Fran was kind enough to beta this for us, and hmm, I think 2browneyes pre-read.
"You're such a good girl. Yes, you are." Giving Sadie, the yellow lab in our care, one last rub, I close the door to her kennel. After checking on the other pets currently here, and confirming they're all fed, medicated and healing well, it's past time for lunch. Even though our practice is small with only two vet techs and me we still stay fairly busy. It's great for my bank account but can lead to some long, exhausting days. Still, I love my job and wouldn't change a thing.
Grabbing my things from the fridge, I take advantage of the lull in patients and get ready to enjoy my food. Popping open the container, my stomach rumbles at the smell. Skipping breakfast has left me famished. However, before the first bite hits my lips, the bell above the front door chimes, signaling someone has entered. Giving one last, longing look at my fork, I put it down and rush out to greet whoever it is.
I come up short when I see a gorgeous man standing out front. He's tall and delicious with a defined jaw and lean body. Getting my business up and running and making it a success has taken up a lot of my free time, so it's been a while since I've enjoyed a man. And I could definitely enjoy this one.
Shaking away my inappropriate thoughts, I notice he's cradling something close to his chest, so I rush over. "Hi, I'm Dr. Swan. Can I help you?"
"I hope so. I found this little guy, and I was hoping you could check him or her out and make sure it's okay." He steps forward and extends his hands, holding out a fluffy, gray bundle.
Leaning over, I see it's a tiny kitten that can't be more than a few weeks old. "Oh my goodness. May I?"
When he nods his agreement, I reach over. My brain briefly notices how large his hands are as I take the kitten and hold it up for a better look. Focusing on the little fluff ball, it starts to mewl. That's a good sign.
"You can have a seat, and I'll need you to fill out these forms if you don't mind." I hand him a clipboard with our regular paperwork for new patients and motion to the chairs in our waiting area. "I'm just going to look at"—I take a quick peak at the kitten—"her, and I'll be right back."
He takes the board and heads over to the seats as I take the kitten to an exam room. I do a thorough examination before returning to the waiting area.
He's on the phone, but as soon as he sees us, he hangs up and stands, walking to the counter.
"Edward. Sorry, I didn't introduce myself earlier, ma'am. I'm Edward Cullen."
"Well, Mr. Cullen, you're in luck. This little girl is actually very healthy, all things considered. She's quite spunky as well. Unfortunately, she's still too young to be without her mother, so you're going to need to devote a lot of time to her for a while. Normally, we'd try to find a nursing mother and see if she would allow her to feed, but right now, I don't know of any. You can always contact another vet to see if they have one available."
Running his hands through his hair, he looks at the kitten. "Dammit. Getting a new pet wasn't in my plans, but I think I'm already attached to her. So what do I need to do if I can't find another cat to nurse her?"
I go over every step of what he'll need to do to take care of his new pet. Taking a notepad, I write down everything he needs to know about the feeding schedule of a kitten this small, and then, I retrieve the supplies from the back room.
I give detailed instructions on how to measure and mix the kitten formula and explain that getting her to take the bottle may be hard. I also provide a dropper in case she prefers that option, as some kittens do.
When I look up, his eyes are locked on my face, and I can feel it heat under his gaze. Clearing my throat, I continue, "In a couple of weeks you'll want to take her in to get shots and a flea bath. That can be done at any vet."
"Thanks, Doctor. You've been a really big help." He leans closer, propping his forearms onto the counter, and his cologne fills my senses. But perhaps the most enticing thing to see are his muscular arms, leading to the large hands, cradling this tiny, furry being so carefully.
When he clears his throat, I snap my eyes up to his. And they're green, a deep dark green. "It's been my pleasure, Mr. Cullen." My body unconsciously leans closer, wishing the damn counter wasn't separating us.
"Edward. Please, call me Edward." His voice is low and sexy. He licks his lips, drawing my attention to them.
I stare at him, my eyes moving between his lips and eyes. Before anything else happens, his phone rings. We both jump apart; startled from the bubble we've created. With a curious look, he pulls the kitten to his chest with one hand and grabs his phone, walking a few feet away, mumbling quietly into the receiver.
Trying to give him privacy, but not wanting him to leave without speaking once more, I take the clipboard he filled out and start entering the information into the computer. I have to force myself to stay focused on my task and not let my eyes wander in his direction.
I must do a good job because minutes later his fingers tapping on the counter cause me to jump. I grab my chest. "You scared me."
His face turns solemn. "Sorry. I need to pay you before I go."
