I love my house. I love my neighborhood and my neighbors. I know that’s a crazy way to introduce myself, but I feel it’s important to start with something positive. I try to remain positive about most things in my life. No need getting droopy about the bad things, it certainly won’t change them.
I’m blessed; I have good health, amazing friends, and as I said before, I love my house.
My name is Isabella, but I prefer just Bella. At twenty-four, I’m fortunate to I live alone without any annoying roommates, and on the most amazing street in Seattle, Washington.
I say my street is amazing because most of the people that live here are amazing, with one exception, but we’ll talk about them a little later.
Let me give you a little background on me before we get to the people on my street. Like I said earlier, I’m twenty-four and I graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in accounting. I grew up in a tiny, wonderful town in the middle of nowhere called Forks. Haven’t heard of it you say? That’s okay, not many have.
My dad is the police chief and has been my entire life. My mother teaches first grade at the only elementary school. They’ve been happily married for twenty-five years.
Growing up as the police chief’s daughter had it advantages and disadvantages. Advantage, no one picked on me. Disadvantage, no boy wanted to date me.
I’m a people watcher; this came about as I watched my girlfriends chase the boys at our school. I learned quickly that most boys will say anything to get a girl to like them and eventually sleep with them. I found this out during college, as my roommate was quite popular if you get my meaning.
That kind of activity never interested me. I want someone who’s honestly after me for me and not what I can give them. So here I am, never having had a boyfriend and not really in the market.
Now, I don’t want you to think I’m against men; on the contrary. I love to look at a handsome man just as much as the next girl. The problem is, they don’t look back at me
I’m not bitter about it, though, so don’t think that. I know that men look for certain things in women; pretty face, rocking body, blonde hair, and big breasts. All things I don’t have. I’m a little on the short side, five-foot-two, my hair and eyes are brown, and my body is nothing to brag about. I’m pretty ordinary, actually.
Enough about what I’m not, that’s the negative I don’t dwell on, can’t change it…moving on.
When I was a year away from graduating college, my aunt Sue passed away. She left me all of her assets. I contacted a financial planner who helped me to invest the money. No, I won’t tell you exactly how much, I don’t want you to judge me because I may or may not have money. Let’s just say she was generous.
Once I finished college, I got a really nice job working for a major accounting firm, Jenkins and Associates. The part I love the most about my job is that I get to travel to some of our clients’ homes and businesses, not just sit behind a desk all day.
Once I got my job, I hired a contractor and had my home built. I was driving to one of my clients’ homes and I passed by the street I now live on and fell in love. My house was the second one built, and I made certain to buy three lots of land so that I’d have plenty of room between my house and my neighbor’s.
Since I told you that I love my neighbors, let me tell you about them. To my right is Alice Brandon. She owns a bakery here in town and makes the most amazing red velvet cupcake you’ve ever tasted. She’s single and she always seems to have a different date on the weekends. She says she gets asked out nearly every day by men that come into her shop. She says she hasn’t met the man she’s going to marry yet so she keeps trying.
Alice is very energetic; I imagine it’s all the sugar she consumes at the bakery, although you can’t tell by looking at her as she’s thin and very pretty.
To my left is Rosalie Masen. Can we say beautiful? When you look in the dictionary for the word beautiful, you’ll find a picture of her. She has what every guy wants; blonde hair, big breasts, graceful height, and legs that go on for days. She was seeing this guy, Royce, but he turned out to be a really big scumbag as he was married. Rose doesn’t have to worry about being alone as she’s like Alice and gets asked out a lot.
At the end of our cul-de-sac are the Newton’s, Mike and Jessica. Mike owns a sporting goods store and does quite well for himself. Jessica, she stays at home and does…well, I’m not sure what she does as she has a cook, a housekeeper, and a really hot gardener.
Mike thinks he’s Rico Suave, with his tight shirts that show his miniscule biceps and his beer belly. He’s disgusting and he tried to do inappropriate things to me at the first neighborhood cookout we had. Jessica doesn’t seem to mind that he’s a disgusting pig as long as the money keeps coming in and their gardener stays on staff. Actually, she has no problem flirting with any man that’s in the room, married or not.
Speaking of our first cookout, oh god, that was the first time I met him. Rose’s brother, Edward.
Edward Masen…yum. Just saying his name causes angels to sing. The first time I met him, I nearly had a heart attack. No matter what the conditions, he always looks like he jumped off the cover of GQ. He’s tall, over six feet, with flawless skin, a blinding smile, and he has the most vivid green eyes. But the best part is that he’s a genuinely great guy.
I’ll forever be in love with him, although I’d never ever tell a single soul. You see Edward is going to make an incredible father and loving husband for some lucky girl. He’s just that wonderful. He’s caring and sweet, not to mention rich…oh, my god, does that man have money. I know because I do his personal accounting.
I’d love nothing more than for Edward to profess that he’s madly in love with me and whisk me off my feet, but I live in the real world. The woman he finally settles down with had better thank her lucky stars as he’ll produce purely angelic children.
Come to think of it, I’ve never seen him with any girls. I mean he has to date, that would be a pure waste for him not to. Rose assures me he’s straight, but I simply can’t recall him ever having a date in the six months I’ve known him. That’s really odd…
- Chapter 2
Thank you to everyone for your wonderful words.
This fiction again was a personal thank you and it will be full of fluff and happy.
Again thank you Kim Rathbone and your monkey man for helping me when I needed it.
With my job, I have to sit in on a weekly meeting every Thursday. So I make it a point to have lunch in the city and try out new places. I always invite Rose and Alice to meet me and most of the time we’re able to meet up.
Rose works for her brother, Edward, as his marketing director. Edward owns a number of businesses in the greater Seattle area. Recently, he’s been talking with a college buddy of his about partnering up to expand his chain of gyms. Emmett McCarty, who plays for the Seattle Seahawks, is Edward’s really sweet friend. Currently, he has two gyms here in Seattle and he and Edward are in negotiations to expand. Rose has yet to sit down and talk with the two, but she’s been filling me in on what she knows.
A month ago, Rose told me she’s had a huge crush on Emmett since she first saw him pass a football. Once they sit down and talk, I’m certain they’ll be dating. Emmett would be an idiot if he didn’t take her out. I mean really, have you looked her up in the dictionary?
Edward is also in the final stages of opening a new restaurant. He has a gift when it comes to knowing what will do well and where.
So today as I make my way out of my office after yet another two-hour meeting about the same old thing, I can’t wait to meet up with the girls.
I quickly pack up my notes and try to get to the elevator before Eric Yorkie does. Eric and I went to school together and ended up taking most of the same college classes together. I don’t really remember if he dated much in high school, but I know for certain he slept with my roommate, you remember the popular one, Lauren Mallory.
He always tries to talk to me after the meeting and has asked me out for coffee a couple of times. I just know what Eric wants from girls and I’m not interested in giving it to him, especially after he’s been with Lauren, but it doesn’t stop him from trying.
Today the angels in heaven are on my side as they have the elevator doors open just as I’m coming out of the conference room. As quickly as I possibly can, I toss myself into the waiting elevator. I place my back against the far wall and pray no one else gets on. As I hear the monotone voice of the elevator announce, “Going down,” I breathe a sigh of relief.
My luck, however, is short-lived as the elevator doors open and I find myself face to face with Eric. The building has a bank of six elevators, three on each side that face each other. Eric must have gotten a faster elevator as there he stands, waiting on me.
“Isabella, I’m so glad I caught you,” his smile is friendly, but I know better.
Regardless of how I feel about someone, I’m always polite. My Nana said it was important to show people respect, even if they don’t deserve it. She said it’s one of the characteristics of being a lady. Honestly, it’s gotten me farther in life than being rude.
“Oh goodness, Eric, is everything alright?” Show no fear is another lesson Nana taught me. Eric makes me nervous. He isn’t being nice just to be nice, he wants something.
“Well, I was wondering if you’d like to have dinner with me tonight?”
This is new. He always asks me if I’m busy, never for something specific. Crap, how am I going to get out of this one?
And like a ray of light from heaven above, the voice of my savor comes from behind us, “Mr. Yorkie, I’d appreciate you not propositioning my girlfriend.”
Edward…his voice is deep and it did things to my body that no one else’s does.
“Oh, um, m-my apologies, Mr. Masen, I had no idea you and Isabella are together,” his voice cracked like a preteen starting puberty.
“Yes, well, now you do. If you’ll excuse us, I’m talking my beautiful girl to lunch.”
It was so quick that we were several steps down the hall before I realize that Edward is holding my hand. Once we exit the building, leaving Eric far behind, I turn and smile at Edward.
“Oh, my gosh, you have no idea how grateful I am to you.”
I try to let his hand go, but Edward continues to firmly grasp my fingers. His touch is gentle and his fingers soft and warm. No harm in enjoying this a little longer.
“I don’t trust him, Bella; he looks at you like you’re something to eat.”
With his words, my eyes grow to the size of saucers. I know he’s up to no good now.
“Yes, well, Eric wants something I’m not willing to give him.”
Edward only looks deep into my eyes, searching for something, what I have no clue.
“So I didn’t cross a line? You…you have no romantic interest in Eric?”
I can’t help but giggle. I notice a smile slowly creep across Edward’s face. God, did he have great teeth.
“Eric is vile and I’d never be interested in a guy like him,” I shiver as I tell him.
“I’ll have to remember that. So, lunch?” he extends his free hand toward the building on the other side of the street.
“Oh,” I glance down at my watch; thankfully, I still have twenty minutes to meet the girls, “I’m meeting Rose and Alice at Harvey’s.”
“Well, you’re in luck as Rose invited me as well; may I have the pleasure of escorting you there?”
Like I said, he’s just wonderful.
“Thank you, Edward, I’d love that.”
As we head off, I could swear he mumbles something under his breath that sounds like “and I love you,” but that’s just crazy, it must just be the wind.
Harvey’s is a new deli that began in New York City and has locations in Chicago, Phoenix, and Jacksonville. They’ve been open here in Seattle about three months and so we thought it’d be safe to try. I hate when a new restaurant first opens and they haven’t had time to work out all the kinks. So I try to give them at least three months to get it together.
Harvey’s is at the end of the block and so the walk isn’t long. Still, it’s enough for me to get my Edward fix.
Edward, being the model gentleman, opens the door for me and finally releases my hand. Rose and Alice have already gotten us a table and quickly wave us over.
“Good afternoon, ladies,” Edward addresses them as he kisses his sister’s cheek…lucky bitch.
“Hello, Edward, how nice of you to bring Bella,” Alice’s chipper voice sounds.
Alice and Edward give each other a questionable look. I quickly look away and ignore them.
Our waitress, Britney, as she cheerfully tells us, takes our drink orders, but not before purposefully dropping her pen and showing Edward her heaving cleavage.
I pretend like I don’t notice. Britney’s young and pretty, I wouldn’t blame Edward for giving her a go.
“Good god, could she be any more slutty?” Rose speaks as if the words leave a bad taste in her mouth.
“Oh, Rose, I don’t think he even noticed,” Alice replies while nudging Rose with her arm. She’s looking at Edward as she speaks.
“I know that, Ali, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s unprofessional.”
I have no clue what they’re talking about, which is true most of the time.
“So, Edward, the soft opening is this weekend, correct?” Alice questions.
“Yes, Friday, actually. Jasper’s going to help with music.”
“Wait, Jasper?” Rose interrupts. “Jasper Whitlock? I had no idea he was even in town.”
“Yes, he just moved back and he’s drawing up some plans for another property I’m having built,” Edward returns.
“Oh, my god, Alice, I have to introduce you. Jasper is just your type,” Rose squeals.
It’s at this point that I fade out of the conversation. I’m not one to pry into their love lives. I take my phone out of my purse and begin to check my email.
Alice doesn’t know it yet, but Jasper is very interested in her, don’t say a word-E
I’m shocked that Edward would text me, I wasn’t even aware he had my cell number.
Your secret is safe with me-B
I look up and notice Edward is watching me. He catches my eye and winks. I simply smile in return.
“So, Bella, are you finished for the day or do you have to go back to work?” Rose questions.
“Fortunately, I’m finished for the day. I’m going home and planting some flowers in my front flower beds,” I reply happily. I’ve just pickup up some impatiens and I can’t wait to get them in the ground.
“Oh, no, you’re coming with Alice and me to get new clothes for the restaurant opening.”
- Chapter 3
The more I think about what Edward had told Rose about bringing a guest, the more it works to my advantage. They forget about taking me shopping. I happily spent the afternoon planting flowers and doing some reading on my front porch.
Today is Friday and Edward’s soft opening. Alice and Rose try to force me into a dress that looks more like a long shirt, and makeup that makes me look like a raccoon. I refuse.
I’m not about to try to be something I’m not, pretty. I don’t attract guys with or without it so what’s the point. Alice finally gives up and so I only apply some light mascara and some tinted lip-gloss. Good enough. I’m blessed to have clear skin, but I don’t need blush as I have a permanent one constantly attached to my cheeks. Ugh.
I’m wearing a pair of nicely-fitted dress pants and a dark blue silk shirt, nothing too revealing, nothing too tight…totally me.
The car Edward advised us about arrives just after seven and we all three piled in. Edward’s new restaurant is called Teasers. It’s the type of place where you can hang out after work, get a cold drink, or take a date for dinner.
