Disclaimer: I do not own characters, they are property of Stephanie Meyer.
Larger Than Life
Bella didn't have deep rooted issues. She didn't substitute love with food. She didn't have 'glandular problems'.
She was just a girl who enjoyed food and who was naturally a little larger than some other girls.
It had never been something that had bothered her and it had certainly never bothered Edward, her roommate. When he looked at Bella, he didn't see broad hips and bulges that didn't exist on the models in Bella's fashion magazines.
No, Edward saw soft curves, pale skin, long dark hair and the biggest brown eyes to exist outside of a Disney cartoon. Many a night he had sat beside Bella on the sofa in their apartment and wondered what it would feel like to run his hand over the swell of her hip and feel the curve of her behind swerve into the dip of her waist.
Unfortunately he couldn't.
Because that was Ass-face's job.
Ass-face, also known as James, had been Bella's boyfriend for six unbearable months. Luckily for Edward, Ass-face was working late tonight and that meant that Bella had the evening free.
"How hungry are you, Sweets?" She asked as he sat at the table in their small kitchen, standing over the oven and stirring something in a pan. Edward repressed a goofy grin at her nickname.
"Starving, as always." He replied and she smiled sweetly, glancing over her shoulder at him. Her hair was tied back in a ponytail and swayed back and forth as she carried the pasta to the sink and drained it.
"There's garlic bread in the oven, can you get it out?" She asked, tipping the pasta into the two dishes.
Once they'd sat down, Edward scooped up a forkful of pasta, sauce and chicken and put it in his mouth. Bella watched, chewing her lip through her smile as he moaned.
"Marry me, Bells." He pleaded, wondering if she knew how much of that request was serious and how much was a joke.
"Anytime, Sweets. You'll have to keep me in cookies and Cosmo."
"You're lucky you can cook, cos your taste in magazines sucks." Edward winked and she laughed softly, tucking into her own food.
They chatted amiably as they ate and Edward poured them each a glass of red wine.
"Cheers." He clinked his glass on hers, taking another mouthful of his food. The sweetness of the tomatoes was offset by the basil and rosemary, rounded beautifully by the garlic bread and he heard Bella giggle as his eyes rolled back in his head at the taste
Perhaps a little background information would help here.
Edward Cullen had moved to Seattle to help run his brother's business. Emmett Cullen ran a music store and whilst he excelled at the business side of it, his musical taste left much to be desired. Hence his bringing in Edward, who had a degree in Music and could play any instrument that fell into his hands. Between them, they had brought Tunes into the public eye and made a profitable turnover.
The only issue was where Edward would live. Definitely not with his recently married brother who was still in his 'honeymoon' (read: humping insatiably against anything that stayed still long enough) stage.
This led to a perusal of local noticeboards and papers until Edward found an advertisement for a roommate that didn't sound like an invitation to a) a satanic ritual b) a sex party c) a invitation to be cannibalised.
Wanted: Clean, considerate roommate to share with female in early twenties. Two bed, two bath, shared kitchen and living room. No timewasters or weirdos.
The last sentence had made Edward snort, pluck the card from the noticeboard and pull out his cellphone.
"Hello?" A cheerful female voice had answered.
"Hi, I'm calling about the room." Edward had said.
"Oh, cool. You're not a weirdo?"
"Nor a timewaster."
"Great!" She had given him the address, they'd hit it off immediately and they had been living together for four years.
Edward couldn't quit pinpoint when he'd fallen madly, head-over-heels in love with his buxom roommate. Maybe it was six months after they'd moved in together, when she'd fallen asleep at the kitchen table with piles of paper from her work surrounding her for the third time that week. Maybe it was when she'd cooked his favourite breakfast on his birthday that first year.
Maybe it was the night they'd stayed up until three in the morning watching The Lord of the Rings trilogy and she'd eventually dozed off, her head on his shoulder and he'd noticed that she smelt like vanilla.
Edward loved vanilla.
A few days later, Edward came home from work to find Ass-face and Bella at the kitchen table. Ass-face was on his laptop while Bella sipped a cup of tea, scribbling notes on a manuscript. She smiled up at him.
