His Own Personal Brand of Heroine
by Honeymoon Edward
Disclaimer: All things Twilight belong solely to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.
A second disclaimer:
I'm not a professional writer. I write Twilight fanfic simply because I love this fandom.
I apologize in advance for any errors.
This story was written in honor of my pre-reader, K's, birthday. She was one of my very first Twi-friends, and when I told her a few years ago I was thinking about writing my first fanfiction story, she encouraged me to go for it. She has been along for the journey every chapter since with her infamous "red pen" in hand.
I love you girl and hope you have the best birthday imaginable! I hope you enjoy your fic.
After a year of schlepping coffee and making copies at the offices of Volturi, Cope, and Brandon, I finally landed an interview for a position as a personal assistant.
"This kid's just starting his career," my boss, Marcus, explained as we sat in his office waiting for the client to join us. "Alice spotted him at the Electric Forest Music Festival in Michigan. He's set to film his first big picture, but he's pretty wet behind the ears. He's going to need a lot of help with organization. I know that's one of your strengths, and that's why I think the two of you would be a good match."
I nodded my head. Shit was true; organization was my superpower.
"Now, you do understand, there are several other candidates, and the final decision will be Edward's?"
"Sure, Mr. Volturi." I smiled to show my appreciation.
"Speak of the devil; here he is." Marcus stood and walked to the door. "Hello, Edward."
A young man around my age entered the office. He wore a pair of faded jeans and a black T-shirt that had seen better days. A fiery red sunburn covered his arms, neck, and nose.
"Dear Lord, son. What happened to your skin?"
He removed the baseball cap that covered his slicked-back red hair and cleared his throat. "I went to that tanning place you suggested."
"How long did you tan?"
He thought for a moment, scratching his head. "Um … thirty minutes?"
An inward cringe passed through my body as I took a further inspection of his damaged skin. Standing, I offered my hand. "Hi, I'm Bella Swan. I hope you don't think this is too forward of me, but have you treated your burn?"
"No, I didn't have time," he replied before adding, "and hello, I'm Edward Cullen."
Turning, I faced Marcus. "Mr. Volturi, I think we should send Kanani out for some aloe vera. I'm worried if Mr. Cullen doesn't get something on his skin immediately; it's going to blister."
"Yes, good idea," he said before adding, "excuse me for a moment, while I go speak with her."
After Marcus left the room, Edward and I both sat.
"Thanks," he said.
I nodded as I studied him from the corner of my eye. Edward seemed like a nice guy, and I felt it was wrong for the company to ask him to do something that could be potentially harmful to his health. Unable to hold my tongue, I said, "You shouldn't have used one of those cancer coffins in the first place. Don't you realize how dangerous those machines are? Especially for people with your complexion."
He rubbed the back of his neck and winced when his hand made contact with his tender skin. "Well, I need to get a tan for the movie."
"For God's sakes," I said with a huff. "They make a million and one brands of self-tanners these days. Use one of those instead. I'll talk to Mr. Volturi about it."
"Thanks," he said sheepishly. "I don't know much about that kind of stuff."
Marcus re-entered the room. "Kanani should be back with something in about ten minutes." He looked at Edward. "As you know, we're here today to interview Ms. Swan for the position as your personal assistant —"
"Yes, I want to hire her," Edward interrupted.
Surprised by his words, I released a small gasp and blinked up at him. He appeared serious in his request.
Mr. Volturi argued, "But, Edward. We have several other people lined up for you to see, and you haven't even asked Ms. Swan any questions."
"I don't need to," he replied still holding my gaze. "She's the one I want."
A week after being hired as Edward's assistant, we flew to Cleveland to film his first movie.
Based on a popular young adult book, the motion picture starred Edward along with television sweetheart, Angela Weber.
The first evening we arrived in town, the cast and crew planned to meet at a celebrity chef's restaurant for a catered meal. Promptly thirty minutes before the dinner was to begin, I went to Edward's room to pick him up for the event.
When he opened the door, my mouth fell open in shock.
"What are you wearing?" I asked as I took in his grubby T-shirt and holey, worn out jeans.
His brow furrowed as he looked at his outfit. "What do you mean?"
