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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. :]


3. Chapter 3

Rating 0/5   Word Count 3804   Review this Chapter


The rest of the day had gone marvelously. I spent another few hours in the coffee house finishing proposals for work and watching Bella. She was beautiful. About an hour after her talk with Angela, I heard her groan in frustration and looked up to find her yanking her hair into a messy bun. I assumed it was getting in her way, but just laughed when she noticed that I had seen her.

I finally decided it was time to suck it up and go talk to her. I packed up my files and portfolios and made my way to the counter. Figures that as soon as I decided to get up to talk to her, someone in the kitchen would need to talk to her. Angela smiled as I groaned. She took my order and told me she’d get to it once Bella came out of the back. That confused me. Why wouldn’t she just make my coffee now? When I shot her a questioning look she just laughed and explained.

“Did you think I’d let you leave without talking to you?”

“No?”

“You’re so smart. So…did you hear anything you liked this afternoon?”

I just gaped at her. I must have looked like a moron, but she couldn’t have known that I had eavesdropped on their entire conversation. Could she? When I didn’t answer she laughed at me again and shook her head.

“You think I hadn’t noticed where you were sitting? I’m sure that Bella had no clue. She wasn’t taking in the seating arrangements, just your face.”

That made me smile. Bella could “take in” my face any time she wanted. As long as we were together and hanging out while it happened.

“Oh.”

“Yea. So are you going to tell me why you never called her?” she asked. I ran my hands through my hair and looked at the door that Bella had gone through minutes earlier.

“She won’t be back. Mrs. Sue is on the phone and needs some numbers from the computer,” Angela assured me when she saw my gaze.

“Okay, well…long story short?”

“Sure. I’ll get the long story later. From Bella.”

“Fine with me. Long story short is that yes, she gave me her number, and yes, I was beyond excited to have it, but it was on a piece of paper in my pocket and it rained right after the game and I didn’t realize that the paper was ruined until I pulled it out in my car.”

“Seriously?”

“I wouldn’t lie to you.”

“You didn’t bring a plastic baggie?”

“Excuse me?” A plastic baggie? Why was she asking about a plastic baggie and why would I bring one to a football game?

“Everyone knows to bring a plastic baggie to the games if there’s a chance of rain. You put your cell phone and anything else in it that can’t get wet.”

“Oh. Well, no. That thought had never crossed my mind.”

“Oh goodness. What are we going to do with you?”

“Well no one told me about the plastic baggie. And I’m not from here, so I had no way to actually know this.”

“Where are you from?”

“I was born and raised in Chicago,” I told her. “And I went to school at Dartmouth. After I graduated, I just took off. I saw the entire country, that took me about a year or so.”

“And why’d you move to Baton Rouge?” Such a simple question, but I couldn’t answer it. I answer that question and I’ll get slapped with a restraining order. I know I sound crazy, but I’m really not. Just persistent. Luckily I didn’t have to answer that question. Bella walked out of the door and stopped short and was staring at us. That God guy was helping me out again, but by the look on Angela’s face, I was almost certain she wasn’t letting me get off without answering that question at some point.

“I’ll get you your coffee, Edward.”

“Thanks,” I said before turning my full attention to Bella. I was able to notice smaller things at this distance. Things like the length of her eyelashes and the small dimple on her right cheekbone. Things I didn’t want any one else to notice.

“Hey Edward.”

And then she spoke to me. If I were a poetic person, I would have said that it was something like the heavens opening up and angels singing. But I’m not, so I’ll go with it being the best sound I’ve ever heard. It was a whisper, almost like she didn’t know if she really wanted to say something.

“Hey,” I returned just as quietly. She blushed. How nice. I wanted to make her do it again.

“Do you think we could talk?” I asked. “Outside, maybe?” I nodded my head towards the door and she bit her bottom lip.

“Uh, I don’t know…I’m supposed to be running this with Angela and—“

“I’ll be find for a few minutes, you go,” Angela interrupted. “Here’s your coffee.”

I said thanks and paid while trying not to laugh at the glare that Bella was sending at the back of Angela’s head. I waited patiently for her to join me on the other side of the counter and led her out the door to a bench on the sidewalk.

“I meant to call, you know.” I figured I had to rectify my past actions before proposing any future plans.

“It’s okay…you don’t have to explain.”

“No, I’m serious. Do you remember how it rained after the game?”

“Yea, it poured,” she answered, but I could tell she was confused as to why that mattered.

“I was still walking to my car. I got caught in the rain, and when I pulled out your number, the paper had all but dissolved.”

“Okay.”

