"What the…?" he gasped out, chest heaving "Okay, that was…like, mind blowing, but imma need a warning next time you plan to do that again. I'm pushing 30, ya know?"

"You're 29. You can't use the 'old man' excuse, just admit it – I'm too much for you to handle" I was sprawled across his chest; my eyebrows may have wiggled in taunt. The bed sheets had fallen to the floor a while ago and our mattress was now tilted in an odd angle almost falling off the bedframe.

"What happened to the shy virgin I met a few months ago?" he pinched my side making me squeal and jump in surprise.

"You ruined her!" my finger was wiggling in front of his face, and he took the opportunity to bite it.

"I prefer to think of it as I set you free…"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah" I rolled my eyes, kind of distracted that he's…sorta, kinda sucking onmy finger.

"But seriously" he suddenly flipped us over, hovering over me, forehead to forehead "where the hell did you learn that?"

"Don't worry about how, just worry about the when – as is: when are we doing it again?"

"Ohhh, you wanna go again, baby?" he started kissing down the column of my throat

"Well, have you recovered yet?"

"mmmm" he moaned in affirmative.

"well, then" I grabbed a handful of his hair, which was now a mess. His Mohawk was all skewwhiff, and had he not looked so sexy, I'd have laughed. "Before we get into all that again…I need one. more. Thing."

His head shot up, cocky smirk on his lips. God knows what he's thinking – something dirty.

"oh yeah?" it came out in a low, sexy drawl.

"yeah, go make us dinner"

The shock was evident on his face and he was looking at me like I'd gone utterly insane. "Why me?" he complained, whining like a child.

Because I did it last night

But instead of saying this, I put my freezing cold feet on his thighs making his jump up with a yelp. "Because you're up" I giggled out – I'd never heard him make such a girly noise before.

"You're mean" he accused "but I forgive you because of earlier" and his eyebrows waggled. As he jumped off the bed, I caught sight of lone tattoo on his ass, and a sense of nostalgia swept over me. Our first date and the bet he lost.

Seven months, two weeks and one day earlier

I never had the chance to call him; Alice had snatched his number out of my hand and tore it into tiny pieces before I could stop her.

I've not spoken to her since I stormed out of the bar.

I didn't even check that evening to see how she'd gotten home. When I left she'd been drinking so shouldn't have driven, but I couldn't find it in myself to care about such a heartless, self-important person like Alice.

Which is why I find myself back in 'Roosters' a little over a week later, it'd taken a while for me to build my courage back up to be face to face with him again.

It was 5pm on a Friday, so I wasn't very surprised to see the bar a lot fuller than it had been last week. I tried to spot that bronze Mohawk but the task was fruitless; there are just too many people.

Biting my hangnail, I shuffle towards the bar ignoring all the stares my way. Well, I'm trying to. I hear catcalls and I'm pretty sure they're aimed at me in a mocking manner, but I refuse to look their way to check.

I stood awkwardly by the bar my eyes glued to the one and only tender – they really should hire more staff. I momentarily distract myself by looking for any signs of Angela, but like last week I can't see her anywhere.

Trying to busy myself further (and also trying to avoid any interaction with people) I being to pick the invisible lint from my blue polka-dot dress. I am aware my dress is a little too preppy for this biker bar, but I really wanted to look pretty for Edward. And I'm pretty sure I can ignore a few learning men and over-exaggerated wolf whistles…

I think

"hey babe, wanna buy me a drink?" I turn to the guy…sorry, the boy that's stood next to me. This kid looks seventeen – at a push, and it's no wonder he's trying to get me to buy him a drink.

"erm…I don't think so"

"What? What the hell? It's not like you're strapped for cash; bet your wallets bursting with Daddy's money. Come on, just one drink." The boy stood there, his tank top ridiculously tight and his jeans hanging so low his ass was actually above the waistband. His dark hair was long enough to touch his shoulders, and atop of his head sat some kind of expensive brand cap. He looked like some sad Justin Bieber wannabe, and I couldn't help but wonder – If I didn't belong in this bar, how the hell did he? He had a few tattoo's on his arms, but he didn't wear them as well as Edward…I don't think anyone could wear them as well as Edward.

"Black, why don't ya stop bothering my lady and go do the macarena down at the school dance with all your little chums? If you're lucky they'll still be some pop left for ya" the voice that had been haunting my dreams spoke.