Groaning, I walked to his closet, "This evening you're meeting with essentially every single person you'll be working with on the film, not to mention dining at Michael Symon's restaurant … and you're dressed like a homeless person." After opening the door to his closet, I found his luggage sitting on the floor. "You didn't unpack?" I gave him a crazed look. "I offered to help, but you said you had it handled."
He shrugged. "I usually just pull stuff out of my bags as I need it." Pointing to his chest, he said, "And this tee is from some camp in Ohio. I thought it was a nice touch."
"Are you insane?" Unzipping the bag that contained his suits, I pulled out a white tailored shirt. "Hurry. Unpack your black leather shoes and a pair of socks while I steam this."
After removing as many wrinkles as possible, I handed it to him along with his new navy suit. "Here, put these on."
When he dropped his pants right in front of me, I squealed before covering my eyes, "What are you doing? And why don't you have on any underwear?"
"Getting dressed," he answered casually. "And I always go commando; I hate sweaty balls."
"Well, you could warn a person," I mumbled. After he put on his trousers, I yelled, "Wait! Don't put on your shirt."
"Come in the bathroom first; we need to wash that sticky shit out of your hair."
"What's wrong with my hair?" He lifted his fingers to his slicked-back tresses.
"Nothing, if you're auditioning for the role of Danny Zuko in a Grease revival." I pointed to the sink. "Now bend over."
He bent his head over the sink then turned to look at me over his shoulder. With a smirk, he said, "You're kind of bossy, aren't you?"
I rolled my eyes. "That's my job." It took two shampoos to get all the product out of his hair. After a quick towel dry, I said, "Now, finish getting dressed."
"Yes, ma'am." He gave me a mock salute as a twinkle of amusement flashed through his eyes.
When he was finally clothed, I grabbed his cologne from the counter. "Sweet Baby Moses, please tell me you don't still use Axe."
"I don't still use Axe?" he repeated my words. His nose wrinkled in confusion.
"Edward …" I groaned in frustration.
"Bella …" he mimicked with a smile.
I stared at the ceiling. "Why me, Lord? Why me?"
He snorted as I gave him a few quick squirts of the foul fragrance. "There. Now you smell the same as a horny, angst-filled, teenage boy."
After running my fingers through his almost dry hair, I gave him one last inspection. "Much better." Grabbing my bag, I said, "Let's haul ass, Cullen. We're running late."
When we arrived at the restaurant, the director of the film, Tyler Crowley, greeted us at the door. "Edward! Welcome, it's so great to see you again." He looked in my direction. "And I don't think I've had the pleasure …"
"This is my personal assistant, Bella Swan."
Tyler shook my hand. "It's nice to meet you." Turning toward Edward, he said, "Right this way, the rest of the cast is seated over here. I know Angela is looking forward to getting reacquainted."
Edward eyed me hesitantly. I mouthed, "I'll be fine. Go ahead."
He nodded and left with Tyler.
I didn't see Edward until three hours later when he appeared at my table. His eyes were bloodshot. "Hey, I'm going to head out to a club with Angela and a few of the other cast members. Do you want to tag along?"
After standing, I took him gently by the arm and whispered, "Do you think that's a good idea? You have to be on set early in the morning, and you don't want to make a bad impression on your first day."
He scrubbed a palm over his jaw. "Yeah, you're probably right. It's getting late, and I do want to go over my lines one more time before going to bed. I'll just let Angela know—"
"Let me know what?" a soft voice said from behind me.
"Oh, hey, Angela," Edward replied. "I changed my mind and decided to go back to the hotel."
Angela gave me a once-over before returning her gaze to Edward. "You can invite your girlfriend; I don't mind."
Edward blushed. "Bella's not my girlfriend. She's my PA."
"Oh, that makes more sense," she muttered. "Then what's the problem?" Running her hand along his chest, she added, "Come on, don't be a party pooper; it will be fun."
"Well, I guess I could just go for a little while." He looked at me and shrugged, "A few more hours won't make that much of a difference."
I shook my head at him as I picked up my bag. "Have a good time. I'll see you first thing in the morning."
"Miss, I need you to stop; you're disturbing the other guests." The hotel worker admonished in a stern whisper.
