This was written for chapter 4 ("Pride") of "The Sinners" complilation: "SALIGIA" here on fanfiction... The seven deadly sins by seven fandom authors (in case you already read it over there.)


pride: noun (Latin: superbia)

1. unreasonable and inordinate self-esteem, (personified as one of the seven deadly sins)

2. a feeling that you are more important or better than other people

"Mr. Cullen," the detective said gruffly from my office door. "You'll need to come with us."

He was flanked by two uniformed officers and dressed in a stereotypically cheap suit: ill-fitting and obviously off the rack. That suit offended me more than his ridiculous moustache, more than his audacity in thinking that he was going to take me in. Me.

The officers had their hands on their guns, ready to draw on the big, bad Edward Cullen, CEO of one the country's most successful and powerful companies. It made me smile.

"Detective Swan," I said coolly from behind my massive desk. It was one of the only pieces of furniture in my office, other than a small seating group and a large, wooden conference table in the corner, oval-shaped and polished to a high sheen. "Back again? I don't suppose you brought a subpoena this time?"

I was laughing at him, at them, and their faces simultaneously turned red. This was not their first visit to my office, and they usually left pissed off and frustrated. Sure, they might be confident that, this time, they had all the evidence in the world, as well as the paperwork allowing them to arrest me, but they truly knew so little about me. About who I really was. About what I could do.

No time like the present.

Detective Swan quickly regained his composure and pulled a folded wad of papers from inside his jacket. He proudly held them up for me to see.

"Actually, Mr. Cullen, that's what this is, right here." He lifted the paperwork a little, waggling it in the air to help make his point. That was his first mistake - he was holding the subpoena in his right hand… his gun hand. Something he would sincerely regret in the very near future. He was looking somewhat overconfident, and he smiled at me, baring a mouth full of bad teeth, crooked and coffee-stained. "Judge Banner signed this himself, and it gives me the right to arrest you, take you in. Now."

The two officers stood a little taller and stepped further into my office. They were on alert, but they thought they had won.

"Do what you feel you must, Detective," I chuckled.

I stood up and started walking around the front of the desk to meet them. I straightened my custom-made, expensive suit jacket, smoothed down my custom-made, equally expensive pants, and started plotting in my head. I was already ten steps ahead of them. "You'll want to handcuff me, I'm sure," I said with false innocence, "so you can have your little moment parading me in front of my staff. And with the press downstairs! Your big moment. Picture in the paper. Medal from the Commissioner. Your mother will be so proud."

Time started to slow down for me, allowing me to plot and plan. I could smell the three men's anticipation, their gloating triumph.

"I can't really blame you, Detective." I was just a few feet away. Almost there. "Quite the accomplishment, after all your hard work. I suppose, in the end, you were just the better man," I sighed defeatedly.

I stopped right in front of them and slowly lifted my hands in supplication. I wanted them to think that I was voluntarily surrendering, that I would be docile, cooperative, an uneventful arrest.

Swan cleared his throat and affected his official detective voice.

"Mr. Cullen, you're under arrest for the murders of Michael Newton and Aro Volturi." The two officers stepped towards me, thinking they were strengthening their positions, but in actuality, severely reducing them. They still had their hands resting on their weapons, anxiously waiting to take me into custody. "You have the right to remain silent." I stared straight ahead, watching Detective Swan as he recited my Miranda rights. "Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law." The officers glanced at Swan, and then at each other, synchronizing their movements. "You have the right to an attorney." Office Number One pulled his gun from his holster and aimed it at me, directly. I had waited for this, this small moment of distraction, and when Officer Number Two moved his hand from his gun to reach for his handcuffs, I struck.

They never saw it coming. It was pitiful, really. I had assumed that the Commissioner would send his best and brightest to arrest such an evil criminal as myself, but there was no such person. I had no equal in this mortal world.

In one smooth and practiced motion, I grabbed Officer Number One's gun and flipped it around until it was pointing back at him. I shot him in the forehead, twice for good measure, then repeated the action on Officer Number Two. They immediately dropped to the ground, dead, like wet bags of cement.

So simple.

Then, before he knew what happened, I had the barrel of the gun pressed against Swan's temple. I watched his throat bob as he nervously swallowed, quickly accepting his fate. He knew me better than almost anyone. And he knew he was fucked.

"Detective," I said smoothly. "I'm afraid I must be going. So wonderful to see you again."

I gave him a moment to meet my eyes, to see what his last moments looked like in the rich, green irises of his nemesis, and I pulled the trigger.

"And the winner of the 2002 Forks High School 'Student of the Year' is… Edward Cullen!"

I smiled broadly as my name was announced, hearing the instant applause and roar of the crowd, and as I walked up to the stage, I graciously accepted offers of congratulations from my classmates. I was a s enior in high school, and it was my fourth win in a row. The other students never had a chance.

I was young, intelligent, and physically perfect. I had a perfect face, perfect hair, a perfect body, and a perfect life. I won every prize, every contest. I had a perfect GPA, test scores off the chart, and an entire student body who worshiped me - the boys wanted to be me, and the girls wanted to be with me.

I had taken AP classes in high school, so I had a year's worth of college credit when I graduated. I got bored so easily back in Forks that I took on extra work to try to entertain myself. The girls in my high school AP classes weren't always the prettiest girls in the school, but it didn't take me long to figure out that they were the hungriest. They would do the dirty stuff that the pretty cheerleaders wouldn't do.

As I walked across the stage, I approached Principal Clearwater and extended one hand to shake and the other to receive the plaque he was proffering. My parents, D octor Carlisle Cullen and his beautiful wife, interior decorator Esme Cullen, were on the front row, and I gave them the dazzling smile and the camera-ready moment they were waiting for. One would think they would get bored with my constant success, but they were just as thrilled, just as proud, every single time.

I acted the part - the gracious, humble son and friend - but only when I knew someone else was looking. When I got home that night, I threw the plaque in my closet, landing in a pile on the floor with the rest of my awards.

I got accepted to ten different Ivy League colleges, and I decided on the most expensive one, just for bragging rights. My parents were loaded, so money was never an issue. Rich, smart, and handsome. A dangerous combination. More dangerous than even I knew.

College was a breeze, just like high school, and I graduated with a perfect GPA, GRE scores through the roof, and offers from the best graduate schools in the country. Again, I chose the most expensive, and three years later, I was ready to join the workforce, to make my own fortune, and to finally take my place at the top of the corporate ladder.

Only the very best company would do, and after fielding a number of offers, I settled on the most successful technology firm in the country. I had interviewed with them four times - first with their HR person, a dowdy, older woman who eyed me like a piece of meat, then with the Executive Recruitment Director, a greasy middle-aged man who kept glancing at my crotch, then with the Executive Vice President of Marketing, and lastly, the CEO himself, the one and only Aro Volturi.

Every single one fawned over me. They tried to play it cool, standoffish, like they had several other candidates, like they would have to "think about it."

I was hired two days later as a Junior Account Executive in the Marketing Division, and I knew that it wouldn't take me long to make them see what everyone else did who knew me - that I was perfect, in every way, and that one day, I would run the company. I would own them all.

Four years later, I had nearly achieved my goal. I had moved quickly up the corporate ladder and was now one of the many Vice Presidents in the company, third tier from the top, Vice President of Marketing. Next, was Senior Vice President, then President and CEO. I had a large corner office on the Executive floor, but everything I wanted was one floor up. The top floor.

Aro Volturi had no idea what was coming for him.

"Angela!" I screamed from my massive leather office chair. The door to my office was closed, and I hoped she was paying attention.