"Piss off Cullen" the kid spat, but quickly left us.

"Bella, Bella, Bella" he spoke, his lips right against my ear "fancy meeting you here"

If that wasn't enough to have my heart thudding and my mouth dry, the butterflies had already erupted at him calling me 'his lady'.


"Well I hear this is the place to be – at 5pm on a Friday, so…"

"The place to be to be hit on by children? Yeah, I suppose it is" he chuckled.

I join in his laughter "he was harmless"

"Yeah, I suppose. Still didn't like him hittin' on ya" my breath caught, and the flush in my cheek must've blinded him. "You look very pretty today, Miss…?"

"Oh, Swan. Isabella Swan."

"Miss Swan. Bella Swan…it's almost as beautiful as you are"

Bella again…I love the way it sounds on his lips, but I love the way he's the only one to call me it more.

"Now, you want a drink or…do you want to go somewhere else?" his fingers were absentmindedly running up and down my fore arm and the intimacy of it left me momentarily speechless.

"erm, uh…"

"hey, no worries – " his hand left my skin, and I could've wept with the loss

"-no! I mean, yes…I mean, let's go somewhere else." God, why am I such a moron?!

His eyes bore into mine for a while, the intensity electric. He was checking to see if I really wanted to go with him. He was so caring and it made me want him even more.

After a few seconds, he sweeps his arms out in a 'after you' gesture. I laugh at him but lead the way towards the door all the same. Unlike when I walked in, there's no slow movement towards the door. No hesitation what-so-ever.

My eyes burned as we left the dark bar and into the sunny LA Street.

" I gotta say" Edward started, his hands in the front pockets of his jeans looking almost shy as he spoke "I wasn't expecting you to show up here again. I'm impressed"

"Well…" hell, how do I tell him this without him being offended "Alice, kind of tore up your number so…"

"ahh" he nodded, sad smile now replacing his beautiful crooked one "so your best friend didn't swoon for my sparkling personality and wholesome looks, eh?"

"She's not my best friend…she's not even my friend. Not anymore"

"Oh? Trouble in paradise, huh?"

"No, I just don't want to be associated with someone that judgmental and small minded" I wasn't expecting the sudden pressure around my shoulders, and was thrilled to find his arm around me. I couldn't help but smirk to a group of women on the other side of the street – 'yes, he's with me.'

"You didn't have to do that for me – but thank you" and his lips pressed against my temple. My knees went weak and I found myself stumbling. He caught me before I could meet, face to face, with the sidewalk.

"uh, sorry. Uneven sidewalk"

"Yeah, Yeah." He nodded but the smirk was unforgiving "they should really do something about that." A snicker. Jerk.

"So I know your name, and I know your jobs, but that's it. So, tell me about your family?"

"oh, well my Dad's a lawyer. He's actually one of the most sought after defence attorneys in the state, which means he's really busy and not home too much. I'm really proud of him."

"wow, that's awesome. Your mom?"

"my mom…she's a housewife, I suppose"

"oh…that's all I get about her?" he chuckled but it was rather awkward.

"sorry, I just…we really don't get along. She was always kind of an absent mother, who prefers the company of a bottle of alcohol and the gardener…actually; now-a-day's it's the pool boy who's, like, just turned eighteen. It's disgusting, and I can't believe she could do that to my father"

"wow, that sucks. I'm sorry"

"I'm pretty sure he knows so…but what about you? Your parents"

"well, my Dad piss off when I was about ten" he shrugged off my gasp "and my Mom died when I was seventeen"

"Oh Edward, I'm so sorry" we'd stopped walking, and I'm not even sure how it'd happened but my arms were around his neck, and I was hugging him tightly.

"It's okay. Well, it's not, but it was over ten years ago so…it's less painful. I like to talk about her…remember her" his words were spoken into my neck, and his breath tickled against my skin.

"Tell me about her" my arms unwrapped him and my hand found purchase in his as we continued walking.

"She's was so beautiful. She's wasn't just beautiful on the outside; her sole was beautiful. She was a nurse, so she was naturally very caring and loving…we didn't have a lot of money, especially after my dad left and we were living on one income, but we managed"

"I bet she was amazing"

"Yeah. She really was. I miss her like you wouldn't believe. Sometimes I think back to all the times I was an asshole and I just regret it so fucking much. All the times I could've hugged her…told her I loved her…"

"she knew you loved her Edward. Don't ask me how, but I know she knew"

"thanks..." his head was bent low and I knew that it may be best if the subject changed. I'm sure the loss of a beloved mother would leave him sore and grieving for the rest of his life.