He told us that he has plans to have live music on Friday and Saturday nights with an open mic night a few times a month.
Tonight, he has a band playing on stage and his waitresses are circulating trays of samples off the menu.
Something I forgot to mention, the one thing I hate about Edward, his “executive assistant”…pfft, whatever, I hate her. You will, too, when I tell you her name…Lauren Mallory. Yes, you heard me correctly; Lauren, my old slutty roommate, is his secretary.
I have to face her every other Monday when I go to his office to do his personal accounting. I’m always nice to her as I never know when I might need her.
I know from hearing her conversations that she’s always hoping he’ll “notice her” soon. However, I know he doesn’t think of her that way.
I only mention her because she’s currently sitting at the bar in a skirt that I think she stole from a stripper, her fake nails running up and down a very handsome man’s arm. He’s huge with dark hair and dimples.
What’s that saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?” Yep, I’m walking in the opposite direction.
I notice Esme and Carlisle Cullen, Edward’s aunt and uncle. Rose and Edward’s parents died in a car accident when they were young. Esme and Carlisle stepped up to the plate and took them in. They both call them mom and dad and you can’t tell they aren’t their natural parents.
As I get closer to the table, Esme spots me immediately and waves me over.
“Hello, Bella! I was so hoping to see you here,” Esme says engulfing me in a tight hug. I always enjoy hugging Esme, she smells like Chanel and her skin is always warm.
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world. He did amazing as always,” I motioned around the room.
“Yes, he does have exquisite taste in everything.”
“Quit hogging my Bella,” Carlisle’s voice interrupts before I can question her as to what she means.
I was quickly kissed on my cheek and then the opposite. “Oh, Bella, you’re lovely as ever. When are you going to move in with us and be my mistress?”
“She’s out of your league, old man,” Edward chuckles from behind me. I feel his hands on my hips as he turns me around and then places a kiss on my cheek.
“I’m glad you came, I was worried you wouldn’t.” I give him a questioning look; I’ve never missed an opening of his, why would he think that?
“Edward, I wouldn’t miss this for the world, I’m always so excited to see what you’ve done. This is by far my favorite.”
I watch as his face relaxes and a smile appears. Did I mention he has great teeth? Just saying…
“Well, I’m glad to hear that as honestly, you inspired this one.”
Before I can question him, the Mayor appears and demands his attention. I quickly slide into my chair before Carlisle or Edward can see me. The waitress appears and I order a Diet Coke. I’m not a big drinker and I want to enjoy tonight.
As Esme and Carlisle take their seats, Alice and Rose begin talking a mile a minute. I’m enjoying just listening when I hear Edward’s voice over the speakers.
“If I can have everyone’s attention, my name is Edward Masen and I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight. Make sure you have a drink and sample all of the food that’ll be available on our menu. There are several people I want to thank for their help tonight. First, my sister, Rosalie, who keeps me on track. My designer, Jasper Whitlock, did an amazing job with the layout, but most of all, I want to thank the girl that inspires me every day and she doesn’t even know it, Bella Swan.”
To say I’m speechless is putting it mildly. I had no idea he was inspired by me.
“Tonight is special because my friend, Jasper, is playing for us.” He motions toward the stage at the back of the room. “Jasper, let everyone see you.”
As I watch Jasper raise one hand while the other holds a guitar, I hear the sharp gasp that escapes Alice’s mouth.
“Oh, my god, where have you been my whole life?” she states perfectly clear as everyone around us turns to look at her. Quicker than the speed of sound, Alice is out of her chair and heading over in Jasper’s direction. Edwards’s words come back to me and I realize this was so a set-up. I can’t help but chuckle to myself.
I hear a deep southern voice speaking into the microphone as I order my second Diet Coke. “Good evening, ladies and gentleman. As Edward said, I’m Jasper and tonight we’re going to give you just a little sample of the kind of music you’ll hear on Friday and Saturday nights. This first song goes out to the most beautiful woman in the room who just asked me why I kept her waiting so long.”
Jasper begins to strum slowly and then a man on drums comes in as he continues. It’s a jazz song; that much I can tell, although I have no clue the title. I watch as he and Alice are lost in each other. She’s sitting directly in front of him. I watch as she sways along with the music. I have no doubt they’ll be together for a while.
I notice that Carlisle is talking to the large gentleman that Lauren was flirting with earlier. Rosalie also notices and excuses herself to join them. I fish my phone out of my purse and read some email. I don’t notice Carlisle approach me until he touches my shoulder.
“Care to grant an old man a dance, pretty lady?”
I chuckle as I nod and stand up. Esme isn’t at the table and I wonder where she is. Carlisle is an amazing dancer and he guides me with little effort.
“Hey, didn’t I tell you she’s out of your league, old man?” Edward’s voice sounds behind me.
“Well, it’s a shameful thing to allow a beautiful woman to sit alone and not ask her to dance,” Carlisle responds. “She’s going to be old and grey before you get your act together.”
I have no idea what Carlisle means by that. Edward did very well for himself; he’s the most put-together man I know.
“Bella, would it be too rude of me to steal my husband from you?” Esme’s sweet voice interrupts.
I watch as Carlisle and Edward continue to look at each other, having a silent conversation, if that’s at all possible. Carlisle quickly takes Esme’s hand as Edward takes mine. Before I can blink, Edward is swaying me in the opposite direction.
“I’m sorry, I’d hoped to dance with you much sooner, but last minute issues have prevented me from doing as I wanted.”
His face is different just now. I can’t read it, it isn’t anger or frustration. I decide it must be stress from the events tonight.
I love being close to Edward, his touch is calming, his laughter music to my ears.
Suddenly, the music changes and Edward draws me in closer, wrapping his hand around mine. I look up to see him concentrating very hard on our two hands intertwined.
I look into his eyes; he’s still looking at our hands.
“Is everything alright?” I question with a concerned tone. I begin to rub his arm, trying to soothe away the frustration I now see on his face.
“I’ve wanted to talk with you for a long time. I’ve been afraid of what you’d say once I tell you…what I really need to say.”
“Edward, you can tell me anything, I won’t judge you, you know this.”
“I’m so sorry, Mr. Masen, but this is a matter that simply cannot wait.”
Edward sighs and then nods his head at the man dressed in a suit. “Give me just a moment,” he tells the man before he turns back to me. “Bella, I really have something very important to tell you, but I have to…”
“Edward, I understand, really…go take care of business.”
He leans over and kisses my forehead…this is different.
I watch him as he follows the man in the suit. I make my way back to the table to find it’s still empty. I grab my mostly-full Diet Coke and take a look around the room. I notice that everyone is dancing with someone and they all look very happy.
I notice the restrooms in the corner beside the massive bar and so I make my way over. The line isn’t really long and I only have to wait about ten minutes.
Once I’m finished, I’m making my way back to the table when I notice a large group of people at the bar.
Upon a closer look, I notice a very beautiful woman sitting on one of the tall barstools. Her long shapely legs are crossed as she twists her expensive-looking shoe in a circle.
As I continue looking up her body, one thing is apparent, she’s beautiful. Once I finally reach her face, I have to laugh. Sitting in the same room as I am is none other than Tanya Denali.
Tanya is the most sought-after actress in Hollywood right now. She’s reported to have just finished up a major motion picture about a group of vampires.
I notice she’s laughing at something the man next to her is saying. I don’t see who he is until he leans over and whispers into her ear…Edward.
That has to be what he wanted to tell me. That he finally found someone. It’s perfect, actually, as she’s beautiful and he’s so handsome. They make a great-looking couple.
I’m happy for Edward, really I am. He’s such a good person and he deserves to have someone to share his life with.
But now the reality sets in and I begin to feel out of place. This is why I always drive myself when I go out. I don’t like to be the third wheel and with all of these happy couples, I need to leave. They don’t need to worry about poor lonely Bella; they need to just enjoy themselves.
I quickly walk outside and find the valet; he returns with my car and smiles and opens my door for me.
As I close and lock my door, I try to think of only the positive in Edwards’s new relationship. If he brings her to the cookout, then at least I can say I met a famous actress.
But that thought does little to stop the tears that finally fall. With a deep breath, I allow myself to cry only for a minute, I have to be happy for him…no matter how much this hurts.
- Chapter 4
Sorry for the enormous delay, being sick sucks!
Thank you so much for hanging in there and all the well wishes I received.
I remembered the first time I saw her like it was yesterday. My sister, Rose, was having one of her monthly neighborhood cookouts and invited me along. She had been after me for quite a while and so I decided to get it out of the way so she would leave me alone.
I had just begun to see a new Hollywood starlet, Tanya Denali. She was signed to one of the major motion picture companies I had a large stock share in. We immediately hit it off and began to see each other when our schedules allowed. Tanya was fun and beautiful, without being clingy. I saw her as the type of girl I could brag to my grandkids about. She had just started filming on the latest installment of a popular Vampire movie and had to be on location that weekend.
I had just poured a large bag of ice into an ice chest when my sister announced Bella’s arrival. I had seen and dated many beautiful women in my years. My connections and money had been major door-openers for the women I had met. But never had I seen a woman as pure and as exquisite as Isabella Swan.
They said when you met the one you were destined to be with, you would hear Puccini playing in your head, and Nessun Dorma had been her ringtone ever since.
I watched her that day, afraid that if I spoke, she would disappear. I watched as she would laugh, and the way her eyes would glisten when she spoke, the way her tiny fingers gently tucked her chestnut strands of hair behind her ear, she was mesmerizing. Her posture was perfect and her legs stayed crossed at her ankles, very delicate and feminine.
When it was time to eat, I made certain to taste what she had brought and I just couldn’t get enough. Not only was she beautiful, but she was an exceptional cook.
But Bella was oblivious to my charm, not that much of it showed that first meeting. She was just so different. In the past, when I had met women for the first time, they usually had no shame in outright telling me they wanted to fuck me senseless. Not Bella, she was continent to simply sit at the same table and just talk.
As soon as Bella left that evening, I pounced on Rose and Alice for information. By the time I got back to my home that night, I knew her phone number, her occupation, and even her birthday.
The next week, I contacted her boss and made it a point to ask for her to come and do my personal accounting. I even went as far as to set up several accounts that she was in charge of just so that I could sit and watch her work a few times a month.
It was nearly two weeks later when Tanya flew into town and I tried like hell to be with her. For the first time in my life, I couldn’t perform. Instead of seeing Tanya’s tan skin, I saw Bella’s porcelain perfection. Instead of Tanya’s golden locks, I saw Bella’s silky dark tresses.
I couldn’t do this. I sat straight up in bed and told Tanya everything. How I had barely spent two hours with this girl and I was head over heels.
Tanya admitted she was jealous, but that she understood. She wished me luck and insisted we could still be friends.
For the next three months, I tried to get lost in my work. But every thought was of Bella.
Finally, the inspiration hit me and I began to take those thoughts and turn them into my latest restaurant, Teasers. Bella had no way of knowing, but that was what I felt she was dong to me. Of course, this was ridiculous as she had no idea I had these feelings for her.
My sister begged me to say something, but every time I tried, the words just would not come out. Everyone in our circle knew how I felt about Bella, except for Bella.
My father told me that I should act quickly because one of these days, another guy was going to have the guts and then I would lose her forever.
My best friend, Jasper, had seen firsthand how pathetic my infatuation with Bella was when he was looking at some plans that I had on my computer. He clicked on the wrong file and discovered how stalkerish I had been. I had hundreds upon hundreds of pictures of Bella. I had pictures of her tending to her garden and grocery shopping. My favorite was of her sitting on her porch reading a book. We won’t even get into the pictures I had of her sitting in my office.
I had to say that Jasper was the smartest of my friends and family. He looked me square in the eye and told me that if I didn’t man up and tell her by the opening of my restaurant, he was going to do it for me.
Jasper was a no-holds-barred kind of guy. When he said something, he meant it. I agreed and tried my best to work up the courage to talk with her.
It was the Thursday before my soft opening that scared me the most. I had been watching her during her weekly meeting when I noticed that pencil dick, Eric Yorkie, chasing after her.
My father’s words came racing back as he had warned me some other guy was going to sweep her off her feet. I had been lucky until now as most of the men who tried to approach her were easily detoured with a callous look or a harsh word from me. But this Eric fucker, he was relentless.
When I called Bella my girlfriend, I wanted it to be real; well, that was bullshit. I wanted so much more, the kids, the dog, and the trips to Disneyland. I wanted it all.
As I walked her to the deli, I nearly told her. I wanted to pull her to the side of the building and tell her I was madly in love with her. But once again, I chickened out.
Watching her sit across from me that day in the deli, I began to imagine what my life would be like if Bella met someone else and fell in love. My breath left me and my chest began to ache. I decided that I would take her to the side at my soft opening and confess everything in my heart.
However, the one time I tried, I was interrupted by an issue with the kitchen and when I returned, Bella was nowhere to be seen. Tanya found me as I ordered a drink. She questioned as to why I hadn’t introduced my Bella to her yet. I lied and said that she was busy with work. I didn’t really know why I lied to Tanya. Deep down, I wanted to keep my past away from my future, as Bella had become.
I began to look for her again when I received a text message from the limo company stating they had delivered Ms. Swan safely home. I turned to my restaurant manager and told him I had to go and handle some business elsewhere.