The door opened a crack, just a few inches, and she peeked her head through.

"You called, Mr. Cullen?"

She was a great secretary, but meek as a fucking church mouse and scared of her own shadow. Why they decided to assign her to me, I'll never know. I sighed loudly and raked my fingers through my hair.

"No, Angela," I said sarcastically. "I yelled your name five seconds ago because I was bored." Sarcasm was completely lost on her. I only did it because I enjoyed her panicked, confused reaction. Every single time.

"Oh, sorry Mr. Cullen!" she squeaked, and started to close the door. "I'll just go back to my desk and -"

"Angela!" I said sharply. "Just get in here."

She stepped in the office and waited, standing in the open door. Her expression was a mixture of panic and hope. Hope for what, I don't know. There was no hope here. Not with me. Not anymore.

"Close the door," I said, meeting her wide, dark eyes.

She slowly pushed the heavy wooden door until I heard it catch, then scooted back until she was pressed against it, as far away from me as possible. Against the door might work another time, but not for what I had in mind currently.

"Now, lock it," I ordered.

Her eyes widened almost comically, which, of course, just fed my need, and she froze for a second. Then, she reached down, her hand shaking, and flipped the lock, the loud click audible even from my desk. She knew what was coming.

I stood up and walked around to the conference table. I pulled on the back of the chair at the head of the table, dragging it several feet away. I walked back to the table, standing in my newly-made clearing, and I motioned to her.

"Here," I said, pointing to the open space between me and the table.

She just stared, eyes wide, slack-jawed, and breathing hard. This wasn't the first time, so I don't know why she was surprised, why she hesitated. It was both frustrating and exhilarating, which was the only reason why I allowed it to continue.

"Angela," I said slowly. "Here. Now."

She blinked a couple of times and finally started to move. When she finally reached me, her back to the table, she started to speak. So softly, I could barely make out what she was saying.

"But, Mr. Cullen, I… you… last time, I said -"

"Angela, we talked about this." I lowered my voice and assumed a teasing, slightly flirtatious manner. Like I was coaxing her into it. Like I needed to. "You need this job. I pay you extremely well." I stepped closer to her and whispered in her ear. "And you always like it."

She whimpered softly, and for Angela, I knew what that meant. For other girls, it might be construed as a sound of fear, but for her? She was turned on. She always liked it. I mean, I was a son-of-a-bitch, but I wasn't a fucking rapist.

I grabbed her hips and turned her around until she was facing the table. I placed my hand on the middle of her back and gently pushed, indicating that I wanted her to bend over the table. I liked to fuck her in different places, but bent over my conference table was one of my favorites.

She was a little slow to move, so I kept gentle pressure on her back until she was pressed against the glowing, polished wood of the table. I tapped my foot once against the inside of her right foot, then repeated the action on the left. She immediately widened her stance.

I took a moment to savor the vision before me. Angela had long, beautiful legs, and she always wore heels to work. Nothing cheap, very professional, but astoundingly sexy considering her meek presentation.

As I slowly lifted her skirt, I knew what I would find, having been there several times before. She always wore a garter belt and stockings, the old-fashioned kind. I never really understood it, in this day and age, and her clothes were always demure and understated. But whatever her reason, I liked it. I really fucking liked it a lot.

Today was no different.

I reached the top of her nude-colored stockings until I saw her creamy, pale skin. So beautiful. It always pinked up nicely. Then, the curve of her ass. And those fucking sexy as hell panties she always wore, made of lace, the cheeks of her ass exposed. Shit. I was hard as a fucking rock. I pushed the skirt up to her waist, displaying her garter belt choice of the day. Very tasteful. A muted taupe with matching lace accents. Every time I pushed her skirt up, I would wonder who she was wearing this extensive lingerie collection for. It was most certainly not me.

I slid my fingers into the top of her panties and pulled them down, just enough, then I moved directly behind her and unbuckled my pants, letting them drop to the floor with the soft, metallic sound of keys touching coins. I gently rubbed the soft, sweet skin of her ass while I stroked my cock, still in my boxers.

"Ah, Angela," I whispered. "My sweet, sweet little toy. What a pretty little thing you are, laid out, just for me. Waiting, just for me."

Then, I spanked her once, and she fucking moaned. So I did it again. And again. Until she was pink and warm, writhing on my table, her ass in the air, begging for my dick.

"Look at you, you hungry little thing," I said as I slid my hand between her legs. She was slippery and warm, the spanking her foreplay. "And so ready for me."

I grabbed my cock in one hand, the other on her hip. I lined us up and slammed my cock deep inside her with one long, hard stroke.

"Oh!" she exclaimed. "Mr. Cullen! Yes!"

I fucked her hard and quick, holding nothing back. She started to speak, something about being close to coming, and I knew it was time. Time to wrap this up.

I used my free hand to spread the cheeks of her ass, just enough to see her tight, pink asshole, clenched tightly shut. I swiped my thumb across it, and she made a fantastic noise, like a scared animal, but she kept her legs spread for me. And she was squeezing her pussy around my dick even tighter.

So I rubbed across it again.

She sucked in a breath, but didn't move away from me.

I increased the speed and depth of my stroke, the sweat from my brow dripping down onto her back.

"I know you like it, Angela," I growled. "Fucking relax. Let me have it."

My thumb rubbed slow circles, pressing softly, but still denied.

"Angela," I said. "Now."

I was fucking ready to come, and I knew what would push me over the edge.

So I pressed again, and I felt her relax, just the tiniest bit, just enough for the tip of my thumb to enter her. She moaned softly, and she said something that sounded like "yes." I changed the angle of my stroke, just enough to break her concentration for a second or two, and I felt her give. I slid my thumb inside, turning it slowly, twisting it, and watching that, watching my thumb and my dick moving in concert inside this girl, made me come, quite spectacularly.

I took a moment to catch my breath, then I pulled out and buckled up my pants. I was halfway to my private bathroom to wash up when I heard her, still bent over the table with my come running down her leg.

"But, Mr. Cullen," she whimpered. "I didn't-"

"Angela," I said sharply, purposefully interrupting her plea. "We're done. Go back to your desk."

She lifted herself slowly up off the table, suddenly embarrassed by her nakedness, and quickly pulled herself together. She looked up at me, searching for some sign of human empathy, and finding none, she scurried quickly out the door, closing it behind her as she knew I would like.

Yes, I didn't let her come. I never do.

I'm such a bastard.

"I think we all agree," Aro crooned in his oily Italian accent, waving his hand in my direction. "That Mr. Cullen's project plan for the Berlin merger is far and away the clear choice for us." His hair was black and slicked back, down to his shoulders. His suit was impeccable, perfectly tailored to fit, the collar of his starched white shirt rubbing against his neck.

I had cozied up to Aro on my first day here, knowing that he was my eventual competition, but that I needed to keep him close until I was ready to make my move.

"Aro," I laughed heartily, ducking my head shyly. "You are too kind, my friend." I placed my hand on my heart in an effort at earnest and honest emotion. "It was really a team -"

"Seriously, Aro?" Mike Newton, my counterpart in the Finance Division, interrupted me yet again. "Fucking Cullen, again? Jesus. Sing a new song, for God's sake."

I held my tongue and waited to see what Aro would say. I knew I had this, had him in my pocket. It would only go down one way, and there would only be one man left standing. It was my full intention to be that man.

