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Better Than Me

Edward and Bella have had eyes for each other since they met, but timing and maturity just aren't on their sides. Bella ignores Edward for a boy at a college preview. When she returns, he is shacking up with a Hooters waitress. When they finally do get together, it will all be built upon lies. Will the tangled web they weave keep them blissfully ignorant or will it all come crumbling down two minutes too late?


2. Chapter 1

Rating 0/5   Word Count 3500   Review this Chapter

Bella POV

"Belllllaaa!" I heard my best friend Alice, long before I could see the tiny girl in the hallway crowded by students. "I really think you should go out with Jasper. Meet the boy for coffee or something. He is gorgeous, and you have had a crush on him since junior high."

She was right. Jasper had been in my world for as long as I can remember, he had played the bagpipes for my drill team in junior high while we marched onto the football field. He was good looking sure. He had wavy, blonde hair that kind of curled up on the ends, a dimple one only one side of his cheek and the most amazing blue eyes. Our parents had known each other since before we were born, but we just never clicked. We had different circles of friends and different interests. His family was extremely wealthy and liked to show it, where my own family was modest about our assets. Not to mention I was not the type to go out of my box of close knit friends. I was a closet introvert, and there was just something about him. While I had thought he was attractive, we just didn’t seem compatible.

Looking into Alice’s eyes and seeing the excitement sparked something though. I hated to disappoint her, and if I was honest with myself I didn’t want him to reject me. He didn’t seem all that interested in me.

"Okay," I replied. I could do coffee, right? Now all I had to do was convince Jasper. Just my luck, he was headed our way.

"Ladies," Jasper says as he walked past us.

It's now or never, I tell myself.

"Hey Jasper, would you maybe want to grab a coffee sometime?" As he turned back to us, a look I could not distinguish crossed his face and disappeared just as suddenly.

"How about tonight? I will meet you at the Market Square Starbucks at seven-thirty," he said before he walked away, not even giving me a chance to answer.

I turned to Alice. "I guess I got myself a date."

She jumped up and down, squealing like a five year old.

"Oh Bella, I am so excited for you! It is about time you went out on a date! You are almost seventeen, after all! Ok so, seven-thirty. That gives me three and a half hours after school to do your hair, your make-up and pick out an outfit. And before you even think about it, you are not wearing jeans!"

Ugh, stupid pixie and her fashion obsession. It was just coffee for crying out loud.

I told her as much, "It's just coffee, Alice. Don't go overboard!"

Alice's head whipped around at me, "Bella, getting a date does not get you a boyfriend. Your appearance however, may keep him around long enough for him to grow his own feelings."

I sighed. Maybe she was right. After all, I had never had a date before and she has been on at least ten in the last three months.

"Okay Ali, meet me here after class and we will head to my house."

The rest of school flew by. Before I knew it, I was forced into a chair. All my bathroom outlets were full and my face was being poked and prodded with foreign objects.

"Alice," I whined, "How much longer? We have been at this for over an hour and I am quite sure I do not need to have a red carpet look for coffee! Do you hear me? C-O-F-F-E-E?"

"Oh Bella, hush. Whining like a two year old is not an attractive quality on you. I am almost done anyways, just a touch more of eyeliner and voila!" She handed me a mirror. "Here check yourself out. I know you were thinking about wiping it all off the moment I left. But look, you don't need to!"

She was right. Damn her pixie ways. As much time as she spent painting my face, I was sure it was going to be covered in color. As always, I was wrong. There was barely a hint of blush on my cheeks. My brown eyes were highlighted with some gold accents. My lips were darker than normal but still looked natural.

"I have to say Alice, I am impressed," I turned around. Darn it, I spoke to soon. She had at least ten outfits laid out on the bed. After trying all of them on for her, she chose the very first outfit, of course. Sometimes I swear she does this as her own form of playing Barbie. Bella- Barbie. Argh.

Once Alice had concluded I was fashionably ready, I went in search of my keys.

"Bella, a boy can never know that you are waiting on him. He must always wait on you, and leave the timetable in your hands, my dear."

