Summary: "Bella, I'll be honest with you. I'm not the marrying kind, and if you're looking for happily ever after you won't find it with me. Now if it's a good time you want—I'm your man."
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. The plot belongs to the author.
Not the Marrying Kind
Chapter 1- First Date
Isabella Swan hid her head in her arms. Her sister, Rosalie, was not going to let her be until she agreed to go on a date with her soon-to-be husband's brother. Rosalie was happily in love, and it had become her personal mission to match up all of her friends, so they could live in the same blissful state.
"Oh, come on, Bella. It won't be that bad. It's not really a blind date. It's Edward, for goodness sake. You've met him before. You know he's good looking—not as gorgeous as his brother, but he's still nice to look at." She shrugged as if Emmett was obviously the better-looking brother, although Bella internally disagreed.
"Edward is too…what's the word I'm looking for?"
"Gorgeous? Hot? Sexy? Rich?" Rosalie interrupted.
Bella shook her head. "No, I was thinking experienced. He'll expect me to fall into bed with him, and you know that's not going to happen."
"I know, and I'll make sure Emmett warns him."
Bella cut-off her well-meaning sister with a desperate voice. "Don't do that! Ugh—Rose, if you say that I'll be too embarrassed to even be on the same planet as him, let alone let him escort me at your wedding. Please don't tell him I'm a virgin."
"So what if you are. It's only a big deal to you." Rosalie shrugged. She didn't even pretend to understand why her sister had waited so long.
Sighing, Bella rubbed her forehead with the tips of her fingers. "I bet that's not true. If you told Edward I was a virgin I bet he'd run the other way."
"So, you want him to try to get you in bed?" Bella groaned at the teasing tone in Rosalie's voice.
"Okay, Rose, I'll go out with him, only once though, as a favor to you. I'll be his friend. I'll make nice, but don't go expecting us to live happily ever after. I'm looking for love, and you know, as well as I, Edward is not."
She was right. Edward Cullen wasn't looking for love.
He sat in his office finishing up the new contracts Emmett had put on his desk that morning. He looked at the clock on his computer. The day had gone by too quickly.
It wasn't that he wasn't looking forward to his date with his brother's soon to be sister-in-law. He was. Bella was an amazingly beautiful girl, but his attraction to her sent uneasiness through him he didn't understand. She seemed to look right through him, and the many times they had been around each other she'd acted cool and uninterested.
At Emmett and Rosalie's engagement party she'd brought along her college boyfriend, a buffoon who pawed at her delicate skin, mussed her smooth hair with his blubbering kisses, and then drunkenly fell in the pool while hitting on her mother.
He'd looked on with disgust the whole time. A beauty such as her deserved someone who would love and treasure her; a husband who promised her the world and gave it to her on a silver platter.
But he wasn't that person.
Rosalie had been bugging him for months to ask Bella out when she came home from school and he finally agreed. But that didn't change anything. He knew he wasn't right for Bella. Edward had vowed a long time ago that he'd never make a promise to a woman he couldn't keep.
He came from a long line of unfaithful men. His genetics proved he could never be a faithful husband no matter how he wished differently. His grandparents had divorced when his father was a child because of his grandfather's infidelity. His parents divorced when Edward was only three-years-old because his father had cheated on his mother, leaving her a bitter, unhappy woman who drank herself to death when he was fifteen.
His father remarried when Edward was only five, and Edward adored his step-mother, Esme. She and his father had always put on a good show, but Edward knew they struggled. He often wondered if they hadn't been surprised by his younger sister, Alice's arrival when he and Emmett were in high school, if they'd still be together.
His uncles, his cousins, all of them divorced because of infidelity, but even knowing this about himself he still couldn't resist the chance to have Bella in his bed. No promises. Just hot, steamy sex for as long as it lasted. She was young, and he was sure she'd enjoy the experience he could give her.