"Mr. Newton," Aro said with deceptive gentleness. "I will not have this discussion with you again, in public or in private." He glared at Newton, a vicious, angry look, and Newton shrank in his seat. Everyone was staring at him, at his repeated audacity in these meetings, so no one noticed the look of pure glee on my face. I sat back and enjoyed the show. "You will sit there and keep your fucking mouth shut, or you will leave this meeting and this floor until I allow you to return."

Holy shit, this was good.

"Well, Mr. Newton?" Aro sneered. "Please, enlighten us with your decision."

Newton shifted nervously in his seat, and looked desperately around the room, searching for an ally but finding none.

"Mr. Volturi, Sir," Newton pleaded pitifully. "I think Edward's plan is fine, and I'd like to stay if you'll have me. I think I can offer this team a-"

"Mr. Cullen's plan is more than just fine, Mr. Newton," he interrupted. "It's pure fucking genius. And the fact that you can't see it, or worse, can't admit it, is just confirming my previous decision." He glared at Newton, who looked on, slack-jawed and stunned, at Aro's speech. "Please gather your things and leave us." Newton continued to stare, not moving. "Now, Mr. Newton."

Aro's security detail, two extremely large, thick-necked gentlemen in matching Armani suits, moved to the door, pulled it open, and waited for Newton to leave.

I watched the show before me, Aro's clear preference for me above all others, and I sat back in my chair. I inventoried the others in the room, mentally calculating everything I would have to do to eliminate each one, and I had to bite the inside of my cheek to force myself not to smile.

Newton stood up, gathered his papers, and shuffled slowly towards the door, sheepish and pathetic. It made me sick. I wondered if he thought Aro would save him at the last minute, pull him safely back into the fold.

He didn't, of course. He just smiled at me and continued the meeting.

"Now, Edward," he said in his sweet, thick voice. "Please excuse the interruption, and tell us about Berlin."

As I started to speak, to outline the project plan from my team that I had rewritten last night, I heard Newton muttering in his breath as he passed behind me. I couldn't make out what he was saying, except for an abundance of curse words mixed with two names - Aro's and mine.

Newton was going to be a problem.

"Angela," I barked into the intercom. "Call Lauren in Finance and have her come to my office, now."

"Yes, Sir, Mr. Cullen," she replied immediately.

I never asked her to call me "Sir," but fuck if I didn't love it. It gave me the most glorious feeling of power, of dominance over her, especially when she did it while I was fucking her.

I was only briefly into my fantasy of what I wanted to do to her later this afternoon, when Lauren arrived. She was the polar opposite of Angela… blonde, confident, flirtatious, sexy. She wanted me, and she never hesitated to let me know it.

She knocked once, then opened the door and walked in.

"Mr. Cullen," she said sweetly. "You needed me for something? What can I do for you?" She was such a little cocktease, licking her lips and batting her eyes. She should know by now that she didn't have to perform for me.

"You can come over here right now, and get on your knees."

"Yes, Sir, Mr. Cullen," she said with a giggle. She moved quickly to where I was sitting, behind my desk, and dropped to her knees.

I unbuckled my pants, popped the button, and lowered the zipper. My cock was hard and throbbing from watching her hot little mouth while she waited. Way too much lip gloss, but fuck if it didn't look good wrapped around my cock.

I held my dick in one hand and grabbed the back of her head with the other, and I pulled her down. She knew what to do without any instruction from me, and she did it well.

I leaned back in my chair and watched her work me with her expert little tongue, barely able to keep my eyes open.

There was a quick knocking on the door, three times in rapid succession, and then the door immediately opened. Whoever it was didn't wait for my permission to enter, and I should have been royally pissed, but I was so surprised by the action, and so relaxed from the sensation below my waist, that I didn't do a damn thing about it.

And then my life came screeching to a sudden and grinding halt.

Not the mouth on my dick, mind you, just everything I knew and believed about myself and my future.

"Mr. Cullen," the stunning brunette in the doorway said. "I hope I'm not interrupting."

Angela was right behind her with a horrified look on her face.

"I'm so sorry, Mr. Cullen, she just walked right in, and I -"

"It's alright, Angela, thank you. Please close the door on your way out."

I had no idea where I summoned the calm that I was exuding, but it was working.

"Now, Miss… ?" I asked with one of my best smiles. "I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage…"

Just then, Lauren, who was completely aware that there was another person in the room at the time, decided to scrape her teeth on her upstroke, and I groaned and lifted out of my chair. She knew how much I liked that, what it would do to me. I heard a muffled giggle, and I swore to myself that she would pay for that in the very near future.

"Are you alright, Mr. Cullen?" she asked with the sexiest fucking smirk I had ever seen. "Can I get you a glass of water or something?"

Jesus, her voice. It was thick and smoky, but deep and smooth. She was a tiny little thing, much shorter than me, and her voice was a complete contradiction and a pleasant surprise. I was worried that if she kept talking, I might come in Lauren's mouth right there on the spot.

"No, I'm… I'm fine," I said with a small catch in my breath. Fucking Lauren. She was doing it again, on purpose. "So, Miss…?"

"Oh!" she laughed suddenly, a beautiful, rich sound. "Of course." She looked down, somewhat shyly, then looked back up at me through her lashes. "I'm Isabella Black."

She paused then, waited for some sort of recognition, but I had no idea who she was. I raised my eyebrows in a silent question.

"I'm your new assistant. Mrs. Cope hired me." Mrs. Cope was the dowdy older woman in HR who mentally undressed me in my first interview, as well as every meeting since. "I actually don't start until tomorrow, formally, but I thought I'd come in early and see … ah… how things work here." She said that last bit with a punctuating chuckle, like she knew something, but I wasn't in on it.

This woman, this Isabella, was my new assistant? My assistant to do with whatever the fuck I wanted? Holy shit, I just hit the motherload.

She was absolutely perfect. Long, dark, wavy hair, reaching almost to her waist. She wore it loose, which was unusual in an office environment, but maybe that was just for today. Maybe tomorrow, she would have it pulled back. Maybe in a loose knot at the nape of her neck. Maybe in a tight, sleek ponytail. Jesus.

Her skin was luminous - fair and smooth and perfect. She had a heart shaped face, a full bottom lip, and large, dark eyes that a man could get lost in. Even a man like me.

She was petite, but shapely, with perfect breasts, a small waist, full hips, and long, long legs. She had a tight, little red dress on which clung to every delicious curve and matching red shoes. Heels. My kryptonite.

I realized that I was staring, having worked my way hungrily down her beautiful body, and when I looked back up and met her eyes, I realized she was smirking again, staring back at me. She didn't miss a thing.

I cleared my throat, nervously. Jesus, no one made me fucking nervous. Who the hell was this woman, and what was she doing to me?

"Miss Black," I started, but she quickly interrupted me.

"That's Ms. Black, Mr. Cullen," she said. "I'm divorced."

Divorced was good. Divorced was essentially single, except that someone had claimed her before me, but I would have to work through that another time.

"Excuse me, Ms. Black," I said, regaining my footing. "No offense intended."

"None taken," she immediately offered with a smile. "And please, call me Isabella."

Isabella. Yes. Beautiful.

"Alright, Isabella," I said with as much calm as I could muster, but I had to take control of the situation before it got completely out of hand. Starting tomorrow, I would have her at my beck and call, a prospect I would greatly look forward to. "It was a pleasure meeting you, and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow. I'm sure I can find something … interesting for you to do."

I returned her smile graciously, and just as she was turning to leave the room, Lauren decided to try another one of her little oral tricks, which I welcomed under normal circumstances. She was working furiously to try to make me come with Isabella in the room, and I was so close already, having already replaced Lauren with Isabella in my fantasy. I grabbed Lauren's hair a little tighter and shoved her down hard on my cock. She gurgled a little, just short of gagging, and the message was apparently received as intended. She backed off a little, slowed down just a bit, and I was able to return my full attention to Isabella.

