I've been holding onto a funny text exchange (that I have to credit to Kay Richard) for a while that inspired this one-shot. It's basically the part at the beginning of this story, but you can see it in my Facebook group if you'd like.

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of S. Meyer. The original plot is the only thing that belongs to me. No copyright infringement is intended.

Credit goes to my ladies: coppertopj, kimmie45, MissLiss15, NKubie, and starsmina.

The link to my facebook group is on my profile, and my blog is MeteorOnAMoonlessNight. blogspot. com

Depressed over thinking she'll be fired before the holidays, Bella decides to get drunk at the company party. Woken the next morning by Rose texting her to look at Facebook posts from the night before, she realizes exactly how drunk she got—and it's bad. She and Santa were very naughty, but the worst comes when Bella realizes exactly who was playing Santa. Suddenly, Bella's last day takes on new meaning as she struggles to resist temptation.

Her head felt like an anvil was resting on it. An anvil with a cannonball soldered to it, and that cannonball was the size of a pirate ship. She cracked open one crusty eye as she heard her cell phone go off again. It was at least the fifth time she'd heard it, and she wanted to find it so she could crush it into tiny pieces with either the anvil or the cannonball that were weighing on her head. She wasn't ready to be awake, and probably wouldn't ever be.

The phone chirped once more from her bedside table. She reached over and grabbed it, dragging it across her pillow since she had yet to lift her head. Squinting, she saw that Rose had been texting her.

"Someone better be dying, Hale," she muttered. She dragged her finger across the screen and tried to focus through bleary eyes.

~Are you awake?


~Get up

~You need to change your FB settings

~Everyone's been tagging you in pics from last night

Bella sat up suddenly, her head and stomach rolling uncomfortably. With one hand on her lead balloon of a head, she opened up Facebook without replying to Rose and began to check her notifications.

She gasped. The hand on her head moved to cover her mouth and tears sprang to her eyes. "Oh no. No, no, no. No!"

Her denial morphed from discomfort to all-out mortification the more she swiped through the photos. She was sitting in Santa's lap in one, and in the next, they were kissing. In the one after that, he was groping her boob and she had her hand on his crotch.

The phone in her hand rang. She cursed and fumbled it before recovering and answering. "Why did you let me drink so much?" she wailed into the receiver.

Rose cackled. "Oh, honey, I tried to stop you. You were hell-bent on getting plastered."

"How did I get home?" There was a mariachi band dancing on her skull behind her eyeballs, and she wasn't loving it. She squeezed her eyes shut with the hope that she could pretend she didn't get blackout drunk.

"Santa's sleigh."

Bella groaned. "How did I get home?"

"I put you and bad Santa in a cab. What happened after that is anyone's guess, especially since both of you were so wasted."

Bella heard a noise that sounded an awful lot like her front door slamming shut. "Someone's in my apartment!" She got up, tripping over tangled sheets and catching herself on the door frame.

Rose just laughed over the phone as Bella raced into the living room. The front door was closed and unlocked. Bella yanked it open and looked down the hall in both directions, but nobody was there.

"God, Rose. He escaped before I saw him. I can't believe I slept with a stranger."

Bella went straight to the coffeemaker, fumbling with it as she listened to Rose snorting in laughter. "But, Bella, he isn't a stranger."

"Who is he?" She dropped her head to the counter and moaned some more. "It wasn't Mike from human resources, was it? He's a real asshole."

"Nope. Worse."

"How could it be worse? Stop being so cryptic while you enjoy my misery and tell me who it was!"

"It was Mr. Cullen."



Bella spent the day in mourning. She was already out of a job, so she figured sleeping with her boss couldn't technically make things worse. She had hoped for a recommendation, but she's a good lay wasn't what she was looking for. Of course, she didn't actually know if she was a good lay, having been so drunk she couldn't even remember it!

Mr. Cullen was a hardass, known for being uptight and rude. He wanted things done a certain way, and any variation of that made him pissy. Bella thought she'd managed to learn all the ways to fly under the radar and get her job done, but Rose was in management and had heard that Bella was getting fired before the offices closed for the holidays. She'd gone to the party with every intention of eating and drinking her body weight in order to get what she could out of the company before they let her go. She wanted to party instead of wallowing in her misery, but she couldn't remember anything past arriving with Rose and getting her first few drinks. They'd chatted for a little bit, but Bella was too weepy to be much fun. She told Rose to go hang out with Emmett in IT and then she drank a few more cocktails while trying not to cry.

