"Izzy," I heard James's rough voice and spun around. "You're avoiding me."
"James!" I was startled. He was right, but I wasn't expecting him to come find me. That wasn't his style. "No, not at all! I…I just…I wanted to get my meeting started so-"
"You're avoiding me," he cut me off. He took a step forward and I took one backwards at the same time. My butt bumped into the table and my hands fumbled behind me trying to find the edge. He moved one step closer but I had nowhere else to go. I was nowhere near graceful enough to dart out from in front of him. My efforts to maneuver backwards around the table combined with James's efforts to corner me and I ended up sitting on the table. "I know you got my note, it isn't on your desk anymore."
I swallowed hard as he placed his hand on my thigh, and brushed my dark brown hair off my face, tucking my bangs behind my ear. "Don't avoid me Izzy, we need to talk," he whispered lightly in my ear, kissing right below my earlobe. My head rolled back gently, exposing my neck. He kissed my neck lightly and traced his finger along my jaw line. I let out a soft whimper. He knew how to drive me crazy, and I hated him all the more for it.
"James," I put my hands on his shoulders and tried to push him away. He continued to kiss my neck gently. My hand squeezed his shoulder. He paused for a second and my head snapped back up. I shoved him away. "Let me go." His hand snapped up and grabbed my wrist as he looked directly at me. His eyes were burning with anger and I was genuinely scared.
"Now listen, Izzy." His voice was hard and angry. "You listen to me. I can get your position taken away as easily as I got it for you. Maybe you should have listened to me when I said no more exceptions. And next time I need to talk to you, you might want to seek me out. You also might want to reconsider breaking up with me. No, you definitely want to reconsider it, Isabella." He spat my name out like a curse.
"Ms. Swan?" Someone knocked on the door. James looked directly at me and held one finger up to my mouth to make sure I didn't say anything. "Isabella?" It was Edward. He knocked again and waited a second before turning the knob. James quickly removed his finger and kissed me again, like he had yesterday. His hand grabbed at my thigh and put his other hand on my shoulder.
"Unf," I mumbled, pushing James away with all my might. His mouth broke away from mine as I ground my heel into his thigh. "Get. Off."
"You're going to regret that, Izzy." He ran his hand through his hair in frustration as he blew past Edward and out the door, slamming it behind him. Edward just stared at me, sitting on the table. I rested my elbows on my thighs and buried my face in my hands. I heard him move swiftly towards me and I peered out between my fingers.
"I'm so-" I began to apologize for what he had seen. He cut me off.
"Ms…Isabella, are you alright? Are you going to be okay?" He put his hand on the small of my back and gently lifted my head. I nodded and blinked back tears. I hated James. I hated that he knew where I wanted to be kissed and touched and just how to do it. I would eventually bend to his will again. I looked at Edward's face as he looked over my body, making sure no damage was done.
"I'm fine. Edw…Mr. Cullen. Thank you." I slid off the table gracefully, almost proud of myself, before I realized that he had guided me to the floor. His hand was still on the small of my back and he was still looking me in the face. I turned red.
"Bella, don't worry." My mouth fell open and I immediately looked away. "I'm sorry. Is it okay that I call you that? I'm sorry."
"No, it's…it's fine. Don't worry about it Mr. Cullen." I chewed the inside of my lip. I picked a pile of assignments to concentrate on so I didn't have to look him in the face.
"It's Edward." His voice was calm, collected. "You can call me Edward. Please, call me Edward." I nodded, still looking away. "Bella," he put his hand on my chin and turned my face towards his. My heart was pounding in my chest and I'm sure he could feel it. I smile, embarrassed and felt my face grow warmer. He opened his mouth as if he was about to say something else but quickly closed it and looked towards the door. I cleared my throat and took a step back as Victoria, one of my other writers, opened the door. My mind went blank as soon as Victoria walked into the room followed by the rest of the department.