When I arrived outside Bella’s house, I found all of the lights out and I silently wished her a goodnight. I knew my time to tell Bella on my own was running out. Jasper had always been a man of his word. As I started up my car, my cell phone indicated a new text message.
BBQ at my house tomorrow. Bella will be there…R
Rose was getting tired of my dancing around Bella. She couldn’t figure out why I could do what I did, yet not be able to talk to the girl of my dreams.
As I pulled into my garage, my phone again alerted me of a new text.
Seven more days, my friend…J
- Chapter 5
I didn’t sleep more than a few minutes at a time last night. I had to pull myself together and forget my feelings for Edward. I had to remind myself that he would always be my friend and nothing more. Tanya Denali was every man’s dream. She was successful, gorgeous, and popular. Edward was all of those things and more, they deserved to be together.
As the morning turned into afternoon, I continued my preparations for Rose’s cookout. With my macaroni salad in hand, I made my way to Rose’s. I took a deep breath and rang the doorbell. I could hear music and laughter coming from inside the house. I took a chance and opened the door and made my way in.
“Rose,” I called out.
“Back here!” I heard Alice respond.
I made my way to the kitchen. Alice was standing at the kitchen island mixing what looked like frozen margaritas. Rose was facing the backyard, washing something in the sink.
“Hey, Bella,” Emmett said from the barstool he was currently occupying.
“Hello, Emmett, how are you doing?”
I looked around the room for Edward, but I didn’t see him. I suddenly a felt a sharp slap across my left butt cheek and screamed out, quickly covering my mouth with my hand.
“Damn, baby, you sure do have hot friends,” Jasper said from behind me.
I turn to look at him; he was dressed in red board shorts and nothing else. His hair was still wet from his shower and his shorts were hanging dangerously low on his hips. For the first time, I took a really good look at him. His facial hair reminded me of the picture I had in my mind of the “motorcycle-riding bad boy” type. His soul patch and goatee only added to that bad boy description.
“Jasper!” Alice shouted at him.
“What?” Jasper responded.
“Come on, babe, Bella knows she’s hot as fuck.”
My eyes nearly popped right out of my head. No one had every used those words to describe me.
“Yes, Jasper, we all know Bella is a gorgeous girl, but can you keep your hands to yourself. You better hope you didn’t leave a bruise on her ass.”
Jasper only chuckled as he took Alice into his arms and kissed her forehead. This was a new sight to see. Alice was never one to keep a guy around for too long. It was usually dinner and a romp between the sheets, maybe breakfast, but she never let them stay into the afternoon.
“You’re right, darlin’. I should leave Bella’s fine ass alone.”
Jasper continued to leave kiss after kiss on Alice’s face. It made me smile, and want to cry at the same time. I wanted to tell Alice how lucky she was to have a man as handsome as Jasper wrapped around her, loving her, cherishing her. She had never stood in my shoes and felt so left out.
“Just remember, he’s doing that for someone else and not for you, Alice,” Emmett began to chuckle as he stood and walked around to the refrigerator. He twisted off the top to his beer as he looked at Jasper. They stood silent for several minutes just staring at each other, having this conversation that only they could understand.
“Bella, please forgive my caveman behavior. My only excuse is my inability to look at women and not wonder what it’s like to have sex with them,” Jasper smirked.
Several things happened at the same time. First, my heart jumped into my throat, Alice smacked Jasper in the arm, and Emmett began to shout at him.
“Dude, do you really want to have your ass kicked?”
Jasper walked over and took the beer out of Emmett’s hand. He took two deep pulls then sat it on the island.
“Bella, I won’t apologize for telling you the truth. Emmett would like to make you think that all men you come in contact with will tip their hat to you and you’ll think they’re being a gentleman. Men are quite simple creatures. We really do think about sex every other second of the day and nearly every woman we see we imagine having sex with; it’s just how we’re made. Now that being said, you can either learn to forget that we’ve just imagined you writhing beneath us or you can tell us to fuck off and die.”
I chose to smile at him. I felt assured that I was one of the women men didn’t imagine having a sexual encounter with.
“Jasper, I thank you for your honesty.”
The ringing of a cell phone changed the tension in the room. I watched Jasper make his way over to the opposite counter and pick up his phone.
“Hello, boss man.”
Alice continued with the making of her famous margaritas. Rose went back to washing the dishes. I walked over and sat the bowl of macaroni salad on the counter. I looked at Alice and then quickly at Jasper who was talking quietly on his cell phone.
“So this is new,” I said to Alice as my eyes flashed to Jasper.
Alice rolled her eyes and then leaned over the counter, “I told you last night that I knew he was different.”
I smiled at her; I could just tell that a new Alice stood before me.
“I’m happy for you,” I whispered to her.
The smile that was now on her face was truly a real smile, not a forced one that one might have had after an admission like that.
“Well, that was Edward. He was called away very early this morning so he won’t be joining us,” Jasper said waving his phone.
Hearing his words, I could feel my heart sink.
“He did say to give you, Bella, his sincere apology and that he did try to call you, but you didn’t answer.”
I began to pat my pockets and discovered that I had indeed left my cell phone at home.
“He also hopes that we’ll all still be at his grand opening on Friday.”
I had never missed one of his openings and I wouldn’t start now.
“Oh, now, sweet Bella, do you miss your Eddiekins as much as he misses you?” Emmett questioned in a toddler voice.
I quickly placed a smile on my face as I responded, “It’s not that, I was just excited to meet Tanya Denali. I saw them together last night at the bar and I’d hoped he’d bring his girlfriend over today.”
Emmett and Jasper gave each other a look that I couldn’t describe.
“Who’s ready for a margarita?” Alice announced, breaking the uncomfortable silence in the room.
That afternoon, we ate and drank, well, they drank. I found that I really liked having Jasper and Emmett in the mix. Neither of the guys left me out of the conversation and I really got to know each of them. When the sun began to set, I excused myself and bid a goodbye to everyone. Emmett insisted on walking me home. After not accepting my insistence that I was fine, he took my empty salad bowl in hand and made certain I reached my front porch safe and sound.
The next morning, I had barely gotten my first drink of coffee when my doorbell chimed. I placed my cup down and made my way over to my front door.
Standing on my front porch was a young man with the largest flower arrangement I had ever seen. I knew he had to have the wrong address, but I quickly opened the door. Whoever was getting those flowers was a very lucky girl as they were beautiful.
“Good morning, can I help you?” I questioned.
“Good morning, I’m looking for Isabella Swan.”
To say I was shocked was an understatement.
“Well then, these are for you.” He moved the flowers into my hands. “Have a great day, Ms. Swan.”
I stood in the entrance to my home for far too long. I heard the sound of his engine start and the sound of it going down the street.
I turned and crossed back into the house, kicking the door closed with my foot. I placed the vase on my kitchen table and stood back to get a really good look at them. The colors were so vibrant, pinks, purples, blues, and reds. I closed my eyes and took in their very fragrant aroma.
I opened my eyes and noticed the card. I quickly removed it from the envelope and smiled as I read it.
I wanted more than anything to spend yesterday afternoon with you, but I had something happen that I had to take care of. I’m hopeful that you’ll forgive me and come to my grand opening this weekend; it wouldn’t be the same without you. Besides, I have something I desperately need to discuss with you.
I placed the card back in the envelope and began to wonder what Edward wanted to discuss with me. Maybe Jasper told him that I was disappointed that I didn’t get to meet Tanya. Yes, that had to be it.
I reached into my purse and grabbed my cell, quickly texting a thank you to Edward.
Thank you for the flowers, they’re beautiful. I promise to be at your opening, I wouldn’t miss it for the world. ~B
Less than a minute later, Edward responded.
I’m glad you liked them, beautiful. I’m going to remind you every day to be at my restaurant. Don’t leave until I can talk to you, it’s very important. ~E
Edward was completely serious when he said he would remind me every day; he texted me multiple times a day, checking in on me and always calling me beautiful.
On Thursday, I made my way to Edward’s office. Lauren was her usual bitchy self and made a comment that just made me want to scream.
“You know, when Edward gets back into town, I’m going to finally let him have what he’s always wanted; a night of hot fucking with me.”
I couldn’t believe the words that came from my mouth.
“Lauren, you do realize he’s dating Tanya Denali. I mean fucking you instead of her would be like eating a gas station hot dog when you have prime rib waiting at home.”
I left Lauren with her mouth gaping open and made my way to the elevator. No doubt, Lauren would twist my words around and make me out to be the bad guy.
One more day and I would see Edward again, one more day to get my feelings in check. I couldn’t let Edward or Tanya see the look of love on my face. With a deep breath, I tugged my purse closer to my body and made my way home.
- Chapter 6
SM owns it, Dollybigmomma makes it all pretty.
Today was Edward’s grand opening. I had made myself a list of things to do so I wouldn’t stare at the clock all day.
Finally, it was time to get dressed. Alice had tried and failed to get me to let her dress me. Alice and I just didn’t have the same taste. I found that being comfortable was far more important than being noticed.
So with my minimal makeup, simple hairstyle, and my favorite jeans, I made my way to Teasers.
The grand opening was looking to be a huge success. The parking lot was full and the line outside of the doors was long. I parked on the side street and began my walk to the end of the line. Just as I passed the doorman, I heard him say my name.
“Ms. Swan?” I turned and faced him. “Mr. Cullen said to be on the lookout for you.” He motioned for me to enter and I smiled as I passed him. “Have a great evening,” he said as I stepped foot in the door. I could have sworn I heard him mumble something like, “Cullen gets all the beautiful women,” but I knew that was wrong.
Not much had changed since his soft opening. The bar had more pretty bottles along the back wall. There were more wait staff running around the room.
A loud thud sounded from the stage area. I quickly turned and noticed Jasper and Edward were setting up equipment. Jasper looked up and noticed me immediately. He winked and then gave me a smile.
I gave him a slight wave as I remembered the last time we had spoken; he’d informed me that every woman men saw, they imagined having sex with them.
I really hoped that wasn’t true. I knew it not to be true with Edward. He had a drop-dead gorgeous girlfriend and no reason to fanaticize about other women, especially me.
I looked around the crowded room several times before I saw them, Rose and Alice sitting at a table. I made my way quickly through the crowd, excusing myself several times as I seemed to constantly be running into men in my haste and the women I assumed were their wives and girlfriends glared evilly at me.
As I finally reached the table, I noticed that Edward’s parents were seated as well.
“Bella, you made it!” Esme exclaimed as she rose from her seat.
I smiled as I took in her warm hug and returned one of my own.
“Now I can die a happy man, I’m surrounded by the most beautiful ladies in this room,” Carlisle announced as he waited for his own hug.
I loved being around Carlisle and Esme. They were so much in love that it radiated off them. You couldn’t help but to be happy when you were around them.
Carlisle quickly pulled my chair out for me and placed a quick kiss to my temple as he made his way to his own chair.
“Look at the great turnout,” Esme commented as she looked around the room.
“Do you think Tanya will be here tonight?” I questioned to the table.
Everyone’s eyes were now on me.
“Hello, I’m sorry to interrupt, but there’s a gentleman at the bar who wishes to buy you a drink,” the blonde and very pretty waitress stood beside me. Her makeup was perfect and her teeth white as pearls.
“Me?” I questioned.
Her smile was genuine as she nodded her head and leaned into me. “He’s the very good-looking guy sitting at the bar. He’s been watching you since you came in the door.”
I looked to the bar and noticed that nearly ever chair was taken by a handsome man.
“Which guy?” Rose questioned.
“The dark-headed one in the tight black muscle shirt.”
I looked again and sure enough, there in the center sat a very handsome man in a black t-shirt. His hair was so dark that it was almost blue. His skin was dark and his brilliantly-white smile wide. He winked at me as he held his glass up towards me.
“I take it you still haven’t told her yet?” Jasper spoke as he continued to hook up the equipment.
“I told you I need to do it in person.”
“And need I remind you that your time is up.” I sat down my guitar as I looked in his direction. “Do you even realize how fucking lucky you’ve been to this point that some smooth-talking swinging dick hasn’t talked his way into her panties?”
Jasper was right. Bella was a very beautiful woman and tonight I had watched more than one man follow her around the room with his eyes if not downright try to cut her off for a quick grope.
“I’m saving my luck for later tonight when I tell her.”
Jasper only laughed and shook his head as he continued to plug in wires.
There would be no interruptions tonight. I made it perfectly clear that my manager was to handle all the issues tonight. I left my cell in the glove box of my car. Nothing was going to stop me from telling Bella that I was hopelessly in love with her. I had prayed constantly that she would give me a chance to show her how great we could be together.
“Hey, Edward, looks like your luck is running out.”
I looked to Jasper and then followed his gaze. Standing beside the table I had assigned for my family and Bella was a man I had never seen before. Just by looking at him, you could tell that he worked out a lot. He wasn’t bad looking, but I questioned if Bella would find him attractive.
I watched in horror as he handed her a napkin, using his other hand the wrap her delicate fingers around it. He then leaned over and kissed her tiny hand…my hand. Shit, had I waited too long?
“Tell him thank you, but I don’t really drink.”
I turned my attention back to the table as Rose and Alice stared blankly at me.
“What?” I questioned.
Before either one of them could answer, a husky voice spoke from my side. “Please excuse the interruption. But I couldn’t help myself.”
