I was standing in the cafeteria line with Angela, another teacher here at the school when she told me that Mike isn't going to be volunteering with us anymore, but there was a new volunteer coming in today.
"I want to work with someone that genuinely cares for these kids as much as I do, Ang. I hope this person does not disappoint me like Mike did."
"I think our new volunteer just walked in, Bella. Turn around."
I turned slowly to see a tall man with unruly bronze hair walk in.
"Great another rich, arrogant playboy," I said as I turned back around.
"Don't judge a book by it's cover," Angela responded.
I watched him walk over to Riley, one of the little boys that stays to himself and he got down on his level and started to sign to him.
I stood there watching them for several minutes
Mike was never this interested in the kids.
"Something is different about this one, Bella," Angela said from beside me as Riley looked over at us and pointed.
I could not deny that fact. This man had not spent ten minutes in this room, and yet he had managed to get Riley to open up.
He stood up and ruffled Riley's hair and he smiled up at him as he turned to walk towards us.
"Hello, I'm Edward Cullen, and I'm here to help with the children."
"I'm Angela Weber and this is Bella Swan," Angela told him.
"Are you always this interested in kids who are deaf and have special needs?" I had to ask him that because I wanted to know how deep his interest was. I could not invest my time in someone that was only here for appearances.
"My words may not carry much weight since we just met, Miss Swan, but I can assure you that I have a heart for these kids already."
Hmm... he sounds more sincere than most of the pretentious, rich playboys that we have had here.
I had nothing left to lose, so I decided to give him a chance. At least for the day. I was impressed with the effect that he had on Riley.
"You can come with me to my classroom, the children should be done with their lunch soon," I said as I turned to walk out of the cafeteria.
He was soon beside me as we walked down the hall. I could smell his expensive cologne.
"What is your day job exactly, ?"
"Please call me, Edward. I don't actually work in a traditional job. My family is well off, but I would rather spend my time giving back to others. I have a soft spot for kids."
This man was not very much like the other volunteers. None of them had ever talked about the kids like this.
"So basically you don't do anything?" I asked astonished that he doesn't work.
"It all depends on your perspective. Last week, I was volunteering in one of the public schools. I was only there for a few hours, but I would like to think I made a difference in their lives."
"What made you choose to volunteer here with deaf kids?"
"I had some hearing difficulties as a child. I wasn't completely deaf, but I had to learn how to sign in order to communicate. I was fortunate to have surgery when I was a teenager, and my hearing was completely restored. Also, my mom was in a car wreck that damaged her ears completely. She was deaf as a result, so I was glad we knew how to communicate. I hope that explains why I am here, Miss Swan."
I was touched by his story, and I was imagining Edward as a small child. He was probably a very cute kid as seeing how handsome he was now.
Handsome? What was I thinking?
"I have to admit that you have won me over with your story. Let's see how the next few days go, and please call me, Bella."
He winked at me as the kids began coming into the room.
He definitely seemed to have a way about him, but I wasn't going to jump on his bandwagon. He still had a lot to prove to me, but he was off to a good start.
He went over to one of the girls and helped her get settled in for the afternoon period. Her face lit up as they continued conversing.
She looked at me and smiled from ear to ear. Then she gave him a giant hug. None of the children had ever done that with any of the volunteers before.
I watched him as I taught them their afternoon lessons, and he helped each one, especially the ones that he noticed that were struggling with the material.
They responded well to him, and it was certainly making my job easier.
It was a pleasant and unexpected surprise.
The time seemed to go by faster, and I found myself actually enjoying his company.
While we were getting the kids ready to go home, Riley approached me with his arms wide open. He told me through his signing that he loved me and he wanted Edward to stay in our class.
I had never witnessed him being this affectionate before. I let him know that Edward would be in our class for now.
He smiled up at me and he walked over to Edward and pulled on his pant leg to get his attention.
Edward knelt down to his level and I watched as Riley hugged him and thanked him for listening to him at lunch time.
I watched as Riley walked away from Edward with a huge smile and I didn't know what to think of Mr. Edward Cullen.
He definitely wasn't like the other volunteers that we've had.
