A/N: Hide the pitchforks, ladies...here I am...I know it's been like...forever. Had to deal with a very crappy end of the old and start of the new year. BUT...here I am. Not making any promises on the forthcoming posting schedule, though :) On the upside: this is the longest chapter EVER...Enjoy :)
Thanks to everyone out there for your love and support. This has been only partially beta'ed by the awesome resident trio who make sense of my rogue commas: Eifeltwr, Black Hale and Peeptoe. Will update when all rogue commas are fixed.
Shout-outs for the week: All the girls at TFFA, each and every one of you. You all rock. KitsuShel, for letting me share with her the jewel that is Parachute to the very end. Sniff. Busymommy and AstonMartin, who are the dynamic duo behind MoorWard (which WILL be continued, anyway). To ButterflyBetty, for recc'ing this sight unseen and for reviewing every single chapter. To BellaDonnaCullen, for the jewel that is TPoL.
Update on the forthcoming outtakes of BCG: Outtake for Vicky - BPOV of the third chapter (i.e. the flight when CluelessWard sit right beside her); outtake for Annie - Marcus's POV of the Christmas Party; Gabby's outtake - TBD. Gabby, give me a shout whenever.
Disclaimer: Not mine. All Stephenie Meyer's genius. Plot is mine, though. I enjoy making them do crazy things.
I'm climbing the stairs to Bella's room, my hand firmly intertwined into hers. It's more like she's dragging me upstairs. I follow very, very willingly and don't mind being dragged in the least.
The house has gone almost eerily quiet. It seems like everybody's vanished into a sudden crack in the space-time continuum. Doctor Who has moved to LA.
"Where has everyone gone?"
Bella chuckles. Of course she knows what they're up to. "Well…"
"B, not fair to keep me in the dark…I've had my embarrassing moment today, I'd like to avoid any repeat performances," I urge, knowing that she'll have some fun at my expense anyway.
"Scattered around the house? Going at it like bunnies behind closed doors? Hitting the sauna? Your guess is as good as mine," she answers, shrugging.
"B, look me in the eye. I want to see your face while you say that. And don't mention going at it like bunnies again if my sister is in the near vicinity."
I gulp uneasily, realising just now that while Rosalie and Emmett could be legitimately jumping each other's bones, this tally would leave Alice to the mercy of Jasper's devices. I do not even dare venture to imagine this possibility. It's just too disturbing.
Bella turns around on the top step of the stairs to face me, a sly grin on her face. She was kidding me.
"B, you fibber. You were fucking with me, weren't you?"
She laughs – a care-free, musical belly laugh. Unladylike and unrestrained, but so purely Bella that it tugs at my heartstrings and, before I know, I'm laughing myself.
I huff and try to give her my tame, diluted version of a stink eye. I'm an actor, but I'm no good at this. She smiles again – I'm a goner.
"Alright, guilty as charged. Sorry, I couldn't resist…" she trails off. She's clearly implying something else and I want to know where her reasoning is headed.
"Did you notice…?" I can't even phrase a full-fledged question, because I'm not sure myself what I want (or don't want) to know.
"That Alice made goo-goo eyes at Jasper? That he kept staring at her ass?"
Bella's walking down a long corridor and is speaking over her shoulder.
"He was staring at what?" I'm nearly bellowing, but I'm past caring.
"Don't go all big brother on her, now. She was laying it on pretty thick, if you ask me."
I can't help but gape like a fish and stare at her, wide-eyed. Bella stops outside a huge oaken double door and unlocks it. Why would anyone lock their own bedroom, in their own house?
"I know you're probably thinking I'm a step ahead of crazy, for locking my bedroom like this, as if it's nothing short of the Bat-Cave. With Emmett in the house, you really don't want to know what he comes up with. This is my safe haven. It must be an Em-free zone."
"Do you read minds, B?" I ask, hugging her from behind, skimming her neck with my nose. It's liberating, to be able to think I can just touch her like this and then do it…because I can. Because I want to. Whenever I want to.
"No, Boss. There was just a question mark the size of Ireland scrunched up between your wild eyebrows, that's all."
Busted. She knows me too well.
"Wild eyebrows? What's wrong with my eyebrows?" I can't decide whether this is meant to be complimentary or not, while I follow her through the door.
For a split second, I remain waiting for an answer that doesn't come, when I find myself glued to the back of the closed door instead. I feel the warmth of Bella's body tantalisingly close to me, and every nerve ending in my own body is aware of her presence.
My Business Class Girl is tackling me and I feel a devious grin form on my face, before I even have the time to realise that she's just grabbed my hands in hers. I can't move. That is, I could move, if I put my mind to it, because I certainly outweigh her, and I can physically overpower her without batting an eyelid, but who am I to complain?
Let her tackle you, Cullen. Good things come to those who get tackled and all that shit.
I decide to be helpful and bend my neck slightly to nuzzle her nose with mine. My gesture is meant to be tender, but she doesn't want tender now – she's attacking me.
Her hands are roaming all over my arms and shoulders, till they find purchase in my dishevelled hair, where they take up permanent residence. While her hands are caressing my hair, I feel her sweetness longing, but her mouth tells a different story and her kisses soon turn into a tsunami of sensations – hot, needy and lustful.
And here I was, thinking I'd be the one relegated forever to the role of the horny, frustrated, blue-balled teenager. It turns out that my Bella is as eager as I am to lay her hands on me. I'm more than happy to oblige. My hands are now free to roam over her figure and, right on cue, they land on her ass. However, my reliable friend – my lone and overwrought brain cell – has other ideas and saves me from a potential fuck-up by redirecting my hands to her shoulders. Exerting a considerable amount of restraint, I go back to hugging her to my chest, and slow down our heated make-out session to an equally hot, but more politically correct, array of butterfly kisses on her collarbone, neck and jaw.
I place one last tender and chaste kiss to her lips and finally open my eyes to drown myself in her gaze. Her luscious brown eyes are bright and shiny, and there's a shade of molten milk chocolate I've never seen there, maybe because I've never been allowed to look so closely before.
"I think I'd like to have a look around, since it's my turn to ask embarrassing questions…" I break the silence with a teasing whisper, to test her reaction.
"You may look wherever you want," she answers, still breathless.
I mentally pat myself on the back, because I did that to her. My Business Class Girl, who is usually all put together and perfectly in control, is a writhing and panting mess in my arms, just because I spent a few minutes kissing her and let her tackle me against her bedroom door.
I realise the potentially interesting implications of her last sentence. 'Wherever I want' has possibilities. She still has a lot more brain cells than I do, though, because she catches the newest hint of a sly sparkle in my eyes and cuts me off before I can even protest.