I looked to the face of the man who had been sitting at the bar. He was even more handsome up close.
“You’re so beautiful and I just couldn’t let you leave without asking if you’d like to join me for dinner one evening.”
I was shocked; this was such a handsome man. I was hesitant to answer him.
“Listen, this probably sounds creepy, but here’s my number, think about it and give me a call if you decide to give me a chance.”
He further shocked me by placing a kiss to my hand.
It felt wrong. I wanted to wash that kiss from my hand.
“Good evening, ladies and gentleman.”
Jasper’s voice in the microphone broke me from my internal murmuring. I looked to the stage where a very handsome Jasper sat on a barstool. Alice let out a huge catcall as he chuckled and said, “Thank you, darlin’.”
Several people hollered while others laughed. Alice simply danced in her seat and blew him a big kiss.
“Tonight we’re in for a rare treat. Edward, the owner of this fine establishment, is up here tonight with a special message to a certain young lady.” He turned to the side and gave Edward a wink. Edward had his eyes on me as he smiled and shook his head. “Alright, let’s do this. Bella, this is for you.”
Jasper began to strum his guitar and I tried to figure out the song. This was for me? I mean Bella wasn’t a common name.
I listened as Jasper began to sing the words.
When you came in, the air went out.
And every shadow filled up with doubt.
I don’t know who you think you are,
But before the night is through,
I wanna do bad things.
I’m the kind to sit up in his room.
Heart sick an’ eyes filled up with blue.
I don’t know what you’ve done to me,
But I know this much is true:
I wanna do bad things with you.
I knew this song. I knew the television series that it was featured in. I also knew what happened in that particular show. How could Edward do this with his parents sitting in the room? Did he really think so low of me as to believe I was the type of girl who would just jump into bed with him and do all sorts of naughty things? Was this what he wanted to talk about, being friends with benefits?
Before I had time to let my panic rise, Edward jumped off his barstool and took the mic away from Jasper.
Jasper was laughing as he stopped playing and took the microphone back from Edward.
“Okay…okay. That was all me, Bella. I’m sorry. I had to mess with Edward tonight. You see, darlin’, Edward has been trying to grow a pair and tell you how he’s been feeling towards you.”
I looked to Edward who looked angry.
I felt a warm hand over mine as I turned and found Esme looking at me.
“Just give him a second; this has been a long time coming.”
I turned my eyes back to Edward who had now taken over the mic and was the only one sitting on the stage. His eyes never left mine as he spoke.
“I’m sorry about Jasper, Bella. I swear I didn’t know he was going to sing that song to you. I’ve tried so many times to tell you how I really feel about you and every time I do, I get all tongue-tied and I chicken out. Please listen to the song I’ve picked out for you. For me, it seems easier to use music when I need to express my feelings.”
I now had not only Esme’s hands on me, but Alice and Rose as well. Carlisle had moved to my side and had his arms wrapped around me.
It was one of those moments
When everything changes
She was climbing out of a Chevrolet
on the passenger side
I must’ve been staring
’cause when I caught her eye
It seemed like
I had been looking at her for all of my life
So I said
Why don’t you come and go with me
Somehow I know, I’ve waited my whole life to see
You standing there with the wind in your hair
I’m as sure as a boy could be
You’re the girl that’s been running around in my dreams
You’re the girl that’s been running around in my dreams
I was shaking and I could feel the tears begin to form behind my lids.
Carlisle whispered that everything was alright and to just listen.
Once in a lifetime does not happen again
So I took a chance in a gamblers’ game
Put my heart on the line
And maybe I’m crazy, but I’ll never regret
What I said to a girl I knew before we even met
He sang words of hope and love and admiration. How one look changed his life. I should have been jumping up and down in my chair. I should have been running toward the stage, throwing myself at him and telling him that I was so in love with him.
But I wasn’t that girl. I couldn’t do that. I just kept having the same thought over and over…
What about Tanya?
Stupid fucking Jasper. I could see the panic written across my Bella’s face. Bella wasn’t the type of girl that you threw up against a brick wall and fucked hard. Bella was the type of girl you took home to mom, sat beside in church, and made plans to marry.
I watched as the words I sang to her reached into her, I wanted her to have no doubt of my feeling toward her. Once I was finished, I would make my way across the room and wrap my arms around her. I could only hope she would return the kiss I planned for her.
As I sang the last few lyrics, my eyes never left hers. I knew Jasper had taken Alice’s chair and now had her sitting on his lap. As I sat my guitar down and jumped off the stage, I ignored the applause and the people trying to get my attention. I had only one goal, to get my girl.
Bella stood as I came closer to the table. I smiled and extended my arms, letting her know I wanted to hold her. She smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. Once I had her within my reach, I quickly asked her, “Bella, sweetheart, what’s wrong?”
Maybe I had embarrassed her. I would gladly take her back to my office and have this conversation. Her brown eyes searched mine as she tried hard to smile. I placed my hand on her porcelain face and the rest of the world faded away.
“That was a lovely song, Edward,” her tiny voice sounded as she tried to look at her feet.
I was having none of that. I wanted to see those beautiful eyes.
“Babe, tell me what’s wrong, please,” I begged her.
“I’m sorry, Edward, but as beautiful as your words were and as much as I feel for you, I can’t…I can’t be the other woman. I’m not built that way.”
To say that I was confused by her words was an understatement. What did she mean by that?
“Wait a second, love, who are you talking about? What other woman?”
I thought that maybe she had heard rumors or read something in a rag magazine. It wouldn’t have been the first time I had been linked to someone.
“I’m talking about your girlfriend, Tanya Denali.”
Her words were firm. Somehow she truly believed I was with Tanya. I smiled as I took her beautiful face back into my hands.
“Isabella Swan, you listen to me. Tanya and I are friends, nothing more. I’ve wanted to tell you for the longest time that I’m so in love with you that it consumes me.”
I watched as her face changed from reserved to confused, then from angry to happy.
I smiled as I looked into her eyes.
“Yes, sweet girl, I love you and I want to be your boyfriend. I’m sorry it took me so long to tell you.”
I placed my forehead against hers. I took it as I good sign that she wasn’t pushing me away or slapping me.
She began to giggle and I worried that she was about to tell me that I was foolish for admitting my feelings.
“Care to tell me why you’re laughing at me when I just poured my heart out to you?”
The look on Bella’s face was priceless. She was happy, very happy.
“Because for the longest time, I’ve been in love with you, too.”
I pulled my face back and began to dart my eyes between hers. She loved me, too?
All of this time I had wasted, hiding and watching her, when we could have been married with kids. I refused to waste one more second.
“I’m going to kiss you now.”
“I may be bad at it.”
“I doubt it.”
“I’ve never kissed anyone before.”
“Good, then I get to be your one and only.”
I didn’t give her a chance to respond as I placed my lips gently against hers.
Well finally we have true feelings on the table.
I have to tell you that this actually wasn’t the way I had written this in the beginning. However, I have a close friend named Penny. Penny is this truly beautiful-girl next door. She swore up and down that men only wanted one thing and she was sick to death of being asked out only to have the guy expect sex from her. Penny had made the choice to remain a virgin until she was either married or in a serious relationship. Anyway her brother had reconnected with a friend of his that was getting ready to come home from Afghanistan. He invited his friend to come stay with him for a few days. Turns out that he was being transferred to the base that she and I work at. When he arrived, her brother invited all of us out for a beer. As we sat there, Stephen began to talk more and more to Penny. The next day Stephen came by the building that we work in and asked Penny to dinner. Of course Penny was leery, but decided what the heck. So they went out and she told us that he was a perfect gentleman and didn’t even try to kiss her good night. He asked her out a couple of more times and still didn’t try to make a move on her. Finally after about two weeks of dating, they had the relationship talk and decided to be exclusive. Penny was very honest with Stephen and told him of her decision to stay a virgin. Stephen told her he would let her set the pace, but told her he was dying to kiss her. About a month later, Stephen came by my building again and invited everyone to a bar that he knew of that had open mic nights. His brother was in town and wanted to play music together. So we all go to this bar and Penny is setting beside me. Stephens brother Brent speaks into the microphone with almost the same speech as Jasper. Evidently Stephen wanted to tell Penny he loved her but didn’t want her to feel like he was pushing her. Brent turned out to be this huge jokester and knew that Stephen was going to be doing this. So Brent invited their parents to come to the bar as well. So poor Penny get to meet the parents in a bar as her boyfriend sings “Wanna do bad things to you”. I wanted to cry with her when she began to chant over and over, “Oh god, he is just like the rest.” She tried to get up from the table but I stopped her. Stephen jumped up and took the mic away just like Edward did. When he sang “Running around in my dreams” she did start to cry. Once he was done, he took her in his arms and told her that he loved her.
Penny has no clue that I write. But I told her that her story was such a great one that everyone at the table would tell two friends. I honestly told her I was going to tell all my friends.
- Chapter 7
His lips were warm and soft. The room that had once been full of the sounds of a clinking bar was now silent. All that was left was Edward’s toned body wrapped around mine, his lips taking mine prisoner.
All the romance books I had ever read clearly described how that first kiss would light my world on fire. To actually experience this, I now knew they hadn’t done it any justice. This was the single most amazing feeling I had ever felt.
The gentle rubbing of his strong fingers along my lower back, the feel of his thumb as it made repeated strokes along my bare neck, the gently rocking of his lips against mine, it was magical.
“Wow, that’s the most amazing G-rated kiss I’ve ever had,” Edward ended the kiss and placed his forehead against mine, my eyes remaining closed.
“I have nothing to go by so I have to agree,” my voice was low and breathy.
“I want to take you somewhere quiet, where we can talk about us.”
I leaned my head back and looked deeply into his green eyes. I saw nothing but love and hope, affection and warmth.
“I drove myself tonight. I made muffins today.”
Good god, could I sound any lamer? I made muffins today? He wanted a girlfriend, not a wife.
“Muffins sound amazing. Let’s say goodnight to our friends and then head to your house.”
I could only smile as I nodded. Edward took my hand in his as he led us to the table where our friend currently sat.
Alice’s smile was huge and her bouncing looked to be giving Jasper an issue in his lap as he closed his eyes and held her hips still.
“Glad to see you finally grew a pair,” Rose spoke as Edward wrapped his arms around me.
“No thanks to you, Jazz.”
Poor Jasper’s cheeks became red and he lowered his face. I felt bad for him, even though it had been his first song that nearly caused me to run.
“Bella, say you’ll forgive me for my little joke I played on the two of you.”
Jasper’s accent was enough to turn the heads of most women. However, judging by the way he held onto Alice, no other woman could turn his head.
“Since everything worked out, we’ll forgive you this time,” Edward told him as he squeezed my hand.
“Good, I swear I won’t ever do it again,” Jasper held up his hand, his two fingers crossed. Everyone laughed, including Edward and me.
Edward then pulled me closer and tucked me under his arm. I wrapped my arm around his muscular back and laid my cheek on his chest, his manly fragrance surrounding me, causing me to lose all my senses.
“What is this?”
Edward’s question pulled me from my haze as I opened my eyes and looked at his other hand. It was then I noticed he had the napkin with Jacob’s phone number written on it.
“That, my friend, is the guy who nearly took our fair Bella home tonight,” Carlisle answered.
I had forgotten about Jacob and the drink he had tried to buy me once Edward opened his mouth and sang those words to me.
“What guy?” I could hear the anger in Edward’s voice. This was new for me. I had never witnessed Edward upset.
“Oh, calm down, Edward. There was a very nice young man who offered to buy Bella a drink. She politely declined and he left his number for her. He asked her to give him a call when she was ready to have dinner with him.”
Thank god for Esme’s soft voice, it seemed to calm Edward.
I watched as Edward wadded up the napkin and tossed it into an empty glass.
“All of Bella’s future dinner dates will be with me.”
No one said a word as Edward made that statement. Part of me was thrilled to have Edward share my feelings, but another shook with worry that he was trying to own me.
I pulled my car into my garage and watched Edward’s headlights turn off as he parked behind me. I exited my car and opened the door that led from the garage into my kitchen. Edward quickly followed me as he pressed the switch to close the garage door.
Once inside my kitchen, he turned me around and kissed me firmly.
“That was too long to go without kissing you.”
I couldn’t help but smile at his words. No dream I had ever had would ever compare to the real Edward standing here in my kitchen.
“Can I get you something to drink?”
He smiled as he took my hand and led me to the center island. He then lifted the cover to my cake platter where I had stored the muffins I’d made earlier in the day.
“Someone promised me muffins,” his voice was sultry and smooth as chocolate.
I watched as he raised the muffin to his lips and took a bite, his eyes never leaving mine.
How his voice could render me unable to move, unable to open my mouth to respond, I didn’t know. I could only watch as his tongue came out to lick a crumb that rested on his lower lip.
“W-would you like some coffee?” I finally found my voice, although it sounded foreign to even my ears.
“Coffee would be nice.”
I closed my eyes and tried to shake the fog I found myself in. I turned and grabbed the glass carafe and began to fill it with water. I then poured the water into the coffee maker and pulled open the cabinet to retrieve the coffee. As I reached in, I felt Edward wrap his arms around my waist and place his face in the crook of my neck. He began to place wet open-mouth kisses along my neck and shoulder. My body became stiff and I sucked in air quickly, Jasper’s words filling my head.
