At the Office – EDITED JUNE 2010
Summary: So I kind of told my extremely sexy co-worker I hated his guts. And then I kind of made out with him at an office party when I got drunk. And I've kind of been trying to hide from him at work under my boss's desk. Um. AH, BxE.
Note: Hey TwiWhores, McCullen's back. It's been two years almost, and I'm somewhat ashamed. I'm sorry I abandoned you. I haven't even answered PMs and I'm so so so sorry, babes. But I'm still alive, and it was the reviews for this little story that put me back in the place I needed to be. The good news is is that this shit has finally been edited and the rating has been changed – after all, there aren't any lemons! Eh… maybe one day, in two years, I'll decided to edit AGAIN and then maybe a lemon will be added… Who knows? There is no sequel, no longer, drawn out version of this, because I feel like I've wrote all I have to say about this situation… and we've gotten to the time where no one can say the word 'situation' where I don't automatically think of the Jersey Shore… Sad. Anyway, while there may not be a sequel, there IS an Edward POV, and I'll be talking about that in Chapter 3, along with an excerpt. - Long-ass AN made worth while for the tidbit. Also, there'll be a question at the end of Chapter 2, so go ahead and answer it when you leave a review on Chapter 3. (: BTW, don't take the whore in TwiWhores personally, I'm only joking… ;)
Disclaimer: Don't own characters. Obviously.
Once upon a time, there was a girl named Bella Swan. She was queen at a glamorous palace across from an amazing sweet elixir shop and her perfect Prince Charming was in the picture of her perfect life.
Ahem. Yeah right.
My name is Bella Swan and my life is far from perfect. I work at an editing office in a cubicle so small that you probably couldn't even fit a Barbie Dream Palace in it, and the 'sweet elixir shop' is Starbucks... though I'm not exactly complaining about that.
The worst part of my whole fairytale lie is that Prince Charming, who remains both nameless and faceless, unfortunately, hasn't come into the picture yet – if he ever does, of course. My last relationship was in my last year of college two years ago, when I was the ripe age of twenty three, with a Mr. Jacob Black, a guy two years younger than me and someone I had known since forever.
It ended on an awkward note – Jacob suddenly and randomly fell in love with a sweet girl named Carlie, and dumped me the day he set his eyes on her. It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would, considering I had always thought of Jacob more as a friend than a boyfriend.
He also made me sneeze a lot, for some odd reason.
My last date was two months ago on a blind date set up by my co-worker Jessica Stanley with a total dork named Eric Yorkie. I was traumatized when the greasy and acne-scarred man ambled up to my table and introduced himself as my blind date. If his unappealing looks were already a bad mark, he was an accountant who talked endlessly about numbers and his one supposedly "famous" customer, an actress I had never heard.
When we exchanged numbers, I gave him the number off a billboard advertisement that I saw behind him. We were about to go our separate ways when he tried to give me a goodnight kiss. I had to pretend to trip to save myself from touching his foul lips.
I hadn't talked to Jessica Stanley since – personally, both my best friend Rosalie Hale (who wrote for a car magazine in my office building) and I thought Jessica set me up with such a horrible guy on vengeful purpose.
Jessica is practically in love with the mailman. His name is Mike Newton, and I shudder every time I think about him. Unfortunately, Mike is practically in love with me. Even though Mike's advances on me aren't reciprocated, he still pays all his attention to me whenever he drops a package off at the office and doesn't even notice Jessica unless she hands him a water bottle, in which he'll say a quick "Thanks, Janet." And Jessica always flirtatiously replies that her name, in fact, is not Janet, but Jessica. Mike hardly takes notice of her, and I'm left exasperated by the puppy-like man in front of me, politely trying to excuse myself from his creepiness until Rosalie comes by and kicks Mike out.
Yeah, work's always fun.
Alright, so I'm normally not as sarcastic – okay, that's sort of a lie – but if I didn't love editing so much, I would've quit a while ago, and it's not all because of Mike or because I currently have a lazy partner, Leah Clearwater, or because my boss, Mr. Banner, loves to load piles of work on me. No, it's because a certain infuriating man named Edward Cullen works at my office.
Edward Cullen has probably gone out with all the young females of the office – or, at least, made out with all of them in a storage closet or an empty copy room, if not actually took them to a night club on a "date" – and he's not even ashamed of it whatsoever. Of course, he had never been out with me or Rosalie, since she's dating his brother, Emmett.
It really bothers me how the girls all fall for Edward's act and believe he's actually wants to have a relationship – they're probably all blinded by their libido. I mean, he's okay looking and somewhat charming with an alright sounding voice that isn't even sexy.
Okay. That's all a lie. Again.
Edward Cullen is probably the most gorgeous guy in the universe. He wears these work shirts that stretch over broad, muscular shoulders and make even me fan myself (in private of course.) Despite having eternally messy, bronzed hair, it works for him, and it matches his dark green eyes. His face makes all male models look like they're horrifyingly disfigured. Edward is so charming he has any living thing lusting after him. His voice is like velvet, and his laugh is enchanting. He sounds seductive no matter what he's saying. He's a Greek god living with the lesser mortals like me.
I'm not saying I'm ugly – I'm just plain. Brown eyes, long brown hair, five feet and four inches, thin. See, plain. Of course, Rosalie always tells me I'm beautiful and whatever, but I know how plain I am. I mean, I wear practically the same thing to work everyday – a pencil skirt that ends right above my knees, a collared blouse with a work jacket over it, and lots of heels that Rosalie made me buy since they looked "professional."