"That is, my underwear drawer is still off-limits to you, Boss."
She calls me Boss, but she's the bossy one now. My sorry arse doesn't mind one bit. While she's staring at me arms akimbo, with a determined look on her face which, by the way, is still beautifully flushed by our most recent activities, I take a good look around me. Her room will probably tell me more about her than she's ever meant to till now.
Bella's room is literally huge – this house is built on a whole different scale as compared to the houses I've been used to, even to my parents' house in London. We've never been crammed into a tiny crib, but this is really unprecedented. Alice's flat in Milan is fancy, but it's smallish because she couldn't afford a bigger one on her salary in the area that she chose, close to the fashion district. My own last flat in LA – before I happily became Bella and Emmett's neighbour – was a hole in the wall.
The whole wall opposite the entrance is a floor-to-ceiling window, with spotless panes from wall to wall. There's a king-sized bed to the left side of the door and another tiny door to one side of the bed – that must lead into her bathroom. The bed faces the gigantic window. There's a long desk lined against the wall opposite the bathroom door, and shelves with books and music line every other free surface in the room, all of them neatly arranged on the shelves. She must have hundreds of books. Even better, she must have thousands of CDs. I must go through this collection and pick her brain a bit – after I've borrowed some of her music which, no doubt, will offer me some interesting choices.
What really captures my attention, though, is her desk. There's a shiny and majestic iMac in a corner and her familiar laptop is right next to it. I see her even more familiar blackberry and her planner open on a random page. There are stacks of papers everywhere, randomly scattered with sticky notes that bear her unmistakably neat handwriting. Pens, pencils, highlighters and a couple of empty mugs dot the remaining free surface of the humongous desk. I am pleasantly surprised to see this disorganised and colourful clutter, because I'd kind of pegged her as a neat freak – apparently she's not, or at least, not in closed quarters.
There are three corkboards on the wall above the desk, each of them has a heading – 'past', 'present', 'work'. Now that's interesting. The corkboards are replete with papers, postcards, photographs, and whole lot of rumpled concert stubs. This is where I really get to pick her brain.
"May I have a closer look at that?" I ask, pointing to the wall of mysteries. She nods, her adorable blush creeping up on her cheeks while she's worrying her lower lip. Jackpot – there's something worth sifting through on those boards.
I pace closer and closer to the wall and hear a graceful thud beside me. She's hopped on the desk so she can hover while I conduct my very thorough investigation.
My name is Cullen, Nosy Cullen.
I start with 'past' and let my eyes wander over the corkboard. Concert stubs are the dominant note here. Music is my other realm, besides acting (even if I say so myself) and I'm itching to know what kind of music Bella listens to. We never talk about things while we're working, we just…work till we drop.
The stubs are all crumpled and worn and date back to the early '00s, even to the last scraps of the 90s. It's an impressive, eclectic mix – Charlatans, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Blur, Oasis, Metallica, Depeche Mode, Eagles, Muse, Soundgarden, Rage Against The Machine? Wow – my girl is even more hardcore than I am. She loves her grunge rockers. At a safe distance, I hope.
There's also a coffee-blotted flyer with a list of songs. I've seen tons of these – it's a set list. I recognise some of the songs. Good old 70s rock – Led Zeppelin and The Who, mainly – and a few newer tunes thrown into the mix. I've never heard the name of the band, though. The heading reads 'The Quads' – 13 May 2001, with the name and logo of an Oxford pub. I glance sideways at her in silent question, pointing my finger at the flyer.
"Who are these fellows?" I ask, my curiosity now definitely piqued.
She answers with a ghost of a smile on her face. "It was Jasper's and Marcus's band at Oxford. That was their first real gig, the very first year I was at Oxford. Rose kind of roped me into tagging along once she had found out it was my birthday and I wasn't going to celebrate it."
I nod, pensively digesting this first glimpse into her past. Why wouldn't my beautiful, fun-loving girl want to celebrate her birthday? A pang of unease stabs me, only to vanish with the relief that at least she'd had Rosalie and Jasper by her side.
My hand motions to all the concert stubs. "Did you really go to all those concerts? I mean, Bella…Rage Against The Machine? Metallica? I'm impressed."
She snorts. "Why? You thought I was more of a Take That chick? Because that's a deal-breaker waiting to happen…"
My eyes are about to burst out of their sockets. "You wouldn't…over that?"
She smirks again, betraying her jibe to me, but averts her eyes quickly as she answers. "There's nothing to break yet, Edward."
Just like that, her mood shifts and I'm suddenly afraid I've overstepped an unseen mark. My hand inches closer to her form, graciously perched on her desk beside me.
"I was only kind of worried that you'd get manhandled among that crowd of gruff grunge rockers, B. That's all." I whisper, running a soothing hand through her hair. She sighs and relaxes into my touch. She raises her head to gaze steadily at me again. Fuck-up averted. Another self-pat on the back.
Good save, Cullen. Keep it up.
"And you think Jasper and Marcus would let me go alone? They were always along for the ride and Rose, too. It was always the four of us, for so long. Seems like another life now."
She sounds almost wistful, nostalgic. I remember Emmett's account of her time at Oxford – she must have been a model student. I realise that I thought she was a model student, whilst it seems that she was hopping from one gig to another the whole time. How did she do that?
"Question mark again, Boss. What are you thinking? That I was all play and no work?" She smirks again.
"I'm quite put out that you're so diverted by this, B. This was supposed to be my fun. I want to dig skeletons out of closets. I bet yours are arranged in alphabetical order or some shit."
She snorts. Business Class Girl snorts. And it's a delightful sound – how can she look so otherworldly beautiful to me and then be so refreshingly real?
It's called being pussy-whipped, Cullen. She can do no wrong. Get used to it.
"Oh, Boss, you'll get your fun alright. Learn to look in the right places."
No shit, Sherlock. This is a clue. I follow her gaze and, invariably, it lands on something of interest. It's a picture. It must be quite old. Not the sepia, crackled type of old. Just worn. Aged. Well-cherished. Like the embarrassing baby pictures my mum keeps in her wallet. I had an unruly blond mop then and she apparently used to drag me around with a contraption that looked alarmingly like a harness. Yes, I was a rebel kid.
Something in the picture, other than its supposed timestamp, irrationally captures my attention. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Lot A – 'A Picture Of An Unknown Guy In A Park', starting at the modest price of a punch in the gut.