We’re always thinking about sex while looking at you.
My heart began to beat out of my chest. I had been in love with Edward for so long, yet I was nowhere near ready to slide into bed with him. I closed my eyes tight as he continued to worship my neck with his mouth and lips. I could now feel his erection as he moved his hips closer to me. I could feel the traitor tears begin. This was all too much for me. I had no idea how to handle this situation and no one I could call on.
“Mmm, you smell so good, and you taste even better.”
His voice had changed and it now sounded several octaves lower.
I patted his hand that rested on my abdomen and then tried to turn in his arms.
“Edward, why don’t you finish your muffin and I’ll get the coffee on.”
I didn’t wait for a response as I quickly finished measuring the grounds and pressing the on button. I heard Edward’s footsteps as he rounded the island and headed toward my living room. As soon as he was out of earshot, I braced myself against the counter and took several deep breaths.
Once the coffee was ready, I poured us both a cup and made my way to the living room. Edward was sitting on my couch, he had turned on my iPod and had my smooth jazz playlist selected.
“Here, let me help you.”
He rose from the couch and took one of the cups from my hand. He set his cup down on my coffee table and then took mine and did the same. Then he placed his hand in mine and pulled me to sit beside him.
“I guess I should start at the beginning.” He took both of my hands in his as he looked at our intertwined fingers. “I’ve loved you from the moment I first saw you at my sister’s house. I tried for months to just admit that to you, but you just seemed so…”
He shook his head, trying to find his words.
“Shy?” I said, trying to help him.
“Beautiful,” he smiled, his eyes immediately finding mine. “I find myself lost in your eyes, Bella, I always have.”
I hoped in the bottom of my soul that he was telling the truth, Jasper’s words repeating in the back of my head.
“I don’t understand, you…you were dating Tanya.” I lowered my eyes as I spoke the words.
“I was fucking Tanya, there’s a difference.”
My eyes immediately went back to his as the words registered in my head. Jasper was right. Men only wanted to have sex, they did everything to get it, including tell you they loved you.
“Once I saw you, I ended things with Tanya. She was happy for me. She even asked me if we were together at my soft opening. She told me she wanted to meet you once I got my head out of my ass. I guess we’ll have to give her a call.”
Edward chuckled as he spoke the later.
“So you stopped having sex with a Hollywood megastar and then what?”
I watched as Edward’s face grew pink and his smile became shy.
“What, Edward? Please tell me,” I squeezed his hands and nudged his arm with my elbow.
“I-I began to watch you, dream about you, fantasize about you, about us…together.”
And there it was. The truth…
I lowered my head as I bit the inside of my cheek to keep from crying.
He must have noticed my expression and as quickly as I could, I looked back at him.
“I-I’m sorry, Edward. I suddenly don’t feel very well. I’m very nauseous all of the sudden and my head is starting to hurt.”
Edward quickly took my face in his hands, “Should I call my dad? He could be here in ten minutes.”
“No…no, I think I’m just going to lie down. I think the excitement of the night has caught up to me.”
“Are you certain?” his eyes were darting back and forth.
“Of course, I just need some rest. I’ll be fine in the morning.”
I rose from the couch and made my way to my front door, silently asking him to leave. He rose from the couch and followed me. He stopped at the doorway and took me in his arms.
“I’ll call you tomorrow and take you to breakfast. This conversation will resume then, okay?”
He placed a soft kiss to my lips and then hugged me.
“Goodbye, Edward.” My words meant more than just tonight.
He took my face in his hands and looked directly into my eyes. “I love you, sweet girl, remember that.”
He kissed me again and then turned and walked out of the door.
I closed my eyes and let the tears I’d held at bay fall down my face. Once I heard his car move down the street, I turned off all the lights and sat back down on my couch.
With my phone on the coffee table, I placed my bare feet along the edge. I sat there for hours, quietly crying in the dark.
I watched my cell phone light up many times as the sky turned from dark to bright light. I continued to ignore it.
Then the knocking at my front door, followed by Edward’s voice calling my name started. I continued to ignore all of it.
My bladder had been screaming at me for a while when I finally decided to get up and go take care of it. I padded my way down the hall and into the bathroom. Once I was finished and was washing my hands, I looked at the shower door and thought briefly about taking a shower. I quickly decided against it as I wanted to just crawl into bed and sleep the day away.
Once outside the bathroom, though, I was shocked to find Alice and Jasper sitting in my living room. I had forgotten about Alice having my emergency key.
“Care to tell me why there are nearly fifty missed calls and text messages from your boyfriend, and why said boyfriend just about tore down my front door so that I’d come and check on you?”
I walked around Alice and plopped down on my couch.
“Jasper was right,” I mumbled.
“I usually am, but what about this time?” he chuckled.
“Jasper, quit making jokes, can’t you see she’s upset?” Alice punched him in the shoulder.
I could hear my cell going off again. Alice reached down and grabbed it, answering it this time.
“Yes, she’s fine, Edward. I don’t know…no, stay at my house until I found out what happened. Okay…I said okay…I will…I’ll tell her…okay…bye.” Alice placed my phone back on the table and then placed her hands on her hips. “He says to tell you he loves you.”
I inwardly rolled my eyes. He still wanted to get laid, apparently.
“Bella, darlin’, can you tell me what happened? Did he say or do something you didn’t like?”
Jasper sat beside me and placed his hands over mine. They were warm and felt nice against my freezing ones.
“You were just right, Jasper, that’s all. I should’ve listened to you from the beginning.”
I felt the tears return.
“Care to tell me what I was right about?”
I took a deep breath as Alice handed me a tissue. “You were right that men only think about having sex with you as they look at you.” My voice cracked with the additional tears that ran down my cheeks.
I closed my eyes and cried harder.
“Did he do something that hurt you?” he asked, his voice getting tense.
I couldn’t even complete a sentence as the tears wouldn’t stop. Jasper reached over and took me in his arms and rocked me back and forth.
He continued to rock me and placed soft kisses into my hair as he did. My tears finally stopped and I sat back up and wiped my runny nose.
“You were right when you said men thought about having sex with nearly every girl they met.”
I looked at Jasper and waited. He looked at me and waited.
“I’m sorry, darlin’, I’m just not following you.”
I rolled my eyes and blew my nose again.
“Edward began to kiss my neck last night…”
I again looked at Jasper.
“And…?” he rolled his hand like he wanted the rest of the story.
“He clearly only wanted to have sex with me, Jasper!” I shouted in frustration.
I watched as a huge smile formed on Jasper’s face, followed quickly by large chuckles.
“So you think that because he’s a guy and I said that all guys want to have sex with every woman they see, you think he only wants to fuck you senseless?”
He began to laugh harder.
“I’m so glad I amuse you.”
I began to rise from the couch, I was tired of talking about this and I wanted them to leave me alone.
“I’m sorry, Bella, please don’t leave.” He was still laughing as he pulled me back to sit beside him. “Listen, darlin’, I have no doubts that Edward was thinking about having sex with you when he kissed your neck.”
Great, now it was confirmed, men were such jerks.
“However, he’d never act on that unless he knew you wanted to as well, Bella.” He had my attention. “I mean right now, I can easily picture having a threesome with you and Alice, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to act upon it.” His hand was now on my back, rubbing in large circles.
“Edward has loved you for so long that I’m certain he’d do anything to keep you, including having blue balls for the rest of time. He’ll wait until you’re ready, Bella.” I looked at him and searched his eyes for any dishonesty. “Come on, darlin’, let’s give the Edster a call and put him out of his misery,” he smiled and nudged me.
“But Jasper, he said he was f–sleeping with Tanya, and then he stopped because he saw me.”
“Why me? Tanya has everything.”
Jasper took in a deep breath and then let it out slowly.
“What I’m about to say may hurt your feeling, Bella, but it needs to be said.” I noticed that Alice was texting on her phone, no doubt telling Edward what was happening. “You don’t get to be the only person in this scenario who has self-esteem issues. You don’t get to hold the lone title of unsure of themselves.”
I looked at Jasper, I was certain with huge eyes.
“Don’t sit there and try to tell me that just because Edward isn’t hard on the eyes, it means that he can’t possibly be head over heels in love with you,” he chided me.
I looked to Alice who was silently nodding her head that she agreed with him.
“Yes, Edward and Tanya had a fling for a while. She’s a pretty girl and has a lot going for her.” I could feel the tears coming again. “But…she never caused a sparkle in Edward’s eyes the way you have. He never loved her. He never did even close to half the shit for her he’s done for you.”
His statement had me wondering, what had Edward done for me?
“Now, go wash your face and comb your hair. I’ll tell Edward you’re ready to have that talk with him.”
He didn’t give me time to argue as he rose from the couch and tugged at my arm.
“And Bella…” I met his eyes with mine. “Brush your teeth, your breath is enough to peel paint and I’m certain Edward will want to kiss you the second he sees you.”
I smacked his chest and then turned to Alice. “Thank you,” I said to her.
“For not tossing him to the side, for keeping him around.”
We both laughed as we hugged each other.
“Alright, now scoot, Edward is on his way over and I don’t want you scaring him with that hair or that breath.”
I made my way around the coffee table and into my bedroom. I had many questions for Edward and I planned to ask all of them. I would be honest with him and tell him why I was afraid. I just prayed that my confessions wouldn’t have him running for the hills.
So we have Jasper to the rescue once again. Again this fiction is for my friend Kim Rathbone, who like Jasper kicked me in the ass and helped me to see the truth.
Thank you to everyone who is reading and reviewing. I love to hear your thoughts on my fiction.
- Chapter 8
Alice and Jasper were nowhere to be seen when I descended the stairs. Edward, however, was pacing the floor at the bottom of the last step. His whole body stopped and turned as I made my presence known.
“Bella,” my name came out as a sharp gasp from his chest.
He quickly took me into his arms as he cradled me to him, my feet dangling off the floor. I could hardly breathe as his arms caged me to his chest. He spoke no words as he just held me.
“Edward,” I huffed as I tried to pull back when breathing became an issue.
He gently placed me back on the ground, his hold on me loosening enough to allow me to breathe. His hands immediately went to either side of my face. He was examining me, checking to see if I was physically hurt.
“I’m sorry, Bella.” His apology confused me, why was he sorry? I was the one who’d had a lapse in judgment. “I just assumed that you’d be jumping for joy at my admission of loving you. I never considered the impact that would have on you. You’re such a wonderful person and we’ve been friends for so very long that…I just didn’t think,” he sighed, his eyes bouncing back and forth between mine.
“I…I am jumping for joy, that isn’t it.”
His brow furrowed and he looked confused. “But…then why didn’t you answer your door or my phone calls?”
I lowered my face, ashamed of my actions and my silent accusations. Edward raised my face back to his, his face still showing confusion.
I took his hand from my face and led him to the sofa. I needed to be honest with him if I wanted this to work. I understood that now. When I sat down, I tried to leave a little room between us, but Edward thought otherwise and sat with his body touching mine.
I took a deep breath as I held his hand in mine.
“Edward, what happened last night and this morning was just me being stupid.” I could feel him take in a breath as if to protest, but I gave him a pleading look and he kept his words to himself. “Jasper told me a few weeks ago that men always think about what sex would be like with nearly every girl they see.”
I watched his face as my words did little to clear the confusion.
“Last night when you were kissing my neck, I was afraid you only said you loved me because you just wanted that from me.” I watched as his expression changed, it was hard to read so I continued. “Today he told me that just because you may think about it doesn’t mean you’d act on it and try to push me into it. He gave me an example of thinking about having a threesome with me and Alice.”
By the look on his face, I should have left that last part out.
“Like hell he will!” Edward growled.
I smiled, I couldn’t help myself.
“I’m sorry for shutting you out. I should’ve said something last night.”
Edward blew out a long breath and leaned back against the sofa. He ran his fingers through his hair, a trait I’d noticed he did when he was nervous or frustrated.
“Bella, I do have thoughts about having sex with you, but I know you’re not ready for that and I want our first time to be everything you deserve. I’ll wait until you’re ready.”
I smiled and moved my body closer so I could wrap my arms around him. He took this as a cue to begin kissing me again and this time I let myself enjoy it.
It had been two weeks since my meltdown and I had been so happy that Edward was in this relationship for reasons other than just sex. My state of bliss had caused me to forget to talk to him about the things he had done for me. The following day, Edward had to head out of town to Las Vegas to sign paperwork for his new investment venture. He was building a club in The Venetian hotel. He told me one evening that as soon as it was ready, he wanted to take me there. I happily agreed and told him I loved him. Today was Thursday and I had to go and work at Edward’s office.
When we had spoken on the phone last night, he’d been a little upset that he wouldn’t get to see me as his trip had been extended. Once I was finished with Edward’s books, I made my way to the elevators and got ready to leave. Lauren had given me the silent treatment and I knew Edward had told her about us. I said goodnight to her anyway and got on the elevator. I watched as the floor numbers began to decrease when it dawned on me that I had left my purse in Edward’s office. I hit the button for the next floor and when the elevator stopped, I looked out to see that the elevator across the hall was open with the up arrow illuminated. I quickly made a dash for it and got on that one, heading back upstairs. Once I reached the floor, I went back to Edward’s office where I retrieved my purse. It was then I noticed all of the pictures Edward had of me along his walls. I had no idea he had so many of me. I smiled as I thought about him. I missed him and his kisses.