"Oh, yes, of course," I respond, disappointed at myself for forgetting. "Let me get this in the system, and I'll let you know. Can you give me a couple minutes?"
He leans against the counter again and smiles. "Sure."
I'm almost too dazzled to move, but I catch myself after only a few embarrassing seconds and quickly turn back to my task. My fingers move over the keys as fast as they can, but I can feel his gaze burning into me. It's almost too much.
"I really do appreciate all your help, Doctor. This was definitely not on my agenda today, and I can't stress how thankful I am that you saw us so quickly." His voice melts over me like butter, and I want to cover myself in it.
I keep my eyes on the screen because if I look at him, I might attack. "Did you say you found her?"
"Oh, uh, yeah," he responds, and his tone makes me bring my eyes to him.
I lift a brow. "Just today?"
He reaches up and scratches at the side of his neck, his eyes falling to the kitten cuddled into his chest. "Yeah, just a little bit ago," he says without meeting my eyes.
Something about his demeanor has changed, and I'm not sure what, so I return my eyes to the computer and put in the services he received today. We both remain silent as I complete the process.
When I have his total, I peer up at him. He's still not quite looking at me, but when I start speaking, he meets my eyes. "Your total is $156.70."
His eyes widen incrementally as he reaches for his wallet, pulling out a shiny credit card and handing it over. "Do you take this?"
I smile and reach out, simply intending to take his payment, but I don't expect the small zap that arcs between our fingers as they brush together. Shocked—literally—I pull my hand back quickly, but he catches it before I move too far.
"Are you okay?" he asks, his thumb stroking my palm, the credit card dropped to the counter, forgotten.
"Yeah," I say and feel my cheeks heat. "Must've been static or something." Even though I love the feel of him caressing my skin, I'm trying to stay as professional as possible, so I withdraw and grab the card.
After ringing him up, I stand to retrieve his bag of supplies, handing it and the card over to him. "Do you need any help?"
He shakes his head and takes the card, which he shoves into his shirt pocket, before sliding the bag from my hand to his. There's no static this time, but something still runs through my fingers and up my arm as I pull back.
He clears his throat. "Well, I guess we should be on our way."
I sigh. "Yeah, I guess."
I watch as his fine ass moves to leave, but just as he pushes it open, he twists around. "See you around, Doctor." With a blinding smile, he's out the door before I can even form a reply.
I fall back in my seat, my lunch forgotten as I close my eyes, attempting to replay every single second of the past half hour. The ding of the door has my eyes snapping open, hoping against hope that it's him. It isn't. It's only my techs returning from lunch.
"Bella," Alice calls, not realizing I'm sitting right here.
"Over here, Alice."
"Oh," she says and redirects her trajectory, aiming straight for me. "Who the hell was that fine piece of meat getting into his car just now?"
Rose is right behind her, and both of them look like puppies waiting for a treat.
I roll my eyes and stand. "That was a client." I keep the answer short, hoping it will be enough to satisfy them.
"You have to give us more than that, Bella. What was he here for? Was he nice? What's his name? Is he single?" Alice spits out questions rapid fire.
"Please tell me he's single. He was seriously fuckable."
Even though I know we're alone, I still look around before rounding on the girls. "Rose! Shh! Anyone could come in. We're trying to build the practice, not scare people away. And what would Emmett say?"
Now she rolls her eyes. "No one is here, and we'd hear the bell if someone came in. Plus, Emmett knows he's the only one I want, but I have eyes and know a gorgeous specimen when I see one. Now spill."
They're both lucky we're friends, or I'd probably have fired their asses by now. Still, I love them, and we've grown as close as sisters while building this practice. "There's not much to tell. He brought a kitten in for an examination. It was strictly business." I keep the moments I shared with Edward to myself since I'll probably never see him again.
After our chat, I quickly finish my lunch while the girls get the next patients into an exam room. Even though they've dropped the subject of our sexy visitor, his gorgeous face still lingers in my mind for days to follow.
At the start of the following week, we're getting ready to close up when I hear Alice calling Rose to look at something on the computer. I've just locked the door and am flipping the sign to closed when she calls me over. "Bella, you've got to see this!"
Walking over, I see she has a YouTube video paused. "What's this?"
"Remember that hottie who was here with the kitten?"
Like I could forget. "Uh huh. What about him?"
With the grin she's sporting, Alice looks like the cat that ate the canary. She reaches over and grabs the mouse. "Watch this. You're going to die!"
