AN: hey guys! finally, the last chapter of Stapledward! sorry this was so long in coming, I am a totally dummy and mixed up the dates. luckily, Nina had a pinch hitter that could step in. in any case, it is finally here. I have to apologize if this is not. . .up to my regular standards--at least I don't think so. I really struggled to write this and I found out at about 9 PM my time (Pacific) on Sunday night that I am not a deadline writer. however, I did give it my best shot, so I hope that you're all happy with how it turned out. yeah it's kind of cliche and cheeesy but hey, the whole story is about office supply porn! thanks for all your great reviews over the course of the story!
Of course, Edward was waiting for me when I came home to the tiny townhouse I rented. I'd never told him where I lived, but the bastard naturally had access to all my records—including my address.
Hastily, I wiped the residual moisture off my cheeks and hoped that I didn't look like I'd been crying. Glancing in the rearview mirror, I nearly groaned when I saw my red-rimmed eyes. He'd know the instant I got out of the car that his general douchebaginess had devastated me.
But I couldn't hide in the car either, and sighing, I opened the door and walked up the driveway towards him. The only thing keeping my back straight and my eyes meeting his was my pride. I didn't want him to know that it was fucking impossible to face him after he'd rejected me.
"Bella," he said simply, "I'm sorry." He held out his arms to me, and I wanted nothing more than to go to him and forget that the last hour hadn't happened. But it had, and I couldn't forget it.
So I walked past him and his stupid lying arms and unlocked the door. Before I could shut it behind myself, he was there, holding it open. The flexed muscles of his arm were visible even in that horribly ugly red Staples polo he wore and my mouth went dry with the sight. I still wanted him as much as ever, but I had learned my lesson. You couldn't play with fire and not get burned.
"Edward," I said coldly, "please let me close the door."
"No. You have to let me explain," he begged and for a split second, I almost believed him. He sounded so damn genuine. And innocent. Like he'd never done anything wrong in his life.
Except it had to be a lie. He'd fucked me in the store with a sharpie, hadn't he? And he'd done it so well that I knew he did stuff like that all the time. I'd just been sucked in by those sweet, kind, green eyes.
"Fine," I said. "Go ahead and explain." I knew that his explanation would be meaningless, but he didn't have to know that. All I had to do was stand in the doorway and endure his presence for less than five more minutes. I could do that, I told myself.
"When I said that I didn't want to do it like this, I never meant that I didn't want you. I've wanted you for years," he said, his voice so earnest and loving that I could feel myself weakening. I wanted to believe him, but how could I? I still didn't understand how he could want me as much as I wanted him.
"What I meant," he continued, "was that I couldn't do it in the store. I couldn't do it while I was your boss and you were my employee. I want to be with you. Not just for sex. For real. But I can't do it like that."
A strange rushing noise filled my ears as my mouth hung open in shock. "I don't understand," I finally managed to mutter. "You never acted that way."
"Bella, how could I?" he asked, his eyes beseeching me to be kind. And oh, I wanted to. I wanted to kind him all the way to my bed and have him make love to me until dawn.
My mind raced through everything of the last week—really the last four years—and I had to admit, finally, that he had a pretty excellent point. There were a lot of things I loved about Edward, but most of all, I'd always adored his sense of unflinching honor and honesty. That was why I'd been so shocked that he'd participated in our little games for the last week. I supposed that, if he was really telling the truth about his feelings, it was possible that his own lust had gotten the better of him too.
"I shouldn't have run off," I said, a hint of uneasiness in my voice. I couldn't admit to him that I'd run because I'd been too fucking scared to follow through in the first place. I still was having difficulty understanding that perfect Edward Cullen could have had the same kind of crush that I'd had on him for years.
"Actually, I'm kind of glad you did," he admitted. "I would have had difficulty controlling myself with you up on that copier." It was so dark that I could barely make out the faint pink blush staining his skin, but it was there.
"And you can control yourself here?" I heard myself as I took a step towards him.
He took a step back and inhaled deeply. "You need to stay. . .over there," he gestured at the doorway. "I want you too much."
"What's wrong with that?"
"You're still my employee." There was so much regret in his voice—about as much as I had in my heart—that for a brief second, I considered trying to convince him that it didn't matter, but I knew that it was impossible. Edward's sense of honor was infallible. Trying to convince him that it wasn't important would be like the sky turning red, and if I was one hundred percent honest with myself, it would also take away one of the things I loved so much about him.
"So we're at an impasse," I told him.
He gave me a wry smile. "No, we're not."
He handed me a folded piece of paper. I opened it and gasped.
"Edward, this is your letter of resignation."
He nodded. "I can't work there anymore, not without you. And you're going to be graduating—you need to find a better job."