"so, are you from LA?" he asks, his tone completely changing. His steps become more energetic as he continued leading me.

"Yep. Born and bred in the Hollywood Hills" though my pasty skin and dark hair would suggest otherwise. "how 'bout you?"

"Oh, I'm from New York. Brooklyn, actually. Moved here when I was seventeen"

"oh, for like a foster family or something?"

"nah, I umm sorta ran away. I couldn't bear the thought of being put in some kinda system, stuck with some other family for almost a year…so I just left."

"Why LA though?" I mean, if I was running away LA would be the last place I'd come. Although, with all the people here, I guess it'd be easy to get lost; just disappear and never be found.

"Why not LA? And besides, I was already tattooing at that point. LA just seemed like the place"

"and did it feel like you'd found home?"

"no. I struggled with it actually. No friends. No family – not that I had any at home but there were roots, ya know? And it never really felt like somewhere I wanted to be…well, not until recently, that it"

He doesn't elaborate or even look my way, but the quick squeeze of my hand tell me I'm the reason…and the trill that runs through me is indescribable.

"How were you tattooing at that age?"

"Well, uh…after my mom died I wanted one – my first – for her, and so I made an appointment and told them I was eighteen. When I got there everything was going fine, until they took me to the back room and I came face to face with my buddy from schools older brother. He obviously knew who I was and my age, and refused to do a pal a favour. So I distracted him with – I don't even know, some bullshit, and when he wasn't looking I stole his tat gun and a handful of ink. I ain't proud of it but-" he rolled up his sleeve and on the inside of his arm, in wobbly unprofessional letting, the name 'Esme' was written. He'd tried to incorporate a small heart underneath, but that too was a little wobbly.

"I know it's by no means a good tattoo, and it doesn't look anywhere are great as my others I had done properly, but it's from my mom, ya know? And, I dunno, the fact that I got to do her tattoo myself, just makes me love it more. It's my most favourite and treasured tat"

"Edward, I think it's beautiful" my fingers found themselves running up and down the tat. It was so personal to Edward, and its imperfection just made it all the more magnificent.

"Thanks" he chuckled "and then after I moved to LA I met some guys who wanted to be tattoo artists too. I let them practice on me if I could practice on them. They only problem was they were both crap, so I've had a lot of cover ups done" he laughs and it's so carefree and light, and I find it surprising that someone who's had such a painful life hasn't been take over by the shadows.

"So" he quickly changes the subject, his light mood not wavering slightly "where would you like to go on our first date?"

"Eh, who said this was a date?" of course this was a date.

"Duh, I did!" he pinched my side making me squeal "besides, if I leave the guys and beer for a lady, she's must be special…so, I ain't going to be just friends with someone special"

Ohh hell, why is he so perfect?!

"Okay, I'm picking!" he declares, and begins to drag me across the street. "What're your feelings concerning bowling?"

"erm…I've never actually been" I admit, biting my hangnail on the hand he's not holding. I'm going to look like such an idiot.

"What?! How is that possible? Okay that's it, I'm taking you bowling"

"I'll be terrible!" I complain, but he's already pulling me into the alley.

"I'll teach you…besides, letting a guy win is a sure-fire way to get into a guy's pants" his smirk was working overtime, and although my cheeks were on fire, I was fighting a smirk of my own. It was only when I lightly punched him in the arm that he burst into a fit of laughter.


"Alright, alright, alright" he started over exaggerated breathing – like he was in labour – trying to calm his laughter "let's go get some fetching bowling shoes. Now, I'm no fashion guru or anything, but I think these shoes are what's missing from your outfit"

"oh yeah?" I give him a twirl, letting the skirt of my dress fan out.

"mmm…yeah, I mean you look good, but some big-ass, clown like, bowling shoes would really set it off" I laughed and followed his towards the desk. Edward bought us two games and announced we'd go to dinner after he 'kicked my ass' at bowling.

Ever the gent, Edward tied my red and blue bowling shoes before slipping his own on. Lane 12 was ours, and after thinking of hilarious names for our scoreboard, he began his 'bowling for dummies' lesson.