The picture shows an annoyingly good-looking guy lying on his side in the middle of a lawn, his right arm propped up to support his head. He's in a white v-neck t-shirt, with well-worn, low-rise jeans. There's a sliver of skin showing between his t-shirt and the waistline of his jeans. He's got a cocky grin on his face and his eyes are so blue that my head hurts. This is a handsome arsehole.
Worse, I've seen this handsome arsehole before.
He was one of the men in black at Angela's Christmas party. The one that put his hands on B and twirled her around as if she was a weightless butterfly. The one whose presence indirectly persuaded me that getting trashed was a good way to spend the evening.
Mad, irrational jealousy flares in my chest. I really see red. I want to punch him in the gut now. Why is this fucker proudly displayed on Bella's corkboard? I feel my hand inch closer to the picture and I must actively fight the urge to snatch it from its place and rip it to shreds.
I'm about to grill Bella about it, but we're rudely – and mercifully? – interrupted by her phone, blaring David Bowie's 'Rebel Rebel' all over the place. I've never heard this ringtone before. It must be someone new.
Come on, Cullen, it's not like you know how many ringtones she has. Or do you?
She glances at the screen and groans at the same time. I decide it would be the epitome of rudeness to rejoice of her evident discomfort and settle for 'mildly relieved' instead. This doesn't mean that I'm not itching to know who's calling. She raises one finger, indicating that she has to take the call and that she'll make this as quick and painless as she can.
"What can I do for you, Sir?"
Suddenly, she sounds a lot more British than she usually does. Her accent is so Oxonian that it could cut glass and I get the impression that she's a) doing this on purpose and b) 'Sir' is not meant as a sign of respect. Who the heck is she talking to?
She nods and hums absentmindedly as the speaker at the other end rambles on and on. She looks uninterested until I see her eyebrows twitch. Her eyes dart to the golf ball on her desk and I can tell she's fighting the urge to grab it and start tossing it from hand to hand. She's nervous and pissed.
"No can do, Sir. I'm on holiday and I'm not cutting back on my days off to fly my ass to NY. I'll have to be there at the beginning of February anyway, can't this really wait until then?"
I shoot her a questioning look, wondering if everything is quite all right. She shakes her head and mouths 'I'm OK'.
"Well, since apparently we can't work it out for ourselves, why don't you call my fucking agent and take this up with her?"
Damn. She's really pissed. Whoever it is at the other end of the line, I'm almost sorry for them. I wouldn't unleash a rabid Bella even on my worst enemy…but on second thoughts…
"Marcus, that's final. I can't drop everything the second you're asking, because I'm not under any contractual obligation yet. If you're dying to get me signed, then you should probably be more accommodating. Angela will confirm the same fucking thing I've just told you – that this will have to wait until I can optimise my schedule and blend it with Edward's."
She's talking to Marcus? I want to hit myself with a very heavy and blunt object. I want to kick my sorry arse for being so dense.
They're the same fucking guy, Cullen.
Marcus at Oxford, Marcus on the corkboard, Marcus the man in black, Marcus on the phone. That's one guy, but why do I want to pummel all four of them?
While I'm lost in my murderous plans, Bella wraps up the conversation and hangs up. Time to stick to my guns and pop a very, very embarrassing question to my Business Class Girl.
"B, I hate to ask this, but…it's a kind of no-go question, so I'll ask away."
She eyes me warily, but with a small smile forming on her lips as she resumes her perch on the desk, after shuffling some papers around to make more room for her perky ass.
Not that you're watching, Cullen.
"What's the deal with this Marcus bloke, anyway?"
Now I'm the cowardly bastard who can't look her in the eye, because she would call me out on my bullshit. I can't look at her, but I have to bask in her presence, so I get closer to the desk and to her, until I'm standing between her legs. She is eye-level with me, or would be, if I actually looked her in the eye.
She sighs, but gingerly places a less than perfectly manicured finger to raise my chin minutely. As a reflex reaction, I lean into her touch as my eyes roam over her features. This girl plays me like an instrument and I've not even taken her out on a first, honest-to-god date yet.
"I told you it was always the four of us at Oxford, right? Marcus is Jasper's age. They were roommates. They were in the same band. I was a total music and literature junkie, just as they were. Marcus and I happened to share both our majors, so we had a lot of classes and professors in common, minus the age difference. It went kind of…downhill from there after that. I haven't seen him in the last…six years? I had no idea I'd see him again."
A lot of details, but no real meat there, Business Class Girl. I need to refine my questioning techniques.
"This still doesn't tell me two more things I want to know."
"Fire away, Edward. You can ask me anything," she says, as she wraps her arms around my waist. Damn her. Is this is her version of a diversion strategy? Because my dick thinks it's working.
"Who was he to you, B? I need to know. I need you to tell me. God, stop that hand right where it is or I'll not be answerable for the consequences…"
It's a winning strategy. She's probably got this shit patented, with her sneaky quasi-lawyer skills. Her hands are drawing lazy circles on the fiery skin of my lower back. I hiss, willing my hips not to respond to her touch.
Her forehead falls to my shoulder and, as she answers softly, her breath sends goose bumps on my collarbone and chest. I'm a goner, again.
"Jasper developed a very annoying tendency of setting me up on blind dates, because he was afraid I'd end up glued to the shelves of the Bodleian library forever. Halfway through my freshman year, a very clueless Marcus happened to be one of them. Jasper had pulled a prank on both of us, quite unaware of the possible consequences."
"And?" I prod on, now circling her waist with my arms, my hands sneaking up her back. Two can play that game, B. Let's see if I still have the hang of it.
"We dated for a while. End of story." Dismissive. Non-committal. Uh-oh. Definite no-go zone.
"And for all the whisky in Scotland, how in fuck did he end up at Angela's? How did he end up on your corkboard? Why is he still on your corkboard? Why is he making demands on your time? Can I punch him silly next time I see him?"
She pulls away from me minutely and I panic instantly, only to relax again when she doesn't release my waist from her tender grip. She only leans her head to the side and eyes me sceptically, with a half-smile playing on her perfect lips. Her eyes are kind, playful, with a twinge of…concern? She's not mad, nor repulsed by my hissy fit. I take this as a good sign.
"You are very, very sexy when you're jealous, Edward. And that's a lot more than two things that you're asking, by the way."
You're a loser, Cullen. Business Class Girl 1 – Cullen 0.
"Am I, now? Why am I not on your corkboards, then?" I feel kind of smug, because she just said I'm sexy, but I want to be there too, I want to erase any and all of the Gucci-clad Marcuses of her existence. I want to be there, in her life, in her past and present, in her future, in her every scrap of meaningless paper, not just in the random notes she scribbles all the time in her overflowing daily planner.
