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Giving Fate a Hand

Summary:
Graduating from college and taking a year off, Edward went on a celebratory roadtrip around the country. Little does he know that he would meet a girl who changed his life and the way he lived it for the foreseeable future. ExB.


Notes:
This is my first attempt at Twilight Fanfiction. I'd appreciate any criticism. Please let me know how yall like it. :]


2. Chapter 2

Rating 0/5   Word Count 3741   Review this Chapter

My life was becoming a bit monotonous. I wake up at 5 and run around 'the lakes' before getting back to my house to shower and change for work. I usually got to my office around 7:30 and worked until my co-worker, Emmett, knocked on my door to go to lunch. We normally went to a cafe next door to our office, but every now and then we ordered with the rest of office. That was what I tried to avoid. Any time that Emmett and I ate lunch in the lunch room, we were continuously accosted by the female workers. While Emmett certainly was not opposed to this attention, I hated it. So when Emmett sent me a text message earlier this morning saying he didn't have the time to leave the office today, I spent the rest of the morning mentally preparing for lunch with my co-workers.

Lunch had been horrible. Of course. There was never a day that I ate in the cafeteria that I didn't regret it. I just didn't understand it; these women were intelligent, respectable people. They had all either graduated with an architecture degree or were studying to become architects. It wasn't an easy undergrad program. He just couldn't grasp why these women would rather rub their bodies against him than talk to him in a way that showcased their intelligence. But apparently that wasn't an option. No, of course it wasn't.

If I had it my way, I'd work from my house everyday, but I knew that I'd end up being known as the creepy reclusive guy who never left his home. Plus, I'd never find Bella if I stayed at home. However, I did have a favorite coffee shop that I worked from often. Highland Coffee was locally owned and I absolutely adored the woman who owned and ran the store. It had maps lining the walls of the coffee shop of the old "North Gate" section of Baton Rouge. It was right across the street from a restaurant that had over 30 types of beer on tap and was within walking distance of the LSU campus in case I needed to look something up in the library. Best yet, was the assortment of people. It seemed that Highland Coffee had a very loyal following. The store was always packed with different people. Even though he saw a wide arrangement of people, he also saw many of the same people. One guy always came in around 6:45. Before he approached the counter to place his order, he loosened his tie and took off his jacket. He looked like hell about 80% of the time. I don't know what he does, but I don't want that job. We give each other a head nod when he walks in, but have never actually spoken. Another customer is always in there when I get my coffee on the way to the office. I've never seen her in pants or shorts, she wears a skirt every day. Not that it's a bad thing; she can wear whatever she wants. She tells me to have a good day. Every single day. I also found out that it was a big place where the English department at LSU liked to gather. Be it professors or TAs, the people in charge of the English department really like Highland Coffee. I was hoping that rubbed off a bit on their students.

I had been coming to Highland Coffees for close to two months when finally it seemed like I was going to catch a break. Mrs. Sue, the owner had been talking to someone for the past half hour so I was trying to put off going to the counter and interrupting her to place an order. I couldn’t put it off anymore, though. I had to get to work. I was already stressing out about a presentation I was getting ready for in the afternoon and I needed my morning cup of coffee. I tried to walk up as apologetically as I could, if people were able to walk apologetically, and ended up getting to the counter right as their conversation was ending.

“Okay, I won’t be here for the rest of the week. Bella will be running the afternoon shifts for me and she’ll be able to get in touch with me if you have any problems,” Mrs. Sue said to the other woman. I wasn’t even concerned about my coffee, presentation, or life in general anymore. She said Bella. Better yet, she said that someone named Bella would be working next week. That was weird, though. I was almost certain that I knew everyone who worked at this coffee shop, and no one had the name Bella.

“And you’re sure she can run those shifts? She’s never had to run the place before,” the other woman pointed out. Ah! Yes. So this Bella didn’t work here normally, but apparently knew Mrs. Sue.

“I know, but she should be fine. Her mom owns a restaurant that she helps run when she’s home,” Mrs. Sue explained. Damn, I didn’t know anything about Bella’s parents or what they did for a living. Damn it, damn it, damn it.

“Oh! I’m so sorry, Edward! What can I get for you?”