"But, it's imperative I wake Mr. Cullen," I responded as I continued knocking loudly on his door. Alarm prickled through me as I prayed Edward was all right.
"I suggest you try calling him."
"Don't you think I've tried," I said with a sigh. "He won't answer." Meeting his glare, I asked, "Are you sure, you can't let me in his room?"
"No, I'm sorry, but that's out of the question."
Once the worker left, I sank to the floor and leaned against Edward's door. I checked my watch and groaned; he was now officially an hour late for work. With my options limited; I dialed his room and cell numbers over and over as I sat and waited.
Thirty-five minutes later, a groggy voice finally answered his hotel line, "Hello?"
Standing, I said, "Edward? Thank God! Are you okay?"
"Bella? What's wrong?"
"Just open your door."
A few moments later, I was face to face with Edward. He was shirtless, and his hair was mussed from sleep.
"What's the emergency?" he asked as he stretched his arms above his head, yawning.
My vision clouded and my hands shook as I took a menacing step closer to him. "It's seven fucking a.m.—that's the emergency!"
For a brief second, he remained confused then understanding dawned across his face. His eyes widened. "Shit!" He ran to his closet. "What do I do?"
"Get dressed; I'll take care of it."
As Edward took a quick shower, I called the director's assistant and informed her that Edward would be on the set within a half hour.
When we finally arrived at the location, Mr. Crowley was waiting; his mouth twisted in an ugly sneer. "Do you know how much money you have cost the studio by showing up …" He paused to look at his watch. "Two hours and twenty-three minutes late? Do you understand that I've had sixty-eight people standing around doing nothing all morning because of you!"
Edward opened his mouth to respond, but Mr. Crowley didn't give him a chance to answer.
"And to make matters worse—it's your first damn day on the job!" He threw his hands in the air. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't send your ass packing to whatever little Podunk town Volturi's people found you."
"It was my fault," I interjected. "Don't blame Edward; I had his call time wrong, and by the time I realized my mistake, it was too late."
Edward began to say something, but I stepped on his foot. When his gaze met mine, I gave my head a small shake.
The director turned his attention toward me. "Miss Swan, was it?"
"I assume this is your first position as a personal assistant?"
Again, I nodded.
"Well, I hope Edward fires you because you obviously do not have what it takes to make it in this business."
He then looked at Edward and said, "Even though this error was due to your assistant's incompetence, you're ultimately responsible for yourself—remember that. I'll give you this one pass, Edward, but don't ever let it happen again."
After Mr. Crowley stormed off, Edward turned toward me. "Why did you do that?"
"If you had lost your job, then neither one of us would have one," I said with a shrug.
He gave me a small smile. "Thanks, Bella. I won't ever forget this."
"Whatever," I mumbled. "Just dedicate your first Oscar to me or something."
He winked. "You've got it."
Edward's first film ended up exceeding box office expectations, making him an overnight sensation. Legions of teenage girls, and more surprisingly, their mothers, became obsessed with his model good looks and unassuming personality.
Edward handled stardom as he did most things—awkwardly.
His wardrobe still consisted mainly of thrift store T-shirts. Nine out of ten times, I ended up having him change his clothes before attending an event, and anytime, I brought up hiring a stylist, he always replied, "Why? I have you?"
Take earlier this afternoon, for instance, when he thought it would be acceptable to wear a tee that advertised some brand of Russian Vodka on his first national talk show appearance.
"Absolutely not," I said with my arms crossed as I took in his haggard state.
"But, I love this shirt; it's my favorite," he said with a pout.
"Oh, believe me—I know. You wear it practically every day." I walked over to him and pulled the material to my nose. "Yep, just as I suspected; it's funky. When's the last time you washed it?"
He opened his mouth in an offended manner before taking a whiff of it himself. He grimaced. "Okay, it's a bit ripe. I can just put on some cologne."
"Ha! Yes, let's spray it with some of your Axe—that will surely help the situation."
"Hey, I like my body spray."
"Dear Lord, Edward, don't you think I know this by now? How many times have I tried to convince you to wear something other than that puberty in a can?" I grabbed the hem of his shirt and lifted it from his body. "Sorry, but not this time, mister. Once you're more established, then you can wear whatever in the hell you want, but not today. Today, you're making a first impression, so let's make it a good one. Not one that says I'm a smelly boozer." After tossing the tee into his hamper, I smacked him lightly on the shoulder and said, "Now, take a shower."