He ran his hands through his hair and put away the boring contracts in front of him, deciding they looked good enough to pass off to the legal team on Monday. He got up from his desk at the headquarters of the offices of Fit Life Gym, a company he and his brother started from nothing, and walked across his expansive office to the sideboard where he kept a bottle of good Scotch. He splashed some into a glass and gulped it down without taking the time to savor it like it deserved.
It probably wasn't a good idea, but he poured another shot before he entered the attached bathroom to get ready for his date. He wasn't nervous; he was just tense.
It had been a busy couple of months since they'd merged with their leading competitor, and the time he'd spent at the office had put a crimp in his social life. While he gave himself a fresh shave, he thought back to the last time he had taken a woman out. He counted back to August.
It had been five months since he'd slept with anyone. He thought about it as he wiped himself off with a towel; it had been right before the engagement party. His date for the party had gotten sick and he hadn't bothered to find someone else to join him.
His dry spell could be blamed on the stress of the merger, but deep down Edward knew it was because of Bella. Even though their interactions were few and impersonal, he hadn't been able to get her out of his mind. Women he dated casually had called to entice him to take them out, but the memory of them was dim and uninspiring next to the fantasies he'd had of Bella.
Her subtle beauty and cool reserve fascinated him. Many a night he had woken, hard as a rock, after dreaming of her. Thinking of the erotic dreams had him hardening in his pants. He laughed at himself and shook away the thoughts of touching her trying to calm his libido.
He decided to use the car service that evening, not to be pretentious, but because finding a parking spot in downtown Seattle was a bitch. The drizzle that had started that morning was still falling from the clouds blanketing the city. He'd planned on taking her to dinner and drinks, and then finishing the night with some dancing. Edward gave the driver his direction and sat back as he was driven through the city to Emmett's condo.
Emmett and Rosalie had moved in together shortly after their engagement. They had met a decade before when Rosalie was hired as a model for their new business' advertising campaign. She had traveled the paths of the rich and famous but always ended up in Emmett's arms. While Edward appreciated their commitment to one another, he knew it was just a matter of time before it ended badly like it did for all the men in his family.
The doorman, familiar with him, let Edward up without calling ahead. He'd barely knocked on the door when Emmett answered and pulled him in. There was no one in the world like Emmett. Never would you meet a more likable guy. The face of Fit Life Gyms, Emmett was tall and built.
"I hope you're ready for her." Emmett nodded down the hallway. "I caught a glimpse a couple of minutes ago, and ooh-la-la, she was looking hot." Emmett leaned closer to Edward's ears. "Rosalie even called in her hairstylist to do Bella's hair. She's done some growing up since you saw her last summer. You might not even recognize her." He paused and shook his head with a grin. "I have a feeling you're going to be in some serious trouble."
Edward smiled at his brother. He'd been blown away by Bella at the engagement party, but every other time he'd seen her she was dressed casually and mostly make-up free. She was every inch as beautiful as her sister.
Emmett poured Edward a drink and lifted his up in a toast.
"To you and Bella, may you fall in love and live happily ever after."
"Nice try, Em. You know that's not going to happen," Edward answered back sardonically, refusing to toast to Emmett's sentiment.
"Come on. Give her a chance, Edward. She's a gem, and you'd be a fool to let her slip through your fingers."
Edward nodded, knowing Emmett was right, but was determined to stand by his vows. Bella was the kind of girl who made him wish he could settle down, and he cursed himself again for agreeing to a date that would only haunt him later.
Bella looked at herself in the mirror and was amazed by how different she looked. Rosalie's hairstylist was a genius. He'd taken her long straight hair and had stylishly cut it into long layers that framed her face and floated softly around her shoulders and down her back. He'd added subtle highlights, allowing the light to glint off her usually dull-looking brown hair, and then styled it into a loose, side-swept ponytail so her hair wouldn't detract from her dress.
