A special thanks to my beta, TitaRitter, who is sticking out another story with me, and to Kris for your great advice and pre-reading skills.
For all you readers that have been with me since Black Diamond, and to those of you that are new … thanks for being here.
Now … Let's meet the players of this story
Edward is always running late, and this morning will be no exception. The fact that he arrived home at three o'clock in the morning doesn't help either. Crashing into his bed fully clothed, reeking of perfume and Chivas, he passes out immediately.
Rolling over, he cringes at the annoying beeping sound in his head. Realizing it's the alarm, he reaches for his phone to turn off the irritating noise. Giving himself a long, full-body stretch, he grins to himself, thinking he's smarter than the average male at having set his alarm before even going out for the evening.
Carefully sitting up, he warily places his feet on the floor and waits for the pounding to begin … it doesn't take long. Opting for a hot shower before coffee, he staggers to his en suite and turns on four of the eight shower heads, waiting for some relief to set in. Throwing his head back, he leans against the tiled wall to keep his balance, inwardly moaning at the pleasure the hot water gives him as it rolls down his body.
"Fuck!" he says to himself. "I'm getting too old for this shit."
Feeling somewhat better, he slips into a comfortable pair of jeans, a deep V T-shirt and then looks in the mirror. He admonishes himself for another hit and run night with a brunette he met at Emmett's party. Foregoing the shave, he finger-combs a light gel into his hair, brushes his teeth then pads on bare feet to the kitchen for a much-needed cup of coffee. Dropping a K-cup into his Keurig, he smiles at the instant gratification and takes a sip of the hot brew.
Looking at his watch, he picks up his cell to listen to his voicemail messages he ignored the previous night.
"Edward, I have a new project for you. Stop by the office in the morning so we can go over it. They only want you, so get your ass in here."
At the age of twenty nine, Edward Cullen has become a highly sought-after photographer that has made his name as one of the few that will place himself in the most notorious and dangerous war zones in the world. His photographs depict the reality of war and are often featured in National Geographic and TIME. As Edward's agent, it's Jasper Whitlock's job to book these projects.
Smirking at Jasper's message, not happy that this will mean another few months away when he has just arrived home, he picks up his cell to return his friend's call.
"Edward, good to see you're alive," Jasper says upon answering his phone.
"Barely," he replies, taking a sip of coffee while thumbing through his mail. "What's this about a new job? I told you I wanted to take a break after this last one, Jazz. I need a fucking break, man."
"I know … I know, but you will like this one, buddy. It's in Cairo. As in Egypt? You love Egypt, remember?"
"Aria," Edward whispers.
"Yes, Aria. You said you would move heaven and earth to be with her again and here's your chance. The job starts in three days. I can have the same hotel booked for you, just give me the word," Jasper says, ready to make the call.
Edward sits down hard on the bar stool next to him recalling the beauty with long black hair and bronzed skin. He knew that if he saw her again, his heart would no longer belong to him. It's been nearly a year since he last saw her, but they've been in contact through Facebook and an occasional text. His job doesn't allow him much personal time to keep a very long distance relationship going.
"Let me call you back, Jazz. I'll let you know."
"Edward, I need to know now. They won't wait," Jasper says, sitting up fearing Edward might pass on this job. It means a lot of money for both of them.
"I'll call you back!" Edward retorts angrily. After he hangs up, he begins pacing, not sure if he should do this. He fell for her once, and it took a lot for him to leave her then. He's not sure he could do it again.
He picks up his phone and makes the call. He needs to know.
"Aria, it's Edward," he says when he hears her sweet 'hello'.
"Oh my God, Edward. How are you? It has been a long time," she says in the accent that causes his dick to twitch. He has always loved the sound of her voice.
"It has. I hope you are well?"
"I am. A lot has happened since I last saw you, Eddie," she says timidly. She is the only person he's ever allowed to call him that, but the way she says it sounds warm and comforting.
"Yes. I … well, I have married and we are expecting our first child next month."
Edward falls silent at her words. He knows that she should be married. She is the kind of woman that would make a wonderful wife to any man and a good mother to their children. She is simply marriage material.