"I think you just like undressing me," he flashed a lopsided grin.
"Yes, I live for it," I deadpanned. "Just like I live for dragging your ass out of bed six out of seven mornings a week even though you have three alarm clocks set."
"Maybe I just like a personal touch."
"Whatever," I mumbled. "Just remember … first Oscar."
"I won't forget," he said with a chuckle as he headed to the bathroom.
As we waited in the green room of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, I paced nervously while Edward made a second plate of food.
"Are you seriously eating again?" I asked as I watched him spoon sour cream from a container.
He nodded. "This shit's good. I think it's from that one food truck we ate at last summer."
My breath caught in my throat. "Edward, please tell me you're not eating Mexican food."
Avoiding eye contact, he mumbled, "I'm not eating Mexican food."
"Edward …" I said with a sigh.
"Bella …" he mimicked.
After marching over to where he stood, I grabbed his plate. "Seriously? Oh my God! You know what happens when you eat beans."
As if on cue, the entire room filled with the stench of one of Edward's legendary silent, but deadly, farts. My hand quickly covered both my mouth and nose as I gagged on the smell. No matter how many times I had suffered through the offending odor, it had never gotten any easier.
He gave me an apologetic smile, and I heard his stomach churn before the room filled yet again, only this time, to make matters worse, the door opened.
Shit! It was Jimmy Fallon. I had forgotten he always personally came to greet first-time guests.
"Hey guys," he said before adding, "Whoa! It smells like someone just answered the call of the wild burrito." He bent over and coughed.
"Sorry," I said, gesturing to the plate still in my hand. "I guess I ate too much."
Jimmy's watery eyes met mine. "Good God, girl. I've never smelled anything like that in my life." Turning toward Edward, he said, "Hey, man. Thanks for coming on the show. Are you ready to head out to the stage?"
Edward nodded giving me a remorseful look before exiting the room.
Jimmy turned around and said to me, "In all seriousness, you should see a doctor about that."
My face turned beet red. "Yeah, thanks. I will."
I watched the interview from backstage. Jimmy spoke with Edward about the film and teased him about his heartthrob status. He then asked him about his life prior to becoming an actor.
"Is it true you were discovered at a music festival in Michigan?"
Edward nodded. "Yeah, a lady approached me with her card." He ran his hand nervously through his hair. "I thought it was a joke or something."
"So, you were there with friends watching bands?"
"Oh, no. I was working selling hot dogs."
Jimmy and the audience laughed.
"You were a hot dog vendor?"
"Yeah, I worked for the Weiner Wagon for almost three years."
Laughter filled the room.
"God, that's great. I bet the girls would be lining up at your wagon for a taste now," Jimmy said.
The ladies in the audience hooted and hollered.
Edward, clueless as usual, responded, "Well, I wouldn't blame them. The meat is superb."
Jimmy banged his hand against his desk. "The meat is superb. Oh, man. You're killing me."
Edward just looked at him wide-eyed.
"Now, Edward, forgive me for bringing this up …" Jimmy started snickering and looked out toward the audience. "When I went to the green room to meet you before our interview, were you with your girlfriend?"
Shit, I thought. He wouldn't dare.
Edward chuckled and rubbed his chin. "No, that was my assistant."
"Oh, okay," Jimmy said before adding, "and did you just hear that collective sigh released around the world?"
"So, as I was saying before, I have to let you guys know, when I went into the green room earlier to meet Edward, someone had just released the most lethal heinie hiccup I have ever smelled in my entire life. I mean, I have kids and have changed my fair share of diapers, and even that didn't compare to the odor I experienced in that room."
The audience roared with laughter.
He turned toward Edward. "And it ended up being your assistant who had let one rip."
Edward sputtered and yanked on his hair. "Well, um."
"This girl is five foot two if that … it's mind-boggling." Jimmy continued. "Now is this something she often does?"
"N-no. As a matter of fact, she rarely farts or takes a shit," Edward answered nervously.
I smacked my palm against my face.
