but unfortunately, my silver-haired date noticed me. I wasn't too hard to pick out. I was the only girl in a blue dress with a white rose pinned to my gown in the whole room. I cursed myself for thinking up a practically foolproof way for my date to identify me. His brow furrowed for a moment and then he greeted me with a bright smile.
"You must be Isabella," he said, standing up. "I don't mean to offend you…but I thought you would be much… well… older…"
"Oh, this is just perfect," Edward hissed. "You're leaving Mom for this… this…"
"Edward," he warned before turning back to me. "Forgive my son… I'm Carlisle Cullen…"
"I'm sorry… I should go…" I stuttered. "I mean… I just…"
"Well, before you go, may I ask what a nice young lady like you is doing on a dating site aimed at the over fifty set," Carlisle asked. "I don't mean to pry…but… well… you seem as startled as I am at this turn of events…"
"What?" I said.
"The Gold Standard… when I read the terms and conditions… well, it clearly states the site is for… older individuals," Carlisle replied.
"I'm going to kill Rose," I muttered.
"That's why it's called the Gold Standard," Carlisle continue politely. "You know the tagline of the site… 'The Gold Standard for Your Golden Years'? I thought it was rather…"
"Oh God," I cringed. "I didn't set up my page. My best friend Rose did. She heard about the site from her mother. When her mother said she knew tons of couples who had met on the site… I mean, I guess I thought she meant her friends' kids not her friends themselves… I just… I'm sorry…" I felt my lip quivering and I tried to pull myself together, not wanting to lose it in the middle of an upscale restaurant. I was suddenly finding it very hard to breathe and getting lightheaded.
"Sit down, dear," Carlisle encouraged me. He guided me over to his table where I collapsed in one of the seats. He sat down across from me and his son stood at the table, looking awkwardly between us.
"I'm sorry... it's just…" I said, unable to hold it in any longer. "I had no idea… and Rose said that everyone was dating online now and… I mean...I'm so sorry… I should just…I'm just so sick of her and her boyfriend always being around and… What is wrong with me? Why can't I ever just go out on a nice, normal date!"
"Isabella, I think you're having a panic attack," Carlisle said to me calmly. "Just sit down and focus on breathing…"
"I cannot believe this," Edward grumbled.
"Edward, now is not the time…" Carlisle began. However, he was cut off by a high-pitched bubbly laugh. Both Edward and Carlisle glanced at each other knowingly before Edward stormed off across the restaurant Carlisle hot on his heels. My curiosity piqued,
I managed to calm down my breathing and follow them. I arrived at the private booth just in time to see Edward pull back the curtain. On the other side was a beautiful, classic Hollywood looking red-head in her late-fifties who was obvious the other half of the genetic powerhouse that had produced the Adonis that was Edward Cullen. She was surprised to see her son there but utterly shocked to see her husband standing behind him.
"Edward… what are you doing here?" she gasped.
"I was here to talk Dad out of making a huge mistake, but from what I see, you're doing a fine job wrecking everything on your own!" Edward hissed.
"Edward, your father and I have told you that our therapist said…" the woman began before noticing Carlisle standing behind Edward. "Oh, hello, dear… What are you doing here?"
"It's a rather long story but…" Carlisle began. He stopped midsentence and I could swear I saw steam coming out of his ears when he noticed the man sitting across the table from his wife. "Eleazar… I'm surprise to see you here…"
"Oh, yes, well Esme told me that your marriage counselor…" Eleazar began.
"Asked us to see other people," Carlisle said tersely. "Though, I seriously doubt the therapist meant for my wife to be out with a member of my golf foursome."
"Now, Carlisle, you know Eleazar has had it hard since his wife died and since we know each other so well," Esme began. "I mean, we're both getting used to being older adults back on the dating scene and it seemed safe…"
"I didn't mean anything against you when I asked her," Eleazar continued. "We've actually been having quite a nice…"
"Eleazar, can I speak to you outside? Privately?" Carlisle asked, annoyed. I was starting to see where Edward had gotten his temper.
"Carlisle," Esme cautioned.
"No, no. I think he deserves an explanation. I'll be back," Eleazar replied, placing down his napkin. The two men ducked out of sight and Esme turned to me and Edward.
"Well, Edward… who is this lovely young lady?" she asked.
"How the fuck should I know?" Edward grumbled.
"Edward!" she hissed. "Language!"
"I really shouldn't be here," I said, hoping to slip away. The breathing was getting easier but I was still feeling light headed. I looked up to catch Edward's beautiful green eyes just as a crash came from a couple of tables behind us. Esme, Edward and I turned around to find Carlisle landing a punch into Eleazar's jaw. For two men nearing retirement age, I was surprised at how well they fought.
"Carlisle!" Esme shrieked in terror, getting up to aid her husband.
"Jesus," Edward grimaced.
"I'm never going on a date again," I moaned, slumping into the seat Esme had just vacated.