Rosalie did her make-up, transforming her from the fresh-faced girl everyone was used to seeing to the sexy woman who would turn heads the entire evening. Just adding to her new hairstyle and vamped up face, Bella was wearing a dress she had designed.
It had been Bella and Rosalie's dream since they were little girls sketching at their kitchen table to someday have their own design house. Rosalie had graduated from FIT, the Fashion Institute of Technology, while she modeled in New York, and Bella had graduated from Parsons, a semester early, in December. She and Rosalie would be officially launching their fashion line in the fall after Rosalie came home from her honeymoon.
The dress had arrived early with the shipment of samples they had received from the factory. She hadn't expected it, and when she tried it on she couldn't resist wearing it tonight.
The short, black dress was deceptively modest, with a boat neckline that gave a tantalizing glimpse of her collarbones. The long sleeves brushed her wrists, and the delicate stitch work around her ribs highlighted her bust line. The dress fell to the middle of her thighs, and when paired with the sexy, scaled Louboutin peep-toe ankle boots, she was a knock-out.
But the real magic happened when she turned around. The dress came over her shoulders and plunged into a deep V that ended only inches away from revealing too much. The jersey material of the dress was form fitting without clinging, and the inability to wear a bra added to the allure. When Bella walked out of the bathroom Rosalie could barely contain her glee and flopped back on Bella's bed, clutching a pillow over her mouth to muffle the sound.
"Edward is going to shit himself when he sees you."
"I certainly hope so."Bella's red lips turned up in a smile. At some point between deciding to go out with him and tonight, Bella had realized she wanted Edward to want her.
Edward was used to women drooling over him and had come to expect it. She'd always played it cool with him, never allowing a glimpse of her true attraction to show. She knew her act affected him, and her dress was just one more way of torturing him.
Rosalie walked out of the room to play off their lateness. They knew Edward had arrived more than ten minutes before because Emmett had peeked his head in the room on his way to answer the door.
"Hi, Edward, I hope you're taking my baby sister somewhere nice." Edward took a swallow of his drink and nodded at Rosalie. "The last guy that took her out thought T.G.I. Fridays was nice. I hope you do better."
They exchanged distasteful looks, and after Edward reassured her he had better plans, Rosalie called down the hallway to Bella.
"Edward's here, Bella. Are you ready?"
Bella took one more glance at her reflection in the mirror and a deep breath to steady herself. She picked up the small clutch Rosalie loaned her, opened it to double check she had everything she needed, and pulled out a string of six condoms. Bella tossed them on the bed with a roll of her eyes and started toward the door.
She stopped with her hand on the light switch and turned around to look at the gold packets on the bed. She walked over, ripped one off and hid it in the bottom of her purse.
Ready to face Edward, she walked out of the room with her head high and entered the living room, hoping her smile hid her nerves. Emmett was the first one to see her, his eyes widened and he gave a low whistle.
Edward took a sip of his drink and turned when Emmett made the noise. His eyes met Bella's and he choked. He saved himself from actually spewing his drink, but the shock of seeing her made him cough. She was so beautiful—more than beautiful. She was stunning. He felt a tightening in his abdomen as he looked her over and was afraid it would turn into a full hard-on if he looked at her legs again.
He walked over and kissed her hand, his voice low and almost breathless as he greeted her.
"You're stunning. Are you ready to go?"
She nodded. "Thank you."
Edward barely held back the groan forming in his throat. Her voice was as sexy as her outfit. He wondered why he'd never noticed it before. Every one of his nerve endings were tingling as he took in her outfit again. He was thankful for Rosalie and Emmett's presence in the room. If they hadn't been there he may have fallen to his knees and begged Bella for the privilege of worshiping her body.
Rosalie held out Bella's coat and before Bella could put it on, Edward took it from Rosalie and held it up for her. When she turned her back to him he almost swallowed his tongue. Her creamy, white back was on display and he had to bite his lip to keep from licking his way down her spine. He couldn't resist inhaling her scent as he got close and heard the hitch in her breath when he did.
