29 Dimensions

29 Dimensions
Step one: Signing Up
It’s Saturday night and here I am with a glass of wine staring at the color spectrum on the screen. Seriously? A color spectrum? I’m supposed to plot my answers somewhere in the color void I think.
This is so fucking stupid. Why am I here? Oh, right. I’m a single thirty year old book nerd with no good prospects in sight who wants a family one day and the clock is ticking. In fact said clocks battery is running out. Did you hear me earlier? Thirty.
I know lots of women have children into their early forties, but I don’t want to be that old when I start having children. And that is why I am spending Saturday night with a glass of wine and this fucking color spectrum. That and my best friends are hounding me to get off of my ass since the fucked up relationship that was Jacob.
Ok, I admit, the bottle of wine is sitting next to me. I’m just topping it off.
Words of wisdom; never date a man who is bi-sexual. He can cheat on you with men and women.
At the same time.
Leaving you open to walk in and see that shit. The image of my then boyfriends cock in some bitch while some guy pounds into him from behind was burned into my brain. No amount of bleach was going to cure that. The whole situation was now known as “The Jake Debacle” with my friends and me.
At least I can laugh about it now.
Mmm, this wine is good.
I didn’t want to get back into the dating scene, I’ve done it enough. I give up. Maybe I’ll get a couple of cats.
No. Wait. I hate litter.
A dog? They don’t live as long as cats, so it would leave me sooner.
A bird? They can live for a really long time, but they screech and would piss my neighbors off.
Fish are fragile and not affectionate. The whole water needing thing and all.
Crap. I really am left with this stupid online dating. ’29 Dimensions of Compatibility’. What the hell does that mean anyway?
Ok, back to the color spectrum. So many questions! Is this ever going to end?
Is there a question for ‘are you a serial killer’? I really would not like to get matched with one of them. I mean, what would that say about me? Well, besides the obvious, that I too must be a serial killer. Though I have never killed anyone. Never even thought about it… well, maybe a passing thought about annoying bitch ass authors who make my life a living hell sometimes.
Well, one hundred billion questions down and no serial killer question. I don’t know if I should be happy or freaked out about that.
Out of the last one hundred questions I swear I have been asked ten questions about five different ways. Is there an end to this compatibility madness?
Yes! Another hundred billion color coded questions and another glass of wine later and victory is mine!
… Oh, fuck. They want me to what? Fill out my profile and write about myself? My interests? Hobbies?
Well, I think I can check online dating off of my possible dating options. Like I mentioned, thirty year old book nerd. I work as an editor for Christ sake.
I’m boring. Vanilla. Of average looks and slightly above average intelligence.
With a sigh I studiously filled out my profile to pimp myself out to the male population. Cringing with every boring word about myself as I wrote about boring old me and attempted to make myself sound good enough to draw moths to my spark of a flame.
Maybe I should re-think the litter objection.
Oh, goody, the fun part has arrived. Pictures! I would add the one from Alice and Jasper, but the pixie had me all makeup upped and hair done. I don’t wear much makeup, so I would consider that false advertising.
After going through all of the photos stored on my laptop I finally located a few decent shots.
After all was said and done, and after I offered up and arm and a leg for three months of compatibility matching and two hours of my life, the deed was done.
I, Isabella Swan, was officially in the online dating scene and all of its twenty nine dimensions of compatibility glory.


Step two: Matches
My head is pounding. Pounding I say! Ugh, wine hangovers are the worst. I don’t understand I only had one glass last night… oh.
So, it was one wine glass. That was just topped off over and over throughout the night. Oops. What can I say; I needed a little help with that damn profile and the twenty billion questions. Then afterwards I had to drown in my sorrows that I had just signed up for online dating. Am I that repulsive that I cannot find a decent guy by myself? I know it’s the way of the world now, but come on!
Now, to tell Alice and Jasper or not to tell. She has been pestering me for the past few months to ‘get back out there’, but I don’t know if my pounding head can take the pixie screeches of joy at this particular moment. Maybe I’ll test the waters for a little while and then tell her. Or maybe I will go the road of the coward and tell Jasper then threaten him with death if he tells her.
That sounds like a plan. I don’t want to get her hopes up, mine certainly aren’t. She will want to go through all of the matches and probably start talking to them on my behalf.
Hmm, actually not telling Alice is sounding really good at this point. I made it this far, I don’t know if I can handle her throwing me at every guy that they match me with. They aren’t all ‘Mr. Right’. They are possibilities.
Hmm, how many possibilities does it give you a week? One? Five? Only one way to find out.
Stepping up to my laptop I eye the reflective surface with trepidation. It could not have matched me already. Right? With a sigh I flip the top open and bring the machine to life.
I log in and wait for my mailbox to load and when it does my jaw drops. There are eleven matches since I signed up last night.  I stare at the screen for a moment before slowly lowering it back down and backing away.
After running away from my inbox and to the grocery for some much needed fresh foods I work on cleaning my apartment. Surreptitiously I eye the slick black of my laptop as I stumble around my apartment to clean. I swear that damn thing is taunting me, calling out to me.
They can’t really do that, can they? I swear this one is.
My stomach is in knots by the time the early afternoon rolls around and my curiosity cannot take it any longer. Back into the inbox I go.
Once again my jaw drops. In the morning there had been eleven, now there were fourteen. My teeth have captured my lower lip and I bite on it as I click the first match.
The first match really needs to tone down his use of self tanners. Orange is not his color. His profile says that he is a recent college grad and is twenty four. Twenty Four? Shit. I swear I put between twenty seven and forty. Hmm, the seven and four are right on top of one another. Twenty Four is too young. I need someone who is mature, not a younger brother that I need to guide.
Number two is an engineer from India.
Frick, I forgot to narrow location. I really don’t want to have a long distance relationship of around the world. Note to self, couple hundred mile radius. Chicago is a big city, there has to be a decent guy for me here.
I continue down the list with few prospects in my hemisphere let alone time zone. On to number nine!
My heart stops as I look into the most brilliant set of green eyes I have ever seen. He is absolutely beautiful. Not in a girly way, but flawless pale skin, bright eyes, full kissable lips, and hair that looks like he just had great sex. His smile is panty dropping and even through his shirt you can tell he is in shape.
He is a doctor; self proclaimed ‘geek’ though there is nothing in the least bit geeky looking about the god in front of my eyes. Thirty two, workaholic, loves to read though it is mostly medical journals as of late. He hangs out with friends when he has time and has not seen a movie in the theater since ‘The DaVinci Code’ but would really like to see one soon. Music lover and even plays a few instruments.
Oh, God, he lives in Chicago.
My mouse hovers over the button to start communication as I worry my lip. We have much in common, but he looks perfect on paper. Too perfect and I am far from perfect. Hell, I can’t even walk straight without wobbling and tripping on air. Though heels and I have come to a truce, they try not to kill me and I promise not to saw off the heel and burn them. Win-win in my eyes.
 As I stare into his eyes I sigh and sit back. As if a god such as he would ever have an interest in me. I don’t think I am brave enough to take the first step. Old fashioned to the core, shouldn’t the guy take the first step?
I log into my account and quickly change my preference on distance. No more around the world matches, two hundred miles ought to do it. I return to my email and quickly go through the other matches and delete all but his, the god, before slamming my laptop closed.
I stare at the white of my ceiling, noting the nail pops and contemplating the blah that is my dating life. The change in distance will surely limit me to fewer matches, if any, but it doesn’t matter. This isn’t going to work either, I can feel it. It matched me with a god after all.
My mind wanders back to his profile but before my imagination can run away with me my phone goes off, pulling me from his wonderful image.
Don’t forget to bring the movie – A
I sighed and slammed my head on the table. Fuck. Dinner with Alice and Jasper, lovey dovey couple of the century.
I love them, a lot; just sometimes it is hard to be around them because I want what they have so badly. Pathetic, I am so fucking pathetic. They are my best friends and I am begrudging them happiness? Great friend I am.
Well, god like man, maybe I will have enough to drink tonight and become brave enough to start communication. Cheers!


Step three: Five Little Questions
I managed to avoid the slick black piece of machinery for the remainder of Sunday night thanks to the planned evening with my friends. However, when I returned it was staring at me like a jilted housewife needing attention. I ignored its glares and retreated to my bedroom.
My computer would not dictate my life.
The next morning after I had traversed into the bustling downtown area and made it into my office the curiosity cat perked its fuzzy ears up. I was able to deter myself long enough to obtain a hot cup of coffee and a muffin from the break room. That only lasted until I re-entered my office and was in the realm of a computer again. Unable to be denied any longer, the cat clawed at my computer and I found myself logging into my email.
Stupid cat. I knew there was a reason I don’t like litter. Or maybe it is just cats and litter goes along with them? I digress.
Even with the modifications I had made to my account the previous night there were seven new matches. So, starting from the first one received I began going through the list. At the third email my eyes grew wide. Someone had started communication and had sent me five multiple questions to answer. 
My heart sped up. Was this the equivalent to a guy checking you out on the street in cyber dating? Nervously I clicked onto the profile and immediately closed it as fast as humanly possible. Orange boy was calling.
I think not. Delete.
Sorry, you are probably a nice kid, but I am looking for a man. Particularly one who does not use self tanners.
I continued through the list and found one other email with the five multiple choice questions. This guy was from the suburbs of Chicago, in accounting and is thirty as well. His name is Eric. He is decent looking and sounds like a good guy so I find myself answering his questions. They are simple questions, mostly about my likes and dislikes and about my life and what I want all boiled down into a multiple choice question.
Unexpectedly, once I finished his questions and sent them off, I was prompted to send him five from myself. It was a massive list of questions to search through and finding five was difficult but after fifteen grueling minutes it was complete.
Boy this online dating thing was a time hog.
Before logging out I took another look at the god. Kitty couldn’t resist. While looking over the email I took note of something that had been missed last time as all of my attention was glued to his picture and then profile. Edward. His name was Edward.
“eHarmony, Bella?” a familiar voice observed from behind me.
“Angela!” I exclaimed, quickly logging out of my email and turning toward my coworker, another editor. I could feel the heat in my cheeks. Great. “Good morning. What’s up?”
Angela was eyeing me with a smirk on her face. Great.
“Don’t mention anything to Alice please,” I begged. Her eyes widened at the thought of me not telling Alice something.
“Ok,” she responded.
That is one thing I love about Angela, she doesn’t press.
“So, did you hear Tyler Crowley has decided to scrap the whole last half of his latest book?” she asked, thankfully changing the topic, though not a topic I wanted to hear on a Monday morning.
“You have got to be kidding me!” I screamed in frustration. Tyler was one of the bitch ass authors I was complaining about earlier. His last book had to be edited and re-edited and re-edited because he kept changing the damn thing. His latest book was already being pimped out to the bookstores and was about ready to go to press.
“Yeah, Jessica is trying to use ‘persuasive’ measures to keep him on track,” she stated and I could see that she was trying not to burst out into laughter.
“Well, if they work I will put in a good word for her to get a raise,” I commented. God did I hope whatever she does works. Last thing I want to deal with this week is him.
The day came and went in a flash with so much to catch up on after the weekend. Of course right when I walked into my apartment my computer was staring at me again. I gave it the stink eye before making dinner and relaxing a bit.
Three days. Three days have passed and I have become obsessed with checking my email. Why, you ask? Well, between the daily matches and now the budding communications between a few males all of my time was consumed with my inbox.
Unfortunately none of the men were really striking me, nor I them apparently. Communication had ended before it really took off with three guys by the time we reached our ten must have and can’t stand lists or the long questions.
The only one that was still currently in the works was Eric, the accountant. I received my first email from him and to say I was reluctant to respond was an understatement. Partly because it was kind of scary and partly because, honestly, I just wasn’t that into him. He was a nice guy, but from his email I just didn’t feel anything.
However, since he was the first to get this far, I responded. Then he emailed again, and I responded. This continued for the rest of the week. It was Tuesday of the next week when he asked me out on a date for Friday night. I sighed when I responded ‘yes’. It could not be that bad, right? Kind of like a blind date? I wasn’t that interested in him, so if there were no sparks when I got there it was at least good practice.
I was still receiving multiple matches a day, but at least they had dropped from about five per day to three or four. That might not seem like a lot, but it really was. I had even become brave enough to start communication with one or two, but they were not the one I really wanted to and they were mostly prompted by these ‘match requests communication’ emails I keep getting. I finally derived that it was there way at winking at you on behalf of the match. It had not happened for the god yet, but I don’t think I would be brave enough to contact him. I kept his match email in my inbox and daily read his profile. It was sickening, really.
It was the next morning when I sat in my office going through my email that I nearly died. I finished going through my mail, deleting matches I did not care for and was about to log out when another email popped up.
Unfortunately I had just taken a sip of coffee that had immediately spewed from my lips when I saw who it was from. God among men, Edward be thy name.
Five questions for me and me alone. I had been offered an olive branch by the god. Edward was interested in boring bland me.
With shaking hands I read and re-read the words in front of me trying to get past the fact that he sent them to me. Moving the cursor over my answers I clicked the space lighting it up before sending them off. Without deliberation this time I picked five random questions for him and sent them off.
He wasn’t going to be interested in me. He couldn’t be, so I was not going to get my hopes up.
My stomach tumbled as a stared at the screen almost as if I was willing a response to come.  I would just have to wait and see.
It turns out with some things I am not a patient woman when it comes to him.


Step four: Must Haves and Can’t Stands
I shoved my key in the lock, prying my door open. Once through I tossed my keys on the table by the door and walked down the hall to my bedroom. Immediately I fell onto the large bed and shut my eyes for some much needed rest.
Eighteen hour days are hell.
The sun was shining in my eyes, blinding me as the blaring beeps of my alarm filled the room. Rolling over I slammed my hand down on the devil clock. Taking in the time I noted that I had been asleep for almost twelve hours, it was now six in the morning. It was the most amount of time I had slept in weeks. I rubbed my hands over my face noticing the stubble that was no longer just stubble. I had not shaved in days. Not surprising with my schedule though.
I had worked the last eight days straight. Twelve and eighteen hour shifts each day. I could not wait until my best friend, Emmett, was back from his honeymoon and Simmons was back from medical leave. Simmons had fractured her pelvis when she slipped on some blood in the ER and fell to the floor. I was there and one could actually hear the crack of bone before she screamed out in pain. She had been put on bed rest for a month while it healed.
It was these two absences that had me and the other ER doctors working hellacious hours. Thank God Emmett was coming back on Wednesday and Simmons would be back next week. I was promised three days off in a row once everyone was back and our team was in working order again. Though what I would do with three days off in a row I knew not. I did not have a girlfriend who was missing me, Emmett was my closest friend and chances are he would be working.
My social life was nonexistent. Work was my life. I spent more hours in the hospital than I did at home. While I greatly enjoyed saving people and working in the ER, I could not wait to get into my specialty. Another six months and I would be working in pediatrics at the local children’s hospital. The hours would be less hectic and I would hopefully be able to make a difference in the lives of children who are suffering.
I know, I sound sickly sweet about it, but it’s true. I myself spent a lot of time in children’s hospitals when I was a child. Health problems plagued me growing up and I remember the doctors being my hero’s. They could fix anything and I wanted to be just like them. However, as a grownup I knew the truth; they could not fix everything and that, yes, even children die of cancer. I was a lucky one. I survived. I beat it. I wanted others to beat it as well.
Twenty one years in remission. I wanted more of those.
You never get rid of the fear, the fear that it is going to come back and take you. So I try to live everyday like it counts.
There I go, sounding like some fucking motivational speaker again. Emmett would tell me I was being a girl, but he was also going into pediatrics for the same reason so he can suck it.
The truth is I’m just an average guy who wants to help children. I’m also an average guy looking for an average girl to have an average family with. Two point five kids, white picket fence, the whole nine yards.
And where am I in my quest for said family?
And why is that?
Because I suck with women. Even with the help of online dating I have trouble. Though it is not because of my looks, I get asked out all of the time. I know I look good; I work hard to keep my body in shape. The problem is when I open my mouth and only medical jargon comes out. Apparently that is the biggest turn off and the offers are rescinded. I can’t speak, I become flustered and shy. Which you would never think if you saw me in the ER. Cool and confident when in my element. Women are definitely not my element.
I get a lot of shit about it at work. Especially from Emmett, he likes to tease me on how I can’t even date online. Hmm, maybe I’m not missing him so much at the moment.
Speaking of online dating…
I have not really been home over the last week and a half and really haven’t checked my email other than making sure nothing important had come through. I did notice that I had received a few matches that I wanted to look at today. Maybe today I would find her. Hey, a guy could dream.
I was due. I signed up a year and a half ago and had been on a handful of dates, even fewer second dates, and the rarity that was a third date. I had met some scary women and some very nice women, but none of them worked. My membership was up in a few weeks and I was teetering with the idea of not renewing.
Over the past year the matches had dwindled down to a couple a week. Basically, whenever someone new signed up as I had already blown through those who were already members.
After a much needed shower and shave I rustled up some food. This was much more difficult that I originally thought as what little I had in my fridge, well… half of it had gone bad. Not surprising. As I mentioned before, this is my first day off in eight days. The milk was bad, bread was moldy, but luckily I had some pasta and a jar of unopened sauce. In a few minutes I had whipped up a large batch of spaghetti and was shoveling it into my mouth.
Ok, so I seem like a pig, but you would as well if you hadn’t eaten anything in the last twenty hours.
After stuffing myself stupid like the man that I am, my eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach today, I walked into my office and brought my computer to life. It took a few minutes for it to warm up after days of neglect. Immediately I signed on to my email as I gathered up the bills on my desk that were in dire need of attention.
Going through my inbox I did not open any of my matches, waiting until more urgent matters were taken care of first. I had received four matches in the last eight days and two of them had started communication.