Since it appeared that he had won all of the kids over, I was going to let him stay in my class. The passed few hours were the most peaceful and productive ones we had in several weeks.
We straightened up the classroom after the children left for day.
"Well, Edward I think you did an amazing job with the children. I've never seen them so accepting of someone new before," I said as I put their notebooks in my bag.
"Thank you, Bella. I really enjoy spending time with them. Shall I walk you to your car if you are done for the day?"
"You really don't have to do that."
"Please let me. I was raised to be a gentleman."
What was this man doing to me?
"If you insist, then who am I to stand in the way of old fashioned manners?"
He held the door open for me, and we walked out into the fresh air.
"Which car belongs to you?" he asked as we walked through the parking lot.
I pointed out a well used Honda.
"Thank you," I said as I unlocked the door.
"Wait just a moment," he said as he walked to the front of the car.
"The hood is not closed all the way. Did you open it recently?"
I stepped over to where he was standing.
"No, I haven't," I said looking up at him.
He lifted it up to examine the engine.
"The wires to your battery are cut. That's not good, Bella."
I was at a loss for words.
"Why would the wires be cut?"
"I'm not sure, could be high school kids playing a prank. But it definitely won't start," he said quietly.
Angela had left for the day, so I was unsure of how I was going to get home. My parents lived too far away to help me.
I started to bite my bottom lip as I considered my options.
I pulled out my cell phone.
He looked over at me as he let the hood fall back into place.
"I don't need to ask you if you need a ride home, do I?"
I just nodded at him.
"How about this...can I take you to dinner and we can get to know each other better? I have the feeling we are going to be around each other more now and then I can get you back home safely."
"Um.. sure, dinner sounds great. I kind of skipped lunch today," I said as I locked the door of my car.
"Great," he said.
"What about tomorrow, though? I will need a way to get to school."
"No worries, I can pick you up on my way," he said. "Your car can be towed and worked on tomorrow also. You won't be stranded."
"I can't ask you to do that," I said.
"You did not ask. I offered. Now I know you are hungry. I can hear your stomach rumbling over here."
He led me over to a silver Volvo and opened the passenger door for me.
I sunk into the comfort of the seat, unaccustomed to this type of luxury.
He got inside and started the engine.
"Anything you are particularly hungry for? If not I know a great Italian place in Port Angeles."
"That sounds good, but I don't want you to spend too much money on me."
"Nonsense, it will be my pleasure," he said with a smirk.
We rode in a comfortable silence till we pulled into a parking spot near the restaurant.
He hopped out of the car before I could opened it for me.
"Thank you," I said as I got out of the car.
The host seated us quickly once we were inside. It was a cozy restaurant with dim lighting. I did not realize how hungry I was until I could smell the food.
He handed me the menu and told me to get anything that I wanted to get.
I lingered over the mushroom ravioli, but I chose the classic spaghetti with meat sauce.
The waiter came over and took our order. After he was done, I could hear a slight growl from him
"Did I do something wrong?" I asked.
"No, it was the waiter. I did not like the way he was looking at you. It was rather disrespectful."
"I didn't notice."
I was being honest. My eyes were focused on him.
"He was staring at you in a way that was overly suggestive. I have the urge to talk to the manager."
I was about to stop him when he got up to speak with the host.
An older man came over to speak with Edward.
They had a brief conversation.
He made his way back over to our table.
"Dinner is on the house."
I blinked a few times as I thought about his words.
"What? How? What did you say?" I asked.
"Don't concern yourself with the details. I took care of the problem. Now let's get to know each other."
I didn't know how to feel about that, no one has ever spoken to me that way and I wasn't sure if I liked his tone.
This was foreign territory for me.
I let out a deep sigh. I knew I should not complain, but I was definitely unsure of this.
"You look worried. Tell me what's wrong, please."
"You helped me with the kids, my car, and now you're...you're..."
I could not finish the sentence. This was all becoming too much on me.
"It's too much," I finally said out loud.
Now it was his turn to blink several times.
"What is?" he asked as he picked up his glass of wine and he took a sip.
"You're being too generous to me. I'm not used to it."
