Chapter 8– Corporate Confession
A/N – Here comes the happy ending to complete this happy birthday gift to the wonderful woman who has made so many writers happy with her generous help and support. See you at the end!
My steps were definitely lighter as I made my way into the now familiar office-building that Friday. My recording sessions were now behind me, and it was time to pick up my paycheck. I had spoken to the finance department and told them I didn't even want them to put it in the mail. I'd be taking it right to the bank to cash and then treat my girl to the best gourmet meal in the city.
I actually caught myself humming a little under my breath as I rode the elevator. It was a sickening sweet melody I must have heard somewhere, but couldn't place. All I knew is that the notes made me envision laying Bella down on a soft bed covered in silk sheets and rose petals.
Hopefully that was still considered romantic. After some of the stuff I had read, I worried my ideas of seduction might be terribly old-fashioned. Anyway, it would still be a little while before Bella and I got to that point, so perhaps I could feel out whether she'd appreciate my ideas of tried and true scenes of romance.
Emmett had actually done his job for once. In fact, he'd been unusually efficient. He e-mailed me the location of the company's finance office and the exact time my paycheck was supposed to be ready.
There was a somewhat older woman sitting in a corner cubicle when I walked into the office.
"Are you Edward Cullen?" she asked, a huge smile on her face. I felt myself shiver a little at the realization that she had probably heard some of my performances. Though I'd progressed in my feelings about the subject of what I'd been reading, I had still comforted myself with the thought that any dried up woman hoping to get her rocks off listening to me talk about sex would have no idea who I was if we ever passed on the street. No such luck in this particular case, it seemed.
"Yes," I said, keeping it as short as possible. "Is my check ready?"
The woman's grin grew even wider. "It is definitely ready, but I don't have it."
What the fuck, I thought silently, but held my tongue. The silence lasted a few beats and I couldn't stand the way she was looking at me. I scowled as I ran my fingers through my hair, then stopped and dropped a fist to my side. I wouldn't want her to think I was trying to be seductive.
"Our CEO wanted a chance to speak with you before you left for the day," she finally informed me. "Her office is just down the hall, number 202."
"Okay," I replied slowly. This was certainly a surprise. "And did the CEO say what she needed to speak with me about?" I tried to keep my tone neutral and the term as vague as she had.
"She didn't say," she corrected, looking like she was about to burst into laughter.
Was this a joke the entire office was in on? I began to feel some true irritation and self-doubt as I nodded and turned to leave. I could practically feel the red-head's eyes on my ass as I walked out. What ever happened to the good old days when only men were sexual harassers, I wondered as I took a deep breath outside door 202.
Figuring that I could handle whatever I was about to face, I squared my shoulders and opened the door without knocking.
The office I entered was a total contrast to the dark sound studio with sound-proofed walls and the fairly non-descript cubicle room I had just left. On either side of the door, floor to ceiling bookcases were packed with multi-colored volumes, interspersed with what looked like awards, sculptures ranging in size and shape, but each bearing some kind of inscription plate.
But, I had barely any time to consider these, as my eyes swept toward the far side from which I had entered. This office was on the exterior wall of the building, which was entirely made of glass. The Seattle skyline glimmered in the weak sun.
Sitting behind a heavy looking oak desk was Bella, looking sheepishly up at me from under her lashes and biting her lip like she was trying not to blurt something out and startle me.
I stood there, my hand still on the doorknob, my mouth open, staring at her for a few minutes. The clock on her desk clicked, but I couldn't hear anything else, not even the sound of Bella's breath. I was starting to wonder if she was in a state of nervous shock, until the intercom on her phone buzzed and the voice of the receptionist I had just met filled the silence.
"Has Mr. Cullen arrived, yet, Ms. Swan?" she said.
Bella broke out of her frozen trance and hit a button on the phone. "Yes, Shelley," she said. "He's here. You can head out now. I won't be needing anything else today."
"Have a wonderful evening, Ms. Swan," the voice replied.
All the things I had planned to say when Bella revealed the truth of her career to me left my brain. "Is this a joke?" I choked out.
"No, Edward," Bella answered, shaking her head and looking even more apprehensive than she had when I'd first walked in. "Despite Shelley's obvious amusement, it is not at all a joke to me. I was hoping you'll let me explain, but if you're too angry to even listen to me for a few minutes, I'll understand."