Bella turned around and gave her sister a peck on the cheek, trying to ignore the butterflies in her stomach from Edward standing so close. She owed her sister big time for the boost of self-esteem. Nothing made a woman feel more confident than looking good, and considering that the men in the room had been struck speechless, she must look as good as she felt.
But Edward intimidated her. She wasn't exaggerating when she said he was too experienced. Rosalie had told her about his many girlfriends—actually you couldn't really call them girlfriends because that suggested a level of commitment Edward never gave. After finally breaking things off with her college boyfriend, Jacob, she needed the boost.
Bella had moved to New York for school, and she'd had a hard time adjusting. She was naturally quiet and reserved, but in the New York fashion world it took guts and a big personality to stand out, even as a student. Not wanting to stand in her sister's shadow, she had gone to Parsons instead of FIT.
In her junior year, she met the gorgeous Jacob Black, a designer for a well-know fashion house. He claimed to hold the same traditional ideals of love and marriage as Bella did, but he showed his true colors when she wouldn't have sex with him. Jealousy and bitterness infused their relationship. It had become a struggle in New York to keep him at bay, but her small shared apartment was her saving grace.
Against her better judgment, Jacob accompanied her to Rosalie and Emmett's engagement party. When they'd arrived at the hotel where the party was held, even though they had discussed it, Jacob was upset she'd booked separate rooms. They fought, and Jacob arrived at the party late and drunk. It was there she first noticed Edward Cullen. While she received pitying looks from most everyone at Jacob's behavior, Edward stood like a statue, the muscles in his jaw clenching.
Jacob had forcefully pulled her in for a kiss, tugging her hair out of its tight bun with his hands, and pawed her in a way that made her feel violated. She pushed him away and ran into the hotel to get away. She glanced over her shoulder, her eyes wide with tears gathering and cheeks blazing to see Edward standing there. His hands were fisted at his side, looking as if he was going to go after Jacob.
Before he could, Bella heard a splash and screams. It seemed that someone had pushed Jacob into the pool to cool him off. Bella retreated to her room and heard later that Emmett had called security to remove him from the party. She went to dinner that night with Rosalie, Emmett and a bunch of close friends. Edward sat on the opposite end of the table from her, and every time she looked up he was staring at her with a look of intensity she couldn't decipher. The heat in his gaze made her nervous.
It was the same look he was giving her now.
Edward held the door open for Bella and said his goodbyes to his brother and Rosalie, who yelled at their retreating forms.
"Don't do anything we wouldn't do!"
Bella laughed at them and stepped into the conveniently waiting elevator. Edward grinned at her and pressed the button to go down.
"That really leaves the door wide open, doesn't it? From what I've heard Rose and Emmett have done just about everything."
Bella blushed. He was absolutely correct. Her sister shared too much with Bella. "They are quite indiscrete, aren't they?"
He nodded with a smile, but then they fell into silence; her stomach fluttering with desire with each look he gave her.
In truth, Bella wanted Edward in a way she'd never wanted anything, but years of hearing about his love 'em and leave 'em exploits left her unwilling to put herself out there with him. She would go out tonight and enjoy herself to appease her sister, and hopefully have a great time, but she reminded herself again, as she stepped off the elevator, she wasn't going to fall in love with him.
As they walked past the doorman, Edward led her forward to the limo idling in front of the building. She'd ridden in a limo before with Emmett and Rosalie, but that had been to a formal benefit. Never had she ridden in one to simply go out to dinner.
She looked up at him questioningly and was surprised to see the color rising on his cheeks.
He ran his hands through his hair nervously and shrugged. "I know this makes me look like a pretentious ass, but finding parking is difficult on a Friday night."
She slid into the car, and he followed her in. "Besides, this gives me the opportunity to be closer to you than if I was driving." His voice lowered to a sexy timbre that sent chills down her spine. "You look beautiful tonight, Bella. Thank you for agreeing to join me."