"Thank you, Mr. Cullen," she said with a toss of that long, dark hair. "The pleasure was all mine."

Fuck, she was bringing me close to the edge of my orgasm without even touching me, and she had no idea what she was doing. Or so I thought.

Right before the door closed, she turned her head and looked at me over her shoulder.

"By the way, tell the girl under your desk that I love her shoes. I have the exact same pair. Maybe I'll wear them tomorrow." Then, she winked at me, and was gone.

Oh fuck, she knew. She knew the whole fucking time. I wasn't sure if that would be a good thing or a bad thing, but I knew I was about to come and come hard.

I grabbed Lauren's head with both hands and pulled and pushed her on me, faster and faster, until I exploded down her throat, holding her head firmly in place until I finished.

When I finally released her, she bolted upright and gasped, breathing heavily, and glaring angrily at me, but she didn't dare say a word. Instead, she stood quickly, smoothed down her skirt, and walked out of my office. She grabbed a tissue from my desk on her way out and wiped angrily at her mouth, threw the spent tissue on the floor, then slammed the door behind her.

I just sat there, pants unzipped, staring at the closed, wooden door. I kept remembering what she looked like as she stood there. Isabella. My new assistant. Damn. I couldn't help imagining what she would wear the next day, would it be tight? Would it reveal cleavage? Would she lean over my desk to show me some document and allow me to look down her shirt? Fuck, I hadn't been this easily aroused since high school. She spent less than five minutes in my presence, and I wanted her more than I ever wanted anyone in my life.

I had a feeling about her, though. She was different. Something was going to change.

I wore my new navy suit the next day, and I arrived extra early, just in case. Then, I sat in my chair and waited for her to appear before me.

By mid-morning, she had still not arrived, and I was livid that she was late on her first day at work. By noon, I was starting to panic, wondering if something had happened to her, if she had changed her mind after meeting me.

I couldn't wait any longer. I decided to have Angela make some calls, find out what had happened, when I heard a sudden commotion outside of my office. Laughter, both male and female. What the hell was going on? Had the entire company gone mad and forgotten who I was?

I bolted up from my desk and ripped the door open, fully intent on firing someone on the spot, when I saw Isabella. She was right there, right outside my office, holding an armful of files, and talking with Mike Newton. He was flanked by his two lackeys, Eric Yorkie and Ben Cheney, and they were all laughing. Even Angela. Until she saw my face, that is. She immediately stood, waiting for instruction, her face drained of color.

"Cullen!" Newton exclaimed, as if we were old friends. "I just met your new assistant," he said, gesturing to Isabella with an inappropriate level of friendliness. "And I must say, she's much easier on the eyes than you."

The four of them laughed again. Angela just stared, not even blinking.

"I found her downstairs in Shelley Cope's office in HR. It looked like Shelley was kidnapping the poor girl, so I offered my assistance, and escorted her up you."

He looked so proud of himself, obviously trying to impress Isabella.

"If I ever need your help, Newton, which is highly unlikely, I'll ask for it," I said dismissively in his direction. "Isabella," I said as I turned back to my office. "Come with me."

Someone must have made a face behind my back, and Newton's lackeys started to laugh. I chose to ignore him, to keep walking, because he was cutting into my personal time with Isabella on her first day.

"Shut the door behind you, Isabella."

I couldn't look at her yet. I was still incredibly pissed off that she made me wait, and even though it may not have been her fault, finding her talking and laughing with Mike Newton left me unable to forgive and forget.

"Mr. Cullen," she started. "I'm so sorry that I was late, but Mrs. Cope -"

"I know, Isabella," I interrupted. "Let's just move on, shall we? We have a lot to cover. I need to get you started on several projects. We will probably have to work late tonight. I hope that's not a problem for you."

"No, sir, no problem," she replied with that quirky smile.

"And you just started here today, so I feel it is incumbent upon me to steer you in the right direction." I took a deep breath, and met her eyes. I wanted her to know how absolutely serious I was. "Mike Newton is trouble. You'll need to choose, Ms. Black - you can be friends with Newton, or you can work for me. You cannot do both."

Her eyes softened, just a bit, and I felt like I was getting lost in her dark brown eyes.

"I'm not here for Mike Newton, Mr. Cullen," she said in a breathy tone. "I'm here for you."

Isabella Black was the single most frustrating woman I had ever met.

She had worked for me for almost six months, teased me mercilessly, but refused to let me fuck her. I had even stopped fucking other women to show her – and myself - that I was committed to her.

I had almost immediately told her to call me Edward, which was unheard of for me. Aro was the only person that I let use my Christian name. But hearing my name roll off of her lips was arousing to the point of painful. I hadn't jacked off in years, preferring a warm female body instead, but I was getting myself off twice a day most days to thoughts of Isabella. It was humiliating.

We had just returned to my office, celebrating after successfully completing the Berlin merger. Isabella was instrumental to my success, not just on that project, but on everything I did, and I wanted her to know that I appreciated her.

And I wanted to fuck her.

So I opened a very expensive bottle of champagne that I had been saving, and I poured us each a glass.

"To you," I said tapping the crystal flute lightly against hers.

"To me," she said with a laugh.

An hour later, half the bottle was gone, and I was still no closer to my goal. I had moved us to the small couch in my office seating group, and I was sitting close enough to her that our thighs were touching. I found myself repeatedly leaning closer and inhaling. She smelled so fucking good.

The champagne had gone to my head, made me bold, and I leaned even closer, fully intent on connecting my lips with her neck, but she quickly startled and pulled away.

"Edward, I -"

"Isabella, please," I begged. "I have never wanted someone so much in my entire life."

I took a lock of her hair between my fingers, inhaling deeply, and pressed the softness against my lips. It was the only part of her she had let me kiss so far.

No woman had ever told me no. No woman had ever resisted me. It was always easy, always a yes, and always immediate.

Except for Isabella.

"Edward, I know, believe me," she whispered. "I feel the same way."


How the fuck could she say that when she wouldn't even let me touch her?

"That makes no sense," I said. "If you feel the same as I do, which I find incredibly hard to believe, we would both be naked right now, and you would be well on your way to screaming my name."

Her eyes widened just a bit, just enough for me to notice, and a soft pink blush spread instantly across her cheeks.

"I … I've been holding off because I didn't want to be like all those other women," she blurted out suddenly. "I wanted to be different. I wanted to be… special. Edward -"

Whatever she was going to say was interrupted by a loud knock at the door. My head whipped up, and I glared at the closed door, immediately pissed off at whoever was on the other side.

Isabella stood up and walked to the door and opened it before I could object.

"Well, well, well... Isabella! This is a lovely surprise!"

It was Mike Newton. Mike fucking Newton. And he was touching her - his hand on her arm, smiling broadly and walking into the room.

"I came up here to see Cullen, but I would much prefer to talk to you, pretty lady."

"Newton!" I barked, standing quickly and walking between them. If he wanted to try to touch her again, he would have to go through me. "What the fuck do you want?"

"Ah, Cullen, always the charmer," he said with a smile and knowing wink towards Isabella. He was fucking performing for her. "I was just coming to check on that report from the Chicago office. If you've received it yet. You know I'm here waiting on it."

"Newton, I really don't give a fuck why you're here, this late at night, interrupting me in my office - "

"Interrupting you and your lovely assistant -" he said.

