Disclaimer: SM owns Twilight.
"Come out with us, please…" Angela asked, nagging me once again as we walked out of the office on Friday.
"I already told Em and Rose I would babysit, so I can't," I replied. That was my usual excuse. My brother and his wife liked to go out on the weekends, and having three unusually cranky kids didn't allow for them to do that often.
I never went out, though. I always had some grand excuse, but my weekends were usually spent watching movies, reading, cleaning my quiet apartment, or going out after dark for a walk on the beach.
Shyness would be the death of me. I hated being that way, but in social situations, I never felt comfortable talking to anyone. It took me a year to make friends at my current job, and even now I still didn't feel comfortable talking to most of them.
"Just please come out with us next week. This guy that Jessica knows keeps asking about you. I think you'd like him," Angela said with a wink as she walked away.
My brother and his wife, along with their kids, were the only people I had regular interaction with. Rose and I became good friends when I went to live with Em my senior year of high school. Emmett, my brother, is a Navy SEAL, and a week after he had me taken away from my father, he fwas deployed on a mission in Iraq. He and Rose had been together since I was a young child, seeing as Em is twelve years older than me. I was close with Rose, but not having Em around when I moved there was tough to get through.
Rose was beautiful, loud, and didn't take shit from anyone. She soon pulled me out of my bashful ways and became my best friend. We were there for each other when we didn't know if Em would make it back to us alive, and when my divorced parents fought over who I should be living with.
My mother was… promiscuous, I guess you could say. She was married to Em's dad for several years and met my dad when they were stationed in Washington. The affair between my mom and dad caused Emmett's dad to divorce her, of course, and like most affairs, their relationship didn't last.
Everything came to a screeching halt when I was sent to live with my father and his wife. She hated me and blamed me for all problems related to my father. When I couldn't take her slapping, cursing, etc., I called the one person I could always count on. My brother.
He had me out of there the day he received my letter asking for help. The rest is history. I'm now twenty two years old, a college graduate, and happily living on my own because myf nephews were driving me insane.
My bag was already packed and in my car as I drove over to Em and Rose's house. They were spending the weekend at Catalina Island, celebrating their anniversary. I wasn't lying when I told Angela that I was busy, even though Rose would have gladly called up someone else to babysit if I would go out.
I was awkward, inexperienced and inept when it came to being around other people, especially men. I had never been to a club, never danced, and had only drunk one glass of wine since I turned 21. I would have loved to change things, but it seemed like I would never get over my insecurities.
My brother was loading their car when I pulled into the drive and waved happily as I got out of my car. "Well, it's about freaking time, B," he joked, pointing to his watch.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, just be happy you have someone to babysit the maniacs."
He continued loading the bags into the car, and I couldn't imagine why Rose would take so many things for a weekend trip. Emmett mumbled his remarks about the bags, but kept loading and situating them. As soon as Rose walked out, the grin on his face widened.
"What's this I hear about too many bags?" she asked, rubbing her hand over her swollen stomach. Yes, they were pregnant with their fourth child; a girlf, God help us all.
"Nothing, my dear," he replied with a chuckle.
Rose and I were both thrilled when Emmett got a job as a SEAL instructor. He was no longer being sent on dangerous missions and worked just down the road from us. I don't know what I would have ever done without him.
"Whatever," Rose sighed, putting her arm around me. I felt Rose slide something in my jacket pocket, so I pulled it out to inspect. There were two $100 bills. "For your babysitting services," she said with a shrug.
"I can't take that much!"
"Oh, be quiet. You can and you will."
I rolled my eyes, fully intending on slipping in back inside her purse at some point. Rose went back inside to say goodbye to the kids as Emmett walked over and handed me an envelope.
"For pizza, which I've already ordered and it should be here any minute… as well as money for groceries, movies, or whatever you guys are going to do."
Based on the thickness of the envelope, I knew it was way more than we needed for the weekend, but he'd never take 'no' for an answer. I did my usual eye roll at his need to take care of me and walked inside the house.
I had just started paying for my own apartment a few months ago, after begging Emmett and Rose to let me pay for it. They both wanted to do things for me, since they were able to, but I didn't want to take their money. Emmett helped me get my job on base at the housing center, working as a housing specialist, and I felt bad that even after helping me get the job, he was still trying to help in several other ways.
Emmett tried to fill the void that my parents should have. My mom was still off with husband number four, and my dad hadn't forgiven me since I contacted Emmett about his horrible wife. Neither of them called to check on me, and the only fatherly type figure I had besides Emmett was his dad. Jack, Emmett's dad, lived in San Diego and was a retired Navy veteran. His service in the military was what led Emmett to join, as well.
Jack always invited me over to special functions – family things, even though I was the result of the affair that broke up his marriage to my mother. I was treated as his daughter and looked up to him immensely, wishing my own father was like him.