She took a shower after having a lot of coffee, ibuprofen, and some toast, checking that things were still good down there since she was sore as all hell. Lastly, she made a trip to the drugstore since she had no idea if she practiced safety during her escapade with her boss. At least she wasn't wearing her party dress from the night before, but she felt like she carried the mantle of the walk of shame like a neon pink cape.

Back home, she went through Facebook and methodically untagged herself from all of the pictures. They were the stuff of nightmares. Santa had a beard and a red hat, a fake belly and red coat, but once she knew it was him, she couldn't deny that she could detect his features under the costume. She only wondered why her boss had been as drunk as she was.


"Ms. Swan, how lovely of you to show up to work today," Mr. Cullen snarled the next morning.

She set her purse on her desk and looked at the clock. "It's 7:50, Mr. Cullen."

"I've been here for an hour already."

Her face flamed as she looked at him. "Congratulations. I'll scrounge up a cookie for you from the break room."

"What is with this attitude, Ms. Swan?" he barked with a deep frown.

"You don't have to go out of your way to be strict with me because of Saturday night." She shoved her hair out of her face and crossed her arms over her chest. She felt more self-conscious around him than ever.

His cheeks went a deep shade of red. "One holiday party doesn't change my authority."

She couldn't help but notice the way his dress shirt hugged the muscles of his arms as he crossed them over his chest. His tie was dark gray with a black stripe, and she wanted to tug on it to bring him closer. That errant thought had her taking a step back.

"Well, don't act differently toward me because of what we did. I'm sorry that I was out of control, but you were, too."

His frown changed from stern and angry to confused. It couldn't have been her. "In what way were either of us out of control, and why would that affect our working relationship?"

Her mouth dropped open. "You were Santa, weren't you?"

He shifted uneasily and darted a look around the cubicles. "I didn't tell anybody that." His voice dropped an octave and she shivered.

"May I speak to you in your office, sir?" The tips of her ears were so hot they were painful. Embarrassment didn't sit well with her.

His stance changed again. He straightened up and walked off down the hallway with stiff shoulders. Bella could only follow as fast as her short legs would allow.

He held onto the door until she was inside his office and then he closed it behind her. "What is this in regards to, Ms. Swan?" He needed her to say the words. He'd woken up in a stranger's apartment Sunday morning, but he never would have dreamed it was Isabella.

She tried not to whimper at what she was about to say. She swallowed, then took a deep breath and swallowed again. "We were together on Saturday night."

"What?" No, no, no, no, no.

She wasn't sure if he didn't hear her since she could barely get above a whisper, or if he didn't believe her. "Facebook. Pull up Facebook on your computer."

He frowned again but went to his desk, fooling around on the keyboard for a second before turning the monitor in her direction.

"Look up Emmett McCarty."

He tapped a few more keys and then gasped when Emmett's timeline popped up. He scrolled manically and his face grew more and more red as he saw the pictures from the party. Finally, his gaze flew to her face and he looked mortified. Join the club. Drunken idiots, party of two.

"Yeah. I only found out yesterday morning. My friend told me about the pictures."

"I don't know what to say. You and I . . ." he trailed off as he looked at the monitor again. The current picture was the two of them kissing sloppily with tongues visible and their hands all over each other. His drunken one night stand was definitely Isabella.

"According to my friend, she put us in a cab together."

"Oh God." His eyes closed. "I woke up in your apartment. I didn't know it was you, I swear. Your face was covered by your hair. I ran to the living room and had to pull the Santa suit back on in order to leave. Are you sure we—"

"Judging by the soreness of my lady parts, I would say yes. It's been eons since anyone has been down there."

"Oh God," he repeated.

"I know, but it's been hard getting out there, you know? I don't want to take home any random stranger that hits on me, but after a while, it's like cobwebs are closing off the entrance to my love canal."

"Jesus, Ms. Swan, that's not what I'm focused on!" His eyes popped open, hands flying erratically as he yelled, and she hunched her shoulders.

"You're right. Sorry. Look, Mr. Cullen, I don't have to tell anyone, and you don't have to tell anyone; definitely not Mike in HR, who is not very nice."

"I would be fired if anyone found out." He scrubbed his hand through his hair and tried not to panic. "Can we just pretend it didn't happen and continue to be coworkers like we were on Friday?"

"Yes, of course." Bella nodded her head vigorously as she thought about how Friday was the catalyst for all of her pain. He was already going to fire her, but there was no reason to take him down with her.

"Please get to work."

"Yes, sir."

He groaned.


Edward soon realized that more people knew he was Santa than he first thought. There were furtive glances and interrupted conversations everywhere he went throughout the office on Monday. He ignored them, hoping that nothing would come of it. He was serious when he told Bella he would be fired if anyone in human resources found out what he'd done. Of all the stupid things to do, getting drunk at his own party and then fucking his employee topped the list.