I briefly considered blustering that if Staples was good enough for him, it was good enough for me, but he knew me too well.
"No," he shook his head firmly. "You're going to go somewhere that deserves you."
"What about you?" I asked.
He looked at me like I was insane. "Do you really think that I've been working at Staples for the last four years—managing the same single store—because I wanted to? Bella, I couldn't bear to leave you."
Edward's resignation letter fluttered out of my suddenly numb fingers. "You stayed there for me?" I squeaked, reaching for him again. He gave me a stern little shake of his head and I took a resigned step back.
"Don't tell me that you worked at Staples because you loved it?" he teased.
"Of course not!" I laughed. "But then I think you know I didn't. Anyway, you're resigning, I'll be giving my two weeks notice tomorrow. Why can't we. . .celebrate?" I took another hesitant step towards him.
He held up his hand again in protest. "Bella, sweetheart, I swear to God if you move one more inch, I'm going to forget myself, and that's not the right way to start this between us. I've already screwed up enough."
I pouted. "Why can't we?"
He picked up the letter that I'd let fall to the ground. "If you'd read this, you'd see that per my contract with Staples, I have to give a month notice. You have two weeks notice to give. Technically," he said with regret, "you're still my employee."
"Damn," I breathed out, my whole body aching with longing for him.
"Shall I meet you here in a month?" he asked and I could see that he was serious.
"Excellent. And Bella, I can't wait either." With a small jaunty wave, he disappeared down the driveway, towards his car, and I knew without a doubt that the next month would be the longest in my entire life.
For the next two weeks, I was nearly in physical pain as Edward and I continued to see each other at work, but by silent agreement, didn't speak to each other. I knew that if we were to spend more than ten seconds in each other's company, all rules concerning boss-employee behavior would be out the window, Edward would be on the ground and I would be on top of him.
And that, while a glorious fantasy, wouldn't exactly go over well with either the rest of the staff or the customers.
So I kept my hands to myself by avoiding Edward as much as I could, though it was hellish after being able to indulge myself.
The last day of my two week notice came, and after my shift, the rest of the employees gathered around to say goodbye. I noticed that Edward stayed on the fringe, never allowing us to come face to face. I hated that we had to continue this silly charade, but I didn't want to get Edward in trouble, so I didn't push the issue. I let him stay on the sidelines, and I hoped my occasional glance his direction went unnoticed.
Finally, after everyone was finished wishing me well, I walked out the back parking lot, wondering what I was going to do without even being able to see Edward for the next two weeks. I was so lost in contemplating how awful it was going to be that I didn't even see him leaning against my car.
"You," I said, startled. "What are you doing here? Someone might see you."
He shrugged, clearly not caring one way or the other. Which made no sense because we'd both spent the last two weeks being so damn good.
"Well, fine," I grumbled, annoyed that we'd wasted all those opportunities when we could have been really enjoying ourselves. If I'd learned one thing in the last two weeks it was that I definitely was not cut out to be a masochist.
Edward just laughed and when I unlocked the car, climbed in the passenger seat next to me.
We sat in silence for a moment, then I asked again. "What are you doing here? You really might be seen."
"Don't care," he said, and I thought the careless tone he used was rather unEdward-like. Then he continued, his voice becoming sheepish. "I realized right as you were leaving that this was the last time I'd see you for two weeks and well. . .I had to come out here to say goodbye properly."
I looked at him expectantly, hoping that a "proper goodbye" involved at least several screaming orgasms.
Unfortunately, judging from the expression on his face, I was a little off the mark. Instead, Edward reached and caressed my cheek with his hand and I thought that the look in his beautiful green eyes spoke more of love than of lust.
Then he kissed me, gently at first, and then harder, as if he couldn't tolerate the thought that we'd be separated.
But before either of us could get carried away, Edward broke the kiss and murmured goodbye quietly, before exiting the car, leaving me to my own confused thoughts.
I hadn't ever really considered that Edward's interest might be something more than just sex, but it seemed that he'd been telling the truth—he did care about me and he wanted something that we could take publically, without fear of professional repercussions.
All the way home I tried to decide if this revelation was going to make the next two weeks easier or harder. When it had just been sex between the two of us, waiting had been hard. Now that I knew that there was the possibility of something deeper and more lasting between us, I could barely even stay in my own skin I was so eager for the first day when we could really acknowledge our feelings.
The sex was definitely still important, I decided as I pulled into the driveway, but it wasn't the most important thing. Only Edward was.
My new job had started, and while it was definitely better than working at Staples, I couldn't help but be a tiny bit sad that I didn't have a beautiful man with green eyes and bronze hair working beside me. It was better this way, I kept lecturing myself, but the lessons never seemed to stick. I decided that I was just lonely and missed Edward and when the two weeks was up, everything would be fine.