"I'm not angry," I said, feeling my brow wrinkle. I wondered if I looked angry. "Confused, maybe…" I trailed off as I started to think over the past week. All hints Bella had given me about how difficult she found her job to mix with her personal life fell into an obvious pattern. It was like when you suddenly saw the hidden picture in one of those 3-d drawings.
"I'm definitely not angry, BB." I smiled at my own stupidity for not realizing one of those initials stood for Bella when I'd first heard them. She'd have to tell me what the other stood for another time. There were much more important things to discuss at the moment.
"Will you come in and take a seat," Bella asked meekly, still not daring to move from her own chair. I forced my frozen face into a smile and nodded, finally closing the door behind me and coming into the room.
The past week was playing like a series of movie flashbacks in my head. Bella and I had met in the lobby, so I knew she worked in the building. "You told me your work was developing apps?" I said aloud, hoping to help her ease into this conversation as I sank into a rather plush chair on the opposite side of Bella's desk.
Bella shook her head. "An app is part of how I started my business, but mostly what I do is write," she explained. "I have your check for you." She stood up and walked around the desk, holding out an envelope to me. I noticed a deep blue logo over the name "Tua Cantante."
"You're paying me?" I asked, somewhat troubled by the exchange. It hadn't felt like taking money from Bella when I imagined getting a check from the finance department.
"No," Bella replied. "A Limited Liability Partnership I partially own is paying you. Please don't think about it any other way than that."
"Okay," I said. I pushed that awkward moment aside, and tried to get us back on track. "When I met you in the lobby that first day…" I trailed off, wondering how to phrase the question.
"I had no idea that you had just come from an audition for one of my books," Bella quickly replied. "Please believe me that I wasn't trying to trap you into something or mislead you. I was just as surprised when I heard the first takes of your reading and saw the paperwork with your name on it as you are to see me here."
She bit her lip again. "Well, maybe not exactly as surprised."
She stared walking toward her chair on the opposite side of the desk, but paused. Instead of settling back in the posture of a CEO, she perched on the corner of her desk and folded her hands in her lap, looking like a small chastened child. "I don't usually tell the men I meet what I do for a living until we're serious. And, well, to be honest, there haven't really been anyone I was serious about since I started this company. I was afraid of what a guy would think, and I was terrified of what you would think."
"I think you're very talented, Bella," I insisted, cutting her off.
"You know that wasn't what I meant," she said, still staring at her interwoven fingers. "I'm not fishing for compliments, Edward. I know there's no excuse for being secretive with you. You were honest with me about the situation with Tanya, and deserved the same, especially once I heard your recordings."
I stood up and pressed a finger to her still moving lips. "Don't," I told her. "You had no way of knowing how I would react. You and I both know there's nothing immoral or embarrassing about what you do for a living."
She stared into my eyes openly, and I could tell that she did know that, despite her concerns about telling me.
I paused, looking over her tensed shoulder at the oppressive clouds hovering on the other side of the glass before going on. "But it's a fucked up world and people can have some really unfair double-standards. I don't blame you for wanting to get to know me a little more before making yourself vulnerable to that kind of judgment."
"So, you'd still want to go out with me again?" Bella asked, drawing my gaze back to her wide chocolate eyes. I hated the insecurity I saw there, and was determined that no matter where our relationship went, I would teach her to be as proud of who she was and what she did as she should be.
"Bella," I couldn't resist pressing my lips against hers gently before answering with words. "You have no idea how much I want to take you out again. Just the few experiences we've shared have taught me that I'm not the kind of guy who's going to back down from a challenge. And I like that about myself; you made me feel like I'm capable of seeing things in a different way and I'm not just a guy getting out of a bad marriage."
"Edward," she said my name like a prayer as her hands moved from the edge of her desk to circle my neck. "That's the last thing I think anyone could ever think about you. You're so much more than one small piece of your past."
"And, you, Ms. Swan," I said, pulling her waist closer to me so that our hips met and I was holding most of her weight up off the desk, "Are so much more than your job. Promise me you'll never forget that."
"I promise," she whispered, her eyes completely focused on my lips.
A detail that had been stuck in the back of my mind stumbled into place. "And just so you know," I whispered into her ear before planting a small kiss just underneath on her neck. "I was alone when I lost the button on that shirt. I was trying to make French toast for the first time and the butter splattered all over me. I was so pissed at myself that I tried to pull the shirt over my head without unbuttoning it and a spatula still in my hand."