Yeah right, she just wanted to get me into heels.
Anyway, Edward is perfect – except for the giant ego and cocky attitude that I can't stand, no matter how pretty – no, gorgeous – he is. Rosalie usually just laughs at me when I complain about her boyfriend's brother and gives me a secretive smile, like she knows something I don't. She always refuses to tell me and changes the subject easily when I ask, which has gotten quite annoying as she does it more and more often lately.
I tried not to complain as much about Edward to Rosalie as I used to as to not get those damn 'I know something you don't know!' smiles, but she then thought I had started to like him. She even had the nerve to ask me if I – and I quote – "wanted to get into his designer pants." I was horrified and denied so much that (I hope) Rosalie probably thought it would be impossible for me to ever even like Edward Cullen friend-wise.
Because Edward Cullen is a terrible maggot that is annoying as hell and has womanized too many girls at the office (and probably out of the office, too.) It was entirely impossible for me to have a positive thought about Edward Cullen.
No matter how sexy he was.
Or how his silky voice practically begged me to touch him.
Or how much I wanted to tangle my hands in his bronze colored hair or run my hands over his sculpted chest and abdominal muscles. Or how good he would look without anything –
Ahem. Anyway, I'm moving on from that subject.
It was a Friday when my whole world got turned upside down. My friend (from the office, where else?) Angela Weber was having an engagement party with her fiancé Ben Cheney at a local club a couple blocks away from the office, Club Inattendu.
My day had started out badly – Angela called me at 5:30 in the morning (an hour earlier than I normally woke up) to tell me about the party. Apparently, she had a terrible case of insomnia so she thought she would call people to tell them about the party. I advised her to wait until people were actually at the office, and Angela agreed readily.
Unfortunately for me, after I wake up, I can't get back to sleep. So I took an extra long shower and cleaned up my apartment a little even though it was already pretty clean. I even dusted – I felt pathetic.
I finally left my apartment at seven o'clock, heading straight to Starbucks to get my liquid ambrosia – AKA a latte, but they both mean the same thing. Practically.
Minus the early wake up call, it appeared to be looking like it would be a decent day – the line at Starbucks hadn't been too long, and the freak behind the counter hadn't flirted with me too much. I was convinced my day would be pretty okay. That was, until I ran into Mike Newton, mail delivery dog – I mean, man.
Oops. Well, he does remind me of a golden retriever. But instead of wagging his tail when he's happy, he wags his –
Um. Wow, I do not want to talk about Mike Newton's…you know…
Though I didn't mind thinking of Edward's… I bet it would be–
Uh, ahem. Moving on.
So I saw Mike the delivery boy as I was clutching my Starbucks latte to my chest, walking into the office building. He practically ran over to me, yelling, "Hey Bella!" I had waved half heartedly, kind of like a 'back off boy-dog, I haven't had my coffee yet' kind of thing.
He didn't seem to comprehend, because he kept coming toward me. He was so eager that he didn't notice an UPS box guy unloading to the side of me and as Mike came over to try to flirt, the UPS guy knocked him into my front, causing me to spill half of my coffee all over my work jacket. Great.
"Oh, B-Bella, I'm s-so, s-so s-s-sorry," Mike stuttered out, but he was staring at my chest as I took off my work jacket to reveal a fitting and crisp white collared shirt that was slightly damp (though my jacket got all the damage) from the coffee.
"Uh huh," I said, trying to sound forgiving and not irritated like I really was. After a moment of silence, with Mike still staring at my chest, I said in an annoyed tone, "Don't you have some mail to deliver?"
He nodded quickly, and tried to say something but it came out strangled before he dashed away with one last look at my still damp chest.
Pervert. That was hardly professional.
Of course, he was Mike Newton.
I looked mournfully had my coffee. It was only a little less than half full, and I had gotten a medium instead of my normal large to cut down calories.
Damn you, calories. I need a certain amount of damn caffeine, and damn Mike Newton ruined it all for me.
After huffing at the innocent UPS guy who was looking at me curiously, I stalked off to an already crowded elevator, squeezing in between Harold Johnson, an overweight sports editor, and Lauren Mallory, a sluttish, idiotic secretary that worked in the lobby on my editing floor.
Lauren Mallory seemed to – okay, it was most definitely obvious that she does – hate me.
But don't worry; my feelings are on the same level of hatred.
And I'd like to let the world know, Lauren started it, not me. And I'm not being petty. She automatically hated me as soon as I walked into the office for a job application, because I had snorted when she had way over pleasantly said 'hello' and lent over her desk obviously showing her cleavage to Edward when he walked in to work that morning. Edward had said hello back uninterestedly and raised an eyebrow at me, smirking. I had frowned and turned back to my job application.
The second time I came in to meet Mr. Banner for a scheduled interview, Lauren was effectively (well maybe, I wouldn't know what goes on in Edward's mind) flirting with Edward when I had to interrupt to tell Lauren let Mr. Banner know I was here. She had glared at me so hatefully, like it wasn't her job as secretary to alert the boss of his one o'clock interview.
Please, give me a break.
Anyway, Edward had turned to me with his eyebrows raised – both of them this time, an upgrade from our previous encounter. Not. – and said, smirking irritatingly like he always done in my presence (because he knows how much it annoys me, not that he knew that then, but he probably had an inkling since I had already become bothered by it), and said, "Don't worry about it, Miss Mallory, I'm heading that way, I'll tell him."