"I'm happy for you, Aria. I really am. You will make a wonderful mother. I just wanted to call to say hello and to see how you were since we haven't spoken in so long. I was away in Brazil covering the upheaval there and only just returned when I read about the unrest there. I wanted to make sure you were all right," he says, running his hand through his already messy hair.
"Yes, my husband he is English and has a home in London, so we have relocated there temporarily until it is safe to return again. I am happy to hear you are well and have safely returned to your home, Edward."
"Thank you, Aria. It was good talking to you again. Congratulations on your marriage and the upcoming birth of your child." Edward pauses and knows this will be the last time he will ever speak to her again. "I guess this is goodbye, Aria. I … I … take care of yourself."
"Thank you, Edward. You as well."
After hanging up, Edward quickly crosses his large living room to the bar and pours himself a Chivas drinking the double shot in one mouthful, slamming the glass on the counter. Knowing it's too early, he pours himself another.
"Fuck it!" he says, swallowing the burning liquid down his throat.
Well, that's that.
Picking up his cell, he calls Jasper back to deliver the news.
"Wow, that didn't take long," Jasper says upon answering.
"Yeah, well, it didn't take long to decide that I'm not doing it. Give it to Uley. Sam's always willing to take my seconds," he says pouring another double.
"What's wrong, Edward?"
The silence is deafening and Jasper asks again.
"She's married." Edward looks into his glass before allowing the amber liquid to flow over his tongue.
"Oh, fuck," Jazz says quietly.
"Yep, and she's pregnant … due next month."
"I'm sorry, man."
"Yeah, well, Aria is a woman that should be married … to have a man around to take care of her. She deserves that … not some fuck that can't sit still for five fucking minutes."
"Will you be okay, buddy?" Jasper asks his friend, concerned.
"Yeah. I'll be fine after I kick myself in the ass for letting that beautiful woman go. It's my fucking fault. I'm just glad I had the opportunity to know her. I will never regret her."
"I'll check the books to see what else I can come up with."
Edward can hear his agent tap on the keyboard as he searches for another job to keep his mind off of Aria when Edward speaks up.
"No, Jazz, I wasn't fucking around when I said I needed time off. I've worked for the last year with a break. I need a fucking break. I'm going to travel north and take some pictures in a few days. But right now, I'm going to head uptown and get a workout in with Emmett."
"Okay, Edward. No jobs for a few weeks, at least. Are we still on for tomorrow? Em wants to try out that new club that just opened around the corner and I told him we'd go."
"Sure. After the blow I've just received, I can use a night out. I'll meet you there at nine o'clock, all right?"
"See you then," Jasper says. After Edward disconnects the call and sets the phone on the counter, he walks through the living room to the large window that overlooks the groomed neighborhood park. Shaking his head, he runs up the stairs to slip into his boots and rushes out the door to meet Emmett at the gym, looking forward to a good workout.
"Bella, hurry, the contractor will be there any minute and he will be pissed if he can't tear down that wall today. He wanted to do it yesterday." Alice holds the door open waiting for Bella who is more focused on what she's reading on her cell.
"I'm coming, Alice, I'm coming." Bella finishes reading and slips her phone into her oversized bag and picks up the pace to appease Alice. "What time is it?"
"Eight fifteen; he'll be there at eight thirty."
Both women quickly walk the three blocks to Swan Gallery, barely making it in time to open the door before the contractors arrive.
"Jesus, Alice. It's only eight thirty and they reek already. Don't men shower anymore?" Bella asks, seeking the sanctuary of her office to avoid the stench. "Tell them that if they want to keep this job, they will shower before coming to work tomorrow or I will find someone that will."
"Bella, how do I tell them that?" Alice asks, shocked at her employer's request.
"You say, 'Boys, you will arrive at Swan Gallery clean and showered in the morning or don't come back.' Simple."
"They do stink don't they?"
The look on Bella's face says it all, and when Alice walks out into the soon-to-be gallery, her eyes begin to burn. With new incentive, she completes her first task of the day with the assurance they will be back tomorrow.
"Alice, I just got a call and my furniture won't be delivered until Sunday. It was to be delivered today, but the leather couch and matching love seat didn't come in with the other things. Do you mind if I camp out at your place for a few more days?" Bella gives Alice an apologetic look, hoping it won't be an inconvenience for her.
