“Bella, are you ready or not?” Alice asked, hitting on Bella’s closed door. The door opened and Bella walked out, wearing a pair of black skinny jeans and a deep blue blouse that hugged her curves. “Ooooh, I like. You have better fashion sense than my sister. I’m the girly one. My sister, Cynthia? She favors oversized sweatshirts and jeans.”
“When did she move out? And why?” Bella asked, picking up her black leather jacket and a red clutch.
“Cynthia got a new job. She’s a software designer. Her new company is down in Silicon Valley. She moved out and down to sunny California. She was excited, but freaking out about earth quakes. She hates them,” Alice chuckled. “She endured her first quake up here …”
“Wait, there’s earth quakes in the Pacific Northwest?” Bella squeaked.
“You don’t like them either?” Alice replied, her eyes dancing.
“I’ve never experienced them, but the whole concept that ground moves? That’s scary as fuck, Alice,” Bella said.
“We’ve never had anything too bad. It’s not as terrifying as it is down in California, but there are a number of fault lines in the area. Pretty simply, when the ground starts moving, you go to a doorway or outside. You’ll be fine,” Alice smirked, hugging her new friend. “Now, I want to go out with you and introduce you to my Jasper, Emmett and Rose.”
“Oh, yay. I get to be the fifth wheel,” Bella deadpanned.
“You may meet someone. Jasper and Emmett are both firefighters and we’re going to a local firefighter’s bar called the Fireman’s Pole,” Alice said, tugging on Bella’s hand. “It’ll be fun. You will not be the fifth wheel.” They left the apartment, catching a cab to the bar. Alice waved at the bouncer as she made her way past him. Inside, she weaved through the crowd until she made it to the bar. “Jasper!” She hugged a tall, handsome blonde man. His looks were rugged and he had kind hazel eyes. “I missed you, baby. How was your shift?”
“Long,” Jasper replied, his voice deep and had a bit of a southern drawl to it. “There were too many car accidents and fires. I’m sore.”
“Poor baby,” Alice pouted, kissing him sweetly. “You sore, too, Em?”
“Never,” Emmett laughed. “I work out so I don’t feel the pain like scrawny over here.” Emmett was muscular, with pale skin and bright blue eyes. His hair was coal black. He had a warm smile and seemed very sweet. “Who’s your friend?”
“Oh! Emmett, Jasper, this is my roommate and new friend, Dr. Isabella Swan,” Alice said, indicating to Bella. “Bella, this is my Jasper Hale and Emmett McCarty.”
“Nice to meet you both,” Bella said, shaking their hands.
“Where’s Rose?” Alice asked.
“She texted me about ten minutes ago. She just finished up an emergency appendectomy. She should be here in an hour or so,” Emmett said. “Until then, Dr. Bella, you’re my date.”
“Whatever will Rose think?” Bella smirked.
“My girlfriend knows her schedule is erratic and she wants me to have fun. I’d never cheat on her. Let’s just say, I’m protective,” Emmett laughed. “Unless you want to flirt with one of these guys, then, I’ll be your wingman.”
“Good to know,” Bella laughed. “Any suggestions?”
“Hmmm, are you looking for something serious or something fun?” Emmett asked, draping his arm over Bella’s shoulders. “Or a little bit of both?”
“Something fun, Emmett,” Bella giggled. “But, first, I want to get you know you guys. There’s plenty of time for that. The night’s young.”“I like her, Ali,” Emmett beamed. “She’s got spunk and she’s all sorts of hot.”