Lauren had tried to protest profusely, telling him I could wait – which made my jaw drop in indignation – and when Edward refused politely, she said if he could just wait she'd quickly run back and they – and I quote – "could get back to our" – referring to Lauren and Edward – "nice talk."
Edward merely smiled amusedly and repeated for her not to worry, he had to get to work soon anyway. When he left through the door that led out of the lobby and into the work area, he winked at me, and I grimaced as he continued to smirk his signature-Edward-smirk that I saw so often during work hours.
Lauren caught Edward's side of the exchange and once again glared at me with loathing. The air was tense, and I was relieved when Lauren's secretarial phone rang on her desk and she answered in her nasal voice, "Yes, Mr. Banner?"
She had hung up the phone and turned to me with a look of contempt, which looked like she had just sucked on a sour lemon. "You can go to Mr. Banner's office now," she sneered.
I breathed out in annoyance at her attitude before nodding and heading toward the door Edward had walked through.
"Break a leg," Lauren snidely called to me as I opened the door.
It hadn't given me any confidence, because I was positive she had meant literally.
But with my lack of grace, breaking my leg was a constant worry for my daily life.
So anyway, it already added to my bad attitude on that Friday that Lauren was next to me in the elevator. Her overpowering cheap perfume invaded my nostrils unpleasantly and I unconsciously leaned closer to Harold Johnson, who also smelt badly, like old cheeseburgers and stale cigarettes. I didn't know which was worse – Harold who smelled like a McDonald's trash can, or Pepe Le Pew – I mean, Lauren.
I found I couldn't decide as I stepped out of the overly crowded elevator, Lauren trailing behind so she could sit behind her secretarial desk, and I headed into door way that led to the work office.
I found my small cubicle to see Rosalie sitting in my swiveling chair drinking from… was it? Oh my gosh, it was a Starbucks cup! Play it cool, Swan…
"Rosalie!" I chirped so cheerfully that I gave myself a mental slap on the head. So much for playing it cool...
Rosalie raised a perfectly arched blonde eyebrow. "Yes?" She took another swig of her coffee. I desperately wondered how full it was.
I put on my sweetest smile. "Want to give me your coffee?"
"No," she said, and I frowned. "There's nothing left." She threw the empty Styrofoam coffee cup into my waste basket under the cubicle desk. Rosalie looked me over. "Sorry, darling. But if it makes you feel better, I approve of your choice of outfit. No over sized work jacket to cover up your curves."
My stormy, black mood was back as soon as Rosalie told me that she had drunk all her coffee. "Newton the golden retriever bumped into me and spilled coffee all over my jacket. I think it's permanently stained," I said grumpily, holding it up as it was hanging over my right arm.
"He did you a favor," Rosalie replied dismissively, waving her hand as if shaking it off.
I scowled at her. "I liked that jacket," I told her petulantly.
My best friend rolled her eyes. "It hid all your curves." In return, I rolled my eyes back. "Bella," Rosalie said, shaking her head in remorse. "Can't you see how beautiful you are?"
I rolled my eyes again. Let her think what she wanted.
Rosalie growled, as if reading my thoughts. "Bella…" she said warningly. I stared at her blankly.
When I didn't say anything, Rosalie sighed, and then smirked.
My eyes narrowed automatically. "Whatever you're thinking, don't."
"Bella," Rosalie said innocently, "Why don't you take your hair out of that tight bun? It would look so nice down."
"Rosalie," I warned, my tone was sounding slightly frantic. "Back off." It was too late, she pulled out the elastic holding my brown hair up and it all came tumbling down. Rosalie fussed with it a little, taking out the bobby pins holding up loose ends and my bangs. She suddenly laughed when she was done.
"Now it looks so bad it's laughable," I spat, glaring.
She quickly shook her head in disagreement. "No, no, that's not it," she choked out.
I looked at her in my special annoyed way, something I usually saved for Edward. "Then what is?"
"It looks like you have sex hair," she laughed.
I immediately blushed, an unfortunate trait I had inherited from my father, Charlie. I hadn't done… it… in a long while, and Rosalie knew that. No wonder she was laughing.
"Okay, okay," I finally said after my blush subsided, "You've had your laugh at the just hilarious irony. Hardy har har. Now give me back my stuff."
Rosalie pointedly ignored me and said instead, "It looks awesome, Bella. Now, just let me put some make up on you."
I was drawing the line there. "Shouldn't you be writing about BMWs or something right now?" I asked tonelessly.
Rosalie ignored me once again. "Just some mascara and lip gloss and a little somethin' somethin'."
She pretended not to hear my cries of protests and proceeded to put make up on me, eventually threatening to give Mike Newton my digits if I didn't shut up. I was a quiet victim from then on.
Make up I could handle. Mike Newton? Hell no.
I am allergic to dogs, after all.
Ten minutes later, Rosalie had shoved me into the women's restroom.
"Bella, you look fantastic!" Rosalie squealed as she showed my reflection in the bathroom mirror. I had to admit I looked good.
f"Alright, Rosalie," I griped. "You had your fun. I have to work now."
"Not until you say you look fantastic," she sang.
"Fine," I said, knowing Rosalie would be an ass if I didn't. "I look fantastic."