The first match followed my communication I recognized. We had gone to high school together. Hell, we had gone to middle school together. She was a cheerleader, I remembered, popular, and didn’t give me the time of day in high school. I was gangly back then. Though I was cancer free at that point, my body was still recovering and catching up after all the poisonous drugs that had been pumped into it for two years straight.
I was a science geek back then… well, still am. Now I have the title to prove it.
After going over Mandy’s profile I noticed not much had changed with her except that she was divorced and had a ten year old. Yeah, she married the football star right out of high school. If I wanted to relieve the glory days of her ex-husband picking on me I would answer her questions, but honestly I couldn’t give a shit about her or high school.
My mood was souring as I took in the next match. Sometimes I wondered how good this twenty nine dimensions thing was anyway. Not that I have anything against tattoos and piercings, but she didn’t look that happy and her interests did not match mine in the least.
Deleting that match I marched on to the next.
When I opened the profile of one Isabella I found myself lost in the depths of a pair of big brown eyes. It was like they were calling to me. It took me a moment to shake myself from her frozen gaze, though it looked anything but frozen. I read and re-read her profile again and again. She was a thirty year old ‘book nerd’ who worked in publishing. She loved to cook and to read of course, hanging out with her friends and contemplating possible pets. She wanted a family.
I was a bit confused by the pet’s part, but couldn’t keep the smile from my face. There was something behind it, she was being humorous but not letting anyone in on the joke.
I wanted to know the joke.
Not thinking, only doing, I hit the ‘start communication’ button and picked five random questions. Random, but I did not care at this point. She was beautiful, intelligent, and funny, even if the joke was only to her. She wasn’t pompous; she even called herself plain which nearly knocked me off of my chair. The beautiful creature in front of me was far from plain.
Now I know people are not always truthful when filling this out and always put the best possible picture of themselves out there in an effort to catch someone’s attention, but I didn’t feel any of that as I read over her profile. I didn’t care if it turned out the photo was of her thirty pounds ago, I wanted to know more.
So, I sent off my randomly selected questions, like I said I didn’t give a shit what they were even though I was supposed to. Guess I would gauge the questions if she answered them.
My leg was bouncing in anticipation, hoping she would answer right away. After a few minutes I went back to the task of looking at the last match and her communication, but all I could think about was the lovely brunette, self proclaimed book nerd.
My hands brushed through my hair. It was a nervous habit of mine that only made my wild hair even more unruly. I had given up long ago on taming it and I nearly ripped a chunk out when a response popped up in my inbox. I opened it as fast as the mouse would move. Looking at the questions and her answers I found that my random questions were mostly ones I would have picked myself.
While her answers did not exactly match mine, they were still intriguing and similar. They were not answers I expected from most women and was smiling that she wasn’t like most women. Maybe I would be able to talk to her. That thought quickly flew out the window when I remembered her photo. Or not.
As I was reading her answers another email popped up, it was five questions for me. I had to laugh at the randomness of questions and wondered if she had done just as I had, picked the questions by clicking whichever. I answered them honestly and sent them off.
My leg was bouncing again and I hopped that she was still on and that I would receive the next step. I couldn’t take the waiting at my computer so I ventured into the kitchen to make a list of supplies and to gather up the spoiled food for the trash. After about ten minutes I returned to my computer and smiled when her ten ‘must haves and can’t stands’ popped up.
I went through her list and compared it to myself as honestly as I could. Some items were easier than others.
Must be intelligent. Dr. Edward Masen. Check
Must want children. Fuck, I was going into pediatric oncology. If I didn’t love children and want them I was in the wrong specialty. Check
Can’t stand smoking. Never touched a cigarette in my life. Check.
Can’t stand slobs. My place had some clutter, but whose didn’t? Otherwise it was clean. Check.
After going through her list I couldn’t believe the excitement that coursed through me. I hadn’t been this excited in a match since the beginning if ever. Sitting back in my chair I stared at the screen. She was interested enough in me to send me her list, but would how would she respond to mine?
My fingers pulled at my hair. To send or not to send?
Fuck it, it was just a list. Hitting the button I let fly my list. If I ever wanted to talk to her it had to happen. Though the thought of talking to her scared me shitless, she was beautiful. Maybe over the phone we could talk and I could stretch it out until she got to know me then when we do meet she will understand me more and perhaps I won’t become so flustered. It wouldn’t be hard with my schedule.
Whoa, back up Edward. Getting ahead of yourself.
I pushed away from my desk and reluctantly logged out of my email. Going to my bedroom I threw on some shoes and located my wallet.  Back in the kitchen I retrieved my list and the bag of garbage. I located my keys and headed out the door to run my errands.
My mind was locked on my inbox all the time I was gone. Hoping that she would take it to the next step. I needed her to. I wanted to know more about her.
I would just have to wait, but I found myself impatient for her response and I was a patient man.


Step five: Three Open Ended Questions
Holy Fuck! I screamed internally as I searched for a paper bag to help with my hyperventilation. Placing my head between my knees I tried to regain my breath that way. It was helping, but only slightly.
It wasn’t even nine in the morning and I was ready to call it a day and it wasn’t due to work. The god had started communication and continued it. I answered his questions and sent five to him. What I had not been prepared for was his rapid response. Not fifteen minutes later he sent his answers.
I was floored. Was he interested in me? Me? It couldn’t be.
I had sent him my ‘must haves/can’t stand’ list after a few minutes of battling with myself. I had not expected him to send his right away as well.
Having just recently filled out my list I found that his was very similar to my own. This was why I now had my head between my knees trying to regain myself.
After a few minutes I pulled out my phone and texted my best friends Alice and Jasper.
Got it bad for a guy online. Help! – B
What?! IMS, why didn’t you tell me you signed up?! –ABW
Don’t worry girl, we got ya. Dinner? – Jas
Dinner. Tell you about it tonight. – B
Resigned, I logged out of my email and returned to the real world which was stacking itself up all around my desk and bogging down my work email. For some reason almost all of my authors had decided to release their next installments within weeks of one another. Never before had my desk been unseen for so long.
Honestly, I couldn’t wait for my boss to get back from her honeymoon. Rosalie was a hard ass bitch to work for, but she helped keep things moving smoothly around here making sure no one was too loaded with work.
The longer it took to edit, the longer it took for the book to be released, the more money it cost. We were a well oiled machine when she was here and totally lost when she was gone. Sad but true. Wednesday couldn’t come soon enough. Luckily it was less the twenty four hours away.
I really should stay late tonight, but I really needed to see Alice and Jasper. I needed them to bitch slap me and ask me why I was stalling. Especially with Rosalie out as she would love to tell me to get off of my ass and get me some ass. Why did I need them to do this again? Oh yeah, I’m shy and he is gorgeous and just the thought of even talking to him is making me break out into hives.
Even through cyberspace.
The day dragged on, the knot in my stomach keeping my appetite at bay which only made it easier to work through my lunch. By the end of the day though, it was growling in hunger. I avoided checking my email for the remainder of the day despite the stupid cat’s protests.
The cat would not rule my life.
That statement sounds way too familiar… oh well.
I left the office and headed a few blocks away to the station to catch the train to Alice and Jaspers house. It was only a few stops from mine and on the same line, making it easy to get together without a car. After exiting the train I walked the two blocks to their home, thankful for the sunny spring afternoon.
I knocked on the door knowing Jasper would be there to answer it. His schedule was pretty set and I knew he had Tuesdays off at the moment.
“Afternoon, darlin’,” he said in greeting, moving aside so that I could get through. “Alice will be here momentarily. I think she caught the train after yours. Drink?”
“I could really use a glass of wine,” I responded as I balanced myself to remove my shoes. I didn’t wear my heels on the train, or for the walk here. I wasn’t stupid enough to tempt my precarious balance, even with the agreement with my heels. That could really only go so far so I kept a pair of flats with me at all times.
“So, what’s going on, Bells?” Jasper asked from the kitchen. I sighed and contemplated starting in but knew better. We needed to wait for Alice. Walking in I took the glass of wine from his hand and took a long sip.
“What’s on the menu tonight?” I asked, changing the subject. Jasper understood and merely smirked.
“Pork chops with mashed red potatoes and sautéed French green beans,” he replied as he flipped the pork chops. My mouth was salivating at the smell. He was cooking my favorite Jasper dish and he knew it.
His hand waved in my direction. “Get a good whiff. Come on, you know you want too,” he nagged teasingly.
“You’re terrible,” I replied, lightly smacking his arm.
“Oooh, that smells good, baby,” Alice called from the door. She bounded through the archway into the kitchen in true Alice style before clobbering me. “Bella!”
“Hey, brat,” I taunted as I wrapped my arms around her slight frame. She released me and bound over to her husband for a passionate kiss.
“So, you ready to spill your guts?” Jasper asked, his eyebrow quirked at me as he smirked. Bastard.
I sighed as I readied myself to indeed spill my guts. “So, I finally signed up a little over a week ago. And I didn’t tell you until now because I really needed to take the first steps by myself and not influenced by anyone but myself.”
“And now you need us?” Alice questioned knowingly.
I sighed yet again. “I was matched with a guy… no, a god.” I paused as I brought forth his picture to the front of my mind. “He’s gorgeous. From his profile he looks like the perfect guy and I don’t see why he would be in the least bit interested in me, but he started communication today. Before I knew it we had traded questions and lists and now it’s my turn to send him fill in the blank questions and I don’t know if I can. It took all that I have to answer him.”
“Bella, don’t ever think that you are not good enough for any man,” Jasper warned. “You are beautiful and smart and any man would be lucky to have you.”
“You’re only saying that because you are my friend, Jas,” I replied calling him out.
“Fine, no dinner for you.”
“Oh, come on! You can’t keep that from me!” I cried. I could hear Alice giggling next to me.
“Seriously, Bella, Jasper is telling the truth. I don’t know why you can’t see it, but I bet this guy sees it. Tell me more. What does he do? What are his hobbies?” Alice asked, getting more excited as questions began rapidly pouring from her lips.
“Alice, Alice! Calm down!” I scolded. “His name is Edward and he is a doctor here is Chicago. Ring any bells, Jasper?”
Jasper turned as he tossed the green beans. “Darlin’, I work with hundreds of doctors and though Edward isn’t that common of a name anymore, there are still a few of them. What does he look like?”
“Well, he has brown hair and the most brilliant pair of green eyes I’ve ever seen.”
I watched as he paused briefly in his movements. “Don’t recall anyone with brown hair and green eyes that’s young enough.”
“So, what’s the problem besides your lack of self esteem?” Alice questioned.
“That is exactly it. Alice, he is so good looking it intimidates me. I can never talk to this man, I would pass out after looking at his face, never be able to get a word out,” I explained.
“Bella, go to the next step. Send the damn questions. I mean, really? What do you have to lose?” Alice asked. It was then I realized why I came over, why I needed to talk to my friends. I needed a push, or a swift kick, whichever worked.
 She was right. I didn’t know him and he didn’t know me. That’s what this whole process was about. We had to get through it to find out if there was anything there. Though that didn’t mean I wasn’t scared shitless to talk to the man. But what harm could come in continuing on? Hadn’t I made it farther with Eric, a guy I admit to not having much interest in? Yes, I have much interest in Edward and that scares the shit out of me, but isn’t that what I am looking for? Someone that calls to me?
“I love you,” I declared as I wrapped my arms around my best friend.
“You’ll remember that at Christmas, right?” she asked as she hugged me back. I laughed and wondered what it was this year that she could not possibly live without.
“Whatever you want,” I agreed.
“What about me? Where’s my love and affection?” Jasper asked looking all deflated. It was cute.
“Aw, Jas, I love you too… and your dinner which I can’t wait to eat,” I admitted, my arms wrapping around his waist. He leaned down to kiss the top of my head.
“Alright, if you grab some plates I guess I’ll feed you since you finally decided to stop being an idiot.”
“Hey!” I protested as I lightly slapped his arm.
“And as soon as you are done I am kicking your ass out and you are going to go home and send that man your questions without delay and you are going to text us when you are done,” he commanded.
“Yes, sir.”
I could hear Alice giggling and threw a towel at her. It hit her right in the face which sparked a towel snapping war and resulted in a nice red welt on my thigh. Alice was a meanie.
After Jasper’s wonderful dinner I rolled myself down to the station stuffed to the brim. I waddled the four blocks to my apartment and somehow managed to climb the three flights of stairs. I could have taken the elevator, but I really needed to work off some of the food.
Upon entering I changed into some more comfortable stretchy clothing and confirmed to my jilted laptop that, yes, I was coming to pay it some attention.  As instructed I immediately logged on and looked through the open ended questions instead of the random pick of the last questions. Happy with my selections I sent them off without hesitation and texted Jasper and Alice to know the deed was done.
I was nervous, there was no doubt about it, I was putting myself out there in a way I had never done before. At least that was how it felt. As I waited for a reply, that I knew not when it would arrive, I surfed the internet, paid my bills, and went through my new matches. An hour had passed when I flipped back to my inbox to find two new emails.
He had answered my questions and sent three of his own.
Once again I started hyperventilating but quickly calmed myself. I opened up his email and became absorbed in his answers. My favorite one was about his closest friend.
Tell me about your closest friend. How long have you known them and what do you like best about them? – My best friend is a childish big oaf of a man, but I couldn’t ask for a better friend. We met in a children’s hospital over twenty years ago and now we work together. It wasn’t planned that way, it just happened that way. I like how he sees the fun in life where most cannot, he speaks what he is thinking, and he has the most infectious smile ever. Even when you are mad at him you cannot help but smile.
 It was by far the best answer I had seen from anyone. He had thought about the answer and answered it fully. I found myself smiling at him talking about his best friend’s infectious smile. Wow, that was a powerful smile.
I opened up the second email and began filling out my answers. I smiled when I saw he had sent the same question about your closest friend. Not being able to choose between Alice and Jasper I told him about them both. They were a packaged deal anyway and had been since the day we all met.
After answering his questions I sent them back. All I could do now was wait. Thank God, the next step was in his court because I don’t think I could take the stress. What would I say? “Hi, my name is Bella and I’m a Virgo?” Yeah, right. That would be the end of any communication with the green eyed god.
Once again I found myself sitting and waiting. A yawn escaped and I decided to head to bed. That is if I could actually get to sleep with all of the butterflies circling in my stomach along with all of the pork. Ugh, should have just taken leftovers.

Step six: First Message
I stared at the blank screen in front of me trying to find words. Since I started communication it falls in my court to also start the first email. This is how I found myself in my current dilemma. Just what was I supposed to write? It has been so long since I have gotten this far in communication with anyone.
So I did what I probably shouldn’t have, but that’s the fun of being me. Aren’t I lucky?
From: Edward
To: Isabella
Date: May 3rd, 2011 8:12pm
I hope this finds you well.
Wow, what an introduction. How stiff can I get?
Please don’t take that in the derogatory way, I meant it only in that I sounded very… distant, cold? Alas, I believe that is a problem with the first email; conversation starters.
I guess I can start by telling you some about myself. As you probably remember from my profile I am a doctor at a local hospital here in Chicago. This is only for the next few months before I move onto my specialty of pediatric oncology.
Why pediatric oncology? (I’ll just insert a question for you)
Well, that is a long story and one I don’t usually share until I know someone better. Perhaps when we are talking more (if you aren’t repulsed by me at the end of this email. Don’t laugh, it has happened before. I know you’re laughing, you can stop now) I will tell you all about it.
Speaking of talking, that is of some… difficulty for me. Just so you are aware. I mean, it isn’t if I can’t talk. I am a doctor after all. It’s just that I … well I don’t have much confidence when it comes to women. My friend is always saying that confidence is something you are born with, but only those who utilize it are confident. So, I guess I utilize it in the ER and with patients, I am confident there, but in other areas I have no idea how to utilize it.
Hmm… I’ve rambled. Please forgive me, I tend to do that. Especially when nervous and obviously it comes through even in email format. I suppose I could delete it and start over, but then you wouldn’t see me as I am, just some fabricated version. And if you are going to stop communication I would rather it be early on and not later when we meet and I start rambling and I am not what you expected.
And that’s if we meet. I am not saying right now. You may not want to meet me.
There I go rambling again.
I should stop here.
Hope you have an enjoyable evening,
I sighed after hitting the send button. I don’t know why I had become so infatuated with this girl today, but I really wanted to get to know her for some reason. The depth of her eyes and her answers pulled me in. This was… surprising. She was different and I was desperately hoping she would reply.
I was ecstatic when about forty five minutes later her email popped up on my screen. I nearly tipped my coffee all over my computer as I frantically moved to open it.
From: Isabella
To: Edward
Date: May 3rd, 2011 8:57pm
Not to worry, I took no offense. I too know the enjoyment that comes with the lack of a verbal filter. J
I must say, based on your profile, I was not expecting you to be anything but confident.
Also, as for the rambling and talking… I am just hoping that if we do meet I don’t get so nervous that I throw up. Seriously. It could happen. To me at least. And if it doesn’t I’m still not sure if I will be able to speak.
So, about me I guess. I suppose I will actually have to talk about myself. I’m nothing spectacular, just so you know. I don’t want you to be disappointed.
Aren’t we a self confidence lacking duo?
Pediatric oncology, huh? That sounds like a very rewarding and very heartbreaking profession. Being able to heal children so that they can grow up and experience life… wow.
I work in publishing as an editor. I really enjoy it, especially since I get to help shape books to their final draft and read them before anyone has the opportunity. If you hadn’t guessed, I love books. I can spend a whole day reading… actually I do that Monday through Friday. But in my free time I get to read books that I want to read and not those I am paid to. Does that make sense?
Another fact, I am not a native to Chicago. I came here eight years ago from a small town in Washington called Forks where I lived with my dad. At least that was where I spent my last three semesters of high school and in Seattle for college. Before that I lived in Phoenix with mom where I had spent most of my life. That is until she remarried and they moved to Florida.
Also, just so you know, I am the clumsiest person you will ever meet. Unobstructed surfaces are a danger to me. It’s a good thing you are a doctor.