I needed a sip of wine at that moment.
"I want to help you, Bella. I apologize if I'm coming off too strong."
"It has more to do with my ex boyfriend than anything else."
I shocked myself by admitting that to him.
A look of concern came over his face.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"James was not an especially nice person. He did not hold the door open for me. I had to pay for all of my meals when we went out to eat. His behavior kept getting worse as time went on."
What was it about him that made me want to bear my soul to him?
"This guy sounds like he is not worth the dirt under your feet."
I giggled when I heard that.
"I hope this is not too forward of me, but I could listen to the sound of your laughter all day."
"You're the first person to ever say that to me, people have said that my laugh is annoying," I said softly as the waitress brought our food to the table.
"Then those people are idiots."
I looked over at him and smiled. He really was getting to me, as much as I wanted to deny it. As I dug into my food, he asked me if my parents lived close to Forks.
"No they live in Seattle. I moved here when I was offered a teaching position."
"I forgot to mention that you are a great teacher, also. It takes a special person to work with kids who have special needs."
"Thank you," I responded after swallowing a bite of food. "Where do your parents live?"
"Ironically, they live in Seattle, too, but they just moved there from Chicago. I was raised there."
"Then what are you doing in a small town like Forks?"
"My family wants to set up a foundation for the state, for families that have members who are deaf. The program at your school is one we wanted to look at to study. And I genuinely wanted to work with the children."
The more I learned about him, the more I became intrigued.
"Where are you staying now?"
"I've rented a house in town that is not far from the school."
"Oh," I said quietly as I took another bite of food.
He's definitely not like the others.
"I'm sure your girlfriend doesn't like that you are here instead of Seattle."
"I don't have a girlfriend, Bella, but that does not mean that I don't have my eye on someone."
As much as I liked hearing that, I was not sure why I cared.
"I'm sure anyone you chose to be with would be very lucky," I said looking away from him.
"No, I'm the fortunate one. From what I know of her, she is a wonderful person who does not see all of her potential. I'd like to be the one that opens her eyes to let her see how beautiful she is."
I excused myself to go into the ladies room. I needed a moment by myself to clear my mind. He was getting under my skin. I could easily fall for him, and that was a problem. I knew he was not like other men. Edward was the complete opposite of James.
I went back out to the table to find him sitting there with a smile on his face. There was a large piece of chocolate cake in the middle of the table.
"I chose this for dessert, Is that alright?"
"Chocolate cake is my favorite."
"I'll have to remember that for next time."
There was something about his statement that I liked hearing.
The thought of there being a next time with him sent a small shiver down my spine.
He noticed that and then he ran his hand over my arm.
"I wish I had bought my jacket with me today. I can tell you are a little cold."
His hand felt like it always belonged on me.
Our eyes met as he took a bite of cake.
"I haven't thanked you for all of your help today. The kids warmed up to you, and I think they'll be happy with you in the classroom."
"You're welcome. I'm glad to help out, it was really enjoyable, " he said as he got some cake on the fork and reached it out to me.
I hesitantly took a bite, but it tasted delicious.
He had this grin on his face that made my heart beat faster.
No one has ever made me feel this way before, not even James.
"I take it that you like the cake?"
I had not realized that I was slightly moaning as the fork came out of my mouth.
"Um, yes it's really good."
"I'm glad," he said as he took a bite.
When we were done, he paid the bill, and left the restaurant.
The sun was setting and I could feel the chill in the air.
"Let me get you in the car before it gets any colder."
I settled into the passenger seat once again, thankful for the warmth of the heater.
"You're going to have to show me where you live when we get back to town."
I thought about the last time I rode with James in his car. he had the music up loud enough to make my ears ring afterward.
He would look at me with disgust.
"Bella, I had a nice time getting to know you tonight. I hope that we will be able to do it again," he said softly.
"You're not anything like I expected you to be, Edward. I have to admit that I enjoyed going to dinner with you, too."
"How exactly am I different?"
"I thought you'd be like all the other pretentious rich playboys that we've had at the school, but you are so down to earth and you genuinely care about the kids and want to help them."
He was quiet for a few moments.