"Well, that could be an entirely different set of issues," Jimmy said with a chuckle. "And, unfortunately, that's all the time we have for tonight."
The months that followed the Fallon interview were agonizing for me. Strangers called me names such as Gassy Lassie, Windy, and Smelly Furtado.
Edward's mother, a sweet woman who I had grown to adore, became overly concerned I wasn't having a healthy number of bowel movements. She sent me pamphlets from her family physician and a case of prunes.
One evening, while we were meeting with Edward's agent, Alice, and her husband at a restaurant to discuss Edward's next film, the waiter asked if any of us had any dietary restrictions.
Alice immediately looked at me and snickered, "Oh, Bella does."
Fed up, I threw my napkin on the table and said, "Excuse me." After walking to the ladies' room, I stood at the sink to give myself a few moments to calm down.
"Bella?" Alice appeared at my side. "I apologize. Edward explained after you left." She gave me a sympathetic frown.
"No, I'm sorry for overreacting," I said turning to face her. "I just can't begin to tell you how many times I've been called Farty McFly the past few weeks."
We both broke out into a fit of giggles.
"If you don't mind me asking, why did you even tell Jimmy it was you?"
I rubbed my neck. "I don't know. There's just something about Edward—I feel very protective of him. Sometimes, he can be so clueless, and I want to help protect his image."
"Well, he's lucky to have you in his corner," she said. "And the important thing is, he realizes it."
Four movies later, Edward had become a bonafide celebrity. He was also becoming more confident in his craft and the selection of his script choices.
"I think I'm going to do this independent piece next," he announced one morning, as we discussed the day's events over coffee. He slid the script across the table. "I've heard good things about the director, but the pay won't be as much as my last film."
"Hey, money's not everything. What are you going to do with it anyhow?" I asked in a teasing tone. Edward was not known for frivolous spending. He still drove the same old truck he owned when he had lived in Michigan. Any of the clothes Edward wore to events were given to him from designers. The only major purchase he had made since becoming famous was his three-bedroom bungalow in Los Angeles.
"That's true," he smiled. "So, after my conference call with Alice, I'm free?" he asked after taking a long gulp from his sizeable white mug.
"Completely free until tomorrow evening," I said as I continued to look over the script. "Any special plans?"
"I might hit up Emmett."
A shudder rippled through my body as I paused from my reading. Edward had co-starred in a movie with Emmett McCarty a year ago, and the two had become close friends.
Edward, unfortunately, didn't always make the wisest decisions when he hung out with Emmett. The first time they had gone out, I ended up doing damage control in some seedy tattoo parlor in West LA after Emmett convinced Edward to get a portrait of Colonel Sanders tattooed on his ass. Edward had thought it was a great idea until he saw the finished product and passed out on the parlor floor bare-naked.
It had cost a pretty penny to stop those pictures from being posted on TMZ.
Then, three weeks ago, Emmett somehow forgot Edward at a nightclub in Tijuana. Edward didn't even have his wallet with him. Talk about a nightmare. Thankfully, my father, who's in law-enforcement called in a few favors. We were able to get Edward back through customs without causing a huge spectacle.
"Edward …" My voice carried a note of warning.
"Bella …" he mimicked with a grin.
"Please, I beg you, don't do anything stupid."
"Cross my heart. We're just going out for a beer and to watch the game."
"Famous last words," I muttered to myself.
The next day, I arrived at Edward's house at three p.m. He was attending a charity event later that evening, and I wanted to make sure he had everything he needed.
After knocking, I let myself in and yelled, "Hey, I'm here."
When Edward didn't answer, I assumed he was taking a shower, so I went into the living room and relaxed on the sofa. After checking my email and playing a game, I called out again. "Edward, are you finished?"
His truck was in the driveway, so he had to be home. I walked toward his bedroom and saw the door was shut. Thinking he might be taking a nap, I quietly knocked before peeking inside.
Yep. The top of his head was sticking out from beneath his comforter.
Rolling my eyes, I strolled over to his bed and poked at his lumpy form. "Edward, wake up. It's time to get ready."
He mumbled something and pulled the covers further over his head.
This time, I shook him a bit more firmly. "Get up, lazy ass. You're going to be late."