Hmm, questions, questions…
Maybe I’ll save those for later if you are still interested.
Have a great night!
P.S. Don’t worry, I’m not laughing. I’m also not repulsed. I’m actually crushing on you, if I am going to be honest.
My eyes were wide as my heart fluttered in my chest. She was ‘crushing’ on me. She was not repulsed. Holy shit!
No self confidence. Really? She was beautiful. Then again, she stated that with my looks she was surprised about my lack of. Odd, could I really have found a woman who was beautiful and not full of herself?
To: Isabella
From: Edward
Date: May 3rd 2011, 9:42pm
Isabella (or is it Bella?),
Well, to calm your nerves I will be honest as well. I am crushing on you. Odd since we just connected this morning, but I find myself wanting to know more about you. I am intrigued by you. You are different from most women.
I am very happy you are not laughing or repulsed. Also, at least with regard to the opposite sex, yes we are both self conscious.
You really thought I would be confident based off of my profile? Well I can see why. I really don’t want to sound conceited because I am not, but I know I am attractive. It is a relatively new thing for me so I’m still not used to it.
Yes, pediatric oncology is both rewarding and heartbreaking. As a kid I used to think doctors could fix anything, but I learned the hard way that cancer kills even kids. I want to help as many as I can live, to help them beat their bodies and be able to live.
 Publishing, huh? That would be awesome to read books before they come out. Everyone else has to wait, but you have the insiders scoop. That sounds like a great job for someone who loves books. I love to read, I just never have any time to read anything other than medical based pieces.
Not a native? Don’t worry, it’s ok. We’ll accept you anyway? ;)
Clumsy? Don’t worry, I’ll catch you if you fall, I promise.
Wow, I think I may have been flirting with you there.
I am definitely interested. Ask away.
P.S. I like honesty for us. It’s fucking painful to expose ourselves, but I think we should be nothing but honest considering our… quirks. Do you agree?
P.P.S. If you do email me back and I don’t answer for a few days please do not take that as a sign that I don’t want to. I am about to get ready for work. My day of freedom is over and I have to be back in at midnight. It is hard to check my email on my off time, but I will try.
Or, would you be willing to talk on the phone? If so, send me your number and a good time frame to call. I would like to talk to you. 312-555-2912
After sending off my second email I ran to the kitchen and made a quick meal with my fresh food I picked up today. I walked into my bedroom and located some clean scrubs, throwing them on. Luckily I had remembered to do laundry and was set for another week. Grabbing my backpack I headed out the door and to the next few days of hellacious schedule. Though Emmett would be back and taking over for me at noon marking him as officially returned, we were still short handed until next week.
I couldn’t keep the smile from my face as I headed off for work. Just as I was about to walk through the door my phone went off signaling I had a text message.
Monday-Friday after 6pm before midnight. Saturday and Sunday anytime – Bella
My heart was beating fast and my face was beginning to hurt from the huge grin that was plastered on it. I could not wait until tomorrow night.


Step seven: First Call
Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.
Yes, yes I was indeed hyperventilating on my couch. I had been lured onto YouTube by Alice on my way to bed and my date with Supernatural. I have never been happier for the little pixie and her YouTube obsessed ways until now. Because of her I received a second email from Edward who was by some miracle so interested in me that he wants to talk on the phone.
A smile spread on my face and I kicked my legs as I squealed it absolute joy. He was crushing on me as well. He was flirting with me. Never before did I wish I would trip on something, but if it meant he would catch me… well then it was completely worth it.
Sleep now evaded me. Great. I was way too wired at the thought of talking to him over the phone. Well, since I was awake I decided to send him an email reply for him when he got off tomorrow.
To: Edward
From: Isabella
Date: May 3rd, 2011 11:17pm
Yes, Bella is the preferred name and I am very interested in you as well.
You know you’re attractive, I know you’re attractive. It’s all good.
Thank you for accepting me, I officially feel welcome here in the windy city… after eight years. All I was waiting on was your acceptance.
Sorry, I should let you know I was being sarcastic there if it wasn’t apparent. I know it doesn’t come across in writing as well and I really don’t want you to think… well, that I was trying to be anything other than a smartass.
Really? Will you really catch me? That’s sweet. Be prepared though, I fall… a lot. I’m not kidding, there is a chance I was once one of your patients I frequent the ER that much. Though, I think I would remember you, or at least your green eyes. They are truly mesmerizing.
Ok, embarrassed to admit that last part. I have a feeling I will embarrass myself a lot with you.
Flirting? If you could see me now I would be blushing. Oh, I do that a lot as well, blushing that is. I can’t help it, I can’t stop it. It is my curse.
Honesty, huh? I agree, fucking painful, but I also agree that it is a necessity for us.
I will hold off my questions until you call. I mean, I am assuming you are going to call. I plan on a whole ‘twenty questions’ like question-a –thon.
P.S. Painful part… I can’t wait to talk to you.

After bearing myself to Edward I crawled under the warm covers of my bed and drifted off to sleep. All through the night I dreamed of nothing but what I was now believing to be my Mr. Right.
The next morning found my office to be buzzing. I almost thought Alice had dosed the water with whatever made her part hummingbird, but the blonde barking orders in the corner office alerted me that the boss was back.
Rosalie Hale-now-McCarty, the whip cracking, non-sugar coating, queen B herself was back and kicking ass while taking names. There was a lot of ass kicking and name taking going on. Apparently she was none too happy to find that her rag tag group of employees couldn’t handle her absence.
Why oh why did I have to be in her rag tag group? Because, honestly, I don’t think I’d be able to take it being in Mike Newton’s group. The guy was sleazy and on more than one occasion has tried to get in my pants. No matter how much I drink there is no way, no how, I will ever sleep with him, or move to his group. Ever.
That and despite her abrasive nature, Rosalie is actually becoming a good friend.  
“Alright, Swan, spill,” Rosalie demanded a few hours later as she shut my door before sitting on the edge of my desk.
“Spill what? I was a good girl while you were away,” I protested.
“I do not doubt that, but you have a look on your face like the cat that ate the canary. Spill,” she demanded again.
I sighed, but failed to wipe said smile from my face. What can I say? Edward in a little over twenty four hours had forced himself into the forefront of my mind.
My brain was apparently stuck on channel Edward.
“So, with encouragement from my best friends I… I started eHarmony and I’ve met a guy. He… well, Rose, he’s perfect,” I explained as best as I possibly could.
“And? You aren’t really going to stop there, are you? Tell me about Mr. Perfect.”
“His name is Edward,” I said and noticed my smile grow impossibly wider. I was a goner. “He’s a doctor here in Chicago. He looks gorgeous, but describes himself as a science geek who has trouble talking with women and rambles. It’s really cute how he…. Rosalie?”
I stared at Rosalie who had begun laughing. Yep, my boss was laughing at my pathetic ass. Doubled over the edge of my desk in hysterics laughter. Great.
“I’m sorry, Bella. It’s just, you two sound perfect for each other!” she exclaimed as she cackled with laughter.
“Gee, thanks,” I replied with a roll of my eyes.
“So, when are you two bumbling fools going to meet? Or have you already?” she asked as she attempted to reign in her laughter. Was I saying earlier that I missed her? Scratch that.
“I don’t know. He is going to call me tonight, I think,” I explained.
“You think?”she questioned with a quirk of her brow.
“He asked for my number and a good time to call. He was heading in for a midnight shift, so I might hear from him tonight,” I replied, biting on my nail. A nervous habit that didn’t come out often, but her quizzing was putting me on edge.
“I’m sure you’ll hear from him,” she said. Standing up from my desk she headed to the door. “Back to work, Swan. You are shitload behind.”     
“Hey, Rose, welcome back,” I called as she walked through the door. She turned and smiled and I couldn’t help return it.
When the clock turned five I practically ran out of the office and home. That had an unfortunate side effect as in my haste I tripped while exiting the train and nearly took out a business man who glared at me. I apologized, but he turned his nose up at me and went on his way.
Finally I made it home without any more incidents. I had butterflies in my stomach that wouldn’t calm down. I was excited and nervous and excited. Wait, didn’t I already say excited? Sure did, sure was.
Well, I couldn’t wait to talk to him and I prayed he would call. I couldn’t understand my reaction to him. I had been talking to Eric for nearly a week through email and the phone and I hadn’t had any sort of reaction or pull to him that I did for Edward. This is odd as we have never met and only started conversation yesterday.
Here I was, quickly getting settled at home, making sure my phone ringer was on high and was fully charged while I attempted to make myself some dinner. That was if I could eat.
I was a mess, complete and total mess. I’d tripped three times since coming home, once landing me on the ground with my head little too close to the coffee table for my liking. I’d also stubbed my toe, burned my arm with boiling oil, and bruised my hip running into the corner of my couch. Total mess.
By eight I found myself messaging my toes and icing my arm. I was also nursing a headache from all the stress. Of course then my phone would ring and of course I had moved it to the kitchen while I cooked. Stumbling to the kitchen I picked up the phone and hit the talk button as I lost my footing and fell to the floor.
“Ouch! Mmm, damn it!” I cried and whimpered a bit more before placing the phone to my ear. “Hello?” I answered my voice still strained and high from the pain I was in.
“Bella?” a smooth velvety voice questioned on the other end.
“Uh-huh.” I tried to get out. I shouldn’t get so worked up. That always seemed to bring the klutz out in epic proportions.
“Are you ok?” The voice asked. It was the most beautifully sexy voice I had ever heard in my life.
“Um, yeah. Who... who is this?”
“Oh! Sorry… um… this is Edward,” he replied.
“Oh!” I cried out as I sat up.
“Are you sure you’re ok?”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Well, if you were here to catch me as I fell I’d be a lot better.”
“Oh! Shit! I’m sorry.”
“Yeah. It’s kinda on par for me, though I don’t usually do it as I answer the phone. Nor do I usually fall. Especially not twice in one night. It’s been… an evening fraught with peril at my house,” I explained in greater detail than I meant.  
“Are you sure you’re ok?” he asked yet again. “Maybe you should go to the hospital.” I could hear the concern in his voice and I couldn’t even begin to describe how that made me feel.
“It’s fine, really. I’m used to it, I know the drill. Plus, nothing is strained or broken, but if I was a housewife I might look like a battered one in the morning. Bruised hips, possibly shoulders now, burned arm. I’ve had quite a productive night. Ok, I might have a broken toe, but that wouldn’t be the first time,” I babbled. I could feel my cheeks heat up. “There goes that verbal filter again. What a way to start our first call, huh?”
He laughed and my chest lightened. It wasn’t a laughing at me kind of laugh, but a with me kind and it was like music. Sweet, sweet music.
“So… hi.”
“Hi,” he replied.
“How was your day?” I asked.
“Is this how we are starting the twenty questions?’
“Well, this is actually pleasantries while I pick my ass up off of the floor and move to the couch. I also might grab another ice pack on the way.”
He laughed again. “Please be careful,” he begged. “Well, my day was ok. Long of course and then full of sleep. Actually I just woke up a few minutes ago.”
“When do you have to go back?” I asked. I was curious about a doctor’s schedule; it was so different from the normal ‘nine to five’.
“I’m due back at midnight for an eighteen hour shift, then eighteen off.”
Wow, that sucks. “That must be rough. Eight to nine hours is rough enough, I can’t imagine twelve to eighteen.”
“It takes some getting used to and even then I don’t think you really ever get used to it, you just adapt.”
“I can see that.”
There was an awkward silence; neither of us seemed to know what to say next.
“What was your favorite toy as a kid?” I blurted my question out. I don’t know why that question, seriously it was just the first thing that popped in my head. He laughed that musical laugh that made my heart race.
He made a few ‘hmm’ sounds as he thought about an answer. “Probably my erector set. What about you?”
Uh-oh. “Um,” I began as I wracked my brain for something I played with often when I was younger. “Besides books? I had an Atari.”
“An Atari girl? Wow, don’t meet many of those. I loved Atari as well. Space Invaders was the best.”
“My favorite was Keystone Capers. I hardly remember the game now, but I remember loving that game.”
“I’m shocked you weren’t a Barbie girl. Aren’t all girls supposed to love Barbie’s?”
“Well, best that you know now, I’m not like most girls. To add to my plain and boringness I am also odd.”
He laughed. That sound was becoming my favorite in the world. “I’d say you are intriguing. Very intriguing.”
I blushed at his compliment. I’d never been considered intriguing.
Intriguing was the opposite of what I considered myself to be and what I had been told by many to be.
Conversation flowed easily then. Twenty questions turned into forty that turned into sixty. Before I realized it almost three hours had passed and it was nearing eleven.
“Crap,” he sighed. “I didn’t realize how long we’ve been talking. I have to get ready for work.”
“Oh, sorry!” I exclaimed, realizing I had probably made him run late.
“Please don’t be sorry, Bella. I have had a wonderful time talking to you tonight,” he admitted. I bit my lip in an effort to keep my smile from breaking my face. I wasn’t really sure it was working.
“Me too. However I am beginning to wonder where the guy who can’t talk to women is,” I observed.
He chuckled. “Well, we are on the phone and not in front of each other. I really get flustered in person. Plus there was that whole part at the beginning where my doctor side kicked in. I guess you being clumsy was an ice breaker of sorts.”
I could hear him starting some water in the background. “Ha ha,” I replied sarcastically. “Well, I should probably let you go.”
He sighed. “Unfortunately I have to agree. Plus it is getting late; you need to get to sleep.”
“Can I call you tomorrow night?”
“Won’t you be tired after such a long day?” I questioned. I didn’t want to impede on his sleep time, especially after such a long shift at work.
“Honestly, I don’t know if I will be able to get to sleep before talking to you. I’ve really enjoyed talking to you tonight, Bella,” he revealed making my heart soar.
“I’ve really enjoyed talking to you as well, Edward,” I admitted.
“Is it weird that I really don’t want to hang up?”
“No, I know exactly how you feel.”
“Sweet dreams, Bella.”
“Have a good day… night at work,” I responded as I gathered the strength to hang up.
“Oh, Bella?” he asked, stopping my motion.
“Please be careful tomorrow,” he emphasized.
I couldn’t help the smile that formed on my face. “I’ll try, but I can’t make any promises.”
“Good night, sweet Bella.”
“Good night, Edward.”
I hung up the phone and fell back onto my bed where I had moved somewhere around hour two. My smile was huge as I thought back on all I had learned about Edward. He had called me intriguing, but it was him that was the intriguing one. We had much in common despite our different occupations and his lack of free time.
While I was on cloud nine I couldn’t keep the nagging feeling that poked at me. Edward was wonderful. Absolutely wonderful and perfect. Surely he would be disappointed when he saw me in person. Plain, boring Bella. Maybe if I got to know him on the phone long enough he could develop feelings and then my lack of looks wouldn’t matter.
A few minutes later as I snuggled down into my covers my phone went off alerting me to a text message.
I miss talking to you already. Sleep tight. – Edward
Me too. I’ll try not to let the bed bugs bite. – B
Please do. Nasty little buggers. If they do, just call the doctor to help take care of the wounds. Oh, that would be me. ;) – Edward
Wouldn’t you just love to rub ointment all over my naked body? Dirty boy. ;) – B
*blushes* Quite possibly. Sweet dreams. – Edward
Blushing is my line. Honesty: They will be sweet if you are in them. *blushes* - B
Oh, Bella, I hope that you do. – Edward
It was going to be a long eighteen hours.


Step eight: First Date?
It was five in the afternoon and I was staring at the ceiling of my bedroom unable to sleep. I needed to sleep, desperately, as I was due back in the ER at midnight. Why was I awake? Bella. My Bella. Odd that I would think of her like that already, we had only been talking on the phone for two days.  She was all I could think of, especially now as she was on her way home to prepare for her date.
She had freaked out for a minute on the phone the night before having totally forgotten she had accepted a date for Friday. He was forgettable, I was not. That little fact made me smile despite the frown due to some other man taking my Bella out.
My Bella. I wonder when I started referring to her as that. I wonder if she would like that I do, or if she would find it creepy. I know I wouldn’t mind if she referred to me as ‘her Edward’.
I toss and turn, the neon light displaying that it is now six. I’ve barely slept and I’m exhausted. Turning onto my side I recount our conversations from the previous night and lull myself to sleep.
My body is jolted as the sound of my phone ringing pulls me from a deep sleep. The clock now reads nine as I grab for my glasses and the phone. I smile at the display; Bella.
“Hello?” I answered, my voice rough from sleep.
“Did I wake you?” she asked, her voice full of concern.
“Yes, thank you, I need to start getting up. I’m surprised to hear from you, especially this early, what happened to your date?”
“Ugh, total disaster! He was completely false advertising himself. I thought online dating would be better than blind dates, but let me tell you, it’s not.” I heard her sigh through the line. My chest felt lighter at her words and I tried not to laugh, but it was just too amusing.
“And that is why I wanted you to know that I am a bumbling geek,” I admitted.
Her laughter was the sweetest thing, even better when it was a small giggle.
“Ah, my favorite. It’s a good fit for a stumbling nerd.” She giggled before going silent. I could only imagine she was blushing from head to toe at her verbal filter moment. I needed to pull her out before she took it back. I didn’t want her to take it back.
“I couldn’t agree more,” I replied. I could hear a small gasp on the other end. “Honesty, remember?”
“Honesty. Then can I honestly say that date may have been the topper for worst date on record?”
“What happened?” I finally asked. I couldn’t take it anymore; I had to know what this guy had done wrong and make sure I had none of his qualities.
“Ok, I am not fashion conscious. I’m not big into fashion and I don’t really care what most people wear. However, being stuck in the seventies… well, is kind of disturbing.”
“The seventies?”
“The seventies, I kid not. Complete with fake mustache.”
I can’t help it, I burst out laughing. “Stop laughing! It was horrible!”