Edward reached for a bottle of champagne chilling in a small bar along the side of the limo and offered her a glass, saving her from having to come up with a response to his compliment. If she'd had to make one it would have probably been, "You look beautiful, too."
Instead, she thanked him for the champagne and took the glass from him. His fingers touched hers, and the fluttering increased.
Edward held up his glass slightly.
"Here's to tonight, the start of something beautiful?"
She smiled slightly, took a sip of the bubbly wine, and then she sneezed, which caused her to giggle like a child.
"Bless you." He looked at her with an amused half-smile.
"Thank you. Sorry, the first sip of champagne always makes me sneeze."
Edward set his glass down and turned his body so he was facing her. He took hold of a lock of her hair that had fallen over her shoulder and rubbed it between his fingertips.
"I can't get over how different you look tonight." His voice was quiet and a bit gravelly.
Bella looked down at her lap, embarrassed by his gaze, her glass held loosely between her hands. He lifted her chin with his finger, and his face was closer than she expected it to be.
"Do my compliments make you uncomfortable, Bella?" His words whispered against her face.
She shook her head. "No," she lied. "But thank you for them."
She sat up straight to put a bit of distance between them.
"I almost swallowed my tongue when I saw the back of your dress." He grinned at her and obliged her need for space by sitting back and taking another sip of his champagne.
She laughed quietly. "It was a surprise from Rosalie. I designed it for my finals, and she liked it so much she had it made and shipped with our first samples."
"You designed it?"
Edward knew Rosalie and Bella were designing a line, but he has arrogantly thought of it as a just a hobby. He hadn't realized how talented Bella was. He felt pride for her swell up in him.
Bella ducked her head. "I did."
"I love it."
The car slowed and came to a stop outside a very exclusive restaurant. Edward took her empty glass from her and reached for her hand, placing a soft kiss on her knuckles. He helped her out of the limo and offered her his arm, which she took, and allowed him to lead her into the restaurant. He helped her remove her jacket and was again entranced by the line of her spine; he wanted to follow it down with his tongue. He checked their coats and led her to the hostess stand.
A hostess, sharply dress in a white blouse and black pencil skirt, came around her podium and greeted them. "Mr. Cullen, welcome back." She nodded at Bella. "The table you requested is available. Will you follow me?"
They wove their way through the crowded restaurant to a small table in the corner. Edward pulled out Bella's seat and thanking him quietly, she sat down, shivering when his hand brushed against her bare back. He took his seat as she looked around at the elegant room.
The high ceilings were highlighted by pillars and lit by the dim antique sconces lining the wall in intervals. The tables, surrounding a wooden dance floor, were filled with people dressed anywhere ranging from business dress to formal. Bella was again pleased by her clothing choice for the evening. She must have had a look of awe on her face because when her gaze returned to Edward he mentioned the room.
"It's beautiful, isn't it? In the forties this used to be a ballroom. They hosted weekly balls for the society queens. I can see it now, the woman floating around the dance floor in the arms of their lucky partners."
Bella could see it, too.
Their server came to the table, relayed the evening's specials, and asked if he could get them started with a bottle of wine.
"Red or white?" Edward asked her.
The menu was filled with many delectable choices, but ultimately Bella opted for seafood. The scallops, with a delicate sauce, over jasmine rice were delicious, and the wine Edward chose was the perfect complement to her dish and his.
The flow of conversation was effortless. They spoke of her years away at school. How the East Coast differed from the West. They discussed the merger and how it had changed his company. Bella felt Edward's ankle press against hers at one point. The shock the heat of his leg sent up hers was thrilling. As the server removed their dishes, Bella noticed the couples on the dance floor. She had never eaten at a place that had dancing as well.
"Dance with me?"
Bella shook her head and ducked her head sheepishly. "I don't know how to dance."