"Good," said Rosalie smugly. "See you later. I'm coming over to your apartment before Angela's party to help you get ready." Then she walked out of the restroom to her job before I had time to object.
Oh, she was sneaky.
When I got back to my little cubicle I discovered a message from my lazy editor partner, Leah Clearwater, that she wouldn't be able to make it today or the rest of next week because she contracted a 'serious illness.'
Yeah, right. She was probably mourning over her ex boyfriend, Sam, who broke up with her two years ago for her cousin.
I probably should be more considerate and understanding and all that saintly stuff, but I still had to edit most of the long and dramatic (yet extremely racy) romance novel called Love Unchained, and it would take me forever to do it if I couldn't split up the work load with Leah.
That made me even more pissed off, and my dark mood increased. Today was going to be longer than necessary.
I groaned and slumped in my swiveling chair, spinning myself around slowly and lazily. Mr. Banner chose to walk by then.
"Back to work, Miss Swan," he said in a bored manner. He dropped a huge manuscript on my desk. "Irina is going on maternity leave. I need you to edit this so we can keep on track." I picked up the large manuscript and frowned. The title was Sexxay.
Disbelievingly, I asked, "I'm editing a book named Sexxay?" This was most definitely another set back. Why did my boss insist on me editing smutty romance novels with no plot line other than sex? And the sex scenes weren't even that good. Who uses 'throbbing member' five times in one three-sentence paragraph?
"You'd have to read it to understand it," Mr. Banner replied gruffly.
I raised my eyebrows. "You've read it?"
My boss turned a sickly red color and coughed out, "Just read it, Swan."
"But sir," I nearly complained, "I also have to read Love Unchained" – I managed not to roll my eyes here – "and Leah's…sick." I said the last part sarcastically. Mr. Banner either didn't notice or didn't care.
He narrowed his eyes. "I need it done, Swan."
I grunted. "Why can't Edward Cullen do it?"
Mr. Banner groaned exasperatedly. "He's working on the De Ja Vu sequel." De Ja Vu was an international best seller and hit number one on the book list when it came out last year.
Yes, no extremely racy romances with dumb ass names like Sexxay for Edward Cullen.
Another reason to not like Edward Cullen. He got these excellent books to edit while I was stuck with romances only single, horny girls would read. Which I totally didn't fit into that category…
Stupid Edward gets all the good books.
And despite popular belief, I was not jealous.
Me, jealous? Pffft, please.
Alright, maybe a little bit…
"Swan," my boss said with a note of finality. "You will do it."
I sighed before plastering on a fake smile. "Of course, sir." Mr. Banner nodded, satisfied. He didn't notice me stick my tongue out at him as he left back into his private office that made my cubicle look shittier than it already does.
I turned back to the two large manuscripts on my small cubicle desk. I sighed and opened up the manuscript for Love Unchained to the place I had last stopped at, running my hand through my loose hair in an annoyed manner and sighed.
After about an hour of non-stop editing of the Love Unchained manuscript and learning a lot of new ways to say the word 'penis,' Angela walked by, clutching a water bottle and chips, obviously having just been by the vending machine. I looked up as she stopped in front of my cubicle and smiled brightly at me.
"Hey Bella," she said cheerfully.
"Hey Angela," I replied, nodding at her in greeting.
"So," she continued, still happy. If it was anyone else and not someone sweet like Angela, I'd be annoyed at their extremely chipper mood while I was in one of my darkest moods of the year. "Are you coming to the party?"
"Wouldn't miss it," I said truthfully, trying to put on a smile. It probably came out more as a grimace as I looked back down at the two large manuscripts sitting innocently on my desk. My eyes narrowed as if by a force.
Angela noticed my work load. "Ok, well it starts at 8:30. Club Inattendu, remember?" I nodded in confirmation. "Well, I'll let you get back to work. See you then, Bells." She gave me one last big, overly-excited smile before disappearing to do some work of her own.
I managed to get another hour of work done without interruption before Mr. Banner began to bother me again.
"Swan," he ordered with his mouth full salad. He had pink colored dressing on his mustache, I noted distastefully. "I need three copies of this please." He handed me what looked like some official editor-to-author sheet of paper.
"Uh," I said looking from the paper he handed to the two large manuscripts and back to his reddish face. "Isn't this Lauren's job? She is the secretary, after all. And you just gave me another manuscript to edit –"
Mr. Banner glared at me in a frustrated manner to shut me up. It worked.
"Miss Mallory," he told me irritatingly, "Is eating her lunch. Now get me those three copies, Miss Swan." I almost snorted. To Lauren, a cheese cube was lunch.
I nodded to Mr. Banner unwillingly, managing not to glower at his retreating figure. I really hoped he retired soon. He certainly seemed old enough.
I growled as I scooted out of my rolling chair and headed to the copy room with the piece of paper. I opened the door as least violently as I possibly could in my bad mood. What I found in the copy room only colored my mood with a black crayon.
Edward Cullen was leaning on the copy machine, smirking as per usual. Lauren had her arms around his shoulders and was whispering in his left ear, all the while managing to give him a full view down her shirt to her cleavage.
Great at multitasking, that girl is.
My opening the door semi furiously – alright, it was a little more than semi furiously, but that's a mere detail – alerted the two to my arrival in the copy room. Lauren turned to glare at me, which was nothing out of the norm. Edward's smirk merely increased. Of course.