The fifteenth day was a bright, sunny Saturday. I got up early, wanting to get the townhouse clean and perfect for when Edward came over. We hadn't talked about it, but I assumed that he'd be over later that night.
I climbed down the stairs blearily, heading to the kitchen to put a pot of coffee on. Before I could reach the coffee pot though, the door rang, and swearing, I detoured towards the front door, pushing my hair out of my eyes.
I opened the door without even checking the peephole first, which was stupid and something I never did, but I was so tired that I could barely even form a coherent thought.
Edward was standing on my doorstep holding a bedraggled bouquet of daisies and a carton of orange juice. I think I must have looked incredibly shocked because his expression turned from one of excitement and joy to one of uncertainty.
"Hi Bella," he said with a nervous voice. "You look um. . .surprised. . .to see me."
I don't think surprised was the word I would have picked—shocked, astonished, nearly dismayed, perhaps. I'd had it all planned out in my head. I would look perfect. My townhouse would look perfect. The sex would be perfect and romantic and hot. Everything would go off without a hitch. The last thing I'd ever expected was for Edward to show up at 8 AM in the fucking morning and ruin everything.
"You're early," I stuttered, not sure what the hell to say. I was definitely not mentally prepared for this.
"Are you going to invite me in anyway?" he asked, a smirking smile emerging on his lips.
"Uh, yes." I tried to stammer as I opened the door wider and wished to god that I was wearing something other than an old ratty t-shirt and plaid boxer shorts.
Edward didn't appear to mind though as he couldn't take his eyes off my bare legs. As if he'd almost forgotten the items in his hands, he thrust the flowers and OJ at me.
I took them from him and turned towards the kitchen. "Um, I'll just go put these in some water," I said, eyeing the dismal looking bouquet.
Edward caught me by the arm and said in a low voice, "Please don't bother. They're. . .pitiful. I just couldn't bear to wait a single minute to see you again and well, I thought it would look weird me coming over so I decided that if I brought flowers it might look better, but the grocery store hadn't put out the new flowers yet so I had to settle for. . .these."
I quirked one eyebrow at him, trying not laugh since he was so earnest and serious. "And the OJ?"
He sighed. "Because the flowers looked so god damned bad."
He was right. They did look awful, but he, on the other hand, looked good enough to eat. Which I fully intended to do. Now that I'd adjusted to him being here and looking so downright tasty, I'd changed my mind. This could work, I decided, as I gently placed both the bouquet and the juice onto the side table.
"And, Edward," I asked innocently, "what are you here for, so early in the morning?"
Every innocent thought in my entire body evaporated with Edward's calculatingly horny look at my words. "Bella, I'm here to fuck you."
That was all it took. In under three seconds, I was on him, kissing him fiercely, our tongues mingling together as his hands grasped me firmly. I wrapped my legs around his waist and I felt my back hit the entry wall as Edward fulfilled all the promise of those early Staples encounters and became the bad boy I'd always wanted. He looked good—damn good—but he had the mouth and hands like a man who was going to hell, knew it, and wanted me to come along for the ride. And oh, I was so right there with him.
"Stairs," Edward rasped, his voice thick and dark with lust as he wrenched his lips away from mine. "Bed. Now."
I didn't think I would ever like to have someone be so rough or demanding with me, but the way Edward said it, I couldn't help but love it. This man, and his fierce unrelenting sexuality, was all mine. Fuck yes.
I gestured down the hall, and Edward carried me like I weighed nothing, as I attacked the side of his neck with my lips. His hands held me up and I would have thought they'd be too busy doing the holding, but one of them managed to sneak over and grab my ass, making me giggle into the soft, musky skin on his neck.
I still could smell the hint of fresh paper on him and it drove me wild as we finally reached the top of the stairs. "Which room is yours?" he groaned as I nibbled on his earlobe.
I gestured again, frantic to be on him and in him and around him. Even though we were nearly superglued together, it wasn't close enough. It wouldn't close enough until I could feel him inside of me.
Finally we reached the bed, Edward collapsing on top of me, his lips meeting mine again for a hot, fierce kiss. Now, I'd spent a lot of time at Staples watching those incredibly gorgeous hands of his. Long, tapered, elegant fingers with just the right amount of rough calluses on the tips—I'd spend many, many nights fantasizing about how good they'd feel on my skin.
The reality, however, was so much better than the fantasy, I discovered as he ran his hands up underneath my shirt and discovered with a sexy grin that I didn't believe in wearing underwear to bed.
"So smooth," he murmured as his fingertips danced over my skin, making me shiver with pleasure. His thumbs ran over my nipples and I gasped.
"You're so beautiful, Bella," he said, as he lifted my shirt over my head and paused to stare at me.