I took a deep breath and clenched my fists at his innuendo. Everyone in the company knew about my activities with the women who worked for me, but I would not have him gossiping up and down the hallways about Isabella and me. Especially because it wasn't true.

I turned and looked at Isabella, wordlessly telling her to back off and let me handle Newton, and she immediately complied. She walked across the room and seated herself at my conference table.

I grabbed Newton's arm and led him back to the door.

"When the report comes in, you will be notified, just like everyone else." And then I leaned in and spoke in his ear so that only he could hear me. "And if you ever put your hands on her again, I will fucking kill you."

Newton stared at me, like he wasn't sure if I had just said what he thought I had said, but the angry look on my face should have erased any doubts.

He swallowed hard and nodded once, and then he was gone.

I closed the door and met Isabella at the conference table. The mood was gone now, and I was too angry to be around her anymore tonight.

"That is what I was talking about, Isabella, on your first day here. That guy is fucking trouble. Do not fraternize with him, in any way. Keep your distance." I ran my fingers through my hair, an old nervous habit from my childhood. "And if I ever see him touch you again, so help me God, I will kill him."

I waited for her to say something or leave. We could start again in the morning.

But she surprised me.

"You'd kill him for me, Edward?" she asked, her voice low and throaty. She was intensely looking at me, waiting for my answer. For me to tell her whether or not I was serious. Her eyes were wide and dark, her lips dark and parted. Her cheeks were pink with that telltale blush I knew so well. She was aroused.

So I stepped closer to her, leaning down until my face was only inches from hers.

"Yes, Isabella," I said. I took a chance and lifted my fingers to her cheek, brushing gently against her soft, warm skin. "I would do anything for you. Anything at all. Including killing that asshole Newton."

She ducked her head down shyly, then looked back up at me through her long, dark lashes. Jesus, it killed me when she did that. Then, she kissed me softly on my cheek.

"Good to know," she said with a chuckle and headed out the door. "Goodnight, Edward."

The next morning, things seemed different between us. She was more forward with me, touching me, smiling more.

"Edward," she said from her seat at my conference table. "Have you heard any more from Aro on his plans for you? You know you are by far the best candidate in the company. I know it, you know it, everyone knows it, including Aro. He'd be a fool not to name you."

The board was meeting that evening to name the new Senior Vice President, replacing Sam Uley who had retired a month ago. Isabella and I had several conversations about my future with the company and her future at my side. She was smart, business-savvy, and she believed in me more than anyone else I had ever met.

"Nothing new," I grinned at her. But I knew I had it. It was a foregone conclusion. All that was left was the announcement.

She stood up and stood at my side, her hand resting gently on my shoulder. These new little touches were killing me. I hoped to God it was some sort of sign that she was nearly ready for me.

"You deserve it Edward. They owe it to you."

She had moved so that she was standing behind me now, both hands on my shoulders, and she leaned down, her lips brushing against my ear.

"Don't let anyone take this from you, Edward. It's yours. And you need to take what's yours."

My head was spinning. What was she trying to tell me? That the job was mine? Or was she talking about herself?

But then she walked out of the room, letting me know with a toss of her hair that she was running down to Documents and Records to get the printed reports that we were handing out at the board meeting.

The board met for only fifteen minutes, and Aro was the first to walk out. He walked right up to me and shook my hand. The entire executive team was waiting in the outer boardroom for the news, except for Newton, who was conspicuously absent.

"Congratulations, Edward! The board has voted you in unanimously. You are our new Senior Vice President. Let's celebrate! Jane," he said to his tall, blonde assistant, "champagne for everyone!"

It was a whirlwind after that, with each member of the team offering their congratulations and jockeying for position with me. The Senior Vice President held considerable influence in the company, quite a bit more than each divisional VP, and they all knew that I was a hard man to please.

But all I could think about was Isabella, who was waiting for me downstairs in my office, as we had agreed. I couldn't wait to share my news with her, and I was hoping that we could have our own private celebration.

After several glasses of champagne, I finally made my exit, after thanking Aro profusely for his confidence, and swearing my allegiance to him and the future success of the company.

Senior Vice President, Edward Cullen.

I was second only to Aro.

For now.

It was dark outside, and almost everyone had left for the day, including Angela.

My office door was closed, and when I reached for the handle, I heard noises coming from inside. Isabella's voice. And a man.

I pushed the door open until it slammed against the wall. And then I saw them. Isabella and Newton. On my couch. He had his hands all over her, and her blouse was ripped.

"Edward!" she screamed. "Thank God you're here! Mike was -"

I practically ran over to the couch and pulled him off of her, throwing him halfway across the room. I glared at him.

"Oh, I know what Mike was doing." Then, I turned to her, to make sure she was alright. "Isabella, are you okay? Did he hurt you?"

"No," she replied, her voice and hands shaking. "I'm fine. We were just talking, waiting for you to get back from your meeting. And then he … "

"He what, exactly?" I erupted, storming across the room to where Newton stood. "What the fuck did Newton exactly do?" He held his hands up and smiled, and he started to make a joke about what Isabella had said, but my hands around his throat silenced him.

"Is this what you want, Isabella? Mike fucking Newton? Is this what turns you on, this skinny little shit? Is it? Because if you two want each other, I'll gladly step out of the picture. Just promise to stay the fuck away from me."

I squeezed my fingers tighter around Newton's throat, and he tried to fight me off, but he was no match for me. I had warned him, and I was going to kill the fucker.

Isabella got up from the couch and walked over to me, right behind me, her hands on my arms. I flinched a little with the contact, I was so wound up

"Edward, please, you know that's not true. You know that you are the only one for me. You know how I feel about you." She was speaking very slowly, very softly, obviously trying to calm me down.

"No, Isabella, I don't," I growled at her. "You know exactly how I feel about you, but you've kept yourself tightly locked away from me for all these months. Now it's time to put up or shut up."

"Edward, I was only talking to Mike because I thought we might be able to use him someday. I was gathering intel, laying groundwork for your future, for our future. You know I would never do anything against you."

Newton's face was turning purple and his eyes were bulging out of his head. He was slapping at my arms. trying desperately to get me to let go, but there was no way he was walking away from this.

"I saw you and him, on my couch," I grunted. "He had his hands on you. He was fucking touching you!" I roared, but she didn't move, calmly standing behind me, rubbing my arms.

"I am only here for you Edward. My purpose in life is to help you succeed, to help you achieve your goals. It's all I want. We're a team, you and I. I want to be at your side, all the way to the top. You got the promotion, I know you did. And there's only one step left, Edward. CEO. All that's left is Aro."

At the mention of Aro's name, something clicked, and I shifted my focus slightly so that I could look at her face. I realized suddenly that she was discussing our plans, our private future plans, right in front of Newton.

"And him?" I said, gesturing to the man that I was choking. "What would you like for me to do with him?"

This was it. There was no going back. She could only give me one of two answers… one in which we shared a future, one in which we didn't.

Then, I felt her lips at my ear again.

"Kill him, Edward," she moaned seductively, her tongue snaking out and tasting me. "Kill him, and then fuck me."

Right answer.

I applied more pressure to Newton's throat with my hands, and I watched as his eyes rolled white. His body shook for a few seconds, and then he was still.

I held him there for several seconds, against the wall, this man that I had killed, but I felt no remorse. No guilt. I thought about what I had done, and then I remembered Isabella and what she had just said to me.

I released Newton, his bodily collapsing lifelessly to the ground, and I spun around to face Isabella. I grabbed her upper arms and pushed her back until she was pressed against my conference table, and I kissed her. Hard. My tongue inside her mouth, my hands in her hair, pulling her tightly against me.