He knew it was a bad idea to dress up as Santa. It was a moment of weakness, really. He saw the costume in a shop window and realized that he could hide in front of his employees and hear what they truly thought of him. Like that TV show, he would pretend to be one of them and get a good idea of what he needed to work on. He knew he was too uptight, but there was always someone breathing down his neck. He had to answer to the bosses, not his employees. He bore the brunt of the discipline when someone in his department screwed up. The most efficient way to get the results he needed was to be tough.

Edward couldn't remember actually making the decision to drink at the company party. He remembered there being so many people that he started feeling anxious. His plan was to stand around and smile beneath the costume and then at the right time he would hand out the envelopes with the gift cards the company provided for each employee. After that, he intended to go home. Obviously, he had a drink—or ten—and had a good time with Isabella, instead.

Fuck, of all the people to drunkenly hump. He'd had a crush on her since very shortly after her training was complete. She didn't know it, but he walked in on her in the copy room one afternoon humming and shaking her ass, which was encased in a tight skirt. She was wearing tall heels with a flirty little bow at the back that just killed him. He didn't know what she was humming, but soon she was singing out loud. He had to silently leave the room and bite his tongue to keep from saying anything. He wanted to ask her out for a cup of coffee, but he was strictly forbidden from dating his subordinates.

Edward was completely miserable when Mr. Hunter sent him a list of employees to be laid off and he saw Isabella's name on it. He was supposed to make the cuts before the holidays, but he simply couldn't; even he wasn't that cruel. It was pretty obvious that he'd be even less liked once he did the firing, and he'd spent the past few weeks trying to find a middle ground to hold onto.

He dropped his head into his hands in frustration. After sleeping with Isabella, firing her would be especially dicey.


"It's not funny, Rose!"

Bella only agreed to go out to dinner so she could have a shoulder to cry on, but Rose was finding the entire situation too funny to pass up.

"Oh, come on, Bella! You've had a crush on that baloney pony for years and now you finally got a taste."

Bella groaned loudly. "I can't even recall if I had an actual taste of his . . . pony!"

Rose cackled until people turned to stare. "Now that sucks, not knowing if you found the center of his tootsie roll pop."

"Enough about me, did you and Emmett hook up?" After trying to redirect her best friend, Bella shoveled more chips and salsa in her mouth. She'd spent the past few days eating her misery.

"Um, yes." Rose put one hand up like a true believer in church. "He made me sing hallelujah until I lost my voice." She waved that hand around and closed her eyes for a minute.

"I'm jealous. I don't even know if I had a good time, just that he left me with bruises on my ass cheeks and a sore clit."

"I have to inform you, Bella, that those things are likely indicators of a good time had by all."

That was something she'd been contemplating pretty much non-stop. All signs pointed to him having the biggest dick she'd ever encountered, and better yet, he apparently knew how to utilize it even when drunk. She wanted nothing more than to go another round with Mr. Cullen, only the next time she wanted them to be two conscious and clearly consenting adults. "Well, are you and Emmett dating now?"

Rose nodded and slurped more of her margarita. Bella chose a Coke since she'd sworn off alcohol for the next thirty years. "Basically, I told him if I found out he was seeing anyone else I'd cut a bitch and then Bobbit him."

Bella winced at Rose's slicing motion. "And he didn't run screaming from the crazy lady?"

"No, he laughed and wanted to go again."

"Oh, then he's a keeper."


A few minutes passed as the two women ate. When the check came, Rose insisted on paying for it. "What am I going to do when we're not working together every day?"

"I don't know, Ro, but I might have to move in with you if the job search doesn't turn up better results soon."

Rose waited until they were walking out together and then slung her arm around Bella's shoulder. "I would let you, too, but I have faith that you'll find something."

"Before the twenty-third?" That was ax-day, as Bella had come to think of it; the day she got the ax from her boss.

Rose sighed. "I sure hope so."

Bella wasn't at all confident. She'd been looking for the past two weeks and hadn't had so much as a call for an interview. She just needed another claims adjuster position in a similar income bracket as what she was currently in. It shouldn't be that hard, especially with her experience. "Maybe I need to fix up my résumé so that I can finally get a callback."

"Email it to me and I'll take a look."

Bella hugged Rose to her. "Thanks." When she let go of Rose she bumped into someone heading into the restaurant.

"Oh, excuse me."

She would recognize that clipped and sexy-as-sin tone of voice anywhere. "Mr. Cullen?"