“Okay?”

“Yea, I believe you. Not that it really matters, I guess.” Huh? Why wouldn’t it matter?

“Why wouldn’t it matter?”

“Well because it doesn’t really change anything. It’s just good to know that you didn’t think of me as some easy lay whore girl or whatever.”

This girl is ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. As if I could ever think of her like that.

“Bella. I could never think of you like that. Even if you hadn’t forgiven me for not calling you, I would still think nothing but good things of you,” I tried to explain. HA! I got her to blush. That was going to be a new goal of mine. She should blush more; it was refreshing that girls still blushed. Yes, refreshing. And breathtaking.

“Yea, sure,” she grumbled.

“Can I take you out to dinner tomorrow?”

“What? Why?”

“Why? What do you mean why? If I wouldn’t have lost your number before I would have called you the next day to ask you out. I’m getting a second chance at asking you out. And Mrs. Sue thinks we’re perfect for each other.”

“Does she?”

“She does. She told me so the other night.”

“Well I’m just going to have to have a talk with Mrs. Sue,” Bella responded with a small laugh. I was always knew when women were flirting with me, and if this were any other person that’s what I would say she was doing. But I wouldn’t jump to that conclusion with Bella.

“You’ll have to do that. But have dinner with me tomorrow so when she asks your thoughts on the subject you won’t disappoint her.”

I had asked her twice now and was waiting for her to give me an answer. I watched as she uncrossed and crossed her legs. She picked at a string coming off of the hem of her shirt. Finally, she looked up and met my eyes. I couldn’t tell what she was thinking; it was like she was searching my eyes for her answer. I hope whatever she found there would work in my favor. She let out a large sigh and pulled up a leg to curl under her on the bench. Finally, Bella sighed again and grabbed my wrist and brought me down to sit beside her. That had to be a good sign, right?

“Listen, Edward,” she began. Okay, maybe not a good sign. “It’s not that I don’t want to go to dinner with you. Because I think I really do.”

“You think?”

“Yes, I think. Now shush and let me explain,” she told me and waited for me to nod my agreement. “Okay. You see, I seriously just broke up with my long term boyfriend yesterday. As much as I would like to go to dinner with you, that’s really not fair to you. I need to take some time to figure out what the hell happened with that relationship,” she finished with a nod of her head. That made sense. It did, I wouldn’t want her to rush into something with me without being whole and healed. But now that I knew where she was, there was no way for me not to want to be in her company.

“Okay, I understand that. I wouldn’t want you to rush into something either. But I would really like to get to know you. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of time with you,” I said and she blushed. “I would still like to take you out to dinner. Just friends going out to eat, it happens all the time. We can go right there to Chime,” I said and pointed across the street. “Or if you want something real low key I’ll order pizza and we can eat it on my living room floor, or whatever you want to do,” I finished quickly when I saw her eyes pop open when I mentioned my house. Definitely wrong place to bring up.

“We could go to Chimes,” she answered in a small voice.

“Yea? Awesome. Are you going to be here tomorrow evening?”

“Yea, I’m supposed to work until we close at 11, but Angela will be fine without me for a little while.”

“Okay, well how about this. I’ve got a meeting downtown at 4:30. I should be able to get back here by 6:30 or 7 depending on traffic. We won’t even change out of work clothes, so it’ll be really laid back. I’ll just come in when I get back and we can walk over whenever you want.”

“That could work…”

“Perfect. It’ll be great.”

“Okay…well…I have to get back inside,” she stated with a nod towards the coffee house.

“Oh, yea. Okay, two questions.”

“Okay, shoot.”

“Bella what? What’s your last name?”

“Swan, what’s yours?”

“Edward Cullen.”

“Well it’s nice to meet you, Edward Cullen. What’s your last question?”

“Last question for the day. Can I have your number again? So I can text you tomorrow when I’m on my way,” I justified. I watched as she pulled her bottom lip back between her teeth and ponder my question.

“Okay, yea. Give me your phone, I’ll save it there so you won’t lose it.”

“Thank you,” I told her when she handed me back my phone. “You have made my day, possibly my week. I’ll see you tomorrow, Bella Swan.”

