I Hate You, Kiss Me

"A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her." - Oscar Wilde

Chapter One


They never say what they mean and when they do, it wasn't what you wanted to hear. When you get that call back a week later you realize it was just a booty call. They didn't care about the real you. What happened to getting to know someone? Well I'm done with that too. I'm done with the awkward blind dates, sweating in my bra while asking the usual polite questions and wondering if he likes me and do I like him and are these answers he's giving me the truth? Palms sweaty and stomach knotted. The awkward end-of-the-night-walk to the door, hugging ass out, hesitant kiss goodbye and—no you can't come up to my apartment.

Then there's playing the field: pick up a guy at the bar and it's not hard to guess how that night will end. Sometimes that was easier, no expectations. But it's not lasting. Not real. And there's no need to be hopeful; ironically there is a man in my life that teaches me not to picture men on a white horse. My best friend and the biggest player of them all. Emmett Chase.

Women are much more sensible.

I could play the game. I considered myself to already have formal training in telling lies with confidence and following through with finesse. It was part of being a lawyer and not so coincidently, I loved it.

I lived in a nice apartment townhouse style building near downtown Seattle. I didn't usually see my neighbors except Marc, who lived down the hall from me. This morning he was washing his car on the street. God knows it rained enough in Seattle but it was his hobby. As I headed down the front steps to my car, Marc waved at me from across the street, sponge in hand and soapy water dripping down his lanky arm. He cheekily smiled at me through his large bifocals and I gave him a polite but hurried wave back and hopped into my car.

Glancing at the clock on the dashboard and I revved the engine. When you live in a city you get good at driving. I honked and sped past traffic, down side streets, officially making it to work with two minutes to spare. Pulling into my designated parking spot in the garage below the office building, the car lights flashed as I locked the black Mercedes and attempted to juggle my purse, briefcase, and coffee cup. Wearing brown dress slacks, a cream colored blouse with quarter length sleeves, and a violet sweater vest that was snug at my curves, I boarded the elevator. I worked for Lawrence Associates law firm and was really enjoying my job for the last few years.

I could already hear the humming of computers, people chatting and barking orders, paperwork everywhere, phones ringing off the hook, and in general the bustling of an office where we all worked under a constant deadline for the good of the people. Not five seconds after the elevator doors opened did I hear those familiar heels clicking. It was like a countdown to something unsavory awaiting me.

"Isabella I need you to take a look at this file, stat." I never liked the use of my full name that only my boss addressed me by. I was sure she did it just to annoy me.
The sultry, professional hard-ass Rosalie Lawrence towered over me in all of her commanding glory. As the Office Manager of the litigation department, Rosalie was climbing to the top of the firm that her father and uncle owned together.

"Good morning Rosalie," I greeted with a bite to my cheerful smile and accepted the file she handed me. I wondered why she couldn't have just left it on my desk with a note as I rearranged everything I was carrying.

When I sat down at my desk I groaned at the large stack of folders and papers. Well no wonder, there wasn't any room on my desk. Emmett wanted to start the weekend early and now Karma was giving me payback.

"Why the sad face, Bella?" My coworker and friend Alice peeked her head over the adjoining wall of our oversized cubicle. It was more of a small office opened to the rest of the department and each of our desks were separated by a half-wall that sectioned off our working space.

I rearranged my expression into a smile. "I don't think I'll ever get the hang of Mondays," I sighed.

"Well I had a great weekend. Jasper and I went on a date to spice things up. It was so romantic," she squealed happily.
"That's great Alice. You guys have been together for almost a year now."

"And a fantastic year it's been. I remember it like yesterday, he was part of that group of interns." She grinned devilishly.
I smirked. "You robbed that cradle pretty fast."

"Jasper is not that much younger than me! And when you meet the one, you just know," she replied smartly. "Although I find it incredibly sexy that he's my office assistant."
I rolled my eyes. Jasper was one of many office assistants and he wasn't specifically for Alice, but he might as well have been. He was very attentive to her and she never passed up the chance to send him on errands or request favors.

We heard Rosalie's four-inch pin heels clicking and immediately ducked back into our respective desks. I shrugged off my jacket, hid my face in my coffee, and opened the file. The clicking heels passed us.