Edward paused on the way in and looked at the two women. Bella's hair was hanging in soft waves around her shoulders and down her breasts. Her coat was unzipped and showing off her curves. He cleared his throat and met her eyes, then Rose's. "Good evening, ladies. I apologize for running into you, Ms. Swan."

"It's no problem."

The tense silence that followed made them all uncomfortable. Bella felt a tightening in her belly, and she couldn't decide if it was mortification for running into him or the fact that her boss was so damn hot with his bright green eyes and well-tailored suit. Edward was wondering if he'd always feel so awkward in front of this woman that he was harboring a huge crush on but couldn't get near because he was still her boss.

Rose noticed that their boss hardly even looked at her because he was so busy eye-fucking Bella. She wondered if the two of them would get the sticks out of their asses and realize how attracted they were to each other.

Edward turned and walked inside to avoid any more embarrassment.


The following Monday, Bella avoided Edward at all costs. She had three days until ax-day, and she was still looking for a job. Her savings wasn't meager, but it wasn't going to last much past January. She didn't relish the thought of calling her parents and asking for help, being a grown woman trying to live on her own and all. She emailed her résumé to Rose that morning to let her hack at it, and she hoped that fixed the problem of not getting any calls from potential employers.

She shut herself in the copy room mid-morning, her earbuds in and Bruno Mars blasting in her ears. She hummed along, swaying her hips a little as she copied and collated. That was easily the most boring part of her job, but she only had to do it when she prepared her weekly report. Most of her time was spent on the phone and computer. The only good part about it was that she could tune everything else out and listen to music.

A sudden hand on her shoulder caused her to scream and jump. "Mother Teresa's tits!" She pulled her earbuds out and turned around to see who'd scared her to death.

Edward was standing behind her with a frown on his face. "What the hell did you say?"

"Weird shit comes out of my mouth when I'm startled. Maybe don't sneak up on a girl?" She clutched her chest to make sure her heart was, in fact, beating.

"Uh, do you know how loud you were singing? Felix complained."

Felix had the desk closest to the copy room, and apparently, he was a wanker. "Sorry, I guess I got caught up."

"Is that a favorite song of yours?" She was singing about gorillas, and it sounded so sexual that Edward was having a hard time not pushing her against the wall and showing her what she did to him.

She was blushing furiously. Of all the songs for him to catch her singing, it had to be lyrics about hair-pulling sex. Bella cleared her throat. "I like it, sure. I'll keep it to humming from now on."

When Mr. Cullen—Edward—took a step forward, Bella took a step back. "I'd love to hear the song that has Felix complaining."

Bella's heart beat frantically as she inhaled the familiar scent of Edward's cologne. She had a flash, a memory of some sort, of him above her in her bed. His chest was bare and he was thrusting into her. Her skin flushed and her nipples tightened as the memory passed. She tried to swallow but found her mouth was dry. "I, um, you-you can use my earbuds."

She fumbled on the table behind her and picked up her phone, only tearing her eyes away from the fuck-hot man in front of her long enough to find the song and replay it. Edward put a single earbud in his ear, and then he reached forward slowly and pushed Bella's hair behind one of her ears. It felt as soft as he assumed it would, and she smelled heavenly. He watched her eyes as they dilated and focused on his every move. Carefully, he tucked the other earbud into her ear and let his fingers trail down the side of her neck as the explicit song played in both of their heads. His jacket was too hot, and he wanted to remove it, but nothing could make him move at that point. Not the impropriety of being closed up in the copy room with his subordinate, not the thought that Felix knew he went inside to speak to Bella, not the way her chest heaved and his cock grew five sizes at her nearness. The song was working erotic magic on his senses, and all he wanted was to show Bella what he wanted to do to her. He knew of the song before he asked her to hear it; it was an excuse to get closer to her.

Bella was caught in his stare like prey reacting to its natural predator. She wanted to push Edward against the wall and remove his jacket. She could picture running her hands over his dress shirt and yanking that damned red tie until his mouth was fused with hers. She wondered if he'd taste like coffee or not. She wondered if she could feel his erection through his dress pants if she got close enough. She practically drooled at the thought of him pulling her hair and bending her over the copier table. She would quote the lyrics and say 'Daddy, it's yours' in a heartbeat, if only—

"Mr. Cullen?"

"Double forking shit!"

Bella screamed as Edward jumped away from her, ripping the earbud out of her ear as he went. She rubbed the stinging earlobe and glared at Felix as he stood in the doorway.

"What is it, Mr. Stone?" Edward barked.

