Bella Swan sat in the back of the black limousine, her head leaned against the headrest behind her. She had a pair of black sunglasses over her eyes, though she wasn't sure why. It wasn't like the sunlight was blinding her, thanks to the well-tinted windows. Well, that wasn't true. The sunglasses kept her manager from seeing her eyes closed, which would lead to a lecture about her listening to her continuous ramblings, and Bella was trying very hard to ignore every word the woman said. It wasn't anything she hadn't heard a hundred times over the last week.
They were on the way to her home after a disastrous meeting with her record company, who had been putting pressure on her to put out a new album. Only problem was she wrote all her own music, and they were peddling her someone else's music, and it just wasn't the way she did things. She refused to betray her own artist flare just to make money. Her music was all she had, and she refused to let anyone take that from her. Not again.
The limousine jerked to a stop, and she sat up, shifting her eyes from the driver to the tall blond sitting next to her. "We're already there?"
"No," Rosalie Hale quipped with a wave of her hand. "I had him stop, since you can't be bothered to pay attention."
"Stop being so fucking dramatic, Isabella."
Inwardly, she cringed at the use of her full name, though that's the name used by her publicist, hence it being used anytime she was in public. "I'm not being dramatic. I'm tired, Ro. All I want is to go home and sleep. Why won't you let me sleep?"
Rosalie smiled. "Don't call me Ro, like I'm suddenly going to stop harping on you just because we've been besties for like a decade, or two."
Bella laughed. "Can't blame a girl for trying, can you?"
Rosalie rolled her eyes and motioned for the driver to keep driving, and a moment later, the limousine started moving again. "Happy now?"
"I won't be happy until I can sleep for like a week solid," Bella groused, pushing her sunglasses on top of her head. "I need a break, Ro. I'm so tired all the time."
"I know, sweetie." Rosalie pulled her phone out of her pocket. "You have the show tonight, and then a planned sighting tomorrow, and then you're free for a few days."
"I want a real break, not just a few days," she whined, looking out the window before sitting up. "Where are we going? This is not the way to my house!"
When Rosalie didn't reply, she turned in her seat and glared at her. "I said no, Ro!"
"And I said yes," she quipped, reaching over and pressing a button, raising the divider so the driver wouldn't be able to hear the rest of their conversation. "Bee, I'm not going to lie to you. I'm scared. This . . . whoever is sending the letters has gotten too close. You need protection."
"No, I need a break," she jibed. "Not like this is the first time we've gotten letters from some creep, who jerks off to my image. What makes this one different than the other ten?"
Rosalie didn't reply.
"That's what I thought. When the media finds out that I'm hiring a bodyguard, my career will be as good as over, and you know it."
"That's absurd. Plenty of celebrities employ bodyguards, Bee," Rosalie said, waving her hand. She sighed before adding, "He agrees."
Bella snorted. "I'm sure he does."
"He's worried. He said either you hire someone, or he's coming down. So what's it going to be, sweetie?"
"You aren't playing fair," Bella groused. "Fine, we can look into it, but if I don't like this guy, Ro, we shelf it. Deal?"
"Deal," Rosalie scoffed. "I swear to God, you're so fucking stubborn."
"Yeah, well, being stubborn got me through a lot," she murmured, pulling her sunglasses back over her eyes. "A whole lot."
Half an hour later, the limousine driver pulled up in front of a large brick building in downtown Los Angeles. Bella threw Rosalie a look before the two women climbed out and headed inside. She wasn't sure what she had been expecting, but the large room with two black leather sofas, a black mahogany desk, and more than two dozen plants was not it.
Bella pushed her sunglasses on top of her head once more as Rosalie strode up to the desk, trying to draw the attention of the dark haired woman sitting behind the computer. Tried, but failed, seeing as she kept her attention on the computer screen. Rosalie cleared her throat before lifting her hand and snapping her fingers.
"Yeah, I saw you, and yeah, I know why you're here." The woman shifted her eyes from Rosalie to Bella and back. "Sit, get comfortable. He'll be a minute."
"I'm sorry, but —"
"Sit," the woman said, standing up and placing her hands on top of her desk. "Get comfortable. He will be a minute."
And then without giving either of them a chance to say anything, the woman pushed away from said desk and walked through a set of wooden doors, leaving them standing there.
Bella laughed, earning her a glare from Rosalie as she plopped down on one of the sofas, crossing her legs at her knees. "You heard her, Ro. Sit, get comfortable, he'll be a minute."
"Whatever," Rosalie mumbled, but walked over and sat next to Bella. She pulled her phone out of her pocket, but before she could check emails, the woman walked back into the room and over to them. "You know, we do have an appointment."
"Yes, I know, seeing as I'm the one who made your appointment," the woman replied, rolling her dark black eyes. "If you'll follow me."
Rosalie glared at her again before she stood up, grabbing Bella's arm and yanking her to her feet with more attitude than was necessary, but she kept that thought to herself. Rosalie didn't tolerate rude bitches, and so far, this woman had been nothing less than a rude bitch. Bella pried her arm out of her grip, earning her an apologetic smile. Rosalie knew Bella didn't like being manhandled, so to speak.
The two followed the woman through the set of wooden doors, down a narrow hallway, and into a large office. Unlike the waiting room, the office was rather bare. Only a wooden desk and chair with a phone and yellow notebook, two leather chairs, and one singular window. Bella wrapped her arms around herself as she walked over, looking out the window where she saw a small garden filled with the most beautiful, colorful flowers.