"Of course not, Bella. You know you're welcome for as long as you need," Alice consents. "This works out perfectly because Rosalie has an invite to the new club opening up around the corner. We can all go. It will be fun."
"I don't know, Alice. I have so much to do getting this gallery going. I still have Chicago to finish up."
"And that's why you need some down time, boss. You haven't taken a day off in over three years. You need to get out and let your hair down. When's the last time you had sex?"
"With another person?" Bella asks her friend who is now laughing and nodding her head. "Fuck, I can't even remember. I don't have time for that, Alice. I don't want to get attached to a man either, by heart or by cock. It's quicker, easier and safer if I just fuck myself than deal with a man."
"Well, in that case, you really do need to get laid. You can take a night off just to have some fun … dance … flirt … get your ego stroked … along with a few other things."
Out of excitement, Alice bounces on the balls of her feet while she picks up her phone and begins dialing.
"Rosalie, Bella's going with us tomorrow! Make sure you can get her in, all right? Okay, we'll see you then."
Bella snaps her head up from her work and glares at Alice.
"I didn't say I was going, Alice. Why did you tell her that?"
"Because, Bella, not only are you my boss, you are my friend and we never do anything together anymore! I want my friend back!" Alice says, tears welling in her eyes.
Bella looks intently at her and when her face softens, she knows Alice is right. They've worked for three years straight without having any girl time.
"Okay, Alice, you're right. I'll go. Get us a car so we don't have to mess with a cab … let's treat ourselves right. That means a spa day for us. Can you make the arrangements? And make sure I get a massage … apparently I'm uptight with a stick up my ass!"
Both girls laugh and hug before Alice sets off to her office to make the appointment. She giggles when she calls in a favor to an up-and-coming designer to borrow a sleek little dress for Bella to wear.
"She'll love it," Alice says before hanging up the phone. A devious look comes over her face when she calls to make the appointment for her boss' massage.
When Saturday rolls around, Alice and Bella are delivered to Ohm Spa for a complete beauty treatment and massage. While Alice is getting her massage, Bella enters her private chamber that is dark and illuminated by scented candles of sweet lavender.
Once her masseuse enters the room, Bella's mouth literally falls open as he walks over to the counter to ready his tools for her massage.
"Hello, Bella. My name is Stephen. Stephen Drogan. I'm your masseuse for the next ninety minutes. If you would remove your robe and use this to cover your bottom, we will begin," he says in an Irish brogue. He turns and leaves, clearly giving her the privacy to do as he instructed.
Bella nearly trips over her tongue when Stephen returns … shirtless. She can't help but stare at his black tattoo sleeve that crosses over his shoulder and the entire left pectoral. The design looks tribal, and she's sure there's a story attached to it, but she's too mesmerized by his extreme good looks to care. She likes the dark scruffy beard and eight pack, but can't seem to keep her eyes off his tight dark jeans … specifically, the zipper area.
"First, I'm going to coat you with heated mint oil. Just relax, breathe in the scent and enjoy," he instructs as he begins applying the warm oil to her skin, his hands soft and gentle.
Bella inwardly moans at how good the oil feels as he works it into her skin. She feels the minty tingling sensation immediately. Closing her eyes after he touches her, she realizes how long it's been since a man has put his hands on her. She had to fight the urge to part her legs while he expertly massages her upper thighs and after her ninety-minutes are up, she feels completely and utterly relaxed. When Stephen helps her up from the table, her nude body is completely revealed to him. At this point, she's too numb to care. Feeling his hands slip under her legs, he lifts her and carries her overly relaxed body to the shower where he already has it warm and steamy for her. Bella barely moves her head from his shoulder where, if given enough time, she would have settled in for a cozy nap.
"There you go, Isabella." The way he says her name, sounds like liquid gold to her. Offering her support after he stands her in the shower, his eyes seductively travel down her body. "Enjoy. I've left my card for you if you ever desire a more private appointment," he hints with a grin.
After she washes the scented oil from her body, Bella slips into a fresh, clean robe and slowly moves to the private waiting area for her facial. It's there that she encounters Alice reading a magazine.
"Sooooo?" she coos. "Did you like him … or it? The massage? Did you like it?" she stammers.