Her words only fuel my fit and I am rolling on my bed, clenching my stomach. I lay back on my back and placed an arm behind my head. “Sorry, sorry.” I tried to stifle my laughter, really I did.
“Uh-huh. So, as I was saying, he was dressed like he was in a seventies porno.”
And there I go again.
“Stop it!” She laughed and then she was laughing with me.
“Ok, so seventies porno guy, what happened next?”
“I am so happy I met him. So, I get to the restaurant and despite my gut I don’t run… so help me if you laugh again…”
Oh shit, there I go again. It’s just too cute. She’s like a little kitten trying to act like a lion. Then again, maybe she’s just playing with me. I can imagine her here telling me this. She’s trying not to smile as she threatens me. She would be so cute I don’t know if I could keep my hands off of her in order to let her get her story out.
“We sit down to dinner,” she continues, ignoring my chuckles. “He starts in ‘Bella, dear, I like to think of the date in phases. Phase one is my no skill phase in which I talk’. At that point he pushes his glasses up and starts talking about wine like he is a connoisseur. Then he continues with his phase one speech about how smooth he is and how he knows I want to kiss him. I choke on my wine that I am chugging at that point.”
I love how she lowered the pitch of her voice to denote his. I’m dying and pretty sure if she were here right now I would have her in my arms as I kissed the top of her head.
“Then he goes into phase two which is turning on the charm. He smiles and I think he is trying to be sexy, but it is distracting with the huge piece of spinach caught in his teeth.”
“I’m surprised you stuck around long enough to hear phase two and see said spinach.”
“Sheer will power. Plus I was starving!”
“Anyway, he continues with his explanation; ‘That’s when I get to touch you’.”
I think I just growled. There is a small intake of air on the other line. Yep, just growled. “I love how he assumed he was going to get to touch you.”
“Tell me about it. He started petting my hand. I think he was trying to caress and it was just creepy. He was staring at my breasts like he was imagining they were actually beneath his hand.”
I am not a violent person, but I really wanted to rip this guys hand off for even touching her hands. He was insinuating he would be touching more and that they would be… intimate. I didn’t even realize I was pinching the bridge of my nose as I tried to calm myself.
“I nearly burst into laughter when his mustache fell off into his wine glass while he was attempting that sexy expression.”
She giggled again and the sound brought me back to myself. I started laughing again as I envisioned the seventies dressed douche and his fake mustache. I was surprised at the feelings her story was bringing out in me. I was jealous and possessive when I really didn’t have a right to be. Though I thought her to be ‘my Bella’, she wasn’t. We hadn’t met and I can say that with as attached to her as I had become, I was reluctant to do so.
Why? Because I was so attached to her. I was afraid to meet the wonderful woman on the other side of the phone. Afraid that, even with as accepting as she had been, that in front of her she would find me lacking.
“He then goes ‘Did I just kill the mood and thus my chances at ever having your precious pillowy lips grace mine with that move?’”
She made a gagging noise and I was laughing from this guy’s cheesiness. “Oh, I think he lost his chances from the moment you were formally introduced.”
“I should have followed my gut and gone running and screaming. God! Ugh, that was the topper.”
“How did you leave?”
“I text my friend Ali nine one one. She called and I just had to answer it and immediately had to leave as she was going into labor,” she explained in a very fake, very concerned tone.
“Let me guess, Ali isn’t even pregnant?”
“Nope… well, as far as she knows. I mean, she could be a few days or so, but I highly doubt it.”
“Ok, so I need to remember to keep my pimp costume in the closet and keep my hands to myself until you give the ok. Check,” I said, a chuckle escaped as I imagined this guy once again.
“Oh, Edward, I think I can safely say you have nothing to worry about.”
“I like to hear that. So, how was the food, since the company was a bust?”
She sighed. “Well, the salad was good, but I didn’t make it to the main course. I’m now scouring my kitchen for something.”
“It’s a good thing that you left.”
“Why’s that?”
“Who knows what his next phase was. I can imagine him humping your leg over the main course.”
Ah, there was the sweet sound of her laughter again.
We talked for a little while longer. Shots at her date continued and before I knew it was nearing one in the morning. I heard a yawn through the line and smiled.
“You’re tired. I should let you go.”
“I’m fine, really,” she protested.
“You need your beauty rest, Cinderella.”
“Ha! I’m far from being a fairy tale or a damsel in distress needing to be rescued by prince charming.”
“You needed rescued tonight,” I pointed out.
“Ugh, don’t remind me! Though I will admit, the thought of being rescued by you is appealing.”
I smiled at her admission. I loved the honesty we had going. “I would save you any time, anywhere, my princess.”
“I am hardly a princess.”
“My queen.”
Her laughter filled my ears. “Alright, my king, to bed I must be going before I fall asleep on the phone with you.”
“Good night, sweet Bella. I hope to talk to you tomorrow, but I’m not sure if I’ll make it. If not it may be Sunday. I mean, if that’s alright. You may not want to talk to me every day and I’m just assuming and I don’t want to be assuming because that may be smothering. But I really enjoy talking to you.”
“Breathe, Edward!” she exclaimed. I sucked in a deep breath and sighed. “I would love to talk to you any time you want to call.”
I smiled and said my goodbye’s with a promise to call her sometime over the weekend. A short nap was needed before I jumped into the shower and headed off to the hospital.
Nearly three weeks had passed since Bella’s disastrous date with seventies porno guy. In that time we tried to talk as much as possible, but my schedule moved to me working many nights. Every day that we could, we were talking. Talking about our childhoods, talking about our like and dislikes, talking about our careers, talking about our friends. Hours at a time we were talking and everyday my desire to be close to her grew.
I even told her about the children’s hospital and my stay there. It wasn’t as if it was something I hid, but for some reason I did when it came to dating. Sometimes people aren’t the brightest and they think that just because you had something means they might be able to get it. Yeah, right, because cancer is so spreadable from person to person. That or they think you are going to fall down dead for no reason. People are strange sometimes.
Our relationship had evolved, as all do, and once we were more comfortable with one another it all started coming out. I quickly learned that Bella’s mind was in the gutter about seventy percent of the time, maybe more. She could take a seemingly innocent statement and make it dirty.
How did I learn all of this? Picture war.
What’s that? Well, I have my best friend Emmett to thank for that one as he threw the first one. Having confiscated my phone under the guise of telling me how ‘last year’ my piece of technology was and how I needed to step it up he had managed to take a photo of me while I was changing my scrubs.
And then he sent it to Bella.
This wouldn’t have been quite so terrifying if the response from her hadn’t been along the lines of; nice knowing you, hope your search goes well, you are way out of my league.
I don’t know how he did it but it seriously looked like some magazine shot. My head was looking down after it had broken through the collar and my arms were still twisted in the fabric above my head. My stomach was exposed and tight from the stretch showing off the definition of my abs and chest. Having untied my pants they were barely hanging on my hips.
After being impressed by the image of myself (I never really had much definition until recently), I immediately freaked out at her words. It took some time, but I talked her down and then convinced her that turnabout was fair play.
If clumsiness was contagious I swear she was rubbing off on me. When her picture came through I was so distracted I stubbed my toe, bounced back into a chair that sent me crashing to the ground.
Yeah, I’m cool.
I had seen pictures of her on her profile but nothing was like the Bella on my phone. She was an unassuming beauty with unknown sexiness. She thought she was average, I thought she was exquisite and made sure to tell her. Our honesty truce must be upheld.
So, I sent her my stunned face, she replied with wide eyed shock, I winked; she blew a kiss (my favorite and background on my phone). The pictures continued, I think we even included the Zoolander ‘Magnum’ look before the night was over. It was the best time I had had in years and we weren’t even in the same room.
Yeah, that’s what unassuming geeks and nerds do for fun, picture war. Who won? She did. Oh yeah. She got bold and needed to one up me so I got a picture of her in the mirror pulling her tiny tank top away from her body, exposing the lace boy shorts beneath. And this was how we fell down the pervert hole.
In the time that we couldn’t talk? We had moved from nothing on to texting.
I can’t take much more – Edward
Lol. Just a few more hours and I’m all yours ;) – B
Promises, Promises - Edward
Can you really not go 3 days without talking to me? – B
No. No. And No. I’m addicted. I HAVE to talk to you – Edward
You’re cute… I feel the same – B
You are making this harder – Edward
Do you really want me to go there? I can and will. I do have a very dirty mind. ;) – B
Shit. No. I can’t think about you and your dirty mind right now. Later? Yes. Now? Not good. – Edward
Soon then – B
You. Are. Killing. Me. – Edward
:) – B
Tease - Edward
Three hours later I was walking into my apartment and shedding my clothes as I dialed my Bella’s number.
“Hello?” she answered.
“You are such a meanie,” I said as I stripped my shirt off and threw it into the hamper. Her giggle filled my ears.
“Sorry, guess I am a little… needy at the moment.”
“Be…Bella, I … I can’t think about… shit… that makes me think… bad things I want to do to you,” I stuttered. God, she was getting me so worked up just thinking about her being a… dirty girl.
There was silence for a moment before her voice was heard. “Really?”
I groaned at her low opinion of herself. “Really. Bella, you are beautiful and sexy and I have a hard time… well, I have a hard time thinking let alone not thinking dirty thoughts about you. Honestly.”
Ah, ‘honestly’. That had become our new tag line every time we knew the other would not accept what we said. When we said ‘honestly’ you had to accept what they said.
I looked at my unruly bronze hair in the mirror and chuckled at how she had thought my hair was brown. To her credit it does look quite brown in pictures and especially when wet.
“Well, we both already know I want to jump your bones… I mean… um… I think that… went too far… yeah.”
“Verbal filter,” I observed while inside I was doing a happy dance.
“So, what hospital do you work at?” she questioned once she had recovered and I smiled. She couldn’t see it, but I knew she knew it was there.
“Why?” I questioned.
“If you don’t tell me I am just going to show up at every hospital in the city with a big bouquet of red roses until I find you.”
“Then I will just go to every publisher in the city. How many publishers are there?”
“I don’t know. How many hospitals are there?” She countered.
I chuckled. No one was doing anything, it was all talk. “Hm, that would be quite a sight, you walking around with a big bouquet searching for me,” I paused. “Actually, that’s kind of hot.”
“Yes, hot. A beautiful woman searching me out? What man wouldn’t find that hot?”
“You’re crazy.”
“For you.”
“Oh, and cheesy.”
“Cheesy for you?”
She laughed and I heard a faint ‘thud’. I think she was rolling on the floor. “You are such a geek.”
There was a pause and I could tell she was smiling. “Stutterer.”
“Klutz.” I shot back.
“Hey, that’s a compliment not an insult; get with the program, Swan!”
She pulled out the big guns. “Ginger.”
“I am not ginger!”
“Sure you’re not.”
“I’m not!”
“Your hair has red; you have freckles, and are very pale.”
“First off, my hair is a reddish bronze, not ginger red. Secondly, everyone has freckles!” I protested. “Thirdly, I am either working or sleeping most of the day, I never see the sun!”
“Are you sure you’re not a vampire?”
“Ginger to vampire? You’re really pulling it out of your ass now.”
“Well, you are damn near perfect; I’m running out of material to work with here.”
“Far from perfect, my dear.”
“Says you.”
“Bad girls who don’t listen get spanked.”
Oh shit. My hand clasped over my mouth, but the words were out.
“Please, sir, may I have another?” she asked in an altogether too sexy voice that made my cock strain in my pants.
“Shit! Bad Bella!”
“Edward, that’s only going to make it worse.”
“Fuck! I know,” I cried. My hands rubbed my face as I tried to steer the conversation away from her getting me more turned on than I already was. She already stared in my every fantasy and my dreams every time I slept.
I had managed to steer her brain away as much as possible from flirting. Over an hour later I heard her stifle a yawn and reminded me that I really needed to get to sleep. It had been a long ass eighteen hours so I was questioning how I hadn’t fallen asleep earlier in our conversation. Oh yeah, three days without talking to her and being so turned on it took two hours to calm him down.
After hanging up I set my alarm and crawled into bed. I immediately fell asleep and into dreams of my Bella and the day we would finally work up to courage to meet. Until then I would have picture war and phone calls and text messages to bring us closer together.


Step nine: First Vision
I was in love. Head over fucking heels. There was no doubt in my mind that Edward was the one. My Edward. My geeky, science, hot body, shy boy. That reason alone is why I was scared to death to meet him. I joked about it, sure, but that was to hide my whole body trembling fear.
What if I wasn’t pretty enough? What if we didn’t mesh as well in person as we did over the phone? The biggest fear of all; what if there was no spark?
It had been a few weeks now since I had been matched with anyone because I had turned the new matches off.  Nor did I return any other matches communication requests. There was no point. Edward was it for me whether he liked it or not.
I think he liked it though. He didn’t renew his membership this week when it expired and he now always called me as soon as he got done at the hospital. Well, when he got out at a time I could talk. I told him I was concerned with all the sleep I was taking away from him; he said he couldn’t sleep until he talked to me.
He was sweet. He was also geeky, stuttering, and cute as all can be. I loved it.
The past few weeks had been like a dream. Well, with the exception of seventies porno guy. At least he gave us a laugh, though I swear Edward really did want to punch him.
Did I mention he was sweet yet?
We had gotten to know each other pretty well. So well, in fact, I was pretty sure he knew me almost as well as Alice and Jasper.
He’d even learned about my perverted side. I had a dirty mind, one that rarely was exposed and he had unleashed it full force.
Most people would not describe me as evil. Edward?
You are very evil – Edward
Oh, yeah. Why did he think this? Well, that’s because he awoke my dark side. Here’s the thing, it’s Saturday night and I am bored. Remember what happened last time I was bored on a Saturday night? I signed up for online dating.
I guess that wasn’t so bad. It led me to Edward. Edward, the man I was currently torturing. He was so much fun to torture.
Edward was at work. I tried to keep the smile from my face, but it just wasn’t happening. Just thinking about him made my girly bits swoon. With a body like his and his cute geek personality how could I not?
So, add being turned on with bored and dirty texts was born. Goes great with picture war.
Which do you prefer; boy cut, bikini, or thong? – B
Just because you are bored does not give you permission to play with me – Edward
Honesty – B
Boy cut are fucking sexy as hell on you. I have proof; though if you want to challenge my decision please send evidence – Edward
I squealed with delight as I bounced into my bedroom and shuffled through my panties. Pulling out a pair of blue satin bikini cut, I slip them on. Snapping a quick picture with my phone I sent him a photo of me in nothing but a tank top and my skimpy panties.
Fucking hell, woman! – Edward
I smiled at his response. Picking out a black thong next I slipped it on and repeated, making sure to get a good shot of my ass.
Why was I, reserved Bella Swan, sending some guy pictures of me in my skivvies? Well, I had grown bold with his continuous tales of how beautiful and sexy he thought I was. That and I found myself wanting to tease him into oblivion. I already had a dirty mind. Add a gorgeous guy, a camera phone, and the lack of inhibition due to having never met in person; things are bound to get ugly. Besides, I was still clothed. Naked I would never do.
You just couldn’t leave my poor cock alone, could you? – Edward
I laughed, but was quickly silenced as I thought of said cock.
Nope – B
You have a very fine ass, Miss Swan – Edward
Is that your professional opinion, Dr. Masen? – B
You drive me crazy –Edward
In a good way though – B
I don’t know about that. Having a hard on like steel while sewing up some guys arm is not so good – Edward
I bet he was checking out your package – B
Don’t say that – Edward
I’d be checking it out – B
Really? – Edward
… ok, I’d be to chicken to actually do it, but I would think about it – B
I am right now – B
There was silence for a little while so I figured he must be with a patient. So, what did evil me decide to do? Keep going of course!
That’s nice. Perfect, just like you – B
Long, thick, and so hard you are dripping – B
You would fill my tight, wet pussy so perfectly – B
Stop! Jesus, stop! No more – Edward
Fuck I had to claim bathroom emergency and bust one out before I exploded in my pants – Edward
No more texts for you! – Edward
I’ll still send them – B
No! I won’t read them – Edward
Sure you won’t – B
I knew he was playing with me, but when there was no response I got worried.
You really don’t want to hear from me? – B
Fuck. I will read them – Edward
I smiled at my victory.
You have no idea how sexy the image of you barely able to contain yourself is. The thought that I did that to you… mmm… exquisite – B
Your thoughts get me in trouble – Edward
You like them though – B
Shit, yes I do. However, you are still a meanie in getting me so turned on at a HOSPITAL and you are no where around to help me out with my problem – Edward
Mmm, we could slip into an unused room and you could have your wicked way with me between patients – B
You are so fucking naughty, I just don’t know what to do with you – Edward
Oh, I think you know what to do with me, Dr. Masen. Tell me, if I was there right now what would happen? – B
If I don’t pass out? Drag you to a secluded spot and pounce on you – Edward
I like your thoughts – B
My thoughts get me in trouble – Edward
I like it when you get in trouble, makes me wish I was there to help you with your troubles. ;) – B
I can’t figure out when we do meet what is going to happen. We have all of this teasing going on, but I’m going to be so nervous I fear I really will pass out – Edward
I have the same thoughts. Let’s not put any pressure on it and just see what happens. Until then, I’ll be dreaming about you. Vivid, sex filled, dreams about you – B
I like that idea. ;) – Edward
I smiled at his texting wink; it was the first time he had done it. We traded texts for the remainder of the day every now and then. The ER always seemed to get busier after the sun set and around ten thirty I said my goodnights and fell into a deep sleep with sweet dreams of my Dr. Masen.
It was a week later during lunch that I received a video through my phone. My jaw dropped as I watch Edward on the screen, pacing back and forth as he spoke. Someone was asking him questions, the voice sounded somewhat familiar, but I couldn’t place it.
Nice pic on your wallpaper. This Bella?”
“So, when are you going to meet dream girl?”
I watched Edward’s hand move to his hair and begin to tug. “I… I don’t know. We…we both avoid it…afraid… I … what if... gah! I can’t even fucking talk about it! Just the thought of meeting her has me hyperventilating!”