During lunch I hastily munched on a bagel and cream cheese while trying to catch up on the extra paper work. I was so deep in concentration that when the phone rang at my desk, I almost choked on my food in surprise.

"Good afternoon, this is Bella," I garbled into the receiver, looking under my papers for my soda.

"Bells what's up!"

I lodged the bite of bagel to the side of my cheek. "Emmett, I told you not to call me at work unless it was important." I finally found my soda behind a binder and took a greedy swig, forcing the food down.

"Bad time?" he asked, amused.

"Yes, I'm working double time after your steal-Bella-from-work-at-three-on-a-Friday stunt."

"Hey we had fun."

"Right, watching you scope out chicks at the bar was a great time." It was a great time but I was in no mood to agree.

"Before that..." I imagined Emmett pouting his lower lip out playfully. "And you're the only girl that's cool enough to be my sidekick."

I sighed heavily. "Fair enough. Now is there a point to this call?" I barked. The mountain of folders threatened to swallow me with every break.

"Whoa, is it that time of the month?"

"Emmett!" I hissed.

He chuckled.

"I swear to—"

"Alright, alright." He sobered. "One of the guys I train at the gym was asking about you. Interested?"

Anytime I swung by after work to see Emmett, all the sweaty guys at the gym would stare open-mouthed at me. One time a guy dropped a weight on his foot. I tried to keep my visits rare after that or many more men would injure themselves. "I don't know, what's he like?" I asked tiredly. I envisioned another awkward, unpleasant evening. I was over the whole dating thing.

I heard Emmett shrug on the other end. "Seems nice enough. Pretty serious guy though. I've only seen him recently, so he either just moved here or he's suddenly obsessed with body building."

"Can you tell me anything useful?" I asked in a bored tone.

"He can bench one hundred twenty-five," he stated proudly.

Of course Emmett thought that was an important quality. "Goodbye Emmett. And stop calling me at work." I hung up with a click, politely but decidedly.

I breathed in the rest of my lunch and tried to concentrate again. Once I was in the zone, I loathed interruptions. Plowing through my workload under a deadline was a better motivator than coffee sometimes.

Not long after, Rosalie approached my desk, expectantly. I handed her the file back from this morning. I had already filled out the remaining paperwork for it and typed it up for our computer archives. "It's an interesting case, when should I schedule the next hearing?"

"The sooner the better, we don't want this drawn out." Her red lips pressed into a line, making her look even stricter in manner. The only thing that softened Rosalie's appearance was her golden hair, flowing down her shoulders in soft waves.

"I can schedule Wednesday morning at nine-thirty."

"Good. I'll confirm the time slot with the judge and Mr. Lawrence." At work Rosalie never addressed Mr. Lawrence by 'uncle' or 'daddy'. Sometimes it was hard to tell which 'Mr. Lawrence' she was referring to.

I was typing it in as she spoke. Rosalie left swaying like she was on a runway in her tight, black pencil skirt. She never had to request anything twice.

Another hour went by and thankfully, it was almost four o'clock. I was more than halfway through my stack of folders which was quite an achievement considering the usual interruptions that came up during a day at a busy law firm. One could get easily sidetracked.

Rosalie came clicking her way over again. Ah, the clicking sound of doom.

"Listen up everybody." Activity in the room stopped mid-stride. Papers floated in the air and nothing but the sound of computer monitors hummed under the newly strained silence. "Staff meeting in five," she informed us, and briskly turned away.

Everyone jumped back into action like a Broadway set. I hated to leave my work unfinished, nevertheless Alice and I shambled to the conference room. We found a smiling Jasper who held out the seats next to him for Alice and I. He always dressed in khaki pants and white collared shirts, but the oddity of this plain style was that he usually had some band t-shirt peeking from the neck of his collar.

Everyone else filed in looking curious and confused. We usually only had these meetings if corporations got involved in one of our lawsuits or budgeting the money.
Rosalie took her usual seat beside her uncle as her father stood at the head of the room to speak. He was a short, broad shouldered man in a snappy suit and cufflinks and his voice was deep with years of whiskey drinking. He could command the room with just his presence. We settled down to attention and I began fidgeting impatiently, envisioning the work at my desk.