"Mr. Volturi is looking for you." There was no mistaking the smug tone in his voice.

Without speaking to her, Edward turned back and handed over the earbuds still attached to her phone. He walked out, leaving Bella standing there with a full blush as Felix smirked at her.

"Can it, Stone. I'm being let go anyway, remember? You're too late to try to get me into trouble." She turned her back on him to gather her paperwork, but he didn't leave the room.

"I just wonder if sleeping with coworkers is an open door policy." He ran a finger down her arm, and she was thankful to be in long sleeves. She didn't want his skin touching hers.

"I'd back the fuck up right now unless you want to draw back a bloody stub."

"Ooh, feisty."

Finally, she faced him. "Do I need to go to HR? I deserve to work in a harassment-free atmosphere, even if it's my last few days."

Felix chuckled. "And tell them what? That you and Mr. Cullen were in here swapping spit?"

Her jaw dropped before she recovered. "That is not even close to the truth, Stone!"

"I wonder if Mike has already had a taste. Is that how you get away with humping the boss at the holiday party and neither of you getting fired?"

"That's enough!" Bella gathered her papers and phone, storming out of the room and gaining petty satisfaction by stomping on his foot on the way out.


"Wait, back up a minute!" Rose tapped her fingers on her desk. "He did what?"

"He suggested that I was the office slut, that's what! How can I even walk around here after that? I'm so embarrassed that everyone seems to know about me and naked Santa!" Bella paced back and forth in Rose's office.

"No, I didn't mean boot-licker Stone. I meant Edward. What did you two do?" Rose was getting excited because they just had to wait for Bella to be fired and then she and Mr. Cullen could get together and finally date.

Bella stopped moving and stared at Rose. "He shared my earbuds. He claimed he'd never heard Gorilla before and wanted to know what I was listening to that made me sing so loud that Felix would complain. Frankly, that brown noser would complain about anything if he thought it would gain him brownie points."

"Edward so wants to get in your panties—back in them, I should say."

Bella flipped Rose off and walked out to the sound of her best friend's laughter.

Unfortunately, she slammed into Edward on her way out the door. "Jorge's frankfurters!"

Edward grabbed Bella's upper arms to steady her and couldn't help but chuckle at her choice of phrases. "I apologize, Ms. Swan. It seems we keep running into each other."

"I am not the office slut, despite what Mr. Stone might have said about me," Bella said vehemently. Behind her, Rose choked on a laugh.

Edward's brows went up. "Good to know. Could I speak to you in the hall, please?"

Rose grinned and Edward nodded at her over Bella's shoulder.

"I suppose," Bella responded.

They stepped out of Rose's office and Bella closed the door behind them.

"Isabella," Mr. Cullen started as soon as they were alone. Bella stared at the gold flecks in his green eyes and got so lost in them that she didn't hear what he said.

". . . for my behavior."

Bella blinked and tried to focus. "Your behavior?"

He sighed and ran his hand through his hair. "Yes, in the copy room. It was unacceptable. It's just that, you and I, I mean, we—"

"Mr. Cullen, Demetri is having a major problem with a customer. He needs your assistance."

Edward closed his eyes in frustration but refused to growl at Heidi's interruption. "Tell him I'll be right there."

Bella took the opportunity to escape down the hall back to her desk. She'd turned in the paperwork she'd been putting together earlier and really had nothing else to do with the rest of her day. It was almost five anyway so she sat and fooled around with rearranging her client list for the next fifteen minutes. She practically ran for the front door as soon as the digital readout on her computer said five. She'd never been more ready to leave work before.


"How is Mr. Cullen treating you today?" Rose asked Bella on Tuesday. She propped her hip on the corner of Bella's desk and looked at her closely. Her friend was losing sleep. If it was because of her crush on their boss, that was a good thing. If it was because she still didn't have a job offer, that was cause for concern.

"I haven't seen him. I'm pretty sure he's avoiding me." Bella sat back in her desk chair and swatted at the hair that fell across her eyes. She'd had a hell of a time taming the frizz in her wavy hair that morning. Lost sleep was starting to look bad on her. "I overslept and then couldn't do anything with this mop."

"The French braid is fine. The wispy bits are probably annoying as hell. Did you try spraying your comb with hairspray and running it over the baby hairs?"

Bella scowled. "The braid was done here at my desk because I looked unprofessional after I rushed out of the house this morning, and I had a morning meeting with Tyler and Bree."

"Oh." Rose thought for a minute. "And you've sent your résumé out again?"

Now Bella sighed. "Yes, and I'm being laid off tomorrow. What do I do, Rose?"