"How was work?"
"Not bad." He went over to the fridge to get a can of coke, popping it open, "I've got a gig in a couple of weeks at the bar on Maple."
"Edward, that's great!" Bella beamed, "We'll be there, won't we James?"
Ass-face glanced up from his laptop.
"Sure." He said shortly and looked at his watch, "What time are we eating, Bella?"
"I was going to make enchiladas." Bella said, "They won't take long. I'll start in a minute."
"I'll help." Edward offered, "I'll make some salad to go with it?"
"Salad seems like a good idea." Ass-face said, looking pointedly at Bella, "Much fewer calories, right Bella?"
Bella and Edward both froze. Ass-face had already looked back at his laptop, his comment lingering in the air.
Edward looked at Bella's profile, where she was standing by the oven. She was staring at James, a red flush creeping up her neck. She licked her lips, blinked and then turned to face the counter. She caught Edward's eye and looked away quickly.
They made enchiladas and salad. Bella picked at hers all night.
Edward stretched, sat behind the counter at Tunes. The store was quiet and it was almost closing. His phone buzzed and he checked the text.
Hey sweets, want anything from the store? Xx
He tapped a message back.
Grab me some beers? Will you pay you back in eye candy and the next Script album. x
The message came back seconds later.
Ooh, Script and eye candy? What eye candy?
Me obviously ; )
He could almost hear her laugh and tucked his phone back into his pocket as Emmett and Rosalie came in.
"Texting on the job?"
"As part-owner, I reserve the right to text on the job." He grinned.
Bella had wet hair when he got back.
"I went swimming at that gym near my work." She said by way of explanation, "I haven't been swimming in years."
"Why now?" Edward asked curiously, although he had a suspicion of what the answer might be.
Bella shrugged, avoiding his eye as she sliced mushrooms.
"Just trying to get healthy, I guess. No reason not to."
Trying to get healthy. Right.
Edward walked up behind Bella and slid his arms around her, giving her a tight hug. Her damp hair pressed against his cheek and her hands fell still on the chopping board.
He kissed her cheek and walked out of the kitchen.
For breakfast, Bella served Edward pancakes and bacon.
"Most important meal of the day!" She always said as they sat down to eat.
For the past week, Bella had prepared Edward delicious breakfasts as always but had eaten a banana and small yoghurt herself.
Edward watched as she chewed pieces of banana slowly. She looked tired and Edward noticed that she'd packed a tiny salad for her lunch.
Bella caught his eye and she smiled.
Edward smiled back weakly.
A few weeks after that, Edward went to knock on Bella's bedroom door, wanting to know if she'd seen his favourite t-shirt. It was slightly ajar and he pushed it open a little.
Bella didn't notice him. She was stood, staring at the full length mirror on the inside of her wardrobe. She was wearing the shorts she had slept in and a tank top.
She wasn't moving. She was staring at her reflection, her hands by her neck as she tucked her dark hair back from her face. Her eyes slid from her feet, up her legs to the curve of her hips, the line of her waist and breasts, up to her face. Her eyebrows were drawn together in a frown and she folded her arms across her waist as though hiding it.
Edward cleared his throat and she spun around, pulling at her clothing.
"Have you seen my Black Sabbath tee?"
"Um… in the dryer, maybe?" She was flushed, embarrassed to have been caught. Edward nodded slowly and then cleared his throat.
"Is… is something wrong?"
"No. Nothing." Her tone was abrupt and Edward left quickly, unable to wipe the image of Bella's unhappy expression from his face.
"What's wrong, grumpy?" Rosalie asked as she went over the accounts for Tunes. She worked as an accountant but did the work for her husband for free. She looked at Edward and pinched his cheek. Edward jerked his head away, scowling.
"What do you mean?"
"You've got a face like a smacked ass."
Edward shrugged and looked at his sister-in-law. Rosalie was a stunning woman, tall, slim and confident. She wasn't soft and sweet like Bella but determined and fiery. Edward liked her and knew that she would be able to give him an honest opinion.
"It's Bella and Ass… her boyfriend."
"Oh, Ass-face? Emmett has mentioned him." Rosalie said, tapping her calculator. Edward nodded.