Because you've snuck more than one peep at those, Cullen…
"Do you really think you're not in there? I thought I told you to look in the right places…" She whispers, softly, drawing me back closer to her. I take deeper, more relaxed breaths, my hostile thoughts slowly waning now that I'm back in her arms.
"The picture has some sort of sentimental value, that's all there is to it. I took it at the first Glastonbury festival the two losers dragged me to. All because Jasper wanted to see the Charlatans. It was ages ago."
I'm still feeling quite pathetic, and very, very jealous. And a huge, whining baby, but I can't help it. If my wise mum were here, though, she'd probably tell me that there's no use crying over spilt milk. The corkboard, after all, is blatantly marked 'past'. For one second, my brain clears from all the hostility that's been clouding it, and I repeat Bella's last words in my head. 'Look in the right places…'
Time to move on to the next corkboard, the one marked 'present'. To do this, I reluctantly scoot Bella a few inches away from me, as her back is blocking my view. I don't want to let go of her, though, so I move right along with her. Her back is to the wall, of course, but this isn't important. I am the one who needs a front-row seat.
With a fleeting thought, it occurs to me that this skeleton-digging is a bit similar to stalking. Stalking is good. My stalking skills with Business Class Girl are nothing but outstanding. I seriously own that shit.
And Stalker is your middle name, Cullen.
This corkboard is another colourful mess – every tiny space is filled up. I see dozens of postcards – Milan, Florence, Los Angeles, London. There's a London Tube map, and it's not so recent. At least, the ones they're handing out just now have a different design on the cover. I spot a couple of Oyster cards, too – I guess she doesn't really need them now.
There are several email printouts. Would it be incredibly rude if I looked at the senders? The subject lines are hilarious, though. One says 'Get your shit together and haul your ass over here'. Another reads 'Come to the dark side. We have palm trees. And Disneyland.' They both sound like something Emmett would write. A couple more start with 'Isabella, sweetie…' – the faint motherly tone clues me in that they might be from her mother. There are several cooking recipes printouts. It looks like Bella is a fan of Jamie Oliver. Of course, she had to be a good cook, too, on top of everything else.
There's a picture of Bella's motorbike, the infamous Tiger. A bold rider clad in black leather riding gear is astride the sleek, powerful and dangerous contraption. It takes me a minute to realise that it's Bella herself. Damn, she really looks hot riding that thing.
But you still wish she was riding you instead, Cullen. Admit it.
There are also a lot of printouts from what could look like a contract or a script. These sheets of paper are all dotted here and there with Bella's characteristically neat side notes, scribbled in the regular and elegant handwriting that's become so familiar to me. I inch closer to read them.
This isn't a contract. This isn't a script. I catch names here and there. There's dialogue, and detailed descriptions that go on for paragraphs and paragraphs. This is all hers. This is what she's writing. This is what she was reading to Emmett that day in the gym. Now there's a good line of questioning, but I put this on the back burner while I snoop around some more.
There's an email from Angela, because I recognise the logo in her electronic signature. She's emailing Bella details on an upcoming meeting. I glance at the date – it was the evening of the Christmas party. I file this detail away for later, too.
The last remote corner of the corkboard has my attention riveted in two nano-seconds flat. A picture and a few magazine clippings catch my eye. The picture is a blurry shot from my younger acting days. To this day, I still get haunted by those horrible pictures of me sporting an unlikely hairdo and what Alice calls 'questionable wardrobe choices'. For some reason, a picture of yours truly from my Cedric days is inconspicuously displayed on Bella's corkboard. Next to it, there's a newspaper clipping announcing some of the roles I might or might not be cast in for the next year. Another clipping hails the latest award I've won. It's from the day Angela gave me an ultimatum and punished me with an assistant. Now this deserves some quality questioning, too.
"B, what's with the shrine over there?" My tone is even too smug. Perhaps I should tone this down, maybe she's embarrassed. Wait, no – this is too much fun. I get to fluster the hell out of her now.
She clears her throat softly and, over her shoulder, she points to the exact spot where the Cedric picture is pinned to the corkboard.
"I'll have you know that I'm a Harry Potter fan," she says, solemnly. I nod, remembering that I already know that from my stalker days.
"And? Looks like someone did her homework here…" I still sound cocky and I'm doing nothing to dispel my smugness.
On an ordinary day, Bella would probably deck me for using this tone with her but now…now the tables have turned, the whole balance of who we are is shifting. The air is charged with a million questions, and even more emotions. I'm just happy to be here with her and that her limits, her walls, are slowly falling to reveal the real Bella to me. I'm learning a lot of things I didn't know. She doesn't seem equally comfortable with this, but I can't quite figure out why. She is quick to recover her cool, though. I guess she doesn't want me to see her unease. My Bella, my cute control-freak.
"And I'll have you know that Hufflepuff is totally lame. Who wants to be in Hufflepuff? Only the guys that get done away with, I'm sure." She's chuckling.
"Come on, B. You've sorted through all sorts of my own crap, I guess you've seen more embarrassing things than a few gossip rag clippings from my past. I'm curious, though, why do you keep them here, when you can have first-hand information?"
She shrugs as if this is no big deal. For her, there's probably a very practical explanation. For me, the fact that she took the time to cut my picture out and keep it is a very, very big deal.
"As you said, I did my homework. Confession time? I hardly had any idea who you were when Angela called me and told me you needed an assistant. Your name did ring a distant bell, but I had no idea what you'd been up to lately. I did some digging, and then I hit the jackpot," she says, a sly, diverted smile on her face.
"What did you do? Googled me? Perez-Hiltoned me?"
She shakes her head, still smiling. "Better. I asked Rosalie. She's a fountain of knowledge, you know? And then more bells did ring, and I remembered the Harry Potter movie. Funny, not even one of my favourite ones…"
I huff and disentangle from her embrace only to cross my arms on my chest. "Rosalie? Oh, right. Investment banker turned fangirl. Ugh."
"You have no idea the sort of stunts they pull. It's scary."
I groan. "Actually, I have. Remember, I'm the one who walks the red carpets."
I'm normally a pretty reclusive person who doesn't hang out with a ton of people, apart from my family and a few friends. Crowds and flashes don't agree with me, nor does the screaming, but I've had to get used to it, over the last year and a half. Bella senses my own discomfort now and grips my hands.
"I didn't mean to make you uneasy, Edward. I didn't know you, then."