"Hello, Bella," Edward said smoothly in his irresistible voice. "Don't you look nice today?"
I rolled my eyes to conceal that fact I was pleased – for some odd reason – at his compliment and that he noticed. Lauren, in return, actually growled. I furrowed my eyebrows at her. Her glare intensified and I decided to ignore her.
"Uh huh," I said noncommittally. "Can you move? I have to make some copies of this paper here." I held up the sheet of paper Mr. Banner had given me.
Edward raised his eyebrows. "An editor?" he said disbelievingly, but still smirking, "Making copies?" Lauren's expression hadn't changed as she started to almost cling to Edward possessively. Edward shook her off a little, as if he was claustrophobic. Lauren noticed that I saw the snub and looked like she wanted to slap me.
"Yes," I answered Edward tonelessly, starting to become irritated at him and his damn attractive smirking. I directed my next statement at Lauren. "Since someone's supposed to be on 'lunch break,' I'm stuck doing secretarial duties." Edward looked slightly amused at my annoyance towards Lauren, who looked angrier than ever. He turned to Lauren and saw her expression in my direction and frowned slightly.
But as soon as I recognized it, Edward turned back to me and the irritable yet oh so sexy smirk was back in place. "Aw," he said, "Are you sure you aren't here because you're…" he paused dramatically, "Jealous of Lauren's advances on me?" Lauren looked triumphant as he said that, but I noticed that he said that Lauren was advancing on him, as if it was all one sided.
I pushed that thought away as I felt white hot rage engulf my system.
"Jealous?" I spluttered indignantly while Edward's smirk increased in volume.
Lauren snorted and said in her nasal voice, "Probably." Irritation made its way across Edward's face as soon as Lauren spoke. For a moment, I wanted to smirk, but I didn't.
"Lauren," Edward spoke smoothly. "Isn't your lunch break over?" He hinted not so subtly for her to leave. It was one of the few times I felt grateful towards Edward Cullen.
Lauren huffed but obeyed and unlatched herself from Edward's shoulders, leaving the copy room and purposely bumping into me on the way out. She nearly slammed the copy room door closed as she exited, shaking the door knob a little bit.
We were quiet for a moment as Edward got off the copy machine and I moved to make three copies of the paper Mr. Banner needed.
Edward interrupted the silence by whispering in my ear, "Are you sure you're not jealous?" I could practically feel his hands hovering above the sides of my stomach. His proximity made me shiver internally. That only made me angrier than I already was from his accusation, adding fuel to my fire.
And not in the good way.
I spun angrily to him, our chests touching. I was momentarily distracted, but I quickly snapped out of it as I saw him start to smirk slowly.
"I'm positive," I told him, my every word trembling with annoyed rage. All the anger and irritation from today seemed to be building up inside me like a volcano and was about to explode – Edward was in the lava zone (or whatever it's called.)
"It's okay to admit you like me," he said casually, as if he said this everyday. Maybe he did.
I growled, "You are so infuriating."
He continued on arrogantly as if he hadn't heard me. "I mean, lots and lots – and I mean lots – find me irresistibly attractive. It's only natural you feel the same –"
I spoke in a deadly quiet voice. "I do not find you irresistibly attractive." Lie, but I was too pissed off to care. "I think you're a cocky, conceited asshole –"
Edward's eyes had widened. "Bella –"
"– that has his head up his ass and is too busy to notice not everything revolves around him –"
"Bella, I didn't mean –"
"– and is such a prick and man whore –"
"Bella, please, I was just –"
Then I said it. "I hate you," I hissed.
Edward froze and stopped saying anything. I grabbed the three copies and the original and walked out with one last irritated glance at Edward. He hadn't moved and he looked shocked – and, wait, was that hurt in his emerald eyes?
Nah, couldn't be. It was Edward Cullen, for fuck's sake.
But my juvenile reassurances didn't help the twisting feeling in my stomach.
I stopped by my cubicle and grabbed my two manuscripts Mr. Banner had dumped on me and my purse and ruined jacket, heading to my boss's large office. I knocked quickly and walked in fuming, dropping the copies on his desk angrily.
"Miss Swan!" Mr. Banner said, appalled.
"Here's your copies," I said, my voice sounding almost scary, even to me. "I'm taking the rest of the day off. I'll see you Monday, alright?" I glared at him for confirmation. He nodded quickly, looking slightly frightened.
I walked out of the office and into the lobby, my irritated feeling not lessening but increasing as I walked by Lauren's fishy face.
"Bad day?" Lauren sneered to my back with a wicked triumph in her voice.
I stopped and whirled slowly to meet her gaze and glared. She flinched a little.
"Back off, slut," I told her coldly and turned back to walk to the elevator. The last image I saw of her before the elevator door's closed was her jaw dropped lowly. It wasn't something to be expected coming from me – I was actually surprised at myself.
It really had been a bad day, I realized sadly as the elevator brought me down to the first floor.
I hailed a taxi quickly and went straight home, throwing the two manuscripts on the coffee table. I was in too bad of a mood to get any constructive work done. Whatever. I would just finish them this weekend.
I took two Advil to get rid of the sick pounding in my head and sank into my bed for some well deserved sleep.
My last thoughts before drifting into unconsciousness was if Advil could get rid of the feeling of guilt that had been invading the pit of my stomach since I had told Edward Cullen that I hated him.