"Yeah. He made this comment a while ago about Bella and she's… she's changing because of it."
Rosalie turned crystal blue eyes on him.
"What kind of comment?" She asked sharply. Edward sighed, rubbing his forehead.
"… It was about her weight. She's not eating properly. She's exercising for hours every night. She's running herself ragged."
She didn't look like Bella anymore. She had dark circles under her eyes. Her lush curves had melted a little and her pale skin had a greyish tinge.
"It's not just unhealthy. She's… she's sad, Rosalie. She doesn't smile like she used to. She's so quiet and when Ass-face is around, she's just a shadow."
Rosalie sighed heavily.
"She doesn't even look like Bella anymore."
"And you'd know, seeing as how you're in love with her."
Edward didn't even try to deny it.
Rosalie sighed again.
"You're not the kind of guy to steal another man's girl."
"No." Unfortunately. If Edward was that kind of man, he'd have pushed James out of a tower and ridden off into the sunset with Bella, "But it's not about that. I just want Bella to be happy – and not necessarily with Ass-face. I just want her to be happy."
"Support her. If she wants to be healthier and I'm saying healthier, Edward, not thinner… support her. Help her prepare dinner. Go to the gym with her or take her out for long walks."
Edward considered it. That seemed to make sense – he could keep an eye on Bella, make sure that she was eating properly, not running herself into the ground…
The fact that he got to spend time with her was just an added bonus.
"I made dinner!"
Bella almost dropped her laptop bag. She had just stumbled through the door and been met with a beaming Edward.
"What? You… what?"
"I made dinner. You cook for me all the time so I wanted to return the favour." Edward smiled, taking her hand and leading her into the kitchen.
A large bowl of salad was accompanied with chicken breasts and couscous.
Except that the salad was limp and Bella was fairly certain that she could see dirt clinging to the leaves. The chicken had a vague rubbery texture to it and the couscous was so overcooked that it looked like a glutinous mass.
"Edward, this is so sweet of you…" She said bleakly as they sat down. Edward grinned, cutting a piece of chicken and popping it into his mouth as she poked a dubious spoon into the couscous.
He reached across the table and knocked her cutlery out of her hands.
"Don't. No one should suffer like this."
She smiled. It was warm and sweet and Edward's heart jumped at the sight of it.
"It's a good thing that we live together, Sweets. You'd have died of food poisoning or starvation by now."
"This is why you cook, Bella. Want to go out for dinner instead?" He morosely scraped the plates into the garbage as Bella ditched the salad.
"I can't, I've got a manuscript that really needs looking over before tomorrow. Besides, I ate before I went to the gym."
Edward watched her fade away into the next room and his heart sank again.
Four weeks later, Edward stared as Bella emerged from her bedroom.
She was wearing a pair of jeans that were only held on with a belt and a t-shirt that had once clung to beautiful curves and now hung weakly from her shoulders. The bags beneath her eyes were dark and he wanted to shake her, to force her to look at herself clearly.
She had been talking to him and he shook himself.
"James is going to Club Twilight tonight. He asked if I wanted to go but things haven't been too great lately and I'd appreciate a buffer, if you're free."
"Why haven't things been great?" Edward blurted out the question and instantly regretted it as Bella winced.
"Uh… I don't know. I've just been so tired lately and he's been busy with work and we've had that big contract at work. You know how it gets."
Edward bit back the words that he wanted to say.
She was tired because she hadn't eaten. Even now she was swaying back and forward, a little unsteady on her feet.
Ass-face had been busy because he was a dick.
"Yeah, sure. Shall I drive?"
"I don't mind. I probably won't drink; it's all just empty calories."
Bella had never even said the word 'calories' before James' comment.
The urge to punch Ass-face in the nuts was almost unbearably strong.
Edward changed into jeans and a button down green shirt that Bella had once insisted upon him wearing as it 'made his eyes pop'. He made her promise never to use that phrase again within his hearing.
"Bella, I'm leaving in five minutes!" He called as he tossed his keys into the air. He really didn't want to go out and watch other people drink and the only woman he had ever loved make out with an Ass-face.