When he didn't move, I yanked the blanket off his body. His startled eyes met mine, and I released a blood-curdling scream.
"What did you do to your hair?"
"Bella, I can explain," he said as he got up and stood before me. "Emmett and I decided to try new looks."
"And out of all the looks in the world, you decided an Amish schoolboy was the best choice?" The entire bottom half of his head was shaved clean, and the top half looked as if it had been cut into the shape of a bowl.
"It's supposed to be edgy," he replied. "See the back?" He turned around to reveal a lone patch of red hair cut into a long rectangular shape.
I let out a yelp. "What is that? Did they miss a spot? Was the hairdresser visually impaired?"
"Bella," He said with a laugh. "It's not that bad."
"Did Emmett get the same cut?" I asked incredulously.
"No, he changed his mind," he said sheepishly.
"Figures," I mumbled as I paced the room. Every so often, I would look at Edward and wince. "Your pretty hair … gone."
His face lit up in a grin. "You thought my hair was pretty?"
"Oh, stuff it," I said. "I'm trying to figure out what to do." Marching to his closet, I began shuffling through his clothes. After spotting his navy blue beanie, an idea surfaced.
"Well, I'm going to go shower while you strategize," he said.
"Don't shave," I said as he left the room.
When he was finished, I was waiting for him in the bathroom. I had his electric razor in my hand.
"I thought you didn't want me to shave?"
"That wooly worm on the back of your head is going."
"Can I get out of the shower first?" he said with a smirk. "Or would you rather join me in here to make cleanup easier?"
"Will you just hurry?"
"One of these days, you'll admit you want the goods." He stepped out with a towel wrapped around his waist.
"For fuck's sake, just shut up and turn around."
"God, Bella, I love it when you're bossy," he said with a fake moan.
"Stop, Edward, or I'll shave it all off."
He laughed. "But you won't do that, will you? We know how much you love my pretty hair."
Tears pricked uncomfortably behind my eyes. "You are so damn frustrating."
Once I finished, I said, "Your clothes are on your bed. I'm leaving."
Suddenly, I felt his hand encircle my wrist. "Hey, I'm sorry. I was teasing. I do appreciate everything you do for me." He placed his other hand beneath my chin and gently lifted my head, so my eyes met his. "I knew my hair made me look like the village idiot, but I also knew you would have a solution like you always do. Bella, I'd be lost without you."
My mouth quirked. "That is true."
"What, that I'd be lost without you?"
"No, that you look like the village idiot."
We both laughed. He pulled me into his arms. Shivers ran down my spine as he rubbed soothing circles across my back. My cheek rested on his still-naked chest, and it was at that moment I realized, Axe cologne didn't smell as horrible as I thought it did.
"Edward! You can't still be asleep," I said as I barged into his bedroom. "It's already one o'clock. Your mom should be here any minute."
"I don't want to get up," he mumbled from beneath his blankets.
"We don't have time for this," I said as I grabbed the extra pillow next to his head. After jumping onto his bed, I began smacking him with it.
"Ouch! What are you doing?" He took the pillow away from me and yanked me down onto the mattress.
"Quit being silly. You have to start getting ready."
Instead of responding he pulled me closer to him. "You smell good. You always smell so good."
"That's because I use a fragrance that was made for adults, and I don't wear the same clothes every day."
"No, I don't think that's it," he said. "I think it's because you're Bella."
I pushed away from him. "Edward? Why are you being so weird? Did you get high last night? Was Emmett here? I swear to God I will kick your Colonel Sanders embellished ass."
He laughed. "Relax; I'm just happy."
I eyed him suspiciously.
"What? Can't a guy be happy?"
"I guess so," I said. "But you do need to get up. Your mom will be here any minute."
"She's not coming."
Panic flashed through me. "What?"
"She's going to watch the ceremony from the hotel with Dad then they'll both join me at the afterparty."
"Why?" My voice rose hysterically. "She has to come; this is the Oscars, and I know you're going to win."
He sat up, leaning on his elbow. "Nah, I think Cooper's going to get it."
My mouth gaped open. "Are you a fucking dimwit? He's yesterday's news."
"But seriously, your mom—"
Placing his fingers against my lips, he said, "She's not coming because I want to take you."