The pizza arrived soon after they left and once the kids were bathed and put to bed, I pulled my laptop from my bag and logged onto my e-mail account.
After sifting through the various junk e-mails, I came upon an e-mail from Edward Cullen. Curious as to who he was, I opened it and instantly wanted to kill my brother.
I'm Edward, one of your brother's friends, and he suggested that I contact you about housing. I just got a job working with Emmett, so I'll be moving to Coronado in about a month, but I don't want to live on base. As much as I "love" dealing with real estate agents, I am trying to take the easy way out. He said you might know of some properties that haven't been listed yet in the area.
Anyway, I would be grateful for any help you can give me.
Thanks so much,
PS – Here is my number if you'd rather call than e-mail: (360) 555-0121f
I dealt with new guys moving on base all the time, but now it was going to be outside of work – not the usual routine, something more personal. Nervousness crept through my body as I definitely wanted to kill my brother.
I was ready to get away from Washington. Absolutely nothing was keeping me there. I had no family, hated the weather, and wanted to go back to my home state. One of my old friends, Emmett, helped me get a job working with him as a Navy SEAL trainer. We had gone through the training together several years ago and kept in touch over the years.
My new base was located in Coronado, California. It was convenient because my family lived in San Diego and that pleased my mother. As much as I wanted my family to give me some privacy, I knew that it would make them all feel better with be being closer. I had put my mother through so much stress over the years, especially with my last mission that stopped my active service altogether, causing me to become a trainer.
I had been working as a trainer at the naval base in Washington for the past couple of years, all the while going through extensive therapy – physically and mentally.
I needed a change and that change couldn't come soon enough.
"Eddie, please stay here… don't move so far away," Heidi whined. I finally got my nerve up and told Heidi about my upcoming move, and, honestly, to also tell her that our relationship wasn't really going anywhere to begin with.
"We weren't working out anyway, Heidi. I told you from the beginning that this wasn't going to be a long term thing."
Huffing, she stood from the couch and grabbed her purse. "Fine, but you're making a huge mistake."
"Okay," I replied dryly, because I knew I wasn't making a mistake. Heidi wasn't the type of girl I could take home. My mother would have taken one look at her and known that she was not for me. Heidi was crude most of the time and had a high opinion of herself.
We started dating in the first place because I was bored and a mutual friend set us up. It wasn't as if I didn't want to settle down, but I just didn't care anymore.
I was engaged at one point. Tanya and I had dated for a couple of years before I finally took the big step and proposed. Thank God we didn't end up getting married. Throughout our engagement, Tanya stopped taking birth control. She wanted to start a family before we were even married and I didn't really object. I was twenty five at the time and fairly ready to take that step. Two years passed by and we weren't able to get pregnant. Just before I left for my final mission, she went to a doctor, a fertility specialist, and much to my surprise, nothing was wrong with her. The doctor wanted me to come in to get checked out, but I refused. I refused because I was leaving for Iraq soon and I didn't need the added stress, but also because what man wants to hear that he's unable to produce a child?
Tanya was harsh, and when I returned, injured and barely alive, she left me. The good part about us not getting married was that she wasn't able to touch any of my money. My grandfather was an extremely wealthy man, and when he died I received a rather large inheritance, enabling me to quit working if I wanted to, but I didn't.
I loved my country and felt honored to provide my service to it. My new job was the icing on the cake. I always said when I was going through my tough training to be a SEAL that someday I would come back and be one of the trainer assholes, and now I was.
Once Heidi left my house, I opened my laptop and tried to find houses in Coronado that were for sale. Emmett had given me his sister's information, as she was one of the housing specialists in Coronado, but she hadn't returned my email yet.
Three days had gone by, and so when I saw her show up on my available contacts list, I sent her a message.
CullenEA2: Hello? This is Edward Cullen. I emailed you the other day.
IMSwan03: Hi, I'm sorry I didn't get back to you before.
CullenEA2: That's fine, I've been busy myself. Anyway, do you think you can help me out? I understand if you've got your hands full.
IMSwan03: I can help. Do you know what you're looking for? House? Condo? Apartment? Do you want base housing?
I definitely didn't want base housing. I had lived that way for far too many years, and I figured I might as well spend my inheritance money on something I would enjoy. This house was going to be permanent, not something short term.
CullenEA2: I'd like something off base, but on the island. House, no apartment or condo. I'd like to keep it under five.
IMSwan03: Million? Five million?
IMSwan03: Okay… well, I know that there is a house down the road from me that is for sale. It's really nice and I have a contact at the real estate company. I could give her your information.
CullenEA2: Great, thanks a lot. I really appreciate it.
We worked out the details and somehow got to talking about other things.