His keys clattered to the floor when Bella came out of her bedroom. She was wearing black pants and a fitted red top. Edward has testosterone so he couldn't really describe it any better than that but she looked beautiful.
But the curves were less defined, the dull skin not hidden by the make-up and the sadness lingered around her mouth, no matter how much she tried to smile.
"Do I look OK, Sweets?" She asked, her fingers twisting as she plucked the material away from her stomach.
"Beautiful, Bella. As always." She smiled and as she passed him, heading for the door, the familiar smell of her vanilla perfume made him sigh.
Club Twilight was a watering hole for douchebags like Ass-face. Edward did not frequent clubs, preferring bars where you could actually hear the person next to you. He paid the entry fee for himself and Bella, insisting that she could buy him a coke in return.
The club was an orgy of grinding bodies, pulsating music and that general odour of sweat and alcohol. Bella stuck close to Edward's side.
"I think he said that he was going to be in a booth." She shouted, pointing to one side of the club that was lined with booths on a raised platform.
They fought their way through the crowd to the steps leading up to the raised platform. Bella paused on the step above Edward, looking around for a sign of Ass-face, while Edward tried to figure out why the floor was so sticky.
He only realised a moment later that Bella had frozen like a deer in the headlights. She was staring fixedly out across the room and he followed her eye line until it landed on Ass-face and the skinny redhead that he was grinding on. He was kissing her, practically eating her face as his hand grabbed at her non-existent ass. She wasn't unattractive but she was no Bella.
Edward looked up at her and saw the anguish on her face. He took her hand.
"Can we go home, Edward?" Although he could barely hear the words, he knew what she wanted and nodded.
James never saw them come in and he never saw them leave.
Bella didn't speak all the way home. She stared fixedly out of the window as Edward cast her uncertain sideways glances.
They reached their apartment and as Edward let them in, Bella walked into the living room. She looked around, seemingly at a loss, so Edward hung back.
Bella hurled her clutch across the room with a cry. It hit the far wall and slid to the ground, her keys and lip-gloss spilling out as she clutched her hair.
"What's the point?" She shouted and Edward jerked in surprise.
"What was the point, Edward?" She turned towards him and he was alarmed to see tears in her eyes, "Why would he tell me that I need to change and then cheat on me anyway? Why would he even show interest in me if I'm not what he wants?"
"Because he's a fucking Ass-face." Edward blurted out and she blinked at him before letting out an angry huff.
She turned and kicked off her shoes. They clattered across the floor and she stared down at her bare feet.
She wasn't angry, Edward realised. She was upset.
"I was trying." Bella whispered and her voice was choked with sudden tears, "I was trying to be what he wanted. He knew that I was trying."
Something snapped in Edward and he gave an irritated grunt.
"Why were you changing? Like you said, what was the point? The guy treated you like shit, Bella."
"Are you in love with James?"
"What? No, of course not…!"
"Then why does it matter?" Edward seethed with white-hot anger at James for doing this to Bella, at Bella for doing it to herself and at himself for not stopping her. "Why are you changing for a guy that tells you that you need to change? Don't all your crappy magazines tell you to stay away from those kind of guys?"
"Have you been reading my Cosmos?"
"Not the point, Bella!"
Edward took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. Bella folded her arms across her chest, her head ducked so that he couldn't see her face.
"I don't get it. You are amazing and beautiful and he wanted to change you. I don't get it and I don't understand why you'd want to change, as if there was something wrong with you-"
"I'm too big, Edward! You saw that girl… there was nothing of her, she was so thin!" Bella half-shouted back, pushing herself upright and spreading her arms as though to gesture at the thin air that made up the red-headed girl, "That's what James' wants!"
"Too big?! What the fuck are you talking about? Too big for James? Why does he even matter?"
Bella's voice faded away.
"Because I wanted someone to want me."
Her eyes were bright with tears and fury, her cheeks flushed with anger and she looked more alive than she had in days. Edward stared at her, slightly in awe.
"You don't love him. He's not worth a fraction of the time that you've spent on him. So why does it matter if he thinks that you're not the right shape or size?" Edward asked, genuinely perplexed, "Why does it matter when someone that really loves you will love you because you're just… you?"