Rose leaned in very close to Bella's ear. "You fuck Edward as soon as he fires you." When Rose straightened, she snickered at the wide-eyed look on Bella's face.

"What the hell, Rose?" she whispered furiously.

"Well, not in the office, or he could get fired. Although . . ."

"Stop picturing office sex, Rosalie Hale!"

Though she tried to keep her voice down, that was the moment Edward walked around the edge of the cubicle next to Bella's. He stopped short and looked back and forth between the two women with raised eyebrows. Rose had the grace to blush; Bella was beet red.

"See you in the meeting, Mr. Cullen," Rose said demurely and walked away at a fast clip.

Bella wanted the ground to open up and swallow her whole. Of all the things to be saying as he came around the damn corner. "Can I, ah, help you with something, Mr. Cullen?" Bella asked.

"I'm going to go ahead and say no." His tie was forest green today, and Bella assumed he was giving a subtle nod to the holidays since yesterday's tie was red. She had fantasies about his ties that kept her from sleeping.

She waited patiently for him to say something else like maybe the reason he'd come over. "Um, Mr. Cullen, what did you need?"

"Hmm?" He was staring at the braid that trailed over her shoulder and not focusing on her words. "Oh! I need the client report for the meeting."

"I emailed that thirty minutes ago."

His face went blank. "You did?" He ran his long fingers through his hair and Bella stared at them a little too long. "I haven't been at my desk for a bit. Sorry for bothering you."

"It's fine."

They watched each other, both afraid to say what they were really thinking. The silence dragged on for a charged minute before Edward cleared his throat.

"Well. I have to be getting to that meeting."

He turned around and walked off, and Bella couldn't help staring at his ass. It wasn't covered by his suit jacket at the moment and she appreciated tailors more than ever as she admired the fit of his slacks. Her mind wandered to what Rose had said to her about him. Clearly, she thought that Bella should go after Mr. Cullen once she was no longer an employee of the same company as him. It was an intriguing idea, and he did seem to have an interest in her.

With her luck, it was all in her head and she would make a fool of herself.

With management in meetings for the rest of the day, Bella decided to job hunt. She found a few interesting prospects and emailed her résumé to them. She was finishing up as the conference room door opened and she closed out the employment site she'd been perusing.

"Bella?" Rose said as she came nearer. "May I speak with you?"

Bella stood and tried to keep up with long-legged Rose, who seemed determined to move as quickly as possible.

"What the hell, Rose, slow down."

Instead of slowing, Rose stopped abruptly outside the women's restroom and grabbed Bella's arm, dragging her inside. She checked each of the stalls to be sure they were empty before whipping around to face a perplexed Bella.

"Mr. Cullen just got his ass handed to him because he refuses to fire anybody before the holidays. He and Mr. Volturi had a huge fight."

"Oh, my God," Bella said on a gush of air. "I still have a job for, what, another week?"

"Mr. Volturi agreed to wait until the fifteenth of January. Edward said it was only fair since none of you were being fired for anything within your control."

Bella slumped against the nearest sink. "Wow."

"Yeah, wow." Rose watched Bella's face for signs of what she was feeling. She just looked stunned so far.

"But Mr. Hunter said our department was too big and losing the company money."

"Yes, that's still true. They're just going to live with it a few weeks more."

"This lifts so much stress off my shoulders, Rose."

Rose smiled. "I know, sweetie. I'm happy for you. Oh! And I spoke to Mike for you about Felix. That's strike three for him."

"Strike three?" Bella looked up at Rose. "What does that mean?"

"It means he's been complained about before for harassment, and Mike gave him several warnings to clean up his act." Rose grinned evilly this time. "He'll be carting his box of shit out by end of day."

"No kidding." Bella thought for a few moments. Things were looking up for her; she had more time to get a new job and more time to save her money in case she didn't get a job right away. "Oh, I feel so much better, Rose."

"I know."


Wednesday wasn't as bad as Bella had been anticipating. She didn't have to worry about the minute she would be fired, and it was the last day of work before the office was closed for the holidays. Everyone was in a festive mood, and Bella could join in.

Edward was dying. He watched Bella in the break room with the other employees from her department. They'd all heard the news by then that they had a few more weeks to look for a new place to work and were having a mini celebration. There was fudge and sodas and silly elf hats. Edward was having his lunch in there, something he usually never did, but he couldn't get enough of Bella. She licked a speck of fudge from the corner of her mouth and he groaned. He wanted to be the fudge and have her lick him. He wanted to lick the fudge off her mouth. He wanted tongues involved when it came to Bella, in all kinds of ways.

