Author's Note: This story will be all in third person. Longer chapters than my normal; will update daily, around every 10 days or so like my normal. Hope you all enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own, only play. These are Stephanie Meyer's characters.
Isabella Swan was planning on skipping her first class of the day because instead of Economics 306, there was a CAS assembly in her university's auditorium. A well-known columnist for Chicago's Sun-Time newspaper was coming in to speak to the university students about finances and how to handle money.
She was a smart yet stubborn girl and took the opportunity to sleep in on the mandated assembly. Her roommate, Alice Mason, was particularly the polar opposite of Isabella and was a bit of a worry-wart when it came to the school's events. She bugged Isabella about going but the sleepy eyed girl just rolled back over in her bed and grumbled about how her family was up her ass since she was a kid about 'the value of a dollar'.
Isabella felt no reason to go.
But in the end, it wasn't Alice's half-committed attempts to get her out of bed, but rather her good friend, Rosalie, whose texts woke Isabella up.
They're taking attendance. Get your ass moving.
And so the girl whipped the covers off and jumped down from her bed to the bathroom. With a huff, she gathered her hair on the top of her head, threw on some clothes and huddled to the auditorium for the CAS assembly.
Now Edward Cullen was very well known.
Well-known in the sense of any one in his field knew who he was. But these kids? At a state university? No one had a clue.
Maybe their parents, Edward thought, as he sipped on his second cup of coffee that morning. It was possible one of these kids had parents who read the Sun Time's finance column. And if not, they were about to hear from it today.
Edward Cullen was a finance writer. He wrote columns in the Chicago's popular economics section about how to better finance one's life. He made a living off of telling people how to save their money, how to invest in it, and how to manage a safe and healthy financial state.
And he was very good at his job.
Edward was quite familiar with giving seminars about his work however; it had been the first time his company had sent him to do college runs. He wasn't too familiar with speaking to kids under the drinking age, ironically though, it was that specific age that probably needed to hear his advice the most.
He kept telling himself this as he set up for yet another seminar at the campus Isabella Swan was attending.
It was a very large school; over 2,000 kids would be graduating from the senior class this year alone. Isabella amongst them, with her BFA in CTV and Cinematography. She worked hard for her degree, against her father's will in which he battled her since day one of college. He'd rather see her in something a bit more useful like business or hospitality. Isabella fought against him with his every suggestion. Needless to say, they didn't have a very balanced relationship.
She made her way to the auditorium, seeing others shuffle to their seats in a late fashion. A lot showed up in pajama pants, others with their sweatshirt hoods still over their heads. Most of which had the same idea as Isabella. All college students wanted to do was sleep in.
It wasn't too hard spotting Alice near by the back entrance, sitting amongst her English major friends. But there were no available seats.
Figures, Isabella thought.
But it was Rosalie Hale who was leaning against one of the entrance walls, waiting for her. She smiled at her friend and they walked in together and took seats in the front.
Inevitably, those were the only vacant seats. Isabella supposed it was an urban legend that anyone who sat closer to the professor, closer to the front of the classroom had 89% more of a chance of being called on.
She didn't like sitting in the front. But because the seminar was about to start and the two girls didn't have much of a choice.
So right in the front, third row from the wall length chalk board, the two 22 year olds sat with their legs crossed, ready for the 2 hour seminar to be over.
Rosalie looked over at her friend and wondered why Isabella had been so resilient to the seminar. Rosalie was never fond of these CAS assemblies, much like any other student here, but they had never been useless. In fact, Rosalie knew she was a prime example of a 'money waster' as she came from a family who had fancy cars but ate frozen T.V dinners. She needed to hear this speech more than anyone else.
She looked to her side and watched as Isabella chewed on her long midnight blue nails. Her nails were always long, always dark and always Halloween-ready. Along with the rest of her style, Isabella's hair was lavender purple with her dark roots peaking. She had on one of her many oversized t-shirts along with sporting her black and white striped pants.