"Alice, did you intentionally arrange for him to be my masseuse?" Bella asks, dumbstruck.
"Isn't he fucking beautiful?" she replies, jumping in her seat.
"Beautiful isn't the word. Pure perfection doesn't even describe that man. He left me his card for a more private session. I may have to take him up on the offer, but I refuse to pay for anything remotely associated to prostitution … male or otherwise," Bella says staring at Stephen's card. When she turns it over he's written a note to her.
May I take you to dinner?
Bella quickly looks behind her and sees Stephen, fully clothed, entering another room. Giving her a sideward glance, he grins at her and briefly waves. Bella inwardly smiles thinking that if she could choose a man to spend an evening with, it would be him.
When Alice and Bella hear their names called for their facials, they both follow the receptionist while the girls have their heads together, reading Stephen's calling card.
After the two friends are buffed and polished, they are driven home to dress for their night out. Alice sits back, placing a call to make sure that Bella's dress, along with matching boots and handbag, have been delivered.
"Holy shit, Bella," Alice squeals upon seeing her best friend walk out of her room. Dressed in a blue and black sequined mini with thigh high black leather boots, "You look fabulous!"
Bella's hair is messy chic and her makeup is smokey, Alice continues to stare. "I had no idea that dress would look so perfect on you!"
"And you, Alice, where did you get that? I love that color on you!" Bella compliments, circling her friend so she can get a look at the back. "If you come home alone, the men in this city are fucking clueless."
"I was going to say the same for you," Alice says, covering her mouth in awe. "Come on. The car's waiting to pick up Rosalie."
After the three ladies exit the limo in front of the club, all eyes are on them as Rosalie walks up to the bouncer, handing him the invitation.
"Well, hello, Damian. It's good to see you again, handsome," Rosalie flirts, presenting her cheek to him.
"Rosalie, baby," he whispers next to her ear. He takes her by the waist and pulls her in close. "You are fucking beautiful as ever. Save me a dance later?" he asks.
"Always," Rosalie replies, kissing his cheek, leaving behind a set of bright red lips as proof. Damian lifts the velvet rope, allowing the three girls in before all the others that are waiting in line.
Once they're inside, Damian picks up the phone to call ahead to assure the girls are given special treatment and a good seat in the VIP lounge. The room is shared with three other similar booths that are currently empty, leaving the girls to select the best seat and a perfect view of the dance floor.
"Wow, this place is awesome," Rosalie says as she removes her bolero jacket. After everyone is settled, a waiter arrives with a magnum of Moet Chandon Champagne and three flutes.
"Courtesy of Damian, ladies," he says, pouring a glass for each of the girls.
Alice stares at him in disbelief, knowing the cost of the champagne. Once the flutes are filled, the three of them toast to one another, and after having a second glass, head for the dance floor.
While the music plays the beating sounds of the bass that can be felt in your chest, Edward, Emmett and Jasper are escorted to the far booth across the VIP Lounge.
"Okay, first round on me," Emmett says, clapping and rubbing his hands together. After the server sashays her way over to their table, she takes their drink order. Once she has the attention of all three of them, she turns and sashays her way back over to the bar.
"Yeah, that won't work on me," Jasper says, still watching her ass. Emmett and Edward nod in agreement their eyes glued on her as well.
"So, Edward, did Emmett work Aria out of your brain today?" Jazz asks. Edward then snaps his head in Jasper's direction with a look that can kill.
"Now why in the fuck would you have to mention her, Jasper? Thanks one fucking hell of a lot!" Edward scowls in return.
"What's going on?" Emmett asks curious, looking back and forth between Edward and Jasper.
"Oh, man, I wasn't thinking. I'm sorry, Edward," Jasper apologizes.
"What the fuck is going on?" Emmett asks again, feeling left out of the loop.
"Oh, Edward learned today that a woman he really cared about had gotten married. He went to see you today to work it out of his system and my assaholic mouth had to bring it up again."
"Hey, Eddie, no worries. We'll find someone for you to fill the void, man. The world is your … what the holy fucking shit is that!" Emmett word vomits as all three sets of eyes watch as Bella, Rosalie and Alice return to their seats, pouring another round of champagne.