"Okay, so the aim of bowling is-"

"Edward!" I snapped "I'm not that ignorant. You just go first – show me what ya got" he selected a large blue ball, slipping those long fingers inside the holes before striding towards the lane. The boy was totally in his element as he dipped his knees and fluently threw the ball down the lane. It moved at a fast pace, and I'm guessing that's key to this game. The ball rolled until it came into contact with the pins. Unfortunately, for him, the ball hit at a slight angle and two pins remained standing.

He cursed under his breath before taking his second shot. He got the spare, and let out a triumphant hoot.

I was silently thrilled that the ball small enough for my fingers was a glittery pink one, and walked nervously towards the lane. I took a deep breath and prepared myself to get a gutter ball and also humiliate myself in front of a guy that I still can't believe is wasting time on me. My bowl isn't as smooth as Edwards, nor is it as fast. But the slow and steady method seemed to be working in my favour as it hit the pins dead on and every single one fell down.

My scream of undeniable joy bounce off the walls and the whole alley looked our way. I momentarily panicked that I'd embarrassed Edward to the point in which he wouldn't want to be seen with me anymore, but those worries were soon washed away…because his yells of joy were possibly louder than my own. Before I knew what was happening I was scooped up into his arms and being swung around like a rag doll. It wasn't until my feet touched the ground again that I realised how close he was holding me. How intoxicating his scent was. How devastatingly handsome his face was. How hard and firm and perfect his body was against mine.

"You know what this means, right?" we were so close that I could actually feel his breath on my lips. It was warm and minty and all I could think about was having those perfect lips against my own.

"wa?" was the only noise I could make, and I couldn't even find it in myself to be embarrassed about it.

"it means-" he licks his lips slowly "it means WAR!" he jumped back so quickly it took me a second to understand what had happened.

But once I got my head on straight I shot him a glare – evil man.

And from then on it was war. There was no cute flirting or sneaking kisses between bowls. No, Edward is one of the most competitive people I have ever met…besides myself. Yep, we both determined to win and the only talking that was made was some pretty embarrassing trash talk.

"Okay, there's only on bowl left, and it's pretty close" I looked up at the scoreboard and noted he was right, it was extremely close. "So I propose a bet"

"A bet, huh? And what exactly would this bet entail?"

"If I win…I get a goodnight kiss" he smirked, and I was confused…wasn't losing a bet supposed to be a bad consequence? I'd been thinking about kissing him all week.

but I wasn't going to tell him that.

"And if I win?"

"Then you get to pick" he agrees but hastily adds "except getting a tat"

Silly, I wasn't even going to pick that "if I win, I own your ass…forever"

"Wow" his brow raised "such commitment on a first date" but his smile told me the game was on.

Present time

Victory was still sweet.

Almost as sweet as his ass

Almost as sweet as seeing my name permanently written on said sweet ass.

Yeah, life was pretty good.

I hadn't found out until months later, but the day after our first date – which did end with more than one goodnight kiss – he'd gotten 'Bella' proudly tattooed on his left ass cheek.

"Why on earth would you do that?" I had said when I'd first seen it "what if we break up?"

"Bella, you could spit on my face and kick me in the balls right now and I still wouldn't regret getting it. This tat represents the best first date I've ever had…and no matter what happens in life, I'll always want to remember that day"

…yeah, he got some good lovin' after that.

"oeufs brouillés sur….erm…whatever the hell toast is in French" he declared, handing me a plate.

Scrambled eggs on toast

"Thank you, baby" I gave him a kiss for being so damn cute. He settled in next to be, and it became apparent we were sharing.

"What got you all smiley when I walked in?" he asked through a mouthful of eggs.

"I was thinking about our first date…"

"and my butt tattoo?"

"Of course I was thinking about your butt…that's the best part. I still can't believe you did it, after the first date!"

He shrugged "when you know you've met the one, you just know. I'd get your name tattooed on my dick of you wanted…'cos I'm romantic like that"

I snorted – so romantic.

"Okay then…I think you should"

He stopped mid chew, casting me a shocked look "baby that shit hurts"

I burst out laughing.

"oh, I see…it's make fun of your man day. Even though I slaved away in the kitchen making you fancy French shit"

"Baby, just because you spoke its name in French doesn't make the dish French"

He muttered it so quietly I'm not sure I heard it right…but I'm pretty sure I heard 'those damn chickens could've been French'.


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