I woke up to the loud knocking – more like pounding – on my apartment door. I groaned into my pillow before dragging myself out of my warm bed to stop the incessant knocking. I rubbed my face as I walked down the hallway and ran my hand through my tangled head of hair. I opened the door to find an impatient Rosalie.
"Took you long enough," she said as she flounced into my apartment. I rolled my eyes at her antics and closed the door behind her.
I asked tiredly, "What time is it?"
Rosalie glanced at her Blackberry. "6:25," she replied and turned toward me with an accusatory look on her face. "Where have you been? I came over to your cubicle for lunch and you weren't there."
"Speaking of lunch," I said absentmindedly. "I haven't had any." I fished through my refrigerator until I found some leftovers from dinner two nights ago. "This'll do," I said mostly to myself.
My best friend looked at me oddly. "What's wrong with you? And answer my earlier question," she snapped. Rosalie had never been patient for as long as I had known her.
"I was having a bad day," I grumbled as I took a bite of the leftover lasagna.
Rosalie raised her eyebrows as she sat down in a bar stool, a sign she wanted me to explain.
I sighed and twirled my fork before complying. "Angela called me at 5:30 in the morning," I emphasized and Rosalie nodded in sympathy. "And I had gone to bed the night before at 2 because I was working on that dumb new manuscript, Love Unchained –" Rosalie snorted here "–that doesn't have a page without something sex related on it, which makes me think of my empty sex life." Rosalie snickered but stopped when I glared at her. "Do you want me to tell you or not?"
"No, please, continue," she choked out.
"So I can't get back to sleep after Angela calls me, which means that I have to go one with only three and half hours of sleep. So I get to the first floor of our editing building when Mike the dog-boy comes and spills my coffee all over me so I'm also caffeine deprived and feeling somewhat exposed as dog-boy checks out my chest."
"At least you're getting some action," Rosalie interceded, smirking.
I glared at her but continued. "Then I get a call from Leah telling me she can't make it today or all of next week so I'm stuck working the manuscript on my own. Then Mr. Banner comes by and drops of a new manuscript with the most idiotic name I have ever heard in my three years at the office," I paused for effect, "Sexxay."
Rosalie nearly fell out of her seat when I told her the name of the title from laughing so hard.
"Yeah," I said gravely, "and then Mr. Banner starts treating me like a frickin' secretary because Lauren was on her 'lunch break.'" I actually made quotations around the words 'lunch break' since both Rosalie and I knew Lauren hardly ate to "maintain her figure." Rosalie laughed.
Then I proceeded to tell Rosalie what happened in the copy room. When I told her the part about how I had said to Edward that I hated him, she looked very disappointed. I asked her about that, but she said it was nothing and told me to continue my story.
So I told her about my dramatic exit in Mr. Banner's office and my words to Lauren – which Rosalie said was "kick ass" – but she still looked a little put out.
I was going to ask Rosalie about her reaction again but she cut across my question by saying, "Ok, let's get you ready for this party!"
"By giving me another make over you're only adding to my bad day!" I whined, but Rosalie merely cackled and dragged me into the bathroom.
I had to admit, when I looked into the bathroom mirror, I looked pretty hot. I was wearing a little black dress with a sweetheart neckline that came up above my knee with heels that made my ass and legs look great but put everyone around me at risk.
My long mahogany hair was curled lightly. Rosalie had done my make up to perfection, and the dangly earrings she had given me to put on looked great.
Rosalie looked amazing of course – her blonde hair was pin straight without a hair out of place. She was wearing a red corset top with light designer skinny jeans and freakishly high heels.
"Ready?" she said as she fluffed her hair one last time in the mirror.
I glanced at my reflection before saying, "Yep."
It didn't take that long to get to Club Inattendu in a taxi from my apartment and when I got into the club (after giving my name to the bouncer for Angela's invitee list) I was surprised that sweet, quiet Angela had picked such a place.
The music was pounding and people were "dancing" (and by the quotations, I mean dry humping) in the middle. The bar was pretty crowded, and the bartenders were frantically trying to fill orders.
"Want a drink?" Rosalie yelled to me.
I shook my head 'no' as Rosalie rolled her eyes. I tried not to drink alcohol… I usually had bad experiences and my I had a pretty low tolerance for alcohol. I never would've gotten a belly button ring if it hadn't been for the all the piñi coladas I drank…
"Let's find Angela," I told Rosalie loudly. She nodded in agreement as we squeezed through people in search of the bride to be.
"Hey Angela!" I yelled to her when I reached her. Rosalie greeted her the same way with a kiss on the cheek and started talking to one of her coworkers nearby.
"Bells!" said Angela happily. "I'm so glad you could make it!"
"Wouldn't miss it," I replied, repeating my words from earlier that day.
"Okay," Angela said, her light brown eyes shining with pure happiness. "I have a very important question for you."
I rolled my shoulders back. Please have nothing to do with Edward Cullen…
"Will you be my maid of honor?" she exclaimed, squealing with giddiness.
I smiled – completely real, completely flattered. "Of course!"
"Awesome." She paused and then said shyly, "Would it be okay if you went with me on Monday afternoon to meet the wedding planner? Ben's extremely busy and…"
I cut her off. "It'll be fine, Angie."
"Oh, great!" Angela said excitedly. Her attention was then captured by her fiancé's entrance. Rosalie pulled me away then and into the crowd of dancers.
Rosalie didn't seem to mind my minor protest. "Let's dance," she shrugged.