---

I had three proposals the following day, and the first two had gone marvelously. It was the one I was sitting in at the moment that was seriously pissing me off. The man we put the presentation together for had come in just before 5, almost half an hour late. I usually wouldn’t mind, but seeing as I had a semi date/get together with Bella tonight I wanted to get out of the building. Not to mention it was Friday afternoon and I was stuck in an office building at 6:15. Our entire proposal had not worked for the man. We thought he wanted to simply restore and solidify the structure of his business, but it turned out that he wanted to knock it down and start from scratch. Even if this wasn’t totally going against everything I loved about architecture, it was still not exactly plausible. He wanted something that really wouldn’t work for that part of town. You simply could not put an ultra-modern, sleek, high rise building in a part of the city that was uniquely southern. Even the office buildings in the area he owned had wrap around porches where people sat to drink coffee and converse before and after work. It was almost impossible for us to get a permit to build what he wanted on that lot. Not that he seemed to grasp that concept.

And now I was running late for a dinner I had been looking forward to for almost 2 years. I was pathetic. I checked my watch and let out a silent groan when I saw the time. 6:34. I told Bella that I would be there to pick her up in between 6:30 and 7, and I was so late. I knew that she was probably already second-guessing our dinner; I didn’t need to give her extra time to talk herself out of it.

Looking up, I noticed everyone shuffling papers into folders and shaking hands. Finished. Finally. I gracefully shook hands and told people that I’d either see them at the office or be in touch with them at some point and made a bee-line for the door.

I made my way downstairs and into the parking garage and threw my briefcase into the trunk of my car. Grabbing my phone, I sent a text message to Bella.

Hey, my meeting ran late. I’m on my way; we’re still good for tonight, right?

I hit send and backed out of my parking spot quicker than ever before. I made my way out of the parking garage and maneuvered my way through the streets of downtown Baton Rouge as fast as possible. When I was about 10 minutes from Highland Coffees, my phone vibrated in the cup holder and I almost jumped out of my seat trying to check it. Sure enough, it was a response from Bella.

Tonight’s good. Don’t rush, I’m not going anywhere. – Bella

As if I didn’t know who it was texting me. She was the only person I would have accepted plans with. Nevertheless, I quickly saved her number as I pulled off the interstate and drove the last 5 minutes or so to the coffee house. I parked my car, hopped out, and practically ran inside.

“Hey, pretty girl,” I said as I approached the counter. I watched as Bella stopped what she was doing and turned around to look at me with her face aflame. Her eyes rose slowly and she mumbled a greeting.

“You ready to go?” I asked as she calmed herself. When she nodded, I stepped back and waited for her to tell Angela she was leaving.

“Angela, I’m leaving,” she called through the door. “I left the cleaner under the counter and I should be back in a little while.”

“Take your time,” was the reply I heard from behind the closed door. I laughed as Bella rolled her eyes at the door and made her way around the counter.

“Okay, all set,” she stated and walked towards me.

As we walked out of the coffee house and across the street, I could hardly contain my happiness. Bella was here. With me. I could barely wrap my head around that concept. This was something that I had wished and hoped for, but never dared to actually imagine.

---

Bella was not like I imagined. She scoffed at me when I held doors open for her and rolled her eyes when I insisted she sit since there was only one spot open on the bench.

She seemed more relaxed once we had gotten our drinks and ordered an appetizer. She had confessed that this was one of her favorite restaurants in all of Baton Rouge, and I had to admit, I was pleased with myself. She even seemed happy that I had never eaten at The Chimes before. She took it upon herself to inform me of the best things to eat.

“So is this good?” I asked her with a point to the menu.

“Crawfish Etouffée? Of course it’s good. You’ve never had it before?”

“Nope.”

“Ah. Well, yes, it’s good. Where are you from?”

“Where did that come from?” Seriously. She was proving to be slightly random with her thoughts. I never knew what was going to come out of her mouth next, and I loved it.

“You just asked me if the étouffée is good. No one who’s from here is going to ask if étouffée is good. So, I ask you again, where are you from?”

Oh, that makes sense. She’s logical. Good to know.

“I see. Well, I was born in Chicago and lived there until I went to school at Dartmouth. What about you?”

“Um, well I was born in a small town in Washington. My parents moved here when I was 3 and I’ve lived here ever since.”

“Do you like it?”

“I love it. What about you? When’d you move here?”

“The end of May, so I’ve been here…almost 5 months.”

“Oh, so you’re a newbie,” she stated. As if calling someone a “newbie” was a normal occurrence.

“Yep, I’m a newbie. Besides the football game, of course.”

I couldn’t help but find her captivating. She held herself in a way that demonstrated subtle confidence. She was the most alluring creature I had ever set eyes on, and I knew she would deny it until the day she died.

“So what do you do, Mr. Suit and Tie?” she asked, bringing me out of my musings.

“I’m an architect. I mainly deal with historic restorations and such.”

“That sounds like fun. I think.”

