AH: When Isabella Swan wakes up in a hospital, she’s got a lot of catching up to do. Thanks to a car accident, she’s can’t remember anything from the past four years, least of all the fact that she has a husband. Scrambling to make sense of this new life, Bella meets a dark, brooding doctor who unveils a secret about her new life she isn’t sure she can handle.
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“Mr. Banner, our old science teacher from high school, Mike Newton, and that guy with the beard over at the bar.” Rosalie nodded her head towards a man who could pass for Sasquatch. He was big, he was hairy, he was in the Pacific Northwest region of North America, and sightings of him were best left forgotten. Beard guy had more than just a beard. From our vantage point, halfway across the room from him, you could clearly see the coat he was growing on his arms as well as his chest and back, judging from the puffs of curly brown hair emerging from his too small powder blue polo. As if there weren’t enough hair on his body, he has a fierce mane circling his greasy baby face.
Rosalie’s options were met by a round of disgusted sounds and booing. She smiled, pleased with her choices. We were playing another round of our favorite game MFK, best played when not sobered. Rosalie, Alice, and I had been playing this since high school. It had started as a boredom reliever at the pathetic excuses of parties Forks had thrown and now had become a tradition to play whenever there were males present.
“Eww. Kill Banner and,” I tapped my chin in thought, pressing my lips together, “Marry Mike, fuck the other guy.”
“Marry Mike? Mike Newton, the deadpan you just went on a date with?”
“You’d touch that? Are we looking at the same person? I don’t even know if there is someone in there underneath all that hair,” Rosalie wrinkled her delicate nose in disgust.
“C’mon guys. Mike isn’t that bad.”
Rosalie faked a sneeze. “Excuse me. I’m allergic to bull shit.”
Alice laughed and pushed another glass towards me. I shook my head no. “I’ve already drank too much. I can almost feel my hangover tomorrow morning coming.”
“Can you still remember your date?” I nodded. “Then you haven’t nearly drank enough.” I snorted and took the beer she had offered.
“Explain,” Rosalie demanded, swirling her whiskey. She was dead serious about her alcohol. She claimed that if she was putting empty calories into her that she needed an instant buzz and didn’t have the patients to put up with frilly drinks or watered down beer.
“Like you said before, Rose, look at that guy. As bitchy as it sounds, he probably hasn’t gotten more action than what he’s given himself. So if I were to fuck him, it’d probably only last a second or two because he wouldn’t know what to do, or if he did, he wouldn’t be able to do so properly.
And I would marry Mike because, while the date wasn’t great, it wasn’t horrible,” Rosalie laughed once. “I know you think otherwise but listen to this: just because I’m married to him doesn’t mean I have to sleep with him. I could just get him his own place, give him a roll of cookie dough and a playboy and he’d be set for the week.”
They both laughed. “You put way too much thought into these.”
“Playboy or no playboy, I’d still kill Newton,” said Rosalie. “That douche needs a hobby other than spending two hours in front of the mirror gelling his hair.”
“She has a point,” Alice sipped from her Appletini. “Bella, when are you going to stop being such a martyr? It’s not like you need to go on these pity dates. When was the last time you had dinner with someone who didn’t have some boring accountant job by day and an alter ego from the renaissance era by night. As much as I loved hearing the endearing stories about how Eric and his buddies had found the final member so they could reenact some battle from the crusades.
“Oh God,” I buried my face in my hands. “Don’t remind me of that.”
Eric was a mistake that I had let go on for far too long. He was one of those dot-com millionaires but dirt-poor in his social skills stocks. While yes, he was able to take me to fancy restaurants where there were no menu and they’d serve anything you ordered, or even if there was a menu, they didn’t even list the prices. He would also surprise me with impromptu hot air balloon rides or fly me out to New York for front row seats of the newest sold out Broadway show. He also couldn’t give you a full sentence without a stutter.
The last words he said to me before I finally cut it off were “I was wondering. Um. Because uh. You know. We’ve um. Um. Been Dating. If I could uh. If I um. Could. Could touch uh. Touch your breast.
“Or what about the awkward compliment guy?” Rosalie asked before saying in a serious, deep, manly voice, “You have model armpits.” Alice was practically rolling on the ground with laughter.
“What about when he told Rose she had good thighs cause she didn’t have any cellulite and cellulite grossed him out because it looked like cottage cheese.” Alice barely managed to get out before both of them went into another round of hysterics.
“Okay, I get it. I have crappy taste in men.”
“It’s not just that, Bella.” Alice wiped a tear from her eye, sobering up. “You need to learn how to say no.”
Alice was right. It wasn’t that I necessarily wanted to go out on a date with these guys. I know how nerve wracking it was to get up the courage to ask someone out and turning them down would crush their already diminished self esteem. In the end I said yes because I never had to heart to tell them no. I wasn’t even able to let them down gently, seeing their face fall as they realize they’ve been rejected. I throw them a bone, so to speak and every time, even though I know better, I always wind of regretting it. Like earlier tonight.