"Richard, from our department of legal documents who has been our main communicator with J. Jenks & Associates will be moving on from us. He's getting married and has taken up a job in California," he announced, gesturing to the sandy haired man seated near him. "Let us wish him the best of luck and a safe trip," he said warmly.
We all politely nodded and some who knew him better than others gave Richard their heartfelt congratulations. As the chatter died down Mr. Lawrence continued. "Next week we will have a new member joining our team from our New York offices at J. Jenks & Associates. As you know, J. Jenks & Associates has handled our legal documents for years. They have been a valued partner to this company since our father founded Lawrence Associates."

I stifled a yawn. I hoped there wasn't going to be a PowerPoint presentation on the founding fathers of Lawrence Associates.

"It'll be hard to replace you Richard, but this newbie is going to be a great asset, working in-house to help us with our more urgent cases and maintaining our partnership with J. Jenks."

A buzz went around the room as people commented on this news.

Unfazed, Mr. Lawrence continued. "Ms. Stanley, I want you and your planning committee to start preparations. I want a small office party to welcome the newcomer on Monday."
Jessica was already taking notes and hastily left the room to make some calls. Mr. Lawrence clapped his hands excitedly. "Dismissed!"

Leaving the conference room, there was a new, excited buzz about the office. I stuffed my head back into my folders and tried cramming for the rest of the hour but it was difficult. I kept getting easily distracted. I heard Alice on her phone text messaging Jasper. They did that all day and usually it didn't bother me. In any case, I gave up and closed the folder in front of me. I packed up my briefcase and gathered my things at a quarter to five.

"I'm gonna take off," I said tiredly, standing at the entrance of Alice's side of our office.

Her back was facing me as she typed a hundred words a minute, her keyboard rattling. Without stopping she replied, "Alright, have a good night, Bella. And it's your turn to bring in donuts tomorrow!" she called as I walked towards the elevator.

"Oh right," I said to myself.

Everyone usually volunteered to bring in donuts or baked good in the mornings. It was a nice office communal thing, each person taking their turn. With almost thirty people in the office, we were put on a rotating schedule.

I trudged to my car and drove home, wanting to settle into my comfy couch. Skipping most of my lunch break left me tired and a bit ravenous. When I walked into my nice open apartment, I threw my bags on the nearest chair and shrugged out of my jacket.

I lived in a simple one-bedroom with a decent sized living room consisting of an elegant micro-suede, beige couch and matching chair. I wasn't much of a decorator, so it was simple with only white and light blue curtains and soft beige carpeting. The few things I had hanging up were photos of my friends and family—though my collection was sparse. Renee had insisted on brightly colored eclectic throw pillows and I had to admit, they grew on me over time. I also had a small office, which I used to work extra hours and write letters.

As I brought my to-go coffee mug to the sink, I groaned. My sink was filled with coffee mugs and a dish or two. I drank way too much coffee. People didn't believe me when I said I really did enjoy getting mugs as presents. I turned on my answering machine when I saw the blinking light. I decided not to deal with my kitchen tonight and took out a frozen microwave dinner. I viciously stabbed a fork into the plastic and waited impatiently for those four long minutes.

"Bella!" I jumped with a yelp before I realized it was just the machine. "You haven't called me in three weeks. What have you been doing? Phil says hello. Your father called me because he hasn't heard from you either. How's the job? Any men in your life? You know you're turning twenty-five soon... I want to hear all about it." The message ended with an irritated click.

Renee, my mother. She was always full of energy and always always wanted to talk with me on the phone—except she would usually be doing most of the chatting about her travels or Phil's baseball gigs. They traveled around a lot together and Renee loved every moment of it. I sighed and erased the message.

"Hey Bella." I smiled at hearing Angela's sweet voice. It was the very opposite of my mother. "How are you? Ben and I will be making a trip to Forks to visit our families soon and I thought it would nice if we stopped for a night in Seattle to see you. Call me."

I would call Angela before I dealt with my mother. Just then the microwave beeped and I sat down on my couch, eating and flipping through the channels. I contemplated what I would tell my mother about men. Nothing to tell. I hated when she implied how I was getting "old" and still single. I was perfectly comfortable though. I liked living alone, hanging out with friends, my job. I didn't need a relationship to complicate my already busy life.