At first, she didn't move. Didn't react at all. I thought, just briefly that I might have misjudged her.

"Is this what you want, Isabella?" I growled. I had to know. "You want my hands on you?

My dick inside you? Or do you want boys like Newton, him and his pathetic little lackeys. Hmm? Tell me."

I pushed her legs open and stepped up against her, my hips pressing into her hips. I reached for the hem of her skirt and pulled it up, shoving my hand between her legs. I instantly felt how wet she was, and I knew. All that remained between us was a thin piece of lace, and I pressed my fingers against her pussy, and she moaned. Isabella fucking moaned for me.

"No, no, please," she begged, tossing her head back and offering me her long white neck. "Edward, please… I want you. I only want you. There was only ever you."

I kissed and licked and bit at her neck, and she made the most delicious noises for me, noises I had only fantasized about. But then I stopped. I needed to ask her one last question, and I wasn't going to give her what she wanted until she gave me what I wanted first.

"And there will only ever be me, correct, my Isabella?"

"Yes!" she screamed. "Yes, only you, no one else… please, touch me, Edward, please... I want you so fucking badly."

So I touched her again, slipping my fingers inside her panties and rubbing, but just enough to drive her crazy, not enough to get her anywhere.

"Tell me what you want, beautiful Isabella," I whispered. "Tell me, and I'll give it to you."

She put her hand over mine between her legs, pressing hard, and met my eyes. The wanton, desperate look on her face, the wild look in her eyes... it was all too much for me.

"I want you to fuck me Edward," she moaned. "Fuck me hard, and fuck me rough. Show me that I belong to you. Take what's yours."

"Yes!" I roared. "Yes, fuck yes, you are mine." I ripped those tiny panties off of her body and pushed her back on the table, spreading her legs wide. I wanted to do so much to her, with her, so much touching and tasting, but right now, I just needed to be inside her, to claim her once and for all, as mine.

I unbuckled my pants and grabbed my dick, and without any further hesitation, I slammed it into her.

Jesus, it was like nothing I had ever felt before. Physically, emotionally - unnamed feelings surging through my body. I wanted to fuck her for hours, but I knew I wouldn't last long. Minutes at the most.

"Edward," she gasped. "I'm almost… I'm almost there. Make me come, baby… please."

She wanted me to make her come, something I had never done before in my life. I was always completely selfish, my needs over the woman's, but this was different. I wanted it. I wanted her to come. I wanted to be the one responsible for making her feel good, to watch her come apart beneath me. To feel it.

So, I continued to fuck her, but I slipped my hand back between her legs, rubbing her clit in slow, steady circles.

I felt her start to come before I heard her, her pussy clenching tightly on my dick, tighter than anything I had ever felt before. Then, she started to moan… long, throaty, and non-stop.

"Edward, baby," she gasped. "I'm coming… I'm coming… oh fuck… "

The combination was too much for me, hearing her, feeling her, and I exploded inside her, pressing my hips against hers as I emptied into her body.

I collapsed on top of her, both of us sweating and panting, trying to catch our breath, and I didn't know if she sensed that I was about to move or not, but she wrapped her legs around my waist and held me tightly to her body, keeping me deep inside of her.

"Don't worry, my love," I whispered. "I'm not going anywhere."

I brushed the hair from her face, tiny strands stuck to her forehead with sweat, and I just listened to her breathe, the steady beat of her heart. I stroked my fingertips along her cheek, gently, sweetly, and then I kissed her. Not like the first time, however. This was soft and sweet and slow.

"Now, you're mine," I told her, and she smiled back at me.


We had sex several times that night, then we decided that we had to deal with Newton's body. We worked through several different scenarios before finally dragging him back to his office. I thought about posing him in his chair, leaving some ridiculous clue behind to taunt the police, but Isabella suggested that we just throw him in a corner, making it look like he was killed in his office.

She had a devious little mind on her, and as much as I wanted to take her home and fuck her again, I knew we had to do this right. We cleaned beneath his fingernails with rubbing alcohol, just in case he had managed to scrape against my skin, but even that could be easily explained. I wore no rings, so there were no specific marks on his neck, just bruises from my fingers, which could have been caused by anyone.

We left his lights on and returned to my office to clean up. When we finally left, Isabella just came with me to my car. After everything we had been through that night, it was just assumed that she would be with me from now on.

The news of Newton's death the next day spread like wildfire. He and I had never gotten along, that was no secret, so I didn't even have to pretend that I was upset.

Isabella was running errands for me when the Detective showed up, for the first time, to ask me some questions.

"Mr. Cullen?" Angela said meekly from the doorway. "Detective Swan is here to see you. About Mr. Newton." She whispered that last part, like she was afraid to say it out loud.

I sighed heavily, like I was annoyed, but I fully expected it.

I stood up as he walked in and gestured for him to join me at my conference table.

"Detective," I said in the most serious tone I could muster. "Terrible thing, isn't it? How can I help?"

"Mr. Cullen, thank you for seeing me without an appointment. We're getting statements from everyone who was here last night after closing. Just in case you saw anything suspicious, anything out of the ordinary."

I pretended to think for a minute or two.

"No, nothing that I can think of. Nothing comes to mind. I was here late, celebrating," I said with a small smile, trying to look somewhat gracious. "The board had just named me Senior Vice President."

"I heard," he said. "Congratulations. That's quite an accomplishment. So, you didn't see any strangers in the building, anyone coming or going from Newton's office, anything like that?"

"No, Detective, no strangers. And unfortunately, I can't tell you anything about Newton's office. I tried to stay away from there as much as possible." I cleared my throat. "It was no secret that Mr. Newton and I didn't get along."

He flipped through his notepad and wrote something down.

"Yes, I've heard that several times. That's why I wanted to be sure to get a statement from you today. So we can eliminate you right off. And were you here alone last night? Was anyone with you that can vouch for your whereabouts?"

"I was with my assistant. We were celebrating my promotion and discussing plans for the following day."

"And her name?" he asked, pen poised at his notebook.

"Black. Isabella Black."

His head snapped up, and he stared at me for a minute.

"Did you say Isabella Black? Did I get that right?"

I thought his reaction was a little strange, and it made me curious.

"Yes, that's right."

"Is she here? Mrs. Black?" he asked. "We'll need to get a statement from her as well."

"No, she's out of the office at the moment, on business. I can have her call you when she returns."

He pulled out one of his business cards and pushed it across the table to me.

"Please, give her my card, and ask her to call me as soon as possible. I really need to get this wrapped up. You understand." He grinned at me, like we were both in on the same secret. "And I've taken up enough of your time today, Mr. Cullen. Thank you again for seeing me, and if I have any follow-up questions?"

"See Angela, my secretary, on the way out. She'll give you my contact information and can set up an appointment if necessary."

We both stood at that point, and he once again offered me his hand. I shook it and

suddenly had a bad feeling. Something about him, but I didn't know what.

Isabella returned about an hour later, and I had forgotten completely about the Detective's visit until she brought it up.

"So, any news? On Newton's murder? What's the word in the hallways?"

"Nothing yet, the idiots," I laughed. "Oh, but a Detective came by to question me.

Standard procedure, nothing to worry about. He'll need to speak with you as well," I said, handing her the business card.

"Detective Swan?" she asked suddenly. "Charlie Swan?"

"Yes, that's him. Do you know him?" I asked curiously. She seemed affected, but I didn't know why.