Startled, Bella threw her hand up to her chest and turned, finding a tall, dark-auburn haired man with the brightest green eyes she had ever seen standing in the doorway of the office. He smiled before looking from her to Rosalie, who had plopped down in one of the chairs and had her phone out, ignoring the man in the door entirely. Something, he didn't appear to like seeing as he stepped into the room and slammed the door shut, earning him a glare from her.
"Sorry," he said, though Bella knew he wasn't really sorry. "You must be Ms. Hale."
"I am," Rosalie said, standing up and offering him her hand. "Call me Rosalie, though. You're Edward Cullen?"
"Yep," he said, ignoring her hand and walking around the desk. "I don't have all day."
Rosalie pressed her lips together, glancing at Bella, before she said, "Fine. Let's get straight to it, shall we? My client needs a bodyguard."
"Does she?" he asked, pulling his chair back and sitting down. He turned and looked at Bella. "And why exactly does American's Sweetheart need a bodyguard?"
Bella turned to keep from rolling her eyes at the silly moniker the media had labeled her with before she walked over and sat down next to Rosalie, who reached for her hand, but pulled back when she shook her head. She was already overwhelmed without adding being touched, something Rosalie seemed to understand.
"I've been receiving threatening letters."
"Very threatening letters," Bella said.
"Okay," he replied again.
"Maybe you don't understand what she means when she says threatening letters," Rosalie added, digging into her briefcase and pulling out a red folder, placing it on his desk.
"You'd be surprised by what I understand, Ms. Hale," Edward said, his eyes shifting from her to the folder in front of him and back to Bella. "Are you afraid of this person, Ms. Swan?"
"They're not my favorite person at the moment," she replied.
Edward raised an eyebrow and leaned forward, opening the folder and picking up the first letter she had received. He read through it, turned it over and placed it faced down on the desk. Then he picked up the next one, did the same, and then the next one until he'd read through each and every one of them. Once he had, he closed the folder and slid it back across the desk to Rosalie.
"Why should I take your case, Ms. Swan?"
"She needs —"
Edward put his hand up, stopping Rosalie, before gesturing toward Bella. "I was asking her."
Rosalie turned toward her. "Tell him."
Sighing, Bella brought her hand up to her chest, toying with the silver locket that hung around her neck. "He broke into my home."
Edward's eyes opened just a smidge. "When?"
"Last week. Luckily, I wasn't there. I had a show in New York, but I got an alert that my camera system had caught movement inside. When I checked it on my phone, I . . . I saw him in my bedroom, on my bed. He was . . ." Bella closed her eyes, taking a deep breath. "He was masturbating."
"Did he climax?"
"I don't know," she cringed. "I alerted police, but by the time they got there, he was gone. They said he must have been wearing gloves because they couldn't lift any prints, didn't find any fluids or hair that don't belong to me or Rosalie. We're the only two who are ever inside my home."
"Is that so?" he asked. "You don't have a maid? A butler? Horde of press just clamoring to get a glance at you?"
"Nope," she said, resisting the urge to roll her eyes. "My home is . . . I'm private, okay? I don't like people I don't know inside my home. It's . . ." Bella bit her lip, shaking her head. "I don't know how he got inside, but he did. We've changed the locks, added a new security system, replaced the bed," she added. "But Rosalie is concerned that I need more protection."
"She is, huh?" Edward murmured.
"I am," Rosalie said, shifting her eyes from him to her and back. "Mr. Cullen, Isabella needs you, even if she doesn't think she does. This guy has . . . he's gotten too close." She sighed, scooting to the edge of her chair. "I'm asking for your help to keep my friend safe."
Edward looked from her right at Bella, staring at her for several minutes. She was annoyed, but knew it was important to Rosalie. She'd been there with her from day one, held her hand, and pushed her when she was terrified, when just the thought of stepping outside was too much. If Rosalie wanted her to hire a bodyguard, she would. Besides, if she didn't, he would be at her door, and that wasn't something she was ready for, either.
"Let's go, Isabella," Rosalie said, standing up. "Clearly this has been a waste of time."
Rosalie reached for the red folder, but before she could pick it up, Edward slammed his hand on it, standing up, and pushing his chair back with his foot — all the while keeping his eyes on Bella.
"If I agree to take you on as a client, Ms. Swan, I need your word that you will do everything I tell you. My word is law."
Bella pressed her lips together before she stood up. "Fine, but you need to understand that my career is important to me, and so is my privacy."
Edward grinned. "Duly noted." He pulled the folder toward him. "Of course, I'll be moving in."
"You what?" she gasped, looking from him to Rosalie, whose eyes were wide.
"I said: I'm moving in," he repeated. "You want my protection? That means I'm there twenty-four hours, seven days a week, sweetheart. So either, I move in with you, or you move in with me. That's my law."
"Deal," Rosalie said, and when Bella glared at her, she said, "Sorry, Isabella, but I'm not going to let your stubbornness put you in more danger. You may not be scared, but I'm scared enough for both of us."
"Fine," she gritted, crossing her arms in front of her and looking at Edward. "I guess you're moving in."
"Excellent," he said, picking up the folder and walking over to the door. "I'll be there at seven a.m. Have coffee ready. We have a lot of work to do."
And before she could reply, he was out of the office. What the Hell had Bella just agreed to?
Yes, I know, another new story! Things are going to get a little crazy. Do me a favor and leave me a few words, add to your alert, favorites, and thank you for reading!