“Why’s that?”
“Because, Em, she… she’s beautiful and sexy and smart and… what if she doesn’t… I’m not…Em, I’m crazy about her.”
“Crazy how?”
“Crazy like over the moon for her. If she doesn’t… if things don’t… I can’t… I couldn’t take… I can’t image my … my life without her in it.”
My eyes grew wide at his declaration. I shouldn’t be witnessing this. His friend was obviously doing this without his knowledge, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the small screen in front of me. I watched as he sat down and placed his head between his knees.
“Dude, you have got it bad!”
“I think I’m going to throw up.”
“Just meet her and get it over with. You two can’t keep this up. You may think I don’t see what she does to you, but I do.”
“I... I …ho-how can… it’s not just… look at me, Em! How the hell can I meet her when just talking about meeting her has me so wound up?”
“What are you doing?”
Edward’s head snapped up and his eyes focused on whoever was doing the recording.
“Just checking out...”
“Give me the phone!” Edward’s voice screamed in panic, his eyes wide. There was a faint ‘oh, shit!’ and what appeared to be a bit of a struggle before the recording ended.
I sat back in my chair, my mind replaying the recording over and over. I finally got to see my geek in a way he could only describe to me before. The bumbling, stuttering, hyperventilating Edward that he insisted he was. My heart clenched tight as I thought about some of the things he had said about why we hadn’t met. It was all true for me as well. I so desperately wanted to be with him, but was so afraid. I also knew we were coming to an impasse.
We would be meeting soon, of that I was certain, but that fact did not calm me in the least bit. My palms were already sweating, my heart beat picking up.
I knew Edward would be freaking out about what his friend had sent and knew I needed to say something, otherwise he might think bad things. I didn’t want him to be upset or panicking, so I put myself out there as well. I knew Edward accepted me and all of my quirks, but I also knew he wasn’t certain I accepted him and his quirks.
Your friend is being a meanie to you again. Video this time – B
Fuck, I know. He…I’m sorry. I’ve flogged him for it. He says he’s sorry. I haven’t figured out if I believe him yet or not. Once again, sorry - Edward
Don’t be sorry, never be sorry. Hey Edward…I’m crazy over the moon for you too – B
I like that – Edward
Me too - B
I hate my friends. I want to trade them. Want to trade? – Edward
Nope. They are part of you and I want all of you – B
Making me even crazier over here – Edward
Good. :) – B
I really wished I was at home and not in the office, but it was Friday and I still had four hours to go. I spent the remainder of my lunch hour trying not to freak out about our inevitable meeting. It did me no good to get as wound up as Edward already was. At least I tried to not get so wound up, it wasn’t working the greatest.
What really sucked was that Edward was working until midnight. I couldn’t tease him until after work, so that left my mind to wonder. Wondering mind was never a good thing. Kind of like idle hands.
Mmm, Edward’s idle hands. I could imagine his hands running around my skin, tickling me, teasing me. Shit. Now I was turned on in my office. Great.
I laughed at the irony of my situation. I teased Edward while he was at work, leaving him in a worse situation than my own, and I was complaining that thinking about him had me turned on. I sighed and turned back to my work, the video playing over and over in my head. I picked out certain things he said and smiled. He was so wound up and nervous to meet me. He was thinking about me. I was in his head. Hopefully that also meant I was in his heart as he was certainly in mine.


Step ten:
Things with Bella were going fantastic… if you didn’t count the fact that we had yet to meet. We had first started communication almost six weeks ago and still had not made any plans, nor did we talk about it. It was going to happen, we both knew that, and we knew it was sooner rather than later.
My phone buzzed around nine in the morning alerting me to a new message. I pulled in out to find I had received a video message from Bella. Odd. She had wanted to send me one in return for the one she had, unbeknownst to me, received last week, but she had been too embarrassed and didn’t know what to say.
This him? This the ‘Edward’ I’ve heard so much about?” A very familiar voice asked.
 Rose was a dead woman.
I watched Bella blush the most beautiful shade of pink. “Don’t look at that, Rosalie.”
“Woman, you have his mug as your phones wallpaper! How can I NOT look at it?
I smiled that I was not the only one so obsessed that had put the other on their phone.
So, when are you two geekbirds going to finally meet so we can stop hearing all about why you aren’t?”
I watched as Bella sighed; she was obviously trying to get back to work in order to avoid this conversation.
I mean, shit Swan, you have a shit-ton of photos of him on here!”
Her blush intensified, going from a dusting of pink to full on red.
“Stop looking, Rose! We’ll meet when were ready. It’s coming up soon, I can feel it.”
“Why don’t you just jump and fucking do it?”
“Because I’m scared to death he will take one look at me and walk in the other direction.”
I nearly fell over. Could I not tell this woman enough times how beautiful she was? Inside and out? I was afraid of her seeing me and walking in the other direction.
“You don’t really fucking believe that do you? He’s seen a picture, right?”
Bella nodded.
“So, then he knows how fuck hot you are. Just put your big girl panties on and take your man!”
Bella paused. “It’s coming, Rose. Just leave it alone. If I think about it anymore I’m going to break out in hives again and I am out of ointment.”
“Well, I know this doctor…”
“Shove it.” Bella smirked before flipping Rosalie off. The video stopped with Bella laughing. She was a vision when she laughed. Bella in motion was a vision in itself. Watching the blush I had heard so much about unfold excited me on so many levels. There she had been moving, talking, blushing. Real.
Not that she wasn’t before, but I had been given a glimpse of her in action and wondered if this was how she had felt when she received the video Emmett had sent.
I was still staring hard at the screen, frozen on Bella laughing, before I turned to Emmett. “You both fucking suck.”
Emmett stared at me with a confused look on his face. “What?”
“You heard what I said. Do you not think I can’t tell your wife’s voice when I hear it?” I growled. “Just leave us alone, Em. We are doing this our way, you and Rose need to stop meddling.”
“Your way? Dude, you and Bella need to meet, you are fucking perfect for each other. Rose and I are just trying to push you to do what you both need to do. Bella is a great girl and now you know where she works,” Emmett pointed out. “We just want you to be happy, man, and Bella will make you so happy, I just know it.”
I nodded in agreement. Life would be wonderful with Bella. The image of Bella standing in our house with two kids running around came flooding into my head again; it had been for the past two weeks. I wanted her in every way; mind, body, and soul. I knew, just knew, her soul was meant for mine. I think that was what made meeting so scary.
Emmett and I solidified our arrangements for dinner that night before I stalked off in an agitated huff. Most of it was just for show. It was then that something that Emmett had said came back to me; ‘Now you know where she works’. While I wasn’t brave enough to go to her work with a huge bouquet of flowers, I was not opposed to filling her office with them.
Quickly I located a florist on my phone and placed an order for a dozen bouquets of all shapes and sizes of flowers to be delivered to her office. I paid extra for them to be delivered at noon, the end of my shift, only a two hour notice, and delivered with each note in a specific order.
At fifteen minutes after noon I was climbing onto the train when my phone buzzed.
Oh. My. God! Edward, this is… wow. Thank you. So sweet! – B
Glad you liked them. Have you read the cards yet? – Edward
Doing that right…now – B
Call me when you are done – Edward
It wasn’t five minutes later that my phone rang and I smiled as I answered it.
“Hi, baby,” I answered.
“First off, you are the sweetest man and I want to kiss you all over from head to toe with emphasis on head. The flowers are sooo beautiful! No one has ever bought me flowers before. Ever.”
“Never?” I questioned.
“Mental note, give Bella flowers all of the time.”
She laughed at my note, though I was being serious. If this was her reaction she would get flowers every fucking day. I could tell over the phone that she was smiling and happy. I wanted her to always be that way with me.
“Secondly,” she started then sighed, bringing her down from her happy high. “Rosalie and Emmett must go down! I can’t believe they have been playing us like that!”
“I know, I was pissed when I got that message and I knew immediately who had your phone,” I explained.
“God, I knew Emmett’s voice was familiar, I just couldn’t place it! No wonder he has been creeping around here lately.”
“I think we could come up with something to get back at them, but my brain is fried at the moment. I will be having dinner with both of them tonight and plan on reading Rose the riot act like I did for Emmett,” I noted, still mad at my closest friends devious nature despite their intentions. Why couldn’t anyone seem to leave us alone?
“Oooh, I think I like the authoritative side of you,” she said in her sexy voice. Damn, that voice drove me crazy when she did it and I swear she knew just how much.
I laughed at her response. “Behave.”
“Thank God,” I said, stifling a yawn.
“You’re tired,” she noted.
“And you need to get back to work.”
“Have sweet dreams, my wonderfully sweet Edward,” she whispered sweetly into the phone. My heart leapt when she called me hers.
“Have a good day, my sweet girl,” I replied, my heart swelling as I said the words I had longed to say.
Six hours later I woke from what was not a full rest, but I would be sleeping again later, so it was alright. Quickly I showered and changed into ‘normal’ clothes; dark washed jeans and a slate grey button down with the sleeves rolled up. I think it was the first time I hadn’t been in scrubs in weeks. It was getting warmer outside everyday and tonight was a perfect night to go without a jacket.
I jumped onto the train heading back into the heart of the city to meet Emmett and Rosalie for dinner at one of our usual haunts. Well, as usual as two ER doctors could manage.
Twenty minutes later I was walking into our favorite bar and grill. They were late as usual so I found a table about midway in with a perfect view to the window and sat in the seat facing it to wait for their arrival.
Fifteen minutes later they finally showed up and I greeted them, trying to still be a bit angry. Rosalie was a force, and if I was to get my point across I needed to have some fire behind it. Like the time she tried to set me up with one of her coworkers last year. She wasn’t taking ‘no’ for an answer, and I had to make her.
“So, Rose, what’s your excuse for not telling me?” I asked after they had ordered a round of drinks.
She turned to face me. “Look, Edward, if I had told you she was one of my employees you still wouldn’t have gotten up the guts to meet her. Neither of you would have. So, Emmett and I formed little ways to expedite your meeting. Your so called ‘picture war’, the videos; we did that to get you guys closer. You too are both so fucking crazy for each other, so what the fuck is holding you back?”
“Soon, Rose,” I replied, annoyed with her meddling.
“That is the same bullshit answer she gave. I love you both and honestly, you would have met long before this, but every time we threw a party or had a dinner one of you didn’t show. Also, Bella is the girl I tried to set you up with last year, but both of you fought me on it tooth and nail,” she pointed out.
“Why did she fight?” I asked with more curiosity than I was expecting.
“She had just broken up with that jack hole, Jake, and said she wasn’t ready; I don’t know what your problem was.”
I had to suppress a growl at the name ‘Jake’. To me he was no better than a pile of shit. He had Bella and he fucking cheated on her. I’ll worship the ground she walks on.
“I still can’t believe that shit,” Emmett chimed in.
I ran my fingers through my hair in agitation, my hand stopped on my neck to rub out the tension, when I saw her.
A beautiful brunette woman’s step had faltered. She placed her hand against the glass as she balanced precariously to fix whatever the problem was. After she was righted, she looked up at the sign and a huge smile lit up her face. She turned to look inside and I could swear she was looking straight at me.
Bella. My Bella.
If felt like our eyes were locked, but I knew she couldn’t see through the tint on the window. It felt as though she was searching for me, even if she couldn’t see. Her head rotated to look back in front of her as if someone was calling her name. All of the sudden a familiar looking tiny black haired woman came into view to drag her away.
I bolted up from my seat, startling Emmett and Rose, and rushed to the door. I was met with a wall of people coming in and had to fight to get through. I could still see her; she was getting into a cab.
“Bella!” I screamed, hoping she would hear me. I ran down the street, screaming her name as the cab pulled away.
I could see as she turned to look out the back window, her eyes wide, her smile widening as she fell away in the distance.
My phone buzzed as I stood there in the middle of the sidewalk, my heart pounding in my chest.
Did I really just see you chasing after my cab, or am I hallucinating now? – B
No, that was me. I saw you, Bella. I saw you. You are so, so beautiful – Edward
Oh, Edward. Xoxo. I was shocked to hear my name and then I turned to see a gorgeous guy chasing after the cab. I thought I was dreaming – B
It won’t be a dream for much longer. Soon – Edward
Yes, soon -B
I returned to the restaurant and found Emmett and Rosalie staring at me like I was insane.
“So, emergency whack off session again?” Emmett joked.
“It was Bella.”
“Bella?” Rosalie asked.
“Yeah, she was outside. I saw her. She’s… fuck she’s so beautiful. I just leapt.”
“Did you talk to her?” Emmett asked like an excited school girl anxiously awaiting the newest gossip.
“No, she was climbing into a cab; I couldn’t reach her in time.”
“See, Edward. You saw her and you chased after her. All of your fears went out the window,” Rosalie pointed out.
“That’s because it was unexpected, there was no time to build up my anxiety. I just had to see if it was really her,” I explained.
“Clemens posted the next schedule right after you left,” Emmett announced.
“And?” Rose and I asked at the same time.
“And, Eddie boy here has next Saturday off and doesn’t go in until noon on Sunday.”
“Perfect! Ask her out, Edward. You two can spend the whole day together!” Rosalie exclaimed. Honestly, I was kind of in shock, Rose rarely got this excited about something.
“I’ll think about it,” I said, my nerves starting to kick into gear.
“There is no think, there is only do,” Emmett said in his best Yoda voice.
We all broke out into laughter which only subsided when the waitress came around to take our order. We talked more as we ate and two hours later I was home and dialing Bella’s number before I tried to get back to sleep. I was still in shock that I had seen her in front of my eyes and not through the screen of my phone or computer.
I didn’t know if I could work up the courage tonight to ask her out, but soon. Yes, very soon.
It was a few days later on a record setting hot June say and I was so tired I was afraid that I would fall asleep standing up. My phone woke me as I dozed on the train on my way home. I pulled it out to find a text from my Bella.
Goodnight my sweet. XOX - B
I smiled down at my phone. It was amazing the effect such a short, simple text had on me. I wanted to cuddle my phone, but refrained due to the amount of people on the train that I was sure would give me weird looks. I would do the cuddling in the privacy of my home.
It was also amazing that I was absolutely sure I had fallen in love with this woman I had yet to meet face to face, but she was everything I ever wanted and all I never knew I did all in one. Our meeting was closing in on us, we could both feel it. Days, weeks, we didn’t know, but soon we would meet and our fate would be decided. Soon was all we knew.
A few minutes later the train made it to my station and I walked the half a mile to my apartment. My lease would be up in about three or four months and I really needed to decide if I was going to renew it or move closer to the children’s hospital. Oh well, it was a decision for another day. Right now I needed to sleep, badly.
It took seconds from the time my head hit the pillow to when I was deep asleep.
It felt like only minutes later I was woken by my phone going off.
“Hello?” I answered, surprised by the gruffness of my own voice. There was a small gasp and then silence.
“Ed…Edward?” Her small voice replied. My Bella. I would know her sweet voice anywhere.
“Are you ok?”
“Sorry, just woke up. Did I scare you? I’m sorry,” I explained. I hope my voice hadn’t sounded mad. By her reaction I would say it did.
“No, you didn’t scare me.”
Yeah, right. I could tell from the strain in her voice something was bothering her.
“Bella, honesty, remember?” I reminded her. She was shy, just like me, and because of this, our number one rule was to speak honestly. Not to hide behind the shyness and fear.
“Honestly?” she asked with a sigh. This couldn’t be good. “I was just surprised. Your voice is rough and sexy and… and now my panties are wet.”
There was a fraction of a second of silence as my sleep addled brain processed her words. I took in a sharp breath as my morning wood became as hard as steel at the thought of her wet… for me.
“I’m sorry.”
“Fuck, Bella, why are you sorry?”
“For waking you and quite possibly getting you turned on.”
“Way past getting me turned on. The thought of you…wet… for me…I…I…” I let out a gush of air. “So, so hard for you, only for you.”
Silence. I could almost hear the crickets chirping.
“Bella? Did I lose you?”
“Um… no! I’m… I’m here. I just… got lost in the thought of your rock hard cock and the wonderful things it could do to my throbbing, dripping wet pussy,” she described, her voice breathy and sexy as all get out.
Holy. Fuck.
“So, you are dripping wet for me now?”
“Don’t forget throbbing.”
“Damn, Bella. You’ve got me so hard it hurts.”
“If I was there, what would you do to me?” she asked. I noticed her breathing had picked up.
Holy shit. I had never in my life participated in phone sex, but there was a first for everything, right? Unable to be contained any longer I pulled my erection from its confines. I moaned at the feeling of my hand against my flesh, imagining it to be her hand.
“I would… I… shit… what wouldn’t I do? Yo-you have me… at your mercy. I don’t want to… rush…take advantage… Bella I like you so much.”
“Edward, I like you so much and I’m laying myself out for you. What do you want to do to me? I want to hear it. I need to hear it, I’m going crazy. I want to hear your fantasies. What do you fantasize about?” she asked, in the background I could hear what sounded like her clothes being shed.
“You. It’s always about you. All day, every day. I think about the taste of your lips, the softness. The feel of your skin beneath my hands, against my skin. Your body. The color… color of your… nipples and, and how they would…pebble and become erect at my touch. How I would nibble, lick, and suck on them. I want to bring you to the brink and throw you over just by… just by playing with them.” My hand moved slowly up and down the length of my cock, slowly pumping it, my hand swirling over the head. I hissed at the sensation and heard a moan from Bella.
“Mmm, I like that. I want to test that out. Am I allowed to play with your cock while you do all of this? My fingers are aching to touch you, my lips and mouth as well.”
I groan at the thought of her lips around my length. The mental image was staggering as I imagined her big brown eyes looking up at me from under her lashes as she bobbed her head up and down my length. I gripped my cock harder.
“God, Bella. I… you don’t… fantastic… your lips a-around me. Shit.” I cursed under my breath.