Impulsively, I kiss her forehead. "I'm not mad at you, B. It's just the situation. I knew what I was getting into. Well, I didn't – but I'd never have met you, otherwise."
"Says the Emperor of Cheese. You're sure this doesn't irk you? Because I can take it down, if you want."
My eyes narrow to slits while I concoct my counter-proposal. I kiss her slowly as a lazy smile forms on her lips. I feel her smile into our kiss and hold on tighter to her.
"Actually, you could go one better. You could hang your mum's picture here. I would really like that."
She giggles. "Would you? Even if it's photoshopped?" She kisses me this time, no doubt to silence me.
"It's not photoshopped!" I protest, my ego wounded.
"Edward, they're all photoshopped. But you did look pretty hot in that one. Mum did a good job, after all."
I shake my head in disbelief. "Can you believe it, that they know each other? Alice and your mum, I mean."
She chuckles and nods. "Small world, I guess. Seems like everyone we know is connected. I bet this is coming back to bite us in the ass, sooner or later. Alice, my mum, Angela being your agent, Russell and Jasper… Hell, Russell and your Dad!"
A thought hits me and I slap my forehead with my free hand. The other has resumed its favourite activity – running circles on Bella's skin. "And we've never met before? That's just crazy!"
"It is – but think, we don't have to worry about that now, do we?"
"No, we don't. And I'm a lucky bastard, because I'll bet you wouldn't have given me the time of day otherwise."
She scoffs slightly. "You're always berating yourself, I don't like it."
"And you're deflecting. Let's get back to my original questions, please." I say, motioning with my hand for her to continue talking.
"Your original grilling, you mean. Alright, what do you want to know now?"
After one more peck on her lips, I steel myself for my onslaught of questions. First order of business – her manuscript.
"Why didn't you tell me you were a writer, B?" I ask, softly, my forehead flush with hers, my eyes boring into hers. She can't escape me, like this.
She sighs. When she speaks, her voice is down to an hesitating whisper. "I…I wasn't sure…I didn't know… how you would take it. I'm hardly a writer, I'm just dabbling and Ang…well, you know how she is…"
"B, you're rambling. And you're anything but a dabbler, I remember how quickly you turned that lousy script around. The director was climbing the walls he was so excited. He was ready to boot his own screenwriter and hire you instead."
She huffs, clearly uncomfortable with the high praise. "Don't exaggerate, it was just one paragraph. Anyway…One of the reasons I moved to LA…"
"Besides leaving Jasper high and dry?" I cut in.
"Yeah, besides that. Brownie points for remembering that, Boss. You do pay attention whenever you want to."
She's shamefully right. I only pay attention whenever I want. If she's involved, the 'whenever' easily turns into 'always'. What can I say? I'm extremely selective.
Keep telling yourself that, Cullen.
"Anyway. One of the reasons was that I wanted more time to write. Obviously, while working with Jasper that was nearly impossible. Well, now I have a little more time and... I have a manuscript sort of ready. Angela's been sending it out to several publishers, much to my chagrin. Turns out that some of them are actually interested. Go figure."
"Go figure, she says! It's a huge deal, Bella…It's…It could be such a breakthrough for you…and then…"
And then it hits me. Would Bella the world-renowned author still give me the time of day? Would she even still work for me? Would she even still live in LA?
My face must betray my emotions, because she immediately calls me out on it.
"See? This is why I didn't want to tell you, yet. There's nothing final, it might even not work out at all, judging from my latest phone call with Marcus."
"Marcus, again? What's with Marcus and your manuscript?"
"Right. He's a commissioning editor in NY now. Angela sent him my manuscript, he wants to publish it. If he keeps up the haughty behaviour though, he won't even see the back of it."
"Has he been…untoward to you? Has he been…disrespectful?" I urge, hugging her tighter. I sound like a character from a lame Regency novel, but I don't care. I might still rest my case and decide to punch Marcus.
"Are you real, Edward? Sometimes I wonder…" she whispers in my ear. The sound of her voice goes straight below my belt. Damn brain cells.
"Sometimes I wonder what lengths I will go to keep you safe, B… if the loser misbehaves…"
"Jasper and Emmett will deck him before you do, but it won't come to that. He's salivating over my manuscript and he's itching to get his hands on the publishing rights. He's lording our friendship over me to get his wish in everything."
I can't resist a snicker. The loser may have known her for years but he's going down a dangerous path. I've known her for barely two months, but even I am aware that there's no steering Bella where she doesn't want to go.
"Give him a taste of Bossy Bella, he won't know what hit him," I comment, smug again.
"Coming right up. I call the shots this time, not him. Anything else, Edward?"
I notice that she's dropped the usual 'Boss' for my given name. It thrills me every time.
There's one last corkboard to examine. It's full of familiar things – printouts of my latest interviews in the works, carefully edited by Bella's hand, pictures of cover shots for the same interviews, Angela's emails with my schedules. A huge monthly printout of my calendar, marking all the shindigs I have to attend in the coming weeks. Green lines mark Bella's days off against my own working days, marked in red. There are very few red lines in here, and a lot of green ones. It's as clear as day that she could have gone to NY to meet Marcus, if she wanted. I have my answer now, I think.
"B, why didn't you agree to go to NY now?"
She's still sitting on the desk, her legs lazily wrapped around me. She holds me tighter to her as she answers, her gaze unwavering. "And cut back on my time with you, now that Alice has flown you back? Never!"
I feel a blinding smile on my face. She did this to stay with me. I can't control myself anymore and all my other questions are forgotten.
"B, what are all these papers on your desk?" I ask, breathless.
"My manuscript, your schedule…the ordinary crap."
"Then I'm about to kiss you senseless on top of my schedule. Actually, can we squeeze this in every day? Kiss you senseless, daily. Can that be arranged?" My hands are roaming all over her chest. I can feel her shallow breaths mingle with mine.
"I'll see what I can do, I might have an in with your assistant…" she answers, shivering in my arms, her own arms circling my neck.
Feeling bold, I kiss her hungrily and answer in between kisses, "Oh, I think I have an in with her, too…"
Another unexpected thing happens. Still kissing me – and this shit alone is guaranteed to send my dick into a tailspin – she slides off the desk, effectively wrapping her whole body around me. I'm as hard as a rock, and have been throughout our heart-to-heart about corkboards and the meaning of life, but I've managed not to poke her in the ribs…until now.
Now there's no hiding my shameless boner, because she's rubbing herself right onto it. I hiss and hold her tighter still. I might crack one of her ribs if she keeps this up. My Bella is not heavy but I'm breathless and weak in the knees for all the kissing and teasing, and my balance turns out to be shaky, to say the least.