I hoped that I didn't say something to upset him, it surprised that I actually cared if I did.
"Bella, I can't express how much that means to me. That you understand how I feel in my heart."
"Why does it matter what I think of you?" I asked hoping that it doesn't come off as sounding bad.
"Because I want for us to be friends. I have a high level of respect for you, and I've never met any woman that intrigued me as much as you do."
"I intrigue you? I'm nothing but ordinary."
"You do not have an ordinary bone in your body."
I had to look down at the floorboard after he said that.
"What is so funny?"
"Just you, that you think I'm not ordinary."
"I think you're beautiful, strong willed, and very intelligent. Those are some of the qualities I look for in a friend."
Part of me wanted to be more than friends with him.
But really I don't think I'm his type at all.
Why would he want to be more than friends with me?
"Bella? We are entering the town, where do you live?"
I was lost in my thoughts, but he pulled me away from them.
"My place is about a half a mile away from the school. Stay on the road that it is on till you see the second traffic light. Then you'll turn right."
"That will be very easy for me to follow because that is the way I drive home from the school."
I wondered if we were neighbors.
"Now tell me which house is yours?"
"It's the one story brick house with the dark green shutters."
He shook his head as we drove closer to it.
"The house that is two doors down is the one I'm renting."
I could not believe my luck.
The man that was weaving his way into my life was living this close to me.
He pulled into my driveway and turned the engine off.
"Let me walk you to your door."
He got out and walked over to my side, offering me his hand. Once I was out, he did not let go of it.
Honestly, I was glad he was still holding it.
"I really had a great time, Edward. Once again, thank you."
"What time would you like for me to come by in the morning?"
"I need to be at school by eight, so you can come over about quarter till eight. If that is not a problem."
"Consider it done, Bella. I will see you in the morning,"
After I took the keys out of my pocket, I unlocked the door. We said goodnight and I watched him walk toward his car.
I went inside with a heart filled with many confusing emotions. He was great with the kids, but why was he this nice to me?
Maybe it was the way he was raised.
Walking back into the bedroom, I started to look for my purse.
Panic started to spread over me. Did I leave it in the restaurant? How would I get there? My phone was in it, so I could not call any one.
I walked up to the front of the house and I heard a car door close.
There was the sound of someone coming up the walkway. I looked through the peep hole.
Edward was standing there with my purse.
Feeling relieved, I opened the door.
"Hey," I said.
"I knew you would be looking for this any moment. It slid under the seat."
I wanted to give him a giant hug then.
"Thank you, I was just starting to panic."
I stepped forward and then stopped myself.
"I'll bet your phone is in there, too"
"Yes it is. I would have been lost without it."
"Can I see your phone?" he said.
I handed it over to him, and he pressed the numbers.
Then I heard his phone chime.
"I have your number now, so let me give you mine."
He took out his phone and dialed the number.
I wanted to do this earlier, but I was glad that he did it instead.
"Even though I'm right down the street, you can call me any time."
"Okay," I said quietly.
Yet again, he was nothing like James.
He never wanted me to call him unless it was an absolute emergency.
Edward wants me to call him anytime.
He leaned over and lightly brushed his lips across my forehead.
I heard my breath catch in my throat at the feel of his lips.
It was the briefest of touches, but more than enough to make me want to feel more of his lips.
He looked down at me and smiled.
"I'll see you in the morning," he said as he walked down the sidewalk to his car.
"Goodnight," I replied as he walked away.
He was too good to be true.
I closed the door behind me. The feeling of his kiss was still on my skin.
Edward Cullen was winning me over, but would I be good enough for him?
I went to bed with that question still in my mind. He would be here in a few hours.
I had to push away the thought that I might not be the right woman for him.
He certainly wanted to be my friend. Perhaps there was room in his heart for me and the kids.
Right before I fell asleep, I heard the sound of an incoming text message in my phone.
"Sweet dreams, beautiful."
I sat up and smiled as I looked at the screen.
No one had ever called me that before.
I sent him a message.
"Sweet thoughts, handsome."
I'd be lying if I said he was not easy on the eyes.
I closed my eyes after I set the phone down.