Lauren hadn’t been at her desk when I came back in and she thankfully still wasn’t. I decided to hurry and use the ladies room, hoping I would continue to miss her.
I was just finishing when I heard the restroom door open and the door to the stall a few spaces down open and close. I feared it might be Lauren so I decided to stay quiet. Not ten seconds later, the door to the ladies room burst open again and the cackling of two girls filled the room.
“Oh, my god, Lauren, did you see what she wore today?”
Definitely Jessica Stanley, she was always making fun of my conservative dress.
“Oh, that’s nothing; you should see her when she puts those ugly glasses on. I still don’t get what Edward sees in her. I mean I’ve run around the office practically naked and he just doesn’t notice me.”
“Well, there’s your problem, you should strike a pose on his desk with only your heels and a tie on.”
The both began to laugh as the door to the stall that had been occupied shortly after I’d arrived suddenly opened.
“What makes you two trollops think my son would be interested in the likes of you?” My eyes became huge and I quickly placed my hand over my mouth. That voice was Edward’s mother, Esme. “My son is with Bella because she’s a good and decent young lady. She doesn’t need cheap perfume or stripper clothing to turn my son’s head. She’s someone he can be proud to be seen with. He can walk down the street with her and not worry how many men that pass by have bedded her.”
I smiled to myself as I listened to her words.
“Now, if I ever hear of the two of you causing any problems for them, you’ll be dealing with me. I plan to have grandbabies to spoil by this time next year and they won’t be coming from either of you.”
I was certain my face was red at this point, but I stayed perfectly still.
Lauren and Jessica quickly left the room without saying a single word to Esme. I waited until I was certain everyone had left before I slipped out. No one knew that I had overheard that conversation, but it gave me the boost I needed.
Edward returned on Saturday, he said he had a surprise for me and when he pulled up in front of my house, he had Tanya in the car with him. I was so excited I nearly passed out. Tanya hugged me when Edward introduced us and she was very nice to me. We sat in my living room and they discussed the upcoming premiere of the latest vampire movie she was starring in. I didn’t know that Edward was the owner of the studio and that he was producing the movie. He insisted that I walk the red carpet with him and Tanya; he wanted the world to know we were together. Little did I know at the time that this event would change our relationship.
Once Tanya left for the night, Edward and I made dinner and then sat on the sofa and talked about his new club in Las Vegas.
“Bella, there are some things I need to tell you I fear you may find disturbing.”
I kept quiet and held his hand. I highly doubted he would be able to scare me.
“When I first saw you that day, I followed you home that night and began to study you. I wanted to know everything about you, but I was too afraid to approach you.”
He became very still as he watched my face, waiting for what, I was not certain. I smiled at him and traced my index finger over the back of his hand, taking my time to enjoy his long fingers.
“I didn’t know how to get closer so I found out where you worked and I contacted your boss and requested you personally. I set up companies and had you pay bills to fictitious places.”
My heart stopped, had he set me up to look as though I had been embezzling?
“Sweetheart, the money you used never left my bank account. I set up the one you use for just that purpose. Every time you paid a bill, it would go right back in a couple of days later, you did nothing illegal.”
He was quiet then, was there more? Did he install cameras in my house?
“Please say something,” his voice was so hushed I nearly missed it.
“How many pictures?”
I looked into his eyes, seeing understanding dawning. As he gazed back, he spoke with the truth written all over his face.
I was shocked to put it mildly.
“Were there any…n-naked ones?”
Edward flinched as he got off the sofa and knelt on his knees in front of me.
“No, Bella, I swear I never took pictures that involved you less than completely dressed. Most of the pictures I have are of you smiling and doing the things you love.”
I took his face in my hands and leaned over and kissed him. I was nearly giddy that he loved me so much to have taken so many pictures of me.
“I want you to come to work in my office; I don’t want you dealing with other men.”
I smiled at him and then shook my head, “Edward, I refuse to work with Lauren. I had to spend too much of my life witnessing her antics.”
His smile became huge as he circled his arms around me. “She doesn’t work for me anymore; seems she felt the need to quit for some reason. She turned in her resignation last Thursday. She emailed it to me.”
I silently wondered if Esme’s talk had had anything to do with Lauren’s decision to quit her job.
So with everything out in the open, I became excited for the premier to happen. I would have Alice help me find a dress this time; I wanted Edward to continue to be proud to have me on his arm.
- Chapter 9
Thank you to everyone who has been reading this fiction, to my beta, Dollybigmomma, whom I’m certain rolls her eyes as she takes out her red pen and makes corrections, but mostly to my friend, Kim Rathbone, who this fiction is written for. Thanks, girl, for reminding me what’s important.
This particular chapter is going to switch back and forth between POVs. I debated about doing it this way, but when I looked at it, it made more sense.
Over the next several months, Edward made more and more visits to Las Vegas. His new restaurant was ahead of schedule and for that he was ecstatic. Tanya and I had become close friends and she had even offered to help me pick out a dress. I thanked her, but refused. I was not a Hollywood starlet and would not even attempt to dress like one. Edward told me not to stress over it, that he would have one of the high-end stores come by the house and help me decide.
It was a Tuesday afternoon that I stood inside Edward’s dressing area, surrounded by the dark and masculine decor that was all Edward. I had become quite at home in his house, especially since receiving the shiny silver key he had given me one evening as we sat and watched a movie on his massive television. I loved spending time at Edward’s house. Sometimes when I wanted to surprise him with dinner, I would pretend we were married and that this was our house. Unfortunately, I still waited for the other shoe to fall and for him to tire of me and move on. I would never admit that to him. I tried very hard to remain the perfect girlfriend.
Carmen was a very nice lady that Saks had sent over with what felt like a million dresses. She played with my hair and held swatches of different colors up to my face. Her assistant, Laurent, spoke very eloquently in French. Carmen helped me into the first dress. It was satin and black with a deep plunging neckline. It was also open-backed and showed my entire back down to my butt. I quickly dismissed it. The second was a coral dress. It was long and flowed beautifully, but it was made of a material that made me itch. The third was this very elegant red dress. It was one-shouldered and the entire dress had an intricate red lace overlaying a soft red satin underneath. The lace was adorned with red-colored stones. It was so pretty and covered up all of the areas I felt needed covering. Carmen looked at me smiling and we both agreed this was the dress.
I held my breath as I reached for the price tag, only to have my hand slapped by Laurent. “Monsieur Cullen say no money from zeh beautiful mademoiselle.”
I took my stinging hand in my other and held it to my chest. He smiled and then kissed both of my cheeks.
Carmen assured me that she would make certain the dress was ready and my shoes would not be huge heels. Due to the length of the dress, my shoes would be hidden. She assured me they would be perfect.
Edward was due back home early this evening and again I was busy making him dinner. He had sent me a text that his plane was about to take off, and that had been about three hours ago. I was currently dancing around the massive kitchen, practicing some belly dance moves I had been learning and cooking his favorite enchiladas.
Edward’s kitchen had this amazing center island and was large enough to have five barstools that sat comfortably along one side. As I chopped onions, I imagined Edward and our children sitting on those barstools and enjoying cookies and milk. I quickly closed my eyes and shook my head. I couldn’t let myself get carried away with those kinds of thoughts.
I had placed my iPod in his stereo docking station and was currently dancing to Shakira when I felt two large arms wrap around my waist.
I jumped as it startled me and dropped the wooden spoon I had been using to stir my sauce. I spun around to find a very happy Edward looking lovingly at me.
“I must admit, I do love to see you dancing in my kitchen like that.” His voice was husky and I liked the sound a lot more than I should have.
“Edward, you scared me.”
“Mmmm, sorry, love.”
I quickly found myself wrapped in his warm embrace, his lips against my neck. God, I loved how he made me feel when he did this. In the time we had been a couple, he had never pushed me for anything I wasn’t ready for. I tilted my head further, inviting his mouth where I wanted it on my neck. The feel of his teeth as he nipped and his warm wet lips as he sucked my skin gave me goose bumps and made my nipples stick out prominently under the white tank top I was wearing.
“I missed you so much,” he whispered and the feel of his breath as his words reached my ear made me shudder. I was so wrapped up in his lips and the feel of our chests moving together that I could only moan my response. I had found that during the times Edward and I touched like this, my hands would find their way into his hair or around his neck. This time, however, my fingers were along his jaw. I could feel the muscles move as he continued to kiss my neck.
Before I was ready to stop, he quickly pulled away from me and I stood there stunned, with my brain trying to catch up with what had just transpired.
“Something smells really good.”
Edward was now hovering over the stove, lifting the lid to the rice. His actions confused me, as I had always been the one to pull away. He placed the lid back and then hurried over to the refrigerator and removed a beer. As he quickly drank the beer, he moved around to the other side of the counter and took a seat on one of the barstools. This was so out of character for Edward. He had always made it a point of touching me.
I was both confused and hurt by his sudden distance. Instead of questioning it, I moved to the stove to finish dinner. The ringing of Edward’s cell phone caused him to jump from the chair.
“Sorry, Bella, it’s Tanya, I have to take this.”
I inhaled and my shoulders slumped. He had called me his sweet girl, babe, and love, but for several months, he had not called me by my name. He also never excused himself to speak with Tanya. My chest burned at the thought that my worst fear was about to come true.
The biggest lesson I had learned in my life was that life was too short and that you had to live every day as if it was your last. Since confessing to Bella that I was madly in love with her, my life had only gotten better. My attitude had improved. My outlook on society had changed. My opinions on what was truly important had changed for the better. My business life had changed as well. It was as if Bella was my lucky charm. For the first time ever, my project was ahead of schedule. My company was working like a well-oiled machine and I was simply happy.
I was taking my time with Bella. She was the center of my world. It wasn’t that I didn’t want more with Bella. I wanted to take her and lay her down and love her like she deserved to be loved. She would never be a number for me.
Tanya had taken a liking to my Bella as well. I was surprised, as Tanya was a very competitive person. I had been certain she would try and come between Bella and me. She had called Bella nearly every day and even suggested to me that she wanted to take Bella shopping for her dress for the premier. I nixed that idea. I wanted to provide for Bella. On the evenings she came to my house, I would watch her work in the kitchen and I daydreamed of her doing it not as Bella, my girlfriend, but as my wife and mother to our children.
I tried very hard to rein in those thoughts, as I knew Bella was only just getting used to us being together. However, in the last few trips away from Bella, I had been confiding in Tanya and Jasper that I planned to ask Bella to marry me. I hadn’t worked out all of the details, but thankfully, Tanya had agreed to help me. Jasper suggested we do it in Vegas and as awful as it sounded, that idea was milling around in my head.
Tanya was advising me that I should wait a while longer. She felt that our only being together less than six months was far too risky. Tanya was, for one, selfish to the idea of sharing her spotlight with Bella. If I decided to ask her during the premier, then all eyes would be on Bella and not Tanya. It didn’t matter how good a friend Tanya was trying to be, she was still a Hollywood member and wanted all eyes on her. My Bella was the polar opposite; she would rather stay in the shadows. I liked the shadows, the dark allowed me to touch my Bella as I wanted.
Speaking of touching, the sight that awaited me when I got home from my latest trip to Vegas was one that nearly caused me to cross a line I knew Bella wasn’t ready for. She once again was dancing in my kitchen and my imagination ran away from me as I watched her body move so seductively, her hips undulating in a way that should have been illegal. I couldn’t help myself and stood watching her, hypnotized by her movements. When I could finally move and took her in my arms, I allowed myself to get lost in the feel of her and the smell of her skin. I knew if I didn’t stop right this second, though, I would not be able to I was so turned on.
The last thing I wanted was for Bella to see the huge issue currently residing in my Levis. I grabbed a beer and walked around the counter to hide the rather large reaction I had to her. I had never been so glad to have dinner interrupted as when Tanya called to tell me about a change in the lineup schedule for the premier.
Jasper had agreed to stay at my house while I was away in New York with Bella and Tanya. Jasper made it perfectly clear that he didn’t trust Tanya. He told me she was a she-devil and that she was only pretending to like Bella and would hurt her badly given the chance. I told him that he was crazy.
That night after dinner, I helped Bella wash the dishes. It solidified to me that I was correct in wanting to ask Bella to be my wife. I knew she fit perfectly into each and every corner of my world and I smiled. As I watched her scrubbing the stove with a little extra vigor this evening, I reached into my pocket and sent my jeweler a confirmation email that I wanted the ring I’d picked out made for Bella.
Bella began to gather her things and head for the door. I wrapped my body around hers, as I needed to just feel her and take in her calming fragrance.
“Stay with me tonight?” I whispered into her ear.
“I-I can’t, Edward…early morning.”
I didn’t like the shaky tone in her voice. I felt fear radiating off her in waves. I turned her around in my arms.
“Bella, is something wrong? D-did I upset you?”
I watched as she smiled her petite smile, but it looked off, as if she was trying to keep from crying.
“No, Edward. It’s just been a very exciting day. I was able to pick out a great dress.”
I took her back into my arms. I closed my eyes as I kissed her hair.
“Bella, you could wear a trash bag and you’d still look amazing.”
She smiled a little and gave me a quick peck on the cheek before she quickly slipped out the door. I watched as she backed her car down the driveway. I wanted to run after her and beg her to stay, but Bella was a woman of principle and morals. I loved that about her and would just have to take matters into my own hands.