I glared menacingly at her but she certainly didn't seem to notice – or care. "Rosalie," I told her indignantly, "I refuse to dance like… like… humping dogs."
Rosalie cocked her head to the side, examining the dancers. She turned to me whilst rolling her eyes. "They don't look like humping dogs, Bella. And you say I'm vulgar?" She said the last part mostly do herself. I scowled in response, crossed my arms over my chest, and stood stock still while Rosalie started swaying provocatively to the music.
She stopped moving completely when she saw I hadn't started dancing, ignoring the crowd of lustful males already encircling her.
"Bella," my best friend spat, stamping her foot in an impatient manner. "You will dance… otherwise I'll give Mike Newton your number."
I moaned, throwing my hands up in the air. "You've already used that blackmail today! How many more times are you going to use it?"
Rosalie pretended to think, tapping her chin with one perfectly manicured finger. "Hmm… I'll never use it as blackmail ever again as long as you dance tonight."
I growled. It was unfortunate – for me – that Rosalie knew my weak spots. She knew how much Mike Newton annoyed me – even more than Edward Cullen did.
Edward Cullen. Oh God. The pit of my stomach started twisting and bubbling with guilt again. I looked cautiously around the crowded club for the gorgeous man. I knew Angela had invited him – she had even invited Lauren and Jessica, and she didn't really like them all that much. I still didn't see him though.
"Well, Bella?" asked Rosalie in an irritated voice.
"Oh," I said as I snapped out of my thoughts before sighing deeply. "Fine."
"Yay!" Rosalie squealed.
We danced for all of about forty minutes and I was enjoying myself somewhat – even though I would never admit it to Rosalie. Some guys had asked me to dance and I had said yes to a few, but mostly declined and never danced with a guy longer than one song. Nevertheless, it was fun. Apparently, I realized as I kept dancing, the dancing only looks gross and – my thoughts were cut off when my brown eyes met dazzling green ones.
I had stopped dancing all together; my arms that had originally been all the way up over my head were hanging limply by my sides and my hips were no longer swaying. He was leaning against a wooden supporter pole, looking sexy as ever. All I could think for a couple of moments was daaaaaamn. You know, like accentuating the 'a' and everything.
Edward was watching me intently, his arms were crossed over his chest in a way the made both his chest and arm muscles stand out. His bronze colored hair was disheveled sexily as usual, his emerald eyes bright as ever. Maybe it was just the excessive heat from being surrounded by sweating people, but in those beautiful eyes was an emotion I couldn't read, and it intrigued me.
When I finally managed to tear my eyes away from the completely gorgeous man across the room, I grabbed a dancing Rosalie from the arm.
"Let's get a drink," I yelled to her.
She looked surprised – albeit happily so – and followed me to the bar.
"What are you going to get to drink?" she asked me.
"Tequila shots," I responded without missing a beat. I turned to face her as we arrived at the bar. She had one eyebrow raised.
Rosalie repeated, "Tequila shots? You know what those do to you, right?"
"Oh, I remember," I told her, thinking of how many crazy things I had done with the aid of my friend Jose. Tequila shots would help me forget all about Edward Cullen… for tonight anyway. The insane hangover I'd have tomorrow morning would also capture my attention. I was set.
"And you still want them?" asked Rosalie, still surprised.
"Yes," I answered without hesitation.
A wicked grin invaded her beautiful face. "Alrighty then," she said, sitting on a bar stool.
"What can I get you?" a tired looking bartender asked me.
"Two tequila shots please," I ordered and he nodded before going to fill out the order.
Rosalie snorted after ordering a margarita from another bartender. "Only two?"
I grinned at her. "I'm just getting started."
I was pleasantly buzzed by the time I removed myself from the bar. Rosalie was no longer by my side because Emmett had turned up and they probably went to go make out in one of the booths. I spotted Edward on a couch, Lauren right next to him. He had a distracted look on his face while Lauren simply looked frustrated. I made my way over to them right as Lauren walked away, calling to Edward she'd get him a drink to "loosen him up."
As I walked up to the couch, Edward didn't seem to notice me. He did notice me, however, when I plopped – more like bounced – onto the couch next to him. He turned to me with a surprised look on his face before it went back to sulky.
"Hey Edward!" I sang, putting my arm around his shoulder in my alcohol induced state.
He looked at me oddly, before saying sourly, "I thought you hated me."
"No, no, no," I shook my head rapidly. "You're too pretty."
Edward raised his eyebrows, his mood starting to look a little less upset and more amused. "You think so?"
I nodded quickly. "Yesssss," I told him seriously. "You are gorgeous. Very, very sexxay." I cracked up laughing at the mention of the title of my manuscript I still had to edit. "You have a hot body too. You should just walk around at work without a shirt on." I paused. "Or anything else, for that matter."
He chuckled softly, amusedly.
"You have a pretty laugh," I told him quietly, starting to play with soft strands of his messy, bronze hair. I had scooted close to him so I was practically on Edward's lap.
"Really?" he said huskily.
"Uh huh," I said dazedly. He was dazzling me.
"Well," he said, surprising me. "I think you're beautiful."
"Really?" I repeated his earlier words.
"Yes Bella," Edward replied quietly, seductively. "So, so much. More so than anyone else."