I could hear her breathing hard through the phone, ragged breaths being pulled in, squeaks and moans, and it is almost my undoing. Just hearing her and thinking about me being the one making her make those noises.
“I want you inside me,” she begged, the words straight out of my fantasies.
“God, I want to be inside you. I’m sure you are tight and wet. You would feel so good wrapped around my cock as I thrust in and out of you.” My hand began a furious pace as I pushed myself to the edge of orgasm.
“Fuck, Edward!” she cried out, whimpering. Oh, God she was coming. The sound sent me over and I erupted all over my hand and stomach.
“Bella!” I cried out.
My breathing was coming out in hard pants as I came down from my high. I could hear Bella and it sounded like she was in the same shape. I chuckled at the thought.
“Oh, God!” she cried out.
“What?” I asked, a sudden panic kicking in.
“I can never meet you.”
Her words hit me like a bucket of cold water. “Why?”
“Because I am going to turn beet red as I am sure to remember that I had phone sex with you and made many embarrassing sounds the moment my eyes land on you! Eeek!” she screamed and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud in response.
“Um, wow… I, um, ha-hadn’t thought about t-that. Wait… where’d my wild little sex goddess go?” I questioned.
She giggled. I loved that sound; it was one of my favorites in the world. “She only comes out in the comfort of home. So, I guess that means you will have to take me home, Edward.”
“You are a sexy little vixen and I… I …ugh, am a mess and need to get cleaned up”
“Want to call me back in a little while?”
“I think that would be a good idea. I need to take a quick shower and I don’t think the phone will work so well in there.”
“Probably not.”
I hung up with Bella and jumped into the shower to clean up from a very nice wake up call. I showered quickly and got dressed.
Not twenty minutes had passed when I was calling her back and making me a plate of pasta. We talked for awhile as I ate and almost right when I was done I could hear a knocking through the phone.
“Edward, can you hold on a sec? There’s someone knocking.”
“Sure,” I replied. Through the phone I could hear her undoing multiple locks which made me feel better about her living alone.
“Jake?” she asked, her tone was both pissed and confused. She had told me about Jake and what happened to end their relationship. He was a real scum bag in my eyes, so I was not very happy he was at her door.
“Hey, Bells.”
“What the fuck are you doing here?” she asked. I did not like that she was angry and found I was now pacing as I listened.
“Can I come in? I just want to talk.”
“It’s been over for a year, Jake, and there is nothing we have to talk about.”
“Baby, yes there is!” he exclaimed. I growled at him calling her ‘baby’.
“Don’t call me that,” she hissed.
I could feel my heart rate increasing. Never more had I wanted to crawl through the phone.
“Bells, let me explain!”
“Explain what exactly? I think I got a pretty clear picture of what was going on,” she hissed.
“It was Sam and Emily, they came to me. They asked…”
“I don’t give a fuck what they asked. We’ve been over for a year and a half! Now get out!” she screamed.
“Not until you let me explain.”
“No. Leave. Now.”
“Or what? Your boyfriend going to come get me?” I could tell that he was taunting her. His tone insinuated that he knew she wasn’t and hadn’t been with anyone. He was saying he was the best she would ever get. I hated assholes like that.
She gasped and I heard her angelic voice once again. “Oh, Edward, I’m sorry! Are you still there?” she asked and I could hear the guy snort.
“Hand him the phone, Bella,” I demanded.
“Edward, I don’t…”
“Just hand him the God damn phone!” I growled at her. I didn’t mean to, but I was pissed at this guy and the way he was treating my Bella.
“He wants to talk to you.”
“Who the fuck is this?” The arrogant asshole asked.
“Edward, Bella’s boyfriend and your ass had better be the fuck out of there by the time I get home or I swear I will cut you to bits. Now hand the phone back to Bella, apologize, and get the fuck out before I make you!” I growled and was pleased to hear a soft gulping sound. “And your ass better stay away from my Bella or I’ll bring out my surgical blades and test out their sharpness on your flesh.”
After that I was certain I heard a gulp, his voice was shaky as he apologized for stopping by and handed her back the phone. I heard her locks click back in place before she came back to the phone.
“Edward, what did you say to him? I couldn’t really make out the words.”
“Umm… I told him he better not be there when I got home.”
There was a silence on the line before she broke out into a fit of laughter. “And he thought you lived here! No wonder all of the color drained from his face.”
“Um, well… you see… that was probably because I threatened him with my surgical blades.”
Again silence and again her response was not what I was expecting. “Thank you, Edward!”
She was thanking me. I had just told her I threatened to kill her ex-boyfriend and she thanked me. I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Sorry about the girlfriend part. I just…ummm… thought that would be the best way to get through to him.”
“I…I didn’t mind,” she replied and I don’t think I had ever smiled so big in my life.
“Bella, umm… heh… I’ve got a Saturday off… next weekend. Would you… would you meet me?” I asked nervously, my hair fisted in my hands, pulling as I pulled the words out.
There was a gasp on the phone before she replied. “I would like that very much.”


Step ten: First Meeting
The countdown was almost over. Just twenty four hours remaining until I met my prince, my Edward. I waited a day to tell Alice and Jasper, wanting to give it just a little more time to sink in.
I’m fairly certain both Jasper and I now suffered hearing loss after Alice’s glass shattering scream of delight. I didn’t even get to tell them the story of how he asked me before we were out the door and at the mall looking for the ‘perfect outfit’ for my date.
I had tried all week to weasel out of Edward what our plans were; I even tried torturing him with dirty talking tactics, but alas he refused to break. He wanted to surprise me, which would normally lead me to believe he had no clue, but this was Edward. He was no doubt planning something grand. He stated that it would be casual though, and I sighed in relief. No heels.
It was a hellacious week at work for him and I was saddened by our lack of communication. He made sure, though, that while we were apart he was thinking of me.
And oh, did he pull out all of the stops of cheese and clichés. There was a candy gram with ‘something sweet for my sweet’ written on the card and enough chocolate to feed an army. Next was two dozen red roses (he knew I much preferred colorful mixed bouquets), the card started with ‘roses and red’ and I nearly peed myself laughing.
A pudgy middle aged man wearing a diaper, sporting a halo and a bow and arrow showed up in my office on Wednesday. I desperately wanted to hide under my desk and disappear into the floor when he began singing All 4 One’s ‘I Swear’. I could hear Rose a few offices down busting out in laughter.
It was a very odd conversation when I had to explain why cupid had arrived and scared half the staff with his gravelly love song. However, I would have gladly repeated it for anyone who wanted to hear about the man I was in love with and his crazy tokens of affection.
When I asked Edward, he claimed he was getting all of the ‘cheese and crackers’ out before our date so that he didn’t come off like seventies porno guy. I told him it would never happen; he said he wanted to be safe. I said he was scaring me. The next day I received cookies. I sent him a picture of me licking the crumbs off my lips. Those were some damn good cookies.
The last item to arrive was an edible bouquet filled with my favorite fruits. The card was simple and sweet; ‘To: My Bella, From: Your Edward, I’m counting down the minutes. 1560…..1559….1558.’
I was so in love with the man and I hadn’t even met him yet.
What sucked was I still didn’t know what hospital he worked at so that I could embarrass and delight him just as he had me. He refused to spill once again. This time his excuse was to keep me from sneaking a peek beforehand and running away. I could only roll my eyes at him and I did. I sent a video of just that.
As much as I wanted to go home and try to de-stress before our date, Alice and Jasper insisted we go out. The claim was it was Friday night, we were young, and they were monitoring me for freakage and flipping out. I think they just wanted to go out and were using me as an excuse.
At six thirty, Alice and Jasper arrived at my apartment to pick me up. I thought what I had on was fine, however Alice did not. It was a hot late July day so I was wearing shorts, a sleeveless tee, and flip flops. She vetoed the shorts in favor of a white, light cotton skirt, which was actually a little cooler so I didn’t mind. That, and it was my favorite skirt. I vetoed her heels idea, reminding her of our love hate relationship. She pouted, I pouted, and we ended up in a compromise of a small heeled wedge sandal.
We headed out the door and walked to the station to catch the train back into downtown. The plan was dinner and then probably some celebratory drinks. The streets were bustling with people and it was difficult to navigate without getting separated. The combination of good weather and Friday night had everyone out and about.
If pedestrians weren’t enough of a struggle there was a guy on a bike on the sidewalk heading toward us, the crowd in front parting for him. This wasn’t the Red Sea and he wasn’t supposed to be on the sidewalk. Fucking bike messengers.
I stepped to the right, not wanting to be run over by the ass. Jasper and Alice stepped to the left and we all barely made it in time to keep him from clipping us. In my haste to make room, I hadn’t noticed how close to the sidewalks edge I had already been.
My foot rolled off the concrete ledge, my body slammed into a parked car before twisting and landing face down. My hips twisted as my foot was stuck in the space between the curb and the car.
Fuck. Me.
“Oh my God! Bella!” I heard Alice scream before my own scream of pain erupted after a brief moment of shock.
“Holyshitmotherfuckersonofabitch!” I cried out.
Jasper helped to roll me over as Alice freed my foot. The foot that immediately started screaming in pain as soon as it was released from its vice. I whimpered in pain as I clenched onto Jaspers shirt, tears stinging my eyes.
“Darlin’, what are we gonna do with you?” Jasper asked with a chuckle. He was far too used to my clumsiness, though biker boy was the one to blame this time.
I could tell my face was contorted in pain as the tears streamed down my face. My breath was jagged as I fought a sob from erupting. That sob, however broke free when Jasper stood and tried to place me back on my own legs before I fell into his arms.
“Hospital?” Alice asked in a soothing tone as she brushed the hair from my face. I nodded, for fear that opening my mouth would result in more screaming and cursing and I didn’t want to draw any more attention to myself.
“Luckily I know some great ER doctors nearby,” Jasper noted with a smirk. He leaned down and scooped me up in his arms, cradling me bridal style. I didn’t protest about him carrying me because I knew there was no other way I was getting anywhere. I did, however, protest that Alice’s insisted upon skirt was a bad idea, and was now hanging down, showing my white lace panties to everyone on the street.
After Alice adjusted my skirt we headed off. Fifteen minutes and nearly twelve blocks later we arrived in the ER. Jasper went to find some ice for the ever growing melon that used to be my ankle while Alice helped me to fill out the paper work. Honestly, with as many times as she had brought me in over the years I half expected her to have it memorized by now.
Thanks to Jaspers connections I was ushered back into a room after only half an hour. I tried to get them to go ahead to dinner, but they wouldn’t hear of it. My friends were great.
We sat in the examination room talking about my impending date and what I was going to do now that walking was going to be difficult for at least a few days if not longer. I was happy that they stayed; otherwise I would have been bored out of my mind as I waited. Half the wait was in the waiting room, the other half was in the examination room after the nurse assessed me.
There was a knock on the door and I continued talking as whomever it was entered. I turned to see the doctor and my jaw dropped. He was staring down at my chart, his brow furrowed as he read the notes the nurse had taken. A stock of messy auburn hair adorned his head; black rim glasses framed his piercing green eyes. Green eyes I knew very well as I had studied them every night for the past eight weeks.
“Hello, Isabella,” he started, lifting his head to meet mine. “I’m doctor….” He stopped mid sentence as we stared at one another in obvious shock. “Bella?”
I took in a sharp breath, realizing I had stopped breathing. “Edward?”
We stared at each other for a moment trying to figure out if it was real or if we were dreaming.
“He said he is Dr. Bella, not Edward,” Jasper spoke, breaking us from our trance. I heard an ‘oomph’ that was probably caused by Alice’s elbow hitting Jasper’s ribs.
“Whitlock?” Edward asked and realization set in.
My head slowly turned to my two closest friends giving them my evilest of evil glares that I could muster through the throbbing pain. “Ooooh, you are in biiiiig trouble, mister, biiiiig trouble.”
“Hey, she didn’t meddle. I made sure she didn’t meddle!” Jasper exclaimed in defense. Alice merely laughed at the situation before shushing him.
“But I sure as hell bet you meddled in conjunction with Emmett,” Edward grumbled at Jasper before his eyes quickly returned to me. “Umm… hi,” he greeted shyly.
“Hi,” I replied, my bottom lip quickly taking residence between my teeth.
“Shall we take a look and murder our friends later?” he asked and I knew doctor mode was on.
“I think that’s a great idea because I might pass out from the pain soon which would take away from the murder plotting scheme.”
He smirked and my panties were instantly wet. Seeing him smirk in a photo had a completely different affect than in person.
He hissed as he removed the ice and looked down at my ankle. It was still very swollen, but didn’t seem to be bruising which hopefully meant there wasn’t anything broken.
“Tell me what happened,” he ordered as his fingers deftly began to feel around, pressing lightly. He was deep in concentration. My stomach was totally and completely filled with butterflies.
I watched his face scrunch up as he felt and listened in. I went into the story of the bike messenger, the fall, the car, and then the finale of crashing into the asphalt. His mouth was a hard line, probably beating himself up about not catching me again. I still didn’t get that, did he think he had superhuman speed that could catch me before I fell? I was going to fall, a lot; there was no getting around it.
“What am I going to do with you?” he asked with a smile as he shook his head.
Marry me? I was totally and completely up for that.
“Well, you could marry her and then she would have a doctor on hand all of the time,” Jasper piped in mirroring my own thoughts and Edward’s doctor mode faltered, his face turning a brilliant shade of pink. My own eyes widened before I shot death glares at my dear, soon to be dead, best friend. He smiled and winked back at me. Bastard.
“Well, umm… I think that… um, well, we… j-just… “ he stammered before taking a deep breath. “Out, Whitlock!”
“Babe, I’m starving, let’s go to the cafeteria and get some food,” Alice interjected. I knew she was trying to get the two of us alone and I silently thanked her.
“You guys just go on; I’ll catch a cab home. Go eat,” I ordered and after some convincing they agreed. Though, Alice put up one hell of a fake argument over leaving me there all by my lonesome. I thought she was laying it on pretty thick, but Edward didn’t seem to notice.
“I want details in the morning. How big, how long,” Alice whispered in my ear as she hugged me goodbye. I blushed so hard before slapping her arm.
Jasper smirked as he leaned down to kiss my forehead. “Call tomorrow and let us know how you’re doing, ok? I’m off on Monday and I’ll drive you to work.”
“Jazz, you don’t have to do that,” I objected.
“Darlin’ you are not walking two blocks to the station then another four to the office, I won’t hear it, so shut it,” he commanded and I obeyed. It was amazing the way he could do that, make me agree with just the commanding tone of his voice.
They waved goodbye as they walked through the door leaving Edward and I alone. He returned to examining my ankle, twisting and turning it making me wince and whimper in pain. I could feel the tears creeping up in my eyes again and had to look away.
“I don’t think it’s broken, but we need to get an x-ray to be on the safe side,” he explained. He frowned as he looked down at my hands. “We need to clean those.”
I looked down at my hands; the palms were scratched and had bled some from the rocks. Ever so gently, he cleaned out the wounds and bandaged them up. Something a nurse would normally do, not the doctor. I had actually forgotten that a nurse had entered after Alice and Jasper left because he was completely ignoring her. She was staring at us in shock and awe, well mainly at him with her gaze flickering to me on occasion. Apparently this was out of character for the good doctor, paying such careful attention to someone. Particularly when that someone was a woman.
“I’ll be right back,” he indicated before walking out the door.
I sat and waited for him to return, expecting an orderly to come and get me to cart me off to x-ray. Boy was I surprised when Edward came back in with a wheel chair and no orderly. His arms wrapped around me and I gasped at the contact. It was electric and warm and oh so gentle as he sat me down in the chair.
Edward stayed with me through the x-rays and even returned me to the examination room and placed me back on the bed. Every touch was gentle and I fell in love with him every second because I knew he wasn’t just being gentle with me because I was ‘his Bella’, but because he was just that way naturally. Though I had no doubt I was getting extra special attention that night.
He did have to leave a couple of times, once to look at the x-rays. Luckily nothing was broken, but I wasn’t going to be walking on it anytime soon. I was given prescriptions for some pain meds, an air cast (which I thankfully already had), and was ordered to rest over the weekend.
I could see the disappointment in his eyes when he said the last part. We’d both been looking forward to this weekend. I was silent as I thought about what we could do while he helped me back into the wheel chair, careful not to knock my ankle into anything. He was so gentle with me, I almost asked him to marry me right then. We were headed back to the nurses’ station when a now very familiar lug of a man came around the corner. The grin that spread nearly covered his face when he saw us.
“Emmett?” we questioned in unison, both in confusion.
“That was awesome,” he noted and I am sure we were both blushing, as I knew my face felt like it was on fire.
“What are you doing here? You don’t start until midnight, it’s only ten thirty,” Edward stated.
“A little birdie told me a certain obsession of yours was here, so I did what any friend would do,” he explained. “I’m taking the rest of your shift; it’s cleared with the boss. Oh and here’s my car keys.”
Emmett tossed the keys to Edward before walking off, chart in hand. There was silence as we rolled to the nurses’ station and he helped me stand on my good foot to fill out the remaining paperwork.
“Umm, so,” he began as I signed my name again and again. “Would you… well, now that I am off and I… I don’t think you’ve eaten. I mean, it sounded like you were on your way, and well… would you, umm… would you like to grab some dinner?” he asked. I couldn’t hold back the smile on my face as he fumbled to ask me out. It was so cute.
“Well, I would love to, but… my doctor says I have to stay off my feet for a few days,” I explained, my voice teasing and flirtatious.
His eyes widened and his cheeks pinked, his head tilted down to look at the floor. My panties nearly combusted at the sight. He was so adorable; I just wanted to eat him up.
“Right, you do. Umm… if you don’t it could lead to a fracture and in the long run it could lead to deformity and also, most definitely, longer healing time. And really, you have beautiful feet so that would be a shame.” I watched as his eyes widened and his hand move to his mouth in what looked like an attempt to silence himself. “I’m doing it, aren’t I?”