Bella licked her lips nervously and he could see the cogs turning in her head.
"What do you…? Edward, what are you talking about?" She whispered and Edward's heart began to pound furiously. The blood rushed to his head as he heard the words leave his mouth.
"I keep telling you that you're beautiful and you never believe me. And you are, you're the most beautiful woman that I've ever met and I want to kill him for making you not believe that, for making you think that you weren't perfect."
He took a step towards her, hoping she'd move closer but she didn't, staring at him with wary eyes.
"It's like I said… he shouldn't matter because he doesn't love you and you don't love him. But I love you and I think you're incredible and I hate that you've changed because you were fucking perfect before you tried to change."
Her mouth was slightly open and Edward wondered if he'd crossed a line.
Shit, was he about to have to find a new place to live?
"It'd be really good if you could say something right about now." He whispered and Bella blinked.
"You said that you love me." She stuttered. Edward nodded.
"Yes. I'm in love with you. One hundred per cent, head over heels, completely whipped in love with you." In for a penny, in for a pound.
"You never said anything."
"You were dating another guy."
"You never said anything." Bella insisted again, "Edward, how can you be in love with me?"
"You're an awesome cook. And you smell like vanilla and you always know where my laundry is. Your hair is incredible and you're so warm and kind and… fuck, I don't know." Edward pulled on his own hair, "I just do, OK?"
"In spite of my size?" Her words were cautious, scared and Edward wanted to draw James' face on the wall and punch it until his knuckles bled.
"Your size has nothing to do with it, Bella."
"I wish you looked the same as you used to though. Unless you prefer yourself now but you don't seem happy with how you are. I just want you to be happy because then I'll be happy. Not that this is all about me or anything." He rambled, his voice fading away awkwardly.
Bella chewed her lip and looked down at herself.
"I don't… I don't know how I feel."
Edward stayed silent and she glanced up at him.
"I hate being tired all the time. And hungry – god, I'm starving all the time at the moment. None of my clothes fit, they're all too big. My boobs are smaller and that sucks because I kind of liked my boobs."
Edward kind of liked her boobs too, but he sensed that it wasn't the moment to say anything because Bella seemed to be getting into her stride.
"I miss cooking real food. I mean, we never really ate junk food anyway, did we? And, OK, I kind of like swimming now that I'm back into it but three hours a day is way too much, right?"
"Right." He wasn't sure if he was supposed to answer but she smiled at him and he smiled back.
"So… I should just go back to what I was doing, right? Because I was happy then and I'm not now, so I should do what I need to do to make myself happy."
Edward grinned and she moved closer to him, wrapping her arms around him in a hug. He pulled her closer, feeling her smaller frame against his chest and he slid his hands down to her smaller waist, stroking down to her hips and back up again. The swerve was less dramatic, less curvaceous than it had been but when he thought back to that impossibly thin girl from the club…
Edward's lips found Bella's and she was still, uncertain as he moved one hand from her waist to her hair, stroking gently as he kissed her, his tongue darting out to taste her lips. She tasted like vanilla too.
He ended the kiss and opened his eyes, hoping and wishing and dreading her reaction. Her hands had tightened around his shirt, bunching the fabric between her fingers as she opened her eyes, gazing at him with uncertain, dark eyes.
"You love me."
"I'm in love with you." He corrected her, "I mean, I love you as well because you're just perfect, but I'm also in love with you because there's a difference, right? At least, Cosmo thinks that there is."
"I knew you were reading them." She smiled and he couldn't help kissing her again.
This time she kissed him back, slipping her arms around his neck as he held her close by the hips, his hands running over them, unable to believe that he was able to touch her like this.
Unfortunately, his dick was completely able to believe it and as Bella pulled her head back, she seemed able to believe it as well. She looked down, her lips twisting into a smile and Edward looked at the ceiling awkwardly.
"Uh… yeah, sorry about that."
"Don't be." Bella murmured and took his hand, pulling him towards her bedroom.
Edward's heart leapt into his throat.