"No," she said suddenly. "No, just sounded familiar, that's all. I'll give him a call."

She tucked the card into her pocket and returned to discussing the action items due for the meeting next week.

The gossip around Newton's murder died down after about a week, and everyone returned to normal. Isabella and I never discussed it. Just talked about moving forward, getting me to the number one spot, which was the eventual goal.

Swan showed up again, no appointment. Just kind of barged in one day during lunch. Both Angela and Isabella were out of the building, so he just knocked on the door and let himself in.

"Detective," I said. "Back so soon?"

"Yes, Mr. Cullen, so sorry to bother you. Just a few follow-up questions, if you don't mind."

"Of course, Detective. However, I'm afraid I have a meeting in about fifteen minutes, so we'll have to be done by then."

"Oh no," he said. "Shouldn't take that long at all."

He pulled his notebook out of his cheap suit jacket and startled rifling through the pages. I wasn't sure if this was some ploy on his part, or if he was actually that inept.

"You said you returned to your office around 6 p.m. the night that Newton was murdered."

"Yes, that's correct. Approximately. I don't remember checking the clock."

"And you didn't see Newton at all, didn't leave your office until around 10 p.m. that night when you left the building."

"That's correct," I said. "Again, time approximate."

"Well, maybe you can help me with this. We spoke to Bree, Mr. Newton's secretary, and she said that Mr. Newton left his office around 5:30 that night, and told Bree that he was going to your office for a meeting."

"I'm sorry," I said. "I can't help you. I had no meetings with Newton, and he wasn't in my office when I returned from the board meeting."

"So you got back to your office around 6 p.m."

This man was starting to seriously frustrate me.

"Yes, as I just said."

"And who was in your office when you entered?"

"Just my assistant."

He rifled through his notebook, and I got that feeling again that he was pretending.

"And that's Mrs. Black. Mrs. Isabella Black?"

That's the second time he's referred to her as Mrs. It was really starting to piss me off.

"That's Ms. Black."

"Oh," he said, looking suddenly like a really bad actor. "She's not married?"

"No," I said slowly, through clenched teeth. "She's divorced."

"I see," he muttered. "And is she here? I still need to talk to her, to get a statement from her."

"No, Detective she's out of the building. And if we are done, I really must … "

"Your meeting, of course, of course. Just one more thing."


"So Mrs. Black, excuse me, Ms. Black, was alone in your office when you returned from upstairs, and the two of you were alone for the rest of the evening until you both left around 10."

"Yes, Detective," I sighed, standing and buttoning my jacket. "As I've said. Now I really must go."

"Sure. I understand." he stood as well, and we shook hands. I walked him to the door, without pause, and hit the up button on the elevator.

"Thanks again, Mr. Cullen," he said. "For seeing me on such short notice."

That night, Isabella and I worked late again, and we were both surprised when my phone rang. It was Aro. He was in his office down the hall and asked that I come talk to him. I told him that Isabella and I were working on the project schedule for the meeting in the morning, and he chuckled and told me to bring her. "The more the merrier" were his exact words.

"Edward!" he exclaimed when we entered his office. "I knew I'd find you here. Burning the midnight oil, as usual? And the lovely Isabella! This is indeed a surprise and an unexpected pleasure!"

He was alone, his security team gone for the night. He walked to Isabella and grabbed her hand, raising it to his lips.

It immediately brought the hackles up on the back of my neck, and I was on alert.

"Aro, what can I help you with?" I said. "Isabella and I were just finishing up, hoping to get out of here in the next few minutes."

"Yes, yes," he said. "Leaving together, as usual? You two are quite the gossip in the hallways these days. I always keep my ear to the ground, Edward. Never know what you'll find."

Then, he winked. I wasn't sure if it was for Isabella or for me, but either way, he was up to no good.

"Aro, you know I don't discuss my personal life, so if there is something I can help you with?"

"Yes, your personal life." He laughed, maniacally. Isabella and I exchanged a quick, worried glance.

"All those women, Edward. Fucking so many of them right here in the office."

"Aro, that's completely out of line -"

"And never once did you offer to share with me."

He was still holding Isabella's hand, and he turned to look at her, kissed her hand again. I saw her visibly shiver.

"But maybe this time, you will. You see, dear Edward, I'm afraid that some information has crossed my desk that is of great importance to both of us." Then he looked at Isabella again and laughed gleefully. "To all three of us!"

He threw a folder on his desk, and a number of black and white photos spilled out. They were all taken in my office. Several of me strangling Newton, then several of him, dead, on the ground, Isabella and I both looking at the body. Then, Isabella and me fucking on the table. Lots of pictures of us fucking.

He pulled one out of the stack, a particularly graphic picture of Isabella's naked body, her legs splayed open, and my dick inside her.

"This one is my favorite," he said thoughtfully. Then, he pulled a different picture out of the stack - Isabella on her knees, sucking my dick, her ass to the camera. "No, on second thought, this is my favorite. You have such a beautiful mouth, Isabella. It shows up so well on camera, don't you think?"

Isabella didn't move, didn't react, didn't flinch at all. I was quite amazed by her. I was still trying to figure out how these pictures were taken and where he had gotten them. Strangely, I was more upset by the sex pictures than I was of the ones of me strangling Newton.

"And that's all well and good, of course. What two consenting adults do is their own business," he said, running his eyes up and down Isabella's body. "But this," he said pointing to the picture of me and Newton. "Well, this, I'm afraid, is a game-changer."

I quickly shoved all the pictures back into the folder. I couldn't look at them anymore.

"What do you want, Aro?" I asked. Aro was a ruthless man, I knew. His behind-the-scenes deals were questionable, legally and morally, and I had enough information to send him to prison for life, but apparently, now, so did he.

"It's very simple, my dear Edward," he said with a smile. "I keep your little secret from the police, and you give me the beautiful Isabella."

What? What?

"Aro, you are out of your fucking mind."

"No, I don't think so, Edward. Obviously, Isabella knows how to fuck her way to the top, and it's only right, that since I am the top, that she fuck me instead."

He said it so casually that it took a moment for me to process.

"Edward - " Isabella said my name, low and soft, her hand on my arm. I looked at her for a second, then back at Aro.

"No, Isabella. Whatever you were going to say, no." I didn't want to hear her thoughts, some deal she would be willing to work out to save my neck. This was going to stop, and it was going to stop tonight.

"Where did you get these, Aro? Who took these pictures?" I had to find out what the hell was going on. They were all taken from the same angle, which led me to believe there was a camera in my office, but I had to know what he knew.

"Edward, you don't really think I ever trusted you, did you? Or anyone in this company?" He laughed. "I have cameras hidden in every room, and the surveillance video is stored in our server room. Under my password, of course."

He saw me processing his words, and as I realized what he had said, he started speaking again.

"That's right, my boy. Video. I have live action video of everything you see in those pictures. I can't tell you how many times I watched Isabella sucking on your cock that first night. And then every day since! I didn't even show you those pictures, but I have it all. You two fuck like bunnies. It's a beautiful thing." He sighed. "That's why I really must insist that I have Isabella all to myself. My Jane has become quite boring, and to tell you honestly, I can't even get it up for her lately! But my oh my, I have been hard as a rock since I saw Isabella's ripe little body on my monitor. I cannot wait to have her alone. Now, if you will just head on back to your office, leaving her here with me of course, we can dispense with this ugliness, and move on."

He turned then and started walking to the door, to escort us out, and I snapped. I didn't know if I realized at the time that I had all the information I needed, but there was no way in hell that I was going to let him get away with this.

