A/N: Disclaimer: I do not own the Twilight series or anything affiliated with it.
Yes, I'm back at it again! Sure, eleven stories is a lot to juggle- but unfortunately, I will be wrapping up three stories by the end of the summer. If you haven't the chance to read any, go click on my profile and see if any tickle your fancy.
Enjoy & review.
"To freedom!" Alice raised her glass in the air, smiling lopsidedly in her tipsy nature. I didn't particularly enjoy drinking, but an invite to a college high dive bar on a last minute relationship crisis was needed. She had just broken up with her long-time boyfriend, whom promised they going to be together forever and get married with a big white house in the backdrop. "And onto something better." Her hazel eyes were already glossy and her vision was slightly unfocused as she glanced down in her drink. "I've turned my back on guys. You're the only one I need, Bella." Her silly little smile told me that she would regret everything she said in the morning; Jasper was an alright guy, with a basic sense or morals and a bright future in the Marketing world. "To the single life, full of happiness and fulfillment!" If she kept toasting, we were going to have to order a third round of Shirley Temples. "May he die painfully, and slowly."
I rolled my eyes at her dramatics; they ended things peacefully one week ago, where they both agreed on a separation and Jasper agreed to move out of their apartment and start somewhere new. The semester was just about over, and next years would give them better time to make sure they shared no classes with each other. But I could understand her borderline mental breakdown- Jasper did everything for her, from paying her rent and balancing her checkbook to driving her to and from class and work. And he was so emotionally bombarding, Alice hardly got a real say in what she did or said. He was always trying to intervene to protect her from a bad decision. While I was the first to admit that Alice made some very foolish decisions before meeting him and less when they were together, she was still her own person and she did need to grow up all on her own. He was the caring dad she never had. I glanced down at my jeweled watch and raised a manicured eyebrow at the hour, but it was a good thing I didn't have class tomorrow. "C'mon, Alice, we have to get you home." She nodded slowly and attempted to climb off of her high seat, but fumbled helplessly and lurched right into somebody's arms.
"Whoa there!" The rough male voice called as Alice squirmed around in his arms. I blushed heavily and jumped down my seat, adjusting my ruffled pencil skirt that decided to ride up mid-thigh in the last two hours. "Be careful there, little lady." Alice's eyes swarmed with lust, but I just knew she was going in for the kiss because he looked and sounded just like her ex-boyfriend. I leaned forward and plucked her from the blond guy's hold, our two purses and my pea coat in hand.
"Yeah, thanks." I offered a tiny smile to the southern sports star of UCSD, whom only nodded in reply- Alec was a regular with the girls, and close friends with none other than Jasper Whitlock himself.
"See you around." His cheeky grin relayed the message that he wanted more than just a casual brush of shoulders in the hall, but I shook my head and tossed one of her arms around my shoulder and made a bee line for the door. I wished that was something I could hang over my backside, so that I could get Alec's rude under breath comments out of my head. I finally got Alice in my silver Prius with little opposition and turned on the ngine before backing out of the bar's parking lot. I hadn't really planned on drinking, but there was no other way to get home with my car without driving it. Rosalie and her younger brother, Emmett, were our only true friends here in San Diego, and they were probably out on the town themselves.
"I think I'm gonna be sick." She rumbled slowly, and I fought for something in the backseat for her to puke in with my vision still trained on the road. "No- no, I'm okay." I sighed in relief and turned off the last street before entering the gated community that housed my one bedroom apartment. "Wait, I'm not okay!" But before I could register what she meant,, she opened her bran new, lime-green Michael Kors bag and barfed the living daylights out. "I wanna go home." She cried loudly, and threw up some more.
I tried to contain my laughter as I pulled her from her seat and locked the doors with the click of a button. "You can go home in the morning." I brought us to the elevator and pushed the sixth floor button before the lift closed and went straight up. I hadn't been out this late since the first few days here nearly three years ago, but the complex was mostly quiet, with a majority of us already in a career and elderly years. I decided to stay out of college communities, seeing as it only led to parties and more parties. Alice loved near our sorority sisters, but I was sure the other girls at Lambda Sigma Gamma understood why I was straying away from our chapter house. I had only two classes next semester, so being so close to the campus wasn't really necessary. I stepped out of the elevator's shaft and ran right into a hard chest. I gasped softly and looked up at the stranger, fixing my eyes on the messy bronze hair the immaculately-dressed man had. What was someone gorgeous and dresses that nice doing out in the wee hours of the morning? "I'm sorry!" I squeaked loudly, pushing my body off of his with a weak hand.
His stoic expression gave nothing away; was he angry that I stepped all over him like a clumsy girl, or was he cool about it? I couldn't tell, really. He said nothing, just stared at me with those captivating green eyes. We had bumped into each other a few times over the last few years, but we were never nose-to-nose like this, and he always walked in the opposite direction. This time, he didn't go anywhere. Yes, he was obnoxiously gorgeous, but in a deliciously subtle way. His jaw line was well-structured and every detail of his beautiful face was flawless. "Where's Jasper? Call him, Bella, I need him right now." Her sobs and crocodile tears made me cringe- couldn't she see (even if she was in a dark, deep drunken state) that I was trying to read someone? "I don't want to be alone." Her whiny voice filled my ears, causing me to expel a long breath and look away from the dazzling man.
"Hush, you need sleep." I turned my back to him and feigned a smile, hoping I would be forgiven for keeping him. "Sorry again. I'm Bella." I held out my hand as an offering and waited for his reaction.