~/~/~/~ The week went by fast and busy, just how I liked it. The buzz about the 'new comer' from New York gradually escalated and by Friday and that was all anybody would talk about. Jessica whisked around in her chunky platform shoes and low cut blouse, making sure everything was planned correctly for Monday. She ordered her lackeys in her high-pitched bark and they scattered amongst themselves like pigeons, giving lots of us headaches by the afternoon.

Alice peeked around the wall in her rolling desk chair at me and imitated Jessica dramatically. "John! I wanted real caviar not liver pate! Oh my nerves..." she finished, looking faint and fanning herself with her hand.

"That sounds just like her," I whispered through fits of laughter. "Maybe she got into some helium from the balloons."

Alice muffled her giggles and returned to her desk as soon as we heard the clicking heels nearby.

Rosalie tried not to like anybody, but I was pretty sure she did not care for Jessica at all. Her lips were in a tight red line of disfavor ever time Jessica and her committee started a ruckus of planning.

When her clicking heels were out of earshot, I peeked over the wall to Alice's desk. "So Emmett wants to go to Monty's tonight. Are you and Jasper in?"

"Definitely. We'll meet you there around nine," she replied cheerfully.

So with Jessica trilling and me trying to get the rest of my work done before the weekend, the day passed unusually quickly.

Later that evening I felt my spurt of energy that I usually had at the end of the week. I buzzed Emmett in from downstairs, tidying up my place a bit while I waited for him to waltz in (as was his habit).

"Whoa lookin' hot, Bells," he commented, looking me up and down appreciatively from my royal blue top, dark skinny jeans, to my black petite heels.

I grinned at him. "Well aren't we the gentleman tonight," I replied with a smirk, putting my coat on.

He chuckled with a bow and held the door open for me.

Monty's was a casual, relaxing bar with a dance floor that we went to every so often. Emmett liked to rotate, otherwise he wouldn't be able to meet any new girls he hadn't already been with. I estimated when he would have to leave Seattle if he wanted to find more new faces. Emmett was kind of a pig, but at least he didn't make any pretenses or false promises for something other than casual sex.

We sat at the bar, Emmett with a beer and me swirling my gin and tonic.

"So any interesting cases come up this week?"

"Actually, yes."

I shared a few while we sipped our drinks, until Alice and Jasper joined us and ordered drinks too. Alice was always dressed to the nines. Outside of work we were the silliest pair and she was one of my closest friends other than Emmett and Angela.

The four of us chatted for a bit, Emmett and Jasper making bets on winning sports teams while Alice always told funny work stories.

Finally Jasper nudged his girlfriend with a wink and they left us for the dance floor. Jasper was actually a very smooth dancer, twirling Alice's petite body around skillfully. I was on my third drink when I caught Emmett making eyes at a woman across the room.

I looked at the random girl completely coming on to him with her own suggestive looks. She was eating her maraschino cherry very slowly from her fruity cocktail.
"God, I almost feel bad her."

Barely listening to me Emmett replied, "Hey I give them no expectations other than a good night." He finished his beer in one drawn out gulp and made his way over to her.
Well that was the last of Emmett I was going to see for the rest of the night. I watched with a smile as Alice and Jasper laughed and sang the words to the music overhead. Someone replaced Emmett at the seat next to me and I turned my body away so they wouldn't try to start up a conversation. If you're not looking to pick up a guy then you definitely don't want to make eye contact. As ridiculous as it is, the guy will immediately think you want to have sex with him.
"I'll have what she's having," said a smooth voice.

I kept my eyes on the dancing couples while the bar tender handed him his drink. We sipped and I enjoyed the silence.
"So are you having a nice night so far?"

I nodded, keeping my eyes trained ahead in an effort to dissuade him "Do you come here a lot?"

I continued to ignore him and concentrated on my drink. Couldn't the guy take a hint?

"That color shirt looks lovely with your skin."

I should have walked away, but I didn't want him to follow me. He needed to be knocked down a peg or two to get the hint that I wasn't interested.
"Listen pal," I turned angrily to him.

My little speech I had prepared died on my lips. I was faced with a painfully gorgeous man of bronze messy sex hair and deep green eyes. He seemed to tower over me. My gaze dropped down to his lips, perfectly shaped and smirking at me. Seeing my stare, his lips curved into a smile, crooked on one side.
My eyes narrowed and I put my face back into my drink. Unfortunately my glass was empty and I made a loud slurping sound. The man took out a money clip with bills and ordered another round of drinks for both of us.

