Chapter 4: The Spotlight is On
Hands down, I'm too proud for love,
But with eyes shut, it's you I'm thinking of.
How we move from A to B, it can't be up to me 'cause I don't know.
Eye to eye, thigh to thigh, I let go.
I think I'm a little bit, little bit, a little bit in love with you.
-Little Bit by Lykke Li
".....yeah, and I'm totally getting a new engine put in, it's going to be awesome...."
Bella smiled against the pillow of her bed. Jacob's voice still retained that honey-thick drawl thousands of miles away, a quality that had shown up recently with the dawn of puberty. She had been on the phone since shortly after she woke up, and had been hopping around her hotel room, trying to get ready.
Today was her free day, and she wasn't entirely sure Edward remembered his promise to Ann about "showing Bella the sights." Bella doubted him, partly because he just seemed unreliable, but mostly because his face was all over TMZ TV, pouring into the backseat of a car, drunk and in the lap of a pop singer at one in the morning.
Bella was just brushing out her hair, balancing the phone between her neck and shoulder, when her door opened.
Opened was a generous verb. More like, burst though.
Edward strolled in as though it were his room, surveying his surroundings under black Ray-Bans. His eyes landed on Bella, who hurried her conversation and ended the call with Jacob. After putting down the receiver, she leveled a glare at the model, who just stared back, innocently, after shoving his sunglasses on his head.
"What did I do this time, Bella? Besides existing, that is."
Bella quirked an eyebrow. "Well, you didn't knock, for one. I could have been naked. Nor did you call ahead."
"O-kay" Edward said, lip curled. "One: like it makes any difference if you were naked. In my profession, I see people naked all the time. Two: I didn't call ahead, because I'm a romantic, and live for the thrill of surprise."
Her eyes twitched, not rolling, but suggesting that the option was there, and could be utilized. Often. "Or you have no sense for privacy or respect of personal space."
A smirk revealed perfect white teeth, which made green eyes shine like acid. "There's that, also."
Bella's eyes took that moment to roll, and she quickly pulled on her shoes. Unlike the models she had been shooting that week, Bella's wardrobe was bare. Her family wasn't poor; more like Bella didn't have patience for shopping. Her wardrobe was sensible and boring, mostly monochromatic. The few splashes of color that did make an appearance were rather faded or nondescript. She wasn't ashamed of her clothing, but next to Edward, who managed to make his plaid flannel shirt look chic, she felt every inch the girl from the boondocks.
Either he was showing rare tact, or he just didn't notice, Edward made no comment on Bella's style. He seemed more focused on her personality flaws.
"You can be such a rancid bitch. Let's go, I'm going to make this city come alive, you will be amazed."
"Amazed at how stupid you are, no doubt."
Edward shut her hotel room door behind her, and led her over to the gleaming gold elevator doors. After stepping into the elevator, and pressing the button of the lobby, Edward took this time to poke Bella rather viciously in the side.
"You are very lucky to have this opportunity, you know. You should be grateful."
Bella frowned. "Of course I'm grateful. Ann is a wonderful photographer, and I get to work under her for the whole summer."
"I meant the opportunity of me hanging out with you."
"Oh." Bella sneered. "That. No, I'm pretty sure this is a curse. Perhaps I did something horrible in a past life, and I'm being punished."
Edward raised an eyebrow, and grinned with every one of his perfect teeth. "I can arrange to punish you-"
"STOP. With that sentence. Or I will castrate you."
Despite this warning, the cab and the ferry ride to Ellis Island was filled with not-so-subtle suggestions from Edward, mostly having to deal with Bella being naughty. After several slaps and elbow hits, which Edward seemed to enjoy rather than be put off by, Bella took to ignoring Edward, a tactic which seemed to work. As they stared up at the famous landmark, he explained a brief and somewhat fabricated history of the Statue of Liberty (Bella was pretty sure the statue wasn't actually a giant goddess that was destined to come alive when prince charming kissed her, no matter what Edward said.) They took obligatory pictures at the Statue, and once back in Manhattan, Edward led them to a place that he claimed had the best pizza ever.
It was a small restaurant, with a few booths and tables on a checkered floor. The men behind the counter were making dough and putting pies in ovens, ringing a bell when the pizza was done. After securing a booth, receiving their respective drinks, and battling over what pizza to get, they received their pizza in a short amount of time.
"I've eaten pizza in Italy before, and this stuff is way better."
Bella looked skeptically at her slice, which dripped with cheese and grease. "It looks like a heart attack."
"Just eat it."
"Okay, but if I get food poisoning, or all my arteries simultaneously clog, I know who to blame."
As Bella bit into the slice, the flavors rushed together perfectly. The cheese was perfectly melted, and complimented the sauce. The crust was thin, but only enough to allow the flavor of the pie to fully come through. And dammit for Edward being right.