I didn't quite get the purpose behind that. Weren't relationships about trusting each other and leaning on one another? Surely, no guy wants everything to be dictated by his girlfriend. Ugh, we aren't even dating yet. We are just going out for coffee, so it doesn't matter anyway.

"Alice, I am not waiting because of your stupid rules. I will call you later," I growled unintentionally. It wasn't her fault I couldn't stop my brain. I walked right past her and out the door.

The drive to Starbucks was short, but the ten minutes gave my brain plenty of time to get nervous. When I pulled into the parking lot and realized I was twelve minutes early, I got out my phone. I tried to waste time by checking my email and Facebook. After five minutes of stalling, I gave up and got out of the car.

I looked around the chairs outside but I didn’t see Jasper. Continuing my internal search, I headed up to the counter. I might as well get my coffee, I thought.

"Let me guess," Jasper interrupted my thoughts, "nonfat white chocolate mocha?"

Wow. How many times has this guy been out?

"That is Alice's favorite drink. Not mine. I like my fat." I replied with a hint of sarcasm.

His lips twitched, before he broke out into a fit of laughter.

"Oh yeah Bella, I can tell by how fat you are. What's your BMI, like 16?" Ok so he had a point. With the help of my dancing and exercise, I was not, by any means, fat.

"What can I say," I replied with a smirk, "I like to eat. Caramel Frappuccino," I told both him, and the lady behind the counter. Just for the fun of it, I added, "With extra whipped cream, please."

I turned slightly and noticed Jasper ordering at the other registrar. Ok, he wants me to pay for my own, must be a first date thing. Or maybe he doesn’t picture this as a date… My thoughts were going crazy. I went ahead and paid for my own coffee and decided to let it go. It wasn’t that big of a deal.

“So what do you do outside of school and playing the bag pipes,” I asked.

“I volunteer at a fire station, and I am taking flight lessons.”

Damn! I mean crap! Goodness my thoughts were really getting out of control.

“Oh yeah? How did you get into the firefighting stuff? And flights as in flying a plane…” I let my voice drown out at the end.

“Yes, as in flying a plane.” He laughed. “I got into firefighting through a friend. It is an adrenaline rush. What about you? What do you do outside of school and flaunting your flexibility?”

I smirked because the dance team that I was on was known for being able to kick above their heads and contort their bodies into weird positions, and hold headstands for ungodly amounts of time all for the sake of being unique. The team’s kick style was modeled after the Radio City Rockettes but the open category was completely different from any other team around.

Just then I heard them call my name.

“Be right back,” I said as I stood up. He followed because they called his name too. We got our drinks without saying anything, but on the way back to our seats I decided to answer his question so I could enjoy my frap for a little while.

“I plan to go to college. I am not really sure what for.” I shrugged. “Maybe to get into Med-school, maybe be a teacher. I just know that I love kids and I really want to settle down and be a stay at home mom one day when I have a family.”

“Speaking of family, do you have any brothers and sisters?” he asked, as we sat down.

“No,” I said, shaking my head sadly. “I wish I did though. I have Alice. She is about as close as I could get to a sister. What about you?”

“I have a sister, Rose, and a step-brother Marcus. I don’t really count Marcus as family though. He lives with his mom and I have only met him twice in my life.”

It was becoming clear to me that Jasper was going to be a great friend to me, but probably not much more. Sure, he was attractive; I still just didn't see a relationship between us lasting, especially after talking to him.

He didn't seem to act like he felt any more towards me, so I was not worried about it. Once we had finished our coffee, we took a walk around the park. There were families walking back towards their cars, as it was getting dark. He took my hand in his, and I let out a gasp before I could rein it in. He looked at me and smiled.

“I like you Bella. I don’t really do this… relationship stuff.” He finished. “I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t really know how to.”

I shrugged.

“I’m no example Jasper. This was pretty much my first date, if it counts as one.”

He winced.

“I’m sorry Bella. It is getting dark we should head back towards your car.”

I nodded. I led him to my car, all the while my hand still in his. It didn’t feel bad; it just didn’t feel like I would have expected it too. It was awkward in a way.