As I lay in my bed that night, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Bella was hurting and it was my fault somehow. I thought about calling her, but it was almost midnight and I didn’t want to wake her. Taking my phone in hand, I typed out a quick text that she would see in the morning.
I love you, Bella, always remember that.
The sun was high in the sky as I climbed into the back of the black town car. Edward was running behind this afternoon and so he had sent the car for me. Carmen had left only a few hours ago after delivering my dress. When Edward called me this morning, I was given new hope that everything was alright. After his text last night where he again used my name, I was ready to watch that shoe fall. But this morning, he called me beautiful and said he loved me. I felt so much better.
Edward had a private jet and I would not even try to tell you that I wasn’t enjoying it being just the two of us on the flight. Edward had his laptop out and was typing away while talking on his phone. I settled back and tried to sleep.
Once we landed in New York, a limo was waiting for us and whisked us to the Waldorf Astoria. I had only ever seen this hotel in the movies. But nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming decor inside the lobby.
Edward had booked the penthouse and I was again left breathless as the bellhop opened the doors. I barely had time to thank Edward when a knock came to the door and a very excited man stood on the other side. Edward had failed to inform me that he had hired a professional makeup artist and hairstylist to help me get ready for this evening.
I excused myself and headed for the shower. The makeup artist whose name was Caius handed me two bottles and instructed me to use them on my face and neck. They smelled a little odd, but they made my skin feel so soft. Once I was in the chair, I closed my eyes and let them do their magic.
“Jasper, I can’t put my finger on it, but something is off with Bella.”
I was running so far behind today that I had to call a car for Bella. I hated doing that. She was my girl and it was my job to get her.
“Has she said something?”
I had just gotten out of my car when I turned around and saw the town car I had ordered for Bella pull away. I mentally kicked myself for not watching my time better.
“No, she hasn’t said anything; it’s just something I can feel. I’ve gone over and over every conversation we’ve had in the past week and I can’t remember anything I could’ve said that would’ve upset her. Hell, I even stopped making out with her because I was getting such a strong reaction from it and I didn’t want to embarrass her.”
“Maybe she didn’t want you to stop,” Jasper added as I handed my keys to the valet.
“Knock it off, Jasper, Bella isn’t like that.”
“Don’t kid yourself, Edward. She’s a grown woman, she’s exactly like that. Unless your good buddy, Tanya, has been whispering in her ear…”
“Stop it, Jasper. Tanya and Bella are good friends. Listen, I have to get on this plane if I’m going to make it to New York on time. I’ll talk with you when I get back.”
“Alright, but do me a favor, keep your phone on you during the premier. Alice has a feeling that something is going to happen.”
I hung up with Jasper and began to worry. Alice had always had this little sixth sense, if you will. She got these feelings and they had always turned out to be something. I would just keep my phone on me and set it to vibrate, even though Tanya had reminded me that cell phones were not permitted in the theater.
I was sitting once again in the limo that we had arrived in. Bella took my breath away when she came out of the bedroom wearing the most elegant red dress I had ever seen. I couldn’t move as I watched her walk around the table to get her purse.
I watched as her eyes met mine. She hadn’t noticed me sitting in the room.
“Edward, you look amazing.”
Her smile was like a mega-white light bulb against the bright red lipstick she had on those perfect lips. Her long glossy dark hair fell in dramatic waves over the porcelain white skin of her bare shoulder, creating a striking contrast. Only her top lashes were lined in the black eye makeup. She reminded me of one of the glamorous 1940’s pin-up girls with her perfect skin, makeup, and hair.
“Baby, there are no words for how beautiful you look.”
Her blush quickly covered her chest and face. I prayed that our little girl would have the same blush and drive some lucky guy as crazy as Bella drove me.
I took her by the hand and led her to the foyer where I had a gift for her.
“As beautiful as you are, I want you to have something to finish off that amazing look you have going on there.”
This morning when I picked up Bella’s engagement ring, I noticed a beautiful pendant. It was a simple but fiery round diamond with smaller diamonds surrounding it. It was elegant and perfectly Bella.
I heard her gasp as I raised the lid to the necklace. I removed the chain as she turned and placed her back to me. I was ever so thankful she wasn’t arguing with me about it being too much.
We sat in the swaying limo and I watched as Bella’s tiny fingers played with the pendant I had placed on her neck. I had sealed the clasp with a kiss to her shoulder and a whisper of, “I love you.”
I didn’t plan to wait a minute longer than I had to in asking Bella to marry me. I would let Tanya have her time in the spotlight and once she was satisfied, I would whisk Bella off to a private area where I would drop to one knee and beg for her hand.
The limo stopped and I glanced outside to see that all of Hollywood was here for this opening. The driver informed me that Tanya has just gotten out of her limo and was waving to the crowd. This would give Tanya plenty of time to soak up the attention she wanted. I looked then to my beautiful girl who continued to look out the window while touching her pendant.
“Bella, are you ready for this?” I smiled as I reached out for her hand. Her smile was all the assurance I needed. I couldn’t wait for this movie premier to be over so I could show her how important she was to me. I wanted the world to know that this beautiful creature had chosen me.
“Edward, this is insane.”
I looked out the window again, and she was right. All of the media and fan attention was crazy.
“Don’t worry. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
I wrapped her hand in mine. This was a promise I was going to keep. I would always be there to take care of her, be the man she needed me to be. With a quick squeeze to her hand, the limo door opened and I stepped out.
Little did I know that I wouldn’t be able to protect her from what was about to happen.
- Chapter 10
Edward helped me out of the limo and I was nearly blinded by the camera flashes. Once we were able to move down the red carpet, I noticed that Tanya was still smiling for the cameras. She looked truly happy, she was at home here. I, on the other hand, just wanted to find the nearest exit and get away.
“I just have to say a few hellos and then we’ll be seated in the theater,” Edward’s calm voice grounded me. He always had the ability to make me feel safe. This event was important to Edward and in turn, important to me. I could smile and shake hands for Edward.
“It’s fine. This is actually quite something.”
I didn’t take the chance to look up at Edward as he guided me towards Tanya. Since the moment he had placed this beautiful pendant on my neck, I hadn’t been able to let go of it. I didn’t argue with Edward about buying me something so beautiful. The second I saw it, I just knew it was made to be mine, like a talisman.
“You’re right, Bella, it’s something alright.”
We continued to walk toward a smiling Tanya. She was dressed in a very revealing gold dress. I would never have had the courage to wear something that left absolutely nothing to the imagination. Her dress was cut much lower in the back than even the black one Carmen had had me try on. It was crystal clear that Tanya wasn’t wearing any underwear. The thin gold mesh-like material was pretty see-through and it looked like she might have had tiny stickers on her nipples to keep them from being visible. Tanya’s eyes caught mine and I could see a change in her facial expression. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I knew it wasn’t friendly.
“Edward, so glad you made it. This must be your beautiful Bella I’ve heard so much about,” a very tall man who had come to stand beside Edward smiled. He had short hair and a scattering of facial hair. Not many men could make the rugged look work while wearing a tux, but he did it so well.
“Hello, Garrett, good to see you. This is my beautiful girl, Bella. Bella, this is Garrett, the associate director.”
I smiled and held my hand out for him to shake, but he had other plans as he lifted my hand to his lips and kissed my knuckles. Edward nudged my side and cleared his throat.
“Edward, I hate to do this to you, but I need a quick word with you,” Garrett advised.
Edward had guided me to just outside the doors to the theatre. Tanya was quickly making her way in our direction.
“Oh, Bella, look at you. That dress is so you.”
Something about the way she said that didn’t sit well with me. I loved my dress and it certainly had taken Edward’s breath away.
“Thank you, Tanya. Your um…dress is all you as well.”
I hated the way that had come out. I never liked hurting someone’s feelings. I would apologize once the event was over. Tanya was my friend and she deserved to have my support during her big event.
“Ah, Tanya, naked as usual,” Garrett spoke in a disgusted voice.
“Garrett,” Tanya acknowledged venomously. “Nice to see you could pull yourself away from the next big porn star.”
Clearly, Garrett and Tanya didn’t care for one another. I was certain that had to be difficult with them working so close during the filming of this movie.
“Actually, Tanya, I need a word with Garrett before I speak with the press. Can you take Bella and get a drink? I’ll join you in just a few minutes.”
Tanya’s face lit up like a light bulb and I was grateful to have a moment alone with her. I would retract my statement about her dress and congratulate her on this big evening.
“Of course, Edward, it’ll give us girls a second to talk about you,” she responded with a wink and a brush of her hand on his tux-covered chest.
Edward quickly pulled away from Tanya and placed a kiss to my cheek. I smiled at him as I walked away with Tanya.
“This is amazing, Tanya. I’m so happy for you.”
Tanya and I had just taken a glass of champagne from the trays that were being passed around. She said nothing and continued to sip her drink.
From the position we were standing, we had a perfect view of Garrett and Edward talking. I could see the cameras and the interview of Tanya’s co-star going on. A short man tapped Edward on the shoulder and then spoke something to him. I watched as Edward smiled at the man and then shook his head.
“He’s in his element, don’t you think, Bella?” I turned to the sound of Tanya’s voice, puzzled at what she was referring to. “It’s so obvious he belongs in the spotlight.”
Edward was now standing and talking with the man doing the interviews. I stepped a little closer and tried to hear what they were saying.
“He’ll get tired of you, you know.”
I nearly choked on my sip of champagne. What in the world was she talking about?
“You see, Edward is the type of man that needs a confident woman on his arm, one that can be seen as his equal…not only in appearance, but in life as well.”
I continued to look between Edward and Tanya.
“He’ll get bored with you as his dull little suburban housewife and want his no-ties life again, one where he can have sex with a different girl every night and not have to be careful of hurting her feelings. Edward isn’t a man that can be tied down, at least not to someone like you.”
Tanya had her cold eyes boring into mine. It was that look again that she had given me when I’d first seen her.
“I’ll bet you have him believing that you’re the perfect little girlfriend. You never argue with him or question where he’s been. I’ll bet you’re even still a virgin, aren’t you, saving yourself for marriage. That’s pretty pathetic, really. Look at him, Bella. He radiates sex. You can’t possibly think you can hold onto a man like Edward with the plain-Jane look you have going on. I mean you plant your own flowers for god sakes. Edward is a world traveler, he’s rich and young and so good looking. It’s time to step aside, Bella. Let him go before he lets you go.”
“You’ve been holding out on me, Edward. She’s beyond beautiful. She’s positively breathtaking.”
Garrett was one of the best Hollywood producers around. He was also a man-whore. He and Tanya were known to hook up whenever the occasion arose, even while we were together. I’d found out about this after I had ended our relationship.
“You’ll do good to remember that she isn’t like Tanya. She’s a good person, and more importantly, she’s mine.”
I knew Garrett and the type of men he tended to hang around; selfish and crass, using people for their own needs and then tossing them when they were finished.
“I’m sorry to interrupt, Mr. Cullen, but Ryan is ready to interview you.”
I smiled at the young man who was carrying a clipboard and had a headset with a microphone.
“Thank you, I’ll be right there.”
Garrett never told me what he had wanted to tell me. I felt assured that it wasn’t to tell me how pretty Bella was. Something was up, I could feel it.
Ryan Seacrest was a pretty popular guy in the Hollywood entertainment circle. He was usually the guy to interview people at these types of events. He was a good guy and good at what he did. He asked me the standard questions, nothing too difficult. Just as I answered his last question, I could feel my cell phone vibrate. I quickly ended my interview and slipped away to answer it.
“Dude, look at Bella,” Jasper’s voice was strained. He was obviously upset. I hadn’t noticed it before, but where Bella and Tanya were standing, they could be clearly seen by anyone who had been watching the interview.
I looked quickly to Bella. Her face was down and she was watching the bubbles in her glass. She wasn’t holding her pendant anymore.
“Just get her on this phone right now.”
“Dude, if you want to keep your girl, put her on the phone.”
Could Tanya have been right? It would make sense with his actions from the other night. He had avoided me and then he asked me to stay the night. I’d refused…Tanya was right.
“Babe?” Edward’s concerned voice caused me to look up. His phone was held out for me. I looked at him in confusion. “Jasper says it’s urgent.”
Oh, my god, was Alice hurt?
“Hello?” I answered slightly panicked.
“Bella, listen to me. Don’t say a single word or even look at Edward or Tanya. Can you do that for me?
“Good girl, now I’ve watched Edward give his interview and I saw you in the background. Alice says nice dress by the way, very classy.”
I wanted to thank her, but I felt the need to follow his directions.
“Listen to me carefully. I know that Tanya has been telling you things that were meant to hurt you. I watched your face as I watched her lips move. I saw the look on her face, Bella. Before you believe a word she says to you, there are things you need to know.”
I closed my eyes as I tried to hold back the tears brewing in them. The entire world had just seen my face on national television as Tanya berated me.
“She’s a jealous and manipulative bitch. You need to know that Edward broke things off with her to pursue you. She knows this. He’s honest to a fault and she knows he chose you over her. Bella, believe nothing that bottom-feeder says to you. Edward loves you and wants happily ever after with you, complete with the kids, the dog, PTA meetings, and someday, grandkids. Stand up straight and show that whore you love Edward.”