I smiled and nodded.
“Sorry, you can… you can take back your agreement for dinner, I’d understand.”
I was struck with the strength to be bold and I stood on my toes of my good foot to kiss his cheek, my hand resting on his chest for support. “You are so adorable,” I whispered. “So, dinner?”
He blinked at me, wide eyed and dropped jaw as he processed my words. “Um, yes… we could… go out?” he asked still completely shell shocked.
I caught his eye and looked down at my ankle. “Right. W-we could go to my place a-and I could cook… no, wait… I don’t think I have any food unless you’re ok with spaghetti? No, that’s… um… I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said my place… that um, sound like I am propositioning you… and, well, in your condition that would not be advisable.”
“Edward?” I smiled, grabbing his attention.
“You could take me to my place. I have food,” I suggested as I took my bottom lip between my teeth. My insides were rattling with nerves as I prayed he said ‘yes’.
“I could cook!” he exclaimed, his face lighting up from his epiphany. He was so proud; I hated to squash it.
“Can you?” I asked him dubiously. I remembered conversations we had regarding cooking and his lack of expertise.
His smile faded and I was saddened. He was glorious when he smiled like that; it was almost an innocent smile. “Um, not much.”
“How does Thai sound? They deliver,” I said, throwing out what I thought was the best option as I really didn’t want to leave him.
At that, he gave me that delicious smile that I had only seen in photos and my heart stopped. “Perfect! I can order food!”
With the evening plans in place, he ran to the locker room to grab his things. I could hear the nurses whispering as I waited. They were surprised, curious, and I could even hear words of a jealous nature being murmured behind my back. Edward was oblivious that the women he worked with were attracted to him and I smiled when a girl said that I was a ‘lucky bitch’.
Edward returned a few minutes later with an orderly in tow and he pushed me down the hall and out to the parking garage. We arrived at a Chrysler 300 and he stopped to open the door. He leaned down and picked me up bridal style. I wrapped my arms around his neck. Our heads were so close together I could almost taste his sweet breath. My tongue peeked out to moisten my lips, and I noticed his eyes were glued to the motion.
His eyes met mine before his head tipped down slightly. Our lips came together in a soft, light kiss before he pulled away. I drew in a ragged breath as I reigned myself in before I mauled him in the parking lot with an orderly as witness.
He placed me in the car, his hands on my cheeks as he placed another soft kiss on my lips. It was more than the first kiss, but I could tell he was restraining himself as best he could. He was trying not to scare me away, but I would have been perfectly happy if he had taken me on the floor of the waiting room, audience and all.
He climbed in and we left the parking garage and headed to my place. The air in the car was charged and I wondered how long it would be before he let go and really kissed me. I couldn’t believe what a night it had been and that I was sitting next to him. Edward. That was it, I could feel it. It was there, the pieces fit, we fit.
That was the moment when I knew it wasn’t going to be ‘Edward and Bella’ at the end of the night; it was going to be ‘we’.

Step eleven: First Beginings
The week had been hell.
The only bright spot in my days was when I got to talk to Bella. Which was usually after one of my surprises was delivered, but even then, time was a hot commodity.
I chuckled at the memory of the cliché deliveries I had picked out for her. They were perfect because I knew they would make her laugh, as well as hopefully let her understand that I was thinking about her, even in the times when we couldn’t communicate that often. The last two were ones I knew she would enjoy and not be embarrassed about, unlike the singing cupid. She said retaliation was in order and I thanked God I hadn’t told her where I worked because she would have done it. Without a doubt in my mind, she would.
My body was buzzing with excitement to finally meet the woman who had already stolen my heart face to face.
My stomach was also buzzing, threatening to expunge my dinner.
I was so nervous and excited and just a damn fucking mess. I had planned out the perfect weekend and the weather was panning out to be beautiful.
A picnic on the beach, walking Navy Pier, followed by dinner and a drive-in movie. That was Saturday. Sunday I planned for us to relax and just enjoy being with each other and talking; anything at all that she wanted to do before I had to go into work.
That was if I made it that far.
I was seriously hyperventilating that she might end our day halfway through, or wouldn’t be happy with what I had planned for us. At the same time, though, I knew she would love it all. After all, I had planned this over the last few weeks, what we would do when we finally met; based on things she had told me. 
I walked to the nurses’ station, massaging my neck in an attempt to work out the kink I had all night. I grabbed the chart Tanya handed me and headed down the hall to my hundredth patient of the day. At least it felt like that many.
I knocked on the door to see what would hopefully be one of my last patients of the night. I was tired and really wanted to go to bed. Going to bed meant getting up soon. Getting up soon meant I would see Bella.
I walked into the examination room, not looking up, as I reviewed the chart in my hand. Female, thirty, fell and injured ankle. Swelling present, no bruising, tender to the touch.
My brow furrowed at the reminder of my girl; the fact that the name was the same and that this new patient was a bit of a klutz as well had be a little discombobulated.
“Hello, Isabella,” I started, lifting my head to find my new patient. “I’m Doctor…”
I trailed off as I stared as the sight in front of me registered in my brain.
It was her.
Isabella. My…
I watched her eyes widen, her chest taking in a sharp breath. “Edward?”
I stared in disbelief that she was here. In my ER. Was I dreaming? Here my beautiful girl sat on an examination table, one of my reoccurring fantasies… except she wasn’t injured in said fantasies.
“He said he is Dr. Bella, not Edward.” A familiar voice just to her left spoke, breaking us from our trance.
I heard an ‘oomph’ and turned to look at the couple sitting next to her. A familiar smirk on a blond man and a short pixie of a woman. Jasper and Alice Whitlock: one of my friends and his wife.
“Whitlock?” I asked in surprise. They knew Bella too?
Bella’s head slowly turned, glaring at Jasper. “Ooooh, you are in biiiiig trouble, mister, biiiiig trouble.”
“Hey, she didn’t meddle. I made sure she didn’t meddle!” Jasper exclaimed in defense, his wife Alice merely laughed at the situation before shushing him.
“But I sure as hell bet you meddled in conjunction with Emmett,” I grumbled at Jasper before my eyes returned to Bella, afraid she would disappear. “Umm… hi,” I greeted shyly.
I really wanted to crawl into a hole. This was not how I wanted us to meet, especially her being injured. I somehow kept my doctor mode on, despite my severe increase of nerves. Inside I was a shaking, sputtering mess.
“Hi,” she replied before nibbling on her bottom lip and blushing.
I watched the pink spread over her creamy skin. God, she was so alluring and innocent looking like that. Though I knew she was far from innocent, she was a little minx.
“Shall we take a look and murder our friends later?” I asked, returning to full on doctor mode now that the initial shock had worn off.
“I think that’s a great idea because I might pass out from the pain soon which would take away from the murder plotting scheme,” she joked and I smirked.
I moved my hands down to the ice pack and hissed as I removed it to reveal her very swollen ankle. I didn’t see any initial bruising, which was a good sign that it probably wasn’t broken.
“Tell me what happened,” I ordered as my fingers deftly began to feel around, pressing lightly.
I felt sick when she went into her story about a bike messenger and her fall onto the street. If I’d been there perhaps I could have kept my little klutz from falling.
 “What am I going to do with you?” I asked with a smile while I shook my head.
Besides marry you, because I think that might freak you out a little if I popped that question so soon.
“Well, you could marry her and then she would have a doctor on hand all of the time,” Jasper piped in, mirroring my own thoughts and my façade faltered as the blood rushed to the surface of my skin. I was bright red, of that I was sure, so I resumed my examination.
“Well, umm… I think that… um, well, we… j-just… “ I stammered before taking a deep breath.
“Out, Whitlock!” I huffed in agitation. He was making me lose my cool and I couldn’t do that or I would be a blubbering mess in front of Bella in seconds.
“Babe, I’m starving, let’s go to the cafeteria and get some food,” Alice interjected.
Thank God, an out… wait! That means I’ll be alone with her. Oh, shit.
“You guys just go on; I’ll catch a cab home. Go eat,” Bella ordered and after some convincing they agreed. 
I felt bad when Alice began protesting that she would be all alone. She was with me and there was no way I was leaving her.
Alice whispered something in her ear and Bella’s skin lit up in a brilliant shade of pink.
I turned my attention to her chart and wrote down a few notes as she talked with Jasper about getting her to and from work on Monday. If I had Monday off, I would have offered.
After a few minutes the meddling couple exited, leaving us alone. I returned to examining her ankle, twisting and turning it and, unfortunately, making her wince and whimper in pain. I hated that I was causing my girl pain.
“I don’t think it’s broken, but we need to get an x-ray to be on the safe side,” I explained. I was looking her over when I noticed the pink on her palms and the way she held them. “We need to clean those.”
I tended to the wounds, careful to not make them hurt more. It was just some minor scratching from the rocks, but it still needed to be cleaned out. I didn’t want my girl getting an infection or one of the hundred other possibilities that my brain was processing.
Now to keep all of that medical jargon down and not let it out.
She needed x-rays and there was no way I was going to let someone else take her. After excusing myself, I ran down the hall and grabbed the first wheelchair that I could find. I returned and loaded her up.
Thankfully the x-rays came up negative for a break. She had just badly strained it and would need to take a few days off. I felt bad that I had to leave her a couple of times to check on other patients, but I knew she understood.
It was no surprise when she admitted to already having an air cast with her track record of clumsiness. I prescribed her some pain meds, an anti-inflammatory, and ordered her to rest.
Picnics and walks on Navy Pier were not conducive with rest. My heart dropped. I’d been looking forward to it all week long.
Then again, the part I had been looking forward to the most was seeing my beautiful Bella.
We were headed back to the nurses’ station when my bear of a best friend appeared in front of us; the grin that spread nearly covered his face when he saw us.
“Emmett?” we questioned in unison, both in confusion.
“That was awesome,” he noted and I was sure we were both blushing. I knew I was.
“What are you doing here? You don’t start until midnight, it’s only ten thirty,” I stated, wondering just what he had up his sleeve.
“A little birdie told me a certain obsession of yours was here, so I did what any friend would do,” he explained. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to kiss or punch Jasper at that point. He’d been a sneaky devil. “I’m taking the rest of your shift; it’s cleared with the boss. Oh and here’s my car keys.”
Emmett tossed me the keys to his beloved car before walking off, chart in hand. I was silent while I contemplated just what to do now. I was free, off, and in the presence of Bella. She had no way to get home and I had Emmett’s car.
I wanted to slap myself because of how long it took for me to understand what was going on. Our friends were sneaky and, while I didn’t think they planned for her to hurt herself, they were going to make damn sure that we didn’t separate tonight.
I helped Bella to stand to fill out the remaining paperwork, all of the clipboards having mysteriously disappeared. I had my suspicions and knew that I was probably correct in thinking Emmett had something to do with it.
I remembered that Jasper and Alice went to dinner, meaning that Bella hadn’t eaten yet and was probably starving by now. A perfect opportunity to stay with her, if she would allow it. She hadn’t run away thus far. Hopefully that was a good sign.
“Umm, so,” I began as I watched her sign her name. “Would you… well, now that I am off and I… I don’t think you’ve eaten. I mean, it sounded like you were on your way, and well… would you, umm… would you like to grab some dinner?” I asked, stumbling about as I attempted to get my point out.
Luckily she smiled in response.
“Well, I would love to, but… my doctor says I have to stay off my feet for a few days,” she explained in what I thought I heard as a teasing and flirtatious tone.
I had to be dreaming. I fell asleep in the on-call room. Yup, that was it.
My eyes widened and I flushed when I realized I was in fact awake and that had in fact been her tone. That, and I had asked her to go out after telling her to stay in and not walk. My head tilted to the floor in an attempt to hide in my embarrassment.
“Right, you do. Umm… if you don’t it could lead to a fracture and in the long run it could lead to deformity and also, most definitely, longer healing time. And really, you have beautiful feet so that would be a shame,” I revealed, my hand moved to my mouth to shut myself up. “I’m doing it, aren’t I?”
She smiled and nodded.
Beautiful. Fucking beautiful.
“Sorry, you can… you can take back your agreement for dinner, I’d understand,” I back peddled.
I felt her shift beside me, her hand resting lightly on my chest before I felt her soft, warm lips against my cheek.
“You are so adorable,” she whispered. “So, dinner?”
I blinked at her, wide eyed and jaw dropped as I processed what she had said.
Adorable. She had called me adorable and then prompted me about dinner.
“Um, yes… we could… go out?” I asked, my brain function completely stilled in shock.
She looked at me and then down to her ankle and I wanted to face palm myself.
She was going to think I was one hell of an idiot.
“Right. W-we could go to my place a-and I could cook… no, wait… I don’t think I have any food unless you’re ok with spaghetti? No, that’s… um… I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said my place… that um, sounds like I am propositioning you… and, well, in your condition that would not be advisable,” I explained while wondering where the nearest hole was that I could crawl into.
“Edward?” she smiled, grabbing my attention.
“You could take me to my place. I have food,” she suggested but I couldn’t think of anything the moment her bottom lip nestled between her teeth.
“I could cook!” I exclaimed, my brain finally catching up and loving the idea it came up with. Cooking would keep me with her longer.
“Can you?” she asked dubiously.
I cringed. “Um, not much.”
“How does Thai sound? They deliver,” she questioned.
“Perfect! I can order food!” I exclaimed, happy that I was going to be able to stay with her, and that she wanted me too.
I ran to the locker room and collected my belongings as well as an orderly before wheeling Bella out to the car.
I was filled with excitement at being able to stay with her that when I picked her up to put her in the car I watched her tongue peek out to moisten her lips and I couldn’t look away from the motion. Nor could I escape the feelings that it stirred deep inside.
I couldn’t stop myself from kissing her. My eyes met hers before I leaned down and pressed my lips lightly to hers.
It had to be light because even that little bit she tasted so sweet, her lips so soft, that I wanted much more and I couldn’t do that right then.
I placed her into the seat and took her face in my hands. I leaned in again for another kiss, this time deeper, more, but still light before I drug myself away from her.
I climbed in and drove from the parking garage, heading toward her apartment. I didn’t even need to ask for directions... Emmett had put her address into the car’s GPS. The air in the car was charged and I didn’t know how long I could last without letting go and kissing her until she couldn’t breathe.
I still was in wonderment that I was in a car with Bella beside me. The feeling that coursed through me was unlike any I had ever experienced. I felt oddly whole with her beside me. She was it, I could feel it.
My Bella. My love.
It took about twenty minutes to make our way out of the city and to her apartment that lay outside its limits. With luck there was a spot within thirty feet of her front door that was open.  Hopping out of the car, I ran to the passenger side and opened the door. Leaning in, I picked her up gently and closed the door with my foot.
I carried her to the door and through some combination of her opening it and using my foot to pry it open, we managed to make it through unscathed. Thankfully there was an elevator because, even with as light as she was, three flights of stairs would have been rough.
As we rode she pulled her keys from her purse and when we reached the door she unlocked it and we walked through. She guided me to the living room where I deposited her on the couch before returning back to the front door and locking it.
I returned to find her pulling out a menu and noticed her leg was hanging down. Elevate, elevate, elevate. The swelling was never going to go down like that.
Sitting next to her on the couch I pulled her coffee table closer so that she could rest it on top. I could feel her eyes on me as I pulled some of the small pillows from the couch and placed them on top of the table. Reaching down, I gently brought her leg up and laid it down on top of the cushion I had created.
Her hand moved to my face, bringing my eyes to hers. It was the first time I had stopped and really had the chance to look at her, my nerves were still in doctor mode trying to make sure she was comfortable. What I saw in her gaze made my heart leap and I found my hand on the side of her face, drawing her to me.
My lips found hers and this time I kissed her. Really kissed her.
It was sweet, soft and hard, perfection. Electricity was shooting down my body and I found my arms had unconsciously wrapped around her and pulled her tightly against my own body.
She moaned against my lips and I reluctantly pulled back.
“But I want more,” she said and I nearly caved.
Despite how much I wanted to continue, because every part of my body was screaming at me to, her health and well-being were more important than our flaming libidos at that moment. Plus, we had only finally met a few hours before and I really didn’t want to rush this and scare her off.
“More to come. I promise, but first we need food,” I said before placing one last light kiss on her lips.
She pulled the now mangled menu out from between us, a causality in our sudden haste, and we decided on what to order.
We placed our order and sat back on the couch to wait. I suggested turning the TV on because I didn’t think I could handle the close proximity of her when I still hadn’t calmed down from our kiss. It also didn’t help when she decided that my legs were a more comfortable spot for her injured leg.
My fingers traveled along the smooth length, caressing, and, to my surprise and delight, lightly tickling. I loved that in this small moment; it was not insignificant. I was learning about her body, getting to know it just as I had already gotten to know her mind and heart.
The delivery didn’t take long and we devoured the contents of the little white boxes in no time. We talked about our weeks, now having something to occupy our hands and lips. She continued on about loving my gifts and then swatted my arm at the singing cupid. I couldn’t help but laugh when she said that for the rest of the week her co-workers were singing or whistling ‘I Swear’ every time they saw her. We talked about our friends and their scheming ways and if we were going to get back at them for their devious ways or buy them big ‘thank you’ gifts.
We finished just a few minutes before midnight and I was about to suggest putting her to bed when I looked down and noticed I hadn’t even changed her out of her outfit, which was sporting black spots from the asphalt. I then noticed the same black smudges up her legs and down her arms.
Swallowing hard I put my suggestion out there, hoping she wouldn’t slap me for it. “We should… umm, get you cleaned up. I-I mean… smudges… asphalt… can I… can I help clean… oh, God… would you mind if I helped give you a bath? Because, you shouldn’t stand… you might fall, and that would be bad. You could hit your head and get a contusion, it might knock you unconscious under the spray of the water and you could drown, or worse you could break your neck! And I really don’t want to see any of that happen because I’m pretty certain I’m in love with you and that would break my heart and I just don’t know what I would do without you,” I stammered and rambled and then wanted to find that hole again to crawl into because I had just said way too much.