"Don't bother, I'm not going to sleep with you."

He just grinned at me and tipped the bartender. I refused to be dazzled by his staring and smiling so I just guzzled my new drink down for something to do.

"'My name is Edward," he said and positioned his body so that he subtly leaned closer to me. This guy was smooth, but I knew all the tricks.


"I didn't expect a young woman to like gin and tonics."

Pleasantries and introductions. I could handle that.

"It's the only drink I prefer." I gratefully took another sip.

He turned to the side and drank deeply. I felt my eyes wander to the muscles moving at his throat. I looked away quickly and focused on Emmett and his new girl across the room for another distraction. I wasn't easily affected by men. Maybe I've had too many drinks already.

"I take it that guy isn't your boyfriend," he stated, following my gaze to the couple's shameless flirting.

I looked back to him and tried not to focus on his eyes. "No, but you better be careful, he's very protective of me," I threatened lightly.

He laughed a rich velvety sound and I couldn't help smiling a little.

He eyed Emmett's formidable frame of muscles. "I saw you sitting with him earlier and was still brave enough to come over." He flashed me a wide smile.

Now it was my turn to laugh out loud. "True, I suppose you do get some brownie points for that."

He finished his drink and ordered two more. I was starting to feel pleasantly relaxed from my alcohol consumption. "So you act like this is your first time to Monty's."

"Yes, it is. I recently moved here and thought I should check out the nightlife."

"And are you enjoying Seattle so far?"

"I am now," he said with that crooked smile.

I looked away as he carefully continued talking about the city more. We talked lightly about certain shops and coffee places downtown. "You should try the Palisade, it's one of the best seafood restaurants in Seattle."

"Would you care to have dinner with me there sometime?"

I turned to look at him. His eyes were dark emerald and intense on my face. His eyebrows were raised slightly and he wasn't smirking anymore. He appeared very genuine and I hesitated... I didn't want to start something or be let down and that was definitely a possibility with Edward. He was gorgeous, charming, and interesting. Tearing my eyes away, I rested my glass on the bar and hopped down from my stool.

He shifted in his stool and put his own glass down, confused and apprehensive. Instead of answering, I grabbed his hand and lead him on the dance floor. The music was blaring and we danced, keeping with the beat. After a moment he grabbed my swaying hips and brought them closer to him so our bodies were rubbing up against each other. My wide eyes met his amused ones. I decided I wasn't going down without a fight.

I smiled devilishly and put my arms around him and we continued swaying and grinding to the music. He was a great dancer, but that shouldn't have surprised me. He was probably perfect at everything. After several songs we went back to the bar for another drink, joining Alice and Jasper for a bit. We caught our breath and Edward ordered the four of us a round of tequila shots and we laughed and chatted about anything.

Three hours later.

Edward pushed the door to Monty's open carrying me on his back and running down the street. We were laughing hysterically as the cool wind hit our faces.
We were extremely drunk.

Suddenly, he stopped running and I slid of his back. My legs were wobbly so I leaned against him for support and saw with my dizzying vision that we were in front a large skyscraper apartment building. Edward spun me around to face him and sank his lips on mine.

"I told you I wouldn't sleep with you." I spoke with glazed eyes.

"I don't plan on sleeping tonight," he replied against my lips.

I put my arms around him and kissed him back eagerly. Our lips moved in unison, the kiss growing deeper by the second as his mouth pulled mine. He tasted of alcohol, mint, and something sweet. We stumbled through the door and into the elevator, our hands continuously roaming over each other.

Somehow Edward managed to unlock his door and I was in a lustful, drunken haze that I could barely keep up. We burst inside his apartment and he shut the door, pressing me up against it as we continued our hungry conquest.

My hands slid to his neck, grabbing at his hair as he explored my curves. His tongue slipped into my mouth, causing me to moan against him. Our breathing grew heavy and I thought I would never fully catch my breath, but I didn't care. I pushed my hips into him and he groaned low in his throat.

It spurred something delicious from him. He lifted me in his strong arms that felt like a metal vice, never breaking the kiss and my legs wrapped around his waist of their own volition.