A flicker of a second-long look of hesitation passed over his face before he took my hand and shook it sternly, leaving no room for excessive holding or the hint of flirtation. "My name is Edward Cullen." I would never forget that name.
"You live here, right? I'm right down the hall, sixth floor." I added awkwardly, even if he already knew that. The hint of a smile ghosted over his face before he nodded stiffly and proceeded to get on the elevator without another glance. My eyes trailed after him as he climbed into his shiny, sleek Mercedes and drove into the dark of the night. He never made passes at me or really even looked my way, and that made him desirable all the more. I liked when men didn't hang all over me, or huff at my feet like sweaty dogs.
"Mine or yours?" Alice liked her lips playfully, gesturing in the direction he went. I rolled my brown eyes and dragged her along to my front door.
"You cockblocked in a major way tonight, Alice. He isn't any of ours." She pouted comically and began humming a light little tune her mother used to sing us when we were younger.
"A shame, from the way your knees started to shake his body must have felt nice and taught." I sent her an outraged look and pushed us through the open door, settling her in the couch before fetching sheets and pillows from the linen closet. "What, no midnight snack? I think I'm kind of hungry. My mom's restaurant should still be open." Mrs. Jane Masen opened up "Spice" a few decades ago, and since then chains had opened up across California- combined with her father's construction business, the Masens had effectively made a name for themselves in Southern California.
"Spice closes at eleven-thirty, and it's already two in the morning." She yawned with a single shrug of shoulders. "Just close your eyes and lay down. You, missy, have class tomorrow afternoon." she rumbled quietly but gave in to the exhaustion her long day of breakdowns and epiphanies brought. I propped one leg on a pillow and made the other dangle safely off of the edge of my camel-colored sectional; it always worked to control my dizziness and barfing on hangovers.
I thought about Edward as I washed off my makeup and jumped in the shower for a quick rinse before dressing for bed. He was tall and he looked strong… and God, was he beautiful! Oh, who was I kidding? He had the social skills of a hermit and wouldn't give me the time of day if I begged for it. Guys weren't my main focus these days anyway. Morning came too quickly, and when my ten o clock alarm went off, I was too ruddy to wake up and turn it off. Instead, I rolled around bed for a few minutes, praying that time would skip back an hour or two so I could have that much more sleep. With a nasty scowl I bopped the front button and silenced the buzzing before brushing my teeth and hair. I strolled into the living room, where her blanket and pillows were piled neatly on the edge of the couch. Alice was always an early riser, even in a hung over state. "Great." I muttered at the sink full of dirty dishes before doing them, and when I was finished my small apartment suddenly looked too clean to be true. When I lived with Charlie, there was always a part of the house that needed to be cleaned.
I didn't have time to start cleaning what was already clean when three resounding raps sounded at the door. Alice hadn't left me a message, maybe she returned here after getting ready at her house to let me know she was alright before heading to class? I shook my head; I didn't see that happening, since we lived across town from each other and our campus was a good thirty miles away from my apartment. I pulled down my athletic shorts a bit, hating the way they dipped into the crease of my thighs and opened the door. On the other side was Edward, the Greek God Adonis himself. I was hit speechless and could only gape at his odd appearance. "Good morning, Miss Swan." His shy smile did me in.
"G-good… good morning, Mr. Cullen." I stuttered because I was this close to the man I obsessed about all last night in my tenor state. "Call me Bella, though." I eyed the thick bag in the crease of his hand, but failed to probe about it.
"And you may call me Edward, please." Why was he so proper? But it was refreshing, a nice change from the usual Ebonics and slang guys liked to throw around for popularity points. "I just finished a meeting and grabbed brunch, when I thought about…" He hesitated before shifting his weight between feet. "I thought about you, and the fact that you might have been hungry after your… long night." I blushed brilliantly, feeling my entire upper body burn with awareness. He thought about me, and he cared enough to bring something for me? That was so sweet… and maybe just a little creepy. "I do hope you have a taste for crepes." I nodded quickly and invited him with a gesture of my hand before closing the solid door behind him. He was a stranger and a potential rapist, but there was just this aura about him that told me I could trust him.
"Thank you, really. This is too much, though- how about I split the bill? Just let me get my wallet and tell me how much-" I rushed as I brought out silverware and my finest porcelain plates. I needed an excuse to clean, or else I would die of boredom, surely.
"No." His brisk reply cut me off. "This is a gift given out of generosity, not with intentions of a payback." The stone look came back, and to be honest his voice kind of scared me. I felt my pulse quicken and my throat start to dry, so to mask my fear I nodded and turned my back to fix the plates. I was applying two crepes and an omelet to each plate when his hands ghosted over my shoulders and his breath fanned the side of my face. I stilled instantly, going rigid when thoughts of rape and the horrible things he could do once he overpowered me went through my head. "I didn't mean to frighten you. I only wanted to bring a bright smile to your face."
I articulated a smile for show and nodded again before serving out plates on the marble island in my kitchen. "Thanks again." I sent him a small lift of lips and began to cut apart my large crepe. "It's really good!" my eyes nearly rolled to the back of my head when the fresh strawberries and powdered sugar touched my tongue. It was so heavenly, and added to the fact that he was sitting right next to me made everything that much more delicious.
"Anything for you." I kept my smile, but the bubble of spontaneous fun inside of me faltered. Why was he talking to me like he knew me? We went from strangers sharing a complex to friends sharing brunch and chatting up! It sent warning flags off in my head, but I ignored it. I was just being silly, paranoid Bella.
A/N: Hmmm, Bella, any NORMAL person would have not answered that door and let a stranger in. But then again, her naivety and inexperience makes writing my stories so fun.
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