Housekeeping - I own nothing. It all belongs to SM. I just play. Will post mid week and on the weekend until complete. Betaed by Alice's White Rabbit.


Standing at the bus stop, I tugged on the hem of the skirt I was wearing, feeling self-conscious. It didn't feel this short or this tight last night. I swear the pixie altered it.

Damn Alice.

Only she could convince me to wear this outfit to work. We were going out after to celebrate my birthday, I didn't have time to change, and apparently, my choice of apparel lacked any sort of style for the occasion. The gift of the deep blue leather skirt and matching jacket was appreciated, and I loved the flirty zipper on the back of the skirt, although I doubted I would ever unzip it. If it was open and I bent over, there'd be a show for all in the vicinity. I had a lot of qualms about wearing it today, but she insisted it looked fine.

I looked around nervously, but no one seemed to even be looking at me. The bus stop wasn't busy this morning, probably because I was later than usual going in. One man sitting on the bench caught my eye—I hadn't noticed him before, but now I had, I couldn't look away. Tall, with long legs that were crossed at the knee, his arm casually resting along the back of the bench—he was the very picture of relaxed. Tight jeans clung to his legs, and what he did to a simple dark T-shirt and leather jacket should be illegal. His large feet were encased in Doc Martens, one foot slowly pumping over his knee. His hair was a wild color of bronze and gold, blowing in the light breeze around his face like a sunset.

And his face.

Chiselled jaw with a dusting of scruff, high cheekbones and a wide smirk on his full lips, all set off with that hair. I met his open stare and blushed. Quickly, I lowered my head, embarrassed at being caught staring.

But really, who wouldn't.

A few minutes later, I risked glancing back up only to find his gaze focused on me again. This time, I turned my back.

The bus approached and I hung back, wanting to be one of the last on. The skirt was tight, and I had a feeling it would ride up when I stepped up to board the bus. I really didn't want to be giving anyone a show. I reached in my bag, panicking when I couldn't feel my pass. It took me a minute to locate it, and I hurried forward to join the line, grateful there were only a couple people behind me.

Pass in hand, I got on the bus. Or, at least I attempted to. The skirt was so tight that I couldn't lift my leg to climb the first step—at all. Again, I panicked, unsure what to do, and then I remembered the little zipper on the back. Quickly reaching behind me, I fumbled briefly, then pulled it down and lifted my leg to climb up. Nothing.

The damn thing was still too tight.

Had the zipper not worked? Was it fake?

"Let's go!" someone muttered loudly behind me.

Taking a deep breath, I reached behind me again, fumbling and awkward, and pulled the zipper down, ignoring the chuckle behind me.

Once again, I attempted to lift my leg only to realize it wasn't happening. For some reason, the zipper either magically zipped back up again, or it simple didn't give me the room I needed to climb up.

I had two choices. Hike my skirt, give everyone around me a show and get on the bus, knowing I'd probably never see them again, or turn and run. Either one was going to result in embarrassment for me, and certain death for Alice.

Deciding that running was the best option, I started to turn only to gasp when a strong arm wrapped around my waist, lifting me effortlessly to the top step. The feel of a rock hard chest against my back and the subtle scent of expensive cologne drifted past my nose. Somehow, without even looking, I knew it was the man from the bench. The sexy, staring, bench-dweller had carried me onto the bus, saving me one form of embarrassment and trading it for another. Red-faced and shocked, I flashed my pass and walked down the aisle, keeping my face down.

The bus was full, and I stood in the aisle silently fuming and gripping the handle. A body pressed into mine, and the same appealing fragrance wrapped around me as a low, rich voice spoke into my ear. "You could say thank you."

I spun around, angry and ready to tell the bench-dweller where to go. Green eyes that sparkled with mischievous intent met mine. The color was startling: bright, verdant, and perfect with his pale skin and wild hair. His full mouth was in full smirk as he waited for me to speak.