My eyes then rose to look at Tanya. The look of just having won a battle was written all over her face.
“She was only pretending to be your friend so she could stay close to Edward and not have him shove her away for her treachery. Trust me, when you tell Edward what she just said to you, it’ll be all over for her.”
My eyes were now on Edward, worry and pure concern written on his face. Jasper was being truthful.
“Thank you for telling me this, Jasper. I’ve encountered many snakes while tending to my little suburban garden and I’ve always found it best to just cut their little heads off and toss the body into the trash. Please tell Alice thank you and I love my dress,” I looked directly at Edward as I spoke the last statement. I pressed the end call button and passed the phone back to Edward. I smiled as I did.
“Babe, is everything alright?”
His words pulled at my heart. Edward was truly mine and I smiled even wider as I nodded my head.
“Edward, I’m a little concerned about some things Tanya has brought to my attention. I love you so much that if what she says is true, then some steps need to be taken.”
I watched as Tanya’s expression turned to that of horror. Edward closed the distance and placed his hands on my shoulders.
“Babe, what has she said, did I say something?”
I took his face in my hands, my eyes darting back and forth between his sad-looking green eyes.
“Edward, you’ve done nothing wrong. I’m sorry if I’m making you uncomfortable. It was never my intention.”
Edward tilted his head slightly as he tried to pull me closer.
“I’m not uncomfortable, sweet girl. I’m terrified that something has happened and you’re pulling away.”
I was certain my eyes became huge at this point.
“No, Edward, I’m not pulling away. It’s just…”
Edward moved his hands onto both of my cheeks, and we were so close nothing could have been put between us. I could feel his heart beating against my chest and I was certain he could feel mine.
“Please, sweet girl, tell me so I can fix it.”
I smiled at him and then turned my head to look at Tanya.
“That’s so strange,” I said to Tanya.
“I’ll just leave the two of you alone,” Tanya began to turn around.
“No, Tanya, I want you here. I want to make certain I get everything correct. That, and if what you say is true, you’ll need to be here to claim your prize.”
I felt this new tremor building inside of me. For the first time in my life, I had something I wanted to defend. I was not concerned with trying to avoid hurt feelings or causing any confusion. For the first time in my life, I cared about only what I wanted and desired.
“Bella, what’s going on?”
I turned back to look at Edward, it was time to cut the head off of the snake.
“Edward, you have to know that I love you with every fiber of my being. I’ve loved you since the moment I first saw you. I’ve told you this before, but after today, I need you to know that I love you enough to let you go if that’s what you need.” Edward tried to interject, but I quickly placed my fingers across his lips. “Please let me finish.”
Edwards’s eyes continued to travel back and forth. His skin was tinged pink, he was clearly upset.
“Tanya has told me some things that perhaps you’re too afraid to tell me or are worried about how I’ll react to them. I don’t want you to worry. If, after you hear what I have to say, you want to be with Tanya or even any other girl here tonight, I’ll understand and will try very hard to be a good friend to you.”
The words came easy, as I knew the answer before I asked. Tanya had used our friendship and that was not okay with me.
“Tanya told me some things that I already knew, like the fact that you’re handsome, rich, and single. She also told me some things I didn’t know, like the fact you enjoy casual sex with a different girl every night. Or how much you love being in the limelight. How you prefer a woman who can be eye candy for you wherever you go and yet turn a blind eye to any flirting you may do. How you’re not the kind of man to want a family with a house and a dog. She told me that I should let you go before you break my heart.”
I then turned to Tanya. “Did I leave anything out?” She didn’t answer.
I turned my face back to Edward. “But what she doesn’t know is that Jasper has been on to her this entire time she’s been pretending to be my friend. She doesn’t know that you gave me this amazing necklace for no reason at all. She doesn’t know how you make certain to tell me you love me first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. She doesn’t know that Jasper told me you broke things off with her to be with me or how you want happily ever after, all of it, and you want it with me.”
I closed the distance between us as I lowered my fingers from his mouth and replaced them with my lips.
Jasper and Alice had been right. Tanya was a snake. As I listened to my Bella tell me all the horrible lies Tanya had told her, I began to thank god that Bella was smart enough not to take off running. That she was willing to accept what Jasper was telling her as the truth. I would never be able to thank him enough for what he had done.
Bella’s lips felt like heaven and I never wanted to stop kissing her. I could have cared less that the movie was about to start or about all of the money that had been invested in the premier. I wanted my Bella and I wanted everyone standing around to know that she was one amazing woman and she was mine.
“Bella,” I whispered as I pulled away. I knew instantly what I wanted to do. I looked around the room and noticed nearly everyone was watching us and talking. Well, Bella, let’s give them something to talk about.
“Edward, you can’t seriously believe what she said, can you? I mean we’ve been friends for a long time and lovers even longer.”
Tanya’s voice was now like nails on a chalkboard. She had lied to my Bella and to me
“Save it, Tanya. I know what kind of person you can be. I just never thought you’d do something like this to me. How wrong I was to trust you.”
My voice might have been a little too loud and harsh, but Tanya deserved to suffer and be humiliated. That was what she had been trying to do to Bella and me. Turnabout was fair play.
Without a second thought, I reached into my jacket pocket and took out the small black box. I smiled as I remembered Bella dancing in my kitchen. If I was lucky, I could make that a daily occurrence.
“Bella,” my voice was as calm as I could get it. Slowly, I dropped to one knee, “I’ve been in love with you and adored you for so long. You’re a woman of dignity and strength, of purity and hope. But most of all, you’re the woman I dream of every night. Please…with all of these people as witnesses, make all my dreams a reality and do me the honor of becoming my wife…marry me, Bella.”
- Chapter 11
“Edward, I cant accept this.”
“You can and you will.”
“Dude this is a very expensive car.”
“Yes it is Jasper, but money means nothing if you cant enjoy it.”
Jasper stood blinking his eyes rapidly. Afraid to even touch the shiny red car that glistened in the sunshine.
“Edward, really, there were only a few hundred of these made in the world.”
I reached for his hand and firmly placed the keys in his hand.
“Yes I am very aware, now sit your skinny ass in the seat and get the hell out of here.”
He shook his head several times before he gave me a two finger salute and scurried around the car and into the seat. The roar of the engine made every head on the block turn and admire. Jasper stomped on the gas and he was gone in seconds.
“Are you ready?”
Bella’s gentle voice echoed in my ear.
I quickly turned and wrapped her in my arms. “More than ready.”
I kissed her pretty pink lips and then snuggled her under my chin.
“I’m glad to see he finally took the car.”
I laughted as I pulled her away from my body to look at her.
“It’s a good thing, I was about to pull out the big guns.”
After the Tanya fiasco, I waited on my bended knee for what felt like months. The range of emotions that flashed across Bellas face left me in a near panic attack.
I never knew one word could change your entire world, but it did. Once Bella finally said a very teary yes, I wrapped my arms around her and apologized to everyone as I rushed her back toward the waiting limos. I refused to wait another moment to make her my wife.
Bella was so overwhelmed with my actions that she just sat beside me as I called my housekeeper in Las Vegas to inform her to ready the house. I was on my way with my fiance and would be married the second we landed. My next call was to my pilot, informing him to get the plane ready. I was about to call my sister and parents, when I looked at a very sad looking Bella. Her eyes were fixed on something outside the limo, but her gaze was much further away. Her hands were busy wrapping themselves around each other.
“Bella, love, what is it? What has you so sad? Have you changed your mind?”
Her watery eyes then met mine. My heart took a nose dive directly into my stomach as I took her sadness in.
“No Edward, I haven’t changed my mind, its just…”
I tossed my phone next to me on the seat as I turned her body to face me.
“Baby, tell me, please.”
She reached up and wiped away the first of many tears that stained her perfect face.
“Im honored that you chose me and I’m trying to be grateful that you want to wisk me off to Vegas for a quick wedding.”
“But,” I prompted her.
She blew out a quick breath and then let out a nervous giggle.
“It’s completely silly really. Its just that I have always dreamed of having my wedding in my garden surrounded by my roses and jasmine; wearing the dress my mother and grandmother wore, surrounded by my friends and family and then dancing with my husband under the stars.”
I watched her face and could see her picturing that night in her minds eye. I was so caught up in the moment of finally having her forever, I neglected to include her in my plans.
“Its not silly, it sound absolutely perfect. And I will settle for nothing less.”
After I cancelled my plans, I had the limo driver take us to a little known restaurant, one that I had owned for years. Once the hostess saw me, she led us to the private dining area in the back of the room. Our meal was relaxing as I pulled Bella’s shoes off, and took off my tux jacket. We sat beside the fireplace, laughed, and ate our dinner. Once we finished, our driver took us back to our hotel, where I held Bella in my arms all night.
When we announced to our family and friends that we would be having a very small wedding in Bella’s backyard, you could hear the excitement in both Esme and Alice’s squeals. Bella indeed had her mothers dress, and took it to a well know seamstress to have it altered.
Esme and Alice hired an electrician to cover every tree in the back yard with tiny lights. Bella stood her ground when she informed those two that it would only be friends and family. She wanted it to be a simple yet elegant affair.
The night before our wedding, I held Bella in my arms as we stood on her front porch. I loved being at Bella’s house and I had told her over and over that I was selling my house and moving in here. Bella made this house so very warm and a place to raise our children. I procrastinated for over a hour before Jasper and Emmett finally dragged me off that last step. I didn’t want to take the chance of her coming to her senses, and discovering she could do so much better than me.
The morning of our wedding, the men gathered at Rosalie’s house to get ready. Alice was so paranoid that I would see Bella, that she had every curtain drawn in the house. She was a complete idiot if she thought for a second I would do anything to tempt fate. Bella had admitted to me one night that she never believed I would ever feel more for her than friendship. I took her in my arms and told her that I could never be just her friend, I would always do everything in my power to stay beside her, loving, and cherishing her.
Time stood still as I watched Bella walk down that aisle, littered with pink rose pedals. Her eyes locked with mine and it took everything I could muster to keep my feet planted in my designated spot. I wanted to rush to her, pick her up, and run away with her, hide her away in a tall tower where she would be hidden from the eyes of other men.
As her hand was gently placed in mine, I said a silent prayer to the good Lord above that sometimes we get things we ask for, even if we have to have the help of others. Our vows were not original; they had been professed between couple for as long as time. But when the minister gave me permission to kiss my bride. I did so with my own personal style and finesse. I dipped her so far back that her hair nearly touched the ground, cat calls could be heard for miles, but I couldn’t have cared less. Bella was now my wife, and I would do everything to keep it that way.
I twirled Bella around the dance floor with her roses and jasmine looking on. The aromas they created made our celebration beyond perfect. As the last guest bid us goodbye, I swung my new bride in my arms and headed for our bedroom at the top of the stairs.
Historically, I have been with a number of women, but Bella is the first one that I have ever been in love with, the last one as well.
I took my time with her, slowly caressing each inch of porcelain skin that was revealed to me as I removed her dress. I listen to Bella’s body to tell me when she was ready. I continued to whisper my undying love to her as I readied myself at her entrance.
Nothing in my adult life prepared me for the feeling of being this close to Bella. I painstakingly crept until I felt her barrier. I looked into her eyes as I pushed slightly deeper. Her body jerked and several tears began to run down her beautiful face. I stopped my movements, and had decided to remove myself from causing her any further pain.
“No, please just give me a minute,” her delicate voice broke my concentration.
I let her tell me when she was ready and as I began my movements again, I felt Bella lift her leg to wrap around my hip. It was at that moment, I completely lost myself in Bellas caress.
I woke the next morning to find my wife in the kitchen, setting freshly baked muffins on the counter. I waited until she placed the hot pan in the sink before I wrapped my arms around her and then took her back up the stairs to show my love for her again.
Bella had let it slip that she wanted to visit Italy, thus making my honeymoon plans much easier. She refused to stay in a hotel for the first night of our married lives, she told me we had two perfectly good houses to sleep in and that having a hotel room was a waste. This actually worked out better due to the fact that I had been trying to get Jasper to accept my thank you gift. What he did for me showed me how much of a loyal and true friend he really was. I have no doubt that if he hadn’t intervened when he did, I may not have my beautiful wife.
I knew Jasper had been salivating over this car since he first saw it in a popular action movie. I had to pull some strings, but I managed to get one for him. It was a pretty car, and for a moment I thought about keeping it for myself, however when I heard Bella’s laughter from the other room, I knew the car was his.
It took several attempts to get him to agree, but as I watched him pull away in his Koenigsegg CCX-R, I knew that the girl that stood wrapped in my arms was worth more than the price of a car. I would have the rest of my life with her and I would make certain she was happy for every single second.
Too often we are told that happily ever after is just a fairy tale. That may be true for some, but it doesn’t have to be the norm. When I began this fiction, it was to say thank you to a person I barely knew. Although we have never seen each other face to face, we have developed a bond. She is a fellow author and gave me a kind word during a hard time. When I was beginning to write Shamrocks, I received a review that basically told me my writing was dull and boring. Once my friend Kim heard about this, she made certain I knew that was far from the truth. Thank you Kim for not letting me quit.
Kim’s A/N: Always baby! I will always be here to tell you that sometimes people suck and say mean things, and we all know you are better than you and they think! I will be behind you, whenever, wherever.