The inebriated fog clouded my mind that I acted on impulse alone. Edward's teeth grazed and nipped my heated skin as I clawed his back for more. We moved around the room, bumping into things and tearing at each other's clothes. Nothing else seemed relevant except to have him completely, inside me and all around me.

Somewhere in the deepest parts of my psyche, I allowed myself to unleash my instinctual need, opening myself up to the raw pleasure of his thrusts. Each of us tried to dominate without losing ourselves completely.


My head was throbbing painfully, even my hair hurt. I tried swallowing my dry throat but my mouth felt like it had grown moss overnight. I rolled away from the window not ready for the sunshine, breathing a sigh and snuggled deeper into the pillows. I inhaled vanilla, soap, and spice.

After a minute my eyes snapped open at the unfamiliar yet familiar scent in the bed. I sat up in a rush and held my head, wincing at the pain. My stomach felt like a solid weight of sick. I looked around at the sheet tangled in my limbs. I followed the sheet trail and almost gasped aloud when I found someone sleeping next to me. It was Edward, lying on his stomach with his arms cradling the pillow at his head. The sheet modestly covered the middle of his body and his muscled back rose and fell as he breathed in a deep sleep. I realized I was also naked and stood up shakily, still not sure how I ended up in this apartment, much less this bed.

I looked around and searched under the bed for my clothes. I couldn't find them anywhere in the room and started to feel rising panic. I tip toed out the door and my mouth dropped open at the sight of the living room. A blush rushed up my cheeks all the way past my hairline.

Things were knocked over in a vicious trail along the once elegant room. Magazines and books were strewn on the floor along with coasters, TV remotes, papers... the desk was the most disastrous with clutter and its matching chair overturned, and the black leather couch had its cushions dismembered. Amongst all the rubble were our scattered clothes.

I lunged for mine like a drowning victim reaching for a rope. I put on my undergarments and jeans and then picked up my shirt to inspect it. It was ripped at the edges but I threw it on and located my shoes. I found one right away, the other was lodged under a couch cushion. Feeling even dizzier from my scavenger hunt, I crept to the spacious kitchen with black marble counter tops and the latest appliances. I picked up a glass from the drying rack next to the sink and filled it with water from the faucet. After chugging two large glasses, I grabbed my jacket that was caught around the overturned desk chair and my purse wedged under the kitchen table. I tingled with giddiness and another blush when I saw the buttons of Edward's dress shirt scattered along the polished wood floor on my way out.

The sun had just started peeking through the clouds and fresh air did me a lot of good. Once I figured out where I was, the twelve blocks of walking helped sober me up. I peeled off my clothes when I got home, sighing happily to be back at my place. Shower, a change of clothes, and back to sleep I went.

I woke up to a ringing and wrenched my groggy eyes open, blindly reaching for the phone on my night table.

"Hello?" I croaked.

"Bella! Oh. My. God. Tell me everything, I saw you leave the bar with that gorgeous man."

I glanced at the clock. Eleven in the A.M. I guess it wasn't a completely unreasonable hour to call on a Saturday. I sat up a little and made sure I was in the right bed this time. Stretching and waking up, I almost forgot I was on the phone.

"Hey Alice," I yawned.

"Well? Give me some dirt."

I groaned and tried to clear my fogged brain. "Um, well we left the bar and… walked to his place..." Piggyback running and laughing. My mind was still fuzzy. "We talked..." I don't plan on sleeping tonight. "And then we slept together and I left this morning."

I knew that probably wouldn't suffice. At this moment I immediately regretted spilling every horrific story of blind dates and one-night stands to Alice. "Details Bella. How was he in the sack? He looked rich too, I bet his place was lavish... is it decorated or does it look like a bachelor pad?"

"Aliiiice, I don't know, he was fine. His place was… fine." A flashback hit me of Edward ripping my shirt off and trailing heated kissing along the curve of my neck.
"FINE?" Alice snapped me back to our conversation.

I remained silent, thinking of some more appropriate adjectives.

"Oh my goodness you like him! You actually had a fantastic time!"

"Now wait just a sec, Alice—"

"You always have some flaw to complain about it. The guy snores, his eyes are too close together, he chews with his mouth open, etc, etc."