She saves the day, whispering in my ear, "Bed." Her tone is husky, commandeering. I like this version of Bossy Bella infinitely better.
"You sure, B?" She nods, kissing me. "Yes, Edward."
Ugh. She knows. She must know that my name on her lips is my utter and total downfall, every godforsaken time. I walk backwards to the humungous bed. Smugly, I think that there's a solid chance there's been no other guy here before me. I fall back on the bed, bringing her with me. Her hands are roaming all over my chest, under my clothes, until they rest on my cheeks. I am met with the most glorious sight in the world.
Bella is straddling me, clad only in an oversized t-shirt and yoga pants. Her hair is all over the place, her eyes are shining and her face is flushed. I probably gave her stubble burn, since my moping self neglected to shave for a few days. Her hands move purposefully to the hem of my shirt. I realise I'm still fully clothed, down to my jacket.
"You have too many clothes on…" she says, pulling my arms out of my jacket. I comply, because I have no free will left where she is concerned. She discards my hoodie and leaves me there lying on her bed, my undershirt riding up on my chest. Her fingers run promptly to skim the waistline of my jeans, right under my t-shirt and up my abs. Sweet torture, this is what she is dealing to me.
She pulls at the hem of my t-shirt again. "May I?" she asks. I nod, incapable of refusing her anything.
The cold should bother me, but my shiver has nothing to do with it. I should feel exposed, but I don't. She's admiring me and I feel adored, cherished. Her eyes are full of silent awe. Her hands roam all over me, followed by her lips.
"I might just love my brother a little more. I'll never complain again that he behaves like a slave-driver to you. I really, really love these," she says, her voice still husky, as her nose skims my abs and her mouth stops to kiss my nipples. Damn.
"B, you have to stop this. God, please." Obviously, this all but eggs her on. She moves lavishing soft, sensuous kisses along an invisible trail of fire up my chest, up my collarbone and along my neck and jaw. Of their own volition, my hands find purchase on her ass cheeks and my hips respond to her touch, bucking into hers. We both moan, and she collapses down on me.
I take this as a good opportunity to switch places and pin her down to the bed, my hands intertwined in hers. Lazily, softly, I launch myself in my very first, and very private, recurrent appointment that reads 'Kiss Bella Senseless'. I adore my schedule right now. She responds to each of my motions with abandon. Gone is the controlled, prim-and-proper professional Bella, enter Bella good-girl-gone-bad. I like both versions, and both turn me on immensely, but this wild one is a new favourite of mine.
Of their own volition, my hands work their way up her chest to discard her loose t-shirt. One moment, I curse this offending garment because it hides her heavenly curves from my eyes, and the next I bless it, for exactly the same reason. Her presence on this bed alone is a monumental test to my self-control. Now that she's lying topless underneath me, my breath stops. I need this moment – this first glimpse of her – branded in my memory forever. Before I'm aware that I'm ruining the moment, my under-performing verbal filter abandons me once again.
"God, you're so beautiful, B." She opens her mouth but doesn't say anything. Her eyes are glazed over and I just feel that she's trying to read something into my words. My Business Class Girl can't stop her brain from working and is in danger of over-thinking this. Of over-thinking us.
"Don't, B. Don't doubt me, ever." She nods and this is my cue. Once again, my lips descend on hers, at first slow and adoring, while my errant hands caressing her sides and her breasts. I can't keep track of my breathing. Breathing is over-rated, kissing Bella is not.
Suddenly, Bella manages to flip me back on the bed, but we can't keep still and roll back and forth on our sides. Our kisses grow frantic and lustful, to the point I can't keep track where she ends and I begin. We're intertwined and interwoven in a writhing, breathless knot. Without any notion of time nor space, I gasp, helpless, when I feel Bella palming my dick through my jeans. She'll be the death of me, one of these days.
"God, Bella, please. You have to stop this…Please…"
No use. She goes on. "Or otherwise?" she asks, provocatively.
"I'm this close to fucking you with your big brother and my nosy sister in the house….God, please, oh yes…" We're lying on our sides and I can't help thrusting my hips against her. My dick is a filthy traitor.
"Your point?" she peppers open-mouthed kisses along my jaw, rocking her hips against mine, too. Torture. This should be illegal, but I'm glad it's not, because it feels more than heavenly right now.
I take a deep breath in between kisses and sit up, bringing Bella with me. If I know her, she'll feel rejected. That's the last thing I want her to feel.
"B, please. Look at me, eyes up here." I murmur, caressing her hair.
"Don't know, the view is pretty cool down there, too." I can't believe this. She's commenting on the visual of my nether regions.
"Look at me, my lovely. Please." The endearment just falls naturally from my lips, because it's the absolute truth. She's mine and she's lovely. This finally pries her attention away from the bulge in my pants. Not that her dazed look doesn't make me just a tad smug.
"What did you just call me?" Her voice is an incredulous whisper.
"My lovely. I called you my lovely. Sorry, I don't know what came over me." What if she doesn't like it? What if it's too soon? What if some other asshole called her that?
"No, don't be. No one ever called me that. I love it."
How did she know? "How did you…?"
She kisses my forehead, tenderly. Her eyes look like golden chocolate now. She is glorious. She's mine.
"Question mark, Edward. Were you going to say something?"
I hold her tight and rock her back and forth, kissing along her collarbone and the hollow of her neck, my favourite spot, the source of the essence of Bella.
"That I don't want you to think that I don't want you. Does that even make sense?"
Her eyebrows scrunch up as she asks, "How did you…?"
"You've got your own brand of question mark, my lovely."
"Do I? I suppose I do. Sooo…since you're not fucking me with my brother in the house…"
I wince. The two thoughts combined in the same sentence do give me some scary visuals. After all, Emmett's track record as my own personal cockblocker is of Olympic status.
"Believe me, I do want to do that…but I want to take my time with you, I don't want to sneak away to your room like teenagers. You deserve a lot more than that. Hell, even I deserve more than that. Not to mention that…"
"…that the gang might be on our heels any minute now. Wonder what they're all up to. We've been here for hours."
Right on cue, someone is knocking – well, pounding – on the door.
"Why don't you get out of there, lovebirds?" I hate my sister. I really, really hate her.
"Why don't you mind your own fucking business for a change, Alice?"
Bella swats my arm playfully, but I can tell she's not thrilled by the interruption.
"Because I want to take Bella shopping, that's why!"
"No can do, Alice." Bella and I snap at the same time. We're a great team, my Business Class Girl and I. Alice is not easily convinced, though.