"What time is your curfew?" he asked, suddenly.

Being the snarky thing I was, I replied, "I guess that depends on if you are on my parent's good or bad side."

He laughed.

"Suppose I am on the good side?"

"11:00 PM on weekends. Why?" I questioned.

He then told me that they are allowed to have visitors at the fire station, if there are not many people, and that I could come up and visit when he was working, if I felt like it. I told him I would like that and we exchanged numbers. He gave me an awkward hug before I got in my car and headed back to my house.

Alice was attacking me with questions, before I could process my thoughts.

"Oh my gosh, how was it? Was he a good date? Did he open doors for you? He seems like that type. He bought your coffee right? You were gone a long time. Oh my God, Bella tell me you hooked up with him! You didn't hook up with him, right? I mean it’s too early for that."

"Whoa Ali! Slow your roll! Umm let me see, it was fun, yes, yes, yes he is that type, no, no of course not, and yes. Whew!"

"Bella…" she whined, "Tell me details. I have to have details!"

"Okay, slow down though," I answered. "He was a perfect date. He said and did all the right things. I just thought when I liked a boy it would be more, I don’t know, obvious. We exchanged numbers though and I think I might visit him at work. He seems like he will be a very good friend, if nothing else, easy to talk to." She looked at me. "What Alice?"

"Nothing Bells, I was just hoping we found the guy for you. I mean he seems perfect!"

I smiled as an idea that had been blurry in my head suddenly became clear.

Three days, after my date with Jasper, I got a text asking if I could come up to visit him. I quickly sent Alice a text. My plan was to get them together.

Jazz wants me to visit. U free?

Fifteen minutes later, she still had not answered, so I went without her. As I pulled up to the fire station, I felt extremely nervous.

I saw Jasper playing basketball with several guys around the back of the station. I hesitated before walking towards them.

"Hey Bella!" he called out to me as he wrapped me in a huge hug.

"Hey Jazz, and who is this?" I asked, referring to the huge, intimidating guy behind him.

"I am Emmett," the man responded, "but you can call me Emmett."

"Wow, smooth Em," Jasper laughed, shaking his head. "Bella, Emmett here is on shift today along with several other guys: Jake, Sam, Seth, and Edward. I am sure you will meet them all eventually."

"Nice to meet you Emmett," I then asked, "So how many people are on shift at one time?"

Emmett answered this one for me, "Two to three at a time for each station, plus whatever volunteers show up.

I nodded, that seemed reasonable.

“Does this mean our game is over?” Emmett asked.

“It doesn’t have to be.” I cut in before Jasper could respond. “I can sit back and watch.”

They smiled back at me and I knew I had made the right choice. I didn’t want to interrupt their game; I just wanted to hang out. After all, there is no better way is there to get to know someone than by watching them in their own element.

Turns out watching them was absolutely entertaining and necessary. Both of the male counterparts were up to their noses in fouls and cheats. Someone had to referee, although I am not sure either of them appreciated the notion.

After thirty minutes of listening to the muttered curses and the attempts to hide the foul language and threats they were used to making, I decided it was time to rein them in.

“Alright boys next score wins!” I shouted. They both turned to pout at me and plead their case for more points.

“Uh uh uh.” I stopped them before they could start. “You have both cheated more than I can count therefore you are on an even playing field.”

“Your ass is mine, J-Dub,” Emmett called out as Jasper passed him the ball to check it.

“Bite me,” Jasper responded before retrieving the ball from Emmett and shooting it towards the basket for the win. Emmett must have known Jasper’s shot was golden because he lunged for the shorter man, with his mouth wide open.

“Holy shit!” Jasper screamed! “I didn’t mean really bite me you stupid oaf!”

That was the beginning of the next ten minutes of wrestling, while I stood by with wide eyes. I was completely dumbfounded when two adult-ish men began to roll and tumble and bite and pinch each other. I would have expected as much from four to eight year old boys, but these guys were at least a decade past that stage.

Or not…. My brain had to give its stupid opinion. Needless to say I was quite amused. They finally realized that I was still there and rolled apart before standing up and dusting off. They each straightened their clothing, before looking up at me slightly embarrassed.