"But I don't understand … I'm already going."
He reached and tucked a loose lock of my hair behind my ear. "No, I want you by my side and not sitting somewhere in the balcony."
"Edward …" I said in a half whisper, half groan.
"Bella …" he mimicked with a grin.
Over the years, Edward and I had walked many red carpets together, but tonight felt different.
Typically, I trailed a few steps behind him. Tonight, however, I stood at his side the entire trip. Even when I tried to move while he was being interviewed, he wrapped his arm securely around my waist to ensure I wouldn't leave.
When asked who I was, Edward didn't reply with his standard response. Instead of "This is my personal assistant," he simply answered, "This is my Bella."
And from the moment the show began until the moment his name was announced as the winner for best performance by an actor in a leading role, he hadn't let go of my hand one single time.
Once he made his way onto the stage, he accepted his award. Gesturing to the notecards that held the speech we had carefully crafted written on them, he placed them in his pocket then said, "My assistant is going to kill me for not using these."
The crowd laughed, but my expression morphed into one of bewilderment.
"I hope you'll indulge me, but I've decided to speak from the heart tonight." He turned in my direction and met my gaze. "I don't know how many of you know my story. Alice Brandon spotted me while I was working as a hot dog vendor at a music festival one summer. I didn't have any experience whatsoever. At that point in my life, I hadn't even been outside of my home state of Michigan if you can believe that … so I was thrown into this whirlwind of a business without any clue of what to expect. Someone up above must have been looking out for me though, because, on my third day in Hollywood, I met Bella Swan, and she agreed to become my personal assistant. But here's the thing …" He paused and looked out into the audience. "Bella is more than my assistant; she is my personal savior. Over the years, she has spent her days either protecting me from committing career-damaging catastrophes or swooping in and cleaning up after my colossal messes. In fact, if it weren't for her, I would have been fired my very first day on the set."
A loud voice shouted from the audience. "It's true." The crowd turned to see Tyler Crowley who just shrugged and laughed.
"Hey, Tyler." Edward chuckled. "Anyway, I suppose what I am trying to say is, I am one huge, fucking mess." His face turned red as he realized his language slip. "Shit, sorry." He ran a hand nervously through his hair. "Fuck, I did it again."
The audience laughed.
Facing me once more, our eyes met. "So tonight, all I can say is ... this belongs to you, Bella. Because if it hadn't been for you, I sure as hell wouldn't be here."
He gave me his signature lopsided grin and left the stage.
And that's when I finally fell apart, and the tears flowed softly down my cheeks.
Edward and I didn't get a chance to be alone for the rest of the night. Between interviews, well-wishers, and the after-parties, we barely spoke five words.
I did, however, have a surprising conversation with his mother while Edward was off talking with Bradley Cooper who, by the way, was utterly cool about his loss to Edward.
"That was quite some speech tonight," Esme said as she took a sip of her lemon martini. "Of course, parts of it were cut out. I assumed Edward had a potty mouth." She shook her head in disappointment.
I giggled. "He used a few words he shouldn't have."
"But the rest was good?" she gave me a hopeful look.
"To be honest, it was a bit overwhelming, and I feel horrible. He didn't mention you or Carlisle."
She waved her hand in the air. "Oh, we don't care about that. We knew all along what he had planned."
My head tilted, "You did?"
Esme nodded, "We talk about you quite often, dear."
I snorted. "I bet. Does he tell you how bossy I am?"
She shook her head. "No, all I hear is how wonderful you are." She took another drink and then grabbed my hand. "I was so worried when Edward first moved out here—he was so young and naïve. Then, after a year or so, I became concerned because I never heard him mention any girls. I thought it was strange that he never went out on dates."
I chewed on my bottom lip before whispering, "I don't think he's gay, Esme; he's always busy."
A peal of laughter escaped her. "Oh my, you are both clueless. I know he's not gay, dear. He doesn't date because he's in love with you."
My eyes widened, and my breath hitched. "N-no, no. You're wrong."
"No, I've never been more right about anything in my entire life, and I would bet my last dollar, you feel the same way."
With my mouth gaped open, I stared at her wordlessly.
"Now, when was the last time you had a bowel movement? Have you been eating your prunes every day?"