Michael Newton was a data collector of some sorts, which was just a fancier way of saying he did filing for a living. He filed tax reports. He filed mortgage statements. He filed loan requests. It was all I could do not to fall asleep on my dinner plate. Mike did have something that all the others didn’t. Self confidence. Too bad it was overkill. He was very confident in his looks and it was transparent in the way he talked about himself, or when I managed the rare moment to get a word it, he would give me a look that said, ‘Well done, Mike. You’re lowering your standards a bit by taking this broad out but she shall be an easy conquest.’ What Mike failed to realize was that his “sultry” looks were about as appealing as the fact that he most likely killed the ozone layer with the amount of hairspray and gel he used to get that perfect freshly fucked appeal to his hair because we all know he couldn’t get it naturally.
I managed to escape after only some slight groping, all from Mike’s part, to the bar where Alice and Rosalie were waiting. The three of us had met in high school. The cheerleader, the socialite, and the bookworm. I was new in town, having decided to kiss my sunny and beloved Phoenix goodbye in favor of the wet and dreary Forks, Washington, home to six clear days a year where my father, Charlie, lived. We had met homeroom, end of discussion. We had that special something that made us click and that was it. When I moved into my father’s, who was virtually a stranger to me, I had never expected to befriend the most gorgeous girl on the possibly the planet, and the most heartfelt person you’ve ever met. Rosalie was the goddess, always warranting attention. Alice was in constant motion. I was the median of the two extremes, with my dry, witty humor and, in my opinion at least, the most level headed of the three of us.
“Teach me, oh wise ones,” I flopped forward onto the table, tipping back my glass, frowning when it was empty.
“Learn, you shall,” Alice said in her best Yoda impersonation.
“It’s simple. Just follow these simple guide lines. If he looks like a snooze fest, talks like a snooze fest, dresses like a snooze fest, acts like a snooze fest, smells like a snooze fest,” Rosalie ticked each one off on her fingers, “then he is, and this might come as a shock to you, a snooze fest. Can you try to remember that next time, please? I don’t know how much more of repressed Bella I can take. No more settling for less.”
“Looks, talks, dresses, acts, and smells. Got it.”
“Good, now let’s talk about me.”
I raised an eyebrow. “I thought this was Bella pity party night. Why don’t we talk about why else my life is horrible? Like how I haven’t had sex in four months, or the fact that my job doesn’t pay and I’m working my ass off harder than anybody else in that stupid building.”
“Trust me, I’ve done the interning. It sucks but worth it once you finish.” Alice spoke from experience. She had interned at Vogue the previous year, all the while complaining about how it was a trip to hell, but now that it was over she was in heaven. She was a junior editor, which what she dreamed of being since high school. Alice loved fashion, had a good eye for it, and thrived in the fast paced business. Also the new interns had to kiss her ass.
“Sorry, Bella, but I’m crashing your pity party. I have important news.”
“You’re preggers!” Alice, who was a lightweight and was never good at withholding her thoughts, volunteered.
Rosalie glared until Alice managed to sit up straight and put a semiserious look on her face. She took an extra pause for dramatic effect before saying, “Royce is going to ask me to marry him!”
Alice squealed and shot out of her seat, squeezing Rosalie. I gasped before hugging her also. “How do you know?”
“I found the ring when I was looking through his office drawers.”
“It’s okay. I’m really good at faking things.”
“She’s right. She does have that fake orgasm down.” Rosalie shoved her. Alice shrugged unapologetically. “The walls in the dorm rooms were thin.”
“Congratulations, Rose.” I told her sincerely.
“Thanks,” she smiled. “Royce is too perfect. Now I just have to wait for him to propose and I’ll get my happily ever after.”
I adored Rosalie for her faith in love and finding someone who will make you happy for eternity. Alice was content with her job and random flings but I knew she had similar beliefs. As for myself, after the way the past six months have been going, I doubt that there is such a thing out there for me. I’m not bitter, though. I’ve just accepted this as my fate.
After ordering another round in celebration to Rosalie’s news (even though she technically wasn’t engaged yet) and taking turns at MFK office edition i.e. your boss (who’s a cold hard bitch), the building’s janitor, and the creeper from HR, it was past two a.m. when we left to take a taxi home.
There was a light drizzle, but there always was when you lived in Seattle. Alice and Rosalie took cover under an awning while I attempted to stop a cab. There were many bar goers leaving at the same moment as us so I waited patiently as patiently as I could for my turn in the throng of drunken patrons. When I finally managed to secure us a taxi, I waved my friends over. In my haste to get into the vehicle, where it would be dry and warm, my bag slipped from my arm and skid out onto the street thanks to being the natural born klutz that I am.
I hastily dove into the street to retrieve it. That bag contained everything I needed in my life to survive: my wallet, checkbook, keys, cell phone, and newest manuscript I was supposed to have fact checked by the first thing tomorrow morning. It was in my hast that I didn’t manage to see the speeding car heading my direction until my vision was blocked out by the blindingly bright headlights.
“Bella!” someone yelled.
There was nothing I could do, except think, Crap, this is really going to hurt.