He was pleased that he'd convinced Mr. Volturi to allow her to keep her job until after the holidays, but he was so twisted up inside over not being able to ask her out on a date. He had to keep his mouth shut and his hands to himself, and it was awful. He could picture how good they would be together. It would be easy. It would be just like breathing to spend his nights and his days off with her, he was sure of it. She was fun to be around, quirky and funny and beautiful. She was hardworking and smart. He sighed. She was everything he wanted in a woman.

Later on that day, he was getting ready to leave the office when he noticed one light was still on. The overhead fluorescents were off and he'd thought the building was empty. He walked slowly over to the soft glow coming from a lamp behind the cubicle wall, and it dawned on him as he drew closer that it was Bella's desk. He wondered why she was still at the office, and he realized suddenly that she was crying.

"Bella?" he said quietly.

She looked up as he approached and wiped her eyes quickly.

"Why are you crying?" He stopped right in front of her chair and looked down at her. Her hair was loose around her shoulders and her eyes were red.

"I just realized that even though I have an extra three weeks to find a job, I'm still not going to be employed here anymore. I've made some friends here, and it's just going to suck not being part of this team."

He looked at her for a few minutes and noticed that she kept wiping at her eyes with the heels of her hands.

"Why don't you come to my office and clean up, and I'll . . . I'll walk you to the parking lot."

Bella gazed up at Edward for several beats of silence. "Okay," she whispered.

She stood and followed him the short distance to his office. He went over to his desk and grabbed the box of tissues on the corner to hand over. Bella wiped her eyes and her nose, then just stood there staring at Edward. "I'm going to hate not seeing you every day," she admitted very softly.

His brow went up. "I thought I was a hard-ass who everyone hated."

She laughed. "Well, yeah, but . . ."

"But?" he prompted.

She looked down at the toes of her boots. "I like your butt."

"You like my but? I don't understand."

Her head came up and she frowned in confusion. "Your ass. What's to not understand about that? You're attractive, Mr. Cullen. I find you hot. You make me hot. You—"

"Stop talking," he hissed right before he brought his mouth down on hers. Whatever she was about to say was left strangled in her throat as he pressed his hard chest against her soft body and clung to her.

Bella was fairly certain she was having an out-of-body experience. Edward Cullen was kissing her, and it felt amazing. He was so good at it, with his tongue running along her bottom lip before he sucked it into his mouth. He smelled divine, his cologne taking over her senses until she was saturated with everything that was him. Spurred on by his roaming hands, she pushed his suit jacket off his shoulders and grabbed onto his tie. It was what she'd wanted to do since shortly after meeting him. She kept her mouth fused with his as he backed her to the desk. In a flurry of hands, they tore at each other's clothing until they had to separate, panting for breath, and reassess what they were doing.

"This is against the rules," he said as he puffed out labored breaths.

"Fuck the rules," Bella gasped as she pulled his tie to bring him closer again. It was loosened and hanging lopsided over his unbuttoned shirt. She let go once he was kissing her again and ran her palms over his chest. She wanted to remember every detail this time, to sear it into her brain so that she never forgot what it was like to be with Edward.

"God, Bella, you have no idea"—he bit her shoulder as he pushed her shirt to the side—"how much I want to bend you over my desk."

"Yes," she whimpered, the word drawn out into multiple syllables.

He was rubbing his stubble over her neck as he dropped open-mouthed kisses to her skin. He pulled at her shirt until he could lift it over her head, then he was the one that whimpered when he saw her white lace bra.

"Fuck, you're gorgeous."

Her nipples were straining against the fabric so he lowered his mouth to one of them. He left a wet spot there—and one on her panties as she grew wetter than she'd ever remembered being. Tired of waiting, she pulled at her skirt until it pooled at her feet.

Edward's hand immediately went to cup her, and she groaned loudly into his mouth as he kissed her again. Fumbling with his zipper, she finally managed to unfasten his pants and lower them.

"Are you sure?"

Bella looked up from her studious efforts to disrobe him. "Duh."

He grinned and reached for his pants where they'd fallen halfway down his legs. He pulled his wallet from one of the back pockets and plucked out a condom. Bella snatched it and held the corner between her teeth, her hands going to his underwear and pushing them down. He wasn't willing to wait to be completely naked, so he took the condom back from her, opened it, and put it on.

He placed his hands on Bella's shoulders and turned her away from him. She leaned over the edge of his desk and couldn't believe she was so lucky. She felt the tip of his cock as he ran it over her ass before he pushed her panties aside and slipped back and forth through the wetness between her legs.

"You might want to brace yourself," he warned her as he plunged into her.