Bella giggled and squirmed as if she was ticklish as well as amused. "I'm guessing you had the pan too hot," she said.
"Don't tell me you can cook, too?" I asked, pulling back from our embrace just enough to arch a brow at her.
Bella nodded. "If you ask me, I'm a better cook than I am a writer," she said sounding completely confident.
"Fuck," I pulled her hard against my straining erection and she let out a small moan. "Do you feel what you to do me, Miss Swan?"
"I don't think I've ever felt anything so good in my entire life," she gasped.
Unable to control myself, I pushed her down on top of the desk, which thankfully was clear except for a large blotter, her computer monitor being positioned off to the side.
"Tell me that no one is going to walk in on us," I growled into her ear before taking the delicate lobe in between my teeth while my hands still gripped her hips, my fingers pressing into the firm flesh of her ass.
Bella gasped, her fingers pulling at my hair as she answered, "The door locks automatically. I need privacy when I write."
"Good," I stated simply, straightening just enough so that my hands had room to start unbuttoning her blouse, pushing open the linen to reveal a bra covered in royal blue lace. Bella's chest was flushed pink with the blush that also covered her face and neck. I tore my eyes away from her perfect boobs to make sure she wanted this as much as I did. The fire in her eyes left no question.
Her skirt was pushed up her thighs so that I could see a small glimpse of matching satin and lace between her legs. I could have just raised it a little higher, but I didn't want anything in between us. My hands followed the swell of her hips, lifting her slightly until I found the zipper at the back. Once it was down, I pulled both the skirt and her panties down her legs, leaving Bella almost completely bare.
"The bra, too," I motioned for her to sit up so I could take off her last article of clothing.
"What about you," she challenged, surprising me by not moving at my command.
I grinned before quickly unbuttoning my own shirt and unbuckling my belt, not bothering to remove it before pushing down my pants and kicking them off my feet as the shirt went flying into a corner of the room.
I brought my body down on top of hers once again, groaning in pleasure as our chests met and the warmth of her soft skin spread all over me. With my arms tucked underneath her, holding her close, I kissed my way down her throat to her chest. I could probably spend the next year of my life exploring Bella's perfect breasts. They were just more than a perfect handful, soft in my kneading palms and hot in my hungry mouth. As I took a perfectly peaked nipple in my mouth, I felt her flesh tighten even more under the ministrations of my tongue.
The wonder of the moment, the ecstasy of feeling Bella writhe beneath me was almost too much for my mind to handle. Somehow my brain was functioning just enough to notice the small things that had been missing from the incredibly erotic scripts I had read. Like how my muscles burned with the tension of adrenaline as I wanted both to start touching her everywhere at once, but couldn't bear to break contact with the soft skin under my fingers.
Bella's words had captured the heady feeling of power a man could feel at bringing a woman pleasure. But, with that came an equally strong experience of being completely powerless in my own responses. It was pure joy to be left nothing but the sensations of the present moment; to feel and want more, always more.
My mind was almost completely gone when a tiny voice of reason and responsibility spoke up above the murmur of the million thoughts raging through my brain. "Fuck," I said pulling back with an unexpected bit of self control. "We can't do this."
"We can't?" Bella said, looking heartbroken, her lips swollen and her hair spread out like a halo on her desk.
"I just mean," I swallowed, "I don't have…" I couldn't finish the sentence. My brain was doing too much work keeping my cock from going rogue.
"Oh," Bella gasped. "It's okay. I'm on the pill, and I've had all the tests since I was last with someone." She bit her lip again.
Relief surged through me as I rescued her lip from her teeth with my own mouth. "Thank god," I said, in between kisses that I planted on whatever skin I could reach. "I didn't want to put you at risk, but I'm clean, too. I've been tested, and it's been a very long time for me."
Our eyes met, and the past moved like a cold draft for a brief second before the heat of our desire completely overwhelmed it, leaving nothing in the moment except the now for Bella and myself.
"Tell me you want me inside you, Bella," I needed her words to know that she was as ready for this moment as I was, and I wanted her voice to assure me that we were more than the passion that had us completely at its mercy for now.
"I need you inside me, Edward," she whispered. "I've never needed anything more, and I'm never going to stop needing you."