I got up and he looked bewildered and a little hurt – until, that is, I straddled him. For a moment, he was focused on my cleavage that was flattered by the sweetheart neckline of my dress with an awed look. His eyes floated up to mine and a beautiful, crooked smile arose on his face, momentarily stunning me with its beauty. My face moved closer to his until we were mere centimeters away, my breath fanning out on his velvet lips.
For a moment or two, I felt sober.
"I don't hate you," I whispered and his eyes widened slightly with amazement, lust, and something I couldn't identify. I didn't think about the emotion I couldn't read – I just crashed my lips to Edward's.
He was immediately responsive, his lips moving against mine electrically and in ways that should be illegal. I had never gotten so much pleasure just from a kiss – I had sex less pleasurable than this. So when he ran his tongue slowly and seductively over my bottom lip, I quickly opened my mouth for entrance.
Edward ran his tongue on the inside of my mouth, exploring, before starting to stroke my tongue with his own. I moaned into his mouth and his hands – which had been on my hips ever since I had straddled him – pulled me tighter against him. My chest fit perfectly into the contours of his upper body muscles. He moaned in delight as I pushed myself even closer to him and tangled my hands in his hair, wanting to enclose all space between us.
I rocked against him and we both moaned loudly at the same time. He was hot, hard, and big against me and I could only think how glad I was he was just as happy to see me as I was him. Edward ran his hands up and down my sides, each touch electrifying my skin.
Man, if his kissing was like that, I wondered what the se–
I never got to finish that thought, since Lauren's loud screech made us tear our mouths from each other. We both turned to Lauren, my lips feeling pleasurably tingly. I glanced at Edward. He was staring at me with that same emotion I couldn't tell what was, but it made my heart race.
I finally tore my eyes from Edward's green ones to face not only Lauren, but Emmett and Rosalie, the latter two smirking while the former one looked like she was going to rip me to pieces.
"You slut!" screamed Lauren to me, practically frothing at the mouth.
"I thought we clarified this morning who was the slut," I replied both coolly and wobbly. It was an odd combination, to say the least. Rosalie and Emmett laughed, Rosalie having obviously told Emmett my words to Lauren earlier that day. Edward also looked amused, his arms wrapping around my waist, holding me to him.
After Edward's kiss, my sobriety level was getting higher and higher. Edward's sudden movements of pulling me closer to him seemed to set off an alarm in my mind (you know, minus all the tingly feelings and butterflies I was getting from his mere presence.)
"I can't believe you're trying to steal my Edward from me!" Lauren screeched loudly.
Edward snorted. "Your Edward? If I'm owned by anyone, it's –"
Edward's words officially cut me off from my alcohol-and-Edward induced state and I suddenly let out a small scream. Edward stopped talking immediately and turned to me in alarm, panic in his eyes.
Whatever. I had more pressing matters at hand then to dissect Edward's actions – I just made out with Edward Cullen!
Who I proclaimed to hate this morning!
Tequila could be used as a weapon, honestly. It was that dangerous.
I started shifting and wiggling in Edward's lap, trying to escape. He bit his lip in response as I rubbed accidentally against his… you know. And I almost moaned at the motion while I noticed that even between his perfect teeth, his bottom lip looked so succulent and –
Oh, shit, Bella, get a hold of yourself, woman!
I finally managed to free myself from his strong, defined (and perfect, of course) arms and got off his lap, my eyes wide.
"I can't believe I just –" I said aloud, shocked.
Edward's eyes were also wide with the smallest amount of fear. "Bella –"
I didn't stay to listen to what he had to say. I grabbed Rosalie's hand and after saying a very quick good bye to Emmett, I pulled her out of the club with me roughly. I could feel the curious bouncer's stare on our backs.
"Rosalie," I said once we were on a block away from the club and trying to capture a taxi driver's attention. "I can't believe I just –"
"Made out more heatedly than you ever did in your life?" supplied Rosalie.
I blinked just as a cab stopped for us. "Um, yes, actually. With –"
"Edward Cullen," said Rosalie like she was repressing laughter and admiration. We climbed into the cab.
"Yes," I said, feeling shamed. I put my hands over my face. I was… humiliated, and oh, so tired.
"Well," Rosalie told me, somewhat dryly. "At least it sobered you up some. And he's hot. It'd be different if it was, like, Mike Newton or someone."
I pulled my head up to glare at her. "Thanks," I responded sarcastically.
The cab stopped at my apartment building and I got out. I was almost to the steps when I heard Rosalie's window roll down. I turned around unsteadily. Damn tequila.
"Yes?" I garbled tiredly.
Rosalie opened her mouth then hesitated. "Is it really that ba–"
"Yes," I repeated as firmly as I could with the tequila in my system.
Rosalie sighed in what sounded like resignation. "Alright, I'll see you Monday. Make sure you work on your manuscripts."
"Yes mother," I replied mockingly before smiling genuinely and waving as the cab drove away.
When the cab turned the corner and out of sight, I hobbled up the stairs as well as I could with my hazy brain. I was pleased that I could work the elevator correctly and open my apartment door without passing out. I managed to make it to the bathroom before upchucking all my dinner and the tequila.
Tequila and lasagna do not mix well together.
Well, actually, tequila and anything in general do not mix well together.
Damn tequila, I thought. I slid onto my black leather couch, not even having enough energy to make it to my bedroom.
My last thought before I slipped into unconsciousness was that I had kissed Edward Cullen…
…and it was the most amazing moment of my life.
Bottom Note: Part One re-edited June 2010.