Great. Just lovely. She stopped her conversation to get my coffee. A minute and a half ago, I would have the happiest man in the world for this happen, but I would gladly skip work today, presentation or no presentation.

“I just need a large black coffee. Did I hear you say you wouldn’t be here for the next few days?” I asked her as she made my coffee. Hopefully she would answer me. I knew she liked me, she was always trying to set me up with her youngest daughter.

“Yea, honey. My father-in-law passed away yesterday and we’re flying out to Virginia tonight. You will be taken care of, so don’t worry. My neighbor’s daughter will be here around lunchtime and in the evenings. She’s precious. Maybe I should tell her to look for you, you interested?”

“Always trying to set me up, aren’t you?” Yea, that’s good. Not too anxious, but not uninterested.

“I figured that your momma would be trying to set you up if she lived here, and since she doesn’t, I’d help her out. You know that us moms stick together.”

“I believe she’s told me that before,” I nodded and paid for my coffee. Every day I did this, and I loved it. Mrs. Sue was a loving person, she reminded me of my mom. Every day I ordered my coffee, handed her a five dollar bill and put the change in the tip jar.

“So what about Bella? Can I tell her about you when she calls to check in?”

“What if I just promise to introduce myself tomorrow?”

“You would do that for me?” she asked me shyly. Yea, right. She knew that I would do anything she asked. It was like trying to deny my mom or sister something. I just couldn’t say no to the women in my life, and I was very much aware that when—if—I ever came into contact with my Bella again it would be exactly the same. I really didn’t mind.

“Anything for you, Mrs. Sue,” I stated as I grabbed my coffee. “Have a safe flight, and I’ll introduce myself tomorrow. Maybe if I’m lucky she’ll mention me when she calls you,” I told her with a wink.

So it looks like I’m working from the coffee shop tomorrow.

---

I really hoped this girl was my Bella. I, of course, had called my sister as soon as I left the coffee shop. I had a 15 minute drive to my office building and I did not need to worry about my presentation. Or at least that was my justification. She sat quietly and listened while I relayed the conversation I had with Mrs. Sue and the one I had eavesdropped on. After reminding me that it was rude to eavesdrop and that my mother would be appalled, Alice had declared that Mrs. Sue’s Bella and my Bella were going to be the same person. “Bella is not a common name, Edward,” she had rationalized. I think I knew that, but I wasn’t so sure. I didn’t want to get my hopes up really high. “Plus,” she added when I told her this information, “you know how good I am with figuring out what’s going to happen. Tomorrow is definitely going to be a good day for you.”

So now I’m here, at the coffee shop, waiting for Bella to show up. I had been here all morning, even though I knew she might not arrive until the evening. I wasn’t going to chance it. I had called Emmett earlier to say I would work from home today, packed all my stuff up, and practically raced to Highland Coffees.

It was now 2:19 in the afternoon, and as anxious as I was, I had a very productive day. I was hoping that in the next few hours, I’d be able to finish up a rough sketch for a lunch meeting I had the following day. The work I had brought with me today had been overbearing and tedious. Most of it was paperwork I had been putting off for a week or so. I’d have to work out of the office more often if it resulted in me working less in general, and I would love if the only thing I had planned for tomorrow was a lunch meeting.

I had hidden myself into an alcove in the back of the store so that I could work in peace and still be able to see who made their way into the coffee house. I had the perfect system planned out, but somehow I looked at my watch and realized that almost three hours had passed since I last looked up from my work. 5:30. I knew that whoever this Bella girl happened to be, she should be here by now.

I am pathetic. I’m a 24 year old guy who’s nervous about glancing up in a coffee shop that I’ve been sitting in for almost 9 hours. When I chanced a look at the counter and saw no one behind it and decided that I should just make my way over there. Get my coffee, say hello, grab my stuff, and leave. That was my plan. It was a good one. Especially when I looked up and found a blonde girl on the phone, not the Bella that I was expecting.

“The door is open so just bring your stuff in. We’ll rent movies and hang out tonight, okay? I’ll call you when I leave,” she said to the other person on the phone before turning around and looking at me.

“Hi, are you Bella?”

“Uh, no. I’m Angela. Why are you looking for Bella?”