"Oh alright," I hissed. "He is unbelievably gorgeous, he looks better with his clothes off. I don't remember half of last night but the parts I do remember where the best I've ever had and I don't know what his apartment looks like because we crashed around it until we finally made it to the bed!" I exhaled a whoosh of breath.

Alice started laughing hysterically into the phone and I flopped back down into my pillows. "So there you have it, end of story."

Her laughing stopped short. "What? You mean you aren't going out again with this amazing man?"

"No Alice, it was a one time thing and I don't plan on seeing him again," I grumbled. My head was starting to throb again.

Alice sighed with disappointment though I couldn't imagine why.

"Anyway, I was sleeping."

"Alright Bella, I hope you don't regret not giving him your number. See you on Monday," she said cheerfully and hung up.

I put the phone back on the nightstand and rolled over. But I couldn't get back to sleep.

Another flashback hit me.

I sat on his kitchen table as he stood between my legs, leaning into me. My hands ran through his hair and down his shoulders impatiently. His lips seemed to be everywhere, my skin was flushed and tingling with all the different sensations his tongue was giving me. My fingertips played along the indent of muscle in his shoulders as he shoved down the black lacy bra to my waist while his other arm supported my arching back. I moaned when he cupped one of my breasts, trailing his mouth lower. He became gentle, touching and nibbling at my taut nipples. My fingers dug into his hair, eyes rolling to the back of my head as a throaty moan escaped my lips.
I growled in frustration and grabbed the phone. Speed dial number three.

"What's up?"


As a tradition, Emmett and I got breakfast a lot when we had hangovers or a wild night—except I was the only one with a hangover this time. Our waitress was very attentive, constantly re-filling our coffee mugs and casting smiles after Emmett had looked her over like his next meal. He didn't even come up for air while I was still recovering from my excursion! The gap between the sexes seemed endless.

Emmett poured syrup over his large stack of pancakes and we munched quietly on our food for a bit. "You look terrible," he observed as he cut a forkful of pancake and shoveled it into his mouth.

I scarfed down my eggs and toast with equal gusto. "I know. You look fine, surprisingly."

Emmett swallowed his food and loaded up another forkful. "Well one, I can hold my liquor. Two, my wounds aren't where anyone can see them."
I made a face as he chuckled blackly.

He leaned forward. "Get this, I actually made her purr."

"Like a kitten?" I raised an eyebrow as he leaned back triumphantly finishing his breakfast. "She was probably faking."

At this he looked deeply insulted. "No one fakes with Emmett Chase," he said smugly. "And what about your night?"

I bit into a slice of toast and purposely chewed slowly. It was bad enough Alice already squeezed some details out of me.

Emmett just shrugged and went back to his food. That's what I liked about him the most. A person could just sit in contented silence and eat. No questions. No explanations.
I relaxed for the rest of the weekend and occasionally my mind wandered to sweeter things from that passionate night. Thankfully Monday morning rose with a bright sunrise and I was eager to get back to work. I sped through rush hour traffic and guzzled down my coffee. As I stepped out of the elevator, I soaked up the buzz of the office with soothing familiarity. I plunked my bags down on my desk and shrugged off my jacket.

Alice greeted me in the doorway. "Ready to get to the conference room?"

"Oh right, I forgot about our little welcoming office party," I said unenthusiastically as I mentally counted the stacks of files on my desk.
We headed through the double doors and down the hall.

"Where's Jasper?"

"He's being an office assistant. Jessica wants all the lackeys involved." She rolled her eyes.

Everyone was standing in small groups chatting and eating from the food table Jessica had tirelessly put together. There was even a banner with 'Welcome' printed across it. We walked over to greet Rosalie.

"Hi girls." The sultry blond looked down her perfect nose at us with an almost smile.

"Good morning, Rosalie."

"Morning Rose!" Alice chirped. Only Alice could get away with being informal to her it seemed.

"So I guess Mr. Lawrence is happy with how the party turned out?" she asked.

"Jessica is… astute." Rosalie said reluctantly.

I grinned.

"Speaking of... I'm going to go look for Jasper, he might need saving." Alice danced off, leaving Rosalie and I to small talk.
When I heard Alice's surprised giggle from across the room, I glanced over to see her with Jasper and—

A familiar head of tousled bronze hair.

The universe hates me.