Isabella had looked like this since the day Rosalie met her; back in freshman year when Isabella's hair was half black, half blue. It was always so normal, even looking at her now, as 'stuck out like a sore thumb' as she looked, it was completely standard by now.
But along with her colored hair, the girl also had a red nose and glassy eyes, giving away that she was exhausted.
"You know, I heard Mr. Cullen is kind of hot," Rosalie said, in attempts to make Isabella laugh.
The pale girl next to her cracked a smile but didn't give the exact reaction Rosalie was looking for. She was about to say something else until the chair of the school board came out to speak.
He opened up with 'good morning's and 'happy Tuesday's to all the students who grumbled back in response. He motioned to the head of the English department for setting up this assembly and thanked the head of the business department for bringing in Mr. Cullen himself, as in his terms, was nothing because Mr. Cullen was 'an old friend'.
Rosalie sat up straight in her chair, leaning over with curiosity as a tall man in navy blue walked out on stage.
Edward Cullen wasn't a dress up type of guy. He normally showed up everywhere in black slacks and a button down, but today he was ordered to look a bit more professional instead of 'pedestrian', in the words of his boss. So he walked out in his dark blue suit and leather shoes but once feeling completely out of his skin, he ditched the top coat and threw it over a chair.
He thanked the chair of the school board and smiled out to the audience of youth. And once he did, his eyes fell upon an unusual looking girl with faded hair color and bewildering eyelashes. He caught his breath, stretched his lips into a smile, and continued on with his speech on how not to go bankrupt by the time one was 30.
Rosalie was feeling pretty secure about her future by the end of the seminar. She had enjoyed the assembly so much that she was eager to get the chance to go up to Mr. Cullen and talk to him. But she wasn't too keen on going alone and so she asked Isabella if she would go up with her.
Isabella rubbed at her nose and gave a face Rosalie knew all too well which meant 'hell no'.
But in the end, it was Isabella's arm being grabbed in tow while Rosalie made her way on stage. Many other students, surprisingly, felt the need to go up and talk to Edward Cullen about his spiel. Edward had been impressed by the student's vocation about it and was more than thrilled with bouncing conversation back and forth with them.
Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the girl he spotted in the audience when he first started. She was approaching with a blonde girl beside her. As Edward kept his main focus on the student in front of him, he manages to keep on a sideway glance on the two girls before they squeezed their way through.
"Mr. Cullen, I really enjoyed listening to you today. You don't know how much I needed to hear that." Rosalie started, along with offering her hand for him to shake it. She may have brushed a few shoulders and stepped on a few toes, but she found it was worth it. Edward Cullen was definitely someone to listen to. And as she stood more closely, she concluded that he was definitely someone to look at, as well.
In shorter strides, Isabella, began to realize this too.
Edward shook the blonde girl's hand with a standard smile and a 'thanks'. In that moment, he chose to hold his hand out for the other girl too. Isabella peered up at him and took his hand hesitantly. It was a quick handshake and Edward felt a chill up his arm by the time it was back at his side.
Edward didn't think he did anything wrong by his gesture. Surely, her blonde friend had no problem offering a hand shake and so he thought this was pretty normal for any firsthand meeting. But maybe the girl with the lavender hair was just shy. He let it go.
"Rose Hale, by the way."
"Pleasure to meet you," Edward responded.
He looked over to Rose Hale's friend, who looked up at him and then to her friend before curling her hand around her choker necklace.
"Pleasure," Edward repeated. He gave her a quick scan, noting the unusual character traits as well as style choices like her septum piercing or her slender fingers or her emotion-wild eyes.
It was an odd feeling that overcame him but he found her strangely attractive. He had always come from a professional world of suits and ties and champagne but it seemed she breathed leather and tattoos and vodka and for some alien reason, it was appealing to him.
Eventually, other students came to greet him who inadvertently, weaned Rose and Bella out and off the stage. They both politely waved to Mr. Cullen on their way out. Peering over her shoulder one last time, Rose curled back Bella's hair and whispered into her hair: "Told you he was hot."