I could have erupted in joy. This was not Bella; there was still a chance that when she showed up it would be her.

“When I spoke to Mrs. Sue last night I promised her I would introduce myself to Bella. Do you know if she’ll be in later?”

“Oh. Well, okay. That’s weird. But no, she won’t be in today. She’s moving out of her stupid ass boyfriend’s condo at the moment and whenever he decides to show up she’s breaking up with him, which is all way too much information for me to give you, but I guess if Mrs. Sue likes you, you must be alright,” she explained to me in one long, run on sentence. I had to laugh, but there were mixed feelings there. Bella had a boyfriend. Of course, I still didn’t know if this was the right girl, but if it was, she has a boyfriend. A stupid ass boyfriend, her friend called him. I guess they don’t get along.

“I see. Did Mrs. Sue know that she is dating someone? She practically hinted that she wanted to set us up.”

“She knows; she doesn’t like Robert.”

“Okay. Well what’s Bella like? I mentioned I was supposed to say hello to her today to my sister and she will fly down here and kill me if I don’t have any information,” I stated. “If you don’t think she’d mind, of course,” I added after a pause. She seemed to be seriously thinking it over, so I figured that was a good thing. Either way, I was glad this Bella had a friend who cared enough about her to think about my request.

“She’s 22, brown hair, brown eyes, can’t walk straight but will dance around anywhere…um…she was an English major and she’s working on her Masters at the moment. She’ll definitely be here tomorrow, so you should talk to her then. If Mrs. Sue likes you, you’re okay in my book. Did you want coffee?” she asked. I guess that was signaling the end of my questions.

---

The following day, Thursday, I was much more relaxed. When it came to my profession, I knew I was the best. I may not have the years of experience sometimes preferred, but no one had better ideas or better presentation skills than I did. It was the reason that I was allowed to work from home – or the coffee shop – instead of always in the office.

I met Emmett at the restaurant about half an hour before our client showed up and went over everything with him. We really didn’t have much of a problem, the man knew he was going with our company – he just wanted a few options on the styles we were presenting him.

I was in a very good mood when I left the restaurant and made my way to the coffee house. I knew for a fact that I would see Bella today, and while I was halfway disgusted with my actions and thoughts about her, I was truly excited. I was so anxious that I debated several different ties this morning before calling Alice and asking her advice. Gold is what I went with. Apparently, it worked well with my eyes.

I settled back into my alcove in Highland Coffees and got back to work. I brought several proposals with me to finish. I was looking forward to having the same type of productive afternoon that I had yesterday because if I was able to finish, I wouldn’t have to go into the office at all tomorrow. However, none of my work would be finished today. No, there would be no working for me today. I had just glanced up to check the length of the line when the door opened and she walked in. She was just as I remembered her, but better.

I watched as she maneuvered her way through the tables to the counter. She laughed at whatever the girl – Angela, I remembered – told her and put her bag under the counter. I was watching her in awe when Angela caught my eye and winked. She winked? What could that possibly mean? I continued to watch as they talked and kept watching in shock when I saw Angela nod her head in my direction with a hand motion. Bella, whose back had been to me until now, turned to look over her shoulder. I think it was supposed to be discreet, but I had witnessed the entire exchange, I knew exactly what had happened. But, I didn’t expect Bella’s reaction. She looked at me and the smile that had been on her face froze and then disappeared. Her eyes widened and her mouth popped open in shock. I tried to look away, to stop staring, but I couldn’t. I saw Angela laughing behind her and Bella blinked her eyes a few times quickly. Finally, she forced her gaze to the ground and I saw a blush rise up her neck to her cheeks. From my table, I saw her say something and then pull Angela into the back room. If I wasn’t excited before, I definitely was now. I could barely contain my excitement. It was quite obvious that Bella remembered exactly who I was. I just had to figure out if I was someone she wanted to be in her life at the present moment.

I didn’t have to wait long to find out, though. I did, however, have to thank whatever made me sit in this spot. Next to my table was the hole in the wall that people were supposed to push plates and mugs into after they were finished with whatever food or drinks they had ordered. I had always assumed it led straight into the kitchen. It also was right in front of the spot that Bella and Angela chose to have this conversation, apparently. I seriously needed to start going to church, say thanks to God or something, because good things happen way too often in my life to be considered coincidences. Someone had to be looking out for me.

“Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap. Angela, why in the world are you pointing out guys to me? Robert and I just broke up.”

“You know, I’m really going to start denying that you ever dated Asshole,” Angela told her and I had to laugh when she changed the guy’s name from Robert to Asshole. I liked Angela, and I think she was on my side. If only I could have told her to speak loudly.

“We dated for almost two years, you can’t just pretend he didn’t exist.”

“I can, and I will. Plus, I was just pointing him out because he asked about you yesterday.”

“What?”

“Mrs. Sue told him to introduce himself to Bella. He thought I was Bella. Don’t worry, I set him straight and he said he’d be back today to meet you.”

“What?”

“Bella, he’s really nice. He’s very attractive. And he’s was really looking forward to meeting you, I think. There’s nothing wrong with you being friends with him. Hell, there’s nothing wrong with you wanting to be anything with him.”

Well, at least I knew how Angela felt about me.

“You wanna know a secret?” I barely heard Bella ask, but it immediately had my attention, and then I realized that I was eavesdropping on what could be a very private conversation and felt nauseas. This was not how my mom raised me to act, but I couldn’t help myself.

“Always!”

“I know who he is,” Bella continued just as quietly. I was straining my neck closer to the opening in the wall to make sure I could hear her correctly. If anyone were to look over and see me, I would hate to be able to hear what they thought I was doing.

“You do? How?”

“Remember when Robert and I had just started dating and he wouldn’t go to any football games with me?” She paused and then started speaking again. “Well the Florida game my Junior year was that amazing 5 4th down game. It was one of the best games I had ever been too, and still probably my favorite memory of a football game.” She was speaking low and fast now and I was seriously about to strain my neck muscles trying to stretch it as far as I could. “But only half of the reason is because of the game. Yea, it was amazing, but so was the company I was with. We squeezed in next to these two guys and by the end of the night I was pressed up next to one of them and holding his hand during stressful situations. I never thought of Robert once until that guy asked for my number. I had one thought of how I would have to break up with Robert, but it would be okay because I was almost certain this guy would be worth it. We took a picture at the end of the game and he said he’d give me a call the next day.”

“Okay….” I heard the confusion in Angela’s voice. She had no clue what had prompted this episode of story time.

“Not finished. Anyway, I was floating the rest of the night. I couldn’t help it; I was so excited. I couldn’t wait for him to call. I waited for a few days before I realized it must have been some big joke to him. He probably thought he’d get laid that night and when that didn’t happen, he didn’t really care to follow up. But to explain to you why I you need to know that, is that guy’s name was Edward, and he is the guy who is sitting out there right now.”

Hm, I definitely didn’t like that she thought of the situation that way, but I was quite certain that once I explained about the rain and the paper she’d understand. She seemed to be a reasonable person.

“Oh! You’re kidding! Bella, that’s awesome!”

“Awesome?! Angela, did you not hear a word I just said? He never called.”

“Well yea, that’s not cool. But you just admitted that you would have broken up with Asshole if you had a chance with him. This is good, Bella. He’s going to come talk to you, I know he will. Maybe he has a reason for not calling.”

Yes, Angela, let’s go back to that thought. She would have broken up with her boyfriend. That had to be a good thing for me.

“Okay. Maybe so. Yea. So you think I should go talk to him?”

“Well, no. Make him work for it a little bit, let him come to you. I mean, even though I think I might want yall to work, you already gave him a chance and he didn’t call.”

“Yea…you’re right. Okay, I’ll—“ And that was all I could hear. I didn’t know where the voices went, but they faded away. I figured it out eventually because I saw the two girls return to the counter.

Okay, so Bella was willing to talk to me, and Angela wanted her to make me work for it. If only Angela knew how willing I was to work for this. I wanted to talk to her now, but I was determined to finish the proposal I had for tomorrow. I looked up one last time and saw that she was looking at me. I sent her a smile and winked before leaning back over the papers on the table. When I looked up again her face was crimson and she was taking a deep breath.

This was going to be more fun than I imagined.