“So can I get a tour?” I asked, changing the subject and letting them off the hook. They smiled at me, essentially letting me know there were no hard feelings.

They showed me the kitchen, the computer room, the office area, and the dorm. The bay was open and I could see the trucks easily, through the workout equipment that was currently in front of me.

“Do you wanna see where we spend most of our time?” Jasper asked.

“Of course!” I said, as Jasper led me to a door that hid a set of stairs. I followed him up the stairs and Emmett trailed behind me. I mentally prayed a quick prayer that my period had not started early, since I was wearing white shorts. I figured I was ok though, because Emmett didn’t seem like the type to hold back any jokes and he hadn’t mentioned a thing.

The stairs led to a storage area upstairs with no air conditioning and only some plywood for flooring. I hoped this was not where they hung out on a regular basis. The guys both looked at me, seeking approval of their hideout. I looked around before hesitantly voicing my opinion.

“This looks, urm, cool.” I wished that they could at least grasp my good intentions, instead of my lack of interest in their den.

“Hahahahah” They both cracked up laughing. I mean bent over hands holding their waists laughing. I glared.

“Come on, B. Follow me!” Emmett said, as he took of towards a door I hadn’t noticed.

As soon as I stepped through the door, I was hit with fresh, cold air. I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply before taking in my surroundings.

Opening my eyes, I saw a wondrous pool table, sticks all hung on a wall rack, and a bar table and chairs in the corner. Further into the room was a large sectional, a huge sixty inch or more flat screen TV, a cable system equipped with DVR, a VCR/DVD/Blue-ray Combo, and every game system known to man. It was a room made for almost every boy-man interested in hanging out and playing video games.

I smiled at the two guys who stood silently by the wall, just taking in my reaction.

“This room is awesome! Do you both know how to play pool?”

“Eh. I’m ok. Jasper here can shoot with the best of ‘em though,” Emmett goaded as he elbowed Jasper in the side.

“Can you guys teach me?” I asked, excitedly. “I’ve never played before, but I have always wanted to.”

“Yeah, grab a stick,” said Jasper.

They taught me the basics of playing pool, but there was no hands-on instruction. I wasn’t sure if I was happy about that or disappointed. After fort-five minutes or so of trying to get more than one ball in a pocket, we decided to take a break and watch some TV.

I checked my phone, Alice still had not texted me back. I went to send her a second message to check on her but my head turned away on its own accord, when I heard the door open and a very sexy voice coming from behind me.

"Awe guys, you didn't have to bring me a new girl just because I got shot down."

Well that took away some of the potential boyfriend thoughts I had been having. I turned to put a face with the voice.

Oh. My. God. This boy, man, whatever you call him is beautiful, breathtaking.

My thoughts caught up with me and I quickly did a mental double take to make sure my mouth was not hanging open.

"Edward, I wouldn't bring a girl to you unless I’d had her already man. Then I know she wouldn't want you," Emmett winked at me.

"In your wildest dreams, Emmy-bear. You know I have got talent or you wouldn't have kept me around so long as your wingman," Edward goaded as I gave him a thorough look over. He had bronze hair that was a little disheveled but looked perfect to run your fingers through, green-blue eyes that looked like they pooled into the Caribbean ocean, a strong jaw line, a nice 5'o'clock stubble, and some long fingers that I would being willing to bet were magic.

Wait, what? I have been hanging around Alice way too much to be associating his fingers with things I had never even experienced.

"Hi, Edward Cullen," he introduced himself, as he looked over me, "And you are…?"

Shit! Shit! What is my name again? Argh!

“Bella,” I said slowly, narrowing my eyes at this immature excuse of a man. Sure, his looks were magnificent but if he didn’t have the brain or maturity to back them up, they were worth nothing.

“Well Bella,” he replied in a smooth voice, a smirk playing on his lips. “Have these boys given you a proper tour? Obviously they didn’t because they left out the long hose. It pumps like crazy when it’s engaged and hard. I should know, I was just fooling around with it”

Oh. My. God. He is going to kill me!