"Can you guys put your tongues and eyes back in your heads, please?" Edward admonishes while sneaking a peek at the girls over the rim of his glass.
"Okay, if you guys even so much as think about talking to the blonde, I'm having your nuts for breakfast," Emmett threatens while staring at Rosalie.
"Emmett, did you seriously just threaten to eat my balls?" Edward laughs.
"Yeah, Em, that's just gross," Jasper laughs along with Edward.
While Edward and Jasper continue to pick on Emmett's food choice, the three ladies jump up and run down the stairs when Bruno Mars' Gorilla blares out over the massive sound system.
Emmett, Edward and Jasper stand to watch out over the dance floor, before the girls even make it down the stairs.
After they take the center stage, Edward's eyes focus on the woman with the long sable brown hair in the fuck hot thigh high leather boots. While she rolls her body seductively to the music, he sings along to the lyrics.
If the neighbors call the cops,
Call the sheriff, call the SWAT – we don't stop,
We keep rockin' while they're knockin' on our door
And you're screaming, "Give it to me baby, Give it to me motherfucker!"
Edward watches her hips grind to the music and her hands sweep her long hair up off her neck and just as he lip sings along with the lyrics …
Oh, you and me baby making love like gorillas
you and me baby we'll be fuckin' like gorillas
You and me baby making love like gorillas
Bella glances up where he's standing watching her just as he sings you and me baby we'll be fuckin' like gorillas.
Edward's grip tightens on the railing when he sees a tall fuck walk up behind Bella, grinding his dick into her fine ass as Joi's Lick comes over the sound system. Rated number one strip tease song, Edward watches as he wraps one tattooed arm around her waist, holding her ass tight against his cock as he simulates fucking her.
When her eyes look up and see that Edward is still there watching her, she lays her head against her dance partner as she circles her hips against his cock, all the while making sure Edward enjoys the show.
"Holy motherfuck!" Edward says to himself.
"That's what I say," Emmett says, watching Rosalie nearly fuck Damian on the dance floor.
After the song ends, Edward takes a deep cleansing breath and watches as Bella turns in the man's arms, giving him a long, deep, tongue-filled kiss.
Edward, having seen enough, returns to his table only to find Jasper in the arms of the little sprite that's with the seductress he's been admiring on the dance floor. Knowing that Jasper is done for the night, and Emmett is about to claim his next victim as soon as the beautiful blonde comes back to the table. Edward takes one last look at the sexy brunette that he would like to fuck like a gorilla before making the decision to call it a night.
Grinning at the thought, he turns to head downstairs, taking the first cab available to his quiet condominium in the West Village.
As Bella watches the most handsome man she's ever seen leave the lounge, she notices that Alice has hooked up with one of the guys that was sitting with him. They will no doubt be either going to his place, or she will be bringing him home. Rosalie is in heaven when the tall muscular one finally comes over to talk to her. She's only wanted to tongue fuck him since she saw him, so Bella's happy for her.
She thought for sure there was a connection with the handsome man that watched her from the balcony, but she was clearly mistaken, considering it didn't take him long to leave. Exactly what she plans to do right now.
Looking back at Rosalie and Alice as they talk intimately with the two guys, she discreetly waves at her friends to let them know that she's leaving. Deciding to use the limo to take her home, she's about to enter the car when it's as if she feels it, she looks to her left and into his eye-piercing gaze. It's him getting into a cab. They both abruptly stop and stare at one another before he shakes his head breaking free from her and quickly slides into the cab. Laying her head back against the seat, Bella is disappointed she didn't get to meet him. Shrugging to herself, her thoughts concentrate on what she needs to do to get the gallery open on time. After she's dropped off at Alice's place, she sends the limo back to the club and heads straight to bed.
Feeling very happy that she didn't wake up with a hangover today, Bella heads for the gym conveniently located in Alice's building. After running five miles on the treadmill, she quickly showers and is at the breakfast bar finishing her omelet when Alice lazily strolls in with the man she met the night before.
"Good morning," Bella greets the pair. "Coffee?"
"Oh, yes," Alice says sounding desperate for a cup. "Jasper?"
"Love a cup, thanks," he replies.
"Um, Bella, this is Jasper Whitlock … Jasper, this is my best friend and boss, Bella Swan." The two smile at each other and shake hands.