"Sucks you like vag and not dick, Rose," Bella shrugged her shoulders sarcastically before watching Rosalie chortle in some sort of false drunken glee.
Bella had known her best friend liked girls since the moment she saw her spying on her when Bella went to take a shower. For Bella, it wasn't a big deal; she and her high school friends had all seen each other naked several times for it to not be weird anymore. But Bella always had a hunch about Rose.
She tried way too hard to be convincing that she liked other guys, that she apparently 'swooned' over the football team and practically threw herself at any guy that would ask to borrow a pencil during Brit Lit.
It wasn't until one night she had hobbled over to Bella's dorm room with last night's mascara running down her flushed cheeks; she climbed into Bella's bed with her daytime clothes still on.
"I lost my virginity," she had disclosed quietly, quickly looking over at Bella's old roommate, turning over in her bed.
"Are you okay?" Bella had sighed with concern.
"I'm not sure."
"… I think I like girls."
Bella's expression had not changed. "Did you tell him afterwards?"
Rose had shaken her head, her bun falling lopsided to her left. "… It wasn't a 'he'."
And from then on it was nothing but support from Bella and sooner or later, Rosalie had gotten used to being comfortable with herself enough to realize she would no longer let herself feel ashamed for who she was.
Alice, Bella's new roommate for two years now, sometimes would still look at Bella and Rose and have prior thoughts to the ones in her third year about how she thought they were lesbians. Even now, Alice would catch a glimpse of Rose's head resting on Bella's lap and have curiosity biting at her tongue.
But it was never like that. Rosalie had a thing for this olive skinned girl in her Social Media class.
There were things Bella didn't underestimate about Rosalie though, and one of them was her detection of picking out attractive people, male or female. And Edward Cullen definitely was someone who Bella had taken interest in.
His spiel at the assembly the other day was nothing Bella hadn't heard before from her father, as she had repeatedly told herself as she walked back to her dorm. A waste of time though? Bella wouldn't use those words exactly. She had enjoyed it more than if she had to go to her assigned class that day.
And in any sense, it was better than nothing.
Edward Cullen went back to his apartment with nothing on his mind other than his job.
This was how it was.
Edward was the job. It had been that way since he was 18. His father embedded it in him. And he had no regrets because it got him where he was today; rich, successful, happy, and secure. But Edward was anything but relaxed. And that anxious feeling brought him straight to his fridge to grab a water bottle.
As he uncapped it and drank from it, his eye wandered to the left shelf where his beer was. It teased him a little, with its condensation running down the side.
Edward never drank on the week days. It had become an unofficial rule he had made in order to get him through the week with a sober mind. Then, when the weekend came, he could lose himself only a little. It would allow him to relax.
Right now, he needed it more than a sober mind.
But he shook his head and closed the fridge and finished the rest of his water as he walked down the hallway to his room. He changed into something more comfortable and grabbed for his work phone, scrolling through his emails.
Same. Same. Same. Same.
One email stood out. A party invitation. Professionally sent by his father.
Everything from his father was professionally done. Even with a phone call, he was always addressed as Mr. Cullen. How informal. How… impersonal. Like another employee.
A business party. An expensive business party. A lot of people. Good connections.
The email was stressed that Edward bring along a plus one.
Edward had no plus one. At least, not a permanent one.
Finding girlfriends was never an unusually tough thing for Edward as he knew he was an attractive, successful man. He breathed high class and charm but also kept a sense of humbleness to his character. All his past girl friends had extenuated just that; but in the end, they all felt like they were stamped by an 'approved' label by his company. By his work. And of course, by his father.
In the end, his plus ones were gone by the end of the month.
By Friday, one of Edward's good co-workers and very good friend, Emmett McCarthy, had convinced Edward to go out with him and some friends to a bar.
Prepared to answer with a dull response, Emmett had expressed the fact that it was more of a classy bar than the average bar stool-and-counter kind of joint. It had live music, a dance floor, amazing food and good liquor.