She clicks the play button, and my eyes widen in horror as I see a helpless kitten stuck on a busy interstate. Cars are flying by, some swerve, and some straddle it, while the poor baby lies there, completely defenseless. The scene plays out over and over as cars, buses and trucks shockingly miss the terrified creature. I'm already wringing my fingers with anxiety over how this may turn out, until finally, this one car comes to a stop right there on the freeway and turns on its hazard lights, blocking the flow of traffic in that lane. I let out a deep sigh of relief, but then, my jaw drops as a sexy as hell man strolls from the car, as if he's on a runway. I watch, elated, as he reaches down to snag the little ball of fluff from danger. The riot of hair on his head, the tight plaid button up, rolled to the elbows and cowboy boots are enough to give him away immediately. It's Edward!
Reaching over, I grab the mouse and start the video once more. I watch it three more times before sitting back and looking at the girls, my mind numb, not sure exactly what to say.
The room is silent until Rose finally breaks it. "See. Told ya. Totally fuckable. You need to hunt that man down."
As tempting as that is. "I can't just hunt someone down because he's fuckable, Rose."
"Sure you can. Hell, I stalked Emmett when I saw him on campus and set out to make him mine. Worked for me." She leans back in her chair, propping her legs up on the desk.
"But I'm not you. I'm an adult and trying to get established. How would it look if I went after a client? And don't even start with that Emmett shit. He was all over you as soon as he met you."
"But, Bella, you guys are meant to be. I can feel it! Why would he have chosen your practice out of all the vets in the world? And look how perfect he is, risking his life to save that kitten. You have to find him so you can marry him and have a house full of babies and pets," Alice gushes.
I love her, but sometimes the girl lives in her own fairytale world. "Even if I looked him up, who's to say he isn't married? Or an asshole? Or would even be interested. No. It's better to leave it alone."
Rose snorts. "No man who would do that is an asshole. Did you see a ring on his finger while he was here?" I shake my head. "So he's probably not married. And you're beautiful, smart and a badass businesswoman. Any guy would be lucky to have you."
"You know my feelings are usually right, Bella. As soon as I saw him, I knew there was more to him than being hot. I'm telling you, you two are meant to be."
"Thanks, Rose. I think you're a bit biased, but I really do appreciate it. And Alice, if you're right then I won't need to find him. It'll be fate. Now enough about Mr. Cullen. We have another long day ahead of us tomorrow, so you guys should get home. I'll finish up my charts really quick and head out myself."
The girls protest a bit, but eventually I get them out the door. I finish my paperwork and sit back, watching the video of Edward rescuing his kitten and dreaming of possibilities until my back is stiff, and I'm starving. Logging off, I head home with thoughts of Edward refusing to leave my head.
Over the next week, I build a routine. I work hard during the day, sticking to my goals of running a successful business. However, when the night comes, and I go home, I can't stay away from that damn video. The comments alone drive me fucking batty. Girls from all over the country are drooling, and I want to gouge their eyes out.
I make my requisite three watches before I scroll down to see what these horny bitches have posted since I looked yesterday. My jaw drops open at the new comments. Someone has identified him. Not only are they now posting his name, but they've even mentioned that he owns a ranch outside of Dallas.
My shoulders deflate instantaneously. That's seventy-five miles from here. I held onto the smallest glimmer of hope that he'd return to my clinic for the kitten's shots, and now there's no way. What was he even doing here in the first place?
I quickly click on the article attached to the video and scan the words. They've been unable to identify him—I snort aloud—but the interstate and area were easily obtainable since it was recorded by a traffic cam.
I grab my phone and bring up Google Maps, entering the closest exit from the videotaping and check for vets in the area. I'm surprised to find out that I'm not even the closest one. Forks is about ten miles from the interstate, and there are two other vet clinics that are miles closer than mine.
My brows furrow as I consider this new information. Finally, I shrug and give up. Lucky me, is all I can say. And because I can't help myself, I bring the video to full screen and hit play one more time, desperately wishing there was a slow motion option.
By the time I'm done, my girly bits are all tingly, so I waste no time before stripping and falling into my soft bed. Closing my eyes, I replace the kitten with myself and watch as the fantasy of Edward rescuing me plays behind my lids.
This is a little something we wrote for a Domestic Violence compilation, and we'll be posting a chapter a day until Friday. Fyremasen has made it to round 2 of the Twific Fandom Awards for Scribbler Alliance, and we hope you'll consider us when casting your vote :)