"Are you sure?" He asked, stopping her at the door.
"Well we're not going in your room, it's a pit. Do some laundry, Edward."
"Don't nag me, woman." He teased before getting serious again, "I mean… are you sure? Because I don't want this to be you getting over James."
"It's not." She pulled him into the room, "It's me realising how amazing you are and how much I care about you. One of those, how can this have been right in front of me without me noticing things."
He could take that.
He kissed her again and her fingers fumbled over the buttons of his shirt, sliding it off. Their mouths had to part company as he pulled her top over her head and he almost groaned at the sight of her breasts, smaller but still full and beautiful, creamy white skin that he kind of wanted to lick. Bella laughed at his expression.
"Pants, Cullen." She ordered, unbuttoning his jeans. He kicked them off and she laughed again as his foot got caught in the trouser leg and he stumbled towards the bed, taking her with him.
He pulled her down onto the mattress, stroking his hands across her covered hips as she unzipped them and slid them off.
And then she froze.
And then her hands fell across her stomach, trying to hide it.
Edward pulled her hands away, kissing her.
"I have stretch marks." She whispered against his mouth.
"I don't care."
"And it's… it's all kind of wobbly."
"You're perfect." Her stomach wasn't wobbly. It wasn't necessarily toned or made of abs but it was smooth and soft and those little lines made no difference as he rolled her onto her back, his hands stroking that soft skin.
She inhaled sharply and let out a nervous giggle.
"That kind of tickles." She whispered and Edward grinned.
"Good to know. This," He rubbed a thumb over her bra, "needs to come off. Please."
"Well, you did say please."
"Manners are important."
She arched her back to get her hands behind her to the clasp. Edward gave a soft groan as her hips moved against his and then a louder one as her amazing breasts appeared.
"Holy…" He didn't even hesitated but moved his face towards them, his mouth immediately opening to kiss the expanse of soft skin and Bella gasped gently as his fingers caressed them.
She squirmed delightfully beneath him as his mouth brushed against a nipple and he smiled, sucking it gently.
Now it was her time to moan and she did. Loudly.
He moved his hands over her hips and down to her panties, looking at her for permission. She nodded and he pulled the fabric away, sliding his hand down.
She was warm and wet and fucking perfect.
His dick whimpered loudly.
"I need you. Now. I'm on the pill." Bella whispered hoarsely and he had absolutely no intention of arguing.
He entered her slowly and her fingernails dug into his back as he sucked on the skin at her neck gently.
"Oh my god…" She moaned and Edward chuckled.
"I go by Edward, but God is fine too."
She was tight and warm and beautiful and Edward moved slowly, kissing her hard as they moved together, awkwardly at first and then with steady rhythm as they found their stride. Bella whimpered loudly and Edward used his fingers, rubbing gently at the spot that made her gasp wildly.
"Edward, I'm… oh my god!"
Fuck. She was beautiful normally but as she came she was like a goddess and Edward couldn't contain himself any longer. He came too and they slumped together, side by side on the bed.
Bella looked at him, blinking as she took in what had just happened. Edward leaned over to kiss her again, moving closer so that they were pressed together again.
"I've wanted that forever." He told her, "And you, beautiful, know how to live up to a man's expectations."
She laughed and nuzzled her face against his chest.
"Sweets, you might just be the most perfect man on the planet."
"You read Cosmo. Every man has a flaw."
Bella regained a little of the weight she had lost but her new hobby of swimming kept some of it off. Edward didn't care – she was finally happy again and that was the most important thing.
She started cooking again and she started eating again. They laughed again and they made love as often as they could (turned out that it was often and with much enthusiasm).
Bella ignored James' calls until finally, he turned up on the doorstep, more than a week after Edward and Bell had had sex for the first time.
Edward answered the door in his boxers and Bella was wearing only his shirt that reached her mid-thigh. James looked from one to the other, mouth agape. Edward grinned.
"Your loss, Ass-face."
Edward slammed the door in his face and they celebrated by having sex on the couch.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed this little tale. I don't mean to condone that large people are unattractive or thin people are unattractive. The most attractive thing in a person is to be happy with who they are.
That English Writer.