IMSwan03: I'm sure your family will be happy to have you closer.
I found myself talking to this complete stranger, actually having a conversation with someone, and I actually enjoyed it.
CullenEA2: Yeah, my mom is thrilled. She wanted to find a house for me, but I knew she would pick something next door to them or within walking distance, and I needed a little space, ya know?
IMSwan03: I know exactly what you mean. Emmett and his wife helped me find my apartment and they begged me to pick the one down the road from their house.
CullenEA2: So did you?
IMSwan03: No, I picked a different one. But it's still close… I mean Coronado isn't that big. I would actually be closer to you than them, if you get that house.
CullenEA2: I bet Emmett will put me on big brother duty then?
IMSwan03: Just ignore his requests. lol
CullenEA2: Nah, he's my boss now. I can't really disobey his orders. How old are you anyway?
IMSwan03: 22 – I'll be 23 in September. And he isn't technically your boss. I mean, don't you guys pretty much have the same ranking?
Twenty two years old. She was way fucking younger than me, and my good friend's little sister.
CullenEA2: Well, he's the commanding officer, so I report to him.
IMSwan03: How old are you, btw?
CullenEA2: I just turned 33. Old, huh?
IMSwan03: Eh, not really ;)
CullenEA2: Yeah right… lol.
That night was the beginning of our friendship, or whatever it was labeled as. We talked every night, well, chatted online, and I shared more about my life with her than I had with anyone else. She was easy to talk to and I looked forward to checking my email everyday because I would receive something from her. We shared little tidbits about what we had done during the day and anything that was bothering us. I felt awkward at first, divulging details of my life to a complete stranger, a stranger that was Emmett's little sister.
A few weeks passed and things were slowly coming together for my move. I had my things boxed up and ready to go. I decided to leave a week early to visit with my family before going straight to work. My house wasn't ready to be moved into, so I was going to stay on base for a few weeks.
Can I call you? –E
I sent that text hoping Bella would say yes. It had been a few days since I'd last chatted with her because I was busy catching up with my family. I felt crazy because I missed talking to a person that I had never met, but I was drawn to her.
Sure. What are you doing up so late? -B
It was close to midnight and I couldn't sleep as I lay awake in my childhood bed. I was stressed over the move. I was glad it was over, but literally exhausted. In addition to that, my mother was having a few people over the next day for a welcome home party for me. Jasper, my brother, warned me that she was attempting to set me up with a young woman that she worked with. I wasn't really good at relationships, so I wasn't looking forward to that at all.
I didn't text Bella back. I called her instead.
"Hello?" she answered, and I stuttered with what I was going to say next because I was caught off guard by her voice. It was sweet and… surreal to finally hear the person that had been sort of a mystery to me up until that point.
"Hi Bella," I finally managed to say.
She laughed quietly and I knew that she was nervous. Over the past few weeks, the main thing I learned about her was that she was an extremely shy person. She admitted that to me, and told me how much she hated being that way.
I knew I was going to have to start the conversation. "So… what are you doing tonight?"
"I'm at the beach… couldn't sleep, so I went for a walk and ended up here."
"This late at night?" Coronado was a fairly safe place, but it wasn't that safe. "Are you alone?"
She sighed quietly. "Yes, I'm alone, and yes, I know it's crazy this late at night, but I actually do this almost every night."
"You never told me that."
"I'm sorry, Emmett Jr.," she joked.
I chuckled and sat up, leaning back against the headboard. "Hey, you better be careful. I could always call him up and tell him."
"Well, you don't have to because he actually saw me a few minutes ago. He's out there with the guys doing the night surf passage. I'm just down the beach from where they are."
"Why is Emmett out there?" Emmett was pretty much in charge of everyone, which meant he usually wouldn't be out that late at night.
The wind blew into the phone and I couldn't help but wonder what Bella looked like.
"Oh, you know Emmett… he likes to act like 'Billy Badass' most of the time."
I laughed loudly. "Billy Badass?"
"Just a nickname I have for him… I don't know where I got it from, but you know… he likes to pretend that this training was simple for him and he doesn't forget to mention that to the class."
To be quite honest, it was simple for him. He was a tough guy and no matter how hard the exercises were, he did it with no complaints. I almost gave up during 'Hell week', but he didn't let me.
"Does he know that we talk?" I asked.
"I haven't… well, I didn't know if you wanted me to tell him."
I really never gave her the impression that I was keeping our friendship from Emmett, though I really didn't know how he would feel about me talking to his much younger sister. We were just talking, though. "It doesn't really matter to me, Bella…"
She cleared her throat nervously. "So, anyway… what are you doing up so late?"
I opened my laptop and felt so juvenile as I pulled up the Facebook website. "Just couldn't sleep. My mom has been keeping me busy most of the week."