"You have no right to touch me!" I hissed. "You don't even know me!" I glared at him, then pivoted on my heel, having put him in his place and planning to ignore him for the rest of the ride.

He pressed even closer, his lips against my ear. "Normally, sweetheart, I'd totally agree with you. But since it was my zipper you kept pulling down, I figured that made us friends."

My entire body froze, and I shut my eyes as yet another wave of embarrassment ran through me.

No wonder the damn thing hadn't worked and the material felt different.

I hung my head, knowing I now had to apologize somehow to this man, then get the hell off this bus.

The bell rang and people shuffled to let others off the bus. The seat beside me became vacant, but I ignored it.

"Aren't you going to sit down?" his voice murmured.

"No," I whispered. "It's all yours."

If I couldn't handle the steps, God knows what would happen when I sat down.

He slid in, his long legs jammed against the seat in front of him. I kept my gaze focused on the floor, trying desperately to figure out what I could say to him. I bit my lip in vexation. Another stop was coming up. I could mutter my apology and get off the bus. That was the best plan.

Taking in a deep breath, I leaned down, still not meeting his eyes. "I'm sorry. The skirt is new and I had no idea its…limitations. I wasn't trying to be, ah…friendly."

"Well, that's a shame. Here I was thinking I should ride the bus more often."

My gaze flew up, meeting his. He winked, and with an indignant gasp, I straightened up and turned, so my back was to him again. As childish as the action was, it seemed to be the best thing to do. My purse started falling off my shoulder and I reached up to yank it back up just as the bus lurched and I stumbled.

One minute, I was standing, and the next, I was sitting right on bench-dweller's lap. His thighs were hard, muscular, and fit. It quickly became obvious he had enjoyed my playing with his zipper from the feel of his erection pressing against my ass. To top it all off, as I suspected, the skirt rode up, giving us a show of my thighs. His large hand splayed against my stomach, pulling me tight to his torso and pressing me down on his lap. I was so close; I could feel the warmth of his body and smell his intoxicating scent.

Bench-dweller sighed, his full lips grazing my earlobe. "Gotta say, I am liking the bus more and more every minute. I had no idea the perks of riding…public transportation. Who knew lap dances were part of the fare?"


It took me a minute to come to my senses. I felt strangely content on the bench-dweller's lap. Until of course, I realized how wrong a reaction that was to have to the situation. I should be outraged.

I was outraged. Really, I was. First, he manhandled me, then he teased me, and now I was sitting on his lap? And, he was turned on by it?

I tried to squirm away, but his arm was locked around my waist, holding firm.

"Let me go," I pleaded, trying to staying quiet so people would stop staring and smirking, plus trying to ignore the fact every nerve in my body was on fire.

"You might fall again," he murmured, his voice filled with amusement. "I can't risk letting you tumble onto some other lap."

"I'd probably be safer."

"I promise you, you're perfectly safe. My mother raised me to be a gentleman. Now, if the setting was something other than a public bus…" his husky, low voice trailed off, his breath hot on my cheek.

"You're no gentleman. Let me go."

His grip loosened, and I struggled to stand, pushing my skirt even higher. Bench-dweller groaned, the sound low and rumbling in his chest. "Woman, you are fucking killing me," he whispered.

The bus stopped, and without another thought, I jumped up and raced for the steps, ignoring the fact my skirt was bunched up on my thighs, as well as the tearing sound I heard as I clambered down the steps and burst into the cool air.

It didn't matter that I was four stops away from work, or that I'd be even later than I already was now. All that mattered was I was off that bus, away from the worst humiliation I'd suffered through in a long time, and the most important fact—I was away from the bench dweller.

The sexy, awesome-smelling, husky-voiced, erection-pressing bench-dweller with vivid green eyes I wanted to lose myself in, large hands I wanted to feel running over my body, and hair I wanted to bury my hands in as I rode him to an explosive release—preferably while kissing that full smirking set of lips of his.

I was sure his tongue that those lips hid was pretty talented too.