Edward agreed light-heartedly, finding he was probably better off with the company than none at all. And Emmett was right on all the points he had hit; him, Emmett, and another friend of the two, Jasper Whitlock, had nursed Heinekens the whole night with a dumb smile on each of their faces.
It was towards midnight that the same odd girl and her blonde friend walked through the doors.
Isabella Swan, Rosalie Hale and their other friend, Jessica Stanley, walked into the club, heading straight for the bar. Other than having the same major as Bella and Rose, Jessica Stanley didn't have much else in common with them. But Jessica Stanley was a girl that had lived in Chicago her whole life, unlike Rose and Bella, and she knew where all the hotspots were for nightlife. And so Bella and Rose took special interest when Jessica invited them out to parties. Just like tonight, Jessica had favored this bar over all others and asked the two best friends to come along.
The three girls walked over to the bar and ordered their drinks while scoping out a table. Most of the time, a group of guys would vacate their table for them or invite them over if they sported the right kind of attitude but tonight was especially crowded. The tables were swamped and even the hottest girls with their pushed up breasts weren't getting tables.
Jessica made a sour face as she lead the girls through the crowd with their beers held up over the heads of the dancing people.
Looks and glances never fazed Bella; not since she was in high school. Her unusual style either gained looks of good attention or bad attention, but nonetheless, it was always some sort of attention. With artificial hair color and her intricate tattoo of a sketched fox up her forearm, it gathered looks from anyone. The black sheep, she figured, but who wore lipstick.
Usually, though, it ended up being guys that looked very much like her that gave her good attention. It wasn't hard to propose the guess that Bella's past boyfriends consisted of a lot of tattoos and eyebrow piercings.
Rosalie and Bella squeezed and shimmied through most of the crowds, following Jessica to the back where there were possible table opportunities. And it was then that Emmett McCarthy smacked Edward on the shoulder and jut his chin out towards the crowd.
"Check out that blonde over there," he said, placing his beer down on the table.
Edward shifted his gaze over to the near wall where he recognized the same girls that came up to him that day of his seminar. Rose Hale and Bella Swan. His eye lingered longer than needed, until he looked back at Emmett.
"Looks like they're looking for a table. Mind if I invite them over?"
Edward looked from his friend, Jasper, to Emmett, hooking the neck of the bottle between his fingers. "They were at my seminar the other day. They're college students."
"So you know them? All the better!" Emmett smiled and hopped off his high-chair. He made his way over to the girl, Rose, and began chatting with her.
"You know them?" Jasper asked. Jasper Whitlock had a bit of a southern drawl and on certain words, it really came through. He also had his hair tied back in the shortest of pony tails; imitating the look he had in pictures of himself and his family back on his home ranch. He kept a few photographs in his office at work.
Edward chewed on the inside of his cheek, glancing again at the girl named Bella Swan. "No. Those two introduced themselves at the seminar, but I don't know them," he said pointing to Rose and Bella. Edward didn't know the third girl with them.
Jasper just nodded and drank more of his beer, his eye following Emmett as he came back with the three girls.
"Alright, so here we have Rosalie, Isabella, and Jessica—"
"Mr. Cullen?" Rosalie said, the end of her voice heightening with excitement.
"Mr. Cullen. That sounds so weird," Emmett mused.
"Edward is fine," Edward noted awkwardly.
Automatically, all three of the guys offered their seats to the girls in which only two of the girls took. Rosalie and Jessica sat down with a 'thanks' as Jasper and Emmett stood next to the table. They were both equally tall enough to still maintain eye level even with the girls sitting.
Edward stood openly, gesturing his vacant stool to Bella who looked from Rosalie to Jessica until she cleared her throat.
"I'm going to get another beer," she shouted over the music, squinting playfully at Rose in hindsight before leaving.
Without much thought, Edward downed his beer and set it back on the table. "I'm going too." And followed her.
At the counter, he offered a smile at Bella before she got the attention of the bartender. And before she could answer, Edward held up two fingers to the bartender who nodded at him.