"Nice to meet you, Jasper. I've made an omelet for lunch if you two want some. It's on the stove, help yourself. Alice, I'm heading over to my place to wait for my delivery and unpack some boxes. I'll see you later. Nice to meet you Jasper."
"You too, Bella," he responds with a smile.
Just as Bella is ready to leave, she sees Jasper holding Alice. Just holding her against him, swaying her back and forth. Somewhat envious, Bella shakes the thought from her head. She knows she doesn't have time for that. She needs to focus on getting the gallery open by deadline … a deadline that is tight already. She doesn't need to add a man into the mix.
As soon as Bella shuts the door, Jasper pulls Alice back from him and asks, "She doesn't live here with you?"
"No, only temporarily. This could possibly be her last day. Her furniture is due to arrive this afternoon, so once it's delivered, she'll be moving into her own place. It's been fun having her around, though. She's an easy person to live with," Alice replies, raising to kiss his lips.
"So, I guess I better be going. I'm meeting my best friend today to watch the game. I sure hate to leave you after having just found you," he says sweetly into her ear.
"Yeah, I know what you mean. You have my number, maybe you can call me later?" she asks, hopeful.
"Alice, you will not be getting away from me that easily," he says, kissing her sweetly just as he begins to move out the door. "I'll call you tonight." She smiles at him as he keeps eye contact with her while he slowly shuts the door behind him. As soon as she hears the click, she squeals with excitement over finding the man of her dreams, literally jumping in the air.
Jasper Whitlock holds his ear to the door and when he hears her excitement, he fist pumps the air, knowing he has found the girl of his dreams.
After Bella's furniture is delivered, and she has it placed just the way she wants it, she sits back on her kid leather soft couch and admires her handy work. Knowing New York is her final destination, she makes this condo her permanent home and not a temporary place with rented furniture. Soon she'll be planning a cocktail party to promote her new gallery. "It's a perfect place to host parties," she thinks to herself.
After calling Alice to let her know that she won't be back to the apartment because she's sleeping at her own place, she takes a long hot bath in her beautiful marble tub. An hour later, she's tucked in her plush bed, falling into a much needed deep sleep.
Morning comes too soon for her, and after it seems she's just fallen to sleep, she hears the melodic chime of her alarm. Bella, who always wakes in a good mood, jumps out of bed, selects a simple outfit of black slacks, a neutral colored tunic that ties at the side at the waist and a thigh-length matching black jacket. Selecting the accessories to match, she heads out the door.
Before she knows it, she's rushing toward the crowded subway taking her to Midtown Manhattan. She grumbles at herself because by the time the train makes it to her stop, there's never a place for her to sit, so she makes it a point to take her place in the corner of the car, always away from the other passengers. It seems safer that way.
But this morning is different. Once she takes her preferred spot, someone encroaches her space to stand directly behind her. She doesn't look back because she doesn't want to know. Taking her iPhone from her bag, she begins to peruse her already full email. Tapping out quick replies, she feels the man behind her bump against her from the jerky movements of the train. Somewhat offended, she steps forward and away from him, but he only secures more space behind her.
As the train picks up more passengers, Bella and the stranger become even better acquainted. She silently wishes for the train to hurry to her stop, but she knows she has another ten minutes. Trying to focus on her email again, she smells the masculine scent of the man's cologne behind her and curses herself when she involuntarily takes a deep inhaling breath, miffed at herself for enjoying it.
Just as the train comes to the last stop before hers, the stranger presses himself into her bottom, allowing her to feel him. Her eyes go wide with shock and she wonders if she should turn and smack him, or ignore it and writing it off as an accident since the train is crowded and he probably didn't mean to.
Refusing to look back to acknowledge him, she's determined that once the train stops she will get quickly off not giving him the satisfaction that she even felt anything.
That was short lived because once the train did stop, he lowers his lips to her ear, let out a low growl and gently rubbed his hard cock against her again.
He smirks when he hears her gasp at his contact with her ass, and he develops a new found respect for her when she allows herself to get lost in the rush of the passengers, leaving the train and never turning around.
Edward leaves the train humming his new favorite song …
you and me baby we'll be fuckin' like gorillas
You and me baby making love like gorillas