"Ms. Swan," Edward began, "I was hoping to take uh…this piece." He picked a paper up off the table. It was a piece on the local high school's performance of "The Laramie Project." Not something he would have normally taken, but I had to commend him on his effort to make this situation normal.
"Um…yeah, sure." My hand rubbed the back of my neck and I rocked back on my heels. I turned to look at the rest of my staff. "You guys know the drill, pick your assignment, get it to me by Thursday." I smiled half-heartedly and mouthed thank you to Edward who subtly winked as he walked out the door, assignment in hand.
The rest of the assignments were looked over and doled out with no problem. It was 10:30. I shut the lights in the conference room, got a cup of water from the cooler and sat down at my desk. There was another yellow post-it note tacked to my computer. My throat got tight, another note from James was not what I needed right now. I looked at the note and realized immediately that it was not written in James's rough, short scribble. Instead it was Edward's tight, smooth cursive that caught my attention. "Bella," it read. "I meant to tell you something before. Are you free later? I'll call you." I almost spat out the water I had just taken a sip of. On the bottom corner there was a tiny arrow directing me to turn the note around. On the back there was more. "When you throw this out, please get out of your chair." I smiled, embarrassed, and tacked the note to my computer again.
I spent the rest of my day smiling and thinking of the things Edward could have to say to me. I love you was a popular one. Along with you're beautiful and I want you. His velvet smooth voice distracted me from any other work I could possibly do for the rest of the day. At 3:30 I made the executive decision to go home. If I wasn't going to be productive at work, why even bother being there? I packed my note from Edward in my bag and slung it over my shoulder as I clicked off my light and got ready to leave. As I was walking towards the door, my phone buzzed in my purse and I jumped. My heart began to beat faster as I fumbled around in the endless abyss that was the bottom of my knock-off Coach tote. I finally found my phone and flipped it open. Alas, it was only a text message from Alice. My heart dropped in disappointment.
"Pizza tonite? Jasper wnts 2 come ovr," it read. Why she could never get the hang of text messaging me in complete words I would never understand.
I replied, "Sure, I'm on the way home," and flipped my phone shut. It was then I realized that Edward didn't have my number. My heart sank a little further. I pouted and walked back to my desk and wrote my number on a post-it to stick to Edward's desk. I changed my normal route to the door so I would pass his desk. I took a deep breath and tried to calm my racing pulse but when I turned the corner, he was gone. His light and computer was off, his desk cleared of his daily mess. I let out an aggravated sigh and stuffed my note in my bag.
When I reached the glass door that led to the parking garage, I looked out and saw Edward leaning against my car. My heart skipped a beat as I pushed the door open and continued walking towards my car. I looked down at my feet as if I was willing myself not to trip on anything, including them, as I was prone to do in heels, even the three inch ones I wore now. Edward cleared his throat as I reached my car and my head snapped up.
"Bella," he pushed himself up off my car and took a slow step towards me. I swallowed hard, trying to calm down my racing heart. "I realized I don't have your phone number." His hand was rubbing the back of his neck nervously. "And, well, how am I supposed to call you if I don't have your number?"
I couldn't tell him that I was thinking the exact same thing, or that when I realized it my heart had dropped. I couldn't hand him the post-it I had crumpled up in my bag with my number on it in anticipation of this question. Instead I just stood there, slightly dumbfounded.
"So, could I, um, could I have your number?" He was blushing. I bit my lower lip as I smiled and nodded.
"Of course." I couldn't help but beam with excitement. I recited my phone number to him and he copied it down in his phone. "So, I guess I'll talk to you later?"
"Yeah," he replied as he turned to leave. I steadied myself on the door of my car. I watched him get into his car and wink as his head turned towards me. My heart was beating irregularly and my knees could no longer hold me up. I flung open the door to my car and then slammed it once I was seated behind the wheel. I squealed with joy and drummed my hands on the dashboard. Alice was right, good things were going to happen.