The bus left and I stood, trying to get my breathing under control, pull my torn skirt down my thighs and understand why I was disappointed the bench-dweller hadn't followed me off the bus.

That wasn't the feeling I should be having right now.


I sat down on the bench, taking in some deep, cleansing breaths. I dug through my purse and called the office, making up a phony excuse for being so late. Lauren seemed distracted and kept the call short, satisfied when I told her I would arrive soon.

Then I called Alice.

She laughed so hard over my story, she dropped the phone, and I could hear her muffled peals of laughter as she tried to find it. I could picture her on her knees, trying to locate it as she giggled. I hoped she scuffed her fancy shoes on the hard floor and caught her hem on a stray nail.

That's exactly what I'd do.

But, of course, she would find her phone, get back on her feet, and smooth her skirt gracefully as if nothing had happened. There'd be no zipper grabbing or falling on a stranger's lap for her.

"This is all your fault," I hissed into the phone. "Now my skirt is torn, I'm late for work, and I'm totally embarrassed."

"Um, happy birthday?" she snickered.


"I'm sorry—really I am, but Bella, this would only happen to you."

I groaned, knowing she was right. "Your damn skirt didn't help."

Alice ignored me. "You said you were on Lexington?"


"Okay, my friend Emma's store is just down the block on the right—it's called Glad Rags. Go see her and she'll help you with your, ah, wardrobe malfunction. She'll put you in a cab after, and it's on me. The embarrassment thing…well, all I can do for that is buy you lots of alcohol tonight—my credit card is yours."

Seeing the store a few buildings down, I hurried forward, wanting out of this skirt as fast as possible.

"I hope you have a big limit," I threatened. "I'm already pretty damn thirsty." Then I hung up.

Emma was great, even if she too laughed when I told her the story. She produced a lovely black and blue skirt that went well with the jacket Alice had given me, was still pretty, but thankfully, was flowy and loose around my knees, which allowed me to move freely.

Emma examined the leather skirt and offered to have it repaired and slightly altered to make it a little more flexible. She chuckled at the dirty look I gave the torn material and told me to leave it with her and she'd call me soon. Then, as promised, she put me in a cab and I arrived at the office an hour late but in one piece.

The place was buzzing—not an unusual occurrence—but it seemed heightened today. In the staff room, I stored my purse and turned, smiling apologetically when Lauren came in. "Sorry about that."

She waved her hand. "It happens. " She hesitated, looking worried. "Bella, I need to tell you some news."

"What's up?"

"You've been reassigned."


"They've hired two new executives. You're going to be a full-time PA."

I grinned in delight. That was exactly what I wanted. I'd been working in the pool, helping out where needed in the company. I wanted to be a full-time PA.

My grin faded at Lauren's expression. "What?"

"Your new boss arrived today. He's early."

I shut my eyes. Of course, he arrived today—the one day I was late.

"So he's pissed at me already."

She shook her head. "No, I told him you were late due to an appointment, which I had authorized." She drew in a breath. "You should know, he's pretty demanding, Bella. We drew straws to see who got him and since you were late, I drew yours…you lost."

"Oh, God, is he that bad?"

"He's…confidant. Aloof. Exact. Talented. From what I understand, he speaks his mind, and he likes things his way. He arrived early to make sure his office was set up for Monday."

"Great," I sighed and stood up. "I guess I'd better go and introduce myself." I straightened my shoulders. "See if I can help him set things up. Which office?"


"His name?"

"Edward Cullen."

"All right. Thanks for covering for me, Lauren. I owe you."


I approached the office, feeling nervous. I had stopped to grab a notebook and pen so I could make any necessary notes for Mr. Cullen. I vaguely remember hearing his name but hadn't been paying much attention since I hadn't expected to be pulled from the pool so fast. I'd only been here for just over a year and in the pool for six months since graduating from school—my choice of an English Lit degree not panning out so well in the job market. I had stumbled into a part-time gig at the advertising agency, which turned into a full-time job, and now if I could prove myself, I could become a PA. They paid well here, the hours were pretty steady and I would have time to write, which was my dream.