"There's lots of places that I need to take her to…Edward, let go of BeeBee this instant!"
Bella snickers. She's planning Alice's demise. I admire her concentrated stare as she snaps into strategy mode and answer with my own devious smile. This is going to be some wicked fun.
"Alice, it's the other way round, actually." Bella's voice is level and perfectly serious.
"What do you mean, the other way?" Silence. This does not happen often with Alice, except when… Bella winks at me, and counts on her fingers, mouthing the seconds to me "One…two…three…"
Alice's squeal is deafening. We're lucky the door is locked. When her enthusiasm slowly wanes, she resumes her merciless pounding on the door.
"You decent in there? Of course not, what an idiotic question…Well, see you downstairs. I still want to take BeeBee shopping."
Our moment is broken, but inexplicably, Bella is shaking with laughter on my lap. Not such a good idea, considering that the situation below my belt is still dangerously at Def-Con 1 level.
"B, care to explain why you would give away such intimate details to the Queen of Gossip?"
Alice is not really a gossiping old lady, but she makes a point of knowing absolutely everything about me. Until now, it's never bothered me, because she's my little sister, and I know I can talk to her about everything. Somehow, her knowing about Bella and me irks me.
Bella's smile is blinding as her hands cup my face and she plants a playful kiss on my nose. "Deflection technique, Boss. If you can't beat them, join them…"
"Uh?" My clueless brain, weighed down by an impossible haze of lust, can't even begin to process Bella's clever strategies. I give up.
"Tell me one thing. Would she have left, if we'd just kept refusing to leave the room and cave in to her demands?"
Bollocks, Cullen. How does she know?
"How in hell did you know that, B?" I reply, extricating myself from Bella to retrieve my clothes. It looks like we'll have to leave the room anyway.
"I talk to her every day, Edward. Believe me, she's not terribly difficult to read. Well, let's go downstairs now and face the Spanish Inquisition. I still have to convince Alice that I'm not going shopping with her…"
I'm still in a bit of daze. It's a good daze. Everything related to Edward is good, wonderful even. I still can't believe it and, somehow, my insecure, overwrought brain wants to chop things down and overanalyse them. Fortunately, Edward is his usual happy-go-lucky self and doesn't allow me this luxury. It's as if he knew that it would be my downfall. How can he know me so well already?
Maybe because we spend hours on end together? Maybe because he is a lot less clueless than he likes to think? All in all, with a snap of our fingers, the switch has been flipped and as our roles are changing and shifting around us, our own confused selves are meshing beautifully through this all.
The fact that Edward is outrageously hot doesn't hurt, either. I can barely keep my hands off him. I can't believe I attacked him in my bedroom. Damn Alice. Cockblocked by his sister. Fair is fair though – seeing as we've been cockblocked by Emmett before.
"I'm suddenly very happy we both have only one sibling each," I can't help commenting while we're headed downstairs.
"How so?" He asks, obviously not following my line of reasoning.
"No more siblings to cockblock us next time," I answer swiftly, before I realise the full import of my words and blush crimson just the second before I have to face Emmett, Jasper and Rosalie. And I forgot Alice.
"Yeah, no one else," he whispers back, gripping my hand tightly in his. "Ready, my lovely?"
I shrug. "As I'll ever be…" Once we cross the threshold of the living room, four heads – two blond, two darker ones – that are previously huddled together on the couch, murmuring frantically to each other, suddenly part like the Red Sea and an uneasy silence falls on the room. Alice is the first to break the pow-wow. Bouncing here and there like a pixie on crack, she finally plants herself in front of Edward and me.
"Ready to go shopping, BeeBee?"
I hear Edward groaning beside me. "Alice, I'm not coming along. I'm no value added there."
Back on the couch, Rosalie is snickering because she knows this is a lost cause. Alice doesn't. "Why, BeeBee? Don't you like going shopping? Don't you like the clothes I pick for you?"
"Alice, I love the clothes you pick for me, but shopping is a necessary evil. If you can choose a cocktail dress for me from another continent, and the dress fits me perfectly, why should I waste time in tagging along?"
"Because it's fun?" Alice asks, with the face I'd have if someone threatened to burn all my books.
"Wrong answer. I'm not coming, Alice. Live with it. I'm going to do a lot of other things while you two get your feet sore and your ankles swollen parading up and down Rodeo Drive."
"Is my brother included?" Alice prods on, with a hint of mischief. I can't help thinking that she's probably caving in and, right now, is just trying to get a rise out of Edward, who looks positively livid.
"Alice! Give it a rest, will you?" Edward is not only livid, he is absolutely shaking with unease.
"Alright, alright, no shopping. Do you need me to pick anything up for you, BeeBee?"
Edward sighs. I turn to look at Alice, raising my eyebrows. "You going to Mr G, Alice?"
"Where else? I need to introduce Rosalie to the staff there. She is a lot more fun with this, BeeBee."
I snort. Of course Rosalie is easily pliable. Shopping is her favourite hobby. "That's why I'm sending her with you, because I would be useless. I have a couple of events that I have to attend, will you please find me something Alice?"
She bounces again towards me, hugging me tight. "Of course I will, BeeBee. You don't have to ask."
Rosalie rises from the couch and joins Alice in the hallway. "Right, BeeBee. I'll see you all later. Can we take the Viper to go downtown?"
"Rose, you're dying to drive it, aren't you?" I ask, tossing her the keys.
"Damn straight, BeeBee! I will give Alice a proper fright…Keep busy, and don't do anything I wouldn't do," she replies, grabbing Alice and heading out the door.
Silence descends once again. Edward grips my hand once again. Jasper is still sitting on the couch, a wad of papers in his hands and his double-end pencil balanced on his left ear. He's pretending to read whatever document is in his hands, and failing miserably. I can tell from a mile away that he's watching over the scene that's about to unfold. He's keeping on the sidelines, ready to intervene if anything goes awry. Emmett tosses the TV remote control on the coffee table and jumps over the couch, landing right in front of Edward.
I gulp, suddenly worried by the fact that I have no clue how my brother is going to react to…this…to Edward and me…
Before I see him, before I can even realise what's happening, Emmett's hand lands on Edward's shoulder with a loud thud. Guys – they solve everything with a pat on the back.
Edward rolls his arm, checking for any permanent damage from Em's formidable blow.
"Good thing you've not dislocated my shoulder, Em. So…thanks?" he asks, tentatively.
"You put that smile on my sister's face?" Em replies, with his usual bluntness.
Edward turns to look at me and smiles, too. Then he faces Emmett again and answers, his tone more confident this time. "I did. You okay with that?"