The next afternoon, I knocked on Edward's door before letting myself in with my set of keys. He sat at the kitchen table with his mug in hand.
"Hey," I said, sitting across from him. "Did you just get up?"
He shook his head. "No, I had trouble sleeping."
"All the excitement?"
"I was worried about you." He frowned. "Why did you leave without saying goodbye?"
I fidgeted with a loose string on the cuff of my shirt. "Well, you were busy talking to someone, and I didn't want to interrupt."
Edward's mouth was set in a firm line. "That's bullshit, and you know it. Were you upset about what I said last night?"
My surprised eyes met his concerned ones. "No, not at all. Did you mean it?"
He nodded. "Of course, I meant it. You are so much more than my assistant. From the moment we met, you've been looking out for me—saving me from myself. It's like you're my own personal brand of heroine."
I rolled my eyes. "Oh my God, you are such a dork."
"I can't help myself." He laughed. "Now, are we okay?"
"Yes, but I hope we still are after you read this." Reaching into my bag, I pulled out an envelope and handed it to him.
"What is it?" His nose wrinkled in confusion.
"Why?" His voice cracked with emotion.
"It wouldn't be ethical for me to work for you any longer."
"But I don't understand?"
"I shouldn't be employed by you because I want your goods."
"Edward, I'm admitting it." My cheeks flushed. "I. Want. Your. Goods."
His face split into a wide grin. "Finally." He yanked on his hair. "God, I've wanted your goods from the moment I walked into Marcus Volturi's office four years ago."
I raised my eyebrows and smiled slowly. "Seriously?"
"Seriously. I've tried to show you how I felt over the years, but I guess I'm sort of clueless in the art of wooing women."
I stood up and walked to where he sat. "Well, I must be pretty clueless at picking up signals. Anyway, I don't want you wooing any other women."
He wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me between his legs. "I can't accept your resignation though; I would be lost without you bossing me around every day. We both know I can't fucking do my job without you."
"So, what are you suggesting?"
"I'm suggesting we renegotiate," he said with a smirk.
"You take on a new title … as my wife."
I lightly smacked him in the chest. "Are you fucking insane? We haven't even been on a date!"
"Oh, come on. You know me better than I know myself."
It was true; I did. "Well, we haven't kissed before. How do I know you're not bad at it? What if you use a lot of teeth like a vampire? You know I bruise easily."
He chuckled before saying, "I guarantee I use just the right amount of teeth, tongue, and lips." Standing, he added, "Let me give you a demonstration."
His fingers threaded into my hair as his mouth brushed against mine. He pressed soft pecks against my lips, taking his time before increasing the pressure and urgency. My hands grasped his shirt, as I softly moaned, opening my mouth to him. His hands slid to my face and cupped my cheeks as our tongues met, tasting and exploring. My pulse raced as my body hummed with what felt like electricity. When his lips moved to my throat and collarbone, I smiled when I felt him lightly nip at my skin with his teeth.
When he suddenly stopped his assault on my neck, I frowned and said, "What's wrong?"
"Well, will I do?"
Still affected by his kiss, my brain was not functioning at its normal capacity. "Huh?"
One corner of his mouth lifted into a sexy smile. "Am I a good enough kisser?"
"Oh." I gazed at my nails and attempted to remain indifferent. "I suppose you'll suffice."
"Suffice? Suffice?" Leaning over, he scooped me up into his arms before throwing me over his shoulder.
"What are you doing? Are you crazy?"
"Well, if I only suffice then I obviously need a lot of practice. I'm taking you to my bedroom for the rest of the day to do just that."
"Edward …" I said with a giggle.
"Bella …" he repeated with a chuckle.
Thank you to my incredible fandom friends who helped me get this fic finished in time to post for K's birthday.
Kay and Cheryl - your feedback was amazing. This fic would not have been the same without it. I love you both so hard. I hope you both know it.
Gail and Diane - thank you for always being willing to give my stories a final read through. I love and adore you guys.
And finally, Fran - thank you for taking time out of your incredibly busy weekend to make my words presentable. :) You are the best. Love you!
Oh! And a shout out to Kanani! Thanks for being included in the fic. I bet K got a kick out of it. LOL! Love you girl!