Sunday, June 3, 2012
Chapter 1 – Our Chance Encounter
I don’t stick out in a crowd… except in a gigantic casino lobby because I was the only one reading a book instead of gambling.
It was our second day in Las Vegas, Sin City, on my fall break and we were staying at the Mirage. My mom, Renee, thought it would be a great girl’s getaway seeing as my step-father Phil wasn’t interested.
I was bored out of my mind because I was waiting for Renee to come out of the casino so we could go over to the mall in the Venetian. Vegas was not for the under twenty one, and at eighteen I was a few years shy of being able to do all of the stuff I had little to no interest in anyway.
I wanted to visit the Secret Garden, the aquarium in Mandalay Bay, the wax museum, ride the coaster at New York New York, see the fountains at Bellagio, and go see a Cirque du Soleil show.
Closing my book I decided to head over to Starbuck’s for a pick me up and a chance to stretch. Checking my phone, there was a new text message. Five more minutes, she said. More like five more hours.
I was stuck in limbo. I should have just abandoned her and gone out on my own, but we were there together, so I resigned myself to wait.
Grabbing a coffee, I found a comfy chair and opened my book back up.
“Good book?” an unfamiliar voice asked a few minutes later when I was about a chapter in.
I blinked, looking up just in time to see a man occupy the chair next to me. A very, very handsome man. He held a coffee in one hand, his Blackberry in the other. His copper colored hair was shaggy and in contrast with the crispness of his suit. He didn’t buy off the rack.
Shrugging my shoulders, I responded nonchalantly. “It’s not bad. Passes the time well enough.”
His fingers stopped typing and he quirked his brow at me.
“You’re in Vegas and you are ‘passing the time’?” he questioned incredulously.
“My mom’s in the casino.”
“Ah, not a gambler?”
I shook my head. “No, for a few reasons.”
“Well, I’m curious now,” he said with a smile and turned his body toward me.
“I don’t see you in the casino,” I replied, deflecting. It was nice to talk with someone, but I knew when my age came out, he was outta here.
He smirked and I wondered if he knew how good he looked when he did that. “I play a little, but I’d rather put my money toward a bigger gamble. So, why aren’t you in there?”
I sighed. “Various reasons, including lack of funds and… I’m not allowed.”
“They kicked you out? Are you the counting cards type?” he questioned with another smirk.
“Do I scream MIT?” I shot back, and attempted not to fawn over the smirk.
He laughed. “No, just smarter than the average bear.”
“Now, I don’t know how to take that. Either you are insulting my intelligence when you find out I do actually go to MIT, or flattered that you noticed I’m above average,” I said, closing my book and turning toward him.
He held his hands up, coffee, Blackberry, and all. “I believe I need to apologize, I did not mean to insinuate you had below average intelligence… as smarter than average is below for MIT standards.”
“Well, you’re off the hook. MIT didn’t want me,” I said and leaned back into the chair.
He smiled and shook his head. “Okay. Harvard? You seem Ivy League.”
“Alright, so where do you go?”
I grimaced. “Umm, I go to Western Heights High School in Phoenix. Next Fall I’ll go to USC.”
He stared at me stunned. “Wow, I honestly thought you were in college… over eighteen.”
“Eighteen exactly,” I said, for some reason wanting him to know I was of legal age. Who was I kidding? I was still in high school, a virgin, and was in Vegas with my mom, while he was expensive, intelligent, and obviously placating me.
“USC’s a good school. I live not too far from the campus. Expensive.”
“Yeah, I think my mom is trying to win my tuition, but knowing her luck, I’ll still be paying off student loans until I die.”
“Yeah, loans are brutal,” he replied before moving to stand. “Well, I need to get to a meeting.”
I attempted to smile up at him. “Yep, knew I lost you. Even though I’m only eighteen, we can talk, you know?”
“You didn’t scare me away, but I have an eleven o’clock meeting to get too. Promise,” he assured me.
“Oh,” I replied, feeling foolish.
“I forgot introductions. My name is Edward Cullen,” he said, stuffing his Blackberry in his pocket before holding out his hand.
There was a humming that moved up my arm when I took his hand, a vibration down to my bones.
“Good luck, Bella Swan,” he smiled, placing a light kiss on the back of my hand.
“You too, Mr. Cullen. Have a fun meeting.”
Laughing, he released my hand. “Oh, these meetings are never fun. Merely a necessity.”
With a wink, he left and I returned to my book and tried to forget the good looking man who I would probably never see again.
“Bella! There you are!” Renee called from the Starbuck’s entry a few minutes later.
“Hi, Mom,” I replied.
“I’ve been looking everywhere for you. Are you ready for some lunch?” she asked.
I wanted to roll my eyes. I was ready to do anything that involved leaving the hotel.
“Sure. Can we do some sightseeing after?” I asked, practically begging.
“Sounds like a good idea. What do you want to see?”
We talked about how to spend our afternoon, but I knew no matter what we saw; the only thing I would remember from the day was Edward Cullen.