I grabbed the first thing I could find on his desk, a letter opener, and I ran up behind him, stabbing him in the back. He didn't make a sound, just a soft, wet gasp, arching his back away from me. I pulled the letter opener out and stabbed him again, over and over and over, until he collapsed on the ground in a bloody heap.

I stood over him, gasping, my hands and shirt covered in blood, and this time, when Isabella touched my arm, I immediately calmed. She was the reason for my being. She was all that was important. I had to keep her safe.

"Edward," she said calmly. "We have to get out of here. Let's go back to your office, you can take a quick shower and change your clothes, and then we can go home. Okay?"

She was talking slowly, like an adult talking calmly to a child. I realized she was right, and I nodded my head.

We cleaned up what we could, took the pictures and the letter opener. We would have to get all the video from the server later, which wouldn't be a problem for me. Right now, it was critical that we get the fuck out of there.

Only a week had passed since Newton's murder, but the next morning, when Aro's bloody body was discovered, there was sudden talk of a serial killer stalking employees at the company.

This time, unfortunately, I had to act like I was upset, that losing Aro was personal to me. People in the company assumed that I thought of Aro as a father figure, which couldn't have been further from the truth.

As senior officer in the company, I was notified immediately when his body was found. Our business manager took care of all of the details, calling the police, notifying the board. A sudden death was unfortunate, but we had a business to run, and the board was called into an emergency meeting that afternoon. This time, they invited me into the room with them.

I was voted in as President, again unanimously. I gave a very short speech about what a sad occasion it was, but that I would do what I could to keep Aro's company running as he would have wanted.

When I returned to my office, Detective Swan was waiting for me.

"I hear congratulations are again in order, Mr. Cullen," he said, fingering his moustache.

"Detective, this is really not a good time -"

"I'm afraid I have to insist Mr. Cullen. This is getting to be quite a thing, you and I meeting in your office to discuss murders in your company. And isn't it interesting that you keep rising up on that corporate ladder."

I sat in my chair and immediately relaxed. The game was over. He knew I was guilty, and now it was just a matter of proving it.

"I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about, Detective," I said smugly. "Or what you think you know. I had nothing to do with either of these crimes, and you cannot prove that I did."

"I will, Mr. Cullen. It's only a matter of time."

He turned to leave, and just then, Isabella walked back in. She and Detective Swan stood facing each other, only feet away, neither of them speaking.

"Well, well, well," he said. "If it isn't Ms. Isabella Black. I've been looking for you, little girl."

Isabella looked panicked, scared to death. I had never before seen that expression on her face. Nothing had ever fazed her, and it worried me.

"Excuse me, Detective, but I will not allow you to talk to one of my employees like that. I'm afraid I must ask you to leave."

He stared at Isabella for several seconds before turning back to me.

"For now. I'll see you both soon. Very soon."

It was very quiet after he left, neither of us speaking. I was waiting for her to explain what just happened. What I didn't know.

"Edward, there's something I haven't told you," she started. "Let's sit."

We moved to the couch, but she sat as far away from me as possible.

"When I was eighteen, I married a local boy in my hometown, Jacob Black. He and I were just friends, I didn't love him or anything," she said, her voice starting to shake. "I did it simply to get out of my house. My father was… abusive. Physically, emotionally… sexually. It started slowly, when I was in grade school. He raped me for the first time when I was just thirteen, after my Mom died. And he didn't stop until I left."

I reached out to take her hand, but she pulled away from me.

"Edward, please, let me finish. Jacob and I were… happy. Not blissfully, completely happy," and then she smiled at me. "Not like I am with you, but happier than I had ever been before. But my dad showed up at our house one day, drunk, screaming at both of us. He was saying the craziest things about Jacob, that Jacob was the abusive one, that Jacob had raped me, and that he was the only one who cared about me. Jacob knew the truth. I had told him several years before, and that's basically why he married me. Jacob was a big guy, very muscular, and very tall, and if it had just been the two of them, man against man, my father wouldn't have stood a chance."

I reached for her hand again, and this time, she let me take it. I had to make sure that she knew that I would always be there for her, that I would always protect her, that she never had to feel that fear again.

"But, my dad was a cop. Is a cop. He was the Chief of Police in my hometown, which is why I could never get anyone to stop him. They all knew he was a drinker, but no one would have believed me over him."

It was a terrible story, but I couldn't fathom what any of it had to do with Aro's murder.

"I'm not divorced, Edward, I'm a widow. My dad shot Jacob. Killed him. And then he came after me, but he was so drunk that I was able to hit him in the head, a lamp or something, and then run away. And I've never been back."

"Isabella," I said gently. "I'm so sorry for everything that happened to you, but why -"

"I kept my married name, because I didn't want my father to find me. I didn't want to ever use my maiden name again. Edward," she said, squeezing my hand. "My maiden name is Swan. Detective Swan is my father."

"What?" I said, a little too sharply. "Detective Swan? Your father? Isabella, why didn't you tell me? Why did you keep this from me?"

She sniffed, wiping her nose with the back of her hand.

"I was scared! All of that abuse came flooding back when you gave me his card. I tried to avoid the office as much as I could, but I knew he would eventually catch up to me."

"Baby," I said, calming myself down for her sake. "I'm glad you told me. We can work on this together. As long as we work together, we can figure out a solution to anything. Even this. You know I will protect you. I will do anything for you, anything in the world."

"That's what I was hoping you'd say, Edward." She sniffed one last time, then the scared little girl was gone, and my Isabella was back. She got a very determined look on her face. "Because I want you to kill him for me."

I gave him a moment to meet my eyes, to see what his last moments looked like in the rich, green irises of his nemesis, and I pulled the trigger.

Detective Charlie Swan, Isabella's abusive, alcoholic father, collapsed to the ground, instantly dead, his body laying next to his two fallen comrades.

I turned to Isabella, watching me from the corner, and gave her a smile, which she immediately returned.

"Good enough?" I asked, reaching out for her hand. We had to leave, and we had to leave immediately. This time, there was no doubt who had pulled the trigger.

"Good enough," she said.


All things "Twilight" belong to Stephenie Meyer. The remainder of the perversion is all mine.

PLEASE READ THIS NOTE! I was asked to join a group of 7 other authors (GothicTemptress, JonesinDaHood, LayAtHomeMom, PlanetBlue, RobsMyYummy CabanaBoy, and SexiLexiCullen - I LOVE YOU ALL!) in doing a pre-Lenten FF compilation about the Seven Deadly Sins, women whom I absolutely revere in this fandom, amazing authors, every single one of them. . I was given the sin "pride," and this is the result. :) Please go check out the other 6 stories, you won't regret it: Author name "The-Sinners" (you have to put the dash or you'll get a MILLION other authors!), story name "SALIGIA." Please let the other authors know how fantastic you think they are :)

I have to add my usual disclaimer about the legal stuff. I have no legal training. Everything I know, everything in this story, simply comes from watching way too many episodes of "Law & Order: SVU."

I think it's interesting to note that more than half of this story (the second half to be exact) was written while I was at jury duty. See? The legal stuff DID come in handy, and maybe it inspired me a little!

Shout at, as always, to MaBarberElla, just because I love her, and if she had had time to pre-read this, she totally would have and would have given me amazing notes and suggestions. :)

Lastly, I have to thank my beta and real-life BFF, LibbyLou862 for being not only the best beta in the fandom, but my dear friend. I love that she fixes my typos and corrects my grammar mistakes, but she also works through the plot with me, and I could not write these stories without her. Seriously. Love you Libby!

Until next time, my friends...