Emmett's gaze lands on me. My grin doesn't falter. "Yeah, I'm okay with that. Just don't stop. And don't tell me how you did it, there's a bunch of things I don't want to know."
I turn beet red immediately. Of course Emmett had to go and embarrass me. "Emmett! Stop that immediately!"
"And give up the fun, Hot Stuff? No way!" he chortles over his shoulder, walking away from us and, predictably, into the kitchen.
Jasper's head finally rises from his contract. He smiles deviously at me. He's the real gossip who will want details later. Crap. Edward's hand relinquishes mine and he follows Emmett into the kitchen.
"I really wish you'd stop calling B like that," he protests. I follow them too, because this will quickly turn into a very embarrassing conversation.
"Like what?" asks Emmett, playing dumb. Running my finger across my throat, I gesture to Emmett over Edward's shoulder that he'd better drop this conversation. No such luck.
"Hot Stuff, Em. She's your sister, has it ever crossed your mind that it's inappropriate?"
I turn to hug Edward's waist. "Inappropriate is his middle name, Edward. It's okay, I don't mind."
"What if I do? Mind, that is?" he quips.
Edward's gorgeous face contorts in a mild scowl. I've never given much thought to this nickname, because it just has its own stupid history, but from Edward's perspective it must sound weird. I kiss his chest, trying to unwind him a bit.
"It's just a stupid nickname, Edward. Don't think anything of it," I whisper, drawing circles on his back with my hands.
"Yeah, don't think anything of it, Eddie. Don't tell me you don't have a crazy nickname for Energizer?"
I can barely stifle a laugh. Of course Em would come up with a codename for Alice and I must say – it's downright appropriate. Edward snorts, too. Looks like the tense moment has been successfully defused. I feel Edward's arms snaking around my waist as he whispers into my hair. "All right, but I want to know this lame story, right?" I nod into his chest. Emmett snickers again in the background.
Jasper has come traipsing into the kitchen as well. I wonder why we've all re-congregated here all of a sudden, then my eyes land on the clock on the microwave. Dinner time. Guys and their stomachs – their only biological clock.
"The lame story, Edward, is that BeeBee here kept spilling things when she was a child," begins Emmett, his head hidden inside the fridge. "And when she'd occasionally spill soup, or tea, or hot milk…"
I feel my face turning beet red again and burrow it further into Edward's chest. Emmett continues his tale, undeterred. "She'd run to her mother yelling 'Hot Stuff'. So here you have it. All because of her innate grace."
I extricate myself from Edward's grasp to swat Emmett's arm. "What are you doing, Emmett? Leading an archaeological excavation in my fridge?"
"Since when is it yours?" he snaps, emerging from said fridge with four beers balanced in his hands.
"Since you dish out details of my infancy at my expense. Get out of my kitchen, now." Kitchen talk always manages to interest Emmett.
"BeeBee, actually…" it's Jasper's voice cutting in. "Yes, Genius?"
"I was thinking…" he continues, dragging it out while Emmett opens the four beer bottles.
"London Pride?" asks Edward, completely thrown for a loop. "I didn't know you drank English beer, Em."
"I don't, Eddie. Eton does," answers Emmett, pointing to Jasper.
Edward happily clinks his bottle with Jasper's. "Well, I can tell we're going to get along, Jasper."
My phone blares in the distance, the strains of 'Suicide Blonde' thundering through the hall. I rush to answer it and stop the noise. It's actually just Rosalie telling me that she and Alice won't be back for dinner. Go figure.
When I return to the kitchen, Jasper and Edward are engrossed in a conversation about music and Emmett is making himself a sandwich. Edward's eyes meet mine and a glorious grin appears on his face.
"B, tell me…Do you have customised ringtones for everyone on that thing?" he says, pointing to my mobile. I shrug, unsure of Edward's real intent.
"Well, almost. For anyone who is worth a customised ringtone." This is my standard answer to this kind of question. Emmett and Jasper are fighting to hide their snickering.
"So, let me get this straight. What have you got for these guys here? Let's see if I remember…"
"Mission Impossible. I'm Mission Impossible." Jasper cuts in. "I'm still kind of peeved by that, though, BeeBee."
"Oh come on, Genius. You're flattered. Admit it." Jasper laughs.
"Alright, I am. Better than Troublemaker over there," he quips, nodding his head towards Emmett.
Edward stalks around the kitchen island, purposely walking towards me, until he is right in front of me and places his hands on my shoulders. His gaze is an unwavering, smouldering shade of emerald. "So, to sum it all up. Emmett is a Weezer song, Jasper is 'Mission Impossible'. We already know that Rosalie is, quite predictably, 'Suicide Blonde'. Marcus is 'Rebel Rebel'. What am I to you, B? That's what I'd like to know."
My breath shortens and I can't tear my eyes away from Edward's. I can't answer either. He'd probably maim me if he knew what his ringtone is, as of now. What I do not expect, though, is that he is quicker than me by half. My phone is now ringing in my pocket.
Jasper raises an eyebrow. Emmett chokes on his beer. I guess neither of them had ever heard my ringtone for Edward.
"Bollocks, BeeBee? Evenflow? Pearl Jam?" fires away Jasper. Emmett waggles his eyebrows at me. They both know the meaning of this. Edward doesn't, and his face says it all.
"Should I be happy or unhappy of this, B?" His voice is a silk caress. He should not be speaking to me with that voice with my brother and Jasper in a ten-mile radius.
"You should be pretty damn smug, Eddie. Evenflow was her first full score ever on Guitar Hero. Now get your asses in gear, people. I'm hungry."
Edward's smile is the epitome of cocky and smug. I'm still silent. His long index finger traces my collarbone and raises up my chin.
"A full score, my lovely?"
I can only manage to nod. He makes me speechless.
"Have dinner with me, tomorrow? No meddlesome interlopers?"
I nod again. I have lost of faculties of speech. This man messes with my brain functions.
"I can't wait for that full score, my lovely. I really can't. Tomorrow. Our date."
I'm going on a date with Edward fucking Cullen. Tomorrow.
Song in this chapter: David Bowie, Rebel Rebel: http: / www . youtube . com / watch?v=W4SLXaF-lIc
PIMP MY FIC CORNER:
Busymommy, Going Under for the Third Time: yes, yes, a JasperElla fic. But Jasper is a surfer. Nuff Said.
AstonMartinVanquish, Just Three Words: Bella is a vet. Edward is a landscaper. How and when will they meet? Who cares - just picture in your head a sweaty, soil-and-greenery dirty Edward.