"I'll teach you," he said quietly.
Edward led her to the dance floor and pulled her into his arms. He placed his hand on her bare lower back. Bella held on to his shoulder and laid her head on his chest when he pulled her closer, her breasts pressed against him. Edward closed his eyes to keep from groaning, grateful she couldn't see his face.
"Just follow my lead and feel the music."
She tried to listen, but all Bella could hear was her own pulse rushing in her ears. The tension crackling between them took her breath away. His hard chest felt good under her cheek, and the light scent of his aftershave filled her senses.
Edward buried his face in her hair and closed his eyes, trying to figure out how he was going to get her to go home with him. "You feel so good in my arms. Why have we waited so long to do this?"
His words made Bella tense in his arms, abruptly remembering exactly why they hadn't done this before. He was a playboy, and she was looking for something he couldn't give. The song playing ended and Bella took the opportunity to step out of his arms. He followed her back to the table with a quizzical look on his face.
"Is something wrong?"
She shook her head and took a sip of her water, not wanting any more wine to cloud her head.
Edward saw the look in her eyes and realized she was pulling away from him even though he knew she felt the same spark he did.
"Tell me what you're thinking."
Bella looked away, her cheeks blazing from the conflicting emotions of desire and self-preservation. "You don't want to know what I'm thinking, Edward."
He leaned forward. "Tell me."
Bella sat back and tossed her ponytail behind her shoulder. She changed her mind and leaned forward to gulp the rest of her wine down.
"Emmett and Rosalie have been together for a long time and somehow you seem to be a favorite topic of gossip." She sighed before continuing. "I'm really attracted to you, but I think we want different things."
He started to try and convince her when he stopped himself, only to have her continue.
"I'll be honest with you. I'm looking for love. I want what Emmett and Rosalie have. I want it all."
Her cheeks glowed from her discomfort at being so blunt, and Edward wanted to fall at her knees and promise her the moon. But then he said the words that ruined it all.
"I give Emmett and Rosalie a year, and then we'll be watching them fight it out in divorce court. I'll never put myself in that position."
The air went out of Bella's lungs.
"Bella, I'll be honest with you. I'm not the marrying kind and if you're looking for happily ever after you won't find it with me. Now if it's a good time you want—I'm your man."
A wave of overwhelming sadness hit Bella and then, just as quickly, she realized she already knew this about him and felt stupid for hoping for more. She pushed her chair back and started to stand up.
"Thank you for a lovely dinner, Edward. I'm really tired. Would you mind taking me home now?"
"Bella…" Edward knew what he said made him look like the biggest asshole, and he instantly regretted it, even if it was the truth. He couldn't believe how empty he felt when she turned away from him..
Bella walked ahead of him and waited as he got their coats. He could feel the coldness surrounding her as they got into the limo. The slight turn of her body away from his and the awkward silence told him everything.
He couldn't think of the words to make things right and he couldn't tell if she was angry or upset with him. The limo ride was mercifully short and he walked her into the foyer of Emmett's building without saying anything.
Bella turned as they walked into the building. Regret clogged her throat. "You don't need to take me up. I'll be okay. Thanks again for tonight. I had a lovely time."
The doorman pressed the elevator button.
Edward reached for her hand and pulled her close wanting to kiss her. She turned away from his descending mouth to instead offer her cheek for his goodnight kiss.
"Can I see you again?" He sighed with disappointment.
She nodded at him and gave him a sad smile, all the while knowing she would decline any further dates with him. She could only see her broken heart in their future.
xoxoxo- Here it is! I hope you'll enjoy my new endeavor. This story is very different from You Found Me. For one- They are human. No vamps this time. And secondly there will be some light angst, but nothing like the last story.
Next up will be the Epilogue to You Found Me.
No posting schedule for Not The Marying Kind. The holidays are upon us.
As always your thoughts and reviews are loved and much appreciated. :)