He wasn't exaggerating. He pumped into her, hard and rough and exactly what she wanted, and the desk moved across the floor in squeaky increments. Bella called Edward's name like she was the worst porn star in history, but neither of them cared how bad she sounded. His tie brushed against her back as he moved over her, and she pushed her palms against the cold desk to meet his thrusts with her own.

"Damn, Bella!"

He shouted her name as she clamped down on him, her orgasm blinding her as he hit the right spot over and over. He gripped her ass in his large hands as he stilled and grunted.

She heard his chair as he pulled out of her and apparently sat heavily in it. Turning, she took in the sight of Edward with his shirt open, tie hanging askew, pants bunched around his knees and cock resting against his lower abdomen.

"I . . . I have no words," she admitted.

He kept his eyes on her as he reached around her to pick up the tissues. He carefully rolled the condom down his semi-hard dick and wrapped it up before dropping it into the wastebasket.

She bit her lip and then asked, "You don't happen to have another one of those, do you?"

His grin was lightning fast. "I do, but maybe we should get out of here first."

Bella looked around her. "Yeah, that would be smart."

"Not talking about this would also be smart."

She saw the guarded look on his face and leaned forward to reassure him. She kissed him, gently at first, then building in intensity. "I won't say a word for at least three more weeks."

His hands slipped inside her bra to stroke her breasts as they hung pendulously in front of him. "It'll be our secret," he whispered against her mouth. "Let's go home."

"If you promise much more of this"—she waved between the two of them as she straightened and picked her blouse up from the desk—"then the answer is yes."

"Merry Christmas, Ms. Swan."

"Merry Christmas, Santa."


"Is the chicken almost ready, babe?"

Bella was just putting the finishing touches on the salad she was making while Edward was out on the balcony grilling. He'd left the door open, and the smoky smell of the meat drifted in to tantalize her.

"It's done." Edward came in with a platter full of barbecued chicken. He set it on the counter next to Bella's elbow and kissed her on the cheek.

"It smells so good." She looked up at him as he stood very close to her, his nose nuzzling in her hair.

"You smell better." His kisses landed on her lips, causing a familiar tingle to begin in her belly.

"Mmm. Rose and Emmett will be here any minute," she mumbled against his mouth.

"Don't care." He slid his hands down to cup her ass and pull her body closer until they were aligned. Her thin and flirty skirt left nothing but a thin barrier between them as he began to knead her flesh.

"I do." She forgot why she was protesting as he sucked on her neck. They were interrupted by a knock on the door, and Bella jumped away from Edward, smoothing her skirt and hair as she went to answer it.

Edward watched her walk away, remembering their first night together six months ago. They'd spent endless amounts of time in his apartment over the Christmas holidays while the office was closed. They'd barely separated long enough to visit their respective families, and then they'd holed up in the bedroom again until they had to be back at work.

Bella had gotten a job at another insurance company before the fifteenth of January. Edward accepted her letter of resignation with exuberance, celebrating with her privately after hours. They were officially allowed to date in the open. Rose had been the only one to know before that, and she nearly exploded with excitement when Bella told her.

"Hi, guys!"

Rose's voice brought Edward back to the present. He went over to the door and hugged Rose, followed by a handshake and back slap with Emmett.

"I made brownies," Emmett announced as he held a tray up in the air.

"Ooh! Food is on the kitchen counter," Bella said.

"You look ridiculously happy," Rose told her. Emmett and Rose had helped Bella and Edward move into a new place together the previous month. It was their first get-together since then.

"I am, Rose." She grinned, and Rose's eyebrow went up. Bella leaned in. "He asked me to marry him last night."

"Oh, my God!" Rose was so loud that the men turned around from their spot in the open kitchen. "Let me see!"

Bella held her left hand up so Rose could ooh and ahh over the ring.

In the kitchen, Emmett gave Edward a fist bump. "Told you she'd love that ring."

"Thanks for helping me pick it out, man."

"You know this means I'll have to step up my game with Rose now."

Edward laughed. "And I'll be happy to return the ring shopping favor."

The four of them sat at the table together and talked wedding plans as they helped themselves to the food. Bella couldn't help but give a secret smile in Edward's direction. She had all sorts of things planned for him once their friends left. She never would have thought that her crazy, drunken one night stand would turn into her happily-ever-after.

FFN ate some random words when I uploaded it, so if I missed anything please let me know.

As always, I have things in the works for you, but I need a bit of time to have enough chapters to feel secure in uploading. My facebook group is the best place to find out what's coming next. If you like a broken Edward, this next one is for you.