My eyes were wide and my breath had picked up, I moved my gaze down to my hands. I had told her. My first day of meeting her and I had just told her I was in love with her.
Great. Now she’s seen me in all my weird glory.
When I finally had the courage to look back up at her I was shocked to find her smiling at me with so much joy. I had to admit I didn’t know if that was a good or a bad thing. Was she going to laugh at me?
I nodded. “Really. I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to say it right then, I just…”
I was silenced by her arms wrapping around my neck and her lips crashing to mine. She pulled away and started to laugh and then, shocking me, she began to cry.
“I’m pretty sure that I’m in love with you too,” she admitted and my heart sang, exploding with feelings I had never known.
I brought her lips back to mine and we kissed. There was a bit of urgency in the beginning, but it slowed to soft, tender, loving kisses.
After a few minutes I picked her up and carried her to her bedroom and laid her down on the bed while I moved to the adjoining bathroom and started up the bath. She directed me to some bath salts under the sink and, once the water was warm, I put the stopper down and sprinkled in some of the salts.
I walked back in, pulling on my hair, because now I was going to have to help her undress. I could see the blush on her face as she too understood what had to happen now. I turned around to give her some privacy when she called to me, beckoning me to her.
I helped her stand and kept my hands at her sides to help keep her balanced on one foot before I looked away. Bella wasn’t having any of that and she had my attention when her hands moved to rest on top of mine. I looked back at her and swallowed hard as she guided my hands up her torso, pushing her shirt up, revealing the smooth skin beneath.
I nearly died at the feel of her heated skin beneath my fingers. It was heaven to be this close to her. I gulped, audibly, when her shirt slipped past her breasts revealing her soft mounds. My thumbs skimmed the sides of her breasts before she released my hands in order to pull the shirt over her head.
I was staring at her chest, her beautiful breasts; soft and full and milky white just inches from my face, from my mouth. Surprised, I found that her blush reached almost all the way down to her nipples.
I had to stop that train of thought as the realization hit me that she was not wearing a bra.
I could feel my cock straining against my scrubs and I had to reach down and adjust it before it was poking her in the stomach.
The words slipped from my lips and my hands were shaking with want to touch her, but this wasn’t about me, this was about helping her. She did not need me groping her right then.
With shaking hands she pushed my scrub top up and over my head and then repeated the process with my undershirt.
“Wait,” I said stopping her when my undershirt was halfway up my abdomen. “What… we… bath… y-you.”
Her eyes grew wide and her face turned bright red. “Oh, God!” she cried out and buried her face in her hands.
“What? Wait… what’s… did I do… Bella?” I asked, thoroughly confused.
“I-I thought… well, you said you wanted to… help me… and I thought…” she trailed off, shaking her head and mumbling to herself about what an idiot she was.
“No! Oh, no! I mean… I meant that…” I let out a hard breath. “I was going to h-help w-wash you off and l-let you r-relax,” I stammered. “I-I… did you think… I meant… join you?” She nodded. “I never… I didn’t think you would… Bella, I’m a fish out of water here. I didn’t want to be so… presumptuous. Do you… do you want me to… to join you?”
“Please?” she pleaded.
I gulped, wide eyed, and nodded my consent. Her tiny fingers resumed their journey and I became hard at the feeling of her fingers on my bare skin.
Her hands rested on my hips at my waist band and I halted her. This move could cause her to lose her balance and possibly get poked in the eye and with her track record I would bet on both. I moved her hands to my shoulders for her support before sliding my scrub pants and boxer briefs down to the floor, shucking my socks as well.
I swallowed hard when I came back up and she was staring down at my crotch and my aching hard on with wide eyes.
“Don’t um… don’t mind him. J-just ignore it,” I pleaded, my face turning bright red.
“I would say something dirty, but he has rendered me speechless,” she said, a shy smile, her eyes looking away in embarrassment.
I felt a swell of pride at her compliment as my mind wandered to dirty replies about how I could literally render her speechless.
I shook it from my mind, pushing the inner beast that wanted to do naughty things to her down.
I reached down to her hips and slowly pushed her skirt over the swell of her hips and butt, her hands once again on my shoulders for support. I had to halt my movements when the fabric reached her ankles. I was so close to her pussy that I could smell her arousal and I had to lean my head against her thigh to collect myself before I couldn’t stop myself from leaning forward and licking her.
Once we were fully undressed I picked her up and we moved to the bathroom and the awaiting tub of sudsy water. Gently I lowered her into the water, taking extra care with her ankle, before lowering my body in behind hers.
I tried not to notice her gasp when she felt my erection against her back, but I still groaned in response to the feeling of her skin pressed up against it. She leaned back against my chest and we laid there for a few minutes, just enjoying being together.
I gathered the soap and the washcloth and worked up a lather before grabbing one of her arms and running the cloth along the length. Gently I moved the cloth around her skin, paying closer attention to the areas where the asphalt had marked her, which was mostly her arms, legs, and a little smudge on her cheekbone. I swallowed hard when my hands made their way up her chest to wash her breasts. She gasped when the fabric of the cloth grazed her nipples. Her back arched slightly against me, her head pushing back into my shoulder.
I had to screw my eyes shut when my hips involuntarily flexed up into her. I willed my body to stop its movements before working my way down her abdomen. My movements halted just below her waist line and uncertainty clouded my mind.
“Please,” she whispered.
I pulled her closer to me, placing light kisses on her neck while my hand moved down and cupped her mound. I made a few swipes with the cloth around her sensitive flesh and her back arched again as a mewling sound was released from her lips. My body reacted to her siren song. Her hips began to rock against my hand and my hips followed.
“Edward,” she said in a breathy moan and I lost it.
Removing my hand from her and the water I threw the washcloth on the edge of the tub and my hand returned to her center. My lips were kissing up and down her exposed neck as my fingers found her clit and began massaging the little nub.
“Bella, Bella, Bella,” I repeated over and over. My fingers moved down to find her slit. The slick moisture of her arousal spurred me on and I slipped one digit inside, swiftly followed by another. I began to slide then in and out, while still paying attention to her clit. She was writhing beneath my touch, moaning out my name, her hips rocking, splashing some water from the tub.
My hips rocked into her, my hard length pressed firmly against the top of her ass and lower back. This was all for her, but I just couldn’t stop my body’s movements when she was in that state. I groaned loudly, my head tilting back, resting against the tile wall when I felt her hand move between us and grab hold of my length. Her small hand began moving up and down and I increased the pressure between her thighs because I knew I wasn’t going to last long if she continued and I needed her to come. I needed to feel her release, her body tight, and her walls clenching my fingers as she cried out.
I got my wish when moments later her stokes began to falter and her hand squeezed harder. Her back arched off of my chest, her body tense, her head back, eyes screwed shut. My fingers set up a frenzied pace, thrusting in and out of her and she fell, screaming my name as she came. My hips were thrusting up into her hand that was wrapped around my shaft and seconds later I was spilling onto her hand and into the water.
We laid in the water, catching out breath, our bodies relaxed and now very ready for sleep.  I kissed her neck and moved up to her cheek and she turned to me and my lips found hers. The water in the tub began to cool so I pulled the plug and let the water drain while turning the spout back on. Once the water from the spout was warm I pulled the shower head down and rinsed our bodies off, and quickly washed my own.
I then pulled us from the tub, grabbed a couple of towels, and quickly ran the towel over my body to get the dripping water off before moving to her with another towel and drying her off slowly. When we were both dry I moved us to back into the bedroom and placed her back onto the bed.
Slipping in next to her I pulled her body to mine, loving the feeling of her against mine, the weight of her head on my shoulder and her arm across my chest.
“So,” I began. “I, umm, guess we… I mean… umm… Bella…”
I looked down to find her lower lip secured between her teeth. Using my thumb I pulled her lip out.
“Hi,” she said and I couldn’t help the chuckle that came out.
“Hi,” I replied and kissed her forehead.
“I guess our date for tomorrow… or rather later today, has kind of been shot, huh?”
I grimaced. “Yeah. Which sucks, because I had a wonderful day planned.”
“I’m sorry, Edward.”
“Don’t be. We have plenty of time to do what I had planned.”
“We do?”
“Of course. Unless… I mean… am I assuming things?”
“Assuming that we are now a couple?”
“Umm, well… yes?” I replied, though it sounded more like a question.
“Assume away.”
I smiled, but didn’t really want to assume. I wanted it known. I wanted the whole world to know that she was mine and mine alone.
“Bella, will you be my girl-girlfriend?”
“I don’t know. Will we get to go on dates? And not just to the mall? And can we get your dad to drive, because my mom sucks.”
My eyebrows screwed together at her teasing. “Meanie.”
That caused her to burst into laughter and pepper my face with kisses. “So cute.”
“R-really?” I asked, blinking down at her.
“Really. And I would love to be your girlfriend. Honestly.”
“Honestly,” I repeated and pulled her closer, snuggling in deep.
“I can’t wait to wake up in the morning,” she admitted in a sleepy voice.
“Why is that?” I questioned, a yawn escaping my lips.
“Because tomorrow is the first day of our lives together,” she stated and my heart swelled.
Together. No longer alone. All thanks to a website and its twenty nine dimensions.


Prologue one
Six months later:
I stood in front of the stove and poured the thick creamy batter onto the hot pan making one of the few items that I was decent at making. Well, decent according to Bella. Then again she was a pancake freak. The woman loved pancakes in a way that should be illegal.
Bella was still asleep and I was hoping to surprise her with a Christmas breakfast before we un-wrapped gifts and went to my parent’s house before I headed to the hospital to check on my patients.
It was hard to believe six months had passed since Bella and I finally met face to face and had our first date. A lot had happened in that time frame that changed our lives for the better and our relationship.
About two months into our relationship my lease expired and instead of finding something new or extending it, we made the decision to move in together. While it was true we hadn’t been together long, we were both head over heels for one another.
It was decided that since Bella’s lease still had six months left, and the fact that she was closer to what would be my new location, that I would move in with her. While I still had another month in my current position the commute would be longer, but it was only for a short period of time. We moved most of my stuff into storage because her apartment was already full and there wasn’t much extra room.
The first week was wonderful. I loved coming home to Bella and being around her every moment I wasn’t working. However, the few weeks following were heaven and hell. We were happy, but we definitely had an adjustment period. When you take two people in their thirties that haven’t shared space in a few years and are set in their ways things are bound to get ugly.
Well… not too ugly, just ugly for us.
Most of the time we were too ‘sickeningly sweet’ for our friends.
We did have a few fights, but I think it was just the stress of all that was going on. Our schedules were so different that we were constantly waking one another up and the reduced sleep had made us cranky and probably was the catalyst.
Once I started at the children’s hospital things changed and my schedule evened out, resulting in more of a pattern. I was on call a lot, but overall it was much better than the hectic, long hours, flip flopped working ways I had become accustomed too over the years.
Over all, we had become stronger as a couple and in our love. And boy did we love. Even after six months we were still insatiable for each other. Though with her sexy body and dirty mind, I wondered if it would ever slow down.
I could hear the water running in the bathroom and smiled; my girl was up. The call of pancakes was too great to keep her sleeping for much longer.
I watched her walk from the bedroom still in her tank top and pajama bottoms with a smile, sleepy eyes, and a mad case of bed head as she took in a deep breath.
“Pancakes!” she said with a smile.
I smirked at her. “Pancakes.”
She walked into the kitchen and stepped up behind me, wrapping her arms around my waist.
“Morning… Merry Christmas!” she said with a giggle before nuzzling into my back.
Damn she was cute when she did that. I wanted to nuzzle her back so badly, but the pancakes needed flipping.
“Merry Christmas, love,” I replied before pulling her around to my side with my free arm.
She scooted around, her hands never leaving my waist, her head now nuzzling into my chest. She was killing me. I kissed the top of her head before chuckling slightly.
“I know, I know. I just wanted some Christmas morning loving before I go brush it out.”
I smacked her ass, causing her to squeal.
“Go now and the pancakes will be ready when you are done.”
She pulled away and walked back into the bathroom. Now that she was awake my nerves were starting to creep up on me. Once breakfast was eaten then we would open presents and I had been freaking out for weeks on whether or not she would like what I had gotten her. It was wrapped and under the tree, the largest box.
The first round of pancakes were done and I had the second round on the griddle when she came back out.
My girl’s love of pancakes was hysterical to watch. Her tiny frame downed seven medium size pancakes and while she was sated, she was on the too full side.
“Not funny,” she pouted and I couldn’t help but laugh.
So damn cute. I leaned down and kissed her pouty lips before pulling her up from the chair.
I lead her to the living room and pulled her into my arms before swaying to an unheard beat.
“What are we doing?”
I smiled down at her. “Dancing.”
“I know that, but the last time we danced I ended up with two stitches in my elbow.”
“Yes, but that was because I let you go. I’m not letting you go today,” I explained. I picked her up by the waist and set her feet on mine. “There, now you can’t get away.”
She laughed and shook her head as I began dancing us around the room. I spun us around before dipping her, causing her to squeal.
I loved the sounds that she made.
I glanced up at the clock and saw that it was nearly nine thirty, meaning we needed to get a move on.
“Presents?” I asked and she grinned while nodding her head.
We sat in front of the tree and handed each other a gift and unwrapped them. I pulled hard on the ribbon in an attempt to snap it, but it just wouldn’t budge. Bella was laughing at me while she carefully un-wrapped the package in front of her.
Finally I was able to get the damn ribbon off, which I knew she made difficult on purpose, and ripped the paper off. She tapped the box as well, little vixen. She giggled the whole time while watching me struggle; I’d get her back for that.
Finally, after feeling like I’d battled a lion, the box top came off to reveal a photo frame with a montage of photos of us. The eleven by fourteen inch intricately carved black frame held picture after picture of Bella and I together, and in the middle a single picture of her. One of the first, the one from our first picture war; Bella blowing a kiss at the camera.
“It’s for your office,” she spoke.
My fingers traced over the photos, my heart filled with so much love and a smile on my face. It was perfect. Gazing down at the multiple shots of us together I could see it; our love. Perfect and shining and I knew, just… knew. Everything solidified and every worry and fear I had went right out the window. She would say ‘yes’.
“Do you like it?” she asked and I realized I hadn’t said anything as I stared down at the perfection that was us.
“Bella… it’s… I love it. Baby, it’s perfect. Thank you,” I praised, pulling her into my arms and her lips to mine. She leaned back and I noticed she had opened the gift I had handed her. “Do you… do you like it?”
“I’m a little confused by it, I’ll admit.”
I could feel the blush crawling on my skin. “Well, you keep talking about how you could write so much better than some of the garbage you edit, so… and you have a long commute… I-I thought you might… a journal, no one hand writes today and with the jostling of the train… do you… do you like it?” I questioned, wondering if I’d read her wrong.
Her eyes watered up and I started to freak out.
“No, baby, I’m sorry! I…I’ll take…”
“It’s not that!” she exclaimed, throwing her hand up to stop me from apologizing. “I… you always pick up on things. I love it. It’s you encouraging me. Thank you,” she explained and leaned forward placing a soft kiss on my lips. “I love you.”
I sighed out in relief and smiled. “I love you too, so much.”
With that, we continued to work our way through the gifts; socks, shirts, movies, ties, bedtime fun toys that had us both blushing. It was a present from Alice and Jasper that we had received and were told to wait until Christmas day while we were alone at home. I’m pretty sure it was all Alice with maybe a little Rosalie… or a lot, knowing her.
We were down to the big box, and out of the corner of my eye I could see her smiling like a little kid at Christmas from the excitement of receiving the largest package from under the tree. I chuckled as she pried the two foot squared wrapped box from my hands and set it in front of her.
Her little fingers began ripping and tearing and the thin brightly colored paper to the cardboard box below. She then pulled the tape and the flaps popped open.
I nearly burst out laughing at the look on her face when she opened the box; shock, confusion, and a bit of ‘what the fuck’.
Inside were various t-shirts of mine, stacked and folded, that she had worn as night shirts over the past six months. I loved to see her in my clothes so I was ‘giving’ them to her. She picked up the top one to inspect it when her eye caught the box lying beneath.
She shook her head and began removing the shirts from the box. Opening it she laughed. Cookies. Thin mints to be exact. Her favorite.
Picking them up she noticed another box. “Really, Edward?”
I smiled and brushed a lock of her hair behind her ear. “Really.”
Opening the next box she found colored pieces of glass. Her head shot to the vase in the entry way and noticed the lack of the iridescent blue beads. She looked back at me and I shrugged.
“I needed some weight,” I admitted and we both broke out into laughter.
Through the beads she found another box. It was a decorative metal box about four inches squared. Lifting the lid she looked down and I watched her eyes grow a little wider.
Nestled in some Easter basket grass was a blue silk box.
With shaking hands she removed the box and placed the metal one on the floor in front of her. I took a deep steadying breath and repositioned my body so that I was on one knee in front of her.  Her eyes were still locked on the blue unopened box but when I shifted so did her gaze.
I watched her eyes grow wide as she looked between me and the box.
“Isabella Marie Swan, you…”
“Yes,” she said interrupting me.
“What?” I questioned, blinking at her.
“I said yes,” she stated.
“But I didn’t ask yet.”
“I don’t care, the answer is yes,” she declared.
“I prepared a whole speech,” I insisted.
“Screw the speech.
“Screw the speech?”
“Ok, Cliff notes version.”
“Ok… “ I began, taking in a quick deep breath. “I’ve loved you since long before we met face to face and I want to spend the rest of my life with you and have babies and grow old.”
I don’t think I’d ever seen her smile that big, it was beautiful and all for me. She launched herself at me and I wrapped my arms around her, laughing as she peppered my neck, cheeks, and lips with kisses while whispering ‘yes’ over and over.
Hands down.