"Thank you," Bella said politely.
They shared a look before Bella shyly backed down, and focused on the bar counter. Edward's grab for something to say seemed harder than it had been in the past for him. This girl was enthralling in ways that stunned Edward's performance in charm.
"So in all honesty, what did you think of the seminar?" He asked halfheartedly. He didn't really care about her reply; he just wanted to talk to her.
"It's not anything I haven't heard before," she shrugged her shoulders.
Edward raised an eyebrow. "Oh? You good with money?"
"I bought my own car when I was 18. I pay for my own expenses."
"Car insurance too?" he joked.
"Want to see my bills?"
He chuckled. "No, not until the second date."
Her laugh was pleasant and cute and it made Edward crack a smile. The bartender eventually brought them their drinks but they remained at the bar while they took their first sips.
"So I think my friend likes your friend Rose."
"The big guy is going to have a hard time." Edward assumed Bella was referring Emmett to his size as he was considerably taller and overall bigger, compared to Jasper and himself.
"Hard to get?"
"Not exactly. He's not really… her type." Bella took another sip of beer, her long fingernails wrapping around the base of the bottle securely. Her lipstick stained the bottle neck.
"What's her type?" he asked, vacantly curious.
"Someone with long hair and boobs."
Instantly, he understood and didn't ask more about it. But his curiosity about something else caught the better of him and he leaned in closer.
"What's your type?"
Bella put her bottle down, biting into her lip like she didn't know the answer.
Maybe for the first time since seeing him, Bella finally took a long look at Edward Cullen. She and Rosalie both had blatantly pointed out that he was good looking; that was obvious. But he carried himself in a certain way that Bella hadn't found in other guys at her college. Edward was older, maybe not by much but older than her. And he wore a casual button down shirt with dark pants; casual but still more professional than anything the other guys in this club were wearing. He was straight up business; at work, he probably carried a briefcase and had his own secretary. Combed his hair and owned an affordable yet promising apartment in the nicer part of town.
When thinking about it, Edward Cullen wasn't necessary not Bella's type but just someone she had never dated. And she guessed she was someone Edward had never dated.
Because with a look in the mirror, the two of them were complete opposites.
Bella thought to her roommate Alice, and figured she was more of the girl he would date.
Brown hair, brown eyes, English major, wore dresses. Not boring but… standard.
She saved her answer for herself because Rosalie had fished the two of them back to their shared table. And eventually Bella did take Edward's offered chair and the girls sat and drank their beers along with the guys who stood and drank theirs.
And Emmett continuously hit on Rosalie the entire night while Rosalie nondescriptly hit on the woman bartender collecting the empty beer bottles.
Near the end of the night, Jasper and Emmett waited, a few blocks down, for the city bus to arrive for the girls. Initially, the offer for a taxi was thrown in but the girls insisted on not having the guys pay for another expense of theirs, as the guys had already picked up the tab on all the drinks.
While waiting, Bella pulled Edward over to the side.
"So, you can come over and look at my car payments if you want," she said in a low voice.
Her hint was bluntly displayed; Edward looked over at his friends before responding. "Don't you have a roommate?"
"Yeah, but she's probably gone for the weekend."
Edward shifted his weight onto his other foot, seeing the night fall as well as the look in her eyes.
"I think maybe another time would be better," Edward said slowly, feeling the words not sitting right on his tongue.
Bella brought her lips into a tight line, her lacey black dress clinging to her skin uncomfortably. "Oh, okay."
"I don't want that to come off as—"
"No, it's fine, I understand," she brushed him off.
The bus finally pulled up to the curb in time for Bella to collect herself. The three girls gathered together, looking wildly dressed amongst the other pedestrians in jeans and hoodies shuffling onto the bus.
Just as the bus turned out of sight, Emmett turned to Edward and sighed, his large chest sinking down.
"I'm going to marry that girl, Edward."
And somehow, Emmett was just as much in the dark as Edward was.
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think.