“It’s fun when you get to live in an areas with a lot of old buildings like this one.”

“Ah I see. Well I’m glad you’re in Baton Rouge. We have a lot of old buildings,” she said seriously. I just watched her and noticed that her eyes seemed to be dancing with amusement. Whether or not she had figured out that my move to Baton Rouge had nothing to do with my work or not would have to be for another conversation because my cell phone decided to ring. Loudly.

I jumped at the noise and glared at the phone that dared intrude on my Bella time when I pulled it out. My glare became a seethe when I realized that Alice was calling. I told Alice the night before that I was going out to eat, she knew I would be busy right now, and she’s still calling. I wasn’t going to deal with her now. I hit ignore.

“Sorry about that, it was my sister,” I explained.

“Oh? Do you need to answer? It’s okay, I don’t mind.”

“No, no. I most definitely do not need to answer the phone. I’ll call her back when I get home.”

Bella had opened her mouth to say something, what I don’t know, when my phone started vibrating on the table. I looked down at it, groaned, and heard Bella laughing at me.

“Hey, pretty girl, don’t you laugh at me. If I answer this, it could be painful,” I scolded her jokingly. Again, she blushed at the mention of her being pretty. I’d call her pretty girl every day for the rest of my life if I got that reaction out of her. I’d rather call her beautiful or gorgeous or even stunning, but I figured that I’d work my way up. Again my cell phone vibrated across the table, this time indicating a new text message. I heard Bella giggle as I sighed and picked up the phone.

WHY AREN’T YOU ANSWERING? CALL ME BACK. NOW.

Her giggles grew to full blown laughter when I showed her the text message. Bella urged me to just call Alice, but I sent her a text message.

I’m at dinner.

Before I had the chance to set the phone down and return my gaze to Bella, my phone was vibrating again.

“I’m putting this damn thing on silent,” I grumbled as I opened the message.

And is it a business dinner?

I sighed.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. My sister is just…pushy sometimes. But I’ve told her for as long as I can remember that if she needs something, I’ll answer no matter what. As long as I’m not doing something related to business or school when I was there.”

“Just call her back, Edward. I really don’t mind.”

I was on the fence. I didn’t want Bella to think I was being rude, but Alice could really need something. I knew that the chances of her actually needed something were fairly slim, but still. I ran my hands through my hair again and sent Bella an apologetic look.

“Okay, but it’ll be quick. I’m not even leaving the table, I don’t care if people think I’m being rude.”

“Me either, I want to know what your sister needs.”

“Probably nothing,” I told her as I listened to the phone ring.

“Edward. Good. Thanks for calling me back. Now, are you coming home for Thanksgiving or Christmas?”

My jaw almost hit the table. Was she seriously insisting I call her at 8:45 on a Friday night to discuss holiday plans? This was too much. Bella must have sensed my mood because she reached over and rubbed the top of my hand, which definitely had the desired effect. Almost instantaneously, I was calm and somewhat rational. But still. It was not even November yet.

“Edward?”

“Yes, I’m here Alice. I just don’t understand why you would interrupt my dinner to ask me about holiday plans when I can’t possibly know which days I’m going to be off. I have no clue if I’m flying home for Thanksgiving, much less Christmas. Why?”

“I was just wondering because Mom and I were talking about the holidays today. Who are you eating with?”

“Alice, I’ve got to go. I’m sitting in the middle of a restaurant on the phone. People must think I’m rude, much less Bella who is being patient, waiting for you to finish this phonecall.”

“Bella!? Bella, Bella? As in, football game Bella?”

I realized my mistake as soon as her name flew out of my mouth. Not good. I had planned on keeping the knowledge of Bella to myself, at least for a few days. I watched Bella laugh as I held the phone away from my ear and clicked the end call button. Then she silently cheered as I turned the phone on silent.

“Sorry about Alice. She’s just…Alice,” I explained and smiled at her chuckle.

“That’s perfectly fine. Is she your only sibling?”

“I have an older brother, Emmett. It’s the three of us. What about you?”

“Just me.”

“That’s good. I always wondered what it would be like to be an only child.”

“And I always wondered what it’d be like to have brothers and sisters.”

“Well you are more than welcome to share mine anytime. Alice would love you,” I told her. It was pretty much the truth. Alice already loved her. She just didn’t need to know that just yet.

“Really?”

“Yea, I can see you two hanging out and torturing me together,” I said with a laugh. She just looked at me with wide, innocent eyes.

That was another thing I would have to take up with that God guy. I’d have to make sure he knows I want Bella around long enough for her to be able to torture me with Alice.
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