"So," Edward asked, excitedly, "what is the verdict."
Bella sighed. "As much as I hate to say it...."
Edward waved his hand impatiently, motioning her to carry on.
"It's great. Like really, the best pizza I have ever had."
The model let out a weird croon, which left their table the center of attention in the small Pizzeria. Bella felt vaguely embarrassed by the sudden attention, but Edward didn't seem to notice the looks at all.
"I TOLD you. I am right. Of course, I knew I was, but you saying that only validates it." Edward took a big bite of his pizza, and continued. "You can't just take everything at face value." At this, he looked at her meaningfully.
Bella raised an eyebrow. "There are just some things that don't go much beyond face value."
Edward opened his mouth to retort when they were interrupted by a girl, maybe around 14. She was pretty and well put together, but something about her reminded Bella of Jessica.
"Sorry, but are you Edward? Like, the model?"
Ah. Maybe that was it. She had that star-struck, glazed look.
Edward put down his pizza and smiled a slow, lazy grin. In an instant his whole demeanor changed; he exuded an undeniable sensuality that made Bella uncomfortable. She was beginning to understand why he was a heartthrob.
"Yes I am. And who might you be, gorgeous?"
The girl blushed prettily, her gold hair framing the pink of her cheeks.
"Guh. I mean, Jane. My name is Jane. May I have your autograph?" Jane held out a magazine with Edward on the cover. It was a black-and-white close up of his face, the only point of color was the chartreuse green of his eyes, which were emphasized by the smokey make-up around them.
He was beautiful.
Bella was momentarily stunned by her realization that she, Bella Swan, was hanging out with the world's most famous model and aspiring singer. However, the gravity of this revelation was lessened when she looked at Edward. He signed the magazine with a flourish, and blew a kiss at the young girl after she feebly thanked him.
Bella shook her head a little, trying to dispel those uncomfortable thoughts. So what if he was famous? He was an ass. Not to mention egotistical, shallow, hyperbolic.....
Edward turned to Bella with his normal smile, tinged with a bit of self-deprecation. He shrugged, almost in an embarrassed way, mumbling something about how next time he will remember his sunglasses. This rarely-seen humble side was.......cute. Bella made fun of Edward about Jane on the way back to the hotel, until he was assaulted by a group of school girls on the street. Similar incidents happened until they finally reached to Sofitel Hotel, where Edward stood in the door of her hotel room.
"I have a date tonight."
Bella looked at Edward like he was insane. "Ok, I don't care?"
Edward frowned. "I was just telling you so you would know why I was leaving you early."
The beige of the hall wallpaper wasn't effective in distracting Bella's attention from Edward's face. "Oh. Well have fun. If you catch chlamydia don't say I didn't tell you so."
The model smirked, and flicked Bella on the nose. "Don't you worry about things you know nothing about."
"Don't touch my face. And shut up and go on your date already."
Edward nodded and turned, only to looked behind him and wave at Bella. "Don't get into trouble. Or watch TMZ. I would rather you let me tell you how the date was."
Bella shook her head and grinned. "I wish you would have mercy and spare me the gory details."
The grin Edward gave was different from the 'model' one he gave his fans; it was real. It was no less devastating.
"Never. You will be the first to know."
"Bye," Bella said pointedly, and closed her door. She leaned against it, and slowly slid down until she was sitting in the floor. There she sat, for a while, until she got up to take a shower.
A foggy, half-formed realization hit her mid-shampoo. Her eyes opened wide and shampoo leaked into her sensitive eyes. "Shit."
The exclamation was a result of the shampoo and the sudden epiphany. Sure, she thought Edward was an ass and a million other negative things, but she might. like. him. A little.
"Shit." She repeated, just for emphasis. She liked Edward. Not in the fond way, but in the I-want-to-jump-him kind of way.
Maybe Jessica wasn't as dumb as Bella thought.
A/N: Yeah, Sorry about the wait. Got busy with finals, then getting college stuff together, and finally getting my life on track. Transferring to a university in the fall (Although it is known as a party school. Whatever, it's an experience, right?), and cleaning my room (a momentous task, I assure you.)
Also, I apologize for the minor mistakes that are spread throughout this; I have noticed some spelling and stuff. If you think it's distracting, tell me, and I will go back and correct it. Otherwise, I'm just going to leave it as is. I could get a beta, but I update very sporadically.
As always, PLEASE REVIEW. I love my reviewers, and I will try to respond personally this time. I read them all, and they encourage me to continue this ( I was going to delete this, but after reading the reviews, I decided to continue. I know where this is going, and I have it planned out. So there.)
REVIEW babes. I love it when you treat me good.