Find Friends *click
Bella Swan *click
"Edward, are you there?" she asked, and I felt like such an idiot, basically spying on her.
"Yeah, I'm here… sorry, I was just checking my email."
"Oh, if you're busy I can let you go," she said quickly.
"No, no… I assure you, I'm not too busy to talk to you, Bella." It was important for me to talk to her, whether she knew it or not.
I had six results pop up on my screen. I scanned down the list. As I scrolled to the bottom, I smiled widely when I saw her picture, and her location listed as Coronado, CA. I held my breath as I clicked on her profile, hoping she didn't have it locked, and thankfully, she didn't.
She was stunning - long brown hair, big brown eyes that you could look at and never be tired of. She was beautiful on the inside and out.
"Oh, okay," she replied shyly. "Well, I was just asking when you were coming to Coronado?"
"I'll be there on Friday," I replied. Truthfully, I had planned to go there on Sunday, but I wanted to meet her. I wondered if she would agree to meeting me sooner rather than later. This seemed so odd to me… I mean, I met new people constantly, but the idea of meeting her in person was unnerving and exciting at the same time.
"Oh, well that's cool," Bella said, her voice sounding a little shaky.
I scrolled through her pictures, feeling like an ass, but unable to remove the smile from my face. I hadn't genuinely smiled for quite a while, and she had a lot to do with that. I found myself in a better mood every day since I had been talking to her.
"Would you like to… meet up? For dinner or something?" I asked before I lost my nerve. And then I quietly laughed at myself for being so nervous with her. I was never nervous around women.
I heard some rustling around in the background, followed by more wind. "Yeah, that would be nice. I'll, uh… actually be in the office on Friday, so I might see you then."
"Great… are you busy on Friday?"
"No… can you hang on a sec?" she asked. I said yes, and waited for her to return to the line. I could hear her talking to someone in the background, and immediately recognized Emmett's voice.
"B, this isn't the safest place in the world… you shouldn't be out so late!" Emmett said, sounding sincere.
Bella sighed loudly. "Yes, Emmett… I know that. I'm going home now, and no, I don't need a ride. I come out here almost every night."
"Who are you talking to?"
"None of your business, Em."
"Is it a boy?"
"Like I said, none of your business. Childish much?"
"It is a boy!"
"Oh my God," Bella groaned, and I could not stop laughing now. "Em, would you please shut up. Goodnight. Tell Rose I'll meet her for lunch tomorrow."
"I'm telling her about this guy!" he yelled from a distance.
"Okay, I'm back," she breathed.
I held in my laughter. "So… is Emmett bothering you?"
Huffing once again, she cleared her throat. "Yes. See how overprotective he is? I mean, gosh, he hates that I'm an actual adult like him."
"Nah, he just cares about his little sister."
"Yeah, well, I'm not a little girl anymore, ya know?"
"Yeah…" I agreed, because I was looking at this beautiful woman on my screen, not wanting to acknowledge the fact that she was a lot younger than me, and that Emmett would probably want to rip my balls off for being attracted to her. "So… can I call you tomorrow?"
"Sure," she said sweetly. I could tell just by her voice that she was smiling. "I get off work at five thirty."
"Yeah, I'm meeting Rose for lunch and I have a doctor's appointment, so a long lunch means staying late unfortunately…"
"That sucks. Well, call me if you get bored. I'm just hanging out around here tomorrow."
Fuck. I remembered my mom was having that little gathering at her house, which meant I didn't really know when I would get to call her. "I probably won't get to call you until late tomorrow night… around ten or so. Is that okay?"
"That's fine with me. Well, have a good night, Edward. It was really great talking to you."
"It was great talking to you, too, Bella, but you're staying on the line with me until you get to your apartment."
We continued talking and I finally mentioned that I checked out her Facebook page and sent her a friend request. I think that she just about died when I told her that. She was a blubbering mess, but it was really cute.
When she got back to her apartment, we ended the call and I was already looking forward to talking to her again, as well as actually meeting her.
As soon as my call ended with Edward, I practically ran to my laptop and accepted his friend request. And then I felt like passing out when I saw his picture. He was hot. Actually, hot didn't even come close to describing him. How was I going to sit through lunch with Edward? On Friday?
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For teasers, check out the thread on Twilighted (I'll post the link on my profile later), my blog - .com, or you can follow me on Twitter - greeneyedgirl00. I will post the banner code on Twilighted - thanks to heather dawn for making me another awesome banner - I love it! And thanks to my readers, love you guys - thanks for giving this new story a chance! Big thanks to my beta, Jessica1971 as well.
Thanks for reading! The next chapter will be posted on 2/12. And for those who read IC - I'll post the next chapter will be posted either on Friday or Saturday.
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