I had to hope the ultra-aloof, talented, and exact Mr. Cullen liked me. I was organized, a fast learner, I didn't gossip or waste time, and I could make a mean latte.

Surely, I could win him over.

I knocked softly, waiting for the gruff shout of "In!" before opening the door. Various boxes were scattered around, and I could hear muffled thumps from the private en suite each executive office had.

"Be right out!" a deep voice called.

I glanced around the office, my gaze landing on some framed posters stacked against the wall. I wandered over, recognizing the various advertising campaigns. Realizing they must be Mr. Cullen's work, I bent over to flip through the stack. He was talented—the concepts and visualizations were sharp, crisp, and catchy. The bottom ones were different—not advertising, but instead, action shots of a basketball player. My hands began to shake, my heart rate picking up as I stared at the last photo, hoping my eyes were playing a trick on me.

A player—tall, lean, with legs that went on for miles, was caught, mid-air, his muscles stretching, a look of pure determination on his face as he slam-dunked the ball into the net. Every muscle and sinew was flexed and hard, his hair—his wild bronze hair—exploded in a fiery halo around his head, and his eyes were a burning green in his fierce expression.

I knew that hair. Recognised those eyes.

I prayed it was because Mr. Cullen was a basketball fan and he liked this particular player—who happened to be in town. Riding the bus.

Not because…

"Well, well. A different skirt, but I'd recognize that perky little ass anywhere."

I spun around, horrified.

The bench-dweller was leaning against the doorframe, looking every bit as arrogant and sexy as he had earlier. He sported a sardonic smile with one eyebrow arched as he studied me.

"Isabella Swan, I presume?"

"Mr. Cullen?" I whispered, praying this was all a mix-up. That he was a player visiting Mr. Cullen and not the Mr. Cullen.

He couldn't be standing here. This couldn't be happening.

"As I live and breathe. My little zipper-tugger. Who would have expected that?"

My face flushed, hot and red.

He pushed off the door, his long legs eating up the distance quickly, stopping before me. He ran his finger over his full bottom lip. "Isn't this…interesting."

We stared at each other in silence. Once again, I had the greatest desire to run. But, this time, I had nowhere to run. His facial expression was inscrutable, his finger tapping his chin rhythmically.

His silence made me even more nervous, but before I could react, he held out his hand.

"Allow me to introduce myself. Formally. Edward Cullen."

I placed my shaking hand in his, shocked at the rush of warmth that ran though me as his large palm enfolded over mine. "Isabella Swan."

He stared down at our clasped hands then back at my face. Again, his silence un-nerved me, and I blurted out the first thing that came to mind. "My friends call me Bella."

His eyebrows rose.

"But you can call me Isabella…if you prefer."

The wickedest smile crossed his face, his eyes crinkling with mirth. He leaned down, his voice low, his scent washing over me. "Since we're already…friendly… Bella it is."

I felt my blush practically explode upward from my torso, my skin tingling with the heat. A small gasp escaped my mouth and I pulled my hand back, holding it tight to my chest.

His green eyes darkened, and he stepped back, holding up his hands.

"You. Wait here." He pointed his finger to the floor. "Right here. Don't leave this office. Do you understand?"

"Ah, I was going to make you coffee?"

"No. Not until I get this settled."


"Can you stay here? Or will you run as soon as my back is turned?"

"I'll stay."

"Good." He hurried to the door, glancing over his shoulder and shaking his head. "This is most inconvenient."

Then he was gone, the door shutting firmly behind him.

I leaned against the desk, my breathing uneven.

Could this day get any more bizarre?

And, what was that all about?

Thanks to Sally for her beta help for this story! The first two chapters were part of a compiliation last year, in case it sounds familiar.

Thank you for reading. See you mid week.