I wanted to hold her gaze as I entered her, but it was too much, and my lids drifted closed as her heat enveloped me. I fit so perfectly inside her that I couldn't bear to move for a few seconds. It was the sound of her exhaling a long slow breath that brought me back into the moment and aware of both of our need for more.
Pulling her toward me so that her hips were just at the edge of the desk, I started a steady rhythm, watching as her eyelashes fluttered wider and her pupils dilated just a bit with each thrust.
I was almost overwhelmed beyond words, but I knew Bella enough to know that she'd want more than just my eager touches and lustful gaze at her beneath me. She deserved the best I could give her.
"You feel so good, baby girl," I told her, and her eyes drifted back into her head as her pleasure reached another level. "You're so tight around my cock; your pussy is holding onto me so good. You've taking me to a place I've never been before, baby."
"Oh god, I've never, ever…" Bella moaned.
"That's right," I said. "And it's only going to get better for us, because you were meant for me baby. I've been waiting for you to be ready for me to be the man you needed, to take care of you, to make you feel good like this whenever you need it, baby."
"I wanted," she gasped, "I wanted you…"
"I know, baby," I told her, still pushing inside, and now adding a finger to her clit, rubbing gently as her juices soaked my cock and the desk beneath her. "I realize now that while I was dreaming about your pretty little pussy, you were thinking about me, too. You don't know how hot that's made me, thinking about you touching yourself all those years ago when I would have given up just about everything I had to make you say my name as you came."
"Oh, Edward, Edward," she panted. I could feel her release coming, and I prayed to whatever higher power there might be that I could hold off until she got there first.
"That's it, sweetheart," I continued to touch her just above where we met with one hand while my other reached for her breast again. "I bet even now you can't imagine that for every scene you've written for us, I've thought of more, can you, my Bella?" I squeezed her nipple between my thumb and forefinger. "But nothing in my imagination can compare to how perfect you really are, how good you feel, baby."
Bella was close now; her walls were fluttering around me and her chest was flushed.
"Let me, baby," my words became a chant as our bodies continued to move in tandem even as her muscles tensed and I could feel her lose all control. "Let me, let me, let me."
"Yes, Edward, yes," she cried out. At that moment, both of our orgasms hit. The room disappeared for a moment as a descending hazed took over my vision and I collapsed onto of her.
I'm not sure how much time passed until I became aware of things like light and sound again. But, as soon as I was physically able, I transferred my weight to my elbow, lifting myself to keep from crushing her. As I slid out of her heat, I remained hovering over Bella's body, keeping her warm while I watched her eyes come back into focus.
I must have used up all my power of language by that point, because all I could say as her mouth turned into a smile was, "Hey there."
Bella's grin got even wider. "Hey, yourself," she replied. "That's a scene I'm never going to share with anyone."
"Really," I teased, quirking an eyebrow at her. "You don't think that was hot enough to make the cut for your readers?"
Bella actually giggled a little, which made our chests touch. I was shocked to feel myself harden again. It had been years since I could be ready to go literally minutes after an orgasm.
"Even in my genre there has to be a certain level of believability," she answered, breaking into my amazement. "And you, Edward Cullen, are too good to be true."
"Is that so," I couldn't help myself from feeling just a little cocky at that.
"Yes," she replied, breaking out into my favorite grin that was just pure Bella, before her eyebrows pulled together in confusion. "Can I ask you something?" she asked in a much different tone.
"You can always ask me anything, Bella," I replied.
"What were you thinking when you were saying 'let me,'" she bit her lip as she waited for my answer.
"I guess that wasn't my finest dirty talk," I said, and I thought about how to answer.
"I liked it," Bella said. "It was sweet that you were asking me even while you were so much in control, and I honestly would have given you permission for just about anything."
"Would have?" I teased.
"Okay," she blushed. "I'm still completely under your power. What do you want, Edward?"
I smirked. "I want," I planted a kiss to her clavicle, before finally getting up off the desk complete, bending to pick up her bra and shirt. "To finally be able to take the girl of my dreams out for the date she deserves. Let me take you away for the weekend, Bella?"
Bella smiled and blushed even deeper. But, as she took her top and we both felt the familiar current pass through us as our fingers met.
She didn't say the words for me to know that her answer to me would always be yes.
A/N – And they lived happily ever after. Happy birthday, Sunflower Fran!