"Stop staring and just get to it," I demanded. "I need you, now."
"Your wish is my command," he laughed, stripping away his t-shirt.
It was my turn to gasp at how Edward's muscles rippled under his milky white skin. I'd had no idea that he was so ripped, and even with the evidence under my fingertips, it was hard to really absorb that this was really happening after so many years of dreaming about it.
"Oh wait," I mumbled through Edward's lips as he kissed me. "I had some. . .props. . .for tonight."
Edward pulled away from me and I saw confusion on his face. "Props?" he questioned.
"Well yes. Some. . .extra supplies I bought on my last day. In honor of the occasion," I quipped, trying to play it casual and not freak out like I wanted to.
Edward's brow furrowed and I wondered if I'd done the wrong thing, speaking up. If I'd done the wrong thing period, actually, by gathering the props in the corner.
"There's some bubble wrap," I said quietly, "and maybe some more cord . . ."
Edward gazed at me seriously for a moment or two, and then asked me seriously, "Do you think we need that Bella? All that stuff?"
I thought about it for a minute. No, I didn't really think we needed it. I'd gotten it because I thought he might like it. Finally, I shook my head slowly.
"Good, because we don't. We're hot just like this, Bella," he said with so much affection in his eyes that it nearly took my breath away. "All we need is the two of us."
"Then why did you bring the flowers and the juice?" I teased, trying hard not to laugh.
He groaned and I finally let myself laugh, poking him in the ribs.
"You'd better stop that," he threatened as I giggled harder.
"Okay," he said with a fake threatening tone. "You asked for it now, sweetheart."
His hand maneuvered down my torso and his face was intent as he bent down to kiss me again and with his lips on mine, suddenly it wasn't funny anymore. Suddenly, I was just as hot for him as I'd been five minutes before.
Actually, I wasn't sure that I'd ever stopped wanting him. Wanting Edward, I tried to observe as his hand crept up my leg, was kind of a state of mind. You were in it all the time, I'd discovered.
And then his hand found its destination and I couldn't think at all. His fingers were fifty times better than Sharpies—a million times better, I decided, as I tried not to muffle my moans into the satiny smooth skin of his shoulder.
"Bella," he groaned as he felt my teeth close over the skin, "I need you."
"Then take me," I whispered into his ear. "I'm yours."
I watched as Edward fumbled with his shorts and as they dropped, my breath whooshed out. Edward was perfectly formed—he could have been carved out the most beautiful Carrere marble.
And he was all mine, I thought, as the love that I'd held inside for so long began to threaten to leak out. I felt like I was exploding with how much I cared about him and I wasn't sure how much longer I could contain it.
Then Edward slid into me, and it felt so incredibly right that I couldn't any more.
"Edward," I gasped as he began to move and I rocked against him, "I love you."
He froze. I clapped a hand over my mouth, fear coalescing inside me. I hadn't meant to say that. It had just. . .exploded out of me.
Before I could even think of what I could say to take it back, his face broke into a huge smile. He said nothing but started to move inside me again, harder and more decisively. It felt so fucking good that I gave myself over to it and let my head fall back on the bed as we moved together like we'd been created to do exactly this.
Edward thrusted harder and deeper as we lost ourselves in each other. I gripped his muscular back and I could hear his harsh pants in my ear as he neared his orgasm.
"Just a little . . .more," I begged, feeling my own just around the corner.
Edward obliged, of course, and gave me more of exactly what I wanted, like he was in my mind and knew what I needed to send me over the edge. I tumbled over, lights flashing in my eyes and my fingers clenched deeply into the skin of Edward's back. He followed just seconds later, letting out an epically long groan as he shuddered in my arms.
We lay for a minute, not moving. I wondered if he would say anything regarding my inopportune confession of love, but just when I thought that he'd forgotten about it entirely, I heard him mumble, "And I love you too, Bella."
My smile was so wide that I thought it might break my face in two. "Really?" I asked with awe.
Edward's hand caressed the side of my face, brushing away the hair that had fallen in my eyes during our enthusiastic bout of sex. "Of course. I've loved you for years."
"All this time wasted," I laughed, surprised that I believed him. But there was the ring of truth in his voice and he definitely gazed at me like he cared. And he had come over at 8 AM to see me.
"Not wasted," he argued. "It was put to good use, I think. We both lasted exactly as long as we could."
We fell quiet again and I was about to suggest we get up when Edward spoke up. "How is your new job?"
"It's good," I said brightly, "I'm working at Barnes and Noble in the Marketing department. I think it's going to be a great job."
Edward snorted in amusement and then continued to laugh, harder and harder, until he was nearly clutching his sides.
"What," I asked him with annoyance, "is so god damned funny?"
"Bella, my dear, that's where I'm working."